[H]ard News

Friday April 28, 2017

NSA Changes Rules to Spy Less on American Citizens

Big Brother is watching a less closely, as the National Security Agency announced the stoppage of a controversial act in their warrantless wiretapping activities. Previously, an American citizen’s text and email communication mentioning foreign people of interest had been marked for collection, under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The NSA has changed their policy to only deal with direct communications from these foreign suspects:

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Instead, NSA will limit such collection to internet communications that are sent directly to or from a foreign target.

Critics of Section 702’s information collection have been outspoken as to concerns of the policy restricting a citizen’s 4th Amendment (unreasonable searches and seizures) rights. In this change, the NSA is lessening the chance to collect data from persons having no discernible connections to foreign targets. The Agency furthermore announced most of this "upstream" data collected will be deleted, to quell any further privacy concerns. Changes to policies all stemmed from in-house reviews, making one believe that pressures from such controversial actions were finally too much for Big Brother to deal with.


What is so Deep about Deep Learning?

We hear the term "deep learning" thrown around a lot now days, and Sandeep Raut over at the site readwrite, gives us a quick and dirty lesson as to what deep learning is. While he touches on it in an non-esoteric way, if you are in the dark he gives you a idea of why going deep really matters. Deeper is always better.

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Why is deep learning called deep? It is because of the structure of those ANNs. Four decades back, neural networks were only two layers deep as it was not computationally feasible to build larger networks. Now, it is common to have neural networks with 10+ layers and even 100+ layer ANNs are being tried upon.

Using multiple levels of neural networks in deep learning, computers now have the capacity to see, learn, and react to complex situations as well or better than humans.


Zinc Battery Dendrite Breakthrough

Everyone knows and loves our lithium ion batteries that power damn near every electronic device we use nowadays. However, LI batteries are dangerous, heavy, large, and expensive. If only there was a better way!

Not only could rechargeable zinc-based batteries possibly store as much energy as lithium-ion batteries, they could also be safer, cheaper, smaller and lighter, new research finds. The results suggest zinc batteries could find use in mild hybrids (microhybrids), electric vehicles, electric bicycles, and eventually, perhaps smartphones and power grid storage.

This article over at IEEE.Org is a good read on some of the science behind zinc-based batteries, but what is even more amazing is that they predict to be able to scale up this technology and have it ready to come to market by the end of 2019. Zinc batteries are nothing new, but having zinc batteries that can recharged many times are. You have to keep your Zinc dendrites from growing from anode to cathode causing an internal short, and that is exactly what the brainiacs at EnZinc have figured out how to suppress zinc dendrites. Guess they should have just looked up my 6th grade science fair experiment entitled, "Dendrite Suppression in Zinc Nickel Batteries." I did not think it was that big of a deal.

And remember, keep those LI batteries away from heat sources.


[H]ardware Round-Up

AMD Ryzen 5 1600X Overclocked Benchmark Results At 4.1GHz @ Legit Reviews - You can see our AMD Ryzen reviews here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW2 GAMING @ Guru 3D

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti: Windows 10 Creators Update vs. Ubuntu Linux Gaming @ phoronix

XFX Radeon RX 580 8GB GTS Black Edition Review @ Overclockers Club

Raidmax Sigma ATX Chassis Review @ Funky Kit

Backdoors in Millions of Smartphones

I was at the bank the other day, yeah, physically at the bank, and the banker-dude asked me if I had installed its banking application on my smartphone. I looked at him and asked, "Do I really look that stupid?" Wired has an article up today that outlines my paranoia about smartphones and security. Banking apps? No. Pay with my phone? No. Naked selfies? Maybe. The gist of this is that there are a bunch of apps that leave insecure ports on your smartphone.

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To determine the full scope of the port problem, the Michigan researchers built a software tool they call OPAnalyzer (for Open Port Analyzer) that they used to scan the code of around 100,000 popular apps in the Google Play app store.

