Google tests its Power and takes a shot at Intel

Subject: General Tech | October 17, 2016 - 04:48 PM |
Tagged: google, Intel, power9, zaius

Not too long ago Google revealed it had updated the code that runs behind its popular web based services to make it more hardware agnostic.  With a trivial tweak to the code their software can switch between running on Intel x86, IBM Power or 64-bit ARM cores.  On Friday Google Cloud's technical program manager, John Zipfel, provided more information on the OpenCAPI compliant Zaius P9 server that is in development and revealed it will use an IBM Power 9 chip.  As it will be OpenCAPI, it will use interconnects such as NVIDIA's NVLink or AMD's as yet unnamed fabric interconnect but will not leverage Intel's.  The Register has a bit more information on Google's plans and the Zaius here.


"Google has gently increased pressure on Intel – its main source for data-center processors – by saying it is "looking forward" to using chips from IBM and other semiconductor rivals."

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Source: The Register

Rumor: Newegg Acquired by Liaison Interactive

Subject: General Tech | October 15, 2016 - 02:40 AM |
Tagged: newegg, liaison interactive

About a month ago, Newegg announced that Hangzhao Liaison Interactive Information Technology Co., Ltd. has agreed to make a “significant investment” in their company. That is not a rumor; it was officially acknowledged by Newegg. Their press release doesn't really elaborate on the specifics of the deal, though, except to note that Liaison Interactive is interested in Newegg because of their position in the VR and AR market. Got to love the PC gaming ecosystem.


Well, this month, the rumors are claiming that Newegg was outright acquired by Liaison Interactive. The United Daily News is reporting that the deal was 17.7 billion yuan (which Google mis-translated to 1.77 billion yuan for me) for 55.7% of the online retailer. It's unclear how the other 44.3% is split up, but Newegg is said to become a subsidiary as a result of this transaction.

The UDN story also expands upon the “why” question that was loosely touched upon last month. I can't tell, especially with Google Translate stripping a lot of context, how much of this is speculation, but the report suggests that Liaison Interactive is interested in Newegg as an extension of its supply chain. That is, more easily get their products to end-users world-wide.

Interesting. We'll hopefully get a new press release soon.

Strap a peltier to your DSLR so you can lengthen your exposure

Subject: General Tech | October 14, 2016 - 04:45 PM |
Tagged: DSLR, peltier

Peltier coolers have proven too inefficient to cool modern CPUs and have been relegated back to car seats and other traditional usages, until now.  A company called PrimaLuce will send you a Nikon D5500 with a peltier cooler strapped to the back which will cool your camera during long exposures which reduces image noise.  It will also prevent the camera from getting obnoxiously warm, a common complaint around the PCPer office.  This particular camera is intended for capturing the night sky, the inclusion of a anti-dewing system is very welcome.  Pop on over to Ars Technica to take a look.


"For €2,190 (£2,000/$2,400), the Italian company PrimaLuce will sell you a Nikon D5500 DSLR with a dual-Peltier cooler strapped to the back, called the Nikon D5500a Cooled. In addition to the cooler, the modified camera also switches out the standard low-pass filter in front of the sensor for something that is specially tuned to be more sensitive to astronomical wavelengths of light (specifically H-alpha deep red)."

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Source: Ars Technica

Stepping Up the Simulation Game

I don’t exactly remember when I first heard about Fanatec, but it likely was sometime after the release of DiRT 2.  I was somewhat into racing games before that, but that particular title sold me on the genre and I have not looked back since.  Before then I used a Microsoft Sidewinder FFB stick for my racing, but it was D2 that convinced me to purchase a wheel for the full fledged experience.  The initial impression of Fanatec was of course “high priced, but really nice gear”.  These were products that I did not think I would ever see in any personal capacity as they were out of my price range and my driving passion was just not amped up enough to rationalize it.


My dog is quite suspicious of the amount of boxes the set came in.

I know I probably talk about it too much, but the introduction of DiRT Rally really supercharged my interest in driving accessories due to the work they did on physics and Force Feedback effects.  My older Thrustmaster Ferrari F430 wheel featured a meager 270 degrees of rotation and clunky FFB that did not translate well with this particular title.  It may have done OK with older, more arcade based racers, but with the latest generation of sims that focus on accuracy in experience it just did not cut it.  Purchasing a Thrustmaster TX based unit was a night and day experience for these latest titles.

The next few months after that I spent time with multiple other wheels and accessories and provided a few reviews based on them.  My level of interest grew exponentially about what the industry offered.  I was able to contact Fanatec and they agreed to put together a bundle of products based on their latest ClubSport V2 products.  This would include the ClubSport V2 Base,  ClubSport Universal Hub for Xbox One, ClubSport Pedals V3, ClubSport Shifter SQ, and the desk mounting hardware for the units.


