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Posts Tagged ‘microsoft’

October News Round Up: SWIFTECH Apogee XL2, GAMER STORM Genome II, GTX 1050 Ti and More!

Welcome back to our second roundup of hardware news that happened this month. The CPU and GPU side of things may have slowed down a tad, but there’s a lot that happened with cooling and cases. Let’s dive in and get excited about what’s coming down the road! CPUs Let’s start out with an update on Kaby Lake. Geekbench came out with some impressive results and the story made it look like INTEL has merely been holding back for a while. Recently however, an i5-7500K sample was benchmarked and only showed about a 10% improvement over Skylake. This is actually pretty disappointing, especially considering that the 4970K is still a top tier single thread performer. On the plus side, it looks like all 100 series motherboards will be able to support Kaby Lake with a BIOS update, but I doubt many will see the need to upgrade from Skylake in such a short time table. At the time being, ASUS is the only brand this is confirmed for, but that’s a good indication that other manufactures will follow suit. We’re still a ways out from release so we can almost expect performance to fluctuate a bit more until closer to release. http://wccftech.com/intel-core-i5-7600k-kaby-lake-cpu-benchmarks/ http://wccftech.com/kaby-lake-support-asus-100-series-motherboards-confirmed/ GPUs The big news this month was the release of the GTX 1050 Ti and the 1050. Each GPU offers a great budget option for 1080p gaming while being extremely energy efficient. Rather than reinvent ...



Windows 10 is doing a Darn Good Job and Here’s Why

I almost hesitate to even bring this article to life because it’s the kind of thing that internet trolls, with their vitriol of insults, love to flock to. However, I feel like MICROSOFT deserves some praise for what it’s done with Windows 10. At the current rate, 10 might be the best OS to ever happen to the ultra-enthusiasts market since ever! I’m not trying to say Windows 10 is perfect, but from a builder’s perspective who likes fancy hardware configurations, I have a good reason to say MICROSOFT is doing a darn good job. I always have and always will love Crossfire/SLI setups. When I found out I had the chance to merely add a second GPU to my first build, I was ecstatic to try it and quickly fell in love with it. Since then, I’ve always opted to buy two lower end GPUs over one high end one. I work through the bugs I face and can’t get over how nice two strong GPUs look next to each other in my build. This is just the tip of the iceberg for a patch release that had the most minor bug fix description imaginable. In the patch before this last one, the release notes had a tiny phrase that mentioned video display fixes. What is minor in text was huge for me because now, my system no longer hangs when using Crossfire, FreeSync, AND dual displays. My secondary display is a standard 60 Hz panel paired with my adaptive sync one! I even further complicate the matter by having dual SSDs, one for the OS and the other for games and back ups. I k...



First DirectX 12, Now Vulkan

About a week ago, I posted my thoughts on AMD putting an end to Mantle and what that could mean for DirectX 12. While I was pretty excited, some people were quick to remind me that while DirectX 12 is low-level, it’s still proprietary. Well the good news is that I only had half of the story. Not only was AMD pointing developers to DirectX 12, but they also started pointing them to the new API from Khronos Group, Vulkan. For those unfamiliar with the Khronos Group (as I was a few days ago), they are the people responsible for OpenGL. In short, this API was originally designed for graphics workstations and while it could be used for gaming purposes, the code was built up over the span of 20 years making it difficult to program to. OpenGL ES was cleaner, but was only designed towards mobile devices. This is where Vulkan comes in. Vulkan has taken the best and brightest features of Mantle and brought the “close to the metal” concept to a completely open and cross-platform API. To put it simply, what DirectX 12 is accomplishing for Windows, Vulkan should be able to accomplish for pretty much every major graphics player in the industry including the Big 3 (INTEL, AMD, NVIDIA). Those of you who wanted something non-proprietary; it looks like you got it and it isn’t fragmenting the industry, which was a concern back in the early days of Mantle. The other really interesting thing about Vulkan is what it could mean for the future of SLI and Crossfire. Rumors ...



