Alex Torex Blog

SciTech oriented blog

Cult of Android – MediaTek’s 64-bit processor has 8 cores, supports 2K displays

Taiwanese chip maker MediaTek today announced a new high-end system-on-chip that will supercharge future smartphones and tablets. The MT6795 is built upon 64-bit architecture, boasts 8 processing cores clocked at 2.2GHz, and delivers support for 2K displays.

The chip was designed to “empower high-end device makers to leap into the Android 64-bit era,” MediaTek said in its press release today. The company also claims this is the world’s first octa-core chip with 2K display support. That’s combined with dual-channel LPDDR3 memory clocked at 933MHz, and LTE connectivity.

Read more: Cult of Android – MediaTek’s 64-bit processor has 8 cores, supports 2K displays

July 15, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Computer memory that can store about one terabyte of data on a device the size of a postage stamp

High-density, next-generation computer memory that can store about one terabyte of data on a device the size of a postage stamp — more than 50 times the data density of current flash memory technology — is now a step closer to to mass production.

That’s because Rice University’s breakthrough silicon oxide technology will allow manufacturers to fabricate “resistive random-access memory” (RRAM) devices at room temperature with conventional production methods, the researchers say.

Read more: Computer memory that can store about one terabyte of data on a device the size of a postage stamp | KurzweilAI

July 14, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Samsung is giving 3D V-NAND a little TLC

Samsung told us that it plans to make an announcement related to three-bit V-NAND. We don’t know when that announcement will come or what it will entail—Samsung’s SSD department is notoriously stingy with details—but it’s worth noting that Samsung’s second-gen V-NAND announcement mentioned “higher-density” drives due later this year. Those would be good candidates for TLC V-NAND.

Before the haters start piling on, it’s worth noting that V-NAND’s benefits should balance TLC’s baggage to some extent. TLC gets a lot of flak because storing an extra bit reduces the write speed and endurance of individual flash cells. However, V-NAND’s reduced interference enables a simpler programming algorithm that improves write performance. Also, its 3D charge trap cells have higher endurance than planar equivalents based on floating gates. In other words, V-NAND and triple-level cell storage would seem to be nicely complementary technologies.

For consumer SSDs, TLC’s drawbacks seem largely inconsequential, even with traditional NAND. The TLC-based Samsung 840 Series in our SSD Endurance Experiment wrote hundreds of terabytes before burning out, which is far more than typical folks need. And its successor, the 840 EVO, already uses a clever SLC cache to offset TLC’s slower write speeds. Given everything, then, Samsung should have all the tools it needs to make a compelling consumer drive based on TLC V-NAND.

Samsung is giving 3D V-NAND a little TLC – The Tech Report

July 8, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Samsung’s 850 Pro is the first consumer SSD to use 3D NAND

3D NAND is flash memory that’s built on edge as opposed to in a conventional planar (2D) configuration. This means that a 3D cell structure is tilted on edge compared to a conventional NAND cell. This dramatically increases NAND density if the cells can be packed tightly enough in the die to make the increased complexity worthwhile.

We’ve written before that Samsung has had some struggles in this field, but the company has evidently conquered enough of the problems to start talking about deploying the tech en masse.

Samsung’s 850 Pro is the first consumer SSD to use 3D NAND | ExtremeTech

July 6, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

AMD Announces New A-Series APUs

Based on the Award-Winning GCN Architecture with HSA Features, the AMD A10-7800 is the Latest Addition to AMD’s High Performance APU Product Line​

Read more: AMD Announces New A-Series APUs

July 4, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Qualcomm and 2015’s Amazing Advancement in Wireless Connectivity

Qualcomm announced they were buying Wilocity today and with them a major position in WiGig which has the potential of massively increasing the bandwidth to the wireless devices that support it.  This will come on top of their MU-MIMO technology coming out later this year that will massively improve your connectivity at current speeds.  The combination means that by the second half of 2015 for those of us on top end new mobile devices our wireless experiences should be amazing.   Let’s talk about what this means for our near term future.


The benefit of MU-MIMO is that an access point can provide better connectivity to more people at the same time.   This means if you are using Wi-Fi at work, in a hotel, at an airport, or at an event where more than a couple of folks are connecting to the local access point rather than getting the horrid experience you likely get now things should work much more like they do at home or when you are the last one on your floor working late after all the smarter people went home.  This may actually improve wireless in airplanes but likely not as much as we’d like until they fix the amount of bandwidth going into the plane.  For those of us that go to a lot of events this could be particularly attractive. 


