That's no moon! Stellaris adds planet killers plus the chance to mine the corpse of your enemies home

Subject: General Tech | January 17, 2018 - 02:44 PM |
Tagged: gaming, stellaris, paradox

In the not too distant future new DLC will arrive for Stellaris, likely in conjunction with the new free patch that Paradox will be releasing as that is their style.  The new DLC will include two new ship classes, Titans, which outweigh battleships and come with specific weaponry only available to that class of ship as well as the colossus.  A colossus is only marginally a fleet ship, it does not have much in the way of hull or conventional armament but is specifically designed to go after planets while your fleet protects them.  There are several different weapons you can install, from the aforementioned planet cracker to a shield generator which forever seals a planet off from the universe to a God Ray you can use on your own planets to increase spiritualist ethics attraction.

As well, the free 'Cherryh' patch will make some huge changes to the base gameplay; restricting all races to hyperspace pathways, changing how borders work and adding starbases and more detailed ground combat. 

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"Too many worlds. That’s the problem with space. You develop interstellar flight and hope to find a big emptiness that you can coast around in until all of the stars fade to black, but there’s all this stuff scattered about. Planets and asteroid belts and big alien jellysquids."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Don't have a meltdown boss; I really do need a new phone

Subject: General Tech | January 17, 2018 - 02:02 PM |
Tagged: security, cellphones, spectre, meltdown

The fact that Spectre and Meltdown combined affect 72% of Android and Apple devices on the market offers a compelling reason to request a new work phone.  In many cases the devices being used in large enterprises are old enough that there is no patch coming, the story Slashdot linked to suggests almost 25% of the devices in use will fall into that category.  Since those devices have also missed out on numerous security features which were added in newer operating systems, you should have enough reasons to justify the expenditure.  The next time you are banking or dealing with a service provider in your own personal life you might want to peek at the phone they use and make sure they aren't endangering your own information.

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"Analysis of more than 100,000 enterprise mobile devices shows that just a tiny percentage of them have been protected against the vulnerabilities -- and some simply may never be protected. Security firm Bridgeway found that just 4 percent of corporate phones and tablets in the UK have been patched against Spectre and Meltdown."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Slashdot

Acer's slightly upgraded Predator X34P display

Subject: Displays | January 16, 2018 - 03:44 PM |
Tagged: acer, Predator X34P, 1440p, 1900R, curved screen, g-sync

The Acer Predator X34 was a 34" 21:9 aspect G-SYNC display with a 3440 x 1440 resolution.  The newer model sports an updated panel to address the issues some people were having when the X34 hit its top 100Hz refresh rate.  The X34P is able to be overclocked to 120Hz, not only to offer a faster refresh but also to ensure you do not see flickering at 100Hz.  The curve is also more pronounced, however there is no HDR support.  If you are looking for a decent gaming monitor and aren't concerned about the lack of HDR you can read more about it at TechSpot.

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"For the past two years the Acer Predator X34 has remained one of the best gaming monitors on the market. I've been so satisfied with it since launch that that I've kept it as my personal monitor for both gaming and video production. But this new monitor from Acer, an upgraded version of the X34, is even better in almost every way."

Here are some more Display articles from around the web:

Displays

 

Source: Techspot

The Spectre of control system Meltdown

Subject: General Tech | January 16, 2018 - 02:33 PM |
Tagged: security, spectre, meltdown

The various patches released to ameliorate the damage which can be inflicted to computer systems is slowing down or crashing some systems, up to and including industrial control systems according to The Register.  These issues are not specific to Windows machines, many control systems run on Linux, the vulnerabilities stem from an architectural issue and so any operating system could suffer slowdowns.  Seeing your VMs slow down on Azure or AWS is rather frustrating, slow response from critical systems in a power plant could be much more than just an inconvenience.  The story also has a link to a compiled list of Meltdown patches if you would like to see what is currently in development.

