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Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Intel

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Introduction

Today Intel is launching a new line of client SSDs - the SSD 545S Series. These are simple, 2.5" SATA parts that aim to offer good performance at an economical price point. Low-cost SSDs is not typically Intel's strong suit, mainly because they are extremely rigorous on their design and testing, but the ramping up of IMFT 3D NAND, now entering its second generation stacked to 64-layers, should finally help them get the cost/GB down to levels previously enjoyed by other manufacturers.

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Intel and Micron jointly announced 3D NAND just over two years ago, and a year ago we talked about the next IMFT capacity bump coming as a 'double' move. Well, that's only partially happening today. The 545S line will carry the new IMFT 64-layer flash, but the capacity per die remains the same 256Gbit (32GB) as the previous generation parts. The dies will be smaller, meaning more can fit on a wafer, which drives down production costs, but the larger 512Gbit dies won't be coming until later on (and in a different product line - Intel told us they do not intend to mix die types within the same lines as we've seen Samsung do in the past).

Specifications

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There are no surprises here, though I am happy to see a 'sustained sequential performance' specification stated by an SSD maker, and I'm happier to see Intel claiming such a high figure for sustained writes (implying this is the TLC writing speed as the SLC cache would be exhausted in sustained writes).

I'm also happy to see sensical endurance specs for once. We've previously seen oddly non-scaling figures in prior SSD releases from multiple companies. Clearly stating a specific TBW 'per 128GB' makes a lot of sense here, and the number itself isn't that bad, either.

Packaging

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Simplified packaging from Intel here, apparently to help further reduce shipping costs.

Read on for our full review of the Intel 545S 512GB SSD!

Mining specific cards are real - ASUS and Sapphire GP106 and RX 470 show up

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 26, 2017 - 12:21 PM |
Tagged: radeon, nvidia, mining, geforce, cryptocurrency, amd

It appears that the prediction of mining-specific graphics cards was spot on and we are beginning to see the release of them from various AMD and NVIDIA board partners. ASUS has launched both a GP106-based solution and an RX 470 offering, labeled as being built exclusively for mining. And Sapphire has tossed it's hat into the ring with RX 470 options as well.

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The most interesting release is the ASUS MINING-P106-6G, a card that takes no official NVIDIA or GeForce branding, but is clearly based on the GP106 GPU that powers the GeForce GTX 1060. It has no display outputs, so you won't be able to use this as a primary graphics card down the road. It is very likely that these GPUs have bad display controllers on the chip, allowing NVIDIA to make use of an otherwise unusable product.

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The specifications on the ASUS page list this product as having 1280 CUDA cores, a base clock of 1506 MHz, a Boost clock of 1708 MHz, and 6GB of GDDR5 running at 8.0 GHz. Those are identical specs to the reference GeForce GTX 1060 product.

The ASUS MINING-RX470-4G is a similar build but using the somewhat older, but very efficient for mining, Radeon RX 470 GPU. 

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Interestingly, the ASUS RX 470 mining card has openings for a DisplayPort and HDMI connection, but they are both empty, leaving the single DVI connection as the only display option.

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The Mining RX 470 has 4GB of GDDR5, 2048 stream processors, a base clock of 926 MHz and a boost clock of 1206 MHz, again, the same as the reference RX 470 product.

We have also seen Sapphire versions of the RX 470 for mining show up on Overclockers UK with no display outputs and very similar specifications.

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In fact, based on the listings at Overclockers UK, Sapphire has four total SKUs, half with 4GB and half with 8GB, binned by clocks and by listing the expected MH/s (megahash per second) performance for Ethereum mining.

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These releases show both NVIDIA and AMD (and its partners) desire to continue cashing in on the rising coin mining and cryptocurrency craze. For AMD, this allows them to find an outlet for the RX 470 GPU that might have otherwise sat in inventory with the upgraded RX 500-series out on the market. For NVIDIA, using GPUs that have faulty display controllers for mining-specific purposes allows it to be better utilize production and gain some additional profit with very little effort.

Those of you still looking to buy GPUs at reasonable prices for GAMING...you remember, what these products were built for...are still going to have trouble finding stock on virtual or physical shelves. Though the value of compute power has been dropping over the past week or so (an expected result of increase interesting in the process), I feel we are still on the rising side of this current cryptocurrency trend.

