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Intel Shows Off Graphics Card Designs at GDC 2019

Intel reportedly unveiled some "early designs" of their upcoming discrete graphics cards at their GDC 2019 presentation. The graphics card in the first and 2nd slides they showed largely reassembles an Optane 905P SSD with a blower fan and a conspicuously short PCB. While the Xe's specs and performance levels are still unknown, to me, the short PCB suggests that Intel will use some kind of on-package memory with their upcoming GPU, or a relatively narrow GDDR memory bus at the very least. A shot of the back reveals a full backplate, as well as 3 DisplayPort outputs and one HDMI port. Finally, the last slide shows a card with a fan right on top of the graphics chip, which is something I haven't seen on a high-end reference card in some time.

Unfortunately, full specifications are still not yet available for Intel's upcoming graphics card. Real world performance is essentially completely unknown for now. As the year goes on, there is a good chance Intel may share some numbers given how eager the company is to make everyone aware that they have a major new product incoming.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 21, 2019 8:32 AM (CDT)

Intel Ice Lake Shows Up In EEC Database

Intel showed off a 10nm Ice Lake "client SoC" at CES this year, and revealed that it will use the "Sunny Cove" CPU architecture. While they gave a few details about the upcoming mobile chips and the core itself, we didn't hear much about Ice Lake in higher power parts. However, Twitter user and data-miner Komachi has once again found some unreleased hardware on the Eurasian Economic Commission's Online Portal. The first listing shows an "Idaville Ice Lake-D Pre-Alpha 85W Clear Linux Internal 32G Physical SDP," suggesting that Intel will brink the upcoming 10nm architecture to their (relatively) high power Xeon-D server chip lineup. Assuming the listing is accurate (as some other EEC listings have been,) this more or less confirms that Ice Lake won't be confined to the realm of low-power laptop chips.
Meanwhile, the next listing suggests that the low power "Ice Lake-Y" chips will have a "4+2" core config. Intel's current Amber Lake processors top out at 2 cores, so if I'm reading the listing right, it looks like ultra low power notebooks could get a core count boost next generation. There's also an Ice Lake-U "upgrade kit" listing with the same "4+2" core config. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 19, 2019 9:48 AM (CDT)

UK Online Pornography Age Block Triggers Privacy Fears

W-What if my fetishes are leaked for the world to see? That’s what porn surfers from across the pond are worried about with next month’s age block on pornographic content, which demands Britons prove they are old enough for porn via passport-verified accounts or paid "porn passes." One problem is that a single verification company (AgeID) is behind it all; a single breach could theoretically expose all. "It might lead to people being outed. It could also be you’re a teacher with an unusual sexual preference and your pupils get to know that as a result of a leak."

James Clark, the director of communications at AgeID, said its method of storing the login and password of verified users meant that "at no point does AgeID have a database of email addresses", citing external audits of his company’s processes. "AgeID does not store any personal data input by users during the age verification process, such as name, address, phone number, date of birth. As we do not collect such data, it cannot be leaked, marketed to, or used in any way."

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 5:10 PM (CDT)

A Reminder from AMD: Our Processors Aren't Affected by New "SPOILER" Vulnerability

AMD has published a support article confirming its chips should be immune to "SPOILER," a new CPU vulnerability outlined by computer scientists at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the University of Lubeck. As explained in their paper, SPOILER takes advantage of "a weakness in the address speculation of Intel’s proprietary implementation of the memory subsystem." This makes it easier for memory attacks such as "Rowhammer" to be carried out, but evidently, only Intel users need worry.

