Seasonic's Focus Plus series shows Gold can be better than Platinum

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 18, 2018 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: seasonic, FOCUS PLUS, 550W, modular psu, 80 Plus Gold

Seasonic have added a 550W PSU to their Focus Plus lineup of petite PSUs.  Measuring a mere 5.5" in length it uses a 120mm fluid bearing fan for cooling and is completely modular.  Inside you will find Nippon Chemi-con components which may account for why this unit outperformed similar ones on [H]ard|OCP's test bench.  Even better news is the price, running around $80 including shipping, which makes this PSU a solid choice for system which doesn't require an obnoxious amount of power.

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"Small computer power supplies that are entirely modular are the cornerstone of Seasonic's Focus Plus series. We are reviewing the Gold variant today rated at 550 watts that has a modern design and with hybrid silent fan control with a fluid dynamic bearing fan. Is the smallest PSU in the Focus Plus series making the cut?"

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

CASES & COOLING

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Samsung has scratched the 7nm itch

Subject: General Tech | October 18, 2018 - 01:11 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, 7nm

A few short years ago 7nm was a holy grail, something to be sought for but unlikely to be successful.  The richest knight in the kingdom is still seeking their goal, while the squires have already got one.  AMD is doing well with their process but it is Sir Samsung whom has met with the most success.  Their trusty EUV proved up to the task and they are no longer seeking a 7nm process and have moved onto sharing the benefits of their quest with the world.  The new chips will be Low Power Plus, and find their way into smartphones, and cell providers, IoT devices and many other applications in the small endian market.  The Inquirer posted a look at how they got there, as well as some definitions if this is all Gallic to you. 

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"Normally argon fluoride immersion tech is used for chip lithography. But Samsung is touting the advantages of EUV in cutting down the number of masks needed to allow for the stencilling of transistors on silicon in a certain pattern, and thus cuts down on the time and costs of producing chips."

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Source: The Inquirer

Podcast #518 - Join us this week for discussion on the NVIDIA RTX 2070, ARM Neoverse, and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 18, 2018 - 11:06 AM |
Tagged: rtx 2070 black edition, rtx 2070 armor, RTX 2070, podcast, nvidia, Neoverse, msi, evga, arm

PC Perspective Podcast #518 - 10/18/18

Join us this week for discussion on the NVIDIA RTX 2070, ARM Neoverse, 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, Ken Addison, Jim Tanous

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 59:46

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. 0:51:10 Allyn: Flashlights. Have them.
    2. 0:52:45 Ken: Cheap VESA Arm
  4. Closing/outro

ZTE Axon 7 Oreo Update... But Probably Don't Install It.

Subject: Mobile | October 17, 2018 - 05:17 PM |
Tagged: zte, Oreo, nougat, Android

The ZTE Axon 7 had a troubled news cycle over the last year or so. While the company was working on updates, they were essentially slapped out of existence by the US Department of Commerce for business with embargoed nations. This caused a lot of issues, to the say least, including the shutdown of their OTA update servers.

Yadda yadda yadda. ZTE has just released their Oreo update.

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This image is from the Nougat update. I'm not upgrading. It's still my primary phone.

But you probably don’t want to install it. This seems to be a release for the enthusiasts to make good on their original intentions, but it comes with a few major downsides. Before we get too much further, those downsides are:

  1. The update will completely wipe your phone.
  2. Daydream VR will completely stop working after the update.
  3. Might not be able to roll back to Nougat?
  4. You need to manually install it from the SD card. No simple OTA.

Of course, the fourth issue is a good thing. ZTE doesn’t want to erase important photos or remove a major feature unless the user explicitly accepts the side-effects. If they do, however, then the Oreo update also replaces the ZTE MiFavor with their newer Stock+ interface. (This switchover is apparently the specific element that will destroy local data.)

It’s up to you. ZTE gave the enthusiasts what they asked for – and it's nice that they did – but it’s probably a step back from Nougat if you still use it as your primary phone. Check it out on their forums.

