Need for GPU Speed

Subject: General Tech | November 22, 2017 - 02:34 PM |
Tagged: gaming, need for speed payback, nvidia, amd

The new Need for Speed Payback uses the familiar Frostbite 3 game engine, so we have some general idea how various cards will perform.  There is a feature used in the game that changes how AMD cards perform however, this game makes use of the AMD GPU Services (AGS) library which should make their cards more effective.  [H]ard|OCP's testing did show a close race, apart from the unmatched GTX 1080Ti AMD's cards offer competitive performance and even offering taking the lead at some resolutions.  Drop by to take a look at the details.

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"Need for Speed Payback is out, we’ll look at feature performance and video card performance comparisons in today’s latest video cards. We’ll find what’s playable, and examine graphics quality setting performance among eight video cards. We will also find out VRAM and CPU usage of this new game so you pick the right video card for gaming. "

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Source: [H]ard|OCP
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: HAVIT

Keeping a Low Profile

Havit is a Chinese company with a unique product for the enthusiast PC segment: the thinnest mechanical keyboard on the market at 22.5 mm. Their slim HV-KB395L keyboard offers real mechanical switching via Kailh low-profile blue switches, and full RGB lighting is thrown in for good measure. For a keyboard that retails for $79.99 this is certainly an interesting mix, but how in the world does low-profile mechanical feel? I will attempt to translate that experience into words (by… typing words).

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Specifications:

  • 104-key Mechanical Keyboard
  • Customizable RGB backlighting
  • Kailh PG1350 Low Profile Blue Switch
  • 3mm of total travel, 45g of operating force
  • N-Key Rollover
  • Detachable USB Cable
  • Weight: 0.57 kg
  • Dimensions: 43.6 x 12.6 x 2.25 cm

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First impressions of the keyboard are great, with nice packaging that cradles the keyboard in a carton inside the box. The keyboard itself feels quite premium, with a top panel that is actually metal - unusual for this price-point.

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Continue reading our review of the HAVIT HV-KB395L RGB mechanical keyboard!

Protection against Pineapple penetration is important

Subject: General Tech | November 22, 2017 - 12:49 PM |
Tagged: security, wifi, hack, pineapple

Today Slashdot linked to an article about the popular Wi-Fi Pineapple as well as how to defend yourself against what it does.  Depending on what you are using it for, the Wi-Fi Pineapple is either a great tool for penetration testing networks you want to ensure are secure, or a way of gaining access to networks that haven't been fully secured.  It has been around for almost a decade and the hardware is quite simple, the only real difference between it and the wireless router you use is that the Pineapple has multiple radios so it can interface with hundreds of devices simultaneously.  Thanks to the software written for the device, even someone with very little understanding of network security can use it to conduct man in the middle attacks.  Thankfully there are ways to protect yourself from it and other attacks which you can read about by following the links in the Slashdot post.

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"The Wi-Fi Pineapple is a cheap modified wireless router enables anyone to execute sophisticated exploits on Wi-Fi networks with little to no networking expertise. A report in Motherboard explains how it can be used to run a Wall of Sheep and execute a man-in-the-middle attack, as well as how you can protect yourself from Pineapple exploits when you're connected to public Wi-Fi."

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Source: Slashdot

Choc flavoured Kailh keys, the HAVIT HV-KB390L

Subject: General Tech | November 21, 2017 - 05:16 PM |
Tagged: mechanical keyboard, Kailh, HV-KB390L, HAVIT, Choc PG1350 Blue

HAVIT's HV-KB39 keyboard is a mere 23mm in height, for those who have a desire for slim devices.  It uses Kailh Choc PG1350 Blue mechanical switches which are relatively unique in that they offer tactile feedback when travelling both up and down.  If you are interested in seeing how these switches work, TechPowerUp completely strip the keybaord in their review to show you the innards in all their glory.  Check it out right here.

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"The HAVIT HV-KB390L is a new low profile mechanical keyboard based off the 87-key TKL form factor. It uses Kailh's new Choc PG1350 low profile switches, has an aluminum alloy frame/plate, a lightweight software driver, and customizable backlighting; all at a great price point."

