The AMD news has been coming out fairly often of late, and today is no exception. A new APU is supposedly in the works that will use up to 16 Zen cores and a Greenland GPU to bring the gaming potential. Greenland was mentioned yesterday as the rumored codename of part of the RX 400 series, maybe the high-end line. However, with this new APU, Greenland and maybe the entire Arctic Islands line will be reserved for APUs, as this new APU is said to use HBM, just like Greenland. As for the capability of 16 Zen cores, this doesn't mean it will use all 16, but could. The new APU may be that rumored HPC APU, but it could also be in the running for a server product. Zen is the codename for AMD's APU line launching sometime next year or in 2017, and is said to have PCIe 3.0 and quad-channel DDR4 support.
It all sounds like the makings of a high-powered APU, but remember all of this is just rumor, and this 16 core APU could just be for the server market. The desktop market would probably top out at 8 cores, but you never know what could change in the next year or so.
April Fool's Day is here, as is the middle of the week, but today we have reviews for you and not pranks. We start with a look at the ASRock Fatal1ty X99X Killer motherboard, which has uniquely designed heat sinks and the promise of high overclockability. There is also the BitFenix Colossus mini-ITX case that has a clean look about it and a small size to fit jus about anywhere. A new article examines how we still have 28nm GPUs and why none have switched over to 20nm yet. Finishing off for the day is the Tesoro Excalibur Spectrum gaming keyboard, with its Kailh mechanical switches and full RGB backlighting.
Apple has modified the reversible USB Type-C port and made a new USB 3.1.X standard, which features a directional bias. That's right, while you can still plug in a device up or down, you will get different speeds for which way the data is going. For faster uploads to the device, make sure the top is up, and for faster speeds taking from the drive, just flip it over. The port and device will still transfer data in both directions, no matter the alignment, but by dedicating additional resources to just one side, Apple claims it can ensure a better experience. The company said that as most people only use their devices for one thing at a time, this bias seemed only natural. Power transfer is unaffected, so you can plug in the Apple Watch whichever way you wish, as often as needed.
What has not yet been specified is if special USB Type-C adapters/devices will be required, or if this feature of USB 3.1.X is compatible with standard USB 3.1 devices. If you are concerned about knowing the best way to connect a USB 3.1.X-supported device, Apple says not to worry. The company revealed that the port will monitor the behavior of the device and will instruct the user to try it the other way, if it will improve performance.
After conducting research that revealed that a wealth of parents tag their partner in pictures of their children in order to share the photographs with friends and family, Facebook has introduced a new feature known as Scrapbook. The feature allows parents to choose a tag for their children and share it with others in a customizable scrapbook. The scrapbook, which can be co-owned with a partner on Facebook and can only feature tags from parents, allows memories to be shared in a single environment that various people can view. In order to get started, Facebook users simply need to go to the "Family and Relationships" section of the social networking service, and click on the invitation to create a scrapbook.
The new scrapbook feature offered by Facebook is available for immediate use in the United States on desktop, iPhone, and Android platforms.
Many say that public speaking is the scariest thing to them, and while I cannot say that is the case for me, I know I could be better at it. Knowing how to improve public speaking skills is tricky though, especially if you are up there, in front of a crowd. Researchers at the University of Rochester, however, have developed a system to help in that situation, using the wearable technology Google Glass.
For those who do not know, Google Glass is a wearable piece of technology with an optical head-mounted display. What the Rochester researchers have done with it is added a piece of software they developed named Rhema; the Greek word for 'utterance.' Rhema is able to record a speaker talking, send the information server, and then present results about the speaker's volume and rate to them, in realtime. After much testing, the researchers discovered it was best for the display to tell the speaker what to do in words every 20 seconds, so it would tell the person to be louder or slower. They also tried displaying graphs and colors like a traffic light at different intervals, but found these were not preferred.
The speakers overall stated that they did feel it helped them, and the Mechanical Turk workers used as an audience reported back that their performance appeared to be undiminished by the feedback. The researchers are planning to put it to a more rigorous test in the future though, with members of Toastmasters International. For now though, Rhema is freely available to download.
