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Intel Issues Updates to Protect Systems From Security Exploits

Intel has developed and is rapidly issuing updates for all types of Intel-based computer systems -- including personal computers and servers -- that render those systems immune from both exploits (referred to as "Spectre" and "Meltdown") reported by Google Project Zero. Intel and its partners have made significant progress in deploying updates as both software patches and firmware updates.

Intel has already issued updates for the majority of processor products introduced within the past five years. By the end of next week, Intel expects to have issued updates for more than 90 percent of processor products introduced within the past five years. In addition, many operating system vendors, public cloud service providers, device manufacturers and others have indicated that they have already updated their products and services.

Dragon Bones DLC Coming Soon to The Elder Scrolls Online

Zenimax Online Studios has revealed details on the first major update of 2018 for The Elder Scrolls Online - a two-dungeon DLC Game Pack called Dragon Bones, and Update 17, a free addition for everyone which includes a slew of new features and upgrades that make ESO better than ever. Dragon Bones and Update 17 are expected to launch in February.

The Dragon Bones DLC Game Pack will include two new dungeons - Scalecaller Peak and Fang Lair - available in both normal and veteran modes, with a veteran Hard Mode for each final boss. These new dungeons pit players against new and returning enemies, including plague-ridden ogres, powerful sorcerers and their undead creations, and even the reanimated bones of an ancient dragon.

Amazon's Lumberyard Game Engine Receives Beta 1.12 Update, 400+ Updates

Amazon might soon be caught in the crossfire between Crytek and Cloud Imperium Games over alleged unlawful usage of Crytek's intellectual property - and CryEngine - in the making of Kickstarter stars Squadron 42 and Star Citizen. However, that isn't stopping the company from further updating and increase ease of use of its game engine, which it licenses for free to would-be game developers - nor should it.

Software solutions such as SpeedTree 8, EMotionFX, and ScriptCanvas look to make sure that developers have access to a multitude of tools that allows them to populate their worlds with believable environments, characters, and scripting events, with the least amount of work and repetition possible. Cloud Gems is Amazon's Lumberyard cloud-connected features, which allows developers to build cloud-connected systems in their games, such as voice recognition, or even procedural voice generation for thousands of NPCs in an MMO - through the power of the Cloud. Starter Game is a way for would-be users of Lumberyard to acquaint themselves with the engines' capabilities, offering 500+ free assets and systems for those training wheels-required sessions. Read up on some of the new Lumberyard Beta 1.12 capabilities after the break, and feel free to follow the source links to download the engine - and maybe tinker with it.

EVE: Valkyrie - Warzone's Winter Update Brings Holiday Cheer to Players

Today, CCP Games is excited to launch the Winter Update for EVE: Valkyrie - Warzone - the acclaimed multiplayer first-person spaceship shooter set in the gritty-but-glorious universe of EVE - across PlayStation4 and PC, including all high-end VR headsets (PlayStationVR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive). This update introduces highly requested community tools and Spectator Mode designed for player-run tournaments, along with a new EVE Online: Lifeblood-themed map, plus support for TrackIR and Tobii delivering head-tracking for non-VR players.

First is the long-awaited addition of Custom Matches. No longer will you have to wait for a specific game mode, now you can set up your own matches on EVE: Valkyrie - Warzone's official dedicated servers. You can also control the lobby through passcodes, private invites and a public server browser. Additionally, you'll find options for map rotation, game mode and a ton of other settings to tweak the game for maximum enjoyment (…or carnage, depending on your preference).

Quake Champions to Receive Largest Update to Date

id Software has continued to update and improve Quake Champions throughout Early Access based on the feedback and requests of the player community. This week on Dec. 14, Quake Champions will receive one of its largest updates to date, delivering new content and features including a new Champion, Keel, who returns from Quake 3 Arena and Quake Live; a new arena for Duel and 2v2, Vale of Pnath; Ranked Play and Leaderboards; plus a ton of festive, holiday-themed gear and maps for a limited time.

New 'Arms Race' Update Expands Gameplay Experience for EVE Online F2P Players

Today, CCP announced the launch of the Arms Race update for EVE Online, their in-depth and uniquely player-driven spaceship MMO game, which introduces even greater accessibility and wider gameplay variety to players with free-to-play accounts, known as Alpha Clones. Introduced in last year's Ascension expansion, Alpha accounts enable players to permanently join hundreds of thousands of established users in EVE Online's massive space sandbox for free. Now, CCP Games has opened up the ability for Alpha pilots to train many more skills, fly more impressive spaceships and equip more advanced weaponry.

"There has never been a better time to join the universe of EVE and begin your own unique space adventure, or re-join and continue your journey," said Hilmar Veigar Pétursson, CCP's CEO. "The increased flexibility and depth of the free Alpha Clone experience means that EVE is more accessible than ever. EVE players can return and fly their favorite ships for free, re-uniting with old corpmates or continue forging their own destiny to make their mark on the universe."

The Division Update 1.8 Drops Tomorrow with Free Weekend & Free DLC Week

Today, Ubisoft announced that "Resistance," Update 1.8 for Tom Clancy's The Division will launch simultaneously on PlayStation4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One and Windows PC platforms tomorrow, December 5th. Coinciding with the release of Resistance, The Division Free Weekend is coming to all platforms from December 7th to December 10th. Additionally, all The Division owners will have free access to all of the expansions included in The Division's Season Pass (Underground, Survival, and Last Stand) from December 5th to December 10th. "Resistance," Update 1.8 is the largest free update thus far for Tom Clancy's The Division and expands the game map with a new area accessible to all players: West Side Pier.

Latest Samsung 960 Pro Firmware Update Causes Application Freezes, Instability

Users of Samsung's 960 Pro SSD's that have updated to the latest firmware version (3B6QCXP7) have been reporting far, wide, and through a variety of outlets, the existence of problems that lead to application instability and OS freezes lasting for several seconds before the system resumes normal functions. Apparently, there's no hard-crashing involved as of yet, though the issue seems to be widespread enough that it's generating discussion in Samsung's forums, our own, and some other tech publication's. It seems the 960 Pro is getting stuck with 100% activity reports in the task manager with read and write speeds of 0. At the same time, some users are reporting performance degradation by sometimes up to 1,400 MB/s in read speeds when benchmarking the drives, which also doesn't bode well for the firmware's pedigree.

The issue has been replicated by users running Perfect Disk while running SSD Optimization modes. A Samsung representative in the Forums seems to be on top of the issue, asking users for information on their systems and configuration before escalating the situation and reporting, though so far, it seems that the problem is being dismissed as being not widespread enough to be considered a cause for alarm. Samsung''s 960 Pro firmware can't be rolled back by users to a previous version, though, so take this post as a heads-up and maybe wait for a newer firmware revision, just to play it safe. A statement from Samsung follows after the break.

Latest Need for Speed Payback Update Accelerates Progression System

Following the launch of Need for Speed Payback, we've been working on addressing feedback by making changes to the progression system and other aspects of the game. These range from decreasing the amount of time for parts to refresh within the tune-up shops to the way events, bait crates and roaming racers work. Players in Ranked Speedlists will also notice an increased amount of parts being paid out. Win the Speedlist and you're guaranteed a new part, while simply participating means you get more chances of receiving an item of your own. We've already pushed a number of these updates live and will continue to listen to our players to make Need for Speed Payback the best experience possible.

Soon players will see a client-side patch going live and will benefit from a range of updates including improved game performance, multiple fixes to improve stability and tune-up shops stocking a higher quality selection of parts.

Researchers Find Glaring Intel ME Security Flaws, Company Outs Detection Tool

Security researchers have found glaring security flaws with Intel Management Engine, the on-chip micro SoC that, besides governing the functionality of the processor, provides on-chip management and security features. These security flaws render "potentially millions" of PCs and notebooks, based on Intel processors, according to the researchers. Intel on Monday released a Detection Tool application that lets you identify vulnerabilities in the Management Engine of your Intel processor-powered PC, and suggests updates to Intel Management Engine drivers, or points to BIOS updates from your PC manufacturer.

Updates to Intel ME are specific to TXE 3.0 (trusted execution engine version 3.0), which is featured on processors based on "Skylake," "Kaby Lake," and "Coffee Lake" micro-architectures, across client- and enterprise market segments, and Atom processors released in the past three years. Intel chronicled this security flaw further under Security Advisory 86, and released the SA-00086 Detection Tool.

Futuremark Rolls Out PCMark 10 v1.0.1403 Update

Futuremark today rolled out a minor update to PCMark 10. Version 1.0.1403 does not affect comparability to benchmark scores from previous versions of PCMark 10. It includes an updated SystemInfo to version 5.3.629 with support for newer hardware, and three bug fixes. To begin with, a bug that prevents the Web-browsing video workload test from starting in some cases, was addressed. A bug that prevented the Web-browsing test series to start on some machines with proxy-server configuration, has been fixed. Data-logging for App Start-up, Spreadsheets, Writing, and Web Browsing workloads, has been improved. Grab the update from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: Futuremark PCMark 10 v1.0.1403

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation Receives V2.6 Update

Today, Stardock released a v2.6 update for its massive-scale RTS game, Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation. In addition to the new tutorials, the update includes several improvements, a new Quantum Upgrade, a rework of air production for the Substrate faction, adjustments to the way players repair their forces, and more.

"My biggest goal for this update was accessibility," said Callum McCole, lead designer for Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation. "Our old tutorial wasn't great at introducing new players to the basics and showing them how to play effectively, so we made it into a set and changed it to be more targeted and easier to follow."

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.10.2

AMD released the latest version of its Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition drivers. Version 17.10.2 beta fixes a number of bugs, while building on the feature set of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update-exclusive driver update the company put out last week. To begin with, the drivers come with optimization for "Destiny 2," "Assassin's Creed: Origins," and "Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus." One can expect performance improvements of a massive 43-50 percent on "Destiny 2," a significant 13-16 percent on "Assassin's Creed: Origins," and 4-8 percent on "Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus."

The drivers also introduce an interesting new feature called "GPU Workload," found in Radeon Settings, which lets you instantly switch between two GPU optimization modes: "gaming" and "compute." The drivers can now simultaneously run up to 12 AMD Radeon GPUs on a single machine, making it economical for crypto-coin miners to install more GPUs into fewer machines, saving power and platform costs. The drivers also fix display corruption bugs related to "Player Unknown's Battlegrounds," and a rare game crash with "Hearts of Iron IV." Grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.10.2

The change-log follows.

Microsoft Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Available Today

Microsoft released Windows 10, code named "Threshold 1," a little over two years ago. As of May of this year, there were approximately 500 million Windows 10 devices worldwide. Originally, Microsoft predicted that Windows 10 would be installed on 1 billion devices by mid-2018. When released, Windows 10 gained huge adoption from those running Windows 7 from the "free-upgrade program" which lasted one year.

Since then however, installations have slowly declined and in July of last year, Microsoft admitted that they would miss their projected goal of 1 billion devices. Since its release, Windows 10 has had three major update releases with "Threshold 2," in 2015, "Anniversary Update," in 2016, "Creators Update" in April of this year and today marks the release of Microsoft's fourth major feature update to its operating system, dubbed "Fall Creators Update," version 1709.

Logitech Improves G203 Prodigy Mouse Sensor Precision with Firmware Update

Logitech has released an updated firmware that brings much more than the usual updates we see: it actually improves rated specs of their already released G203 Prodigy mouse. Case in point: Logitech's Chris Pate said that "We learned a lot of lessons in designing the new HERO sensor found in our latest Logitech G603 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse that could also be applied to the Logitech G203 Prodigy Gaming Mouse." Whether this was achieved through simple overclocking of some of the mice's internals, or simply some unused hardware capabilities that weren't reachable for some reason, it's unclear; what's clear is that the improvements are massive.

Sensor precision for Logitech's 6203 Prodigy has been increased by 33%, from a maximum 6000 DPI (adjustable from 200 DPI) to a maximum 8000 DPI. Maximum mouse speed and acceleration of have also been increased, from 200 IPS to 300 IPS and from 25G to 35G, respectively. Other Logitech G203 features include 1000 Hz USB report rate, programmable buttons with in-mouse storage of settings, and RGB lighting on the "G" logo. The G203's pricing was already reasonable with its base specs and the $39.99 in the U.S. €44.99 in the E.U., but with this update, the value is further increased. The firmware update in question can be downloaded via the latest Logitech Gaming software.

G.Skill Intros KM780 RGB & KM570 RGB GDS 2.0 Update

G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, announces a reworked software for the RIPJAWS series KM780 RGB, KM780R RGB, and KM570 RGB mechanical gaming keyboard. This new v2.0 update has been rewritten to streamline the overall user experience, including automating profile saving and a reorganized user interface to reduce the number of clicks for each action, as well as adding new lighting options. Most notably, the G.SKILL Driver System no longer requires the .NET Framework to work starting from version 2.0.

Through massive amounts of valuable user feedback, the software UI has been improved for a more efficient user experience by reducing the number of required clicks to customize settings, making it easier to learn and more user-friendly. Macros and lighting profiles can now be refreshed and updated to the keyboard directly from the macro and lighting profiles menu, instead of going back and forth between the menu tabs to save any changes. Importing all your configuration and settings is now fully implemented, so exporting and reloading your profiles and settings are much easier. This also lets you easily share your keyboard settings across different PCs or with friends.

Been There, Done That: HP New Firmware Update Locks Non-Original Ink Cartridges

HP has gone and done it once again: they've re-issued a firmware update that locks printing for users who make use of non-original HP ink cartridges. This move by the company isn't new; in September 2016, they did just that, through a seemingly dormant "time bomb" implemented in new printers' firmware that stopped their operation should a non-original ink cartridge be detected. Businesses who were looking to save some money on expendables that are usually more expensive than liquid gold and who had started using non-original ink cartridges for their printers saw their activities on hold - and that likely costed them more than original cartridges ever would.

Later on, in October 2016, and facing considerable backlash due to its actions, HP reversed the built-in firmware lock with a software update that forced users to look up the appropriate software manually on HP's website and then install it on their printers. Original cartridge authentication is done through an original HP security chip, which is checked against security systems embedded on the printer so as to confirm the cartridge's authenticity. The company itself admitted that "A cloned product with an original HP security chip will work," and that "HP's dynamic security recognizes refilled and remanufactured supplies that contain the original HP security chip." HP apologized, at the time, for what it called "miscommunication" on their part. Their apology, however, has been thrown at the weeds by now; we here at TPU did say that users should "(...) remain wary of any eventual future update that might break non-original cartridge compatibility - again."

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update to Bring Privacy Enhancements

Do you remember those times where your privacy wasn't such a concern? Where you could freely navigate through the world, and not have to worry if your apps, browsers, extensions, or operating systems weren't collecting way more data than you wanted them to? It seems eons behind us, now, but it's the world we've been living in - and the world we've been building up to with our choices as consumers. Now, consumers have to fight for almost every last scrap of privacy dignity we can expect to achieve.

Microsoft, through a blog post, has stated that they are continuing to assess and address privacy concerns users might have regarding how and when the operating system which is being hailed as the last major Microsoft OS release collects user information. Specifically, Microsoft states that "Continuing with our commitment to privacy and data control, today we're announcing privacy enhancements coming to the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update for consumers and commercial customers that further increase your access to information and provides you more control over what information is collected."

Tiny App Checks NVIDIA Driver Updates

A tiny open-source app named simply "TinyNvidiaUpdateChecker" by "ElPumpo" could make GeForce Experience look bulky and redundant, if all you use it for is keep up with driver updates. With practically each new AAA game release, NVIDIA and AMD tend to put out graphics driver updates. Among several useful features such as optimizing your game settings or making them portable, the GeForce Experience app keeps your GeForce drivers up to date. On the downside, it has drawn criticism over its user privacy, the need to register as a user and log-on at each system startup; and for its unnecessarily big memory footprint as the app keeps running in the background.

The open-source app, along with its source-code and a pre-compiled binary, are available on GitHub. It's a little rough on the edges, but could be worth it for its tiny memory footprint. On the flip-side, this app doesn't run on in the background, and you have to manually run it to look up updates, something you might as well look up online in your browser. The API that makes this app work could be pulled by NVIDIA any time, as it looks to promote GeForce Experience. Alternatively, you can subscribe to E-Mail notifications by TechPowerUp by clicking on the "Get Notified" button in our download pages, for your favorite driver updates. We're completely web-based and you won't need to trust apps to look up your driver updates.
DOWNLOAD: TinyNvidiaUpdateChecker by ElPumpo

Ashes of the Singularity Update Adds Vulkan Support with Latest Beta

Ashes of the Singularity is one of those games that has always been in the forefront of the latest graphics technologies. One of the first games to support Microsoft's DX12 and async compute, and in receiving a Ryzen-optimized performance patch, the game is routinely used as a benchmark tool not only for graphics solutions, but also CPU benchmarks.

