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Manufacturer: Alphacool

Introduction and Specifications

Alphacool's Eisbaer is a line of pre-assembled liquid CPU coolers using standard parts that add quick-release connections to make adding components to the loop simple. Today we'll have a look at the 360 mm and 280 mm versions of the Eisbaer and see what kind of performance you can expect from an all-in-one solution from a respected brand in custom liquid cooling.

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"With the Alphacool “Eisbaer”, we’re offering an extremely quiet high-performance cooler for every CPU on the market currently. A closed water cooling system that’s easy to install and can be easily and safely expanded with its quick-lock closure."

Not all AiO liquid coolers are created equal, of course, with different materials and approaches; and there are generally tradeoffs to be made between design and pricing. The best performance can result in pumps and fans that produce more noise than a high-performance air solution, while some liquid coolers manage to balance noise and performance in a way that makes liquid a far more attractive option - especially when overclocking a CPU.

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True to the premium nature of a product line like this, Alphacool has incorportated first-rate components into the Eisbaer series including all-copper radiators, high-performance fans, and touches like anti-kink springs for the hoses. The capability of easily adding a GPU to the loop with the quick-lock closure (Alphacool offers a line of GPU products called "Eiswolf" that connect with these quick-lock closures) is a nice plus, and the use of standard G1/4 fittings ensures compatibility with custom parts for future expansion/modification.

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The Eisbaer 360 spending some quality time on the test bench

Continue reading our review of the Alphacool Eisbaer 360 and 280 liquid CPU coolers!

PCPer Live! Aimpad Analog Keyboard Technology Discussion

Subject: General Tech | May 24, 2017 - 04:42 PM |
Tagged: lance madsen, keyboard, analog, aimpad

If you missed the live stream, we have the VOD below! This is a compelling discussion about the benefits of having an analog keyboard - definitely worth watching if you are a dedicated PC gamer!

You might not have heard of the company or the technology yet, but Aimpad is set to bring about another drastic change to the world of gaming keyboards. Lance Madsen will join us from Aimpad to talk about the idea of an analog keyboard, and why having keys that aren't simply on or off can benefit gamers as they strive to find the best possible experiences.

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In our live stream we will be talking about the technology that makes it work, how it will be integrated into future keyboards, and walk through a handful of demonstrations of the technology at work on a prototype keyboard integration. 

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Aimpad Analog Keyboard Live Stream

1pm PT / 4pm ET - May 23rd

PC Perspective Live! Page

Need a reminder? Join our live mailing list!

The event will take place Tuesday, May 23rd at 4pm ET / 1pm PT at http://www.pcper.com/live. There you’ll be able to catch the live video stream as well as use our chat room to interact with the audience, asking questions for me and Lance to answer live. 

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If you have questions, please leave them in the comments below and we'll look through them just before the start of the live stream. Of course you'll be able to tweet us questions @pcper and we'll be keeping an eye on the IRC chat as well for more inquiries. What do you want to know and hear from Tom or I?

So join us! Set your calendar for this coming Tuesday at 4pm ET / 1pm PT and be here at PC Perspective to catch it. If you are a forgetful type of person, sign up for the PC Perspective Live mailing list that we use exclusively to notify users of upcoming live streaming events including these types of specials and our regular live podcast. I promise, no spam will be had!

MSI's Z270 Krait Gaming shows off its stripes

Subject: Motherboards | May 24, 2017 - 03:45 PM |
Tagged: msi, Z270 Krait Gaming, intel z270, Intel

For around $150 the MSI Krait Gaming motherboard is a decent deal for anyone building a computer around an LGA 1151 Intel processor.  With three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and an additional three PCIe 3.0 1x slots you have a lot of space to install additional cards.  The storage is equally expansive with six SATA 6Gbps ports as well as two M.2 slots for newer generation SSDs and there are a total of 16 USB ports split between 3.0 and 2.0 including a Type-C port.  The overclocking potential is also impressive, [H]ard|OCP easily configured  their i7-7600K to run at 5.1GHz with memory at 3600MHz.  Overall the board is a great mix of price and features and well worth considering.

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"While it is generally the flagship motherboards that grab the most attention, it's the midrange offerings that see the most sales. MSI's Z270 Krait Gaming motherboard is one of those bread and butter type offerings. It has everything the gamer needs without the unnecessary and expensive fluff."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

DOOM Guy gets hot and bothered

Subject: General Tech | May 24, 2017 - 02:24 PM |
Tagged: doom, gaming, hack, mod

It's the May Two-Four so you have probably turned down your furnace* and your thermostat has very little to do, so why not play a game of DOOM on it?  Over at Hack a Day you can get a port of Chocolate DOOM which you can set up and run on a Honeywell Prestige thermostat.  The colour may be better than the original but for now you will have to play it without sound, still it is impressive how far hardware has come, even in simple appliances.

