What is the best GPU to beat Nazis with?

Subject: General Tech | November 8, 2017 - 03:26 PM |
Tagged: gaming, Wolfenstein 2, the new colossus, nvidia, amd, vulkan

Wolfenstein II The New Colossus uses the Vulkan API which could favour AMD's offerings however NVIDIA have vastly improved their support so a win is not guaranteed.  The Guru of 3D tested the three resolutions which most people are interested in, 1080p, 1440p and 4K on 20 different GPUs in total.  They also took a look at the impact of 4-core versus 8-core CPUs, testing the i7-4790K, i7-5960K as well as the Ryzen 7 1800X and even explored the amount of VRAM the game uses.  Drop by to see all their results as well as hints on dealing with the current bugs.

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"We'll have a peek at the PC release of Wolfenstein II The New Colossus for Windows relative towards graphics card performance. The game is 100% driven by the Vulkan API. in this test twenty graphics cards are being tested and benchmarked."

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Source: Guru of 3D

A disHarmonious sound has arisen from Logitech's customers

Subject: General Tech | November 8, 2017 - 01:15 PM |
Tagged: logitech, iot, harmony link

If you own a Logitech Harmony Link and registered it then you already know, but for those who did not receive the email you should know your device will become unusable in March.  According to the information Ars Technica acquired, Logitech have decided not to renew a so called "technology certificate license" which will mean the Link will no longer work.  It is not clear what this certificate is nor why the lack of it will brick the Link but that is what will happen.  Apparently if you have a Harmony Link which is still under warranty you can get a free upgrade to a Harmony Hub; if your Link is out of warranty then you can get a 35% discount.  Why exactly one would want to purchase another one of these devices which can be remotely destroyed is an interesting question, especially as there was no monthly contract or service agreement suggesting this was a possibility when customers originally purchased their device.

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"Customers received an e-mail explaining that Logitech will "discontinue service and support" for the Harmony Link as of March 16, 2018, adding that Harmony Link devices "will no longer function after this date."

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Source: Ars Technica

Sir, place the turtle on the ground and back away slowly

Subject: General Tech | November 7, 2017 - 01:35 PM |
Tagged: machine learning, ai

Not to be out done by the research conducted by Japan's Kyushu University which led to the frog is not truck portion of lasts weeks podcast, MIT researchers have also been tormenting image recognition software.  Their findings were a little more worrisome, as a 3D printed turtle was identified as a rifle which could lead to some very bad situations in airports or other secure locations.  In this case, instead of adding a few pixels to the image, they introduced different angles and lighting conditions which created enough noise to completely fool Google's image recognition AI, Inception.  The printed turtle was misidentified because of a the texture which they chose, showing that this issue extends beyond photos to include physical objects.  Pop by The Register for more details as well as an ingredient you never want to see on your toast.

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"Students at MIT in the US claim they have developed an algorithm for creating 3D objects and pictures that trick image-recognition systems into severely misidentifying them. Think toy turtles labeled rifles, and baseballs as cups of coffee."

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Source: The Register

1MORE driver will cost you, the Quad drivers are twice the price of the Triple

Subject: General Tech | November 6, 2017 - 04:54 PM |
Tagged: audio, 1MORE, Quad Drivers, in-ear

These new in-ear headphones from 1MORE have a single carbon driver for mids and lows with three balanced armatures to handle the high and ultra-high frequencies.  This is not a surround sound implementation but instead an attempt to provide very high quality sound from in-ear monitors.  TechPowerUp tested these Dolby Certified headphones and found them to be an improvement on the already impressive Triple Driver model, even powered by a smartphone; they do not require a DAC or pre-amp to provide great sound.  On the other hand, $200 is steep for this style of headphone so read through the review before jumping on Amazon.

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"On the wings of the raging success they had with their $100 Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones, currently considered one of the best IEMs in terms of price-performance, 1MORE brings us their even more refined sibling equipped with an additional balanced armature. Do the 1MORE Quad Drivers have what it takes to justify a price bump to $200?"

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Source: TechPowerUp

Qualcomm expected to keep their extra m and say no to Broadcom

Subject: General Tech | November 6, 2017 - 01:03 PM |
Tagged: broadcom, qualcomm, billions

While the gang does some sleuthing about the current signs of the end of the world; not simply cats and dogs living together but rumours of AMD and Intel working together, lets look at a different surprise.  It seems that Broadcom have set its sights on Qualcomm, offering $130 billion to buy out the company and its assets.  In part this might be inspired by Qualcomm's pending release of the Centriq family of processors seeing as how Broadcom cancelled their ARM based server chip development earlier this year.  It sems as though Qualcomm is not looking too hard at this as a way to pay their ever expanding legal bills in their cases against Apple as according to the story that Slashdot has linked to, Qualcomm considers this an offer it can refuse.