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"Rockwell Automation revealed that the same patch had caused issues with Studio 5000, FactoryTalk View SE, and RSLinx Classic (a widely used product in the manufacturing sector). "In fairness [this] may be RPC [Remote Procedure Call] change related," said cybersecurity vulnerability manager Kevin Beaumont."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Hear the roar of the Cougar Immersa Pro gaming headset

Subject: General Tech | January 15, 2018 - 01:56 PM |
Tagged: virtual 7.1, Immersa Pro, gaming headset, Cougar, audio

The Cougar Immersa Pro offers virtual 7.1 sound when plugged in via USB to a machine with the driver installed, you will only hear stereo from the 50mm drivers if plugged into an audio jack.  On the other hand plugging it into the audio jack also disables the RGB features on the headset, if you don't feel like forcing the driver to disable them.  The Guru of 3D appreciated the comfort of the earcups as well as the overall quality of sound but felt somewhat let down by the quality of the microphone; a common complaint on gaming headsets.

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"They recently sent us a box full of goodies, including the new Immersa Pro, their top headset. If you thought you’d forgotten about RGB all the things, well, Cougar is here to remind you with the Immersa Pro."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

 

Source: Guru of 3D

Google's 'free' Spectre patch

Subject: General Tech | January 15, 2018 - 12:51 PM |
Tagged: google, spectre, retpoline, security

Google have released their own patch for the second Spectre vulnerability and claim that there is no noticeable performance hit after installation.  The patch isolates indirect branches from speculative execution, similar in effect to what the Microsoft patch does but without the extra trampoline overhead.  Intel responded to The Inquirer's contact and confirmed Google's patch is both effective and more efficient than the patch currently being distributed but do mention there is a microcode update which must also be installed for the patch to be fully effective.  This is good news for those who use Google and hint at updated patches for Spectre which might mitigate any performance hits it causes.

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"The fix, called 'Retpoline' uses software patches rather than disabling the affected CPU features, which Google claims resulted "in no performance degradation across the different mitigation techniques they have developed."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

Awesome Games Done Quick 2018 Raised Over $2.26 Million

Subject: General Tech | January 14, 2018 - 11:59 AM |
Tagged: speedrun, pc gaming, gdq, charity

This winter’s event set another new record for Games Done Quick. The current total, although they leave the donation form open a little while after the event for late entries, is $2,263,633.19 USD. This is the sum of 44471 donations from 32286 unique donors. The previous record was set a year ago at January’s AGDQ 2017: $2,222,791.52 USD. The current record set for a Summer Games Done Quick (SGDQ) event, typically held in July, is $1,792,342.37 USD.

AGDQ 2018, like the previous eight AGDQs, benefits the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

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The premise of these events is simple – the organizers bring in enough video game speedrunners to run a 24-hour stream for almost a solid week. These segments can be several hours or just a handful of minutes, depending on how long it takes to accomplish the set goal. While most are typical speedruns for a well-known category, some of them are races, some of them are glitch expositions, and some of them even force the runner to play in a non-typical way, such as blind-folded or two different games on a single controller.

If you're interested in the runs, then check out their YouTube channel.

Wi-Fi Alliance Bringing Improved WPA3 Security To Wi-Fi Devices This Year

Subject: General Tech | January 13, 2018 - 10:27 AM |
Tagged: WPA3, wifi alliance, wifi, wi-fi, networking, encryption

The Wi-Fi Alliance has announced an update to its Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) security suite in the form of WPA3. The first major update in more than a decade, WPA3 is a very welcome and much needed refresh with four new features aimed at both personal and enterprise networks.

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Image courtesy Blue Coat Photos via Flickr Creative Commons.

The standards body did not go into many details on the new security suite, but did tease a few upcoming features in addition to closing known security vulnerabilities like KRACK. WPA3 uses a new 192-bit security suite "aligned with the Commercial National Security Algorithm (CNSA) suite from the Committee on National Security Systems" which is a collection of encryption techniques and algorithms that are reportedly up to the task of maintaining confidentiality on personal, enterprise, and industrial networks. Open Wi-Fi networks in particular will get the biggest boost from moving to WPA3 with support for individualized data encryption so that communication channels between the access point and users' devices are secured on a per-device basis. Personal networks also get improved security in the form of protections to protect users against themselves and maintain strong encryption even when they choose weak passwords. Setting up these security configurations is also being considered, and the Wi-Fi Alliance is promising easier configuration on devices with limited or no displays.

