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Samsung Introduces Next Generation HBM2E

At NVIDIA's GPU Technology Conference, Samsung unveiled an even faster version of their HBM2 memory. A stack of "Flashbolt," as they call it, can deliver up to 410 GBps of bandwidth, which they claim is 33% faster than previous offerings, and a single package can hold up to 16GB of memory. Samsung says the new memory is aimed at "supercomputers, graphics systems, and artificial intelligence (AI)" applications, though they didn't mention just what GPUs or accelerators will make use of it in the near future.

"Flashbolt's industry-leading performance will enable enhanced solutions for next-generation data centers, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and graphics applications," said Jinman Han, senior vice president of Memory Product Planning and Application Engineering Team at Samsung Electronics. "We will continue to expand our premium DRAM offering, and improve our 'high-performance, high capacity, and low power' memory segment to meet market demand."

Posted by alphaatlas March 20, 2019 9:35 AM (CDT)

Texas Is Trying to Block Tesla from Servicing Its Cars

Tesla’s problems are beginning to grow in the Lone Star State: the automaker’s direct-sales model is already banned in Texas due to the clever use of old laws by local car dealers with a loud lobbying voice, but legislators have now introduced a bill that would prevent the company from servicing its cars through its own service centers. While Texans have managed to get their hands on Tesla vehicles by having them delivered from other states, the passing of this law could mean a whole new can of problems.

Well, Texas’s use of direct-sale laws was already ridiculously abused but they are now pushing it to a whole new level of stupidity. If the legislature actually approves this bill, it would be extremely disappointing from a political standpoint and a major hit to Tesla itself and Tesla owners in Texas. Texan EV fans, or free market fans for that matter, should contact their local representatives and let them know how you feel about this ridiculous attempt to abuse legislation to give a monopoly to franchise dealers who are afraid of fair competition from Tesla and other companies looking to sell and service their own vehicles.

Posted by Megalith March 17, 2019 10:45 AM (CDT)

NVIDIA Could Tease Next-Gen 7nm Ampere at GTC 2019

It isn’t clear whether NVIDIA will have any surprises to share at next week’s GPU Technology Conference (GTC), but some speculate the company could reveal aspects of its next-generation architecture, "Ampere," which will purportedly be built on the 7nm node. TweakTown and TechSpot suggest it could be the right time to do so, as the luster of Volta and Turing continues to wear thin. The former predicts it won’t be a gaming part, however, suggesting "a new GPU architecture tease that will succeed Volta in the HPC/DL/AI market."

For now, NVIDIA has used the Ampere name for their future 7nm GPUs. If that's the case, the Ampere GPUs would bring power efficiency improvements, higher clock rates, and perhaps higher memory bandwidth. Now would be a good time for NVIDIA to make a big announcement, considering the company just had one of the worst fiscal quarters its ever had. Consumer and investor faith in the company is slipping, especially since the adoption of RTX technology has been much slower than expected.

Posted by Megalith March 16, 2019 4:45 PM (CDT)

Chinese Commuters Use Facial Recognition to Pay for Subway Tickets

China is leveraging the power of 5G technology and facial recognition to improve its transportation infrastructure. At Shenzhen's Futian station, commuters will be able to use their face to pay for subway tickets. The ultra-fast 5G network provides a high quality network connection while lowering the cost of the subway equipment. This innovation allows the city's subway riders to "scan their faces on a tablet-sized screen mounted on the entrance gate and have the fare automatically deducted from their linked accounts." The new system is expected to increase the efficiency of the city's subway network as it handles up to 5 million rides per day. Chinese cities have become digitally savvy and its residents are ditching cash in favor of electronic payments with a smartphone. Chinese consumers pay for fried chicken at KFC with its "Smile to Pay" facial recognition system. Huawei Technologies backed the innovation laboratory that developed the technology.

"To use facial ticketing in the future, passengers will also need preregistration of their facial information and link their payment methods to their accounts, just like them making payments at the KFC restaurant," said a staff member at the Futian station's demonstration area in Shenzhen. Passers-by at the demonstration area in Futian station will see their information displayed on a big screen, including their facial photos captured by surveillance cameras, their gender, age, and the length of stay in the area.

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

AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.3.2 Supports DX12 on Windows 7

The AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.3.2 driver has been released and it is optimized for Tom Clancy's The Division 2 and Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm. AMD Radeon VII owners should see a 4% performance uplift in Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm when compared to the 19.2.3 driver. This driver brings DirectX 12 to Windows 7 for supported game titles. AMD supports more Vulkan extensions in this driver. Fixed issues include: Radeon ReLive for VR may sometimes fail to install during Radeon Software installation. Fan curve may fail to switch to manual mode after the manual toggle is switched when fan curve is still set to default behavior. Changes made in Radeon WattMan settings via Radeon Overlay may sometimes not save or take effect once Radeon Overlay is closed.