Source: Various

AMD Radeon Vega Frontier Edition Air and Liquid-Cooled GPUs Now Available for Pre-Order

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 23, 2017 - 02:21 AM |
Tagged: vega frontier edition, Vega, radeon, pre-order, gpu, amd

AMD promised “late June” availability for its Radeon Vega Frontier Edition, and it looks like the company will almost hit that mark. The latest high-end prosumer and workstation GPU from AMD is now available for pre-order, with an expected ship date of July 3rd.

Update [2017-06-24]: The initial pre-order stock at both Newegg and Amazon has sold out. It's unknown if AMD will make additional units available in time for the launch.

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The Radeon Vega Frontier Edition helps drive the new digital world. It nurtures creativity. It is your gateway to parts unknown. Expand the boundaries of what's possible and witness the impossible. With the new "Vega" GPU architecture at its core, you will have no barriers or compromises to what you want to achieve. Take advantage of the massive 16GB of cutting-edge, second-generation high-bandwidth memory to create expansive designs and models. Crunch and manipulate datasets using the sixty-four Next-Gen Compute Units (nCUs - 4096 stream processors) at your disposal. Unleash your imagination to develop games, CGI or VR content leveraging the latest features found on the "Vega" GPU architecture and witness the breathtaking power of "Vega" course through your system.

The Radeon Vega Frontier Edition is available in both air and AIO liquid-cooled designs, and the product page clarifies the following specs. Note, however, that specific core and memory clocks are not listed, which is especially interesting given the liquid-cooled varient's increased TDP.

AMD Radeon Vega Frontier Edition (Air Cooled)

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  • Memory: 16GB High Bandwidth Cache
  • Memory Bandwidth: 483 GB/s
  • Compute Units: 64
  • Stream Processors: 4096
  • Single Precision Compute (FP32): 13.1 TFLOPS
  • Half Precision Compute (FP16): 26.2 TFLOPS
  • Display Output: 3 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x HDMI 2.0
  • TDP: 300W
  • Price: $1,199.99 (Newegg | Amazon)

AMD Radeon Vega Frontier Edition (Liquid Cooled)

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  • Memory: 16GB High Bandwidth Cache
  • Memory Bandwidth: 483 GB/s
  • Compute Units: 64
  • Stream Processors: 4096
  • Single Precision Compute (FP32): 13.1 TFLOPS
  • Half Precision Compute (FP16): 26.2 TFLOPS
  • Display Output: 3 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x HDMI 2.0
  • TDP: 375W
  • Price: $1,799.99 (Newegg | Amazon)

Before you pre-order, however, there’s one big caveat. Although AMD touts the card as ideal for “innovators, creators, and pioneers of the world,” the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition will lack application certification, a factor that is crucial to many who work with content creation software and something typically found in high-end professional GPUs like the Quadro and FirePro lines.

For those hoping for Vega-based professional cards sporting certification, the Vega Frontier Edition product page teases the launch of the Vega-powered Radeon Pro WX in Q3 2017.

Source:

The GeForce GTX USB drive is real and small and fun

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2017 - 05:13 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, gtx, geforce gtx usb drive, geforce

What started as merely an April Fool's prank by NVIDIA has now turned into one of the cutest little promotions I've ever seen. Originally "launched" as part of the GeForce G-ASSIST technology that purported to offer AI-enabled gaming if you were away from your keyboard, NVIDIA actually built the tiny, adorable, GeForce GTX USB Key.

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This drive was made to look like the GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition graphics card and was only produced in a quantity of 1080. I happen to find a 64GB option in a Fedex box this morning when I cam into the office.

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Performance on this USB 3.0 based drive is pretty solid, peaking at 111 MB/s on reads and 43 MB/s on writes. 

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If you want of these for yourself, you need to be signed up through GeForce Experience and opting in to the GeForce newsletter. Do that, and you're entered. 

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We have some more pictures of the USB drive below (including the surprising interior shot!), so click this link to see them.

Microcode Bug Affects Intel Skylake and Kaby Lake CPUs

Subject: Processors | June 26, 2017 - 08:53 AM |
Tagged: xeon, Skylake, processor, pentium, microcode, kaby lake, Intel, errata, cpu, Core, 7th generation, 6th generation

A microcode bug affecting Intel Skylake and Kaby Lake processors with Hyper-Threading has been discovered by Debian developers (who describe it as "broken hyper-threading"), a month after this issue was detailed by Intel in errata updates back in May. The bug can cause the system to behave 'unpredictably' in certain situations.

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"Under complex micro-architectural conditions, short loops of less than 64 instructions that use AH, BH, CH or DH registers as well as their corresponding wider register (eg RAX, EAX or AX for AH) may cause unpredictable system behaviour. This can only happen when both logical processors on the same physical processor are active."

