Lenovo Announces the Flex 11 Chromebook

Subject: Systems, Mobile | April 19, 2017 - 08:00 AM |
Tagged: notebook, Lenovo, laptop, Flex 11, convertible, Chromebook, 2-in-1

Lenovo’s Flex 11 is a 2-in-1 convertible notebook design powered by a 2.1 GHz quad-core ARM processor and running Google’s Chrome OS. It features an 11.6-inch IPS multi-touch HD display, up to 10-hour battery life, and a weight under 3 lbs.

Flex 11 01.jpg

"Packing the fun of a tablet with the power punch of a PC, and designed with Android apps in mind, the Flex 11 is a 2-in-1 laptop optimized for entertainment and productivity. Its 360° hinge and 11.6" multi-touch display gives users the flexibility to shift between four dynamic modes (watch, tent, laptop, and tablet) for any combination of work and play activities."

Lenovo says the Flex 11's hardware is designed to be rugged, with drop and liquid spill resistance including a water-resistant keyboard (up to 1 cup) with “channels beneath the keyboard to drain liquid, keeping it away from sensitive electrical components”. In addition to Chrome apps the Flex 11 will support the Google Play store (Lenovo says this is "coming soon").

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I/O includes USB 3.0, USB Type-C, HDMI, a mic/audio jack, and an SD card slot. As to pricing/availability, the Flex 11 Chromebook starts at $279 and will be available this month.

Source: Lenovo

Sounds like a roundup, headphones and speakers galore

Subject: General Tech | April 18, 2017 - 04:22 PM |
Tagged: audio, Fugoo, sennheiser, jabra

Over at The Inquirer is a roundup of new audio devices they have seen and were impressed by.  They cover headphones, bookshelf speakers and wireless speakers with interesting features that might tempt you to open your wallet.  If you are planning an outdoor party now that the weather is starting to change, the Fugoo XL speaker offers waterproofing to ensure a shower won't ruin your day as well as a reinforced casing if you tend to be hard on your electronics.  They also list several in-ear headphones, including a wireless model from Sennheiser which might attract fans of a certain phone.

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"IT'S BACK for 2017, our never quite ending (that is to say regularly updated) guide to the best speakers and headphones that you can get your paws on, including some familiar names and some that could save you a ton by being awesome noobs. Keep checking back, we'll be adding more as the year progresses."

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Audio Corner

Source: The Inquirer

Teaching an old star new tricks, the Radeon RX 580

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 18, 2017 - 04:04 PM |
Tagged: RX 580, radeon, Polaris, amd, powercolor, red devil

Ryan covered the improvements over the previous Polaris based cards the RX 580 offers, a higher Rated Clock and standardizing memory frequency of all RX 580 models to 8GHz.  That lead to the expected increase in performance compared the the RX 480, in a marketplace somewhat different than what the first Polaris chips arrived in.  Consumers now know what NVIDIA's current generation cards provide in performance and prices have settled as much as can be expected in the volatile GPU market.  Those using cards several generations old may be more receptive to an upgrade than they were with the previous generation, especially as the next large launches are some time off; we shall see if this is true in the coming months.

One particular reason to consider upgrading is VR support, something [H]ard|OCP covers in their review.  The improved speeds do not provide miracles in their VR Leaderboard however they do show improvements in some games such as Serious Sam, with reprojection rates dropping markedly.

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"AMD is launching the AMD Radeon RX 500 series today, and we lead with a custom retail Radeon RX 580 GPU based video card from PowerColor. We’ll take the Red Devil RX 580 Golden Sample video card through the paces and see how it compares to the competition at the same price point."

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

Graphics Cards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

I knew him; IDF, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy

Subject: General Tech | April 17, 2017 - 04:09 PM |
Tagged: Intel, idf

It is not a post-PC world but it is now officially a post-IDF world as Intel announces they are too diverse to host such a PC-centric conference.  It was 20 years ago today that the first IDF was held in Beijing and Intel announced some time ago the cancellation of this years event in China, however until today they had still planned to hold their scheduled event in San Francisco.  The rationale offered is Intel's expansion into FPGAs, Optane storage, IoT devices, wireless communications and other fields pushes them beyond the scope traditionally represented at the IDF.  Why cancellation of the event in preference of broadening the scope is not explained in their announcement.  Ars Technica has related links here.

