Tag Archives: years

For Sale – Desktop PC (Beginners Gaming PC/HomeServer)

For Sale is my old homeserver, ran 24/7 (light to medium use) for the past 2 years and never had any issues with it.

Fractal Design Node 804 (Holds a max 10x 3.5″ + 2x 2.5″ Hard Drives)
i5 4570 (Arctic Cooler 7 Pro)
Asus H81-Plus
16GB (2x*8GB) Crucial Ballistix @ 1600Mhz (Think I got them off these forums, 0 errors in Memtest)
MSI 390x 8GB (Recently removed from my main PC, again never any issues, has recently had fresh Thermal Grizly applied)
Samsung 840 128GB
Windows 10 Pro 64bit (This was purchased off ebay for a couple of quid so how legit it is who knows but it has re-activated today when I’ve done a clean install, selling as no Product Key though for the above reason)
Corsair HX750w
6x Akasa 120mm fans

PC is in full working condition, the case has a couple of minor marks (mostly the perspex windows)
The Corsair comes only with 1x 4 way Sata Power cable, 1x 4 way Molex cable, 2x 8pin cables (GPU) … these were enough to max hard drive capacity on the case.

I have the box for the case so I am willing to post at the buyers expense.

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New AI tools in the works for ThoughtSpot analytics platform

The ThoughtSpot analytics platform only has been available for six years, but since 2014 the vendor has quickly gained a reputation as an innovator in the field of business intelligence software.

ThoughtSpot, founded in 2012 and based in Sunnyvale, Calif., was an early adopter of augmented intelligence and machine learning capabilities, and even as other BI vendors have begun to infuse their products with AI and machine learning, the ThoughtSpot analytics platform has continued to push the pace of innovation.

With its rapid rise, ThoughtSpot attracted plenty of funding, and an initial public offering seemed like the next logical step.

Now, however, ThoughtSpot is facing the same uncertainty as most enterprises as COVID-19 threatens not only people’s health around the world, but also organizations’ ability to effectively go about their business.

In a recent interview, ThoughtSpot CEO Sudheesh Nair discussed all things ThoughtSpot, from the way the coronavirus is affecting the company to the status of an IPO.

In part one of a two-part Q&A, Nair talked about how COVID-19 has changed the firm’s corporate culture in a short time. Here in part two, he discusses upcoming plans for the ThoughtSpot analytics platform and when the vendor might be ready to go public.

One of the main reasons the ThoughtSpot analytics platform has been able to garner respect in a short time is its innovation, particularly with respect to augmented intelligence and machine learning. Along those lines, what is a recent feature ThoughtSpot developed that stands out to you?

ThoughtSpot CEO Sudheesh NairSudheesh Nair

Sudheesh Nair: One of the main changes that is happening in the world of data right now is that the source of data is moving to the cloud. To deliver the AI-based, high-speed innovation on data, ThoughtSpot was really counting on running the data in a high-speed memory database, which is why ThoughtSpot was mostly focused on on-premises customers. One of the major changes that happened in the last year is that delivered what we call Embrace. With Embrace we are able to move to the cloud and leave the data in place. This is critical because as data is moving, the cost of running computations will get higher because computing is very expensive in the cloud.

With ThoughtSpot, what we have done is we are able to deliver this on platforms like Snowflake, Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery and Microsoft Synapse. So now with all four major cloud vendors fully supported, we have the capability to serve all of our customers and leave all of their data in place. This reduces the cost to operate ThoughtSpot — the value we deliver — and the return on investment will be higher. That’s one major change.

Looking ahead, what are some additions to the ThoughtSpot analytics platform customers can expect?

Nair: If you ask people who know ThoughtSpot — and I know there are a lot of people who don’t know ThoughtSpot, and that’s OK — … if you ask them what we do they will say, ‘search and AI.’ It’s important that we continue to augment on that; however, one thing that we’ve found is that in the modern world we don’t want search to be the first thing that you do. What if search became the second thing you do, and the first thing is that what you’ve been looking for comes to you even before you ask?

What if search became the second thing you do, and the first thing is that what you’ve been looking for comes to you even before you ask?
Sudheesh NairCEO, ThoughtSpot

Let’s say you’re responsible for sales in Boston, and you told the system you’re interested in figuring out sales in Boston — that’s all you did. Now the system understands what it means to you, and then runs multiple models and comes back to you with questions you’ll be interested in, and most importantly with insights it thinks you need to know — it doesn’t send a bunch of notifications that you never read. We want to make sure that the insights we’re sending to you are so relevant and so appropriate that every single one adds value. If one of them doesn’t add value, we want to know so the system can understand what it was that was not valuable and then adjust its algorithms internally. We believe that the right action and insight should be in front of you, and then search can be the second thing you do prompted by the insight we sent to you.

