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Automagically round up your weeds with Tertill

Subject: General Tech | June 14, 2017 - 12:42 PM |
Tagged: irobot, automation, tertill, Kickstarter

While the level of enjoyment that gardening instills in a person varies there is one thing we should be able to agree upon; weeding sucks.  The team that brought you the Roomba has a solution in mind and they have launched a Kickstarter for Tertill, the robotic weed destroyer.  You can contribute to the project and pick up this solar powered robotic weed eater for as little as $225 for delivery in time for next years gardening season.  Instead of using robotic vision, which can have some interesting interpretations of objects, it will munch anything short enough to pass underneath it with its spinning string trimmer, unless it has one of the provided collars around it to protect it.  The collar in the video seems to be easily replicable with some wire and pliers if you have enough baby plants you need extra.  Drop by to take a look at the campaign and the Tertill in action.

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"iRobot veteran and Roomba co-inventor, Joe Jones is a modest man with a big mission: to create robots that make agriculture more efficient, less tedious, and yes, maybe even one day feed the world. After a decade at Harvest Automation building greenhouse robots, his new team at Franklin Robotics has developed Tertill, an affordable, waterproof, solar-powered robot that continuously whacks weeds around your yard."

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Source: Slashdot

Computex 2017: Intel Compute Cards Coming In August

Subject: General Tech | June 13, 2017 - 07:02 PM |
Tagged: vpro, SFF, sbc, modular computer, Intel, computex, compute card

Launched earlier this year at CES, Intel’s credit card sized Compute Cards will begin shipping in August. Intel and its partners used Computex to show off the Compute Card itself along with prototype and concept devices based around the new platform.

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techtechtech opened up the Core M3-7Y30 equipped Compute Card at Computex.

As a quick refresher, the Compute Card is a full PC in a small card shaped form factor measuring 95mm x 55mm x 5mm that features an Intel SoC, DDR3 RAM, solid state storage, wireless connectivity, and standardized I/O (one USB-C and a proprietary Intel connector sit side by side on one edge of the card). The small cards are designed to slot into devices that will use the Compute Card as their brains for smart home automation, appliances, industrial applications, smart whiteboards, and consumer products such as tablets, notebooks, and smart TVs.

At its Computex press events, Intel revealed details on specifications. The initial launch will include four Compute Card SKUs with two lower end and two higher end models. All four of the cards are equipped with 4GB of DDR3 RAM and either 64GB of eMMC or 128GB SSD storage. The two lower end SKUs use Intel Wireless-AC 7265 while the more expensive models have Intel Wireless-AC 8265 (both are 2x2 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2). Processor options from top to bottom include the 7th generation Intel i5-7Y57, Core m3-7Y30, Pentium N4200, and Celeron N3450. Enterprise customers will appreciate the TPM support and security features. Reportedly, the Compute Cards will start at $199 for the low-end model and go up to $499+ for the higher end cards.

Intel partners Dell, HP, and Lenovo were reportedly not ready to show off any devices but will launch Compute Card compatible devices at some point. ECS, Foxconn, LG Display, NexDock, Sharp, and others did have prototype devices at Computex and have announced their support for the platform. The Compute Card concept devices shown off include tablets, laptops, All In Ones, digital signage, kiosks, and a monitor stand dock that lets the user add their own monitor and have an AIO powered by a Compute Card. Other uses include ATMs, smart whiteboards, mini PCs for desktop and HTCP uses, and docks that would allow business user sand students to have a single PC with storage that they could take anywhere and get work done. Students could plug their Compute Card into a laptop shell, computer lab PC, whiteboard for presentations, their home dock, and other devices..

(My opinions follow:)

It is an interesting concept that has been tried before with smartphones (and Samsung is currently trying with its S8 and docks) but never really caught on. The promise and idea of being able to easily upgrade a smart TV, computer, smart appliance, home security system, ect without having to replace the entire unit (just upgrading the brains) is a great one, but thus far has not really gained traction. Similarly, the idea of a single PC that you carry everywhere in your pocket and use whatever display you have handy has been promised before but never delivered. Perhaps Intel can drive this modular PC idea home and we could finally see it come to fruition. Unexpectedly absent from the list of partners is Asus and Samsung. Samsung I can understand since they are trying to do their own thing with the S8 but I was a bit surprised to see Asus was not out front with a Compute Card support as they were Intel's partner with its Zenfone and they seem like a company with a good balance of R&D and manufacturing power but nimble enough to test out new markets. The other big PC guys (Dell, HP, and Lenovo) aren't ready with their devices yet either though so I guess we will just have to see what happens in terms of support and adoption. The other thing that could hold the Compute Card back is that Intel will reportedly allow manufacturer lock-in where devices and Compute Cards can be made to only work with hardware from the same manufacturer. Restricting interoperability might hurt the platform, but it might aslo creat less confusion for consumers with the onus being on each manufacturer to actually support an upgrade path I guess. 

What are your thoughts on the Compute Card? 

