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Subject: Graphics Cards | April 24, 2017 - 06:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: linux, RX 580, amd, overclocking, Polaris
Phoronix have had a chance to test out the refreshed Polaris RX 580 on the Linux 4.11 kernel and Mesa 17.1-devel, initially the AMDGPU-PRO 17.10 driver update was not included thanks to interesting timing. The performance deltas are as you would expect, a slight increase in performance that is relative to the increased clock speeds, just as when run on Windows. They also had a chance to try overclocking the new card, AMD added support for overclocking GCN 1.2 and newer cards on their proprietary Linux driver in 2016. They managed to increase the core by 6% without running into stability issues however when they overclocked the memory, they saw serious performance decreases. Check out the steps they tried along with the results from the overlocked GPU here.
"Yesterday I posted the initial Radeon RX 580 Linux benchmarks while now with having more time with this "Polaris Evolved" card I've been able to try out a bit more, like the AMDGPU Linux overclocking support. Here are the ups and downs of overclocking the Radeon graphics card under Linux."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Sapphire Nitro+ Radeon RX 570 4GB @ eTeknix
- PowerColor Red Devil Radeon RX 570 4GB @ eTeknix
- XFX RX 460 4GB Slim Single Review @ OCC
- Palit GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GameRock Premium 11 GB @ techPowerUp
- MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X PLUS 8G @ Guru of 3D
- MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X Plus 11 Gbps 8 GB @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte Aorus GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition 11GB @ Kitguru
- Phanteks Glacier 1080 GPU Waterblock @ techPowerUp
- PNY GTX 1070 XLR8 OC Gaming 8GB @ eTeknix
- GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1060 Mini ITX OC 6GB @ eTeknix
Subject: Storage | April 24, 2017 - 05:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: XPoint, srt, rst, Optane Memory, Optane, Intel, hybrid, CrossPoint, cache, 32GB, 16GB
At $44 for 16GB or $77 for a 32GB module Intel's Optane memory will cost you less in total for an M.2 SSD, though a significantly higher price per gigabyte. The catch is that you need to have a Kaby Lake Core system to be able to utilize Optane, which means you are unlikely to be using a HDD. Al's test show that Optane will also benefit a system using an SSD, reducing latency noticeably although not as significantly as with a HDD.
The Tech Report tested it differently, by sourcing a brand new desktop system with Kaby Lake Core APU that did not ship with an SSD. Once installed, the Optane drive enabled the system to outpace an affordable 480GB SSD in some scenarios; very impressive for a HDD. They also did peek at the difference Optane makes when paired with aforementioned affordable SSD in their full review.
"Intel's Optane Memory tech purports to offer most of the responsiveness of an SSD to systems whose primary storage device is a good old hard drive. We put a 32GB stick of Optane Memory to the test to see whether it lives up to Intel's claims."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Intel Optane Memory Review - 1.4GB/s Speed & 300K IOPS for $44 @ The SSD Review
- The Intel Optane Memory Module Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Kingston DCP1000 NVMe SSD Reaches 7GB/s @ Kitguru
- WD Blue 1,000 GiB SSD @ Hardware Secrets
- Synology DiskStation DS916+ 4-Bay NAS @ Kitguru
- Drobo 5N2 NAS @ Kitguru
- Kingston Ultimate GT 2TB Flash Drive @ The SSD Review
- Toshiba X300 6TB HDD @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | April 24, 2017 - 01:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: windows 10, snapdragon 835, qualcomm
Qualcomm have provided an updated estimate for when we might expect to see Windows 10 running on Snapdragon 835 devices, moving it very close to the end of the second half of 2017. Having a product launch in December is risky if Qualcomm had hoped to see sales for the holiday season, especially for a type of product we have not seen since Microsoft released ARM powered Surface devices. It is possible that the price may be attractive enough to entice some users into purchasing the devices but we likely won't see much action until the beginning of 2018. The Register could not glean any more information beyond the updated release date from the call, we are still somewhat in the dark as to what Snapdragon powered Win 10 devices we will see.
"But in last week's Q2 2017 earnings call, CEO Steve Mollenkopf said “Our Snapdragon 835 is expanding into Mobile PC designs running Windows 10, which are scheduled to launch in the fourth calendar quarter this year.”
