Lenovo's New ThinkStation P720 And P920 Workstations Sport Intel Xeon CPUs

Lenovo’s new ThinkStation P720 and P920 workstations feature the new Intel Xeon Bronze, Gold, Silver and Platinum processors. The increased core count as well as increased memory bandwidth afforded by the six-channel memory promises drastic performance increases over the previous generation, especially in applications that are dependent on core count and memory bandwidth.

ThinkStation P720

The ThinkStation P720 is the smaller of the two. It features dual processor sockets, twelve slots for DDR4-2666 memory, four drive bays, three PCIe x16 slots, one PCIe x8 slot, once PCIe x4 slot, and a single PCI slot. It also has two onboard M.2 connectors, which are directly on the motherboard instead of on a mezzanine card as they were on the previous generation of Lenovo workstations.

The smaller chassis of the P720 limits it to two dual-slot graphics cards. The 5 1/4” bay with front access can be used to house additional hard drives or SSDs, bringing the total number of storage drives to six.

ThinkStation P920

The new top of Lenovo’s workstation line is the Thinkstation P920. Like the P720, it’s a dual-processor machine, but in a larger chassis that allows for more expansion. It features sixteen slots for DDR4-2666 memory, four drive bays, five PCIe x16 slots, and three PCIe x4 slots. Like the P720, it also has two M.2 connectors on the motherboard.

The case’s larger internal volume allows for more expansion cards, giving it the capacity to take three dual-slot graphics cards instead of two. It should be noted that in both systems, using the maximum number of dual-slot cards limits the accessibility of some of the other expansion slots.

Lenovo anticpates a 43% performance improvement over the previous generation of machines due to a combination of the additional processor cores and memory bandwidth.

The Lenovo ThinkStation P720 and P920 are expected to be available in October.

ThinkStation P720 ThinkStation P920
Processor Dual Intel Xeon Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum- up to 28 cores per CPU, up to 3.6 Ghz CPU clock.
Chipset Intel C621
Memory Up to 384GB RDIMM 2666MHz DDR4, 12 DIMM Slots Up to 2TB DDR4, 2666MHz, 16 DIMMs (supports both RDIMM and LRDIMM)
Graphics Up to two Nvidia Quadro P6000 or GP100 Up to three Nvidia Quadro P6000 or GP100
Storage Two M.2, four internal bays, two external bays
Front Ports 4 USB 3.1 Gen 1 (Type A), 1 combo mic/headphone
Rear Ports 4 USB 3.1 Gen 1 (Type A), 2 USB 2.0, 2 PS/2, 2 Ethernet, Audio Line-In, Line-Out, Mic-In
(Optional serial, parallel, e-SATA, and Firewire)
WiFi Intel® Wireless – N 7260 AC 802.11 ac, 2 x 2, 2.4GHz / 5GHz + Bluetooth® 4.0 (Optional)
Power Supply 690W 92% efficient
900W 92% efficient
1400W 92% Efficient
Operating Systems Windows 10 Pro for Workstations
Ubuntu Linux (pre-load)
Redhat Linux (certified)

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Report: Western Digital Bought Toshiba Memory

A breaking report out of Japan this evening states that Western Digital has won the bidding process to take over a portion of Toshiba Memory. The two companies already work together in a joint venture to produce NAND flash memory, an arrangement that started with Toshiba and SanDisk. Western Digital acquired SanDisk in 2016 and inherited the memory manufacturing partnership.

The news should put an end to the daily speculation coming out of Japan and the U.S. The rumor mill has kept many busy over the last year. Just last week, Reuters reported that WD pulled out of negotiations to buy Toshiba’s memory business, in an effort to strengthen its position in the venture. However, the lack of legitimate sources kept us from reporting on many of the swirling rumors.

This report, though, is different from the others. We’ve noticed that some high-ranking personnel from Toshiba America were called to the company’s headquarters in Tokyo, Japan this morning. We reached out for comment but have yet to hear back at this late hour. We may hear an official announcement in the coming days if the original story holds true.

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iPhone X: 10 key moments leading up to the new handset

Apple’s 10th anniversary iPhone launch is expected to be the biggest single upgrade the handset has seen since its launch.

