The 2019 Hackaday Prize kicks off

Subject: General Tech | April 4, 2019 - 12:40 PM |
Tagged: hackaday prize, hack, DIY

The Hackaday Prize has been around for a few years now, and some of the winning projects have been very impressive.  This years process is a little different, instead of having different categories of projects such as Robotics or Power Harvesting the prizes are awarded for the most effective participant at each stage of their project.  Those stages are Concept, Design, Production, Benchmark, and Communication with a $10,000 prize for each, with the final winner taking home $125,000 as well as a residency at Supplyframe DesignLab, who are working with Hackaday this year.

Head over for more details, including seed money available for crowd favourites as well as rules and entry steps.

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"This is the 2019 Hackaday Prize, the worldwide hardware design contest focused on product development. We know you can build a working prototype, and we still want to see you do that. But a great idea should have reach beyond your own workshop. This year’s Hackaday Prize is about taking your product across the finish line, from concept to design for manufacture."

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Tech Talk

Source: Hackaday

The Ultimate Force in audio ... perhaps

Subject: General Tech | April 3, 2019 - 05:52 PM |
Tagged: virtual 7.1, TUF Gaming H5, gaming headset, audio, asus

ASUS introduce the TUF series of components to compliment their ROG series, offering more affordable products while still maintaining quality.  The ASUS H5 TUF wired gaming headset keeps some of the aesthetics and from the description at Kitguru, also kept the 'military grade' design.  Joking aside, the H5 uses a pair of 50mm neodymium magnets and is capable of virtual 7.1 audio, has both a boom mic as well as an inline one and a decent response range of 20-20000Hz.

At $80 they are not a huge investment but there are some caveats covered in the video you might want to check out before chequing out. 

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"The TUF name originally appeared on a range of motherboards, and now with the start of the TUF Gaming Alliance there has been a shift to create an entire range of more affordable TUF components."

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Audio Corner

Source: Kitguru

The Computer is Your Friend. Not trusting The Computer is treason. Treason is punishable by death.

Subject: General Tech | April 3, 2019 - 03:14 PM |
Tagged: paranioa, gaming, the computer is your friend, happiness is mandatory

Ah, the sweet memories of West End Games' Paranoia RPG, in which you, a perfectly normal non-mutant troubleshooter who definitely wasn't a member of a secret society, did your best to show your love of the computer by exposing the traitorous behaviour of your other party members.  It also featured one of the best weapons ever included in an RPG, the thermonuclear hand grenade, with a maximum thrown range of 20 metres and blast radius of about 2 miles.

This game is coming soon to your PC thanks to Black Shamrock and Cyanide who are releasing Paranoia: Happiness Is Mandatory later this year.  Some of the fun of exposing your fellow Troubleshooters as the unhappy mutant terrorists that they are will be missing as you control all four members of your party, even so this lack is unlikely to extend the lifespan of your characters by more than a few seconds. 

Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN posted the trailer for your viewing enjoyment.

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"Contrary to Disney propaganda, Alpha Complex is the happiest place on Earth. You now this because the Computer says so, and disagreeing with Friend Computer is treason."

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Tech Talk

 

The year is 2019A(M)D and great changes are afoot

Subject: General Tech | April 3, 2019 - 01:31 PM |
Tagged: amd, Zen 2, x570, rome, navi, 7nm

This promises to be an interesting year for Intel and AMD, perhaps more so for the latter according to the information DigiTimes have put together.  We still expect Zen 2 and the X570 chipset to be shown off at Computex 2019, for Rome to rise a few months later and Navi to pop up some time in Q3; all on a process Intel has yet to hit. 

Intel's chip shortages have led to HP and Lenovo placing large orders of mobile CPUs from AMD for the first time in quite a while and ASUS is now using them in some lines of gaming laptops. You will also find AMD powered Chromebooks from Acer and HP available for purchase.  In the server room, EPYC has taken AMD's market share from 1% Q4 2017 to 3.2% in Q4 2018, with more gains expected in the Q1 2019, which just wrapped up. 

The inclusion of PCIe 4.0 on the X570 chipset has attracted motherboard manufacturers and they have increased their orders from AMD, who developed the chipset in house.  DigiTimes expects ASMedia to start producing some of the lower cost PCIe 4.0 versions by the end of the year with a chance they will immediately release mainstream X570s with the current generation of PCIe. 

