Has your Amazon Fire TV been running a little hot lately?

Subject: General Tech | June 12, 2018 - 01:36 PM |
Tagged: amazon fire tv, amazon, security, cryptocurrency, Android, ADB.Miner

New cryptomining malware has been popping up on Android devices recently, especially Fire TV's with debugging mode or installation of unsigned apps enabled. ADB.Miner runs a program called Test under com.google.time.time and will happily suck up as much of your devices processing power as it can, causing slow performance and occasionally interrupting video playback with a screen which reads Test.  If you have seen this you should probably disable debug, set the device to block unsigned apps and do a factory reset. 

The Inquirer also describes an Amazon store app called Total Commander which should remove it, but the factory reset will offer a better guarantee of removal.

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"AFTVnews has the scoop and reports that the threat, a malware worm variant dubbed 'ADB.Miner', is installing itself on Amazon gadgets as an app called 'Test' under the package name 'com.google.time.time.' "

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Source: The Inquirer

Surprise and demand; DRAM orders fell over the last month!

Subject: General Tech | May 18, 2018 - 02:54 PM |
Tagged: mining, DRAM, cryptocurrency

As we head into the weekend, a long one if you happen to wear the US as pants, it seems an appropriate time for some good news.  According to the Nikkei the demand for DRAM from cryptocurrency miners have declined significantly which could lead to better prices, though not a huge drop as mobile phone vendors and enterprise demand has not changed.  Even better news for enthusiasts are the reports of shelves filled with GPUs where once there were only dust bunnies and forlorn gamers. 

Things are looking up this summer!

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"Orders for DRAMs fell noticeably in April," a representative at a Tokyo electronic parts trader said. "We previously received quite a lot of orders, even from companies with whom we did little business." Demand was particularly strong from virtual currency miners, the representative said."

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Source: Nikkei

How sweet it is, to buy new GPUs ... yes it is

Subject: General Tech | April 30, 2018 - 01:49 PM |
Tagged: gpu, cryptocurrency, msrp

It does seem to be that GPU prices have recently begun to trend down, heading towards their MSRP though with a ways to go yet.  There is no definitive reason for such good news, but there are certainly some obvious factors, of which cryptocurrency is the most glaring.  With more mature currencies close to being mined out, and being designed to run better on ASIC's anyways, that part of the crowd is no longer buying GPUs.  The more recent altcoins which were designed for GPUs are having some minor trust issues at the moment, and there are those designing ASICs for those currencies which is also taking the heat off.  

Also consider the maturity of both Vega and Pascal, they have been out long enough for supply to catch up with demand and in theory there are new products coming soon from both vendors which generally means they are looking to get rid of exisiting stock.  Slashdot and other sites offer a variety of theories but no matter how you slice it, this is good news.

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"If you were looking for a new graphics card for your PC over the last year, your search probably ended with you giving up and slinging some cusses at cryptocurrency miners. But now the supply of video cards is on the verge of rebounding, and I don't think you should wait much longer to pull the trigger on a purchase."

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Source: Slashdot

Considering picking up a vintage GPU?

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 2, 2018 - 02:36 PM |
Tagged: cryptocurrency, graphics cards

It has been a while since the Hardware Leaderboard has been updated as it is incredibly depressing to try to price out a new GPU, for obvious reasons.  TechSpot have taken an interesting approach to dealing with the crypto-blues, they have just benchmarked 44 older GPUs on current games to see how well they fare.  The cards range from the GTX 560 and HD7770 through to current model cards which are available to purchase used from sites such as eBay.  Buying a used card brings the price down to somewhat reasonable levels, though you do run the risk of getting a dead or dying card.  With interesting metrics such as price per frame, this is a great resource if you find yourself in desperate need of a GPU in the current market.  Check it out here.

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"Along with our recent editorials on why it's a bad time to build a gaming PC, we've been revisiting some older GPUs to see how they hold up in today's games. But how do you know how much you should be paying for a secondhand graphics card?"

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Source: TechSpot

Ripping out cryptocurrency with AMD's 1950X

Subject: General Tech | February 2, 2018 - 02:50 PM |
Tagged: cryptocurrency, amd, Threadripper, 1950x

For the next little while at least, you should be able to pay off the purchase of a Threadripper 1950X by mining with it.  [H]ard|OCP did some testing using Monero and found that Threadripper is quite efficient at mining.  When mining full tilt the system, including a GTX 1080, used only 335W which could keep your energy bill somewhat lower than alternative systems.  Of course, with Bitcoin's value wobbling drunkenly might want to move quickly ... or skip it altogether.

