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SK Hynix to Spend $107 Billion on Four New Memory Chip Factories

SK Hynix has announced that it is building four new memory chip plants that will cost $107 billion. Construction of the plants will begin in 2022 at a 4.5 million square meter site that is south of Seoul. SK Hynix is expected to invest $49 billion into 2 existing plants. Next-generation chips and DRAM are expected to be manufactured at the sites. Even though there is a downturn in the memory market now, SK Hynix is preparing for cutting edge technologies such as 5G and self-driving vehicles.

"Though there is not enough chip demand for autonomous cars now, I believe there will be much more demand for self-driving vehicles in the next 10 years or as early as in 2023 or 2024," said analyst Kim Young-gun at Mirae Asset Daewoo. "That will create more chip demand for SK Hynix," as will the commercialization of 5G networks over the next few years, Kim said.

Posted by cageymaru February 21, 2019 6:49 PM (CST)

Plans for First Chinese Solar Power Station in Space Revealed

The Chinese are reportedly working on experimental solar power stations that would be launched into space to generate electricity. Planned for launch as early as 2021, they will provide "an inexhaustible source of clean energy for humans," reliably supplying energy "99 percent of the time, at six-times the intensity of solar farms on earth." The final plan is a Megawatt-level space solar power station for 2030.

Pang said technical challenges to be overcome include the weight of a power station, expected to be 1000 tonnes, greater than 400 tonnes of the International Space Station. Researchers are examining whether a space factory using robots and 3D printing technology could construct the power station in space, avoiding the need to launch a heavy structure from earth. Solar energy would be converted to electricity and a microwave or laser beam would transmit the energy to earth.

Posted by Megalith February 16, 2019 3:40 PM (CST)

Tesla Model X Receives Industry First Perfect Crash-Test Rating for a SUV

The Tesla Model X has become the first SUV to receive a perfect safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA.) SUVs are generally safer than cars due to their increased size, but a higher center of gravity causes the vehicles to rollover during tight maneuvering situations or a side impact accident. According to statistics, "rollovers happened in 1% of serious crashes in passenger vehicles but accounted for one-third of collision-related deaths." The Tesla Model X was designed to have a lower center of gravity due to its large battery pack located in the floor of the vehicle. This design choice, along with the larger front crumple zone, allowed the vehicle to receive a perfect rating from the NHTSA. In other Tesla news, Dog Mode has been enabled on Tesla vehicles. This displays a message on the screen in Tesla vehicles that shows the temperature of the car for passersby to know that they don't need to worry about the animals in the vehicle. Tesla also added a Sentry Mode to their cars. When customers enable Sentry Mode, the electric vehicle constantly monitors its environment from a "Standby" state like a home security system works. When the vehicle detects a break-in in progress, it will start recording the event with its cameras, sound the car alarm, blast loud music through the stereo system, and warn the owners of the incident via the Tesla mobile app on their phones. Video of the incident can be downloaded to a USB drive.

If a minimal threat is detected, such as someone leaning on a car, Sentry Mode switches to an "Alert" state and displays a message on the touchscreen warning that its cameras are recording. If a more severe threat is detected, such as someone breaking a window, Sentry Mode switches to an "Alarm" state, which activates the car alarm, increases the brightness of the center display, and plays music at maximum volume from the car's audio system. If a car switches to "Alarm" state, owners will also receive an alert from their Tesla mobile app notifying them that an incident has occurred. They'll be able to download a video recording of an incident (which begins 10 minutes prior to the time a threat was detected) by inserting a formatted USB drive into their car before they enable Sentry Mode.

Posted by cageymaru February 14, 2019 8:52 AM (CST)

Digitimes Claims that Memory is Cheap, and that AMD is Gaining Market Share

Citing industry sources, a recent report from Digitimes claims that prices for 1TB "gaming" SSDs fell more than 50% since 2018. According to their data, a 1TB SSD used to cost 10,000 New Taiwan Dollars (about $324 USD), whereas they're going for NT$3000-5000 ($97-$160) tody. This seemingly lines up with historical price data, as a 1TB Samsung 860 EVO, for instance, dropped from $330 in January 2018 to $128 in December. PCPartpicker's 1TB SSD chart paints a fuzzier picture, as the "average" selling price for SSDs is much higher than the list price for the most common drives, but even the average has fallen significantly since early 2018. Digitimes also claims that 4GB and 8GB memory modules have fallen to $30 and $60, respectively. According to PCPartPicker's DDR4 charts, that's nearly half the price they were going for about a year ago, and Digitimes believes that memory prices should drop even more in the first quarter of 2019.
Meanwhile, the publication's sources also claim that AMD has a 17% share of the "gaming market," whatever that means. AMD themselves recently highlighted Mercury Research's market share numbers, which claim that AMD has a 15.8% and 12.1% slice of the desktop and notebook markets, respectively, but those numbers only represent Q4 2018.

