Alphacool writes they're now offering the Eisblock XPX in clear and satin versions. The company didn't say when these start shipping or how much they cost. The regular black, silver, titan grey and chrome versions of the Eisblock XPX cost 69.79EUR via the Alphacool website.
Alphacool proudly presents the XPX Eisblock clear and satin versions. As with the other versions of the XPX, Alphacool relies on their specially developed and patented ramp technology. This innovation significantly improves the cooling performance, which has already been shown in tests with the normal Eisblock XPX. It allows the water to flow evenly over all the cooling fins instead of just rushing through the middle section and nearly standing still at the edges. Additionally, the Eisblock XPX boasts a large bottom surface of 34 x 32mm, perfect for CPUs with 8 or more cores, and a very fine fin structure of 0.2mm.
Alphacool is also the first water cooling manufacturer worldwide to dispense with Plexiglas and instead use transparent nylon, the material of the future, for both coolers. Nylon is a much more robust material than Plexiglas, meaning that the danger of cracks in the cooler is drastically reduced. Cracks can occur due to connectors being fastened too tightly or some other uneven strain on the Plexiglas.
In order to live up to today’s aesthetic standards, not only the surface of the clear cooler is polished, but also the inner cooling channels. This makes the Eisblock XPX clear as glass. Users looking for a unique effect need look no further than the satin version. Its milky, sandblasted surface gives the cooler a unique look when illuminated. Both versions have four 5mm LED holes on two sides, more than enough to make the cooler the focal point of the whole system.
PC World writes ASUS uploaded a mysterious teaser for a new product that will be shown at Computex. The video shows an image of a ROG laptop in the shadow of AMD's Ryzen logo, so it appears ASUS will be revealing one of the first Ryzen-based gaming laptops at Computex. AMD recently said the first Ryzen laptops are expected to ship in Q3 2017.
There are no further details at the moment, so it's unknown whether this system uses a mobile version of the standard Ryzen or the "Raven Ridge" APUs with integrated Vega-based graphics.
Well, this is the first-ever Ryzen laptop that we’re aware of, and because it’s the ROG brand, you can bet it won’t be a cheap ho-hum effort—Asus reserves ROG for high-quality gaming gear. But what we’re really interested in is details about which processor family hums in the belly of this beast. AMD’s Ryzen-based “Raven Ridge” APUs will launch in notebooks in the third quarter, but they’re paired with Radeon Vega graphics cores. Radeon Vega isn’t out until late June, and the debut Radeon Vega Frontier Edition isn’t even targeted toward gamers. That suggests Vega graphics cards and mobile solutions may not be available for a few months yet.
Forbes contributor Antony Leather had an interview with AMD marketing head Robert Hallock and Ryzen product manager James Prior. Lots of interesting tidbits in the interview, including the news that the long-awaited AGESA BIOS update with better memory support for Ryzen will launch in late May.
There is one thing coming down the pipeline – enthusiasts may be aware of the AGESA BIOS updates we’ve mentioned in the Ryzen community updates. There’s another one coming in late May that will focus on the robustness and compatibility of overclocked memory. Being overclocked, it’s easy to forget that you’re not guaranteed anything, but there are some knobs and buttons we can tweak to improve things here. There will be more information on this at the end of the May.
ARM announces a partnership with the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE) to create SoCs that can be implanted into the human brain. The goal here is to create a bi-directional brain-computer interfaces (BBCI) to help people with neurodegenerative disorders. Full details about what they're working on can be read over here.
The BBCI chip is being designed to address stroke, spinal cord injury and other neurological conditions. People who have experienced a stroke or spinal cord injury often have health issues, such as paralysis, which can impact their quality of life by preventing them from moving parts of their body, for example, a hand or an arm.
The research project will design a SoC which is able to take neural signals from the brain that represent movements the person with paralysis wants to make; before directing those signals to a stimulator implanted in the spinal cord itself. This will enable the person to make the desired movements when they want to, effectively overcoming their paralysis. In the future, the device will also be able to send information in the reverse direction, allowing the person to once again feel what their hand is touching.
Where it gets really exciting is that projects like these are just the beginning of a whole new revolution of how we interact with the digital world, people and everything else around us. A great introduction on brain-machine interfaces (BMI) can be read at Wait But Why.
It's a really long article, and in this case long means 200+ Word document pages, but it's a great primer on what Elon Musk is trying to achieve with his Neuralink venture. After reading the whole piece, you'll have an idea about how the human brain works and what kind of advantages (but also dangers) a brain-machine interface can deliver.
Advanced BMI technology can solve a long range of disorders and illnesses, can give us much greater control over our own body and augment our capabilities, and promises to radically change how we interact with machines and each other.
AMD marketing guy Chris Hook uploaded a photo that shows off the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition's lighting system. These expensive machine learning cards have a blue aluminium design and feature yellow LEDs. Furthermore, AMD will also be offering a gold version with watercooling but gamers will need to wait for the launch of the Radeon RX Vega. The gaming cards will be shown at Computex but will not be available immediately.
The picture was taken in an AMD testing lab and besides the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition there's also a glimpse of a second card in the lower right corner of the picture. That card looks like the Radeon RX Vega that was shown at the AMD Capsaicin & Cream event in February.
Demand for PC DIY components is reportedly weaker than expected and DigiTimes claims Intel is thinking about launching Optane bundles to stimulate demand for its Kaby Lake platform. Not all retailers are thrilled by the plan as they believe consumers are waiting for the launch of Coffee Lake in late August.