Known issues include: Rainbow Six Siege may experience intermittent corruption or flickering on some game textures during gameplay. DOTA2 VR may experience stutter on some HMD devices when using the Vulkan API. Mouse cursors may disappear or move out of the boundary of the top of a display on AMD Ryzen Mobile Processors with Radeon Vega Graphics. Performance metrics overlay and Radeon WattMan gauges may experience inaccurate fluctuating readings on AMD Radeon VII.

Posted by cageymaru March 14, 2019 8:41 PM (CDT)

Volvo to Impose 112 MPH Speed Limit on All New Cars from 2020

As a means of reducing fatalities and serious injuries caused by speeding, Volvo has announced it will be reducing the top speed of its new cars to 112 MPH starting next year. "The cap will prevent drivers from accelerating to the top speeds of up to 155 MPH many Volvos can reach." The company is also experimenting with geofencing to automatically limit speeds around schools and hospitals.

Hakan Samuelsson, Volvo’s president and chief executive, said: "While a speed limitation is not a cure-all, it’s worth doing if we can even save one life. We want to start a conversation about whether carmakers have the right or maybe even an obligation to install technology in cars that changes their driver’s behaviour."

Posted by Megalith March 09, 2019 12:05 PM (CST)

Halo: The Master Chief Collection for PC Might Be Announced Next Week

Microsoft has teased that the next episode of its monthly live news broadcast, Inside Xbox, will feature some exciting information on Halo: The Master Chief Collection. While the show isn’t known for major announcements, some believe 343 Studios could finally announce the long-awaited PC port of the Halo compilation. Fueling rumors, insider Brad Sams published a video Tuesday confirming it was in development.

There's no guarantee that the PC port will be announced then, but recent reports have made it seem likely that the game is on its way. In a recent YouTube vid, Xbox expert Brad Sams claimed the game is definitely in development, that its release is fairly imminent, and that it's possible an unveiling will occur at E3 2019.

Posted by Megalith March 09, 2019 9:25 AM (CST)

Hackers Can Hijack Cars with Alarm Apps

Security researchers from Pen Test Partners claim they've found serious security vulnerabilities in high end car alarm services from Viper and Pandora. In a quick demonstration, the researchers showed that an attacker could pull up behind a moving vehicle with one of the commercial security systems installed, set off the alarm, disable the engine, unlock the doors, then drive off with it in a matter of minutes. On top of that, the researchers say they could geolocate vehicles, pull up owner and car details, and in some cases, adjust cruise control speed or snoop on drivers through a microphone. The researchers say the exploits affect up to 3 million vehicles around the world, and confirmed that the vulnerabilities they found were quickly fixed by the manufacturers, but note that they "have no idea if there are other vulnerabilities in the API."

Amazingly, the vulnerabilities are relatively straightforward insecure direct object references (IDORs) in the API. Simply by tampering with parameters, one can update the email address registered to the account without authentication, send a password reset to the modified address (i.e. the attacker's) and take over the account. It's possible to geo-locate and follow a specific vehicle, then cause it to stop and unlock the doors. Hijack of the car and driver is trivially easy. We found the flaws prior to fitting the alarms, but wanted to purchase and fit them to our vehicles for a full proof of concept.

Posted by alphaatlas March 08, 2019 10:33 AM (CST)

The USB Promoter Group Announces USB4 Specification

The USB Promoter Group has announced the pending release of the USB4 specification that is based on the Thunderbolt protocol contributed by Intel Corporation. USB4 compliments and builds upon the existing USB 3.2 and USB 2.0 specifications, doubles the bandwidth of USB, and enables multiple simultaneous data and display protocols. Key features of the USB4 solution include: Two-lane operation using existing USB Type-C cables and up to 40 Gbps operation over 40 Gbps certified cables. Multiple data and display protocols to efficiently share the total available bandwidth over the bus. Backward compatibility with USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3. The specification is expected to be completed in the middle of 2019, but The Verge is reporting that USB4 devices won't be available until 18 months later. When the USB4 specification is completed, an updated USB Type-C Specification will be made to comprehend USB4 bus discovery, configuration and performance requirements.

