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News Archives for November 2015

Warner Bros. Gives Up, Offers Full Refunds for Batman: Arkham Knight on PC

Posted: November 1, 2015 @ time: 08:57PM
Author: bp9801

Batman: Arkham Knight recently returned to PC after going through some extensive reworking. The initial launch had a 30FPS framerate cap, poor performance, graphics that were weaker than its console brethren, and earned the ire of PC gamers everywhere. It was pulled from digital shelves and Warner Bros. promised the game would receive various patches to bring it to an acceptable level. Well, even with the patches, the reworking, and the return to PC, things aren't too great for Batman: Arkham Knight, and WB is acknowledging that. All PC owners of Batman: Arkham Knight can get a refund on Steam between now and the end of the year, regardless of when you bought it and how much you played. The main game and season pass, if purchased, must be returned together, as the season pass cannot go in alone. Retail copies are causing some issues, and it is unknown if those will be processed by Valve. Everything in 2016 and beyond is subject to Steam's typical refund policy.

WB is effectively throwing in the towel on Arkham Knight and bringing to a close a horrendously awful attempt at a PC port. If you're one of the few with a working copy of the game or don't want to go through the refund process, WB says it will work on fixing what it can and detailing what it cannot fix. It doesn't seem all that promising, so a refund may be the best option and then turn around and pick up a copy on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, if you have either console. Hopefully this serves as a warning for WB in the future and how shortchanging PC gamers just ends up hurting you. Either go with a company with a solid track record of porting or fund the developer enough to actually get a working PC version.

Sources: Steam via Neoseeker


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Optimization Algorithm Improved with Potentially Widespread Impact

Posted: November 2, 2015 @ time: 06:26AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

The ability to optimize is invaluable for engineering and other fields, not only because of the results optimization can bring, but also because optimization algorithms can be very complex and hard to run. The problems can involve a large number of variables, and each one increases the dimensionality of the problem. One optimization approach is the 'cutting-plane' method and now researchers at MIT have devised a new form of it that is significantly faster, and may be applicable to more problems.

If you envision all possibilities for a system within a large circle, the optimal possibilities will be contained within a smaller circle. By picking a random point, you can determine if it is within the smaller circle, and if it is not, draw a line to that circle, cutting the larger circle in two. The cutting-plane method uses the same idea, but with more dimensions, or variables, and previous approaches required an amount of time proportional to the dimensionality raised to the power of 3.373. What the MIT researchers have done is brought that power down to just 3, which is a significant reduction when a large number of variables are in play. They have also figured out how to apply this approach to other systems, reducing the running times by multiple powers in some cases.

Beyond creating one improved optimization algorithm, the researchers hope that this one method can be applied to various problems. Currently different problems also have different optimization methods, so by using the same method in multiple places, improving that one method can have a larger effect.

Source: MIT


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Hardware Roundup: Monday, November 2, 2015, Edition

Posted: November 2, 2015 @ time: 11:30AM
Author: bp9801

November is upon us, which means there is just a short time to go before we say goodbye to 2015. Before any of that happens we have some reviews for you to check out, starting with a look at the Gigabyte Brix S GB-BXi5H-5200, a mini-PC that could be perfect for HTPCs. We also have a look at the AMD R9 Nano card's place in the world of video cards and who can get the best use out of it. There's an article looking at the performance of DirectX 12 compared to DirectX 11 in Ashes of the Singularity. For better control in your games, the Razer Mamba Wireless Chroma Gaming Mouse gets reviewed to see what it can bring to the party. Wrapping things up is the Audiofly AF56m In-Ear Headphones, which features an in-line microphone so you can take calls when plugged into a smartphone.

Video Cards
The Case for the AMD Radeon R9 Nano - Powerful Gaming in Small Spaces @ PC Perspective

Prebuilts
Gigabyte Brix S GB-BXi5H-5200 @ Bjorn3D

Gaming
Testing DirectX 11 vs. DirectX 12 performance with Ashes of the Singularity @ TechSpot

Keyboards/Mice
Razer Mamba Wireless Chroma Gaming Mouse @ Madshrimps

Speakers/Headphones
Audiofly AF56m In-Ear Headphones @ ThinkComputers


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3D Silicon Chip Architecture Designed for Quantum Computers

Posted: November 2, 2015 @ time: 03:29PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

We are rapidly approaching a time when conventional electronic computers will have quantum computers as competition. It is still many years into the future, but it is coming and researchers around the world are developing the necessary technologies. This includes researchers at the University of New South Wales who have designed a new chip architecture for use in quantum computers that can be built in silicon.

While electronic computers use bits that represent zero or one, quantum computers use qubits that can represent both zero and one at the same time. This allows quantum computers to perform highly parallel operations and algorithms the best modern computers would take millennia to complete. Before a viable quantum computer could be made though, we need components that are able to manipulate qubits and correct errors. This new architecture is capable of this by sandwiching an array of qubits between two grids of wires. By selectively applying voltages to these wires, the qubits can be controlled and 2D surface code error correction protocols can be run. This particular design actually allows the errors to be corrected faster than they appear.

The researchers designed this architecture to be compatible with atomic-scale fabrication techniques, and the design is scalable. It could eventually be brought up to work with the millions of qubits necessary for a full-scale quantum processor.

Source: University of New South Wales


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AMD Retires Catalyst and Introduces Radeon Software Crimson Edition

Posted: November 2, 2015 @ time: 03:43PM
Author: bp9801

Get ready for a new name for AMD's video card driver suite, as the Catalyst Control Center (CCC) is no more. Say hello to the Radeon Software Crimson. This new software replaces CCC and features a simplified UI and menu scheme, and AMD says a new version will be available every year. Each month brings with it minor updates, so AMD can apply new tweaks and settings as needed, much like NVIDIA does with its GeForce Experience. AMD says Radeon Software Crimson has been built with QT, a cross-platform application framework that is said to be faster than .NET, which is what CCC used. Startup time on an AMD E-350 laptop went from eight seconds to 0.6, with desktop machines on faster hardare featuring an even quicker startup.

Right now, the focus is on Radeon Software Crimson's UI and all the changes AMD has made to it. Driver changes won't be discussed until later, although it's anyone's guess as to when that is. There are five tabs at the top, covering Gaming, Video, Display, Eyefinity, and System, with buttons at the bottom for Updates, Preferences, and Notifications. The middle part of the UI defaults to a rotating screen of announcements and new games when you aren't viewing any of the tabs. The Gaming tab features a Game Manager to tweak settings on a global or per-game level. Anti-aliasing, tessellation, a hardware framerate cap, and more can be adjusted here, including Overdrive for your overclocking needs. Recommend game settings aren't included here, as they instead continue in the Gaming Evolved Powered by Raptr app. AMD eventually plans to bring recommend settings into Crimson, but right now will rely on the app, even with its settings coming by crowdsourcing.

