NVIDIA Releases GeForce 378.49 Drivers

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 27, 2017 - 02:38 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers

Update: There are multiple issues being raised in our comments, including a Steam post by Sam Lantinga (Valve) about this driver breaking In-Home Streaming. Other complaints include certain applications crashing and hardware acceleration issues.

Original Post Below

Now that the holidays are over, we’re ready for the late-Winter rush of “AAA” video games. Three of them, Resident Evil VII, the early access of Conan Exiles, and the closed beta of For Honor, are targeted by NVIDIA’s GeForce 378.49 Game Ready drivers. Unless we get a non-Game Ready driver in the interim, I am guessing that this will cover us until mid-February, before the full release of For Honor, alongside Sniper Elite 4 and followed by Halo Wars 2 on the next week.

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Beyond game-specific updates, the 378-branch of drivers includes a bunch of SLI profiles, including Battlefield 1. It also paves the way for GTX 1050- and GTX 1050 Ti-based notebooks; this is their launch driver whenever OEMs begin to ship the laptops they announced at CES.

This release also contains a bunch of bug fixes (pdf), including a reboot bug with Wargames: Red Dragon and TDR (driver time-out) with Windows 10 Anniversary Update. I haven’t experienced any of these, but it’s good to be fixed regardless.

You can pick up the new drivers from their website if, you know, GeForce Experience hasn’t already notified you.

Source: NVIDIA

What, no Cheez Whiz? Still, it is thermal paste round up

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 26, 2017 - 09:02 PM |
Tagged: thermal paste, Arctic Silver, Arctic MX, cooler master, MasterGel Pro, CRYORIG, EKWB, thermal grizzly

Kitguru just tested seven thermal pastes; Arctic Silver 5 and Céramique 2, Cooler Master's MasterGel Pro, Cryorig CP15, EKWB Ectotherm and Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut.  They wanted to see what performance difference, if any, existed between them for no matter how effective your cooler is, it can't dissipate heat that is not transferred to it from your CPU.  Their test was conducted with a i7-4790K CPU and Cooler Master Hyper 212 LED CPU Cooler and the results show that the incumbent is not necessarily your best choice.

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"Following on from our previous articles about fan configuration and static pressure vs airflow fans, today we are looking at thermal paste. Specifically, we are hoping to find out whether or not choosing different types of thermal paste actually makes any difference. To do this, we test 7 products from 6 companies to see how much difference thermal paste really makes."

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: Kitguru

Optical disillusion; Microsoft's HoloLens

Subject: General Tech | January 26, 2017 - 06:42 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, hololens

Microsoft seems to be exploring new territory, previously reserved for those who need a nice mouse or headphones with the pure sound of platinum.  Their HoloLens has been available for several months and they have managed to sell several thousand of them in that time.   Roger Walkden, the commercial lead for HoloLens spoke with The Register and stated that he is happy with the amount of sales so far.  While you cannot expect a headset costing well over $2000 to have large commercial appeal, the pittance of sales of the HoloLens so far makes you wonder if they have misjudged the market.  Then again, maybe we will be seeing Windows 11 Rhodium Exclusive Edition on offer for a select few.

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"The Microsoft HoloLens, Judge Dredd-style "mixed reality" headset, went on sale in the UK last year, with the firm offering a developer-only version for £2,179, and an enterprised-focused model for £4,529."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

Pioneer Announces First UHD Blu-ray Optical Drives

Subject: Storage | January 26, 2017 - 05:47 PM |
Tagged: Ultra HD, UHD, Pioneer, optical, drive, disc, blu-ray, BDR-S 11 J-X, BDR-S 11 J-BK, 5.25, 4k

Pioneer has announced a pair of new 5.25-inch optical drives (via their Japanese site), and both offer support for UHD Blu-ray playback. These (SATA III) drives are the BDR-S 11 J-BK and BDR-S 11 J-X, and their Ultra HD capability represents a "world's first" for a BD burner, according to Pioneer.

