Computers

Intel announces 11th-Gen chips with new company branding

Directly competes with AMD Ryzen series

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Intel 11th Gen

Intel has finally announced their newest 11th-gen chipsets that directly rival AMD’s powerful yet inexpensive Ryzen series. Though these aren’t the new 7nm processors that are rumored to come as late as 2022, these are still new chips based on their 10nm SuperFin process technology.

Other than the annual chipset announcement, Intel also announces a major rebrand after almost a decade — all before Apple ditches Intel with their first in-house ARM-based Apple Silicon chipset that will run on the new MacBook by the end of 2020.

New branding

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For half a century, Intel has undergone three major logo overhauls. The oldest logo was used for 38 years while the post-millennium logo was utilized for just 14 years. In this new decade, they decided to re-do their logo. Just like any other manufacturer, the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t stopping them from doing a major rebrand.

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Alongside the company logo, they also did several iterations of the “Intel Inside” campaign that was launched in 1991. The new logo leans more into a flat, minimalist style — a trend you can see among company logos nowadays.

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While the new branding may not be totally flat because of the gradient styling, it’s still a major rebrand that changes the overall look of their chipset lineup in contrast to the older generation that heavily relied on images of system internals and silver gradient combinations that imitate the metallic texture of processors.

New chipset lineup

As expected, Intel has revealed their latest Intel chipset lineup. It uses Willow Cove cores with a maximum speed of up to 4.8GHz (faster than last year’s 3.8GHz) but still at 4-cores and 8-threads. Future motherboards can support up to two 64GB of DDR4 RAM on PC rigs, while four 32GB LPDDR4x RAM on portable machines.

The new Tiger Lake architecture equips the 11th-gen chipsets with the next-gen Wi-Fi 6 standard for faster internet/wireless transfer speeds. The PCI Express 4.0 support will also be able to handle the latest SSDs and discrete graphics cards with low latency and higher bandwidth.

For video editors and content creators, the new chipset has a Thunderbolt 4 support that can plug one 8K/60Hz display or up to four 4K/60Hz displays altogether. It will also be able to read 4K/90p videos and up to 42-megapixels of still image. The new Thunderbolt standard can also reach 32GB/s of transfers and faster charging in higher voltages through Power Delivery.

There’s also an integrated AI-based engine that reads tasks faster such as image and text processing or video playback.

New (real) integrated graphics

As said earlier, Intel is directly hitting AMD with their new line of chips. A diagram shows that everything’s faster with the latest 11th-gen Core i7 chipset — that’s in comparison with AMD’s latest Ryzen 7 4th Gen. A significant boost can be seen when running Office apps and Adobe apps. It also shows that there are improvements while browsing and downloading files.

With Intel’s Iris Xe graphics integrated into the new-gen Core chipsets, 1080p Full HD gaming will be more accessible. Mainstream games such as Valorant, League of Legends (LoL), Dota2, CS:GO can be played over 100 frames per second (fps) .

Moreover, graphics-intensive games such as Grand Theft Auto (GTA) V, Overwatch, Fortnite, PUBG, and other titles can run around 40-60fps depending on game settings and processor power. Playing these titles usually require dedicated graphics card such as NVIDIA’s GeForce and AMD’s Radeon series.

The new integrated graphics will also be able to read 4K HDR10 and Dolby Vision-certified videos with minimal power consumption.

New platform

Evo is Intel’s new platform that can fit in upcoming thin and light ultrabooks without compromising their overall performance. With the new chips’ improved power-efficiency, you can expect no less than nine hours of use with Full HD displays. 40% responsiveness will also be present via Instant Wake.

Cuts in cords doesn’t mean you will be less connected. The platform will also support Thunderbolt 4 through USB-C ports and Wi-Fi 6 for consistent internet and data transmission.

Machines that will run this platform will feature either an 11th-Gen Core i5 or i7 chipset coupled with Iris Xe graphics. That’s a better alternative for bulky gaming laptops that are equipped with thick dedicated graphics cards.

New machines

Intel’s 11th-generation chipsets are expected to be shipped by the end of 2020 alongside brands like Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Razer, Samsung, and many more in the list. Sourced from a tweet, there will be 50 new machines that will run Intel’s latest chipset family — including 20 devices that run the Evo platform.

It is expected to run most (if not all) Windows 10 laptops in the coming months and years plus several ChromeOS-based Chromebooks as well.

Computers

Windows 10 touch keyboard is getting GIFs, updated emoji picker

And new Voice Typing!

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Have you tried using Windows 10’s touch keyboard on your laptop or tablet? Laptops have a handy physical keyboard, but an increasing number of users rely on the software option while using devices like the Surface Pro. To make the Windows 10 experience cooler, Microsoft is rolling out a few nifty features.

The new touch keyboard is based on the company’s work with Windows 10X, bringing in better animations, sounds, and GIF support. Microsoft is calling it WonderBar, which sounds very similar to Mac’s Touch Bar but is limited to the on-screen keyboard only.

It also includes the ability to move the cursor through the space bar on the touch keyboard. A similar setup is found on iOS for cursor navigation and even BlackBerry 10 relied on this feature for a better typing experience.

The user can also search and insert GIFs directly from the keyboard, a feature that has now become mainstream on Android keyboards. There’s also an updated emoji picker which can be activated via the Winkey + period.

