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Daemon Day at Apple, three iOS Zero Day vulnerabilities released



The proofs are on GitHub

A security researcher, currently known as the Illusion of Chaos, has released three iOS vulnerabilities that have apparently been exploited in the wild, perhaps for more than a year, and which remain unpatched even on the latest version of the iThang operating system. This mysterious researcher claims to have revealed the vulnerabilities to Apple earlier this year and has decided to release them now because Apple has not moved to fill the holes.

All three involve daemons running on the operating system and allow an attacker to obtain information about applications installed on the phone, WiFi details on the phone and worse yet, access to emails. AppleID, names, authentication token, and authorization file system. access. A fourth vulnerability was reported to Apple at the same time, which was actually fixed in a recent update.

It also reveals possible issues with Apple’s bug bounty program, with a number of other security researchers claiming that not only were some of their submissions completely ignored, but Apple also failed to pay. money promised by the bounty program and prevented them from submitting new vulnerabilities after they complained about the reduced rewards.



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Wireless gaming audio with Razer Barracuda X and Immerse Hive



7.1 surround sound, THX Spatial Audio costs you another $ 10 to $ 20

The fact that the Razer Barracuda X paid for the DLC is likely to put off at least a few people, having to pay an additional $ 10 on top of the ~ $ 100 price of the Barracuda X or $ 20 if you don’t purchase the license with the headphones are not going to sit well with some people. The good news is, you don’t have to pay for it, you can get 7.1 surround sound encoding on Windows 10 64-bit native from the headphones.

In addition to the Barracuda X, Neoseeker also reviewed the Immerse Hive software provided by Embody, which is supposed to give you a “personalized spatial audio experience” when you play. In other words, if you pay US $ 14.99 per year, or US $ 39.99 for a 5-year plan, you will get visual cues on your screen when the software detects audio sources. In other words, if someone is sneaking up behind you in a game, you don’t have to worry about not hearing them; the software will display a visual cue where they are in relation to you.

If you are not yet completely off, visit Neoseeker to check out a headset with 40mm Razer TriForce drivers, a removable HyperClear cardioid microphone and up to 20 hours of battery life as well as optional DLC.



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Giving Spare Drives a New Lease of Life



The internal storage device market segment has seen rapid evolution over the last decade after the introduction of flash-based disk drives. Beginning with 2.5-inch SSDs in early 2010s, the market moved to mSATA units while the SATA-to-NVMe transition started to gather steam. Fast forward to the present, and we find M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSDs the de-facto standard even for entry-level PCs.

PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSDs are slowly making its way into the market, and many users are finding themselves with spare M.2 SSDs. A common re-purposing method has been to place the SSD in a USB enclosure. Having reviewed multiple storage bridges and enclosures, we have found that companies typically target this market segment with a new product every couple of years (based on the internal drive characteristics going out of fashion / latest USB generation).

Akasa is one of the few manufacturers to possess a SSD enclosure lineup catering to almost all possible scenarios in this market segment. Earlier this year, the company sampled their lineup of M.2 SSD enclosures lineup – the Akasa AK-ENU3M2-02 (SATA), AK-ENU3M2-03 (NVMe), and the AK-ENU3M2-04 (SATA / NVMe) – to put through our storage bridges evaluation routine. All three enclosures come with a USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) host interface. This review takes a look at the performance of each enclosure, their unique aspects, and usage scenarios.

Introduction

SSDs have grown both in storage capacity as well as speeds over the last decade, thanks to rapid advancements in flash technology (including the advent of 3D NAND and NVMe). Starting from 2.5-inch disk drives barely able to saturate the SATA III (6 Gbps) interface in the early 2010s, we now have gumstick- and palm-sized drives with PCIe 4.0 support capable of sustaining more than 7000 MBps (56 Gbps).

These SSDs have also formed the base platform for portable SSDs. Traditionally, such drives have fallen into one of the six categories below, depending on the performance profile and internal components. Recently, we have seen direct flash-to-USB controllers across all but the highest performance tier listed here.

  • 2.5GBps+ class: Thunderbolt SSDs with PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe drives
  • 2GBps+ class: USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 SSDs with PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe drives
  • 1GBps+ class: USB 3.2 Gen 2 SSDs with PCIe 3.0 (x4 or x2) NVMe drives
  • 500MBps+ class: USB 3.2 Gen 2 SSDs with SATA drives
  • 400MBps+ class: USB 3.2 Gen 1 SSDs with SATA drives
  • Sub-400MBps+ class: USB 3.2 Gen 1 flash drives with direct flash-to-USB controllers

In addition to portable SSDs, this type of segmentation is also applicable to storage enclosures. Since the mid-2010s, we have seen a regular stream of SSD enclosures hit the market, catering to 2.5-inch, mSATA, and M.2 form-factors.

This review takes a look at three Akasa M.2 SSD enclosures catering to PC users attempting to give new life to their spare SSDs. Irrespective of the M.2 SSD type, Akasa believes that one of the following three enclosures is bound to satisfy the user requirements.

  • Akasa AK-ENU3M2-02 : M.2 SATA enclosure with a Type-C female host interface
  • Akasa AK-ENU3M2-03 : M.2 NVMe enclosure with a Type-C female host interface
  • Akasa AK-ENU3M2-04 : M.2 SATA / NVMe enclosure with Type-A and Type-C male host interfaces

The AK-ENU3M2-04 is the most interesting of the lot. In addition to supporting both SATA and NVMe SSDs, it also sports Type-A and Type-C male connectors. There is no cable to carry around / misplace, and the dual interface ensures that it is compatible with a wide range of systems. In addition, the tool-less design ensures that swapping SSDs is quick and painless. Overall, the AK-ENU3M2-04 ticks all the boxes for becoming part of the arsenal of computer support personnel.

