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id Software Clarifies Denuvo Technology Wasn't Responsible For Doom Eternal Issues Following Update 1

id Software's Marty Stratton clarified the issues introduced in Doom Eternal following its Update 1. Via a Reddit post, the developer informed its audience that Denuvo's introduction into the game with Update 1 (a move that sparked a review-bomb on Steam and a quick backpedaling from the company regarding its inclusion) said that the anti-cheat software actually wasn't responsible for the reported issues.

The developer said that the actual performance issues introduced with Update 1 lie in changes in the graphics memory handling code, as well as some bugs introduced alongside customizable skins. The developer also went on to say that the decision to include Denuvo post-release wasn't one forced by publisher Bethesda, but an entirely in-house one, and that the subsequent decision to remove the protection has nothing to do with Denuvo's software quality. Of course, the addition of an always-on DRM solution to Doom Eternal as a post-release patch still stands, as users that previously acquired the game did so without knowledge of its eventual addition. Look after the break for a complete transcript on the comment.

Intel Updates x86/x64 Software Developer Manual With Tremont Architecture Details

Intel has today released the 43rd edition of its x86/x64 ISA developer manual designed to help developers see what's new in x86 world and make software optimizations for Intel's platform. In the latest edition of the manual, Intel has revealed the details of its low-power x86 "Tremont" architecture designed for 10 nm efficient, low-power computing. Announced last year in October, Intel promised to deliver a big IPC increase compared to the previous generation low-power CPU microarchitecture like the Goldmont Plus family. To achieve extra performance, Intel has implemented a lot of new solutions.

For starters, Tremont boasts better branch prediction unit, with increased capacity for instruction queue and better path-based conditional and indirect prediction. The front-end fetch and decode pipeline have been updated as well. Now the design is a 6-wide Out of Order Execution (OoOE) pipeline which can process 6 instructions per cycle. The Data cache is now upgraded to 32 KB. The load and store execution pipelines are now doubled and they are capable of two loads and two stores, or one load and one store, depending on the application. Tremont also updates on one important point and that is a dedicated store data port for integer and vector integer/floating-point data. Another big improvement is happening in the cryptography department. Tremont now features Galois-field instructions labeled as the GFNI family of instructions. There are two AES units for faster AES encryption and decryption. The already implemented SHA-NI cryptography standard was enhanced and it now is much faster as well. For mode in-depth report please check out Intel's x86/x64 manual.
Intel Tremont

id Software Backpedals on Doom Eternal Denuvo DRM Retrofit

Someone at Bethesda or id Software thought it was a good idea to retrofit "Doom Eternal" with the vastly unpopular Denuvo DRM as an anti-cheat component, two months following its March launch, as part of "Update 1" (a major game patch). This invited the wrath of gamers as they review-bombed the game on Steam. The game's executive producer Marty Stratton took to Reddit, to announce that Denuvo will be removed in the game's next update (without announcing a timeline), while defending it. Stratton maintains that the performance issues noticed in Update 1 are not related to the Denuvo implementation. If you've read our comprehensive review of Denuvo, where we go into the technical aspects of the DRM solution, you'll know that it can be implemented in a number of ways, some of which inflict performance penalties.
Image Courtesy Modern Vintage Gamer

Windows 10 2004 May Update Brings Back Bluetooth Speaker Streaming

Windows 10 2004 May update is set to bring a heap of new features to the OS, along with performance improvements in the form of a fixed search indexer. According to the latest report form Windows Latest, we have information that the update version 2004 will reintroduce Bluetooth A2DP sink, a feature from Windows 7 era. The Bluetooth A2DP sink allows users to stream audio from their phones to PC speakers, using Bluetooth technologies. This is a useful feature is you want to play music via your phone on louder speakers connected to your PC, and we are sure users are going to appreciate this. The Bluetooth A2DP sink feature was present in Windows 7 OS, however, Microsoft has later disabled that in Windows 8 OS and it hasn't been available since. The Windows 10 May update is expected to roll out between May 26th and May 28th.
Windows 10 OS

Windows 10 2004 May Update Will Bring Better Disk Performance

According to the latest report by Windows Latest, Microsoft's Windows 10 2004 May update will bring a much-needed disk performance update. The underlying reason behind this improvement is the terrible performance of the Windows Search indexer, which in previous versions of Windows 10 had high disk usage and resulted in a slowdown of the system. However, Microsoft decided to improve that and found a way to optimize its performance. This improvement will be of much need to everyone who owns and runs Windows 10 on a Hard Drive.