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Source: TechPowerUp

Become your own ISP for fun, or because Ajit Pai gets his way

Subject: General Tech | November 21, 2017 - 02:03 PM |
Tagged: isp, networking, Internet, net neutrality, Autonomous System

If you are reading this from the US you probably have an opinion about the news out of the FCC today and should probably express that opinion to your various congress critters, even though Ajit Pai has stated he won't listen.  As a backup plan you might want to take a read through this article over at Hack a Day which describes how you can set yourself up as your own ISP, aka an Autonomous System.  The process is nowhere near as simple as setting up a home internet connection and you will need some dedicated equipment you may or may not have lying around.  Those who live outside the USA should still take a look as there is some very interesting learning material in the article.

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"It was during the purchase of data centre rack space that [Kenneth]’s challenge was laid down by a friend. Rather then simply rely on the connection provided by the data centre, they would instead rely on forging their own connection to the ‘net, essentially becoming their own Internet Service Provider."

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Source: Hack a Day

HP's Ryzen Mobile Powered Envy X360 Is Available Now

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | November 20, 2017 - 08:25 PM |
Tagged: windows hello, stylus, ryzen mobile, Ryzen 5 2500U, hp, convertible, amd

Last month AMD formally launched its Ryzen Mobile APUs with partners Acer, HP, and Lenovo announcing that systems using the new processors would be out by the end of the year. The first system to become available for purchase appears to be the HP Envy X360 convertible notebook which is available with a Ryzen 5 2500U APU. The 15.6” 2-in-1 starts at $574.99 (at time of writing) and thankfully appears to take full advantage of the AMD processor.

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The HP Envy X360 was spotted by Anandtech who noted that the notebook is currently being sold at HP.com as well as brick and mortar Best Buy stores. The notebook is part of the company’s higher end Envy brand. It weighs in at 4.75 pounds and measures 14.16” x 9.8” x 0.77”. The 360° hinge allows the touchscreen display to flip around to lay flat with the underside of the keyboard enabling tablet mode. The top half with thin bezels holds the 15.6” 1920 x 1080 display and IR capable Windows Hello camera. The bottom half holds the rest of the hardware and features a backlit island-style keyboard with numpad, a wide trackpad, and the various I/O ports around the edges including USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 with DisplayPort 1.4 and USB Power support (for charging), two full size USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, HDMi, and a headset jack. Other features include Bang and Olufsen audio with dual speakers and a stylus that can be used with Windows Ink, One Note, and other apps.

Internal specifications include the above-mentioned Ryzen 5 2500U, up to 16 GB of dual channel 2400 MHz memory, and mechanical and solid-state storage options. The base model of this laptop starts at 8 GB DDR4 at 2400 MHz (2 x 4GB) and 1TB of 7200 RPM hard drive storage. Users can configure the notebook with up to a 1TB NVMe SSD or a combination of SATA hard drive and NVMe M.2 drives. The HP Envy X360 also features Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi and it is all powered by a 3-cell 55.8 Wh battery. The APU is a 15W TDP chip with four Zen-based CPU cores (eight threads) running at 2 GHz base and up to 3.6 GHz boost, a RX Vega-based GPU clocked at up to 1100 MHz with 8 CUs (512 cores), and 6 MB of cache (2MB L2 and 4MB L3).

The HP Envy X360 15z Touch convertible laptop is available now starting at $574.99 and going up to $1374.99 fully loaded with Windows 10 Pro.

In all this looks to be a good design win for AMD is a promising start for the future of Ryzen Mobile. Thankfully the APU appears to be running at its full 15W TDP and is not being held back by single channel memory like past AMD mobile chips have allegedly been. I am looking forward to seeing what AMD’s other partners have to offer. Until then though, we have a Ryzen 7 1700 powered Asus ROG gaming laptop to ponder about!

Source: AnandTech
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Corsair

Is this the new budget champion?

True to their name, Corsair’s new HS50 STEREO gaming headsets offer traditional 2-channel sound from a similarly traditional headphone design. These are certainly ready for gaming with a detachable microphone and universal compatibility with both PCs and consoles, and budget friendly with an MSRP of only $49.99. How do they stack up? Let’s find out!

