Making the XBox X-cessible for everyone

Subject: General Tech | May 17, 2018 - 02:48 PM |
Tagged: gaming, microsoft, xbox, accesibility, Adaptive Controller

The front of the Adaptive Controller looks rather plain and hides the ability this controller has to change some peoples worlds.  The back of the controller hides the magic, 19 3.5mm jacks, which can be used to accept input from a gamut of controller designed for those with limited mobility.  The devices include everything from breath inputs, finger switches and foot pedals, just to name a few, allowing those aids to be used to control the XBox and allow those who have been unable to play their favourite games a chance to enjoy them once again.  As Ars Technica points out, many companies have talked about making gaming more accessible but this is the first actual product to do so. 

If you now anyone who would benefit from this, or someone involved in projects like our occasional guest David Hewlett's UpgradeRequired.org you should check this out. 

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"Rather, these ports see Microsoft connecting with, and loudly celebrating, what has long been an open secret in the world of gaming peripherals: the community of add-on devices designed for limited-mobility gamers."

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Source: Ars Technica

Like X-COM meets Freelancer with bloody great space worms; Solar Warden

Subject: General Tech | May 16, 2018 - 03:23 PM |
Tagged: gaming, solar warden, Kickstarter

Solar Warden is a Kickstarter project running for six more days with a fairly low target of $40K US and it has a demo out which you can load up to try.  It is still very much a work in progress but gives you an idea of the overall scope of the game.  There are financial mechanics similar to X-COM in that you have to keep the various countries of the world happy so they will continue to finance your war against outer space Kinder eggs of the worst kind.  These falling rocks often contain some nasty silicon-based enemies seeking to devour the Earth while you seek to stop them, either through letting the AI handle your ships or by taking direct control of them for Freelancer style dogfights.  

You can check out the launch trailer at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN, install the demo to see if what you think or just head to Kickstarter to back it as I have.

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"The Solar Warden demo is still pretty early and unoptimised, and drops you right in at the deep end with little to no tutorial so brace yourself for a rough ride unless you’re a combined X-Com and X-Wing veteran."

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While we await Ryzen 5 Pro 2500U benchmarks, here's some Ryzen 5 2600 performance for you

Subject: Processors | May 16, 2018 - 02:46 PM |
Tagged: amd, ryzen 2, Ryzen 5 2600, Core i5-8400

There are no benchmarks of the new Ryzen Pro series to offer as of yet, so why not check out a few hundred benchmarks pitting the $190 Ryzen 5 2600 against the $180 Core i5-8400?  Techspot takes you on a tour of games, from ARK Survival Evolved through PUBG to Warhammer Total War to see what effect your choice of processor has when gaming on a GTX 1080 Ti.  When the dust settled there were two obvious choices for prospective buyers.  For those who want a simple solution, the i5-8400 makes sense as it will offer decent performance right out of the box, no fiddling required.  On the other hand, for those who are not completely boring, the Ryzen 5 2600, overclocked to 4.2GHz paired with DDR4-3400 is clearly better overall. 

Check out the performance of your favourite games in the full review and then scream about the unfairness of it all below.

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"For the past few weeks we've been busy benchmarking AMD's Ryzen 5 2600 and Intel's Core i5-8400. For testing we have 36 games on the menu, each tested at 720p, 1080p and 1440p using the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. That is, 324 individual tests, three times each... almost 1,000 benchmark runs, so grab a drink, some snacks and get comfortable."

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Source: TechSpot

Google versus the law of unintended consequences

Subject: General Tech | May 16, 2018 - 01:21 PM |
Tagged: google, alphabet, chrome, ads

Killing off autoplaying adverts in Chrome is a wonderful thing and has brought peace and quiet to many a browsing session, unless you are someone who likes to play games in your browser.  It seems some games are not functioning properly, even after being whitelisted and so in the new version Google will be rolling back that change to give devs time to change how their games work.  This likely means a fair amount of games are about to be abandoned as Google does not intend to change how their block works but are instead putting the onus on the devs to change the code on their free to play games.  The Inquirer links to the Chromium blog so you can get the news straight from the horse's mouth.