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Linux 4.11 delayed for a week by NVMe glitches and 'oops fixes' @ The Register
- Unroll.me 'Heartbroken' After Being Caught Selling User Data To Uber @ Slashdot
- Microsoft to shutter some services in Office in move to subscription-based model @ The Inquirer
- Flaws found in Linksys routers that could be used to create a botnet @ The Register
- IoT Security is Hard: Here’s What You Need to Know @ Hack a Day
- Farewell Unity, you challenged desktop Linux. Oh well, here's Ubuntu 17.04 @ The Register
- You Think You Can’t Be Phished? @ Hack a Day
- SPY-tunes scandal: Bloke sues Bose after headphones app squeals on his playlist @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | April 23, 2017 - 08:02 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10
Pre-release builds of the next major update to Windows 10, planned for the September time frame, give or take, introduce a new power management feature. Starting with Intel’s sixth-generation Core processors, with support for other vendors planned in the coming months, Windows 10 will be able to prevent background apps from forcing high-power states. This will keep the CPU at a voltage and frequency that gets more work done per watt, even if it takes a little longer, which should result in longer battery life.
There will be (and currently is) an override available for end-users, as well as an API for developers to suggest which processes can be throttled, and under what circumstances. This entire feature will also be disabled when the device is plugged in. I wonder if we’ll see that characteristic change a little in Windows Server, though, since it might be useful for data centers to throttle some maintenance tasks to cut down on the power and cooling bills for their many, many machines. Currently, it’s designed for battery life.
You can play around with this feature in the new Insider build, but, again, not while plugged in.
Subject: General Tech | April 23, 2017 - 10:27 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: meetup, london, giveaway, contest, Chromebook, arm
For a short romantic summer trip, Josh Walrath and I (Ryan Shrout) will be heading across the pond to London, England! With the primary goals of technology education and beer consumption, we thought it would be prudent to invite any and all PC Perspective fans in the area to join us for a night of talking tech, comparing beer preferences and just saying hello!
On Thursday April 27th starting 7:30pm, you will find Josh and me sitting in a dimly-lit booth at the Momentus Bar inside The Cumberland Hotel located at Great Cumberland Place London W1H 7DL. We have no specific agenda but will probably be there until at least midnight, hamming it up with anyone that walks over.
Yes, it looks fancy, but you're talking to some fancy lads, right!?!
As if hanging with your favorite hosts of the PC Perspective Podcast wasn't enough, I was able to coherce our good friends at ARM to sponsor the event and handing us a couple of Chromebooks to give away as well! That's right - come meet Josh and me at The Cumberland Hotel and have a couple of drinks!
On display at the event in London will be two ARM-powered Chromebooks: the Acer R13 and the new Samsung Chromebook Plus!
The Samsung Chromebook Plus powered by ARM
Even though only those in attendance will be able to get hands-on with the two Chromebooks, we are offering the giveaway of the units to our global fan base! All you have to do is enter via the Gleam competition below for your chance to take home one of these two devices!
So, here's the summary: if you are in the London area on April 27th and want to come hang out with Josh and me at Momentus Bar at The Cumberland Hotel, we would love to see you at 730pm! If you aren't in the London area on April 27th, enter the contest above for your chance to win an ARM-powered Chromebook!
PC Perspective London Meetup! Sponsored by ARM!
7:30pm - 12:00am on April 27th
Momentus Bar at The Cumberland Hotel
Great Cumberland Pl, Marylebone, London W1H 7DL, UK
A HUGE THANKS to our friends at ARM for sponsoring these events and paying for Josh's excuse to drink! Hopefully we will see a lot of you in person very soon!
Subject: Memory | April 22, 2017 - 04:40 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: z270, G.Skill Trident Z, G.Skill, dual channel, ddr4
For enthusiasts with a need for speed, G.Skill unleashed a new DDR4 memory kit recently that ratchets up two 8GB modules to 4333 MHz out of the box. The new 16GB kit will soon take the top spot in the company’s Trident Z series and will come with the traditional brushed metal heat spreader with red accent.
