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Intel Core X-Series Coming to Alienware Area-51 Desktops

Subject: Systems | June 12, 2017 - 07:00 PM |
Tagged: radeon, PC, Optane, nvidia, Intel, geforce, gaming, desktop, dell, Core X-Series, Core i9, Area-51, amd, alienware

Dell has announced upcoming Alienware Area-51 gaming desktops featuring Intel's new Core X-Series processors, with CPU options up to the 10-core Intel Core i9 7900X and GPU configurations up to dual GeForce GTX 1080 Ti or triple Radeon RX 580 graphics.

Area-51 Intel.jpg

"The Alienware Area-51 is our flagship gaming desktop, in this next generation, a new Intel architecture based on ‘Skylake-X’ technology has come to the high end desktop arena; Intel introduces the new Intel Core XSeries processors with a new level of Intel Core i9 options.

Gamers looking for the best that Intel has to offer that love gaming and have creative hobbies that employ resource intensive applications should anticipate the new Area-51 with Intel Core X-series processors. Geared to deliver the best gaming experiences in 4K, 8K and in VR environments, this new rig is powered for gamers running applications that prioritize clock with the 10-core option running at speeds of up to 4.5GHz using stock settings.

The Area-51 featuring Intel Core X-Series is ideal for customers who explore the world of megatasking, doing many system demanding tasks at the same time, and are looking for a complete, reliable solution from a trusted brand."

The Area-51 desktops feature (from Dell):

  • Iconic triad high quality, uniquely engineered chassis built to deliver exceptional airflow, thermal management, and user ergonomics for daily use and future upgrades
  • Supports NVIDIA SLI and AMD Crossfire graphics technology, with dual and triple GPU options
  • Introduces Intel Optane Memory technology and M.2 SSD storage options to Area-51
  • Built for gaming enthusiast wanting the absolute best gaming performance played with a VR, 4k or 8k display
  • Designed with power supplies that provide modular cabling and a 1500W option with 80 Plus Gold efficiency for clean and efficient power
  • Alienware Command Center includes AlienFX, AlienAdrenaline, AlienFusion, Thermal and Overclocking Controls

Intel Core-i9.jpg

Specifications:

  • Chipset:
    • Intel X299 w/unlocked BIOS for overclocking, CPU Socket R4 (2066 pins)
  • Processor Options:
    • Intel Core i7 7800X (6-core, 8.25MB Cache, up to 4.0GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0 Technology)
    • Intel Core i7 7820X (8-core, 11MB Cache, up to 4.5GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0 Technology)
    • Intel Core i9 7900X (10-core, 13.75MB Cache, up to 4.5GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0 Technology)
  • Single Video Card Options
    • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, GTX 1060, GTX 1070, GTX 1080, or GTX 1080 Ti
    • Liquid Cooled NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
    • AMD Radeon RX 570 or RX 580
  • Multi GPU Options
    • Dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070, GTX 1080, or GTX 1080 Ti (NVIDIA SLI Enabled)
    • Triple AMD Radeon RX 570 or RX 580 (AMD Crossfire Enabled)
  • Memory Support
    • 4x 288-Pin DDR4 UDIMM Slots
    • 8GB DDR4 at 2667MHz standard, additional memory available up to 64GB of quad-channel 2667MHz or 2933MHz (HyperX)
  • Storage Options
    • Single drive: 2TB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s or 256GB - 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD
    • Dual drive: 128GB - 1TB M.2 SATA SSD (Boot) + 2TB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s (Storage)
    • Intel Optane Accelerated Options
      • 16GB Intel Optane memory accelerated 1TB 7200RPM HDD
      • 32GB Intel Optane memory accelerated 1TB - 2TB 7200RPM HDD
    • Slot-Loading Dual-Layer DVD Burner (DVD±RW) (Standard)
    • Slot-Loading Dual Layer Blu-ray Disc Reader (BD-ROM, DVD±RW, CD-RW)
  • Internal High-Definition 7.1 Audio (Standard)
    • Dual Killer E2500 Intelligent Networking (Gigabit Ethernet NIC)
    • Dell 1820 802.11ac 2x2 WiFi/Bluetooth 4.1 or Killer 1535 802.11ac 2x2 WiFi/Bluetooth 4.1
  • Front Ports
    • 2x SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
    • 3.5 mm headphone and 3.5 mm Mic Port
    • Media Card Reader
  • Rear Ports
    • 2x RJ-45 Killer Networks E2500 Gigabit Ethernet Port
    • 2x Hi-Speed USB 2.0
    • 6x SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
    • 1x SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A
    • 1x SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C w/ 15W PowerShare technology
    • 1x SPDIF Digital Output (TOSLINK)
    • 1x Line-In (blue port)
    • 1x Front L/R / Headphone (green port)
    • 1x Center Channel / Subwoofer (orange port)
    • 1x L/R Rear Surround (black port)
    • 1x L/R Side Surround (white port)
  • Operating System:
    • Windows 10 Home (64-bit) (Standard)
    • Windows 10 Pro (64-bit)

Area-51.jpg

The release date and pricing have not been announced, but Dell states these Intel Core X-series desktops "will be available late summer" with pricing information soon to come.

