Subject: Mobile | March 30, 2017 - 12:37 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: google, Android, android o
A couple of sites have downloaded the upcoming Android preview and walked through the new features that they found. Google, themselves, published a “what’s changed” video (embed below) to their Android Developers channel, which is mostly about the specific API changes, rather than UI and feature differences.
The first couple of minutes was dominated by new limitations on background applications, increasing the privacy and decreasing the battery impact of apps that are not currently focused. “Notification Channel” interests me personally, because it allows apps to categorize notifications, which users can block individually. While good apps should have that sort of control in their own settings already, a unified implementation in the OS is welcome (if it can limit how many applications I need to outright block everything from).
As for the third-party previewers, Ars Technica has a pretty in-depth look, with screenshots for most differences (often side-by-side with the Nougat equivalent). For a second opinion, Paul Thurrott also has a brief overview with a handful of screenshots.
We should learn a lot more at Google I/O in mid-May.
Tweaks for days
It seems like it’s been months since AMD launched Ryzen, its first new processor architecture in about a decade, when in fact we are only four weeks removed. One of the few concerns about the Ryzen processors centered on its performance in some gaming performance results, particularly in common resolutions like 1080p. While I was far from the only person to notice these concerns, our gaming tests clearly showed a gap between the Ryzen 7 1800X and the Intel Core i7-7700K and 6900K processors in Civilization 6, Hitman and Rise of the Tomb Raider.
A graph from our Ryzen launch coverage...
We had been working with AMD for a couple of weeks on the Ryzen launch and fed back our results with questions in the week before launch. On March 2nd, AMD’s CVP of Marketing John Taylor gave us a prepared statement that acknowledged the issue but promised changes come in form for game engine updates. These software updates would need to be implemented by the game developers themselves in order to take advantage of the unique and more complex core designs of the Zen architecture. We had quotes from the developers of Ashes of the Singularity as well as the Total War series to back it up.
And while statements promising change are nice, it really takes some proof to get the often sceptical tech media and tech enthusiasts to believe that change can actually happen. Today AMD is showing its first result.
The result of 400 developer hours of work, the Nitrous Engine powering Ashes of the Singularity received an update today to version 26118 that integrates updates to threading to better balance the performance across Ryzen 7’s 8 cores and 16 threads. I was able to do some early testing on the new revision, as well as with the previous retail shipping version (25624) to see what kind of improvements the patch brings with it.
Stardock / Oxide CEO Brad Wardell had this to say in a press release:
“I’ve always been vocal about taking advantage of every ounce of performance the PC has to offer. That’s why I’m a strong proponent of DirectX 12 and Vulkan® because of the way these APIs allow us to access multiple CPU cores, and that’s why the AMD Ryzen processor has so much potential,” said Stardock and Oxide CEO Brad Wardell. “As good as AMD Ryzen is right now – and it’s remarkably fast – we’ve already seen that we can tweak games like Ashes of the Singularity to take even more advantage of its impressive core count and processing power. AMD Ryzen brings resources to the table that will change what people will come to expect from a PC gaming experience.”
Our testing setup is in line with our previous CPU performance stories.
|Test System Setup|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
Intel Core i7-6900K
|Motherboard||ASUS Crosshair VI Hero (Ryzen)
ASUS X99-Deluxe II (Broadwell-E)
|Storage||Corsair Force GS 240 SSD|
|Graphics Card||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB|
|Graphics Drivers||NVIDIA 378.49|
|Power Supply||Corsair HX1000|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Pro x64|
I was using the latest BIOS for our ASUS Crosshair VI Hero motherboard (1002) and upgraded to some Geil RGB (!!) memory capable of running at 3200 MHz on this board with a single BIOS setting adjustment. All of my tests were done at 1080p in order to return to the pain point that AMD was dealing with on launch day.
Let’s see the results.
These are substantial performance improvements with the new engine code! At both 2400 MHz and 3200 MHz memory speeds, and at both High and Extreme presets in the game (all running in DX12 for what that’s worth), the gaming performance on the GPU-centric is improved. At the High preset (which is the setting that AMD used in its performance data for the press release), we see a 31% jump in performance when running at the higher memory speed and a 22% improvement with the lower speed memory. Even when running at the more GPU-bottlenecked state of the Extreme preset, that performance improvement for the Ryzen processors with the latest Ashes patch is 17-20%!
