Happy 2019, year of the UEFI infections

Subject: General Tech | January 2, 2019 - 02:54 PM |
Tagged: uefi, lojack, security, LoJax

Welcome to a new year and a new vulnerability which has the potential to ruin your day, even if you wipe your computer and start afresh.  Researchers have spotted a rootkit which installs itself in your motherboards UEFI using technology adopted from LoJack, which is properly used to access a stolen computer without the person who currently has it knowing about it. 

LoJax lives on your motherboard's SPI flash memory and the code silently executes on boot so it is hard to figure out if you have been infected at a glance.  If you are then the only way to remove it is to flash a BIOS which overwrites that specific area of flash ... or toss the motherboard out.  You can read a lot more about this over at Slashdot.

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"Researchers hunting cyber-espionage group Sednit (an APT also known as Sofacy, Fancy Bear and APT28) say they have discovered the first-ever instance of a rootkit targeting the Windows Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) in successful attacks."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: Slashdot

NVIDIA OC Scanner Now Supports Pascal GPUs

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 2, 2019 - 12:34 PM |
Tagged: pascal, overclocking, OC Scanner, nvidia, GTX 1080, gtx 1070, gtx 1060, geforce

GPU overclocking utility MSI Afterburner now supports automatic Pascal overclocking, bringing this feature to the GTX 10-series for the first time. NVIDIA had previously offered the OC Scanner only for the Turing-based RTX graphics cards (we compared OC Scanner vs. manual results using a previous version in our MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio review), but a new version of the API is incorporated in Afterburner v4.6.0 beta 10.

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"If you purchased a GeForce GTX 1050, 1060, 1070, 1080, Titan X, Tian Xp, Titan V (Volta) or AMD Radeon RX 5x0 and Vega graphics card we can recommend you to at least try out this latest release. We have written a GeForce GTX 1070 and 1080 overclocking guide right here. This is the new public final release of MSI AfterBurner. Over the past few weeks we have made a tremendous effort to get a lot of features enabled for this build."

The release notes are massive for this latest version, and you can view them in full after the break.

Source: WCCFtech

NVIDIA RTX 2060 Details Leaked

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 1, 2019 - 12:41 AM |
Tagged: turing, tu106, RTX 2060, nvidia, gaming

Videocardz recently released information on the NVIDIA RTX 2060 that sheds more light on the rumored card. Reportedly sourced from a copy of the official reviewer's guide, Videocardz claims that they are now able to confirm the specifications of the RTX 2060 including 1920 CUDA cores, 240 tensor cores, 30 ray tracing cores, and 6GB GDDR6 memory.

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Graphics cards using the TU106-300 GPU will be available in stock and factory overclocked designs with the NVIDIA reference or AIB custom coolers. Display outputs include DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort

  RTX 2060 RTX 2070 GTX 1070 Ti  RX Vega 64 RX Vega 56
GPU TU106-300 TU106-400 GP104 Vega 10 Vega 10
CUDA cores 1920 2304 2432 4096 SPs 3584 SPs
RT cores 30 36 na na na
Tensor cores 240 288      
TMUs 120 144 152 256 224
ROPs 48 64 64 64 64
Memory 6GB GDDR6 8GB GDDR6 8GB GDDR5 8GB HBM2 8GB HBM2
SP Compute 6.5 TF 7.5 TF 7.8 TF 12.5 TF (13.7 AIO) 10.5 TF
Base clock 1365 1410 1607 1200 (1406 AIO) 1156
Boost clock 1680 1710 (FE) 1683 1546 (1677 AIO) 1471
Memory clock 14000 MHz 14000 MHz 8000 MHz 1890 MHz 1600 MHz
TDP 160W

185W (FE)

180W 295W 210W
Launch MSRP $349 $499 (599 FE) $449 $499 $399
Pricing 1-1-19 ? $500+ $405+ $400+ ($500+ AIO) $470+(?)

Allegedly, the RTX 2060 will offer up performance that is comparable to last generation's GTX 1070 Ti in 1080p and 1440p gaming scenarios. In a couple games the card even gets close to the GTX 1080 but in most of the titles listed by Videocardz (from the alleged reviewer's guide) the new GPU comes in slightly faster ot slightly slower than the 1070 Ti depending on the specific game. The RTX 2060 and its 30 RT cores can reportedly pull off playable 65 FPS Battlefield V even with RTX enabled with performance looking better with DLSS turned on at 88 FPS compared to RTX off performance of 90 FPS. Granted, that is Battlefield V at 1080p rather than the 1440p or 4k that the beefier RTX cards can push out.

