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AMD Ryzen 5 1600 and Ryzen 5 1400 Performance Review - It's finally here!

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September 28, 2014

Weekly Byte : 21/9/14 ~ 28/9/14

By: Jack Lee

In today's tech news, Samsung dabbles in the fine art of Vampirism , Apple's iPhone 6 a tad too flexible , Space elevators and many more!

Hello , ladies and gentlemen! This is Jack from Tech-Critter and welcome to another Weekly Byte , your weekly byte sized summary for everything tech related. Another eventful week within the tech industry , so without further ado lets jump right in.

Floating lilies that purifies water:
Mark Owen has invented a one-metre diameter device that can clean up polluted rivers , ponds etc. The device aptly named Lilypad is plastic and contains a mesh with a nano coating that spurs a reaction that breaks down material in the water nearby when sunlight hits the surface of said device. The device is currently undergoing the testing phase and no release date has been announced yet. Read up more about it here.

Martian soil is actually good for growing stuff:
While not actually soil gathered from Mars , the human made replicate of said soil actually seems decent for growing stuff. Dutch ecologist Wieger Wamelink who made the discovery has said this is mainly due to the nitrogen contents within the Mars atmosphere. Will we actually be able to grow plants and achieve a sustainable life elsewhere than Earth? Only time will tell. Read up more about it here.

Samsung launches power sharing cable:
Samsung has launched a power sharing cable that priced at a reasonable $19.99 turns your phones , tablets , etc. into a battery draining vampire! Samsung claims that "any device that can be charged via Micro USB cable" will work with said cable but there seems to be some limitations. The cable will not be able to transfer power with 100% efficiency due to power loss and usage during the transfer. The process also requires Samsung's Power Sharing app for Android. Read more about it here.

Japanese company wants to build a space elevator:
I have heard of the stairway to Heaven and the highway to Hell but never have I ever heard of the elevator to space! One of Japan's construction powerhouse , Obayashi Corporation plans to build an elevator into space by the year 2050. The company has stated that this tall feat can be achieved because of carbon nanotechnology. Although carbon nanotechnology has quite some way to go before being able to be used to create space elevators , the company has high hopes that it will be advanced enough within the near future. The International Space Elevator Consortium ( I honestly didn't know that this was a thing ) has already begun to coordinate the efforts and bring it to an international effort because building a space elevator is actually easier said than done. But what I'm most concerned about is that they better not forget the lovely elevator music! Read up more about it here.

What is the Shellshock Bash bug:
This bug that mostly affects machines which run on Mac OS X and Linux is a software that allows computers to interact with the outside by interpreting text. Basically , someone can run code that will load malware on systems , steal private information , delete files and pretty much anything you can think of. Attackers can also use your computer to spread this vulnerability and the cycle goes on. But fear not , patches and fixes are already surfacing and most of us are running firewalls. Read up more about it here.

The future lies in micro-robots:
Electrical engineer Robert Wood from the Microrobotics Lab at Harvard University is confident that micro-robots are the future. Over the years , as technology advances and becomes more sophisticated , size reduction of devices has become a significance. This significance has made devices thinner and smaller , and it has also paved the way for micro-robots. Taking inspiration from mother nature and by understanding an organism's anatomy , movement and behaviour. Robert and his fellow researchers has successfully created the RoboBee , a insect looking device that can flap it's wings 120 times a second and fly along preprogrammed paths. The RoboBee can potentially be used in a synchronized swarm to spread pollen , effectively search through a collapsed building for survivors , investigate and record all types of data and upload it back at a central "hive" etc. As technology continues to advance , Robert hopes that they will be able to reduce the cost of manufacturing said robots so that they're practically disposable. Read up more about it here.

Intel invests $1.5 billion in Chinese mobile-chipmakers:
Intel has made it clear again that they want a cut of the juicy meat that is the mobile chip industry. Despite facing financial losses , they are still optimistically trying. This time it's by investing up to $1.5 billion dollars in two mobile chip-makers which are owned by the government of China. The investment will take around a 20% stake in Spreadtrum Communications and RDA Microelectronics. Read more about it here.

