Call it ThirdRipper, and other topics Ryzen from AMD's investor group meeting

Subject: General Tech | March 7, 2019 - 12:58 PM |
Tagged: Zen 2, threadripper the third, ryzen pro mobile, Ryzen 3000, epyc 2, amd

Near the beginning of AMD's Investor Relations slidedeck sits a glimpse at what we will see from the company, except for a date with Navi.  Some time before summer break we will see the release of the second generation of Ryzen Pro Mobile chips (picture not to scale), which will bring Zen 2 and improved graphics to your office devices.  

zen3.PNG

Just after the mobile chips and in time to give you a reason not to go outside the third generation of Ryzen desktop chips will hit the market, just as AMD promised.  We already have a good idea about what those chips will be called as well as their specifications; Tim covered it in length here if you have yet to memorize all the models.

We will also see Thirdripper or as The Tech Report prefers, Threadripper the Third, though we lack any information on the date or models, you should expect to see it before the end of the year with even more cores running at a higher frequency.

AMD will also be releasing a Zen 2 based EPYC family, for chiplet fans everywhere!  They suggest it will be twice as fast as the previous generation overall, up to four times as fast in certain floating point operations and as is tradition it will be compatible with the current sockets on EPYC motherboards so you can do a quick and easy drop in upgrade. 

epyc.PNG

"Can you really call something a leak if the company released it on purpose? AMD's just released a slide deck for its investors, and buried in those slides are a few tiny nuggets of interesting information. Let's take a quick peek into the red team's path ahead."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

NVIDIA Explains How Higher Frame Rates Can Give You an Edge in Battle Royale Games

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 7, 2019 - 11:07 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, gaming, fps, battle royale

NVIDIA has published an article about GPU performance and its impact on gaming, specifically the ultra-popular battle royale variety. The emphasis is on latency, and reducing this when gaming with a combination of high FPS numbers and a 144 Hz (and higher) refresh display. Many of these concepts may seem obvious (competitive gaming on CRTs and/or lower resolutions for max performance comes to mind), but there are plenty of slides to look over - with many more over at NVIDIA's post.

"For many years, esports pros have tuned their hardware for ultra-high frame rates -- 144 or even 240 FPS -- and they pair their hardware with high refresh rate monitors. In fact, ProSettings.net and ProSettings.com report that 99% of Battle Royale Pros (Fortnite,PUBG and Apex Legends) are using 144 Hz monitors or above, and 30% are using 240 Hz monitors. This is because when you run a game, an intricate process occurs in your PC from the time you press the keyboard or move the mouse, to the time you see an updated frame on the screen. They refer to this time period as ‘latency’, and the lower your latency the better your response times will be."

battle-royale-latency-comparison.png

While a GTX 750 Ti to RTX 2080 comparison defies explanation, latency obviously drops with performance in this example

"Working with pros through NVIDIA’s research team and Esports Studio, we have seen the benefits of high FPS and refresh rates play out in directed aiming and perception tests. In blind A/B tests, pros in our labs have been able to consistently discern and see benefits from even a handful of milliseconds of reduced latency.

But what does higher frame rates and lower latency mean for your competitiveness in Battle Royale? A few things:

  • Higher FPS means that you see the next frame more quickly and can respond to it
  • Higher FPS on a high Hz monitor makes the image appear smoother, and moving targets easier to aim at. You are also less likely to see microstutters or “skip pixels” from one frame to the next as you pan your crosshair across the screen
  • Higher FPS combined with G-SYNC technologies like Ultra Low Motion Blur (ULMB) makes objects and text sharper and easier to comprehend in fast moving scenes

This is why for Battle Royale games, which rely heavily on reaction times and your ability to spot an enemy quickly, you want to play at 144 FPS or more."

One of the more interesting aspects of this article relates to K/D ratios, with NVIDIA claiming an edge in this are based on GPU performance and monitor refresh rate:

battle-royale-fortnite-pubg-increase-in-kd-gpu.png

"We were curious to understand how hardware and frame rates affect overall competitiveness in Battle Royale games for everyday gamers - while better hardware can’t replace practice and training, it should assist gamers in getting closer to their maximum potential."

battle-royale-fortnite-pubg-increase-in-kd-monitor.png

"One of the common metrics of player performance in Battle Royales is kill-to-death (K/D) ratio -- how many times you killed another player divided by how many times another player killed you. Using anonymized GeForce Experience Highlights data on K/D events for PUBG and Fortnite, we found some interesting insights on player performance and wanted to share this information with the community."

battle-royale-fortnite-pubg-increase-in-kd-hours.png

For more on this topic, and many more charts, check out the article over at NVIDIA.com.

Source: NVIDIA

Logitech's 24-Hour Gaming Stream and Fundraiser for International Women’s Day Starts Today

Subject: General Tech | March 7, 2019 - 10:37 AM |
Tagged: water, twitch, streaming, logitech g, logitech, IWD, International Women’s Day, gaming, fundraiser, event, charity, blue microphones, ASTRO Gaming

Logitech is hosting a 24-hour live stream beginning today (March 7) at 2:00 PM Pacific Time / 5:00 PM Eastern  to celebrate International Women’s Day; with Logitech G, ASTRO Gaming, and Blue Microphones also involved in this "multi-city live stream".

Logitech-G-IWD.jpeg

"To celebrate International Women’s Day, we want to acknowledge the women who contributed to gaming. Some of our favorite games have women at the helm, and many women are involved in creating the amazing technology used to play these great games.