What tools will be part of the ThoughtSpot analytics platform to deliver these kinds of insights?

Nair: There are two features we are delivering around it. One is called Feed, which is inspired by our social media curating insights, and conversations and opinions around facts. Right now social media is all opinion, but imagine a fact-driven social media experience where someone says they had a bad a quarter and someone else says it was great and then data shows up so it doesn’t become an opinion based on another opinion. It’s important that it should be tethered to facts. The second one is Monitor, which is the primary feature where the thing you were looking for shows up even before you ask in the format that you like — could be mobile, could be notifications, could be an image.

Those two features are critical innovations for our growth, and we are very focused on delivering them this year.

The last time we spoke we talked about the possibility of ThoughtSpot going public, and you were pretty open in saying that’s something you foresee. It’s about seven months later, where do plans for going public currently stand?

Nair: If you had asked me before COVID-19 I would have had a bit of a different answer, but the big picture hasn’t changed. I still firmly believe that a company like ThoughtSpot will tremendously benefit from going public because our customers are massive customers, and those customers like to spend more with a public company and the trust that comes with it.

Having said that, I talked last time about building a team and predictability, and I feel seven months later that we have built the executive team that can be the best in class when it comes to public companies. But going public also requires being predictable, and we’re getting in that right spot. I think that the next two quarters will be somewhat fluid, which will maybe set us back when it comes to building a plan to take the company public. But that is basically it. I think taken one by one, we have a good product market, we have good business momentum, we have a good team, and we just need to put together the history that is necessary so that the business is predictable and an investor can appreciate it. That’s what we’re focused on. There might be a short-term setback because of what the coronavirus might throw at us, but it’s going to definitely be a couple of more quarters of work.

Does the decline in the stock market related to COVID-19 play into your plans at all?

Nair: It’s absolutely an important event that’s going on and no one knows how it will play out, but when I think about a company’s future I never think about an IPO as a few quarters event. It’s something we want to do, and a couple of quarters here or there is not going to make a major difference. Over the last couple of weeks, we haven’t seen any softness in the demand for ThoughtSpot, but we know that a lot of our customers’ pipelines are in danger from supply impacts from China, so we will wait and see. We need to be very close to our customers right now, helping them through the process, and in that process we will learn and make the necessary course corrections.

Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for clarity and conciseness.

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Sea of Thieves – Celebrate Our Second Anniversary with a Bonanza Weekend!

It’s been two years since Sea of Thieves arrived on Xbox One and Windows 10, and what years they’ve been. Since launch, we’ve seen over 10 million pirates plundering the seas, and during the last 24 months we’ve forged on with the wind in our sails to deliver an abundance of additions to the game – most notably in 2019’s Anniversary Update and with the introduction of monthly content updates from last July.

We’re incredibly proud of how far we’ve journeyed from launch, and we’re excited to continue making waves with future content updates. We’re humbled by how many player stories we’ve seen shared, and our community continually inspires us. So we can’t wait to show you all what’s on the horizon – but for now, we want to celebrate everything that’s come before!

As a thank you to our players and a celebration of all things Sea of Thieves, we’ve planned a programme of challenges and goodies kicking off this weekend and running throughout March’s content update. There’s a lot of in-game swag to be bagged for making all the right moves, so let’s take a look at the line-up!

Play Sea of Thieves free this weekend

To start with, an incentive if you’re not one of the millions of pirates who’ve joined us on the seas already: Sea of Thieves is part of the Xbox Free Play Days this weekend, and will be free for all Xbox Live subscribers to play until March 23rd! Don’t worry about being a late starter as all new pirates are eased into the game via the Maiden Voyage, a narrative-driven tutorial experience that provides guidance and information to fledgling sailors.

Enter the Heart of Fire

Let’s not forget this month’s free content update, Heart of Fire. Live since March 12th, this update brings the next fiery Tall Tale to Sea of Thieves, Athena’s Run Voyages for Pirate Legends and some brand new missiles in the form of chainshot for your cannons and throwable Blunderbombs.

