Computers

Intel Iris Xe DG1 is the company’s take on the desktop graphics market

With 80 executions units and 4GB of VRAM

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Intel is finally shipping its much-hyped discrete graphic processing units (dGPU) — the Iris Xe DG1 — after almost a year that the company announced it. The recently launched dGPU will target both the consumer and enterprise sector looking for a performance boost on their desktop setup.

The Xe DG1 is part of the Intel Iris Xe graphics family that the company announced last year. Specifically, it is an entry-level dGPU that relies on the Iris Xe architecture which powers the integrated graphics of newer Intel processors.

The company aims this dGPU to those looking to boost their desktop graphics performance by a bit. It has fewer execution units (EUs) than Iris Xe Graphics G7 and Iris Xe Max found in newer laptops, indicating its entry-level performance. To be specific, the new desktop dGPU has 80 EUs in contrast to the Iris Xe Graphics G7’s 96 EUs.

As such, dedicated gamers have to wait a little more for the Iris Xe HPG which Intel touts as its first mid-range and enthusiast dGPU. Still, the Iris Xe DG1 has a lot of features to bring to the table. It can support up to three DisplayPort connections and decode AV1 videos. Support for Adaptive-Sync and HDR is here too for a better experience on monitors with a high refresh rate and resolution.

The only technical spec that Intel confirmed so far is 4GB VRAM for the new dGPU. Clock speeds and other feature sets are unclear at the moment.

Price and availability

There’s only one caveat though: consumers will not be able to buy it off the shelves. Intel partnered with ASUS and other manufacturers to distribute it to OEMs. As such, the only way to get the dGPU is by buying PC systems with Iris Xe DG1 inside. Intel also didn’t say how much or when consumers can expect these PC systems to hit the market.

If all goes well, Intel’s Iris Xe graphics presents an opportunity for the company to break the duopoly of AMD and NVIDIA. The times are indeed changing, with Intel focusing now on improving the graphics performance of its processors. However, only time will tell if Intel’s bet will pay off considering that its previous attempt isn’t exactly successful.

Source: Notebookcheck.net

Computers

The global chip shortage could last till 2023

Put your plans for a PC build on hold!

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The Coronavirus pandemic prompted everybody to leave the “normal” behind and adopt a completely new lifestyle. With everyone moving to the work-from-home model, the demand for new computers, phones, and other gadgets skyrocketed, bringing another crisis to our doorstep — global chip shortage.

The world’s largest chipmaker TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company), announced its quarterly results this week, posting a profit of almost US$ 5 billion. This marks a 19 percent rise in profit when compared to the previous quarter. The announcement is good news for the investors, but it also highlights how long the shortage will continue.

TSMC CEO C.C. Wei said that the company hopes to offer more capacity and meet the demand by 2023. That’s two years away. And that’s after gearing up to spend a whopping US$ 100 billion in the next three years to ramp up production.

American chipmaker Intel has been plagued with production issues for the last few years and recently disclosed that it would spend US$ 20 billion to set up two new facilities in Arizona, US. However, these production sites take time to come up and can’t be just switched on in a few months.

Things aren’t looking good

Even Nvidia isn’t very optimistic about a recovery from the chip shortage anytime soon. “Overall demand remains very strong and continues to exceed supply while our channel inventories remain quite lean,” the company said in its press release. “We expect demand to continue to exceed supply for much of this year.”

Nvidia also has a brand new challenge — the demand for GPUs has skyrocketed ever since Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies started their bullish run in 2020. Cryptocurrency evangelists are constantly on the lookout for new gear, further amplifying the chip shortage.

The current state of component availability looks grim, affecting everything from the availability of new graphics cards to processors to next-gen PlayStations and Xboxes. The ripple effects of the shortage are being felt by every technology company, including giants like Apple.

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Accessories

Why owning a mechanical keyboard is worth it

Even for non-gamers

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The first time I came across a mechanical keyboard, I thought I didn’t need it. A gamer friend made me try it once, and although I was impressed with how smooth my typing was, I thought: spending more than a thousand bucks for a typing device is too expensive.

Back then, I was actually eyeing a flat, minimalist wireless keyboard to add to my ~aesthetic~ work-from-home set-up.

It was not until my Discord friends–who even sent me video links of ASMR typing sounds and did live typing demos during our video calls–that I actually gave in and considered buying one.