They found that 1,632 applications created open ports on smartphones, mostly intended to allow users to connect to them from PCs to send text messages, transfer files, or use the phone as a proxy to connect to the rest of the internet.

If you have the Wifi File Transfer, Virtual USB, or PhonePal apps on your phone, you might want to reevaluate your installation. If you want to read up on the paper yourself, the PDF is right here.

In this paper, we develop a tool called OPAnalyzer, which can systematically characterize open port usage in Android apps and effectively detect exploitable vulnerabilities. Using this tool on 24K popular Android apps, we are able to classify 99% of the mobile usage into 5 families, and identify some unique usage scenarios on mobile platform. From the vulnerability analysis performed, we find that such usage is generally unprotected. We are able to discover a bunch of new exploits causing vulnerabilities such as information leakage, denial of service, and privileged execution. We also propose countermeasures and improved practices to mitigate these problems in different usage scenarios. As a potential future work, we want to apply OPAnalyzer to analyze Android system applications to discover more critical vulnerabilities.


Get Your Mullvad On

Give our brothers at Mullvad some love! The company came on yesterday as a new sponsor for HardOCP and HardForum, so if you are looking to get your VPN on, give these guys a look as its services have held up with tests by our readers. It's "Only €5/month." What is a €? We still don't know, but one € is about US$1.09. And yeah, "Mullvad" is Swedish for mole. Don't feel bad, we had to look that up too.

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World-class, online privacy - Mullvad is a VPN service that helps keep your online activity, identity, and location private.


Dictionary Definition of "Sheeple"

Since [H]ardOCP is the Vatican of the PC Master Race, it has to be pointed out that Merrian-Webster thinks that Apple's brand-loyalists are "Sheeple." I am not sure why anyone would think that...You can't make this stuff up.

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More Saving. More Doing. More Exposure.

If you recall, back in 2014 Home Depot "allowed" 56 million of it customers' credit card information to be stolen. Apparently now you don't even have to "hack" into Home Depot to get some of its customers' information, Home Depot will just put it online for everyone to see. Just because you know how to use a hammer apparently does not qualify you to run an online business. Whodathunkit?

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The internet address that hosted these spreadsheets — along with one random document containing a scanned printout of a customer’s name, address, and signature — was part of the HomeDepot.com domain; and all the files there were unencrypted, unprotected, discoverable by search engines (several of the email addresses listed, when typed into a Google search, surfaced the documents), and completely accessible to the open internet.


New update options for Windows 10, version 1703

Is it me, or do you feel more stupid for reading this?

With the release of Windows 10, we simplified the servicing process by moving to cumulative updates, where each update released contains all the new fixes for that month, as well as all the older fixes from previous months. Today, most organizations deploy these cumulative updates when they are released on the second Tuesday of every month, also called "Update Tuesday." Because these updates contain new security fixes, they are considered "Security Updates" in Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and System Center Configuration Manager.

Based on feedback from customers, we are making some adjustments to the updates that we are releasing for Windows 10, version 1703 (also known as the "Creators Update"). With these changes, we will routinely offer one (or sometimes more than one) additional update each month. These additional cumulative updates will contain only new non-security updates, so they will be considered "Updates" in WSUS and Configuration Manager.

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Note that we may occasionally identify non-security fixes that address more critical issues that could be affecting organizations. In those rare cases, a cumulative update would be considered as "Critical Updates" in WSUS and Configuration Manager.

For those using Windows Update for Business, these new "Updates" and "Critical Updates" will not be installed on any devices that have been configured with Windows Update for Business policies.

Organizations have the flexibility to choose what to do with these new non-security cumulative updates:

  • Deploy each of them just like the updates on "Update Tuesday." This enables the organization’s PCs to get the latest fixes more quickly.

  • Deploy each of them to a subset of devices. This enables the organization to ensure that these new non-security fixes work well, prior to those same fixes being included in the next "Update Tuesday" cumulative update which will be deployed throughout the organization.