John Koller, the Vice President of Platforms Marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment America, has just revealed a limited edition Batman: Arkham Knight PS4 bundle. The bundle, which features an MSRP of $449.99, includes a limited edition Steel Grey PS4 system chassis with a custom Batman: Arkham Knight faceplate, a matching DualShock 4 wireless controller in Steel Grey, and Batman: Arkham Knight. In addition to the limited edition bundle, Koller also announced that a standard edition of the Batman: Arkham Knight PS4 bundle will be available for $399.99. This cheaper option includes a PS4 system and DualShock 4 controller in Jet Black, as well as Batman: Arkham Knight.
The standard and limited edition Batman: Arkham Knight PS4 bundles will launch on June 23, 2015, but can be pre-ordered starting today.
A new update has been released for the mobile version of the popular streaming service known as Twitch. The update, which is available for immediate download from the App Store and the Google Play Store, includes a persistent player that allows viewers to watch a video while simultaneously browsing other content. The feature is quite similar to how YouTube currently offers its content, as users can even swipe away the persistent player if they want to stop watching a video. The latest update for the Twitch mobile application also brings an audio only mode to Android users, allowing them to listen to broadcasts while their device is locked or while Twitch is running in the background. The feature does need to be turned on through the video options menu, but should prove to be highly utilized by individuals who enjoy the audio side of Twitch streams.
Google has announced several new Chrome OS based devices from Haier, Hisense, and ASUS. Available immediately are the Haier Chromebook 11 and Hisense Chromebook, both of which come in at a price point of $149. The Haier will be available on Amazon while the Hisense will be carried at Walmart. The Haier model has an 11.6" screen and is powered by a Rockchip 3288, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of eMMC storage, and an ARM Mali 760 quad-core GPU. Google claims that it will have up to ten hours of battery life. The Hisense was listed as having similar specs to the Haier with 8.5 hours of battery life.
The pair of devices from ASUS are a bit more intriguing and offer more than conventional laptops. The Chromebook Flip has a 10.1" touch screen display "that flips around for things like gaming and apps." The Flip weighs in under two pounds and is also powered by a Rockchip 3288 with options for 2GB of RAM and 16GB of eMMC or 4GB of RAM and a 16GB SSD. Both models have an ARM Mali 760 quad-core GPU, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and up to ten hours of battery life. The ASUS Chromebit is a full computer in a form factor resembling a USB stick, or as Google put it, "smaller than a candy bar." The Chromebit can turn any display into a computer and is powered by similar specs to the base model Flip. The Flip will have an MSRP of $249 and will be available in Spring while the Chromebit will cost under $100 and arrives in the Summer.
April Fool's Day isn't quite here, but that isn't stopping Google from getting in on the fun. The folks in Mountain View have a little surprise in store when you check out a location in Google Maps: PAC-MAN! You can now play PAC-MAN in the city streets in Google Maps, with different locations offering up the chance to eat a bunch of dots and avoid Inky, Pinky, Blinky, and Clyde. PAC-MAN works on both computers and mobile devices, but only in certain areas.
Which areas exactly? Well, Google is letting us figure that out, as a series of clues help point us to the spots. Some are a little more obvious than others, and some Google is keeping under wraps for right now. Either way, if you want to have some fun and say bye-bye to the day's productivity, load up Google Maps and get after those dots!
Silicon remains the dominant material in our electronics, and while it is reaching its limits, that does not mean it is running out of uses. Researchers at Brown University have recently found a way to grow new nanomaterials of silicon telluride, and these materials could have applications in electronics.
Silicon telluride is a pure, p-type semiconductor with a layered structure that could be used for in battery electrodes. What the Brown researchers found is a way to grow it in 2D nanomaterials. They started by vaporizing silicon and tellurium in a furnace and letting it react with a precursor compound on a substrate, causing the silicon telluride to grow on the precursor. By controlling the temperature and the treatments of the substrate, the researchers were able to make nanoribbons from 50 nm to one micron wide, and 10 microns long, as well as nanoplates that were either lying on the substrate, or standing up. Each of these shapes have different orientations to their crystalline structure, which means they also all have different properties. The researchers also found they could dope the silicon telluride structures by using substrates made of different materials.