When it comes to pricing, the RTX 2060 will have a MSRP of $349 with AIB and Founder's Edition being at the same level. RTX 2060 graphics cards are slated to launch om January 7th and will be available as soon as January 15th. If true we will not have long to wait until it is official and reviews are unveiled.

If you are curious about the rumored performance, check out the charts Videocardz uncovered.

 

Related reading:

Source: NVIDIA

ARM Introduces Cortex-A65AE with SMT for Self-Driving Vehicles and Industrial Automation

Subject: Processors | December 31, 2018 - 09:46 PM |
Tagged: SMT, self driving car, cortex A65AE, armv8-a, arm safety ready, arm

Over the holidays I noticed that ARM released information on a new core design aimed at autonomous driving systems. The Cortex-A65AE is part of the company's Automotive Enhanced lineup and follows on the Cortex-A76AE) with its split-lock and other features that are part of ARM's Safety Ready program.

ARM524_Auto chip diagram_Image_ST2-01.png

Aimed at processors that will be used in self driving cars, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), aviation, and industrial automation, the Cortex-A65AE core design integrates several safety and redundancy features that meet ASIL D specifications which is a hazard and risk assessment test for an ISO standard (26262) focused on road vehicle safety. Processors will be able to have up to eight cores and will support SMT with each physical core able to run two threads (at different exception levels and/or under different OSes). The cores can be run independently for performance or in lock step for redundancy and integrity checking comparing each other's calculation results (Split-Lock and Dual Core Lock Step respectively). Using the simultaneous multithreading, two threads on a physical core and operate in lock step mode with two other threads on a different physical shadow core according to Anandtech.

ARM has not yet released full details about the Cortex-A65AE core but it utilizes a 6A65AE4-bit out of order execution pipeline with the. ARMv8-A. It can be customized to suit the needs of ARM's partners so exact chip specifications will differ, but in general Cortex-A65AE cores can have 16 to 64 KB L1 instruction and data caches, 64 to 256 KB L2 cache, an optional L3 cache up to 4MB. Other features include support for ARM TrustZone, ECC memory, and ACP connections for accelerators. The new cores are built with ARM's DynamIQ technology and are slated to be used in chips built on the 7nm process node.

According to ARM, Cortex-A65AE cores are 70% faster in integer performance per core and offer up to 3.5 times the memory throughput and six times the read bandwidth for ACP accelerators versus the existing Cortex-A53 cores. The notable performance jump is likely the result of a combination of moving to a smaller process node, the addition of SMT, and architectural improvements and cache and inter-chip routing optimizations.

ARM is positioning the Cortex-A65AE as complementary to the Cortex-A76AE which is to say that the new core is not a direct replacement for it. While the Cortex-A76AE is high performance, the A65AE is high throughput and both cores reportedly have their place in future ADAS and self-driving cars. The Cortex-A65AE cores can be clustered together to do the initial processing and sensor fusion calculations from all of the inputs from cameras, radar, lidar, and other hardware. From there, clusters including Cortex A76AE chips (or a mix of the two) along with other accelerators can be responsible for making the decisions based on the sensor information. How well it works in practice and how this heterogenous setup will compare to competing offerings from NVIDIA, Intel/MobileEye, and others remains to be seen. I am all for the self-driving car future though so the more competition and developments in that space is always nice to see even if it's still a ways off yet!

The Cortex-A65AE being the first Cortex-A core to feature multithreading is also interesting and I am very curious if we will see that capability expanded to other ARM processors outside of the AE series. While SMT may not be worth it for mobile devices like smartphones and even tablets, perhaps future ARM-powered Always Connecred Windows notebook PCs will use processors with SMT capable cores as it would be easier to justify the extra cost in power and size to include multithreading.

What are your thoughts?

(PS I hope everyone had a safe holiday or at least a good week if you don't celebrate! I am looking forward to 2019 and continuing to serve you with bad puns and allegedlys technology coverage!)

Source: ARM

Looking for an inexpensive laptop for a friend or your family?