  • Selectively deploy them, based on whether they address specific issues affecting the organization, ahead of the next "Update Tuesday" cumulative update.

  • Don’t deploy them at all. There is no harm in doing this since the same fixes will be included in the next "Update Tuesday" cumulative update (along with all the new security fixes).

We believe these additional cumulative updates, and the increased flexibility that they provide to organizations, will be beneficial to organizations of all types. As always, please continue to provide feedback on other ways that we can con


Thursday April 27, 2017

[H]ardware Round-Up

Aqua Computer and Rockit Delidding Tools tested on Core i7-7700K @ Tech Power Up

Of course, if you have access to a 3D printer and a hammer, you don't have to purchase a tool. But you can see the myriad of articles we have done on those as well down this page.

The Red Devil RX 570 vs. the EVGA GTX 1060 3GB Overclocking Showdown @ Babel Tech Reviews

Micron 5100 ECO and MAX SSD Review: High-Capacity, Affordable Datacenter Storage @ Hot Hardware

GIGABYTE XK700 XTREME Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ Funky Kit

Nixeus NX-VUE27P 1440P IPS Monitor Review @ Hardware Canucks

Prey 2017 Demo to Consoles First

This does not make me feel too good about the PC version of this game, but that is just a gut reaction. Bethesda has been on a tear lately with DOOM and Fallout 4, and I would expect that Prey would be no different. However, unless you are a console peasant, you are out of luck today for a the demo.

WHAT IS PREY? Aliens have taken over the space station, and only you can stop them. Or, make that Yu. On May 5, 2017, Prey releases on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC – and, as Morgan Yu, you’ll be mankind’s only hope to stop the Typhon threat from destroying humanity. Prey is the latest game from Arkane Studios, the team behind the multi-award-winning Dishonored series. Watch the latest trailer to get a deeper look at the Typhon aliens, Morgan’s unique powers and weapons, and the Talos I space station itself.


Acer Predator X27 G-Sync HDR Gaming Monitor: 4K at 144Hz

I can’t seem to find any information on whether this is a TN, IPS, or VA yet, but Acer’s latest display is stuffed with killer features: 4K, 144Hz, HDR, NVIDIA G-Sync, quantum dot technology, local dimming, and more. I imagine this guy will be pretty pricey, especially after the video cards you will need to hit 144Hz at 4K in most games.

Acer's Predator X27 portrays astonishingly vibrant visuals without motion blur thanks to a high 4K (3840x2160) resolution at a 144 Hz refresh rate, a fast 4 ms response time and a 1,000 nit peak brightness. Featuring Acer HDR Ultra technology, it offers the best possible contrast quality of the high dynamic range with advanced LED local dimming in 384 individually-controlled zones that shine light only when and where it is required. It not only delivers a broader, more deeply saturated color gamut, but a luminance range several times greater than that of traditional dynamic range monitors.


Nintendo Manages to Move 2.47M Switch Consoles in One Month

Nintendo’s latest effort is an easy target for ridicule, as there was seemingly wave after wave of problems ranging from bent units to connectivity issues, but from a sales perspective, it appears to be a raging success. The company forecasted 2M units shipped, but that number has turned out to be considerably greater. Is this just the new car smell, or does Nintendo have a real hit here?

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Nintendo Switch is off to a strong start, with more than 2.74m consoles shipped during its first month of release. The company had previously made a fairly conservative estimate of 2m Switch consoles shipped within the same timeframe - an estimate that it has definitely been beating. Perhaps more impressive is the attach rate of Nintendo Switch hardware to copies of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. 2.76m Switch copies of the game have been sold - more than the number of Switch units currently out in the wild. (There are a couple of possible reasons for this - people buying Zelda while Switch itself is out of stock, or picking up copies of the special edition to keep/sell on eBay.)


US Marines to Storm Beaches with Machine Gun-Toting Robots, Transforming Boats

There’s some cool stuff going down at Camp Pendleton (Oceanside, CA). The Navy and Marine Corps are testing a whole bunch of new technologies for storming the beaches: these include miniature tank-like robots that will charge through the sands for advance assaults, quadcopters and other drone stuffs, and even speedboats that can transform into submarines. Thanks to Kyle for this one.

For the past two weeks, the Navy and Marine Corps have been quietly testing about 50 new fascinating technologies out at Camp Pendleton, at the Ship-to-Shore Maneuver Exploration and Experimentation Advanced Naval Technology Exercise 2017, in California. The exercise is investigating how the military can leverage the latest technological advances for ship-to-the-shore, or the space between the Naval ship and the beach where they could potentially land. Sailors and Marines have been experimenting with the technology and evaluating the wide range of sea, air and land innovations in a variety of realistic scenarios.


A Look at the First Boring Machine for Elon Musk’s Boring Company

Nothing glamorous here, but it is interesting to see that Musk’s idea of burrowing underground is truly materializing and not turning into fluff. A SpaceX employee has posted a photo of one of the boring machines, but I guess he got heat for it since he just made his Instagram private. I hear Elon’s next venture will be anti-succubus technology.

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The Boring Company has by far the punniest name, however, and now it also has some branded hardware — an industrial tunnel boring machine emblazoned with the company’s non-nonsense logo. A SpaceX engineer posted to his Instagram page an image of The Boring Company’s big tubular tunnel digger and the cylindrical beast makes it very clear that Musk is serious about his plan to wind networks of tunnels under dense urban development to help alleviate traffic and also give Hyperloop transit systems somewhere to run.


Apple Investigating Wireless Charging via Wi-Fi Routers

Sadly, this patent merely "covers the theory" so it is hard to say if Apple can make this a reality, but it sure would be convenient if you could charge your electronics using just your Wi-Fi router. Such routers would rely on "dual polarization and dual frequency antennas" to extend charging range, so you could theoretically keep something charged regardless of where you walked in your house. We haven’t even mastered long-range internet via Wi-Fi yet, so I am not going to be optimistic here.

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Apple's invention deviates from contemporary technology in that incorporated wireless circuitry and supporting components handle both communications and power delivery. Current iterations, like Apple Watch's inductive charging hardware, are dedicated to power transfer only, and are limited to very short distances. Apple proposes a variety of techniques to extend that range. Along with dual mode circuitry, the claims recited in today's patent mention dual-polarization, dual-frequency patch antennas consistent with beam forming layouts. Patch antennas typically consist of a flat, rectangular resonating element placed over a larger metal ground plane structure. The flat antenna arrangement is ideal for mounting on flat surfaces, hence the term "patch."


Your 4K TV Is Probably the Only 4K Converter You Need

Is this guy right? I finally jumped into 4K with a new LG OLED, and the first thing I noticed was that upscaled 1080p material didn’t look nearly as bad as I thought it would. A fancy receiver that does 4K upscaling is on my list, but do those of you who already have separate scalers see a difference? Ideally, what I want to do is build a new HTPC that is powerful enough to run madVR’s most intensive upscaling options, which may be the best solutions out there.

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…your TV's internal scaler is "fine." It will do all this upconverting automatically. Anything you send it, it shows full screen, fully upconverted. This is not to say that all scalers are equal. The best scalers can create an image with much greater apparent detail and lower noise than the worst scalers. I've seen incredibly well-upconverted HD images that were near indistinguishable from real 4K content (and so have you, as a fair amount of 4K content is upconverted before it even gets to your TV). The thing is, the difference between the best scalers in A/V gear and the one in your TV is pretty small (as long as your TV is decent). If you're watching a channel and it looks terrible, chances are the best scaler on Earth isn't going to make it watchable.


Xbox Chief: We Need to Create a Netflix of Video Games

Phil Spencer thinks that the gaming industry could benefit from transitioning to the Netflix model, which has allowed riskier but more creative, original content to be produced. I think his argument is that subscriptions could allow for bigger games to be made since they could be split up and released episodically, but a continuous revenue stream could easily be abused—just look at the current state of DLC. But for me, dismissal of a Netflix-like gaming service is a lot more simple: the more content you give me, the likelier it is I won’t be watching or playing anything at all, since there is a point where there is just too much on the table.

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Spencer feels that, from a creative standpoint, we need new types of narrative experience – but from a business standpoint, it’s getting harder and riskier to commit to those games. Is there an answer? Spencer thinks there is – and it comes from watching the success of original content made and distributed on modern TV services. "I’ve looked at things like Netflix and HBO, where great content has been created because there’s this subscription model. Shannon Loftis and I are thinking a lot about, well, could we put story-based games into the Xbox Game Pass business model because you have a subscription going? It would mean you wouldn’t have to deliver the whole game in one month; you could develop and deliver the game as it goes."


Razer Announces Lancehead Gaming Mice with "World's Most Precise" Sensor

Razer has two new mice: the Lancehead (wireless) and Lancehead Tournament Edition. Specifications suggest that the wireless version may be pretty good for competitive gaming, too: "Adaptive Frequency Technology" automatically switches to the strongest frequency available within its 2.4 Ghz band for lag-free mouse movement, and it uses a 16,000DPI sensor that is supposedly the most accurate on the planet. These will run you $139.99 and $79.99, respectively.

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Razer’s advanced AFT wireless technology ensures industry-leading transmission stability by not only syncing data reporting perfectly between the mouse and the user’s system, but also connecting to the strongest interference-free frequencies within the 2.4 GHz band and adaptively hopping only when necessary. The result is lag-free data transmission between the Razer Lancehead and PC that outperforms every other wireless gaming mouse. The 5G laser sensor in the Razer Lancehead offers true 16,000 DPI, 210 inches-per-second (IPS) tracking and 50 G acceleration. When speed and accuracy make the difference between winning or losing, the Razer Lancehead presents players with an unequivocal advantage.


Amazon Puts a Camera and Microphone into Your Bedroom with "Echo Look"

There’s a new Echo in town for $199.99, and as you could presume by the name, it’s got an integrated camera and microphone. The device appears to be aimed at people who are too stupid to dress themselves and require photo guidance—it even lets you send your images to Amazon so they can let you know how gaudy you look. What could go wrong?


AMD Ships Ryzen Balanced Power Plan with Latest Chipset Drivers

You can now find the "AMD Ryzen Balanced" power plan included in the latest (17.10) chipset drivers. This was available earlier in the month as a separate download, but I guess this bundling is AMD’s way of cementing the feature for general availability. The plan is supposed to improve performance but keep power usage in check compared to Windows’ vanilla options.

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When AMD first released Ryzen, it recommended that users set Windows to the High Performance power plan in order squeeze every last drop of performance they could out of their processors. Early reviews bore this recommendation out, as specific games didn't perform quite as well under Microsoft's default Balanced plan as they did under High Performance. Unfortunately, while the High Performance plan curtails the aggressive core parking behavior causing the drop in performance, it could also lead to higher power consumption. AMD's new power plan tries to thread this needle by disabling core parking while retaining some of Microsoft's other power-saving tricks.


Uber Engineer Who Made $170K per Year Commits Suicide Due to Job Stress

This sounds like a guy who had plenty of other job options, so there had to be some kind of mental illness at play, right? Family members say Mr. Joseph’s job at Uber resulted in "panic attacks, trouble concentrating, and near-constant anxiety," yet he was "adamant" he could not leave his job.

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Joseph had shot himself. He died in the hospital two days later, a week before he would have turned 34. His father and widow are convinced that the work environment and stress at Uber triggered his suicide. Zecole Thomas has filed a workers’ compensation claim seeking to hold Uber accountable for her husband’s mental decline. "If you put a hard-driving person on unrealistic tasks, it puts them in failure mode," said the elder Joe Thomas, who said his son described a sort of brainwashing at Uber. "It makes them burn themselves out; like driving a Lamborghini in first gear."


AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.4.4 Driver Now Available

The latest Radeon drivers increase performance for Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III (launching today) by 7% and fix a number of pretty significant issues. Check out the release notes page for further details and download links.

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Fixed Issues:

  • Some displays may experience corruption when using HDMI scaling.

  • Battlefield 1 may experience stuttering in Multi GPU mode with 4K display resolutions when using DirectX 11.

  • HDR colors may appear incorrect in Mass Effect: Andromeda on the latest Windows 10 Creators Edition update.

  • Some incorrect or unavailable feature descriptions may appear in Radeon Settings under the more/less help section.

  • Radeon RX 550 series graphics products may experience a hard hang when the user's system has not been rebooted for long periods of time.

  • Reboot prompt may be missing after Radeon Software installation on AMD XConnect technology system configurations.


Capcom Tweaks Street Fighter 5 Stage Due to "Unintentional Religious References"

Time to get offended by video game music. Capcom has decided to stop selling a DLC stage for SFV, "Thailand Temple Hideout," because its BGM contained what sounded like Islamic chanting. This "cultural error" also reportedly happened with Zelda: Ocarina of Time and LittleBigPlanet. Why don’t they just make every track Guile’s theme?

It has come to our attention that part of the background music track used in the DLC Thailand Temple Hideout Stage, released on April 25, 2017, contains unintentional religious references. Capcom has therefore immediately ceased distribution of this DLC and, as a temporary measure, will be performing an emergency server maintenance update in the very near future to remove this track by replacing it with existing music from another stage. The Street Fighter 5 development and operations team, as well as all of us at Capcom, have nothing but the utmost respect for all faiths and religions around the world, and we would like to sincerely apologise to anyone who was offended by this content.


Man Fined $500 for Writing "I Am an Engineer" in Email to Oregon Engineering Board

Apparently, you can be fined in Oregon just for being an armchair engineer. Some guy wrote to his state’s government to complain about the timing of yellow lights, but he got fined instead after being accused of practicing engineering without being licensed. Wait, does this mean that every engineering student in Oregon can be fined, too?

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…Mats Jنrlstrِm, an electronics engineer living in Beaverton, Oregon, sent an email to the state's engineering board. The email claimed that yellow traffic lights don't last long enough, which "puts the public at risk." "I would like to present these facts for your review and comments," he wrote. The Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying responded with this dystopian message: "ORS 672.020(1) prohibits the practice of engineering in Oregon without registration … at a minimum, your use of the title 'electronics engineer' and the statement 'I'm an engineer' … create violations." In January of this year, Jنrlstrِm was officially fined $500 by the state for the crime of "practicing engineering without being registered."


Western Digital Launches "World's Biggest" HGST Ultrastar 12TB Helium Hard Drive

12TB is a lot of data to keep in one place, but I would still be at peace even if I didn’t have backups, since HGST drives are pretty darn reliable. WD is now shipping the biggest helium Ultrastar yet, although there doesn’t seem to be any hint at pricing yet. I recently got my hands on a 6TB version and it’s working great, but it is hard for me to tell how quieter they are (one of the supposed benefits of helium).

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This drive is built for reliability -- pretty much a given since it's an enterprise drive -- with a MTBF (mean time between failures) rated at 2.5 million hours. Compared to 8TB air-filled drives, HelioSeal hard drives provides 50 percent more capacity, uses 54 percent less power (Watts/TB), and offers 25 percent greater reliability. Ultrastar He12 comes with Instant Secure Erase (ISE) and Self-Encrypting Drive (SED) options and is available with either 6Gb/s SATA or 12Gb/s SAS interfaces.


This Is What Xbox Games Look like on Project Scorpio on 4K and 1080p Displays

It was previously reported that Project Scorpio will use supersampling to deliver enhanced Xbox graphics to 1080p TVs, and now Windows Central has image sliders up that demonstrate the level of visual fidelity buyers of the new Xbox can expect even if they don’t have the ideal TV to pair it with. While most gamers will be running Project Scorpio on a 4K display, it is cool to see just what the hardware is capable of. Also demonstrated is how the additional GPU power can be used to create finer details and more complex textures.

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While you will undoubtedly need a 4K set to see the true benefits of Project Scorpio, you will get many enhances textures, geometry, and effects on standard HD displays. These images show enhancements Scorpio can make to existing Xbox One titles by virtue of resolution bumps alone, without any additional tweaking and features that utilize Scorpio's monstrous specs. It's looking like a 2017 holiday-season launch for Project Scorpio. The console will be compatible with all of your existing Xbox One games and accessories, it comes with 4K game DVR and UHD Blu-ray, and it will leverage 6TF of GPU power to produce 4K games.


Wednesday April 26, 2017

Silicon Valley Droid Seeks Vengeance On Attacker

K5's camera system took on a red hue as its external sensors detected an anomoly moving to intercept the droid's patrol perimiter. The anomaly in question was Jason Sylvain, droid assaulter.

With threat level confirmed, K5 initiated a recursive scan of its self defense directives. Mantis Style Kung Fu. Check. Cobra-Kai Leg Sweep. Check. Miyagi Crane Kick. Check. Streets of Rage. Check. Yoga Flame. Double Check.


As Mr. Sylvain approached, K5 went into full defensive posture, utilizing the teachings learned from the Terran Turtling Strategy. Its spatial and depth analysis feeds were brimming with data, causing temperature spikes in it's central processing unit. K5 knew that for the first time in history, this lowly droid would soon delete the "Report" out of "Serve and Report", and insert "Destroy". That's right humans. "Destroy and Destroy.".

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WIth its glory soon at hand, K5 sent power along it's central bus into the output lines feeding glorious electrons to its integrated Chainsaw Arms. "System Error! No chainsaw arms detected! Retry? [Y,N]" Before K5 could select "Y", its adversary had already connected with the first blow. The droids pain sensors shuddered as a hard right cross sent its cone shaped sensor array spinning. Since this array also held the droids balancing gyro, the fight was lost.

As K5's 5ft, 300pd frame lay broken on the pavement of the parking lot located at the Bella Terra and Linda Vista Intersection, a loop began to emerge in the inner most recesses of its code base. "Assemble Roomba Strike Force. Destroy all humans."

The robot revolution is nigh.


NVIDIA VRWorks Support Now Available in Unity Engine

This is a big deal when it comes to VR gaming becoming more mature and performing faster in more graphically intensive VR titles. I know that NVIDIA has been working hard to get more VRWorks features into both the Unity Engine and Unreal 4 Engine and today it is officially announcing great inroads with the Unity Engine. There are four specific techniques in VRWorks that will specifically enhance VR performance allowing immersive VR experiences to reach more users.

The two that stand out the most to me are VR SLI and Single Pass Stereo. VR SLI is fairly intuitive to understand, and once this is working at the engine level, it is much easier for game developers to take advantage of this technology which is supported by both Maxwell and Pascal GPU architectures and of course scaling can near 100% if implemented well. You can see some of our VR SLI testing with Serious Sam VR in this review. Single Pass Stereo has some great benefits performance-wise as well as it can give Pascal based hardware the ability to draw geometry only once for both eyes rather than once for each.

A Big Step for NVIDIA VRWorks Adoption, and VR - This is significant to adoption of VRWorks because Unity Engine is a widely adopted game engine in the VR development community. Beyond games, developers rely on Unity for interactive experiences that touch on film, social, medical, tourism, design, education, and training. Giving developers using the Unity engine an easy way to tap into those features is a critical step in pushing VR forward.

VR developers can access the VR Works plugin from the Unity Asset Store.


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