Meet the three flavours of Server 2016

Subject: General Tech | October 4, 2016 - 02:29 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, server 2016

Ars Technica have put together an overview of the new Windows Server, three pages which broadly cover the new features you will find.  As has often been discussed there will be three ways of installing the new Server OS, the familiar Desktop experience as well as Core and Nano.  Nano is similar to the Core installation which we saw introduced in Server 2012 but further reduces the interface and attack surface by removing the last remnants of the GUI, no support for 32bit apps and the Microsoft installer; all you get is a basic control console.  The Core and Desktop versions remain the same as in the 2012 version. 

If you are curious about the inclusion of Docker features such as the Linux-like containers and changes to Hyper-V or deployment techniques drop by for a read.


"Like a special breed of kaiju, Microsoft's server platform keeps on mutating, incorporating the DNA of its competitors in sometimes strange ways. All the while, Microsoft's offering has constantly grown in its scope, creating variants of itself in the process."

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Source: Ars Technica

Drobo Launches 5C - 5-bay USB 3.0 Type-C (Type-A) Direct Attached Storage Solution

Subject: Storage | October 4, 2016 - 08:30 AM |
Tagged: usb 3.0, Type-C, Type-A, hdd, External, Drobo 5C, drobo, DAS, 5-bay

We looked at the third-gen 4-bay Drobo over a year back, and while the performance and price were great, it was held back by its limited number of drive bays. Drobo fixed that today:


The new Drobo 5C is basically an evolution of the 4-bay model. Performance is similar, which justifies the choice to stick with USB 3.0 (5 Gbit), but we now have a Type-C port on the Drobo side (a Type-C to Type-A cable is included to cover most potential users). The added bay helps users increase potential capacity or alternatively select BeyondRAID's Dual Drive Redundancy mode without as much of an ultimate capacity hit compared to its 4-bay predecessor.

Drobo 5C lineup.png

The Drobo 5C supersedes the old 4-bay unit in their lineup.

The new Drobo 5C is available today for $349, with drive package deals offered direct from Drobo. Drobo is also offering a limited-time $50 discount to 2nd and 3rd gen 4-bay Drobo owners (valid until 11 Oct 2016). I have confirmed here that a disk pack from a 4-bay model can be moved directly to the new 5-bay model with no issue.

We have a full review of the Drobo 5C coming, but we have a few questions out to them that need answering before our article goes live.

Full press blast after the break.

Source: Drobo

Business on the front and back end, Kingston's SSDNow KC400 series

Subject: Storage | October 3, 2016 - 05:03 PM |
Tagged: kingston, ssdnow KC400, Phison PS3110-S10, mlc, sata ssd

Kitguru has another Phison PS3110-S10 based SSD up for review, the Kingston SSDNow KC400 512GB SATA SSD.  This drive is heavily packaged compared to others, with sixteen 32GB 15nm MLC NAND packages and a 256MB DDR3L-1600 paired with the eight channel controller.  The drive is marketed at businesses and with an 800TB lifetime, 450GB of writes everyday for the five year warranty as well as SmartECC and SmartRefresh it would fit that bill.  Consumers and businesses alike will appreciate the sequential read/write performance of 550MB/s and 530MB/s.  Overall it is another drive that fits into the existing pack of drives and is worth your consideration, especially if you have need of its error correction features.  Read the full review for more information.


"Kingston’s SSDNow KC400 family is part of the company’s business-oriented SSD product line which features end-to-end data path protection, technologies to protect data in the NAND and guard against read errors, as well as good endurance."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:


Source: Kitguru

Kingston's affordable HyperX Cloud Stinger gaming headset

Subject: General Tech | October 3, 2016 - 03:17 PM |
Tagged: kingston hyper x, kingston, gaming headset, Cloud Stinger, audio

Kingston have updated their line of gaming headsets with the new HyperX Cloud Stinger, available already for ~$50.  This makes them attractive for those who do not often use a gaming headset but might want one around just in case.  The low price could make you underestimate the design, Kingston used 50mm drivers and the microphone mutes itself the moment you swing it away from your voice hole.  That said, Overclockers Club were not in love with the quality of the sound compared to expensive headphones, but for this price point they have no qualms about recommending these for casual use.


