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News Archives for July 2016

Hardware Roundup: Friday, July 1, 2016, Edition

Posted: July 1, 2016 @ time: 07:38AM
Author: bp9801

Friday is here at last, bringing with it the start of July and a few items for you to look over. We have a look at some power consumption concerns on the new AMD Radeon RX 480 and just what kind of power it draws from the motherboard and PCIe connection. There is a review on the Umi Touch smartphone, featuring some rather enticing specifications for a price that is sure to please many. Ending things for the week is a new case mod that takes the In Win S frame and makes it into something that would be more at home in the Fallout universe.

Video Cards
Power Consumption Concerns on the Radeon RX 480 @ PC Perspective

Mobile
Umi Touch @ TechSpot

Miscellany
Case Mod Friday: Nuclear In Nature @ ThinkComputers


Complete Story


Newly Released RX 480 Appears to Have Power Draw Issues

Posted: July 1, 2016 @ time: 01:38PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Just days ago, AMD released the long-awaited RX 480 graphics card, containing the new Polaris 10 GPU. One of the features of the new GPU is supposed to be significantly increased efficiency, thanks to the new 14 nm FinFET node it uses and several Radeon technologies, but some reviewers have found the card, at least in the currently available reference design, may have significant power issues.

The card has a TDP of 150 W and a 6-pin power connector, which is meant to provide 75 W, leaving the other 75 W to come from the PCIe slot itself, which is the maximum the slot is supposed to provide. What some reviewers have found, including those at PC Perspective who have done a careful analysis of the card's power draw, is that the RX 480 is pulling above 150 W, at stock (overclocking will naturally draw even more power). On its own, pulling more power than the stated TDP is not necessarily an issue, especially if it draws it from the PSU connector, but the PCPer reviewer found it was also drawing more than 75 W from the PCIe slot. Depending on the tolerances of the motherboard, continuous power draw above the spec could cause damage to the slot. Obviously, this is not a good.

As some comments for the original PCPer article suggested examining the ASUS GTX 960 Strix, which was supposedly caught also drawing more from the PCIe slot in the past, the review pulled out his testing rig again and got to work. He found that this 960 does not in fact exceed that limit, at least not continuously. The reviewer used a second order low pass filter specifically to remove some of the spiking that can occur with phase switches of any DC switching power supply. This makes the data easier to read and the reviewers focus was on continuous power draw, not instantaneous.

It is also worth noting that there has not been any official response from AMD concerning this issue yet. The most I have seen has been an Reddit AMA response by Raja Koduri himself stating the RX 480 passed testing and that the engineering team is fully engaged on this matter. So for now, the exact nature, cause, and extent of this issue are not known, at least not publicly, and neither is if a potential fix would be software or hardware based.

Source: PC Perspective


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Hardware Roundup: Monday, July 4, 2016, Edition

Posted: July 4, 2016 @ time: 10:27AM
Author: bp9801

Independence Day is here, and if you need something to help pass the time while the grill heats up, we have you covered. There is a review of the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW GAMING ACX 3.0, featuring a massive custom cooler and factory overclocks to get you gaming for longer. For some audio needs, we have you covered on two different fronts. We have a look at the Bose SoundLink Mini II, which is a small, battery powered portable speaker that can pair to different devices over Bluetooth. For something a bit more personal, there's the Avegant Glyph, a mobile home theater headset that can deliver just audio, or paired with some lenses for a viewing experience. It isn't VR, but something a little different.

Video Cards
EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW GAMING ACX 3.0 @ Bjorn3D

Speakers/Headphones
Bose SoundLink Mini II @ LanOC Reviews
Avegant Glyph @ Bjorn3D


Complete Story


G.SKILL Updates Mechanical Keyboard Software

Posted: July 4, 2016 @ time: 12:20PM
Author: CheeseMan42

G.SKILL has updated the software that controls the RIPJAWS KM780 RGB series of mechanical gaming keyboards to give users even more customization options. The SW0.104/FW57 update now allows users to use all 16.8 million RGB colors to change the lighting scheme on their keyboard as well as giving the option to export their settings to share with others. A pair of responsive lighting effects, reactive and ripple, provide further per key options. The update also gives the ability to change the colors on the special function and media keys and increases brightness levels from four to five.

Source: Press Release


Complete Story


New 60Tbps Cable Connects United States and Japan

Posted: July 4, 2016 @ time: 12:33PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Google has worked with five Asian telecom companies to create "the highest-capacity undersea cable ever built," capable of speeds up to 60Tbps. The 9,000km cable was built by NEC at a cost of $300 million and connects Oregon to two locations in Japan. Google plans to use its share of the bandwidth "to support our users, including Google Apps and Cloud Platform customers. This is especially exciting, as we prepare to launch a new Google Cloud Platform East Asia region in Tokyo later this year. Dedicated bandwidth to this region results in faster data transfers and reduced latency as GCP customers deliver their applications and information to customers around the globe." In the world of computing where the fastest technologies don't stay the fastest for long, Microsoft and Facebook are already working on a 160Tbps cable that will connect the United States to Europe.

Source: Ars Technica


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday, July 5, 2016, Edition

Posted: July 5, 2016 @ time: 11:38AM
Author: bp9801

Tuesday is here, bringing with it a few items to check out to get you through another day. There is an article looking at the performance you can get from two Palit GeForce GTX 1080 cards in SLI while running at a 4K resolution. If you're after a new laptop, maybe the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2-in-1 should be on your list, as it includes a touchscreen and the ability to position the screen however you need to suit whatever task at hand. Especially if you're after a business-class 14" laptop that has plenty of hardware inside to accomplish the job. We end on a new smartphone from TP-LINK, as its Neffos C5 Max, with a more powerful octa-core SoC and a higher clocked GPU, gets reviewed to see what it can do.

Video Cards
Testing GTX 1080 SLI Performance with Dual Palit GeForce Cards @ TechSpot

Laptops/Tablets
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2-in-1 @ PC Perspective

Mobile
TP-LINK Neffos C5 Max @ Madshrimps


Complete Story


Next NVIDIA Titan Rumored to be 50% Faster than GTX 1080

Posted: July 5, 2016 @ time: 03:54PM
Author: CheeseMan42

For the past several generations of NVIDIA GPUs, the company has released a series of mainstream graphics cards before releasing its most powerful card of the series, commonly carrying the TITAN designation. The latest cards from NVIDIA utilize the Pascal architecture with GP100 and GP102 cores on the GTX 1060, 1070, and 1080. While we already know quite a bit about these cards, details on the Pascal based TITAN have not been easy to come by. VR World has obtained some initial performance numbers that claim the upcoming TITAN is "at least 50% higher performance than GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition," adding that the performance is "now bound by the CPU." The sources did indicate that the Intel Core i7-6700K performed better than the i7-6950X. VR World believes that Gamescom, which runs from August 17-21, could be a good time for the official announcement.

Source: VR World


Complete Story


Thermaltake Announces Core P3 Snow and Black Editions

Posted: July 5, 2016 @ time: 04:34PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Thermaltake has announced the Core P3 Snow and Black Edition ATX Wall-Mount cases. The case is designed to allow three different layout schemes: wall-mount, horizontal, and vertical. Users have the option to install the PSU vertically, the GPU horizontally or vertically, and all-in-one liquid coolers. The multiple configuration and layout options coupled with an acrylic window will allow users to show off their systems in any way they choose. The case is built using a Dismantable Modular Design to give users the option to include only the panels, racks, brackets, and mounting arrays that they need. Up to three 2.5" or two 3.5" drives can be installed outside the case and two 3.5" or 2.5" drives can be installed on the inside.