Microsoft is working on implementing a Fluent Design system that’ll bring together emoji search, GIF support, and your clipboard history. Lastly, the company is working on a new dictation system called Voice Typing. It has been completely revamped with a new design, auto punctuation, and an updated backend.

The changes are currently rolling out via Windows Insider Dev Channel and may not show up for all testers. The update is expected to roll out publicly in the first half of 2021 for Windows 10.

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Computers

Apple accidentally approves a known malware to run on macOS

It could affect as many as one in 10 macOS devices

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Apple has a solid reputation in the cybersecurity space and in recent times, it has increased emphasis on its privacy-centric operating systems. iOS has a host of features that let you monitor and control app data collection while macOS is generally known to be virus-immune.

In recent years, macOS has come under increasing attack via ransomware and adware. To protect users, Apple announced a new process called “notarizing.” It basically scans the software for security issues and malicious content. The software can run on macOS only if it has cleared notarization.

However, Peter Dantini, who works with well-known Mac security researcher Patrick Wardle, has discovered a malicious program that’s disguised as an Adobe Flash installer. The malware was accidentally notarized by Apple and officially made its way into the Mac ecosystem.

Also called the “Shlayer” adware, it could affect as many as one in 10 macOS devices. Wardle has confirmed that Apple approved the code and it can run on the unreleased Beta version of macOS Big Sur.

Keep in mind, the program does not steal your data or set up a backdoor entry. It’s essentially an adware program that generates a lot of annoying ads. It isn’t clear how the program was able to get past Apple’s notarization, but this is the first case of malware directly getting approved.

“Malicious software constantly changes, and Apple’s notarization system helps us keep malware off the Mac and allow us to respond quickly when it’s discovered,” Apple said in a statement. “Upon learning of this adware, we revoked the identified variant, disabled the developer account, and revoked the associated certificates. We thank the researchers for their assistance in keeping our users safe.”

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Computers

Apple updates Final Cut Pro for better editing workflow

An update we’ve all been waiting for

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Finally! Apple has announced a Final Cut Pro update after eight months of crash bugs, glitchy export files, and freezing issues. Most content creators and video editors (including me) who rely on Apple’s expensive video editing software will benefit from the latest 10.4.9 update.

The latest update reveals plethora of fixes and improvements to improve the user’s overall editing workaround.

Editing workflow improvements

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Designed for video professionals in mind, the significant workflow improvements result to a more efficient editing and exporting. New features include ProRes RAW camera settings, revealing the ISO, color temperature, and exposure offset right in the inspector pane for the first time.

Users can now add audio crossfades in an easier step — unlike applying Cross Dissolves or manual adjustments before. You can also close a project or clear a timeline history with a new context menu and even sort clips (in List View) based on when the file was last modified.

For resolution-savvy editors, you can now transcode an 8K RED RAW footage two times faster on a Mac Pro and three times more when using a MacBook Pro. There are also improvements when using Metal-enabled plug-ins in both RED RAW and Canon’s Cinema RAW Light. Editing with an 8K Canon Cinema RAW Light codec is also a first time in this latest Final Cut Pro update.

Moreover, stereoscopic 360-degree videos can now be stabilized faster. You can even view it simultaneously through separate eye streams in the 360-degree Viewer.

Proxy Workflows enhancement

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Most creatives choose Full Resolution when previewing a project file. But in order to boost computing power and decrease memory consumption, you can now generate proxy media in custom frame sizes of 1/2, 1/4, or even 1/8. Other than that, you can also select proxy media between ProRes Proxy or the default H.264 compression.

Moreover, you can save more storage space by creating a proxy-only copy of a library. If proxy media isn’t available in some of your clips, you can opt to select between original file or optimized media instead.

Better Tools for Social Media

Content creation for social media has been a challenge for most editors especially with differences in aspect ratios and video resolution. Whether that may be Snapchat, Instagram, or Twitter, users can now automatically analyzes dominant motion in projects and later transform them through Smart Conform that’s based on Machine Learning.

When adjusting scale, rotation, and position, you can now see media even outside the crop boundary with the Transform Overscan feature.

There’s also a Custom Overlay feature that serves as a guide when placing texts and graphics in non-landscape videos.

Additional Updates to Motion and Compressor

Motion is the co-existing software for those who want more motion graphics. This app now offers a wider range of choices for those who want to import third-party 3D models. Creators can even select 3D models from the built-in library in the USDZ format for titles, effects, transitions, and generators.

For added creativitiy, the use of keyframes or behaviors will also let the user manually adjust the position, scale, and rotation of a model — even with the use of emitters, lights, cameras and existing replicators.

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Another new tool is the Stroke Filter which helps a motion graphic artist save time instead of outlining elements by hand. This feature automatically outlines a texts and objects based on their alpha channel. A user can later customize it through offset animation, multiple stroke filters, and even the addition of gradient tools to make it more artistic.

Lastly, Compressor also has updated features including support for Custom LUT effects and the ability to use LUTs when converting log-encoded footages to SDR and HDR output files.

A full list of performance and reliability fixes can be found over here.

Still don’t have it?

With the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Apple still offers a 90-day trial of Final Cut Pro for new users. After the free trial, Final Cut Pro will cost you:

Education plan bundles will get you the powerful editing app at a cheaper price. On the other hand, the Motion and Compressor bundle for new users is also being sold for a certain amount not higher than the prices listed above.

Existing users can get the Final Cut Pro, Motion, and Compressor updates for free on the Mac App Store.

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