Colorful Reveals Custom Eight Slot Motherboard For Cryptocurrency Miners

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

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

Colorful C_B250A-BTC PLUS Mining 8 slot motherboard.jpg

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

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

Also read:

Source: TechPowerUp

Intel Releases Dawson Canyon NUCs With 15W Kaby Lake CPUs

Subject: General Tech, Systems | September 13, 2017 - 07:29 PM |
Tagged: SFF, nuc, kaby lake, Intel

Following last year’s Baby Canyon NUC kits, Intel is launching its Dawson Canyon NUCs powered by 15W Kaby Lake processors. Despite Dawson Canyon sounding more dramatic than Baby Canyon (which sounds more like a creek), the new NUCs are lower powered and ditch Iris Graphics and USB 3.1 Type C.

Specifically, Intel is launching six new models that will come in three flavors: barebones board, slim case kit, and a taller kit with room for a 2.5” drive. Each type of NUC kit will come with either a Core i3 or Core i5 processor. Dawson Canyon further supports Intel RST (Rapid Storage Technology) and Optane memory.

Intel Dawson Canyon.jpg

Processor options include the Core i3 7100U (2.4 GHz) and Core i5 7300U (2.6 GHz base, 3.5 GHz boost) which are both dual core processors with HyperThreading, 3 MB cache, Intel HD Graphics 620 GPUs, and 15W TDPs.

Internal I/O includes two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots, two M.2 slots (one full length (80mm) and one 30mm slot for Wi-Fi adapters such as the included Intel 8265 with is included in the kits with cases but not the bare board kits.), one SATA port, and headers for serial, USB 3.0, and USB 2.0 ports.

External I/O consists of four USB 3.0 ports, one Gigabit Ethernet port, and two HDMI outputs (one protected UHD).

Dawson Canyon NUCs will be available towards the end of the year (Q4’17) with pricing yet to be released. For the fanless, ahem, fans Fanless Tech reports that Simply NUC will be offering NUCs with custom fanless cases. These are likely to be cheaper than Baby Canyon and be popular with businesses wanting monitor mounted thin clients or low power workstations for office users that just need to run productivity applications.

Source: FanlessTech

Blender Foundation Releases Blender 2.79

Subject: General Tech | September 13, 2017 - 07:03 PM |
Tagged: Blender, amd

The latest version of Blender, 2.79, makes a few significant changes, especially for users with AMD GPUs. Their main rendering engine, Cycles, has now reached feature-parity on OpenCL and CUDA. While those with NVIDIA GPUs will keep using the latter compute API, users of recent AMD GPUs can now (on Windows and Linux -- macOS requires a driver update) harness their graphics cards for higher performance.

blender-2017-cyclesdenoise.png

10 samples is actually very low. I'm usually in the 100-1000 range.

For the rest of us, there are four improvements that I would consider major. First, Cycles now has a denoise filter, which reduces speckles and thus should let you get away with fewer samples. Second, Filmic Color Management is now included by default, which can represent a much wider dynamic range. This was available as a user mod for a while, but you needed to manually install it. Third is a shadow catcher object for Cycles, which lets you render off translucent shadows onto dummy objects and composite them later (in Photoshop, After Effects, or Blender’s video editor).

Fourth, and most interesting to me, is their new PBR shader. I’ve done PBR materials in Cycles before, and it’s a bit of a pain to set up. If I don’t copy/paste from an existing material, it takes about 15-20 minutes of my time to wire together diffuse nodes, glossy nodes, Fresnel nodes, and so forth such that I can attach metal, bump, and so forth to it. Now? Just drag in one node and hook up the correct textures and colors, like the ones that are generated in Substance or Quixxel.

As always, Blender is free, so have fun.

