Posted on Wednesday, December 11 2019 @ 11:38:34 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Another interesting security vulnerability has been discovered in Intel's processors. Called Plundervolt, this new vulnerability affects all Core processors since the Skylake generation, as well as the Xeon server lineup. Plundervolt is aptly named as the vulnerability allows attackers to gain access to sensitive data by undervolting the processor.
Overall, the risk here seems limited. The biggest worry is for datacenter and cloud operators but Plundervolt is a rather complex attack that's difficult to pull off. The attack does not require physical access but does require root access. You need to be able to run privileged code on the target machine and you need to be able to adjust the CPU's voltage (which is a feature that can be disabled in the BIOS).
But it turns out that subtle fluctuations in voltage powering the main CPU can corrupt the normal functioning inside the SGX. By subtly increasing or decreasing the current delivered to a CPU—operations known as "overvolting" and "undervolting"—a team of scientists has figured out how to induce SGX faults that leak cryptographic keys, break integrity assurances, and potentially induce memory errors that could be used in other types of attacks. While the exploit requires the execution of privileged code, it doesn't rely on physical access, raising the possibility of remote attacks.
More details at ARS Technica. The vulnerability was discovered in June and got disclosed yesterday after Intel rolled out a microcode update.
Posted on Wednesday, December 11 2019 @ 11:20:35 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Does an alarm clock need machine learning? The experts at Google seem to think so as the company has updated Google Assistant with a new AI-based alarm clock. This feature will customize your alarm clock based on things like the time of day and the weather:
And with the latest software update rolling out globally today, your device can be customized to your environment. “Impromptu” is a new alarm option that gives you a ringtone that fits your situation, based on things like the time of day or weather. It’s powered by machine learning technology from our Magenta open source project. For example, if your alarm goes off early in the morning and the weather is less than 50 degrees, you may hear this ringtone.
Posted on Wednesday, December 11 2019 @ 11:13:11 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Computer scientists from Amazon and Rice University say they've made a breakthrough that can significantly speed up the training of deep learning systems. The work will be presented at this week's 2019 Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS 2019) in Vancouver. The researchers say that in tests on an Amazon search dataset with 70 million queries and over 49 million products, the new "merged-average classifiers via hashing" (MACH) system was 7-10 times faster than existing large-scale, distributed deep-learning systems. Furthermore, it achieved this feat with a 2-4 times smaller memory footprint.
"Our training times are about 7-10 times faster, and our memory footprints are 2-4 times smaller than the best baseline performances of previously reported large-scale, distributed deep-learning systems," said Shrivastava, an assistant professor of computer science at Rice.
Medini, a Ph.D. student at Rice, said product search is challenging, in part, because of the sheer number of products. "There are about 1 million English words, for example, but there are easily more than 100 million products online."
Posted on Wednesday, December 11 2019 @ 10:58:32 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
In-line with previous rumors, a new 3DMark entry of the upcoming Intel Core i5-10600 processor confirms that Intel's upcoming Core i5 refresh will have Hyper-Threading. The Core i5-10600 is a six-core chip with twelve threads and a 3.3GHz core clockspeed.
It's possible that the maximum Turbo Boost will be a similar 100-200 MHz gain over the 4.60 GHz of the i5-9600. It remains to be seen what L3 cache amount Intel gives these chips. The 6-core/12-thread Core i7-8700 has 12 MB, or an additional 512 KB L3 slice per core, to cope with the HTT overhead, although there have been exceptions to this rule in the company's mobile processor lineup.
These Comet Lake-S processors are expected in April 2020 along with the new Z490 chipset. It's believed that all parts, including the Core i3 series, will have Hyper-Threading to make them more attractive versus AMD's offerings.
Posted on Wednesday, December 11 2019 @ 10:53:37 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Over at AWS re:Invent, The Register had an interview with Chris Schlaeger, Amazon AWS director of kernel and operating systems, about what's it like to protect the service from the batch of speculative execution bugs found in Intel processors.