What WiGig ads is bandwidth.  Now it has some limitations like it doesn’t go through walls or even screens that well but as long as you have line of sight to the access point you get near gigabit performance.   This could be anything from streaming 4K video to your TV or a projector to downloading a movie between planes in the few minutes you have at the airport.   If you are gaming you can much better get a high performance streaming experience with this technology when you don’t have a hard wired cable.

2015 to 2020

So with both technologies available from Qualcomm in 2015 the future should be really interesting.   Think more wireless docking solutions like the ones WiGig products Dell already has in market.   Imagine conferences where not only can everyone connect and get decent bandwidth the demos aren’t overwhelmed on stage and the slides can be streamed directly from the speaker’s tablet or Smartphone.   Imagine kiosks in airports where you rent a movie, buy a book or newspaper, and instantly have it transferred to your tablet, phone, or laptop (well you’ll likely have to wait a few minutes for a high definition movie but it’s a few minutes not an hour or more).   Or imagine forgetting your tablet and being able to buy another at the airport and have it wirelessly cloned to your old one in a matter of minutes wirelessly.    Imagine being in a network of people who share their routers and having high performance WiFi most everyplace you go (currently that is a feature in the new 8.1 Windows Phone release) without any adverse impact to your home enjoyment.  Now imagine the same thing in most every car.

Imagine wiring your home and business for anything other than power to be a thing of the past.  Unfortunately true wireless power is still over the horizon.  

Wrapping Up:  Amazing

Overall the acquisition that Qualcomm announced today will be part of the foundation of an amazing wireless future that will include MU-MIMO one where we’ll be complaining about the signal and even needing to wire for networks far less and enjoying high bandwidth pervasive wireless capability far more.   This will massively enable cloud services ranging from gaming to word processing and help make sure our computing experience after 2020 is far more appliance like, you just connect and all of your stuff is not only where you are but works as well as it would if it were also running were you are.   I think the kids in 2020 will look back much as my generation did for kids that didn’t have TV or most of you look at those of us that grew up without the internet and wonder how anyone lived without high bandwidth pervasive wireless capability.   

Read more: Qualcomm and 2015’s Amazing Advancement in Wireless Connectivity | TG Daily

July 3, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Intel pushes industry to cut the cables

Based on the IEEE’s 802.11ad standard, WiGig trades range for speed. It operates in the 60GHz spectrum, compared with 2.4- and 5.0GHz for WiFi, which means it really works only at short distances and can’t easily penetrate walls. But it can transfer data at speeds of up to 7Gbps, compared to a maximum speed of a little more than 1Gbps for 802.11ac (though there are techniques to push it a bit further).

Like the competing WirelessHD, which is also based on 60GHz but does not meet 802.11ad specifications, WiGig can be used to stream video from a mobile device to a TV or monitor, replacing HDMI and DisplayPort cables. But WiGig can also be used for networking and wireless docking. The idea is that you place your laptop on your desk and it automatically connects with your monitor, keyboard and mouse, printer and other peripherals without cables.

Eventually networking companies will offer tri-band wireless routers that can automatically switch between the 2.4GHz, 5.0GHz and 60GHz bands to provide the best balance of range and throughput.

Read more: Intel pushes industry to cut the cables | ZDNet

July 2, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Samsung’s 850 Pro solid-state drive reviewed

In most new SSDs, the next-gen flash is just a die shrink of the previous generation. The nanoscale features are smaller, enabling higher bit densities, but the technology is fundamentally the same. The flash memory in the 850 Pro is on a whole other level—32 of them, actually. While traditional NAND sticks to a planar layout, the 850 Pro’s V-NAND extends into three dimensions by stacking multiple flash layers on top of one another.

V-NAND is designed to avoid some of the constraints associated with shrinking NAND lithography to ever-smaller process nodes. Samsung claims V-NAND offers higher performance and longer endurance than typical flash, too. Naturally, the 850 Pro follows suit. This baby is billed as not just the fastest SATA drive around, but also the most durable. To underscore that claim, Samsung has given it a 10-year warranty.

