Podcast #487 - AMD Desktop APUs, Snapdragon 845, ARM Machine Learning, and more!

Subject: General Tech | February 15, 2018 - 11:32 AM |
Tagged: podcast, Intel, amd, nvidia, raven ridge, r5 2400g, r3 2200g, arm, project trillium, qualcomm, snapdragon 845, x24, LTE, 5G

PC Perspective Podcast #487 - 02/15/18

Join us this week for a recap of news and reviews including new AMD Desktop APUs, Snapdragon 845 Performance Preview, ARM Machine Learning, 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: 1:18:46

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. 1:09:00 Jeremy: &genie=1
  4. Closing/outro
 

Radeon Software Adrenaline Edition 18.2.2 Released

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 14, 2018 - 07:00 PM |
Tagged: amd, graphics drivers

AMD has published a new version of their Radeon Software Adrenaline Edition graphics drivers. This one focuses on Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Fortnite, and PlayerUnknown’s Battleground. The first one, Kingdom Come: Deliverance, is an action RPG from Deep Silver and Warhorse Studios. It is the studio’s first game, although its founders came from 2K and Bohemia Interactive.

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AMD is quoting frame rate increases in the range of ~3-4% with this driver, although PubG can see up to 7% if you compare it with 17.12.1. They don’t seem to list any fixes, although there’s a handful of known issues, like FreeSync coming online during Google Chrome video playback, refreshing incorrectly and causing flicker. There’s also a system hang that could occur when twelve GPUs are performing a compute task. I WONDER WHAT CONDITIONS WOULD CAUSE THAT.

You can pick up the latest driver from AMD’s website.

Source: AMD

Qualcomm pushes LTE forward again, up to 2 Gbps with Snapdragon X24 modem

Subject: Mobile | February 14, 2018 - 04:46 PM |
Tagged: qualcomm, modem, 4g lte, x24

Hot on the heels of the 5G momentum that saw Qualcomm announce working with 18 different device OEMs and 18  different network providers to bring 5G hardware and carriers online for wide adoption in 2019, the mobile giant is launching another 4G LTE modem. The new Snapdragon X24 LTE modem will provide connectivity speeds as high as 2.0 Gbps (Cat 20) and happens to be the first chip officially announced to be built on a 7nm process technology. It will be shipping in products by the end of 2018.

x24slides-14.jpg

With the 5G wave of products just on the horizon it might seem odd to see Qualcomm launch yet another LTE modem, especially one that offers such high performance and capability. The truth is that while 2019 will see the first nationwide (and global) 5G networks launched, 4G LTE will remain a fallback for the many years going forward. In fact, the first 5G devices (phones, laptops, tablets) will be connected to both 5G and 4G networks simultaneously to maintain connectivity through location changes. This will be temporary as the 5G networks scale to outdoor and internal designs, but expect that to be the case for at least 5 years.

As a result, newer LTE modems will remain a key differentiation point for mobile devices and chipsets. While the Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform (Sebastian recently posted a story with early benchmarks if you’re interested) uses the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem, which only runs at 1.2 Gbps peak download rate, the new X24 will start by shipping as a discrete modem/chip solution. As has been the case with the X16 and X20 before it, you should then expect to see the X24 integrated into the next-generation of Qualcomm Snapdragon application processor.

x24slides-17.jpg

Obviously the flagship feature of this new modem is its ability to raise peak download speeds to 2.0 Gbps, doubling that of the X16 modem that brought Gigabit-class LTE to the world. This is possible due to the chips ability to handle 7x CA (carrier aggregation) downlink and improved unlicensed spectrum support. You can see from the diagram above that the X24 modem greatly increases the complexity and potential combinations of spectrum.

The Snapdragon X24 also marks the first publicly announced 7nm chip in the world. Though it wasn’t confirmed by Qualcomm, this is being made at TSMC, the only foundry with currently available 7nm technology in place. This move to a new technology means Qualcomm can offer a chip that is smaller and more power efficiency than would be possible on 10nm or 14nm nodes. The company also has the world’s first 14nm RF transceiver chip to pair with the X24 modem, another improvement in power and space efficiency.