I am looking forward to more information on WPA3 as an update to WPA2 has been a long time coming. WEP has long been a joke and WPA2 has been vulnerable for a while so I hope that WPA3 lives up to its promises! What is not clear from the announcement is that if new hardware will be required or if WPA3 could be implemented through firmware and software updates. End user devices may be trickier to get updates from manufacturers, but perhaps wireless routers and access points can be upgraded without needing to buy new hardware. I suppose it depends on if radio and other hardware like the hardware accelerators / co processors need upgraded to support the new algorithms or not. In any case if you have been eyeing a new Wi-Fi AP or wireless router, maybe hold off for a few months to see how this shakes out.

Stay tuned for more information as it develops. What are your thoughts on WPA3 and the Wi-Fi Alliance's promises?

Also read:

Samsung Mass Producing Second Generation "Aquabolt" HBM2: Better, Faster, and Stronger

Subject: Memory | January 12, 2018 - 05:46 PM |
Tagged: supercomputing, Samsung, HPC, HBM2, graphics cards, aquabolt

Samsung recently announced that it has begun mass production of its second generation HBM2 memory which it is calling “Aquabolt”. Samsung has refined the design of its 8GB HBM2 packages allowing them to achieve an impressive 2.4 Gbps per pin data transfer rates without needing more power than its first generation 1.2V HBM2.

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Reportedly Samsung is using new TSV (through-silicon-via) design techniques and adding additional thermal bumps between dies to improve clocks and thermal control. Each 8GB HBM2 “Aquabolt” package is comprised of eight 8Gb dies each of which is vertically interconnected using 5,000 TSVs which is a huge number especially considering how small and tightly packed these dies are. Further, Samsung has added a new protective layer at the bottom of the stack to reinforce the package’s physical strength. While the press release did not go into detail, it does mention that Samsung had to overcome challenges relating to “collateral clock skewing” as a result of the sheer number of TSVs.

On the performance front, Samsung claims that Aquabolt offers up a 50% increase in per package performance versus its first generation “Flarebolt” memory which ran at 1.6Gbps per pin and 1.2V. Interestingly, Aquabolt is also faster than Samsung’s 2.0Gbps per pin HBM2 product (which needed 1.35V) without needing additional power. Samsung also compares Aquabolt to GDDR5 stating that it offers 9.6-times the bandwidth with a single package of HBM2 at 307 GB/s and a GDDR5 chip at 32 GB/s. Thanks to the 2.4 Gbps per pin speed, Aquabolt offers 307 GB/s of bandwidth per package and with four packages products such as graphics cards can take advantage of 1.2 TB/s of bandwidth.

This second generation HBM2 memory is a decent step up in performance (with HBM hitting 128GB/s and first generation HBM2 hitting 256 GB/s per package and 512 GB/s and 1 TB/s with four packages respectively), but the interesting bit is that it is faster without needing more power. The increased bandwidth and data transfer speeds will be a boon to the HPC and supercomputing market and useful for working with massive databases, simulations, neural networks and AI training, and other “big data” tasks.

Aquabolt looks particularly promising for the mobile market though with future products succeeding the current mobile Vega GPU in Kaby Lake-G processors, Ryzen Mobile APUs, and eventually discrete Vega mobile graphics cards getting a nice performance boost (it’s likely too late for AMD to go with this new HBM2 on these specific products, but future refreshes or generations may be able to take advantage of it). I’m sure it will also see usage in the SoCs uses in Intel’s and NVIDIA’s driverless car projects as well.

Source: Samsung

PCPer Mailbag #26 - 1,141 Seconds With Josh Walrath

Subject: Editorial | January 12, 2018 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: video, pcper mailbag, Josh Walrath

It's time for the PCPer Mailbag, our weekly show where Ryan and the team answer your questions about the tech industry, the latest and greatest GPUs, the process of running a tech review website, and more!

On today's show, with most of the PCPer crew in Vegas for CES, our very own Josh Walrath steps up to the plate to tackle your most pressing questions:

00:30 - Improving CPUs & Ryzen Refresh?
04:04 - Spectre/Meltdown vulnerabilities an opportunity for AMD?
06:23 - What's next for CPUs after the nanometer shrink race?
09:18 - Will Apple ditch Intel for its own Mac CPUs?
10:58 - Cheap racing wheel recommendation?
12:21 - Racing games that Josh is looking forward to?
13:25 - Why does high resolution display scaling in Windows suck?
14:37 - Why isn't Josh at CES?
15:27 - What's up with joshtekk.com?
16:06 - Josh's stance on booty shaking?