Though it will have some competition, these silicon telluride nanostructures could be used to bring 2D materials to our electronics. They do have a stability issue in the environment, but the researchers already have a plan to fix that by oxidizing them and then baking off the tellurium. This will leave a coating of silicon oxide to protect the material.
Nearly a year ago Microsoft introduced the Surface Pro 3, which was a high-powered tablet aimed at replacing a high-end laptop. The Surface Pro 3 does a great job at that, but its high cost means not everyone is willing or able to pick one up. That is where we are today, as Microsoft has announced the Surface 3, a powerful tablet that does not carry a powerful price. The Surface 3 runs the full version of Windows, along with all the programs and app you can want, and is even available with a 4G LTE radio. The best part is the Surface 3 starts at $499.
The Surface 3 features the same design as the Surface Pro 3, but in a more compact frame. It has a 10.8" touchscreen instead of 12", and weighs a mere 1.37 pounds. Oh, and it's also just 8.7mm thin. The 3:2 aspect ratio is the same, but instead of 2160x1440, we get 1920x1280. Powering the whole thing is the new Intel Atom x7 processor, a quad-core SoC that should deliver plenty of power while not draining the life out of the battery. No fan is required to help keep it and the Surface 3 cool, which helps make this tablet so thin and lightweight. Storage is either 64 or 128GB on the Surface 3. It also has the kickstand with three preset positions to give you the best viewing angle during use.
A 3.5 megapixel camera is on the front of the Surface 3, while an 8 megapixel is on the rear. Both can capture 1080p video, plus the rear camera has an autofocus feature to take even better photos than past models. A full-size USB 3.0 port, Mini DisplayPort, and a microSD reader are also on the Surface 3. Charging the tablet is done via a Micro USB charger, so you can use either the included adapter or your smartphone's adapter to keep the device running. Microsoft claims 10 hours of video playback on the battery, and most likely more during less demanding tasks.
Windows 8.1 will ship with the Surface 3, and can be 8.1 Pro for business users. You can also upgrade to Windows 10 for free within the first year the new OS is available. Microsoft is packaging each Surface 3 with a one-year subscription to Office 365, which includes full versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote, as well as 1TB of storage on OneDrive.
Accessories for the Surface 3 are plentiful, and include the Type Cover to give you the full laptop experience while also protecting the screen; the Docking Station to connect a monitor, printer, mouse, and keyboard; and the Surface Pen, which has 256 levels of pressure sensitivity and comes in red, blue, black, and silver colors.
The Microsoft Surface 3 will launch on May 5 for $499, with pre-orders starting today. Microsoft Stores will get the tablet in tomorrow for prospective buyers to experience in-person.
The AMD Radeon R300 series still isn't out yet (maybe in June for Computex), but there is already a rumor concerning the next series. AMD's Greenland GPU is expected to launch next year, which will be part of the R400 series of video cards. The R400 line is rumored to be called the Arctic Islands family, while the R300 is supposedly the Pirate Islands family. If you're wondering, the R200 line is the Volcanic Islands family. As for the R400 and the Greenland GPU itself, it will make use of High Bandwidth Memory (HBM), much like the expected R300 top dog. Whether only the high-end Greenland GPU will use HBM or the entire R400 line was not mentioned in the rumor. The recently leaked AMD roadmap showed HBM appearing on some APUs, so perhaps the entire R400 line will indeed benefit from HBM.
There is also a chance the R400 series will be a graphics architecture used in APUs, much like how Kaveri APUs carried a GCN core for Mantle gaming. If that is the case, then maybe the R400 cards won't be discrete cards at all and only appear in APUs. Whatever the case may be, first we need some solid word on the R300 series and what exactly those will bring. Either way, it is nice to see AMD planning for the future, even with a low research budget.