Until motherboard vendors begin to address the bug with BIOS updates the only way to prevent the possibility of this microcode error is to disable HyperThreading. From the report at The Register (source):

"The Debian advisory says affected users need to disable hyper-threading 'immediately' in their BIOS or UEFI settings, because the processors can 'dangerously misbehave when hyper-threading is enabled.' Symptoms can include 'application and system misbehaviour, data corruption, and data loss'."

The affected models are 6th and 7th-gen Intel processors with HyperThreading, which include Core CPUs as well as some Pentiums, and Xeon v5 and v6 processors.

Source: The Register

NVIDIA Partners Launching Mining Focused P106-100 and P104-100 Graphics Cards

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 26, 2017 - 11:29 PM |
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, nicehash, mining, gp106-100, gp104-100, cryptocurrency

In addion to the AMD-based mining graphics cards based on the RX 470 Polaris silicon that have appeared online, NVIDIA and its partners are launching cryptocurrency mining cards based on GP106 and GP104 GPUs. Devoid of any GeForce or GTX branding, these cost controlled cards focused on mining lack the usual array of display outputs and have much shorter warranties (rumors point at a 3 month warranty restriction imposed by NVIDIA). So far Asus, Colorful, EVGA, Inno3D, MSI, and Zotac "P106-100" cards based on GP106 (GTX 1060 equivalent) silicon have been spotted online with Manli and Palit reportedly also working on cards. Many of these manufacturers are also also planning "P104-100" cards based on GP104 or the GTX 1070 though much less information is available at the moment. Pricing is still up in the air but pre-orders are starting to pop up overseas so release dates and prices will hopefully become official soon.

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These mining oriented cards appear to be equipped with heatsinks similar to their gaming oriented siblings, but have fans rated for 24/7 operation. Further, while the cards can be overclocked they are clocked out of the box at reference clock speeds and allegedly have bolstered power delivery hardware to keep the cards mining smoothly under 24/7 operation. The majority of cards from NVIDIA partners lack any display outputs (the Colorful card has a single DVI out) which helps a bit with ventilation by leaving both slots vented. These cards are intended to be run in headless system or with systems that also have graphics integrated into the CPU (miners not wanting to waste a PCI-E slot!).

  Base Clock Boost Clock Memory (Type) Pricing
ASUS MINING-P106-6G 1506 MHz 1708 MHz 6 GB (GDDR5) @ 8 GHz $226
Colorful P106-100 WK1/WK2 1506 MHz 1708 MHz 6GB (GDDR5) @ 8 GHz ?
EVGA GTX1060 6G P106 1506 MHz 1708 MHz 6GB (GDDR5) @ 8 GHz $284?
Inno3D P106-100 Compact 1506 Mhz 1708 MHz 6GB (GDDR5) @ 8 GHz ?
Inno3D P106-100 Twin 1506 MHz 1708 MHz 6GB (GDDR5) @ 8 GHz ?
MSI P106-100 MINER 1506 MHz 1708 MHz 6GB (GDDR5) @ 8 GHz $224
MSI P104-100 MINER TDB TBD 6GB (GDDR5X) @ ? ?
ZOTAC P106-100 1506 MHz 1708 MHz 6GB (GDDR5) @ 8 GHz ?

Looking at the Nicehash Profitability Calculator, the GTX 1060 and GTX 1070 are rated at 20.13 MH/s and 28.69 MH/s at DaggerHashimoto (Etherium) mining respectively with many users able to get a good bit higher hash rates with a bit of overclocking (and in the case of AMD undervolting to optimize power efficiency). NVIDIA cards tend to be good for other algorithms as well such as ZCash and Libry and Equihash (at least those were the majority of coins my 750 Ti mined likely due to it not having the memory to attempt ETH mining heh). The calculator estimates these GPUs at 0.00098942 BTC per day and 0.00145567 BTC per day respectivey. If difficulty and exchange rate were to remains constant that amounts to an income of $1197.95 per year for a GP106 and $1791.73 per year for a GP104 GPU and ROI in under 3 months. Of course cryptocurrency to USD exchange rates will not remain constant, there are transactions and mining fees, and mining difficulty will rise as more hardware is added to the network as miners so these estimated numbers will be lower in reality. Also, these numbers are before electricity, maintainence time, and failed hardware costs, but currently mining alt coins is still very much profitable using graphics cards.

