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Subject: Graphics Cards | March 10, 2017 - 02:49 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers
Alongside the launch of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, NVIDIA has released a new graphics driver that, one, obviously supports the new card and, two, also rolls in a bunch of optimizations for DirectX 12 titles. The graphics vendor already announced the initiative at last week’s GDC, but it is now released and available for public use. 378.78 is also “Game Ready” for Ghost Recon Wildlands, although that’s mostly for Ansel support; most of the optimizations for Wildlands were pushed into the previous driver.
The advertised gains vary from title to title, but they claim that Rise of the Tomb Raider at 4K will jump from 20 FPS to 27 FPS. This can be viewed as either a frame rate gain of about 33%, or it can be seen as an average frame time savings of about 12ms each and every frame. If that’s what actual end-users will see -- that’s a lot!
They also note improvements in Vulkan support, too, but without any hard, numeric assertions.
If you have a GeForce 1050 Ti notebook, then this driver is also said to fix a potential bluescreen bug that you have been facing. You can pick it up from GeForce Experience or the NVIDIA website.
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 9, 2017 - 01:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: 1080 ti, geforce, gp102, gtx 1080 ti, nvidia, pascal
As you have probably noticed from our front page, today is the day we can see how the GTX 1080 Ti performs in reviewers systems. The unfortunate news is that you can't buy one yet nor do we know when you will be able to spend the $699 it will cost to order one. We can share the performance with you, once again NVIDIA's Ti model takes the top spot out performing even the $1200 TITAN X. As for overclocking the reference model, as we have not had a chance to test any cards with third party cooler on them, [H]ard|OCP were able to increase the GPU frequency over 200MHz to 1967-1987MHz in game and push the memory to 12GHz, somewhat better than what Ryan was able to. Check out their full review here, with many more just below.
"NVIDIA is launching the fastest video card it offers for gaming today in the new $699 GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. We will take this video card and test it against the GeForce GTX 1080 and GeForce GTX TITAN X at 1440p and 4K resolutions to find out how it compares. Is it really faster than a $1200 GeForce GTX TITAN X Pascal?"
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1080 Ti @ The Tech Report
- Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti review: The fastest graphics card, again @ Ars Technica
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition 11 GB @ techPowerUp
- The NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti 11GB Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition 11GB @ Kitguru
- The GTX 1080 Ti Performance Review vs. the TITAN XP & the GTX 1080 @ BabelTechReviews
- Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti CPU Showdown: i7 7700k Vs Ryzen R7 1800x Vs i7 5820k @ eTeknix
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB @ eTeknix
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Review: A Look At 4K & Ultrawide Gaming @ Techgage
- MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Armor OC 6 GB @ techPowerUp
Subject: General Tech | March 9, 2017 - 12:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Kaspersky, antivirus, security, Threat de Toilette
If you are not aware of the story of John McAfee, who created the popular antivirus software before leaving to live a far more interesting life you should read up on it. Those who work in online and information security will have some sympathy for his decision as the job is rather thankless and not exactly something you can effectively use as a topic of conversation at a party. Kaspersky Labs may now be showing signs of distress after launching their new perfume line, Threat de Toilette. Yes, perfume.
There is a method to their madness if you read past the first few paragraphs on The Register. The perfume line is being advertised by fashion bloggers, who have reason to want their online information to be secure as it is the source of their livelihood and who have an audience which is not particularly knowledgeable about keeping themselves safe online. It is an intriguing way to try to spread the word about online security; here's hoping it helps at least a few people.
