PCPer Mailbag #37 - 3/30/2018

Subject: Editorial | March 30, 2018 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: video, pcper mailbag, Allyn Malventano

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

On today's show, Allyn is back to tackle your questions:

00:32 - Speed vs. timings for Ryzen memory?
05:35 - Usage "chronometer" for GPUs?
11:58 - SanDisk Ultra 3D vs. Samsung 860 EVO for boot drive?
12:48 - 3:2 aspect ratio monitors like the Surface Studio?
17:05 - Optane 800p vs. Samsung 960 EVO vs. 960 Pro?

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

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

Source:

Samsung Shows Off M.2 Form Factor Z-NAND Z-SSD at OCP Summit

Subject: Storage | March 29, 2018 - 10:43 PM |
Tagged: z-ssd, Z-NAND, workstation, Samsung, NVMe, M.2, HPC, enterprise

Samsung is expanding its Z-NAND based "Z-SSD" products with a new M.2 solid state drive for workstations and high-performance compute servers. Previously only available in half-height AIC (add-in-card) form factors, the SZ983 M.2 sports a M.2 22110 form factor and NVMe compatible PCI-E 3.0 x4 interface. The new drive was shown off at Samsung's booth during the Open Compute Project Summit in San Jose and was spotted by Anandtech who managed to snap a couple photos of it.

Samsung Z-SSD M_2 NVMe.jpg

Image credit: Anandtech spotted Samsung's M.2 Z-SSD at OCP Summit 2018.

The new M.2 Z-SSD will come in 240GB and 480GB capacities and sports an 8 channel Phoenix controller. The drive on display at OCP Summit 2018 had a part number of MZ1JB240HMGG-000FB-001. Comparing it to the SZ985 PCI-E SSD, this new M.2 drive appears to also have a DRAM cache as well as capacitors to protect data in the event of power loss (data writes would be able to completely write from the cache to the drive before safe shutdown) though we don't know if this drive has the same 1.5GB of LPDDR4 cache or not. Note that the sticker of the M.2 drive reads SZ983 while Samsung elsewhere had the M.2 labeled as the SZ985 (M.2) so it's unclear which name will stick when this actually launches though hopefully it's the former just to avoid confusion. The Phoenix (formerly Polaris v2) controller is allegedly going to also be used on some of the higher end V-NAND drives though we'll have to wait and see if that happens or not.

Anyway, back to performance numbers, Samsung rates the M.2 Z-SSD at 3200 MB/s sequential reads and 2800 MB/s sequential writes (so a bit slower than the SZ985 at writes). Samsung did not talk random IOPS numbers. The drive is rated at the same 30 DWPD (drive writes per day) endurance rating as the SZ985 and will have the same 5-year warranty. I am curious if the M.2 NVMe drive is able to hit the same (or close to) random IOPS numbers as the PCI-E card which is rated at up to 750,000 read and 170,000 write IOPS.

Z-NAND is interesting as it represents a middle ground between V-NAND and other 3D NAND flash and 3D XPoint memory in both terms of cost and latency performance with Z-NAND being closer in latency to XPoint than V-NAND. Where it gets interesting is that Z-NAND is essentially V-NAND just run at a different mode and yet they are able to reduce write latency by 5-times (12-to-20 microseconds) and cell read latency by up to 10-times (16 microseconds). While Samsung is already working on second generation Z-NAND, these drives are using first generation Z-NAND which is the more performance (lowest latency) type but costs quite a bit more than 2nd generation which is only a bit slower (more read latency). Judging by the form 110mm form factor, this M.2 drive is aimed squarely at datacenter and workstation usage and is not likely to lead to a consumer Optane 800P (et al) competitor, but if it does well enough we may see some prosumer and consumer Z-NAND based options in the future with newer generations of Z-NAND as they get the right balance of cost and latency for the desktop gaming and enthusiast market.

Also read:

Source: Anandtech

Eight-GPU SLI in Unreal Engine 4 (Yes There Is a Catch)

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 29, 2018 - 09:52 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, GTC, gp102, quadro p6000

At GTC 2018, Walt Disney Imagineering unveiled a work-in-progress clip of their upcoming Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction, which is expected to launch next year at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort. The cool part about this ride is that it will be using Unreal Engine 4 with eight, GP102-based Quadro P6000 graphics cards. NVIDIA also reports that Disney has donated the code back to Epic Games to help them with their multi-GPU scaling in general – a win for us consumers… in a more limited fashion.

nvidia-2018-GTC-starwars-8-way-sli.jpg

See? SLI doesn’t need to be limited to two cards if you have a market cap of $100 billion USD.