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Image credit: Anandtech

There has been much discussion about support for UHD Blu-ray on the PC in the past year, and the technical capabilities of existing BDXL-compatible drives seemed to offer support for the current crop of UHD media. Unfortunately, the DRM requirements seem to involve the entire chain, and these new Pioneer optical drives support the required AACS 2.0 decryption. But this is just the tip of the iceberg with system requirements, as Anandtech lists what you will actually need to play back UHD Blu-rays on your computer:

  • A PC that supports AACS 2.0 and Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX)
  • An appropriate optical disk drive
  • Software that handles UHD BD playback
  • Windows 10
  • A GPU that has an HDMI 2.0a output with HDCP 2.2 (and AACS2 supported by its driver, which eliminates current-gen standalone GPUs)
  • A 4K TV/display that has an HDMI 2.0a input with HDCP 2.2

The software playback requirements are apparently handled via the included software, which Pioneer lists as PowerDVD 14 - though even the latest commercial version (PowerDVD 16) does not support UHD playback yet. It is possible that a custom version, or one previously unavailable to the public, has been included; as Pioneer specifically states that this included PowerDVD 14 software will allow you to "play Ultra HD Blu-ray such as movies, animation, music, Blu-ray, DVD-Video on your computer".

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Image credit: Anandtech

The two models are differentiated by a more premium audio focus for the BDR-S 11 J-X (and correspondingly higher price, based on reported pricing, below), with this model offering the following audiophile-oriented enhancements:

"BDR-S 11 J-X​ displays the playback quality of the audio CD to be played back in four levels, and in the case of low quality, it carries the "audio CD check function" which displays the coping method such as setting change of this machine It is suitable for applications such as CD ripping and music playback. In addition, by applying the coating adopted also for high-end audio equipment to the disc tray to improve the vibration isolation performance, it also enhances heat dissipation by applying special paint to the interior and exterior of the enclosure, realizing high quietness and reliability..."

Pricing was not included in the official announcement, though Anandtech's report quotes (Japanese-language) PC Watch with pricing roughly equivalent to $200 US (BDR-S 11 J-BK) and $300 US (BDR-S 11 J-X) for the drives. Availability begins in late February in Japan.

Source: Anandtech

Podcast #434 - Nintendo Switch, Xbox Scorpio, Das Keyboard X50 Gaming

Subject: Editorial | January 26, 2017 - 03:46 PM |
Tagged: Xbox Scorpio, podcast, Nintendo Switch, In Win 301, EVGA G3 850W, Das Keyboard Gaming, Chomecast

PC Perspective Podcast #434 - 01/26/17

Join us this week as we discuss Nintendo Switch, EVGA SuperNOVA 850w G3, Xbox Project Scorpio, Das Keyboard Gaming, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts:  Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Josh Walrath, Jermey Hellstrom

Program length: 1:07:50

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

Source:

The Gigabyte GTX 1060 G6, a decent card with a bit of work

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 25, 2017 - 08:37 PM |
Tagged: windforce, factory overclocked, GTX 1060 G1 GAMING 6G, GeForce GTX 1060, gigabyte

In their testing [H]ard|OCP proved that the Windforce cooler is not the limiting factor when overclocking Gigabyte's GTX 1060 G1 Gaming G6, even at their top overclock of  2.1GHz GPU, 9.4GHz memory the temperature never reached 60C.  They did have some obstacles reaching those speeds, the cards onboard Gaming mode offered an anemic boost and in order to start manually overclocking this card you will need to install the XTREME ENGINE VGA Utility.  Once you have that, you can increase the voltage and clocks to find the limits of the card you have, which should offer a noticeable improvement from its performance straight out of the box.

