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Sourcing and shipping the Superconference badge

Subject: General Tech | November 16, 2017 - 03:54 PM |
Tagged: tindie, superconference badge, hacking

You may remember Al's reaction to one of the other products being shown on Tindie when we were looking at Ken's pick on Podcast 475.  The Hack a Day Superconference badge is an impressive peice of hardware and people did some pretty impressive things with it, once they got their hands on it.  However, that is not the entire story as Hack a Day have shared the trials and tribulations of sourcing the components, building the badges and shipping them off to participants before the Superconference began.  If you are curious about how this process would work, or are considering creating some hardware which you eventually intend to sell or distribute, you should read through the process and see what they learned and if you can apply it to your own projects.

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"Already we’ve gone over the gory details of what this badge does, and now it’s time to talk about the perils of building large numbers of an electronic conference badge. This is the hardware demoscene, artisanal manufacturing, badgelife, and an exploration of exactly how far you can push a development schedule to get these badges out the door and into the hands of eager badge hackers and con attendees."

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Source: Hack a Day

AMD joins the Battlefront 2, Crimson ReLive Edition 17.11.2

Subject: Graphics Cards | November 17, 2017 - 01:37 PM |
Tagged: amd, Star Wars Battlefront 2, relive 17.11.2

AMD have just released their driver to enhance performance on Star Wars Battlefront 2, for those of you who caved and bought EA's cash cow disguised as a game.  The Crimson ReLive Edition 17.11.2is available for download today, grab it right here

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The update also addresses issues in several other games, including Middle-earth: Shadow of War and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon as well as green corruption in recorded gameplay and enhancements to WattMan

Source: AMD

NVIDIA Discontinues Mental Ray One Year After Relaunch

Subject: General Tech | November 19, 2017 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, mental ray, iray

Back in SIGGRAPH 2016, NVIDIA announced that they would take control of Mental Ray’s licensing and development. The new product was in beta at the time, boasting a new global illumination solver that was 4x faster on CPUs than the previous method, and 25.9x faster when you add a pair of Quadro M6000s into the mix. Access to the beta was free until it launched, which happened in Autumn 2016.

We’re now in Autumn 2017, and NVIDIA is discontinuing the product.

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NVIDIA is not leaving the rendering market, though. The graphics vendor has several products in that space, including the very-similar Iray. In fact, it was kind-of odd to see NVIDIA maintain both products with some weird cross-overs, like how they’re bundled on 3D Studio Max for the same price as either product purchased individually in Maya. They also maintain the OptiX and IndeX APIs, which is used all over the place, even for non-graphics workloads. (VRWorks Audio, for instance, uses OptiX to ray-trace video game audio for environmental effects, which is a fairly good model of high-frequency sounds.)

Current users of the Mental Ray plug-in, or those who purchase a license before the 20th of November, will receive “maintenance releases” through 2018 (presumably while they plan their transition elsewhere). These updates will be “bug fix” updates, although NVIDIA does state that one of them will introduce compatibility for Volta-based GPUs.

If you already own a license to Mental Ray, and you will need it for longer than the time left on your subscription, then you will need to contact NVIDIA for an extension. They’re not going to just throw you out if your license expires in December, but you have obligations through February (or something).

Source: NVIDIA

Toshiba is not about to become an Asustek satellite company, yet

Subject: General Tech | November 20, 2017 - 12:50 PM |
Tagged: rumour, asus, asustek, toshiba

Toshiba has been having a rough year, but according to what The Inquirer was been able to find out they are not quite ready to sell their computer business to AsusTek or Lenovo quite yet.  The issue stems from their pending removal from the Tokyo Stock Exchange next March do to falling below certain financial thresholds.  Toshiba is hoping that the pending $18bn sale of its semiconductor business will complete before the end of this fiscal year, which would see them into the clear, but it is uncertain that that will be the case.  Toshiba have completed a $114m sale of their TV business, which means there is not that much left for them to divest other than their computer business.  On the other hand if they sell the last of their assets there is no need to remain listed on the stock exchange.  We shall see what happens as the deadline approaches.

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"The news comes as media reports in Japan claim that the company is in talks to sell its PC manufacturing arm to Asustek Computer, best known under its Asus brandname. However, Toshiba was quick to issue a statement rejecting these rumours. "

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Source: The Inquirer
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Corsair

Is this the new budget champion?

True to their name, Corsair’s new HS50 STEREO gaming headsets offer traditional 2-channel sound from a similarly traditional headphone design. These are certainly ready for gaming with a detachable microphone and universal compatibility with both PCs and consoles, and budget friendly with an MSRP of only $49.99. How do they stack up? Let’s find out!

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Specifications:

  • Driver: 50mm Neodymium
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohms @ 1kHz
  • Sensitivity: 111 dB (± 3 dB)
  • Mic Type: Unidirectional noise-cancelling
  • Mic Impedance: 2.0k Ohms
  • Mic Frequency: Response 100Hz – 10kHz
  • Mic Sensitivity: -40 dB (± 3 dB)
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 160 x 100 x 205 mm
  • Weight: 319g
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Available Colors: Carbon, Green, Blue

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Nothing about these say “budget” when you look at the packaging and first unbox them, and they have a substantial feel to them like a pair of premium headphones - not at all like an inexpensive gaming headset.

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Continue reading our review of the Corsair HS50 STEREO gaming headset!

Samsung SZ985 Z-NAND SSD - Upcoming Competition for Intel's P4800X?

