Imagination Technologies Pursues Acquisition Talks

Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | June 23, 2017 - 10:45 PM |
Tagged: Imagination Technologies, imagination, apple, gpu

According to a press release from Imagination Technologies, the group has been approached by multiple entities who are interested in acquiring them. None of these potential buyers have been mentioned by name, however. The press release also makes it clear that the group is only announcing that discussions have started, and that other interested parties can contact their financial adviser, Rothschild, to join in.

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It’s entirely possible that nothing could come from these discussions, but Imagination Technologies clearly wants as many options to choose from as possible.

This announcement is clearly related to the recent news that Apple plans to stop licensing technology from them, which made up about half of the whole company’s revenue at the time. The press release states that they are still in dispute with Apple with a dedicated, highly visible, single-line paragraph. As far as I know, Apple hasn’t yet provided proof that they are legally clear of Imagination Technology’s licenses, and the press release claims that they still dispute Apple’s claims.

Hopefully we’ll hear more concrete details in the near future.

The GeForce GTX USB drive is real and small and fun

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2017 - 05:13 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, gtx, geforce gtx usb drive, geforce

What started as merely an April Fool's prank by NVIDIA has now turned into one of the cutest little promotions I've ever seen. Originally "launched" as part of the GeForce G-ASSIST technology that purported to offer AI-enabled gaming if you were away from your keyboard, NVIDIA actually built the tiny, adorable, GeForce GTX USB Key.

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This drive was made to look like the GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition graphics card and was only produced in a quantity of 1080. I happen to find a 64GB option in a Fedex box this morning when I cam into the office.

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Performance on this USB 3.0 based drive is pretty solid, peaking at 111 MB/s on reads and 43 MB/s on writes. 

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If you want of these for yourself, you need to be signed up through GeForce Experience and opting in to the GeForce newsletter. Do that, and you're entered. 

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We have some more pictures of the USB drive below (including the surprising interior shot!), so click this link to see them.

AMD Radeon Vega Frontier Edition Air and Liquid-Cooled GPUs Now Available for Pre-Order

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 23, 2017 - 02:21 AM |
Tagged: vega frontier edition, Vega, radeon, pre-order, gpu, amd

AMD promised “late June” availability for its Radeon Vega Frontier Edition, and it looks like the company will almost hit that mark. The latest high-end prosumer and workstation GPU from AMD is now available for pre-order, with an expected ship date of July 3rd.

Update [2017-06-24]: The initial pre-order stock at both Newegg and Amazon has sold out. It's unknown if AMD will make additional units available in time for the launch.

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The Radeon Vega Frontier Edition helps drive the new digital world. It nurtures creativity. It is your gateway to parts unknown. Expand the boundaries of what's possible and witness the impossible. With the new "Vega" GPU architecture at its core, you will have no barriers or compromises to what you want to achieve. Take advantage of the massive 16GB of cutting-edge, second-generation high-bandwidth memory to create expansive designs and models. Crunch and manipulate datasets using the sixty-four Next-Gen Compute Units (nCUs - 4096 stream processors) at your disposal. Unleash your imagination to develop games, CGI or VR content leveraging the latest features found on the "Vega" GPU architecture and witness the breathtaking power of "Vega" course through your system.

The Radeon Vega Frontier Edition is available in both air and AIO liquid-cooled designs, and the product page clarifies the following specs. Note, however, that specific core and memory clocks are not listed, which is especially interesting given the liquid-cooled varient's increased TDP.