Other parts of Crimson include a simplified video tab for setting video filters; per-display settings for FreeSync and SuperResolution; an Eyefinity setup wizard; and a system information screen to view CPU, GPU, memory, and OS stats. All of this and more will be discussed later, including what exactly AMD plans to do with regards to its driver updates. Crimson is due to arrive before year's end, and then sometime next year we'll know what the new version will be called. Some new color of red, most likely, such as burgundy or maroon. Either way, it's good to see AMD stepping up and changing around its video card driver suite to make it more modern and easy to navigate. Now we just need our hands on it and the new drivers to see just how it is.

Source: Ars Technica


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Thermaltake Announces DPS G Platinum Series Power Supplies

Posted: November 2, 2015 @ time: 04:17PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Thermaltake released the DPS G Gold and Bronze Digital PSUs last month and this month has added the Platinum model to the series. The 80 PLUS Platinum certified PSU continues to utilize all digital power control with the Smart Power Management (SPM) platform and is available in capacities of 850W, 1050W, and 1200W. SPM is Thermaltakes attempt to "raise awareness of the dangers of global warming." The cloud computing platform tracks and analyzes energy consumption, allowing users to potentially change their habits to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The PSU is certified to operate with at least 91% efficiency and uses a fully modular cable design, high quality Japanese capacitors, and a single 12V power line to provide users with all the power that their system needs.

Source: Press Release


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Superior Flexible Phototransistor Made

Posted: November 3, 2015 @ time: 07:41AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Along with making devices smaller, many researchers are also working to make various pieces of technology flexible. This includes the light sensors we can find in digital cameras, night vision goggles, and even smoke detectors. To that end, researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison have recently created a new flexible phototransistor that surpasses others in many parameters, including sensitivity and response time.

Phototransistors are the components that collect light and convert the photons into electrical currents to create digital images. Normally they are built on rigid surfaces, but in this case they are transferred to a flexible plastic substrate, inverting the device in the process. This inversion is actually key to the sensor's capabilities as it puts the light-absorbing silicon layer on the top while the reflective metal layers and other materials are underneath it. This prevents the light from being blocked by the transistor itself, and improves the light absorption as well because the photons can reflect off of the metal layer, and back to the silicon. This gives it a built-in ability to detect weak light.

This is the first time high-sensitivity photodetection and flexibility have been achieved in the same device, and it opens up many possibilities.

Source: University of Wisconsin, Madison


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday, November 3, 2015, Edition

Posted: November 3, 2015 @ time: 11:32AM
Author: bp9801

The first Tuesday of November is here, bringing with it a couple items to keep you occupied. We have a review of the CM Storm Quick Fire XTi mechanical keyboard, featuring Cherry MX switches, multi-color LED backlighting, and a slim design that still packs in a full keyboard. Our other item features a means to check if Adobe Flash is installed on your PC and then advises you to delete it. Flash is getting long in the tooth and full of security flaws every other day, it seems, so this article makes the case for removing it completely.

Keyboards/Mice
CM Storm Quick Fire XTi Mechanical Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews

Miscellany
Check If Adobe Flash is Installed, Then Get Rid of It @ TechSpot


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Anno 2205 Launches Today

Posted: November 3, 2015 @ time: 12:41PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

First announced back in June at E3, the sixth title of the Anno franchise, Anno 2205 has launched for Windows and the Moon today. Anno 2205 is the first time in the franchise the player will be able to extend past the Earth and to the Moon. There we can build production colonies to send resources back to Earth, allowing the planet-side cities to flourish. Thanks to an advanced session system, the player is able to control multiple sessions in different regions simultaneously. The new engine also allows the player to build their cities on islands five times larger than those found in previous games.

There are two editions of Anno 2205 available for purchase. The standard edition includes just the game while the Gold Edition grants the player two expansions that will be released on a later date. The Anno 2205: Asteroid Miner Match 3 puzzle game allows you bring part of the experience with you on your mobile devices, with the ability to transfer materials to the main PC game.

 

 

Source: Press Release


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Zerodium Pays $1 Million for iOS 9 Jailbreak

Posted: November 3, 2015 @ time: 04:16PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Exploit acquisition company Zerodium published a $1 million bounty for an untethered iOS 9 jailbreak in September, seeking an "exclusive exploit for use against iPhone users." An exploit had been previously released by Chinese team Pangu but the exploit didn't qualify for the bounty as it was publicly available and not remotely executable. The bounty was claimed just "a few hours" before the end of the contest. Details about the exploit and the team behind it were not released other than the acknowledgement that it was "an exclusive, browser-based, and untethered jailbreak."

Source: ZDNet


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Retirement Date Announced for Windows 7 and 8.1

Posted: November 3, 2015 @ time: 04:26PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Microsoft has announced that October 31, 2016 will be the last day that OEM manufacturers such as Dell and Lenovo will be able to sell PCs with Windows 7 or 8.1 installed. It is unclear if Microsoft will also stop the sales of standalone versions of Windows 7 and 8 on that date as well. Microsoft does this with all of its Operating Systems to encourage upgrades to newer versions of Windows. Microsoft traditionally set the end date at two years after the release of a new version, but extended the Windows 7 deadline to "allow PC makers to continue to pre-install Windows 7." This announcement joins other recent announcements that the company will start preloading Windows 10 on Windows 7 and 8 PCs next year and the stated goal of having Windows 10 on 1 billion systems.

Source: The Verge


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BX200 SSD Released by Crucial

Posted: November 3, 2015 @ time: 06:47PM
Author: gebraset

Crucial, a leading global brand of memory and storage upgrades, has officially released the BX200 SSD, which is the company’s latest entry into the crowded SSD market. The BX200 features a Silicon Motion SM2256 Controller that is coupled with Micron verified firmware, which ensures ultimate reliability and affordability. The drive offers read speeds of up to 540MB per second as well as write speeds of up to 490MB per second, which taken as a whole is roughly 13 times faster than a traditional hard drive. Energy efficiency is also impressive when compared to a traditional hard drive, as the BX200 SSD is approximately 40 times more efficient, allowing for a cooler and quitter system. Jonathan Weech, the Senior Worldwide Product Manager at Crucial, noted that "The new Crucial BX200 SSD is an ideal solution for consumers whose computers are slowed down by an old or inadequate hard drive."