Another interesting angle to this story is how typical PC components are contributing to these large experiences. Sure, Quadro hardware isn’t exactly cheap, but it can be purchased through typical retail channels and it allows the company to focus their engineering time elsewhere.

Ironically, this also comes about two decades after location-based entertainment started to decline… but, you know, it’s Disneyland and Disney World. They’re fine.

Source: NVIDIA

ASRock Enters Graphics Card Market With Phantom Gaming Series of AMD GPUs

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 29, 2018 - 05:45 PM |
Tagged: RX 580, RX 570, RX 560, RX 550, Polaris, mining, asrock, amd

ASRock, a company known mostly for its motherboards that was formerly an Asus sub-brand but is now an independent company owned by Pegatron since 2010 is now getting into the graphics card market with a new Phantom Gaming series. At launch, the Phantom Gaming series is comprised of four AMD Polaris-based graphics cards including the Phantom Gaming RX 550 2G and RX 560 2G on the low end and the Phantom Gaming X RX 570 8G OC and RX 580 8G OC on the mid/high end range.

Phantom Gaming X Radeon RX580 8G OC(L4).png

ASRock is using black shrouds with white accents and silver and red logos. The lower end Phantom Gaming cards utilize a single dual ball bearing fan while the Phantom Gaming X cards use a dual fan configuration. ASRock is using copper baseplates paired with aluminum heatsinks and composite heatpipes. The Phantom Gaming RX 550 and RX 560 cards use only PCI-E slot power while the Phantom Gaming X RX 570 and RX 580 cards get power from both the slot and a single 8-pin PCI-E power connector.

Video outputs include one HDMI 2.0, one DisplayPort 1.4, and one DL-DVI-D on the Phantom Gaming parts and one HDMI 2.0, three DisplayPort 1.4, and one DL-DVI-D on the higher-end Phantom Gaming X graphics cards. All of the graphics card models feature both silent and overclocked modes in addition to their out-of-the-box default clocks depending on whether you value performance or noise. Users can select which mode they want or perform a custom overclock or fan curve using ASRock's Phantom Gaming Tweak utility.

On the performance front, out of the box ASRock is slightly overclocking the Phantom Gaming X OC cards (the RX 570 and RX 580 based ones) and slightly underclocking the lower end Phantom Gaming cards (including the memory which is downclocked to 6 GHz) compared to their AMD reference specifications.

  ASRock RX 580 OC RX 580 ASRock RX 570 OC RX 570 ASRock RX 560 RX 560 ASRock RX 550 RX 550
Cores 2304 2304 2048 2048 896 896 512 512
GPU Clock (MHz) 1380 1340 1280 1244 1149 1275 1100 1183
GPU Clock OC Mode (MHz) 1435 - 1331 - 1194 - 1144 -
Memory (GDDR5) 8GB 8GB 8GB 8GB 2GB 2GB/4GB 2GB 2GB/4GB
Memory Clock (GHz) 8GHz 8GHz 7GHz 7GHz 6GHz 7GHz 6GHz 7GHz
Memory Clock OC Mode (MHz) 8320 - 7280 - 6240 - 6240 -
Texture Units 144 144 128 128 64 64 32 32
ROPs 32 32 32 32 16 16 16 16

The table above shows the comparisons between the ASRock graphics cards and their AMD reference card counterparts. Note that the Phantom Gaming RX 560 2G is based on the cut-down 14 CU (compute unit) model rather than the launch 16 CU GPU. Also, even in OC Mode, ASRock does not bring the memory up to the 7 GT/s reference spec. On the positive side, turning on OC mode does give a decent factory overclock of the GPU over reference. Also nice to see is that on the higher end "OC Certified" Phantom Gaming X cards, ASRock overclocks both the GPU and memory speeds which is often not the case with factory overclocks.

Phantom Gaming Radeon RX550 2G(L1).png

ASRock did not detail pricing with any of the launch announcement cards, but they should be coming soon with 4GB models of the RX 560 an RX 550 to follow later this year.

It is always nice to have more competition in this space and hopefully a new AIB partner for AMD helps alleviate shortages and demand for gaming cards if only by a bit. I am curious how well the cards will perform as while they look good on paper the company is new to graphics cards and the build quality really needs to be there. I am just hoping that the Phantom Gaming moniker is not an allusion to how hard these cards are going to be to find for gaming! (heh) If the rumored Ethereum ASICs do not kill the demand for AMD GPUs I do expect that ASRock will also be releasing mining specific cards as well at some point.

What are your thoughts on the news of ASRock moving into graphics cards?

