Slip a Viper on your head, Patriot's new gaming headsets

Subject: General Tech | August 1, 2017 - 01:59 PM |
Tagged: audio, patriot, V361, V370, gaming headset, virtual 7.1, Viper

Patriot's new Viper V361 And V370 headsets are virtual twins, virtual 7.1 surround sound in fact.  They share the same specifications, a dynamic range of 20 Hz – 20 KHz, 32Ohm
impedance and 40mm neodymium drivers with 30mm neodymium sub-drivers to provide the virtual surround sound.  Indeed at first look the only difference is the price, $50 for the V361 and $70 for the V370.  Techgage discovered the difference, the V370 is thoroughly infected with RGB-itis, if you find yourself in need of a glowing head.  As for the audio quality, check out the full review.

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"How often does a product force you into an attitude adjustment? Patriot’s V361 and V370 headsets have revealed themselves to be a pair of price and performance champs. The best thing? They prove that virtual surround sound doesn’t need to be pricey to be desirable. Let’s check them out."

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Source: Techgage

Unmasking a new photolithography technique

Subject: General Tech | August 1, 2017 - 12:24 PM |
Tagged: photolithography, DOLFIN

In the eternal search for ways to fabricate smaller features in semiconductors, EUV seems to be the current focus for production facilities.  Researchers at the University of Chicago and the Argonne National Laboratory may have a solution which could prove to be very useful in the future and could even see the mask technology currently used in photolithography become obsolete.  DOLFIN, aka Direct Optical Lithography of Functional Inorganic Nanomaterials, creates features by making a film of nanoparticles with photoactive ligands which is then covered in a glas or quartz mask with a patterned metal layer and exposed to UV light.  This is very similar to current methods, the mask is reusable and the amount of UV light required is similar to that needed currently. 

This method differs in several ways, not least of which is it does not require as many rare and unhealthy solutes.  What could really help it take off is the fact that seems to be cheaper and more reliable than current processes and it is capable of creating a six-layer 3D pattern in 19 process steps; conventional technology would take 43 steps.  There is more over at Nanotechweb.

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"The fact that the dose of UV required in the new technique is comparable to that for conventional photoresists opens up a plethora of opportunities for advanced device manufacturing, he tells nanotechweb.org."

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Source: Nanotechweb

Flashback!

Subject: General Tech | July 31, 2017 - 01:11 PM |
Tagged: flash, Adobe, bad idea, open source

Just when you thought it was safe, there is a group who are attempting to ensure that Adobe Flash never dies, just like the killer from a horror movie in the 80's and 90's.  These poor misguided fools feel that by making Flash open source, the community will be able to salve the open sores which Flash is covered in.  If you can pass a sanity check, you might wonder why anyone would want to keep this application alive.  It would seem that the developer who started this petition on GitHub because "Flash is an important piece of Internet history and killing Flash means future generations can't access the past,".  One could make the same argument about Geocities and sound roughly as coherent.  You can pop over to The Inquirer for a name, as well as a link to the petition.

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"A LOYAL but misguided fool has started a petition in the hope of convincing Adobe to take Flash's source code into the open source."

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Source: The Inquirer

Conduct Psychic Warfare with MSI's new gaming mice

Subject: General Tech | July 28, 2017 - 01:12 PM |
Tagged: msi, clutch, Clutch GM60, Clutch GM70, gaming mouse, wireless mouse, ambidextrous

MSI's Clutch GM 60 and Clutch GM70 gaming mice are almost twins, the difference being the GM70's support for wireless usage and a slight weight gain thanks to the required hardware.  Both of these mice are somewhat modifiable, you can switch out the wings as well as a portion of top shell; they are also symmetrical so can be used in either hand comfortably.  The mice contain a PMW 3360 optical sensor with sensitivity adjustable between 1000-3600 Hz in 100Hz steps.  Neoseeker tested out the performance of the mice for gaming and as a source for a funky light show in their recent review.

