Awesome Games Done Quick 2017 Schedule Available

Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2016 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: pc gaming

January's Awesome Games Done Quick is coming up, and the organization has published the schedule. As usual, most of the week is grouped together into blocks that will keep a slice of their overall viewership watching for multiple titles in a row. For a PC Gaming-friendly instance, one of the Tuesday blocks ties Doom (2016), System Shock 2, Daikatana, Half-Life: Blue Shift, and others into an FPS segment. It runs 24 hours a day for a week, and it is quite family friendly (within the limits of any given game).

gdq-2016-sgdq logo.png

For some added commentary, SpikeVegeta has posted his opinion on the whole schedule, form beginning to end. He is one of the regular announcers at various speedrun events, especially the Games Done Quick line, and he knows about all the different niches within the hobby.

HyperX Now Shipping ALLOY FPS Gaming Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | October 24, 2016 - 02:18 PM |
Tagged: cherry mx blue, kingston, HyperX ALLOY FPS, mechanical keyboard, input

The PR below the picture has the full details but we will cover the highlights in brief.  The Kingston HyperX ALLOY FPS uses Cherry MX Blue switches with red LEDs underneath the keys that can be set to a variety of brightness and responses.  It has a small footprint, 442x129x36mm and ships with a travel bag to make it easier to transport, which makes sense considering the eSports focus of the keyboard.  You should be able to find it for sale at around $100 online if you are in the market.


Fountain Valley, CA – Oct. 24, 2016 – HyperX, a division of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, today announced the HyperX ALLOY FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is now shipping in the U.S. and Canada. The full-size mechanical gaming keyboard has a space-saving layout allowing gamers to maximize desktop real estate for FPS mouse movement. The HyperX ALLOY FPS keyboard features Cherry MX Blue Mechanical switches to provide the tactile feedback and performance to support extreme gameplay and enable players to be the best gamers possible.

Built with a solid steel alloy frame, the HyperX ALLOY FPS keyboard features Cherry MX Blue Mechanical switches, HyperX red LED backlighting and six preset LED modes – including a custom mode. The keyboard also offers Game Mode to easily disable the Windows key to prevent game play interruptions, along with 100 percent anti-ghosting and full N-Key rollover functionality. For added flexibility and performance, HyperX ALLOY FPS features an easy access USB charging port located on the back of the keyboard, additional HyperX red-colored WASD/1234 keys, a detachable braided cord, and mesh travel pouch for protection and storage on the move.

“After extensive research and hundreds of hours of gameplay testing, HyperX developed a mechanical keyboard from the ground up to withstand the most intense gameplay, featuring a small footprint that is vital for FPS gamers. With its solid steel alloy frame and Cherry MX Blue switches, this keyboard is designed for over 50 million keystrokes per key,” said Marcus Hermann, senior business manager, HyperX. “Gamers who play FPS classics like CS:GO or Overwatch will appreciate its compact yet sturdy design. The HyperX ALLOY FPS keyboard design gives gamers more space to setup their desktop surface to execute intricate mouse actions.”

One of the eSports teams HyperX works with is Echo Fox, owned by Rick Fox, who previously played professional basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers. CS:GO player Sean “sG@res” Gares, Echo Fox, tested the new keyboard and said: “The HyperX Alloy is the perfect keyboard for me due to the excellent feedback of the Cherry MX Blue switches, it's compact size, and the extremely durable steel alloy frame. I also love the unique detachable cord for easy portability and the USB charging dock for my phone!”

Source: Kingston

Want to know who Dyn DNS and others should point their WiFi enabled fingers at?

Subject: General Tech | October 24, 2016 - 01:21 PM |
Tagged: iot

There are a few people to blame for the vulnerabilities which allowed the DDoS attack on Friday to make access to major sites difficult.  They range from lazy ISPs not implementing security standard designed to block the spoofing portion of the attack to lazy IoT developers using standardized passwords, often the defaults from the software itself.  One could blame users for not updating the passwords on their devices but it is not something your average toaster shopper thinks about nor is the need well communicated in the manuals which come with IoT devices. 

The commentators on Slashdot have many theories as to who the attackers were but the real issue lies with the fact that sheer laziness on the part of IoT devices and ISPs allow these attacks to succeed in the first place. They also have a link to the list of devices which were involved in the attack for those who are curious.