AMD Radeon Vega Frontier Edition (Air Cooled)

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  • Memory: 16GB High Bandwidth Cache
  • Memory Bandwidth: 483 GB/s
  • Compute Units: 64
  • Stream Processors: 4096
  • Single Precision Compute (FP32): 13.1 TFLOPS
  • Half Precision Compute (FP16): 26.2 TFLOPS
  • Display Output: 3 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x HDMI 2.0
  • TDP: 300W
  • Price: $1,199.99 (Newegg | Amazon)

AMD Radeon Vega Frontier Edition (Liquid Cooled)

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  • Memory: 16GB High Bandwidth Cache
  • Memory Bandwidth: 483 GB/s
  • Compute Units: 64
  • Stream Processors: 4096
  • Single Precision Compute (FP32): 13.1 TFLOPS
  • Half Precision Compute (FP16): 26.2 TFLOPS
  • Display Output: 3 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x HDMI 2.0
  • TDP: 375W
  • Price: $1,799.99 (Newegg | Amazon)

Before you pre-order, however, there’s one big caveat. Although AMD touts the card as ideal for “innovators, creators, and pioneers of the world,” the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition will lack application certification, a factor that is crucial to many who work with content creation software and something typically found in high-end professional GPUs like the Quadro and FirePro lines.

For those hoping for Vega-based professional cards sporting certification, the Vega Frontier Edition product page teases the launch of the Vega-powered Radeon Pro WX in Q3 2017.

Source:

FSP embraces summer with new heatsinks like the Windale 6

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 22, 2017 - 03:06 PM |
Tagged: FSP Group, windale 6

FSP Group are more commonly known for their PSUs, recently they have branched out into other components including heatsinks.  [H]ard|OCP had a chance to test out their Windale 6 cooler, which sounds oddly familiar.  The cooling performance was somewhat better than a stock cooler and noticeably quieter, but overclockers may want to look elsewhere.  The cooler stands 122x110x160mm and sports a 120mm fan however the mounting solution presented some challenges.  Drop by for the details.

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"FSP is a very new brand when it comes to CPU air coolers and is entering a market that is highly competitive and seeded with others that have been designing air coolers for quite some time. Its Windale 6 cooler features six direct contact heatpipes, a 120mm fan, and what FSP says is an "optimized fin design." But does it cool?"

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

CASES & COOLING

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Podcast #455 - Intel Skylake-X, AMD EPYC 7000 series, IBM 5nm, 802.11ad, and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2017 - 12:57 PM |
Tagged: video, Surface Pro, skylake-x, podcast, Intel, IBM, EPYC, amd, 802.11ad, 5nm

PC Perspective Podcast #455 - 06/22/17

Join us for talk about Intel Skylake-X, AMD EPYC 7000 series, IBM 5nm, 802.11ad, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison

Program length: 1:36:49
 
Podcast topics of discussion:
 
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
  4. Closing/outro

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

Source:

Trust in Windows Defender Antivirus

Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2017 - 12:34 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows defender, antivirus, Kaspersky

You have likely heard of the spat between Kaspersky Labs and Microsoft, in which Kaspersky have filed a complaint with the European Commission stating that Microsoft is purposely disabling their antivirus program.  Microsoft replied with their view of this dispute, stating that they do indeed disable antivirus programs when there is a risk that a Windows update would stop the third party antivirus from running anyways.  The Inquirer and others were told that as a service to the user they ensure that Windows Defender is activated and on the job to protect them.

Many of us have had issues in which an update causes an antivirus program to lobotomize a valued program or operating system because of false positives, often leading to an eternal reboot loop until you can find the offending update or program.  This leads to a question of expectations; is it reasonable that Microsoft test the compatibility of their OS with antivirus vendors, either internally or by releasing an early version those vendors can test?  We are likely to see a court case to determine that in the near future, the EC previously ruled against Microsoft in 2004 regarding Windows Media Player as well as in 2009 regarding Internet Explorer (pdf) so we may indeed see another ruling which forces Microsoft to allow users to disable Windows Defender.