The Fallout: New Vegas prequel mod may soon arrive as Fallout: New California

Subject: General Tech | September 13, 2017 - 03:21 PM |
Tagged: gaming, mod, fallout, Fallout: New California, fallout: new vegas

This mod has been eight years in the making but we may soon see it released for us all to enjoy.  The New Vegas mod will put you into the wilds of the NCR after being rather abruptly ejected from your home in Vault 18.  This will be a nice experience for those who found Fallout 4 to have strayed a bit far from the games roots, especially in the dialogue.  Head over to Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN for a video showing off the mod and giving you a look into how your adventure will start.

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"Vault 18 is at the heart of the California Wasteland high in the San Bernardino Mountains, and its legendary Wasteland Scouts have managed to keep its secrets safe for decades despite the wars raging beyond the great door. In their old age, their adventures have created a new generation to take their place… if their rebellious adopted kids survive the threat brewing within their own ranks."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

So, about that D‑Link DIR 850L wireless AC1200 you might be using ...

Subject: General Tech | September 13, 2017 - 03:03 PM |
Tagged: DIR 850L wireless AC1200, ac1200, D-Link, router, security

If you have a D-Link DIR 850L wireless router or know anyone that does, you should unplug it without delay.  The Register posted a link to the recently released findings of security researcher Pierre Kim, who originally contacted D-Link in February about the flaws only to see a single patch released since then.  The vulnerabilities are rather severe, ranging from a lack of verification for firmware images, through stored default private keys to an actual buit in backdoor.  The router is not compatible with DD-WRT so you cannot resolve the issue through that method; it should be treated as a brick until D-Link resolves these issues in an update.

DIR850L1664x936FRONT.png

"A security researcher has shamed D‑Link by publicly disclosing 10 serious, as-yet unpatched vulnerabilities in a line of consumer-grade routers without notifying the vendor first."

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Source: The Register

Fool me once, shame on me ... Chrome gives Symantec the cold shoulder

Subject: General Tech | September 12, 2017 - 02:29 PM |
Tagged: chrome, symantec, security

The original issue dates back two years ago, when a serious security issue was discovered effecting all Norton and Symantec products which allowed an attacker to easily infect your Windows kernel without any user interaction.  Following that revelation were a round of firings at Symantec which were intended to reassure customers and security experts which were somewhat successful, until earlier this year.  In January it was discovered that Symantec provided digital certificates to verify the authenticity of several questionable sites, including ones never authorized by ICANN.  This has been enough for Google; Chrome will no longer trust older Symantec certs in version 66 and will not trust any as of version 70.  The Inquirer provides a full timeline here.

1406048971_Symantec-Logo.png

"The decision to remove Symantec certificates came as a result of the discovery of a dodgy certificate in 2015, leading to a fuller investigation that brought forward more issues with security at the beginning of this year."

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Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

Samsung Announces 11nm LPP and 7nm LPP Processes

Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2017 - 05:27 PM |
Tagged: Vega, TSMC, Samsung, ryzen, Intel, euv, 8nm, 7nm, 14nm, 11nm, 10nm

Process technology is extremely complex today, and getting more and more complex by the minute.  The billions of dollars invested in each process node essentially insures that it will have to be used for years to come to get back that investment.  It not only needs to get back that investment, but provide more funds to start R&D on the next series of nodes that will come down the line.  It has only been a couple of years since the introduction of multiple 14nm processes from Intel and Samsung, as well as the 16nm node from TMSC.  We are already moving towards an introduction of 10nm parts from these manufacturers in bulk starting next year.  So have these manufacturers gotten their money worth out of their current processes?
 
Samsung-Foundry-Forum2017_main_1.jpg
 
Kinam Kim, President of Samsung Electronics’ Semiconductor Business, discloses the latest process advances from his division.
 
Part of that answer somes in the form of Samsung's latest product.  Samsung is announcing the availability of a new 11nm FinFET process that looks to be a pretty extensive optimization of the company's 14nm FF.  The new process promises 15% better performance and 10% chip area reduction at the same power consumption as the older 14nm FF.  The idea here is to further improve upon their 14nm process all the while retaining the economics of it.  This process exists separately from the latest 10nm LPP which can be considered a full jump from the previous 14nm.  11nm LPP will be primarily aimed at midrange and high end products, but will not reach the full scaling and performance of the 10nm LPP product.
 