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*offer may not be valid in Wyoming

"In his video, [cz7asm] shows us the game running quite nicely on the 480 x 272 LCD with an NES controller plugged into the USB port originally intended for software updates. The thermostat runs on a STM32F429 which is an ARM9 processor that has the juice to pull it off."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

Source: Hack a Day

Fractal Design launch new Focus G Series

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 24, 2017 - 01:44 PM |
Tagged: fractal design, Focus G, Focus G Mini

Fractal Design launched two new cases for those who want a good looking case and value a good deal.  The Focus G is a full sized ATX case, available in black, white, petrol blue, mystic red, and gunmetal gray while the Focus G Mini is black and intended for SFF builds using an ITX or mATX motherboard.  Both the cases will retail for $50US and ship with a pair of 120mm Silent Series LED fans, with a total of six mounting points for fans or radiators.

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The case is large enough to hold coolers of up to 165mm in height and GPUs up to 380mm long.  They have also designed it to give you 25mm of space behind the motherboard tray to make it easier to hide your cabling.  Check out the full PR below the specifications.

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Sweden, May 24, 2017 – The new Focus G series from Fractal Design is the cornerstone for your PC build, showcasing the hardware aesthetics at the heart of your system with elegant accents and sophisticated style.

Contemporary ATX (Focus G) and Micro ATX (Focus G Mini) case designs accommodates high-performance components with smart and efficient space utilization for a compact footprint.
Extensive cooling options are available with support for tall CPU heatsink/fan combos and water cooling with multiple radiator configurations.
Filtered front, top and base air intakes maintain a dust-free environment while expert cable management options keep wiring tidy. With edge-to-edge visibility, clean contemporary styling and two Silent Series LED fans, the Focus G series makes your hardware the center of attention.

Key features of the Focus G Series
• Two preinstalled Fractal Design Silent Series LL 120mm White LED fans • Focus G available in Black, White, Petrol Blue, Mystic Red, and Gunmetal Gray • Focus G Mini available in Black • Large windowed side panel • Six total fan positions for high-airflow capability • Filtered front, top and base air intakes for a dust free interior • Support for high-profile CPU coolers and multiple radiator configurations • 18 - 25 mm of space for cable routing behind the motherboard plate • Support for graphics cards up to 380 mm long without compromising hard drive space • Two vibration dampened universal drive bays with support for 6TB+ HDDs and 15mm SSDs, plus an additional 2.5" mount behind the motherboard tray.

New AMD products with go forth July

Subject: General Tech | May 24, 2017 - 01:24 PM |
Tagged: amd, Vega, ryzen 3, rumour

On a recent investors call AMD's head, Lisa Su, let it slip that the Radeon RX Vega family will be arriving on the market this July, shortly after we see the Frontier Edition launch.  The Inquirer also mentions that this is likely to indicate a similar launch time for the Ryzen 3 family, which seems a sound presumption.  During the call she set some dates for AMD's next generation of processors, they will be taping out their 7nm products later this year with Zen 2 scheduled for 2018 and Zen 3 in 2020.  It is also likely we will not be seeing mobile Zen parts at Computex; next year is far more likely to be their target.  Still, this has been an exciting year for enthusiasts with a wide variety of parts launched already and more on the way.

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"Su revealed that the company was planning a late-June release date for the Frontier Edition of the company's next-generation graphics card, with the more mainstream Radeon RX Vega coming out the following month."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer
Manufacturer: The Khronos Group

The Right People to Interview

Last week, we reported that OpenCL’s roadmap would be merging into Vulkan, and OpenCL would, starting at some unspecified time in the future, be based “on an extended version of the Vulkan API”. This was based on quotes from several emails between myself and the Khronos Group.

Since that post, I had the opportunity to have a phone interview with Neil Trevett, president of the Khronos Group and chairman of the OpenCL working group, and Tom Olson, chairman of the Vulkan working group. We spent a little over a half hour going over Neil’s International Workshop on OpenCL (IWOCL) presentation, discussing the decision, and answering a few lingering questions. This post will present the results of that conference call in a clean, readable way.

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First and foremost, while OpenCL is planning to merge into the Vulkan API, the Khronos Group wants to make it clear that “all of the merging” is coming from the OpenCL working group. The Vulkan API roadmap is not affected by this decision. Of course, the Vulkan working group will be able to take advantage of technologies that are dropping into their lap, but those discussions have not even begun yet.

Neil: Vulkan has its mission and its roadmap, and it’s going ahead on that. OpenCL is doing all of the merging. We’re kind-of coming in to head in the Vulkan direction.

Does that mean, in the future, that there’s a bigger wealth of opportunity to figure out how we can take advantage of all this kind of mutual work? The answer is yes, but we haven’t started those discussions yet. I’m actually excited to have those discussions, and are many people, but that’s a clarity. We haven’t started yet on how Vulkan, itself, is changed (if at all) by this. So that’s kind-of the clarity that I think is important for everyone out there trying to understand what’s going on.