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"GOOGLE HAS been forced to roll back its new autoplay policy for web video in Chrome after it became apparent that it was borking legitimate content."

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Source: The Inquirer

Fear the Spectre but embrace the Wraith; AMD's 'free' Wraith Prism

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 15, 2018 - 02:17 PM |
Tagged: amd, ryzen 2, wraith prism, frag harder disco lights

The new Ryzen processors come with a Wraith fan of some description inside the package, that go far beyond bundled heatsinks we have seen previously.  The aesthetics are impressive, even without a controller your Wraith Spire fan will display a fluctuating rainbow of colours along with a lit AMD logo that waxes and wanes.  If you utilize software or have a motherboard with controllable lighting then you can make the Frag Harder Disco Lighting perform numerous tricks.  The performance beats any other bundled heatsink but might not provide enough cooling for extreme overclocking in a case with limited airflow.  You can see how it performs in [H]ard|OCP's full review.

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"AMD has very much upped its game with the latest generation of Ryzen processors. The Ryzen 2700X comes complete with a snazzy looking cooler that has served us well on our test bench, but what happens when you put it inside a hot case with a hot video card and put the screws to it in terms of GHz and wattage on our 4GHz Ryzen testing rig? "

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Two scoops of Ryzen, eat on the go or at your desk

Subject: General Tech, Processors | May 15, 2018 - 01:49 PM |
Tagged: ryzen pro, amd, APU, ryzen 7 pro 2700u, Ryzen 5 Pro 2500U, Ryzen 3 Pro 2300U, Ryzen 5 Pro 2400G, Ryzen 5 Pro 2400GE, Ryzen 3 Pro 2200G

AMD have extended both their processor lineup as well as their names, by sticking Pro into the already verbose Ryzen 2 series, and added another letter to pay attention to as well.   The 2xxxU series are mobile APUs which you won't see running around in the wild, the 2xxxG desktop series you certainly will, however there is also an E you need to pay attention to. 

The Ryzen 5 Pro 2400G is a 65W part which will offer four multi-threaded cores topping out at 3.9GHz, with 11 Vega CUs and ships with the Wraith Stealth cooler. The Ryzen 5 Pro 2400GE is almost as similar as the name but tops out at 3.8GHz, also has 11 Vega CUs and sports an impressive TDP of 35W, which may be part of the reason why it doesn't ship with a cooler. 

The series looks to offer a great choice for someone building a machine without a GPU installed, whether they intend to add one at a later time or not.  The naming conventions being used by Intel and AMD are getting far too easy to confuse already, without adding possible confusion within single product lines.  Let's hope this does not continue for too long.  The Inquirer lists all the models, mobile and desktop, on this page.

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"Alongside the usual specs, the chips all have the built-in security and onboard encryption features of the Ryzen Pro CPUs, designed to make them appeal for commercial and enterprise use."

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Source: The Inquirer

Meet the Intel Z390 chipset

Subject: Motherboards | May 14, 2018 - 05:56 PM |
Tagged: Intel, Z390, coffee lake

Intel published a paper giving an overview of the features to expect on motherboards using Z390 chipset.  Most of the features will be familiar so why not start with the fancy layout diagram?

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One of the features you might not consider, but perhaps should, is the combination of the quality of the onboard graphics chip on Coffee Lake with the outputs of a Z390 motherboard.  The motherboard can support up to three HDMI or DP outputs, which can provide 10bit colour, High Dynamic Range and Rec. 2020 at up to 4k resolutions.

Storage options are as you would expect, with Intel Rapid Storage Technology supported for both SATA and PCIe, with support for Optane if you so choose to use it.  Intel have updated their HD Audio in this generation and their Smart Sound Technology branding indicates the presence of a DAC on your motherboard. 

Networking is also worth a mention, with gigabit transfers available on the integrated NIC as well as through the Wireless-AC 9560 NIC, with integrated Bluetooth 5 support as well.  

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Yes, it will support overclocking unlocked processors.  The PR is below.

CREATE YOUR NEXT GREAT PERFORMANCE WITH THE 8TH GENERATION INTEL CORE PROCESSOR
The Intel Z390 chipset and 8th Generation Intel Core processors give you the edge you need to successfully defeat your rivals. Quickly upload and access your favorite streams and get the gaming boost you need with Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 and Intel Hyper-Threading Technology. With the Intel Z390 chipset and 8th Generation Intel Core processors, you can conquer your quests with confidence.

