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What exactly are USB 4 and Thunderbolt 4? - Episode 244

Piltch Point

What exactly are USB 4 and Thunderbolt 4? - Episode 244

2020-11-08

During Apple's "One More Thing" Event this past week, Apple talked a lot about its new M1 processors and the first Macs to be released using them. The company went into detail about the specs of the processor, but they left more questions unanswered than they actually addressed. One of the things mentioned and completely glossed over was Thunderbolt 3. Many people were curious about what the difference is between Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4 and their companion USB 3 and USB 4, including some in the media.

Thunderbolt 4 is less of a new specification and more of an updated certification. The underlying technology has not changed, and almost all USB 3 and USB 4, as well as Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4, devices are interchangeable. The major difference in all of these names is USB 4's ability to turn all upward flowing channels into downward flowing channels. This allows for great video support on monitors but does require the disabling of other capabilities. This is to support DisplayPort 2.0, which requires double the bandwidth available to USB 4's upper version. In fact, USB 4 will not be marketed as such in documentation and packaging. Instead, it will be labeled by speed - USB 20Gbps and USB 40Gbps. To support DisplayPort 2.0 at 8K, you'll need to have the 40Gbps version.

Another positive for USB 4 will be the addition of power delivery, which will not be available on all USB 4 ports. However, the wattage has not increased, so you're still stuck with a proprietary charger for gaming laptops. For all of the changes and differences between USB 3 and USB 4, as well as Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 34, check out the guide on Tom's Hardware.

November 15, 2020 - Episode 579

F5 Live: Refreshing Technology

November 15, 2020 - Episode 579

2020-11-15

This week, new processors are showing up everywhere, internet usage is going up, and Twitch is admitting it screwed up.

AMD's New Video Cards and Processors - Episode 243

Piltch Point

AMD's New Video Cards and Processors - Episode 243

2020-11-01

It is the best of times. It is the worst of times. That is if you are hoping to build a high-performance gaming PC. Some of the best PC components have either just been released or will release in the very near future. However, it is nearly impossible to get them.

AMD announced its new line of hardware. The company claims that the new line of video cards will compete directly with their NVIDIA equivalents, with the Radeon RX 6800 being comparable to the RTX 3070, the Radeon RX 6800 XT being comparable to the RTX 3080, and the Radeon RX 6900 XT being comparable with the RTX 3090. But, of course, in grand AMD tradition, the prices are far below those of NVIDIA. Tom's Hardware has not had the opportunity to test these cards out, though, so the comparisons are currently based on AMD's info.

The company also officially took the wraps off of its next-generation Ryzen chips: AMD Ryzen 5000 series, based on the new Zen 3 architecture. The prices will range from $299 for the Ryzen 5 model (no more Ryzen 3) to $799 for the Ryzen 9 model. AMD is touting higher clock speeds, more instructions per clock, 7nm architecture (closer together, more transistors per inch). Most interesting is the synergy between the new Radeon GPU and the new Ryzen CPU. This will provide fast access to one another's memory and will give a 13% speed bump over Intel chip or previous AMD chip. Again, this is based on the company's claims, not independent verification.

But you cannot get the NVIDIA cards, and we fear the same thing will be the case with the AMD models. Within minutes of becoming available, they're gone - sold to scalpers. An $800 card is then sold for $1500 on eBay. The issues have even made the 2080 way overpriced because of the lack of 3080 inventory issues. Because of this, it is possibly the worst time to build a high-end PC because of these inventory issues. AMD is trying to take steps to avoid scalpers and bots, but legitimate demand could possibly produce the same results.

November 1, 2020 - Episode 578

F5 Live: Refreshing Technology

November 1, 2020 - Episode 578

2020-11-01

This week, Yahoo is coming for your phone, Facebook is leaving Internet Explorer, and videos don't belong to you.

CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi Learning Laptop - Episode 242

Piltch Point

CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi Learning Laptop - Episode 242

2020-10-25

Kids are often interested in the newest and most exciting things, and these days that is advanced electronics. In past years, electronic learning kits were available from places like RadioShack, and they offered all of the parts, pieces, and instructions to build something, such as a radio. These days, those kits are old news, with more advanced and more universal kits being available. One upcoming kit that is truly unique is the CrowPi2, a Raspberry Pi-based laptop.

This computer is different from standard kids' laptops for a couple of reasons. First, it runs on a Raspberry Pi, meaning it is designed for building things. That is emphasized by the laptop's design. The keyboard is easily removable, revealing a whole host of integrated sensors and displays. These are all obviously Raspberry Pi components, which range from an ultrasonic range finder and RFID reader to a 7 segment display and RGB LED screen. All of these are physically integrated together, allowing for projects that use one or more of these components.

Because it is an integrated system, it means that the laptop has its own software which allows for courses and projects in one place. These projects are presented in both Scratch and Python, meaning that the system teaches real-world skills. Other kits use their own languages and proprietary systems, but with the CrowPi2, kids can learn both concepts and transferrable language skills. This means that once they outgrow the integrated system and want to build custom electronics, they have enough experience to get started on their own.

There are several configurations that will be available when the product launches soon. Tom's Hardware reviewed the top model and gave it an Editor's Choice rating. You can pre-order the device now on the company's website with delivery scheduled as soon as this month (October 2020).

October 25, 2020 - Episode 577

F5 Live: Refreshing Technology

October 25, 2020 - Episode 577

2020-10-25

This week, videogame streaming is under review, Google is officially under suit, and Quibi is underwater.

Setup the Monster Smart Illuminessence Orb

PLUGHITZ Live How To

Setup the Monster Smart Illuminessence Orb

2020-10-12

Since we published our unboxing video for the Monster Smart Illuminessence Orb, we have received a number of questions about how to set up the product. Having been through the process ourselves, we can understand the concerns and difficulties associated with the setup.

The first helpful hint is to have a single panel connected to the controller. This will make the status of the controller far clearer than just trying to use the small blue LED on the controller. The second hint is to make sure that the phone you are using to configure the product is connected to a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi network. If you have a 5 GHz Wi-Fi network in your home or office, you are likely connected to that since it is faster, but for the purposes of setting up the product, you must be connected to a 2.4 GHz.

Once you're connected to the correct Wi-Fi network, make sure the light is in pairing mode. You'll know it is in pairing mode because the light will blink quickly green. Once all of these conditions are met, you are ready to go through the pairing process in the app. All of the Monster Smart Illuminessence products are Lighting (Wi-Fi), which is the third option in the pairing process.

Setup the Monster Smart Illuminessence Digit

PLUGHITZ Live How To

Setup the Monster Smart Illuminessence Digit

2020-10-12

Since we published our unboxing video for the Monster Smart Illuminessence Digit, we have received a number of questions about how to set up the product. Having been through the process ourselves, we can understand the concerns and difficulties associated with the setup.

The first helpful hint is to have a single panel connected to the controller. This will make the status of the controller far clearer than just trying to use the small blue LED on the controller. The second hint is to make sure that the phone you are using to configure the product is connected to a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi network. If you have a 5 GHz Wi-Fi network in your home or office, you are likely connected to that since it is faster, but for the purposes of setting up the product, you must be connected to a 2.4 GHz.

Once you're connected to the correct Wi-Fi network, make sure the light is in pairing mode. You'll know it is in pairing mode because the light will blink quickly green. Once all of these conditions are met, you are ready to go through the pairing process in the app. All of the Monster Smart Illuminessence products are Lighting (Wi-Fi), which is the third option in the pairing process.

Setup the Monster Smart Illuminessence Prism

PLUGHITZ Live How To

Setup the Monster Smart Illuminessence Prism

2020-10-12

Since we published our unboxing video for the Monster Smart Illuminessence Prism, we have received a number of questions about how to set up the product. Having been through the process ourselves, we can understand the concerns and difficulties associated with the setup.

