Coffee Lake in September is a lovely sight

Subject: General Tech | August 23, 2017 - 03:02 PM |
Tagged: Intel, coffee lake, asus, acer

DigiTimes have broken the news that Coffee Lake powered laptops will be arriving in September.  ASUS and Acer are mentioned by name but you can bet that you will see models released by all major manufacturers.  This upgrade will be a refinement of Kaby Lake, both generations will be fabbed on a 14nm process; Cannon Lake will be Intel's first 10nm chip and should be released close to the end of this year.  Intel is very hopefully that Coffee Lake will sell well, their representative mentioned a study which found that 450 million PCs still use chips rolled out five years ago.  While enthusiasts are unlikely to jump on Coffee Lake, there is a large market for 4k laptops with better battery life among casual users and businesses.

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"Leading notebook vendors, such as Taiwan's Asustek Computer and Acer, and many other international brands, will roll out their new 2-in-1 and ultra-thin notebook models utilizing Intel's eighth-generation Coffee Lake mobile CPUs starting September, to grab a larger market pie in the coming peak season, according to industry sources."

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Source: DigiTimes

Microsoft Details Upgrade Options For Xbox One X Including Network Transfer Of Games and Settings

Subject: General Tech | August 23, 2017 - 12:13 AM |
Tagged: xbox one x, xbox one, microsoft, console, 4k

Microsoft’s next generation Xbox One X gaming console is expected to launch on November 7th, 2017 and the Redmond-based company is making it as easy as possible to upgrade from current Xbox One and One S consoles. Specifically, Microsoft’s Xbox Program Management Corporate Vice President Mike Ybarra revealed that gamers would be able to prepare for the switch to the new console by downloading 4K game updates ahead of time and making the transfer process simple by using a wizard and either an external hard drive or network transfer to move console settings and game data over from their old console to the Xbox One X.

Xbox One X Network Transfer.png

So far, Microsoft has announced that approximately 100 games from its existing catalog will have 4K updates available including Halo 5, Halo Wars 2, Forza Motorspot 7, Fallout 4, NBA 2K18, Project Cars 2, Rocket League, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

Gamers will be able to pre-load 4K updates for their existing games onto their Xbox One or Xbox One S console. Once the Xbox One X launches, gamers will be able to transfer and keep most of their Xbox settings to the new console along with apps, games, and game save data. The data can be transferred by hooking up an external hard drive or by connecting both gaming consoles to the same LAN and starting the home network transfer by adding both consoles to your Xbox home and copying what you want between consoles.

I am interested to see if the Xbox One X is really able to live up to the claims of 4K60 gaming as well as the promised supersampling and anti-aliasing for gamers playing on 1080p displays (including older backwards compatible Xbox and Xbox 360 titles).

Are you planning on upgrading to the XBOX? What are your thoughts on the $499 console and its performance promises?

Also read: Xbox One X Scorpio Edition: What’s Different Explained @ Screen Rant

Source: eTeknix

A Chunk of Servo Comes to Firefox: Quantum CSS

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2017 - 10:12 PM |
Tagged: mozilla, firefox, servo, Rust

If you’re on Firefox Nightly, you are able to enable their new CSS engine with an about:config flag, called layout.css.servo.enabled. For a few years now, Mozilla has been working on a separate rendering engine, aided by Samsung, which was called Servo. Browsers are very single-threaded, so there was a lot of room for improvement, especially on devices that can afford more cores than per-core performance, like mobile. It is also more secure, as its programming language, Rust, is more strict with data accesses than C/C++, which is also great for a web browser.

mozilla-rust.png

Eventually, Mozilla decided to, instead of replacing Gecko, replace chunks of it with tech derived from Servo. Up to now, it’s been mostly security-related components, like the parsing of untrusted media headers. This one is about speed. I'm curious to see how it feels to our readers. I know that, personally, going from Firefox 54 to Firefox 55 was a significant difference, although that was due to other changes.

If you’re interested, download Firefox Nightly. I mean, it’s free.

Source: Mozilla

HTC Vive Price Drops to $599

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2017 - 09:56 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, vive, htc vive, valve, htc, price cut

While it looked like HTC and Valve wouldn’t budge on their launch price, the Vive has just been reduced $200 USD, from $799 down to $599. This is still significantly above the $399 USD price tag during their competitor’s summer sale, but it might be close enough for those who prefer the Vive for one reason or another.

I should note that their website still has payment plans through PayPal, which breaks up the $599 price tag into, they say, twelve chunks.