Tom also prepared an opening statement. It’s not as easy to abbreviate, so it’s here unabridged.

Tom: I think that’s fair. From the Vulkan point of view, the way the working group thinks about this is that Vulkan is an abstract machine, or at least there’s an abstract machine underlying it. We have a programming language for it, called SPIR-V, and we have an interface controlling it, called the API. And that machine, in its full glory… it’s a GPU, basically, and it’s got lots of graphics functionality. But you don’t have to use that. And the API and the programming language are very general. And you can build lots of things with them. So it’s great, from our point of view, that the OpenCL group, with their special expertise, can use that and leverage that. That’s terrific, and we’re fully behind it, and we’ll help them all we can. We do have our own constituency to serve, which is the high-performance game developer first and foremost, and we are going to continue to serve them as our main mission.

So we’re not changing our roadmap so much as trying to make sure we’re a good platform for other functionality to be built on.

Neil then went on to mention that the decision to merge OpenCL’s roadmap into the Vulkan API took place only a couple of weeks ago. The purpose of the press release was to reach OpenCL developers and get their feedback. According to him, they did a show of hands at the conference, with a room full of a hundred OpenCL developers, and no-one was against moving to the Vulkan API. This gives them confidence that developers will accept the decision, and that their needs will be served by it.

Next up is the why. Read on for more.

Connect, Command, Control: Introducing a New Range of CORSAIR LINK Fan and Lighting Controllers

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 23, 2017 - 06:27 PM |
Tagged: corsair, Commander PRO, Lighting Node PRO, HD140 RGB Fans

Corsair have announced several new products today; the Commander PRO, Lighting Node PRO and HD140 RGB fans.   The Commander PRO is Corsair Link compatible fan controller with some extra tricks up its sleeve.  Not only does it offer six fan connectors, there are a pair of internal USB ports, as well as two RGB connectors for LED lighting strips and four temperature control inputs.  Combine this with the CORSAIR LINK Dashboard and you can keep tabs on everything from coolant temperatures to fan speeds.

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Next up are the CORSAIR Lighting Node PRO strips, which you would connect to the Commander or to any USB 2.0 port.  These strangely familiar lighting strips can be installed in your machine and individually controlled to provide a programmable light show inside your case.  You can attach them via mounting tape backings or magnets and they are full of all the RGBs you could dream of.

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Last, but not least are the HD140 RGB fans, which as you have no doubt already determined, are 140mm fans each with a dozen RGB LEDs.  The HD indicates these are high static pressure fans suitable for use on a radiator or for air cooling.  They can be connected to the Lighting Node PRO for complete control or you can use the built in modes for simple lighting. 

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Can you handle another full PR or would you prefer a video ...

FREMONT, CA –May 23rd, 2017 - CORSAIR®, a world leader in enthusiast memory, high-performance gaming hardware and PC components today announced the launch of the Commander PRO and Lighting Node PRO fan and lighting controllers, alongside the new HD140 RGB series of RGB cooling fans.
Controlled by CORSAIR LINK software, Commander PRO is the ultimate in system control, providing complete command of up to six 4-pin PWM fans, two RGB lighting channels, four temperature sensors and two USB 2.0 headers.
Lighting Node PRO lights up your PC like never before, with two CORSAIR LINK controlled RGB lighting channels and four included individually addressable RGB LED light strips, each equipped with ten RGB LEDs for brilliant, customizable, system illumination.

Finally, HD140 RGB joins the award-winning range of CORSAIR RGB cooling fans. Each 140mm fan boasts twelve vibrant, individually addressable LEDs, software controllable in CORSAIR LINK using either Commander PRO or Lighting Node PRO.

Providing total control of your PC’s cooling and lighting, Commander PRO, Lighting Node PRO and HD140 RGB combine with CORSAIR LINK to put you in command.

Commander PRO
Offering the ultimate in CORSAIR LINK system control, Commander PRO has everything you need to take complete control of your PC’s cooling, monitoring, and lighting. Six 4-pin PWM fan headers provide total control of your cooling fans, from dead-stop to maximum speed, and anywhere in-between, using programmable fan curves in CORSAIR LINK. Two RGB lighting channels give instant RGB control of compatible CORSAIR RGB fans (up to six fans per channel) or CORSAIR RGB lighting strips (fours strips per channel).
Commander PRO also boasts four included thermistor inputs to provide additional temperature data from anywhere in your system, allowing fan speeds and lighting effects to respond to rising temperatures automatically. With the wealth of CORSAIR LINK enabled products from AXi, HXi, and RMi PSUs to CORSAIR Hydro Series liquid CPU coolers, Commander PRO offers a simple way to connect them, thanks to its pair of internal USB 2.0 headers. This frees up space on the motherboard and reduces cable clutter in your system.
Combining all the functions of a fan controller, lighting controller, temperature probe and internal USB 2.0 hub into a single CORSAIR LINK controlled device, you only need one Commander PRO for total control.

