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Monday morning penguins

Subject: General Tech | February 20, 2017 - 05:56 PM |
Tagged: linux, linux 4.10

The new week brings a new Linux kernel to users, with some additions which will interest fans of low powered computing as well as those of high powered machines.  The new kernel brings support for the Snapdragon 808 and 810 for those who are working with Linux on those SOCs.  For the high powered crew, added support for L2 and L3 cache on Intel processors, there is now support for virtual GPUs and The Inquirer mentions that AMD cards should get a bit of a boost.  So much for skipping straight to 4.11.

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"On the whole, 4.10 didn't end up as small as it initially looked.After the huge release that was 4.9, I expected things to be pretty quiet, but it ended up very much a fairly average release by modern kernel standards. So we have about 13,000 commits (not counting merges - that would be another 1200+ commits if you count those)."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

Faster than a speeding Gigabyte, the Aorus GTX 1080 XE

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 20, 2017 - 07:54 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, gtx 1080 Xtreme Edition, GTX 1080, gigabyte, aorus

Gigabyte created their Aorus line of products to attract enthusiasts away from some of the competitions sub-brands, such as ASUS ROG.  It is somewhat similar to the Gigabyte Xtreme Edition released last year but their are some differences, such as the large copper heatsink attached to the bottom of the GPU.  The stated clockspeeds are the same as last years model and it also sports the two HDMI connections on the front of the card to connect to Gigabyte's VR Extended Front panel.  The Tech Report manually overclocked the card and saw the Aorus reach the highest frequencies they have seen from a GP104 chip, albeit by a small margin.  Check out the full review right here.

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"Aorus is expanding into graphics cards today with the GeForce GTX 1080 Xtreme Edition 8G, a card that builds on the strong bones of Gigabyte's Editor's Choice-winning GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming. We dig in to see whether Aorus' take on a GTX 1080 is good enough for a repeat."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

The Genius SP-925BT bluetooth speaker, the sound is larger than the price tag

Subject: General Tech | February 17, 2017 - 10:09 PM |
Tagged: audio, SP-925BT, genuis, Bluetooth Stereo Speaker

If you are looking for an inexpensive bluetooth speaker that you won't worry about taking to the beach or other places it is at risk of harm, the $30 Genius SP-925BT is not a bad choice.  It features two 50mm speakers and a passive sub-woofer, with a 1500mAh battery.  In addition to Bluetooth 4 connectivity there is also a 3.5mm jack to connect devices without a radio.  Modders Inc tried a variety of audio sources and found the quality and volume perfect for sharing you music with a crowd of people.

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"Bluetooth technology is rendering wires passé in a world where using a mobile phone is an essential part of daily life. Staying connected no longer requires continuous tethering of devices to cables, so why shouldn’t audio listening enjoy the same freedom as well?"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

 

Source: Modders Inc

The uncommon and very yellow Reeven Okeanos RC-1402

Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 21, 2017 - 08:56 PM |
Tagged: reeven, Okeanos, Okeanos RC-1402

The Okeanos RC-1402 is a large hunk of metal, standing 140x135x163mm and weighing in at 1145g when both the 12cm and 14cm fans are attached.  This makes it just a bit smaller than Morry's beloved Noctua NH-D15, which will allow it to fit into slightly tighter builds.  [H]ard|OCP tested it on an i7-4770K and found its performance to be acceptable but not outstanding in any way.  Unfortunately, the price does stand out as it costs more than coolers which offer equivalent performance. Drop by for a look at their whole review.

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"The Reeven Okeanos RC-1402 is not exactly a new CPU air cooler, but it is not widely available in the United States so it has not gotten a lot of coverage in North America. The cost for the cooler is not low, and two staggered-sized fans are included in the box, so we have fairly high performance expectations for this twin tower cooler."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Living in VIVO 24K, a unique looking PSU

Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 17, 2017 - 11:13 PM |
Tagged: modular psu, VIVO, VIVO 24K, 650W, 80 Plus Gold

VIVO is certainly not a top of mind brand name, which is part of the reason [H]ard|OCP were interested in reviewing their 24K 650W PSU.  The top, front and back of the PSU feature a honeycombed design which not only give it a unique look but also help with ventilation.  The test results from this newcomer were a pleasant surprise; it measured up to the established competition, offering good power delivery and deserving of the advertised 80 PLUS Gold rating.  It is nice to see a new product measure up straight out of the gates, it will be worth keeping an eye on VIVO in the future.

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"VIVO is likely not a brand name that you are familiar with when it comes to enthusiast-level computer power supplies. We were not familiar with the VIVO name assuredly and its single PSU offering. All the more reason to put it through our PSU testing gauntlet when VIVO asked us to. Will VIVO regret putting its value brand PSU to the test?"