Keep an eye out for an update as Josh and Ryan check on the mixing of Intel's Embedded Multi-die Interconnect Bridges and AMD's Polaris.

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"Chipmaker Broadcom officially unveiled a $130bn offer, including net debt, for Qualcomm on Monday, in what could be the largest tech deal in history. Under Broadcom's proposal, Qualcomm shareholders would receive $70 per share -- $60 in cash and $10 in shares of its rival. It would value Qualcomm's equity at roughly $103bn."

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Source: Slashdot

zSpace and Unity Announces XR Resources for Education

Subject: General Tech | November 5, 2017 - 08:14 PM |
Tagged: Unity, zspace, xr, AR, VR

The Unity Educator Toolkit was created by Unity3D to integrate learning game development into the K-12 public curriculum. Now zSpace, which we’ve mentioned a few times, is joining in to the initiative with their mixed-reality platform. The company is known for creating displays that, when viewed with their glasses, track where you are and make the object appear to be in front of you. They also have a stylus that lets you interact with the virtual object.

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They are focused on the educational side of VR and AR.

It’s not entirely clear what this means, because a lot of the details are behind a sign-up process. That said, if you’re an educator, then check out the package to see if it’s relevant for you. Creating games is an interesting, albeit challenging and somewhat daunting, method of expressing oneself. Giving kids the tools to make little game jam-style expressions, or even using the technology in your actual lessons, will reach a new group of students.

Source: zSpace

StarCraft II Going Free-to-play on November 14th

Subject: General Tech | November 5, 2017 - 07:13 PM |
Tagged: blizzard, starcraft 2, pc gaming

Over the last few years, Blizzard has been progressively opening up StarCraft II for non-paying customers. These initiatives ranged from allowing whole parties to share the highest expansion level of any one member, unlocking Terran for unranked games, opening up mods to the Starter edition, and so forth.

Starting on November 14th, after a handful of months of the original StarCraft going free-to-play, Blizzard will allow free access to multiplayer (including the ranked ladder), a handful of co-op commanders, and the Wings of Liberty campaign. If you already own Wings of Liberty, then you will get Heart of the Swarm for free (if you claim it between November 8th and December 8th).

If you already own both, then… well, life as usual for you.

In terms of making money, Blizzard is hoping to sell the remaining two-or-three campaigns, Heart of the Swarm, Legacy of the Void, and Nova Covert Ops, as well as the other up-sells, like announcers, co-op commanders, and so forth. If you’re in it for the vanilla (or Arcade) multiplayer, though, then you can jump in on November 14th without paying a dime.

Source: Blizzard

Blender Conference Recap

Subject: General Tech | November 5, 2017 - 05:01 PM |
Tagged: Blender

About a week ago, the Blender Foundation held their annual Blender Conference. The event was sponsored by AMD, same as last year, who is putting quite a bit of time and money in the free, open-source 3D suite. They are especially focused on OpenCL and Cycles development, which benefits their Radeon GPUs and high-end, workstation CPUs.

In fact, AMD, along with Tangent Animation, Nimble Collective, and Aleph Objects, have paid for engineers to work on the project.

A lot of the talk was about Blender 2.8, as it is both upcoming and a significant change. Ton Roosendaal talked a lot about the new scene graph, how objects can be groups as collections, and how an infinite number of layers are possible. It’s a significant, back-end change that’s been discussed in the past.

There’s still no firm release schedule for Blender 2.8, but it’s coming along. You can download one of the pre-release builds on their website, but don’t expect it to be stable. I found my first crash bug in about 5 minutes.

Xbox One Xbox One Xbox One Xbox One X ...

Subject: General Tech | November 3, 2017 - 12:58 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, console, gaming, xbox one x, model numbers gone wild

AMD will once again benefit from the launch of a new console, the Xbox One X is powered by eight Jaguar cores running at 2.3 GHz and 40 custom AMD CUs which run at 1172 MHz which will provide six teraflops of processing power.  Ars Technica took the new console for a spin and were quite impressed, in theory.  The XbOX does offer proper 4k HDR video output, assuming you have the TV for it, however most of the available games do not offer both so you might be somewhat disappointed with a title such as Halo3.  On the other hand, all games do look better on the X1X and perform quite well.  Drop by for a large number of screenshots comparing the Xbone to the XbxX and details on which games benefit the most from the new device.

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"When it comes to hard numbers, the Xbox One X definitely merits Microsoft’s marketing hype as “the most powerful console ever.” Microsoft has pulled out the stops in squeezing stronger components into the same basic architecture of the four-year-old Xbox One."