It’s also important to note that Intel performance is unaffected – either for the better or worse. Whatever work Oxide did to improve the engine for AMD’s Ryzen processors had NO impact on the Core processors, which is interesting to say the least. The cynic in me would believe there is little chance that any agnostic changes to code would raise Intel’s multi-core performance at least a little bit.
So what exactly is happening to the engine with v26118? I haven’t had a chance to have an in-depth conversation with anyone at AMD or Oxide yet on the subject, but at a high level, I was told that this is what happens when instructions and sequences are analyzed for an architecture specifically. “For basically 5 years”, I was told, Oxide and other developers have dedicated their time to “instruction traces and analysis to maximize Intel performance” which helps to eliminate poor instruction setup. After spending some time with Ryzen and the necessary debug tools (and some AMD engineers), they were able to improve performance on Ryzen without adversely affecting Intel parts.
Core to core latency testing on Ryzen 7 1800X
I am hoping to get more specific detail in the coming days, but it would seem very likely that Oxide was able to properly handle the more complex core to core communication systems on Ryzen and its CCX implementation. We demonstrated early this month how thread to thread communication across core complexes causes substantially latency penalties, and that a developer that intelligently manages threads that have dependencies on the core complex can improve overall performance. I would expect this is at least part of the solution Oxide was able to integrate (and would also explain why Intel parts are unaffected).
- Ryzen 7 1800X - $499 - Amazon.com
- Ryzen 7 1700X - $399 - Amazon.com
- Ryzen 7 1700 - $329 - Amazon.com
What is important now is that AMD takes this momentum with Ashes of the Singularity and actually does something with it. Many of you will recognize Ashes as the flagship title for Mantle when AMD made that move to change the programming habits and models for developers, and though Mantle would eventually become Vulkan and drive DX12 development, it did not foretell an overall shift as it hoped to. Can AMD and its developer relations team continue to make the case that spending time and money (which is what 400 developer hours equates to) to make specific performance enhancements for Ryzen processors is in the best interest of everyone? We’ll soon find out.
Subject: General Tech | March 29, 2017 - 09:04 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: CaptoGlove, AR, VR, gaming, controller, bluetooth 4.0, BTLE 4.0, glove
There’s a new sheriff in town! The jauntily named “CaptoGlove” promises to be a true game and VR controller in a handy glove. Originally developed some five years ago by an Italian air force pilot for his recovering father, he has continued development of the unit so it is actually a useful game controller with a precise 3D space positioning system. Codeveloped with the Reusch group in Italy, the CaptoGlove looks to be a pretty polished piece of gaming equipment useful in a wide variety of applications.
The glove features 10 degrees of freedom and a variety of potential actuations. The glove caries about 10 hours of charge and can be quickly recharged. It features Bluetooth Low Energy 4.0 connectivity. It is essentially plug and play and the user can assign functions to the different fingers.
It is a somewhat stylish looking product, which is not surprising given that Reusch has been making sporting gloves for some 80 years. The material looks robust and should last a long, long time. There are no details about replacing the battery, in fact many of the specifications about the glove are still unknown. It does look to be a pretty dextrous implementation that supersedes products coming before it.
This glove is on Kickstarter and they have almost achieved their goal in the past 6 days. A single glove will be $160 through the Kickstarter and a pair will run $299. The highest level includes two extra sensors that allow even more precision with gaming and VR/AR, but that comes at a steep $599.
The gloves have been tested with all kinds of games and functionality is good. The videos that CaptoGlove show off have decent performance and accuracy in many titles. Currently there is no force feedback enabled nor announced. This is not to say that it won’t show up in the future, but this first generation consumer product still has plenty of functionality to keep people interested.
AR/VR applications show the most promise for CaptoGlove. It has been tested with all of the major projects out there and seems to work fine. I will be very curious how well it works in applications like Tilt Brush! If eventually they make a haptic version of the glove, it could be a killer application for it.