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Jack Sprat would approve of the third incarnation of the ASUS Zenbook

Subject: Mobile | February 20, 2017 - 07:03 PM |
Tagged: zenbook 3, UX390UA, ultrabook, kaby lake, asus. zenbook

We caught a glance at the new ASUS ZenBook 3 at CES and today Kitguru provides a full review of one, albeit a slightly different model.  The UX3901UA model contains a Kaby Lake i5-7200U with HD 620 graphics, 8GB LPDDR3-2133 and a 512GB M.2 SATA SSD.  The 12.5" screen is 1080p with no adaptive graphics or other tricks.  Where things seem to go off the rails is when you look at the thickness of the Zenbook, at its thickest it is 11.9mm (0.46").  This means you get no ethernet nor USB type A plugs as they simply would not fit and you have to content yourself with a single Type C plug.  For some the sacrifice is worth it; if you are one who likes petite sized computers you should head over for the full review.

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"What has really caught my eye about the ZenBook 3 is its physical dimensions – it measures just 11.9mm thick, while it weighs a mere 910g. With Kaby Lake hardware inside, as well as the promise of a crisp 1080p display and Harman Kardon speakers, could this be our new ultrabook of choice?"

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

More Mobile Articles

Source: Kitguru

BOINC on your phone?

Subject: General Tech | February 16, 2017 - 07:24 PM |
Tagged: boinc, fast radio bursts

If you are not familiar with the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Networked Computing, aka BOINC, then hopefully it is because you devote your spare processing power to Folding@Home.  If you are still unfamiliar, it is a way to divvy up huge data sets and associated calculations to numerous local clients, install by volunteers who are willing to donate spare processing cycles; the most famous is SETI@Home.

The story at the The Register describes something similar, though instead of performing the calculations, you would capture the data.  The idea is to utilize the radio receivers in mobile devices and software defined radio kits to capture the mysterious fast radio bursts that astronomers have detected emanating from far off galaxies.  The researchers have a lot of work ahead of them as the 1GHz signals can be swamped by terrestrial sources and the periodicity of the signals is not clear.  It will be interesting to watch how this project unfolds.

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"Friends, take out your mobiles in the name of science! Astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics are trying to look for fast radio bursts in the Milky Way galaxy with “low-cost radio receivers.” And by that, they mean, your smartphones."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

The Qt Company Announces Qt 3D Studio

Subject: General Tech | February 20, 2017 - 09:46 PM |
Tagged: vulkan, Qt, nvidia

NVIDIA has just donated their entire DRIVE Design Studio to The Qt Company, who will form it into Qt 3D Studio. This product will be a visual editor for 3D user interfaces, where layers of 2D and 3D objects can be created, animated, and integrated into C++ applications. It will take them a little while to clean it up for public consumption, but it will eventually be available under the commercial / open-source dual-license that users of Qt are accustomed to.

If you’re not familiar with the Qt Framework, then, basically, think of a cross-platform, open-source alternative to the .NET framework, although it is based in unmanaged C++. (It also competes with GTK+. This isn’t a major point, but I would like it to be clear that it’s not a two-person race between one proprietary and one open-source player.) When AMD updated their graphics drivers to Crimson Edition, and flaunted huge speed-ups, it was mostly because they switched the control panel's UI framework from .NET to Qt.

As an aside, The Qt Company joined the Khronos Group on the day that Vulkan launched, which was almost exactly a year ago, and they are actively working on integrating the API in their framework. Combined with today’s announcement, it’s not hard to imagine how much easier it will be, some day, to create efficient and beautiful UIs.

Update: Speaking of which, The Qt Company is apparently planning to release Vulkan support with Qt 5.10.

AMD Ryzen CPUs Will Be Available With New Stock Coolers

Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 22, 2017 - 06:04 AM |
Tagged: Wraith, ryzen, hsf, AMD Wraith, amd

Information recently leaked online detailing how AMD will package its retail Ryzen offerings. In addition to the usual processor-only trays for OEMs and system integrators, AMD will offer retail boxed Ryzen processors with a basic HSF (heatsink-fan), circular 95W Wraith Spire cooler, 140W Wraith Max HSF depending on the processor as well as CPU-only boxes of the X-series (e.g. Ryzen 7 1700X) processors for enthusiasts looking to choose their own air or liquid cooler.

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Image via Informtica Cero.

TechPowerUp is reporting that a basic cooler similar to AMD’s pre-Wraith style of heatsinks will be packaged with the lower end Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 chips – mainly the 65W models. Moving up the processor lineup, the non-X Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 processors (up to Ryzen 7 1700) will be bundled with a new “Wraith Spire” cooler that sports a circular design with curved aluminum fins and an (approximately) 80mm fan. This new HSF is rated at 95W and measures 109mm x 103mm x 54mm and is allegedly engineered to be a low noise cooling solution.

Stepping things up a notch, the “Wraith Max” is a tweaked FX-era Wraith cooler (horizontal boxed design with a single fan) that can handle up to 140W processors and has been designed with noise levels in mind while not sacrificing too much performance. It measures 105mm x 108mm x 85mm so it is a fair bit taller than the Wraith Spire. This cooler will come with the higher end eight core Ryzen chips such as the Ryzen 7 1700X and 1800X.

The X variants will also be available in WOF (without fan-heatsink) packages that come in retail boxes but without any heatsink. These WOF packages should come in a bit cheaper than the processor+HSF multipacks and will be ideal for users wanting to use liquid cooling or a higher end air cooler for overclocking.

