SilverStone ES01 PCI-E Remote PC Switch Kit

Introduction


There are many forms of being lazy, or maybe we should rather call it an extra comfort feature that expands your abilities. Today I’m taking a closer look at SilverStone’s ES01 expansion card which allows you turn your PC on and off as well as reset it remotely. This can either be used as an extra security feature or as a simple addition to the already existing methods. The ES01 is available as both a PCI and a PCI-Express card, so you can make it work in almost any system. I’ll be taking a closer look at the PCI-Express x1 version today.

SilverStone’s ES01 is a convenient remote switch kit designed to wirelessly turn your computer on or off as well as reset it. It uses the existing 2.4GHz standard with RF wireless technology which is known to work great and offer a great range. The ES01 remote kit is rated for a range of up to 20 meters which is quite cool and allows you to work the magic from afar.

The adapter comes with an included Y-cable which ensures that your computer case’s own power and reset buttons can be used concurrently with the ES01. You normally wouldn’t want to rely purely on a remote for such a crucial function, and you don’t need to. However, at the same time the ES01 it can be used without connecting the Y-cable to the chassis buttons in order to add another level of security besides BIOS passwords and software solutions to which the ES01 can be a good alternative. It will mostly be users with computers located in hard to reach areas or systems with special usage scenarios that will find the ES01 remote switch kit to be very handy, but it is up to you how you’d like to use it.

The expansion card in itself is a low profile card and it isn’t very long either. It will easily fit into even the smallest chassis and comes with an included low-profile bracket too. All it takes is two screws to switch from the normal to the low-profile bracket, so that’s a job quickly done if needed.

The remote control uses a common CR2025 Lithium manganese button battery with a 3V voltage. It has a maximum measured EIRP of 3.76dBm and naturally operates on the 2.4GHz band. It is about the size that you would know from your car key with remote functionality, but weighs far less. It also comes with a convenient ring for attachment to key rings, backpacks, purses, and more.

Feature Highlights

  • Control your computer from anywhere in the room using 2.4GHz RF remote
  • 2.4GHz receiver PCI or PCI-E card included
  • Works as far away as twenty meter
  • Includes power / reset switch Y cable
  • Includes optional low profile expansion slot cover

Specifications

Package and Accessories

The SilverStone ES01 comes in a fairly simple package which is fitting for a simple device. The front teases the remote capabilities which doesn’t leave much left to the imaginations. You instantly know what it’s for.

The rear of the box contains the specifications and functionality in several languages. Everything extra that you might want to know before you make the purchase.

Inside the box, we find the add-in card with y-cable attached, a low-profile expansion slot bracket for use in SFF chassis, the remote control and battery for it as well as a small manual.

Corsair Releases New SFX SF600 and SF450 PSUs

Building compact high-performance systems can be troublesome in many areas, not because people lack the skills, but because there was a lack of components to do so on the market. We’ve seen an increase in compact motherboards and graphics cards that still deliver great gaming and workstation performance, but there has been a shortage of quality power supplies with high ratings, actually there’s kind of only been one up until now.

We already had a little preview during our visit to CES in January and now Corsair is ready to release their new SFX power supplies with proper certification and a fully modular connection system. The two new power supplies are the Corsair SF600 and SF450 that come with 600W and 450W respectively.

Compact system builds have an additional challenge besides the component size and that is the available cable routing space. With that in mind, it’s great to see that the new SF600 and SF450 power supplies come with a fully modular cable system. You can detach all cables from the unit itself for easy cable routing while building and minimize the cables in the chassis to only those you need.

Corsair is well known for their power supplies and they didn’t skimp out on their new SFX series either. The units are fully 80Plus Gold certified for an optimal efficiency and less heat generation. Speaking of heat, the Corsair SFX PSUs are built with a 90mm fan featuring Zero RPM Fan mode. The fan is only turned on when it is needed and only spins as fast as it is needed. The small you make something, the better the build quality has to be.

The small you make something, the better the build quality has to be in order to have a long lifespan. That’s taken care of in the SF-series by the use of 100% Japanese capacitors and the units are backed by Corsair’s well-known 7-year warranty.

The SF450 is available immediately worldwide from Corsair’s worldwide network of authorized retailers and distributors. The SF600 will be available shortly and is available immediately for pre-order. The MSRP is set to $89.99 and $119.99 respectively, excl. Tax.

 

Amazon Recalls Fire 7 Inch UK Power Adapters

When purchasing any electronic device, it’s imperative to use official AC adapters which meet the necessary safety standards and ensures your device is protected against surges. It can be really tempting to acquire a third-party charger from eBay due to the enticing price, and you can convince yourself that they are of a similar quality. However, in many circumstances, these chargers do not meet safety standards and have fake markings. As a result, they can be dangerous to both the end-user and the device in question. Usually, the quality of construction is abysmal, and known to become a fire hazard. To be clear, this isn’t every third-party charger from eBay I’ve tested, but it’s accurate for the overwhelming majority.

