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LibRetro Vulkanizes PlayStation

Subject: General Tech | December 4, 2016 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, vulkan, libretro

About half of a year ago, LibRetro added Vulkan support to their Nintendo 64 renderer. This allowed them to do things like emulate the console’s hardware rasterization in software, and do so as an asynchronous shader, circumventing limitations in their OpenGL path trying to emulate the console’s offbeat GPU.

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Image Credit: Universal Interactive via Wikipedia

They have now turned their sights (“for the lulz”) to the original PlayStation, creating a Vulkan back-end for emulators like Beetle PSX.

The fairly long blog post discusses how the PlayStation is designed in detail, making it an interesting read for anyone curious. One point that I found particularly interesting is how the video memory is configured as a single, 1MB, 2D array (1024x512x16-bit). At this time, texture resolution was quite small, and frame buffers were between 256x224 and 640x480, so that’s a lot of room to make a collage out of your frame and all textures in the scene, but it’s still odd to think about a console imposing such restrictions now that we’re spoiled by modern GPUs.

In terms of performance, the developer claims that modern GPUs can handle 8k resolutions with relative ease, and four-digit FPS at lower resolutions.

HP Launches Ruggedized Apollo Lake Powered Convertible Tablet For Students

Subject: General Tech | December 5, 2016 - 02:34 AM |
Tagged: x360, Intel, hp, convertible tablet, apollo lake, 2-in-1

HP recently introduced a new convertible tablet for students. Built to be a bit more ruggedized than the consumer Pavilion model, the new HP ProBook X360 11G Education Edition is an 11” 2-in-1 laptop weighing in at 3.19 pounds, 0.78 inches thick, and designed to pass the MIL-STD 810G specification test with a spill resistant keyboard, shock and minor drop tolerance, and keyboard keys that are difficult to rip off (heh).

HP’s new convertible uses the same 360-degree hinge design as the existing Pavilion x360 notebooks which allows the user to bend the display all the way back so that it can be used as a tablet with the keyboard on the underside. Unlike the older consumer versions though, it appears HP has slightly upgraded things.

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On the outside the notebook is dark gray with black around the display and has a more business aesthetic while keeping the curves of the consumer model. The display is an 11” SVA panel with LED backlighting that is protected by Gorilla Glass 4. There is a 720p front facing webcam above the display and a 1080p camera on the keyboard that can be used while in tablet or tent modes while using the display as a viewfinder. Further, HP managed to cram what looks like a decent sized keyboard sans numpad and a trackpad that supports multi touch gestures 

The display supports both multi touch and digitizer input using the optional Active Pen which is nice to see and a feature I had wanted to see on the Pavilion x360 when i was looking for a replacement for my old convertible (I'm still looking heh).

Along the edges HP has included HDMI 1.4b, Gigabit Ethernet, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 (USB 3.0) Type A, one USB Type-C, one 3.5mm audio jack, and a Micro SDXC card slot for expansion.

Internally, the ProBook X360 11G EE is powered by one of two possible Apollo Lake SoCs: a dual core Celeron N3350 running at 1.1GHz and up to 2.4GHz boost and HD Graphics 500 or a quad core Pentium N4200 clocked at 1.1GHz base and up to 2.5GHz with an Intel HD 505 GPU. Regardless of the processor choice, the convertible also includes 8GB of DDR3L-1600 memory and a 64GB eMMC drive that can be upgraded to a 128GB ot 256GB M.2 SSD for better performance. Ditching the 500GB spinning rust drive of the consumer version is a good thing and is likely what helped HP get the ruggedized specifications.

Networking is handled by Intel dual band 2x2 MIMO 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.2, and Realtek-powered Gigabit Ethernet. HP claims up to 11 hours of battery life.

The ProBook X360 11G Education Edition comes with a 3 year warranty and starts at $329 with availability expected in January. Unfortunately, the convertible will initially only be available to educational institutions and HP partners though eventually you should be able to pick one up through a reseller. Another possible wrinkle is that the notebooks come preloaded with HP’s School Pack software which has software for students that lets a teacher do lesson planning, desktop sharing, and a student social network among other things. Of course if your school does not use this platform it is just more pre-installed software taking up resources. On the other hand, they do come with Windows 10 Pro rather than Home so that is something at least.

I wouldn't mind getting my hands on one to see how it feels as it sounds like it is more solidly built than the non education edition version.

 

Source: Tech Report

You have MSI at your back if you buy their Aegis Ti gaming machine

Subject: Systems | November 30, 2016 - 05:17 PM |
Tagged: msi, aegis ti, gaming pc, vr ready

Depending on which model you order, the MSI Aegis Ti PC will have an i7-6700K or i5-6600K and a pair of either GTX 1080s or 1070s.  The model which shipped to TechPowerUp for testing sported a pair of M.2 Samsung 950 PROs and 32GB of DDR4-2400, along with the i7-6700K and GTX 1080s of course.  The unique looking enclosure is VR Ready, in that there are USB and HDMI ports in the front to let you easily attach your VR goggles and is more than powerful enough to power said device at high settings.  If you would prefer to spend $3000 on a configured gaming rig with some interesting features as opposed to building one yourself, pop over for a look at the full review.

