TOP NEWS
Friday Night Shortbread
— 9:25 PM on September 23, 2016

7 Up

  1. Exclusive at Reuters: Probe of leaked U.S. NSA
    hacking tools examines operative's 'mistake'
  2. WCCFtech: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and 1050 variants detailed
  3. AnandTech's AMD 7th gen Bristol Ridge and AM4 analysis
  4. AnandTech's anecdotal musing of brick
    and mortar AMD notebook offerings
  5. WCCFtech: The Apple A10 Fusion features tighter
    packaging, die utilization and improved libraries
  6. SamMobile: Samsung could use Exynos 8895 with
    ARM's Mali-G71 GPU in the Galaxy S8 next year
  7. GNOME 3.22 released

Read more...

21 comments — Last by Krogoth at 2:05 AM on 09/26/16

Doom's latest update adds Deathmatch and private matches
— 5:09 PM on September 23, 2016

Bethesda and id's newest take on Doom, one of the founding fathers of first person shooters and multiplayer gaming, released this spring to generally positive reception from critics and fans alike. id Software continued to add PC-friendly features to the game like Vulkan support and showing love to the platform that made Doom the legend it is. Now, with the third free content update, id has added the one thing that was missing: Deathmatch.

Deathmatch was an often-requested feature, and is exactly what it sounds like: free-for-all multiplayer. In addition, private matches are now available, allowing players to setup their own conditions to play exactly the match they want. The Snapmap and Campaign modes received a number of bugfixes, too.

It's surprising to see what were once considered to be core features added four months after release, but it seems like id and publisher Bethesda Softworks are listening to fans as the game ages. The patch is already available, so you can get in there and start showing everyone—not just the other team—how the rocket launcher is really supposed to be used.

12 comments — Last by Srsly_Bro at 12:46 AM on 09/26/16

Rumor: Google to showcase mesh networking router soon
— 4:49 PM on September 23, 2016

Android Police has published some speculation that Google will introduce a new Wi-Fi router under the name Google Wifi (sic) at the company's hardware launch event on October 4. The rumor mill suggests the new router will have the ability to team up with other identical units to form a mesh network, similar to eero and Luma Surround.

Google's new router is said to offer AC1200 speeds, Bluetooth and 802.15.4 connectivity (the protocol underlying ZigBee and MiWi), and polished setup and operation. The company has stuck its toe into the wireless router market before with the OnHub devices manufactured by TP-Link and Asus. OnHub devices added IoT and home automation flair to the standard wireless router formula, but lacked the mesh features highlighted in today's rumors.

Android Police speculates Google Wifi will be offered for $129. For the sake of comparison, a single eero mesh router costs $199, a pair rings in at $349, and a three-pack retails for $499.

A second article at Android Police offers unsubstantiated claims about two other upcoming Google hardware releases. Google Home, an Amazon Echo competitor announced in May, is rumored to be priced at $129. Meanwhile, the Chromecast Ultra, alleged to be a 4K and HDR-capable Google Cast device, could be released at $69. That price is twice the cost of a Full HD-capable Chromecast.

10 comments — Last by Arclight at 4:39 AM on 09/26/16

SolidRun MicroSoM offers Braswell CPUs on a tiny package
— 3:23 PM on September 23, 2016

Technology enthusiasts looking to shoehorn computers into unusual places often turn to the Raspberry Pi. The Pi is inexpensive, with prices of $5 for the Pi Zero and around $35 for the more powerful Pi 3. It also consumes little electricity, has its own Linux distribution, and is backed by an active community. Some tasks are simply too much for even the ARMv8 1.2GHz quad-core atop the Pi 3, though. Israeli PC vendor SolidRun thinks it has the solution for that and announced the MicroSoM, a lineup of Intel Braswell-based system-on-a-module boards (SoM) for use in more demanding applications including medical equipment, drones, and industrial and point-of-sale systems.

The SoM includes a choice of Intel Atom x5-8000 or Pentium N3710 CPUs from the 14-nm Braswell family, some memory, and 4GB eMMC storage on a 40mm x 53mm PCB. The basic option includes an Atom CPU and 2GB RAM, while the higher-end model packs a Pentium CPU and 8GB RAM. As optional accessories, SolidRun offers an aluminum enclosure, a CPU heatsink, and a Micro-USB power supply.