"Overall, I'm quite impressed with the HyperX Cloud Stinger Gaming Headset. A mouth full just to say that – but after disliking the HyperX Cloud Revolver as much as I did – I'm actually quite happy with this drop in price and slight redesign. With closed ear cups I would have expected a little more in the bass-land, it wasn't the end of the world. The overall sound is nice and flat, and movies, music, and games are all quite tolerable in the closed environment."

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Audio Corner

The free ride is over and noticeable amount of people hopped back to Windows 7

Subject: General Tech | October 3, 2016 - 01:27 PM |
Tagged: Windows 7, windows 10, microsoft, market share

A change of one percent may seem tiny at first glance but historically it is an incredibly large shift in market share for an operating system.  Unfortunately for Microsoft it is Windows 7 which has gained share, up to 48.27% of the market with Windows 10 dropping half a point to 22.53% while the various flavours of Windows 8 sit at 9.61%.  This would make it almost impossible for Microsoft to reach their goal of two one billion machines running Windows 10 in the two years after release and spells bad news for their income from consumers. 

Enterprise have barely touched the new OS for a wide variety of reasons, though companies still provide significant income thanks to corporate licenses for Microsoft products and older operating systems.  It should be very interesting to see how Microsoft will react to this information, especially if the trend continues.  The sales data matches many of the comments we have seen here; the changes which they made were not well received by their customer base and the justifications they've used in the design of the new OS are not holding water.  It shouldn't be long before we here more out of Redmond, in the mean time you can pop over to The Inquirer to see Net Applications' data if you so desire.


"The latest figures from Net Applications’ Netmarketshare service show Windows 7, now over seven years old, gain a full percentage point to bolster its place as the world’s most popular desktop operating system with 48.27 per cent (+1.02 on last month)."

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Source: The Inquirer

Report: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Based on Pascal GP107

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 2, 2016 - 12:12 PM |
Tagged: rumor, report, pascal, nvidia, GTX 1050 Ti, graphics card, gpu, GP107, geforce

A report published by (via Baidu) contains pictures of an alleged NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card, which is apparently based on a new Pascal GP107 GPU.


Image credit: VideoCardz

The card shown is also equipped with 4GB of GDDR5 memory, and contains a 6-pin power connector - though such a power requirement might be specific to this particular version of the upcoming GPU.


Image credit: VideoCardz

Specifications for the GTX 1050 Ti were previously reported by VideoCardz, with a reported GPU-Z screenshot. The card will apparently feature 768 CUDA cores and a 128-bit memory bus, with clock speeds (for this particular sample) of 1291 MHz base, 1392 MHz boost (with some room to overclock, from this screenshot).


Image credit: VideoCardz

An official announcement for the new GPU has not been made by NVIDIA, though if these PCB photos are real it probably won't be far off.

Source: VideoCardz

Mid-Range Gigabyte Socket AM4 (B350 Chipset) Micro ATX Motherboard Pictured

Subject: Motherboards | October 1, 2016 - 11:20 PM |
Tagged: Zen, micro ATX, Excavator, Bristol Ridge, b350, amd, AM4

Thanks to a recent leak over at (which has since been taken down), pictures emerged online that give a first look at an AMD socket AM4 motherboard using the mid-range B350 chipset. The Gigabyte B350M-DS3H is a Micro ATX motherboard supporting Bristol Ridge processors at launch and Zen-based processors next year.

The mid-range AM4 board has a very simple layout that leaves little mystery. There are no large heatsinks and no northbridge thanks to AMD moving most of the connectivity to the SoC itself. In fact there is only a small passively cooled chip in the bottom right corner (the B350 chipset) that between the SoC and it can offer up PCI-E 3.0, SATA 6.0, USB 3.1, USB 3.0, NVMe SSD, and DDR4 memory support. This post outlines how the duties are split between the processor and southbridge.

