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Subject: Motherboards | June 2, 2017 - 06:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: x370, Strix X370-F Gaming, Strix B350-F Gaming, ryzen, b350, asus, amd
ASUS just announced two new members of their Strix motherboard series for AMD's Ryzen, the Strix X370-F Gaming and Strix B350-F Gaming.
The boards offer similar features, they support up to 64GB of DDR4-3200 in their four DIMM slots and offer ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC S1220A with two headphone jacks. You will find four USB 3.1 ports on the back panels along with HDMI 1.4b and DP 1.2 out and an Intel I211-AT powered gigabit NIC. Storage options do vary, both have an M.2 slot however the X370 has twice as many SATA ports, eight to the B350's four.
The Strix X370-F Gaming
Depending on which model you choose you could have up to three PCIe 3.0 16x slots, one capped at 8x along with support for Crossfire and SLI. The slots are branded as SafeSlots which are made using an injection molding process that integrates metal framing to support todays monstrous GPUs.
Those who want their system to stand out can take advantage of the AURA Sync RGB lighting and 3D printer friendly heat shields to make their build unique. You can compare the boards directly at ASUS and check out the PR just below.
The Strix B350-F Gaming
Fremont, CA (June 2, 2017) -- — Since its release back in April, AMD’s Ryzen platform has quickly established itself as a viable option, delivering exemplary performance for daily computing and gaming. ASUS was ready for the early unveil, releasing an array of motherboards for value-packed PCs to models geared for high-end rigs. However, pressing demand for Ryzen-based systems shows a need for more options in the middle of the ASUS product stack. So today, we’re bolstering our portfolio with two new AM4 motherboards aimed squarely at gamers who wish to utilize Ryzen performance in their next PC build.
Based on the latest AMD X370 and B350 chipsets, the ATX-sized Strix X370-F and Strix B350-F include all the core ROG enhancements that make system setup a breeze, while offering performance that stands out from the crowd. To read more about these motherboards, please visit ASUS ROG. ROG B350-F Motherboard
ASUS ROG Strix X370-F Gaming and Strix B350-F Gaming Motherboards will be available in early June at leading resellers in North America.
Subject: General Tech | June 2, 2017 - 04:55 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: nvidia, shield, SHIELD TV, plex, plex pass
Yesterday I posted a news blurb about the update to Plex that brought Live TV viewing and an enhanced DVR capability to the widely used and very popular media software package. In that story I mentioned that the NVIDIA SHIELD (and all Android TV systems) were among the first of the roll out, capable of both serving Live TV but also streaming and viewing it. Yes, the NVIDIA SHIELD continues to be one of the most interesting parts of the cord cutting economy, with a balance of hardware performance, software improvements, and cost.
Along with the Plex software update, NVIDIA has its own update pushing out starting yesterday, Experience Upgrade 5.2, starting with the SHIELD Preview Program members. This update brings a couple of important changes that make the Plex Live TV rollout much more interesting. First, the SHIELD now has support for a wider array of TV tuners, including direct attached USB TV tuners. Here is the updated list of supported hardware:
- HDHomeRun Network Tuners:
- Connect – Dual tuner, Base model
- Extend – Dual tuner, Converts MPEG2 to H.264 for lower bandwidth and size requirements
- Prime – Requires cable subscription and a CableCARD
- Hauppauge Dual USB Tuners:
- WinTV-dual HD 1595 (NTSC) – US/Canada
- WinTV-dual HD 1590 (DVB-T/T2) – UK/EU
- Single USB Tuners – Not recommended due to single tuner capability
- AVerMedia AVerTV Volar Hybrid Q (H837) for US/Canada
NVIDIA claims there are more tuners on the way soon, so we’ll keep an eye out on the updates.
The second update allows SHIELD to write to network attached storage devices (NAS). Previously, the Android TV box could only mount them as read-only partitions, even in Plex, making them useless for recording live TV via the Plex DVR. With the 5.2 release you can now direct write to NAS hardware, allowing the SHIELD to store copies of recorded TV shows and movies in a location that makes sense. If you have a non-hard drive SHIELD unit, this is a great feature, and even if you have the 500GB model, this easily expands usable storage with hardware you may already own.
Also as a part of the update are more general tweaks and improvements including “network storage directory and connectivity enhancements, Wi-Fi performance improvements, and experience enhancements for SHIELD remote and SHIELD controller.”
