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Thursday Afternoon (3 Comments) (link)
 Thursday, 18-January-2018  16:31:16 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Time to clear out the news box. The Spectre/Meltdown Intel bugs and associated patches are still dominating the headlines. Gibson Research have a simple tool to let you know if your system is vulnerable. This InSpectre utility was designed to clarify every system's current situation so that appropriate measures can be taken to update the system's hardware and software for maximum security and performance.

ZDNet have an article about how much slower your PC will feel after patching. Intel has published both data collected from both users and synthetic benchmarks and the bottom line is that users will experience a real-world performance hit of about between six and eight percent, with systems running 8th-generation processors seeing a smaller impact than those running 7th- or 6th-generation hardware. Phoronix report on the Linux performance impact of Spectre patches.

Shadowman spotted this article which explains why Raspberry Pi isn't vulnerable, and in doing so explains the problem quite well. Both vulnerabilities exploit performance features (caching and speculative execution) common to many modern processors to leak data via a so-called side-channel attack. Happily, the Raspberry Pi isnít susceptible to these vulnerabilities, because of the particular ARM cores that we use. To help us understand why, hereís a little primer on some concepts in modern processor design. Weíll illustrate these concepts using simple programs in Python syntax like this one:

There wasn't too much news from CES 2018 that caught my eye, but Dell's new convertible laptop gives a glimpse of the new Intel-with-AMD-graphics chips - and it's good news. Needless to say, graphics performance definitely looks promising for these new 8th generation Intel Core processors with AMD graphics. We don't know how long this AMD partnership will last, but the bitter rivals should be commended for likely hitting it out of the park on the first try here.

HotHardware chose their best of CES, while ThinkComputers have case mods and builds covered. Meanwhile TomsHardware looked at the PSUs of CES and TechARP rounded up all the AMD updates. Alongside announcing the first desktop Ryzen processors with built-in Radeon Vega Graphics, AMD also detailed the full line-up of Ryzen Mobile APUs including the new Ryzen PRO and Ryzen 3 models, and provided a first look at the performance of its upcoming 12nm Ryzen 2 desktop CPU expected to launch in April 2018. In graphics, AMD announced the expansion of the AMD Vega family with Radeon Vega Mobile and that its first 7nm product is planned to be a Radeon Vega GPU specifically built for machine learning applications.

NVIDIA's big launch at CES was the BFGD, or Big Format Gaming Display, although no DOOM fan will ever read the acronym that way. The Big Format Gaming Displays also have an ultra-low latency design, delivering the low response time gamers are looking for in their screens - one of the main reasons why traditional TVs lacking such support havenít been that great for PC gaming.

HWInfo compared 7 AMD X399 motherboards. Even though Intel has the lead in multi-threaded benchmarks with their astronomically priced Core i9 processors, AMD offers a lot of computation power for a relatively cheap price. Which motherboard is best paired with this budget monster? We tested seven X399 motherboards (which was the majority of the available boards at the time of writing).

They also have a roundup of 22 mechanical keyboards. The appeal of keyboards with mechanical keys is part solid construction and part the feeling and feedback of the switches while typing or playing games. Ever since the German manufacturer of the Cherry MX switches was, almost by accident, promoted to being all but the global standard, a lot has changed in the land of mechanical switches.

TechSpot have an article series explaining why it's a bad idea to build a gaming PC at the moment. There was plenty to be excited about PC hardware in 2017, but there's a lot to be upset about as well. Part one of this series will be dedicated discuss DDR4 memory pricing and why it's so high. RAM pricing is currently a big issue plaguing those wanting to build a new computer or update an old one, more than doubling in price in less than two years. Part 2 covers expensive/unavailable GPUs due to those pesky crypto-miners - pay no attention to my new GTX1060, ahem.

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All original content copyright James Rolfe. All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.