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Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

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.

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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 skeptical 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)
Memory 16GB DDR4-2400
Storage Corsair Force GS 240 SSD
Sound Card On-board
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.

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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%!

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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.

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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).

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.

Intel Officially Launches Optane Memory, Shows Performance

Subject: Storage | March 27, 2017 - 12:16 PM |
Tagged: XPoint, Optane Memory, Optane, M.2, Intel, cache, 3D XPoint

We are just about to hit two years since Intel and Micron jointly launched 3D XPoint, and there have certainly been a lot of stories about it since. Intel officially launched the P4800X last week, and this week they are officially launching Optane Memory. The base level information about Optane Memory is mostly unchanged, however, we do have a slide deck we are allowed to pick from to point out some of the things we can look forward to once the new tech starts hitting devices you can own.

Optane Memory-6.png

Alright, so this is Optane Memory in a nutshell. Put some XPoint memory on an M.2 form factor device, leverage Intel's SRT caching tech, and you get a 16GB or 32GB cache laid over your system's primary HDD.

Optane Memory-15.png

To help explain what good Optane can do for typical desktop workloads, first we need to dig into Queue Depths a bit. Above are some examples of the typical QD various desktop applications run at. This data is from direct IO trace captures of systems in actual use. Now that we've established that the majority of desktop workloads operate at very low Queue Depths (<= 4), lets see where Optane performance falls relative to other storage technologies:

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There's a bit to digest in this chart, but let me walk you through it. The ranges tapering off show the percentage of IOs falling at the various Queue Depths, while the green, red, and orange lines ramping up to higher IOPS (right axis) show relative SSD performance at those same Queue Depths. The key to Optane's performance benefit here is that it can ramp up to full performance at very low QD's, while the other NAND-based parts require significantly higher parallel requests to achieve full rated performance. This is what will ultimately lead to a much snappier responsiveness for, well, just about anything hitting the storage. Fun fact - there is actually a HDD on that chart. It's the yellow line that you might have mistook as the horizontal axis :).

Optane Memory-11.png

As you can see, we have a few integrators on board already. Official support requires a 270 series motherboard and Kaby Lake CPU, but it is possible that motherboard makers could backport the required NVMe v1.1 and Intel RST 15.5 requirements into older systems.

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For those curious, if caching is the only way power users will be able to go with Optane, that's not the case. Atop that pyramid there sits an 'Intel Optane SSD', which should basically be a consumer version of the P4800X. It is sure to be an incredibly fast SSD, but that performance will most definitely come at a price!

We should be testing Optane Memory shortly and will finally have some publishable results of this new tech as soon as we can!

Source: Intel

Never mind the Bulldog! Here's the One from Corsair

Subject: Systems | March 23, 2017 - 03:45 PM |
Tagged: corsair, CORSAIR ONE, CORSAIR ONE PRO, core i7 7700k

Today Corsair announce a family of new pre-built systems, the Corsair One series.  Two of the systems will be available for purchase at your favourite retailers and two will be exclusive to Corsair's web store. 

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All models have aluminium cases and an an integrated liquid-cooling system for both the i7-7700k as well as the GPU, be it a GTX 1070, 1080 or 1080Ti.  All systems are built on a custom MSI Z270 Mini-ITX motherboard, a Corsair FORCE LE SSD with a HDD for extra storage, 16GB of Corsair Vengeance DDR4-2400 and an 80 PLUS GOLD rated SFX PSU.

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They will hit stores later this March and will come with a two year warranty which includes dedicated technical support, 24 Hour Phone support and an included suite of self-diagnostic tools.  You can read the full PR below the fold.

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Source: Corsair
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Samsung

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:

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

Pricing (MSRP)

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.

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The clean cut Gigabyte GA-AB350-Gaming 3

Subject: General Tech | March 24, 2017 - 06:27 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, AB350-Gaming 3, b350, amd, ryzen

The design of the Gigabyte GA-AB350-Gaming 3 is quite spartan, but don't let that fool you as it is heavily infected with RGB-itis.  This brand new AMD motherboard is a hair thinner than your average ATX motherboard, at 305x230mm but that doesn't mean the board is lacking in features.  There is a single x16 PCIe 3.0 slot, and a sole x4 PCIe 2.0 slot with three  x1 PCIe 2.0 slots for additional cards.  Of the six SATA ports, only four can be used if you install an M.2 SSD, a reasonable pool of drives for most.  There is HDMI 1.4 and DVI connectors on the back, along with a half dozen USB 3.1 ports on the back of which two are Gen 2 and four Gen 1.  Check out the full review at Modders Inc.

