Huawei Kirin Cheating Extends to Geekbench, P20 Pro Tested

Subject: Processors, Mobile | September 9, 2018 - 04:50 PM |
Tagged: p20 pro, Kirin 970, Kirin, Huawei

This story first appeared on ShroutResearch.com.

Last week the gang at Anandtech posted a story discovering systematic cheating by Huawei in smartphone benchmarks. In its story, AT focused on 3DMark and GFXBench, looking at how the Chinese-based silicon and phone provider was artificially increasing benchmark scores to gain an advantage in its battles with other smartphone providers and SoC vendors like Qualcomm.

As a result of that testing, UL Benchmarks (who acquired Futuremark) delisted several Huawei smartphones from 3DMark, taking the artificial scores down from the leaderboards. This puts the existing device reviews in question while also pulling a cloud over the recently announced (and impressive sounding) Kirin 980 SoC meant to battle with the Snapdragon 845 and next-gen Qualcomm product. The Kirin 980 will be the first shipping processor to integrate high performance Arm Cortex-A76 cores, so the need to cheat on performance claims is questionable.

Just a day after this story broke, UL and Huawei released a joint statement that is, quite honestly, laughable.

"In the discussion, Huawei explained that its smartphones use an artificial intelligent resource scheduling mechanism. Because different scenarios have different resource needs, the latest Huawei handsets leverage innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence to optimize resource allocation in a way so that the hardware can demonstrate its capabilities to the fullest extent, while fulfilling user demands across all scenarios.

To somehow assert that any kind of AI processing is happening on Huawei devices that is responsible for the performance differences that Anandtech measured is at best naïve and at worst straight out lying. This criticism is aimed at both Huawei and UL Benchmarks – I would assume that a company with as much experience in performance evaluation would not succumb to this kind of messaging.

After that AT story was posted, I started talking with the team that builds Geekbench, one of the most widely used and respected benchmarks for processors on mobile devices and PCs. It provides a valuable resource of comparative performance and leaderboards. As it turns out, Huawei devices are exhibiting the same cheating behavior in this benchmark.

Below I have compiled results from Geekbench that were run by developer John Poole on a Huawei P20 Pro device powered by the Kirin 970 SoC. (Private app results, public app results.) To be clear: the public version is the application package as downloaded from the Google Play Store while the private version is a custom build he created to test against this behavior. It uses absolutely identical workloads and only renames the package and does basic string replacement in the application.

gb-single.png

gb-multi.png

gb-change.png

Clearly the Huawei P20 Pro is increasing performance on the public version of the Geekbench test and not on the private version, despite using identical workloads on both. In the single threaded tests, the total score is 6.5% lower with the largest outlier being in the memory performance sub-score, where the true result is 14.3% slower than the inaccurate public version result. Raw integer performance drops by 3.7% and floating-point performance falls by 5.6%.

The multi-threaded score differences are much more substantial. Floating point performance drops by 26% in the private version of Geekbench, taking a significant hit that would no doubt affect its placement in the leaderboards and reviews of flagship Android smartphones.

Overall, the performance of the Huawei P20 Pro is 6.5% slower in single threaded testing and 16.7% slower in multi-threaded testing when the artificial score inflation in place within the Huawei customized OS is removed. Despite claims to the contrary, and that somehow an AI system is being used to recognize specific user scenarios and improve performance, this is another data point to prove that Huawei was hoping to pull one over on the media and consumers with invalid performance comparisons.

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Some have asked me why this issue matters; if the hardware is clearly capable of performance like this, why should Huawei and HiSilicon not be able to present it that way? The higher performance results that 3DMark, GFXBench, and now Geekbench show are not indicative of the performance consumers get with their devices on real applications. The entire goal of benchmarks and reviews is to try to convey the experience a buyer would get for a smartphone, or anything else for that matter.

If Huawei wanted one of its devices to offer this level of performance in games and other applications, it could do so, but at the expense of other traits. Skin temperature, battery life, and device lifespan could all be impacted – something that would definitely affect the reviews and reception of a smartphone. Hence, the practice of cheating in an attempt to have the best of both.

