GOG.com Summer Sale Has Just Begun

Subject: General Tech | June 7, 2017 - 07:02 AM |
Tagged: sale, pc gaming, GOG

GOG.com, formerly Good Old Games, because good old names, is having their summer sale. Discounts are advertised at up to 90%, and a copy of Rebel Galaxy will be gifted immediately following your first purchase.

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For me, this was the moment that I jumped on The Witcher 3. I deliberately avoided it until the DLC were bundled and the whole package was on a significant discount, which is now the case. The Witcher 3 Game of the Year, albeit not the year that we’re in, is now 50% off. Another front-page deal is Dragon Age Origins Ultimate Edition for 80% off, as is the original Mirror’s Edge, although I already have both of them. If you haven’t played it yet, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is great, and it’s 85% off (under $2).

Source: GOG.com

MSI Unveils Fanless Cubi 3 PC Powered By Kaby Lake-U Processors

Subject: General Tech | June 7, 2017 - 02:35 AM |
Tagged: msi, SFF, barebones, nuc, kaby lake, Intel, Optane, computex

MSI recently introduced a new member of its Cubi small form factor barebones PC lineup. The Cubi 3 is a fanless PC that is build around Intel’s Kaby Lake-U processors and will arrive sometime this fall.

MSI Cubi 3.jpg

Notebook Italia and Tek.No got hands on of the MSI mini PC at Computex.

The Cubi 3 is a bit larger than its predecessors, but with the larger enclosure MSI was able to achieve a fanless design for up to (U series) Core i7 processors. The SFF PC sports a brushed aluminum case that shows off the top of the CPU heatsink through vents that run around the top edge of the case. There are two flat antennas for Wi-Fi and Bluetooh integrated into the left and right sides of the case.

FanlessTech reports that the MSI Cubi 3 will sport 15W Kaby Lake-U processors from low end Celerons up to Core i7 models. These parts are dual core parts with HyperThreading (2c/4t) with 3 MB or 4 MB of L3 cache and either HD (615 or 620) or Iris Plus (640 or 650) integrated graphics. The processor is paired with two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots for up to 32 GB of 2133 MHz memory, an M.2 2280 SSD (there is even Intel Optane support), and a single 2.5” drive.

The Cubi 3 has an audio jack and two USB 3.0 ports up front, and what appears to be two USB 2.0 ports on the left side. Rear I/O includes one HDMI, one DisplayPort, two more USB 3.0, two Gigabit Ethernet, two COM ports, and one power jack for the 65W AC power adapter.

There is no word on pricing yet, but it is slated to begin production in August with availability this fall.

It is always nice to see more competition in this niche fanless SFF space, and the little box would not look out of place on a desk or even in the living room. What are your thoughts?

Source: Fanless Tech

Valve Ends Steam Greenlight Program

Subject: General Tech | June 6, 2017 - 08:48 PM |
Tagged: valve, steam, pc gaming

As of today, June 6th, Valve has closed their Greenlight program. New submissions will not be accepted and voting has been disabled. Next week, starting on June 13th, Valve will open Steam Direct, which allows anyone to put their game on the platform for a deposit of $100 per title, which will be refunded once the title makes $1,000 in sales. Valve performs a light amount of testing on each game it receives, so it makes sense to have something that prevents you from drowning upon the opening of the flood gates, and it’s nice that they refund it when sales are high enough that their typical fees cover their expenses, rather than double-dipping.

SteamLogo.png

There is still some doubt floating around the net, though... especially regarding developers from impoverished nations. As a Canadian, it’s by no means unreasonable to spend around a hundred dollars, plus or minus the exchange rate of the year, to put a game, made up of years of work, onto a gigantic distribution platform. That doesn’t hold true everywhere. At the same time, Valve does have a measurable cost per submission, so, if they lower the barrier below that, it would be at their expense. It would also be the right thing to do in some cases. Either way, that’s just my unsolicited two cents.

Steam Direct opens on June 13th.

Skype Deprecates Several Platforms

Subject: General Tech | June 6, 2017 - 02:27 AM |
Tagged: skype, microsoft

Microsoft has just announced that they will be retiring several Skype apps in about a month’s time (July 1st). The affected platforms are Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone 8.1, Messaging for Windows 10 Mobile, Windows RT, and Skype apps for TV. It’s important to note that Skype for Windows Phone still works, although it requires the Windows 10 Mobile Anniversary Update or later. This was originally announced last year, but no date was given at the time (just "in the coming months").