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"The Clutch GM 60 and Clutch GM70 gaming mice are essentially the same mouse design, with the GM70 model being a few grams heavier when calculating the added internal wireless hardware. Both mice come with two sets of side grips to allow the user to configure their mouse choice to fit their hand with a "dragon scale" pattern on the sides to facilitate a firm grip, improving movement precision during use."

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Source: Neoseeker

... and the crowd goes mild. Microsoft's Android integration starts out with a whimper

Subject: General Tech | July 28, 2017 - 12:19 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, Android

Can you imagine a world in which you're able to share links between your phone and computer?  This is the brave new frontier which Microsoft is exploring in Version 16251 of Win10 which will allow you to link to an Android phone via a app for Android on the Windows Store.  Mind you there are a variety of programs out there which already fulfill this purpose, The Inquirer offers an example here,  and if you sign into Chrome it will happily sync itself on all your devices.

On the other hand this is a first step towards admitting that Windows Mobile is not the success they had dreamed.  Microsoft does see this as a much a larger project and taking the initial steps slowly could help in the long run; as long as they can get people to notice what they are doing and attract at least some attention.

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"But it does lay foundations, and it does show intentions. It's hugely unlikely that Windows Mobile is ever going to claw its way back to the levels to compete with iOS and Android, so it is important that as it approaches its second birthday, Windows-as-a-Service is approachable from other mobile operating systems."

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Source: The Inquirer

Adobe Flash Is End of Life in 2020

Subject: General Tech | July 27, 2017 - 10:13 PM |
Tagged: Adobe

It’s been a long time in the making, but Adobe, Mozilla, Microsoft, Google, Apple, and others will completely end-of-life Flash Player by the end of 2020. Adobe will not update or even distribute the player after that point, and the browser vendors will block the plug-in. Until then, however, Adobe will continue to ship updates that improve security, fix bugs, and even possibly add features.

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Tilt your head 90-degrees left and you'll see why I chose this icon.

On the content creation side of things, Adobe rebranded Flash Professional into Animate CC about a year ago (February 2016) to signify its decoupling from the Flash platform. That was also around the time that they discontinued Adobe Edge, which was similar to Flash Professional but designed around HTML5 publishing, and pushed all of that work into Animate CC. If you’re into the Flash Professional workflow, then you will continue to use it, just with JavaScript instead of ActionScript (unless Adobe makes it compile down into WebAssembly or JavaScript at some point) and targeting Web technologies directly (or, of course, just export to linear, non-interactive video).

Interesting, it looks like Mozilla has stopped developing Shumway, which was a platform that ingested SWF files and executed them as JavaScript, about a year ago. Since it would only use web technologies, it wouldn’t have the security concerns that Flash Player would (because if someone knew how to use Shumway to exploit a browser, they could just make a malicious website that did it directly). That would have been an interesting way to preserve old Flash movies and games, without the original author converting it, but I guess it didn’t take off.

Now if only we could agree on a date for IPv6.

Source: Adobe

Podcast #460 - ASUS Max-Q, Surface vs. iPad, AMD Q2 Results, and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 27, 2017 - 01:34 PM |
Tagged: ZM-K900M, Zephyrus, zalman, XG5, x370, video, usb 3.2, toshiba, Threadripper, Surface Pro, ryzen, ROG, RGB, podcast, max-q, ipad pro, GX501, EKWB, Crosshair VI, crimson relive, asus, AMD4, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #460 - 07/27/17

Join us for ASUS Max-Q, Surface vs. iPad, AMD Q2 Results, 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, Jim Tanous

Program length: 1:37:41

 
Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. 1:27:00 Allyn: Damn cheap 8TB drives (8TB Helium filled Reds!) ($160)
    2. 1:32:46 Alex: Bullet Bouquets - now with engraving!
  4. Closing/outro
 

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Stupid sexy Shelob?

Subject: General Tech | July 26, 2017 - 05:48 PM |
Tagged: weird, gaming, middle-earth, shadow of war

In the most bizarre departure from Tolkien's world yet, Shelob the child of Ungoliant now takes on a human form to help out the already strange pair of the undead Ranger Talion and his see through ringmaker buddy Celebrimbor. Apart from that, take a gander at the trailer which shows off what Shadow of War looks like and see if you can remember the Orc's which were your worst enemies as you may be meeting them again soon.  The trailer and more information can be yours by visiting Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN.

