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IFA 2017: Lenovo Announces Yoga 920 and 720 2-in-1 Laptops

Subject: Mobile | August 31, 2017 - 03:30 PM |
Tagged: Yoga 920, Yoga 720, yoga, watchband, Star Wars, notebook, Lenovo, laptop, ips, Gorilla Glass, digitizer, Active Pen 2, 4k, 2-in-1

The Yoga 920 is Lenovo’s new “flagship consumer 2-in-1”, and features 8th-generation quad-core processor and a big emphasis on voice control with what Lenovo describes as “far-field microphones for Cortana which will recognizes voice commands in standby mode and from up to 4 meters away”.

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There is also optional digitizer/pen capability with the Yoga 920, featuring Lenovo’s Active Pen 2:

“In the case of the Yoga 920, an optional Lenovo Active Pen 2 with 4,096 levels of pen sensitivity dramatically expands the creative and cross-application potential of the PC. Offering pen-on-paper precision designed to give you no discernible lag, the Lenovo Active Pen 2 with Windows Ink lets you sketch and paint original schematics or annotate existing graphics and documents on the fly. Working on a presentation? Use the pen’s shortcut button to open and check email for any last-minute contributions from the team, sketch them into the presentation, add some color and annotations, then send – all without setting down the pen.”

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The display is ‘nearly bezel-less’ and offers a 13.9-inch 4K IPS panel. The familiar ‘watchband’ hinge is back for this new model, and the machine is quite thin at 13.95 mm (0.55 inches), weighing in at 3.02 lbs.

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Special Star Wars designs are also going to be available with the Yoga 920, as Lenovo explains:

“We are particularly excited to bring to customers limited edition Gorilla Glass cover designs: Yoga 920 Vibes, Star Wars Special Edition Yoga 920 Rebel Alliance and Star Wars Special Edition Yoga 920 Galactic Empire.”

The Yoga 720 is a compact 12-inch design which will be offered at a significantly lower price than the 920, and it is also digitizer/pen capable and offers a fingerprint reader as well.

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The Yoga 920 will be offered with a starting price of $1329.99, while the Yoga 720 will start at $649.99.

Source: Lenovo

Threadripper 1900X makes it official today

Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2017 - 12:38 PM |
Tagged: amd, Threadripper, 1900x, X399

We knew about the Threadripper 1900X back in July, but it did not arrive at the same time that the other two models did; AMD waited until today.  The official specifications do not differ from the pre-launch specifications, though we have confirmation the TDP is 180W and the cache is 20MB.  [H]ard|OCP describes it as a Ryzen 7 with the benefits of the X399 platform, a good way to quickly understand what this processor is.  [H] posted the slideshow as well as positing some usage scenarios in their article, which you can see here.

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"Today AMD rolls out what is not a very well kept secret, the Ryzen Threadripper model 1900X CPU. There is no doubt that Threadripper has already been a success for AMD, but how exactly does does an 8-core Threadripper fit into High End Desktop (HEDT) world of processors and platforms? The user profile is fairly skinny."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Podcast #465 - Seasonic, BeQuiet! PSUs, Koolance, FSP coolers, IFA laptops and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2017 - 10:59 AM |
Tagged: podcast, ZenBook Flip S UX370, Switch 7, Seasonic PRIME, RX Vega 56, mining, logitech, Koolance, Intel Xeon Workstation, IFA 2017, hero, fsp, Fanatec, dell xps 13, CSL Elite Wheel P1 Alcantara, BeQuiet, b250, asus, acer, video

PC Perspective Podcast #465 - 08/31/17

Join us for continued discussion on Seasonic, BeQuiet! PSUs, Koolance, FSP coolers, IFA laptops 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: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:28:57

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. 1:12:25 Ryan: Logitech G613
    2. 1:16:05 Jeremy: Steam library growing in girth? 850 EVO 500GB
    3. 1:18:45 Josh: Damn nice keyboard
    4. 1:21:05 Allyn: My first game mod: Manifolds for Factorio (and 0.15 is stable)
  4. Closing/outro
 

Source:

Logitech CRAFT Keyboard adds input dial to wireless connectivity and advanced feature set

Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2017 - 03:00 AM |
Tagged: logitech, keyboard, craft

Yesterday it was the gaming division pushing out the release of its brand new wireless gaming keyboard, and today, the consumer side of Logitech has its own new pretty item to wave in front of us. The CRAFT keyboard is a unique option that combines wireless connectivity with up to three devices, smart backlight illumination, and a new input dial that helps creative and productivity users get more out of their applications.