Heart of Fire: Official Sea of Thieves Content Update

Duration 4:52

Bag the Anniversary Eye of Reach

What would a birthday be without a present? If you play Sea of Thieves between Thursday, March 19th and Friday, March 27th, you’ll get the very special, very golden ‘X Marks the Spot’ Eye of Reach! For those of you who will want to equip it straight away, don’t worry – the weapon will appear in your armoury immediately upon entering the game.

Snap up the skeletal Spinal Figurehead

As made famous in Rare’s ’90s fighting game Killer Instinct (and resurrected for the modern version in 2013), Spinal can be claimed for the front of your ship just by watching Sea of Thieves’ anniversary stream at mixer.com/seaofthieves on Friday, March 20th. Make sure your Microsoft and Sea of Thieves accounts are linked so that you qualify for this MixPot item, sign in and join us there from 5pm-7pm GMT!

Set sail with Ori and the Will of the Wisps

If you’re joining Sea of Thieves via Game Pass Ultimate, don’t forget you can also claim the wonderful Ori-inspired ship set to carry you into adventure. This gorgeous new livery is available exclusively to Game Pass Ultimate subscribers from March 18th, and you can see it in all its glowing glory right here:

Ancestral Ship Set Reveal Trailer – Official Sea of Thieves

Duration 0:41

Relive some of Sea of Thieves’ greatest moments

From Friday, March 20th, pirates will also be able relive some of the greatest Sea of Thieves moments from the last two years. Take a truncated tour through The Hungering Deep, Cursed Sails and Forsaken Shores to bag cosmetics previously limited to the first time these updates launched. For example, if you hadn’t taken to the seas or missed your chance to bag Merrick’s drum the first time around, you’ll have the opportunity to earn it now – allowing everyone to get a taste of some of the events they might have missed from year one!

Turn the seas red with Bleeding Edge

The fun doesn’t stop there. From March 30th, you’ll also be able to unlock some awesome Bleeding Edge ship cosmetics. Pirates will be challenged throughout the week with three objectives, and motivated to complete them with stunning Bleeding Edge-inspired sail, flag and hull designs. As with the Hunter’s Haul event last month, you’ll also be able to track your progress through these objectives here on the Sea of Thieves website – so stay tuned for more info on this event which is set to see the seas turn red…

Want to find out more about Sea of Thieves? Follow us at any of our social channels below, then take the plunge and embark on an epic journey with one of gaming’s most welcoming communities!

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Chang takes leave from Cisco collaboration unit amid reorganization

Amy Chang, a top Cisco executive who has led the company’s collaboration division for nearly two years, has taken a leave of absence for an unspecified period.

Chang’s time off comes amid a restructuring within Cisco. David Goeckeler, general manager of Cisco’s networking and security group, resigned to become CEO of Western Digital. The company took Goeckeler’s departure apparently as an opportunity to reorganize into five new product groups.

Under the reorganization, the head of Cisco’s collaboration business will no longer report to the CEO. Instead, that person will answer to the leader of the new security and applications group. Cisco said it planned to appoint an executive to oversee the new group in the future.

Sri Srinivasan, general manager of the Webex suite, will run the collaboration division until Chang returns, the company said in a statement. Srinivasan joined Cisco in early 2018 after spending more than 12 years at Microsoft.

“After an impressive 15 years of great achievements at an incredibly fast pace, Amy has decided to take a well-earned breath,” Cisco said. “She is going to recharge her batteries, while also prioritizing time with her 12-year-old son, and [CEO Chuck Robbins] and Cisco as a whole applaud her for this.”

The reorganization comes at a critical time for Cisco’s collaboration division, which generated something close to $5.8 billion in revenue last fiscal year. The vendor has an opportunity to capitalize on a surge in teleconferencing and remote work amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Chang’s leave of absence also follows a disappointing financial quarter for her unit — the first under her leadership. Revenue for the product category that includes collaboration was down 8% year over year in the three months ended Jan. 25.

Cisco is battling for enterprise customers with Microsoft, which has attracted more than 20 million daily active users to the Office 365 collaboration app Microsoft Teams. The vendor’s Webex business is also taking heat from video conferencing upstart Zoom.

Chang replaced Rowan Trollope as the leader of Cisco’s collaboration business in May 2018 after the vendor acquired her startup, Accompany. Chang previously held a seat on Cisco’s board of directors but resigned to become an employee.

