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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Google to officially launch YouTube Gaming today

By Zeenews August 26, 2015

Google Inc is officially launching live streaming gaming service called "YouTube Gaming", creating a rival to Inc`s Twitch service. The service, which will be available in the form of an app as well as a website, will focus exclusively on gamers and gaming. More than 25,000 games will each have their own page on the site, bringing videos and live streams about various titles together in a single space, Google had earlier said. 

Users will be able to add games to their collection for quick access, subscribe to channels, and receive recommendations on new games based on the games and channels they follow. Amazon bought Twitch Interactive last year for $970 million, beating a rival bid from Google. YouTube Gaming will available on the web, mobiles and tablets on both Android and iOS operating systems, according to a tweet from its official account.

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Specs of AMD Radeon R9 Nano confirmed: 4096 SPs, 8.19TFLOPS

By Anton Shilov August 26th, 2015

It is not a secret that AMD’s upcoming Radeon R9 Nano graphics card will be the most powerful adapter for mini-ITX personal computers ever produced and will have no rivals for quite some time. As it appears, the Radeon R9 Nano will not only offer high performance, but it will actually offer compute performance that will be comparable to that of AMD’s flagship Radeon R9 Fury X. The AMD Radeon R9 Nano graphics card – which sales are expected to begin in the coming weeks – is based on the fully fledged code-named “Fiji” graphics processing unit with 4096 stream processors, 256 texture mapping units, 64 raster operations pipelines and 4096-bit memory interface, according to slide from AMD’s presentation published by VideoCardz web-site. The graphics board will continue to carry 4GB of HBM [high-bandwidth memory] operating at 1000MHz. 

The miniature graphics card from AMD and its partners will have clock-rates comparable to those of the flagship Radeon R9 Fury X. The Radeon R9 Nano will have compute performance of around 8.2TFLOPS, which is only 5 per cent below that of the Radeon R9 Fury X. Actual performance of the Radeon R9 Nano will be considerably higher than that of the Radeon R9 Fury, which uses a cut-down version of “Fiji” with 3584 stream processors, and will be very close to that of the top-of-the-range product.

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Intel unveils ultra-tiny, fully upgradable '5x5' mini-PC motherboards

Intel rolled out a new motherboard at its developer conference that offers more power than a NUC, but less than the mini-ITX.
By Ian Paul Aug 25, 2015

A lot of exciting technology was on display at Intel's IDF conference last week, but traditional PC hardware seemingly took a backseat to smart devices and the Internet of things. So much so, in fact, that one exciting PC-related tidbit that could’ve made more noise than button-sized chips and Wake on Voice was lost in the shuffle: The introduction of new compact motherboard that sits between the mini-ITX and Intel NUC in terms of size. The addition now offers a wide range of possibilities for compact PCs, from the Intel Compute Stick all the way up to the aforementioned mini-ITX form factor.  Dubbed the 5x5, the new motherboard doesn't quite live up to its name, measuring 5.5 inches by 5.8.

Nevertheless, it’s still smaller than the 6.69-by-6.69 mini-ITX and a bit larger than the 4-by-4 NUC board. Unlike the NUC, which ships with chips soldered to the motherboard, the 5x5 includes an LGA socket to house an Intel Core processor of your choice, with support for 35W or 65W thermal designs. The board also works with both M.2 or traditional 2.5-inch SATA interface SSDs.

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Google updates its Hangouts apps with a slick new design

Android update rolls out today
By Jacob Kastrenakes on August 10, 2015

Google Hangouts for mobile has gotten a major design overhaul. The design refresh comes as part of Hangouts 4.0, which is rolling out today on Android and was released about a month back on iOS. Hangouts 4.0 keeps the app's distinct green accent color, but it adds a floating compose button, cleans up and simplifies the interface, and presumably adds in all of the animated flourishes you'd expect from a Material Design app. Hangouts' Android Wear app should also be looking a bit nicer today. 

In addition to the design changes, Google says that Hangouts 4.0 for Android should send messages faster and more reliably. The update also adds back in the ability to set custom status messages, and it's supposed to be less of a drain on battery.

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Microsoft's Cortana Available For Android Users

Microsoft is reaching out to fans of Google's Android, trying to lure them away from Google Now by making its own digital assistant, Cortana, available to them.
By Nathan Eddy Aug 10.2015

Fans of Google's Android operating system now have an additional choice of digital assistant, thanks to Microsoft. With Cortana for Android users can now install Redmond's digital assistant in place of Google Now. Microsoft released a private beta version of the Cortana digital assistant for Android last month to allow for testing, and the service is currently available only to users in the US and China. 