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Some sites are noting a workaround for affected users: Skype for Web. Unfortunately, this is probably not a viable option in most circumstances. Specifically, Skype for Web does not officially support mobile browsers, which means that Windows RT users might be in luck, but every other affected device is without options come July 1st.

Source: Thurrott

Rumor: New Edition of Windows 10 Pro Planned

Subject: General Tech | June 6, 2017 - 02:07 AM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows, windows 10

The Verge is reporting on an allegedly leaked slide from Microsoft that announces a new edition of Windows 10 Pro. It is given the placeholder name “Windows 10 Pro for Workstation PCs” and it has four advertised features: Workstations mode, ReFS, SMBDirect, the ability to use up to four CPUs, and the ability to use up to 6TB of RAM.

microsoft-2017-windows10proworkstation-grandmofongo.jpg

Image Credit: GrandMofongo (Twitter)

If this rumor is true, I don’t believe that it will behave like Windows 10 Enterprise. Because it unlocks the ability to address more RAM and CPU sockets, I doubt that users would be able to switch between Windows 10 Pro and “Windows 10 Pro for Workstation PCs” with just a no-reboot login to an Azure Active Directory. This is just speculation, of course, and speculation on a rumor at that.

The Workstation mode is kind-of interesting, though. The Windows 10 Creators Update introduced Game Mode, which allowed games to be prioritized over other software for higher performance (although it hasn’t been a hit so far). Last month, they also announced power management features to throttle background apps, but only when running on battery power. It makes sense that Microsoft would apply the same concepts wherever it would be beneficial, whether that’s optimizing for performance or efficiency for any given workload.

It does seem like an odd headlining feature for a new edition, which I’d assume requires an up-sell over the typical Windows 10 Pro SKU, when they haven’t demonstrated a clear win for Game Mode yet? What do you all think?

Source: The Verge

Valve and Mozilla Announce SteamVR and WebVR for macOS

Subject: General Tech | June 5, 2017 - 04:58 PM |
Tagged: mozilla, valve, steamvr, webvr, apple, macos

At WWDC, Valve and HTC announced that their SteamVR platform would be arriving for macOS. This means that the HTC Vive can now be targeted by games that ship for that operating system, which probably means that game engines, like Unreal Engine 4 and Unity, will add support soon. One of the first out of the gate, however, is Mozilla with WebVR for Firefox Nightly on macOS. Combine the two announcements, and you can use the HTC Vive to create and browse WebVR content on Apple desktops and laptops that have high-enough performance, without rebooting into a different OS.

webvr-logo.png

Speaking of which, Apple also announced a Thunderbolt 3 enclosure with an AMD Radeon RX 580 and a USB-C hub. Alternatively, some of the new iMacs have Radeon graphics in them, with the new 27-inch having up to an RX 580. You can check out all of these announcements in Jim’s post.

Source: HTC

WWDC 2017: One Small Step for the iMac, One Giant Leap for the iMac Pro

Subject: General Tech | June 5, 2017 - 04:13 PM |
Tagged: wwdc, imac pro, imac, apple, all-in-one

In a product-packed WWDC keynote Monday afternoon, Apple announced significant hardware updates to its all-in-one iMac desktop line. After letting the product line go without updates since late 2015, Apple is finally bringing Kaby Lake to its standard iMac models and, as rumored, will be launching a new high-end "iMac Pro" model in December.

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iMac

The now "normal" line of iMacs received a range of expected feature updates, including USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 support, and new discrete GPU options from AMD.

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The 21.5-inch 4K iMacs will be configurable with Radeon Pro 555 and 560 GPUs with up to 4GB of VRAM, while those opting for the 27-inch 5K iMac will be able to choose from the Radeon Pro 570, 575, or 580 with up to 8GB of VRAM.