Gigabyte AMD AMD4 B350 Chipset Motherboard.jpg

The B350M-DS3H is powered by a 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS and Gigabyte is using a seven phase VRM to power the processor and memory. The board hosts a 1331 pin AM4 socket up top with four DDR4 slots to the right. The CMOS battery is placed just above the PCI-E slots in a position that Morry would be proud of (so long as your CPU cooler is not too massive). Below that are two PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (electrically x16/x4 or x8/x8), a single PCI-E 3.0 x1 slot, and a NVMe M.2 (PCI-E) slot. The bottom right corner of the board hosts six SATA 6 Gbps ports.

Rear I/O on the AMD motherboard includes:

  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x PS/2
  • 3 x Video Outputs
    • 1 x VGA
    • 1 x DVI
    • 1 x HDMI
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 3.1
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet                
  • 3 x Audio Jacks

Several websites are reporting that AMD will be unleashing the floodgates of socket AM4 motherboards using the A320 and B350 chipsets in October (it is saving the launch of the enthusiast X370 chipset for next year alongside Summit Ridge). I have to say that it is nice to see an AMD motherboard with updated I/O which is a nice change from the ancient 990X AM3+ platform and even the FM2+ motherboards which were newer but still .ot as full featured as the competition.

Also read:

Source: Fudzilla

NVIDIA Teases Low Power, High Performance Xavier SoC That Will Power Future Autonomous Vehicles

Subject: Processors | October 1, 2016 - 06:11 PM |
Tagged: xavier, Volta, tegra, SoC, nvidia, machine learning, gpu, drive px 2, deep neural network, deep learning

Earlier this week at its first GTC Europe event in Amsterdam, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang teased a new SoC code-named Xavier that will be used in self-driving cars and feature the company's newest custom ARM CPU cores and Volta GPU. The new chip will begin sampling at the end of 2017 with product releases using the future Tegra (if they keep that name) processor as soon as 2018.


NVIDIA's Xavier is promised to be the successor to the company's Drive PX 2 system which uses two Tegra X2 SoCs and two discrete Pascal MXM GPUs on a single water cooled platform. These claims are even more impressive when considering that NVIDIA is not only promising to replace the four processors but it will reportedly do that at 20W – less than a tenth of the TDP!

The company has not revealed all the nitty-gritty details, but they did tease out a few bits of information. The new processor will feature 7 billion transistors and will be based on a refined 16nm FinFET process while consuming a mere 20W. It can process two 8k HDR video streams and can hit 20 TOPS (NVIDIA's own rating for deep learning int(8) operations).

Specifically, NVIDIA claims that the Xavier SoC will use eight custom ARMv8 (64-bit) CPU cores (it is unclear whether these cores will be a refined Denver architecture or something else) and a GPU based on its upcoming Volta architecture with 512 CUDA cores. Also, in an interesting twist, NVIDIA is including a "Computer Vision Accelerator" on the SoC as well though the company did not go into many details. This bit of silicon may explain how the ~300mm2 die with 7 billion transistors is able to match the 7.2 billion transistor Pascal-based Telsa P4 (2560 CUDA cores) graphics card at deep learning (tera-operations per second) tasks. Of course in addition to the incremental improvements by moving to Volta and a new ARMv8 CPU architectures on a refined 16nm FF+ process.

  Drive PX Drive PX 2 NVIDIA Xavier Tesla P4
CPU 2 x Tegra X1 (8 x A57 total) 2 x Tegra X2 (8 x A57 + 4 x Denver total) 1 x Xavier SoC (8 x Custom ARM + 1 x CVA) N/A
GPU 2 x Tegra X1 (Maxwell) (512 CUDA cores total 2 x Tegra X2 GPUs + 2 x Pascal GPUs 1 x Xavier SoC GPU (Volta) (512 CUDA Cores) 2560 CUDA Cores (Pascal)
TDP ~30W (2 x 15W) 250W 20W up to 75W
Process Tech 20nm 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET+ 16nm FinFET
Transistors ? ? 7 billion 7.2 billion

For comparison, the currently available Tesla P4 based on its Pascal architecture has a TDP of up to 75W and is rated at 22 TOPs. This would suggest that Volta is a much more efficient architecture (at least for deep learning and half precision)! I am not sure how NVIDIA is able to match its GP104 with only 512 Volta CUDA cores though their definition of a "core" could have changed and/or the CVA processor may be responsible for closing that gap. Unfortunately, NVIDIA did not disclose what it rates the Xavier at in TFLOPS so it is difficult to compare and it may not match GP104 at higher precision workloads. It could be wholly optimized for int(8) operations rather than floating point performance. Beyond that I will let Scott dive into those particulars once we have more information!