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Source: Ars Technica

Podcast #474 - Optane 900P, Cord Cutting, 1070 Ti, and more!

Subject: General Tech | November 2, 2017 - 12:11 PM |
Tagged: Volta, video, podcast, PCI-e 4, nvidia, msi, Microsoft Andromeda, Memristors, Mali-D71, Intel Optane, gtx 1070 ti, cord cutting, arm, aegis 3, 8th generation core

PC Perspective Podcast #474 - 11/02/17

Join us for discussion on Optane 900P, Cord Cutting, 1070 Ti, 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, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano,

Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:32:19

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. 1:17:00 Ryan: Intel 900P Optane SSD
    2. 1:26:45 Allyn: Sony RX10 Mk IV. Pricey, but damn good.
  4. Closing/outro

Source:

Star Wars as a service; EA's evisceration of Visceral

Subject: General Tech | November 1, 2017 - 03:28 PM |
Tagged: Star Wars, visceral, ea, gaming, Ragtag

EA revealed something which those of us who follow the industry have known for sometime; they are not in the business of selling games, instead they offer 'games as a service'.  What that translates into is a business model that has no interest in selling a game that they cannot continue to milk income from for a long time after its release.  This specifically impacts single player games, as one cannot attempt to turn them into the next big eSports title and not many people are willing to shell out extra cash for horse armour.  That attitude created an incredibly unfriendly work environment and lead to issues with employee retention as well as resources for the development of the game.  EA responded to Kotaku, who researched the fall of Ragtag and Visceral with a statement containing absolutely nothing, which you can read here.

This is an example of the changing attitude of several large game development companies, who are not satisfied with the income from a games release nor additional income from DLC and who instead want every game they release to be a permanent source of income.  How exactly one is supposed to have the time to play one game for as long envision so and to keep purchasing new releases which are also intended to be continually played is unclear. 

Thankfully there are holdouts such as Paradox and Creative Assembly who find ways to extend the life of older games and make money at it; without the expectation that you buy a new game, along with DLC and add-ons every single year as well as continue to play last years model.

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"The demos weren’t enough. Former Visceral employees don’t know when EA made the decision to shut down their studio, but on October 17, 2017, it became official. Visceral, which employed around 80 people, was no more."

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Source: Kotaku

Computational Phase Change Memory?

Subject: General Tech | November 1, 2017 - 02:03 PM |
Tagged: PCM, IBM

A team of researchers at IBM Zurich have come up with a way to utilize PCM as a simple computational device which does not follow the traditional Von Neumann architecture.  Phase change memory works in a way somewhat analogous to optical storage, with changes to the physical state of the storage medium being used to represent a 1 or 0.  In this case it is a substance that switches from amorphous to crystalline and back again with the application of electrical current; the article at The Register describes this in more detail

This research envisions connecting to a sensor which can send an electrical pulse to PCM to change its state; the example given involves detecting rain and changing the memory to a 1 if rain is detected, a 0 if not. With the application of a algorithm to detect the state of the PCM you can read out rainfall patterns from storage without requiring a processor.  While the computational power of PCM will be quite simple, describing how this works is certainly not so follow the links to the research if your curiosity is piqued.

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"But memory has no processor so some aspect of a memory device has to be used, an aspect that changes its nature depending upon the data contents of the memory device. Also the computation is going to be quite primitive"

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Source: The Register

ARM Introduces Mali-D71 Advanced Display Processor

Subject: General Tech | October 31, 2017 - 11:04 PM |
Tagged: MMU-600, Mali-G72, Mali-D71, Mali GPU, mali, Chi, Assertive Display 5, arm, AMBA

Not much can stand in the way of progress. This is particularly true in the mobile market. The competition is so fierce that we have seen yearly refreshes that push the feature and quality levels to new heights. Several years back we saw Apple release their high DPI displays and the rest of the industry followed. We have seen Android and iOS add new software features and capabilities into their products that have pushed the limits of the CPU and GPUs of these phones.  Now we are entering a new era with AR and VR capabilities in phones and it is only pushing the performance envelope of these handheld devices that may consume only a couple of watts at full power.

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One area that has needed an upgrade for a while is in the display capabilities cooked into the latest ARM processors. The needs of upcoming phones to display 4K resolutions at 120 Hz for high end devices that can also support VR capabilities are great. Previously units have been limited to 4K/30 or in higher end phones 4K/60 capabilities. With VR being a push in mobile as well as other features that require high resolution displays and high refresh rates, it was imperative for ARM to update their technology on this front.

