MojoKid writes: Microsoft may have discontinued its Lumia family of smartphones, but that doesn't mean that the company has given up on handsets altogether. A new patent filing reveals that Microsoft could still have a few more tricks up its sleeve; in this case, a folding smartphone. If such a design were to make it to production, it would likely adopt Surface branding, joining the likes of the flexible and convertible Surface Pro, Surface Book and Surface Studio. Entitled "Mobile Computing Device Having A Flexible Hinge Structure", the patent shows a smartphone with a side-mounted hinge that opens up to reveal an uninterrupted, large display surface more fitting for tablet duty. And just like patent filings leaked the Surface Studio months before its official unveil, this could be a precursor to a future Microsoft product. Of course, there are no guarantees when it comes to patent filings, as Microsoft has patented many design innovations without acting on them with a shipping product.
MojoKid writes: When Microsoft first launched Windows 10, it was generally well-received but also came saddled with a number of privacy concerns. It has taken quite a while for Microsoft to respond to these concerns in a meaningful way, but the company is finally proving that it's taking things seriously by detailing some enhanced privacy features coming to a future Windows 10 build. Microsoft is launching what it calls a (web-based) privacy dashboard, which lets you configure anything and everything about information that might be sent to back to the mother ship. You can turn all tracking off, or pick and choose, if certain criteria don't concern you too much, like location or health activity, for example. Also, for fresh installs, you'll be given more specific privacy options so that you can feel confident from the get-go about the information you're sending Redmond's way. If you do decide to send any information Microsoft's way, the company promises that it won't use your information for the sake of targeted advertising.
MojoKid writes: AMD has a lot riding on Ryzen, its new generation CPU architecture that is supposed to return the chip designer to a competitive position versus Intel in the high-end desktop X86 processor market. Late last week, at CES 2017, AMD has lined up over a dozen high-performance AM4 motherboards from five hardware partners, including ASRock, ASUS, Biostar, Gigabyte, and MSI. All AM4 motherboards are built around one of two desktop chipsts for Ryzen, the AMD X370 or X300. Motherboards based on the X370 chipset are intended for power users and gamers. These boards bring more robust overclocking controls and support for dual graphics cards, along with more I/O connectivity and dual-channel DDR4 memory support. The X300 is AMD's chipset for mini-ITX motherboards for small form factor (SFF) system platforms. The X300 also supports dual-channel DDR4 memory, PCIe 3.0, M.2 SATA devices, NVMe, and USB 3.1 Gen 1 and Gen 1. Finally, AMD representatives on hand at CES also reported that all Ryzen processors will be multiplier unlocked, hopefully for some rather flexible overclocking options. There will also be several processors in the family, with varying core counts depending on SKU, at launch.
MojoKid writes: Last month, AMD opened up with more architectural details of their RYZEN CPU architecture. Based on a 14nm FinFET process, RYZEN will be available in an 8-core/16-thread version (as well as other SKUs) with 3.4+ GHz clock speeds and 20MB of total cache. Earlier this week, AMD's upcoming Vega GPU architecture was unveiled a bit more. Manufactured also on a 14nm FinFET process, Vega uses HBM2 memory and has an all-new Geometry Pipeline that boosts throughput-per-clock over 2x compared to previous generation architecture. Yesterday at CES 2017, AMD showed one of the first prototype Vega graphics cards running Doom in a RYZEN-powered system.The game was configured to run at a punishing 4K resolution with Ultra image quality settings. The combination of AMD's latest high-end hardware was able to push over 70 FPS in some spots, and easily maintained frame rates within the 60 to 70 FPS range throughout the rest of the gaming session with no slowdowns or stuttering.
