Subject: General Tech | October 27, 2016 - 01:03 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: qualcomm, billions, nxp
Qualcomm will obviously be expanding into the automotive industry with their purchase of NXP Semiconductors. You may not have heard of them but if you own a car you likely have a few of their products, they supply the chips which handle keyless entry, entertainment systems, RF comms and even the USB chargers. They generally utilize ARM chips and while this is unlikely to change, Qualcomm will add their own special sauce to upcoming generations of vehicular electronics. The mobile phone industry is very large but also slowing down and this purchase should help Qualcomm stay at the forefront of the market. Pop over to Slashdot for links and reactions.
"San Diego-based Qualcomm agreed to pay $110 a share in cash for NXP, the biggest supplier of chips used in the automotive industry, or 11 percent more than Wednesday's close, the companies said in a statement Thursday. The deal will be funded with cash on hand as well as new debt. Chief Executive Officer Steve Mollenkopf is betting the deal, the largest in the chip industry's history, will accelerate his company's entry into the burgeoning market for electronics in cars."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft Releases Open Source Toolkit Used to Build Human-Level Speech Recognition @ Linux.com
- Data ethics in IoT? Pff, you and your silly notions of privacy @ The Register
- Samsung ties Thread into two new IoT Artik chips @ The Register
- Apache on CentOS Linux For Beginners @ Linux.com
- Apple delays its wireless AirPods, probably because it's lost them @ The Inquirer
- Parts You Should know: A Universe Of Useful Injection Molded Standoffs @ Hack a Day
- PC demand to enjoy growth thanks to new processors from AMD and Intel @ DigiTimes
- Ubuntu 16.10: Convergence is in a holding pattern; consistency’s here instead @ Ars Technica
- The Groundbreaking Experience Offered by the Oculus Touch @ Harddware Secrets
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | October 28, 2016 - 12:46 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: editorial, web browser, vpn, Privacy, Opera, Blink
It has been some time since I last looked at Opera, and while I used to be a big fan of the alternative web browser my interest waned around the time that they abandoned their own engine to become (what I felt) yet another Chrome (Webkit) clone. Specifically, it looks like the last version I tested out was 12.10. Well, last month Opera released version 40 with just enough of a twist to pique my interest once again: the inclusion of a free built-in VPN.
I (finally) got around to testing out the new browser today, and it works fairly well. While setting the default to share usage data is not ideal, offering to enable the ad blocker after installation is a good touch. The VPN feature is a bit more tucked away than I would like but still accessible enough from the settings menu. Further, once it is enabled, it is easy to turn it off and on using the icon in the search/address bar.
According to Opera, the built-in VPN (virtual private network) comes courtesy of SurfEasy – a company that Opera acquired last year. SurfEasy uses OpenVPN and 256-bit encryption and also lauds itself on being a no-log VPN (they do not maintain logs tracking users' usage). Opera is not currently imposing any restrictions on the free VPN built into Opera with bandwith and data usage not being capped. Not bad for a free offering! For comparison, I've used the free version of ProXPN on occasion (public Wi-Fi mostly), and while the VPN is for the entire PC (not just the browser like in Opera's case) they heavily throttle the download speeds to entice you to pay (heh).
In a quick test, I got the following results:
|Ping (ms)||Download (Mbps)||Upload (Mbps)|
Considering the exit point was much further away (SpeedTest chose a Kansas test server, and it looks like the VPN server may have been in Houston, TX), the performance was not bad. Download and Upload speeds were only slightly slower, but (as expected) the ping was much higher.
Opera offers five locations for its free VPN: Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Singapore, and the United States.
Users can enable the VPN by browsing to opera://settings and clicking on Privacy & Security in the left hand list then checking the box next to "Enable VPN."
On another note, the included ad blocker seemed to work well (it apparently has already blocked 86 ads even though I only hit up a couple sites!). My only complaint here is that it does not make it as easy as AdBlock Plus to block/unblock specific elements (or if there is a way it's not intuitive). It is only a minor complaint though, and not really relevant for the majority of users.
I am by no means a browser benchmarker, but it feels fast enough when switching between tabs and loading websites. Fortunately, Michael Muchmore and Max Eddy put Opera through its paces and compiled the benchmark results from several synthetic tests if you are into the nitty-gritty numbers. From their data it appears that Opera is not the fastest, but by no means a slouch. The one test it fell hard on was the Unity WebGL benchmark, though it was not the only browser to do so (Opera, Chrome, and Vivaldi were all close with FireFox and Edge getting the top scores).
Other features of Opera 40 (41 in my case) include a personalized newsfeed that can be fed with any user-supplied RSS feeds, a new battery saver mode, hardware accelerated pop-out videos, Chromecast support, and a number of under the hood performance and memory optimizations (especially with more than 10 tabs open).
I am going to keep it installed and may switch back to using Opera as my daily browser. It looks like it has come a long way since Opera 12 and while it is similar to Chrome under the hood, Opera is doing enough to set itself apart that it may be worth looking into further.
What are your thoughts on Opera 41?
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 28, 2016 - 12:01 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: water cooling, GTX 1080, gtx 1070, gpu cooler, Alphacool, AIO
Alphacool recently launched an interesting liquid GPU cooling product under its Eiswolf branding. Coming in an AIO kit or as a standalone GPU cooler, the Eiswolf GPX Pro is currently compatible with the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 graphics cards.
The Eiswolf GPX is a GPU water block that pairs a removable copper water block with a large aluminum fin stack that passively cools the memory chips and VRM hardware while also feeding some of the heat into the copper block (and then the water loop). Alphacool has custom milled the aluminum to exactly fit the GTX 1070 or GTX 1080 such that users do not need thermal pads for the memory (just a small amount of thermal paste) and only tiny and thin thermal pads for the VRM chips. The GPU block is all copper and houses the pump. A backplate is included and when installed the block hides the card’s PCB behind the aluminum plate with ocool logo. When it comes time to upgrade the graphics card, you can remove the block and only replace the aluminum block that is custom to a specific card, which is nice to see.
The Eiswolf GPX AIO is the kit version and gives users a fully functioning loop. In addition to the Eiswolf GPX GPU cooler, the AIO kit includes a 120mm radiator with two fans in push-pull configuration and tubing with quick disconnects on both tubes. The fan cables are sleeved and the 11/8mm tubing is resistant to kinking. The loop is all copper save for brass fittings. The quick disconnects make it easy to remove the GPU from the system or to expand the loop. Users can add a second GPU (which also gets them a second pump) and/or connect it to the company’s AIO CPU coolers. Of course, it would also be possible to connect it to your custom loop if you wanted.
Reportedly, when running two GPX coolers in a SLI (dual GPU) setup, it is possible to undervolt both pumps to reduce pump noise such that they are near silent.
The ability to expand the AIO loop and to upgrade to newer graphics cards easily makes this an interesting product though I would have liked to see a larger radiator option especially for those wanting to go the dual GPU / dual pump route!
The Alphacool GPX Pro 120 AIO kit is available for 150 Euros (~$164 USD) and the GPX Pro (the cooler Itself) is available for 120 Euros (~$131 USD). Pricing is a bit high, but it has the potentially to have a much longer useable life than other GPU AIOs. I am looking forward to the reviews of this new cooler. I would like to see support for other graphics cards though.
If you are interested in this cooler, Alphacool has a video on YouTube with more information.
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