Every so often, even official chargers can experience problems due to an error in the production line. It’s incredible difficult to keep a close eye on the supply line, and one mistake can lead to catastrophic consequences. Today, Amazon sent an email to customers informing them of a product recall on the official charger for the Fire 7″ tablet, and Fire Kids Edition 7″ model. Here is the e-mail in full courtesy of HotUKDeals:

Thankfully, Amazon has adopted a transparent approach and taken the correct steps to put customer safety first. This is a fairly worrying development, but it’s important to remember that the cases will be rare. Despite this, if you have one of these chargers, please go through Amazon’s procedure to acquire a replacement.  This is happening more frequently and there’s been quite a lot of product recalls in the past 12 months. This ranges from food to consumer electronics. Perhaps, there’s a few teething issues in the production line which explains why some chargers could create an electrical shock! I applaud Amazon for sorting this out quickly and giving two options in case their official charger goes out of stock.

The US Snowfall Captured Through a Lense

The recent US snowfall has absolutely hammered the East Coast of America in terms of size and ferocity which has led to the cancellations of thousands of flights as well as leaving tens of thousands without power, below is a selection of stats which conveys the extent of this force of nature.

  • 40 inches of snow – Has been recorded in Glengary, West Virginia; 39 inches fell in Philomont, Virginia; and Redhouse, Maryland, received 38 inches.
  • 11 states declared states of emergency – Georgia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia. Washington, D.C., has declared a “snow emergency.
  • 8,569 flights – Have been cancelled for Saturday and Sunday
  • More than 74,000 people – Without power.

Below is a selection of beautiful, fantastic yet thought-provoking images that conveys just how disruptive this storm has been for residents as well as the country as a whole.

Below is the first image of “Henry Street in the Chinatown neighbourhood of New York”, as you can see, this bustling street has rather ground to a halt.

Next Image below is of a “snowball fight at Dupont Circle in Washington, DC”, this image has been captured in pretty good detail.

The next image below conveys a gentleman by the name of “John Mexner who tries to make headway by shoveling  his vehicle out in Washington”. The morning commute looks rather in vain after the size of disruption from the storm.  

The next image below certainly conveys the amount of snow that has been dumped on the US, the gentleman within the photo is “Ben Osborn who walks with a shovel past a line of snowed-in cars in northeast Washington”, each car looks similar to a giant snowball.

The next image below is beautifully shot and conveys an individual who is producing a “snow angel in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C”, the blueness of the sky is a striking contrast to both the memorial and also the snow.

The last image is certainly thought-provoking and shows “Gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia”  being almost completely hidden from snow.

The last image may not be relevant to the US, but it is certainly stunning, it conveys a frozen mast within Fujian Jiuxian China, wow.

Image courtesy of BBC

Inno3D GeForce GTX 980Ti X3 Ultra DHS Graphics Card Review

Introduction


NVIDIA’s GTX 980Ti has proved to be a very popular choice among hardware enthusiasts requiring extreme performance at demanding resolutions. Whether you’re opting for a 21:9 3440×1440 60Hz panel, 4K display or high refresh rate 1440P monitor, there’s very few single card configurations on the market capable of dealing with advanced AA, complex tessellation and other visually taxing effects while driving a large number of pixels. Technically, the Titan X is NVIDIA’s flagship product and its 12GB frame buffer initially appears like an enticing proposition. However, the price to performance ratio is quite poor especially when you consider the 980Ti is based on the same GM200 silicone and only exhibits a few cost saving measures. Most notably, the video memory is reduced from 12GB to 6GB and the shader units have been slightly scaled back from 3072 to 2816.

Barring a few exceptions, the majority of Titan X models utilize a reference design which results in reduced overclocking headroom and higher temperatures. In contrast to this, custom cooled GTX 980Ti SKUs feature very impressive factory overclocks and enable users to access a higher power limit percentage when tackling manual core and memory boosts. As a result, it’s not uncommon for 980Ti GPUs to outperform the Titan X in certain scenarios despite costing £300-400 less. This means it is the perfect choice for the higher end demographic and also provides an improved price to performance ratio.

Today we’re looking at one of the fastest GTX 980 Ti models on the market incorporating a pre-overclocked core of 1216MHz and boost reaching 1317MHz. Additionally, the memory is set at 7280MHz compared to 7010MHz on the reference design. Given the impeccable 3-fan cooling solution, and impressive factory overclock, I expect the graphics card to perform superbly and pull away from the reference 980Ti by a noticeable margin.

Specifications:

Packing and Accessories

The Inno3D 980Ti X3 Ultra DHS is packaged in a hefty box which does an excellent job of protecting the GPU, and bundled accessories. On another note, the box adopts a really striking design which emphasizes the extreme level of performance on offer.

The opposite side includes a brief synopsis of the GPU’s capabilities and outlines the modern features incorporated into this particular model such as High Dynamic Range (HDR).

In terms of accessories, the product comes with interchangeable cover plates, an installation guide, 3DMark digital code, power supply guidelines, driver disk, and the usual array of adapters. Please note, the 3DMark code is not pictured to prevent the serial from being used.

Another highlight is the extremely high quality elongated mouse pad. I love extended mouse pads because they allow you to neatly position your keyboard and mouse while opting for a clean, sophisticated appearance. Despite being a free addition, the mouse pad is remarkably thick and should last a long time without becoming too frayed.