Previously known as “Cetus”, ARM is introducing the three different functional units that comprise their latest display technology.  The Mali-D71 is based on the new Komeda display architecture and it can handle the aforementioned 4K resolution at 120 Hz. The second portion is the MMU-600 which is a memory management unit which is tightly coupled with the D-71 to provide high bandwidth and low latency memory accesses to achieve that 4K/120 spec.  Finally the Assertive Display 5 unit helps the D-71 provide HDR support across a wide range of specifications.

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The new display processor is highly associated with the latest Mali GPU cores, but with enough work a 3rd party licensee could adapt it to another GPU architecture. This is obviously not the most efficient way of using this technology as it is regarded as a turnkey solution for the Mali GPU products. ARM has developed the software stack for both Andriod and Linux, and if needed it can develop Windows based drivers to fully leverage the features of this latest product. It is easily attached to 3rd party panel interfaces.

The D-71 is somewhat unique in that it adds a tremendous amount of features and speed, but is highly area efficient as compared to previous products. It takes up about half the size of the previous DP-650 unit, but because of the overall design and specialized hardware support in D-71 it features twice the pixel throughput at about 70% of the power consumption. This is an excellent example of inspired design overcoming previous generation limitations.

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MMU-600 is a lynchpin in the operation as it provides advanced memory management which improves bandwidth and lowers latency dramatically as compared to the previous unit. It is tightly designed with the D71 and is highly optimized to work with the latest AMBA/CHI interconnect and Mali-G series of GPUs.

The final piece of this release is the Assertive Display 5 functionality. This provides extensive HDR support with a wide variety of panels. It is highly programmable and can provide HDR-like performance even to SDR displays. It has native HDR 10 and HLG support as well as converting HDR content to SDR. It implements blue light filtering in hardware as well as compensation for ambient light using the device sensors. ARM tries to ensure the best possible picture from the screen no matter the conditions.

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The latest ARM display solution overcomes many of the limitations of the previous unit as well as adds a few new wrinkles with Assertive Display 5. It can provide top end VR and HDR experiences, as long as the GPU portion of the device can keep up with the needs of the software. ARM has removed a pretty significant hurdle to providing a rich visual experience with handheld devices.

Source: ARM

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 388.13 Drivers

Subject: General Tech | October 31, 2017 - 09:38 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, nvidia, graphics drivers

As we head into another batch of holiday releases, NVIDIA has published another GeForce driver: 388.13. While they don’t explicitly call this out in the release notes, the CustHelp page for 388.10, which was released late last week, suggests that 388.13 will help Kepler users have a more stable experience in Wolfenstein II. If you were having troubles, check these out. The release notes also claims that 388.13 fixes an issue with multiple monitors.

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Otherwise, the driver is mostly game-specific optimizations. The headlining game for 388.13 is Call of Duty WWII. As usual, that franchise is quite popular, although not nearly as much as it was, say… eight-to-ten years ago. Still, there will be a lot of people buying it. The other two “Game Ready” titles for this driver are Need for Speed Payback and the formerly PS4-exclusive, Nioh: Complete Edition.

Oh… it is also the first driver to support the GeForce 1070 Ti.

If you don’t continuously check GeForce Experience, then be sure to open it and check for driver updates. Alternatively, you can just install them from the website.

Source: NVIDIA

Get a Bloody 5K mouse for your 4K display

Subject: General Tech | October 31, 2017 - 03:13 PM |
Tagged: A4Tech, bloody, P85 Light Strike 5K RGB Animation Gaming Mouse, input

A4TECH’s Bloody mice all have a Light Strike Infrared Switch which not only provides a 0.2ms activation time but is also sealed so that no dust can degrade its performance.  The sensor is more traditional, it contains the popular PixArt PMW3325 with sensitivity ranging from 100-5000 CPI.  The mouse sports five RGB patterns for those who like the glow, you can switch between them by lifting the mouse and clicking the topmost of the three buttons in the centre of the mouse.  These buttons are defaulted to volume control and screen capture, a nice addition to a gaming mouse.  You can learn more about the mouse with a long name at Benchmark Reviews.

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"A4TECH’s Bloody Division over the last few years has been at the forefront with that is called Light Strike technology, replacing mechanical with optical switches utilizing infrared light. Today we examine the most recent iteration of the Bloody mice series, the P85 Light Strike 5K RGB Animation Gaming Mouse; combining a popular eight button layout with some dazzling light effects."

