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Submission + - Crucial Limbos To 35 Cents Per GiB For Latest High Performance MX200 SATA SSD->

MojoKid writes: Prices for solid state drives have fallen precipitously over the past year. This is especially true when shopping 2.5-inch form factor SATA SSDs, which is where some of the best values in solid state storage are currently found. Micron's Crucial brand MX200 drives that were recently introduced, for example, are currently selling for around .35 to .36 per GiB for a 500GB capacity drive at $179 and $349 for a 1TB drive. Based on Marvell's 88SS9189 controller and 16nm Micron NAND Flash, it's a reasonably solid option for SATA-based storage and definitely marks another point on the trend line for solid state storage costs in mainstream, cost-sensitive applications. With performance north of 500MB/sec, IO response times are pretty snappy too.
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Submission + - Samsung Under Fire Over S Pen Design Issue That Breaks Note 5, Says Read Manual->

MojoKid writes: Samsung may have goofed up when designing its Galaxy Note 5, depending on your perspective. If you accidentally insert the S Pen backwards into the Galaxy Note 5, you could permanently damage your handset. And unlike previous Galaxy Note devices, there's no mechanism in place to prevent you from pushing a backwards oriented S Pen into place. It's not a foregone conclusion that your S Pen will get permanently stuck inside your Galaxy Note 5 if you insert it the wrong way. However, even if you're successful at removing it, there's a high chance you've already broken the mechanism that detects if an S Pen is attached or detached from the handset. The previous generation Galaxy Note 4 didn't allow the S Pen to be inserted backwards. It wouldn't fit but the Note 5's S Pen slides in either way very easily. Samsung's response to this is that users should read the manual, which warns about this specifically on page 25.
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Submission + - Intel Discloses Detailed Skylake Architecture Enhancements At IDF 2015->

MojoKid writes: Intel is still keeping a number of details regarding its complete Skylake microarchitecture and product line-up under wraps for a few more weeks, but at a public session at IDF, some of the design updates introduced with Skylake were detailed. Virtually every aspect of Skylake has been improved versus the previous-gen Haswell microarchitecture. I/O, Ring Bus, and LLC throughput has been increased, the graphics architecture has been updated to support DX12 and new eDRAM configurations, it has an integrated camera ISP, support for faster DDR4 memory, and more flexible overclocking features. All of these things culminate in a processor that offers higher IPC performance and improved power efficiency. There are also new security technologies dubbed Intel Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX) onboard Skylake, which support new instructions to create and isolate enclaves from malware and privileged software attack, along with Memory Protection Extensions (Intel MPX) to help protect stack and heap buffer boundaries as well. The cache structure itself hasn't changed much in Skylake, but throughput has been increased in multiple areas. Its eDRAM is fully coherent now, and can cache any data, and is available for use by the core, I/O, and display engine. Finally, a new technology, dubbed Intel Speed Shift, also allows Skylake to switch power states faster than previous-gen products, controlling P states fully in hardware, whereas previous-gen products required OS control. The end result is that Skylake can switch P states in 1ms, whereas it takes roughly 30ms with older processors.
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Submission + - Intel Skylake Gen9 Series Graphics Architecture Unveiled->

MojoKid writes: Intel's Skylake is here and the new architecture comprises Intel's 6th generation Core line of CPUs. In recent testing it was confirmed that Intel's Skylake-based Core i7-6700K is the company's fastest quad-core desktop processor to date. However, one thing Intel kept a tight lid on was the underlying technology of the Gen9 Intel HD Graphics engine on board Skylake, that is until now. An overview of the changes Intel made specific to Intel Gen9 graphics, notes the following among other tweaks: Available L3 cache capacity has been increased to 768 Kbytes per slice (512 Kbytes for application data). Sizes of both L3 and LLC request queues have been increased. This improves latency hiding to achieve better effective bandwidth against the architecture peak theoretical. Gen9 EDRAM now acts as a memory-side cache between LLC and DRAM. Also, the EDRAM memory controller has moved into the system agent, adjacent to the display controller, to support power efficient and low latency display refresh. Gen9 has also been designed to enable products with 1, 2, or 3 slices, each with 24 EUs per slice and 8 EUs per subslice. Finally, Gen9 adds new power gating and clock domains for more efficient dynamic power management. This can particularly improve low power media playback modes.
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Submission + - Asus Launches $299 ZenPad S 8.0 Android Tablet, 2K IPS Display, USB-C Port, 64GB->