For me? This price cut came just a week and a bit late. I already picked up the Oculus. For us Canadians, it looks like the Vive sale price is $800 CDN on Amazon, versus the $550 mark for the Rift with Touch and two sensors. That said, if I didn’t jump on the Oculus... would I consider the Vive? At this price, I’m still not sure. I’m wary of a hardware refresh, now that these devices are hitting the one-and-a-half year mark. The Oculus, during its sale, is priced in the “Meh” territory. It would have served its purpose until it’s replaced. The extra couple hundred dollars on the Vive might just push it out of the “eh, if it’s replaced, so what” range.

On the other hand, the Vive can be upgraded with a wireless kit, and I do have issues with the Oculus sensors being obstructed. It’s an interesting move for sure.

Source: Vive

HyperX Announces the Cloud Alpha Headset

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2017 - 06:50 PM |
Tagged: audio, hyperx, cloud alpha, gaming headset

HyperX have just announced a new headset, the Cloud Alpha, which will be available for purchase on September 25th for $100.  The headset sports the standard 50mm neodymium magnets that are expected on a gaming headset however the design of the earcups is different than most on the market.  You can see the dual chamber design below.

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High and mid-range frequencies are sent directly through the the earcups while bass is directed out towards the edges which should allow finer control over the balance, however the proof will have to wait until we can get our hands on them.  The aluminium frame helps keep the weight under 300g while the leatherette ear padding should ensure they are comforatable even after a long session. 

The condenser microphone should allow you to be heard clearly when you are gaming or be removed if you don't need it for the moment.  The Cloud Alpha will be compatible with any system that accepts a 3.5mm jack, so you will be able to use the headset on all of your devices.  Full PR below the glamour shot.

HyperX Cloud Alpha_Image 1.jpg

Source: HyperX

Listen to the Void long enough and you become a Pro

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2017 - 04:09 PM |
Tagged: wireless headset, VOID PRO RGB, virtual 7.1, gaming headset, corsair, audio

The new Corsair Gaming VOID PRO RGB Wireless 7.1 Gaming Headset is a reasonable $80 and contains a battery which should be good for around 15 hours of usage.  As the headset contains two 50mm neodymium drivers, the 7.1 surround sound is virtual and the Guru of 3D found that while it opened up the sound somewhat it was not particularly good at enhancing your situational awareness in games.  Thankfully the RGBs are limited to the Corsair logos on the ear cups and not spread across the headband.   Drop by for their full review.

You can also see what Sebastian thought of this headset in his recent review.

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"Corsair today launches their headsets with a new PRO line of the VOID RGB headsets, we test the wireless version. The Dolby headphone certified VOID comes with updated software as well, and manages to seriously impress me in terms of audio quality and sure, build quality as well."

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Source: Guru of 3D

It's good to be making NAND right now, not so good to be buying

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2017 - 01:26 PM |
Tagged: nand, bad news

The trend we have seen over 2017 is predicted to continue, with the price of NAND steadily increasing thanks to the limited supply.  Over the first two quarters we have seen prices rise between 3-10% and this trend is expected to continue.  The two driving factors are the coming launch of a new generation of smartphones from most manufacturers, all of which are purchasing NAND in large volumes as well as Enterprise class SSDs which are starting to see more adoption.  At the same time, all manufacturers are seeing an impressive increase in their profitability, even those which are having production issues.  You can see the breakdown in the article posted by Trendforce.

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"We expect supply to be under strain for the rest of 2017. Relief will come later in 2018, when the manufacturing of 64- and 72-layer 3D-NAND Flash reaches maturity."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: TrendForce
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction and Specifications

Corsair has released a premium version of their VOID headset with the VOID PRO family, which includes wired and wireless option boasting major improvements to the previous designs.

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“We made it better. Building upon the success of CORSAIR’s VOID series of headsets, VOID PRO features various significant enhancements across comfort, sound, mic quality and wireless performance designed to provide an even better gaming experience. VOID PRO resets the bar and delivers best-in-class performance.“

Surely, every major segment of the PC accessory market has reached saturation at this point, with the gaming headset market one of the most crowded. Companies need to offer more than just style and value to differentiate at the high end, with sound quality - including the microphone - now beginning to get some much-needed attention.

At times, aggressive styling and an apparent obsession with low bass seemed to dominate design choices, but a more balanced and accurate sound provides the kind of fidelity that can transform gaming and entertainment into a truly immersive experience. So, can Corsair match the improvements of such competitors as Logitech and provide a more premium sonic experience? We will find out!

