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News Archives for March 2017

Hardware Roundup: Wednesday, March 1, 2017, Edition

Posted: March 1, 2017 @ time: 07:49AM
Author: bp9801

March is upon us, with a few items to help kick off the month. There's a look at the AMD Zen and the company's approach to CPU design, giving us an idea of just what goes into the new products that are arriving soon. Something else that's new and on the horizon is a new performance tool from NVIDIA, as its FCAT VR provides a more accurate way to see what kind of framerate you get while using a VR headset. Wrapping things up is a review on the Reeven Polariz RFC-4 Fan Controller, offering an elegant look that could just be at home in your case.

CPUs
Zen and the Art of CPU Design @ PC Perspective

Video Cards
NVIDIA FCAT VR - Preview of a New Performance Tool @ PC Perspective

Cooling
Reeven Polariz RFC-4 Fan Controller @ Benchmark Reviews


Complete Story


AMD and Bethesda Form Strategic Partnership

Posted: March 1, 2017 @ time: 09:57AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

The Game Developers Conference is a time we see many announcements come out from various companies, and yesterday AMD had its turn at its Capsaicin event. Among the reveals at the event was that AMD and Bethesda Softworks have formed a long-term strategic partnership with the purpose of advancing the games industry. With game developers and graphics companies working together, "the pace of progress can advance exponentially."

Together the companies will work to develop and implement new technologies, including low-level APIs like Vulkan, and to fully utilize the power of Ryzen CPUs, Radeon GPUs, and AMD server solutions across Bethesda franchises. The potential for such collaboration between the two companies has already been demonstrated with the DOOM, where the use of Vulkan enabled unprecedented performance and made it the first AAA title to fully utilize the API.

Source: AMD


Complete Story


YouTube TV is Coming

Posted: March 1, 2017 @ time: 10:22AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

I do not recall when I saw the first rumor, but it is not official that YouTube TV is coming to the United States. It is another cord-cutting TV streaming service that allows you to watch various television channels, while costing significantly less than many cable plans. For just $35 a month you get access to over 40 networks, some local stations, and YouTube Red Originals, and just one YouTube TV memberships comes with six accounts, with each having its own recommendations and DVR. The cloud DVR has unlimited storage and will keep shows for nine months, so you have plenty of time to catch up on what you missed or just watch something again. YouTube TV, when it launches, can be watched on mobile, tablet, or computer screens, and naturally Chromecast will support it as well.

Follow the source link to find a list of all of the networks YouTube TV has access to, and you can sign up to be notified when it becomes available in your market. Availability will start soon in the largest US markets and expand from there.

Source: YouTube Official Blog


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DiRT 4 Editions Announced: Day One and Special

Posted: March 1, 2017 @ time: 10:45AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

DiRT 4 is slated to launch in June this year for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, and for fans of the franchise, two special editions of have announced for the title. The Day One Edition features an exclusive Hyundai R5 rally car, a unique event, and Founder Icon. The event will take place only on June 9, 10, and 11. The Special Edition includes everything the Day One Edition does, but also comes with Team Booster Pack, giving you a unique team offer, staff and facilities bonuses. You can also get the Special Edition in a limited edition Steelbook box.

Also being shared today is a new video showcasing rally driver Kris Meeke and Petter Solberg, double FIA World Rallycross Champion, who have both been involved in DiRT 4's development. In this video they discuss the Your Stage system that allows the player to produce almost unlimited, unique stages to race on and challenge friends with. You can select one of the five rally locations in the game and set options such as time of day, weather, length, and complexity to generate a new race.

 

 

Source: Press Release


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Heatsink Problems Possible for AMD Ryzen Motherboards

Posted: March 1, 2017 @ time: 04:26PM
Author: CheeseMan42

The upcoming AMD Ryzen CPUs have had a fair amount of good news in recent days regarding price and performance compared to Intel offerings. Unfortunately, the latest news deals with a potential problem rather than a positive aspect of the chips. Sources have told Tom's Hardware that some heatsinks may face problems stemming from the pressure applied by the heatsink to the CPU. The cause for the problem appears to be screws that are too long which "reach their safety stop too soon, leaving the spring with too much headroom." The sources added that AMD provided the location of the screws but not the height. It appears that coolers that provide a backplate along with the heatsink won't have the issue, but Tom's still "found that a few large cooling solutions may be impacted, as well as some popular motherboards."

Source: Tom's Hardware


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AMD Ryzen Benchmarks Posted Ahead of Release

Posted: March 2, 2017 @ time: 04:19AM
Author: CheeseMan42

Today is the release date for the AMD Ryzen CPUs, and an embargo time on reviews of 9AM CT has users waiting a few more hours to see how the chips perform. However, for anyone unwilling to wait, Reddit user suet0604 had a pre-ordered Ryzen 7 1700X delivered early, and decided to post some benchmarks. The CPU was paired with an Asus Crosshair VI Hero motherboard, 16GB 3200MHz G.Skill DDR4, and a Radeon R9 390X. In the 720p version of the built-in CS:GO benchmark, the system was able to hit 289.91 fps, while an Intel i5 6600K running at 4.6GHz with a GeForce GTX 1070 only hit ~250 fps. The 1700X also performed well in the 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark with a score of 18,229, placing it a few thousand points ahead of the similarly priced i7 6800K, and also beating the leaked benchmark score for the 1700X. The 1700X also managed to top the i7 6900K in both the single and multi-threaded CPU-Z test with scores of 2159 vs. 1901 and 18298 vs. 13152, respectively. These numbers certainly bode well for the latest from AMD, and it will be interesting to see if the other benchmarks that arrive today paint a similar picture.

Source: Reddit via WCCF Tech


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday, March 2, 2017, Edition

Posted: March 2, 2017 @ time: 07:53AM
Author: bp9801

A new day is here, as is the launch of the AMD Ryzen processors. We've got several looks at them, including our own, as the Ryzen 7 1800X, 1700X, and 1700 all get put to the test to see just what AMD's latest and greatest has to offer. Plus it's a great chance to see whether the Intel chips should be shaking in their sockets at something half the cost with the same performance. It's an impressive part to be sure, especially when you look at what it can do for the price. There are a couple of other non-AMD Ryzen CPU items for today, too, including a review of the Gigabyte AB350 Gaming 3 motherboard, which is a more affordable motherboard solution for the new chips. Our final item for the day is the Samsung CF791, a 34" monitor with a curved screen, 100Hz refresh rate, and AMD FreeSync support.