Fanatec is not for the faint of heart when it comes to pricing.  The total package I received is worth 1800 Euro, or about $2016 US.  This is a pretty tremendous amount of money for racing gear, but it is about average for higher end products that exist in this market.  People will question why it costs so much, but after my experience with it I now know why.

Click here to read the rest of the Fanatec Review!

Think you can handle the Wang? NVIDIA is giving away $50,000 worth of Shadow Warrior 2 codes

Subject: General Tech | October 13, 2016 - 07:50 PM |
Tagged: shadow warrior 2, nvidia, geforce, geforce experience 3.0, giveaway

Shadow Warrior 2 is out today, bringing Lo brow humour and procedural gore back to PC gaming.  For those of you who have created a user at, you have a chance to win a copy of the game for free, all you need to do is install GeForce Experience 3.0 on your machine and you are entered to win.  If you haven't the desire you can pick the game up on GOG or Steam, but you will have to pay for it.  This new incarnation adds four player co-op to the game and the levels are described as procedural, theoretically places you have previously visited will not be the same if you head back.  More info on the contest in the PR below


Shadow Warrior 2 launched today, and GeForce gamers using GeForce Experience may be getting it free. We will be giving away $50,000 worth of codes for the over the top first person shooter Shadow Warrior 2 to random gamers registered with GeForce Experience 3.0. This marks the second game code giveaway this month and more are coming soon. Just download and log in to the new GeForce Experience 3.0 to be eligible. Shadow Warrior 2 is highly anticipated first person shooter that is focused on fun. But not to be missed behind the numerous weapon choices, over-the-top gore, and edgy sense of humor is an indie release that is loaded with next generation technology thanks in part to a collaboration between NVIDIA and Flying Wild Hog, the game’s independent Polish developer.

The developer of Shadow Warrior 2, Flying Wild Hog, along with Devolver sister company Gambitious, were a part of the NVIDIA Indie Spotlight Program launch with their game Hard Reset: Redux. So naturally working with them on Shadow Warrior 2 to expand the indie game partnership between Devolver and NVIDIA seemed like the natural next step.

PC Gamers count on GeForce Experience to get the most from their games. It keeps drivers up to date. It automatically optimizes game settings for more than 300 games. And it’s the easiest way to capture gameplay video, stream it to Twitch or YouTube, or share it with another player over the Internet using the easy-to-use in-game overlay tool.

And now it rewards you for playing on GeForce. Dating back to July, NVIDIA has thanked their loyal GeForce Experience gamers by giving away: MSI VR-Ready Notebooks, HTC Vive Systems, GeForce GTX 1080s, SHIELD Android TVs, alpha access codes to the game LawBreakers and $200,000 worth of codes for Dead by Daylight.

More than 75 million gamers can’t be wrong--GeForce Experience is the gateway to great PC gaming.

Source: NVIDIA

Microwave your RAM to make it faster?

Subject: General Tech | October 13, 2016 - 07:19 PM |
Tagged: terahertz, research, memory

You have probably recently heard of terahertz radiation used to scan physical objects, be it the T-Rays at airports or the the researchers at MIT who are reading books through the covers.  There is more recent of news on researchers utilizing the spectrum between frequencies of 0.3THz and 3THz, this time pertaining to RAM cycles and the possibility of increasing the speed at which RAM can flip between a 0 and 1.  In theory a terahertz electric field could flip bits 1000 times faster than the electromagnetic process currently used in flash memory. This could also be used in the new prototype RAM technology we have seen, such as MRAM, PRAM or STT-RAM.  This is still a long way off but a rather interesting read, especially if you can follow the links from The Inquirer to the Nature submission.

EM Spectrum.png

"Using the prototypical antiferromagnet thulium orthoferrite (TmFeO3), we demonstrate that resonant terahertz pumping of electronic orbital transitions modifies the magnetic anisotropy for ordered Fe3+ spins and triggers large-amplitude coherent spin oscillations," the researchers helpfully explained."

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Source: The Inquirer

It's time for another Fragging Frogs VLAN! Saturday Oct 29 @ 10:00 AM ET - Virtual LAN party #14

Subject: General Tech | October 12, 2016 - 11:10 PM |
Tagged: VLAN party, gaming, fragging frogs

It's time to load up your Flak Cannon, squirrel away a Redeemer, tune up your Rocket car and feed your pet dinosaur because the Fragging Frogs are hosting their 14th VLAN party on the last Saturday of this month.  There will be games, there will be prize giveaways and there will be fun!  If you have attended a VLAN in the past you know the drill but if you have yet to take part in one of these events with the best group of gamers around then you can follow these steps to ensure you have a spot.