The BX200 only comes in a 2.5-inch form factor but features capacities that include 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB. The drive comes with Acronis True Image HD data migration software, a limited three-year warranty, and support for the Crucial Storage Executive tool.

Source: TechPowerUp


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New Lithium-Air Battery Developed with Great Promise for Future

Posted: November 4, 2015 @ time: 05:51AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Batteries are a crucial technology for many of the devices we use every day, but while these other devices are continually developed and improved upon, batteries have been advancing very slowly. One potential replacement for modern lithium-ion batteries is the lithium-air battery and has gotten a major boost recently, thanks to University of Cambridge researchers.

Lithium-air batteries can theoretically have very high energy densities, at ten times that of modern lithium-ion batteries, but have been held back by low efficiencies. The voltage gap between charge and discharge is a measure of a battery's efficiency, and previous lithium-air batteries had gaps between 0.5 and 1 volt. By significantly changing the chemistry being used, the Cambridge researchers brought the gap down to 0.2 volts, which comes out to an efficiency of 93% and is much closer to modern batteries. This change in chemistry also reduces the number of unwanted chemical reactions, which improves the lifespan of the battery, and so far it has been recharged over 2000 times.

While this is a significant step towards viable lithium-air batteries, the researchers do not expect them to be ready for another decade. Issues of dendrite formation, charging and discharging rates, and the necessity of cycling with pure oxygen still need to be addressed. With the potential to achieve energy densities rivaling gasoline though, you can bet there will be a great amount of attention given to these batteries.

Source: University of Cambridge


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday, November 4, 2015, Edition

Posted: November 4, 2015 @ time: 11:00AM
Author: bp9801

The middle of the week is here, with a few items to help out your day. There is a review of the AZZA Noza 8000 full tower case, a large model that features a dual chamber design to keep the drive bays separate from the rest of the components. We also have a look at the ECS LIVA X2 Mini-PC, featuring an Intel Braswell SoC to help deliver plenty of performance for those needing a small computer. Wrapping things up is a look at the best tablets of 2015 to give you an idea of what to buy if you're in the market.

Cases
AZZA Noza 8000 @ Neoseeker

Small Form Factor
ECS LIVA X2 Intel Braswell Mini-PC @ PC Perspective

Laptops/Tablets
Best Tablets of 2015 @ TechSpot


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New Screenshots Show the Graphics Technology of Fallout 4

Posted: November 4, 2015 @ time: 11:41AM
Author: bp9801

Less than a week remains before the wasteland is open to us once again and we can explore The Commonwealth in Fallout 4. To give us all a little bit of a tease, Bethesda has released some new screenshots of Fallout 4 and also discusses the graphics technology of the game. Fallout 4 runs on a modified version of the Creation Engine, the same one that powers The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. One of the first things Bethesda did to the Creation Engine was to give it a physically based deferred renderer in order to add more dynamic lights and apply realistic materials to the surfaces. Bethesda is all about immersion in its games, which is why it wanted the metal to reflect and shine light in a different way than wood or water.

Fallout 4 also features a dynamic time of day and weather system, with storms rolling across and the sun rising and setting. Bethesda says it worked with NVIDIA to help out on the volumetric lighting, so those god rays look as good as they possibly can. This technique runs on the GPU and uses hardware tessellation, with Bethesda saying it looks great regardless of platform. The lighting adds a new layer of atmospheric depth to the wasteland as you explore, and is apparently a sight to see. As for the storms, Bethesda's new material system lets surfaces actually get wet and for cloth, hair, and vegetation to blow in the wind. Truly something to add in getting lost in the world.

Bethesda didn't want to detail all of the graphical settings added into Fallout 4 or what we can change on the PC side, but did reveal a sampling of what it added into the revamped Creation Engine. Virtual cameras were upgraded, too, so none of the details should be missed when you're exploring. As for what some of the things Bethesda added, well, take a look:

  • Tiled Deferred Lighting
  • Temporal Anti-Aliasing
  • Screen Space Reflections
  • Bokeh Depth of Field
  • Screen Space Ambient Occlusion
  • Height Fog
  • Motion Blur
  • Filmic Tonemapping
  • Custom Skin and Hair Shading
  • Dynamic Dismemberment using Hardware Tessellation
  • Volumetric Lighting
  • Gamma Correct Physically Based Shading

It's a nice mix of post-processing effects and ones done on a hardware level, with the dynamic dismemberment sure to catch many an eye. Seeing how the insides of robots were modeled could play into that, as well as ghouls, synths, radscorpions, yao guai, and even deathclaws. The rest of it helps bring a lifelike world to Fallout 4, and judging by some of the screenshots below, it really does work. Bethesda prides itself on a balance of graphics, gameplay, art, and performance, and while we'll have to wait a little longer to see how it all plays out, it looks to be well on its way with the footage and screens seen so far.

Fallout 4 arrives on November 10 for the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Source: Bethesda


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Autonomous DNA Walker Created

Posted: November 4, 2015 @ time: 03:34PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Nanomachines likely conjure up images of tiny electronic devices from science fiction with interesting medical applications. The true form of nanomachines though may not be electronic, but look a bit more like a famous double-helix molecule. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have created a nanomachine from DNA that can walk.

Nanoparticle walkers have been created before, but these only had the ability to walk along predetermined paths. This new DNA walker instead makes random movements, literally picking its feet up and putting them down randomly, but still does not cover the same area twice. It was only able to take 36 steps, but that still adds up to one important step to eventually creating machines for exploring our bodies to watch out for various diseases, including cancers.

While more work is going to be needed, we can already envision applications such as having DNA walkers exploring the body and amplifying signals from cancer cells. This will allow doctors to more easily detect cancers, and perhaps one day use other walkers to deliver medicine directly where it is needed.

Source: University of Texas at Austin


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NVIDIA Adds to Workstation Lineup with NVS 810 GPU

Posted: November 4, 2015 @ time: 04:52PM
Author: CheeseMan42

NVIDIA has announced the addition of the NVS 810 to its workstation offerings. The NVS 810 packs two Maxwell GPUs with 512 CUDA cores each onto a single slot card with eight mini-DisplayPort 1.2 connectors. The target market for the card is the "digital signage market where video walls are very popular right now." The card is capable of powering up to 4096x2160 of displays at 30Hz. Support for nView and NVWMI is included "to simplify image management tasks and manage GPU installations remotely." Pricing information for the card is currently unavailable.

