A dock for your Samsung S8? That would be DeX

Subject: Mobile | May 12, 2017 - 04:33 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, DeX, galaxy s8, galaxy s8+

Move over Surface, the new Galaxies are getting a docking station too.  The Dex is a charging port with talent, adding USB-A 2.0, ethernet, HDMI, and a USB-C charging port to your phone's capabilities.  Plug the dock into a monitor and you will be presented a limited Android system which supports various Samsung apps, as well as Microsoft Office apps, Gmail and YouTube; The Inquirer tested out a few others for compatibility in their review.  There is a virtual desktop app that will let you take over a desktop computer as well, according to the page on Samsung.  Gaming is not particularly good, unless you utilize the workaround The Inq discovered; pick up a USB C to HDMI adapter and bypass the DeX as opposed to the native screen mirroring which occurs with the DeX software.

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"In a nutshell, DeX is a dock for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ that outputs a desktop experience from your phone to a big screen. It acts as little more than a portal, relying entirely on your phone's processing power to generate the experience, doing so via HDMI, making it compatible with most TVs and monitors."

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More Mobile Articles

 

Source: The Inquirer

Spring component refresh on your mind?

Subject: Systems | May 12, 2017 - 03:05 PM |
Tagged: system guide

2017 has been a good year for system guides as we finally have new hardware with a compelling reason to upgrade.  AMD now has new processors and the refreshed Polaris cards may tempt those who have a GPU several generations out of date.  NVIDIA released a graphics card which will tempt those who want the best and the SSD market continues to grow exponentially.

The Tech Report have updated their build recommendations for May and you can check out their new builds right here.  The recommendations span budgets from around $500 to $5000 so almost everyone is included.

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"AMD's Ryzen 5 CPUs are shaking up the midrange CPU market, and we're here to help builders navigate this unfamiliar terrain with the latest edition of our System Guide. We also account for the introduction of AMD's Radeon RX 500-series graphics cards."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

Patch that HP laptop ASAP

Subject: General Tech | May 12, 2017 - 02:05 PM |
Tagged: hp, keylogger, security

The poorly thought out feature HP added to their audio driver in some past models of laptops can now be removed. The previous driver listened for a certain key to be depressed actually recorded all keystrokes made by the user and stored the information in plain text under the Public profile.  The file was deleted each time the computer restarted but could still exist in backups, you should check for MicTray.log in those backups.  Slashdot reported this morning that HP has released a fixed driver which you should grab from Windows Update or HP.com immediately.

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"HP says it has a fix for a flaw that caused a number of its PC models to keep a log of each keystroke a customer was entering. The issue, caused by problematic code in an audio driver, affected PC models from 2015 and 2016."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Slashdot

Today's bonus AMD rumour: Starship, Naples, Zeppelin and a flock of Owls

Subject: General Tech | May 11, 2017 - 05:07 PM |
Tagged: amd, Starship, Naples, Zeppelin, Great Horned Owl, Banded Kestrel, Grey Hawk, River Hawk, Snowy Owl, rumour

We have another leak today from wccftech, via VideoCardz, of AMD's upcoming enterprise level processors.  Starship will use the successor to the current Zen architecture; Zen 2 is in some ways measurable as being fabricated with a 7nm FinFet process.  The chips are a testament to AMD's dedication to multi-core designs, Starship will feature up to 48 cores with 96 threads.  That does create a bit of heat, but not more than the chip it is replacing, the TDPs range from 35W up to 180W.  These chips will be sold under the Opteron name and will likely not have a model with the number 1701.

AMD-Enterprise-CPU-2015-2019-Roadmap_1-1.jpg

Starship will replace Naples, which we already know quite a lot about, they will use the upcoming Zeppelin architecture.  The thermals match Starship but the core count is lower and tops out at 32 cores, 64 threads.  That count tells us there will be four interconnected Zeppelin dies, each having 8 cores in two CCX units. 

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Next up is the Snowy Owl family of BGA chips which also uses Zeppelin cores.  They will have models with core counts of 8, 12 and 16.  Snowy Owl will support DDR4 in quad channel, 64 PCIe 3.0 lanes, and up to 16 SATA or NVMe storage devices and should take flight before the end of the year,.