Qualcomm will be demonstrating the new Snapdragon X24 modem technology running at 2.0 Gbps at Mobile World Congress, working with Ericsson, Telstra, and Netgear later this month.

Source: Qualcomm

Are you proud of the time your DM went apoplectic due to your actions in game? Check out Underworld Ascendant

Subject: General Tech | February 14, 2018 - 04:17 PM |
Tagged: Underworld Ascendant, gaming, rpg

Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN's preview of Underworld Ascendant describes a game that eclectic roleplayers will love as it seems to encourage unorthodox solutions.  Instead of trying to dodge your way over a trap; why not drop a rock in it and watch the physics engine cause a jam in the trap rendering it useless?   Perhaps you have a nefarious use for the glue plant mentioned in preview or figure sneaking behind a foe and dropping the ceiling on it makes more sense than a duel.  The game is still in development but looks like it could be a great source of entertainment for those with a certain bent.

underworldascendant4-620x324.jpg

"This is a game in which you can levitate a crate, move it through a fire with your mind, and then lob it over a skeleton’s shoulder-bone so that it crashes into a wooden support behind that skeleton and starts a larger fire that results in collapsing struts, falling boulders, and a dog’s delight of shattered bones to chew on."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Airtop2 Inferno: Compact Fanless Gaming PC Featuring a Core i7-7700K and GTX 1080

Subject: Systems | February 14, 2018 - 01:49 PM |
Tagged: small form factor, silent, SFF, nvidia, mini PC, Intel, Inferno, GTX 1080, gaming, fanless, core i7 7700k, compulab, Airtop2

Compulab, maker of mini systems such as the fitlet and Airtop is bringing the compact, fanless concept to a powerful gaming system - with no less than an Intel Core i7-7700K and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080. The catch? Is is not yet available, pending an upcoming Kickstarter campaign beginning February 24.

inferno_teaser.jpg

The teaser image of the upcoming Airtop2 Inferno fanless gaming system

The Airtop2 is already available for purchase in a fanless workstation version, built-to-order with up to an Intel Xeon E3-1275 v6 and NVIDIA Quadro P4000 (starting at $2575 for that configuration before adding memory/storage), and this new "Inferno" version of the Airtop2 promises to be very interesting to silent computing enthusiasts.

Inferno_Front_Back.png

Front and rear views of the Inferno system

A fanless gaming system with high-end components is only going to be as effective as its cooling system, and here Compulab has a lot of experience on the industrial/embedded side of things.

Airtop2-exploded-1.jpg

Exploded view of the standard Airtop2 design (no images of the Airtop2 Inferno interior available yet)

Compulab lists these specs for the Airtop2 Inferno (along with the teaser, "and a little more..."):

  • Unlocked Intel Core-i7 7700K
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
  • Up to 64 GB DDR4 2400 RAM
  • 2x NVMe + 4x 2.5″ SSD / HDD
  • 2x USB 3.1 + 7x USB 3.0 | dual LAN | front (and back) audio

Compulab has also provided some benchmark results to demonstrate how effective their fanless implementation of these components is, with results using 3DMark and Unigine Heaven available on the Inferno product page.

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The company has set up a Q&A page for the Airtop2 Inferno, but pricing/availability info will probably have to wait until February 24th when the Kickstarter campaign is active.

