Thursday, April 23, 2015

IT News Head Lines (TweakTown) 4/24/2015


AMD's Radeon R9 490X will reportedly arrive in 2016 with HBM2 and 14nm
With the launch of the AMD Radeon R9 390X imminent, the Radeon R9 490X is over the horizon, with it reportedly set for launch in 2016. The new card will be based on the Arctic Islands architecture, manufactured on the 14nm process, and using the second generation HBM2.

The Arctic Islands flagship GPU will be based on the Greenland architecture, which will replace the Fiji architecture that will find its way into the Radeon R9 390X. The Greenland-based Radeon R9 490X will be built on the 14nm process thanks to Globalfoundries, a change from previous rumors that TSMC would be leading the GPU charge for AMD going into 2016.

TSMC has had trouble with the 16nm node, which I'm sure has been causing both AMD and NVIDIA headaches behind the scenes. More so with AMD, as they haven't had a flagship GPU released since the Radeon R9 290X in late 2013 (if we don't count the dual-GPU Radeon R9 295X2 in early 2014). Whereas NVIDIA has enjoyed its Maxwell architecture on the 28nm process beautifully, keeping power consumption and heat down without having to shrink its process, like it normally would.

But, with NVIDIA most likely shrinking down to 16nm next year with Pascal, reiterating its 'very important' foundry partner in TSMC, could AMD have the upper hand with 14nm and its new architecture? Or are we getting ahead of ourselves on what to expect with AMD, while they haven't even bought the R9 390X to the market yet. Whatever happens, HBM2 should ship with the Radeon R9 490X, which will see memory bandwidth climb to incredible new heights of around 1.2TB/sec - up from the 640GB/sec that is rumored to be what the Radeon R9 390X will feature with HBM1.

Or is the idea of NVIDIA's next-gen Pascal-powered GeForce with 32GB of HBM2 already too much of a tease? All of this GPU news is making my head spin with excitement.

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AVADirect announces the new AVA Sixense VR Desktop PC
AVADirect has been on top of custom PCs for a while, but with the Omni VR desktop announced last month, the custom PC maker is adding to that with the new Sixense VR desktop.
The new Sixense VR desktop is a custom PC that has seen the company partner up with Sixense, so that their PC is ready for the STEM system when it launches. We had a play with Sixense's STEM system back at CES 2015 and thought it was revolutionary, but now AVADirect has taken it a step further with a custom PC ready for the STEM.
AVADirect has deployed an EVGA GeForce GTX 980 SuperClocked VGA card, with the option to upgrade to the GeForce GTX Titan X to handle everything you throw at it. This has ensured gamers that they can run games at 1080p at 75FPS minimum. The stock system rocks a Core i5-4460, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB mechanical HDD, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. The AVA Sixense VR Ultimate Desktop cranks it up to the Core i7-4790 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 500GB 850 EVO SSD from Samsung, and Windows 7 Professional. Both systems are housed in EVGA's Hadron Air Black Mini Tower, with a Sixense etched side panel.
The AVA Sixense VR Desktop starts at $1800, while the Sixense VR Ultimate Desktop starts at $2300. The Sixense STEM system isn't included, and isn't ready until later this year.

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Microsoft uses 60FPS footage of The Witcher 3 on PC as Xbox One promo
In something that isn't too surprising, but is a dirty trick: Microsoft has used footage from the PC version of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt running at 60FPS to advertise the Xbox One version of the game, which runs at just 30FPS.

The new footage is called "Precious Cargo" and is another step in the marketing for The Witcher 3 before its May 19 release on the Xbox One, PS4 and PC. But, with the PC version of the game the only version capable of 60FPS, with developer CD Projekt Red stating that both the Xbox One and PS4 versions of the game locked at 30FPS, this is some tricky marketing from Microsoft.