Chang spearheaded significant changes to Cisco’s portfolio. She led an effort to align the features and interfaces of premise-based Jabber and cloud-based Webex Teams. Chang also sought to differentiate Cisco’s products based on a set of AI features marketed as “cognitive collaboration.”

“I am surprised by the changes,” said Dave Michels, principal analyst at TalkingPointz. “Cisco just hosted a highly successful and engaging analyst event last month. The Cisco collaboration leadership team seemed well-aligned, and Chang seemed enthused and engaged.”

Srinivasan is a good pick to lead the division in Chang’s absence, Michels said. Srinivasan spearheaded significant improvements to Webex during his tenure. He will now also oversee Cisco’s telephony and contact center businesses.

Srinivasan has been Chang’s “right-hand man,” said Irwin Lazar, analyst at Nemertes Research. His promotion suggests the company’s strategy will not change dramatically, at least for now.

“Should Amy not return, or be replaced by someone outside the organization, then I’d expect there to be change,” Lazar said.

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Wanted – PC Bits and bobs…

Evening All,

I’ve been gaming with a buddy for a good number of years, but when my PS4 died on me I joined the PCMR middle of last year. He had planned to join at the same time but just as he was about to put something together his financial situation changed.

I was hoping to put together something for him but am now expecting my third so it’s difficult to get the wife to sign off on this.

Sob story out of the way, I have managed to get one or two bits but was wondering if anyone was due to through out any old bits and would instead be willing to donate them?

I know beggers can’t be choosers and I’m not looking for anything amazing. I was hoping to base a build on the 1155 socket.

It’s a lot to ask but if you have anything that you would like to donate, please drop a comment. Happy to make a small donation to a charity of your choice.

Kind regards,

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AI in e-commerce helps product sales

Over the last few years, e-commerce companies have made buying and selling items online easier by using AI. EBay, one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world, uses computer vision, natural language processing, machine learning and deep learning to help users.

EBay has invested heavily in developing and deploying AI capabilities. While it doesn’t necessarily do anything unique — competitors including Wayfair and Amazon have developed similar AI in e-commerce tools — what it does appears to benefit sellers and buyers on its platform, which differs markedly from its biggest competitors in being auction-driven and oriented primarily toward sellers.

EBay provides several tools for images, including a search by image function and photo cleanup.

Image recognition

Using the mobile eBay application, buyers and sellers can take a photo of an object, which, using computer vision and deep learning, eBay matches with similar images on its platform. The feature has been available since 2017, and has since been improved as more images have been uploaded for the machine learning algorithms to train on.  

Comparable features are available on a number of other platforms, including Google and Amazon. These platforms also have object recognition, enabling users to take a photo of something and see comparable items.

By also considering product descriptions as well, the search function optimizes accuracy. Sellers are able to get automatic pricing recommendations, although that wasn’t always so.

EBay screenshot
EBay uses AI to automatically identify images and to do image cleanup

“Historically we did a really bad job with [pricing models],” said Scot Hamilton, vice president of engineering.

EBay has a lot of unique inventory, Hamilton explained, making it difficult to find true peers to benchmark against for some objects.

Looking at characterizes such as the images, price range, descriptors and titles of the listed object, and by comparing it to similar objects, among other things, eBay attempts to automatically determine a relative price for an object.

The suggested price is generally slightly lower than the market average to keep inventory moving, Hamilton said. Casual and hobby sellers adopt the suggested price point around 80% of the time, he said.

AI in e-commerce

The platform also boasts an image cleanup capability for sellers. The feature, still in beta, takes an image and tries to automatically separate the featured object from visual clutter in the background.  

“Search engines these days require, in many cases, a white, clean background on photos,” said Harry Temkin, vice president of seller experience.

Sellers, he continued, “often take pictures in very interesting places,” like on the stairs, in a kitchen or in a garage.

The beta feature crops the featured item automatically from the photo. Now, manual input is still required in many cases, with users having to swipe around the edges of an object. However, the feature is getting sharper, Temkin said.

It is software that is continuously learning.
Harry TemkinVice president of seller experience, eBay

“It is software that is continuously learning,” he said. The more photos that go through it, the better it will work.

Besides its image features, eBay provides home-grown automatic translation, enabling buyers and sellers in different countries to see listings in their own languages.

The translation happens behind the scenes, Hamilton said, with users not necessarily realizing it’s even happening.

According to Hamilton, eBay’s model is 5% or 6% more accurate than off-the-shelf products.