Source: Dell

E3 2017: Alienware Advanced Gaming Keyboard (AW568) and Alienware Pro Gaming Keyboard (AW768) Announced

Subject: General Tech | June 12, 2017 - 07:00 PM |
Tagged: mechanical keyboard, e3 17, E3, dell, alienware

Alienware has announced a pair of mechanical keyboards at E3 this year. While the company has made gaming mice and keyboards before, its been quite a while. After a little Googling, the most recent entries that I’ve seen were over five years old, those being the TactX mouse and keyboard. If you look on their website recently, though, you can’t really see anything first-party -- just brands like Razer and Roccat.

alienware-e3-advanced-gaming-keyboard.png

These two keyboards, the Alienware Advanced Gaming Keyboard (AW568) and the Alienware Pro Gaming Keyboard (AW768), are based on a similar design, with a few differences. First, the similarities. Both of these are mechanical keyboards that are based on brown switches from Kailh, which are very similar to Cherry MX Brown switches. Each key is also isolated in the key matrix, which Alienware claims is N-key rollover, but it’s unclear whether they just mean to the keyboard’s controller, or whether the PC will stop registering buttons after some multiple of USB limitations. (Typically, NKRO requires PS/2, although keyboards started doing things like registering as multiple keyboards to extend this limit... but it’s hard to find a USB keyboard that can literally handle every button independently.)

alienware-e3-pro-gaming-keyboard.png

As for the differences, the main changes are, surprise surprise, RGB backlighting and a volume roller on the AW768 (versus no backlight and volume buttons on the AW568). Interestingly, Alienware claims onboard memory for the AW768, to store macros, although they just advertise the Alienware Control Center for the AW568. This might mean that the AW568 doesn’t have onboard memory, requiring the driver for custom macros, but it could just be an awkwardly-worded press release.

The Alienware Advanced Gaming Keyboard (AW568) has an MSRP of $89.99 and the Alienware Pro Gaming Keyboard (AW768) has an MSRP of $119.99. They will be available in the US on June 13th.

Source: Alienware

Dell Announces Alienware Area-51 Threadripper Edition

Subject: Systems | June 12, 2017 - 07:00 PM |
Tagged: Threadripper, sli, ryzen, RX 580, PC, gtx 1080 ti, gaming, desktop, dell, crossfire, amd, alienware

Dell has revealed their new Alienware Area-51 gaming desktops featuring the latest high-performance AMD and Intel processors. We will begin with a look at the Alienware Area-51 Threadripper Edition, and Dell has an exclusive on pre-built systems using the new Ryzen Threadripper CPUs.

Area-51 TE.jpg

"Through 2017, Dell will be the exclusive OEM partner to deliver AMD Ryzen Threadripper pre-built systems to the market and the high-end 16-core will be factory-overclocked across all 16-cores and 32 logical threads. The Area-51 Threadripper Edition is ideal for customers who explore the world of mega-tasking, doing many system demanding tasks at the same time, and are looking for a complete, reliable solution from a trusted brand."

The systems are based on the X399 chipset and can be configured with either a 12-core/24-thread or 16-core/32-thread AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors, which are liquid-cooled in all configurations. Standard memory configurations begin with quad-channel 2667 MHz DDR4 up to 64GB, with 2933MHz HyperX memory up to the same quad-channel 64GB available. Graphics options begin with a choice between an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti or AMD Radeon RX 570, and max out at either dual GTX 1080 Ti or triple Radeon RX 580 cards.

Threadripper.jpg

Storage options include up to a 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD and 2TB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s HDD, and networking is handled by dual Killer E2500 Gigabit NICs and a choice of either Dell 1820 802.11ac 2x2 or Killer 1535 802.11ac 2x2 Wi-Fi. (A look at the other Area-51 desktop annoucement provides a more complete look at the rest of the general specifications - with a few chipset-related differences.)

Features from Dell/Alienware:

  • Designed for Megatasking, game streaming and more, the new Area 51 Threadripper Edition is ready for today’s most demanding PC gaming enthusiast and supports high performance configurations with a chipset that enables up to 64 PCIe Gen 3 lanes.
  • All configuration come standard with unlocked, factory-overclocked across all cores and liquid cooled AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPUs with Alienware's most powerful liquid cooling unit to date.
  • Iconic triad high quality, uniquely engineered chassis built to deliver exceptional airflow, thermal management, and user ergonomics for daily use and future upgrades.
  • Supports NVIDIA SLI and AMD Crossfire graphics technology, with dual and triple GPU options
  • Introduces M.2 storage options to Area-51.
  • Built for gaming enthusiast wanting the absolute best gaming performance played with a VR, 4k or 8k display
  • Alienware Command Center includes AlienFX, AlienAdrenaline, AlienFusion, Thermal and Overclocking Controls

Area-51 Open.jpg

The Alienware Area-51 Threadripper Edition will be available beginning June July 27, and pricing information is not yet announced.

Source: Dell

Kingston's DCP1000 NVMe PCIe SSD; fast and outside most people's budgets just like a race car

Subject: Storage | June 12, 2017 - 03:42 PM |
Tagged: kingston, DCP1000, enterprise ssd, NVMe, PCIe SSD

The Kingston DCP1000 NVMe PCIe SSD comes in 800GB, 1.6TB, and 3.2TB though as it is an Enterprise class drive even the smallest size will cost you over $1000.  Even with a price beyond the budget of almost all enthusiasts it is interesting to see the performance of this drive, especially as Kitguru's testing showed it to be faster than the Intel D P3608.  Kitguru cracked the 1.6TB card open to see how it worked and within found four Kingston 400GB NVMe M.2 SSDs, connected by a PLX PEX8725 24-lane, 10-port PCIe 3.0 switch which then passes the data onto the cards PCIe 3.0 x8 connector.  Each of those 400GB SSDs have their own PhisonPS5007-11 eight channel quad-core controller which leads to very impressive performance.  They did have some quibbles about the performance consistency of the drive; however it is something they have seen on most drives of this class and not something specific to Kingston's drive.