Source: ZTE

Get Predator vision with the new X27 display from Acer

Subject: Displays | October 17, 2018 - 04:32 PM |
Tagged: acer, Predator X27, displayhdr 1000, 4k, 144hz, 4k gsync; 4k 144hz

On paper, Acer's X27 display has everything you want, plus a fan to cool the controller when you are displaying HDR content.   The 144Hz GSYNC display is 4K and sports a DisplayHDR 1000 rating, but there are of course limitations.  For instance 4:4:4 RGB at 4K is limited to 120Hz in the SDR and 98 Hz in HDR mode thanks to the bandwidth limits of DisplayPort, if you want to max out your refresh rete you are reduced to 4:2:2. 

Head over to Techspot to see if this is worthy of a $2000 investment.

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"Well, the Asus isn’t the only such monitor on the market. The new Acer Predator X27 uses the same AU Optronics panel, so they’re both equipped with the same specifications, but that doesn’t mean they perform the same as I’ll discuss a bit later."

Here are some more Display articles from around the web:

Displays

 

Source: TechSpot

A new player arrives to sow Discord in the game streaming market

Subject: General Tech | October 17, 2018 - 01:58 PM |
Tagged: gaming, game streaming. discord nitro, discord

Discord, the popular online communications software have finally moved their game shopping and streaming service into beta.   For a $10/month fee you gain access to quite a few games, ranging from the absurd, through old classics to relatively new releases.  If there is a game you are looking for not covered under the subscription fee you may be able to find it for sale in their online store.  If you are interested you can check it out for a month, or subscribe for a whole year to save a bit of cash.  Cheers to [H]ard|OCP for spotting that this morning.

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"Discord Nitro now includes a growing library of critically acclaimed games that we think you and your friends should play. Subscribing to Nitro now costs $9.99 a month. As of today, there's over 60 curated games for you to download and play at a total value of over $1000."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Do Not Track is no more effective than placebo

Subject: General Tech | October 17, 2018 - 01:02 PM |
Tagged: do not track, placebo, fooled you, security

To the cynics among us it will come as no surprise that the Do Not Track option on your browser does almost nothing to protect your privacy.  The option was conceived as an additional string sent out with your metadata, DNT:1, which the website you connected to would receive and honour.  That, of course, is the rub.  You have to trust sites which depend, at least in part, on advertising revenue to refrain from targeting you with advertisements.  This does not happen apart for a very few exceptions which has led Mozilla to consider incorporating stronger protections in their browser. 

Follow the links from Slashdot to learn more.

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"According to a recent survey by Forrester Research, a quarter of American adults use "Do Not Track" to protect their privacy. (Our own stats at Gizmodo Media Group show that 9% of visitors have it turned on.) We've got bad news for those millions of privacy-minded people, though: "Do Not Track" is like spray-on sunscreen, a product that makes you feel safe while doing little to actually protect you. "

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: Slashdot

CTL Announces i7-Powered Chromebox CBx1

Subject: Systems | October 16, 2018 - 07:49 PM |
Tagged: ctl, mini-pc

CTL is a PC manufacturer that focuses on customers in the education and government sectors. Today’s announcement is that they are adding a mini-PC to their line of Google Chrome OS devices, which is powered by a Core i7-8550U.

It will be available in November for $599 USD.

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Interestingly, the device is capable of dual-monitor output if you have one monitor that supports HDMI and another monitor that supports USB type C. They don’t say what else that type C port could be used for, however. It also has two USB 2.0 ports, 3 USB 3.0 ports, Wireless AC (2x2), and Bluetooth 4.2 for I/O. The models start at 8GB of RAM and 32GB of SSD, but that can be expanded to 16GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD.

The device is covered by a one-year warranty, although with two-way shipping covered.

Source: CTL

Meet the highly anticipated RTX 2070!

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 16, 2018 - 02:37 PM |
Tagged: tu106, TU104, RTX 2080, RTX 2070, GTX 1080, gtx 1070, msi, Gaming Z

Some of the RTX 2070 reviews have arrived though you can expect a slew more TU106 based GPU models arriving in the near future.  The MSRP of this card is similar to the GTX 1080, so the burning question is; can it match the performance and not just mimic a slower card with the addition of Tensor Cores? 