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"If you could have your AMD Ryzen Threadripper pay for itself over time, would you? No matter your feelings towards cryptocurrency mining, you can get your Threadripper mining today, and paying for itself. The process could not be much easier either. The big kicker is the actual wattage load on your system is likely much less than you would guess."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

AMD Is Very Pleased To Participate in Blockchain Technology

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | December 3, 2017 - 04:26 PM |
Tagged: bitcoin, cryptocurrency, mining, gaming, lisa su, amd, Vega

AMD’s CEO Lisa Su was recently appeared on CNBC’s Power Lunch Exclusinve interview segment where she answered questions about bitcoin, blockchain technology, the tax reform bill, and sexual harassment in the workplace.

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Of particular interest to PC Perspective readers, Dr. Lisa Su shared several interesting bits of information on cryptocurrency mining and how it is affecting the company’s graphics cards. Surprisingly, she stated that cryptocurrency miners were a "very small percentage" of sales and specifically that they represented a mid-single digit percentage of buyers (~4 to 6 percent). This number is hard to believe for me as I expected it to be significantly higher with the prices of graphics cards continuing to climb well above MSRP (it wasn’t too bad when writing our gift guide and shortly after but just as I was about to commit I looked and prices had shot back up again coinciding with a resurgence in mining popularity with the price of cryptocurrencies rising and improving ROI).

Further, the AMD president and CEO states that the company is interested in this market, but they are mainly waiting to see how businesses and industries adopt blockchain technologies. AMD is “very pleased to participate in blockchain” and believes it is a “very important foundational product”. Dr. Lisa Su did not seem very big on bitcoin specifically, but did seem interested in the underlying blockchain technologies and future cryptocurrencies.

Beyond bitcoin, altcoins, and the GPU mining craze, AMD believes that gaming is and continues to be a tremendous growth market for the company. AMD has reportedly launched 10 new product families and saw sizeable increases in sales on Amazon and Newegg versus last year with processor sales tripling and double digital percentage increases in graphics sales in 2017. AMD also managed to be in two of the three gaming towers in Best Buy for the holiday buying season.

Speaking for AMD Dr. Su also had a few other interesting bits of information to share. The interview is fairly short and worth watching. Thankfully Kyle over at HardOCP managed to record it and you can watch it here. If you aren't able to stream the video, PCGamer has transcribed most of the major statements.

What are your thoughts on the interview? Will we ever see GPU prices return to normal so I can upgrade, and do you agree with AMD’s assessment that miners are such a small percentage of their sales and not as much of an influencer in pricing as we thought (perhaps it’s a supply problem rather than a demand problem, or the comment was only taking their mining-specific cards into account?)?

Source: HardOCP

Check that task manager every time you need a fresh cup of Java

Subject: General Tech | November 30, 2017 - 12:21 PM |
Tagged: security, Java, cryptocurrency

It's an old story, web browser meets javascript, they head to a mine with your CPU in tow and they all decide they like it so much they pop under again and again without telling anyone.  There are many websites out there that use your CPU for alt-coin mining while you browse their site but a few have gone back to the old trick of the hidden pop under window to ensure you keep mining for them after you think you have closed their site.  The Register links to some more information on this practice, though not any of the guilty parties.  It is not hard to resolve this issue, just make sure you check task manager after closing a browser and terminate any remaining processes; a visual clue it is happening is that the browser still shows as active on your taskbar even though no windows will show when you click. 

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"Miscreants have found a way to continue running cryptocurrency-crafting JavaScript on Windows PCs even after netizens browse away from the webpage hosting the code."

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Source: The Register

Today's shocking news; GPU vendors like the current mining trend

Subject: General Tech | October 19, 2017 - 01:26 PM |
Tagged: cryptocurrency, mining, gpu

At least some people are happy about the current GPU market and the effect cryptocurrency mining is having on it.  Indeed from the profit reports DigiTimes mentions, GPU vendors are making better profits from the current craze than the miners are, with all major vendors seeing major boosts to revenues.  This is good news for the average enthusiast as these vendors plan to ramp up their stocks and have greatly increased the amount of product they are ordering from NVIDIA and AMD.  It will take some time to fulfill these orders and you can expect the current memory shortage to have a minor effect on availability and price as well.  If supply can finally start to meet demand, we may soon see prices creep back towards MSRP. 

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"Gigabyte Technology and Micro-Star International (MSI), TUL, Colorful and Galaxy Microsystems have all been aggressive about the cryptocurrency opportunity since the mining trend emerged, and they have seen dramatic growths in related businesses. Asustek only started to see benefits from the segmnet in the third quarter."