Introduction and Packaging
Data Robotics shipped their first product 10 years ago. Dubbed the Drobo (short for Data Robot), it was a 4-bay hot-swappable USB 2.0 connected external storage device. At a time where RAID was still a term mostly unknown to typical PC users, the Drobo was already pushing the concept of data redundancy past what those familiar with RAID were used to. BeyondRAID offered a form of redundant data storage that decoupled rigid RAID structures from fixed capacity disk packs. While most RAID volumes were 'dumb', BeyondRAID was aware of what was stored within its partitions, distributing that data in block format across the available disks. This not only significantly speed up rebuilding (only used portions of the disks need be recopied), it allowed for other cool tricks like the ability to mix drive capacities within the same array. Switching between parity levels could also be done on-the-fly and with significantly less effort than traditional RAID migrations.
While all of the above was great, the original Drobo saw performance hits from its block level management, which was limited by the processing overhead combined with the available processing power for such a device at the time. The first Drobo model was lucky to break 15 MB/s, which could not even fully saturate a USB 2.0 link. After the launch, requests for network attached capability led to the launch of the DroboShare, which could act as a USB to ethernet bridge. It worked but was still limited by the link speed of the connected Drobo. A Drobo FS launched a few years later, but it was not much quicker. Three years after that we got the 5N, which was finally a worthy contender in the space.
10 years and nearly a dozen models later, we now have the Drobo 5N2, which will replace the aging 5N. The newer model retains the same 5-bay form factor and mSATA bay for optional SSD cache but adds a second bondable Gigabit Ethernet port and upgrades most of the internals. Faster hardware specs and newer more capable firmware enables increased throughput and volume sizes up to 64TB. Since BeyondRAID is thin provisioned, you always make the volume as large as it can be and simply add disk capacity as the amount of stored content grows over time.
Subject: General Tech | March 29, 2017 - 03:03 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, planescape, GOG
Planescape: Torment is an RPG that has a special place in a lot of peoples memories as one of the games stood out as being the best example of its genre. GOG have sold it for a while now, allowing people to revist the game or experience what exactly it is all the older gamers are reminiscing about. The problem has been that in order to make it run on newer machines with screens with resolutions somewhat better than 640x480 you needed to apply a lot of mods and hope for a bit of luck as things would often go horribly wrong. Today the Beamdog Enhanced Edition was announced, though places like Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN have already had a chance to play it.
The graphics are upscaled to the resolution of your desktop but not overly polished so you will definitely notice this is not a modern game. On the other hand the quests are still there and it is not like many recent games feature a tour through the Outer Planes? You can grab it at GOG for 30% off if you already own the original, or pay $20 otherwise. You should also check out the changelog RPS captured from the webpage, there are some rather amusing notes found within for those who have played the game before.
"Not played PST before? PSTEE is all the invitation you need. Native high-res support, scaleable UI, a few helping hands and most of all it just works. Played PST before? Well, like me, the last time round you probably did it modded, and as such PSTEE, though a smoother ride, won’t feel particularly revelatory. If it’s your first time back since 1999, however, rest assured that it treats your memories well."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Persona 5 brings depth and complexity to its Robin Hood tale @ Ars Technica
- Wot I Think: Afghanistan 11 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Mass Effect Andromeda Performance Analysis @ Kitguru
- Rocket League gets Dropshot mode and Easter treats @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Roam free: A history of open-world gaming @ Ars Technica
- Endless Space 2 adds multiplayer, Riftborn faction @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | March 29, 2017 - 01:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: windows 10
Ars Technica takes you on a walk through the upcoming Creators Update for Windows 10, which will start being installed on machines in just under two weeks. Starting with the good, there are some interesting new features, such as Edge now being able to display EPUB titles natively even if you will not have the ability to mark up those pages as you can websites. It also sees the inclusion of Windows Holographic API, though as of yet nothing apart from MSPaint seems to benefit from this addition. Game Mode will also appear for users, with support for both win32 and UWP applications, though you will have to adjust settings in the non-UWP to enable the new feature.
There is a long list of other changes, for both better and worse, which you can check out in the full article.
"The next big update to Windows 10 is nearly upon us: Windows 10 version 1703, known as the Creators Update, will be published to Windows Update next Patch Tuesday, on April 11th."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Swan: Better Linux on Windows @ Hack a Day
- Source Parts on TaoBao: An Insider’s Guide @ Hack a Day
- Apple squashes cert-handling bug affecting macOS and iOS @ The Register
- So my ISP can now sell my browsing history – what can I do? @ The Register
Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 29, 2017 - 12:00 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: SFX PSU, modular phone, FSP Group, 80 Plus Gold
With small form factor systems growing in popularity, the market for SFX PSUs is increasing as well. FSP have just released their new Dagger family of SFX PSUs with two models, a $100 500W and a $110 600W. Both of these PSUs feature single 12V rails and are rated 80 Plus Gold, the internals are based off of server quality PCBs and offer DC to DC power.