NVIDIA is celebrating the release of this Plex update by offering a 6-month Plex Pass subscription as a part of the deal if you buy a new SHIELD TV. That’s a $30 value, but a Plex Pass is a requirement to take advantage of Live TV. For users that already own the SHIELD, you’ll have to shell out the $5/mo for the premium Plex offering (worth it for sure in my view) to try out the live TV feature.
Subject: General Tech | June 2, 2017 - 04:02 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: asrock, H110, Skylake, bitcoin, cryptocurrency, mining, storj, computex, computex 2017
ASRock showed off an upcoming motherboard at Computex that features 13 PCI-Express slots and is aimed squarely at crypto currency miners. The new H110 Pro BTC+ is an ATX board based on Intel’s H110 chipset and LGA 1151 socket (Skylake CPUs). The board is dominated by 12 PCI-E x1 slots and a single PCI-E x16 slot (I suppose for mounting a SAS card and Burst mining or running Storj heh), but it also has slots for two DDR4 DIMMs, a single M.2 port, and four SATA ports. The board also supports Intel Gigabit Ethernet, ELNA audio, USB 3.0 and DVI and HDMI video outputs for the Intel iGPU.
The upcoming board is powered by a 24 pin ATX, 8 pin EPS, and two Molex connectors for the PCI-E slots. The H110 Pro BTC+ appears to have a decent power phase setup for an H110 motherboard as well. ASRock showed off the motherboard running eight GPUs on Windows at Computex, though with Linux it is possible go beyond that and run all 13 GPUs. The H110 chipset does mean that miners would need to spend money on a newer CPU and DDR4 memory, but they would save money by buying fewer motherboards and/or port multipliers.
Exact specifications along with pricing and availability are still unknown, but expect the mining crowd to jump on this so if you are interested in it be sure to set up email alerts for when it will become available so that you can get in before the miners make it go out of stock everywhere like the RX 580s! (heh)
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 2, 2017 - 03:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, radeon, linux
When Phoronix does a performance round up they do not mess around. Their latest look at the performance of AMD cards on Linux stretches all the way back to the HD 2900XT and encompasses almost every single GPU released between that part and the RX 580, with a pair of Firepro cards and the Fury included as well. For comparative performance numbers you will see 28 NVIDIA cards on these charts, which makes the charts some of the longest you have seen. Drop by to check out the state of AMD performance on Linux in a variety of games as well as synthetic benchmarks.
"It's that time of the year where we see how the open-source AMD Linux graphics driver stack is working on past and present hardware in a large GPU comparison with various OpenGL games and workloads. This year we go from the new Radeon RX 580 all the way back to the Radeon HD 2900XT, looking at how the mature Radeon DRM kernel driver and R600 Gallium3D driver is working for aging ATI/AMD graphics hardware. In total there were 51 graphics cards tested for this comparison of Radeon cards as well as NVIDIA GeForce hardware for reference."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- PowerColor Red Devl Radeon RX 580 Video Card Review @ Hardware Asylum
- 21-Way NVIDIA Fermi/Kepler/Maxwell/Pascal OpenCL GPU Comparison @ Phoronix
- 28-Way NVIDIA GeForce GPU Comparison On Ubuntu: From GeForce 8 To GeForce 1080 @ Phoronix
- ASUS GTX 1080 ROG Strix OC 11Gbps @ Kitguru
- MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X Plus 8GB @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | June 2, 2017 - 12:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: qualcomm, snapdragon 835, x16 LTE
The Register has heard the names of the three vendors that Qualcomm will tap to produce Win10 machines running on their chips. The winners are as expected, Lenovo, HP and ASUS will be licensed to sell these mysterious low powered and extremely mobile devices. Unfortunately that is pretty much all we know, there were no dates nor models announced by Qualcomm or its new partners. We can certainly speculate that these devices will be as thin as the battery will allow, the cooling solution for a Snapdragon can be extremely compact, assume that you will not see any wired NICs as the RJ-45 jack would be thicker than the device. We should be able to assume their will be a headphone jack at least.