The first helpful hint is to have a single panel connected to the controller. This will make the status of the controller far clearer than just trying to use the small blue LED on the controller. The second hint is to make sure that the phone you are using to configure the product is connected to a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi network. If you have a 5 GHz Wi-Fi network in your home or office, you are likely connected to that since it is faster, but for the purposes of setting up the product, you must be connected to a 2.4 GHz.

Once you're connected to the correct Wi-Fi network, make sure the light is in pairing mode. You'll know it is in pairing mode because the light will blink quickly green. Once all of these conditions are met, you are ready to go through the pairing process in the app. All of the Monster Smart Illuminessence products are Lighting (Wi-Fi), which is the third option in the pairing process.

NVIDIA Jetson Nano 2GB Developer Kit - Episode 241

Piltch Point

NVIDIA Jetson Nano 2GB Developer Kit - Episode 241

2020-10-11

Earlier in the year, NVIDIA released the NVIDIA Jetson Xavier NX Developer Kit, a $399 developer board aimed at artificial intelligence development. While the device offered 8GB of RAM, it does run nearly $400. The recently announced Jetson Nano 2GB Developer Kit is here to try to fill a middle ground in both price and specs. The new nano computer, which is also intended for artificial intelligence development, has scaled down specs, including only 2 GB of RAM. It falls below the standard NVIDIA Jetson Nano which comes with 4GB of RAM but is obviously more powerful and more focused than a Raspberry Pi.

Now, what is this device for? It is entirely designed for hands-on, real-world learning, experimenting, and developing in the artificial intelligence world. Like its two bigger siblings, the Jetson Nano 2GB is designed to accommodate a number of NVIDIA's in-house AI code, such as pre-trained AI models from NVIDIA NGC. It also works along with the NVIDIA JetBot AI robot platform. This makes the developer board incredibly attractive for small artificial intelligence projects.

One of the best enhancements that this new board has over its siblings is a USB-C power port. Previous models, including the larger Nano and the Xavier NX, use a proprietary plug, meaning that it is harder to power in a mobile scenario. With USB-C power, you can use it on a mobile robot, or in a portable environment with just a standard battery pack.

The NVIDIA Jetson Nano 2GB Developer Kit is not available yet, but is listed on Amazon with the ability to be notified when it is available.

October 11, 2020 - Episode 576

F5 Live: Refreshing Technology

October 11, 2020 - Episode 576

2020-10-11

This week, Oracle's eyeing a Supreme Court win, Epic is keeping iOS Unreal, and DirecTV is on (fire) sale.

Components of PC Past, Present, and Future - Episode 240

Piltch Point

Components of PC Past, Present, and Future - Episode 240

2020-10-05

While many of us have been staying home, technology vendors have still been hard at work bringing new products to market. While the most noteworthy have been Microsoft and Sony with their next-generation consoles, we have also seen a ton of new high profile PC components, with more to come.

The NVIDIA GTX 3900 and GTX 3800 videocards have already cemented themselves as the new must-have components for gamers, despite the challenge of getting one. The pre-orders were plagued with bots, and we have seen the product selling on sites like eBay for far above their market value. NVIDIA says that the problem isn't in supply, but in demand. But, as we have noted before, some of that demand has been inflated because of scalpers, creating a three point scenario.

NVIDIA might want to focus on the issue, because AMD is rumored to be on the verge of announcing their next generation of videocards, believed to be called the Radeon RX 6900, RX 6800, and RX 6700. While we have no official information yet, these new cards will need to at least try to compete with the current GTX cards, or they will have little chance of success. But, if they can compete with NVIDIA, and the company has enough stock, they could do some damage to NVIDIA's bottom line - and possibly image.

Videocards aren't all that AMD has up its sleeves, with new desktop processors in the Zen 3 family on the horizon. An event is expected where the company will show off its 5000 series processors, looking to continue the brand's massive growth. Intel is also expected to announce plans for the 12th Generation Rocket Lake processors in the near future.

The big takeaway here is that, if you are looking for bleeding edge technology, right now is a wait and see timespan, as everything is in flux. We will see over the next few weeks if inventory opens up from NVIDIA, and new hardware is announced from AMD and Intel.

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