Dell deploys SanDisk DAS Cache Software into new Dell PowerEdge Server

Paul Alcorn | IT/Datacenter & Super Computing | Sep 9, 2014 9:32 AM CDT

SanDisk and Dell are announcing the integration of the SanDisk DAS Cache software into the next generation Dell PowerEdge Servers. SSDs feature extreme performance specs, but unfortunately they continue to carry a price premium over hard disk storage. One of the challenges has been to find an easy method to marry the capacity of hard disk drives with the speed of SSDs. SanDisk DAS Cache software boosts hard drive performance by accelerating frequently used data in an SSD cache layer.

Using flash-based caching techniques can radically alter workload performance in a production environment. The SanDisk DAS Cache software is based off of the popular SanDisk FlashSoft product line. The easy-to-use interface and seamless performance acceleration software is battle tested in thousands of deployments across the world, bringing a level of confidence in the software that allows Dell to offer it as an OEM solution. When users purchase a PowerEdge server with flash and HDD storage they are automatically given the software as a default option.

There are several different approaches to SSD-based caching techniques from a number of players. Many involve hardware-based implementations that typically execute the caching algorithms and functionality on a RAID card connected to both the HDD's and SSDs. This can limit choice and also can bring about vendor lock-in concerns.

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No new CPU architectures from AMD until at least 2016

Anthony Garreffa | CPU, APU & Chipsets | Sep 9, 2014 12:29 AM CDT

Intel has just launched its new high-end Haswell-E platform, but what is AMD doing? Well, according to a recent interview with Bloomberg, AMD won't be releasing a new micro-architecture until 2016, with any CPU or APU products released between now and then based on current architecture.

AMD CEO, Rory Read, talked with Bloomberg, but didn't reveal any information on future microarchitecture, but he did say that the hardware coming out next year will be based on existing architecture, and won't be much better than what AMD has on the market now. Read said: "AMD engineers are now proving they can deliver new designs on time, something that didn't happen in the past."

In 2015, we can expect AMD to release new APUS that will be based on the low-power Puma+ and high-performance Steamroller architecture. Both of these architectures aren't expected to deliver much additional performance, but we should expect lowered power consumption and heat output.

Continue reading: No new CPU architectures from AMD until at least 2016 (full post)

Top Gun 2 takes flight, as Paramount finally commits to sequel

Ben Gourlay | Celebrities & Entertainment | Sep 8, 2014 10:31 PM CDT

It might have taken 20 years, but it looks like 'Top Gun' is set to fly again, as Paramount rallies behind the sequel's production with some of the studios heaviest hitters.

The Hollywood Reporter has today revealed that the film has a solid green light, with original star Tom Cruise all but locked away and producer Jerry Bruckheimer on board, following his years at rival studio Disney.

Writer Justin Marks, who's coming off 'The Jungle Book' for 'Iron Man' Director Jon Favreau is set to take another swing at the script, from the abandoned draft by Peter Craig.

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Batman: Arkham Knight release date announced: June 2, 2015

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Sep 8, 2014 8:06 PM CDT

Warner Bros. and DC have announced the release date for Batman: Arkham Knight, with June 2, 2015 to see two special editions released. The first is the Limited Edition, but the second sounds a bit nicer: Batmobile Edition. Both of the special editions will be made in limited quantities across the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

The Limited Edition provides an art book, SteelBook case and game disc, the Arkham Knight #0 comic, and exclusive skin pack with three The New 52 skins, and a Batman memorial statue. The Limited Edition will set back gamers $144 for the PS4 and Xbox One version, but on the PC, and limited to the European, Australian and New Zealand gamers, it will be priced at $120.

For $200, the Batmobile Edition is limited to consoles, and comes with everything that the Limited Edition version offered, but removes the memorial statue and replaces it with a transforming Batmobile statue.

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4K Blu-ray is a go as Blu-ray Disc Association develops plans

Ben Gourlay | Celebrities & Entertainment | Sep 8, 2014 7:38 PM CDT

During the 2014 IFA consumer electronics show which has just wrapped up in Berlin, Blu-ray Disc Association chairman Victor Matsuda revealed that plans to evolve Blu-ray technology are continuing, throwing down the gauntlet at claims that optical technology is dead.

4K Blu-ray is a go as Blu-ray Disc Association develops plans

To be released by the end of next year, the Blu-ray 4K format will utilise updates introduced since the original Blu-ray specification was settled over 10 years ago, including the breakthrough efficiencies afforded by the H265 HEVC codec, alongside improvements to colour gamut and dynamic range, support for 60FPS (for all you 'Hobbit' high frame rate fans) and an expected bump in disc capacity up to 100GB - double the current standard. I would expect the format will also embrace new audio formats, such as Dolby's ATMOS technology.

While I still hold that a 4K Blu-ray format will only serve to be even more niche than current Blu-ray, I am hugely excited by the potential that the technology could offer, which will be the 'Rolls Royce' of 4K content. Besides, it would take me a day to download a 4K trailer on my puny 3MB internet connection - let alone a whole movie. Bring it on.

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Gartner: Family home could have more than 500 smart devices by 2022

Dropping prices in connected devices, and increasingly tech savvy families in the United States, will help drive the Internet of Things (IoT) in the future ahead. In a mature and affluent market, for example, there could be hundreds of "smart" objects in a single household by 2022, according to the Gartner research group.

Large domestic appliances aren't replaced often, so average households will grow their collection of smart objects slowly over the next decade. However, a mature smart home will not take place until 2020 to 2025, as smart domestic products continue to be released.

"We expect that a very wide range of domestic equipment will become 'smart' in the sense of gaining some level of sensing and intelligence combined with the ability to communicate, usually wirelessly," said Nick Jones, Gartner VP and distinguished analyst, in a statement. "More sophisticated devices will include both sensing and remote control functions. Price will seldom be an inhibitor because the cost of the Internet of Things (IoT) enabling a consumer 'thing' will approach $1 in the long term."

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ESPN president says eSports "not a sport," has no interest

Michael Hatamoto | Gaming | Sep 8, 2014 2:45 PM CDT

Amazon recently purchased videogame streaming service Twitch for $1 billion, and ESPN President John Skipper doesn't have any current interest in promoting "eSports" in the near future. Although ESPN is still known for mainstream sports, the broadcaster has shown everything from bowling and darts to bass fishing and poker.

"It's not a sport - it's a competition," Skipper recently said. "Chess is as competition. Checkers is a competition. Mostly, I'm interested in doing real sports."

There is money that could be generated from streaming eSports, with 2.4 billion hours of eSports footage watched online in 2013, according to an HIS Technology report. The growing market could have an estimated $300 million value by 2018. Ironically, ESPN and Valve partnered to stream the Dota 2 world championship tournament on ESPN 3, the online and Web-based branch.

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Robert Downey Jr resisting more 'Iron Man' stand alone films

Ben Gourlay | Celebrities & Entertainment | Sep 8, 2014 1:37 AM CDT

It might have grossed an astonishing $1.2 billion at the worldwide box-office, making it the sixth highest grossing film of all time, but it seems that any agreement to have Robert Downey Jr. don the Iron Man armour for another stand alone feature is some time away, if ever.

Robert Downey Jr resisting more 'Iron Man' stand alone films

Commenting to Variety, Downey Jr shot down any speculation by revealing "There isn't one in the pipe. No, there's no plan for a fourth Iron Man".

After his role in the 'Avengers' sequel 'Age of Ultron', Downey Jr is contracted to play the role just one more time, presumably in a third 'Avengers'. Unless, of course a deal can be struck with Disney and Marvel, but at 49 years of age, there's only so many years he can continue to play the role.

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Create your own 'Star Wars' opening crawl, thanks to Disney

Ben Gourlay | Celebrities & Entertainment | Sep 7, 2014 8:36 PM CDT

Back in 1976 the iconic 'Star Wars' opening crawl - the text that dissolves into space in the film's opening, was a huge undertaking which was achieved with a series of models and props by Industrial Light and Magic and which was later replaced by CG text for the special edition versions.

Create your own 'Star Wars' opening crawl, thanks to Disney

Today, Disney have launched an interactive HTML app which allows users to generate their own 'Star Wars' crawl, prefaced with the obligatory "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away" and share via social media.

The app can be accessed from the official site.

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GeForce GTX 980 rumored to use 170W, but offer GTX 780 Ti performance

Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards & GPUs | Sep 7, 2014 5:45 AM CDT

Right on the back of our news on the sighting of ASUS and GIGABYTE branded GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 cards, WCCFTech is reporting that the GeForce GTX 980 will offer 10% more performance on the GTX 780 Ti, all with a 170W TDP - an incredible feat, if the rumors are true.

The rumor is coming from a post on the Chilhell forums, with some impressive 3DMark scores posted. The post mentions that the GTX 980 has 32 RPS and 128 TMUs, with its 256-bit bus and 4GB of RAM, with an model featuring 8GB of RAM to probably show up, too. The biggest thing here is that at stock clocks, the GTX 980 is 10% faster than the GTX 780 Ti, but with a TDP of just 170W compared to the TDP on the GTX 780 Ti which is still a modest 250W.

If this is true, under the same 28nm process NVIDIA have pulled off something quite incredible here, which might justify the skip over the GTX 800 series. With a TDP of 170W on the GTX 980, we have a 60% performance-per-watt increase on the same 28nm process over the GTX 780 Ti, which is something worth talking about. With a $499 price tag, this could be one heck of a GPU, something we should hear about very soon. With a reported press event this week, we could even hear about it in the coming days.

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