PC PowerPlay #269 News

PCPP News 269

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Intel to release mobile CPU with AMD Radeon graphics built-in

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Hell has frozen over with Intel and AMD signing a deal that’ll see Intel’s 8th Generation laptop CPUs ship with a customised Radeon GPU in the same package. Yep, AMD and Intel, mortal enemies, working together. By combining the GPU and CPU in the same package, Intel claims significant board space will be saved, allowing for smaller, thinner laptops and improved cooling systems to handle increased clock speeds. Due to an advanced power sharing network, these CPUs will be able to automatically engage or disengage the AMD GPU to preserve battery life. Intel and AMD haven’t announced which Radeon design will be integrated with Intel’s CPUs, but it’s likely an AMD Vega GPU with 10 compute units, a slight bump compared to AMD’s own Ryzen Mobile APUs currently on the market. The 35W-45W range of mobile chips are the first targets for the Radeon GPUs and are due for release Q1 2018.

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Logitech and HTC to bring keyboards into virtual reality

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Virtual reality is fun and all, but if you need to use the keyboard whilst you’re playing a VR game, it’s not that easy. With the elaborate Oculus Rift of HTC Vive headset strapped to your noggin, you can’t see the keyboard in front of you, so typing in-game is out of the question. Logitech and HTC have teamed up to enable the use of real keyboard with tactile feedback in virtual worlds. The Logitech G Bridge SDK, together with a HTC Vive Tracker tacked to the top left of your keyboard that senses the position of your hands above the keyboard and renders it pixel perfect in your VR game. It sounds great, but unless Logitech and HTC can nail latency, it’s going to be pretty darn awkward trying to type without appearing drunk. No word on when this tech will be live in games, but developers can get their hands on the SDK now.

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Razer’s new smartphone for gamers on the go

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Razer is more fondly known for its popular gaming accessories like souped up mice, keyboards, headphones and laptops, has launched a smartphone also aimed at gamers. The Razer Phone has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, a whopping 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM, 64GB of internal UFS storage, dual rear cameras, Qualcomm QuickCharge 4.0+ and a microSD card slot. What gives Razer’s phone a unique selling point is the 5.7″ IGZO LCD 2560×1440 that supports 120Hz motion, wide colour gamut and protected with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3, together with stereo front facing speakers with dual amplifiers and a USB-C THX certified DAC audio adapter included in the box. The same team who developed the Razer Blade laptop’s innovative cooling system has designed a similar custom cooling setup for the Razer Phone that allows the Snapdragon 835 SoC to operate faster without throttling itself down to avoid overheating.

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The Asus ROG G703 gaming laptop is pre-overclocked for your enjoyment

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Asus have launched a new ultra-high end gaming laptop – the ROG G703. This beefcake of a machine weighs in at 4.8kg and packs an Intel Core i7-7820HK CPU, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 with 8 GB GDDR5X memory, 32 GB DDR4-2800 RAM, 2x 256GB PCIe SSDs in RAID 0 together with a 1TB SSHD, Thunderbolt 3 and a very fancy RGB-backlit Aura keyboard with 2.5-mm travel, N-key rollover, specially-marked WASD keys and dedicated hotkeys for Xbox Live, XSplit gamecasting and the ROG gaming centre. Besides the lofty specs, what makes this laptop special is the industry’s first laptop 17.3″ AHVA panel featuring a native 144Hz refresh rate and G-Sync. If you don’t need a 144Hz LCD, Asus will have a 4K60 display that supports a wider colour gamut. Thanks to the advanced cooling system in the ROG G703, Asus will ship the laptop pre-overclocked, with the GTX1080 GPU running at 1974MHz, a decent boost from the 1733MHz default.

[TITLE]Nvidia to release limited edition Star Wars branded Titan Xp graphics cards

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A new Star Wars film is very, very close and you know what that means – more merchandise and Nvidia’s GPUs are the latest target for the Star Wars merchandising machine. Their flagship Titan Xp graphics card now comes in “new physical designs that pay homage to Star Wars” to display “hints of the Star Wars galaxy, such as the hilt of Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber and light panels reminiscent of the Death Star”. There’s two cards, one with a white/silver heatsink reminiscent of the Jedi Order and green LEDs, the other with a dark black heatsink akin to Darth Vader’s helmet with red LEDs. That said, the box these graphics cards come in is very fancy, almost like you’re not supposed to actually use the card, but keep it in its pristine packaging like a fine wine to accrue in value and sell to a cashed-up Star Wars fan in 30 years.

[TITLE]The latest version of Firefox has been re-written for performance

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Firefox Quantum (v57) is an all new version of Firefox, re-written to be twice the speed as the previous version of Firefox and use 30% less RAM than the latest version of Google’s Chrome browser. Mozilla has managed to achieve this by taking advantage of the multiple cores available in recent computers. Take for example rendering CSS – instead of having a single core dedicated to this task, all the little bits of code that make up a website are spread out across all your CPU’s cores in parallel. Firefox’s UI gets an overhaul too, reflecting today’s reality of High DPI displays and users who are more task focused than they’ve ever been. The new, minimalist design introduces square tabs, smooth animations, and a Library, which provides quick access to bookmarks, history, downloads, tabs, and screenshots. If you’ve ditched Firefox for another browser, it’s a great time to give Firefox another crack.