AMD-Embedded-dGPU-Roadmap-Leak-1.jpg

Lastly we have their new embedded R-Series APUs, Great Horned Owl, Banded Kestrel, Grey Hawk and River Hawk.  These low power chips will be based off of the current Zen architecture with support for single and dual DIMM DDR4 channels.  The CPU portion will have 2 or 4 cores and TDPs between 15-65W, Owl models will be paired with an graphics core possessing 11 CUs, Kestral with 3 CUs.  According to the slides posted at wccftech the APUs will support 4K60 and up to four 4K monitors which is impressive for such a small chip.  There will also rumoured to be models without an APU, for usage in device which do not need graphical capabilities. 

The slides also hint at a mysterious a new MCM package product which will arrive this year.  It is reputed to have 4 GB VRAM, 10 CUs and five dual-mode Display Port support arriving in 2017.  There are a lot more slides you can see by clicking here.

Source: wccftech

If you are a Kraken, go big or go home

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 11, 2017 - 03:32 PM |
Tagged: nxzt, Kraken X62, AIO

[H]ard|OCP reviews the largest of the Kraken series from NZXT, the X62.  This dual 140mm fan cooler measures 315x143x30mm and weighs just over 1.2kg so make sure your case has the space before purchasing this AiO watercooler.  The default setting offers acceptable cooling performance while producing 39.9dBA but with a cooler of this stature the real performance numbers to pay attention to are the full speed numbers.  At full speed the cooler surpasses the competition and ends up at the top of the charts albeit with an increase in audibility to 46.9dBA.  It will cost you about $160 to pick up the Gold Award winning cooler.

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"With today's NZXT Kraken review we step up the performance ladder and review its X62 model AIO CPU Cooler. As NZXT spells out on it website, and it is not modest about it, saying that the new Kraken series "have been redesigned to bring you the greatest experience in liquid cooling, all backed by an industry-leading 6-year warranty."

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

CASES & COOLING

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

CORSAIR Launches DOMINATOR PLATINUM Special Edition Torque

Subject: Memory | May 11, 2017 - 02:43 PM |
Tagged: corsair, Corsair Dominator Platinum, ddr4, special edition torque, bulldog, DDR4-3600

Corsair have launched a new limited edition line of DDR4-3600 DIMMs, the DOMINATOR PLATINUM Special Edition Torque.  The DIMMs feature brushed black aluminum heatsinks with orange accents and a heat-treated effect top bar.  They do indeed feature lighting for the LED addicted and will fit in with your other bright components.  They are XMP 2.0 certified for easy setup, or you can overclock to your own preferences as these DIMMs went through comprehensive testing.

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As part of the release Corsair contracted case modder Lee Harrington to transform a Bulldog case into a classic hot rod.  It has a flaming paint job, pneumatic hood struts, working headlights and a whole lot of Torque; you can see the full gallery here.

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You can read the PR below the prices.

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FREMONT, CA – May 11th, 2017 - CORSAIR, a world leader in enthusiast memory, high-performance gaming hardware and PC components today announced the immediate availability of its new DOMINATOR PLATINUM Special Edition Torque DDR4 memory. Inspired by those for whom speed is an obsession, each module features a uniquely heat-treated effect top bar, combining the iconic DOMINATOR PLATINUM design with the aesthetic of high-performance engines. Completed by a brushed black aluminum heatsink, stunning built-in lighting and orange accents, each kit is individually numbered using high precision laser engraving, guaranteeing exclusivity. Available in limited quantities, DOMINATOR PLATINUM Special Edition Torque DDR4 memory is built for speed – inside and out.

Fully compatible with the latest Intel® X99 and 200-series motherboards, each module is individually hand screened for added quality assurance and overclocking headroom. For the speed-obsessed looking to push their system to the limit and reach peak performance, DOMINATOR PLATINUM Special Edition’s custom 10-layer PCB provides superior signalling for greater overclocking potential, allowing every DOMINATOR PLATINUM Special Edition Torque module to be safely overclocked to at least 3,600MHz. What’s more, with CORSAIR’s patented DHX cooling technology, the aluminum heat-spreader is built right into the PCB, ensuring rapid heat dissipation and lower temperatures.

