MojoKid writes: In early August the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled the FCC had no authority to prevent states from imposing restrictions on municipal internet. This was a result of the FCC stepping in last year in an effort to "remove barriers to broadband investment and competition." However, the courts sided with the states, which said that the FCC's order impeded on state rights. In the end, this ruling clearly favored firmly entrenched big brand operators like Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and AT&T, which lobby hard to keep competition at bay. The federal ruling specifically barred municipal internet providers from offering service outside of their city limits, denying them from providing service to under-served communities. The fallout from the federal court's rejection of the FCC order to extend a lifeline to municipal internet providers has claimed another victim. The small community of Pinetops, North Carolina — population 1,300 — will soon have its gigabit internet connection shut off. Pinetops has been the recipient of Greenlight internet service, which is provided by the neighboring town of Wilson. The town of Wilson has been providing electric power to Pinetops for the past 40 years, and had already deployed fiber through the town in order to bolster its smart grid initiative. What's infuriating to the Wilson City Council and to the Pinetop residents that will lose their high-speed service, is that the connections are already in place. There's no logical reason why they should be cut off, but state laws and the lobbyists supporting those laws have deemed what Greenlight is doing illegal. Provide power to a neighboring town — sure that's OK. Provide better internet to a neighboring town — lawsuit
MojoKid writes: Samsung announced a new family of 960 EVO and 960 Pro NVMe PCI Express M.2 Solid State Drives today. Built on Samsung's 3D V-NAND technology and employing the new Samsung Polaris SSD controller, the 960 Pro is Samsung's highest performance, high endurance drive and the successor to last year's 950 Pro. The 960 EVO is the lower cost model and a follow-on to last year's Samsung 950 EVO drive. The 960 EVO is also powered by the same Samsung Polaris controller but employs more cost-efficient Samsung TLC NAND memory. Both drives arrive in standard M.2 gumstick form factors with PCI Express Gen 3 X4 interfaces and utilizing the NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) protocol for lightning-fast speeds and low latency. Specifically, the 960 Pro offers up to 3.5GB/sec and 2.1GB/sec of sequential read and write throughput respectively, with endurance rated at up to 1200TB writes per day. The 950 EVO's specs drop in at a peak 3.2GB/sec and 1.9GB/sec for reads and writes respectively, with a top-end endurance rating of 400TB written per day. The 960 Pro will come in 512GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities starting at $329, while the 950 EVO comes in 250GB, 500GB and 1TB capacities starting at $129. Samsung will be shipping the drives in October this year.
MojoKid writes: Dell's XPS 13 is a very popular ultrabook not only because it's built with carbon fiber and machined aluminum but also because it manages to cram a 13.3-inch IPS display into a 11-inch notebook frame, thanks to Dell's fantastic Infinity Edge design that minimizes display bezel. Dell first brought out the machine back with Intel's Broadwell platform introduction but has since updated it with Intel Skylake CPUs. However, today Dell announced that they refreshed the machine again with Intel's 7th Gen Kaby Lake Core Series processors to improve performance and bolster battery life. Base systems come equipped with an Intel Core i3-7100U processor, while mid-range systems can be optioned with a Core i5-7200U and those who need more power can opt for a Core i7-7500U humming along at up to 3.5GHz. Starting weight remains at 2.7 pounds for non-touch display models, while selecting a touch panel will weigh in at 2.9 pounds. You can also choose from 1920x1080 FHD or UltraSharp 3200x1800 resolution Infinity Edge displays. Powering those displays is Intel's HD Graphics 620 IGP. The XPS 13 can be configured with up to 16GB of 1866MHz LPDDR3 memory and up to a 1TB PCIe SSD. Base systems come with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SATA drive. The refreshed XPS 13 is also now available in Rose Gold and will be available starting October 4th, with the Rose Gold Edition ringing in at $1,499.
MojoKid writes: Intel just launched a new family of low cost NVMe PCI Express Solid State drives called the SSD 600P series. The company claims the drives are "designed to deliver PCIe performance at near-SATA prices". To date, most NVMe PCIe solid state drives are roughly 1.5 – 3x the cost per gigabyte of SATA based drives, due to the inherent performance benefits and likely the added cost of NVMe controllers. Leveraging 3D TLC NAND manufactured in concert with Micron allows Intel to price the 600P aggressively. The 512GB Intel SSD 600P tested here at HotHardware is already available at street prices below $.40 per gigabyte (roughly $179), which is only slightly higher than most same capacity SATA drives and close to half the price of the average NVMe drive. The Intel SSD 600P will initially be offered in four capacities, 128GB up to 1TB. All of the drives conform to the same M.2 (2280) 80mm gumstick form factor, but performance varies depending on the capacity. The 128GB drive can offer up to 770MB/s reads and 450MB/s writes, while the 1TB drive peaks at 1.8GB/s reads with 560MB/s writes. The 600P drives performed relatively well overall in the benchmarks. When queue depths were cranked up or there were sustained, long sequential transfers, performance dropped off but that's not as common in mainstream consumer workloads, where lower queue depths and random small file transfers are more typical.