Lighting Node PRO
Lighting Node PRO provides vivid lighting effects and custom color combinations for up to twelve CORSAIR SP RGB or HD RGB fans (six per channel) or eight CORSAIR RGB Lighting strips (four per channel). The ideal addition to a CORSAIR Crystal Series 460X or 570X case, Lighting Node PRO lets you take complete software control of your case’s RGB fans in CORSAIR LINK, granting access to a host of new lighting options, from smooth transitions to adaptive lighting that reacts to component temperatures. Included with Lighting Node PRO are four individually addressable RGB LED lighting strips, each equipped with ten ultra-bright RGB LEDs ready to light up your system. Each strip includes an extension cable for easy routing and placement inside your case, while integrated magnetic mounts in each strip make them easy to install. With everything you need to bring CORSAIR LINK controlled RGB lighting to your PC, Lighting Node PRO makes it easier than ever before to light up your PC your way.

HD140 RGB Fans
Joining the award-winning HD series of RGB cooling fans, HD140 RGB combines increased airflow with twelve individually addressable LEDs for 360° of RGB every time you turn on your PC. Equipped with a low-noise hydraulic bearing and ultra-thin fan blades, HD140 RGB fans might draw attention for their looks, but not their noise, and with 4-pin PWM control, it’s simple to customize performance using Commander PRO or any 4-pin fan header. Including an easy-access 3-button controller to cycle through vivid animation presets, HD140 RGB comes to life when connected to a Commander PRO or Lighting Node PRO, unlocking nearly endless customization and lighting effects. Available as a single, or twin-pack, HD140 RGB lets you go big on fans, and bold on lighting.

Availability, Warranty and Pricing:
The CORSAIR Commander PRO, Lighting Node PRO and HD140 RGB series of fans are available immediately from the CORSAIR worldwide network of authorized retailers and distributors. All three products are backed by a two-year warranty and the CORSAIR worldwide customer support network. For up-to-date pricing, please refer to the links below or contact your local CORSAIR sales or PR representative.
 

Source: Corsair

EK is releasing new GeForce GTX FE Full-Cover water blocks

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 23, 2017 - 03:58 PM |
Tagged: ek cooling, pascal, nvidia, waterblock, GTX FE

The current series of EK Cooling waterblocks for Pascal based GPUs, up to and including the new Titan X are being replaced with a new family of coolers.  The new GTX FE water blocks will be compatible with the previous generation of backplates, so you can do a partial upgrade or keep an eye out for discounts on the previous generation.

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These new coolers will fit on any Founders Edition reference card, from GTX 1060's through to the Titan X, currently that count stands at 106 unique graphics cards so your card is likely to be compatible.  You can choose between four models, a plain design, one with acetal, one with nickel and one with both acetal and nickel, whichever one you choose it will still run you 109.95€/$125USD

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Full PR is below.

EK Water Blocks, the Slovenia-based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer, is releasing several new EK-FC GeForce GTX FE water blocks that are compatible with multiple reference design Founders Edition NVIDIA® GeForce GTX 1060, 1070, 1080, 1080 Ti, Titan X Pascal and Titan Xp based graphics cards. All the water blocks feature recently introduced aesthetic terminal cover as well! FE blocks come as a replacement to current GeForce GTX 10x0 / TITAN X Series of water blocks.

All current GeForce GTX 10x0 / TITAN X Series of water blocks are going to be discontinued after the stock runs out and FE blocks come as a complete replacement. FE blocks are designed to fit all reference design Founders Edition NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060, 1070, 1080, 1080 Ti, Titan X Pascal and Titan Xp based graphics cards. The current compatibility list rounds up a total of 106 graphics cards that are on the market, but as always, we recommend that you refer to the EK Cooling Configurator for a precise compatibility match.

The new EK-FC GeForce GTX FE water blocks are also backward compatible with all EK-FC1080 GTX Backplates, EK-FC1080 GTX Ti Backplates, and EK-FC Titan X Pascal Backplates.

Availability and pricing
These water blocks are made in Slovenia, Europe and are available for purchase through EK Webshop and Partner Reseller Network. In the table below you can see manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) with VAT included.

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FSP introduces the new Hydro PTM+ liquid cooled PSU

Subject: Cases and Cooling, Shows and Expos | May 23, 2017 - 03:28 PM |
Tagged: FSP Group, water cooling, modular psu, Hydro PTM+, 80 Plus Platinum PSU, kilowatt, computex

FSP will be showing off several new products at Computex but the most interesting, by far, is a watercooled PSU called the Hydro PTM+.  Under normal operations this is a 1200W modular PSU with an 80 PLUS Platinum rating, but include it in a cooling loop and it will provide up to 1400W of power.  It can also be run silently up to 50% load, so if you only need ~600W this might still be of use if you are attempting a silent build and yes, there are LEDs on the PSU.  Hopefully we can see some more revealing pictures from Computex with the internal layout exposed.

