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Primate Labs Introduces GeekBench 5, Drops 32-bit Support

Primate Labs, developers of the ubiquitous benchmarking application GeekBench, have announced the release of version 5 of the software. The new version brings numerous changes, and one of the most important (since if affects compatibility) is that it will only be distributed in a 64-bit version. Some under the hood changes include additions to the CPU benchmark tests (including machine learning, augmented reality, and computational photography) as well as increases in the memory footprint for tests so as to better gauge impacts of your memory subsystem on your system's performance. Also introduced are different threading models for CPU benchmarking, allowing for changes in workload attribution and the corresponding impact on CPU performance.

On the Compute side of things, GeekBench 5 now supports the Vulkan API, which joins CUDA, Metal, and OpenCL. GPU-accelerated compute for computer vision tasks such as Stereo Matching, and augmented reality tasks such as Feature Matching are also available. For iOS users, there is now a Dark Mode for the results interface. GeekBench 5 is available now, 50% off, on Primate Labs' store.

Intel Releases ModernFW as Open Source, minimal Firmware Replacement

Today Intel announced ModernFW - an experimental approach to building a minimum viable platform firmware for machines such as cloud server platforms. The reason for this software is that, while traditional PC Firmware has evolved over time and retained its backward compatibility, it has become very big and often inefficient.

So to meet the requirements of new platforms that need to be built quickly and adapted easily, Intel decided to offer a new software package that will help with that. The new firmware package targets x86_64 from ISA standpoint and Linux kernel based OSes.

Intel Officially Sinks the Itanic, Future of IA-64 Architecture Uncertain

Intel has unceremoniously, through a product change notification (PCN), discontinued the Itanium family of microprocessors. The Itanium 9700 "Kittson," which was released in 2017, is the final generation of Itanium, and its sales to new customers have stopped according to the PCN. The series has been marked "end of life" (EOL). Existing customers of Itanium who already have their IT infrastructure built around Itanium 9700 series, have an opportunity to determine their remaining demand of these processors, and place their "Last Product Discontinuance" order with Intel. The final LPD shipments would go out mid-2021.

With this move, Intel has cast uncertainty over the future of the IA-64 microarchitecture. IA-64 was originally conceived by Intel to replace 32-bit x86 at the turn of the century, as an industry-standard 64-bit processor architecture. AMD laid the foundation for its rival standard AMD64, which could go on to become x86-64. AMD64 won the battle for popularity over IA-64, as it maintained complete backwards-compatibility with x86, and could seamlessly run 32-bit software, saving enterprises and clients billions in transition costs. Intel cross-licensed it as EM64T (extended memory 64-bit technology), before standardizing the name x86-64. Itanium dragged on for close to two decades serving certain enterprise and HPC customers.

Version 4.6.0 Beta 10 of MSI Afterburner Introduces OC Scanner for Pascal

One of the runaway features for NVIDIA's latest RTX-20 series of graphics cards was the introduction of support for the OC Scanner feature - a program that automagically tests a range of frequencies on your NVIDIA graphics card and overclocks it to a deemed "stable" sweet-spot. This practically obviates the need for manual fine-tuning, though of course, the best results should always be found down that road - provided there's enough tinkering.

The latest version of MSI's Afterburner (v4.6.0 beta 10, available in the source link) now brings this functionality to Pascal-based graphics cards (besides some other features, such as voltage control, for Turing; check the entire release notes after the break). Have fun.

TrendForce: Contract Prices of NAND Flash Products to Drop Further 10% just in 1Q19

According to a report from DRAMeXchange, a division of market analytics firm TrendForce, contractor pricing of NAND flash products could drop some further 10% entering 2019 and throughout just the first quarter of the next year. Citing higher than expected but output from NAND manufacturers, who managed to ramp up their 64-bit 3D NAND ad higher-than-expected ratios, and with stagnating smartphone demand, channel quantities' increase will lead to dripping (if not cascading) pricing.

As for the trend in the SSD market, DRAMeXchange expects Client SSD contract prices to fall by nearly 10% in 1Q19, a great boon for customers. With global notebook shipments for 1Q19 estimated to decrease by over 15% QoQ, slowing demand for SSDs will lead to decreasing prices matching demand, despite the increasing SSD adoption rate in the PC market and the memory content upgrades. Long story short, enthusiasts: don't do any Christmas shopping for SSDs, barring some amazing deals that do pop up.

AMD Confirms Drop of 32-bit Executable Driver Support

AMD, via a statement provided to the 4Gamer publication, has confirmed they're dropping support for 32-bit executables in their driver releases. This move from AMD comes after mainstream adoption of 64-bit Operating Systems, which has rendered the market for 32-bit executables as apparently not worth the additional coding and certification effort.

For users till on a 32-bit operating system that have modern graphics hardware that's still being supported via AMD's drivers, though, this means that the last 32-bit version of an AMD driver will likely be the 18.9.3 version, which was re-released as WHQL on October 9th. As it stands, AMD won't be distributing new driver releases on the 32-bit format, so support for Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Forza Horizon 4 better be all you care about. The Vega page listing for driver releases already only lists the 64-bit version of the executables as is. Strangely, AMD has also pulled 32-bit driver references and links from its Vega 64 driver page - we'd expect some links to be up for legacy support, at least.

Cadence, Micron Update on DDR5: Still On Track, 1.36x Performance Increase Over DDR4 at Same Data Rate

DDR5 will be the next step in DDR5 memory tech, again bringing increased transfer speeds over the previous JEDEC (the standards body responsible for the DDR specifications) specification. The new memory technology will also bring the customary reductions in operating voltage - the new version will push the 64-bit link down to 1.1V and burst lengths to 16 bits from 1.2V and 8 bits. In addition, DDR5 lets voltage regulators ride on the memory card rather than the motherboard. CPU vendors are also expected to expand the number of DDR channels on their processors from 12 to 16, which could drive main memory sizes to 128 GB from 64 GB today.

DDR5 is being developed with particular attention to the professional environment, where ever-increasingly gargantuan amounts of addressable memory are required. One of the guiding principles over DDR5's development is a density increase (to allow 16 Gbit chips) that would allow for larger volumes of memory (and thus data processing) in the environments that need that. Reduced power consumption also plays a role here, but all of this will have a cost: latency. For end-users, though, this increased latency will be offset by the usual suspects (DDR memory companies such as Crucial, Corsair, just to name some started with the letter C) in tighter timings and increased operating frequencies. JEDEC's specification for DDR5 is set at 4800 MT/s, but it's expected the memory tech will scale to 6400 MT/s, and you know overclocking and performance-focused companies will walk all over the standard.

QNAP Announces TS-332X 3-bay 10GbE NAS with 10GbE

QNAP Systems, Inc. today released a new quad-core 3-bay NAS - the TS-332X - that allows for building a RAID 5 array for balancing capacity and protection with the fewest disks. The TS-332X also provides a 10GbE SFP+ port, three M.2 SATA 6Gb/s SSD slots, and supports SSD caching and Qtier auto-tiering technology to help tackle performance-demanding business operations. Featuring a minimalist design, the affordable 10GbE-ready TS-332X can easily fit any commercial space.

The TS-332X is a small NAS, but it is packed full of competitive features," said Dan Lin, Product Manager of QNAP, continuing "It allows for RAID 5 protection in a budget configuration, supports M.2 SATA SSDs, and performs efficient tiered storage. It is a cost-effective 10GbE NAS that empowers even the most budget-conscious small offices to upgrade their entire IT infrastructure."

Monster Hunter World PC Requirements Outed, August 9th Launch for the Long Summer

Capcom's Monster Hunter World is the fastest selling game in the publishers' history, and now, finally, PC gamers are on the verge of being able to play the critic and player-praised title. The release date, set at August 9th, will make sure PC gamers have a high-profile release to keep them going through the Summer. We'll see if the delay in launch (the game has been available in consoles since January) translates to good performance and optimization - but it does seem so from the available graphics settings, which include TAA for anti-aliasing, subsurface scattering, foliage sway, and most importantly, resolution scaling that helps achieve a more fluid game experience.

COLORFUL Expands Storage Offering with SL500 960 GB Solid-State Drive

COLORFUL Technology Company Limited, professional manufacturer of graphics cards, motherboards and high-performance storage solutions is proud to announce the expansion of its storage offering with the addition of its largest capacity solid-state drive to date. COLORFUL is announcing the availability of the SL500 960 GB SSD which will join the fast-growing line-up of COLORFUL high-performance, high-speed storage solutions.

With the introduction of the SL500 960 GB, gamers, power users and professionals seeking high-speed storage with plenty of capacity for various workloads including modern games, large multimedia files and expansive data can be served rapidly. The 960 GB capacity of the SL500 makes it an ideal choice for those individuals that don't want to compromise performance and capacity.

Synology Introduces DiskStation DS418j NAS

Synology Inc. today launched the new DiskStation DS418j, a budget-friendly 4-bay NAS server designed to help home and individual users to manage, protect and share data effectively. DS418j is powered by a brand-new 64-bit dual-core CPU and delivers an outstanding encrypted file transfer performance at over 112 MB/s reading and 87 MB/s writing under a RAID 5 configuration in a Windows environment. Coming with a 1 GB DDR4 memory, which is twice the size of its predecessor, and over 40 TB single volume raw capacity support, DS418j brings flexible storage management with excellent operation experience.

"In the digital era, photos, videos, and digital assets are being generated faster than ever. For home and individual users, it is essential to have a private storage solution that can satisfy the needs for both large storage capacity and secure data sharing," said Michael Wang, Product Manager at Synology Inc. "Combining hardware innovations and rich applications, the 4-bay DS418j allows users to enjoy cloud synchronization and multimedia streaming at a competitive price."

AMD Crimson ReLive 17.7.2 Presents Some Issues to Users

Users running AMD's latest 17.7.2 driver package are running into issues - which, let's face it, is somewhat understandable, considering all the new features AMD has crammed into this latest driver release. All driver releases ship with a bug here or there - there is even a "Known Issues" checklist on almost all of them - so unless bugs are widespread enough, they don't ever reach the critical mass to be noted by most users. However, users in both our forums and Reddit have been reporting issues after they install their 17.7.2 driver package: namely, the absence of the ReLive tab on the Radeon Control Panel.

The issue persists even after a full DDU (Display Driver Uninstaller) cleanup, and appears to be inconsistent in that users with the same hardware and on the same OS have mixed results upon installation. This issue has been confirmed by the Director of AMD's Corporate Strategy, Terry Makedon, on Reddit, who said that "Windows 7 being identified as beta and missing DVR is now reproduced in here and we will issue an update later today to address that. Sorry for that, hopefully we fixed it fast enough." For now, and until AMD releases a fix, there seems to be a workaround, as our own VSG has reported on an update to our Crimson ReLive 17.7.2 Preview: "One potential fix reported is to disable all security components (Antivirus, Malware protection etc) and to use the AMD Web Installer instead (Windows 10 64-bit here, replace 10 with 7 and 64 with 32 in the URL for other options)."

Steam Survey Update: It's All About Quad-cores, NVIDIA and Windows 10

An update to the Steam survey results is always worth noting, especially with the added, tremendous growth Valve's online store service has seen recently. And it seems that in the Steam gaming world at least, quad-core CPUs, NVIDIA graphics cards, and Windows 10 reign supreme.

Windows 10 64-bit is the most used operating system, with 50.33% of the survey. That the second most used Windows OS is the steady, hallmark Windows 7 shouldn't come as a surprise, though it does have just 32.05% of the market now. OS X has a measly 2.95% of the grand total, while Linux comes in at an even lower 0.72%. While AMD processor submits may have increased in other software, it seems that at least in Steam, those numbers aren't reflected, since AMD's processor market share in the survey has decreased from 21.89% in February to just 19.01% as of June, even though the company's Ryzen line of CPUs has been selling like hotcakes. Quad-core CPUs are the most used at time of the survey, at 52.06%, while the next highest percentage is still the dual-core CPU, with 42.23%.

Futuremark Releases PCMark 10 Basic and Advanced Editions

Futuremark, a UL company, has made available today the much-awaited update to their PCMark 8 benchmark suite. PCMark benchmarks measure complete system performance using tests based on real-world apps and activities. In PCMark 10, these tests include everyday tasks such as browsing websites, video chats, written documents and spreadsheets, photo and video editing, 3D modelling and simulations, and for the first time a full gaming benchmark.

PCMark 8 catered more to the day-to-day working professional than the ever-growing PC gaming market, and their own 3DMark program thus more popular in usage among enthusiasts - including here on TechPowerUp. With PCMark 10, Futuremark has added 3DMark Firestrike as part of the PCMark 10 Extended benchmark. Currently missing from the suite however is a dedicated storage and battery test which Futuremark clarified is "being worked upon", and which will be released as an update shortly.

AMD Announces Radeon Pro WX 2100, WX 3100 for Workstations

AMD has recently added two new offerings to their WX series of professional, workstation-oriented graphics cards. The WX 2100 and WX 3100 are entry-level offerings for the professional market, with 512 stream processors running at 1,219 MHz on a 14 nm graphics processor based on the Polaris architecture. The RX 2100 features 2GB of GDDR5 memory on a 64-bit interface; the RX 3100 doubles those figures to 4GB of memory on a 128-bit interface.

On performance, AMD said that the soon to be released WX 2100 and WX 3100 deliver up to 2x the performance of previous entry-level professional AMD graphics, and up to 28% faster performance than competing NVIDIA offerings. The WX 2100 is expected to cost $149, while the WX 3100 is expected to go for $199. AMD said the Radeon Pro WX 2100 and WX 3100 are both expected to launch in June; an exact date wasn't provided. The company also said both cards are covered by 24/7 customer support and a three-year limited warranty that can be extended up to seven years.

Manli Announces its GeForce GT 1030 Graphics Card

Manli Technology Group Limited, the major Graphics Cards and other components manufacturer, today announced the GT series graphics solution, Manli GeForce GT 1030 Heatsink with fan version. Manli GeForce GT 1030 delivers a perfect DirectX 12 gaming experiences, and powered by the NVIDIA Pascal architecture. It is equipped with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory, 64-bit memory controller, memory clock is at 6008 MHz, and the default GPU clock appears to be 1227 MHz.

Microsoft Distances Itself from Intel - Announces ARM Cloud Server Platform

Microsoft is looking to reduce costs in its Azure cloud computing platforms for tasks like search, storage, machine learning and big data. And after having developed a version of Windows for servers that use ARM processors, in a joint work with Qualcomm and Cavium, Microsoft seems to also be looking forward to leave its dependency on Intel products as nothing but a memory. Microsoft's ARM server design, dubbed Project Olympus, looks to hardware innovations so as to reduce costs, boosting competitiveness and flexibility in regards to other big players in the cloud space, like Amazon and Alphabet. That the design is open source is also a boon to other businesses and Microsoft partners.


Though the design isn't "deployed into production yet (...) that is the next logical step," said Jason Zander, vice president of Microsoft's Azure cloud division. "This is a significant commitment on behalf of Microsoft. We wouldn't even bring something (...) if we didn't think this was a committed project and something that's part of our roadmap."

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.11.2 Hotfix

AMD today released the Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.11.2 hotfix, highlighting an improved Shader Cache storage limit, which will allow the Shader Cache feature to store more shaders for extremely demanding games that may have previously hit the old storage cap.

Apart from that, not much is new, since it includes all of the previous 16.11 branch driver fixes and optimizations. The software release also includes an updated "Known Issues" list, which you can read after the break. As always, you can grab the drivers right here at TechPowerUp - just follow the links bellow.
Download: AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.11.2 Hotfix for Windows 10 64-bit | Windows 10 32-bit | Windows 8.1 64-bit | Windows 8.1 32-bit | Windows 7 64-bit | Windows 7 32-bit

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.11.1 Beta

AMD today released the Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.11.1 Beta, which brings support for the impending Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare as well as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered. The software also includes a CrossFire profile for Titanfall 2 under DX11. The long list of fixes and known issues are best left after the break. As always, you can grab the new drivers right below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.11.1 Beta for Windows 10 64-bit | Windows 10 32-bit | Windows 8.1 64-bit | Windows 8.1 32-bit | Windows 7 64-bit | Windows 7 32-bit

Futuremark Announces VRMark, the Virtual Reality Benchmark

Futuremark, the Finnish software development company best known for its 3DMark benchmarking suite, has just announced the availability of another benchmark suite. Aptly named VRMark, this suite teste your system's ability to run VR games and experiences, since the performance required for VR is much higher than for typical PC games - just consider that the recommended frame-rate for an optimal VR experience stands at 90fps. Run VRMark to see if your PC has what it takes to deliver a great VR experience on the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. VRMark benchmark tests run on your monitor, no headset required. If your PC passes, it's ready for the two most popular VR systems available today.

NVIDIA Issues the GeForce Hotfix Driver Version 375.76

NVIDIA has issued a Hotfix driver, version number 375.76, which deals with some issues identified in their previous WHQL driver version, 375.70. Namely, the hotfix drivers fix occasional flickers on high refresh-rate monitors, as well as GIF artifacting.

The hotfix also includes all of the previous updates from NVIDIA's WHQL driver release, such as driver optimization, SLI support (provided the game engine supports multi-GPU), and GeForce Experience optimal settings for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Dishonored 2, and Titanfall 2, and include optimization for "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition" and "Obduction VR." Grab the drivers from the links below.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 375.76 Hotfix Driver for Windows 10 64-bit | Windows 10 32-bit | Windows 8/7/Vista 64-bit | Windows 8/7/Vista 32-bit

PlayStation 4K to Feature a 2,304-SP AMD "Polaris" GPU

Sony's upcoming 4K Ultra HD game console, which its fans are referring to as the "PlayStation 4K," while being internally referred to by Sony as "NEO," could feature a very powerful GPU. AMD could custom-design the SoC that drives the console, to feature an 8-core 64-bit x86 CPU based on the "Jaguar" micro-architecture, running at 2.10 GHz; and a GPU component featuring 36 compute units based on "next-generation Graphics CoreNext" architecture.

36 next-gen GCN compute units sounds an awful lot like the specs of the Polaris10 "Ellesmere" chip in its Radeon R9 480 configuration, working out to a stream processor count of 2,304 - double that of the 1,152 on the current-gen PlayStation 4. The SoC is also rumored to feature a 256-bit GDDR5 memory interface holding 8 GB of memory. This memory will be used as both system and video memory, just like on the current-gen PlayStation 4. The memory bandwidth will be increased to 218 GB/s from the current 176 GB/s. Besides 4K Ultra HD gaming, this chip could also prepare Sony for VR headsets, leveraging AMD's LiquidVR tech.

AMD Preparing to Drop 32-bit Support for Radeon Drivers?

Is AMD planning to retire driver support for 32-bit Windows? A bulk of the company's Radeon R9 and Fury series GPUs feature 4 GB or more of video memory, and 64-bit Windows users making up the overwhelming majority, the company has begun steering users away from using 32-bit Windows altogether. We got whiff of this when we visited AMD's Drivers + Download Center on the company website, and tried clicking on the "32-bit" links of some of its Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 drivers, which redirected to an ominously-worded AMD knowledge-base article (Article #GPU-622).

This knowledge-base article, intended for people looking for 32-bit drivers, reads:
A system running Microsoft Windows 10 64 Bit can take full advantage of the advanced visual and performance features of these graphics cards. However, AMD also provides 64 Bit drivers for Microsoft Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Windows 7 to accomodate those users who choose to use an older Microsoft Operating System.

NVIDIA Releases the GeForce 362.00 WHQL Game Ready Drivers

NVIDIA released the latest version of its GeForce software. Version 362.00 WHQL comes game-ready for the hardware-intensive "Far Cry Primal," and "Gears of War Ultimate Edition." This includes performance optimizations, SLI profiles (if supported), and GeForce Experience optimal settings for the two games. The drivers are also optimized for the latest update of "Dying Light." Grab them from the links below.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 362.00 WHQL for Windows 10 64-bit | Windows 8.1/7/Vista 64-bit

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 361.43 WHQL Drivers

NVIDIA released one of its last GeForce driver releases for the year, version 361.43 WHQL. Surprisingly, these drivers aren't "Game Ready," and as such aren't built around optimization for any new game releases. They instead bring along GameWorks VR 1.1 support, including SLI support for VR applications that use OpenGL. The latest version of Occulus SDK also comes included. The drivers add/update SLI profiles for DayZ, Dungeon Defenders 2, Elite Dangerous (64-bit executable), Hard West (DirectX 11 renderer), and Bless.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 361.43 WHQL
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