The Radeon Pro 580, coupled with software and API improvements coming as part of the next version of macOS, "High Sierra" (no, seriously), was specifically called out as being ready to power a new era of VR experiences and content creation on the Mac, thanks to Apple partnerships with Valve (Steam VR), Unity, and Epic (Unreal Engine 4).

imac-vr.jpg

Other new features available on the iMac include higher official RAM limits (32GB for the 21.5-inch model and 64GB for the 27-inch), faster NVMe flash storage (up to 2TB capacities), two Thunderbolt 3 ports (which will support Apple's new external GPU initiative), and improved displays (higher maximum brightness, 10-bit dithering, and greater color reproduction).

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The starting price for the new iMacs ranges from $1,099 to $1,799 and they're available for order today at Apple's website.

iMac Pro

By far the more interesting Mac-related announcement from today's keynote is the new iMac Pro. Although it shares the same basic design as its "non-Pro" counterparts, it features an improved dual fan cooling system that Apple claims is able to accommodate much higher end hardware than has previously been available in an iMac.

imac-pro.jpg

This includes Xeon CPUs ranging from 8 to 18 cores, up to 128GB of 2666MHz DDR4 ECC memory, up to 4TB of flash storage that Apple rates at a speed of 3GB/s, graphics options powered by AMD's upcoming Vega platform, and, to power it all, a 500 watt power supply.

imac-pro-cooling.jpg

The new iMac Pro will also include four USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports (compared to just two on the non-Pro models), as well as 10Gb Ethernet (NBase-T), making it not only the most powerful iMac, but also the most powerful Mac yet, as Apple continues to let its Mac Pro line languish in the midst of future promised updates.

imac-pro-xeon-18.jpg

The iMac Pro's hardware is already quite pricey before you factor in Apple's 5K display, design, and "Apple Tax," so those familiar with the company won't be shocked to learn that this new flagship Mac will start at $5,000 when it launches this December.

Source: Apple

Honey, I shrunk the silicon

Subject: General Tech | June 5, 2017 - 12:41 PM |
Tagged: IBM, global foundries, Samsung, 5nm, 3nm. eulv, GAAFET

Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography has been the hope for reducing process size below the current size but it had not been used to create a successful 5nm chip, until now.  IBM, Samsung and GLOBALFOUNDRIES have succeeded in producing a chip using IBM's gate-all-around transistors, which will be known as GAAFETs and will likely replace the current tri-gate FinFETs used today.  A GAAFET resembles a FinFET rotated 90 degrees so that the channels run horizontally, stacked three layers high with gates filling in the gaps, hence the name chosen. 

Density will go up, this process will fit 30 billion transistors in a 50mm2 chip, 50% more than the previous best commercial process and performance can be increased by 40% at the same power as our current chips or offer the same performance while consuming 75% less power.  Ars Technica delves into the technology required to make GAAFETs and more of the potential in their article.

5nm.PNG

"IBM, working with Samsung and GlobalFoundries, has unveiled the world's first 5nm silicon chip. Beyond the usual power, performance, and density improvement from moving to smaller transistors, the 5nm IBM chip is notable for being one of the first to use horizontal gate-all-around (GAA) transistors, and the first real use of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Ars Technica

NVIDIA SHIELD TV Update 5.2 adds TV Tuners, NAS write capability

Subject: General Tech | June 2, 2017 - 04:55 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, shield, SHIELD TV, plex, plex pass

Yesterday I posted a news blurb about the update to Plex that brought Live TV viewing and an enhanced DVR capability to the widely used and very popular media software package. In that story I mentioned that the NVIDIA SHIELD (and all Android TV systems) were among the first of the roll out, capable of both serving Live TV but also streaming and viewing it. Yes, the NVIDIA SHIELD continues to be one of the most interesting parts of the cord cutting economy, with a balance of hardware performance, software improvements, and cost.

SHIELD_family_500GB@2x.png

Along with the Plex software update, NVIDIA has its own update pushing out starting yesterday, Experience Upgrade 5.2, starting with the SHIELD Preview Program members. This update brings a couple of important changes that make the Plex Live TV rollout much more interesting. First, the SHIELD now has support for a wider array of TV tuners, including direct attached USB TV tuners. Here is the updated list of supported hardware:

  • HDHomeRun Network Tuners:
    • Connect – Dual tuner, Base model
    • Extend – Dual tuner, Converts MPEG2 to H.264 for lower bandwidth and size requirements
    • Prime – Requires cable subscription and a CableCARD
  • Hauppauge Dual USB Tuners:
    • WinTV-dual HD 1595 (NTSC) – US/Canada
    • WinTV-dual HD 1590 (DVB-T/T2) – UK/EU
  • Single USB Tuners – Not recommended due to single tuner capability
    • AVerMedia AVerTV Volar Hybrid Q (H837) for US/Canada

NVIDIA claims there are more tuners on the way soon, so we’ll keep an eye out on the updates.

