Categories
Computing

Here’s why Intel’s A380 GPU could really be a hidden gem

The Intel Arc A380, the only Arc Alchemist graphics card that’s currently available, was just tested in various games after being overclocked.

The performance gains caused by the overclocking show that the GPU has the potential to be much better than what some previous benchmarks may have implied.

Intel’s Arc A380 has already been seen in a number of benchmarks and tests, including Intel’s own, which redeemed it slightly after a round of bad news. This time around, the GPU was put to the test by Pro Hi-Tech, a YouTuber who specializes in overclocking. That’s exactly what he did with the Arc A380 — he boosted the card to unlock some of the hidden power it seems to possess. These results could be a sign of the Arc A380 being a lot better than initially thought.

In order to overclock the GPU, the YouTuber had to take a different approach than usual. This is because well-known clock/voltage tools such as MSI Afterburner don’t support Intel Arc just yet. As such, he didn’t alter the GPUs core clocks; instead, he used Intel’s proprietary graphics utility tool in order to tweak the card’s voltage. Pro Hi-Tech adjusted the GPU Performance Boost setting to 55%, and the voltage offset to +0.255mv. Before moving on to testing the boosted GPU in a gaming scenario, the YouTuber also enabled resizable BAR.

These modifications brought up the clock on the Intel Arc A380 by up to an additional 150MHz, meaning a relatively small boost of six percent. However, the power usage went up considerably, from around 35 watts to — at times — more than 55 watts. That’s an increase of up to 57%, but also, it’s an interesting figure. Intel said that the official TDP of the GPU sits at 75 watts.

This brings us to the results of the testing. In order to give an accurate estimate of the card’s performance, the YouTuber compared the results to those of a regular Arc A380 with no overclock and to Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650, a card that has often been named as a direct competitor for this entry-level GPU.

Pro Hi-Tech

Pro Hi-Tech benchmarked the Intel Arc A380 in Cyberpunk 2077, God of War, Doom Eternal, Rainbow Six Siege, Watch Dogs Legion, and World of Tanks. Each and every game showed a performance increase, which is not all that surprising, but the gains are big enough to bring the Arc GPU to a level where it’s on par with the GTX 1650.

In Cyberpunk 2077, the boosted Arc A380 actually managed to beat Nvidia, reaching 51 frames per second (fps) compared to Nvidia’s 42. Some games, such as Doom Eternal, show a massive increase in fps, going from 64 to 102. On average, the stock version of Intel Arc A380 scored 55.1 fps across six titles; the overclocked version hit 75.6, and the GTX 1650 won by a negligible margin with 75.9. This was first spotted by Tom’s Hardware.

These benchmark results show that there might be more to Intel Arc than meets the eye. However, it’s now up to Intel to bring out that potential and tweak the performance of the GPU without requiring users to overclock it. Let’s hope that all the early benchmark data will prove to be useful and will allow Intel to optimize the Arc A380.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Game

PlayStation fixes PS Plus Premium’s hidden upgrade fees

PlayStation announced that it would no longer charge players who bought PS Plus subscriptions at a discounted rate a higher fee when they upgrade to PlayStation Plus Extra or PlayStation Plus Premium.

This announcement came via the official Ask PlayStation support Twitter account after reports of the PS Plus upgrade issue spread over the past couple of days. “Due to a technical error, players in Asia who have previously purchased a PlayStation Plus membership at a discount have been incorrectly charged for their upgrade pricing,” the tweet says. “This error has been fixed and impacted players will receive a credit. We thank you for your patience.”

Due to a technical error, players in Asia who have previously purchased a PlayStation Plus membership at a discount have been incorrectly charged for their upgrade pricing. This error has been fixed and impacted players will receive a credit. We thank you for your patience.

— Ask PlayStation (@AskPlayStation) May 25, 2022

As that tweet mentions, players trying to upgrade to these new versions of PS Plus were the people who first encountered this issue. The two new tiers of PlayStation Plus debuted in Asian markets on May 23, ahead of a rollout in Japan, North America, and Europe throughout the month of June. As players can convert their previous PS Plus and PS Now subscriptions to get PlayStation Plus Premium or Extra, many players bought PS Plus subscriptions at discounted rates so that they would end up technically paying less overall for the $120 a year service.

