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Subject: General Tech | December 1, 2016 - 07:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gift guide, holiday gift guide
Ryan has started cracking the whip but we haven't quite assembled our picks for the Christmas season so for now you can check out what the gang at The Tech Report has on offer. As you might expect, the HTC Vive appears but you might not have suspected that a pressure cooker and sous-vide machine are on their list. There is a lot more in the way of recommendations, from a CPU delidder to a projector or a 55" 4K TV with HDR if you are more of a traditionalist. Hide your credit cards and check out the whole list.
"The TR staff knows just how hard it can be to find the right gift to please the nerd in your life, so we've compiled a list of the items we've used and enjoyed over the past year. If you're stuck on what to buy for your favorite techie this holiday season, maybe we can help."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- GPU Upgrade & New Build Buyer’s Guide 2016 @ Techgage
- Plex Media Player Now Doesn't Require a Subscription; Pass Users Get Kodi Plug-in @ Slashdot
- Congrats America, you can now safely slag off who you like online @ The Register
- Windows 10 on track to claim a quarter of PC market by the end of 2016 @ The Inquirer
- Well, FC-NVMe. Did this lightning-fast protocol just get faster? @ The Register
- Nokia returns to phone biz with first Android smartphones coming in 2017 @ The Inquirer
- Google's New Public NTP Servers Provide Smeared Time @ Slashdot
- How to Build an Email Server on Ubuntu Linux @ Linux.com
- BarrelCool Rifle Chamber Fan @ Benchmark Reviews
- IN £3000 of Gaming Hardware to Build Yourself a New Rig @ Kitguru
Subject: Editorial | December 1, 2016 - 04:54 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Zen, video, Samsung, podcast, microsoft, megaprocessor, Lenovo, kaby lake, Intel, GTX 1050 Ti, arm, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #427 - 12/01/16
Join us this week as we discuss leaked Zen prices, Kaby Lake performance leaks, GTX 1050 Ti upgrades 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, Jeremy Hellstrom
Program length: 1:20:41
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Jeremy: Corrupt them young!
Subject: Processors | November 30, 2016 - 11:52 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: kaby lake, Intel, core i7 7700k
Someone, who wasn’t Intel, seeded Tom’s Hardware an Intel Core i7-7700k, which is expected for release in the new year. This is the top end of the mainstream SKUs, bringing four cores (eight threads) to 4.2 GHz base, 4.5 GHz boost. Using a motherboard built around the Z170 chipset, they were able to clock the CPU up to 4.8 GHz, which is a little over 4% higher than the Skylake-based Core i7-6700k maximum overclock on the same board.
Image Credit: Tom's Hardware
Lucky number i7-77.
Before we continue, these results are based on a single sample. (Update: @7:01pm -- Also, the motherboard they used has some known overclock and stability issues. They mentioned it a bit in the post, like why their BCLK is 99.65MHz, but I forgot to highlight it here. Thankfully, Allyn caught it in the first ten minutes.) This sample has retail branding, but Intel would not confirm that it performs like they expect a retail SKU would. Normally, pre-release products are labeled as such, but there’s no way to tell if this one part is some exception. Beyond concerns that it might be slightly different from what consumers will eventually receive, there is also a huge variation in overclocking performance due to binning. With a sample size of one, we cannot tell whether this chip has an abnormally high, or an abnormally low, defect count, which affects both power and maximum frequency.
That aside, if this chip is representative of Kaby Lake performance, users should expect an increase in headroom for clock rates, but it will come at the cost of increased power consumption. In fact, Tom’s Hardware states that the chip “acts like an overclocked i7-6700K”. Based on this, it seems like, unless they want an extra 4 PCIe lanes on Z270, Kaby Lake’s performance might already be achievable for users with a lucky Skylake.
I should note that Tom’s Hardware didn’t benchmark the iGPU. I don’t really see it used for much more than video encoding anyway, but it would be nice to see if Intel improved in that area, seeing as how they incremented the model number. Then again, even users who are concerned about that will probably be better off just adding a second, discrete GPU anyway.