"If you're worried, Motherboard is pointing people to an online scanning tool from BullGuard (a U.K. anti-virus firm) which checks whether devices on your home network are listed in the Shodan search engine for unsecured IoT devices. But earlier this month, Brian Krebs pointed out the situation is exacerbated by the failure of many ISPs to implement the BCP38 security standard to filter spoofed traffic, "allowing systems on their networks to be leveraged in large-scale DDoS attacks..."

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Source: Slashdot

Chances are you do not have an Intel modem in your iPhone 7

Subject: General Tech | October 21, 2016 - 01:01 PM |
Tagged: apple, Intel, iPhone 7 Plus

You have likely heard rumours of some iPhone 7 Plus models having network connection issues and that Intel is being blamed.  The good news is that only the UK models seem to have an Intel modem, most other markets are using a Qualcomm model which does not have the performance degradation.  The issue seems to cause the signal quality of Intel based models to degrade significantly more quickly as network conditions degrade when compared to models which use the Qualcomm modem.  So far The Inquirer has no news on an official statement by Apple or Intel; same as the lack of response about the storage performance on lower cost models.


"iPhone 7 Plus users in the UK will be affected by Apple's decision to source modems for the device from Intel. Only models sold in China, Japan and the US come with more tried and trusted modems made by Qualcomm."

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Source: The Inquirer

Doodads and dongles, check out these recommended peripherals

Subject: General Tech | October 20, 2016 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: peripherals

The Tech Report also occasionally posts their staffs favourite peripherals, from monitors to mice, through microphones to joysticks.  Indeed they recommend a variety of Freesync and G-SYNC monitors so you can jump immediately to the appropriate page.  You can check out their recommended racing wheels, speakers ranging from small desktop models to studio quality or even power line networking.  Pop on over to see if you want to add any of their choices to your wishlist.


"For this edition of our peripheral staff picks, we've refreshed our selection of displays, keyboards, mice, and more to account for the latest and greatest options out there for PC builders. Finish off your PC with this selection of great gear."

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The Phanteks Enthoo Pro M gets a temper

Subject: General Tech | October 19, 2016 - 03:14 PM |
Tagged: phanteks, matx case, Enthoo Pro M, Enthoo, enclosure, atx case

Sebastian reviewed the Enthoo Pro M back in August, a well received case with a layout similar to an EVOLV ATX or Fractal Design Define S.  Phanteks have recently updated the exterior of the case, replacing the plastic side window and panel with a side panel made completely of tempered glass.  You can see how the upgraded model looks over at Kitguru.  There is also a variant which looks the same as this model, but with an acrylic side panel for those concerned about the price or mistrusting of a glass side panel.


"The short version of this review is that Phanteks has given its Enthoo Pro M case a minor update and has changed the main side panel for a sheet of tempered glass. The slightly longer version is that Phanteks has revised its superb entry level Pro M case by replacing one of the few weak features, a flexible steel side panel with a so-so plastic window, with a gorgeous panel of tempered glass."

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


Source: Kitguru

Close counts in this hotdogging VR game

Subject: General Tech | October 19, 2016 - 01:24 PM |
Tagged: VR, htc vive, H3VR, gaming

Hot Dogs, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades is a VR game built on Unity which features a "Authentic ‘Murican BBQ experience with obsessively detailed grilling simulation" as well as bocce, lawn darts and hand grenade skeet shooting.  [H]ard|OCP tested out the Early Access version of this Vive title on their usual GPU suspects, it is worth mentioning the i7-6950X @ 4.2GHz as well since the developer feels that CPU could also be an issue.  This title continued the unfortunate trend we have seen with AMD cards, RX 480 performance lagged behind even the GTX 1060 and there were several crashes during testing.  For the moment NVIDIA is enjoying unchallenged status in VR gaming, lets hope AMD can find ways to improve their offerings to compete at a price to performance level in the near future.

Don't forget to sign up for the Fragging Frogs Virtual LAN party #14 on October 29th, we are up to 46 participants so you can be guaranteed to not only have a good time but to have a wide variety of active games to choose from!


"Hot Dogs, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades is more of a firearms simulation than it is a game. H3VR certainly does have some gaming and scoring modes of play and the developer is has been very busy increasing the H3VR content depth. If you have never handled a rifle of pistol, H3VR can be somewhat daunting, but certainly rewarding."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Expect to hear news from AMD's VR boffins

Subject: General Tech | October 19, 2016 - 12:18 PM |
Tagged: amd, liquidvr, Radeon Pro WX 7100, loom

AMD's Polaris cards have been lagging behind NVIDIA's Pascal in VR performance, not completely surprising considering the deltas in price and 3D performance.  From DigiTimes we hear of some successes however; AMD is opening VR facilities in shopping malls, movie theatres and Internet cafes, currently focusing on China.  On might consider the price as being a major factor, AMD offers good enough performance for most at a price lower than the competition.  They are also focusing on the development side of the equation, discussing their Radeon Pro WX 7100 a solution for a number of providers.  Their Loom project should also see light towards the end of the year, bringing HD content and beyond to VR movie designers.  It will be interesting to see how AMD does against the competition on the design side of the market as opposed to consumer machines.