Despite growing adoption of NAND flash chips in SSDs, the prices will see a sequential drop of over 15% in the first quarter of 2019 thanks to weakening total bit demand for PC-use SSDs and SSD price falls... The sources continued that shipments of gaming DDR4 high-spec modules have been affected by the shortages of Intel CPUs, driving gaming consumers to turn to AMD platforms. This has pushed up AMD's share of the gaming market to 17% and increased shipments of DDR4 3200 MHz and under modules, compared to a slowdown in shipments of 3600-4000 MHz modules.

Posted by alphaatlas February 14, 2019 8:40 AM (CST)

Apex Legends Hits 25 Million Players and 2 Million Concurrent Peak in Its First Week

Vince Zampella of Respawn Entertainment has announced that Apex Legends has surpassed the 25 million player mark in its first week. Also the peak number of concurrent players during that week was 2 million over the weekend. He also announced that Season One starts in March and there will be a Battle Pass as well as new Legends, weapons, loot, and more. Events planned in the near future include the Twitch Rivals Apex Legends Challenge which starts on February 12, 2019 and resumes on the following Tuesday, February 19th. 48 of Twitch's biggest personalities will compete on those days. Valentine's day will have limited-time, appropriately-themed loot drops.

What a week! Since we launched Apex Legends last week on Monday we've seen the creation of an Apex Legends community that is excited, thriving, and full of great feedback and ideas. Our goal is to build this game with you, our community, so keep giving us your feedback because we really are listening. From everyone here at Respawn, thank you. The community's excitement for Apex Legends is electric, and we feel it here at the studio. We couldn't have gotten where we are without you and look forward to having you on this journey with us.

Posted by cageymaru February 11, 2019 5:57 PM (CST)

San Francisco May Be the First City in the Nation to Ban Facial Recognition

There already exists some degree of pushback regarding the use of facial recognition technologies by law enforcement and other agencies in San Francisco, as demonstrated by legislation mandating board approval before such surveillance may be used. City supervisor Aaron Peskin doesn’t think current ordinance is enough, however, having proposed a new law that would place "an outright ban on facial recognition technology." If passed, the "Stop Secret Surveillance Ordinance" would make San Francisco the first in the country to make facial recognition illegal.

Civil rights groups have raised concerns about the threat to privacy and safety posed by facial recognition, as well problems with accuracy. "We know that facial recognition technology, which has the biases of the people who developed it, disproportionately misidentifies people of color and women," Peskin said Tuesday. "This is a fact." BART officials came under fire over the summer when they began exploring the implementation of a surveillance system and former BART board member Nick Josefowitz expressed interest in facial recognition software that could help identify specific individuals, such as those with arrest warrants.

Posted by Megalith February 03, 2019 3:00 PM (CST)

NSFW: Nutaku Announces World's First Boob-Shaped Console for Adult Gaming

Adult gaming platform Nutaku, best known for its vast library of hentai titles, has released its first piece of hardware: a breast-shaped, plug-and-play game console featuring more than 200 free-to-play and premium adult games. It’s already sold out, but perverts waiting on new stock can check out a making-of video in the meantime, which explains how the company made a console with a "flesh-like feel" and "nipple-shaped power button."

Turning on the console is pretty straight-forward. You just got to press the nipple. The "boob" is created out of silicone to give it an authentic feel when touched. But it's pretty cool because it comes with two USB ports, one HDMI port, an audio jack and a wireless internet connection. Certainly the perfect console for those who love adult gaming. Priced at US$169, the console comes in limited quantities.

Posted by Megalith February 02, 2019 2:50 PM (CST)

Google Takes Its First Steps toward Killing the URL

Speaking at the Bay Area Enigma security conference this week, Chrome’s usable security lead attempted to address the controversy over Google’s desire to "kill off URLs as we know them." (Alternate source for paywall.) According to Ms. Stark, they’re a liability, in that hackers can easily trick users about the identity of a page (e.g., G00gle rather than Google), scamming them with malicious links that forward them to phishing sites. "People should know easily what site they’re on, and they shouldn’t be confused into thinking they’re on another site. It shouldn’t take advanced knowledge of how the internet works to figure that out."

The Chrome team's efforts so far focus on figuring out how to detect URLs that seem to deviate in some way from standard practice. The foundation for this is an open source tool called TrickURI, launching in step with Stark's conference talk, that helps developers check that their software is displaying URLs accurately and consistently. The goal is to give developers something to test against so they know how URLs are going to look to users in different situations. Separate from TrickURI, Stark and her colleagues are also working to create warnings for Chrome users when a URL seems potentially phishy.

