All | Editorial | General Tech | Graphics Cards | Networking | Motherboards | Cases and Cooling | Processors | Chipsets | Memory | Displays | Systems | Storage | Mobile | Shows and Expos
Subject: Processors | August 29, 2017 - 12:00 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Xeon W, xeon scalable, xeon, workstation, processor, Intel, cpu
Intel has officially announced their new workstation processor lineup, with Xeon Scalable and Xeon W versions aimed at both professional and mainstream workstation systems.
"Workstations powered by Intel Xeon processors meet the most stringent demands for professionals seeking to increase productivity and rapidly bring data to life. Intel today disclosed that the world-record performance of the Intel Xeon Scalable processors is now available for next-generation expert workstations to enable photorealistic design, modeling, artificial intelligence (AI) analytics, and virtual-reality (VR) content creation."
The first part of Intel’s product launch announcement are the new Xeon Scalable processors, first announced in July, and these are dual-socket solutions targeting professional workstations. Versions with up to 56 cores/112 threads are available, and frequencies of up to 4.20 GHz are possible via Turbo Boost. Intel is emphasising the large performance impact of upgrading to these new Xeon processors with a comparison to older equipment (a trend in the industry of late), which is relevant when considering the professional market where upgrades are far slower than the enthusiast desktop segment:
“Expert workstations will experience up to a 2.71x boost in performance compared to a 4-year-old system and up to 1.65x higher performance compared to the previous generation.”
The second part of announcement are new Xeon W processors, which will be part of Intel’s mainstream workstation offering. These are single-socket processors, with up to 18 cores/36 threads and Turbo Boost frequencies up to 4.50 GHz. The performance impact with these new Xeon W CPUs compared to previous generations is not as great as the Xeon Scalable processors above, as Intel offers the same comparison to older hardware with the Xeon W:
“Mainstream workstations will experience up to a 1.87x boost in performance compared to a 4-year-old system4 and up to 1.38x higher performance compared to the previous generation.”
Full PR is available from Intel's newsroom.
Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | August 28, 2017 - 10:20 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: ifa, IFA 2017, dell, XPS 13, 8th generation core, i7-8550U, i5-8250U
As expected, this year's IFA trade show in Berlin is proving busy for notebook manufacturers. Hot on the heels of Intel's announcement of 15W 8th Generation quad-core processors in the Kaby-Lake refresh family earlier in the month, we are starting to see some announcements of actual products utilizing these new processors.
Not to be left behind, Dell has officially announced the refreshed version of their well-received XPS 13 notebook.
It appears that there has been little physical change to the XPS 13 centered around these new processor options. Customers will still find 2 USB-A Ports upgraded to USB 3.1 Gen 2, a Thundebolt 3 Port, full-size SD card slot, a standard headphone jack, and a power connector (although charging over Thunderbolt 3 is supported). There's no indication yet as to the Thunderbolt 3 implementation, but we hope Dell has gone with the full PCIe x4 bandwidth instead of x2 as found on the current XPS 13.
Same as the current XPS 13, customers will be able to choose from a 1080p non-touch display or a 3200x1800 touchscreen, up to 16GB of RAM, and SSD options including SATA and NVMe.
Battery size remains at 60Wh, which Dell claims has a MobileMark battery life score of 22 hours on the 1080p display model and 12 hours with the 3200x1800 QHD+ Touchscreen option.
Expect a longer rollout than usual with these new 8th generation parts from Dell, with the highest end i7-8550U to be available starting September 12th, and the i5 parts coming later in October. We have no current indications of pricing, but I would expect it to fall along the current XPS 13 models, in which the i7 model starts at $1349 along with 8GB of RAM, a 256GB NVMe SSD, and the 1080p display.