This "little steps" philosophy has been around for ages, as AMD utilized it for most of their existence when they owned their own Fabs.  Other companies have done the same by including small improvements over the lifetime of the process so that the final product is signficantly better in terms of yield, transistor switching speed, and thermal dissipation.  Samsung looks to be doing this with their 11nm process by providing all those little steps of improvement from 14nm.
 
The second part of the announcement is that Samsung has announced their 7nm process using EUV.  Samsung had previously announced their 8nm process, but it still relies upon multi-patterning immersion litho.  Samsung has been testing their 250 watt EUV source with fairly good results.  The company is quoted as to processing over 200,000 wafers since 2014 and has achieved an 80% yeild on 256 Mb SRAM.  This is somewhat impressive, but still not ready for primetime.  SRAM features highly consistent structures and is typically one of the first complex chips tested on a new process.
 
Samsung is offering orders now of its 11nm line and it will be very interesting to see who jumps on board.  I would not expect AMD to transfer their designs to 11nm, as a tremendous amount of reworking and validating are required. Instead we will see AMD going for the 10nm node with their Zen 2 based products while continuing to produce Ryzen, Vega, and Polaris at 14nm. Those that will be taking advantage of 11nm will probably be groups pushing out smaller products, especially for the midrange and high end cell phone SOCs.
 
10nm LPP is expected in early 2018, 8nm LPP in 2019, and finally Samsung hopes for 7nm to be available in 2020.
Source: Samsung

Grado's new GH2 Heritage Limited Edition headphones

Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2017 - 03:29 PM |
Tagged: Grado, GH2 Heritage, audio

We have mentioned Grado headsets often hear, and one model graces the ears of Josh during podcasts.  They are more expensive than most of the models you see reviewed, however they are also of much higher quality and each headset is hand made, something you will never get from Beats.  The Grado GH2 Heritage Limited Edition headphones sport Cocobolo wood around the outside of the open design ear cups with their new 'red' drivers inside.  You will also receive a number of soft pads for the headphones which not only allow you to increase your comfort, they are also billed as modifying the various elements of your audio.  Head over to Kitguru for a listen to what they thought of this headset.

L1002388.jpg

"Today’s Grado GH2 Heritage are a limited edition headphone, and they join an exclusive list of Grado limited run production headphones such as the ‘John Mayer’ and ‘Billy Joel’ headphones, made in very limited edition runs."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

 

Source: Kitguru

Intel goes WiGiggy for VR

Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2017 - 02:52 PM |
Tagged: wigig, Intel, 802.11ad, VR

News of the impending demise of Intel WiGig hardware, originally touted as a way to transmit various signals such as PCIe or HDMI wirelessly arrived over at The Inquirer today.  Some companies adopted the hardware into docking stations, monitors and external storage however the flexibility of WiGig was offset by transmission limitations which competing standards such as Bluetooth or WiFi do not suffer from. The improved performance offered by Thunderbolt 3 also prompted companies to choose wired connectivity over Intel's WiGig, the outcome of which has been a refocusing of Intel's resources to VR headset development.  This move could hurt a VR incumbent, the HTC Vive incorporated WiGig into a recent wireless headset prototype.  Companies have until the end of the month to order hardware.

aqoTJlq.png

"Just days after announcing plans to discontinue its 6th-gen Skylake processors, Intel that it's ditching almost all of its current WiGig, or 802.11ad hardware by the end of 2017, including antennas and controllers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

ASUS Launches the ZenFone 4 Max Smartphone

Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2017 - 12:03 PM |
Tagged: ZenFone 4 Max, zenfone, Snapdragon 430, smartphone, ips, dual camera, asus, Android

The midrange phone market has a new contendor with the ZenFone 4 Max, launched today by ASUS and featuring some impressive specifications - particularly in the camera department - for an unlocked device with an MSRP of $199.