Kingston-DCP1000-Back.jpg

"Move over Intel DC P3608, we have a new performance king! In today’s testing, it was able to sustain sequential read and write speeds of 7GB/s and 6GB/s, respectively! Not only that, but it is able to deliver over 1.1million IOPS with 4KB random read performance and over 180K for write."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

E3 2017: Hyperkin Announces Duke Xbox One Controller

Subject: General Tech | June 12, 2017 - 03:34 PM |
Tagged: xbox, xbox one, controller, gamepad

When the original Xbox launched, back in 2001, it was bundled with a massive controller in most regions, which was eventually nicknamed “Duke”. While some users loved this form factor, Microsoft decided to make the “S” controller (the default for Japanese Xboxes) the international default about a year later. Duke ended up a cult classic.

Now, at E3 2017, Hyperkin Games Inc. is launching an Xbox One controller with a very similar design, which will also be compatible with Windows 10. A few liberties were taken to add and subtract buttons that didn’t exist on the opposing side of the Xbox 1 - Xbox One design fence. Hyperkin consulted with Seamus Blackley, one of the original developers of the Xbox console, who approved the remake.

No word on pricing, but it will be available this holiday season (2017).

Source: Hyperkin

Huawei grows its product line, meet the MateBook series

Subject: Mobile | June 12, 2017 - 01:16 PM |
Tagged: Huawei, matebook, MateBook X, MateBook D, fanless

Huawei mobile phones are growing in popularity in North America, with products available on Amazon and brick and mortar stores as well.  They have now expanded their product lineup to include 13" laptops, the MateBook X and the MateBook D.  These laptops are fanless, thanks to their all metal design and the incorporation of Huawei's Space Cooling technology which are microencapsulated phase change materials built into the body of the laptop.  Inside you will find a seventh generation i5 or i7 variant, either 4GB or 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM and a 256GB or 512GB SSD.  The Inquirer were impressed with almost every aspect of this ultramobile, from performance to the nine hours of battery life; read all about it here.

HuaweiMatebookX1of7-540x334.jpg

"LAPTOPS? REALLY? Is there anything Huawei isn't producing these days? We should have known this day would come when Huawei announced its first Windows 10 tablet, the original MateBook. Now, over a year later, the Chinese behemoth has unveiled its successor along with two, very un-tablety laptops: the MateBook X and the MateBook D."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

More Mobile Articles

Source: The Inquirer

Just a little more Computex in the cache; check out what Adata is up to

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 12, 2017 - 12:19 PM |
Tagged: ssd, sata, NVMe, M.2, computex 2017, adta

Adata had a flashy booth at Computex, focusing on their upcoming storage and memory products which The Tech Report spent some time at.  They had quite a lineup to show off, a pair of Enterprise class NVMe M.2 drives, the IM2P33E8 powered by Silicon Motion's upcoming SM2262 controller which is reputed to hit 3000 MB/s read, 1500 MB/s write as well as the SATA IM2S33D8 using the SM2259 controller.

For high end users there are the NVMe XPG SX9000, XPG SX8000 and XPG SX7000, the former with a Marvell controller and Toshiba's evergreen 15-nm MLC NAND, the latter pair with a Silicon Motion controller and IMFT 3D MLC flash.  For the price sensitive they have launched an M.2 drive which only uses two PCIe lanes, it will not be as the high end drives but should leave a HDD or older SSD in the dirt. 

As for what is below?  Why that is an XPG Spectrix S10 drive which is the world's first RGB infected SSD.

spectrix.jpg

"Without high-end motherboards or funky case concepts to show off, Adata focused its Computex presence on its strong point: storage. Join us as we walk through the company's upcoming SSD offerings."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Logitech G PowerPlay Brings Wireless Charging Gaming Mice to Reality

Subject: General Tech | June 12, 2017 - 03:00 AM |
Tagged: powerplay, logitech g, logitech, lightspeed, g903, g703

Logitech has finally released what I can only describe as the holy grail of mouse technologies. By combining the well-established and high performance wireless connectivity of the G900 mouse with a while-in-use wireless CHARGING system for new Logitech gaming mice, Logitech is promising to be bring us “unlimited gaming” and a life that no longer requires cables, battery notifications, or location-based timeouts.

Rather than bury the lead by diving into the new mice that go along with the technology, let’s first discuss PowerPlay, both the brand and the product name that Logitech is giving to the wireless charging mat that makes this all happen. Wireless charging is not a new idea, and it has been implemented on other products prior, but not to this scale. With Logitech PowerPlay you are not required to leave the mouse over a certain section of the surface and pause usage to charge. Instead, PowerPlay, when paired with one of the two mice launching with the technology, affords you continuous power that keeps you charged WHILE you are gaming!

logi2.jpg

This is a significant advancement and one that leads to quite a few improvements for gamers. First, overcoming the need to be placed and still, PowerPlay creates the largest single surface for charging any device I have seen. The size of the surface is 275mm x 320mm and closely mirrors other Logitech G mouse surfaces. Getting a surface that large, with enough power to guarantee the mouse will be provided more power than it can consume while in use, took a long time to engineer. And going above anything this size will be even more difficult as EMI restrictions from governmental bodies around the world come into play.

logi3.jpg

Implementation of PowerPlay is a USB-attached power input that has a hard surface that goes on your desk or table. Logitech then provides a soft surface that go over it to suit your preference. The mice that support PowerPlay (shown below) will still have USB connections on them for charging or use while away from your main PC, so you aren’t stuck in one place or lugging around the added hardware if you don’t need it.

