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TweakTown News Posts - Page 37

JEDEC makes GDDR5X official, features 2x the bandwidth of GDDR5

By: Jeff Williams | More News: Video Cards | Posted: Jan 23, 2016 2:03 am

The final specification for GDDR5X, the successor to GDDR5, has been decided, and though it doesn't allow for quite as much bandwidth as HBM or HBM2, though it's a technology that's a lot easier to implement than the latter, with fewer modifications needed to the GPU design to use.

 

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GDDR5X allows for up to 14Gbps of total bandwidth and because it's based so heavily on its predecessor, it's pin compatible though highly internally revised in order to facilitate actual advancements in memory speed and bandwidth without making something entirely new. How JEDEC and Micron have done this is by increasing the prefetch by double, mandating the use of Phase Locked Loops and Delay Locked Loops as well as being able to transmit data at a rate that's quadruple the actual clock speed. In other words, it's fast. For comparison, GDDR5X running at the top-end 14Gpbs could potentially provide 448GBps of full bandwidth, which isn't too far off of the memory bandwidth of the R9 Fury X.

 

Micron, one of the leading manufacturers working on GDDR5X, estimates around a 10% power consumption decrease at the same VRAM size. VRAM sizes of 4Gb up to 16Gb can be used with the new specification. The reason for coming out with this new specification is to further address every segment of the market, especially those where HBM2 might not be economical, despite AMD's efforts to implement HBM in all segments of their GPUs. Now all GPUs can enjoy a healthy bandwidth increase for very little, if any, cost increase.

Planet 10 times as big as Earth believed to exist beyond Pluto

By: Sean Ridgeley | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Jan 23, 2016 1:04 am

Strong evidence suggests a new planet 10 times the size of Earth has been hiding out at the edge of our solar system for...quite some time now. Tentatively named "Planet Nine", it would found in the outer darkness 30.5 billion kilometers from the sun, or about five times farther than Pluto.

 

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Evidence for this possible planet surfaced in 2014 but wasn't strong enough to be taken too seriously. Recently, scientists Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown at the California Institute of Technology uncovered "anomalies in the orbits of a handful of smaller bodies they can see", indicating they were being "shepherded" by the gravity of a planet. As a result, the likelihood Planet Nine does indeed exist has majorly increased, and the scientific community at large is taking note.

Continue reading 'Planet 10 times as big as Earth believed to exist beyond Pluto' (full post)

uFlix responds to Netflix VPN crackdown, promptly releases fix

By: Sean Ridgeley | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Jan 23, 2016 12:04 am

Last week Netflix announced it would be cracking down on users employing VPNs to get around the company's geographic restrictions, and has since made good on that promise. However, VPN provider uFlix has demonstrated how futile those efforts may be, releasing a fix just days after informing its users they were affected by the new measures.

 

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Before its announcement, Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt stated at this year's CES that going after VPN providers was "likely to always be a cat-and-mouse game."

Ghost time feature missing from Mario Kart 64 on the Wii U

By: Jeff Williams | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jan 22, 2016 11:08 pm

You won't be able to race against yourself in ghost mode in the newly re-released Mario Kart 64 on the Wii U. Just as it was missing in the Wii version, so too is it here.

 

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The ghost feature lets you race solo against your best time, sometimes being a pretty good motivator. But the Wii U Mario Kart 64 version can't actually save any of your ghost data, because normally it would save that to the N64 controller pak memory card. The same problem was present with the original Wii re-release.

 

Nintendo has been unwilling so far to provide a work-around, and it might mean that any N64 game that absolutely requires the memory pak might not be able to work properly unless Nintendo modifies the game. Until then, you'll have to remember your time and race against an imaginary ghost instead.

Insider Program for Microsoft Office lets Mac users get early access

By: Jeff Williams | More News: Software | Posted: Jan 22, 2016 10:01 pm

Microsoft's Office Insider Program used to only be for Windows users, letting you download beta updates that let you preview experimental upcoming features. Now Apple users can get in on the fun with a preview program of their own.

 

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The Mac Preview Program lets Office 365 subscribers opt into the program by checking the appropriate box from inside the Microsoft Auto Update tool. It's simple and generally the features that get pushed to the insider program don't cause Office in general to be unstable.

 

The blog post announcing the insider program didn't specify anything Mac users can look forward to, though it's not too much of a stretch to think that whatever features come to the Windows version will also find their way to the Mac version as well.

Xbox One backwards compatibility has huge performance issues

By: Jeff Williams | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Jan 22, 2016 9:03 pm

Announced in November, backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One was almost like the holy grail for some. Despite being a newer console, there're still just so many fantastic games on the 360 that bear replaying, since a lot still had a plethora of games for the older console.

