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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.

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

Tesla Launches New Supercharger with 1,000 MPH Charging, Better Efficiency, and More

Tesla has introduced a new version of the Supercharger with higher charging capacity (250 kW), providing up to 75 miles of range for the Model 3 in as little as 5 minutes. This is made possible by a new liquid-cooled cable that is "significantly lighter, more flexible, and more efficient" than their current air-cooled cable. These increased charging speeds will be unlocked for the Model S and X in a future software update.

A new "On-Route Battery Warmup" software feature was also announced. When entering a Supercharger station in your navigation system, the vehicle’s software will "intelligently heat the battery to ensure you arrive at the optimal temperature to charge." That’s assuming you have enough charge in the battery when you come in. The new feature alone should reduce "average charge times for owners by 25%," according to the automaker.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 09, 2019 11:05 AM (CST)

Nintendo Launches Labo VR Kit

Following up on their immensely profitable Labo kits for the Switch, Nintendo just announced a new Labo kit designed for "sharable, simple, VR gaming experiences." The basic kit includes cutouts for VR Goggles and a VR blaster for $40, while the full package with a cardboard elephant, camera, bird, and wind pedal will set you back a whopping $80. Naturally, the internet isn't happy about how much Nintendo is charging for colored cardboard cutouts, but those pricey packages apparently include a license for Nintendo's new VR software as well. Thanks to cageymaru for the tip.

The inventive Toy-Con Garage mode - included as part of all Nintendo Labo software - returns with Nintendo Labo: VR Kit, offering basic programming tools for players to experiment with. More information about the experiences offered by Nintendo Labo: VR Kit will be revealed in the future. The Nintendo Labo: VR Kit - Starter Set + Blaster and complete Nintendo Labo: VR Kit will be available in stores on April 12.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 07, 2019 12:14 PM (CST)

Huawei Launches a Lawsuit in Texas

Last year, the U.S. government reportedly tried to get its allies to stop buying Huawei equipment, and the Department of Justice charged the Chinese tech giant with 23 crimes late last January. But today, Huawei is firing back, as the company has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Government in Plano, Texas. More specifically, the company is challenging the constitutionality of Section 889 of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act. Huawei reiterated that they are "not owned, controlled, or influenced by the Chinese government," and say that allowing the company to stay in the U.S. market would speed up 5G deployment and save billions thanks to the extra competition. How far this lawsuit will get remains to be seen, as some publications believe there's a good chance it'll be thrown out, but this particular case doesn't address the technology-stealing accusations against Huawei that started popping up earlier this year.

From Huawei's perspective, the NDAA restrictions prevent the company from providing more advanced 5G technologies to U.S. consumers, which will delay the commercial application of 5G, in turn, impeding efforts to improve the performance of 5G networks in the U.S. Beyond this, network users in rural and remote regions of the U.S. will be forced to choose between government funding and high-quality, cost-effective products. This will impede the network upgrade process, thus widening the digital divide. Even worse, the restrictions on Huawei will stifle competition, leaving U.S. consumers paying higher prices for inferior products.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 07, 2019 11:45 AM (CST)

Tesla Launches $35,000 Standard Model 3

Tesla has announced that it is now taking orders for the $35,000 standard Model 3. The electric car will feature 220 miles of range, a top speed of 130 mph and 0-60 mph acceleration of 5.6 seconds. No compromises in safety were made from the longer-range version. A Model 3 Standard Range Plus is available for a $2,000 premium over the standard Model 3. It will feature 240 miles of range, a top speed of 140 mph, 0-60 mph acceleration of just 5.3 seconds and an upgraded interior. New firmware upgrades for new and existing customers were revealed. These upgrades will increase the range of the Long Range Rear-Wheel Drive Model 3 to 325 miles, increase the top speed of Model 3 Performance to 162 mph, and add an average of approximately 5% peak power to all Model 3 vehicles. Tesla declared it is shifting sales worldwide to online only. Tesla says the checkout process will take about a minute on a phone. Shifting sales online has allowed the company to lower vehicle prices by 6% on average and meet its $35,000 Model 3 price point earlier than expected. A few stores will remain open as galleries, showcases and Tesla information centers. Tesla had this to say about servicing its cars, "At the same time, we will be increasing our investment in the Tesla service system, with the goal of same-day, if not same-hour service, and with most service done by us coming to you, rather than you coming to us. Moreover, we guarantee service availability anywhere in any countries in which we operate."