Dr. Lisa Su's pre-Computex press conference on May 27 is bound to be very interesting.

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"A ramp-up in CPU and GPU shipments for notebooks, motherboards and servers will buoy significantly AMD's sales performance in the second half of 2019, according to sources at PC makers."

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Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes

Now that's truly flexible programming!

Subject: General Tech | April 2, 2019 - 02:27 PM |
Tagged: flexible, soft robotics, nifty

Researchers from Harvard University and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have shown off a very interesting bit of kit, a flexible logic gate for use in soft robotics.  That type of robotics uses rubbers and foams instead of metal gears and grippers, to allow robots to handle and interface with breakable things, up to and including yourself.  One hurdle has been that while many motors and materials can be replicated with soft materials, the circuitry has remained inflexible which can cause wear issues. 

These researchers have printed out basic NOT, AND and OR logic gates on membranous tissue, which bend with the rubber and foam the robot is built out of using an ingenious, if somewhat repurposed technique.  Check out their research over at PhysicsWorld.

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"The researchers liken the functionality of their membrane-tube system to a “Schmitt trigger”, a hysteretic circuit used in electronics for analog-to-digital conversion, level detection, and line reception."

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Tech Talk

Source: PhysicsWorld

AMD or NVIDIA flavoured mineral oil*?

Subject: General Tech | April 1, 2019 - 02:32 PM |
Tagged: seamicro, mineral oil, Boston, Asperitas

One of the more interesting exhibits at CloudFest in Rust, Germany, were four mineral oil cooled Seamicro based systems being displayed by Asperitas and Boston and described by The Register.  The improved thermal characteristics oils, synthetic or otherwise, offers over air cooling were used to create four very interesting servers.  The CLOUDzone242 houses numerous EPYC 7000 series processors for a total core count of 1,536, 48TB of memory and 960TB of storage while the CLOUDzone241 contains with 96 EPYC CPUs for 3,072 Zen cores, along with 96TB of memory and 768TB of storage. 

Intel fans might prefer the CLOUDzone244 with enough Xeons, to provide 1,056 cores, 48TB of memory and 960TB of storage on board while finally the CLOUDzone243 adds 331,776 CUDA cores across 72 NVIDIA HPC to the specs of the CLOUDzone244.

For more news stories you may or may not believe, read on below.

*Ken not included as it is technically a synthetic oil from condensed gasses.

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"Dutch liquid cooling specialist Asperitas and British systems integrator Boston have linked arms on a range of server systems based on "immersion cooling" – with the hardware submerged in giant tubs of mineral oil, a dielectric compound very similar to Vaseline or baby oil."

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Tech Talk

Source: The Register
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Razer

Legend on a Budget

In the world of gaming peripherals, there are few pieces of gear more well-known than the Razer BlackWidow mechanical keyboard. Since the launch of the original in 2010, it’s haunted department stores and professional eSports tournaments alike. As part of their 2019 product launch, Razer has refreshed this classic, stripping it down to the essentials to put it within the grasp of gamers on a budget. At $119, it enters the market at a crowded price point. Is a “core” Blackwidow do enough to stand out from the competition in 2019? Join us as we find out.

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"Since its inception, the Razer BlackWidow name has been synonymous not just with precision but also the tactile and clicky feel of its switches that gamers love. We’ve fine-tuned our mechanical switches to unlock the highest level of gaming performance yet with the latest edition of the Razer Green Mechanical Switch. Game on with total clicky satisfaction and Razer Chroma lighting with the new Razer BlackWidow."

Specifications

  • Razer Green Mechanical Switches designed for gaming
  • 80 million keystroke lifespan
  • Razer Chroma™ customizable backlighting with 16.8 million color options
  • Hybrid On-Board Memory and Cloud Storage – up to 5 profiles
  • Razer Synapse 3 enabled
  • Cable routing
  • N-key roll-over anti-ghosting
  • Fully programmable keys with on-the-fly macro recording
  • Gaming mode option
  • 1000 Hz Ultrapolling
  • Instant Trigger Technology

Pricing and Availability: $119.99, Amazon.com

Continue reading our review of the Razer BlackWidow 2019 mechanical keyboard

PC Perspective Podcast #538 - Gaming Headsets, Ryzen Price Drops, and More!