The sad part about all of this is that Huawei’s flagship smartphones have been exceptional in nearly every way. Design, screen quality, camera integration, features; the Mate and P-series devices have been excellent representations of what an Android device can be. Unfortunately, for enthusiasts that follow the market, this situation will follow the company and cloud some of those positives.

Today’s data shows that the story of Huawei and benchmarks goes beyond just 3DMark and GFXBench. We will be watching this closely to see how Huawei responds and if any kinds of updates to existing hardware are distributed. And, as the release of Kirin 980 devices nears, you can be sure that testing and evaluation of these will get a more scrutinizing eye than ever.

Assassin's Creed: Odyssey Specs. They Are Interesting.

Subject: General Tech | September 9, 2018 - 02:54 PM |
Tagged:

Once again, we’re entering the fall and winter rushes of video games, which will provide several months of AAA releases. One of the earlier entries, launching October 5th, will be Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey.

Ubisoft recently published their requirements for “Minimum” at 720p, “Recommended” at 1080p, and “Recommended 4K” at, as the name suggests, 4K. Each of these levels assume 30 FPS. While 30Hz is not what a lot of PC gamers consider recommended, I am glad that Ubisoft qualified what “minimum” and “recommended” actually corresponds to. They even publish expected clock rates, which leads to a notable scenario...

Here are the specifications. Be sure to read the analysis after! It should be interesting.

Minimum:

  • 64-bit Windows 7 SP1 (or later)
  • AMD FX 6300 @ 3.8 GHz or Intel Core i5-2400 @ 3.1 GHz or AMD Ryzen 3 - 1200
  • AMD R9 285 (2GB) or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 46GB of available storage

Recommended:

  • 64-bit Windows 7 SP1 (or later)
  • AMD FX-8350 @ 4.0 GHz or Intel Core i7-3770 @ 3.5 GHz or AMD Ryzen 5 – 1400
  • AMD Radeon R9 290X (4GB) or NVIIDA GeForce GTX 970 (4GB)
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 46GB of available storage

Recommended 4K:

  • Windows 10 64-bit
  • AMD Ryzen 1700X @ 3.8 GHz or Intel Core i7-7700 @ 4.2 GHz
  • AMD Vega 64 or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (8GB)
  • 16GB of RAM
  • 46GB of available storage

As I look through this list, a few details pop out at me:

  1. AMD Ryzen 1700X requires a lower clock rate than the Core i7-7700 at 4K
    • Seems to suggest that Odyssey will meaningfully use more than eight threads.
    • Makes a strong case for higher core counts in consumer PCs going forward.
  2. 4K only requires a GTX 1080 (or a Vega 64)
    • Suggests that even a single GTX 1080 Ti can run 4K significantly above 30FPS maxed.
  3. 4K recommends 16GB of RAM
    • Seems to suggest that Ubisoft will keep higher level-of-detail (LOD) assets loaded at longer draw distances when the resolution is up to 4K. (I could be wrong though.)

Obviously the first point is the most interesting for me. Intel could have increased core counts for a long time now, albeit at the expense of more SKUs, larger dies, and so forth. If Assassin’s Creed is any indication, we’re beginning to see consumer software getting more comfortable with parallel code. That said, I expect that, even if Intel released bigger SKUs earlier, software would still lag until around this time anyway. The point is that AMD has an answer for it now, and, unlike their gamble with Bulldozer, it’s well-timed with software trends.

Of course, AMD probably coaxed that to happen with the Xbox One and PS4.

Assassin's Creed: Odyssey launches on Friday, October 5th. Check out the system specs here.

Source: Ubisoft

PCPer Mailbag #57 - How Many Rays Would a Ray Tracer Trace If a Ray Tracer Could Trace Rays?

Subject: Editorial | September 7, 2018 - 10:03 PM |
Tagged: video, Ryan Shrout, pcper mailbag

It's time for the PCPer Mailbag, our weekly show where Ryan and the team answer your questions about the tech industry, the latest and greatest GPUs, the process of running a tech review website, and more!

On today's show:

00:51 - NVIDIA 7nm GPU plans?
03:57 - NVIDIA vs. AMD for older CPUs?
06:33 - Threadripper workstation boards?
08:43 - Jensen Huang?
10:19 - Ray tracing performance drop?
12:50 - Ray tracing quality vs. performance slider?
15:10 - Updates for RTX AI breaking games?
17:13 - PCPer interviews with game developers?