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"The post goes on to admit that, yes, it does deactivate third party AV, if there is a risk of an update to Windows that stops the AV working anyway."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

Microsoft reSurfaces their Studio so they can show off a puck

Subject: Systems | June 21, 2017 - 03:39 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, surface, surface studio

Microsoft's Studio Surface is quite a change from the usual Studio notebooks, instead of a tiny screen this system is built into a 28" display with some seriously impressive specs.  The display has a resolution of 4500x3000 which translates to 192ppi, perfect for getting the most detail out of your artistic creations; gaming may be troublesome as the top end model comes with a GTX 980M that has 4GB of GDDR5.  The Surface Dial would also present control difficulty for gamers but for artists it offers a new way to control a wide variety of options in your software.  Aso worth noting is that you can swivel the screen to an angle where it can be used as a sketching board, the stand will even support a reasonable amount of weight if you lean into your drawings.  The Inquirer did have some areas in which they thought Microsoft could make some improvements but overall they were quite impressed.  Check it out here.

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"IT'S ALL CHANGE over at Microsoft with not one, but two entirely new product categories sporting the Surface name. The first is a traditional form-factored laptop with some fuzzy touchy-feely plush elements. The second, the Surface Studio is a powerful all-in-one with a giant display, stacks of power and one funky, optional knob."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

 

Source: The Inquirer

Hide yer wallets! Steam's Summer Sale kicks off tomorrow

Subject: General Tech | June 21, 2017 - 01:15 PM |
Tagged: steam sale, gaming

Is that list of Steam games you own but haven't played getting a little shorter?  Well, there is a solution to that as the on of the most dangerous causes of impulse buying starts tomorrow.  Paypal let the cat out of the bag and Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN spotted it, along with the launch time for the UK, 6pm BST on 22 June.  The reason PayPal revealed the start of the sale is because they are offering a bit of a deal in the UK and possibly the rest of the world, if you buy more than £20 of games and pay for it with PayPal you get an extra £5 off.

Perhaps this is a good time to head out of town and spend the weekend somewhere without internet connectivity?

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"I assume you young people will be dragging your camping stools to the Steam storefront from 21 June, nursing a thermos of something nutritious and exchanging stories about the time you queued for something else with your fellow queuers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

An EPYC slide deck

Subject: General Tech | June 21, 2017 - 12:21 PM |
Tagged: EPYC, amd, instinct

[H]ard|OCP were at AMD's launch of the new EPYC family of server CPUs and captured the presentation and slide deck in a series of photos you can take a look at right here.  They cover the work being done with HP and Dell, as well as with internet service providers such as Microsoft's Azure platform and China's Baidu.  They even give you a look at some of the products which will be launched running on Supermicro platforms.  AMD is looking very attractive to server builders at the moment, a feeling you may already have garnered from reading Ryan's take on EPYC.

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"AMD held it official EPYC enterprise CPU launch today in Austin, TX. If you are not aware of EPYC, it is quite simply AMD's effort to get back into the datacenters that are now firmly held by Intel Xeon processors. What do you get when you take 4 Ryzen 7 CPUs and put those down on a single package with Infinity Fabric? You would be correct, its EPYC."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Behold the Palette

Subject: General Tech | June 20, 2017 - 04:05 PM |
Tagged: input, Palette, blame canada, MIDI

As you can see, the Palette is not your normal keyboard nor mouse. Instead is is a collection of buttons, dials and sliders which communicate via the MIDI standard and is intended to help you with programs like Adobe Premier Pro, Photoshop, or Capture One.  The Palette can be rearranged however you like, magnets hold it together to ensure that signal can travel between the blocks in whatever arrangement you prefer.  The core module, with the LCD screen, houses the USB connector to plug it into your system as well as the Atmel AT90USB1286 8-bit brains of the device.  You can connect up to 18 modules due to the power delivery limitations of USB, or 32 if you can provide additional power.  TechPowerUp found numerous uses for the device, drop to check it our and perhaps to be inspired.