The new 16 GB (2 x 8GB sticks) Trident Z memory kit was validated on Intel’s Z270 platform using an Asus ROG Maximus IX Apex motherboard and an overclocked Intel Core i5-7600K. (The processor was clocked at 4200.20 MHz on a x40.0 multiplier and 104.98 MHz bus speed.) The DDR4 kit is running with CAS latencies of 19-19-19-39 and is needs 1.40 volts.
Not content to sit on its laurels, G.Skill is reportedly also working on cranking speeds up even further with a prototype DDR4 kit running at 4400 MHz and a “proof of concept” test of a 16 GB kit running at 4500 MHz. The DDR4-4500 kit is being stress tested while specifications are still under development and it will be “some time” before it is ready for market. G.Skill did manage to at least run Windows and some benchmarks at those RAM clock speeds though using the same Z270 platform listed above (with the Core i5 7600K clocked at 4360.36 MHz on a 108.98 MHz bus and x40.0 multiplier). The benchmark runs reported up to 65 GB/s write speeds, 55 GB/s read speeds, and 52 GB/s copy speeds specifically. DDR4 has come a long way in the speed department to where it is today and apparently still has room to grow.
Unfortunately, as is the case with most announcements of this nature, no official pricing and availability was mentioned. Looking around online, I would expect the 16GB DDR4-4333 kit to come in somewhere around $280 and be available within the next month or so.
I would love to see what a kit this fast would do for Ryzen as far as alleviating the CCX-to-CCX bottleneck over the Infinity Fabric assuming the Ryzen memory controller can handle those speeds! Also, faster memory has helped AMD’s APUs in the past, so these extremely fast kits that are coming out should pair well with AMD's upcoming Raven Ridge though they will need to come down in price a lot to actually meet the budget of a good budget gaming build (right now with the kits in the $250+ range it would be better to just put the premium into a graphics card – though that kind of defeats the purpose of using the APU heh).
Subject: General Tech | April 22, 2017 - 12:49 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows 10 cloud, windows 10, uwp, microsoft
The upcoming version of Windows that can only install applications from the Windows Store, Windows 10 Cloud, will be Microsoft’s latest attempt at locked-down devices, like Windows RT was back in the Windows 8.x days. The goal is to take on the Chromebook market, which is similarly locked down to Google Chrome and Google Play Store apps (although Google allows developer sideloading). To be fair to Windows 10 Cloud, it can be upgraded to Home or Pro to run Win32 applications for a fee, although that somewhat flies in the face of “streamlined, simpler experience” if you acknowledge a monetary value in unlocking the features you claim those users theoretically don’t want.
Image Credit: Windows Central
Preamble and opinion aside, it would seem that Microsoft is hoping to push OEMs into making decent devices. They are recommending a minimum specification of quad-core Celeron, 4GB of RAM, >40 Wh battery, and “fast eMMC or SSD” storage. This last note about “fast” eMMC amuses me, because it not-so-subtly telegraphs that cheap laptops, despite having technically solid state memory, don’t have a noticeably better experience than typical hard drives.
Subject: General Tech | April 22, 2017 - 02:37 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Oculus, oculus rift
Oculus has updated their Oculus App to version 1.14. This release has two noteworthy features: full support for 360-degree tracking with three sensors, and the Touch controller can now be used with some, but not all, games that were previously gamepad-exclusive. For the latter, you will need to check with each specific game in the Oculus store, where it will be listed with a “Touch (as gamepad)” tag.
As for the former, Oculus has been allowing 2- (like the Vive) and 3-sensor setups for 360-degree tracking for a while, but experimentally. They have apparently settled on the three-sensor setup for final support, though. According to their documentation, they recommend that two of the sensors are plugged into USB 3.0 or higher, while leaving the third on USB 2. Specifically, the USB 2-connected sensor will be the one behind the user, with the two USB 3.0 sensors sitting out in front; to visualize this, imagine stereo speakers sitting on either side of your TV, with only one surround sound speaker behind the user. It will be interesting to see how Oculus two-sensor, Oculus three-sensor, and Vive two-sensor compares, especially since the last two are (in the case of Oculus, now) officially supported, but the first one isn’t.
While I don’t currently have a Rift, Oculus apparently delivers updates on a staggered schedule. Don’t be surprised if your system isn’t pushed to the new version immediately.