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"Middle-earth: Shadow of War is due October 10th, made by Monolith and published by Warner Bros. If you’d like, you can prepare for the launch by importing your Nemesis and dearest friend from Shadow of War."

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Just what we weren't asking for, a new USB standard

Subject: General Tech | July 26, 2017 - 03:26 PM |
Tagged: usb 3.2, Type-C, USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C

Thanks to the USB Promoter Group we will soon be able to type out USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C when talking about new systems, which should not be confused with USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C.  The bandwidth will double to 20Gbps which is a good thing and shows that USB can continue to be a less expensive alternative to Thunderbolt which currently runs at 40Gbps.  The increase comes from a change in the way USB can connect, previous generations utilized only two pairs of wires unlike DisplayPort or TB3 which can use all four.  With the new standard, the USB protocol will also take advantage of all four pairs.  

If you managed to get hold of high quality Type-C cables which do not have a desire to start fires you will be able to take advantage of the new standard ... once you pick up new devices which support the USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C as Ars Technica reminds us.

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"If you've invested heavily in USB Type-C cables, the USB Promoter Group has some good news for you. The next version of USB, USB 3.2, will double the speed of existing Type-C cables. Cables currently qualified for USB 3.1 generation 1's 5Gbps will be able to operate at 10Gbps; those qualified for generation 2's 10Gbps will be able to run at 20Gbps"

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Source: Ars Technica

Your Roomba is spying on you and that fridge sure looks suspicious

Subject: General Tech | July 25, 2017 - 02:54 PM |
Tagged: security, roomba, irobot, greed

It should be obvious to most that the new generation of Roombas builds up and saves a map of your house, that is how it memorizes how to navigate your floors to vacuum them.  One would also think it was obvious that this information should remain private; unfortunately iRobot does not seem to understand this.  They are in discussion with Apple, Amazon and Alphabet to determine a price at which iRobot will sell them the map of the parts of your house which your Roomba has traversed.  This should be somewhat disturbing to Roomba owners and likely very exciting to anyone who likes to wander univited into other people's homes.  The security of the data is not likely to be difficult to overcome for a motivated and skilled individual so keep that in mind if you are shopping for a robot vacuum.  You can pop by The Inquirer to read iRobot chief executive Colin Angle's bizarre response to tweets from concerned customers.

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"VACUUM CLEANER COMPANY iRobot, responsible for the 'smart' Roomba vacuum, is considering doing something really dumb - selling user mapping data to companies that would hand over how your house is laid out."

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Source: The Inquirer

Mark Papermaster on AMD's tiny things

Subject: General Tech | July 24, 2017 - 12:49 PM |
Tagged: amd, 7nm

Over at The Inquirer you can read a condensed version of AMD's Mark Papermaster discussion about the challenges of moving to a 7nm process node.  The size of AMD's design team have prompted them to take a modular approach to design so that circuits can be reused across CPU, GPU and semi-custom designs.  That allows the the same teams to work on multiple projects and for design successes to improve products across multiple lines, a must for a small team with such diverse products.

He also talks about "2.5-D chip stacks", using silicon interposers to connect processors and memory stacks side-by-side as a way to work on reducing to the 7nm node while waiting for foundries like GLOFO to retool to EUV lithography. He ends with a familiar request; that developers switch their focus to taking advantage of high core counts and parallel threads and away from single cores running at high frequencies.

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"Speaking to the EE Times, Papermaster said that, while AMD planned to run its second and third generation Zen architecture x86 microprocessors on 7nm, it would likely be a 'long node', like the 28nm process, "and when you have a long node it lets the design team focus on micro-architecture and systems solutions", rather than simply redesigning standard ‘blocks'."

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Source: The Inquirer

Won't someone think of the children? Corsair will!

