Samsung's DDR4 modules for servers have quadruple-stacked memory dies
— 6:00 AM on August 28, 2014

DDR4 memory is starting to trickle out, and Samsung's latest modules are particularly notable. The server-oriented RDIMMs are populated with 3D memory packages that stack multiple dies on top of one another. This so-called TSV memory is different from the firm's 3D V-NAND, which stacks multiple layers of memory cells within a single die. Samsung explains:

To build a 3D TSV DRAM package, the DDR4 dies are ground down as thin as a few dozen micrometers, then pierced to contain hundreds of fine holes. They are vertically connected through electrodes that are passed through the holes

Each TSV chip stacks four 4Gb dies. The dies are built on "20-nanometer class" fabrication technology, which is vague Samsung-speak for a process node between 20 and 30 nm. Samsung expects to be able to stack even more layers in the future, enabling higher-capacity modules. These latest ones weigh in at 64GB each.

Achieving higher densities isn't the only benefit to stacking DRAM dies. Samsung claims its TSV-infused DDR4 module "performs twice as fast as a 64GB module that uses wire bonding packaging, while consuming approximately half the power." Enterprise customers should appreciate both of those attributes.

7 comments — Last by chuckula at 7:49 AM on 08/28/14

Wednesday Evening Shortbread
— 6:00 PM on August 27, 2014

Eight is Enough

  1. VideoCardz: Intel Haswell-E i7-5960X, i7-5930K, and i7-5820K pricing revealed
  2. WCCFtech: Nvidia GTX 980M and GTX 970M Maxwell
    Mobility getting listing on second week of October
  3. DigiTimes: Slimmer MacBook to launch in 4Q14 or 2015, say Taiwan makers
  4. Forbes: New Google Nexus leak confirms 192-core, 64-bit Apple rival
  5. WindowsITPro: It's back. Microsoft begins
    pushing out fixed version of KB2982791
  6. ZDNet: Want Windows XP SP4? Unofficial versions are on the way
  7. Google Chrome 37 lands in the stable channel
  8. GamingOnLinux: SteamOS beta 133 released


31 comments — Last by The Egg at 8:04 AM on 08/28/14

Asus shows glimpse of ZenWatch; Apple 'wearable' coming Sept 9
— 5:02 PM on August 27, 2014

In a video posted today, Asus has shed more light—both literally and figuratively—on its upcoming smartwatch. The device, first teased earlier this month, will apparently be called the ZenWatch, and it will look... well, pretty much the way you'd expect a smartwatch to look. See for yourself:

Back in June, there was talk in the rumor mill of an upcoming Asus smartwatch that could be priced between $99 and $149. If the ZenWatch winds up in that price range, then it may have a leg up over current Android Wear devices, which currently start at $199. We'll find out for sure on September 3. That's when Asus plans to host its live-streamed launch event for the ZenWatch.

In related news, Re/code reports that Apple will unveil a "new wearable" together with the next-gen iPhone(s) on September 9. That wearable, which I expect is the iWatch we've been hearing about, will reportedly use the new HealthKit and HomeKit functionality introduced at WWDC back in June. Previous rumors had predicted an October debut for that device, but Re/code says Apple's plans have changed.

20 comments — Last by tanker27 at 8:18 AM on 08/28/14

Zotac's ''Pico'' PC runs Windows, slips into a pocket
— 10:33 AM on August 27, 2014

If you thought Zotac's palm-sized Zbox Nano was small, wait til you see its pocketable sibling. The new Zbox PI320 Pico measures just 4.5" x 2.6" x 0.76", making it only slightly larger than a standard deck of playing cards. Despite those dimensions, the Pico packs a quad-core processor and Windows 8.1.

Awww, isn't it cute?

Inside the tiny chassis lies an Atom Z3735F SoC with quad Bay Trail cores clocked at 1.33GHz base and 1.83GHz burst. This low-power chip has a 2.2W thermal envelope, so it can get by with only passive cooling. Indeed, the chassis seems to be entirely devoid of external venting.

Zotac combines the Atom with 2GB of low-power DDR3 memory. A 32GB eMMC SSD provides storage, and users can add another 128GB via the Micro SD slot. This is basically an Atom-based tablet in a little box.