Microsoft are advertising it on the official Xbox channel of YouTube, with a single line that explains it's running on the PC version of the game: "In game footage provided by CD Projekt Red, captured on a PC". As you can see from the screenshot above, the video is even being pushed at 1080p and 60FPS, which the Xbox One is clearly not capable of with The Witcher 3.

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Most of AMD's next-gen Radeon cards rumored to be rebrands
We've had an industry insider whisper sweet nothings into our ear regarding the forthcoming release of AMD's Radeon 300 series, which will include the flagship "Fiji XT" Radeon R9 390X, which will reportedly arrive in two flavors, with very short supplies at launch thanks to HBM's low yields.

Our tipster has said that most of AMD's Radeon 300 series lineup will be filled with rebrands, with the Radeon 380X being a rebranded Radeon R9 290X. This isn't new information as we've previously reported that AMD's Radeon 300 series would be filled with rebrands, but this information is much newer and closer to the actual release than the previous rumors.

There will be a few VGA cards released with the new Fiji architecture, which should arrive as the Radeon R9 390X and R9 395X2. We could see the R9 390 being the Fiji, while the Fiji XT core will power the R9 390X.

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Metal Gear Online will allow 8v8 matches on PC, PS4 and Xbox One
When Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain drops later this year, it will allow 16-player online matches with two teams of 8. These 8v8 matches will only be capable on the Xbox One, PS4 and PC versions of the game, while the previous generation Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles will only be capable of 12-player matches, or 6v6.

The 12-player limit on the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game are reportedly tied to hardware constraints on the previous-gen consoles, as the game itself will be quite taxing on the visual side of things, with the Xbox 360 and PS3 not up to handling 16-player matches.

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain will launch on September 1, with its separate online component, Metal Gear Online, launching at the same time.

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The Media Trust shows off SaaS-based tool to identify malvertising
The Media Trust, a cybersecurity firm focused on monitoring and protecting the advertising ecosystem, has unveiled a new software as a service (SaaS) offering able to provide real-time data about malicious ads.

Resolution Services is designed for use by ad networks, publishers, ad exchanges, paid-content engines and demand platforms, and scans for malware detection - providing faster remediation time if something is detected.

"Every day the ad-network-and-exchange model proves its worth as evidenced by the millions of ads successfully served in just one 24-hour cycle, but the constant threat of malvertising requires continuous improvement and greater collaboration across the industry," said Chris Olson, co-founder and CEO of The Media Trust.

Malvertising is proving to be a rather effective tool for cybercriminals, able to exploit vulnerable loopholes often before ad networks are able to secure themselves. Even if a malvertising campaign is live for a couple of hours, websites with high amounts of traffic can expose large numbers of visitors.

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Webroot: Cybercrime complexity increasing, making things even harder
There are 85,000 new malicious IPs launched daily, while technology companies and financial institutions endure the highest number of phishing attacks, according to the Webroot 2015 Threat Brief. The United States has the most malicious IP addresses with 31 percent, ahead of China (23 percent), and Russia (10 percent) - with half of all malicious IP addresses tracing back to Asia.

The United States hosts the most amount of phishing sites, accounting for three out of every four - even though experts believe foreign operators could be utilizing US-based sites for their operations.

"Webroot has seen a continued rise in the number of malicious URLs, IP addresses, malware, and mobile applications used to enable cybercriminals to steal data, disrupt services, or cause other harm," said Hal Lonas, CTO at Webroot.

Home users and companies must be vigilant of phishing attacks, which are designed to infect users with malware or steal user credentials. Social engineering continues to be an effective tool used by hackers to compromise information, able to land a victim in just a couple of minutes.

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Cybersecurity researchers say Israeli military networks breached
Unknown Arabic-speaking hackers have successfully breached Israeli military computer networks, in an ongoing cyberespionage campaign, according to enterprise cybersecurity firm Blue Coat Systems. The hackers pieced together an effective attack vector by using existing malware that was launched via social engineering attacks to compromise victims.

