Sony Wins PC Crapware Lawsuit

Subject: Systems | September 9, 2016 - 04:36 AM |
Tagged: eu, crapware, sony, Lawsuit

Back in 2008, a customer purchased a laptop from Sony, but refused to accept its end-user license agreement due to its pre-installed software. The customer contacted Sony, demanding to be reimbursed for the junkware. Sony, instead, offered a refund for the PC. The customer, instead of taking the refund, sued Sony for about 3000 Euros.

According to The Register, the EU's highest court has just ruled against the customer.

sony-Vaio.svg_.png

Honestly, this makes sense. The software was around when they purchased the computer, and Sony offered a refund. Yes, companies should offer crapware-free versions of their laptops, even for a slight fee. If adware-free version existed at all, then there might be an issue, but that would belong with Microsoft (or whoever owns the actual platform). It shouldn't be a burden for the individual system builders, unless collusion was involved.

It's also funny to think that, since the laptop was purchased in 2008, we are probably talking about a Vista-era device. Interesting to think about the difference in speed between the legal system and the tech industry.

Source: The Register

NVIDIA Releases 370.28 Drivers for Linux

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 9, 2016 - 03:59 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers, linux

Unfortunately, I don't tend to notice when Linux drivers get released; it's something I want to report more frequently on. Luckily, this time, I heard about NVIDIA's 370.28 graphics drivers while they were still fresh. This one opens up overclocking (and underclocking) for GeForce 10-series GPUs, although NVIDIA (of course) mentions that this is “at the user's own risk”. It also fixes a bunch of Vulkan bugs.

7-TuxGpu.png

Many of these fixes were in the previous, but beta-class drivers, 370.23. It, like 370.28, also includes experimental support for PRIME Synchronization. PRIME handles choosing which GPU drives a given display, which may be different from the GPU that is rendering that image. I'm not too familiar with the system, and I've heard some jokes from the Linux community over the last couple of years about its almost vaporware-like status, but I don't have any personal experience with it.

370.28 is available for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Linux on their website.

Source: NVIDIA

Antec Announces GX1200 Mid Tower Case For Gamers

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 9, 2016 - 12:26 AM |
Tagged: mid tower, E-ATX Case, antec

Antec revealed a new mid tower case aimed at gaming PCs for the European market. The GX1200 mid tower measures 510mm x 200mm x 510mm and supports motherboards up to E-ATX in size. The GX1200 is rather stylized with angled front and top panels along with a large windowed side panel and hexagonal mesh front panel grill. I/O sits on the top edge and includes two audio jacks, a power button, two USB 3.0 ports, and a button to control the LEDs (on/off and mode selection e.g. pulsing, color changing, blinking, and fading).

Antec GX1200.jpg

Antec includes two 120mm RGB LED fans on the front intake and the case also sports an LED under-glow lighting. The case mounted LEDs and up to six fans are controlled using the “Antec Magic Box” which is the company’s fan controller. In addition to the included front intake fans, users can install a 140mm fans in the front and back and two 140mm fans on top. On the water cooling front, it is possible to install a 120mm radiator in back, 280mm radiator up top and a 360mm radiator in the front. Not bad for a mid-tower though you do give up optical drives (there are no 5.25” bays on this case).

Internally, the Antec GX1200 features a bottom mounted PSU (with removable dust filter albeit removable from the rear much to Ryan’s dismay) in its own chamber to help hide cables and isolate heat, two 3.5” bays, three 2.5” SSD mounts, seven PCI slots, and support for graphics cards up to 410mm (~16-inches) in length. There are also various locations to tie up cable bundles behind the motherboard tray as well as holes to pass wires through (though there are no rubber grommets, they are just cut outs).

I am not a huge fan of the aesthetics (I have seen worse though and I may just be getting old hah!), but it does seem like a functional case. It will be available in Europe for 84€ (approximately $95 USD) soon. There is no word on US availability yet.