In Windows 10 update 1909, Microsoft has decided to separate Cortana from the Windows Search and thus brought disk usage a bit lower. However, Microsoft's engineers have been fine-tuning the Search Indexer, and now the performance is significantly better while having a lot less disk usage. Previously, the Search Indexer was very aggressive and spared no resources for its process, so this is a welcome addition. This improvement will leave disk usage capacity to other processes and will result in a noticeably snappier system, which Hard Drive users will appreciate the most.
Task Manager

AMD Updates Ryzen 3 1200 CPU with Zen+ Architecture

AMD has reportedly updated its Ryzen 3 1200 CPU with Zen+ architecture and is now offering it to consumers. Featuring a configuration of 4 cores with 4 threads, this CPU can operate anywhere from 3.1 GHz (base) to 3.4 GHz in boost frequency. Having originally launched in July of 2017, just under three years ago, AMD decided to refresh this CPU with Zen+ architecture, which brought improvements like a tiny IPC increase, better turbo boost speeds, faster caches and better memory controller for better support of faster DDR4 modules.

The new "Zen+" revision has the same specifications as the older model, however, the only difference is the newer 12 nm manufacturing process and some of the architecture changes of Zen+. The rest of the specifications like clock speeds are the same. The CPU is listed by a German supplier for €54.73 or about $60. This revision carries a different part number, under the code "YD1200BBM4KAFBOX", where the older 14 nm model was "YD1200BBM4KAEBOX".
AMD Ryzen 3 1200 12nm Zen+ Edition

Microsoft Revises End of Service Date for Windows 10, version 1809

Microsoft has today announced that they will delay the scheduled end of service date for Windows 10 October 2018 Update, version 1809 from May 12, 2020 to November 10, 2020. This is in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a bid to lessen the burden on consumers and enterprise. The following is Microsoft's statement on the matter:

"We have been evaluating the public health situation and understand the impact this is having on many of our customers. To help ease some of the burdens customers are facing, we are going to delay the scheduled end of service date for the Home, Pro, Pro Education, Pro for Workstations, and IoT Core editions of Windows 10, version 1809 to November 10, 2020. This means devices will receive monthly security updates only from June to November. The final security update for these editions of Windows 10, version 1809 will be released on November 10, 2020 instead of May 12, 2020."

ASUS Releases BIOS Updates for Radeon RX 5600 XT That Unlock 14 Gbps Memory On Select Cards

Back in January, AMD released its Radeon RX 5600 XT graphics card with a last-minute specifications update that made it competitive with NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card. It did so by increasing GPU clock speeds, and more importantly, increasing memory clock speeds to 14 Gbps up from 12 Gbps in the original spec. Various AMD add-in board (AIB) partners released one-click BIOS updates on January 22nd (find them for ASRock, Sapphire, MSI, PowerColor, and Gigabyte). An easy updater from ASUS was missing in action at the time. The company finally got around to releasing easy, Windows-based programs that update the video BIOS of its ROG Strix Radeon RX 5600 XT O6G and TUF Gaming RX 5600 XT EVO OC graphics cards. The BIOS updates run the video memory at 14 Gbps since the cards physically do feature 14 Gbps-rated memory chips. The specifications update has had a profound impact on the price-performance positioning of the RX 5600 XT, from being able to outperform the GTX 1660 Ti to trading blows with the RTX 2060. Grab the BIOS update from the links below.