GREAT PERFORMANCE - UNLEASHED
Release your inner gaming beast with the Intel Z390 chipset and unlocked 8th Generation Intel Core processors. Unlock your core, graphics, and memory frequencies to new levels as you defeat your gaming foes. Gaming and productivity is redefined with the Intel Z390 chipset paired with new unlocked 8th Generation Intel Core processors. Crush your competition with 8th Generation Intel Core desktop processors and the Intel Z390 chipset.

FAST PC RESPONSIVENESS AT YOUR COMMAND
The Intel Z390 chipset and 8th Generation Intel Core processors enable support for Intel Optane memory which speeds up access to your favorite programs and files. With the fast application response times enabled by Intel Optane memory, you can quickly access your digital life. Experience immersive sound quality via Intel High Definition Audio and enable your PC to respond to your voice commands with Intel Smart Sound Technology.

UNLEASH YOUR NETWORK PERFORMANCE
Achieve Gigabit wireless connections with 1st generation integrated Intel Wireless-AC support. The Intel Z390 chipset integrates an Intel wireless 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5 solution allowing you to connect up to Gigabit Wi-Fi speeds with Intel Wireless-AC 9560. With no Ethernet cable required, your desktop will be ready for all current and future wireless use cases and has the flexibility to be located in more places within your home or office.

IMMERSIVE VISUALS WITH INTEL UHD GRAPHICS
Intel UHD Graphics on 8th Generation Intel Core processors provide eye-popping 4K UHD resolutions. Experience more immersive gaming with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Rec. 2020 (Wide Color Gamut) support. Playback your favorite videos with color precision via native true 10-bit graphics output. Watch the latest 4K UHD premium content on your PC from leading online providers. With up to three independent, DisplayPort* and/or HDMI* displays supported with the Intel Z390 chipset, you can immerse yourself into your gaming experience.

MASSIVE STORAGE CAPABILITIES
Expand your storage capabilities with the Intel Z390 chipset and 8th Generation Intel Core processors. Boost your media transfer speeds with the integrated USB 3.1 Gen 2 support of the Intel Z390 chipset. Create fast storage volumes and back-up your media and critical information via RAID support with Intel processor and chipset-connected PCI Express* SSDs. Expand your storage with up to 6 SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Enable blazingly fast data transfers to your favorite devices with PCI Express* 3.0.

Source: Intel

Go fly a kite? No thanks, I'd rather build a phone out of it!

Subject: General Tech | May 14, 2018 - 03:03 PM |
Tagged: KiteBoard, DIY, cellphone, snapdragon 450

Hackaday is showing off one of the entrants to their Hackaday Contest, a project which describes how to build your own Android powered smartphone based on a KiteBoard powered by a Snapdragon 450.  Inside you will find everything you would expect from a phone, from a cell radio and WiFi service through to an accelerometer and even a daughterboard which supports sending 1080p externally over HDMI.  There is even a Raspberry Pi compatible expansion board to allow you to control the phone, or use the phone to control other tech.  Check out the full project here.

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"Let’s get this out of the way first – this project isn’t meant to be a replacement for your regular smartphone. Although, at the very least, you can use it as one if you’d like to. But [Shree Kumar]’s Hackaday Prize 2018 entry, the Kite : Open Hardware Android Smartphone aims to be an Open platform for hackers and everyone else, enabling them to dig into the innards of a smartphone and use it as a base platform to build a variety of hardware."

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Source: Hackaday

What If Windows XP Released in 2018?

Subject: General Tech | May 12, 2018 - 05:13 PM |
Tagged: windows xp, windows 10, windows, microsoft

YouTube pushed this video onto my suggested list, and it was a minute and a half well spent. From what I understand, Kamer Kaan Avdan has a YouTube channel where he creates concept videos that look quite professional. This one takes the feel of Windows XP and grafts it to Microsoft’s current design and marketing process, with a few hilarious nods to the weird parts of our favorite candy-coated OS. The “Welcome” fade-in felt perfect to the point that I wasn’t sure if he was doing this as a joke, or as a legitimate suggestion for a Windows 10 theme pack.

