SoftBank Invests $4 Billion In NVIDIA, Becomes Fourth Largest Shareholder

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 27, 2017 - 12:18 AM |
Tagged: vision fund, softbank, nvidia, iot, HPC, ai

SoftBank, the Tokyo, Japan based Japanese telecom and internet technology company has reportedly quietly amassed a 4.9% stake in graphics chip giant NVIDIA. Bloomberg reports that SoftBank has carefully invested $4 billion into NVIDIA avoiding the need to get regulatory approval in the US by keeping its investment under 5% of the company. SoftBank has promised the current administration that it will invest $50 billion into US tech companies and it seems that NVIDIA is the first major part of that plan.

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NVIDIA's Tesla V100 GPU.

Led by Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son, SoftBank is not afraid to invest in technology companies it believes in with major past acquisitions and investments in companies like ARM Holdings, Sprint, Alibaba, and game company Supercell.

The $4 billion-dollar investment makes SoftBank the fourth largest shareholder in NVIDIA, which has seen the company’s stock rally from SoftBank’s purchases and vote of confidence. The (currently $93) $100 billion Vision Fund may also follow SoftBank’s lead in acquiring a stake in NVIDIA which is involved in graphics, HPC, AI, deep learning, and gaming.

Overall, this is good news for NVIDIA and its shareholders. I am curious what other plays SoftBank will make for US tech companies.

What are your thoughts on SoftBank investing heavily in NVIDIA?

Intel Persistent Memory Using 3D XPoint DIMMs Expected Next Year

Subject: General Tech, Memory, Storage | May 26, 2017 - 10:14 PM |
Tagged: XPoint, Intel, HPC, DIMM, 3D XPoint

Intel recently teased a bit of new information on its 3D XPoint DIMMs and launched its first public demonstration of the technology at the SAP Sapphire conference where SAP’s HANA in-memory data analytics software was shown working with the new “Intel persistent memory.” Slated to arrive in 2018, the new Intel DIMMs based on the 3D XPoint technology developed by Intel and Micron will work in systems alongside traditional DRAM to provide a pool of fast, low latency, and high density nonvolatile storage that is a middle ground between expensive DDR4 and cheaper NVMe SSDs and hard drives. When looking at the storage stack, the storage density increases along with latency as it gets further away from the CPU. The opposite is also true, as storage and memory gets closer to the processor, bandwidth increases, latency decreases, and costs increase per unit of storage. Intel is hoping to bridge the gap between system DRAM and PCI-E and SATA storage.

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According to Intel, system RAM offers up 10 GB/s per channel and approximately 100 nanoseconds of latency. 3D XPoint DIMMs will offer 6 GB/s per channel and about 250 nanoseconds of latency. Below that is the 3D XPoint-based NVMe SSDs (e.g. Optane) on a PCI-E x4 bus where they max out the bandwidth of the bus at ~3.2 GB/s and 10 microseconds of latency. Intel claims that non XPoint NVMe NAND solid state drives have around 100 microsecomds of latency, and of course, it gets worse from there when you go to NAND-based SSDs or even hard drives hanging of the SATA bus.

Intel’s new XPoint DIMMs have persistent storage and will offer more capacity that will be possible and/or cost effective with DDR4 DRAM. In giving up some bandwidth and latency, enterprise users will be able to have a large pool of very fast storage for storing their databases and other latency and bandwidth sensitive workloads. Intel does note that there are security concerns with the XPoint DIMMs being nonvolatile in that an attacker with physical access could easily pull the DIMM and walk away with the data (it is at least theoretically possible to grab some data from RAM as well, but it will be much easier to grab the data from the XPoint sticks. Encryption and other security measures will need to be implemented to secure the data, both in use and at rest.

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Interestingly, Intel is not positioning the XPoint DIMMs as a replacement for RAM, but instead as a supplement. RAM and XPoint DIMMs will be installed in different slots of the same system and the DDR4 RAM will be used for the OS and system critical applications while the XPoint pool of storage will be used for storing data that applications will work on much like a traditional RAM disk but without needing to load and save the data to a different medium for persistent storage and offering a lot more GBs for the money.