After days of researching to find the perfect fit for me, I finally decided to get the Royal Kludge 71 with blue switches. The brand is popular among enthusiasts because it’s beginner-friendly, and has good specifications for a budget–friendly price.

I even bought a Gateron sampler (a keyboard sampler where you can try different switches) online to help me decide between blue and brown.

It can increase your productivity

As a writer who literally types words for a living, there’s added pleasure in typing when I started using a mechanical keyboard. There’s this illusion that you are using a modern typewriter, and I admit it somehow increased my productivity.

Of course, the typing feel can be subjective for everyone, but the click-y sound suited my preference well that it gave me added motivation whenever I type.

Another thing I love about these keyboards is the programmable RGB lighting feature. When I bought my personal laptop, the only thing that was missing for me was the backlit keyboard, since I have tendencies to write in the dark.

Owning a mechanical keyboard with an RGB feature has become very helpful, since it keeps me up when I do my work at night. Not to mention, the different RGB modes are actually entertaining–I tend to watch the lights dance whenever I’m bored.

It’s kind of therapeutic

Apart from the satisfying beauty of RGB lighting and click-y sound, another thing I love about mechanical keyboards is the therapeutic feeling whenever I clean the keycaps.

Since I bought the white version, my keyboard is a magnet for dirt and can be easily stained so it needs consistent cleaning. Removing the keycaps one by one is oddly satisfying that it has become one of my therapeutic hobbies every weekend.

Definitely worth the investment

As of this writing, I have only tried three keyboard brands and I can say that the Royal Kludge has a higher actuation force compared to the others, so it can be tiring after long periods of time.

The RK71 white variant looks very clean and minimalist, especially in photos. I haven’t bought any keycaps to customize my keyboard (I am very tempted, though), but maybe that’s for another time. I am willing to save up for another keyboard with new switches, since the blue ones can be annoying especially if you don’t work alone.

Is mechanical keyboard a match for you?

If you’re like me who spends lots of time typing in front of the computer, then it’s a resounding yes.

There are lots of mechanical keyboard variants–there are ones with and without number pads, and there’s the click-y and silent switches. There are also cheaper ones compared to the one I got, so make sure to read and watch reviews. For those with higher budget, aim for the big guns like Anne Pro and Keychron–these are highly recommended by most enthusiasts.

Looking for “the one” can be overwhelming at first, but trust me, it’s fun and interesting. It can be addictive, too. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

 

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Computers

Dell launches SafeShutter webcam for convenience, privacy

No more sticky notes for webcam privacy

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With video conferencing becoming a staple in everyday work lives, Dell has announced SafeShutter — an automatic webcam shutter that knows when to open or close by syncing with users’ video conferencing applications, enabling them to work securely and confidently from anywhere.

Many remote workers today have resorted to permanently affixing a sticky note to computer cameras to ensure webcam privacy while working. It doesn’t need to be this way.

SafeShutter was created with remote working scenarios in mind — to strike the right balance between the convenience of seamlessly joining video calls and the privacy and the safety of knowing the camera is secure.

Human error is inevitable when it comes to video conferencing, be it speaking while still on mute or thinking the camera is turned off when it isn’t. SafeShutter creates an audible “click” that lets users know the camera has closed. The webcam also comes with a privacy LED light that turns on when the camera is in use. Paired with the keyboard indicator lights that denote if the camera and audio are on or off, users can rest assured they are in full control of their audio and video settings. No sticky note needed!

SafeShutter also factors in the need for added security aimed at limiting malicious surveillance and hacking. The security-hardened, hardware-controlled circuit allows users to control their privacy with camera disable (F9) and mic mute (F4) keys to override software settings. This provides extra assurance at the hardware level and ensures users can regain control with just a simple touch of a key, should the unexpected occur.

SafeShutter is available on the industry’s most secure commercial PCs and the new Latitude 9420 and 9520 devices. Combined with AI-based features that provide intelligent background noise-cancelling, auto-mute and smart connectivity features (like ExpressConnect, that prioritises bandwidth to your conferencing apps to prevent dropped calls), the Latitude 9420 and 9520 devices offer one of the best video conferencing experiences on a PC.

Pricing and availability

  • Dell Latitude 9420 — April 2021 — Pricing TBD
  • Dell Latitude 9520 — Available now — SG$ 2,629

All products are available for purchase online at dell.com.sg and the Dell exclusive stores in Funan Mall, NEX and Plaza Singapura.


This is a press release from Dell Singapore.

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