  • You must be a registered member at the PCPer forums (register here)
  • You must post to this thread stating your intention to attend the VLAN event
  • You must meet the eligibility requirements (if any) of the individual sponsors below
  • Your shipping address must be in the Continental United States or Canada (for prizes)
  • Lastly, you must join Teamspeak and participate in the VLAN event by playing games with us and having fun !!

You will need to supply your own snacks and beverages so make sure to stock up as the party kicks off at 10AM Eastern and doesn't stop until the last Frog drops, which is often sometime on Sunday.  The games we play are up to you, post suggestions in the thread if you don't see your favourites already listed, if we can find interested bodies we are happy to play anything. 

Prizes are not yet announced but you can expect some great hardware, software and possibly even some interesting collectibles.  Keep your eyes on the thread for more announcements and make sure to thank Lenny for all the effort he puts into organizing these events. 

Join up and have some fun on Saturday, you might just find yourself becoming a regular participant in the Fragging Frogs weekly gaming sessions too!


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Introducing the XG-U2008 switch – 10G networking for only $249

Subject: General Tech, Networking | October 12, 2016 - 08:22 PM |
Tagged: asus, XG-U2008, unmanaged switch, 10 gigabit

Planning an upgrade to your network or looking to build one that will last into the next generation of NICs?  ASUS has just made an unmanaged 10 gigabit switch available at a price far below the average asking price of the devices currently on the market.  $250 is still a steep investment for a switch but is less than half of the competitions, albeit without the management features found on those switches.  The LEDs on the front will glow amber if the cable you use is not up to the new standard, otherwise expect green for go.  It will support Jumbo Frames of up to 16 KB just like the more expensive models.  It is a compact 9.44x4.92x1.06", so you should easily be able to find a home for it.  PR below the snazzy product shot, technical details from ASUS here.


Fremont, CA (October 10th, 2016) -- Outside the enterprise market, the transition from Gigabit to 10-Gigabit Ethernet has been rather slow. While there are growing small-business and prosumer demands for the additional bandwidth that 10G networking provides, the cost of entry is high. Until now, the availability of compliant devices has been limited to enterprise-class products that are built with corporate networks in mind, with pricing for 10-Gigabit switches starting at $800. That certainly isn’t expensive by corporate standards, but for the rest of us, it relegates adoption to cases of absolute necessity and the upper echelon of enthusiasts.

While it’s advisable to plan ahead and overprovision your network for scalability, paying extra money for ports or features that you’ll never use doesn’t make sense. So, there’s a clear need for 10G networking devices that are suitably tailored for the small business, prosumer, and enthusiast markets. Cue the ASUS XG-U2008, an unmanaged 10G networking switch available for only $249.99.


The VR Pool game has finally arrived

Subject: General Tech | October 12, 2016 - 07:43 PM |
Tagged: VR, unreal engine 4, pool nation vr, htc vive, gaming

Pool Nation VR for thr HTC Vive is an Unreal Engine 4 game and takes advantage of one of that engine's NVIDIA only features, Multi-Res Shading.  This gives NVIDIA a performance advantage at high settings over AMD, though not so much that the GTX 1060 gets a recommendation from [H]ard|OCP.  Unfortunately, neither thev R9 Fury X nor RX 480 managed decent performance from this game, if you want to shoot VR pool you are looking at a GTX 1070 at the very least.  Check out the full review and hope that mods arrive to make the game more interesting.


"If shooting pool is a passion of yours, then Pool Nation VR should be on your list if you own an HTC Vive. Even if you are not a pool shark, this title will likely lure you in to spending many hours shooting stick. But to make it look stunning, you will need a heavy duty GPU up to the task. "

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

The Internet of Things can make you a cup of tea ... in 11 hours or so

Subject: General Tech | October 12, 2016 - 06:47 PM |
Tagged: iot, iKettle

If there is one thing that the IoT excels at, it is making simple things more complex.  It opens up new toaster based DoS attacks and can turn the act of boiling water into a day long activity.  An English software developer had a very interesting time attempting to make his morning cup of tea and being a technically inclined individual he was not about to simply give up; instead he started troubleshooting the issue.  The issue started with the iKettle dropping its connection necessitating the rest of the of the base station for the kettle but escalated to the point it was interfering with the Hadoop cluster he happened to be running in his garage.  The Register captured his debugging trials in the search for a substance that was  almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.  To ensure that there was salt added to his wounds, his Hue decided to perform a firmware update later that evening.


"Our story starts simply enough: a kettle. The iKettle to be precise, an IoT device that is coveted by most INQ writers for reasons they cannot entirely explain."

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Source: The Register