DirectX 12 will be the way to go on Windows 10, and it should offer plenty of improvements over DirectX 11, at least according to early reports. AMD has another piece of news concerning DirectX 12, and it is one that may shock and impress. In a DirectX 12-enabled version of 3DMark and with the newest AMD drivers, the AMD Radeon R9 290X narrowly beats out the NVIDIA Titan X when comparing the draw calls (a request from the CPU and game engine to draw and render an object) done by the API. Those numbers also match up when looking at DirectX 11 and Mantle performance, so it looks like AMD has a winner on its hands with the newest drivers.
When the test is switched to the next highest in NVIDIA's lineup, the R9 290X outperforms the NVIDIA GTX 980 by an even bigger margin in DirectX 12. Under DirectX 11, the tests are not as favorable for AMD, so it seems the company's newest driver is ideal for boosting DX12 performance. One interesting thing to note is how DirectX 12 scales well up to six cores in a processor, but beyond that there is not much of a gain. If Hyper Threading is enabled, performance is actually a little lower than with it off. So if you have a processor with over six cores/threads, right now it looks like high-end quad-core and six-core CPUs offer the best results.
What is important to remember about these tests is they are synthetic results and are not always indicative of real world performance. AMD looks to have a winner on its hands with DirectX 12 and the latest drivers in benchmarks, but things are still early, and we still do not have any DX12 games. Once we do, it will be interesting to see how the numbers stack up.
The final day of March is here, and if you're in need of storage, do we have you covered today. There are multiple looks at the Samsung 850 EVO M.2 and mSATA SSDs, including ones up to 1TB in capacity. We also have the Crucial BX100 SSD, which should appeal to those constantly on the lookout for the best price/performance drive. Shifting gears a little is the HIS Multi-View X2 USB Docking Station, which can run two extra displays and also features more ports to keep your laptop well-connected. Finishing off for the day is a look at 20 of the worst PC setups from the month of March.
When Grand Theft Auto V releases for the PC in April, it will feature a number of changes. While the improved graphics are probably what most people are focused on, the PC release will also include a new in-game radio station named The Lab. Now some of the music that station will play can be pre-ordered at iTunes, as part of the Welcome To Los Santos album.
The album was created and compiled by Alchemist and Oh No, and includes 14 original tracks. The music spans various artists and genres, including hip-hop, electronica, rock, and more. It will be available on CD, digital download, and vinyl on April 21, one week after the GTA V releases for the PC.
The displays for our phones and computers are our windows into the virtual and real worlds, so naturally we want to always have access to them and have them always look good. To that end, many are working on new technologies, including some to make flexible screens you can unroll when desired. Often such displays use organic components, but researchers at Tel Aviv University have gone a bit farther with that by employing DNA-like molecules.
For this work, the researchers started with peptides, short protein fragments essential to all life on Earth, attached to DNA elements. The DNA was to give the new molecules the ability to self-assemble, and three of those developed did so in just minutes. The resulting structures are similar in form to actual DNA, but still possess peptide properties. The researchers next tried adding fluorescent dyes that will bind to the DNA fragments, but it turned out this was not necessary, as the molecules naturally fluoresced at every color, instead of just one, and did so in response to a voltage.
These molecules naturally have applications with opto-electronics, such as new, organic displays. As the molecules can directly emit any color of light, this would allow the pixel layer to be just one layer thick, unlike modern displays, while also being flexible. That single layer also helps keep the costs down.
Google has pushed an update for its Android Gmail application, bringing various improvements to those who utilize the service. The biggest improvement included with the latest Gmail update is a unified inbox that houses all email accounts, allowing users who have multiple Gmail addresses, POP/IMAP mail, and even Exchange server mail to view everything from one area. Users who want the ability to separate messages based on which account they are associated with can still do so from an easy to access drop-down menu. The updated version of Gmail for Android also includes faster and more intelligent autocomplete results for search, refined animations throughout, and larger preview attachments that allow users to view documents and media without actually opening the files.
It was recently reported that NVIDIA is actively working on the GeForce GTX 980 Ti, a modified version of the recently released GM200-powered TITAN X. The card is expected to feature 6GB of memory, different clock speeds, and custom PCBs and cooling solutions from video card manufacturers, offering consumers with outstanding performance. According to sources, NVIDIA has recently adjusted the launch of its latest card to sometime after the summer season is over. While no official word has been given in regards to the reasoning behind the adjusted launch time frame, the decision to push back the release of the GeForce GTX 980 Ti may be due to the upcoming release of the Radeon R9 390X, which is currently scheduled to be available in June or July.
