All | Editorial | General Tech | Graphics Cards | Networking | Motherboards | Cases and Cooling | Processors | Chipsets | Memory | Displays | Systems | Storage | Mobile | Shows and Expos
Subject: General Tech | December 11, 2017 - 06:46 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: shazam, music streaming, augmented reality, apple music, apple
Apple has confirmed its plans to acquire the London-based company Shazam who is most well-known for its song recognition app for smartphones. The deal, which industry sources estimate to be worth a bit over $400 million, would see Shazam and its employees become part of Apple who has been in talks with Shazam for the past five months and exclusively dating for two.
TechCrunch quotes Apple in stating:
“We are thrilled that Shazam and its talented team will be joining Apple. Since the launch of the App Store, Shazam has consistently ranked as one of the most popular apps for iOS. Today, it’s used by hundreds of millions of people around the world, across multiple platforms. Apple Music and Shazam are a natural fit, sharing a passion for music discovery and delivering great music experiences to our users. We have exciting plans in store, and we look forward to combining with Shazam upon approval of today’s agreement.”
Currently, Shazam is available on a massive number of devices with apps for Android, iOS, Watch OS (Apple Watch), BlackBerry OS, Mac OS, and Windows machines equipped with a microphone. Its apps have been downloaded well over 1 billion times and its users have performed more than 30 billion song searches – "Shazams" – since its launch. The Shazam app allows users to identify songs by recording short clips which Shazam creates a time-frequency spectrograph with to compare to its database of known spectrographs of 11 million songs in an attempt to find a match. IT's not perfect, especially if you are in a loud bar or at home and the song you want to identify is in the background of a TV show with a lot of dialogue over it, but it works for the most part. Shazam has further updated its app through the years to incorporate social networking aspects, link YouTube videos of identified songs, provide links to Amazon Music and Apple Music to purchase the song, and display song lyrics and information on the music artist. The app development company Shazam has also branched out into marketing partnerships as well as image recognition and augmented reality projects which may have also piqued Apple's interest.
Interestingly, Apple was not the only – or even the first – company to approach Shazam about a possible acquisition. Specifically, Snap (the company behind Snapchat) and Spotify were also interested in buying up the London-based developers. While the talks with Spotify fell through, Snap originally approached Shazam six months ago, beating Apple to the punch, but apparently neither company was able to muster up a stable-enough or sizeable enough offer. It is natural that these three companies would be interested in folding Shazam into their own business units since they already have partnerships in place with Shazam for various functionality and marketing reasons. Ars Technica notes that Shazam is used on the backend when asking Siri to identify a song, for example. Further, Spotify members with paid subscriptions could listen to full songs from within the Shazam app, and Shazam can be used within Snapchat to discover and share out songs.
With Apple winning the war for Shazam, I am curious what this will mean for the future of Apple Music as well as the future of the standalone Shazam apps (especially those on non-Apple platforms like the Android app and the song recognition functionality from within third party apps). Bringing Shazam in house is a smart move for Apple which is looking to advance its streaming music service. If anything, it will open the Play Store up for new apps to move in if Apple does pull Shazam inside its walled garden as an Apple exclusive offering.
What are your thoughts on the acquisition? Do you use Shazam?
Subject: Motherboards | December 11, 2017 - 05:11 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming, Z370, Intel, gigabyte, coffee lake
The Z370 for Coffee Lake may look the same as a Z270 for Kaby Lake but unfortunately that is not the case and your Kaby CPU is not going to work. For those who did not upgrade during the previous generation and have been patiently awaiting the availability of Coffee Lake CPUs, [H]ard|OCP's review of the Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming is worth checking out. The board can be had for around $170 and currently includes a free PCIe WiFi card, for that price there are a lot of extras to be had. The board is also able to offer the possibility of a decent overclock as well!
"Intel’s launched yet another chipset, so for better or worse that means new motherboards for Intel’s mainstream market. We look at GIGABYTE’s Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming to see if it’s worthy of a Coffee Lake CPU. And now that you can actually find the 8700K in stock, it is worth talking about."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Ultra Gaming @ Kitguru
- The EVGA Z370 FTW MB review – the i7-8700K Road to 5.0 GHz @ BabelTechReviews
- MSI Z370 GAMING PRO CARBON AC @ TechPowerUp
- Asus ROG Rampage VI Extreme @ Guru of 3D
- ASUS Republic Of Gamers Maximus X Apex @ Guru of 3D
- ASRock X299 Taichi XE @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | December 11, 2017 - 04:30 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Windows 10 S, snapdragon 835, qualcomm, NovaGo, asus
The Asus NovaGo was announced last week at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Tech Summit, and now the company is sharing additional specifications on one of the first Windows On Snapdragon devices. Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and running Windows 10 S, Asus is promising a convertible tablet with up to 22 hours of battery life capable of running most of your usual Windows applications (even non-Store / UWP apps so long as they are 32-bit and don’t require kernel mode drivers).