CPUs
AMD Ryzen Review: Ryzen 7 1800X & 1700X Put to the Test @ TechSpot
The AMD Ryzen 7 1800X Review: Now and Zen @ PC Perspective
AMD Ryzen 7 CPUs @ LanOC Reviews

Motherboards
Gigabyte AB350 Gaming 3 @ LanOC Reviews

Monitors
Samsung CF791 34-Inch Curved Widescreen Monitor @ ThinkComputers


Complete Story


More AMD Ryzen CPUs on the Way

Posted: March 3, 2017 @ time: 03:36AM
Author: CheeseMan42

AMD just made a big splash in the desktop CPU market with the release of the Ryzen 7 yesterday, and it has now announced the next additions to the Ryzen lineup. First up are the Ryzen 5 1500X and 1600X with four and six Zen cores, respectively. The 1500X will have a base clock of 3.5GHz and a boosted clock of 3.7GHz. The 1600X has a base clock of 3.6GHz and a boosted clock of 4.0GHz, giving it the same clocks with less cores as the 1800X. AMD didn't give exact pricing information on either chip, but did state that Ryzen 5 would cost between $199 and $299, making the 1600X a great alternative to the 1800X for users that don't need the extra cores. Further down the line is the Ryzen 3 which is expected to utilize four cores at a price below $200, putting it in competition with the Intel i3 lineup. Ryzen 5 chips are expected to be available between April and June of this year while Ryzen 3 is expected in the second half of the year.

Source: WCCF Tech


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Hardware Roundup: Friday, March 3, 2017, Edition

Posted: March 3, 2017 @ time: 07:51AM
Author: bp9801

The end of the week has arrived, bringing just a bit to help you get ready for the weekend. There's a look at the Corsair HD120 RGB PWM Fan Kit, which has three 120mm fans, a fan hub, and a controller to get your system looking and running cool. MWC 2017 has recently wrapped up and if you missed any of it, we have an article looking at the eight best products seen during it. We end with a new podcast covering the latest news and reviews of the past week.

Cooling
Corsair HD120 RGB PWM Fan Kit @ Benchmark Reviews

Miscellany
The 8 Best Products From MWC 2017 @ TechSpot
Podcast #437 @ PC Perspective


Complete Story


G.SKILL Announces DDR4 RAM for AMD Ryzen Systems

Posted: March 3, 2017 @ time: 10:33AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

With the launch of Ryzen, AMD now supports DDR4 RAM and if you are looking for kits for a new Ryzen build, G.SKILL has just announced some you may want to consider. The FORTIS series memory has been designed to offer the best quality, reliability, and compatibly while being a cost effective DDR4 solution. You can find it in 8 GB x2 kits up to 16 GB x4 kits running at either 2133 MHz or 2400 MHz, with all of the kits taking just 1.2 V.

The Flare X series marks the return of the Flare DDR3 series of memory and it is designed for high performance. The IC chips have been carefully selected and validated on the AM4 platform, so you will get the best compatibility and stability while running at speeds as fast as 3466 MHz. Only two kits, 8 GB x2 and 8 GB x4 are available at this speed, while the 3200 MHz also offers a 16 GB x4 kit. At 2400 MHz and 2133 MHz, you find the same configurations as is available with the FORTIS memory.

Both the Flare X and FORTIS series will be available through G.SKILL's worldwide distribution partners this month.

Source: G.SKILL


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Amazon Explains S3 Internet Outage

Posted: March 3, 2017 @ time: 02:26PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Some of you may have noticed part of the Internet was not working earlier this week. This is because Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3) for the US-EAST-1 region partially went down and recently the company explained what happened. An S3 team in Northern Virginia was debugging an issue involving the S3 billing system and while following an established playbook during this work, one of the team members accidentally input an incorrect command. You see, S3 is designed to endure a loss of capacity due to removal or failure, and for the work being done, the team was going to take a small number of servers offline. However, the wrong input was used for one of these commands, causing far more servers to shut down than intended.

As it turns out, these servers that were inadvertently taken offline supported two S3 subsystems, the index subsystems and the placement subsystem. The index subsystems is necessary for all GET, LIST, PUT, and DELETE requests, while the placement subsystem is needed for allocating storage during a PUT request. Because of how many servers were removed, both of these subsystems needed to be restarted, and during that time S3 could not take requests. The restarting process also took a long time because of all the safety checks that needed to be done to validate the metadata and how much S3 has grown in recent years. Once the index subsystem was up the GET, LIST, and DELETE APIs were functional and then the placement subsystem could start recovering. Once this was done, S3 was operating normally, but some services needed to catchup on a backlog of work from the disruption.

To prevent this from happening again, the tool that shut down the servers has been changed to remove capacity more slowly and has safeguards to prevent capacity from dropping below a minimal level. Other tools are also being audited to add similar checks. Finally, a plan to partition S3 subsystems into smaller cells later this year has been moved up to happen immediately, as smaller partitions will limit the radius of future failures and improve recovery.

Source: Amazon


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Hardware Roundup: Monday, March 6, 2017, Edition

Posted: March 6, 2017 @ time: 07:52AM
Author: bp9801

The first full week of March kicks off, with a handful of items for you to check out. We have another look at the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X CPU, the high end model of AMD's brand new line of chips. There's a look at AMD Ryzen's gaming potential, with more than one dozen games tested at 1080p and 1440p to see just what you can expect from your games. If you just want a way to keep your new processor cool, the NZXT Kraken X62 Liquid CPU Cooler gets reviewed to show what kind of potential it has in your system. Wrapping things up is a Crucial Ballistix Tactical 32GB DDR4-3000 Memory Kit review, featuring low-profile heat sinks and the potential for some overclocking.

CPUs
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X @ Madshrimps
AMD Ryzen Gaming Performance In-Depth: 16 Games Played at 1080p & 1440p @ TechSpot

CPU Cooling
NZXT Kraken X62 Liquid CPU Cooler @ ThinkComputers

Memory
Crucial Ballistix Tactical 32GB DDR4-3000 Memory Kit @ Madshrimps


Complete Story


IBM Announces Plans to Build Universal Quantum Computing Systems

Posted: March 6, 2017 @ time: 02:04PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Quantum mechanics is a weird and wonderful science that can allow seemingly impossible things to happen, such as particles to exist in multiple places at the same time. This and other phenomena have potential for use in quantum computers, but building such systems is far from easy, naturally limiting researchers' access to the potential computing power. Today IBM announced IBM Q, an initiative to build commercially available universal quantum computing systems, and that the company is working on a new SDK and API for the IBM Quantum Experience, which gives anyone access to IBM's quantum processor via the IBM Cloud.