Want to have your question answered on a future Mailbag? Leave a comment on this post or in the YouTube comments for the latest video. Check out new Mailbag videos each Friday!

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel to make sure you never miss our weekly reviews and podcasts, and please consider supporting PC Perspective via Patreon to help us keep videos like our weekly mailbag coming!

Source: YouTube

Corsair's Crystal cave, aka the 280X

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 7, 2018 - 04:27 PM |
Tagged: corsair, Crystal 280X RGB

The Corsair Crystal 280X RGB is indeed large enough to fit an R9 280X, and AMD isn't really using that name anymore so why not just poach it?  As with the Air 240, the case has two compartments, one for your motherboard and add in cards, with a separate one behind to hold your PSU as well as fans or even a radiator.  RGB addicts will love the pair of LL120 RGB fans and Lighting Node Pro controller.  Take a peek at this new case over at TechPowerUp.

casenew.jpg

"The Corsair Crystal 280X RGB takes the idea behind the Air 240, and the classy looks and material mix of the Crystal family, and marries them in an even more compact, powerful, and beautiful enclosure that includes not only better liquid-cooling compatibility but also features Corsair's retail-grade LL120 RGB fans and the Lightning Pro Node."

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

CASES & COOLING

 

Source: TechPowerUp

Shut up! MEG did good at Threadripping

Subject: Motherboards | September 7, 2018 - 02:55 PM |
Tagged: msi, eatx, B350I PRO AC, b350, amd

Threadripper boards are expensive and the MSI MEG X399 Creation is no exception and Guru 3D takes a look to see if it is a good value.  This eATX board sports four PCIe 16x slots and a pair of PCIe 1x slots, support for up to eight DIMMs of DDR4-3600 and three M.2 ports, not counting the M.2 Xpander-Aero PCIe add-in card looks like a GPU but instead adds an additional four M.2 ports.  That barely scratches the surface of what the MEG has to offer; more will be revealed to you if you visit Guru 3D.

img_6069.jpg

"For Ryzen Threadripper 2000 MSI released a new motherboard which we review, their MEG X399 Creation. The board is stylish, loaded with features has subtle LED effects, terrific WIFI and obviously off..."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Board shorts, the GPU market shrinks a bit

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 7, 2018 - 01:36 PM |
Tagged: jon peddie, gpu market share, amd, nvidia

Last week we had a peek at the overall GPU market, including APUs, and the news was not great.  This week Jon Peddie released details on the discrete GPU market, which also saw contractions.  When you look at this quarter versus last quarter, sales dropped by 28% and are down 5.7% from this time last year, similar to the trend we saw with the total market.  If you look back over time Q2 tends to be a bad quarter for GPU sales and the current market is actually larger in total volume than two years ago, before the mining craze was fully underway. 

You can see the details of AMD and NVIDIA's quarter below.

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The market shares for the desktop discrete GPU suppliers shifted in the quarter, Nvidia increased market share from last quarter, while AMD enjoyed an increase in share year-to-year."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: Jon Peddie

Podcast #512 - Synology DS1618+, BitFenix 750W PSU, and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 6, 2018 - 04:06 PM |
Tagged: video, Threadripper, synology, skype, ryzen, podcast, P65, msi, logitech, Kirin 980, Huawei, g502, g305, falcon northwest, DS1618+, bitfenix, battlefield, amd, 2950x

PC Perspective Podcast #512 - 09/06/18

Join us this week for discussion on Synology DS1618+, BitFenix 750W PSU, 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: 1:11:50

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. 1:02:45 Jeremy: Can’t afford RTX?
    2. 1:04:05 Josh: We love new SSDs!
    3. 1:06:50 Allyn: DarkSky.net (especially the app)
  4. Closing/outro
 
Source:

The Huawei defence; it ain't cheatin' if everyone does it!