Subject: Storage | November 20, 2017 - 10:56 PM |
Tagged: Z-NAND, SZ985, slc, Samsung, P4800X, nand, Intel, flash

We haven't heard much about Samsung's 'XPoint Killer' Z-NAND since Flash Memory Summit 2017, but now we have a bit more to go on:

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Yes, actual specs. In print. Not bad either, considering the Samsung SZ985 appears to offer a bus-saturating 3.2GB/s for reads and writes. The 30 DWPD figure matches Intel's P4800X, which is impressive given Samsung's part operates on flash derived from their V-NAND line (but operating in a different mode). The most important figures here are latency, so let's focus there for a bit:

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While the SZ985 runs at ~1/3rd the latency of Samsung's own NAND SSDs, it has roughly double the latency of the P4800X. For the moment that is actually not as bad as it seems as it takes a fair amount of platform optimization to see the full performance benefits of optane, and operating slightly higher on the latency spectrum helps negate the negative impacts of incorrectly optimized platforms:

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Source: Shrout Research

As you can see above, operating at slightly higher latencies, while netting lower overall performance, does lessen the sting of platform induced IRQ latency penalties.

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Now to discuss costs. While we don't have any hard figures, we do have the above slide from FMS 2017, where Samsung stressed that they are trying to get the costs of Z-NAND down while keeping latencies as low as possible.

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Image Source: ExtremeTech

Samsung backed up their performance claims with a Technology Brief (available here), which showed decent performance gains and cited use cases paralleling those we've seen used by Intel. The takeaway here is that Samsung *may* be able to compete with the Intel P4800X in a similar performance bracket - not matching the performance but perhaps beating it on cost. The big gotcha is that we have yet to see a single Samsung NVMe Enterprise SSD come through our labs for testing, or anywhere on the market for that matter, so take these sorts of announcements with a grain of salt until we see these products gain broader adoption/distribution.

Source: Samsung

Meet Eve V, the crowdfunded laptop

Subject: Mobile | November 20, 2017 - 04:18 PM |
Tagged: Eve V, Surface Pro, crowdfunding, thunderbolt 3

The Eve V exists because of a successful Indiegogo campaign run by a motivated group of techies who wanted to create their own competitor to the Surface Pro.  Physically the design is very similar, a 12.3" tablet with a magnetically attached keyboard and a kickstand and the price range is similar, from $800 for the base model to $2000 for the kitchen sink.  That price includes the keyboard and active stylus, something Microsoft's Surface does not. The hardware is similar, as will be the benchmarks, it is in the extra features that the Eve V stands out.  The Eve V not only has an extra USB 3.0 port, it also has a USB 3.1 Type-C port and a separate Thunderbolt 3 port for a monitor or even an external GPU. 

Check out more about this tablet, from it's clicky keys to standard wall charger at Techspot.

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"For a first-generation product, the Eve V is remarkably solid. It's especially impressive when you consider its direct competition - the Surface Pro - is well entrenched in the Windows tablet market and known to be an excellent option."

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Source: Techspot
Author:
Manufacturer: SilverStone

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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It has been several years since we looked at a true SFX form factor power supply, but today we are going to take a detailed look at one of SilverStone’s new SFX units, the SX650-G. As one of the original manufacturers of SFX power supplies, Silverstone Technology Co. is meeting demand with new products; continuing to expand their product offering with two new SFX units, the SX500-G and SX650-G.

SX650-G

(SX = SFX Form Factor, 650 = 650W, and G = 80 Plus Gold certified)

SilverStone has a long-standing reputation for providing a full line of high quality enclosures, power supplies, cooling components, and accessories for PC enthusiasts. With a continued focus on smaller physical size and support for small form-factor enthusiasts, SilverStone added the new SX-G power supplies to their SFX form factor series. There are now ten power supplies in SilverStone’s SFX Series, ranging in output capacity from 300W to 800W. Unlike the larger SX-L units which are 30mm (1.2”) longer than a standard SFX chassis, the SX650-G retains the original SFX dimensions.

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(Courtesy of SilverStone)

The new SX650-G power supply features high efficiency (80 Plus Gold certified) and comes with all modular flat ribbon-style cables.

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SilverStone SX650-G PSU Key Features:

•    Small Form Factor (SFX) design
•    650W continuous power output
•    Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) fan for quiet, reliable operation
•    80 Plus Gold certified for high efficiency
•    Powerful single +12V rail with 54.2A capacity
•    All-modular, flat ribbon-style cables
•    High quality construction with all Japanese capacitors
•    Strict ±3% voltage regulation and low AC ripple and noise
•    Support for high-end GPUs with four PCI-E 8/6-pin connectors
•    Safety Protections: OCP, OVP, UVP, SCP, OTP, and OPP

Please continue reading our review of the SilverStone SX650-G PSU!!!

Why wouldn't Lenovo call it the Yoda 920?

Subject: General Tech | November 17, 2017 - 12:56 PM |
Tagged: Star Wars, Special Edition Yoga 920, Lenovo, Kaby Lake R

The specifications of the Star Wars Special Edition Yoga 920 are good but that is obviously not why most will purchase it, or the new Titan Xp for that matter.  Inside is a Kaby Lake R Core i7-8550U, 16GB of DDR4-2400 and 512 GB PCIe M.2 SSD, but it is of course what is etched on the Gorilla Glass exterior that counts.  According to TechARP it will be released soon in Malaysia this December, hopefully soon to arrive in North America as well.  There is a premium to be able to use the Force however, the current price is a bit over $2000.

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"The Star Wars Special Edition Yoga 920 will be available in two designs - one for the Galactic Empire, and one for the Rebel Alliance!"

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Source: TechARP