A revamped design with an edge-to-edge display, facial recognition ID system and advanced augmented reality features is expected.

Several analysts have predicted the asking price for the top-end models will hit new heights too.

In a world in which the smartphone has become ubiquitous, it’s easy to forget how much of a surprise Steve Jobs’s unveiling of the original was a decade ago, and how divided opinion was about whether it was truly a game-changer.

To mark the occasion, we have picked 10 key moments from its past.

1. 2004: The birth of Project Purple

After the success of first the iMac and then the iPod, Apple began developing a tablet as its next breakthrough product.

But around 2004, ex-iOS chief Scott Forstall recalls having a critical conversation over lunch with chief executive Steve Jobs.

“We were both using our phones and hated them,” he told an audience earlier this year.

“We looked around, and like everyone around us has a phone, and everyone looks very angsty as they’re using them.

“And Steve said, ‘Do you think we can take that demo we are doing with the tablet and multi-touch and shrink it down to something… small enough to fit in your pocket?'”

This prompted Apple’s engineers to create a basic contacts app that was constrained to a corner of the prototype tablet’s display.

“The second [Steve Jobs] saw this demo, he knew this was it,” Mr Forstall said. “There was no question. This was the way a phone had to behave.”

As a legal filing would later reveal, by August 2005 Apple’s industrial designers had already created a concept form factor – codenamed Purple – that is recognisable as the basis for the iPhone that followed.

2. July 2008: First iOS App Store apps released

There are now well over two million native apps available for the iPhone’s iOS operating system, and most owners have several pages and folders worth of the programs.

But for a while, after the first iPhone launched, there weren’t enough to fill even a single screen.

That’s because third-party developers were initially limited to creating software that ran within the device’s web browser. Steve Jobs reportedly believed policing a native app marketplace would be too complicated.

It wasn’t until more than a year after the handset went on sale that the App Store was launched.

And history was made on 9 July when Apple made a handful of native apps live in advance of the marketplace opening its virtual doors.

Among them was Moo – a cow sound simulator – from Denver-based developer Erica Sadun.

“I had come from the jailbreak community [in which developers modify smartphones to add capabilities], which put a lot of pressure on Apple to have its own store,” Ms Sadun said.

“The App Store completely revolutionised how independent developers could create businesses, monetise their product and present it to a community of people that was larger than anybody had ever dreamed of.

“It created a gold rush that I don’t think we are ever going to see again.”

3. September 2008: HTC Dream unveiled

It sounds fanciful now, but once upon a time Google’s chief executive was a member of Apple’s board of directors.

Eric Schmidt did not resign from the post until 2009, but his days were numbered as soon as the first commercial Android phone was announced.

The HTC Dream offered features the iPhone still lacked, including copy and paste, Street View and multimedia messaging.

And while reviews were tepid – suggesting it was “best suited for early adopters” – they recognised the potential of a more open smartphone platform to iOS.

Curiously, the Dream was theoretically capable of supporting “multi-touch” gestures – recognising how many fingers were in contact with the screen – but the feature was disabled.

That was probably because Apple had patented the technology.

When HTC added the feature to a follow-up handset in 2010, Steve Jobs was infuriated.

“I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product,” he subsequently told his biographer Walter Isaacson.

“I’m willing to go to thermonuclear war on this.”

4. February 2010: Siri app released by SRI

These days, Apple spends millions making adverts starring Siri and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, among other celebrity co-stars.

But when the virtual assistant was first released on iOS, it was a relatively low-profile app from a fairly obscure Californian research institute, which had been part-funded by the Pentagon.

Its business model was to charge restaurants and event promoters a fee for any voice-controlled bookings made for their businesses, and the plan was to release follow-up versions for Android and Blackberry.

But that changed two months after its launch, when Apple bought the technology, reportedly for more than $200m (£150m).

The app remained live on the App Store until October 2011, at which point an upgraded version became an exclusive feature for the newly launched iPhone 4S.

5. June 2010: The first selfie iPhone

When the iPhone 4 was released, reviews highlighting its addition of a front camera focused on its use for video calls rather than self-portraits.

Perhaps that was understandable. Although the word “selfie” had already been coined, it had yet to become commonplace.