With the new API for Quantum Experience, more developers and programmers will be able to tap the five qubit system already accessible, without requiring a background in quantum physics. The new SDK however, which is to be released in the first half of this year, will allow for circuits of up to 20 qubits to be modelled by an upgraded simulator. Even that will be surpassed though as IBM also intends to introduce commercial IBM Q systems with about 50 qubits in the next few years. At this level of complexity it should be possible to show how quantum computers can surpass classical computers.

 

 

Source: IBM


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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Benchmarks Leaked

Posted: March 6, 2017 @ time: 05:01PM
Author: CheeseMan42

A round of benchmarks for the upcoming NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti have leaked on a Chinese website, with 3DMark tests being the focus. The posted benchmarks appear to have been run on an overclocked iteration of the card with a core clock of 2062MHz, from an estimated 1860MHz stock speed, and memory clock of 5702MHz. The scores posted showed significant improvements across three iterations of the Fire Strike test and one of Time Spy when compared to the GTX 1080 OC. The GTX 1080 Ti achieved scores of 31135 in Fire Strike (Perf.), 15093 in Fire Strike Extreme, 7362 in Fire Strike Ultra, and 10825 in Time Spy. The GTX 1080 was only able to manage scores of 23982 in Fire Strike (Perf.), 11457 in Fire Strike Extreme, 5708 in Fire Strike Ultra, and 7763 in Time Spy.

Source: Videocardz


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday, March 7, 2017, Edition

Posted: March 7, 2017 @ time: 07:46AM
Author: bp9801

Tuesday is upon us, with a couple of items on the bill for today. We have a review of the MSI X370 XPower Gaming Titanium motherboard, a high-end model built to take full advantage of the new AMD Ryzen parts. Our other item is a look at 20 of the worst PC setups seen during the month of February, with some rather unique ones highlighted.

Motherboards
MSI X370 XPower Gaming Titanium @ LanOC Reviews

Miscellany
20 of the Worst PC Setups – February 2017 @ ThinkComputers


Complete Story


Hardware Roundup: Wednesday, March 8, 2017, Edition

Posted: March 8, 2017 @ time: 07:41AM
Author: bp9801

The middle of the week is upon us, with a few items along the way for you to check out. The ADATA Ultimate SU800 SSD gets reviewed to see just what this high-end model, sporting a 560MB/s read and 520MB/s write, has to offer against the competition. For those after some audio bliss, perhaps the Logitech G533 Wireless 7.1 Surround Gaming Headset, with its ability to also work wired, is the one for you. Ending things for today is a look at the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 laptop, which has a 360° hinge for ultimate adaptability.

Storage/Hard Drives
ADATA Ultimate SU800 SSD @ Benchmark Reviews

Speakers/Headphones
Logitech G533 Wireless 7.1 Surround Gaming Headset @ PC Perspective

Laptops/Tablets
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 @ TechSpot


Complete Story


ARM Powered Servers Coming to Microsoft Azure Cloud

Posted: March 8, 2017 @ time: 04:48PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Microsoft has been working with Qualcomm and Cavium to create a version of Windows that will run on ARM processors for use in the servers that power its' Azure Cloud service. VP of the Azure Cloud division Jason Zander said the company is "testing these chips for tasks like search, storage, machine learning and big data," but added that "It's not deployed into production yet, but that is the next logical step." The designs for the servers, known as Project Olympus, will be revealed at the Open Compute Project Summit and the Open Source nature of the design will allow other companies to utilize it in their own servers. While this is good news for Microsoft and for new technology, Intel could find itself in some trouble as the server market is currently its' most profitable segment.

Source: Bloomberg


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday, March 9, 2017, Edition

Posted: March 9, 2017 @ time: 07:56AM
Author: bp9801

The week is winding down, but not before we have plenty for you to check out. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti has arrived, with a few reviews to check out on the Founders Edition card. If you don't quite want the top dog, there's a look at the MSI GTX 1060 Aero ITX 6G OC video card, which offers a shorter size to better fit in small cases. We have an overclocking look at the AMD Ryzen 7 1700, which just might be the preferred CPU to get from the new series. On the Intel side of things, the EVGA Z270 Classifed K motherboard gets reviewed to see just what it brings to the table. We wrap things up with the QNAP TVS-673 High-Performance Business NAS review, an AMD model that offers plenty of upgrade potentials.

Video Cards
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti @ PC Perspective
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition @ LanOC Reviews
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti @ TechSpot
MSI GTX 1060 Aero ITX 6G OC @ LanOC Reviews

CPUs
Overclocking the AMD Ryzen 7 1700 - The Real Winner? @ PC Perspective

Motherboards
EVGA Z270 Classified K Motherboard @ ThinkComputers

Storage/Hard Drives
QNAP TVS-673 High-Performance Business NAS @ Madshrimps


Complete Story


Homefront: The Revolution Gets Final Single Player DLC, Console Trials, and PS4 Pro Enhancements

Posted: March 9, 2017 @ time: 10:14AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Homefront: The Revolution get a few announcements and releases yesterday as part of its Spring Update. First up is that its third and final piece of single player DLC, Beyond The Walls has been released. In this DLC, the occupying KPA forces have almost crushed the revolution and Philadelphia is about to fall. At the final hour, a NATO agent makes contact claiming to have information that could swing this second American Revolution against the Korean forces, defeating them once and for all.

Console players have also gotten some attention with this update as there is not a Trial mode available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The entire first Red Zone of the single player campaign is included in this trial, offering up to four hours of gameplay, along with unlimited access to Resistance Mode, an online co-op mode, and access to all of the missions and character customization content that has been released since launch. The PlayStation 4 Pro version has also received improvements, such as having the game rendered in 1440p with the HUD/UI elements being rendered at 4K, improving image quality on 4K screens and a super-sampled image for HDTVs. Frame rate should also be improved and HDR support has been added to both the PS4 and PS4 Pro.