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Let’s start with that knob in the top right – the crown as Logitech calls it. This crown is an input dial that adapts and changes functions as you switch between applications. On a global scale it can be used to control volume, move between application windows, and change desktops. You can access that functionality by physically pushing down on the dial and rotating it to the left or right.

More interestingly, the crown adjusts its function based on the application you are in. In Excel, for example, you can toggle font sizes, move between cells, select tables and graph formats, and much more, all with the dial and click functionality. You switch between these different functions by tapping on the dial itself, as the entire surface is capacitive. There are functions for PowerPoint and Word as well, offering similar levels of integration.

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The Adobe software suite of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Premiere Pro CC 2017 also has pre-built functionality with the Logitech CRAFT keyboard. In Photoshop you can select and adjust image brightness, change the stroke weight in Illustrator or navigate and scrub through the timeline in Premiere Pro. There are many options and capabilities that the Logitech software installer offers out of the box and you have the ability to adjust these capabilities through custom integrations as well.

Explaining in text how this dial works and how it could potential change your workflow is difficult to do. Logitech does provide a set of videos running through some examples of the keyboard in and the dial in use, and they are worth checking out to get a sense of how it functions.

This capability works across both Windows 10 and Mac OS.

The CRAFT keyboard is built with a high quality scissor key switch design that is close in typing feel to some of the best notebook keyboards we have had our hands on. The typing is relatively quiet and the dished keys help you find the proper finger placement for eye-free typing.

Backlighting a battery powered keyboard is always tricky as you balance illumination and battery life. Logitech has created a system that intelligently determines when to light up the keyboard based on your hands approaching the keyboard itself. Logitech won’t share the secret here but it’s likely they are using some kind of proximity sensor similar to what is used on smartphones. We do know the CRAFT integrates an ambient light sensor as well, dimming or turning off backlight when in a well-lit environment.

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Above the Insert/Home keys rests three buttons that allow you to easily switch between controller one of three connected systems or devices. The CRAFT supports the Logitech unifying receiver as well as Bluetooth, allowing you to connect to a notebook or even your phone or tablet for advantages when replying to those text messages from mom.

Logitech claims the CRAFT should last an entire week on a single charge, though that will vary based on bright and often the backlights get used. The internal rechargeable battery gets juice via a USB Type-C connection and a Type-C to Type-A cable is included in the box.

The CRAFT isn’t cheap at $199 but the creation and use of the input dial, or crown, is definitely a value add for creatives and productivity users that see the benefit of a two handed input interface. We are still working through a couple of things on our end before doing a review (including a squeaky space bar that Logitech claims was fixed in final production and some last minute software bugs), but I am impressed with Logitech has built. If you frequently spend your time in Microsoft Office or Adobe CC software suites, you should definitely give the CRAFT keyboard a try.

Source: Logitech

New GPU Launch, New Attempt to Unlock Stuff

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 30, 2017 - 09:27 PM |
Tagged: amd, Vega, vega 56, vega 64

Because so many different video cards are made from a handful of chip designs, there is a group of people who like to see whether a lower-end SKU can be unlocked to behave like a higher-end one. In this case, kdtree on the ChipHell forums has apparently flashed the new AMD RX Vega 56 with the vBIOS from an AMD RX Vega 64. Personally, I would find that a little sketchy, given the difference in stream processor count, but they’re the one with the graphics card.

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Image Credit: kdtree from ChipHell forums

Turns out, it did something, but it did not magically create an RX Vega 64. The extra 512 shaders are probably disabled at the hardware level, such as with a laser. Your first reaction is probably “well, of course it is...” but, if you remember Polaris, users have software-modified 4GB cards into 8GB cards... so there is some precedence for “maybe AMD put more on the card than they said on the box”.

Oh right, so what did it do? It apparently gave the card a significant overclock. It’s hard to tell under the watermark, but the modified Vega 56 was just a percent or so away from the Vega 64 on 3DMark. I’m guessing a conventional overclock might do the same, but who knows.

Benchmarking a beast of a box, a dual Xeon Scalable Gold Server

Subject: Systems | August 30, 2017 - 03:42 PM |
Tagged: linux, xeon, Xeon Gold 6138, dual cpu, LGA-3647, Intel

The core counts and amount of RAM on enthusiast systems is growing quickly, especially with Threadripper, but we won't be seeing a system quite like this one under our desks in the near future.  The server which Phoronix tested sports dual Xeon Gold 6138 for a total of 40 physical cores and 80 threads, with each CPU having 48GB of RAM for a total of 96GB of DDR4-2666.  Not only did Phoronix run this system through a variety of tests, they did so on eight different Linux distros.   Can any benchmark push this thing to its limits?  Was there a clear winner for the OS?  Find out in the full review.

