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.

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"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."

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

mouse1.jpg

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.

mouse2.jpg

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.

kb1.jpg

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

Fanatec Releases CSL Elite Wheel P1 Alcantara

Subject: General Tech | August 28, 2017 - 08:04 PM |
Tagged: Fanatec, CSL, CSL Elite, ClubSport, Alcantara

A few weeks back I reviewed the Fanatec CSL Elite base/wheel/pedals.  While I gave overall generally high marks, the least impressive part had to have been the actual wheel itself.  The CSL Wheel P1 was a rubber coated wheel that had some very good characteristics (lightweight, rigid) it also was lacking in some areas (comfort/grip, shifter feedback).  Apparently these were not uncommon complaints about what was still a seriously affordable piece of kit from Fanatec.
 
wheel_01.jpg
 
Fanatec decided to add another option for the CSL Elite lineup that is still more affordable than many of their higher end wheel offerings that start at $200 and go up to $400 US.  The CSL Elite Wheel P1 is a thoroughly upgraded redesign of the P1 wheel.  It shares the overall weight of the wheel, but improves dramatically with the flexibility and ergonomics of the part.
 
The primary upgrade is of course the material used for the wheel.  Fanatec finishes it out with an Alcantara covering that looks hand stitched with a striking red thread.  Alcanatara is a fancy brand of "Ultrasuede" that is produced in Italy.  It feels great, it soaks up sweat yet still breathes, and is a durable covering that should last for many years to come.  It looks to be a much more pleasant surface to interact with as compared to the slightly tacky rubber-like texture of the original wheel.  I know for myself that I have really enjoyed the Thrustmaster 599XX EVO Alcantara Edition wheel as an upgrade, and I look forward to checking the Fanatec version eventually.
 
Fanatec does not stop with just the covering.  The shifters now feature a new activation switch that provides much more feedback and feel than the previous model.  The older wheel had a pretty anemic response when the user activates the shifter, so the experience just didn't feel quite right without the corresponding "thud" of a robust activation switch.
 
wheel_02.jpg
 
Finally Fanatec allows users to swap in and out the buttons on the wheel for either Xbox One use or for more customized setups using a pretty impressive number of buttons.  This is a functionality that I have yet to experience in other products from the major manufacturers.
The wheel still features the brushed aluminum front plate and spokes as well as the "not so quick" release feature.  The LCD and center light display are again present, but they need to have application support to be useful in game.
 
Fanatec is offering this unit for a fairly reasonable $159.  This is around the same price as the Thrustmaster add-on unit featuring the Alcantara covering.  This does look to be a major step up for users, but it does not break the bank as compared to other wheels that will fit on the Fanatec bases.
 
Fanatec has certainly been far more active in the past two years with their product stack than they have in a long time.  It is great to see PC and console racing becoming popular again and providing the impetus for manufacturers to release new and interesting products to fill the market.

Happy Monday, that shiny new graphics card you've been eyeing just got even more expensive

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | August 28, 2017 - 12:31 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, SK Hynix

Just when you thought it was safe to start GPU shopping, with demand from miners dropping off somewhat, the NAND shortage is set to crank up prices again.  First time miners have realize they are not about to become overnight billionaires and the dedicated miners have already picked up their GPUs; unless they just picked up this board, so there was some hope GPU prices might descend closer to their original MRSP.  Unfortunately the suppliers of VRAM have shifted their production capacity more heavily in favour of server memory and RAM for smartphones which has lead to a dearth of VRAM.  DigiTimes reports you can expect the price of NVIDIA cards to jump from 3-10% at the end of the month.

AMD's new offerings will not be effected by this; few and far between are the servers or phones which use HBM2.  It would be interesting to discover that part of their original pricing took this into account; not that it matters overly as their original pricing statement has been tossed.

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"With Samsung and SK Hynix cutting their memory supply for the graphics card segment, August quotes for RAMs used in graphics cards have risen to US$8.50, up by 30.8% from US$6.50 in July. Both memory suppliers have allocated more of their production capacities to making memories for servers and handsets, reducing output for the graphics cards segment and fueling the price rally."

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Source: DigiTimes

Not so smart now are you TV? UK Samsung owners a little peeved

Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2017 - 12:16 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, smart tv

A number of owners of smart Samsung TVs in Europe have been having a bad August.  A firmware update pushed out by the company has essentially bricked a variety of 50"Ultra HD and 49" 4K displays.  After the update they received a single channel at a single volume and the ownership of the remote was no longer fought for.  Samsung did not have a comment for The Register but a forum post suggests a fix is coming soon however it will require sending said TV into a repair shop.  Be careful if you see a pending update and do your best to postpone it for now; if you can.

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"Interestingly, Samsung's US support forum contains no mention of any similar problem, suggesting the bad firmware update may be limited to the UK or European region."