The second update allows SHIELD to write to network attached storage devices (NAS). Previously, the Android TV box could only mount them as read-only partitions, even in Plex, making them useless for recording live TV via the Plex DVR. With the 5.2 release you can now direct write to NAS hardware, allowing the SHIELD to store copies of recorded TV shows and movies in a location that makes sense. If you have a non-hard drive SHIELD unit, this is a great feature, and even if you have the 500GB model, this easily expands usable storage with hardware you may already own.

plex3.jpg

Also as a part of the update are more general tweaks and improvements including “network storage directory and connectivity enhancements, Wi-Fi performance improvements, and experience enhancements for SHIELD remote and SHIELD controller.”

NVIDIA is celebrating the release of this Plex update by offering a 6-month Plex Pass subscription as a part of the deal if you buy a new SHIELD TV. That’s a $30 value, but a Plex Pass is a requirement to take advantage of Live TV. For users that already own the SHIELD, you’ll have to shell out the $5/mo for the premium Plex offering (worth it for sure in my view) to try out the live TV feature.

Source: NVIDIA

Computex 2017: ASRock Launching H110 Pro BTC+ Motherboard With 13 PCI-E Slots

Subject: General Tech | June 2, 2017 - 04:02 PM |
Tagged: asrock, H110, Skylake, bitcoin, cryptocurrency, mining, storj, computex, computex 2017

ASRock showed off an upcoming motherboard at Computex that features 13 PCI-Express slots and is aimed squarely at crypto currency miners. The new H110 Pro BTC+ is an ATX board based on Intel’s H110 chipset and LGA 1151 socket (Skylake CPUs). The board is dominated by 12 PCI-E x1 slots and a single PCI-E x16 slot (I suppose for mounting a SAS card and Burst mining or running Storj heh), but it also has slots for two DDR4 DIMMs, a single M.2 port, and four SATA ports. The board also supports Intel Gigabit Ethernet, ELNA audio, USB 3.0 and DVI and HDMI video outputs for the Intel iGPU.

ASRock H110 Pro BTC.jpg

The upcoming board is powered by a 24 pin ATX, 8 pin EPS, and two Molex connectors for the PCI-E slots. The H110 Pro BTC+ appears to have a decent power phase setup for an H110 motherboard as well. ASRock showed off the motherboard running eight GPUs on Windows at Computex, though with Linux it is possible go beyond that and run all 13 GPUs. The H110 chipset does mean that miners would need to spend money on a newer CPU and DDR4 memory, but they would save money by buying fewer motherboards and/or port multipliers.

Exact specifications along with pricing and availability are still unknown, but expect the mining crowd to jump on this so if you are interested in it be sure to set up email alerts for when it will become available so that you can get in before the miners make it go out of stock everywhere like the RX 580s! (heh)

Source: ASRock

Windows 10, the Snapdragon 835 and its X16 LTE buddy

Subject: General Tech | June 2, 2017 - 12:54 PM |
Tagged: qualcomm, snapdragon 835, x16 LTE

The Register has heard the names of the three vendors that Qualcomm will tap to produce Win10 machines running on their chips.  The winners are as expected, Lenovo, HP and ASUS will be licensed to sell these mysterious low powered and extremely mobile devices.  Unfortunately that is pretty much all we know, there were no dates nor models announced by Qualcomm or its new partners.  We can certainly speculate that these devices will be as thin as the battery will allow, the cooling solution for a Snapdragon can be extremely compact, assume that you will not see any wired NICs as the RJ-45 jack would be thicker than the device.  We should be able to assume their will be a headphone jack at least.

snapdragon-chip-tiny.png

"The chipmaker says the three vendors will be making PCs that will sport its Snapdragon 835 SoC (system-on-chip) and its X16 LTE chipset for wireless broadband connectivity. Qualcomm says all of the models will be fanless and will offer all-day battery life."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