SilverStone Releases ES01 Remote PC Switch Kit

Have you ever wished to turn your computer on and off from afar, much in the same way that you do when you unlock your car with your remote key? Well you can’t have been the only one as SilverStone just released the ES01 that is just that. The SilverStone ES01 is a remote switch for your PC that allows you to turn it on and off from a distance of up to 20 meters.

The SilverStone ES01 is a 2.4GHz wireless computer power and reset remote switch and that in itself says most. The receiver is in the form of a PCI-Express card and SilverStone included both a normal and a low-profile expansion cover. While the PCI-Express bus is the normal connector these days, in the past it was the previous PCI slot that dominated the machines. SilverStone also released a normal PCI version, so make sure you get the right one for your system. This in return means that you should be able to use this card and remote control for pretty much any system you wish, new or old and small or big.

The included Y-cable for the power and reset buttons make sure that you don’t have to rely solely on this remote control and can continue to use your normal case buttons as you did before you installed this card.

As previously mentioned, the SilverSTone ES01 has a range of up to 20 meters and the interference should be minimal on this band, but objects that are in the way will effect the range. The ES01 has an Effective Isotropic Radiated Power (EIRP) of 2.76 dBm and the remote runs on a nomral CR2025 button battery.

The new SilverStone ES01 (SST-ES01-PCIe / SST-ES01-PCI) will be available around the world during this week and can be yours for a suggested end-user price of $14.96 USD

Microsoft is Recalling Surface Pro Power Cables Due to Overheating Concerns

Microsoft’s Surface Pro range offers superb flexibility due to detachable keyboard, integrated stand and responsive touch screen display. These type of devices are becoming more popular and could theoretically replace traditional laptops. Microsoft’s early vision for the original Surface didn’t go as planned and had pretty severe restrictions due to Windows RT. Thankfully, Microsoft implemented in their pro line-up full Windows integration and support for Win32 applications. The only real downside to take into consideration is the price, which can exceed £1000 for certain configurations. Clearly, this is a costly endeavour but Microsoft appears to be targeting the Surface line at professionals requiring excellent build quality and a high specification.

However, in a statement issued to ZDNet, it appears the Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, and Surface Pro 3 sold before July 2015 have been encountering overheating problems with the included AC adapter. Microsoft’s official findings reads:

“As a result of damage caused by AC power cords being wound too tightly, twisted or pinched over an extended period of time, a very small proportion of Surface Pro customers have reported issues with their AC power cord. We will be releasing details of how customers can obtain a free replacement cable shortly.”

This isn’t going to do Microsoft any favours and raises questions about their ability to produce durable hardware. On the other hand, at least they have openly admitted the technical problems and preparing replacements for all affected customers. It’s still unknown when the replacement service will begin but I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft started the RMA process in the next few days. The advent of ultra cheap chargers from online auction sites can be tempting, but a large amount of these haven’t been approved and can pose, in extreme circumstances, a fire risk. Always spend a little bit extra and buy an official charger.

What do you think of the Surface Pro range?

MIT Researchers Find Way to Power Wearable Tech with Bending Motions

From smartwatches to fitness trackers, the number of wearable electronics in our lives are only set to increase, but they all have one limiting factor: power. But what if all of these wearables could power themselves from your movements, just like a self-winding mechanical watch? MIT may just have the answer, announcing this week that a way of transforming small bending motions into electrical energy had been figured out in a paper submitted to the journal Nature Communications.

The technology involves a central polymer separator soaked in an electrolyte sandwiched with two identical electrodes. When bent, it causes a chemical potential difference between the two electrodes, which in turn produces a voltage and electric current between the electrodes, which can power a device they are connected to. When attached to a small weight, the metal could be able to bend under simple ordinary movements, similarly to an automatic watch. The one flaw that can be foreseen in this method is degradation in power generated over repeated use. The current prototype of the technology mostly maintained it’s performance over 1500 bend cycles, but due to each cycle damaging the metal electrodes slightly, there was some fall off.

Most traditional methods of motion-based power generation rely on the triboelectric effect (based on friction) or piezoelectrics (crystals that produce a small voltage when bent or compressed). These technologies typically have high bending rigidity and rely on high-frequency sources of motion, which make them ill suited to gathering energy from natural human motions. By comparison, this new technology is both flexible, simple and cheap as well as being based on similar technology and materials to existing lithium-ion batteries.

This discovery, if its flaws can be overcome and be mass produced, has the potential to make fitness trackers and other bodily worn electronics vastly more convenient in daily life and not a useless piece of plastic, metal and glass should you forget to charge it. It’s even possible that a self-charging smartwatch might be enough to make me give up my automatic analogue watch.

Image credit: MIT

Nike Reveals Back To The Future II Self Lacing Shoes For Real

At the start of this year, we as consumers were promised sneakers (Trainers in the UK) with power laces, film buffs will no doubt remember these from the hugely popular and successful franchise Back To The Future 2, but did sportswear manufacturer Nike deliver on those promises? It turns out yes they did and they look amazing if the illustrative images are anything to go by.

Nike is coining it an “individually responsive system that senses the wearer’s motion to provide adaptive on-demand comfort and support”. This basically means there is a hidden powered mechanism that automatically tightens the laces when a consumer inserts their feet. Below is an image that illustrates the trainers, as you can see, they would be fantastic to own.