Unfortunately, when these players went to upgrade on May 23, the PlayStation Store required them to pay back that discount if they wanted to upgrade. So, if someone got a year of PS Plus for $45 instead of $60, they’d have to pay $15 on top of the already more expensive free for Extra or Premium if they wanted to upgrade. While a VGC report suggested that this move was intentional, Sony is crediting this issue to a “technical error.”

The early days of any subscription service are typically fraught with technical issues like this. Hopefully, Sony can fix PlayStation Plus Premium’s key issues before it rolls it out to new markets like North America. 

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Computing

Windows 11 Tips & Tricks: 8 Hidden Settings to Try Out

If you’ve just upgraded to Windows 11, you’ll soon find out that the new operating system brings many new features and enhancements. In case you’re wondering, there are a few hidden settings that you can enable to get the most out of your new Windows 11 install.

There are cover folders on Start, the ability to move the Taskbar location, and a lot more. We put our favorites together for you in one place.

Move the Taskbar and Start Menu to the left

One of the biggest differences between Windows 10 and Windows 11 is the location of the Taskbar and Start Menu. On Windows 10, the Taskbar and Start Menu are off to the left of the screen. Windows 11, though, changes that by moving both to the center. If this annoys you, then you can easily change it back.

Just hit Windows Key + I to open up the Settings app. Then, choose Personalization and Taskbar. From there, choose Taskbar behaviors and click Left under Taskbar alignment. This should make Windows 11 feel a bit more like Windows 10.

Bring back folders on Start

The folders on Windows 11 Start Menu.

Another complaint from a lot of people who upgraded to Windows 11 from Windows 10 is the inability to pin folders to the Start Menu. Well, Windows 11 does have an in-built setting that can show folders next to the power button on the Start Menu — but only system ones.

To show core system folders on the Start Menu, hit the Windows Key + I on your keyboard, then choose Personalization. After that, choose Start and then Folders. You can then flip the switches to On for the various system folders you want to see on the Start Menu. The selection includes Settings, File Explorer, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos, Network, and your Personal Folder.

Hide the Recommended files in favor of suggested apps

Another core Windows 11 feature is the Recommended section, which is powered by Microsoft 365. You’ll see your most commonly opened or recently opened files in this section of the Start Menu. A lot of people don’t like this, however, and opt to turn it off, leaving an empty space in the Start Menu. This isn’t exactly easy on the eyes, which is why we typically disable it in favor of showing recently added apps, so as not to waste the space. Here’s how to do it.

First, hit Windows Key + I on your keyboard, then click Personalization followed by Start. Toggle the switch for Show recently added apps to on and the switches for Show recently opened items in Start, Jump Lists, and File Explorer to off. Keep in mind that if you opt to do this, you’ll no longer see file recommendations in File Explorer, as this setting is universal across Windows 11.

Turn off Widgets and Chat

Changing the taskbar icons in Windows 11.

The Widgets and Chat features are two of the core new features in Windows 11. These let you keep in touch with the people and things you care about the most. However, if you’re not a fan of these features, you can turn them off and save yourself some Taskbar space. Here’s how.

First, hit the Windows Key + I on your keyboard, then choose Personalization. From there, choose Taskbar and look for Show or hide buttons that appear on the taskbar. You can then toggle the switches for Taskview, Widgets, or Chat to off.

Change the way the touch keyboard looks

The touch keyboard settings in Windows 11.

Windows 11 brings many changes that make the operating system more friendly on touch devices like the Surface Pro 8. One of those changes is the ability to tweak the touch keyboard. You can customize it to look and feel the way you want — and not just use the system default white or dark keyboard.

To do this, choose Windows Key + I on your keyboard, then click Personalization, followed by Touch Keyboard. From here, you can choose various themes and keyboard sizes. There are a total of 16 preset themes, but you also can create your own custom theme, change the key sizes, and so much more.

Try the new keyboard shortcuts

Microsoft Surface Go 3's keyboard and trackpad.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Just like Windows 10, Windows 11 has a new set of keyboard shortcuts. You can use these to save time during your busy day. These cover things such as Widgets, the chat app, quick settings, notification center, Snap Layouts, and more. We included some of these for you in the table below.

⊞ Win + W Open the Widgets Pane.
⊞ Win + A Open Quick Settings for Wi-Fi, Brightness, etc.
 ⊞ Win + N Open Notification Center.
⊞ Win + Z Open Snap Layouts.
 ⊞ Win + C Open Teams Chat app.