While XPoint is set to arrive next year along with Cascade Lake Xeons, it will likely be a couple of years before the technology takes off. Supporting it is going to require hardware and software support for the workstations and servers as well as developers willing to take advantage of it when writing their specialized applications. Fortunately, Intel started shipping the memory modules to its partners for testing earlier this year. It is an interesting technology and the DIMM solution and direct CPU interface will really let the 3D XPoint memory shine and reach its full potential. It will primarily be useful for the enterprise, scientific, and financial industries where there is a huge need for faster and lower latency storage that can accommodate massive (multiple terabyte+) data sets that continue to get larger and more complex. It is a technology that likely will not trickle down to consumers for a long time, but I will be ready when it does. In the meantime, I am eager to see what kinds of things it will enable the big data companies and researchers to do! Intel claims it will not only be useful at supporting massive in-memory databases and accelerating HPC workloads but for things like virtualization, private clouds, and software defined storage.

What are your thoughts on this new memory tier and the future of XPoint?

Also read:

Source: Intel

G.Skills svelte Ripjaws KM570 mechanical keyboard

Subject: General Tech | May 26, 2017 - 04:40 PM |
Tagged: G.Skill, Ripjaws KM570 RGB, gaming keyboard, RGB

G.Skill learned from the feedback offered from users of the KM780R and incorporated it into the KM570.  They've simplified the design and added back the top plate to protect the switches, though they did replace the volume wheel with buttons, a decision The Tech Report were not wholly enthusiastic about.   The keyboard sports two USB plugs, one is for transferring software settings to the keyboard and is not needed unless you are updating your settings.  The lighting has five different brightness settings as well as the all important off setting.  It retails for $120, which is less than much of the competitions offerings; as odd as it is to say.

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"G.Skill's KM570 puts an everything-you-need, nothing-you-don't board in the company's gaming-keyboard quiver. We tried out this distilled gaming board to see whether it has what it takes to stand out in a crowded field."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

New AI products will Crest Computex

Subject: General Tech | May 25, 2017 - 12:19 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, Intel, Lake Crest, Knights Crest

DigiTimes have heard about Intel's plans to reveal their next hardware devoted to AI functionality at Computex.  Lake Crest is their deep learning hardware to support a new generation of neural network based computing and Knights Crest is the result of Intel's $350m purchase of the deep learning company Nervana which will be based on the familiar Xeon and Xeon Phi families of processor. 

Jen-Hsun Huang, will deliver a keynote about NVIDIA's current AI projects along with their advancements in autonomous driving and deep learning, but we have not heard any juicy rumours about hardware announcements yet.  Love him or hate him, Jen-Hsun's keynotes are never a waste of time to listen to.

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"Nvidia and Intel are expected to unveil their latest plans on hardware platforms for artificial intelligence (AI) applications at Computex 2017, according to sources from the upstream supply chain."

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Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Podcast #451 - New Surface Pro, Analog Keyboards, Water Cooled PSUs and more!

Subject: General Tech | May 25, 2017 - 11:12 AM |
Tagged: vulkan, video, Surface Pro, SolidScale, seasonic, ps4 pro, podcast, opencl, micon, macbook pro, Khronos, fsp, Eisbaer, Chromebook, Alphacool, aimpad

PC Perspective Podcast #451 - 05/25/17

Join us for talk about the wew Surface Pro, analog keyboards, water cooled PSUs 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: Alex Lustenberg, Jim Tanous, Ken Addison

Program length: 1:39:25

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. Casper!
  3. News items of interest:
  4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
  5. Closing/outro

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

PCPer Live! Aimpad Analog Keyboard Technology Discussion

Subject: General Tech | May 24, 2017 - 04:42 PM |
Tagged: lance madsen, keyboard, analog, aimpad

If you missed the live stream, we have the VOD below! This is a compelling discussion about the benefits of having an analog keyboard - definitely worth watching if you are a dedicated PC gamer!

You might not have heard of the company or the technology yet, but Aimpad is set to bring about another drastic change to the world of gaming keyboards. Lance Madsen will join us from Aimpad to talk about the idea of an analog keyboard, and why having keys that aren't simply on or off can benefit gamers as they strive to find the best possible experiences.

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In our live stream we will be talking about the technology that makes it work, how it will be integrated into future keyboards, and walk through a handful of demonstrations of the technology at work on a prototype keyboard integration. 

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Aimpad Analog Keyboard Live Stream

1pm PT / 4pm ET - May 23rd

PC Perspective Live! Page

Need a reminder? Join our live mailing list!