The SoM requires additional hardware in order to be used in the same fashion as the Raspberry Pi, as the base module does not include any of the standard ports PC enthusiasts are familiar with. SolidRun's SolidPC Q4 carrier board adds HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, three USB 3.0 ports, a pair of Ethernet ports, and both analog and digital audio outputs. The Q4 carrier board measures 100mm x 80 mm. For comparison's sake, the Raspberry Pi 3 measures 85mm x 56mm.

Alternative x86-based single board computers from vendors including UDOO, MinnowBoard, Up Board, Gizmosphere, and PC Engines (among others) are in varying stages of development and availability. SolidRun expects the MicroSoM to begin shipping in 4-6 weeks, and is asking $117 for the Atom version and $225 for the Pentium model. The Q4 carrier board goes for $40 when purchased with a MicroSoM module. Finally, the optional aluminum enclosure costs $25, while both the CPU heatsink and Micro-USB charger go for $10.

18 comments — Last by Anonymous Coward at 3:32 AM on 09/26/16

Deals of the week: SSD storage and a gaming laptop
— 1:06 PM on September 23, 2016

Greetings, gerbils! It's a chipper day here at TR HQ, and I'll be your host for today's game show. Here are many doors, all numbered. Any one of these doors may contain a prize. Wait, all of them do! Behind each door there is a great deal on a piece of hardware. Come along now. No need to trample each other, folks, there's plenty to go around.

  • Ever dreamed you could get 1TB of fast SSD storage for little over $200? Dream no more. The Mushkin Enhanced Reactor 1TB SSD is on sale at Newegg for a scant $214.99 after promo code ESCENGH84. If your Steam library has grown a little too big for its breeches, now you have the solution.
     
  • Higher-maintenance gerbils may look at the drive above and go "psh, SATA peasants." Those gerbils will be happy to know that Newegg is offering the Intel 750 1.2TB PCIe SSD on a card form factor for a comparatively affordable $659.99. Rumors that slotting one of these into your PC and turning it on will produce a "vrooom" sound are so far unconfirmed.
     
  • Big SSDs are all nice and good, but good ol' mechanical drives still have the last laugh when it comes to price-per-gigabyte. The one that's laughing the most today is HGST's 5TB Deskstar NAS 7200 RPM drive, which Newegg is selling for a crazy low $174.99 after promo code ESCENGH22. Backblaze's hard drive stats consistently put HGST at the top of the reliability chart, too.
     
  • Today we're showing a specimen of the new breed of non-cinderblocky gaming laptops, the Aorus X3 Plus v5-CF3 laptop. This conservatively-sized 13.9" machine packs an Intel Core i7-6700HQ CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a Nvidia GTX 970M graphics card with 6GB of VRAM. That's good enough on its own, but get this: the monitor has an IGZO panel with a resolution of 3200x1800, while storage is provided by a 1TB PCIe M.2 SSD. Normally, something like this would cost insanity dollars, but Newegg will happily sell the machine for $1,549.
     
  • Looking for a decent but affordable monitor with adaptive refresh rate support? The Viewsonic VX2457-MHD is a 24" monitor with a resolution of 1920x1080 at a maximum refresh rate of 75 Hz and a response time of 2ms. That by itself isn't all that fancy, but this display also supports AMD's FreeSync technology. A couple of 2W speakers round out the package. Newegg is offering this monitor for only $129.99 with the promo code EMCENGH39, which makes it one of the most affordable ways to hop on the VRR bandwagon.

There's a chance you're looking for a deal on something we didn't feature here. If that's the case, you can help The Tech Report by using the following referral links when you're out shopping: not only do we have a partnership with Newegg, but we also work with Best Buy, Adorama, RakutenWalmart, and Sam's Club. For more specific needs, you can also shop with our links at the Microsoft Store and Das Keyboard's shop.

That's all for today, folks. If we happened to miss an interesting deal, please let us know in the comments section below.