It’s also worth noting that Windows 11 still features some of the same keyboard shortcuts as Windows 10. The shortcuts for copying, pasting, the emoji picker, and screenshots are all the same. We talk about these in a separate post.

Type with your voice in Windows 11

Voice Typing in Windows 11.

One of the cool features in Windows 11 is the voice-typing feature. You’re probably used to this on your iPhone or Android device, but Windows 11 also has voice typing built-in. Hit the Windows Key + H on your keyboard when you’re in a text box and start turning your voice into words. You’ll need to select the mic button in the pop-out menu to start using the feature. You can then customize it to your liking by clicking the settings icon and tweaking the voice typing so that it can insert auto punctuation based on the pace of your voice.

Bring back the legacy right-click menus

The legacy right-click menu in Windows 11.

Windows 11 brings a new, more simplified right-click menu, with common controls for copying, pasting, and renaming files front and center. If you’re a power user, though, you might want to consider a new shortcut to bring back the legacy right-click menu that’s hidden under Show more options. You can simply click on top of an item as usual and then hit Shift+ F10 on your keyboard to bring up the legacy right-click menu with the full list of options.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Tech News

Watch woodpecker destroy hidden camera one obnoxious peck at a time

You’ve probably seen or heard a woodpecker in action at some point; they’re the small birds that can spend hours driving everyone in the vicinity to madness with incessant taps against trees or wood buildings. What you probably haven’t seen is what it looks like to be the object subjected to the woodpecker’s wrath — until now, that is.

A newly published video was captured in Leningrad Oblast, Russia, at the Nizhne-Svirsky Nature Reserve where staff had placed a wildlife camera. According to the team, the camera was designed to resemble tree bark so that it would blend in with the surrounding environment and wouldn’t attract the attention of nearby wildlife.

That plan didn’t, well, go exactly as planned as a woodpecker soon scoped out the camera and, seemingly recognizing that it was something other than tree bark, spent several days pecking at the device. We get a direct look at what it’s like to be the victim of a woodpecker, a unique perspective as interesting as seeing hummingbirds fly in slow motion.

According to staff who shared a short version of the video footage on Facebook, the woodpecker would leave and then return over several days to ‘methodically’ peck a hole through the disguised camera. The issue was discovered when researchers went into the field to check on the camera and discovered the vandalism.

This isn’t the first time a camera has accidentally caught something interesting in nature. Back in early 2019, for example, researchers in San Diego shared a night vision video of a kangaroo rat putting its skills to the test when a snake appeared without warning. The rat was captured on video performing a stunning and effective spin kick against the snake, after which the rodent escaped to safety.

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Categories
Game

Minecraft Dungeons Hidden Depths goes underwater today

Minecraft Dungeons is approximately one year old, and to celebrate its birthday, the game will go under the water. There’ll be a Minecraft Dungeons DLC called Hidden Depths – you might already have access to the DLC by the time you read this article. Hidden Depths is a water-centric update with both paid and free content, with new weapons, gear, artifacts, locations, and a new enemy.

In Minecraft Dungeons Hidden Depths – under the water – users must “swim through streams of air bubbles” to refuel their air. If you’ve played the standard, original vanilla version of Minecraft, you’ll remember this feature from the water, what with needing air to breathe and having bubbles to show the amount of time one has before they’ll need to breathe air once more.

Hidden Depths has a new Coral Blade, a new Bubble Bow, Anchor and Turtle Armor. You’ll find a whole bunch of new ocean-inspired bits in the new realm from the beginning. The Hidden Depths DLC can be found in the game as of this week.

If you do not want to purchase the DLC, you’ll still see new enchantments this week, including Guarding Strike, Luck of the Sea, Multi-Charge, Refreshment, and Rush. You’ll have a new ability to enable or disable screen shake, and you’ll find new Raid Captains.

New Raid Captains were added to the game with this latest update – they’re powerful! If you defeat a Raid Captain, you’ll get “one of two tokens.” One can increase the mission’s threat level, the other “adds a rules modifier to your current mission.” You’ll want to keep these tokens as you aim to beat the mission, and in return you’ll get the Raid Captain’s Bounty!

If you purchase the Hidden Depths DLC for around $6 USD, you’ll get three new underwater missions. You’ll get two new skins and a Baby Turtle pet. You’ll have access to new artifacts, new armor, and new weapons.