Subject: Systems | November 30, 2016 - 10:17 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: msi, aegis ti, gaming pc, vr ready
Depending on which model you order, the MSI Aegis Ti PC will have an i7-6700K or i5-6600K and a pair of either GTX 1080s or 1070s. The model which shipped to TechPowerUp for testing sported a pair of M.2 Samsung 950 PROs and 32GB of DDR4-2400, along with the i7-6700K and GTX 1080s of course. The unique looking enclosure is VR Ready, in that there are USB and HDMI ports in the front to let you easily attach your VR goggles and is more than powerful enough to power said device at high settings. If you would prefer to spend $3000 on a configured gaming rig with some interesting features as opposed to building one yourself, pop over for a look at the full review.
"MSI sent us their latest fully featured PC, the Aegis Ti, to take a look at. This PC departs from the "traditional box" design in a big way and is ready to support not just one but two GTX 1080s! It's VR ready, including an HDMI port in front and dual M.2 drives, which can be configured in RAID, making it ready for whatever you want to throw at it."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Cyberpower Infinity X55 VX @ Kitguru
- DinoPC Mayhem P2 GTX 1080 @ eTeknix
- AWD-IT Aura (GTX 1070) @ Kitguru
- Freshtech Solutions Aerocool DS230 GTX 1050 Ti @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | November 30, 2016 - 08:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: serious sam vr, nvidia, gaming, pascal
Having already looked at AMD's performance with two RX 480's in a system, the recent patch which enables support for multiple NVIDIA GPUs have dragged [H]ard|OCP back into the game. Lacking a pair of Titan X cards, they tested the performance of a pair of GTX 1080s and 1070s; the GTX 1060 will not be receiving support from Croteam. It would seem that adding a second Pascal card to your system will benefit you, however the scaling they saw was nowhere near as impressive as with the AMD RX 480 which saw a 36% boost. Check out the full results here and yes ... in this case the m in mGPU indicates multiple GPUs, not mobile.
"Serious Sam VR was the first commercial enthusiast gaming title to include multi-GPU support with AMD's RX 480 GPU. Now the folks at Croteam have added mGPU support for NVIDIA cards as well. We take a look at how well NVIDIA's VRSLI technology fares in this VR shooter title."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Watch Dogs 2 is an antidote to the grimness of GTA @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Watch Dog 2: PC graphics performance benchmarks @ Guru of 3D
- Fallout 4 Immersive Toilet Paper Mod @ [H]ard|OCP
- No Man’s Sky Foundation update: mostly about that base @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- New depths: Endless Space 2 adds new faction @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Titanfall 2’s multiplayer is having a free weekend @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Sunless Skies: less crawling back home, more exploring @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | November 30, 2016 - 07:10 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: bitlocker, microsoft, windows 10, security, hack
Is Bitlocker cramping your voyeuristic cravings and preventing you from snooping on your loved ones or strangers? Assuming you do not instead seek medical help for your problem, all you need to do is wait for Windows to perform a version update and for the user to get bored and walk away. Hop onto their machine and press SHIFT+F10 to get a command prompt which will be running at root privileges and take advantage of the fact that Windows disables Bitlocker while installing an updated version of Windows. This will not work for all updates, it needs to be a major OS update such as the move to Anniversary Edition which changes the version of Windows installed on the machine.
Microsoft is working on a fix, in the meantime sticking with Windows Long Term Service Branch or slighly modifying how updates are pushed via WSUS or SCCM will ensure this vulnerability cannot be leveraged. You can also take the simple measure of sticking around when major updates occur. Pop over to Slashdot for more information.
"This [update procedure] has a feature for troubleshooting that allows you to press SHIFT + F10 to get a Command Prompt," Laiho writes on his blog. "The real issue here is the Elevation of Privilege that takes a non-admin to SYSTEM (the root of Windows) even on a BitLocker (Microsoft's hard disk encryption) protected machine." Laiho informed Microsoft of the issue and the company is apparently working on a fix."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Internet Archive preps Canadian safe haven to avoid Donald Trump @ The Register
- Intel, Nvidia ready to unveil new platforms for CES 2017 @ DigiTimes
- Mozilla rushes to patch active Firefox zero-day targeting Tor users @ The Inquirer
- GoPro woes continue as the company cuts 15 percent of workforce @ Ars Technica
- Student clusterers blow off steam with VR space shooter at SUSE booth @ The Register
- More Than 1 Million Android Devices Rooted By Gooligan Malware @ Slashdot
- Remote Logging With Syslog, Part 1: The Basics @ Linux.com
- Guru3D Contest 2016: Win a Limited Edition Corsair RM1000i PSU
Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 30, 2016 - 04:06 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: contest, giveaway, corsair, rm1000i, white special edition
The holidays are fully in swing and Corsair is in the giving mood. To celebrate the launch of the brand new, limited edition RM1000i White Special Edition power supply, Corsair has sent along one for us to give away to our readers!