Measuring 316 x 221.6 x 14.9mm, the Asus NovaGo TP370 is constructed of dark gray plastic (and some metal bits) and weighs in at just over 3.06 pounds (1.39 kg). The top half of the device is dominated by a 13.3” 1920 x 1080 LTPS “NanoEdge” display with 8.9mm bezels and also hosts the 720p webcam which isn’t great but does apparently support Windows Hello. The display offers 10-point multi-touch as well as stylus support in the form of the Asus Pen with 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity.
A 360° silver colored hinge connects the two halves of the PC and enables tablet and tent modes. The bottom half of the NovaGo holds most of the hardware of the device along with the external I/O ports. The NovaGo has a chiclet style keyboard with flat looking keys and the arrow keys nestled in the bottom right corner. The trackpad does appear to be fairly large though. There are two SonicMaster stereo speakers, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gbps) Type A ports, one HDMI video output, a audio combo jack, microSD card slot, Nano SIM slot, and DC power input (no USB Type-C charging here unfortunately).
Internal hardware centers around the 10nm Snapdragon 835 SoC and its X16 LTE modem. The Snapdragon 835 features eight Kryo 280 64-bit ARM cores clocked at up to 2.45 GHz, an Adreno 540 GPU at 710 MHz, Hexagonn 682 DSP, support for aptX audio and Aqstic audio codec, Spectra 180 ISP (which seems to be underutilized here with only a 1MP webcam in play), and platform security module. The SoC is paired with up to 8GB of RAM and 256 GB of UFS 2.0 flash storage (rated at up to 175 MB/s or 4000 Mbps).
The NovaGo has four antennas and supports Gigabit LTE (1 Gbps down, 150 Mbps up) and dual-band 802.11ac MU-MIMO Wi-Fi. Users can use a Nano SIM or eSIM (embedded SIM) functionality to connect to their wireless carriers with the eSIM able to be set up through the Windows Store by purchasing a data plan locally when traveling. A 52 watt-hour battery allegedly keeps the NovaGo running for up to 22 hours and sitting in connected standby for up to a month. Windows 10 S is bundled with the system, but power users can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free until September 2018.
Hexus.net reports that the NovaGo will be available in early spring 2018 and will hit the US, UK, Italy, France, China, and Taiwan first with other countries to follow later. There are several models at play with 4GB, 6GB, and 8GB of RAM as well as 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB of UFS 2.0 storage. The base model has a MSRP of $599 and the top end SKU has a MSRP of $799.
The pricing does seem to be on the more expensive side, but these devices are aimed at mobile professionals and businesses with expense accounts so it’s not that out of line, and if the build quality is there and the battery life gets close to the lofty promises I can see them catching on.
- AMD Partners With Qualcomm For Always Connected Ryzen Mobile PCs
- Qualcomm aptX Bluetooth Review: Improving Wireless Sound
Subject: General Tech | December 11, 2017 - 02:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, keyboard, gaming keyboard, mechanical keyboard, wireless keyboard
Techspot have posted a comprehensive keyboard roundup, encompassing a wide variety of usage including, work, gaming, wireless, HTPC and budget categories. The brands include Das Keyboard and Corsair but the majority of the categories are ruled by a veteran brand. Logitech takes top spot in numerous categories, including the budget choice but also the wireless categories. The review also offers runner ups, so drop by if you or someone on your list is in the market for a new keyboard.
"Whether you are focused on productivity, or are looking for a gaming-centric keyboard, or something that can connect to multiple devices over Bluetooth, here are our favorite keyboards on every category."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- HyperX Alloy FPS Pro @ TechARP
- Rantopad MXX RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ NikKTech
- Cooler Master MasterKeys MK750 Keyboard @ TechPowerUp
- Gamdias Hermes M3 RGB @ Benchmark Reviews
- Patriot Viper V770 @ Kitguru
- Cherry MX Board 6.0 @ TechPowerUp
- ROCCAT Sova MK @ TechPowerUp
- Cougar Minos X5 Gaming Mouse Review @ Neoseeker
- Roccat Kone AIMO Gaming Mouse with Roccat Kanga & Taito XXL @ Kitguru
- Corsair Glaive RGB @ TechPowerUp
Subject: General Tech | December 11, 2017 - 01:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Zen+, ryzen 2, rumour, Pinnacle Ridge, pentium silver, Intel, gemini lake, celeron, amd
AMD and Intel both have new chips on the way according to what The Inquirer has gleaned, Intel's are available while AMD's are not yet released. Starting with AMD, there is a bit of news about the expected release date of Ryzen 2, with Ryzen 7, Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 2000 expected to arrive in February. AMD's Pinnacle Ridge architecture is expected to be an improved version of the original, as opposed to the completely new designs Intel has favoured lately, and will bring compatibility for higher clocked DDR4 as well as higher core frequencies. This is still in the rumour stage but is not completely inconceivable.