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They will also be showing off the world's smallest 850W PSU, the 80 Plus Platinum certified FLEX as well as a not so petite 1600W 80 Plus Platinum PSU for servers and the more extreme of us.  Along with those PSUs they are introducing the The ERK, or Easy Redundant Kit, which allows you to hook up two independent PSUs which don't normally support redundancy and rely on them just as if they were.  Check out the full PR below.

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May 23, Taipei, Taiwan – FSP, one of the leading manufacturers of power supplies in the world is pleased to unveil its focus on delivering continued performance at Computex 2017. FSP’s new power and gaming solutions were developed in cooperation with industry partners, and in the IoT world, the keywords Smart and Inter-operability are reflected in the IoT products on display allow customers to take control from anywhere in the world. Also, Computex gives a look at how FSP’s unique redundancy solutions can create products that can span various segments with customer focus in mind.

FSP introduces the new Hydro PTM+ liquid cooled PSU.
The Hydro PTM+ is a unique, and patented liquid cooled PSU created in cooperation with Bitspower, a renowned creator of liquid cooling solutions for PCs, to meet the highest security and safety standards. The Hydro PTM+ is the world's first mass produced liquid cooled PSU with 80 Plus Platinum certificated, with gorgeous LED lighting it combines great looks with amazing performance. The unique liquid cooling system, once enabled, increases the power rating from 1200W to 1400W. But, with an array of integrated sensors, the Hydro PTM+ also excels at efficiency, when running in silent mode (below 50% load) it still delivers 600W without the use of a fan for cooling, and thus it remains in complete silence.

FSP industrial solutions, powering the smart world.
With the industry focus rapidly shifting to IoT, FSP is on the forefront of working with advanced industry partners to provide power products that integrate easily into a wide range of smart IoT solutions. With Big Data a key for IoT energy management, FSP is ahead of the curve by providing power supplies with PoE, PMBus, and USB communication interfaces that help collect vital data such as fan speeds, wattage, voltage, current, alert and load status.

This data helps manage and size solutions and increase up-time and productivity, especially in iFactory, smart manufacturing solutions, intelligent logistics, and smart transportation.

World Smallest 80 Plus Platinum 850W FLEX PSU
Another great innovation by FSP is the world smallest 80 Plus Platinum certified 850W FLEX PSU. Also in the IoT solution area, you can find the 1600W 80 Plus Platinum certified Intel CRPS PSU, with Current Sharing and Cold Redundancy for amazing efficiency in the data center. Next to that, are the modular, but full voltage input DIN rail PSUs that can perfectly support a wide variety of IoT devices electrical demands.

Easy redundant kit, a unique approach to redundancy
The ERK, Easy Redundant Kit, is a versatile backup solution for entry-level systems that require 24/7 up-time from their power solution. Differing from traditional and expensive redundancy options, the ERK is a unique external DC-DC module which allows operators to create redundancy by combining two traditional non-redundant PSUs with the ERK. This brilliant product offers the best flexibility when choosing power design solutions.

 

Source: FSP

Win-ning friends in the workplace and hoping you hate group policy

Subject: General Tech | May 23, 2017 - 03:08 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, Win 10, enterprise

Microsoft is continuing with their policy of self inflicted hurdles for Enterprise adoption of Windows 10.  We have known for a while that Group Policy no longer works as expected on the new version of Windows and today The Inquirer posted more exact information this particular issue.  A security researcher locked down a machine using Group Policy settings and found that even with policies in place to prevent certain protocols and services, the machine continued to attempt connections.  The most damning proof of all was on a machine set to extreme security, with all but connections to Microsoft Update blocked, that still happily attempted to connect to advertising servers.  The marketshare of Win 10 devices in the workplace does not look to be on the rise any time soon.

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"On Monday, we revealed that a security researcher had used a packet sniffer to show that many settings designed to prevent access to the internet were being ignored with connections to a range of third party servers including advertising hubs."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

Shrout Research: Chromebook Platform Impacts Android App Performance

Subject: Mobile | May 23, 2017 - 12:25 PM |
Tagged: shrout research, play store, Intel, Chromebook, arm, Android

Please excuse the bit of self-promotion here. Oh, and disclaimer: Shrout Research and PC Perspective share management and ownership.

Based on testing done by Shrout Research and published in a paper this week, the introduction of Android applications on Chromebooks directly though the Play Store has added a new wrinkle into the platform selection decision. Android applications, unlike Chromebook native apps, have a heavy weight towards the Android phone and tablet ecosystem, with "defacto" optimization for the ARM-based processors and platforms that represent 98%+ of that market. As a result, there are some noticeable and noteworthy differences when running Android apps on Chromebooks powered by an ARM SoC and an Intel x86 SoC.