OneLogin Reports Breach in Security

Subject: General Tech | June 2, 2017 - 01:50 AM |
Tagged: onelogin, security

If you use OneLogin to manage your passwords, then you will want to check your email, which I’m assuming is they way they’ll contact customers, and see if they have any advice. (Although, now that the attack is public, be careful of spoof emails.) The password management company was recently accessed by a malicious entity, and data was copied. OneLogin claims that they encrypt sensitive data, however they also state that it’s possible the intruder also gained access to the ability to decrypt it, but they also may not have.

onelogin-2017-devices.png

The attack occurred on their US-based Amazon Web Services (AWS) instance. Apparently, OneLogin noticed several servers being created without authorization, so they considered those API keys compromised and shut down the servers.

There’s not much else to report at the moment. Check out the OneLogin blog to see what they find out as they find it out.

Source: OneLogin

HyperX Introduces Higher Speed DDR4 Memory Kits Up to 4,000 MHz

Subject: General Tech | June 1, 2017 - 04:22 PM |
Tagged: hyperx, kingston, ddr4, ryzen, x299, overclocking

Kingston’s high-performance division HyperX recently announced the availability of a slew of new Predator DDR4 memory kits based on DIMMs capable of reaching 4,000 MHz at 1.35 volts.

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HyperX has added six new speed tiers to the lineup made up of individual DIMMs as well as kits of multiple sticks. Voltage is rated at 1.35V across the lineup. The kits and DIMMs being added to the lineup are listed below along with their rated CAS latencies. They reportedly all support built-in XMP profiles.

  • 2,400 MHz at CL12
  • 2,666 MHz at CL13
  • 3,000 MHz at CL15
  • 3,333 MHz at CL16
  • 3,600 MHz at CL17
  • 4,000 MHz at CL19

The majority of kits top out at 64GB, but HyperX did add a 128GB (eight DIMM) kit running at 3,000 MHz and CL15. At the high end is a single 4,000 MHz 16GB (2x8GB) kit (HX440C19PB3K2/16) running at CL19.

The Tech Report reports that the new kits are available now, but looking around online they do not appear to be listed at retailers quite yet so pricing information is unknown. I would expect the high capacity and high-speed kits to carry a decent premium though!

In any case, if you are in the market for a high-end Ryzen, ThreadRipper, or Skylake-X build these may be worth checking out.

Source: Tech Report

Podcast #452 - Computex Special

Subject: General Tech | June 1, 2017 - 12:33 PM |
Tagged: x299, WD, VROC, video, Vega, toshiba, Threadripper, snapdragon 835, ryzen mobile, qnap, podcast, nvidia, msi, max-q, Killer xTend, Intel, evga, Core i9, asus, asrock, arm, amd, agesa, a75, A55

PC Perspective Podcast #452 - 01/01/17

Join us for talk about Computex 2017 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: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison

Program length: 2:07:12
 
Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. Intel news
    2. AMD news
      1. 0:55:00 RX Vega pushed to end of July (SIGGRAPH), FE on June 27th
    3. NVIDIA news
    4. ARM news
    5. Storage news
    6. New notebooks
  3. Closing/outro

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

Plex Launches Live TV Feature, Works on NVIDIA SHIELD

Subject: General Tech | June 1, 2017 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: shield, plex server, plex, nvidia, live tv, dvr

We’re pretty big fans of Plex around the PC Perspective offices, using it for storing, accessing and sharing loads of local content to our phones, PCs, consoles and more. (If you haven’t read Jim’s amazing Plex setup story from a couple years ago, do so.) Back in September the company rolled out a beta feature called Plex DVR that was able to record live OTA (over the air) TV directly to your library. There was a very important catch though – you could not watch the content until AFTER the recording was complete, and you had no way to watch the OTA TV channels live.

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This changes today with the release of the Live TV upgrade! For Plex Pass subscribers, it’s built directly into the Plex Media Server and works with quite a few modern tuner devices including the HDHomeRun series, and many more from companies like Hauppauge, AVerMedia, and DVBLogic. These tuners connect to an OTA antenna to bring you live television through a network or USB connection, and now Plex will support them to showcase the live channels available in your area.

Limitations of Live TV viewing exist for now though – only Android TV and iOS devices support playback of LIVE content. Plex has promised us more, including Android devices and Apple TV, inside of 60 days.