The event will take place Tuesday, May 23rd at 4pm ET / 1pm PT at http://www.pcper.com/live. There you’ll be able to catch the live video stream as well as use our chat room to interact with the audience, asking questions for me and Lance to answer live. 

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If you have questions, please leave them in the comments below and we'll look through them just before the start of the live stream. Of course you'll be able to tweet us questions @pcper and we'll be keeping an eye on the IRC chat as well for more inquiries. What do you want to know and hear from Tom or I?

So join us! Set your calendar for this coming Tuesday at 4pm ET / 1pm PT and be here at PC Perspective to catch it. If you are a forgetful type of person, sign up for the PC Perspective Live mailing list that we use exclusively to notify users of upcoming live streaming events including these types of specials and our regular live podcast. I promise, no spam will be had!

DOOM Guy gets hot and bothered

Subject: General Tech | May 24, 2017 - 02:24 PM |
Tagged: doom, gaming, hack, mod

It's the May Two-Four so you have probably turned down your furnace* and your thermostat has very little to do, so why not play a game of DOOM on it?  Over at Hack a Day you can get a port of Chocolate DOOM which you can set up and run on a Honeywell Prestige thermostat.  The colour may be better than the original but for now you will have to play it without sound, still it is impressive how far hardware has come, even in simple appliances.

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*offer may not be valid in Wyoming

"In his video, [cz7asm] shows us the game running quite nicely on the 480 x 272 LCD with an NES controller plugged into the USB port originally intended for software updates. The thermostat runs on a STM32F429 which is an ARM9 processor that has the juice to pull it off."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

Source: Hack a Day

New AMD products with go forth July

Subject: General Tech | May 24, 2017 - 01:24 PM |
Tagged: amd, Vega, ryzen 3, rumour

On a recent investors call AMD's head, Lisa Su, let it slip that the Radeon RX Vega family will be arriving on the market this July, shortly after we see the Frontier Edition launch.  The Inquirer also mentions that this is likely to indicate a similar launch time for the Ryzen 3 family, which seems a sound presumption.  During the call she set some dates for AMD's next generation of processors, they will be taping out their 7nm products later this year with Zen 2 scheduled for 2018 and Zen 3 in 2020.  It is also likely we will not be seeing mobile Zen parts at Computex; next year is far more likely to be their target.  Still, this has been an exciting year for enthusiasts with a wide variety of parts launched already and more on the way.

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"Su revealed that the company was planning a late-June release date for the Frontier Edition of the company's next-generation graphics card, with the more mainstream Radeon RX Vega coming out the following month."

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Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Win-ning friends in the workplace and hoping you hate group policy

Subject: General Tech | May 23, 2017 - 03:08 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, Win 10, enterprise

Microsoft is continuing with their policy of self inflicted hurdles for Enterprise adoption of Windows 10.  We have known for a while that Group Policy no longer works as expected on the new version of Windows and today The Inquirer posted more exact information this particular issue.  A security researcher locked down a machine using Group Policy settings and found that even with policies in place to prevent certain protocols and services, the machine continued to attempt connections.  The most damning proof of all was on a machine set to extreme security, with all but connections to Microsoft Update blocked, that still happily attempted to connect to advertising servers.  The marketshare of Win 10 devices in the workplace does not look to be on the rise any time soon.

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"On Monday, we revealed that a security researcher had used a packet sniffer to show that many settings designed to prevent access to the internet were being ignored with connections to a range of third party servers including advertising hubs."

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Source: The Inquirer

Sit back and read about the Vertagear Triigger 350 Special Edition Gaming Chair

Subject: General Tech | May 19, 2017 - 02:02 PM |
Tagged: vertagear, Triigger 350 Special Edition, gaming chair

We now know the real reason Kyle agreed to getting a red stripe in his hair; so he can match the chair he is sitting in.  He has been resting his laurels on the Vertagear Triigger 350 Special Edition for the past few months and has published a review of his experiences.  This 55lb beast is constructed of aluminium, mesh and calf leather with hubless caster type wheels which turned out to work and look good.  If you are in the market for a high end gaming chair you should check out the full review, especially the last page where he answers numerous questions asked by his forum members.

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"What happens when you rope yourself in to doing a gaming chair review? You take your time, do it right, and make sure your butt spends at least a few months in the chair before you write your review. My butt has been in the VertaGear Triigger 350 Gaming Chair for over 3 months, and here are my thoughts."

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Tech Talk

Source: [H]ard|OCP