CORSAIR®, a world leader in enthusiast memory, high-performance gaming hardware and PC components, today reached two new milestones, celebrating ten years since first entering the PSU market and the sale of the ten millionth CORSAIR PSU.
Over the past decade, CORSAIR has revolutionized the enthusiast PSU industry with an unrelenting commitment to product quality and innovation that has seen the PSU evolve from an after-thought into the high-quality heart of a modern PC. CORSAIR has championed a range of key features to push PC power supplies to new levels of performance, functionality and customization. Modular PSUs have made building PCs easier, Zero RPM fan mode allows the PSU’s fan to switch off entirely under low loads and with digitally controlled power and CORSAIR LINK PSU monitoring, users can find out exactly how their PSU is performing in an instant.
To commemorate this achievement, CORSAIR is proud to announce the extremely limited CORSAIR RM1000i Special Edition. Individually numbered, finished in striking arctic white and equipped with both a white LED-lit cooling fan and new individually sleeved white cables, only 100 of these PSUs will be built, giving enthusiasts a chance to own a unique piece of CORSAIR history.
Ten years has seemingly flown by and selling 10 million power supplies to consumers is no small feat! If you want to get your hands on one of only 100 of these special items, then enter for your chance to win one with the contest below!
Subject: Storage | November 29, 2016 - 08:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nasbook, NAS, qnap, TBS-453A
Network Attached Storage is nothing new, but a NASbook certainly is. When you think of a NAS device you might picture a box with at least two network connections and limited controls on the device with a web based GUI. QNAP have created something very different in the TBS-453A, a NAS in a notebook-like form factor with a lot of extra functionality. You will find two HDMI v2.0 ports, two 3.5mm microphone jacks and an audio line out as well as a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports and three gigabit switch ports as it can function as a router, along with a total of four USB 3.0 ports and a single USB 2.0 port. Unfortunately it lacks 10GbE ports which it would benefit from as it hides inside it four M.2 SATA 6Gbps SSDs which can easily overwhelm a gigabit connection, especially if multiple clients are accessing data simultaneously.
Curious what it is capable of and how well it performs? Check out Nikktech's review.
"Although we all like the concept behind the new TBS-453A NASbook by QNAP quite honestly it feels ahead of its time mainly due to the current pricing of M.2 SSDs and lack of one or more 10GbE ports."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Asustor AS6208T 8-bay NAS @ techPowerUp
- MyDigitalSSD Boost 1TB USB 3.1 Portable SSD @ eTeknix
- Plextor S2G 512GB Entry-Level M.2 Solid State Drive @ eTeknix
- MyDigitalSSD BPX 480GB NVMe M.2 Solid State Drive @ eTeknix
- Samsung's 960 EVO SSD @ The Tech Report
Subject: General Tech | November 29, 2016 - 06:23 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: megaprocessor, DIY, neat
The Megaprocessor is a working CPU which is blown up in size to allow you to walk into it to watch how data is physically processed with your own eyes. There are 8,500 LED's in the core and another 2,048 for the memory which light up as data passes through the 15,300 transistors in the core and the memory's 27,000; though that total count includes the transistors which control the LEDs. The core's clock is a staggering 25kHz and there is 256 bytes of both RAM and ROM. The site actually provides you with the assembly language to write code for the processor if you are interested and you can visit the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge, England to see it in person. Drop by The Register for a quick look and for links to the project page for more details on the computer and build process, including a murderous vacuum cleaner.
"His ultimate goal other than the pure satisfaction of building the thing and getting it running, as El Reg reported in June this year, was to show the public how computers work by blowing the CPU up to a human-viewable scale."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Diamond Batteries That Last For Millennia @ Hack a Day
- Surface Studio torn down: Surprisingly upgradable storage @ Ars Technica
- 'DroneGun' Can Take Down Aircraft From Over 1.2 Miles Away @ Slashdot
- Neutralizing Intel’s Management Engine @ Hack a Day
- Snoopers' Charter: 'Draconian' IP Bill receives royal assent to become law @ The Inquirer
- Current switches insulator’s magnetic state @ Nanotechweb
- Storage newbie: You need COTS to really rock that NVMe baby @ The Register
- The Pokeball Power Bank @ Tech ARP
Subject: Processors | November 29, 2016 - 02:26 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, Zen, Summit Ridge
Guru3D got hold of a product list, which includes entries for AMD’s upcoming Zen architecture.