Weapons include anchor, encrusted anchor, bubble bow, bubble burster, heavy duty harpoon, harpoon crossbow, sponge striker, and coral blade. You’ll find squid armor, glow squid armor, turtle armor, and nimble turtle armor. New artifacts include the Satchel of Snacks, Satchel of Elixers, Harpoon Quiver, and Eye of the Guardian.

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Categories
Tech News

MIT robot uses radio waves to find and retrieve hidden objects

MIT researchers have developed a robot that can detect and grab objects that are hidden behind walls or pieces of clutter.

The system, called RF-Grasp, uses radio waves to locate items beyond the line-of-sight of a robot’s cameras. It could help warehouse robots grab customer orders or tools that are occluded behind obstacles.

Existing mechanical search systems struggle with these tasks due to the constraints of their sensors. If an object is concealed, they typically need to explore the environment and search for the item.

Unlike visible light and infrared, RF (radio frequency) signals can traverse cardboard boxes, wooden walls, plastic covers, and colored glass to perceive objects fitted with RFID tags.

[Read: How to use AI to better serve your customers]

“Researchers have been giving robots human-like perception,” said study co-author Fadel Adib. “We’re trying to give robots superhuman perception.”

Robotic perception

RF-Grasp is comprised of a camera on the robot’s wrist and a separate RF reader. Together, they collect tracking data and create a visual map of the environment.

The system first pings the object’s RF tag to identify its location. It then determines the optimal path around the obstacles to reach the item.

As the robot gets closer to the object and starts manipulating it, computer vision provides more precise directions.

In tests, RF-Grasp successfully identified and moved objects that were concealed behind packaging and other obstacles. The researchers say the system completed the tasks with about half as much movement as similar robots equipped with only a camera.

The system does depend on target objects being tagged with RFIDs. But the widespread adoption of these chips as barcode replacements in retail, manufacturing, and warehousing means RF-Grasp could already have a practical impact.

You can read the study paper here.

Greetings Humanoids! Did you know we have a newsletter all about AI? You can subscribe to it right here.

Published April 1, 2021 — 18:36 UTC



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Categories
Security

Malware hidden in Call of Duty cheat software proves that cheaters never prosper

Hackers have been hiding malware in cheating software for Call of Duty: Warzone and have been trying to spread it to “cheating cheaters,” as a report from Activision calls them (via Vice).

You can read the full report here, but it explains that there’s been a campaign by hackers to try to get Warzone players to download a fake cheating engine. After players run it, the malware can then go on to infect the computer with whatever payload is chosen by the hacker.

In short: cheaters never prosper. If the malware doesn’t get you, you’ll likely just get banned from the game instead.

Players downloading cheats to help them pwn and then getting pwned themselves is nothing new. I’ll admit it: I wasted my childhood by being a serial cheater, sneaking peeks at my sister’s Battleship board or slipping myself a couple extra $100s when acting as the banker in Monopoly. And when playing video games, I cheated, too. Never online (I had dial-up in the age of Modern Warfare 2), but I certainly downloaded my fair share of patches and mods to try to make games easier or to get better loot.

There were absolutely times I paid for it, knocking the family computer out of commission with a nasty virus and having to spend the rest of the day fixing the computer before my mom came home.

Call of Duty isn’t alone in having hack-infested hacks: players downloading cheats for Valorant, Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox have all gotten nasty surprises. It seems today’s gamers are learning the same lesson I did: if you’re cheating at the game, you’re really only cheating yourself.

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Categories
Game

How to Use the Hidden Nintendo Switch Browser

Looking for secret Nintendo Switch tips? How about a built-in web browser? This actually exists, you just can’t use it — at least, not directly. Why? Because the console is a portable, gaming-first device. You likely have a smartphone in your pocket, purse, or bag already, and Nintendo knows this. Even more, gaming consoles aren’t the best devices for browsing the internet anyway.

That said, you won’t find a dedicated web browser preinstalled on the console or listed in the eShop. Instead, it’s mainly used to log in to a public access point (hotspot), like a hospital, hotel, airport, Starbucks, and so on. It’s minimal at best, enabling very basic web surfing. It struggles with scripts and doesn’t support modern web-based technologies like Flash, but is worth taking a look for a few giggles.

To use the browser outside the typical hotspot method, you must trick the console by manually inserting a primary DNS address. Our instructions on how to use the hidden Nintendo Switch browser relies on SwitchBru, a free hosted DNS server that redirects your queries to Google’s public DNS servers. According to the service, your connection is encrypted.