The table below presents a comparative view of the specifications of the different storage bridges presented in this review.

Comparative Storage Bridges Configuration
Aspect Akasa AK-ENU3M2-04 (NVMe)Akasa AK-ENU3M2-04 (SATA)Akasa AK-ENU3M2-03Akasa AK-ENU3M2-02 Akasa AK-ENU3M2-04 (SATA)Akasa AK-ENU3M2-03Akasa AK-ENU3M2-02Akasa AK-ENU3M2-04 (NVMe)
Downstream Port 1x PCIe 3.0 x2 (M.2 NVMe)
1x SATA III (M.2)
1x PCIe 3.0 x2 (M.2 NVMe)
1x SATA III (M.2)
Upstream Port USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
Bridge Chip Realtek RTL9210B-CG Realtek RTL9210B-CG
Power Bus Powered Bus Powered
     
Use Case M.2 2242 / 2260 / 2280 SATA / NVMe SSD aluminum enclosure
DIY 1GBps-class portable SSD with a USB flash drive-like form-factor
Type-A and Type-C male ports integrated
M.2 2242 / 2260 / 2280 SATA / NVMe SSD aluminum enclosure
DIY 1GBps-class portable SSD with a USB flash drive-like form-factor
Type-A and Type-C male ports integrated
     
Physical Dimensions 130 mm x 26.5 mm x 12 mm 130 mm x 26.5 mm x 12 mm
Weight 36 grams (without SSD) 36 grams (without SSD)
Cable N/A N/A
     
S.M.A.R.T Passthrough Yes Yes
UASP Support Yes Yes
TRIM Passthrough Yes Yes
Hardware Encryption SSD-dependent SSD-dependent
     
Evaluated Storage SK hynix P31 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSD
SK hynix 128L 3D TLC
Western Digital WD Red SA500 SATA SSD
SanDisk BiCS 3 64L 3D TLC
     
Price GBP 40 GBP 40
Review Link Akasa AK-ENU3M2-04 Review Akasa AK-ENU3M2-04 Review

The storage enclosures use chipsets from different vendors – the AK-ENU3M2-02 SATA enclosures uses the VIA Labs VL716, while the AK-ENU3M2-03 NVMe one uses the ASMedia ASM2362. The SATA / NVMe dual support in the AK-ENU3M2-04 is enabled by the Realtek RTL9210B-CG. Other differences include the bundling of thermal pads in the NVMe-only AK-ENU3M2-03, and the inclusion of both Type-C and Type-A cables with the SATA-only AK-ENU3M2-02. The NVMe-only AK-ENU3M2-03 includes only a Type-C to Type-C cable. The AK-ENU3M2-04, as mentioned previously, does not need a cable since Type-A and Type-C male ports are already integrated on the board.

The galleries below bring out the industrial design of the enclosures as well as the package contents.

The Akasa AK-ENU3M2-02 is a M.2 SATA SSD aluminum enclosure with a USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) Type-C interface. Since SATA SSDs do not go beyond 560 MBps, such enclosures have minimal thermal solution requirements. The enclosure supports both B-key and B+M-key SSDs with lengths from 30mm up to 80mm. Type-C to Type-C, and Type-C to Type-A cables are supplied. Disassembling the enclosure involves removing four screws at either end. A screwdriver is also included in the package. Spare side panels are supplied along with the package, as shown in the gallery above. The VIA Labs VL716 bridge chip can also be seen in the underside of the mainboard. The SSD is mounted using a pre-installed screw mechanism.

The Akasa AK-ENU3M2-03 is a M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD brushed aluminum enclosure with a USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) Type-C interface. Since SSDs in such enclosures can reach speeds of more than 1 GBps, thermal pads are required to complement the metal enclosure. SSDs installed in the AK-ENU3M2-03 operate in PCIe 3.0 x2 mode. The enclosure supports both B-key and B+M-key SSDs with lengths from 30mm up to 80mm. A single Type-C to Type-C cable is supplied. Disassembling the enclosure involves removing four screws at either end. A screwdriver is also bundled in the package. A single spare panel with the Type-C port cut out is provided along with the thermal pads, as shown in the gallery below.

The main board is a single-sided one, with the ASMedia ASM2362 bridge chip placed between the Type-C port and the M.2 slot. The SSD is mounted using a pre-installed screw mechanism. The enclosure could potentially be made smaller by moving the bridge chip to the underside of the board. One thermal pad is meant for mounting on the bridge chip, and another on the SSD. The SSD pad is sized for a M.2 2230 unit, which unfortunately doesn’t provide an optimal thermal solution for other sizes. Inserting the mainboard back into the enclosure is slightly messy, as the pad tends to break up into chunks easily upon sliding over the inner metal surface. On the positive side, this implies good contact allowing the enclosure to draw heat away from the thermal pad in an effective manner.

The Akasa AK-ENU3M2-04 is the unique solution in the lot being considered today. While there are plenty of M.2 SATA and NVMe to USB-C enclosures in the market, the AK-ENU3M2-04 sports a host of unique features:

  • Support for both M.2 SATA and M.2 NVMe SSDs, with the bridge chip being able to dynamically configure its downstream interface based on the installed SSD.
  • Inclusion of both USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C and Type-A male connectors, enabling a thumb-drive form-factor.
  • Completely tool-free installation.