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Source: The Register

A Rival has appeared to challenge the Sensei; check out the newest epsiode in the SteelSeries

Subject: General Tech | August 24, 2017 - 01:52 PM |
Tagged: input, steelseries, Rival 310, Sensei 310, TrueMove3

These two mice are very similar, the difference being that the Sensei is ambidextrous and sports slightly smaller side buttons. What makes these mice interesting is the sensor, these are the first mice to feature SteelSeries own TrueMove3 sensor which they advertise as the only sensor with true one-to-one tracking.  This is somewhat correct as the PixArt PW3360 also features one-to-one tracking but only from 100 to 2100 CPI, the TrueMove3 is capable of the same between 100 to 3500 CPI before needing jitter reduction.  Does this matter when you are using it?  Check out The Tech Reports full review to find out.

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"SteelSeries' Rival 310 and Sensei 310 are the company's first mice with its TrueMove3 sensor, which promises a wider range of one-to-one tracking than any other mouse sensor on the market. We put these mice to the test to see whether it made a difference to our K/Ds."

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Podcast #464 - Vega Redux, Intel 8th Gen Core, and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 24, 2017 - 11:24 AM |
Tagged: vulkan, vlan, video, samsung galaxy note 8, rx vega, podcast, Linksys WRT32x, kaby lake, Intel, ice lake, htc vive, ECS, Core, asus zenphone 4, acer predator z271t

PC Perspective Podcast #464 - 08/17/17

Join us for continued discussion on RX Vega, Intel 8th Gen Core, 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: 1:34:56

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
    1. 0:07:54 Let’s talk about RX Vega!
      1. My Review
      2. Pricing concerns
      3. Availability
      4. Different die packages
      5. Locked BIOS
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. 1:26:45 Allyn: Razer Blade
  4. Closing/outro
 

Source:

It's almost time for the Fragging Frogs VLAN #16

Subject: General Tech | August 23, 2017 - 03:37 PM |
Tagged: gaming, fragging frogs, vlan, kick ass

It is just a few short days until the 16th Fragging Frogs VLAN kicks off.  Saturday, August 26th at 10AM EDT marks the official start, though you are certainly more than welcome to pop onto Teamspeak before then to get in some practice before then.   Drop by this thread in the forums to let Lenny and the gang know you are coming and to make yourself eligible to win some of the amazing prizes which will be given out.  Even if you don't win anything from Josh's closet you are still going to have a blast playing with the best gaming group going. 

There are currently over 50 people signed up but I am sure we can make this even bigger so come on by on Saturday!  If you want to make sure to maximize your fun, keep an eye on that thread for any updates or patches you might want to install before you start to play as well as to watch the list of scheduled games grow.  See you there.

FraggingFrogs.jpg

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Source: PCPer Forums

Coffee Lake in September is a lovely sight

Subject: General Tech | August 23, 2017 - 03:02 PM |
Tagged: Intel, coffee lake, asus, acer

DigiTimes have broken the news that Coffee Lake powered laptops will be arriving in September.  ASUS and Acer are mentioned by name but you can bet that you will see models released by all major manufacturers.  This upgrade will be a refinement of Kaby Lake, both generations will be fabbed on a 14nm process; Cannon Lake will be Intel's first 10nm chip and should be released close to the end of this year.  Intel is very hopefully that Coffee Lake will sell well, their representative mentioned a study which found that 450 million PCs still use chips rolled out five years ago.  While enthusiasts are unlikely to jump on Coffee Lake, there is a large market for 4k laptops with better battery life among casual users and businesses.

intel--coffee-lake-8th-gen_2_thumb800.jpg

"Leading notebook vendors, such as Taiwan's Asustek Computer and Acer, and many other international brands, will roll out their new 2-in-1 and ultra-thin notebook models utilizing Intel's eighth-generation Coffee Lake mobile CPUs starting September, to grab a larger market pie in the coming peak season, according to industry sources."

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Source: DigiTimes

Microsoft Details Upgrade Options For Xbox One X Including Network Transfer Of Games and Settings

Subject: General Tech | August 23, 2017 - 12:13 AM |
Tagged: xbox one x, xbox one, microsoft, console, 4k

Microsoft’s next generation Xbox One X gaming console is expected to launch on November 7th, 2017 and the Redmond-based company is making it as easy as possible to upgrade from current Xbox One and One S consoles. Specifically, Microsoft’s Xbox Program Management Corporate Vice President Mike Ybarra revealed that gamers would be able to prepare for the switch to the new console by downloading 4K game updates ahead of time and making the transfer process simple by using a wizard and either an external hard drive or network transfer to move console settings and game data over from their old console to the Xbox One X.

Xbox One X Network Transfer.png

So far, Microsoft has announced that approximately 100 games from its existing catalog will have 4K updates available including Halo 5, Halo Wars 2, Forza Motorspot 7, Fallout 4, NBA 2K18, Project Cars 2, Rocket League, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

Gamers will be able to pre-load 4K updates for their existing games onto their Xbox One or Xbox One S console. Once the Xbox One X launches, gamers will be able to transfer and keep most of their Xbox settings to the new console along with apps, games, and game save data. The data can be transferred by hooking up an external hard drive or by connecting both gaming consoles to the same LAN and starting the home network transfer by adding both consoles to your Xbox home and copying what you want between consoles.

