Wednesday, February 10, 2016

IT News Head Lines (Overclockers Club) 11/02/2016

Overclockers Club



G.Skill Trident Z DDR4-3400 16GB Memory Review


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PC Bundles Announced for Oculus Rift
Oculus has announced a number of "Oculus Ready" systems from ASUS, Alienware, and Dell. The systems start at $1,500 when bundled with the Rift, including a bundle discount. The cheapest system features an Intel Core i5-6400, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970, 8GB of DDR4, and a 1TB hard drive. At the other end of the spectrum the system uses a Core i7-5820K, GTX 980, 16GB of DDR4, a 128GB SSD, and a 2TB hard drive for $3,150. None of the bundles include an AMD video card despite the fact that the cards do support the Oculus Rift.
Source: PC World


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Non-K Skylake CPUs Can No Longer be Overclocked Due to CPU Microcode Update
In July of last year, it was reported that Skylake processors from Intel that were not a part of the K-series would be able to be overclocked due to changes made by motherboard manufacturers. Then, in December of last year, ASRock released a BIOS update that enabled overclocking for Intel Skylake CPUs that were not marketed as being overclockable. Now, Intel has pushed an official CPU microcode update to various motherboard partners that unfortunately disables the ability for customers to overclock their non-K series Skylake processors. An Intel spokesman noted that "The latest update provided to partners includes, among other things, code that aligns with the position that we do not recommend overclocking processors that have not been designed to do so." The spokesman went on to say that "Additionally, Intel does not warranty the operation of the processor beyond its specifications."
Fortunately for consumers, the CPU microcode update that disables the ability for Intel Skylake processors that are not a part of the K-series to be overclocked will only make its way onto motherboards with a BIOS update. So, in short, consumers can still overclock their non-K series Skylake processors as long as they continue to utilize the BIOS update that enabled the feature in the first place.
Source: TechPowerUp


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Intel Skylake Overclocked to 7GHz
The Intel Core i7-6700K is the "flagship" processor of the Skylake architecture with a base speed of 4GHz, but the base speed is never enough for some people. Overclocker Chi-Kui Lam managed to achieve a clock speed of 7025.66MHz, breaking the record for highest clock speed on the new architecture, but falling short of the highest clock speed of 8722.78MHz, obtained using an AMD FX-8370. Lam paired the CPU with an ASRock motherboard, G.SKILL memory, a 1300W Antec power supply, and liquid nitrogen cooling. In addition to the ultra low temperature cooling provided by the liquid nitrogen, Lam also chose to disable all but one core to give the best chance of achieving high clock speeds.
Source: Hot Hardware
Intel Skylake Overclocked to 7GHz

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The Division Getting an Open Beta
Starting the end of January, Ubisoft held a closed beta for the upcoming Tom Clancy's The Division game and if you missed it, do not worry, you will get a second chance soon. Today Ubisoft has announced The Division is getting an open beta February 19-21 for the PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One. For Xbox One players it starts a day early, so you can have an additional 24 hours of exclusive access.
The open beta will include the content featured in the closed beta along with a new story mission. Everyone who plays in the beta will receive a special in-game reward once the full game releases on March 8.
Source: The Division Official Website


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday, February 9, 2016, Edition
Another Tuesday has arrived, bringing with it a couple of items for you to check out. We have a review of the NZXT Manta case that offers some unique external styling thanks to the curved panels and an overall clean appearance. If you need a case that's even smaller, perhaps the Fractal Design Core 500 SFF case is for you, with this tiny case holding a Mini-ITX motherboard and plenty of full-size components.
Cases

NZXT Manta @ ThinkComputers

Fractal Design Core 500 SFF @ Madshrimps


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Amazon Launches Lumberyard Game Engine and Amazon GameLift
Back in August 2014, Amazon surprised a great many by purchasing Twitch for almost $1 billion. The company's latest move is perhaps less surprising though as it has launched its own game engine, Lumberyard. This engine is based on technologies from CryEngine, Double Helix Games, which was also purchased by Amazon in 2014, and AWS, or Amazon Web Services. The engine is completely free to use, including its source code, and comes with Twitch integration. The only thing Amazon will charge a developer for is its uses of AWS.
Also announced today is Amazon GameLift for Lumberyard games. It is a service for deploying, operating, and scaling multiplayer game sessions, which will hopefully cut the time it takes developers to build the multiplayer backend needed for many of today's games. With it game servers can be deployed across the AWS Cloud and the capacity can be scaled up and down as needed, thanks to real-time reporting of server capacity and player demand. It is currently available in AWS US East and US West regions and costs $1.50 per 1000 Daily Active Users on top of the standard AWS fees.
Source: Amazon