DOWNLOAD: ASUS RX 5600 XT Easy BIOS Updates for ROG Strix RX 5600 XT O6G | TUF Gaming RX 5600 XT EVO OC

Microsoft Freezing Optional Windows Updates Amidst COVID19 Pandemic

Microsoft yesterday announced that they would be freezing any release for optional Windows 10 updates whilst the world still reels from the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision by the company comes after they decided to keep delivering security updates for the Fall Creator's update (version 1709 of the OS).

Both these decisions by Microsoft stem from the company trying to reduce the impact of Windows 10 updates on businesses - reducing update requirements to security updates means there is fewer chances of an optional update shipping that could negatively impact productivity - of which very little bit is required right now for some businesses to even keep afloat. When the crisis has passed, all updates will be resumed.

GIGABYTE Updates the Brix Lineup with 10th Generation Comet Lake CPUs

GIGABYTE has updated its Brix lineup of Mini-PCs with Intel's latest and greatest 10th generation Comet Lake mobile CPUs. Measuring 46.8 x 119.5 x 119.5 mm, the Brix mini PC is a small form factor machine with its 0,6-liter size. If anyone thinks that power is proportional to the size of a PC, the GIGABYTE Brix is here to prove them wrong. Available in four variants that differ only in CPU that is soldered inside, you can get anything from a dual-core Intel Core i3-10110U, all the way up to six-core Core i7-10710U CPU powerhouse. These CPUs are 15 W TDP models, so even though the Brix is small, its cooling solution should be able to handle the heat.

The Brix Mini-PC comes with a mounting bracket for 75 x 75 mm and 100 x 100 mm VESA mounts, meaning that you can place it behind a monitor. Storage options are limited to one 2.5-inch drive that can be up to 9.5 mm thick. For RAM, the Brix is using two SO-DIMM slots that can support up to 64 GB of DDR4 2666 MHz RAM. When it comes to connectivity options, GIGABYTE has equipped the Brix with Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3168 wireless adapter providing Bluetooth 4.2 and WiFi 802.11ac connectivity. The IO options are somewhat decent as Brix has three USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports at the front, along with a USB Gen 2 Type-C connector and 3.5 mm headphone jack. On the back, there are two HDMI 2.0a ports for video output, two additional USC 3.2 Gen 2 ports, power input, and of course an RJ45 Ethernet connector.

No Man's Sky Updated With "Living Ship" Expansion, Introduces New Ship Classes, Missions, Improvements

I like to write articles on No Man's Sky because barely have I ever seen a game this well supported. In fact, I'd even risk saying this game sees better support - and more support - than many other games that even have the "games as a service" philosophy. The only other game I can think of that has had comparable improvements and overhauls throughout its lifecycle is Warframe, but that's a completely different beast. In No Man's Sky, I think we can see exactly how studios that make games as a work of love go on about supporting them.

While the games' release may have been a flop compared to the expectations set upon it (in no small part because of their own creators), I think it really is commendable that hello games didn't just pocket the immense profits they made with the games' release and are, instead, still working it up to its entire potential. It just really goes to show how good tool planning and the adequate mindset can bring about improvements over time.

MSI Pushes RX 5600 XT Video BIOS Updates through Dragon Center

AMD's last minute specifications change of the Radeon RX 5600 XT means that early adopters of the card could be on the older (slower) spec. The new specification is being distributed by video BIOS updates. The likes of ASRock and Sapphire have released 1-click updaters; while MSI is distributing it through its centralized MSI Dragon Center app.

MSI Dragon Center unifies the functionality of tuning (that of Afterburner), with Mystic Light (RGB LED control), and Live Update (software updates) into one interface. In addition to looking up video driver updates, Dragon Center can now fetch and update the video BIOS of your Radeon RX 5600 XT graphics card. Among the eligible cards are the RX 5600 XT Gaming X and RX 5600 XT Gaming.

