Alex Torex Blog

SciTech oriented blog

Galaxy S6 Storage Benchmarks Show It Blowing All Past Phones Out Of The Water

Galaxy S6 Storage Benchmarks Show It Blowing All Past Phones Out Of The Water

Some early benchmarks of devices at MWC show just how speedy the Galaxy S6’s storage can be. It just destroys every currently available phone. Maybe you won’t even mind the lack of a microSD card when the internal storage is this fast.

March 7, 2015 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

The best Wi-Fi router (for most people, anyway)

From The Wirecutter: The best Wi-Fi router (for most people, anyway) | Ars Technica

After spending a total of 200 hours researching and testing more than 20 Wi-Fi routers, plus analyzing reader comments and feedback, the $100 TP-Link Archer C7 (v2) is the router we recommend for most people right now. This dual-band, three-stream wireless-ac router usually costs between $80 and $100—the same price as many older, slower routers. But unlike those slower routers, the C7 supports the fastest connections of every major device you can buy today (or already own).

March 6, 2015 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Find Out If Qualcomm’s Still Got It; Exynos 7420 vs Snapdragon 810 Benchmarks Analyzed

Find Out If Qualcomm’s Still Got It; Exynos 7420 vs Snapdragon 810 Benchmarks Analyzed

With the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, and HTC’s One M9, one of the main question on everyone’s mind was which device will perform better. After all, both of them come with industry leading chipsets on board, namely the Snapdragon 810 and the Exynos 7420. Samsung caused quite a stir around the mobile world when it became rumored that the Korean manufacturer was choosing to drop Qualcomm’s jewel in crown with one of its own in house SoCs. And it had every reason to do so. After all, the Exynos 7420 is manufactured on Samsung’s very own 14nm FinFET manufacturing process, giving it not only significant performance, but also power enhancements. So if you’re wondering how the two stack up against each other, and against Apple’s A8 (found in the iPhone), take a look at the benchmarks below to find out.

March 4, 2015 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Intel Abandoning Silicon With 7nm and Beyond – Silicon Alternatives Coming By 2020

Intel Abandoning Silicon With 7nm and Beyond – Silicon Alternatives Coming By 2020

Moore’s law which is the observation that transistor density doubles every year, later amended to every couple of years, has slowed down dramatically in the past few years. Scaling Silicon transistors down has become increasingly difficult and expensive and at around 7nm it will prove to be downright impossible.

Digital computing which is what the entire world has relied on for the past several decades is based on one basic concept, on or off. The zeroes and ones in binary simply indicate if a signal is present or not. The fundamental flaw with Silicon transistors is that at the 7nm point the transistors sit so close to each other that an effect called quantum tunneling occurs. This effect unfortunately means that the transistor cannot reliably be turned off and for the most part will stay on.

What this means is that your binary code is not binary any more because it’s all made up of ones and no zeroes. Which in turn breaks the fundamental rule of digital computing. So the physical limitations of Silicon are very real and in fact insurmountable. One alternative is to find a material which can physically scale down past Silicon or can achieve faster switching speeds. The other is to rely on something other than electricity to achieve/read on or off states such as light.

The first option is more straight forward. Which is why  the semiconductor industry has been researching alternative materials that are not only capable of scaling down past Silicon but can also be manufactured using similar techniques. There are dozens of different Silicon alternatives out there. Unfortunately each one has one or more significant challenges ahead of it.

However there’s one very promising short-term Silicon alternative that will most likely supersede Silicon for a few years.  It’s a III-V semiconductor based on two compounds and four different elements. Indium gallium arsenide ( InGaAs ) and indium phosphide (InP).  Imec, a research center tasked with finding the next thing after silicon, has already managed to fabricate FinFET transistors using InGaAs and InP on a 300mm 22nm Silicon wafer a year and a half ago. Imec is funded by Intel, IBM, TSMC, Samsung, Hynix and every other major semiconductor player with a fab that you can think of.

February 27, 2015 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Samsung Electronics Starts Mass Producing The Industry’s First 128GB Universal Flash Storage, Almost Certainly Galaxy S6-Bound

Samsung Electronics Starts Mass Producing The Industry’s First 128GB Universal Flash Storage, Almost Certainly Galaxy S6-Bound

These differences result in performance improvements across the board for UFS 2.0. Compared to eMMC 5.0, they are 1.4x faster at sequential reading, 1.66x at sequential writing, 2.71x at random reading (19000 Input Output Per Second vs 7000 IOPS), and 1.07 at random writing. The difference is even more staggering compared to MicroSD cards: sequential read and write speeds are more than tripled, while random read and write IOPS are multiplied by factors larger than 10.