Source: Antec

Google Continues Clamping Down on HTTP

Subject: General Tech | September 8, 2016 - 11:02 PM |
Tagged: google, chrome, http, https

Many software vendors want to impose security and encryption basically everywhere. Google and Mozilla are two of the more vocal organizations about it, and they have been slowly implementing ways to discourage insecure HTTP (in favor of HTTPS). Some of these make sense, like preventing insecure sites from accessing your webcam so the video stream cannot be intercepted, while others seem a bit pushy, like lowering HTTP-based sites down in search results.

google-2016-chrome-http-not-secure.png

This announcement's change is technologically benign, but is designed to make HTTP feel a bit uncomfortable. Rather than just promote HTTPS sites with a secure padlock symbol, Google Chrome 56 and later will begin to add a “not secure” label to HTTP sites. At first, Google claims that it will only mark sites that transmit sensitive data, like passwords and credit card info. They intend to expand this to all HTTP websites going forward.

Again, this has pros and cons. The main benefit of encryption is that it's much harder to view or manipulate what flies across the data stream. One major disadvantage is that the content needs to be authenticated, which is a concern for truly anonymous expressions. Google Chrome treats local, offline content as secure, but that use case could be easily forgotten, and that could have terrible rammifications, especially in areas controlled by oppressive governments that massively censor art.

Source: Google

Adam Jensen gets an upgrade and so does your AMD Driver - DX12 Deus Ex

Subject: General Tech | September 8, 2016 - 04:27 PM |
Tagged: gaming, dx 12, deus ex: mankind divided, Crimson Edition 16.9.1, amd

As of today you can now try out Deus Ex: Mankind Divided with DX12 enabled if you enable beta content in the game. The fifth patch offers several bug fixes but it also allows you to try out DX12 on your system.  You can see where to head on your Steam client if you have never played with beta settings before.  Once you have enabled beta content and Steam has synced, you will see a DirectX 12 option in the game's Display Options, assuming your card supports it.

beta.PNG

For AMD users this should bring performance improvements as long as you first upgrade to the newly released Crimson Edition 16.9.1 driver which you can grab right here.  The release notes from Edios/Square Interactive state that 'There are no visual or gameplay differences between the two DirectX versions.' so you will not see new features in your game.  The new patch also states that it does not support multiple GPUs in DX12 so ensure you are only using a single card.

dx12opt.png

We have not been able to test the new patch or driver as of yet, however Guru of 3D did post some quick results in an update to their review of the game.  AMD's RX 480, R9 390X and Fury X all see some improvements in 1080p and 1440p but at 4k the card's performance is already topped out.  NVIDIA's cards all showed a slight drop at lower resolutions and like AMD, 4k performance is unchanged.  The new DX12 patch is not enough to unseat the TITAN X and GTX 1080 as the top performers though.

dxmd.PNG

If you have any issues when playing the game simply disable DX12 and get back to your game.  We should see more patches in the near future as the game developers and the two GPU providers work on improving compatibility.

Source: AMD

Shove some aluminium in your ears, Kennerton's Audio Laguz earbuds

Subject: General Tech | September 8, 2016 - 02:32 PM |
Tagged: laguz, audio, Kennerton, earbuds

Though they somewhat resemble tiny microphones, these Kennerton Audio Laguz are indeed in-ear headphones.  They may not work on the new iPhone without an adapter but for anything else the standard plug will work just fine.  These $110 earbuds have tiny 8mm dynamic driver with a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz.  The metal body and stress relief should ensure these headphones last a while but the price is somewhat steep, then again TechPowerUp didn't seem to find that price off-putting.

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"Kennerton Audio's newest mid-end offering, the Laguz, is put to the test. Priced at $110, it will face fierce competition from the Brainwavz S5 and HiFiMAN RE-400. The Laguz is absolutely tiny and features a rugged aluminum design that is pretty unique."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: TechPowerUp

Podcast #416 - Intel SSD 600p, Leaked Zen Performance, new iPhone and PS4 and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 8, 2016 - 01:28 PM |
Tagged: Zen, VR, video, ssd, sony, qualcomm, ps4 pro, ps4, prodigy, power9, podcast, phanteks, logitech, iPhone 7, Intel, IBM, gtx 1050, geekbench, Enthoo, corsair, carbide, amd, a10, 600p

PC Perspective Podcast #416 - 09/08/16

Join us this week as we discuss the Intel SSD 600p, Leaked Zen Performance, new iPhone and PS4 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 and Jeremy Hellstrom