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"AMD is back with a new CPU line-up that brings competitive performance once again against Intel’s current generation of processors at a lower price. In true AMD fashion, the AM4 motherboard line offers the same value alternative as well, offering the latest features similarly found on the latest generation Intel processors natively including USB 3.1 Gen 2, M.2 NVMe support …"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: Modders Inc

Teasing a little information out of AMD about Vega

Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2017 - 01:04 PM |
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.

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"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:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Futuremark Adds Vulkan, Removes Mantle from 3DMark

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 28, 2017 - 04:32 PM |
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.

Source: Futuremark
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Lexar

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.

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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!)

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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

Continue reading our review of the Lexar JumpDrive P20 USB drive!!

Tencent Purchases 5% of Tesla Motors

Subject: General Tech | March 29, 2017 - 03:04 AM |
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.

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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.

Source: Ars Technica
Author:

Introduction and Features

Introduction

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SilverStone continues to push the envelope of power density with the release of their new SX800-LTI small form factor power supply. Following close on the heels of the SX700-LPT, the new unit now packs 800 watts into a small chassis. SFX form factor cases and power supplies continue grow in popularity and in market share and as one of the original manufacturers of SFX power supplies, Silverstone Technology Co. is striving to meet customer demand.

SX800-LTI

(SX=SFX Form Factor, 800=800W, L=Lengthened, TI=Titanium certified)

SilverStone has a long-standing reputation for providing a full line of high quality enclosures, power supplies, cooling components, and accessories for PC enthusiasts. With a continued focus on smaller physical size and support for small form-factor enthusiasts, SilverStone added the new SX800-LTI to their SFX form factor series. There are now eight power supplies in the SFX Series, ranging in output capacity from 300W to 800W. The SX800-LTI is the third SilverStone unit to feature a lengthened SFX chassis. The SX800-LTI enclosure is 30mm (1.2”) longer than a standard SFX power supply case, which allows using a quieter 120mm cooling fan rather than the typical 80mm fan used in most SFX power supplies.

In addition to its small size, the SX800-LTI features very high efficiency (80 Plus Titanium certified), all modular flat ribbon-style cables, and provides up to 800W of continuous DC output (850W peak). The SX800-LTI also operates in semi-fanless mode and incorporates a very quiet 120mm cooling fan.

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SilverStone SX800-LTI PSU Key Features:

•    Small Form Factor (SFX-L) design
•    800W continuous power output rated for 24/7 operation
•    80 Plus Titanium certified for very high efficiency
•    Quiet operation with semi-fanless operation
•    120mm cooling fan optimized for low noise
•    Powerful single +12V rail with 66A capacity
•    All-modular, flat ribbon-style cables
•    High quality construction with all Japanese capacitors
•    Strict ±3% voltage regulation and low AC ripple and noise
•    Support for high-end GPUs with four PCI-E 8/6-pin connectors
•    Safety Protections: OCP, OPP, OVP, UVP, SCP, and OTP

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Here is what SilverStone has to say about their new SX800-LTI power supply:

Since its launch in 2015, the SFX-L form factor has garnered popular recognition and support among enthusiasts with its larger 120mm fan able to achieve better balance of power and quietness in small form factor PCs than what was possible with standard SFX. And as a leader in power supply miniaturization, SilverStone has continued its efforts in advancing the SFX-L forward to reach ever higher limit.

The SX800-LTI not only has unprecedented 800 watts of power output but also has the highest level of 80 PLUS efficiency with a Titanium rating. It includes all features available from top of the line SilverStone PSUs such as flexible flat cables, all Japanese capacitors and advanced semi-fanless capability. For those looking to build the most efficient small form factor systems possible with great quality and power, the SX800-LTI is definitely the top choice.

Please continue reading our review of the SilverStone SX800-LTI PSU!!!

Cougar Panzer Max, the case name you just want to shout

Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 27, 2017 - 02:37 PM |
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

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"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:

CASES & COOLING

 

Source: TechPowerUp

Blizzard Announces StarCraft Remastered and a Patch

Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2017 - 02:55 AM |
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.

Source: Blizzard

Enable Flash for a $5 FedEx coupon?

Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2017 - 12:40 PM |
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.

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"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:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

Dubai Future Accelerator Program Backs zSpace

Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2017 - 09:54 PM |
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.)

Source: zSpace

Lexar Announces Durable JumpDrives with USB 3.1

Subject: Storage | March 25, 2017 - 02:13 AM |
Tagged: Lexar, thumb drive

A new line of USB flash drives has been announced by Lexar, which focuses on both durability and USB 3.1 support (compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 3.0). From the technical side, the Lexar JumpDrive Tough drives can read up to 150 MB/s and write up to 60 MB/s, which is obviously nowhere near SSD speed, but reasonably fast for the typical cases that you would use a thumb drive.

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As for its robustness, Lexar claims that the JumpDrive Tough will operate normally between -13F and 300F, which is just shy of the bake cookies temperature. It is also water resistant up to 98 feet.

The Lexar JumpDrive Tough will be available in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB models for $19.99, $34.99, and $59.99, respectively. While I don’t normally consider manufacturer returns for something like this, Lexar is backing this purchase with a 3-year limited warranty, which gives some legal teeth to their claims (if anyone takes them up on it). They are available now.

Source: Lexar

FSP launches their new Dagger SFX PSU family

Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 29, 2017 - 12:00 PM |
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.

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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.

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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.

Source: FSP

Move Over Nintendo Power GLove!

Subject: General Tech | March 29, 2017 - 09:04 PM |
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.

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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.

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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.

The Kickstart continues for the next 25 days and there are still many interesting bundles to be had.

Rosewill expands into audio with a pair of earbuds

Subject: General Tech | March 24, 2017 - 03:37 PM |
Tagged: rosewill, EX-500, EX-700, earbuds, audio

Earbuds do not seem as popular as gigantic RGB sporting over the ear headsets, but there are still a few who prefer a more subtle approach to mobile audio.  The Rosewill EX-500 and 700 look similar but hide some differences inside.  The EX-500 uses a ceramic driver and a 10 mm dynamic driver while the EX-700 has a balanced armature driver and an 8mm dynamic driver.  That means there is a difference in impedance, 33 Ohm and 26 Ohm respectively though both retain a range of 20-40 kHz.  TechPowerUp tried both of these $40 earbuds out, read on to see what differences they found in the audio.

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"The recently launched Rosewill EX-500 and EX-700 aim to take on the usual brands that dominate the price range by offering high-quality craftsmanship coupled with a nice accessories pack and - of course - better sound. We listen closely to see whether they can hold up on these promises."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: TechPowerUp

AIDA64 Version 5.90 Released

Subject: Processors | March 28, 2017 - 11:48 AM |
Tagged: FinalWire, aida64, ryzen, amd, Intel

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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

About FinalWire

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.

Source: FinalWire

Fragging Frogs VLAN 15 on Saturday April 8 10:00 AM ET, come celebrate 14 years of gaming!

Subject: General Tech | March 23, 2017 - 03:16 PM |
Tagged: VLAN party, kick ass, gaming, fragging frogs

A long time ago on a website far far away, a brave group of Frogs embarked on a long journey of fun and well ... virtual murderation.   In April of 2003, back when UT2k4 was shiny and new and not retro-gaming the Fragging Frogs held their first live event, a tournament to crown one of us the king of Unreal Tournament.  Since then the gang have been hosting drop-in games every week in a come as you are format and every once and a while Lenny and the crew put together a VLAN party.

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The time has come again to announce another official Fragging Frogs VLAN, this one kicking off at 10AM EDT on Saturday April 8th and going as long as there is still someone gaming.  The previous VLAN saw over 90 people join in at one time or another, with an average of over 50 people active on TeamSpeak and in games.  No matter what type of game you are looking to play, there will be a group you can hook up with to play together or against!

As is tradition, there will be an undisclosed amount of prizes given away at the event but you will have to be on Teamspeak in order to qualify to win.  These prizes are supplied by hardware manufactures, software developers and even from the closets of certain reviewers here at PC Perspective.  You could end up with your own Joshtekk memorabilia!

Post to the official thread to let Lenny and the gang know you plan to attend, especially if you are not yet a forum member as the thread will let you know what you need to do to be eligible to win as well as how to connect to the TeamSpeak server and what patches and mods you should set up.  The list of games people plan on playing has hit 20, if you have one you want to play that is not on the list then make sure to comment in the thread.

See you there!