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  • Tech|Inferno News, Reviews & Guides

    The latest and most interesting news, reviews and guides found on Tech|Inferno and elsewhere.

    Brian
    According to KitGuru, AMD is preparing to cut the price of the air-cooled AMD R9 Radeon Fury in the coming weeks much like it did with the R9 Nano earlier this month. There's no word on how much the price cut will be but KitGuru claims that it should be more price competitive with NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 980. If you're wondering about the Fury X, it doesn't seem like there is any information on that but it is possible.
     

     
    If you're in the market for a top end 28nm graphics card, it would probably be worth holding off to see how much of a price drop the Fury gets as it is already faster than a stock 980 in most cases and a price cut will make it an even more attractive option. With AMD's next generation Polaris GPUs due out in the middle of 2016, there is still plenty of life left in 28nm GPUs. 
     
      R9 FURY X R9 FURY GPU ARCHITECTURE 28nm 28nm API SUPPORT DirectX® 12, Mantle, OpenGL® 4.5, Vulkan™, OpenCL™ 2.0 DirectX® 12, Mantle, OpenGL® 4.5, Vulkan™, OpenCL™ 2.0 HIGH-BANDWIDTH MEMORY (HBM) Yes Yes PCI EXPRESS® VERSION 3.0 3.0 VIRTUAL SUPER RESOLUTION (VSR) Yes Yes AMD FREESYNC™ TECHNOLOGY Yes Yes AMD LIQUIDVR™ TECHNOLOGY Yes Yes 4K RESOLUTION SUPPORT Yes Yes FRAME RATE TARGET CONTROL (FRTC) Yes Yes DDMA AUDIO Yes Yes HDMI (WITH 4K, STEREO 3D, DEEP COLOR & X.V.COLOR™) Yes Yes AMD POWERTUNE TECHNOLOGY Yes Yes AMD ZEROCORE POWER TECHNOLOGY Yes Yes AMD TRUEAUDIO TECHNOLOGY Yes Yes AMD EYEFINITY TECHNOLOGY (MAXIMUM DISPLAYS) Up to 6 displays with DisplayPort MST hub Up to 6 displays with DisplayPort MST hub AMD HD3D TECHNOLOGY Yes Yes VIDEO CODEC ENGINE (VCE) (WITH H.264, MPEG-4 ASP, MPEG-2, VC-1 & BLU-RAY 3D) Yes Yes GPU CLOCK SPEED Up to 1050 MHz Up to 1000 MHz MEMORY BANDWIDTH 512 GB/s 512 GB/s MEMORY INTERFACE 4096-bit HBM 4096-bit HBM MEMORY AMOUNT 4GB HBM 4GB HBM STREAM PROCESSING UNITS 4096 (64 Compute Units) 3584 (56 Compute Units) REQUIRED POWER SUPPLY CONNECTORS 2x 8-pin 2x 8-pin AMD CROSSFIRE™ SUPPORT (MAXIMUM NUMBER OF GPUS AND CROSSFIRE BRIDGE INTERCONNECT REQUIRED) 4, no 4, no FORM FACTOR Full height, dual slot, liquid-cooled Full height, dual slot
    It seems NVIDIA is getting to ready to release two new mobile Maxwell GPUs in Q2 2016, the GTX 970MX and GTX 980MX. With the company already dominating the high end notebook market and 14nm/16nm next generation GPUs on their way like Polaris, the timing of this release seems a little odd. 
     
    Both GPUs will be positioned as slightly more powerful than their existing GTX 970M and GTX 980M counterparts with increased CUDA cores, texture units, and clock speed while retaining the same TDP. In addition to the aforementioned, the 970MX has 56 ROPs vs 48 in the 970M while the 980M and 980MX have the same 64 ROPs. 
     
