Rumour time; Ryzen Whitehaven specs

Subject: General Tech | May 11, 2017 - 12:27 PM |
Tagged: whitehaven, s3, ryzen, rumour, amd

wccftech is reporting on two engineering samples of new AMD processors which feature 16 cores and 32 threads with a boost clock speed of 3.6GHz and a base clock of 3.0GHz.  They have pictures of the architecture you can look over contained in this post.  This chip will also use a new socket, called S3, marking a nice change in a company that stuck with the AM3(+) chipset for the better part of a decade.  The chips will support quad channel DDR4 as well as expanded PCIe lanes to offer better storage options as well as PCIe slots.  AMD is aiming at offering some competition to Intel's upcoming release of Skylake-X, we should know more at Computex at the end of this month as AMD is expected to officially announce the product at that show.

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"AMD’s upcoming 16 core enthusiast Ryzen “Whitehaven” CPUs have been spotted. The new processors will come in variations of up to 16 cores and 32 threads and will support quad-channel DDR4 memory."

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Source: wccftech

Sangean WFT-3 Digital Receiver, get high quality audio from your podcasts, radio and more

Subject: General Tech | May 10, 2017 - 05:39 PM |
Tagged: WFT-3 Digital Receiver, Sangean, audio

The Sangean WFT-3 Digital Receiver looks like most stereo equipment until you look at the inputs.  There you will find an ethernet port, WiFi antenna and USB plug in addition to a radio antenna and various audio out plugs.  It connects to the internet to provide you access to your podcasts and Spotify, as well as being able to play directly off of a USB drive or receive local FM radio signals if you are a fan of any particular stations.  Drop by NikKTech for a look.

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"Thanks to its ability to receive Internet / DAB / DAB+ and FM-RDS radio and also function as a Network and USB audio media player the WFT-3 digital receiver by Sangean packs quite a punch especially when compared to similar products."

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Source: NikKTech

Even the coffee cups might make you Prey

Subject: General Tech | May 10, 2017 - 05:16 PM |
Tagged: gaming, prey

Ars Technica is exploring Talos I, the setting of the game Prey and are having a great time.  Similar to the other reviews below this is a quick look at the beginning of the game for Bethesda did not provide any reviewers with an advanced copy.  After the introduction you find yourself equipped with nothing but a wrench and a "Gloo gun", in a station filled with alien Typhon Mimics which can turn into any inanimate object and lay in wait for you.  If you are undecided if this game is worth picking up then read through the article and decide for yourself.

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"Owing to Bethesda's recently enacted policy of withholding review copies until just before release, we've barely had five hours of in-game time with Prey prior to the game's launch today. Consider these impressions a review-in-progress as we work toward the game's conclusion. This piece includes spoilers for some very early portions of the game."

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Source: Ars Technica

Meet Google's Fuchsia OS

Subject: General Tech | May 10, 2017 - 04:44 PM |
Tagged: fuschia, google, Android, iot

Fuchsia is still a work in progress which has been available on Github for a while now but we haven't really seen a  demonstration of it in action.  A Texan enthusiast has been working on creating one and you can take a peek at it in this video over at The Register.  The tiny OS is design to run on almost anything, from smart light bulbs to phone and even full sized computers.  It is based on BSD with additional resources developed at MIT and will be backwards compatible with current Android libraries.

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"When Fuchsia broke cover last August, we noted the project's ambition. The presence of a compositor indicated it was capable of running on more than lightbulbs and routers, although the tiny new Magenta kernel also allows it go there too."

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Source: The Register

Crazy, I'm crazy for feeling so buggy ... then Microsoft called it off

Subject: General Tech | May 9, 2017 - 12:43 PM |
Tagged: security essentials, security, microsoft, fud, endpoint, defender

You have probably already read about the bug which effects all Microsoft's security programs, from basic home apps like Defender through to professional level Forefront Security for SharePoint discovered by Google Project Zero researchers.  It was certainly a bad one, utilizing the act of scanning a file for malware as the infection vector, striking similar to the way some viruses hijack our own immune systems. 

The good news is that Microsoft started pushing out a fix for the bug on Monday; as the bug was hinted at publicly on Friday someone must have put in a long weekend.  This quick turnaround is very nice to see and demonstrates the usefulness of publicly announcing the existence of a threat, without revealing the details to the public immediately.  Bug bounty programs are a good thing but if they involve NDAs it can lead to delays in resolutions as there is little pressure on the software developers to push out an immediate fix.  As The Register states, responsibly disclosing the existence of a bug, especially a major one such as this, you get a quick turn around like we saw from Microsoft. 