Source: Press Release


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday, July 6, 2016, Edition

Posted: July 6, 2016 @ time: 11:01AM
Author: bp9801

The middle of the week has arrived, bringing with it several items for your viewing pleasure. There is a look at the HP Spectre laptop, a 13" model that's only 10.4mm deep for the world's thinnest title, while the design of it is something that helps set it even further apart from the crowd. If you want a new way to track your exercise progress, the Fitbit Blaze can do just that, while also keeping track of the time and syncing to your smartphone. For the racing fans out there, we have a review on the Thrustmaster 599XX EVO Alcantara wheel, which is a replica of the wheel used in the Ferrari 599XX EVO, to see how it can help your in-game driving skills. Wrapping things up is a look at 20 of the worst PC setups seen during the month of June.

Laptops/Tablets
HP Spectre @ TechSpot

Input Devices
Thrustmaster 599XX EVO Alcantara Wheel @ PC Perspective

Gadgets
Fitbit Blaze @ LanOC Reviews

Miscellany
20 of the Worst PC Setups - June 2016 @ ThinkComputers


Complete Story


3DMark Numbers Leak for the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060

Posted: July 6, 2016 @ time: 11:10AM
Author: bp9801

NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1060 might not be officially announced or anything, but that hasn't stopped the spread of news on it. Today we have a new piece of information and it concerns benchmarks. Rather the 3DMark performance results for the GTX 1060 have leaked out and man is this thing looking good. At the stock clocks, 1506MHz on the core with a 1708MHz boost clock, the GTX 1060 is faster than AMD's new RX 480. The RX 480 scored between 2600 and 2800 in 3DMark FireStrike Ultra, while the GTX 1060 reached 3014. In FireStrike Performance, the GTX 1060 hit 11225 and the RX 480 between 10500 and 10600. These are without official NVIDIA drivers, but even so, it's a good start for the card. Granted, these are synthetic benchmarks and in no way guarantee faster real world performance, but it's nice to see things nonetheless.

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 is expected to be announced tomorrow, July 7, with reviews hopefully around the same time. It is expected to have 1280 CUDA cores and 80 TMUs on the GP106 core, with a pixel fill rate of 72.3GPixel/s and a texture fill rate of 159.6GPixel/s. We'll just have to see what it all means in other benchmarks and, of course, some actual gaming when the card hits.

Source: WCCFtech


Complete Story


MIT Developing Swarm Multi-core Architecture

Posted: July 6, 2016 @ time: 04:10PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Processors with multiple cores are found in most systems these days, from PCs to smartphones. The use of multiple cores has helped to get around the limitations on processor speeds, but those extra cores don't translate into a direct increase in application performance. In order to take full advantage of the multiple cores, applications need to be written with parallel processing in mind, a complex task that many developers and applications don't bother with. Researchers at MIT have developed a new chip architecture, known as Swarm, to help alleviate some of the difficulties in taking advantage of parallel processing. In a test comparing a 64-core version of Swarm against highly-optimized parallel processing algorithms, Swarm outperformed the algorithms "offering three to 18 times faster processing. In its most impressive result, Swarm achieved results 75 times better than the regular chips, because that particular algorithm had failed to be parallelized on classic multi-core processors."

Source: Neowin


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday, July 7, 2016, Edition

Posted: July 7, 2016 @ time: 10:52AM
Author: bp9801

Thursday is here, with the first full week of July nearly in the books. Before it gets there we have some items for you, like a preview of NVIDIA's upcoming GeForce GTX 1060 video card. This looks at the performance potential of the new card powered by a GP106 core, and with it starting at $249, it could be a strong option for anyone wanting a powerful card without spending too much. For some storage needs, we have a review on the Corsair Neutron XTi 480GB SSD to see if a quad-core controller can help it reach new levels. If you're after some enterprise storage, then maybe the Micron 9100 MAX 2.4TB U.2 Enterprise SSD, with its 3.2GB/s read and 2.2GB/s write speeds, gives your business server the boost it requires.

Video Cards
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Preview @ PC Perspective

Storage/Hard Drives
Corsair Neutron XTi 480GB SSD @ Madshrimps
Micron 9100 MAX 2.4TB U.2 Enterprise SSD @ PC Perspective


Complete Story


AMD 480 4GB Models Gain Extra Memory with BIOS Update

Posted: July 7, 2016 @ time: 03:34PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Some retail versions of the AMD RX 480 4GB card are reportedly able to double their memory to 8GB with a BIOS update. The card tested was obtained from Newegg with some reviewers indicating that they received two BIOS profiles with their review cards to test both the 4GB and 8GB models. It is unknown if the cards were shipped in error or if AMD was attempting to meet its promise of a $199 card on launch. In the latter case, the company may have decided to flash the 8GB cards with the 4GB BIOS while "supply of the lower density memory chips for the 4GB variant were still ramping." Selling the 8GB model with a flashed 4GB BIOS means AMD is taking a $30 loss on each sale, and some early adopters have a shot at getting a great deal on a better card.

Source: WCCF Tech


Complete Story


Samsung Announces First UFS Flash Cards

Posted: July 7, 2016 @ time: 04:02PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Samsung has announced its first flash cards based on the Universal Flash Storage 1.0 Card Extension standard, a standard that offers a significant speed improvement over micro-SD. Samsung claims that the new cards will be able to transfer a 5GB file in about 10 seconds while micro-SD takes about 50 seconds for the same amount of data. The UFS standard could see wide adoption in the future due to the increased speed and increased amount of data due to HD media, but it is not currently able to match the capacity of micro-SD cards. Samsung will release cards with capacities between 32GB and 256GB while micro-SD can reach 512GB. Another bump in the road for UFS adoption is the fact that current devices do not have the proper ports to accommodate the new cards.

Source: Computerworld


Complete Story


Have a Chance to Get Trials of the Blood Dragon Free on July 22

Posted: July 8, 2016 @ time: 10:38AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

At E3 last month, Ubisoft announced a number of titles, including Trials of the Blood Dragon, which the publisher also released that same day. It is a combination of the Trials series of games and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, with the latter's "unique, neon-drenched" attitude. It is available on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 for $14.99, but on July 22, you have a chance to get the game for free.

On that date, you can download the free PC demo from Uplay and if you can complete it with 15 or fewer faults, you will unlock the full game on your account. The Trials games challenge you to complete various courses, typically on motorcycles but this game is an outlier, and faults would be when you fail a landing by hitting your head, for example. For now this is all the information we have on the demo, so we also do not know how long it might be, or how long this offer is valid, but if you already have a Uplay account, it might be worth giving it a shot come the 22nd.

 

 

Source: Ubi Blog


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Hardware Roundup: Friday, July 8, 2016, Edition

Posted: July 8, 2016 @ time: 11:23AM
Author: bp9801

Friday and the end of the week are here at long last, with a few items for you to check out. We have a review on the Gigabyte GTX 1070 G1 Gaming video card, featuring a triple fan cooler and a factory overclock to power through whatever games you throw at it. Speaking of video cards, it appears the power draw issues the AMD RX 480 were facing have been fixed in a driver update, but it also gives raise to the fact it could have been avoided if an 8-pin PCIe connector was used instead of 6-pin. Wrapping things up for today and the week is a look at the Cooler Master MasterBox 5 case, a budget-friendly model with multiple internal configurations for you to experience.