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"While the company earlier said that it would not have a Chinese event, the San Francisco IDF was still being planned, albeit with a "new format," in the early months of 2017. It appears now that this 'new format' is in fact 'non-existence.'"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Ars Technica

Syberia II Is "On The House"

Subject: General Tech | April 15, 2017 - 09:57 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, microids, ea

I’m apparently about a month late on this one, but it’s better than never for those who, like me, missed the news the first time around. Syberia II is a point-and-click adventure title from 2004 and it is currently “On The House” through EA’s Origin service. These promotions would be the same as if EA had a timed, 100%-off sale: claim it before it’s over and it’s yours for free, permanently.

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It might not be around for long, though. I’m guessing this deal is to promote the upcoming Syberia III, which was originally announced in 2009 and should launch in about a week or two (depending on your region). If this sort of game interests you in any way, and especially if you have an active Origin account, then it’s a good idea to add Syberia II to your games library, even if you don’t plan on installing it right away.

Source: EA (Origin)

T-Mobile promises expanded LTE coverage to all with $8 billion purchase of 600 MHz spectrum

Subject: Mobile | April 13, 2017 - 04:48 PM |
Tagged: X20, t-mobile, spectrum, qualcomm, LTE, Gigabit LTE, FCC, Carrier Aggregation, 600mhz, 5G

This afternoon, T-Mobile's ardent CEO John Legere announced the results of the FCC's recent spectrum auction concerning the low-band 600MHz range. In a $7.99 Billion deal, T-Mobile is set to gain 45% of all of the low-band spectrum being auctioned.

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T-Mobile is quick to point out that the spectrum they purchased covers 100% of the United States and Puerto Rico, with a nationwide average of 31 MHz of spectrum acquired. Having this wide of a range of spectrum available nationwide will help T-Mobile with their rollout of Carrier Aggregation, on the road to Gigabit-Class LTE and 5G.

This acquisition wasn't without help from the FCC however. In 2014, when the FCC decided to auction off the spectrum that was previously used for broadcast TV, they decided to set aside 30MHz of the available 70MHz specifically for carriers that did not currently have large holdings in low-band spectrum. This means that ATT and Verizon, who both operate large LTE networks in the 700MHz range were excluded from part of the spectrum being auctioned off.

Low-band spectrum in strategically important for LTE rollouts in particular as it can travel further and works better indoors than high-band offerings like Sprint's large available spectrum in the 2.5GHz 

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While it usually takes a significant amount of time to see the results of newly acquired spectrum, T-Mobile promises significant network expansion by the end of 2017. Legere claims that over 1,000,000 square miles of the newly acquires spectrum will be cleared for use by the FCC by the end of this year, and put into production by T-Mobile. T-Mobile plans to use this spectrum to both expand LTE coverage into new markets as well as strengthening their coverage in existing markets to provide more speed and greater density of coverage.

However, there is one side of the 600MHz equation that is out of the hands of T-Mobile, the user equipment. Currently, there are no shipping LTE radios capable of operating in the 600MHz range. Qualcomm has announced that their in-development X20 LTE modem will work with 600MHz, but we have no timeline as to a possible release of devices with the X20.

Hopefully, we don't have to wait too long for user devices capable of 600MHz LTE operation, it would be a real shame to have a newly expanded T-Mobile network that no one can connect to!

The road to Gigabit-class LTE and subsequently 5G seems to be a fierce one, and we look forward to seeing developments from competing carriers.

Source: T-Mobile

Spring has sprung, the system guide is riz

Subject: Systems | April 13, 2017 - 02:04 PM |
Tagged: system guide

Sebastian posted a systems guide to inspire you this spring and the HWLB is slowly getting a refresh but we are not the only ones who are twitterpated.  The Tech Report also published a brand new System Guide, timed to include Ryzen in their picks.  As is their habit, they've broken the recommendations int Budget, Sweet Spot and High end systems, with a couple of bonus system builds at the end of the article.  Get some great ideas for your next system right here.

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"AMD's Ryzen 7 CPUs and Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card have arrived, and that means it's time for a new edition of The Tech Report's System Guide. Join us as we explore how to build the best PCs with these shiny new components."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

Cloudy with Microsoft; the new Chrome OS competitor?