Intel's new Gemini Lake processors are available now, to make purchasing a CPU even more confusing. The Pentium Silver line are an upgrade to Apollo Lake, the previous Atom architecture and have no actual relation to the Kaby Lake based Pentium Gold line up. The Celeron also uses Gemini Lake but has been a low cost mobile Atom processor for a while now, so informed shoppers will get what they expected.
"There's not a vast amount of extra information about what we can expect from Ryzen 2, but we reckon the chipset will be more of an evolution in performance rather than a massive power hike to annoy people who bought a Ryzen CPU earlier this year."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Another Defeat of the Intel Management Engine @ Hack a Day
- Quanta Cloud to team up with Intel, RedHat to develop 5G cloud solutions @ DigiTimes
- HP Laptops Found To Have Hidden Keylogger
- Quanta Cloud to team up with Intel, RedHat to develop 5G cloud solutions @ DigiTimes
- The 2017 Ars Technica gadget gift guide: Gaming edition
- Dynamics 365 sandbox leaked TLS certificates @ The Register
- Disk drive fired 'Frisbees of death' across data centre after storage admin crossed his wires @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | December 10, 2017 - 07:14 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming, Mechwarrior, mechwarrior 5
Last year, we covered the announcement of MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. We noted that, because the game takes place in 3015, it would have a fairly-reduced equipment set compared to what we have seen in MechWarrior 3 and 4. Apparently that’s not entirely accurate, as a new batch of info has dropped during Mech_Con 2017 in Vancouver.
According to reports, like this one from Engadget, the game starts in 3015, but lasts about 35 in-game years.
But the game won’t really have a linear story, as seen in the previous entries. Rather than having the player run a scripted narrative, the intent is to let them build their own mercenary squad and do contracts for the Great Houses on their own terms (and with four-player co-op, although AI companions can be used if desired). I… don’t know how I feel about this. On the one hand, it could be an interesting, unique experience. On the other hand, I kind-of want a new, linear story in the Battletech universe.
Also, they mentioned that it will support user-created mods. Given that it's based on Unreal Engine 4, that should be a fairly large level of mod support. This will apparently include new missions, environments, and so forth.
It was also re-announced that MW5 will launch in 2018 – now more specifically: December.
Subject: General Tech | December 10, 2017 - 06:51 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Khronos, SYCL, sycl 1.2, sycl 1.2.1, opencl 1.2, opencl
The specification for SYCL 1.2.1, which is based on OpenCL 1.2, has been finalized and released on the Khronos website. The describe it as a major update over the previous standard, SYCL 1.2, and it is. Since May 2015, when SYCL 1.2 was finalized, The Khronos Group added features from C++11, C++14, and C++17, including the ISO C++17 Parallel Standard Template Library (STL).
In other words, you can create C++17 Parallel STL applications with SYCL 1.2.1, single-source, that are able to offload to OpenCL 1.2 devices.
Beyond that, the specification changes also help machine learning. The Khronos Group mentions that Google’s TensorFlow supports SYCL, bringing the framework to OpenCL devices. They want to continue updating the specification in this area, along with Safety Critical applications, such as automotive. They also want to keep updating the standard with ISO C++ features. In other words? SYCL is being adopted, and they intend ongoing support to match.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 10, 2017 - 03:06 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tempered glass, RGB LED, RGB, mid tower, jonsbo, eatx, atx, aluminum case
Jonsbo, a Shenzhen based case manufacturer founded in 2010 has unleashed a new stylish flagship mid tower called the UMX5. The new case measures 507mm x 224mm x 485mm and is constructed of a steel frame wrapped in anodized aluminum-magnesium alloy and tempered glass. The new case has a ribbed design that runs vertically over the top and front panels. Jonsbo claims that the valleys have been sandblasted to dull their look while the 5.5mm tall wiredrawn peaks/ribs have been polished to enhance the contrast and catch the eye.
