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Irdeto Launches Denuvo Anti Cheat

Denuvo's DRM software is extensively used throughout the AAA gaming industry, but it's also been the focus of several recent controversies. Some have accused it of degrading performance in the games that implement it, while others claim it barely puts a dent in the piracy of more popular titles. But at GDC 2019, Irdeto, the company behind Denuvo, officially launched an "Anti-Cheat solution to protect against cheating in video games and esports." They claim it combines game agnostic machine learning algorithms with "the latest hardware security features offered by Intel and AMD" for maximum effectiveness. All that sounds relatively hardware intensive to me, but Denuvo claims their technology has "no impact on the gameplay experience and its non-intrusive reporting methodology ensures the developer's workflow is never impacted." Denuvo didn't mention any specific customers in the press release or their product datasheets, but they did publish a cheesy video ahead of the launch, which you can see below:

Unlike other products, Denuvo Anti-Cheat operates on the binary, not the source code and integrates directly into the product build process. It also does not interfere with debuggers, instrumentation tools, or profilers and it does not require APIs or SDKs. This means fewer tools for the build engineers to manage and for developers to install.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 22, 2019 12:03 PM (CDT)

Apple Launches iMac With Coffee Lake and Vega

Today, Apple updated its iMac lineup with 9th generation Intel processors and AMD Vega graphics. The 21.5 inch iMac now sports up to 6 cores, while the 27 inch iMac gets what's presumably a fully enabled 8-core Coffee Lake die. Apple also says they're they're offering "Radeon Pro Vega graphics" in both the 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs. The subtext reveals that the smaller iMac has an optional "Vega 20" graphics card, while the larger one features the long-rumored Radeon Pro Vega 48. It's not clear if we'll ever see desktop gaming versions of these Vega GPUs, but some people have already pointed out that smaller Vega GPUs could cut into sales for the recently-launched RX 590.

Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple's four software platforms - iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS - provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple's more than 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.

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Posted by alphaatlas March 19, 2019 11:13 AM (CDT)

AMD Talks 3D Stacking at Rice Presentation

AMD has talked up their "chiplet" based approach used in their upcoming products, and according to some reports, Marvell is already selling products based on the chiplet concept. But the next logical step from that approach is to move from 2D to 3D, where different dies are "stacked" on top of each other. In a recent presentation at Rice University, AMD confirmed that they're working on 3D stacking techniques in their future designs, and that it's a necessary step to keep the improvements coming, but didn't elaborate much beyond that. Check out the memory and stacking talk in the presentation below:
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Posted by alphaatlas March 19, 2019 10:47 AM (CDT)

Intel Delivers First Exascale Supercomputer to Argonne National Laboratory

Intel Corporation and Cray Inc. have announced that a Cray "Shasta" system will be the first U.S. exascale supercomputer. This $500 million Aurora supercomputer will be coming to the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory in 2021 and will have a performance of one exaFLOP - a quintillion floating point operations per second. In addition, this system is designed to enable the convergence of traditional HPC, data analytics, and artificial intelligence -- at exascale. The program contract is valued at more than $100 million for Cray, one of the largest contracts in the company's history. The design of the Aurora system calls for 200 Shasta cabinets, Cray's software stack optimized for Intel architectures, Cray Slingshot interconnect, as well as next generation Intel technology innovations in compute processor, memory and storage technologies. Intel's Rajeeb Hazra detailed some of the futuristic technology coming to Aurora including a future generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, the recently announced Intel Xe compute architecture, and Intel Optane DC persistent memory. "Today is an important day not only for the team of technologists and scientists who have come together to build our first exascale computer -- but also for all of us who are committed to American innovation and manufacturing," said Bob Swan, Intel CEO. "The convergence of AI and high-performance computing is an enormous opportunity to address some of the world's biggest challenges and an important catalyst for economic opportunity."