AMD and NVIDIA (and their AIB partners) are hoping to get in on this action with cards binned and tuned for mining and at their rumored prices placing them cheaper than their gaming focused RX and GTX variants miners are sure to scoop these cards up in huge batches (some of the above cards are only availabe in large orders). Hopefully this will alleviate the strain on the gaming graphics card market and bring prices back down closer to their original MSRPs for gamers!

Also read:

What are your thoughts on all this GPU mining and cryptocurrency / blockchain technology stuff?

Source: Videocardz

Imagination Technologies Pursues Acquisition Talks

Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | June 23, 2017 - 10:45 PM |
Tagged: Imagination Technologies, imagination, apple, gpu

According to a press release from Imagination Technologies, the group has been approached by multiple entities who are interested in acquiring them. None of these potential buyers have been mentioned by name, however. The press release also makes it clear that the group is only announcing that discussions have started, and that other interested parties can contact their financial adviser, Rothschild, to join in.

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It’s entirely possible that nothing could come from these discussions, but Imagination Technologies clearly wants as many options to choose from as possible.

This announcement is clearly related to the recent news that Apple plans to stop licensing technology from them, which made up about half of the whole company’s revenue at the time. The press release states that they are still in dispute with Apple with a dedicated, highly visible, single-line paragraph. As far as I know, Apple hasn’t yet provided proof that they are legally clear of Imagination Technology’s licenses, and the press release claims that they still dispute Apple’s claims.

Hopefully we’ll hear more concrete details in the near future.

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Thermalright

Thermalright is a well established brand-name, known for their high performance air coolers. Their newest edition to the TRUE Spirit Series line of air coolers, the TRUE Spririt 140 Direct, is a redesigned version of their TRUE Spirit 140 Power air cooler offering a similar level of performance at a lower price point. The Thermalright TRUE Spirit 140 Direct cooler is a slim, single tower cooler featuring a nickle-plated copper base and an aluminum radiator with a 140mm fan. Additionally, Thermalright designed the cooler to be compatible with all modern platforms. The TRUE Spirit 140 Direct cooler is available with an MSRP $46.95.

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Courtesy of Thermalright

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Courtesy of Thermalright

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Courtesy of Thermalright

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Courtesy of Thermalright

The Thermalright TRUE Spirit 140 Direct cooler consists of a single finned aluminum tower radiator fed by five 6mm diameter nickel-plated copper heat pipes in a U-shaped configuration. The cooler can accommodate up to two 140mm fans, but comes standard with a single fan only. The fans are held to the radiator tower using metal clips through the radiator tower body. The cooler is held to the CPU using screws on either side of the mount plate that fix to the unit's mounting cage installed to the motherboard.

Continue reading our review of the Thermalright TRUE Spirit 140 Direct CPU air cooler!

Hide yer wallets! Steam's Summer Sale kicks off tomorrow

Subject: General Tech | June 21, 2017 - 01:15 PM |
Tagged: steam sale, gaming

Is that list of Steam games you own but haven't played getting a little shorter?  Well, there is a solution to that as the on of the most dangerous causes of impulse buying starts tomorrow.  Paypal let the cat out of the bag and Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN spotted it, along with the launch time for the UK, 6pm BST on 22 June.  The reason PayPal revealed the start of the sale is because they are offering a bit of a deal in the UK and possibly the rest of the world, if you buy more than £20 of games and pay for it with PayPal you get an extra £5 off.

Perhaps this is a good time to head out of town and spend the weekend somewhere without internet connectivity?

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"I assume you young people will be dragging your camping stools to the Steam storefront from 21 June, nursing a thermos of something nutritious and exchanging stories about the time you queued for something else with your fellow queuers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

Go west young researcher! AMD's Radeon Vega Frontier Edition is available now

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 27, 2017 - 06:51 PM |
Tagged: amd, Vega, Vega FE, HPC

AMD have released their new HPC card, the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition, which Jim told you about earlier this week.  The air cooled version is available now, with an MSRP of $999USD followed by a water-cooled edition arriving in Q3 with price tag of $1499.

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The specs they list for the cards are impressive and compare favourably to NVIDIA's P100 which is the card AMD tested against, offering higher TFLOPS for both FP32 and FP16 operations though the memory bandwidth lags a little behind.

