One drive to rule them. Intel's new look for petabyte drives

Subject: General Tech | August 8, 2017 - 01:11 PM |
Tagged: Intel, ssd, petabyte, sata, M.2, ruler, Optane

Intel is increasing the storage density of SSDs with a brand new form factor which gets rid of the empty space that takes up the majority of a 2.5" SSD.  The new ruler format will fit up to a petabyte in a volume small enough to fit in a 1U rack space.  This is significantly smaller than the volume it would currently occupy in a server rack, and helps reduce the number of connections required.  If you used the the current 60TB monster from Seagate, you would still need 17 of the 3.5" drives to hit a single petabyte; not something which will fit into a single 1U rack.  The Inquirer wasn't given a launch date nor a price but we can assume this drive will not meet Ryan's approved price per gigabyte.

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"Although new formats are emerging all the time, this one seems particularly timely, coming as it does at a time when we have far exceeded the need for an SSD to take up even a standard 2.5-inch space, most of which is air."

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Source: The Inquirer

Razer Patches Two Security Vulnerabilities

Subject: General Tech | August 5, 2017 - 11:20 PM |
Tagged: razer

Back in July, a security research group, SecureState, published two vulnerabilities after privately disclosing them to Razer back in March and April. The first vulnerability could lead to a blue-screen of death for the affected machine, although it would need to be triggered by another applications running on the machine. Forcing a blue-screen could be intimidating, but there would be plenty of other things that a malicious application could do if it was able to do that.

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The second issue was more concerning, though. This one allowed, again, another application running on the machine to gain NT_AUTHORITY\SYSTEM privileges. For instance, a user could think that they’re installing a mod for a game, and their computer is completely owned. At the time, Razer did not publish an update, so the company recommended uninstalling Razer Synapse.

Now, as of August 1st, according to Tom’s Hardware, Razer has pushed the update. If you uninstalled Razer Synapse, it’s once again safe. You know, as safe as any other device driver.

The International 2017 (TI 7) Starts on Monday

Subject: General Tech | August 5, 2017 - 09:17 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, valve, DOTA 2

Valve’s biggest DOTA 2 tournament, The International, is set to begin on Monday. While the initial prize pool was set at $1.6 million USD, that has since increased to $23,748,880 (and still rising). The format will be double-elimination, upper and lower brackets. The top eight qualifiers are in the upper bracket, where, if they lose, they will drop to the lower bracket (except the team that makes it to the grand finals -- they don’t get two lifes against the lower bracket competitor). The bottom eight qualifiers start in the lower bracket, where, if they lose, they’re out. All pairings are best-of-three, except the grand finals, which are best-of-five.

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Like last year, they are doing a “DOTA VR Theater” for those with SteamVR-compatible hardware. This can be used for both replays and live games, including the ability to see the map at human-scale. I’m not sure if it has been significantly updated since last year, but, if you found it entertaining (or you didn’t experience it last year) then it might be something to check out.

The first match, Team Liquid vs Invictus Gaming, is scheduled to begin at 10am PDT (1pm EDT) on Monday!

Source: Valve

Rip enough threads and you are going to spring a leak, AMD's Threadripper 1920

Subject: General Tech | August 4, 2017 - 12:44 PM |
Tagged: amd, ryzen, Threadripper, 1920, xfr, leak

Thanks to a few motherboard makers and some good eyes, we now know there will be a Threadripper part without support for AMD's eXtended Frequency Range.  The slightly lower frequencies, 3.2-3.8GHz and lack of XFR suggest this part will sell for less than the $800 which the 1920X is slated to be released at.  This should not mean the chip will not benefit from any of the features of XFR, only that the frequency increments will be larger and less reactive than on an XFR chip, as Tim explained a while back.  There is a benefit to that lack as well, the TDP drops 40W to 140W.  This is a leak so it is possible some of the information is wrong; however it was found in several different places and looks to have been posted accidentally as opposed to release to fuel rumours so it is quite likely the information you can see over at PCWorld is accurate.

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"Tweakers discovered the Threadripper 1920 listed on websites for Asus, Gigabyte, and ASRock. PCWorld was able to confirm the listing on Gigabyte and ASRock’s sites, though Asus has since scrubbed its support page for the $550 ROG Zenith Extreme entirely."

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Source: PCWorld

Happy unboxing day, rip them threads

Subject: General Tech | August 3, 2017 - 01:26 PM |
Tagged: amd, Threadripper, unboxing, angel hair

Unboxing videos are perhaps second only to booth babe videos in terms of uselessness; however with Threadripper there is some information to convey.  The mounting process for these new processors is very different than the ZIF of old and while we cannot provide you with any benchmarks we can show you how to install a Threadripper CPU properly.  For those that learn more from their failures than their successes, which should be most of you, Kyle at [H]ard|OCP can give you some insight on just how fragile the pins on these new processors are.

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"We show you how "easily" the AMD Threadripper comes out of the box, and some hilarity ensues, and then we take you through the simple steps of Threadripper installation. I would consider this a PSA as well because I destroyed the socket on my TR4 motherboard."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Podcast #461 - AMD Ryzen 3, Threadripper, Logitech Powerplay, and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 3, 2017 - 12:00 PM |
Tagged: podcast, wolfenstein, wdc, Vibe, Vega Nano, Threadripper, ryzen 3, radeon rx vega, QLC, htc, Fanatec, Clubsport lite elite, BiCS3, amd, video

PC Perspective Podcast #461 - 08/03/17

Join us for AMD Ryzen 3, Threadripper, Logitech Powerplay, 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: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:38:20

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. 1:25:45 Ryan: Logitech G903
    2. 1:34:05 Allyn: Things I would have loved to grow up learning / playing (pixel kit): 1 2
  4. Closing/outro

Source:

Unreal Engine 4 Enterprise Sizzle Video

Subject: General Tech | August 2, 2017 - 11:41 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, epic games, unreal engine 4, ue4

Apart from a Fortnite clip that they snuck in, Epic Games has published a video to highlight the recent use of Unreal Engine 4 in the enterprise. The game engine is attractive to several industries, including architectural visualization, product demos, and even rendering video for TVs and movies. For instance, you can walk through a building (even in VR) that you’re intending to create and move walls around, or customize a car and see it in that state before you order it.