While the launch time frame of the upcoming GeForce GTX 980 Ti has been changed, pricing information still remains unavailable at this time.
ASUS has revealed through social media that it is currently working on a new flagship NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 that will feature the company’s renowned ROG branding. The upcoming graphics card, which is being labeled as a 20th anniversary gold edition, will apparently feature core clock speeds even greater than the fastest GeForce GTX 980 currently available from ASUS. Currently, the ROG Matrix Platinum GTX 980 that features a base clock of 1241MHz and a boost clock of 1342MHz if the fastest GTX 980 that the company offers, but with ASUS asking its social media fans to “guess the core clock” on its upcoming GPU, the ROG Matrix Gold Edition GeForce GTX 980 is likely to feature even higher clock speeds.
The Knights Landing Xeon Phi co-processor is the latest entry from Intel into the high performance computing market, taking on established products such as the NVIDIA Tesla and IBM Power8. Knights Landing will be available in three products, a co-processor, a standalone processor, and a standalone processor with integrated fabric. All three units will be able to achieve double precision floating point performance in excess of 3 teraflops using a Many Integrated Core design built with up to eight billion transistors. The 14nm chips are from the Silvermont family and will have access to up to 16GB of on-board DDR4 memory with a maximum bandwidth of 400GB/s. The Knights Landing products are expected to be available in the second half of this year.
Kingston has announced the fourth generation HS4 All-In-One Media Reader, capable of reading all major flash memory formats. The HS4 improves on the previous generation by adding support for the latest SD card speeds including UHS-I, UHS-II, and CompactFlash Type I and II. The USB 3.0 interface provides for transfer speeds up to 5Gb/s, while backwards compatibility ensures that users with older systems can also use the HS4. As part of the announcement Kingston also revealed the addition of a 64GB version of the CF Ultimate 600x card, offering transfer speeds up to 90MB/s. Flash memory business manager Jean Wong said, "HS4 All-In-One Media Reader is a great device to quickly move data between multiple devices whether at home or on the road."
Atomic clocks are the most accurate clocks in the world, but even though they would have only lost a minute since the Big Bang, researchers are still pushing for still more accurate versions. One way to achieve that is to entangle the atoms used by the clock, but entangling more than just pairs of atoms is difficult. Researchers at MIT however have found that they can entangle some 3000 atoms at a time, with a single photon.
Atomic clocks work by exploiting the fact that atoms will vibrate at a specific frequency, under the right circumstances. These vibrations are measured by firing a laser through a cloud of atoms. By adding more atoms to the cloud, the accuracy of the clock is increased, but normally the increase is related to the square root of the number of atoms. That is unless the atoms are entangled, and then the increase is directly proportional. What the MIT researchers did is fire a very weak laser beam through a cloud of atoms and watched the atoms' polarizations. They reasoned that any deviation to a photon's polarization is the result of it interacting with the atoms' spins, and the amount it changes depends on the number of atoms spinning in one direction or the other. Occasionally though the researchers detected a photon that had its polarization made perpendicular, which had to have been done by the ensemble of atoms, and by detecting that photon, the ensemble would enter a strong entangled state.
While the researchers were looking for ways to improve atomic clocks, this research could have implications in other quantum systems, such as quantum communication and the sensing of magnetic fields.
Sony's Music Unlimited service closed its doors yesterday, which paved the way for Spotify to take its place. A couple months back, a partnership between Sony and Spotify was announced, and today things have come to fruition. Spotify is now available on the PlayStation 4 and PS3, bringing with it all the music you can possibly desire. PS4 users will find PlayStation Music with Spotify directly on the launcher, while PS3 users will need to navigate to the Music section on the XMB. Once you load up the app, you can sign up for an account, or either log in through Spotify Connect on your smartphone or by entering your username and password. You can then link up your accounts to bring over all your playlists, saved music, and enjoy any benefits of a subscription, if you have one.
