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Subject: Systems | January 31, 2017 - 03:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming desktop, SFF, gtx 1060, i7-7700, msi, Trident 3
MSI's Trident 3 PC comes complete with Windows 10 Home, a DS4200 keyboard and a DS B1 gaming mouse. The actual system is a mere 346.25x232.47x71.83mm (13.6x9.2x2.8") and hides a shrunken GTX 1060, a Core i7-7700, two 8GB sticks of DDR4-2400 and in the system that TechPowerUp reviewed, a 256GB Kingston SATA M.2 SSD and a 1TB Toshiba HDD. It is easy to use for VR, with USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C and Type-A ports as well as HDMI on the front panel. MSI did need to make some sacrifices to squeeze these components in, the system does not support overclocking nor XMP profiles. The performance at 1080p is respectable for a fully configured system and it starts at $899, with upgrades available.
"MSI's Trident 3 is a compact SFF system that can provide a console-like gaming experience. Equipped with an Intel Core i7-7700, a custom mITX MSI GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB GAMING, 16 GB of RAM, an M.2 SSD and a mechanical HDD for storage duties, it is small yet extremely capable."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Gladiator SuperNova (i5 Kaby Lake) @ Kitguru
- ASRock DeskMini 110 Mini-PC @ Hardware Secrets
- DinoPC Raptor 2 (Kaby Lake 7700K 5GHz) @ Kitguru
Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 31, 2017 - 01:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: thermaltake, Toughpower Grand, 750w, RGB, modular psu, 80 Plus Gold
Coloured LEDs are continuing to spread throughout PC components, the latest being the Thermaltake Toughpower Grand RGB 750W Modular PSU which can glow in 256 different colours. The LEDs are not the only thing which has been added to the newest member of the Grand family, indeed [H]ard|OCP found significant improvements in this PSU's DC output quality when compared to previous three Grand models they have tested. Even if you will never use the LEDs this is a PSU worthy of your consideration, from the 10 year warranty and proper 80 Plus Gold rating right through to the pricing of $100.
"Thermaltake over the years has built some extremely good computer power supply units and along with that, it has also charged a premium for those which sometimes put it at a severe disadvantage in the value department. That changes today, in a very good way. It has flashy spinny LEDs, which you can turn off easily. And a 10 year warranty."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- be quiet! Pure Power 10 700W CM PSU @ Kitguru
- Thermaltake Smart Pro RGB 850W Bronze Power Supply Unit Review @ NikKTech
- SilverStone SFX ST30SF V2.0 300W @ [H]ard|OCP
Subject: General Tech | January 31, 2017 - 12:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: game, nvidia, GTX 1080, gtx 1070, For Honor, tom clancy, Ghost Recon Wildlands
Today NVIDIA offers a new free Ubisoft game for those picking up a GTX 1070, GTX 1080 or a system containing one or more of those cards. You can choose either For Honor, an arena stlye game pitting Knights, Samurai and Vikings in hand to hand combat or Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands which will lie somewhere between Arma and Just Cause. Neither game is yet released, For Honor arrives February 14th while Ghost Recon Wildlands doesn't launch until March 7th but you can get an early look at the game.
NVIDIA has also made the process to collect your game somewhat easier, as long as your GeForce and Ubisoft accounts are linked you can simply enter the code to chose your free game. If you are one to avoid Uplay at all costs you could always give your code away as a gift.