Program length: 1:48:53
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. Razer PAX 2016
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
  4. Closing/outro

McAfee Antivirus is effective against its own death

Subject: General Tech | September 8, 2016 - 01:20 PM |
Tagged: mcafee, Intel, antivirus

In a strange turn of events it seems that McAfee has risen once again to appear on the marketplace in a move reminiscent of a certain Uncle Duke story line.  Intel has sold their majority stake, worth $3.1bn in cash, to a private equity firm called TPG.  Intel retains 49% of the shares, not quite breaking even on the purchase they made back in 2010 but having seen solid profits from that business while they were running it.  TPG has now renamed itself McAfee and Chris Young, the general manager of Intel Security will be a part of the new team.  Pop by The Register for more on the antivirus company that just keeps coming back, but there is no word as of yet from the company's namesake.

the-crazy-life-of-former-fugitive-and-cybersecurity-legend-john-mcafee.jpg

"Intel is selling off a majority stake in its security software arm – formerly known as McAfee – to private equity firm TPG, which will rename itself to, er, McAfee."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Sony Announces the New PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro

Subject: General Tech | September 7, 2016 - 09:18 PM |
Tagged: sony, ps4, ps4 pro, microsoft, Project Scorpio, xbox

At today's media briefing event, Sony announced two new versions of their PlayStation 4 console. The first is not even given a new name; they are just referring to it as the “new slimmer and lighter PS4” in their marketing material. It replaces the current version with one that is about 30% smaller, 16% lighter, and 28% more power efficient, according to a press release provided by AMD.

This update will be sold for $299.99 USD ($379.99 CDN) starting on September 15th.

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The main topic of discussion was the PlayStation 4 Pro, though. Like Microsoft is doing with Project Scorpio, Sony wants the PS4 Pro to be compatible with the same catalog of titles, but do so at higher resolution and color depths. Sony claims that this generation is basically maxing out what can be done with 1080p. PC developers do not seem to have a problem using performance for new features, but the point that development costs are quickly becoming the limiting factor is valid to some extent.

In terms of specifications, while the CPU got an unspecified speed bump, the main upgrade is a new GPU, which is rated at 4.2 TFLOPs. This is about 30% slower than Microsoft's announced Project Scorpio (6 TFLOPs) but it also will arrive a year sooner. Will this lead time matter, though? The software catalog is already being built up by both companies, and it has been since each console launched in 2013.

sony-2016-ps4-pro.jpg

Did they ever explain the extra ring on the case?

Also, because Microsoft started with a weaker console, scaling up to 4K resolution should be easier for their game developers. Project Scorpio is about 4.6x faster than the Xbox One, and it intends to draw four times the number of pixels. The gap between the PS4 and the PS4 Pro is just 2.3x. That could be a problem for them. (Meanwhile, us PC gamers can strap multiple 10+ TFLOP GPUs together for true 4K at decent frame rates, but that's another discussion.)

Granted, theoretical is different than real-world. We'll need to re-evaluate the industry in a couple of years, once an appropriate amount of hindsight is available. Also, Sony claims that PlayStation VR will still be available for both consoles, and that it will be a good experience whatever you choose. This is clearly aimed at Microsoft requiring Project Scorpio for their upcoming VR initiative, although likely to prevent confusion in their own fan base, rather than prodding their competitor.

Again, the PlayStation 4 Pro is launching this year, November 10th, and is expected to retail for $399.99 USD ($499.99 CDN). It's not a big jump in performance, but it's also not a big jump in price, either. In fact, I would consider it priced low enough to question the value of the regular PS4, even at $299.

What are your thoughts? Is this actually priced too low for pro?