Video Cards
Gigabyte GTX 1070 G1 Gaming @ LanOC Reviews
AMD Radeon RX 480 Power Consumption Concerns Fixed with 16.7.1 Driver @ PC Perspective

Cases
Cooler Master MasterBox 5 @ Benchmark Reviews


Complete Story


Vulkan Has Come to DOOM

Posted: July 11, 2016 @ time: 09:59AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

DOOM released just a couple months ago and last week received Update 1, but today it has gotten a new update that adds something many people may have been waiting for: Vulkan support. Vulkan is a low-level graphics and compute API, similar to DirectX 12, but is not limited to Windows 10 like its Microsoft-made counterpart. Being a low-level API, means it offers developers more direct access to the hardware, allowing driver overhead to be reduced and thereby performance to increase. It also has advanced features to further increase performance, such as asynchronous compute, but that one in particular is only supported on AMD GPUs, with the DOOM Vulkan driver, at the moment, but id Software is working with NVIDIA to enable it on NVIDIA GPUs. In fact, id Software has been working with both AMD and NVIDIA daily since late March to bring Vulkan support to DOOM. Even with all of this work though, because Vulkan is still a new API and the drivers supporting it are now, there could be "a few bumps" with it, but these will likely be smoothed out with time.

Besides the value of pushing new technologies, this adoption of Vulkan is important for any performance benefits it brings, and I am sure we will be seeing new benchmarks cropping up all over the Internet today. Over at Radeon.com, which is an AMD site, it shows a 27% improvement with the RX 480 at 1920x1080 and a 23% improvement at 2560x1440, compared to the original OpenGL implementation, using the Ultra preset on both resolutions. The site also gives some more information on some Vulkan features DOOM can take advantage of, at least on AMD hardware.

Source: Bethesda and Radeon


Complete Story


Corsair Launches Fans With Magnetic Levitation Bearing

Posted: July 11, 2016 @ time: 10:58AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Corsair has today launched its new ML Series of cooling fans that stand out from other fans by featuring a magnetic levitation bearing and custom rotor design. When powered, the bearing suspends the fan blades from the motor housing, significantly reducing friction. This, along with the customizable rubberized damping corners on some versions, allows the fans to produce very little noise even at high RPMs. The fans have a wide PWM control range, from 400 RPM to 2000 RPM for the 140 mm versions and 2400 RPM for the 120 mm versions. The noise level spans 16 dBA to 37 dBA at those RPM extremes, for both sizes.

In total, there are ten options in the ML Series; five 120 mm fans and a similar five 140 mm fans. First are the ML120 and ML140, which come in a two pack and lack the rubber corners. These packs are $34.99 and $39.99 for the 120 mm and 140 mm versions, respectively. The PRO versions features the rubberized, replaceable, color coordinated corners, but only come in single packs. These cost $24.99 and $28.99. Finally there are the PRO LED White, Red, and Blue versions, which also have LEDs mounted on the center rotor to light up the fan. These cost $27.99 and $30.99 for the 120 mm and 140 mm versions respectively. All of the fans are backed by a five year warranty and are available immediately.

Source: Press Release and Corsair


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Hardware Roundup: Monday, July 11, 2016, Edition

Posted: July 11, 2016 @ time: 11:20AM
Author: bp9801

A new week is here, with several items to kick it off right. We have a review of the Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK, a gaming-centric NUC with Iris Pro Graphics 580 and a relatively high starting price that makes this more of a serious machine. For keeping a CPU cool, the Scythe Fuma cooler gets put to the test to see how well it performs. If storage is what you need, then perhaps the OCZ RD400 512GB PCIe MVM2 M.2 SSD, with its 2600MB/s read speed and 1600MB/s write speeds, is the answer. There is a look at a different kind of case to hold everything, as the Primochill WetBench Test Bench case is an open air model ideal for swapping gear in and out quickly. We wrap up with the Linksys EA9500 Max-Stream AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit Router, which has a tri-band configuration and eight total LAN ports for the ultimate home network setup.

Cases
Primochill WetBench Test Bench @ PC Perspective

CPUs
Intel Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK @ TechSpot

CPU Cooler
Scythe Fuma @ ThinkComputers

Storage/Hard Drives
OCZ RD400 (512GB) PCIe MVM2 M.2 SSD @ Bjorn3D

Networking
Linksys EA9500 Max-Stream AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit Router @ Madshrimps


Complete Story


F1 2016 Will Support 22 Players Online and Gets a New Trailer

Posted: July 11, 2016 @ time: 12:32PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Some more details about F1 2016 have been revealed recently, including that it will support up to 22 players in online races. This is an important achievement for the game, as it will allow the whole grid to be filled with human players, in all 21 of the game's circuits. Also the game is receiving new features, the Formation Lap and manual starts. This is the first time the Formation Lap has been in the game, so players will be able to experience pre-race tension and warm up the tires before the start. With manual starts, the player will be in control as the lights got out, balancing the revs and having to watch out for a jump start or the anti-stall engaging. You can also have manual control going into the pit lane, but be careful you are not going to fast, or incur the new five second pit stop penalty.

We have also gotten a new trailer that shows off these features and the game's graphics. F1 2016 releases on August 19 for Windows PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.

 

 

Source: Press Release and Codemasters


Complete Story


Thermaltake Announces Battle Dragon Backpack

Posted: July 11, 2016 @ time: 03:42PM
Author: CheeseMan42

The Tt eSPORTS brand from Thermaltake has made quite the splash in the gaming peripheral market, and the company has now announced a new method for transporting your devices around with you. The Battle Dragon Utility Backpack is made from polyester and woven nylon with a tear-proof exterior. The interior has a padded compartment to accommodate laptops up to 17" and enough additional space for any accessories you may need. A media pocket has a cable port to allow for connection of headphones or a power cord. The Battle Dragon has an MSRP of $59.99.

Source: Press Release


Complete Story


Zotac Announces GeForce GTX 1060 Cards

Posted: July 11, 2016 @ time: 03:53PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Zotac is adding a pair of GeForce GTX 1060 cards to its offerings with the Zotac GeForce GTX 1060 Mini and AMP Edition. Both cards are designed as "super compact short length cards," with the Mini putting some extra emphasis in this area. It utilizes a single 90mm fan with an aluminum heatsink to provide thermal dissipation without significant noise in a 6.85" form factor. The AMP Edition measures 8.27" and uses two 90mm wide blade fans as part of the IceStorm thermal system with 8mm vertical heatpipes and a copper cold plate. Both cards take up two PCIe slots and are VR Ready.

Source: Press Release


Complete Story


Hardware Roundup: Tuesday, July 12, 2016, Edition

Posted: July 12, 2016 @ time: 11:15AM
Author: bp9801

Tuesday is here, giving us some items to check out as the week starts rolling along. We have two different looks at the Cooler Master MasterBox 5 case, a budget-friendly option that still looks good and offers a ton of customizability to get it exactly how you want. For those needing a ton of storage and plenty of speed, perhaps the Samsung 850 EVO 4TB SATA SSD is just what you've been after. Ending things for today is a review of the Huawei P9 smartphone, a high-end model featuring dual 12 megapixel cameras on the rear and a custom SoC inside the metal chassis.

