LG 32UD99: FreeSync, 4K, and HDR (95% DCI-P3) for $999

Subject: Displays | March 18, 2017 - 12:15 AM |
Tagged: LG, hdr10, hdr

There’s a lot of interesting elements to this monitor. Apart from the refresh rate, which I believe is 60 Hz, it checks off basically every nice-to-have that I can think of... at least for AMD users. It is borderless on all four sides. It has 95% coverage of DCI-P3, which might even be factory-calibrated (if I understand the “Color Calibrated” specification correctly). It also has FreeSync to make gaming at 4K slightly more smooth if you’re just a bit below 60 FPS.

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And, according to B&H Photo (via The Verge), it will be coming on the 28th for $999.

It even includes a $100 B&H Gift Card at that price, too!

If you are into printed content production, then you might want to verify its Adobe RGB compatibility before making your purchase. DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB are both fairly large color spaces, but they deviate from each other. (Apparently, DCI-P3 covers more of the red end, while Adobe RGB covers more of the green.) Adobe RGB, if I understand correctly, extended sRGB into a space that printers could be calibrated into, while DCI-P3 is more for HDR video.

Personally, I find 60 Hz mouse pointers to be very noticeable and distracting. As such, the low refresh rate might be a deal-breaker for someone like me, but pretty much everything else looks like a win -- including the ever-important price and availability.

Source: LG

Eurocom's Sky X9E3 Is a Fully Upgradable Gaming Laptop

Subject: Systems, Mobile | March 17, 2017 - 07:21 PM |
Tagged: Sky X9E3, nvidia, notebook, MXM, modular, laptop, Intel Core i7, geforce, gaming, eurocom

Fancy a desktop processor in your laptop? How about dual MXM graphics card slots? While such a machine is likely not as 'portable' as the laptop designation would make it seem, it is interesting to see a notebook product built specifically for upgradability, and that is exactly what Eurocom has done with the Sky X9E3.

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"The Sky X9E3 is an SLI Ready and VR capable super high-performance supercomputer laptop. With an upgradeable desktop CPU and two upgradeable desktop GPUs cooled with high-quality copper heatsinks and IC Diamond thermal paste, and controlled by an unlocked system BIOS for the ultimate in overclocking capability."

One of the things detractors of gaming laptops will point out is the limited lifespan of a product that is often far more expensive than a high-end gaming desktop. Granted, gaming laptops generally do not follow the soldered memory trend from thin-and-light machines, allowing users to swap SODIMMs for more memory down the road, and storage is generally upgradable as well. But what about the most expensive parts of a laptop, namely CPU and (even more expensive) GPU? The use of desktop CPUs in the X9E3 is novel, and translates to ready availability for future upgrades; but MXM graphics is still a very expensive route, though I have ended up at Eurocom's website when researching MXM GPU upgrades in the past, so they are at least readily available.

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What are the specifications? Eurocom sells the machine configured to order, and lists basic specs as follows:

  • Chipset: Intel Z270 Express (Kaby Lake)
  • Processor: socketed desktop LGA1151 CPU, up to Intel i7 7700K
  • Memory: up to 64GB; DDR4-2400/2666/3000/3200; 4 RAM Sockets
  • VGA Technology: NVIDIA Pascal GeForce GTX 1080 8GB DDR5X and GeForce GTX 1070 8GB DDR5; single or Dual SLI; two MXM 3.0 slots; up to 190W per slot
  • Display Technology: supports total of 4 displays including LCD via 2x DP 1.3, 1x HDMI 2.0 and 1x HDMI 2.0 or DP1.2 (via USB 3.1 type C port); Nvidia Surround View
  • Storage: up to 14TB or storage with 5 drives; 2x HDD/SSD (SATA3) + 3x M.2 PCIe Gen3 x4/SATA3; RAID 0/1/5; supports NVMe SSDs
  • Communications: two 1GbE Killer E2400 RJ45 ports + M.2 WLAN/Bluetooth; Killer DoubleShot X3
  • Operating Systems: Microsoft Windows: 10, 8.1 and 7
  • Card Reader: 6-in-1 MMC/RSMMC/SD/miniSD/SDHC/SDXC up to UHS-II
  • Keyboard: Illuminated, backlit with customizable 7-colours
  • Security: TPM 2.0, Fingerprint and Kensington Lock
  • Audio System: Sound Blaster X-Fi MB5; external 7.1CH audio output; headphone out, microphone in, S/PDIF and Line-in port; two built-in FOSTER Speakers (2W)+ Subwoofer (2.5W)
  • Ports: 2x USB 3.1 type C (HDMI 2.0/DP 1.3/Thunderbolt 3); 2x miniDP 1.3; 1x HDMI 2.0; 5x USB 3.0 (1x Powered USB AC/DC); S/PDIF; Headphone; Mic; Line-in; 2x RJ45 (LAN)
  • Weight and dimensions: 5.5kg / 12.1lbs; WxDxH 428x308x47.2mm / 17.12x12.32x1.88-inch

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Pricing begins at $2499, which makes this a hefty proposition at the outset. But for someone looking for desktop experience in a notebook, and wants the ability to purchase faster CPUs and GPUs down the road, it may be worth it.

Source: Eurocom

EVGA Announces SC17 1070 4K G-SYNC Laptop

Subject: Systems | March 17, 2017 - 06:40 PM |
Tagged: evga, g-sync, gtx 1070, laptop

The updated EVGA SC17 laptop, announced on Thursday, is headlined by a 17.3-inch, 4K, IPS panel with NVIDIA G-SYNC. The panel will have a 60 Hz refresh rate, so, while games will be able to cleanly dip below the 60 FPS threshold via G-SYNC, you will not have the smooth mouse movement in productivity applications like you would on a 100+ FPS monitor. Speaking of productivity, the color gamut (coverage of sRGB and Adobe RGB) is also unlisted.

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But, for our many readers that are interested in performance, EVGA has made this beefy.

Again, this is a 17.3-inch laptop, so don’t expect it to be ultra-portable by today’s standards. Weighing in at about 9 lbs, this desktop replacement is based around an unlocked Intel Core i7-6820HK processor with an NVIDIA GTX 1070 graphics card. While the CPU is a little over a year old, based on Skylake, it has four cores (eight threads) that can boost up to 3.6 GHz. Being that I’m running a Core i7-4790k on my production machine, this level of performance is pretty good. It even contains 32 GB of RAM.

If you're a multi-monitor type of person, it also has three display outputs: 1x HDMI 2.0b and 2x Mini DisplayPort (unclear which version level).

The EVGA SC17 1070 with NVIDIA G-SYNC is available now for $2799.99, although there’s currently a $250-off instant rebate (~$2550 USD).

Source: EVGA

A reasonable response about Ryzen, please do not check your sanity at the door

Subject: Processors | March 17, 2017 - 03:48 PM |
Tagged: amd, Intel, ryzen, sanity check

Ars Technica asks the question that many reasonable people are also pondering, "Intel still beats Ryzen at games, but how much does it matter?".  We here at PCPer have seen the same sorts of responses which Ars has, there is a group of people who had the expectation that Ryzen would miraculously beat any and all Intel chips at every possible task.  More experienced heads were hoping for about what we received, a chip which can challenge Broadwell, offering performance which improved greatly on their previous architecture.  The launch has revealed some growing pains with AMD's new baby but not anything which makes Ryzen bad. 

Indeed, with more DX12 or Vulkan games arriving we should see AMD's performance improve, especially if programmers start to take more effective advantage of high core counts.  Head over to read the article, unless you feel that is not a requirement to comment on this topic.

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"In spite of this, reading the various reviews around the Web—and comment threads, tweets, and reddit posts—one gets the feeling that many were hoping or expecting Ryzen to somehow beat Intel across the board, and there's a prevailing narrative that Ryzen is in some sense a bad gaming chip. But this argument is often paired with the claim that some kind of non-specific "optimization" is going to salvage the processor's performance, that AMD fans just need to keep the faith for a few months, and that soon Ryzen's full power will be revealed."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

Source: Ars Technica

Microsoft is making friends again, no new Win 7/8 updates for new chips

Subject: General Tech | March 17, 2017 - 01:11 PM |
Tagged: ryzen, kaby lake, microsoft, Windows 7, windows 8

KB4012982 describes the error you will see if you attempt to update Windows 7 or 8.x on 7th generation Intel processors, AMD Bristol Ridge and newer or Qualcomm "8996" and more recent models.  Microsoft has implemented the hardware based obsolescence which they had discussed several months ago when they stated that new chips would need Windows 10 to run.  This move will of course be heralded as brilliant and no one could possibly find this upsetting in the least, especially not in this Reddit thread.  It is a good thing Microsoft does not have a near monopoly in the market and that anyone who does not support this decision can choose from a wide variety of easily implemented alternatives.

Expect there to be workarounds, the vast majority of Enterprise customers have no interest in moving their infrastructure to Windows 10, nor the budget available to do so if they wanted.

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"Microsoft has started the process of built-in obsolescence to current hardware by blocking updates of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 to Intel 7th Generation (Kaby Lake), AMD Ryzen and Qualcomm Snapdragon 82x processors."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Reddit

Project X42; let's make the Kraken glow in the dark!

Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 16, 2017 - 02:58 PM |
Tagged: AIO, nzxt, Kraken X42, RGB

It will ruin its stealth abilities, but then again a Kraken doesn't worry about such things.  [H]ard|OCP had a chance to test the new Kraken X42 from NZXT, with a pump they advertise as more efficient and with quieter operation than the previous model, along with a new 140mm fan.  The performance of the X42 on high speed offers almost exactly the same performance as the X60 on low, which is a shame considering the ~$130 price tag.  It seems that NZXT put a lot more effort into the RGB effects than the performance of the cooler.  If that does happen to be your thing, you should check out the review here.

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"The new NZXT Kraken X42 is its new "entry level" All-In-One CPU liquid cooler. The Kraken series is not new to us, but NZXT makes a lot of claims about this cooler being better in many ways, and of course has all kinds of cool RGB LED lights built into it. But all of this comes a price. Does it keep your CPU cooler while overclocking?"

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

The power of CUE: CORSAIR's New Tenkeyless K63 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | March 16, 2017 - 01:30 PM |
Tagged: K63, corsair, mechanical keyboard, input, CUE, cherry mx red

Corsair have released a new mechanical keyboard for those aching for something new to type on.  The K63 has an MSRP of $80 and comes with Cherry MX Red switches to go with the red back lighting.  They chose to leave the numpad off of this model but did include media buttons at the top as well as a Windows key lock to prevent you from accidentally hiding the game you were playing.  Read the full PR below the post.

K63_04.png

FREMONT, CA –March 16th - CORSAIR, a world leader in enthusiast memory, PC components and high-performance gaming hardware today announced the new K63 mechanical gaming keyboard. Continuing the CORSAIR legacy of top-quality, high-performance gaming keyboards, the K63 combines tenkeyless design, precision CHERRY MX Red mechanical keyswitches, a full complement of media keys and per-key red LED illumination. What’s more, K63 offers all this at a price that puts mechanical performance within reach of gamers wanting to step up their game to the next level. The result is a perfect combination of mechanical precision, advanced gaming features and a space-saving design that makes it ideal for compact desktops or gamers on-the-go.

Packing the best of CORSAIR keyboards into a new compact size, the K63 boasts a host of features ready to match the most demanding games. Beneath its sleek exterior and gold-contact CHERRY MX Red key switches, per-key red LED backlighting vibrantly illuminates each key. With the power of CORSAIR Utility Engine (CUE) software, every key’s lighting can be controlled individually, allowing for virtually unlimited lighting customization and control. CUE software also allows for near endless programmability, with every key individually reprogrammable with alternative commands, custom macros or dynamic lighting effects.

Dedicated volume and multimedia controls located at the top of the keyboard offer easy access to audio adjustments in-game, while dedicated Windows Key Lock and brightness adjustment buttons allow gamers to keep distractions to a minimum at crucial moments. Precision and accuracy are nothing without control, and the K63 delivers when it matters most. 100% Anti-ghosting with full key rollover ensures that every press of the keyboard is registered, no matter how many keys are pressed simultaneously, or how fast you press them.

CORSAIR K63 Specifications

  • 100% CHERRY MX Red mechanical keyswitches: Gold-contact CHERRY MX mechanical gaming keyswitches deliver the ultimate performance and competitive advantage.
  • Per-key red LED backlighting and large font keycaps: Brilliant red LED backlighting enhances the experience with dynamic and virtually unlimited lighting adjustability.
  • Compact, tenkeyless design: Great for travel, and you’ll have more room for your mouse.
  • Dedicated volume and multimedia controls: Control to adjust media on-the-fly, without interrupting your game.
  • 100% Anti-ghosting with full key rollover: No matter how fast your in-game actions are, your keystrokes always register the way you intended.
  • The power of CUE: Fully programmable with CUE to assign macros to any key and create dynamic lighting effects.
  • Windows Key Lock mode: Stay focused and prevent accidental Windows and Context Menu key presses.

Availability, Warranty and Pricing
The CORSAIR K63 is available immediately from the CORSAIR worldwide network of authorized retailers, and distributors and is backed by a two-year warranty and the CORSAIR worldwide customer support network.

Source: Corsair

Industrial strength hacking

Subject: General Tech | March 16, 2017 - 12:51 PM |
Tagged: iot, scary, scada, security, ics

The Register posted a cheerful article today, discussing the security of the other Internet of Things, which they have dubbed the Internet of Big Things.  Botnets formed out of compromised toasters, refrigerators and webcams is one thing; taking over power stations and industrial equipment is quite another.  Citizens of the Ukraine know the dangers all too well, having had their power grid taken offline once in 2015 and again more recently by nefarious means.  Take a read through to learn about how vulnerabilities in systems such as the Industrial Control System and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition could be used to cause significant harm, as well as a search engine reassuringly named Shodan. 

SHODAN.jpg

"The Internet of Big Things exists because it makes perfect sense to have accessibility to equipment from afar. Industrial systems are complex, specialist items and for many such systems it’s common for there to be only a handful of qualified maintenance staff in the country, continent or world."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Podcast #441 - GTX 1080 Ti, FCAT VR, Ryzen, Kaby Lake De-lidding

Subject: Editorial | March 16, 2017 - 12:38 PM |
Tagged: podcast, ryzen 5, ryzen, nvidia, mobileye, jetson, gtx 1080 ti, fcat vr, delidding

PC Perspective Podcast #441 - 03/16/17

Join us for NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti, AMD Ryzen Scheduler Discussion, AMD Ryzen 5 Announcement, Intel Kaby Lake de-lidding, 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, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Morry Teitelman, Ken Addison

Program length: 1:24:48

 

Source:

Sprint, Qualcomm, and Motorola Team up to demonstrate Gigabit Class LTE Network in New Orleans

Subject: Mobile | March 16, 2017 - 11:15 AM |
Tagged: x16, Sprint, snapdragon 835, qualcomm, new orleans, motorola, LTE Plus, LTE Advanced, LTE, gigabit-class

Demoing improvements to mobile phone networks is difficult. Where an individual vendor such as Intel or AMD can show off an improved CPU architecture mostly by themselves, it takes a lot of cooperation between companies to show off advanced mobile data initiatives.

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This is just what Sprint, Qualcomm, and Motorola teamed up to do last week at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The first part of the story revolves around Sprint’s unique placement in the US mobile network market.  While network operators such as Verizon, ATT, and T-Mobile in the US currently operate their LTE networks on low and mid-band LTE frequencies, the vast majority of Sprint's allocated frequency into the high-band range of 2.5GHz. The reason that Sprint has this spectrum is from their short-lived rollout of WiMax technology with Clear.

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High-band frequencies can provide several advantages when deploying technologies enabling Gigabit-class LTE and on the road to 5G.

First, the antenna size needed in the 2.5GHz range is substantially smaller than the antenna size for a more common LTE frequency like 1900MHz. This means that when looking to deploy cellular sites utilizing technologies like 4X4 MIMO antenna arrays, Sprint can make smaller cell sites and be more nimble by placing them in areas where they are seeing substantial network load.

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Continue reading about the push to Gigabit LTE from Qualcomm, Sprint and Motorola!

BitFenix Releases the Portal: A Sleek Mini-ITX Enclosure

Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 16, 2017 - 09:34 AM |
Tagged: small form factor, SFX, SFF, Portal, mini-itx, enclosure, case, bitfenix, aluminum

BitFenix has announced the Portal, which is one of the more interesting-looking chassis designs to hit the market in recent memory. Available in both black and white, and with or without a top-mounted window to show off your GPU (thanks to the inverted motherboard layout), the Portal is a sleek mini-ITX enclosure with a smooth, rounded aluminum exterior that is certainly a departure from typical case designs.

portal-masterimage.jpg

One of the design concepts made possible by SFX power supplies is a slimming down of the standard tower concept, which leaving component layout identical. In the case of this mini-ITX mini tower case from BitFenix, you might at first think you are looking at a larger case, but that PSU opening is in fact SFX, and the case is just wide enough to accommodate a standard PCIe graphics card.

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A smaller mini-ITX case is often more challenging to work in, but here BitFenix has a clever solution with their dual-frame design:

"Designed for ITX Motherboards, the striking key component of the interior is the Dual Frame Design for easy access and quick installation. The inner chamber, equipped with enough space for high-end components, slides into the housing via a ball bearing runner design."

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The external housing slimply slides off to reveal a standard chassis frame, allowing for easy component installation. Beyond the requirements of mini-ITX motherboard and SFX power supply, the Portal allows for CPU coolers of up to 125 mm, and full size graphics cards up to 300 mm long.

Specifications:

  • Chassis Type: ITX Chassis
  • Colors: Black | White
  • Materials: Aluminum | SECC Steel | ABS | Transparent acrylic
  • Motherboard: Mini-ITX
  • CPU Cooler: Up to 125mm height
  • Graphic Card Length: Up to 300mm
  • Power Supply: SFX Form Factor
  • Storage Capacity: 3.5" HDD x2, 2.5" HDD 1+2
  • Cooling Capacity: Front 120mm x1 (included), rear 80mm x1 (included)
  • Radiator Capacity: (Front) Up to 120mm x1
  • Front I/O ports: USB 3.0 x2 | HD Audio Mic & Headphone
  • Dimensions (with stand): (WxHxD) 247 x 395 x 411 mm (9.72 x 15.55 x 16.18 inches)
  • Weight: 5.81 kg (12.81 lbs)

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Cooling is another area that has received BitFenix's attention, as they have implemented what they call their "intelligent cooling solution" with the Portal:

"To cool the built-in hardware, the portal is equipped with air inlets at all four corners and the bottom of the housing. The air-permeable inner chamber is further equipped with included 120mm intake and 80mm exhaust fan, for a stable airflow for basic Office and Home Theater PCs."

The BitFenix Portal is available now for $139.99 with your choice of color and window option (product pages already up on Newegg.com).

Source: BitFenix

Ryzen Locking on Certain FMA3 Workloads

Subject: Processors | March 15, 2017 - 05:51 PM |
Tagged: ryzen, Infinity Fabric, hwbot, FMA3, Control Fabric, bug, amd, AM4

Last week a thread was started at the HWBOT forum and discussed a certain workload that resulted in a hard lock every time it was run.  This was tested with a variety of motherboards and Ryzen processors from the 1700 to the 1800X.  In no circumstance at default power and clock settings did the processor not lock from the samples that they have worked on, as well as products that contributors have been able to test themselves.

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This is quite reminiscent of the Coppermine based Pentium III 1133 MHz processor from Intel which failed in one specific workload (compiling).  Intel had shipped a limited number of these CPUs at that time, and it was Kyle from HardOCP and Tom from Tom’s Hardware that were the first to show this behavior in a repeatable environment.  Intel stopped shipping these models and had to wait til the Tualatin version of the Pentium III to be released to achieve that speed (and above) and be stable in all workloads.

The interesting thing about this FMA3 finding is that it is seen to not be present in some overclocked Ryzen chips.  To me this indicates that it could be a power delivery issue with the chip.  A particular workload that heavily leans upon the FPU could require more power than the chip’s Control Fabric can deliver, therefore causing a hard lock.  Several tested overclocked chips with much more power being pushed to them seems as though enough power is being applied to the specific area of the chip to allow the operation to be completed successfully.

This particular fact implies to me that AMD does not necessarily have a bug such as what Intel had with the infamous F-Div issue with the original Pentium, or AMD’s issue with the B2 stepping of Phenom.  AMD has a very complex voltage control system that is controlled by the Control Fabric portion of the Infinity Fabric.  With a potential firmware or microcode update this could be a fixable problem.  If this is the case, then AMD would simply increase power being supplied to the FPU/SIMD/SSE portion of the Ryzen cores.  This may come at a cost through lower burst speeds to keep TDP within their stated envelope.

A source at AMD has confirmed this issue and that a fix will be provided via motherboard firmware update.  More than likely this comes in the form of an updated AGESA protocol.

Source: HWBOT Forums

NVIDIA's GeForce 378.78; is this the DX12 driver you have been waiting for?

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 15, 2017 - 03:59 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, GeForce 378.78

AMD has been offering support for DX12 more effectively than NVIDIA in many titles; not enough to consistently surpass the higher end GTX cards but certainly showing improvements.  NVIDIA announce that their new driver, along with optimized support for the new Tom Clancy game will also offer performance increases in DX12 games.  [H]ard|OCP put the numbers referenced in the PR to the test in their recent review.  The news is good for the games which were mentioned but you should not expect any gains in DX11 titles with the new driver as you can see from the benchmarks results. 

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"We will take the new NVIDIA GeForce 378.78 performance driver and add it to our NVIDIA Video Card Driver Performance Review graphs to see if this driver has improved performance. NVIDIA has made some very bold claims lately, so let's see if those come through as true gaming advantages."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

This is System Shock, not to be confused with System Shock

Subject: General Tech | March 15, 2017 - 02:00 PM |
Tagged: system shock 3, gaming, starbreeze

We have gone from no new System Shock to a pair of them, good news for fans of the series.  The Kickstarter reboot we already know about, with many mixed opinions about the move to the Unreal Engine, however the recently announced System Shock 3 is a totally different beast.  This sequel is being produced by Starbreeze and will not involve crowd sourcing.  Having migrated from a space station to starship it will be interesting to see what location is chosen for the third; as it is in early development they did not let Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN in on the secret.  We anxiously await examples of the art style and other details from Starbreeze and will let you know as they arrive.

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"Starbreeze are putting $12 million towards System Shock 3 [official site] in a publishing deal, the Swedes announced today. Publishing deals are rarely exciting enough for us to mention but this means ..."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

Let's get patching

Subject: General Tech | March 15, 2017 - 12:11 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, patch tuesday

Patch Tuesday arrived, after a delay of a month thanks to a SMB bug which was announced just prior to our scheduled day of updating.  That particular SMB issue was patched by a third party and today you can get it directly from Microsoft if you decided to live dangerously during the shortest month of the year.  The list of fixes include the traditional Adobe Flash patch as well as numerous others which you should really get around to installing before the podcast tonight.  The Register were kind enough to provide links and a summary of what each patch is intended to repair, you can read about them all here.

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"These flaws range from a hypervisor escape in Hyper-V, remote-code execution via PDF and Office files and malicious SMB traffic, to the usual barrage of information leaks and privilege escalations."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Is it truly, Truly Ergonomic?

Subject: General Tech | March 14, 2017 - 05:53 PM |
Tagged: Truly Ergonomic, kailh brown, mechanical keyboard

Ergonomic keyboards have come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and tend to be either loathed or loved.  Truly Ergonomic release the tenkeyless board you can see below, a bit of a change from the usual design which separates the keys on a much larger angle and incorporates Kailh Brown switches into the design.  At 234 x 327.6 x 38.1mm (9.2 x 12.8 x 1.5") it is of similar size to most TKL boards and much smaller than other ergonomic designs, especially if you chose to remove the wrist rest.  TechPowerUp tried it out and ran into some strange issues, troubles with USB 3.x connectivity and the ability to brick the keyboard requiring disassembly to return it to working condition.  On the other hand, their wrists were happy with the layout; read the full review here.

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"The Truly Ergonomic Keyboard in its current revisions 227 and 229 aims to get past the issues that plagued the predecessors to re-establish a loyal customer base. It features all new switches, updated firmware, support for niche keyboard layouts, full programmability and more in a form factor smaller than most keyboards."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: TechPowerUp

Today's episode features special guest Denver Jetson

Subject: Processors | March 14, 2017 - 03:17 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, JetsonTX1, Denver, Cortex A57, pascal, SoC

Amongst the furor of the Ryzen launch the NVIDIA's new Jetson TX2 SoC was quietly sent out to reviewers and today the NDA expired so we can see how it performs.  There are more Ryzen reviews below the fold, including Phoronix's Linux testing if you want to skip ahead.  In addition to the specifications in the quote, you will find 8GB of 128-bit LPDDR4 offering memory bandwidth of 58.4 GB/s and 32GBs of eMMC for local storage.  This Jetson is running JetPack 3.0 L4T based off of the Linux 4.4.15 kernel.  Phoronix tested out its performance, see for yourself.

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"Last week we got to tell you all about the new NVIDIA Jetson TX2 with its custom-designed 64-bit Denver 2 CPUs, four Cortex-A57 cores, and Pascal graphics with 256 CUDA cores. Today the Jetson TX2 is shipping and the embargo has expired for sharing performance metrics on the JTX2."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

Source: Phoronix

Now that's dense storage; single atom storage

Subject: General Tech | March 14, 2017 - 11:54 AM |
Tagged: nm, storage

As we are not going to see scanning tunnelling microscopes included in our home computers anytime soon this experiment is simply proof of the concept that data can be stored on a single atom.  That does not make it any less interesting for those fascinated by atomic storage techniques.  A single atom of holmium can be made to spin either up or down, signifying either a 0 or 1, and that spin state can be 'read' by measuring the vibration of a single iron atom located close by.  The holmium atoms used for storage can be separated by a mere nanometer without interfering with the spin of its neighbours.  The spin state only lasts a few hours but shows that this could someday be a viable storage technology.  You can read more at nanotechweb, who also have links to the Nature article.

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"Information has been stored in a single atom for the first time. The nascent binary memory was created by Andreas Heinrich at the Institute of Basic Science in South Korea and an international team."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Nanotechweb

AMD Ryzen Community Update Addresses Windows 10 Thread Scheduling, SMT Performance, and More

Subject: Processors | March 13, 2017 - 08:48 PM |
Tagged: Windows 7, windows 10, thread scheduling, SMT, ryzen, Robert Hallock, processor, cpu, amd

AMD's Robert Hallock (previously the Head of Global Technical Marketing for AMD and now working full time on the CPU side of things) has posted a comprehensive Ryzen update, covering AMD's official stance on Windows 10 thread scheduling, the performance implications of SMT, Windows power management settings, and more. The post in its entirety is reproduced below, and also available from AMD by following this link.

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(Begin statement:)

It’s been about two weeks since we launched the new AMD Ryzen™ processor, and I’m just thrilled to see all the excitement and chatter surrounding our new chip. Seems like not a day goes by when I’m not being tweeted by someone doing a new build, often for the first time in many years. Reports from media and users have also been good:

  • “This CPU gives you something that we needed for a long time, which is a CPU that gives you a well-rounded experience.” –JayzTwoCents
  • Competitive performance at 1080p, with Tech Spot saying the “affordable Ryzen 7 1700” is an “awesome option” and a “safer bet long term.”
  • ExtremeTech showed strong performance for high-end GPUs like the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, especially for gamers that understand how much value AMD Ryzen™ brings to the table
  • Many users are noting that the 8-core design of AMD Ryzen™ 7 processors enables “noticeably SMOOTHER” performance compared to their old platforms.

While these findings have been great to read, we are just getting started! The AMD Ryzen™ processor and AM4 Platform both have room to grow, and we wanted to take a few minutes to address some of the questions and comments being discussed across the web.

Thread Scheduling

We have investigated reports alleging incorrect thread scheduling on the AMD Ryzen™ processor. Based on our findings, AMD believes that the Windows® 10 thread scheduler is operating properly for “Zen,” and we do not presently believe there is an issue with the scheduler adversely utilizing the logical and physical configurations of the architecture.

As an extension of this investigation, we have also reviewed topology logs generated by the Sysinternals Coreinfo utility. We have determined that an outdated version of the application was responsible for originating the incorrect topology data that has been widely reported in the media. Coreinfo v3.31 (or later) will produce the correct results.

Finally, we have reviewed the limited available evidence concerning performance deltas between Windows® 7 and Windows® 10 on the AMD Ryzen™ CPU. We do not believe there is an issue with scheduling differences between the two versions of Windows.  Any differences in performance can be more likely attributed to software architecture differences between these OSes.

Going forward, our analysis highlights that there are many applications that already make good use of the cores and threads in Ryzen, and there are other applications that can better utilize the topology and capabilities of our new CPU with some targeted optimizations. These opportunities are already being actively worked via the AMD Ryzen™ dev kit program that has sampled 300+ systems worldwide.

Above all, we would like to thank the community for their efforts to understand the Ryzen processor and reporting their findings. The software/hardware relationship is a complex one, with additional layers of nuance when preexisting software is exposed to an all-new architecture. We are already finding many small changes that can improve the Ryzen performance in certain applications, and we are optimistic that these will result in beneficial optimizations for current and future applications.

Temperature Reporting

The primary temperature reporting sensor of the AMD Ryzen™ processor is a sensor called “T Control,” or tCTL for short. The tCTL sensor is derived from the junction (Tj) temperature—the interface point between the die and heatspreader—but it may be offset on certain CPU models so that all models on the AM4 Platform have the same maximum tCTL value. This approach ensures that all AMD Ryzen™ processors have a consistent fan policy.

Specifically, the AMD Ryzen™ 7 1700X and 1800X carry a +20°C offset between the tCTL° (reported) temperature and the actual Tj° temperature. In the short term, users of the AMD Ryzen™ 1700X and 1800X can simply subtract 20°C to determine the true junction temperature of their processor. No arithmetic is required for the Ryzen 7 1700. Long term, we expect temperature monitoring software to better understand our tCTL offsets to report the junction temperature automatically.

The table below serves as an example of how the tCTL sensor can be interpreted in a hypothetical scenario where a Ryzen processor is operating at 38°C.

TEMPS.png

Power Plans

Users may have heard that AMD recommends the High Performance power plan within Windows® 10 for the best performance on Ryzen, and indeed we do. We recommend this plan for two key reasons: 

  1. Core Parking OFF: Idle CPU cores are instantaneously available for thread scheduling. In contrast, the Balanced plan aggressively places idle CPU cores into low power states. This can cause additional latency when un-parking cores to accommodate varying loads.
  2. Fast frequency change: The AMD Ryzen™ processor can alter its voltage and frequency states in the 1ms intervals natively supported by the “Zen” architecture. In contrast, the Balanced plan may take longer for voltage and frequency (V/f) changes due to software participation in power state changes.

In the near term, we recommend that games and other high-performance applications are complemented by the High Performance plan. By the first week of April, AMD intends to provide an update for AMD Ryzen™ processors that optimizes the power policy parameters of the Balanced plan to favor performance more consistent with the typical usage models of a desktop PC.

Simultaneous Multi-threading (SMT)

Finally, we have investigated reports of instances where SMT is producing reduced performance in a handful of games. Based on our characterization of game workloads, it is our expectation that gaming applications should generally see a neutral/positive benefit from SMT. We see this neutral/positive behavior in a wide range of titles, including: Arma® 3, Battlefield™ 1, Mafia™ III, Watch Dogs™ 2, Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI, For Honor™, Hitman™, Mirror’s Edge™ Catalyst and The Division™. Independent 3rd-party analyses have corroborated these findings.

For the remaining outliers, AMD again sees multiple opportunities within the codebases of specific applications to improve how this software addresses the “Zen” architecture. We have already identified some simple changes that can improve a game’s understanding of the "Zen" core/cache topology, and we intend to provide a status update to the community when they are ready.

Wrap-up

Overall, we are thrilled with the outpouring of support we’ve seen from AMD fans new and old. We love seeing your new builds, your benchmarks, your excitement, and your deep dives into the nuts and bolts of Ryzen. You are helping us make Ryzen™ even better by the day.  You should expect to hear from us regularly through this blog to answer new questions and give you updates on new improvements in the Ryzen ecosystem.

(End statement.)

Such topics as Windows 7 vs. Windows 10 performance, SMT impact, and thread scheduling will no doubt still be debated, and AMD has correctly pointed out that optimization for this brand new architecture will only improve Ryzen performance going forward. Our own findings as to Ryzen and the Windows 10 thread scheduler appear to be validated as AMD officially dismisses performance impact in that area, though there is still room for improvement in other areas from our initial gaming performance findings. As mentioned in the post, AMD will have an update for Windows power plan optimization by the first week of April, and the company has "already identified some simple changes that can improve a game’s understanding of the 'Zen' core/cache topology, and we intend to provide a status update to the community when they are ready", as well.

It is refreshing to see a company publicly acknowledging the topics that have resulted in so much discussion in the past couple of weeks, and their transparency is commendable, with every issue (that this author is aware of) being touched on in the post.

Source: AMD

Epic Games Releases Zen Garden Demo for WebAssembly

Subject: General Tech | March 13, 2017 - 08:02 PM |
Tagged: webassembly, ue4, mozilla, epic games

HTML5 was a compile target for Unreal Engine since Unreal Engine 3, but it was supposed to be a bigger push for Unreal Engine 4 then it has been. At the time, Mozilla was pushing for web browsers to be the main source of games. Thanks to Flash, users are even already accustomed to that use case; it’s just a matter of getting performance and functionality close enough to competing platforms, and supporting content that will show it off.

epic-2017-zengardenwebassembly.jpg

That brings us to Zen Garden. This demo was originally designed to show off the Metal API for iOS, but Epic has re-purposed it for the recently released web browser features, WebAssembly and WebGL 2.0. Personally, I find it slightly less impressive than the Firefox demo of Unreal Tournament 3 that I played at Mozilla Summit 2013, but it’s a promising example that big-name engines are taking Web standards seriously again. You don’t get much bigger than Unreal Engine 4.

So yeah... if you have Firefox 52, then play around with it. It’s free.

Source: Mozilla