With that market dominance as common knowledge, all Android applications are developed targeting ARM hardware, for ARM processors. Compilers and performance profiling software has been built and perfected to improve the experience and efficiency of apps to run on ARMv7 (32-bit) and ARMv8 (64-bit) architectures. This brings to the consumer an improved overall experience, including better application compatibility and better performance.

Using a pair of Acer Chromebooks, the R11 based on the Intel Celeron N3060 and the R13 based on the MediaTek MT8173C, testing was done to compare the performance, loading times, and overall stability of various Android Play Store applications. A range of application categories were addressed including games, social, and productivity.

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Through 19 tested Android apps we found that the ARM-powered R13 Chromebook performed better than the Intel-powered R11 Chromebook in 9 of them. In 8 of the apps tested, both platforms performed equally well. In 2 of the test applications, the Intel-powered system performed better (Snapchat and Google Maps).

The paper also touches on power consumption, and between these two systems, the ARM-based MediaTek SoC was using 11.5% less power to accomplish the same tasks.

Our testing indicates the Acer R13, using the ARM-powered processor, uses 11.5% less power on average in our 150 minutes of use through our education simulation. This is a significant margin and would indicate that with two systems equally configured, one with the MediaTek ARM processor and another with the Intel Celeron processor, the ARM-powered platform would get 11.5% additional usage time before requiring a charge. Based on typical Chromebook battery life (11 hours), the ARM system would see an additional 75 minutes of usability.

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There is a lot more detail in the white paper on ShroutResearch.com, including a discussion about the impact that the addition of Android applications on Chromebooks might have for the market as whole:

...bringing a vast library of applications from the smart phone market to the Chromebook would create a combination of capabilities that would turn the computing spectrum sideways. This move alleviates the sustained notion that Chromebooks are connected-only devices and gives an instant collection of usable offline applications and tools to the market.

You can download the full white paper here.

Microsoft Announces New Surface Pro Featuring Kaby Lake and Optional LTE

Subject: Mobile | May 23, 2017 - 10:24 AM |
Tagged: Surface Pro, surface, microsoft

As part of its Shanghai Event this morning, Microsoft announced a long-overdue update to the Surface Pro. While the new device retains the design and form factor of its predecessor, the Surface Pro 4, it still packs a few new features that Surface users have been waiting for.

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First off, Microsoft has used this revision to officially drop the numbering scheme from the product lineup. Rather than the expected "Surface Pro 5" moniker, Microsoft is now calling the product simply "Surface Pro," and will presumably use release year to differentiate models going forward.

Internally, the new Surface Pro finally makes the jump to Kaby Lake, with processor options including the Core m3-7Y30 on the low-end, the Core i5-7300U for the mid-range model, and topping out with the Core i7-7660U. These CPUs offer Intel HD 615, 620, and Iris Plus 640 graphics, respectively. The move to Kaby Lake, coupled with Microsoft's battery design improvements, also brings a nice boost to battery life, with the new Surface Pro offering an advertised 13.5 hours of video playback (the only usage scenario that Microsoft has thus far revealed). While we're interested to see other battery-life tests, the new Surface Pro's running time bests its predecessor by an impressive 50 percent, as the Surface Pro 4 was rated for only 9 hours of video playback.

In terms of connectivity, the new Surface Pro offers all of the same ports and I/O as the Surface Pro 4, with one big exception: LTE. Although not available at launch, new Surface Pro models with built-in 4G LTE will be available "later this year." This isn't the first Surface device to feature built-in LTE -- Microsoft offered limited availability of LTE-enabled non-Pro Surface 3 models back in 2015 -- but this is the first time that the feature will be available for the Pro lineup.

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Other design and functionality changes include a redesigned kickstand that will tilt back 165 degrees for a "Studio Mode" experience (Surface Pro 4 only had 150 degrees of tilt), support for the Surface Dial directly on the Surface Pro's screen (it had previously been limited to desktop use), and a new optional "Signature Type Cover," with improved key travel, higher-resolution glass trackpad, and featuring the same Alcantara fabric found on Microsoft's recently-released Surface Laptop.

On the downside, this new Surface Pro doesn't offer any improvements or changes to its display, port selection, RAM and storage capacities, or cameras. Even more disappointingly, the Surface Pen is no longer included, requiring users interested in pen functionality to shell out an extra $60.

The new Surface Pro starts at $799 and is available for pre-order now. It is expected to ship mid-June. Check out the Microsoft Store for pricing and specs on all Surface Pro configurations.

Source: Microsoft
Author:
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Sony
Tagged: ssd, ps4 pro, ps4, consoles

Intro and Upgrading the PS4 Pro Hard Drive

When Sony launched the PS4 Pro late last year, it introduced an unusual mid-cycle performance update to its latest console platform. But in addition to increased processing and graphics performance, Sony also addressed one of the original PS4's shortcomings: the storage bus.