Chip News

  Chipmaker AMD hires Dell senior executive in server push SAN FRANCISCO Mon Oct 27, 2014 5:49pm EDT (Reuters) – Advanced Micro Devices Inc said it hired a former Dell Inc [DI.UL] senior executive to lead the chipmaker’s push into microservers and other new markets. Forrest Norrod will be senior vice president and general manager of AMD’s enterprise, embedded and semi-custom business group and report to Chief Executive Lisa Su, AMD said in a news release on Monday. Norrod, 49, was general manager of Dell’s server business and joins AMD as the company develops chips for new low-power servers that might challenge heavyweight Intel Corp in cutting-edge data centers. AMD has been expanding into new markets including low-power “microservers” and game consoles, but progress has been slower than demanded by Wall Street. Earlier this month, Su took over as CEO, replacing Rory Read. Norrod fills Su’s previous position, which she h ad held temporarily since July. Following Su’s appointment as CEO, AMD announced on Oct. 16 it was cutting 7 percent of its workforce to reduce costs. SOURCE   Microsoft Said to Work on Software for ARM-Based Servers Source Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) is working on a version of its software for server computers that run on chips based on ARM Holdings Plc (ARM)’s technology, people familiar with its plans said, a move that could help loosen Intel Corp. (INTC)’s grip on the market. The world’s largest s...



The Hardware Hound Presents: Windows 10, A Gamer’s Perspective

The rumors have been floating around for some time but we finally have a preview version of Windows 9….I mean 10….Windows 10! Maybe skipping a number doesn’t make a ton of sense, but let’s face it: Windows 10 is way better than calling the iWatch the Apple Watch! The real mystery isn’t a number, but whether Windows 10 is going to be worth it and the greater mystery is whether you should risk installing the preview on your system, particularly if you don’t have one to spare. Thankfully, the Hardware Hound is crazy enough to try it out (on my main system none-the-less), and I’m ready to give you some highlights to help you decide whether you want to make the plunge or not. The good news is, it looks like Microsoft is heading in the right direction so far! Let’s begin with the painful part of any operating system and that’s the installation, which, really wasn’t that painful! Having been an habitual reformatter most of my life, I was used to popping the CD in the drive (after a several hour ISO download), clicking on the upgrade tab instead of the advanced tab, and being told that I needed to load Windows and run the CD from there. So I did that, and roughly 15 minutes later, Windows 8.1 was upgraded to 10 with all my settings in tow. I also ran a fresh install on a spare workstation I had with an i5 CPU and once again, the install was quick and painless as far as OSes go. Also, I typically hate doing upgrades and hi...



DirectX 12 a Big Deal for AMD CPUs?

Back in 2011, AMD made a bold statement with the release of the FX-8150. Their premise was that single core performance was holding the industry back and that it was time to start trading in single core performance for the more advanced multi-threading performamce. That totally blew up in their face. The end result was a CPU that only out performed the previous gen chip (the Phenom II X6 1100T) in multi-threading benchmarks while suffering a hit in the single-threaded arena. Meanwhile, gaming as well as a vast amount of common applications continued to predominantly use single threads and INTEL garnered the massive lead they have today. But what if AMD was right all along and only jumped the gun a few years too soon? PC & Tech Authority had an interview with Crytek, a major game developer, and the resulting discussion shed some very interesting details on what DirectX 12 could mean for the future of multi-threaded performance. The most interesting statement from Crytek was the fact that Microsoft has been “really keen on listening to developers.” The reason why is that developers are the ones who want to utilize more resources from the CPU by having more multi-threaded support. According to Crytek, the main concern not only to them, but also other developers, is improving throughput from the CPU. They explain that for many years now, the best way to move forward is to go massively parallel. There’s more to the picture than just this one piece, but it ...



Welcome to the First Official Episode of The Hardware Hound

That’s right! He’s back and this time he’s bringing you some pretty sweet hardware news. This episode covers releases from Razer, Microsoft and MSI. From something as tiny as a mechanical switch, to Motherboards with the latest chipset technology, these releases are bound to improve any hardware lover’s gaming experience. So sit back, enjoy the show and try not to go stir crazy until the next episode of The Hardware Hound!