  Radeon Vega
Frontier Edition
Quadro GP100
GPU Vega GP100
Base Clock 1600 MHz 1303 MHz
FP32 TFLOPS (SP) 13.1 10.3
FP64 TFLOPS (DP)

0.819

5.15
Memory Interface 1.89 Gb/s
2048-bit HBM2
1.4 Gbps
4096-bit HBM2
Memory Bandwidth 483 GB/s 716 GB/s
Memory Size 16GB HBC* 16GB
TDP 300 W air, 375 W water 235 W

The memory size for the Vega is interesting, HBC is AMDs High Bandwidth Cache Controller which not only uses the memory cache more effectively but is able to reach out to other high performance system memory for help.  AMD states that the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition has the capability of expanding traditional GPU memory to 256TB; perhaps allowing new texture mods for Skyrim or Fallout!  Expect to see more detail on this feature once we can get our hands on a card to abuse, nicely of course.

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AMD used the DeepBench Benchmark to provide comparative results, the AMD Vega FE system used a dual socketed system with Xeon E5 2640v4s @ 2.4Ghz 10C/20T, 32GB DDR4 per socket, on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with ROCm 1.5, and OpenCL 1.2, the NVIDIA Tesla P100 system used the same hardware with the CuDNN 5.1, Driver 375.39 and Cuda version 8.0.61 drivers.  Those tests showed the AMD system completing the benchmark in 88.7ms, the Tesla P100 completed in 133.1 ms, quite an impressive lead for AMD.  Again, there will be much more information on performance once the Vega FE can be tested.

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Read on to hear about the new card in AMD's own words, with links to their sites.

Source: AMD
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Logitech

Introduction and Specifications

Logitech has been releasing gaming headphones with a steady regularity of late, and this summer we have another new model to examine in the G433 Gaming Headset, which has just been released (along with the G233). This wired, 7.1-channel capable headset is quite different visually from previous Logitech models as is finished with an interesting “lightweight, hydrophobic fabric shell” and offered in various colors (our review pair is a bright red). But the G433’s have function to go along with the style, as Logitech has focused on both digital and analog sound quality with this third model to incorporate the Logitech’s Pro-G drivers. How do they sound? We’ll find out!

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One of the main reasons to consider a gaming headset like this in the first place is the ability to take advantage of multi-channel surround sound from your PC, and with the G433’s (as with the previously reviewed G533) this is accomplished via DTS Headphone:X, a technology which in my experience is capable of producing a convincing sound field that is very close to that of multiple surround drivers. All of this is being created via the same pair of left/right drivers that handle music, and here Logitech is able to boast of some very impressive engineering that produced the Pro-G driver introduced two years ago. An included DAC/headphone amp interfaces with your PC via USB to drive the surround experience, and without this you still have a standard stereo headset that can connect to anything with a 3.5 mm jack.

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The G433 is available in four colors, of which we have the red on hand today

If you have not read up on Logitech’s exclusive Pro-G driver, you will find in their description far more similarities to an audiophile headphone company than what we typically associate with a computer peripheral maker. Logitech explains the thinking behind the technology:

“The intent of the Pro-G driver design innovation is to minimize distortion that commonly occurs in headphone drivers. When producing lower frequencies (<1kHz), most speaker diaphragms operate as a solid mass, like a piston in an engine, without bending. When producing many different frequencies at the same time, traditional driver designs can experience distortion caused by different parts of the diaphragm bending when other parts are not. This distortion caused by rapid transition in the speaker material can be tuned and minimized by combining a more flexible material with a specially designed acoustic enclosure. We designed the hybrid-mesh material for the Pro-G driver, along with a unique speaker housing design, to allow for a more smooth transition of movement resulting in a more accurate and less distorted output. This design also yields a more efficient speaker due to less overall output loss due to distortion. The result is an extremely accurate and clear sounding audio experience putting the gamer closer to the original audio of the source material.”

Logitech’s claims about the Pro-G have, in my experience with the previous models featuring these drivers (G633/G933 Artemis Spectrum and G533 Wireless), have been spot on, and I have found them to produce a clarity and detail that rivals ‘audiophile’ stereo headphones.

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Continue reading our review of the Logitech G433 7.1 Wired Surround Gaming Headset!

CastAR casts off for the perhaps the last time

Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2017 - 01:13 PM |
Tagged: Jeri Ellsworth, Rick Johnson, CastAR, augmented reality

The brain child of fomer Valve employees Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson, CastAR, is no more.  They were part of the original team at Valve which helped create SteamVR, their focus was on augmented reality applications which Valve eventually decided to drop and Jeri and Rick were allowed to keep the IP which they helped develop.  They went on to launch a very successful Kickstarter to help develop their technology and when they eventually received $15 million in investments they chose to return the money invested by their Kickstarter backers; a very different reaction than others have had.