Subject: General Tech | September 6, 2018 - 01:52 PM |
Tagged: Huawei, dirty pool, Honor Play, P20, performance mode

In a move reminiscent of the old Quack.exe debacle, Huawei has been caught enhancing benchmark results.  Their recent phones are able to detect a running benchmark and will switch to "Performance Mode" which uses "AI to optimize the performance of hardware, including the CPU, GPU and NPU" because everything has an AI in it now, apparently.  This would be much worse if not for two things, they are correct in stating that their local competitors do the same thing and they have agreed to allow users to access this Performance Mode on their own.  That will increase the performance of the phone but you can expect the battery life to plummet. 

If you are interested in diving deeper into this, you can check out that link to The Inquirer.

127768-v8-honor-play-mobile-phone-large-1.jpg

"Earlier this week, AnandTech revealed that the Chinese phonemaker has benchmark detection software installed on the Huawei P20, Honor Play, and possibly other devices packing its homegrown Kirin 970 processor, which makes the chip perform better by raising its power limit."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

Athlon rides again!

Subject: General Tech, Processors | September 6, 2018 - 01:22 PM |
Tagged: amd, athlon, Zen, Vega, 200GE, PRO 200GE, ryzen, Ryzen 7 PRO 2700X, Ryzen 7 PRO 2700, Ryzen 5 PRO 2600

AMD is returning the Athlon name to active service with the arrival of the Athlon 200GE, combining their current Zen core with three Radeon Vega 3 GCUs and a GPU core of 1GHz.  The dual core, multithreaded processor will run at 3.2GHz with a TDP of 35W, which should give you an idea of where you will find this new chip. 

138914-athlon-pib-left-facing-1260x709_2.png

Along with the new Athlon comes four new Pro chips, the AMD Athlon PRO 200GE, Ryzen 7 PRO 2700X, Ryzen 7 PRO 2700 and Ryzen 5 PRO 2600.  These will be more traditional desktop processors with enterprise level features to ensure the security of your systems as well as offering flexibility; with a cost somewhat lower than the competitions.

pro.PNG

 

Source: AMD

Das Keyboard Launches Q-Series Cloud Connected RGB Keyboards

Subject: General Tech | September 6, 2018 - 09:31 AM |
Tagged: X50Q, smart keyboard, RGB, q series, Omron, mechanical, keyboard, key switches, iot, das keyboard, connected, cloud, 5Q

Das Keyboard has introduced their Q-series of "smart, cloud-connected keyboards" which use the company's Q-software to bring notifications directly to key backlighting. It's an interesting concept, and the software connects to both IFTTT and Zapier services "to light up the 5Q and X50Q keyboards with notifications - all color-coded and displayed on keys determined by the user", according to Das Keyboard.

The first of the two announced models is the 5Q, shown here with its silicon-padded wrist rest attached:

DK5Q front white.jpg

"The Das Keyboard 5Q is a cloud-enabled, open API, RGB mechanical keyboard that helps boost productivity through dazzling performance and the industry’s fastest electronics."

What are these fast electronics? Exclusive to the 5Q is 'Real-Time One' (or RTO) which is an analog technology that Das Keyboard states "detects key presses in 0.4 milliseconds and reports it to the computer within 1 millisecond—up to 45 times faster than other keyboards". RGB lighting is onboard, naturally, and here Das Keyboard is offering what they call "RGB+", which is a ultra-bright solution they claim to be "many times" as bright as other keyboards:

"Extra-bright RGB backlighting electronics called Das Keyboard RGB+, along with custom surface-mount LEDs, optimized lens and ultra-clear light guide—making the 5Q keyboard many times brighter than any other RGB keyboard currently on the market."

DK5Q_front_side_view.jpg

These are mechanical keyboards, both of which offer Omron Gamma Zulu switches, as the company describes:

"A modern best-in-class, soft tactile key switch that provides users with faster, effortless typing and gaming sessions. Das Keyboard’s Gamma Zulu switches have a 1.5mm actuation point, a total travel of 3.5mm and can withstand an unsurpassed 100 million actuations..."

Next we have the X50Q:

X50Q_1_top_full.jpg

The X50Q adds a swappable top plate design (and includes alternate textured WASD keys), but does not have the RTO analog system - and costs $50 less than the 5Q. Pricing for these keyboards is at the high end of the premium keyboard market, with MSRPs of $249 for the 5Q and $199 for the X50Q. Both models are available now.