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"While we routinely run various Linux distribution / operating system comparisons at Phoronix, they tend to be done on desktop class hardware and the occasional servers. This is our look at the most interesting enterprise-focused Linux distribution comparison to date as we see how Intel's Xeon Scalable platform compares on different GNU/Linux distributions when using the Tyan GT24E-B7106 paired with two Dual Xeon Gold 6138 processors."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

Source: Phoronix

Introduction and Specifications

FSP might be familiar as a manufacturer of power supplies, but the company has a growing product offering that now includes cases and CPU coolers, among other things. In this review we will examine the Windale line, which consists of the Windale 4 and Windale 6, a pair of tower-style CPU air coolers.

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"FSP CPU Air Cooler Windale Series come out with two models: Windale 6 and Windale 4. Both of them are featured with CPU direct contact technology which can release CPU heat more efficiently. The 120mm extreme quiet fan enhances better cooling performance. The High-tech 120mm fin design provides optimized cooling effect. They are highly compatible with the latest sockets of Intel and AMD."

FSP has priced their coolers to compete in what is often called a 'crowded market', and the $29.99 Windale 4 in particular seems to directly compete with the ever-popular Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO - on price, if nothing else. Can FSP's first effort dethrone the EVO as a budget favorite? To this end we will see exactly how the Windale 4 and 6 perform against Cooler Master's venerable air cooler with a toasty Intel Core i7-7700K supplying the load temps (and my trusty SPL meter along for the ride to capture noise levels).

We will get right into it with a summary of the specifications for both FSP Windale coolers:


Windale 4 (model AC401)

  • Heatsink Material: Aluminum Alloy
  • Heat-pipe: 6 mm x4
  • Fan Speed: 600-1600 RPM (PWM) ± 15%
  • Bearing Type: Sleeve Bearing
  • Fan Air Flow: 60 CFM ± 10%
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 122 x 83 x 158 mm
  • Weight: 620 g

Windale 6 (model AC601 - blue LED)

  • Heatsink Material: Aluminum Alloy with black plating
  • Heat-pipe: 6 mm x 6
  • Fan Speed 600-1600 RPM (PWM) ± 15%
  • Bearing Type: Sleeve Bearing
  • Fan Air Flow: 60 CFM ± 10%
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 122 x 110 x 165 mm
  • Weight: 823 g

Continue reading our review of the FSP Windale 4 and 6 coolers!

Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Blazkowicz

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2017 - 01:14 PM |
Tagged: Wolfenstein 2, gaming, Blitzmensch

Here is one of the best advertisements for a game you will see all day.  It might be light on the gameplay, but one could forgive them due to the sheer campy beauty of it all. The game will not be out until October 27th; we suggest you use this video to tide you over until the release.  Remember, only you can prevent pre-order exclusive deals and Day 1 DLC ... and defeat Blitzmensch as well.

"Adam West has passed away, but now we get to see him impact on today's game marketing. Godspeed Adam! I still have that signed Batman picture you gave me when I was seven years old."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

IFA 2017: Acer announces passively-cooled Switch 7 Black Edition

Subject: Mobile | August 30, 2017 - 12:19 PM |
Tagged: switch 7 black edition, Surface Pro, IFA 2017, ifa, acer, 8th generation core

Today at IFA 2017, Acer's keynote was full of new products arriving in the coming year. The most remarkable product of the bunch is their Switch 7 Black Edition 2-in-1.

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While the Switch 7 Black Edition may not look different than other 2-in-1 devices like Microsoft's Surface Pro initially, there are some surprises underneath the hood.

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First is Acer's innovative cooling solution which they are calling "LiquidLoop." Essentially this is a heatpipe system which circulates through the chassis to cool both the Quad-Core 8th Generation Core processor, as well as a dedicated GPU in the form of the NVIDIA Geforce MX150.

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Omitting the use of any fans in the chassis, Acer claims they can properly cool both the 15W processor and the 25W GPU with this heatpipe system.

As for the GPU, the Geforce MX150 is the Pascal-based successor to the 940MX, which saw popularity in many of these thin and light form-factor devices. While it won't play the latest titles at native resolution, you should expect to be able to play less demanding titles and older games at modest image quality settings. Personally, the idea of a passively cooled computer that can play Rocket League on the go excites me.

Beyond the innovative thermal design, Acer has some more tricks up their sleeve with the Switch 7 Black Edition. 

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Acer AutoStand is a kickstand system designed to operate with one hand, like a traditional notebook hinge. This could be a huge benefit to Acer over the more cumbersome competitors like the Surface Pro where you have to hold the tablet in place as you deploy the kickstand.

