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October 17, 2021

Daily Tech News 17 October 2021

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  • The Asus ProArt X570 Creator may be the best Socket AM4 motherboard we'll ever see. (Tom's Hardware)

    It has everything - and a price tag to match. Most notably it comes with dual Thunderbolt 4 ports, rare on AMD hardware, and 2.5Gb and 10Gb Ethernet ports.

    It has three PCIe slots, all physically x16 but not all running x16, three M.2 slots, four DIMM slots (as you'd expect), four 10Gb USB, four 5GB USB, HDMI out, DisplayPort in (this routes video from your graphics card to the Thunderbolt ports), 5 1/8" audio jacks, no SPDIF, and a BIOS flashback button that works without a CPU installed. That means that if you have a newer CPU than the BIOS supports, you can plug in a thumb drive containing the BIOS file and push the button, and it should automatically update itself.

    Also the PCIe allocation is handled intelligently. Unlike some boards, you can fill the three PCIe slots and the three M.2 slots and all of them will work, though the PCIe slots will be split down to x8/x4/x4. On some boards plugging in a third M.2 card will disable one of the expansion slots, which would be a nasty surprise if you haven't read the manual.

    Downside: All of this costs $430, or close to A$800 here in Lockdown Land. I can get a Threadripper motherboard for that price, with three full x16 expansions slots and support for 256GB of RAM.


  • However Intel's Alder Lake CPUs turn out otherwise - more on that below - the chips aren't short of I/O bandwidth. Gigabyte's Aorus Z690 Master shows off PCIe 5. (WCCFTech)

    It's not quite as packed with features as the Asus ProArt, but the main PCIe slot is 5.0 x16 even when the other slots are all filled, delivering 64GBps of bandwidth.

    Once there's a PCIe 5 graphics card to slot into it. In the meantime, it will run at 4.0 speeds, so halve that number.

    Also expected to be well north of $400 when it hits retail.




Tech News

  • Intel's Alder Lake CPUs may not work with some games. (Tom's Hardware)

    The issue is not with the games themselves, but with the DRM software attached, which is incredibly fussy about hardware specs. The issue is the "hybrid architecture" of Alder Lake - the mix of fast and slow cores.

    Intel has said it is working with DRM providers to "make sure their solutions support new platforms", which is a pretty clear statement that it doesn't currently work. The big problem will be with older games that aren't receiving updates; there you might need to disable the slow cores in BIOS to get things to work.


  • A look at the HP EliteDesk 800 G6 Mini. (Serve the Home)

    This is one of those small form factor business desktops - bigger than an Intel NUC but still pretty tiny. Serve the Home is reviewing them with an eye to potential as home servers. It's in the name.

    The interesting feature of this one is that you can add a GTX 1660 Ti graphics module, which would give you up to 7 total video outputs - three from the integrated graphics and four from the tiny custom graphics card. They didn't review that config but they have a picture; the back of the system is a sea of I/O ports.


  • Canon all-in-one printers disable scanning if they run out of ink. The company is now facing a class-action lawsuit over that bullshit. (Bleeping Computer)

    Good.


  • Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is a pretty solid small notebook. (Thurrott.com)

    Though not cheap. Lenovo is one of the few companies that provides build-to-order laptops here in Oz, and once you start ticking off all the options on this one the price starts stacking up.

    It has the usual 11th generation quad core CPU, with a 14" screen at up to 3840x2400 - at 500 nits and 100% DCI-P3, 32GB RAM, 2TB of SSD, dual Thunderbolt 4 ports, optional 4G or 5G mobile networking, the Four Essential Keys (albeit oddly located), and the classic ThinkPad trackpoint and three physical touchpad buttons. No microSD slot, and no wired Ethernet.


  • Governments of 31 countries are planning to fight ransomware by making things harder for everyone else. (WSJ)

    They are targeting crypto payments rather than tracking down the criminals and dropping a house on them.

    Mostly because said criminals are fully supported by the governments of Russia and China, which are using them to wage low-intensity warfare on the rest of the world. Those two countries were not invited to the meeting.


Disclaimer: I'll get you, my pretty, and your Number 5 Szechuan Barbecue Dog with Spicy Noodle too.
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