The amount of charging power on PowerPlay provides wasn’t stated exactly, but it is definitely lower than a direct USB connection. I asked Logitech engineers how I could compare the performance of both power input methods. From a zero-state on the mouse to a full charge, the USB cable takes about 2 hours, while the PowerPlay would charge it in close to 14 hours. That’s significant difference, but Logitech assured me that a user could game forever with this system assuming no interruptions in power to the pad itself. The power delivery has multiple steps and Logitech says it will charge faster when in idle.

I can’t tell you how often I have asked for a feature like this, or how often the idea has been brought up by readers. Logitech has delivered – though it will cost you $99, plus the cost of a new mouse, to get up and running.

logi6.jpg

Logitech G903

Speaking of those new mice, Logitech is bringing two options today that will work just fine with, or without, the PowerPlay feature. The G903 is the successor to the incredibly popular and well-reviewed G900, a wireless-based gaming mouse that has exceeded my expectations in performance at each turn. Second is the G703, a successor to the G403. These mice are priced at $149 and $99, respectively. The PowerPlay technology is supported by a small module that is put in place on the underside of the mouse. That opening can also house a 10g weight for users that would prefer a heavier model; note that you cannot use both the weight and utilizing wireless charging.

logi1.jpg

Logitech G703

Finally, Logitech has used this opportunity to brand the wireless data technology that first debuted in the G900 as Lightspeed. I have talked about the engineering and design that went into Logitech’s release of its wireless gaming hardware previously, and it does bear repeating and a deeper dive coming soon. But gamers that worry about wireless not being as fast or as accurate as wired gaming mice should be convinced through the testing and science behind Logitech’s implementation.

logi5.jpg

In total, this hardware from Logitech provides what I feel is the most robust and feature rich gaming mouse package that exists today. The G903 and the G703 retain their superior design and capability (with some improvements along the way) while the PowerPlay wireless charging mat offers a new feature that gamers, and PC enthusiasts of all kinds, have been clamoring at for years.

We should have our sample units in very shortly, with availability starting in late June for the mice and in August for the mat!

Full press release below!

Source: Logitech G

Project Scorpio Unveiled as "Xbox One X," Lands November 7th for $499

Subject: General Tech | June 11, 2017 - 04:56 PM |
Tagged: Xbox Scorpio, xbox, microsoft, E3

At its E3 2017 keynote Sunday, Microsoft finally unveiled the official details for its upcoming "Project Scorpio" console, now called "Xbox One X." The console, surprisingly smaller than even the Xbox One S, will launch November 7, 2017 and, as expected, will be priced at $499, the same launch price of the original Xbox One in November 2013.

xbox-one-x-design.jpg

With a maximum 6 teraflops of GPU horsepower and a class-leading 326GB/s memory bandwidth, Microsoft is hoping that its significant performance advantage over Sony's $399 PS4 Pro, as well as its ability to play UHD Blu-ray discs, will help justify the $100 price difference for consumers.

  Xbox One X PS4 Pro

CPU

2.3GHz 8-Core 2.16 GHz 8-Core
GPU 6 TFLOPS 4.2 TFLOPS
Memory 12GB GDDR5 8GB GDDR5
Memory Bandwidth 326 GB/s 218 GB/s
UHD Discs Yes No
Storage 1TB HDD 1TB HDD
Price $499 $399

One of the criticisms of the PS4 Pro is that many of the games "optimized" for the system do not utilize 4K assets or run at true 4K resolution. In response, Microsoft clarified repeatedly throughout its keynote that many games designed for Xbox One X will indeed run at 4K/60fps. While Microsoft will likely ensure that its own house-published titles and those from close partners will hit this mark, it remains to be seen how well cross-platform games from third parties will fare.

xbox-one-x-chip.jpg

As for those who don't have 4K displays, Xbox One X will use supersampling to increase perceived resolution and quality at 1080p. The popular Xbox 360 backwards compatibility feature (which will soon include original Xbox games) will also benefit from the Xbox One X's increased horsepower, with Microsoft promising faster load times and improved anti-aliasing.

As with the PS4 Pro, all games will support both console generations, with many titles going forward "enhanced for Xbox One X." One of Sony's biggest problems is the lack of games that truly take advantage of the PS4 Pro's unique features, so Microsoft's ability to bring third party developers on board will be key to the Xbox One X's success.

xbox-one-x-one-s.jpg

We'll need the console to hit the market to get a more detailed look at its technical specifications, but based on Microsoft's claimed performance numbers, the Xbox One X looks like a relatively good deal from a hardware perspective. The console's 6 TFLOPS of graphics processing power compares to an NVIDIA GTX 1070, which currently retails for just over $400. Add in the 1TB hard drive, custom 8-core CPU, and UHD Blu-ray player, and the price is suddenly not so unreasonable. Of course, newer cards like the AMD Radeon RX 580 also hit around 6 TFLOPS for ~$220, but you won't be able to find one of those these days. At a $100 premium over the PS4 Pro, however, it's unclear how the console community will value the Xbox One X's hardware advantage.