They ship with a removable backplate to allow them to be used in full sized builds as well, with the small size of the PSU leaving more space in your case for cooling solutions and air flow. The PSU itself is cooled by an 80mm fan, about as large as you can fit in the 125x63.5x110 mm shell.
The Dagger is fully modular, with flat cables to make cable management even easier. The PSU ships with two PCIe 6+2 power connectors, five SATA, two molex and a floppy plug in addition to the motherboard power cables. You can check out the video below, or click through to read the full PR from FSP.
Subject: General Tech | March 29, 2017 - 03:04 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: tesla, tencent
Five percent of Tesla Motors has just been purchased by Tencent Holdings Limited. For our audience, this could be interesting in two ways. First, Tesla Motors is currently home to Jim Keller, who designed several CPUs architectures at AMD and Apple, including AMD’s K8, Apple’s A4 and A5, and AMD’s recent Zen. Second, Tencent has been purchasing minority chunks of several companies, including almost half of Epic Games, five percent of Activision Blizzard, and a few others, but the move into automotive technologies is somewhat new for them.
From Tesla’s perspective, Tencent could be strong leverage into the Chinese market. In fact, Elon Musk tweeted to Bloomberg Business that they are glad to have Tencent “as an investor and advisor”. Clearly, this means that they consider Tencent to be, in some fashion, an adviser for the company.
Personally, I’m curious how Tencent will affect the energy side of the company, including their subsidiary, SolarCity. I don’t really have anything to base this on, since it’s just as “out of left field” for Tencent as automotive technologies, but it’s something I’ll be occasionally glancing at none-the-less.
Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2017 - 09:54 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: zspace, VR, AR
A few weeks ago, we posted about an education company that joined the Khronos Group’s OpenXR Working Group for VR and AR APIs. As I mentioned at the time, I have a personal interest in education technologies, due in part to my background before joining PC Perspective. While the education field is in need of more than just technology, companies like zSpace are building infrastructure to deliver information in new and more varied ways, which will hopefully reach more students (and reach the rest more deeply).
As for the news: after the previous post, zSpace followed up to let us know that they’ve been accepted into the Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA) program. This is a fairly large (hundreds of millions of dollars, USD) investment fund that primarily focuses on their amount of innovation. The fund has a handful of “challenge” areas, such as health and water / electricity, that are considered for the “public good” and thus eligible. I’m guessing zSpace qualified under “Knowledge and Human Development Authority” but their press release doesn’t elaborate.
Previously accepted companies, according to Forbes, are Honeywell and Hyperloop.
I'm not sure how much of our audience is focused in the education / IT sector, so let us know in the comments if you found this follow-up relevant to you. (PC Perspective allows anonymous comments, so you don't have to jump through too many hoops to leave your opinion.)
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 28, 2017 - 04:32 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: vulkan, DirectX 12, Futuremark, 3dmark
The latest update to 3DMark adds Vulkan support to its API Overhead test, which attempts to render as many simple objects as possible while keeping above 30 FPS. This branch of game performance allows developers to add more objects into a scene, and design these art assets in a more simple, straight-forward way. This is, now, one of the first tests that can directly compare DirectX 12 and Vulkan, which we expect to be roughly equivalent, but we couldn’t tell for sure.
While I wasn’t able to run the tests myself, Luca Rocchi of Ocaholic gave it a shot on their Core i7-5820K and GTX 980. Apparently, Vulkan was just under 10% faster than DirectX 12 in their results, reaching 22.6 million draw calls in Vulkan, but 20.6 million in DirectX 12. Again, this is one test, done by a third-party, for a single system, and a single GPU driver, on a single 3D engine, and one that is designed to stress a specific portion of the API at that; take it with a grain of salt. Still, this suggests that Vulkan can keep pace with the slightly-older DirectX 12 API, and maybe even beat it.
