Corsair Gaming K70 Rapidfire RGB Gaming Keyboard Review

Introduction


Ready to take your gaming seriously? We’ve got the (mostly) new Corsair Gaming K70 Rapidfire RGB in the eTeknix office today, and while you may be familiar with the K70 part, the keyboard now features the all-new and very much improved Cherry MX Speed switches! But what are MX Speed switches? They use the same underlying format as the extremely popular and lightning fast MX Red switches, but with a 40% reduction in actuation distance, meaning they’re even faster than ever before, making them the shortest response mechanical switches on the market today.

  • Ultrafast mechanical gaming keyboard: ultrafast 1.2mm actuation and light 45g switch force for truly unrivaled response time.
  • 100% Cherry MX Speed RGB key switches: ultrafast performance with the precision and durability of gold contact Cherry MX mechanical gaming key switches.
  • Aircraft-grade anodized brushed aluminum frame: with light weight and rugged durability you need for a keyboard that’s going to see a lot of action.
  • 100% anti-ghosting and full key rollover over USB circuitry: no matter how fast you go your keypresses will always register.
  • Advanced lighting control and large font keycaps: experience dynamic, vibrant multi-color backlighting.
  • The power of CUE: sophisticated macro programming and fast, fluid dynamic multicolor illumination for an enlightened gaming experience.
  • Detachable soft-touch wrist rest: the comfort you need for marathon gaming sessions.
  • Dedicated multimedia controls: the control you need to adjust your audio without interrupting your game.
  • USB Pass-Through Port: Positioned for uninterrupted game play and ready for your mouse or wireless headset adapter.
  • FPS and MOBA keycap sets: Textured and contoured keycaps provide maximum grip and enhanced feel

Every action counts when it comes to competitive gaming, and trimming the fat from the switch means that you’ll be triggering those switches milliseconds before the competition. It’s not a huge advantage, but every little bit adds up and no matter how small it may seem, an edge is an edge.

The packaging is really nicely designed, keeping the usual Corsair colours and showing off the most important features.

You’ll find all the usual stuff in the box, such as the documentation, two sets of gaming caps and a handy key cap puller.

Facebook is Testing a Super-Speed Wi-Fi System

When it comes to technology, Facebook wants to be standing at the front of innovation with creating tools to help blind people make sense of their news feeds and their free internet service being used around the globe, but if you really want to see something then you should check out their super-speed wi-fi system they have installed at their campus.

Facebook’s campus in Menlo Park, California has a super wi-fi. What do we mean by a super wi-fi? Well, anything that servers speeds of over one gigabit per second would count as super. This means its more than 100 times the average speed of a typical house’s internet speed in the US!

Facebook doesn’t want to stop there, looking to expand the test to a large scale system in downtown San Jose later this year and then in other areas around the world. Jay Parikh, head of infrastructure and engineering at Facebook says that rolling over other high-speed options, such as Google Fiber, can prove to be difficult in urban areas, so creating a wireless infrastructure would be both cheaper and easier to deploy.

The problems title is named Terragraph and is based on the technology known as WiGig. By placing WiGig hubs on light poles and common street furnishings, Facebook hopes to create a fast wireless network that anyone can use to send and receive information on the 60 GHz radio waves the systems designed around.

UK May Have Hit Broadband Targets

When it comes to the internet the coalition government made a pledge that by 2015, they would have the “best superfast broadband in Europe”. The UK may have hit broadband targets, but still fears remain over the future and if the targets are good enough.

The problem with setting targets with technology, they look great but they have to change as technology does. The original target for 90% of properties having superfast broadband by 2015 was changed in light of the difficulty and processes involved, eventually changing to 95% of properties by 2017. We may have hit the 90% marker now, but that last 5% needed to meet the goal posts next year may come at difficulty.

The difficulty comes from the properties located in rural areas, with fibre optic speeds slowly reaching those areas (although not as the speeds users want to gain access to the internet). The second problem though is the big one, what is super fast internet these days?

Back in 2010, the definition was 24 Mbps, but these days you can grab 100 or even 200 Mbps internet. With the kind of fibre optic cables needed to reach 24 Mbps used in its current roll out the question is being raised that if we compare ourselves on “superfast broadband” in a few years time, will we need to roll out new options all over again.

The standard option  for many European countries is now FTTH (Fiber to the house), an option that is only reaching 1.56% of British homes. The city of Hull has one of the lowest superfast broadband availability, listed at 37.6% because Hull’s independent telecoms provider, KCOM, has already opted to deploy the FTTH strategy, resulting in 37.6% of houses now getting fibre optic speed straight to the house.