And while the iPhone 4 was not the first handset to feature a camera on both its sides – Sony Ericsson did so in 2003 – it can claim to have been a driving force in the rise of selfie culture.

“The iPhone 4 was important as you had a device that was very easy to use, a big teen demographic with access to it, and an explosion of mobile apps,” said Charles Arthur, author of Digital Wars.

“It’s a classic example of unintended consequences.

“Now, the selfie has taken over from the autograph.

“Watch people at any public event where they are meeting stars, and they’re always trying to get a selfie with them.”

6. October 2011: The death of Steve Jobs

When Tim Cook – rather than Steve Jobs – unveiled the 4S on 4 October 2011, he faced criticism for his performance. The BBC even accused him of appearing “dull”.

What wasn’t apparent at the time was that Mr Cook must have been aware that his mentor and friend Steve Jobs was close to death.

He died the next day.

It is likely that Apple would have collapsed had Mr Jobs not returned in 1997 to the company he had co-founded, meaning there would never have been an iPhone.

Or had he not subsequently stayed at Apple, it’s possible the company’s engineers might have pursued a rival mobile phone design based around the iPod’s click wheel.

Certainly, since his death, Apple has yet to launch a product that has come anywhere close to achieving the iPhone’s level of success, and some question whether it ever will.

Mr Jobs’s last public appearance was at Cupertino City Council in June 2011, where he sought permission for Apple to build a new headquarters.

The new iPhone will be the first product to be launched at the new campus, within an event space called the Steve Jobs Theater.

7. April 2012: Facebook’s $1bn takeover of Instagram

If ever proof were needed of the disruptive economic impact of the iPhone, the takeover of Instagram provided it.

The app had been in existence only 18 months when the deal was announced. It had just 13 employees and had been an iOS-exclusive until the week before the revelation.

Its takeover provided a bonanza to both Instagram’s investors as well as to other smartphone-related start-ups seeking venture capital cash.

At the time, many thought Facebook had wildly overpaid. Now, as Instagram sucks in ever more advertising dollars while offline media’s funding struggles worsen, it seems like a bargain.

Other apps that debuted on the iPhone – including Uber, Deliveroo and Airbnb – have shaken up industry in other ways.

And by one estimate, the total value of the global app economy – including software sales, advertising and mobile commerce – was $1.3tn (£993bn) for last year.

8. July 2012: Apple buys AuthenTec

Apple’s $356m takeover of a fingerprint sensor chip-maker in 2012 caused a particular problem for Samsung.

The South Korean company was already using the Florida-based company’s components in its laptops and had just announced a deal to add another of its security products to its Android phones.

But while the idea of frustrating its arch-rival probably had some appeal, the biggest benefit to Apple was the ability to launch its Touch ID system in 2013’s iPhone 5S.

As reviews noted, previous attempts to introduce fingerprint scanning to phones had proven “unreliable, often causing more aggravation than they’re worth” but the new system worked “pretty much flawlessly”.

Initially, the feature was limited to being used to unlock the phone and make digital purchases from Apple.

But it later made it possible for the company to introduce Apple Pay and add security to third-party apps without requiring the hassle of typing in a password each time.

One side-effect of the sensor’s success is it may have prolonged the life of a physical home button on the iPhone.

If rumours are to be believed, Apple has struggled to replace it with a part that could be hidden beneath the screen and may be about to replace it altogether with facial recognition scans on the iPhone X.

9. August 2013: Steve Ballmer says he is stepping down as Microsoft chief

In 1997, Microsoft threw Apple a lifeline by taking a $150m stake in the failing company.

Apple returned the favour by launching a product that Microsoft first failed to properly understand and then struggled to match.

Chief executive Steve Ballmer famously laughed at the iPhone’s prospects after he first heard about it.

“That is the most expensive phone in the world, and it doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard,” he said in 2007.

Six years later, he announced the takeover of Nokia’s phone business for 5.4bn euros ($6.5bn; £5bn) in an attempt to catch up, only for the sum to be written off in 2015 after he had departed and his successor finally accepted Windows Phone was a flop.

The irony is that if Microsoft’s stake in Apple had not been sold off under Mr Ballmer, it would now be worth more than $40bn and he might have shared in its success.