One thing that is clear is that Microsoft's Xbox team wasn't too happy to be the source of mockery based on performance and sales for the past four years, and they're highly motivated to come out swinging this fall.

Preorders for Xbox One X have yet to be announced, but you'll find the Amazon pre-order page here when orders go live.

Source:

Putting the Ryzen 5 to work

Subject: Processors | June 9, 2017 - 03:02 PM |
Tagged: amd, ryzen 5, productivity, ryzen 7 1800x, Ryzen 5 1500X, AMD Ryzen 5 1600, Ryzen 5 1600X, ryzen 5 1400

The Tech Report previously tested the gaming prowess of AMD's new processor family and are now delving into the performance of productivity software on Ryzen.  Many users who are shopping for a Ryzen will be using it for a variety of non-gaming tasks such as content creation, coding or even particle flow analysis.  The story is somewhat different when looking through these tests, with AMD taking the top spot in many benchmarks and in others being surpassed only by the Core i7 6700k, in some tests that chip leaves all competition in the dust by a huge margin.  For budget minded shoppers, the Ryzen 5 1600 barely trails both the i7-7700K and the 1600X in our productivity tests making it very good bargain for someone looking for a new system.  Check out the full suite of tests right here.

ryzen5-nonX.jpg

"Part one of our AMD Ryzen 5 review proved these CPUs have game, but what happens when we have to put the toys away and get back to work? We ran all four Ryzen 5 CPUs through a wide range of productivity testing to find out."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

Author:
Manufacturer: PC Perspective

Why?

Astute readers of the site might remember the original story we did on Bitcoin mining in 2011, the good ole' days where the concept of the blockchain was new and exciting and mining Bitcoin on a GPU was still plenty viable.

gpu-bitcoin.jpg

However, that didn't last long, as the race for cash lead people to developing Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) dedicated solely to Bitcoin mining quickly while sipping power. Use of the expensive ASICs drove the difficulty of mining Bitcoin to the roof and killed any sort of chance of profitability from mere mortals mining cryptocurrency.

Cryptomining saw a resurgence in late 2013 with the popular adoption of alternate cryptocurrencies, specifically Litecoin which was based on the Scrypt algorithm instead of AES-256 like Bitcoin. This meant that the ASIC developed for mining Bitcoin were useless. This is also the period of time that many of you may remember as the "Dogecoin" era, my personal favorite cryptocurrency of all time. 

dogecoin-300.png

Defenders of these new "altcoins" claimed that Scrypt was different enough that ASICs would never be developed for it, and GPU mining would remain viable for a larger portion of users. As it turns out, the promise of money always wins out, and we soon saw Scrypt ASICs. Once again, the market for GPU mining crashed.

That brings us to today, and what I am calling "Third-wave Cryptomining." 

While the mass populous stopped caring about cryptocurrency as a whole, the dedicated group that was left continued to develop altcoins. These different currencies are based on various algorithms and other proofs of works (see technologies like Storj, which use the blockchain for a decentralized Dropbox-like service!).

As you may have predicted, for various reasons that might be difficult to historically quantify, there is another very popular cryptocurrency from this wave of development, Ethereum.

ETHEREUM-LOGO_LANDSCAPE_Black.png

Ethereum is based on the Dagger-Hashimoto algorithm and has a whole host of different quirks that makes it different from other cryptocurrencies. We aren't here to get deep in the woods on the methods behind different blockchain implementations, but if you have some time check out the Ethereum White Paper. It's all very fascinating.

Continue reading our look at this third wave of cryptocurrency!

Windows 10 S ... the S could stand for secure

Subject: General Tech | June 9, 2017 - 02:29 PM |
Tagged: Windows 10 S, security

Microsoft recently pointed out that their new lite version of Windows 10 for students, Windows 10 S, is completely immune to all known malware.  This does make sense, the OS is simply unable to install anything that is not from the Windows Store, which does not host any official malware, even if some of the available programs are not entirely useful.  That security will last as long as no one figures out a way to fake the file validation and the connection to Microsoft's online store, or manages to get a malware infected file approved for sale on the store.  Apple has had some experience which prove that is not an impossibility.   Pop by Slashdot for more.

You could also chose to go with the OS of choice for financial institutions and various other industries, Windows XP Embedded with the Enhanced Write Filter.  Generally secure and can be reset with a simple reboot ... in most cases.

windows-apps-topic.png

"However, if you want to guarantee your safety from ransomware, then Microsoft points out there's an even more secure option to consider -- Windows 10 S. The new, hardened Windows 10 variant only runs apps from the Windows Store, which means it can't run programs from outside Microsoft's ecosystem, and that includes malware. Which is why, as Microsoft says, "No known ransomware works against Windows 10 S."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Slashdot

Logitech's G433 7.1 Gaming Headset: Stylish Looks and Pro-G Drivers for $99

Subject: General Tech | June 9, 2017 - 02:23 PM |
Tagged: wired, surround, Pro-G, logitech, headset, headphones, gaming, G433, DTS Headphone:X, drivers, 7.1

Logitech has released their latest surround gaming headphones with the wired G433 Gaming Headset, a 7.1-channel (via DTS Headphone:X) model that is latest to use the company's Pro-G drivers.

