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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)

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)

DroneClash Turns Counter Drone Research Into a Sport

As drones get cheaper and easier to control, security and safety issues related to their operation are becoming more important than ever. While governments are working on drone regulations, and some companies are already selling countermeasures to large organizations, a group of enthusiasts and experts recently decided to turn counter-drone research into a spectator sport. Over the weekend, nine international teams entered a battle to "bring down the rival Queen drone" that was broadcast on the internet, but anti-drone contest didn't stop there. DroneClash organized an event encouraging white-hack hackers to compromise commercial drones, also also hosted a counter drone tech expo. The organizers posted the entire live stream of the competition on their YouTube channel, and you can check out the recap below.

There is not yet a silver bullet for the authorities to safely and effectively down a drone. However, by bringing together the bright minds and enthusiasm of drone developers and hobbyists with the counter-drone industry and the end-users, counter-drone measures can be tested and fine-tuned. In the words of the University's Kevin van Hecke, one of the brains behind the competition: "The solution we are working towards is some sort of mechanical eagle. This year were saw DroneClash competitors replicate the flying speeds, and ramming force of birds of prey. But we still have big steps to take in terms of grasping and safely depositing a rogue drone. We will continue to organise future DroneClash events and evolve the rules to push counter-drone innovation further, faster."

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 18, 2019 8:34 AM (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.

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

Valve Offers Developers Access to Its Network via Steamworks

Valve has updated the Steamworks SDK with new networking APIs. These APIs give Steam partners access to Valve's network, grants them protection from denial-of-service attacks, 100% reliable NAT traversal, and improved connectivity. Also included are tools for instantly estimating the ping between two arbitrary hosts without sending any packets and a high quality end-to-end encrypted reliable-over-UDP protocol. Valve says relaying traffic anonymizes it, protecting both gameservers and clients from denial-of-service attacks. For an attacker to disrupt gameplay, they must mount an attack large enough to overwhelm multiple data centers.

Finally, by relaying the traffic in software, we can often improve the ping time! How can a relayed route be faster than a direct route? The Internet is a packet-switched network; there is no such thing as a "direct" route. When a packet is sent "directly" to the remote host's IP address, it takes the route determined by standard IP routing protocols. This route is often not optimal! Our protocol puts the client in charge of routing decisions. The client considers each relay point-of-presence, and determines the end-to-end latency along this route. It then selects the route with the lowest latency.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 15, 2019 7:23 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.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 15, 2019 10:16 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.

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

Astronauts From Failed Launch Will Return to the ISS Today

Last October, three astronauts aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket survived an explosive, mid flight failure. The ancient, Soviet-designed Soyuz rockets are notoriously reliable, with only 1 other recorded manned launch failure in 1975, but the 2018 incident put the future of the International Space Station in jeopardy, as it was, and still is, the only launch platform deemed reliable enough to haul astronauts to the ISS. Today, at 2:14 PM Central Time, two of the three astronauts that survived the original failure are scheduled to try again. In spite of an abort sequence that subjected them to nearly 8G, the astronauts don't seem worried at all. SpaceFlightNow is covering the event in real time, and NASA's official YouTube channel will stream the launch later today, which you can see below:

Ovchinin and Hague took off aboard the Soyuz MS-10/56S spacecraft on Oct. 11. But two minutes after liftoff, one of the rocket's four strap-on boosters failed to separate cleanly, triggering a catastrophic failure. The Soyuz spacecraft's abort system immediately kicked in, propelling the crew ship to safety for a parachute descent to Earth. The problem with the normally reliable Soyuz booster was quickly identified and corrected and the station's current crew - Soyuz MS-11/57S commander Oleg Kononenko, Canadian astronaut-physician David Saint-Jacques and NASA flight engineer Anne McClain - enjoyed a problem-free ride to orbit Dec. 3. Speaking with CBS News by satellite from Moscow last month, Hague said he continued to have full confidence in the safety and reliability of the Soyuz. "I'm 100 percent confident," he said. "In the aftermath of the launch abort, watching the response from the Russians, the transparency and the way they approach that in terms of sharing their data and resolving the issues, it was impressive. The strength of the international cooperation was tested, and it's as strong as it's ever been."

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 14, 2019 12:05 PM (CDT)

Intel Comet Lake Processors Could Pack 10 Cores

A recently updated file in coreboot's Github repository seemingly corroborates previous rumors that claim Intel's upcoming Comet Lake processors could pack up to 10 cores. The "report_platform.c" file contains references to various Comet Lake CPU + Graphics core configurations, including a "CometLake-S (10+2)" config.
The listing also suggests that Intel will launch low power, 6-core U-series parts for laptops, as well as a variety of other 2, 4, 6, and 8 core configs designed to supplement or replace the existing Coffee Lake and Whiskey Lake lineup. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 14, 2019 11:05 AM (CDT)

Windows Update Fixes Previous Patch's Mouse Issues

Microsoft has released a fix to a previous update that reportedly caused "graphics and mouse performance degradation with desktop gaming when playing certain games, such as Destiny 2." KB4482887 contained the performance enhancing "Retpoline" Spectre mitigation, and in addition to the new mouse and graphics fixes, the newly released KB4489899 update patches some Microsoft Hololens calibration and tracking issues as well.

After installing this update on machines that have multiple audio devices, applications that provide advanced options for internal or external audio output devices may stop working unexpectedly. This issue occurs for users that select an audio output device different from the "Default Audio Device." Examples of applications that may stop working include: Windows Media Player, Realtek HD Audio Manager, Sound Blaster Control Panel

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 13, 2019 10:19 AM (CDT)

Microsoft Announces DX12 Support for Windows 7

Blizzard Entertainment added Windows 10 DX12 support to its MMO World of Warcraft (WoW) and fans of the game responded with a warm welcome to new features such as multi-threading. Blizzard Entertainment contacted Microsoft about bringing the same improvements to WoW gamers that remain on Windows 7. Microsoft responded to feedback from Blizzard Entertainment and has now ported the user mode D3D12 runtime to Windows 7. "This unblocks developers who want to take full advantage of the latest improvements in D3D12 while still supporting customers on older operating systems." With the latest patch, WoW now supports DX12 on Windows 7! Microsoft is now working with other developers to port their D3D12 games to Windows 7.

How are DirectX 12 games different between Windows 10 and Windows 7? Windows 10 has critical OS improvements which make modern low-level graphics APIs (including DirectX 12) run more efficiently. If you enjoy your favorite games running with DirectX 12 on Windows 7, you should check how those games run even better on Windows 10!

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 12, 2019 7:33 PM (CDT)

Windows 10 Will Uninstall Incompatible Updates

Microsoft has rolled out a new feature for Windows 10 that allows the operating system (OS) to automatically uninstall broken or incompatible updates. Windows 10 will attempt to fix startup failures with automatic recovery attempts before uninstalling the updates. Users will see this message "We removed some recently installed updates to recover your device from a startup failure." The OS will prevent problematic updates from installing automatically for the next 30 days. Users can manually install the updates, but Windows 10 will still remove the problematic updates if it detects issues with startup. Thanks @Monkey34 !

To ensure that your device can start up and continue running as expected, Windows will also prevent problematic updates from installing automatically for the next 30 days. This will give Microsoft and our partners the opportunity to investigate the failure and fix any issues. After 30 days, Windows will again try to install the updates. If your device is unable to start up properly after automatic or manual installation of these updates, Windows will uninstall them again.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 12, 2019 9:30 AM (CDT)