Subject: General Tech | July 21, 2017 - 01:22 PM |
Tagged: corsair, gaming, charity, Save the Children

Corsair will be hosting a Charity Gaming Marathon on July 29th, livestreamed on Twitch and kicking off at 9AM Pacific.  All donations will go to the Save the Children, an international charity which helps children across the globe get off to a healthy start in life.  Corsair will be matching every dollar donated, up to a total of $25,000.  The event will pit two teams against each other in a variety of MOBA, RTS and first person shooters; when donating you can chose which team you support and can cheer them on and choose some challenges they need to overcome.

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During the event there will be giveaways of gear as certain donation goals are reached including GLAIVE RGB mice, VOID USB headsets, and MM800 RGB POLARIS mouse mats.  If the $25K mark is reached Corsair will be giving away a ONE SFF gaming machine. 

You can learn more about Save the Children on Twitter and Facebook.

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Source: Corsair

PCPer Mailbag #1 - 7/20/2017

Subject: General Tech | July 21, 2017 - 11:12 AM |
Tagged: video, pcper mailbag

Our readers and supporters have asked us to do a mailbag-style video series for a while now and I finally got around to starting it. Welcome to the PCPer Mailbag #1! Thanks to the supporters of the PC Perspective Patreon for making it happen!

Questions addressed this week include:

  • Thoughts on when spinning disks will be replaced by SSDs in lower cost systems
  • Mesh vs Infinity Fabric
  • Will GPU prices return to normal?
  • Short history of PCPer
  • ...and more!

Devil's Ivy, a voyeurs dream come true

Subject: General Tech | July 20, 2017 - 03:50 PM |
Tagged: iot, Devil's Ivy, cameras, security, gSOAP

gSOAP is a open-source code library which allows hardware to be configured and controlled via web connections and is used by hundreds of companies including Axis, Microsoft, IBM, Adobe and Xerox.  It has a vulnerability which allows an attacker to trigger a stack overflow by sending a specific POST command over port 80 to a device, which in the case of cameras allows you to watch the live feed.  The vulnerability was patched in an update to gSOAP so future products will not have this issue, however any camera built on that library which currently in use is vulnerable.  The manufacturers would have to create an update to their own software and push it out to all the cameras currently in use to resolve this issue, and if there is one thing we know for sure about IoT products, it is that these patches do not tend to be created, let alone pushed out.

For more depressing details you can pop by The Register.

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"Security researchers investigating internet-connected video cameras have uncovered a bug that could conceivably leave millions of devices open to easy pwnage."

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Source: The Register

Podcast #459 - Threadripper Pricing, Liquid Cooled VEGA, Intel Rumors, and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 20, 2017 - 11:53 AM |
Tagged: zenbook, z270, wireless charging, water cooling, VR, video, Vega, TSMC, thermaltake, SILVIA, podcast, Pacific, Oculus, Kabby Lake-R, corsair, Contac, asus, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #459 - 07/20/17

Join us for Threadripper Pricing, Liquid Cooled VEGA, Intel Rumors, 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, Jim Tanous

Program length: 1:46:03

 
Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. 1:36:30 Jeremy: Deal on a Ryzen 7 1700
    2. 1:41:04 Allyn: Still using WMC? You need EPG123!
  4. Closing/outro

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

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It's dangerous to go alone; gaming on a Lenovo X1 Carbon ultrabook

Subject: General Tech | July 19, 2017 - 03:01 PM |
Tagged: gaming, ultrabook, Lenovo, ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Techspot recently investigated the ability of current generation ultrabooks to game, without external assistance.  They tested using a Lenovo X1 Carbon, similar to what Ken utilized when he benchmarked the AKiTiO Node external GPU.  Techspot's model had a Core i5-7200U as opposed to the 7300U both chips have the same HD 620 iGPU, but only Ken's had help. 

Techspot focused on the performance the ultrabook could provide in 34 different games, from current and past AAA games as well as eSports and even 2D indie games.  Take a look through their results to see just how far we have come since the original generations of Intel iGPUs which simply could not game at all.  The results show that there is indeed a market for Thunderbolt based external GPUs.

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"With this in mind, we've tested 34 games on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon: from current AAA titles to older 2D platformers, to give you an idea of what games are actually playable on modern ultraportables."