Start out with Ken's review, and then head off to [H]ard|OCP to check out the RTX 2070 GAMING Z from MSI.  Does it make sense to pick up the RTX 2070 right now, or grab a highly overclocked GTX 1080?  Only one way to find out

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"We have an exclusive first look at performance of the new MSI GeForce RTX 2070 GAMING Z video cards sporting the new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 GPU. We will be comparing performance to a MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X and ASUS ROG STRIX Vega 64 OC video cards in eight games at 1440p and 4K."

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

Graphics Cards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

ARM Unveils "Neoverse" Infrastructure

Subject: General Tech | October 16, 2018 - 01:44 PM |
Tagged: UMC, TSMC, Samsung, Neoverse, cosmos, cortex, arm, Ares, A76, 7nm, 7+nm, 5nm

This morning ARM is announcing their new design and technology push called "ARM Neoverse". Neoverse is aimed at providing scalable solutions utilizing ARM technology from the edge to the core datacenter. ARM obviously is well known for the end user solutions that we see in phones, tablets, and now laptops. What most do not realize is that ARM has a significant reach in much of the infrastructure that powers the entire user experience. ARM currently holds around a 30% marketshare for powering high end routers and switches used at the enterprise level. The type of equipment we are talking about here are not the home routers or generic switches, but rather the heavy lifting units that literally power the internet after the requests get out of users houses or from their mobile devices.
 
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The Neoverse roadmap consists of four platforms stretching from now til 2021. Each platform is expected to receive around a 30% increase in overall performance due to a combination of architectural changes as well as process technology improvements. The current architecture is codenamed "Cosmos" and it is based on current 16nm parts. This is followed by the "Ares" platform which will utilize the latest Cortex A76 designs and 7nm process. In 2020 this will transition to the "Zeus" platform which will leverage the latest improvements in 7nm+ process technologies. Finally they expect to release the "Poseidon" platform in 2021 which will be based on a cutting edge 5nm process.
 
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ARM has been slowly building up their technology base through the past several decades to include more and more functionality and features across their entire portfolio. Of great interest is how seriously ARM considers security. The latest designs include some of the most robust security measures integrated on chips. From TrustZone to CryptoIsland, ARM has a very well thought out and implemented security suite that is absolutely necessary for the next generation of connected devices. This again extends from handheld devices to the depths of the data center. We are surrounded by stories of compromised devices and software, so having the extensive security measures designed from the ground up available to partners helps to cement ARM's place in trusted computing.
 
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The amount of IP available to partners is impressive. ARM not only offers the core technologies of CPUs and GPUs, but also the latest machine learning units and encryption accelerators. The fabric that holds it all together is also flexible and scalable from mobile solutions to 100G+ ethernet. This also includes memory controllers that can scale up to 8 units delivering TBs/sec of bandwidth.
 
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It really is impressive to see how far ARM has come in the past decade since the launch of the first iPhone. What was once considered a small, but still important CPU design firm is now the power behind billions of shipping products that power the mobile experience and beyond. ARM has taken the momentum from its first big successes and is now a major force for change that stretches far beyond those initial mobile and low power products. The Neoverse only adds to this. ARM has already found success in powering much of the infrastructure of our modern day networks, but this is looking to take things to another level. Partners will have access to cutting edge IP and solutions to quickly bring specialized and high performing products to market in very short periods of time.
 
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Going forward we will start hearing more about these Neoverse implementations starting with current Cosmos products and spreading quickly throughout the next year with Ares. ARM has so far continued to execute on their roadmaps and provide new and compelling products to their partners on a yearly basis. This does not look to change anytime soon.
Source: ARM

but ... it's only illegal for the other printer companies to disable ink cartridges!

Subject: General Tech | October 16, 2018 - 01:30 PM |
Tagged: dirty pool, ink, epson

Unsatisfied with charging more for ink by weight than a variety of rare metals, once again a printer maker is disabling your ability to use third party ink cartridges.  The most recent attempt at this was by Lexmark, who blocked the use of refilled cartridges until the US Supreme Court ruled this to be illegal and forced them to stop.  Before them it was HP who attempted this, though at least they backed off before a court case was filed; not that they don't attempt to do it again occasionally.

Today it is Epson attempting these shenanigans, after sneaking in a way to block the use of third party cartridges in an update they claimed was actually to improve the security of their printers.  Apparently they are hoping that this time they will succeed in monopolizing their ink, even with the previous failures mentioned.  The EFF have already sent a letter to the Texas Attorney General and are looking for customers in other locations to lodge complaints so they can file in other districts.