Source: Legit Reviews


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GPU-Z 0.8.6 Released

Posted: November 4, 2015 @ time: 05:15PM
Author: gebraset

TechPowerUp has officially released version 0.8.6 of GPU-Z, the popular graphics subsystem information and diagnostics utility. Version 0.8.6 brings along support for DirectX 12, removes the shader model readout, reduces memory consumption of monitoring sample history, adds command line usage, and can successfully wake sleeping AMD GPUs in laptops during the startup of the program. The latest version of GPU-Z also includes a wealth of different fixes for previously known bugs, such as BIOS readings on the AMD Fury Series, several instabilities on Intel GPUs, voltage monitoring on some Sapphire graphics cards, and much more. Support for the latest AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA graphics solutions is also available, further widening the user base of GPU-Z.

GPU-Z 0.8.6 is available for immediate download from the official TechPowerUp website.

Source: TechPowerUp


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BIOSTAR Targets Gamers with Budget-Friendly GeForce GTX 750 Ti

Posted: November 5, 2015 @ time: 05:12AM
Author: gebraset

BIOSTAR has officially announced the GeForce GTX 750 Ti, its latest gaming product that is targeted at system builders and gamers who seek out value-oriented components. The graphics card incorporates a full size PCB, 2GB of GDDR5 memory, a PCI Express 3.0 x16 bus interface, and a unique dual fan cooling design. BIOSTAR has included a special OC gaming revision on the GeForce GTX 750 Ti, ensuring that gamers remain satisfied with all types of in-game situations. The GeForce GTX 750 Ti from BIOSTAR also offers support for DirectX 11, NVIDIA PureVideo HD Technology, NVIDIA PhysX Technology, and NVIDIA CUDA Technology.

The BIOSTAR GeForce GTX 750 Ti, which pairs quite well with the recently debuted Hi-Fi Z170Z5 combo motherboard, will be available for purchase soon from the official BIOSTAR eBay store.

Source: Press Release


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Fresnel Microlenses Developed for Superior Field of View at Small Sizes

Posted: November 5, 2015 @ time: 06:21AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Lenses can be a big deal, both when it comes to their influence on images and their physical size. This is because traditional lenses use refraction to affect light and require more of a material to affect light more. Fresnel zone plate lenses, however, rely on diffraction and can be very thin, as researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Madison have demonstrated.

Diffraction concerns how light bends when it pass a barrier's edge, and Fresnel lenses take advantage of it by selectively bending the light to focus it like a conventional lens. To achieve this, the lenses consist of concentric rings alternating between light and dark areas. If the dark areas are not dark enough though, the image will be fuzzy. To overcome this problem, the researchers used black silicon, which traps light in a forest of nanowires. They made the lens by patterning aluminum rings onto silicon wafers and then etching the nanowires into the wafer, creating the black silicon rings. Finally a plastic support was applied and the remaining unwanted silicon was etched away, leaving the Fresnel lens in a flexible plastic.

Because Fresnel zone plate lenses can be made so much thinner and smaller than conventional lenses, potential applications include lenses on surgical scopes that can see more without being too large. By rolling an array of these lenses into a cylinder, they can capture an image with a 170º field of view.

Source: University of Wisconsin, Madison


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday, November 5, 2015, Edition

Posted: November 5, 2015 @ time: 10:12AM
Author: bp9801

The first week of November is drawing to a close, but not before there are a few items for you to check out. We have a review of the SilverStone Tundra TD02 Slim Liquid Cooler, an all-in-one model featuring a thin profile to better fit into all types of cases. For those needing some better control in their racing games, the Thrustmaster T150 Force Feedback Wheel, with its entry-level price and full feature list that is sure to appeal to everyone in need of a wheel. The final item for the day is the Tech Armor ActivePower 12000 Mobile Power Bank to help keep your gadgets and devices charged when you're on the go.

CPU Cooling
SilverStone Tundra TD02 Slim Liquid Cooler @ Benchmark Reviews

Input Devices
Thrustmaster T150 Force Feedback Wheel @ PC Perspective

Gadgets
Tech Armor ActivePower 12000 Mobile Power Bank @ ThinkComputers


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Welcome Home to the Fallout 4 Launch Trailer

Posted: November 5, 2015 @ time: 10:40AM
Author: bp9801

There are just four days to go before the wasteland of The Commonwealth opens to us and we step outside that Vault. Yes, Fallout 4 is just days away, with people chomping at the bit to see what wonders and mysteries it holds. What happened inside Vault 111 to make you the Sole Survivor? Why wake up some 200 years after it closed? How much time can one invest in building a settlement to avoid the main quest? All of these are valid questions that will soon be answered, as will hundreds of others I'm sure. To help give you a little something to hold you over, Bethesda released the launch trailer for Fallout 4, and man is it good. Sit back and relax, The Commonwealth awaits. There are story spoilers, so take that into account before viewing.

Fallout 4 is going to consume people. This trailer almost gives us even more questions, like what is the Brotherhood planning to do with the Institute? We know they go after technology and the Institute seemingly has a massive trove of it, including synths, but is there something else they're after? Will you help The Railroad save synths? When do the super mutants get together to attack one of your settlements? So many more questions now, and I guarantee I'm going to spend plenty of time building up and defending my settlements. Plus building weapons, walking around in Power Armor, and seeing as much of The Commonwealth as one can possibly see. Oh, and something about a main quest, too.

Fallout 4 is nearly here, as Vault 111's door opens on November 10. The Pip-Boy companion app recently released for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, so you can check out its demo mode to get a feel for it ahead of Fallout 4's launch. You can even play Atomic Command and try to rack up a high score while waiting for Fallout 4. The map can also be explored, although only Vault 111 and the player's location is marked. The date is also shown, with Fallout 4 starting on October 23, 2287. That's a full ten years after the events in Fallout 3, and 210 years after the bombs dropped.

Source: Bethesda


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Finding Ways to Recycle LEDs

Posted: November 5, 2015 @ time: 03:18PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Thanks to their efficient emission of light, LEDs are growing ever more popular in various applications. Sadly these devices are not recyclable currently so many recyclers are just storing them until they can be processed. That may be changing soon though, as researchers at Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft have found a way of separating the components without damaging them.

One of the reasons we want to recycle LEDs is that the lamps and phosphors contain rare elements, and recovering them would reduce costs. Like all recycling processes, an efficient means of separating the various parts is crucial. To achieve this, the researchers are using electrohydraulic comminuntion, which uses electrical pulses in a water bath to break the LEDs apart. By tweaking the parameters of the process, like voltage and the type and amount of fluid, the researchers are able to the break points the LED components separate at. Already they have been able to adapt their setup for separating the components of the LED lamps used to replace more conventional light bulbs.