Subject: General Tech | August 28, 2017 - 08:04 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: Fanatec, CSL, CSL Elite, ClubSport, Alcantara
Subject: Mobile | August 28, 2017 - 05:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ZenBook Flip S UX370, UX370, asus
ASUS has announced their newest ZenBook Flip, the UX370 which will be available through the Microsoft store for $1399 USD some time in the near future. It is powered by a Kaby Lake i7-7500U with HD 620 graphics, 16GB of DDR3-2133 and a 512GB PCIE SSD. The 13.3" screen has a 1080p resolution, the size of which keeps the UX370 down to a svelte 2.43lb and a mere 10.9mm thickness.
Connectivity us handled by a pair of USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C plugs and an audio plug; networking is handled wirelessly via 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.1. The speakers are Harman Kardon-certified and powered by ASUS' SonicMaster audio technology; hopefully we will soon have a chance to hear what that actually means in terms of sound quality.
Here are the specs, the PR is below.
Subject: Graphics Cards | August 28, 2017 - 04:41 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vega 56, amd, radeon, R9 Fury
Having wrapped up their initial review of AMD's new RX Vega 56, [H]ard|OCP was curious how it stacks up in a direct competition with last generations R9 Fury. The comparison is interesting, ROPs and Texture Units are the same in both cards, while the Fury uses HBM1 at a 4096bit interface while the Vega 56 uses HBM2 at 2048; clocks are 500MHz versus 800MHz respectively. The prices are quite different, the Fury clocked in at $550 while the Vega 56 should be available at $400; not that there is any stock at any price.
Check out the full article for specifics; the short answer is that you can expect the new Vega card to boast an average 25% performance advantage over the Fury.
"Do you have an AMD Radeon R9 Fury based video card and want to know if AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 at a lesser price is a performance upgrade? Do you want to know if architecturally AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 is faster than AMD Radeon R9 Fury? This follow-up performance review should answer those questions."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- RX Vega 64 Liquid “Unleashed” – 10 VR Games Benchmarked vs. the GTX 1080 & GTX 1080 Ti @ BabelTechReviews
- The Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid, Vega 64 & Vega 56 Test: 32 Games Benchmarked @ TechSpot
- Vega 64 “Unleashed” – 27 Games tested using the Liquid Cooled Edition vs. the GTX 1080 & GTX 1080 Ti @ BabelTechReviews
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | August 28, 2017 - 12:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Samsung, SK Hynix
Just when you thought it was safe to start GPU shopping, with demand from miners dropping off somewhat, the NAND shortage is set to crank up prices again. First time miners have realize they are not about to become overnight billionaires and the dedicated miners have already picked up their GPUs; unless they just picked up this board, so there was some hope GPU prices might descend closer to their original MRSP. Unfortunately the suppliers of VRAM have shifted their production capacity more heavily in favour of server memory and RAM for smartphones which has lead to a dearth of VRAM. DigiTimes reports you can expect the price of NVIDIA cards to jump from 3-10% at the end of the month.
AMD's new offerings will not be effected by this; few and far between are the servers or phones which use HBM2. It would be interesting to discover that part of their original pricing took this into account; not that it matters overly as their original pricing statement has been tossed.
"With Samsung and SK Hynix cutting their memory supply for the graphics card segment, August quotes for RAMs used in graphics cards have risen to US$8.50, up by 30.8% from US$6.50 in July. Both memory suppliers have allocated more of their production capacities to making memories for servers and handsets, reducing output for the graphics cards segment and fueling the price rally."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Is it possible to control Amazon Alexa, Google Now using inaudible commands? Absolutely @ The Register
- A Functioning 3D Printer For 10€ @ Hack a Day
- Google Updates: Hardware, Firmware, The Firm @ The Inquirer
- World's first crowdsourced tablet, Eve V, is taking aim at the Surface Pro @ The Inquirer
- Gather round, kids, and let's try to understand the science of 3D NAND @ The Register
- A Game You Control With Your Mind @ Slashdot
- AVM FRITZ!Box 7560 AC1300 VDSL/ADSL Modem Router Review @ NikKTech
Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 25, 2017 - 06:03 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: be quiet!, modular psu, 600w, Pure Power 10, 80 PLUS Silver
Kilowatt class PSUs such as the Seasonic PRIME Platinum which Lee just reviewed are impressive and up to the task of powering the most powerful of systems but for most they are overkill. For the majority of us, something in a 600W model will be sufficient for our needs as well as being more efficient. A little while back [H]ard|OCP took a look at be quiet's Pure Power 10 600W 80 PLUS Silver modular PSU, the first be quiet! to meet their benchmarking table. It operated quietly and it was handsomely built, however once they started testing the PSU simply could not take the heat. If you live somewhere which never reaches 30C ambient this might be an acceptable solution but for the rest of us ... the review reveals a significant issue.