 

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The library has expanded to well over 100 games, but performance issues might make some of them nearly unplayable. Digital Foundry did a test of every major Xbox 360 game that's available right now and found some surprising results. In general, performance is much improved since it was first available, but some games still perform much more poorly than they do naively on the 360.

 

Halo: Reach is the biggest disappointment with framerate that sometimes dip well below 15FPS. An unacceptable experience. But the underlying emulation might not be optimized for every game yet. Gears of War: Judgement also suffers a similar problem, suffering from horrible framerates that make it unplayable.

Continue reading 'Xbox One backwards compatibility has huge performance issues' (full post)

Fingerprint sensors on gaming mice? Synaptic does something incredible

By: Jeff Williams | More News: Peripherals | Posted: Jan 22, 2016 8:00 pm

Synaptics is helping to bring fingerprint readers and biometric safeguards to the masses. They're making it accessible and not just an afterthought, something easy to put on any notebook because no modifications are needed with the integration of a sensor into their trackpads.

 

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And now they're breaking into an entirely different market with ThermalTake in this latest venture. They've gone and placed one of their IronVeil fingerprint sensors into a mouse, giving even gamers easy access to biometric. And this idea is full of untapped potential, not from a marketing standpoint, but from a security standpoint.

 

Biometrics represent a distinctive authentication method that can save time and potentially money. It's not perfect and spoofing, as well as other issues regarding how different types of fingerprint sensors work, do exist but as part of a multi-factor authentication scheme, it's perfect. Because it's easy. And it generally works well.

Continue reading 'Fingerprint sensors on gaming mice? Synaptic does something incredible' (full post)

Japan Display ignites new rumors about OLED iPhone

By: Jeff Williams | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jan 22, 2016 7:28 pm

Japan Display Inc. is starting mass production right at a similar time that Apple is rumored to make the switch to OLED, giving a little more credence to the rumor that Apple is going to switch to the organic display technology for the iPhone 7.

 

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Production of their own OLED displays is ramping up by 2018, which happens to coincide with the strong rumor that Apple will be abandoning the traditional LCD in the same year. It might just be a coincidence, because it's been hypothesized that LG or Samsung would continue to provide the displays for Apple.

 

"We will take advantage of our advanced thin-film transistor technology in developing OLED screens," Akio Takimoto, chief of Japan Display's research center, said on Friday to select reporters. Hopefully this will continue to spur research and development from LG and Samsung. And perhaps even provide competition for the next iPhone 7 display.

Japanese gamers still don't care about the Xbox One

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jan 22, 2016 7:04 pm

While Microsoft's Xbox One continues to move sizable volume in North America, other regions like Japan are completely disinterested in the all-in-one. Case in point: out of the nation's 127 million strong population, only 99 bought an Xbox One last week.

 

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According to Japanese site 4Gamer, Microsoft only sold a measly 99 Xbox Ones in Japan from Jan. 11 to Jan. 17. For the sake of comparison, over 30,000 New 3DS handhelds were sold during the same period, along with 25,592 PlayStation 4 consoles. That's a pretty serious thrashing, but remember that Japan has traditionally been dominated by mobile and handheld gaming, with Sony's native PlayStation consoles for living room gaming.

 

This news isn't really surprising considering the Xbox One was pretty much DOA when it launched in the region. During its launch, Microsoft's all-in-one only moved some 25,000 units in its first four days of availability. The PlayStation 4, on the other hand, utterly smashed that number with over 300,000 sales during its launch.

 

Microsoft is highly unlikely to ever gain a real foothold in Japan, but that might not matter so much, as Redmond still moves units in other regions like North America, Europe, and even China. After being consistently beaten by Sony's PlayStation 4, Redmond will no longer reveal Xbox One sales figures, but that won't stop hardware-tracking data from trickling in.

Government of France planning standardization of French keyboard

By: Sean Ridgeley | More News: Peripherals | Posted: Jan 22, 2016 6:21 pm

France's ministry of culture and communication says it's "nearly impossible to correctly write French" on its current keyboards, and so has teamed up with a standardization group -- AFNOR -- to create a new norm. This summer, that norm will be shown to the public, at which time feedback will be taken and considered for potential further iteration.

 

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Where keyboards in the US and Europe use the QWERTY layout (with rare exception), French keyboards (like the one pictured here) utilize an AZERTY layout and suffer from a lack of standardization, so you'll see all kinds of variations from manufacturer to manufacturer, and what is seen will often be non-intuitive. As a result, what should be simple, nearly effortless actions like typing accented capital letters can be frustrating, obscure, and even impossible, leading to citizens taking liberties with the language and sometimes incorrectly expressing ideas as a result. Recent studies have shown more spelling errors among French students, which some blame at least partly on this keyboard issue.

Continue reading 'Government of France planning standardization of French keyboard' (full post)

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