Cases
Cooler Master MasterBox 5 @ LanOC Reviews
Cooler Master MasterBox 5 @ ThinkComputers

Storage/Hard Drives
Samsung 850 EVO 4TB 2.5" SATA SSD @ PC Perspective

Mobile
Huawei P9 @ TechSpot


Complete Story


New Anonymity System Can Guarantee Secrecy If One Server is Trustworthy

Posted: July 12, 2016 @ time: 01:42PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

A vulnerability was discovered in the Tor network last year that could allow this anonymity-protecting system to be comprised. Fortunately, this year a new system called Riffle has been developed by researchers at MIT and EPFL that can guarantee messages sent on Riffle are safe, if just one server has not been compromised by an attacker.

Like Tor, Riffle uses onion encryption, which wraps data in multiple layers of encryption and as the packages moves through the network, each server removes a layer. In the end, only the final server knows the data's final destination and only the first server knows where it came from. What Riffle adds to this, to further protect the messages, is making the network of servers a mixnet. In a mixnet, it permutes the order of the messages it receives, so if they arrived A, B, C, they will leave C, B, A, or some other permutation, and each server a message goes to does this. This protects against a passive attacked that is just observing network traffic, but on its own does not protect against an attacker that has compromised a server.

To solve that issue, the researchers employ what is called a verifiable shuffle. Because of the layered encryption used for each message, what comes to and leaves the server looks completely different, but the server can be made to generate a mathematical proof that the sent messages are valid manipulations of the originals. Instead of just going off of message the server received though, Riffle has the initial message sent to every server in the mixnet, allowing each server to independently check for any tampering. Generating and checking proofs is not easy though, and could significantly slow down the entire network with just one message, so Riffle also uses what is called authentication encryption. It is more efficient than the verifiable shuffle, but requires the sender and receiver to share a cryptographic key, so Riffle uses the verifiable shuffle technique to share a key between the user and every server, while authentication encryption is used for the rest of the communication.

This combination of techniques means that so long as one server in the entire network has not been compromised. This lone server can verify the authenticity of the message and shuffle the messages so they cannot be tracked.

Source: MIT


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More Evidence Suggests an RX 490 GPU is Coming From AMD

Posted: July 13, 2016 @ time: 10:37AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

When the intended performance target for the RX 480 was first revealed by AMD, many people were left wondering about a higher-end option, because while a mainstream GPU may be able to target most computer users, plenty of us want something more. Some are waiting for Vega-based GPUs, which should release next year, but there have been occasional leaks of an RX 490 card, and now we have another that also provides some technical information and the explanation for the RX nomenclature.

Previously the RX 490 has been spotted on AMD's website, as eligible for certain promotional offers, and on a list at Sapphire's website, AMD's strongest AIB partner. This latest leak comes as what appears to be a leaked slide explaining what the RADEON RX 4XX naming scheme means. Obviously RADEON is company branding, but it turns out RX does have a specific technical meaning as well. For a GPU to earn the RX prefix it needs to surpass 1.5 TFLOPS of compute power and 100 GB/s of memory bandwidth. The 4 marks the generation, while the tens digits is for Tier and ones digits is for Revision, which we may or may not see used this generation. The tier for 7 and 8 has a 256-bit memory interface and is targeted for 1440p resolutions, while the tier for 5 and 6 has a 128-bit interface. The 5 and 6 tier apparently spans the RX requirement as it is also listed for non-RX GPUs, along with a Tier 4 with a 64-bit interface.

The leak concerning the possible RX 490 is that a Tier 9 is also listed and shows it as having a memory bus greater than 256-bit and is targeted at 4K gaming. While it is always possible this could be fake or just meant to describe how the naming would work for such a GPU, this combined with the other leaks seems to support the eventual existence of this GPU and what it will be capable of. Also, because of the AMD website leak of the RX 490, we can expect it to be available this year, while the promotional campaign is still ongoing, which means it will be based on Polaris and not Vega.

(Image is from the WCCFtech source article.)

Source: WCCFtech


Complete Story


Civilization VI Will Use DirectX 12 Features Like Asynchronous Compute and Explicit Multi-Adapter

Posted: July 13, 2016 @ time: 12:02PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Some of you may remember back when Civilization: Beyond Earth released that it supported Mantle, the low-level graphics API AMD developed, which helped push DirectX 12 to also be low-level and has since formed a base for the open Vulkan API. Now we know that AMD's partnership with 2K and Firaxis Games, the publisher and developer of the Civilization series, respectively, is continuing as Civilization VI will support DirectX 12 and some of its advanced features.

When the game launches on October 21, it will be able to use asynchronous compute and explicit multi-adapter to improve performance. Explicit multi-adapter allows the API to directly support multi-GPU configurations, instead of requiring the driver to handle it. This can potentially allow mismatched GPUs to work together, such as a discrete graphics card and the GPU built into many modern CPUs, as well as GPUs from both AMD and NVIDIA. Asynchronous compute is the feature that allows the different components inside of modern GPUs to act in parallel, instead of having to wait for operations to complete in sequence, despite the operations using separate resources. Currently AMD GPUs with their Asynchronous Compute Engines (ACEs) have shown themselves to be very capable of using asynchronous compute, so it is not surprising to see AMD supporting this feature in this upcoming, highly anticipated title.

Source: AMD


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Nintendo Announces NES Classic Edition With 30 Games Releasing in November

Posted: July 14, 2016 @ time: 08:47AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Okay, I am going to call this the Nostalgia Entertainment System and I mean that with all due respect. Nintendo has announced that it will be releasing on November 11 the NES Classic Edition, a smaller version of the classic console with 30 games installed, and it will cost $59.99. It uses HDMI to connect to modern HDTVs and also comes with an AC adapter and NES Classic Controller, which you can purchase more of for $9.99. A Classic Controller Pro will also be available and sold separately. The Classic Controller can be connected to a Wii Remote controller, so you can use it to play Virtual Console NES games on a Wii or Wii U.

Now for the all-important list of games:

  • Balloon Fight™
  • BUBBLE BOBBLE
  • Castlevania™
  • Castlevania II: Simon's Quest™
  • Donkey Kong™
  • Donkey Kong Jr. ™
  • DOUBLE DRAGON II: THE REVENGE
  • Dr. Mario™
  • Excitebike™
  • FINAL FANTASY®
  • Galaga™
  • GHOSTS'N GOBLINS®
  • GRADIUS™
  • Ice Climber™
  • Kid Icarus™
  • Kirby's Adventure™
  • Mario Bros. ™
  • MEGA MAN® 2
  • Metroid™
  • NINJA GAIDEN
  • PAC-MAN™
  • Punch-Out!! ™ Featuring Mr. Dream
  • StarTropics™
  • SUPER C™
  • Super Mario Bros.™
  • Super Mario Bros. ™ 2
  • Super Mario Bros. ™ 3
  • TECMO BOWL
  • The Legend of Zelda™
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link™

These are not exactly the original games, as each game will have multiple suspend points, allowing you to stop playing in the middle of levels if necessary. Bit of an upgrade from the password systems some of these games used.

Source: Business Wire


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday, July 14, 2016, Edition

Posted: July 14, 2016 @ time: 11:58AM
Author: bp9801

Another week is heading to a close, but not before we have some items for you to check out. There is a look at a pair of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 cards in SLI to see what they're capable of when working together. If you want to get into a small build, like maybe with an SoC such as Intel Braswell, then the BIOSTAR J3160MD motherboard is for you, as it features a fanless design for the SoC and a PCIe x16 slot for a video card. To house everything for a new build, the be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 case looks positively stunning with the aluminum, steel, and glass construction, plus the insides are highly customizable. For those on the go, the Mach Xtreme MX-Barium USB 3.1 Type-C flash drive can be the answer, especially since it works with both USB 3.0 and 3.1 and includes fast read/write performance.