Microsoft Windows 9 coming soon:
Sometime next week , Microsoft will show off Windows 9. With the new software , Microsoft hopes to improve sales to large businesses and corporations which have for the most part avoided Windows 8 in preference of Windows 7. Rumours have also said that Windows 8 users will potentially get a free upgrade up to Windows 9! Read up more about it here.

Facebook's Wi-Fi drone is roughly the size of a Boeing 747:
With desires to bring internet access into more rural places of the world , Facebook's solar powered drones that are the roughly the size of a Boeing 747 will provide Wi-Fi coverage. Expected to roll out around the year 2015 , they plan to test it in the United States and have them sending out Wi-Fi signals for the next three to five years. Read up more about it here.

What is the Haven smartlock:
Up in Kickstarter land , a team of bright men want to make dead locks a thing of the past. Reason being that dead locks are a thing of the past , with videos online that can pretty much allow anyone to learn how to pick or kick in a locked door , it simply doesn't do it's job well enough now. With this in mind , they came up with the Haven smartlock , anchored at the base of the floor , when used it can withstand brute force from even a battering ram , it is un-pickable and can't be tampered. It is hard to believe until you actually see the device. It definitely looks promising! Read and learn more about it on their Kickstarter page here.

Newest iteration of the iPhone can be easily bent?:
I'm sure most of you have already heard about this already , but for those of you who don't. Apple's new iPhone 6 seems to be easily bent , and some user's have reportedly deformed said phone by just having it in their back pocket. Apple has stated that the deformation of the iPhone 6 is extremely rare and only 9 cases have been reported. But all sorts of videos and documents have shown that iPhone 6 IS in fact more susceptible to bending. So for readers who own the iPhone 6 , please be advised to handle your device with a little more caution , and you might want to get an external case for it.

Well , that's about it for this week folks ! I hope you guys had a nice weekend, once again this has been Jack bringing you the Weekly Byte. Stay tuned next week for more tech news, thanks for reading!

September 26, 2014

Unboxing & Review: ASUS ROG Striker GTX 760 Platinum

By: Low Chern Lin

It's been awhile since we last reviewed a graphics card from the green camp so thanks to ASUS Malaysia for sending over us their ROG Striker GTX 760 Platinum for today's review. Graphic cards from ASUS's ROG lineup usually comes pre-overclocked to a higher base clock compared to reference design. Factory overclocked to a whooping 1085 MHz base clock, the ASUS ROG Striker GTX 760 Platinum gained an extra 105 MHz boost compared to the reference design NVIDIA GTX 760 with a base clock at 980 MHz.

Retailed at RM 1239, the ASUS ROG Striker GTX 760 Platinum is not a budget friendly option; but let us put aside the pricing for now and take a closer look at its performance.

September 24, 2014

NVIDIA Unleashes the Gaming Beast: Maxwell Powered GeForce GTX Graphics Card

By: Neo Vilson Wong

On the 19th of September 2014, NVIDIA has launched their yet most powerful gaming graphics card yet in its regional briefing at Bangkok and we're lucky enough get invited to attend this glorious moment - Say hello to the new NVIDIA Maxwell GPU. 

NVIDIA's Senior Director of Technical Marketing, Nick Stam holding the lastest Maxwell powered GeForce GTX980 to the media.

The NVIDIA girls posing with the latest GeForce GTX 980.

As the presentation starts, we're expecting new technology being introduced aside of the new GTX 980 and GTX 970.

Specifications of the new GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 explained.

The comparison of the GTX 980 with the past generation GeForce GTX 680 and GTX 780 has shown huge improvement in terms of performance and power consumtion.

Energy efficiency compared, seems to be a good news to those who are still on a Kepler based GeForce cards.