The Pico has more connectivity than typical mobile devices, though. The full-sized HDMI port can output video at 1080p resolution, and the trio of USB 2.0 ports is enough to power a keyboard, mouse, and external storage. There's also an analog headset jack, 10/100 Fast Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0.

One might expect a system like this to have Android pre-installed, but it actually runs Windows 8.1 with Bing. This edition is a full-fat version of the OS with Microsoft's search engine selected as the default. Users are free to switch search providers, and they can presumably ditch Windows entirely and install the OS of their choice.

Like its Zbox brethren, the Pico comes with a VESA-compatible mounting bracket. A small wall wart is also included in the box, and the whole package is set to sell for $199 when it arrives later next month.

I wouldn't normally embed the requisite promo video, but this one gets interesting at about the halfway mark, when Zotac teases the Pico's potential as a client for Steam's in-home streaming functionality.

The company tells us the Watch Dogs, Borderlands 2, and BioShock Infinite clips all come from streaming sessions. That's pretty impressive for a device that should fit easily into a pocket. We may have to get one of these little things in-house for testing.

64 comments — Last by chuckula at 7:44 AM on 08/28/14

— 9:33 AM on August 27, 2014

Hey, folks. I haven't posted an Etc. in a while here. Sometimes, when things get really busy, I tend to clam up and just focus on the project(s) at hand. Right now, as you might have surmised from all of the rumors and announcements, things are very busy indeed. I had one free weekend in the last four, and that was kind of an indulgence. Looking forward, I expect to be working through the next three to four weekends, just to keep pace.

The good news for you is that we have lots of reviews and articles coming up. Should be interesting, and I'm already excited about some of the stuff we're producing behind the scenes right now.

We made a server move a few weeks back, and I said at the time that I'd write something about the new setup once I had time. The story is a pretty simple one, with a very happy result for us, so I can share it quickly.

Our old hosting arrangement involved two separate servers that we owned, both 1U rack units in a co-lo facility in Virginia. The primary server was based on dual six-core Opterons, 32GB of RAM, dual SLC SSDs in RAID 1, and dual HDDs for logging and backup storage. We made it the primary mainly due to the large amount of RAM and the fact it had dual redundant power supplies. Our secondary server was a live backup that we rarely, if ever, had to use as a stand-in for the primary during its run. That box was faster than the primary, since it was based on newer six-core Xeons with 16GB of RAM and a similar storage setup. We used it to host a VM that served as our development environment.

These systems were plenty fast for our needs, since our home-brewed content management system is pretty efficient. Trouble is, our hosting provider had some kind of issue with conditioning the power to these boxes, near as we can tell. One morning not long ago, the backup box went offline and didn't come back. At the same time, our primary server rebooted out of the blue. After that, the secondary box wouldn't POST at all, and the primary one started throwing ECC errors.

We needed to move away from that situation ASAP. In a bit of a rush, Bruno brought up the site on a VM served at Linode. We'd been looking at those guys for a while, especially after their upgrade to SSDs and Xeon E5-2680 processors earlier this year.

Long story short, we got the site running a relatively modestly sized Linode VM, moved it into production, and to my surprise, the site got to be even snappier, if anything. Bruno did a great job with the transition to the new box, so we had few issues after the move. Immediately after the transition, we posted both the Broadwell architecture reveal and the TSX erratum news, and the new server handled a healthy and sustained influx of requests without even breaking a sweat.

We now have a secondary VM that serves as our development environment, and Bruno has been playing with backup tools that let us do a bare-metal restore to a new Linode VM across the Internet. Linode itself has some slick monitoring tools, too. We can even spool up a new VM in any of Linode's several data centers around the nation, if we want geographical diversity. It's all very nice indeed.

Best of all, if the hardware breaks, we don't have to pay someone an hourly fee for remote troubleshooting. I like PC hardware, but sometimes, owning it just isn't the right move.

So that's the story of our hosting change. Yay for Moore's Law.

25 comments — Last by chuckula at 7:47 AM on 08/28/14

Dropbox Pro now offers 1TB of storage for $9.99 a month
— 9:10 AM on August 27, 2014

The paid version of Dropbox's cloud storage service has just gotten a huge capacity upgrade. According to the official Dropbox blog, Dropbox Pro is now available as a single 1TB plan priced at $9.99 a month.