The enclosure supports M.2 SSDs (B-key and B+M-key) ranging in lengths from 42mm to 80mm (M.2 2230 is not supported, unlike the other two enclosures above). The package includes the main unit and a carrying pouch. A spare side panel (that is slid out to access the mainboard) and a spare rubber retention peg are also included, as shown in the gallery below.

While the enclosure itself is fully aluminum, plastic caps are placed at either end to protect the USB connectors. Accessing the mainboard involves sliding out the side panel (directions embossed on the panel) and pulling out the board using the Type-A connector. The M.2 retention peg is preinstalled for a M.2 2280 SSD. Moving it to the 2260 or 2242 holes doesn’t involve dismounting the board, but we dismounted it anyway to get a view of the bridge chip on the other side. The Realtek RTL9210B-CG bridge chip runs the show in this enclosure. The product ticks multiple boxes, but one of the missing aspects is the thermal solution. Our evaluation process looks into the side-effects of this, as detailed further down in the review.

M.2 SATA SSD enclosures are evaluated with the Western Digital WD Red SA500 1TB SSD installed, while M.2 NVMe ones use the SK hynix Gold P31 1TB NVMe SSD.

Using the same SSD across different enclosures allows us to make apples-to-apples comparisons related to the thermal solution and other aspects. All the enclosures support S.M.A.R.T passthrough and TRIM functionality, as shown in the CrystalDiskInfo screenshots below.

S.M.A.R.T Passthrough – CrystalDiskInfo
Akasa AK-ENU3M2-04 (NVMe)Akasa AK-ENU3M2-04 (SATA)Akasa AK-ENU3M2-03Akasa AK-ENU3M2-02 Akasa AK-ENU3M2-04 (SATA)Akasa AK-ENU3M2-03Akasa AK-ENU3M2-02Akasa AK-ENU3M2-04 (NVMe)

Prior to looking at the benchmark numbers, power consumption, and thermal solution effectiveness of the different storage enclosures, a description of the testbed setup and evaluation methodology is provided.

Testbed Setup and Evaluation Methodology

Direct-attached storage devices (including storage enclosures) are evaluated using the Quartz Canyon NUC (essentially, the Xeon / ECC version of the Ghost Canyon NUC) configured with 2x 16GB DDR4-2667 ECC SODIMMs and a PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSD – the IM2P33E8 1TB from ADATA.

The most attractive aspect of the Quartz Canyon NUC is the presence of two PCIe slots (electrically, x16 and x4) for add-in cards. In the absence of a discrete GPU – for which there is no need in a DAS testbed – both slots are available. In fact, we also added a spare SanDisk Extreme PRO M.2 NVMe SSD to the CPU direct-attached M.2 22110 slot in the baseboard in order to avoid DMI bottlenecks when evaluating Thunderbolt 3 devices. This still allows for two add-in cards operating at x8 (x16 electrical) and x4 (x4 electrical). Since the Quartz Canyon NUC doesn’t have a native USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 port, Silverstone’s SST-ECU06 add-in card was installed in the x4 slot. All non-Thunderbolt devices are tested using the Type-C port enabled by the SST-ECU06.

The specifications of the testbed are summarized in the table below:

The 2021 AnandTech DAS Testbed Configuration
System Intel Quartz Canyon NUC9vXQNX
CPU Intel Xeon E-2286M
Memory ADATA Industrial AD4B3200716G22
32 GB (2x 16GB)
DDR4-3200 ECC @ 22-22-22-52
OS Drive ADATA Industrial IM2P33E8 NVMe 1TB
Secondary Drive SanDisk Extreme PRO M.2 NVMe 3D SSD 1TB
Add-on Card SilverStone Tek SST-ECU06 USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C Host
OS Windows 10 Enterprise x64 (21H1)
Thanks to ADATA, Intel, and SilverStone Tek for the build components

The testbed hardware is only one segment of the evaluation. Over the last few years, the typical direct-attached storage workloads for memory cards have also evolved. High bit-rate 4K videos at 60fps have become quite common, and 8K videos are starting to make an appearance. Game install sizes have also grown steadily even in portable game consoles, thanks to high resolution textures and artwork. Keeping these in mind, our evaluation scheme for portable SSDs and UFDs involves multiple workloads which are described in detail in the corresponding sections.

  • Synthetic workloads using CrystalDiskMark and ATTO
  • Real-world access traces using PCMark 10’s storage benchmark
  • Custom robocopy workloads reflective of typical DAS usage
  • Sequential write stress test

A comprehensive overview of the performance of the different Akasa enclosures is provided in the following sections. Prior to providing concluding remarks, we have some observations on the power efficiency aspect also.



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Scratching the surface of Microsoft’s new ultraportables



The tension has been broken

Microsoft has released its new generation of Surface ultraportables, with a variety of new models to browse. There’s an ARM-based model, a new version that will replace the Surface Book as well as the return of the much-criticized dual-screen version of the Surface. Microsoft has also updated its stylus, the Slim Pen 2 now has a button on the flat side of the stylus instead of the narrow side, but remains compatible with previous Surface models and depending on which Surface you use it with, has a haptic to reproduce the feeling of pen on paper. Ars Technica dives deep in the different models, or you can get a quick look at five of the new surfaces if you keep reading.

