It's a good time to be slinging lithium

Subject: General Tech | September 27, 2016 - 12:24 PM |
Tagged: lithium ion, battery

The price of lithium ion batteries is likely to spike in the near future as demand is far outstripping production.  While we are using them in ultramobile laptops, there is another quickly growing industry which consumes these same cylindrical lithium polymer based batteries, the electric car industry.  The demand has grown enough that suppliers are about to demand a noticeable raise in prices and as there does not seem to be any production increase they are likely to get it.  This will result in a small increase in price in ultraportables and a larger one in electric cars.  There is a concern that DigiTimes did not raise in their post; that this level of imbalance in supply and demand can lead to knock-offs and lower quality suppliers being considered as a source simply to ensure that a product is available. 

That could be somewhat of a concern; these batteries often hold a larger charge and are usually found in greater numbers than the ones currently in the news.


"In addition to the 18650 cylinder battery, the lithium polymer battery, which is commonly used in ultra-thin notebook models, is also suffering from shortages as many vendors including Apple, Acer and Asustek Computer, have all scheduled to released new ultra-thin notebooks models in the near future."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

AMD A12-9800 Overclocked to 4.8 GHz

Subject: Processors | September 27, 2016 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: overclock, Bristol Ridge, amd

Update 9/27 @ 5:10pm: Added a link to Anandtech's discussion of Bristol Ridge. It was mentioned in the post, but I forgot to add the link itself when I transfered it to the site. The text is the same, though.

While Zen is nearing release, AMD has launched the AM4 platform with updated APUs. They will be based on an updated Excavator architecture, which we discussed during the Carrizo launch in mid-2015. Carrizo came about when AMD decided to focus heavily on the 15W and 35W power targets, giving the best possible experience for that huge market of laptops, in the tasks that those devices usually encounter, such as light gaming and media consumption.


Image Credit: NAMEGT via HWBot

Bristol Ridge, instead, focuses on the 35W and 65W thermal points. This will be targeted more at OEMs who want to release higher-performance products in the holiday time-frame, although consumers can purchase it directly, according to Anandtech, later in the year. I'm guessing it won't be pushed too heavily to DIY users, though, because they know that those users know Zen is coming.

It turns out that overclockers already have their hands on it, though, and it seems to take a fairly high frequency. NAMEGT, from South Korea, uploaded a CPU-Z screenshot to HWBot that shows the 28nm, quad-core part clocked at 4.8 GHz. The included images claim that this was achieved on air, using AMD's new stock “Wraith” cooler.

Source: HWBot

Microsoft Announces Windows Defender Application Guard

Subject: General Tech | September 27, 2016 - 02:41 AM |
Tagged: windows 10, virtualization, microsoft

Microsoft is currently hosting their Ignite conference, which is somewhat the successor of TechEd. Monday kicked off with a couple of keynotes, including one from Satya Nadella himself, but this post will focus on a specific announcement: Windows Defender Application Guard.

With a typical web browser, a malicious website can infect the user's PC by knowing an unpatched vulnerability, and exploiting it before they update their browser. The next feature release of Windows 10 is expected to include virtualization technology, again called Windows Defender Application Guard, which runs websites in a lightweight virtual machine if they are opened in Edge and not part of a whitelist. This means that the attacker, who wants to infect the user's device, not only needs to know of a vulnerability in Edge; they also need to know of a vulnerability in the virtual machine, and they must be able to use the Edge vulnerability to exploit it. Especially for enterprise environments, where ransom malware that encrypts any data it finds can be devastating, this should add a huge wall protecting a large, complex application platform (the web browser) from untrusted third-parties (websites).

Of course, this concept isn't new. Not only are virtual PCs are common in the enterprise for security and control reasons, but applications like SandboxIE have more directly implemented similar ideas. Still, having it be a built-in feature of the operating system should mean that it gets even more support with regards to performance and stability, versus tacking on a third-party solution through public APIs.

Speaking of public APIs -- Microsoft won't be providing one at first. It will only be used for Edge for the time being. Also, it's only available for Windows 10 Enterprise, so I hope you didn't get your hopes up.

Wow, that turned dark real quick.