Still, keep in mind that you’re connecting to a third-party service. SwitchBru claims it doesn’t collect information like your IP address and surfing habits, but it does offer a free service for storing your favorite links and preferences.

Further Reading

Use the web browser

Step 1: Tap or select the System Settings “gear” icon located on the Home screen.

Step 2: Scroll down and tap or select the Internet option on the following screen.

Step 3: Select Internet Settings on the right.

Nintendo Switch Select Internet Settings

Step 4: Tap or select an internet connection.

Step 5: On the following screen, tap or select Change Settings.

Nintendo Switch Change Internet Settings

Step 6: Scroll down and tap or select DNS Settings.

Step 7: Choose Manual in the pop-up window at the bottom.

Nintendo Switch Select Manual DNS

Step 8: Select Primary DNS, clear all the zeroes, and enter this address:

045.055.142.122

Select OK or tap the “plus” button to continue.

Nintendo Switch change Primary DNS

Step 9: Tap or select the Save button.

Nintendo Switch Save Manual DNS

Step 10: Tap or select Connect to This Network on the following screen.

Step 11: The connection appears to fail, requiring registration. Tap or select Next.

Nintendo Switch Register DNS Server

Step 12: The SwitchBru DNS homepage now appears on your screen. Here’s the actual address you can access on any device:

https://dns.switchbru.com

As shown below, you can tap or select the Continue to Google button to load a basic Google search page. You’ll also see a column to the left with six categories:

  • Google: Search the internet
  • Enter URL: Enter an address
  • News: The latest news from SwitchBru
  • Feedback: Take SwitchBru’s survey to provide feedback about the latest web browsing experience
  • Useful Links: Add custom links and access general and Switch-related links.
  • Settings: Change the theme (white or black), manage notifications, disable ads, and more.
SwitchBru DNS Page

Disconnect the web browser

Now that your Primary DNS is finally rerouted to SwitchBru, you’ll switch to loading the welcome screen each time you utilize that internet connection. To return it back to the original settings and disable the web browser, look at the earlier directions from Step 1 to Step 5. Alternatively, after you arrive at the connection settings screen, use these directions: 

Step 6: Scroll down and then click on or select the DNS Settings option. You’ll immediately see a pop-up page open at the bottom of the screen.

Step 7: Hit or pick the Automatic selection.

Step 8: Press the Save button. After you do this, immediately click the OK button to finish off this step and successfully complete the process.

We believe that it’s worth mentioning that if you encounter connection problems using the Automatic setting, you can apply these directions to adjust the primary and secondary DNS numbers using a manual method. For example, here are Google’s DNS addresses:

8.8.8.8 (primary)

8.8.4.4 (secondary)

Editors’ Choice




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Tech News

Xiaomi Mi 11 iFixit teardown shows the hidden cost of features

On the heels of the Galaxy S21 series, Xiaomi launched its own early 2021 flagship in the form of the Mi 11. Like all its predecessors before it, it manages to cram all those high-end goodness in an affordable package. There will always be catches, of course, and iFixit’s meticulous teardown reveals some of the trade-offs from having so many features, most of them relating to the phone’s durability and longevity down the line.

The Xiaomi Mi 11 was reportedly a bit easier to open up compared to most glass-metal-glass smartphone sandwiches. The glass back was relatively easier to pry off with some heat and coaxing and the front screen eventually yielded without putting up much of a fight. That’s not exactly because Xiaomi was being repair-friendly, though, and mostly because doesn’t have much in the way of ingress protection, a.k.a. the coveted IP rating.

There are a lot of components inside to support all the features that the phone boasts of. Unfortunately, that also makes removing components much more laborious, especially when cables and connectors twist and hide out of sight. There are also some components that are soldered tight to boards when they should have been more modular, like the USB-C port that gets the most wear and tear out of any other part.

The Mi 11 does have its highlights, though, like how the battery comes with pull tabs and how the screen can be removed separately from the battery and vice versa. Most components are admittedly modular but some, like the fingerprint scanner, require removing the screen first, which is never a risk-free process.

All in all, the Xiaomi Mi 11 gets a 4 out of 10 on iFixit, a level higher than the significantly more expensive Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. It’s far from being a decent repair-friendly phone but its more accessible price tag may help soften the blow when, not if, accidents happen.

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