 

 

Source: Press Release


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Sorcerer King: Rivals Receives New Campaign

Posted: March 9, 2017 @ time: 01:47PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Two years ago Stardock released Sorcerer King and then last year it released the stand-alone expansion Sorcerer King: Rivals. With update 2.1 of Rivals a new campaign has been added, with Chris Bucholz as its writer. It begins with the player receiving an artifact that will let them pass through the barriers the Sorcerer King put up on the world he rules. This artifact does not come freely though, so you will need to explore to solve this mystery, but exploration does not come freely either. The Sorcerer King notices every time you unlock a gate to another realm, but he will let you explore provided you leave his minions alone and give up some of your life force to him, from time to time.

There are plans for Rivals past this update and its sizable campaign. Eventually the sovereigns players can choose from will have custom starting units and unique improvements, "and some other things."

Source: Stardock


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Hardware Roundup: Friday, March 10, 2017, Edition

Posted: March 10, 2017 @ time: 07:35AM
Author: bp9801

Friday is here, with just a couple of items for your viewing pleasure. We have a look at the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti video card, the new top dog from the green team that is sure to make plenty salivate at what it can do. Our other item for the day is a look at a new case mod, where the Corsair Crystal 570X case gets turned into something with more of a samurai theme to it.

Video Cards
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition @ Neoseeker

Miscellany
Case Mod Friday: Red Samurai @ ThinkComputers


Complete Story


A New Galaxy Awaits in the Mass Effect: Andromeda Launch Trailer

Posted: March 10, 2017 @ time: 07:47AM
Author: bp9801

We are fast approaching the latest BioWare RPG, as Mass Effect: Andromeda is less than two weeks away. BioWare is planning a large prescence at PAX East this weekend, with the ability to try out the multiplayer and several panels planned (all of which can be found on its Twitch channel), but there's something else it had for this weekend. Something in the form of a trailer. Oh yes, the Mass Effect: Andromeda launch trailer, which has just dropped for your viewing pleasure. It showcases a bit of everything we can expect to find in MEA and the Andromeda Galaxy, from exploring the many planets in the Heleus Cluster, to getting to know your crew, and figure out just what's happened to the golden worlds we had planned for our new colonies. So sit back, relax, and take in Andromeda.

Mass Effect: Andromeda arrives on March 21 for the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in North America, and March 23 in Europe. An early access trial on Origin and EA Access begins next Thursday, March 16, for subscribers of the service on either the PC or Xbox One.

Source: YouTube


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Hardware Roundup: Monday, March 13, 2017, Edition

Posted: March 13, 2017 @ time: 09:10AM
Author: bp9801

A new week is upon us, with several items along the way. We have another look at the AMD Ryzen 7 1700 processor, offering what may be the best bang for the buck in the line at this time. If you want a motherboard to go with that new Ryzen CPU, maybe the ASUS Crosshair VI Hero should be on your list to consider. There's a review of the Corsair K70 LUX RGB mechanical keyboard, featuring Cherry MX Red keys and CUE software for full control over your lighting and macros. We have an article looking at the potential conflict between the Ryzen CPUs and the Windows 10 scheduler. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands is now out, and if you're curious about its performance on PC, we have you covered. Wrapping things up is a look at the best routers you can buy right now.

CPUs
AMD Ryzen 7 1700 @ Madshrimps
AMD Ryzen and the Windows 10 Scheduler - No Silver Bullet @ PC Perspective

Motherboards
ASUS Crosshair VI Hero @ LanOC Reviews

Keyboards/Mice
Corsair K70 LUX RGB Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews

Gaming
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands Performance Testing @ LanOC Reviews

Networking
The Best Routers @ TechSpot


Complete Story


Ultrafast Laser Pulses Could Lead To Lightwave Computers

Posted: March 13, 2017 @ time: 01:09PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Everybody wants their computer to run faster, but we are approaching theoretical limits on just what traditional silicon-based electronics are capable of. For faster speeds, new technologies will need to be developed, and they may take advantage of some unusual physics. Researchers at the University of Michigan have made a discovery that could lead to these faster computers by way of lightwave electronics.

In lightwave electronics, electrons are manipulated by an oscillating electric field generated by ultrafast laser pulses, causing them to move at high speeds in certain directions. In modern electronics, when one fast moving electron hits another heat is produced, but with lightwave electronics the electrons are moving so quickly they are not likely to strike another before they stop. What the Michigan researchers have done is demonstrated this ability to move electrons in a semiconductor using pulses less than 100 femtoseconds long of terahertz radiation. These pulses pumped enough energy into the electrons to pop them up to a higher energy level, allowing them to move around the semiconductor crystal. The paths the electron take is not random though, or even determined by the laser pulses but by the structure of the crystal. When the electrons fall back down to a lower energy level, they emit light as an even shorter pulse than the terahertz source and these pulses could actually be used to read and write information to other electrons.

Eventually we could see lightwave computers operating ten to 100,000 times faster than modern computers, but there is still a lot to do before then. Before then we may see this used to optimize chemical reactions and in quantum systems, including quantum cryptography.

Source: University of Michigan


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Apple WebKit Opens Nintendo Switch to Hacking

Posted: March 13, 2017 @ time: 03:43PM
Author: CheeseMan42

The Nintendo Switch has been available for just 10 days, and it has already fallen victim to its' first successful hack. The vulnerability was discovered by iOS hacker qwertyoruiop and is caused by the inclusion of version 9.3 of the iOS WebKit, which contains a known exploit that was fixed in version 9.3.5. It is unclear why this compromised version of the WebKit was used by Nintendo, but it could have had something to do with getting the Switch out before the end of the current fiscal quarter. It is also unclear just how the exploit can impact users as it "hasn't revealed any detailed information on the Switch yet, nor does it hand over full kernel access to hackers."

Source: Mac Rumors


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday, March 14, 2017, Edition

Posted: March 14, 2017 @ time: 07:49AM
Author: bp9801

Pi Day is here, with several items along the way to welcome it in. For those after a new case, perhaps the Raidmax Alpha RGB is the one for you, with its mid-tower style and solid features. There is a look at how to improve the thermal performance of Kaby Lake CPUs, meaning higher or more stable overclocks are a possibility, long as you don't mind getting a little dirty. We have a review of the AZIO MK Retro Mechanical Keyboard, which has modern components and a style that looks more like it belongs on an old typewriter. We end things for today with a review of the Huawei Mate 9 smartphone, featuring a 5.9" screen and a faster SoC than the previous model.

