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27May/190

Microsoft AI creates realistic speech with little training

The system relies in part on Transformers, or deep neural networks that roughly emulate neurons in the brain. Transformers weigh every input and output on the fly like synaptic links, helping them process even lengthy sequences very efficiently -- say, a complex sentence. Combine that with a noise-removing encoder component and the AI can do a lot with relatively little.

The results aren't perfect with a slight robotic sound, but they're highly accurate with a word intelligibility of 99.84 percent. More importantly, this could make text to speech more accessible. You wouldn't need to spend much effort to get realistic voices, putting it within reach of small companies and even amateurs. This also bodes well for the future. Researchers hope to train on unmatched data, so it might require even less work to create realistic dialogue.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/05/26/microsoft-ai-realistic-speech-with-little-training/

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27May/190

AMD’s first Navi GPUs are the Radeon RX 5000-series

Unfortunately, AMD is waiting until E3 to divulge specifics on these next-generation RDNA cards. For now, the company says we can expect 25 percent better performance-per-clock and 50 percent faster performance per watt with the new architecture, compared to its older Graphics Core Next technology. In addition to being the first 7nm consumer video cards, the Radeon RX 5000-series will also support PCIe 4.0 and fast GDDR6 memory. In a brief on-stage demo, we saw the RX 5700 go against NVIDIA's RTX 2070 in Strange Brigade, where it emerged victorious by about 10 percent.

One key feature that's still missing is ray tracing, which NVIDIA is banking on heavily with its RTX cards. Even though AMD said it's developing ray tracing technology of its own, it seemed like something it'd be eager to announce if it was going to be present in these cards. But during a post-keynote chat with AMD CEO Lisa Su, she didn't rule out the feature, and just hinted that we'll hear a lot more during their E3 livestream on June 10th.

"We view ray tracing as a very important element across the portfolio, so we'll have it in a number of other places," Su said. She added that AMD will ensure that the ecosystem also has broad support around implementing the technology. After all, if developers are reluctant to implement ray tracing, as they have been with NVIDIA's RTX cards, it may never get enough traction to succeed.

AMD says the Radeon RX 5700 cards are expected to go on sale in July.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/05/26/amd-radeon-rx-5000-navi-gpus/

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27May/190

AMD’s third-gen Ryzen 9 CPU is a 12-core powerhouse for $499

All of AMD's 3rd-gen Ryzen chips will feature its new Zen 2 architecture, a chiplet-based design that'll offer a 15 percent performance improvement across every application. They'll also have double the floating point performance and double the cache over its last CPUs. The 3900X features a base/boost speed of 3.68GHz/4.6GHz and 70MB of total cache. The company claims it beats out Intel's competing chip by 16 percent in Blender rendering. And if you're looking for something to take on Intel's i9-9900K, its current fastest consumer PC chip, there's the $399 Ryzen 7 3800X, an eight-core/16-thread chip running at 3.9GHz/4.5GHz. Honestly though, I'd imagine many gamers would aim for the 3900X, given its astounding value proposition.

The last entry in the new Ryzen 7 lineup is the $329 3700X, an eight-core chip that's even more efficient than its more powerful siblings, with a 65W TDP instead of 105W. AMD says it's 15 percent faster than the last-gen 2700X in the single-threaded Cinebench R20 test, and 18 percent faster in multi-threaded performance. Compared to Intel's $385 9700K, it's 28 percent faster in the Cinebench multi-threaded test, and about the same for the single-threaded variant. I'd imagine this will be the more price-conscious buy for PC builders, especially since its lower TDP means you'll be able to cram it in tighter cases.

Rounding out the new CPU family is the Ryzen 5 3600, a six-core/12-thread chip that'll sell for just $199. For $50 more, you can snag the 3600X, which has a higher 95W TDP and 200MHz faster base and boost clock speeds. All of the new Ryzen CPUs will support PCIe 4.0, which will offer around 42 percent faster storage speeds than PCIe 3.0. That's going to help future proof these chips a bit, since it'll be the standard of choice for upcoming high-end graphics cards and nVME drives.

You'll be able to pick up AMD's 3rd Gen Ryzen CPUs on July 7th.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/05/26/amds-third-gen-ryzen-9-cpu-is-a-12-core-powerhouse-for-499/

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27May/190

ARM’s latest chip designs promise 60 percent faster AI on phones

The Cortex-A77 CPU design is ultimately a refinement of last year's 7-nanometer A76, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The new hardware claims 20 percent faster instructions-per-clock performance without hurting efficiency, and that translates to roughly 35 times faster machine learning performance than the old A55 (for context, ARM was celebrating a 28-fold boost in February).