Logitech G433_Red.jpg

The style of the new G433 is quite eye-catching, with four colors (black, red, blue, and blue camo) of a unique fabric finish that Logitech says is hydrophobic (repels water) for enhanced durability. The G433 primarily function as an analog headphone (with a 3.5 mm plug) unless an included USB DAC/headphone amp is used, giving PC users access to DTS Headphone:X surround up to 7.1 channels and customizable EQ via Logitech's Gaming Software. The microphone is a removable boom style with noise reduction to help improve voice clarity, and Logitech has used a 5-element double-grounded cable to eliminate crosstalk and prevent game audio from bleeding into voice.

g433_colors.jpg

The G433 arrives with an MSRP of $99, making the headset the least expensive Pro-G option to date, but this comparatively low price tag for a premium option still provides the buyer a complete accessory pack including the USB DAC,  alternate ear pads, two 3.5 mm audio cables (one with inline mic), a 3.5 mm audio/mic Y-cable, and a fabric storage bag.

Logitech G433_Blue.jpg

The Logitech G433 is available now, and with a pair on hand will have a full review up very soon!

Source: Logitech

Samsung Announces FreeSync 2 HDR Displays, includes C49HG90 49-in UltraWide!

Subject: Displays | June 9, 2017 - 11:24 AM |
Tagged: Samsung, hdr, freesync 2, freesync, CHG90, CHG70, amd

Samsung made a surprise announcement this morning, taking the wraps off of the first FreeSync 2 monitors to grace our pages, officially. These gaming displays come in three difference sizes, one of them incredibly unique, and all with HDR support and Quantum Dot Technology to go along with the variable refresh rate technology of FreeSync. 

All three displays utilize the QLED Quantum Dot tech first showcased in the QLED TV lineup launched just this past January at CES. It uses a new metal core and has some impressive color quality capabilities, going to 125% of the sRGB color space and 95% of the DCI-PE color space! I don't yet know what the peak luminance is, or how many backlight zones there might be for HDR support, but I have asked Samsung for clarification and will update here when I get feedback. All three displays use VA panels.

All three displays also become the first to pass certification with AMD for FreeSync 2, which we initially detailed WAY BACK in January of this year. FreeSync 2 should tell us that this display meets some minimum standards for latency, color quality, and low frame rate compensation. These are all great on paper, though I am still looking for details from AMD on what exactly the minimum standards have been set to. At the time, AMD would only tell me that FreeSync 2 displays "will require a doubling of the perceivable brightness and doubling of the viewable color volume based on the sRGB standards."

C49HG90_006_L-Perspective_Black2.jpg

The bad boy of the group, the Samsung CHG90 (part number C49HG90), is easily the most interesting. It comes in with a staggering screen size of 49-inches and a brand new 32:9 aspect ratio with an 1800R curvature. With a 3840x1080 resolution, I am eager to see this display in person and judge how the ultra-wide design impacts our gaming and our productivity capability. (They call this resolution DFHD, for double full HD.) The refresh rate peaks at 144 Hz and a four-channel scanner is in place to minimize any motion blur or ghosting. A 1ms rated response time also makes this monitor incredibly impressive, on paper. Price for the C49HG90 is set at $1499 with preorders starting today on Amazon.com. (Amazon lists a June 30th release date, but I am looking to clarify.)

Also on the docket is the CHG70, available in two sizes, a 32-in (C32HG70) and a 27-in (C27HG70) model. Both are 2560x1440 resolution screens with 16:9 aspect ratios, 1ms response times and FreeSync 2 integrations. That means the same 125% sRGB and 95% DCI-P3 color space support along with the Samsung Quantum Dot technology. Both will sport a 144 Hz refresh rate and an 1800R curvature. The specifications are essentially identical between all three models, making the selection process an easier choice based on price segment and screen real estate. The C27HG70 will be on preorder from Samsung.com exclusively for $599 while the C32HG70 will be on preorder at Newegg.com for $699, just $100 more.

All three displays will feature a Game Mode to optimize image settings for...gaming.

Samsung’s CHG90 extends the playing field for virtual competitors, with its 49-inch design representing the widest gaming monitor available. The monitor delivers a dramatic 1,800R curvature and an ultra-wide 178-degree viewing angle, ensuring that content is clearly visible from nearly any location within a given space. As a result, gamers no longer need to worry about the logistics, expenses, and bezel interference that occur when combining multiple smaller monitors together for an expanded view.

The new CHG90 monitor includes a height adjustable stand (HAS), allowing flexible height adjustment for improved viewing comfort. Designed for the most demanding games, the CHG70 monitor goes a step further with a dual-hinge stand that provides users more precise control over how the display panel is positioned.

In addition to Game Mode, a feature that optimizes image setting for playing games when connected to a PC or a game console, each of the new monitors include a game OSD dashboard, designed to blend seamlessly into game interfaces.

A full table of specifications is below and trust me on this one guys, I am already up in Samsung's and AMD's face to get these monitors in here for review!

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Now all we are missing is the power of a Radeon RX Vega card to push this high resolution, high refresh rate HDR goodness!!

Source: Samsung

Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.6.1 - Prey and DiRT 4

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 8, 2017 - 05:26 PM |
Tagged: radeon, Crimson Edition 17.6.1, amd

In the very near future AMD will be releasing an updated driver, focused on improving performance in Prey and DiRT 4. 