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"Printer maker Epson is under fire this month from activist groups after a software update prevented customers from using cheaper, third party ink cartridges. It's just the latest salvo in a decades-long effort by printer manufacturers to block consumer choice, often by disguising printer downgrades as essential product improvements."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Slashdot

1TB of Thunderbolt 3 connected flash for less than $500? Patriot's Evlvr

Subject: Storage | October 15, 2018 - 03:28 PM |
Tagged: patriot, evlvr, thunderbolt 3, external ssd, 1TB, phison e8

Patriot's external SSD is available for about $200 less than Samsung's, though it's warranty is a year shorter at two and it doesn't feature hardware encryption acceleration.  On the other hand it also contains the brand new Phison E8 controller and 64-layer BiCS 3D TLC NAND which might make the drive more interesting than it appears at first glance.  The Tech Report put the drive through its paces, comparing it to Samsung's X5 as well as other USB drives; check out the results right here.

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"We were floored by the performance—and price tag—of Samsung's Portable SSD X5. Patriot's Evlvr 1 TB promises some of the same Thunderbolt 3 goodness without asking the buyer to take out a second mortgage. We ran Patriot's TB3 external through our test suite to see whether it captures lightning in a bottle."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

ASUS ROG Strix performs Hero-ics

Subject: Mobile | October 15, 2018 - 02:48 PM |
Tagged: asus, ROG Strix, ASUS ROG Strix Hero II, GL504GM, gaming laptop

ASUS released the updated ROG Strix Hero II, which Kitguru grabbed for review.  The 15.6" laptop is powered by an Intel i7-8750H and GTX 1060, with 16GB DDR4-2666 and a 256GB PCIe SSD paired with a 1TB hybrid drive.  The screen is 1080p IPS, with a top refresh rate of 144Hz sadly lacking in either Freesync or GSYNC.  The gaming performance was as expected, but Kitguru did find a couple of things they wish ASUS would improve, which you can find out about in the full review.

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"That brings us to today where we finally have our hands on the Strix Hero II GL504GM. In this review we put it through its paces to find out if this is a must have laptop for gamers on the go and whether it is worth the £1800 asking price."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

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Source: Kitguru

Meet TCL's Palm Palm, a kitten like phone

Subject: General Tech | October 15, 2018 - 01:23 PM |
Tagged: palm, tcl, mobile phone

As strange as it seems, TCL is launching a new Palm product which is thankfully not running a new version of WebOS but instead has gone with Android 8.1.  The phone is very cute, with a tiny 3.3" display, and a body of 96.6x50.6mm (3.8x2") in total.  Inside you will find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 435, 3GB of RAM, and an 800mAh battery, for connectivity USB-C, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and LTE.  This Palm will fit in your hand and you won't get a lot of things done with the minimalist hardware, providing the similarity to a kitten, including the powerful attraction some will feel towards it.

Ars Technica has the rest of what is known about the Palm Palm here, including what TCL imagines you will use it for.

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"If you recall, Palm, creator of the Palm Pilot and WebOS, bombed out of the smartphone market and was purchased by HP. Palm died at HP after a short run of tablets and smartphones, and eventually Chinese smartphone company TCL snatched up the rights to the Palm brand in 2014, and things have been quiet since then."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Ars Technica

Noctua, for a cool quiet Threadripper

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 12, 2018 - 06:06 PM |
Tagged: noctua, Threadripper, 2950x, 2990wx, NH-U14S, NH-U12S, NH-U9

With the arrival of the second generation of Threadripper processors comes Precision Boost 2 and Precision Boost Overdrive which changes the testing process when it comes to heatsinks.  PB2 means that your processor will not let its self get above 68C and will reduce power and frequency to accomplish that.  This means that when testing, what [H]ard|OCP is looking for is clocks and power draw, not temperature.  Check out how they accomplished this, as well as the performance of these three Noctua coolers, as compared to themselves, the WraithRipper and the Silver Arrow.

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"We take all three Noctua air coolers built for AMD Threadripper CPUs and put these to the test on both the 2950X and 2990WX. We run the NH-U14S, NH-U12S, and NH-U9 through the paces with both Precision Boost 2 and Precision Boost Overdrive using multiple fan configurations and compare these to the Silver Arrow and Wraith Ripper too."