There is a gap of 3.5cm between the bottom of the main chamber of the case and the foot for ventilation and looks (it is under-lit with RGB LEDs of course). The back panel is fairly plain though they have opted for a honeycomb style fan grill for the included 120mm exhaust fan. The side panels steal the show with 5mm thick double sided tempered glass on both sides of the case to show off all of the internals (I am less sold on the idea of the right-side panel being glass as that means I would have to actually cable manage and not just hide it all behind the motherboard tray! Custom sleeved PSU cables that are the exact length needed are going to be essential to making builds in this case look good. The tempered glass does have a bit of a tint to it though so it's not the end fo the world.)
The front 1/3 or so of the left side panel is overlaid by a honeycomb pattern that can be illuminated by a RGB LED. Front I/O includes the usual two USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, and two audio jacks as well as a button to change the LEDs color scheme or to turn them off completely.
Users can set the case LEDs to color change mode where it will cycle through 264 colors, to a single color of red, green, blue, yellow, purple, pink, turquoise, or orange, to a (red only) breathing mode, or set to off.
The UMX5 is designed for ATX motherboards, but it can work with a small number of E-ATX models (305mm x 265mm maximum). Further, the UMX5 mid tower supports CPU coolers up to 166mm tall and graphics cards up to 325mm long. There are four 3.5” hard drive bays with red anodized aluminum sleds as well as room for two 2.5” drives behind the motherboard tray. The PSU sits vertically behind the motherboard tray and hidden towards the front of the case behind a glass cover along with the hard drives.
As far as cooling, there are fan mounting points in the top, bottom, and rear though Jonsbo only includes a single 120mm rear fan. Users can add up to two 120mm fans to the top and two 120mm fans to the bottom. If they are water cooling, they can use up to two 240mm radiators top and bottom and a single 120mm in the rear. If using a thick radiator, you can mount the bottom fans outside of the case in the 35mm ventilation chamber gap.
The case has an MSRP of 199.99 € (Euro) including 19% VAT (~$200 USD sans VAT). I can’t seem to find it available online anywhere quite yet, but it should hit Europe shortly. It’s not clear how long it will be (if ever) until it hits the US, however.
In general, I like the look of the case, though I wish the red drive trays and side panel could be swapped out for different colors. The silver UMX5 is a bit better in this respect as it does not have the red border on the left side panel (it’s all silver except the drive trays which are red), but the black UMX5 is stuck with the red border which is okay if you are also using red LEDs but just looks odd if you are going with any other color. Beyond that the case is on the pricier side of things, but if the build quality (and cable management) is truly there the modders and enthusiasts will come!
Subject: Storage | December 9, 2017 - 11:46 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: PMR, toshiba, helium, Hard Drive, enterprise, cmr, cloud storage, 14tb
Toshiba recently took the wraps off of a new hard drive series aimed at the enterprise market. What makes the MG07ACA series interesting is that Toshiba is offering a 14 TB 3.5” drive without resorting to using Shingled Magnetic Recording. Instead, the new MG07ACA series uses standard recording methods (CMR) and nine ~1.556 TB PMR (perpendicular magnetic recording) platters in an helium filled hermetically sealed enclosure to hit 40% more capacity and up to 50% better power efficiency than the previous MG06ACA (10 TB) series. The new drives are also important because they represent the first foray into helium filled hard drives for Toshiba following the company pushing air breathing drives to the limit with its seven platter models.
The new drives are standard 7200 RPM models with 256 MB of cache and a SATA 6 Gbps interface. The 14 TB model is able to hit 260 MB/s sustained transfer while the slightly lower areal density of the 12 TB model puts it at a 250 MB/s transfer speed maximum. They are able to hit 167 random 4K read IOPS and 70 random 4k write IOPS (which is fun to compare to even the slowest SSDs today, but these drives aren't for random workloads). Toshiba rates the drives at a fairly industry standard 550 TB per year workload and 2.5 million hours MTBF with a five year warranty. Toshiba is reportedly using its own laser welding technology to seal the drives and keep the helium contained. The MG07ACA drives are offered in emulated 512 (512e) and 4k native sectors with the 512e models featuring Toshiba Persistent Write Cache technology to prevent data loss in the event of power failure while the drives are executing read-modify-write operations. The power loss protection (PLP) is important for enterprise customers using these drives to upgrade the storage in their legacy software and hardware setups.
The MG07ACA series includes 14 TB 9-disk and 12 TB 8-disk drives. That’s a lot of platters in a single drive, but Toshiba claims that going this route with CMR / PMR reduces the total cost of ownership (TCO) for enterprise customers that are buying up high capacity drives for their cloud storage and big data storage needs. The drives are allegedly more power efficient and trusted in the enterprise market as opposed to the newer shingled drives. I suppose these drives are also useful as they can be drop in upgrades of lower capacity models.