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For DiRT 4 it will enable a Multi GPU profile and up to 30% performance improvement when using 8xMSAA on a Radeon RX 580 8GB compared to the previous release.

Source: AMD

AI to the rescue? Microsoft assimilates the security company Hexadite

Subject: General Tech | June 8, 2017 - 12:42 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, hexadite, windows defender, security

If you have never heard of Hexadite you are not alone, the online security company was formed in 2014, headquartered in Boston but based in Tel-Aviv.  As it was just purchased by Microsoft for around $100 million so they can integrate Hexadite's Automated Incident Response Solution into their Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection.  AIRS is not antivirus software, instead it is a tool that integrates with existing software and monitors for any alerts.  Once an alert is detected the tool automatically investigates that alert and searches for solutions, in theory saving your security teams sanity by vastly reducing the number of alerts they must deal with directly.  It will be interesting to see if this has an effect on the perception of companies and users as to the effectiveness of Windows Defender. 

More over at The Inquirer.

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"Hexadite's technology and talent will augment our existing capabilities and enable our ability to add new tools and services to Microsoft's robust enterprise security offerings."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Dell

Overview

Editor’s Note: After our review of the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, Dell contacted us about our performance results. They found our numbers were significantly lower than their own internal benchmarks. They offered to send us a replacement notebook to test, and we have done so. After spending some time with the new unit we have seen much higher results, more in line with Dell’s performance claims. We haven’t been able to find any differences between our initial sample and the new notebook, and our old sample has been sent back to Dell for further analysis. Due to these changes, the performance results and conclusion of this review have been edited to reflect the higher performance results.

It's difficult to believe that it's only been a little over 2 years since we got our hands on the revised Dell XPS 13. Placing an emphasis on minimalistic design, large displays in small chassis, and high-quality construction, the Dell XPS 13 seems to have influenced the "thin and light" market in some noticeable ways.

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Aiming their sights at a slightly different corner of the market, this year Dell unveiled the XPS 13 2-in-1, a convertible tablet with a 360-degree hinge. However, instead of just putting a new hinge on the existing XPS 13, Dell has designed the all-new XPS 13 2-in-1 from the ground up to be even more "thin and light" than it's older sibling, which has meant some substantial design changes. 

Since we are a PC hardware-focused site, let's take a look under the hood to get an idea of what exactly we are talking about with the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1
MSRP $999 $1199 $1299 $1399
Screen 13.3” FHD (1920 x 1080) InfinityEdge touch display
CPU Core i5-7Y54 Core i7-7Y75
GPU Intel HD Graphics 615
RAM 4GB 8GB 16GB
Storage 128GB SATA 256GB PCIe
Network Intel 8265 802.11ac MIMO (2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz)
Bluetooth 4.2
Display Output

1 x Thunderbolt 3
1 x USB 3.1 Type-C (DisplayPort)

Connectivity USB 3.0 Type-C
3.5mm headphone
USB 3.0 x 2 (MateDock)
Audio Dual Array Digital Microphone
Stereo Speakers (1W x 2)
Weight 2.7 lbs ( 1.24 kg)
Dimensions 11.98-in x 7.81-in x 0.32-0.54-in
(304mm x 199mm x 8 -13.7 mm)
Battery 46 WHr
Operating System Windows 10 Home / Pro (+$50)

One of the more striking design decisions from a hardware perspective is the decision to go with the low power Core i5-7Y54 processor, or as you may be familar with from it's older naming scheme, Core M. In the Kaby Lake generation, Intel has decided to drop the Core M branding (though oddly Core m3 still exists) and integrate these lower power parts into the regular Core branding scheme.

Click here to continue reading our review of the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

Podcast #453 - More Computex, WWDC, 3D Xpoint, and more

Subject: General Tech | June 8, 2017 - 11:22 AM |
Tagged: X399, x370, x299, wwdc, video, shield, podcast, plex, pixel, macbook, Mac Pro, Logitech G413, Lian-Li, gigabyte, computex, asus, asrock, apollo lake, 3D XPoint

PC Perspective Podcast #453 - 06/07/17

Join us for talk about continued Computex 2017 coverage, WWDC '17, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison

Program length: 1:33:54
 
Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. Computex Continued
  3. WWDC 2017:
  4. News items of interest:
  5. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
  6. Closing/outro
 

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

Source:

IBM Announces 5nm Breakthrough with Silicon Nanosheet Technology

Subject: General Tech | June 7, 2017 - 09:31 PM |
Tagged: silicon nanosheet, Samsung, IBM, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, FinFET, 5nm

It seems only yesterday that we saw Intel introduce their 22nm FinFET technology, and now we are going all the way down to 5nm.  This is obviously an exaggeration.  The march of process technology has been more than a little challenging for the past 5+ years for everyone in the industry.  Intel has made it look a little easier by being able to finance these advances a little better than the other pure-play foundries.  It does not mean that they have not experienced challenges on their own.

We have seen some breakthroughs these past years with everyone jumping onto FinFETs with TSMC, Samsung, and GLOBALFOUNDRIES introducing their own processes.  GLOBALFOUNDRIES initially had set out on their own, but that particular endeavor did not pan out.  The ended up licensing Samsung’s 14nm processes (LPE and LPP) to start producing chips of their own, primarily for AMD in their graphics and this latest generation of Ryzen CPUs.

