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AMD Confirms Stadia Will Run on Intel CPUs

As one of the world's most pervasive cloud service providers, Google is in a better position to launch a successful game streaming platform than almost anyone. The hardware they choose to use for the launch of their "Stadia" streaming service will undoubtedly influence future game streaming efforts, hence AMD's stock price shot through the roof when Google announced they were using AMD GPUs. However, PCGamesN writer Dave James noticed that Google was conspicuously silent when it came to Stadia's CPUs. They were happy to share clock speeds, cache numbers and the fact that they're using "custom" x86 chips, but they refused to confirm the vendor of the platform's CPU. Eventually, AMD reached out and said that "the Stadia platform is using custom AMD Radeon datacentre GPUs, not AMD CPUs." Barring any surprise announcements from VIA, that more or less confirms that Stadia will run on some sort of Intel CPU platform, but just why Google refused to mention Chipzilla by name remains a mystery. The author suggested that Intel might not want to associate themself with what might be a "doomed" venture. Maybe Google plans to switch to EPYC CPUs or an unannounced Intel server platform sometime in the future, or maybe they just don't think it's particularly relevant. Whatever the reason may be, I also find the omission to be curious, and look forward to seeing what happens with Stadia's hardware in the future.

A switch to AMD's EPYC processors has been mooted as a potential future step for Stadia, and Google's Phil Harrison told us himself that "we're just talking about Gen 1 at the moment, but there will be iterations on that technology over time," so there is some potential for a changing of the processor guard either before or after launch. Whatever the truth of the matter is I still find it beyond strange that no-one involved is talking about the Intel CPUs being used for Google Stadia, even if they're not necessarily doing anything that special with regards the innovative streaming service. Certainly the multi-GPU features on offer with the Radeon graphics cards warranted mention, but just a note on the specs slide alone could have still done good things for Intel.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 22, 2019 11:20 AM (CDT)

PCIe SSDs Will Overtake SATA in 2019

A recent report from Digitimes claims that PCIe SSDs could finally overtake SATA SSD shipments in 2019. Unit prices for 512GB PCIe SSDs have supposedly fallen 11% sequentially, down to a price of $55 in Q1 2019, while SATA SSD prices only dropped 9%. The price gap between the different SSDs was around 30% in 2018, and according to the publication's market sources, that gap is only going to shrink as time goes on. Meanwhile, thanks to the rapidly falling prices of NAND flash memory chips, total SSD shipments are expected to rise dramatically. Digitimes expects shipments to increase "20-25%" in 2019, while a separate report claims that changes in enterprise market shipments could be even more dramatic. Relatively low prices for high performance drives with capacities of up to 16TB are apparently tempting many companies away from HDDs. Meanwhile, laptop makers are starting to ship lower-cost devices with SSDs by default, and according to PCPartPicker's latest charts, retail prices for standalone consumer drives have been dropping as well. Overall, it looks like 2019 will be a great year for anyone who's looking for more speedy storage, but the big flash manufacturer's efforts to slow production could stop the tumbling prices by 2020.

Falling average selling prices for consumer Gen 3.0x2 PCIe SSDs fitted in notebooks will accelerate the adoption of such SSDs by OEMs. This, coupled with demand for ever-higher storage capacity and speed to support cloud computing, 5G and autonomous driving applications, will further stimulate market demand for PCIe SSDs and inspire brand vendors to gear up production of such lucrative storage devices and related chips, the sources indicated. For instance, Taiwan-based IC designers Silicon Motion Technology, Phison Electronics, and Silicon Integrated Systems are racing to roll out enhanced version of PCI SSD controller chips, while major brand vendors such as Kingston Technology, Adata Technology, Transcend Information, Seagate and Micron have also listed PCIe SSDs as their mainstream product lines.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 22, 2019 10:17 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.

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

Obsidian Employee is Remaking Star Wars Dark Forces

Jason Lewis, a professional senior environment artist at Obsidian, is reportedly porting the environments of Star Wars Dark Forces to Unreal Engine 4 as a passion project. While port looks significantly better than the 1995 FPS, to say the last, it doesn't feature any shootable enemies yet. If you want to try it out, you should get it while the download link is still up, as Disney has a history of taking down similiar projects (like the KOTOR port to Unreal Engine 4) .

Download the project here before Disney makes it disappear... Thanks so much for watching everyone, and I look forward to seeing you on the battlefield!

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 18, 2019 11:05 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)

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.

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

Captain Marvel Will Lead the MCU, Kevin Feige Says

Like her or hate her, Marvel fans are going to be seeing much, much more of Brie Larson: MCU architect Kevin Feige has gone on record with his enthusiasm and plans for Captain Marvel, stating she will "take the lead and be at the forefront of the entire Cinematic Universe." The character is already slated to reappear in next month’s Avengers: Endgame, improving the odds against Thanos. There is a rumor some cast members aren’t happy with how an overpowered newbie is swooping in to save the day, however.

When we found out that Brie Larson might be interested in joining our world, we had a number of meetings. She was a huge fan of the character in the comics. One of the highlights of my career at Marvel was introducing her at Comic-Con and having her come out on stage and stand there with literally almost everybody else from our movies. There she was at the forefront, and it was a great foreshadowing – not just for how audiences are going to embrace Brie as this character, but also for how Captain Marvel is about to take the lead and be at the forefront of the entire Cinematic Universe.