So, yeah, the 850 Pro isn’t just another Serial ATA SSD. Let’s see what makes it tick.

Samsung’s 850 Pro solid-state drive reviewed – The Tech Report – Page 1

July 1, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Micron’s revolutionary Hybrid Memory Cube tech is 15 times faster than today’s RAM

Micron wants to shake up decades-old memory implementations with its Hybrid Memory Cube technology, which will be available as an alternative to DRAM modules starting in the first quarter next year.

The memory type, which was first announced in 2011, will provide a much needed speed and power efficiency upgrade from conventional DDR memory. The first HMC implementations will be in servers and high-performance computers starting in early 2015, and could be considered for use in laptops, said Mike Black, technology strategist at Micron.

“Anywhere a system has been challenged by bandwidth, and DDR platform does not provide enough bandwidth, HMC is a good fit,” Black said. For now, the technology could boost performance in supercomputing, cloud computing and in-memory databases, Black said.

HMC memory provides 15 times more bandwidth than conventional DDR3 DRAM modules, and draws 70 percent less energy. It is also provides five times more bandwidth than the emerging DDR4 memory, while consuming significantly less amounts of energy.

Micron’s revolutionary Hybrid Memory Cube tech is 15 times faster than today’s RAM | PCWorld

June 27, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

TSMC is aiming for the 10nm Node by 2016 – 20nm Production To be Increased by Q3

Volume Production of the 20nm Node is already going on in Fab 12 and 14. However TSMC will begin 20nm production with Maximum Capacity by Q3 2014. They will begin trial production of 10nm Wafers by 2015 and begin volume production by 2016. They will soon employ a task force consisting of 300-400 people for R&D of the 10nm Node. So far, the majority (around 85%) of the production capability was employed in 28nm Node, specifically the HKMG (High-k Metal Gate) but that should now change very quickly as it begins taping out 20nm dies. Infact, there was a viral story about the first 20nm chip being a bitcoin miner making its rounds a while back. Anyways, the source (apart from our own) is Sweclockers and Digitimes.

However even though volume production is underway, reports indicate that the process is not mature enough for high performance GPU ASICs. Hopefully by the time TSMC starts operating at Maximum Capacity, things will have changed. TSMC’s unexpected (or expected from a Physics point of view) delays in rolling out 20nm has caused quite a hurdle in both AMD and Nvidia’s plans and it is because of this that I remain a bit skeptical about their ability to enter volume production of 10nm by 2016. If the current situation is any indicator then the this will only be for non-GPU chips and the maturation of the process will take some time before it can support high performance ASICs, most probably by late 2016.

TSMC is aiming for the 10nm Node by 2016 – 20nm Production To be Increased by Q3

June 26, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Lenovo X1 Carbon Review (2014)

The Lenovo X1 Carbon is a great computer for those who seek a laptop that is very durable, productive and comfortable at the same time. I have used it for months during trade shows in many parts of the world, and this computer still looks brand new without visible scratches on the soft skin. I haven’t spilled any liquid on it, but even if I did, it should have survived just fine.

The X1 Carbon proves that toughness does not mean “bulky”. In fact, this is the lightest 14” computer that I know of, and this is a very good thing when I need a larger monitor for development because each additional inch provide precious additional visual comfort.

With an even better display, the X1 would have been nearly perfect. In fact, the display will cost the X1 a possible “excellent” rating, but I still give it a “Very good” rating. Fortunately for Lenovo, a close competitor is the Yoga Pro 2, and if you absolutely want a metal build, the Samsung Series 9+ may be a great alternative.

I hope that this review gave you a good overview of what it is to use the X1 Carbon in the real world. If there’s something specific that you want to know, please leave a comment and I will address it as soon as possible.

Overall product rating: 8/10

Lenovo X1 Carbon Review (2014) | Ubergizmo

June 21, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

MSI GS60 2PE Ghost Pro 15.6 inch Laptop Review

Today we have a very special review for our readers, a look at the world’s slimmest and lightest 15.6 inch Gaming Notebook. The MSI GS60 2PE Ghost Pro is currently available in 3 different flavours – one will ship with a 3K screen, another with Nvidia GTX860M discrete graphics. The model we are looking at today however is the most interesting. It ships with a Core i7 4700HQ CPU, a powerful Nvidia GTX870M GPU, 256GB Solid State Storage in ‘Super Raid’ and a more usable 1080p Anti-Glare eDP Wide View angle panel. MSI pack in 8GB of fast DDR3 memory and another 1TB of mechanical storage to sweeten the deal. At only £1,399 is this one of the most portable, but powerful gaming laptops money can buy?