Source: Sony

Apple Announces iPhone 7 and 7 Plus with A10 SoC

Subject: Mobile | September 7, 2016 - 09:16 PM |
Tagged: smartphone, mobile, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 7, iphone, DCI P3, apple, a10

Another Apple announcement is in the books, and with it comes the expected refresh to the iPhone lineup. The new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus offer some notable upgrades from the previous models, though it's the lack of a 3.5 mm headphone jack that has been getting much of the attention.

iphone701.png

Looking past the omission of the headphone jack for a moment, what exactly is new and noteworthy here? For starters, the iPhone 7 brings a new SoC to the table with the A10, a new design that is Apple's first foray into a "big.LITTLE" type of configuration. Unlike the A9 SoC's processor, a dual-core 1.85 GHz design, the A10 now offers a pair of high-performance cores, and a pair of high-efficiency cores that Apple says require only 1/5 of the larger pair's power. This sort of processor configuration is obviously similar to a number of existing ARM designs, which similarly combine faster and slower cores in an effort to reduce power consumption - though the 1/5 number is significant. It will be enlightening to see what the actual core speeds are - as well as particulars on the GPU, which is "50% faster" than the A9's PowerVR GT7600.

iphone7.jpg

Other major updates include the cameras, which now features optical image stabilization (OIS) in the regular 7 as well as the 7 Plus (it was a 6/6s Plus-exclusive feature previously). The camera - or rather cameras - on the iPhone 7 Plus provide separate wide-angle and telephoto lenses, and allow for some powerful depth-of-field effects as demoed during the presentation. The displays contain another significant update - but not in resolution. The previous (low) 750x1344 resolution from the 6s remains in the iPhone 7, with the 7 Plus sticking to 1080x1920. The upgrade comes from the backlighting, which now provides 25% greater brightness and much wider color from the DCI P3 color space.

iphone702.png

The lack of a 3.5 mm headphone jack was rumored for months leading up to today's announcement, and of course it will be a controversial topic. The Lightning connector is the only port on the iPhone 7/7 Plus, and Lightning-connected earbuds are included along with a 3.5 mm adapter (which also includes the DAC and headphone amp). The new haptic motor for the new non-mechanical home button is partly to blame for the omission of the headphone jack, but might also have been removed as part of the process to make the iPhone water resistant - a first for Apple.

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Wireless earbuds ("AirPods") were also announced, which look pretty much like the existing "EarPods" with the cord cut off. One final note on sound: the new iPhones have stereo speakers for the first time, with sound claimed to be 50% louder than previous, and now emanating from both ends of the phone.

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The family of iPhones now includes the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, along with existing 6s, 6s Plus, and the iPhone SE. In a surprising move, Apple announced that they would upgrade last year's 6s models to shipping with double the base storage - 32GB vs. 16GB - for the same price.

Pre-orders for the new iPhones begin on September 9th, with pricing beginning at $649 for the 32GB iPhone 7, and $769 for the 32GB iPhone 7 Plus.

Source: Apple

AMD Officially Launches Bristol Ridge Processors And Zen-Ready AM4 Platform

Subject: Motherboards, Processors | September 7, 2016 - 08:08 PM |
Tagged: Zen, Summit Ridge, Excavator, Bristol Ridge, amd, A12-9800

This week AMD officially took the wraps off of its 7th generation APU lineup that it introduced back in May. Previously known as Bristol Ridge, AMD is launching eight new processors along with a new desktop platform that finally brings next generation I/O to AMD systems.

Bristol Ridge maintains the Excavator CPU cores and GCN GPU cores of Carrizo, but on refreshed silicon with performance and power efficiency gains that will bring the architecture started by Bulldozer to an apex. These will be the last chips of that line, and wil be succeeded by AMD's new "Zen" architecture in 2017. For now though, Bristol Ridge delivers as much as 17% higher per thread CPU performance and 27% higher graphics performance while using significantly lower power than its predecessors. Further, AMD has been able to (thanks to various process tweaks that Josh talked about previously) hit some impressive clock speeds with these chips enabling AMD to better compete with Intel's Core i5 offerings.

Bristol Ridge.png

At the top end AMD has the (65W) quad core A12-9800 running at 3.8 GHz base and 4.2 GHz boost paired with GCN 3.0-based Radeon R7 graphics (that support VP9 and HEVC acceleration). These new Bristol Ridge chips are able to take advantage of DDR4 clocked up to 2400 MHz. For DIY PC builders planning to use dedicated graphics, AMD has the non-APU Athlon X4 950 which features four CPU cores at 3.5 GHz base and 3.8 GHz boost with a 65W TDP. While it is not clocked quite as high as its APU counterpart, it should still prove to be a popular choice for budge builds and will replace the venerable Athlon X4 860 and will also be paired with an AM4 motherboard that will be ready to accept a new Zen-based "Summit Ridge" CPU next year.