Also read:

Source: Tech Report

GTC 2018: Nvidia and ARM Integrating NVDLA Into Project Trillium For Inferencing at the Edge

Subject: General Tech | March 29, 2018 - 03:10 PM |
Tagged: project trillium, nvidia, machine learning, iot, GTC 2018, GTC, deep learning, arm, ai

During GTC 2018 NVIDIA and ARM announced a partnership that will see ARM integrate NVIDIA's NVDLA deep learning inferencing accelerator into the company's Project Trillium machine learning processors. The NVIDIA Deep Learning Accelerator (NVDLA) is an open source modular architecture that is specifically optimized for inferencing operations such as object and voice recognition and bringing that acceleration to the wider ARM ecosystem through Project Trillium will enable a massive number of smarter phones, tablets, Internet-of-Things, and embedded devices that will be able to do inferencing at the edge which is to say without the complexity and latency of having to rely on cloud processing. This means potentially smarter voice assistants (e.g. Alexa, Google), doorbell cameras, lighting, and security around the home and out-and-about on your phone for better AR, natural translation, and assistive technologies.

NVIDIAandARM_NVDLA.jpg

Karl Freund, lead analyst for deep learning at Moor Insights & Strategy was quoted in the press release in stating:

“This is a win/win for IoT, mobile and embedded chip companies looking to design accelerated AI inferencing solutions. NVIDIA is the clear leader in ML training and Arm is the leader in IoT end points, so it makes a lot of sense for them to partner on IP.”

ARM's Project Trillium was announced back in February and is a suite of IP for processors optimized for parallel low latency workloads and includes a Machine Learning processor, Object Detection processor, and neural network software libraries. NVDLA is a hardware and software platform based upon the Xavier SoC that is highly modular and configurable hardware that can feature a convolution core, single data processor, planar data processor, channel data processor, and data reshape engines. The NVDLA can be configured with all or only some of those elements and they can independently them up or down depending on what processing acceleration they need for their devices. NVDLA connects to the main system processor over a control interface and through two AXI memory interfaces (one optional) that connect to system memory and (optionally) dedicated high bandwidth memory (not necessarily HBM but just its own SRAM for example).

arm project trillium integrates NVDLA.jpg

NVDLA is presented as a free and open source architecture that promotes a standard way to design deep learning inferencing that can accelerate operations to infer results from trained neural networks (with the training being done on other devices perhaps by the DGX-2). The project, which hosts the code on GitHub and encourages community contributions, goes beyond the Xavier-based hardware and includes things like drivers, libraries, TensorRT support (upcoming)  for Google's TensorFlow acceleration, testing suites and SDKs as well as a deep learning training infrastructure (for the training side of things) that is compatible with the NVDLA software and hardware, and system integration support.

Bringing the "smarts" of smart devices to the local hardware and closer to the users should mean much better performance and using specialized accelerators will reportedly offer the performance levels needed without blowing away low power budgets. Internet-of-Things (IoT) and mobile devices are not going away any time soon, and the partnership between NVIDIA and ARM should make it easier for developers and chip companies to offer smarter (and please tell me more secure!) smart devices.

Also read:

Source: NVIDIA

Podcast #493 - New XPS 13, Noctua NH-L9a, News from NVIDIA GTC and more!

Subject: General Tech | March 29, 2018 - 02:37 PM |
Tagged: podcast, nvidia, GTC 2018, Volta, quadro gv100, dgx-2, noctua, NH-L9a-AM4

PC Perspective Podcast #493 - 03/29/18

Join us this week for our review of the new XPS 13,  Noctua NH-L9a, news from NVIDIA GTC and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath

Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison

Program length: 0:59:35

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. Allyn: retro game music remixed - ocremix.org (torrents)

Wiith GIGABYTE's Aorus X399 Designare EX you get what you pay for

Subject: Motherboards | March 29, 2018 - 02:35 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, designare EX, X399, aorus

Speaking of the X399 Designare EX, [H]ard|OCP recently reviewed this high end Threadripper motherboard.  The features of this motherboard are as impressive as the price, you get eight DDR4 slots, three M.2 ports, 13 USB 3.1 slots with a mix of Gen 1 and 2 though only a single Type-C, dual wired NICs plus WiFi and Bluetooth, not to mention four PCIe 3.0 16x slots.  All of these features do add to the complexity of setting up a system, especially when overclocking so read through the full review for hints on how best to set up your system.

1521197640843huzhoqh_1_9_l.jpg

"GIGABYTE’s X399 Designare EX is a rich, full featured solution for AMD’s Threadripper CPUs. At $370, this isn’t a budget-oriented offering. The thing people usually want to know when looking at motherboards in this price bracket is if such products are worth the extra cost. Read on to find out if this gaming and workstation offering is worthwhile."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

ThreadRipper surprise!

