Technology

Moons Like Europa May Offer No Refuge to Humanity as Sun Brightens

Astronomers like to think on the big scale, whether it’s measuring the brightness of galaxies millions of light years away, or modeling how our own sun and solar system formed billions of years ago. Right now, the sun is roughly middle-aged. As it ages, its luminosity increases, which results in more solar radiation reaching Earth. While this effect is not visible at human timescales, it has tremendous implications for our planet in the long term. Current estimates suggest that most plant life will die roughly 600 million years from now, ...

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Microsoft’s ‘Surface Plus’ Offers PC Upgrades Every 18 Months

Buying a phone and buying a computer are usually two very different processes, but Microsoft is looking to borrow some ideas from the way mobile carriers operate. Today, Microsoft is announcing the new “Surface Plus” program, which lets you buy a new Microsoft Surface PC on a payment plan with the option to upgrade after 18 months. This could make the high price of Microsoft’s Surface products a bit more palatable, but it also includes a few bonuses on top of the basic financial argument. Surface Plus includes all three ...

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AMD Reveals Why Threadripper CPUs Have 4 Dies Under the Hood

Last week, we covered the successful delidding of AMD’s Threadripper CPU. It’s not for the faint of heart, given that it requires multiple hot air soldering stations and a variety of razor blades, and the expert overclocker who managed to remove the heat spreader still killed the chip. Even so, der8auer’s findings left us a touch confused. What the delid showed was that AMD had put four dies on the package, but only two of them were apparently active, as opposed to using four cores across each die for a ...

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SpaceX Targets November for First Falcon Heavy Launch

SpaceX has gotten quite adept at launching its Falcon 9 rocket. In fact, it’s becoming commonplace for it to do something no one else can do — land the first stage of that rocket for reuse. SpaceX is not content to just putter around in low-Earth orbit, though. The next big step for SpaceX is to begin flying the Falcon Heavy, a much more powerful version of the Falcon 9 that’s still intended to be reusable. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has announced that the first Falcon Heavy launch is currently ...

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Nvidia Wants to Use AI to Enhance Games, Improve Ray Tracing

At SIGGRAPH this week, both AMD and Nvidia are announcing various hardware and software technologies. SIGGRAPH is an annual show that focuses on computer graphics and advances in rendering techniques. At the show this year, Nvidia showcased the ways AI could be used to improve gaming or to create extremely realistic images, without the enormous computational horsepower that would be required to brute force certain visual standards. This last bit is of more than incidental concern. The problem is simple: If you compare a top-shelf character animation from 2017 versus the ...

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MSI Shows How to Install AMD’s Threadripper CPU

AMD’s Threadripper CPU is a significant departure from any mount system the company has used before. And if you’re planning to buy one of these chips, we’d strongly recommend familiarizing yourself with the process before you begin. Here’s why: For over a decade, AMD has used basically the same mounting system for its CPUs. The heatsink locks down over the chip with a pair of prongs with 1-3 hooks on each side of the core. The dimensions of the socket changed so little over that time, you could use coolers ...

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Former Google Exec Wrongly Claims Android Photography Is Years Behind

For a long time, the iPhone was the indisputable king of mobile photography. Even those of us who used Android phones were doing it for other reasons, but you don’t have to make that sort of trade-off anymore. There are plenty of Android phones with a good camera, and even some with amazing cameras. Don’t tell that to former Google SVP Vic Gundotra, who opined on his Facebook page recently that Android phones are bad for photography. Considering who he is, this claim is getting some coverage. You might think ...

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AMD Announces New Threadripper Core, Reveals Launch Date

AMD has been trickling information about Threadripper piece-by-piece over the last few months, ensuring that the topic stays fresh and keeps people interested. This weekend, the company finally released some significant details about Threadripper and its plans for the platform long-term. We’ve created a slideshow with some of the most important data on performance and overall product positioning against Intel. Click to enlarge each slide in a new window. Overall, AMD is gunning pretty hard for Intel with Threadripper, setting up one of the most interesting comparisons between the two ...

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Apple Now Lists Some Movies as 4K, HDR Compatible on iTunes

Bit by bit, we’ve seen companies moving towards 4K and HDR technologies. Progress has been slow and fitful on the PC side of things, owing to extreme DRM requirements and a protected ‘path’ across the entire OS ecosystem. Apple, to date, hasn’t shared much information on how it might approach this space, but iTunes and Apple TV apparently now show that certain movies are 4K and HDR-capable when you view your own history. As reported first by MacRumors, Apple is retroactively stating that certain films are available with modern features ...

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AMD’s Vega Takes on Nvidia: Pricing, Features Revealed

After months of waiting and speculation, AMD has finally taken the lid off its RX Vega series, its clock speeds, capabilities, and pricing. All of these characteristics have been hotly debated of late, with readers asking for (and making predictions about) how it would compare with Nvidia’s year-old Pascal GPUs like the 1070 and 1080. We now have some preliminary answers to some of those questions, but by no means the entire picture. So here’s how this is going to work: If you want a “regular” GPU, you’ll be able ...

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