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The Switch 7 Black Edition supports Windows Hello through the use of a fingerprint sensor embedded underneath the glass of the screen bezel. This sensor also supports Power on Authentication (POA) so that a single press will turn on the device and log into Windows Instantly.

These features combined with the 12.5-in 2256x1504 IPS display make the Switch 7 Black Edition an attractive alternative to 2-in-1 devices like the Surface Pro. 

All of these cool features come with a steep price tag though. The Acer Switch 7 Black Edition is expected to ship in December in North America for prices starting at $1,699.

Source: Acer

Logitech is your new HERO: G613 Wireless Keyboard and G603 Wireless Mouse

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2017 - 03:00 AM |
Tagged: logitech g, logitech, hero, g613, g603

Logitech continues to push forward with innovation after innovation in the world of gaming accessories. Most recently we discussed the PowerPlay technology, a new combination of mouse pad and mouse that charges wirelessly, creating a gaming configuration that never needs charging. Jim’s review left an impression on all of us at the office – this was something that could be life changing for gamers and enthusiasts.

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Today Logitech continues down that road with a handful of key technologies that will drive the company forward in ways we don’t yet foresee. As the title will reveal, Logitech is launching a new wireless mouse as well as its first wireless mechanical gaming keyboard. If that wasn’t enough, a new mouse sensor is at the heart of the G603. The HERO sensor is what allows this mouse to offer the same performance capability as the G900 but with 18 months of battery life on a pair of AA batteries.

The HERO Sensor

Let’s quickly talk about the new Logitech HERO sensor (High Efficiency Rating Optical). It combines performance that is nearly identical to the much adored PMW3366 sensor used in the Logitech G900 (among other devices) but offers 10x the power efficiency, allowing for incredibly long battery life. Everything from the lens design to the pixel surface area to the analog-to-digital conversion on the controller has been tweaked to improve performance efficiency.

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The mouse sensor system starts with the front-end, a portion that covers the imaging and CMOS detector that produces the images provided to the back-end for processing. With HERO, Logitech is using an IR LED system along with large pixel surface area to reduce the signal-to-noise ratio, improving the data that tracking is computed on. A big shift with this sensor is based on the analog-to-digital conversion that can typically be very power demanding when operating at the speeds required by gamers. On HERO, efficiency is increased by processing blocks of pixels at a time, but at different rates depending on the movement rate of the mouse itself. This gives Logitech’s newest sensor the perfect balance of performance and efficiency.

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There is a lot more technology to dive into around the sensor of this new mouse, and we will see it in other devices coming out later. I am working with Logitech for a deep dive with its engineers on HERO, as the topic is more complex and more intriguing than you would ever have believed.

The Logitech G603 Mouse

The first mouse to use this new sensor is the G603, a wireless mouse that utilizes Logitech’s LightSpeed technology for fast and accurate wireless gaming capabilities. It offers a host of compelling features, at a cost of just $70, that I think will instantly propel it to the top of many gamers’ must-have lists.

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First and foremost, because of the new HERO sensor in use, the G603 gets up to 18 months of battery life with gaming usage. That is with two AA batteries and with the mouse set in the “low” LightSpeed setting. The “low” setting offers a response time of 8ms while the “high” setting will run at a 1ms response time. If you are a dedicated gamer that will demand the mouse be in the “high” setting, Logitech still claims to get 4-6 months of battery life on a single set of batteries. Should you only have a single AA battery at your disposal, the mouse will work with a single installed, but at half the rated battery life.

In another scale, with the G603 running in “high” mode, it will run for 500 hours of gaming. Compare that to the 24-36 hours of gaming that my G900 offers and you can see the compelling difference this new controller and sensor technology makes.

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The LightSpeed wireless technology (that utilizes a Logitech USB dongle) is supplemented by support for Bluetooth. Though not ideal for hardcore gaming, the ability to support BT gives the G603 a lot of flexibility for connecting you to other machines. Battery life is rated at 18 months in Bluetooth mode.

Even better, you can have the mouse connected to one system with the LightSpeed dongle and to another machine or even your smartphone/tablet via Bluetooth. You can instantly switch the mouse between BT and LightSpeed devices with the touch of a button, allowing you to jump between platforms easily.

The Logitech G613 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard

The Logitech G613 doesn’t use a fancy new sensor, but it does mark the first time that Logitech has offered a wireless gaming keyboard. With a price tag of $150, using the Romer-G switches designed and exclusively integrated in Logitech keyboards, the G613 utilizes the same LightSpeed technology that recent Logitech mice use for wireless connectivity.