The following table lists the eight new 7th generation "Bristol Ridge" processors and their specifications. 

  CPU Cores CPU Clocks Base / Boost GPU GPU CUs GPU Clocks (Max) TDP

A12-98004

4 3.8 GHz / 4.2 GHz Radeon R7 8 1,108 MHz 65W
A12-9800E4 4 3.1 GHz / 3.8 GHz Radeon R7 8 900 MHz 35W
A10-9700 4 3.5 GHz / 3.8 GHz Radeon R7 6 1,029 MHz 65W
A10-9700E 4 3.0 GHz / 3.5 GHz Radeon R7 6 847 MHz 35W
A8-9600 4 3.1 GHz / 3.4 GHz Radeon R7 6 900 MHz 65W
A6-9500 2 3.5 GHz / 3.8 GHz Radeon
R5
6 1029 MHz 65W
A6-9500E 2 3.0 GHz / 3.4 GHz Radeon
R5
4 800 MHz 35W
Athlon X4 950 4 3.5 GHz / 3.8 GHz None 0 N/A 65W

Source: AMD

To expand on the performance increases of Bristol Ridge, AMD compared the A12-9800 to the previous generation A10-8850 as well as Intel's Core i5-6500. According to the company, the Bristol Ridge processor handily beats the Carrizo chip and is competitive with the Intel i5. Specifically, when comparing Bristol Ridge and Carrizo, AMD found that the A12-9800 scored 3,521.25 in 3DMark 11 while the A10-8850 (95W Godavari) scored 2,880. Further, when compared in Cinebench R11.5 1T the A12-980 scored 1.21 versus the A10-8850's 1.06. Not bad when you consider that the new processor has a 30W lower TDP!

With that said, the comparison to Intel is perhaps most interesting to the readers. In this case, the A12-9800 is about where you would expect though that is not necessarily a bad thing. It does pull a bit closer to Intel in CPU and continues to offer superior graphics performance.

  AMD A12-9800 (65W) Intel Core i5-6500 (65W) AMD A10-8850 (95W)

3DMark 11 Performance

3,521.25 1,765.75 2,880
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated 3,483.25 3,702 Not run
Cinebench R11.5 1T 1.21 Not run 1.06

Source: AMD

Specifically, in 3DMark 11 Performance the A12-9800's score of 3,521.25 is quite a bit better than the Intel i5-6500's 1,765.75 result. However, in the more CPU focused PCMark 8 Home Accelerated benchmark the Intel comes out ahead with a score of 3,702 versus the AMD A12-9800's score of 3,483.25. If the price is right Bristol Ridge does not look too bad on paper, assuming AMD's testing holds true in independent reviews!

The AM4 Platform

Alongside the launch of desktop 7th generation APUs, AMD is launching a new AM4 platform that supports Bristol Ridge and is ready for Zen APUs next year. The new platform finally brings new I/O technologies to AMD systems including PCI-E 3.0, NVMe, SATA Express, DDR4, and USB 3.1 Gen 2.

According to Digital Trends, AMD's AM4 desktop platform wil span all the way from low end to enthusiast motherboards and these boards will be powered by one of three new chipsets. The three new chipsets are the B350 for mainstream, A320 for "essential," and X/B/A300 for small form factor motherboards. Notably missing is any mention of an enthusiast chipset, but one is reportedly being worked on and will arive closer to the launch of Zen-based processors in 2017.

The image below outlines the differences in the chipsets. Worth noting is that the APUs themselves will handle the eight lanes of PCI-E 3.0, dual channel DDR4, four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, and two SATA 6Gbps and two NVMe or PCI-E 3.0 storage devices. This leaves PCI-E 2.0, SATA Express, additional SATA 6Gbps, and USB 3.1 Gen 2 connection duties to the chipsets.

AMD Bristol Ridge AM4 Chipsets.jpg

As of today, AMD has only announced the availability of AM4 motherboards and 7th generation APUs for OEM systems (with design wins from HP and Lenovo so far). The company will be outlining the channel / DIY PC builder lineup and pricing at a later (to be announced date).