This update also removed Mantle support. I just thought I’d mention that.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 28, 2017 - 03:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Silverstone, Strider Platinum ST1200-PT, 1200W PSU, modular psu, 80 Plus Platinum
Externally the new Silverstone Strider Platinum ST1200-PT is identical to the 1000W model, sharing the same 80 Plus Platinum rating as well as a fan which does not start to spin until the PSU hits 40% load. The internals are somewhat different, as this PSU can deliver up to 100A on the 12V line and do it without any issues as you can see in [H]ard|OCP's review. Indeed the only drawback to this PSU is one it shares with others from SilverStone; the price is on the high side compared to the competition. Then again the quality also surpasses many other PSUs in the same class, so perhaps the premium price is worth it for you?
"SilverStone comes to us with huge Platinum efficiency power with its Strider PSU rated for 1200 watts of constant power delivery. The PSU also sports a beefy feature set to go along with being able to support even the healthiest enthusiast computer build. Fanless modes below 40% power, dust filtering, and 16 sets of SATA connectors lead the list."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- RIOTORO Enigma 850W @ [H]ard|OCP
- Seasonic PRIME 1200W Platinum @ Kitguru
- Cooler Master Masterwatt Maker 1200W MIJ @ Kitguru
- Seasonic PRIME 1000W Platinum PSU @ Kitguru
Today Samsung released an update to their EVO+ microSD card line. The new model is the 'EVO Plus'. Yes, I know, it's confusing to me as well, especially when trying to research the new vs. old iterations for this mini-review. Here's a few quick visual comparisons between both models:
On the left, we have the 'older' version of the Plus (I mean the '+'), while on the right we have the new plus, designated as a '2017 model' on the Samsung site. Note the rating differences between the two. The '+' on the left is rated at UHS-I U1 (10 MB/s minimum write speed), while the newer 'Plus' version is rated at UHS-I U3 (30 MB/s minimum write speed). I also ran across what looked like the older version packaging.
The packaging on the right is what we had in hand for this review. The image on the left was found at the Samsung website, and confuses things even further, as the 'Plus' on the package does not match the markings on the card itself ('+'). It looks as if Samsung may have silently updated the specs of the 256GB '+' model at some point in the recent past, as that model claims significantly faster write speeds (90 MB/s) than the older/other '+' models previously claimed (~20 MB/s). With that confusion out of the way, let's dig into the specs of this newest EVO Plus:
For clarification on the Speed Class and Grade, I direct you to our previous article covering those aspects in detail. For here I'll briefly state that the interface can handle 104 MB/s while the media itself is required to sustain a minimum of 30 MB/s of typical streaming recorded content. The specs go on to claim 100MB/s reads and 90 MB/s writes (60 MB/s for the 64GB model). Doing some quick checks, here's what I saw with some simple file copies to and from a 128GB EVO Plus:
Our figures didn't exceed the specified performance, but they came close, which more than satisfies their 'up to' claim, with over 80 MB/s writes and 93 MB/s reads. I was able to separately confirm 85-89 MB/s writes and 99 MB/s reads with Iometer accessing with 128KB sequential transfers.
- 32GB: $29.99
- 64GB: $49.99
- 128GB: $99.99
- 256GB: coming soon (but there is already a 256GB EVO+ of similar specs???)
Pricing seems to be running a bit high on these, with pricing running close to double of the previous version of this very same part (the EVO+ 128GB can be found for $50 at the time of this writing). Sure you are getting a U3 rated card with over four times the achievable write speed, but the reads are very similar, and if your camera only requires U1 speeds, the price premium does not seem to be worthwhile. It is also worth noting that even faster UHS-II spec cards that transfer at 150 MB/s can be had and even come with a reader at a lower cost.
In summary, the Samsung EVO Plus microSD cards look to be decent performers, but the pricing needs to come down some to be truly competitive in this space. I'd also like to see the product labeling and marketing a bit more clear between the '+' and the 'Plus' models, as they can easily confuse those not so familiar with SD card classes and grades. It also makes searching for them rather difficult, as most search engines parse 'Plus' interchangeably with '+', adding to the potential confusion.
Subject: Mobile | March 28, 2017 - 01:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: thx, Razer Blade Pro V, razer, gaming laptop, 4k, 1080
THX Certification, likely familiar to any movie-goers, is a standard which details certain display and audio requirements and it would seem that the new Razer Blade is the first gaming laptop to meet their standards. The display is 4K 17.3" IGZO G-SYNC panel, which has an LED backlight and capacitive multi-touch and is capable of displaying 100% of Adobe RGB colour space. The audio is a 7.1 Codec which supports Dolby Digital Plus Home Theater Edition as well as a THX Certified 3.5mm combo audio port which can drive high end headphones.