    WCCFTech created a table which shows the differences between the new GPUs and existing ones:
     
      Model GeForce GTX 980 Laptop Version GeForce GTX 980MX GeForce GTX 980M GeForce GTX 970MX GeForce GTX 970M GeForce GTX 965M GeForce GTX 960M Architecture Maxwell Maxwell Maxwell Maxwell Maxwell Maxwell Maxwell GPU GM204 GM204 GM204 GM204 GM204 GM204 GM107 CUDA cores 2048 1664 1536 1408 1280 1024 640 Texture Units 128 104 96 88 80 64 40 Raster Devices 64 64 64 56 48 32 16 Clock Speed 1218 MHz 1048 MHz 1038 MHz 941 MHz 924 MHz 950 MHz 1097 MHz Memory Bus 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 192-bit 192-bit 128-bit 128-bit Amount of memory 8 GB GDDR5 8/4 GB GDDR5 8/4 GB GDDR5 3/6 GB GDDR5 3/6 GB GDDR5 4 GB GDDR5 4 GB GDDR5 Memory Frequency 7008 MHz 5000 MHz 5000 MHz 5000 MHz 5000 MHz 5000 MHz 5000 MHz Memory Bandwidth 224 GB/s 160 GB / s 160 GB / s 120 GB / s 120 GB / s 80 GB/s 80 GB/s TDP ~150W 125W 125W 100W 100W 90W 75W Table Source: WCCFTech
     
    There's no word on what the price will be for these new cards or what notebooks will feature them but if I had to guess, I'd say the usual suspects like Alienware, Clevo, MSI and Asus will be among the first to have these ready. 
    We all love drama between technology companies and the latest deliciousness comes courtesy of AMD. They have a 4 minute video on YouTube that questions whether or not SYSmark is a reliable, objective benchmark to use when evaluating performance between different systems. 
     
    AMD's video opens with John Hampton, Director Computer Client Products, talking about how it is very important in choosing the right benchmark when evaluating a purchase because if you choose the wrong one , you can end up overpaying for technology or getting a lesser performing PC. To emphasize his point, he indirectly mentions Volkswagen's diesel debacle and uses the latter case as an example of how even established organizations can be misleading. 
     
    We are then introduced to Tony Salinas, an AMD Engineering Manager, who runs through a couple tests in SYSmark using two notebooks, one that has an Intel i5 CPU and the other with an AMD FX CPU. SYSmark returns a score of 987 for the Intel system and 659 for the AMD one which is a delta of 50%. AMD notes that this is misleading and not reflective of real life performance. To prove this, they run a different benchmark called PCMark 8 on both systems and the results show the Intel i5 system scoring 4199 and the AMD equipped one 3908 which is a delta of 7%. AMD says this is a far more realistic indicator of true performance as PCMark 8 tests the CPU, GPU and video subcomponents rather than emphasizing the CPU like SYSmark does.
     
    And just to drive the point home some more, AMD created their own in-house test using Microsoft Office Suite where they run a custom script on both notebooks and then measure the start and end of a task with a time stamp to gauge performance. Their in-house test shows the Intel system completing the task in approximately 61 seconds while the AMD based one finished it in roughly 64 seconds which is a delta of 6-7%.
     
    As AMD's results line up with those found with PCMark 8, they contend that PCMark 8 is a more fair and balanced indicator of overall performance while SYSmark is not and therefore should be discarded by any potential customers as a tool for evaluating a purchase. 
     

    Intel system using AMD in-house test: Test completed in ~61 seconds.

    AMD system using AMD in-house test: Test completed in ~64 seconds.
     
    They also take the time to remind us that the FTC has required SYSmark published benchmarks to contain fine print that notes their benchmark may only be optimized for Intel. Of course, this may have something to do with the fact that AMD resigned from BAPco consortium. Finally, AMD notes that a transparent benchmark should meet very specific criteria which includes being realistic, unbiased, objective and transparent, all of which SYSmark is not apparently. 
     

     
    While it's fun to see these types of videos from AMD, they also highlight the fact that the company is facing an uphill battle on all fronts, whether it's CPU or GPU, and 2016 may be the year that makes or breaks them.
     