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 22, 2017 - 12:53 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, gt 1030, gp108
Expreview.com (machine-translated from Chinese) believes that NVIDIA will launch the GeForce GT 1030 to compete in the low-end. It’s difficult to tell how confident they are about this next part, due to the translation, but they believe that it will be based on a new Pascal design, GP108, rather than a further-disabled GP107 (as seen in the GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti). Those parts have 640 and 768 CUDA cores, respectively, which might be where their estimate of 512 CUDA cores for GP108 comes from.
As for the merits as a product, it seems a little odd to me. There is some room for it in terms of performance, sliding between the GTX 1050 and integrated graphics with a GTX 750-class part, just with higher clocks and/or lower power due to the Pascal architecture. It does seem risky, though, considering the GTX 1050 already occupies the $110 USD price point.
The post also suggests that the cards will have 1 GB and 2 GB variants.
Subject: General Tech | April 21, 2017 - 07:49 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: twitch, pc gaming, amazon
While Twitch had quite a large lead as a streaming service, it had a fairly large gap between its regular creators and their “Twitch Partners”. If you weren’t a Twitch partner, you couldn’t directly monetize your stream, guarantee that your stream would be transcoded, and so forth.
That isn’t changing, but they are introducing an easier to obtain, middle tier that will have some, but not all, of the Partner perks. “Twitch Affiliate” is this middle-ground, and, while it is invite-only, it is open to pretty much anyone who intends to stream on a regular basis. Specifically, the threshold is about 500 online minutes in a month, spread out over at least seven days, and an average of at least three viewers at the same time; you will also need at least 50 followers. If you stream a few times per week, this is not a very high bar, but it’s still not automatic.
I should note that Twitch will only consider the previous 30 days, rolling.
The goal of this new tier is to provide some support for streamers, as they try to find their on-ramp to being a Twitch partner. At first, only the (relatively controversial) “Bits” system will be available for monetization, but other revenue streams, like video ads, should follow. Also, while you’re not guaranteed to receive video transcodes, Affiliates get priority access to whatever is left over from the Partners.
Personally, I’d like a guarantee that transcodes would be available, because I don’t want to occasionally alienate some viewers by sending Twitch too high of a bitrate for the, let’s say even just 10% of the time, that lower-quality versions would be unavailable. It still puts pressure on me to lower the quality that I send Twitch, which will often result in worse VOD quality. (I realize that you can use multiple encodes… and I currently do… but certain things, like frame rate, need to be consistent – at least with the current version of OBS Studio.)
Twitch should begin to contact eligible streamers soon, and will continue rolling in new users as they become eligible. Even then. it's not an immediate, automatic thing, though.
Subject: General Tech | April 21, 2017 - 03:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: modular, mms, mechanical keyboard, input, epicgear, defiant
Move over modular PSUs and mice, the Epicgear Defiant is a modular keyboard. What that actually means is that you can swap the actual switches on the keyboard, as long as they are Modular Matrix Structure switches. The MMS switches as described as analogous to Cherry MX switches, though the colours do not translate directly and The Tech Report found them to be of equivalent quality. In their testing they found that gaming with mismatched switches was somewhat unpleasant, so make sure to get a full set of the ones you plan to use. The full review can be found here.
"Some gaming keyboards offer customizable backlighting and key caps to change up the feel of the keys underneath one's fingers. EpicGear's Defiant keyboard goes one better and lets gamers change out its key switches themselves for a different tactile experience. We switched around the Defiant's clickers to see if the feature upped our game."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Cherry MX Board 6.0 Keyboard Review: A Most Comfortable Tank @ Modders-Inc
- Razer BlackWidow Chroma V2 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ Bjorn3d
- Sound BlasterX Weapons Crate Review @ Hardware Asylum
- ASUS ROG Gladius II Mouse @ Kitguru
- Harmony Remote Elite Plays Nice with Alexa @ Hardware Secrets
- Corsair Sabre RGB Gaming Mouse @ Benchmark Reviews
- Cougar Attack X3 RGB Keyboard Review @ Neoseeker
- ASUS ROG Strix Impact Mouse @ Kitguru
- Das Keyboard M50 Pro Gaming Mouse @ NikKTec
- Roccat Kone EMP Gaming Mouse @ Benchmark Reviews
Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 21, 2017 - 03:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: XL-ATX, e-atx, dark base pro 900, Dark Base 900, be quiet!