Want to have your question answered on a future Mailbag? Leave a comment on this post or in the YouTube comments for the latest video. Check out new Mailbag videos each Friday!

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel to make sure you never miss our weekly reviews and podcasts, and please consider supporting PC Perspective via Patreon to help us keep videos like our weekly mailbag coming!

Source: YouTube

CES 2018: Samsung Plans To Launch Galaxy S9 at MWC Next Month

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 11, 2018 - 05:20 PM |
Tagged: snapdragon 845, Samsung, MWC, galaxy s9, galaxy, exynos 9810, CES 2018, CES

Samsung confirmed to ZDNet at CES that it plans to launch its new flagship Galaxy S smartphone at Mobile World Congress next month. The company has managed to keep a tight lid on the new devices, which are expected to be named the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+, with surprisingly few leaks. Samsung will reportedly show off the smartphone and announce the official specifications along with the release date and pricing information at its MWC keynote event.

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Thanks to the rumor mill, there are potential specifications floating about with a few conflicting bits of information particularly where the fingerprint scanner is concerned. Looking around there seems to be several corroborated (but still rumored) specifications on the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. Allegedly the Galaxy smartphones will feature curved Super AMOLED displays with QHD+ (3200x1800) resolutions measuring 5.8" on the Galaxy S9 and 6.2" on the Galaxy S9+. Further, Smasung is equipping them with dual rear-facing cameras, USB-C, and 3.5mm headphone jack. There are conflicting rumors on the fingerprint scanner with some rumors stating it will feature a fingerprint sensor embedded in the display while other rumors claim that Samsung ran into issues and instead opted for a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor.

Internally, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 in the US and Samsung's own Exynos 9810 SoC outside of the US. Cat 18 LTE support is present in either case with faster than gigabit download speeds possible (though less in real world situations). The Galaxy S9 will allegedly be offered with 4GB of RAM and either 64GB of 128GB of storage while the S9+ will have 6GB of RAM and up to 256GB of internal flash storage.

In any case, the Galaxy S9 and S9+ are set to be powerhouses with the latest SoCs and (hopefully) large batteries for those infinity displays! It seems that we will have to wait another month for official information, but it should be out within the first quarter which is actually pretty fast considering it seems like the Galaxy S8 just came out (although it was actually last March heh). Mobile World Congress 2018 is scheduled from February 26th to March 1st in Barcelona, Spain.

What are your thoughts on the Galaxy S9 rumors so far? Do you plan to upgrade? This year may be the year I upgrade my LG G3 since the display is dying, but we'll see!

Also read:

 

Source: Ars Technica

CES 2018: SilverStone's Compact Strider Platinum 1000W and 1200W PSUs

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 11, 2018 - 02:50 PM |
Tagged: CES, CES 2018, Silverstone, PSU, power supply, 80 Plus Platinum, 1000W, 1200w, 140mm, atx, compact, SFF

SilverStone's Strider Platinum lineup now includes 1000 and 1200 watt models with a depth of only 140 mm. These are both fully modular ATX PSUs, and 80 Plus Platinum certified.

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The compact 140 mm depth is popular with small form-factor builds - and sometimes a requirement for a fully modular PSU like this depending on the enclosure. The power density is obviously getting really high for 2018, and 1200W is likely the highest you will find at 140 mm.

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Pricing and release dates have not been revealed just yet for either power supply.

Source: SilverStone

FSP's Hydro PTM 750W Platinum takes Gold

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 11, 2018 - 01:48 PM |
Tagged: Hydro PTM, HPT750M, FSP Group, 80 Plus Platinum, modular psu

A few months back Lee reviewed the FSP Hydro PTM 750W modular PSU and gave it a Gold Award and recently [H]ard|OCP have done the same.  There is a lot to like about this PSU, from it's $115 MSRP to the 10 year long warranty, making it a solid choice to power a system. The interior components are all top notch so you should expect this PSU to last throughout the warranty period and the 80 PLUS Platinum rating ensures efficiency.  The marketers did manage to slap a VR Ready sticker on the PSU but don't let that discourage you.

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"While FSP is still not a widely known brand name when it comes to enthusiast computer power supplies, it has actually been becoming fairly consistent in designing, manufacturing, and selling PSUs in North America that have not only held their own, but also been impressive products. How does this new member of its Hydro series hold up?"