A graph showing the huge improvement from the Kepler powered GTX 680 to Maxwell powered GTX 980 in terms of performance and efficiency. The key behind is that Maxwell GPU are designed to utilize CUDA cores more often and larger cache to reduce request to GPU RAM, which leads to better performance and less power consumption.

Aside of that, the new compression engine, higher memory bandwidth and doubled number of ROPs also further improves the performance of the GTX 980.

While everyone was hyped up with the new GTX 980, NVIDIA added more on 3 new feature known as MFAA, DSRVXGI and VR Direct

Multi-Frame Sampled Anti-Aliasing (MFAA) improves edge quality with a minimal performance cost, and helps you enjoy anti-aliased games at ultra high resolutions like 4K.

Dynamic Super Resolution (DSR) renders a game at a higher, more detailed resolution and intelligently shrinks the result back down to the resolution of your monitor, giving you 4K, 3840x2160-quality graphics on any screen. 

Voxel Global Illumination (VXGI), is a stunning advancement, delivering incredibly realistic lighting, shading and reflections to next-generation games and game engines. NVIDIA demonstrated this technology by simulating the famous moon landing scene.

VR Direct is basically NVIDIA's approach to take on the virtual reality world and provide even better gaming experience foe the end users. VR Direct is made to work with GeForce Experience and its optimization profiles for games made for virtual reality headsets like Oculus Rift.

NVIDIA has also introduced the GameWorks SDK for game developers to further enhance graphics quality for their games to make full potential of the new GeForce GPUs. Developers will be able to make their games look more realistic with features such as following:
  • HBAO+ Enhanced Horizon Based Ambient Occlusion 
  • TXAA Temporal Anti-aliasing 
  • Soft Shadows Improves on PCSS to reach new levels of quality and performance, with the ability to render cascaded shadow maps 
  • Depth of Field Combination of diffusion based DOF and a fixed cost constant size bokeh effect 
  • FaceWorks Library for implementing high-quality skin and eye shading 
  • WaveWorks Cinematic-quality ocean simulation for interactive applications 
  • HairWorks Enabling simulation and rendering of fur, hair and anything with fibers 
  • GI Works Adding Global Illumination greatly improves the realism of the rendered image 
  • Turbulence High definition smoke and fog with physical interaction as well as supernatural effects 
  • PhysX FleX is a particle based simulation technique for real-time visual effects. 

The best part is, everyone gets to experience the VR Direct and we must say it's truly awesome and  we're really looking forward to see it to be widely available in the nearest future. 

Nvidia introduces new Quadro line ups family with Cloud Rendering Technology

By: Neo Vilson Wong

On the 19th of September, NVIDIA has introduced their latest Quadro workstation graphics line up for the professionals that does a lot of in its regional launch held in Bangkok.

NVIDIA's Senior Director of Professional Solutions Group holding the new Quadro K5200.

A workstation that packs more than just a punch, powered by dual NVIDIA Quadro K5200.

Aside of larger memory for higher performance, the new members of Quadro line ups include the K420, K620, K2200, K4200, K5200 and K6000 are optimized for remote rendering and enables collaboration across teams with help of NVIDIA GRID.

Sandeep also mention on the advantages that the NVIDIA GPUs have on applications such as Adobe Illustrator which runs ten times faster on NVIDIA Quodro GPUs and it also has NVIDIA exclusive functions such as NV Path Rendering and it is available on all PC workstations.

Sandeep Also mentions that the new Quadro line ups will have extreme graphics compute power that will greatly reduce CPU usage and allow users to zoom into high resolution vector graphics and performing real-time 4K video rendering in a seamless experience. The performance is easily perceived when you are running applications such as Illustrator, Premiere Pro, Maya and etc.

Imagine the future where things can be done much faster with GPU cloud computing that enable collaborative and interactive 3D experience on notebook PCs, tablets or even smartphones. Under ideal Quadro setting, the Iray client is paired with a powerful network-attached appliance that harnesses the power of the highest-performing NVIDIA GPUs known as Visual Computing Appliance (VCA) to deliver high quality images faster from within the network or remotely.

“Iray is the world's first GPU accelerated and physically correct, photo-realistic rendering solution. With Quadro and VCA, it is able to achieve rendering speeds that dramatically reduces the iterative creative process of perfecting a design. Unlike most production renderers, Iray delivers results that reflect real-world behaviors,” added Sandeep.

This technology could do a great help in scientific research, especially the renown project of protein folding simulation study known as Folding@home initiated by Stanford University for the purpose of studying Alzheimer's, Huntington's, Parkinson's, and many cancerous disease.

Quick Coverage on Mushi & Gigabyte Fan Meeting Event @Viewnet Low Yat Plaza

By: Low Chern Lin

Gigabyte has been really active in organizing events since the past few months and this time, we're here at Low Yat Plaza again for another event from Gigabyte - it's Mushi & Gigabyte Fan Meeting Event!

Seeing the big crowd upon our arrival, we're sure that there's a lot of Dota 2 fans gathered here to get the chance to meet their favorite star player, Mushi.

People lining up to get themselves registered as early birds for the goody bag.

Tons of goody bag to giveaway... and it's in purple! 

Roll up posters of Gigabyte G1 Gaming motherboard, have you checked out our review on the Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming G1 WIFI-BK?

More special guests of the event, renown public figures in the Dota 2 scene: David Zhang "Luminous" and Sing Chi "dpmlicious".

Vahn Hew from Vector as the emcee as usual with Mushi next to him.

Another special guest appeared during the event: Ohaiyo from Team Titan

The one-on-one challenge mini competition where the fans takes on Mushi to test their skills.

Gaming peripherals used on the event are sponsored by SteelSeries Malaysia.

How many of the peripherals can you recognize?

Sexy looking Siberia V2 Purple.

Aside of the fans that attended the event, Ohaiyo gave the event a boost as he takes on Mushi to the one-on-one challenge.

Mushi signing for the fans.

Mushi of Pain? An awesome piece of work from a fan, imagine the amount of effort he put into this.

And of course, the giveaway of the freebies and prizes for the fans! Too bad we didn't get ourselves one.

Fans taking photos with Luminous, you don't get to meet him everyday!

Got his tee signed by Luminous and dpmlicious! 

The eSports scene is radically moving forward around the globe but we're still a little far behind compared to other countries. Gigabyte did a great job in organizing this fan meeting event as to show the local community who are skeptical towards gamers and think it's a waste of time - the world has changed and gaming is now a profession, as proven by Mushi himself who earned his international renown on the international eSports scene.

September 23, 2014


By: Low Chern Lin

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 23 September 2014 – WD®, a Western Digital (NASDAQ: WDC) company and world leader in storage deployed for modern datacenters, announced its innovative WD Ae™ line of hard drives designed for the unique operating characteristics of the emerging archive tier within web-scale datacenters. Built on a platform to achieve optimal total cost of ownership (TCO), WD Ae hard drives utilize the lowest possible power consumption and a Progressive Capacity™ model to enable a new tier of storage for large-scale cloud infrastructures. 

“Modern datacenter customers came to us with a need for an HDD solution designed specifically for ever-expanding cold-data repositories,” said Matt Rutledge, senior vice president and general manager, storage technology, WD. “Now in our third generation with over 700 petabytes deployed, WD is bringing the WD Ae drive to the broader market, representing another vital component of WD’s capacity storage portfolio, which delivers features and product attributes optimized for the rapidly evolving storage market.”

The expanding scale of data creation and the corresponding need to retain, preserve and extract value from that data creates a new and unique challenge for large-scale datacenter entities.  Reliable, long-term data management for massive-scale data storage is becoming ever more critical.  The conventional tools and technologies for cost-effective storage are not effective in massive-scale datacenters, so entirely new approaches to storage architectures and associated component technology are emerging. 

“Cloud service providers have rapidly growing volumes of generally inactive data to store and manage, while at the same time providing customers with access to the data at almost any time,” according to John Rydning, IDC’s vice president for hard disk drive research.  “WD’s new WD Ae line of HDDs is aimed directly at these storage use cases, and is helping to define a new, active archive enterprise storage sub-segment, thus opening new HDD storage opportunities for the HDD industry.”

Focusing on the unique attributes of cold data, WD has led the cold/archive market with multiple generations of archive storage, actively evolving a product formula to deliver the optimal combination of cost-effectiveness, power efficiency, storage density and application intensity. WD Ae drives are purpose-built archive HDDs with extreme areal density on a high volume mechanical platform that offers increased power efficiency and a Progressive Capacity model.

Part of the unique attributes of the WD Ae hard drive family includes: a dense five-platter platform, which renders an optimal mix of power, performance, capacity and cost; capacities greater than 6 TB; SATA 6 Gb/s interface; and a workload and reliability rating of 60 TB/yr workload and 500 Khrs Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF).   

 WD Ae Progressive Capacity
As technology and manufacturing processes mature over time, incremental capacity increases are realized. WD’s innovative Progressive Capacity model allows distribution of these incrementally higher capacity models to take advantage of their fullest available capacity: 6.1 TB, 6.2 TB, or 6.3 TB, for instance. These more granular capacity increments result in far greater capacity attainment through the life of a product platform. At the massive scale of modern applications, the availability of incremental capacity each quarter renders exceptional value to datacenters who can realize improvements in capacity-per-drive, capacity-per-volumetric space and reduced infrastructure overhead. 

Hot vs. Cold Data Storage - the Data Storage Temperature Continuum
While approximately 20-30 percent of data on most networks is active, commonly referred to as “hot,” the majority of data, 70-80 percent is inactive or “cold,” meaning it is unchanging and infrequently accessed. Given the challenges of storing petabyte- or exabyte-scale data, public cloud and private cloud ecosystems are focused on creating entirely new tiers of storage to deal with the varying degrees of “data temperature.” The cold data tier is emerging in a manner very similar to the way the “Tier 0” emerged over the past decade to deal with critical performance requirements.  Now the industry is adding a new tier on the opposite end of the data temperature spectrum, often referred to as “Tier 3” storage.

Cold storage is the practice of creating a new tier of important information not frequently accessed for long periods of time, and can include structured, unstructured, or semi-structured data that has timeless value, and of which the exact schedule of retrieval is uncertain. As a result, data retrieval times can be relaxed, compared to the speed at which hot data needs be retrieved. 

Ultimately, with purpose-built and cost-optimized cold data storage infrastructure and devices, IT departments can deliver vastly improved time-to-archive and time-to-retrieve cold/archive data that outstrips capabilities of monolithic tape libraries, while utilizing standard hard-drive based storage solutions that are abundantly used and understood to realize optimal application value and significant storage cost savings.

WD Ae hard drives will be sold in box quantities of 20 and available to select distributors and integrators starting late 2014. WD Ae drives are covered by a three-year limited warranty. More information about WD’s Ae datacenter hard drives can be found on the company website at 

September 22, 2014

Coverage of the Launching of the Razer Blade @ Ikano Power Centre

By: Clement Thien

We're arrived early at All IT Hypermarket at Ikano Power Centre today for the Razer Blade Launch Event and of course, the loot of Razer goody bag which is limited to the first 50 person in the queue.  Upon arrival, we can see that there's already people queuing in a long line!

Cooler Master NovaTouch TKL Switching It Up

By: Clement Thien

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (22 September 2014) - Cooler Master, a leading developer of PC and electronic components and accessories, today announced the launch of NovaTouch TKL here in Malaysia, a hybrid capacitive mechanical keyboard designed for high speed, extreme accuracy, and total comfort in the ultimate typing experience.