"The thing is, while Kaspersky is possibly talking crap about the perfume, it does manage to squeeze in a lot of good advice about security and the personal protection of it. Why it would send this to us is another mystery."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- IBM Researchers Prove It Is Possible To Store Data In a Single Atom @ Slashdot
- Microsoft: Can't wait for ARM to power MOST of our cloud data centers! Take that, Intel! Ha! Ha! @ The Register
- Apache Struts 2 needs patching, without delay. It's under attack now @ The Register
- Microsoft is adding 'adverts' for OneDrive in Windows 10's File Explorer @ The Inquirer
- Video intercom firm Doorbird wants $80 for device password resets @ The Register
- The 32-Core AMD Naples CPU Tech Report @ TechARP
- Uber Admits Its Ghost Driver 'Greyball' Tool Was Used To Thwart Regulators, Vows To Stop @ Slashdot
Subject: Editorial | March 9, 2017 - 12:45 PM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: podcast, steamvr, ryzen, riotoro, Oculus, Naples, Loitech, G533, G Pro, arm
PC Perspective Podcast #440 - 03/09/17
Join us for Ryzen 1 week later, Naples, Logitech G533, G Pro, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store (audio only)
- Google Play - Subscribe to our audio podcast directly through Google Play!
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader (audio only)
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Josh Walrath, Jermey Hellstrom
Program length: 1:35:41
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Ryan: Nintendo Switch
Allyn: Cheap wide format printers are handy to have around (13"x19" prints)
Subject: Systems | March 9, 2017 - 07:01 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, microsoft, hgx-1, GP100, dgx-1
When NVIDIA announced the Pascal architecture at last year’s GTC, they started with the GP100 architecture that was to be initially available in their $129,000 DGX-1 PC. In fact, this device contained eight of those “Big Pascal” GPUs that are connected together by their NVLink interconnection.
Now, almost a full year later, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and Ingrasys have announced the HGX-1 system. It, too, will contain eight GP100 GPUs through eight Tesla P100 accelerators. On the CPU side of things, Microsoft is planning on utilizing the next generation of x86 processors, Intel Skylake (which we assume means Skylake-X) and AMD Naples in these "Project Olympus" servers. Future versions could also integrate Intel FPGAs for an extra level of acceleration. ARM64 is another goal of theirs, but in the more distant future.
At the same time, NVIDIA has also announced, through a single-paragraph statement, that they are joining the Open Compute Project. This organization contains several massive players in the data center market, spanning from Facebook to Rackspace to Bank of America.
Whenever it arrives, the HGX-1 will be intended for cloud-based AI computations. Four of these machines are designed to be clustered together at high bandwidth, which I estimate would have north of 160 TeraFLOPs of double-precision (FP64) or 670 TeraFLOPs of half-precision (FP16) performance in the GPUs alone, depending on final clocks.
Subject: Storage | March 8, 2017 - 09:58 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: xeon, raid, NAS, iosafe, fireproof
The Server 5 is a completely different twist for an ioSafe NAS. While previous units have essentially been a fireproof drive cage surrounding Synology NAS hardware, the Server 5 is a full blown Xeon D-1520 or D-1521 quad core HT, 16GB of DDR4, an Areca ARC-1225-8i hardware RAID controller (though only 5 ports are connected to the fireproof drive cage). ioSafe supports the Server 5 with Windows Server 2012 R2 or you can throw your preferred flavor of Linux on there. The 8-thread CPU and 16GB of RAM mean that you can have plenty of other services running straight off of this unit. It's not a particularly speedy CPU, but keep in mind that the Areca RAID card offloads all parity calculations from the host.
Overall the Server 5 looks nearly identical to the ioSafe 1515+, but with an extra inch or two of height added to the bottom to accommodate the upgraded hardware. The Server 5 should prove to be a good way to keep local enterprise / business data protected and available immediately after a disaster. While only the hard drives will be protected in a fire, they can be popped out of the charred housing and shifted to a backup Server 5 or just migrated to another Areca-driven NAS system. For those wondering what a typical post-fire ioSafe looks like, here ya go:
Note how clean the cage and drives are (and yes, they all still work)!
Press blast appears after the break.
Subject: General Tech | March 8, 2017 - 04:00 PM | Scott Michaud
Honestly, I haven’t heard much from WebAssembly in several months, so I was figured they were still quite a ways off. Several big engines, like Unreal Engine 4, not really putting their weight behind HTML5 as much as they were about three years ago, during the Windows 8- and iOS-era. Now I see the above video, which starts with Tim Sweeney and goes on to include others from Mozilla, Autodesk, and Unity, and I am starting to assume that I just wasn’t looking in the right areas.