One that caught my eye was the Paris VR demo from The Chainsmokers and Sony Music. This was the first that I’ve heard of it, but I find kind-of abstract, music video demos interesting. It reminds me a little of the Ellie Goulding WebGL demo from back in 2011. It should be a cute little demo if you have a PSVR, although you can also watch a playthrough on YouTube.

Amazon Web Services Releases Lumberyard Beta 1.10

Subject: General Tech | August 2, 2017 - 08:03 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, amazon

Amazon Web Services launched a new version of their Lumberyard game engine at SIGGRAPH. They advertise that the new version, Lumberyard Beta 1.10, is 50% original code from when they launched back in February 2016. The engine started as a fork of CryEngine, and I’ve watched it evolve rapidly since about November. They’re pushing the engine into sort-of an entity-component framework, similar to Unity, but with a focus on C++ and Lua. You create scripts that define some functionality, then place them on the relevant entities (versus making a hierarchy of strict subclasses like you would do in Unreal Engine 4’s C++ API).

Amazon’s visual scripting system, Script Canvas, was supposed to launch in 1.10 but I can’t see it mentioned so I’m guessing it slipped.

So what does the version have? Mostly a bunch of new rendering features. Lumberyard 1.10 adds temporal anti-aliasing and order-independent transparency. Lumberyard, because it is a deferred renderer, cannot use MSAA. The engine currently supports FXAA and SMAA, as well as supersampling of course, but 1.10 adds TAA, which blends parts of previous frames into the current one. Since the point of anti-aliasing is to know all the geometry that makes up a pixel, not just what is on top and dead center, sub-pixel variation should eventually average out to a clean image.

Order-independent transparency should be more interesting. I don’t think it’s currently available in Unreal Engine 4 or (stock) Unity 5, although I could be wrong on that, but it is noticeable for scenes with a lot of transparency. To drive the point home, NVIDIA Research made a demo in Lumberyard for GDC with glasses in a bar, embedded above. As the camera pans around the glasses, you can see the multiple reflections in the top-left side of the upside-down glass is much more stable on the left image, and where the two reflections meet in the center blends correctly.

Lumberyard 1.10 also includes a lot of editor UI tweaks, which isn’t appealing to write about but... honestly... that’s what you want in a professional content creation tool update. Their entity component tools seem to be growing nicely from the screenshots I’ve seen.

You can download Lumberyard 1.10 free from their website.

Source: Amazon
Author:
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Logitech

Logitech Powerplay Wireless Charging System

Logitech was the first company to introduce a commercially available wireless mouse, way back in 1991. Since then, the company and its competitors have evolved the concept to the point where most of the technology's downsides have been addressed, even for some of the most demanding users. But despite significant improvements over the past few years, the one advantage that traditional wired mice have continued to hold over their wireless counterparts is power.

Absent technical issues, a wired mouse will always be ready to work when you sit down at your PC. It will never give up and quit on you in the middle of a gaming session or business presentation. Wireless mice, conversely, rely on batteries with limited running time. The batteries in modern wireless mice can last weeks, even months in some cases, but at some point they'll need to be recharged or replaced. Depending on the situation, it might not be a big deal to simply plug in the USB charging cable or swap batteries when your mouse dies, but it's a safe bet that most wireless mouse users have been caught without adequate battery life at a highly inconvenient time at least once.

The obvious solution to this issue is wireless charging. The technology is already commercially available for devices like smartphones and smart watches, and for years we've been promised more ambitious solutions, such as desks that charge all of your devices at once. But there's a difference between the type of wireless charging products that have been on the market for the past few years and the type of product that would be ideal for your mouse. In other words, it's easier to design and implement a small wireless charging system that accommodates a stationary object (your smartphone) than it is to create an adequately sized mousing surface that can charge an often rapidly moving device.

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But that's exactly the challenge that Logitech decided to address, and the result of their efforts is the Powerplay, the world's first consumer-targeted wireless charging system for mice. When paired with compatible Logitech devices, the Powerplay system offers a low latency "Lightspeed" experience for both gaming and everyday productivity, and it's the first step into a world where users may never need to worry about charging their mouse.

Continue reading our review of the Logitech Powerplay Wireless Charging System!

Hit the town in Pillars of Eternity 2

Subject: General Tech | August 2, 2017 - 01:55 PM |
Tagged: Pillars of Eternity 2, gaming

A new video showing off Pillars of Eternity 2 game play was posted over at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN.  It focuses on a town called Nekataka which you will be exploring in the sequel to the popular RPG.  Sailing will also be a large part of the game, not just for fast travel as there will also be naval combat, a feature with a troubled history in gaming.  There is still no specific release date for the game, only that it will launch in 2018.  It is fully funded but you can still get backer bonuses if you head to their Fig page and donate.

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"How pleasing it is, then, to see precisely the kind of big old city I want to visit in the latest update video. It’s called Neketaka, a name I will always enjoy saying out loud but will almost certainly mangle the vowels of every time I write it down."

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