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All Digital Xbox One S Could Launch May 7

Following up on previous reports claiming that Microsoft could unveil a disc-less Xbox One in April, Windows Central allegedly got their hands on some photographs of the upcoming console, and recreated them in Photoshop to protect their source. "Additional documents" they obtained suggest that the new Xbone could launch on May 7 in a "global simultaneous release," but as we've noted with some of our own predictions, exact launch dates can be fuzzy this far ahead of time. The publication thinks that Microsoft is positioning this as a replacement to the original Xbox One, rather than a replacement to the newer disc-based consoles.

The design of the Xbox One S All-Digital appears to be virtually identical to the current Xbox One S, without the disc drive and eject button. The product shots we received seem to indicate that it will come with a 1TB HDD and with Forza Horizon 3, Sea of Thieves, and Minecraft digital codes bundled into the box. It doesn't look as though it will be bundled with Microsoft's Netflix-like subscription service for games, Xbox Game Pass. Our information suggests that the Xbox One S All-Digital edition will have the lowest recommended retail price (RRP) of all current Xbox One consoles, aimed at newcomers to the ecosystem, although the exact pricing is unknown at this time.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 21, 2019 11:04 AM (CDT)

Intel Previews Processors and Graphics Software at GDC 2019

At their GDC 2019 conference, Intel confirmed that they'll launch 9th generation mobile processors in the 2nd quarter of 2019. While 9th generation H-series and Y-series "Ice Lake" parts recently showed up on the EEC website, Intel told PC World that these parts are based on 14nm Coffee Lake Silicon. The company also mentioned that one of their goals with his release is "longer battery life" for gamers and more casual users alike, and they're promoting their Wi-Fi 6 capable AX200 chip and 3D XPoint memory with the new chips Meanwhile, Intel also showed off a new software suite for their modern IGPs and (presumably) their future GPUs. The "Intel Graphics Command Center" is essentially their answer to Nvidia's GeForce Experience and AMD's Game Advisor, as it automatically scans your PC for supported games and applies the optimal settings for your current hardware. An "early access" version of the control panel is available on the Microsoft Store, and oddly enough, it says it was "released" on 11/26/2018. Unlike other app stores, the Microsoft Store doesn't log updates or list old changes, so it was presumably in some kind of closed alpha before being officially launched today.

We asked, you answered. You're tired of our 'old, boring, corporate-looking' Graphics Control Panel. We were too and we designed a completely new one from the ground up! We're incorporating the changes you - the gamers, home theater enthusiasts, professionals, and everyday tinkerers requested. Using a phased approach, we're rolling out something we're proud to share with you: introducing the Intel Graphics Command Center.

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 21, 2019 9:54 AM (CDT)

Digital Foundry Analyzes Google's Stadia Platform

Following Google's "Stadia" game streaming service announcement yesterday, Digital Foundry decided to take a closer look at the hardware behind the platform. Google says they use a "Custom 2.7GHz hyper-threaded x86 CPU with AVX2 SIMD and 9.5MB L2+L3 cache," and while they didn't mention the vendor, DF notes that they haven't seen such a configuration in any of AMD's currently shipping server CPUs, and that it should significantly outpace anything found in a modern console. Meanwhile, the GPU largely resembles a Vega 56 card with 16GB of HBM2, and the games are reportedly loaded from an SSD. Through their own testing, DF came away impressed with the platform's consistent frame pacing, and in some cases, total latency is on par with locally-run games on a console or PC.

Google has also demonstrated scalability on the graphics side, with a demonstration of three of the AMD GPUs running in concert. Its stated aim is to remove as many of the limiting factors impacting game-makers as possible, and with that in mind, the option is there for developers to scale projects across multiple cloud units: "The way that we describe what we are is a new generation because it's purpose-built for the 21st century," says Google's Phil Harrison. "It does not have any of the hallmarks of a legacy system. It is not a discrete device in the cloud. It is an elastic compute in the cloud and that allows developers to use an unprecedented amount of compute in support of their games, both on CPU and GPU, but also particularly around multiplayer."

Discussion
Posted by alphaatlas March 20, 2019 9:14 AM (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)

Western Digital Launches Budget WD Blue SN500 NVMe SSD

Western Digital has announced its new WD Blue SN500 NVMe SSD product line that features budget friendly offerings. The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) in the U.S. is $54.99 USD for 250GB (model number: WDS250G1B0C) and $77.99 USD for 500GB (model number: WDS500G1B0C). The drives feature a single-sided M.2 2280 PCIe Gen3 x2 form factor that makes them perfect for slim form factor notebooks or desktop PCs. Although the drives will appeal to price-conscious consumers, they are built on Western Digital's own 3D NAND technology, firmware and controller, and delivers sequential read and write speeds up to 1,700MB/s and 1,450MB/s respectively (for 500GB model) with efficient power consumption as low as 2.7W. The drives feature a downloadable SSD dashboard to help monitor drive health and a 5-year limited warranty.

"Content transitioning from 4K and 8K means it's a perfect time for video and photo editors, content creators, heavy data users, and PC enthusiasts to transition from SATA to NVMe," said Eyal Bek, vice president marketing, data center and client computing, Western Digital. "The WD Blue SN500 NVMe SSD will enable customers to build high-performance laptops and PCs with fast speeds and enough capacity in a reliable, rugged and slim form factor."