Before anyone feels the urge to run down to their local sports shop in order to purchase the shoes, there is a caveat.  Nike has stated that the “Nike Mag is a limited edition release and as such will only be available via auction with all the proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research”. Further details concerning the auction will be posted to Nike News and via Twitter @Nike in spring 2016.

I dread to think what the eventual price may be if it’s entered into an auction, the average Joe/Johanna might have to sell quite a few things in order to be able to afford to bid on such an exclusive item.  It’s certainly a worthwhile cause however when you consider that an estimated 6.3 million people have Parkinson’s disease worldwide. Hopefully the potential money raised can be used to further research possible treatments for the disease.

Image courtesy of avclub

Reports of iPhone 6S & Plus Randomly Powering Down

Smartphones have moved on leaps and bounds over the last decade, the processing power which is confined within a portable device is quite mind-blowing. But, these devices do have their problems which include generally poor battery life and a tendency to break if dropped, unlike that Nokia 1100 model which would puncture the floor while leaving the phone unharmed.

Talking of glitches, there seems to be a new problem which has been reported by many consumers who have upgraded to iOS 9 while using the iPhone 6S and iPhone Plus. According to reports via various tech forums, the devices in question “randomly and unexpectedly power off” which is certainly inconvenient. Users also report that their phones power down even if the battery is fully charged while others have noticed the home button felt warm or even hot. These reports have been mainly attributed to the above models, although one consumer noted similar problems on the iPhone 5S.

Below are responses from consumers concerning this issue

“I overslept this morning, because my phone quit working overnight! (no alarm) I tried the power button, but it was unresponsive. When I went to try a hard reset, I BURNED my finger on the home button”

The screen was off, and the phone rang. The screen remained dark, but the ringing kept going, but couldn’t be answered. The home button was EXTREMELY hot, and the only way to get the screen back on was to hard boot it (home and power buttons)”

“Happened twice, bought 6s+ (9.1 beta 2) on Friday was dead on Saturday night while charging. Happened again Monday afternoon. Reset all settings and nothing since. Am currently running beta 3.”

Consumers have since upgraded their phones to iOS 9.0.2 and are waiting to see if the problem reappears. There is speculation although no firm conclusion as of yet that the glitches might be down to the A9 processor within the iPhone 6S, which had two manufacturers; TSMC and Samsung.

Unfortunately, the nature and power of these phones will always lead to glitches and errors, Apple will need to ensure such instances are dealt with in a speedy manner with the aim of avoiding potential negative consumer views of the brand. Consumers will also be hoping that any bug fix updates do not introduce new problems to their devices, as in the case of the botched bug fix for iOS 8.

Thank you cnet and macrumors for providing us with this information.

Ambri’s Quest For a New Grid Battery Hits Problems

Rechargeable battery-based technology has steadily improved over recent years as demand has risen for lithium-ion based implementations, which include storing energy from intermittent renewable sources. The problem lies with the fore mentioned lithium based tech which are as yet both too expensive to run and also provide a shorter life span than desired for a wider scale role out of grid storage on an industrial scale.

This is where a start-up by the name of Ambri hoped to change that by committing resources with the aim of producing a new type of grid-scale battery. Unfortunately, Ambri has revealed disappointing test results for its novel technology which has led to the company axing one-quarter of its staff in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The start-up has also revealed plans to push back commercial deployment indefinitely.

Where did it all go wrong? The companies CEO, Phil Giudice explained that its down to the seals which keep Ambri’s liquid electrodes enclosed. “These liquid-metal batteries are housed inside steel cans that must be hermetically sealed with materials that hold up for many years”. Researchers have been working on this issue with the aim of developing the correct seals for the most part of this year (2015). However, after much tinkering it was concluded that current designs had failed to meet the correct performance standards which they are expected to achieve.

Ambri’s technology focuses on the usage of two liquid metals as electrodes; these are then separated by a liquid-salt electrolyte.

Another challenge which Ambri faces is the reality of challenging the market dominance of standard lithium-ion batteries, which have more or less taken over the market for electric vehicles and also for residential energy storage. These batteries continue to go up in performance and down in price, so much so that current market prices have dropped by half in the last few years. On top of this, there is also the view that “commercial and industrial use of lithium-ion batteries for energy storage could become economically viable in the next three to five years if the decline in battery prices persists.”

Ambri will need to perfect the technology behind this venture if it’s to challenge current tech at a comparable price point, if not then it will be a steep learning curve which could ultimately end in failure. I do feel there needs to be a more advanced battery power design which is kinder on the environment, after all, the huge quantities of materials and chemicals which are used to produce each battery and the disposal element all need to be factored in.

Thank you technologyreview for providing us with this information.

Solid State Batteries “Could” last a Lifetime

Among the many annoyances of a tech lovers life which includes, overheating, constant patching, hacking and dropped connections, there is the term battery or lack of considering your average smartphone is dead by the end of each day. Don’t get me started on your run of the mill double A battery, it was fine for a Gameboy, until you had to unreel a long wire with a plug on the end to continue playing, but not for today’s hi-tech toys.