Xavier is more of a teaser than anything and the chip could very well change dramatically and/or not hit the claimed performance targets. Still, it sounds promising and it is always nice to speculate over road maps. It is an intriguing chip and I am ready for more details, especially on the Volta GPU and just what exactly that Computer Vision Accelerator is (and will it be easy to program for?). I am a big fan of the "self-driving car" and I hope that it succeeds. It certainly looks to continue as Tesla, VW, BMW, and other automakers continue to push the envelope of what is possible and plan future cars that will include smart driving assists and even cars that can drive themselves. The more local computing power we can throw at automobiles the better and while massive datacenters can be used to train the neural networks, local hardware to run and make decisions are necessary (you don't want internet latency contributing to the decision of whether to brake or not!).

I hope that NVIDIA's self-proclaimed "AI Supercomputer" turns out to be at least close to the performance they claim! Stay tuned for more information as it gets closer to launch (hopefully more details will emerge at GTC 2017 in the US).

What are your thoughts on Xavier and the whole self-driving car future?

Also read:

Source: NVIDIA

Blender 2.78 Released

Subject: General Tech | September 30, 2016 - 10:58 PM |
Tagged: Blender

Blender 2.78 has been a fairly anticipated release. First off, people who have purchased a Pascal-based graphics card will now be able to GPU-accelerate their renders in Cycles. Previously, it would outright fail, complaining that it didn't have a compatible CUDA kernel. At the same time, the Blender Foundation fixed a few performance issues, especially with Maxwell-based GM200 parts, such as the GeForce 980 Ti. Pre-release builds included these fixes for over a month, but 2.78 is the first build for the general public that supports it.


In terms of actual features, Blender 2.78 starts to expand the suite's feature set into the space that is currently occupied by Adobe Animate CC (Flash Professional). The Blender Foundation noticed that users were doing 2D animations using the Grease Pencil, so they have been evolving the tool in that direction. You can now simulate different types of strokes, parent these to objects, paint geometry along surfaces, and so forth. It also has onion skinning, to see how the current frame matches its neighbors, but I'm pretty sure that is not new to 2.78, though.

As you would expect, there are still many differences between these two applications. Blender does not output to Flash, and interactivity would need to be done through the Blender Game Engine. On the other hand, Blender allows the camera, itself, to be animated. In Animate CC, you would need to move, rotate, and scale objects around the stage by the amount of pixels on an individual basis. In Blender, you would just fly the camera around.

This leads in to what the Blender Foundation is planning for Blender 2.8x. This upcoming release focuses on common workflow issues. Asset management is one area, but Viewport Renderer is a particularly interesting one. Blender 2.78 increases the functionality that materials can exhibit in the viewport, but Blender 2.8x is working toward a full physically-based renderer, such as the one seen in Unreal Engine 4. While it cannot handle the complex lighting effects that their full renderer, Cycles, can, some animations don't require this. Restricting yourself to the types of effects seen in current video games could decrease your render time from seconds or minutes per frame to around real-time.

As always, you can download Blender for free at their website.

Some Things I've Noticed about Windows 10 Patches

Subject: General Tech | September 30, 2016 - 10:07 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10

I've been seeing a lot of people discussing how frequently Windows 10 seems to be getting updated. This discussion usually circles back to how many issues have been reported with the latest Anniversary Update, and how Microsoft has been slow in rolling it out. The thing is, while the slow roll-out is interesting, the way Windows 10 1607 is being patched is not too unusual.

The odd part is how Microsoft has been releasing the feature updates, themselves.