The promise is that with UFS 2.0, consumers will be able to run multiple applications in the background, download and upload big files, and play massive games or UHD videos simultaneously, without any compromise on performance. That explains why Samsung will likely forego its MicroSD slot in the Galaxy S6 in favor of an embedded UFS 2.0 solution.

February 26, 2015 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Samsung Has No Problem Making 5nm Chipsets

Samsung Has No Problem Making 5nm Chipsets | Ubergizmo

While it just started mass producing the 14nm FinFET chipsets, and showcasing the 10nm FinFET semiconductor technology at the Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco this week, Samsung has outdone itself again by confirming that the Korean company has all the backbone to create chipsets to be as small as 5nm.

According to Samsung’s Kinam Kim, who confirmed “There are no fundamental difficulties until 5nm’. Furthermore, the Korean company has begun finding ways to shrink things even further to an insane 3.25nm level.

But before 3.25nm, the question was already raised by many in the conference as to what material will Samsung use to fabricate these chipsets?  Intel has hinted during the same conference that silicon is not a viable option for chipsets below 7nm. Apparently, Intel itself has plan to use Indium Gallium Arsenide (InGaAs) to make chipsets with transistor size of 7nm and below.

But Samsung remained mum, holding on to their trade secret.

What we know is Samsung has already planned in using the 14nm FinFET technology based Exynos 7 processor for all of its upcoming smartphones and tablets; for example the Galaxy S6, which will take full advantage of the company’s first 14nm chipsets.

Samsung had been heavily investing in its semiconductor business to try competing with Qualcomm and Intel.

February 25, 2015 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

World’s Highest-Density Solid State Drive Is a 3 TB 2.5-Inch Fixstars

World’s Highest-Density Solid State Drive Is a 3 TB 2.5-Inch Fixstars – Softpedia

Called SSD-3000M, the product has just as much storage capacity as the name suggests: three thousand megabytes, or three terabytes.

That is a lot of space. Even on the hard disk drive market that capacity would be considered on the high side, on the consumer front.

Granted, 4 TB drives have been seen in the news a lot more, and there are now even 6 TB and 8 TB units, but 3 TB is a high capacity regardless. For a 2.5-inch SSD to possess such an amount of free bytes is remarkable.

February 18, 2015 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Samsung’s new eMMC drives promise faster mobile storage

Samsung’s new eMMC drives promise faster mobile storage – The Tech Report

Samsung’s has developed a new line of eMMC solutions that promises to accelerate the storage performance of next-gen mobile devices. The fingernail-sized memory cards are basically self-contained SSDs, and according to Samsung VP of Memory Marketing Jim Elliot, they’re the first based on the latest eMMC 5.1 standard. The spec is so fresh it’s not even listed on Jedec’s website.

Elliot says eMMC 5.1 adds command queuing, a feature that’s been around in SATA drives forever. Instead of executing commands in the order they arrive, queueing collects multiple commands and executes them in the order that makes the most sense. Performance should improve as a result, especially in multitasking scenarios. This Marvell presentation (PDF) from last year’s Flash Memory Summit indicates that the eMMC 5.1 queue is 32 commands deep, just like SATA’s Native Command Queuing implementation.

As one might expect, the new drives have better performance ratings than the eMMC 5.0 units Samsung announced in 2013. Sequential reads are unchanged at 250 MB/s, but writes are up from 90 MB/s to 125 MB/s. Random I/O rates have risen more dramatically, from 7k/7k IOps for reads/writes to 11k/13k IOps.

Storage capacities are unchanged at 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. That probably means 128GB mobile devices will continue to be few and far between.

Samsung is “in the process of preparing to ship [its] first eMMC 5.1 products to some smartphone and tablet OEMs,” according to Elliot. The drives will presumably be used in Samsung’s own products, as well.

February 18, 2015 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Embedded DisplayPort 1.4a sets stage for 8K notebooks

Embedded DisplayPort 1.4a sets stage for 8K notebooks – The Tech Report

VESA has released a new Embedded DisplayPort standard that supports higher resolutions and a new panel segmentation system. The eDP 1.4a spec builds upon version 1.4, which dates back to 2013, and it’s expected to appear in systems by next year.

As one might expect, the new standard comes with a higher data rate. The link speed has been boosted to 8.1Gbps, giving the four-lane interface 32.4Gbps of total bandwidth. Support for version 1.1 of VESA’s Display Stream Compression Standard has also been added. Taken together, these upgrades enable 8K notebook displays with 7680×4320 pixel arrays.

February 10, 2015 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Are We Ready for 4K Yet?

Op-Ed: Are We Ready for 4K Yet?

The reality is that NVIDIA’s Maxwell architecture and the GeForce GTX 980 pretty much prove we’re not going to get much more performance out of 28nm manufacturing. However, a pair of 980s do get within striking distance of our ultimate goal, and it’s easy to suggest we’re probably just one generation off of having a perfect 4K gaming experience with dual-GPU, and two generations off of single-GPU. 2015 is going to see both GPU vendors finally graduate from 28nm, and if I were to hazard a guess, I’d say the 4K performance problem will largely be solved before the year is out.

February 8, 2015 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

The Qualcomm reign on smartphones and tablets is almost over; all hail MediaTek

The Qualcomm reign on smartphones and tablets is almost over; all hail MediaTek – Neowin

Enter 2013. Some group of engineers at MediaTek must have gotten their hands on an Adderall prescription or something because in just one year— one single year— they were suddenly producing 28nm quad-core processors. Although they were celebrating their 1 Ghz single-core chipset and swimming in the fast network speeds of 3G just a year earlier, they were now producing multi-core chips with HSPA+ support as if they were born for it. Suddenly, MediaTek was now starting to be seen as a very legitimate potential threat to other semiconductor manufacturers. The obscure Taiwanese company went from producing years old technology that was long forgotten in the West to producing SoCs that were exceeding all expectations. Over a period of just six months, their GPUs tripled in clock frequency. A month later, their CPUs went up 40% in clock frequency too. But that was just the start.

Eight-core chips? Who the ____ wants or even needs that?

Then, almost out of no where, MediaTek went from chasing old technology to literally breaking records and leading the way for innovation. It was something that was expected for some time, just as a novelty, but no one was delivering on it. All of a sudden the underdog, MediaTek, jumped up and took the lead. Just one month after improving their last round of quad-core chipsets they decided to really make themselves stand out as more than just a follower. Introducing… the MT6592. The 2 Ghz octo-core processor with the Mali-450 GPU clocked at 700 Mhz. The smartphone world threw their hands up in amusement, amazement, disdain or blatant disgust— depending on who was reading the news. MediaTek, however, was celebrating their engineering achievement.

February 8, 2015 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Intel Expects to Launch 10nm Chips in 2017

Intel Expects to Launch 10nm Chips in 2017

Intel will reportedly bring new chips to market based on the company’s upcoming 10nm process technology in early 2017.  The news came via Taha Khalifa,  Intel’s general manager for the Middle East and North Africa region.

February 7, 2015 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Nvidia launches the Tegra X1, the first Teraflop mobile processor

Nvidia launches the Tegra X1, the first Teraflop mobile processor – CPU – News –

Nvidia has held a press event before the opening of the International CES in Las Vegas, hoping to make an early impact. CEO Jen-Hsun Huang took the opportunity to show off his firm’s latest mobile chip, the Tegra X1. Nvidia doesn’t hold back when talking about this chip referring to it variously as a “mobile super chip,” claiming that it offers “over one teraflops of processing power,” and that the 20nm Tegra X1 represents a “giant step,” towards a revolution in visual and parallel computing.

February 7, 2015 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Fingernail-sized Samsung device combines 3GB of RAM, 32GB of flash

Fingernail-sized Samsung device combines 3GB of RAM, 32GB of flash – The Tech Report

Samsung has developed a fingernail-sized device with enough memory and storage for high-end smartphones. This ePoP, or embedded package on package, combines 3GB of LPDDR3-1866 memory with 32GB of eMMC storage. Those components are typically separate, but Samsung has squeezed them into a 15 x 15 x 1.4 mm package that’s small enough to stack on top of an SoC.

February 4, 2015 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

LG To Mass Produce Flexible Plastic OLED Displays This Year

LG To Mass Produce Flexible Plastic OLED Displays This Year

LG Display is touted to deliver what they call as the “true flexible” Plastic OLED screen to everyone later this July. It seems that there has been various flexible displays already, seen in the LG G Flex 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, but there must be steps made forward into the future – with word that G is working on mass producing Plastic OLED screens that will offer a unique bending radius of 1.18”.

Of course, apart from being able to perform such acrobatic twists and turns, these new Plastic OLED displays are shatter-proof. Their imaging parameters happen to stay within 60lm/W efficiency, 75lm (807 nits) peak brightness output, 3000K in color temperature, and CRI over 85. It might not be too accurate in terms of its color, but perhaps new modifications and improvements made to the technology will change things in the long run.

January 28, 2015 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Some 840 EVOs still vulnerable to read speed slowdowns

Some 840 EVOs still vulnerable to read speed slowdowns – The Tech Report – Page 1

Last year, users discovered a problem with Samsung’s 840 EVO SSD that caused dramatic slowdowns when reading older data. Samsung attributed the issue to an algorithmic error in the management routine that tracks the status of cells over time. A firmware fix and accompanying Performance Restoration utility were issued in October, and they seemed to do the trick. However, new evidence suggests that the problem persists.

A couple of TR readers (thanks Horia and Richard) pointed me to recent entries in the original thread complaining of slow read performance. Those reports come from drives running the supposedly fixed EXT0CB6Q firmware, and they prompted me to test an EVO I’ve been saving for just such an occasion. The results don’t bode well for the TLC drive.

January 27, 2015 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Report: Acer prepping curved 34” display with G-Sync

Report: Acer prepping curved 34” display with G-Sync – The Tech Report

Fans of curved, ultra-wide displays may soon be able to get one with Nvidia’s variable refresh mojo. According to TFT Central, Acer is developing a curved 34-incher with support for G-Sync refresh rates up to 144Hz.

The Predator XR341CK will reportedly have a 3440×1440 resolution, and there may be more than one version. The site also mentions possible variants with a lower 2560×1080 resolution and fixed refresh rate. A FreeSync unit doesn’t appear to be in the cards, though.

There’s no word on the panel technology behind the rumored displays. LG already offers a curved 34″ IPS display with a 3440×1440 resolution, but that monitor tops out at only 60Hz, so the underlying panel probably isn’t fast enough for the Predator. Support for higher refresh rates is fairly rare in IPS territory, making TN tech a more likely candidate. That said, we’ve yet to see a curved display based on TN tech.

If Acer’s curved Predator does exist, we should learn more about it in the spring. Mass production is set for the second quarter, TFT Central says, and availability should follow soon thereafter.

January 22, 2015 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Latest Backblaze reliability data shows carnage for 3TB Seagate drives

Latest Backblaze reliability data shows carnage for 3TB Seagate drives – The Tech Report

Online backup provider Backblaze made headlines last year with a reliability study based on over 25,000 mechanical drives. Unlike previous publications in this vein, the report listed failure rates for specific makes and models. The data confirmed a lot of the anecdotal evidence that suggested Seagate drives were less reliable than the competition. Now, there’s a new dispatch with updated stats through the end of 2014.

The most interesting trend pertains to 3TB units. Drives with that capacity suffered higher failure rates regardless of the manufacturer, and there’s a familiar face in the spotlight.

January 21, 2015 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

Samsung Begins To Mass Produce 8Gb GDDR5 DRAM

Samsung Begins To Mass Produce 8Gb GDDR5 DRAM | Ubergizmo

South Korean conglomerate Samsung has begun to mass products what is deemed to be the first of its kind in the industry – and I am referring to 8 gigabit (Gb) GDDR5 DRAM, and the mass production will be based on the company’s leading-edge 20-nanometer (nm) process technology. Just so that everyone will be on the right footing, GDDR5 happens to be the most widely used discrete graphics memory worldwide, which is saying something.

Specially designed to see action in graphics cards for PCs and supercomputing applications, not to mention for on-board graphics memory in game consoles and notebook PCs, discrete graphics DRAM would be able to deliver an extensive amount of bandwidth so that it can process large high quality graphically-oriented data streams. Thanks to the rising popularity of 3D games alongside Ultra HD video content, Samsung foresees a future where high-performance, high-bandwidth graphics memory would be in demand.

Joo Sun Choi, Executive Vice president of Memory Sales and Marketing at Samsung Electronics, shared, “We expect that our 8Gb GDDR5 will provide original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with the best graphics memory solution available for game consoles as well as general use notebook PCs. By expanding our production of 20nm-based DRAM products including the new GDDR5, we will meet increasing global customer demand and take the lead in accelerating the growth of the premium memory market.”

Samsung’s new GDDR5 DRAM will deliver outstanding bandwidth, where it merges a mere eight of the new 8Gb chips to achieve a similar density as that of the 8 gigabytes (GB) required in the latest game consoles.

January 15, 2015 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment

CES 2015: The charger that boosts battery in seconds

BBC News – CES 2015: The charger that boosts battery in seconds

I’ve just been witness to what feels like a modern-day technological miracle.

A Samsung smartphone has just been recharged from being nearly out-of-juice to full capacity in less time than it takes to boil a kettle.

The Israeli start-up behind the demo, Storedot, has shown off a similar feat before.

But a previous demo posted online eight months ago involved a battery many times thicker than the handset itself as well as an outsized charger – making the tech impractical for real-world use.

This time round the phone involved is no bigger than normal, and the charging dock is pretty slim-line as well.

January 7, 2015 Posted by | IT Hardware | Leave a comment


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