As a part of this celebration,  Logitech, Logitech G, ASTRO Gaming and  Blue Microphones will host a 24-hour, multi-city live stream on March 7 and 8 to raise funds for charity: water. Their goal is to bring clean and safe drinking water to developing countries improving health, education and opportunity – especially for women and children, who spend up to 40 billion hours a year walking to collect clean water. It’s our goal to help improve the quality of life for women globally."

You can access the stream via the Logitech G Twitch channel and on TILTIFY, featuring "female gamers and Logitech employees around the world." Donations can be made to the foundation during the live stream, with Logitech matching the first $15,000.

"Please join us for this one-of-a-kind event. Help us celebrate diversity and donate to a worthy cause. As little as a $30 donation will bring clean water to an individual for an entire year. And if we hit our $30,000 goal, we’ll be able to bring three full communities clean water!"

Logitech provides this 24-hour stream schedule:

Thursday, March 7

  • 2pm – 10pm PT
    • Broadcast from the Logitech office in Newark, Calif.
    • Guest Streamer: @JessBrohard
  • 10pm – 2am PT /  Mar 8 7pm – 11pm Napier, New Zealand
    • Broadcast from New Zealand
    • Guest Streamer: LoriiPops

Friday, March 8

  • 2am – 6am PT / 10am – 2pm GMT
    • Broadcast from the Logitech office in Cork, Ireland
    • Guest Streamer: Fuzzy Freaks
  • 6am – 10am PT / 8am – 12pm CST
    • Broadcast from Mexico City, Mexico (in Spanish)
    • Guest Streamer: Why So Sara
  • 10am – 2pm PT
    • Broadcast from ASTRO Gaming in San Francisco, Calif.
    • Guest Streamer: @JessBrohard
Source: Logitech

OK, we exeucted Order 66 ... now what?

Subject: General Tech | March 6, 2019 - 03:23 PM |
Tagged: Respawn Entertainment, ea, Star Wars, Jedi: Fallen Order, gaming

On April 13th the true power of the Fallen Order shall be demonstrated, as EA and Respawn Entertainment will reveal a demonstration of the new Star Wars game at the Star Wars Celebration convention in Chicago.  Along with the new game, there will also be an announcement involving Star Wars: The Old Republic, for those who are still playing that game. 

We don't know much about the new game, and with the developer of Titanfall and Apex Legends involved it could be just about anything.  You can see the official announcement of the pending announcement over at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN.

starwars1313-920x584.jpg

"If you’ve been off in a galaxy far, far away, Fallen Order is set shortly after the prequel trilogy, and tells the story of a young Padawan who somehow survived Order 66, the backstabbilicious Jedi purge carried out by the Emperor’s loyal clone army."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Chilling out with the Radeon VII

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 6, 2019 - 01:47 PM |
Tagged: radeon vii, amd, undervolting, Radeon Wattman, Radeon Chill

A question that has been asked about the new Radeon VII is how undervolting will change the performance of the card and now [H]ard|OCP has the answer.  Making use of AMD's two tools for this, Wattman and Chill, and the 19.2.2 driver they tested clockspeed and temperature when running Far Cry 5.  As it turns out, undervolting the Radeon VII has a noticeable impact on performance, increasing the average FPS to 105.7 from 101.5, while enabling Chill drops that number to 80fps. 

Check out the full review to see what happened to the performance in other games as well as the effect on temperatures.

1551043702oc0tueeqyz_1_6_l.png

"Is Radeon Chill or GPU undervolting the answer? We run the Radeon VII through some real world gaming and show you exactly what Chill and Undervolting will do to, or for your gameplay."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

How about some good news for a change, like a GPU price correction?

Subject: General Tech | March 6, 2019 - 12:34 PM |
Tagged: amd, nvidia, cryptocurrency

The cryptocurrency fad has been driving us insane for the past few years as we saw unprecedented demand for GPUs cause prices to jump far above MSRP and possibly contribute to the launch prices of the current generation of GPUs.  Now that the miners have moved on to other things, or to ASICs designed specifically for mining, NVIDIA and AMD saw a large drop in sales volume.

DigiTimes have heard from card vendors that they have an immense amount of inventory stuck in warehouses now that demand has dried up.  According to their sources, the price cuts we've seen on the GTX 1060 and 1070 as well as the RX580 may start to spread to other cards in an attempt to clear space for new inventory.  You shouldn't expect huge drops over a short time, but you should definitely keep your eye out for bargains over the coming months.

pmEa6Rb.jpg

"With the dissipation of the cryptocurrency mining fad, graphics card players have begun cutting product prices in a bid to clear out excess inventory at the expense of profitability, according to industry sources."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Spoiler alert! Don't have a Meltdown but Spectre isn't the only spooky thing about Intel chips

Subject: General Tech | March 5, 2019 - 06:29 PM |
Tagged: spoiler, spectre, security, meltdown, Intel

******Update*****

A spokesperson from Intel reached out to provide a statement for us.

“Intel received notice of this research, and we expect that software can be protected against such issues by employing side channel safe software development practices. This includes avoiding control flows that are dependent on the data of interest. We likewise expect that DRAM modules mitigated against Rowhammer style attacks remain protected. Protecting our customers and their data continues to be a critical priority for us and we appreciate the efforts of the security community for their ongoing research.”

This is good news as the original report suggested a sofware mitigation might not be possible.

********** End Update ***********

If Tim's post earlier today was bright spot on an otherwise dismal day, then get ready for the clouds to roll back in.  The performance drop experience from protecting yourself against Spectre and it's variants may have been mitigated to a point, however researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Massachusetts, and the University of Lubeck have discovered Intel chips are still vulnerable to a newly discovered vulnerability dubbed Spoiler. 