In the past, Microsoft has tried to release updates on the second Tuesday of every month. This provides a predictable schedule for administrators to test patches before deploying them to an entire enterprise, in case the update breaks something that is mission-critical. With Windows 10, Microsoft has declared that patches will be cumulative and can occur at any time. This led to discussion about whether or not “Patch Tuesday” is dead. Now, a little over a year has gone by, and we can actually quantify how the OS gets updated.

There seems to be a pattern that starts with each major version release, which has (thus far) been builds 10240, 10586, and 14393. Immediately before and after these builds start to roll out to the public, Microsoft releases a flurry of updates to fix issues.

For instance, Windows 10 version 1507 had seven sub-versions of 10240 prior to general release, and five hotfixes pushed down Windows Update within the first month of release. The following month, September 2015, had an update on Patch Tuesday, as well as an extra one on September 30th. The following month also had two updates, the first of which on October's Patch Tuesday. It was then patched once for every following Patch Tuesday.

The same trend occurred with Build 10586 (Windows 10 version 1511). Microsoft released the update to the public on November 12th, but pushed a patch through Windows Update on November 10th, and five more over Windows Update in the following month-and-a-bit. It mostly settled down to Patch Tuesday after that, although a few months had a second hotfix sometime in the middle.

We are now seeing the same trend happen with Windows 10 version 1607. Immediately after release, Microsoft pushed a bunch of hotfixes. If history repeats itself, we should start to see about two updates per month for the next couple of months, then we will slow down to Patch Tuesday until Redstone 2 arrives sometime in 2017.

So, while this seems to fit a recurring trend, I do wonder why this trend exists.

Part of it makes sense. When Microsoft is developing Windows 10, it is trying to merge additions from a variety of teams into a single branch, and do so once or twice each year. This likely means that Microsoft has a “last call” date for these teams to merge their additions into the public branch, and then QA needs to polish this up for the general public. While they can attempt to have these groups check in mid-way, pushing their work out to Windows Insiders in a pre-release build, you can't really know how the final build will behave until after the cut-off.

At the same time, the massive flood of patches within the first month would suggest that Microsoft is pushing the final build to the public about a month or two too early. If this trend continues, it would make the people who update within the first month basically another ring of the Insider program. The difference is that it is less out-in, because you get it when Windows Update tells you to.

It will be interesting to see how this continues going forward, too. Microsoft has already delayed Redstone 2 until 2017, as I mentioned earlier. This could be a sign that Microsoft is learning from past releases, and optimizing their release schedule based on these lessons. I wonder how soon before release will Microsoft settle on a “final build” next time. It seems like Microsoft could avoid many stability problems by simply setting an earlier merge date, and aggressively performing QA for a longer period until it is released to the public.

Or I could be completely off. What do you all think?

Source: Wikipedia

Logitech Releases C922 Pro Stream Webcam with 720p/60

Subject: General Tech | September 30, 2016 - 12:25 AM |
Tagged: webcam, skype, Pro Stream Webcam, logitech, C922x, C922, C920, 720p/60

Logitech has announced the successor to the popular C920 with the C922 Pro Stream Webcam, and this new model includes a 720p/60 mode, along with the 1080p/30 capability of its predecessor.

Logitech C922 01.jpg

“C922 Pro Stream Webcam offers full HD quality and features for all streaming needs. At either 1080p 30 FPS or 720p 60 FPS, C922 is the perfect solution for streaming to Twitch, YouTube and any other video streaming application imaginable. Advanced 20-step autofocus through a full HD glass lens with F-stop F 2.8 and 78-degree field of view means no matter what action is happening, C922 can capture those crucial moments in perfect HD clarity.”