Scientists Use Fibre Optic Cable to Transmit 57Gbps

How fast is your internet? 1Mbps? 10Mbps? Are you lucky enough to get a 1Gbps? With governments all over the world now racing to deliver the best internet to everyone, the speed of your internet is quickly becoming a topic of hot debate. For those with speed hate, I am sorry. It would now seem that it is possible to transmit 57Gbps down a fibre optic cable. Sorry.

I apologise because like many I am someone who has been promised great speeds, but more often than not you find those speeds don’t seem to exist and you can almost hear that digital bleeping from dial-up coming to haunt you as you call it a night, letting your movie buff or your game download.

Researchers from the University of Illinois have pushed fibre optic technology to a new level by transmitting 57 gigabytes of data per second through a fibre optic cable, a whole 17 Gbps extra compared to those reported last year. What’s better about this you ask? The speed was achieved with no errors and then to prove the point they went and send 50Gbps while at temperatures of 85 degrees celsius.

The reason the temperature is important is because electrical components get warm over time (like the bottom of the laptop you’ve had resting on your lap while watching Netflix in bed), which can lead to reduced performance and damaged components. The team behind the idea hope that by showing that these speeds are available from room temperature to 85 degrees, companies will have no reason to push these systems out to the public.

You can read the paper that’s been published on the experiments here and begin to imagine how many games you could delete and download at 50 Gbps. So many games.

UK Needs Faster Internet Says Business Leaders Group

Buffering, downloading, pausing, even trying to make out the shapes on a low-resolution video have become common place for so many people as their internet speed caps out, normally before they are anywhere near their advertised (and purchased) speeds. It seems that we aren’t the only ones annoyed by this though as a group of business leaders have spoken out now, accusing the UK government of creating a “poverty of ambition” for internet speeds.

The Institute of Directors (IoD) is formed from business leaders within the UK, and in their report titled Ultrafast Britain, they state that the UK is lagging behind when it comes to enabling faster broadband connections. The government states that 90% of UK properties have access to superfast speeds, with that reaching 95% by next year.

The IoD don’t think this is good enough, with them calling for speeds of 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) by 2030. Currently, the government wants just 10 megabits per second by 2020, a speed which many are already getting.

This isn’t the first time that the internet as a structured provision has been discussed this week, with Ofcom telling BT that its cable network should be opened up to other companies. Currently, BT contains two parts, the core company and Openreach, the part of the company responsible for the cable, fibre and network infrastructure that the UK relies on for its internet.

What is your internet speed? Is it ever what you were actually advertised to be getting? Do you know anyone with super fast/slow internet and does it have a big impact on them?

DriveClub Update Brings The Race To Scotland

DriveClub looks to be an amazing racing game, with everything from a McLaren 650S throttling down the road to Suzuki bikes coming in a future DLC. The game looks to have something for everyone, and with companies like Nissan mistaking gameplay for real-life, the graphics are jaw dropping. That said a game is not made by graphics alone and initial reviews saw DriveClub lacking with missing or broken features following a delay. Let’s hope the latest update brings more people into the fold for the game.

The latest update for DriveClub features a new map, based in an old Scottish Town (unsurprisingly called Scotland’s Old Town) is available in three variants to give you a bit of choice.

If the extra map wasn’t enough there is a break from the arcade tradition of the game with the addition of the hardcore mode. Meant to bring a more challenging experience, selecting this option gives you breaks that lock and your tires will scream out if you try to perform some of the more ambitious driving moves.

With an update like this the game now has two feelings, but with players often wanting to seek out new ways to drive faster, is a game mode that makes them slow down a good option? With the new game mode sharing the same leaderboard as the normal mode, you’ll find it a challenge to get your times anywhere near high enough to get near the top.

Uber Trials Phone Monitoring of Its Drivers

Uber is well-known for problems. The popular app allows drivers to charge as if they were taxi’s, getting notifications that someone is requesting a lift and then offering their services at a charge. Uber, like many companies, suffer from bad press and actions like stolen accounts being sold and even having its leaders in France arrested. In order to combat their drivers though Uber looks to employ the same technique that some insurance companies now use, monitoring of its drivers.

Uber announced that it will be rolling out a trial in Houston, Texas, to check on drivers who have received complaints about their driving standards. The system will use a combination of the phone’s accelerometers, GPS and gyroscopes to record actions such as excessive speeding or even if you decided to check your phone and send a text while at the wheel.