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These advances have not been easy.  While FinFETs are needed at these lower nodes to continue to provide the performance and power efficiency while supporting these transistor densities, the technology will not last forever.  10nm and 7nm lines will continue to use them, but many believe that while we will see the densities improve, the power characteristics will start to lag behind.  The theory is that past 7nm nodes traditional FinFETs will no longer work as desired.  This is very reminiscent of the sub 28nm processes that attempted to use planar structures on bulk silicon.  In that case the chips could be made, but power issues plagued the designs and eventually support for those process lines were dropped.

IBM and their research associates Samsung, GLOBALFOUNDRIES at SUNY Polytechnic Institute Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering’s NanoTech Complex in Albany, NY have announced a breakthrough in a new “Gate-All-Around” architecture made on a 5nm process.  FinFETs are essentially a rectangle surround on three sides by gates, giving it the “fin” physical characteristics.  This new technology now covers the fourth side and embeds these channels in nanosheets of silicon.

The problem with FinFETs is that they will eventually be unable to scale with power as transistors get closer and closer.  While density scales, power and performance will get worse as compared to previous nodes.  The 5nm silicon nanosheet technology gives a significant boost to power and efficiency, thereby doing to FinFETs what they did with planar structures at the 20/22nm nodes.

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One of the working EUV litho machines at SUNY Albany.

IBM asserts that the average chip the size of a fingernail can contain up to 30 billion transistors and continue to see the density, power, and efficiency improvements that we would expect with a normal process shrink.  The company expects these process nodes to start rolling out in a 2019 time frame if all goes as planned.

There are few details in how IBM was able to achieve this result.  We do know a couple things about it.  EUV lithography was used extensively to avoid the multi-patterning nightmare that this would entail.  For the past two years Ametek has been installing 100 watt EUV litho machines throughout the world to select clients.  One of these is located on the SUNY Albany campus where this research was done.  We also know that deposition was done layer by layer with silicon and the other materials.

What we don’t know is how long it takes to create a complete wafer.  Usually these test wafers are packed full of SRAM and very little logic.  It is a useful test and creates a baseline for many structures that will eventually be applied to this process.  We do not know how long it takes to produce such a wafer, but considering how the layers look to be deposited it takes a long, long time with current tools and machinery.  Cutting edge wafers in production can take upwards of 16 weeks to complete.  I hesitate to even guess how long each test wafer takes.  Because of the very 3D nature of the design, I am curious as to how the litho stages work and how many passes are still needed to complete the design.

This looks to be a very significant advancement in process technology that should be mass produced in the timeline suggested by IBM.  It is a significant jump, but it seems to borrow a lot of previous FinFET structures.  It does not encompass anything exotic like “quantum wells”, but is able to go lower than the currently specified 7nm processes that TSMC, Samsung, and Intel have hinted at (and yes, process node names should be taken with a grain of salt from all parties at this time).  IBM does appear to be comparing this to what Samsung calls its 7nm process in terms of dimensions and transistor density.

Nanosheet-5nm-for-release-1.jpg

Cross section of a 5nm transistor showing the embedded channels and silicon nanosheets.

While Moore’s Law has been stretched thin as of late, we are still seeing these scientists and engineers pushing against the laws of physics to achieve better performance and scaling at incredibly small dimensions.  The silicon nanosheet technology looks to be an effective and relatively affordable path towards smaller sizes without requiring exotic materials to achieve.  IBM and its partners look to have produced a process node that will continue the march towards smaller, more efficient, and more powerful devices.  It is not exactly around the corner, but 2019 is close enough to start planning designs that could potentially utilize this node.

Source: IBM

Qt Outlines What Their View on Vulkan Support Is

Subject: General Tech | June 7, 2017 - 09:10 PM |
Tagged: Qt, vulkan

During our recent interview, the Khronos Group mentioned that one reason to merge into Vulkan was because, at first, the OpenCL working group wasn’t sure whether they wanted an explicit, low-level API, or an easy-to-use one that hides the complexity. Vulkan taught them to take a very low-level position, because there can always be another layer above them that hides complexity to everything downstream of it. This is important for them, because the only layers below them are owned by OS and hardware vendors.

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This post is about Qt, though. Qt is a UI middleware, written in C++, that has become very popular as of late. The big revamp of AMD’s control panel with Crimson Edition was a result of switching from .NET to Qt, which greatly sped up launch time. They announced their intent to support the Vulkan API on the very day that it launched.

Yesterday, they wrote a blog post detailing their intentions for Vulkan support in Qt 5.10.

First and foremost, their last bulletpoint claims that these stances can change as the middleware evolves, particularly with Qt Quick, Qt 3D, Qt Canvas 3D, QPainter, and similar classes. This is a discussion of their support for Qt 5.10 specifically. As it stands, though, Qt intends to focus on cross-platform, window management, and “function resolving for the core API”. The application is expected to manage the rest of the Vulkan API itself (or, of course, use another helper for the other parts).

This makes sense for Qt’s position. Their lowest level classes should do as little as possible outside of what their developers expect, allowing higher-level libraries the most leeway to fill in the gaps. Qt does have higher-level classes, though, and I’m curious what others, especially developers, believe Qt should do with those to take advantage of Vulkan. Especially when we start getting into WYSIWYG editors, like Qt 3D Studio, there is room to do more.

Obviously, the first release isn’t the place to do it, but I’m curious none-the-less.

Source: Qt