"The chipmaker says the three vendors will be making PCs that will sport its Snapdragon 835 SoC (system-on-chip) and its X16 LTE chipset for wireless broadband connectivity. Qualcomm says all of the models will be fanless and will offer all-day battery life."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD sets sights on Nvidia with new entry-level Radeon Pro graphics cards @ The Inquirer
- Crapness of WannaCrypt coding offers hope for ransomware victims @ The Register
- Microsoft rolls out not one but two bad builds to the Windows Insider program @ Ars Technica
- Bank of Canada finds flaws with current blockchain solutions @ The Register
- TThe Computex Taipei 2017 Live Coverage (Day 3) @ TechARP
Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | June 2, 2017 - 02:23 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Imagination Technologies, PowerVR, ray tracing, ue4, vulkan
Imagination Technologies has published another video that demonstrates ray tracing with their PowerVR Wizard GPU. The test system, today, is a development card that is running on Ubuntu, and powering Unreal Engine 4. Specifically, it is using UE4’s Vulkan renderer.
The demo highlights two major advantages of ray traced images. The first is that, rather than applying a baked cubemap with screen-space reflections to simulate metallic objects, this demo calculates reflections with secondary rays. From there, it’s just a matter of hooking up the gathered information into the parameters that the shader requires and doing the calculations.
The second advantage is that it can do arbitrary lens effects, like distortion and equirectangular, 360 projections. Rasterization, which projects 3D world coordinates into 2D coordinates on a screen, assumes that edges are still straight, and that causes problems as FoV gets very large, especially full circle. Imagination Technologies acknowledges that workarounds exist, like breaking up the render into six faces of a cube, but the best approximation is casting a ray per pixel and seeing what it hits.
The demo was originally for GDC 2017, back in February, but the videos have just been released.
Subject: General Tech | June 2, 2017 - 01:50 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: onelogin, security
If you use OneLogin to manage your passwords, then you will want to check your email, which I’m assuming is they way they’ll contact customers, and see if they have any advice. (Although, now that the attack is public, be careful of spoof emails.) The password management company was recently accessed by a malicious entity, and data was copied. OneLogin claims that they encrypt sensitive data, however they also state that it’s possible the intruder also gained access to the ability to decrypt it, but they also may not have.
The attack occurred on their US-based Amazon Web Services (AWS) instance. Apparently, OneLogin noticed several servers being created without authorization, so they considered those API keys compromised and shut down the servers.
There’s not much else to report at the moment. Check out the OneLogin blog to see what they find out as they find it out.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 1, 2017 - 10:38 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SFX-L, SFF, High Power, computex, be quiet!, 80+ gold
German PSU maker be quiet! Had several new power supplies on display at Computex. Perhaps the most interesting for small form factor enthusiasts are the two new SFX-L power supplies. The aptly named SFX-L-500W and SFX-L-600W are fully modular 80+ Gold rated power supplies that are not much bigger than the 120mm temperature controlled fan that cools it.
SFFNetwork examined the new PSUs at Computex.
According to AnandTech, be quiet! Is using High Power as the OEM for these power supplies rather than its usual partner FSP. The High Power platform offers up a single 12V rail design that supports multi GPU setups with the inclusion of 4 PCI-E power connectors. At least on the 600W variant (not sure on the 500W) the PSU is rated at 50A on the 12-volt rail, which is nice to see. The fan does not support spinning down to zero when under light load, but it does spin down to lower RPMs and has a temperature controlled fan curve that be quiet! claims is sufficient for even noise sensitive applications like HTPCs (hopefully Lee gets his hands on these soon and can confirm the advertised specs).
Both of the new small form factor (SFF) power supplies come with a three-year warranty which seems to be pretty standard for power supplies these days though five would be nice to see especially when they are going to be going into tiny cases with less airflow than the traditional ATX desktop. Speaking of ATX, the SFX-L PSUs come with an adapter that will allow you to install the SFF unit into a standard ATX power supply mount should you want to use it in a larger case.
The 500W and 600W PSUs have US MSRPs of $109 and $129 respectively.
Subject: Memory | June 1, 2017 - 08:30 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: x299, Trident Z RGB, Threadripper, ryzen, LGA 2066, G.Skill, ddr4, computex 2017, computex
G.Skill was in full force at Computex in Taipei, Taiwan this week with not just one but three systems based on Intel’s new X299 platform each featuring flashy G.Skill Trident Z RGB memory clocked above 4GHz!
Hexus.net got hands-on at Computex 2017.
During the event, G.Skill had three systems set up showing off its newest Trident Z RGB kits running on X299 motherboards. The kits included a 16GB (2 x 8GB) kit running at 4,400 MHz with 19-19-19-39 timings on a Gigabyte X299-SOC Champion motherboard. Moving up to 32GB (2 x 16GB DIMMs), G.Skill showed off a kit running on an ASRock X299 OC Formula board at 4,000 MHz with 17-18-18-38 timings. Finally, G.Skill showed an eight module 64GB kit (8 x 8GB) running at 4,200 MHz with 19-21-21-41 timings on an Asus PRIME X299-Deluxe.