Uber made it clear that they would only access this information though if the driver had a complaint made against them, although the possibility of always-on monitoring is still on the cards.

While monitoring is often frowned upon, when you are placing your trust in a driver who is monitored in very few ways, with some instances of drivers being accused or committing crimes, a little extra safety for passengers and road users can’t be a bad thing.

Republican Senators Argue With FCC Over 25Mbps Broadband

On Thursday, a group of republican senators expressed an issue with the Federal Communications commission, or rather their definition of a service. The item in question is broadband and the fact that in order to qualify in their reports they are now required to provide 25Mbps Broadband.

Citing popular sites like Netflix and Amazon in their letter, they argue that services like these only require a fraction of the speed that the FCC now say is the baseline to classify as broadband internet. The speed in question is 25 Mbps, a speed I know a lot of people would be happy to pay for if it was stable at even a fraction of that speed.

Broadbands definition was redefined as 25 Mbps last year, raising from only 4Mbps. The difference being fundamental to the FCC given that they are required to act if not enough people have access to this service. The reason they stated for the update was because the old speed was “dated and inadequate”, with more devices connected to each household now you could often see several people connecting and using services like Netflix at the same time.

In their latest report, 10% didn’t have access to the 25Mbps speed that was required to be considered Broadband. Something which may be easier to help with if the FCC was consistent across the board the senators argue. While using 25 Mbps for reporting on broadband levels, if you are applying for Connect America Funds the benchmark is only 10 Mbps. These funds are designed to help connect people and allow companies to offer services to as many people as possible, but clearly only offering 10 Mbps is far from the 25 Mbps you will require according to the new standards.

Hyperloop Construction Begins

The hyperloop has been one of Elon Musk’s many ideas that has gathered a lot of public attention. From the Space X rockets to Tesla, Musk is known for going beyond the normal and his idea of a Hyperloop was included in that list. Now that idea is becoming a reality.

First purposed by Musk, the hyperloop would work by creating a vacuum in which you could propel a pod carrying people around the country at high speeds. So imagine all those Sci-fi movies which had you stepping into a pod and speeding into the distance? That could soon be you!

Estimated to be able to transport people from San Francisco to Los Angeles in under 30 minutes the pods could go as fast as 760mph. The first step of construction is a 5-mile test track in Quay valley, the test track won’t just be for testing, though. It is designed to be the start of the system, with analysis and improvements made all throughout 2016 and 2017, while passengers will have to wait till 2018 to get a ride on something that will leave cars and roller coasters in the dust.

The idea behind the hyperloop is simple, use our understanding of physics and transportation to create a new, cheaper, more affordable and quicker form of transportation. Imagine taking a train journey across the country and then suddenly realising before you even open your book that you’re at your destination.

Valve Increasing Steam’s Speed With 100 Gbps Connections

Steam is a global name in video games. As a platform for everything from selling games to networking players, the service enables you to download a small client and regain access to a collection of thousands of games. Not surprising then that they’ve recruited Level 3 communications to increase their network speed.

Level 3 deliver a collection of high-speed connections all around the world, a service that Steam users will be able to enjoy soon as Valve has approached Level 3 to upgrade their network to include their “100 gigabits per second” connection. They state several good reasons for this upgrade, the first of which is the service’s growth year on year. With a 75% increase year on year, you can imagine how their servers must be with new games released causing massive spikes of downloads. 400-500 petabytes of data are downloaded worldwide per month with 4-5 exabytes being downloaded per year, a figure that will only increase with games increasing in average size year on year. With Steam games coming from MB’s to GB’s the “standard” for Steam is roughly 10-40 gigabytes per user download. This is quite hefty given the service has over 100 million users, with users often being online at peak times such as during sales in which it’s not uncommon for millions of users to be online at the same time.

During those busy times, you may quickly notice that your connection stays at peak performance with such an array of upgrades coming soon. Now if only we could all get stable, fast internet at homes it would help make that game time less stressful.

Triple The Speed But US Still Lags In Internet Speed Comparisons

One of the most competitive things you can mention is your internet speed. Being able to download and watch your latest games and movies at the press of a button relies on a steady and speedy connection, something that few have. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have released a report that shows something that might upset some people, even though all it does is say your internet is more than likely faster than it used to be.

The report states that between March 2011 and September 2014 internet speeds within the US tripled, jumping from 10MBPS to 31MBPS. While this may sound amazing, in comparison to other countries like Canada and Japan the US still ranks 25 out of 39 countries as stated by a study in 2013.