The use of social engineering and code that wasn't customized allowed the hackers to operate with low overhead, while still being able to complete their mission. The phishing emails were sent to publicly listed military addresses, promising a breaking military news update, or a video clip of the "Girls of the Israel Defense Forces."

Israel has a strong private sector focused on cybersecurity, but faces a growing number of enemies improving their cyberattack abilities. Groups such as Hezbollah, for example, are able to launch surprisingly sophisticated cyber missions aimed at stealing information and interrupting military operations.

"Not all targeted attackers need advanced tools," Blue Coat noted. "As regional conflicts continue, cyber threats from groups of various skill levels will also accompany the conventional armed conflicts."

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Report: Need better breach crisis? IT manager may not be best bet
Companies must have a strategy in place when a data breach occurs, and it looks like IT managers may not be best to handle a breach crisis, according to a new report by Booz Allen Hamilton. Instead, a business savvy leader at the company is better prepared to handle the problem, as they will be prepared to address crisis communications, legal issues, disaster recovery, and other strategic decisions that must be made.

A skilled executive that has a high-level view of the company's complete operation will be able to react more efficiently instead of an IT or security manager.

"They may have to shut the systems down, reconfigure things, and do other things that will affect the business," said Bill Stewart, executive vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton, in a statement published by CSO Online. "And they might not be in a situation where they understand the broader business objectives. Having someone who understands the broader business, helps them make better decisions."

It's important, however, for cybersecurity and IT to work with business leaders to make sure their networks are secure - and help mold a breach crisis plan in case an incident does arise.

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The race is on to help develop cybersecurity for Internet of Things
There are more than 16 billion connected computing devices in use across the world today, with even more Things expected to utilize the Internet of Things (IoT) in the future.

Cybersecurity experts are concerned about a large number of threats, with 83 percent worried about rogue or unauthorized devices operating undetected in their networks, according to a recent survey by Pwnie Express. To make matters even worse, 69 percent of cybersecurity professionals cannot access full wireless visibility of devices, so it's difficult to identify what is actually connected.

As more companies and users embrace IoT, there is concern that the Internet of Evil Things (IoET) will find countless vulnerabilities to exploit in the future.

"This report underscores the need for increased visibility and actionable intelligence on all devices across the enterprise to enhance an organization's ability to quickly identify and thwart an attack," said Paul Paget, CEO of Pwnie Express. "It's our hope that infosec professionals are empowered to mobilize and begin assessing their security systems' readiness to defend business-critical infrastructure against the IoET threat."

Focus on IoT is prevalent during RSA this year, as security vendors prepare to help businesses work on better securing their networks.

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Get A Four-Year Subscription to ibVPN's Total Plan for 84% Off
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It's a no-brainer. Get your four-year subscription to ibVPN's Total plan for $59 at TweakTown Deals.

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Alien: Isolation developer announces Total War: Warhammer
Creative Assembly, the studio who released one of the most atmospheric games ever made last year in Alien: Isolation, has announced Total War: Warhammer. Total War: Warhammer is the third Total War game that the studio is working on right now, while they've just released Total War: Attila in February of this year.

The studio celebrated the news with a new cinematic trailer, which we've embedded above. The trailer teases that we can expect magic, monsters and flying beats, while providing players with turn-based campaign strategy and real-time tactical battles and letting you choose between various Warhammer factions.

With three Total War games in development right now, the announcement of Total War: Warhammer also includes the news of two additional standalone expansion packs. Announcing a third Total War game, and DLC at the same time, has allowed the studio to brag that all of this will "create the single largest Total War experience ever".


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Batman: Arkham Knight and Witcher 3 to receive post-release DX12 patch
With Microsoft reportedly releasing Windows 10 in July, according to AMD at least, what will be some of the first games to be upgraded with DX12 support?