Source: Ars Technica

A pair of cases from Zalman, the NEW Z9 and Z11

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 26, 2016 - 03:04 PM |
Tagged: zalman, Z9 Neo, Z11 Neo, neo

Zalman's Z9 and Z11 NEO are fairly similar, the Z9 is 205x490x482mm and the Z11 is slightly larger at 205x520x515mm which allows for more cooling options to be installed.  Using the default fan installation Overclockers Club saw slightly better CPU temperatures on the Z9, the GPU measured the same in both cases; adding fans to the Z11 will obviously help it take the lead.  Drop by to see their full review of both cases, including video.


"Reviewing both cases at the same time makes it interesting. You get to directly compare them with each other. Both of these cases are similar in size, and the feature sets are also fairly close. Neither case stood out much from the other - I like the style of the Z11 a little more, but the Z9 comes with a better compliment of fans. The use of space is also similar in both cases, although the I like the cable management a little better on the Z9 with the lower compartment that hides the power supply - but then you are covering up a power supply you may want to show off. And the Z11 has the cool, removable hard drive cages."

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


The AS330 Panther 960GB SSD is branded Apacer but what matters is what is inside

Subject: Storage | September 26, 2016 - 01:42 PM |
Tagged: tlc, Phison PS3110-S10, AS330 Panther, apacer, 960GB SSD

Almost everyone seems to be making SATA SSDs these days, the market is much more crowded that at this time last year which can make your purchasing decisions more complicated.  If you cannot afford the new M.2 and PCIe SSDs but are instead looking for a SATA SSD then your choices are varied and you cannot necessarily depend on price when you make your decision.

The internals are what really determines the value you are getting from an SSD, in this case the AS330 uses the four channel Phison PS3110-S10 controller, 15nm Toshiba TLC NAND and has a 512MB DDR3L-1600 cache.  This puts it in the same class as many other value priced SSDs from companies like PNY and Kingston.  Hardware Canucks' testing proves this to be true, the drive is a bit slower than the OCZ Trion 150 but is solidly in the middle of the pack of comparable SSDs.  The price you can find the drive will be the deciding factor, the 960GB model should sell around $200, the 480GB model is currently $120 on Newegg.


"Apacer's AS330 Panther SSD is inexpensive, offers good performance and has capacity to burn. But can this drive roar or will a lack of brand recognition cause it to purr out to obscurity? "

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:


The toasters are revolting!

Subject: General Tech | September 26, 2016 - 01:01 PM |
Tagged: iot, security, upnp

Over the weekend you might have noticed some issues on your favourite interwebs as there was a rather impressively sized DDOS attack going on.  The attack was a mix of old and new techniques; they leveraged the uPNP protocol which has always been a favourite vector but the equipment hijacked were IoT appliances.  The processing power available in toasters, DVRs and even webcams is now sufficient to be utilized and is generally a damned sight easier to control than even an old unpatched XP machine.  This does not spell the end of the world which will likely be predicted on the cable news networks but does further illustrate the danger in companies producing inherently insecure IoT devices.  If you are not sure what uPNP is, or are aware but do not currently need it, consider disabling it on your router or think about setting up something along the lines of ye olde three router solution

Hack a Day has links to a bit more information on what happened here.


"Brace yourselves. The rest of the media is going to be calling this an “IoT DDOS” and the hype will spin out of control. Hype aside, the facts on the ground make it look like an extremely large distributed denial-of-service attack (DDOS) was just carried out using mostly household appliances (145,607 of them!) rather than grandma’s old Win XP system running on Pentiums."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Hack a Day

In Win Launches E-ATX Compatible 509 Full Tower

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 25, 2016 - 10:31 PM |
Tagged: In Win 509, in win, full tower, E-ATX Case

In Win recently took the wraps off of a high end mid full tower case called the 509. The new full tower is constructed from SECC steel and uses edge-to-edge tempered glass on the front and side panels. It measures 527mm x 235mm x 578mm (HxWxD) (which is approximately 20.78” x 9.25” x 22.75”) and comes in black with either dark gray or ROG-certified red accents. The case is available now at various retailers (such as Newegg) for a cool $184.99 plus shipping.

In Win 509 Full Tower ATX PC Case.jpg

On the outside, the In Win 509 sticks to the basics with simple lines. There are vents along the edges of the front panel and hexagonal honeycomb vents on the right side panel for ventilation in addition to vents along the bottom and rear panels. There are no top exhaust vents on this case which helps maintain the clean look. The left side panel is an edge-to-edge piece of tinted tempered glass that can be removed with four thumb screws. A magnetic system might have been a better looking choice but the screws are likely more secure and help against vibration noise.