    Digital Foundry re-tested Ark: Survival Evolved on an Xbox One after the developer made some performance improvements and unfortunately the results are still less than spectacular. This isn't really much of a surprise as the game has always performed pretty poorly even on powerful PCs such as my own Titan X setup. If you've never heard of Ark: Survival Evolved before, it is an open world sandbox game that takes place on an island full of dinosaurs where you are free to gather resources, build bases, tame dinosaurs and attack other player built bases. In concept it is similar to other open world games like Rust but this game just runs a lot worse. 
     
     
    You can watch Digital Foundry's video review below:
     
     
    A few days back the VLC team announced the first port of VLC on the Apple TV.

    VLC on the Apple TV allows you to get access to all your files and video streams in their native formats without conversions, directly on the new Apple device and your TV.

    VLC has every feature and format support you are used to in VLC, and a few Apple TV specific features while being fully free and open source, and available right now on the App Store.
     
    Features summary
    VLC on the Apple TV allows normal playback of all file formats, including chapters navigation, multiple audio and subtitles tracks.
    It is also able to play files from UPnP, Windows shares (SMB), FTP and Plex servers; and is able to download automatically subtitles and artwork!
    Finally, VLC on the Apple TV allows you a kind of 'casting', where you can send directly your video files for any browser or app to the Apple TV.
     

     
    Playback
    In addition to normal playback features, VLC for the Apple TV allows navigation by chapters and multiple audio and subtitles tracks selection.
    Unlike any other player on Apple TV so far, VLC supports custom playback speed.

     VLC on the Apple TV displays any kind of text (srt, SSA, WebVTT, ...) or bitmap subtitles including full support for Right-to-Left languages like Arabic and Hebrew, complex text layout for Malayalam or other Asian languages.

    For web radio and music playback, the community service hatchet.is was integrated to show artist imagery and biographies in addition to album artwork.
    For the first time, VLC directly integrates with OpenSubtitles.org, so missing subtitles can be downloaded by the user during playback.
    Content Discovery & Remote Playback
    VLC for Apple TV integrates discovery of services on the local network, for Windows Shares (SMB), DLNA/UPnP media servers, FTP and PLEX servers. 
    Login credentials for devices and services can be securely stored on the Apple TV and will be synchronized to the user's iPad or iPhone (and the other way around) to ease access.

    Finally, VLC for Apple TV includes an innovative feature called Remote Playback a custom way of casting media stored on other computers to the TV using a web browser.

    A user can drop one or multiple files on the browser to play those instantly, and the copies will remain available in the device cache locally.
    Additionally, this works for pasting directly streams from compatible URLs and multiple actions can be sent to create the current playlist.
    And of course, this web interface can be used to control playback.


    Links
    VLC: http://www.videolan.org/vlc/
    VLC on the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/app/vlc-ios/id65037796
     
    Source: VideoLAN
    Netflix recently became available in 130 more countries, but unfortunately not every area is able to access all of its content. While Netflix works on licensing agreements, it will begin preventing customers from using proxies and unblockers to access more content. This move may not be a popular one from the company, as people obviously will want access to as much content as possible, but it is something Netflix says is necessary for its business.
     
    David Fullagar, Vice President of Content Delivery Architecture at Netflix wrote the following:
     
     
    While it's unfortunate that not all of Netflix's content can be accessed everywhere, we hope for Netflix to be able to offer all of its content to all of its customers, regardless of location.
     
    Source: Netflix
    In the not so distant future, we will be tackling many diseases and cancers using the newest revolution in biotechnology that involves targeting very specific parts of DNA and then snipping it.
     
    One such technique that has taken the biotechnology world by storm is CRISPR which involves the use of a cas9 endonuclease and guide RNA. This complex is recruited to a target sequence and cas9 cuts the desired region that results in a double strand break. With this double stranded DNA break, it can be ligated back together with a method called Non-Homologous End-Joining (NHEJ) to introduce random mutations via insertions/deletions to knock out a specific gene.
     
    Another method of repair called Homology Directed Repair (HDR) involves using a repair template that has homology to the flanking region of the double stranded break which results in controlled gene editing allowing researchers to use it for gene knock-out, knock-in, tagging etc. 
     
