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Submission + - AMD Launches New Radeon RX 480, Benchmark Numbers Are In (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: AMD launched its new Radeon RX 480 graphics card today, based on the company's all new Polaris GPU architecture. The card is powered by the Polaris 10 GPU which is outfitted with 36 Compute Units, with a total of 2,304 shader processors. Reference specifications call for boost and base GPU clocks of 1266 MHz and 1120 MHz, respectively, and either 4 or 8GB of GDDR5 memory over a 256-bit interface. All told, the Radeon RX 480 offers up a total of 5.8 TFLOPs of compute performance with up to 224GB/s of peak memory bandwidth and the card requires only a single 6-pin PCIe power feed. The Radeon RX 480 is only about 9.5" inches long and sports a typical dual-slot form factor. It offers strong performance in its price segment ($199 — $239) as well. In comparison to NVIDIA's more expensive GeForce GTX 970, AMD's Radeon RX 480 fares very well. The Radeon RX 480 also offers roughly 85-95% of the performance of the more expensive previous gen Radeon R9 390 and was able to overtake it with some basic overclocking. The Radeon RX 480's power characteristics were slightly better than the GeForce GTX 970 as well but when you consider the almost two-year old NVIDIA GPU is manufactured using a 28nm process, versus the 14nm FinFET process of Polaris 10, AMD's Radeon RX 480 power characteristics are less impressive.

Submission + - Microsoft Loses Precedent-Setting Unauthorized Windows 10 Upgrade Court Case (hothardware.com)

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.

Submission + - Windows 10 Anniversary Update To Take Hassle Out Of Reactivating After Upgrades (hothardware.com)

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.

Submission + - Self-Driving Cars To Someday Face Moral Dilemma Of Who Lives And Who Dies (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: While the AI present in today's experimental self-driving cars can navigate city streets, change lanes, avoid accidents and are for the most part fairly competent "drivers", what happens when it comes to an "us versus them" scenario? What if a self-driving car is presented with no-win situation — no matter what the outcome of a collision, someone will likely die? Does the self-driving car protect its passengers at all costs with no regard for the lives of others, or should the car instead put its passengers in harm's way to avoid a higher number of casualties? That's the subject of a new study published in Science, entitled, "The Social Dilemma of Autonomous Vehicles." 1,928 participants were surveyed on a number of scenarios in which a self-driving car is faced with a moral dilemma that would result in the death of one or more people. The survey results showed that people overwhelmingly decided that self-driving cars should take a "utilitarian approach" in which casualties are minimized, even it means that passengers within the car must have their lives sacrificed for the greater good. But on the flip side, these same participants said that if they were shopping for a car to purchase or were a passenger, they would prefer to be within a vehicle that would protect their lives by any means necessary. Participants also balked at the notion of the government stepping in to regulate the "morality brain" of self-driving cars.

Submission + - Student-Built Grimsel Electric Race Car Breaks 0 To 60 Acceleration World Record (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: Students at ETH Zurich and Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts took to the fast lane and developed an electric vehicle that's capable of going 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in just 1.513 seconds, or roughly equivalent to a 0 to 60 miles per hour measurement (62.1371 MPH to be exact). The student team set a new world record in acceleration for an electric car. Hitting 100 km/h in just 1.513 seconds took just 30 meters of track at the Dübendorf air base near Zurich. It took less than a year for a group of 30 students to build the car called Grimsel that weighs just 168 kilograms, or a little over 370 pounds. Grimsel is a four-wheel drive electric racing car with four specially developed wheel hub motors capable of generating 200 HP and 1,700 Nm (1,202 pounds per foot) of torque.

Submission + - Intel Ships 72-Core Knight's Landing Xeon Phi Processors (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: It has been nearly two years since we first heard about Intel's next generation Xeon Phi "Knights Landing" processors, which are designed for High Performance Computing (HPC) applications. The processors are a big part of Intel's Scalable System Framework (SSF) and are built on using general-purpose x86 architecture and open standards. Today, Intel announced that its Xeon Phi processors are finally available to customers, nearly a year after the company's originally-quoted launch date. Intel Xeon Phi processors feature double-precision performance in excess of 3 teraflops along with 8+ teraflops of single-precision performance. All Xeon Phi processors incorporate 16GB of on-package MCDRAM memory, which Intel says is five times more power efficient as GDDR5 and offers 500GB/s of sustained memory bandwidth. MCDRAM can effectively be used as a high-speed cache or as a complimentary addition to the system DDR4 memory. Intel is targeting its Xeon Phi as a more competitive solution versus NVIDIA's dedicated Tesla GPU accelerators, citing up to a 5.2x performance advantage in visualization, up to a 2.7x in mathematical modeling, and up to a 5x increase in life sciences apps. The Xeon Phi is available in four basic configurations with 64 to 72 cores, and with processor frequencies ranging from 1.3GHz to 1.5GHz. All four support up to 384GB of DDR4 memory, but the base Xeon Phi 7210 is limited to the 2133MHz variety. Intel notes these are the company's first bootable host processors specifically designed for highly parallel workloads.