The Spotify interface should be familiar to anyone already using Spotify, and of course any PS4 users. You start off in the "Browse" section that can highlight new artists or the different genres, but can jump over to "Your Music" to access playlists and the like. However, you can't sort by artist in the "Your Music" section; only by playlist. The search function is full featured and extensive, so you can find whatever artist or song that way.
On the PlayStation 4, you can listen to music while you're gaming and get a custom soundtrack going for nearly every game. If you've played a game for the hundredth time and want some new music playing, now you're able to. That alone should make many PS4 users very happy, since the system cannot play music CDs and you're effectively stuck with whatever music the game comes with. PS3 users won't be able to take advantage of that feature, but everything else between the consoles is the same. Sadly there is no mention of Spotify for the PS Vita, and with Music Unlimited gone, hopefully you have some music stored on a memory card.
Former subscribers of Music Unlimited can receive two months of Spotify Premium for free, while any new Spotify users get one month of Premium for free. Both Sony and Spotify have plans to expand the service on PlayStation, so maybe before long we'll be able to sort by artists when going through our music.
AMD was recently at the PC Cluster Constorium in Osaka, Japan, and revealed its CPU, APU, and GPU roadmap for the next five years. It is a rather nice look at what exactly AMD has in store, and while the pictures aren't of the greatest quality, it does provide a look into what the company has up its sleeves. A pair of CPUs has been planned to arrive early next year, with Zen being an x86 64-bit part, and the K12 a 64-bit ARMv8 part. Both products will be 14nm FinFET CPUs aimed at the server, embedded, semi-custom, and client markets.
The interesting thing about these two products is how they'll support "many threads," which should mean AMD is adding in simultaneous multi-threading (SMT) instead of clustered multi-threading (CMT) like on the Bulldozer line. SMT essentially allows for one fast thread and one slower thread, while CMT allows for two equally fast threads. For single-thread applications, SMT is the way to go, while CMT is best for mutli-threaded apps. With the new CPUs apparently supporting many threads, maybe AMD is using SMT to support more than just that one extra thread, which could put it above Intel.
On the GPU side, it sadly does not cover the discrete cards, but rather how the GPUs will be updated in the APUs. AMD is planning to update its GPU architecture in the APUs every two years, so don't freak out by that because it does mean a new discrete card line will launch every two years; this is strictly for APUs. Arriving in 2017 will be something called a High Performance Computing APU, or HPC as seen on the roadmap. The HPC APUs will evidently have a TDP between 200 and 300 watts, which definitely puts them up there in terms of powerful CPUs. A high-powered APU was not attempted before due to memory limitations, but with the likes of stacked High Bandwidth Memory (HBM), like expected on the company's upcoming graphics cards, an HPC APU is certainly possible.
Roadmaps with greater detail should be coming in May during AMD's Financial Analyst Day event, so keep it tuned for that.
The last couple days of March are upon us, and we have plenty of reviews to help kick off the week. There is a look at the SilverStone Raven RV01 case, an updated version of the original model that looks to refine it. We also have the HyperX Predator 480GB M.2 PCIe SSD, which offers plenty of storage and fast speeds in a fairly small size. If you need even more storage, then the Silicon Power Stream S06 4TB USB 3.0 HDD is the one for you. The Tt eSPORTS Black V2 gaming mouse gets tested to see how this improved model can help out your games. Finishing off for the day is a comparison of NVIDIA G-Sync and AMD FreeSync, and exactly how the two technologies are different.
While glass most often refers to the material used to make windows, there are many other materials that are glasses, such as obsidian (volcanic glass) and metal glasses. Some glasses are even made of carbon compounds, so they are called organic glasses and they have various applications. For some applications though, they are less efficient than inorganic counterparts, but researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have made a discovery that could change that.
Organic glasses are made using a vapor deposition process, where the molecules are evaporated at high temperature, and then condense on a substrate, forming ultrathin layers. What the researchers found is a way to alter the properties of the glass, by influencing the orientation of the molecules. This was accomplished by manipulating the temperature of the substrate. The result is organic glasses that can be more efficient and durable than currently available technologies.