Logitech lists these specs for the C922:

  • Video streaming or recording: 1080p30 FPS / 720p60 FPS / 720p30 FPS with supported apps
  • Video calling: Full HD 1080p with the latest version of Skype for Windows or 720p with
  • supported clients
  • H.264 video compression (Skype only at this time)
  • Full HD Glass lens (F=2.8) with 20-step autofocus
  • 78° horizontal field of view
  • Dual stereo microphone with automatic noise cancellation
  • Automatic low light correction
  • Tripod ready universal clip fits laptops and monitors (C922 SKU only)
  • Dimensions:
    • Width: 95mm
    • Depth: 24mm - 71mm including clip
    • Height: 29mm - 43.5mm including clip
    • Weight: 162g
  • USB cable: 6-ft

Logitech C922 02.jpg

The C922 includes a tripod, while the C922x does not

There will be two SKUs of the C922, each of which retail for $99.99:

  • C922 - exclusive to Best Buy and, includes tripod and a 3 month XSplit license
  • C922x - available on - does not include the tripod but includes a longer 6 month XSplit license

Both versions are available now.

Logitech C922 Pro Stream Webcam.jpg

Full press release after the break.

Source: Logitech

The BRIX Gaming UHD, balancing size and performance

Subject: Systems | September 29, 2016 - 04:26 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, BRIX Gaming UHD

Gigabyte did not have a lot of space to fit components into the BRIX Gaming UHD, let alone cooling, as it is 220x110x110mm in size or 2.6L in volume.  Into this tiny tower you will find an i7-6700HQ with 16GB of dual channel DDR4-2400 and a 512GB Samsung 950 PRO with two M.2 slots for storage expansion, the third is on wireless duty.  Gigabyte chose a 4GB GTX 950 to power the video, not new by any means but able to fulfill gaming duties at 1080p and allows the system to be powered by a 180W power brick.  4k gaming is a bit of a stretch for this but it is impressively designed, check out the benchmarks at Kitguru to see its performance in games.


"Gigabyte’s BRIX line of barebones PCs are typically small and low-powered – at least, when compared with a mini-ITX desktop system, for example. However, the new BRIX Gaming UHD aims to change all of that."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: Kitguru

The Founders Edition is not the foundation of NVIDIA's retail career

Subject: General Tech | September 29, 2016 - 03:14 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, competition, jen-hsun huang, Founder's Edition

When Microsoft launched the Surface there were negative reactions from vendors who saw this as new competition from what was previously their partner.  Today DigiTimes reports that certain unnamed GPU vendors have similar feelings about NVIDIA's Founder's Edition cards.  Jen-Hsun responded to these comments today, stating that the Founders Editions were "purely to solve problems in graphics card design". 

While he did not say that NVIDIA would not consider continuing practice in future cards he does correctly point out that they did share everything about the design and results with the vendors.  Those vendors are still somewhat upset about the month in which only Founder's Editions were available for sale as they feel they lost some possible profits by not being able to sell their custom designed GPUs.  Then again, considering the limited supply on the market, the amount of sales they could have made that extra month would certainly have been limited.  It will be interesting to see if we hear more about this directly from the vendors in the coming weeks.


"Since Nvidia has restricted its graphics card brand partners from releasing in-house designed graphics cards within a month after the releases of its Founders Edition card, the graphics card vendors are displeased with the decision as it had given Nvidia time to earn early profits without competition."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Podcast #419 - ASUS Rampage V Edition 10, VerticalMouse, AMD A12-9800 and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 29, 2016 - 12:48 PM |
Tagged: video, toshiba, Silverstone, S340, rampage v edition 10, podcast, ocz, nzxt, gtx 1070, fsp, Evoluent, evga, asus, AOC, amd, A12-9800

PC Perspective Podcast #419 - 09/29/16

Join us this week as we discuss the Edition 10 of the Rampage V motherboard, a VerticalMouse, a shiny SilverStone case, the AMD A12-9800 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: - Share with your friends!

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

Program length: 1:05:25

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
  4. Closing/outro

Mozilla Discontinues Firefox OS for All Devices

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | September 29, 2016 - 02:15 AM |
Tagged: mozilla, Firefox OS, firefox

Update: There has been a little confusion. The web browser, Firefox, is still going strong. In fact, they're focusing their engineering efforts more on it, by cutting back on these secondary projects.

Less than a year after their decision to stop developing and selling smartphones through carriers, Mozilla has decided to end all commercial development of Firefox OS. Releases after Firefox OS 2.6 will be handled by third parties, such as Panasonic, should they wish to continue using it for their smart TV platform. Further, source code for the underlying operating system, Boot-to-Gecko (B2G), will be removed from their repository, mozilla-central, so it doesn't hinder development of their other products.


