OCC TECH NEWS
March 3, 2015
HyperX, the high-performance product division of Kingston Technology, has just released its FURY DDR4 memory line. The latest product line from HyperX offers value oriented consumers with high performance, maximum reliability, and great aesthetics. The FURY DDR4 memory line is compatible with the Intel X99 chipset, is available in 2133MHz, 2400MHz, and 2666MHz frequencies, comes in 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB kits, and features a low profile, black heat spreader color and matching PCB. FURY DDR4 memory operates at 1.2V for maximum power efficiency, is completely factory tested to ensure reliability, and comes with a lifetime warranty that includes free technical support.
Along with the release of FURY DDR4 memory, HyperX has expanded its high-end Predator DDR4 family, which was recently overclocked to a world record, with 32GB and 64GB kits in order to cater to performance driven enthusiasts.
Source: Press Release
We have all grown used to QR codes, most likely, as these codes are used in a variety of places to provide useful information or links to whoever pulls out their smartphone. They may be getting a new use in the future though, thanks to researchers at the University of Connecticut who want to use them to secure computer chips.
Believe it or not, but there are counterfeit computer chips being made out there, possibly with the purpose of making money but also to compromise security systems. Just a few years ago over 100 cases were revealed by a Senate Armed Services Committee report and fixing the issues of the counterfeit, Chinese electronics cost some $2.675 million. To try to prevent that from happening again, the Connecticut researchers suggest encoding vital statistics about computer chips into QA codes that are placed on the chips. By encrypting the data and compressing it all into the code, so an Internet connection is not required, the chips can be authenticated.
To further improve security, the researchers used a random phase photon-based encryption system to make the image hard to duplicate without knowing the appropriate codes. Instead of the white and black designs we may find around us, the resulting image can be microns in size and resemble a night sky with a few dots of pixelated light.
Source: University of Connecticut
Sapphire has officially introduced its latest graphics card offering, the Radeon R7 260X iCafe OC, that is aimed at valued oriented builds. This graphics card includes a full length, dual-slot cooler and offers a cooling solution that features a copper core base, a plethora of aluminum fins, and an 80mm fan. The Radeon R7 260X iCafe OC comes with 896 Graphics CoreNext stream processors, a 128-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, core clock speeds of 1050MHz, and 2GB of memory clocked at 5GHz. The card is powered by a single 6-pin PCIe power connector and includes one DisplayPort 1.2a, one dual-link DVI, and one HDMI 1.4a.
ECS, a motherboard manufacturing company based out of Taiwan, has announced its first ever worldwide "How do you LIVA" short film contest. The contest is centered on the company’s LIVA X desktop, a Mini PC that has been available for roughly two months and features an incredible amount of technology packed into a small and efficient package. The contest is open to virtually anyone and seeks to find the most creative individuals who can portray in just 90 seconds how LIVA X can make life better. Participants in the "How do you LIVA" short film contest are competing to win a grand prize of roughly $4774.87 and an invitation to participate in Computex 2015 in Taiwan.
Details about the ECS LIVA short film contest, including contest stages and additional award information, can be found on the official contest website.
Source: Press Release
March 2, 2015
AMD's experiment with its Mantle API may be nearing its end, as a recent blog post by AMD urged developers to focus on DirectX 12 and next-generation OpenGL (glNext). Raja Koduri, Vice President of Visual and Perceptual Computing at AMD, wrote a blog covering the future of Mantle and APIs in general. Koduri went over the levels Mantle reached, with five game engines and ten premium applications making use of it, but also focused on the future for Mantle. And the future, it seems, is rather bleak.
AMD will no longer release the Mantle SDK to the public, but Koduri did not say that Mantle is completely dead. It will live on, albeit in a seemingly reduced role. The company will be making a 450-page programming guide available later this month as a sort ofsmall consolation prize. AMD hopes the guide gives developers the chance to see what Mantle could do and possibly generate ideas to be used in the future for other APIs.
The upcoming Battlefield: Hardline will still make use of Mantle, with AMD providing EA all the resources it can to make it a success. Koduri also said the openness of Mantle will broaden, but full details of that will come this Thursday at GDC 2015. Even though the Mantle SDK won't see a public release, AMD will still make it available for partners that register in the co-development and evaulation program to figure out APIs in the future. For everything else, there's DirectX 12 and glNext.
Mantle may be at its end, and while it never saw the major support the likes of DirectX and OpenGL garnered, it has been successful in some aspects. One in particular was getting DirectX and OpenGL to innovate and get with the times. AMD saw an inefficiency in how DirectX was using the CPU, which Mantle corrected. The upcoming DirectX 12 addresses that and other shortcomings, so in that regard Mantle was a success. GlNext hasn't been fully unveiled yet (should happen this week), so we'll have to see exactly what all that incorporates, but it's supposed to be a complete reworking of OpenGL to make it modern.