The Surface Pro 8 has indeed seen the screen size increase as rumors suggest, with a 13 ″ 2880 × 1920 screen with a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz; although it is apparently set to 60Hz by default. The size and shape is the same as the 2019 Surface X Pro, if you’ve already got your hands on one. The Ars Technica saw model has a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage, with a cost of $ 1,100 for the Surface Pro 8, without a keyboard or stylus.

The Surface Go 3 remains pretty much the same as the previous model, with the same peripheral jacks and a 10.5 ″ 1920 × 1280 display. It’s also kept to the bare minimum for hardware, the 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage just meet the minimum specs of Windows 11, luckily it has some new processors to choose from. You can opt for a dual-core Pentium Gold 6500Y or a quad-core Core i3-10100Y, both of which are big improvements over the previous model.

The Surface Laptop Studio is a whole new member, plus a traditional laptop with a screen that can be moved over the keyboard if desired. The screen isn’t removable, which may turn off some Surface fans, but like the Surface Book it replaces, the Laptop Studio will ship with a low-end NVIDIA GPU. Depending on the SKU you choose, you’ll have an 11th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processor and 256GB to 2TB of local storage.

The latest is Microsoft’s second attempt at the dual-screen Surface Duo that forgoes a keyboard altogether and instead offers two touchscreens. This model is powered by a Snapdragon 888, with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage; running Android like its predecessor. The two OLED displays measure 5.8 inches, with a resolution of 1892 × 1344 and a maximum refresh rate of 90 Hz. The redesigned spine has the ability to display tiny notifications, handy but nowhere near the size of other devices. foldable. There’s also a very Nokia camera bulge on one side, to house the 12MP main sensor, 12MP telephoto, and 16MP ultra-wide cameras.



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Surface Laptop Studio and Surface 8 Pro lead Microsoft’s new Surface 2021 line-up



In anticipation of the upcoming launch of Windows 11, Microsoft is introducing an almost complete top-to-bottom refresh to its Surface line of devices. Some devices go through a few minor changes, while others are completely new. As it tends to be, all of them feature quirks that are uniquely Surface.

2021 surface update
Making up Surface Laptop Studio Surface Pro 8 Surface Pro X
CPU Core i5-11300H
Core i7-11370H
Consumer:
Core i5-1135G7
Core i7-1185G7
Commercial
Core i3-1154G4
Core i5-1145G7
Core i7-1185G7
Microsoft SQ 1
Microsoft SQ 2
GPU Core i5 – Intel Iris Xe
Core i7 – NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti
Commercial: RTX A2000 option
Core i5 / i7: Intel Iris Xe
Core i3: Intel UHD
SQ1: Adreno 685
SQ2: Adreno 690
Display 14.4-inch PixelSense Flow display
2400 x 1600
201 PPI
Cooling up to 120 Hz
Dolby Vision
13-inch PixelSense Flow display
2880 x 1920
267 PPI
Cooling up to 120 Hz
13-inch PixelSense Flow display
2880 x 1920
267 PPI
RAM 16/32 GB LPDDR4x 8/16/32 GB LPDDR4x 8/16 GB LPDDR4x
Storage room 256 GB to 2 TB SSD Wi-Fi: 256/512 GB / 1 TB
LTE: 128/256 GB
128/256/512 GB SSD
Networking Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.1
Wifi 6
Bluetooth 5.1> br /> LTE optional
Wi-Fi 5
Bluetooth 5
LTE option
I / O 2 x love at first sight 4
1 x Surface Connect
Headphone socket
2 x love at first sight 4
1 x Surface Connect
Headphone socket
2 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
1 x Surface Connect
1 x nano SIM
Drums Up to 7 p.m.
65 W adapter (i5)
102 W adapter (i7)
Up to 16 hours
60 W adapter
Up to 15 hours
Camera 1080p front camera
Windows Hellow IR
5.0 MP 1080p front
Windows Hello IR
10.0 MP 4K rear
5.0 MP 1080p front
Windows Hello IR
10.0 MP 4K rear
Dimensions (inch) 12.7 x 9.0 x 0.7 11.3 x 8.2 x 0.37 11.3 x 8.2 x 0.25
Weight i5: 3.83 lbs / 1.74 kg
i7: 4.00 lb / 1.81 kg
1.96 lbs / 891 grams 1.7 lbs / 774 grams
Starting price (USD) $ 1,599.99 $ 1,099.99 $ 899.99

Surface Laptop Studio

The only new design in the line is the Surface Laptop Studio, which brings some exciting changes to Surface. The most obvious design element is the new dynamic woven hinge, which allows the screen to move forward easily. It’s not a new concept, but it does add a certain versatility to the design which is one of the things Surface is best known for. Compared to the Surface Book design, which featured a detachable screen, the new Surface Laptop Studio will be much easier to switch between modes.

The new 14.4-inch PixelSense display also gets a new branding thanks to the inclusion of a 120Hz refresh rate, which Microsoft is calling the Flow touch. The increased refresh rate is a welcome addition to the lineup and is also included on some of the other Surface devices announced today. The increased fluidity is always welcome for GUI tasks, but will also be a nice addition when using the inking experience with the new Surface Slim Pen 2, which can be stored under the keyboard on the keyboard. Surface Studio laptop. Interestingly, and perhaps to keep costs down, the 14.4-inch display offers a resolution of 2400×1600, in the now standard Surface 3: 2 aspect ratio. That translates to just 201 pixels per inch, well below the 267 PPI found on the Surface Pro and 260 PPI on the Surface Book. It is fully in line with the Surface Laptop.