Hopefully, an evolution is on the horizon after researchers at MIT and Samsung have developed a new approach to one of the three basic components of batteries, which in this case is the electrolyte. The premise involves developing a solid electrolyte instead of the current liquid used in today’s most common rechargeables. Current batteries use a liquid organic solvent whose function is to transport charged particles from one of a battery’s two electrodes to the other during charging and discharging, this process has been responsible for the overheating and fires which have caused high-profile disruption.

Another advantage of a solid state electrolyte is the ability to limit degradation to near 0; therefore such batteries could last for “hundreds of thousands of cycles.” Researchers also state these batteries provide a 20 to 30 percent improvement in power density. This means the amount of power that can be stored in a given amount of space can be increased.

By reducing these factors, researchers are hopeful this technique will improve efficiency and waste of the common battery, which in turn will benefit consumers. On a side note, it will be interesting to note how you would put this into practice with the aim of analysing if these batteries would really last for hundreds of thousands of cycles. Indefinite lifetimes in theory, let’s see what a Galaxy S6 makes of that.

Thank you MIT for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of computerworld

SuperFlower Leadex Platinum 750W & Titanium 1000W Power Supply Review

Introduction & Packaging


SuperFlower is one of the leading names in the PSU market, with a wide range of products that cater to a wide range of budgets, although their specialty certainly seems to be in the high-end market, where they offer an impressive range, both in terms of aesthetics and performance for the enthusiast and prosumer markets. Today, I’ll be taking a look at not one, but two of the latest SuperFlower power supplies; the Platinum rated 750W and the Titanium rated 1000W.

Platinum and Titanium rated efficiencies are both very impressive, especially given that many consumers rarely shop above 80Plus Gold. The end result from these higher ratings is that the PSUs should be extremely efficient and could potentially save you some money on your electricity bill in the long run; which is no bad thing. This isn’t a head-to-head “which is best” review, as they’re both spec’d to have their own strength, one for the usual high-end user, the other is aimed a little more at the enthusiast side, so it’ll be interesting to see if spending that bit extra is really worth it overall.

Packaging and Contents – Leadex Platinum 750W

First up we have the 750W Platinum, which comes nicely packaged in a rather eye-catching box.

Around the back, we have a quick run down of all the major features; we’ll take a closer look at those in a moment.

In the box, you’ll find all the usual bits first; power cable, owners manual and some chassis mounting screws.

Surface Charging Move Over – Wireless Charging Now Possible!

Wireless charging is a big selling point for a lot of devices. The ability to just place your phone or laptop down on a pad and charge without having to plug in your cable is an appealing one. The problem with this approach is it’s not truly wireless. After all the pad has a cable running from the socket and then you have to place your device on the pad and leave it there while it charges. A team from Korea hope to swap surface charging for a truly wireless experience.

A team from Korea’s Advanced Institute for Science and Technology (KAIST) have created a system where you can charge a device wirelessly. Comparing the system to WiFi the “Wi-Power” system is said to be able to power devices up to half a metre away and in any direction from the main device. The system uses two coils, the first of which (the transmitting coil) can send power to a variety of devices at the same time while the second coil (the receiving coil) doesn’t even need to be pointed at the transmitter to start charging your devices.

With it being safe around people, KAIST have formed a company to produce the technology commercially. TESLAS Inc will focus on developing the technology for everyday use, so soon you could find your phone charging itself the second you step through your front door, at least once they increase the range.

Thank you GEEK for the information. 

Facebook Planning New Eco Data Centre?

Facebook is famed for its social networking, interactive features and breaking news, but along with these features comes the expansive data which Facebook processes each year at its four sizeable facilities which are located Iowa; Prineville, Oregon; Forest City, North Carolina; and Luleå, Sweden.

Facebook has deemed that it also needs a new facility with which to add to its collection and is planning to construct one which boosts its eco credentials. The centre in question is being built-in Forth Worth Texas and is estimated to cost $500 million dollars over a 110 acre site. To stand by its eco claims, Facebook is intending to entirely power its centre with 200 megawatt wind project which is being built on a nearby 17,000-acre site in nearby Clay County.

As you can see from the image below, the centre looks as if the designer looked at the alphabet and thought H will do. This latest project is a wider attempt at decreasing the environmental impact of Facebook’s carbon footprint according to Jay Parikh who is vice president of engineering. He also stated that the company aims to power its data centres with 50 percent renewable energy by the end of 2018.

This step by Facebook is part of a wider issue which could be a problem for the world in a generation, as more services are moved online, so is the need for servers, infrastructure and electricity which could have a major impact on the world. Eco is certainly the way to go but can only be fully implemented by high earning companies at present.  You can be also sure that when Facebook collects your data, it’s not harming the planet in any way.

Thank You Computerworld for providing us with this information

Image Courtesy of Computerworld and budillionaire

AMD R9 Nano Performance Indirectly Revealed

The AMD R9 Nano, a dinky little card that still packs a massive punch. It is said to pack 2x the performance per watt and 2x the performance density of AMD’s previous flagship card, the result being a 175 watt six-inch long beast of a graphics card.