Like the previous vulnerabilities it exploits speculative execution however unlike Spectre, Meltdown and their variants, it attacks via the Memory Order Buffer, using the timing behaviour it exposes.  If there is one bit of good news in this discovery, it is that only Intel processors are affected and not AMD nor ARM.

Read on at Slashdot if you aren't already depressed enough.

hahahaha-oh-i-made-myself-sad.jpg

"Like the Spectre and Meltdown attacks revealed in January 2018, Spoiler also abuses speculative execution in Intel chips to leak secrets. However, it targets a different area of the processor called the Memory Order Buffer, which is used to manage memory operations and is tightly coupled with the cache."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Slashdot

Samsung Mass Producing eUFS 3.0 Mobile Storage

Subject: General Tech | March 5, 2019 - 11:05 AM |
Tagged: V-NAND, smartphone, Samsung, eUFS

Samsung has begun mass production of its latest V-NAND based mobile storage solution. Conforming to the eUFS 3.0 standard, Samsung’s latest chips pair eight layers of 512Gb dies with a high-performance controller into a tiny 512 GB chip suitable for thin phones and tablets.

eUFS_512GB USB3.0_Ver_ A.jpg

Samsung claims its eUFS (embedded Universal Flash Storage) 3.0 chips offer up to twice the sequential performance of previous generation eUFS 2.1 storage and 20-times the performance of a typical micro SD card (~100 IOPS though some are faster). Specifically, the 512GB eUFS 3.0 chip offers up to 2,100 MB/s sequential read, 410 MB/s sequential write, 63,000 random read, and 68,000 random write speeds. The chart below compares eUFS 3.0, eUFS 2.1, eMMC 5.1, and a M.2 NVMe SSD.

  Samsung eUFS 3.0 Samsung 1TB eUFS 2.1 Samsung 512GB eUFS 2.0 MyDigitalSSD SBX M.2 NVMe eMMC 5.1
Sequential Read 2,100 MB/s 1,000 MB/s 860 MB/s 1,600 MB/s 250 MB/s
Sequential Write 410 MB/s 260 MB/s 255 MB/s 1,300 MB/s 125 MB/s
Random Read IOPS 63,000 58,000 42,000 240,000+ 11,000
Random Write IOPS 68,000 50,000 40,000 180,000+ 13,000

eUFS 3.0, eUFS 2.1, and eMMC 5.1 numbers courtesy Samsung. NVME PCI-E x2 SSD numbers are from PC Perspective in our review of the drive. For further comparison typical modern SATA SSD tend to be around 550 MB/s for sequentials and 95,000 IOPS.

Smartphone and tablets utilizing eUFS 3.0 should end up being notably faster than previous storage solutions. Interestingly, Samsung has managed to pull off sequential read performance that rivals much larger multi-chip NVME PCI-E x2 M.2 solid state drives though writes do not come close to those drives due to the number of chips/channels being much higher on the M.2 form factor whereas the eUFS 3.0 is limited to a single chip and limited layers to spread writes across. Random read and write performance is respectable with eUFS 3.0 but again not anywhere close to PCI-E/NVMe M.2 drives. Compared to a SATA SSD however, eUFS 3.0 looks much better offering significantly faster sequential reads (writes are fairly low to be competitive though) and with random performance that starts to approach budget and/or low capacity SATA SSD performance. That’s not to say computer users should give up M.2 for eUFS, of course, but that smartphone storage is rapidly improving and starting to close the gap between the platforms / form factors.

Samsung will be launching 512 GB and 128 GB eUFS 3.0 chips imminently with 1 TB and 256 GB chips to follow in the second half of 2019. We may have to wait until next year to see the new eUFS 3.0 standard catch on with most smartphones launching in 2019 already announced last month at Mobile World Congress. It is possible that some of those phones will use the faster internal storage, like Samsung’s own Galaxy Fold, but most will likely be based on eUFS 2.1.

Related reading:

Source: Samsung

NVIDIA Announces GeForce 419.35 WHQL Driver, RTX Triple Threat Bundle

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 5, 2019 - 09:48 AM |
Tagged: Tom Clancy’s The Division II, RTX Triple Threat Bundle, rtx, ray tracing, nvidia, geforce, gaming, devil may cry 5, bundle, Apex Legends, 419.35 WHQL

GeForce Game Ready Driver 419.35 WHQL

NVIDIA has released their latest Game Ready driver today, 419.35 WHQL, for "the optimal gaming experience for Apex Legends, Devil May Cry 5, and Tom Clancy’s The Division II". The update also adds three monitors to the G-SYNC compatible list, with the BenQ XL2540-B/ZOWIE XL LCD, Acer XF250Q, and Acer ED273 A joining the ranks.

apex-screenshot-world-overview.jpg

Apex Legends World Overview (image credit: EA)

"Our newest Game Ready Driver introduces optimizations and updates for Apex Legends, Devil May Cry 5, and Tom Clancy’s The Division II, giving you the best possible experience from the second you start playing.

In addition, we continue to optimize and improve already-released games, such as Metro Exodus, Anthem, and Battlefield V, which are included in our new GeForce RTX Triple Threat Bundle."