The be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 is impressively large, standing 577x243x585mm (22.7x9.6x23"), supporting even the largest of motherboard model. That size also allows for some impressive cooling options, radiators of up to 420mm in length can be installed in both the front and top of the case. The case ships with three be quiet! SilentWings 3 fans installed, for those who opt to forego watercooling and it is also worth mentioning the filter on the bottom of the case slides out from the front. The side panel is made of tempered glass on the $250 Pro model, the non-Pro has a steel side panel which reduces its cost to $200 and both feature a Qi wireless charging area. Drop by Modders-Inc for a closer look.
"When it comes to system building, size equals convenience with large full-tower cases offering plenty of room to work with. Since the case market is extremely crowded and competitive however, simply creating a large case for the sake of creating a large case is not enough. If it does not have the right set of features and is not designed …"
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Game Max Onyx RGB Tempered Glass Mid-Tower @ eTeknix
- Riotoro CR480 Gaming Case @ Benchmark Reviews
- Be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 XL-ATX Mid-Tower @ NikKTech
- Cooler Master MasterBox 5t Review @ Bjorn3d
- Bitspower Summit EF-X CPU Waterblock @ techPowerUp
- X2 i5 @ techPowerUp
- Raijintek Pallas Low-Profile CPU Cooler @ Kitguru
- Cooler Master MasterAir Pro 3 and MasterAir Pro 4 @ Kitguru
- Cooler Master MasterAir Pro 3 and 4 CPU Cooler @ eTeknix
- ThermalTake Riing Silent 12 Pro Cooler @ Kitguru
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 21, 2017 - 02:59 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: corsair, msi, gtx 1080 ti, nvidia, factory overclocked
Corsair partnered with MSI to produce the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti, which has integrated watercooling based around the Corsiar H55 AiO cooler. That cooler is used to support a factory overclock of 1,506 MHz Core, 1,620 MHz Boost and a memory frequency of 11,124MHz, though with the watercooling many will seek to find exactly how much more they can squeeze out of the silicon.
According to their own testing, the GPU barely breaches 40C under load which translates into a higher sustained boost clock. The ML120 LED PWM fan attached to the radiator can be manually set to run between 400-2,400 RPM to allow users to better control how the card operates. This release adds to Corsair's previous offering, a GTX 1080 cooled with the same H55.
FREMONT, CA – April 20th, 2017 - CORSAIR®, a world leader in enthusiast memory, PC components and high-performance gaming hardware today announced the release of the new CORSAIR Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti all-in-one liquid cooled graphics card. Combining the extreme gaming horsepower of the NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1080 Ti GPU with world-renowned CORSAIR Hydro Series liquid cooling and magnetic levitation airflow, the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti delivers the phenomenal performance of an overclocked GTX 1080 Ti with all the benefits of liquid cooling. Cooler temperatures, lower noise, higher clock speeds, and easy installation combine to allow the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti to offer all the performance, with none of the compromises. Developed in partnership with the expert graphics team at MSI®, the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti is powered by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, the most advanced NVIDIA GeForce GPU ever made. Boasting an irresponsible level of graphics processing performance, the GTX 1080 Ti features 11GB of GDDR5X memory, 3,584 CUDA Cores and a massive 352-bit memory bus, allowing it to drive today’s most demanding games and graphics applications at not just ultra-detail settings and high frame-rates, but stunning 4K resolution; it’s the ultimate GeForce GPU for PC enthusiasts who demand nothing but the best. The Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti pushes that performance even further, with a factory overclocked GPU core frequency of 1,506 MHz, boost frequency of 1,620 MHz and a memory frequency of 11,124 MHz, squeezing every frame per second, polygon and pixel out of the GTX 1080 Ti GPU.
The improvements aren’t just in MHz; with the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti, CORSAIR takes NVIDIA’s best and makes it better. By equipping the GPU with a CORSAIR Hydro Series H55 liquid cooler, the heat produced by the GTX 1080 Ti GPU is efficiently channelled away by a micro-fin copper base to a 120mm radiator, allowing heat to be rapidly dissipated and exhausted out of your PC rather than build up inside. The result is up to 50 percent lower GPU temperatures, which in turn allows the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti to boost its GPU clock speeds higher for longer, producing up to ten percent faster performance versus a stock GTX 1080 Ti. What’s more, with quick and easy installation into most 120mm case fan mounts, the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti and its radiator are easy to fit into almost any PC case.