“Being a global platform … not everyone speaks English,” Temkin said. “Being able to use machine translation to convert an English listing into a German listing or a Spanish listing or a French listing is useful.”

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AIOps exec bets on incident response market shakeup

AIOps and IT automation have been hot topics in IT for about three years, but the ultimate vision of hands-off incident response has yet to be realized in most IT shops, says Vijay Kurkal, who was appointed CEO of Resolve Systems on Jan. 16. Kurkal had served as chief operating officer for the company since 2018.

Kurkal’s key priority in the first quarter of 2020 is the release of Resolve Insights, a platform that folds AIOps IP from the company’s August 2019 acquisition of FixStream into its IT automation software. While enterprise IT pros have been slow to trust such systems — which rely on AI and machine learning data analytics to automate common tasks such as server restarts — they have begun to find their way into production use at mainstream companies.

Vijay KurkalVijay Kurkal

Resolve faces a crowded field of competition that includes vendors with backgrounds in IT monitoring, incident response and data analytics. SearchITOperations.com had a conversation with Kurkal this week about how the company plans to hold its own in this volatile market.

Your product pitch sounds familiar to me. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you there are many vendors out there pursuing a vision of proactive IT automation assisted by AI. How will Resolve and FixStream be different?

Vijay Kurkal: There are two ecosystems we’re playing with. There are application monitoring tools like AppDynamics, Dynatrace, New Relic, etc. The users that they are going after are the application operations team. FixStream is complimentary to them. But they have limited visibility into hypervisors and deep into the network infrastructure. FixStream builds out a visual topology of every single infrastructure device that a particular application is touching, and all the events are overlaid on that. It’s [built] for the IT operation teams that are supporting critical applications.

Some of the other AIOps vendors using AI technologies, they have tons of algorithms, but any algorithm is only as good as the source data. It’s a garbage in, garbage out. Our starting point is always around relationship dependency mapping and getting data in context, and prioritizing what to act on. A second differentiator is that AI/ML algorithms are all based on a probabilistic model. [They] say what they believe are the potential root causes [of an issue], but they can’t say that with certainty. Where we’re taking it is, as soon as those events trigger an alert from FixStream, Resolve automates diagnostics. Typically, that requires a network engineer. We’re already trying this out with some pilot customers and by end of Q1 are going to have a product there. Most AIOps companies identify events; they don’t resolve them.

Most AIOps companies identify events; they don’t resolve them.
Vijay KurkalCEO, Resolve Systems

Is there a plan for IT automation beyond diagnostics?

Kurkal: The next step, and I don’t think most customers are there yet, is, ‘I’ve done this 10 times, and I feel very comfortable, just run this [process] automatically.’ You’ll have categories of events — there’ll be 30% that are not super critical. As the organization gets comfortable, these can be completely [automated]. Then there are 50% that are critical, and we can give them diagnostics, and point them in the right direction to solve them pretty quickly. Then 10% will be outliers where no automation can help, and that’s where IT ops experts will always be very, very relevant to run the business.

Another important aspect of observability is informing the development of the product at the other end of the DevOps pipeline. How does your product work within that process?

Kurkal: The people who build the applications know exactly what stresses their application is putting on various elements [of the infrastructure]. We want to equip the DevOps team with a drag-and-drop system to write automation — to tell the IT operations team, here’s the configuration of the infrastructure I’ll need, and here’s a set of diagnostic scripts, and remediation automation that’s pre-approved. And then it’ll be a closed feedback loop where the operations teams can give feedback [to the developer]. We’re not saying we’ll solve every need of the application, but we are trying to bring together these two teams to drive automation and intelligence.

There are some tools that specifically tie outages or incidents to changes in code — could Resolve make another acquisition in that space or further build out its products to address that too?

Kurkal: For us, it’s a strong possibility in late 2020 or in 2021. It might be an organic development of our products, or potentially, an inorganic acquisition around that. But we do see that’s where the market is moving, because no one wants to be reactive, and they want to have it all together.

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For Sale – Antec ISK600M HTPC case and Intel bundle

I’ve had this case for a couple of years and has served me well. Will take matx mobos and full ATX PSU. Haven’t had problems with dual fan GPU’s but I suspect some very long, three fan ones may not fit. In very good condition with enough space for up to 9 2.5″ disks or up to 3 3.5″ & 3 2.5″.
Doesn’t come with a PSU but have a couple of 80+ Gold rates ones (SFX and ATX) if interested.