Source: Intel
Author:
Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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(Courtesy of Corsair)

Corsair recently refreshed their TX Series power supplies which now include four new models: the TX550M, TX650M, TX750M, and TX850M. The new TX-M Series sits right in the middle of Corsair’s PC power supply lineup and was designed to offer efficient operation and easy installation. Corsair states the TX-M Series power supplies provide industrial build quality, 80 Plus Gold efficiency, extremely tight voltages and come with a semi-modular cable set. In addition, the TX-M Series power supplies use a compact chassis measuring only 140mm deep and come backed by a 7-year warranty.

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We will be taking a detailed look at the TX-M Series 750W power supply in this review.

Corsair TX-M Series PSU Key Features:

•    550W, 650W, 750W, and 850W models
•    Server-grade 50°C max operating temperature
•    7-Year warranty
•    80 PLUS Gold certified
•    All capacitors are Japanese brand, 105°C rated
•    Compact chassis measures only 140mm (5.5”) deep
•    Quiet 120mm cooling fan
•    Semi-modular cable set
•    Comply with ATX12V v2.4 and EPS 2.92 standards
•    6th Generation Intel Core processor Ready
•    Full suite of protection circuits: OVP, UVP, SCP, OPP and OTP
•    Active PFC with full range AC input (100-240 VAC)
•    MSRP for the TX750M is $99.99 USD

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Here is what Corsair has to say about the new TX-M Series power supplies: “TX Series semi-modular power supplies are ideal for basic desktop systems where low energy use, low noise, and simple installation are essential. All of the capacitors are 105°C rated, Japanese brand, to insure solid power delivery and long term reliability. 80 Plus Gold efficiency reduces operating costs and excess heat. Flat, sleeved black modular cables with clearly marked connectors make installation fast and straightforward, with good-looking results."

Please continue reading our review of the Corsair TX750M PSU!!!

Original Xbox Games Potentially Emulated on Windows

Subject: General Tech | June 13, 2017 - 04:08 PM |
Tagged: xbox, pc gaming, microsoft

Before we begin, the source of this post is a PC Gamer interview with Microsoft’s Phil Spencer, who leads the Xbox team. The tone seems to be relaxed and conversational, so, for now, it should be taken as something that he, personally, wants to see, not what the division is actually planning, necessarily.

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Still, after it was announced that the Xbox One would get emulation for original Xbox titles at the Xbox E3 2017 Press Conference, PC Gamer asked whether that feature, like so many others lately, could make it to the PC.

His responses: “Yes.” and “I want people to be able to play games!”

He also talked about Xbox 360 emulation on PC, specifically how it would be difficult, but he wants games to run across console and PC. “I want developers to be able to build portable games, which is why we’ve been focusing on UWP for games and even apps that want to run on multiple devices.”

You might know my personal opinions about UWP by now, specifically how it limits artistic freedom going forward through signed apps and developers, which is a problem for civil rights groups that either need to remain anonymous or publish expressions that governments (etc.) don’t want to see public, but cross-device is indeed one of the two reasons that it’s seductive for Microsoft. Content written for it (unless it finds an unpatched exploit, like how Apple iOS jailbreaks work) cannot do malware-like things, and they should be abstract enough to easily hop platforms.

But you won’t see me talk ill about preserving old content, especially if it could be lost to time based on a platform decision they made fifteen years ago. I hope that we do see original Xbox games on the PC. I also hope that we develop art in a medium that doesn’t need awkward methods of preservation, though.

Source: PC Gamer

Buy Select EVGA GeForce GTX, Get Destiny 2 and Early PC Beta Access

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | June 13, 2017 - 01:39 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, free games, evga, destiny 2

Were you a fan of the original Destiny or simply a fan of free games and happen to be shopping for a new NVIDIA GPU?  EVGA have just launched a new giveaway, if you pick up one of their GTX 1080 or 1080 Ti's they will provide you with a code that not only provides you with a free copy of Destiny 2 but also allows you access to the beta.

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As usual you need to have an EVGA account so you can register your GPU and so the code can be provided to your account.  From there head on over to NVIDIA to redeem the code and patiently await the start of the beta and final release of the game. 

June 13th, 2017 - Get Game Ready with EVGA GeForce GTX 10 Series and experience Destiny 2 on PC. For a limited time, buy a select EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti or EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card and get Destiny 2 at PC Launch and [Early] Access to the PC Beta!

GeForce GTX 10 Series GPUs brings the beautiful world of Destiny 2 to life in stunning 4K. Experience incredibly smooth, tear-free gameplay with NVIDIA G-SYNC™ and share your greatest gameplay moments with NVIDIA ShadowPlay using GeForce Experience.

About Destiny 2:
Humanity's last safe city has fallen to an overwhelming invasion force, led by Ghaul, the imposing commander of the brutal Red Legion. He has stripped the city's Guardians of their power, and forced the survivors to flee. You will venture to mysterious, unexplored worlds of our solar system to discover an arsenal of weapons and devastating new combat abilities. To defeat the Red Legion and confront Ghaul, you must reunite humanity's scattered heroes, stand together, and fight back to reclaim our home.