According to the video, though, it sounds like application startup time is the primary reason for shipping WebAssembly. That could just be what they feel the consumer-facing message should convey, though. I should probably poke around and see what some web and game developer contacts think about WebAssembly.
Firefox 52 is now available.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 8, 2017 - 03:48 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nxzt, fan, Aer F
The new Aer F series from NZXT offer you the chance to add some colour to your system, without the glow of RGB emanating from your system. They will fit nicely on most radiators as well as being useful as case fans. The Trims are available in red, white or blue and are compatible with both the Aer F series as well as the Aer P series which is already on the market.
The Aer F series operates at lower noise levels than the Aer P, at the sacrifice of air flow, most due to the fan speeds topping out at 1500RPM as opposed to 2000RPM. You can order the new 120mm fans for $17.99 or $29.99 for a twin pack; the 140mm are $19.99 and $32.99 respectively. The trims are sold separately at $5.99 for two trims.
Los Angeles, CA – March 7, 2017 – Continuing to deliver increased performance for PC gamers and builders everywhere, NZXT today announces the newest member of its Aer family of fans with Aer F.
Designed to maximize airflow, Aer F is engineered to move air efficiently, letting even the most powerful systems breath with ease. Featuring the same chamfered intake and exhaust and winglet-designed fan blades found in Aer P radiator fans, Aer F delivers powerful airflow with reduced drag, minimizing resistance and vibration. Like it’s Aer family counterparts, Aer F is made with long-lasting fluid dynamic bearings further enhancing their durability and cooling performance.
“Pushing PC gaming to its limits is very important to us at NZXT,” says Johnny Hou, NZXT’s founder and CEO. “Whether you are overclocking the latest processors or running two Geforce GTX 1080 Ti graphic cards in SLI, products like Aer F are designed to maximize performance without being intrusive. Having a PC running cool and quiet makes for a deeper more immersive gaming experience.”
Aer F main features:
- PWM fan designed for better airflow and near-silent performance.
- Winglet constructed fan blades minimize drag, improving overall cooling.
- Patented fluid dynamic bearings (FDB) deliver long-lasting operation. (60,000 hours / 6 years)
- Sleeved cables for easy and clean cable management.
- Replaceable color trim choices give builders the flexibility to customize their builds (sold separately)
Silence and Cooling Optimized
With sleeved cables, vibration dampeners, chamfered-intake and exhaust, and winglet designed fan blades on the impeller; Aer F is designed and engineered from top-to-bottom to make sure gamers get the best cooling performance without compromising their gaming experience.
Built to Last
Patented fluid dynamic bearings, made from copper, gives Aer F the durability to perform for six years, staying relevant well beyond your next graphics card.
Color Your Way
Aer Trims, compatible with Aer F and Aer P, are available in Red, White, and Blue, enabling builders to color-coordinate their builds, their way. Aer Trims are sold separately.
Subject: Processors | March 8, 2017 - 02:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Ryzen 1700X, Ryzen 1700, amd
With suggested prices of $330 for the Ryzen 1700 and $400 for the 1700X, a lot of users are more curious about the performance of these two chips, especially with some sites reporting almost equal performance when these chips are overclocked. [H]ard|OCP tested both of these chips at the same clock speeds to see what performance differences there are between the two. As it turns out the only test which resulted in delta of 1% or more was WinRAR, all other tests showed a minuscule difference between the X and the plain old 1700. They are going to follow these findings up with more tests, once they source some CPUs from retail outlets to see if there are any differences there.