"We are also debuting a new easier way to redeem codes through GeForce Experience, it means customers no longer have to tolerate long sign up webpages but can simply enter their code within GeForce Experience itself and have their choice of game automatically added to their Uplay account."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Magnetic skyrmion 'brain' connections save energy @ Nanotechweb
- Flashy Intel sees the XPoint of solid state @ The Register
- Microsoft rumoured to be remixing Windows RT as Windows Cloud @ The Inquirer
- Android 7.1.2 beta release signals end of life for the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 @ The Inquirer
- IPv6 for Server Admins and Client Developers @ Linux.com
- 'It's Tricky': Apple Misses the Deadline To Pay $13.9 Bn To Ireland in Illegal Tax Benefit @ Slashdot
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 31, 2017 - 11:18 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: rx 460, radeon, giveaway, contest, buildapc, amd
As part of our partnership with AMD to take a look at the Radeon RX 460 as a budget gaming graphics solution, we are giving away the computer we built for our testing. If you missed our previous stories, shame on you. Check them out here:
- Building a Budget PC with the Radeon RX 460: Part 1
- Building a Budget PC with the Radeon RX 460: Part 2
Check out the embeded block below to see how you can win our system. It is a global giveaway, so feel free to enter no matter where you live! Thanks again to AMD for providing the hardware for this build!
Subject: Processors | January 30, 2017 - 02:29 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: kaby lake, core i7 7700k, overclocking, delidding, risky business
Recently [H]ard|OCP popped the lid off of an i7-7700k to see if the rumours that once again Intel did not use high quality thermal interface material underneath the heatspreader. The experiment was a success in one way, the temperatures dropped 25.28%, from 91C to 68C. However the performance did not change much, they still could not reach a stable 5GHz overclock. They did not let that initial failure discourage them and spent some more time with their enhanced Kaby Lake processor to find scenarios in which they could reach or pass the 5GHz mark. They met with success when they reduced the RAM frequency to 2666MHz, by disabling Hyperthreading they could reach 5GHz with 3600MHz RAM but only when they increased the VCore did they manage to break 5GHz.
Of course you must exercise caution when tweaking to this level, a higher VCore will certainly reduce the lifespan of your chip and delidding can have a disastrous outcome even if done carefully. If you are interested in trying this, The Tech Report has a link to a 3D printed tool to help you in your endeavours.
"Last week we shared our overclocking results with our retail purchased Core i7-7700K Kaby Lake processor. We then took the Integrated Heat Spreader off, replaced the Thermal Interface Material and tried again for 5GHz with 3600MHz memory and failed. This time, less RAM MHz and more core voltage!"
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Intel Kabylake: Windows 10 vs. Linux OpenGL Performance @ Phoronix
- Intel Core i7 7700K Linux Benchmarks @ Phoronix
Subject: General Tech | January 30, 2017 - 01:40 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Basemark, VRScore, VRTrek
Basemark's VRScore, which went into early access nearly a year ago is now officially available, with some versions arriving in the coming months. There will be a total of five versions ranging from a simplified Free version to a Corporate Premium which allows system builders to automate their testing. Most users will be interested in the Professional version, which offers customization and detailed analysis; similar to Basemark's current products or the difference between 3DMark free and paid for verions. Even without a headest, the 4k 3D benchmark can offer you a glimpse into how your system would perform if you did purchase one.
The engine used in the benchmark is the latest CryEngine with support for DX11 and 12 and they have fully vetted the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and OSVR HDK2 for testing. Not only do you get to see the world of Codename: Sky Harbor but if you purchase one of the corporate editions you get a physical headset latency tester, the VRTrek. It measures the latency in both eyes simultaneously, providing benchmarkers with detailed analysis on the performance of the headset.
You can read the full PR below the fold.
Subject: General Tech | January 30, 2017 - 12:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: steam, cache, Nginx, ubuntu
There are tricks to managing your Steam library if you are running low on space or simply setting up something new, from tricking Steam by copying files manually or the new feature which allows you to move games from within Steam. One other possible way to manage your time and bandwidth is to build yourself a small little webserver which caches any Steam game you have downloaded locally, so you can reinstall them without using up your bandwidth. Those familiar with Riverbed appliances and the like will already be familiar with this process but many gamers may not be. Ars Technica walks you through the build and teaches a bit about caching and basic webservers along the way; check it out you are not already well versed in setting up something similar.
"But there’s an alternative to having to re-download all your Steam games from the Internet: you can set up a local Steam caching server, so that once you download something, you’ve got it on your LAN instead of having to reach for it across the net and incur usage fees."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Naughty sysadmins use dark magic to fix PCs for clueless users @ The Register
- Microsoft's Coming Windows 10 Cloud Release May Have Nothing To Do With the Cloud @ Slashdot
- Intel's Q4 was 'terrific' and 'record setting' says CEO as profits dip @ The Register
- Microsoft Reports New Subscribers For Office 365 Plunged 62% @ Slashdot
- Seagate pledges to make 16TB hard drive by 2018 @ The Inquirer
- Semi-Removed from Reality: How Windows Holographic Can Change Life As We Know It @ Hardware Secrets
- LIFX Gen3 Bulbs and LIFX Z Lightstrip SmartHome Lighting @ eTeknix
- Netis WF2375 AC600 Wireless Dual-Band Outdoor AP Router @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech, Storage | January 29, 2017 - 05:09 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: toshiba, nand, flash storage, flash memory, business
ZDNet is reporting that Toshiba is in a bit of a financial bind following losses from acquisitions and its Westinghouse division -- which saw massive losses and cost overruns in the US Nuclear market -- which could amount to billions of dollars. In an effort to offset some of those losses and preserve shareholder equity, Toshiba plans to spin off its memory business into a new company and then offer up to a 20% stake in that new company for sale. The new company would include its memory chip and SSD business though its image sensor division would stay with Toshiba and not be part of the spin off.
Toshiba is the second largest memory manufacturer behind Samsung and it is one of the company's most profitable divisions making up the majority of its operating profit.
The company is hoping that other companies or investors will be interested in a piece of that business and that the company will be able to raise enough money from the sale of up to 20% of the spin off company to make up for the losses incurred in its US nuclear market ventures.
Toshiba plans to hold a shareholder meeting in March to seek approval for the plan stating that if it us unable to proceed with the plan and complete a sale to bring in cash by the end of its fiscal year (the end of March), “shareholder equity could be wiped out.”
It is interesting that Toshiba is once again having a bit of corporate drama and needing to restructure (it sold off its PC division in 2015). This could be a good opportunity for one of the smaller memory makers or even one of the spinning rust manufacturers to become more relevant in the flash storage space (and if having a stake got them access to IP for their own stuff even better though that would probably cost them a ton more!). Alternatively, the stake could be bought up by an a large company that just wants a profit machine to grow even larger (heh).
Hopefully the guys will discuss this bit of news on the podcast! What are your thoughts?
Subject: General Tech | January 29, 2017 - 12:53 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: asus, tinker board, Rockchip, rk3288, cortex a17, Raspberry Pi, sbc, 4k, kodi, xbmc
Asus is jumping into the single board computer market with its 90MB0QY1-M0EAY0 Tinker Board. With a physical layout matching the latest Raspberry Pi 3, the Tinker Board offers up faster hardware including support for 4K H.264 video decode.
The single board PC offers up the following I/O options:
- 4 x USB 2.0
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
- 1 x HDMI 2.0
- 1 x Micro SD (UHS-1)
- 1 x Micro USB (for power)
- 1 x Audio (192 Hz / 24 bit)
- 40 pin header (28 pin GPIO)
- 1 x CSI (camera)
- 1 x DSI (display)
- PWM and S/PDIF solder points
Asus has opted to use a 32-bit ARM processor to power the device rather than the 64-bit SoC found in the Raspberry Pi 3. Specifally, Asus is using the Rockchip RK3288 which features four ARM Cortex A17 CPU cores clocked at 1.8 GHz and a Mali-T764 GPU. The SoC is paired with 2GB of LPDDR3 memory and wireless radios for 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0.
Compared to the Raspberry Pi, the Asus Tinker Board has twice the RAM and allegedly twice the processing power with GeekBench score of 3,925 versus the Pi’s 2,092. The Mali-T764 GPU is capable of 4K H.264 (and 10-bit H.265) video decoding which makes it better than the Pi which can only do 1080p in hardware. The cores are clocked faster on the Tinker Board but obviously do not support 64-bit instructions. The increase of system memory is perhaps the biggest boon for those looking to use it for a cheap desktop or media streamer. And for those using analog audio, Asus has included its own audio solution that is, at least on paper, much better than the Pi's.
The Asus SBC reportedly uses up to 5 watts of power with an average power usage of 2.25 watts when playing back a 1080p video with a HDMI display attached.
The Tinker Board at launch is compatible with Debian OS and Kodi media playback software.
The physical layout matches that of the Pi meaning it should be compatible with cases and is potentially a drop in replacement for products powered by a Pi so long as it can supply enough power.
It is currently available from British retailer Farnell for £45.83 ($56.91) or £55 ($68.30) with VAT. It does not appear to be avaiable on this side of the pond quite yet but you can import it if you want to get your hands on it.
More competition in the single board PC space is a good thing, but I do wonder how successful the Asus Tinker Board will be. It is faster, but it is also nearly twice as expensive as the Pi. A lot is going to depend on how well it is received by the software and modding communities and how well Asus supports that Rockchip processor with various Linux distributions and applications at launch and over time. The Pi’s VideoCore IV GPU is closed source and getting information from Broadcom is a pain, but at least it is a known quantity at this point and the boards using it (like the Pi) have the market share and community support to get things working with it. I am also curious how well the audio solution works and whether or not the Gigabit Ethernet port can actually hit gigabit speeds.
What are your thoughts on the Asus Tinker Board?
Subject: General Tech | January 27, 2017 - 11:03 PM | Scott Michaud
These days, 3D content is created mostly by blocking out geometry, then painting materials onto it with stencils and stamps. For instance, if you wanted a rusty sign, you would start with a metal base, stencil on the logo, then paint, stamp, or stencil rust spots, scratches, and whatever else. When you’re done, you can then export the resulting, 2D textures. Previously, you would bounce back and forth between Photoshop and your 3D application, trying to remember which edge on your UV outline corresponds to which triangles on the model.
While this Blender Plug-in doesn’t have the same benefits as something like Substance Painter, and its library of PBR materials, BPainter can allow you to paint separate layers and channels on your 3D model. In other words, you can paint scratches and scuffs into the roughness channel, and colors into the albedo channel, directly on top of your model, which immediately shows you the results in your scene’s lighting. Again, this is less direct than “select steel from material library” “fill steel on object” “select rusted steel from material library” “paint rusted steel on object” but it’s a welcome plug-in none-the-less.
Unless one has been announced in the last week, there is currently no release date for BPainter. Their last plug-in, Asset Sketcher, was released under the GPL license.
Subject: General Tech | January 27, 2017 - 10:11 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: valve, pc gaming, steam
A little late on this one, but it’s been on my backlog for quite a while and I think it’s worthy of “public service announcement” status. Last week, Valve published a new Steam Client feature that allows users to relocate specific games to other folders. Just right-click on any installed games, click “Properties”, click the “Local Files” tab, then click “Move Install Folder...”.
So yeah, if you want to switch games to and from an SSD, the Steam Client can do it for you. You could always do it by shutting down Steam Client, moving the folder between two folders that Steam tracks, and restarting the client. I have experienced some situations where the Steam Client then looks at the files, determines that they’re invalid, and redownloads them. While I that just happened to align with a new patch or something, it’s a moot point now that Steam Client just does it for you.
So yeah, if you didn’t already find out about this: enjoy.
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 27, 2017 - 09:19 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: microsoft, DirectX, llvm, dxil, spir-v, vulkan
Over the holidays, Microsoft has published the DirectX Shader Compiler onto GitHub. The interesting part about this is that it outputs HLSL into DirectX Intermediate Language (DXIL) bytecode, which can be ingested by GPU drivers and executed on graphics devices. The reason why this is interesting is that DXIL is based on LLVM, which might start to sound familiar if you have been following along with The Khronos Group and their announcements regarding Vulkan, OpenCL, and SPIR-V.
As it turns out, they were on to something, and Microsoft is working on a DirectX analogue of it.
The main advantage of LLVM-based bytecode is that you can eventually support multiple languages (and the libraries of code developed in them). When SPIR-V was announced with Vulkan, the first thing that came to my mind was compiling to it from HLSL, which would be useful for existing engines, as they are typically written in HLSL and transpiled to the target platform when used outside of DirectX (like GLSL for OpenGL). So, in Microsoft’s case, it would make sense that they start there (since they own the thing) but I doubt that is the end goal. The most seductive outcome for game engine developers would be single-source C++, but there is a lot of steps between there and here.
Another advantage, albeit to a lesser extent, is that you might be able to benefit from performance optimizations, both on the LLVM / language side as well as on the driver’s side.
According to their readme, the minimum support will be HLSL Shader Model 6. This is the most recent shading model, and it introduces some interesting instructions, typically for GPGPU applications, that allow multiple GPU threads to interact, like balloting. Ironically, while DirectCompute and C++AMP don’t seem to be too popular, this would nudge DirectX 12 into a somewhat competent GPU compute API.
DXIL support is limited to Windows 10 Build 15007 and later, so you will need to either switch one (or more) workstation(s) to Insider, or wait until it launches with the Creators Update (unless something surprising holds it back).
The German offices of ZTE Mobile have announced (via their Facebook page) that the Android 7.0 update will be coming later in this quarter, which would be before the end of March. In November, this branch announced that the update would be coming in January. This update is supposed to bring Daydream to the handset, as this was one of the big promises that ZTE made about the device before it launched. They are not confident with it in its current state, though.
Our readers were asking about my opinion of the device, since I published a “Just Delivered” post about it four months ago. I said that I would wait until the Nougat release, which I was, at the time, expecting in October or November, because I had a feeling that ZTE envisioned the phone with that OS version. Since then, bugs have come and gone, most of which were relatively benign, like messing up whitespace in the lock screen’s current date. Personally, I started getting a bug where my camera would occasionally fail to focus, instead humming and blurring like it’s focusing in and out tens or hundreds of times per second until you close the app using the camera. (It started happening, off and on, just after the last service update, although it could just be a coincidental hardware issue with my unit. I’m waiting until I see it in Nougat to call customer support.)
Either way, it’s probably a good thing that ZTE is taking their time with this one. I’m guessing this update is when those who adopted the Axon 7 will begin to solidify judgments about the company as a higher-end phone vendor going forward.
Subject: General Tech | January 27, 2017 - 03:55 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: webgl, webgl2, firefox, chrome, google, mozilla, Opera
After quite a bit of anticipation, both Mozilla and Google have just shipped compatible implementations of WebGL 2. This feature was unlocked to the public in Firefox 51 and Chrome 56 for the desktop, both released this week, while Opera will push it out to desktop and mobile on their next version, Opera 43. Microsoft currently has the API “under consideration” for Edge.
As we’ve highlighted in the past, this new version of the graphics API pushes the platform up to OpenGL ES 3.0, with a few exceptions that are typically made for security reasons. This update allows quite a few new features like off-screen render targets, which is useful for deferred rendering. The shading language is also significantly larger, and can now operate natively on integer types and 3D textures.
WebGL 2.0 does not include compute shaders, however, which is a bit unfortunate. That said, it is (at least last I checked) a highly-requested feature and the browser vendors are interested in providing it.
Subject: General Tech | January 27, 2017 - 01:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Ars Technica takes a look at a recent breakthrough in projecting dynamic holograms which can be viewed from a wide variety of angles. This has been something which has been very difficult to achieve, for reasons which Ars articulates, but which researchers have managed to accomplish with the use of clouded glass. You usually see that type of glass used to obscure light, for instance to offer privacy when in the bathroom but when designed correctly it can instead act as a large number of lenses project a focused holographic image. There is still a lot of work to be done to scale the holograms to a size and resolution which would be attractive for commercial usage but you can read up on the current state of the research if you are curious.
"Sometimes it amazes me how fast physics goes from fundamental ideas to producing a new toy. The latest example comes from a bunch of experiments and theory on how opaque materials affect light passing through them, a topic that we have covered extensively in the past."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Serverless Front-End Deployments at GoDaddy @ Linux.com
- Google Pixel 2 could pack an Intel processor, according to shady leak @ The Inquirer
- Windows code-signing tweaks sure to irritate software developers @ The Register
- NEST Protect and NEST Learning Thermostat Review @ OCC
- Synology RT2600ac Wi-Fi Router @ Custom PC Review
- Classic puzzle adventure 'Myst' comes to Android @ Engadget
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 26, 2017 - 09:38 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers
Update: There are multiple issues being raised in our comments, including a Steam post by Sam Lantinga (Valve) about this driver breaking In-Home Streaming. Other complaints include certain applications crashing and hardware acceleration issues.
Original Post Below
Now that the holidays are over, we’re ready for the late-Winter rush of “AAA” video games. Three of them, Resident Evil VII, the early access of Conan Exiles, and the closed beta of For Honor, are targeted by NVIDIA’s GeForce 378.49 Game Ready drivers. Unless we get a non-Game Ready driver in the interim, I am guessing that this will cover us until mid-February, before the full release of For Honor, alongside Sniper Elite 4 and followed by Halo Wars 2 on the next week.
Beyond game-specific updates, the 378-branch of drivers includes a bunch of SLI profiles, including Battlefield 1. It also paves the way for GTX 1050- and GTX 1050 Ti-based notebooks; this is their launch driver whenever OEMs begin to ship the laptops they announced at CES.
This release also contains a bunch of bug fixes (pdf), including a reboot bug with Wargames: Red Dragon and TDR (driver time-out) with Windows 10 Anniversary Update. I haven’t experienced any of these, but it’s good to be fixed regardless.
You can pick up the new drivers from their website if, you know, GeForce Experience hasn’t already notified you.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 26, 2017 - 04:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: thermal paste, Arctic Silver, Arctic MX, cooler master, MasterGel Pro, CRYORIG, EKWB, thermal grizzly
Kitguru just tested seven thermal pastes; Arctic Silver 5 and Céramique 2, Cooler Master's MasterGel Pro, Cryorig CP15, EKWB Ectotherm and Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut. They wanted to see what performance difference, if any, existed between them for no matter how effective your cooler is, it can't dissipate heat that is not transferred to it from your CPU. Their test was conducted with a i7-4790K CPU and Cooler Master Hyper 212 LED CPU Cooler and the results show that the incumbent is not necessarily your best choice.
"Following on from our previous articles about fan configuration and static pressure vs airflow fans, today we are looking at thermal paste. Specifically, we are hoping to find out whether or not choosing different types of thermal paste actually makes any difference. To do this, we test 7 products from 6 companies to see how much difference thermal paste really makes."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Alphacool Eisbaer 360 Liquid CPU Cooling System Review @ NikKTech
- be quiet! Pure Base 600 Chassis @ Kitguru
- Jonsbo UMX4 @ techPowerUp
- Phanteks Enthoo Luxe Tempered Glass Edition Review @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech | January 26, 2017 - 01:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: microsoft, hololens
Microsoft seems to be exploring new territory, previously reserved for those who need a nice mouse or headphones with the pure sound of platinum. Their HoloLens has been available for several months and they have managed to sell several thousand of them in that time. Roger Walkden, the commercial lead for HoloLens spoke with The Register and stated that he is happy with the amount of sales so far. While you cannot expect a headset costing well over $2000 to have large commercial appeal, the pittance of sales of the HoloLens so far makes you wonder if they have misjudged the market. Then again, maybe we will be seeing Windows 11 Rhodium Exclusive Edition on offer for a select few.