Linux kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman recently advised to disable Intel's Hyper-Threading to solve some of the issues but Schlaeger said this is simply not an option at AWS as disabling Hyper-Threading results in a 30-40 percent hit. Schlaeger notes they have in-memory databases that are scaled to max out the box. If they take away 30-40 percent performance, this will kill the application of clients. As such, Amazon has no other option than to have a large team of security professionals working on nothing else than dealing with the fallout of the CPU vulnerabilities:
"That's where you need to look at the fine print of these [vulnerabilities]. They come with a lot of detail. Even the detail that Intel provides is often not enough to understand what is going on, and in which particular situation you are or are not affected by. So the past two years I have a large team of security experts that do nothing else but deal with the fallout. They make sure that in our environment, we are still able to keep it safe without turning off hyper-threading."
Schlaeger added: "It is a daily battle we have to fight. In our environment we well know what we are doing, how we use the hypervisor, how the guests are allocated to the physical cores. We have found a way to keep things safe so there are no side-channels for the existing [issues].
AWS has tried to get its in-house patches to the Linux community, but enthusiasm was reportedly limited because the patches were designed for the narrow use case of AWS services. You can read it over here
Posted on Wednesday, December 11 2019 @ 10:43:27 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
NVIDIA uploaded the GeForce 441.66 WHQL driver, you can get it over here. This version is the Game Ready edition for MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries and adds more G-SYNC Compatible displays (the MSI
MAG251RX and ViewSonic XG270 monitors). You also get some bug fixes.
Fixed Issues in this Release:
[Resolve]: The application may crash during timeline playback when using Blackmagic RAW
CODEC media. 
[Forza Motorsport 7]: Game starts to stutter after racing a few laps 
[Fallout 76][G-SYNC]: The game frame rate drops with G-SYNC enabled. 
[GeForce GTX 1080 Ti]: There is no 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound option in the Windows Sound
[GeForce GTX 1060 6GB][NVIDIA Control Panel]:The NVIDIA Control Panel reports an
incorrect GPU framebuffer size.
Posted on Wednesday, December 11 2019 @ 10:05:00 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Two new entirely unrelated products from TEAMGROUP were announced today. First up, the company reveals a line of coolant products for your watercooling loop. Secondly, the company also has an ARGB LED strip to light up your case.
TEAMGROUP releases T-FORCE Coolant Kit CK5 and T-FORCE ARGB LED Uniform Strip which are specially designed for CARDEA LIQUID Water Cooling SSD and building an eye-catching PC of your own. T-FORCE Coolant Kit CK5 has five colors available at once upon release, so users can change the theme and style of the PC freely. T-FORCE ARGB LED Uniform Strip uses 2020 LED bead which is more refined than 5050 ones on the market. With addressable ARGB LED, the creativity can be limitless.
T-FORCE Coolant Kit CK5 uses anti-corrosion liquid which made in Taiwan to effectively prevent water-cooling equipment made of copper, aluminum, etc. from being corroded. It is also made by materials that can be naturally decomposed by organisms. The low conductivity’s material characteristic offers consumers a reliable quality with safe assurance. Coolant Kit CK5 has blue, red, green, fluorescent green and transparent, five base colors for users to mix and create exclusive style for their PCs.
TEAMGROUP releases T-FORCE ARGB LED Uniform Strip. The flexible light strip material is rollable and it also has a magnetic light clip, which allows consumers make full use of the body to decorate their space with various styles. Each LED light of ARGB Uniform Strip is a programmable and addressable separate module. Every light strip has up to 40 of 2020 ARGB LED beads that can present an intensive and even lighting effect through the lighting control software, making your PC dazzle and shine!
Posted on Wednesday, December 11 2019 @ 00:24:24 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
AMD uploaded the Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition version 19.12.2, you can download it over here. Besides support for Detroit: Become Human, this version adds various new features including new Radeon Software features, Integer Scaling, Radeon Boost, and various other enhancements.
AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) today unveiled AMD Radeon™ Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition, the next generation of its software suite for AMD Radeon™ graphics, providing gamers, creators and enthusiasts with a unique set of features and capabilities that deliver unparalleled visual fidelity and phenomenal gaming experiences.