Further, the front panel hosts a single right-aligned 5.25” bay, the front I/O (four USB 3.0 and two audio), and a large tempered glass panel. There is an LED-lit In Win logo that can be seen through the glass panel. The LED will light up red by default but if you have an RGB LED controller or RGB LED header on your motherboard you can customize the color.

Cooling is a bit less traditional on the In Win 509 and interestingly there are no included fans with the case. Users can install fans in the following positions:

  • 3 x 120mm in the front
  • 1 x 140mm on the rear panel
  • 2 x 140mm or 3 x 120mm on the bottom (including the PSU fan).

There is a large removable filter in the bottom (much to Ryan’s dismay), and users can alternatively install 360mm water cooling radiators in the side, front, or middle of the case depending on whether or not they need all the drive cages installed.

Internally, the In Win 509 supports bottom mounted power supplies with grommeted cable routing holes, E-ATX motherboards, CPU towers up to 188mm high, and graphics cards up to 370mm in length. The case offers eight PCI slots and brackets to help secure large and heavy GPUs. On the storage front, the case supports five 3.5” drives (three on bottom and two on top) as well as four 2.5” vertical bays that users can choose to install either SSDs or 120mm fans.

In WIn 509 Full Tower ATX Case.jpg

In all it looks like a well-built case and seems to be backed up by reviews. According to Bit-Tech, the In Win 509 is easy to work in and has excellent water cooling support; however, the lack of fans does hurt its out of the box cooling performance. It is available now with a three year warranty.

Source: In Win

You can't keep an X99 down, the Gigabyte X99 Phoenix SLI rises

Subject: Motherboards | September 23, 2016 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, Intel X99, Phoenix SLI

The Gigabyte X99 Phoenix SLI certainly sports some unique colours though the design of the board is similar to other G1 Gaming boards.  It sports a rare U.2 port and an M.2 port which [H]ard|OCP describes as being specifically for a wireless NIC.  There are four PCIe 16x 3.0 slots and thanks to the X99 chipset it can run all four at 8x speeds simultaneously.  Along with a variety of other features the board including USB 3.1 is the Ambient Surround LED feature, which is exactly what it sounds like.  Pop over and take a peek.


"GIGABYTE’s X99 Phoenix SLI is another entry into the G1 Gaming lineup. While there is little to nothing that’s truly unique about the feature set, the combination of features and unique aesthetics are hard to argue with. The X99 Phoenix SLI offers good features and stellar looks at a reasonable price point."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:


Source: [H]ard|OCP

Can't WiFi and LTE-U just get along?

Subject: General Tech | September 23, 2016 - 01:21 PM |
Tagged: wifi, lte-u, qualcomm

LTE-U, aka LTE in unlicensed spectrum, is a new standard originally proposed by Qualcomm which allows LTE signals to stray into the 5GHz band to allow faster data transfer over short throws without having to join your phone to a WiFi network.  It seems that the assumption is that users are to lazy or ignorant to have added their commonly used WiFi networks to their phones and so need this feature for convenience. 

There is the small problem of signal interference however, dual band WiFi uses the 5GHz spectrum and we are already seeing congestion on that band.  T-Mobile and Verizon claim that this extra traffic will not have any effect on WiFi signals and are already complaining about the thresholds they must honour, while Qualcomm seems to be trying to remain reasonable.  Tests are currently under way, under the monitoring of the WiFi Alliance, who have posted a technical paper describing what will be tested and how.  You can pop by The Register if you want to delve into the nuts and bolts of the current proposal.


"Carriers, already under a spectrum squeeze, are hoping they can pitch their tents on Wi-Fi's campground, promising that LTE-U won't disrupt Wi-Fi. will play nice if there are Wi-Fi users around."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

MSI's GT62VR 6RE Dominator Pro 4K; a gaming laptop almost as impressive as its name

Subject: Mobile | September 22, 2016 - 01:32 PM |
Tagged: msi, GT62VR 6RE Dominator Pro 4K, gaming laptop, VR, GTX 1070M

At 15.6" the IPS screen on the MSI GT62VR 6RE Dominator Pro 4K is just big enough for a 4k resolution to make sense.  The mobile variant of the GTX 1070 inside the laptop is powerful, with 128 more cores than the desktop model and slightly lower clocks but it will strain powering some games at 4k.  The rest of the components are equally decent, an i7-6820HK, 32GB of DDR4 and a 512GB PCIE GEN3 NVMe SSD for your OS and software backed up by a 1TB HDD for storage.  Kitguru mentions in their review that they have seen this laptop running an HTC Vive so VR support is a given.  Drop by to see how the laptop did in their benchmarks and power testing.