Microsoft has been delivering one of the best PC trackpad experiences for several years now, and the Surface Laptop Studio adds a new Precision Haptic trackpad to the mix. There’s little doubt about the lineup they’re trying to compete with, and hopefully the experience will perform as well as the Mac’s haptic design.

The new Surface Laptop Studio offers plenty of performance as well. Microsoft has opted for the new Tiger Lake H35 series processors, with the Core i5-11300H and Core i7-11370H offerings. The Core i5 model uses the Intel Xe GPU, while the Core i7 models will be equipped with NVIDIA Ampere GPUs. Mainstream models will be equipped with the GeForce RTX 3050 Ti, while commercial customers will be able to choose the RTX A2000.

The memory options are 16 or 32GB LPDDR4x, and for storage Microsoft offers SSD options from 256GB to 2TB, and like most Surface devices now, the SSD is user-replaceable instead of the soldered BGA drive.

Although a little late for the party, the Surface Laptop Studio also has two Thunderbolt 4 ports, as well as the traditional Surface Connect magnetic expansion / charging port. Microsoft has been very slow to embrace the evolution of expansion port choices, so it’s nice to see the new model offer the latest stuff right off the bat.

The Surface Laptop Studio seems like a great addition to the Surface line. Prices start at $ 1,600 and increase from there, it’s available for pre-order today. This likely means that the Surface Book will be dropped from the lineup as this new design offers a very similar alternative, but without the somewhat complicated and error-prone detachable screen.

Surface Pro 8

Microsoft’s most iconic design is certainly the Surface Pro, and that design really made sense with the launch of the Surface Pro 3. For 2021, Microsoft calls the Surface Pro 8 “the biggest leap forward since Pro. 3 “and improved the design to bring it into a more modern era, without removing the aspects that make it such an iconic look.

The first big change is the screen, which now measures 13 inches in diameter, down from 12.3 inches on previous models, and mimics the Surface Pro X. The Surface team has done most of this by reducing the bezels even further. ‘screen. , because the overall dimensions are very similar to the outgoing model. The new display features a resolution of 267 PPI 2880×1920 and offers up to 120Hz refresh, much like the Surface Laptop Studio. The 11% larger screen is also 12.5% ​​brighter than the Surface Pro 7, and still has the individually calibrated screen that all Surface devices offer. Microsoft always shies away from color gamuts wider than sRGB, which is probably still the right decision until the software side comes along if it ever does.

Based on the Intel Evo platform, Surface Pro 8 ships with 11th generation Intel processors with the Core i5-1135G7 and Core i7-1185G7 in mainstream models. Commercial customers can choose a Core i3-1115G4, Core i5-1145G7, or Core i7-1185G7, and the latter two also have LTE as an option. The Surface Pro 8 boots with 8GB of LPDDR4x, which is really the bare minimum with Microsoft Teams, and 16 and 32GB options. Storage options range from 128GB to 1TB, depending on configuration.

Like the Surface Laptop Studio, the Surface Pro 8 finally adds Thunderbolt 4 ports, with not one but two of the Type-C connectors, in addition to the traditional Surface Connect magnetic offering.

Love it or hate it, video conferencing is a big part of the modern workforce, and the Surface Pro 8 has a 5.0 MP front camera for Full HD video, as well as a biometric Windows Hello login. On the back is a 10.0 MP camera that supports video up to 4K. There are two far-field microphones, as well as 2-watt stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos support.

Finally, Microsoft updated the detachable keyboard to include storage space for the Surface Slim Pen. There are, of course, new types of covers for this model since the exterior dimensions have changed slightly.

Surface Pro has always been a great device from Microsoft, although the company has been cautious in updating it. The Surface Pro 8 seems like a really nice overhaul of the classic design, improving it in all areas where it needed some tweaking, without losing the essence of Surface Pro.

Surface Pro X

The Arm-powered Surface Pro X isn’t getting much of a refresh this year, though there’s now a new Wi-Fi-only version starting at $ 900. It is still powered by the same Microsoft SQ1 or SQ2 processors. Surface Pro X will begin shipping with Windows 11, which offers both x86 and x64 app emulation.



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Survive in Arulco; Jagged Alliance 3 threats are coming



How much worse could it be?

Brad Logston, senior producer at THQ Nordic, proves he’s a master of understatement by describing fan reactions to several recent attempts to resurrect Jagged Alliance as “mixed”. Jagged Alliance Online was a shining example of how not to create an MMO, Jagged Alliance: Back in Action was summed up nicely as the definitive textbook example on how to mess the numbers up trying to “revive” a classic franchise ” .

Jagged Alliance: Flashback was horribly bad and should have died before launch like Strategy First and Game Factory Strategy First and Jagged Alliance 3 and JA3D from Game Factory Interactive. The less said about Jagged Alliance: Rage, the better.

Trying to replicate the complexity and flexibility of Jagged Alliance 2 is a daunting task, and the difficulty that made it rewarding is nearly impossible to sell in today’s gaming market, but once again it is. attempted. On the flip side, Haemimont Games has done an impressive job with the Tropico series as well as their brilliant Surviving Mars, both of which have dedicated followers even though they have never been big hits with the mainstream.

Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN released reveal trailer, which are mostly cutscenes with a little bit of gameplay. The game appears to be missing one of JA2’s key components, the ability to spend extra Action Points to increase your chance to hit percentage. Fortunately, it looks like the reticle is more complex than recent games like Phoenix Point. There’s not much going on at this point, but recent history hasn’t been kind to those who have tried to bring this franchise back.



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One Vlog to rule them all



Before the Huawei / Honor split, I had my hands on almost every model or flagship that Honor made. Co-design with Huawei, as well as a good, high mid-market for these flagship products, made them competitive products. However, Honor was sold to operate essentially on a stand-alone basis, meaning it was no longer under the U.S. Entity List bans and could take advantage of Google services again. The Honor 50 is one such device, offering a full Google experience and choosing to pair a Snapdragon 700 series SoC with a 108 MP camera and 6.57-inch OLED display. We had a few hands-on tests with the Honor 50 ahead of launch next month in October.

As part of our briefing, we also learned that Honor is expanding its employee base, now with more than 10,000 employees worldwide, half of whom are in R&D, product development and focused on building devices. . We spoke with the UK team, which is similarly expanding as part of Honor’s initiative to increase its global presence by building partnerships. Honor recently signed an agreement with Microsoft to offer some of the first laptops (the Honor Magicbook) to ship with Windows 11 as standard.

Honor 50: the Vlogger’s phone

The device as presented to us is intended to be a mid-range device suitable for users who rely on photos and videos saved on the device for their content creation. Normally the answer to that would be “good, isn’t that all phones?” But Honor approaches this use case in several ways.

First of all, the camera solution. The front camera is a similar specification to a number of flagship rear cameras of 2019, with additional AI algorithms in place to take advantage of the photo or video in the traditional vlogging style. The front camera also works in cooperation with the rear cameras in a multi-video recording format. Through the software, a user can select side-by-side or picture-in-picture between two front and rear cameras, with independent zoom per camera or 3-way multi-camera recording. The idea here is that the type of user who might want this phone may want to record an event but also their reaction at the same time, and relying on a number of multi-video phones in the past, Honor wishes that the Honor 50 go above and beyond everything else in the market.

The second is the actual camera hardware – the punch hole front camera is a 32 MP design with additional AI algorithms to enable ‘wide angle’ front shooting through digital adjustment. On the back, the highlight is a 108 MP camera with a 1 / 1.52 inch sensor at F1.9, but using 9-in-1 pixel fusion this allows for a sensor with a pixel size effective 2.1 microns. The rear also features an 8 MP wide-angle camera, a 55mm equivalent Bokeh camera, and a 2 MP macro camera. Building on multiple generations of AI integration with the native camera app, multiple cameras can be used at a time for a combined photo.

Third, there are more technical specs – built on the Snapdragon 778G, Honor says it uses as many video accelerators and AI as it can inside the Qualcomm processor to speed up many camera options. . Honor also uses the battery with a 66W (11V @ 6A) Supercharge mode, which it claims can charge the dual cell battery to 70% in 20 minutes.

Another interesting feature of the smartphone is the display – the 6.57-inch OLED at a resolution of 2340×1080. Honor says it supports 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, 1.07 billion colors (we’re awaiting confirmation if it’s 10-bit or 8-bit + FRC) and a refresh rate of 120 Hz. At the time of our briefing, our contacts were unsure if this was a variable refresh rate display offering a range of refresh rates, or if it was just a binary mode. 60Hz to 120Hz. We’ve been told that it supports refresh rates below 60Hz for screen inactivity, to conserve battery life.

Honor didn’t indicate the maximum brightness, but said it had a 5,000,000: 1 contrast ratio, because of those OLED blacks. The screen has a 75-degree curve on both edges, which is enough to remove a distinct edge of the eyes when you hold it, but still makes it relatively easy to grip. Our test units of the day had clear cases in the box, although we were unable to confirm whether retailers will include them (apparently some retailers don’t like them?).

The software is based on Android 11, although our PR reps weren’t too sure about support for future versions and would get back to us. Other features include dual SIM, although no micro-SD support. There’s also no 3.5mm audio jack, but Bluetooth and a 3.5mm Type-C are supported.

The phone will be marketed as the Honor 50 or Honor 50 5G, but there is no difference between the two – 5G will be supported, at least for Sub 6 GHz. We are awaiting more details on the groups.

We were also told about a second device, the Honor 50 lite, which will be a lightweight version and 4G only. This is similar to previous Honor launches. The Honor 50 lite will also use a 64 MP rear camera instead, and more details will be given on October 27.


Emerald green, midnight black and frost crystal (with a yellow backlight, sorry …)

Because we were briefed by the UK team, we were told that the Honor 50 will have three colors coming to the UK namely Midnight Black, Emerald Green and a special Frost Crystal. The official launch of the phone will take place on the 27the October, when the exact memory / storage specifications and pricing will be released. We were also told that the software we tested in this practice was not final and that the camera software is expecting at least two updates between now and launch.

In the short time we had with the devices, the display was clearly very dynamic when pushed to the max. The camera app was very typical compared to previous Honor devices used, including a Pro mode and several camera features like multi-video, document, and Slo-mo. Video mode also allows users to adjust between slow modes and fast modes while recording. The device was ultimately easy to hold and I didn’t feel like it was a ghost touch with my hand, which was a problem on some curved devices.


A rapid explosion with side-by-side multi-video

In appearance alone, the Frost Crystal is in my opinion the best, and because of its special color, it will be interesting to see if it is the same price as the others. In the right light, it has a prismatic effect and shows a rainbow of colors.

Honor 50 technically launched in China

Note that the Honor 50 launched in China earlier this year from 2699RMB ($ 357 before taxes), and a fourth amber red color was offered. The Honor 50 in China launched alongside an Honor 50 Pro (larger, dual front cameras, 100W supercharging, all other things being equal) and an SE (larger, Mediatek SoC). It looks like neither the Pro nor the SE is coming to the west – the lite as part of this launch appears to be a brand new model.

The future of honor

I would be remiss if I did not mention the recent whispers about the United States considering adding Honor to the Entity List. Honor is currently majority-owned by a state-owned enterprise controlled by the Shenzhen municipal government. Huawei does not own any stake in Honor and does not participate in management and decision-making processes. In the past, Honor has leveraged Huawei’s scale of manufacturing, as well as software expertise – it was stated that when the split was made it would be difficult to separate the two at this level, and GizChina cites the CEO of Honor as having a target of 100 million smartphone sales by 2021. With Honor relying on partners such as Qualcomm and Mediatek for its processors, returning to the list of entities could make that target of 100 million. smartphones a little harder to reach. At least for now, with Honor 50 having Google services, the main restriction in the west in using these phones has been lifted. How that changes for future devices will depend on how the United States views Honor in light of its other connections.



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Do you know your TN, IPS and VA well?



It has been a while since we discussed display types

If you ask what is the best type of display, you might get a different answer than everyone you talk to. The truth is, everyone has their own strengths and there are times when TN, VA, or IPS is the right fit, but none are perfect in every situation. There are also the continuous innovations that have overcome some of the weaknesses of the different types of display.

TN panels were once the kings of refresh rates and gray-to-gray response times, but now it’s an IPS panel that offers the fastest refresh rate on the market at 360Hz. IPS displays offer the best viewing angles, but now that many VA panels are curved, the wire isn’t quite the same as it used to be. On the other hand, it is rare to find native 10-bit displays that are not IPS, there are a handful of professional 10-bit VA panels but for the most part they and TN panels are 8-bit + frequency controlled. of images.

TechSpot compared well over a dozen different screens to see how they performed in other tests, such as contrast, brightness, and color gamut in this recent review. Even if you are familiar with the different types of panels, it is worth taking a look at the current state of the market.



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TBT4-HUB3C Plug-in Thunderbolt 4 Hub Capsule Review



Plugable today presents its Thunderbolt 4 product line, with the TBT4-HUB3C Thunderbolt 4 hub leading the pack. There are two Thunderbolt 4 cables – the 2m. long TBT4-40G2M, and the 1m. long TBT4-40G1M.

Intel had provided detailed updates on Thunderbolt 4 in mid-2020 before releasing it in Tiger Lake-based products. Since the maximum bandwidth (40 Gbps) has not been upgraded from Thunderbolt 3, many consumers have simply viewed it as a brand update. In fact, under the hood, the specs were being fine-tuned to incorporate some functionality from the USB world. These are the new features that Plugable is focusing on:

  • Hub functionality in addition to the daisy-chaining scheme prevalent in previous versions of Thunderbolt
  • Active cables up to 2m long and supporting speeds up to 40Gbps – maximum possible depending on host / device interfaces (Thunderbolt 3 active cables with non-Thunderbolt 3 Type-C devices are often limited to USB 2.0 speeds)

TBT4-40G2M (active) and TBT4-40G1M (passive) cables are Intel certified Thunderbolt 4 cables, priced at $ 59 ($ 49 after coupon is applied) and $ 34 ($ 29 after coupon is applied) respectively. The price premium is due to increased certification costs (the factory has to have random build batches repeatedly tested for Thunderbolt 4 cables, compared to just the initial build run previously).

These cables complement Plugable’s flagship Thunderbolt 4 product – the Goshen Ridge-based TBT4-HUB3C. The Controller JHL8440 Goshen Ridge used in the hub is a four port solution – one upstream and three downstream.

The TBT4-HUB3C comes with a 0.8m passive Thunderbolt 4 cable, 110W power brick, and USB-C to HDMI adapter supporting resolutions up to 4Kp60 with HDR. The main hub itself is quite small compared to the power brick, measuring just 118mm x 18mm x 73mm. Despite its small size, the unit has a solid look and feel with its brushed finish. The hub tips the scales at 201g, light enough to be considered a pocket.

Plugable also includes a USBC-HDMI adapter (USB-C Male to HDMI 2.0 Female Converter Supporting DisplayPort Alternate Mode on USB-C side) with package. The intention is to route incoming display signals from the host to one of the downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports and then to an HDMI monitor. This also brings out the advantages of the hub scheme – With the daisy chain no longer present for most deployments (each hub beam can still be a daisy chain in Thunderbolt 4), users don’t have to s ‘worry about placing different Thunderbolt Devices / Displays in the chain. In addition, it allows devices to be disconnected independently of each other – which is not possible in the daisy chain topology without breaking the links to the devices intended to remain active.

Performance Test

The number of use cases for Thunderbolt 4 hubs such as the TBT4-HUB3C Plugable is too large to count. Our performance evaluation is limited to the configurations specified below. The upstream port of the TBT4-HUB3C is connected to the Thunderbolt 4 port of the ASRock Industrial NUC BOX-1165G7 – a risky choice, given that the port is only certified for USB 3.2 Gen 2 / DisplayPort Alternate Mode. The downstream ports have been connected according to the list below.