RTX Triple Threat Bundle

NVIDIA's latest game bundle offers desktop and laptop RTX 2060 and 2070 buyers a choice of Anthem, Battlefield V, or Metro Exodus. Buyers of the high-end RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti graphics cards (including laptops) get all three of these games.

geforce-rtx-triple-bundle.jpg

"For a limited time, purchase a qualifying GeForce RTX 2080 Ti or 2080 graphics card, gaming desktop, or gaming laptop and get Battlefield V, Anthem, and Metro Exodus (an incredible $180 value!). Pick up a qualifying GeForce RTX 2070 or 2060 graphics card, gaming desktop, or gaming laptop and get your choice of these incredible titles."

The free games offer begins today, with codes redeemable "beginning March 5, 2019 until May 2, 2019 or while supplies last." You can download the latest NVIDIA driver here.

Source: NVIDIA

Microsoft Rolling Out Retpoline Optimizations Update to Reduce Performance Impact of Spectre 2 Mitigations

Subject: General Tech | March 4, 2019 - 08:12 PM |
Tagged: windows udpate, spectre, security, retpoline, microsoft, meltdown, cve-2017-5715

Microsoft recently detailed its testing of retpoline optimizations present in Windows Insider Preview builds of its Windows 10 operating system (18272 and newer) and has announced that starting with Microsoft Update KB4482887 on March 1st the company will be rolling out and enabling the Google-developed Retpoline performance optimizations that reduce the performance impact of security mitigations put in place to combat Spectre Variant 2 (CVE-2017-5715). Windows 10 users running 64-bit versions of Windows 10 Build 1809 and newer will have the Retpoline optimizations installed with the KB4482887 and other updates turned on via cloud configuration in a phased rollout.

noretpolineforme.jpg

No retpoline fixups for me, at least not until Microsoft Update stops failing to install a newer build (heh). It may be time to nuke it from orbit and start fresh! If you get this error on a supported build you may have to run this PowerShell script from the Microsoft Support website to get it to work though when I tried I was not able to get PS to import the module...

As a refresher, Spectre Variant 2 is a security vulnerability related to speculative execution that requires CPU microcode as well as OS kernel updates to mitigate. Red Hat summarizes CVE-2017-5715 as “an indirect branching poisoning attack that can lead to data leakage. This attack allows for a virtualized guest to read memory from the host system.” Microsoft further clairifies:

“At a high level, the Spectre variant 2 attack exploits indirect branches to steal secrets located in higher privilege contexts (e.g. kernel-mode vs user-mode). Indirect branches are instructions where the target of the branch is not contained in the instruction itself, such as when the destination address is stored in a CPU register.”

Unfortunately, while Spectre Variant 1 was able to be patched at the OS kernel level, Spectre Variant 2 required processor microcode updates (or new hardware with different speculative execution methods) and the patches while necessary to improve security and mitigate potential attacks have an impact on performance. Last year, Google began work on “retpoline” to attempt to reduce the performance impact that these security measures have on systems. Retpoline ended up being much faster than IBRS (indirect branch restricted speculation) which is the default behavior post-mitigations but still slower than regular indirect calls / jumps (pre-mitigations). Retpoline replaces all indirect calls or jumps in kernel-mode binaries with indirect brand sequences that have safe speculation behavior, according to Microsoft. Retpoline applies to all AMD processors as well as Intel Broadwell and older architecture-based chips where the CPU RET (return from procedure) instructions do not speculate based on the contents of indirect call brand prediction. The retpoline methods allow for safe control transfers to target addresses by performing a function call, modifying the return address, and returning it. The optimizations are traditionally done at compile time with indirect calls being replaced with retpoline sequences. Microsoft stated that due to its need for legacy support and third-party driver code, such a compile-time optimization was simply not practical. Instead, Microsoft performs the retpoline optimizations at runtime. It extended the DVRT (Dynamic Value Relocation Table) format and NT Memory Manager to support the new retpoline metadata that can be added to the DVRT without breaking backwards compatibility. Speaking of backwards compatibility, the Redmond-based software giant plans to continue shipping Windows 10 as-is in a non-retpoline state to maintain wider compatibility and software support. Drivers and software that do support retpoline will be able to take advantage of the optimizations, however.

“As mentioned earlier, the Windows implementation needs to support mixed environments in which some drivers are not compiled with retpoline support. This means that we cannot simply replace every indirect call with a retpoline sequence like the example shown in the introduction. We need to ensure that the kernel gets the opportunity to inspect the target of the call or jump so that it can apply appropriate mitigations if the target does not support retpoline.” - Mehmet_Iyigun, Microsoft

DVRT metadata can store retpoline data for import calls/jumps, switchable jumps, and generic indirect calls/jumps, and then the extended NT Memory Manager infrastructure is used to understand that metadata and apply fixups / retpoline optimizations where applicable.

What does all this mean for performance though? Well, according to Microsoft and its internal testing, the company saw approximately 25% faster Microsoft Office application startup times and between a 1.5 to 2-times increase in storage and networking performance which is a notable improvement post-Spectre 2 patches. They also claimed that the performance impact has been "reduced to noise level for most situations." If you are running Windows Insider Preview 18272 or later on supporting hardware the retpoline optimizations should already be turned on for you (you can double check with PowerShell cmdlet Get-SpeculationControlSettings) and if you are running Windows 10 1809 or later the optimizations will be enabled within the first half of this year in a phased rollout.

Until we get new processors that are not affected by the various speculative execution attacks (which could be difficult if not impossible to totally eliminate just due to the nature of how those performance tricks work), optimizations like retpoline to reduce the performance impact of patches that improved security but limited full potential chip performance may well be our best bet.

Are you running one of the Windows Insider builds with retpoline enabled and noticed any increased application performance? You can check out Microsoft’s blog post with all the juicy programming details here. You can find the KB4482887 update information page here.