Now, Oxide Games has announced Ashes of The Singularity will feature support for the Vulkan renderer, which will be welcome news for users who don't want to upgrade to Windows 10, but don't want to live without low-level performance optimization in their games. The new Vulkan render path is still a beta feature, which you must enable through your Steam account. Just right click Ashes of the Singularity on your Steam library, hit "Properties", and activate the 2.4 opt-in in the beta features tab.

Intel Clover Trail-based Systems Won't Receive Creators Update - Ever

We recently covered how users with systems powered by Intel's Clover Trail CPUs were having issues with a "Windows 10 is no longer supported on this PC" error when trying to update their machines to Microsoft's latest Windows 10 Creators Update. The systems in question - built around Intel's Clover Trail Atom processors - are generally low-cost, low-power machines (mainly 2-in-1) released between 2012 and 2015 under Windows 8 and 8.1. These systems were deemed ready to receive Windows 10; however, now it looks as if they won't ever be able to support it.

In our last piece, we wondered if this problem was only temporary; now it seems it's permanent. Microsoft has however announced that Clover Trail-based systems will still receive security updates (just not feature updates) until 2023. The issue seems to lay with Clover Trail's integrated GPU drivers; Clover Trail Atoms use GPU technology licensed from Imagination Technologies. Ars Technica's Peter Bright says that "Imagination appears unwilling, and Intel appears unable, to update the GPU drivers to meet the demands of the Creators Update. So systems built with such hardware will never be upgradable beyond the Anniversary Update."

Microsoft Decreasing Windows 10 Updates Downtime in Fall Creators Update

If you're a standard Windows user, you probably find Windows updates something of a pain - especially when they force you to reboot your PC after they're installed. But imagine you own a business that constantly has its machines up and running, but also requires the latest security upgrades; each minute of downtime for installing such updates is lost revenue. Because of that issue, which companies brought to Microsoft's attention over the years, the company is streamlining its update process, decreasing the amount of update steps that need to be taken offline (which means less time waiting for the machines to become available to use following an update.)

Windows 10 Support for Older Hardware Encountering Difficulties, Cut Off

As part of its new "Windows as a Service" model, Microsoft elected to provide users with a guaranteed, steady stream of updates with virtually no clear, hard-defined EOL. However, Microsoft took refuge, as well it should, from an increasingly difficult support for different hardware sets: a little footnote, saying that you are eligible for Windows 10 for the "supported lifetime of the device." Yes, it's true you now don't have to purchase a new Windows version. But that also means that your devices potentially won't be supported for Microsoft's previous 5 + 5 policy (meaning, 5 years of feature and security updates, and 5 extra years for security updates only.)

The systems in question - built around Intel's Clover Trail Atom processors - are generally low-cost, low-power machines (mainly 2-in-1) released between 2012 and 2015 under Windows 8 and 8.1. These systems were deemed ready to receive Windows 10; however, they are currently blocked from installing Windows 10 Version 1703 - the "Creators Update." Attempts to install result in a message saying that "Windows 10 is no longer supported on this PC." The problem is that each Windows 10 update receives security fixes for just 18 months. Version 1607, the latest that these Clover Trail machines can install, will drop out of support in early 2018 - after which they'll cease to receive any patches at all.

TPU Ryzen BIOS Digest Issue #10

In this issue of the Ryzen BIOS update digest, we have the latest updates. Our BIOS update digest lets you keep track of crucial BIOS updates that improve stability of your AMD Ryzen machine. As per usual, only updated BIOSes from the last digest are listed. Changes are listed after each BIOS, sans beta BIOSes which do not always include change logs. You can find it all below.

In this release, we have several new betas, mostly all consisting of fresh AGESA 1.0.0.6a code.

TPU Ryzen BIOS Digest Issue #9

In this issue of the Ryzen BIOS update digest, we have the latest updates. Our BIOS update digest lets you keep track of crucial BIOS updates that improve stability of your AMD Ryzen machine. As per usual, only updated BIOSes from the last digest are listed. Changes are listed after each BIOS, sans beta BIOSes which do not always include change logs. You can find it all below.

In this release, we have several betas graduating to final release, mostly all consisting of AGESA 1.0.0.6 code.
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