Thanks to previous leaks that have revealed the box art, AMD will be clearly marking the retail packages to show which cooler is coming with which processor. Further, XFastest has posted images of the basic Ryzen (non-Wraith) heatsink, and you can see (albeit tiny) images of the Wraith Spire and Wraith Max in the leaked table (above, from Informatica Cero).

Sebastian seemed to be very impressed by the original Wraith cooler where he found it to be a significant improvement over AMD’s previous OEM designs and able to match the Hyper 212 Evo in cooling performance (though the Wraith couldn’t quite match it in noise levels due to its smaller fan). So long as AMD maintains quality control and builds on the previous Wraith’s strengths (and hopefully larger fans, at least on the Max), they should be good little coolers. I am interested to see the new Wraith coolers in detail and how well they perform. I suspect many readers will be opting for the CPU-only packages, but for those readers that just want a simple bundled cooling solution I hope the Wraith Spire and Wraith Max turn out to be good deals.

Also read:

Source: TechPowerUp

What's so bright about the Genius Scorpion M8-610?

Subject: General Tech | February 15, 2017 - 09:00 PM |
Tagged: input, genius, scorpion M8-610, gaming mouse, ambidextrous

The symmetrical design of the Genius Scorpion M8-610 will ensure comfort no matter what your chirality is, something that is seemingly more uncommon in gaming mice these days.  The Avago ADNS-9800 laser sensor can provide between 800 to 8200 DPI and all the buttons are Omron D2FC-F-7N, not bad for a mouse that runs less than $40.  Modders Inc took a look at the mouse and the software suite which accompanies it in their latest review; take a look at what they thought right here.

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"While it is easy to get lured by fancy colors and flashy design when looking for a gaming mouse, it always comes down to functional consistency above all else. Aside from the keyboard, the mouse allows users to communicate with the computer and to the wider world online."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Modders Inc

MSI's wee AERO ITX family of NVIDIA graphics cards

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 16, 2017 - 08:35 PM |
Tagged: msi, AERO ITX, gtx 1070, gtx 1060, gtx 1050, GTX 1050 Ti, SFF, itx

MSI have just release their new series of ITX compatible GPUs, covering NVIDIA's latest series of cards from the GTX 1050 through to the GTX 1070; the GTX 1080 is not available in this form factor.  The GTX 1070 and 1060 are available in both factory overclocked and standard versions.

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All models share a similar design, with a single TORX fan with 8mm Super Pipes and the Zero Frozr feature which stops the fan to give silent operation when temperatures are below 60C.  They are all compatible with the Afterburner Overclocking Utility, including recordings via Predator and wireless control from your phone. 

The overclocked cards run slightly over reference, from the GTX 1070 at 1721MHz boost, 1531MHz base with the GDDR5 at 8GHz to the GTX 1050 at 1518MHz boost, 1404MHz base and the GDDR5 at 7GHz.  The models which do not bear the OC moniker run at NVIDIA's reference clocks even if they are not quite fully grown.

Source: MSI

Qualcomm Announces the Snapdragon X20 LTE Modem

Subject: Mobile | February 21, 2017 - 01:19 PM |
Tagged: X20, snapdragon, qualcomm, modem, LTE, DSDV, Category 18, Carrier Aggregation, CA, 5x20 MHz

Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem, their 2nd-generation Gigabit LTE solution built on 10nm FinFET and offering what Qualcomm says are “a number of industry firsts”, which include first to Category 18 (downlink) and first to receive up to 12 spacial LTE data streams simultaneously.

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“It is the first commercially announced Gigabit LTE chipset designed to deliver fiber-like LTE Category 18 download speeds of up to 1.2 Gbps, a 20 percent improvement in download speeds over the previous generation. Additionally, it allows support for up to 5x20 MHz downlink Carrier Aggregation (CA) across licensed and unlicensed FDD and TDD radio frequencies, as well as 4x4 MIMO on up to three aggregated LTE carriers. Lastly, it supports integrated Dual SIM Dual VoLTE (DSDV) capability, a first for Snapdragon LTE modems. These leading-edge features of the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem are supported by the first commercially announced single-chip RF transceiver capable of simultaneously receiving up to 12 spatial streams of LTE data.”

Compared the the X16 modem featured in the upcoming Snapdragon 835 SoC, the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem moves from Cat 16 to Cat 18 on the downlink, with support for 5x20 MHz (vs. the X16’s 4x20 MHz) Carrier Aggregation and “can simultaneously receive 12 unique streams of data on as few as three 20 MHz carriers”, with up to 256-QAM and 100 Mbps per stream. Uplink is at the same 2x20 MHz/64-QAM as the X16 modem, for speeds of up to 150 Mbps.

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The X20 LTE modem now includes VoLTE for both cards in a dual-SIM implementation:

“The Snapdragon X20 LTE modem also features more advanced dual SIM functionality and, as the first Snapdragon LTE modem to support DSDV, it provides users with the benefits of Ultra HD Voice and other IMS-based services on both SIMs inserted into the device.”

Qualcomm has begun to sample the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem to customers, with the first commercial devices expected 1H 2018.

Full press release after the break.

Source: Qualcomm