MojoKid writes: A couple of weeks ago, NVIDIA CEO Jen Hsun-Huang unveiled the company's new high-end graphics cards, the GeForce GTX 1080 and GeForce GTX 1070. Huang claimed the cards represented a true generational leap in performance and efficiency, thanks to NVIDIA's new Pascal GPU architecture. Yesterday, the official launch of the GeForce GTX1080 took place, with full specs revealed and the benchmarks results are in. The GPU at the heart of the GeForce GTX 1080 Founder's Edition has a base clock of 1607MHz and a boost clock of 1733MHz, though boost clocks actually shot a little higher right out of the box in some game tests (one test card went up to 1823MHz occasionally, without overclocking). The GDDR5X memory on the card is clocked at 5GHz for an effective data rate of 10Gbps. At its reference clocks, the GTX 1080 offers up to 320GB/s of memory bandwidth and a peak texture fillrate of 257.1 GigaTexels/s, all within a 180 watt power envelope and the card only needs a single, 8-pin power feed. In the benchmarks GeForce GTX 1080 is roughly 20 -25 percent faster than a Titan X and 10 – 15 percent faster than a factory overclocked GeForce GTX 980 Ti. It was also significantly faster than AMD's Radeon R9 Fury X, in both DirectX 11 and Direct X 12 game titles.
MojoKid writes: Alanis Morissette famously sang about rain on your wedding day and ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife. She belted out many other examples of irony, though if she's in need of a new verse, she may want to consider the FBI's public service announcement about the need to beef up security in today's Internet connected cars while simultaneously taking Apple to court in an attempt to weaken iPhone security. Maybe that's not entirely fair, but it's hard not to see the irony. On one hand, the FBI wants the courts to force Apple to assist with bypassing the security measures that are in place on an iPhone, despite Apple's warning that doing so would ultimately put hundreds of millions of iPhones at risk. On the other hand, the FBI in partnership with the Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a PSA on Thursday warning motorists and automakers that today's motor vehicles are increasingly vulnerable to remote exploits. After running down a scary list of examples of how hackers can and have remotely attacked Internet-connected vehicles, the FBI-backed PSA makes several recommendations to consumers and automakers. The very first recommendation is to ensure that any and all vehicle software is up to date, followed by a warning to be careful when making any modifications to vehicle software. Did your irony meter just peg the red line? The same advice could and should be applied to smartphones--run the latest software and be wary of any modifications to that software. Yet that's exactly what the FBI wants Apple to do.
MojoKid writes: The latest installment in the Doom franchise is due to launch on May 13th. While beta testers await the closed multiplayer round, which will run from March 31st through April 3rd, Bethesda has just offered a taste of what to expect with a new trailer. The multiplayer beta is a rush to the senses and offers the usual brutal gameplay reminiscent of previous Doom titles but with a huge boost in graphics fidelity and special effects. However, the somewhat colorful palette and character models remind us a little of the Unreal engine, mixed in with a dash of Halo. One of the more interesting features highlighted in the trailer, is the ability to transform from an ordinary soldier into ravenous demon. How'd you like to rip the limbs off your opponents with ease or devour their noggins as if you were biting the head off a chocolate bunny? Have at it in the Doom multiplayer.
MojoKid writes: Intel and Micron have been tag-teaming various storage and memory technologies and word on the web is that the fruits of that partnership is a 10-terebyte SSD that's right around the corner. The largest SSD in Intel's stable at the moment is 4TB, which itself is pretty large. However, both Micron and Intel are of the opinion that typical planar NAND flash memory has gone about as far as it can go, and that 3D stacked Flash memory is the future. They've also developed a "floating gate cell" design—a first for 3D stacked memory—resulting in 256Gb multi-level cell (MLC) and 384Gb triple-level cell (TLC) die that fit inside of a standard package. The two companies are targeting gumstick-sized SSDs reaching 3.5TB and regular 2.5-inch SSDs hitting (and even surpassing) 10TB. Apparently that's about to become a reality.
MojoKid writes: AMD is long overdue for a major architecture update, though one is coming later this year. Featuring the codename "Zen," AMD's already provided a few details, such as that it will be built using a 14nm FinFET process. In time, AMD will reveal all there is to know but Zen, but we now have a few additional details to share thanks to a computer engineer at CERN. CERN engineer Liviu Valsan recently gave a presentation on technology and market trends for the data center. At around 2 minutes into the discussion, he brought up AMD's Zen architecture with a slide that contained some previously undisclosed details. One of the more interesting revelations was that upcoming x86 processors based on Zen will feature of up to 32 physical cores. To achieve a 32-core design, Valsan says AMD will use two 16-core CPUs on a single die with a next-generation interconnect. It has also been previously reported that Zen will offer up to a 40 percent improvement in IPC compared to its current processors as well as symmetric multithreading or SMT akin to Intel HyperThreading. In a 32-core implementation this would result in 64 logical threads of processing.