ZF4Max_1.jpg

The phone offers a 5.5-inch display - though likely due to the price target it is just 1280x720 - and the metal and glass construction gives it a more premium (if familiar) look. It's the back of the device where the dual camera sensors really set this apart from the majority of ~$200 unlocked phones: a pair of 13 MP sensors reside behind both a wide-angle and telephoto lens, which allows for more flexibility in composing shots.

ZF4Max_3.jpg

"ZenFone 4 Max features an advanced dual-camera system designed to take your mobile photography to new heights. Its 13MP main camera is equipped with the wide, F2.0 aperture lens to capture clearer photos. Its 120° wide-angle camera lets your fit more scenery and people in the frame for dramatic landscape shots, better group photos, and a more convenient photography experience in confined indoor spaces."

The application processor is the Snapdragon 430, a capable 8-core design with Adreno 505 graphics which also crucially offers 2x image signal processors for a dual camera setup. One area that is decidedly not midrange is the battery - which is a whopping 5000 mAh (!). Not only does this massive capacity allow for the unusual feature of turning your smartphone into a battery pack to charge other devices, but it should provide some really outstanding real-world battery life as well. The onboard Snapdragon 430 supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, so refilling that huge battery should be efficient as well.

ZF4Max_2.jpg

The unlocked ZenFone 4 Max is available now for $199 on Amazon.com in a 32GB capacity.

Source: ASUS

Podcast #466 - ECS Z270, Clutch Chairz, AMD market share, Lenovo Yoga, and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 7, 2017 - 09:46 AM |
Tagged: z270, Yoga 920, Yoga 720, video, Threadripper 1900x, superfish, skylake-x, podcast, Lenovo, IFA 2017, HP S700 Pro, GTX 1080, gigabyte, ECS, Die shot, Core i7-6700K, Core i5-6600k, Clutch Chairz, Aorus X5, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #466 - 09/07/17

Join us for discussion on ECS Z270 motherboards, Clutch Chairz, AMD market share, Lenovo Yoga, 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, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:15:50

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. 0:25:05 Casper
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. 1:09:10 Allyn: FolderTimeUpdate
  4. Closing/outro

Source:

A Superfishy legal judgement

Subject: General Tech | September 5, 2017 - 02:47 PM |
Tagged: superfish, Lenovo

Lenovo's executives just breathed a sigh of relief as the final judgment in the case against them for the Superfish fiasco was released.  The court decided that as this was Lenovo's first offense they would not be fined, instead they have only been asked to follow procedures that most would assume they already had to.  Superfish was a generic root certificate that was pre-installed on many Lenovo machines which allowed the injection of ads into even HTTPS websites, which also meant it could be used to infect your machine via malware laden ads taking advantage of the easily replicated root certificate. 

According to Slashdot all Lenovo have been order to do is conduct security audits for the next two decades and to notify users of the existence of pre-installed software that collects data or serves ads and to let a user choose not to install those programs

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"Instead, the settlement requires Lenovo to give clear notice to customers of any data collection or ad-serving programs bundled on their laptops, and get affirmative consent before the software is installed. Lenovo also agreed to conduct an ongoing security review of its bundled software, running regular third-party audits for the next 20 years."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: Slashdot

Games Done Quick Impromptu Marathon Now!

Subject: General Tech | September 2, 2017 - 10:14 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, gdq

Sorry that I wasn’t able to put up a post when it started on Friday, but Games Done Quick set up a two-day marathon in support of the Houston Food Bank. Harvey Relief Done Quick is, as you would expect, intended to benefit those who are affected by Hurricane Harvey. They have currently raised almost $110,000 USD.

gdq-2016-sgdq logo.png

The current game, as I write this post, is Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, all dungeons and Ganon -- they’re just wrapping it up. It will be be followed by a six-hour run of Chrono Trigger, 100% glitchless (all quests). Tomorrow night ends with a 100% map race of Super Metroid, and a three-and-a-half hour run, give or take, of Final Fantasy IV. As usual, they are streaming around the clock until then.