Subject: General Tech | April 13, 2017 - 12:33 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, surface 3, Project Scorpio, windows 10 cloud

From what The Inquirer has been able to find out, the Microsoft event taking place next month will not herald the release of the Surface Book 2, Surface Pro 5 nor the Surface Phone. 
It is quite likely we will see a new low cost Surface 3 device announced as well as more information on Project Scorpio.  This should also offer the first details on the new OS that Microsoft has been working on to challenge ChromeOS in low cost devices.  Windows 10 Cloud, also known as Bespin, will be a low cost OS which runs Windows Universal apps and will be aimed at students and those who want small inexpensive devices for light computing usage.  Check out more details here.

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"Microsoft sent out cryptic invites on Wednesday (we're still waiting for ours) which suggests there will be an education focus at the event, with the invite sporting 'Learn what's next' caption and '#MicrosoftEdu' hashtag."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

Podcast #445 - Ryzen 5, 2017 Spring Buyers Guide, Alphacool, VIVO, Lian Li, and more!

Subject: Editorial | April 13, 2017 - 11:17 AM |
Tagged: windows 10, western digital, VIVO, UNIGINE, ryzen, podcast, nvidia, Lian Li, Buyers Guide, Alphacool, adata

PC Perspective Podcast #445 - 04/13/17

Join us for Ryzen 5, Spring 2017 Buyers Guide, Alphacool, VIVO, Lian Li, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg

 

Program length: 1:26:29

Podcast topics of discussion:
 

Source:

Besiege your friends on custom levels

Subject: General Tech | April 12, 2017 - 02:19 PM |
Tagged: gaming, Besiege, Spiderling Games

Remember Besiege, the game which allowed you to create your own engines of destruction and which lead to an influx of rather amusing videos of successful and not so successful inventions.  Spiderling Games have announced that they will be releasing an update which will allow you to design custom levels and invite up to 7 friends to join you in that level.  As you can see from the video below you can work together or battle it out after creating your particular machine.  Drop by Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN for more details.

"Multiplayer and a level editor are coming to physics-based warmachine workshop Besiege later this year, developers Spiderling Games have announced."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

It has been a while since the last legal battle but Qualcomm may be our next contender

Subject: General Tech | April 12, 2017 - 12:30 PM |
Tagged: sueball, qualcomm, Intel, blackberry, apple

Ah, the old days of Microsoft versus governments, Apple and Samsung, Intel and AMD, SCO and ... well just about everyone; lately there has not been much legal vitriol in the headlines.  This may change as Qualcomm is now involved in several suits which are likely to become high profile.  First up is what may be the driving force behind their need to seek restitution from Apple; they were just ordered to pay Blackberry $815 million after that company was successful in their legal battle to dispute certain royalty payments.  Even a company as large as Qualcomm is going to feel the pain from that.

On to the real upcoming battle royal, featuring Apple and Qualcomm over the iPhone 7.  It seems that Apple has taken offence to Qualcomm's claims that Apple handicapped their chip to ensure it did not out perform the models which contained an Intel chipset.  Qualcomm released a large rebuttal to the lawsuit which Apple launched this January which you can read about at Ars Technica, or follow the link to read the entire document.  This may prove to be the next interesting technological legal battle, stay tuned for more.

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"For example, Qualcomm’s technological contributions enable popular smartphone apps such as Uber, Snapchat, Spotify, Apple Music, Skype, Google Maps, and Pokémon GO, among others."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Ars Technica

UNIGINE Superposition GPU Stress Test Released

Subject: General Tech | April 11, 2017 - 09:09 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, UNIGINE, unigine 2

There are quite a few game engines available these days. Unity stepped up its game and Epic Games, Crytek, Amazon, and others entered the market with various free-to-start licensing options. Back in the early DirectX 11 days, UNIGINE released their popular Heaven benchmark to promote their engine, which had a relatively affordable, up-front fee. (I don’t remember what it was at the time, but the engine currently starts at $1495 USD, albeit royalty-free.)

Available up to 8K60, because lol why not?

Today, they have released a new benchmark, called Superposition, which focuses on two things: VR and GPU stress testing. The setting is some old-timey physics lab, and it includes some minigames to keep you entertained after you determined that your overclock is stable and your performance is assigned some value. According to Phoronix, UNIGINE has been looking into Vulkan, but they haven’t added it to the engine yet. On Linux, you’ll be using OpenGL 4.5, but Windows has a choice between that and DirectX 11.

UNIGINE Superposition is available for Windows and Linux.