"This may come as a shock to you, but be quiet! power supplies are all about...wait for it...exceptionally quiet operation. However that is not the only virtue the Pure Power 10 series extols. be quiet tells us that this PP10 has "peerless dependability" and "best-in-class features." Let's see if we can set it on fire!"
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Seasonic PRIME 1000W Gold @ [H]ard|OCP
- Seasonic FOCUS PLUS Gold 850W @ [H]ard|OCP
- Aerocool Project 7 PSU 650 W @ techPowerUp
Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2017 - 12:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Samsung, smart tv
A number of owners of smart Samsung TVs in Europe have been having a bad August. A firmware update pushed out by the company has essentially bricked a variety of 50"Ultra HD and 49" 4K displays. After the update they received a single channel at a single volume and the ownership of the remote was no longer fought for. Samsung did not have a comment for The Register but a forum post suggests a fix is coming soon however it will require sending said TV into a repair shop. Be careful if you see a pending update and do your best to postpone it for now; if you can.
"Interestingly, Samsung's US support forum contains no mention of any similar problem, suggesting the bad firmware update may be limited to the UK or European region."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Half Life 2 Episode 3?
- So what's in the new Windows Insider build? Bug fixes, an AR goof-around, and a font @ The Register
- Toshiba, Western Digital talking again but they'd better agree lickety-split @ The Register
- VIA collaborates with Microsoft to accelerate IoT solutions @ DigiTimes
- 14th Generation PowerEdge Servers @ Dell EMC Forum 2017
Subject: General Tech | August 24, 2017 - 01:52 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, steelseries, Rival 310, Sensei 310, TrueMove3
These two mice are very similar, the difference being that the Sensei is ambidextrous and sports slightly smaller side buttons. What makes these mice interesting is the sensor, these are the first mice to feature SteelSeries own TrueMove3 sensor which they advertise as the only sensor with true one-to-one tracking. This is somewhat correct as the PixArt PW3360 also features one-to-one tracking but only from 100 to 2100 CPI, the TrueMove3 is capable of the same between 100 to 3500 CPI before needing jitter reduction. Does this matter when you are using it? Check out The Tech Reports full review to find out.
"SteelSeries' Rival 310 and Sensei 310 are the company's first mice with its TrueMove3 sensor, which promises a wider range of one-to-one tracking than any other mouse sensor on the market. We put these mice to the test to see whether it made a difference to our K/Ds."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Cooler Master MasterMouse MM520 & MM530 @ Kitguru
- Corsair K68 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ techPowerUp
- Ozone Strike Pro Spectra Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ NikKTech
- Bloody B820R Gaming Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews
Subject: Processors | August 24, 2017 - 12:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: XSPC, amd, Threadripper, overclocking, Raystorm
For those convinced that the Threadripper is being held back by poorly endowed partners, [H]ard|OCP received the new XSPC RayStorm which has a cold plate as large as Threadrippers heatspreader. As you can see from the picture, new habits will need to e learned when spreading the TIM on such a large area so keep an eye out for tips or carefully experiment on your own. The heatsink let [H] reach a solid 4GHz on all 16 cores with a 3200MHz memory clock, at significantly lower voltages than Ryzen required to reach the same frequency. Even better news is that this is not the limit, [H] intends to test again using a more powerful radiator and expects to see an even better overclock.