"MSI GT62VR 6RE Dominator Pro 4K has an absurdly long model name that gives us a fair amount of information about this impressive gaming laptop. The GT part tells us this is a chunky chassis that can dissipate a fair amount of heat, VR shows support for your Oculus Rift or HTC Vive and 4K is, obviously, the number of pixels in the screen."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

More Mobile Articles

Source: Kitguru

Lenovo's Signature Edition; hold the Superfish, heavy on the RAID

Subject: General Tech | September 22, 2016 - 12:39 PM |
Tagged: Intel, Lenovo, linux, signature edition, microsoft

Yesterday we saw the first stories appear about how the malware free Lenovo Signature Editions of mobile devices such as the Yoga 900S and Yoga 710S blocked the installation of Linux and effigies of Microsoft and Lenovo were set afire.  As is common on the interwebs, the true villain was not implicated until the excitable crowd ran off with their pitchforks and torches and let the rest of us research the issue and track it back to Intel.

The issue is that the Intel soft RAID present on these machines is not really compatible with Linux, quite a common issue unfortunately.  Lenovo is not innocent in this however as thee have greatly exacerbated the issue by making it difficult to change your SATA from RAID to AHCI in the BIOS in Windows and impossible in a live boot of Linux.  In order to change your SATA settings Lenovo has decided to let you relive the days of Windows XP, when you had to bash on F6 during the initial installation of Windows to let it know you had a special disk with drivers on it to enable AHCI or RAID mode.  Even better, apparently you have to get in touch with Lenovo to get these drivers and they only work in Windows, of course.

So thanks to the lousy Linux support offered by Intel's soft RAID implementation you cannot install Linux on Signature Editions of some Yoga machines and if you have a need to set your SATA to AHCI, say because of Endpoint Encryption, you need to go through a process that went out with that OS Microsoft wants people to stop using.  If you want to track back the reddit thread and the research that was done to determine the culprit, The Register has compiled a good reference.


"A Reddit thread this morning accuses Microsoft and Lenovo of conspiring to prevent the installation of non-Windows operating systems on the Chinese goliath's PCs at the firmware level. Linux fans vented on the message board about the difficulties of installing open-source distributions on certain Lenovo machines."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Podcast #418 - Air cooler roundup, Samsung 960 EVO and Pro announced and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 22, 2016 - 11:25 AM |
Tagged: video, Samsung, rivet, podcast, nvidia, msi, killer network, fatal1ty, evga, cooler, amd, 960 PRO, 960 EVO

PC Perspective Podcast #418 - 09/22/16

Join us this week as we discuss an air cooler roundup, Samsung 960 EVO and Pro announcement and more!

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

The URL for the podcast is: - Share with your friends!

Hosts:  Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Sebastian Peak and Ken Addison

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 372.90 Drivers

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 21, 2016 - 05:54 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers

With Forza Horizon 3 coming out for Ultimate Edition SKU users in a little over a day, NVIDIA has released their new Game Ready drivers. GeForce 372.90 drivers roll in all of NVIDIA's fixes for the game that have been discovered during its development.


Thankfully, unlike the slippage that I've witnessed from them recently in this regard, the release notes for 372.90 are quite verbose (PDF). For instance, and this probably affects a few of our readers, NVIDIA has finally fixed the issue with HTC Vive over DisplayPort. Their description sounds like it wasn't failing to connect, as users believed, but rather it was just failing to light up the display. Of course, from a user's standpoint, a black screen is a black screen, but it's interesting to see what honest admissions of what exactly any given error was.

So, TL;DR: HTC Vive users should be able to use it over DisplayPort with Pascal again.

Also, they announced that the driver contains security updates. They don't elaborate on what specifically was fixed, especially since it will take a while for users to update, but it sounds like NVIDIA was in bug-fixing mode with this driver, which I appreciate.

You can get GeForce 372.90 from GeForce Experience and their website.