Submission + - More Details Emerge On 32-Core AMD Zen Server Chip Code Named 'Naples' (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: AMD is hoping their next generation Zen processor architecture will be able to go toe-to-toe with the best that Intel has to offer and AMD is reportedly working on a high-end server variant of Zen as well, codenamed Naples. Naples would have a total of 32 cores, with a cluster of Zen cores sharing an 8MB pool of L3 cache. Total L3 shared cache is pegged at a stout 64MB and Naples will be capable of executing 64 threads while operating within a 180W power envelope. Naples reportedly will support eight independent memory channels and up to 128 PCIe Gen 3 lanes. In addition, a 16x10 GbE Ethernet controller is integrated into the chipset and Naples will use an SP3 LGA socket. The first server-based Zen processor could possibly squeak by for a late 2016 introduction, but odds are that we won't see widespread availability until 2017. At that time, you should expect Zen server processors in dual-, quad-, 16- and 32-core variants, with TDPs ranging from 35 watts to 180 watts. This is the second sighting of a 32-core AMD Zen variant. Earlier this year a CERN Engineer had details corroborating its existence in a presentation he was giving.

Submission + - Alienware Ships First Laptop With 13.3-Inch 2560X1440 OLED Display (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: Dell's Alienware 13 gaming notebook has been popular among gamers that want a little more horsepower in a relatively light 4.5 pound 13-inch machine. However, over the past couple of years, Alienware hasn't changed-up the design much, until today that is. The company is officially making the OLED display equipped Alienware 13 available today, that they debuted back in January at CES. Initial testing and review impressions show that, as expected, that OLED display sure is nice. Although, the new Alienware 13 OLED is also representative of a full revamp, including a 6th generation Intel Skylake Core series processor and an NVMe Solid State Drive. The real kicker, however, is that Alienware's 13.3 QHD (2560X1440) OLED display offers great saturation and contrast with an extremely crisp 1ms pixel response time that delivers beautiful image quality, whether working in content creation, or in fast moving action while gaming. Viewing angles with the display are also superior to high-end IPS panels including Dell's own XPS 15 with its near-bezelless Infinity Edge panel.

Submission + - Intel Announces Xeon E7 v4 Processors Supporting Up To 24TB Of Memory, 8 Sockets (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: Intel recently unveiled their new top-end server chip offering, dubbed Xeon E7 v4, which leverages their Broadwell-EX architecture for mission-critical server applications, big data analytics, and the cloud. Servers with Intel Xeon Processor E7 v4 series processors can support up to 24TB of memory (3TB per socket), which is double the previous generation. The chips also support up to 8 sockets in a single system and are drop-in compatible with existing Brickland-based platforms, after a BIOS / microcode update. In most segments, Xeon Processor E7 v4 series processors typically feature more cores and cache than their previous-generation counterparts, and occasionally higher clocks as well. Xeon E7 v4 series processors with up to 24 physical cores (48 threads) and 60MB of cache will be available.In a 4-socket Brickland-based server powered by a quartet of E7-8890s, in comparison to last year's Xeon E7 v3 series parts, the new Xeon E7 v4 series is an average of about 30% faster across the board. SPECvirt-DC 2013 shows the largest gain of about 35%, while SPECfp shown an uplift of 19%.

Submission + - Lenovo And Motorola Unveil PHAB2 Tango AR And Modular Moto Z Smartphones (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: Google has been teasing its Project Tango augmented reality (AR) platform for years but no OEMs have stepped up to the plate to deliver Tango-enabled hardware until now. Lenovo just came out with its PHAB2 Pro 6.4-inch phablet smartphone which packs a full-fledged AR experience. The PHAB2 Pro will be the first commercially available Lenovo smartphone in the US and it leverages Tango AR technology in three ways. The smartphone's "eye" uses motion-tracking to determine its location in 3D. Area learning can also feed location information to the phone, and depth perception allows the phone to analyze the world around it. The PHAB2 Pro is also huge with a 6.4" QHD display covered in 2.5D curved glass. Powering the PHAB2 Pro is a Snapdragon 652 processor with 4GB of RAM, a generous 64GB of storage and a microSD slot. There's also a 16MP rear camera, 8MP front camera and a 4050 mAh battery. Lenovo's Motorola Mobility division also announced the Moto Z and Moto Z Force, which are next generation Android flagships. The Moto Z is the standard model and measures just 5.2mm thick and comes with a 5.5" QHD AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 820 processor with 4GB of RAM and up to 64GB of storage. Its 13MP rear camera features optical image stabilization and laser autofocus, while its 5MP front camera with wide-angle lens takes care of selfies. Then there's the new Moto Z Force, which ups the ante with a 3500 mAh battery, a 21MP rear camera and a shatterproof screen. But what truly makes the Moto Z and Moto Z Force stand out are Moto Mods. These are modular accessories that attach to the back of the smartphones via four magnets and a 16-pin connector. It's much more elegant than what LG has employed with the G5 (which requires you to remove the bottom of the smartphone). Instead, Moto Z users can simply attach an accessory, like the JBL SoundBoost Mod which brings high-end sound, with a quick snap.

Submission + - Google's DeepMind Is Developing An AI Kill Switch (hothardware.com) 2

MojoKid writes: With big companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and IBM all racing to develop AI software and hardware to address real-world needs, it's now commonly thought that one day soon AI could be much more intelligent and powerful than humans. As Elon Musk recently expressed concern--in the wrong hands or gone rouge--an AI agent could be a very real threat. The threat of a real life skynet apocalypse will not be the stuff of science fiction one day. Fortunately, some smart folks are actually also working on methods to maintain control of super-intelligent AI agents. In fact, a team of researchers at Google-owned DeepMind, along with University of Oxford scientists, are developing a proverbial kill switch for AI. The team has released a white paper on the topic called "Safely Interruptible Agents." The paper details the following in abstract: "Learning agents interacting with a complex environment like the real world are unlikely to behave optimally all the time. If such an agent is operating in real-time under human supervision, now and then it may be necessary for a human operator to press the big red button to prevent the agent from continuing a harmful sequence of actions..." The papers goes on to explain that these AI agents might also learn to disable the kill switch and further explores ways in which to develop AI's that would not seek such an activity.

Submission + - Apple Reportedly Developing 5K Retina Thunderbolt Display With Integrated GPU (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: If you head over to Apple's website, the Cupertino outfit will happily sell you a 27-inch Thunderbolt display for $999, at least until its inventory runs out. Word on the web is that it's nearly out of stock and Apple doesn't plan to replenish them. Instead, Apple will launch a new version of its Thunderbolt monitor, one that's been upgraded to a 5K resolution (5120x2880) and has a discrete GPU stuffed inside. It's an interesting product actually, if you think about it. Depending on the task, it can take some serious graphics muscle to drive a 5K resolution display. It amounts to over 14.7 million pixels, compared to Apple's current generation Thunderbolt display which runs at 2560x1440, or less than 3.7 million pixels. Apple's thinking is likely that if it integrates a GPU capable of driving a 5K resolution into the display itself, it won't have to worry about trying to balance graphics performance with thin and light designs for its future Mac systems.

Submission + - Intel 10-Core Broadwell-E CPU Benchmarks Show Solid Gains Over Haswell-E (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: Intel officially launched a new high-end desktop processor series this week, known by the code name Broadwell-E. The flagship chip is the Core i7-6950X and it's a 10-Core / 20-thread CPU with 25MB of shared cache, a base frequency of 3GHz with boost to 3.5GHz and support for Intel's latest Turbo Boost Max 3.0 technology. Turbo Boost Max 3.0 helps boosts performance for both single and multi-threaded workloads by identifying the fastest core on the processor die at a particular moment and directing critical workloads to that core first, in addition to boosting clock speed. Turbo Boost Max 3.0 technology, along with the architectural advantages in Broadwell-E and the platform's support for faster memory, results in significant performance gains over Intel's previous gen Haswell-E chips. The Core i7-6950X's additional cores give it an obvious edge in multi-threaded workloads, but the processor also significantly outpaces the Core i7-5960X in single or lightly-threaded workloads.

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