Source: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft


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AMD Radeon Software Crimson Available November 24

Posted: November 5, 2015 @ time: 05:10PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Earlier this week it was revealed that AMD was doing away with the Catalyst Control Center in favor of the Radeon Crimson Software for controlling video drivers and graphics card settings. Much was revealed about the new software except for a release date, with AMD merely stating it would be out by the end of the year. It is now known that the new software will be available on November 24. AMD users should remember the date and be sure to update to the new software when it becomes available.

Source: Zolkorn via WCCF Tech


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NVIDIA Planning Holiday Gaming Push

Posted: November 5, 2015 @ time: 05:29PM
Author: CheeseMan42

NVIDIA has announced that it is working on Game Ready Drivers for more than 10 games with expected availability on or before launch day. Some of the games that will have the drivers are Fallout 4, Just Cause 3, Star Wars: Battlefront, and Assassin's Creed Syndicate. NVIDA kicked off the initiative with the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops III Game Ready Drivers yesterday ahead of its release day tomorrow. The company has also boosted its prize offerings to registered GeForce Experience users to more than $100,000 with prizes including upcoming games, GeForce GTX video cards, and SHIELD Android TV boxes.

Source: NVIDIA


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Target OC: Open Target Competition Being Hosted by GIGABYTE

Posted: November 6, 2015 @ time: 05:32AM
Author: gebraset

GIGABYTE has officially revealed that it will be the host of the upcoming overlocking competition known as Target OC: Open Target. The competition, which will allow overclockers from across the world to compete with one another in different cooling and CPU categories, will run from November 8, 2015 until December 31, 2015 on HWBOT. Participants will have to utilize the Intel Extreme Tuning Utility and Geekbench 3 to overcome various challenges, which happen to change each weak. A wealth of prizes are available to contestants, such as the GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming 3, GIGABYTE Z170X-SOC FORCE, and GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming G1 motherboards, as well as $500 and $250 cash winnings.

For more information on the GIGABYTE hosted Target OC: Open Target challenge, to include a full list of rules and guidelines, please visit the competition’s official website.

Source: Press Release


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New Welding Technique Developed That Uses Less Energy and Welds Un-Weldable Metals

Posted: November 6, 2015 @ time: 06:14AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Welding is a crucial technology for the manufacturing of many objects and structures, but it does have some important limitations. For one thing it can take a lot of energy and many metals cannot be welded together, without the welds being weak. Researchers at Ohio State University have recently developed a new welding technique though, that addresses both issues.

In resistance spot welding, metals are welded together by applying an electric current that heats a metal by their natural resistances. This heat is enough to partially melt the metals involved, creating the welds, but requires a lot of energy and the melting and re-solidification process can weaken the metals. The Ohio researchers' solution solves both problems by vaporizing aluminum foil. The method is called vaporized foil actuator (VFA) welding and works by connecting aluminum foil to a high-voltage capacitor bank. The capacitors release a powerful pulse into the aluminum foil, causing it to vaporize and create a burst of gas. This burst forces the two pieces of metal to be welded together at speeds nearing thousands of miles per hour.

The result of this method is a weld between the metals' atoms, without melting the metals and weakening them, allowing more metals to be welded than previously possible, including steel and aluminum alloys which were previously un-weldable. Vaporizing aluminum foil also takes less energy than spot welding, so the method itself is more efficient. In addition to that, this technique can shape metal parts at the same time, saving a manufacturing step.

Source: Ohio State University


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Hardware Roundup: Friday, November 6, 2015, Edition

Posted: November 6, 2015 @ time: 10:48AM
Author: bp9801

The end of the week has arrived, and with it comes a couple of items to get your weekend rolling. There is another part of an Android user spending time with the iPhone 6s and just what kind of differences and similarities exist between the two platforms. Our other item for the day is a new case mod built with a Thermaltake Core X9 case, with nearly everything but the basic shell still remaining in this unique build.

Mobile
Two Weeks with the iPhone 6s: An Android user's perspective - Part 2 @ TechSpot

Miscellany
Case Mod Friday: Adrenal Express @ ThinkComputers


Complete Story


Release Information for Overwatch Revealed

Posted: November 6, 2015 @ time: 11:08AM
Author: CheeseMan42

Overwatch is the team-based FPS being developed by Blizzard, with the game currently in Beta. The game had previously been announced only for PC, but a recent update to the Battle.net website revealed that it will also be playable on PS4 and Xbox One. The game was also given an expected release date "on or before June 21st, 2016." Overwatch Origins Edition appears to be a special bundle of the game that will feature several in-game bonuses for Overwatch as well as other Blizzard games such as StarCraft II, Diablo III, and Hearthstone. The annual BlizzCon is happening this weekend, so keep an eye out for even more information.

Source: Engadget


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Some Antiproton Properties Found to Mirror That of Protons

Posted: November 6, 2015 @ time: 03:29PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Despite how common antimatter is in fiction and uncommon it is in reality, it is a real thing that we are still trying to understand. One of the reasons we are trying to understand it is to figure out why there is so little of it in the Universe, compared to normal matter. Some explanations suggest that some properties of antimatter inhibited it from forming (anti)atoms like normal matter did, but researchers at Rice University and Brookhaven National Laboratory have ruled out at least two of these properties.

According to the Big Bang theory, equal parts matter and antimatter should have been created when the Universe was created, but instead we find that matter was more common. Antimatter particles having the opposite charge and spin of their normal-matter counterparts is not enough to explain this discrepancy. Now we know the scattering length and effective range of antiprotons match those of normal protons, so those properties did not lead to the bias either. The scattering length is the measure of how particles, anti- or normal, deviate as they travel a path, while effective range is how close particles must be to magnetically interact with each other. Both of these properties are measured in femtometers.

It took examining data of 500 million particle collisions from Brookhaven National Laboratory's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, but finally the data revealed the answers. With the measurements being nearly identical to that of protons, the question remains unanswered, but then researchers had already assumed these properties were the same for decades. This is just the first time that assumption has been confirmed.

Source: Rice University


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Blizzard Shows Off Warcraft, StarCraft II Trailers at Blizzcon

Posted: November 7, 2015 @ time: 11:50AM
Author: CheeseMan42

The annual Blizzcon event is ongoing in California and Blizzard has debuted trailers for the conclusion of the StarCraft II saga and the upcoming Warcraft movie. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void finishes the trilogy with the player in control of the final in-game race, the Protoss. Players are tasked with stopping Amon, "a xel’naga who wants to remake the universe in his image – after first completely destroying it, of course." The Warcraft trailer builds on the short teaser released earlier in the week and shows off both human and orc forces who are forced to unite against a common foe.