MojoKid writes: Over the past couple of years, Dell has been driving a redesign effort of its consumer and commercial product lines and has been systematically been updating both design signatures and the technology platforms within them. Dell's premium consumer XPS product line, perhaps more so than any, has seen the most significant design reinvention with the likes of its XPS 13 and XPS 15 notebook line. AT CES 2017 announced the XPS 27 7760 all-in-one PC that has a radically new look that draws at least one design cue from its XPS notebook siblings, specifically with respect to display bezel, or the lack thereof. Though Dell isn't officially branding the touch-enabled version of XPS 27 with an "InfinityEdge" display, side and top bezel is cut to a minimum, accentuating a beautiful 4K IPS panel. However, the machine's display might not be the most standout feature of the 2017 Dell XPS 27. Under that display, Dell actually expanded things mechanically to make room not only for a Windows Hello capable camera but a 10 speaker sound system that was designed in conjunction with Grammy Award-winning music producer and audio engineer, JJ Puig, that takes the system's audio reproduction and output capabilities to a whole new level. Its sound system is very accurate with dual 50 watt amplifiers at less than 1% THD (Totaly Harmonic Distortion) and a 70Hz to 20KHz frequency response. Though the system is currently built on Intel's Skylake platform, Kaby Lake versions are imminent and with discrete AMD Radeon R9 M470X graphics, it has decent gaming and multimedia chops as well.
MojoKid writes: AMD lifted the veil on its next generation GPU architecture, code named Vega this morning. One of the underlying forces behind Vega's design is that conventional GPU architectures have not been scaling well for diverse data types. Gaming and graphics workloads have shown steady progress, but today GPUs are used for much more than just graphics. In addition, the compute capability of GPUs may have been increasing at a good pace, but memory capacity has not kept up. Vega aims to improve both compute performance and addressable memory capacity, however, through some new technologies not available on any previous-gen architecture. First, is that Vega has the most scalable GPU memory architecture built to date with 512TB of address space. It also has a new geometry pipeline tuned for more performance and better efficiency with over 2X peak throughput per clock, a new Compute Unit design, and a revamped pixel engine. The pixel engine features a new Draw Stream Binning Rasterizer, which reportedly improves performance and saves power. All told, Vega should offer significant improvements in terms of performance and efficiency when products based on the architecture begin shipping in a few months.
MojoKid writes: Intel has officially launched its Kaby Lake desktop processor platform today, with a new flagship quad-core chip called the Core i7-7700K and newly refreshed 200 series Z270 motherboard chipsets. Intel's Kaby Lake architecture will power a wide array of CPUs from 4.5 Watts to 91 Watts, covering Core i and Xeon branded processors. The 7700K a quad-core can process up to 8 threads simultaneously (4C/8T), with Intel HyperThreading technology. Other features include a DX12-capable HD 630 series graphics engine with updated multimedia engine that can now accelerate 4K HEVC 10-bit transcoding and VP9 decoding in hardware. The Core i7-7700K has a base clock of 4.2GHz with a max turbo frequency of 4.5GHz, though with SpeedStep the chip will drop down to only 800MHz when idle. It has a TDP of 91W and over 8MB of total cache on-board, 256K of L1, 1MB of L2 cache, and 8MB of L3, which is a similar cache hierarchy to Skylake. The new Core i7-7700K is the highest-performing, quad-core processor released by Intel to date. However, its performance improvements in the benchmarks over the previous-generations Skylake-based Core i7-6700K are relatively small. Kaby Lake's core CPU architecture is virtually identical to Skylake, so save for some tweaks the multi-media engine, the performance differences come by way of the 7700K's higher base and boost clocks. Power consumption with the chip and a Z270X based motherboard is in-line with Skylake, though overclocking is somewhat improved with the possibilty to hit 5GHz with more powerful water cooling. The top end Core i7-7700K will retail for $339 while lower end Core i5 and Core i3 variants will price as low as $192 and $117 respectively.
MojoKid writes: If you've had any doubts of Intel's upcoming Kaby Lake processor's capabilities with respect to overclocking, don't fret. It's looking like even the most dedicated overclockers are going to have a blast with this series. Someone recently got a hold of an Intel Core i7-7700K chip and decided to take it for an overclocking spin. Interestingly, the motherboard used is not one of the upcoming series designed for Kaby Lake, but the chip was instead overclocked on a Z170 motherboard from ASRock (Z170M OC Formula). That bodes well for those planning to snag a Kaby Lake CPU that would rather not have to upgrade their motherboard as well. With liquid nitrogen cooling the processor, this particular chip peaked at just over 7GHz, which helped deliver a SuperPi 32M time of 4m 20s, and a wPrime 1024M time of 1m 33s. It's encouraging to see the chip breaking this clock speed, even with extreme methods, since it's a potential relative indicator of how much headroom will be available for overclocking with more standard cooling solutions.
MojoKid writes: If you've had any doubts of Intel's upcoming Kaby Lake processor's capabilities with respect to overclocking, don't fret. It's looking like even the most dedicated overclockers are going to have a blast with this series. Someone recently got a hold of an Intel Core i7-7700K chip and decided to take it for an overclocking spin. Interestingly, the motherboard used is not one of the upcoming series designed for Kaby Lake, but the chip was instead overclocked on a Z170 motherboard from ASRock (Z170M OC Formula). That bodes well for those planning to snag a Kaby Lake CPU that would rather not have to upgrade their motherboard as well. With liquid nitrogen cooling the processor, this particular chip peaked at just over 7GHz, which helped deliver a SuperPi 32M time of 4m 20s, and a wPrime 1024M time of 1m 33s. It's encouraging to see the chip breaking this clock speed, even with extreme methods, since it's a potential relative indicator of how much headroom will be available for overclocking with more standard cooling solutions as well.
MojoKid writes: NVIDIA's Pascal architecture has been wildly successful in the consumer space. The various GPUs that power the GeForce GTX 10 series are all highly competitive at their respective price points, and the higher-end variants are currently unmatched by any single competing GPU. NVIDIA has since retooled Pascal for the professional workstation market as well, with products that make even the GeForce GTX 1080 and TITAN X look quaint in comparison. NVIDIA's beastly Quadro P6000 and Quadro P5000 are Pascal powered behemoths, packing up to 24GB of GDDR5X memory and GPUs that are more capable than their consumer-targeted counterparts. Though it is built around the same GP102 GPU, the Quadro P6000 is particularly interesting, because it is outfitted with a fully-functional Pascal GPU with all of its SMs enabled, which results in 3,840 active cores, versus 3,584 on the TITAN X. The P5000 has the same GP104 GPU as the GTX 1080, but packs in twice the amount of memory – 8GB vs 16GB. In the benchmarks, with cryptographic workloads and pro-workstation targeted graphics tests, the Quadro P6000 and Quadro P5000 are dominant across the board. The P6000 significantly outpaced the previous-generation Maxwell-based Quadro M6000 throughout testing, and the P5000 managed to outpace the M6000 on a few occasions as well. Of particular note is that the Quadro P6000 and P5000, while offering better performance than NVIDIA's previous-gen, high-end professional graphics cards, do it in much lower power envelopes, and they're quieter too. In a couple of quick gaming benchmarks, the P6000 may give us a hint at what NVIDIA has in store for the rumored GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, with all CUDA cores enabled in its GP102 GPU and performance over 10% faster than a Titan X.
MojoKid writes: AMD has just officially unveiled that desktop variants of its Zen processor family will now be branded RYZEN. Zen-based processors will eventually target desktops, servers, and mobiles device, but the first wave of products will be targeted at the performance desktop market, where gamers and VR continue to spur growth. AMD is positioning RYZEN as a high-performance option and though there will be other core configurations as well, AMD has disclosed that one of the high-end options in the initial RYZEN line-up will feature 8 cores (16 threads with SMT) and at minimum a 3.4 GHz base clock, with higher turbo frequencies. That processor will also be outfitted with 20MB of cache – 4MB of L2 and 16MB of L3 – and it will be infused with what AMD is calling SenseMI technology. SenseMI is essentially fancy branding for the updated branch predictor, prefetcher, and power and control logic in Zen. AMD's upcoming AM4 platform for RYZEN will be outfitted with all of the features expected of a modern PC enthusiast platform. AM4 motherboards will use DDR4 memory and feature PCIe Gen 3 connectivity, and support for USB 3.1 Gen 2, NVMe, and SATA Express. Performance demos of RYZEN shown to members of the press pit a stock Intel Core i7-6900K (3.2GHz base, 3.7GHz turbo) with Turbo Boost was enabled on the 6900K, versus RYZEN with boost disabled running at 3.4GHz flat. In the demo, the RYZEN system outpaced the Core i7-6900K by a few seconds.
MojoKid writes: AMD is announcing a new series of Radeon-branded products today, targeted at machine intelligence and deep learning enterprise applications, called Radeon Instinct. As its name suggests, the new Radeon Instinct line of products are comprised of GPU-based solutions for deep learning, inference and training. The new GPUs are also complemented by a free, open-source library and framework for GPU accelerators, dubbed MIOpen. MIOpen is architected for high-performance machine intelligence applications and is optimized for the deep learning frameworks in AMD's ROCm software suite. The first products in the lineup consist of the Radeon Instinct MI6, the MI8, and the MI25. The 150W Radeon Instinct MI6 accelerator is powered by a Polaris-based GPU, packs 16GB of memory (224GB/s peak bandwidth), and will offer up to 5.7 TFLOPS of peak FP16 performance. Next up in the stack is the Fiji-based Radeon Instinct MI8. Like the Radeon R9 Nano, the Radeon Instinct MI8 features 4GB of High-Bandwidth Memory (HBM) with peak bandwidth of 512GB/s. The MI8 will offer up to 8.2 TFLOPS of peak FP16 compute performance, with a board power that typical falls below 175W. The Radeon Instinct MI25 accelerator will leverage AMD's next-generation Vega GPU architecture and has a board power of approximately 300W. All of the Radeon Instinct accelerators are passively cooled but when installed into a server chassis you can bet there will be plenty of air flow. Like the recently released Radeon Pro WX series of professional graphics cards for workstations, Radeon Instinct accelerators will be built by AMD. All of the Radeon Instinct cards will also support AMD MultiGPU (MxGPU) hardware virtualization technology.
MojoKid writes: Overclockers and frequent PC builders alike can appreciate the advantages of having an open air bench or rack for testing. These make component swapping a breeze for comparisons and provide a flexible platform for checking a build before installing it inside a tight case. The Streamcom BC1 Open Benchtable is a very different approach to the solution of open air PC building and it's machined from a solid block of aluminum. The Streacom BC1's primary goal is portability and every piece of it connects and stows away securely inside the frame — screws, legs, risers, everything. The stowed profile is about the size of a kitchen cutting board (10.5" x 14" or 27cm x 36cm) and weighs just four pounds, complete with an integrated carry handle. It is also completely toolless which markedly improves the convenience of building up a system. Finally, as its name implies, the BC1's design is actually open-source which affords several key advantages. First and foremost, anyone can take the design and tweak it to meet their needs and even contribute back to the original project for future revisions. Also, anyone with access to a CNC machine and a block of aluminum can mill their own or augment it with 3D-printable add-ons.
MojoKid writes: Microsoft just made a major announcement with regards to Windows on ARM processors that power so many of the world's mobile devices. The company has enable the ability to support the complete Windows 10 ecosystem with x86 emulation on Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. Unlike Windows RT, this is a full version of Windows 10 that is compiled to run on Qualcomm Snapdragon hardware. That means that customers aren't limited to only running Universal Windows apps (as was the case with Windows RT). Users get all of the features and capabilities that you would expect with Windows 10 and will also be able to run Win32 apps (only 32-bit x86 support will offered initially). In the video demo, you can see Microsoft demonstrating Windows 10 running on a Snapdragon 820 processor paired with 4GB of RAM. The device has the ability to join a domain (something that wasn't possible with Windows RT), run Adobe Photoshop CC, Office and even play Windows games.
MojoKid writes: AMD needs a win in the high-end processor category badly and if the latest leak turns out to be accurate, AMD could get its much needed victory when its unreleased Zen SR7 processor hits the market sometime in Q1 with eight cores in tow. The octal-core Zen part is said to perform better than Intel's muscular Core i7-5960X, a Haswell-E chip with eight cores clocked at 3GHz to 3.5GHz, 16 threads, and 20MB of cache. Not for the faint of wallet, the Core i7-5960X tops $1,000 in street pricing even when it's on sale. AMD's competing SR7 Summit Ridge part is said to cost half as much at $499. New engineering samples of the potentially game changing Zen chip have been popping up in the wild. These latest revisions feature a 3.2GHz core clockspeed and 3.5GHz turbo frequency. These are noticeable jumps in frequency compared to the previous version AMD showed, which had the core and turbo clockspeeds running at 2.8GHz and 3.2GHz, respectively.