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"We’ve got the brand new GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1060 G1 GAMING 6G video card to put through the paces and find out how well it performs in games and overclocks. We will compare its highest overclock with one of the best overclocks we’ve achieved on AMD Radeon RX 480 to put it to the test. How will it stand up? Let’s find out."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

For those who like it longer and harder; XCOM 2: The Long War

Subject: General Tech | January 25, 2017 - 07:35 PM |
Tagged: gaming, xcom 2, the long war 2, Pavonis Interactive

Pavonis Interactive have come through once again for XCOM fans, with the release of the Long War 2 mod, available for download though Steam.  It adds many things other than simply length to your game, such as an infiltration stage to missions which represents the amount of groundwork done by your team before the mission.  If you can reach 100% then Advent forces will be at a disadvantage, if you do not have time to fully prepare you can expect to face stronger opposition.  If you have enough active forces, you can choose to split them between two simultaneous mission instead of having to choose one mission while ignoring the other.  If this peaks your curiosity, pop over to Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN for a deeper look into the changes this mod makes to XCOM 2.

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"From the very first mission of The Long War 2, the stakes are different. Your enlarged squad isn’t doing anything as brash as blowing up an Advent statue; instead, they’ve managed to track down an under-strength patrol and are determined to take it down."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

If you hate Windows 10, stop whining and start WINE-ing

Subject: General Tech | January 25, 2017 - 06:18 PM |
Tagged: apple, wine, linux, windows 10, mac

So much for your excuses, if you have sworn that you are abandoning Microsoft because of Windows 10 then start migrating to Mac or Linux and shrink their market share.  Wine 2.0 just dropped, allowing you to continue to use your Windows programs and play your games on Mac or Linux.  Shader Model 4 and 5 support has been improved, DX9, Direct3D 10 and Direct3D 11 all are improved or added for your visual enjoyment.  If you want to make a statement to Microsoft then hit them where it hurts and head over to Slashdot to start your journey onto a competitors OS.

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"It's finally here! After so many months of development and hard work, during which over 6,600 bugs have been patched, the Wine project is happy to announce today, January 24, 2017, the general availability of Wine 2.0. Wine 2.0 is the biggest and most complete version of the open-source software project that allows Linux and macOS users to run applications and games designed only for Microsoft Windows operating systems."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Slashdot

Microsoft Xbox Project Scorpio Whitepaper Leaked

Subject: Systems | January 25, 2017 - 03:30 AM |
Tagged: xbox one, xbox, Project Scorpio, microsoft

Digital Foundry received an Xbox Project Scorpio whitepaper from an anonymous source, although they were able to validate its authenticity. Basically, they sent it to their own, off-the-record sources who would have access to the same info, and those individuals confirmed it’s an official document that they’ve seen before. Of course, the trust bottlenecks through Digital Foundry, but they’re about as reputable as you can get in this industry, so that works.

Anywho, disclaimer aside, the whitepaper unveils a few interesting details about how Project Scorpio is expecting to provide higher performance. The most interesting change is what’s missing: the small, on-chip RAM (ESRAM). Microsoft claims that the higher global memory bandwidth removes the need to have it on Project Scorpio.

Digital Foundry is still a bit concerned that, while the 320 GB/s bandwidth might be enough, the latency might be a concern for compatibility. Personally, I’m not too concerned. Modern GPUs do a huge amount of latency-hiding tricks, such as parking whole shaders at global memory accesses and running other tasks while the GPU fetches the memory the original shader needs, swapping it back and finishing when it arrives. Also, the increased GPU performance will mean that the game has more room to be wasteful of GPU resources, since it only needs to perform at least as good as a regular Xbox One. I expect that there wouldn’t be enough round-trips to ESRAM for it to be a major slowdown when running on Project Scorpio (and its not-ESRAM).

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Seriously, Wall-E with a Freddie Mercury 'stache.

Microsoft does suggest that developers make use of ESRAM on Xbox One and Xbox One S, though. Yes, don’t deliberately throw away performance on the slower machines just because that accelerator isn’t available on higher-end devices, like Project Scorpio or a gaming PC (heh heh heh).

Another point that Digital Foundry highlighted was that the actual number of rendered fragments (pixels that may or may not make it to screen) didn’t scale up by a factor-of-four (going from 1080p to 4K) in all cases. A first-party developer noticed a case where it was only a 3.5x scaling between the two resolutions. (This metric was actually rendered pixels, not even just GPU load, which would include resolution-independent tasks, like physics simulations.) I’m not exactly sure how the number of fragments decreased, but it could be due to some rendering tricks, like when Halo renders the background at a lower resolution. (Yes, I’m using Khronos verbiage; it’s less ambiguous.)

