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Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

EPYC makes its move into the data center

Because we traditionally focus and feed on the excitement and build up surrounding consumer products, the AMD Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 launches were huge for us and our community. Finally seeing competition to Intel’s hold on the consumer market was welcome and necessary to move the industry forward, and we are already seeing the results of some of that with this week’s Core i9 release and pricing. AMD is, and deserves to be, proud of these accomplishments. But from a business standpoint, the impact of Ryzen on the bottom line will likely pale in comparison to how EPYC could fundamentally change the financial stability of AMD.

AMD EPYC is the server processor that takes aim at the Intel Xeon and its dominant status on the data center market. The enterprise field is a high margin, high profit area and while AMD once had significant share in this space with Opteron, that has essentially dropped to zero over the last 6+ years. AMD hopes to use the same tactic in the data center as they did on the consumer side to shock and awe the industry into taking notice; AMD is providing impressive new performance levels while undercutting the competition on pricing.

Introducing the AMD EPYC 7000 Series

Targeting the single and 2-socket systems that make up ~95% of the market for data centers and enterprise, AMD EPYC is smartly not trying to swing over its weight class. This offers an enormous opportunity for AMD to take market share from Intel with minimal risk.

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Many of the specifications here have been slowly shared by AMD over time, including at the recent financial analyst day, but seeing it placed on a single slide like this puts everything in perspective. In a single socket design, servers will be able to integrate 32 cores with 64 threads, 8x DDR4 memory channels with up to 2TB of memory capacity per CPU, 128 PCI Express 3.0 lanes for connectivity, and more.

Worth noting on this slide, and was originally announced at the financial analyst day as well, is AMD’s intent to maintain socket compatibility going forward for the next two generations. Both Rome and Milan, based on 7nm technology, will be drop-in upgrades for customers buying into EPYC platforms today. That kind of commitment from AMD is crucial to regain the trust of a market that needs those reassurances.

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Here is the lineup as AMD is providing it for us today. The model numbers in the 7000 series use the second and third characters as a performance indicator (755x will be faster than 750x, for example) and the fourth character to indicate the generation of EPYC (here, the 1 indicates first gen). AMD has created four different core count divisions along with a few TDP options to help provide options for all types of potential customers. It is worth noting that though this table might seem a bit intimidating, it is drastically more efficient when compared to the Intel Xeon product line that exists today, or that will exist in the future.  AMD is offering immediate availability of the top five CPUs in this stack, with the bottom four due before the end of July.

Continue reading about the AMD EPYC data center processor!

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

Lightning strikes again, MSI's new GTX 1080 Ti LIGHTNING Z

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 20, 2017 - 02:02 PM |
Tagged: msi, LIGHTNING Z, gtx 1080 ti, factory overclocked

MSI have expanded their Lightning line with a new GTX 1080 Ti GPU.  The Lightning line comes with three profiles, including one which bears the name of the family, which will set your GPU to a boost clock of 1721 MHz, 1607 MHz base.  The other two modes are Gaming, which runs at 1695 MHz boost, 1582 MHz base and a Silent mode running at 1582 MHz/1480MHz. 

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This GPU shares the high end features appearing on many MSI cards, the TRI-FROZR cooler with TORX 2.0 fans and SuperPipes as well as Military Class 4 components and a 10-layer PCB with 14 power phases for the GPU and 3 for the memory.  What is somewhat new is the RGB infection, which can be controlled by MSI's Mystic Light app to create your own personalized light show.

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Check out the full PR below.

MSI is proud to officially announce the latest of its legendary LIGHTNING graphics cards. Built to be perfect, the new GeForce® GTX 1080 Ti LIGHTNING Z combines cutting edge new technology with proven features such as TRI-FROZR design with TORX 2.0 Fans, SuperPipe technology and Military Class 4 components. The GeForce® GTX 1080 Ti LIGHTNING Z is nothing short of an engineering masterpiece.

