Subject: General Tech | April 7, 2016 - 02:47 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: VR, vive, video, tesla p100, steamvr, Spectre 13.3, rift, podcast, perfmon, pascal, Oculus, nvidia, htc, hp, GP100, Bristol Ridge, APU, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #394 - 04/07/2016
Join us this week as we discuss measuring VR Performance, NVIDIA's Pascal GP100, Bristol Ridge APUs and more!
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This episode of the PC Perspective Podcast is sponsored by Lenovo!
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:32:19
Week in Review:
0:46:25 This week’s podcast is brought to you by Casper. Use code PCPER at checkout for $50 towards your order!
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Subject: Systems, Mobile | April 6, 2016 - 10:01 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: ultrabook, thinnest laptop, Spectre 13.3, notebook, laptop, Intel Core i7, Intel Core i5, hp
HP announced their thinnest notebook ever - and "the world's thinnest laptop" period, according to HP - yesterday with the new Spectre 13.3.
The 10.4 mm thick HP Spectre 13.3 (Image credit: Engadget)
It's an astonishingly thin design, with a "CNC machined aluminum chassis as thin as an AAA-battery at just 10.4 mm", and yet it manages to avoid using Core M (or even mobile SoC) parts, opting instead for full Intel Core i5 and Core i7 mobile processors.
(Image credit: Anandtech)
Here's a list of the Spectre 13.3's features from HP:
- A carbon fiber bottom creates a thin profile that is both durable and lightweight, keeping the total weight of the notebook at just 2.45 pounds
- High gloss copper accents reflect a hand-polished, jewelry-like finish and an innovative hidden piston hinge creates the illusion of a hinge-less design to offer an unmatched premium look-and-feel
- An innovative hybrid battery split into two thinner pieces delivers the same wattage as a single battery for up to 9 and half hours of battery life while enabling the world's thinnest laptop
- Full HD IPS edge-to-edge display featuring Corning Gorilla delivers a superb viewing experience for editing photos, perfecting a presentation, or watching a movie.
- 6th generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and a lightning fast PCIe SSD with storage up to 512 GB with up to 8 GB of memory for maximum performance. Integration of Intel hyperbaric cooling system keeps the machine running cool even with powerful processors in a small package
- Stereo speakers by Bang & Olufsen with HP Audio Boost technology, a combination of hardware and software to give customers the depth they want.
- Three full function USB Type-C connectors, including two of which support Thunderbolt, to provide a fast, versatile I/O connection.
The hyperbaric cooling system (Image credit: Anandtech)
Note the mention of "Integration of Intel hyperbaric cooling system..." in the above list. We first saw hyperbaric cooling back in 2010 with products like the Dell Vostro V130, and the system is based on pulling cool air from outside of the enclosure, rather than simply pushing it out.
A look inside the Spectre 13.3 (Image credit: PC World)
With the use of regular laptop processors inside an enclosure as thin as this new Spectre 13.3 cooling will be crucial, though (as speculated by Anandtech in their post) actual clock speeds for the processors may have been lowered significantly due on thermal restrictions.
What exactly are the specifications for the Spectre 13.3? Here's what we know (via Anandtech):
- CPU: Intel Core i5-6200U or Intel Core i7-6500U
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520
- RAM: 8 GB
- Storage: 256 GB or 512 GB PCIe SSD
- I/O: 3x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2x Thunderbolt, audio jack
- Thickness: 10.4 mm (0.41 inches)
- Weight: 1.10 kg (2.45 lbs)
- Pricing (256 GB SSD): Core i5, $1170; Core i7, $1250
Exact specs on memory standard/speed, Wi-Fi, etc. were not available, and availability has not been announced.
Subject: Processors | April 5, 2016 - 06:30 AM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: mobile, hp, GCN, envy, ddr4, carrizo, Bristol Ridge, APU, amd, AM4
Today AMD is “pre-announcing” their latest 7th generation APU. Codenamed “Bristol Ridge”, this new SOC is based off of the Excavator architecture featured in the previous Carrizo series of products. AMD provided very few hints as to what was new and different in Bristol Ridge as compared to Carrizo, but they have provided a few nice hints.