To cool the fastest GeForce GPU ever, CORSAIR selected its most advanced 120mm cooling fan, the ML120 LED. CORSAIR ML Series fans harness magnetic levitation technology to physically suspend the fan rotor away from the fan motor when in operation. This greatly reduces friction and fan noise, allowing the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti to run cool while the ML120 spins at incredibly low noise levels, even with the GPU at full load. What’s more, with 4-pin PWM fan control and a 400-2,400 RPM range, you can tweak and tune the Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti’s cooling to suit your system – cool and quiet, or maximum airflow for the lowest temperatures and highest overclocks.
Combining the very best of NVIDIA Pascal GPU architecture, MSI graphics card design and both CORSAIR Hydro Series liquid cooling and magnetic levitation airflow, the CORSAIR Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti is the GTX 1080 Ti, but cooler.
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
- CUDA Cores: 3,584
- Interface: PCI Express 3.0 x16
- Boost / Base Core Clock: 1,506 MHz / 1,620 MHz (OC Mode) 1,493 MHz / 1,607 MHz (Gaming Mode) 1,480 MHz / 1,582 MHz (Silent Mode)
- Memory Clock: 11,124 MHz (OC Mode) 11,016 MHZ (Gaming Mode) 11,016 MHz (Silent Mode)
- Memory Size: 11,264MB
- Memory Type: 11GB GDDR5X
- Memory Bus: 352-bit
- Output: 3x DisplayPort (Version 1.4), 1x HDMI (Version 2.0), 1x DL-DVI-D
- Power Connector: 1x 8-pin, x 1x 6-pin
- Power Consumption: 250W Recommended
- PSU: 600W
- SKU: CB-9060010-WW
- Dimensions: Card - 269 x 111 x 35 mm, Cooler - 151 x 120 x 52 mm Weight: Card - 1,363g, Package - 2,318g
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 21, 2017 - 02:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: msi, nvidia, GAMING X+, Twin Frozr VI, GTX 1080, factory overclocked
MSI have announced a new family of GTX 1080s to the market, dubbed the GAMING X+ series. There are four models, two with 8GB of RAM and two with 6GB, all with respectable factory overclocks. All of the cards have a Twin Frozr VI cooler with double bearing TORX fans offering quiet performance as well as the capacity to allow you to push a bit more out of the card if you so desire. They also contain the mysteriously named Premium Thermal Compound X.
The MSI Gaming App has been update with a One-click to VR app that should make switching between your head mounted display and your desktop monitors quicker and easier. It also lets you switch your RGBs between 5 different patterns for those who like their GPU illuminated. Full PR below.
As the world’s leading GAMING graphics card vendor, MSI is proud to announce a new line of graphics cards based on the award-winning GAMING X series. Loaded up with faster graphics memory, the new GAMING X+ series provide an additional boost to graphics performance for smooth gameplay. Built around NVIDIA’s GeForce® GTX 10 series GPUs, the MSI GeForce® GTX 1080 GAMING X+ 8G and GeForce® GTX 1060 GAMING X+ 6G use the full force of the TWIN FROZR VI cooler, allowing for higher core and memory clock speeds for increased performance in games. The well-known shapes of the stunning TWIN FROZR cooler are intensified by a fiery red GAMING glow piercing through the cover, while the MSI GAMING dragon RGB LED on the side can be set to any of 16.8 million colors to match your mood or build. A completely new custom PCB design using Military Class 4 components enables higher overclocking performance to push your graphics card to the max. The classy matte black solid metal backplate gives the card more structural strength and provides a nice finishing touch.
As MSI’s best thermal design to date, TWIN FROZR VI has raised the bar of Graphics Card air cooling. TORX Fan 2.0 is the enhanced version of the patented TORX Fan technology which generates 22% more air pressure for better cooling performance while further reducing noise levels. On the GeForce® GTX 1080 GAMING X+, the new fans are equipped with Double Ball Bearings to ensure lasting smooth and silent operation. Connected to the huge heatsink are 8mm copper heat pipes with a squared shape at the bottom for optimal heat transfer from the solid nickel-plated copper baseplate combined with Premium Thermal Compound X to keep the Pascal powerhouse cool.