Subject: Systems | March 29, 2018 - 01:44 PM |
Tagged: amd, video editor, 1950x

Here is a bit of a feel good movie from The Tech Report, who were nice enough to reach out to AMD, ASUS and several other companies to donate parts to create a brand new video editing machine for a friend of the site.  The system build is more than impressive, a ThreadRipper 1950X on a Gigabyte Designaire EX with a Vega 56 Nitro + and a host of other components.  Check out the reaction from Stephen, who has been using a Mac Pro which is now almost eight years old in their video reveal and build.

danpc-finished.jpg

"A good friend of mine, Stephen Georg, recently came to me with a problem. Our mutual friend Dan Settembrini is a video editor by trade, and he helps Stephen create videos for his YouTube channels. Problem is, Dan's editing rig is a mid-2010 Mac Pro. We surprised Dan with a new video-editing PC for the ages with a little help from TR's friends."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

Microsoft looks to lower SSD peak pricing with Denali

Subject: General Tech | March 29, 2018 - 12:43 PM |
Tagged: Intel, NVMe, ssd, denali

Less expensive NVMe SSDs are something we would all love to see and businesses are no different.  Facebook, Amazon, Google and other companies who store a lot of data which needs to be quickly accessed spend a lot on flash and they are intensely interested in anything that can be done to reduce the costs.  Microsoft have come up with a proposed change in SSD design which they call Denali.  It will reduce the cost of SSDs by moving many of functions SSD controllers currently handle up the stack, which would allow the use of less expensive controllers on the SSD which will reduce the cost of manufacturing.  They have many partners including controller designers such as Micron onboard, so we should see something come out of this project.  Pick up a truckload of more intel over at The Register.

microsoft_denali_large.jpg

"Denali is a reference architecture for NVMe SSDs which removes software functionality found in many SSDs today and sends them up the stack. The functions include address mapping, garbage collection and wear-levelling."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

G.Skill Overclocks Dual Channel Trident Z RGB Memory to 5,000 MHz On Air Cooling

Subject: Memory | March 29, 2018 - 12:58 AM |
Tagged: Trident Z RGB, RGB, overclocking, G.Skill Trident Z, G.Skill, dual channel, ddr4, 5000 mhz

A bit over a month ago G.Skill launched a new Trident Z RGB kit that offered up 4700 MHz speeds in a 16GB kit using Samsung B-dies. Now, G.Skill has managed to push the kit to 5,000 MHz on air and the prototype kit is getting closer to fruition as a retail product.

Z370I Gaming Pro Carbon.jpg

G.Skill managed to overclock its Trident Z RGB 4700 MHz kit by a bit over 300 MHz to hit 5,007.4 MHz in an air cooled system featuring an MSI Z370I Gaming Pro Carbon AC and an Intel Core i7-8700K. The RGB memory kit achieved 5,007.4 MHz with timings of 21-26-26-46 2T (CL, tRCD, tRP, tRAS, CR) and while they did not mention voltage the kit likely required around 1.5V since the base 4700 MHz kit needs 1.45 volts. The 8700K processor was sitting at the default 100 BCLK with a 43x multiplier for a clockspeed of 4.3 GHz. Perhaps more promising is that the overclocked memory was still able to be used in dual channel mode where previous attempts required extreme cooling methods and/or operating in single channel mode.

gskill-DDR4-5000MHz.png

Tequila Huang, the Corporate Vice President of G.Skill International,  had the following to say in the press release:

“Previously, the 5GHz memory speed is only achievable in extreme overclocking and in single-channel. We’re excited to share that we’ve been able to achieve the 5GHz memory speed in not only air-cooling conditions, but also in dual-channels. This is a major milestone for us. We will make every effort to bring this specification onto the consumer market, and bring the experience of extreme performance to worldwide users.”

G.Skill is not quite ready to bring a 5,000 MHz RGB memory kit to market, but they are getting closer and hopefully by the time they do memory pricing will have settled down a bit! It is impressive how far memory speeds have come in the last few years, and I am curious where we will go from here.

Also read:

Source: G.Skill

Alphabet's Jigsaw Launches Outline: An Open Source and Simple To Use Proxy

Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2018 - 10:59 PM |
Tagged: vpn, socks5, shadowsocks, security, proxy, outline, encryption

Alphabet Inc (parent company of Google) through its Jigsaw subsidiary recently took the wraps off of Outline which is a simple to setup proxy based on the popular Shadowsocks project. Aimed at journalists, small companies, and individuals, Outline is an open source project that comes in two parts: a proxy server and client applications that help configure the connection.