Source: Polygon and Game Rant


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Consumer Files Class-Action Lawsuit Against AMD Over Bulldozer Core Count

Posted: November 9, 2015 @ time: 05:46AM
Author: gebraset

Tony Dickey has officially filed a class-action lawsuit against AMD in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division. The lawsuit, which features the case number of 5:15-cv-04922-PSG, has been filed on the behalf of himself and other consumers like him, and states that AMD claimed and advertised that it’s Bulldozer CPU had a total of eight cores, when in reality it only has four. Dickey notes that Bulldozer CPUs from AMD are not able to perform eight instructions simultaneously and independently, as normal eight core processors can, due to the manufacturing process where AMD stripped away components from two cores and combined them to make a single module.

Dickey notes that tens of thousands of consumers have been misled into buying Bulldozer CPUs, and the he claims that AMD violated the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, California’s Unfair Competition Law, false advertising, fraud, breach of express warrant, negligent misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment. Dickey is suing for damages, including statutory and punitive damages, litigation expenses, pre- and post-judgment interest, as well as other injunctive and declaratory relief. 

Source: Legal News Line


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Real-Reality Interface Created with Drones

Posted: November 9, 2015 @ time: 06:48AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

The current push for virtual reality systems seems only natural, given the growing capabilities of computers and the desire to become immersed in other worlds, so it is also natural to try to make virtual reality real. To that end, researchers at Queen's University have developed the BitDrones system to allow people to physically interact with virtual objects.

The system uses three kinds of BitDrones that are tracked via reflective markers, so they can be correctly placed in the air. The PixelDrones possess an LED and small dot matrix display while the ShapeDrones have a light-weight mesh around them, giving them a specific shape, and the DisplayDrones carry a curved touchscreen, camera, and Android smartphone board. Together with the motion tracking system, the BitDrones are able to act as an interface for virtual objects, like folders on a computer. When you open a folder, the PixelDrones will form a wheel that you can spin to advance through the contents. With the ShapeDrones virtual structures can be represented and manipulated while the DisplayDrones can be used for Skype calls and will even replicate the caller's motions.

The current system supports dozens of drones, and the BitDrones are about two-and-a-half inches to five inches in size, but the researchers envision shrinking the drones down to half-an-inch and scaling the system up to support thousands of them. On these scales, BitDrones could potentially render high resolution programmable matter for its users.

 

 

Source: Queen's University


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Hardware Roundup: Monday, November 9, 2015, Edition

Posted: November 9, 2015 @ time: 09:23AM
Author: bp9801

A new day and a new week have dawned, with a few items to help kick things off for you. We have a review roundup of several Intel Z170 motherboards, with ASUS, ASRock, Gigabyte, and others compared against each other to see which should be the winner of your hard earned money. There's also a look at the QNAP TS-563 5-Bay Business NAS, an affordable model powered by a quad-core AMD SoC. Wrapping things up is the Scosche SportclipAIR Wireless Earbuds, which feature a wraparound design and shapeable hooks to fit nicely to the shape of your ear.

Motherboards
Intel Z170 Motherboard Roundup @ TechSpot

Storage/Hard Drives
QNAP TS-563 5-bay Affordable Quad-Core Business NAS @ Madshrimps

Speakers/Headphones
Scosche SportclipAIR Wireless Earbuds @ ThinkComputers


Complete Story


NVIDIA Launches the GeForce Game Ready 358.91 WHQL Driver for Fallout 4

Posted: November 9, 2015 @ time: 11:23AM
Author: bp9801

Fallout 4 is nearly upon us, and to prepare your system, NVIDIA has released a new GeForce Game Ready Driver. This new driver, 358.91 WHQL, helps get your NVIDIA card on the most up-to-date driver for Fallout 4, as well as preparing you for Star Wars Battlefront and StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. Both Fallout 4 and StarCraft II officially launch tomorrow, with Star Wars Battlefront due the following Tuesday, so this helps get your drivers ready to go for whichever big game you're planning to play. Or if you're planning on all three, this has you covered for sure. Performance tweaks and optimizations abound in the 358.91 driver, but there are no new SLI or 3D Vision profiles. This is simply a Game Ready Driver for Fallout 4, Star Wars Battlefront, and StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void.

You can download the GeForce Game Ready 358.91 WHQL Drivers from within GeForce Experience or direct from the GeForce website. It's close to a 300MB download, so be sure to allocate that time if you're also downloading Fallout 4 or StarCraft II.

Source: Press Release


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Algorithms Developed to Amplifying and Remove Variances in Images

Posted: November 9, 2015 @ time: 03:34PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

The human eye is pretty good at finding deviations and variations, but computers struggle to do so, unless the differences are on a large scale. By giving computers the power to spot these differences though, they could help us identify defects and create better looking graphics. Now researchers at MIT have developed a pair of algorithms that are capable of doing just that from still images.

One of the algorithms works by finding repeated shapes in an image and then creates an ideally regular, target version of the image. Next it moves around the pixels of the original image, to approximate the target version, and repeats the earlier process to create a new target image. It continues to iterate these steps until the target images look the same, leaving a surprisingly natural looking image. Reversing this process will amplifying deviations in the original image. The other algorithm looks for color differences to identify shapes, generates idealized versions of these shapes, and then exaggerates the deviations between them and the image.

Potentially these algorithms could be used to identify structural defects, camouflaged objects, and movements our eyes would not normally catch. They can also be applied to create more polished graphics with image-editing software.

Source: MIT


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AMD Bristol Ridge SOC Design Leaked

Posted: November 9, 2015 @ time: 04:19PM
Author: CheeseMan42

The AMD FX-9830P System-on-a-Chip (SOC) is the next generation all-in-one offering from the company, designed to replace the current Carrizo SOCs. The new chip is built on the Bristol Ridge platform and will offer better performance per watt than current offerings. Bristol Ridge will be compatible with HSA 1.0 and OpenCL 2.0 with an expected availability of sometime next year. The chip is expected to be similar to that of the Carrizo, with "12 compute core design that incorporates up to four x86 Excavator cores with 2 MB L2 cache and 8 Third-Generation GCN compute units that will feature 512 stream processors." Bristol Ridge chips will be available on both the FP4 mobility and AM4 desktop platforms.

