PC PowerPlay #266 News

PCPP News 266

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802.11ax, a new Wi-Fi standard that’ll ease congestion and increase speeds

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There is yet another Wi-Fi standard coming to a router near you. It’s called 802.11ax and it is designed from the ground up to deal with congestion. Of course, there’s a raw speed boost, thanks to wider and multiple channels that greatly increase throughput to a theoretical maximum of 3.5Gbps (4x streams with 160 MHz wide channels) – a huge boost in speed and total capacity. Wireless network congestion is improved via a technology first seen on LTE radios, called orthogonal frequency division multiple access (ODMFA). The use of OFDMA means up to 30 clients can share each channel instead of having to take turns broadcasting and listening. Another benefit is that the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands can be combined creating even more channels for data. The first consumer 802.11ax products such as USB adaptors and access points should appear in early 2018.

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Intel unveils 8th generation Core CPUs, Kaby Lake-R

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Intel has officially launched its 8th generation of Core processors. These new chips are a refresh of the previous 7th generation Kaby Lake units and have a 15W TDP, making them ideal for slim, full featured laptops. The i7-8650U, i7-8550U, i5-8350U and i5-8250U are all 4 core parts and all have Hyperthreading enabled – a first for a 15W part. The i7s have an 8MB L3 cache an the i5s a 6MB cache. Intel has also included UHD 620 integrated graphics, which is capable of 4K video playback and near real-time 4K rendering with Intel Quicksync. Intel are claiming a huge 40% increase in multi-tasking performance versus the previous generation CPUs and a 2.3x speed increase versus a 5-year-old Ivy Bridge based system. A big chunk of that performance increase are the two new Hyperthreaded cores, but a large part is also due to an improvement in design optimisation and manufacturing processes compared to the 7th-generation chips.

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CrashPlan ends consumer backup product, forces users to cough up or leave

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The popular CrashPlan backup service has announced it is ending its home user offerings to focus on small business and enterprise customers. Those with current CrashPlan for Home subscriptions will be allowed to use the service for the duration plus an extra 60-day grace period. After this grace period, all backups will be automatically deleted unless users migrate to CrashPlan for Small Business (formerly CrashPlan Pro), which is near-identical to CrashPlan Home but twice the price at US$120 a year. CrashPlan is also offering users the option of a 50% discount to use Carbonite, but you’ll have to start your backup from scratch, there’s no migration from CrashPlan to Carbonite. Sounds like it’s a perfect time for CrashPlan users to re-assess their backup solution and see what else is on the market.

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Western Digital’s new bigger, faster and better MyBook Duo external HDD

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Western Digital has released a new version of its popular My Book Duo external storage system. The new WD My Book Duo sports two 3.5″ WD Red HDDs in RAID 0 or 1 mode and in a fetching new enclosure utilising a versatile USB 3.0 Type-C port. Capacities vary from 4TB to 20TB, 5400 RPM spindle speeds and feature 64 MB, 128 MB, or 256 MB of cache. Transfer rates of WD Red drives vary from 147 MB/s to 360 MB/s depending on the capacity of the drives – the bigger the drive, the faster the speeds. The My Book Duo storage system keeps your data secure with hardware AES-256 encryption enabled via the included WD Security software. WD ships the My Book Duo products with the WD Backup suite, that’ll automatically backup data from your computer, as well as from cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, Facebook, and Instagram.

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ASUS has a new mainboard for cryptocurrency miners that’ll support 19 GPUs on a single board

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Cryptocurrency miners looking to extract the most mining density from their rigs, look no further than the new ASUS B250 Expert Mining mainboard. This new mainboard has 19 PCIe 1x slots, so when used with graphics card risers, can support 19 cards on a single mainboard. This is of keen interest to cryptocurrency miners as it reduces the need to spend money on additional CPUs, storage and RAM to support multiple GPUs. ASUS have also included tripe ATX12V (24-pin) connectors so you can hook up the necessary three beefy PSUs to power those cards, along with voltage stabilization capacitors for each slot and a mining specific BIOS for increased hash rates. The ASUS B250 Mining Expert is based on the B250 chipset with an LGA1151 socket, 2400MHz DDR4 RAM support and is otherwise a regular, run of the mill mainboard.

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Shuttle’s latest PC packs a GTX1060 GPU in a tiny little box that fits in the palm of your hand

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Shuttle have updated their mini gaming PC range with the Shuttle X1 – an extremely small desktop PC that fits in the palm of your hand. It’s basically an Intel NUC on steroids. The Shuttle X1 is based on Intel’s mobile CPUs, the Core i5-7300HQ and Core i7-7700 HQ. To achieve smooth gaming performance, Shuttle managed to include an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB MXM GPU module. Choose between 8GB or 16GB of DDR4 RAM, 128GB or 256GB M.2 SSDs and a 1TB HDD. Connectivity wise, the Shuttle X1 offers a typical set of I/O such as 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a gigabit Ethernet port, one USB 3.0 Type-C connector, four USB 3.0 Type-A headers (two on the front, two on the rear), four USB 2.0 ports, three HDMI outputs (one for a VR headset), one DisplayPort, one SD card reader as well as one 3.5-mm audio jack.