I am looking forward to Zen and in a way the timing of Bristol Ridge seems strange. On the other hand, for OEMs it should do well and hold them over until then (heh) and enthusiasts / DIY builders are able to buy into Bristol Ridge knowing that they will be able to upgrade to Zen next year (while getting better than Carrizo performance with less power and possibly better overclocking) is not a bad option so long as the prices are right!

The full press blast is included below for more information on how they got their benchmark results.

Source: AMD

NVIDIA Launches GeForce Experience 3.0

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 7, 2016 - 08:02 PM |
Tagged: dirty pool, nvidia, geforce experience, geforce

Update (September 7th @ 9:34pm): It's been pointed out in our comments that the new GeForce Experience cannot be used without logging in. It supports NVIDIA, Google, and Facebook accounts.

It's been in Beta for a while, but NVIDIA has just officially launched their new GeForce Experience application. The release version is 3.0.5.22, so be sure to check for updates if you were in the beta and your settings panel shows an earlier version. Also, there's an “allow experimental features” checkbox right under the version number, too, also in the settings panel. It defaults to on for me, so you might want to take a look if you use GeForce Experience for anything professional (ex: Twitch streaming).

Anywho, the new version runs a lot better for me than the previous one. I used to have quite long load times, often literally in the minutes, with version 2. With version 3, it often pops up in less than a second, or maybe a couple of seconds at the worst.

Obviously, if you don't use GeForce Experience, then you don't really need to update. WHQL drivers can still be downloaded from their website (although installing drivers through GeForce Experience 3.0 has been fairly bug-free for me) and most of its other features can be obtained with other applications, like OBS Studio. That said, it's free and pretty good, so it's worth giving it a try.

Source: NVIDIA

The Strix strikes again, Asus' ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 7, 2016 - 03:41 PM |
Tagged: GTX 1080 STRIX GAMING, asus, GTX 1080, aerogel

ASUS has updated their GTX 1080 Strix with a few more features than the previous models in this family.  The aesthetics are a bit different but there is more to the card than that, hidden under the front edge of the card are two four pin fan headers which allow you to connect two case fans to the card which will react according to the heat load on the GPU.  The new DirectCU cooler has five copper heatpipes and the PCB has eight-plus-two power-phases.  There are two models, the ROG Strix-GTX1080-A8G-Gaming and the ROG Strix-GTX1080-O8G-Gaming, with core speeds of 1670/1809MHz and 1759/1898MHz respectively.  The Tech Report tested out the first of those two cards, see how it matches up to the competition here.

side.jpg

"Asus' graphics cards are favorites of ours at TR, so we were excited when the ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 landed in our labs. We put it to the test to see whether Asus gave Pascal a good set of wings."

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

Graphics Cards

Onward Mil-Sim; more VR game testing

Subject: General Tech | September 7, 2016 - 01:30 PM |
Tagged: gaming, onward, VR, htc vive, Downpour Interactive

Next up in [H]ard|OCP's series of VR game testing is Downpour Interactive's Onward, currently in early access and only available on the HTC Vive.  As with previous testing this is not about benchmarking the greatest GPU for the game but focuses on the experience you will have playing the game on different GPUs.  Frames dropping out or lagging on a monitor is mildly annoying but can completely ruin your day when using a VR headset.  This one turned out to be quite a challenge, even the GTX 1080 had significant frame reproductions.

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"Downpour Interactive is the company behind the Early Access Game, Onward. It is a self-proclaimed Mil-Sim shooter title. The big thing about this is it looks to be the first VR game that has solid support for multiplayer missions. HTC Vive currently required. What video card do we need this time around for best performance?"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: [H]ard|OCP

If you thought IoT security was already bad ...

Subject: General Tech | September 7, 2016 - 12:25 PM |
Tagged: iot, security, ssh, idiots

The research that SEC Consult has conducted shows that almost half of all IoT devices, from your router straight through to devices in hospitals and factories use public SSH host keys and X.509 certificates.  Since these keys are known far and wide it is depressingly easy to break the encryption on any communications from these devices and harvest passwords and other data or even to change the contents of that package on the fly.  Imagine a heart monitor which reports a strong heartbeat long after the patient has died or a large machine in a power plant being given different readings to allow it to exceed safety margins and destroy itself.  This is only getting worse, as many companies creating these IoT devices are either trying to save money by using packaged software or in some cases are totally ignorant of the effect of reusing keys.

