[H]ard News

Thursday June 22, 2017

Foxconn Planning $10B US Investment, Eyeing Six States for Display Plant

Foxconn is reportedly planning to invest $10 billion or more across several US states, although the company is still deciding on which ones, including where to put a $7 billion display plant. Foxconn chairman Terry Gou believes his company could help create "tens of thousands" of jobs in the US, even as the company is increasing automation in China to reduce labor expenses.

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Investments are being considered in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and/or Texas, Bloomberg quoted Foxconn chairman Terry Gou as saying at a Thursday shareholders meeting. The display plant could go up in one of six states, he noted, without mentioning the candidates. The chairman likewise didn't offer a timeframe, except that a decision on where to build the display facility should come by July.

Discussion

Steam Summer Sale Is Now Live

As hinted earlier this week, the Steam Summer Sale is officially a go. The banner confirms that the deals will remain until July 5th, and the "gimmick" this time appears to be a sticker book collection. Naturally, the store is getting hammered and all I get is this: "An error occurred while processing your request."

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Ongoing Discussion

MSI: "Damn, [RX Vega] Needs a Lot of Power"

MSI’s marketing director, Eric van Beurden, has delivered a comment that suggests RX Vega cards are not particularly power efficient. On the bright side, could this mean that AMD has gone all out on performance?

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This is the first confirmation that AMD is already sharing details of RX Vega lineup with partners. The launch is coming closer as we are still 5 weeks for RX Vega to arrive. However, there is a very good chance we will be seeing custom designs at launch. As for the power consumption, I don’t think anyone expected it to be lower than Frontier’s, which has a board power of 300W (air-cooled) or 375W (liquid edition).

Discussion

Lenovo Confirms That a Retro ThinkPad Is on the Way

A posting at the Lenovo blog has revealed that the company will be making a special edition ThinkPad as part of the laptop’s 25th anniversary celebration. The original debuted in 1992 with a 25Mhz 486 SLC, 4 or 8MBs of memory, a 640x480 resolution 10.4-inch VGA display, and a 120MB hard drive. It weighed a little over 7.5 pounds and cost $4,350. It will be interesting to see the classic design with modern innards (OLED display, please) .

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It’s aimed at enthusiasts and superfans that were kind enough to share their thoughts about what the laptop might be. As with any new product we develop, there are always technical and cost limitations but I think where we landed is quite impressive. The product will embody many of the things people asked for. It has a wonderful black rubberized coating, three TrackPoint caps, and a keyboard to die for. I will proudly carry one. Exact pricing and availability are not finalized but I can assure you it will not cost $5000! I have no idea how that rumor got started.

Discussion

Honda Halts Japan Car Plant after WannaCry Virus Hits Computer Network

Honda had to shut down one of its plants in Japan earlier this week due to WannaCry making its way into their networks in multiple regions including Japan, North America, Europe, and China. While only the Sayama plant was affected, this makes the company’s effort in strengthening its security in May slightly in vain. Maybe Honda actually deserves this for making something as butt ugly as the 2017 Type R.

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The automaker shut production on Monday at its Sayama plant, northwest of Tokyo, which produces models including the Accord sedan, Odyssey Minivan and Step Wagon compact multipurpose vehicle and has a daily output of around 1,000 vehicles. Honda discovered on Sunday that the virus had affected networks across Japan, North America, Europe, China and other regions, a spokeswoman said, despite efforts to secure its systems in mid-May when the virus caused widespread disruption at plants, hospitals and shops worldwide.

Discussion

Ultra-Thin Camera Creates Images without Lenses

I suppose this is great news for smartphone makers struggling to make even thinner devices and avoiding the dreaded camera bump: Caltech engineers have created an ultra-thin optical phased array that can bend and focus light just like a traditional lens can. The layer, comprising "integrated silicon photonics," is capable of switching from a fish-eye to telephoto lens instantaneously.

Traditional cameras - even those on the thinnest of cell phones - cannot be truly flat due to their optics: lenses that require a certain shape and size in order to function. At Caltech, engineers have developed a new camera design that replaces the lenses with an ultra-thin optical phased array (OPA). The OPA does computationally what lenses do using large pieces of glass: it manipulates incoming light to capture an image.

Discussion

Virgin Mobile USA Has Stopped Selling Android Phones Entirely

I am not too familiar with Virgin Mobile, but this seems like an odd decision to make for any carrier: the company has gone exclusive and will only offer iPhones going forward. Android fans will obviously have to find another provider, but whether Virgin will continue supporting existing non-Apple users is still up in the air.

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The move is part of Virgin's new "Inner Circle" program, which will give you 12 months of unlimted (with some limitations) calling, texting, and data for $1. After that, the usual $50/month fee takes effect. However, your only choice is to buy an iPhone - the store page now only lists a handful of Apple devices. Virgin's home page now says, "we're teaming with Apple to offer you nothing but the world's most popular phone." Essentially, Virgin Mobile USA is the closest thing to an Apple carrier.

Discussion

Windows 10 Task Manager Is Getting a GPU Utilization Tab

The latest preview build (16226) for Windows Insiders includes plenty of new features such as enhancements to Edge (ink notes, better bookmarking), tweaks to OneDrive Files-On-Demand, and new emojis, but it’s a change to the Task Manager that caught my eye: future versions will reveal your GPU utilization/memory usage. While there is plenty of monitoring software out there, this could be useful for a quick peek. I wonder if temperature is coming next?

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For the Task Manager fans out there, we’re happy to share that we’ve heard your feedback and we’ve updated Task Manager to now include GPU info. The Performance tab shows GPU utilization information for each separate GPU component (such as 3D and Video encode/decode), as well as graphics memory usage stats. The Details tab shows you GPU utilization info for each process. Please note that this feature is still under construction and you will find issues and bugs.

Discussion

Microsoft Admits to Disabling Third-Party Antivirus Code

Responding to Kaspersky’s accusations that antivirus programs are being mistreated on Windows, Microsoft acknowledges that their OS does disable third-party AV - but it is strictly for compatibility, not competitive, reasons. Based on what Windows and Devices’ director of security had to say, it seems that the fault lies with AV makers if their solutions get flagged: when third-party code expires or becomes outdated, Redmond’s security software will kick in.

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"Microsoft’s application compatibility teams found that roughly 95 per cent of Windows 10 PCs had an antivirus application installed that was already compatible with Windows 10 Creators Update," said Rob Lefferts, director of security in the Windows and Devices group. "For the small number of applications that still needed updating, we built a feature just for AV apps that would prompt the customer to install a new version of their AV app right after the update completed. To do this, we first temporarily disabled some parts of the AV software when the update began."

Discussion

PlayStation 4 "Is like a Five-Year-Old PC"

Josef Fares, lead developer for co-op prison-escape game A Way Out, had some "harsh words" about the power of the PS4, who compared it to a five-year-old PC. Considering that the console is, in fact, many years old, this isn’t too shocking - but I suppose this serves as more ammunition for the argument that consoles are holding back gaming: Fares notes that we would see "all different games" if consoles were actually comparable to PCs.

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"You want the honest truth? This machine is not so strong as you think," Fares said. "This is like a five-year-old PC. If consoles were as powerful as PCs are today, you would see all different games. Most of the work developers put out there is to make them work on consoles." To be fair to Sony, the PS4 basically is a five-year-old PC: It was announced in early 2013 and released in November of the same year. But the basic design spec, including an eight-core 1.6GHz AMD Jaguar-based CPU, 8GB of RAM, and Radeon GCN-based GPU, would obviously be even older than that.

Discussion

LG's Latest OLED Display Is Flexible, Transparent, and Gargantuan

LG has developed the world’s largest flexible, transparent display: it measures 77" and offers a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, a transparency level of 40 percent, and a curvature radius of 80 millimeters. One potential application, as pictured, is a giant "smart desk," which seems like a neat alternative to a traditional monitor setup. The company already had a 55" version of the screen last year, so it seems like they are making speedy headway on producing bigger and bigger transparent screens.

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...LG thinks the display has a future in digital signage, desks and in-car infotainment systems. Flexible screens could also be used in augmented reality applications and public spaces, such as aquariums and museums. For now, however, this enormous display is strictly a research project. Bendy panels have been used in smartphones and wearables before, but larger applications are still fairly uncommon. Price is likely the biggest issue - LG made this display, for instance, after beating Samsung to a government contract in 2012.

Discussion

New World Record Set for Longest Sniper Shot

Apparently, a Canadian sniper in the elite special forces, JTF 2, set the record for the longest confirmed kill shot at a distance of 3,450 meters (2.14 miles) away from the target, beating the old record by almost a 1,000 meters. The sniper used a McMillan TAC-50 sniper rifle, firing from a high-rise killing an Iraqi insurgent in a matter of 10 seconds preventing an attack on Iraqi security forces. That's an amazing feat including taking into account of the Coriolis effect with excellent work between the sniper and his observer partner. And I thought my deteriorating no-scope awping skills were good in Counter-Strike.

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"Hard data on this. It isn't an opinion. It isn't an approximation. There is a second location with eyes on with all the right equipment to capture exactly what the shot was," another military source said.

A military insider told The Globe: "This is an incredible feat. It is a world record that might never be equalled."

Discussion

Google Glass Updated After 3 Years

I've only seen Google Glass in person twice in my lifetime. The first was on the streets of Los Angeles after leaving a late-night concert, every street taco vendor thought the guy was a cyborg I'm presuming. The other time was a day stroll walking the hills of San Francisco and noticing there were more than one dork wearing the accessory.

For the cyborgs and dorks out there still using one or crime fighter, Techcrunch reports of the firmware update as well as one to the MyGlass app after nearly 3 years of nothing. There's seems to be very little improvements, but Android Police reports of bug fixes for the MyGlass app include the ability to disable battery optimizations and notification sync without turning of Android Wear.

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So, Glass is alive? Well, yes, but it never really died. Despite seeming to go the way of the Dodo (you can’t buy it anymore and Google shut down the website in 2015), it never really left us, it just "graduated" from Google X after failing to capture consumer attention. Google then quietly moved it into the enterprise. But, apparently, someone at Google is still working on the dork-inducing consumer version.

Discussion

Wednesday June 21, 2017

Dish Networks Looking to Make Examples of Pirate Addon Authors

Many times when we see copyright lawsuits erupt, once the pirates turn tail and run since they know they have no legs to stand on, the lawsuits "go away." That does not however seem to be the case with Dish Network looking to shut down Kodi pirate addons from Zem and TVAddons. While Dish is not aware of the identities of the person(s) behind these addons, a District Court here in Texas is granting subpoenas to Disk in order to try and find out the identities of the offenders.

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To find out more, the company requested a broad range of subpoenas from the court, targeting Amazon, Github, Google, Twitter, Facebook, PayPal, and several hosting providers.

Dish is looking to get companies like Google and Twitter to roll over on information about the account holders associated with the Kodi addons. I would suggest that this case could get even more interesting and bring up a whole host of privacy questions since many of the companies were in no way associated with the actual pirating activity. However I think that PayPal, if any, will be the one forced to roll over by the courts if it comes to that.

Discussion

NBC Sports Televising Rocket League

I'm not a big soccer fan, but I sure do love to play a good game of Rocket League. Nothing like rocket-powered cars doing flips and moonsaults while chasing a humongous ball around a giant stadium, unless you count Rocket Jockey. For you fans of the game, NBC Sports Group is bringing the eSports to you this summer. You can now turn off your twitch stream and share with the family the hobby you use to spend time alone doing away from them. The company plans to broadcast the $100,000 2v2 tournament in July on Twitch.tv streaming competitor Faceit eventually broadcasting the grand finals on NBC Sports Network in August. Rocket League's "sports DNA" could potentially draw in new viewers such as sports fans unlike the FPS and RTS genre.

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Counter-Strike has already been featured prominently on TV through Turner Broadcasting's esports division, ELeague, which has also broadcast Street Fighter and Overwatch tournaments in the past year.

Discussion

[H]ardware Roundup

Motherboard:

AGESA 1.0.0.6 Update tested - DDR4-3200 easy @ OCaHolic

Gigabyte Aorus AX370-Gaming 5 Motherboard Review @ Legit Reviews

Asus Prime X299 Deluxe @ LAN OC Reviews

CPU:

AMD Launches EPYC Enterprise CPUs Available Today @ HardOCP

AMD EPYC 7000 Series Processor Set To Change The Game @ Legit Reviews

AMD EPYC Architecture & Technical Overview @ Tech Power Up

GPU:

AMD RX 570 & 580 Graphics Cards (French) @ CowCotLand

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 Ti AMP Review (German) @ Hardware Mag

Cooling:

Cooler Master MasterLiquid Pro 280 AIO Cooler Review @ Play3r

EK Waterblocks Monoblock MSI Z270 Gaming RGB (German) @ Hardware Overclock

Cases:

Cougar Panzer @ Tech Power Up

IN WIN 509 FULL TOWER GAMING CHASSIS REVIEW @ Modders Inc.

Storage:

Patriot Hellfire 240GB PCIe M.2 Solid State Drive @ CDRLabs

Mice & Keyboard:

Roccat Leadr Gaming Mouse Review @ Benchmark Reviews

Cherry MX 6.0 Red Switch LED @ Techware Labs

Mouse Corsair Glaive RGB (French) @ CowCotLand

Audio:

Noontec's Zoro II Wireless Limited Edition headphones reviewed @ Tech Report

Gaming Furniture:

Arozzi Verona Pro V2 Gaming Chair Review @ Nikk Tech

Newegg Special Deals & Promotions - 06/21/2017

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Sega Releases Classic Games Free On Mobile

Sega has released it's "Sega Forever" service on iOS and Android, making nearly every Sega game available for free. The program is ad-supported, with the option to purchase games for $1.99 to remove them. While there is a limited number of games on the service now, Sega is planning to release more titles bi-weekly.

This is outstanding, mobile games are usually terrible, and here is a lineup of some of the best games of all time coming to the platform. I hope they hurry out with some of the Dreamcast stuff, Crazy Taxi, all the "Virtua" games. I hope they bring Seaman over as well, having a weird fish-monster voiced by Leonard Nimoy asking you personal questions while you're on the toilet would be incredible.

SEGA Forever is a free and growing classic games collection of nearly every SEGA game ever released from every console era - Master System, Genesis/Mega Drive, Dreamcast, and more. Available on iOS and Android mobile devices

Discussion

Vulkan Renderer Coming to CryEngine

The guys over at CryEngine have had issues with getting updates posted to GitHub, but they seem to have gotten beyond that now. The big note on it is CryEngine 5.4 release is that every gamer's favorite Vulkan is coming to town. The Vulkan renderer is not live yet, but CryEngine has included the code for those of you that want to geek-out on its hopeful goodness.

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Following on from the renderer refactoring and DirectX 12 implementation, the team has been hard at work implementing a Vulkan renderer. The code can be seen in Code/RenderDll/XRenderD3D9/Vulkan/… although the feature is not functional, yet. We want to make these changes available to you for review whilst we are currently stabilizing the engine for our 5.4 release. So you can track our progress on GitHub until 5.4 is finally here by the end of July.

Discussion

ASUS, EVGA, Gigabyte And MSI Release X299 Motherboards

HotHardware has compiled a roundup of the upcoming X299 motherboards from ASUS, EVGA, Gigabyte and MSI with some pricing. Most of these boards are available to pre-order now to get ready for your new i9 build.

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Ever since hearing that Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors would share the same socket and chipset, I've been thinking that motherboard pricing was going to be fairly high in order to incorporate all the various technologies onto the same board. It appears my worries were correct when in the lineup the cheapest motherboard is $260, and we have no pricing on high end enthusiast boards.

Preorders are currently underway for Intel's new Core X-Series processors, which range from the quad-core, quad-thread Core i5-7640X ($242) to the 8-core, 36-thread Core i9-7980XE ($1,999). These new Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors require a brand-new chipset, the X299, and motherboard manufacturers have responded by providing a number of new offerings hitting multiple price points.

Discussion

AMD EPYC Event in Case You Missed It

AMD has put up a video of the the entire EPYC Launch Event that we attended yesterday in Austin, TX. We have an editorial published here if you care to give that a read along with pictures of all the 55 relevant slides if you are in a non-video friendly environment.

Welcome to the start of a new era for the datacenter with the launch of AMD EPYC. Footage taken from the launch event in Austin, Texas on June 20th, 2017.

Ongoing Discussion

C Seed Releases 262 Inch 4k TV

Austrian based C Seed has released the cleverly named "C SEED 262", the worlds largest 4k TV. Weighing in at 1,763lbs and sporting an integrated media server, ten speakers, and a custom motorized fabric cover to hide the screen; the 262 will set you back $539,000, with an extra $38,500 for installation. While there is no direct mention, there are hints in the specs that point to it supporting HDR and 16-bit video.

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And here I was sitting here thinking my 73" was impressive. I wouldn't even know where to put something 19 feet wide, but I suppose of you have that kind of money, you probably have that kind of wall as well. Also noted, the maximum power consumption is listed as 11,400 watts, and typical of 2,850 watts. Not to mention I don't even know if a concrete block wall is rated to hang that much weight. Pure insanity.

C SEED changes this game, introducing the 262, an enormous 6144 mm by 2574 mm 4k LED TV display with black LED technology for higher contrast, latest UHD technology for a really dynamic picture and a color spectrum far beyond conventional TVs, and ultra-high 800 nits brightness for the perfect viewing experience even in bright daylight conditions.

Discussion

Ebay to Price Match 50,000 Items

Hot on the trails of the battle between Amazon and Walmart in becoming the world's largest retailer, eBay is launching a new Price Match Guarantee in an attempt to keep customers and lure new shoppers. However, only over 50,000 "trending" items across the site will be eligible through its trusted sellers with deals ranging at 20 percent to 90 percent off. I can't imagine how things will shape up come the busy holiday shopping season as the major players have been making sizable moves this year. Either way, it's just good news for the consumer.

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The company says it will match the prices of some of the largest online retailers, including Amazon, Walmart, Jet.com (also Walmart), Home Depot, Sears, Target, Best Buy, and Wayfair.

These sellers include both smaller merchants looking to grow their customer base as well as major consumer brands. At any time, eBay says there are "tens of thousands" of items offered through the Deals site, with featured deals updating at least once per day, beginning at 8 AM PT.

Discussion

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Resigns Under Investor Pressure

Reuter reports the CEO for Uber and co-founder, Travis Kalanick has resigned due to pushback from investors over his leadership. During the recent weeks, the company was under scrutiny from facing rape allegations among workers and firing 20 employees amid investigation into its workplace culture. The report comes in a week after chief business officer, Emil Michael's resignation and reports of Kalanick contemplating to take time away from the company. Investors seek to get the company back on track towards "building rather than be distracted with another fight," Kalanick said earlier this morning.

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Kalanick, 40, has faced increased scrutiny in recent weeks following an investigation into the culture and workplace practices at a company he helped start in 2009 and is now the world's most highly valued startup.

Discussion


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