CPUs
Improving the Thermal Performance of the Intel Kaby Lake CPU @ PC Perspective

Cases
Raidmax Alpha RGB @ Hypothermia

Keyboards/Mice
AZIO MK Retro Mechanical Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews

Mobile
Huawei Mate 9 @ TechSpot


Complete Story


AMD Releases Community Update on Several Ryzen CPU Concerns

Posted: March 14, 2017 @ time: 09:58AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Since AMD released the Ryzen CPUs two weeks ago there have been a host of rumors and speculations trying to explain various issues reported in reviews and by people on the Internet. Now the company has released a statement on several of these concerns via a Ryzen community update.

The first topic tackled is if there is an issue with the Windows 10 thread scheduler, which is the part of the OS that decides what CPU core, physical or logical, runs a given thread, and is also what decides to shuffle threads around to other cores. There has been speculation the scheduler is degrading performance in some cases, but after investigating these claims AMD has concluded the thread scheduler is "operating properly for Zen" and the company does not believe there is an issue with the scheduler "utilizing the logical and physical configurations of the architecture." However it was also discovered that an outdated version of Sysinternals Coreinfo utility was producing incorrect topology data for Ryzen CPUs, but version 3.31 does provide correct results. Also, if you saw reports of significant performance differences between Windows 7 and Windows 10, AMD has concluded this is not related to scheduling differences but to the different software architectures of the operating systems.

The second topic addressed concerns temperature readings. Apparently the Ryzen 7 1700X and 1800X both carry a +20 ºC offset to the reported T Control (tCTL) temperature and the actual junction temperature. The purpose of the offset is to give all Ryzen processors a consistent fan policy, but it has also confused some temperature monitoring applications that failed to subtract the offset from the tCTL measurement. The Ryzen 7 1700 (non-X) is not affected by this as it does not have a tCTL offset.

AMD has also confirmed the recommendations to use the High Performance power plan offered in Windows 10. This turns off core parking, making idle CPU cores available for the thread scheduler and allows the CPU to alter its voltage and frequency states at the 1 ms intervals Ryzen supports, while Balanced may take longer as the software tries to participate in the power state changes. An update to optimize the power policy parameters for the Balanced plan is expected by the first week of April.

Finally, there have been reports of SMT (Simultaneous Multi-threading) reducing performance in some games. AMD's expectation is that games should generally see a neutral or positive benefit from SMT being enabled, and it has been tested in various titles. For those games that have been reported as performing worse, AMD suggests this indicates opportunities to improve the codebases of these games to better address the Zen architecture. Some simple changes have already been identified to improve how a game understands Zen's core/cache topology, and there should be a status update when these are ready.

Source: AMD


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday, March 15, 2017, Edition

Posted: March 15, 2017 @ time: 07:44AM
Author: bp9801

The Ides of March have arrived, but fortunately you don't have to beware either item we have for you today. There is a look at some FCAT VR numbers for the GTX 1060 and RX 480 video cards, giving you an idea what to expect performance-wise in VR and just how tough obtaining accurate information for it can be. Our other item for the day is a review of the Razer Ornata Chroma keyboard, featuring a blend of mechanical switches and membrane keys for a unique take on the typing experience.

Video Cards
FCAT VR: Measuring VR Performance on the GTX 1060 and RX 480 @ PC Perspective

Keyboards/Mice
Razer Ornata Chroma - Mechanical Membrane Gaming Keyboard @ Madshrimps


Complete Story


Battery Designed for Powering and Cooling Computer Chips

Posted: March 15, 2017 @ time: 12:09PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

There are a number of battery technologies out there that employ different methods to store and deliver electricity. Many store energy within their solid electrodes, but flow batteries actually use liquid electrolytes for storage. Today you can find large scale flow batteries used in stationary applications, but thanks to researchers at ETH Zurich and IBM Research Zurich we may see them coming to computing devices thanks to a clever use of the liquid electrolytes.

As the name indicates, the two liquid electrolytes in a flow battery move through it, and with the proper membrane is between them, an electrical current is produced like in any battery. What occurred to the researchers is that the electrolytes could also be used to transport heat away from a system, like a liquid cooling system for a computer. Instead of designing something comparable in size to an AIO cooler, the researchers went even smaller, making a battery just 1.5 mm thick so that it can be integrated into a chip stack. In a chip stack individual chips are stacked on top of each other to save space and energy, but by putting a thin battery micro-cell in between it is possible to power and cool the chips.

This micro-battery design offers a record-setting 1.4 W/cm2 (1 W/cm2 after subtracting the power to pump the electrolytes) and is able to dissipate more heat than what the battery generates as electrical energy. However further optimize is going to be needed because, record setting or not, it is not enough power for the computer chip to operate. Still, this is a promising proof-of-concept that may have potential in a variety of applications and could improve large-scale flow batteries as well.

Source: ETH Zurich


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Chrome 57 Will Reduce Power Consumption

Posted: March 15, 2017 @ time: 04:11PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Google has announced that the Chrome browser will change how it handles background tabs in an attempt to improve battery life. These tabs are estimated to "consume a third of Chrome's power usage on desktop." Users of Chrome on a laptop, tablet, or cell phone should see the most significant impact as these devices are more likely to be running on battery power. The improvement is due to a change in the throttling policy that "will delay timers to limit average CPU load to 1% of a core if an application uses too much CPU in background." Tabs that are playing audio or maintaining real-time connections won't be affected by the change. Google has stated that the long term goal is to suspend background tabs to further limit the power utilization.

Source: Chromium Blog


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday, March 16, 2017, Edition

Posted: March 16, 2017 @ time: 07:55AM
Author: bp9801

The week is starting to wind down, but not before we have several items for you to check out. There is a look at the Gigabyte Z170XP-SLI motherboard, offering plenty of features and support for the new Intel Kaby Lake parts without breaking the bank. On the AMD side of the equation, we have an article examining the upcoming Ryzen 5 CPUs, which offer some impressive numbers for the mainstream crowd. If you're after a new PC that doesn't take up a lot of extra space, maybe the Lenovo IdeaCentre Y910 Gaming All-in-One is for you. However, if you just want some better way to control your PC from the couch, the Corsair Lapdog Game Control Center review is where to go, as it lets you use a keyboard and mouse on a comfortable surface from your lap. We wrap up with another part of a build log, with more painting and cleaning showcased.