Intel released its Kaby Lake-based processors as well as Optane memory and SSD products in January, but their demand has been weak and Intel is hoping the new bundling promotions will be able to increase sales for both product lines.
Sources from channel retailers noted that Intel's Optane memory is only supported by 200 series motherboards and Kaby Lake-based Core i7/i5/i3 processors, making the upgrade rather price unfriendly.
Just in time for your long weekend gaming sessions, AMD releases the Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.5.2 driver. This release promises a further up to 4.5 percent performance gain for Prey on the Radeon RX 580 8GB card versus the 17.5.1 driver. It also fixes a couple of issues with NieR: Automata, Forza Horizon 3 and system hangs when entering sleep or hibernate mode.
Up to 4.5% performance improvement measured on Radeon RX 580 8GB graphics when compared to Radeon Software Crimson ReLive edition 17.5.1
NieR™: Automata may experience a random hang or application crash after short periods of gameplay.
Forza™ Horizon 3 may experience very long map/launch load times.
The primary display adapter may sometimes appear disabled in Radeon Settings while driving a display from the linked adapter in Multi GPU system configurations.
Radeon RX 550 series graphics products may experience a system hang when entering sleep or hibernate modes.
Virtual Super Resolution may fail to enable on some Radeon RX 400 and Radeon RX 500 series graphics products.
The Display feature in Radeon Settings "GPU Scaling" may not function for some games.
A small amount of apps may still experience issues with Borderless Fullscreen mode and AMD FreeSync™ technology if other applications or game launchers are running on the primary screen in the background.
Counter-Strike™: Global Offensive and World of Warcraft™ may experience flickering or performance issues the first time the game is launched on a system boot with AMD FreeSync™ technology enabled. Workarounds include exiting and restarting the application or task switching (alt+tab) in and out of the game to fix the issue.
A statement tucked away in a recent press release about OpenCL 2.2 reveals the Khronos Group is planning to merge OpenCL and Vulkan into a single API for compute and graphics.
A timetable isn't provided but Khronos said it will use Vulkan as the basis for the next-generation of explicit compute APIs. PC Perspective talks about the benefits of this, they say it makes sense to push OpenCL into Vulkan as it seems like the path of least resistance:
The second reason for going in that direction is the actual structure of the APIs. When Mantle was announced, it looked a lot like an API that wrapped OpenCL with a graphics-specific layer. Also, Vulkan isn’t specifically limited to GPUs in its implementation.
Aside: When you create a device queue, you can query the driver to see what type of device it identifies as by reading its VkPhysicalDeviceType. Currently, as of Vulkan 1.0.49, the options are Other, Integrated GPU, Discrete GPU, Virtual GPU, and CPU. While this is just a clue, to make it easier to select a device for a given task, and isn’t useful to determine what the device is capable of, it should illustrate that other devices, like FPGAs, could support some subset of the API. It’s just up to the developer to check for features before they’re used, and target it at the devices they expect.
If you were to go in the other direction, you would need to wedge graphics tasks into OpenCL. You would be creating Vulkan all over again. From my perspective, pushing OpenCL into Vulkan seems like the path of least resistance.
AMD's Raja Koduri is doing an ask me anything (AMA) session about the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition at Reddit.
Here's a look at the things he revealed:
Some consumer Radeon RX Vega cards will be faster than the machine learning oriented Frontier Edition.
Radeon RX Vega will be shown off at Computex, but it will not be on store shelves that week.
The watercooled Gold edition of the Vega Frontier Edition has more thermal headroom that could help in some scenarios. There is a slight clockspeed difference between the water and the air cooled version.
The Frontier Edition final production board has two 8-pin PCIe power connectors.
To realize the full potential of the Vega architecture's High Bandwidth Cache Controller (HBCC), games will need to be optimized to use larger datasets.
Raja says other stuff like the HBM2, Rapid-Packed Math, or the new geometry pipeline have the potential to really fundamentally improve game development. But it will take time to master these things.
Frontier Edition has two stacks of HBM2.
There may be a 16GB HBM2 version of the Radeon RX Vega.
HBM2 is offered from Samsung and SK Hynix, production is ramping to meet the level of demand that AMD believes the Radeon Vega will see in the market.
Vega is both a new GPU architecture and also completely new SOC architecture.
Radeon RX Vega comes with "a few other goodies" he can't tell anything about just yet.
AMD confirmed it will be hosting a Computex press conference on May 31st, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. Taipei time (10:00 p.m. EST time). The event will take about an hour and will likely contain details about the upcoming Radeon RX Vega lineup. Presumably, AMD will offer a livestream so fans around the world can follow it in real-time.
At COMPUTEX 2017, AMD would like to invite you to our press conference, starting at 10 a.m., May 31st at The Westin Taipei, to hear AMD President and CEO, Dr. Lisa Su, and other senior AMD business leaders, share information on the latest set of high-performance AMD products and technologies for PCs, immersive devices and datacenters.
The past year has seen AMD bring innovation and competition back to the high-performance desktop market with the release of Ryzen™ processors, as well as further strengthening its consumer and professional graphics offerings, with the introduction of the Radeon™ RX 500 series GPUs, designed to enable optimal experiences in modern games and smooth VR experienced. With so much more planned for 2017, we look forward to sharing new details concerning the AMD line-up of 2017 world-class products, designed to deliver immersive experiences and high performance innovation, as well as the ecosystems, both OEM and channel, that will support them.