Inside you will find a Core i7-7820HK, overclocked to reach a peak of 4.3GHz, an 8GB GTX 1080, 32GB of DDR4-2667 and two PCIe SSDs in RAID 0 of up to 2TB in size. As well the Razer offers an ultra-low-profile mechanical keyboard and Killer DoubleShot Pro, which is a Killer Wireless-AC 1535 NIC as well as a Killer E2500.
You can read the full PR under the fold or head straight to the website.
Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2017 - 01:04 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, Vega, rumour, HBM2
The Inquirer have posted a tiny bit of information about AMD's upcoming Vega and as any rumours about the new GPU are hard to find it is the best we have at the moment. AMD's claim is that the second generation HBM present on the 4GB and 8GB models could offer equivalent memory bandwidth to a GTX 1080 Ti, which makes perfect sense. The GTX 1080 Ti offers 484 GB/s of memory bandwidth while AMD's R9 series first generation HBM offers 512 GB/s. The real trick is filling that pipeline to give AMD's HBM2 based cards a chance to shine and which depends on software developers as much as it does the hardware. As well, The Inquirer discusses the possible efficiency advantages that Vega will have, which could result in smaller cards as well as an effective mobile product. Pop over to take a look at the current rumours, here is hoping we can provide more detailed information in the near future.
"AMD HAS TEASED more information about its forthcoming Vega-based graphics cards, revealing that they will come with either 4GB or 8GB memory and hinting that a launch is imminent."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- iPhone-havers think they're safe. But they're not @ The Register
- FYI Docs.com users: You may have leaked passwords, personal info – thousands have @ The Register
- LastPass scrambles to fix another major flaw – once again spotted by Google's bugfinders @ The Register
- Johnny Depp signs on to play John McAfee in a film of his life @ The Inquirer
- Samsung 4K Blu-ray Player @ Hardware Secrets
- Futuremark Ends Support for 3DMark Vantage and PCMark Vantage @ [H]ard|OCP
- Konica Minolta Unveils the Future of Work, Or At Least Its Version @ Kitguru
- Win a PC hardware bundle with Gigabyte AORUS, HyperX and KitGuru
The Need for Speed
Around here storage is Allyn’s territory, but I decided to share my experience with a new $20 flash drive I picked up that promised some impressive speeds via USB 3.0. The drive is the Lexar JumpDrive P20, and I bought the 32GB version, which is the lowest capacity of the three drives in the series. 64GB and 128GB versions of the JumpDrive P20 are available, with advertised speeds of up to 400 MB/s from all three, and reads and up to 270 MB/s writes - if you buy the largest capacity.
My humble 32GB model still boasts up to 140 MB/s writes, which would be faster than any USB drive I’ve ever owned (my SanDisk Extreme USB 3.0 16GB drive is limited to 60 MB/s writes, and can hit about 190 MB/s reads), and the speeds of the P20 even approach that of some lower capacity SATA 3 SSDs - if it lives up to the claims. The price was right, so I took the plunge. (My hard-earned $20 at stake!)
Size comparison with other USB flash drives on hand (P20 on far right)
First we'll look at the features from Lexar:
- Among the fastest USB flash drives available, with speeds up to 400MB/s read and 270MB/s write
- Sleek design with metal alloy base and high-gloss mirror finish top
- Securely protects files using EncryptStick Lite software, an advanced security solution with 256-bit AES encryption
- Reliably stores and transfers files, photos, videos, and more
- High-capacity options to store more files on the go
- Compatible with PC and Mac systems
- Backwards compatible with USB 2.0 devices
- Limited lifetime warranty
Subject: Processors | March 28, 2017 - 11:48 AM | Morry Teitelman
Tagged: FinalWire, aida64, ryzen, amd, Intel
Courtesy of FinalWire
Today, FinalWire Ltd. announced the release of version 5.90 of their diagnostic and benchmarking tool, AIDA64. This new version updates their Extreme Edition, Engineer Edition, and Business Edition of the software, available here.