CPUs
AMD Announces Ryzen 5 Series of CPUs @ PC Perspective

Motherboards
Gigabyte Z170XP-SLI @ Neoseeker

Prebuilts
Lenovo IdeaCentre Y910 Gaming All-in-One @ TechSpot

Keyboards/Mice
Corsair Lapdog Game Control Center @ Benchmark Reviews

Miscellany
Project Build: Crush – Part 6 – I can’t leave things alone @ LanOC Reviews


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Ryzen 5 CPUs Announced by AMD with April 11 Availability

Posted: March 16, 2017 @ time: 08:37AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Two weeks ago AMD released its Ryzen 7 CPUs targeting more performance-hungry enthusiasts and now it has announced the mainstream-targeting Ryzen 5 processors at a press event in China. While the Ryzen 7 line consists only of 8-core/16-thread processors, Ryzen 5 has both 6-core/12-thread and 4-core/8-thread options. The two 6-core CPUs are the 1600X and 1600 with base/turbo clocks of 3.6/4.0 GHz and 3.2/3.6 GHz respectively. The 1600X has a TDP of 95 W and a price of $249 while the 1600 has a TDP of 65 W and a price of $219. The two 4-core/8-thread CPUs are the 1500X and 1400 with base/turbo clocks of 3.5/3.7 GHz and 3.2/3.4 GHz respectively. Both have a TDP of 65 W while the 1500X will be priced at $189 and the 1400 will cost $169. All four Ryzen 5 CPUs are to be available on April 11.

Like with the Ryzen 7 CPUs, not all of the Ryzen 5 processors will come with a cooler. The Ryzen 5 1600X will be without a cooler while the 1600 and 1500X will come with the Wraith Spire. The Ryzen 5 1400 will come with the Wraith Stealth cooler.

While looking at other sources we can find some other pieces, more technical pieces of information about the Ryzen 5 CPUs. For starters, all of them still use two CCX modules, like the 8-core Ryzen 7 CPUs, but with individual cores disabled. To maintain symmetry between the modules, the 6-core 1600X and 1600 have a 3+3 design, with one core disabled in both modules, and the 4-core 1500X and 1400 are both 2+2. Also the 20 ºC temperature offset AMD confirmed the other day is going to be present on the 95 W TDP 1600X, but not the three 65 W TDP processors.

 

 

Source: AMD, Anandatech, and Reddit


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Shadow Warrior 2 Receives Free Bounty Hunt Part 1 DLC

Posted: March 16, 2017 @ time: 10:21AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Last year saw the release of Shadow Warrior2 and today it has received a new piece of free DLC. To mark the release, the game is 25% off on Steam for the weekend. This new DLC is Bounty Hunt Part 1 and adds 14 new missions to the game, two new weapons, and four new perks for Lo Wang to enjoy. The new weapons are the Medusa Ray and EX-GF01 minigun, both of which you can see in action in the trailer embedded below. Among the missions are Plague of the Bunny Lords, 50 Shades of Shade, and Danger Zone on Mt. Akuma.

 

 

Source: Press Release


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Hardware Roundup: Friday, March 17, 2017, Edition

Posted: March 17, 2017 @ time: 07:51AM
Author: bp9801

St. Patrick's Day has arrived, bringing with it a couple of items to help you get through the day before any celebrations commence. We have another look at the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X, 1700X, and 1700 CPUs,  giving us a look at just what the long-awaited parts have to offer across a range of tests. If you're after some way to enjoy your tunes without worry of the speakers getting wet, then perhaps the iClever BTS05 & BTS06 Waterproof Bluetooth Speakers are the solution for you.

CPUs
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X, 1700X, and 1700 @ Neoseeker

Speakers/Headphones
iClever BTS05 & BTS06 Waterproof Bluetooth Speakers @ ThinkComputers


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Corsair Tenkeyless K63 Mechanical Keyboard Announced

Posted: March 17, 2017 @ time: 11:54AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

If you are looking for a new mechanical keyboard, Corsair may have just announced what you want. The K63 is a mechanical keyboard using CHERRY MX Red switches with per-key red LED illumination. Using the CORSAIR Utility Engine (CUE) you can control each key's lighting and assign new commands or macros to them if you wish. It is a tenkeyless keyboard though, so it does not have the number pad, but that also makes for a more compact design, freeing up room for your mouse or in a bag if you need to travel with it.

The K63 comes with a two-year warranty and is available immediately. Corsair's webpage for the keyboard has it listed at $79.99.

Source: Corsair


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Hardware Roundup: Monday, March 20, 2017, Edition

Posted: March 20, 2017 @ time: 07:59AM
Author: bp9801

A new week has begun, with several items along the way to get you started off right. There's a review of the Logitech G900 Chaos Spectrum, a wireless gaming mouse that should take your games to new heights, especially since you can use it wired, too. If you're after a new keyboard, maybe the ROCCAT Skeltr Gaming Keyboard, featuring a unique way to use your smartphone on it, is for you. BioWare's latest epic, Mass Effect: Andromeda, arrives later tonight in North America, with a performance review offering an insight into what you can expect on a variety of hardware. Wrapping things up for today is the IQI i3 Android Smartwatch review, offering entry-level features to get you as connected as possible.

Mice/Keyboards
Logitech G900 Chaos Spectrum @ LanOC Reviews
ROCCAT Skeltr Gaming Keyboard @ ThinkComputers

Gaming
Mass Effect: Andromeda Graphics Performance Tested @ TechSpot

Gadgets
IQI i3 Android Smartwatch @ Madshrimps


Complete Story


Intel Announces First Optane SSDs for Data Centers

Posted: March 20, 2017 @ time: 09:28AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Intel does a lot more than just make CPUs and one of its promising memory technologies is finally coming to products. Developed with Micron, 3D XPoint memory is a new memory technology that can reach speeds up to 1000 times faster than the NAND memory we have all come to love, while also being 10 times denser. Those are definitely desirable characteristics and Intel has finally announced its Optane SSDs, which are targeting data centers first.

The Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X Series is a 375 GB drive that can be used to increase the storage capacity of a server while also providing consistently high performance at a latency of less than 10 microseconds. Combined with Intel Memory Drive Technology, the drive will act like DRAM to the system, significantly increasing the amount of available memory to operating system and applications.