At the event a G.Skill representative made the point to Hexus.net (they have a video of the G.Skill booth) that adding LEDs to memory modules does not have to mean sacrificing performance.
Interestingly, Hexus also saw a demonstration of a prototype Trident Z memory kit (the red/silver non RGB type) running at an extremely impressive 4,800 MHz on an ASRock X299 OC Formula!
It has been a long time since I’ve been excited this about memory, but with all the major players pushing speeds as far as they can and the impending launch of new high-end desktop platforms from AMD and Intel things are about to get interesting!
- Intel Core i9 Announced: 18-core Skylake-X, Kaby Lake-X and X299
- Computex 2017: AMD Threadripper will include 64 lanes of PCI Express 3.0, Demos with Quad Vega FE
- AMD AGESA Update 22.214.171.124 Will Support Configurable Memory Sub Timings And Clockspeeds Up To 4,000 MHz
- Need memory for that dream X299 build? Perhaps Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4-3466 would do you
- HyperX Introduces Higher Speed DDR4 Memory Kits Up to 4,000 MHz
- Computex 2017: ASUS Announces Prime and TUF Intel X299 Motherboards
Subject: General Tech | June 1, 2017 - 04:22 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: hyperx, kingston, ddr4, ryzen, x299, overclocking
Kingston’s high-performance division HyperX recently announced the availability of a slew of new Predator DDR4 memory kits based on DIMMs capable of reaching 4,000 MHz at 1.35 volts.
HyperX has added six new speed tiers to the lineup made up of individual DIMMs as well as kits of multiple sticks. Voltage is rated at 1.35V across the lineup. The kits and DIMMs being added to the lineup are listed below along with their rated CAS latencies. They reportedly all support built-in XMP profiles.
- 2,400 MHz at CL12
- 2,666 MHz at CL13
- 3,000 MHz at CL15
- 3,333 MHz at CL16
- 3,600 MHz at CL17
- 4,000 MHz at CL19
The majority of kits top out at 64GB, but HyperX did add a 128GB (eight DIMM) kit running at 3,000 MHz and CL15. At the high end is a single 4,000 MHz 16GB (2x8GB) kit (HX440C19PB3K2/16) running at CL19.
The Tech Report reports that the new kits are available now, but looking around online they do not appear to be listed at retailers quite yet so pricing information is unknown. I would expect the high capacity and high-speed kits to carry a decent premium though!
In any case, if you are in the market for a high-end Ryzen, ThreadRipper, or Skylake-X build these may be worth checking out.
Subject: Mobile | June 1, 2017 - 03:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: blackberry, keyone
Believe it or not the company formerly known as RIM is indeed stayin' alive. The KeyOne is a new BlackBerry phone which sports the trademark physical QWERTY keyboard at the bottom, built by TCL Corporation with whom BlackBerry negotiated a deal with back in 2016. The keyboard reduces the screen size to 4.5" with a 3:2 aspect ratio, in total the phone measures 149x73x9.4mm and 180g. The phone is powered by a 2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 Octa-Core chipset, with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The Inquirer had a chance to review the phone recently which you can check out if you are so inclined.
"Of course, this is no BlackBerry as you used to know it, coming instead from a deal with TCL Corporation to build the phones. With a £499 retail price in the UK, are the few remaining loyal BlackBerry fans now put off by the new direction, and is the novelty of a keyboard in a touchscreen world enough to keep the brand ticking over?"
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
More Mobile Articles
- Sony Xperia XZ Premium @ The Inquirer
- El Reg straps on the Huawei Watch 2 @ The Register
- Huawei Honor 8 Pro: Makes iPhone 7 Plus look a bit crap @ The Register
- HTC U11 @ The Inquirer
- Samsung Galaxy S8+: Seriously. What were they thinking? @ The Register
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 1, 2017 - 02:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: plex, live tv
Today Plex announced the addition of a live streaming service to their Plex Pass which will let you stream digital cable channels to any of your devices once you set it up on your account. All you need is a digital tuner such as an NVIDIA SHIELD, a product from Hauppauge, AVerMedia, DVBLogic or even a digital antenna. Hook the device up to the same network your Plex server resides on and start streaming your favourite shows, without paying your cable company rental fees for that set top box. You can check out what channels are available in your area on this Plex page. If you are unfamiliar with Plex or want to read a bit more on the setup you can check out this story at Gizmodo.