Source: UNIGINE

Take 5 to read through the Ryzen roundup

Subject: Processors | April 11, 2017 - 02:46 PM |
Tagged: z270, ryzen 5, ryzen, amd, 1600X, 1400

As you have already read through Ryan's review of the Ryzen 1600X and 1500X running on MSI's B350 Tomahawk you know about how the chips measure up to Intel's offerings at the same price point.  Life being what it is, there is always a trade between testing everything and publishing results in a timely manner so it is possible that we missed your favourite game, benchmark or test setting which is why roundups such as this exist.  For instance over at [H]ard|OCP the tests were performed on an MSI Krait Z270 Gaming motherboard and they also had a chance to review the $169 Ryzen 5 1400. 

Drop by to take a look and don't forget there are a whole lot more just below.

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"AMD has been on a tear with its new Ryzen 7 CPUs over the past few weeks and now it is time for the Ryzen 5 processor family performance to be explored. We are giving away the AMD Reviewer's Kit with a 1600X and 1500X, instead we bought 1600 and 1400 processors to review here today. All data is retail CPUs, and all overclocked to 4GHz."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

SK Hynix has huge stacks of NAND

Subject: General Tech | April 11, 2017 - 01:29 PM |
Tagged: SK Hynix, 72 layer, tlc

SK Hynix have created an impressive die which has 72 layers of TLC 3D NAND.  The storage density of their chips are somewhat lower than the competition, this particular chip sports 256Gb of capacity.  This is due to the larger size of SK Hynix's cells, which has the benefit of allowing more layers than other manufacturers have been able to successfully create.  The Register was told that compared to the previous generation of 48 layer NAND you could expect to see up to a 20% increase in read and write speeds, another benefit to their new process.  To think, it was just a year ago that Al first introduced us to what 3D NAND would mean to the PC industry.

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"Korean flash fabber SK Hynix has built a 72-layer 3D NAND die with 256Gb capacity. That number of layers, in effect a higher-rise flash chip than anybody else has built, is impressive but the 256Gb capacity is not; Toshiba's 64-layer flash die has a 512Gb capacity. Like the SK Hynix chip, it is a TLC (3bits/cell) device. It started sample shipping in February."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

Ryzen 5 surfaces on eBay

Subject: Processors | April 10, 2017 - 05:50 PM |
Tagged: amd, ryzen 5, ryzen 5 1600, ryzen 5 1400

Perhaps it is best not to ask how this came about, but you can order the Ryzen 5 1600 and 1400 from eBay.  The seller has an impressive reputation and as Kyle over at [H]ard|OCP has already ordered and received some, this should be a fairly safe opportunity to take advantage of.   The full review has not yet been published but that did not stop them from putting together a quick overclocking video.  If you have 20 minutes to spare and an interest in AMD's new processors you should take a look.

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"Much to our surprise, AMD Ryzen 5 CPUs started showing up online for sale last week in North America, so we did what any PC hardware review site would do. We went out and bought four of those and started working on seeing just how much overclocking headroom each of these new CPUs have."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

EpicGear's Morpha X gaming mouse, you can swap the sensors and switches as well as the weight

Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2017 - 04:47 PM |
Tagged: epicgear, Morpha X, gaming mouse, input, ADNS-9800, PMW3360, pixart

Modular gaming mice with changeable weights and shells have become common; ones that allow you to switch the sensor on the other hand are rather rare.  EpicGear's Morpha X lets you do exactly that, it comes with two PixArt sensors, a PMW3360 optical sensor and an ADNS-9800 laser sensor.  The Tech Report strongly suggests disconnecting the mouse when swapping sensors to avoid any possibility to need to reset the mouse.  It is not just the sensors you can swap, the mouse ships with several Omron D2F switches of varying colours as well as a tool to help swap them.  The mouse is a little pricey but for those with a strong opinion as to which sensors and swiches are the best, this mouse is worth a look.

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"EpicGear's Morpha X gaming mouse offers a wealth of customization options, from its shell to its sensor to its RGB LED accent lighting. We swapped out every component and tested every setting to see whether the Morpha X delivers a spot in the gaming-peripheral hall of fame."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

ADATA Announces XPG SX7000 Line of NVMe PCIe SSDs

Subject: Storage | April 10, 2017 - 04:15 PM |
Tagged: adata, pcie, M.2, NVMe

ADATA has added another line of M.2 PCIe SSDs to their catalog with the XPG SX7000. These drives support NVMe and claim up to 1800 MB/s sequential read performance and 850 MB/s sequential write performance, with both tests measured on CrystalDiskMark at a queue depth of 32. Interestingly enough, their ATTO sequential write results, 860 MB/s, exceed their claimed maximum. Again, each of these numbers are provided by ADATA, so it’s still up to third-parties (like us) to verify. That said, ADATA provided a lot of information in their performance chart, which is nice to see.