The next scheduled Games Done Quick is Awesome Games Done Quick 2018 in January.

Feel good Friday post; a troll pays a toll

Subject: General Tech | September 1, 2017 - 03:04 PM |
Tagged: Kaspersky Labs, patent troll, kick ass

Kaspersky Labs used a portion of US case law to demand a patent troll fork over money before they would agree to drop the lawsuit Wetro Lan filed against them.  Wetro Lan picked up a patent with a somewhat famous pasts as being used in numerous dubious lawsuits filed by what are politely known as patent trolls.   The patent is a ridiculously vague description of a firewall and trolls have used it in the past to sue companies in the hopes of a payout to prevent the case from going to court.  Not only did Kaspersky go to court to fight; instead of waiting for the amount of money demanded to drop to zero they launched a counter-suit and refused to end the litigation until they received $10,000.  This meant that Wetro Lan had to continue to pay to continue the case and once they realized they were stuck they acquiesced to Kaspersky's demands, after talking them down to $5000.  Check out The Register for more information.

Nelson_Ha-Ha.jpg

"The Russian antivirus vendor said that it collected a $5,000 payment to agree to drop a patent infringement case where it was the defendant, after the litigator agreed they had no hope of winning their claim."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Threadripper 1900X makes it official today

Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2017 - 12:38 PM |
Tagged: amd, Threadripper, 1900x, X399

We knew about the Threadripper 1900X back in July, but it did not arrive at the same time that the other two models did; AMD waited until today.  The official specifications do not differ from the pre-launch specifications, though we have confirmation the TDP is 180W and the cache is 20MB.  [H]ard|OCP describes it as a Ryzen 7 with the benefits of the X399 platform, a good way to quickly understand what this processor is.  [H] posted the slideshow as well as positing some usage scenarios in their article, which you can see here.

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"Today AMD rolls out what is not a very well kept secret, the Ryzen Threadripper model 1900X CPU. There is no doubt that Threadripper has already been a success for AMD, but how exactly does does an 8-core Threadripper fit into High End Desktop (HEDT) world of processors and platforms? The user profile is fairly skinny."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Podcast #465 - Seasonic, BeQuiet! PSUs, Koolance, FSP coolers, IFA laptops and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2017 - 10:59 AM |
Tagged: podcast, ZenBook Flip S UX370, Switch 7, Seasonic PRIME, RX Vega 56, mining, logitech, Koolance, Intel Xeon Workstation, IFA 2017, hero, fsp, Fanatec, dell xps 13, CSL Elite Wheel P1 Alcantara, BeQuiet, b250, asus, acer, video

PC Perspective Podcast #465 - 08/31/17

Join us for continued discussion on Seasonic, BeQuiet! PSUs, Koolance, FSP coolers, IFA laptops 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: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:28:57

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. 1:12:25 Ryan: Logitech G613
    2. 1:16:05 Jeremy: Steam library growing in girth? 850 EVO 500GB
    3. 1:18:45 Josh: Damn nice keyboard
    4. 1:21:05 Allyn: My first game mod: Manifolds for Factorio (and 0.15 is stable)
  4. Closing/outro
 

Source:

Logitech CRAFT Keyboard adds input dial to wireless connectivity and advanced feature set

Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2017 - 03:00 AM |
Tagged: logitech, keyboard, craft

Yesterday it was the gaming division pushing out the release of its brand new wireless gaming keyboard, and today, the consumer side of Logitech has its own new pretty item to wave in front of us. The CRAFT keyboard is a unique option that combines wireless connectivity with up to three devices, smart backlight illumination, and a new input dial that helps creative and productivity users get more out of their applications.

High_Resolution-Craft-TopDown.jpg

Let’s start with that knob in the top right – the crown as Logitech calls it. This crown is an input dial that adapts and changes functions as you switch between applications. On a global scale it can be used to control volume, move between application windows, and change desktops. You can access that functionality by physically pushing down on the dial and rotating it to the left or right.