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"Palette is a startup that aims to elevate the current standard of human-computer interaction. Their modular controllers based off the MIDI standard use a combination of buttons, dials, and sliders to lower workflow time for content creators. The PaletteApp driver helps with built-in support for over 15 popular programs from Adobe and others, and profile support enables quick changes in functionality for individual modules."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: TechPowerUp

Lightning strikes again, MSI's new GTX 1080 Ti LIGHTNING Z

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 20, 2017 - 02:02 PM |
Tagged: msi, LIGHTNING Z, gtx 1080 ti, factory overclocked

MSI have expanded their Lightning line with a new GTX 1080 Ti GPU.  The Lightning line comes with three profiles, including one which bears the name of the family, which will set your GPU to a boost clock of 1721 MHz, 1607 MHz base.  The other two modes are Gaming, which runs at 1695 MHz boost, 1582 MHz base and a Silent mode running at 1582 MHz/1480MHz. 

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This GPU shares the high end features appearing on many MSI cards, the TRI-FROZR cooler with TORX 2.0 fans and SuperPipes as well as Military Class 4 components and a 10-layer PCB with 14 power phases for the GPU and 3 for the memory.  What is somewhat new is the RGB infection, which can be controlled by MSI's Mystic Light app to create your own personalized light show.

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Check out the full PR below.

MSI is proud to officially announce the latest of its legendary LIGHTNING graphics cards. Built to be perfect, the new GeForce® GTX 1080 Ti LIGHTNING Z combines cutting edge new technology with proven features such as TRI-FROZR design with TORX 2.0 Fans, SuperPipe technology and Military Class 4 components. The GeForce® GTX 1080 Ti LIGHTNING Z is nothing short of an engineering masterpiece.

Unmatched Thermal Design
MSI Torx Fan 2.0MSI’s reputation in thermal design is well-known to be excellent. The improved TRI-FROZR design on the GTX 1080 Ti LIGHTNING Z utilizes two 10cm and one 9cm TORX 2.0 Fans combining the advantages of both traditional fan blade and dispersion fan blade, generating huge amounts of airflow while remaining virtually silent. Two 8mm SuperPipes transfer heat much faster to the fins, enabling up to a whopping 700W of heat dissipation.

Mystic Light Sync with Brilliant RGB Effect
MSI’s Mystic Light enables you tocustomize the RGB effects of your hardware to give your system a different look whenever you feel like it. Using the MSI Mystic Light software, you can even synchronize colors and effects of your graphics card, motherboard, case-fans and peripherals. Give yourself or the audience a show!

Dual BIOS and Enhanced Power Design
The special LN2 BIOS on the card provides extreme overclockers more capibility for overclocking records without special hardware modifications. By removing restrictions, the full potential of the graphics card is unlocked. The enhanced power design contains more power phases than other models to ensure plenty of power is available for record-breaking performance. LIGHTNING’s custom 10-layer PCB is fitted with 14 phases for GPU and 3 phases for Memory to ensure power delivery can handle the most extreme loads.

Military Class 4 Components
Equipped with Military Class 4 components, the MSI GTX 1080 Ti LIGHTNING Z is built to deliver the best quality and stability. The components have gone through rigorous testing by a third-party laboratory to satisfy the MIL-STD-810G standard. Featuring DrMOS 60A power phases, the highest rated available ensuring plenty of power. Hi-C CAP cores, Super Ferrite Choke, and Solid CAP, each aspect of the LIGHTNING Z ensures the best possible performance.

On-board and in control
With MSI's exclusive OC kits you're in complete control of the GTX 1080 Ti LIGHTNING Z. V-Check points allow you to accurately measure GPU, Memory and PLL voltages. Multiple Temp Monitor checks the real-time temperatures of the GPU, Memory and PLL while Quadruple Overvoltage allows you to overvolt those same components in order to achieve higher clock speeds.

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Source: MSI

That new battery is sick!

Subject: General Tech | June 20, 2017 - 01:38 PM |
Tagged: battery

Researchers from the University of Maryland have come up with an interesting new use for the tobacco mosaic virus; significantly increasing the surface area of electrodes.  The increase is quite impressive, a 3.6-fold improvement in areal capacitance over a planar equivalent due to the increased surface area created by the nickel oxide coated TMV.  Not only does this research offer improvements in supercapacitors it opens up a new area of research which could enhance a wide variety of electrically charged devices.  Drop by Nanotechweb for a look at the science behind this.