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A breakthrough in memristors

Subject: General Tech | October 31, 2017 - 01:25 PM |
Tagged: memristor

There has been a recent breakthrough in organic memristors, indicating that we may see the adoption of this technology in the not too distant future.  The problems with previously developed memristors were that they were too slow to change states and unable to hold the memory of that state for long enough to be useful.  This new type of memristor can switch states in 30ns or less, comparable to traditional resistors and it is capable of holding that state for over 11.5 days without any power.  This memristor is also quite stable, with an expected lifetime of 10^12 cycles.  One of the driving forces behind the development of a memristor which can perform as well as a traditional resistor is cost, memristors are much less expensive to make and do not require rare metals in their manufacture. 

Pop over to Nanotechweb to read more about the research conducted by Thirumalai Venky Venkatesan of the National University of Singapore, Sreebrata Goswami of the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Sciences and Victor Batista of Yale University.

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"Researchers in Singapore, the US and India have now made a new organic memristor based on ruthenium complexed with azo-aromatic ligands that is better than any such memory device made to date."

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Source: Nanotechweb

The Origin of the worlds most powerful DRM revealed!

Subject: General Tech | October 30, 2017 - 12:58 PM |
Tagged: ubisoft, origin, DRM, assassins creed origins

More powerful than a speeding Core-i5, able to crash a Ryzen 3 in a single launch process; it's not a demo, it's not a plane, it's SuperDRM!  Not only will Ubisoft's new creation prevent pirates from taking over this non-pirate verison of Assassin's Creed (for a few days or so) it can also prevent people who did not invest enough money in their rigs from playing the copy they bought!  This masterful scheme should ensure that only those truly worthy souls, with a machine capable of creating a virtual machine for the game and the Denuvo DRM software to run on will be able to learn the true Origins of Assassin's Creed.  The Inquirer's story also points out that your GPU power does not matter, if your CPU can't handle the completely reasonable request to create and run a VM for the DRM and its sidekick, then your GPU will be stuck waiting on the bus. 

You can vent your Steam here as you wait for Ubisoft to figure out how to get out of this one.

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"EARLY ADOPTERS of Assassin's Creed Origins are have been quick to moan that the open world game is using excessive CPU resources, and it's thought that Ubisoft's implementation of piracy-thwarting DRM tools is to blame."

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Source: The Inquirer

Microsoft goes on a bender in Andromeda

Subject: General Tech | October 27, 2017 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, andromeda, foldable

Microsoft have completely abandoned their mobile line which is why they have announced the new prototype Andromeda foldable mobile device.  The foldable eReader-like device will run Win10 on ARM and will take advantage of Windows Ink to allow users to take accurate notes on the touchscreen.  The device is rumoured to have celluar capabilities so it could replace an executives phone, or at least let them leave the laptop at the office.  Unfortunately the announcement left out the most interesting detail, we do not know if the fold is between two seperate screens or if the Andromeda will feature a folding screen.  Hopefully Windows Central will have an updated post soon.

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"Microsoft isn't building this device for your average consumer. If it ever comes to market, and that's a big if, it isn't going to be an iPhone or Android competitor because as Microsoft has publicly claimed in the past, it's just too late for that."

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PCIe 4 specifications arrive

Subject: General Tech | October 26, 2017 - 12:38 PM |
Tagged: pcie 4.0

PCI-SIG have announced PCIe 4.0 is on the horizon, with up to 16GT/s or just a hair under 32GB/s transfer rate on a 16x slot.  The new standard will also allow devices to use more power, the draw from the slot remains at 75W but external power should be able to exceed 225W without exceeding the specs.  This could mean GPUs can continue to emphasize performance over power efficiency, which could lead to some interesting products.  There is no specific date for any products to arrive, this announcement is technically for revision 0.9, so it is a not quite ready for prime time.  This may disappoint those who read about the new Optane drives, which are capable of x4 PCIe transfer as opposed to PCIe 4.0.

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"PCI-SIG, the organization responsible for the widely adopted PCI Express (PCIe) industry-standard input/output (I/O) technology, today announced the release of the PCI Express 4.0, Revision 0.9 Specification, supporting 16GT/s data rates, flexible lane width configurations and speeds for high-performance, low-power applications"

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Source: PCI-SIG

Podcast #473 - AMD Q3 Earnings, Forza 7 Performance, Allyn's storage rant, and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 26, 2017 - 11:40 AM |
Tagged: xbox one, x370, VROC, video, ROG Strix, podcast, nzxt, forza 7, b350, asus, ARM PSA, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #473 - 10/26/17

Join us for discussion on AMD Q3 Earnings, Forza 7 Performance, Allyn's storage rant, 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: Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, Ken Addison

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:03:33

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. 0:27:25 Allyn’s RAID rant
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. 0:45:55 Allyn: Cinemaps
  4. Closing/outro

 

Source: