News Posts matching #2019

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Gartner: Worldwide PC Shipments Grew 2.8% in Second Quarter of 2020

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 64.8 million units in the second quarter of 2020, a 2.8% increase from the second quarter of 2019, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. After a significant decline in the first quarter of the year due to COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions, the PC market returned to growth as vendors restocked their channels and mobile PC demand increased.

"The second quarter of 2020 represented a short-term recovery for the worldwide PC market, led by exceptionally strong growth in EMEA," said Mikako Kitagawa, research director at Gartner. "After the PC supply chain was severely disrupted in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the growth this quarter was due to distributors and retail channels restocking their supplies back to near-normal levels.

Corsair Recalls SF Series of PSUs due to Failure Concerns

Corsair's SF series of PSUs has been long present as part of the company's offerings, designed to the satisfy small form factor crowd with its SFX size. Today, Corsair has announced that they will be recalling some units and replace them free of charge, including free shipping. Corsair says that "We have recently identified higher-than-normal RMA rates among our SF family of small-form-factor PSUs. Following a thorough investigation, we have found a potential issue that can manifest when the PSU is exposed to a combination of both high temperatures, and high humidity. This regrettably can cause the PSU to fail. This issue potentially affects units in lot codes 194448xx to 201148xx, manufactured between October 2019 and March 2020."

The problem is located in the AC conversion part of the PSU, not the DC one which interacts with PC components, so Corsairs points out that all of the components are safe even if PSU fails. To get a replacement PSU, Corsair offers affected customers to submit their tickets here, with the title "SF Series voluntary product replacement", so they can easily identify customers and give them quicker replacement units.
Corsair SF600 PSU

Unfixable Flaw Found in Thunderbolt Port that Unlocks any PC in Less Than 5 Minutes

Dutch researcher from the Eindhoven University of Technology has found a new vulnerability in Thunderbolt port that allows attackers with physical access to unlock any PC running Windows or Linux kernel-based OS in less than 5 minutes. The researcher of the university called Björn Ruytenberg found a method which he calls Thunderspy, which can bypass the login screen of any PC. This attack requires physical access to the device, which is, of course, dangerous on its own if left with a person of knowledge. The Thunderbolt port is a fast protocol, and part of the reason why it is so fast is that it partially allows direct access to computer memory. And anything that can access memory directly is a potential vulnerability.

The Thunderspy attack relies on just that. There is a feature built into the Thunderbolt firmware called "Security Level", which disallows access to untrusted devices or even turns off Thunderbolt port altogether. This feature would make the port be a simple USB or display output. However, the researcher has found a way to alter the firmware setting of Thunderbolt control chip in a way so it allows any device to access the PC. This procedure is done without any trace and OS can not detect that there was a change. From there, the magic happens. Using an SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface) programmer with a SOP8 clip that connects the pins of the programmer device to the controller, the attacker just runs a script from there. This procedure requires around $400 worth of hardware. Intel already put some protection last year for the Thunderbolt port called Kernel Direct Memory Access Protection, but that feature isn't implemented on PCs manufactured before 2019. And even starting from 2019, not all PC manufacturers implement the feature, so there is a wide group of devices vulnerable to this unfixable attack.
Thunderspy attack

Samsung Electronics Begins Mass Production at New EUV Manufacturing Line

Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced that its new cutting-edge semiconductor fabrication line in Hwaseong, Korea, has begun mass production.

The facility, V1, is Samsung's first semiconductor production line dedicated to the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography technology and produces chips using process node of 7 nanometer (nm) and below. The V1 line broke ground in February 2018, and began test wafer production in the second half of 2019. Its first products will be delivered to customers in the first quarter.

ASRock Revenue Soars Due to the Ryzen Effect

ASRock, a Taiwanese manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, had an amazing 2019 when it comes to the revenue. Surging around 31% on a Year-over-Year (YoY) basis and delivering revenue of 443.16 million US Dollars, ASRock is expecting to deliver even better results in 2020. When it comes to the underlying reasons for this notable increase, ASRock attributes it to the recent success of AMD's Ryzen family of processors and strong demand for the platform surrounding it. Adopting the AMD Ryzen processors in Mini-PCs, motherboards and server boards, ASRocks see strong demand for these products that should carry over in 2020.

Another reason for strong profits and even better chapters ahead is the developments in the US and European markets. Having previously been focused on the Asian market and marketing its products to that part, ASRock changed the strategy and started advertising its brand more to other regions like the US and Europe. This new strategy is progressing well and is expected to continue in the coming years. Additionally, it is worth noting that ASRock's graphics card sales started to turn profitable in 2019, and now that part of ASRock is attributing to profits as well.

Traditional PC Volumes Close Out an Impressive 2019 with Fourth Quarter Growth of 4.8%, According to IDC

The worldwide market for traditional PCs, inclusive of desktops, notebooks, and workstations, finished an impressive 2019 with fourth quarter growth of 4.8% year over year, according to preliminary results from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker. Global shipments during the quarter beat forecast expectations at just under 71.8 million units, the highest single quarter shipment volume in four years (4Q15). Overall, global shipments grew 2.7% year over year in 2019, the first full year of PC growth since the market grew 1.7% in 2011.

"This past year was a wild one in the PC world, which resulted in impressive market growth that ultimately ended seven consecutive years of market contraction," said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC's Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. "The market will still have its challenges ahead, but this year was a clear sign that PC demand is still there despite the continued insurgence of emerging form factors and the demand for mobile computing."

Diablo IV Announced at BlizzCon 2019

Blizzard at this year's BlizzCon 2019 in Anaheim, California formally announced Diablo IV to the world, building on the 2012-released Diablo III as promised, after the company announced a refocus on its existing franchises. According to Blizzard, the game's premise stands as "Diablo IV takes place many years after the events of Diablo III, after millions have been slaughtered by the actions of the High Heavens and Burning Hells alike. In the vacuum of power, a legendary name resurfaces."

Blizzard claimed Diablo IV would have darker, grittier overtones such as in the earlier entries in the franchise, a style that was left somewhat in the background for Diablo III. There will be more blood, there will be more gore, and for now, three classes have been announced that will be your avatars in partaking in violence on Diablo IV: the barbarian, sorceress, and druid. Blizzard has also said some words regarding a technological push in the game, claiming that "This technology is at the heart of everything players will see, hear, and feel — delivering much higher fidelity and a more engrossing experience." No details on what exactly this meant were shared by the company, though. Chek out the reveal and gameplay trailers after the break.

Razer Announces the Firefly V2 RGB Mouse Pad

Razer has introduced an updated version of their Firefly RGB mouse pad. First introduced in May 2015, the original Firefly carried 15 RGB lighting zones that could be customized via Razer's Chroma software. There are still 16.8 million colors available for user customization, but the number of lighting zones has been increased from 15 (in the May 2015 model) to 19 (in the November 2019 model). Coincidence? I think not.

The new Firefly V2 now also features brighter LEDs for a more dashing experience, and has been made thinner as well, coming in at just 3 mm (1 mm has been shaved compared to the original model). Like the original version, the Firefly V2 RGB features a micro-textured hard surface, optimized for precise tracking across all mouse sensors, playstyles and sensitivity settings. It also features a built-in cable catch for minimal mouse drag and an anti-slip rubber base to stay firmly in place. The Razer Firefly V2 RGB is now available at various retailers for £49.99 GBP / $49.99 USD / €59.99 MSRP.

TSMC Reports Third Quarter Results

TSMC today announced consolidated revenue of NT$293.05 billion, net income of NT$101.07 billion, and diluted earnings per share of NT$3.90 (US$0.62 per ADR unit) for the third quarter ended September 30, 2019.

Year-over-year, third quarter revenue increased 12.6% while net income and diluted EPS both increased 13.5%. Compared to second quarter 2019, third quarter results represented a 21.6% increase in revenue and a 51.4% increase in net income. All figures were prepared in accordance with TIFRS on a consolidated basis.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.10.1 with Support for Radeon RX 5500 and RX 5500M

AMD today released a newest update to its Radeon Adrenalin driver. Dubbed version 19.10.1, the new release brings many new bug fixes and improvements to the table. For starters it will enable support for the newly released Radeon RX 5500 an 5500M desktop and mobile graphics cards, so now the buyers of these cards will have a driver from day one to start their experience smoothly. Additionally, support for the upcoming game "GRID", set to release on October 11th, is also included with this driver release.

Download the Adrenalin 19.10.1 Driver here.
The change-log follows.

TSMC Starts Shipping its 7nm+ Node Based on EUV Technology

TSMC today announced that its seven-nanometer plus (N7+), the industry's first commercially available Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography technology, is delivering customer products to market in high volume. The N7+ process with EUV technology is built on TSMC's successful 7 nm node and paves the way for 6 nm and more advanced technologies.

The N7+ volume production is one of the fastest on record. N7+, which began volume production in the second quarter of 2019, is matching yields similar to the original N7 process that has been in volume production for more than one year.

TSMC August 2019 Revenue Report

TSMC (TWSE: 2330, NYSE: TSM) today announced its net revenues for August 2019: On a consolidated basis, revenues for August 2019 were approximately NT$106.12 billion, an increase of 25.2 percent from July 2019 and an increase of 16.5 percent from August 2018. Revenues for January through August 2019 totaled NT$650.58 billion, an increase of 0.6 percent compared to the same period in 2018.

Alphacool Announces Availability of the Eisball Reservoir

Alphacool showcased their Eisball reservoir back at Computex 2019, which stole a considerable number of looks due to its uncommon shape. Now, the company has announced availability for the Dragon Ball-shaped reservoir. Compatible with VPP 655/755 pumps or all original Laing D5 pumps, the Eisball keeps its appearance clean with black-sleeved cables, and features an RGB ring for added bling on your rig.

Weighing 610 g and supporting operating temperatures up to 61º C, it has a maximum capacity of 700 ml, with support for mounting options on radiators or fan slots supporting either 120 mm or 140 mm fans. The Alphacool Eisball reservoir will be available from tomorrow, 8th of August. No word on pricing as of yet, but this space will be updated when that information is made available by the company.

Intel Starts Shipping 10 nm Ice Lake CPUs to OEMs

During its second quarter earnings call, Intel announced that it has started shipping of 10th generation "Core" CPUs to OEMs. Making use of 10 nm lithography, the 10th generation of "Core" CPUs, codenamed Ice Lake, were qualified by OEMs earlier in 2019 in order to be integrated into future products. Ice Lake is on track for holiday season 2019, meaning that we can expect products on-shelves by the end of this year. That is exciting news as the 10th generation of Core CPUs is bringing some exciting micro-architectural improvements along with the long awaited and delayed Intel's 10nm manufacturing process node.

The new CPUs are supposed to get around 18% IPC improvement on average when looking at direct comparison to previous generation of Intel CPUs, while being clocked at same frequency. This time, even regular mobile/desktop parts will get AVX512 support, alongside VNNI and Cryptography ISA extensions that are supposed to bring additional security and performance for the ever increasing number of tasks, especially new ones like Neural Network processing. Core configurations will be ranging from dual core i3 to quad core i7, where we will see total of 11 models available.

Microsoft to Present First Halo Infinite Gameplay at E3 2019 - On the PC Platform

Tech Journalist Brad Sams, who first reported on Halo: The Master Chief Collection coming to the PC platform before its official announcement, has spilled the beans on another juicy detail regarding the Halo universe: that Microsoft will use this E3 2019 to showcase the first gameplay for the game. This isn't news, really - after last year's tease, it was expected that gameplay would be available this year to whet gamers' appetites. However, the fact that Halo Infinite will be running in the PC platform is newsworthy, since this is quite the departure from previously-known Microsoft, which seemed to relegate its PC gaming ambitions to other developers.

Now, with Microsoft vouching to treat the PC platform as the gaming juggernaut it is, and the already-known information that 343 Industries' (the current Halo developers) Slipspace engine would treat PC gamers with the latest technology in terms of graphics presentation, PC has become the defacto platform of choice to showcase Halo's next-gen visuals (whilst using an Xbox One controller, by the way). This likely only happens because Microsoft isn't ready to completely pull the wraps on the next-generation Xbox; or it could serve as a show of good faith from the company when it comes to PC gaming. Whatever the reason for Microsoft's decision, this seems like a great time to be a PC - and Halo - fan.

Square Enix Teases New Game to be Announced at E3 2019: Outriders

The official Outriders account today teased the reveal of a new game - and what looks like a new IP - via its official Twitter account. The short, 15 second teaser does give away some elements: the setting is decidedly sci-fi. Rumors place the studio behind Outriders as People Can Fly (developers of Bulletstorm and, of which we haven't heard much from in recent times.

People Can Fly opened a development branch in Newcastle, UK, in September 2017, which included a number of former Ubisoft developers among others, and a second Poland studio in Rzeszów in May 2018. This second branch brought on former CI Games developers following layoffs at that studio earlier, bringing the total number of people for People Can Fly to about 160 - and the studio has been news object of it working with Square Enix on a AAA shooter. Since the reveal is being placed at Square Enix's E3 conference, it seems that Outriders could definitely be it.

GALAX at COMPUTEX 2019: GeForce RTX 2080 Ti HOF 10th Anniversary Edition

GALAX at COMPUTEX 2019 showcased their latest, 10th anniversary iteration of the world's most powerful consumer graphics card. Their GeForce RTX 2080 Ti HOF 10th Anniversary Edition graphics card features the brand's hallmark all-white design, with an RGB element around the center fan of its triple-fan cooling system that represents a time-scale of this 10th anniversary.

The steampunk elements usually present in GALAX's products are still here, in the radial of the two outside fans. The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti HOF 10th Anniversary Edition comes prepared for water cooling out of the box in a hybrid solution, and drinks power from three 8-pin connectors.

G.SKILL at COMPUTEX 2019: KM360 Keyboard, MX350 Mouse, Trident Z Neo DDR4 Memory

G.Skill at COMPUTEX 2019 showcased its range of products for gamers. The KM360 is being hailed as a professional tenkeyless keyboard. Its top plate is made of aircraft-grade aluminum, and it sports Cherry MX mechanical switches (in the photos, Cherry MX Red), which are paired with ABS keycaps made via a double injection technique for improved feel and durability. There are the usual gaming features as well: Full N-Key Rollover and 100% anti-ghosting.

The MX350 is an optical gaming mouse sporting RGB lighting, as almost all of them do these days. A Pixart 3327 sensor with up to 6200 DPI resolution is the weapon of choice here, and the MX350 features six pre-programmed DPI stages that can be changed on-the-fly according to the gaming scenario you're facing. a 1 ms polling rate, dual side keys for action mapping, and two specific DPI up-down buttons are present.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.5.1 Drivers

Just in time for the release of Bethesda's open-world first-person shooter Rage 2 (find our performance analysis here), AMD has released their latest installment of the Radeon Adrenalin 2019 edition drivers for their graphics cards to make the most of the game. Indeed, AMD claims an improvement in game performance of up to 16% on the Radeon VII relative to last month's 19.4.3 drivers, and this is in addition to added support for the big Windows 10 May 2019 update and instruction tracing for AMD's GPU Profiler version 1.5.X. There is a plethora of fixed issues listed as well, and the usual list of known bugs, all of which can be seen past the break. We have also hosted the drivers installer for your convenience, which can be found at the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.5.1

Intel Switches Gears to 7nm Post 10nm, First Node Live in 2021

Intel's semiconductor manufacturing business has had a terrible past 5 years as it struggled to execute its 10 nanometer roadmap forcing the company's processor designers to re-hash the "Skylake" microarchitecture for 5 generations of Core processors, including the upcoming "Comet Lake." Its truly next-generation microarchitecture, codenamed "Ice Lake," which features a new CPU core design called "Sunny Cove," comes out toward the end of 2019, with desktop rollouts expected 2020. It turns out that the 10 nm process it's designed for, will have a rather short reign at Intel's fabs. Speaking at an investor's summit on Wednesday, Intel put out its silicon fabrication roadmap that sees an accelerated roll-out of Intel's own 7 nm process.

When it goes live and fit for mass production some time in 2021, Intel's 7 nm process will be a staggering 3 years behind TSMC, which fired up its 7 nm node in 2018. AMD is already mass-producing CPUs and GPUs on this node. Unlike TSMC, Intel will implement EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography straightaway. TSMC began 7 nm with DUV (deep ultraviolet) in 2018, and its EUV node went live in March. Samsung's 7 nm EUV node went up last October. Intel's roadmap doesn't show a leap from its current 10 nm node to 7 nm EUV, though. Intel will refine the 10 nm node to squeeze out energy-efficiency, with a refreshed 10 nm+ node that goes live some time in 2020.