"In the latest build of Plex, the server can actually automatically convert the media, resolving this problem. More importantly, you get now watch live TV via a feature called, strangely enough, Live TV."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel Compute Card hands-on @ The Inquirer
- Android execs get technical talking updates, Project Treble, Linux, and more @ Ars Technica
- Enterprise ID management firm OneLogin covfefes to security breach @ The Inquirer
- Nvidia taps Taiwan server industry with HGX reference design for AI systems @ DigiTimes
- Sons of IoT: Bikers hack Jeeps in auto theft spree @ The Register
- Nest leaves competition in the dust with new smart camera @ The Register
- Windows XP Computers Were Mostly Immune To WannaCry @ Slashdot
- Nvidia: Pssst... farmers. Need to get some weeds whacked? @ The Register
- The Dell Computex 2017 Product Launch Coverage @ Tech ARP
- AMD Launches for Threadripper and Radeon RX Vega @ [H]ard|OCP
- The Computex Taipei 2017 Live Coverage (Day 2) @ Tech ARP
- AMD unveils 16-core Ryzen 9 CPUs to take on Intel's Core i9 @ The Inquirer
- The Intel Compute Card, X-Series & Core i9 CPUs & More @ Computex 2017 @ TechARP
- The Computex Taipei 2017 Live Coverage (Day 1) @ TechARP
Subject: Motherboards | June 1, 2017 - 01:05 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: x299, motherboard, LGA 2066, Intel, computex 2017, computex, aorus
GIGABYTE has announced their premium X299 AORUS motherboards at Computex with some impressively high-end features (more so the higher you go up the list). The X299 AORUS Gaming 9 sits atop a lineup that includes the X299 AORUS Gaming 7, X299 AORUS Ultra Gaming, and X299 AORUS Gaming 3, giving buyers plenty of options for their new Intel Core X-series CPU build.
The X299 AORUS Gaming 9 motherboard at the GIGABYTE booth
The X299 AORUS Gaming 9 (pictured above), along with the Gaming 7, feature GIGABYTE's Dual Armor design (these motherboards have their own backplate!), triple M.2 slots, dual Gigabit LAN and Killer 1535 Wi-Fi onboard, RGB lighting effects, and some seriously high-end sound for a motherboard.
An audio enthusiast won't be disappointed with specs like a 32-bit/384kHz ESS SABRE DAC (ES9018), TI Burr-Brown OP-Amp, audiophile-grade capacitors, and gold-plated audio jacks (among other hi-fi goodies).
A full comparison of the X299 AORUS Gaming motherboards is available below in this 'easy to read' image of a spec table (sorry!):
The lighting effects from the high-end Gaming models include digital LEDs, PCIe LED lighting, and a 'PCH Accent Overlay' for a very well-illuminated motherboard (if you like that sort of thing). GIGABYTE lists multiple programmable lighting zones, 8 different lighting effects, a pair of RGBW light strip headers, and support for digital LED strips among the many software-controlled lighting features with these boards. The durability features include the AORUS Base Plate (pictured below) and M.2 Thermal Guard, which provides your high performance M.2 SSDs with some measure of cooling.
The AORUS Base Plate is like a GPU backplate for your motherboard
As with other X299 motherboard launches, pricing and release dates were not available at Computex so we will have to wait a little longer for that information.
Make an X299 AORUS Gaming motherboard the heart of your next wall-mounted PC build!
Subject: General Tech | June 1, 2017 - 12:33 PM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: x299, WD, VROC, video, Vega, toshiba, Threadripper, snapdragon 835, ryzen mobile, qnap, podcast, nvidia, msi, max-q, Killer xTend, Intel, evga, Core i9, asus, asrock, arm, amd, agesa, a75, A55
PC Perspective Podcast #452 - 01/01/17
Join us for talk about Computex 2017 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)
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- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader (audio only)
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano
Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
0:55:00 RX Vega pushed to end of July (SIGGRAPH), FE on June 27th
Subject: General Tech | June 1, 2017 - 09:00 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: shield, plex server, plex, nvidia, live tv, dvr
We’re pretty big fans of Plex around the PC Perspective offices, using it for storing, accessing and sharing loads of local content to our phones, PCs, consoles and more. (If you haven’t read Jim’s amazing Plex setup story from a couple years ago, do so.) Back in September the company rolled out a beta feature called Plex DVR that was able to record live OTA (over the air) TV directly to your library. There was a very important catch though – you could not watch the content until AFTER the recording was complete, and you had no way to watch the OTA TV channels live.