     

     
     
     
    There are other competing methods such as TALENs (Transcription Activator-Like Effector Nucleases) which a French biotechnology company called Cellectis is using to experiment for possible cancer treatment. As mentioned above, CRISPR uses guide RNA to direct DNA breaks where as TALENs employs the use of 18 repeats of 34 amino acids that vary at amino acids 12 and 13 which is the "Repeat Variable Diresidue" or RVD; RVD mediates the DNA binding specificity. 
     

    (image credit: genecopeia)
     
    A pair of TALEN are targeted to opposite sides of a desired break site. Each TALEN is a chimeric protein with Fok I nuclease domain that results in a specific double stranded break. 
     

    (image credit: genecopoeia)
     
    The use of this technology is detailed in article by Business Insider where an infant in the UK named Layla was born with leukemia that had failed to be treated using common cancer treatment modalities such as chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant. Doctors there knew about Cellectis's work with TALENs and reached out as a last ditch effort to save her. 
     
    Cellectis accepted their request and began her therapy by targeting her T-cells using TALENs to stimulate her immune system to attack the cancer and the result was complete remission.
     
    While many people will be weary of the possible abuse of such technologies, they should set those fears aside because it is this type of technology that will one day lead to the precise targeting and elimination of many diseases including cancer. 
    Eurogamer has an article looking at the upcoming VR tidal wave that is going to land sometime later this year that promises to change the way we game forever. With VR requiring up to 7x increase in performance needed compared to a traditional gaming PC, will anyone besides the top 1% even be able to enjoy it? 
     
     
    Source: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2016-is-your-pc-really-vr-ready
    ARMA 3 is one of those rare jewels in gaming where the game was designed and built with PC gamers in mind. Unlike EA's Battlefield series which started out on the PC as a somewhat open platform only to become a victim of its success by evolving into a closed off series where people cannot mod the game any longer, Bohemia Interactive has taken the opposite approach by working more closely with the community that has helped it spawn some memorable and game changing mods such as Day Z, Epoch, Arma 3 Life, Breaking Point, Battle Royale and many more. 
     
    With nearly 2 million copies sold since release, ARMA 3 has done exceptionally well coming from a small developer that has only a fraction of the resources other industry giants have access to. And the game looks to have a bright future ahead with the developers optimizing for it and adding more features in 2016. In their new video (found at the end of this article), Bohemia reflects on 10 important updates to the game in 2015 and 10 exciting features and additions to look forward to in 2016:
     
     
    1. Release of Eden Editor - A 3D Scenario Editor.

     
    2. Launcher based server browser - already live on the dev branch. It will help facilitate the detection and automatic download of mods.

     
    3. Audio - improvements to audio fidelity and more features to be added.

     
    4. Visual - update targeting ARMA Apex (originally for Eden update): An overhaul of game lighting configuration and introduce C shader and Screen Space Reflection technology. 

     
    5. Usability improvements - A variety of improvements such as switching weapons, interacting with objects, game difficulty and fixing long standing UX needs. 

     
    6. ARMA 3 Units -  Introduce event organization, integrate parts of the service in game and make jumping into multiplayer quicker and easier.

     
    7. Script improvements - Bohemia will continue to work closely with the community to bring additions, improvements and optimizations to scripting.

     
    8. Scripted multiplayer - complete revive and dynamic groups by extending and finalizing their functionality. 

     
    9. Vehicle classes - ARMA 3 will see the introduction of new vehicle classes such as light strike vehicles and vtol aircraft.

     
    10. Tanoa - The crown jewel of 2016 will be the release of ARMA 3's new and long awaited map. Tanoa is 100 square kilometers and takes place in the South Pacific Archipelago. 

     
    I personally have spent more than 2000 hours in the world of ARMA 3 and years later I'm still not done with it. This is a testament to the game's extensibility thanks to the continued support of the developer and more importantly, the community continuing to mod it everyday with exciting new additions. 
     
    ARMA 3 - Scanning The Horizon 2016
     
     
     
    Tesla's owner, Elon Musk, said during an exclusive interview with the BBC at his design studio near Los Angeles that it is an "open secret" Apple is making a rival electric car.
     
    He also predicted vehicles that could not drive themselves would become a "strange anachronism" before too long.
     