Unmatched Thermal Design
MSI Torx Fan 2.0MSI’s reputation in thermal design is well-known to be excellent. The improved TRI-FROZR design on the GTX 1080 Ti LIGHTNING Z utilizes two 10cm and one 9cm TORX 2.0 Fans combining the advantages of both traditional fan blade and dispersion fan blade, generating huge amounts of airflow while remaining virtually silent. Two 8mm SuperPipes transfer heat much faster to the fins, enabling up to a whopping 700W of heat dissipation.

Mystic Light Sync with Brilliant RGB Effect
MSI’s Mystic Light enables you tocustomize the RGB effects of your hardware to give your system a different look whenever you feel like it. Using the MSI Mystic Light software, you can even synchronize colors and effects of your graphics card, motherboard, case-fans and peripherals. Give yourself or the audience a show!

Dual BIOS and Enhanced Power Design
The special LN2 BIOS on the card provides extreme overclockers more capibility for overclocking records without special hardware modifications. By removing restrictions, the full potential of the graphics card is unlocked. The enhanced power design contains more power phases than other models to ensure plenty of power is available for record-breaking performance. LIGHTNING’s custom 10-layer PCB is fitted with 14 phases for GPU and 3 phases for Memory to ensure power delivery can handle the most extreme loads.

Military Class 4 Components
Equipped with Military Class 4 components, the MSI GTX 1080 Ti LIGHTNING Z is built to deliver the best quality and stability. The components have gone through rigorous testing by a third-party laboratory to satisfy the MIL-STD-810G standard. Featuring DrMOS 60A power phases, the highest rated available ensuring plenty of power. Hi-C CAP cores, Super Ferrite Choke, and Solid CAP, each aspect of the LIGHTNING Z ensures the best possible performance.

On-board and in control
With MSI's exclusive OC kits you're in complete control of the GTX 1080 Ti LIGHTNING Z. V-Check points allow you to accurately measure GPU, Memory and PLL voltages. Multiple Temp Monitor checks the real-time temperatures of the GPU, Memory and PLL while Quadruple Overvoltage allows you to overvolt those same components in order to achieve higher clock speeds.

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Source: MSI

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.

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

 

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!

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!

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

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

Behold the Palette

Subject: General Tech | June 20, 2017 - 04:05 PM |
Tagged: input, Palette, blame canada, MIDI

As you can see, the Palette is not your normal keyboard nor mouse. Instead is is a collection of buttons, dials and sliders which communicate via the MIDI standard and is intended to help you with programs like Adobe Premier Pro, Photoshop, or Capture One.  The Palette can be rearranged however you like, magnets hold it together to ensure that signal can travel between the blocks in whatever arrangement you prefer.  The core module, with the LCD screen, houses the USB connector to plug it into your system as well as the Atmel AT90USB1286 8-bit brains of the device.  You can connect up to 18 modules due to the power delivery limitations of USB, or 32 if you can provide additional power.  TechPowerUp found numerous uses for the device, drop to check it our and perhaps to be inspired.

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"Palette is a startup that aims to elevate the current standard of human-computer interaction. Their modular controllers based off the MIDI standard use a combination of buttons, dials, and sliders to lower workflow time for content creators. The PaletteApp driver helps with built-in support for over 15 popular programs from Adobe and others, and profile support enables quick changes in functionality for individual modules."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: TechPowerUp

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!

That new battery is sick!

Subject: General Tech | June 20, 2017 - 01:38 PM |
Tagged: battery

Researchers from the University of Maryland have come up with an interesting new use for the tobacco mosaic virus; significantly increasing the surface area of electrodes.  The increase is quite impressive, a 3.6-fold improvement in areal capacitance over a planar equivalent due to the increased surface area created by the nickel oxide coated TMV.  Not only does this research offer improvements in supercapacitors it opens up a new area of research which could enhance a wide variety of electrically charged devices.  Drop by Nanotechweb for a look at the science behind this.

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"Scientists in the US have devised a microfabrication method that uses capillary channels in a photoresist to position nanorods of the tobacco mosaic virus (TMV). The team used the quick and simple new approach to create a supercapacitor with nanostructured electrodes, and the method can be applied to construct many other microdevices requiring high surface areas."

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Source: Nanotechweb

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?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

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.

ASUS GP106-100 MINER.jpg

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

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."

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Source: The Inquirer

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

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