More interestingly, the crown adjusts its function based on the application you are in. In Excel, for example, you can toggle font sizes, move between cells, select tables and graph formats, and much more, all with the dial and click functionality. You switch between these different functions by tapping on the dial itself, as the entire surface is capacitive. There are functions for PowerPoint and Word as well, offering similar levels of integration.

High_Resolution-Craft PKG BOB Inset1.png

The Adobe software suite of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Premiere Pro CC 2017 also has pre-built functionality with the Logitech CRAFT keyboard. In Photoshop you can select and adjust image brightness, change the stroke weight in Illustrator or navigate and scrub through the timeline in Premiere Pro. There are many options and capabilities that the Logitech software installer offers out of the box and you have the ability to adjust these capabilities through custom integrations as well.

Explaining in text how this dial works and how it could potential change your workflow is difficult to do. Logitech does provide a set of videos running through some examples of the keyboard in and the dial in use, and they are worth checking out to get a sense of how it functions.

This capability works across both Windows 10 and Mac OS.

The CRAFT keyboard is built with a high quality scissor key switch design that is close in typing feel to some of the best notebook keyboards we have had our hands on. The typing is relatively quiet and the dished keys help you find the proper finger placement for eye-free typing.

Backlighting a battery powered keyboard is always tricky as you balance illumination and battery life. Logitech has created a system that intelligently determines when to light up the keyboard based on your hands approaching the keyboard itself. Logitech won’t share the secret here but it’s likely they are using some kind of proximity sensor similar to what is used on smartphones. We do know the CRAFT integrates an ambient light sensor as well, dimming or turning off backlight when in a well-lit environment.

High_Resolution-Craft-Lifestyle-5.jpg

Above the Insert/Home keys rests three buttons that allow you to easily switch between controller one of three connected systems or devices. The CRAFT supports the Logitech unifying receiver as well as Bluetooth, allowing you to connect to a notebook or even your phone or tablet for advantages when replying to those text messages from mom.

Logitech claims the CRAFT should last an entire week on a single charge, though that will vary based on bright and often the backlights get used. The internal rechargeable battery gets juice via a USB Type-C connection and a Type-C to Type-A cable is included in the box.

The CRAFT isn’t cheap at $199 but the creation and use of the input dial, or crown, is definitely a value add for creatives and productivity users that see the benefit of a two handed input interface. We are still working through a couple of things on our end before doing a review (including a squeaky space bar that Logitech claims was fixed in final production and some last minute software bugs), but I am impressed with Logitech has built. If you frequently spend your time in Microsoft Office or Adobe CC software suites, you should definitely give the CRAFT keyboard a try.

Source: Logitech

Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Blazkowicz

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2017 - 01:14 PM |
Tagged: Wolfenstein 2, gaming, Blitzmensch

Here is one of the best advertisements for a game you will see all day.  It might be light on the gameplay, but one could forgive them due to the sheer campy beauty of it all. The game will not be out until October 27th; we suggest you use this video to tide you over until the release.  Remember, only you can prevent pre-order exclusive deals and Day 1 DLC ... and defeat Blitzmensch as well.

"Adam West has passed away, but now we get to see him impact on today's game marketing. Godspeed Adam! I still have that signed Batman picture you gave me when I was seven years old."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Logitech is your new HERO: G613 Wireless Keyboard and G603 Wireless Mouse

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2017 - 03:00 AM |
Tagged: logitech g, logitech, hero, g613, g603

Logitech continues to push forward with innovation after innovation in the world of gaming accessories. Most recently we discussed the PowerPlay technology, a new combination of mouse pad and mouse that charges wirelessly, creating a gaming configuration that never needs charging. Jim’s review left an impression on all of us at the office – this was something that could be life changing for gamers and enthusiasts.