Subject: Mobile | December 31, 2018 - 02:57 PM |
Tagged: dell, inspiron 15 3000

At first glance the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 is rather boring, a Core i3-8130U, a single 8GB stick of DDR4-2800, a 1TB drive and a 1366x768 15.6" display as standard equipment.  TechPowerUp made one simple change to the standard model, upgrading to a 250GB Silicon Power Ace A55 SSD, taking the price from $337.59 to $375.79 with tax included.  Now, for a very low price you have a laptop which will meet the needs of many casual users, including those still used to optical media as it sports a DVD drive.

If you know someone who doesn't ask for much out of a laptop and could use a newer machine, this is defintitely something to consider.

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"Dell's Insprion 15 3000 is an entry-level notebook that remains not only highly affordable after a quick upgrade to an SSD, but feels quick and responsive. Take that into account, along with the surprisingly good battery life, and you have a decent system for on-the-go that won't break the bank."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

More Mobile Articles

Source: TechPowerUp

Same, same; but different ... Corsair's SFX SF600W PSU

Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 31, 2018 - 02:38 PM |
Tagged: corsair, SF600, modular psu, 600w

Lee took a look at Corsair's fun sized SF600 just before the holidays, giving it high marks across the board.  You may have missed it while you were out shopping, or forgotten so this review over at [H]ard|OCP could be worth your time.  The PSU passed all their tests as well, producing almost the same results as their tests of  the previous generation of SF600.  You do have to pay a bit extra for those fancy individually sleeved wires, so if that is not necessary for your build you can check out some of the less expensive options of similar quality at the end of the review.

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"Corsair is no stranger to the enthusiast computer power supply market, and most of its PSUs are built for ATX form factor cases. Corsair does however dabble a bit in the SFX end of the spectrum which tries to shoehorn as much power as possible into the smallest space possible. Let's see what the new SF600 is all about."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: [H]ard|OCP

ASUS births twin AiO coolers, Ryujin and Ryuo

Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 28, 2018 - 03:44 PM |
Tagged: Ryujin, Ryuo, aio. asus, water cooler, ASUS ROG

The ASUS ROG Ryujin is the larger of the pair, available in 240mm and 360mm varieties the AIO cooler will have a fan on the waterblock to provide cooling to the components around the socket while the Ryuo will drop the fan and slim the radiator to 120mm or 240mm.  Both models will have a 1.77" colour OLED screen bearing the name LiveDash, which can be programmed to display live data on CPU Frequency, voltage, temperature, and wide variety of other stats available to your motherboards sensors. 

Looks aside, can these new ASUS cooler prove effective?  Read on at Guru3D for the answers.

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"Today, we are reviewing the new Asus ROG-series AIO liquid coolers, the Ryujin and Ryuo. ASUS ROG (Republic of Gamers) is a branding that represents the highest standard from Asus. Ryujin is a legendary Japanese dragon that symbolizes the power of the ocean."

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

CASES & COOLING

A quarter century tour; a Space Marine's job is never done

Subject: General Tech | December 28, 2018 - 03:20 PM |
Tagged: doom, gaming, john carmack, id software, John Romero

Hackaday takes a look back at one of the most iconic and influential games created, the original DOOM.  The 25 year old story encompasses a lot of the history of the industry, from pushing the then current hardware to it's limits effectively, through porting it to game consoles to what is currently still being done with the venerable game.  id Software and its Where’s All the Data? files have been modded and released constantly and currently if you have a device with a display and at least 12 MB of storage, you can likely play DOOM on it.  Take a look back as well as a look at John Romero's current project SIGIL; it should bring a smile to your face.

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"In an era that was already soaking with “tude”, Doom established an identity all its own. The moody lighting, the grotesque monster designs, the signature push forward combat, and all the MIDI guitars a Soundblaster could handle; Doom looked and felt a cut above everything else in 1993."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Hackaday

Dell Goes Public Again with VMWare Share Buyback

Subject: General Tech | December 28, 2018 - 12:55 PM |
Tagged: vmware, stock, public, NYSE, IPO, Dell Technologies, dell

Without the usual fanfare of an IPO, Dell Technologies is a public company once again.

Dell_Technologies_Logo.jpeg

As reported by Reuters:

"Dell Technologies Inc shares opened at $46 on Friday, giving the computer maker a valuation of $16 billion in its return to public market, after it bought back shares tied to its interest in software maker VMware.