Just like the mouse above, the G613 keyboard allows you to connect to both a Bluetooth and a LightSpeed dongle and use a button on the keyboard to switch between the two platforms. This is an awesome feature for people that would like to use their keyboard to type out long text messages on their smartphone without having to have a second device or accessory on your desk. I am looking forward to capturing all my text recipients’ attention going forward with much longer and more dramatic messages.

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The LightSpeed wireless technology has already been proven with the mice Logitech has dropped on the market in recent months, but this does mark the first time a keyboard has integrated it. It maintains a 1ms report rate and offers better performance than many competing wired keyboards.

Battery life on the G613 is a staggering 18 months on just two AA batteries, thanks to an optimized microcontroller and the distinct lack of LED lighting. While RGB lighting has become a staple of gaming keyboards, Logitech tells us that a wireless keyboard with a backlight would last only 40 hours. That is quite a difference and it’s easy to see why Logitech made the decision it did.

You still get the full suite of features and capabilities that we love with Logitech keyboards including access to Logitech Gaming Software to store and save macros, programmable keys, profiles per-application, and more. The Romer-G switches are unique in the industry (they aren’t a standard Cherry or knock-off) but I have been using them on my G913 keyboard for nearly two years doing a combination of gaming and productivity and have never had the desire to revert.

Initial Thoughts

I have only had the G603 and G613 mouse and keyboard in our office for a few days of use, and a full review is pending. I can already tell you that the devices feel and act exactly as I have come to expect from Logitech hardware – and that’s a great thing! The G603 feels great in the hand and the performance in everyday tasks, as well as the gaming I have been able to do thus far, is superb. Time will tell how the battery life reality matches expectations, but I have yet to find any instance of Logitech holding back on accurate technical information - I don’t suppose they’ll start now.

The new HERO mouse sensor could be a drastic shift for gamers. A sensor that is both high performance and highly efficient, coupled with proven wireless technology that is better than most wired offerings, means that long-lasting, wireless gaming is here to stay and available to all.

Source: Logitech G

Sixth of its name, the new CM MasterCase Pro

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 29, 2017 - 03:11 PM |
Tagged: coolermaster, MasterCase Pro 6

The MasterCase Pro 5 was released a few years back which is why it is time for a MasterCase Pro 6 review.  CoolerMaster kept the modular design, making the installation of fans or radiators much easier as well as allowing you to remove drive cages you do not require.  The difference between this model and its predecessor are the design of the top and front panels, the similarity is the slightly imperfect mating of various parts of the case.  The Tech Report did still find the case easy to work with, take a closer look here to see if its style matches yours.

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"Cooler Master's MasterCase Pro 6 puts a sharp new face on the company's tried-and-true modular chassis. We popped in our test system to see whether this case's pop-out vents are a cool new idea in case design."

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

CASES & COOLING

 

An expensive failure to launch; Llano's fine

Subject: General Tech | August 29, 2017 - 01:03 PM |
Tagged: llano, amd

***Update***

Having spoken with representative from AMD, we can confirm those in the comments were correct and that "the settlememt is coming from our insurance carrier....So there is no financial impact to AMD."  

Good news for AMD and enthusiasts!

***Update***

Those indignant souls for whom the recent issues with Vega's launch represent the worst thing to happen ever in the history of the world may be somewhat discombobulated to learn that worse happened a mere eight years ago.  It was a heady time for AMD, three years previous to these events they had just purchased ATI and were excited about the growth potential offered from having two types of products.  Bright minds at AMD realized there was a different potential for growth; synergistic in nature.   Why limit yourself to just selling GPUs and CPUs when you could combine the two in a silicon version of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup?  Thus was born Llano, a chip touted to rival Sandy Bridge in computational power with an APU more powerful than any which had existed before.

Things did not go according to plan.

The launch of Llano was delayed several times and when it finally arrived in 2011, two years after the initially planned release date, it did not outperform Sandy Bridge as advertised.  Instead the A8-3850 could mostly hold its own against the Core i3-2100 in multi-threaded tasks but fell far behind in single threaded performance.  This was a major issue as there were even less applications taking advantage of multithreaded processors than there are today. 

The graphics portion of the chip was very impressive, offering the first APU which you could actually use to game and watch HD video; perhaps not Crysis but certainly many online games were well within Llano's grasp.  This was not enough to save Llano in the marketplace and set the stage for the following years in which AMD has struggled.

Today we learn of the final penalty AMD must endure as a result of Llano, a $29.5 million payout to anyone who purchased AMD shares between April 4, 2011 and October 18, 2012.  This is not the best timing for AMD to dig into their pockets, their budget is already stretched and we would all prefer to see that money going into R&D for their next generation of products.  However, the lawsuit is no longer hanging over their heads and they can now budget for the coming quarters without having an unknown expense in the ledgers.