Video Cards
GTX 1070 SLI Testing @ LanOC Reviews

Motherboards
BIOSTAR J3160MD @ Madshrimps

Cases
be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 @ TechSpot

Storage/Hard Drives
Mach Xtreme MX-Barium USB 3.0 / USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C Flash Drive @ Madshrimps


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NVIDIA VR Funhouse Now Available, Game Ready 368.81 Drivers Bring Ansel Support to Mirror's Edge Catalyst

Posted: July 14, 2016 @ time: 12:31PM
Author: bp9801

Back when the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 and 1070 video cards were shown off, some other items were unveiled first. Things like the NVIDIA VR Funhouse game and Ansel, an in-game screenshot program to capture games in ways never before seen. Today we have some good news for both of them, as NVIDIA VR Funhouse is now available on Steam for free. It does require some impressive hardware, such as a GTX 980 Ti, 1060, or 1070 for low graphics, a GTX 1080 for medium, and a GTX 1080 with a dedicated PhysX card for high settings (or 980 Tis in SLI with a dedicated PhysX card). It's playable on the HTC Vive headset, giving you some fun carnival-style games to play and try out all the new NVIDIA graphics technology. Things like Hairworks, FleX, Destruction, and Flow are all included, as is VRWorks PhysX-based haptics for the ultimate in feedback. If you want to give the NVIDIA VR Funhouse a try and have one of the supported video cards, just head over to Steam and download it.

NVIDIA also has a new game that Ansel supports, as the recent Mirror's Edge Catalyst can now take advantage of the technology. All you need to do is download the new Game Ready Driver, 368.81, for it and you're ready to go. Now you can see Faith and the City of Glass like never before. Ansel lets you use a free camera to take pictures from any spot in the environment and display it all on your PC, smartphone, or VR headset. You can add post-process effects, capture images with the highest HDR settings possible, increase the resolution far above what you're playing at, and even take 360° panoramas. It's a good way to show off your artistic side and look at your games in a new light.

The Game Ready 368.81 Drivers support other VR games besides just NVIDIA VR Funhouse, as Everest VR, Obduction, Raw Data, and The Assembly are all optimized. You can download the new driver through GeForce.com or the GeForce Experience app.

Source: Press Release


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Hardware Roundup: Friday, July 15, 2016, Edition

Posted: July 15, 2016 @ time: 11:00AM
Author: bp9801

Another Friday is here, with July reaching its halfway point. We have some items for you to check out, including a review on the RIOTORO PRISM CR1280 RGB full tower case. This case is from a relatively new company, but it looks to hit all the notes in terms of style and features a case should have to hold all your gear. There's a look at the Samsung EVO+ 256GB microSD card, which can read and write at 90MB/s to boost your camera, smartphone, or tablet. If you want even more storage for your computer, then the LaCie Porsche Design Desktop Drive is the one for you, as it offers up to 8TB of space over a USB 3.1 Type-C connection. Wrapping things up is a podcast covering the latest news and reviews from the past week.

Cases
RIOTORO PRISM CR1280 RGB @ PC Perspective

Storage/Hard Drives
Samsung EVO+ 256GB microSD @ TechSpot
LaCie Porsche Design Desktop Drive @ Benchmark Reviews

Miscellany
Podcast #408 @ PC Perspective


Complete Story


Invisibility Cloak for Surface Waves Developed

Posted: July 18, 2016 @ time: 10:38AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

For millennia humanity has fantasized about the ability to become invisible, but only relatively recent advances in science are actually making it possible. Typically these efforts are focused on hiding from free space waves, but in many practical applications surface waves also need to be considered. To that end, researchers at Queen Mary University of London have found a way to hide a curved surface from surface waves.

This new cloak works by depositing a nanocomposite medium onto the subject surface. This medium consisted of seven layers, making the material a graded index nanocomposite, and the electric properties of each layer depend on their positions. The result is to prevent the incoming surface waves from noticing the curves on the surface, and instead continue moving as though the surface were flat.

While this discovery will not directly lead to any ability to cloak a person, it could be used to enhance antennas, by allowing them to take on different shapes and sizes. It can also allow antennas to be attached in weird places and to a wide variety of materials. The potential for this discovery is greater than just better antennas though, as it could be applied to work with other phenomena that can also be described as waves.

Source: Queen Mary University of London


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Hardware Roundup: Monday, July 18, 2016, Edition

Posted: July 18, 2016 @ time: 12:00PM
Author: bp9801

A new week is here, with several items to help get you started right. There is a review on the ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce GTX 1070 video card, featuring a custom cooler and factory overclock to boost your games without completely breaking the bank. If cooling your case is what you're after, perhaps the GELID Silent Pro 14 PWM case fans are the ticket. For those needing a new keyboard, we have a review on the Vortex Pok3r RGB mechanical keyboard, featuring the new Cherry MX Nature White switches. Ending things for today is a look at the Razer Blade 2016, a slim and lightweight gaming laptop that could hit all the right notes.

Video Cards
ASUS ROG STRIX-GTX1070-O8G-GAMING @ Bjorn3D

Cooling
GELID Silent Pro 14 PWM Case Fans @ Madshrimps

Keyboards/Mice
Vortex Pok3r RGB @ LanOC Reviews

Laptops/Tablets
Razer Blade 2016 @ TechSpot


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DirectX 12 Time Spy Benchmark Released for 3DMark

Posted: July 18, 2016 @ time: 12:04PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Last week saw the release of the much anticipated Time Spy DirectX 12 benchmark for 3DMark, which had been teased in late June. This new benchmark leverages several features of the low-level API to push hardware to its limits with far, far larger workloads than the Fire Strike DirectX 11 test. For comparison, while the first Fire Strike graphics test contains 3,900,000 vertices and 5,100,000 triangles, the first Time Spy graphics test has 30,000,000 vertices and 13,500,000 triangles. The second tests again show an order of magnitude increase from 2,600,000 vertices and 5,800,000 triangles to 40,000,000 vertices and 14,000,000 triangles. You can check out the graph below, or the technical guide for more information on this.

While Time Spy does employ DirectX 12 to make this much rendering even possible, it only uses feature level 11_0. Feature levels are something introduced in DirectX 11 that FutureMark is already using in 3DMark with its older tests. Instead of having the other tests using DirectX 9 or 10 engines, all of the other tests in 3DMark use DirectX 11 but different feature levels to target the appropriately compatible hardware. By using feature level 11_0 for Time Spy, the performance gains of DirectX 12 can still be had while ensuring compatibility with DirectX 11 hardware, through DirectX 12 drivers. Time Spy does still use special DirectX 12 features, like explicit multi-adapter, improved multi-threading capabilities and resource handling, and the oft discussed asynchronous compute. (However, apparently NVIDIA drivers prevent Maxwell GPUs from using asynchronous compute currently, so the different queue types are run in sequence instead of parallel, as asynchronous compute allows. My GTX 980 uses Maxwell and it sees no difference between async being on and off.)

Anyway, that is probably enough technical stuff for now. Time Spy is going to be part of the free Basic Edition or Steam demo of 3DMark. The Advanced Edition will also receive Time Spy for free, but you will need to purchase the 3DMark Time Spy upgrade for $9.99 ($4.99 until July 23) to get additional features such as custom settings, the stress test, and the ability to skip the demo. Also the Advanced Edition will see a rise in price from $24.99 to $29.99 on July 23, but until then it is actually on sale at 60% off, or $9.99.

