Rosy Improvements

Rosy Improvements

posted in: Game News, Technology News | 0

Apple A9

Intel’s battle against physics may not be going according to plan with setbacks and less than spectacular performance increases but that doesn’t mean CPU performance increases in other areas have stagnated. The newly released Apple A9 SoC looks like another one of those jumps in performance that we’ve come to expect from the tech giant.

The CPU and GPU improvements are impressive but were known. The significant jump storage though? That was a pleasant surprise. The inclusion of NVMe over the industry standard eMMC gave the iPhone 6S nearly double the storage performance over last year’s iPhone 6.

Well done, Apple. Well done.

PS4 System Software 3.0

Speaking of incremental updates, PlayStation 4 System Software 3.0 arrives tomorrow and if you’re a fan of socializing and streaming, it seems to be a wonderful update. I’m hoping for some hidden surprises because only the PNG screenshot feature is appetizing to me. If I stream, I’ll likely switch to YouTube but that’s an “if”. Everything else seems like extra fluff and I’m not seeing the immediate appeal.

 

 

Metal Gear Skylake

posted in: Game News, Technology News | 0

I just watched the Super Mario Maker Overview trailer and was reminded that the game debuts on September 11. I had no idea. I thought this was an October title. With Super Mario Maker and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain’s release dates sneaking up on me, I decided to take an inventory of my upcoming 2015 games and what’s coming out and when.

  • Sept. 1 – Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PS4)
  • Sept. 11 – Super Mario Maker (Wii U)
  • Oct. 27 – Halo 5: Guardians (X1)
  • Nov. 6 – Call of Duty: Black Ops III (PS4) *
  • Nov. 17 – Star Wars: Battlefront (PS4) *

* – Digital

So there isn’t as much as I thought. It’s the holiday so there’s plenty of shoot bang titles to stave off the cold. Call of Duty: Black Ops III is a giant question mark for me though. It didn’t have the best showings at the tradeshows. The upcoming beta this week will ultimately decide the game’s fate methinks. Then again, my brother and I enjoy our co-op shooter campaigns which BLOPS3 has.

We’ll see.

The Skylake Is Falling?

So Skylake is here. It’s been a couple of weeks since the reviews for Intel’s latest “tock” release were posted online. The results are a little weird. On one hand, instruction per clock performance improved ever so slightly over the previous generation for general computing but seemingly took a hit in gaming scenarios.

The switch to DDR4 won’t move the needle for performance over DDR3 right now but it will lower power consumption. I thought there’s a premium over DDR3 modules but a quick glance at NewEgg.ca sees both DDR3 and DDR4 16GB kits priced at $150 each.

By far the most attractive prospect of upgrading to Skylake platform is the accompanying Z170 chipset. With the new 26 lane Flex-IO hub, motherboard manufacturers can provide more USB 3.0, SATA or PCI-e ports than ever. More ports are welcomed. Faster ports are also welcomed and some Z170 motherboards will feature USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports that will offer up to 10 Gbps transfer rates.

With all the goodies in hand so far, there’s actually more to come. Intel’s first Skylake CPUs only come in two flavors: the i7-6700K and i5-6600K. The motherboard situation isn’t great either with only Z170 chipsets based ones on the market. I’m not big on CPU overclocking these days so the K-series CPUs and Z-series motherboards a bit overkill. Not to mention that the ITX options are scant. In the end, I’d wait for the rest of Skylake to launch because while promising this all seems very premature on Intel’s part.

 

Checkpoint: New AnandTech Edition

posted in: Editorials & Features | 0

Checkpoint - New AnandTech Edition

It’s the end of an era.

With Anand Lai Shimpi retiring from tech publishing and leaving the website he built nearly 18 years ago, I thought it would be fitting to reflect and show my appreciation for the tech site.

Years ago when I was learning to build my own PCs, sites like AnandTech were common. Tech sites analyzing and critiquing computer hardware were a dime a dozen. AnandTech, The Tech Report, Tom’s Hardware and HardOCP were amongst the most popular. But even back then, AnandTech and The Tech Report were always vying for top spot in my books.

As time wore on and computers became more and more of a commodity, tech sites began to fade away. The appetite for higher end computer hardware became increasingly niche and you had to stand out in order to survive. AnandTech doubled down on their analysis and deep dives into technology and I appreciated it more and more.

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Remember Pentium?

posted in: Technology News | 0

intel_logo.pngI remember the days when the word Pentium was the cream of the crop for Intel. Now it sits along side the Celeron as budget CPUs for low cost machines. I didn’t even give the Intel Pentium lineup a glance since the introduction of the Intel Core series of CPUs.

But now, 20 years later, Intel decided to celebrate that classic name with the Intel Pentium G3258. This chip is supposed to be cheap and highly overclockable. It’s also not entirely crippled either.

My first CPU was Cyrix. I had no idea what its frequency was because I didn’t keep it for long. It was quickly exchanged for an Intel Pentium 120 MHz. I think I managed to overclock that to 133 MHz. I didn’t make substantial overclocking gains until I owned the Pentium III 866MHz and several Pentium IV chips.

Oh the memories.

Nowadays, I barely overclock CPUs. I just rely on Intel touted “Turbo Boost” options. I’m not against it, it’s just that most games are not CPU limited, so I focus on overclocking GPUs these days.

I still boot into BIOS/EFI interfaces to check out overclocking options though. I appreciate the advancements we have made. No more DIP switches and no more ambiguous BIOS options to toy with. Now everything is documented and so easy to pull off, your mother can probably overclock.

 

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