Then I saw the search dog…

I’m not going to lie – I’d want that theme pack. (Edit, May 12th @ 6:50pm: Clarification -- I would want that theme pack, if it existed.) Of course, non-default themes in Windows tend to lead to serious bugs, like some programs failing to hide or correctly align elements in Basic or Classic themes on Windows 7, so it really would be asking for a world of hurt from a “bugs” side of things. But, you know, it looks cool. Check it out -- it's embed above.

Source: avdan

Precisely what are AMD's XFR 2 and Overdrive?

Subject: Processors | May 11, 2018 - 02:43 PM |
Tagged: amd, ryzen, xfr2, precision boost 2, Precision Boost Overdrive

Whether you have had a chance to play around with a new Ryzen processor or not, you might benefit from more information on what XFR2 and Precision Boost 2 are and what they are not.  [H]ard|OCP spent some time to write an article that dispels the rumours which have been spread, especially the fact that these are both unreleased at the moment.  Together they will provide support for Precision Boost Overdrive, which could be supported by Ryzen Zen+ CPUs on an X470 motherboard, at least in theory.  When enabled it will utilize the ability of the new Ryzen Master software to monitor your motherboards VRM usage and if it sees it is below it capacity it will relax the vCore limiter on your CPU allowing more juice to flow in which can be used to increase the frequency of your Zen + chip.  It will be interesting to see how effective this is, but for now all we can do is read about it.

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"We wanted to put together a quick overview about what Precision Boost 2 and XFR2 are NOT about. It seems that slides leaked, and faked, earlier in the 2nd generation Ryzen's development have clouded some people's understanding on what features are included, but more important which features are not."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Don't envy early NVMe adopters, turns out they are Windows 10's enemy

Subject: General Tech | May 11, 2018 - 02:07 PM |
Tagged: SM2260, ssd, pcie, NVMe, M.2 2280, M.2, Intel, 600p

Intel's 600p was on our review bench almost two years ago and offered a relatively inexpensive entry into NVMe drives.  It turns out that the Silicon Motion controller Intel used may have been a bit too proprietary as the Win10 April Update is not compatible with it.  According to The Register this is a known incompatibility caused by a fix to resolve previous issues with Samsung made NVMe SSDs.  They are working on a solution, with no release date announced as of yet.

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"The issue is an unspecified "known incompatibility" between the operating system and the SSDs, which were launched in 2016. Both the 600p and Pro 6000p SSDs share the same SM2260 chipset and feature a PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4 interface."

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Source: The Register

PCPer Mailbag #43 - Making Poor Decisions with Josh Walrath

Subject: Editorial | May 11, 2018 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: video, pcper mailbag, Josh Walrath

It's time for the PCPer Mailbag, our weekly show where Ryan and the team answer your questions about the tech industry, the latest and greatest GPUs, the process of running a tech review website, and more!

On today's show, Josh is here to take you on a journey you'll never forget:

01:07 - GTX 1180?
05:09 - RX Vega performance revisited?
07:42 - Speculative execution, Meltdown, and next-gen Intel CPUs?
10:23 - PCIe lanes and disabled slots for Ryzen APUs?
11:56 - Testing for GPU/CPU bottlenecks?
14:01 - What is AVX?
16:58 - RISC-V vs. ARM/x86?
20:52 - Will disk defrag shorten my hard drive life?

Want to have your question answered on a future Mailbag? Leave a comment on this post or in the YouTube comments for the latest video. Check out new Mailbag videos each Friday!

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel to make sure you never miss our weekly reviews and podcasts, and please consider supporting PC Perspective via Patreon to help us keep videos like our weekly mailbag coming!

Source: YouTube

CORSAIR Launches Obsidian 1000D Super-Tower PC Case

Subject: Cases and Cooling | May 10, 2018 - 07:48 PM |
Tagged: yuge, super tower, Obsidian 1000D, girth, corsair

If you ever saw the Thermaltake W100 Super Tower Chassis, you have an idea of just how large a Super Tower really is and if you like that one wait until you see Corsair's Obsidian 1000D.  It measures 307x693x697mm, aka 12.1 x 27.3 x 27.4", with enough interior space to handle a full E-ATX and Mini-ITX system simultaneously. 

