Agam Shah

About the Author Agam Shah


Apple’s Mac Pro gets crushed by new HP Zbook laptops

Apple’s Mac Pro has been ignored for so long that even Windows 10 mobile workstations are catching up on features and performance.

Take HP’s latest Zbook laptop workstations , which were announced on Friday. These heavy built laptops — which is why they are called mobile workstations — have comparable memory and storage capacity technology to the Mac Pro, but excel in other areas.

The laptops feature Thunderbolt 3 ports, DDR4 memory, Intel’s latest Kaby Lake-based Core and Xeon processors, and the latest GPUs from Nvidia and AMD.

By comparison the Mac Pro has Thunderbolt 2 ports, an old AMD GPU, DDR3 memory and Intel Xeon processors based on the Ivy Bridge architecture, which were released in 2013.

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Apple’s Mac Pro gets crushed on features by new HP Zbook laptops

Apple’s Mac Pro has been ignored for so long that even Windows 10 mobile workstations are catching up on features and performance.

Take HP’s latest Zbook laptop workstations , which were announced on Friday. These heavy built laptops — which is why they are called mobile workstations — have comparable memory and storage capacity technology to the Mac Pro, but excel in other areas.

The laptops feature Thunderbolt 3 ports, DDR4 memory, Intel’s latest Kaby Lake-based Core and Xeon processors, and the latest GPUs from Nvidia and AMD.

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Samsung to start making chips faster than ones in Galaxy S8

Samsung is now ready to produce faster and even more power-efficient chips than the ones it uses the latest Galaxy S8 smartphones.

In the fourth quarter, Samsung will start producing chips on the 10-nanometer LPP (low-power plus) process. These chips are faster than existing chips because of an enhanced 3D structure.

On average, the new chips made on the new process will be 10 percent faster and 15 percent more power efficient than the first wave of 10-nanometer chips like the Samsung Exynos 8895, which is one of two processors used in the S8 devices.

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Facebook’s Caffe2 AI tools come to iPhone, Android, and Raspberry Pi

New intelligence can be added to mobile devices like the iPhone, Android devices, and low-power computers like Raspberry Pi with Facebook’s new open-source Caffe2 deep-learning framework.

Caffe2 can be used to program artificial intelligence features into smartphones and tablets, allowing them to recognize images, video, text, and speech and be more situationally aware.

It’s important to note that Caffe2 is not an AI program, but a tool allowing AI to be programmed into smartphones. It takes just a few lines of code to write learning models, which can then be bundled into apps.

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Microsoft’s cool quantum computing plan embraces cryogenic memory

Microsoft has crazy quantum computing plans. It is building hardware based on a particle that hasn’t been discovered, and the company now wants to make super-cool memory for quantum computers.

The company is working with Rambus to develop and build prototype computers with memory subsystems that can be cooled at cryogenic temperatures. Cryogenic temperatures typically are below minus 180 degrees Celsius or minus 292 degrees Fahrenheit.

Quantum computers could eventually replace today’s PCs and servers and promise to be significantly faster. But the systems are notoriously unstable and need to be stored in refrigerators for faster and secure operation. As an example, D-Wave’s 2000Q quantum computer needs to be kept significantly cooler than supercomputers so operations don’t break down.

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Intel scraps annual IDF event as it looks beyond PCs

After 20 years, Intel is scrapping its marquee annual Intel Developer Forum event, where tech enthusiasts gathered to load up on the chipmaker’s news and technologies.

IDF started off in 1997 as a small event in Palm Springs, California. The show was later moved to San Francisco and vastly expanded during a boom in the PC market.

But with the PC market slowing down, the attraction of IDF has also dwindled. Intel’s future isn’t tied to PCs but instead to areas like data centers, autonomous cars, modems, the internet of things, and manufacturing. 

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Prices of SSDs and DRAM will crash in 2019, Gartner predicts

The prices of PCs, smartphones, and tablets are going up, with higher component prices to blame. Shortages in DRAM, flash, batteries and displays are hitting buyers in the wallet.

Minor relief is in sight next year when prices of memory and NAND flash — which is used in SSDs — will start to gradually decline. But prices will plummet big time in 2019, predicted Jon Erensen, research director for semiconductors at Gartner.

The impact could be felt on the prices of PCs and mobile devices. But it’s too early to predict the exact impact of the projected NAND and DRAM price crashes on PCs and mobile devices, Erensen said.

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HP rises again to be the world’s top PC maker as Lenovo slips

It was another tough quarter for PC shipments, but there was good news for HP, which edged Lenovo to regain the title of world top’s PC maker, according to IDC.

Worldwide PC shipments totaled 60.3 million units in the first quarter of 2017, growing by just 0.6 percent compared to the same quarter the previous year.

IDC previously forecast a decline of 1.8 percent in PC shipments, so the positive growth was a sign the PC market is recovering. Quarterly PC shipments reported positive growth for the first time since the first quarter of 2012. 

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Foxconn said to offer $27B for Toshiba’s memory chip business

Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer best known as the maker of iPhones and iPads for Apple, is said to be preparing a $27 billion bid to acquire Toshiba’s computer chip assets.

Toshiba is most commonly recognized for making NAND flash and memory chips, with all of its factories in Japan. However, chip manufacturing in Japan has slipped as rivals in South Korea and China gain in strength.

The news of the potential offer was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. Foxconn is the latest of a number of companies, including SK Hynix and equity investor Silver Lake, interested in acquiring Toshiba’s chip assets.

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Foxconn said to offer $27B for Toshiba’s memory chip business

Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer best known as the maker of iPhones and iPads for Apple, is said to be preparing a $27 billion bid to acquire Toshiba’s computer chip assets.

Toshiba is most commonly recognized for making NAND flash and memory chips, with all of its factories in Japan. However, chip manufacturing in Japan has slipped as rivals in South Korea and China gain in strength.

The news of the potential offer was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. Foxconn is the latest of a number of companies, including SK Hynix and equity investor Silver Lake, interested in acquiring Toshiba’s chip assets.

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What Aerospike learned from testing Intel’s superfast Optane SSDs

Intel’s large-capacity Optane is like the Ferrari of storage: It’s super fast, it’s cool and it’s expensive.

Also, it isn’t for everyone yet. That was reiterated by Intel when it introduced its first large capacity SSD, the Optane SSD DC P4800X, last month.

The 375GB DC P4800X is aimed at high-end applications. Optane is also available as low-capacity cache storage on motherboards, allowing Windows 10 and other applications to load faster.

Before release, Intel gave Optane SSDs to a select few customers who had a chance to get their hands dirty with the new technology for longer than a year. The testers included Facebook, IBM, Lenovo, and database company Aerospike, which believes Optane could unite DRAM and SSDs. 

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Expect higher prices for PCs and mobile devices this year

If you plan to buy a new PC or mobile device this year, you’ll likely shell out more cash than in previous years. Prices are going up, and expensive devices are in demand.

On average, the price of PCs and phones will go up by 2 percent this year, Gartner said in a research report released on Thursday. The calculations are based on U.S. dollars and average market sizes.

Breaking down those numbers, PC prices are expected to go up 1.4 percent this year, while mobile phone prices will go up 4.3 percent.

The price increases are largely due to the rising prices of components. Also, more users are upgrading to more expensive and feature-rich mobile handsets.

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More high-end GPUs are now compatible with Dell’s 8K monitor

Getting 8K displays to work with Windows 10 PCs can be difficult, as Dell is finding out.

But playing with 8K on PCs is a discovery process for Dell, which shipped the first-ever 8K display — the Dell 32 UltraSharp 8K Monitor — last week. The small initial stock of the US$5,000 display sold out in a few days.

The display won’t work on all PCs and needs specific hardware and display ports. But Dell is finding out that more hardware than it originally thought can handle 8K graphics, including AMD’s Radeon Pro WX 7100 workstation GPU.

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