Learn more and see qualifying EVGA cards at https://www.evga.com/articles/01112/destiny-2-game-ready/

Source: EVGA

MSI's GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X versus 4k gaming

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 13, 2017 - 01:17 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, gtx 1080 ti, GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X, msi, Twin Frozr VI, 4k

MSI's latest version of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is their GAMING X 4K and has the design features you would expect, Twin Frozr VI, Hi-C CAPs, Super Ferrite Chokes and Japanese Solid Caps.  When benchmarking the card [H]ard|OCP saw performance significantly higher than the quoted 1657MHz boost speed, the average was 1935MHz before they overclocked and an impressive 2038MHz for the highest stable in game frequency.  They tested both the default and overclocked frequencies against a battery of benchmarks, including the newly released Prey.  The card performed admirably at 4k, with many games still performing will with all graphics options at maximum, drop by for a look.

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"We review a custom GeForce GTX 1080 Ti based video card with custom cooling and a factory overclock built for overclocking. Can the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X truly deliver a consistent enjoyable high-end graphics setting gameplay experience in games at 4K finally? Is a single card viable for current generation gaming at 4K?"

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Graphics Cards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Change that default RasPi password, unless you meant to be donating cryptocurrency

Subject: General Tech | June 13, 2017 - 12:31 PM |
Tagged: security, cryptocurrency, Raspberry Pi

If you are using a Raspberry Pi and did not set up two factor authentication or even worse, never changed the default passwords on the system then there is a very good chance you are mining for someone other than yourself.  There is a new piece of malware out there, in addition to the many which already exist, targeting Raspberry Pi machines and recruiting them into a mining group, instead of the usual usage which is to enlist them in a botnet for DDOS attacks.  Hack a Day has some additional suggestions, over and above the glaringly obvious recommendation to not keep default passwords; at least in this particular case they are not hard coded into the system.

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"According to Russian security site [Dr.Web], there’s a new malware called Linux.MulDrop.14 striking Raspberry Pi computers. In a separate posting, the site examines two different Pi-based trojans including Linux.MulDrop.14. That trojan uses your Pi to mine some form of cryptocurrency. The other trojan sets up a proxy server."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: Hack a Day

E3 2017: Alienware Announces 240 Hz Gaming Monitors: AW2518H (G-Sync) and AW2518HF (FreeSync)

Subject: Displays | June 12, 2017 - 07:01 PM |
Tagged: g-sync, free sync, dell, alienware, 240Hz

Also at the E3 event, Alienware launched a gaming monitor with two SKUs: one with G-Sync and one with FreeSync. Otherwise, these displays are apparently identical. They also apparently have lighting on the back, although it’s unclear whether this is RGB or locked to the Alienware shade of teal. (I’m guessing it’s Alienware teal.) At first, I was wondering why you would even want a light behind a display at all, but I guess it would make sense if it was very low power and you could leave it on while the rest of the display is off, giving a slight glow to an otherwise dark room.

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As for the specifications: both of these displays operate at 240 Hz, native, not overclocked. To achieve this rate, its panel is 24.5-inch, 1080p, and TN. The structure itself has a thin bezel on the top, left, and right side, although the bottom has a bit more thickness for the Alienware typeface logo and buttons. Despite being otherwise identical, the G-Sync model (AW2518H) has an MSRP of $699.99, while the FreeSync model (AW2518HF) is $200 cheaper at $499.99.

Both models launch on June 13th.

Source: Alienware

E3 2017: Alienware Advanced Gaming Mouse (AW558) and Alienware Elite Gaming Mouse (AW958) Announced

Subject: General Tech | June 12, 2017 - 07:01 PM |
Tagged: gaming mouse, e3 17, E3, dell, alienware

As mentioned in the Alienware mechanical keyboard news, the brand is pushing back into gaming peripherals at this year’s E3 conference. This announcement is for their pair of RGB-lit gaming mice, the Alienware Advanced Gaming Mouse (AW558) and the Alienware Elite Gaming Mouse (AW958), which consists of a base model and a higher-end one variant with more customization.

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Both mice are built on a nine-button, right-handed chassis. It’s difficult to tell from the photos, but it looks like the mouse has three buttons on the thumb side, two on the pinky side, and an extra button on the top (as well as left, right, and scroll wheel click, of course). I could be wrong about this, though. The RGB lighting, two strips of it below the buttons and one going up the palm rest, forming a triangular crosshair, is available on both models.

alienware-e3-advanced-gaming-mouse.png

So what’s different about the Elite? The higher-end mouse can have its side-grips replaced to change up the form and feel of the thumb buttons. It can also have weights added to it, which should help twitch gamers get used to it quicker, because they can make it feel slightly more familiar. Interestingly, the higher-end model (AW958) can store five DPI profiles, while the lower-end one (AW558) can only store three. I don’t know why they didn’t just let both choose five.

The Alienware Advanced Gaming Mouse (AW558) has an MSRP of $49.99 USD and the Alienware Elite Gaming Mouse (AW958) has an MSRP of $89.99 USD. They are available 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.

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"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

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

Source: Dell

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

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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

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.

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"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."

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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!