John Rydning, Research Vice President for hard disk drives at IDC was quoted in the press release in saying:
"While enterprise server and storage customers realize that shingled magnetic recording (SMR) technology can improve HDD capacity, the adoption of SMR HDD products into server and storage systems is a transition that will take several years,"
Interestingly the drives offer 1.5 TB / platter in the 12 TB model and a bit more than 1.55 TB / platter in the 14 TB drive. With SMR technology hitting up to 1.75 TB / platter so far, using that could get a 14 TB drive with just 8 platters, but that is still fairly close that I suppose going with the longer track record of non shingled PMR and its reliability is more important to the enterprise customers.
In order to cram 9 platters into a standard 3.5" drive, Toshiba had to make the platters thinner and move to helium instead of air. Specifically, Toshiba is using 0.635mm Showa Denko (SDK) PMR platters that are a mere 1.58mm apart! The drives have Nidec motors on the top and bottom as well as environmental sensors and RVFF (Rotation Vibration Feed Forward) vibration compensation technology which is important when you have nine platters spinning at 7200 RPM in each drive and then hundreds of drives are placed in close proximity to each other in server racks and SANs. The move to helium and thinner platters is a big part of the power savings in this drive with the platters being easier to spin up and exhibiting less flutter moving through the much less dense helium versus air. Toshiba claims that the MG07ACA series uses up to 7.6 watts in normal operation and 4.6 watts at idle (0.32W/GB).
According to AnandTech, Toshiba will begin sampling the new hard drives later this month and will sell the drives to its large enterprise customers within the first half of next year. Once demand from the big data crowd has been met, Toshiba will being selling the drives through distributors which means enthusiasts will be able to get their hands on the drives through normal channels by the end of 2018. Exact pricing and availability have not been announced at this time.
- Western Digital Launches 14TB Enterprise Hard Drive for Big Data
- Western Digital Launches 12TB Gold Hard Drive To Consumers
- WD and HGST Refresh Enterprise SSDs to Include 8TB, Push HDDs to 12TB and Beyond
- Western Digital MAMR Tech Pushes Future HDDs Beyond 40TB
- Seagate BarraCuda Pro 10TB Review - Massive Helium Client HDD
Subject: General Tech | December 9, 2017 - 04:27 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: amd, qualcomm, LTE, ryzen mobile, wireless
On the opening day of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Tech Summit, the company brought AMD on stage and announced a partnership that would see AMD use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon LTE modems alongside Ryzen Mobile SoCs to enable always connected Windows devices.
PC Perspective’s Ryan Shrout and Ken Addison attended the event and gleaned a few more details about the announcement. According to Ryan on the podcast, AMD plans to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon LTE modems in Ryzen Mobile-powered laptops and tablets. While road warriors will be able to enjoy cellular connected AMD laptops, Ryan notes that these devices may not support the new “connected standby” standard where a Windows PC is able to keep the cellular connection and the PC in a very minimal power state to download notifications, emails, and other updates in the background while the PC is otherwise sleeping.
Reading this announcement piqued my interest though for the future of this partnership. While the first devices are likely to include the Qualcomm modem on the motherboard, in the future AMD may be allowed to integrate the modem into its mobile APUs which would help AMD to compete with Intel in this space. Qualcomm is a big player and could give AMD a strong and competitive wireless solution without AMD having to navigate the murky patent waters and huge R&D costs involved with coming up with its own in-house modems.
What are your thoughts on this Qualcomm and AMD partnership?
Subject: Displays | December 9, 2017 - 03:19 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: acer, ips, professional monitor
Acer announced their PE320QK professional display several months ago, but it is now available. Before we get too far into the specifications, and there are some things that need to be discussed about them, the MSRP is $1199.99 USD, but it’s apparently above that in practice. The third-party seller on Newegg, TELeasy, is currently sold out at a listed price of $1330.17.
As for the specifications? Here’s where it gets interesting. First, the press release states that the PE320QK can do 130% of sRGB. This is nonsense. sRGB is a color space that you calibrate down into. You cannot cover more than it, because otherwise you wouldn’t be calibrated to it. Either your potential color space covers the whole gamut, or it doesn’t. It doesn’t matter what else it covers, just that it doesn’t miss anything inside the fenced-in area that the spec cares about. In fact, saying that it’s 130% makes me question whether it will end up less than 100% of the post-calibration gamut.
That’s not a concern that you want to have with a $1200 monitor.
The other issue is with the contrast ratio, although this is a number that every display manufacturer, especially TVs, screw with. It is listed as 100,000,000 : 1. Yeah… no. That number is meaningless. Again, it hasn’t meant anything for over a decade at this point, so I can’t really knock on Acer too much for this.
That said, the monitor is probably good. I just can’t quantify how and why from the information we’re given. I do like the light-hood flaps on the side, though.