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Sony Announces SLW-M Series SSD
Sony-Asia has announced its first solid state drives that will sell in retail. The Asia-based company is being careful and testing its regional market with only two models of its SSD, a 240 GB and a 480 GB version. Sony’s SLW-M SSDs come in the standard 2.5 inch form factor and use a SATA-6 Gbps interface. The drives are said to be capable of up to 560 MB/s sequential read speed and up to 530 MB/s sequential write speed. As a bonus for the customer, the drives come with Acronis True Image 2015 and Sony SSD ToolBox pre-loaded to help users manage and back up their data. The SLW-M SSDs feature a Phison PS3110-S10 controller and a buffer of 128 MB DDR3 made by Nanya. These specifications are very promising for Sony, and its choice of hardware indicates it is trying to compete with the more affordable SSDs on the market, like the OCZ Trion 100 series and the Kingston HyperX Savage.
Source: Anandtech


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Batteries Might Get a Boost from Pollen
Pollen is a fairly common material in Nature, and for those with allergies, it may be a bit too common. Either way this makes it interesting as a potential feedstock and researchers at Purdue University have found an intriguing use for it. By processing pollen into carbon, the researchers were able to create anodes for lithium-ion batteries with some impressive properties.
The researchers started with bee pollen and cattail pollen, and with a process called pyrolysis created pure carbon. This process involves heating the material to high temperatures in a chamber of argon gas, leaving a pure-carbon version of the original object. This pollen-derived carbon was then activated at around 300 ºC in an oxygen environment, causing pores to form. These pores improve the energy storage capacity of the carbon by increasing its surface area. The researchers next took the pollen anodes and found that while it took 10 hours to fully charge them only one hour was needed to reach more than half charge. In theory the graphite anodes currently used in lithium-ion batteries can reach 372 milliamp hours, and with just one hour reached 200 mA hours with these new anodes.
In the future the researchers intend to test these anodes in a full-cell battery with a commercial cathode. Further testing will be required to determine just how viable these anodes will be, and perhaps ways to improve their efficiency will also be discovered.
Source: Purdue University


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Assets and USB Technology of IronKey from Imation is Acquired by Kingston Digital
Kingston Digital, the flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, has revealed that it has officially acquired the assets and USB technology of IronKey from Imation. The acquisition provides customers with a comprehensive set of products and solutions, thereby demonstrating the commitment that Kingston has when it comes to providing trusted encryption solutions for mobile data. Valentina Vitolo, the Flash Business Manager at Kingston, noted that "The addition and integration of the IronKey brand with our own award-winning line of DataTraveler encrypted USB drives provides a dynamic range of encrypted solutions for customers of all levels who want to protect mobile data." Vitolo went on to say that "Having our great partner DataLocker manage both the EMS and SafeConsole platforms is a win for all of our combined customers."
Kingston notes that there will be no immediate change to the way that businesses work with channel partners currently supporting IronKey products. Kingston also announced that more information surrounding the acquisition of the assets and USB technology of IronKey from Imation will be available at the RSA Conference 2016 in San Francisco, CA, which runs from February 29 to March 4.
Source: TechPowerUp


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First 4K Blu-Ray Player Released

Much to the delight of 4K TV owners, the first 4K Blu-Ray player is now on sale. Samsung’s UBD-K8500 was scheduled to roll out in March after being announced in Q4 2015, but some shops already have the player in stock. Customers ordering from Best Buy have been informed that it will ship on February 10. The Samsung UBD-K8500 can stream 4K video from Netflix thanks to its built in Wi-Fi adapter. It supports full 7.1 channel audio, and can play standard Blu-Rays, DVDs, and CDs. While there is a definite lack of 4K content, multiple studios have announced films will be released and re-released in Ultra High Definition. Titles such as The Martian are available on pre-order with shipping dates as early as March 1.
Source: The Verge



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Ubisoft Responds to Claims That PC Version of The Division Is Held Back by Consoles
It is no secret that when comparing the graphics and performance of a game released on both PC and consoles, the PC version usually comes out on top due to a number of factors including more powerful hardware and customization options. Ubisoft is now facing accusations that the PC version of its upcoming game The Division is being "held back" by the console versions of the game. The accusations are based on an interview that YouTubers Team Epiphany did with a Ubisoft developer who said "We do have to kind of keep it in check with consoles because it would kind of be unfair just to push it so far away from them." Ubisoft has now responded stating, "It has come to our attention that a comment from one of our team members has been perceived by some members of the community to imply the PC version of The Division was 'held back' and this is simply not true. From the beginning, the PC version of The Division was developed from the ground up and we're confident players will enjoy the game and the features this version has to offer. And the feedback from PC players who participated in the recent closed beta supports this." It will be interesting to see how the different versions of the game compare when the final version is released.
Source: PCGamesN