“Like so many other people, Steve Ballmer completely underestimated the impact of the iPhone,” said Ben Wood, from the CCS Insight consultancy.

“His arrogant dismissal has certainly come back to haunt him.”

10. July 2016: Pokemon Go released

Pokemon Go fever is now well past its peak, and the app more likely to make headlines for botched events than rare monster sightings.

But its legacy has been to prove that augmented reality (AR) apps – in which graphics are mixed with real-world views – can have mass appeal.

AR actually dates back to 2009 on the iPhone, when a French developer created an app that shows nearby shops and other points of interest in Paris.

But it’s set to come of age with the imminent release of iOS 11, which includes ARKit – software that makes it easier for developers to anchor graphics to the world beyond and take account of its lighting conditions.

Several demos released in advance have looked impressive, not least a version of PacMan where you walk through the maze.

The question remains whether users will be satisfied experiencing the action on their iPhones, or whether Apple will feel compelled to release an accompanying headset to let them go hands-free.

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'Manifest 99' Explores VR Locomotion Via Eye Contact

One of the major challenges in virtual reality is the implementation of locomotion. Specifically, developers want to give you the ability to move around the game world without evoking the feeling of nausea. Some VR titles feature teleportation, while others let you “walk” around an area in small increments of movement. Flight School Studio, whose VR title Manifest 99 launches tomorrow, has a different take on player movement.

The game puts you on a train in the afterlife. In order to travel through it, you’ll need to use the murder of crows that populate each car. Specifically, you have to make eye contact with a crow, which lets you teleport to its location. By using enough crows you can get easily “move” from one place to another. This type of movement means that you don’t have to use a handheld controller at all.

Moving in and between train cars is just half the experience. To find out how you got on the train, you’ll need to discover the story behind its other passengers. Just like the crows, you need to look each character in the eye to find out their backstory. In a post on the PlayStation Blog, game director Bohdon Sayre wrote that the idea of eye contact teleportation also helps with the game’s narrative style.

“Sometimes, it’s easy to connect with someone and immediately feel compassion for them. Other times, there’s tension as we avoid others. The difficulty of the interactions with each character on the train varies as you progress. Maybe we don’t look people in the eyes or we attempt to hide from them. That experience is at the core of Manifest 99: you discover and connect with your travel companions. Their resistance creates tension with the mechanic and narrative that’s only possible with the power of platforms like PS VR.”

Even though Sayre singled out Sony’s VR device, it won’t be the sole platform for Manifest 99. You can try out the new teleportation for yourself on the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift via the game’s Steam page. A price for the Vive and Rift versions weren’t available, but we do know that it will cost $6 on the PlayStation Store.

Name Manifest 99
Type Adventure
Developer Flight School Studio
Publisher Project Flight School Inc.
Platforms HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR
Where To Buy Steam
Release Date September 12

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Google Details Plan To Distrust Symantec Certificates

After a series of incidents involving Symantec and its wrongfully issued certificates, Google eventually decided to distrust Symantec’s certificates in March. The company is now releasing a more detailed plan for how that process will go.

The plan was first discussed on the Blink (Chrome’s rendering engine) development mailing list with the community, and it started taking shape by the end of July of this year.

Why Symantec’s Certificates Will Be Distrusted

On January 19, after the incidents between Symantec and Google, a public posting to the mozilla.dev.security.policy newsgroup drew attention to some questionable website certificates issued by Symantec that did not comply with the CA/Browser Forum Baseline Requirements. Symantec’s Corporate Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) operates a series of certificate authorities under the brand names Thawte, VeriSign, Equifax, GeoTrust, and RapidSSL.

In the follow-up investigation, it was revealed that Symantec had entrusted several organizations with the ability to issue certificates without the appropriate or necessary oversight. Google also claimed that Symantec had been aware of the security deficiencies of these organizations for some time, but took little or no action to fix them.

This was just one more of the several incidents that made the Chrome engineers lose trust in Symantec’s certificate infrastructure and all the certificates that could be issued by it. After Google announced its plan to distrust Symantec’s certificates, Symantec decided to sell its certificate business to DigiCert, a competitor, which would also have to rebuild the Symantec infrastructure to be more trustworthy.