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 14, 2019 12:37 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)

Tesla Raises Prices to Keep More Retail Stores Open

Tesla has announced that is going to raise prices 3% to keep more of its retail locations open. Some stores in high visibility locations will be reopened. These stores will have fewer employees, but test drives will be available. Some stores are under review and a decision will be made over the coming months to close or keep them open. As a result of keeping significantly more stores open, Tesla will need to raise vehicle prices by about 3% on average worldwide.

Potential Tesla owners will have a week to place their order before prices rise, so current prices are valid until March 18th. There will be no price increase to the $35,000 Model 3. The price increases will only apply to the more expensive variants of Model 3, as well as Model S and X. To be clear, all sales worldwide will still be done online, in that potential Tesla owners coming in to stores will simply be shown how to order a Tesla on their phone in a few minutes. Stores will also carry a small number of cars in inventory for customers who wish to drive away with a Tesla immediately.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 11, 2019 3:25 PM (CDT)

Ubisoft Will Prevent Third-Party Digital Stores from Selling "The Division 2" after Release

According to a statement issued by Gamesplanet, Ubisoft and Epic Games have decided to ban third-party game-key vendors from selling The Division 2 after its official release. Post March 15, the title will only be available for purchase on Uplay and the Epic Games Store, so fans who want to save a bit of money may want to visit their preferred vendor straight away. The Division 2 will have a 50GB day-one patch for disc buyers, and the PS4 version weighs in at 100GB.

Needless to say that we are against this anti-consumer move from both Ubisoft and Epic Games. It’s one thing securing a game to launch exclusively on your launcher but to prevent all third-party digital stores from selling keys? That’s a new low in our opinion. Bad move Epic Games, especially when your boss, Tim Sweeney, was whining about UWP and how anti-consumer it was compared to Win32.

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 10, 2019 12:05 PM (CDT)

Sony Censors the Butt Out of Devil May Cry 5 for Western Audiences

No butts about it: Devil May Cry 5 players have discovered Sony has censored the PlayStation 4 version of the game for Western audiences. There’s a cutscene where Dante carries a naked Trish off his bike, but her butt has been covered up by a lens flare. In another scene, Lady drops her towel and reveals her backside, but again, it’s covered by light. These butts are on full display on the Japanese PS4 and worldwide Xbox and PC versions.

So, what's going on? Current speculation points to a recent Sony policy that appears to be about toning down sexual content on PS4. This is something that's cropped up a few times over the past year or so. Back in October 2018, for example, Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal's PS4 release was delayed after Sony told its publisher to remove the controversial Intimacy Mode (the Steam version, by the way, included the Intimacy Mode). At the time, the game's localisation producer said this was the result of "a brand new policy" at Sony. Was Devil May Cry 5 on PS4 changed under the same policy?

Discussion
Posted by Megalith March 10, 2019 10:35 AM (CDT)

MSI Releases AMD X470 and B450 Bios Updates for AMD Raven Ridge Processors

MSI has announced new bios updates for its AMD X470 and B450 motherboards that support the upcoming AMD Raven Ridge processors. These models include the AMD Athlon 200GE, 220GE, and 240GE APUs.

The updated BIOS version is prepared to support the future AMD Athlon 200GE, 220GE, and 240GE APUs and also the current Athlon APUs which have launched last year. MSI strongly recommends its users to update their systems by downloading and applying the latest BIOS. Download and install the latest BIOS using M-Flash to update affected models. Ensure to always download the latest BIOS from msi.com corresponding product pages.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 08, 2019 12:16 PM (CST)

Microsoft Announces the Open Sourcing of Windows Calculator

Microsoft has announced that it has open sourced the Windows Calculator on GitHub under the MIT License. Microsoft is seeking more community contributions and ideas in the development of Windows Calculator. Reviewing the Windows Calculator code will allow developers to learn how to work with Microsoft technologies.

Reviewing the Calculator code is a great way to learn about the latest Microsoft technologies like the Universal Windows Platform, XAML, and Azure Pipelines. Through this project, developers can learn from Microsoft's full development lifecycle, as well as reuse the code to build their own experiences. It's also a great example of Fluent app design. To make this even easier, we will be contributing custom controls and API extensions that we use in Calculator and other apps, to projects like the Windows Community Toolkit and the Windows UI Library.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 06, 2019 7:12 PM (CST)

Microsoft to Announce Xbox One S "All Digital Edition" in April [Rumor]

Last year, Brad Sams of Thurrott leaked information detailing how Microsoft is expected to announce a Xbox One S without the disc drive. Now Jez Corden of Windows Central has heard that the console is coming and it will be called the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition. Preorders for the console are expected to begin in April 2019 with a May 7th release date. Hints of a Fortnite Edition console are gaining traction also. PC gamers shouldn't be sad as Brad Sams talks about Halo: The Master Chief Collection coming to PC possibly at E3 this year in the video below.

The disc-less Xbox One S would be a first for the company, offering fans the ability to ditch discs altogether and go all-in on digital game licenses. As Microsoft pushes for greater access to its game library via things like the Xbox Game Pass digital subscription and the incoming streaming service Project xCloud, dropping the disc drive from the "All-Digital Edition" should make it the cheapest Xbox console yet, although we have no word on pricing just yet or whether the console will see any design refinements beyond simply dropping the disc drive.

Discussion
Posted by cageymaru March 05, 2019 9:51 PM (CST)