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Today Logitech continues down that road with a handful of key technologies that will drive the company forward in ways we don’t yet foresee. As the title will reveal, Logitech is launching a new wireless mouse as well as its first wireless mechanical gaming keyboard. If that wasn’t enough, a new mouse sensor is at the heart of the G603. The HERO sensor is what allows this mouse to offer the same performance capability as the G900 but with 18 months of battery life on a pair of AA batteries.

The HERO Sensor

Let’s quickly talk about the new Logitech HERO sensor (High Efficiency Rating Optical). It combines performance that is nearly identical to the much adored PMW3366 sensor used in the Logitech G900 (among other devices) but offers 10x the power efficiency, allowing for incredibly long battery life. Everything from the lens design to the pixel surface area to the analog-to-digital conversion on the controller has been tweaked to improve performance efficiency.

HERO Sensor_Architecture.jpg

The mouse sensor system starts with the front-end, a portion that covers the imaging and CMOS detector that produces the images provided to the back-end for processing. With HERO, Logitech is using an IR LED system along with large pixel surface area to reduce the signal-to-noise ratio, improving the data that tracking is computed on. A big shift with this sensor is based on the analog-to-digital conversion that can typically be very power demanding when operating at the speeds required by gamers. On HERO, efficiency is increased by processing blocks of pixels at a time, but at different rates depending on the movement rate of the mouse itself. This gives Logitech’s newest sensor the perfect balance of performance and efficiency.

Specular Optic System_HERO Sensor.jpg

There is a lot more technology to dive into around the sensor of this new mouse, and we will see it in other devices coming out later. I am working with Logitech for a deep dive with its engineers on HERO, as the topic is more complex and more intriguing than you would ever have believed.

The Logitech G603 Mouse

The first mouse to use this new sensor is the G603, a wireless mouse that utilizes Logitech’s LightSpeed technology for fast and accurate wireless gaming capabilities. It offers a host of compelling features, at a cost of just $70, that I think will instantly propel it to the top of many gamers’ must-have lists.

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First and foremost, because of the new HERO sensor in use, the G603 gets up to 18 months of battery life with gaming usage. That is with two AA batteries and with the mouse set in the “low” LightSpeed setting. The “low” setting offers a response time of 8ms while the “high” setting will run at a 1ms response time. If you are a dedicated gamer that will demand the mouse be in the “high” setting, Logitech still claims to get 4-6 months of battery life on a single set of batteries. Should you only have a single AA battery at your disposal, the mouse will work with a single installed, but at half the rated battery life.

In another scale, with the G603 running in “high” mode, it will run for 500 hours of gaming. Compare that to the 24-36 hours of gaming that my G900 offers and you can see the compelling difference this new controller and sensor technology makes.

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The LightSpeed wireless technology (that utilizes a Logitech USB dongle) is supplemented by support for Bluetooth. Though not ideal for hardcore gaming, the ability to support BT gives the G603 a lot of flexibility for connecting you to other machines. Battery life is rated at 18 months in Bluetooth mode.

Even better, you can have the mouse connected to one system with the LightSpeed dongle and to another machine or even your smartphone/tablet via Bluetooth. You can instantly switch the mouse between BT and LightSpeed devices with the touch of a button, allowing you to jump between platforms easily.

The Logitech G613 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard

The Logitech G613 doesn’t use a fancy new sensor, but it does mark the first time that Logitech has offered a wireless gaming keyboard. With a price tag of $150, using the Romer-G switches designed and exclusively integrated in Logitech keyboards, the G613 utilizes the same LightSpeed technology that recent Logitech mice use for wireless connectivity.

Just like the mouse above, the G613 keyboard allows you to connect to both a Bluetooth and a LightSpeed dongle and use a button on the keyboard to switch between the two platforms. This is an awesome feature for people that would like to use their keyboard to type out long text messages on their smartphone without having to have a second device or accessory on your desk. I am looking forward to capturing all my text recipients’ attention going forward with much longer and more dramatic messages.