They also assume that Project Scorpio will use pre-Zen AMD CPU cores. I agree. It seems like Zen wouldn’t be around early enough to make production, especially when you consider the pre-release units that are circulating around Microsoft, and probably third-party developers, too.

Project Scorpio launches this holiday season (2017).

A new NVMe drive with familiar components, Patriot's Hellfire 480GB

Subject: Storage | January 24, 2017 - 06:22 PM |
Tagged: patriot, hellfire 480gb, NVMe, M.2, PCIe SSD, M.2 2280

Patriot brings you what should be Arthur Miller's favourite SSD, the Hellfire 480GB M.2 PCIe NVMe drive.  The Tech Report recently published a review of this drive, comparing it to the dozens of SSDs they have recently tested, which is still a mere drop in the bucket that is the SSD market.  The drive uses Phison's PS5007-E7 controller and 15nm MLC NAND from Toshiba, components familiar to anyone who spends a lot of time looking inside of SSDs and which can give a good estimate of the speeds to expect.  With a sale price of about $230 it does not have to be the fastest NVMe drive in the world to be a great deal; read the full review to see if this might be the M.2 drive for you.

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"Patriot joins the high-end storage fray with its first NVMe SSD, the Hellfire series. We run the 480GB version of this drive through our testing gauntlet to see whether it can keep up with the rest of the NVMe crowd."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Dropbox now offering randomly accessible memories

Subject: General Tech | January 24, 2017 - 05:35 PM |
Tagged: security, dropbox

Dropbox has been around long enough that you see it used in a variety of situations, sharing recipes, press releases and holiday snaps, all perfectly reasonable scenarios.  Unfortunately you also see it used as an alternative to SFTP in business, as some clients and executives are less afraid of the pretty blue colours than they are of the folder lists and text that FTP programs present. 

This can present a security problem and possible legal risk as the terms and conditions Dropbox sets may not exactly match what you and your client agreed to.  Case and point today is the news that many users were gifted with a trip down memory lane as files deleted from Dropbox years ago suddenly made a reappearance.  Dropbox states in their retention policy that files which are deleted should be unrecoverable after 30 days but it seems we have more proof that the Cloud never truly forgets.  Think back to what you, or people you know, might have shared on Dropbox and consider it coming back to haunt you a decade down the line before you upload.  You can follow the links from [H]ard|OCP back to the initial forum report and Dropbox's response.

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"This article is merely entertaining if you stay within the headline, but it becomes disturbing once you get into the story and realize that Dropbox’s policy is to keep deleted files only for 30 days. Ever the cynic, I will go ahead and consider the possibility that the file hosting service has been consciously keeping files around forever."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Das Keyboard Gaming Announces X50 Gaming Keyboard

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 24, 2017 - 12:01 PM |
Tagged: Omron, das keyboard

According to post-CES coverage from Tom’s Hardware, Das Keyboard is in the process of rebranding their gaming line from “Division Zero” to Das Keyboard Gaming. Das Keyboard is known for their productivity-focused keyboards, including their famous models with unlabeled keycaps. I’m guessing they realized that more gamers know of Das Keyboard than Division Zero, which this news is the first I’ve heard of it, although it’s possible that they changed their branding for a completely different reason.

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Image Credit: Tom's Hardware.
(Das Keyboard hasn't updated their website yet...)

They are also announcing a new keyboard, the Das Keyboard X50 Gaming Mechanical Keyboard, which uses switches from Omron. If this company name rings a bell, they are the provider of switches for several of Logitech’s mechanical keyboards as well as mechanical switches for several mice, including a few models from Logitech, Razer, Steelseries, and others. This keyboard’s brand of switches is called “Gamma Zulu” and Das Keyboard claims that they are manufactured on a production line that is entirely separate from Logitech's Romer-G. There will be two models, one with a bump and another with a click, both of which will apparently be called “Gamma Zulu”.