DOWNLOAD: MSI Dragon Center

Sapphire Releases Pulse RX 5600 XT Convenient VBIOS Updates

Sapphire today released BIOS updates for its sole Radeon RX 5600 XT product, the Pulse Radeon RX 5600 XT OC Edition. The updated BIOS enhances performance by significantly increasing engine and memory clock speeds and power-limits, resulting in an up to 10 percent performance improvement. This stems from AMD's last-minute specifications update for the RX 5600 XT in a bid to make it competitive against the GeForce RTX 2060. Much like ASRock, Sapphire has automated the BIOS update process by shipping its BIOS ROMs with the flashing tool and batch files.

Since the Pulse RX 5600 XT OC Edition ships with dual-BIOS, one of which is the out-of-the-box performance BIOS, and the other is a 'quiet' BIOS, you're expected to update both, and there are separate Windows batch files to run after manually switching the between the ROMs. Sapphire's BIOS update package includes a PDF file with detailed instructions on how to update each ROM. The batch files spare you of having to manually work the various CLI arguments of the flashing tool. Look for the "New VBIOS Update" tab on the card's product page the Sapphire website.

ASRock Releases RX 5600 XT Performance-enhancing VBIOS, Easy 1-click Updater

As you may have heard, AMD's decision to revise the specifications of its Radeon RX 5600 XT in the last minute, has thrown its board partners and end-users into chaos and confusion. Inventories of cards with the original specs have already shipped, and cards available in the market today most likely stick to the old spec. The updated spec is being distributed by board partners in the form of a video BIOS update. ASRock released updated BIOS for its three factory-overclocked RX 5600 XT graphics cards, and has gone a step ahead in making it convenient for end-users to update their BIOS, through a 1-click updater.

ASRock's RX 5600 XT video BIOS updater consists of an executable and a Windows batch file. Clicking on the batch file with administrator privileges launches the automated updater. It frees you of having to use the CLI-based ATIWinFlash with a bare flash ROM image, getting all the arguments right, and having to cross your fingers. Grab the BIOS updater specific to your ASRock-made RX 5600 XT graphics card from the links below.

DOWNLOAD: ASRock RX 5600 XT Phantom Gaming D3 | ASRock RX 5600 XT Phantom Gaming D2 | ASRock RX 5600 XT Challenger D

Microsoft's Windows 7 Reaches End-Of-Life

Today, on January the 14th, Microsoft is officially ending support for Windows 7 operating system. After more than 10 years since its launch, Windows 7 has remained a primary operating system on many PCs, especially OEM PCs manufactured before 2015, when Windows 10 came out. The user transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10 has not been an easy task for Microsoft, however, by declaring that the product has reached End-Of-Life, Microsoft is trying to make millions of users pull the trigger and embrace the new operating system.

When January 14th arrives, Microsoft will stop giving Windows 7 users technical support, software updates with new features, and most importantly security updates. The official recommendation from Microsoft is to upgrade to the latest version of Windows, meaning Windows 10. As some of the older PCs may have compatibility issues with newer OS, it is also recommended to check your PC specifications. If you are a customer of the Extended Security Updates (ESU) program, you will continue to see further support in the future, however, for regular users, the support period is over.

Intel's Process Roadmap Gets Updated with Plans to go Back to Two Year Cadence

During the IEDM event hosted by the IEEE organization, ASML's CEO, Martin van den Brink, took the stage to elaborate more on ASML's vision of the future of semiconductors. When talking about the future of semiconductors, Mr. Brink started talking about Intel and their vision for the future. Intel's slides were showing many things including backporting of IP to older processes and plan to go back to "tick-tock" two-year cadence to restore the previous confidence in Intel's manufacturing capabilities.

Perhaps one of the most interesting notes about the presentation is the fact that Intel is working hard to realize its plans of bringing back a two-year cadence of "tick-tock" process realization. That means that in the future, presumably after 10 nm debut problems are solved, Intel wants to do the old process and optimization tactics. A slide (shown below) titled "In Moore We Trust" is speaking a lot about Intel's future plans, showing few things in particular: Intel's upcoming 10 nm++ and 10 nm+++ nodes, and the possibility of backporting.

Minecraft Gets Cross-Play Update on PS4

Players of Minecraft on PlayStation 4 rejoice! Minecraft is now getting an update on the PS4 platform that enables all PlayStation users to gain access to cross-play features, so they are now able to play with millions of other players on Xbox, PC, Switch, iOS, Android, and even Samsung Gear VR platform. In the so-called "Bedrock Edition" update that arrives today, Microsoft will push new features to Minecraft and connect millions of players.

In the words of Microsoft's game studio boss Helen Chiang: "One of Minecraft's core missions is to connect players across devices and provide the best experience regardless of platform. We continue to fulfill that mission here today by welcoming PS4 players to Minecraft on Bedrock and growing our cross-platform multiplayer community".

Microsoft Pushes Intel "Haswell" Microcode Update to Harden Against MDS

Microsoft started deploying microcode updates to some of Intel's older Core, Pentium, and Celeron processor generations through Windows Update. The latest Cumulative Update packages chronicled under "KB4497165" apply to machines running Intel's 4th generation Core "Haswell" processors, and low-power Pentium and Celeron chips based on "Apollo Lake," "Gemini Lake," "Valley View," and "Cherry View" microarchitectures.

The microcode update provides firmware-level hardening against four major variants of the MDS class of security vulnerabilities, namely CVE-2019-11091 (MDS Uncacheable Memory), CVE-2018-12126 (Microarchitectural Store Buffer Data Sampling), CVE-2018-12127 (Microarchitectural Load Port Data Sampling), and CVE-2018-12130 (Microarchitectural Fill Buffer Data Sampling).

AMD Ryzen CPUs to Get Plenty of Microcode Improvements

According to Planet 3DNow, owners of AMD's Ryzen CPUs will receive a new microcode update said to feature many performance fixes and improvements that bring additional features. Dubbed AGESA 1.0.0.4, the new microcode improvement should bring over 100 new features that don't just include bug fixes, but also additional features.

Leaked by MSI's "Insider Show" YouTube series host Eric Van Beurden, he revealed that new microcode will arrive next month after getting tested by motherboard manufacturers for stability and compatibility with existing models of motherboards. Unfortunately, Van Beurden didn't reveal anything specific about what features will be present with the new AGESA microcode update, however we can expect to see plenty of new additions, and possibly higher CPU performance that further firmware optimizations bring.

VESA Updates DisplayHDR Standard with Tighter Specifications and New DisplayHDR 1400 Performance Level

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA ) today announced that it has published the first major update to its widely adopted High-Performance Monitor and Display Compliance Test Specification (DisplayHDR), which is the display industry's first fully open standard specifying high dynamic range (HDR) quality. The updated spec, DisplayHDR version 1.1, includes tighter performance requirements, including for luminance and color gamut, as well as new test requirements, such as for active dimming, to address recent advances in HDR technology. Companies can begin certifying their display products under the new DisplayHDR 1.1 spec today. In addition, VESA will continue to allow products to be certified under the previous DisplayHDR 1.0 spec through the end of May 2020 in order to allow for products already in development that have been designed to meet the original spec, which was published in November 2017.

Dell Readies Updated Laptop Portfolio for IFA 2019

IFA is the largest consumer tech show in Europe and we expect to see significant news from 4K and OLED TVs to wearables to smartphones. We'll be showcasing our latest PCs, of course, as the move to thin and light continues across the industry. It's not only about smaller form factors though - consumers want adaptive, always connected, high-performing, and flawlessly designed PCs. Dell continues to set the bar for the PC industry.

Ahead of IFA, we're expanding our consumer portfolio with brand new form factors and the addition of new 10th Gen Intel Core processors to our current XPS and Inspiron portfolio, delivering performance gains needed for compute intensive, demanding multi-thread workloads, while still handling 4K content efficiently. And in doing so, giving our customers heavyweight performance in thin, light and portable designs — the best of both worlds.

AMD's Latest AGESA Update Removes PCIe 4.0 Support from Pre-X570 Motherboards

AMD's latest AGESA update, which is being seeded to motherboard manufacturers, culls efforts to implement support for PCIe 4.0 in boards not carrying the latest X570 chipset. Some motherboard manufacturers had enabled support for the new standard on existing B450 and X470 motherboards - some with limited support, as was the case on some of ASUS' motherboards, others with full support. However, these efforts from motherboard manufacturers went against AMD's strategy with their X570 platform - all in all, these "rogue additions" reduced one additional feature of new X570 motherboards over their older counterparts.

The new AGESA code carries the part number AM4 1.0.0.3 ABB, and will likely be reflected in manufacturers' release notes for new BIOS versions that incorporate the code - and remove added PCIe 4.0 functionality. Other changes in this AGESA code release include fixes for Destiny 2 gamers' woes, which were having a hard time getting the game to run properly on Ryzen 3000 processors. If you're an avid Destiny 2 player and want PCIe 4.0 support, you'll likely be reminded of Rick and Morty's pickle episode. If not, you can always defer these AM4 1.0.0.3 ABB updates, if your system is behaving properly.

Microsoft's Biannual Major Windows 10 Update Cycle to Slow Down

Microsoft has reportedly restructured the way it adds major features to Windows 10 over time. The company currently has a biannual (twice a year) cadence in updating Windows 10 version. A major update in this context refers to a multi-gigabyte update package that changes the operating system's version, its key system files, and makes significant changes to the user interface. The most recent of these was the Windows 10 May 2019 Update (1903).

With its new update cadence, Microsoft plans to distribute a major update in one half of an year, and a "minor" update in the other half. This "minor" update, or "point update," is much lighter in download size, but is still fairly bigger than a monthly "Patch Tuesday" update, and adds features and UI changes. The "major" annual update brings with it under-the-hood changes to the OS, such as updates to its kernel, scheduler, APIs, driver models, etc. The next version of Windows, which is expected to be Windows 10 version 1909, will be a lightweight update if you're already on 1903, but a "heavy" update if you're still on 1809. Its successor, Windows 10 version 2003 (March 2020), will be a "heavy" update regardless of which version you're on.

Dungeon Action-RPG 'Underworld Ascendant' Available Now For PlayStation 4, Coming Soon To Xbox One

Underworld Ascendant, the fan-funded title from independent game studio OtherSide Entertainment is now available digitally for PlayStation 4 from the PlayStation Store. The action-RPG, published by 505 Games, will soon be available to Xbox One players via the Xbox Games Store. Both versions are priced at 24.99.

Underworld Ascendant is a fantasy RPG that challenges you to think creatively in an interactive sandbox environment. Players can mix and match dozens of combat, stealth and magic skills to develop their unique style of play and devise clever plans to overcome challenges as they navigate the foreboding Stygian Abyss.

Crytek Updates CryEngine Roadmap: Version 5.7 to Support DirectX 12, Vulkan and Ray Tracing

Crytek have updated their development roadmap for CryEngine, adding in some of the features we discussed yesterday on our piece regarding their Neon Noir ray tracing tech demo performance. The new roadmap now places Spring 2020 as the time where both DirectX 12 and Vulkan, lower level APIs than the currently-supported DX11, will be fully integrated into the engine. Ray Tracing will be added at the same time, no doubt taking advantage of the higher performance that can be extracted from hardware through the lower level APIs.

It will be interesting to see the level of performance on CryEngine's hardware agnostic ray tracing, and whether their Spring 2020 implementation will take advantage of specialized RTX hardware - or focus on a software solution ran at varying degrees of rendering resolution according to the scene. Though with AMD's Navi being expected to incorporate some sort of hardware-based ray tracing acceleration, it's very likely software calculations will only be a fallback of the coding.
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