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Source: DigiTimes

Colorful Reveals Custom Eight Slot Motherboard For Cryptocurrency Miners

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | September 14, 2017 - 02:13 AM |
Tagged: password cracking, mining, gpgpu, cryptocurrency, colorful, ai

Colorful recently unveiled an interesting bare-bones motherboard focused on cryptocurrency miners and other GPU heavy workloads with its main feature being eight double spaced PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots. The non-standard form factor Colorful C.B250A-BTC PLUS V20 motherboard measures 485mm x 195mm (approx. 19.1 x 7.7 inches) and offers a no-frills setup that is ready for miners to attach to open racks. The motherboard is based on Intel’s LGA 1151 socket and B250 chipset.

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The majority of the board is taken up by eight PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots where the top slot is wired directly to the CPU and is electrically x16 while the rest are wired to the B250 chipset and are x1 slots. There are 16(!) PCI-E power connectors (eight 6-pin and eight 8-pin) for providing power to the GPU and two 4-pin ATX power connectors for powering the CPU and single SO-DIMM slot through what looks to be six power phases. Notably, there is no 24-pin power connector on this board to make it easier to use multiple power supplies and share motherboards between power supplies (though it’s not clear how Colorful plans to control turning all these power supplies on/off at the same time). Beyond the PCI-E slots there is not much to this motherboard. Internal I/O includes the 1151 socket for Skylake and Kaby Lake CPUs, a single DDR4 SO-DIMM slot, one SATA port, one M.2 slot, and six fan headers. Around back are two USB ports, one HDMI video output, and a single gigabit ethernet port.

The board is a no-frills design that should be quite appealing for miners but also as an easy way to jump into GPGPU projects (AI research, rendering, machine learning, password cracking, etc.). The 2-slot spacing allows air cooled (hopefully blower style) cards to be installed without needing to find and test quality PCI-E riser cables. There is no word on pricing yet, and while it should be on the cheaper side based on the features and hardware it’s packing as it’s a custom design aimed at mining it may actually come out at a hefty premium for the convenience it offers them. On the bright side, it might have decent resale value to factor into the ROI calculations for the other non-mining applications I mentioned (a mean password cracking rig!). A neat board in any case, and as I mentioned previously it is interesting to see the new designs and configurations the mining craze has enticed manufacturers into exploring.

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Source: TechPowerUp

Asus Launches B250 Expert Mining Motherboard With 19 PCI-E Slots

Subject: Motherboards | August 24, 2017 - 12:30 AM |
Tagged: mining, LGA 1151, Intel, cryptocurrency, b250, asus

Asus recently took the wraps off of a monster ATX form factor motherboard aimed squarely at crypto currency miners. The aptly named Asus B250 Expert Mining motherboard is based on Intel's B250 chipset and features an impressive 19 PCI-E slots! The board is based around Intel's budget chipset and is paired with an LGA 1151 socket for Intel Skylake or Kaby Lake CPUs. There are also two DDR4 memory slots and four SATA 6 Gbps ports.

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The B250 Expert Mining motherboard is powered by a single 8-pin CPU power connector driving a 6-phase DIGI+ VRM, three (!) 24-pin ATX12V connectors, and three Molex power connectors. The top 24-pin drives the first seven PCI-E slots (including the single PCI-E x16 slot) while the other two 24-pin connectors are responsible for powering 6 of the remaining PCI-E x1 slots each.

Asus claims that the upcoming motherboard has several mining focused features including a tuned BIOS tweaked to improve mining efficiency, a splash screen at startup that shows the state of each PCI-E slot at-a-glance at each boot (Asus Mining Expert software) as well as voltage stabilization capacitors for each GPU slot.

With this motherboard miners will be able to hook up to 19 graphics cards to each motherboard which reduces the number of complete systems they need to build and maintain improving ROI time, increasing power efficiency, and reducing maintenance costs. At the time of writing there is a bit of hiccup with this plan though as miners will not be able to fully take advantage of all 19 slots for graphics cards. First off, miners will have to use Linux and even then they will be limited to a maximum of eight graphics cards from AMD and eight graphics cards from NVIDIA (if they can even get that working reliably...). Not all hope for an uber mining motherboard is lost though as Anandtech reports that AMD is working on a driver update slated for release later this year that will enable miners to use all 19 slots for their graphics cards.

Asus has not yet released pricing, but I would expect it to come at a hefty premium considering it offers the highest number of PCI-E slots on a standard motherboard so far. Asus has reportedly already begun sampling the B250 Expert Mining board to partners and it should be available at retail soon.

Even if you are not into the crypto currency mining scene, it is intriguing seeing the response to miners from the hardware manufacturers with new focused product lines.

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Source: TechPowerUp