New development tool from A*STAR speeds 20TB HDD HAMR development

Paul Alcorn | IT/Datacenter & Super Computing | Nov 13, 2014 10:05 AM CST

Lately HDDs aren't gaining in capacity as quickly due to the limitations of PMR (Perpendicular Magnetic Recording). PMR stores magnetic bits of data vertically, allowing manufacturers to cram more data onto the HDD's platters, which provides more density than the previous horizontal method. Every new technology has its limits, and PMR has nearly reached the end of its evolutionary cycle. Now manufacturers are turning to HAMR (Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording) to increase density. HAMR uses a small laser to heat the surface of the platter to 800 degrees Fahrenheit before data is written. The laser is incredibly small and embedded into the drive's write head, and the small heated surface area cools back down in under a nanosecond.

Heat alters the magnetic properties of the disk for this nanosecond in time, and removes or reduces the superparamagnetic effect while data is written. This process allows for exponential gains in density, and HAMR drives with up to 20TB of storage are on the horizon. While this technology sounds a bit far-fetched, working development drives have already been displayed. With any new technology one of the immediate concerns is a lack of development tools. A team from A*STAR, led by Hongzhi Yang and the National University of Singapore, have designed a pump-probe laser to test HAMR devices. This allows accurate testing of temperature-dependent recording in localized regions without actually destroying the media. This is one more step on the path to creating affordable HAMR HDDs, and the first Seagate HAMR HDDs are projected to release in 2016 timeframe.

Continue reading: New development tool from A*STAR speeds 20TB HDD HAMR development (full post)

Intel's DC P3500 NVMe SSD comes closer to market

Paul Alcorn | Storage | Nov 13, 2014 8:50 AM CST

NVMe is a radically efficient and powerful protocol that reduces latency, increases performance, and reduces CPU load. The Intel DC P-Series are the first branded NVMe SSDs on the market, and as indicated in our Intel SSD DC P3700 1.6TB PCIe NVMe Enterprise Review, it delivers on the promises of NVMe. The Intel PCIe SSD family is broken down into three segments that feature different levels of endurance and performance. The DC P3700, DC P3600, and DC P3500 are designed for the datacenter, but enthusiasts have shown incredible interest in the DC P3500.

The Intel NVMe SSDs are very competitive in prices, and the 0.3 DWPD (Drive Writes Per Day) for the the DC P3500 brings its pricing within striking distance of other enthusiast PCIe SSDs, which are nowhere close in performance. The relatively low endurance is more than suitable for the desktop environment, and the DC P3500 features an amazing 450,000/35,000 4k random read/write speed, and 2.5/1.7 GB/s of sequential speed. Most importantly, it delivers amazing speed at lower queue depths, which offers the best performance for workstation/desktop workloads. The 400GB DC P3500 has begun to pop up on retailers for pre-order for around $600.00. This works out to roughly $1.50 per GB, which will have them flying off the shelves soon.

Continue reading: Intel's DC P3500 NVMe SSD comes closer to market (full post)

Samsung unveils Project Beyond, the world's first 3D 360-degree camera

Anthony Garreffa | Cameras, Printers & Scanners | Nov 13, 2014 2:37 AM CST

Something out of left field, is Samsung announcing its new Project Beyond product. Project Beyond consists of 16 individual HD-quality cameras, positioned in a circular pattern, which capture continuous 360-degree images. Project Beyond takes in a gigapixel of data every second, stitching it all together as if it were a 360-degree video, streaming it directly to Samsung's Gear VR headset.

Limiting its use to someone shooting a video while you sit in your house with your Gear VR sounds weird, until you think of the fact that Samsung could - at first - use Project Beyond at events, streaming you the VR imagery back to your Gear VR headset. Things like sporting events, concerts, and much more can be opened up into the world of VR with this camera.

Continue reading: Samsung unveils Project Beyond, the world's first 3D 360-degree camera (full post)

Third 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' trailer released by Marvel

Ben Gourlay | Celebrities & Entertainment | Nov 12, 2014 11:36 PM CST

It seems like we waited many many months with baited breathe for our first look at 'The Avengers' sequel; 'The Age of Ultron', now Disney and Marvel have just released the third variant of the theatrical teaser trailer, which seems to have been sponsored by Samsung.

The second trailer, released as a treat for fans during the second season broadcast of 'Agents of SHIELD' after the initial trailer leaked early.

You'll be able to see some more 'Age of Ultron' when the theatrical trailer launches early next year. The film will be released on April 23rd 2015 in Australia and New Zealand and on the 1st of May in the USA.

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Apple iPad Pro rumors continue, manufacturing problems persist

Something we keep hearing about is a bigger iPad, shifting from the 9.7-inch screen found on the full-sized iPad, to a 12.9-inch "iPad Pro". The latest report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is that Apple won't put it into mass production until Q2 2015.

Kuo says that Apple will use an oxide panel in the iPad Pro to hit a "high resolution, quick response, and high color saturation" and that it requires more time to make this happen for component yield and assembly. We don't know much else about the iPad Pro, apart from it having a bigger screen size - floating somewhere between 12.2 and 12.9 inches.

It should offer an A8X chip, Lighting connector, and hopefully something that differentiates it from the iPad and iPad Air.

Continue reading: Apple iPad Pro rumors continue, manufacturing problems persist (full post)

Leaked details on NVIDIA's GeForce GTX Titan II, with 12GB of RAM

Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards & GPUs | Nov 12, 2014 7:27 PM CST

Today is the day for next-gen GPU news, where we just reported about AMD's Radeon R9 390X to feature an insane 4096-bit memory bus. Now, we're hearing about NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX Titan II, a beast of a GPU that would feature 12GB of VRAM.

This new beast would be baked on the GM200 silicon, on the 28nm process, feature 3072 CUDA cores, a 384-bit memory bus, and the aforementioned 12GB of VRAM. When it comes to clock speeds, we should see a Core clock of 1100MHz, while the Boost clock sits at 1390MHz and the memory at 6GHz. With the GTX 980 having 2048 CUDA cores, the GTX Titan II based on the current rumors has over 1000 additional CUDA cores.

We should see a David vs Goliath battle early next year for GPU supremacy between AMD and NVIDIA, it's just too bad that today's games run like absolute crap, even on great hardware.

Continue reading: Leaked details on NVIDIA's GeForce GTX Titan II, with 12GB of RAM (full post)

AMD Radeon R9 390X rumored to have truly next-gen 4096-bit memory bus

Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards & GPUs | Nov 12, 2014 7:16 PM CST

Here we are again, another post about the AMD Radeon R9 390X, but this time we have some even more exciting news. There's more details leaking out on the codename Fiji XT board, thanks to a listing in the SiSoft Sandra benchmark database.

If the details are true, and right now we're classing them as rumors, we could expect the Radeon R9 390X to feature a whopping 4096 stream processors, with 64 compute units and 256 texture units - but the best bit, we've saved until last: a massive, game-changing 4096-bit memory bus. This insane jump in memory bus specs will have been a result of the HBM technology we reported on a little while ago now, with a 1024-bit input/output interface.

We should see the first R9 390X cards with 4GB of RAM, but 8GB of VRAM will be seen on these GPUs very quickly. If we do see four, first-generation HBM DRAM chips with a 4096-bit memory bus operating at around 1.25GHz, we can expect a huge memory bandwidth of 640GB/sec. Considering the still-fresh, and kick-ass NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 has a 256-bit memory bus with 224GB/sec of bandwidth, AMD would be killing it at high-res. 4K and beyond would see AMD leaping ahead, which is something they need right now.

Continue reading: AMD Radeon R9 390X rumored to have truly next-gen 4096-bit memory bus (full post)

'Uncharted' movie gets another Sony Pictures commissioned script

Ben Gourlay | Celebrities & Entertainment | Nov 12, 2014 6:01 PM CST

Sony Pictures might have already dated the release of the live-action adaptation of Naughty Dog's PlayStation franchise 'Uncharted', but they forgot one thing - a script.

'Uncharted' movie gets another Sony Pictures commissioned script

It looks like the studio is seeking to fast track that though, with Sony Pictures commissioning screenwriter Mark Boal to satisfy the studio, director Seth Gordon and the franchises legion of fans. Boal won an Oscar for his work on 2010's 'The Hurt Locker'.

In disappointing news, Chris Pratt whose role in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' has propelled him to leading man status, and who will be next seen in 'Jurassic World' has taken a pass on the role of Nathan Drake. Perhaps Sony are hoping to woo him back with this latest revision.

Continue reading: 'Uncharted' movie gets another Sony Pictures commissioned script (full post)

Ubisoft working on problems with Assassin's Creed Unity PC performance

Michael Hatamoto | Gaming | Nov 12, 2014 2:23 PM CST

Ubisoft is working on performance problems related to PC gamers of Assassin's Creed Unity, which affects a small number of users. The gaming problem is related to AMD CPU and GPU configurations, with some Steam users saying poor frame rates, audio problems, and occasional freezing and crashing taking place.

"We are aware that the graphics performance of Assassin's Creed Unity on PC may be adversely affected by certain AMD CPU and GPU configurations," Ubisoft said in a statement. "This should not affect the vast majority of PC players, but rest assured that AMD and Ubisoft ware continuing to work together to closely resolve the issue, and will provide more information as soon as it is available."

Meanwhile, console versions of the game are struggling to maintain frame rates, as Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PlayStation 4 gamers also have complained.

Continue reading: Ubisoft working on problems with Assassin's Creed Unity PC performance (full post)

Pew research finds many users don't trust Internet privacy anymore

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Nov 12, 2014 1:21 PM CST

Online privacy is something that most Americans believe they have lost control of, as governments and companies collect and use even more personal information, according to a survey from the Pew Research Internet Project.

"It's a bundle of concerns," said Lee Rainie, a Pew researcher involved in the project. "It's party surveillance, it's partly tracking, and this generalized sense that I'm losing control of my identity and my data."

The survey also found that 91 percent of adults "agree" or "strongly agree" that consumers no longer have control over how their personal information is collected and used by companies - and with the government collecting even more data about citizen phone calls and Internet communications, 80 percent of adults "agree" or "strongly agree" that Americans should be concerned about the government monitoring.

Continue reading: Pew research finds many users don't trust Internet privacy anymore (full post)