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There are some pretty impressive features that go along with Live TV being available as part of your Plex Server. For starters, you will soon be able (iOS and Android TV only for today) watch TV on any Plex client, anywhere in the world, regardless of region or device. Want to catch the live baseball game while sitting at the airport on your iPhone? You can do it now, and the Plex Server handles video transcoding on the fly to make sure you get it at the bandwidth best suited for your situation.

For those new to the Plex DVR feature set, recorded shows and movies are integrated right into your library, with metadata added, making them a searchable and shareable part of your system. You can then watch those recorded shows anywhere in the world, on any device.

Plex Server support for Live TV is currently supported on Windows and Mac, supported NAS devices and Android TV. The most interesting option here is likely the NVIDIA SHIELD, a device that already supported server and client application. The SHIELD will be able host AND VIEW Live TV through Plex, again making it the preeminent cord cutting hub for modern consumers of content.

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For many cord cutters, combining the Live TV feature with expanded and improved DVR functionality (including overlapping recordings, whole season support, etc.) and the built-in library you may have with Plex already running, this is CLOSE to the Holy Grail. In my talks with Plex this week I implored them to look at integrating support for over-the-top services like Sling or DirecTV NOW, giving me (and many others) a single hub location for all of our cord cutting content.

plex1.jpg

There are some eccentricities I would like to see worked out, including a more linear program guide display option, and faster "channel surfing", but the initial rollout seems solid from my 24 hours of testing.

I am actively working on a multi-part series exploring my own cord cutting experiences at home (taking into account family considerations) and it looks like Plex has found an even more prominent place in it.

Source: Plex

Gaming on a Ryzen

Subject: General Tech | May 31, 2017 - 02:21 PM |
Tagged: gaming, ryzen, amd

[H]ard|OCP decided it was time to test out the real world performance of AMD's Ryzen 7 1700 and did so with the programs most likely to be used ... games.  They tested 10 different games, from The Witcher 3 through DOOM at resolutions of 4K, 1440p, and 1080p.  The GPU installed on systems will vary which is why they included GTX 1080 Ti, 1080 and 1060 along with the RX 480 both in single GPU and Crossfire configurations.  Check out the full review to see how the Ryzen chip compares to the performance of Intel's 2600K and 7700K. 

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"With our AMD Ryzen 7 overclocked to 4GHz we find out if this is a competitive real-world gaming CPU or not. We compare it with two overclocked Intel 7700K and 2600K systems across six different video card configurations at 4K, 1440p, and 1080p to find out which CPU provides the best gameplay experience using playable game settings."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Computex 2017: Corsair K68 Spill-Resistant Mech. Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | May 31, 2017 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: spill resistant, mechanical keyboard, corsair, cherry mx red

I wish I could say that I have yet to destroy a keyboard with a spill, but it’s happened to me… twice. Once was a bowl of soup on a Logitech G15 as I was writing a paper for college, although that only really broke the backlight controls, and the other time was a bottle of water on a Razer Blackwidow Ultimate, which completely wrecked it. That said, two in thirty years isn’t too bad, right? Right?

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Why am I saying this? Well, if you somehow are reading this without seeing the headline, Corsair has announced a dust- and spill-resistant keyboard, the K68. This peripheral is rated up to IP32, which means it’s resistant to small objects (larger than 2.5mm) and dripping water within 15 degrees of its “normal” position.

The device itself uses Cherry MX Red switches with full keyboard rollover. Once again, it’s branded as “100% anti-ghosting” but, really, it’s better than that – ghosting isn’t just blocked if it’s detected; the conditions that lead to ghosting cannot occur in the first place. As for the switch, the MX Red is Cherry's bumpless, low-resistance model. The keyboard has a red backlight.

The Corsair K68 is available now for $99.99 USD on their website.