 

 

Source: FutureMark and the Technical Guide (PDF)


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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Could Have Two Versions

Posted: July 18, 2016 @ time: 03:24PM
Author: CheeseMan42

The GeForce GTX 1060 is the "budget" model in the latest round of cards from NVIDIA, with a 6GB model already confirmed. Rumors are now pointing to a second card that will have 3GB of RAM, a move that NVIDIA partners appear to be confirming. The 3GB model will use a slightly less powerful GPU core, with 1152 CUDA cores compared to the 1280 found on the 6GB model. A separate rumor also seems to confirm the existence of the 3GB model, but indicates that it will be known as the GTX 1050. The same rumor indicates that the GTX 1050 would be available in December, with the 6GB GTX 1060 available tomorrow.

Source: Tech Frag and Tweak Town


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Amazon Leaks PlayStation Neo Release Information

Posted: July 18, 2016 @ time: 03:53PM
Author: CheeseMan42

The first whispers of an updated PlayStation 4 began in March with talk of 4K support. The rumors were expanded in mid April with the information that it would be known as the PlayStation Neo with updates to the CPU, GPU, and RAM. The latest information is courtesy of Amazon Spain which points to an October 13 release date at a price of €399.99, which translates to about $450. This is more than the initial reports of a $400 price, though it can be noted that the initial release of the PS4 had a price of $400 and €400. The product page was quickly altered, but not quick enough. The Tokyo Game Show in September is seen as a good candidate for the official unveiling of the Neo as Sony has confirmed it but has not revealed all of the details just yet.

Source: Breaking News


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Hardware Roundup: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Edition

Posted: July 19, 2016 @ time: 10:35AM
Author: bp9801

NVIDIA's latest card is here, as the GeForce GTX 1060 has arrived. This is a more budget friendly card than the other two Pascal products, yet it still contains a ton of performance. It should get up near or over the GTX 980 in most games, while also costing about $100 less. The Founders Edition is the new reference model from NVIDIA, with several reviews of it to show just what it can do. If you're in the market for a new video card and don't have a ton of money to spend, then the GP106-based GeForce GTX 1060 just might be the solution for you. It's hard to pass up a card with 6GB of GDDR5 and a $299 price for the Founders Edition, or $249 from AIB partners.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition @ OCC
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 @ TechSpot
NVIDIA GTX 1060 Founders Edition @ LanOC Reviews
GeForce GTX 1060 6GB @ PC Perspective


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Gears of War Themed Headset Announced by HyperX

Posted: July 19, 2016 @ time: 11:41AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

For those looking for a new headset to show off your love for the Gears of War franchise, HyperX has announced a new CloudX Revolver headset featuring a Gears of War design. It has been co-designed with Microsoft and The Coalition, the developers of the upcoming Gears of War 4, so it will perfectly compliment the Xbox One S Gears of War 4 Limited Edition Bundle, and the Crimson Omen Limited Edition Xbox One controller. The headset will be shipping in September

CloudX headsets are tested and approved to work with Xbox One controllers, but are also compatible with Windows with a two-meter PC extension cable. The headset has been designed to give studio-grade quality, so you can accurately hear your opponents from far away. It also features in-line controls to adjust volume and mute the microphone when needed, a leather headband and memory foam for hours of comfortable gameplay, and a steel frame for durability. To make sure others can hear you clearly, the microphone uses noise cancelling.

If you are attending Comic-Con International: San Diego, you can get a look at the headset on July 20, at the Xbox booth. Its next appearance will be at the first ever official Gears eSports Open North American even in Columbus, Ohio, on July 30-31. When it ships, the headset will be backed by a two-year warranty.

Source: HyperX


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Craft Your Own Vault in Fallout 4 - Vault-Tec Workshop; Arrives July 26

Posted: July 19, 2016 @ time: 02:55PM
Author: bp9801

Fallout 4's second to last DLC, Vault-Tec Workshop, is nearly here, with Bethesda revealing plenty of information on what we can expect in it. Vault-Tec Workshop, as the name suggests, lets you build your very own Vault with a wealth of new items and settlers to experiment on. As you're exploring the Commonwealth, you'll come across a distress beacon alerting you to some raider trouble at Vault 88. Once you take care of the raiders, you meet the Vault's Overseer, a ghoul who was supposed to be in charge of Vault 88 before the bombs dropped. Unfortunately, the Vault was never finished and the Overseer turned into a ghoul, and she's now asking for your help to finish what Vault-Tec began so long ago. And like any good Overseer, she's still committed to Vault-Tec's original idea of experimenting on the residents.

After agreeing to help the Overseer, you start interviewing potential residents to see if they're the best fit for the Vault and what kind of tests are planned. You're then able to run the various experiments to their conclusion, which changes based on your choices. Maybe you'll be a benevolent ruler or a horrible tyrant who only wants to subject the, uh, subjects to awful tests. The parameters you set up for each experiment determines the final version of each object, so plan accordingly. Whatever you end up with for the experiment is permantently added to your list of craftable items.

This is the first Workshop DLC that actually includes a series of quests, since it's all contained inside Vault 88. Bethesda seemed to have some fun with the DLC being in just one area, so we get to reap the benefits of far more than just new items for settlement building. Oh, and if you happen to kill the Overseer or kick her out, you can still run the different experiments, just they won't be as involved as the quest ones.

Bethesda recommends you tackle the DLC when you're at least level 20, since some of the enemies you encounter in it are a minimum of level 35. That doesn't just mean the raiders to kill, but maybe some radscorpions, feral ghouls, or other horribly mutated monsters lurking in the depths as you build. Sure, you can start the DLC as soon as you complete the prologue, but you'll more than likely die a horrible death.

As you're building the Vault of your dreams, you get access to a ton of new Vault-Tec items to utilize. Hallways, atriums, stairways, bridges, sliding doors; pretty much if you've seen it in a Vault before, it's in the Vault-Tec Workshop. There's also new, clean furniture to place, Vault-Boy and Vault-Girl statues, other Vault decorations, the experiment items, and more, including Barber and Surgeon chairs (finally!). Drop down one of those chairs, assign a settler, and you can get all the free haircuts and facial surgery you desire. Plus you can make use of any other workshop item you already have unlocked, and once you complete the Vault-Tec quests, you can use the Vault items in every other settlement. Just, you know, above ground or way above ground. If resources are a concern, fear not, as an unfinished Vault means plenty of resources are already there waiting for the build. Knock down some walls for more resources, but just be wary of those aforementioned radscorpions and the like possibly waiting behind them.

Get ready to start building the Vault of your dreams when the Fallout 4 - Vault-Tec Workshop DLC arrives next Tuesday on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It's part of the Season Pass or just $4.99.

Source: Bethesda.net


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Netflix Takes a Hit on Lower Than Expected Growth

Posted: July 19, 2016 @ time: 04:42PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Netflix reported quarterly earnings after the market closed yesterday and the outcome was not the best news for investors. The company added 1.54 million subscribers, falling far short of its projection of 2.5 million. The numbers miss led to a 14% drop in stock price in after-hours trading. Netflix believes that it hit its target for new signups but lost too many subscribers due to the "completion of two years of grandfathering" which some members may have misinterpreted as a price increase. Netflix is confident that it can weather the storm caused by the last stages of grandfathering as it will allow the company to continue to invest in new content. It continues to put out well received original content and I will gladly pay the modest increase to keep that momentum going.