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Continue reading our review of the Corsair VOID PRO RGB Wireless SE gaming headset!

Linksys Announces WRT32X Gaming Router with Killer Prioritization Engine

Subject: General Tech | August 22, 2017 - 12:00 AM |
Tagged: WRT32X, router, networking, linksys, Killer Prioritization Engine, Killer Networking, gaming, AC3200

Linksys has announced a router that they say is 'built purely for gaming' with the WRT32X, an AC3200 router with a 1.8 GHz dual-core processor and built-in Killer Prioritization Engine.

WRT32X.jpg

"The WRT32X takes gaming to the next level. The router built purely for gaming features AC3200 speed and the Killer Prioritization Engine. The Killer Prioritization Engine identifies, prioritizes and accelerates gaming network traffic above all other devices in your home to deliver a faster, superior gaming experience. The Killer-enabled WRT32X also synchronizes with Killer-enabled PCs to give gaming traffic the highest priority on your network. Turning the Killer Engine on protects from extreme lag spikes and reduces lag by 77%, delivering consistent and superior reaction time during intense gaming scenarios."

Linksys lists the features of the WRT32X as follows:

  • 1.8 GHz CPU: Dual-Core promotes simultaneous high-speed data processing.
  • Pro-grade Gigabit Ethernet Switch: Gigabit (10/100/1000) is 10X faster than Fast Ethernet.
  • Dual-Band (2.4 + 5 GHz): N600 + AC2600 Mbps.
  • Killer Prioritization Engine: The first router that prioritizes gaming.
  • Advanced Security: WPA2 encryption and SPI rewall help keep your network safely connected.
  • Customized Gaming Interface: Custom-built interface and firmware for gaming traffic control.
  • 256MB Flash and 512MB of RAM Memory: Handle more without delay for optimal performance.
  • 4 High-Performance Antennas: Engineered to enhance dual-band communication; four external, adjustable antennas ensure supreme Wi-Fi signal strength.
  • eSATA, USB 3.0, and USB 2.0 Ports: Share content via an external storage device with ultra-fast data transfer speeds. USB 3.0 delivers enhanced performance over USB 2.0; eSATA delivers optimal data transfer speeds from external SATA drives and accommodates USB 2.0.

WRT32X_2.jpg

The WRT32X carries an MSRP of $329.99, with availability TBA.

Source: Linksys

Acer Announces Nitro 5 Spin With Intel 8th Generation Processors

Subject: General Tech | August 21, 2017 - 09:03 PM |
Tagged: quad core, Intel, gaming laptop, acer, 9th generation core, 2-in-1

Following the reveal of Intel’s “8th Generation Core” refreshed Kaby Lake processors, Acer has announced its upcoming 15.6” Nitro 5 Spin convertible gaming laptop. Sporting a black aluminum shell with red accents the Nitro 5 Spin features a 360-degree hinge with multiple locking positions, a backlit keyboard and large trackpad, front firing speakers with a subwoofer, and a large 15.6” IPS display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. Acer claims that the convertible notebook is aimed at casual gaming and the specifications seems to back that up (at least on paper).

acer Nitro 5 Spin convertible 2-in-1.jpg

Acer has opted for refreshed Kaby Lake processors which means a quad core CPU with HyperThreading at up to 1.9GHz base and 4.2 GHz turbo clocks at the high end with the Intel Core i7-8650U along with Intel “UHD Graphics” which is simply a rebrand of its HD Graphics 620 iGPU. Gamers will be happier to see the inclusion of a dedicated graphics card although it is only a midrange NVIDIA GTX 1050. Storage is handled by a PCI-E SSD up to 512 GB. As far as connectivity goes, the Acer Nitro 5 Spin offers 802.11ac MU-MIMO along with USB 3.0, USB 2.0, SD, HDMI, and a headphone/mic jack.

According to Tech Radar Acer claims that the gaming laptop is rated at up to 10 hours of gaming usage (though that’s probably a casual title with brightness all the way down heh).

Surprisingly, the Nitro 5 Spin will be available as soon as October with a starting price of $999 (though the top end i7-8650U plus 512GB SSD option is obviously going to cost a lot more).

Acer did not weigh in on just how heavy the gaming PC is, but if they can keep the weight down it might be a decent PC for college kids to play games on (I mean, uhm, do homework!) and consume media. What do you think, does a convertible gaming notebook make sense?

Source: TechRadar