If you happen to be part of Intel's early ship program, the Optane SSD DC 4800X Series is now available to you, so you can start upgrading your data centers. Additional capacities and form factors are to be available in the second half of this year. Hopefully it will not be too long before this can start reaching consumer computers.

Source: Intel


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday, March 21, 2017, Edition

Posted: March 21, 2017 @ time: 07:46AM
Author: bp9801

Tuesday is here, with a couple of items along the way for you to check out. We have a review of the OPSEAT Master Series Gaming Chair, the first line from the company and one that seeks to hit all the right notes to truly make it OP. Our other item shows you how to customize Chrome's New Tab page, giving you easy access to your most visited sites and even more if you use some extensions.

Miscellany
OPSEAT Master Series Gaming Chair @ LanOC Reviews
Customizing Chrome's New Tab page @ TechSpot


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Serious Sam Fusion 2017 from Croteam Enters Beta

Posted: March 21, 2017 @ time: 08:33AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Some of you may have noticed a new item appear in your Steam library: Serious Sam Fusion 2017 (beta). The reason we got this is because Croteam is unifying multiple Serious Sam games into this central hub, which has some interesting benefits. For now it only has Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter included, and if you have a copy of that already, you got Fusion 2017, but eventually it will be getting The Second Encounter and Serious Sam 3: BFE along with the VR versions of all of the games. By having all of these games together, you will be able go from a level in one game to another without having to leave the application. Also game servers for The First Encounter, The Second Encounter, and Serious Sam 3 will all appear in the same list, and you will even be able to vote for maps across these games. Additionally, VR and 'flat' players will be able to enjoy multiplayer together.

Some other features include support for SteamOS, Linux, and OSX, Split-screen, multi-monitor support, borderless window, 64-bit executables, multithreaded rendering, and Vulkan API support, though this is currently a beta implementation. DirectX 9 support is going away though, so the current options are DirectX 11, OpenGL, and Vulkan (beta). There are some other new features too, which you can find at the Steam store page.

Remember this is currently a beta release, so if you launch it up, you may encounter some bugs.

Source: Croteam and Steam


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Corsair Announces Vengeance RGB DDR4 Memory

Posted: March 21, 2017 @ time: 02:54PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Corsair has added a new variation to its popular Vengeance line of DDR4 products, and it is no surprise that the new set features RGB lighting. RGB lighting is popping up in all types of product lines, and Corsair is no stranger with several keyboards, mice, and fans that already feature the accents. The lighting is controlled using Corsair LINK software in a wire free design to keep your case looking clean. Users can select from static, rainbow, breathing, and color shift modes "to color match your system’s build or put on a dazzling light show." Corsair LINK software allows for even more customization, even allowing for users to "set up a temperature alert that automatically changes each memory module’s LED color based on system temperatures, as well as monitor and control a wide variety of CORSAIR components, from case fans, lighting, DRAM and compatible CORSAIR power supplies to Hydro Series liquid CPU coolers, providing a complete PC monitoring experience." The new memory is available in 8GB sticks in 16GB or 32GB 3000MHz sets.

Source: Press Release


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AMD Planning BIOS Update to Fix Ryzen CPU Hangs

Posted: March 21, 2017 @ time: 03:08PM
Author: CheeseMan42

AMD is planning to release a BIOS update to fix an issue in the Fused Multiply-Add (FMA3) code that is causing systems with a Ryzen CPU to hang. The company didn't provide details on what the specific issue was but stated, "We are aware of select instances where FMA code can result in a system hang. We have identified the root cause." The problem was first noticed using the Flops v2 benchmark, but it was also noted that "simple apps with basic user privileges can crash a Ryzen-based machine."

Source: Digital Trends


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday, March 22, 2017, Edition

Posted: March 22, 2017 @ time: 07:56AM
Author: bp9801

The middle of the week is upon us, with a few items to get you over the hump. We have a simulated take on what to expect from the AMD Ryzen 5 1600X and 1500X CPUs, which will be interesting to look back and see how close things were when the actual parts arrive early in April. For some mobile performance, there's a preview of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform to see what we can expect from it when powering our phones and tablets. Wrapping things up is a review on the Lenovo Yoga Book that sees if this unique take on the 2-in-1 laptop is one to get.

CPUs
Simulating AMD Ryzen 5 1600X, 1500X Gaming Performance @ TechSpot

Mobile
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform Performance Preview @ PC Perspective

Laptops/Tablets
Lenovo Yoga Book @ PC Perspective


Complete Story


GOG Galaxy Exiting Beta Phase Next Month

Posted: March 22, 2017 @ time: 10:23AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

While Steam may be the dominate client for purchasing, downloading, and managing PC games, DRM-free competitor GOG.com launched a beta of its vision of such a client called GOG Galaxy. Earlier today it was announced that version 1.2 will take the client out of beta, and if anyone wants to try it they can install the current GOG Galaxy beta and enable preview updates. Update 1.2 brings with it several new features, including Universal Cloud Saves, so your saves can be synced and stored to a cloud backup, which you are free to download whenever you wish. Not all games currently support this feature, but several new and old titles do, including some that have never had this functionality before. The settings window has also been redesigned and there is a new hibernation mode to reduce CPU usage when you are not using the client.

Other features coming with Update 1.2 are bandwidth limiting, download scheduling, an in-game overlay, an FPS counter in the overlay, screenshots for games that support the overlay, achievement rarity, a new notification system, and more. Not bad addition to features such as rolling back to previous versions of a game or stopping auto-updates, without preventing you from playing your game. As always though, GOG Galaxy is an optional tool, so you can enjoy the games you have through GOG.com with or without it.

Source: GOG [1] and [2]


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Vulkan Support Added to 3DMark API Overhead Test

Posted: March 23, 2017 @ time: 07:36AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

With the development of low-level graphics APIs, we have been promised improved performance by way of computer components being more efficiently used. One example of this is the ability to make many times more draw calls thanks to reduced overhead on a CPU. Some time ago Futuremark added to 3DMark an API Overhead feature test to illustrate the difference between DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 specifically by increasing the number of draw calls until the framerate dropped below 30 FPS. Now the company has added the Vulkan API to this test, replacing the Mantle API. Vulkan is like DirectX 12 in that it is a low-level API, but it supports multiple operating systems, while DX12 is limited to Windows 10.

The API Overhead test is only available in the Advanced and Professional Editions of 3DMark, and not the Basic Edition or Steam Demo, so if you want to try it out, you will need one of the paid-for editions. Keep in mind though that this is not a test meant to compare performance between different computers or components. The overhead test is meant only to compare the performance of the different APIs on a single system.

 

 

Source: Futuremark


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Stardock Will be Streaming Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade Later Today

Posted: March 23, 2017 @ time: 08:01AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Since the announcement last month for the Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade expansion, Stardock has been releasing Dev Diaries covering some of the changes that will be coming with this apparently quite large and significant expansion. So far the Civilization Builder, Galactic Citizens, changes to the 4X experience to resolve the late game grind, the new espionage system, and the new choices players will face have been covered. If you want to do more than just read about Crusade but actually see it, Stardock will be previewing it on its Twitch channel at 1 PM ET today with Stardock CEO Brad Wardell, who has also been authoring the Dev Diaries. This is the start of weekly Crusade streams.

If you are interested in the current state of Galactic Civilizations III, I reviewed it following its v2.0 patch. Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade is to release this Spring.

Source: Press Release


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday, March 23, 2017, Edition

Posted: March 23, 2017 @ time: 08:30AM
Author: bp9801

The week is starting to wind down, but not before there are several items for you to check out. We have a review of the AMD Ryzen 7 1700X CPU, as well as another look at the Ryzen 7 1700, offering you some more insight into just what they can do and if your new build should have one of these at its core. There's a look at the Bloody B820R RGB Gaming Keyboard with its unique Lightstrike switches for a faster and more reliable take on the mechanical switch design. The Patriot LX Series 256GB MicroSD card gets put to the test to see what kind of performance it offers for devices that need fast storage speeds. We end things today with an article covering how to manage tabs and extensions in Google Chrome.

CPUs
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X @ Madshrimps
AMD Ryzen 7 1700 @ LanOC Reviews

Keyboards/Mice
Bloody B820R RGB Gaming Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews

Storage/Hard Drives
Patriot LX Series 256GB MicroSD Card @ ThinkComputers

Miscellany
Chrome Tab Management Tips and Extensions @ TechSpot


Complete Story


Corsair Unveils First Fully Built Gaming PC

Posted: March 23, 2017 @ time: 03:04PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Corsair has had its hand in several markets for PC components including cases, fans, keyboards, and mice for more than 22 years. With the Corsair ONE, the company is making its first foray into the fully built PC market. CEO and founder Andy Paul described the decision stating, "We knew now was the right time to bring together all our knowledge to create a truly exceptional PC. CORSAIR ONE is the result – unbelievably compact, quiet and with incredible performance, it changes what people will expect from a high-end PC." The case is made of milled aluminum with integrated blue lighting and has an integrated liquid-cooling system with a pair of passive 240mm radiators. The base model is powered by a Core i7 7700, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070, and 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 2 with a 240GB SSD and 1TB conventional HDD. Corsair is also offering the One Pro, One Pro Webstore Exclusive, and One Pro GTX 1080 Ti with upgrades to CPU, GPU, RAM, storage, and PSU available along the way. The base model has an MSRP of $1799.99, the One Pro has an MSRP of $2199.99, the Webstore Exclusive has an MSRP of $2299.99, and the One Pro GTX 1080 Ti will set you back $2599.99.

Source: Press Release


Complete Story


Hardware Roundup: Friday, March 24, 2017, Edition

Posted: March 24, 2017 @ time: 07:46AM
Author: bp9801

The end of the week has arrived, with a few items to help you welcome in the weekend. There's a review of the Toshiba OCZ VX500 SSD, featuring MLC NAND and a Toshiba controller to help replace the older Vector 180 line. We also have a look at the Phononic HEX 2.0 Thermoelectric CPU cooler that can work as just a regular heat sink or turn it up into that thermoelectric type based on how hard you're pushing your processor. Wrapping things up is a podcast covering the latest news and reviews from the past week.

CPU Cooling
Phononic HEX 2.0 Thermoelectric CPU Cooler @ PC Perspective

Storage/Hard Drives
Toshiba OCZ VX500 SSD @ LanOC Reviews

Miscellany
Podcast #442 @ PC Perspective


Complete Story


Thin and Smooth Layer of Silver Could Advance Displays and Computers

Posted: March 24, 2017 @ time: 12:51PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

For a long time the material indium tin oxide (ITO) has been a requirement in several technologies because it is a transparent conductor. One issue with ITO is that indium is quite rare, making the material ever more expensive, and another is that it is rather fragile. A potential alternative for a transparent conductor is a silver ultrathin film, which has issues of its own but researchers at the University of Michigan have recently solved some of these.

When trying to create a thin film of silver, it typically cannot be smaller than 15 nm because silver likes to cluster into islands and not form an even coating. What the Michigan researchers discovered is that adding just 6% aluminum the silver can be coaxed to form a film just 7 nm thick. After applying an anti-reflective coating they were able to make one layer up to 92.4% transparent. The aluminum is even more useful than that though, as the ultrathin film did not tarnish in open air after months, unlike pure silver films that tarnish almost immediately, disrupting its conductive properties and transparency.

While there are some obvious uses in displays, this silver ultrathin film has far more potential than that. In this form, silver is able to carry plasmon polaritons, which are oscillations created when light strikes a metal and they carry the information of the light wave. Plasmons can be much smaller than the wavelength of the light though, allowing the silver film to act as a kind of superlens. This gives the film potential uses inside of computer chips as a means to transmit information optically, allowing for faster data transfer than electronic transmission currently allows. On top of that, by alternating layers of the silver film with an insulator, like glass, a metamaterial hyperlens could be made, which could then image objects smaller than the wavelength of light and enable laser patterning, such as that used to etch computer chips, to reach smaller feature sizes.

Source: University of Michigan


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Twitter May Soon Have a Paid Version

Posted: March 24, 2017 @ time: 02:27PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Twitter is considering creating a premium version of its social networking service "aimed at professionals" that would expand its revenue streams and offer additional features. Twitter has been free for its 11 year history, but a subscription model would allow it to finally monetize some of its 319 million users. Twitter spokeswoman Brielle Villablanca described the possibility stating, "We regularly conduct user research to gather feedback about people's Twitter experience and to better inform our product investment decisions, and we're exploring several ways to make Tweetdeck even more valuable for professionals."

Source: Fortune


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