Subject: General Tech | December 8, 2017 - 04:11 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Windows Mixed Reality, lenovo explorer, Lenovo
Lenovo's Explorer is their Windows mixed reality headset, allowing you to interact with your Windows desktop and a variety of software and games available from the Microsoft Store. SteamVR support is in beta, currently run through an app available from Microsoft and for the most part Overclockers Club did not encounter any serious issues when accessing SteamVR. The controllers offer an advantage over the competitors, along with the usual buttons you find on motion controllers you will also find a Windows button as well as a joystick on each controller. The kit starts at $399, which is not off putting compared to the competition, though Lenovo and Microsoft still have some work to do before the experience is as polished as SteamVR.
"For a general-use headset, the software is not particularly convincing, but give the environment some time, and this will probably improve. For a gaming headset, I am more than satisfied because even with how much is still marked as 'Beta,' so much works, works well, and is fun. This has been a very enjoyable experience for me and I hope it is one many will come to share in the future."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Troubled Toshiba scores coup with 14TB helium HDD without the sputter @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft emergency update: Malware Engine needs, erm, malware protection @ The Register
- Ars Technica’s ultimate board game buyer’s guide
- AI smarts: IBM pushes out 'faster than X86' POWER9 servers @ The Register
- Enter for a chance to win games, hardware, and more in the 2017 Ars Charity Drive
Subject: Editorial | December 8, 2017 - 09:00 AM | Jim Tanous
Tagged: video, pcper mailbag, pcper, 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!
This week, our very own Josh Walrath tackles your questions about process tech, racing wheels, and AMD:
00:31 - PCIe 4.0 for Volta?
02:10 - Intel beats AMD to HBM APU?
02:59 - What process tech gets Josh all excited?
04:25 - Significance of discrete GPU sales to AMD's bottom line?
06:09 - New products still using old process nodes?
07:50 - CPU redundancy?
10:08 - Racing wheel recommendations under $200?
12:07 - Direct drive wheels?
13:31 - Frequency and IPC improvements for Zen+?
16:06 - Josh takes over PCPer?
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!
Subject: Graphics Cards | December 7, 2017 - 11:44 PM | Jim Tanous
Tagged: Volta, titan, nvidia, graphics card, gpu
NVIDIA made a surprising move late Thursday with the simultaneous announcement and launch of the Titan V, the first consumer/prosumer graphics card based on the Volta architecture.
Like recent flagship Titan-branded cards, the Titan V will be available exclusively from NVIDIA for $2,999. Labeled "the most powerful graphics card ever created for the PC," Titan V sports 12GB of HBM2 memory, 5120 CUDA cores, and a 1455MHz boost clock, giving the card 110 teraflops of maximum compute performance. Check out the full specs below:
6 Graphics Processing Clusters
80 Streaming Multiprocessors
5120 CUDA Cores (single precision)
320 Texture Units
640 Tensor Cores
1200 MHz Base Clock (MHz)
1455 MHz Boost Clock (MHz)
850 MHz Memory Clock
1.7 Gbps Memory Data Rate
4608K L2 Cache Size
12288 MB HBM2 Total Video Memory
3072-bit Memory Interface
652.8 GB/s Total Memory Bandwidth
384 GigaTexels/sec Texture Rate (Bilinear)
12 nm Fabrication Process (TSMC 12nm FFN High Performance)
21.1 Billion Transistor Count
3 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI Connectors
Dual Slot Form Factor
One 6-pin, One 8-pin Power Connectors
600 Watts Recommended Power Supply
250 Watts Thermal Design Power (TDP)
The NVIDIA Titan V's 110 teraflops of compute performance compares to a maximum of about 12 teraflops on the Titan Xp, a greater than 9X increase in a single generation. Note that this is a very specific claim though, and references the AI compute capability of the Tensor cores rather than we traditionally measure for GPUs (single precision FLOPS). In that metric, the Titan V only truly offers a jump to 14 TFLOPS. The addition of expensive HBM2 memory also adds to the high price compared to its predecessor.
The Titan V is available now from NVIDIA.com for $2,999, with a limit of 2 per customer. And hey, there's free shipping too.
Subject: General Tech | December 7, 2017 - 09:59 PM | Scott Michaud
The latest version of Qt, 5.10, has released today. While many developers will likely stick on the 5.9 branch for long-term support, 5.10 brings several flashy features to the C++ framework.
The headline: Qt 3D Studio is, also, now released.