"So there has been a lot of talk about what Ryzen CPU do you buy? The way I think is that you want to buy the least expensive one that will give you the best performance. That is exactly what we expect to find out here today. Is the Ryzen 1700 for $330 as good as the $400 1700X, or even the $500 1800X? "
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- AMD Ryzen 7 1800X @ eTeknix
- AMD Ryzen 7 1700X @ Kitguru
- Athlon X4 860K @ Hardware Secrets
- Intel 7th Generation Core i3 7350K Processor Review @ OCC
Subject: General Tech | March 8, 2017 - 01:32 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, Kickstarter, system shock, unreal engine 4, Nightdive Studios
It was just announced to backers and the public that the System Shock reboot from Nightdive Studios has moved from Unity to Unreal Engine 4 and they have a pre-alpha video that shows off what that will look like. The reasoning they gave was perhaps poorly worded, suggesting that this is because the choice was solely to make the game look good in the console version. They gave backers, such as myself, reassurance that "PC is the main target for everything we do" and that the console version was already planned in Unity. Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN feels the change makes the quality of the visuals better, but perhaps not as true to the original as the previous example they showed using Unity. Check out the pre-alpha video below to see for yourself.
"In this matter at least, I am confident my sanity is unaffected. For as well as an apparent shift in its art direction to something more traditionally sci-fi/horror, SSR has hopped from Unity to the Unreal engine, resulting in a very different-looking game."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Inkle’s Heaven’s Vault: a stunning sci-fi archaeology adventure @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- How does Nintendo Switch actually stack up at a party? @ Ars Technica
- Gearbox show off a little new Borderlands technology @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Humble Comics Bundle
- Ghost Recon Wildlands: Performance Analysis @ techPowerUp
- GOG’s big spring sale has started, is great @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Dawn of War 3 is a best-of mashup of Warhammer 40k @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | March 8, 2017 - 12:50 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: dell, hp, Lenovo, docking station, usb 3.1, thunderbolt 3, Type-C
Wave goodbye to your old docks as they sail away thanks to a thunderstorm. The Register reached out to Dell, HP, Lenovo and ASUS about the rumours that the docking station will be a thing of the past and all but the latter responded. It seems the vendors feel that as USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt 3 have united under the Type-C plug it is time to cover up that slot in the bottom of your PC and use a wire to connect you to docks. Lenovo will also persist with their WiGig docks, for those who don't want to have to remember to 'undock' a cable. Their post also has some tidbits on some of the features to expect on laptops from these three companies, so check it out for more info.
"When you shop for PCs this year your theme tune may well be “Ding, dong, the dock is dead” because now that USB 3.1, USB-C connectors and Thunderbolt all play nicely together there's much less need for dedicated hardware to connect a laptop to peripherals."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Firefox 52 Is The Last Version of Firefox For Windows XP and Vista @ Slashdot
- Troubled Avaya takes Extreme option, flogs network biz for $100m @ The Register
- Redmond's on fire, your 365 is terrified: Microsoft email outage en masse @ The Register
- The NVIDIA Jetson TX2 (Pascal) Tech Report @ TechARP
Subject: General Tech, Systems | March 8, 2017 - 12:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: qualcomm, OCP, microsoft, falkor, centriq 2400, azure, arm, 10nm
Last December Qualcomm announced plans to launch their Centriq 2400 series of platforms for data centres, demonstrating Apache Spark and Hadoop on Linux as well as a Java demo. They announced a 48 Core design based on ARM v8 and fabbed with on Samsung's 10nm process, which will compete against Intel's current offerings for the server room.
Today marks the official release of the Qualcomm Falkor CPU and Centriq 2400 series of products, as well as the existence of a partnership with Microsoft which may see these products offered to Azure customers. Microsoft has successfully configured a version of Windows Server to run on these new chips, which is rather big news for customers looking for low powered hosting solutions running a familiar OS. The Centriq 2400 family is compliant with Microsoft's Project Olympus architecture, used by the Open Compute Project Foundation to offer standardized building blocks upon which you can design a data centre from scratch or use as an expansion plan.
Enough of the background, we are here for the specifications of the new platform and what can be loaded onto a Centriq 2400. The reference motherboard supports SOCs of up to 48 cores, with both single and dual socket designs announced. Each SOC can support up to six channels of DDR4 in either single or dual channel configurations with a maximum of 768GB installed. Falkor will offer 32 lanes of PCIe 3.0, eight SATA ports and a GbE ethernet port as well as USB and a standard 50Gb/s NIC. NVMe is supported, one design offers 20 NVMe drives with a PCIe 16x slot but you can design the platform to match your requirements. Unfortunately they did not discuss performance during their call, nor any suggested usage scenarios. We expect to hear more about that during the 2017 Open Compute Platform US Summit, which starts today.
The submission of the design to Open Compute Project ensures a focus on compatibility and modularity and allows a wide variety of designs to be requested and networked together. If you have a need for HPC performance you can request a board with an HPC GPU such as a FirePro or Tesla, or even drop in your own optimized FPGA. Instead of opting for an impressive but expensive NVME storage solution, you can modify the design to accommodate 16 SATA HDDs for affordable storage.
Qualcomm have already announced Windows 10 support on their Snapdragon, but the fact that Microsoft are internally running Windows Server on an ARM v8 based processor is much more impressive. Intel and AMD have long held reign in the server room and have rightfully shrugged of the many times in which companies have announced ARM based servers which will offer more power efficient alternatives. Intel have made huge advances at creating low power chips for the server room; AMD's recently announced Naples shows their intentions to hold their market share as well.
If the submission to the OPC succeeds then we may see the first mainstream ARM based servers appear on the market. Even if the Windows Server instances remain internal to Microsoft, the Centriq series will support Red Hat, CentOS, Canonical and Ubuntu as well as both GCC and LLVM compilers.
(click to seriously embiggen)
ARM may finally have reached the server market after all these years and it will be interesting to see how they fare. AMD and Intel have both had to vastly reduce the power consumption of their chips and embrace a diametrically opposite design philosophy; instead of a small number of powerful chips, servers of the future will consist of arrays of less powerful chips working in tandem. ARM has had to do the opposite, they are the uncontested rulers of low powered chips but have had to change their designs to increase the processing capabilities of their chips in order to produce an effective product for the server room.
Could Qualcomm successful enter the server room; or will their ARMs not have the necessary reach?
Subject: General Tech | March 8, 2017 - 07:01 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: VR, steamvr, LG
While SteamVR is practically synonymous with the HTC Vive, Valve intends it to be an open platform with multiple OEMs. At this year’s Game Developers Conference, GDC 2017, LG was showing off one of their prototypes, which the folks at Adam Savage’s Tested got some time with. The company repetitively said that this is just a prototype that can change in multiple ways.
There are some differences between this and the HTC Vive, though. One change that LG is proud of is the second app button. Apparently, the company found that developers liked to assign buttons in pairs, such as a “forward” button to go along with a “back”. As such, they added a second app button, and placed all three above the touchpad for less accidental presses. The weight distribution is, apparently, also adjusted slightly, too. The difference that Tested seems most interested in is the pull forward and flip up hinge holding the mask, allowing the headset to be moved out of the way without fully taking it off the head, and for it to be easily moved back into place around glasses. (Thankfully, I’m far-sighted, so I can just take off my glasses when I use my Daydream headset, which I assume holds true for other VR devices.)
It’s unclear when it will come to market. Tested speculated that it could happen sometime later this year, which would put it just before when we expect the HTC Vive 2, but... speculation.
Subject: Memory | March 8, 2017 - 12:46 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ryzen, overclocking, gskill, ddr4, AM4
G.Skill recently announced two new series of DDR4 memory geared towards AMD’s new AM4 platform and Ryzen CPUs. The FORTIS series comes in kits up to 64 GB at 2400 MHz while the Flare X series features kits up to 32 GB at 3466 MHz.
The FORTIS series come in black with graphics on the sides. At launch, there will be kits in 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB capacities clocked at 2,133 and 2,400 MHz. These kits run at 1.2V.
Flare X reportedly uses “carefully selected” IC chips that have been tested and validated for the AM4 platform and Ryzen processors. These kits run at 1.35V out of the box and come in 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB at 3200 MHz with 14-14-14-34 timings or in a 16 GB (2x8GB) kit clocked at 3466 MHz with 16-16-16-36 timings.
It is worth noting that Ryzen officially supports memory up to 3200 MHz without needing to overclock the bus speed using one of eight memory straps/dividers (this is apparently a limitation of the UEFI and not Ryzen's memory controllers). In order to take advantage of DDR4 with higher clocks, you will need to overclock the base clock (which is made easier/possible on motherboards with external clock generators). G.Skill showed two examples using a Ryzen 7 1700 and an Asus Crosshair VI Hero motherboard where they got a 4x16GB kit clocked at 3467MHz (16-16-16-36 CR1) by setting a 25.4 x multiplier and 118.16 MHz bus speed. The other example was DDR4 at 3200 MHz with a multiplier of 28.4 and 119.99 MHz bus speed. It is interesting that they were able to push the bus speed that high while maintaining stability. G.Skill posted two CPU-Z validation screen shots on its news announcement.
G.Skill did not announce pricing, but it did state the new memory kits would be available later this month. Looking around on Newegg, it seems some of the lower speed kits with 4GB DIMMs are available right now but the new kits with higher clocks and 8GB and 16GB DIMMs are not available yet. The less exciting Fortis series does appear to be available though with a 2x8GB 16GB DDR4-2400 priced at $124.99. Even the Fortis series isn’t fully launched yet though since the 2x16GB and 4x16GB kits aren’t listed.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 7, 2017 - 01:50 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ryzen, CRYORIG, amd, AM4
If you own a CRYORIG cooler, apart from the M9i, you can head to this page to request a free upgrade kit to support AM4 motherboards. Depending on the cooler you purchased you will need to choose from one of four different kits and CRYORIG will send it off to you for free, no shipping or other fees required.
You will need to produce either a product registration number or proof of purchase of your CRYORIG product as well as proof of purchase of an AMD Ryzen or AM4 motherboard. The upgrade kits will ship out later this month and sometime in the latter half of the year CRYORIG will release four new coolers which natively support AM4, as well as previous AM3(+) boards.
07.03.17 Taipei, Taiwan – With the much-anticipated release of the AMD Ryzen, CRYORIG prepares to launch a full line of AMD Ryzen dedicated coolers as well as simple upgrade kits for existing AMD compatible CRYORIG cooling products. Beginning from Type A to Type D, there will be a total of 4 different AM4 upgrade kits depending on the corresponding CRYORIG product. Natively supporting Ryzen dedicated version models will begin to release later in Q2 2017 and will consist of the full CRYORIG cooling portfolio.
CRYORIG’s four AM4 upgrade kits will be released beginning in late March and will be completely free of charge (including shipping) for existing users to apply for. Users will only need to provide a proof of purchase of the CRYORIG product (or product registration number), and a proof of purchase of an AMD Ryzen or AM4 CPU or Motherboard. Just fill out and supply all necessary info at www.cryorig.com/getam4.php, the kit will be sent directly to the provided address. Distributors and select channels will also have these kits available.
Beginning in Q2 2017, CRYORIG will start shipping dedicated Ryzen ready versions of CRYORIG’s full product line. Exact release dates will vary from model to model. The Ryzen Supported sticker will be found on all dedicated Ryzen ready coolers for easy identification, and indicates that no additional kits are required for Ryzen support.
Subject: General Tech | March 7, 2017 - 01:17 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: microsoft, outlook, office 365, skype, hotmail
Many users of Hotmail, Outlook and Skype are finding themselves unable to log in to their accounts and some are complaining about access to their XBox accounts. The problem is being described as an authentication issue, something that users of Exchange Online are all too familiar with. Microsoft is currently working on a solution and the incident count on Down Detector seems do have dropped in the past few hours but there are still some problems. The professional side also seems to be suffering as well, with several performance issues effecting a variety of services. If you are one of those currently suffering, you can follow the link from The Register to report it on Down Detector, if you wish.
"Naturally, users of Microsoft's cloud services have taken to Twitter and Reddit to moan about the downtime, with some complaining that Xbox online services have also been hit by the downtime."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Where minimum-FPS figures mislead, frame-time analysis shines @ The Tech Report
- AMD Naples: 32-core Zen-based SoC takes the fight to Intel Xeon @ The Inquirer
- Nintendo Switch Owners Complain About Dead Pixels, Nintendo Says They're 'Normal' @ Slashdot
- Chatbot that Overturned 160,000 Parking Fines Now Helping Refugees Claim Asylum @ Slashdot
- Spam-slinging outfit leaks 1.37 billion email addresses after failed backup @ The Inquirer
- Watt the f... Dim smart meters caught simply making up readings @ The Register
- RadioShack bankruptcy savior to file for, you guessed it, bankruptcy @ The Register
Subject: Processors | March 7, 2017 - 09:02 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SoC, server, ryzen, opteron, Naples, HPC, amd
Over the summer, AMD introduced its Naples platform which is the server-focused implementation of the Zen microarchitecture in a SoC (System On a Chip) package. The company showed off a prototype dual socket Naples system and bits of information leaked onto the Internet, but for the most part news has been quiet on this front (whereas there were quite a few leaks of Ryzen which is AMD's desktop implementation of Zen).
The wait seems to be finally over, and AMD appears ready to talk more about Naples which will reportedly launch in the second quarter of this year (Q2'17) with full availability of processors and motherboards from OEMs and channel partners (e.g. system integrators) happening in the second half of 2017. Per AMD, "Naples" processors are SoCs with 32 cores and 64 threads that support 8 memory channels and a (theoretical) maximum of 2TB DDR4-2667. (Using the 16GB DIMMs available today, Naples support 256GB of DDR4 per socket.) Further, the Naples SoC features 64 PCI-E 3.0 lanes. Rumors also indicated that the SoC included support for sixteen 10GbE interfaces, but AMD has yet to confirm this or the number of SATA/SAS ports offered. AMD did say that Naples has an optimized cache structure for HPC compute and "dedicated security hardware" though it did not go into specifics. (The security hardware may be similar to the ARM TrustZone technology it has used in the past.)
Naples will be offered in single and dual socket designs with dual socket systems offering up 64 cores, 128 threads, 32 DDR4 DIMMs (512 GB using 16 GB modules) on 16 total memory channels with 21.3 GB/s per channel bandwidth (170.7 GB/s per SoC), 128 PCI-E 3.0 lanes, and an AMD Infinity Fabric interconnect between the two processor sockets.
AMD claims that its Naples platform offers up to 45% more cores, 122% more memory bandwidth, and 60% more I/O than its competition. For its internal comparison, AMD chose the Intel Xeon E5-2699A V4 which is the processor with highest core count that is intended for dual socket systems (there are E7s with more cores but those are in 4P systems). The Intel Xeon E5-2699A V4 system is a 14nm 22 core (44 thread) processor clocked at 2.4 GHz base to 3.6 GHz turbo with 55MB cache. It supports four channels of DDR4-2400 for a maximum bandwidth of 76.8 GB/s (19.2 GB/s per channel) as well as 40 PCI-E 3.0 lanes. A dual socket system with two of those Xeons features 44 cores, 88 threads, and a theoretical maximum of 1.54 TB of ECC RAM.
AMD's reference platform with two 32 core Naples SoCs and 512 GB DDR4 2400 MHz was purportedly 2.5x faster at the seismic analysis workload than the dual Xeon E5-2699A V4 OEM system with 1866 MHz DDR4. Curiously, when AMD compared a Naples reference platform with 44 cores enabled and running 1866 MHz memory to a similarly configured Intel system the Naples platform was twice as fast. It seems that the increased number of memory channels and memory bandwidth are really helping the Naples platform pull ahead in this workload.
AMD further claims that its Naples platform is more balanced and suited to cloud computing and scientific and HPC workloads than the competition. Specifically, Forrest Norrod the Senior Vice president and General Manager of AMD's Enterprise, Embedded, and Semi-Custom Business Unit stated:
“’Naples’ represents a completely new approach to supporting the massive processing requirements of the modern datacenter. This groundbreaking system-on-chip delivers the unique high-performance features required to address highly virtualized environments, massive data sets and new, emerging workloads.”