AMD's Zen 2 Threadripper Conspicuously Absent From Company's Latest Roadmaps

We've all taken a look at AMD's March 2019 product roadmap, which showed us the upcoming 2019 tech the company would be bringing to the table in its "non-stop product momentum". However, it seems that this non-stop product momentum might be coming to an unexpected twist of fate that might delay it from entering the last station - the Zen 2-based Threadripper. In the company's latest May earnings call roadmap, the company silently removed the Zen 2 Threadripper from its product roadmap - where it used to sit right after the launch of Zen 2-based Ryzen products for consumers, is now just a big crop of the space it occupied.

This might mean many things, and a mistake on someone's part while cropping the PowerPoint slide could be the only thing going on here. However, the best and most plausible speculation that can be entertained when one considers this is simple - a supply problem. With the 7 nm node being the newest, most dense fabrication process possible, and with AMD having to share TSMC's 7 nm wafer production with a number of high profile companies - such as Qualcomm, for instance - may mean that supply is simply too tight to support Zen 2-based products across so many product stacks - Ryzen and Epyc - at the same time.

Backblaze Releases Hard Drive Stats for Q1 2019

As of March 31, 2019, Backblaze had 106,238 spinning hard drives in our cloud storage ecosystem spread across three data centers. Of that number, there were 1,913 boot drives and 104,325 data drives. This review looks at the Q1 2019 and lifetime hard drive failure rates of the data drive models currently in operation in our data centers and provides a handful of insights and observations along the way.

Hard Drive Failure Stats for Q1 2019
At the end of Q1 2019, Backblaze was using 104,325 hard drives to store data. For our evaluation we remove from consideration those drives that were used for testing purposes and those drive models for which we did not have at least 45 drives (see why below). This leaves us with 104,130 hard drives. The table below covers what happened in Q1 2019.

Intel on Q1 FY 2019: Servers Down, PC Market Up, Revenue Flat

Intel Corporation today reported first-quarter 2019 financial results. In the first quarter, the company generated approximately $5.0 billion in cash from operations, paid dividends of $1.4 billion and used $2.5 billion to repurchase 49 million shares of stock.

"Results for the first quarter were slightly higher than our January expectations. We shipped a strong mix of high-performance products and continued spending discipline while ramping 10nm and managing a challenging NAND pricing environment. Looking ahead, we're taking a more cautious view of the year, although we expect market conditions to improve in the second half," said Bob Swan, Intel CEO. "Our team is focused on expanding our market opportunity, accelerating our innovation and improving execution while evolving our culture. We aim to capitalize on key technology inflections that set us up to play a larger role in our customers' success, while improving returns for our owners."

ASUS Announces ROG Strix Scope Series Keyboard

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced ROG Strix Scope, the mechanical gaming keyboard with Xccurate Design - an extra-wide Ctrl key for enhanced precision on FPS battlefields. The Control (Ctrl) key is crucial to success in modern first-person-shooter games. With this in mind the ROG R&D team carefully examined the play style of FPS gamers, applying their findings to create a Ctrl key that's more than 2X wider than traditional Ctrl keys as well as a shortened left Windows key that's designed to be less of a target.

For gamers wanting to switch things up a bit, the all-black look of Strix Scope can be punctuated by four silver-colored caps for the vital WASD key group. Included with Strix Scope, these alternative caps create a striking contrast to the rest of the keys - a standout look that benefits both form and function. A special keycap-puller tool is also bundled for easy removal and customization of the most-used keys.

GameStop Records Worst Losses in Its History, Hinting at a Digital Future

or maybe that headline should read "Digital Present", because in many ways, it certainly seems we are already living in a heavily digital present. GameStop, one of the leading physical retailers for both new and used games, that usually has trade-in programs for games consoles as well, has reported a staggering $673 million loss in its 2018 performance.

All facets of GameStops' business have worsened: new hardware sales, new software sales, and pre-owned (which declined some 13.2% YoY) all lost money for the company, with no bright spot to be seen anywhere in the previously bright sheen of this particular part of the retail games and entertainment market. GameStop spoke of a "new cost savings and profit improvement initiative in place, we will focus our efforts on driving profitability", which justifies the company's positive outlook for 2019. How GameStop is optimistic about its future with these losses and a projected 5-10% lowered sales for the games market throughout 2019 is somewhat of a strange marriage of concepts, but if it works for the company, it works. Especially with the increased effort from a number of companies in bringing cloud gaming to fruition, with Google's Stadia and Microsoft's own expected push, it seems that a hugely important part of the market for the likes of GameStop (and let's mention other, digital storefronts as well) is going to be left dry without any sort of cut in game sales.
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