We are aware of the report of a new security exploit called SPOILER which can gain access to partial address information during load operations. We believe that our products are not susceptible to this issue because of our unique processor architecture. The SPOILER exploit can gain access to partial address information above address bit 11 during load operations. We believe that our products are not susceptible to this issue because AMD processors do not use partial address matches above address bit 11 when resolving load conflicts.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 4:40 PM (CDT)

Paramount Is Urging Theaters to Show Ang Lee's New Sci-Fi Movie at 120 FPS

Moviegoers have been turned off thus far by films that weren’t shot and projected at standard frame rates (e.g., 24 FPS), but that isn’t stopping Paramount and critically acclaimed director Ang Lee ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Brokeback Mountain") from pushing high-frame-rate cinema: letters from the studio indicate Lee’s latest, "Gemini Man," a sci-fi venture starring Will Smith, will be shown in some theaters at 60 FPS (3D) and 120 FPS (2D). Critics of HFR claim it results in "hyper-real and unnatural visuals," but supporters suggest that’s because audiences have been subjected to 24p film and 30p video for far too long.

Paramount's letter includes directions on how to conduct an HFR test and describes the 120 FPS-4K-3D combo as the "most pristine and immersive format" for showing the film. Billy Lynn was the first film to be presented at 120 fps, meaning it had a higher frame rate than the 24 frames per second adopted by most movies. HFR advocates James Cameron (who's shooting the Avatar sequels in the format) and his long-time producer pal Jon Landau have been opining about its benefits since 2011.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 5:45 PM (CDT)

Valve Doesn't Sound Too Happy about the Epic Store Copying Steam Data

Could a lawsuit be brewing? A spokesperson with Valve has told Bleeping Computer the company is "looking into what information the Epic launcher collects from Steam" following allegations the software was stealing users’ information without their express permission. Engineers with Epic have admitted some of the scrapped data could be sent to the company's servers.

In other words, Valve doesn't think the Epic Store client should be touching localconfig.vdf at all, and presumably would prefer it if Epic used the Steam API to gather friends lists. For Epic's part, it has not said that the entire file is uploaded, only that it parses out user IDs and uploads hashes of them, should users import Steam friends. In the future, Valve could potentially encrypt local user data to prevent the Epic client and other software from copying it.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 1:40 PM (CDT)

Tumblr Defends Controversial Porn Ban despite 20 Percent Drop in Traffic

Tumblr’s pornography ban in December has resulted in a major exodus: numbers from web analytics firm Similarweb reveal the blogging site has lost over 100 million monthly page views since the end of January and saw a 17 percent decline in visits over the last 30 days. Despite this slump, Tumblr has defended the ban, calling it "the right decision."

In December, Tumblr CEO Jeff D'Onofrio said in a blog post that it chose to remove adult content after weighting the pros and cons of expression in the community. D'Onofrio said the platform had to consider the impact on different age groups, demographics, cultures and mindsets. "We made a strategic decision for the business that better positions it for long-term growth among more types of users. This was the right decision," a Tumblr spokesperson said Thursday in an emailed statement.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 9:25 AM (CDT)

Hunt Showdown is On Sale at The Humble Store

As we've noted before, Hunt Showdown is one of the best looking, and best playing, multiplayer shooters around, and it gets better with every update. While it normally goes for $30 (and will likely be even more expensive once it leaves early access), the Humble Store has the Cryengine-based co-op shooter on sale for $21.

Hunt's competitive, match-based gameplay mixes PvP and PvE elements to create a uniquely tense experience where your life, your character, and your gear are always on the line. At the beginning of each match, up to five teams of two set out to track their monstrous targets. Once they've found and defeated one of these they will receive a bounty-and instantly become a target for every other Hunter left on the map. If you don't watch your back, you'll find a knife in it, and your last memory will be of another team of Hunters walking away with your prize. The higher the risk, the higher the reward-but a single mistake could cost you everything.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 15, 2019 11:57 AM (CDT)

Footage Shows a Click Farm in Action

Anyone who spends time online has probably heard of, and run into, websites and social media posts that are clearly being promoted by bots. But just what do those bots look like on the other end? While I expected to see rackmount servers spoofing various devices en masse, according to a post from Tom-James Lee, CEO at Vagabond Digital, some of those "click farms" are literally giant banks of smartphones.