Unfortunately they have not been able to continue to attract investment for their AR products and according to the information Polygon garnered, they have significantly downsized the number of employees and may be seeking to sell their technology.  This is exceptionally bad news as their first set of AR goggles were set to launch later this year.  The market seems far more willing to invest in VR than it does AR, which presents a large hurdle for smaller businesses to succeed.  Hopefully we will hear happier news about Jeri, her team, and CastAR in the future but for now it looks rather bleak.

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"In 2013, Technical Illusions got its start with a hugely successful Kickstarter, netting just north of one million dollars. This success drew the attention of investors and eventually led to a funding round of $15 million. With this success, Technical Illusions decided to refund the backers of its Kickstarter."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Polygon

Trust in Windows Defender Antivirus

Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2017 - 12:34 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows defender, antivirus, Kaspersky

You have likely heard of the spat between Kaspersky Labs and Microsoft, in which Kaspersky have filed a complaint with the European Commission stating that Microsoft is purposely disabling their antivirus program.  Microsoft replied with their view of this dispute, stating that they do indeed disable antivirus programs when there is a risk that a Windows update would stop the third party antivirus from running anyways.  The Inquirer and others were told that as a service to the user they ensure that Windows Defender is activated and on the job to protect them.

Many of us have had issues in which an update causes an antivirus program to lobotomize a valued program or operating system because of false positives, often leading to an eternal reboot loop until you can find the offending update or program.  This leads to a question of expectations; is it reasonable that Microsoft test the compatibility of their OS with antivirus vendors, either internally or by releasing an early version those vendors can test?  We are likely to see a court case to determine that in the near future, the EC previously ruled against Microsoft in 2004 regarding Windows Media Player as well as in 2009 regarding Internet Explorer (pdf) so we may indeed see another ruling which forces Microsoft to allow users to disable Windows Defender.

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"The post goes on to admit that, yes, it does deactivate third party AV, if there is a risk of an update to Windows that stops the AV working anyway."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

Let's get dangerous! Windows betas leak to the interwebs

Subject: General Tech | June 26, 2017 - 03:03 PM |
Tagged: microsoft. leak, beta

Someone has uploaded an immense amount of previously secret Windows code from Microsoft to Beta Archive, who are currently trying to take the private content down as quickly as they can.  The leaks include a number of unreleased builds of Server 2016, Windows 10 "Redstone" builds and even versions to run on 64bit ARM which would be interesting to look at if that was all that was uploaded.  Unfortunately along with those builds were Microsoft's PnP code, USB and Wi-Fi stacks, storage drivers, and ARM-specific OneCore kernel code, all of which is a goldmine for those who choose to make life miserable for computer users everywhere.  Take a peek at an overview of what was leaked at The Register.

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"The data – some 32TB of official and non-public installation images and software blueprints that compress down to 8TB – were uploaded to betaarchive.com, the latest load of files provided just earlier this week. It is believed the confidential data in this dump was exfiltrated from Microsoft's in-house systems around March this year."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

An EPYC slide deck

Subject: General Tech | June 21, 2017 - 12:21 PM |
Tagged: EPYC, amd, instinct

[H]ard|OCP were at AMD's launch of the new EPYC family of server CPUs and captured the presentation and slide deck in a series of photos you can take a look at right here.  They cover the work being done with HP and Dell, as well as with internet service providers such as Microsoft's Azure platform and China's Baidu.  They even give you a look at some of the products which will be launched running on Supermicro platforms.  AMD is looking very attractive to server builders at the moment, a feeling you may already have garnered from reading Ryan's take on EPYC.

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"AMD held it official EPYC enterprise CPU launch today in Austin, TX. If you are not aware of EPYC, it is quite simply AMD's effort to get back into the datacenters that are now firmly held by Intel Xeon processors. What do you get when you take 4 Ryzen 7 CPUs and put those down on a single package with Infinity Fabric? You would be correct, its EPYC."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Manufacturer: ASUS

Overview

It feels like forever that we've been hearing about 802.11ad. For years it's been an up-and-coming technology, seeing some releases in devices like Dell's WiGig-powered wireless docking stations for Latitude notebooks.

However, with the release of the first wave of 802.11ad routers earlier this year from Netgear and TP-Link there has been new attention drawn to more traditional networking applications for it. This was compounded with the announcement of a plethora of X299-chipset based motherboards at Computex, with some integrating 802.11ad radios.