MSI GS60 2PE Ghost Pro 15.6 inch Laptop Review | KitGuru

June 20, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Sharp’s Free-Form Display promises new shapes, thinner bezels

Modern LCDs come in a multitude of different sizes, panel types, and pixel densities. They all tend to have similar rectangular shapes, though. According to display giant Sharp, that’s because the associated driver circuitry is arranged around the perimeter. This placement also creates an effective border, requiring wider bezels that can disrupt multi-screen configs.

Or that’s how things work in standard LCDs, anyway. Sharp has developed a new Free-Form Display that spreads the driver functionality “throughout the pixels of the display area.” There are few specifics about how the approach work, though it’s said to combine IGZO tech with “proprietary circuit design methods.” The free-form goodness enables displays of any shape, Sharp claims, and it also reduces the bezel thickness “considerably.”

Sharp’s Free-Form Display promises new shapes, thinner bezels – The Tech Report

June 18, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Noctua previews fuzzy fan tech, new heatpipes

Long popular with quiet-PC builders and enthusiasts, Noctua previewed some interesting new technologies at Computex 2014 last week. First up was a velvet-like flock coating that can be applied to fan blades or frames in order to reduce noise:

Noctua previews fuzzy fan tech, new heatpipes – The Tech Report

June 12, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Surface Pro 3 Review

The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is an amazing and unique computer, there’s no question about it, and if you know its strengths, it will serve you very well. Like any extreme computers, you can’t just get one and expect it to feel like an ordinary laptop. The real question is: is it for you? And to answer that, there are only a few things to take into considerations:“SURFACE PRO 3 IS AN AMAZING AND UNIQUE COMPUTER”  

1/ First, I’ll be telling you right away: this is not an iPad or Nexus 7 tablet replacement. Those tablets great at what they do (content consumption), but they are also weak at getting real work done and can’t run legacy apps, or connect with most PC peripherals. Their peak performance is also on the lighter side. If I owned a Surface Pro 3, I would not feel the need to buy an 9.7” iPad. However, if I just needed to consume content, regular tablets are a much more affordable option.

Screen size: 12” is nice and big for a tablet, but also relatively small for a laptop. If you have never owned a 11” laptop or something like that, check one of these in a store nearby. You will be surprised by how nice it looks, and you will get a good feel for how readable (for you) it is.

Laptop Platform Rigidity: When I go Tradeshows my laptop is often resting in places like the top of my backpack, or other uneven places. I sometimes rely heavily on the overall rigidity that clamshell laptops provide. All you need are three points of contacts and you’re good to go. The Surface Pro 3 design doesn’t quite work that way, and may prove difficult to stabilize in extreme conditions. It is a wonderful device on a tablet, or even on your lap, but it just doesn’t rest on a surface the same way a laptop would.

Final words: Surface Pro 3 is easily 33% lighter than most high-end Ultrabooks, and is more portable and more comfortable to carry in your backpack than any other portable PC I’ve used. If like me, you travel a lot, you know that any additional pound matters.

Technically, the hardware platform and the software can do anything a regular Ultrabook does. It is now up to you to think about whether the design will fit your need. Because when it does fit your needs, the Surface Pro 3 will rock your socks off.

Overall product rating: 9/10

Surface Pro 3 Review | Ubergizmo

June 7, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Samsung UD590 UHD Monitor Announced

It was just a couple of days ago when we brought you word that Samsung and Intel have come together to work on 4K monitors that do not cost a bomb, in fact, they will be priced at an attractive $399 each. Well, with more and more computers being able to support UHD resolution, it makes perfect sense for hardware manufacturers to come up with a compatible display, and Samsung’s latest UD590 UHD monitor does seem to fit the bill perfectly.

Just a little bit of background information – UHD content happens to show off how far we have come in terms of resolution and detail, where it sports four times the resolution and pixels of FHD, making it a true blue treat for one’s eyes. The Samsung UD590 will boast of 8 million pixels at 3840 x 2160 resolution, not to mention having a highest brightness level of 350 cd/m2, without any kind of blur or lag thanks to its best-in-class 1ms response time, with the ability to support approximately 1 billion colors. Contrast that to conventional monitors that feature just 16,700,000 colors (16.7 million), and you have an idea on how far ahead of the game the Samsung UD950 has come.

Not only that, with Picture By Picture (PBP) capability, you will be able to use a couple of computers while sharing the same monitor, now how about that? This is made possible as the monitor is split into two 1920 x 2160 display areas.

Samsung UD590 UHD Monitor Announced | Ubergizmo

June 7, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Meet ‘Llama Mountain:’ a Broadwell tablet that’s thinner than an iPad Air

While Llama Mountain is only a reference design — an example of the kinds of systems that can be built with the chip — it is the shape of things to come with Core M. Llama Mountain is thinner than the iPad Air or Macbook Air, coming in at 0.28 inches (7.2mm) and 1.4 pounds with a 12.5-inch screen. It’s also fanless, as Core M only requires passive cooling.

Meet ‘Llama Mountain:’ a Broadwell tablet that’s thinner than an iPad Air

June 7, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

JDI announces a 7″ display with 1000 nits of peak brightness, and 40% lower power draw

After announcing the first 4K 10″ tablet panel, at the SID display expo, JDI will showcase a 7″ one with up to 1000 nits of peak brightness, yet a greatly reduced power consumption.

The 7-incher sports 1200×1920 pixels of resolution, and is done with Sony’s WhiteMagic technology that adds an extra white pixel to the traditional red, green and blue setup. The RGBW matrix lets the display draw up to 40% less power than conventional LCD screens when indoors, while still offering the very good 500 nits of maximum brightness then. 
At the same time, on account of the “high permeability of the RGBW pixels,” peak brightness outdoors can receive a twofold boost, reaching up to 1000 nits, and making the display visible even in direct sunlight, which should bode well for all beachgoers. In this ultra high brightness mode, the 7″ display will still draw as much power as a conventional LCD panel outdoors, so on average the battery life of a tablet equipped with this screen, will still be much better than the typical endurance range.

JDI announces a 7″ display with 1000 nits of peak brightness, and 40% lower power draw

June 7, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

High-PPI display, Haswell quad collide in 13” gaming notebook

Gaming notebooks have a reputation for being big and unwieldy, but they’ve slimmed down a lot in recent years. Gigabyte’s new Aorus X3 series is a perfect example. Introduced at Computex, this 13-incher measures 0.9″ thick and weighs a reasonable 4.12 lbs.

The X3 is claimed to be the “most powerful and lightest 13″ gaming notebook” yet, and after looking at the specs, I’m not inclined to argue. This thing has a quad-core Core i7-4710HQ processor with a 3.5GHz peak Turbo speed. Nvidia provides the GeForce GTX 870M GPU, which is backed by 6GB of dedicated video RAM. Up to 16GB of system memory can be added on top of that, and SSD RAID arrays are supported via dual M.2 slots.

High-PPI display, Haswell quad collide in 13” gaming notebook – The Tech Report

June 7, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Microsoft Researchers’ “3-D Audio” System Is Like Oculus Rift for Your Ears

In combination with a virtual reality device like the Oculus Rift, the new system could be used to make objects or characters in a virtual world sound as well as look like they are at a specific point in space, even if that is outside a person’s field of view. Microsoft’s researchers refer to the technology as 3-D audio.

In a demonstration of the technology at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley lab, I put on a pair of wireless headphones that made nearby objects suddenly burst into life. A voice appeared to emanate from a cardboard model of a portable radio. Higher quality music seemed to come from a fake hi-fi speaker. And a stuffed bird high off the ground produced realistic chirps. As I walked around, the sounds changed so that the illusion never slipped as their position relative to my ears changed.

That somewhat eerie experience was made possible because less than a minute earlier I had sat down in front of a Kinect 3-D sensor and been turned briefly to the left and right. Software built a 3-D model of my head and shoulders and then used that model to calculate a personalized filter that made it possible to fool my auditory senses.

Microsoft Researchers’ “3-D Audio” System Is Like Oculus Rift for Your Ears | MIT Technology Review

June 5, 2014 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment


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