MojoKid writes: There was quite a stir caused recently when it was determined that Microsoft would only be fully supporting Intel's Kaby Lake and AMD's Zen next-generation processor microarchitectures with Windows 10. It's easy to dismiss the decision as pure marketing move, but there's more to consider and a distinction to be made between support and compatibility. The decision means future updates and optimizations that take advantage of the latest architectural enhancements in these new processors won't be made for older OS versions. Both of these microarchitectures have new features that require significant updates to Windows 10 to optimally function. Kaby Lake has updates to Intel's Speed Shift technology that make it possible to change power states more quickly than Skylake, for example. Then there's Intel's Turbo Boost 3.0, which is only baked natively into Windows 10 Redstone 1. For an operating system to optimally support AMD's Zen-based processors, major updates are likely necessary as well. Zen has fine-grained clock gating with multi-level regions throughout the chip, in addition to newer Simultaneous Multi-Threading technology for AMD chips. To properly leverage the tech in Zen, Microsoft will likely have to make updates to the Windows kernel and system scheduler, which is more involved than a driver update. Of course, older versions of Windows and alternative operating systems will still install and run on Kaby Lake and Zen. They are X86 processors, after all.
Deathspawner writes: Intel's Basis has just sent an email to customers who own a Basis Peak smartwatch with some bad news: it's being recalled. In mid-June, Basis admitted that its flagship (and only) smartwatch had the chance to overheat, and then asked them to wait for a firmware update. Ultimately, a firmware update couldn't have been issued that wouldn't have compromised the user experience, and as such, the company is asking for every single Basis Peak to be returned for a full refund — it will even handle the shipping.
Deathspawner writes: At the ongoing SIGGRAPH 2016 conference, held in Anaheim, California, NVIDIA had a bevy of announcements to make, including a big one: Pascal-based Quadro professional workstation cards are en route. Similar to the latest TITAN X which was announced last week, the new top-end Quadro P6000 is based on the same GP102 architecture, but contains 256 more cores. This makes the P6000 an effective 12 TFLOPs (FP32) graphics card. Also announced was the 8.9 TFLOPs Quadro P5000, as well as updates to the company's Iray render (for VR), its DGX-1 deep-learning machine, and also its mental ray plugin for Autodesk Maya users.
Deathspawner writes: At a special artificial intelligence gathering at Stanford University on Thursday, NVIDIA's CEO Jen-Hsun Huang unveiled the world's fastest graphics card: the second-generation GeForce TITAN X. Based on the company's latest Pascal architecture, the new top-end card features 3,584 CUDA cores clocked at 1.53GHz, 12GB of GDDR5X, and is spec'd at 11 TFLOPs, which is at least 2 TFLOPs higher than the company's recently released GTX 1080. Jen-Hsun also touted for the first time a metric called TOPS (INT8), a deep-learning inferencing instruction. The new GTX TITAN X officially hits 44 TOPS. NVIDIA has said that its second-gen TITAN X will retail for $1,200, and will become available on August 2.
MojoKid writes: NVIDIA just launched their answer to AMD's Radeon RX 480 mainstream card today, dubbed the GeForce GTX 1060. The GP106 GPU at the heart of the GeForce GTX 1060 has roughly half of the resources of NVIDIA's current flagship GeForce GTX 1080. NVIDIA claims the GTX 1060 performs on par with a previous generation high-end GeForce GTX 980 and indeed this 120W mainstream offers an interesting mix of low-power and high-performance. The new GeForce GTX 1060 features a new Pascal derivative GPU that's somewhat smaller, called the GP106. The GP106 features 10 streaming multiprocessors (SM) with a total of 1280, single-precision CUDA cores and eight texture units. The GeForce GTX 1060 also features six 32-bit memory controllers, for 192-bits in total. GeForce GTX 1060 cards with either 6GB or 3GB of GDDR5 memory will be available and in benchmark testing offered performance that just misses the mark set by the pricier AMD Radeon R9 Nano but often outran the 8GB Radeon RX 480. The GeForce GTX 1060 held onto its largest leads over the Radeon RX 480 in the DirectX 11 tests, though the Radeon had a clear edge in OpenCL and managed to pull ahead in Thief and in some DirectX 12 tests (like Hitman). The GeForce GTX 1060, however, consumes significantly less power than the Radeon RX 480 and is quieter too.
Deathspawner writes: NVIDIA has today released a Game Ready GeForce driver that introduces its interactive screenshot tool 'Ansel'. Named after famed photographer Ansel Adams, this new tool requires a developer to integrate up to a couple of hundred lines of code to give players the ability to pause their game, move around the environment, and then capture a more "artistic" image. To further that artistic value, users will have the ability to apply filters as well as capture an image in high-res 360 mode so that they can be viewed properly with a VR headset. Currently, Ansel supports only a single game, Mirror's Edge Catalyst, but NVIDIA promises that many more supported titles are on the way.
parallel_prankster writes: Consumer Reports is calling on Tesla to disable its "Autopilot" feature that enables hands-free operation. Citing the recent fatal accident involving a car with Autopilot engaged, Consumer Reports labels the feature as "Too Much Autonomy Too Soon." In an extensive article posted at the top of its website Thursday morning, Consumer Reports said Tesla should "disable hands-free operation until its system can be made safer." "By marketing their feature as ‘Autopilot,’ Tesla gives consumers a false sense of security," said Laura MacCleery, vice president of consumer policy and mobilization for Consumer Reports, in the article. "In the long run, advanced active safety technologies in vehicles could make our roads safer. But today, we're deeply concerned that consumers are being sold a pile of promises about unproven technology. 'Autopilot' can't actually drive the car, yet it allows consumers to have their hands off the steering wheel for minutes at a time. Tesla should disable automatic steering in its cars until it updates the program to verify that the driver's hands are on the wheel."
Tesla says it will continue development of Autopilot, insisting that drivers supported by Autopilot "remain safer than those operating without assistance."
MojoKid writes: Micron just launched its new 9100 Series NVMe solid state drives which come in a number of capacities, configurations and form factors. The Micron 9100 PRO series targets read-centric environments, while the 9100 MAX targets mixed workloads. Capacities for the drives range from 800GB on up to 3.2TB, though all of the drives are outfitted with a similar Microsemi 16-core / 16-channel controller and 16nm Micron MLC NAND flash memory. The fastest drives in the series are rated for peak sequential read and write throughput of 3GB/sec and 2GB/sec, respectively. In testing, the drives generally outpace Intel's DC 3700 series drive, but can't catch Intel's higher-end SSD DC P3608 in some read tests, though the Micron drives did outpace Intel's flagship in some write tests and can hit their peak 3GB/sec specified bandwidth number easily.
bigwophh writes: Micron just launched its new 9100 Series NVMe solid state drives today, which come in multiple flavors and form factors. The Micron 9100 PRO series targets read-centric environments, while the 9100 MAX targets mixed-use cases. Capacities for the drives range from 800GB on up to 3.2TB, though all of the drives are outfitted with a similar Microsemi 16-core / 16-channel controller and 16nm Micron MLC NAND flash memory. The fastest drives in the series are rated for peak sequential read / write throughput of 3GB/sec and 2GB/sec, respectively. In testing, the drives generally outpace Intel's DC 3700 series drive, but can't catch Intel's higher-end SSD DC P3608 in some read tests, though the Micron drives did outpace Intel's flagship in some write tests and can hit that peak 3GB/sec bandwidth number easily.
MojoKid writes: If you're among the many Windows customers running Windows 7 or Windows 8 that are sick of the Windows 10 nag screens along with unprompted upgrades, you'll be happy to hear that at least one "little guy" has won a battle against Microsoft in court. Teri Goldstein claims that her computer was forced into upgrading to Windows 10 shortly after it became available during the summer of 2015 — all without her authorization. "I had never heard of Windows 10," Goldstein told The Seattle Times. "Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to update." Windows 10 left her computer unstable and prone to frequent crashes. According to Goldstein, her computer became unusable, which is problematic considering that she uses the machine to run a travel agency. So Goldstein decided to do what the majority of other hapless Windows 10 victims were unwilling to do: sue Microsoft. She decided to battle MSFT in court, citing lost wages and the need to purchase a replacement computer. Much to the surprise of Microsoft, Goldstein actually won her case. Goldstein was awarded damages in the amount of $10,000.
MojoKid writes: Microsoft is cooking up some nifty feature enhancements to Windows 10 that will roll out with the much anticipated Anniversary Update later this summer. One of the newest tweaks will make it easier to perform hardware upgrades, such as a motherboard or hard drive, as you won't have to dial up a support representative and explain why your license should still be valid. The activation tweak is also being rolled out preview build 14371 to Windows Insiders in the Fast ring. It's part of what Microsoft is calling the "Activation Troubleshooter," which is intended to address user feedback from Windows Insiders who've run into activation issues on Genuine Windows devices after making certain hardware changes. You can launch the tool by going to Settings > Update & security > Activation and select Troubleshoot.