MojoKid writes: Asus seems to be on a roll these days, especially in mobile technologies. In the past few months, the company surprised many with the affordable and capable ZenPhone 2 smartphone (which starts at a frugal $200 off-contract) Today, Asus invoked its "Zen factor" again, this time in the tablet space, with the introduction of its ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA. Front and center on the new ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA is a crisp, 7.9-inch QXGA (2048x1536) IPS display. The device is also very thin, just a hair thicker than an iPad Mini 3, for reference, measuring .3 inches thick. On back, the ZenPad S 8 has a brushed and textured aluminum finish that completely resists fingerprints and a rubberize bottom strip that offers an anti-skid effect and also makes the device less slippery in the hand. Under the hood, there's a potent quad-core, 64-bit Intel Atom Z3580 processor paired with a PowerVR G6430 for graphics duties. The Atom chip is backed by a healthy 4GB of RAM, which ASUS says is a tablet first, along with 64GB of standard internal Flash storage. It's also one of the first tablets on the market with USB-C support. Probably one of the better features of the new Asus Android slate, however, is its MSRP of $299.
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Submission + - Motorola Quickly Shows Next Moto 360 Smartwatch, 'Flat Tire' Display Lives On->

MojoKid writes: Will they or won't they continue on with the 'flat tire' display? That's been the big question surrounding Motorola's next generation Moto 360 smartwatch. Today, we finally learn the answer to the question, and unfortunately, it looks as though Motorola still hasn't seen clear to incorporate a completely circular display like LG, Huawei and now Samsung into a smartwatch. In an incredibly short video posted to Motorola's official Twitter account (the tweet has since been taken down), we see a fleeting glimpse of the next generation Moto 360. There is still a cutout at the bottom of the display, which houses an ambient light sensor in the current generation Moto 360. Keen eyes will also spot that the side button has been moved from the 3 o'clock position to the 2 o'clock position and that the integrated lug system for the watch bands has been abandoned in favor of an external lug system typical of most modern wristwatches.
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Submission + - Hands On Samsung's New Galaxy S6 Edge+ And Galaxy Note 5 At Unpacked New York->

MojoKid writes: Samsung held their Unpacked 2015 event in New York City today and the company unveiled its latest flagship, big-screen smartphones, the Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note5. Immediately following the on-stage presentations and reveals, Samsung opened up a demo area featuring the new devices for direct hands-on time. Both of these phones feature a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with a QHD screen resolution (2560x1440), though the sides of the S6 Edge+'s display are curved. Powering the both devices is the the same octal-core Samsung Exynos 7420 processor that's at the heart of the previously-released Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. These new phones, however, are packing 4GB of RAM—not just 3GB, like the older models and also have LTE Cat9 support and high-speed wireless charging built-in. Samsung has also beefed up the cameras; these new devices pack the same 16MP sensor from the Galaxy S6 with OIS, but an additional digital image stabilization algo which complements the optical solution to further smooth out video is included as well. Built-in software on the new devices also allows for live-streaming to YouTube.
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Submission + - Researchers Discover Rootkit Exploit In Intel Processors Dating Back To 1997->