15 comments — Last by JustAnEngineer at 2:48 PM on 09/24/16

Asus upgrades its G11 gaming desktops with Pascal power
— 11:14 AM on September 23, 2016

Gerbils like to build their own boxes, so pre-built desktops like the Asus G11 series don't get a lot of love here at TR. Asus launched this line a year ago, aimed at folks who want a serious gaming PC without spending serious time picking and assembling parts. Last year's Maxwell-equipped models were looking more than a little stale, though. Asus has fixed that, and is announcing that the G11s are now available with GeForce GTX 10-series graphics cards.

While the the arrival of FinFET-fabricated GPUs has been quite a thing in the PC world, the rest of the market is largely unchanged since last September. As a result, the rest of the parts used in the G11 series are more or less untouched. Two basic models, the G11CB and G11CD, make up the bulk of the series.

The primary difference between the two is in the motherboard chipset. The G11CB's mobo uses an H170 PCH, while the G11CD packs the lower-end H110 chip. That difference enables the G11CB to use M.2 PCIe x4 storage devices. Otherwise, the two models can be found configured with quad-core Skylake CPUs, up to 32GB of DDR4 memory, and 10-series GeForce GTX graphics cards.

These machines aren't well-suited for overclocking, but gamers with an eye to overclock should be looking elsewhere, anyway. Asus says these PCs are a high-powered option for users seeking a no-compromises gaming experience, and the hardware on offer should deliver that. If you've an urgent need for a gaming PC with minimal effort involved, Newegg has a G11CD with a Core i7-6700, 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, and a GTX 1080 for $1799.

11 comments — Last by Rza79 at 5:07 PM on 09/25/16

Work with Pritchard again in Mankind Divided's System Rift DLC
— 10:08 AM on September 23, 2016

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was released roughly a month ago to generally positive reviews. Square-Enix isn't wasting any time, though. The first expansion for the game, called System Rift, is out today. Players can get into the skin and augments of Adam Jensen to once again work with his almost-friend Frank Pritchard. Take a gander at the trailer:

Good ol' buddy Prick-chard is asking for Jensen's help in infiltrating the Palisade Blade, the world's most secure data vault, in order to hunt down information pertaining the Santeu Group. The Blade is part of the Palisade Bank, a name familiar those that went to its offices during the main game in a quest for credits information.

Along the way, there's a hint that doing this may help Jensen in lifting the veil a little more on the famous Illuminati, who are pulling the strings on the world and constantly harshing his mellow. System Rift is out now in Steam for $11.99.

6 comments — Last by ronch at 12:20 PM on 09/25/16

Titanfall 2 PC requirements point to a smooth experience
— 9:00 AM on September 23, 2016

Titanfall 2 is still just short of a month away, but details are starting to come out about what we can expect from our gaming rigs while running the game. Of course, it's still up to Respawn Entertainment to get the game out the door in working condition, but the developer has revealed what kinds of systems players will want to be running on to run the game at not only minimum and recommended specs, but also to pull 60 FPS at 4K resolution.

Regardless of what hardware you're running, you'll need 45GB of storage available, DirectX 11, and Windows 7 or later. Here are the full specs:

Minimum

  • CPU: Intel Core i3-6300T or equivalent
  • RAM: 8GB
  • GPU: NVIDIA Geforce GTX 660 2GB or AMD Radeon HD 7850 2GB

Recommended

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-6600 or equivalent
  • RAM: 16GB
  • GPU: NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1060 6GB or AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB

Ultra settings at 4K and 60 FPS

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K or equivalent
  • RAM: 16GB
  • GPU: NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1080 8GB

The minimum spec for the game is actually relatively low, and most of us who consider ourselves PC gamers should be able to run it without a problem. Even the recommended specifications for the game are pretty reasonable. To get the full 4K experience, you'll need a top of the line system, though, with the best Intel and Nvidia have to offer.

Producer Drew McCoy explains in the post that lower spec rigs might even be able to handle the game. The minimum spec is intended for users to run the game at 1600x900 with most of the details turned on and pull an average of 60 FPS, McCoy said. The recommended specs, meanwhile, assume you're running at 1920x1080 and have most of the graphical detail in the game cranked up as far as they'll go.