Before today, there were three Dropbox Pro tiers: 100GB for $9.99 a month, 200GB for $19.99, and 500GB for $49.99. Then, as now, paying yearly instead of monthly unlocked a 17% discount, which knocked down the price of the lowest tier to $100 a year. That hundred bucks now gets you a terabyte of cloud storage.

Along with the capacity increase, Dropbox Pro has gotten some extra features. The blog post talks about new sharing controls that let users set passwords, expiration dates, and permissions for shared files and folders. There's also a new "remote wipe" option that can erase Dropbox files on a lost device—without deleting those files in the cloud, of course.

The 1TB plan is now priced right in line with Google 1TB Drive service, which makes it pretty competitive. Too bad the free version of Dropbox is still limited to 2GB of storage. Both Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive serve up 15GB for free.

35 comments — Last by sweatshopking at 5:18 AM on 08/28/14

Predicting player inputs smoothes streaming PC games
— 6:00 AM on August 27, 2014

Everything is hosted in the cloud these days, including an increasing number of games. Heck, you can even roll your own remote gaming server and tap into it with one of Nvidia's Shield devices. The trouble is, the latency inherent to most mobile Internet connections can taint the streaming experience with certain kinds of titles. Researchers at Microsoft, the University of Michigan, and the Siberian Federal University have developed a speculative system that seems to mitigate the damage, though.

Dubbed DeLorean, the system is claimed to compensate for up to 250 milliseconds of round-trip latency. Blind-test subjects reported "only minor differences in responsiveness" between streaming Doom 3 and Fable 3 on a 250-ms connection and one with "no latency." The findings are detailed in this research paper (PDF).

DeLorean works by speculatively rendering frames based on likely player actions. These extra frames are sent to the client early, and the player's actual input determines which one is used. "Supersampling" player inputs and filtering the results reportedly improves the accuracy of the prediction engine, while "view interpolation" helps to correct the appearance of mispredicted frames. "A small amount of additional 3D metadata" packaged with each frame allows DeLorean to shift the viewport if it guesses wrong.

The system sends multiple frames to cover a range of possible outcomes, so it uses a lot more bandwidth than typical streaming solutions. Even with compression, researchers observed a 1.5-4.5X increase increase in the data rate.

Despite the bandwidth penalty, DeLorean looks promising. There's clearly room to improve streaming performance for high-latency connections. Microsoft hasn't announced plans to incorporate the research into any actual products, though. Thanks to Slashdot for the tip.

23 comments — Last by Klimax at 2:20 AM on 08/28/14

Bloomberg: 12.9'' iPad coming in 2015
— 5:22 PM on August 26, 2014

The 13" iPad is coming! No, we swear. It's for real this time.

A year after the Wall Street Journal predicted the jumbo iPad's arrival, Bloomberg has chimed in with word that the device really is on the way—and that production is set to begin in the first quarter of 2015.

The news comes from "people with knowledge of the matter" who "asked not to be identified because the details aren't public." Since Bloomberg is printing those details, there's probably a grain of truth to them. Too bad the sources didn't reveal much beside the tablet's production schedule and 12.9" screen size.

According to Bloomberg, a larger iPad could help Apple make inroads in the enterprise market. The site points out that Apple partnered with IBM recently with the aim of making corporate customers "a catalyst for future iPad growth." Bloomberg also quotes Jitesh Ubrani, a market researcher for IDC, who says the share of tablets being snatched up by business, education, and government customers is growing. Larger tablets are expected to "do better" with those customers, he adds.

A 13", business-focused iPad might wind up looking a lot like Microsoft's Surface Pro 3. I wonder if that means Apple will finally embrace the convertible concept and offer a detachable keyboard. CEO Tim Cook has spoken derisively about convertibles in the past, but Steve Jobs was similarly dismissive of sub-10" tablets, and look where that got us.

39 comments — Last by blastdoor at 6:14 AM on 08/28/14

Gigabyte, Enermax, and Samsung haiku contest winners chosen
— 10:27 AM on August 26, 2014

Our haiku contest was a resounding success, with a whopping 366 entries in all. Because of the sheer volume of submissions, we took a little longer than expected to read through all of them, but we've now chosen our two winners.