Source: NVIDIA

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.9.2

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 21, 2016 - 05:39 PM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, graphics drivers, crimson

Continuing with AMD's attempts, especially since the start of the Crimson Edition line, to release a driver alongside big game releases, the graphics vendor has published Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.9.2. This one aligns with the Ultimate Edition SKU of Forza Horizon 3 from Microsoft Studios, which unlocks in a little over a day. Standard and Deluxe Edition users will need to wait until Tuesday, the 27th. As always, it rolls in all of the tweaks and fixes that AMD has found prior to the game's general release.


Also, AMD has fixed several issues, according to their pleasantly verbose release notes. Crimson Edition 16.9.2 should resolve crashes that occur in Multi-GPU mode with Ashes of the Singularity in DirectX 12. It should also fix things like mouse pointer corruption on RX 400 series graphics.

You can pick it up from AMD's website, for Windows 7, 8.1, and 10, both 32- and 64-bit versions.

Source: AMD

ASUS ROG Announces the Strix GL702VM

Subject: Mobile | September 21, 2016 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: VR, Strix GL702VM, ROG, gaming laptop, g-sync, asus

It does not yet show up on the ASUS page (there it is) but those looking for a gaming laptop with both G-SYNC and proper support for VR headsets can consider the ASUS ROG Strix GL702VM.  The 17.3" screen is 1080p with full G-SYNC support, though there is no mention of the maximum refresh rate.  Your keyboard will not click but the 30-key rollover should be good for everyone who is not a feline seeking warmth.  It sports a single USB 3.1 Thunderbolt Type-C port, along with three USB 3.0 ports as well as HDMI and DisplayPort out which ensures your VR headset will work with the laptop.  Check out the full PR just below.


Fremont, CA (September 19, 2016) -- ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced the immediate availability of the ROG Strix GL702VM VR Ready gaming laptop, featuring an NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU, Intel core i7 CPU, and a Full HD G-SYNC display for smooth and stutter free gaming. The GL702VM also packs next gen connectivity with a USB 3.1 Thunderbolt Type-C port, capable of lightning fast data transfer speeds and Ultra HD display output.

Portable and powerful gaming
The ROG Strix GL702VM delivers powerful performance in a light and portable package capable of fitting snuggly in messenger bags or backpacks. The GL702VM employs a 6th generation Intel Core i7 CPU, a NVIDIA GTX 1060 GPU with 6GB GDDR5, 16GB of high-performance DDR4 RAM, and a vibrant 17.3” Full HD display. The anti-glare matte display features G-SYNC technology to create beautifully smooth gaming experiences, eliminating tearing, and reducing stutter and lag.

The GL702VM uses a specially engineered triple fan cooling system. The cooling system features independent heatsinks, heatpipes, and fans for the CPU and GPU, while a third fan is positioned to provide additional cooling to the GPU during lengthy gaming sessions to prevent performance throttling due to heat and maximize framerates.

Built for gamers, featuring the latest technologies
The ROG Strix GL702VM features an anti-ghosting tactile gaming keyboard with 1.6mm of travel distance and up to 30-key rollover protection, ensuring each keystroke is accurately recorded. The keyboard features highlighted WASD keys and neon orange accents throughout, complimented by an aluminum lid with a hairline texture finish.

The G702VM is also outfitted with a USI 3.1 Thunderbolt Type-C port, for single-cable data and signal transmission rates of up to 40Gbps, while also capable of serving as a display output, or for future performance upgrades through external GPU enclosures, such as the upcoming ASUS XG Station II.

ROG Gaming Center
The ROG Gaming Center is available on all ROG gaming notebooks and is a portal to ROG utilities, apps, and tools. System monitoring, overclocking settings, setting macro keys, display and audio tuning, lighting effects, network optimization, and more are available via the ROG Gaming Center software.


Source: ASUS

Fall in! Battlefield 1 specs released

Subject: General Tech | September 21, 2016 - 01:45 PM |
Tagged: gaming, battlefield 1, frostbite

If you want to join in the fight in Battlefield 1 we now have the minimum specs needed to run the newest version of the Frostbite Engine.  AMD users are looking at a minimum of a FX-6350 and HD 7850, Intel powered systems an i5-6600K and NVIDIA fans will want at least a GTX660.  You will need 50GB of drive space free and the game would like at least 8GB of RAM available for it.  To really get the best out of the game, you need to up that to an RX 480 or GTX 1060 and either a FX 8350 or i7-4790, with 16GB of RAM free.  It will be interesting to see how much VRAM this game will take advantage of.  Props to Guru 3D for getting this up first.