Screenshot (750).png

While companies can take advantage of an advanced mode to install Outline's server components onto an existing cloud server or an internal private server, most users can opt for the basic setup which is about as simple as it gets. Currently, Outline integrates with Digital Ocean using Digital Ocean's API and after signing in and authorizing Outline to make changes, it automatically spins up the lowest cost droplet and sets everything up. You never need to SSH into the VPS to configure anything. Rather, what little configuration there is (not much!) is done using a GUI Outline Manager application on a client device. The connection between the management application and the server is encrypted using a self-signed SSL certificate.

The proxy server is based on a Shadowbox image that is imported using Docker and is kept up to date using Watchtower (which is also installed on the droplet) which checks every hour for updated images. A cron job is also automatically configured to run and apply security updates for the host Ubuntu operating system and reboot as needed. Finally, a web server for management of it is installed in a secret path and run on a random port and only responds to queries if the secret path is specified and only over SSL.

Outline Manager.png

After watching Darren Kitchen and Shannon Morse over at Hak5 check it out, I decided to also fire it up to see if it really was that easy, and sure enough it is! The entire process is very simple taking only a few minutes (the longest step was finding my phone for the two factor authentications haha) and the management of it at least seems very hands off with the automated updates.

On the security front, Outline is a SOCK5 proxy that reportedly uses strong encryption with an AEAD 256-bit ChaCha2020 IETF Poly 1305 cipher which, according to Jigsaw, ticks all at least two boxes corners of the CIA triangle (confidentiality and integrity) along with authentication using the secure keys. I think the hardest part about maintaining that security is going to be sharing the access with others as you would need a secure channel of communication to share the needed information with. While you can generate the key easily enough for them, getting them their key for the client device could prove tricky if you are physically far away from them and do not already have a secure method of messaging (e.g. encrypted email) though for most people sending it through signal or a similar mobile app or encrypted skype/facebook/whatever while not the greatest plan is likely to prove secure enough that it balances security and convenience.

In November, Outline was audited by Netherlands-based Radically Open Security and you can find the non-profit's report here (PDF).

Screenshot (752).png

Things are even simpler on the client side, after adding the server using the access key, all they have to do is hit a single connect button to get things connnected for most modern web browsers and other apps that respect the set Windows registry key. Note that for Android and Chrome OS, Outline acts as a system-wide VPN, but for Windows only TCP traffic is secured and not all applications are supported yet. Support for passing UDP traffic through the SOCKS5 proxy and for system-wide VPN tunneling of all traffic is coming soon but right now the only UDP traffic that is passed through the proxy is DNS which is encrypted and uses the Outline server's defualt DNS resolver rather than passing outside fo the proxy and using the Windows-configured DNS and/or ISP's DNS.

In my case, after hitting connect, Chrome automatically configured the proxy settings and I was on my way. I did run into a hiccup with getting the Outline-client app, however. I was able to download it from the Outline website using Chrome and it installed fine, but when trying to grab it through the Get Connected option in the Outline Manager app, the download link opened automatically in Microsoft Edge which proceeded to flag the file as malicous and would not let me open it (heh). Hopefully they are able to get the false posiitive resolved as that may trip up normal users and make it harder to convince them to use your Outline proxy.

Screenshot (749).png

So far I have not run into any other problems with it and things are running smoothly. Web pages are finally loading as fast as they should be as well which makes me think the problems of super slow webpage loads were not with my computer but with Comcast messing with me (we are talking some pages taking a minute to load on a 90/10 connection, even simple ones like Google and Gmail). 

Outline is not a full VPN, but it is extremely easy to setup and share with others and may well be secure enough for most people. If you want to get a little more geeky, there is always OpenVPN which you can setup with a simple script or projects like Algo VPN or free (as in money) commercial solutions like Pro XPN or the built-in VPN in the Opera web browser. On the positive side, Outline does not store any logs (and since its your sever you can access it and monitor it to be sure) and Jigsaw/Alphabet/Google is up front about what information they do collect which includes server IP and non-identifiable information following crashes. Users can opt-in to sharing anonymous metrics but they do not have to and the default setting is off which is good. The downside is that right now it is still fairly new and not as vetted as some of the other options and while it is open source it is not necessarily free. In its best form which is slick setup using the Digital Ocean integration, it is $5 a month, but if you are privacy concious it may be money well spent and if you already have an existing server you can also use that though in that case the ease of configuration edge may not be as great and you may as well run OpenVPN unless you really dig the simple client apps and not having to manually copy and mange keys around to all your devices possibly in a non-GUI way.