This changes today with the release of the Live TV upgrade! For Plex Pass subscribers, it’s built directly into the Plex Media Server and works with quite a few modern tuner devices including the HDHomeRun series, and many more from companies like Hauppauge, AVerMedia, and DVBLogic. These tuners connect to an OTA antenna to bring you live television through a network or USB connection, and now Plex will support them to showcase the live channels available in your area.
Limitations of Live TV viewing exist for now though – only Android TV and iOS devices support playback of LIVE content. Plex has promised us more, including Android devices and Apple TV, inside of 60 days.
There are some pretty impressive features that go along with Live TV being available as part of your Plex Server. For starters, you will soon be able (iOS and Android TV only for today) watch TV on any Plex client, anywhere in the world, regardless of region or device. Want to catch the live baseball game while sitting at the airport on your iPhone? You can do it now, and the Plex Server handles video transcoding on the fly to make sure you get it at the bandwidth best suited for your situation.
For those new to the Plex DVR feature set, recorded shows and movies are integrated right into your library, with metadata added, making them a searchable and shareable part of your system. You can then watch those recorded shows anywhere in the world, on any device.
Plex Server support for Live TV is currently supported on Windows and Mac, supported NAS devices and Android TV. The most interesting option here is likely the NVIDIA SHIELD, a device that already supported server and client application. The SHIELD will be able host AND VIEW Live TV through Plex, again making it the preeminent cord cutting hub for modern consumers of content.
For many cord cutters, combining the Live TV feature with expanded and improved DVR functionality (including overlapping recordings, whole season support, etc.) and the built-in library you may have with Plex already running, this is CLOSE to the Holy Grail. In my talks with Plex this week I implored them to look at integrating support for over-the-top services like Sling or DirecTV NOW, giving me (and many others) a single hub location for all of our cord cutting content.
There are some eccentricities I would like to see worked out, including a more linear program guide display option, and faster "channel surfing", but the initial rollout seems solid from my 24 hours of testing.
I am actively working on a multi-part series exploring my own cord cutting experiences at home (taking into account family considerations) and it looks like Plex has found an even more prominent place in it.
Subject: Storage | May 31, 2017 - 08:58 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: x299, VROC, Virtual RAID on CPU, raid, Intel, asus
Ken and I have been refreshing our Google search results ever since seeing the term 'VROC' slipped into the ASUS press releases. Virtual RAID on CPU (VROC) is a Skylake-X specific optional feature that is a carryover from Intel's XEON parts employing RSTe to create a RAID without the need for the chipset to tie it all together.
Well, we finally saw an article pop up over at PCWorld, complete with a photo of the elusive Hyper M.2 X16 card:
The theory is that you will be able to use the 1, 2, or 3 M.2 slots of an ASUS X299 motherboard, presumably passing through the chipset (and bottlenecked by DMI), or you can shift the SSDs over to a Hyper M.2 X16 card and have four piped directly to the Skylake-X CPU. If you don't have your lanes all occupied by GPUs, you can even add additional cards to scale up to a max theoretical 20-way RAID-0 supporting a *very* theoretical 128GBps.
A couple of gotchas here:
- Only works with Skylake-X (not Kaby Lake-X)
- RAID-1 and RAID-5 are only possible with a dongle (seriously?)
- VROC is supposedly only bootable when using Intel SSDs (what?)
Ok, so the first one is understandable given Kaby Lake-X will only have 16 PCIe lanes direclty off of the CPU.
The second is, well, annoying, but understandable once you consider that some server builders may want to capitalize on the RSTe-type technology without having to purchase server hardware. It's still a significant annoyance, because how long has it been since anyone has had to deal with a freaking hardware dongle to unlock a feature on a consumer part. That said, most enthusiasts are probably fine with RAID-0 for their SSD volume, given they would be going purely for increased performance.
The third essentially makes this awesome tech dead on arrival. Requiring only Intel branded M.2 SSDs for VROC bootability is a nail in the coffin. Enthusiasts are not going to want to buy 4 or 8 (or more) middle of the road Intel SSDs (the only M.2 NAND SSD available from Intel is the 600p) for their crazy RAID - they are going to go with something faster, and if that can't boot, that's a major issue.