While this all sounds amazing you have to remember just how much extra bandwidth people are using on an everyday basis. With the FCC estimating that over 60% of internet traffic is video, estimated to rise to over 80% by 2019, you may need that fiber optic broadband sooner than you think. Don’t forget that the next big thing is 4k, with such a data consuming technology set (or at least many hope) to become the new standard you could soon see speeds of MBPS not being enough to catch up with your favourite shows or watch that new Netflix or Prime movie.

Jeremy Clarkson Reveals New Amazon 30-Minutes Delivery Drone

The last we heard from Amazon regarding their drones, they were still using a model that looked like a slightly enlarged version of a regular consumer drone. Their latest reveal though is nothing like what you’d find in a hobby store.

The new craft, as pictured above, would carry the package inside the fuselage (the body of the craft) rather than beneath the drone. The drone takes off vertically similar to a helicopter before flying straight towards your house. With an impressive range of 15 miles, the drone looks to be the first of a generation of more powerful drones, built for a range of environments; soon the Amazon drone army will be flying through the air delivering anything you need within the hour.

With sensors designed to search for and evaluate possible landing environments, the drone lands, releases your product and then takes back off. Of course, it doesn’t just appear and fly off, with a notification on your Amazon app you’re alerted so you can watch the device drop off your product and be ready to pick it up.

With development centers in the U.S, U.K and Israel you could soon see the drones flying once they receive approval. If that didn’t spark your interest then check out the video below, with none other than Jeremy Clarkson, explaining the details in his usual unique style.

Fallout 4’s Engine Runs Faster at High Framerates

Fallout 4 has finally been released and received widespread acclaim among RPG fans. However, technical analysis shows the console versions can drop to 20 frames-per-second, and the game suffers from noticeable bugs. Any relatively modern PC is capable of reaching higher framerates, and provide a smooth, fluid experience. Many PC gamers opt for a high refresh rate 1920×1080 panel over a 60Hz 2560×1440 or 4k monitor as they prioritize gameplay over image quality.

Unfortunately, Fallout 4’s engine ties the running speed to the framerate. As a result, the game at high refreshes dramatically speeds up by approximately 20-30 percent. This makes it an unplayable mess and illustrates how the engine has remained largely unchanged from Bethesda’s older titles. Clearly, 120-144hz gamers are a niche, but this doesn’t excuse poor programming. This personally would not effect me as I use a 3440×1440 60Hz monitor, but I can see it becoming a major problem for people using monitors like the ASUS ROG Swift.

I’m not entirely sure this can be fixed via a patch because it’s an integral component of how the engine has been coded. Furthermore, it won’t be given a priority as most people are using 60Hz monitors at 1920×1080 or less.

Do you think there is a noticeable difference going from 60Hz to 144Hz?

UK Government Promises 10Mbps Broadband to All Homes by 2020

The internet has rapidly become a basic human right and an essential element of daily life. Whether you’re looking for a new job, or want to communicate with relatives, it’s almost impossible to think of a situation where the internet isn’t a necessity. The UK government agrees with this stance and pledged a universal service obligation” to provide an affordable fast connection. More specifically, the Prime Minister promised speeds of 10Mbps by 2020 and said:

“Access to the internet shouldn’t be a luxury, it should be a right—absolutely fundamental to life in 21st Century Britain,” said David Cameron. “Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we’re going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it.”

The service obligation gives broadband parity with other services like water and heating. While it’s always welcome to see a government acknowledge the internet’s importance, 10Mbps will be pretty slow by 2020, and isn’t overly fast by today’s standards. On another note,  this is the same government which drafted extremely intrusive and controversial legislation which forces internet service providers to monitor every website you visit within a 12 month period.

Even more astounding, the government can access this data, and snoop into your daily life. Encryption to evade these new measures will be banned. Not only that, the government is well-known for increasing broadband prices through their pointless anti-piracy censorship. In the past few years, the UK government has applied pressure on ISPs to block torrent sites, which can easily be circumvented with a simple proxy. When the ISPs originally resisted, this resorted in legal proceedings and increased the monthly broadband service costs.

Also, David Cameron’s crusade against porn, and implementing a opt-out filtering scheme, is another stupid decision as the government attempts to control an open, worldwide infrastructure. Given the government’s previous actions and promises, it’s difficult to take the latest one seriously.