They were able to provide a die shot of the new Bristol Ridge APU and there are some interesting differences between it and the previous Carrizo. Unfortunately, there really are no changes that we can see from this shot. Those new functional units that you are tempted to speculate about? For some reason AMD decided to widen out the shot of this die. Those extra units around the border? They are the adjacent dies on the wafer. I was bamboozled at first, but happily Marc Sauter pointed it out to me. No new functional units for you!
This is the Carrizo shot. It is functionally identical to what we see with Bristol Ridge.
AMD appears to be using the same 28 nm HKMG process from GLOBALFOUNDRIES. This is not going to give AMD much of a jump, but from information in the industry GLOBALFOUNDRIES and others have put an impressive amount of work into several generations of 28 nm products. TSMC is on their third iteration which has improved power and clock capabilities on that node. GLOBALFOUNDRIES has continued to improve their particular process and likely Bristol Ridge is going to be the last APU built on that node.
All of the competing chips are rated at 15 watts TDP. Intel has the compute advantage, but AMD is cleaning up when it comes to graphics.
The company has also continued to improve upon their power gating and clocking technologies to keep TDPs low, yet performance high. AMD recently released the Godavari APUs to the market which exhibit better clocking and power characteristics from the previous Kaveri. Little was done on the actual design, rather it was improved process tech as well as better clock control algorithms that achieved these advances. It appears as though AMD has continued this trend with Bristol Ridge.
We likely are not seeing per clock increases, but rather higher and longer sustained clockspeeds providing the performance boost that we are seeing between Carrizo and Bristol Ridge. In these benchmarks AMD is using 15 watt TDP products. These are mobile chips and any power improvements will show off significant gains in overall performance. Bristol Ridge is still a native quad core part with what looks to be an 8 module GCN unit.
Again with all three products at a 15 watt TDP we can see that AMD is squeezing every bit of performance it can with the 28 nm process and their Excavator based design.
The basic core and GPU design look relatively unchanged, but obviously there were a lot of tweaks applied to give the better performance at comparable TDPs.
AMD is announcing this along with the first product that will feature this APU. The HP Envy X360. This convertible tablet offers some very nice features and looks to be one of the better implementations that AMD has seen using its latest APUs. Carrizo had some wins, but taking marketshare back from Intel in the mobile space has been tortuous at best. AMD obviously hopes that Bristol Ridge in the sub-35 watt range will continue to show fight for the company in this important market. Perhaps one of the more interesting features is the option for the PCIe SSD. Hopefully AMD will send out a few samples so we can see what a more “premium” type convertible can do with the AMD silicon.
The HP Envy X360 convertible in all of its glory.
Bristol Ridge will be coming to the AM4 socket infrastructure in what appears to be a Computex timeframe. These parts will of course feature higher TDPs than what we are seeing here with the 15 watt unit that was tested. It seems at that time AMD will announce the full lineup from top to bottom and start seeding the market with AM4 boards that will eventually house the “Zen” CPUs that will show up in late 2016.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 9, 2016 - 11:44 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: CES 2016, hp, spectre x360, convertible tablet, ultrathin
During CES HP announced a refresh of its Spectre x360 series of convertible tablet PCs. The 13” Spectre x360 will shortly be joined by a new 15” version and both notebooks will be powered by Skylake processors.
There are not many details on the Spectre x360 13 available, but HP did reveal a new display option in the form of a 2560 x 1440 OLED panel. Thanks to the OLED not requiring a separate backlight, HP was able to make the notebook slightly thinner and 50 grams lighter than the current 13” Spectre x360. It will also feature Bang & Olufsen audio. This OLED-equipped refresh will be available in spring for an as-yet-unannounced price.
HP was more forthcoming with information on the Spectre x360 15. Featuring the same 360° hinge and general design as its smaller sibling, it weighs just over 4 pounds (1.83kg) and measures 15.9mm (0.63”) thick. A silver colored body made of machined aluminum surrounds silver keys (1.5mm key travel) and while there is no number pad, there is a rather wide trackpad sitting below the keyboard. Bang & Olufsen audio, a webcam, USB 3.0, USB-C, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, audio jack, and SD card round out the I/O options. The display options top out at a resolution of 3840 x 2160 here though this is an LED backlit panel not OLED.
HP is using Intel Core i5 or i7 (depending on configuration) “Skylake” processors with Intel Iris graphics to drive the 4K display. There are no discrete GPU options so gaming at native resolution is out, but the Iris graphics will be plenty for everything else. It can be further configured with up to 16GB of memory and 1TB of solid state storage. A 64.5Wh battery offers up to 9.5 hours of productivity.
We’ll have to wait a few months for pricing on the 13” refresh, but the Spectre x360 15 will start at $1,149 in February. It is a bit pricey, but not out of line with the competition. There are even reviews popping up around the Internet if you are interested in this thin-and-light convertible.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Mobile | October 30, 2015 - 02:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hp, spectre x360
We saw a preview of HP's new Spectre x360 back in March, today The Inquirer has put up a quick hands on look at the Skylake powered laptop. The touchscreen resolution will satisfy most users, at 13.3" 2560x1440 but the shiny coating on it may not. While the keyboard does hinge completely over to allow you to use the device in tablet mode, however The Inquirer found it a bit heavy to be comfortable while using it as such. For peripheral support you have three USB 3.0 ports, a mini DisplayPort, a full-size HDMI port and a SD card reader. The 2.5GHz dual core i7-6500U is paired with 8GB of RAM and there was a 512GB SSD installed in the model The Inquirer spent some time with. Check it out here.
"Regardless, the recent launches of Windows 10 and Intel's 6th-generation Core processors - nicknamed Skylake - have prompted a refresh of HP's portable PCs. We went hands-on at a preview event in London to see what, besides an updated CPU, the latest Spectre x360 has to offer."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
Subject: Systems | October 5, 2015 - 05:16 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10, surface, Surface Pro, surface pro 4, hp, Lenovo, dell, asus, acer, toshiba
Tomorrow at 10 am ET, Microsoft will host a live stream to announce “new Windows 10 devices from Microsoft”. It's pretty obvious that we'll get at least one new Surface device announced, which rumors suggest will be the Surface Pro 4 with a low-bezel, 13-inch display. W4pHub, via VR-Zone, goes a bit further to claim that the display can shrink to 12 inches when in tablet mode, giving a frame for the user to hold. If true, I wonder how applications will handle the shift in resolution. Perhaps the only problem is a little flicker, which will be hidden by the rest of Continuum's transition?
Image Credit: VR-Zone
The Microsoft Blog post also lists the announcement dates of their partners. Here's the rundown:
- October 7th -- HP
- October 8th -- Dell
- October 9th -- ASUS
- October 12th -- Acer
- October 13th -- Toshiba
- October 19th -- Lenovo
While the rush of Windows 10 devices have missed the Back to School season, despite Microsoft's attempts to rush development with a July release, it looks like we might get a good amount of them for the holiday season. I was a bit worried, seeing how slowly Threshold 2 seems to be advancing, but they seem to have convinced OEMs to make a big deal out of it.
Then again, it could be holiday fever.
Subject: General Tech | September 30, 2015 - 01:04 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, carrizo pro, Godavari Pro, 28nm, hp, elitebook
The Carrizo based AMD Pro A12 APU is going to be familiar to anyone who read our coverage of the non-Pro Carrizo models. The A12 will have a boost clock of 3.4GHz, eight 800MHz Radeon R7 cores, 2MB of L2 cache, and hardware based HEVC decoding, exactly like the FX-8800P. Indeed there is nothing obvious that differentiates the two processors apart from AMD's tag line that the Pro models are designed for corporate desktops and laptops. The Inquirer lists three laptops which should already be available which use the new mobile processor, the HP EliteBook 725, 745 and 755. No news yet on Godavari Pro powered desktops.