The post goes into deeper detail, making note of all the PC video options we can expect to be tinkering with next month, as well as the tech powering the game. The team saw fit to include some benchmark graphs comparing performance at various resolutions, too. Titanfall 2 is set to be released on October 28.

35 comments — Last by Arclight at 4:37 AM on 09/26/16

DSFix creator Durante outlines the realities of game optimization
— 2:46 PM on September 22, 2016

Peter "Durante" Thoman—creator of DSFix for Dark Souls and the Generic Down-Sampling Tool—has posted an article at PC Gamer about the realities of game optimization. This isn't the first time Durante has written for the site, and in your scribe's opinion, he writes frankly and clearly about PC gaming in a way few people do.

With every new major PC game release, there will always be some users that complain about the game's "optimization." As Durante says, these complaints are usually just shorthand for "this game doesn't run well on my PC." His write-up seeks to shed light on exactly what "optimization" means, and why it isn't simply a matter of technical skill. Durante spoke with Croatian game developers Croteam (of Serious Sam fame) and Polish localization house QLOC to gain their insights on game optimization.

The article is more of an overview rather than an in-depth examination, and as a result it doesn't go into a lot of detail. Durante sheds light on some of the most computationally expensive graphics settings we find in games, and then goes on to talk about how many "optimization" issues are related to surprisingly non-technical things. He also mentions how users can cause "optimization" issues of their own with careless option-twiddling. Definitely worth a read.

30 comments — Last by RAGEPRO at 4:15 PM on 09/25/16

Updated: Yahoo may soon confirm massive data breach
— 1:28 PM on September 22, 2016

Update: Yahoo has confirmed the data breach, and says the leaked information pertains to 500 million accounts and dates back to 2014. The leaked data "may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords [...] and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers." The company will be notifying affected users. We urge anyone with a Yahoo account to change their password immediately. The original story follows below:

Technology news website Recode reports former web search leader Yahoo may imminently acknowledge a massive data breach. The site claims that "several hundred million" user accounts may have been compromised.

Rumors of a breach began circulating back in August when a black hat hacker going by the name "Peace" claimed to have data pertaining to 200 million breached accounts for sale. At that time, a Yahoo spokesperson admitted the company was investigating the claim.

Recode's sources did not provide specific information on the timing the extent of the breach. According to the site, Peace claimed the data for sale was of 2012 vintage. The black hat claimed the data includes user names, MD5-hashed passwords, birth dates, and email addresses. Peace did not state whether Flickr and Tumblr accounts, which use Yahoo logins, are likewise affected.

Yahoo reached an agreement to sell itself to Verizon for $4.8 billion on July 25 (excluding Yahoo's 15% stake in Chinese e-commece giant Alibaba). ETF Daily News suggests that "that deal could now be in jeopardy, at least from a price perspective, as Verizon is sure to investigate the issue and possibly ask for a lower price."

Regardless of the age of the data contained within the alleged breach, we suggest that users with Yahoo accounts change their login credentials as soon as possible.

40 comments — Last by FuturePastNow at 3:53 PM on 09/25/16

Thermaltake waterblock is a clear choice for Strix 10-series cards
— 10:56 AM on September 22, 2016

PC component vendor Thermaltake has peeled back the protective sticker on the latest addition to its Pacific V-GTX 10 Series of full-coverage water blocks for Nvidia GeForce GTX 10-series graphics cards. The new block is designed for full coverage liquid cooling of Asus ROG Strix GTX 1070 and 1080 cards. This model is similar to the existing Pacific V-GTX 10 Series Founders Edition water block, which as the name implies is compatible with Founder's Edition GTX 1070 and 1080 pixel-pushers.

The water block comprises a CNC-machined copper base with 0.5-mm internal fin construction. The "Transparent" portion of the water block's name is doubtlessly inspired by the top portion, which is made from acrylic. The block is equipped with G1/4 fittings popular with custom open-loop liquid cooling enthusiasts. A 4-mm thick aluminum backplate, a collection of screws and washers, thermal pads, and thermal grease are included in the package.

The weight of the block is listed as 1.33 kg (or 2.93 lbs), though there's no word if this includes the weight of the coolant. In either case, the thick backplate is probably important for supporting the card with all that weight hanging on it. Thermaltake has not yet provided price or availability information for the Pacific V-GTX 10 series water block.

11 comments — Last by Srsly_Bro at 12:46 PM on 09/23/16

Radeon Software 16.9.2 starts its engine for Forza Horizon 3
— 10:08 AM on September 22, 2016

Not to be outdone by its rivals, AMD also released new drivers for Forza Horizon 3. The Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.9.2 release includes specific optimizations for Microsoft's new racing title as well as a CrossFire profile for the upcoming spaceflight sim Dreadnought.

Other than adding support for the new games, the new drivers appear to be a bug-fix release. A bevy of dastardly bugs have been squished, including crashes in Ashes of the Singularity, Firefox, and AMD's own Radeon Settings. Stutter in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided's DX11 mode should be resolved, and flickering in certain CrossFire and Eyefinity scenarios should be straightened out.

There are still known issues, of course. Rise of the Tomb Raider may crash if you change the resolution in DirectX 12 mode, but the change should take when you restart the game. Overwatch may suffer flickering in CrossFire mode, Dreadnought may flicker in FreeSync, and Paragon may flicker when using both at once. Arguably the most notable known issue is that some games may crash when the Raptr overlay is enabled. Raptr is the basis for the AMD Gaming Evolved application, which—perhaps not-so-coincidentally—is not included with this driver set.

View the release notes for your new Radeon drivers here, and pick up the new release at AMD's download site.

6 comments — Last by Kretschmer at 8:45 AM on 09/23/16

Mionix Naos QG mouse knows what's really in your heart
— 9:03 AM on September 22, 2016

When you're streaming a game on Twitch, you are part of the content as much as the game. Viewers want to see and hear their favorite streamers, watching them react to games in real time. Peripheral manufacturer Mionix wants you to share even more—not just what you're saying, but what you're feeling as well. The Mionix Naos QG Gaming Mouse (QG standing for Quantified Gaming) intends to do just that.

The Naos QG will allow users to monitor and share heart rate and GSR—galvanic skin response, or more simply, sweat—via software Mionix says it developed "in collaboration with the Kickstarter and Twitch streaming community." If it works well, the mouse could be a hit with streamers that focus on horror games or highly competitive multiplayer games, letting viewers see whether or not the person on camera really is as cool as he's acting.

The mouse does its surface-reading with a Pixart PMW-3360 optical sensor that can hit 12,000 DPI. The main body offers seven programmable buttons, five-step adjustable DPI settings, and RGB LED lighting. Apart from the sensor and biometric gear, the mouse looks similar identical to Mionix's Naos 8200, which has the same body shape, programmable buttons, and LED lighting zones, but uses an 8,200 DPI laser sensor. Weighing 152 grams, the Naos QG is also a pretty hefty mouse, especially in comparison to some of the sub-100g offerings from places like Razer and Logitech.

The list of people who would benefit from monitoring their biometric statistics while gaming is a short one, especially at the $129 price tag, but the Naos QG could offer a new window into your favorite streamers' minds when it's released in October.

24 comments — Last by Khali at 10:04 AM on 09/23/16

SanDisk unveils prototype 1TB SD card
— 4:31 PM on September 21, 2016

Way, way back in the year 2000, when the first 64MB SD card was still a new piece of tech, having so much memory in such a small space was tough for us to wrap our heads around. An Amazon review from the time said that "the first thing that you'll do when you see this thing is wonder how the manufacturer could pack 64MB of space on something so small." The reviewer marveled at the size, assuring the wide-eyed reader that the hardware wasn't a big floppy disk, as the close-up picture could've been considered misleading.

It's a different world now, but SanDisk is still working to pack more and more memory into those tiny cards, and this week unveiled a prototype 1TB SDXC card. And we're still wondering how SanDisk is packing so much space on something so small.

The biggest recent advancement in small storage came two years ago when SanDisk debuted the 512GB SDXC card, which still fetches a cool $345 over at Amazon.

4K video is only getting more and more popular among consumers, and recording video at a resolution like that requires a staggering amount of storage that needs to be accessed at high speeds. There isn't much out there that asks as much of a memory card. SanDisk is promising that the card will be able to fill the needs of those creating content at 4K and 8K resolution alike, not to mention 360-degree video.

Because the card is just a prototype right now, there isn't a price available, or even a release date. But it should give anyone playing with UHD video—or using it professionally—something to look forward to. 

24 comments — Last by Chrispy_ at 7:55 AM on 09/23/16

Scythe Byakko slices into compact dimensions
— 2:40 PM on September 21, 2016

Japanese PC cooling specialist Scythe has announced a new compact tower-style CPU cooler called Byakko, a word that translates to White Tiger. The Byakko HSF packs a trio of 6-mm heatpipes and a 92mm fan into an overall height of merely 130mm (5.12" for Americans).

The base of the heatsink assembly is constructed from nickel-plated copper, and the heatpipes are curved assymetrically to allow additional clearance for installed DIMMs. The Byakko is equipped with a single Scythe Slip Stream 92mm sleeve bearing fan, which has an operating range of 300 to 2300 RPM and can generate airflow of 46.6 CFM and 18.9 Pa of static pressure. The heatsink has grooves for fan mounting on either side, so users requiring a push-pull fan configuration simply need to acquire a second fan and mounting clip.

On the Intel side, Scythe's product page lists compatibility with desktop sockets from LGA775 up to LGA1151. The old LGA1366 socket is also supported, but owners with newer Intel high-end desktop platforms must look elsewhere, as Intel's giant LGA2011 socket is not present on the support list. The Byakko uses the same pushpin-based mounting as the Intel stock coolers.

All AMD AM2, AM3, and FM socket variants are supported. AMD's new unified AM4 socket is rumored to retain compatibility with existing CPU coolers, so AM4 may be added to the support list at a later date. Mounting to AMD-based motherboards is achieved via the familiar clip mechanism. The Scythe Byakko is available immediately in Europe for 20.5€ + VAT, which works out to roughly $23.

25 comments — Last by Chrispy_ at 5:28 AM on 09/23/16

GeForce 372.90 drivers rev up for Forza Horizon 3
— 12:12 PM on September 21, 2016

The release of a new AAA game on PC usually signals the release of a new GeForce Game Ready driver release, and the upcoming release of Forza Horizon 3 is no exception. The new driver also adds what Nvidia's release notes describe as "security updates for graphics components" and an SLI profile for the upcoming game Ark: Survival Evolved.

That's not all, though. This release includes fixes for Mirror's Edge Catalyst, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and World of Warcraft. The driver's release notes also indicate the 372.90 drivers should correct issues with lag in games with G-Sync enabled and problems when linking to a Vive headset over DisplayPort. Nvidia's Ansel in-game screen capture feature is now enabled by default in white-listed games, too.

Forza Horizon 3 will be out for Ultimate Edition buyers on September 22, and on September 27 for those who "only" bought the game's standard release. Recommended requirements for the game include an Intel Core i7-3820 CPU, a Nvidia GTX 970 or GTX 1060 graphics card with at least 4GB of VRAM, and 12GB of system memory. Gamers holding onto their Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 license keys need not apply, as Forza Horizon 3 requires DirectX 12 and 64-bit Windows 10.

The 372.90 graphics card drivers can be downloaded from Nvidia's GeForce website, or in the Drivers tab of Nvidia's GeForce Experience software.

12 comments — Last by StefanJanoski at 10:57 AM on 09/22/16

Shuttle XPC nano NC02U machines pack Skylake SoCs
— 11:00 AM on September 21, 2016

Shuttle, the company that can be named responsible for the original explosion of small-form-factor desktop computing, is bringing out a new series of XPC SFF PCs. However, unlike the XPCs you might be familiar with from the days of yore, these little computers are more akin to the Intel NUC than something like those Syber Cs from yesterday.

Shuttle describes its XPC nano NC02U series as "palm-sized 4K portable" PCs. These machines come in four separate bare-bones configurations, all revolving around Intel Skylake SoCs. The base NC02U model uses the Celeron 3855U, a dual-core unit clocked at 1.6GHz. Things get a little more interesting going up the range. The NC02U3 packs a Core i3-6100U with two cores and four threads clocked at 2.3GHz, while the NC02U5 goes with a Core i5-6200U that's roughly similar to the previous model but can hit Turbo speeds up to 2.8GHz. Finally, the high-end NC02U7 contains a Core i7-6500U SoC, a dual-core, four-thread unit with 4MB of cache, 2.5GHz base clocks and Turbo clocks up to 3.1GHz.

Aside from the SoC used, all four configurations are equivalent. Graphics are handled by the Intel SoC, and the little barebones machines support up to 32GB of DDR3L-1600 via a pair of SODIMM slots. An Intel I211 adapter handles Gigabit Ethernet duties, while Realtek supplies the chips for the audio section and the M.2 802.11n Wi-Fi card. Users can store data on M.2 SSDs (residing on a slot separate from the Wi-Fi adapter), or use a 2.5" SATA disk. Unusually, the NC02U offers support for 15-mm-tall 2.5" devices, too.

While the modern Intel SoCs on offer can certainly pull HTPC duty in the living room, the inclusion of a decidedly old-school DB9 serial port on one side marks the NC02U series as potentially ready for commercial and industrial markets. Shuttle says that these little PCs are well-suited for signage, kiosks, and point-of-sale systems.

Besides the retro serial port, the NC02Us include four USB 2.0 ports as well as USB 3.0 Type-A and Type-C connectors. Video output comes by way of HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, although Shuttle doesn't specify version numbers for those. A regular old 3.5mm audio jack rounds out the external connectivity. Shuttle says the XPC nano NC02U mini-PCs are available now.

10 comments — Last by Anonymous Coward at 9:22 AM on 09/22/16

Samsung Note7 replacements arriving at U.S. stores
— 10:07 AM on September 21, 2016

The wait may be over for U.S. Galaxy Note7 owners waiting for replacements for their smokin' hot devices. Samsung has announced it safely landed 500,000 Note7 replacements devices to be distribute to "carrier and retail stores" around the country, contrary to earlier reports.

The company says users should be able to hit a retail location and get their handsets replaced in situ starting today. Note7 owners concerned about using their pre-recall handsets should be able to sleep a little easier in the meantime. Samsung has fired up a software update in the U.S. region that will cap the handset's battery's capacity to 60% and add a green charging indicator to let users know they're safe.

The battery indicator isn't the only software-side measure that Samsung took. In tandem with the ongoing CPSC voluntary recall, Samsung posted a software update with a nag screen warmly greeting users owners of affected devices and asking them to visit Samsung's site or ring up a toll-free number.

Just in case some stubborn users aren't warming up to the idea of exchanging their phones, Samsung is reaching out to them through various other means, "including direct communications, customer service, social media, marketing, and in-store commmunications."

30 comments — Last by trackerben at 1:59 PM on 09/23/16

Asus ROG GL702VM laptops offer svelte speed
— 9:27 AM on September 21, 2016

The move to FinFET fabrication for graphics processors has really opened up the options in the laptop gaming market. While some vendors like Eurocom are taking advantage of the new efficiency to stuff ever faster hardware into laptops, Asus is hunting in the middle ground between speed and power with its new ROG Strix GL702VM slim gaming laptop.

Gaming laptops that don't mimic cinderblocks in more ways than one have hardly been suited for the 'gaming' appellation until recently. At first sight, these new ROG Strix laptops aren't exactly tiny. The GL702VM uses a 17.3" 1920x1080 G-Sync display, which of course necessitates that the chassis be a certain size. Despite the large display, though, the GL702VM weighs just six pounds and is under an inch thick at its thickest point when closed. Asus doesn't say which panel tech the display uses, though it says that viewing angles should be fairly wide.

Asus packs a pretty good amount of power into that one inch of thickness. The GL702VM's Core i7-6700HQ is a quad-core, eight-thread CPU that can hit 3.5 GHz under Turbo boost. 16GB of DDR4-2133 memory come as standard equipment, as does a 6GB GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card. The graphics chip in that card is the same one found in the desktop versions of the GTX 1060 6GB, too.

Our commentors have been eager to point out that these chips will face thermal issues in laptops they generally would not in desktops. Asus steps out in front of that concern by stating that the GL702VM includes a specialized triple-fan cooling system with separate fans and radiators for the CPU and GPU. The third fan is designed to spin up during periods of lengthy GPU load, and should help the GP106 processor maintain its boost clocks.

The GL702VM comes in two variations, DB71 and DB74. The only difference between them pertains the storage configuration. Normally, the machine includes a 1TB HDD as its only storage device and is priced at $1,399. For an extra $200, Asus will install a 256GB SATA SSD. Regardless of which version you pick, the laptop includes a USB 3.1 Type-C port with Thunderbolt support alongside three USB 3.0 connectors, a mini-DisplayPort, and an HDMI output. Asus says the GL702VM is available immediately.

30 comments — Last by BIF at 7:45 PM on 09/23/16

Samsung 960 Pro and Evo push PCIe SSD performance forward
— 9:48 PM on September 20, 2016

A little under a year ago, Samsung set a new bar in consumer NVMe SSD performance with its 950 Pro M.2 SSDs. Those drives used PCIe 3.0 x4 interfaces to deliver blazing-fast performance. Today, the company is aiming even higher with its updated 960 Pro and the new 960 Evo. The 960 Pro uses a new controller and Samsung's 3D V-NAND to deliver a nice boost in sequential and random performance on paper, while the 960 Evo should offer consumers a more accessible route to the NVMe fast lane.

We're still waiting on the full specs of each capacity of each drive, but we do know that the 960 Pro will ring in with sustained read speeds of up to 3600 MB/s and writes of up to 2100 MB/s. Random operations run at 440K read IOPS and 360K write IOPS. The 960 Evo will run at slightly lower speeds of up to 3200 MB/s sequential reads and 1900 MB/s sequential writes. The Evo's random I/O performance is also slightly lower, at 380K read IOPS and 360K write IOPS.

The 960 Pro will be offered in 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities, while the 960 Evo will come in 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB versions. The Pro drives are warranted for five years or up to 1.2 petabytes written on the 2TB drive, while the Evo is warranted for three years or 400 terabytes written—at least on the 1TB model.

At its keynote session, Samsung revealed that both 960-series drives use the five-core Polaris controller, the company's successor to the triple-core UBX product found in the 950 Pro. For the 960 series of drives, Samsung says that one core is dedicated to "optimizing communication between the host and the controller," one source of the performance increase over the 950 Pro.

On top of the new hardware, the 960 Evo benefits from an updated version of the TurboWrite caching technology introduced with the 840 Evo SATA SSD. Called Intelligent TurboWrite, this version of the caching tech expands the available area to 13 GB on the 250-GB 960 Evo, 22 GB on the 500-GB drive, and a whopping 42 GB on the one-terabyte drive. Those figures are up from 3GB, 6GB, and 12GB on the comparable 850 Evo.

The 960 Pro flips the capacity hierarchy that we're used to from Samsung drives, wherein the Evo series will typically offer higher capacities than the Pro line. Samsung is able to offer the 960 Pro in a larger capacity than its Evo cousin because of a package-on-package (PoP) packaging approach, in which the DRAM cache is actually placed on top of the controller in a single module (though it's important to note the two devices aren't fabricated on the same die).

That technique lets Samsung pack four of its 512-GB, 48-layer V-NAND chips onto the M.2 2280 form factor alongside the controller-DRAM PoP module. The 960 Evo doesn't enjoy this packaging density advantage right now, so its capacity tops out at a terabyte.

The 960 Pro and 960 Evo will be available next month. The 960 Pro series will start at $329.99, while the 960 Evo will start at $129.99. Stay tuned for more details as they arrive (and I digest the information in Samsung's keynote).

92 comments — Last by tritonus at 1:36 AM on 09/26/16