The original, non-Pro PlayStation 4 utilized a SATA II bus, capping speeds at 3Gb/s. This was more than adequate for keeping up with the console's stock hard drive, but those who elected to take advantage of Sony's user-upgradeable storage policy and install an SSD faced the prospect of a storage bus bottleneck. As we saw in our original look at upgrading the PS4 Pro with a solid state drive, the SSD brought some performance improvements in terms of load times, but these improvements weren't always as impressive as we might expect.

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We therefore set out to see what performance improvements, if any, could be gained by the inclusion of SATA III in the PS4 Pro, and if this new Pro model makes a stronger case for users to shell out even more cash for a high capacity solid state drive. We weren't the only ones interested in this test. Digital Foundry conducted their own tests of the PS4 Pro's SATA III interface. They found that while a solid state drive in the PS4 Pro clearly outperformed the stock hard drive in the original PS4, it generally didn't offer much improvement over the SATA II-bottlenecked SSD in the original PS4, or even, in some cases, the stock HDD in the PS4 Pro.

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But we noticed a major issue with Digital Foundry's testing process. For their SSD tests, they used the OCZ Trion 100, an older SSD with relatively mediocre performance compared to its latest competitors. The Trion 100 also has a relatively low write endurance and we therefore don't know the condition and performance characteristics of Digital Foundry's drive.

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To address these issues, we conducted our tests with a brand new 1TB Samsung 850 EVO. While far from the cheapest, or even most reasonable option for a PS4 Pro upgrade, our aim is to assess the "best case scenario" when it comes to SSD performance via the PS4 Pro's SATA III bus.

Continue reading our analysis of PS4 Pro loading times with an SSD upgrade!

Author:
Subject: Systems, Mobile
Manufacturer: Apple

What have we here?

The latest iteration of the Apple MacBook Pro has been a polarizing topic to both Mac and PC enthusiasts. Replacing the aging Retina MacBook Pro introduced in 2012, the Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch with Touch Bar introduced late last year offered some radical design changes. After much debate (and a good Open Box deal), I decided to pick up one of these MacBooks to see if it could replace my 11" MacBook Air from 2013, which was certainly starting to show it's age.

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I'm sure that a lot of our readers, even if they aren't Mac users, are familiar with some of the major changes the Apple made with this new MacBook Pro. One of the biggest changes comes when you take a look at the available connectivity on the machine. Gone are the ports you might expect like USB type-A, HDMI, and Mini DisplayPort. These ports have been replaced with 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports, and a single 3.5mm headphone jack.

While it seems like USB-C (which is compatible with Thunderbolt 3) is eventually posed to take over the peripheral market, there are obvious issues with replacing all of the connectivity on a machine aimed at professionals with type-c connectors. Currently, type-c devices are few and are between, meaning you will have to rely on a series of dongles to connect the devices you already own. 

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I will say however, that it ultimately hasn't been that much of an issue for me so far in the limited time that I've owned this MacBook. In order to evaluate how bad the dongle issue was, I only purchased a single, simple adapter with my MacBook which provided me with a Type-A USB port and a pass-through Type-C port for charging.

Continue reading our look at using the MacBook Pro with Windows!

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.5.2

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 20, 2017 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: graphics drivers, amd

The second graphics driver of the month from AMD, Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.5.2, adds optimizations for Bethesda’s new shooter, Prey. AMD claims that it will yield up to a 4.5% performance improvement, as measured on an RX 580 (versus the same card with 17.5.1). This is over and above the up to 4.7% increase that 17.5.1 had over 17.4.4.

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Outside of that game, 17.5.2 also addresses four issues. The first is a crash in NieR: Automata. The second is long load times in Forza Horizon 3. The third is a system hang with the RX 550 when going sleep. The fourth fixed issue is a bit more complicated; apparently, in a multi-GPU system, where monitors are attached to multiple graphics cards, the primary graphics card can appear disabled in Radeon Settings. All four are now fixed, so, if they affect you, then pick up the driver.

As always, they are available from AMD’s website.

Source: AMD

Ryzen and the art of benchmark maintenance

Subject: Processors | May 19, 2017 - 04:15 PM |
Tagged: amd, ryzen, ryzen 5 1400, ryzen 5 1600

Neoseeker tested out the 4 core Ryzen 5 1400 and 6 core 1600 model to see how they stack up against other lower cost processors.  They ran the tests at the highest stable overclock they could reach, interestingly both were able to hit a 3.8 GHz base clock, paired with DDR4-2400.  The processors were cooled with AMD's Wraith Max cooler so it is possible to push these CPUs further if you are willing to overvolt.  Drop by to see how these two processor match up to the competition.