Related reading:

Source: Microsoft

So, you're looking for an EPYC rack?

Subject: Systems | March 4, 2019 - 07:44 PM |
Tagged: amd, EPYC, asrock, EPYCD8-2T

The continuing shortage of high end Intel CPUs for servers has been good for AMD, or at least it could be if they could get the major vendors to help sell them.  While a local shop or small business might have had a bad experience years ago which has resolved them never to use another AMD products, large scale hosts like CTL or Amazon are not going to be limited by prejudice which has an effect on their bottom line.

What better way to demonstrate the abilities of an AMD EPYC system to someone than to build one and roll it out into production?  Phoronix have done just that, using ASRock's EPYCD8-2T board so they could test the performance on eight different Linux distros.  Check out the results for yourself and think about the possiblity of an upgrade, before you can get your hands on that Xeon.

rack.PNG

"If you are looking to assemble an AMD EPYC workstation, a great ATX motherboard up for the task is the ASRock Rack EPYCD8-2T that accommodates a single EPYC processor, eight SATA 3.0 ports (including SAS HD), dual M.2 PCIe slots, dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports,and four PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots all within ATX's 12 x 9.6-inch footprint."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

Source: Phoronix

MSI has a new Cherry ride for your fingers, the Vigor GK6

Subject: General Tech | March 4, 2019 - 06:28 PM |
Tagged: cherry mx red, msi, gaming keyboard, Vigor GK60, input, RGB

MSI's new Vigor GK60 keyboard sports Cherry MX Red switches and has an MSRP of $109.99, but is available for $99.99 for a limited time if you feel the need right now.   As this is 2019 the keyboard is legally required to meet a minimum of RGBs, which the GK60 easily surpasses and for those who are using MSI's Mystic Light for other components, you will see your new keyboard listed in that software.

Click over to TechPowerUp for a closer look at the outsides and insides of this keyboard, the caps and the switches.

keyboard-2.jpg

"2019 brings with it our first MSI keyboard review in the form of the recently announced Vigor GK60. It is a full-size keyboard with Cherry MX Red switches for a solid base for gamers and does not break the bank. The addition of some MSI-specific features and software and hardware control over function and form means this is a keyboard you would want to know more about!"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: TechPowerUp

USB superfriends ... Intel, Thunderbolt and the USB Promoters Group are here to save us from the USB-IF!

Subject: General Tech | March 4, 2019 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: usb-if, usb 4, thunderbolt 3, open source, Intel

Intel has made good on their promise from 2017 to release the Thunderbolt specifications to the industry so that upcoming products can offer that connection without being tied to an Intel license and the possible limitations included therein.  Today Thunderbolt 3 was released to the USB Promoter Group, who promptly undid the insanity that the USB-IF released upon us last week by promptly announcing it will be the basis of USB 4.

Thanks to their lack of an obsession over stringing letters and numbers to the back of USB 3 we will end up with a certified standard that provides "two-lane operation using existing USB Type-C cables and up to 40 Gbps operation over 40 Gbps-certified cables" (pdf link).  It will maintain backwards compatibility with previous Thunderbolt generations as well as the various flavours of USB 2 and 3.  It may or may not be compatible with the new ones, such as USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 ... indeed one might hope they refuse to accept such things into their specifications. 

Considering that the USB-IF and USB-PG are closely related, this new nomenclature will be the new standard and last weeks announcement just a memory.

Intel-Thunderbolt3-3.jpg

"Releasing the Thunderbolt protocol specification is a significant milestone for making today’s simplest and most versatile port available to everyone. This, in combination with the integration of Thunderbolt 3 into upcoming Intel processors is a win-win for the industry and consumers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Intel

Samsung Announces Galaxy Smartphone Lineup for 2019

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | March 2, 2019 - 11:00 AM |
Tagged: MWC, snapdragon 855, SD855, Samsung, galaxy, foldable, android 9

During Samsung's own Samsung's Unpacked press conference as well as Mobile World Congress in Spain the Sourth Korea-based tech giant unveiled a beaucoup of new smartphones, tablets, and accessories. The new Galaxy series smartphones were the headliners though with Samsung revealing a new flagship foldable smartphone at the top, four high-end S10 tier phones, and two budget A tier smartphones all within the Galaxy brand. Needless to say, it is a lot to process!

Samsung Galaxy Fold.png

The Samsung Galaxy Fold is the new Galaxy flagship and is Samsung's first smartphone with a foldable AMOLED display [Video]. At first blush the new device is a thck bar of soap with rounded edges, a USB-C port along the bottom edge, and a camera bump around back with three lenses. A 4.6" full HD display sits in the center of the front face with a 10MP selfie camera and large bezels top and bottom. The right side is where the magic happens though, where the smartphone can be opened up like a book to reveal a larger 7.3" dynamic AMOLED display (QXGA) where it can be used like a tablet with up to three applications running at once in separate windows. Samsung claims that "app continuity" allows apps to switch between the cover display and the main tablet display with ease. When the 2-in-1 device is opened up in tablet mode there are two front facing selfie cameras (10MP dual pixel + 8MP RGB depth camera). Around back there are three cameras including a 12MP wide angle, 16MP ulta wide angle, and 12MP telephoto camera. The camera system offers dual optical image stabilization as well.

Samsung Galaxy Fold Cover and Rear Camera.png

On the inside Samsung has opted for Qualcomm's Snaptdragon 855 platform paired with 12GB of LPDDR4x memory and 512GB of storage. Unfortunately there is no micro SD card support on the Galaxy Fold, but at least the internal memory is UFS 3.0 rather than the older (and slower) UFS 2.1 used in the rest of the Galaxy series. Two batteries (one in each half to balance the weight) add up to 4,380 mAh.