Source: The Verge


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MSI Announces Two Custom GeForce GTX 1060 Cards

Posted: July 19, 2016 @ time: 05:09PM
Author: CheeseMan42

MSI has announced a pair of new cards based on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 video card, the GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G and GeForce GTX 1060 ARMOR. The 6G is cooled by a TWIN FROZR VI cooler, allowing for "higher core and memory clock speeds for increased performance in games." The black cooler shroud features red accents as well as red LED lighting. The card uses TORX Fan 2.0 technology to generate "22% more air pressure" blowing over 8mm copper heatpipes. The ARMOR uses the ARMOR 2X cooling system with a black and white color scheme. The ARMOR 2X system utilizes TORX Fan technology and MSI Zero Frozr technology to turn the fans completely off during low intensity applications such as web browsing. MSI is also making entry level single and dual fan models for users that don't want the size or price tag of the higher performance cards.

Source: Press Release


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday, July 20, 2016, Edition

Posted: July 20, 2016 @ time: 10:39AM
Author: bp9801

The middle of the week is here, with just a couple of items to help get you through it. We have a review of the Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666 Memory Kit, featuring 16GB of high performance RAM to give your system a boost when it's needed most. There's also an article covering Asynchronous Compute and just what the issue is with it and 3DMark Time Spy. There's a bit of a controversy with it, which is is examined in the article.

Memory
Crucial Ballistix Elite DDR4-2666 @ Benchmark Reviews

Miscellany
What's Asynchronous Compute? 3DMark Time Spy Controversy @ PC Perspective


Complete Story


FutureMark Releases Statement Concerning Time Spy Benchmark

Posted: July 20, 2016 @ time: 11:11AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Depending on the parts of the Internet you frequent, you may have seen some heated discussion about the recently released Time Spy benchmark for 3DMark, especially its implementation of asynchronous compute. Because of this, FutureMark has released a lengthy explanation of how Time Spy implements this feature of DirectX 12. It does get a bit technical but is still an interesting read. I have attempted to cover some of the main points below.

Before getting too deep into this, asynchronous compute needs to be explained. A modern GPU has to be able to do a number of things, so they contain specialized engines to perform specific tasks. Typically there will be at least one copy engine and a compute engine, and these will be separate from the 3D engine. These engines will also have their own queues of command lists (Direct of graphics, Compute, and Copy) and what asynchronous compute enables is for these queues to be executed in parallel. DirectX 11 did not allow for this and relied on synchronous compute, as there is no simple way to guarantee the commands are executed in the proper order. In Time Spy, the DirectX 12 engine does produce two queues, a Direct queue and Compute queue, that are passed to the driver. In the end, the driver and the hardware decides how the queues and command lists they contain are processed, which is important to note

If you have been following some of the news about how asynchronous compute can boost the performance of various games, you may have also seen that AMD GPUs typically sees a bigger boost the NVIDIA GPUs. This is because AMD's GCN architecture features Asynchronous Compute Engines (ACEs) in the hardware, while NVIDIA GPUs rely on a pre-emption method that requires a greater level of software control by the driver. At least that is the case for the newer Pascal architecture from NVIDIA (GTX 10xx series) as Maxwell GPUs (GTX 9xx series) have had asynchronous compute disabled within the drivers, so while Time Spy passes the drivers two queues (Direct and Compute), it serializes the command lists and makes everything run in the Direct queue.

Now we can get to what some on the Internet have deemed a controversial or bias move by FutureMark. All GPUs are sent the commands from Time Spy in the exact same way, meaning (in part) whatever GPU and drivers you have, a Direct queue and a Compute queue are sent to them to execute. The supposed bias comes from the observations that AMD's GCN-based GPU are often better equipped to utilize asynchronous compute than NVIDIA GPUs, and DirectX 12 would allow the benchmark’s engine to recognize the capabilities of a GPU and use a code path optimized specifically for the hardware. Time Spy does not take advantage of this feature of DirectX 12, and as someone with a background in science and having done lab work, it really should not. (Incoming editorializing.)

At the heart of this issue seems to be a question of what a benchmark is for. If it is meant to demonstrate the ultimate potential of one's hardware using all of the latest, supported technologies, then yes, Time Spy has failed. If instead a benchmark is meant to be a constant and consistent test of one's hardware, than Time Spy has succeeded. Considering the definition of a benchmark involves being a standard or point of reference for other things to be compared with or against, this second option would be the better. Having special and distinct optimizations for AMD, NVIDIA, and Intel GPUs means any measurements made of them cannot be directly compared without also considering the effectiveness of these optimizations. There are enough variables to consider when benchmarking without adding these.

While this approach does maintain Time Spy as a valid benchmark, there would still be the potential a bias in the design of the benchmark itself, but this is only in theory and not in reality. FutureMark has a Benchmark Development Program (BDP), which exists specifically to allow industry leaders to work directly with FutureMark on the creation of its benchmarks, and AMD, NVIDIA, Intel, and Microsoft are all members. In the two years of development that went into Time Spy, BDP members receive regular builds and have access to the source code for providing suggestions. This source code access is all in a single tree though, so each member sees every suggestion and comment made by every other member. In the end, each member approves the final benchmark for release, and of every benchmark FutureMark has made, Time Spy received the most scrutiny prior to release. If any systemic advantage exists for one manufacturer or another, the others would have known about it and still approved of it, or else Time Spy would not have released in this state.

In the end, Time Spy is a DirectX 12 benchmark designed to accurately and impartially compare hardware, which means it lacks any special bias or special optimizations. To see the impact those optimizations can make, look at the results of additional benchmarks and weight them all as you deem appropriate. That is why reviewers do more than one test after all.


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500 Terabit Per Square Inch Storage Density Achieved

Posted: July 20, 2016 @ time: 01:26PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Everyday humanity generates more and more information that it wants to keep on various media including hard disks and flash drives. To keep up with the demand for more storage, storage density has to increase and now researchers at Delft University and the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience have successfully encoded bits to single atoms. This allows for 500 Terabits to be stored in a square inch, which would be enough to contain every book humanity has written on a postage stamp.

In order to encode the data to single atoms, the researchers turned to a scanning tunneling microscope, which has a sharp needle to probe atoms on a surface on at a time. This allowed them to precisely move chlorine atoms along a copper surface into one of two positions. In one position a hole is beneath an atom, which the researchers read as a 1, and when the hole was above the atom, it was read as a 0. By only have the chlorine atoms by other chlorine atoms and these holes, this method is more stable for storing data than others that rely on loose atoms. Additionally, the researchers arranged the memory into blocks of eight bytes and each block has a marker. These markers are similar to QR codes and contain information about the memory block, identifying if the block is damaged for some reason.

As you might expect with the manipulation of single atoms, this method is not ready for any commercial system. It requires a very clean vacuum environment and temperatures around that of liquid nitrogen. This is still an important step towards such a goal, but there is a still a lot to do.

Source: Delft University of Technology


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Inno3D Announces GeForce GTX 1060 Based Cards

Posted: July 20, 2016 @ time: 04:16PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Inno3D has announced a pair of new graphics cards based on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060, the GTX 1060 Gaming OC and GTX 1060 iChiLL. The Gaming OC model will utilize two 10cm fans with aluminum fans and heatpipes that cover the GPU core, memory, and power components. The fans have a triangular design to improve airflow and have intelligent fan technology to turn the fans off in idle mode to save power and reduce noise. The iChiLL steps up the cooling with the Power Direct Cooling System utilizing three Scythe blade fans to blow cold air over an aluminum heatsink. The iChiLL features the same intelligent fan technology as the Gaming OC. Both cards have a clock speed of 1784MHz, 6GB of GDDR5 192-bit memory, and 8.2Gbps of memory bandwidth.

Source: Press Release


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday, July 21, 2016, Edition

Posted: July 21, 2016 @ time: 10:01AM
Author: bp9801

The week is nearly at its end, but not before there are a few items you can check out. We have a look at the AMD Wraith CPU cooler, the company's new take on a stock CPU cooler that offers quieter performance and better cooling potential than the older stock model. If you need a new mouse, maybe the Tt eSPORTS Ventus Z Gaming Mouse, with its included fan to keep your hand from getting all sweaty, could be the answer. We wrap up with an article explaining how a long-time iPhone user made the switch to Android.

CPU Cooling
AMD Wraith CPU Cooler @ PC Perspective

Keyboards/Mice
Tt eSPORTS Ventus Z Gaming Mouse @ Benchmark Reviews

Mobile
How This Long-Time iPhone User Switched to Android @ TechSpot


Complete Story


NVIDIA's Order of 10 Challenge Returns, Chance to Win More GTX 10 Series Cards

Posted: July 21, 2016 @ time: 10:10AM
Author: bp9801

Everyone loves the chance to win something, especially when it's a new video card or just computer gear in general. NVIDIA launched its Order of 10 Contest back in May to give gamers the chance to win a GeForce GTX 10 Series video card. After the two week contest ended, we all thought that was it. Well, NVIDIA had some other ideas and went back to work on crafting some new puzzles for us to solve. The result is the new Order of 10 Challenge, which starts today and features a new challenge on July 28, August 5, and August 11. Weekly prizes include game codes for AAA titles and a GTX 10 Series video card, while a Grand Prize includes a full system packed with two GTX 1080s in SLI, an Intel i7 CPU, 32GB of RAM, and the HTC Vive for some VR fun. There's even a "refer a friend" option to get your pals taking on the challenges and increasing your odds of winning the Grand Prize.

If you want to test your brainpower and maybe win a new video card, head on over to the Order of 10 website and see what today's first challenge offers. Who knows, maybe you'll get a new video card out of the whole thing.

Source: Order of 10


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Superposition Found Over Hundreds of Miles

Posted: July 21, 2016 @ time: 02:08PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

When the topic of quantum mechanics comes up, most people likely envision particles and waves on the nearly infinitesimal stage of single atoms. While these is typically where one can look and find the counter-intuitive phenomena of quantum mechanics, the truth is the effects are not limited to that small stage. Researchers at MIT have analyzed data concerning neutrinos that travelled some 456 miles (735 Km) and found they maintained a superposition of states throughout the trip.

Superposition is the very counter-intuitive phenomenon that allows a particle to exist in multiple mutually exclusive states at the same time. For example, a coin tossed in the air could rotate in both clockwise and counter-clockwise directions. In this case the coin is a particle known as a neutrino, and a great many of them are made at a facility near Chicago, and some of them travel to a detector in Soudan, Minnesota, 456 miles away. Neutrinos come in many flavors, and this is what the MIT researchers decided to look at with a modified form of the Leggett-Garg inequality. This inequality is used to determine if a system is acting in a quantum mechanical or classical way, because correlations between measurements of the system will differ, depending on the system's behavior. What the researchers found is that the distribution of neutrino flavors falls within the predicted range of a quantum system, which had almost no overlap with a classical system.

This discovery represents the greatest distance quantum mechanics has ever been observed, and it is perhaps not surprising it involves neutrinos. These particles very rarely interact with the environment and travel at relativistic speeds, near the speed of light. This causes time to dilate for them so much that from their perspective, they last for a brief instant, further protecting their quantum state.

Source: MIT


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NVIDIA Unveils the New TITAN X; Releases August 2 for $1,200

Posted: July 21, 2016 @ time: 09:01PM
Author: bp9801

NVIDIA likes to go big whenever it can. We've had previous TITAN video cards before, but now they're outclassed by the GeForce GTX 1080. However, that wasn't going to last long, as NVIDIA took the wraps off its brand new TITAN X. Yes, we already have a TITAN X powered by Maxwell, but this is the new TITAN X powered by Pascal. NVIDIA calls this its biggest card ever with performance that is probably kind of really reckless. It features an insane 3584 CUDA cores, 12 billion transistors, and 11 TFLOPS of 32-bit floating point performance. It also has 44 TOPS of INT8, a new deep learning inferencing instruction that should appeal to the non-gaming enthusiast crowd.

So, this new TITAN X features 3584 CUDA cores, a nice bump over the 3072 CUDA cores on the previous TITAN X. It also runs at 1.53GHz instead of 1.08GHz. There's still 12GB of VRAM, but now it's the new GDDR5X instead of GDDR5, enabling 480GB/s of memory bandwidth on its 384-bit interface. This card is just staggering fast, over 60% faster than the previous TITAN X, and you can even pair it with a second in SLI. However, it does cost $1,200 when it launches on August 2 in North America and Europe. An Asian launch is coming later. You can only get the new TITAN X from the NVIDIA website, so break out those piggy banks!

Source: Press Release


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Hardware Roundup: Friday, July 22, 2016, Edition

Posted: July 22, 2016 @ time: 09:04AM
Author: bp9801

Friday is here, bringing with some items for you to check out before the weekend hits. We have a review of the GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-SOC FORCE motherboard, one of the most advanced motherboards around with a ton of features, from 4-Way SLI support to an M.2 slot and even a plethora of overclocking options. If you happen to have a Thermaltake power supply and want more options with it, perhaps the Thermaltake Smart Power Management Platform with its electricy tracker, cost tracker, temperature alerts, and more can help you get the most out of your system. For those looking for a new phone without a huge budget, the Meizu m3 Note, featuring a 5.5" screen and 1080p IPS LCD panel, is an enticing option. We have a case mod that takes the Phanteks EVOLV case and spruces it up with a unique honeycomb-style pattern and more. Finishing things off is a new podcast looking back at the latest news and reviews from the past week.

Motherboards
GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-SOC FORCE @ Madshrimps

Power Supplies
Thermaltake Smart Power Management Platform @ ThinkComputers

Mobile
Meizu m3 Note @ TechSpot

Miscellany
Case Mod Friday: Phanteks Evolv ATX Tempered Glass Edition @ ThinkComputers
Podcast #409 @ PC Perspective


Complete Story


Hardware Roundup: Monday, July 25, 2016, Edition

Posted: July 25, 2016 @ time: 11:07AM
Author: bp9801

The final week of July is here, bringing with it several items to start the week off right. We have a review of the EVGA GTX 1070 SC Gaming ACX 3.0 video card, featuring an improved ACX cooler and factory overclock to boost your gaming. There's a look at the XSPC Raystorm Pro CPU Waterblock to see if the revamped appearance and optimized design are an improvement over the previous model. For those needing a new power supply for a smaller build, maybe the SilverStone SFX-L 700W model is the solution. If you want a new mouse that isn't aimed at the gaming crowd, perhaps the Logitech MX Master with its impressive feature list is the one to get. We wrap up with a look at the best computer cases, so far, of 2016.

Video Cards
EVGA GTX 1070 SC Gaming ACX 3.0 @ LanOC Reviews

Cases
Best Cases of 2016 @ TechSpot

CPU Cooling
XSPC Raystorm Pro CPU Waterblock @ PC Perspective

Power Supplies
SilverStone SFX-L 700W @ PC Perspective

Keyboards/Mice
Logitech MX Master @ LanOC Reviews


Complete Story


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