    An added challenge is that over recent months several of its engineers have been hired by rivals, including China-backed Faraday Future and Apple.
    Apple has not formally announced it is working on a vehicle, although it did recently register several automobile-related internet domains, including apple.car and apple.auto.
     
     
     
     

     
    Mr Musk outlined a vision of a future where all cars would be electric and autonomous, and driving yourself would become a hobby rather than a necessity.
     
    In recent months, its Autopilot feature has given the car a number of autonomous driving features:
    keeping in lane adjusting its speed as other cars cut in changing lane without the driver needing to intervene  
    Last weekend, it gained a new "beta" feature that allows owners to summon their car with their smartphone.

    At both last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and this week's Detroit Motor Show, a number of other car makers have shown off innovations in electric vehicles and automated driving.
     
    Source: BBC
     
    Intel's Gregory Bryant, vice president and general manager of Intel’s desktop clients platform, has gone on record during a speech at the J.P. Morgan forum saying that the company's IGP (integrated graphics processor) called Iris and Iris Pro are fast enough for casual and mainstream gamers and that they would no longer need a discrete graphics solution. That statement in itself does not sound unreasonable or outlandish as Intel IGP performance has steadily increased over the years and eaten into AMD and NVIDIA's low end share. 
     
     
     
     
     


     
    However, Mr. Bryant also stated that Iris and Iris Pro can outperform 80% of discrete graphics chips , “We have improved graphics 30 times what they were five years ago,” but admits that Intel has done a poor job communicating the benefits of integrated graphics. According to Steam's hardware survey, as of December 2015, Intel currently holds 18.66% of the overall share with 54.61% going to NVIDIA and 26.23% to AMD. This market share is virtually unchanged from December 2014 where Intel had a share of 18.88% so it seems they do have some work to do if they want to increase their appeal to gamers.  
     
    Unlike NVIDIA, AMD manufactures APUs that compete with Intel's IPG solutions but with the release of Iris 6200 pro, Intel has taken a significant lead over AMD and has even approached NVIDIA's discrete GeForce GTX 750 performance at the entry level. With AMD Zen APUs possibly being released in 2017, it may give the firm the opportunity to finally take back the low end APU performance from Intel. 
     
     
    Source: PC World
     
    TP-Link enters the Android Phone market with its newly established brand called Neffos. The Neffos trio features high running speed, large storage space, smart multithreaded background program and powerful camera to offer a balanced and joyful experience for users.
     

     
    The Neffos C5 is powered by a quad-core 64-bit processor as well as 16 GB ROM and 2 GB RAM. It is equipped with a Super Camera that has intelligent mode and 30 artistic filters.
     
    With 5.5-inch FHD IPS display, C5 Max provides crystal clear picture quality that is reflected in the finest details and accurate colors from any angle. It’s equipped with a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP front camera. The large F2.0 aperture of the rear camera allows users to take stunning photos at any time.
     
    The C5L packs with 1 GB RAM, 8 GB ROM and supports up to 32 GB of expandable SD memory. It has an 8MP rear camera and a 2MP front camera.
    The Neffos series also shows the beauty of simplicity with its industrial design. It emphasizes the material’s original color and texture by incorporating polycarbonate composites. It provides good grip by with optimized side curve, chamfer and CD texture on the side button.
     
    Some images of the new phones:
     
     
    Specifications:
     
     
    Source: Neffos
     
    Well today seems to be an AMD filled news day as we also have information courtesy of HardOCP that AMD has lowered the price of it's small form factor Radeon R9 Nano from $649 to a more reasonable $499. A lot of initial apprehension about this card was because of its asking price and now with the new price drop, it has become a very compelling upgrade compared to the competition. AMD's next generation Polaris is still months away so if you're in the market for a new SFF build, the Nano is the perfect fit. 
     
     
    A poster named 'iLeakStuff' on overclock forum found shipping information for the new AMD Polaris GPU based on information he obtained from Zauba. Supposedly there are 2 new GPU families with a total of 4 new GPUs based on the part numbers. The destination seems to be Hyderabad, India where AMD has an R&D facility.  Polaris is AMD's next generation high performance GPU architecture that promises to bring 2x perf/watt improvements thanks to architectural improvements and the use of 14nm FinFET technology.
     