Samsung's new flagship comes at quite a premium though, with MSRP of $1980. It should be available starting in April 2019.

Moving down to the (slightly) more affordable S tier, Samsung has refreshed the Galaxy S series with four new devices: the S10+ at $999, the S10 at $899, and the entry-level S10e at $749. There is also the S10 5G that includes the optional X50 modem to all the largest S10 to connect to upcoming 5G cellular networks.

Samsung Galaxy S10e, S10, S10Plus.jpg

The Galaxy S10+ offers a 6.4" Infinity-O edge QHD+ AMOLED display sans notch with a 10MP dual pixel camera and 8MP RGB depth camera in the top right corner of the display in a slim body with rounded corners. Around back, the S10+ features a triple camera system with a wide angle, ultra wide angle, and telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom and dual OIS. The S10+ comes with glass display and either a glass back or a ceramic back with the ceramic variant weighing slightly more but, at least in theory, being much more durable.

The S10+ comes in Prism White, Prism Black, Prism Green, Prism Blue, Ceramic White, and Ceramic Black. The glass backs' prism colors have a glossy pearlescent look while the ceramic models are more solid and matte.

Internally, the S10+ uses a Snapdragon 855 SoC, 4,100mAh battery, and comes in configurations of 8GB RAM / 128GB ROM, 8GB RAM / 512GB ROM, and 12GB RAM / 1TB ROM. Yes, that's 1TB of internal memory on a phone – and it can be expanded with a Micro SD card officially up to 512GB.

  S10e S10 S10+ S10 5G Fold
Display 5.8" Flat FHD (2280x1080) 6.1" Edge QHD+ (3040x1440) 6.4" Edge QHD+ (3040x1440) 6.7" QHD+ 4.6" (FHD) - 7.3" (QXGA)
Cameras

Front: 10MP dual pixel AF

Rear:12MP wide 77° FOV + 16MP 123° ultra wide angle

OIS

Front: 10MP dual pixel AF

Rear:12MP wide 77° FOV + 16MP 123° ultra wide angle + 12MP telephoto 45° (2x optical zoom)
Dual OIS

Front: 10MP dual pixel + 8MP RGB depth

Rear:12MP wide 77° FOV + 16MP 123° ultra wide angle + 12MP telephoto 45° (2x optical zoom)
Dual OIS

 

Front: 10MP dual pixel + 8MP RGB depth

Rear:12MP wide 77° FOV + 16MP 123° ultra wide angle + 12MP telephoto 45° (2x optical zoom) + 3D depth sense camera (ToF sensor)
Dual OIS

Cover: 10MB

Front: 10MP dual pixel + 8MP RGB depth

Rear:12MP wide 77° FOV + 16MP 123° ultra wide angle + 12MP telephoto 45° (2x optical zoom)
Dual OIS

CPU SD855 SD855 SD855 SD855 + X50 SD855
RAM 6GB / 8GB 8GB 8GB / 8GB / 12GB 8GB 12GB LPDDR4x
Storage 128GB / 256GB 128GB / 512GB 128GB / 512GB / 1TB 256GB 512GB
mSD Yes Yes Yes N/A N/A
Battery 3,100 mAh 3,400 mAh 4,100 mAh 4,500 mAh 4,380 mAh
Dimensions 142.2 x 69.9 x 7.9 mm 149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8 mm 57.6 x 74.1 x 7.8 mm 162.6 x 77.1 x 7.94 mm ?
Weight 150 g 157 g 175 g (glass) or 175 g (ceramic) 198 g ?
Price $749 $899 $999 $? $1980

Stepping down to the standard S10 model gets you a slightly small phone with a similar quality edge QHD+ AMOLED display albeit at 6.1". There is only one front facing camera here though, with the depth sensor being removed and only the 10MP dual pixel camera remaining. Bokeh effects in selfie portraits are still possible, but using the NPU to simulate it rather than doing it in hardware. Around back, the S10 matches the triple camera system of the S10+ model so you are not losing anything there. The smaller phone is also lighter at 157 grams vs 175+ on the S10+ and it comes in the same Prism color options sans the ceramics.

You lose some battery going with the smaller S10 though at just 3,400 mAh as well as hardware specifications with the smartphone maxing out at 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 512GB of UFS 2.1 storage.

Samsung also introduced the S10e which is a new entry level tier to the Galaxy S series that gets you most of the features at a more affordable (for today's smartphones anyway) price with some compromises. The S10e is the smallest and lightest of the bunch and offers a 5.8" flat full HD+ display that is still Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED and HDR10+ certified like the higher end models but is flat rather than curved. There is a single front-facing 10MP camera in the top right corner of the display and a dual camera system on the back of the phone which includes a 12MP wide angle and a 16MP ultra wide angle lens. There is no telephoto lens for optical zoom and the optical image stabilization is also of lower caliber. While the higher-end S10 and S10+ have ultrasonic fingerprint sensors embedded in the display, the budget S10e opts for an optical fingerprint reader integrated into the side power button which is not the end of the world so long as it's fast.

Specifications wise, the S10e retains the Snapdragon 855 (or Exynos 9820 depending on market) of the rest of the S series but RAM and storage options are limited to 6GB / 128GB or 8GB / 256GB respectively though there is still a micro SD card slot. You also lose a bit of battery at just 3,100 mAh but the loss is not as big as the gap between the S10 and S10+.