Source: WCCF Tech


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Linux Servers Are New Target of Ransomware Hackers

Posted: November 9, 2015 @ time: 04:35PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Ransomware hackers had previously focused their efforts on personal and business computers in their attempts to extort money from victims desperate to get their files back. Russian company Doctor Web has discovered that the hackers have set their sights on Linux web servers with an exploit they have named Linux.Encoder.1. The exploit utilizes administrator privileges to encrypt files in home directories, SQL server directories, and directories for services such as Apache. Files are targeted based on extension and then encrypted using "a strong encryption algorithm and public-key cryptography, making the files hard to recover without backups or paying the ransom." Local backups are also targeted leaving victims with the need for offline backups or ransom money.

Source: PC World


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Portable Particle Accelerators a Possibility

Posted: November 10, 2015 @ time: 06:53AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Some of the largest and most advanced structures ever built by man have been particle accelerators, because the traditional means of accelerating particles to relativistic speeds require that much room. Recently though, new accelerator designs have been developed that could enable accelerators the size of tables to be built. Now researchers at the University of Maryland have further refined this design to bring the energy requirements down to a fraction of what a lightbulb needs.

Plasma wakefield acceleration works by firing a laser into a plasma. As the laser passes through the ionized gas, it produces a wake behind it that drags electrons along with the pulse, at speeds approaching the speed of light. Normally this requires very powerful laser pulses, but the Maryland researchers decided to try exploiting a phenomenon called relativistic self-focusing. As the laser travels through the plasma, it excites the electrons it hits, making them move back and forth in the laser field, and those at the center of the beam are the most affected. According to Relativity, the faster an object moves, the more its mass will increase, so the electrons at the center of the beam become heavier than those around them. This causes them to slow down and the beam to self-focus, increasing its intensity.

By exploiting this effect, the researchers were able to reduce the energy of the laser pulse to just millijoules, which is how much energy a typical lightbulb uses in a millisecond, while still observing acceleration. This could allow for particle accelerators so small they could be on carts. Also, because of how rapid and violent the acceleration of the particles is, they will radiate gamma rays in ultrashort bursts that could be used for safe medical imaging.

Source: University of Maryland


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday, November 10, 2015, Edition

Posted: November 10, 2015 @ time: 10:15AM
Author: bp9801

Tuesday has arrived, and for many it means long hours with Fallout 4, but for those of you not in The Commonwealth, we have some items to check out. There is a review of the Thermaltake Core P5 case, a wall-mountable open frame model that won't break the bank and is designed with liquid cooling in mind. We also  have the be quiet! Silent Base 600, a mid-tower with exceptional cooling yet with sound dampening panels for quiet computing. Finishing things off is the RANTOPAD MT Aegis mechanical keyboard, which has Cherry MX switches and a customizable exterior.

Cases
Thermaltake Core P5 @ TechSpot
be quiet! Silent Base 600 @ PC Perspective

Keyboards/Mice
RANTOPAD MT Aegis Mechanical Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews


Complete Story


Rainbow Six Siege PC Requirements Announced

Posted: November 10, 2015 @ time: 10:59AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Rainbow Six Siege will be launching for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One in just a few weeks, on December 1. Today the system requirements have been announced, so for anyone looking to hunt terrorists, here is what you are going to need:

Minimum:

  • Operating System: Windows 7 x64 or higher
  • CPU: Intel Core i3 560 @ 3.3 GHz or AMD Phenom II X4 945 @ 3.0 GHz
  • RAM: 6 GB
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 460 or AMD Radeon HD 5870 (DX 11 compliant with 1 GB VRAM)
  • Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible with latest drivers
  • Storage: 30 GB

Recommended (just the differences):

  • CPU: Intel Core i5 2500K @ 3.3 GHz or AMD FX-8120 @ 3.1 GHz
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 670 or AMD Radeon HD 7970 (2 GB VRAM)
  • Storage: 47 GB

At the time of release, the game will support NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 460 or better, GTX 560 or better, GTX 650 or better, GTX 750 or better, and any of the GTX 900 and Titan series. On AMD's side, the Radeon HD 5870 or better, HD 6870 or better, HD 7770 or better, R7 260X or better, and any R-300 GPU and the Fury X are all supported. Naturally an Internet connection will be needed for multiplayer.

Happy hunting on December 1.

Source: UbiBlog


Complete Story


Kingston Announces High Capacity Memory Kits for Savage and Predator Lines

Posted: November 10, 2015 @ time: 04:51PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Kingston has announced the addition of high capacity memory kits to a pair of its HyperX offerings, the Savage and Predator lines. The Savage line now has a 128GB offering with eight 16GB sticks running at 2666MHz. The memory has built-in XMP profiles making it optimized for Intel Core i5 and i7 processors on the Intel 100 Series and X99 chipsets. The Predator memory is also available in 16GB sticks but the kits only reach a total capacity of 32GB or 64GB at 3000MHz. The Predator memory line "combines high frequency and aggressive CAS latencies to provide users with one of the fastest solutions in the market."

Source: Press Release


Complete Story


Improving Racetrack Memory with Sound

Posted: November 11, 2015 @ time: 06:09AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

With the various components in our computers, there are a number of places that slowdowns can occur because some hardware simply operates slower than the rest. For a long time magnetic hard drives would hold back loading times, and while Flash-based SSDs have accelerated things a lot, they are not without faults. Now researchers at the University of Sheffield have discovered a means to improve racetrack memory, a possible future memory solution.

Like traditional hard disks, racetrack memory stores data magnetically, but the medium is tiny wires instead of physical disks. The data is moved along the wires, like cars on a racetrack, for reading and writing, but moving the data requires magnetic fields or electric currents. While these options work, they take more power than is desirable, but the Sheffield researchers have found a new solution. It turns out that surface acoustic waves can also move the data, and the direction the data moves can also be controlled by the frequency of the waves.

Sound waves like this are being used in electronics already, but this is the first time they have been used as part of a memory system. As surface acoustic waves can travel for several centimeters before decaying, it is conceivable that they could be used to affect large arrays of racetrack memory, moving a lot of data very efficiently.

Source: University of Sheffield


Complete Story


Hyperscale Accelerator Line Announced by NVIDIA

Posted: November 11, 2015 @ time: 07:32AM
Author: gebraset

NVIDIA, a leader in visual computing solutions, has officially announced its hyperscale accelerator line, which provides improved machine learning capabilities for web services and other technology applications. The end-to-end hyperscale data center platform consists of an accelerator that allows researchers to design deep neural networks for each of the applications that they want to power with artificial intelligence, as well as a low power accelerator that allows the aforementioned networks to be deployed across the data center. The two accelerators allow develops to utilize the Tesla Accelerated Computing Platform to drive machine learning and other artificial intelligence applications. The NVIDIA hyperscale accelerator line also includes a suite of GPU-accelerated libraries, with further enhance the utilization of artificial intelligence capabilities. Jen-Hsun Huang, the Co-Founder and CEO of NVIDIA, noted that "Machine learning is unquestionably one of the most important developments in computing today, on the scale of the PC, the Internet and cloud computing." Huang went on to say that "Industries ranging from consumer cloud services, automotive and health care are being revolutionized as we speak."