As with any ARM design, just when you'll see these in shipping products will depend on chip manufacturers like Qualcomm, Samsung and others implementing the technology in processors. Likewise, don't be surprised if the exact performance gains vary sharply from chip to chip, not to mention device to device. Whatever you get, it's safe to presume that A77-based phones will feel tangibly faster.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/05/27/arm-cortex-a77-mali-g77/

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27May/190

Lenovo’s Project Limitless 5G laptop makes a lot of promises

We still haven't been able to verify any of those claims in the real world, but we continued to get more demos of how powerful the 8cx is supposed to be. Here in Taiwan, Qualcomm again showcased a reference design laptop with the "extreme" chipset pushing out streaming to two 4K displays in addition to its own screen. (To be clear, it wasn't the Project Limitless device that was running this demo.)

We saw a similar setup when the CPU was announced at Hawaii, and this time, the system seems more stable. I was able to adjust a picture's hue and saturation on Photoshop CC while the reference laptop ran Edge, PowerPoint, Excel and a video on the external displays. The reference laptop was slightly laggy in applying the edits, but otherwise held up.

The Project Limitless 5G laptop was set up in a separate station showing off its connection to a specially set-up sub-6GHz network. Since real-world speeds can't be tested yet, there wasn't much we could do to try out the Limitless' abilities here.

I typed a few sentences into a browser's address bar and found the keyboard offered relatively shallow travel. That's surprising since the Limitless unit we saw was not a thin-and-light device like a ThinkPad X1 Carbon or a Yoga -- there seemed to be plenty of room for deeper keys. It also had a pretty bland design with a dark gray finish. In fact, the whole thing looked so generic I actually mistook it for a reference design made by Qualcomm at first.

According to the preview device's system settings, the Snapdragon 8cx CPU was running at 2.8GHz and that it had about 16GB of RAM, which together should offer reliable multitasking performance.

Qualcomm also provided reference benchmarks to demonstrate how the Snapdragon 8cx compares to its main competitor -- Intel's Core i5-8250U. Using the newly announced PCMark 10 Applications benchmark on similar systems, Qualcomm's results showed that the 8cx beat the i5 on apps like Microsoft Edge and Word. Intel had the upper hand on Excel and PowerPoint, though.

Speaking of apps, one of the greatest drawbacks of a Snapdragon PC was its limited app compatibility. Although Microsoft and Qualcomm have done a lot to make it easy for developers to recompile their apps for the system, native ARM apps are still few compared to x86 versions. This means that programs that don't have an ARM option, like Photoshop CC, for example, will be run on an emulator in the Windows OS. From my experience, this always felt slightly sluggish on older Windows on Snapdragon (WoS) devices like the ASUS NovaGo. According to Qualcomm, the 8cx is supposed to be so fast you won't notice this emulator lag. I haven't seen this in action yet, though.

Where Qualcomm has an obvious advantage is battery life, something it has delivered in previous Snapdragon PCs. On PCMark's new battery life test, the Snapdragon 8cx rig consistently clocked seven to eight hours more than the Intel one. To be fair, though, the latter sports a higher res 2K display compared to Qualcomm's Full HD screen.

You might have noticed, but for something named Project Limitless, Lenovo's 5G laptop has a lot of caveats. Admittedly, what we checked out was an early prototype and there's every chance that the eventual product will indeed overcome all the obstacles in its way to being truly limitless. But given the lingering concerns over app compatibility, the unexciting design and shallow keyboard, I'm not going to get too excited just yet. Lenovo and Qualcomm promised more information for consumers in 2020. While I'm stoked for 5G PCs in general, I'm just not confident this first-generation product is going to be the 5G laptop I've been waiting for.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/05/27/lenovo-5g-laptop-project-limitless-snapdragon-8cx-hands-on/

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27May/190

NVIDIA is giving away the ‘Quake II’ ray tracing demo on June 6th

NVIDIA's Jeff Fisher explained that the company's Lightspeed Studios have added in realistic lighting effects for the classic shooter. The revamped version gets time-of-day lighting, accurate sunlight, indirect illumination and reflections on water. As a consequence, the 22-year-old game has been given a new lease of life to demonstrate the power of NVIDIA's Turing architecture on older titles.

Quake II RTX is a fairly limited, three-level version of the title that you'll be able to snag from the NVIDIA website and Steam. It's not clear, because what Fisher said and the slides behind him didn't agree, but it may be the case that If you have a Quake II license, you might be able to get the full game in this format. We'll hassle NVIDIA for more information on this and update our story when we know more.

At the same time, NVIDIA has let slip that it will offer a Wolfenstein: Youngblood bundle with ray tracing and adaptive shading. That'll be available on May 28th, paired with the GeForce RT 2060, 2070, 2080 and 2080 Ti, although the company hasn't yet mentioned how much it'll cost.

Update 27/5/19 3:35am ET: NVIDIA has confirmed that if you already own Quake II, you'll be able to play the whole title in ray tracing mode. It's $5 on Steam, if you want to get prepared.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/05/27/nvidia-is-giving-away-the-quake-ii-ray-tracing-demo-on-june-6t/

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27May/190

NVIDIA is bringing pro-level Quadro RTX GPUs to laptops

Obviously, it's tough to compare the new RTX 5000 with the previous mobile flagship, the P5200, if only because they use different architectures (Pascal vs. Turing). On a pure performance level, there isn't a huge difference between the two, with with the former managing 8.9 TFLOPS vs the new model's 9.4 TFLOPS. But numbers aren't everything, since the RTX is significantly more efficient, as well as being able to handle the much-hyped ray tracing.