If you can, change your keys to be device specific and isolate them on your network.  As The Register unhappily points out, this is not something your average consumer or purchasing department is aware of, let alone proficient enough to change keys on their devices.

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"Millions of internet-facing devices – from home broadband routers to industrial equipment – are still sharing well-known private keys for encrypting their communications."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Upcoming Mini ITX Antec Cube – Designed by Razer Launched At PAX West

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 6, 2016 - 09:28 PM |
Tagged: antec, mini ITX, SFF, water cooling, razer, PAX

At PAX West, Antec, in a partnership with Razer, showed off a new small form factor case for Mini ITX systems called the Antec Cube – Designed By Razer. The new case is an angular forward leaning design with an all-black finish complemented by green LEDs and darkened acrylic windows on the sides and top. It sports a green power button, green triple snake Razer logo, front IO on the top edge of the front panel with green USB 3.0 ports, and green LED under-glow strips on the left and right bottom sides. Needless to say, this is the case for fans of the color green (heh).

Antec Cube Designed By Razer.jpg

Internally, the Antec Cube – Designed By Razer (Why must this have such a long name?) can accommodate Mini ITX motherboards, ATX power supplies, three expansion slots, one 3.5” hard drive, and up to four 2.5” drives. It has decent component support with room for GPUs up to 350mm (~13.77”) with front intake fans removed and CPU coolers up to  190mm (~7.48”) tall. The motherboard is installed upside down so GPUs will be closest to the top of the case. The power supply is hidden in the bottom of the case by a shroud that allows you to hide your rats nest of cables (heh) as well.

As for cooling, the small form factor case has support for up to a 140mm rear exhaust fan and two 120mm intake fans in the front (or a 240mm water cooling radiator).

I think that this case would be a good fit for a custom water cooling loop as an air cooled GPU may have a hard time being up top with little ventilation, especially if it is not of the blower style design and is dumping heat out into the top of the case. Also, it would look cooler (heh). Actually, Antec showed off a water cooled system using the case at PAX West which you can see in this video thanks to Steve Burke over at Gamer’s Nexus who was at the show. It does have some nice features including a removable PSU dust filter and a new click system for the side panels that reportedly make them easy to remove and install.

Antec Razer Cube.png

The case will be sold individually as well as in pre-built systems in the US while in China it will be sold exclusively with pre-built PCs from OEMs. Production is slated to begin next month with availability by the end of the year. There is no word yet on pricing, unfortunately.

What do you think about the new SFF case? And those green LEDs?

Source: Antec

Europeans: Epic Games Is Hosting a VR Game Jam

Subject: General Tech | September 6, 2016 - 05:58 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, epic games, valve, htc, vr funhouse, vive

So Epic Games, NVIDIA, and HTC (with Valve) are hosting a game jam aboard the MS Bleichen ship in Hamburg, Germany. The purpose is to develop mods for VR Funhouse. Nothing says a fun VR experience like room-scale experiences on a boat. Hopefully it will be firmly docked to prevent judges from getting sea-sick... or not. Maybe that will make the carnival games even better?

epic-2016-vrfunhousegamejam.png

The jam takes place between September 24th and September 26th. Epic, NVIDIA, and Valve will be donating prizes to the event. Tickets cost 16.67 Euros, although I'm guessing that doesn't include food or a place to sleep -- they don't say one way or the other. The general public can also buy tickets for the last day, to experience the creations.

Source: EventBrite

Rumor: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 GPU-Z Screenshot

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 6, 2016 - 05:45 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, pascal, gtx 1050, geforce

I don't know why people insist on encoding screenshots from form-based windows in JPEG. You have very little color variation outside of text, which is typically thin and high-contrast from its surroundings. JPEG's Fourier Transform will cause rippling artifacts in the background, which should be solid color, and will almost definitely have a larger file size. Please, everyone, at least check to see how big a PNG will be before encoding it as JPEG. (In case you notice that I encoded it in JPEG too, that's because re-compressing JPEG artifacts makes PNG's file-size blow up, forcing me to actually need to use JPEG.)