To celebrate the launch of DOMINATOR PLATINUM Special Edition Torque, CORSAIR commissioned renowned case modder Lee Harrington to create a chassis worthy of housing these limited edition DDR4 modules. Starting with a CORSAIR BULLDOG SFF kit, Lee created a stunning homage to 60’s hot-rods, complete with flaming paint job, pneumatic hood struts and working headlights. To see more of this amazing system build, check out the full builder’s gallery at the link below.

Source: Corsair

Rumour time; Ryzen Whitehaven specs

Subject: General Tech | May 11, 2017 - 12:27 PM |
Tagged: whitehaven, s3, ryzen, rumour, amd

wccftech is reporting on two engineering samples of new AMD processors which feature 16 cores and 32 threads with a boost clock speed of 3.6GHz and a base clock of 3.0GHz.  They have pictures of the architecture you can look over contained in this post.  This chip will also use a new socket, called S3, marking a nice change in a company that stuck with the AM3(+) chipset for the better part of a decade.  The chips will support quad channel DDR4 as well as expanded PCIe lanes to offer better storage options as well as PCIe slots.  AMD is aiming at offering some competition to Intel's upcoming release of Skylake-X, we should know more at Computex at the end of this month as AMD is expected to officially announce the product at that show.

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"AMD’s upcoming 16 core enthusiast Ryzen “Whitehaven” CPUs have been spotted. The new processors will come in variations of up to 16 cores and 32 threads and will support quad-channel DDR4 memory."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: wccftech

Podcast #449 - NVIDIA Announcements, Dell predictions, watercooling components

Subject: Editorial | May 11, 2017 - 12:15 PM |
Tagged: video, zalman, Z270-A, snapdragon, ryzen, qualcomm, NVIDIA Tesla, fractal design, corsair, asus, aptX, Alphacool, podcast

PC Perspective Podcast #449 - 05/11/17

Join us for NVIDIA Announcements, Dell Predictions, Reviews on watercooling components 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, Morry Teitelman, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison

Program length: 1:26:08
 
Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Allyn: Statuscore CPU load / test (also works on Ryzen)
  1. Closing/outro

Source:

NVIDIA Announces Q1 2018 Results

Subject: Editorial | May 10, 2017 - 09:45 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, earnings, revenues, Q1 2018, Q1, v100, data center, automotive, gpu, gtx 1080 ti

NVIDIA had a monster Q1. The quarter before the company had their highest revenue numbers in the history of the company.  Q1 can be a slightly more difficult time and typically the second weakest quarter of the year.  The Holiday rush is over and the market slows down.  For NVIDIA, this was not exactly the case.  While NVIDIA made $2.173 billion in Q4 2017, they came remarkably close to that with revenues of $1.937 billion.  While $250 million is a significant drop, it is not an unexpected one.  In fact, it shows NVIDIA being slightly stronger than expectations.

NVIDIA-Logo.jpg

The past year has shown tremendous growth for NVIDIA.  Their GPUs remain strong and they have the highest performing parts at the upper midrange and high end markets.  AMD simply has not been able to compete with NVIDIA, much less overcome the company with higher performing parts at the top end.  GPUs still make up the largest portion of income that NVIDIA receives.  NVIDIA continues to invest in new areas and those investments are starting to pay off.

Automotive is still in the growth stages for the company, but they have successfully taken the Tegra CPU division and moved away from the cellphone and tablet markets.  NVIDIA continues to support their Shield products, but the main focus looks to be the automotive industry with these high performing, low power parts that sport advanced graphical options.  Professional graphics continues to be a stronghold for NVIDIA.  While it did drop quite a bit from the previous quarter, it is a high margin area that helps bolster revenues.

The biggest mover over this past year seems to be the Data Center.  Last year NVIDIA focused on delivering entire solutions to the market as well as their individual GPUs.  The past two years have seen them have essentially no income in this area to having a $400 million quarter.  This is simply tremendous growth in an area that is still relatively untapped when it comes to GPU compute.