     
     
     


     
    We have copied the information iLeakStuff posted and made it available here:
     
     
    AMD has just released Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.1 Hotfix Driver that includes a lot of resolved issues for games like Fallout 4, Elite Dangerous, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, Star Wars: Battlefront, Just Cause 3, Assassins Creed Syndicate and DiRT Rally. 
     

     
    The AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.1 Hotfix Driver can be downloaded from the following link:
    AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.1 Hotfix Driver for Windows® 10, Windows 8.1 & Windows 7 64-bit  
    Release notes with resolved and known issues:
     
     
    These days a lot of the rage is in thin and light notebooks and while that is fine for a lot of people, there is a substantial number of performance enthusiasts (especially found on this website) that want the exact opposite. This group of enthusiast demands the pinnacle of performance built right into the notebook and not a thin and light compromise saddled with an Intel BGA processor and soldered GPU.
     
    Well Clevo and Eurocom are listening and Eurocom let us know that they have launched the new Sky DLX7 notebook that is aimed squarely at those aforementioned enthusiasts. But you don't have to be a gamer to want this DTR (desktop replacement) because it will offer the same amount of productivity as any formidable desktop, especially with it's 17.3" display with 4k resolution and 64 GB of DDR4 RAM. It can also support up to 4 active displays thanks to its two mini Display Ports, USB 3.1 and HDMI 2. 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

     
    The Sky DLX7 uses Intel's latest Z170 chipset with socket LGA 1151 which allows it to support the latest 14nm Skylake desktop processors up to the Core i7-6700K that operates at 4 GHz and has a turbo boost of 4.2 GHz. In addition, the CPU can be further overclocked for true high end desktop level performance. For those that like to keep upgrading their notebooks, the Sky DLX7 supports MXM 3.0b graphics cards such as the NVIDIA GTX 980 desktop (full desktop level card in an MXM package) and professional Quadro mobile cards. 
     

     
    Unlike many competing notebooks, this DTR won't have trouble keeping itself cool as it features high capacity copper heatsinks and fans to keep things chilled. 
     

     
    There doesn't appear to be a shortage of space either as it can support two 9.5 mm HDD or SSD bays and two M.2 SSD PCIe x 4 SATA drives with RAID 0/1/5/10 availability.  There's no word on final pricing but given all the power this thing packs, it probably can get pricey very quickly. 
     