Overall, it is a neat solution and I think it has promise. Hopefully if/when Google abandons it for its next big thing they let the community have at it. As of the today, Outline Manager is supported on Windows 7 (or newer) and Linux with Mac OS support coming soon. Outline supports client using apps for Windows 7 (or newer), Android, and Chrome OS with Mac OS and iOS apps coming soon. You can find both the Outline Manager and Outline Client at https://getoutline.org. If you do end up checking it out, let me know what you think about it. More screenshots can be found below.

Source: Jigsaw

Will you still need me when I'm 64 layers? Crucial's MX 500 SSDs

Subject: Storage | March 28, 2018 - 06:13 PM |
Tagged: crucial, MX500, ssd, sata, 1TB, 500gb

Crucial's MX500 series of SSDs have been out for a little while now, Al reviewed them back in December and since then the price has only become more attractive.  The 500GB model now sells for $130US/$168CDN, which makes it fairly attractive and the 1TB model has an even better price per gigabyte.  The Tech Report tested these two drives out and the 1TB model was able to match the performance of much more expensive drives thought the rated endurance less.  Check out the full review for a reminder on how these drives perform.

mx500s.jpg

"It's been a while since Crucial's MX300 SSD arrived with 3D NAND. The latest drive in the series has been refined with the latest-generation 64-layer 3D TLC. Join us to see how the MX500 fares against the competition."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

 

How to see Hope County, Montana in all its glory

Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2018 - 02:08 PM |
Tagged: gaming, amd, nvidia, far cry 5

Looking to get Far Cry 5 running with the highest settings your GPU can handle?  The Guru of 3D have done a lot of the heavy lifting for you, testing the performance of thirteen cards each from NVIDIA and AMD at 1080p, 1440p and 4K resolutions.  This game needs some juice, even the mighty Titan's cannot reach 60fps with Ultra settings at 4K.  In the review they also take a look at the effect the number of cores and the frequency of your CPU has on performance, not much but enough you might notice.  Check the full details here.

bull_gold_1080p_1495792038.jpg

"Tomorrow Far Cry 5 will become available to the masses, we put it through our testing paces with almost 30 graphics cards, CPU performance and frame times. The looks great, and will offer great game play. Join us in this PC performance analysis."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: Guru of 3D

What a load of codswallop; sard off Microsoft!

Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2018 - 12:45 PM |
Tagged: wtf, microsoft, censorship

You might have noticed and deleted an email from Microsoft this morning, informing you of a change in their Services Agreement with you.   Fortunately someone over at The Inquirer actually read the update and noticed a particularly egregious update, if you swear at your friends on Skype you just might lose your account.  By using Microsoft services you are now agreeing not to share inappropriate content or material, which includes offensive language, so you should watch your tongue around Cortana in case she reports you. 

It is unlikely that Microsoft will have the capability to monitor all conversations so the use of occasional blue language may escape their notice; hopefully they don't watch the bloody podcast.  Illegal content remains illegal and is what they should be devoting their resources to detecting, not someone showing off their intellect and grasp of language.

this-trope-is-bleep_family-guy_8588.jpg

"If you violate these Terms, we may stop providing Services to you or we may close your Microsoft account. We may also block delivery of a communication (like email, file sharing or instant message) to or from the Services in an effort to enforce these Terms or we may remove or refuse to publish Your Content for any reason."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Intel System Studio 2018 Commercial License Now Free

Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2018 - 08:29 PM |
Tagged: vtune, Intel

I am not sure when exactly Intel decided to add a free commercial license to their System Studio 2018 suite of developer tools, but it was circling around Twitter just before GDC. InfoWorld has a brief mention of the license back in late December, though.

intel-2018-vtunefree.png

Regardless, Intel now allows developers to download and install many of their development tools, including VTune, Inspector, and the Intel C++ Compilerfor free (even for commercial applications). The catch? You will need to renew your license (again, for free) every 90 days, albeit an unlimited number of times. You will also need to rely upon the community for support… of course. It’s free.

If you’re developing applications, VTune is a very good profiler tool. Beyond the typical timeline and function call graph, it also rates your application based on its multi-core and wait time (ex: spinlock) performance. Inspector, on the other hand, is basically Intel’s version of Valgrind. If you are planning on being a Windows-only development studio, then you don’t really have many other tools for detecting memory leaks (apart from using good containers… … …). It even goes into OpenCL-based profiling.

Intel System Studio 2018 is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Source: Intel

NVIDIA Announces DGX-2 with 16 GV100s & 8 100Gb NICs

Subject: Systems | March 27, 2018 - 08:04 PM |
Tagged: Volta, nvidia, dgx-2, DGX

So… this is probably not for your home.