Hopefully AMD's fortune will reverse in the near future, as Threadripper, Epyc and Vega all show very good signs compared to the state of AMD six years ago.

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"Advanced Micro Devices has agreed to pay out $29.5m to settle a class action lawsuit its shareholders filed after the disastrous Llano chip rollout."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Intel Announces Xeon W and Xeon Scalable Workstation Processors

Subject: Processors | August 29, 2017 - 12:00 PM |
Tagged: Xeon W, xeon scalable, xeon, workstation, processor, Intel, cpu

Intel has officially announced their new workstation processor lineup, with Xeon Scalable and Xeon W versions aimed at both professional and mainstream workstation systems.

"Workstations powered by Intel Xeon processors meet the most stringent demands for professionals seeking to increase productivity and rapidly bring data to life. Intel today disclosed that the world-record performance of the Intel Xeon Scalable processors is now available for next-generation expert workstations to enable photorealistic design, modeling, artificial intelligence (AI) analytics, and virtual-reality (VR) content creation."

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The first part of Intel’s product launch announcement are the new Xeon Scalable processors, first announced in July, and these are dual-socket solutions targeting professional workstations. Versions with up to 56 cores/112 threads are available, and frequencies of up to 4.20 GHz are possible via Turbo Boost. Intel is emphasising the large performance impact of upgrading to these new Xeon processors with a comparison to older equipment (a trend in the industry of late), which is relevant when considering the professional market where upgrades are far slower than the enthusiast desktop segment:

“Expert workstations will experience up to a 2.71x boost in performance compared to a 4-year-old system and up to 1.65x higher performance compared to the previous generation.”

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The second part of announcement are new Xeon W processors, which will be part of Intel’s mainstream workstation offering. These are single-socket processors, with up to 18 cores/36 threads and Turbo Boost frequencies up to 4.50 GHz. The performance impact with these new Xeon W CPUs compared to previous generations is not as great as the Xeon Scalable processors above, as Intel offers the same comparison to older hardware with the Xeon W:

“Mainstream workstations will experience up to a 1.87x boost in performance compared to a 4-year-old system4 and up to 1.38x higher performance compared to the previous generation.”

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Full PR is available from Intel's newsroom.

Source: Intel
Author:
Manufacturer: bequiet!

Introduction and Features

Introduction

BeQuiet! recently expanded their power supply lineup with the addition of two new small form factor (SFX-L) units, the SFX-L 500W and SFX-L 600W. The new power supplies are fully modular and optimized for quiet operation as you might expect from BeQuiet!. The SFX-L 500W and SFX-L 600W are 80 Plus Gold certified for high efficiency and feature a high-quality 120mm cooling fan thanks to the lengthened SFX-L chassis design.

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While SFX-L power supplies are designed for use in small form factor enclosures, the BeQuiet! SFX-L power supplies can also be used in standard ATX cases to save room via the included SFX to ATX adapter bracket. However, keep in mind the cables are quite short as these power supplies are mainly intended for Small Form Factor builds. We will be taking a detailed look at the new BeQuiet! SFX-L 600W power supply in this review.

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BeQuiet! SFX-L 600W PSU Key Features:

•    Compact design for Small Form Factor PC systems
•    High-quality 120mm cooling fan with Fluid Dynamic Bearing
•    All-modular, flat ribbon-style cables
•    80 Plus Gold certified for high efficiency up to 92%
•    Powerful +12V rail design (50A) for high stability
•    Safety Protections: OCP, OVP, UVP, OPP, OTP, and SCP
•    MSRP for SFX-L 600W: $119.99 USD

Specifications

The BeQuiet! SFX-L 600W power supply is rated for a combined, continuous output power of 600 watts at up to 40°C max operating temperature. The PSU incorporates a single +12V rail that can deliver up to 50A, the full rated capacity of 600W.  The PSU includes universal AC line input (automatically adjusts the AC line voltage 100-240 VAC) and active PFC, which makes the unit more environmentally friendly to the local power grid.  

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Please continue reading our review of the BeQuiet! SFX-L 600W PSU!!!

IFA 2017: Dell announces refreshed Quad-Core XPS 13 Notebook

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | August 28, 2017 - 10:20 PM |
Tagged: ifa, IFA 2017, dell, XPS 13, 8th generation core, i7-8550U, i5-8250U

As expected, this year's IFA trade show in Berlin is proving busy for notebook manufacturers. Hot on the heels of Intel's announcement of 15W 8th Generation quad-core processors in the Kaby-Lake refresh family earlier in the month, we are starting to see some announcements of actual products utilizing these new processors.