MojoKid writes: There have been many juicy bits of info to come out of this year's Black Hat conference, including hacking into cars, Macs that suffer a Thunderbolt bug, Microsoft boosting its bug bounty, and yet more vulnerabilities relating to Android. But wait, there's more. According to Christopher Domas, a researcher for Battelle Memorial Institute, all of Intel's (and possibly AMD's, and with the exception of its absolute latest) x86-based processors dating back to 1997 are vulnerable to an exploit that could grant someone access to the lowest-level firmware in a PC. The exact target is System Management Mode, the part of a PC that handles system errors and grants control to various subsystems, such as power. While exploiting this bug requires full system privileges, a successful injection could result in a wiped or rootkitted EFI.
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Submission + - Tesla's Creepy 'Solid Metal Snake' Robotic Charger Slithers Its Way Into Model S

bigwophh writes: Last year, Elon Musk hinted at a new product that Tesla Motors was working on in its research lab. What Musk described seemed creepy at the time, especially considering that he had just recently shown off “The D” at an evening press event. “By the way, we are actually working on a charger that automatically moves out from the wall and connects like a solid metal snake,” said Musk. We didn’t think much else about this intriguing contraption given the precious little details that Musk provided at the time. But fast forward seven months and we now have video of the serpent-like charger in action.

Submission + - Intel Launches Skylake: Core i7 6700K Quad-Core, Z170 Chipset, Tested->

MojoKid writes: Although Intel is holding many of the architectural details regarding its latest Skylake-based, 6th generation Core processors back until IDF goes down in San Francisco in a couple of weeks, the company is announcing a pair of new processors and their companion Z170 motherboard chipset today. Skylake is a "tock" in Intel's release cadence, which signifies a new microarchitecture. The new Skylake-based Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K squarely target performance enthusiasts. The Intel Core i7-6700K is a quad-core CPU that can processes up to 8 threads simultaneously (4C/8T), thanks to Intel's HyperThreading feature. Other features include a new DX12-capable HD 530 series graphics engine, though its new video encoding engine is also capable of accelerated HVEC encoding. The Core i7-6700K has a base clock of 4GHz with a max turbo frequency of 4.2GHz, though it will drop down to only 800MHz when idle. It has a TDP of 91W and over 8MB of cache on-board, 256K of L1 (64K per core), 1MB of L2 cache (256K per core), and 6MB of L3. Some new additions to Skylake include independent clock domains, so there are no more PEG/DMI ratios required, and FIVR—Intel's Fully Integrated Voltage Regulator technology—is gone. Those changes, in addition to its architectural tweaks, result is a processor that can be overclocked using finer-grained BCLK frequency manipulation. The new Core i5 6600 K has identical features but has no HyperThreading and a 3.5GHz base clock and 3.9GHz boost with only 6MB cache. In testing, the new Core i7-6700K proved to be the fastest quad-core desktop processor Intel has released to date. Across the board, the Core i7-6700K offered stronger performance that outpaced all other quad-cores tested. The DX12-class HD 530 graphics core is also an upgrade over the previous generation HD-series integrated GPU, but it can't keep pace with the Iris Pro 6200 architecture found in the Broadwell-based Core i7-5775C. With overclocking, the 6700K was able to hit 4.6GHz with air cooling but reports from Intel are that speeds up to 5GHz should be possible as well.
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Submission + - Windows 10 Upgrade Strategies, Pitfalls And Fixes As MSFT Servers Are Hit Hard-> 1

MojoKid writes: The upgrade cycle begins, with Microsoft's latest operating system--the highly anticipated Windows 10--rolling out over Windows Update for free, for users of Windows 7, 8 and 8.1. For those that are ready to take the plunge over the weekend, there are some things to note. So far, Microsoft has been rolling out the upgrade in waves and stages. If you are not one of the 'lucky' ones to be in the first wave, you can take matters into your own hands and begin the upgrade process manually. While the process is mostly simple, it won't be for everyone. This guide steps through a few of the strategies and pitfalls. There are two main methods to upgrade, either through Windows Update or through the Media Creation Tool. In either case, you will need to have opted-in for the Windows 10 Free Upgrade program to reserve your license. Currently, the Windows Update method is hit or miss due to the requirement for additional updates needing to be installed first and Microsoft's servers being hit hard, leading to some rather humorous error messages like the oh-so helpful description, "Something Happened". Currently, it would be best to avoid the Windows Update upgrade, at least for the time being. Numerous issues with licensing have been reported, requiring manual activation either through the dreaded phone call, or by running slmgr.vbs /ato at the command prompt to force license registration.
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Submission + - Intel And Micron Unveil 3D XPoint Memory, 1000X Speed And Endurance Over Flash->