Full press release after the break.

Source: Das Keyboard

Samsung Unveils Plans for Data Center SSDs You Can Actually Buy!

Subject: Storage | September 5, 2018 - 10:54 PM |
Tagged: Z-NAND, V-NAND, ssd, sata, Samsung, NVMe, 983 ZET, 983 DCT, 883 DCT, 860 DCT

Samsung was strangely absent from FMS this year, but they had us out to NYC yesterday for a briefing we've been waiting a looong time for:

180904-153234.jpg

Above is a spec layout for Data Center SSDs that are to be in the retail channel, meaning they will be available for purchase on the open market, not locked behind exclusivity contracts with a select few corporations, as was the case previously. Here's the abbreviated rundown:

  • 860 DCT
    • SATA
    • Low write workloads
    • 960GB, 2TB, 4TB
    • Low cost (~0.25/GB)
  • 883 DCT
    • SATA
    • Mixed workloads
    • Power Loss Protection
    • 240/480/960GB, 2TB, 4TB
    • $0.30/GB
  • 983 DCT
    • NVMe (M.2 / U.2)
    • Mixed workloads / higher performance
    • Power Loss Protection
    • 960GB, 2TB
    • $0.34/GB

The prices above are MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) as MSRP doesn't carry over to enterprise products quite the same. Performance details are above and below in the full press release, but the gist of them is that they are comparable to current Samsung SATA and NVMe products with the exception of random writes being rated at steady state sustained values (client SSDs are typically rated for reduced span random writes of shorter durations).

There was another thing to check out as well:

180904-153520.jpg

That's Samsung's elusive Z-SSD, now with the model name 983 ZET. It contains slightly modified V-NAND operating in straight SLC mode and with some additional tweaks to help reduce latencies - referred to by Samsung as Z-NAND. Here are the specs:

180904-153120.jpg

We did note that some of what drives those super-fast latencies is the use of a DRAM cache. We won't know how this impacts larger span random performance until we can test this product first-hand. Samsung also showed where they expect these new products to fall relative to other competing offerings:

180904-153141a.jpg

I'm thrilled to see Samsung finally opening up their Data Center parts to the rest of the masses. We'll be testing and reviewing these as samples arrive. I personally can't wait, because Samsung's data center parts are known for having amazing QoS performance, and I can't wait to throw our enterprise test suite at them!

Read on for Samsung's full press release, with specs!

Source: Samsung

Graphics Cores Past and Present; looking back at AMD's recent GPUs

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 5, 2018 - 05:50 PM |
Tagged: amd, GCN, R9 290X, r9 390x, R9 Fury X, RX VEGA 64

[H]ard|OCP have been examining the generational performance differences between GPUs, starting with NVIDIA and moving onto AMD.  In this review they compare Hawaii GCN 1.1, Fiji GCN 1.3 and Vega10 GCN 1.5 on a wide variety of games.  AMD is a more interesting case as they have made more frequent changes to their architecture, while at the same time tending towards mid-range performance as opposed to aiming for the high end of performance and pricing.  This has led to interesting results, with certain GCN versions offering more compelling upgrade paths than others.  Take a close look to see how AMD's GPUs have changed over the past five years.

AMD-Radeon-RX-Vega-64-Specifications.jpg

"Wonder how much performance you are truly getting from GPU to GPU upgrade in games? We take GPUs from AMD and compare performance gained from 2013 to 2018. This is our AMD GPU Generational Performance Part 1 article focusing on the Radeon R9 290X, Radeon R9 390X, Radeon R9 Fury X, and Radeon RX Vega 64 in 14 games."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Battlefield beta benching

Subject: General Tech | September 5, 2018 - 01:49 PM |
Tagged: gaming, battlefield V, open beta

Techspot spent more time benchmarking the Battlefield V beta than they did playing it for fun, which is how they published a quick performance review so quickly.  We know the minimum specs required but that gives us little insight into what performance we will actually see.  As it turns out, DX12 has the same difficulties that BF1 had on launch and so the testing was done on DX11 for the most part.  For 1080p gamers the news is great, with even a lowly GTX 1060 able to provide 60fps at Ultra settings, at 1440p a Vega 56 or a GTX 1070 will do you just fine.  Check out the full review for the 4k performance.