Amazon Prime Now Offers Same Day Delivery in Parts of UK

Amazons never been strangers to upgrading their services,  from the idea of delivering with drones, opening their own bookstore, offering offline video playback and even suing people who leave fake reviews about products. It should be no surprise then that Amazon prime users are to get yet another added bonus to their services with their new scheme Prime Same Day.

At the moment at the cost of £79 a  year you can get Amazon prime, giving you access to free next day delivery on a range of their products and their Amazon Prime Music and Video services, giving you access to a wide range of music and video streaming facilities at no extra cost. If that wasn’t enough the new scheme will see you getting the ability to place orders for delivery the same day.

There are a few restrictions on the deal’s though, currently only those within the M25 are eligible at the start of the scheme, and while there are no limitations on the value of the items ordered, there will be a set collection of items available. Don’t worry though, as the collection is set to range around a million items, with orders placed before noon delivered between 6 and 10 that evening.

If that wasn’t enough, Prime members ordering to London or Birmingham can have it delivered within the hour for £6.99 or for free within a two-hour window between 8am and midnight the same day.

Costing nothing extra and giving their users more choices and speedier returns on their purchases can only be a good thing for the customer and if it works, Amazon will soon see deliveries being placed every hour of the day ready for that adventure the next day.

Amazon Launches Snowball – Storage Appliance For Importing Data To AWS

Amazon surprised developers today with the launch of a device dubbed as Snowball. Snowball is  a new physical appliance that will allow Amazon Web Service users to ship huge amounts of data for import by shipping the device back and forth between their offices and the AWS data centers.

The appliance is a bit larger than an old-school desktop case and it can hold up to 50 terabytes of data. It has a Kindle on the side, which functions as an automatic shipping label. Amazon says the case can withstand a 6 G jolt and is entirely self-contained, with a 110-volt power supply and 10 GB network connection built-in.

Amazon have a set price for using this service. It will cost you $200 for 10 days of usage, each extra date on site will cost you an additional $15 per day. Amazon are not going to charge for importing the data from snowball back into your S3 appliance on their servers.

After you set up a “snowball” on their website, Amazon will ship the storage appliance. You then import your data and ship it back to amazon, using the embedded kindle as a shipping label. At the moment, all of the data will be imported into the companies Oregon data center; they say additional data centers are coming soon.

Virgin Media Upgrading Broadband Speeds For Free

Virgin Media has announced a substantial speed upgrade for existing customers across various package tiers. Those on 50Mbps, 100Mbps or 152Mbps will receive a speed boost to 70Mbps, 150Mbps and 200Mbps, respectively. The initial roll-out will begin on October 1st but it could take until the year end to reach the majority of customers. According to Virgin Media, 90% of its users should have received the upgrade by the end of 2015. Gregor McNeil, managing director of consumer at Virgin Media explained:

“Our message is simple: if you want to be certain that you are signing up to true ultrafast broadband speeds of 100Mbps and above, Vivid from Virgin Media is the new standard,” 

“The speed of a customer’s broadband connection matters; when you have more you can do more.”

Currently, Virgin Media has no plans to increase the monthly fee for any of its broadband services. This applies a great deal of pressure on BT as their top package is a mere 76Mbps. Of course, BT is working on its infrastructure to improve things, but Virgin Media’s top package is more than double that of its leading competitor. Therefore, BT has a lot of catching up to do.

Image courtesy of Simply-Communicate.com

Thank you V3 for providing us with this information.

Germany Promises 50Mbps Broadband

With a wide majority of the world using internet on a regular, if not every day, basis, we need to be aware of just how much we use the internet for. While most activities are mundane and almost ritualistic in how we do them each day. There are some which we take a lot of time to do, and can even be in their work life every day. With more and more people relying on the internet for everyday work related activities speed is essential (yes, we understand that you want that YouTube video to buffer a little faster too). Germany has decided that it will take the first step and states that it will promise all users 50Mbps broadband across the entire country.

The current highest download speed (on average) is South Korea with 23.6Mbps, with the average speed in the US only measuring at 11.9Mbps. With initial estimates putting 70% of Germany already connected to 50Mbps connections, the cost of upgrading everyone to this speed is expected to be rather small. It should be noted though that their current average speed is only 11Mbps, a value only slightly lower than the US’s and under half of the current world’s leaders average.

With the public being asked to provide 10% of the cost, with 90% being provided by a combination of German states (40%) and development projects (50%), users could soon see their internet speed jumping.

Thank you The Next Web for the information.

Image courtesy of Gecko And Fly.