MSI Gaming App
The MSI Gaming App allows gamers to quickly switch between OC, Gaming and Silent performance modes, depending on their needs. The latest version of MSI Gaming App features One-click to VR, which instantly optimizes your PC for the best Virtual Reality experience. It also includes host of premium features like EyeRest to improve image quality and Dragon Eye which allows you to watch a YouTube video or stream while gaming. Last but not least, the Gaming App features a LED control tab, allowing gamers to choose from 5 unique lighting modes to set the right ambience for their gaming sessions with just one click.
Prepare for VR with MSI
To fully enjoy the immersive worlds of Virtual Reality, high-performance hardware is required. MSI GeForce GTX 1060 and above graphics cards deliver perfect performance for a smooth VR experience. The MSI Gaming App now features a function to optimize the user’s PC for VR performance.
Subject: General Tech | April 21, 2017 - 07:30 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft
Now that Microsoft has pushed their third major version of Windows 10, the Creators Update, the company has decided to settle on a six-month rotation. This is similar to how the Ubuntu distribution of Linux pushes updates, although Windows 10 will be targeting September and March rather than Ubuntu’s October and April (and Ubuntu has a different long-term support model, as we’ll discuss below). More importantly, it’s designed to occur at the same time as Office 365 ProPlus updates, so IT departments can certify and roll out both at the same time.
The previous release cycle was a little… chaotic. The November Update occurred about three and a half months after the initial release, followed almost nine months later by the Anniversary Update. Seven months after that, the Creators Update landed, which brings us to today.
Each version will be supported for eighteen months.
Subject: General Tech | April 21, 2017 - 07:01 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Windows 3.11, webvr
One of the latest WebVR experiments puts an emulated Windows 3.11 terminal in a virtual space. In it, you can play Minesweeper, Solitaire, and generally mess around. Because it’s a WebVR demo, certain browser, OS, and VR headset combinations will also work, in case you wanted to feel like you were actually in front of a beige box.
If you’re using it without WebVR, then it will appear as a static 3D scene. Make sure you enable mouse pointer lock, because you will need to use the virtual mouse pointer, not your actual mouse pointer. It will ask you when it’s loaded and focused, but your browser will probably require you to click allow or something.
Subject: General Tech | April 21, 2017 - 02:49 AM | Scott Michaud
The Blender Foundation and volunteers have been quite busy, especially over the last few weeks. Two major changes that are prepared for Blender 2.79: near-parity between CUDA and OpenCL, and an implementation of the Disney PBR shader.
Aside: A physically-based (“PBR”) shader allows modeling a bunch of common materials, such as plastics, ceramics, metals, and so forth, using parameters that are independent of lighting. This means that you can reuse the same object and material in all of your scenes, and it will behave like we expect it would given the environment. For instance, PBR materials account for conservation of energy, so objects get shinier as they get smoother, but they also look darker off-axis because less light is being diffusely scattered.
While it was always possible to render in Cycles with a PBR workflow, you needed to create your own node setup, which typically consisted of about seven or eight elements connected in a specific way. When this new version lands, you will just need to connect the appropriate textures and colors to their corresponding pins in this node. The Disney-based Principled BSDF accounts for albedo (base color), subsurface scattering, metallic, specular, roughness, anisotropic reflections, sheen, clearcoat, index of refraction, and transparency.
Update (April 21st @ 5:35pm): Blah! I forgot to embed the chart. Here it is.
Image Credit: Blender Foundation
Now we get to “near-parity between CUDA and OpenCL”. According the Blender Foundation, OpenCL can support all features found on CUDA with the exception of correlated multi jitter. This is accompanied by a graph, embed above, showing the RX 480 beat the GTX 1060 in a variety of benchmark scenes. Unfortunately, at the same time, GPU-accelerated rendering in Cycles now requires GCN 2.0 and up, which is the AMD R9 290 and later. Blender will still work on older cards, like the R9 280 or, heck, probably even the Radeon HD 4890, but the final render will need to be done on the CPU.