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Source: Techspot

You've got to go deep before you can be extreme, TSMC is moving to 7nm

Subject: General Tech | July 19, 2017 - 12:41 PM |
Tagged: TSMC, 7nm, duv, N7, euv

TSMC is preparing for the move to a 7nm process by expanding suppliers and tooling up for Deep UV equipment.  Unlike Samsung, who will be using Extreme UV tools for their initial launch of 7nm product in 2018 TSMC have chosen to delay the move to EUV until the technology matures.  They will instead use DUV for its launch of their 7nm products, dubbed 7N, in 2018.  The difference between the two types of UV is the wavelength, DUV can be produced at 248 and 193 nm while EUV is an impressive 13.5nm, which is why the industry (and ourselves) depend on this process maturing and being adopted by manufacturers.  The EUV equipment that is being tested is still relatively new but should produce a better chip in theory, though perhaps not as many usable ones per wafer when first rolled out.  You can pop by DigiTimes for a list of the suppliers TSMC is adopting as well as a bit more detail.

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"Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is expanding the number of suppliers of equipment for its 7nm process in a bid to maintain an ecosystem pricing balance, according to industry sources."

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Source: DigiTimes

Rumor: Corsair Could Be Purchased for >$500 Million USD

Subject: General Tech | July 19, 2017 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: corsair

According to Reuters, who claims to have two anonymous sources, Corsair “is in advanced discussions” to be acquired by EagleTree Capital. They claim that the transaction, if it goes through in its current form, will be worth more than $500 million USD. EagleTree has several backers, including Goldman Sachs, Macquarie Group, and BNP Paribas.

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From my perspective, this would be an interesting transaction. The company, being private, hasn’t published their finances recently, but annual revenue was as high as $455 million in 2011. Their catalog has since diversified heavily, especially with their seemingly successful power supply, case, and liquid cooling product lines. At first, the rumor felt a little high, because half-of-a-billion dollars is a lot of money, but they’re certainly selling a lot of stock. At the same time, they don't do a lot of their own production, but they do spend a lot of effort in their designs and making them fit a unique niche in one way or another.

Thanks to TechSpot for noticing this!

Source: Reuters

HyperX types again, the Alloy Elite

Subject: General Tech | July 18, 2017 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: input, hyperx, Alloy Elite, cherry mx red, cherry mx brown, cherry mx blue, mechanical keyboard

As with the previous model, HyperX has chosen a metal body for the Alloy Elite.  This one is larger than that model, at 17.5" x 6.6" which leaves space for a light bar containing 18 red LEDs as well as media keys.  HyperX offers you the choice between MX Blue, Brown, or Red switches, optional silvery WASD keycaps and a removable wrist rest.  The Tech Report had a good experience with the keyboard, however if you consider custom macros, profiles, and lighting features to be critical then perhaps this board is not for you.

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"HyperX has made a name for itself with gaming gear that forgoes frills in favor of function. Its Alloy Elite mechanical gaming keyboard takes a different tack by adding flourishes and dedicated controls to the formula. We got the Alloy Elite under our fingers to see whether HyperX struck the right balance."

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Move over HoloLens, enterprising new Glassholes are on the scene

Subject: General Tech | July 18, 2017 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: hololens, AR, google glass, alphabet

Google Glass is back, but this time the users should be safely contained in manufacturing facilities and corporate buildings.  The initial launch lead to what many felt was a breach of public etiquette as there were many people who did not like the idea of being recorded with the AR glasses.  The new incarnation, Glass Enterprise Edition has an improved 8MP camera and a new red light that turns on when the glasses are recording video.  The WiFi bandwidth has been increased but Alphabet has not yet released the technical specifications publicly.  The Inquirer has a bit more information but nothing on the price, you will need to negotiate with Alphabet or one of it's partners to find that out, but you can expect it to be similar to the price of Microsoft's HoloLens.

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"This is good news, as it means you won't see glassholes wandering the streets in the space-age spectacles. Instead, Google Glass Enterprise Edition is being used by more than 50 businesses in the US, including AGCO, DHL, Dignity Health, NSF International, Sutter Health, The Boeing Company and Volkswagen. "

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Source: The Register