The smartphone industry has been fairly stagnant for a while. It's been improving and progressing but there hasn't really been any sort of evolution or innovation in quite some time. To be fair the modern slab design ultimately works and is about as efficient in design as possible but it's a bit boring at this point. Some companies have certainly tried their hand at improving the smartphone, for instance LG has their V series with it's unique dual screen design and their G5 with it's semi-modularity. The latter is where Motorola (now owned by Lenovo) tries it's hand, mods. Welcome to the Moto Z family.
The iPhone kicked off the smart phone revolution, and while not necessarily innovative it definitely changed the game. During the early years of Android it felt like much of the time it was trying to catch up to the iPhone. This lead to a lot of competition in the world of Android. Phone makers not only had to be the best but they also needed to innovate. And while some of these experiments failed and became nothing more than cheap (or sometimes expensive) gimmicks some had lasting effects on the industry. Unfortunately for the last few years the industry has been generally stagnant. The only advancements have been the expected increases in performance and quality. Along the way of achieving those improvements many things have been lost. Either way things have been pretty boring.
The LG G5 was the first sign of life in this industry. LG promised swappable mod packs for the phone that would fit into the battery slot. They would add or enhance the features of the phone. This was first time we saw a phone that not only had top of the line specifications but went the extra mile as well. Unfortunately it didn't appear to work. The mods were limited, costly, and required powering the device down and removing the battery every time you wanted to swap one out. However despite the tepid reception this was an innovation. At the end of the day LG at least tried to push the envelope.
For a good four years (forever in the tech world) AMD/ATI played and won the value game against Nvidia. Their cards performed better, were cheaper, and were more efficient than Nvidia's best offerings. AMD never held the performance crown, but they certainly held the value crown. Then in 2011 things changed with the HD 7970 being the first time in a long time that AMD really chased performance. It was the beginning of the end that they've never really recovered from. Unfortunately it's led to this new generation were Nvidia is getting away with things because they have no reason to play nice. This is why we need AMD more than ever.
Tablet PCs are prevalent these days, long gone are the times where they were large, bulky, slow, short lived, and expensive. Almost everyone has a tablet in some form, be it an iPad, an Android tablet, or a Amazon Fire. The problem is tablets were always meant as a stop gap, never a permanent solution. Not so much the concept of a tablet, but the mobile oriented operating systems that drive them. Both android and iOS came at a time when full powered tablet PCs with a full OS like Windows or OSX were not feasible, though many certainly tried. At some point the tablet OS will die.
During the announcement of the new Fiji GPU AMD also announced that a dual GPU card was in the works. Code named Gemini this card was supposed to be AMD's ace in the hole for VR support. After all as the R9 Fury X, Fury, and in particular the Fury Nano, all demonstrated Fiji is a fairly efficient (at least way more so than Hawaii) card capable of delivering great performance. Originally this card was set to launch late 2015, sometime in December, however now this card has been delayed until sometime between April and June which leaves AMD in a bit of quarry.
Corsair is one of the biggest brands in the business. Chances are if you've ever built a PC at some point you've used a Corsair product. Their portfolio spans everything from PC cooling to PC power supplies. One area they've rapidly been gaining steam is with their cases. Particularly they've been attacking the budget sector furiously. Today we have the bottom of that portfolio, the Corsair 100r. Retailing at just $60 it aims to please those looking for a small case that's easy to build in, quality, and quiet. So at $60 is this case worth it? Or should they go back to the drawing board?
Windows 10 is almost upon us. While not officially RTM (Release To Manufacturer) yet we're at version 10240 with only about 12 days left until the official launch this is probably the last version released to Windows Insiders. While most people will be using Windows 10 on a traditional desktop or laptop computer Microsoft has been talking a lot about how well Windows 10 works with mobile devices like tablets. They promised this with Windows 8 and 8.1 as well and for the most part succeeded. So how well does Windows 10 work on a tablet? Let's find out.
AMD has been playing catch up to Nvidia for the last few generations. Nvidia will release a cool, quiet, efficient, high performance card and AMD will release one that performs better at the expense of heat and power usage months later. Nvidia will fight back a few months after that and the cycle continues. This time it's AMD playing catch up to the Nvidia 9 series with the R9 390 rebrands and the flagship Fury X.
On paper the Fury X has a lot going for it. It's the first time we've seen HBM stacked memory instead of traditional GDDR5. HBM takes up less room, uses less power, and offers much wider bandwidth, it's only downsides are cost and speed. This is an approach AMD tried with the HD4000 series when they switched to GDDR5 while Nvidia was still using GDDR3. That generation it completely worked. While the HD4850 and 4870 weren't quite performance kings, they gave Nvidia a run for their money in the mid-range market. The HD4870 couldn't quite match the GTX280 but it sure matched and bettered the GTX260 forcing Nivida to release the GTX260 216. In comparison to Nvidia's costly, power hungry, hot and loud, GTX200 series AMD's cards were a breath of fresh air. This time around with the Fury X the tables are essentially turned.
AMD has long been the bad boy of the computer technology world. Disrupting the CPU world with their 64 bit Athlon 64's that destroyed Intel's golden child, the Pentium 4. They constantly keep Nvidia on their toes with their GPUs that outperform, undercut on price, or both. Lately however in both worlds AMD has generally been playing catchup to both Nvidia and Intel, as well as facing heat in the mobile market with ARM processors. It seems all their focus has been on these two markets without really making a splash lately. Most of their innovative tech like Mantle generally amounts to little in the real world. Their Octo-core processors with the FX series barely manage to compete with their Intel counterparts with less cores, as well as doing so at the expense of power usage and heat. AMD have promised that the R9 300 series will put them back into the game, but there's really a lot going against it at this point. Now is the perfect time for AMD to pull out of the discrete GPU market completely in order to shake up the entire industry.