"Releasing the Thunderbolt protocol specification is a significant milestone for making today's simplest and most versatile port available to everyone," said Jason Ziller, General Manager, Client Connectivity Division at Intel. "By collaborating with the USB Promoter Group, we're opening the doors for innovation across a wide range of devices and increasing compatibility to deliver better experiences to consumers." "The primary goal of USB is to deliver the best user experience combining data, display and power delivery over a user-friendly and robust cable and connector solution," said Brad Saunders, USB Promoter Group Chairman. "The USB4 solution specifically tailors bus operation to further enhance this experience by optimizing the blend of data and display over a single connection and enabling the further doubling of performance."

Posted by cageymaru March 04, 2019 11:30 AM (CST)

Steven Spielberg Is Gunning to Make Sure Netflix Never Has Another Oscars Contender

Are Netflix movies such as "Roma" "real" films? Nah, says Steven Spielberg: the director of classics such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jaws, and Jurassic Park has drew the contempt of various Hollywood insiders after he revealed his plans to propose changes to Oscars eligibility rules, arguing "films that debut on streaming services or get a short theatrical run should qualify for the Emmys" instead. While Spielberg appears to be speaking out merely as a "dedicated cinephile," The A.V. Club suggests he may be "serving as the mouthpiece" for studios that are growing increasingly concerned about Netflix’s prominence.

People are pissed off about money -- how much Netflix is spending, and how much it is, or isn’t, bringing in. We’re willing to buy the idea that Spielberg’s motives are more pure -- he’s a dedicated cinephile, and he’s already got more cash than god -- with a focus on the idea that there’s a fundamental difference between visual media made to show on a theater screen, and that designed to run on a monitor or a phone. But it still sounds likely that he’ll end up serving as the mouthpiece for a movement fueled in large part by established studios who don’t like the way the new kid on the block operates.

Posted by Megalith March 03, 2019 11:20 AM (CST)

Boneworks Has the Physics Underpinnings to Be a Next Generation VR Masterpiece

The VR development studio, Stress Level Zero is working on its most ambitious VR title yet; Boneworks. Boneworks will feature advanced physics that aren't found in other VR titles. It uses the capabilities of the upcoming SteamVR Knuckles to allow users to grip one end of an object like a crowbar and slide/rotate their fingers around the other end. Not only does it allow users to see and use each of their fingers individually in the VR world, gamers can toss objects up with one hand and catch it with the other. In first the video, the developers demonstrate some of the forward-thinking, next generation technology featured in the game. Special thanks to Supercharged_Z06 for the information.

BONEWORKS Is a narrative VR action adventure using advanced experimental physics mechanics. Dynamically navigate through environments, engage in physics heavy combat, and creatively approach puzzles with physics. Advanced Physics: Designed entirely for consistent universal rules, the advanced physics mechanics encourage players to confidently and creatively interact with the virtual world however you want. Combat: Approach combat in any number of ways you can think off following the physical rules of the game's universe. Melee weapons, firearms, physics traps, environments, can all be used to aid you in fights with enemy entities. Weapons, lots of weapons: Boneworks provides players with a plethora of physics based weaponry; guns, swords, axes, clubs, spears, hammers, experimental energy weapons, nonsensical mystery tools, and anomalous physics weapons.

Posted by cageymaru March 01, 2019 5:32 PM (CST)

USB-IF Changes Branding Again With USB 3.2

While the existing USB 3.0 and 3.1 standards are already confusing enough, the USB Implementers' Forum just published (PDF warning) a set of "Language Usage Guidelines" that will govern how sellers and manufacturers advertise the next generation of USB. The new USB 3.2 standard absorbs all prior 3.0 and 3.1 specifications, and divides the standard into 3 different parts. 5Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 1 will be marketed as "SuperSpeed USB," while the Gen2 and Gen2x2 standards will be marketed as SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps and 20Gbps, respectively. As PC World pointed out, the new branding has nothing to do with the physical connector or power-transfer capabilities, and they seem to think manufacturers could work their way around the branding limitations with deliberate ambiguity.

As others were quick to point out, there's really nothing that prohibits a laptop manufacturer, for example, from simply calling a device a "USB 3.2" port and failing to describe how much bandwidth it will provide to the user. The USB-IF's pleas notwithstanding, the only restrictions appear to be in the use of the USB-IF's logos, which requires passing the USB Compliance Program. Why this matters: There's one consolation: The new specifications are backward-compatible, meaning that you'll still be able to plug in an older USB device to a new USB 3.2 port. Still, the branding of it all is an absolute nightmare, and is an additional headache computer and smartphone buyers don't need.

Posted by alphaatlas February 27, 2019 11:14 AM (CST)