Last year, NVIDIA donated their DRIVE Design Studio to The Qt Company so developers, both commercial and open-source, can use a WYSIWYG editor for 3D UI design. I have not had a chance to play around with it yet, but it looks a little bit like a Flash Professional-style authoring tool that outputs a 3D UI. One downside, however, is that it looks like the runtime is not licensed under LGPL, but rather GPL or Commercial. This seems like it cannot be used with commercial software unless you purchase the license, although I could be reading that wrong. (GPL-compliant open-source software is fine, though.)
The rest of the update is interesting, too. One noteworthy feature is Qt WebGL QPA. The Qt Company showed it off on a smart TV web browser, but it could provide a new way to look at the native vs web argument. They also made a bunch of changes to Qt 3D and the other modules.
If you’re interested, check out their blog post. I should note that the Qt website is kind-of difficult to navigate – they really want to sell you a license – but the open-source stuff is in there, too.
Subject: General Tech | December 7, 2017 - 03:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: spin crossover, hdd
Storage density is running into physical size limitations, as we seek to find ways to store a bit in a smaller area. Currently a bit on a HDD takes up an area of 10x10nm, depending on the technology used, which may seem tiny but is preventing higher density disks from being developed. A team of researchers have come up with a new technique which creates stable magnetic spin crossover molecules that can decrease the area of a bit to 1nm2, as well as being able to store up to three states. There are some major challenges, such as how to mate the molecule to a platter but the research is very interesting. Drop by EE Times for more information.
"The use of spin crossover molecules as the smallest storage unit would make it possible to further increase the storage density of data carriers. The challenge is to attach these molecules to surfaces without destroying their storage capacity. A research team from the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel (CAU) has now succeeded in doing so."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Keylogger Found On Nearly 5,500 WordPress Sites @ Slashdot
- Raspberry Pi-powered 'Pip' smashes $30,000 Kickstarter target @ The Inquirer
- Spy-on-your-home Y-Cam cameras removes free cloud storage bit @ The Register
- Snapdragon 845 specs show a chip ARMed for VR and AI performance @ The Inquirer
- Google pushed update that broke managed Chromebooks' Wi-Fi @ The Register
- Loot boxes may not return to Star Wars: Battlefront II @ Ars Technica
- Christmas 2017 Mega Worldwide Giveaway @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech | December 7, 2017 - 01:45 PM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: podcast, xfx, Vega, Raspberry Pi, radeon, qualcomm, nicehash, Intel, IME, GTX 1070Ti, gddr6, evga, Elgato, dell, coolermaster, cluster, asus, arm, amd, AM4, Adrenalin Edition, 4k60, 10nm, video
PC Perspective Podcast #478 - 12/07/17
Join us for discussion on Windows on ARM, Intel 10nm rumors, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store (audio only)
- Google Play - Subscribe to our audio podcast directly through Google Play!
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader (audio only)
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano, Jim Tanous
Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg
Program length: 1:39:42
0:03:30 PCPer Mailbag #020 - 11/30/2017
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Subject: Graphics Cards | December 7, 2017 - 01:31 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: pascal, GTX 1070Ti, GP104, gigabyte, aorus
Gigabyte is jumping into the custom GTX 1070 Ti fray with the Aorus branded GeForce GTX 1070 Ti Aorus. The new custom graphics card measures 280 x 111 x 38mm and features a WindForce 3 cooler with backplate and a custom 6+2 power phase.
Backlit by RGB Fusion LEDs, the Aorus logo sits on the side of the card and can be configured to the color of your choice. The shroud is black with orange accents and has sharp stealth angles that is minimal by comparison with other cards. Gigabyte is using a fairly beefy heatsink with this card. Specifically, three 80mm fans push air over a beefy heatsink that consists of three fin stacks connected by four composite heatpipes. Further, the cooler uses direct contact for the heatpipes above the GPU and a metal plate with thermal pads to cover the GDDR5 memory chips. The rightmost fin stack cools the MOSFETs. Additionally, the full cover backplate adds rigidity to the card and has a copper plate to draw excess heat from the underside of the GPU.
The Aorus graphics card is powered by a single 8-pin PCI-E power connector that feeds a 6+2 power phase. External video outputs include one DVI, one HDMI 2.0b, and three DisplayPort 1.4 ports.
The Pascal-based GP104-300 GPU (2432 CUDA cores, 152 TMUs, and 64 ROPs) is clocked at 1607 MHz base and 1683 MHz boost which is the maximum vendors can clock the cards out of the box. Gigabyte does offer 1-click overclocking using its Aorus Graphics Engine software and guarantees at least 88 MHz overclocks to 1683 MHz base and 1771 MHz boost. Users can, of course, use other software like MSI Afterburner or EVGA Precision X if they wish but will need to use the Gigabyte tool if they want the single click automatic overclock. The 8GB of GDDR5 memory is stock clocked at 8008 MHz and sits on a 256-bit bus.