Posted by Megalith February 02, 2019 10:05 AM (CST)

Subnautica's First Expansion Enters Early Access on Epic and Steam

Subnautica left early access on PC early last year, was given away for free on the Epic Store late last year, and even got its own multiplayer mod during the holidays. But developers Unknown Worlds didn't stop with the critically-acclaimed game's release, as they've been churning away on the arctic-themed "Below Zero" expansion for some time. Yesterday, the developers announced that the expansion has entered early access on Steam and on the Epic Games Store. This is one of the first, if not the first, early access game on Epic's Store, and it's certainly the highest profile one I've seen. Some of Steam's first early access games never made it to release, while others were wildly successful, so it'll be interesting to see how the Epic Store fares with their own early access program. The developers streamed the cinematic trailer, as well some in-game-footage, which you can see below:

Dive into a freezing underwater adventure on an alien planet. Set one year after the original Subnautica, Below Zero challenges you to survive a disaster at an alien research station on Planet 4546B. Craft tools, scavenge for supplies, and unravel the next chapter in the Subnautica story.

Posted by alphaatlas January 31, 2019 9:07 AM (CST)

What happened to Steam's First Early Access Games?

Many promising titles come out of Steam's Early Access program, but how many actually make it to the finish line? Unfortunately, some games never leave Early Access, while others leave it in a sorry or unfinished state, but these botched releases usually don't draw as much attention as the original pitches. The Guardian took a look at the original 12 games selected to launch Steam's Early Access program, and found that only 9, including Kenshi, Kerbal Space Program, ARMA 3, Prison Architect, Drunken Robot Pornography, Gnomoria , Gear Up, and Kinetic Void, were ultimately "finished". Under the Ocean's and Pattern's development failed, while Kick It was seemingly abandoned by its developers over the course of a few years, even though it's still up for sale. The Guardian made an effort to reach out to some of the developers, and their responses were interesting.

When customers are paying for an unfinished product, expectations are high. Hunt believes one of the reasons Kenshi has maintained its development for so long is through constant communication and regular updates. "If we did an update every four months, then everyone would get angry and during that gap would be saying, 'The game's abandoned!"' he says. "But if we did the same amount of work, but broke it up into an update every day, people felt it was really well maintained.'" But supporting an unfinished game's development with its sales over several years is not easy. "There was one point in development where I handed everyone their notices," Hunt says. "We were completely running out of money." Hunt planned to continue working on the game alone, reducing its overall scope. Then sales suddenly picked up, and it was back to business as usual.

Personally, I find The Guardian's definition of "finished" questionable. ARMA 3, Prison Architect, and KSP have undoubtedly done well, but I backed Starforge myself, and it was in such a sorry, unfinished state upon "release" that it got pulled from the Steam store. A brief glance on the Store shows that Kinetic Void appears to be relatively incomplete too. Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas January 29, 2019 8:54 AM (CST)

Samsung Announces World's First 15.6-Inch UHD OLED Displays for Notebooks

Samsung Display has announced that it has created the world's first 15.6-inch ultra-high definition (UHD) OLED display for the premium notebook/laptop market. Mass production of the panels begins mid-February. The displays will feature a 3840 x 2160 resolution, HDR and will be optimized for gaming, graphic design and video streaming. The new panel features a brightness level ranging from 0.0005 to 600 nits, and a dynamic contrast ratio of 120,000:1. This allows the screens to produce black color that is 200 times darker and whites twice as bright as a conventional LCD. Combined with the ability to display 3.4 million colors (double that of similarly sized LCD panels), the UHD displays will maximize the HDR experience for users. Outdoor visibility is remarkably improved with 1.7 times higher color volume compared to LCDs of similar size, which improves the clarity of outside viewing while also reducing imagery degradation outdoors. The new displays are thinner and slimmer than a LCD display for added convenience and mobility.

"Our 15.6-inch UHD OLED panel provides the most suitable display solutions for carry-on IT devices with outstanding HDR enhancements, unparalleled color reproduction and much-improved outdoor visibility. We have no doubt that our new OLED display will offer a much superior visual experience to notebook users worldwide," said Jae-nam Yun, head of the marketing team at Samsung Display. Samsung Display emphasized that its 15.6-inch UHD OLED panel meets the latest DisplayHDR True Black specification released by VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association). With black color that is a hundred times richer than the previous HDR standard, Samsung Display's newest panel brings a very significant enhancement to HDR, in depicting high-contrast almost as well as the human eye, making black imagery blacker and white images whiter.

Posted by cageymaru January 23, 2019 12:58 PM (CST)

First-Ever 2020 Toyota Supra Sells for a Whopping $2.1 Million

Toyota officially unveiled the return of its performance icon this week, the Supra, which was originally discontinued in 1998. While some old-school connoisseurs of the Japanese sports car legend have criticized it for having a "weak" engine and lacking manual transmission, among other things, there was at least one fan who really, really loved the modern interpretation: the first Supra (VIN 20201) managed to sell for a colossal $2.1 million at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona last night.

That's almost double what the first 2020 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 pulled at the same venue, 42 times the 2020 Supra's starting MSRP of $49,990, and over 17 times more than what that pristine 1994 version sold for on Bring a Trailer a couple weeks ago. The car is finished in matte gray with matte black wheels and, to make it really stand out at Cars and Coffee, gloss red wing mirrors. To continue the racer-boy theme, the interior is red with carbon fiber inserts.

Posted by Megalith January 20, 2019 4:35 PM (CST)