Subject: General Tech | March 29, 2019 - 06:55 AM |
Tagged: ryzen, podcast, Optane, microphone, hyperx, graphics drivers, corsair, Cinebench, asus, anthem

PC Perspective Podcast #538 - 3/27/2019

Join us this week as we review a new quiet case from Corsair, a high-end gaming headset from ASUS, the first standalone microphone from HyperX, and more!

Subscribe to the PC Perspective Podcast

Check out previous podcast episodes: http://pcper.com/podcast

Show Topics
00:05 - Intro
02:04 - Review: Corsair Carbide 678C Case
08:43 - Review: ASUS ROG Delta Gaming Headset
16:25 - Review: HyperX QuadCast USB Microphone
22:51 - News: AMD Ryzen 2000 Price Drops
27:43 - News: Cinebench R20 Standalone Release
30:41 - News: Anthem DLSS & GeForce Highlights Update
33:58 - News: GeForce Game Ready Drivers 419.67
38:01 - News: Intel vs. Micron
43:10 - Picks of the Week
53:04 - Outro

Picks of the Week
Jim: SeaQuest DSV
Jeremy: Intel NUC 8 VR
Josh: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
Sebastian: At Last the 1948 Show

Today's Podcast Hosts
Sebastian Peak
Josh Walrath
Jeremy Hellstrom
Jim Tanous

A back room brawl, AMD is starting something in the server room

Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2019 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: amd, Intel, server

The Inquirer linked to a paper AMD just posted, which details what they call the "Intel Tax".  It highlights a variety reasons not to chose an Intel based server, including the dozens of SKUs to chose from, spanning four different metal codes, and five different series. They also point out that if you want more that 28 cores you will need to buy additional processors, as well as needing to spend a large amount on upgrades to Gold or Platinum branded CPUs if you want to use the latest memory technology. 

No wonder DigiTimes is predicting Intel's market share in the server room may fall below 90% in the coming years.

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"As such, AMD's attack on Intel comes across as a bit petty. But then we don't feel too sorry for Intel as one of its top execs launched a big attack on Nvidia a day or so earlier; goodness knows what's in the water over in the US."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

WarCraft 1 and 2 Available Digitally for First Time on GOG

Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2019 - 01:20 PM |
Tagged: warcraft, orcs & humans, tides of darkness, battle.net, GOG, blizzard

It has finally happened: the original WarCraft and WarCraft II are legitimately available digitally for the first time in a new WarCraft bundle on GOG, coming on the heels of GOG's understanding with Blizzard that saw the release of the original Diablo on March 7th. GOG seems to have seen the value in offering versions of the classic games which were foolishly dismissed as "just not that fun anymore" by none other than Blizzard a couple of years ago.

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Thankfully there are people who do think they are fun, and while WarCraft: Orcs & Humans does look quite a bit more dated than WarCraft II (this author's favorite of the series), they are most certainly worth replaying on modern systems - and for $15 you can do it legally (and without the hassle of configuring DOSBox, etc.). The included version of WarCraft II is the Battle.net Edition, and GOG's says it has been updated "with a number of fixes to provide full compatibility with modern machines as well as hi-resolution support and upscaling".

From GOG.com:

"In anticipation of the upcoming 25th anniversary of Warcraft, we brought you the real-time strategy classics that started it all Warcraft: Orcs and Humans and Warcraft II Battle.net Edition, including both the original Tides of Darkness and the Beyond the Dark Portal expansion. Starting today, players can once again explore these universe-defining games as they become available digitally and DRM-free for the first time ever! 

Warcraft: Orcs & Humans takes players back to the original battle for Azeroth, challenging players to pick a side and raise an army of human or orcs capable of bringing ruin to their enemies. Warcraft IIand its expansion take the battle to the high seas with a host of naval units, and introduces more of the races that make up the Alliance and the Horde, bolstering the human and orc forces with elves, trolls, dwarves, and more. 

The first part of the legendary series plays and feels just like the original from 1994, it’s just updated to run flawlessly on modern operating systems. Warcraft II Battle.net Edition, similarly to the release of first Diablo on GOG.COM, comes in two versions, which players will choose from the launcher. The classic one allows for the authentic experience and a fully functional multiplayer with Blizzard’s Battle.net online gaming service. The updated version comes with a number of fixes to provide full compatibility with modern machines as well as hi-resolution support and upscaling."

Source: GOG