"XSPC got us over one of its first waterblocks specifically designed to help handle Ryzen Threadripper CPU's heat while overclocking. We give you a quick unboxing, break down the block itself, and then we look at Threadripper long-term performance. We finally get it dialed in at 4GHz."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
Subject: General Tech | August 24, 2017 - 11:24 AM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: vulkan, vlan, video, samsung galaxy note 8, rx vega, podcast, Linksys WRT32x, kaby lake, Intel, ice lake, htc vive, ECS, Core, asus zenphone 4, acer predator z271t
PC Perspective Podcast #464 - 08/17/17
Join us for continued discussion on RX Vega, Intel 8th Gen Core, 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, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano
Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg
Program length: 1:34:56
Week in Review:
0:07:54 Let’s talk about RX Vega!
Different die packages
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Subject: Motherboards | August 24, 2017 - 12:30 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: mining, LGA 1151, Intel, cryptocurrency, b250, asus
Asus recently took the wraps off of a monster ATX form factor motherboard aimed squarely at crypto currency miners. The aptly named Asus B250 Expert Mining motherboard is based on Intel's B250 chipset and features an impressive 19 PCI-E slots! The board is based around Intel's budget chipset and is paired with an LGA 1151 socket for Intel Skylake or Kaby Lake CPUs. There are also two DDR4 memory slots and four SATA 6 Gbps ports.
The B250 Expert Mining motherboard is powered by a single 8-pin CPU power connector driving a 6-phase DIGI+ VRM, three (!) 24-pin ATX12V connectors, and three Molex power connectors. The top 24-pin drives the first seven PCI-E slots (including the single PCI-E x16 slot) while the other two 24-pin connectors are responsible for powering 6 of the remaining PCI-E x1 slots each.
Asus claims that the upcoming motherboard has several mining focused features including a tuned BIOS tweaked to improve mining efficiency, a splash screen at startup that shows the state of each PCI-E slot at-a-glance at each boot (Asus Mining Expert software) as well as voltage stabilization capacitors for each GPU slot.
With this motherboard miners will be able to hook up to 19 graphics cards to each motherboard which reduces the number of complete systems they need to build and maintain improving ROI time, increasing power efficiency, and reducing maintenance costs. At the time of writing there is a bit of hiccup with this plan though as miners will not be able to fully take advantage of all 19 slots for graphics cards. First off, miners will have to use Linux and even then they will be limited to a maximum of eight graphics cards from AMD and eight graphics cards from NVIDIA (if they can even get that working reliably...). Not all hope for an uber mining motherboard is lost though as Anandtech reports that AMD is working on a driver update slated for release later this year that will enable miners to use all 19 slots for their graphics cards.
Asus has not yet released pricing, but I would expect it to come at a hefty premium considering it offers the highest number of PCI-E slots on a standard motherboard so far. Asus has reportedly already begun sampling the B250 Expert Mining board to partners and it should be available at retail soon.
Even if you are not into the crypto currency mining scene, it is intriguing seeing the response to miners from the hardware manufacturers with new focused product lines.
- Let's Talk About Mining - Cryptocurrency Revisited
- Donate to the PC Perspective Mining Pool! A NiceHash How-to
- A Quick Look at the SAPPHIRE Radeon RX 470 Mining Edition
- NVIDIA Partners Launching Mining Focused P106-100 and P104-100 Graphics Cards
- Mining specific cards are real - ASUS and Sapphire GP106 and RX 470 show up
Subject: General Tech | August 23, 2017 - 03:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, fragging frogs, vlan, kick ass
It is just a few short days until the 16th Fragging Frogs VLAN kicks off. Saturday, August 26th at 10AM EDT marks the official start, though you are certainly more than welcome to pop onto Teamspeak before then to get in some practice before then. Drop by this thread in the forums to let Lenny and the gang know you are coming and to make yourself eligible to win some of the amazing prizes which will be given out. Even if you don't win anything from Josh's closet you are still going to have a blast playing with the best gaming group going.
There are currently over 50 people signed up but I am sure we can make this even bigger so come on by on Saturday! If you want to make sure to maximize your fun, keep an eye on that thread for any updates or patches you might want to install before you start to play as well as to watch the list of scheduled games grow. See you there.