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

CASES & COOLING

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Up is down in the PC market

Subject: General Tech | October 12, 2018 - 04:46 PM |
Tagged: desktop market share, gartner, IDC

Gartner and IDC have released their quarterly look at the PC market and they do not agree on whether sales gew or shrunk.  One thing they do agree on is that the market did not change all that much.  Gartner's 0.1% growth and IDC's 0.9% shinkage represent a few thousand machines at most, so saying the market is relatively unchanged seems fair.  Lenovo continues to hold the lead, though HP is close on their heels with Dell lagging behind.  You can see the individual numbers over at The Register.

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"Gartner reports global PC sales of 67.2 million units for Q3 2018 showed a slim growth of 0.1 per cent over the same period in 2017. Meanwhile IDC said volumes of 67.4 million units is down 0.9 per cent year-on-year."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

Radeon Adrenaline COD liver oil edition

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 11, 2018 - 07:15 PM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, adrenaline 18.10.1

If you love you some CODBLOPS and run a GPU named after a solar body you should head on over to AMD and update to Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.10.1.  The new driver will give your VEGA 64 or RX 580 a bit of a performance boost when you head out into the black. 

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There are a few other benefits, including smoother upgrading as well as fixes in Fortnight and Sea of Thieves, as well as some tweaks to Vulcan.  You know where to get it, or you can just click here.

 

Source: AMD

Three's Company Too ... or Furley's 2080 TI roundup

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 11, 2018 - 07:03 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, GAMING OC 11G, duke, MSI TRIO, rtx 2080ti

Three custom RTX 2080 Ti cards and a single Founders Edition is not a huge roundup but it is early days yet and well worth a look.  As more third party cards arrive we will see larger sample sizes but for now take a look at the performance deltas between the FE, Gigabyte GAMING OC 11G, MSI DUKE and the MSI TRIO.  There are noticeable differences, but not in every scenario; check out the full review to see which card best matches your preference in games or synthetic benchmarks over at The Guru of 3D.

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"In this article, we look at the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, and in specific the GAMING OC 11G edition. Armed with tensor and raytracing processors this model comes slightly tweaked in the clock frequency."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: Guru of 3D

The other RTX - MSI announces their custom GeForce RTX 2070 series

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 11, 2018 - 03:10 PM |
Tagged: duke, Gaming Z, armor, Aero, msi, rtz 2070, TWIN FROZR 7

The RTX 2070 hasn't received anywhere near the coverage of its two bigger siblings but MSI might just change that with this announcement.

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The RTX 2070 DUKE 8G OC GAMING Z comes with dual TORX Fan 3.0 in their TWIN FROZR 7 cooler , and is able to run completely silently at low temperatures thanks to the Zero Frozr design.  This card will be compatible the MSI Dragon Center, which, with a single click,   optimizes your GPU, SSD, monitor and network settings for gaming.

The DUKE incorporates three TORX Fan 2.0 into its TRI-FROZR cooler and will be the choice of those suffering from RGB overload.  The ARMOR shares much of it's design with the GAMING Z, however it is wearing MSI's trademarked suite of ARMOR.  Last but not least is the AERO, which features a blower design similar to the Founders Edition cards, good for smaller cases which need to remove heat from the case ASAP.

Check out the specifications below for frequencies.

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Source: MSI

It's a bold strategy Cotton, let's see if 50% of a battery works out for them

Subject: General Tech | October 11, 2018 - 02:20 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, Surface Pro, battery

Microsoft have added an interesting feature to their new Surface Pro, the ability to limit the battery charge to a maximum of 50%.  Now, before you start tossing things, this is specifically for scenarios where the Surface Pro will be plugged into mains power all day long.  Limiting the charge should increase the lifespan of the battery, though woe to the user that forgets to change that setting in the UEFI it before heading out on the road.  As The Register points out, Microsoft have had a spotty past with batteries; hopefully they've learned from their mistakes.

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"The setting is only recommended for scenarios where a Surface Pro is constantly connected to a power supply – "all day long" as Microsoft put it, such as in a kiosk situation or perhaps permanently wedged in a desktop dock."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register