The latest version of AIDA64 has been optimized to work with AMD's Ryzen "Summit Ridge" and Intel's "Apollo Lake" processors, as well as updated to work with Microsoft's Windows 10 Creators Update release. The benchmarks and performance tests housed within AIDA64 have been updated for the Ryzen processor to utilize the VX2, FMA3, AES-NI and SHA instruction sets.
New features include:
- AVX2 and FMA accelerated 64-bit benchmarks for AMD Ryzen Summit Ridge processors
- Microsoft Windows 10 Creators Update support
- Optimized 64-bit benchmarks for Intel Apollo Lake SoC
- Improved support for Intel Cannonlake, Coffee Lake, Denverton, Kaby Lake-X, Skylake-X CPUs
- Preliminary support for AMD Zen server processors
- Preliminary support for Intel Gemini Lake SoC and Knights Mill HPC CPU
- NZXT Kraken X52 sensor support
- Socket AM4 motherboards support
- Improved support for Intel B250, H270, Q270 and Z270 chipset based motherboards
- EastRising ER-OLEDM032 (SSD1322) OLED support
- SMBIOS 3.1.1 support
- Crucial M600, Crucial MX300, Intel Pro 5400s, SanDisk Plus, WD Blue SSD support
- Improved support for Samsung NVMe SSDs
- Advanced support for HighPoint RocketRAID 27xx RAID controllers
- GPU details for nVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, Quadro GP100, Tesla P6
Software updates new to this release (since AIDA64 v5.00):
- AVX and FMA accelerated FP32 and FP64 ray tracing benchmarks
- Vulkan graphics accelerator diagnostics
- RemoteSensor smartphone and tablet LCD integration
- Logitech Arx Control smartphone and tablet LCD integration
- Microsoft Windows 10 TH2 (November Update) support
- Proper DPI scaling to better support high-resolution LCD and OLED displays
- AVX and FMA accelerated 64-bit benchmarks for AMD A-Series Bristol Ridge and Carrizo APUs
- AVX2 and FMA accelerated 64-bit benchmarks for Intel Broadwell, Kaby Lake and Skylake CPUs
- AVX and SSE accelerated 64-bit benchmarks for AMD Nolan APU
- Optimized 64-bit benchmarks for Intel Braswell and Cherry Trail processors
- Advanced SMART disk health monitoring
- Hot Keys to switch LCD pages, start or stop logging, show or hide SensorPanel
- Corsair K65, K70, K95, Corsair Strafe, Logitech G13, G19, G19s, G910, Razer Chroma RGB LED keyboard support
- Corsair, Logitech, Razer RGB LED mouse support
- Corsair and Razer RGB LED mousepad support
- AlphaCool Heatmaster II, Aquaduct, Aquaero, AquaStream XT, AquaStream Ultimate, Farbwerk, MPS, NZXT GRID+ V2, PowerAdjust 2, PowerAdjust 3 sensor devices support
- Improved Corsair Link sensor support
- NZXT Kraken water cooling sensor support
- Corsair AXi, Corsair HXi, Corsair RMi, Enermax Digifanless, Thermaltake DPS-G power supply unit sensor support
- Support for Gravitech, LCD Smartie Hardware, Leo Bodnar, Modding-FAQ, Noteu, Odospace, Saitek Pro Flight Instrument Panel, Saitek X52 Pro, UCSD LCD devices
- Portrait mode support for AlphaCool and Samsung SPF LCDs
- System certificates information
- Advanced support for Adaptec and Marvell RAID controllers
AIDA64 is developed by FinalWire Ltd., headquartered in Budapest, Hungary. The company’s founding members are veteran software developers who have worked together on programming system utilities for more than two decades. Currently, they have ten products in their portfolio, all based on the award-winning AIDA technology: AIDA64 Extreme, AIDA64 Engineer, AIDA64 Network Audit, AIDA64 Business and AIDA64 for Android,, iOS, Sailfish OS, Tizen, Ubuntu Touch and Windows Phone. For more information, visit www.aida64.com.
Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2017 - 02:55 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: starcraft, pc gaming, blizzard
On the night of the GSL Season 1 finals, and the week of StarCraft’s 19th birthday, Blizzard made a couple of announcements associated with the game. First, the game will receive a patch (1.18a) with an official observer mode, improved support for Windows 7, 8.1, and 10, support for the UTF-8 character set, and a couple of bug fixes.