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Star Wars Battlefront 2 shows off space battles @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Skyrim VR, Fallout 4 VR and DOOM VFR launch dates revealed @ HEXUS
- Steve Jackson’s Ogre rumbles onto PC in October @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Without Nathan Drake, Uncharted: Lost Legacy is still just Uncharted @ Ars Technica
- Beast Battle Simulator: a bag of animal fight foolishness @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Humble Spooky Bundle
- Age of Empires 4 coming from Company of Heroes devs @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | August 23, 2017 - 03:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, coffee lake, asus, acer
DigiTimes have broken the news that Coffee Lake powered laptops will be arriving in September. ASUS and Acer are mentioned by name but you can bet that you will see models released by all major manufacturers. This upgrade will be a refinement of Kaby Lake, both generations will be fabbed on a 14nm process; Cannon Lake will be Intel's first 10nm chip and should be released close to the end of this year. Intel is very hopefully that Coffee Lake will sell well, their representative mentioned a study which found that 450 million PCs still use chips rolled out five years ago. While enthusiasts are unlikely to jump on Coffee Lake, there is a large market for 4k laptops with better battery life among casual users and businesses.
"Leading notebook vendors, such as Taiwan's Asustek Computer and Acer, and many other international brands, will roll out their new 2-in-1 and ultra-thin notebook models utilizing Intel's eighth-generation Coffee Lake mobile CPUs starting September, to grab a larger market pie in the coming peak season, according to industry sources."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Living Logic: Biological Circuits for the Electrically Minded @ Hackaday
- Codename Brainwave: Microsoft reveals tricks and tips for whipping cloud FPGAs into shape @ The Register
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8 official with few surprises in store @ The Inquirer
- Sysadmins told to update their software or risk killing the internet @ The Register
- Google to out its Titan kill-switch protecting its cloud infrastructure @ The Inquirer
Subject: Mobile | August 23, 2017 - 12:40 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: snapdragon 835, smartphone, Samsung, s pen, phablet, OIS, Note 8, Note, galaxy note, dual camera
The wait is over: Samsung has officially announced the Galaxy Note 8 (or Note8), which will be their first large-format (or phablet) smartphone since the Note 7, which obviously did not remain on the market for long. So what is Samsung doing with such a negative history behind them? Looking forward and not back, of course. That was the message of the event. But Samsung was on stage to do more than apologize for the failure of the late Note, and there were some subtle jabs at the Apple's large phone, with a particularly damning camera comparison with the iPhone 7 Plus making a big splash.
We are familiar with the processing power behind the Note 8 already: the Snapdragon 835 currently powers the U.S. version of both Galaxy S8 handsets. While there won't be added speed compared to rest of the Galaxy line, this was never the point of the Note series. Note phones have been about a larger format, with the overall device and screen size being the key difference compared to Samsung's other smartphones. But the Note 8 is just 0.1 inches larger than the Galaxy S8+. In fact, the design and screen of the new Note is essentially the same as that of the S8+, other than the bump from 6.2 to 6.3 inches from the 2960x1440 AMOLED displays.
- Display: 6.3-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED, 2960 x 1440 resolution (521ppi)
- AP (U.S. market): Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
- Memory: 6GB LPDDR4 RAM
- Storage: 64GB/128GB/256GB
- Dual Rear Cameras with Dual OIS
- Wide-angle: 12MP Dual Pixel AF, F1.7, OIS
- Telephoto: 12MP AF, F2.4, OIS, 2X optical zoom, up to 10X digital zoom
- Battery: 3,300mAh
- Dimensions: 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm, 195 g
- OS: Android 7.1.1
The advantages of the Note 8 over an S8+ are still obvious, even if the handsets themselves seem very close at first glance. First there is the new dual-camera system on the back of the device, which boasts an industry first by incorporating OIS (optical image stabilization) into both of the rear lenses. During the presentation direct comparisons to an iPhone 7 Plus were made with both still and video capture, and if these dual-OIS cameras provide the same results in the real world Apple is in trouble.