MojoKid writes: ASUS recently revamped their ZenBook UX305 family of ultralight notebooks with Intel's 6th generation Skylake Core m series, which brings with it not only improved graphics performance for the 4.5 Watt processor family but also native support for PCI Express NVMe M.2 Solid State Drives. The platform is turning out to be fairly strong for this category of notebooks and the low cost ZenBook ($699 as tested) is a good example of what it's capable of in a balanced configuration. Tested here, the machine is configured with a 256GB M.2 SSD, 8GB of RAM and a 2.2GHz Core m3-6Y30 dual-core CPU. Along with 802.11ac wireless connectivity, the ZenBook UX305 is setup nicely and it puts up solid performance numbers in both standard compute tasks and graphics. It also offers some of the best battery life numbers in an ultralight yet, lasting over 10 hours on a charge in real world connected web testing.
MojoKid writes: The original Intel Compute Stick wasn't without issues. Last year's model featured dated 802.11n wireless connectivity and had only a single USB port, which meant using a hub and/or dongles, should you want to connect multiple peripherals to the device or boost its wireless capabilities. The new updated Intel Compute Stick, however, features Intel's newer Cherry Trail Atom platform, with 802.11ac 2x2 WiFi, and USB 3.0. There's still just 2GB of RAM in the device, along with 32GB of storage, but Windows 10 Home also now comes pre-installed. The result is a fully functional PC that won't burn up any benchmarks but offers utility for mainstream computing tasks and is even capable of streaming up to 4K video content. The little device can essentially turn any HDMI-equipped display into a basic PC.
MojoKid writes: Solid State Drive technology continues to make strides in performance, reliability and cost. And of course, at CES 2016 there were a number of storage manufacturers on hand showing off their latest grear, though none made quite the splash that Toshiba's OCZ Technology group made with the annoucement of their new RevoDrive 400 NVMe PCI Express SSD. OCZ is tapping on Toshiba's NVMe controller technology to deliver serious bandwidth in this consumer-targeted M.2 gumstick style drive that also comes with a X4 PCI Express card adapater. The drive boasts specs conservatively at 2.4GB/sec for reads and 1.6GB/sec for writes in peak sequential transfer bandwidth. IOPs are rated at 210K and 140K for writes respectively. In the demo ATTO test they were running, the RevoDrive 400 actually peaks at 2.69GB/sec for reads and also hits every bit of that 1.6GB/sec write spec for large sequential transfers. Smaller file workloads are also met with solid performance, in line with some of the top NVMe drives on the marke. Capacities for the RevoDrive 400 drop in at 128GB, 256GB, 512GB (the drive tested above) and 1TB. Pricing is TBD.
MojoKid writes: When Dell launched its updated XPS 13 notebook with its Infinity Edge display that squeezes a 13-inch IPS panel into a 12-inch frame, it was met with praise for its unique mechanical design advantages and premium build quality. It was so well-received that Dell quickly worked to bring a similar revamp to its XPS 15 line of 15-inch notebooks. The XPS 15 configuration tested here is one of Dell's best setups, with a 4K IPS display, a 6th gen Intel Core i7-6700HQ Skylake quad-core CPU with turbo boost to 3.5GHz, 16GB of DDR4-2133 RAM, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M mobile GPU and a 512GB NVMe PCI Express SSD. At around 4 pounds, depending on config, the carbon fiber-strapped 15-inch Dell ultralight performs like a beefier desktop replacement machine and with an 84 Whr battery, it has decent battery life too. However, that 4K Infinity Edge display is definitely its high point. Though occasional font and app scaling issues still crop up in Windows 10, Dell's near bezel-less 350-nits panel is impressive. The XPS 15 is a pricey machine but compared to a similarly equipped MacBook Pro, it retails for hundreds less and with better specs overall.
MojoKid writes: Hardcore Nintendo fans will soon be able to slap a piece of nostalgia on their wrist. It's a Super Mario Bros timepiece, made by luxury watch maker Romain Jerome, which isn't shying away from the famous plumber's affinity for taking mushrooms to induce strange effects. The three-dimensional scene captured on the watch face has Super Mario in mid air, legs kicked out and arms pumped in familiar fashion, as he no doubt chases the mushroom on the lower third of the scene. Even the dial is a throwback to pixelated gaming; it was designed with a three-layer technique to give it a look that blends in with the old-school theme. This isn't Romain Jerome's first retro-themed watch for nostalgic gamers. The company also carries Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and Tetris watches. However, not many of these watches are being made; just 85, in fact and priced at $18,950 a pop. Better start pounding the bricks for coins.
MojoKid writes: After years of slow evolution, the desktop monitor market is now seemingly full of new innovations and technologies. 4K panels, as well as G-Sync and FreeSync monitors, for example, force enthusiasts and gamers to make a tough decision. Many PC users have migrated to high-end 4K displays on their main workstations due to the sharpness, color uniformity, and immense pixel real estate available. However, currently those displays typically max out at only 60Hz and some Windows applications still look funky on HiDPI displays. Now that relatively high-quality IPS panels are available with high 165Hz refresh rates in displays like the ASUS PG279Q (also NVIDIA G-Sync capable), in lieu of more common, lower quality TN panels that aren't as accurate and have poor viewing angles, choosing between pixel density and high refresh rates is much more difficult. The smoothness and responsiveness of using a high refresh rate while gaming and on the desktop, can have a significant impact on your computing experience. It's easier on your eyes too. So are 4K panels, at least the current generation, really that much better for a desktop display, just because of high resolution?
MojoKid writes: After years of slow evolution, the desktop monitor market is now seemingly full of new innovations and technologies. 4K panels, as well as G-Sync and FreeSync monitors, for example, force enthusiasts and gamers to make a tough decision. Many PC users have migrated to high-end 4K displays on their main workstations due to the sharpness, color uniformity, and immense pixel real estate available. But currently those displays typically max out at only 60Hz and some Windows applications still look funky on HiDPI displays. Now that relatively high-quality IPS panels are available with high 144Hz refresh rates in displays like the ASUS MG279Q (also FreeSync capable), in lieu of more common, lower quality TN panels that aren't as accurate and have poor viewing angles, choosing between pixel density and high refresh rates is much more difficult. The smoothness and responsiveness of using a high refresh rate while gaming and on the desktop, can have a significant impact on your computing experience. It's easier on your eyes too. So are 4K panels, at least the current generation, really that much better just because of high resolution?
MojoKid writes: After years of stagnation, the desktop monitor market is now is now full of new innovations and technologies. 4K panels, as well as G-Sync and FreeSync monitors, for example, force enthusiasts and gamers to make a tough decision. Many PC users have migrated to high-end 4K displays on their main workstations due to the sharpness, color uniformity, and immense pixel real estate available. But currently those displays typically max out at only 60Hz and some Windows applications still look funky on HiDPI displays. Now that relatively high-quality IPS panels are available with high 144Hz refresh rates in displays like the ASUS MG279Q (also FreeSync capable), in lieu of more common, lower quality TN panels that aren't as accurate and have poor viewing angles, choosing between pixel density and high refresh rates is much more difficult. The smoothness and responsiveness of using a high refresh rate while gaming and on the desktop, can have a significant impact on your computing experience. It's easier on your eyes too. So are 4K panels, at least the current generation, really that much better just because of high resolution?
MojoKid writes: The Internet and web browsers are an ever changing congruous mass of standards and design. Browser development is a delicate balance between features, security, compatibility and performance. However, although each browser has its own catchy name, some of them share a common web engine. Regardless, if you are in a business environment that's rolling out Windows 10, and the only browsers you have access to are Microsoft Edge or IE — go with Edge. It's the better browser of the two by far (security not withstanding). If you do have a choice, then there might better options to consider, depending on your use case. The performance differences between browsers currently are less significant than one might think. If you exclude IE, most browsers perform within 10-20% of each other, depending on the test. For web standards compliance like HTML5, Blink browsers (Chrome, Opera and Vivaldi) still have the upper-hand, even beating the rather vocal and former web-standards champion, Mozilla. Edge seems to trail all others in this area even though it's often the fastest in various tests.
MojoKid writes: Wireless routers are going through somewhat of a renaissance right now, thanks to the arrival of the 802.11ac standard that is "three times as fast as wireless-N" and the proliferation of Internet-connected devices in our homes and pockets. So, what is the big deal with AC and should you care? First off, it's backwards compatible with all previous standards and whereas 802.11n was only able to pump out 450Mb/s of total bandwidth, 802.11ac is capable of transmitting at up to 1,300Mbps on a 5GHz channel. AC capabilty is only available on the 5GHz channel, which has fewer devices on it than a typical 2.4GHz channel. The trade-off is that 5GHz signals typically don't travel as far as those on the 2.4GHz channel. However, 802.11ac makes up for it with a technology named Beamforming, which allows it to figure out where devices are located and amplify the signal in their direction instead of just broadcasting in all directions like 802.11n. Also, while 802.11n supports only four streams of data, 802.11ac supports up to eight streams on channels that are twice as wide. HotHardware's AC Router round-up takes a look at four flagship AC routers from ASUS, TRENDnet, D-Link and Netgear. All are AC3200 routers that use the new Broadcom XStream 5G platform. Netgear's Nighthawk X6 tends to offer the best balance of performance in various use cases, along with some killer good looks. However, all models performed similarly, with subtle variances in design, features and pricing left to diffentiate them from one another.