The Aurora system's exaFLOP of performance -- equal to a "quintillion" floating point computations per second -- combined with an ability to handle both traditional high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI) will give researchers an unprecedented set of tools to address scientific problems at exascale. These breakthrough research projects range from developing extreme-scale cosmological simulations, discovering new approaches for drug response prediction and discovering materials for the creation of more efficient organic solar cells. The Aurora system will foster new scientific innovation and usher in new technological capabilities, furthering the United States' scientific leadership position globally.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 18, 2019 3:24 PM (CDT)

3DFX's Unreleased Rampage GPU Lives On in 2019

Before 3dfx was shut down, they started developing a "Rampage" GPU that never saw the light of day. Even though the Rampage cards didn't enter mass production, a couple of prototypes were made, and Oscar Barea and Martin Gamero Prieto got their hands on one for their upcoming book on the history of 3dfx. Now, footage of a living, breathing "Rampage 2000" GPU running Quake and other 3D titles for a couple of seconds has appeared on YouTube, suggesting that the company made at least partially functional drivers for the GPU before they went under. Check them out below:
Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 18, 2019 10:41 AM (CDT)

DroneClash Turns Counter Drone Research Into a Sport

As drones get cheaper and easier to control, security and safety issues related to their operation are becoming more important than ever. While governments are working on drone regulations, and some companies are already selling countermeasures to large organizations, a group of enthusiasts and experts recently decided to turn counter-drone research into a spectator sport. Over the weekend, nine international teams entered a battle to "bring down the rival Queen drone" that was broadcast on the internet, but anti-drone contest didn't stop there. DroneClash organized an event encouraging white-hack hackers to compromise commercial drones, also also hosted a counter drone tech expo. The organizers posted the entire live stream of the competition on their YouTube channel, and you can check out the recap below.

There is not yet a silver bullet for the authorities to safely and effectively down a drone. However, by bringing together the bright minds and enthusiasm of drone developers and hobbyists with the counter-drone industry and the end-users, counter-drone measures can be tested and fine-tuned. In the words of the University's Kevin van Hecke, one of the brains behind the competition: "The solution we are working towards is some sort of mechanical eagle. This year were saw DroneClash competitors replicate the flying speeds, and ramming force of birds of prey. But we still have big steps to take in terms of grasping and safely depositing a rogue drone. We will continue to organise future DroneClash events and evolve the rules to push counter-drone innovation further, faster."

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 18, 2019 8:34 AM (CDT)

Core Fighters: Free-to-Play Version of Dead or Alive 6 Now Available on Steam

Koei Tecmo Games has released Dead or Alive 6: Core Fighters, a free-to-play version of the recently released 3D fighter. This is an ideal way to experience the game for those who quickly grow tired of fighters or merely want to see how good a fighting game can look on modern hardware. It’s also a way to spite the publisher for releasing a game with a $93 Season Pass.

DEAD OR ALIVE 6 is fast-paced 3D fighting game, produced by Koei Tecmo Games, featuring stunning graphics and multi-tiered stages that create a truly entertaining competitive experience. With the help of a new graphics engine, DOA6 aims to bring visual entertainment of fighting games to an entirely new level. The graphics are made to be both enticingly beautiful and realistic, bringing out enhanced facial expressions, such special effects as depiction of sweat and dirt on character models, and realistic hit effects.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 1:50 PM (CDT)

Western Digital Launches Budget WD Blue SN500 NVMe SSD

Western Digital has announced its new WD Blue SN500 NVMe SSD product line that features budget friendly offerings. The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) in the U.S. is $54.99 USD for 250GB (model number: WDS250G1B0C) and $77.99 USD for 500GB (model number: WDS500G1B0C). The drives feature a single-sided M.2 2280 PCIe Gen3 x2 form factor that makes them perfect for slim form factor notebooks or desktop PCs. Although the drives will appeal to price-conscious consumers, they are built on Western Digital's own 3D NAND technology, firmware and controller, and delivers sequential read and write speeds up to 1,700MB/s and 1,450MB/s respectively (for 500GB model) with efficient power consumption as low as 2.7W. The drives feature a downloadable SSD dashboard to help monitor drive health and a 5-year limited warranty.

"Content transitioning from 4K and 8K means it's a perfect time for video and photo editors, content creators, heavy data users, and PC enthusiasts to transition from SATA to NVMe," said Eyal Bek, vice president marketing, data center and client computing, Western Digital. "The WD Blue SN500 NVMe SSD will enable customers to build high-performance laptops and PCs with fast speeds and enough capacity in a reliable, rugged and slim form factor."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 14, 2019 12:37 PM (CDT)

Samsung Launches 12GB Smartphone Memory Packages

Samsung just announced what it claims to be the world's highest-capacity mobile DRAM package in production. The Korean company's new LPDDR4X modules combine six 16-gigabit, "10nm-class" DRAM ICs into a package that's 1.1 millimeters tall, allowing manufacturers to stuff just as much RAM as the desktop I'm typing this on into razor-thin phones. Samsung also says the module can hit transfer rates of up to 34.1GB per second, and claims that power consumption is only minimally increased in spite of the dramatic capacity boost. Thanks to cageymaru for the tip.