‘Concord 2’ Hypersonic Airbus Being Developed!

Airbus are known for their giant airplanes, and it’s not hard to know why, as they’re used all over the world to transport people and materials. Their new design hopes to improve on that by allowing them to travel at speeds of up to four and a half times the speed of sound!

To summarise this, travelling to New York from London currently takes seven to eight hours, with the new airbus design the flight would take a single hour. Flights from Paris to San Fransico and Tokyo to Los Angeles would take a mere three hours, saving people and companies time which they often don’t have lying around (or sitting) in the air.

The airplane will be a little different from your normal flight. designed to take off vertically thanks to some engines mounted underneath the jet is designed to climb vertically until it’s almost at the speed of sound. After this, it relies on rocket motors to carry it up to 100,000 feet before finally allowing the ramjets to push it to a final speed of Mach 4.5.

The design is similar to a lot of high-speed military jets, and even has some resemblance to the concord, a jet which was not allowed to operate over land due to the worry that it would cause a sonic boom. The new crafts design is built to limit not only the noise it creates but also the sonic booms, thereby hoping to allow it to travel in more populated areas without the restrictions set on the concord.

With only twenty seats on each jet, the chances are the tickets will be highly priced and the onboard entertainment short. Who wants a meal with their flight anyway?

Thank you Tech Sport for the information and the image. 

AT&T Says NO to the FCC’s $100 Million Throttling Fine

If you read about it, AT&T just got fined last month for allegedly throttling customers with ‘unlimited’ data plan. To sum it up, the FCC saw that AT&T had been “severely” slowing down users while not telling those users about the caps placed on their speed. So, they decided to fine them with a staggering $100 million.

If you think the FCC is asking for a lot of money, they apparently aren’t. According to them, they first decided to fine AT&T with up to $16,000 per violation for millions of violations, but the figures were so ridiculously high that they went with the latter sum instead. Even so, AT&T now thinks that they did nothing wrong.

“The Commission’s findings that consumers and competition were harmed are devoid of factual support and wholly implausible,” AT&T wrote in a response to the FCC. “Its ‘moderate’ forfeiture penalty of $100 million is plucked out of thin air, and the injunctive sanctions it proposes are beyond the Commission’s authority.”

AT&T now states that the FCC is infringing their First Amendment right by demanding the company to tell customers of their FCC rule violation. But let’s face it, when you say ‘unlimited’, you don’t really mention about network slowdowns. Another interesting thing is that AT&T recently changed their policy for throttling LTE users after they pass 5GB of data. This means that unlimited data LTE users now get throttled during the time when the network is highly congested. Previously, unlimited data LTE customers used to get throttled for the rest of the month after passing 5GB of download. But despite AT&T’s attempts to convince the FCC it did nothing wrong, they are also facing a court order from the commission, which aims to bring millions of dollars of refunds to consumers.

In my opinion, throttling customer speeds, either on mobile data or the fiber optic speed you ‘get’ at home is not an option. I know a lot of internet providers face huge amounts of network congestion, but is that our or the network’s fault? I think mobile and ISP providers should focus on spending that money on upgrading their networks to handle more connections instead of keeping the speed throttling habit. What do you think?

Thank you Arstechnica for providing us with this information

Intel and Micron Introduce the Next Generation of Memory

Intel has teamed up with Micron to create the next generation of memory and today’s press event was to announce this to the world. It was done with big words and as we’ve learned from the recent Intel 750 SSD launch, they mean business when they say so.

Where the 750 SSD took NAND and moved it onto a better platform that could be better utilized by the CPU instead of being bottlenecked by SATA and SAS bus’, this introduction is something completely new. It is dubbed the 3D XPoint (3D Cross Point) and is truly the next generation memory.

It’s also about time that we get a new type of memory as the current NAND technology, while improved upon over time, already is over 25 years old.

3D XPoint is a new class of non-volatile memory that can provide speeds up to 1,000 times faster than current NAND technology. Not only is it faster, it is also a lot more durable and doesn’t have the trouble with a lot of writes as NAND does. This will bring game-changing performance to the market.

Not only is 3D XPoint said to be 1000 times faster and 1000 times more durable, it also has 10 times or more density than conventional memory.

The idea in itself isn’t new, but most people didn’t think it was possible. Intel and Micron had to come up with completely new materials and combinations as well as methods to combine them into a working product that could be mass produced.