MojoKid writes: Today at a press conference in San Francisco, Intel and Micron unveiled 3D XPoint (Cross Point) memory technology, a non-volatile memory architecture so disruptive it could very well change the entire landscape of consumer electronics and computer architectures for years to come. Intel and Micron claim that 3D XPoint memory is 1000 times faster than NAND, boasts 1000x the endurance of NAND, and offers 8 — 10 times the density of conventional memory. 3D XPoint isn't electron based, it's material based. The companies aren't diving into specifics yet surrounding the materials used in 3D XPoint, but the physics are fundamentally different than what we're used to. It's 3D stackable and its cross point connect structure allows for dense packing and individual access at the cell level from the top or bottom of a memory array. Better still, Intel alluded to 3D XPoint not being as cost-prohibitive as you might expect. Intel's Rob Crooke explained "You could put the cost somewhere between NAND and DRAM." Products with the new memory are expected to arrive in 2016 and the joint venture is in production with wafers now.
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Submission + - Intel Core i7-5775C Desktop Broadwell With Iris Pro 6200 Graphics Tested

bigwophh writes: 14nm Broadwell processors weren’t originally destined for the channel, but Intel ultimately changed course and launched a handful of 5th Generation Core processors based on the microarchitecture recently, the most powerful of which is the Core i7-5775C. Unlike all of the mobile Broadwell processors that came before it, the Core i7-5775C is a socketed, LGA processor for desktops, just like 4th Generation Core processors based on Haswell. In fact, it’ll work in the very same 9-Series chipset motherboards currently available (after a BIOS update). The Core i7-5775C, however, features a 128MB eDRAM cache and integrated Iris Pro 6200 series graphics, which can boost graphics performance significantly. Testing shows that the Core i7-5775C's lower CPU core clocks limit its performance versus Haswell, but its Iris Pro graphics engine is clearly more powerful.

Submission + - Pocket SCiO Spectrometer Sends Chemical Composition Of Anything To Smartphones->

MojoKid writes: Is that a tricorder in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? All joking aside, the handheld SCiO could truly make you feel like a member Bones McCoy's medical team. The SCiO turns science fiction into science fact by shrinking mass spectrometry technology used in traditional lab settings into a device small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. While pricey handheld spectrometers have been available for researchers, the SCiO is the first such device marketed directly at consumers. To get the SCiO down to a reasonable price point, Consumer Physics uses near-IR spectroscopy and optics typically found in smartphones to measure the light reflected from any given object. Held at a distance of 5 to 15 mm from the intended target, SCiO captures reflected spectrum data and uploads it to its own cloud platform. The company's proprietary algorithms then analyze the data and send the information back down to your smartphone (SCiO require a Bluetooth connection). Reportedly, this whole process occurs within 1.5 seconds. The hope is to empower consumers to learn more about the world around them and even about the things that we put in our mouth. You'll be able to ascertain nutritional information about the foods you eat without having to rely on labels, or even determine the ripeness of fruits and vegetables with the push of a button. The Whole Foods crowd will be all over this, one would think.
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Submission + - Emotionally Aware Apps That Respond To Feelings Are On The Horizon->

bigwophh writes: Machine learning has helped a multitude of different technologies become a reality, including emotion-detection. Most examples to date have been rather simple, such as being able to detect a smile or a frown. But with today's super-fast computers, and even mobile devices, we're now able to detect emotion with far greater accuracy and nuance. Facial recognition expert Rana el Kaliouby recently gave a talk at TED to highlight just how accurate emotion-detection has become, and depending on your perspective, the result is either amazing, or downright scary. To accurately detect someone's emotion, Rana's software detects eight different factors, which include frowning, showing disgust, engaged, and raised eyebrows, among other things. Through research with this software, a couple of interesting factoids are revealed. In the United States, women are 40% more likely to smile than men. But the technology is ultimately destined for software that will detect the user's emotion and react accordingly.
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