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"Scientists in the US have devised a microfabrication method that uses capillary channels in a photoresist to position nanorods of the tobacco mosaic virus (TMV). The team used the quick and simple new approach to create a supercapacitor with nanostructured electrodes, and the method can be applied to construct many other microdevices requiring high surface areas."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: Nanotechweb

AIDA64 Version 5.92 Released

Subject: Processors | June 19, 2017 - 11:48 PM |
Tagged: LGA2066, Intel X299, Intel Skylake-X, Intel Kaby Lake-X, FinalWire, aida64

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Courtesy of FinalWire

Today, FinalWire Ltd. announced the release of version 5.92 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 Intel's newest processors, the Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors, as well as the Intel X299 "Union Point" chipset. The benchmarks and performance tests housed within AIDA64 have been updated for the Intel X299 chipset and processor line to utilize Advanced Vector Extensions 2 (AVX2), Fused Multiply-Add (FMA) instructions, and AES-NI hardware acceleration integrated into the new line of Intel processors.

New features include:

  • AVX2 and FMA accelerated 64-bit benchmarks for Intel Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X CPUs
  • Improved support for AMD Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 processors
  • Support for Pertelian (RS232) external LCD device
  • Corsair K55 RGB LED keyboard support
  • Corsair Glaive RGB LED mouse support
  • 20 processor groups support
  • NVMe 1.3, WDDM 2.2 support
  • Advanced support for Areca RAID controllers
  • GPU details for AMD Radeon RX 500 Series
  • GPU details for nVIDIA GeForce GT 1030, GeForce MX150, Titan Xp

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 Creators 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 AMD Ryzen Summit Ridge processors
  • 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 Apollo Lake, Braswell and Cherry Trail processors
  • Preliminary support for AMD Zen APUs and Zen server processors
  • Preliminary support for Intel Gemini Lake SoC and Knights Mill HPC CPU
  • Improved support for Intel Cannonlake, Coffee Lake, Denverton CPUs
  • 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, NZXT Kraken X52, 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 EastRising ER-OLEDM032 (SSD1322), 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
  • Support for LGA-1151 and Socket AM4 motherboards
  • Advanced support for Adaptec and Marvell RAID controllers
  • Autodetect information and SMART drive health monitoring for Intel and Samsung NVMe SSDs

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.

Windows Server Follows Trend of Two Updates per Year

Subject: General Tech | June 19, 2017 - 08:59 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows, windows server

Microsoft seems to want to release feature updates for their software twice per year, once in the fall, and once in the spring. First, Office 365 announced that it would adopt a semi-annual schedule, targeting September and March, give or take a bit. The Windows team then announced that they would follow in Office’s footsteps.

Now, the Windows Server team has followed suit.

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It’s interesting, because Windows Server typically pushes out two major versions every four or five years: one with a number, and another with that same number alongside an R2 suffix. Each of these lines up with a consumer refresh of the NT kernel, although both Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 R2 used the same kernel... because Windows XP lasted a while.

Sure, a lot of a name would normally be marketing, but it also gated the major features that Microsoft was able to add (because they wanted a single Windows release to interact with software fairly uniformly across its lifecycle for enterprise reasons). Now, with the whole company pushing the “as a service” model, even Windows Server will be on the feature release treadmill.