NVIDIA has just announced their latest pre-built system for enterprise customers: the DGX-2. In it, sixteen Volta-based Tesla V100 graphics devices are connected using NVSwitch. This allows groups of graphics cards to communicate to and from every other group at 300GB/s, which, to give a sense of scale, is about as much bandwidth as the GTX 1080 has available to communicate with its own VRAM. NVSwitch treats all 512GB as a unified memory space, too, which means that the developer doesn’t need redundant copies across multiple boards just so it can be seen by the target GPU.

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Note: 512GB is 16 x 32GB. This is not a typo. 32GB Tesla V100s are now available.

For a little recap, Tesla V100 cards run a Volta-based GV100 GPU, which has 5120 CUDA cores and runs them at ~15 TeraFLOPs of 32-bit performance. Each of these cores also scale exactly to FP64 and FP16, as was the case since Pascal’s high-end offering, leading to ~7.5 TeraFLOPs of 64-bit or ~30 TeraFLOPs of 16-bit computational throughput. Multiply that by sixteen and you get 480 TeraFLOPs of FP16, 240 TeraFLOPs of FP32, or 120 TeraFLOPs of FP64 performance for the whole system. If you count the tensor units, then we’re just under 2 PetaFlops of tensor instructions. This is powered by a pair of Xeon Platinum CPUs (Skylake) and backed by 1.5TB of system RAM – which is only 3x the amount of RAM that the GPUs have if you stop and think about it.

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The device communicates with the outside world through eight EDR InfiniBand NICs. NVIDIA claims that this yields 1600 gigabits of bi-directional bandwidth. Given how much data this device is crunching, it makes sense to keep data flowing in and out as fast as possible, especially for real-time applications. While the Xeons are fast and have many cores, I’m curious to see how much overhead the networking adds to the system when under full load, minus any actual processing.

NVIDIA’s DGX-2 is expected to ship in Q3.

Source: NVIDIA

Introducing CORSAIR iCUE; A Corsair Interface

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | March 27, 2018 - 04:34 PM |
Tagged: corsair, iCUE, far cry 5

Corsair have announced early access to their new iCUE RGB control software which allows you to control the eminations coming from your Corsair keyboards, mice, headsets, fans, coolers and PSUs from one central location. 

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It also lets you monitor the performance of various components in your system, including fan and pump speed adjustments in a comprehensive and customizable dashboard.

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The launch of the iCURE software is tied to the release of Far Cry 5, if you have spent at least $150 on your RGB addiction, on Corsair branded peripherals you may be eligible for a free game key.  iCUE also comes with over 30 preset lighting patterns for Far Cry 5 to really get you into the game, or at least to broadcast what you are playing to anyone with line of site on your machine.

Check the full PR below.

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FREMONT, CA, March 27nd, 2018 - CORSAIR, a world leader in PC gaming peripherals and enthusiast components, today announced the early access launch of its new unified software, iCUE. Bringing together the full range of CORSAIR products into a single intuitive interface, iCUE powers everything from CORSAIR keyboards, mice and headsets to fans, coolers and PSUs.

iCUE users can instantly synchronize RGB lighting across all their compatible CORSAIR products with a single click, monitor system performance from a customizable dashboard, and control hardware temperatures with in-depth fan and pump speed adjustment. At the heart of everything CORSAIR, iCUE offers intelligent control, with unlimited possibilities.

With industry-leading RGB lighting control, iCUE makes it easier than ever to light up your PC. Synchronize lighting across your whole setup with just one-click, explore dozens of easy to customize lighting presets or dive into multi-layer lighting effects that mesmerize and amaze. From smooth transitions, to dynamic waves and ripples, iCUE’s lighting control goes beyond the keyboard to light up your entire setup.

iCUE offers much more than just lighting customization, with a breakthrough partnership between leading publisher Ubisoft and CORSAIR bringing more than 30 automatic in-game lighting effects to Far Cry 5. Each effect has been co-developed with a deep level of integration to further immerse players in the world of Hope County, so whether you’re exploring, fighting for your life, or just watching the world go by, the lighting of your entire CORSAIR setup will dynamically reflect your actions in-game.

iCUE also offers incredible control customization, with sophisticated macros and key remaps that change the way you work and play. Every single key or button on compatible CORSAIR keyboards and mice can be remapped or fully re-programmed to give you an in-game advantage or productivity boost. Assign a complex spell combination to a single key press to streamline MMOs or add a multi-function image-editing shortcut to a familiar shortcut to make After Effects easier. With iCUE it's your choice how you control your system, with no online login or account required to save and load profiles.