Its Class C shares were last trading at $46.25, while VMware’s shares rose nearly 2 percent to $157.2. The tracking stock was tied to an 81 percent economic stake in VMware and buying it back allowed Dell to bypass the traditional IPO process..."

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Current Dell stock price at time of writing

This move comes nearly six years after founder Micheal Dell took the company private in a $24 billion USD buyout with funding from Silver Lake and Microsoft, and also at a time when Dell's consumer PC division is on the rise:

"The company reported a 15 percent rise in revenue in its latest quarter, with revenue from products such as desktop PCs, notebooks and tablets, and branded peripherals, rising 11 percent."

Source: Reuters

Just Picked Up: Samsung CHG70 27-inch QLED Monitor

Subject: Displays | December 27, 2018 - 07:21 PM |
Tagged: just delivered, Samsung, qled

Just Delivered / Just Picked Up is a series of posts where we talk about things we have recently purchased. Think of it like a mini-review for first impressions.

A major goal of my current upgrade cycle was to finally buy a high-end desktop monitor.

samsung-2018-qledfront.png

In the end, I decided to go for the 27-inch Samsung CHG70 QLED Gaming Monitor. It’s listed as HDR although that is at a typical brightness of 350 cd/m2. It supports FreeSync 2 although I have NVIDIA graphics. Its native resolution is 1440p although that is at 144 Hz, and I put a lot of value into high refresh rates.

samsung-2018-qledcrane.png

That arm is a bit... unnecessary.
Thankfully, it's entirely unnecessary if you wall mount.

A weird design decision is its stand – it’s way too deep. It has a bit of a crane shape, versus a vertical slider like my BenQ, so it eats about 13 inches. There was barely enough room for my keyboard in front of the monitor, and my desk is 23 inches deep (plus an extra inch between it and the wall). If you can wall-mount it, which it is capable of, then that’s a complete non-issue. In fact, the entire stand can be completely removed if you intend to wall mount it, which is nice.

In terms of color? It’s beautiful.

Of course, one of the first things I do is go onto YouTube and look at the various videos with highly-saturated colors and deep blacks. It looks a bit blown out in some bright scenes, almost like its gamma is off, although my current calibration effort is limited to “set in Cinema mode”. I’ll need to play around with it someday.

Source: Samsung

Is Topre Realforce the Realthing?

Subject: General Tech | December 26, 2018 - 10:42 PM |
Tagged: input, topre, REALFORCE, realforce r2, TKL

Fans of rare imported mechanical keyboards crafted by Topre have a friend in Fujitsu whom now import them to North America.  The secret sauce which attracts people to these keyboards are the electrostatic key switches Topre uses which are very different from Cherry style mechanical switches or the discount dome rubber style.  That does mean that you won't be able to swap keycaps without ordering them directly from Topre.  Drop by The Tech Report to see if Topre deserves the glamour which surrounds their name.

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"Topre's Realforce keyboards are legendary for their quality and durability, and now Fujitsu Computer Products of America is officially distributing these boards on American shores. We got a tenkeyless Realforce R2 board under our fingers to see whether it lives up to the Topre mythos."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

MSI's holiday miracle, you can now overclock the Athlon 200GE

Subject: Processors | December 26, 2018 - 11:52 AM |
Tagged: overclock, 200GE, amd, msi, b350, b450, AM4

If you happen to have an MSI B450 or B350 motherboard, get out there and grab the latest UEFI BIOS which updates support for AGESA version 1.0.0.6 as it may be pulled soon.  The reason it may not last is because it will let you overclock your Athlon 200GE processor, something which is generally impossible to pull off.  TechSpot tried it out successfully on a variety of MSI boards, such as the Gaming Pro Carbon AC and managed to bump the $55 processor from 3.2GHz to 3.8GHz.  You won't see a huge increase in performance, though you will see some and it makes for an interesting experiment.

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"In an unexpected turn of events, it's now possible to overclock the otherwise-locked $55 Athlon 200GE processor. In what appears to be a slip up by MSI, the component maker has enabled Athlon overclocking with their latest BIOS release across its entire AM4 motherboard lineup."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

Source: TechSpot

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone .. need something to distract you?