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"The two AMD processors for review today are the newest budget offerings of the Ryzen 5 series with the Ryzen 1400 and 1600 models. The Ryzen 1400 is a four core/eight thread and the Ryzen 1600 is a six core/twelve thread processor, with both having a base operating speed of 3.2 GHz. The boost clock for the Ryzen 1400 is 3.4 GHz while the Ryzen 1600 is able to boost to 3.6 GHz."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

Source: Neoseeker

Sit back and read about the Vertagear Triigger 350 Special Edition Gaming Chair

Subject: General Tech | May 19, 2017 - 02:02 PM |
Tagged: vertagear, Triigger 350 Special Edition, gaming chair

We now know the real reason Kyle agreed to getting a red stripe in his hair; so he can match the chair he is sitting in.  He has been resting his laurels on the Vertagear Triigger 350 Special Edition for the past few months and has published a review of his experiences.  This 55lb beast is constructed of aluminium, mesh and calf leather with hubless caster type wheels which turned out to work and look good.  If you are in the market for a high end gaming chair you should check out the full review, especially the last page where he answers numerous questions asked by his forum members.

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"What happens when you rope yourself in to doing a gaming chair review? You take your time, do it right, and make sure your butt spends at least a few months in the chair before you write your review. My butt has been in the VertaGear Triigger 350 Gaming Chair for over 3 months, and here are my thoughts."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

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

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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Sea Sonic Electronics Co., Ltd has been designing and building PC power supplies since 1981 and they are one of the most highly respected manufacturers on the planet. Not only do they market power supplies under their own Seasonic name but they are the OEM for many other big name brands.

Seasonic began introducing their new PRIME Series power supplies last year and we reviewed several of the flagship Titanium units and found them to be among the best power supplies we have tested to date. But the PRIME Series now includes many more units with both Platinum and Gold level efficiency certification.

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The power supply we have in for review is the Seasonic PRIME 1200W Gold. This unit comes with all modular cables and is certified to comply with the 80 Plus Gold criteria for high efficiency. The power supply is designed to deliver very tight voltage regulation on the three primary rails (+3.3V, +5V and +12V) and provides superior AC ripple and noise suppression. Add in a super-quiet 135mm cooling fan with a Fluid Dynamic Bearing, top-quality components and a 12-year warranty, and you have the makings for another outstanding power supply.

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Seasonic PRIME Gold Series PSU Key Features:

•    650W, 750W, 850W, 1000W or 1200W continuous DC output
•    High efficiency, 80 PLUS Gold certified
•    Micro-Tolerance Load Regulation (MTLR)
•    Top-quality 135mm Fluid Dynamic Bearing fan
•    Premium Hybrid Fan Control (allows fanless operation at low power)
•    Superior AC ripple and noise suppression
•    Fully modular cabling design
•    Multi-GPU technologies supported
•    Gold-plated high-current terminals
•    Protections: OPP,OVP,UVP,SCP,OCP and OTP
•    12-Year Manufacturer’s warranty
•    MSRP for the PRIME 1200W Gold is $199.90 USD

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Here is what Seasonic has to say about the new PRIME power supply line: “The creation of the PRIME Series is a renewed testimony of Sea Sonic’s determination to push the limits of power supply design in every aspect. This elegant-looking, exclusive lineup of new products will include 80 Plus Titanium – in the range of 650W to 1000W, and Platinum-Gold-rated units in the range of 650W to 1200W, with excellent electrical characteristics, top-level components and fully modular cabling.

Seasonic employs the most efficient manufacturing methods, uses the best materials and works with most reliable suppliers to produce reliable products. The PRIME Series layout, revolutionary manufacturing solutions and solid design attest to the highest level of ingenuity of Seasonics’s engineers and product developers. Demonstrating confidence in its power supplies, Seasonic stands out in the industry by offering PRIME Series a generous 12-year manufacturer’s warranty period.

Please continue reading our review of the Seasonic PRIME 1200W Gold PSU!

Corsair Forces its way into the NVMe market with their MP500 M.2 SSD

Subject: Storage | May 18, 2017 - 04:26 PM |
Tagged: corsair, corsair force mp500, mp500, M.2, NVMe, PS5007-E7, toshiba mlc

Corsair have entered the NVMe market with a new Force Series product, the MP500 drive which contains Toshiba's 15-nm MLC, run by the popular Phison PS5007-E7 controller.  There is a difference which The Tech Report noticed right away, that sticker is for more than just show, it hides a layer of heat-dissipating copper inside just like we have seen in Samsung products.  It may have been the sticker, or some sort of secret sauce which Corsair added but the MP500's performance pulled ahead of Patriot's Hellfire SSD overall.  Read the full review to see where the drive showed the most performance differential.

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"Corsair is throwing its hat into the NVMe SSD ring with the Force Series MP500 drive. We subjected this gumstick to our testing gauntlet to see how well the 240GB version fares against the rest of the formidable NVMe field."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage