In Win's 301 Case Is a Micro ATX Version of the 303

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 20, 2017 - 04:16 PM |
Tagged: in win, enclosure, CES 2017, CES, case, 303, 301

For those of you who haven't frequented the site in the past three years, you may not know that I have reviewed SEVERAL computer cases in my time. And while I could not make it to CES this year to pay my respects to all of the enclosure makers I love so much, I still followed the enclosure news from my hidden, case-lined fortress. Among the new designs was this beautiful looking case from In Win, and it is a smaller version of their 303 case design.

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There is no official product page up, with just this image on their overview page, but Hardware Canucks posted video from their In Win booth visit on the show floor, which I have embedded below. The case certainly looks very good, and if it sells for less than the 303's $99 MSRP as speculated in the video below, it will be a very attractive option for a smaller - and very stylish, of course - system build.

(Video via Hardware Canucks)

If you watched the video you'll see that this is a very polished product, and I'm very impressed by the quality of the 300-series from In Win - especially considering its cost. Rest assured, I will be asking for a sample to review!

Another reason IPv6 is not as common as it should be

Subject: General Tech | January 20, 2017 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: ipv6, microsoft

Among the numerous incompatibilities and troubles we are seeing with the rollout of IPv6 is a new hitch.  It seems Microsoft just opened up a ticket with themselves over a problem they are having with their Azure Active Directory cloud-based ID system; it would seem it is incompatible with IPv6.  The Register specifies Windows 10 for this issue however it is very likely that previous versions are also going to encounter issues.  You can read more about the troubles and attempted solutions here.

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"According to Redmond's principal network engineer Marcus Keane, the software giant is struggling to move over to the decade-old networking technology due to a DHCPv6 bug in Windows 10, which made it "impossible" to expand its planned corporate network."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Just Picked Up: Google Chromecast Ultra

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | January 20, 2017 - 07:39 AM |
Tagged: google, chromecast ultra, chromecast

One of the disadvantages of the ZTE Axon 7, which a lot of other phones share, is that you cannot directly connect it to a TV over HDMI via MHL. Granted, it’s a good screen and great speakers, so I can just pass the device around, but sometimes you want to show a video (or something) on the TV. As such, I was looking around at the Chromecast, but I heard a bunch of complaints that ranged from low frame rate to frequent stutters in some apps.

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Then Google announced the Chromecast Ultra, which launched in November. I put my email address on the official waiting list and... haven’t heard a thing since. I also haven’t seen it in many stores. I then found out that the local Best Buy Mobile kiosk had it (yet the full store a few blocks away somehow did not???) Interestingly, when I arrived, they had several of them, and on sale for $20 off, too.

Upon bringing it home, it had a little difficulty connecting to my WiFi router. (The 5 GHz band was a little weak at that location.) Once that was resolved, though, it was a very pleasant experience. It played 1080p60 video from YouTube without any trouble, even switching to the correct input automatically with HDMI CEC (although I needed to manually change it back to the digital TV box when I was done).

I don’t have a 4K or HDR TV, though, so I cannot test its more advanced features. Sorry!

Source: Google

Podcast #433 - Budget RX 460 build, Seasonic goes digital, Gigabyte half height GTX

Subject: Editorial | January 19, 2017 - 01:49 PM |
Tagged: Windows Game Mode, seasonic, Sapphire RX460, RX460, podcast, Half Height GTX1050, GTX1060, ASUS Z270

PC Perspective Podcast #433 - 01/19/17

Join us this week as we discuss a budget RX 460 build, Seasonic Titanium, Windows Game Mode, 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, Allyn Malventano, Josh Walrath, Sebastian Peak

Program length: 1:19:34

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. Audible
  3. News items of interest:
  4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
  5. Closing/outro

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

Source:

Sapphire Releases AMD Radeon RX460 with 1024 Shaders

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 18, 2017 - 08:43 PM |
Tagged: video, unlock, shaders, shader cores, sapphire, radeon, Polaris, graphics, gpu, gaming, card, bios, amd, 1024

As reported by WCCFtech, AMD partner Sapphire has a new 1024 stream processor version of the RX460 listed on their site (Chinese language), and this product reveal of course comes after it became known that RX460 graphics cards had the potential to have their stream processor count unlocked from 896 to 1024 via BIOS update.

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Sapphire RX460 1024SP 4G D5 Ultra Platinum OC (image credit: Sapphire)

The Sapphire RX460 1024SP edition offers a full Polaris 11 core operating at 1250 MHz, and it otherwise matches the specifications of a stock RX460 graphics card. Whether this product will be available outside of China is unknown, as is the potential pricing model should it be available in the USA. A 4GB Radeon RX460 retails for $99, while the current step-up option is the RX470, which doubles up on this 1024SP RX460's shader count with 2048, with a price increase of about 70% ($169).

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AMD Polaris GCN 4.0 GPU lineup (Credit WCCFtech)

As you may note from the chart above, there is also an RX470D option between these cards that features 1792 shaders, though this option is also China-only.

Source: WCCFtech

Another Beautiful, Profound Breach of Nintendo Trademarks

Subject: General Tech | January 18, 2017 - 08:13 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, ue4, Nintendo

Once again, one of CryZENx’s videos found its way into my YouTube recommendations list. This one outlines progress on their recreation of various Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time elements in Unreal Engine 4. While the graphics have been updated significantly, such as using inverse-kinematics for foot positioning, they have also remade the original pause menu, which wraps around the camera like a box (with no top or bottom).

If anyone is wondering, inverse-kinematics is an animation tool that focuses on goals, as opposed to individual rotations. Instead of bending a knee by X degrees and bending the hip by Y degrees, you say that the foot of the skeleton must be at some point, and the skeleton adjusts to make that happen. This is obviously much easier for animators to visualize in many situations, especially when trying to align to objects that you know will be in range of the skeleton, but not exactly where.

I’m not exactly sure how Nintendo hasn’t struck their Patreon and YouTube pages yet, given their reaction to other fan materials. I’m glad it’s up, though. They’re quite impressive homages to the games they love.

Source: CryZENx

Looking for quality desktop speakers? Perhaps Audioengine's HD3 would fit the bill

Subject: General Tech | January 18, 2017 - 02:25 PM |
Tagged: audio, speakers, Audioengine HD3, Audioengine

We have seen a lot of headset reviews but lately there have not been many reviews of desktop speakers which some of us still use.  CPCR have offered up a change of pace for those looking for some new stereo speakers with their review of Audioengine's HD3 powered desktop speakers.  They contain a Burr Brown PCM5102 DAC as well as a OPA2134 amp if you do happen to have a set of high impedance headphones you might have occasion to utilize.  Those components do come at a cost, the MSRP is $399, but if that doesn't immediately scare you off you should take a look at their full review.

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"When it comes to premium desktop computer speakers, few manufacturers on the market match the level of Audioengine when it comes to sound quality. Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to review the Audioengine A2+ and the Audioengine A5+ which were outstanding speakers that are simply unmatched by other computer speaker manufacturers..."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

If you haven't tried Mechwarrior: Living Legends, here is a good excuse

Subject: General Tech | January 18, 2017 - 01:20 PM |
Tagged: gaming, Mechwarrior: Living Legends, crysis wars, mod

Mechwarrior: Living Legends is a total conversion mod for Crysis Wars, which you can grab free of charge from this site, they use the Crysis Wars demo to provide the assets so you do not need to purchase the game.  It will dump you and up to 32 players on a multiplayer map with a side arm and a desperate need to get a vehicle.  The vehicles range from smaller tanks and VTOLs to a wide variety of Battlemechs.  Development had stalled somewhat until this week when it was announced that Version 0.8 is now available.  You should pop by to download and install it so you can give this game a shot; even if you end up disliking it you will get your moneys worth.

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"Almost a decade ago, a talented team started working on what was to become the favorite game for many of us. Version 0.7.1, released in 2013, was to be the final version of MechWarrior: Living Legends by Wandering Samurai Studios."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Practice safe programming

Subject: General Tech | January 18, 2017 - 12:39 PM |
Tagged: security, mostly harmless, google play, andriod

Fallible is a security firm which developed an automated tool for reverse engineering Android apps and used it to take a look at a large portion of the top apps on Google Play.  They found quite a few things that really should not have been there, including keys to Amazon Web Services which would grant them the ability to start and stop instances under the developers account.  In total they found 2500 apps with at least some sensitive information contained within them, in many cases those keys were necessary for the proper functioning of the app but in some cases they were secrets which did not need to be there.  Follow The Register's advice and think long and hard before hard coding keys into any apps you might be developing.

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"A security firm has reverse engineered 16,000 Android apps on Google's Play store and found that over 304 contain sensitive secret keys."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Gigabyte Shows Off Half Height GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti Graphics Cards

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 17, 2017 - 10:31 PM |
Tagged: SFF, pascal, low profile, GTX 1050 Ti, gtx 1050, gigabyte

Without much fanfare Gigabyte recently launched two new low profile half height graphics cards packing factory overclocked GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti GPUs. The new cards measure 6.6” x 2.7” x 1.5” (167mm long) and are cooled by a small shrouded single fan cooler. 
 
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Around back, both the Gigabyte GTX 1050 OC Low Profile 2G and GTX 1050 Ti OC Low Profile 4G offer four display outputs in the form of two HDMI 2.0b, one DisplayPort 1.4, and one dual-link DVI-D. It appears that Gigabyte is using the same cooler for both cards. There is not much information on this cooler, but it utilizes an aluminum heatsink and what looks like a ~50mm fan. Note that while the cards are half-height, they use a dual slot design which may limit the cases it can be used in.
 
The GTX 1050 OC Low Profile 2G features 640 Pascal-based CUDA cores clocked at 1366 MHz base and 1468 MHz boost out of the box (1392 MHz base and 1506 MHz boost in OC Mode using Gigabyte’s software) and 2GB of GDDR5 memory at 7008 MHz (7GT/s). For comparison, the GTX 1050 reference clock speeds are 1354 MHz base and 1455 MHz boost.
 
Meanwhile, the GTX 1050 Ti OC Low Profile 4G has 768 cores clocked at 1303 MHz base and 1417 MHz boost by default and 1328 MHz base and 1442 MHz boost in OC Mode. The GPU is paired with 4GB of GDDR5 memory at 7GT/s. NVIDIA’s reference GPU clocks are 1290 MHz base and 1392 MHz boost.
 
The pint-sized graphics cards would certainly allow for gaming on your SFF home theater or other desktop PC as well as being an easy upgrade to make a tiny OEM PC gaming capable (think those thin towers HP, Lenovo, and Dell like to use). 
 
Of course, Gigabyte is not yet talking pricing and availability has only been narrowed down to a general Q1 2017 time frame. I would expect the cards to hit retailers within a month or so and be somewhere around $135 for their half height GTX 1050 OC LP 2G and approximately $155 for the faster GTX 1050 Ti variant. That is to say that the low profile cards should be available at a slight premium over the company's larger GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti graphics cards.
Source: Gigabyte

Good things come in small packages, the Silverstone ST45SF

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 17, 2017 - 06:18 PM |
Tagged: ST45SF, small form factor, Silverstone, SFX PSU, PSU, 80 Plus Bronze

You may remember Lee's review of Silverstone's SFX PSUs back in November, but in case you do not you should revisit his review as well as this one recently posted by [H]ard|OCP.  The SFX PSU form factor for SFF cases is more of a mouthful than it is a physical object for at 125x63.5x100mm it is wider than it is deep.  That tiny package does hold a decent amount of power as it can provide the full 450W it is capable of to the 12V rail at 37.5 amps, more than enough power for even higher end GPUs put onto a mATX board.  Not only did it pass [H]'s torture test, it is also very competitively priced.

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"SilverStone is back today with one of its "smaller is better" computer power supplies that can be used in SFX form factor systems but also comes with a mounting bracket that makes it ATX friendly out of the box. This PSU is bringing quality and value, which is a great thing in the PSU world and not often seen from the big brand names."

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Pegatron passing much of its production to ASRock?

Subject: General Tech | January 17, 2017 - 01:03 PM |
Tagged: asrock, Pegatron, rumours

ASRock was hit hard by the downturn in PC sales over 2016, they shipped less than four million motherboards over the whole year.  The rumour over at DigiTimes is that thanks to the tiny profit margin garnered from orders by Asustek Computer and small white-box builders in China ASRock will no longer be bidding for work from those sources.  Instead their parent company, Pegatron, will be shifting most of their own motherboard and GPU design and production to ASRock along with the services they previously provided to system integrators.  This will shift their focus away from Apple, and should provide a boost to the overall business in addition to their new lines of Intel and AMD motherboards.

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"For 2017, orders from SI clients and the launch of Intel's Kaby Lake platform are expected to boost the company's performance. The company has launched new Z270-based motherboards, looking to expand its presence in the mid-range to high-end sector. Motherboards using AMD's new chipsets are also expected to launch after March which should also benefit the company's profits."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Shall we keep hanging out under the Sandy Bridge or head on down to Kaby Lake?

Subject: Processors | January 16, 2017 - 04:11 PM |
Tagged: kaby lake, sandy bridge

Not too long ago the release of a new processor family meant a noticeable improvement from the previous generation and the only question was how to upgrade, not if you should upgrade.  Like many other things, that has passed on into the proverbial good old days and now we need reviews like this one published by [H]ard|OCP.  Is there any noticeable performance difference between the two chips outside of synthetic benchmarks? 

The test systems are slightly different as the memory has changed, the 7700K has 2666MHz DDR4 while the 2600K has 2133MHz DDR3; both CPUs are clocked at 4.5GHz however.  Their results show actual performance deltas in productivity software such as HandBrake and Blender, justifying the upgrade for those who focus on content creation.  As for gaming, if you have no GPU then you will indeed see performance increases; but nothing compared to buying a GPU.

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"There are many HardOCP readers that are still running Sandy Bridge CPUs and have been waiting with anticipation of one day upgrading to a new system. One of the biggest things asked in the last month is just how the 2600K stacks up against the new 7700K processor. So we got hold of one of our readers 2600K systems and put it to the test."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Awesome Games Done Quick 2017 Sets New Donation Records

Subject: General Tech | January 16, 2017 - 02:18 PM |
Tagged: speedrun, pc gaming, gdq

About a day and a half ago, Games Done Quick finished up their AGDQ 2017 event with a pacifist run of the PC indie title, Undertale. Over the course of the previous week, the marathon brought in over 2.2 million dollars for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. (As I write this, the current amount is $2,218,130.30 USD, which might still go up a little with late donations.)

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This total smashed the previous record, set two years ago at AGDQ 2015, of 1.576 million USD. Moreover, this was the first Games Done Quick event to bring in more than a million dollars on the last day. Based on last year’s totals, it looked a bit like Games Done Quick was going to plateau at about 1.2 to 1.5 million per event, which is amazing, but this new record points to potential that I’m not even sure Games Done Quick knew existed.

I’d be interested to see what the organizers attribute the increase to. The schedule was intended to be a departure from typical with a few interesting decisions, such as shelving Super Mario 64, ending with Undertale instead of a classic JRPG, and making the blocks less obvious. At the same time, the partnership with Namco Bandai, particularly the huge prize pool on the last day, drew a lot of $125-and-up donations, leading to the comment tracker crashing in the setup block. (It crashed a few times on the last day.) Whatever the cause was, something worked, and we’ll need to see how SGDQ 2017 and AGDQ 2018 live up to these new expectations.

Speaking of which, SGDQ 2017 will be in Minneapolis, Minnesota on July 2nd through July 9th.

The age of Ultor, Speedlink's new mechanical keyboard

Subject: General Tech | January 16, 2017 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: Speedlink, ultor, mechanical keyboard, RGB, Kailh

Speedlink's Ultor mechanical keyboard has a minimalist look thanks to the lack of a frame but they did include LEDs, blue under all but the WASD keys which are white.  They also chose to include macro keys which is uncommon on a board without a numpad by adding them as a secondary function to the Home, End, Insert, Delete, Page Up and Down keys. The mechanical switches under the keys are Kailh Red, the colour of gamers as opposed to typists.  They are currently quite expensive here in North America, in the UK Kitguru spotted it for sale at £79.91.

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"While many peripheral makers are currently chasing down the RGB trend, there is still plenty of room in the market for a standard mechanical keyboard. Today, we are taking a look at the Speedlink Ultor, a mechanical keyboard offering up red switches, macro support and more, all wrapped up in a frameless, 10-keyless design."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Kitguru

What's up with WhatsApp

Subject: General Tech | January 16, 2017 - 01:13 PM |
Tagged: whatsapp, fud, facebook, encryption

By now you will have seen a headline screaming something about the security of Facebook's WhatsApp messaging service, ranging from somewhere between a backdoor purposefully inserted into the app to a complete denial of any security risk at all.  The actual issue is much larger than WhatsApp and address a security issue with all applications which depend on public key encryption. 

Many applications utilize public keys for their encryption, the encryption relies on keys unique to the sender and receivers devices and which use the public key to verify the authorization of a new device.  If your accounts key was permanently attached to a specific piece of hardware you would need a separate account for each device you used, which would be quite onerous.

The issue is that the Open Whisper Signal protocol is configured by WhatsApp in a way which makes the data vulnerable to a man in the middle attack.  If you can managed to block the transmission of a message, then take over one of the authorized devices accounts or phone numbers and trigger the generation of a new private key via a public key request to Facebook then you will be able to read messages until people realize what is going on.  This is not impossible but far from easy to accomplish, and effects any similar encryption system, not just WhatsApp.

Perhaps more worrying is Facebook's ability to take advantage of this, as they can generate a new public key to read messages, if they so choose.  If you are concerned about this, you can enable the Show Security Notifications setting under Settings -> Account -> Security to be notified whenever a contact's security code has changed.  The Register links to several articles which delve into the technology as well as the media's reactions here, if you are interested.

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"The problem – which is "endemic to public key cryptography" – was raised in April last year, and at the time WhatsApp said it wasn't a serious enough design flaw to spend time fixing."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Microsoft Confirms Windows 10 Creators Update Game Mode

Subject: General Tech | January 15, 2017 - 07:17 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10, pc gaming

A few weeks ago, Windows Insiders noticed GameMode.dll was added to the Windows 10 preview builds. It was speculated by Windows Central, based on their anonymous sources, that it would allow the user to increase performance for games. Now, in an Xbox blog post, Mike Ybarra of Microsoft confirmed the existence of this feature. It will arrive with the Creators Update and, yes, it is intended to “optimize your Windows 10 PC for increased performance in gaming”.

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That’s about all of the detail that is mentioned explicitly in the blog post. It does make a passing reference to “Windows Insiders will start seeing some of the visual elements for Game Mode this week, with the feature being fully operational in builds shortly thereafter”. While we don’t need to wait too long to actually find out, this snippet suggests that user involvement will be required. This might be a launcher or something else entirely.

On his Twitter, he also added that Game Mode will work for both Win32 and UWP games. Assuming this isn’t a mistake, and it’s stated quite bluntly albeit on Twitter, it looks likely that Game Mode’s UI won’t be an extension of Windows Store and it will work for any game. It will probably reside elsewhere, like an Xbox App or something, but we don’t really know yet.

The Windows 10 Creators Update arrives this spring. While its version number is 1703, rumors have it set for an April release date.

Source: Microsoft

The Scythe FUMA SCFM-1000 may be the next favourite heatsink

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 13, 2017 - 03:24 PM |
Tagged: scythe, FUMA SCFM-1000, air cooler

The new Scythe FUMA model, the SCFM-1000 is a fair sized cooler, not the biggest we've seen recently but at 137x130x149mm and 920g you won't fit it into a SFF build.   It is compatible with all current sockets from AMD and Intel and [H]ard|OCP states it should work with AM4 clip-on mounts, though you may need a mount if your current AMD cooler is attached through the board.  With a pair of 120mm fans the cooler beats out even AIO watercooler and does so extremely quietly.  With a retail price of $46 this cooler deserved a Gold Award and did indeed earn one in the review.

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"Scythe has a history of building CPU air coolers that not only perform well, but are also are a value in terms of your hard earned money. The FUMA cooler is built with the PC hardware enthusiast in mind and sports multiple fan configurations and comes supplied with two fans so you do not have any added cost."

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Microsoft looking to lower licensing costs to compete with Chromebooks

Subject: General Tech | January 13, 2017 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft, licensing

Microsoft has confirmed that they will reduce the cost of Windows 10 volume licenses associated with 14.1" and smaller laptops, which is intended to help their partners to compete against Chromebooks.  We have seen low cost Chromebooks launched by Lenovo, Acer, Asustek Computer, Dell and Samsung, all of which have taken market share from models running Windows as there are no associated licensing fees.  Microsoft's Volume Licensing pricing is extremely variable, screen size and relative power of the machine changing pricing, as well as the geographic location it will be sold and the size of the manufactures account.  This means we do not know the exact price reduction, only that it will be lowered.  According to what DigiTimes have found, you can expect to see this change start on March 1st.

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"Microsoft has settled with notebook vendors on Windows 10 licensing rates for models to be launched in 2017, with costs for under 14.1-inch low-cost models lowered from 2016, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

OLED OLED OLED OLED! OLED! OLED!

Subject: Displays | January 12, 2017 - 04:50 PM |
Tagged: oled

2017 is going to be, among other things, the year of the monitor.  We will start to see HDR products, with quantum dot, OLED and other display technology become far more common and hopefully more affordable.  This leaves many questions about the display technology that you should be shopping for; what advantages will an OLED panel give over a QD display and vice versa?  Ars Technica recently delved into details of OLED displays and how they differ from the LED panels and other display types such as plasma. 

If you are curious about how OLED overcomes blur issues or want to nit-pick about brightness levels and what exactly qualifies a display for a Ultra HD Premium certification sticker then click and read the full article here.

... and for those uncultured people who don't get the reference.

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"In many ways, the same can be said about the other major TV standard that we're seeing more lately: OLED, which stands for organic light emitting diode. It's being called the future of TV tech, promising deeper blacks, less motion blur, and sexier colors."

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Displays

Source: Ars Technica