Source: Compulab

Chrome offers a more peaceful web

Subject: General Tech | February 14, 2018 - 12:47 PM |
Tagged: chrome, ad blocker

On Feb 15th Chrome will push out an update which will enable ad filtering on the popular web browser.  They will not take this to the extremes of many ad blocker or script filtering add-ins but instead will block ads which do not conform to the guidelines of the Coalition for Better Ads.  That would mean full page ads with a timer to prevent you from accessing the page until it hits zero, ones with autoplaying audio, pop ups and flashing ads

There will likely be some unintended consequences, as various text editors have pop ups to recover data and there are sites where you want autoplaying content so we shall see how Chrome modifies their ad filter over time.  This is good news for websites as it does not completely prevent ad revenue, only encourages the owners to ensure the ads they allow to be displayed follow certain guidelines.   Pop by Slashdot if you want to join in their reasoned and informed discussion about tomorrows update.

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"Chrome's ad filtering is designed to weed out some of the web's most annoying ads, and push website owners to stop using them. Google is not planning to wipe out all ads from Chrome, just ones that are considered bad using standards from the Coalition for Better Ads. Full page ads, ads with autoplaying sound and video, and flashing ads will be targeted by Chrome's ad filtering, which will hopefully result in less of these annoying ads on the web."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: Slashdot

More views from Raven Ridge, Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G roundup

Subject: Processors | February 13, 2018 - 03:10 PM |
Tagged: 2200G, 2400G, amd, raven ridge, ryzen, Zen

Ryan covered the launch of AMD's new Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G which you should have already checked out.  The current options on the market offer more setup variations and tests than there is time in the day, which is why you should check out the links below to get a full view of how these new APUs function.  For instance, The Tech Report tested using DDR4-3200 CL14 RAM when benchmarking, which AMD's architecture can take advantage of.  As far as productivity and CPU bound tasks perform, Intel's i5-8400 does come out on top, however it is a different story for the Vega APU.  The 11 CUs of the 2400G perform at the same level or slightly better than a GTX 1030 which could make this very attractive for a gamer on a budget. 

 

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"AMD's Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G bring Raven Ridge's marriage of Radeon Vega graphics processors and Zen CPU cores to the desktop. Join us as we see what a wealth of new technology in one chip means for the state of gaming and productivity performance from the same socket."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

The new Skype, with assorted features you don't want and none of the ones you used to love

Subject: General Tech | February 13, 2018 - 01:23 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, skype, security

The new Skype looks much like a child who swallowed far too many Halloween candies and happened to be facing a monitor during the inevitable outcome; a feature not many requested.  Also gone is the ability to program your own add-ins and apply them to Skype to enhance recording and a variety of other features which made the product useful.  Microsoft ended that when they took Skype over, however they offer some other less popular features.   One such is a vulnerability which allows the unsecure update process to be used to inject nasty DLLs to give SYSTEM level access to an attacker.  From what The Inquirer has been able to find out, Microsoft will not be releasing a patch for vulnerable versions but will instead release a new version at some point, without the vulnerability baked in. 

Conspicuosly absent from this discussion was the soon to be Team-ed Skype for Business which may or may not feature this particular problem.  As it updates through Office 365 it should be safe, but not many security execs are satisifed by 'should'.

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"Long story short - there's so much code that would need to be rewritten that it isn't worth it to Microsoft to shore-up this version. What's not quite clear is whether this affects the grotesque UWP version of Skype or just the old desktop version."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

VideoLAN Releases VLC 3.0 "Vetinari"

Subject: General Tech | February 12, 2018 - 09:37 PM |
Tagged: vlc

VLC made a name for itself by pretty much playing anything. I noticed its existence during the “download a bunch of codec packs and hope they’re not malware” period, and it is pretty much my default media player at this point. It doesn’t even care about DVD regions (if your drive, itself, doesn’t have a hard-coded check, and they rarely do these days) for those of us who don’t read the websites of online retailers carefully enough when buying a movie.

vlc-2018-3_0_about.png

But anyway, it’s now at a new major version: VLC 3.0.0 “Vetinari”.

In terms of features, this new version adds HDR and 360 videos, as well as extended support for BluRay discs (BD-Java menus and overlay). That said, it still will not just play any BluRay off the shelf. I tried. It cannot circumvent the required copy protection, so that will need to be taken care of some other way. Hardware acceleration is now enabled by default, so high resolution videos will be easier on systems.

As always, VLC is free. Download away.

Source: VideoLAN

G.Skill Launches 4700 MHz Trident Z RGB DDR4 Memory

Subject: General Tech, Memory | February 11, 2018 - 04:45 PM |
Tagged: G.Skill, Trident Z RGB, ddr4, Samsung, samsung b-die, xmp

G.Skill will soon be upgrading its Trident Z RGB line of DDR4 DIMMs with a 16 GB kit capable of running at 4700 MHz. With the claimed fastest commercial kit of RGB-equipped memory modules, the new 2 x 8 GB kit uses Samsung B-die ICs and supports XMP 2.0 memory profiles. The super-fast memory kit has been in development for quite a while and is slated for availability in Q2 2018.

GSkill Trident Z RGB.jpg

G.Skill has managed to tighten the timings on its 4700 MHz kit to CL19-19-19-39 while needing only 1.45V which is nice to see. The company has reportedly validated the new memory using a MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard and Intel i7 8700k processor. G.Skill notes that the new kit is notable because it is the first retail kit to hit 4700 MHz as well as the first memory kit with RGB LEDs to hit that lofty memory speed. Corsair comes close at 4600 MHz with its 16 GB Vengeance LPX DDR4 kit at 15-15-15-36 which will set you back a cool $589.99 MSRP.

I am curious on the overclocking headroom on these modules actually (heh). G.Skill is reportedly using highly screened B-dies so maybe the 5,000 MHz its other kits have hit (when overclocked) would be possible. I would like to see AMD’s Infinity Fabric performance at that point when it is not being held back by memory speed especially where its upcoming APUs are concerned. On the Intel side of things, I think tighter timings are preferrable (after a certain threshold of acceptable speed of course) when pursuing the best performance so a "slower" 3600 to 4600 MHz kit at CL15 or lower might be a better buy. In any case, memory continues to be pricey, and I would uess G.Skill's new kit will hit at least $600 MSRP.

G.Skill is not yet talking pricing on these modules, but they aren’t going to be cheap. We should know more in a couple of months as we enter the second quarter.

Also read:

Source: G.Skill

MSI AM4 Motherboards now suport AMD's 2nd Generation Ryzen APUs

Subject: Motherboards | February 9, 2018 - 03:23 PM |
Tagged: msi, ryzen, amd

Get ready to update your BIOS as MSI is now pushing out updated versions which will support the second generation of Ryzen processors.  That's right ladies and germs, unlike the competitors brand, with Ryzen you can upgrade your processor without buying a new motherboard!

msimobo.png

You won't be able to pick up the new chips until April, but there is no reason not to be ahead of the game.  The updates also include the AMD AGESA 1.1.0.1 microcode update so head over to MSI for an update if you have one of the motherboards below.

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MSI, the world leading gaming motherboard manufacturer, has pushed out BIOS updates for X370/B350/A320 motherboards to support new AMD 2nd Generation Ryzen Desktop Processors.

In order to support AMD 2nd Generation Ryzen Desktop Processors, MSI has released supportable BIOS version with AMD AGESA 1.1.0.1 for the current MSI AMD motherboards, including X370, B350, and A320 motherboards.

Updated BIOS version as below for each model could support AMD 2nd Generation Ryzen Desktop Processors and implements AMD AGESA 1.1.0.1 microcode to optimize CPU performance together with MSI AM4 motherboards.

 

Source: MSI

Tesoro's GRAM Spectrum takes on the low profile mechanical keyboard heavyweights

Subject: General Tech | February 9, 2018 - 02:38 PM |
Tagged: input, mechanical keyboard, Tesoro, GRAM Spectrum, Tesoro Agile

Not to be confused with a certain UK based grocery chain, Tesoro have been making peripherals for a while now and have just released a new low profile mechanical keyboard.  As is tradition now, a new keyboard deserves new switches, the GRAM Spectrum features Tesoro Agile Blue or Red switches with an actuation distance of 1.5mm and a 50 million click lifespan.  Benchmark Reviews found these switches comparable to Cherry switches of the same colour and as you can see below they feature clear plastic to allow your RGBs to flow freely from underneath the keycaps.  Drop by for details on the software and their final verdict.

Tesoro-Gram-Spectrum-Mini-USB-Port.jpg

"Over the last few months, we have seen more and more low-profile mechanical keyboards hitting the market. With the Tesoro GRAM Spectrum, it comes with all the goodies normally seen on a mechanical gaming keyboard. But the feature that sets this one apart from the rest are the low-profile mechanical switches."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

The green team is rolling in greenbacks

Subject: General Tech | February 9, 2018 - 01:06 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, jen-hsun huang, billions

NVIDIA's odd take on the end of quarters means that we are just seeing their Q4 2017 earnings report along with their fiscal 2018 earnings.  The news is good for the green team, with Q4 earnings of $2.91 billion, up 34% from Q4 2016.  Total fiscal 2018 earnings are  $9.71 billion, an increase of 41% from fiscal 2017 released last January.  The success of the Nintendo Switch certainly helped and the $133 million tax cut they received didn't hurt, nor the popularity of graphics cards, which NVIDIA states they would prefer to sell to gamers; though it is unclear how they could enforce this on the open market. 

It is too early to see an impact from their removal of consumer class GPUs from data centres, assuming they do not reverse this particular decision we will see a jump in that revenue in the coming quarters.  The Inquirer offers their take on the finer points of NVIDIA's earning statement here.

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"The firm revealed in its Q4 earnings report 2017 that its total revenues for the quarter swelled by a massive 34 per cent from the previous year, with its revenue for the full fiscal year hitting $9.71bn, up by 41 per cent."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

PCPer Mailbag #30 - Josh Walrath, So Hot Right Now

Subject: Editorial | February 9, 2018 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: video, pcper mailbag, Josh Walrath

It's time for the PCPer Mailbag, our weekly show where Ryan and the team answer your questions about the tech industry, the latest and greatest GPUs, the process of running a tech review website, and more!

On today's show, we find out how much Josh you can handle:

00:47 - PCIe 4.0 availability?
03:39 - GPU driver updates improve game performance?
05:37 - Hard drive recommendation for Steam games?
08:16 - Activating Windows 10 after motherboard upgrade?
11:00 - 16-thread mobile APU?
13:55 - XPoint memory temperatures?
17:26 - Memory shortages?
21:37 - Multi-Rail vs. Single-Rail PSU?
24:12 - Mining-specific GPUs?
25:44 - The return of sane GPU prices?

Want to have your question answered on a future Mailbag? Leave a comment on this post or in the YouTube comments for the latest video. Check out new Mailbag videos each Friday!

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel to make sure you never miss our weekly reviews and podcasts, and please consider supporting PC Perspective via Patreon to help us keep videos like our weekly mailbag coming!

Source: YouTube

Why are you looking at FSP like that? Watercooling your PSU is safer than lasers in your eyeballs!

Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 8, 2018 - 07:30 PM |
Tagged: Hydro PTM+, 1200w, modular psu, fsp, 80 Plus Platinum

If you run the FSP Hydro PTM+ modular PSU in Boring Mode then it is limited to delivering a mere 1200W of 80 Plus Platinum power.  If you use it as it is intended however, the addition of watercooling allows 1400W of power to flow out of this PSU and you won't even see the fans start to turn until you hit 50% load. 

Hydro PTM+_1200W_02.jpg

If you order in time, the first 500 units come with sleeved cables as well as a Bitspower AiO kit, including pump, radiator, and 120 mm LED fan.   Even if you miss out on the limited edition, you will still get R's, G's and B's to illuminate your water feature.   Check out the PR below for more details on this very unique $700 product.

Hydro PTM+_1200W_01.jpg

FSP, one of the leading manufacturers of power supplies in the world is pleased to announce its newest advanced power supply, the Hydro PTM+. After its initial unveiling at Computex 2017, where it received massively positive response from hardware fans and PC gamers, the Hydro PTM+ 1200W is now ready to be built into PC gaming rigs across the globe. The Hydro PTM+ was developed in cooperation with Bitspower to create a unique liquid cooled power supply that excels at its efficiency, power rating, and thermal performance. With liquid cooling enabled, up to 1400W of power can be delivered, but when power demand is below 50% loading the Hydro PTM+ remains passively cooled, remaining completely silent. On top of the fantastic power delivery and unique cooling solution, the Hydro PTM+ fits any gamers’ needs, by also offering good looks. With ASUS Aura sync certified RGB lighting inside the unit and fully modular design with ribbon cables, the Hydro PTM+ is the first PSU that truly combines power, cooling, and aesthetics.

Limited Edition - 500 Units Only!
As a unique opportunity for liquid cooling and modding enthusiasts, FSP and Bitspower have prepared 500 limited edition units with amazing extras. The first 500 units will get high-quality FSP sleeved cables as well as a Bitspower AiO kit, including pump, radiator, and 120 mm LED Fan. The regular Hydro PTM+ and limited edition does not include coolant for those that want to integrate this solution into their custom systems.

High quality Japanese components, up to 1400W power
Internally, the Hydro PTM+ is made of only the best components. Feature 100% Japanese made E-caps, which provide reliable power and have a prolonged lifespan over other alternatives. The design, is based on a single 12V rail with a DC-DC module for supreme efficiency and voltage stability. This allows for the extremely high 92% efficiency rating, 80 PLUS ® Platinum certification, and various protection schemes such as over-current, over-voltage and over-temperature protection. When power- demand, and temperature rises, a single 135 mm FDB fan can cool the entire unit and starts spinning up at 30% load. Enabling liquid cooling allows the Hydro PTM+ to deliver an additional 200W, up to 1400W and the fan to remain inactive up to 50% system load. Hydro PTM+ modding contest FSP has invited global famous case-modders to display the power of liquid cooling. With this unique approach, modders can liquid cool their CPU, GPU and PSU into some of the most creative systems ever created, with performance to match their looks.

Availability
The FSP Hydro PTM+ is now available at a MSRP of $699USD

 

Source: FSP Group

Sennheiser's GSX 1000 7.1 USB DAC; audio the way it wants to play

Subject: General Tech | February 8, 2018 - 02:34 PM |
Tagged: audio, sennheiser, GSX 1000, DAC, 7.1

Sennheiser's GSX 1000 is an external USB 24-bit/96 kHz DAC, using Sennheiser's own 7.1 Binaural Rendering Engine with a headphone amp and a line-out port to connect to active speakers. The only difference between the GSX 1000 and the 1200 is that you will not be able to daisy chain multiple DACs together, a feature not many of us need.  TechPowerUp were more than impressed with the sound, but the DAC fell short of perfection as you cannot modify the preset equalizer choices nor disable the noise cancellation on the mic jack; both of which should be possible on an audio device of this price.

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"The Sennheiser GSX 1000 Audio Amplifier is a beautiful external USB sound card equipped with the best 7.1 virtual surround sound system we've heard so far, and a host of other interesting features primarily aimed towards hardcore gaming."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: TechPowerUp

LinkedIn and Microsoft find a way to help you need to find a new job ... in a hurry

Subject: General Tech | February 8, 2018 - 12:50 PM |
Tagged: résumé, microsoft, linkedin, bad idea, résumé assistant

It is so obvious that it is hard to believe Microsoft didn't do this years ago.  Obviously the best time and place to search for a new job is over your current employers network, using Microsoft Word.  Now you can, as Word and LinkedIn will now be joined at the hip.  Yes, that source of bizarre requests to connect with people you have essentially nothing in common with apart from the fact that you may have been employed at some time in your life is coming to O359!  It won't start out as annoyingly persistent as Clippy, it will be buried under the Review tab on your ribbon, but it will be there unless IT decides to block it. 

It is of course referred to as having an AI, to pop up those completely inappropriate job suggestions LinkedIn excels at, as well as scanning the résumés of others to offer you advice on how to best write about your qualifications.  Read more about Microsoft's $25 billion Résumé Assistant over at El Reg.

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"Microsoft has glued LinkedIn and Office 365's Word together so it can automatically help folks write or update their résumés – and find them new jobs at the same time."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Podcast #486 - AMD Mobile APUs, new Xeon-D processors, EPYC offerings from Dell, and more!

Subject: General Tech | February 8, 2018 - 11:21 AM |
Tagged: podcast, amd, raven ridge, 2500U, APU, Intel, xeon-d, dell, EPYC, vaunt, Tobii

PC Perspective Podcast #486 - 02/08/18

Join us this week for a recap of news and reviews including AMD Mobile APUs, new Xeon-D processors, EPYC offerings from Dell, 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: Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Ken Addison

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:16:53

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. 1:12:15 Alex: Terraria
  4. Closing/outro
 

Qualcomm 5G devices coming in 2019, leaving Apple behind

Subject: Mobile | February 8, 2018 - 11:01 AM |
Tagged: qualcomm, 5G, 5g nr, x50, snapdragon, apple, Samsung

This story originally appeared on ShroutResearch.com.

With significant pressure to show the value and growth opportunities for the company with a looming hostile takeover bid from Broadcom, mobile chip design house Qualcomm is hoping that its position in the market of next-generation cellular radio technology will be a foundation of its future. The company revealed today partnerships with 18 global OEMs that will be launching 5G-ready devices in 2019 and 18 worldwide cellular carriers will be completing tests of Qualcomm 5G radios in 2018.

5G is the follow up iteration to the current 4G cellular technology in the majority of the world’s smartphones. It will improve speed of connectivity, lower latency, and transform numerous markets from self-driving cars to industrial automation. And it can do all of this while lowering the load on carrier networks, giving all users a noticeable increase in performance and usability.

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Qualcomm has been leaning on this 4G-to-5G transition as a portion of its long-term plan and strategy for many years. As a part of the company’s recent call to action for shareholders to resist the hostile takeover from Broadcom, the San Diego-based company believes that it has a 12-24 month lead over competing connectivity providers, namely Intel. This position will allow Qualcomm to capitalize on what many believe could be the most disruptive and market shifting wireless transition in history.

To maintain the leadership role, despite mass-market availability being limited to 2019 products, Qualcomm has announced partnerships with 18 different OEMs that will build those products using the Snapdragon X50 modem. This modem was the first announced to support the finalized specification of 5G radios. OEMs like LG, HTC, Sony, ASUS, and vivo are committed to using the X50 modem in devices ranging from next-generation smartphones to Windows-based PCs.

There has been talk that 5G products would not be available until 2020, but Qualcomm believes that 5G will have an impact on revenue a year earlier than that. This collection of phone and device providers puts Qualcomm well ahead of Intel in terms of integration and support in the market, something Qualcomm has believed would be the case but is only now finally confirmed. Commercialization of 5G and collaborations with the leading device manufacturers will push Intel further back in the race, with time running out for it to catch up.

Two big OEMs are missing from the list in Qualcomm’s announcement: Samsung and Apple. While it makes sense that Apple would not want to be included in the public statements from Qualcomm considering the continuing legal dispute between the two companies, there is a legitimate question as to whether Apple will be an early-adopter of 5G technology at all. It has shown in the past that it is more than willing to let others experiment and drive wireless technology shifts on the networks, with both the iPhone 3G and first iPhone with LTE (iPhone 5) lagging behind other smartphones by several quarters. If Apple choses to not integrate the Qualcomm modem, it will depend on Intel to provide a solution instead, and could miss out on 5G technology for all of 2019.

Not seeing Samsung as a part of this announcement from Qualcomm is more surprising, but likely an omission of politics than of technology. I recently wrote about the extension and expansion of the licensing agreement between Samsung and Qualcomm and it is unlikely that this contract would not have included the X50 modem for 5G. I expect the 2019 models of Samsung’s Galaxy devices to include the Qualcomm chip as well.

The second part to this story is that 18 different global cellular carriers, including Verizon and AT&T in the US, China Mobile, and SK Telecom, will be testing 5G with Qualcomm devices and infrastructure in 2018. These validation tests are used to demonstrate the capabilities of new wireless technology and finalize the implementation methods for the hardware in the field.

These two announcements put Qualcomm in the driver’s seat for 5G adoption and integration. 5G will offer consumers speeds 4-5x faster than today’s top offerings, lower latency for more responsive web browsing and new capabilities like streaming virtual reality. It will make Wi-Fi less necessary. The cellular carriers will take advantage of 5G for its ability to run more data through existing infrastructure, opening capacity for more users, devices, and upgradable services.

Samsung Mass Producing 256 GB eUFS For Automotive Industry

Subject: Storage | February 8, 2018 - 08:04 AM |
Tagged: UFS, Samsung, eUFS, embedded, automotive, adas, 256GB

Samsung announced yesterday that it has begun mass production of 256 GB eUFS (Embedded Universal Flash Storage) flash storage for embedded automotive applications. Doubling the capacity of the 128GB eUFS flash it announced last fall, the new embedded flash conforms to the newer JEDEC eUFS 3.0 standard including the new temperature monitoring and thermal throttling safety features which Samsung reportedly had a hand in developing. The new embedded storage is aimed at smart vehicles for use in driver assistance features (ADAS), infotainment systems, and next-generation dashboards.

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The new eUFS 3.0 compliant flash is notable for featuring increased temperature ranges of between -40°C and 105°C for both operational and idle/power saving modes which makes it much better suited for use in vehicles where temperature extremes can be reach both from extreme weather and engine heat. Samsung compares its eUFS flash with traditional eMMC 5.1 storage which has a temperature range of only -25°C to 85°C when in use and -40°C to 85°C when in power saving mode.

Samsung’s eUFS can hit sequential read speeds of up to 850 MB/s and random read performance of up to 45,000 IOPS. Samsung did not specify write performance numbers but based on its other eUFS flash sequential and random writes should be in the neighborhood of 250 MB/s and 40,000 IOPS respectively. According to Samsung in its press material for 512GB eUFS for smartphones, the 256GB eUFS for the automotive market is composed of 8 stacks of 48-layer 256Gb V-NAND and a controller all packaged together to hit the 256GB storage capacity. Samsung has included a temperature sensor in the flash along with the ability for the controller to notify the host AP (application processor) at any pre-set temperature thresholds to enable the AP to downclock to lower power and heat to acceptable levels. The temperature monitoring hardware is intended to help protect the heat sensitive NAND flash from extreme temperatures to improve data reliability and longevity. The eUFS flash also features a “data refresh” feature that improves long term performance by relocating older data to less-often used cells. Embedded Universal Flash Storage (eUFS) is interesting compared to eMMC for more than temperatures though as it uses a dual channel LVDS serial interface that allows it to operate in full duplex mode rather than the half duplex mode of eMMC with its x8 parallel interface. This means that eUFS can be read and written to simultaneously and with the addition of command queueing, the controller is able to efficiently execute and prioritize read/write operations and perform error correction without involving the host processor and software.

I am looking forward to the advancements in eUFS storage and its use in more performant mobile devices and vehicles, especially on the low end in tablets and notebooks where eMMC is currently popular.

Source: Samsung