We’re referring to Teraflops here when describing the “computer power” and how many this card achieves. It doesn’t always translate into gaming performance, but will give you a good idea.

How do we know the performance? Wccftech managed to apply some maths to the little amounts of data that AMD revealed to us. They used that cards TDP and performance per watt to work it out:

Since we know that performance per watt is FP32/TDP, we can go ahead and extrapolate the power efficiency of the R9 290X.
R9 290X’s peak FP32 = 5.6 TFLOPs, in other words, 5600 GFLOPs, and its TDP is 250W.
Perf/W = 5600 GFLOPs/250W = 22.4 GFLOPs/W

We also know that the R9 Nano has 2X the perf/watt of the R9 290X.
Which means it’s 2X (5.6TFLOP/250W)
= 2X 22.4 GFLOPs/W
= 44.8 GFLOPs/W.
Thus the perf/watt rating of the R9 Nano is 44.8GFLOPs/W.

Incidentally, we also have the TDP for the Nano, and that’s the last missing piece in the puzzle.

R9 Nano
Perf/watt = FP32 in GFLOPs (unknown) / TDP (175)
44.8 = FP32 (unknown) / 175
44.8 x 175 = FP32 (unknown)
44.8 x 175 = 7840 GFLOPs or 7.84 TFLOPs.
In summary, this means that the R9 Nano could pack a crazy 7.84 Teraflops in compute power. That’s more than a Titan X can give. If bitcoin mining was still financially feasible with graphics cards, this one would by far be the most popular. It will give out nearly twice the amount of gigaflops per second than the Titan X.

For a definite verdict on if this card will be good at gaming, we will have to wait for it to be released into general population. AMD’s power and performance claims will need testing by an independent organisation, that won’t happen until near the launch date.

Thank you to Wccftech for providing us with this information

HBM Memory Overclocking to be Locked on Fiji

AMD released some awesome news earlier this week, they stunned us with a whopping range of 9, yes! Nine new graphics cards during E3 2015. At the top of the range there are 4 cards that will utilize the new Fijii gpu chip. Performance of any of the cards is under strict NDA until June 24th when the new Radeon R9 Fury X will be released. However AMD have released today some basic specs and features of the new tech.

One of the new features is the whopping 4GB of high bandwidth memory. AMD have released that the 4GB will be running at 500mhz on a 4096-bit wide bus. This means that at this clock speed it can hit a whopping 512GB/s in bandwidth!

The interesting part about this is that AMD is not going to let you overclock the memory on the cards when the first ones are released. AMD say that the new memory technology behind the Fiji architecture is too new and will provide more than enough bandwidth to use the cards at max utilization. This block by AMD may be lifted later on in the cards lifetime but for the time being it will only be the cards core clock that can be overclocked.

AMD have also compacted everything on the new cards as they have now joined the memory and the GPU itself into one large chip that sits on the board. I assume this is to help the card to get the phenomenal bandwidth that they state it can provide.

The AMD Radeon R9 Fury X video card is the top range single-GPU Fiji card. This card is said to be stuffed full with 4096 Stream Processors running at 1050MHz. The card will have 64 Compute Units, 256 Texture Units and 64 ROPs. The Compute performance is 8.6 TFLOPS! The texture fill-rate is 268.8 GT/s, and the pixel-fill rate is 67.2 GP/s. Pretty high specs for a card that uses around 275 watts under normal load; The Fiji architecture has taken nearly 7 years to develop and is the first GPU to utilize high bandwidth memory,

I find it very strange that AMD have restricted the ability to overclock the memory in the new chips, but maybe it’s for the best. What do you think? Let us know!

Thank you to Legit Reviews for providing us with this information.

New Leaked Images Reveal Fury X Power Connectors & More!

As the launch of the next-generation of AMD graphics cards approaches, more cheeky leaks are finding their way online. The latest leaks have shown up as an unboxing on YouTube, even one that appeared on eBay, hardware benchmarks and more! The latest leaked images look pretty legit to me, showing off the design of the AMD Radeon Fury X graphics card, its water cooling unit and more interestingly, the power connectors.

As you can see in the images below, the Fury X is going to be power-hungry, requiring a pair of 8-pin power connectors to feed the card and no doubt the reason why it will use that thick water cooling radiator to keep the heat in check. It’s no secret that Nvidia have got the lead for power efficiency but what we’re really interested in seeing is how the new generation of cards use that power to render graphics; I’ll take FPS over efficiency any day.

Also on show, the water cooling pipes for the radiator, They’re heavily braided to help ensure a long lifespan and reduce any chance of damaging them, or coolant leaks. A shorter graphics card this may be, but those power connectors and that big radiator hint at some pretty hardcore hardware on the interior.

Thank you PCper for providing us with this information.

AMD Radeon R9 370 and M390X Become Standard at Alienware

Alienware announced on their twitter feed that they now have the R9 370 and the M390X GPUs as standard earlier this week. The R9 M390X is a mobile, High-end graphics card for laptops. It will most likely be based on the M295X that was used in the iMac 5k in 2014, meaning it should be based on the third generation of the desktop Tonga chip. The amount of shader cores is identical, but the clock speed is slower (by 15%) and will run at 723mhz and the memory will also be clocked slower at 5000mhz. This means that the performance will be a bit below the M295X and will be somewhere between the GTX965M and the 970M. Meaning that it will be suitable for 1080p gaming and high detail gaming.