Not to be left behind, Dell has officially announced the refreshed version of their well-received XPS 13 notebook. 

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It appears that there has been little physical change to the XPS 13 centered around these new processor options. Customers will still find 2 USB-A Ports upgraded to USB 3.1 Gen 2, a Thundebolt 3 Port, full-size SD card slot, a standard headphone jack, and a power connector (although charging over Thunderbolt 3 is supported). There's no indication yet as to the Thunderbolt 3 implementation, but we hope Dell has gone with the full PCIe x4 bandwidth instead of x2 as found on the current XPS 13.

Same as the current XPS 13, customers will be able to choose from a 1080p non-touch display or a 3200x1800 touchscreen, up to 16GB of RAM, and SSD options including SATA and NVMe.

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Battery size remains at 60Wh, which Dell claims has a MobileMark battery life score of 22 hours on the 1080p display model and 12 hours with the 3200x1800 QHD+ Touchscreen option.

Expect a longer rollout than usual with these new 8th generation parts from Dell, with the highest end i7-8550U to be available starting September 12th, and the i5 parts coming later in October. We have no current indications of pricing, but I would expect it to fall along the current XPS 13 models, in which the i7 model starts at $1349 along with 8GB of RAM, a 256GB NVMe SSD, and the 1080p display.

Source: Dell

Fanatec Releases CSL Elite Wheel P1 Alcantara

Subject: General Tech | August 28, 2017 - 08:04 PM |
Tagged: Fanatec, CSL, CSL Elite, ClubSport, Alcantara

A few weeks back I reviewed the Fanatec CSL Elite base/wheel/pedals.  While I gave overall generally high marks, the least impressive part had to have been the actual wheel itself.  The CSL Wheel P1 was a rubber coated wheel that had some very good characteristics (lightweight, rigid) it also was lacking in some areas (comfort/grip, shifter feedback).  Apparently these were not uncommon complaints about what was still a seriously affordable piece of kit from Fanatec.
 
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Fanatec decided to add another option for the CSL Elite lineup that is still more affordable than many of their higher end wheel offerings that start at $200 and go up to $400 US.  The CSL Elite Wheel P1 is a thoroughly upgraded redesign of the P1 wheel.  It shares the overall weight of the wheel, but improves dramatically with the flexibility and ergonomics of the part.
 
The primary upgrade is of course the material used for the wheel.  Fanatec finishes it out with an Alcantara covering that looks hand stitched with a striking red thread.  Alcanatara is a fancy brand of "Ultrasuede" that is produced in Italy.  It feels great, it soaks up sweat yet still breathes, and is a durable covering that should last for many years to come.  It looks to be a much more pleasant surface to interact with as compared to the slightly tacky rubber-like texture of the original wheel.  I know for myself that I have really enjoyed the Thrustmaster 599XX EVO Alcantara Edition wheel as an upgrade, and I look forward to checking the Fanatec version eventually.
 
Fanatec does not stop with just the covering.  The shifters now feature a new activation switch that provides much more feedback and feel than the previous model.  The older wheel had a pretty anemic response when the user activates the shifter, so the experience just didn't feel quite right without the corresponding "thud" of a robust activation switch.
 
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Finally Fanatec allows users to swap in and out the buttons on the wheel for either Xbox One use or for more customized setups using a pretty impressive number of buttons.  This is a functionality that I have yet to experience in other products from the major manufacturers.
The wheel still features the brushed aluminum front plate and spokes as well as the "not so quick" release feature.  The LCD and center light display are again present, but they need to have application support to be useful in game.
 
Fanatec is offering this unit for a fairly reasonable $159.  This is around the same price as the Thrustmaster add-on unit featuring the Alcantara covering.  This does look to be a major step up for users, but it does not break the bank as compared to other wheels that will fit on the Fanatec bases.
 
Fanatec has certainly been far more active in the past two years with their product stack than they have in a long time.  It is great to see PC and console racing becoming popular again and providing the impetus for manufacturers to release new and interesting products to fill the market.

ASUS Announces the ZenBook Flip S UX370

Subject: Mobile | August 28, 2017 - 05:54 PM |
Tagged: ZenBook Flip S UX370, UX370, asus

ASUS has announced their newest ZenBook Flip, the UX370 which will be available through the Microsoft store for $1399 USD some time in the near future. It is powered by a Kaby Lake i7-7500U with HD 620 graphics, 16GB of DDR3-2133 and a 512GB PCIE SSD.  The 13.3" screen has a 1080p resolution, the size of which keeps the UX370 down to a svelte 2.43lb and a mere 10.9mm thickness.