More to follow as we learn more. We'll keep a lookout and keep you posted as we get official word from Intel on VROC!
Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | May 31, 2017 - 04:23 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: aorus, AORUS X5 MD, gaming laptop
The GTX 1080 doesn't seem like a mobile card but there are more than a few laptops which have one inside them, including the newly announced AORUS X5 MD. In addition to the expected GPU is an overclocked i7-7820HK processor, thought the exact CPU will depend on the model chosen.
The screen quoted in the PR is a 15.6" 3840x2160 IPS GSYNC panel which has been calibrated with their X-Rite Pantone tool; this is suggested as optional but if you plan on spending the money for a gaming laptop of this calibre it is essentially mandatory. Audio is provided by the ESS Sabre Audio ES9018 DAC with a DNR of up to 135dB.
Outputs include HDMI 2.0 and mDP 1.3 though it is the Thunderbolt 3 port which catches the eye, allowing you to power a 4k monitor with this laptop when you are at home. The casing is a mere 22.9mm tall, a bit thicker than your average deck of cards. The keyboard is full of RGBs for those that prefer visual aids, while phonophobes will like the fact the cooling fans are adjustable to 10 different speeds. Check out the full PR below the specs.
AORUS, leader in high-end gaming laptops, is proud to announce a new version of its 15.6” X5. Pushing the boundaries even further, AORUS has extended the X5 series with the X5 MD, which incorporates the state of the art NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GDDR5X 8GB GPU.
Packed with plenty of new features, such as overclockable 7th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, Thunderbolt 3, ESS SABRE 32-bit Hi-Fi audio DAC specially-designed cooling vents, the X5 MD also utilizes the new Max-Q design, NVIDIA’s innovative approach to design the world’s thinnest, fastest, and quietest gaming laptops. Max-Q, an integral part of NASA’s mission to launch man into space, is defined as the point at which the aerodynamic stress on a rocket in atmospheric flight is maximized. Thus, the design of the rocket is precision-engineered around Max-Q. NVIDIA has applied a similar philosophy to designing gaming laptops, enabling AORUS to build laptops that are thinner with more GPU performance of previous generation products.
“The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 was already fast, then the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 designed with Max-Q came along to satisfy gamers’ demand for even more performance,” commented Patrick Lai, Product Marketing at AORUS. “The X5 MD with GTX 1080 is an absolute beast. Gamers will love it!”
Step Up the Gaming Performance
The unmatched performance is what makes the X5 MD the most powerful 15” gaming laptop. This is the first Max-Q designed laptop from AORUS and is equipped with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GPU. Furthermore, AORUS has paired the powerful GPU with the latest overclockable Intel Core i7-7820HK CPUs running at up to an 15% increase when compared to the 7700HQ, the X5 MD has outperformed any 15” laptops. All this power is fitted within the 22.9mm thin chassis through extensive engineering, allowing the X5 MD to provide the best gaming experience.
ESS Sabre Audio DAC – A 32-bit, 8-channel Hi-Fi Sound Experience
Few things are as important to gaming and movies as high-quality, crystal clear sound. Striving to offer the finest sound possible, AORUS has utilized the top of the line ES9018 DAC from ESS, built on its 32-bit Hyperstream architecture. Capable of output to 8 channels, it also boasts a Digital Noise Ratio of up to 135dB and a Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise (THD+N) figure of -120dB.
Thunderbolt 3, mDP 1.3, Multi-Surround Displays
AORUS’ commitment to versatility is evident in the utilization of the Thunderbolt 3 connector in the X5 MD Thunderbolt 3 truly is the USB Type-C connector that does it all – connect to external graphics cards, connect external 4K display, or even charge your external devices with the 3A/5V output. Added with the upgraded mini DP 1.3 port and the existing HDMI 2.0, Multitasking and surround gaming are made possible.
X-Rite Pantone Calibrated Screen Panels
Further emphasizing the versatility of the AORUS X5 MD laptop is the introduction of fully calibrated screen panels, courtesy of revered color system player X-Rite Pantone. With each X5 MD laptop, you can rest assured that your system’s color reproduction will be second to none, whether you’re enjoying it professionally or casually.