Obviously, this is quite disappointing from a platform standpoint. Many applications, especially for mobile and similar devices, can be created in Web standards. At this point, we usually get comments about how web browsers shouldn't be app platforms, and that JavaScript is too inefficient. The thing is, Web is about the best, ubiquitous platform we have, and it will only get better with initiatives such as WebAssembly. Also, native applications don't necessarily perform better than Web-based ones, especially if the latter are packaged standalone (versus sharing resources with other tabs in a browser).

Regardless, Mozilla needs to consider their long-term financial stability, and throwing resources at Firefox OS apparently doesn't return enough value for them, both directly and for its impact on society.

Source: Mozilla

Be Quiet! Shows Off New Silent Loop AIO Liquid Coolers

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 29, 2016 - 12:38 AM |
Tagged: water cooling, liquid cooler, Intel, copper radiator, be quiet!, amd, AIO

Be Quiet!, a popular German manufacturer of PC cases and power supplies is jumping into the liquid cooling game with the introduction of its new Silent Loop all-in-one (AIO) liquid coolers. Through a partnership with Alphacool, Be Quiet! Is launching three new coolers with 120mm, 240mm, and 280mm radiators. It is not clear exactly when they will be arriving stateside but pricing is approximately $124, $143, and $170 respectively.

be quiet silent loop 280mm AIO water cooler.jpg

The Silent Loop 280 AIO liquid CPU cooler.

The new coolers come clad in all black and feature a new pump design paired with copper cold plates and copper radiators. This is nice to see in the wake of aluminum radiators because using the same metals throughout the loop mitigates the risk of galvanic corrosion that will eventually occur in loops that use mixed metals.

The decoupled reverse flow pump courtesy OEM partner Alphacool.The AIO loop is paired with two Silent Wings 2 fans which use rifle bearings and can spin up to 2,000 RPM. To further set the Silent Loop series apart, Be Quiet! uses a nickel plated CPU cold plate, a radiator with a fill port to allow users to top up the fluids over time, and a reportedly innovative (read: not infringing on Asetek IP) "decoupled reverse flow pump" that spins at 2,200 RPM and allegedly reduces noise to nearly inaudible levels. The pump pulls water into the block and over the cold plate and then pulls it through the pump which is in a sectioned off area of the block.

As for the copper radiators, Be Quiet is using 30mm radiators on the Silent Looop 240 and Silent Loop 280 coolers with two fans side by side and a thicker 45mm radiator on the Silent Loop 120 with two fans in a push-pull configuration. Be Quiet! claims that the 120mm, 240mm, and 280mm coolers can handle wattages of 270W, 350W, and 400W respectively (these numbers are likely with the fans cranked to their maximum speeds heh). The included fans can be controlled via PWM and Be Quiet! includes a Y splitter that allows users to attach both fans to one PWM motherboard header – which is good since the CPU_Fan header is sometimes the only "true" PWM header offered.

The liquid coolers use Philips screws throughout for mounting the radiator, fans, and CPU mount and they are compatible with all the usual Intel and AMD sockets.

Be quiet Silent Loop AIO Water Coolers.jpg

Several sites already have reviews of the new coolers including Kit Guru and Guru3D. According to Leo Waldock from Kit Guru, the Be Quiet! Silent Loop 240 is a "funky and nice piece of hardware" and while it did not blow him away it is competitively priced and performs very closely to the Corsair H100i V2. Out of the box the cooler was reportedly inaudible but with lackluster cooling performance; however, once the fans were cranked up from their normal 1,100 RPM to 1,400 RPM cooling performance greatly improved without sound getting too out of control.

In all it looks good aesthetically and appears to be easy to install. If you are in the market for an AIO and do not need fancy extras (LEDs, monitoring software, ect), the Silent Loop coolers might be worth looking into. Hopefully we can get one in for review so that Sebastian or Morry can take it apart... I mean test it! (heh).

Source: be quiet!