Update if you got 'em!

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"On the second point, well, we hate to break it to you but all software has bugs – especially Microsoft's code. There are any number of horrible remote code execution flaws in Windows and Office right now, sitting there waiting for white and black hats to find and exploit. Being told, yes, there is definitely a bad bug lurking in among the ones and zeroes doesn't make you less secure."

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Source: The Register

A keyboard for the accident prone, Zalman's Z-Machine K650WP

Subject: General Tech | May 8, 2017 - 02:22 PM |
Tagged: input, waterproof, zalman, aluminium, Z-Machine K650WP, keyboard

The K650WP is a membrane keyboard with a PS/2 plug and USB adapter so for those who need to click while they type you may want to skip this review.  For everyone else, the membrane design allowed Zalman to waterproof the keyboard by adding holes to allow spilled liquids to quickly drain away from the keys, as well as coating the aluminium stiffener inside with hydrophobic film and some strategically placed insulation.  TechPowerUp dumped the contents of a 250 mL water bottle into the keyboard to test this feature out and it worked a charm, they only wiped off the keys as the remainder of the liquid drained through the bottom and the keyboard continued to work.  At $27, even if you do manage to damage the keyboard you are not out a lot of money.  Check it out here.

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"The Z-Machine K650WP from Zalman is a membrane keyboard that comes in at a price point where there is really no competition from branded mechanical keyboards. At the same time, it offers a waterproof design, dedicated volume-control buttons, and an internal aluminum plate for structural rigidity, making it great value for the money."

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Source: TechPowerUp

ASUS Republic of Gamers Launches Project Dream Machine

Subject: General Tech | May 8, 2017 - 01:05 PM |
Tagged: asus, ASUS ROG, behave, Project Dream Machine

The ASUS Republic Of Gamers is asking for your input on what you would like to see on their upcoming products and have opened up a thread on their forums which will be monitored by their staff.   Raja Koduri has responded to several posts relating to GPUs and other ASUS staff have responded to suggestions about other components. 

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By participating in Project Dream Machine, you not only get a chance to make suggestions about the capabilities and features you would like to see added to the next generation of products you might even have a chance to consult in the design process as well as being one of the first to bne able to use your suggested product.  Do keep your comments polite, they are asking for your suggestions, not your opinion on what others have suggested.  The more detailed and interesting your suggestions the more likely ASUS will continue to request input on their next generation of  products such as extra cooling, peripherals or even overclocking software.

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Fremont, CA (May 8, 2017) -- For more than a decade, Republic of Gamers (ROG) has delivered exemplary design and performance to the world’s best gamers and enthusiasts. Our ROG staff includes competitive players, hardcore overclockers, and general gaming and tech enthusiasts. From engineering to design to marketing, we share a passion for creating the best PC hardware for gamers — and ourselves. Our passion isn’t unique; many in the PC gaming and hardware communities have the same drive and enthusiasm, and we want to harness it to make better products that everyone can enjoy.

ASUS ROG Corporate VP Joe Hsieh summarizes the project well: “ROG’s main goal is to provide gamers with the ultimate gaming hardware, and we’re constantly striving to develop products that gamers need. We believe that great products start with great design, and great design always starts from an incredible idea. We want to hear what gamers want in their dream machine, and we’ll work towards making that dream come true.” Now, we want to know what you want. The Project Dream Machine forum thread is open for everyone to discuss their dream machine along with ideas for other ROG gear. It will be monitored by our staff, providing a direct link between the community and our internal R&D teams. This is your chance to influence the development of PC gaming hardware. We hope to make two community-driven products per year, and we’re excited to have you be a part of the process.

Source: ASUS

The winners of the first stage of The HackaDay Prize

Subject: General Tech | May 8, 2017 - 12:19 PM |
Tagged: hack, DIY, nifty

The first of the five rounds of The Hackaday Prize has completed and the winners announced.  This stage is the Design Your Concept stage, often the most important factor in determining the success of the build project you intend to sit out on.  The winners are an eclectic bunch, from heart monitoring devices to printing bones on a 3D printer to a hand portable braille printing press.  It is worth taking a look at these, even if the project does not strike your fancy you can learn a lot on how the create an effective design of a concept for your own projects.  There are still four more rounds to go so expect even more interesting designs over the coming weeks,

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"Today we’re excited to announce the winners of the Design Your Concept phase of The Hackaday Prize. These projects just won $1000 USD, and will move on to the final round this fall."

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Source: Hack a Day

Dell Executive Projects Five-Year Growth in Gaming PCs

Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2017 - 03:44 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, dell

DigiTimes published a couple of statements from Dell’s senior vice president of Consumer Product Marketing, Raymond Wah, regarding the company’s view on the PC gaming industry. We’ll start with the two quotes, below.

Electronic sports (e-sports) and VR (virtual reality) are main growth drivers for gaming PCs, Wah said, adding gaming is becoming e-sports and this is a global trend. Continual gaming content updates push hardware developers to upgrade the specifications of gaming PCs, Wah indicated. The number of e-sports fans will increases to 145 million in 2017.

In line with gaming PC marketing, Dell has sponsored e-sports events and cooperated with movie producers, Wah indicated. Dell has also begun to set up gaming PC retail outlets at Best Buy chain stores in the US and plans to set up 50 outlets in total.

The article also mentions that he expects that the demand for gaming PCs will continue for five years, unlike the rest of the PC market, which is projected to shrink. It goes on to add that the company is pushing gaming products under two brands now, both Alienware and their general public-focused Inspiron line.

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Many of our readers are probably comfortable assembling their own PCs, but getting OEMs involved adds the whole segment of users who would be comfortable sacrificing cost or performance to offload that hassle. That’s a positive note that I think is often lost on PC enthusiasts. Just because shaving out middle-people makes the transaction more efficient, doesn’t mean that there’s no valid reason to pay a big OEM, or even a small business, local computer store, to handle it.

If he’s right, the next five-plus years should be good for us, too.

Source: DigiTimes

Rocket League Free Weekend and Sale

Subject: General Tech | May 5, 2017 - 07:13 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming

Just a quick note for our readers: Rocket League is having a free weekend, accompanied by a 30%-off sale. If you haven’t played the game, Steam says that you currently have one day and twenty hours (and 45 minutes) left to download, install, and play the title.

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The 30%-off promotion applies equally to the base game, the four-pack, and the Game of the Year edition. Each of these deals outlives the free weekend by a day, so you can spend Sunday afternoon deciding whether rocket-powered car-soccer is worth your hard-earned cash.

The free weekend ends at 4PM EDT on Sunday, while the sale goes until 1PM EDT on Monday.

Source: Steam

CORSAIR Announces GLAIVE RGB Mouse

Subject: General Tech | May 5, 2017 - 06:48 PM |
Tagged: corsair, glaive rgb, gaming mouse

A new mouse, with Omron-based mechanical switches, has been announced by CORSAIR. The GLAIVE RGB is right-handed asymmetric, so lefties (like myself) who are looking for a left-handed or ambidextrous mouse will need to look elsewhere. For right-handed users, however, it includes three different thumb grips, giving it a few different feels, although they don’t state the specific styles that each is supposed to cater to (if you are very particularly about your hand position during gaming). You will want to check out reviews to find that sort of info out.

The switches are rated to 50,000,000 clicks.

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The sensor is created by PixArt, model PMW3367 that, according to CORSAIR, has been customized in some way. The DPI ranges between 100 and 16,000, with the specific values stored on the mouse, within its 8MB of memory. This storage also saves lighting effects and macros, which should mean that, unlike Razer Synapse, you won’t have your button bindings flip a handful of seconds after boot. There are six programmable buttons on the device and the mouse wheel is made of aluminum with a rubber grip.

The CORSAIR GLAIVE RGB is available now. It’s currently listed for $69.99 on Amazon.

Source: CORSAIR

Google doesn't seem to mind SilverPush and your phones surreptitious addiction to advertisments

Subject: General Tech | May 5, 2017 - 01:29 PM |
Tagged: fud, silverpush, security

In 2015 we learned enough about SilverPush to worry security wonks about its ability to track your phone without your knowledge.  Several hundred apps available on the Google Play store have SilverPush and do not inform users that the apps utilize that software to track your whereabouts without your knowledge which would seem to be in direct contravention of Google's stated requirements.  That is more upsetting than the actual tracking.

SilverPush laden apps listen for tones broadcast at 18kHz to 20kHz which is inaudible to the vast majority of humanity.  When they receive that tone the app which has SilverPush sends out a signal which can be used to locate you, to track your progress through a store or to verify that you are watching a particular advertisement.  The creators of the software stopped development back in 2015 and have found this revelation rather confusing according to Ars Technica.

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"Almost a year after app developer SilverPush vowed to kill its privacy-threatening software that used inaudible sound embedded into TV commercials to covertly track phone users, the technology is more popular than ever, with more than 200 Android apps that have been downloaded millions of times from the official Google Play market, according to a recently published research paper."