The S10+ comes in all of the same glossy Prism color as well as a Canary Yellow option with not all regions getting the same colors (if you want the yellow version you'll need to import it in the US, for example). The prism colors have a pearlescent look while the Canary Yellow is a solid flat but bright color.

According to Samsung, the various S10 models (which are all also IP68 rated) are the first smartphones with HDR10+ and Wi-Fi 6 certifications. The Snapdragon 855 offers 29% more CPU and 37% GPU performance versus last year's Galaxy S9. Samsung is using an intelligent battery algorithm to improve battery life by up to 25% by analyzing how you use apps and reducing CPU usage accordingly. The phones support wireless charging (Fast Wireless Charging 2.0) as well as reverse wireless charging with Powershare to charge other Qi devices (like the new Samsung Galaxy Buds (video), but that's a different story). All the S10 smartphones reportedly offer displays that can get very bright (850 to 1250+ nits) which should help a ton when trying to use it outdoors on sunny days. Other interesting tidbits of information that have come out include a heart rate/oxygen sensor on the back of the S10 and S10+, the S10+ (and only the plus version) using heat pipe / vapor cooling, and the ability to (finally) remap the Bixby button coming soon (for the S10 and older Galaxy devices).

The S10e, S10, and S10+ are slated for US availability on March 8th, with the Galaxy Fold coming sometime in April and the S10 5G making its debut over the summer.

Engadget got hands-on with the S10 5G at MWC 2019 on a test 5G network.

Samsung also showed off the "Galaxy S10 5G" which is an even larger Galaxy phone with a 6.7" display. The company did not reveal as much information about this 5G capable devices as it did about the others, but it is a bit of an odd duck. It has the same front facing camera setup and the rear camera system has been beefed up with a fourth sensor: a Time of Flight sensor that allows for more realistic depth of field as well as adjustable bokeh effects when recording video and taking portraits.

The S10 5G gets the Snapdragon 855 and the X50 modem along with a larger 4,500 mAh battery, but storage has been limited to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. There is no microSD card support on this model.

Pricing and available colors are still an unknown though it is expected to launch this summer in the US.

Left: The Galaxy A30. Right: the Galaxy A50. (Image Credit: Samsung)

Finally, it is worth also mentioning that Samsung also announced two budget A tier Galaxy phones with the Galaxy A30 and Galaxy A50. These cheaper Galaxy devices use Samsung's notched Infinity-U displays at 6.4" (2340x1080 resolution) and a "3D Glasstic" body construction. The A50 gets a 25MP + 8MP ultra-wide + depth camera in back along with a single 25MP front camera while the A30 only have a dual rear camera system (16MP + 5MP wide angle) and a 16MP front camera. The Galaxy A50 is powered by an Exynos 9610 SoC, Mali G72 GPU, and either 4GB RAM / 64GB storage or 6GB RAM / 128GB storage. It uses a 4,000 mAh battery. The A50 will come in black, white, blue, and coral colors. Meanwhile the Galaxy A30 steps things down to a Exynos 7885 Octa and Mali-G71 GPU along with 3GB RAM / 32GB ROM or 4GB RAM / 64GB ROM. It will be available in black, white, or blue. While the A50 has an in-display fingerprint reader, the A30's fingerprint reader is mounted on the back of the phone. The A series is also IP68 dust and water resistant like its more expensive S siblings. These budget phones which are primarily going to launch in non-US markets (e.g. India, China, et al) are expected to be available in Q1.

What are your thoughts on Samsung's 2019 lineup? I think they did some interesting things and while I'm not sold on the Galaxy Fold (the front/cover display bezels are a bit much especially on an almost $2,000 phone!), I am looking forward to the reviews on the S10+ and the S10 5G with the video recording and photo/camera improvements they've made along with things like the laser cutout for the front cameras eliminating the need for a notch and the ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor (though I think I would still prefer the rear mounted sensor like my V30 has as the positioning seems more natural than at the bottom of the front face). The battery AI sounds cool, but how useful it will be in practice remains to be seen. If the reports of the much brighter displays is true though, that's going to be pretty huge as viewing OLED in direct sunlight is a pain.

Source:

A little cost savings on a SilentiumPC LCS

Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 1, 2019 - 03:26 PM |
Tagged: watercooling, SilentiumPC, Navis RGB 240, Navis RGB 280, AIO, LCS

These two coolers from SilentiumPC run a little cheaper than many kits of similar size on the market, which might indicate they are not quite up to snuff or that they are a great bargain.  The Guru of 3D is here to help, by offering you their results and removing that mystery.  As you should expect, the 280mm kit offers better cooling results and generates less noise, though the 240mm kit still handled their i7-8700 without issue.  While these two coolers did not top the performance charts they do offer solid performance at a decent cost, as you can see for yourself.

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"Priced at 65 and 75 EUR we take a peek at two new AIO coolers from SilentiumPC: the Navis RGB 240 and 280 mm variants. These are the latest products from this Polish company known mainly for their chassis, power supplies and air coolers."

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

CASES & COOLING

 

Source: Guru of 3D

Holla Holla for the HoloLens 2

Subject: General Tech | March 1, 2019 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: hololens 2, microsoft, AR

The new HoloLens will set you back $3500, so the chances are slim you will convince your boss to buy one, and as it is an AR device to help with work you are not likely to pick one up for your home.  That does not make it any less interesting, using the headset a reporter from The Inquirer was able to be assisted through safely replacing a worn belt of a mock landing gear part which is apparently no small feat for the untrained.  It isn't suggested you use it to Skype your surgeon to assist in performing random appendectomies but perhaps your surgeon could be helped by a specialist from a far off location. 