Four SKUs are thus rumored to exist:
- Zen SR3: (65W, quad-core, eight threads, ~$150 USD)
- Zen SR5: (95W, hexa-core, twelve threads, ~$250 USD)
- Zen SR7: (95W, octo-core, sixteen threads, ~$350 USD)
- Special Zen SR7: (95W, octo-core, sixteen threads, ~$500 USD)
The sheet also states that none of these are supposed to contain integrated graphics, like we see on the current FX line. There is some merit to using integrated GPUs for specific tasks, like processing video while the main GPU is busy or doing a rapid, massively parallel calculation without the latency of memory copies, but AMD is probably right to not waste resources, such as TDP, fighting our current lack of compatible software and viable use cases for these SKUs.
Image Credit: Guru3D
The sheet also contains benchmarks for Cinebench R15. While pre-rendered video is a task that really should be done on GPUs at this point, especially with permissive, strong, open-source projects like Cycles, they do provide a good example of multi-core performance that scales. In this one test, the Summit Ridge 7 CPU ($350) roughly matches the Intel Core i7-6850K ($600), again, according to this one unconfirmed benchmark. It doesn’t list clock rates, but other rumors claim that the top-end chip will be around 3.2 GHz base, 3.5 GHz boost at stock, with manual overclocks exceeding 4 GHz.
These performance figures suggest that Zen will not beat Skylake on single-threaded performance, but it might be close. That might not matter, however. CPUs, these days, are kind-of converging around a certain level of per-thread performance, and are differentiating with core count, price, and features. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to have been many leaks regarding enthusiast-level chipsets for Zen, so we don’t know if there will be compelling use cases yet.
Zen is expected early in 2017.
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 29, 2016 - 12:34 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, graphics drivers
For tomorrow’s Watch_Dogs 2, AMD has released Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.11.5 graphics drivers, giving users a day to configure their PCs. Note that, while the download links in the release notes say 16.11.4, hovering your mouse over them shows the correct version, dated last Friday. Don’t worry, though, the Radeon Technologies Group is based out of Markham, Ontario, Canada, so they didn’t miss out on turkey leftovers to bring you this software.
Okay, yes, that joke was lame. Moving on.
Beyond Watch_Dogs 2, this driver release also adds a new CrossFire profile for Dishonored 2 for Windows 8.x and Windows 10, so multiple GPU users of that game might want to upgrade, too. Beyond that, flickering in The Division and Battlefield 1 while using CrossFire is also addressed.
There are quite a few known issues, though, including a few crashes when using the Vulkan API. Most of these known issues were present in 16.11.4 from a couple of weeks ago, including the aforementioned Vulkan crashes, but this driver adds two. The CrossFire profile for Dishonored 2 that was added with this driver will be disabled on Windows 7, although it sounds like that will be fixed in a future release. Also, Watch_Dogs 2 may flicker or crash when using Crossfire with two RX 480s, but apparently not other configurations.
The driver is not signed by WHQL, but I think I prefer what AMD’s doing now, rapidly releasing several drivers a month, addressing issues as they arise, versus a Microsoft stamp of approval. All that matters is that they can be installed on Anniversary Edition clean installs with Secure Boot enabled, and they can.
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 28, 2016 - 11:20 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers
Because holiday shopping is... wrapping up... this year’s rush of AAA games will be slowing down soon, at least until it starts up again in January. One of the last releases, Watch_Dogs 2, will be arriving on the PC tomorrow. As such, NVIDIA has released GeForce 376.09 drivers out to their website and GeForce Experience. The driver also includes optimizations for Dead Rising 4 and Steep.
Unfortunately, the release notes aren’t yet available as of time of this writing (but the link is). As such, we don’t know specifics about what the driver fixes or changes. The notes are supposed to be up at some time today. Users in the forums have been complaining about a few things here and there, but nothing that seems credible and wide-spread that could be attributed to the driver.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 28, 2016 - 07:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: modular psu, in win, in win classic, 750w, 80 Plus Platinum
In Win are a venerable supplier of PSUs who slowly faded into the background as the PSU market has grown to include numerous manufacturers and resellers. They are looking to get back into the minds of shoppers with their new Classic series, sporting a fully modular design, separated 12V rails, alumumium exteriors and an 80 Plus Platinum rating. Inside the unit you will find Nippon Chemi-con and a clean design which impressed [H]ard|OCP. Looks are not the only important thing when choosing a PSU however, check out the full review to see how well the In Win Classic 750W performed.
"It has been years since we have reviewed a computer power supply from In Win. You might remember the In Win name from being a prolific case supplier back in the early enthusiast days of the 1990's. How does In Win stack up in 2016 with its Classic series PSU that has a very sleek look to it and nice feature set?"
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Thermaltake Smart DPS G 750W Power Supply Unit Review @ NikKTech
- Super Flower Platinum King 650W @ Kitguru
- Enermax Platimax DF 600W @ [H]ard|OCP
- Thermaltake Toughpower SFX 600W @ [H]ard|OCP
Subject: General Tech | November 28, 2016 - 06:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Raspberry Pi 3, plex, pandora, Netflix
***This is your own personal Netflix seeing as how you are no longer able to access Netflix on "unofficial" devices. Check the comments for great info.**
Over at Linux.com you can find instructions on making a very inexpensive headless Plex Media Server. You will need a working PC to start up the installation by formatting an SD card and setting it up with NOOBS. A little configuration work on the Pi, linking it to your locally stored video libraries and online content such as CNN and Netflix and you have a media centre ready for use, for well under $100. Maybe you could consider making one as a gift for someone deserving. The full instructions and parts list can be found here.
"No, you don’t have to buy an expensive, bulky PC. All you need is a Raspberry Pi 3, a hard drive, an SD card and a mobile charger. It should all cost less than $100."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Google's Chromecast is causing boot-loops on some router models @ The Inquirer
- Azure glitch allowed attackers to gain admin rights over hosted Red Hat Linux instances @ The Inquirer
- Ransomware locks up San Francisco public transportation ticket machines @ Ars Technica
- 2.1Gbps speeds over LTE? That's not a typo, EE's already done it @ The Register
- iOS 10.1.1 Is Causing Battery Issues For Many iPhone Users @ Slashdot
Subject: Systems, Mobile | November 27, 2016 - 09:25 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: virtual boy, RISC, Nintendo, nec
I was one of the lucky kids who got a Virtual Boy, which was actually quite fun for nine-year-old me. It wasn’t beloved by the masses, but when you’re in a hotel, moving across the country, you best believe I’m going to punch that Teleroboxer cat in the head, over and over. It was quite an interesting piece of technology, despite its crippling flaws.
To see for yourself, Ben Heck published a full disassemble, with his best-guess explanations. He then performs a repair by 3D printing a clamp to put pressure on a loose ribbon connector.
From a performance standpoint, the Virtual Boy was launched with a 32-bit NEC RISC processor, clocked at 20 MHz. Keep in mind that, one, this is a semi-mobile, battery-powered device and, two, it launched around the same time as the original Pentium processor reached 120 MHz. The RAM setup is... unclear. I’m guessing PlanetVB accidentally wrote MB and KB to refer to “megabit” (Mb) and “kilobit” (kb) instead of “megabyte” and “kilobyte”, meaning the Wikipedia listing of 128KB VRAM, 128KB DRAM, and 64KB WRAM is accurate. The cartridge could also address up to an additional 16MB of RAM, meaning that specific titles could load as much as they need, albeit at a higher BOM cost. Shipped titles maxed out at 8KB of cartridge-expanded RAM, though.
Ben Heck’s video will be part of a series, where he will try to make it smaller and head-mounted.
Subject: General Tech | November 26, 2016 - 11:49 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming, ubisoft, ea, bethesda
The Ubisoft store is offering the standard edition of either The Division, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, Rainbow Six: Siege, or Far Cry Primal when you purchase (or pre-order) another, participating title. These other games aren’t just from Ubisoft, though. They also include new releases from EA, Bethesda, and SquareEnix, such as Battlefield 1 (which still requires Origin) and Skyrim: Special Edition.
This is interesting for two reasons. First, and most obvious, if you really want one of the four titles and one of the applicable ones, then it might be cheaper than buying them individually (although you should check for sales elsewhere first).
The second point regards how the various publishers are handling Steam’s dominance in the PC space. EA is now even participating their titles, which are not available on Valve’s service, in promotions from stores owned by other competitors. Meanwhile, it seems like Bethesda is happy putting their stock wherever, and they will even discount games by a third or a half if it aligns with a big Steam Sale. Then we get Ubisoft, who has their own store, but also lists on Steam and does fairly good sales there, too.
Anyway, the sale is running until the 27th. As I said earlier, though, be sure that any combination of game that interests you is actually cheaper than their respective sale price at competing stores before buying.
Subject: Systems | November 26, 2016 - 09:21 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Samsung, Lenovo
thebell, a Korean news outlet and sister site of ZDNet Korea, published a rumor that Samsung was in talks to sell their PC business to Lenovo. While I’m struggling with the Google Translate from Korean, it sounds like this would be caused by Samsung selling their printing business to HP, leading to the company divesting from related markets, too. This news was picked up by the American ZDNet and, some time after, Samsung released a statement outright denying the rumor: “The rumor is not true.”
So, as far as we know, Samsung is staying in the PC market.
Since it was a clear denial, not a decline to comment, this probably means that the rumor is either completely false, or, if it’s based on a kernel of truth, it’s very early or very tiny. It seems likely, though, that Lenovo would want to buy up pretty much anyone’s PC business at this point, if the price is right. As for Samsung selling? I could see it being something that could have been discussed behind-the-scenes to some level of seriousness, although that’s what hoaxes prey upon. Again, as far as we know, Samsung will keep their PC business, and there isn’t really anything concrete to say otherwise.
Subject: General Tech | November 26, 2016 - 01:51 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming, VR, osvr, razer, sensics
There’s a few competing VR standards at the moment. Obviously, mobile has a bunch of them; Google technically has two of their own. On the PC, the top two are Oculus and SteamVR. A third one, Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR), was co-founded by Razer and Sensics.
Valve has now added their platform to Steam, including the tools that users will need to filter compatible content for that headset.
OSVR is an interesting initiative. For instance, when they released their second developer’s kit, HDK2, they also released an upgrade kit for the original. Currently priced at $220, it upgrades the screen to 2160x1200. They also have a Leap Motion upgrade, although that’s currently listed as “coming soon”. It has also been added to Unreal Engine 4 for the last few versions, so engine developers are considering it worthy of first-party support.
Subject: Displays | November 26, 2016 - 01:29 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: AOC, 240Hz, freesync
This is just getting silly. While TN, 1080p monitors have been fading into the background, they are fast switching, and AOC is pushing that advantage. The AOC AGON AG251FZ is a 25-inch FreeSync display that can support up to 240 Hz refresh rates. They’re not the first monitor to reach this milestone, as Acer made a similar announcement back in August, but this display should be bright and smooth, especially for our readers with AMD GPUs.
If you like to smoothly scroll documents, then you may also appreciate that its stand can pivot into portrait mode. I doubt it will have the best color representation, though, so those who want to photo edit, especially outside of sRGB, may want to look elsewhere. In fact, they don’t even list their sRGB (web and video) or AdobeRGB (video and print) coverage. I’d hope it would at least have 100% sRGB, but I can’t say for sure.
Subject: General Tech | November 26, 2016 - 12:47 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Japan, supercomputer
According to Reuters, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry have set aside 19.5 billion yen to build a high-end supercomputer. This will translate into 130 PetaFLOPs, which would put it ahead of all other announced clusters. The article claims that the government will rent the computer out to Japanese corporations, many of which currently use American-based cloud services.
The supercomputer has been named ABCI: AI Bridging Cloud Infrastructure.
Image Credit: つ via Wikipedia
From a hardware standpoint? There’s not a whole lot else to say about it. The money has been set aside, but no-one has been selected to build it. Companies will submit their bids by December 8th, and we assume they’ll make an announcement at some point after.
This also means we don’t know what is planned to go into each node. Despite targeting ABCI at AI, Japan is sticking to the “FLOPs” rating, and thus will probably be focused on floating-point workloads. It would be weird to see such an expensive machine be focused on 8- or 16-bit instructions, but then we see Google creating custom ASICs, called TPUs, that seem to get huge performance boosts by sticking to low-precision workloads. Could that even scale to a competitive supercomputer? Or would it cut out too many potential customers that need 32- and 64-bit precision?
Either way, I would guess that this computer will use more conventional, GPU-style co-processors from someone like Intel (Xeon Phi) or NVIDIA. Really, we don’t know, though. No-one does at this point. It’s an interesting branding, though.