As for the keyboard itself, it has three macro keys up in the top right, by the volume knob. Tom’s Hardware points out how odd these two decisions are, and I agree. Still, it might be very good for a left-handed gamer that still uses the arrow keys, despite pressure from game developers to pretend to be a Tyrannosaurus rex / Thriller zombie with our hands crushed up to the left, right elbow in our chest. (Thankfully, I have a big desk, so I can just slide my keyboard to the right.)

Yes, I used to look kind-of stupid playing Battlefield 2.

Especially when I bunny-hopped.

Yes, I bunny-hopped. Stop complaining and use a shotgun or something.

If you were a fan of the Das Keyboard X40 Gaming, formerly called the Division Zero X40 Pro, then you can still buy another one. Das Keyboard expects to produce both models in parallel, targeting the lower-end gaming market with the lower-numbered version and its Alpha-Zulu switches, its lack of a volume knob, and its left-side macro keys.

Tom’s Hardware claims that the X50 will sell for $180 MSRP when it launches in Q2.

MSI GT62VR 7RE Dominator Pro, 4k GSYNC in a 15.6" size

Subject: Mobile | January 23, 2017 - 08:00 PM |
Tagged: msi, dominator pro, GT62VR 7RE Dominator Pro, gaming laptop, 4k gsync

MSI takes their Dominator series of laptops seriously and the new Kaby Lake model is no exception.  The GSYNC IPS display is natively 4k and the 8GB GTX 1070 should drive it at 60Hz without issue, or you could skip the monitor and go straight to VR as the required ports are present.  The CPU is an  i7-7820HK, with 32GB of DDR4-2400 in a dual channel configuration and Samsung provided an M.2 500GB SSD rated at 540MB/s read, 520MBs write, with a 1TB HDD for extra storage.  It weighs in at almost 3kg (6.4lbs) so it is not as heavy as you might expect, though the 230W power adapter may add a few straws to that load.  eTeknix tired it out to see how effective it was at replacing a gaming desktop, you can see the results and photos of the internals right here.

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"MSI’s gaming laptops have gained a special status for their gorgeous sense of style and astounding features. It’s no surprise that the latest data puts their firmly in the lead as the world’s most successful gaming laptop manufacturer. Honestly, it’s thoroughly deserved and I’m pleased to see the MSI pushing the technical envelope further and making laptops a true alternative to traditional desktops."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

More Mobile Articles

Source: eTeknix

SteelSeries' Apex M500 keyboard, simple yet effective

Subject: General Tech | January 23, 2017 - 07:21 PM |
Tagged: input, steelseries, apex M500, mechanical keyboard, cherry mx red, cherry mx blue

SteelSeries offers their Apex M500 mechanical keyboard in Cherry MX Blue and Red flavours, so if you are a fan of Brown switches you are out of luck.  The colourblindness also extends to the LEDs, which can only do blue, however that blue is rather rich as there is a blue backplate underneath the keys to enhance the look.   The Tech Report appreciated that the software for this keyboard is entirely optional, if you have no plans on creating macros you can skip it altogether; those who do create macros will have no troubles setting up their preferred programming.  Pop on by for a full look at the review.

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"SteelSeries' Apex M500 keyboard ditches RGB LED backlighting and complicated software for a simple look and feel pinned on the quality typing experience of Cherry MX Red or MX Blue switches. We got in many hours of gaming on this board to see whether it lives up to its $100 price tag."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Symantec's Sorta Secure Sockets Layer

Subject: General Tech | January 23, 2017 - 05:21 PM |
Tagged: SSL, security, symantec

Symantec may not have chosen their partners wisely as once again we see some questionable SSL certs being released into the wild by one of their audited partners.  For a while last week, some rather questionable domains had Symantec issued SSLs, offering a wide variety of possible attack vectors for anyone nefarious enough to take advantage of the fact.  Thankfully this does not happen often, though The Inquirer points out that it is nothing new, as it casts doubt on how secure an SSL site actually is.  Symantec promises to investigate what happened and release that information publicly; we can only hope they also learn from it.