Bundle
Asus matx skt1150
Intel 4670k
8gb ddr3 (2x4GB) HyperX
£110

Location
Bristol
Price and currency
50
Delivery cost included
Delivery is NOT included
Prefer goods collected?
I prefer the goods to be collected
Advertised elsewhere?
Not advertised elsewhere
Payment method
BT

Last edited:

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CES 2020: PC Gaming Experiences Designed for Everyone – Xbox Wire

This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas kicked off 2020 with a look at what’s in store for a variety of players this year, with exciting innovations for PC gaming and Microsoft’s device partners announcing some of the best upcoming hardware and software in the industry.

From the thinnest and lightest gaming laptops yet, to immersive monitors giving players a deeper, more robust experience, in addition to new gaming desktops and graphics cards, there’s plenty for PC gamers to be excited for in the year ahead.

To catch you up on all the news from last week, we’ve wrapped up all the CES 2020 announcements from Acer, Asus, Dell, Lenovo, and iBuyPower below.

Acer

Acer introduced new Predator monitors offering gamers a more immersive and expansive view of their play.

  • The Predator CG552K features a huge 55-inch 4K OLED panel that’s Adaptive Sync and HDMI VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) compatible, making it ideal for hardcore PC and console gamers wanting a higher vantage point. The 37.5-inch monitor increases gaming immersion with a 2300R curved UWQHD+ panel and Vesa DisplayHDR 400 certification that makes colors pop.
  • The 32-inch Predator X32 gaming monitor reproduces brilliant visuals with Nvidia G-Sync Ultimate, Vesa Display HDR 1400 certification and 89.5% Rec. 2020, perfect for gamers who also create their own videos.

Asus

Asus released new Strix gaming desktops, the Zephyrus G14 laptop and TUF laptops presenting device options for every type of gamer.

  • Asus Republic of Gamers (ROG) debuted a handful of new Strix models: Strix GA35 and GT35 gaming desktops to get players tournament-ready for competitive esports. They’re engineered to sustain smooth gameplay under serious pressure and offer the flexibility to do everything from producing top-quality streams to developing games. In addition to those new gaming devices, Asus ROG also announced new Strix GA15 and GT15 gaming desktops that focus on gaming fundamentals for competitive esports players on a budget. Lean and lightweight, these leverage powerful, latest generation processors to capably handle hardcore gaming, streaming and multitasking. These use the latest 3rd Generation AMD Ryzen CPUs and upcoming 10th Generation Intel Core processors.
  • The Zephyrus G14 brings premium innovations to a wider audience with an ultra-slim form factor at just 17.9mm thin and 1.6kg, all without compromising performance. The Zephyrus G14 gaming notebook features RTX graphics for high frame rates when playing popular games, and also lets gamers choose between high refresh or high resolution for their display; the choice of 120Hz refresh rate or WQHD resolution panels allows users to optimize for gaming or creating content. G14 has an optional AniMe Matrix display that deepens personalization, enabling users to show custom graphics, animations and other effects across more than a thousand mini LEDs embedded in the lid.
  • The 15-inch TUF Gaming A15 and F15, along with their 17-inch A17 and F17 siblings, deliver an unprecedented experience for the price. Key to the experience is potent processing power, thanks to a choice between 4th Gen AMD Ryzen Mobile CPUs and upcoming 10th Gen Intel Core processors. Nvidia Turing-based GPUs up to the GeForce RTX 2060 feed frames into fast displays that refresh at up to 144Hz and use AMD FreeSync technology to ensure smoother, tear-free gaming across a wide range of titles.

Dell

Dell announced the new Alienware gaming monitor and a redesigned Dell G5 15 SE laptop with new features and enhanced performance.

  • Built for speed with a 99% sRGB color coverage, the new Alienware 25 Gaming Monitor features fast IPS technology that offers rich colors, a 240Hz refresh rate and a 1 millisecond response time, all in native FHD resolution. It also has AMD Radeon FreeSync and is G-Sync compatible.
  • The newly redesigned Dell G5 15 SE (Special Edition) is the first Dell G Series laptop to feature 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen 4000 H-Series Mobile Processors (up to 8 cores and 16 threads) paired with the latest AMD Radeon RX 5000M Series graphics. The two chips work seamlessly together using AMD SmartShift technology to optimize performance by automatically shifting power as needed between the Ryzen processor and Radeon graphics, giving gamers precisely what they want at each moment of play.