Source: AMD Gaming Blog
Mushkin first unveiled the STRIKER line of solid state drives at CES 2015. The STRIKER line is powered by the Phison PS3110-S10 quad-core SSD controller, offering read and write speeds up to 565MB/s and 550MB/s, respectively. The drives are available in capacities of 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB from authorized retailers such as Newegg. Director of Product Development Brian Flood described the drives stating, "STRIKER is aptly named for its purpose: to mark its place as the premier high-performance solid-state drive series. The STRIKER will allow its users to experience highly-accelerated application load times, boot performance, multimedia editing, and general usage."
Source: Press Release
Google is finally addressing the rumors that it was going to become a wireless carrier by confirming the speculation at the Mobile World Congress earlier today. Senior VP Sundar Pichai said the company would enter the market on a "small scale" as a mobile network virtual operator (MNVO). As an MNVO, Google would purchase access from larger carriers like Sprint and then sell its own plans. Google will treat the new project as an experiment similar to the Nexus phone, with plans to expand the service likely contingent on its success. Pichai also mentioned that Google will launch its first drones as part of Project Titan later this year. Project Titan and Project Loon, which uses balloons instead of drones, are efforts to help spread Internet access to the more than four billion people without it.
You read the title correctly, Unreal Engine 4 is now free for everyone to download, and future updates will also be free. Previously the engine was available by a $19 per month subscription, but now anyone can use it and the various resources about it. This includes access to the source code. All Epic Games requires is a 5% royalty on gross revenue after the first $3000 is earned by a shipped game or application.
The reason behind this strategy change, as explained in the blog post linked below, is that Epic Games has been so impressed by the creativity of those using UE4 so far, that the company chose to remove the "last barrier to entry." When the company asked for projects to show off at this year's GDC, it received over 100 that were "good enough to show," but had to pick just eight. Current subscribers are going to be issued a pro-rated refund for their most recent month's payment, and everyone who has ever paid will receive a $30 credit to the Unreal Engine Marketplace.
Source: Unreal Engine
Efficiency is important for just about all electronics, and that is not going to change any time soon. In fact if we do see the Internet of Things become a reality, efficiency is going to be key to connecting all of our various devices and appliances. To that end, researchers at MIT have developed a way to significantly improve the efficiency of radio chips by reducing off-state leakage.
Semiconductors are interesting electronic materials as they possess both conductive and insulating properties, which can be switched on and off. Because they are not perfect insulators, the transistors made of them can leak some energy when they are in their off-state. To improve the insulating properties, the researchers push a negative charge into a wire running across the transistor, as this stops the electrons that would otherwise leak out. A charge pump is used to create the negative charge.
As you may have guessed, this negative charge does take some power to produce, but at the cost of 20 picowatts, some 10,000 pW can be saved. If devices are going to start having sensors and transmitters built in to build an Internet of things, such efficiency will practically be a necessity.
SanDisk has revealed its latest microSD card that packs a total of 200GB of storage, making it the highest capacity microSD card ever produced worldwide. According to SanDisk, the latest storage breakthrough was made possible by utilizing a proprietary design and production process that allows for more bits of memory per chip. Although the company did not reveal details of the production process, the ability to store 200GB of information on a device so small is quite a technological feat, since the latest microSD card offers 56 percent more storage than a 128GB microSD card, the highest capacity currently available. SanDisk notes that the card offers data transfer at up to 90MB per second, which is the equivalent to roughly 1,200 photos per minute, making it ideal for a wealth of applications.
The 200GB microSD card from SanDisk is expected to be available in the second quarter of this year and will retail for $400 at launch.
Phanteks, a developer of CPU coolers, fans, and chassis, has officially announced the Enthoo EVOLV ITX chassis, a Mini ITX case that fits directly within the EVOLV lineup in the Enthoo Series. The latest case by Phanteks, which is quite similar to the already available Enthoo EVOLV case, offers a minimalistic design along with a wealth of premium features, such as a side panel window, a metal exterior, multiple fan filters, top mounted radiator support, and a multi-functional mid plate bracket for a reservoir, pump, and SSD/HDD. The Enthoo EVOLV ITX, which measures 9.1 x 14.8 x 15.6-inches, supports videos cards up to 13-inches in length and comes included with one PH-F200SP fan and a front I/O port.
The Enthoo EVOLV ITX will be available to purchase sometime this month and features an MSRP of $79.99.
According to data listed within a new report by International Data Corporation, Android successfully claimed 81.5 percent of the global smartphone market last year. The report notes that Samsung shipped more units that the next five vendors combined, allowing the company to remain the top original equipment manufacturer of Android-powered smartphones. Last year alone, the mobile operating system by Google saw a total increase of 2.8 percent in regards to global market share. Despite Android dominating the smartphone market on a global scale for 2014, iOS was able to secure 14.8 percent market share, down slightly from its 15.1 percent share in 2013. Unfortunately for Windows Phone and BlackBerry, both did very poor overall, as the mobile operating systems only made up 2.7 percent and 0.4 percent market share for the global environment, respectively.