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NVIDIA continues to be very aggressive in their product design and introductions.  They have simply owned the $300+ range of graphics cards with the GTX 1070, GTX 1080, and the recently introduced GTX 1080 Ti.  This is somewhat ignoring the even higher end TitanXp that is priced well above most enthusiasts’ budgets.  Today they announced the V100 chip that is the first glimpse we have of a high end part running on TSMC’s new 12nm FinFET process.  It also features 16 GB of HBM2 memory and a whopping 21 billion transistors in total.

Next quarter looks to be even better than this one, which is a shock because Q2 has traditionally been the slowest quarter of the year.  NVIDIA expects around $1.95 billion in revenues (actually increasing from Q1).  NVIDIA also is rewarding shareholders with not only a quarterly dividend, but also has been actively buying back shares (which tends to keep share prices healthy).  Early last year NVIDIA had a share price of around $30 while today they are trending well above $100.

SXM2-VoltaChipDetails.png

If NVIDIA keeps this up while continuing to expand in automotive and data center, it is a fairly safe bet that they will easily overtop $8 billion in revenues for the year.  Q3 and Q4 will be stronger if they continue to advance in those areas while retaining marketshare in the GPU market.  With rumors hinting that AMD will not have a product that will top the GTX 1080Ti, it is a safe bet that NVIDIA can easily adjust their prices across the board to stay competitive with whatever AMD throws at them.

It is interesting to look back when AMD was shopping around for a graphics firm and wonder what could have happened.  Hector Ruiz was in charge of AMD and tried to leverage a deal with NVIDIA.  Rumors have it that Huang would not agree to it unless he was CEO.  Hector laughed and talked to ATI who was more than happy to sell (and cover up some real weaknesses in the company).  We all know what happened to Hector and how his policies and actions started the spiral that AMD is only now recovering from.  What would that have been like if Jensen had actually become CEO of that merged company?

Source: NVIDIA

Sangean WFT-3 Digital Receiver, get high quality audio from your podcasts, radio and more

Subject: General Tech | May 10, 2017 - 05:39 PM |
Tagged: WFT-3 Digital Receiver, Sangean, audio

The Sangean WFT-3 Digital Receiver looks like most stereo equipment until you look at the inputs.  There you will find an ethernet port, WiFi antenna and USB plug in addition to a radio antenna and various audio out plugs.  It connects to the internet to provide you access to your podcasts and Spotify, as well as being able to play directly off of a USB drive or receive local FM radio signals if you are a fan of any particular stations.  Drop by NikKTech for a look.

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"Thanks to its ability to receive Internet / DAB / DAB+ and FM-RDS radio and also function as a Network and USB audio media player the WFT-3 digital receiver by Sangean packs quite a punch especially when compared to similar products."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

 

Source: NikKTech

Even the coffee cups might make you Prey

Subject: General Tech | May 10, 2017 - 05:16 PM |
Tagged: gaming, prey

Ars Technica is exploring Talos I, the setting of the game Prey and are having a great time.  Similar to the other reviews below this is a quick look at the beginning of the game for Bethesda did not provide any reviewers with an advanced copy.  After the introduction you find yourself equipped with nothing but a wrench and a "Gloo gun", in a station filled with alien Typhon Mimics which can turn into any inanimate object and lay in wait for you.  If you are undecided if this game is worth picking up then read through the article and decide for yourself.

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"Owing to Bethesda's recently enacted policy of withholding review copies until just before release, we've barely had five hours of in-game time with Prey prior to the game's launch today. Consider these impressions a review-in-progress as we work toward the game's conclusion. This piece includes spoilers for some very early portions of the game."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

Source: Ars Technica

How To: Add AptX Bluetooth Audio to a Windows PC

Subject: Mobile | May 10, 2017 - 05:11 PM |
Tagged: windows, sony, qualcomm, mdr1000x, CSR Harmony, bluetooth, aptX, a2dp

Recently, to prepare for a long plane flight I bought a pair of Sony MDR-1000X Bluetooth noise canceling headphones. While I won't get into the specifics of these headphones other than that I have been really satisfied with them, when I returned from my trip I wanted to start using them at the office.

Seemingly that would be easy, as these headphones feature a 3.5mm input, but I am frequently walking around the office and I wanted to fully utilize the wireless features. While I could have just used any Bluetooth adapter compatible with Windows, I wanted to test out one of the features of these headphones —  AptX technology.