Organic glasses are already used in some devices, as they are used in OLEDs, but this work could improve their use in organic solar cells by increasing their efficiency. These solar cells have the potential to be much cheaper and more resilient than modern, crystalline silicon solar cells, but have proven less efficient so far.
Starting in February of this year, Microsoft made its Windows 10 Preview program available for a limited number of smartphones. The small number of smartphones that were listed as compatible with the technical preview program was due to the system partition sizes configured by manufacturers simply being too small. In order to make Windows 10 available on additional smartphones, Microsoft had to work on a feature known as Partition Stitching, which allows partitions to be resized to support the upgrade. With work on this feature now complete, Microsoft has announced that its Windows 10 Technical Preview is now compatible with a total of 36 Lumia models. While this number may change based on device specific bugs, making the full list preliminary, it is nice to see that additional devices are supported with the next flight.
The ASSASSIN II CPU cooler has just been introduced by DEEPCOOL, a company dedicated to providing consumers with the best laptop coolers, CPU coolers, computer cases, and PC power supplies. The ASSASSIN II is quite similar to the recently announced GamerStorm Assassin II CPU cooler, and is the successor to the original Assassin CPU cooler that was released in 2011. The ASSASSIN II features an asymmetric twin-tower design, nickel-plating, a mirror finished base, and eight high-performance heatpipes, all of which ensure maximum thermal performance. DEEPCOOL has also included dual FDB bearings and rubber-covered fans with PWM function with its latest high-performance CPU cooler.
Featuring an MSRP of $89.99, the DEEPCOOL ASSASSIN II is expected to be available early next month.
3DMark's new API Overhead Test allows for multiple APIs to be tested on one GPU, provided the GPU and OS supports DirectX 11, 12, and/or Mantle. AMD also has APUs that should be fully capable of running the API Overhead Test, and that is precisely what the company recently did. The Radeon R9 290X and R7 260X were tested, as were the A10-7850K and FX-8350 processors. The video cards were tested on DirectX 11 and 12, with the hardware efficiency being the key element to show just what kind of gains to expect from jumping to the new standard. It is certainly a massive jump, with up to 16 times more graphics throughput on DX12. On the A10-7850K APU, AMD decided to test the performance/watt capabilities on DX11 and 12, and once again, the gains for DX12 are impressive. Lastly there's the FX-8350 processor and how well DX12 scales with multiple cores compared to DX11. Try not to be shocked at the boost offered by DX12.
All in all, it definitely looks like DirectX 12, with its low overhead design, will be a winner once it arrives with Windows 10. Just remember, you do need to be running Windows 10 to enjoy DirectX 12, as it's exclusive to Microsoft's new OS.
The 20nm manufacturing process is supposed to be the next step, with AMD, NVIDIA, and Intel releasing parts with it. So far only Intel has done anything, as it has used the similar 22nm process on Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge, and even the new 14nm process on Broadwell. However, GPUs from both NVIDIA and AMD, and CPUs/APUs from AMD, have only dropped down to 28nm. The mobile processor from NVIDIA, the Tegra X1, is 20nm, however. AMD was supposed to have 20nm parts out by now, and even NVIDIA's Titan X card is still on the 28nm process (hopefully 22/20nm for the Pascal line), but so far nothing. Recently some news has come out from the AMD side, and it looks like we'll have 20nm AMD APUs and SoCs, part of the company's Project Skybridge initiative, in the second half of this year. It may even extend to the AMD video card stack, but first will be the APU/SoC products.
AMD's first 20nm parts are projected to be the Amur line, which will come in both x86 and ARM flavors. The Amur line is aimed at the low power market, like the Intel Bay Trail and upcoming Cherry Trail, but will be the followup to the Nolan line, which AMD has repurposed as the Carrizo-L APUs on the 28nm process. Unfortunately, one wrinkle in the whole thing is that AMD has apparently not even begun using TSMC's 20nm process for the chips. Production usually kicks off months before release anyway, but the earliest the 20nm chips can launch will be anytime from July to the end of this year. AMD does plan for these chips to be in notebooks, tablets, and even Android devices thanks to HSA support and the GCN architecture; just not anytime soon.