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The spec sheet (pdf) provides performance results for three SKUs: 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB. A fourth model (if you guessed 1TB, then you would be right) is also acknowledged, but not elaborated upon. These are all based on 3D TLC flash, with some undefined amount of SLC cache.

Pricing and availability are TBD, but it will come with a 5 year warranty.

Source: ADATA

Another successful VLAN thanks to the Fragging Frogs, AMD and PCPer

Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2017 - 12:24 PM |
Tagged: VLAN party, kick ass, gaming, fragging frogs

The Fragging Frogs' VLAN 15 was a success, wrapping up early Sunday morning as the final golfers headed for the 19th hole.  At its peak we had over 50 people on simultaneously, with 70 unique participants joining throughout the event.  There were over a dozen games played, from newer releases such as Rocket League, Ghost Recon Wildlands and Escape from Tarkov through classics like TF2 and UT2K4 as well as some games only the truly odd can love like Dino D-Day.

Prizes included four motherboards, a cooler, a case and a keyboard which have all featured in reviews here at PCPer as well as a Ryzen 7 1700 straight from AMD.  You should drop by the forum thread to pass on your appreciation of the contributions mmettin, Brandito and of course Lenny, without whom these events would not be possible. 

Hope you had fun at VLAN 15, if you didn't make it this time we hope to see you for the next one!

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Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Fragging Frogs VLAN 15 on Saturday April 8 10:00 AM ET, come celebrate 14 years of gaming!

Subject: General Tech | April 8, 2017 - 05:52 PM |
Tagged: VLAN party, kick ass, gaming, fragging frogs

A long time ago on a website far far away, a brave group of Frogs embarked on a long journey of fun and well ... virtual murderation.   In April of 2003, back when UT2k4 was shiny and new and not retro-gaming the Fragging Frogs held their first live event, a tournament to crown one of us the king of Unreal Tournament.  Since then the gang have been hosting drop-in games every week in a come as you are format and every once and a while Lenny and the crew put together a VLAN party.

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The time has come again to announce another official Fragging Frogs VLAN, this one kicking off at 10AM EDT on Saturday April 8th and going as long as there is still someone gaming.  The previous VLAN saw over 90 people join in at one time or another, with an average of over 50 people active on TeamSpeak and in games.  No matter what type of game you are looking to play, there will be a group you can hook up with to play together or against!

As is tradition, there will be an undisclosed amount of prizes given away at the event but you will have to be on Teamspeak in order to qualify to win.  These prizes are supplied by hardware manufactures, software developers and even from the closets of certain reviewers here at PC Perspective.  You could end up with your own Joshtekk memorabilia!

Post to the official thread to let Lenny and the gang know you plan to attend, especially if you are not yet a forum member as the thread will let you know what you need to do to be eligible to win as well as how to connect to the TeamSpeak server and what patches and mods you should set up.  The list of games people plan on playing has hit 20, if you have one you want to play that is not on the list then make sure to comment in the thread.

See you there!

G.SKILL wants to make sure you have enough RAM, Trident Z RGB DDR4-3333MHz 128GB kit

Subject: Memory | April 7, 2017 - 03:50 PM |
Tagged: Trident Z RGB, intel z270, Intel X99, G.Skill, DDR4-3333MHz, AM4, 128Gb

You did read that correctly, the new Trident Z RGB kit consists of eight 16GB DIMMs which should give you more than enough memory to play with in a variety of ways, including a decent sized RAM drive. There are also some smaller kits available as well as different frequencies, something that Ryzen users should take a peek at as AMD's new chip loves fast RAM.  They do not specify AMD support but one would expect to be able to utilize these chips. This particular kit sports timings of CL16-18-18-38 and below you can see the sizes, frequencies and timings of the other Trident Z RGB kits.

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As the name implies, these DIMMs do indeed have LEDs on them, supporting a wide variety of colours and with a variety of modes so you can have dynamic lighting effects, if that is your desire.  You can see a video of them in action below.

PR below the fold

Source: G.SKILL