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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)

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:
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Posted by alphaatlas March 18, 2019 10:41 AM (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.

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

911 Calls Raise Concerns Over Amazon Working Conditions

Amazon's warehouses don't have the best reputation as is, but according to a recent article from The Daily Beast, working conditions inside the facilities could be worse than previously thought. The report alleges that, between October 2013 and October 2018, emergency workers were summoned to Amazon warehouses for "suicide attempts, suicidal thoughts, and other mental-health episodes" at least 189 times. The reports only covered a quarter of Amazon's sorting and fulfillment centers across the U.S, and The Daily Beast is quick to point out that the records are "not evidence that Amazon staffers experience suicidal episodes more often than other American workers, in or out of a warehouse," but they clearly imply that harsh conditions are exacerbating existing mental health issues on a large scale. Check out some of the calls below:

The Daily Beast spoke to six current or former Amazon employees who had mental-health crises that required emergency assistance at the warehouse. They said much of their at-work stress stemmed from the performance quota. A former employee in Etna, Ohio, said that it was sometimes physically impossible to stay on pace. "Even if it isn't your fault, they ignore any explanation that you could give." He was constantly fearful that he would receive citations for falling short. "Once you have enough write-ups, you're out the door," he said. "There goes your livelihood... There was a constant sense of, 'did I screw that up, did I screw that up, did I screw that up?'" he said. "[It] stays with you and almost becomes a permanent anxiety."

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Posted by alphaatlas March 11, 2019 11:17 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.

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

Whole Foods Cuts Workers' Hours after Amazon Introduces Minimum Wage

Amazon’s $15 minimum-wage increase didn’t turn out so well for Whole Foods workers: one employee claims the retailer has negated wage gains by reducing schedule shifts across many stores, cutting a lot of work. "My hours went from 30 to 20 a week. We just have to work faster to meet the same goals in less time."

The Illinois-based worker explained that once the $15 minimum wage was enacted, part-time employee hours at their store were cut from an average of 30 to 21 hours a week, and full-time employees saw average hours reduced from 37.5 hours to 34.5 hours. The worker provided schedules from 1 November to the end of January 2019, showing hours for workers in their department significantly decreased as the department’s percentage of the entire store labor budget stayed relatively the same.

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Posted by Megalith March 10, 2019 12:20 PM (CDT)

NVIDIA Ending Driver Support for 3D Vision, Mobile Kepler-Series GeForce GPUs

NVIDIA has published two new support entries revealing the fate of its 3D Vision technology and Kepler notebook GPUs. After Release 418 in April 2019, GeForce Game Ready Drivers will no longer support NVIDIA 3D Vision. ("Those looking to utilize 3D Vision can remain on a Release 418 driver.") Critical security updates for mobile Kepler-series GPUs will also cease by April 2020.

Game Ready Driver upgrades, including performance enhancements, new features, and bug fixes, will be available for systems utilizing mobile Maxwell, Pascal, and Turing-series GPUs for notebooks, effective April 2019. Critical security updates will be available on systems utilizing mobile Kepler-series GPUs through April 2020. Game Ready Driver upgrades will continue to be available for desktop Kepler, Maxwell, Pascal, Volta, and Turing-series GPUs.

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Posted by Megalith March 10, 2019 10:10 AM (CDT)

Philadelphia Passes Ban on Cashless Stores; Amazon Go Plans Said to Be in Jeopardy

Amazon plans to open a chain of cashierless convenience stores across the country, but don’t expect them in Philadelphia: the city has just signed off on legislation banning cashless stores. While the convenience of technology has convinced many retailers to shift to credit cards and mobile payments only, Philly’s leaders opted for the opposite, citing their 26-percent poverty rate and poor consumers, some of whom do not even have bank accounts.

Nearly 6 percent of residents in the Philadelphia region do not have access to credit or bank accounts in 2017 and roughly 22 percent were considered "underbanked," according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Amazon warned Philadelphia officials behind closed doors that a ban on cashless stores would force it to reconsider its potential plans for Amazon Go stores in Philadelphia. Emails obtained by the Inquirer showed that the web giant also lobbied city officials to try to carve itself out of the cash requirement.

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Posted by Megalith March 09, 2019 1:05 PM (CST)

3D Realms' "Wrath: Aeon of Ruin" Is a 90s-Inspired Shooter Built on the Quake Engine

Old-school shooter fans, rejoice! 3D Realms and KillPixel have announced they are releasing "Wrath: Aeon of Ruin" this summer, a 90s-inspired FPS built using the original Quake engine. As the Outlander, players will traverse a gothic hub world as they are tasked with hunting down the remaining Guardians of the Old World to a haunting soundscape by Andrew Hulshult (Quake Champions) and Bjorn Jacobson (CyberPunk 2077).

Fueled by legendary Quake 1 technology, the veins of WRATH pump with the DNA of revered '90s shooters. WRATH embraces the timeless elements of classic titles such as DOOM, QUAKE, DUKE NUKEM 3D, BLOOD, UNREAL and HEXEN and carries them into the 21st century. Equipped with an arsenal of 9 weapons of exceptional might and an inventory of 10 powerful artifacts, you must traverse ancient crypts, sunken ruins, corrupted temples and howling forests to bring death to your enemies.

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Posted by Megalith March 09, 2019 11:40 AM (CST)

German Court Upholds Paid Amazon Review Case

Representing another win in the fight against paid reviews, a recent report claims that a German court upheld an Amazon case against undisclosed, paid reviews on their site. The provider supposedly offered 3rd party Amazon sellers positive reviews in exchange for some sort of compensation, such as a discount on the product, but the court banned the company from publishing reviews without advertising their "commercial background."

The ruling is not yet legally binding as the company can still appeal. Amazon's community guidelines prohibit compensation for reviews, but the practice has still proliferated, prompting Amazon to seek to sue sellers who buy reviews. Amazon tightened up its rules in 2016 to only allow reviewers to accept a free or discounted product as long as they disclose that fact, and use the Amazon "Vine" program to post their opinions.

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Posted by alphaatlas March 05, 2019 11:51 AM (CST)

Amazon Is Reportedly Launching a New Line of Grocery Stores in Major US Cities

The acquisition of Whole Foods Market was just the beginning: according to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon will be doubling down on the grocery business by opening dozens of new stores throughout the US, which may or may not carry the online retailer’s name. The first store will reportedly debut in Los Angeles as soon as this year and be distinct from Whole Foods, offering a larger variety of food.

Whole Foods is limited to the types of items it can carry because of its quality standards and commitment to natural ingredients. A different store aimed more at mainstream customers could carry items from the biggest brands and could compete directly with big-box stores like Walmart, Target, and regional grocers. The new stores are planned to be about 35,000 square feet, which is typically smaller than a traditional grocery store, according to the report.

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Posted by Megalith March 02, 2019 10:00 AM (CST)

Amazon Announces Plan to Fight Counterfeits

Despite Amazon's best efforts so far, the retailer's online storefront is still filled with counterfeit or bogus products that are frequently accompanied by fake 5-star reviews. Earlier this month, the FTC brought the hammer down on one such merchant with a $12.8 million dollar fine, and today, Amazon announced a new initiative designed to fight counterfeit products. The company claims "Amazon Zero" allows brands to remove counterfeit listings themselves, rather than having to go through Amazon first. The counterfeits companies take down will then be fed into a machine-learning powered automated protection mechanism, which they say will "continuously scan our stores and proactively remove suspected counterfeits." Amazon is also introducing a product serialization service that can supposedly stop counterfeits that slip through, before they reach customers.

Brands provide us with their logos, trademarks, and other key data about their brand, and we scan over 5 billion product listing updates every day, looking for suspected counterfeits. We've been testing these automated protections with a number of brands, and on average, our automated protections proactively stop 100 times more suspected counterfeit products as compared to what we reactively remove based on reports from brands... Project Zero is currently an invite-only experience, and we're working to add more brands quickly.

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Posted by alphaatlas February 28, 2019 10:13 AM (CST)