Featuring a fully redesigned gaming application, AMD Radeon™ Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition puts powerful capabilities at gamers’ fingertips. It includes the new Radeon™ Boost feature, bringing enhanced performance and fluidity to fast-motion gameplay, new Integer Display Scaling technology that rejuvenates old games for modern displays, as well as significant enhancements to the acclaimed AMD Link mobile application, to Radeon™ Image Sharpening, Radeon™ Anti-Lag, and much more.
“With each Radeon™ Software release, we laser-focus on bringing innovative features gamers demand, significant performance improvements, and the ultimate in software stability and reliability,” said Andrej Zdravkovic, corporate vice president of software development at AMD. “AMD Radeon™ Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition takes gaming on Radeon™ graphics to the next level with breathtaking visual quality, faster performance, and a host of unique, must-have features that dramatically improve the overall user experience.”
New Look and Feel
AMD Radeon™ Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition features a new, modern, and fully redesigned gaming application, providing users with full control at their fingertips of Radeon™ graphics hardware, game features and settings, streaming services, and more. Gamers can also directly access full software functionality in-game using the same software interface available on their desktop. In addition, new user profiles provide novice users with one-click presets giving them a quick and easy way to optimize software and system settings for the best gaming experience.
The new Game Center allows users to launch games from a central location regardless of the online game store, adjust Radeon™ Software settings for each individual game, and track gaming and performance stats. In addition, a new integrated web browser enables users to browse online for valuable game information, walkthroughs, video tutorials of Radeon™ graphics features, and more – without ever leaving the game.
New and Enhanced Features
AMD Radeon™ Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition provides gamers with a number of new and improved features, including:
Radeon™ Boost – Delivers up to a 23 percent average performance boost during fast-motion gaming scenarios by dynamically reducing image resolution, increasing framerates and fluidity, and bolstering responsiveness with little to no perceptible change in image quality. Radeon™ Boost will be supported in numerous top games at launch, with additional titles added over time.
AMD Link – Featuring an updated interface that matches the new desktop application look and feel, the AMD Link mobile application now allows users to take game streaming to mobile devices outside of their homes, enabling high-quality PC gameplay on phones or tablets from anywhere.
Integer Display Scaling – Scales on-screen images from one pixel to four or more, giving classic games a retro, pixel-art style look with ultra-crisp scaling options for high-PPI displays without a performance penalty.
DirectML Media Filters – Visual noise reduction and upscaling filters utilize machine learning to clean up photo and video files, delivering better quality than traditional de-noise and upscale filters.
Radeon™ Image Sharpening and Radeon™ Anti-Lag – Radeon™ Image Sharpening adds support for DirectX® 11 games in addition to DX® 9, DX® 12, and Vulkan® titles, and the feature now allows an adjustment for users to select the degree of sharpness. Radeon™ Anti-Lag adds support for DX® 9 titles on pre-Radeon™ RX 5000 series graphics cards.
Radeon RX 5700 series graphics products may intermittently experience loss of display or video signal during gameplay.
Out of Video Memory error may randomly appear on some Radeon R9 200/300 series graphics products when playing Fortnite™ with DirectX®12 API enabled.
Ring of Elysium™ may experience lower than expected performance on 1440p and 4K display resolutions.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order™ may experience an application hang after the initial game cutscenes on some Radeon RX 5000 series graphics products.
Enabling Performance Metrics Overlay may cause black screens or corruption on some applications.
Task switching out of some games with Radeon ReLive enabled may cause a black screen when switching back into the game.
Invoking Radeon Overlay may cause games to lose focus or become minimized when HDR is enabled within Windows®.
Posted on Wednesday, December 11 2019 @ 00:19:16 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
AOC introduces the CU34G2 series, new 34" curved gaming displays with an ultra-wide resolution of 3440 x 1440 pixels). There are two variants; the 100Hz CU34G2 and the 144Hz CU34G2X.
Display specialist AOC announces two new 86.3 cm (34”) ultra-wide (21:9) gaming displays from their brand-new G2 series.The two UWQHD (Ultra-Wide Quad HD – 3440 x 1440 pixels) displays are similar at first glance – except for their refresh rates. The CU34G2X boasts an impressive 144 Hz refresh rate, perfectly suited for competitive gamers, while the CU34G2 employs a 100 Hz refresh rate. Both models are equipped with a VA panel, which produces deep inky blacks, natural and vivid colours and a very high native contrast ratio. In addition to the high refresh rates, gamers will enjoy a stutter and tear-free experience thanks to the AMD FreeSync support, whereas the 1 ms response time (MPRT) ensures smooth gameplay without motion blur.
Wide and clear
The first striking feature of these monitors is the highly aggressive 1500R curvature and the ultra-wide aspect ratio of 21:9, letting them stand out from the crowd. The added horizontal screen space creates a VR-like experience. By covering users’ peripheral vision, it appears as if the game world continues beyond the central focal point. And with a curvature of 1500R, users will be drawn even further into their game. While gamers of all genres will appreciate the ultra-wide aspect ratio, especially fans of first-person games (RPGs, simulation & racing games) will benefit the most.
Not only games, but movies as well look brilliant thanks to the 21:9 (or 2.37:1) aspect ratio. Ideally suited for films shot in 2.35:1 and 2.39:1, users won’t see any distracting black bars. And for those who want to share the experience, the wide 178°/178° viewing angles provide clear images from every direction.
Both the CU34G2 and CU34G2X’s panels with their 34” diagonal are around the same height as widescreen (16:9) 27” displays, giving plenty of screen space and viewing comfort for everyday tasks, too. This, coupled with the high 3440 x 1440 resolution results in a perfect combination with a comfortable and detailed 109 ppi pixel density.
Choose your speed
Gamers can choose between the CU34G2X with a 144 Hz refresh rate and the CU34G2 with 100 Hz. An extremely fast 1 ms MPRT ensures clear, sharp and responsive images without motion blur, while the AMD FreeSync support eliminates stutter and tearing. Thanks to the low input lag mode, the delay between monitor and the source is also minimised.
Both monitors offer a height-adjustable stand, while flicker-free and Low Blue Light technologies ensure a healthy experience in terms of ergonomics and eye well-being.
For users that want the upper hand in gaming, AOC offers other gaming specific features too. The AOC Game Color adjusts saturation for better grey levels and picture detail, and Dial Point displays crosshairs for aiming support. A built-in 4-port USB hub and the audio in/outputs also make it easy to connect peripherals.
AOC’s CU34G2 and CU34G2X are available starting January 2020 at an RRP of €469 and €579, respectively.
Posted on Wednesday, December 11 2019 @ 00:16:27 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Biostar ships the M700 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. Not a lot of specifications were shared in the press release but this model offers read speeds of up to 2000MB/s and write speeds of up to 1650MB/s. Pricing and availability is unknown.
BIOSTAR, a leading manufacturer of motherboards, graphics cards, and storage devices, announces a new addition to its M700 series of NVME M.2 SSDs with the high capacity 1TB. Complying with the NVMe 1.3 standard and using PCIe Gen3 x4, gamers and content creators get up to 3 times performance increase from traditional SATA III drives, a clear advantage for improved productivity and uninterrupted gameplay. With its lightweight, small form factor, and high storage capacity, the M700 1TB might just be the only drive you will need to build the ultimate budget-friendly system.
Content creators need to quickly access data for uninterrupted workflow and edits of combine files as fast as possible. For gamers, top game titles require to install files of well over 100GB, making the necessity for bigger storage solution obvious, while fast read/write speeds will directly translate to faster load times for a better gaming experience. The BIOSTAR M700 1TB M.2 SSD ticks all the boxes for content creators and gamers with its storage capacity and high-performance speeds of up to 2000MB/s sequential read and 1650MB/s sequential write. In addition, the M.2 2280 form factor and slim 3.5mm profile make the BIOSTAR M700 1TB the ideal candidate to fit in compact systems such as SFF or laptops. And with support for AES256 encryption as well as End-to-End data protection, users can rest assured that their files are secured.
Because M.2 is better
As M.2 drives connect directly to the motherboard, fewer cables mean an uncompromised air-flow in your PC for better cooling performance. The BIOSTAR M700 1TB NVMe SSD position itself as a great solution at an affordable price point which will improve not only your PC building process but also your work and in-game life.