Source: Corsair

AMD AGESA Update 1.0.0.6 Will Support Configurable Memory Sub Timings And Clockspeeds Up To 4,000 MHz

Subject: General Tech | May 30, 2017 - 04:05 PM |
Tagged: x370, ryzen, overclocking, ddr4, bios, b350, amd, agesa

AMD recently announced a new AGESA update that will improve memory compatibility and add new memory and virtualization features that have been sorely missing from AMD’s new Ryzen platforms. The new AGESA 1.0.0.6 update has been distributed to its motherboard partners and will be part of updated BIOSes that should be out by the middle of June.

cpu2.jpg

The AGESA (AMD Generic Encapsulated Software Architecture) code is used as part of the BIOS responsible for initializing the Ryzen CPU cores, memory controller, and Infinity Fabric. With the 1.0.0.6 update, AMD is adding 26 configurable memory options (including subtimings!) that were previously locked out or limited in the range of values users could set. The biggest change is in clockspeeds where AMD will now allow memory clocks up to 4,000 MHz without needing to adjust the CPU base clock (only the very high-end motherboards had external clock generators that allowed hitting higher than 3200 MHz easily before this update). Additionally, when overclocking and setting clockspeeds above 2667 MHz, users can adjust the clockspeeds in increments of 133 MT/s rather than the currently supported 266 MT/s increments. Also important is that AMD will allow 2T command rates with the new update (previously it was locked at 1T) which improves memory kit compatibility when pushing clockspeeds and/or when running in a four DIMM configuration rather than 2 stick configurations (2T is less aggressive). These changes are especially important for overclocking and, in addition to all the other knobs that will become available, dialing in the highest possible stable clockspeeds. Reportedly, the updated AGESA code does improve on memory kit compatibility and support for more XMP profiles, but the Ryzen platform still heavily favors Samsung B-die based single rank kits. In all, it sounds like there is still more to be done but the 1.0.0.6 update is going to be a huge step in the right direction.

Beyond the memory improvements AMD is also adding support for PCI Express Access Control Services which will improve virtualization support and allow users with multiple graphics cards to dedicate a card to the host and another card to the virtual machine.

ASUS and Gigabyte have already rolled out beta BIOSes for their high-end boards, and other manufacturers and motherboards should be getting beta update’s shortly with the stable releases based on the new AMD code being available next month. I am very interested to see Ryzen paired with 4GHz memory and how that will help gaming and everyday performance and improve things in the Infinity Fabric and CCX to CCX latency department!

Source: AMD

We interrupt our Computex coverage to bring you Computex coverage

Subject: General Tech | May 30, 2017 - 12:35 PM |
Tagged: Intel, computex, core x, x299

To ensure we haven't missed anything in the hustle and bustle, perhaps sheer insanity, which is Computex here is a look at what The Tech Report garnered from Intel about their new chip and chipset.  They have also taken the path of least resistance and are reporting from a remote location as opposed to the front lines, which can make compiling information more effective.  The top question on peoples minds are the pricing of the new chips and we can now report them, starting with the most expensive part.  The Core i9-7900X will run $1000, significantly less than the i7-6950X, the i7-7820X will run $600 and the i7-7800X a cool $390.  It seems that AMD have succeeded at attracting Intel's attention and Intel has reduced their pricing for this generation of chips.  Let's hope AMD can continue to rip it up! 

More of TR's coverage can be found here and keep your eyes on this page as there will be much more of our coverage coming!

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"As Computex kicks off, Intel is refreshing its high-end desktop platform from top to bottom. We take a first look at the company's Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X CPUs and the X299 platform."

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Tech Talk

Fluid Simulations via Machine Learning Demo for SIGGRAPH

Subject: General Tech | May 29, 2017 - 08:46 PM |
Tagged: machine learning, fluid, deep neural network, deep learning

SIGGRAPH 2017 is still a few months away, but we’re already starting to see demos get published as groups try to get them accepted to various parts of the trade show. In this case, Physics Forests published a two-minute video where they perform fluid simulations without actually simulating fluid dynamics. Instead, they used a deep-learning AI to hallucinate a convincing fluid dynamics result given their inputs.

We’re seeing a lot of research into deep-learning AIs for complex graphics effects lately. The goal of most of these simulations, whether they are for movies or video games, is to create an effect that convinces the viewer that what they see is realistic. The goal is not to create an actually realistic effect. The question then becomes, “Is it easier to actually solve the problem? Or is it easier having an AI learn, based on a pile of data sorted into successes and failures, come up with an answer that looks correct to the viewer?”

In a lot of cases, like global illumination and even possibly anti-aliasing, it might be faster to have an AI trick you. Fluid dynamics is just one example.