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The LightSpeed wireless technology has already been proven with the mice Logitech has dropped on the market in recent months, but this does mark the first time a keyboard has integrated it. It maintains a 1ms report rate and offers better performance than many competing wired keyboards.

Battery life on the G613 is a staggering 18 months on just two AA batteries, thanks to an optimized microcontroller and the distinct lack of LED lighting. While RGB lighting has become a staple of gaming keyboards, Logitech tells us that a wireless keyboard with a backlight would last only 40 hours. That is quite a difference and it’s easy to see why Logitech made the decision it did.

You still get the full suite of features and capabilities that we love with Logitech keyboards including access to Logitech Gaming Software to store and save macros, programmable keys, profiles per-application, and more. The Romer-G switches are unique in the industry (they aren’t a standard Cherry or knock-off) but I have been using them on my G913 keyboard for nearly two years doing a combination of gaming and productivity and have never had the desire to revert.

Initial Thoughts

I have only had the G603 and G613 mouse and keyboard in our office for a few days of use, and a full review is pending. I can already tell you that the devices feel and act exactly as I have come to expect from Logitech hardware – and that’s a great thing! The G603 feels great in the hand and the performance in everyday tasks, as well as the gaming I have been able to do thus far, is superb. Time will tell how the battery life reality matches expectations, but I have yet to find any instance of Logitech holding back on accurate technical information - I don’t suppose they’ll start now.

The new HERO mouse sensor could be a drastic shift for gamers. A sensor that is both high performance and highly efficient, coupled with proven wireless technology that is better than most wired offerings, means that long-lasting, wireless gaming is here to stay and available to all.

Source: Logitech G

An expensive failure to launch; Llano's fine

Subject: General Tech | August 29, 2017 - 01:03 PM |
Tagged: llano, amd

***Update***

Having spoken with representative from AMD, we can confirm those in the comments were correct and that "the settlememt is coming from our insurance carrier....So there is no financial impact to AMD."  

Good news for AMD and enthusiasts!

***Update***

Those indignant souls for whom the recent issues with Vega's launch represent the worst thing to happen ever in the history of the world may be somewhat discombobulated to learn that worse happened a mere eight years ago.  It was a heady time for AMD, three years previous to these events they had just purchased ATI and were excited about the growth potential offered from having two types of products.  Bright minds at AMD realized there was a different potential for growth; synergistic in nature.   Why limit yourself to just selling GPUs and CPUs when you could combine the two in a silicon version of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup?  Thus was born Llano, a chip touted to rival Sandy Bridge in computational power with an APU more powerful than any which had existed before.

Things did not go according to plan.

The launch of Llano was delayed several times and when it finally arrived in 2011, two years after the initially planned release date, it did not outperform Sandy Bridge as advertised.  Instead the A8-3850 could mostly hold its own against the Core i3-2100 in multi-threaded tasks but fell far behind in single threaded performance.  This was a major issue as there were even less applications taking advantage of multithreaded processors than there are today. 

The graphics portion of the chip was very impressive, offering the first APU which you could actually use to game and watch HD video; perhaps not Crysis but certainly many online games were well within Llano's grasp.  This was not enough to save Llano in the marketplace and set the stage for the following years in which AMD has struggled.

Today we learn of the final penalty AMD must endure as a result of Llano, a $29.5 million payout to anyone who purchased AMD shares between April 4, 2011 and October 18, 2012.  This is not the best timing for AMD to dig into their pockets, their budget is already stretched and we would all prefer to see that money going into R&D for their next generation of products.  However, the lawsuit is no longer hanging over their heads and they can now budget for the coming quarters without having an unknown expense in the ledgers.

Hopefully AMD's fortune will reverse in the near future, as Threadripper, Epyc and Vega all show very good signs compared to the state of AMD six years ago.

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"Advanced Micro Devices has agreed to pay out $29.5m to settle a class action lawsuit its shareholders filed after the disastrous Llano chip rollout."

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Source: The Register