Source: Microsoft

Biostar's ITX Ryzen motherboard in action; the X370GTN

Subject: Motherboards | June 19, 2017 - 01:41 PM |
Tagged: itx, ryzen, biostar, Racing X370GTN, SFF

Barely the size of a Threadripper CPU, the Racing X370GTN ITX motherboard is a decent platform to build a Ryzen powered SFF system on.  Biostar kept the design fairly simple, to keep the costs down on this motherboard but don't worry, they did include RGB headers for 5050 RGB LED light strips and you can set up your personalized light show using the Racing GT utility.  Even with the compact design, Hardware Canucks were able to fully populate the two DIMM slots even with a Prolimatech Mega Shadow cooler installed, they did discover that users of AiO watercoolers will have to ensure to rotate the cooler to ensure the tubing does not block the closer DIMM however.  The M.2 slot has been relocated to the back of the motherboard due to the size constraints of the board which did not impact performance.  Pop by to take a look at this ~$110 motherboard if you are in the market for an ITX Ryzen system.

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"ITX motherboards have finally arrived for AMD's Ryzen and in this first review we look at Biostar's brand new Racing X370GTN. Can its diminutive size belie its true performance?"

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

New Entertainment System from Atari?!?

Subject: General Tech | June 19, 2017 - 12:59 PM |
Tagged: atari, nes, Jaguar

It has been over 20 years since Atari launched their Jaguar system, the last piece of hardware that company would make; until now perhaps.  There was a mysterious announcement and the launch of a website with little more information than a movie featuring rendered wood grain and plastic.  You can sign up at ataribox.com to become the first to know, if Nintendo decides to share more information.  It will be very interesting to see what components they have picked to run this new console, considering the high specifications of the new Xbawkx they will either need high end silicon or a much lower price to compete.  The video is down below and you can pop over to The Inquirer for more speculation if you so desire.

"The iconic company, which has had more lives than Garfield in a blender, is to release the Ataribox, which so far is shrouded in mystery, aside from the classic wood panelling that lovers of the 2300 and 2600 will know only too well."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

iFixit: Microsoft Surface Laptop Gets a Zero on Repairability

Subject: Systems | June 18, 2017 - 08:52 PM |
Tagged: ifixit, recycling, microsoft, surface laptop

It’s no surprise that many devices have been sacrificing user-serviceability in favor of small, light, and fast. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see device manufacturers forego even the ability to recycle them when they’re done, even if their components are theoretically made out of recyclable materials. (It doesn’t matter if it’s mostly metal and glass if they’re all glued together in a way that takes forever to separate.)

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In this case, the new Microsoft Surface Laptop gets a big zero from iFixit. For context, the iPad 3, which stirred a bit of controversy a few years ago, scored a two out of ten. Two major points that they made against it are “You can’t get inside without inflicting a lot of damage” and “The battery is difficult and dangerous to replace”. Yikes.

To be clear, sacrificing user-serviceability isn’t necessarily a bad thing (although I’d argue that recyclable components should always be installed in a recyclable way). As long as the user is aware that they are trading-off the ability to fix or upgrade the thing they purchase, then they can make the value decision for themselves.

And now potential customers know.

Source: iFixit

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.6.2

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 18, 2017 - 07:33 AM |
Tagged: graphics drivers, amd

During E3, AMD released a new graphics driver, 17.6.2. It doesn’t list any general improvements, and just a single fixed issue: improved performance on DiRT 4 with 8xMSAA with the most recent game build. If you play this game, then you should consider updating your graphics driver.

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If you aren't intending to play DiRT 4, and you're already on 17.6.1, then you could probably skip it. That said, if you have an issue, and it’s not listed in the Known Issues section, because those definitely aren’t fixed yet, then you can give it a try.

Source: AMD

IO Interactive (Hitman) Becomes Independent

Subject: General Tech | June 18, 2017 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: pc gaming, hitman

During the most recent SquareEnix financial earnings release (PDF) they announced that they would withdraw from IO Interactive, who makes the Hitman series of video games. Their most recent release, Hitman 2016, is one of our major benchmarks because it was one of the first titles to rework its engines for DirectX 12 (and it’s also a very pretty game). The previous game, Hitman: Absolution, was also featured on one of our live streams because it was an AMD Gaming Evolved / Never Settle title.