It will also be made free. Anyone can download and play it.
But... if you want a graphical upgrade, Blizzard also announced the (not free) StarCraft Remastered edition. This will arrive in the summer, and it will include new audio and artwork, bringing the early-Windows 9x graphics up to 4K (with 1080p cutscenes). The gameplay will be the same, to the point of even being cross-play compatible with the original game’s multiplayer. The addition of Battle.net skill-based matchmaking will apparently be exclusive to owners of the Remastered edition, though.
The 1.18a patch will arrive in a couple of days, making the original (non-Remastered) game free. The Remastered edition will arrive in the summer, but no word on price yet.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 27, 2017 - 02:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Cougar, Panzer Max, eatx
Calling the Cougar Panzer Max a tank is something of an exaggeration but at 266x612x556mm (10.5x24x21.9") it is certainly large and capable of housing even eATX motherboards. The size also allows up to eight drives to be installed as well as eight 120mm or almost as many 140mm fans or the equivalent radiators, with a full installation you will be glad of the handles on the top. TechPowerUp gives this case high marks but the Panzer Max did fall short of perfection, see if you agree with what they felt could have been better implemented by Cougar in their full review.
"The Cougar Panzer Max is a full-tower representation of the Panzer chassis. It is larger, bulkier, has more space, and looks a lot more menacing to boot. It really does resemble a tank, which is what "Panzer'' means in German. So in this review, we take the Panzer Max for a joy ride, fill it with some ammunition, and see if it is a straight shooter."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Thermaltake Core P3 @ Hardware Secrets
- Antec Cube Certified By EKWB Mini-ITX Case Review @ NikKTech
- Cryorig R1 Ultimate Cooler @ Kitguru
- Thermaltake Water 3.0 Riing RGB 360 Edition Liquid CPU Cooler Review @ NikKTech
- Cryorig H7 Air Cooler @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2017 - 01:32 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: bloody, B820R Light Strike RGB Animation, gaming keyboard, input, LK Optic Switch
We have seen a handful of Bloody keyboards on the market, with their unique take on switches. They use an LK Optic Switch as opposed to a mechanical switch, it detects keypresses when an photosensors detect an interruption in the beam emanating from the infrared LEDs within the keyboard. The other difference in the design comes from the RGB feature, instead of being integral to the key they are actually installed in the body of the keyboard. Benchmark Reviews have become somewhat expert at Bloody keyboards, check out what they thought of this model in their full review.
"In this article for Benchmark Reviews, we’ll take a closer look at the Bloody B820R Light Strike RGB Animation Gaming Keyboard, and determine if this latest offering has what it takes to set itself apart from the rest of the mechanical keyboard market."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- GAMDIAS Hermes RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ TechARP
- Silverstone ES02-USB 2.4GHz Wireless PC Remote Control Kit @ Modders-Inc
- Razer DeathAdder Elite Mouse @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2017 - 12:40 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: security, flash, fedex, coupon
FedEx seems to be indicating they are not quite ready for Adobe Flash to go away, by offering certain customers a $5.00 coupon to enable it. This was likely triggered by the mass migration of browsers from Adobe's much beleaguered media program; Chrome only loads Flash content after user intervention and both Edge and Firefox will soon discontinue support as well. The offer is for FedEx Office Print customers but you can certainly take a peek yourself if you want to try it, though The Register cautions against abusing it lest we all lose the benefit. There is a link to download Flash on FedEx's website but if you do decide to update or install Flash we would suggest you head straight to Adobe to get it.
"The offer's being made to users of FedEx Office Print, the custom printing tentacle of the transport company. FedEx Office Print lets customers design posters, signs, manuals, banners and even promotional magnets."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Galaxy Note 7 Is Not Dead, Samsung Says It Will Sell Refurbished Units @ Slashdot
- Replica Fallout Terminal @ Hack a Day
- AMD Ryzen forces price cuts to legacy FX and A10 CPUs @ The Inquirer
- An insecure dishwasher has entered the IoT war against humanity @ The Inquirer
- Netgear Orbi @ PC Review
- Inside OpenSSL's battle to change its license: Coders' rights, tech giants, patents and more @ The Register
- The Spotify Q&A Session With Sunita Kaur @ Tech ARP
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