That brings us to today, where we have the ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe motherboard, which we used in our Skylake-X review. This almost $500 motherboard is the first device we've had our hands on which features both 802.11ac and 802.11ad networking, which presented a great opportunity to get experience with WiGig. With promises of wireless transfer speeds up to 4.6Gbps how could we not?

For our router, we decided to go with the Netgear Nighthawk X10. While the TP-Link and Netgear options appear to share the same model radio for 802.11ad usage, the Netgear has a port for 10 Gigabit networking, something necessary to test the full bandwidth promises of 802.11ad from a wired connection to a wireless client.

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The Nighthawk X10 is a beast of a router (with a $500 price tag to match) in its own right, but today we are solely focusing on it for 802.11ad testing.

Making things a bit complicated, the Nighthawk X10's 10GbE port utilizes an SFP+ connector, and the 10GbE NIC on our test server, with the ASUS X99‑E‑10G WS motherboard, uses an RJ45 connection for its 10 Gigabit port. In order to remedy this in a manner where we could still move the router away from the test client to test the range, we used a Netgear ProSAFE XS716E 10GigE switch as the go-between.

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Essentially, it works like this. We are connecting the Nighthawk X10 to the ProSAFE switch through a SFP+ cable, and then to the test server through 10GBase-T. The 802.11ad client is of course connected wirelessly to the Nighthawk X10.

On the software side, we are using the tried and true iPerf3. You run this software in server mode on the host machine and connect to that machine through the same piece of software in client mode. In this case, we are running iPerf with 10 parallel clients, over a 30-second period which is then averaged to get the resulting bandwidth of the connection.

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There are two main takeaways from this chart - the maximum bandwidth comparison to 802.11ac, and the scaling of 802.11ad with distance.

First, it's impressive to see such high bandwidth over a wireless connection. In a world where the vast majority of the Ethernet connections are still limited to 1Gbps, seeing up to 2.2Gbps over a wireless connection is very promising.

However, when you take a look at the bandwidth drops as we move the router and client further and further away, we start to see some of the main issues with 802.11ad.

Instead of using more traditional frequency ranges like 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz like we've seen from Wi-Fi for so many years, 802.11ad uses frequency in the unlicensed 60GHz spectrum. Without getting too technical about RF technology, essentially this means that 802.11ad is capable of extremely high bandwidth rates, but cannot penetrate walls with line of sight between devices being ideal. In our testing, we even found that the given orientation of the router made a big difference. Rotating the router 180 degrees allowed us to connect or not in some scenarios.

As you can see, the drop off in bandwidth for the 802.11ad connection between our test locations 15 feet away from the client and 35 feet away from the client was quite stark. 

That being said, taking another look at our results you can see that in all cases the 802.11ad connection is faster than the 802.11ac results, which is good. For the promised applications of 802.11ad where the device and router are in the same room of reasonable size, WiGig seems to be delivering most of what is promised.

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It is likely we won't see high adoption rates of 802.11ad for networking computers. The range limitations are just too stark to be a solution that works for most homes. However, I do think WiGig has a lot of promise to replace cables in other situations. We've seen notebook docks utilizing WiGig and there has been a lot of buzz about VR headsets utilizing WiGig for wireless connectivity to gaming PCs.

802.11ad networking is in its infancy, so this is all subject to change. Stay tuned to PC Perspective for continuing news on 802.11ad and other wireless technologies!

Seasonic's PRIME series of PSUs goes Platinum

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 26, 2017 - 06:32 PM |
Tagged: Seasonic PRIME, 850W, 80 Plus Platinum, modular psu

It was almost a year ago that Lee reviewed the Seasonic PRIME 750W Titanium PSU; today it is [H]ard|OCP who has a review of a cousin of that PSU.  The Seasonic PRIME 850W Platinum PSU is a new addition to the PRIME family, bearing the same 12 year warranty as its relatives as well as the single 12V rail design and physical Hybrid button.  As [H] have already reviewed the previous 850W PRIME model, the newcomer has some big shoes to fill.  It comes very close to doing so, as you can see in their full review.

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"As is usual, Seasonic talks softly and carries a big stick. The biggest stick lately has been its Prime series power supplies. Today's Prime comes to us touting excellent efficiency, a fully modular design, tight output voltage, and a quiet noise profile supplied by a fluid dynamic bearing fan. Does Seasonic continue its current reign?"