The latest version of the beta allows Android users to replace the Google Now shortcut by pressing and holding the home button to activate Cortana instead. Following in the footsteps of Apple's Siri digital concierge, as well as Now, Cortana was developed to help Windows users find things on a PC, tablet or smartphone, manage a calendar, track packages, find files, and hear jokes.

Microsoft says the more someone uses Cortana, the more personalized the experience will be. Users can set Cortana to hear them anytime they say "Hey Cortana," although that feature is not available for Cortana on Android at this time.

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New security vulnerability discovered in old Intel chips

A security researcher has discovered a new and potentially harmful security vulnerability inside Intel processors released between 1997 and 2010.
By Adrian Kingsley-Hughes  August 10, 2015

Security researcher Chris Domas uncovered a vulnerability in the x86 architecture of pre-Sandy Bridge silicon that would allow an attacker to install software in a chip's protected System Management Mode space, which is what controls firmware-level security. Domas has also released proof-of-concept code for the attack.

It is not known whether AMD chips are also vulnerable to this attack.

A firmware-level attack would be not only invisible to antivirus software, but also resistant to hard drive reformatting or reinstalling the operating system. Once infected there's not much the user can do to protect themselves beyond inspecting the firmware code for anything nefarious.

The good news is that an attacker will need to have low-level access to a PC to carry out this attack. That means either taking the hands-on approach or having to use other malware to get into the system. Physical security can help with the first method, and security software with the second.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Crunching The Numbers: AMD's Radeon 380 Edges Out Nvidia GTX 960 As New 1080p Champ

By Jason Evangelho 8/03/2015 

When Nvidia launched their GTX 960 graphics card, it traded blows with AMD’s Radeon 285 at the all-important $200 mainstream pricepoint. Ultimately we had to look beyond pure performance, with Team Green claiming the victory based on deciding factors like operating temperatures, performance-per-watt, and an exclusive advantage Nvidia had at the time: G-Sync.

Fast forward 5 months and AMD’s G-Sync competitor, FreeSync, is widely available with a variety of models and resolutions represented. Plus, AMD’s Radeon 300 series has launched, which means the Radeon 285′s Tonga GPU gets improved and reincarnated as the Radeon 380.

That sets the stage for a new battle for the 1080p gaming crown. 

With the Radeon 380 outperforming the GTX 960, having improved power efficiency, and both companies now selling awesome dynamic refresh rate monitor solutions with G-Sync and FreeSync, the new 1080p champ shifts from the 960 to the 380 — at least with respect to these specific vendor cards. And FreeSync is really the deciding factor for me. When the GTX 960 released and it locked horns with the Radeon 285, what put me firmly in the 960′s court was the prospect of using G-Sync for tear-free, stutter-free gaming. In the last few months, however, AMD leveled the playing field in that regard (note that FreeSync monitors are more affordable than GSync ones, and that’s an important consideration for new customers), as well as massaged even more performance out of Tonga.

This round goes to AMD

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Windows 10 review: a fresh Start for Microsoft

Windows 10 has finally arrived, but how does it compare to previous versions, asks Sophie Curtis, and has Microsoft succeeded in righting the wrongs of Windows 8?
By Sophie Curtis  04 Aug 2015

Windows 10, the latest version of Microsoft's 29-year-old operating system, launched worldwide last week. Following a hostile reception to Windows 8 in 2012, which was only placated in small part by the Windows 8.1 update in 2013, Microsoft is hoping that Windows 10 can help it regain favour among its 1.5 billion daily users.

Windows 10 rights a lot of the wrongs done by Microsoft in Windows 8. One of the things that people hated about Windows 8 was the feeling that they were constantly being pushed to use "live tiles", which were designed for touch-based computing, even when they were using a traditional desktop set-up with a keyboard and mouse.

Start button menu

Another was the removal of the Start menu, which many people relied on as their first point of access to all software. This was replaced in Windows 8.1 with a Start button in the bottom left hand corner of the screen, but rather than opening up a navigation menu, it launched the tile-based touch user interface that most people were trying to escape.
Although live tiles are still a feature of Windows 10, they are not nearly as obtrusive. When you open up the new Start menu, there is a panel of live tiles on the right, where people can "pin" their favourite apps, but there is also a traditional Windows 7-style Start menu on the left, that allows users to sort through all of their files, apps and settings systematically.

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