Subject: General Tech | December 25, 2018 - 03:26 PM |
Tagged: gaming

There are many positive reasons to game on Christmas, perhaps killing time before the next time you baste the turkey and yourself, to show off the newly unwrapped hardware you got or perhaps a family deathmatch tourney to determine who gets stuck washing the dishes.  Steam have fired up their Winter Sale, with their own special advent calendar you can check out even if you don't pick anything up.

Over at Humble Bundle, the annual Yogscast Jingle Jam is offering a long list of games, covering a wide variety of styles.  If you are looking for a classic, GoG's sale is worth a moment of your time.

If you are more the bah humbug type, you should hang out with EA.  There have been rumours stemming from a since deleted post which suggests they were only kidding about learning their lessons from Star Wars Battlefront II as microtransactions may be about to arrive in Battlefield V.  After all, who doesn't want to pay $50 of real money for 6000 BCoins?  On the other hand they may be worth more than the other B type Coins in the near future.

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Here is some more gaming news from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source:

Seattle is known for high frequency gaming, sometimes with MSI RTX 2080s

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 24, 2018 - 03:19 PM |
Tagged: sea hawk, RTX 2080, overclocking, msi

[H]ard|OCP takes a look at MSI's Sea Hawk RTX 2080, which sports a GPU covered by an AiO watercooler as well as a blower fan to ensure the memory and VRM are actively cooled as well.  The design of the cooler also slims the card so you don't need to worry about the spacing between your PCIe slots as with some other coolers.  Without any work whatsoever, you can expect an average 1954MHz GPU clock, 2040MHz with a bit of a power boost or 2060MHz if you don't mind the noise produced by fans spinning at 100%.  The VRMs did prove a little finicky as you can see in the full review.

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"MSI sent over its new Sea Hawk RTX 2080 card for use in a build video. This is a fair simple RTX card build that is purchased with a pre-installed All-In-One cooler. We wanted to see how well it overclocked and spent a night of gaming in order to do that and we have to say we were pleased with our results."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Logitech's intelligent solution to their smart home restores Harmony

Subject: General Tech | December 24, 2018 - 12:35 PM |
Tagged: harmony link, logitech, harmony hub

Logitech have come up with a compromise for Tiny Tim again this year, rolling back their Scrooge like decision to drop all support for third party hardware on their Harmony Hub.  If you wish to continue to use XMPP APIs to link in additional hardware you can opt into a beta program which will enable support again, according to The Register.  This seems a wise way to increase the security of the Harmony Hub by requiring an extra step to allow you to add in extra devices; those who do not enable the beta can be sure that only vetted IoT devices can connect to their network while the technically inclined can continue to play with their smart home.

Let's hope next year we are not revisiting this once again.

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"That solution is "an XMPP beta program, which will allow access to local controls." In effect, the company has written in a hasty workaround that the tech-savvy can tap to get their systems working."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

AMD Announces Availability of Athlon Processors With Vega Graphics APUs

Subject: Processors | December 22, 2018 - 12:02 AM |
Tagged: Zen, ryzen, rx vega, athlon, APU, amd, 240GE, 220GE

Today AMD announced the availability of its budget Zen-based Athlon Processor with Vega Graphics APUs and released details about the Athlon 220GE and Athlon 240GE APUs that complement the Athlon 200GE it talked about back in September.

AMD Athlon Processor With Radeon Vega Graphics_APU.png

These Athlon 200-series processors are aimed at the budget and mainstream markets to fill the need for a basic processor for everyday tasks such as browsing the internet, checking email, and doing homework. The APUs utilize a 14nm manufacturing process and pair Zen CPU cores with a Vega-based GPU in a 35 watt power envelope, and are aimed at desktops utilizing the AM4 socket.

The Athlon 200GE, 220GE, and 240GE are all dual core, 4-thread processors with 4MB L3 cache and GPUs with 3 compute units (192 cores) clocked at 1 GHz. They all support dual channel DDR4 2667 MHz memory and have 35W TDPs. Where the Athlon APUs differ is in CPU clockspeeds with the higher numbered models having slightly higher base clock speeds.