There is no word on pricing yet, but it should be competitive with Intel's offerings (the E5-2699A V4 is $4,938). AMD will reportedly be talking data center strategy and its upcoming products during the Open Compute Summit later this week, so hopefully there will be more information released at those presentations.
(My opinions follow)
This is one area where AMD needs to come out strong with support from motherboard manufacturers, system integrators, OEM partners, and OS and software validation to succeed. Intel is not likely to take AMD encroaching on its lucrative server market share lightly, and AMD is going to have a long road ahead of it to regain the market share it once had in this area, but it does have a decent architecture on its hands to build off of with Zen and if it can secure partner support Intel is certainly going to have competition here that it has not had to face in a long time. Intel and AMD competing over the data center market is a good thing, and as both companies bring new technology to market it will trickle down into the consumer level hardware. Naples' success in the data center could mean a profitable AMD with R&D money to push Zen as far as it can – so hopefully they can pull it off.
What are your thoughts on the Naples SoC and AMD's push into the server market?
- Zen and the Art of CPU Design
- AMD Zen Architecture Overview: Focus on Ryzen
- Dissecting AMD Zen Architecture - Interview with David Kanter
Subject: General Tech | March 7, 2017 - 07:37 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: microsoft, hololens
When Michael Abrash moved from Intel to Valve, according to his post on the latter company’s blog, he suggested that he should help optimize Portal 2. The response from Jay Stelly was interesting: “Yeah, you could do that, but we’ll get it shipped anyway.” That’s... not something you’d expect from a company that is getting ready to ship a huge, AAA title.
He took that feedback as a license to think outside the box, which led to their “wearable computing” initiative that eventually formed the basis of Steam VR. One key part of this blog post was the minor parenthetical, “think Terminator vision”.
Apparently, Microsoft’s HoloLens team has. As a cute little Unity demo, they are overlaying text and post-processing shaders atop the camera feed. It’s not just baked 2D text, though; they are also pushing the feed through object- and text-recognition, suggesting that users take the source (available on GitHub) and extend it through translation or text-to-speech.
The demo is primarily written in C#, which makes sense, because Unity.
Subject: General Tech | March 7, 2017 - 07:07 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: sega, crytek
A few months ago, just before Christmas in fact, we reported that Crytek was in the process of shutting down five out of their seven studios. Now, Sega has just announced that they are picking up one of them: Crytek Black Sea (Sofia, Bulgaria). This studio will be added to Creative Assembly, which makes the Total War series and also dipped its toe into the first person market with Alien: Isolation. As a part of this agreement, the ex-Crytek developer will now be called Creative Assembly Sofia.
Black Sea Studios was with Crytek since July, 2008.
As far as I can tell, the other four studios that were affected by December’s decision have not been as fortunate. Apart from ex-Rockstar designer, Leslie Benzie, picking up former employees of the Budapest, Hungary studio, I haven’t seen much talk about any other studio (or significant portions of them) moving elsewhere.
Subject: General Tech | March 7, 2017 - 03:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: romer-g, mechanical keyboard, logitech g, logitech, keyboard, key switches, gaming
Logitech G has announced the new Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, which features a compact tenkeyless (TKL) design, short-throw mechanical switches, and RGB lighting effects.
In addition to the TKL form-factor the Logitech G Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard features the company's exclusive Romer-G switches, which Logitech says "register key presses up to 25 percent faster than standard mechanical switches" and have "a short-throw actuation point 1.5 mm".
The keyboard also features keyboard durable construction with a steel back plate, and the cable is actually is a detachable micro-USB design, though not your typical micro-USB connector as this implementation features a wide three-pronged connection with support arms. Naturally, there are (optional) RGB effects for those who want them, which can be controlled via Logitech Gaming Software.
These RGB effects are per-key, which means seemingly endless levels of customizaiton considering each one can be set to one of "more than 16.8 million colors" and preferences saved to the onboard memory.
As to pricing and availability, the Logitech G Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard should be available later this month with an MSRP $129.99.