MSI has revealed that The Witcher 3 and Batman: Arkham Knight will be some of the first games to receive DX12 support, something CD Projekt Red and Rocksteady Studios will provide through patches made available after they release their respective games. The news was revealed by MSI, and has been found on various forums like NeoGAF. Right now it's rumor territory, but with Batman: Arkham Knight and The Witcher 3 being two of the hottest games this year, it wouldn't be surprising.

The motherboard and VGA company said: "The most exciting part of Windows 10 for gamers is the introduction of DirectX 12. You are likely to start seeing the benefits of the new graphics technology already in The Witcher 3, Batman: Arkham Knight and more games released later this year. Some CPU-bound games like MMO's are able get a performance bump of up to 50% according to Microsoft".

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Google rumored to launch its wireless service as soon as this week
We've been hearing about Google's rumored wireless service for a little while now, but rumor has it that the Mountain View-based search giant may reveal its wireless service as soon as... today.

The Wall Street Journal is the source of the rumor according to their sources, with the wireless service also working on Sprint and T-Mobile's networks, and only on the Nexus 6 for now. The Google-powered network should be capable of switching between the two networks depending on which one is feeding your Nexus 6 with a stronger signal.

Customers will reportedly be able to pay for just the data they use, versus having to buy an allotted amount and then wasting it if they don't use it all by the end of the month. At Mobile World Congress last month, Google's Senior VP Sundar Pichai said: "We don't intend to be a carrier at scale. I think we're at the stage where we need to think of hardware, software, and connectivity together. We want to break down the barriers on how connectivity works".

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Tesla will unveil its home battery product on April 30
Tesla is hosting an even on April 30, where we have just been made aware that the company will be revealing its home battery, as well as a "very large" utility-oriented battery.

We don't know much else other than that little bit of info, but we should see a home battery unveiled that will take in the power from your solar panels, and keep it to use for when the sun isn't shining, or at night. We don't know how Tesla will change things up, how much the cost will be, or anything outside of this news, but it is incredibly exciting to be just over a week from finding out.

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Linksys WRT1200AC Wi-Fi Router Review


A little over a year ago, we took our first look at the much-anticipated WRT1900AC wireless router from Linksys. While the first iteration of the WRT platform was built for top tier performance, the latest solution is being geared towards the average home user.

The Linksys WRT1200AC is the latest wireless solution to come from the storied Linksys brand. Featuring the same design characteristics as the previous WRT solution, the 1200AC solution is built on a similar platform featuring the same 1.3GHz dual-core SoC, along with USB 3.0 and eSATA support.

In essence, the WRT1200AC is the little brother of the WRT1900, as many of the features remain including four gigabit Ethernet ports and of course I/O connectivity including both USB 3.0 and eSATA. Differentiating itself from the previous model, the Linksys WRT1200AC is built with N400 technology for the 2.4GHz band and AC867 for the 5GHz band. Two high performance antennas support the wireless network, while beamforming increases performance.

Linksys WRT1200AC Wi-Fi Router

Packaging for the Linksys WRT1200AC is quite similar to what we found with the 1900AC model. The front of the packaging houses an image of the router, with marketing information below.

The back of the packaging carries a comparison between the WRT1200, 1900 and EA6350. As you can see, the WRT1200 is the second in line for performance routers from Linksys.

Opening the box, we found the same care taken with the presentation. The WRT1200 is elegantly boxed with the router on top and accessories below.

Scope of delivery includes the router, Ethernet cable, wireless antennas, and reading materials.

The front of the WRT1200 is very similar to the 1900 solution we reviewed last year. The front carries LEDs for each Ethernet port and wireless band, along with storage connectivity.

The back of the router starts off the the WPS button at the far left, followed by the gigabit LAN and WAN. Moving down further, we find the USB 3.0 and eSATA ports, along with reset and power buttons.

The bottom of the router is vented via the many holes placed throughout. Above, the sticker carries the wireless password and SSID.
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Available Tags:Radeon , Microsoft , Xbox , PS4 , Google , wireless , Router

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