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"Andrew Ayer of certificate vendor and wrangler SSLMate went public with his discovery last week. The mis-issued certs were issued for example.com, and a bunch of variations of test.com (test1.com, test2.com and so on)."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Mushkin Enters Peripheral Market With Carbon KB-001 Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | January 22, 2017 - 09:29 PM |
Tagged: RGB LED, Mushkin, mechanical keyboard, kailh brown

Memory and SSD manufacturer Mushkin appears to be branching out into other markets with the launch of its Carbon KB-001 mechanical keyboard.

The Carbon KB-001 is built from CNC anodized and brushed aluminum and offers a frameless floating key design in black and gray color scheme. The keyboard uses Kailh Brown key switches and has per-key RGB LED lighting, media playback controls on the function keys, and a Windows key lock. Further, Mushkin claims its mechanical keyboard offers N-key rollover and anti-ghosting technologies.

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Other nice touches include a small wrist rest (not detachable unfortunately for those with less desk space) and braided USB cable.

The Carbon KB-001 certainly looks sleek though we will have to wait until reviews hit to known how well it performs. Mushkin has not announced pricing or availability, but The Tech Report claims it will launch for around $70 which is not bad at all if the build quality is there

Mushkin appears to be joining the likes of G.Skill, Corsair, and others in diversifying into other markets and away from only specializing in memory and mass storage. In the end this should be a good thing for Mushkin and for consumers as it means memory manufacturers are going to be able to hang in there despite low memory prices and we can continue to see competition. Compared to the spinning rust market where the small guys have gotten swallowed up and we have only three major players left, there are a ton of memory and SSD players -- and I hope it stays that way!

Source: VR-Zone

Raspberry Pi Foundation Updates Compute Module With Faster Processor

Subject: General Tech | January 22, 2017 - 05:11 AM |
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, compute module, Raspberry Pi 3, broadcom, iot

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is introducing an updated Compute Module that puts the single board computer for embedded devices more in line with the performance of the newest hobbyist Raspberry Pi 3.

The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 is a pin compatible successor to the Compute Module 1 (there is no CM2) that, according to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, offers twice the RAM and 10-times the CPU performance.

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Note that while the Compute Module 3 may be able to be a drop in upgrade / replacement for devices powered by the first generation CM1, it uses more power, puts out more heat, and is 1mm taller so while it is pin compatible it may not work in all devices if their module slot space, power supply, and airflow / heatsinks are not up to the task.

The Compute Module 3 is a small single board computer with a SO-DIMM connector that can slot into embedded and IoT products. It is powered by a Broadcom BCM2837 with four ARM Cortex-A53 CPU cores clocked at 1.2 GHz and a dual core VIdeoCore IV GPU clocked at 400 MHz. The processor is paired with 1GB of RAM. As far as onboard storage, the Compute Module 3 will come in two SKUs: the CM3 with 4GB of eMMC or a CM3 Lite without pre-installed eMMC and solder points for manufacturers to add their own eMMC or micro SD card slot. The VideoCore IV GPU supports 1080p30 decode of H.264. Users wanting hardware decode of H.265 and/or 4K support will have to look elsewhere. As is usual with Broadcom, exact specifications of the BCM2837 (especially their GPU) are kept close and quiet, unfortunately.

The exact ports and I/O from the Compute Module 3 will depend on the device and what manufacturers implement and wire to the connectors on the SO-DIMM slot. However, looking at the CMIO3 development board (96 Euros, $116 USD) shows that the CM3 supports GPIO, USB, micro USB, CSI (camera interface), DSI (display interface), HDMI, micro SD, audio, and networking. 

The Compute Module 3 can run Windows IOT Core or any number of Linux distributions compatible with ARM processors.

The Compute Module 3 is $30 while the “lite” variant without eMMC is $25. A kit including the development I/O board and both CM3 SKUs is $200. NEC has already announced it will be using the new Compute Module 3 in their digital signage and displays. Other applications include Smart TVs, home automation, and industrial control systems as well as hobbyist projects and robotics.