Since introducing 1GB mobile DRAM in 2011, Samsung continues to drive capacity breakthroughs in the mobile DRAM market, moving from 6GB (in 2015) and 8GB (2016) to today's first 12GB LPDDR4X. From its cutting-edge memory line in Pyeongtaek, Korea, Samsung plans to more than triple the supply of its 1y-nm-based 8GB and 12GB mobile DRAM during the second half of 2019 to meet the anticipated high demand.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 14, 2019 10:43 AM (CDT)

Alphabet Launches Chrome Extension That Filters Comments With AI

Following up on the "Perspective" hate speech filtering experiment from 2017, one Alphabet's subsidiaries, Jigsaw, recently released a machine learning-powered Chrome extension designed to filter out "toxic" comments on high traffic sites. Out of curiosity, I downloaded the extension on a fresh Chrome install, and found that it features a virtual nob that lets users tune the "volume" of the comments sections in YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Disqus comment sections. Twisting the knob gradually filters out more and more comments in real time. As the developers note, it definitely misses some nasty comments while hiding other comments that aren't particularly "toxic" at all, but based on my quick test with some controversial YouTube videos, the sheer variety of language it can seemingly interpret is remarkable.

The machine learning powering Tune is experimental. It still misses some toxic comments and incorrectly hides some non-toxic comments. We're constantly working to improve the underlying technology, and users can easily give feedback right in the tool to help us improve our algorithms. Tune isn't meant to be a solution for direct targets of harassment (for whom seeing direct threats can be vital for their safety), nor is Tune a solution for all toxicity. Rather, it's an experiment to show people how machine learning technology can create new ways to empower people as they read discussions online.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 12, 2019 12:24 PM (CDT)

Researchers Develop RAM That Works at 300C

A group of researchers claim to have developed gallium nitride memory devices that can work at temperatures over 300 degrees Celcius (or 572 Fahrenheit, which is coincidentally about 572 Kelvin as well). As any overclocker already knows, silicon-based transistors don't work particularly well above 100C, and the researchers' paper claims that previous GaN devices topped off at about 200C. However, they say their memory device survived exposure to temperatures above 350C, and performed a thousand switching cycles at 300C with almost no deterioration, but don't expect this technology to improve your overclocking anytime soon. The researchers envision this technology being used in exploration probes destined for some of the harshest places in our solar system, and say they're testing a device that can survive temperatures of up to 500C.

The memory device was fabricated by chemical vapor deposition on a gallium nitride substrate. Key to the device's performance were the etching and regrowth processes during fabrication, says Zhao. After several layers of gallium nitride were deposited, some areas were etched away with plasma, then regrown. That created an interface layer with vacancy sites that are missing nitrogen atoms, says Zhao. "The interface layer is critical for the memory effect," he says. The researchers believe that the nitrogen vacancies are responsible for capturing and releasing electrons, giving rise to high and low resistance states-or zero and one states-in the device... The team is also investigating the role of the nitrogen vacancies for the device's performance. Once NASA deems a prototype good enough, it will have to undergo testing in controlled chambers that mimic the harsh environments on Mercury and Venus at NASA facilities, says Zhao. "I will say there is several years of work to do, but the initial result is definitely very, very encouraging and exciting," he says.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 11, 2019 11:53 AM (CDT)

Old-School: Half-Life Running on a Quantum3D Mercury Brick

Classic game, classic hardware: [H]ardForum member TheeRaccoon is one of the lucky few to get his hands on a Quantum3D Mercury "brick," which comprises four Quantum3D Obsidian2 200SBi video boards. As The Dodge Garage explains, these were generally used for multi-channel visual simulation and training applications back in the day, but as TheeRaccoon’s video proves, they can also run a certain Valve shooter just fine. Thanks for the share, erek.

After a little over a year of ownership, I finally present to you the legendary Quantum3D Mercury brick up and running! (Don't mind my ghetto homemade passthrough cable.) In this brick configuration, there are 8 Voodoo 2 chipsets in SLI! (Each 200SBi board has two Voodoo 2 chipsets in SLI mode.) These bricks were mostly used for military simulation in the late 90's/early 2000's. The image generated by each 200SBi board is combined into one image, giving you 4 tap rotated grid full scene anti-aliasing.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 10, 2019 4:35 PM (CDT)