"AMD has launched several new projects for its virtual reality (VR) business including GPU certification. It has enhanced its software/hardware platform and established a VR supply chain, hoping to expand its presence in the VR market, and to regain share in the graphics card market with its new Polaris GPUs."

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Source: DigiTimes

Power efficient memristors could be showing up in your smart toaster

Subject: General Tech | October 18, 2016 - 02:23 PM |
Tagged: memristor, iot

Over at Nanotechweb you can read about research being conducted on memristor technology to reduce the power required to write to a cell to make this memory type more useful in low voltage applications, such as IoT devices.  Apart from the challenges of creating materials capable of remembering how much current has flowed through them in the past there is what the researchers refer to as the sneak path problem.  When writing to a memristor, current flows to the cell that is being updated, unfortunately it also flows into a number of other cells thus increasing the current required for each write cycle.  This team hopes to overcome this issue, so far having successfully reduced the current required to 8% of that in conventional crossbar circuits.  Check out more on the research in the full article.


"Researchers at Hewlett Packard Labs in California, the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Seoul National University are reporting on a new low-current, self-rectifying memristor made from titanium ion electron traps in a niobium oxide matrix. The device might be used as an embedded memory on low-power chips and for storing data in Internet of Things (IoT) appliances."

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Source: Nanotechweb

NVIDIA GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti Launch on October 25th

Subject: General Tech | October 18, 2016 - 09:01 AM |
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, GTX 1050 Ti, gtx 1050

NVIDIA has just announced that the GeForce GTX 1050 ($109) and GeForce GTX 1050 Ti ($139) will launch on October 25th. Both of these Pascal-based cards target the 75W thermal point, which allows them to be powered by a PCIe bus without being tethered directly to the power supply. Like the GTX 750 Ti before it, this allows users to drop it into many existing desktops, upgrading it with discrete graphics.


Most of NVIDIA's press deck focuses on the standard GTX 1050. This $109 SKU contains 2GB of GDDR5 memory and 640 CUDA cores, although the core frequency has not been announced at the time of writing. Instead, NVIDIA has provided a handful of benchmarks, comparing the GTX 1050 to the earlier GTX 650 and the Intel Core i5-4760k integrated graphics.


It should be noted that, to hit their >60FPS targets, Gears of War 4 and Grand Theft Auto V needed to be run at medium settings, and Overwatch was set to high. (DOTA2 and World of Warcraft were maxed out, though.) As you might expect, NVIDIA reminded the press about GeForce Experience's game optimization setting just a few slides later. The implication seems to be that, while it cannot max out these games at 1080p, NVIDIA will at least make it easy for users to experience its best-case scenario, while maintaining 60FPS.

So yes, while it's easy to claim 60 FPS is you're able to choose the settings that fit this role, it's a much better experience than the alternative parts they list. On the GTX 650, none of these titles are able to hit an average of 30 FPS, and integrated graphics cannot even hit 15 FPS. This card seems to be intended for users that are interested in playing eSports titles maxed out at 1080p60, while enjoying newer blockbusters, albeit at reduced settings, but have an old, non-gaming machine they can salvage.


Near the end of their slide deck, they also mention that the GTX 1050 Ti exists. It's basically the same use case as above, with its 75W TDP and all, but with $30 more performance. The VRAM doubles from 2GB to 4GB, which should allow higher texture resolutions and more mods, albeit still targeting 1080p. It also adds another 128 CUDA cores, a 20% increase, although, again, that is somewhat meaningless until we find out what the card is clocked at.

Update: Turns out we did find clock speeds! The GTX 1050 will have a base clock of 1354 MHz and a Boost clock of 1455 MHz while the GTX 1050 Ti will run at 1290/1392 MHz respectively.

NVIDIA's promotional video

Obviously, numbers from a vendor are one thing, and a third-party benchmark is something else entirely (especially when the vendor benchmarks do not compare their product to the latest generation of their competitor). Keep an eye out for reviews.

Source: NVIDIA