The announcement on twitter stated that the card will also have 4GB of Vram too.

Notebookcheck.net have a list of stats as follows:

Codename Tonga
Architecture GCN 3
Pipelines 2048 – unified
Core Speed * 723 (Boost) MHz
Memory Speed * 5000 MHz
Memory Bus Width 256 Bit
Memory Type GDDR5
Max. Amount of Memory 4096 MB
Shared Memory no
DirectX DirectX 11.2, Shader 5.0
Power Consumption 125 Watt
Transistors 5000 Million
technology 28 nm
Features DirectX 12, OpenCL 1.2, OpenGL 4.3, Vulkan, Mantle
Notebook Size large
Date of Announcement 09.06.2015

Sounds good right? The power consumption will be around 100 watts TDP and will be used in the larger and more powerful gaming laptops such as the Alienware m17x.

The specs for the R9 370 were leaked earlier this year too, with impressive specs of 4GB DDR5 vram, 130 watt TDP. It will have the Curacao Pro chip to do all the hard work and will also pack a whopping 179GB/s of available bandwidth.

Will you be getting one of these new cards? let us know!

Power Plug PC’s Are Now A Thing Thanks To Microsoft

More and more devices these days use USB chargers, to the point where you can even buy wall plugs with USB plugs built in, allowing you to charge your phone or iPod without needing an adapter. The next thing you plug into the wall socket may not be a power cable for your computer, instead it may simply be an entire computer thanks to the people over at Microsoft.

Computex 2015 is a showcase of technology from all around the world, but the Quanta Compute Plug was a little different. With two USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI port, the device can easily be plugged into your TV with your favourite mouse and keyboard. To top it off Microsoft say that with a Bluetooth remote or headset you can even use Cortana, their new voice command system that will be rolling out with windows 10, to control the computer no bigger than your average phone charger.

With no word on pricing or the hardware inside, the best guess is the device will be a low power device focused toward the increasing demand for media centres, hopefully with a price to match the dedicated media streaming devices that are becoming more and more accessible to everyday users.

What do you think about it? Would you be interested in plugging in a tiny little power plug if it meant you could stream your movies from into the sitting room? Are you attracted by the small space and wireless command capabilities available make it more appealing than a mini computer with a mouse and keyboard?

Thank you TechSpot for the information.

Image courtesy of Microsoft.

akasa Showcase Cobra and Venom Power Supplies @ Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – During our travelling between meetings, we stopped by the akasa stand where they have a staggering range of power supplies on display. All that we currently can see are from the enthusiast lines of Venom (Yellow) and Cobra (Blue).

These come in a range of power outputs up to 1000W, cable design including fully modular and efficiency ratings up to 80PLUS Platinum. Akasa have covered a huge part of the mainstream enthusiast market with these power supplies.

We are looking forward to bringing you more information about these power supplies in our upcoming reviews. We will keep you updated with the news and events from the rest of Computex 2015.

Google’s Solar Plane Crashes After Takeoff

Over the last few months, we have heard about Google’s and Facebook’s plans to bring free internet to everyone in the world; focusing on the parts of the world currently without internet access. Plans jumped from weather balloons to satellites to planes and much more. Google decided to stick with a solar plane.

In theory, this was a good idea; a huge 50m wing span completely covered in solar panels to absorb as much energy as possible, in a light weight chassis and electric motor.

https://youtu.be/Q7Z_-nfVUS4

During initial testing in Albuquerque, the plane crashed shortly after takeoff. This happened on May 1st on a private airfield and luckily no injuries were reported; well apart from the plane. The drone was a project idea of Google which became a reality after the acquisition of Titan Aerospace. It has not been made clear if the plane is salvageable or if the technology will be used to build ‘Solar Plane 2.0’.

“Although our prototype plane went down during a recent test, we remain optimistic about the potential of solar-powered planes to help deliver connectivity,” Courtney Hohne, a Google spokeswoman, told Bloomberg. “Part of building a new technology is overcoming hurdles along the way.”

It is still early days for the project, maybe it would be better to be dropped off the bottom of a larger plane instead of self-propelling for take off.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Blade-less Turbines Could Be The Future!

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We’ve all seen them. The giant fans that spin (on occasion) and are said to help power the world without needing to worry about the pollution that may be generated. The problem is a lot of people don’t like the look of them (bar the fact that unless you have the right conditions the fans won’t spin), but what if someone came up with a new design?

A company in Spain is looking to do just that, Vortex Bladeless are looking to remove the unsightly blades and change how the wind can help power your homes. The giant metal pillars are instead designed to shake, a movement created by the air flowing around the pillars rather than forcing and pushing a giant blade instead. Typically buildings are designed to avoid the kind of wind and vortices that these pillars are instead designed to capture and use. While normally utilizing these by creating a building to oscillate at a specific frequency that the wind may occur at. Instead, Vortex states that by using magnets they are able to adjust the turbines in real time, getting the most out of the wind without having to wait for the opportune moment.