32bit systems need not apply.


"The Battlefield website now offers the official system requirements for Battlefield 1. These come along with a couple of videos highlighting the HUD-less interface in the upcoming World War I shooter. "

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:


Source: Guru of 3D

To read this story just post your first pet's name and the first address you remember living at in the comments

Subject: General Tech | September 21, 2016 - 01:11 PM |
Tagged: security, idiots

David Hannum underestimated humanity greatly when he claimed a sucker was born every minute, we are now up to one every 15 seconds and accelerating.  Online scammers continue doing what they are doing because it works, even those who should know better regularly share personal details online which make scammers lives much easier.  It is not just those suspicious phone calls, texts or websites; many people's social media feeds are a cornucopia of personal information which allow scammers to profit off of your money.  The problem is only getting worse, in the UK The Register reports that losses in 2015 were £755m, 26% more than 2014.  A quick search reveals that the trend applies to the US as well

You've heard it before and will hear it again, take a second to ask yourself if you really should be sharing what you are about to post before you send it.


"Between January and June 2016 there were 1,007,094 fraud cases in the UK compared to 660,308 in the first six months of 2015. Each case represents a card or account attacked, not an individual person."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

*Updated* Samsung 960 PRO and 960 EVO Announced - Details and Specifications Inside

Subject: Storage | September 21, 2016 - 12:00 AM |
Tagged: ssd, Samsung, pcie, NVMe, M.2, 960 PRO, 960 EVO

I'm currently running around at the various briefings and events here at Samsung's Global SSD Summit, but we did get some details on the 960 PRO and EVO that I've set to go live at the NDA time of 1 PM Seoul time.

960 Set_B.JPG

Here is a distilled version of the specs, capacities, and prices of the 960 PRO and EVO:

960 PRO

  • 512GB, 1TB, 2TB capacities
  • Sequential: 3.5 GB/s reads / 2.1 GB/s writes
  • 4K random (IOPS): 440,000 read / 360,000 write
  • Dynamic Thermal Guard (new version of their overtemperature protection - details below)
  • 5 year warranty, endurace peaks at 1.2PBW for the 2TB model
  • 512GB model = $329.99 ($0.64/GB)

960 EVO

  • 250GB, 500GB, 1TB capacities
  • Sequential: 3.2 GB/s reads / 1.9 GB/s writes (write speed is for TurboWrite SLC cache)
  • 4K random (IOPS): 380,000 read / 360,000 write
  • Dynamic Thermal Guard
  • 3 year warranty, endurance up to 400TBW for the 1TB model
  • 250GB = $129.99 ($0.52/GB)

I would certainly like to see Samsung push the 960 EVO capacities upwards of 4TB, and with competing M.2 NVMe products shipping at a lower cost, those prices use some tweaking as well.

More information and pics to follow later today (tonight for you USA folks)!

**UPDATE** - since everyone is in bed and hasn't read any of this yet, I'm just going to add the information from the presentation here.

First, some of you may be wondering about the inverted capacity difference between the PRO and EVO. Historically, Samsung has shipped their EVO line in higher capacities than the PRO line. The 850 EVO currently ships in capacities up to 4TB, while the 850 PRO remains limited to 2TB. If you look closely at the photos above, you'll note that there are four flash packages on the PRO, while there are only two on the EVO. The cause for this difference is that the DRAM package (visible on the EVO) is integrated within the controller package on the PRO model. This is similar to what Samsung has done with their PM971-NVMe SSD, which has not only the controller and DRAM, but the flash itself all stacked within a *single* package. Samsung calls this package-on-package (PoP):



During the Q&A, Samsung's Unsoo Kim indicated that future 960 EVO's may also shift to the PoP design in order to shift to 4 packages, and therefore double (or quadruple) the capacity on that line in the future.