"AMD HAS ANNOUNCED its "most powerful" line of Pro A-Series mobile and desktop processors, formerly codenamed Carrizo Pro and Godavari Pro."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Google literally dangles its new dongle in front of gasping TV audiences @ The Register
- Hack Anything into a Phone @ Hack a Day
- Critical WinRAR flaw puts a nation of unzippers in harm's way @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft eats its Dynamics CRM young with Adxstudio buy @ The Register
- New Attack Bypasses Mac OS X Gatekeeper @ Slashdot
- Linux-powered botnet can kick out a huge and persistent DoS attack @ The Inquirer
- AVM FRITZ!Powerline 546E WLAN Adapter Review @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech | September 19, 2015 - 03:10 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: layoffs, hp inc, hp, hewlett-packard enterprise
As we reported a while ago, Hewlett-Packard is planning to split into two. The move will separate the consumer products into “HP Inc” and enterprise products into “Hewlett-Packard Enterprise”. This makes sense, because enterprise clients know the full name, but many consumers probably do not. At the time, it was expected to result in 5000 jobs lost, resulting in 55,000 since the upper management focused on cutting expenses. Now, about a year later, and right before the split happens, we find out that 5000 is now well over 30,000, bringing the 55,000 figure to between 85,000 and 95,000.
Image Credit: Wikipedia
These are fairly severe cuts, but it depends on how you look at it. A typical corporate restructure is around 10% of employees as a rule of thumb. If you count the slow, rolling job cuts as a single restructure, then the Hewlett-Packard Company has cut about 25% - 30% of their workforce, albeit offset by some hiring and rehiring that naturally won't be reported on as much as cuts.
If you look at this deal as a single restructure however, then it is between 10-15%, which is somewhat normal. Personally, I would say that this is the slightly more honest way of reporting on the issue. These cuts are on the severe side, but I don't think it spells trouble for the companies (although it is terrible for the employees).
Subject: General Tech | July 16, 2015 - 01:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: windows 10, hp
The Register has heard from HP and the rumours are indeed true; you will be able to pre-orderd devices from them with which will arrive with Windows 10 installed on July 29th, they will even cover shipping within the US for you. Retail stores are unlikely to have them that early, more likely you will see them arriving the following week depending on when the store's scheduled shipping date is. The mid-August into October date that was quoted is specifically for business customers and does not apply to the stores or the website. The tight turn around gives you a look at how desperate computer retailers are, and Microsoft as well for that matter, to increase flagging sales.
"HP got on the phone with The Register on Wednesday to shed light on how it plans to roll out PCs with Windows 10 preinstalled. The IT giant said you can expect at least some of its hardware to be available with the new OS on the day that it launches – July 29."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- 3D Printed Muscle is Inflated During Printing @ Hack a Day
- Intel CEO casts doubt over Moore's Law @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft to offer (very) limited support for Linux on Azure @ The Register
- How To Build A ProxyHam Despite A Cancelled DEFCON Talk @ Hack a Day
- Siri will call the cops if you ask it to charge your iPhone or iPad @ The Inquirer
- Understanding the 80 Plus Certification @ Hardware Secrets
- The OPPO R7 Plus & R7 Lite Technology Report @ TechARP
Subject: General Tech | July 13, 2015 - 01:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Seagate, IBM, HPC, hp
IBM will be making its Spectrum Scale software available on Seagate's ClusterStore HPC products, which are due out towards the end of the year. This marks a turning point in Seagate's HPC business as previously their products were only useful to a small group of companies which used the Lustre file system, moving to IBM's product grows the available pool of customers significantly. HP will be adding their Apollo software suite into the deal making this even more attractive for potential clients. As The Inquirer points out, this is part of the shift of international companies moving their data out of US borders, good news for ISPs and data providers in the rest of the world but not such good news for those looking for employment in the industry within the USA.
"SEAGATE HAS JOINED FORCES with HP and IBM in a bid to boost its position in the high-performance computing (HPC) market."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- PC sales go OFF A CLIFF to under 300 million a year @ The Register
- A Week With GNOME As My Linux Desktop: What They Get Right & Wrong @ Phoronix
- Flash HOLED AGAIN TWICE below waterline in fresh Hacking Team reveals @ The Register
- First Java 0-Day In 2 Years Exploited By Pawn Storm Hackers @ Slashdot
- The Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition Experience @ Tech ARP