By converting the movement into electricity, Vortex claims to be able to reduce the cost of turbines by almost 40%. The reason for this price reduction is simple, very little maintenance is required if there are no gears or moving mechanics instead. While also cutting initial build costs by almost half due to the lack of expensive blades the blade-less design also has a small problem. The design only captures on average around 30% less energy than a regular turbine, something you could argue is offset by the smaller pieces of land they occupy and silent almost continuous running.

I’m all for environmental energy. Be it solar, wind or tidal renewable energy and electric vehicles are going to help cut pollution and make the world a better place to life very soon in the future, anything that helps bring that future closer can only be good right?

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information.

Tesla’s Home Battery Sold Out Till Mid-2016

Tesla mostly, known for their famous electric cars, recently announced the Powerwall battery. Essentially built as giant batteries for the home, the concept of which is the batteries are charged during the day and used to power homes during the night. They can also be used as UPS (uninterruptible power supplies), devices used to hold an electronic charge in case of a power cut, this allows the devices to stay on regardless of if your property has electric coming in.

With over 38,000 reservations received the product has been in high demand. The demand is so high that the company is contemplating devoting their production purely on the Powerwall battery, but with current levels of production it is said to be sold out until mid-2016.

Almost 2,500 companies has displayed an interest in the product, with an average of 10 units per order, accounting for a more company based interest in the product than that of the general public (as was predicted on the devices initial announcements).

With giant batteries coming home is it only a matter of time before power cuts are a thing of the past? How would you feel when you see a power cut turn off your lights but your computer and fridge stay on?

Information courtesy of Engadget.

Off Grid Solar Charging Implemented in San Francisco

With electric vehicles (EVs) starting to gain traction in the automotive world, ways of charging them when ‘out and about’ has been a small concern for some motorists. This has now been tackled head on by the company Envision Solar, with the introduction of three separate solar powered charging stations; I like the sound of car docks myself.

So what does this mean? Basically, there are three completely off the grid charging stations dotted throughout San Francisco. These are transportable stations only taking up the space of a normal sized parking spot and are completely free for users to utilise. They are Level 2 charging stations, capable of generating 3.3 kilowatts of energy; that’s not much, but it’s better than plugging in at home or at any other on-grid charging station. The charging station is also equipped with a lithium-ion battery pack that stores 22.5 kilowatt-hours of electricity; saving it for a rainy day.

These charging stations are on a fixed term basis, staying at their locations within San Francisco for a few months at a time. All of which, they will be gathering information such as charge frequency and duration. After 12 months, the company will analyse the data and choose which spot will be best to store all three of these stations to then be made a permanent feature.

All green energy for all green cars, sounds like the right way forward and would make excellent use of open car parks that are directly in sun, keeping the car cool on a hot day and also giving you some charge.

Image courtesy of EnvisionSolar

Meet the Camera That Uses Light to Power Itself

If you think solar panels are the only thing that use photons to produce power, you might need to read this. Scientists from Columbia University seem to have developed a camera that uses light to power itself.

The camera appears to have been developed in the university’s Department of Computer Science by researchers Shree Nayar and Daniel Sims in collaboration with Mikhail Fridberg, the head of ADSP Consulting in Sharon, Massachusetts.

As for the camera itself, it looks like it uses a simple pixel circuit where its photodiote is used to measure light as well as convert it into electrical energy. This has been made possible by a sensor architecture, which first captures and reads the image and then is used to harvest energy for the sensor’s power supply.

To test it out, the researchers used off-the-shelves components and made two models. One was made using a single pixel based on the design at hand and used it to capture scene images. The next one was made as a fully self-powered camera that outputs 30×40 pictures, using a supercap power supply rather and an external source.

The fully fledged camera was then used to take images in environments with light measuring in at around 300 lux. This resulted in the camera harvesting enough power to keep the supercap above the minimum needed for the camera to take an image per second… forever.

In order to test this out in different lighting environments, the scientists used an adaptive algorithm used to adjust the framerate of the camera based on the voltage of the supercap and the environmental brightness. In the end, the final results got the researchers hyped about the future of fully self-powered solid-state image sensors.

What does this mean for future camera models? Well, post probably it would mean infinite battery life! Or this could even lead to a way to power up your handheld gadgets that feature a camera? Who knows! What we do know is that it is awesome!

Images and videos courtesy of Columbia University

Microsoft Adds ‘Energy Saver’ Feature to Its Xbox One Consoles

Customers who buy a new Xbox One console will be greeted by a new screen after booting the device. This will prompt the user to choose between “instant-on” and “energy-saving” power modes, having the default be instant-on in the US up until now.

The power-consuming option lets the console download updates and content while not in use, while also providing a way for users to wake it up by yelling at it. However, the National Resource Defense Council openly criticised the Xbox One’s always-on power option.

“Although Microsoft reduced the power drain from its ‘instant-on’ mode from 18 watts to 12.5 watts, the mode is still the default when it comes out of the box and the user is not even given the option to disable it during the initial setup,” the NRDC wrote.

Current Xbox One users are also able to make the switch by going to the “Power & Startup” section in Settings. Also, Microsoft states that the new energy-saving feature can save players an average of $6 to $15 per year in the US.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information