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Forget the Wallendas; get a charge out of doing it without a wire

Subject: General Tech | January 11, 2018 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: Energous, Qi, wireless charging, Powermat

Wireless charging has been present on several popular phone models and occasionally in demonstration models of laptops, but somehow it is more popular on toothbrushes than mobile devices.  The Qi standard was declared the winner when Apple bailed on the Airfuel Alliance late last year, but according to what The Register is seeing that doesn't mean there isn't going to be competition for selling you charging hardware.  Recently Powermat joined up with the Qi standard, Energous announced the WattUp Mid Field charger and their partnership with Apple and even Intel has joined in with Ossia Inc and their magnetic resonance charging tech.  Get a brief overview of the players here.

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"Last week wireless charging company Powermat quietly joined the Wireless Power Consortium, which certifies Qi-compatible products. Apple built Qi charging into all three new iPhones in September, having already supported it in its Watch since it launched in 2015."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

CES 2018: Gigabyte Shows Off AORUS X470 Gaming 7 WiFi

Subject: Motherboards | January 11, 2018 - 01:18 AM |
Tagged: Zen+, x470, ryzen, gigabyte, CES 2018, CES, aorus gaming 7, aorus, amd, AM4

Gigabyte had several motherboards on display at CES including an AMD AM4 motherboard with an unreleased AMD 400-series Promontory chipset! The stealthily displayed AORUS branded motherboard was spotted by Steven Burke over at Gamer’s Nexus who then jumped at the opportunity and started taking it apart! The AORUS X470 Gaming 7 WiFi appears to check all the boxes for a high-end gaming focused motherboard and should allow enthusiasts eyeing a Ryzen or Zen+ (Ryzen 2000 series) processor to push it as far as possible.

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We went hands-on with the AORUS X470 Gaming 7 WiFi

The X470-based motherboard features a six layer PCB and improved CPU power delivery in the form of a 10+2 power phase (doubled 5-phase for CPU plus 2 phases for memory) with VRMs that are cooled by a hefty copper heat-pipe and aluminum fin stack. Gamer’s Nexus reports that Gigabyte is using hardware from International Rectifier in the form of IR 3599 drivers, IR 3553 MOSFETs, and a IR 35201 PWM controller. For those interested in how motherboard VRMs and power phases works, Buildzoid has several great introductory videos on Youtube that are worth watching.

Other overclocking friendly features include an external clock generator, diagnostic LED readout, power and clear CMOS buttons on the rear IO panel, dual BIOSes, and various hybrid fan headers for air and water cooling. Gigabyte reportedly rates the motherboard at 4,000+ MHz memory overclocking which is good news for Ryzen and Ryzen 2 users since memory speeds have a big impact on performance.

The AORUS X470 Gaming 7 WiFi feeds the AM4 socket with both an 8-pin and 4-pin ATX power connectors. To the right of the processor socket sits four DDR4 DIMM slots and the accent LED along the right edge. Expansion is handled by three PCI-E x16 slots (two are wired to the CPU for graphics), two PCI-E x1 slots, and two M.2 slots that sit under black head spreaders. There are six SATA ports in the right corner. While the heatsink is covering the audio chipset, whichever solution they are using (likely Realtek as it does not appear this is a Killer-equipped board) has high end WIMA and Nichicon caps and also supports USB DAC-UP technology.

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Rear I/O includes two antenna connectors for the built in Wi-Fi chipset, power and clear CMOS buttons, four USB 3.0 ports plus two more USB 3.0 ports that support USB DAC-UP, two USB 3.1 ports (one Type-C and one Type-A), a RJ45 connector (likely Gigabit Ethernet), and six audio outputs (one S/PDIF and five 3.5mm analog outputs).

It is interesting to finally see a 400-series motherboard and for Gigabyte to give AMD its Gaming 7 treatment. Also comforting is that while the new 400-series boards will offer slight connectivity benefits, users that bought into Summit Ridge and X370/B350/A320 boards aren’t missing out on too much and may actually get multiple CPUs out of one motherboard for a change. The 400-series chipsets allegedly enable a bit more bandwidth for devices hanging off of the chipset thanks to the upgrade from PCI-E 2.0 (5GT/s) to PCI-E 3.0. With this upgrade, a M.2 drive connected through the chipset would be able to hit its full speeds. While the chipset’s eight PCI-E 3.0 lanes could in theory support two nearly full speed M.2 NVMe drives, the PCI-E 3.0 x4 link between the chipset and processor would ultimately bottleneck things. At least a single drive can hit its full speeds though and bring Ryzen systems up to three total PCI-E M.2 drives running at full speed.