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"MSI sent us their latest fully featured PC, the Aegis Ti, to take a look at. This PC departs from the "traditional box" design in a big way and is ready to support not just one but two GTX 1080s! It's VR ready, including an HDMI port in front and dual M.2 drives, which can be configured in RAID, making it ready for whatever you want to throw at it."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

Source: TechPowerUp

T'is the season to write gift guides, tra la la la la ...

Subject: General Tech | December 1, 2016 - 02:24 PM |
Tagged: gift guide, holiday gift guide

Ryan has started cracking the whip but we haven't quite assembled our picks for the Christmas season so for now you can check out what the gang at The Tech Report has on offer.  As you might expect, the HTC Vive appears but you might not have suspected that a pressure cooker and sous-vide machine are on their list.  There is a lot more in the way of recommendations, from a CPU delidder to a projector or a 55" 4K TV with HDR if you are more of a traditionalist.  Hide your credit cards and check out the whole list.

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"The TR staff knows just how hard it can be to find the right gift to please the nerd in your life, so we've compiled a list of the items we've used and enjoyed over the past year. If you're stuck on what to buy for your favorite techie this holiday season, maybe we can help."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

In Win's Classic 750W PSU is looking good, but how well does it perform?

Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 28, 2016 - 02:18 PM |
Tagged: modular psu, in win, in win classic, 750w, 80 Plus Platinum

In Win are a venerable supplier of PSUs who slowly faded into the background as the PSU market has grown to include numerous manufacturers and resellers.  They are looking to get back into the minds of shoppers with their new Classic series, sporting a fully modular design, separated 12V rails, alumumium exteriors and an 80 Plus Platinum rating.  Inside the unit you will find Nippon Chemi-con and a clean design which impressed [H]ard|OCP.  Looks are not the only important thing when choosing a PSU however, check out the full review to see how well the In Win Classic 750W performed.

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"It has been years since we have reviewed a computer power supply from In Win. You might remember the In Win name from being a prolific case supplier back in the early enthusiast days of the 1990's. How does In Win stack up in 2016 with its Classic series PSU that has a very sleek look to it and nice feature set?"

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Shhh, no input lag, only Dream Machines' DM Pro S

Subject: General Tech | December 1, 2016 - 03:14 PM |
Tagged: gaming mouse, input, dream machines, DM Pro S

The Dream Machines DM1 PRO S gaming mouse uses a Pixart PMW 3360 optical sensor, not one commonly utilized in the market.  The DPI of the sensor can be toggled in set increments from 400 up to 12000, with the colour of the light under the logo indicating your current setting; the lack of software precludes manipulation of those presets.  The overall design of the mouse looks ambidextrous, however there are only thumb buttons on the left side of the mouse.  TechPowerUp were very impressed with the performance of the new sensor, as to the rest of the features you will just have to pop over and read them yourself.

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"A few months ago, we reviewed the Dream Machines DM1 PRO, and Dream Machines is now back with the DM1 PRO S. This version has an updated sensor, has been slimmed down to be even lighter, and has a rather nice glossy finish. Improvements, which could be a game changer."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: TechPowerUp

What exactly is QNAP's NASbook for?

Subject: Storage | November 29, 2016 - 03:21 PM |
Tagged: nasbook, NAS, qnap, TBS-453A

Network Attached Storage is nothing new, but a NASbook certainly is.  When you think of a NAS device you might picture a box with at least two network connections and limited controls on the device with a web based GUI.  QNAP have created something very different in the TBS-453A, a NAS in a notebook-like form factor with a lot of extra functionality.  You will find two HDMI v2.0 ports, two 3.5mm microphone jacks and an audio line out as well as a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports and three gigabit switch ports as it can function as a router, along with a total of four USB 3.0 ports and a single USB 2.0 port.   Unfortunately it lacks 10GbE ports which it would benefit from as it hides inside it four M.2 SATA 6Gbps SSDs which can easily overwhelm a gigabit connection, especially if multiple clients are accessing data simultaneously.

Curious what it is capable of and how well it performs?  Check out Nikktech's review.

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"Although we all like the concept behind the new TBS-453A NASbook by QNAP quite honestly it feels ahead of its time mainly due to the current pricing of M.2 SSDs and lack of one or more 10GbE ports."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: Nikktech
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: AUKEY

Introduction and First Impressions

Aukey, a prominent seller of mobile accessories on Amazon, has an interesting product for PC enthusiasts: an RGB mechanical gaming keyboard for $59.99. The price is definitely right, but is it any good? We’ll take a look!

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“The AUKEY KM-G3 mechanical keyboard takes the gaming experience to a new level. Tactile, responsive mechanical keys put you in control for an outstanding typing or gaming experience. The KM-G3 offers preloaded multi-color RGB backlit lighting effects and patterns. Ideal for FPS, CF, COD, LOL and Racing games - Just use the Function key to easily switch between gaming presets.”

The KM-G3 keyboard is a standard 104-key design, using blue switches (presumably a generic switch as no brand is listed), and there is RGB lighting which can be cycled between various colors and patterns, or switched off if desired. Aukey is also offering a 2-year warranty on the keyboard, which should help allay any fear about a purchase.

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Continue reading our review of the AUKEY KM-G3 RGB mechanical gaming keyboard!