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As you would expect, the cooling options are more than impressive, you can choose between using the 18 cooling fan mounts for air cooling, you could install up to four 480mm radiators or you could mix solutions if you prefer.  The radiator mounts slide out, offering a uniquely simple installation method.

Think again if you believe this a server case, the W100 ships with the CORSAIR Commander PRO digital RGB lighting and fan speed controller with iCue so you can start a rave party in it.  As this case can contain two systems it supports the installation of an SFX and an ATX PSU, so your Mini-ITX and ATX systems are separately powered. 

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Storage fans like Al will appreciate the 11 drive bays while Sebastian will appreciate the meticulous care put into the cable management.  The front panel sports a pair of USB 3.1 Type C ports and four USB 3.0 ports in amongst the tempered glass front fascia, with that see through feel carried out onto the side panel.  Check out more details at Corsair, as well as the full PR below or just drop the $500 to see it in person.

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FREMONT, CA, May 10th, 2018 - CORSAIR®, a world leader in PC gaming peripherals and enthusiast components, today announced the launch of its largest, most feature-rich PC case ever – the Obsidian Series 1000D. Building on the CORSAIR Concept Slate prototype that captured the imagination of PC enthusiasts, the Obsidian 1000D is the result of over two years of development and design to create the ultimate super-tower case. Clean exterior lines brushed aluminium details and four smoked tempered glass panels give the 1000D the iconic styling and superior build-quality enthusiasts have come to expect from the CORSAIR Obsidian Series.

Both a full E-ATX and Mini-ITX system can be installed simultaneously, cooled by 13 cooling fan mounts, powered by two PSUs (SFX and ATX) and equipped with 11 storage drives. Created to house the world’s most epic PC builds, the 1000D is the ultimate super-tower PC case.

The 1000D is designed to house the most powerful, ambitious and jaw-dropping PCs on the planet, contained in a unique triple-chamber, dual-system layout. The primary E-ATX system is mounted on a raised motherboard island, lined by convenient cable routing holes and backed by a huge French-door-style rear compartment to easily hide away 2.5in drives, cabling and accessories. The Mini-ITX system sits rotated above the ATX PSU mount, providing an optional fully-equipped system to run as a file server, streaming capture system, or second gaming PC for player two.

With two systems worth of hardware to handle, the 1000D boasts a huge array of cooling options. Eight 120mm fan mounts to the front, three 140mm fan mounts in the roof and two 120/140mm fan mounts to the rear have the headroom to mount even the thickest liquid cooling radiators with fans in push/pull configuration. Fitted using replaceable telescoping fan trays* that make installation easy, the 1000D can equip up to 18 cooling fans and four 480mm liquid cooling radiators – the most liquid-cooling friendly CORSAIR case ever.

To power the huge array of cooling hardware it can carry, the 1000D includes a CORSAIR Commander PRO digital RGB lighting and fan speed controller, granting users precision speed control of up to six PWM fans, and lighting control for up to six CORSAIR RGB fans or CORSAIR RGB LED strips. The 1000D itself also boasts integrated RGB lighting, built into its front panel and front logo, as either a starting-point for a stunning RGB build, or as a subtle accent to your system.

Whether you go all-out on lighting or are building a more reserved system, CORSAIR iCUE software brings everything together, combining RGB lighting control for all iCUE compatible products including fans, RGB LED light strips, keyboards, mice and more. iCUE also provides in-depth customizable fan RPM curves to silence fans, downloadable profiles and advanced system monitoring, all controlled with a single easy-to-use interface.

Look closer behind the monolithic design and epic capabilities, and you’ll find that the 1000D is loaded with extras to make building your system easy and ready for years of upgrades. The front panel offers dual USB 3.1 Type C ports, as well as four USB 3.0 ports, for multiple high-speed connections. Front, rear and roof removable dust filters ensure your system stays looking its best, while a rotatable GPU mount plate for the primary system lets you put your graphics card on show. When installing liquid cooling, you’ll find a wide variety of pump and reservoir mounting points, with an exhaustive array of screws and cable ties included to add the finishing touch to your system. Able to easily house today’s most ambitious systems, cool them with room to spare, finish them with fine attention to detail and light them with stunning, or subtle, RGB lighting, the 1000D is the ultimate super-tower case.

