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TweakTown News Posts - Page 61

Project Scorpio could be a sleek compact powerhouse

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Gaming | Posted: Apr 7, 2017 9:36 pm

Since Project Scorpio can hit 4K 60FPS in games like Forza 6 and even 4K 60FPS Ultra with DirectX 12 optimizations, the console clearly shares little with its Xbox One S sibling in terms of raw power. But Project Scorpio may actually share something else in common with its svelte predecessor: size.




We've exhaustively covered Project Scorpio's internals and capabilities, so let's talk about its shape and form for a bit. Now Microsoft's officially released hardware diagram shows that Project Scorpio's components fit together like a glove. The power supply, 4K UHD Blu-ray disc drive, and vapor chamber cooling assembly all snugly conform to the motherboard that houses the system's extremely intelligent 16nm Scorpio Engine SoC silicon. The components themselves are arranged in a kind aesthetic harmony, not unlike the way the console's flexible software pipeline brain is synergized to its brawny 6TLOP GPU muscle.


Based on what I've seen so far, I think Project Scorpio will actually be quite compact and sleek like the Xbox One S. The system is obviously made to stand up vertically--the arrangement shows as much, but we also know the console only has a back vent--and the overall style should underline that form factor. I personally would like to see an onyx-on-lime-green color combination, with a few LED light strips lighting up lime green, or perhaps even the Xbox One logo lighting up with the same color.

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Alcatel Flash has dual rear and front cameras

By: Lana Jelic | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Apr 7, 2017 8:31 pm

More and more phone manufacturers choose to feature dual cameras on their phones, usually on the back of the phone with some exceptions. However, Alcatel decided to manufacture a phone with a dual camera on both front and the back.




The Alcatel Flash has two 13MP cameras on the back that allow users to capture 4K video. On the front of the phone, there is one 8MP camera and another 5MP camera sensor, with autofocus and dual-tone flash.


The 5.5-inch display phone is powered by a deca-core Mediatek MT6797 Helio X20 and comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage expandable with a microSD card.

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Project Scorpio devs have access to 8GB GDDR5 RAM

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Gaming | Posted: Apr 7, 2017 7:33 pm

In an effort to make Project Scorpio games as mind-blowing as possible, Microsoft is giving developers even more access to the console's built-in hardware. Devs can harness the raw power of Project Scorpio's 6TFLOPs of compute power and 1172MHz of Polaris-derived GPU clock speeds, the custom 8-core x86 "Jaguar evolved" CPU, and 67% of the system's beefy 12GB of unified GDDR5 RAM to help optimize their games in a variety of different ways.




According to Digital Foundry's Richard Leadbetter, developers will have access to 67% of Project Scorpio's total unified RAM system memory, or 8GBs of Project Scorpio's total 12GB of GDDR5 RAM. For comparison's sake, devs only have access to 5GB of Xbox One's RAM, and the same amount on PS4 Pro. This extra 3GB of accessible memory is a tremendous advantage that can facilitate boosts across the board for a multitude of optimizations, including resolution enhancements, tighter frame rates, and dramatically faster loading times by treating the extra RAM as an IO cache.


Project Scorpio's system memory isn't just brawny, at 12GB of GDDR5 RAM, but also has the bandwidth to back it up. Scorpio's 12GB of GDDR5 RAM--made up of 12x 6.8GHz modules--is clocked at a respectable 326 GB/sec bandwidth speeds over a 384-bit bus. Remember Scorpio's memory is unified, not dedicated, so both video and system RAM are running through the bandwidth pipeline. But with all of these optimizations running in the background on the Scorpio Engine, combined with all of the APIs, scalers, and internal software tools, means the console's system memory reservation has increased as well. While devs have access to 8GB of RAM, the other 4GB is allocated for the operating system.

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Windows Store cracks down on emulators

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Gaming | Posted: Apr 7, 2017 5:16 pm

Microsoft has nixed a key game emulator from the Windows Store an in effort to crack down on piracy.




Game emulation is widespread across PC and Android, and even the Windows Store has its sources. But Microsoft is making an earnest effort to push game emulation off the Windows Store, and has since removed apps like NESbox's popular Universal Emulator from the storefront.


Not content with just removing the infringing app, Microsoft now deigns emulators as breaches in the Windows Store terms of service. "Apps that emulate a game system are not allowed on any device family," reads the revised policy mandate.

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G.SKILL reveals TridentZ RGB 128GB DDR4-3333 kits

By: Derek Strickland | More News: RAM | Posted: Apr 7, 2017 2:23 pm

G.SKILL today announced a new ultra high-capacity 128GB kit of its extreme enthusiast-grade TridentZ RAM that's outfitted with RGB LEDs.



"Since the widely-acclaimed launch of Trident Z RGB memory series in December 2016, G.SKILL focused heavily on bringing high performance DDR4 16GB RGB modules to the Intel X99 platform. Now, the Trident Z RGB is available in full sets of 8 modules for a total of 64GB (8GBx8) or 128GB (16GBx8) capacity, along with lighting control software support for the Intel X99 platform from most major motherboard vendors," reads the press announcement.


G.SKILL's latest TridentZ RGB kits come with eight DDR4 16GB modules at 3333MHz frequency, with CL timings of 16-18-18-38 and 1.35V of power.

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Project Scorpio will play all Xbox One games better

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Gaming | Posted: Apr 7, 2017 1:34 pm

Microsoft's new 'monster' 4K-ready Project Scorpio console is fully compatible with all existing Xbox One games, but what kind of performance boosts can we expect? Will all Xbox One games hit full 1080p 60FPS right off the bat? Can we just pop in a game and expect improvements without any updates and patches? Let's find out.




We already know that Xbox One games will natively run better on Project Scorpio right out of the box. Xbox One games won't need any updates, enhancements or Forward Compatibility patches to tap the 4K Xbox's new Scorpio Engine. Just pop in the game and the console will scale its hardware to improve performance accordingly. This native optimization is similar to the PS4 Pro's new Boost Mode feature.


That being said, Project Scorpio's own "Boost Mode" won't magically raise all FPS thresholds; Xbox One games that run at 1080p 30FPS won't magically hit 1080p 60FPS. This is similar to how Boost Mode works on PS4 Pro, too. Scorpio's native boosts will improve performance by tightening up frame rates to consistently hit the targeted FPS.

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Valve making big changes to Steam's trading card economy

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Gaming | Posted: Apr 7, 2017 12:32 pm

Valve will make some key changes to Steam's trading card economy in an effort to stop "asset flippers" from making cash on badly optimized game clones.




Steam's digital trading card economy is quite lucrative. Instead of making their money from actual game sales, a portion of Steam Greenlight indie developers actually make their cash from trading cards. In fact, some developers go so far as to create "asset flips," or multiple versions of the same game with subtle variations, and release them onto the platform for the lowest price as possible. Steam users then grab the game simply for its trading cards and sell the cards onto the market, generating a little kickback for the devs.


According to Jim Sterling, the internet's favorite D-list video games pundit who recently took a trick to Valve's offices to preview Steam's new changes, Valve has known about this practice for quite some time, and plans to do something about it. "It was confirmed in the meeting that these devs do indeed make their money from Steam's trading card system," Sterling said in a recent Jimquisition video. "Long suspected but never officially confirmed and given the public blasting it deserves, Steam's unlockable trading cards are indeed the way that companies like Digital Homicide made their money. And there are plenty of bottom feeders continuing to exploit the system by cobbling together a quick bunch of assets, selling the game for a few cents or even just giving away codes in droves, and then letting the card economy generate kickbacks. Valve is currently working on changes to the card economy designed to choke the life out of the asset-flip cottage market that sprung up around it. Those changes are still being discussed."

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Samsung teases 49-inch 32:9 aspect ratio gaming displays

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Displays & Projectors | Posted: Apr 7, 2017 9:44 am

I'm one of the biggest advocates of UltraWide monitors, so when Samsung announced they're working on 32:9 aspect ratio gaming displays, my excitement meter reached its end - and luckily I also have an UltraWide excitement meter.




Samsung teases its massive 49-inch 'mega-wide' panel with its 32:9 aspect ratio, something the company refers to as the "Grand Circle" format. It will rock a 3840x1080 resolution (which Samsung refers to as DFHD, or double full HD), on VA panel technology and a super-curvy 1800R curvative. The new 3840x1080 resolution panels will support up to 144Hz, with options for both AMD FreeSync and NVIDIA G-Sync.


The next monitor Samsung announced was the 'double 24.7-inch' which comes in at 44 inches, and a 29:9 aspect ratio. It is built from 2 x 24.7-inch displays, which end up being 44 inches in diagonal size. This new 44-inch monitor is meant to replace dual 24-inch displays, offering the higher 3840x1200 resolution.


We will see the displays reaching a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz, which is absolutely fine for all first-person shooters - and even twitch shooters like CS:GO, and all other eSports games.


Samsung has production set for September 2017 - meaning we'll see them teased later this year, and most likely at CES 2018 in early-January.

AMD issues its third Ryzen Community Update

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: CPU, APU & Chipsets | Posted: Apr 7, 2017 4:38 am

AMD launched its next-gen Ryzen CPUs with a huge marketing train, but the gaming performance on Ryzen hasn't been so great so far - but, AMD have been quick on their 'Community Update' rollouts, with the third one now out.




AMD first launched Ryzen with tweaks to the High Performance power plan in Windows 10, and now with the third Community Update, AMD made tweaks to the Ryzen Balanced plan, which can be download here. AMD says that with the new Ryzen Balanced plan, there should be performance close to that of the High Performance setting - with AMD providing a graph that shows there's only a few percentage points between the Balanced and High Performance plans.


In the near future, AMD will make this new Balanced power plan part of the chipset drivers for Ryzen CPUs - while the power plan changes sometimes providing less performance in games - but AMD states "there are enough [affected] games to warrant a change".

Apple's new iMac will be the highest-end iMac ever

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Computer Systems | Posted: Apr 7, 2017 3:42 am

It looks like Apple is pushing into its next-gen iMac in a big way, with Apple's Phil Schiller teasing the new improvements Apple are making to the iMac.




Schiller said: "With regards to the Mac Pro we are in the process of what we call 'completely rethinking the Mac Pro'. We're working on it. We have a team working hard on it right now, and we want to architect it so that we can keep it fresh with regular improvements, and we're committed to making it our highest-end, high-throughput desktop system, designed for our demanding pro customers".


The new iMac Pro will reportedly feature an Intel Xeon E3-1285 V6 processor, with 16GB (upgradeable to 32GB or 64GB of ECC memory), the latest NVMe-based SSD (up to 2TB) and AMD's latest GPU technology (most likely Vega, or the fastest Polaris at least). Thunderbolt 3 will be included, USB Type-C connectivity, and drum roll... a new keyboard.