Our gold medalist is StuG, whose poetic entry earned him our grand prize:

A young moon grows bright
Just one more defiant click
The sun's rays emerge

Congrats, StuG. You've won a Gigabyte Z97X-UD5H Black Edition mobo and a Gigabyte GeForce GTX 750 Ti Black Edition; a black iVector case, Revolution X't Gold 530W PSU, and Liqtech liquid cooler from Enermax; and a Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD.

Our runner-up is chuckula, who's won a Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD for this amusing haiku:

Fans once spun with strength
Now cores wither in the heat
Feline Victory

Guys, you should both have a private message from Adam "Inkling" Eiberger, TR's business guy, in your forums inbox. Please reply to that message within 72 hours to claim your prize.

We don't have any other prizes to give, but we did like some of the other entries in the thread. In lieu of free hardware, we figured we'd at least give them five minutes of fame. Here they are in alphabetical order:


An old, small diskette
All my childhood memories...

Abort, Retry, Fail?


Building a PC,
I derive much joy from it.
Ow! I cut my hand!


How did you install
Eleven spyware programs
In just ten minutes?


01001001 01100110 00100000 01001001 00100000 01100101 01101110 01110100 01100101 01110010 01100101 01100100 00100000 01101001 01110100

01010111 01101111 01110101 01101100 01100100 00100000 01001001 00100000 01101000 01100001 01110110 01100101 00100000 01100001 00100000 01100011 01101000 01100001 01101110 01100011 01100101 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01110111 01101001 01101110

01010010 01101111 01100010 01101111 01110100 01110011 00100000 01101110 01100101 01110110 01100101 01110010 00100000 01100100 01101111

Good job, folks—and thanks to everyone else for participating. Thanks also to Gigabyte, Enermax, and Samsung for donating our prizes and making this giveaway possible!

38 comments — Last by Peter.Parker at 5:56 AM on 08/28/14

Seagate ships first 8TB hard drive
— 10:10 AM on August 26, 2014

Just a few months after rolling out its first 6TB hard drive, Seagate has kicked up the capacity by 33%. The firm announced this morning that it's now providing 8TB drives to "select customers." These drives are the "world's first" to hit that capacity milestone, according to marketing VP Scott Horn, and they won't be restricted to an exclusive audience for long. Broader availability is scheduled for next quarter.

The 8TB monster uses a standard 3.5" form factor and 6Gbps SATA interface. It's targeted at datacenters, cloud-based services, and bulk data storage—and it has the rotational vibration tolerance typical of drives designed to slot into tightly packed servers. That's pretty much the extent of what Seagate is revealing about the drive right now, though. The company declined to clarify the platter count, spindle speed, and whether the 8TB unit uses shingled magnetic recording technology. We were told that more details are due "in the coming weeks."

The 6TB drive Seagate announced earlier this year doesn't use SMR, but it's hard to imagine a quick jump to 8TB without it. Unlike traditional recording tech, which puts spaces between individual tracks, SMR layers them on top of each other in a staggered fashion, much like the shingles on a roof. This overlap increases the bit density of the drive platter, but it can also slow write performance, since altering data requires that overlapping tracks be read and rewritten.

Last year, Seagate said that it had already shipped "over one million drives" based on SMR. We haven't heard much about the technology since, but the new 8TB drive seems like a prime candidate for it.

54 comments — Last by Prestige Worldwide at 8:38 AM on 08/28/14

Report: Windows Threshold to feature 'updated Modern UI'
— 9:22 AM on August 26, 2014

In many ways, Windows Threshold looks set to be a return to the glory days of Windows 7. The rumor mill expects desktop users to enjoy a reinstated Start menu with no Modern UI to clutter things up.

But Windows Threshold may also double down on Modern UI for tablets—and it may have improvements in store for the tile-based interface. So says WinBeta, which claims it "can reveal that Windows Threshold will include an updated Modern UI when it launches in 2015."

The site outlines several new Modern UI features, including live tiles with interactive elements, a notification center (presumably a la Windows Phone 8.1), folders, Microsoft's Cortana digital assistant, and unspecified customization options that will "allow you to further make your Start Screen personal."

WinBeta doesn't expect all of the new elements to make the cut, but it does say the features are intended to "align" Windows Threshold with the competition—that is, iOS and Android. Given that Microsoft is still pretty much an underdog in the tablet market, that kind of alignment may be sorely needed.