Check out the new carbon fibre design and initial thoughts, as you probably won't get hands on this anytime soon.

HoloLens2RMC-540x334.jpg

"Packing a head-mounted display with all the processing power needed in the headset and the ability to mess with holograms superimposed over the real-world was undeniably a little taste of future tech sci-fi promised."

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Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

GeForce Driver Updates Contain Security Fixes

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 28, 2019 - 11:25 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers, security

Normally, when we discuss graphics drivers, there are a subset of users that like to stay on old versions. Some have older hardware and they believe that they will get limited benefits going forward. Others encounter a bug with a certain version and will refuse to update until it is patched.

In this case – you probably want to update regardless.

nvidia-2015-bandaid.png

NVIDIA has found eight security vulnerabilities in their drivers, which have been corrected in their latest versions. One of them also affects Linux... more on that later.

On Windows, there are five supported branches:

  • Users of R418 for GeForce, Quadro, and NVS should install 419.17.
  • Users of R418 for Tesla should install 418.96.
  • Users of R400 for Quadro and NVS should install 412.29.
  • Users of R400 for Tesla should install 412.29.
  • Users of R390 for Quadro and NVS should install 392.37.

Basically, you should install 419.17 unless you are using professional hardware.

One issue is being likened to Meltdown and Spectre although it is not quite the same. In those cases, the exploit took advantage of hardware optimizations leak system memory. In the case of CVE-2018-6260, however, the attack uses NVIDIA’s performance counters to potentially leak graphics memory. The difference is that GPU performance counters are a developer tool, used by applications like NVIDIA Nsight, to provide diagnostics. Further, beyond targeting a developer tool that can be disabled, this attack also requires local access to the device.

Linux users are also vulnerable to this attack (but not the other seven):

  • Users of R418 for GeForce, Quadro, and NVS should install 418.43.
  • Users of R418 for Tesla should install 418.39.
  • Users of R400 for GeForce, Quadro, NVS, and Tesla should install 410.104.
  • Users of R390 for GeForce, Quadro, NVS, and Tesla should install 390.116.
  • Users of R384 for Tesla should install 384.183.

Whether on Windows or Linux, after installing the update, a hidden option will allow you to disable GPU performance counters unless admin credentials are provided. I don’t know why it’s set to the insecure variant by default… but the setting can be toggled in the NVIDIA Control Panel. On Windows it’s Desktop then Enable Developer Settings then Manage GPU Performance Counters under Developer then Restrict access to the GPU counters to admin users only. See the driver release notes (especially the "Driver Security" section) for more info.

nvidia-2019-disableperfcounters.png

The main thing to fix is the other seven, however. That just requires the driver update. You should have received a notification from GeForce Experience if you use it; otherwise, check out NVIDIA’s website.

Source: NVIDIA

Cooler Master's got that analogue feeling, the MH751

Subject: General Tech | February 28, 2019 - 03:28 PM |
Tagged: MH751, analogue, cooler master, gaming headset, audio

Cooler Master's MH751 is the analogue sibling of the USB MH752 and is designed to offer performance, with no extraneous features like RGBs, for a decent price.   They are available for $80, so at least they managed that goal, but as for performance and comfort you will have to rely on TechPowerUp's experiences for now.  They described the feel of the headset "like a hug for your head" and were more than happy with the quality of audio which is good news for anyone shopping for a decent, understated headset.

title.jpg

"Cooler Master's new analogue gaming headset hits all the right spots: it's comfortable, performs very well, and offers good value for your money!"

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Audio Corner

Source: TechPowerUp

ADATA hits new highs and lows with the XPG SX8200 Pro

Subject: Storage | February 28, 2019 - 02:27 PM |
Tagged: adata, SX8200 Pro, 1TB, NVMe, SM2262EN

Last year ADATA launched their XPG SX8200 NVMe SSD, which offered impressive speed without a high cost, currently you can grab 1TB for just under $200.  This year they followed up with the XPG SX8200 Pro, using Silicon Motion's new SM2262EN controller, paired with the same 64-layer Micron TLC flash as used on the original.  The Tech Report tested it out and found it to be almost a chart topper, surpassing many other more famous brands, and the best news is it is a mere $10 more than the previous version

If you are looking for a PCIe 4x M.2 NVMe drive, this one should be on your list!

side-by-side.jpg

"Last year's XPG SX8200 was a great NVMe drive, but Adata thinks it can do even better. The XPG SX8200 Pro is mostly the same hardware with just a couple of small changes. Join us to find out whether those end up making all the difference."

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Storage

Meet 5G* ... some restrictions may apply

Subject: General Tech | February 28, 2019 - 01:27 PM |
Tagged: 5G, wireless, Huawei, qualcomm, x50, X55

The roll out of 5G has been somewhat painful to watch, with a variety of questionable marketing techniques and a staggered roll out.  The Inquirer dropped by MWC to see how much progress the various vendors, such as Qualcomm, Intel and Huawei are faring at the moment.  Qualcomm will be rolling out their new X55 to market some time this year, offering up to 7Gbps download speeds with similar power requirements to the existing LTE 4G chips.  Huawei expects delays, for reasons obvious to those who follow the news and Intel is not expecting to deliver anything until next year. 

Take a peek at the picture below for an idea of how segmented the standard is at the moment and then head over for a more detailed look.

sigh.PNG

"If you've been following closely, leading vendors have been subtly playing down expectations and that's closer to reality. The missing bits of Release 15 were delayed three months to focus on stability, the 3GPP said at the time."

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Tech Talk

Source: The Register