I am interested to see if the Xbox One X is really able to live up to the claims of 4K60 gaming as well as the promised supersampling and anti-aliasing for gamers playing on 1080p displays (including older backwards compatible Xbox and Xbox 360 titles).

Are you planning on upgrading to the XBOX? What are your thoughts on the $499 console and its performance promises?

Also read: Xbox One X Scorpio Edition: What’s Different Explained @ Screen Rant

Source: eTeknix

A Chunk of Servo Comes to Firefox: Quantum CSS

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2017 - 10:12 PM |
Tagged: mozilla, firefox, servo, Rust

If you’re on Firefox Nightly, you are able to enable their new CSS engine with an about:config flag, called layout.css.servo.enabled. For a few years now, Mozilla has been working on a separate rendering engine, aided by Samsung, which was called Servo. Browsers are very single-threaded, so there was a lot of room for improvement, especially on devices that can afford more cores than per-core performance, like mobile. It is also more secure, as its programming language, Rust, is more strict with data accesses than C/C++, which is also great for a web browser.

mozilla-rust.png

Eventually, Mozilla decided to, instead of replacing Gecko, replace chunks of it with tech derived from Servo. Up to now, it’s been mostly security-related components, like the parsing of untrusted media headers. This one is about speed. I'm curious to see how it feels to our readers. I know that, personally, going from Firefox 54 to Firefox 55 was a significant difference, although that was due to other changes.

If you’re interested, download Firefox Nightly. I mean, it’s free.

Source: Mozilla

HTC Vive Price Drops to $599

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2017 - 09:56 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, vive, htc vive, valve, htc, price cut

While it looked like HTC and Valve wouldn’t budge on their launch price, the Vive has just been reduced $200 USD, from $799 down to $599. This is still significantly above the $399 USD price tag during their competitor’s summer sale, but it might be close enough for those who prefer the Vive for one reason or another.

I should note that their website still has payment plans through PayPal, which breaks up the $599 price tag into, they say, twelve chunks.

For me? This price cut came just a week and a bit late. I already picked up the Oculus. For us Canadians, it looks like the Vive sale price is $800 CDN on Amazon, versus the $550 mark for the Rift with Touch and two sensors. That said, if I didn’t jump on the Oculus... would I consider the Vive? At this price, I’m still not sure. I’m wary of a hardware refresh, now that these devices are hitting the one-and-a-half year mark. The Oculus, during its sale, is priced in the “Meh” territory. It would have served its purpose until it’s replaced. The extra couple hundred dollars on the Vive might just push it out of the “eh, if it’s replaced, so what” range.

On the other hand, the Vive can be upgraded with a wireless kit, and I do have issues with the Oculus sensors being obstructed. It’s an interesting move for sure.

Source: Vive

HyperX Announces the Cloud Alpha Headset

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2017 - 06:50 PM |
Tagged: audio, hyperx, cloud alpha, gaming headset

HyperX have just announced a new headset, the Cloud Alpha, which will be available for purchase on September 25th for $100.  The headset sports the standard 50mm neodymium magnets that are expected on a gaming headset however the design of the earcups is different than most on the market.  You can see the dual chamber design below.

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High and mid-range frequencies are sent directly through the the earcups while bass is directed out towards the edges which should allow finer control over the balance, however the proof will have to wait until we can get our hands on them.  The aluminium frame helps keep the weight under 300g while the leatherette ear padding should ensure they are comforatable even after a long session. 

The condenser microphone should allow you to be heard clearly when you are gaming or be removed if you don't need it for the moment.  The Cloud Alpha will be compatible with any system that accepts a 3.5mm jack, so you will be able to use the headset on all of your devices.  Full PR below the glamour shot.

HyperX Cloud Alpha_Image 1.jpg

Source: HyperX

Listen to the Void long enough and you become a Pro

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2017 - 04:09 PM |
Tagged: wireless headset, VOID PRO RGB, virtual 7.1, gaming headset, corsair, audio

The new Corsair Gaming VOID PRO RGB Wireless 7.1 Gaming Headset is a reasonable $80 and contains a battery which should be good for around 15 hours of usage.  As the headset contains two 50mm neodymium drivers, the 7.1 surround sound is virtual and the Guru of 3D found that while it opened up the sound somewhat it was not particularly good at enhancing your situational awareness in games.  Thankfully the RGBs are limited to the Corsair logos on the ear cups and not spread across the headband.   Drop by for their full review.

You can also see what Sebastian thought of this headset in his recent review.

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"Corsair today launches their headsets with a new PRO line of the VOID RGB headsets, we test the wireless version. The Dolby headphone certified VOID comes with updated software as well, and manages to seriously impress me in terms of audio quality and sure, build quality as well."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: Guru of 3D