Source: Raspberry Pi

Windows 10 Build 10240 End of Life on March 26th

Subject: General Tech | January 22, 2017 - 01:42 AM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft

Microsoft will be ending support for Windows 10 build 10240 on March 26th (via Mary Jo Foley), after a year and eight months since it launched in July 2015. For our home readers, this will not be too much of a concern, as most of us are on the Anniversary Update (or another OS entirely). Also, Microsoft supported it longer than some hardware vendors, such as NVIDIA, who requires a later build for PCs with a Pascal-based GPU. (Update: I haven't been able to find out whether AMD supports 10240 or not, and it's really a small point for home users anyway. The point was to show that users are heavily intended to be on the latest version.)

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Rippin' off the band-aid.

Again, these new builds are free from Microsoft, so, from a financial standpoint, there’s little reason to not update if your machine can support it. What it does show, however, is how short of a time we have between a bad decision being implemented and a bad decision being forced upon all Windows PCs. If a change upsets you, or feels like it could be used anti-competitively now or in the future, don’t be shy to raise the concern when it appears. You will only have a year or two before it can no longer be avoided... at most... even if you're a business. In most cases, you'll only have a handful of months.

Source: Microsoft

Windows Insiders Receive Several New Features Post-Holiday

Subject: General Tech | January 21, 2017 - 11:27 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10

Now that the holidays are over, software developers are going back to work. It seems like ones at Microsoft had several big changes stashed away, waiting to release when they would be around to support them in the new year. Over the last two weeks, we received three different builds, each with several significant changes. They seem to be tapering off, though, which would make sense if they’re merging through their backlog from 2016.

windows-10.png

One feature that might be lauded by our readers is the ability to temporarily pause updates. This one came in on build 15002, and it gives users an option to delay any update that will cause a restart for up to 35 days. Unfortunately for some, this will be restricted to Windows 10 Pro and above, because Microsoft still does not trust that Windows 10 Home users will not ignore updates then complain about how insecure Windows is when a 9-month-old worm hits them. Instead, from Home users, they are pushing a change to “Active Hours”, allowing it to be extended into an 18-hour window. Sorry if you have a 24-hour render or something!

Moving on, some users will appreciate the lunar calendar being added to the taskbar calendar, alongside the conventional, Gregorian one. You would think that this localization feature should have been implemented years ago, but, with the Creator’s Update, affected users will have a more functional, built-in calendar.

Another interesting feature, which came out in the most recent build, 15014, is the power mode slider attached to the battery icon. Rather than having it buried in the advanced power settings, Microsoft is allowing users to “slide right” when they need things like higher CPU power states. In the current build, the UI isn’t hooked up to the back-end yet, because they’re still discussing (with OEMs) what power settings the slider options should correspond to.

There are also a lot of enhancements for Edge, of course, as all web browsers are still undergoing a rapid release schedule. A lot of it involves tab management, such as stashing tabs for later (like a more transient bookmark) and sharing them to other applications.

The Windows 10 Creators Update (1703) is expected for April.

Source: Microsoft

In Win's 301 Case Is a Micro ATX Version of the 303

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 20, 2017 - 09:16 PM |
Tagged: in win, enclosure, CES 2017, CES, case, 303, 301

For those of you who haven't frequented the site in the past three years, you may not know that I have reviewed SEVERAL computer cases in my time. And while I could not make it to CES this year to pay my respects to all of the enclosure makers I love so much, I still followed the enclosure news from my hidden, case-lined fortress. Among the new designs was this beautiful looking case from In Win, and it is a smaller version of their 303 case design.

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There is no official product page up, with just this image on their overview page, but Hardware Canucks posted video from their In Win booth visit on the show floor, which I have embedded below. The case certainly looks very good, and if it sells for less than the 303's $99 MSRP as speculated in the video below, it will be a very attractive option for a smaller - and very stylish, of course - system build.

(Video via Hardware Canucks)

If you watched the video you'll see that this is a very polished product, and I'm very impressed by the quality of the 300-series from In Win - especially considering its cost. Rest assured, I will be asking for a sample to review!