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Source: Ars Technica

Contest: Win an ASUS GTX 1070 8GB or GTX 1050 Ti Dual-fan OC Card!

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 5, 2017 - 10:14 AM |
Tagged: gtx 1070, GTX 1050 Ti, giveaway, geforce, contest, asus

With spring filling us with happy thoughts, our friends at ASUS are gracing us with some hardware to giveaway - that's right, it's time for a contest!

Here's what's on the docket for our readers and fans:

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The ASUS Dual-fan line is a great option for gamers that want to balance performance and value and are quieter, cooler, and faster than reference specs. 

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How do you enter? Use the form below!

Win an ASUS GeForce® GTX 1070 8GB Dual-fan OC Edition!!

I do have to apologize - this contest is open to US and Canada (except Quebec) residents only. Sorry!

A HUGE THANKS goes to our partners at ASUS for supporting PC Perspective and our raders with this great contest! Good luck to everyone!

Blender 2.8 Progress: Viewport and Cycles

Subject: General Tech | May 4, 2017 - 09:20 PM |
Tagged: Blender

The Blender Foundation is currently working on two different branches of their popular 3D suite, Blender 2.79 and Blender 2.8. We have discussed the former quite a bit, which is expected to code freeze within the next month or so, but the latter has been making noteworthy progress all along, too. It is focused on workflow changes, which includes updating the viewport renderer, both for preview as well as fast rendering of scenes that don’t require full ray-traced quality.

In this case, Blender Developers has released a video showing off how Cycles and Viewport can be combined. While you can preview what Cycles will output in the viewport already, enabling that rendered shading mode disables UI elements, like the movement widget. They are now being combined, and the Blender Foundation is aiming to make it fast enough for practical use.

Preview builds of Blender 2.8 are available now, and the Blender Foundation wants users to play around with them. Be careful using it for critical projects, though, because save files might not be 100% compatible, forward or backward, above and beyond the obvious stability concerns.

The Qualcomm and Apple spat heats up

Subject: General Tech | May 4, 2017 - 12:59 PM |
Tagged: qualcomm, apple, sueball

Qualcomm and Apple are already at loggerheads over the possible dirty trick played in the iPhone7 to ensure that Intel powered iPhone models performed the same as the ones with Qualcomm inside.  Slashdot and other sources have reported on a somewhat related feud taking place, which has lead Qualcomm to reach out to the US based ITC to block the import of iPhones into the US.  It seems that last month Apple decided not to pay Qualcomm royalties on their phone sales, which is owed due to core patents Qualcomm holds on mobile communications chips.  Apple's defence is the fact that Qualcomm gets a cut even in devices without a single Qualcomm component while Qualcomm points out the it is their patents which generate the fee, not their hardware.

It will be interesting in this current environment to see how the US based Qualcomm fares against Apple and their products, which are made in Asia.

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"Qualcomm is preparing to ask the International Trade Commission to stop the iPhone, which is built in Asia, from entering the country, threatening to block Apple's iconic product from the American market in advance of its anticipated new model this fall, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private."

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Source: Slashdot

The all new and improved version of the new and improved S.T.A.L.K.E.R.; the Lost Alpha gets a Directors Cut

Subject: General Tech | May 3, 2017 - 01:53 PM |
Tagged: gaming, stalker, lost alpha, kick ass, directors cut

Many many moons ago, the lost Alpha version of S.T.A.L.K.E.R., which included vehicles and some rather interesting new fauna to chew on your innards was released to the world to allow them to revisit the Zone as it was originally imagined.  The released game was much smaller, as the habit developers have of initially overreaching the scope of their games is nothing new.  What is new is the Developer's Cut of the Lost Alpha which you can now get hold of to play, though the installation process is a little intricate as you can see from the instructions Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN have provided. 

The original Lost Alpha now incorporates game mechanics which were added in Call of Pripyat as well as updates to the engine and various other features.  If you have fond memories of the Zone, you should head back in to see what is new.

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" You might remember Dezowave reluctantly released 2014’s unfinished (but still great) version after scamps leaked a rough development build. Now they’ve launched what they’re calling the Developer’s Cut of Lost Alpha, fixing bugs and making it even bigger. Have a look."

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Vega's specs grow less vague

Subject: General Tech | May 3, 2017 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: rumour, amd, VGA, DRM

DRM finally did something good for us; revealing detailed information on AMD's new GPU.  In this case the DRM is a portion of the Linux kernel which interfaces with the GPU and some inquisitive minds dug through the code to find details on Vega, which will be supported by this new version of DRM.

This is still in the realms of rumour, but the source is very good as AMD would not likely enter the wrong specifications into this update.  According to the specs which wccftech compiled from the code, Vega features 64 compute units, each containing 64 GCN stream processors, the 4096 SPs will be split into four Shader Engines.  A little math, based on the stated performance figures of 12.5 TFLOLPS for FP32 and 25 TFLOPS for FP16 operations, the GPU should clock above 1.5GHz.  There were no details on the memory frequency though as it uses HBM2 we know it will have a 2048-bit interface which could lead to some interesting performance numbers.

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"Thanks to the latest Linux graphics driver update submitted by AMD we now have detailed specifications of the upcoming Radeon RX Vega GPU. The DRM, Direct Rendering Manager, update to Linux was issued yesterday and it’s the first update to date that adds comprehensive Vega feature support to Linux. No doubt in preparation for Vega’s launch which is expected to take place at the end of the month."

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Source: wccftech

Microsoft Announces Windows 10 S for Education

Subject: General Tech | May 2, 2017 - 10:16 AM |
Tagged: Windows 10 S, windows 10, windows, OS, operating system, microsoft, Education

Microsoft has introduced a new version of Windows 10 today during their education event, with low-cost education-specific laptops (starting at $189) to feature Windows 10 S, a lightweight edition of the OS for education.

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During the presentation it was revealed that the only way to install applications that are not found within the Windows store on Windows 10 S would be to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. The installation and configuration saves to a USB key that saves the state of the student’s laptop, so that any laptop in the school can be used by the student after inserting their USB key, which reconfigures the OS to the last state used with that key.

Microsoft demonstrated the speed of their streamlined version of the OS with a first boot, which took around 10 seconds on a new machine due to the stripped-down features and limited pre-installed applications. Windows 10 S will be available free to all schools on their current "genuine Window Pro PCs", and free subscriptions to Microsoft Office 365 and Minecraft: Education Edition were also announced.

Windows 10 S will arrive this summer, and while a future on low-cost consumer devices for a Windows Store-only version of the OS seems likely, Windows 10 S seems geared specifically for the education sector for now.

Source: Microsoft

The $100 Pinebook; usable as a laptop?

Subject: General Tech | May 1, 2017 - 01:54 PM |
Tagged: pinebook, arm, Cortex A53. ubuntu

Pinebooks are built around the same ARM Cortex A53 that the kickstarted Pine board utilized, but instead of being a Raspberry like board, it is a built to order laptop.  The 11.6" model is $89 and the 14" model will cost you $99.  The screen is 1366×768, it comes with a 640x480 camera as well as a pair of USB ports, audio, miniSD and miniHDMI connectors.  Hack a Day ordered one and found that in some ways this is still a work in progress as there are issues with some of the outputs which may soon be addressed in an update to the Ubuntu MATE 16.04 OS it runs.  Still a laptop for less than $100 is impressive and might be worth tinkering with, take a more detailed look here.

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"The Pine A64 was a 64-bit Quad-Core Single Board Computer which was kickstarted at the tail end of 2015 for delivery in the middle of 2016. Costing just $15, and hailed as a “Raspberry Pi killer,” the board raised $1.7 million from 36,000 backers. It shipped to its backers to almost universally poor reviews."

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Source: Hack a Day

Is iFi Audio the best choice for a name, let alone a tiny DAC?

Subject: General Tech | April 28, 2017 - 02:19 PM |
Tagged: audio, DAC, iFi Audio, nano iDSD LE

As you can see from the comparative size of the RCA jacks, the iFi Audio nano iDSD LE is a very small DAC, especially as they have squeezed a 1000 mAh battery inside for portable usage.  Don't let the tiny package fool you, the device supports a wide variety of signals including PCM from 44.1 to 384 kHz/16-32 bit, DSD 2.8, 3.1, 5.6 and 6.2 MHz/1 bit, DXD 352.8, 384 kHz/24 bit.  TechPowerUp reviewed the DAC with both HiFiMAN Edition S headphones and Sennheiser IE-800s in ear headphones, take a look right here.

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"iFi Audio's nano iDSD LE is a little DAC/amp with big ambitions. It packs all the knowledge from the bigger DAC/amps in iFi's huge portofolio of products into a small package. Despite being small, it still features RCA line-outs, a very respectable headphone amplification circuit, and a 1000 mAh battery."

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Source: TechPowerUp