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AptX is an alternate Bluetooth audio codec from Qualcomm which aims to feature higher audio quality. Sebastian took a look at a pair of AptX-enabled headphones earlier this year, and I have wanted to check out the technology ever since.

I went to Amazon, and did a search for "AptX Bluetooth USB" and found a wide array of options, so I did what anyone would naturally do — I bought the cheapest one and hoped it would work

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After receiving the USB adapter, I first installed the CSR Harmony software from the Azio website. This is a piece of software that sits on top of the Windows Bluetooth Stack and enabled advanced Bluetooth features, including AptX, on certain Bluetooth chipsets.

Once the software was installed, I plugged in the device and found a new Bluetooth icon sitting in my Windows tray.

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From here, you can simply right click the icon and search for a new Bluetooth device.

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Once I put the headphones into pairing mode I was able to pair to them successfully.

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And, that's it! Once you are successfully paired to an AptX device, you should see this popup from the Windows tray confirming that AptX is working. From here, you can use the headphones just like you would with any Windows audio playback device. 

This certainly isn't a review of AptX audio quality, I will defer to Sebastian's analysis for that in which he calls the headphones he tested "audiophile-approved Bluetooth."

For a $12 investment, it seems like a no-brainer for users who already have an AptX-enabled device that they use on their smartphone.

Source: Azio

Meet Google's Fuchsia OS

Subject: General Tech | May 10, 2017 - 04:44 PM |
Tagged: fuschia, google, Android, iot

Fuchsia is still a work in progress which has been available on Github for a while now but we haven't really seen a  demonstration of it in action.  A Texan enthusiast has been working on creating one and you can take a peek at it in this video over at The Register.  The tiny OS is design to run on almost anything, from smart light bulbs to phone and even full sized computers.  It is based on BSD with additional resources developed at MIT and will be backwards compatible with current Android libraries.

Google_Fuchsia_OS_Logo.png

"When Fuchsia broke cover last August, we noted the project's ambition. The presence of a compositor indicated it was capable of running on more than lightbulbs and routers, although the tiny new Magenta kernel also allows it go there too."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

NVIDIA Announces Tesla V100 with Volta GPU at GTC 2017

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 10, 2017 - 01:32 PM |
Tagged: v100, tesla, nvidia, gv100, gtc 2017

During the opening keynote to NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang formally unveiled the latest GPU architecture and the first product based on it. The Tesla V100 accelerator is based on the Volta GPU architecture and features some amazingly impressive specifications. Let’s take a look.

  Tesla V100 GTX 1080 Ti Titan X (Pascal) GTX 1080 GTX 980 Ti TITAN X GTX 980 R9 Fury X R9 Fury
GPU GV100 GP102 GP102 GP104 GM200 GM200 GM204 Fiji XT Fiji Pro
GPU Cores 5120 3584 3584 2560 2816 3072 2048 4096 3584
Base Clock - 1480 MHz 1417 MHz 1607 MHz 1000 MHz 1000 MHz 1126 MHz 1050 MHz 1000 MHz
Boost Clock 1455 MHz 1582 MHz 1480 MHz 1733 MHz 1076 MHz 1089 MHz 1216 MHz - -
Texture Units 320 224 224 160 176 192 128 256 224
ROP Units 128 (?) 88 96 64 96 96 64 64 64
Memory 16GB 11GB 12GB 8GB 6GB 12GB 4GB 4GB 4GB
Memory Clock 878 MHz (?) 11000 MHz 10000 MHz 10000 MHz 7000 MHz 7000 MHz 7000 MHz 500 MHz 500 MHz
Memory Interface 4096-bit (HBM2) 352-bit 384-bit G5X 256-bit G5X 384-bit 384-bit 256-bit 4096-bit (HBM) 4096-bit (HBM)
Memory Bandwidth 900 GB/s 484 GB/s 480 GB/s 320 GB/s 336 GB/s 336 GB/s 224 GB/s 512 GB/s 512 GB/s
TDP 300 watts 250 watts 250 watts 180 watts 250 watts 250 watts 165 watts 275 watts 275 watts
Peak Compute 15 TFLOPS 10.6 TFLOPS 10.1 TFLOPS 8.2 TFLOPS 5.63 TFLOPS 6.14 TFLOPS 4.61 TFLOPS 8.60 TFLOPS 7.20 TFLOPS
Transistor Count 21.1B 12.0B 12.0B 7.2B 8.0B 8.0B 5.2B 8.9B 8.9B
Process Tech 12nm 16nm 16nm 16nm 28nm 28nm 28nm 28nm 28nm
MSRP (current) lol $699 $1,200 $599 $649 $999 $499 $649 $549