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Phanteks Announces Eclipse P400 and P400S Cases
Phanteks Announces Eclipse P400 and P400S Cases
Phanteks has announced its latest case series with the Eclipse P400 and P400S. The P400S is the Silent Edition of the base model case and both cases will be available in Satin Black, Anthracite Grey, and Glacier White. The cases are described as "compact midtowers that are easy for beginning PC builders that want to create a clean and beautiful build." Phanteks used the Enthoo series as a base for the case with metal exterior, RGB lighting, dust filters, and radiator mount points. The P400S has all the features of the base model with the added bonus of a soundproofing layer and 3-speed fan controller. The P400 has an MSRP of $69.99 without a window or $79.99 with a window, while prices for the P400S are $10 higher in both cases.
Source: Press Release


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$1700 AMD Polaris GPU Found in Shipping Database
With both AMD and NVIDIA making major shifts to 14 nm production nodes this year, there has been a great deal of interest in any bit of information about the upcoming GPU series. This latest data point comes from Zauba's shipping database where it lists a C99 graphics card, with a per unit value of roughly $1700. It is not clear what this is exactly, but with such a high value, it is likely meant for a very high-end Polaris-based graphics card, and perhaps even a dual GPU card. The Polaris series of GPUs have a release target of mid-2016.
Other Polaris GPUs have been spotted in this shipping database before and appear to form an interesting timeline. Previously C91, C92, and C98 GPUs have been found in the database, with the C98 appearing in December 2015 and the C91 and C92 chips going as far back as January 2015. In August 2015 the C91 and C92 chips gained their FOC designations, which was just months before Polaris GPUs were first shown off to the press. Potentially those demonstrated GPUs are these C91 and C92 graphics cards, which would also mean that AMD has had them in their labs for over a full year now. The C98 is likely one of the high-end chips, based on its having a per-unit value one third greater than AMD's Hawaii chips.
Source: WCCFtech


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Hardware Roundup: Monday, February 8, 2016, Edition
A new week begins with some items for you to check out, starting with the Scythe Ninja 4 SCNH-4000 CPU cooler. This cooler is a tower-style heat sink that may seem massive, yet can help lower system noise thanks to a quiet fan. We also have the QNAP TS-453A 4-bay QTS-Ubuntu Combo NAS, which can work as a home server or full on media center thanks to Ubuntu. Our final item for today is the Dell XPS 13 laptop, updated at the end of last year with a Skylake CPU, USB Type C with Thunderbolt 3 support, and plenty more to try and make this laptop the one to get.
CPU Cooling

Scythe Ninja 4 SCNH-4000 @ Frostytech
Storage/Hard Drives

QNAP TS-453A 4-bay QTS-Ubuntu Combo NAS @ Madshrimps
Laptops/Tablets

Dell XPS 13 @ TechSpot


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New Chip Could Bring AI to Phones and More
Neural networks and artificial intelligence are both things that have seemed to largely exist in science fiction for a long time, but recently advanced computer systems have been making them a reality. For most people though, these systems are something remote that data has to be sent to for processing. Thanks to researchers at MIT, we may actually be able to fit them into our pockets.
Neural networks are systems meant to emulate the operation of our brains with simple processing units. As GPUs are comprised of a great many cores, these are often used to create neural networks, and at 200 cores, even mobile GPUs can be used. The chip the MIT researchers created though is 10 times more efficiency than a mobile GPU, so it could allow mobile devices to run AI algorithms without help from the Cloud. To achieve this efficiency, the researchers designed the chip to reduce the number of times the cores access memory, which takes time and uses energy, and a circuit compresses the data before sending it. The cores also have the ability to communicate with their neighbors, so they can directly share data as needed. Finally there is special-purpose circuitry for allocating tasks to the cores, and this circuitry can be reprogrammed depending on what kind of network is desired.
Besides the possibility of phones being able to perform tasks locally and privately, this chip could also advance the Internet of Things by bringing neural networks to a variety of places. This would allow important decisions to be made automatically and without having to call back to a server, and would of course be helpful in battery-powered autonomous robots.
Source: MIT


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Available Tags:CPU , Intel , Hardware , Amazon , Amazon , Sony , SSD , USB , Kingston , Blu-Ray , Ubisoft , AMD , GPU

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