Where normal memory just changes a part of the material used to indicate its state, 3D XPoint memory uses bulk material property change where the whole part changes instead of just being electron-based. This allows for more capacity in denser storage and the current production is spitting out 128Gbit sizes.

The 3D stacking is different from 3D NAND as it truly allows expansion in all direction without any effect to the performance. The unique switches inside are the key for this and it’s where the strength comes from. 3D NAND allows for more capacity, but not more speed, and that is why we need this new technology.

The pure nature of the technology also allows for much better data security as nothing will be lost in case of power failures. It can be used for both storage and system memory and as such could be the next big thing.

This isn’t just a proof of concept or a fancy powerpoint presentation with an idea, these are actual memory chips that currently are being produced in the joint factory of Micron and Intel. Both companies will release products based on this new technology in 2016 and they don’t expect any shortages in supply. That’s great news.

The final thing you might be asking yourself, what is the price and how does it really place itself in usability in comparison with other memory types. Both of these questions can be answered in one, it places itself between DRAM and NAND, so that’s not so bad news.

Sony Pictures Animation to Produce Emoji Film

Sony Pictures Animation has successfully outbid two major Hollywood studios to win the commercial rights to produce an animated movie based on Emojis. According to Deadline, the project will be written by Eric Siegel and Anthony Leondis with the latter also opting for a director’s role. Sony believes they can capture the silly, social essence of Emoji icons and make a family-friendly comedy. I’m not entirely sure how this is possible considering each Emoji represents an emotion. Surely for each character to have any emotional resonance, they have to change into another Emoji.

Despite being a completely absurd concept, it could become a runaway success as Emojis are more ingrained into popular culture. Personally, I’ve seen children sporting Emoji soft toys so there’s no reason why the film shouldn’t be a financially prudent endeavor. It does seem bizarre though and I’m guessing a lot of people will think this is an idiotic move. However, I never saw the appeal of other cult hits such as the Angry Bird franchise. Similarly, Flappy Bird, an absolutely terrible game became a surprise success and made the developer an obscene amount of money.

I do wonder the age bracket for people using Emojis on a regular basis. It’s probably much older than we think because emotions are deemed as verbal fillers and integrated into modern communication. How often do you use emotions or Emojis?

Thank you Deadline for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Mashable.

EA and Comcast Team up to Bring New Streaming Service

There are a lot of streaming services that bring games to players on their TV. We all know the popular NVIDIA Grid and the company’s constant attempt to make it more popular. Microsoft and Sony are attempting to bring such services to their consoles too, but they still have a long way to get people interested in the latter.

Now Electronic Arts and Comcast made a partnership to bring cloud gaming to your TVs too. All you need is an Xfinity X1 box from Comcast. The really interesting thing here is that the companies are not relying on controllers, but rather encourage people to use their smartphones and tables as their own personal controllers. All they need is an app called Xfinity Games and then navigate to a website on their handsets, enter a code and you’re done. The controls are made out of swiping and tapping gestures.

But are handsets really good controllers? Well, tests proved they are not! The companies found out that it was extremely difficult to control and navigate the Dead Space title, but found out that the handsets are best at controlling cars, so they went on and added the Real Racing to the list of games. They say that this would be the future of online gaming, but is it really true? There are more things to take into account here.

One of the main issues with online stuff is the user’s internet speed. Ok, you get some games that can be controlled remotely, but you still have to think that despite your efforts of delivering and receiving input and game feedback, ISPs around the world are still struggling to deliver actual speeds to have their customers load up a page, yet alone play a fully fledged game remotely. The second one that is applicable here is the controller. You can get some feedback by the handset’s ability to vibrate, but are most games ready for using virtual buttons? I would like to see how someone would play a fast-paced FPS or even RTS titles controlled via a smartphone or tablet.

Nevertheless, there are around 20 titles available for Comcast customers to try out, including NBA, PGA, and Plats vs Zombies. The list is said to be constantly changing based on user feedback and the companies are even thinking of adding third-party titles to the list in the near future.

Thank you Cnet for providing us with this information

Fibre-Optic Signals ‘Combed’ to Perfection

We have been talking a lot about the limitations of fibre optic cabling and signal transfer for a while now; if you recall back a few weeks, we covered a story regarding how we could be ‘running out of internet‘. Well, it now seems that scientists have overcome these issues. Researchers in the San Diego-based University of California have demonstrated a new way of passing signals through fibre optical cabling over vast distances with very little to no signal loss.