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Oh, and did I mention there is RGB? Yep, Gigabyte has hooked the X470 Gaming 7 WIFI up with RGB LEDs around the PCI-E x16 slots, DIMM slots, over the chipset, and under the accent overlay in the top right corner. All things considered, the RGB is pretty tame in this model, which isn’t a bad thing in my opinion.

What are your thoughts on Gigabyte’s upcoming motherboard and on the 400-series motherboards in general? Are you ready for Pinnacle Ridge? 

CES 2018: Mushkin Adds New SATA SSDs To Triactor Family

Subject: Storage | January 10, 2018 - 08:17 PM |
Tagged: sm2258xt, SM2258, sata 6Gbs, sata 3, Mushkin, M.2 SATA, CES 2018, CES, 3d nand

In addition to the PCI-E based solid state drives it showed off at CES, Mushkin is adding two new SATA-based SSDs to its Triactor series. The new Triactor 3DL and Triactor 3DX are M.2 and 2.5" form factor SSDs respectively that are available in 120 GB, 250 GB, 500 GB, and 1 TB capacities and utilize 3D TLC NAND flash memory and SMI controllers. Both drives come with M.E.D.S. wear leveling and data protection algorithms and three-year warranties.

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The Triactor 3DL is a M.2 2280 form factor SSD that uses a SMI SM2258XT controller with a SATA 3.1 6 Gbps interface. The SM2258XT is a four-channel controller that lacks a DRAM cache. The Triactor 3DL is rated at up to 550 MB/s sequential reads, 505 MB/s sequential writes, 73,000 random 4k read IOPS and 80,000 random 4k write IOPS. Its data protection features include LDPC ECC and algorithms for data shaping, StaticDataRefresh, and wear leveling. While not as impressive as its NVMe M.2 counterparts, it should be a good bit cheaper and compatible with more PCs especially as an upgrade path for older notebooks.

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On the other hand, the Triactor 3DX is a more traditional SATA drive that comes in a 2.5" form factor (7mm thick). In this case the 3D TLC NAND flash is paired with a SMI SM2258 controller which is similar to the one above except that it can utilize a DRAM cache and supports AES encryption. The Triactor 3DX is rated at 565 MB/s sequential reads, 530 MB/s sequential writes, 100,000 random 4k read IOPs, and 91,000 random 4k write IOPS. It seems that the cache is helping performance a bit, and the drive is starting to bump up against the real-world limits of the SATA 6 Gbps interface. Since it is of the thinner 7mm type, it will be compatible with most notebooks and desktops.

The new Triactor drives are cheaper options that come in M.2 as well as traditional SATA drives. Mushkin is not talking pricing or availability just yet.

Source: Mushkin

CES 2018: Crucial Expands MX500 Lineup - 2.5" SATA up to 2TB, M.2 2280 SATA up to 1TB

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2018 - 07:38 PM |
Tagged: tlc, ssd, slc, sata, nand, MX500, DWA, crucial, CES 2018, CES, 3d nand

Crucial showed off the upcoming M.2 variant of its MX500 product, available in capacities up to 1TB. They also announced (press release after the break) that the MX500 will be available from 250GB up to 2TB capacities.

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Here is Crucial's product tour video for the MX500:

We previously tested the 1TB MX500, and Crucial passed along a 500GB model that I was able to spot check to ensure there was no performance fall-off at the smaller capacities of this line:

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Looks good so far, and nearly identical to the 1TB capacity across our entire test suite. We did also speak with Crucial reps (Jon and Jon) about the TRIM speed issues noted in our previous review. They are looking into replicating our testing and may be pushing out a firmware to help improve this metric moving forward.

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We also saw some sweet looking new RGB Ballistix memory, due out shortly. More to follow there! Crucial's MX500 CES announcement appears after the break.