APU Model Athlon 200GE Athlon 220GE Athlon 240GE
Cores/Threads 2 / 4 2 / 4 2 / 4
Base Freq 3.2 GHz 3.4 GHz 3.5 GHz
Graphics CUs 3 3 3
Graphics Freq 1 GHz 1 GHz 1 GHz
L3 Cache 4MB 4MB 4MB
TDP 35W 35W 35W
Pricing (SEP) $55 $65 $75

The Athlon 200GE starts at 3.2 GHz for $54.98 with an additional $10 buying you the 3.4 GHz 220GE and another $10 premium buying the $74.98 Athlon 240GE's 3.5 GHz CPU clocks. The Athlon 220GE seems to be the best value in that respect, because the extra $10 buys you an extra 200 MHz and the jump to the 240GE only gets an extra 100 MHz for the same extra cost. (Keep in mind that these chips are not unlocked.) Then again, if you are on a tight budget where every dollar counts, the 200GE may be what you end up going with so that you can buy better RAM or more storage.

The new chips are available now but it seems retailers aren't quite ready with their listings as while the 200GE is up for sale at Amazon, the 220GE and 240GE are not yet listed online at the time of writing.

The Athlon 200GE-series APUs introduce a new lower-end option that sits below Ryzen 3 at a lower price point for basic desktops doing typical office or home entertainment duties. With a 35W TDP they might also be useful in fanless home theater PCs and game streaming endpoints for gaming on the big screen.

I am also curious whether these chips will be used for by the DIY and enthusiast community as the base for budget (gaming) builds and if they might see the same popularity as the Athlon X4 860K (note: no built-in graphics). I would be interested in the comparison between the 4c/4t 860K ($57) and the 2c/4t 200GE ($55) to see how they stack up with the newer process node and core design. On the other hand, enthusiasts may well be better served with the overclockable Ryzen 3 2200G ($97) if they want a budget Zen-based part that also has its own GPU.

What are your thoughts on the new Athlon APUs?

Related reading:

Source: AMD

Samsung Refreshes 2-In-1 Lineup With New Notebook 9 Pen Models

Subject: Mobile | December 21, 2018 - 10:45 PM |
Tagged: windows hello, windows, Samsung, s pen, notebook 9 pen, convertible tablet, convertible, 2-in-1

Samsung is updating its laptop lineup to include the new Notebook 9 Pen which is a 2-in-1 convertible with built-in S Pen that comes in 13.3-inch and 15-inch form factors. Featuring full body aluminum frames, diamond cut edges, and narrow display bezels, the Notebook 9 Pen weighs in at 2.47 pounds and 3.44 pounds for the 13-inch and 15-inch models respectively. The new “Notebook 9 Pen” PCs should not be confused with the existing Notebook 9 Pen notebooks which were released earlier this year. The new models which are slated for a 2019 release introduce a 15” model to the lineup as well as more memory, brighter (500 nits) displays with narrower bezels, and two new colors and designs.

Samsung Notebook 9 Pen 2019 Refresh.jpg

Available in Ocean Blue or Platinum WHite, the Notebook 9 Pen includes a full HD display with very small bezels and a HD webcam paired with a backlit keyboard and decently sized trackpad joined by a 360-degree rotating hinge. The convertible laptop also has dual 5W AKG speakers with ThunderAmp technology. External I/O includes two Thunderbolt 3, one USB-C, one combo headphone/microphone, and one UFS/microSD port. As far as wireless connectivity, the notebook supports 802.ac Wave 2 2x2 WiFi.

The modern I/O is supported by modern internal hardware including up to 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processors, 16GB LPDDR3, and a 512GB PCI-E NVMe SSD. The Notebook 9 Pen with 13.3” display uses Intel UHD graphics, but the 15” model can be equipped with a NVIDIA MX150 GPU with 2GB memory. Both models are powered by a 54 Wh battery that supports fast charging and allegedly offers up to 15 hours of battery life.

Of course, the interesting aspect of the Notebook 9 Pen is the S Pen which Samsung as reportedly improved to be more responsive with up to a 2x reduction in latency to 7ms. The S Pen comes with three different pen tips so that artists can get the feel they want when drawing on the screen. The S Pen can do the usual things its smartphone counterparts can like drawing and writing and it can also be used to control media playback, advance slides, and record voice notes with its built-in microphone.

First impressions look promising, but pricing is going to be key as well as build quality and feel and with this year’s model starting at $1,400 MSRP ($1,000+ on Amazon for the 8GB RAM version) the updated 2019 Notebook 9 Pen isn’t going to be cheap! Unfortunately, exact pricing and availability have not yet been disclosed.

