The experts have all weighed in. 2016 will be the year of Virtual Reality. The problem is that the experts are very often wrong. Still that has not stopped multiple companies from pushing out new VR headsets, APIs, development kits and more. The craze has gone so far as to start effecting the way that companies are making core hardware. We already know that AMD is pushing for VR mastery with new products and by showing which existing products also have a level of VR support.
On the 19th of January Samsung announced that they had begun mass production of their 4GB HBM 2.0 3D memory. This announcement was the starting gun for the next big GPU race. As we know both AMD and NVIDIA are racing to get viable products to the market in time for Oculus and HTC to launch their consumer version VR headsets. Up until now we have really only seen the developers’ kits and while these have been impressive they are not what most are hoping for in the final product.
AMD says it’s a VR thing now. Well ok, not really, but AMD is leveraging the increased memory bandwidth in their high-end R9 Fury cards to push both 4k and VR. They showed off the R9 Fury X dual-GPU reference design working for the first time at VRLA (Virtual Reality Los Angeles). This card will feature two 28nm Fiji GPUs plus an estimated 8GB of 2.5D HBM 1.0. The memory would be split between the two GPUs at 4GB each.
AMD is delaying the launch of their new Zen based CPUs until the end of 2016. The news comes on the heels of a rather subdued, if optimistic, earnings report in which Lisa Su, AMD CEO, focused on AMD’s commitment to innovation and highlighted improved R&D spending. It is true that AMD’s operating loss has dropped massively when compared to Q4 2014, but much of this is due to cut backs in operating costs over actual revenue. This is despite claims that AMD’s GPU and Semi-Custom sales were to thank. During 2015 we saw AMD start to pull back from other products (and product lines) to conserve money and focus on creating a compelling product. Zen is the hope for AMD’s future along with moving to a 14nm process.
The idea of Quantum computing has been with us since the dawn of science fiction and it is a very cool one. In recent years we have seen advances that have made this once theoretical concept turn into a reality. This is not to say that we are able to use the power that quantum computing has to offer, but we are starting to understand how it works in the real world and also how much more efficient it can be.
The idea of the “cloud” is nothing new and has, in fact, been around for a number of years in one form or another. The concept goes back to the use of small “dumb” terminals that were nothing more than display devices for com putting done in a central location. After it became possible to put more power into the systems we used the cloud faded into the back ground. With the production of mobile devices that did not typically have the same power and capacity as a desktop the cloud returned. It had a major resurgence when the smartphone and tablet leaped onto the scene and now it seems that everything is trying to become cloud based; including gaming.
After the success of the Hyper X Cloud Pro Gaming headset Kingston went back to the drawing board to make a product that would be a worthy successor. The question was, how do you top something that is that good? The Hyper X Cloud Pro was (and still is) an amazing headset. The sealed enclosures for the larger than normal drivers along with the tuning make them one of the best headsets you can get for the money. Kingston’s team decided that throwing in their own USB audio controller, complete with simulated surround and amp, would be a good start. We had the chance to play with a set during CES 2015 and also got one to bring home. Since then we have used them in multiple environments and with more audio sources than we can really put in a single article. So now we can tell you if the Hyper X Cloud Pro II is worthy of the name or not.
A couple of days ago we published an article on the state of AMD and what their immediate (next 18 months) looked like. In that article we looked at the state that AMD is in right now with what they have on the table…. It seems that a few readers did not like what we had to say. Oddly enough, yesterday a number of articles popped up on the internet that supported much of what we had to say including many of the time lines (14nm by Q3 2016 etc.) Let’s take a look at some of the information out there.
In the last couple of months we have talked a lot about AMD and the direction they are trying to move to. Most of what we have reported is not good news and centers on the fact that AMD’s R&D/production budget is dwindling to the point where they cannot push multiple projects at one time. They have had to consolidate their efforts to the point that they do not really have products to bring to market to make them more money. An example of this is the lack of a new GPU for the normal launch cycles. AMD does have some products in the pipeline, but these might not be enough to win them back any marketshare from Intel or NVIDIA.
So Apple has released review samples to the press in order to build up interest in their entry into the smart watch market. It is an interesting move for Apple as they have sent out their $1,000 product to a select group of reviewers just to see what they think. After reading a number of them (some I could not get all the way through) it seems that Apple might not have the magnificent product they were hoping for and even the most Apple faithful sites had a hard time spinning the deficiencies that are there.