Source: Crucial

CES 2018: Mushkin Launches New M.2 NVMe SSDs

Subject: Storage | January 10, 2018 - 07:24 PM |
Tagged: Mushkin, silicon motion, SM2262, SM2263XT, 3d nand, tlc, M.2, NVMe, CES, CES 2018

Mushkin is on site at CES where it is launching a slew of new products. On the storage front, Mushkin is showing off three new M.2 2280 form factor NVMe solid state drives aimed at various price points. The Pilot, Pilot-E, and Helix-L M.2 drives all use Silicon Motion controllers and 3D TLC NAND flash memory. Mushkin further advertises them with a three-year warranty and the company's MEDS Reliability Suite which includes technology to enable end-to-end data path protection, LDPC ECC, and global wear leveling algorithms to ensure data integrity and longevity.

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At the top end of performance is the Pilot-E M.2 SSD based on SM2262EN controller which offers up eight channels for connecting all the 3D NAND. This 250 GB to 2 TB drive is able to achieve extremely speedy 3.5 GB/s sequential reads and 3.0 GB/s sequential writes along with 370K read IOPS and 300K write IOPS. Essentially, the Pilot-E M.2 should be able to easily max out the PCI-E x4 connection with the right workloads.

Stepping down a bit, the Pilot drive uses an eight channel SM2262 controller. This drive gets close to the Pilot-E in reads, but has much lower sequential write performance. Capacities for this SSD range from 120 GB to 2 TB. Specifically, the Pilot SSD is rated at 3.2 GB/s sequential reads, 1.9 GB/s sequential writes, 370K random read IOPS, and 300K random write IOPS. This drive should be cheaper than the Pilot-E and will be aimed at the consumer space where reads are more important than writes.

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Finally, Mushkin's Helix-L is a lower cost SSD that uses a DRAM-less design to reduce cost as well as a cheaper four channel SM2263XT controller. Capacities range from 120 GB to 1TB. This SSD supports Host Memory Buffer architecture which allows it to use system memory as a cache to improve performance. The Helix-L is rated at 2.4 GB/s sequential reads, 1.7 GB/s sequential writes, 280K random read IOPS (140K without HMB) and 250K random write IOPS.

Mushkin has not yet revealed pricing or availability on its new NVMe 1.3 drives. You can read more about the Silicon Motion controllers used here.

Source: Mushkin

Corsair's new H115i Pro and H150i Pro

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 10, 2018 - 03:37 PM |
Tagged: watercooler, H150i Pro, H115i Pro, corsair, AIO

Corsair did more than just wait for CES to announce two new AiO liquid coolers, they also sent them out for review.  The H115i Pro is an update to the H110i Pro and retains its dual 140mm fan design, with an improved pump and new look.  The H150i Pro is new, with a 360mm radiator and three 120mm fans; in both cases they are advertised as low noise fans which is a major change from the previous series which placed performance over quiet operation.  That choice did not hurt the cooling capability of these AiO's, The Tech Report's testing showed slightly better performance with significantly less noise produced.  ThreadRipper owners beware, these coolers support Intel and AM4 sockets only.

h150ipro.jpg

"Corsair's H115i Pro and H150i Pro closed-loop liquid coolers represent the biggest change to the company's popular liquid-cooling hardware in quite some time. We put one of the hottest CPUs around underneath these coolers to see whether Corsair's update was a success."

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The best way to share your game streams online

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2018 - 02:13 PM |
Tagged: amd, nvidia, relive, ShadowPlay, gaming

[H]ard|OCP are comparing AMD and NVIDIA's exhibitionist software to see which offers streamers the best experience.  The two applications are superficially similar but they both offer different features and performance, not to mention only supporting their own hardware.  From a performance standpoint, NVIDIA's ShadowPlay is slightly ahead in efficiency but not in any meaningful way, you would not be able to discern between the two in a blind test.  When you look at features, AMD's ReLive is the clear winner.  You can set your bitrate between 1-100Mbps at every resolution, from 360p to 2160p while NVIDIA maxes out at 50Mbps at any resolution and only supports up to 1440p.  There are several other features AMD included which surpass NVIDIA's offerings, read about them all here.

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"We take AMD ReLive in the AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition and NVIDIA ShadowPlay as part of GeForce Experience and find out which one is more FPS and CPU-efficient for recording gameplay. We will compare features, specifications, and find out which better suits content creators for recording gameplay."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP