Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for May 30th, 2017

Determining how to prevent acts of censorship has long been a priority for the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, and thanks to new research from the Harvard Center for Internet and Society, the foundation seems to have found a solution: encryption. From a report: HTTPS prevents governments and others from seeing the specific page users are visiting. For example, a government could tell that a user is browsing Wikipedia, but couldn’t tell that the user is specifically reading the page about Tiananmen Square. Up until 2015, Wikipedia offered its service using both HTTP and HTTPS, which meant that when countries like Pakistan or Iran blocked the certain articles on the HTTP version of Wikipedia, the full version would still be available using HTTPS. But in June 2015, Wikipedia decided to axe HTTP access and only offer access to its site with HTTPS. The Harvard researchers began by deploying an algorithm which detected unusual changes in Wikipedia’s global server traffic for a year beginning in May 2015. This data was then combined with a historical analysis of the daily request histories for some 1.7 million articles in 286 different languages from 2011 to 2016 in order to determine possible censorship events. After a painstakingly long process of manual analysis of potential censorship events, the researchers found that, globally, Wikipedia’s switch to HTTPS had a positive effect on the number censorship events by comparing server traffic from before and after the switch in June of 2015. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: reader

Based on NVIDIA’s 2017 Computex announcements, PC gamers won’t have to choose between bulky gaming laptops and desktop-level processing power for much longer. A new design called “Max-Q” is arriving in new laptops that it claims are both 3x thinner and 3x more powerful than their predecessors — think 18mm thick, 5 pounds and with the power of NVIDIA’s GTX 1080 inside. Plus, there’s “WhisperMode, ” which can pace the game’s framerate to keep the laptop cool and quiet during a plugged-in gaming session. When the new laptops roll out beginning June 27th , the top of the line options well outpace current options like Razer’s GTX 1060-powered 4K Blade . There aren’t specific benchmarks listed, but a graph on the official website claims an average 1.8x performance increase over GTX1060 when running “AAA” titles at 4K. During the demo, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang showed off a 5-lb laptop running Project Cars 2 , saying it was 60 percent faster than the PS4 Pro. NVIDIA says that they’re not only engineered to be thin and light across the “chip, drivers, thermal and electrical components, ” but that its software optimizes settings and the workload across CPU/GPU to regulate power and heat. They aren’t all super powerful however, with models on the way from “Acer, Aftershock, Alienware, ASUS, Clevo, Dream Machine, ECT, Gigabyte, Hasee, HP, LDLC, Lenovo, Machenike, Maingear, Mechrevo, MSI, Multicom, Origin PC, PC Specialist, Sager, Scan, Terrans Force, Tronic’5, and XoticPC, ” they will include GTX 1060, 1070 and 1080 level GPUs inside. Source: NVIDIA Blog , NVIDIA

Categories: reader

Intel’s Core i9 Extreme Edition CPU is an 18-core beast

Posted by kenmay on May - 30 - 2017

Last year at Computex, Intel unveiled its first 10-core consumer CPU , the company’s move into the world of a “megatasking.” It was a pricey chip, launching at around $1, 700, but it satisfied the needs for users who needed to juggle several intensive tasks at once. Now, Intel is upping the ante with a whole new family of processors for enthusiasts, the Core X-series, and it’s spearheaded by its first 18-core CPU, the i9-7980XE. Priced at $1, 999, the 7980XE is clearly not a chip you’d see in an average desktop. Instead, it’s more of a statement from Intel. It beats out AMD’s 16-core Threadripper CPU , which was slated to be that company’s most powerful consumer processor for 2017. And it gives Intel yet another way to satisfy the demands of power-hungry users who might want to do things like play games in 4K while broadcasting them in HD over Twitch. And as if its massive core count wasn’t enough, the i9-7980XE is also the first Intel consumer chip that packs in over a teraflop worth of computing power. If 18 cores is a bit too rich for you, Intel also has other Core i9 Extreme Edition chips in 10, 12, 14 and 16-core variants. Perhaps the best news for hardware geeks: the 10 core i9-7900X will retail for $999, a significant discount from last year’s version. All of the i9 chips feature base clock speeds of 3.3GHz, reaching up to 4.3GHz dual-core speeds with Turbo Boost 2.0 and 4.5GHz with Turbo Boost 3.0. And speaking of Turbo Boost 3.0, its performance has also been improved in the new Extreme Edition chips to increase both single and dual-core speeds. Rounding out the X-Series family are the quad-core i5-7640X and i7 models in 4, 6 and 8-core models. While it might all seem like overkill, Intel says its Core i9 lineup was driven by the surprising demand for last year’s 10-core chip. “Broadwell-E was kind of an experiment, ” an Intel rep said. “It sold… Proving that our enthusiast community will go after the best of the best… Yes we’re adding higher core count, but we’re also introducing lower core counts. Scalability on both ends are what we went after.” As you can imagine, stuffing more cores into a processor leads to some significant heat issues. For that reason, Intel developed its own liquid cooling solution, which will work across these new chips, as well as some previous generations. All of the new Core i9 processors, along with the 6 and 8-core i7 chips, feature scorching hot 140W thermal design points (TDPs), the maximum amount of power that they’ll draw. That’s the same as last year’s 10-core CPU, but it’s still well above the 91W TDP from Intel’s more affordable i7-7700K. Over the past few years, Intel’s laptop chips have been far more interesting than its desktop CPUs. Partially, that’s because the rise of ultraportables and convertible laptops have shifted its focus away from delivering as much computing power as possible, to offering a reasonable amount of processing power efficiently. The new Core i9 X-series processors might not be feasible for most consumers, but for the hardware geeks who treat their rigs like hot rods, they’re a dream come true.

Categories: reader

ASUS crams a GTX 1080 into a 16.9mm-thick laptop

Posted by kenmay on May - 30 - 2017

For most people, Zephyrus is the Greek god of the west wind, gently bringing spring, and fruit, to the peoples of the world. For gamers, you can be damn sure that definition is going to be quickly supplanted by the one created by ASUS’ Republic of Gamers today. Now, Zephyrus means a pretty damn powerful gaming laptop in a surprisingly slender body, measuring in at just 16.9mm thick when closed, making it the “world’s slimmest.” By way of comparison, Razer’s latest Blade Pro , a high water mark for such laptops, stands at 22.5mm. It appears that ASUS has been one of the principal beneficiaries of NVIDIA’s Max-Q design program that shrinks high-powered gaming laptops. The initiative was announced earlier today, with NVIDIA promising to help laptop makers build devices with top-end internals like the GTX 1080 without the heft. In fact, NVIDIA’s promise is that the first generation of Max-Q laptops will be three times as fast as their immediate predecessors while being three times as thin. Part of that thinness is down to a new thermal design that, when the laptop is open, opens an exhaust port on the underside. That, the company promises, will ensure that your lap won’t get fried when you’re using this on the go. Since Zephyrus ships with the Windows 10 Creators Update, it will take advantage of both Windows Game Mode and Beam’s streaming service. In addition, the device has a new type of trackpad that sits to the right of the keyboard to make life easier for gamers. That trackpad also, apparently, pulls double duty as a numeric keypad for when you need to type out large numbers. Oh, and you’ll be able to customize the keyboard’s lighting scheme that will even let you single out the WASD and QWER keys for night-time fragging sessions. ASUS ROG also wanted to talk about how its laptops aren’t simply for gamers with large wallets when fans of different genres have different needs. A MOBA gamer, for instance, may not need as fast a display as one who’s seriously into FPS. Which is why the company has unveiled a pair of Strix laptops that are tailored specifically to the needs of those two genres. The ROG Strix SCAR Edition is engineered to give FPS gamers a vital edge, with Intel Core i7 processors, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10 series and an ultrafast, 120Hz, 5ms display. Meanwhile, the ROG Strix Hero Edition is designed for MOBA fans who are geared towards eSports, packing Intel Core i7 processors, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10 Series graphics and a 120Hz wide-view display with rich color fidelity. This breaking news story is developing, please refresh for more information. Click here to catch up on the latest news from Computex 2017!

Categories: reader