Samsung also tackled thermal throttling head-on with what they call Dynamic Thermal Guard. This is a combination of a few things. First is the reduced power consumption - the new controller draws ~10% less power despite moving to a 5-core design (up from a 3-core on the 950 PRO). Second, and perhaps more interesting, is a new heat spreading label:


This new label contains a copper layer that helps spread heat across more of the surface area of the M.2 part. Samsung gets bonus points for outside the box thinking there. The combination of the reduced power draw and the heat spreader help to make thermal throttling even more impossible under typical use:


While the above chart was for reads (writes produce more heat), that's still a very good improvement, and being able to move potentially the full drive capacity before throttling is pretty good, especially considering the new models are moving data at a much faster speed. About those faster speeds, here are some increased details on the per-capacity specs:

960 PRO





960 EVO





Take the 960 EVO write specs with a grain of salt - those are assuming writes are going into the SLC cache area but never fear because TurboWrite is getting a boost as well:


This new 'Intelligent TurboWrite' increases the SLC cache area significantly over that of the 850 EVO we are all used to, with up to a 42GB area on the 1TB model! This should make it easier to swallow those boastful write performance claims, as there's a really good chance that all writes any typical user applies to the new EVO will go straight into that new larger cache. 

Apologies for the odd cutoffs on these pictures. They were corrected for parallax prior to posting. I also couldn't do anything about the presenter being in the way of the data :). I've requested slides from Samsung and will replace these here if/when they are provided.

Last but not least was a newly announced '2.0' version of the Samsung proprietary NVMe driver, which should help enable these increased speeds, as the Windows InBox driver is certainly not optimized to handle them. With the driver comes a new ground-up redesign of Samsung's Magician software, which added support for file-specific secure erasure and a special 'Magic Vault' secure encrypted area of the SSD that can be invisible to the host OS when locked.

This appears to be the bulk of what is to be announced at the Summit, so for now, I leave you with the endurance ratings and (MSRP) pricing for all capacities / models:



Full press blast after the break.

Mozilla Launches Firefox 49

Subject: General Tech | September 20, 2016 - 04:51 PM |
Tagged: mozilla, firefox

While it was originally scheduled for last week, some last-minute issues preventing the software non-profit organization from releasing it until today. Also, for some reason, Firefox for Android doesn't want to update from within itself, but triggering an update from the Google Play store works. This might be temporary and/or happens with every Firefox for Android update; I'm new to this platform.


This version is expected to expand their multi-process support, which separates UI updates from site updates. Typically, Firefox disables the feature with add-ons, because they are given the tools to make decoupling these two spaces... glitchy. Under typical situations, JavaScript and other tasks that run in the page shouldn't affect the browser's interface. You can see how this could be a problem if, for instance, an add-on loops between tasks on both at the same time. As such, Mozilla is pulling access to a few APIs when multi-process is enabled.

With Firefox 49, VentureBeat is reporting that Mozilla is allowing a “small initial set of compatible add-ons” to be enabled alongside multi-process. If you don't have any non-compatible add-ons installed, then you should see Multiprocess Windows enabled in about:support. Otherwise, it will be disabled and you won't see any difference.

Interestingly, Mozilla is promoting "Refresh Firefox" at their site if you have the latest version. This basically cleans all the add-ons out of your user profile, but maintains browsing history, bookmarks, and the like. It might have been around for a while, but, if it's new, it times nicely with the multi-process rollout. On top of cleaning out old, crufty add-ons, a user should see a bigger jump when Mozilla's enhancements are (I'm guessing) enabled.

Mozilla has also changed a few things here and there, too. While many of our readers will probably have hardware acceleration for video, they have just added in SSSE3 enhancements if GPU support isn't available. I'm not sure all of the use cases for this, but I'd expect it would help in virtualized environments and certain, older PCs (ex: Intel Atom and Via Nano). I'm just speculating, though.

Source: Mozilla

NVIDIA Bundles Gears of War 4 with GTX 1080 & GTX 1070

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 20, 2016 - 03:58 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, xbox, xbox one, pc gaming, nvidia, GTX 1080, gtx 1070

NVIDIA has just announced that specially marked, 10-series GPUs will be eligible for a Gears of War 4 download code. This bundle applies to GeForce GTX 1080 and GeForce GTX 1070 desktop GPUs, as well as laptops which integrate either of those two GPUs. As always, if you plan on purchasing a GPU due to this bundle, make sure that the product page for your retailer mentions the bundle.


Also, through the Xbox Play Anywhere initiative, NVIDIA claims that this code can be used to play the game on Xbox One as well. Xbox Play Anywhere allows users to purchase a game on either of Microsoft's software stores, Xbox Store or Windows Store, and it will automatically count as a purchase for the cross-platform equivalent. It also has implications for cloud saves, but that's a story for another day.

The bundle begins today, September 20th. Gears of War 4 launches on October 11th.

Source: NVIDIA