  • Port # 1 – DIY Thunderbolt 3 SSD using the TEKQ Rapide and the WD_BLACK SN750.
  • Port # 2 – PowerColor play station EGFX solution with the PowerColor Radeon RX Vega 56 Nano.
  • Port # – USBC-HDMI connector on an LG34WK95U configured to display a desktop 3840×2160 at 60Hz (8-bit RGB)

Thunderbolt Control Center can be used to approve connected devices. All primary connections to the Thunderbolt port (other than displays and associated routing equipment) are visible there.

Various combinations of workloads were considered to determine the actual effects of sharing bandwidth between devices connected to the hub. The DIY Thunderbolt 3 SSD was subjected to fio workload, while the Gaming Station’s eGPU was subjected to OpenCL bandwidth test (data transfer from the host to the device’s VRAM, and vice versa. ).

Plug-in Thunderbolt 4 Hub (TBT4-HUB3C)
Bandwidth Sharing Analysis (Gbps)
Port # 1
(DIY TEKQ Fast Thunderbolt 3 SSD)
Port # 2
(PowerColor Gaming Station eGFX box)
Port # 3
(Connection to LG34WK95U via USBC-HDMI from Plugable)
Readings Writing Device to host Host-to-device
20.57
22.11
19.5
21.4
11.44 10.98
16.2 16.74
13.7 17.64
13.78 14.4
22.12 14.4
14.1 14.4
23.0 14.4
8.99 9.21 14.4
11.0 19.14 14.4
13.5 12.46 14.4

It should be noted that Thunderbolt data rates are bidirectional – logically we have one 40 Gbps link from host to device, and another 40 Gbps link from device to host. In our experiments, we attempted to enable traffic in pairs – one set with display routing disabled and another set with the USBC-HDMI portion active.

It can be observed that enabling display output link reduces the performance of host-to-device traffic from 20.57 Gbps to 13.78 Gbps, while the total bandwidth used on the host-to-device side is increased. from 20.57 Gbit / s to 28.5 Gbit / s. On the return side, the maximum observed bandwidth was found to be 22.11 Gbps.

The investigation of the hub’s downstream port 5K display outputs and its bandwidth implications will be covered in future reviews.

Final remarks

The Plugable TBT4-HUB3C brings out the capabilities / advantages of Thunderbolt 4 over previous versions of Thunderbolt in an efficient and user-friendly way. The hub functionality brings Thunderbolt and the traditional consumer understanding of USB functionality to the same table, and it can only be good for the market as USB4 begins to gain traction.

The TBT4-HUB3C is capable of supporting 40 Gbps in total on the three downstream ports without favoring one port over the other. While we’ve evaluated a number of interesting use cases involving displays, Thunderbolt SSDs, and eGPUs, the possibilities offered by the hub are much more varied. With backward compatibility – we even tested the functionality of the device as a USB 2.0 hub when connected to a USB 2.0 port – in the picture it can be safely said that the functionality of the hub is not limited only by the characteristics of the upstream host port.

TO $ 174 (after applying a $ 15 coupon off the $ 189 MSRP), the hub presents a great value proposition in this space. Plugable is a bit behind the Thunderbolt 4 market, as other Goshen Ridge solutions have been available in the market for some time now (although supply chain issues have meant that actual availability has been limited). All Thunderbolt 4 hubs / docks make full use of the four-port JHL8440, allowing one upstream Thunderbolt 4 port and three downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports. For $ 230, CalDigit Thunderbolt 4 Element Hub beacons on additional USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports. Razer has two docking stations – a 10-port version with an SD card slot, audio jack, Ethernet port, and three USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports for $ 320, and an RGB version of the same for $ 330. The Kensington SD5700T priced at $ 330 is similar to the Razer Dock, but with an additional USB-A charging port only.

The closest competitor to the Plugable TBT4-HUB3C is actually the OWC Thunderbolt hub which has a similar form factor and port layout. It also has a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port for its $ 179 price point. Despite the $ 5 reduction in the OWC unit, Plugable managed to include an added value of $ 20 in the USBC-to-HDMI adapter. Overall, Plugable has an effective entry-level Thunderbolt 4 product aimed at expanding market adoption and understanding of the latest Thunderbolt 4 and USB4 ecosystem. We look forward to the company expanding its offerings and creating a TBT4 lineup similar to the one it currently offers for Thunderbolt 3.



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Brake tooth! You know that BrakTooth



A large amount of devices could be vulnerable to this Bluetooth vulnerability

Researchers at the Singapore University of Technology and Design have bad news for Bluetooth fans, as they discovered a serious vulnerability in a large number of Bluetooth components that they labeled Braktooth; Brak being Norwegian for crash. At this time, they haven’t released the steps to replicate this vulnerability to give businesses time to work on a fix, but will do so next month at some point.

The attack uses a state that Bluetooth devices enter after repeated attempts to block them, and can lead to the execution of an arbitrary code. The example that Hackaday included in their article was the Espressif ESP32 Bluetooth chip which is vulnerable and when affected can be convinced to flip the GPIO pins, which can make the device it is attached to quite useless. As this particular Bluetooth component is often found in IoT security systems, Braktooth could remove all protections provided by the device for a physical location.

The exact method of execution may not have been revealed, but there are links in the article for you to test if your devices are vulnerable. As this could affect over 1,400 Bluetooth products, manufacturers and users alike have a bit of work to do.



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