Subject: Processors | May 31, 2017 - 02:33 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Intel, goldmont+, gemini lake, apollo lake, 14nm
Information recently leaked on the successor to Intel’s low power Apollo Lake SoCs dubbed Gemini Lake. Several sites via FanlessTech claim that Gemini Lake will launch by the end of the year and will be the dual and quad core processors used to power low cost notebooks, tablets, 2-in-1 convertibles, and SFF desktop and portable PCS.
A leaked Intel roadmap.
Gemini Lake appears to be more tick than tock in that it uses a similar microarchitecture as Apollo Lake and relies mainly on process node improvements with the refined 14nm+ process to increase power efficiency and performance per watt. On the CPU side of things, Gemini Lake utilizes the Goldmont+ microarchitecture and features two or four cores paired with 4MB of L2 cache. Intel has managed to wring higher clockspeeds while lowering power draw out of the 14nm process. A doubling of the L2 cache versus Apollo Lake will certainly give the chip a performance boost. The SoC will use Intel Gem9 graphics with up to 18 Execution Units (similar to Apollo Lake) but the GPU will presumably run at higher clocks. Additionally, the Gemini Lake SoC will integrate a new single channel DDR4 memory controller that will support higher memory speeds, s WLAN controller (a separate radio PHY is still required on the motherboard) supporting 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0.
Should the leaked information turn out to be true, he new Gemini Lake chips are shaping up to be a good bit faster than their predecessor while sipping power with TDPs of up to 6W for mobile devices and 10W for SFF desktop.
The lower power should help improve battery life a bit which is always a good thing. And if they can pull off higher performance as well all the better!
Unfortunately, it is sounding like Gemini Lake will not be ready in te for the back to school or holiday shopping seasons this year. I expect to see a ton of announcements on devices using the new SoCs at CES though!
Subject: General Tech | May 31, 2017 - 02:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, ryzen, amd
[H]ard|OCP decided it was time to test out the real world performance of AMD's Ryzen 7 1700 and did so with the programs most likely to be used ... games. They tested 10 different games, from The Witcher 3 through DOOM at resolutions of 4K, 1440p, and 1080p. The GPU installed on systems will vary which is why they included GTX 1080 Ti, 1080 and 1060 along with the RX 480 both in single GPU and Crossfire configurations. Check out the full review to see how the Ryzen chip compares to the performance of Intel's 2600K and 7700K.
"With our AMD Ryzen 7 overclocked to 4GHz we find out if this is a competitive real-world gaming CPU or not. We compare it with two overclocked Intel 7700K and 2600K systems across six different video card configurations at 4K, 1440p, and 1080p to find out which CPU provides the best gameplay experience using playable game settings."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Star Trek: Bridge Crew drops out of hyperspace @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- RiME game review: An unforgettable memorial vacation @ Ars Technica
- Far Cry 5 trailer reveals doomsday cult, planes, bears & 2018 release date @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Hackers jailbreak permanent mods onto Super Mario World save files @ Ars Technica
- 13 recent games that run well on terrible laptops @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Humble Game On Bundle
Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | May 31, 2017 - 01:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: TS-x77, amd, ryzen, qnap, NAS, computex 2017
QNAP are providing a sneak peak of a new line of NAS devices, powered by AMD's Ryzen processors. The TS-x77 series will come in 6, 8, and 12-bay models with an AMD Ryzen 7 1700 or Ryzen 5 1600 or 1400 processor with up to 8, 16, 32 or 64GB DDR4 RAM dependant on the model.
The devices support RAID 0/1/5/6/10/50/60, RAID 1/5/6/10/50/60 + spare, single and JBOD, which support AES-NI encryption acceleration. Internally there are quite a lot of opportunities to customize your NAS, on all models you will find a pair of M.2 2242/2260/2280/22110 SATA 6 Gb/s SSD slots for your hot storage and depending on the model you will have a mix of 2.5" and dual 2.5/3.5" drive bays for your SSDs or HDDs.
That is not the only possibilities for expansion in these NAS devices, all models contain three PCIe 3.0, one 8x slot and two 4x which you can use for a PCIe SSD, 10GbE or 40GbE network cards or perhaps even a GPU for local transcoding. Externally you have four Gigabit ethernet connectors, two USB 3.1 ports, one Type-C and one Type-A as well as five USB 3.0 ports.
These will not be available until Q3, so we won't be able to review it for a while but rest assured that we are at least as interesting in seeing the performance of Ryzen in a NAS as you are.