Lenovo

Lenovo released a number of new performance monitors and laptops, giving gamers a variety of devices to choose how they want to enhance their battle experience.

  • With the new premium Lenovo Q27h Monitor, users can seamlessly switch between entertainment and their latest creative project. Its 27-inch QHD (2560 x 1440) provides IPS high-resolution ​and 350 nits of brightness. The four-sided near-edgeless bezel brings a noticeably wider viewing experience when playing the hottest gaming titles in your spare time with super-fast 4ms response time, and a smooth 75Hz refresh rate to reduce motion blur in the game.
  • The Lenovo Legion Y740S is Lenovo’s thinnest and lightest gaming laptop yet with up to eight hours of battery life. It’s got up to 10th Gen Intel Core i9 processors (coming soon) reaching more than 5 GHz and Q-Control, with which users can shift gears with a simple press of their Fn+Q keys. Jump into Performance Mode for higher frame rates, down-shift into Quiet Mode for better battery life to watch a movie or stay the course in Balance Mode for day-to-day usage. Made with long-term gaming usage in mind, enjoy the new tactile feel of the Lenovo Legion keyboards, featuring quick response time with 100% anti-ghosting, improved ergonomic key size and responsive switches designed for smoother typing and gameplay.
  • Stay focused on the game with the new Lenovo Legion Y25-25 Gaming Monitor with a 24.5-inch, Full HD IPS panel display built into the near-edgeless chassis. Crank up refresh rates all the way to 240Hz—more FPS means that more data flows between the GPU and monitor, helping to eliminate tearing in most multiplayer games. It comes with anti-glare panel and up to 400 nits of brightness and is TÜV Rheinland Eye Comfort Certified to reduce eye strain. Curved monitors make gaming more immersive and comfortable, as the curve simulates a more natural viewing experience for your eyes, neck and head—allowing the gamer to see all the action at once.
  • The new 31.5-inch Lenovo G32qc Gaming Monitor has near-edgeless bezel QHD (2560 x 1440) screen resolution for clear visuals and superior picture quality. Catch every player movement with its wide viewing angle, high-screen brightness and excellent contrast ratio.
  • Or, choose the heavy-duty yet compact 27-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution display on the Lenovo G27c Gaming Monitor — both monitors have a curvature of 1500R for complete game immersion. The latter is engineered to deliver virtually tear-free and stutter-free gameplay and is capable of an amazingly high refresh rate of up to 165Hz, helping to rid gaming distractions such as choppy images, streaks and motion blur.

iBuyPower

 iBuyPower showed off an expansion of its Element Case line and next gen Revolt Series.

  • For a different take on the traditional PC layout, the Element Dual features a binary chamber design. With the PSU mounted vertically on the bottom right side of the case and hidden behind the motherboard tray, users will be left with an open aesthetic on the left side and substantial space for maximum component compatibility. The Element CL case is pre-built systems is designed with an integrated front panel distribution plate for easier bends and less complicated routing.
  • The Revolt GT3 will take on a new aesthetic compared to the asymmetrical design of its predecessors, housing small form factor systems and providing support for ITX motherboards and SFX power supplies up to 750W. Systems constructed in it will be mounted to and suspended inside an outer frame by flexible rubber supports designed to add both cushion from shock and vibration damping.

These are just some of the new products that are bringing powerful experiences to Windows 10 gamers in 2020. Check back on Xbox Wire or the Windows Experience blog to keep up with the latest PC gaming product releases and news.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

NSA reports flaw in Windows cryptography core

After years of criticism from the infosec community about hoarding critical vulnerabilities, the National Security Agency may be changing course.

The highlight of Microsoft’s first Patch Tuesday of 2020 is a vulnerability in the Windows cryptography core first reported to vendor by the NSA. The flaw in CryptoAPI DLL (CVE-2020-0601) affects Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 and 2019. According to Microsoft’s description, an attacker could exploit how Windows validates ECC certificates in order to launch spoofing attacks.

The NSA gave a more robust description in its advisory, noting that the Windows cryptography flaw also affects “applications that rely on Windows for trust functionality,” and specifically impacts HTTPS connections, signed files and emails and signed executable code.