This is scary... A click farm in full flow. Most probably these programmatically controlled devices are liking, engaging and clicking on social media posts, pages and ads trying to trick algorithms. You hear about it happening but it's scary to see it in action as it can be seriously detrimental to digital and social marketing for businesses and brands everywhere. Keen to get everyone's thoughts?

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 15, 2019 9:27 AM (CDT)

Steam Link Anywhere Enables Game Streaming over the Internet

Valve has announced Steam Link Anywhere which allows Steam users to stream their games from their PC to their other computers over the internet or Wi-Fi, as long as their computer has good upload speed and their Steam Link device has a good network connection. I confirmed that I could stream from my gaming PC to my mobile phone using mobile data. This service is free and the Steam Link (BETA) app can be downloaded from Google Play. Steam users will need to update their Steam Client to the beta build to enable the functionality.

To use Steam Link Anywhere: Update your Steam Client to the beta build, dated March 13 or newer. Add a computer and select "Other Computer." Follow the pairing instructions on screen. This service is in early beta, and we appreciate your patience as we continue to improve the service.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 14, 2019 5:25 PM (CDT)

Gigabyte Factory Tour Shows Motherboard Manufacturing from Start-To-Finish

Gamers Nexus recently took a tour of the Gigabyte factory located on Nanping Road in Taiwan. At this location, Gigabyte manufacturers both video cards and motherboards. Although most of the SMT factory is automated, some of the components and wires must be installed by hand. It takes 40 - 50 minutes for a motherboard to be created and Gigabyte processes 600 - 800 motherboards per hour or about 5,000 per 8 hour workday. Make sure that you compare the Gigabyte tour to the MSI factory tour that Hardocp documented in 2007. I thought it was fascinating that the Gigabyte "museum" featured test equipment similar to what Hardocp observed over a decade ago. My, how things have changed!

Motherboard manufacturing is a refined process, but each board still takes upwards of an hour to finalize on the assembly line. About half of the assembly is now done by automated SMT lines, with the rest being manual quality checks and large component installation (like PCIe slots). As for how to make a video card, it follows exactly the same process -- the difference is just which board is being fed through the machines on each day.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 13, 2019 8:59 PM (CDT)

Update 5.0 for Hunt Showdown is Out

Hunt Showdown's 5.0 Update is out, and among other things, it seems to make make the already visually stunning game look even better. The developers have added times of day to the Lawson Delta and Stillwater Bayou Maps, meaning you can now hunt in "Daylight, Nighttime, Golden, and Foggy" conditions. The developers also made a number of performance optimizations, added the Immolator AI, introduced a new pistol, and re-balanced shotguns. You can read the lengthy patch notes on the Steam announcement page. As we noted yesterday, the developers announced that Hunt: Showdown is coming to the Xbox One "this spring," but as far as I can tell, no-one knows if the game will support crossplay with PC. Some company representatives allegedly gave ambiguous answers to the question on the forums and the official Discord, and one staff member said "We will announce more information in the near future!"

With 5.0 we are finally able to take another look at how shotguns work in Hunt. We've never really been happy with the RNG gameplay their current implementation caused, spreading the individual shot pellets randomly within the spread cone defined by the crosshair. The changes we have done allow us to do two things: Make sure a certain number of pellets are more likely to hit closer to the center of the crosshair to help normalize damage between shots. And on the other hand, allow us to push shotgun gameplay closer to how real shotguns work. In video games, shotguns are often seen as room sweepers that pepper large areas, while in reality, the choke is actually quite narrow, requiring some aiming to be effective and being lethal at quite impressive distances still. Shotguns in HUNT will feel a bit different now, allowing players to reach out further with them, but also require more precise aiming to score hits. We also tried to make shotguns feel different now, with the Romero and its Handcannon variant having more range and a tighter spread pattern than the other shotguns to give them a meaningful place in the arsenal. Please spend some time playing with shotguns and also play AGAINST shotguns using other weapons to get a feeling for these changes and let us know how you feel about them. We plan on doing additional tweaks based on your feedback over the next weeks!

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 12, 2019 9:59 AM (CDT)