We are also making it much easier to try out and return a Tesla, so that a test drive prior to purchase isn't needed. You can now return a car within 7 days or 1,000 miles for a full refund. Quite literally, you could buy a Tesla, drive several hundred miles for a weekend road trip with friends and then return it for free. With the highest consumer satisfaction score of any car on the road, we are confident you will want to keep your Model 3.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru February 28, 2019 6:29 PM (CST)

Far Cry New Dawn Launches Today

Today is a good day to be a post apocalyptic FPS fan with a PC. As we previously reported, Metro Exodus launches today with a refreshingly simple release schedule, Bethesda is continuing their efforts to patch up Fallout 76, RPGs like Atomic Heart and The Outer Worlds are just over the horizon, and we're only a few weeks away from The Division 2's open beta. But, if that's not enough, Ubisoft is launching a post-apocalyptic spin on the Far Cry series today. The company says Far Cry New Dawn unlocks at 11 AM CST for Steam users, and that the PC version of the game weighs in at a hefty 39.2GB with the HD texture pack. Check out the launch trailer below:

Seventeen years after a global nuclear catastrophe, civilization re-emerges from the chaos to find a world dramatically changed. In a post-apocalyptic Hope County, Montana, the remaining populace has gathered into different groups, each with their own rules for survival. In this new world order, the vicious Highwaymen, led by twin sisters Mickey and Lou, travel from place to place bleeding people dry of all available resources. As the Survivors try to defend their lands against the Highwaymen’s relentless onslaught, it’s up to you to come to their aid and lead the fight. In the latest installment of the award-winning Far Cry franchise, you are the last line of defense in a transformed, post-apocalyptic Hope County. Help the community of Survivors grow stronger, craft a makeshift arsenal through Turf Wars and cross-country Expeditions, and form unexpected alliances to fight for survival in a dangerous new frontier.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas February 15, 2019 8:15 AM (CST)

Google Launches Password Checkup Extension

Google has announced a new extension for Google Chrome called Password Checkup that will monitor the passwords that you type into websites to see if they have been compromised in a third-party data breach. Google says it has access to over 4 billion credentials that have been compromised and Password Checkup will issue a warning if it detects you using a credential that is known to be unsafe. Google worked with cryptography experts at Stanford University to incorporate protections that ensure your privacy is maintained by encrypting your credentials and making sure that they are never revealed to Google. The tool also has safeguards built-in to keep hackers from abusing it to reveal unsafe usernames and passwords. The Password Checkup extension will be improved over the coming months with better site compatibility and password field detection.

At a high level, Password Checkup needs to query Google about the breach status of a username and password without revealing the information queried. At the same time, we need to ensure that no information about other unsafe usernames or passwords leaks in the process, and that brute force guessing is not an option. Password Checkup addresses all of these requirements by using multiple rounds of hashing, k-anonymity, private information retrieval, and a technique called blinding.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru February 05, 2019 2:13 PM (CST)

Intel Launches the 28 Core W-3175X

Today, Intel launched the 28-core W-3175X workstation processor. As we previously reported, this monster CPU is based on the same die that Intel's $10k+ Xeon Platinum 8180 CPUs use, but trades multi-socket support and other enterprise-focused features for an unlocked multiplier, higher clockspeeds, and a higher TDP. Unlike its predecessors, the W-3175X won't fit into a regular LGA 2066 socket, as it requires a special LGA-3467 motherboard. Intel says the platform offers up to 68 PCIe lanes and 6 channels of DDR4 with ECC support, but curiously, the platform is capped at an uneven 512GB of maximum memory. Asetek developed the 690LX-PN AIO liquid cooler to handle the monster CPU, and Intel claims it's "1.52x" faster than the i9-9980XE when building Epic's Infiltrator demo.
Reviews around the web suggest that the W-3175X excels in situations that can make use of the extra threads, but otherwise matches the Core i9-9980XE in workloads that don't scale across that many cores. Unfortunately, the W-3175X appears to only be available from system integrator at this time, as I don't see it listed at any major U.S. retailer yet. There's no word on when, or if, we'll see the the CPU and compatible motherboards for sale by themselves. Intel's recommended tray price for the CPU alone is $2999, and for reference, a Maingear system based on the platform starts at a cool $14,899. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas January 30, 2019 12:59 PM (CST)