2018-09-05-image-2.jpg

"This week we were finally able to jump into Battlefield V for the first time, and of course, we spent more time benchmarking than we did enjoying the gameplay, so we have a few results for you... which we'll call a preview since we are testing the 'open beta' version of the game. The full thing is slated for release across major platforms in two months' time."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: TechSpot

Logitech’s G305 LIGHTSPEED, a gaming mouse housed in a very portable form factor

Subject: General Tech | September 4, 2018 - 03:54 PM |
Tagged: lightspeed, logitech, wireless mouse, input, g305

Logitech's Lightspeed G305 is a small wireless mouse perfect for shoving in your laptop bag and possibly forgetting all about it.  The mouse will run for 250 hours on a single AA battery so when you do pull it out after a few months it will still work.  The battery compartment also provides storage for the Nano receiver so you won't have to worry about it disappearing on you when you need it most.  Techgage were impressed that Logitech installed their HERO sensor in the mouse, so you can set the DPI all the way up to 12,000 if you so desire and the polling rate goes from 125Hz up to 1000Hz though you can expect diminished battery life at the top end.  Drop by for a closer look.

Logitech-G306-LIGHTSPEED-Wireless-Mouse-Quarter-View-680x406.jpg

"Wireless mice are one of those things that rarely meets expectations, but Logitech seems to have cracked it with its LIGHTSPEED mice. The G305 under review today might be on the low-end, but we soon find out it’s a solid performer with an absurd battery life. Dig in for more details."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Techgage

Mushkin's new Source SATA SSDs come with an attractive price tag

Subject: Storage | September 4, 2018 - 02:58 PM |
Tagged: Mushkin, source, SM2285, sata 6Gps, Ryan's Law, ssd

The release of a new line of 2.5" SATA SSDs isn't breaking news anymore, unless they offer something new, which the Mushkin Source line does.  The MSRP of these new drives are 120 GB for $36, 250 GB for $49, 500 GB for $81 and 1 TB for $158; which puts an SSD within reach of just about any budget; though it falls short of complying with Ryan's Law.  Part of the reason for this pricing is the lack of a DRAM cache which slows random writes and creates read latency but overall you can't argue with the value of these drives. 

You can see them in action over at TechPowerUp.

pcb1.jpg

"With just 16 cents per GB, or $81 for the tested 500 GB version, the Mushkin Source is among the most affordable SSDs on the market. It is a DRAM-less design, which means some compromises have to be expected in terms of performance. Our review of the Mushkin Source 500 GB looks exactly into that."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

Source: TechPowerUp

Microsoft is slowly reverting Skype back to usefulness

Subject: General Tech | September 4, 2018 - 01:46 PM |
Tagged: skype, microsoft

Microsoft seem to have actually listened to some of the feedback they have been receiving from users of the new Skype.  Two of the new features, Highlights and Capture will be discontinued as it seems no one wanted to use them instead of continuing with WhatsApp or SnapChat.  The interface will remain a compromise between the clown vomit version released earlier this year and the simple interface many new and loved.  As well, the newest versions of Skype, barring the Skype UWP app on Windows 10, will now natively support call recording which is something we have not been able to do since Microsoft killed support for third party applications.  The staff at The Inquirer are still not planning on switching back yet however.

skype-call-recording.jpg

"Here's the thing. Skype hasn't "just worked" for a long time and people will take some convincing that there's been much of a change. INQ abandoned Skype some time ago for office use because it was so appallingly unreliable."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

GOG Back-to-School Sale 2018 Begins!

Subject: General Tech | September 3, 2018 - 03:54 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, sales

After summer comes back-to-school. What is the relevance for video games? Well, students will probably need to cut back on them, so might as well use it as an excuse for big sales.

gog-2018-bts-sale.png

The Back-to-School sale at GOG.com is actually pretty big this year. The gimmick, which is common for the site, new deals come and go. Specifically, it looks like one new deal occurs every hour, on the hour, and it lasts for six hours. These can go up to 90%-off. There is also another batch of sales that are not time limited. In total, over 500 games will be reduced for the event.

Two highlights that got me to click the buy button is Yooka-Laylee ($8.59 USD, 75%-off – Note: NOT Digital Deluxe Edition, although that’s all extras, such as a manual and an art book) and Homeworld: Remastered Collection ($5.29 USD, 85%-off). The former title was one that I was looking forward to during its Kickstarter, but never quite pulled the trigger on. I’ll give it a silly purple Canadian ten-dollar-bill, though.

Find a buried treasure? Let us know in the comments!

Source: GOG.com

Huawei Announces Kirin 980: Is the World's First 7nm SoC Passing Snapdragon?

Subject: Processors, Mobile | September 2, 2018 - 11:45 AM |
Tagged: SoC, octa-core, mobile, Mali-G76, Kirin, Huawei, HiSilicon, gpu, cpu, Cortex-A76, arm, 8-core

Huawei has introduced their subsidiary HiSilicon’s newest mobile processor in the Kirin 980, which, along with Huawei's claim of the world's first commercial 7nm SoC, is the first SoC to use Arm Cortex A76 CPU cores and Arm’s Mali G76 GPU.

KIRIN_980.PNG

Image credit: The Verge

Huawei is aiming squarely at Qualcomm with this announcement, claiming better performance than a Snapdragon 845 during the presentation. One of its primary differences to the current Snapdragon is the composition of the Kirin 980’s eight CPU cores, notable as the usual 'big.LITTLE' Arm CPU core configuration for an octa-core design gives way to a revised organization with three groups, as illustrated by AnandTech here:

K980.png

Image credit: AnandTech

Of the four Cortex A76 cores just two are clocked up to maximize performance with certain applications such as gaming (and, likely, benchmarks) at 2.60 GHz, and the other two are used more generally as more efficient performance cores at 1.92 GHz. The remaining four A55 cores operate at 1.80 GHz, and are used for lower-performance tasks. A full breakdown of the CPU core configuration as well as slides from the event are available at AnandTech.

Huawei claims that the improved CPU in the Kirin 980 results in "75 percent more powerful and 58 percent more efficient compared to their previous generation" (the Kirin 970). This claim translates into what Huawei claims to be 37% better performance and 32% greater efficiency than Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845.

980_SD.jpg

Image credit: AnandTech

The GPU also gets a much-needed lift this year from Arm's latest GPU, the Mali-G76, which features "new, wider execution engines with double the number of lanes" and "provides dramatic uplifts in both performance and efficiency for complex graphics and Machine Learning (ML) workloads", according to Arm.

mali_g76.jpg

Image credit: AnandTech

Real-world testing with shipping handsets is needed to verify Huawei's performance claims, of course. In fact, the results shown by Huawei at the presentation carry a this disclaimer, sourced from today’s press release:

"The specifications of Kirin 980 does not represent the specifications of the phone using this chip. All data and benchmark results are based on internal testing. Results may vary in different environments."

The upcoming Mate 20 from Huawei will be powered by this new Kirin 980 - and could very well provide results consistent with the full potential of the new chip - and that is set for an official launch on October 16.

The full press release is available after the break.

Source: AnandTech

Intel Gamer Days! Win a $6,000 Falcon NW Tiki!

Subject: Editorial | September 1, 2018 - 12:00 AM |
Tagged: tiki, intel gamer days, giveaway, falcon northwest, contest

Guys and gals, we have quite the event for you this September. PC Perspective is partnering with Falcon Northwest and Intel to support the Intel Gamer Days promotion, and with that, you get the chance to win a Tiki PC worth about $6,000.

Yes, $6K.

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Falcon Northwest Tiki  (configuration as reviewed)
Processor Intel Core i7-8086K (Coffee Lake)
Motherboard ROG STRIX Z370-I GAMING
Cooler Asetek 550LC 120mm AIO Water Cooler
Graphics NVIDIA TITAN Xp 12GB
Memory 32GB (2x16B) G.SKILL RIPJAWS V DDR4-3000
Storage

Intel SSD Optane 905P 1.5TB U.2

Power Supply Silverstone SFX-650W 
Dimensions 4" Wide x 13.5" Deep x 13.25" Tall. (715 cubic inches)
OS Windows 10 Pro
Price $6,242 (as configured) - Falcon NW

This is the exact same Tiki machine that we reviewed here at PC Perspective in July, and now it can find a home in YOUR home.

Entry information is below. A HUGE thank you goes to Falcon Northwest and Intel for supporting our readers and fans with this opportunity. Get in there and enter!

Intel Gamer Days with Falcon Northwest and PC Perspective!

MSI Announces New Premium Notebook Designed for Content Creators - the P65

Subject: Mobile | August 31, 2018 - 03:52 PM |
Tagged: P65, msi, coffee lake h

If you spend more time being productive on your laptop than gaming, but still want to be able to spend a few hours playing then check out MSI's new P65 laptop.  It is available in both silver and white, with both featuring an IPS panel with 100% Adobe RGB support to ensure the colours you see while designing will match when printed out.

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The laptop is build for use on the road, weight 4.14" and 0.69 inches thick with an 82Whr battery MSI states will last for up to nine hours of regular use.  The limited White Edition comes with Thunderbolt 3 and a GTX 1070 while the Silver offers USB 3.1 Gen 1 and either a GTX 1060 or 1050Ti so make sure to take a look quickly if you are on an upgrade path. 

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Berlin, Germany – August 31, 2018 – MSI, a world leader in high performance computing hardware, today announces its new notebook designed specifically for content creators and professionals, the P65. The P65 is a powerful system with a stylish design featuring high-end specs, beautiful thin-bezel display and long-lasting battery life. MSI will have the P65 on display at IFA 2018 at Booth number 107.

The P65 provides everything a content creator or business professional needs to work quickly and efficiently. Creators are constantly on the move and need to have desktop-grade power in a form factor they can easily carry around. With a potent processor and dedicated graphics, the P65 gives users more than enough power to edit raw HD or 4K video, create motion graphics and fly through complicated spreadsheets on the go. The P65 also features a full suite of ports including an SD card reader, USB Type-C, USB Type-A, HDMI, micro-DisplayPort and an ethernet jack. The P65 will be available this September.

The P65 was made to arm creators with the best creative tools. The 15-inch screen features MSI’s exclusive True Color 2.0 technology. Each panel is examined thoroughly and undergoes an extensive factory calibration process, so each color is displayed with absolute precision. This results in a near perfect color presentation, with close to 100 percent coverage of the sRGB color spectrum. The IPS-level, 4.9mm thin-bezel panel is ideal for those who need extreme color accuracy when editing photos or videos.

While the elegant new silver chassis separates the P65 from MSI’s traditional design, the high-performance specifications keep the P65 in close comparison with MSI’s top-of-the-line gaming offerings. The P65 features Intel’s latest 8th Generation Core i7 processor and up to a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU. These specifications allow for faster rendering times and better multitasking. The P65 has up to almost three times more graphical performance than leading competitor in this category. The P65 uses MSI’s Cooler Boost Trinity, the same system found in its gaming laptops, to keep the notebook cool even during intense workloads.

“For a long time, MSI has just been recognized as a leader in PC gaming hardware,” said Sam Chern, MSI Assistant Vice President of Global Marketing. “With the P65, we’re investing deeply in professionals and content creators, bringing them high performance for all of their everyday tasks. We have taken the lessons we’ve learned from our years of experience in making gaming hardware and used it to create a beautiful, professional notebook that is more powerful than any laptop in its class.”

The P65 features top-of-the-line specifications while maintaining a slim, portable form factor. With its ultra-light aluminum chassis, the P65 weighs just 4.14 pounds and measures 0.69 inches thick. However, the slim design does not sacrifice battery life. The P65 has an 82Whr battery for up to nine hours of regular use. In addition to the productivity features, the P65 uses a Windows Hello Certified fingerprint sensor for a high-privacy business security solution and supports Microsoft’s Cortana voice-enabled digital assistant.

At launch, the P65 will be available in both silver and a gorgeous limited-edition white. The White Limited Edition shares many of the same specifications as the Silver Edition, but comes with a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU, Hi-Res Audio and Thunderbolt 3. At launch, the Silver Edition will be available with either a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q or GTX 1050 Ti. The White Limited Edition also comes in a beautiful wooden box and includes an extended one-year warranty and protective laptop sleeve.

Source: MSI