“Exploitation of the vulnerability allows attackers to defeat trusted network connections and deliver executable code while appearing as legitimately trusted entities,” NSA wrote in its advisory. “NSA assesses the vulnerability to be severe and that sophisticated cyber actors will understand the underlying flaw very quickly and, if exploited, would render the previously mentioned platforms as fundamentally vulnerable. The consequences of not patching the vulnerability are severe and widespread. Remote exploitation tools will likely be made quickly and widely available.”

Will Dormann, vulnerability analyst at the CERT Coordination Center, confirmed the issue also affects X.509 certificates, meaning an attacker could spoof a certificate chain to a trusted root certificate authority and potentially intercept or modify TLS-encrypted communication.

Johannes Ullrich, fellow at the SANS Internet Storm Center, said the flaw is especially noteworthy because “the affected library is a core component of the Windows operating systems. Pretty much all software doing any kind of cryptography uses it.”

“The flaw is dangerous in that it allows an attacker to impersonate trusted websites and trusted software publishers. Digital signatures are used everywhere to protect the integrity and the authenticity of software, web pages and, in some cases, email,” Ullrich told SearchSecurity. “This flaw could be used to trick a user into installing malicious software. Most endpoint protection products will inspect the digital signature of software the user installs, and consider software created by trusted organizations as harmless. Using this flaw, an attacker would be able attach a signature claiming that the software was created by a trusted entity.”

However, Craig Young, computer security researcher for Tripwire’s vulnerability and exposure research team, said the impact of this Windows cryptography vulnerability might be more limited to enterprises and “most individuals don’t need to lose sleep over this attack just yet.”

“The primary attack vectors most people would care about are HTTPS session compromise malware with spoofed authenticode signatures. The attack against HTTPS however requires that the attacker can insert themselves on the network between the client and server. This mostly limits the attack to nation-state adversaries,” Young told SearchSecurity. “The real risk is more likely to enterprises where a nation state attacker may be motivated to carry out an attack. The worst-case scenario would be that a hostile or compromised network operator is used to replace legitimate executable content from an HTTPS session with malicious binaries having a spoofed signature.”

Beyond patching, NSA suggested network prevention and detection techniques to inspect certificates outside of Windows cryptography validation.

“Some enterprises route traffic through existing proxy devices that perform TLS inspection, but do not use Windows for certificate validation. The devices can help isolate vulnerable endpoints behind the proxies while the endpoints are being patched,” NSA wrote. “Properly configured and managed TLS inspection proxies independently validate TLS certificates from external entities and will reject invalid or untrusted certificates, protecting endpoints from certificates that attempt to exploit the vulnerabilities. Ensure that certificate validation is enabled for TLS proxies to limit exposure to this class of vulnerabilities and review logs for signs of exploitation.”

NSA takes credit

Infosec experts credited the NSA for not only reporting the Windows cryptography flaw but also providing detailed insight and advice about the threat. Chris Morales, head of security analytics at Vectra, based in San Jose, Calif., praised the NSA for recommending “leveraging network detection to identify malicious certificates.”

“I think they did a great job of being concise and clear on both the problem and recommended courses of action,” Morales told SearchSecurity. “Of course, it would be great if the NSA did more of this, but it is not their normal job and I wouldn’t expect them to be accountable for doing a vendor job. Relying on the vendor for notification of security events will always be important.”

Young also commended the NSA’s advisory for being very helpful and providing “useful insights which are not included in either the CERT/CC note or the Microsoft advisory.”

The NSA is designated as the Executive Secretariat of the government’s Vulnerabilities Equities Process (VEP), designed to organize the process of determining what vulnerabilities found by federal agencies would be kept secret and which would be disclosed. However, the NSA has consistently received criticism from experts that it keeps too many vulnerabilities secret and should disclose more in order to help protect the public. In recent years, this criticism was loudest when leaked NSA cyberweapons were used in widespread WannaCry attacks.

The NSA advisory for the Windows cryptography flaw is rare for the agency, which has been more open with warnings about potential threats but hasn’t been known to share more technical analysis.

Also making this vulnerability an outlier is that the NSA was given attribution in Microsoft’s patch acknowledgements section. Anne Neuberger, deputy national manager at the NSA, said on a call with news media Tuesday that this wasn’t the first vulnerability the NSA has reported to Microsoft, but it does mark the first time the agency accepted attribution.

Infosec journalist Brian Krebs, who broke the story of the Windows cryptography patch on Monday, claimed sources told him this disclosure may mark the beginning of a new initiative at NSA to make more vulnerability research available to vendors and the public.

NSA did not respond to requests for comment at the time of this writing.

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