Looking online, the Aorus GTX 1070 Ti Aorus doesn’t appear to be available for sale quite yet, but it should be coming soon. With the Gigabyte GTX 1070 Ti Gaming card coming in at $469, I’m betting the Aorus card with guaranteed overclock will have a MSRP around $500.
Subject: General Tech | December 6, 2017 - 09:59 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: nicehash, mining, hack, Cyber Security, bitcoin
In a recent press release cryptocurreny mining market Nicehash revealed that its payment service was hacked and its BTC payment wallet was emptied. While the company did not reveal the exact amount lost, users on Reddit spent the better part of today worried as the service was initially "under maintenance" for 12 hours amidst suspicious transactions on the blockchain that saw 4,736.42 BTC taken from Nicehash and their Nicehash internal wallets reporting zero balances. The company is currently investigating the precise amount stolen, though estimates around the web put it north of $66 million USD worth of the popular cryptocurrency (at time of writing 1 BTC = ~$13970.50).
Image courtesy fdecomite via Flickr.
Users that mined to an external wallet for an additional fee are out unpaid balances less than 0.01 BTC, but sadly users that mined to an internal wallet have potentially losts hundreds or thousands of mined bitcoin. Also, purchasers of the Nicehash mining service may have lost the BTC that they paid into the service for alt coin hashing power.
"We are fully committed to restoring the NiceHash service with the highest security measures at the earliest opportunity.
We would not exist without our devoted buyers and miners all around the globe. We understand that you will have a lot of questions, and we ask for patience and understanding while we investigate the causes and find the appropriate solutions for the future of the service. We will endeavour to update you at regular intervals."
Nicehash is further recommending that users of its internal wallets change all of their online passwords (especially any that were similar to the one they used on the site) as a precaution.
The full press release is available here.
In all, it is a devastating hack that is another in a series of high profile crypto currency heists that have traditionally left users out money and the company destroyed. Nicehash has indicated that they have reached out to and are cooperating with the relevant authorities, but unless they are able to find the individual(s) responsible and recover the massive amount of bitcoin it is not looking good.
I hope that the bitcoin is able to be recovered or at least that Nicehash is able to do the right think and compensate its users from its own funds.
This high-profile attack further illustrates the need to use safe bitcoin storage practices and to always hold your own private key in an offline wallet (hardware or paper or at least encrypted software wallet you control at a minimum) for long term storage of funds. Your crypto currency is only truly yours when you alone control the private key(s) and you should only transfer and keep coins on other servers (e.g. exchanges) for as long as it takes to transfer them to your bank or as short a time as possible when trading.
What are your thoughts on this? Did you have money in a Nicehash wallet or unpaid mining balance? Do you plan to venture forth and mine on your own?
Subject: Graphics Cards | December 6, 2017 - 06:50 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: evga, ftw, gtx 1070 ti, pascal, overclocking
EVGA is launching a new Pascal-based graphics card with a thicker 2.5 slot cooler in the form of the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti FTW Ultra Silent. The new graphics card has a sleek gray and black shroud with two large black fans in standard ACX 3.0 cooler styling, but with a much thicker cooler that EVGA claims enables more overclocking headroom or a nearly silent fan profile on stock settings.
The GTX 1070 Ti FTW Ultra Silent is powered by two 8-pin PCI-E power connectors that feed a 10+2 power phase and enables the cards 235W TDP (reference TDP is 180 watts). The 2432 Pascal GPU cores are clocked at 1607 MHz base and 1683 MHz boost which aligns with NVIDIA's reference specifications. While there are no guaranteed factory overclock here, EVGA is bundling the dual BIOS card with its EVGA Precision XOC and Precision OC Scanner X software for one-click overclocking that dynamically pushes the clocks up to find the optimal overclock for that specific card. The 8GB of GDDR5 memory is also stock clocked at 8008 MHz. Other features include a backplate, white LEDs, and 2-way SLI support.
Display outputs include one HDMI 2.0b, three DisplayPort 1.4, and one DVI port.
The new FTW series graphics card is available now from the EVGA website for $499.99 and comes with a three year warranty.
The graphics card appears to be rather tall, and I am curious how well the beefier heatsink performs and just how "ultra silent" those fans are! Hopefully we can get one in for testing! The $499.99 MSRP is interesting though because it lines up with the MSRP of the GTX 1080, but with the state of the GPU market as it is the price is not bad and actually comes in about in the middle of where other GTX 1070 Ti cards are at. My guess is they will be snatched up pretty quickly so it's hard to say if it will stay at that price especially on third party sites.