Timeline For Banning Symantec Certificates

Starting with Chrome 66 (we’re now at version 61), the browser will remove trust in Symantec-issued certificates issued prior to June 1, 2016. Website operators that use Symantec certificates issued before that date should be looking to replace their certificates by April 2018, when Chrome 66 is expected to come out.

Starting with Chrome 62 (next version), the built-in DevTools will also warn operators of Symantec certificates that will be distrusted in Chrome 66.

After December 1, the new infrastructure managed by DigiCert will go into effect, and any new certificates issued by the old Symantec infrastructure will no longer be valid in Chrome.

By November 2018, Chrome 70 will come out and will completely remove trust in all Symantec certificates that have ever been issued.

Website operators can replace their old Symantec certificates with certificates from DigiCert from December 1 or from any other CA trusted by Google’s Chrome browser.

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Twitch Debuts Deep Metadata API For 'Hearthstone,' 'Overwatch'

Remember when Twitch added the ability to find streamers based on their Hearthstone rank or which hero they were playing in Overwatch? Well, soon you might see a bunch of developers build tools on top of those capabilities, thanks to the new Deep Metadata API that debuted today.

This feature is based on machine learning and computer vision that analyzes what’s on screen (a rank or hero portrait, for example) and turning it into actionable data. That way you can make sure you find a stream featuring your favorite game type or character instead of clicking through a dozen videos hoping to find the right one. In an era where all content is personalized, this new feature allows Twitch to cater to individual users.

“Whether you are building a video player overlay to add interactivity or an analytics app,” Twitch said in its announcement, “game metadata can help you create rich and more engaging experiences for your users, the same way it helps us.” The company used two popular types of tools—overlays and analytics apps—as examples of what the Deep Metadata API can enable for games like Hearthstone and Overwatch.

The API’s limited scope might hinder its ability to attract a bunch of developers right out the gate. This metadata collection is currently restricted to Blizzard’s titles, and even then Twitch isn’t able to collect all the information you might want. You might have no desire to watch Quick Play games in Overwatch, for example, but right now you can’t find streams playing the new deathmatch modes or the game’s ranked play.

But that’s going to change in the future. Twitch said it “started with support for live broadcasts and two games” but it plans to add “more games, more metadata types, and support for other content types” going forward. The Deep Metadata API debuting today is just a taste of what Twitch hopes to cook up in the future. Considering the popularity of Blizzard’s titles, this probably won’t be a bad start for the company’s newest toy.

The Deep Metadata API is just the latest change Twitch has made to its service in recent weeks. The company also introduced new Extensions to let streamers customize their pages with outside tools and overhauled its API to make it easier for developers to make those utilities. Together, all of these updates suggest that Twitch wants to give streamers and their viewers more control over how videos are shown on its service.

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iMac Pro better get a release date and price at Apple’s iPhone 8 event

Apple’s forthcoming iPhone 8 launch event will already be chock-full of brand new products, if the wave of leaks and rumors is any indication, but what about that iMac Pro?

You know, Apple’s insanely powerful all-in-one PC for professionals that was announced back during its WWDC 2017 show.

Sure, we know already that it’s to launch this December, but knowing the exact date is kind of crucial at this point in the game – especially for those looking to pre-order one, say, during Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Plus, this would be a fine opportunity for Apple to tout exactly which types of 8-core, 10-core and 18-core (!!!) processors from Intel the device will use, not to mention the specific AMD Radeon Vega Pro graphics chips that the computer will feature.

To really nail the perception that Apple is back to firing on all cylinders with all of its product lines, throwing in the exact ship date of its hotly-anticipated iMac sounds like a no-brainer.

Surely, discerning Apple fans would like to know specifically which processor and graphics chip are inside their new Mac computer that costs, at the very least, $4,999 (£4,949, about AU$6,720).

If Apple could throw the Mac crowd this little nugget while touting everything that’s great about the upcoming macOS High Sierra (which will almost surely get a release date), its diehard fans will feel that much more taken care of. Not to mention they’ll have a firm target to save their extra cash against.

  • Surely the iMac Pro will be shoo-in for the best Macs

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