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Connectivity us handled by a pair of USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C plugs and an audio plug; networking is handled wirelessly via 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.1.  The speakers are Harman Kardon-certified and powered by ASUS' SonicMaster audio technology; hopefully we will soon have a chance to hear what that actually means in terms of sound quality.

Here are the specs, the PR is below.

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Source: ASUS

The sound and Fury of the RX Vega 56

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 28, 2017 - 04:41 PM |
Tagged: vega 56, amd, radeon, R9 Fury

Having wrapped up their initial review of AMD's new RX Vega 56, [H]ard|OCP was curious how it stacks up in a direct competition with last generations R9 Fury.  The comparison is interesting, ROPs and Texture Units are the same in both cards, while the Fury uses HBM1 at a 4096bit interface while the Vega 56 uses HBM2 at 2048; clocks are 500MHz versus 800MHz respectively.  The prices are quite different, the Fury clocked in at $550 while the Vega 56 should be available at $400; not that there is any stock at any price. 

Check out the full article for specifics; the short answer is that you can expect the new Vega card to boast an average 25% performance advantage over the Fury.

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"Do you have an AMD Radeon R9 Fury based video card and want to know if AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 at a lesser price is a performance upgrade? Do you want to know if architecturally AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 is faster than AMD Radeon R9 Fury? This follow-up performance review should answer those questions."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Happy Monday, that shiny new graphics card you've been eyeing just got even more expensive

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | August 28, 2017 - 12:31 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, SK Hynix

Just when you thought it was safe to start GPU shopping, with demand from miners dropping off somewhat, the NAND shortage is set to crank up prices again.  First time miners have realize they are not about to become overnight billionaires and the dedicated miners have already picked up their GPUs; unless they just picked up this board, so there was some hope GPU prices might descend closer to their original MRSP.  Unfortunately the suppliers of VRAM have shifted their production capacity more heavily in favour of server memory and RAM for smartphones which has lead to a dearth of VRAM.  DigiTimes reports you can expect the price of NVIDIA cards to jump from 3-10% at the end of the month.

AMD's new offerings will not be effected by this; few and far between are the servers or phones which use HBM2.  It would be interesting to discover that part of their original pricing took this into account; not that it matters overly as their original pricing statement has been tossed.

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"With Samsung and SK Hynix cutting their memory supply for the graphics card segment, August quotes for RAMs used in graphics cards have risen to US$8.50, up by 30.8% from US$6.50 in July. Both memory suppliers have allocated more of their production capacities to making memories for servers and handsets, reducing output for the graphics cards segment and fueling the price rally."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes
Manufacturer: Koolance

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Koolance

With the introduction of the CPU-390 series blocks, Koolance improved on their CPU-380 series block design. The CPU-390 was designed with a different flow design in it top cap with the inlet port closer to the block center. Further, the micro-channel design in the base plate was enhanced with finer grain channels, dramatically increasing the surface area through which the coolant passes through the baseplate. The block under review is their Intel CPU-390CI water block, featuring a factory installed Intel mounting kit as well as a full nickel-plated copper top. With an MSRP of $89.99, the CPU-390CI waterblock comes at a premium price for the premium performance it offers.

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Courtesy of Koolance

The block bottom is nickel-plated copper, machined flat and polished to a mirror-like sheen. The block is assembled with hex-head screws going through the copper base plate with the screw heads flush with its surface.

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Courtesy of Koolance

The CPU-390CI block comes factory assembled with the Intel universal mounting bracket. Packaged in with the block are the LGA-115X and multi-socket backplates, backplate rubber spacer, LGA-2011 and multi-socket mounting hardware, allen wrench, and a tube of Koolance-branded thermal compound.

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Courtesy of Koolance

Koolance also provided their AMD socket AM4 mounting kit. The kit includes a mounting bracket that fits over the base block, a back plate, a rubber spacer, and threaded mount nuts.

Technical Specifications (taken from the manufacturer website)

Water Block Specifications
Weight 0.94 lb (0.43 kg)
Materials Nickel-Plated Copper, Stainless Steel, EPDM
Max Pressure @ 25°C 2kgf/cm2 (28.5psi)
Max Temperature 80°C (176°F)
Intel socket support Intel socket LGA 2011 / 2011-v3 (Square ILM only)
Intel socket LGA 1150
Intel socket LGA 1151
Intel socket LGA 1155 / 1156
Intel socket LGA 1366 (may require BLT-CPASZD12 for fixed motherboard back plates)
Intel socket LGA 775
AMD socket support AMD socket AM4
AMD socket AM2, AM2+
AMD socket AM3, AM3+
AMD socket FM1, FM2, FM2+

Continue reading our review of the Koolance CPU-390CI CPU water block!