For the first time from CORSAIR, iCUE combines peripheral, hardware and system monitoring into one interface, with support for a wide range of CORSAIR CPU coolers, fans, PSUs and DDR4 memory. Controlled from a customizable dashboard that provides an at-a-glance recap of your entire system, it’s easy to track hardware temperatures, memory speeds and system loads, all from one place. Users can then easily tie lighting and fan speed profiles to not just system temperatures or loads, but specific programs, powering up cooling for demanding games, spinning down for silence when watching a film, or changing lighting color to warm to high temperatures.

CORSAIR iCUE launches immediately in Early Access alongside Far Cry 5, allowing gamers to experience in-game lighting effects from the first day the game is available. To celebrate, CORSAIR webstore customers who spend more than $150 on qualifying RGB products will receive a free copy of Far Cry 5. See www.corsair.com/far-cry-5 for full details.

 

Source: Corsair

GTC 2018: NVIDIA Announces Volta-Powered Quadro GV100

Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2018 - 03:30 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, GTC, quadro, gv100, GP100, tesla, titan v, v100, votla

One of the big missing markets for NVIDIA with their slow rollout of the Volta architecture was professional workstations. Today, NVIDIA announced they are bringing Volta to the Quadro family with the Quadro GV100 card.

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Powered by the same GV100 GPU that announced at last year's GTC in the Tesla V100, and late last year in the Titan V, the Quadro GV100 represents a leap forward in computing power for workstation-level applications. While these users could currently be using TITAN V for similar workloads, as we've seen in the past, Quadro drivers generally provide big performance advantages in these sorts of applications. Although, we'd love to see NVIDIA repeat their move of bringing these optimizations to the TITAN lineup as they did with the TITAN Xp.

As it is a Quadro, we would expect this to be NVIDIA's first Volta-powered product which provides certified, professional driver code paths for applications such as CATIA, Solidedge, and more.

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NVIDIA also heavily promoted the idea of using two of these GV100 cards in one system, utilizing NVLink. Considering the lack of NVLink support for the TITAN V, this is also the first time we've seen a Volta card with display outputs supporting NVLink in more standard workstations.

More importantly, this announcement brings NVIDIA's RTX technology to the professional graphics market. 

With popular rendering applications like V-Ray already announcing and integrating support for NVIDIA's Optix Raytracing denoiser in their beta branch, it seems only a matter of time before we'll see a broad suite of professional applications supporting RTX technology for real-time. For example, raytraced renders of items being designed in CAD and modeling applications. 

This sort of speed represents a potential massive win for professional users, who won't have to waste time waiting for preview renderings to complete to continue iterating on their projects.

The NVIDIA Quadro GV100 is available now directly from NVIDIA now for a price of $8,999, which puts it squarely in the same price range of the previous highest-end Quadro GP100. 

Source: NVIDIA

USB FPS MMO Mouse, the new Patriot V570 model

Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2018 - 02:25 PM |
Tagged: patriot, viper v570 fps-mmo, gaming mouse, avago ADNS-9800

We've seen the Viper V570 RGB already, this new model sport a few more buttons than that model.  This one sports 13 buttons, including the DPI switch and dedicated sniper button for those using this mouse in a FPS.  The optical sensor is an Aavago ADNS-9800 and there are six weights you can add but even more interesting are the five feet which ceramic sliders that have been polished to a mirror finish.  As with most MMO mice there is a comprehensive macro language you can use to program multiple actions in a single click, one which The Tech Report found intuitive to use.  Drop by to see the full review of this somewhat complex rodent.

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"Patriot's Viper V570 blends characteristics of FPS and MMO mice in a rodent that has the potential to satisfy both camps. Our mousing master took it to his mat to see whether it delivers."

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Foxconn is welkin bound with their purchase of Belkin, assuming the US isn't balking

Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2018 - 01:18 PM |
Tagged: wemo, millions, linksys, foxconn, belkin, acquisition

There is an offer on the table for Belkin worth $866m, being made by a Foxconn subsidiary.  You might think of Belkin solely as a provide of mobile phone accessories and a smattering of wireless devices, however they also own Linksys and the smart home device provider Wemo, which makes this deal bigger than you might have thought.  Belkin is a US based company so this purchase will face the same hurdle as Broadcom faced when it attempted to purchase Qualcomm earlier this year.  Slashdot has links for more information, though the Financial Times still resides behind a paywall.

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"The buyout would make Foxconn a major player in consumer electronics, instead of just a contract manufacturing company. Belkin primarily sells phone/tablet accessories, but also manufactures networking equipment like routers and Wi-Fi range extenders. The company also sells a range of smart home products under the Wemo brand"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: Slashdot