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It also makes it a bit more difficult to tell whether a screenshot has been manipulated, because the hitches make everything look suspect. Regardless, BenchLife claims to have a leaked GPU-Z result for the GeForce GTX 1050. They claim that it will be using the GP107 die at 75W, although the screenshot claims neither of these. If true, this means that it will not be a further cut-down version of GP106, as seen in the two GTX 1060 parts, which would explain a little bit why they wanted both of them to remain in the 1060 level of branding. (Although why they didn't call the 6GB version the 1060 Ti is beyond me.)

What the screenshot does suggest, though, is that it will have 4GB of GDDR5 memory, on a 128-bit bus. It will have 768 shaders, the same as the GTX 950, although clocked about 15% higher (boost vs boost) and 15W lower, bringing it back into the range of PCIe bus power (75W). That doesn't mean that it will not have a six-pin external power connector, but that could be the case, like the 750 Ti.

This would give it about 2.1 TeraFLOPs of performance, which is on part with the GeForce GTX 660 from a few generations ago, as well as the RX 460, which is also 75W TDP.

Source: Benchlife

A lot of cooling for a little system, the Corsair H5 SF AIO watercooler

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 6, 2016 - 05:44 PM |
Tagged: corsair, Corsair H5 SF, AIO, water cooler, SFF

You can't judge a system by it's cover anymore, tiny systems that would appear to be an HTPC could in fact be a higher end gaming system thanks to the number of SFF enthusiast class boards released over the past year. Indeed one of the biggest hurdles system builders face is fitting appropriate cooling into the small cases.  Corsair released their H5 SF all in one watercooler at the beginning of the year and we have seen several reviews of the uniquely shaped cooler.  The H5 SF will cool your CPU but it does come with a noise penalty thanks to the fan.  If you haven't seen this cooler before, or are just in need of a refresher you can pop by Techgage as they have just completed a review of this cooler.

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"Cooling options for those building or upgrading an itty bitty mini-ITX system are few and far between, and even less so if liquid cooling is a must. Fear not small form factor lovers, Corsair is here to save the day with the H5 SF, the mightiest of all mini all-in-one liquid cool ers, so read on to see if it can keep up with today’s pint sized powerhouses."

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

CASES & COOLING

 

Source: Techgage

Leaked Geekbench Results: AMD Zen Performance Extrapolated

Subject: Processors | September 6, 2016 - 03:05 PM |
Tagged: Zen, single thread, geekbench, amd

Over the holiday weekend a leaked Geekbench benchmark result on an engineering sample AMD Zen processor got tech nerds talking. Other than the showcase that AMD presented a couple weeks back using the Blender render engine, the only information we have on performance claims come from AMD touting a "40% IPC increase" over the latest Bulldozer derivative. 

The results from Geekbench show performance from a two physical processor system and a total of 64 cores running at 1.44 GHz. Obviously that clock speed is exceptionally low; AMD demoed Summit Ridge running at 3.0 GHz in the showcase mentioned above. But this does give us an interesting data point with which to do some performance extrapolation. If we assume perfect clock speed scaling, we can guess at performance levels that AMD Zen might see at various clocks. 

I needed a quick comparison point and found this Geekbench result from a Xeon E7-8857 v2 running at 3.6 GHz. That is an Ivy Bridge based architecture and though the system has 48 cores, we are only going to a look at single threaded results to focus on the IPC story.

Obviously there are a ton of caveats with looking at data like this. It's possible that AMD Zen platform was running in a very sub-optimal condition. It's possible that the BIOS and motherboard weren't fully cache aware (though I would hope that wouldn't be the case this late in the game). It's possible that the Linux OS was somehow holding back performance of the Zen architecture and needs update. There are many reasons why you shouldn't consider this data a final decision yet; but that doesn't make it any less interesting to see.

In the two graphs below I divide the collection of single threaded results from Geekbench into two halves and there are three data points for each benchmark. The blue line represents the Xeon Ivy Bridge processor running at 3.6 GHz. The light green line shows the results from the AMD Zen processor running at 1.44 GHz as reported by Geekbench. The dark green line shows an extrapolated AMD Zen performance result with perfect scaling by frequency. 

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Continue reading our preview of AMD Zen single threaded performance!!

Source: Geekbench