 

Source: Corsair

Podcast #499 - Onyx Boox, BitFenix, and more!

Subject: General Tech | May 10, 2018 - 04:35 PM |
Tagged: podcast, velocity micro, qualcomm, Portal, Onyx Boox, nvidia, Netflix, microsoft, linux, K63, Intel, hyperx, google, evga, corsair, coolermaster, ChromeOS, bitfenix, arm, amd, 4k, video

PC Perspective Podcast #499 - 05/10/18

Join us this week for discussion on Onyx Boox, a slick BitFenix case, 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: Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Ken Addison,

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:01:13

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. 0:47:40 Jeremy:Building a Ryzen on a budget eh?
    2. 0:50:10 Josh:I have issues.   We know
    3. 0:52:20 Allyn: System monitoring Gadgets. On Windows 10. Good ones.
  4. Closing/outro
 
Source:

Remember Rowhammer; it has a long enough memory to remember you

Subject: General Tech | May 10, 2018 - 02:05 PM |
Tagged: rowhammer, security, throwhammer

Rowhammer dates back to 2015, a vulnerability which is able to flip bits in DRAM and NAND.  An enterprising attacker could use it to target page table entries which would allow them to gain root access to Linux machines, but it was a local attack and could not be performed remotely ... until now.  Researchers have discovered a new way to exploit this vector using carefully crafted network packages to attack high end network cards which utilize remote direct memory access.  That feature is very handy, allowing the network card to move large amounts of data without taking CPU cycles but it is vulnerable to this new attack.  Drop by Ars Technica for all the depressing details about Throwhammer.

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"For the first time, researchers have exploited the Rowhammer memory-chip weakness using nothing more than network packets sent over a local area network. The advance is likely to further lower the bar for triggering bit flips that change critical pieces of data stored on vulnerable computers and servers."

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Source: Ars Technica

Atomic Heart's adorable murderbots

Subject: General Tech | May 9, 2018 - 04:44 PM |
Tagged: gaming, Mundfish, Atomic Heart

Russian based Mundfish released a teaser trailer of a very interesting looking first person shooter set in a rather strange area, a huge one if the map shown in the video is traversable.  The enemies are quite unique, but somehow seem whimsical even while they are trying to kill you.  There will also be a VR version called Soviet Luna Park VR which should arrive in the next few weeks to give you a look at the environment and residents, Atomic Heart does not yet have a release date.  Pop on over to Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN to see the trailer.

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"Set in an alternate earth, Atomic Heart puts you in the shoes of a government agent, sent in solo to investigate just what has gone wrong at a Soviet research facility. The answer, if the trailer below and System/Bioshock-standard cliche is anything to go by, is everything. Violence ensues."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Round up, Round up; X470 time has come!

Subject: Motherboards | May 9, 2018 - 02:41 PM |
Tagged: x470, amd, ryzen, Pinnacle Ridge

Techspot have revealed what their favourite X470 motherboards are and a brief overview of why they chose it over other available models, except for Micro-ATX seeing as how they are as rare as hen's teeth. The prices range fom $130 to $300 and do include Mini-ITX as there are several models available.  Take a look at their reasoning and follow up by reading fll reviews to see if the board is really for you.

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"There's already loads of great AMD X470 motherboards to choose from starting as low as $130. Asus, Asrock, MSI and Gigabyte have all done a great job with their boards and to be completely honest, for the most part you can't go wrong."

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Motherboards

Source: TechSpot

Google, Qualcomm Partner for Faster Android P Upgrade Adoption

Subject: Mobile | May 9, 2018 - 02:21 PM |
Tagged: snapdragon, sd636, sd 845, sd 660, qualcomm, android p

It's no secret that one of the easiest to point out critiques of Android is the lack of major software updates for the majority of handsets. While this has gotten slightly better over the years, new Android releases still take a substantial amount of time to roll out to existing phones, if they do at all.

However, with Android 8.0 (Oreo), Google began to address some of the core technical issues preventing phone manufacturers from quickly releasing software updates through an initiative they call Project Treble.

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Essentially, Project Treble decouples the Android Operating System from the proprietary software bits such as drivers needed to provide support for a given SoC. Instead, Android 8.0 and up moves the SoC support to a separate software layer, which a vendor like Qualcomm can universally implement for their SoCs and pass to a handset maker, instead of needing to be implemented into software updates for each specific model of phone.

Qualcomm announced earlier this week that they have been working with Google ahead of the Android P developer preview release to "pre-integrate" support for the next version of the operating system with Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered devices, specifically devices with Snapdragon 845, 660 and 636.

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We are already starting to see some of this work pay off, with an expanded list of devices that are already compatible with the Android P developer preview, as compared to previous Android betas.

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In addition to the standard Google development devices, the Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL, other various other phone makers are rolling out options to enroll in the Android P developer preview program, including:

  • Essential Phone (Snapdragon 835)
  • Nokia 7 Plus (Snapdragon 660)
  • Oppo R15 Pro (Snapdragon 660)
  • Sony Xperia XZ2 (Snapdragon 845)
  • Vivo X21 & X21UD (Snapdragon 660)
  • Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S (Snapdragon 845)

Despite Qualcomm's work with Google on Android P "pre-integration", the ball remains in the court of OEMs like Samsung, and carriers to push these updates through to consumers.

Source: Qualcomm

Cats and dogs living together, Linux on Chromium, mass hysteria ...

Subject: General Tech | May 9, 2018 - 01:42 PM |
Tagged: liunx, Chromebook, google, pixelbook

First we find out that Microsoft's best selling server is running on Linux and now you will be able to run Debian flavoured Linux apps such as Linux terminal, Git, Sublime, Vim and Android Studio on the Pixelbook.  This should help bridge the gap between Chromium and its far more popular and capable sibling, Android.  According to The Inquirer, Google expects this to be a seamless integration without requiring extra steps to launch the apps.  Perhaps one day we will see these two OSes start to combine as both Microsoft and Google seem to have noticed the unpopularity of skinny versions of their operating systems.

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"In the case of the Google Pixelbook, that means the arrival of Linux app capabilities in preview from today, with other Chromebooks expected to get a rollout soon, according to VentureBeat."

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Source: The Inquirer

NVIDIA GeForce GTX Cards Finally Return to Stock at MSRP

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 9, 2018 - 12:23 PM |
Tagged: video card, pricing, msrp, mining, GTX 1080, gtx 1070, gtx 1060, gtx, graphics, gpu, gaming, crypto

The wait for in-stock NVIDIA graphics cards without inflated price tags seems to be over. Yes, in the wake of months of crypto-fueled disappointment for gamers the much anticipated, long-awaited return of graphics cards at (gasp) MSRP prices is at hand. NVIDIA has now listed most of their GTX lineup as in-stock (with a limit of 2) at normal MSRPs, with the only exception being the GTX 1080 Ti (still out of stock). The lead time from NVIDIA is one week, but worth it for those interested in the lower prices and 'Founders Edition' coolers.

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Many other GTX 10 Series options are to be found online at near-MSRP pricing, though as before many of the aftermarket designs command a premium, with factory overclocks and proprietary cooler designs to help justify the added cost. Even Amazon - previously home to some of the most outrageous price-gouging from third-party sellers in months past - has cards at list pricing, which seems to solidify a return to GPU normalcy.

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The GTX 1080 inches closer to standard pricing once again on Amazon

Some of the current offers include:

MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1080 ARMOR 8G - $549.99 @ Amazon.com

EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 SC GAMING ACX 3.0 - $469.99 @ Amazon.com

EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 SC GAMING 6GB - $299.99 @ Newegg.com

GTX 1070 cards continue to have the highest premium outside of NVIDIA's store, with the lowest current pricing on Newegg or Amazon at $469.99. Still, the overall return to near-MSRP pricing around the web is good news for gamers who have been forced to play second (or third) fiddle to cryptomining "entrepreneurs" for several months now; a disturbing era in which pre-built gaming systems from Alienware and others actually presented a better value than DIY builds.

Source: NVIDIA