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Microsoft reSurfaces their Studio so they can show off a puck

Subject: Systems | June 21, 2017 - 03:39 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, surface, surface studio

Microsoft's Studio Surface is quite a change from the usual Studio notebooks, instead of a tiny screen this system is built into a 28" display with some seriously impressive specs.  The display has a resolution of 4500x3000 which translates to 192ppi, perfect for getting the most detail out of your artistic creations; gaming may be troublesome as the top end model comes with a GTX 980M that has 4GB of GDDR5.  The Surface Dial would also present control difficulty for gamers but for artists it offers a new way to control a wide variety of options in your software.  Aso worth noting is that you can swivel the screen to an angle where it can be used as a sketching board, the stand will even support a reasonable amount of weight if you lean into your drawings.  The Inquirer did have some areas in which they thought Microsoft could make some improvements but overall they were quite impressed.  Check it out here.

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"IT'S ALL CHANGE over at Microsoft with not one, but two entirely new product categories sporting the Surface name. The first is a traditional form-factored laptop with some fuzzy touchy-feely plush elements. The second, the Surface Studio is a powerful all-in-one with a giant display, stacks of power and one funky, optional knob."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

Source: The Inquirer

Qualcomm Partners with Bosch, OmniVision, and Ximmerse to Shore Up Mobile VR Sensors

Subject: Mobile | June 27, 2017 - 08:00 PM |
Tagged: xr, VR, qualcomm, google, daydream, AR

Qualcomm has put forward steady work on creating the vibrant hardware ecosystem for mobile VR to facilitate broad adoption of wireless, dedicated head mounted displays. Though the value of Samsung’s Gear VR and Google’s Daydream View cannot but overstated in moving the perception of consumer VR forward, the need to utilize your smart phone in a slot-in style design has its limitations. It consumes battery that you may require for other purposes, it limits the kinds of sensors that the VR system can utilize, and creates a sub-optimal form factor in order to allow for simple user installation.

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The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 VR Reference Device

Qualcomm created the first standalone VR HMD reference design back in early 2016, powered by the Snapdragon 820 processor. Google partnered with Qualcomm at I/O to create the Daydream standalone VR headset reference design with the updated Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform at its core, improving performance and graphical capability along the way. OEMs like Lenovo and HTC have already committed to Daydream standalone units, with Qualcomm at the heart of the hardware.

Qualcomm Technologies recently announced a HMD Accelerator Program (HAP) to help VR device manufacturers quickly develop premium standalone VR HMDs. At the core of this program is the standalone VR HMD reference design. It goes beyond a simple prototype device, offering a detailed reference design that allows manufacturers to apply their own customizations while utilizing our engineering, design, and experience in VR. The reference design is engineered to minimize software changes, hardware issues, and key component validation.

- Hugo Swart, Qualcomm Atheros, Inc.

As part of this venture, and to continue pushing the VR industry forward to more advanced capabilities like XR (extended reality, a merger of VR and AR), Qualcomm is announcing agreements with key component vendors aiming to tighten and strengthen the VR headset ecosystem.

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Hugo Swart, Senior Director, Product Management, Qualcomm Atheros, Inc.

Ximmerse has built a high-precision and drift-free controller for VR applications that offers low latency input and 3DoF (3 degrees of freedom) capability. This can “provide just about any interaction, such as pointing, selecting, grabbing, shooting, and much more. For precise 6 DoF positional tracking of your head, tight integration is required between the sensor fusion processing (Snapdragon) and the data from both the camera and inertial sensors.”

Bosch Sensortec has the BMX055 absolute orientation sensor that performs the function that its name would imply: precisely locating the user in the real world and tracking movement via accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer.

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Finally, OmniVision integrates the OV9282 which is a 1MP high speed shutter image sensor for feature tracking.

These technologies, paired with the work Qualcomm has already done for the Snapdragon 835 VR Development Kit, including on the software side, is an important step to the growth of this segment of the market. I don’t know of anyone that doesn’t believe standalone, wireless headsets are the eventual future of VR and AR and the momentum created by Qualcomm, Google, and others continues its steady pace of development.

Source: Qualcomm

Podcast #455 - Intel Skylake-X, AMD EPYC 7000 series, IBM 5nm, 802.11ad, and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2017 - 12:57 PM |
Tagged: video, Surface Pro, skylake-x, podcast, Intel, IBM, EPYC, amd, 802.11ad, 5nm

PC Perspective Podcast #455 - 06/22/17

Join us for talk about Intel Skylake-X, AMD EPYC 7000 series, IBM 5nm, 802.11ad, 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: 1:36:49
 
Podcast topics of discussion:
 
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
  4. Closing/outro

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

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