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Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 1:35 PM (CDT)

Microsoft Will Pester Windows 7 Users to Upgrade to W10 with Pop-Up Notifications

Microsoft has come up with another way to convince users to upgrade to Windows 10: corporate vice president Matt Barlow explained in a blog post this week Windows 7 users would be subjected to regular pop-up messages urging them to update to the latest version of the OS. That may not be the worst idea, as support for W7 officially ends January 14, 2020.

This is a courtesy reminder that you can expect to see a handful of times in 2019. By starting the reminders now, our hope is that you have time to plan and prepare for this transition. These notifications are designed to help provide information only and if you would prefer not to receive them again, you'll be able to select an option for "do not notify me again", and we will not send you any further reminders. Just as software has changed over the years, so has hardware.

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Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 5:00 PM (CDT)

Remastering "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" with Machine Learning

As significant portions of the show were shot on video (and not film, which can be easily scanned to higher resolutions), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine may never get a legitimate HD remaster, but that hasn’t stopped one fan from experimenting with other technologies to see what it could look like: Stefan Rumen ("CaptRobau"), who has been upscaling Final Fantasy VII using AI Gigapixel, has applied that same neural-networking technique to bump DVD footage of DS9 to 1080p quality. While the results are arguably mild, Rumen hopes CBS and other studios take note of how machine learning can be used for improving video quality.

Since I do not own DS9, I cannot just do what I want with it. While I would love to release full episodes, this is just not legally possible. These videos serve more as a proof of concept for CBS to look into machine learning and neural networks to help remaster DS9 and move it a bit closer to the HD era. Imagine what a real team could do, with more powerful equipment, custom trained neural networks (perhaps training the network on TNG vs. TNG Remastered images) and access to the original SD files instead of a DVDRip like me.

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Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 2:40 PM (CDT)

Apple Will Unveil Its Streaming Video Service on March 25

"It’s show time": Apple has sent out an invite for its next event on March 25, which indicates an official unveiling of the company’s long-rumored streaming video service. While the actual launch is reportedly months away, Apple is expected to tease some of its original TV content, which includes stars such as Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell. A Bloomberg report suggests the company wants to win an Oscar badly.

Apple is spending billions of dollars on projects that feature stars like Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Durant, and producers such as J.J. Abrams. It’s also building a slate of films from Oscar-winning studios A24 and Cartoon Saloon. The company is racing to complete content deals with partners by this Friday, Bloomberg News reported this week. Apple will charge for some content, while other video will be free for Apple device users.

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Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 1:05 PM (CDT)

No Mans Sky "Beyond" Update Will Feature Multiplayer

No Man's Sky had a rough launch, to say the least, and most people expected the developers to distance themselves from it as much as they could. Instead, Hello Games has been steadily working No Man's Sky over the years, and the game managed to make a big comeback in 2018. Today, the developers announced what they claim to be the biggest overhaul to No Man's Sky yet. The "Beyond" update is supposedly the culmination of several features they've been planning for some time, as it "will contain those three major updates rolled into one larger free release." The first of those components is a new multiplayer experience, and Hello Games says they'll talk about the other components "in the coming weeks."

No Man's Sky Online includes a radical new social and multiplayer experience which empowers players everywhere in the universe to meet and play together. Whilst this brings people together like never before, and has many recognisable online elements, we don't consider No Man's Sky to be an MMO - it won't require a subscription, won't contain microtransactions, and will be free for all existing players. These changes are an answer to how we have seen people playing since the release of NEXT, and is something we've dreamed of for a long time. We will talk more about each component when we know we can be precise, and look forward to sharing more in the coming weeks.

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Posted by alphaatlas March 15, 2019 10:16 AM (CDT)

Intel's 5G Modems Will Allegedly Enter Mass Production in 2020

Ever since unveiling their 5G modems in 2017, Intel has been talking up 5G technology as loudly as they possibly can. However, facing stiff competition from rivals like Qualcomm, Intel more or less acknowledged that that their first generation modem won't be particularly competitive, and recently "made a strategic decision to pull in the launch of this [second generation] modem by half a year to deliver a leading 5G solution." Intel claimed they would introduce the more advanced XMM 8160 modem in the 2nd half of 2019, but Digitimes' industry sources think it won't be ready for mass production until 2020.

Intel is reportedly to begin working on engineering projects that will enable mass-production of 5G modem chips with its collaborative partners in the second quarter of 2019, according to sources from Taiwan's IC backend service providers... Intel is gearing up efforts to compete with Qualcomm, or even MediaTek, for 5G modem chip orders from Apple for its next-generation iPhone devices, the sources noted. However, judging from factors including heterogeneous integration, complexity of 5G modem chip design, and lengthy final test (FT) of relevant chips at packaging-level testing, it seems that Intel is unlikely to enter volume production of 5G modem chips until 2020, indicated the sources. Nevertheless, demand for Intel's modem chips for use in the Phone 8 and even iPhone 7 series will continue in the first half of 2019 as sales of the old-generation iPhones still remain robust, said the sources.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 15, 2019 9:58 AM (CDT)