Sure, this Samsung dual camera is very similar to the iPhone 7 Plus, right down to the 2x optical zoom in the telephoto lens and including a portrait mode effect (though Samsung's is adjustable similar to what we saw with the Huawei solution on the Mate 9). But having both lenses suspended with optical stabilization allows for more clarity and better low-light performance, at least in theory. It will be facinating to test this new camera system.
The real star of the event: that stage! Full floor projection along with giant rear screens.
The other advantage of the Note 8 over the Galaxy S8+ is the S Pen, and such a pen has been at the heart of the Note experience since the beginning. For dedicated S Pen users this alone will tip the scales in the Note 8's favor (the ability to take up to 100 pages of notes with the screen off sounds very cool), though with this design the speculation that battery capacity was sacrificed to make room for the pen's internal storage seems to be spot on, as the 3300 mAh capacity is lower than even the S8+ at 3500 mAh. Even with that pen, however, the Note 8 still offers an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance, though drops are still going to be the primary worry (for me, anyhow) with a 6.3-inch device that is nearly all curved screen.
The various colors of the Note 8 - which vary by region.
The Note 8 is launching September 15, with pre-orders going up soon at prices ranging from $930 to $960, depending on your mobile operator.
Subject: General Tech | August 23, 2017 - 12:13 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: xbox one x, xbox one, microsoft, console, 4k
Microsoft’s next generation Xbox One X gaming console is expected to launch on November 7th, 2017 and the Redmond-based company is making it as easy as possible to upgrade from current Xbox One and One S consoles. Specifically, Microsoft’s Xbox Program Management Corporate Vice President Mike Ybarra revealed that gamers would be able to prepare for the switch to the new console by downloading 4K game updates ahead of time and making the transfer process simple by using a wizard and either an external hard drive or network transfer to move console settings and game data over from their old console to the Xbox One X.
So far, Microsoft has announced that approximately 100 games from its existing catalog will have 4K updates available including Halo 5, Halo Wars 2, Forza Motorspot 7, Fallout 4, NBA 2K18, Project Cars 2, Rocket League, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
Gamers will be able to pre-load 4K updates for their existing games onto their Xbox One or Xbox One S console. Once the Xbox One X launches, gamers will be able to transfer and keep most of their Xbox settings to the new console along with apps, games, and game save data. The data can be transferred by hooking up an external hard drive or by connecting both gaming consoles to the same LAN and starting the home network transfer by adding both consoles to your Xbox home and copying what you want between consoles.
I am interested to see if the Xbox One X is really able to live up to the claims of 4K60 gaming as well as the promised supersampling and anti-aliasing for gamers playing on 1080p displays (including older backwards compatible Xbox and Xbox 360 titles).
Are you planning on upgrading to the XBOX? What are your thoughts on the $499 console and its performance promises?
Also read: Xbox One X Scorpio Edition: What’s Different Explained @ Screen Rant
Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2017 - 10:12 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: mozilla, firefox, servo, Rust
If you’re on Firefox Nightly, you are able to enable their new CSS engine with an about:config flag, called layout.css.servo.enabled. For a few years now, Mozilla has been working on a separate rendering engine, aided by Samsung, which was called Servo. Browsers are very single-threaded, so there was a lot of room for improvement, especially on devices that can afford more cores than per-core performance, like mobile. It is also more secure, as its programming language, Rust, is more strict with data accesses than C/C++, which is also great for a web browser.
Eventually, Mozilla decided to, instead of replacing Gecko, replace chunks of it with tech derived from Servo. Up to now, it’s been mostly security-related components, like the parsing of untrusted media headers. This one is about speed. I'm curious to see how it feels to our readers. I know that, personally, going from Firefox 54 to Firefox 55 was a significant difference, although that was due to other changes.
If you’re interested, download Firefox Nightly. I mean, it’s free.
Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2017 - 09:56 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming, vive, htc vive, valve, htc, price cut
While it looked like HTC and Valve wouldn’t budge on their launch price, the Vive has just been reduced $200 USD, from $799 down to $599. This is still significantly above the $399 USD price tag during their competitor’s summer sale, but it might be close enough for those who prefer the Vive for one reason or another.
I should note that their website still has payment plans through PayPal, which breaks up the $599 price tag into, they say, twelve chunks.
For me? This price cut came just a week and a bit late. I already picked up the Oculus. For us Canadians, it looks like the Vive sale price is $800 CDN on Amazon, versus the $550 mark for the Rift with Touch and two sensors. That said, if I didn’t jump on the Oculus... would I consider the Vive? At this price, I’m still not sure. I’m wary of a hardware refresh, now that these devices are hitting the one-and-a-half year mark. The Oculus, during its sale, is priced in the “Meh” territory. It would have served its purpose until it’s replaced. The extra couple hundred dollars on the Vive might just push it out of the “eh, if it’s replaced, so what” range.
On the other hand, the Vive can be upgraded with a wireless kit, and I do have issues with the Oculus sensors being obstructed. It’s an interesting move for sure.
Subject: Mobile | August 22, 2017 - 09:35 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: asus, zenfone, zenfone 4, zenfone 4 selfie
At their “We Love Photo” event in Taiwan, ASUS has announced an updated ZenFone line-up. As you would expect, given the name of the conference, these devices will be focused (heh heh) on camera performance. In fact, they’re split into two categories, each with a regular and a pro variant: ZenFone 4, and ZenFone 4 Selfie. The latter pair of devices differentiate themselves with dual front-facing cameras, but more on that later.
ZenFone 4 Pro
Let’s start with the ZenFone 4 Pro, because it has the highest computational performance. This device is based around the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, which includes an Adreno 540 GPU. This is the fastest Adreno GPU on the market today, and it is more-than capable of running Vulkan if ASUS ships the appropriate driver for it. It is backed with 6GB of RAM. The phone also has a pair of rear-facing cameras, one of which is optically zoomed in, and the other has 1.4 micrometer pixels (Sony IMX362) for good low-light performance.
On to the ZenFone 4. It still has a Sony IMX362 main camera, but they don’t mention the specifications of its pair. Its SoC is a more mainstream Snapdragon 660, which includes the Adreno 512 GPU. It will be a little slower, but it’s still a fairly beefy processor.
ZenFone 4 Selfie
Now we get to the Selfie line. So ASUS has been adding dual-cameras to their phones since the ZenFone 3 Zoom. The premise is that a zooming mechanism requires a lot of depth, because movable lenses need a space to travel, and that’s difficult to put in a phone... so just have two cameras, each zoomed to a different value. These phones do the opposite: the second camera provides a wider angle, so that multiple people can get into the photo. They call it a “wefie” in the press release, which has apparently been on Urban Dictionary since 2013, and so can’t blame them for it... I guess.
ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro
The ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro is built around a Snapdragon 625, backed with 4GB of RAM, while the regular ZenFone 4 Selfie uses the Snapdragon 430 (RAM unspecified).
Each of these phones will launch in Asia, but eventually make their way to other regions, too.
Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2017 - 06:50 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: audio, hyperx, cloud alpha, gaming headset
HyperX have just announced a new headset, the Cloud Alpha, which will be available for purchase on September 25th for $100. The headset sports the standard 50mm neodymium magnets that are expected on a gaming headset however the design of the earcups is different than most on the market. You can see the dual chamber design below.
High and mid-range frequencies are sent directly through the the earcups while bass is directed out towards the edges which should allow finer control over the balance, however the proof will have to wait until we can get our hands on them. The aluminium frame helps keep the weight under 300g while the leatherette ear padding should ensure they are comforatable even after a long session.
The condenser microphone should allow you to be heard clearly when you are gaming or be removed if you don't need it for the moment. The Cloud Alpha will be compatible with any system that accepts a 3.5mm jack, so you will be able to use the headset on all of your devices. Full PR below the glamour shot.