Samsung Investigating Replacement Galaxy Note 7 Fire

Subject: Mobile | September 28, 2016 - 09:04 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, recall, galaxy note 7

Bloomberg is reporting that a 25-year-old customer from China, Hui Renjie, claims to have received a replacement Galaxy Note 7, and that it caught fire within 24 hours. A representative of the company immediately visited him and asked to take the phone to investigate, but the customer wished to go public first, assuming that he wouldn't get any answers if he just gave up the phone silently. The explosion allegedly caused minor burns to two of the customer's fingers, as well as damaged his MacBook.


Naturally, Samsung is very interested in what happened. The previous incident involved Samsung-developed batteries. The manufacturing process accidentally pushed some the battery batch's two terminals together. Shorting out a battery causes it to release energy quickly as heat, which is often undesirable, to say the least.

Samsung is waiting to examine the device before they comment further. If you have also receive a replacement, then you might want to keep it powered off and disconnected from the charger until we find out what happened.

Source: Bloomberg

Google Translate Boosted by Deep Learning

Subject: General Tech | September 28, 2016 - 07:36 PM |
Tagged: google

Machine translation is quite difficult, especially between certain pairs of languages that vary greatly in how they handle implied context and intonation. At Google, the current translation system picks out known words and phrases, converts them to the target language, and blindly outputs them. This, unfortunately, ignores how the phrases are structured together.


Google has been working toward a newer system, though. Google Neural Machine Translation (GNMT) considers whole sentences, rather than individual words and phrases. It lists all possible translations, and weighs them based on how humans rate their quality. These values are stored and used to better predict following choices, which should be a familiar concept to those who have been reading up on deep learning over the last couple of years.

This new system makes use of Google's “TensorFlow” library, released to the public last year under a permissive, Apache 2.0 license. It will also be compatible with Google's custom Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) ASICs that were announced last May at Google I/O. The advantage of TPUs is that they can reach extremely high parallelism because they operate on extremely low-precision values.

The GNMT announcement showed the new system attempting to translate English to and from Spanish, French, and Chinese. Each pairing, in both directions, showed a definite increase, with French to English almost matching a human translation according to their quality metric. GNMT is currently live to the public when attempting to translate between Chinese and English, and Google will expand this to other languages “over the coming months”.

Source: ZDNet

HP Claims They're "Dedicated to the Best Printing Experience"

Subject: General Tech | September 28, 2016 - 06:53 PM |
Tagged: hp, DRM

Recently, HP released a firmware update for some inkjet printers that disabled certain third-party cartridges. The claim is that the customer “is exposed to quality and potential security risks” when using counterfeit cartridges. I'm curious why HP is claiming that users shouldn't trust HP's abilities to secure their devices against attacks from malicious cartridges, but that's probably not an implication that HP considered when publishing this press release.


Also, if the intent was to inform users about counterfeit and potentially malicious cartridges, you would think that they would have provided an override method from the start. Thankfully, they are now. HP is preparing an optional firmware update that does not check cartridges. They claim that it will be available in a couple of weeks, and provide a link to where it will be hosted.

So yeah, they are doing the right thing now. Still... come on.

Source: HP

Even more VR gaming; this time it is Sword Master VR

Subject: General Tech | September 28, 2016 - 01:47 PM |
Tagged: VR, sword master vr, htc vive, gaming

With the amount of VR benchmarks coming out of [H]ard|OCP lately we wonder if they are in danger of becoming the worlds first VR addicts.  They tested the usual suite of two AMD cards and five NVIDIA to determine the amount of dropped frames and average render times in this particular game.  As it turns out the game is harder on the player than it is the GPU, all were able to provide decent experiences when swashbuckling.  The developer recommends you clear a 2x1.5m area to play this game and from what [H]ard|OCP experienced while playing this is no joke; you will get exercise while you are duelling some of the harder opponents.


"Do you want to fight the Black Knight in a sword fight? There is not exactly a "Black Knight" in Sword Master VR, but you can certainly get that feeling. In fact, you can fight him and a couple of his friends at the same time if you are up to the challenge. Just pull the sword from the stone for $10."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP