Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

[H]ard News

Monday July 16, 2018

GIGABYTE Shows Off New B450 Motherboards & 850W PSU

GIGABYTE is breaking its silence on its upcoming line of B450 chipset motherboards for AMD's new Ryzen CPUs. We have the press deck below that outlines the features that these new motherboards will have. Also, GIGABYTE is introduction a new naming scheme when it comes to its motherboard line-up, so that is likely worth taking a look at too.

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We have been expecting GIGABYTE to announce this for a while, but it is now introducing its first PSU, and this one comes in at a healthy 850 watts. Yes, we have already have asked for a sample of the AORUS P850W 80+ GOLD Modular on our test bench.

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Intel Drones Assist in the Preservation of the Great Wall of China

Intel has sent drones to researchers to assist in the preservation of the Great Wall of China; specifically in the Jiankou section. By conducting surveys and taking thousands of high quality images, the drones have been instrumental in helping the preservationists to monitor the current state of the wall. In other drone news, utilities in Europe are mapping energy grids and checking for damage to pipelines by using long distance drones that can travel 50 km. They are expected to invest $5.6 million into the technology.

"It’s a real game changer," Michal Mazur, partner at consultancy PwC, said of drones. "They’re 100 times faster than manual measurement, more accurate than helicopters and, with AI devices on board, could soon be able to fix problems." In-sight drones cost around 20,000 euros each and BVLOS ones will cost significantly more, according to executives at tech companies that make the machines for utilities, and a fleet of dozens if not hundreds would be needed to monitor a network.

Discussion

Sinclair-Tribune Deal on Shaky Ground After Serious Concerns Expressed by FCC

The Sinclair-Tribune deal is all but dead after FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has expressed "serious concerns" about the ownership of certain stations . Sinclair Broadcasting which already owns 192 TV stations in the USA wanted to acquire Tribune Media's 42 stations in 33 markets for $3.9 billion. In the deal Sinclair Broadcasting agreed to sell 23 stations but still maintained control of those stations even with new ownership. After FCC chairman Ajit Pai (PDF) concluded that the deal violates the law, Tribune Media's stock dropped 18%.

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Based on a thorough review of the record, I have serious concerns about the Sinclair/Tribune transaction. The evidence we’ve received suggests that certain station divestitures that have been proposed to the FCC would allow Sinclair to control those stations in practice, even if not in name, in violation of the law.

Discussion

Germany is Fed Up with Pre-Orders and No Release Date

Germany is digging into one of its most important issues facing it today; game pre-orders with no release dates. It will soon be law that "coming soon" is not good enough when you put your game up for pre-order in Germany. The Higher Regional Court of Munich has declared that being vague on release dates will no longer be tolerated as reported by the German website Eurogamer via Heise. The case was raised about smartphones, but it seems that more than a few products will be affected. Of course, now all you will have to do is lie about it to get listed again most likely.

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"When consumers order goods on the internet, providers must specify by when the goods are delivered," said Wolfgang Schuldzinski, CEO of Dusseldorf Consumer.

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Astro A50 Gaming Headset Review - Big Bug Found

I spent the last week with the Astro A50 gaming headset perched on my melon, and was genuinely impressed with its performance. The A50 headset simply made my gaming experiences a lot better. Then getting towards the end of my evalution I came across a nasty A50 bug. A bug that has been known by Astro Gaming for the better part of four years and is still not fixed. You will want to read this before throwing down $300 on a gaming headset.

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So in middle of writing this review, I was of course still using the Astro A50. No better way to write an evaluation than while the product is literally wrapped around your head. Last Friday morning, my A50 was fully charged, and I set it back down on the base after using it for an hour or so to go grab a drink. When I came back to put the A50 on, the lightning bolt LED on the base was blinking. I had not seen it do this before. I put the A50 and got nothing.

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Nudists Love Twitter

If you like getting naked and just hanging out, Twitter is the platform for you. I did a bit of quick searching on Twitter, and it seems that the Atlantic is spot on. I did find this one nudist tweet that seemed to up the ante when it came to cracking jokes about it this afternoon.

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Belcher isn’t a porn star or spam account sharing unsolicited photographs of his penis—he’s part of the thriving community of nudists on Twitter who have flocked to the platform after most others have made a policy of censoring or banning images of naked bodies. Nudists on Facebook have had their profiles suspended after failing to properly crop or censor their photos. On Instagram, they’ve been penalized for showing female nipples or too much pubic hair. Tumblr allows NSFW (Not Safe for Work) content, but nudists say the platform is so overrun with spam that it’s unusable.

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Chinese Mobile Phones Record User Activity

Chinese phones have been the subject of security issues and as we previously reported; some companies have even been banned from contracts in the USA. Until now it has all been speculation on how and when do these devices spy on their users. Chinese users are reporting that their phones will enable the camera to take an image of them every single time that they open a web browser or use social media. Not only that but the microphone records everything that is said when an application is launched. These backdoors cannot be disabled which leaves the users wondering what is happening to their data. The companies accused of enabling these backdoors say that they are a feature designed to make services better. This makes me wonder about the lifting of the ZTE ban after a cash payment.

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Different from most mobile phones, where a camera can be activated without giving the user any signal, the Vivo NEX has a tiny retractable camera that physically pops out from the top of the device when it is turned on. One Weibo user observed that the retractable camera self-activates whenever he opens a new chat on Telegram, a messaging application designed for secured and encrypted communication.

Discussion

Thermalright's Upcoming Threadripper Air Cooler - Silver Arrow TR4

Thermalright, which has been one of our favorite companies to produce CPU air coolers for years now, is teasing us with its new Silver Arrow TR4, which you might have guessed is for AMD's Threadripper CPUs. A mid-mounted PWM fan and eight 6mm heatpipes lay at the heart of the HSF, and Thermalright is telling us that the cooler is capable of dissipating 320 watts. MSRP will be $80. We decided to hold off a bit for extending our Threadripper cooling reviews till we get the new 2990X in-house for testing. I would expect to see that quite soon.

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More power, less size. By mounting the TY 143 PWM-fan centrally between the two cooling towers, Thermalright manages to maximise the cooling capacity while minimising the space requirements of the cooler. With unrestricted access to the RAM and the upper PCIe slot, it also does not protrude beyond the standard ATX motherboards.

Discussion

AMD vs NVIDIA Drivers....FIGHT!

AMD commissioned QA Consultants to do stability testing on its GPUs and drivers compared to NVIDIA's. AMD video cards in the test included Vega 64, RX 580, and RX560 cards. NVIDIA cards included GTX 1080 Ti, GTX 1060, and GTX 1050. AMD came out ahead of NVIDIA by a 10% margin overall. The full detailed report can be read in this PDF. There are charts that show every failure logged starting on page 6 of the PDF. Let the fanboy arguments begin!

In May 2018, AMD commissioned QA Consultants to independently evaluate the stability of several of the latest graphics drivers from both AMD and NVIDIA. A pool of 6 AMD and 6 NVIDIA graphics accelerators were subjected to 12 days of 24-hour stress testing using CRASH from Microsoft’s Windows Hardware Lab Kit (HLK). Gaming and Workstation products from both graphics vendors were equally represented. The aggregate of AMD products passed 93% of scheduled tests whereas the aggregate of NVIDIA products passed 82% of scheduled tests (See Figure 1).

Discussion

Online Coding Schools Adopt Income-Share Agreements as Alternative to Tuition

Online coding schools are adopting Income-Share Agreements (ISA) which have officially been around since the 1950's but rarely implemented. Instead of paying tuition upfront which causes many students to go into debt, an ISA contract stipulates that the student pays the school a percentage of their paycheck for a set amount of time. In the article there is an example of a contract where a graduate has to pay 6.5% of their pay for 5 years after their income exceeds $35,000 a year. Purdue University has adopted the plan to help students that would need Direct PLUS loans and more financial aid to attend. Critics say that right now it is akin to the Wild West in terms of stipulations in the contracts so read the fine print!

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There are more than 550,000 open jobs requiring computer-science skills, while fewer than 50,000 computer-science majors entered the workforce last year, according to an analysis of federal labor data by Code.org, a nonprofit that seeks to expand programming instruction in K-12 schools. Leaders of the ISA-based training programs see a business opportunity in the Lavell Burtons of the world—promising individuals without access to cash or credit for tuition. They are betting they can groom them, over the course of a few months, into tech professionals who command competitive compensation in a hot job market. And then take a cut.

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GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1080 $489.99

Both Amazon and Newegg have the GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1080 on sale today for $500. Amazon is sans rebate for $499.99, and the card on Newegg does have it for $489.99 after $10 MIR.