33 comments — Last by Savyg at 12:51 AM on 08/28/14

Amazon buys for $970 million
— 10:21 PM on August 25, 2014 has indeed been sold—but not to the company we expected. Last month, VentureBeat reported that Google was proceeding with a $1-billion purchase of the popular video streaming site. The price turned out to be correct, but as it turns out, the buyer is Amazon. The e-tail giant is shelling out $970 million in a deal that's already been approved by Twitch's shareholders.

In a press release announcing the acquisition, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos hinted that gaming was part of the motivation behind the move. "Like Twitch," he said, "we obsess over customers and like to think differently, and we look forward to learning from them and helping them move even faster to build new services for the gaming community."

Twitch CEO Emmet Shear reiterated the promise that Amazon's backing will accelerate the creation of "tools and services" for the community. He also added that the buyout will help the streaming site reach "even more people around the world."

In just a few years, has become the most popular game streaming site on the web. Over 55 million unique visitors watched more than 15 billion minutes of footage last month alone. Those are impressive numbers on their own, but to be fair, they pale in comparison to the big dog of online video. YouTube serves about six billion hours a month to an audience of over a billion viewers. Maybe that's why Google balked at the purchase.

41 comments — Last by Sabresiberian at 5:53 PM on 08/26/14

EVGA teases three Haswell-E motherboards
— 4:16 PM on August 25, 2014

Looking for black? The most basic, blackest, darkest of shades, with a side of Haswell-E? EVGA is teasing three X99 motherboards all set for Intel's upcoming high-end CPU. Official details are few and far between, but here's what we can gather from EVGA's teaser pictures and Cowcotland's coverage of the three models:

Source: EVGA.

First off is the microATX pocket rocket, which looks like the coolest one to me. This board has three PCIe slots (two x16 and one x8), four DIMM slots, six SATA 6Gbps ports, and an M.2 slot. To help with failed overclocking attempts, EVGA has included an onboard POST code indicator, what appears to be a CMOS reset button, plus reset and power buttons. With all of that stuff crammed into a smaller form factor, who needs ATX?

Cowcotland says the microATX board can take up to 64GB of RAM at speeds up to 2667Mhz. Other pictures on the site also show a backplate with four USB 3.0 ports, six USB 2.0, and another CMOS reset button, which I hope not to press by accident while plugging in a webcam. Audio is reportedly provided by a Realtek ALC1150 codec, though there's no word on multi-channel encoding for S/PDIF output. The street price is said to be $250 with a three-year warranty.

Source: EVGA.

Next up is the full-sized "FTW" version, which has an upgraded PCIe slot configuration: two x16s, three x8s, and one x4. The eight DIMM slots can reportedly take up to 128GB of RAM—enough to make some rackmount servers envious. 10 SATA 6Gb/s ports set the stage for what is scientifically known as "a lotta storage," although the M.2 slot has gone AWOL.

An angled 6-pin power connector sits in the upper left corner, probably to supply extra juice to the PCIe slots. The ATX header, three of the seven fan headers, and the USB 3.0 header are all angled, as well, which should make for cleaner cable routing.

Cowcotland says the board features dual GigE connectivity and will retail for $280.

Source: EVGA.

Welcome to the Classified section. This high-end board includes everything but the kitchen sink, including dual M.2 slots for mini SSDs and dual 8-pin power inputs for the CPU. Voltage measurement points are present throughout the motherboard, Cowcotland says, and a Creative Core3D solution powers the onboard audio. The asking price will reportedly be $400.

49 comments — Last by Krogoth at 2:07 AM on 08/28/14

Research firm: downloads make up 92% of PC game sales
— 12:02 PM on August 25, 2014

According to DFC Intelligence, physical media is pretty much dead in the PC gaming industry. The market research firm told UK site PCR that downloadable formats made up 92% of worldwide PC game sales last year. That percentage is expected to keep climbing, as well.

Unfortunately, there isn't any information on how DFC Intelligence arrived at that figure. Most PC game downloads are sold through online services that don't report total sales figures. And most of those sales likely come from Steam, which is owned by Valve, a privately held company that doesn't publish regular financial reports. Getting an accurate bead on downloadable game numbers has got to be difficult.

Still, it seems plausible that the vast majority of PC games are sold in downloadable form. Thanks to frequent Steam sales, Humble Bundles, and other promotions, downloadable games are usually cheaper than their physical counterparts. New titles can be pre-loaded before they come out, allowing rabid fans to start playing pretty much the instant games hit store shelves. And, now that the big players all have their own download services, games are pretty much guaranteed to be available through at least one online outlet. I can't even remember the last time I bought one on physical media.

38 comments — Last by ColeLT1 at 2:05 PM on 08/27/14

Honey, Sapphire shrunk the Radeon R9 285
— 9:59 AM on August 25, 2014

AMD introduced the Radeon R9 285 over the weekend. The card uses an updated "Tonga" GPU, and it's set to start at $249. Most of the implementations pictured around the web are full-sized offerings with beefy  coolers. However, Sapphire has cooked up something decidedly smaller.

At 6.7", the ITX Compact Edition is about 3" shorter than Sapphire's standard R9 285. It also matches the length of the Mini-ITX motherboard form factor—and the diminutive cases built to accommodate it. Mind the double-wide cooler, though. You'll still need an enclosure with dual expansion slot brackets.

Sapphire has two versions of the mini R9 285. The standard model runs at stock speeds, while the OC variant gives the GPU a miniscule 10MHz boost. Both flavors have 2GB of RAM clocked at 1375MHz. They appear to sport dual 6-pin PCIe power connectors, too. Although the pictures don't show the power jacks, the accessory list includes an "8 pin to 6 pin x2 power adapter."

The first Radeon R9 285 cards are expected to be available September 2, but there's no word on whether these ones will be part of the initial wave. Given what we've seen with other stubby graphics cards, I wouldn't expect too much of a price premium. Thanks to TechPowerUp for the tip.

39 comments — Last by Krogoth at 4:41 AM on 08/27/14

WinRT-powered Surface 2 gets a $100 price cut
— 9:19 AM on August 25, 2014

According to the multiverse hypothesis, there's a universe out there where Windows RT was actually successful. There, developers flocked to the ARM-only version of Windows 8, and devices based on it flew off store shelves, selling in respectable numbers compared to the iPad and its Android rivals.

Back in this universe, Microsoft has taken $100 off the WinRT-toting Surface 2. You can now get the device for the low, low price of $349, which still seems like entirely too much for a Windows machine that can't run any good (i.e. x86) apps.

Introduced last September, the Surface 2 is now the only other homebrewed Microsoft tablet on the Microsoft Store besides the Surface Pro 3. It features a 10.6" 1080p screen, a Tegra 4 processor, 32GB of storage, and a 10-hour battery. And it's a little on the heavy side, at 1.49 lbs.

You can also get the Surface 2 with 64GB of storage (now for $449) or with 64GB of storage and LTE connectivity (now for $579). Or you can disregard the $100 cut and spend that money on a proper Windows 8.1 device based on Intel's Bay Trail platform, which will no doubt serve you better.

26 comments — Last by DarkMikaru at 2:11 PM on 08/26/14

DisplaySearch: Notebook shipments grew last quarter
— 6:00 AM on August 25, 2014

No, it wasn't just HP. Global notebook PC shipments were relatively strong overall last quarter, according to the latest figures from NPD DisplaySearch.

The firm says global notebook shipments rose by 1% between Q2 '13 and Q2 '14. That kind growth isn't astronomical, but it reverses the trend of the past seven quarters, which all saw shipments decline. Also, some markets—including North America—saw much higher growth than others:

"North America and Western Europe have improved to positive double-digit growth, due to a combination of commercial PC replacement cycles and Windows XP migration in 2014," said Hisakazu Torii, vice president, smart application research at NPD DisplaySearch. "The notebook PC market has also benefited from the launch of Chromebooks and other low-priced notebook PCs."

The top-five vendors did particularly well, too, enjoying a collective 16% increase in shipments. (That's compared to a 20% decline last year, DisplaySearch says.) Out of the top five, Lenovo apparently fared the best. The company's notebook shipments grew 35% year-on-year, propelling it to the top spot in the market share rankings, ahead of HP, Asus, Dell, and Acer, respectively.

Too bad DisplaySearch doesn't have numbers for desktops. We'll probably have to wait for figures from Gartner and IDC for those. Intel has made no secret of the fact that its desktop CPU shipments are growing, though, which probably reflects a broader trend.

18 comments — Last by Grape Flavor at 3:05 AM on 08/26/14

AMD to release revised FX processors early next month
— 1:09 PM on August 23, 2014

In addition to the unveiling of the Radeon R9 285 today, AMD said it will be releasing several new CPUs in its high-end and somewhat neglected FX lineup on September 2.

Although the company didn't divulge all of the specs of these new processors, it looks like the rumors pretty much nailed it.

There will be an FX-8370 with a 125W TDP, likely with eight "Piledriver"-class CPU cores. Meanwhile, the FX-8370E will offer the same basic specs in a smaller 95W power envelope, and it may give up some Turbo performance in order to fit into its smaller TDP.

At the very high end of the FX lineup will be a revamped version of the FX-9590, the 220W burner that ships with its own water cooler. AMD revealed that it will be making a substantial price cut on the FX-9590, too. The firm didn't reveal the exact price, or how the rest of the FX lineup might be affected by the cut, during its live-streamed event.

In another move intended to entice system builders, AMD will be offering six-packs of certain CPUs at a discount, as well. Again, we're still fuzzy on the details. We'll update this story if we can shake loose some more details soon.

59 comments — Last by srg86 at 4:43 PM on 08/26/14

The Radeon R9 285 will arrive Sep. 2 at $249
— 11:51 AM on August 23, 2014

Looks like most of the rumors were spot-on about this one. In a live-streamed fan event this morning, AMD formally announced its next graphics card, the Radeon R9 285. This card is based on the Tonga GPU, a somewhat smaller and cheaper-to-produce successor to the Tahiti chip used in everything from the Radeon HD 7970 to the R9 280X. Tonga looks to be based on the slightly revised version of the GCN architecture used in the Radeon R9 290, which includes some new features like TrueAudio and XDMA CrossFire. Here's a look at the card and the full specs sheet revealed by AMD:

The biggest news with R9 285 is the fact that the Tonga chip and cards based on it should be cheaper to produce, particularly because it has a 256-bit memory interface instead of the 384-bit one used in Tahiti. Otherwise, Tonga's complement of graphics resources looks very similar to its older brother's, and I'd expect the 285's performance to be somewhat lower than the R9 280X's.

No surprise, then, that the R9 285's biggest attraction may well be its $249 price tag. Here's how the new Radeon product stack looks:

AMD is comparing the R9 285 to Nvidia's GeForce GTX 760, which looks to be the primary competition. Although the specs show 2GB of memory, the firm said during the announcement that 4GB versions of the R9 285 will be coming, too. I expect those to cost a little more, but they're probably a smart buy for anyone considering using one of these cards with a 4K display at some point.

The Radeon R9 285 is slated to be in stores on September 2.

To further sweeten the pot, AMD is attaching a new version of its Never Settle game bundle to the R9 285 and all other R9-series Radeons. The Never Settle: Space Edition bundle includes Alien Isolation and access to the in-rolling-development Star Citizen game. As part of the Star Citizen access, folks will also get a custom-designed ship to use in-game, the nifty looking fighter shown below.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to warm up the test rigs in Damage Labs...

56 comments — Last by hansmuff at 2:04 PM on 08/27/14

Weekend Shortbread
— 12:00 AM on August 23, 2014

Eight is Enough

  1. Neowin: Windows 8.1 'August update' BSODs affected less than 0.01% of users
  2. techPowerUp!: Intel Core i7-5820K features fewer PCI-Express lanes after all
  3. LinuxGizmos: Android-on-ARM mini-PC draws less-than-7W
  4. AMD working on 20nm "Faraway Islands" GPU (in Spanish)
  5. WCCFtech: AMD Catalyst 13.9 WHQL to 14.7 RC benchmark
    comparison - 4% overall increase with interesting anomaly'
  6. Reuters' exclusive: Apple iPhone 6 screen snag leaves supply chain scrambling
  7. Mac Rumors: iPhone 6 information leak sourced from
    Foxconn details dimensions of 4.7" and 5.5" versions
  8. GameSpot: Witcher 3 dev responds to report that
    game may not run in 1080p on PS4, Xbox One


40 comments — Last by Kurkotain at 6:46 PM on 08/26/14