Source: Press Release


Complete Story


Details Surrounding the NVIDIA JTX1 are Now Available

Posted: November 11, 2015 @ time: 07:59AM
Author: gebraset

While the media has not yet been permitted to provide any reviews or benchmarks numbers at this time, details are now available for the NVIDIA JTX1. The latest product from NVIDIA is a 64-bit ARM development board that offers a 256-core Maxwell GPU capable of 1 TFLOP/s, 64-bit ARM A57 CPU cores, 4GB of LPDDR4 at 25.6GB/s of bandwidth, 16GB of eMMC memory, 802.11 AC WiFi and Bluetooth, Gigabit Ethernet, and a 400 pin board-to-board connector. Fortunately, the JTX1 from NVIDIA boasts a modular design with the Tegra X1 SoC on a module that plugs into a larger board for connectivity options and other features, allowing third-parties to easily take full advantage of the product. Released graphs show that the JTX1 actually beats out an Intel Core i7-6700k when it comes to deep learning performance, especially in regards to efficiency. The JTX1 also contends very closely with the i7-6700K's HD Graphics 530 in raw performance, and outshines it in performance per watt.

The NVIDIA JTX1 Developer Kit will be available to purchase in the United States tomorrow for $599, though the product will not ship until November 16, 2015. An educational version of the Jetson TX1 Developer Kit will also be available for $299. 

Source: Phoronix


Complete Story


Hardware Roundup: Wednesday, November 11, 2015, Edition

Posted: November 11, 2015 @ time: 10:02AM
Author: bp9801

Today is Veteran's Day in the U.S., and with it comes a few items for you to check out. We have a review of the ZOTAC Premium Edition 240GB SSD, the first from the company and one that features a Phison S10 controller and MLC NAND. There is also another look at the ECS LIVA X2 Mini PC, which offers plenty of power for those needing a small computer in their home theater setup. Wrapping things up is a look at Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 820 platform, with a new processing and wireless tech, plus a new camera.

Storage/Hard Drives
ZOTAC Premium Edition 240GB SSD @ ThinkComputers

Prebuilts
ECS LIVA X2 Mini PC @ Neoseeker

Mobile
Qualcomm Launches Snapdragon 820 with New Camera, Wireless, Processing Technology @ PC Perspective


Complete Story


HP Announces Three New ZBook Laptops

Posted: November 11, 2015 @ time: 01:40PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Hewlett Packard held an event in New York City today where it introduced three new additions to its ZBook line of laptops. First up were a pair of "redesigned" ZBooks with 15" and 17" screens. An entirely new model, dubbed the ZBook Studio, targets the mobile workstation market as "the first quad-core workstation ultrabook." The Studio can use Intel Xeon, Core i5, and Core i7 CPUs with up to 32GB of ECC memory. Up to 2TB of storage can be included with the HP Z Turbo Drive G2. Users have numerous graphics choices including the NVIDIA Quadro M1000M, Intel HD graphics, or Intel Iris Pro Graphics. The laptop weighs in at just 4.4 pounds with a thickness of 18mm and a 15.6" screen with support for resolutions up to 4K. The ZBook Studio will be available next month and starts at $1,699 while the ZBook 15u will be available in January at a price of $1,099.

Source: Ars Technica


Complete Story


FM Used to Improve Wi-Fi

Posted: November 11, 2015 @ time: 03:40PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

We may not think about it much, but one aspect of modern life is having a lot of transmissions piercing our bodies all the time to bring our various devices the latest information. Sometimes these transmissions run into each other, causing interference that slows things down significantly. Researchers at Northwestern University have devised a clever way to ease this congestion by looking to FM transmissions.

Unless you are living far removed from your neighbors, there is a good chance that you have wireless networks that bump against each other, and transmissions for one network can affect those of others. To address this issue, the researchers have developed a scheduling system that takes advantage of how common and penetrating FM signals are. These signals are able to pass through walls and other obstacles without much loss, and are comprised of blocks 104 bits long. Because these bits will arrive at neighboring networks at nearly the same time, they can be used to synchronize schedules between the networks. By monitoring transmissions at different times, the Wi-FM system can determine what parts of the schedule are free and only transmit at those times, preventing congestion, and all without direct communication between the networks.

This technology could actually be deployed relatively easily as in many cases it only requires a software update. Many wireless devices already have FM components integrated into the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chips.

Source: Northwestern University


Complete Story


Roku Announces New Streamer Available for Black Friday

Posted: November 11, 2015 @ time: 04:05PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Roku has announced a new entry-level device, the Roku SE, that will be available starting November 26. The SE carries an MSRP of $49.99, but that will be discounted to $25 on Black Friday, the day after it is released. The SE will have a reduced feature set compared to the higher priced Roku offerings, with maximum resolution of 1080p, no Ethernet port, and no voice search. It is compatible with both HDMI and analog TVs and is controlled by the latest Roku OS 7. It is expected to support the full catalog of Roku channels with the exception of content at higher resolutions than 1080p.

Source: Tech Crunch


Complete Story


Fool's Gold Could Boost Batteries

Posted: November 12, 2015 @ time: 06:34AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Many people have been tricked by thinking that iron pyrite, or fool's gold is the rare precious metal. Instead they have a material of less value, but it could be finding new use soon. Researchers at Vanderbilt University have discovered that quantum dots of iron pyrite could improve lithium ion batteries.

It has already been found that quantum dots of different materials can speed up the charging of lithium ion batteries, but the effect only lasts for a few cycles. However, quantum dots made of iron pyrite, if they are the proper size, can provide the rapid-charging effect while also lasting for dozens of cycles. This is because the iron pyrite becomes directly involved in the electrochemistry of the battery. Instead of the lithium entering the electrode to store energy, the fool's gold breaks down into iron and sulfur, and the lithium combines with the sulfur to store energy. Normally it is just the lithium that has to diffuse in a battery, but in this scenario, the iron must also diffuse, which is why the size of the quantum dots is important. By keeping the size beneath the diffusion length of iron, the iron atoms can more easily diffuse, increasing energy storage.

More work needs to be done before fool's gold enters our batteries, but we could see this being one way to create batteries capable of charging in just seconds. The researchers believe a deeper study of the chemical storage mechanisms involved will significantly help with developing these batteries.

Source: Vanderbilt University


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