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Specifications:

  • Driver: 50mm Neodymium
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohms @ 1kHz
  • Sensitivity: 111 dB (± 3 dB)
  • Mic Type: Unidirectional noise-cancelling
  • Mic Impedance: 2.0k Ohms
  • Mic Frequency: Response 100Hz – 10kHz
  • Mic Sensitivity: -40 dB (± 3 dB)
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 160 x 100 x 205 mm
  • Weight: 319g
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Available Colors: Carbon, Green, Blue

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Nothing about these say “budget” when you look at the packaging and first unbox them, and they have a substantial feel to them like a pair of premium headphones - not at all like an inexpensive gaming headset.

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Continue reading our review of the Corsair HS50 STEREO gaming headset!

Toshiba is not about to become an Asustek satellite company, yet

Subject: General Tech | November 20, 2017 - 12:50 PM |
Tagged: rumour, asus, asustek, toshiba

Toshiba has been having a rough year, but according to what The Inquirer was been able to find out they are not quite ready to sell their computer business to AsusTek or Lenovo quite yet.  The issue stems from their pending removal from the Tokyo Stock Exchange next March do to falling below certain financial thresholds.  Toshiba is hoping that the pending $18bn sale of its semiconductor business will complete before the end of this fiscal year, which would see them into the clear, but it is uncertain that that will be the case.  Toshiba have completed a $114m sale of their TV business, which means there is not that much left for them to divest other than their computer business.  On the other hand if they sell the last of their assets there is no need to remain listed on the stock exchange.  We shall see what happens as the deadline approaches.

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"The news comes as media reports in Japan claim that the company is in talks to sell its PC manufacturing arm to Asustek Computer, best known under its Asus brandname. However, Toshiba was quick to issue a statement rejecting these rumours. "

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Source: The Inquirer

NVIDIA Discontinues Mental Ray One Year After Relaunch

Subject: General Tech | November 19, 2017 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, mental ray, iray

Back in SIGGRAPH 2016, NVIDIA announced that they would take control of Mental Ray’s licensing and development. The new product was in beta at the time, boasting a new global illumination solver that was 4x faster on CPUs than the previous method, and 25.9x faster when you add a pair of Quadro M6000s into the mix. Access to the beta was free until it launched, which happened in Autumn 2016.

We’re now in Autumn 2017, and NVIDIA is discontinuing the product.

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NVIDIA is not leaving the rendering market, though. The graphics vendor has several products in that space, including the very-similar Iray. In fact, it was kind-of odd to see NVIDIA maintain both products with some weird cross-overs, like how they’re bundled on 3D Studio Max for the same price as either product purchased individually in Maya. They also maintain the OptiX and IndeX APIs, which is used all over the place, even for non-graphics workloads. (VRWorks Audio, for instance, uses OptiX to ray-trace video game audio for environmental effects, which is a fairly good model of high-frequency sounds.)

Current users of the Mental Ray plug-in, or those who purchase a license before the 20th of November, will receive “maintenance releases” through 2018 (presumably while they plan their transition elsewhere). These updates will be “bug fix” updates, although NVIDIA does state that one of them will introduce compatibility for Volta-based GPUs.

If you already own a license to Mental Ray, and you will need it for longer than the time left on your subscription, then you will need to contact NVIDIA for an extension. They’re not going to just throw you out if your license expires in December, but you have obligations through February (or something).

Source: NVIDIA

Why wouldn't Lenovo call it the Yoda 920?

Subject: General Tech | November 17, 2017 - 12:56 PM |
Tagged: Star Wars, Special Edition Yoga 920, Lenovo, Kaby Lake R

The specifications of the Star Wars Special Edition Yoga 920 are good but that is obviously not why most will purchase it, or the new Titan Xp for that matter.  Inside is a Kaby Lake R Core i7-8550U, 16GB of DDR4-2400 and 512 GB PCIe M.2 SSD, but it is of course what is etched on the Gorilla Glass exterior that counts.  According to TechARP it will be released soon in Malaysia this December, hopefully soon to arrive in North America as well.  There is a premium to be able to use the Force however, the current price is a bit over $2000.

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"The Star Wars Special Edition Yoga 920 will be available in two designs - one for the Galactic Empire, and one for the Rebel Alliance!"

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Source: TechARP