While we are low on details today, it appears that the fundamental compute units of Volta are similar to that of Pascal. The GV100 has 80 SMs with 40 TPCs and 5120 total CUDA cores, a 42% increase over the GP100 GPU used on the Tesla P100 and 42% more than the GP102 GPU used on the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. The structure of the GPU remains the same GP100 with the CUDA cores organized as 64 single precision (FP32) per SM and 32 double precision (FP64) per SM.

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Click to Enlarge

Interestingly, NVIDIA has already told us the clock speed of this new product as well, coming in at 1455 MHz Boost, more than 100 MHz lower than the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and 25 MHz lower than the Tesla P100.

SXM2-VoltaChipDetails.png

Click to Enlarge

Volta adds in support for a brand new compute unit though, known as Tensor Cores. With 640 of these on the GPU die, NVIDIA directly targets the neural network and deep learning fields. If this is your first time hearing about Tensor, you should read up on its influence on the hardware markets, bringing forth an open-source software library for machine learning. Google has invested in a Tensor-specific processor already, and now NVIDIA throws its hat in the ring.

Adding Tensor Cores to Volta allows the GPU to do mass processing for deep learning, on the order of a 12x improvement over Pascal’s capabilities using CUDA cores only.

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For users interested in standard usage models, including gaming, the GV100 GPU offers 1.5x improvement in FP32 computing, up to 15 TFLOPS of theoretical performance and 7.5 TFLOPS of FP64. Other relevant specifications include 320 texture units, a 4096-bit HBM2 memory interface and 16GB of memory on-module. NVIDIA claims a memory bandwidth of 900 GB/s which works out to 878 MHz per stack.

Maybe more impressive is the transistor count: 21.1 BILLION! NVIDIA claims that this is the largest chip you can make physically with today’s technology. Considering it is being built on TSMC's 12nm FinFET technology and has an 815 mm2 die size, I see no reason to doubt them.

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Shipping is scheduled for Q3 for Tesla V100 – at least that is when NVIDIA is promising the DXG-1 system using the chip is promised to developers.

I know many of you are interested in the gaming implications and timelines – sorry, I don’t have an answer for you yet. I will say that the bump from 10.6 TFLOPS to 15 TFLOPS is an impressive boost! But if the server variant of Volta isn’t due until Q3 of this year, I find it hard to think NVIDIA would bring the consumer version out faster than that. And whether or not NVIDIA offers gamers the chip with non-HBM2 memory is still a question mark for me and could directly impact performance and timing.

More soon!!

Source: NVIDIA

NVIDIA Releases VRWorks Audio 1.0

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 10, 2017 - 07:02 AM |
Tagged: vrworks, nvidia, audio

GPUs are good at large bundles of related tasks, saving die area by tying several chunks of data together. This is commonly used for graphics, where screens have two-to-eight million (1080p to 4K) pixels, 3d models have thousands to millions of vertexes, and so forth. Each instruction is probably done hundreds, thousands, or millions of times, and so parallelism greatly helps with utilizing real-world matter to store and translate this data.

Audio is another area with a lot of parallelism. A second of audio has tens of thousands of sound pressure samples, but another huge advantage is that higher frequency sounds model pretty decently as rays, which can be traced. NVIDIA decided to repurpose their OptiX technology into calculating these rays. Beyond the architecture demo that you often see in global illumination demos, they also integrated it into an Unreal Tournament test map.

And now it’s been released, both as a standalone SDK and as an Unreal Engine 4.15 plug-in. I don’t know what its license specifically entails, because the source code requires logging into NVIDIA’s developer portal, but it looks like the plug-ins will be available to all users of supported engines.

Source: NVIDIA

GeForce Experience 3.6 Has Vulkan and OpenGL

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 10, 2017 - 03:53 AM |
Tagged: vulkan, ShadowPlay, opengl, nvidia, geforce experience

The latest version of GeForce Experience, 3.6, adds video capture (including screenshots and live streaming) support for OpenGL and Vulkan games. The catalog of titles support by ShadowPlay, which I’m pretty sure NVIDIA wants to call Share now, despite referring to it by its old name in the blog post, now includes No Man’s Sky, DOOM, and Microsoft’s beloved OpenGL title: Minecraft.

The rest of the update focuses on tweaking a few interface elements, including its streaming panel, its video and screenshot upload panel, and its gallery. Access to the alternative graphics APIs was the clear headline-maker, however, opening the door to several large gaming groups, and potentially even more going forward.

GeForce Experience 3.6 is available now.

Source: NVIDIA

5 by 5, AMD versus Intel in the $200 price range

Subject: Processors | May 9, 2017 - 03:26 PM |
Tagged: ryzen, amd, 1500X, 1600X, ryzen 5

The pricing of AMD's Ryzen 5 line spans from $170 to $250, similar to Intel's Core i5 line and may wwll tempt those a generation or two out of date to consider an upgrade.  In order to demonstrate differences in CPU performance Ars Technica tested both Intel and AMD processors paired with a GTX 1080 Ti.  By doing so at lower resolutions which the card can more than handle they expose differences in the performance of the two architectures, which seem to follow AMD's offerings into higher resolutions albeit with a smaller performance delta.  Check out the wide gamut of tests that were performed to see which architecture makes more sense for your usage, especially if you do more than just gaming and surfing.

specs.PNG

"The Ryzen 5 range is made up of four chips. At the top is the £240/$250 Ryzen 5 1600X, a 95W six-core chip that boasts simultaneous multithreading (SMT, the equivalent of hyper-threading), 16MB of L3 cache, and a 3.6GHz base clock."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

Source: Ars Technica

AMD Ryzen 7 1700X Selling for $333

Subject: Processors | May 9, 2017 - 03:13 PM |
Tagged: ryzen, amd, 1700X

A little birdie sent me a note this afternoon that the AMD Ryzen 7 1700X processor was selling on Amazon.com for just $333! Considering the launch price of that CPU was $399 just two months ago, a $60-70 discount makes this platform all the more compelling for consumers looking to build a new PC. Coupling that with the overclocking performance we saw from our Ryzen 1700 sample, you should be able to meet or exceed expectations with the 1700X model.

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This link led me down a bit of a rabbit hole as I wanted to see where a solid build would stand using that processor and a focus on budget. Now, keep in mind that this was put together rather hastily this afternoon, but here's what I came up with.

  Ryzen 7 1700X Build
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 1700X - $333
Cooler Thermaltake Contac Silent - $24
Motherboard ASUS Prime B350-Plus - $99
Memory G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB DDR4-3000 - $118
Graphics Card EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB - $149
Storage Samsung 850 EVO 250GB - $107
Case Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case - $56
Power Supply Corsair CX 500 watt - $59
Total Price $945 - Amazon.com Full Cart

For the base of the system, you can pick up the Ryzen 7 1700X processor for $333, a great B350-based motherboard from ASUS for $99 and 16GB of DDR4 memory running at 3000 MHz for just $118. Getting that memory at higher clock speeds is important for optimal Ryzen performance - hunt around to find the best deal! That's just $550 for the heart of a system that could power anything from the GTX 1050 Ti I included above to the GTX 1080 Ti if you are pushing the limits of graphics performance. 

If you try to stay within a reasonable budget, as I did above, you can build a from-scratch machine for under $1000 with some impressive specifications and capabilities. The GTX 1050 Ti will get you peak 1080p gaming capability while the 8-cores and 16-threads of the Ryzen 7 1700X will improve any workstation-class or multimedia workloads. 

Separately, but interestingly, the gang at 3DCenter.org posted the results of a survey taken about the Ryzen 5 processor launch, measuring the readers reactions to the release. In it, 83.9% of the audience looked upon the Ryzen 5 favorably, 9.4% as average and 6.7% negatively. If you compare that to the Ryzen 7 launch (74.6% favorable, 17.5% average, 7.9% negative) it seems that Ryzen 5 was better received than its big brother. But if you look back to October 2011 when the same survey was run about AMD Bulldozer, only 6.8% saw the CPU launch as favorable (!!). The last CPU launch that received nearly as positive a reaction as Ryzen 5/7 was the Sandy Bridge CPU back in January of 2011.

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Obviously this survey isn't a predictor of success or failure exactly, but it does point to an audience that is incredibly receptive to the new AMD processors. My own experience tells me that these numbers are fairly accurate to the mood about Ryzen, even after the 1080p gaming fiasco that circulates to this day. Interest and reaction are great for a company that needs to make in-roads in the market, but converting that consumer interest into purchases is the key for AMD going forward.

Qualcomm Launches Snapdragon 660 and 630 Mobile Platforms

Subject: Processors, Mobile | May 9, 2017 - 01:55 PM |
Tagged: spectra, snapdragon mobile platform, snapdragon, qualcomm, Kryo, isp, hexagon, dsp, adreno, 660, 630

Today Qualcomm took the covers off of an update to the Snapdragon 600 family of processors, now known as mobile platforms. The Snapdragon 660 and 630 Mobile Platforms are important products in the company’s portfolio as they address a larger segment of the consumer market than the premium-tier Snapdragon 800 while still offering performance and feature sets above the budget segments of the 400s. The Snapdragon 820 and 835 traditionally get all of the attention from media, the 600-series is at the heart of popular devices like the Sony Xperia X, Asus Zenfone 3 Ultra, HTC 10 Lifestyle and over 1000 more designs.

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The biggest changes to both new platforms come in the form of LTE connectivity and GPU performance. In a bid to bring previously unseen capabilities to the 600-series of solutions, Qualcomm has taken the Snapdragon X12 LTE modem that shipped with the Snapdragon 820/821 SoC and integrated it on both the 660 and 630. This creates mainstream mobile platforms that can run Cat 12/13 modems and speeds as high as 600 Mbps downstream (3x carrier aggregation) and 150 Mbps upstream (2x carrier aggregation).

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That is a significant move and should result in a massive amount of high speed devices saturating the market (and carriers’ networks) starting later this year. Along with that higher performance comes the same X12 feature set that we saw with Snapdragon 820/821 including adaptive antenna tuning capability (TruSignal) and dynamic signal quality adjustments for power efficiency optimizations.

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The GPU performance of both the Snapdragon 660 and 630 get a boost over the previous competitors (653 and 626 respectively) though they do so with different Adreno implementations. The SD 660 uses the Adreno 512 GPU that offers up to 30% better performance compared to the Adreno 510 used on the SD 650 series. While we don’t have details yet on where that advantage comes from (clocks or core improvements), I have a feeling that much of it comes from improved frequencies. The Snapdragon 630 uses the Adreno 508 GPU, compared to the 506 from the SD 626 processor, and also claims to have a 30% performance advantage over the previous generation.

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Continue reading about the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 and 630 Mobile Platform!

Source: Qualcomm

The Gigabyte Aorus GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition 11G; worth the extra $50?

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 9, 2017 - 01:16 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, aorus, 1080 ti, Xtreme Edition 11G, factory overclocked

Gigabyte's Aorus branded GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition 11G just arrived on our Hardware Leaderboard, not in small part due to this review at The Tech Report.  The card utilizes the same triple fans moving air over five copper heat pipes combined with a mess of fins and a large copper plate as the non-Ti Xtreme card we have seen previously.  That cooler allows the card to be clocked at 1632MHz base, 1746MHz Boost with memory hitting over 2.8GHz right out of the box and with Afterburner you can reach even higher.  TR's testing shows that this does have a noticeable effect on performance compared to the Founder's Edition cards.

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"Aorus' GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition 11G promises to unshackle the GP102 GPU from the constraints of a reference board. We run this card through our gauntlet of performance and noise testing to see whether it's worth the premium over Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition."

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

Graphics Cards