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IO Interactive has followed-up with their own announcement. As of last Friday, they are now an independent studio, and they were able to negotiate both their management and the Hitman IP. “We are now open to opportunities with future collaborators and partners to help strengthen us as a studio and ensure that we can produce the best games possible for our community.” In other words, they don’t seem to have any publisher lined up, but the Hitman franchise should be enticing for many AAA-level companies.

Just a couple weeks earlier, IO Interactive also announced that new purchases of Hitman would automatically buy all episodes from the first season. Steam will, however, detect existing episodes and only bill you for the ones you’ve missed. They say that “these changes will help us lay the foundations for our future plans for HITMAN” but it’s unclear what they mean at this point.

Donate to the PC Perspective Mining Pool! A NiceHash How-to

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | June 17, 2017 - 09:23 PM |
Tagged: nicehash, mining, cryptocurrency

Over the last several weeks, we have been experimenting with the most recent GPU-shortage-inducing coin mining craze, with Ken's article as a jumping off point. On a recent podcast, I mentioned the idea of running a community coin mining group that would be used as a way for individuals to contribute to PC Perspective. I received several requests for the wallet and setup information to make this happen, so I thought it would be worth while to gather all the necessary links and info in a single location.

We have been running a Patreon campaign for a couple of years now on the site as a way to provide an avenue for those readers and viewers that find PC Perspective a useful resource to the community and directly contribute. It might be because you want to keep the PCPer staff stable, it could be because you use an ad blocker and are looking for a way to even things out, etc. But there are always some that don't have the ability or desire to sign up for a new service so contributing your empty GPU cycles is another option if you want to donate to the PCPer team.

How do you do it? Ken has created a step by step guide below - thanks for your support in this and all of our previous endeavors!

-Ryan


Donate to:

  • Bitcoin: 1HHhVWPRpCUst9bDYtLstMdD7o5SzANk1W
  • Ethereum: 0xa0294763261aa85eB5f1dA3Ca0f03E1B672EED87

For those of you who may be curious to try out this mining stuff on your personal computer, we would recommend looking into the NiceHash application.

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For those of you who haven't read our previous article, NiceHash is a service that connects buyers of GPU mining power to sellers who have spare hardware that they are looking to put to use. 

As a warning, if you are planning to mine please be aware of your power consumption. To get a good idea of this, you can look up the TDP of your given graphics card, multiply that wattage by the hours you plan to mine, divide by 1000 to translate from watts to kilowatts, and multiply that by the rate you pay for electricity (this can be found on your power bill in cents per Kilowatt/Hour in the US). (So it's watts*hours*days/1000*kw/hr rate - Thanks CracklingIce)

Given the current rates of value for these cryptocurrencies, power is a small portion of the gross profit made by mining, but it is important to be aware of this before you are presented with a huge power bill that you weren't expecting.

First, download the latest version of the NiceHash miner application from their website.

After your download has finished, extract the ZIP file and load the NiceHashMiner.exe program.

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Once the application has been launched and you've accepted the terms of the EULA, the NiceHash Miner will start to download the appropriate mining applications for your given hardware.

Note: during this installation process, your antivirus program might detect malware. These miner executables that are being downloaded are safe, but many antivirius programs flag them as malware because if they are found on your PC without your permission they are a telltale sign of malicious software.

After the installation process is completed, you be brought to the main screen of the application.

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From here, choose the server location closest to you, add the Bitcoin address (in this case: 1HHhVWPRpCUst9bDYtLstMdD7o5SzANk1W), and choose a unique worker name (up to 7 characters long).

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From here, hit the benchmark button, select the devices you want to mine on (we would recommend GPUs only, CPUs don't earn very much), and hit the Start button.

Once the benchmarking is done, you'll be brought back to the main screen of the application where you can hit the Start button.

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Once you hit the start button, a command prompt window will launch where you can see the miner at work (this can be hidden from the NiceHash setting pane), and you can view the stats of your computer in the original NiceHash application window.

And that's it, your computer will now be mining towards the PCPER community pool!