Fibre optic cables are simply amazing, high-speed data transfers have allowed us to jump from basic <20mbps internet connections to >100mbps in the last few years alone. The issue with this method of data transfer is that over a certain amount of cable, the data can start losing integrity without the use of amplifiers. These amplifiers (repeaters) boost the signal to overcome the signal loss, but fibre optic repeaters are expensive. With the new method of ‘combing’ the data signals into much more concentrated signals, researchers have managed to send data over a huge 7,400 miles of fibre cable with little to no signal loss and only using standard amplifiers; which is a massively cheaper option.

What does this mean for us? We could see much faster and cheaper fibre optic connections in the near future. Are you currently using a fibre optic based internet connection? Why not drop into our forums and join the Internet Speed conversation.

Thank you to Slashdot for providing us with this information.

AT&T Faces Fine For Throttling Data

Internet speed is a finite thing, with users and the websites they access growing at a staggering rate, companies, and governments are having to find more and more ways to increase users satisfaction when trying to load that page at the end of a busy work day. America has even voted recently to enforce Net Neutrality, a concept many believe the internet was founded on, in which users can’t be offered faster services for paying extra (e.g. if you want to stream this movie you have to pay otherwise you’ll only get this speed) and that users can’t have their experiences reduced if they don’t accept the extra charges.

In a recent action AT&T patented fast lane technology for file sharing, however, this was only the start of the story for AT&T. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has stated they will be fining AT&T a huge $100 million fine. The reason stated is that they have been “severely” slowing down users while not telling those users about the caps placed on their speed.

Back in 2007 AT&T started offering unlimited data plans to its customers, a move it retracted in 2010. Within the next year it was discovered that AT&T had placed a “Maximum Bit Rate” on its customers, meaning that if you sent a certain amount of data before your next bill you would have a cap placed on your connection. The limitation was said to be so bad that users would not be able to access the internet on most occasions and that most app’s which used a connection would be unable to work effectively.

With the new laws in place to help protect users from fast lanes and purposeful slowing down of their connections, hopefully the largest fine in FCC’s history will help deter companies from trying to shake those few extra dollars from people.

Thank you Engadget for the information.

Ofcom is Standing up for Slow Broadband Users

The UK is a relatively small place when compared to the likes of Russia, USA and China. This is evident when you consider that 77% of UK adults have broadband installed in their homes in the UK compared to a comparatively small 70% in the USA.

So with such a small ground coverage, the UK Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are all covering the same areas, offering some places super-fast broadband, while others in more rural areas are getting stuck with slower internet speeds.

Up until now, if you signed up for 19 – 30Mb, but only received 17Mb; you could complain to your ISP and hope they will either increase your speed, reduce your bill or terminate your contract. Today is a turning point where Ofcom, UK communications regulator, has announced that if you are not receiving the paid speeds; you can cancel your contract, even mid-term. This will govern all of the major providers such as BT, Sky, EE, TalkTalk, etc…however, Virgin Media is excluded as this new plan only covers copper and Fibre based broadband up to 80Mbps.

Along with this, Ofcom also plans to make it easier for customers to switch provider. Starting from June 20th, it will put more power in the hands of the ISP you plan to change to, rather than from. If you are using a traditional BT phone line, you can simply jump between the major providers using Ofcom’s new “one touch” process. It plans on offering the same for mobile contracts, but that will come to light next month.

Thank you engadget for providing us with this information.

More Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti Details Leaked

AMD’s new flagship graphics cards with HBM memory are just around the corner and it looks like Nvidia is trying to steal the show a bit. We’ve seen more and more leaks about the upcoming GeForce GTX 980Ti recently which points in the direction of an eminent release date.

The newest information comes from the same Korean tech-publication as the previous “leaks”, only this time we get a GPU-Z screenshot revealing the clock frequencies.

The GeForce GTX 980Ti is clocked at 1000MHz and has a GPU boost frequency of 1076MHz, very close to that of the GTX Titan X. The memory is clocked at the usual 7012MHz GDDR5 speed.

Other previously revealed specifications include 2816 CUDA cores and 176 TMUs. You’ll get 6GB video memory running on a 384-bit memory bus with 336 GB/s bandwidth. The card is powered by a 6-pin and 8-pin power connector and comes with one DVI, one HDMI, and three DisplayPort connectors.

What we don’t know for sure yet are the ROPs that are expected at 96, the TDP and the MSRP.

There are also some 3DMark benchmark results coming from the same direction, both Fire Strike and Cloud Gate. The Fire Strike test clocks in with a score of 14,071 while the Cloud Gate reaches 29,444.