At launch, there are 17 laptops, made by seven partner companies, that will carry the new Quadro GPUs, which will be branded under the "RTX Studio" name. These machines will, in the words of NVIDIA's Jason Paul, offer "desktop-class performance" to those "on the go." The company also claimed that the machines will run up to seven times faster than the equivalent MacBook Pro with 32GB RAM and AMD's Pro Vega 20 GPU.

The other benefit of the "RTX Studio" branding is "NVIDIA Studio Stack," a software suite of SDKs and APIs tailored to speed up video editing, rendering and vector animation, among others. NVIDIA says that software from Adobe, Autodesk, Avid, Blackmagic and Maxon has been extensively tested to ensure "the best performance and reliability." Game developers who use Unity and Unreal will get similar promises of speed and dependability.

It's not just the RTX 5000 that we'll see popping up in laptops, but the 3000 and 4000 as well, catering for different budget. The pair come with 6GB and 8GB GDDR6 RAM, respectively, and the former is packing 36 RT cores, compared to its bigger sibling's 40. And, similarly, the 3000 is packing 288 Tensor cores, compared to the 4000's 320, putting both GPUs a modest distance behind the flagship.

At the lower end of the range, NVIDIA has also sought to offer moderate speed bumps on the existing Quadro chips. The P520, for example, is an upgrade on the P500, which gets 128 more CUDA cores and its memory bandwidth pushed to 48GBps. The P620 is a similar story, with 128 more CUDA cores and a memory bandwidth bump to 96GBps. Incremental increases are also the order of the day for the T1000 and T2000, which will supplant the P-series chips of the same name.

RTX Studio laptops will be available at some point in June from ASUS, Dell, HP, MSI, Razer, Gigabyte and Acer. Obviously, pricing and specs will vary depending on region and manufacturer, but the company says that the cheapest models will cost no less than $1,600.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/05/27/nvidia-quadro-rtx-gpu-mobile/

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27May/190

Razer updates the Blade with NVIDIA’s new Quadro RTX 5000

A 4K OLED touchscreen will ship on the 15-inch model, which will carry a (ninth-generation) Intel Core i7-9750H CPU inside. The larger of the pair gets a 120Hz 4K panel and Intel's (ninth-generation) Core i9-9880H CPU, up from the Core i7 currently available. If users are still hungry for power, then both models can connect to the Razer Core X, hooking up an external GPU for extra grunt.

Right now, the company has been tight-lipped on when these machines will arrive, and how much they're likely to cost. Razer tells us those important points, and more information, will come "at a later date," although we would assume pricing to be in the same ballpark as the existing Blade 15 and Pro 17 series.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/05/27/razer-updates-the-blade-with-nvidia-s-new-quadro-rtx-5000/

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27May/190

Acer brings NVIDIA’s Quadro RTX 5000 to its ConceptD 7 laptop

Acer hasn't felt the need to mess around with the existing system, which makes sense since the ConceptD line was only announced in April. That means it's still offering a ninth-generation Core i7, 32GB RAM, 1TB NVME storage and that 15.6-inch, Pantone-validated 4K display. The one thing that Acer neglected to mention — yet — was how much it expects you to pay for the tweaked ConceptD 7, and when you can expect to own one.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/05/27/acer-conceptd-7-quadro/

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27May/190

AMD isn’t ruling out ray tracing for its new Radeon RX 5000 GPUs

Back at CES, AMD CEO Lisa Su mentioned that they were working on ray tracing from a hardware and software end. When today's announcement came and went without any mention of the technology, I started to worry that it wouldn't make it into this generation of cards. But based on discussions with CEO Lisa Su and the company's graphics leads, it sounds like AMD still has some surprises in store.

"We view ray tracing as a very important element across the portfolio, so we'll have it in a number of other places," Su said during a media roundtable after her keynote, when I asked her if we'll see ray tracing in these new video cards. She added that AMD will work to support the ecosystem around the technology, and we'll hear more about what specifically the Radeon RX 5000-series will include during the company's E3 livestream on June 10th.

"There's no doubt ray tracing is the future of graphics and gaming, but the support mechanism, the ecosystem readiness, are all very important things," AMD's head of Radeon gaming, Scott Herkelman, said in a later discussion. "The game adoption is all important ... We agree it's very early, but it's still a very important technology." He also reiterated that we can expect to hear more at E3.

Basically, it seems like AMD pigeonholed themselves a bit at Computex, choosing to give us just a taste of its new GPUs, while holding back on some of the exciting specifics until E3. Given their focus on the gaming ecosystem, though, the move probably makes sense. For ray tracing to truly take off, AMD (and NVIDIA) need to convince developers to invest in the technology. And what better place to announce a slew of gaming partnerships than E3?

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2019/05/27/amd-radeon-rx-5000-ray-tracing-navi/

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