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.
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.
Wearable technology is starting to become more and more mainstream in this day and age, what with the introduction of Google Glass as well as the different designs in which it will come in. Having said that, we are starting to see a new side to wearable technology that looks good to boot. PlasticLogic, the developer of ePaper displays for e-book readers as well as other devices, is now showing off a new flexible display which could see action eventually in the realm of smartwatches as well as other forms of wearable tech.
The latest display happens to be a flexible AMOLED screen which can be used in various devices such as those with a curved form factor, including timepieces as well as bracelets. The new flexible AMOLED display is touted to be able to show off up to 256 different shades of gray, where it is also capable of delivering screen refresh rates of up to 30 frames per second.
Such capability would mean it is able to be used for video in addition to viewing texts and photos, too. Flexible displays are also said to be a whole lot more tougher than usual, since there is no glass to shatter in the first place, and being able to bend makes them more malleable when subjected to the rigors of everyday use.
TAIPEI: INTEL IS TEAMING UP with Samsung to slash to price of 4K monitors and all-in-one (AIO) PCs and bring the ultra high definition (UHD) technology to a wider audience, it announced at Computex on Wednesday.
In order to produce high-resolution panels for monitors and desktops, Intel partnered with Samsung’s display division to make the displays, which it said monitor makers can sell for just $399, or about £250. Intel said that this means consumers will also be able to pick up an AIO PC with a 4K display for $999, or about £625, which is about half the price of 4K PCs that are presently on the market.
Last year, Samsung started producing 3D “V-NAND” that stacks layers of flash memory on top of each other. The three-dimensional flash was deployed in a server SSD last summer, but we haven’t heard much about it since. Or we hadn’t, anyway. Earlier this week, Samsung announced that it has begun producing second-generation V-NAND—and that the 3D flash is coming to high-end PCs.
The second-gen chips have 32 layers, eight more than the originals. They’re built using “essentially the same equipment” as the first-gen stuff, but details are otherwise scarce. Samsung hasn’t even revealed the density of the new V-NAND. The old chips weighed in at 128Gb (16GB) each, which works out to about 5.3Gb per layer. If the same equipment is being used, the planer density could be similar, just with additional layers. Stacking 32 of the old layers would yield a die with around 171Gb of storage.
Samsung’s new V-NAND is coming to PCs in a line of “premium” SSDs with capacities up to 1TB. Those drives have apparently been launched, but I don’t see mention of them anywhere outside the V-NAND press release. There’s no word on pricing, performance, availability, or even whether the interface is SATA or PCIe. The new drives are, however, claimed to consume 20% less power than typical MLC SSDs. They’re supposed to have have double the write endurance, too.
Qualcomm is planning to integrate support for dual cameras into the upcoming Snapdragon 805. This chip will allow both stereo and depth camera processing, letting a manufacturer implement these features without significant work. The new chip will also support taking up to 16MP burst photos at 15 FPS while shooting 4K video, which smartphones are incapable of doing so far.
A breakthrough in solid state drive processing means current drives can be boosted 300 per cent faster with 60 per cent better energy efficiency.
Current flash drives can’t overwrite data on the same memory area. That means data must be written in a new area before the old is invalidated. The result is fragmented data on the memory. A Japanese research team at Chuo University has cracked the problem for drastically faster write speeds and lower power consumption.
The team has overcome the issue by changing the middleware that controls storage for database applications. The new method uses a “logical block address scrambler” which basically stops data being written to a new page and places it in a block to be erased in the next sweep. That means fewer pages, less copying and ultimately a better drive.
Current NAND flash drives can be adapted to work in this way meaning 55 per cent fewer write and erase cycles, extending the device’s life. Since the changes are so small but have such a huge effect we’d expect to see them appear very soon.
While Snapdragon 805 is designed to bring additional performance, it is primarily a vehicle to introduce new features. As such, it will be more expensive for handset makers than the Snapdragon 801 counterpart, which is why Qualcomm expects both chips to be in circulation until sometime in 2015.
It is interesting to see how graphics performance is evolving much faster than CPU performance in general. And since this is Qualcomm’s first generation DX11-level graphics hardware, expect the next revision to provide another boost due to optimizations of the same architecture.
We have seen the same thing happen in the PC world where GPUs grew in performance at a rate the industry called More’s law “cubed”. That’s because they can easily scale by having more cores since “computer graphics” is a massively parallel problem in which each pixel can be processed nearly independently from the others.
The other thing to remember is that mobile devices aren’t just built for “absolute” top performance because the most important factor remains their power consumption, which is limited. In fact, a lot of the performance improvements could be better expressed in terms of performance-per-watt, and this is something that benchmarks scores don’t always show well. But that is another story…
We are at the Microsoft Surface event in NYC today where Microsoft has unveiled the Surface Pro 3, a 12-inch touch computer that is powerful, much thinner than Surface Pro 2 (and Surface Pro), and the best PC device for hand-writing.
Last summer, Samsung kicked off mass production of three-dimensional NAND that layers memory cells vertically. It’s not the only one working on stacked NAND structures, though. Toshiba and SanDisk are collaborating on 3D tech of their own, and the duo is building an entirely new facility to handle fabrication.
The new building will actually replace an existing one. Toshiba’s Fab 2 facility in Mie prefecture, Japan, is being torn down to make way for a plant geared toward 3D NAND production. Demolition of the old fab will begin this month, and construction of the replacement is scheduled to begin in September. Toshiba expects construction to be complete by the summer of 2015, but it looks like the facility may not start producing 3D NAND until 2016.
There’s another terabyte SSD in town. SanDisk’s new X300s runs the gamut from 64GB all the way up to 1TB. It’s based on the second generation of 19-nm MLC NAND developed by SanDisk’s joint flash fabrication venture with Toshiba. This “1Y” NAND shortens the cell size from 19 x 26 nm to 19 x 19.5 nm, delivering a 25% reduction in area—not bad for an incremental shrink.
PC gaming animation may soon become more fluid than ever, thanks to a development just announced by the folks at the VESA display standards organization. VESA has officially added a feature called Adaptive-Sync to the DisplayPort 1.2a specification, which means that a G-Sync-style adaptive refresh mechanism could be built into nearly every new desktop monitor in the coming months and years.
Storage has always been a major limitation of SSDs or solid state drives. However each generation of NAND improvement has contributed to the steady increase of SSD capacities. The question has always been how much storage can you fit inside a 2.5″ drive since that is the conventional form factor for most enterprise drives. SanDisk has a game changing answer in its new 2.5″ 4TB SSD.
The SanDisk Optimus MAX SAS SSds have been designed to take the place of existing 10k and 15k RPM spinning 2.5″ hard disk drives, and it does that very well without compromising on either performance or capacity. The company hasn’t revealed exactly how much this solid state drives costs but it does say that it offers “high performance at consumer cost.”
It isn’t stopping there. SanDisk also has plans to introduce 8TB and 16TB SSD models in the same 2.5″ form factor. Performance numbers released by the company claim that the new SSD is capable of a sequential read/write of up to 400/400 MB/s and random read/write IOPS of 75K/15K.
Seagate has promised high-capacity spinning-rust drives to come in the near future, with chief executive Steve Luczo outlining a roadmap to 10TB drives in as little as a year.
Just when you thought that your home PC set up had an impressive amount of storage space, along comes Sony with their new magnetic tape technology that is touted to feature the world’s highest areal recording density of 148 Gb/in square. In other words, it is able to record around 74 times more data compared to the traditional magnetic tape media, and that would amount to a whopping 185TB, now how about that for storing your entire collection of photos, videos, movies and songs?
This new kind of nano-sized tape technology is able to store a whole lot more than hardware that we purchase from stores, that is for sure. How does this magnetic tape technology work, anyways? For starters, it will optimize the way it sends argon ions on to film in order to create magnetic material, and the 185TB of storage per cartridge will definitely play its part in making a 5TB hard drive look antiquated. Do not expect this breakthrough to arrive on your desktop PC anytime soon, however, but when it comes to supercomputers, it ought to go some lengths to being more than just slightly beneficial. No idea on its costing among enterprise and industrial circles though.
The progression to finer flash fabrication processes is largely responsible for the steep decline in SSD prices observed over the past few years. The cheapest drives now sell for less than 50 cents per gigabyte, and prices are likely to fall even further. Toshiba has started mass-producing MLC NAND built on a 15-nm process. The 128Gb (16GB) chips have achieved the “world’s smallest class chip size,” the company says.
Intel’s Thunderbolt interconnect is apparently scheduled for another upgrade. According to an official-looking slide published by VR-Zone’s Chinese alter-ego, a new controller dubbed Alpine Ridge is in the works. This chip promises 40Gbps of bandwidth—double what’s available in the current generation of Falcon Ridge hardware.
The faster interface will enable Alpine Ridge to power dual 4K displays over a single cable, the slide says. PCI Express devices should perform faster, as well. The interconnect’s PCIe link has reportedly been upgraded from Gen2 to Gen3, which doubles the theoretical bandwidth available to individual peripherals. Impressively, these gains haven’t increased the chip’s power consumption. The leaked slide claims a 50% reduction in power versus existing Thunderbolt tech.
Wireless communications specialist Quantenna has announced the development of a Wi-Fi chipset capable of ten gigabit per second (10Gb/s) throughput, with plans to release it commercially next year.
Jeez. 4K displays are coming down in price like crazy lately. One of the latest introductions, Samsung’s U28D590D, is now available through the Newegg marketplace for just $799.99. Yes, that’s technically $100 over Samsung’s MSRP, but it’s still peanuts for a 28″ monitor with a 3840×2160 panel. Amazon also has the monitor listed for $698.99, but it’s not yet in stock. According to AMD’s Robert Hallock, this new monitor supports 4K resolutions via DisplayPort at 60Hz using single-stream transport.
- Do black holes EXPLODE when they die? Theory claims they become white holes
- Has the mystery of proton ‘spin’ been solved?
- Google Now reigns triumphant in virtual assistant battle with Siri
- Has the mystery of proton ‘spin’ been solved?
- Lasers make fibre optic tubes out of thin air
- Scientists ‘delete’ HIV virus from human DNA for the first time
- Noninvasive retinal imaging device detects Alzheimer’s 20 years in advance
- Chinese Researchers Stop Wheat Disease with Gene Editing
- Western Digital Unveils Affordable 6TB Red & Green Hard Drives
- Western Digital Unveils Affordable 6TB Red & Green Hard Drives
- Drug combo ‘game changer’ for drug-resistant TB
- Google’s augmented reality game Ingress finally launched on iPhone
- Blogs RO
- Famous Quotes
- Food recipises
- IT Hardware