Microsoft uses 3DMark to show DirectX 12 benefits

Microsoft shared the first public details of DirectX 12 at GDC yesterday. And I’m delighted that they chose 3DMark 11 to demonstrate the advantages of the new API. In their words, “3DMark [11] on Direct3D 11 uses multi-threading extensively, however due to a combination of runtime and driver overhead, there is still significant idle time on each core. After porting the benchmark to use Direct3D 12, we see two major improvements – a 50% improvement in CPU utilization, and better distribution of work among threads.” The chart shows the time 3DMark 11 spends in each thread in DirectX 11 (top) and DirectX 12 (bottom). This MSDN blog post explains how the efficiencies in DirectX 12 are achieved: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/directx/archive/2014/03/20/directx-12.aspx A new 3DMark test for DirectX 12 With DirectX 12 game developers will be able to create richer scenes with more objects by better utilizing modern GPU hardware. DirectX 12 also introduces a set of new rendering features that will dramatically improve the efficiency of algorithms such as order-independent transparency, collision detection, and geometry culling. I’m excited to announce that we are creating a new 3DMark benchmark that will demonstrate and test the full capabilities of DirectX 12.



Microsoft Responds to Mantle with DirectX 12

DirectX hasn’t seen an update for a very long time. PC gaming on the other hand, has seen some very interesting changes over the past years, but more significantly in recent times would be the Steam Machine and AMD’s Mantle technology. These two offer a direct competition to Microsoft so it’s no surprise that they’ve had to find a way to respond and quickly. Without going into too much of the speculation that’s already out, it seems that DirectX 12 may well be a direct response to Mantle technology. The Steam Machine obviously offers competition, but it also requires that games be designed to run for a Linux based OS and is less likely to fill the niche for work at home procedures. Mantle could be much scarier for Microsoft, because if game developers design to it, there could be very little need to upgrade to a new version of Windows while still enjoying peak performance from the latest AMD graphics cards. To modestly explain why this works, Mantle allows more graphics processing to go straight to the GPU rather than having to use the CPU as the middle man. Still run Windows 7? No big deal because you have the latest AMD drivers with Mantle software. DirectX 12 hasn’t revealed details yet, but if it tries to garner the same kind of performance that Mantle does, it will be easier for Microsoft to pin it to newer versions of Windows, forcing consumers to upgrade in order to keep peak performance out of their hardware. While this all ma...



Support Ending for XP, Microsoft Provides Free Transfer Tool

For those of you still running Windows XP, Microsoft would like for you to think about switching over to a newer Windows operating system. I know, XP still works just fine for many things, and still exceeds for some uses. However, come April 8th, Microsoft is ending their support for this iconic operating system. Soon, Microsoft plans to notify users of the operating system by pop-up on their desktop, providing users with a link to the end-of-support page. This page gives more in-depth information about what will happen on April 8th. Microsoft says the pop-ups will keep coming up on the 8th of every month after April, unless the message is disabled by the user. What is going to happen when support is dropped? Well, you will still be able to use your operating system just as you had been before, but Microsoft will not be releasing any more patches, system updates, or security updates. In a further attempt to persuade users to migrate to newer operating systems, Microsoft will be offering a free data migration tool to make your switch to Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 much easier. In order to provide this service to the public, Microsoft has teamed up with Laplink to produce the data migration tool named PCmover Express for Windows XP. Microsoft Senior Marketing Communications Manager, Brandon LeBlanc released this blog statement, “This tool will copy your files, music, videos, email, and user profiles and settings from your old PC to your new device, transferring a...



Join Our Brand New Xbox One Dedicated Fan Website at XboxOneForums.net!

  Microsoft just announced their new sucessor to the Xbox 360, and it is not called the Xbox 720. It’s called the Xbox One and it absolutely blew us away! From the fantastic specs to the rich and amazing feature-set, this new Xbox One is poised to take the home entertainment world by storm. The Xbox One will hit retail shelves later on this year and just might transform the way we think about games, movies, music, Skype video calling and more. We are so excited we just had to start a new forum for this white hot device! We wanted to share it with you guys to give you an opportunity to join in on the discussions just begninning. Please check it out at XboxOneForums.net!





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