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Fallout 4 Mod Northern Springs Is Larger Than Official DLC

Bethesda games have been known for their fan created mod releases over the years that breathe new life into games that are over a decade old. As reported by DSO Gaming; Modular Illusions has created a new mod called Northern Springs for the Fallout 4 series. Boasting a world that is larger than the official Bethesda DLCs, Nuka World and Far Harbor, Modular Illusions spent 2 years of development time to add 25 new quests, 3 new settlements and more to the game for absolutely free. If you're on the fence about Fallout 4 modding on your PC, check out the [H]ardocp Fallout 4 modding guide .

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Amazon PRIME DAY is Upon Us

Today is Amazon's annual PRIME DAY. Use your Amazon Prime account to grab special deals. It starts officially at 2pm CDT, but Amazon has listed "early access deals" at the link. PRIME DAY has not always been a great success in terms of what us consumers have seen, so if you find a great deal, please share that deal with us in the Hard Forum.

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Hunt: Showdown 2.1 Content Patch Live

The developers over at Crytek pushed their v2.1 Content Patch live for Hunt: Showdown in the wee hours of the morning today. Crossbows, throwing knives, new silenced longguns, as well as new early morning fog maps are part of the release. And for those of you that spend time on your back waiting for your partner to come pick you up, you can now spectate your teammate's gameplay. The game is $30 on Steam and worth every penny.

The Hunt: Showdown Roadmap has been updated as of this morning as well.

Discussion

Sunday July 15, 2018

Dolby Vision Video Streaming Support Comes to Xbox

Dolby Vision video streaming support arrived on Xbox One S and Xbox One X as part of this week’s System Update 1810 Preview. Dolby Vision is Dolby’s implementation of HDR, bringing a wider color gamut and increased contrast ratio (up to 10,000 nits of brightness) to content. 4K HDR Dolby Vision disc compatibility is expected in the fall.

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Dolby Vision enables select TVs to take HDR up a notch with scene-by-scene precision and accuracy versus standard HDR which uses one setting for the entire movie/show you are watching. If you have a TV that supports the latest version of Dolby Vision and a Premium Netflix subscription jump in and experience Dolby Vision for yourself in the coming weeks!

Discussion

"Star Trek 4" Rumored to Feature Female Villain, New Female Hero

The follow-up to 2016’s Star Trek: Beyond will be the first Star Trek movie ever directed by a woman, but not only that, rumors claim it will also feature a female villain and new female team member, potentially filling the void left by Anton Yelchin (Pavel Chekov), who died in a freak accident. Chris Hemsworth is reprising his role as George Kirk, who will cross paths with son Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine).

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The fourth Star Trek film was announced shortly before Star Trek Beyond opened in theaters. However, Paramount went silent on the film for over a year after Star Trek Beyond underperformed at the box office. Paramount saw some leadership changes at the executive level and reconsidered its box office strategy and now Star Trek 4 is back on track.

Discussion

No Next-Gen Radeon until February 2019?

Based on information gleaned from roadmap slides posted at XFastest, VideoCardz predicts that a new Radeon series (i.e., 600) will not appear (from ASRock, at least) until February or March, at earliest. Optimists say there could be an NDA in play, but in any case, the company’s lineup of 500-series cards ends two months into 2019.

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According to some rumors, ASRock was planning to introduce RX Vega graphics cards with custom cooling solutions, but the slide does not seem to confirm that such graphics cards are planned, at least not yet. The most interesting tidbit from this roadmap is lack of any future Radeon series till at least February/March. One would guess this is when new series (600) could appear or when Radeon 500 series will no longer matter.

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Chinese AI Beats 15 Doctors in Tumor Diagnosis Competition

In another victory for the virtual kind, an AI developed by the Artificial Intelligence Research Centre for Neurological Disorders at Beijing Tiantan Hospital beat 15 of China’s top doctors by a margin of two to one in a trial of diagnosing brain tumors and predicting hematoma expansion. "BioMind was correct 87 percent of the time, compared to 66 percent by the medical professionals."

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The AI also only took 15 minutes to diagnose the 225 cases, while doctors took 30. In regards to predicting brain hematoma expansion, BioMind was victorious again, as it was correct in 83 percent of cases, with humans managing only 63 percent. Researchers trained the AI by feeding it thousands upon thousands of images from Beijing Tiantan Hospital’s archives. This has made it as good at diagnosing neurological diseases as senior doctors, as it has a 90 percent accuracy rate.

Discussion

Mom’s Defense of "Cheating" Fortnite Kid Fails

A judge has ruled that Epic can continue its copyright infringement lawsuit against a 14-year-old Fortnite cheater despite his mother arguing that the EULA wasn’t legally binding, nor was he given consent for playing the game. Epic reasoned that "minors can’t void contractual obligations while keeping the benefits of the same contract." Thanks cageymaru.

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The accused cheater now has two weeks to file a formal response to the complaint. If that doesn’t happen, Epic Games is likely to ask for a default judgment. Based on previous cases, the game publisher is not likely to demand a high damages claim. Instead, its main goal appears to be to stop the cheaters’ infringing activities, and prevent others from doing the same.

Discussion

DOA6 Features Smaller Boobs So the Women "Appear More Human," Says Director

In an interview with Gamespot, Dead or Alive 6 Director Yohei Shimbori revealed why the game’s female characters won’t be oversexed: "The boobs are smaller as opposed to before because we wanted the girls to appear more human. We don't want to reshape them smaller or larger just on a whim." Old-school fans, including well-endowed women, are calling this a clear case of body shaming.

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Kasumi's outfit has also undergone considerable changes. She's abandoned her loose-fitting kunoichi for an armored bodysuit. Though not as noticeable a transformation, Helena is also rocking a new, more combat-ready outfit. "They'll be back," Shimbori said, when asked if the fighters' original outfits would make a reappearance in the game. He and his team want to make strides towards removing sexual fanservice from Dead or Alive.

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3D-Printed Gun Files Can Be Shared without Legal Penalty

The Justice Department has reached a settlement with gun rights activist Cody Wilson, who was confronted by federal authorities in 2013 when he uploaded 3D-printable CAD files for the "Liberator," a working plastic gun. Wilson sued, arguing that the First Amendment protects his constitutional right to share the 3D files as free speech.

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The legal battle has gone on for three years. But according to Wired, two months ago, the Justice Department decided to quietly offer Wilson a settlement to end his lawsuit. Under terms of the deal, the US government has agreed to change its export rules on military firearms, allowing Wilson to publish his 3D files, without fear of legal penalty.

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"I Used an Android Go Phone for a Month, and It Was Terrible"

Due to the ubiquity of inexpensive Android phones already on the market, many questioned Google’s intent for Android Go, a stripped-down version of Android designed for spearheading cheaper handsets. Android Police decided to give Google the benefit of the doubt by adopting one Go phone (Alcatel 1X) for a month, but ultimately agreed the idea is pointless: not only do they run bad, many are priced higher than cheaper models with better performance.

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Android Go's current hardware and software offer a very limited experience that I wouldn't wish on anyone, and the ~$100 price associated with at least some of the more marketed handsets is far too much. OEMs have been able to make less expensive non-Go phones with better specs, and the virtual shelves of eBay and Swappa are lined with older but higher-end devices at the same price.

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New Spectre 1.1 and Spectre 1.2 CPU Flaws Disclosed

The Spectre saga continued this week after researchers revealed details on two new variations of the vulnerability, dubbed Spectre 1.1 and Spectre 1.2. Again, both take advantage of speculative execution: the former delivers "code that overflows CPU store cache buffers in order to write and run malicious code," while the latter "can be exploited to write to CPU memory sectors that are normally protected by read-only flags."

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Intel and ARM have publicly acknowledged that some of their CPUs are vulnerable to Spectre 1.1. AMD has not published a statement, but AMD has been historically slow at reviewing security issues. Since all Spectre attacks affected AMD CPUs, it is safe to assume that these new ones also affect AMD's portfolio as well. Researchers didn't release information on CPUs impacted by Spectre 1.2.

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Alaska’s Last Two Blockbuster Stores Closing, Leaving Just One in the US

The Blockbuster store in Bend, Oregon, is going to be the last remnant of the once-popular video rental chain, as both locations in Alaska have announced they are closing this week. A companion article describes how Blockbuster has become a tourist destination of sorts, where people line up to take videos and selfies.

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Harding has been with the company for 14 years and joined the Bend location on Revere in May 2005. She insisted that nothing big changed. Customer service keeps people coming back, and new titles, such as NBC's current show "The Good Place," are available for rent. Even the IBM computers are running the same floppy disks from the 1990s, she said, shocking the younger employees.

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