    EUROCOM Sky DLX7 Specifications:
    Special Feature(s): Intel Z170 Chipset; Skylake-S; supports both mobile and a desktop based GTX 980 GPU Main Chipset: Intel Z170 (Skylake) Processor: Socket LGA 1151
    Skylake-S; up to i7-6700K, unlocked Video / GPU: - MXM 3.0 slot; up to 180W GPU
    - NVDIA GeForce GTX 980 (desktop) N16E-GXX MXM 3.0 (83x 115mm)or GTX 980M, 970M, 965M; MXM 3.0b (83x105mm) Built-in PC Camera: Built-in 2M FHD Display: 17.3" UHD IPD eDP 3840x2160
    Supports 4 active displays Memory: Four 260-pin, 1.2V, SODIMM sockets 
    DDR4-2133/2400; up to 64GB Total Storage: up to 4 physical drives:
    - 2x M.2 2280 SSD PCIe Gen3 2x/4x or SATA
    - 2x 2.5" 9.5mm/7mm HDD/SSD/SHDD
    - RAID 0/1/5/10 Optical Drive: External USB based
    DVD-RW or Blu Ray Burner Card Reader: 6-in-1 Push-Push Card Reader
    MMC/RSMMC SD/mini SD/SDHC/SDXC
    UHS-II (SD 4.0) Audio Architecture: High Definition Audio
    S/PDIF Digital Output
    Built in array microphone
    Built in two 2W speakers and subwoofer
    Sound Blaster X-FI MB5
    External 7.1CH output (headphone, mic, line-in and S/PDIF)
    ANSP 3D Sound Technology (headphone output) LAN/WLAN/Bluetooth: - WLAN / Bluetooth; M.2 2230 slot
    - 1Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45 LAN on-board; Killer E2400 Data and Physical: Kensington Lock
    Fingerprint
    TPM 2.0 on-board (Infineon SLB9665-TCG) Internal cards / # of slots/Type: Three M.2 slots 
    -1st: WLAN M.2 2230 Card with PCIe x2 and USB (A Key)
    -2nd for SSD M.2 2280 Card with SATA / PCIe x2/x4 (M key)
    -3rd for SSD M.2 2280 Card with SATA / PCie x2/x4 (M key) I/O Ports: 1 x USB 3.1 type C / Thunderbolt 3 / DP 1.2 / HDMI 2.0
    3 x USB 3.0 
    1 x eSATA / USB 3.0 (1x Powered USB AC/DC)
    2 x miniDisplay Port 1.2
    1 x HDMI 2.0 output
    1 x Headphone
    1 x Microphone-in
    1 x S/PDIF (digital)
    1 x Line in
    1 x RJ-45 LAN 
    1 x DC-in Internal Keyboard: Backlit full size keyboard with numeric pad
    TouchPad with multi-gesture and scrolling
    W/A/S/D Gaming key AC Adapter: 330W 100-240V 50-60Hz Auto-switching (worldwide)
    optional 660W (2x 330W) for Extreme Performance Battery: 8cells Smart Li-Ion; 89W
    FexiCharger (via BIOS) Weight: 3.9kg / 8.58lb with battery Dimensions WxDxH: 418x295x39.9mm / 16.72x11.81x1.6-inch   
     
    Razer has just released their 12.5" Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook that is thin enough to take to work while offering the option for desktop level gaming. This new ultrabook weighs in at just 2.75 lbs/1.25 kg and has a profile of only 0.52". What makes the Razer Blade Stealth different from all their previous offerings is that it takes a page out of Alienware and other vendors playbook by coupling the ultrabook via Thunderbolt 3 USB-C to an external enclosure called Razer Core which houses a full desktop GPU.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

     
    The ultrabook also has two very appealing touch display options that use IGZO technology. The QHD (2560 x 1440) option features 70% Adobe RGB coverage while the UHD (3840 x 2160) display has 100% Adobe RGB color space. For people that work with Photoshop and other media, the 100% Adobe RGB coverage can be very useful for productivity purposes. Even for gamers, a 70% Adobe RGB display can give an image depth not found in lesser displays.
     
    The ultrabook also features the latest Skylake based Intel Core i7-6500U dual core processor with Intel HD Graphics 520. While the Intel HD 520 isn't ideal for gaming, it is capable of playing the latest games like Star Wars Battlefront albeit at low settings. Additionally, it comes standard with a 128 GB SSD and can be configured with a 512 GB SSD.
     
    Finally, the Razer Blade Stealth is equipped with a Razer Chroma anti-ghosting keyboard that has individually backlit keys with 16.8 million colors per key that lend to a wide array of color combinations. 
     

     
    The Razer Core enclosure as mentioned uses a Thunderbolt 3 connection and houses a single double-wide, full-length PCI-Express x16 graphics card up to 375 Watts. Like the ultrabook, the Razer Core uses Chroma technology that allows custom lighting color configurations. 
     

     
    Pricing for the ultrabook starts at $999 while the Razer Core isn't officially available for sale yet. 
     
     
    NVIDIA just sent word that they have created a new "GeForce GTX VR Ready" program where participating hardware partners will produce GeForce GTX equipped systems that will have the NVIDIA approved GeForce GTX VR Ready badge.
     

     
    NVIDIA is doing this in hopes of simplifying the buying process as many consumers aren't aware of the immense GPU power necessary to deliver a quality VR experience. According to NVIDIA, VR demands "seven times the graphics processing power of traditional 3D games and applications". 
     
    Some of the partners that will be participating in this new program include Alienware, MAINGEAR and MSI with the full list of partners available here. The press release is as follows:
     
     
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