Blender 2.79 doesn’t have a firm release date, but the code freeze schedule has it expected for some time in either May or June.
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 21, 2017 - 02:12 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, graphics drivers
During the lull in game releases, AMD has released a new graphics driver with official, WHQL-certified support for Windows 10 Creators Update. As we’ve discussed in the past, I tend to err on the side of, “If you do a decent job at internal QA and the user can choose to skip a version or three, then rapid release is probably better than sitting around for a Microsoft certificate”. I mean, why not push out fixes as they are available if there’s no obvious downsides?
Every so often, a WHQL version needs to be certified, though, if only to be accepted into Windows Update. Note that I don’t actually know whether this specific driver will be pushed by Microsoft after an update to the Creators Update – it’s just an example of a situation where WHQL matters.
That aside, the release notes for Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.3 do not state any specific fixes or changes. The main reason for this driver is to support the Creators Update for Windows 10, as well as add support for the new Radeon RX 570 and Radeon RX 580 graphics cards.
Subject: Editorial | April 20, 2017 - 11:25 AM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: video, Z270X, tinker board, t-mobile, RX 580, radeon, podcast, Open BenchTable, mini-itx, logitech, keyboard, gigabyte, G413, DAN Cases, asus, A4-SFX
PC Perspective Podcast #446 - 04/20/17
Join us for Radeon RX 580 review, Open Benchtable and DAN cases, Intel Rumors and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano
Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg
Program length: 1:38:24
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Subject: Systems | April 19, 2017 - 08:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: tinker board, iot, asus
The ASUS Tinker Board is a full system in a tiny form factor, similar to Raspberry Pi or Arduino's products to name a few competitors in the now busy market. At its heart is the Rockchip RK3288, four ARM Cortex-A17 CPU cores running at 1.8GHz with a Mali-T764 GPU at 600MHz. They are available now for slightly more than the announced $54.99 and will run a Debian based OS called ASUS TinkerOS.
Inside are an array of options for add-ins, including a 40-pin GPIO header, a 15-pin MIPI DSI and a15-pin MIPI CSI as well as a2-pin contact point for PWM or S/PDIF signals. Externally you will have four USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI and a 3.5mm audio jack to give you flexibility in how you utilize your Tinker Board. For connectivity there is a wired NIC as well as 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. You can read the full PR below.
Fremont, CA (April 19, 2017) -- ASUS, maker of the world’s best-selling, most award-winning motherboards, is excited to launch the ASUS Tinker Board in North America today. Imagine the freedom to make your ideas come alive, the ability to invent an IoT device for a connected home or just having fun creating an entertainment hub for the family or powering your DIY robot project at school. With Tinker Board, the possibilities to create personalized devices are endless. Tinker Board is a single-board computer (SBC), which makes it the ideal foundation for makers, hobbyists, educators, and electronic DIY enthusiasts to develop and build low-cost, great-performing computers.
Features & Functionality
ASUS Tinker Board offers class-leading performance, robust multimedia support, IoT connectivity, and enhanced DIY design and compatibility with a wide range of leading SBC chassis and accessories. The result is a near credit card sized computer that offers people the freedom to tinker and apply their ingenuity to create platforms for a wide variety of uses.
Key features of Tinker Board include:
- CPU: 1.8GHz Rockchip RK3288 SoC quad-core processor
- GPU: Mali-T764 GPU Video:
- HD/UHD video playback support – including H.264/H.265 decoding Audio: 192kHz/24-bit audio support
- Memory: 2GB of dual-channel LPDDR3
- Storage: Micro SD(TF) slot features SD 3.0 support
- Connectivity: Bluetooth° 4.0 + EDR and on-board 802.11b/g/n WiFi
- Networking: 1Gb Ethernet
- Ports: (4) USB2.0 ports, (1) HDMI 1.4 out port, (1) 3.5mm audio jack
- I/O Ports: (1) 40-pin GPIO interface header, (1) 15-pin MIPI DSI, (1) 15-pin MIPI CSI, (1) 2-pin contact point for PWM and S/PDIF signals
- Power: Suggested 5V/2A AC adaptor via the micro-USB port (power adaptor not included)
- OS: (Debian-based Linux) & Android Support
- Dimensions/Weight: 85.60mm x 56mm x 21mm, 45g without included heatsink