"The Microsoft HoloLens, Judge Dredd-style "mixed reality" headset, went on sale in the UK last year, with the firm offering a developer-only version for £2,179, and an enterprised-focused model for £4,529."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- IBM old guard dropping like flies in POWER and cloud restructure @ The Register
- Cisco: We know what you all want – a $10,000 70in whiteboard with a $190/mo cloud sub @ The Register
- Security Updates Guide @ Microsoft
- Samsung's Galaxy S8 Will Feature a Headphone Jack, Desktop Dock, 'Infinity Display' and More, Says In-Depth Report @ Slashdot
- Google releases all-HTML5 Chrome 56 with extra encryption cues @ The Inquirer
- Tesoro Zone Balance Gaming Chair Review @ Techgage
- Tesla Vs. Edison @ Hack a Day
Subject: Storage | January 26, 2017 - 12:47 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Ultra HD, UHD, Pioneer, optical, drive, disc, blu-ray, BDR-S 11 J-X, BDR-S 11 J-BK, 5.25, 4k
Pioneer has announced a pair of new 5.25-inch optical drives (via their Japanese site), and both offer support for UHD Blu-ray playback. These (SATA III) drives are the BDR-S 11 J-BK and BDR-S 11 J-X, and their Ultra HD capability represents a "world's first" for a BD burner, according to Pioneer.
Image credit: Anandtech
There has been much discussion about support for UHD Blu-ray on the PC in the past year, and the technical capabilities of existing BDXL-compatible drives seemed to offer support for the current crop of UHD media. Unfortunately, the DRM requirements seem to involve the entire chain, and these new Pioneer optical drives support the required AACS 2.0 decryption. But this is just the tip of the iceberg with system requirements, as Anandtech lists what you will actually need to play back UHD Blu-rays on your computer:
- A PC that supports AACS 2.0 and Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX)
- An appropriate optical disk drive
- Software that handles UHD BD playback
- Windows 10
- A GPU that has an HDMI 2.0a output with HDCP 2.2 (and AACS2 supported by its driver, which eliminates current-gen standalone GPUs)
- A 4K TV/display that has an HDMI 2.0a input with HDCP 2.2
The software playback requirements are apparently handled via the included software, which Pioneer lists as PowerDVD 14 - though even the latest commercial version (PowerDVD 16) does not support UHD playback yet. It is possible that a custom version, or one previously unavailable to the public, has been included; as Pioneer specifically states that this included PowerDVD 14 software will allow you to "play Ultra HD Blu-ray such as movies, animation, music, Blu-ray, DVD-Video on your computer".
Image credit: Anandtech
The two models are differentiated by a more premium audio focus for the BDR-S 11 J-X (and correspondingly higher price, based on reported pricing, below), with this model offering the following audiophile-oriented enhancements:
"BDR-S 11 J-X displays the playback quality of the audio CD to be played back in four levels, and in the case of low quality, it carries the "audio CD check function" which displays the coping method such as setting change of this machine It is suitable for applications such as CD ripping and music playback. In addition, by applying the coating adopted also for high-end audio equipment to the disc tray to improve the vibration isolation performance, it also enhances heat dissipation by applying special paint to the interior and exterior of the enclosure, realizing high quietness and reliability..."
Pricing was not included in the official announcement, though Anandtech's report quotes (Japanese-language) PC Watch with pricing roughly equivalent to $200 US (BDR-S 11 J-BK) and $300 US (BDR-S 11 J-X) for the drives. Availability begins in late February in Japan.
Subject: Editorial | January 26, 2017 - 10:46 AM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: Xbox Scorpio, podcast, Nintendo Switch, In Win 301, EVGA G3 850W, Das Keyboard Gaming, Chomecast
PC Perspective Podcast #434 - 01/26/17
Join us this week as we discuss Nintendo Switch, EVGA SuperNOVA 850w G3, Xbox Project Scorpio, Das Keyboard Gaming, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store (audio only)
- Google Play - Subscribe to our audio podcast directly through Google Play!
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader (audio only)
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Josh Walrath, Jermey Hellstrom
Program length: 1:07:50
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week