With that said, assuming rewiews hold up, it looks sharp and for artists and designers that like to work on the go it may be worth checking out!

Source: Samsung

NVIDIA Releases Open Source PhysX 4.0 SDK on GitHub

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 21, 2018 - 02:00 PM |
Tagged: physx 4.0, PhysX, open source, nvidia

As promised in the company's initial announcement earlier this month, NVIDIA has released the newly open-sourced PhysX 4.0 SDK via GitHub. Now, thanks to its 3-Clause BSD license, any game developer, hardware company, or coding enthusiast can grab the latest version of NVIDIA's realtime physics engine and tinker, improve, or implement it in hopefully creative new ways.

The one limitation, of course, is that in its current form PhysX 4.0 (and version 3.4, which is now open source, too) still references lots of NVIDIA's closed source APIs, notably CUDA. But with the PhysX framework now available to fork, there's nothing to stop an eager company or programmer from creating and implementing their own alternatives to NVIDIA's proprietary tech.

In addition to going open source, PhysX 4.0 introduces a number of new features as outlined on NVIDIA's developer site:

New features:

  • Temporal Gauss-Seidel Solver (TGS), which makes machinery, characters/ragdolls, and anything else that is jointed or articulated much more robust. TGS dynamically re-computes constraints with each iteration, based on bodies’ relative motion.
  • The new reduced coordinate articulations feature makes the simulation of joints possible with no relative position error and realistic actuation.
  • New automatic multi-broad phase.
  • Increased scalability with new filtering rules for kinematics and statics.
  • Actor-centric scene queries significantly improve performance for actors with many shapes.
  • Build system now based on CMake.

BSD 3 licensed platforms:

  • Apple iOS
  • Apple MacOS
  • Google Android ARM
  • Linux
  • Microsoft Windows

Unchanged NVIDIA EULA platforms:

  • Microsoft XBox One
  • Sony Playstation 4
  • Nintendo Switch
Source: GitHub

ASUS' new X299, second Prime's the charm?

Subject: Motherboards | December 20, 2018 - 02:58 PM |
Tagged: x299, prime x299-deluxe II, Intel, i9-9980XE, asus

ASUS have refined their Prime X299-Deluxe with a second version, which includes a redesign of the VRMs and power phases that lead to much discussion about the original board.  The Tech Report noticed that the change is not as simple as the marketing material would lead you to believe and they go into great detail about that in the beginning of their review.  In the end, the changes did result in decent thermals on the VRMs when overclocking and no discernible stability issues.  That's not all that is new about the board, mostly good with the exception of the default enabling of Windows Platform Binary Tables to load ASUS' software hub in the UEFI

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"Motherboard manufacturers are introducing refined X299 boards in the wake of Intel's Basin Falls platform refresh, and Asus' Prime X299-Deluxe II promises to fix some of the teething pains of its predecessor. We paired this board up with the Core i9-9980XE to see whether it's up to the job of hosting Intel's highest-end desktop chip yet."

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Source: The Register

Logitech offers peace and love; hold the Harmony, though

Subject: General Tech | December 20, 2018 - 02:41 PM |
Tagged: harmony link, logitech, scrooge, harmony hub

It would seem it is time once again for Logitech's Christmas tradition of bricking users Harmony devices, or at least devices connected to it.  Last November they got into the spirit by announcing that they had no intention of renewing an SSL/TLS cert which was required for their Harmony Link device to connect to and control other smart home devices.   Instead they offered current users 35% off the purchase of the newly released Harmony Hub ... which did not go over well.  It quickly escalated to the point where Logitech was censoring the words "class action lawsuit" in its support forums; to prevent spam, of course.

Logitech seemed to have learned their lesson as a few short hours after the story broke, they offered a free Harmony Hub to anyone who owned a Link.  Those who took Logitech up on this offer have found themselves fooled once again.  A new firmware update has shut out any and all access to third party hardware, previously accessed by XMPP-based APIs, now no longer possible with the new update.  Anyone who incorporated devices into their Harmony Hub controlled system will now find those devices unable to connect; one hopes your Christmas displays did not depend on that.  The Register has a few choice comments to add here.

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"Logitech recently released a firmware update for Harmony hub-based remotes that addressed some security vulnerabilities brought to our attention by a third-party cyber security firm,"

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Source: The Register