Enterprise, Workstation, Data Center, Cloud, Networking, Software News And Reviews

In-depth product reviews and news of enterprise, workstation, networking, cloud, SMB, data center and software products and services.

If you are like me, the Aero themes under the Personalize menu in Windows 7 and Windows 10's minimalist design language are just not enough to give your PC a unique look. You want more than a new wallpaper, some icons, and simple color changes. There are utilities out there, both free and commercial, that will give you a custom desktop far beyond anything you can get from the Windows theme presets. You can go with the out of the box look, or customize things on your own with a little fiddling. Let's start with Rainmeter, an open source, free utility focused primarily on information display on your desktop. It can be especially useful if you have a multi-monitor setup. My Rainmeter layout covers... Read more...
A second wave of 802.11ac wireless routers have begun to appear, and the new must-have feature is MU-MIMO, short for Multiple User, Multiple Input, Multiple Output. We already reviewed the first two MU-MIMO routers we could get our hands on from Linksys and Netgear, and now Asus has entered the fray with a dual-band AC3100 router dubbed the RT-AC88U. This is a flagship router that has all the bells and whistles one would expect at a $300 price point, but it differentiates itself from the competition by offering Link Aggregation and eight LAN ports, which are uncommon features in a consumer-class router. The Netgear Nighthawk X8 also supports Link Aggregation and has six LAN ports, but is... Read more...
Internet privacy is kind of like a VCR or CD player, in that one day our kids will ask us “you used to have that?” It’s staggering how much of our online activity is tracked, catalogued, and used for a wide array of purposes, most of them related to commerce. But if you’re a dissident, journalist, someone who lives in a country where the Internet is restricted, or just want to browse the web without being tracked, your options are becoming increasingly limited. It’s likely the situation will only get worse in the future, as companies devise more sophisticated ways of tracking our every move online. The Tor project was designed to combat this scourge. Tor is a freely accessible network of global... Read more...
Dell's Alienware Steam Machine is under the microscope today. In partnership with several leading PC makers, Valve has finally taken their often-talked about Steam Machine with custom SteamOS to market, promising the depth and precision of PC gaming driven by a purpose-built operating system, that offers a standardized platform similar to a tried and true "just push play" console gaming experience.The Alienware Steam Machine seems like just the thing for PC gamers looking for a simpler way to game without a lot of fuss and configuration. What’s a Steam Machine, you ask? The Steam Machine is a PC-based set top box that functions as a dedicated portal into the Steam digital marketplace, where players... Read more...
In November, Amazon announced the latest addition to its hardware line-up, the Amazon Echo. The Echo smart speaker doubles as a digital assistant and home entertainment device. It’s an always-connected, always-available Siri or Cortana-like device designed for your home that can provide answers to common questions, play music, provide traffic updates, control your lights, read audiobooks, and much more. Because it’s tied to your Amazon account, the Echo can also be used to reorder products you’ve previously purchased from Amazon. Although the Echo was announced in November, it was available for purchase on an invite-only basis from Amazon. Seven months after it was announced, Amazon made its... Read more...
Dell's SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit (CTU) has just discovered a new piece of malware that it dubs "Skeleton Key". Besides being one of the coolest-named pieces of malware ever, Skeleton Key provides access to any user account on an Active Directory controller without regard to supplying the correct password. As in-memory malware, Skeleton Key is extremely difficult to detect, and it'd be totally invisible to the affected users. And while it requires admin access to the AD controller to deploy, once it is, the exploiter could wreak whatever havoc they like while disguised as an innocent user. It's not much of a benefit, but there is one major limitation of Skeleton Key: it needs to be reapplied... Read more...
Adding to the pile of awesome already heaped onto Amazon Prime memberships, the e-tailer this week introduced Prime Photos, which is yet another tantalizing benefit for Prime subscribers. In this case, Prime Photos provides free unlimited photo storage in Amazon Cloud Drive, so the only restrictions you have to worry about are those imposed by your ISP. "This time of year in particular, families are capturing thousands of photos of holiday parties, family gatherings and opening presents," said Greg Greeley, Vice President Amazon Prime. "With free unlimited photo storage, we’re providing one more reason for members to use Prime every day. Prime has always allowed members to conveniently... Read more...
Apple recently posted a security bulletin alerting iCloud users to the presence of "intermittent organized network attacks using insecure certificates to obtain user information," and though the company didn't publicly point a finger at China, several reports suggested that's where they're coming from. In response to the attacks, Apple CEO Tim Cook booked a flight to China today to try and resolve the issue. Citing China's state-run Xinhua News Agency, PCWorld says that Cook met with Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai in Beijing to talk about improving cooperation in the telecommunication industry, as well as to discuss security related topics, protecting users' privacy, and other issues. It's not all... Read more...
It's a little bit awkward when you're flipping through photos in front of a group and come upon that one sexy pose in skimpy clothing you forgot was on there, but imagine if someone hacked your phone and uploaded all your private photos for the entire world to see. Jennifer Lawrence and several other celebrities don't need to imagine because a flaw in Apple's Find My iPhone service may have allowed hackers to do just that. According to various reports, someone posted a Python script on Github for a password brute force proof of concept to Apple's iCloud service. Brute force attacks use a script to continually guess passwords until it finds the correct one, and in this instance, it leveraged a... Read more...
It has been almost two years since AMD launched the FirePro W9000 and kicked off a new battle in the workstation GPU wars. Today, we're reviewing the company's FirePro W9100 -- a new card based on the same Hawaii-class GPU as the desktop R9 290 and R9 290X, but aimed at the workstation market and professional consumers. Does AMD's new card have what it takes to seize the professional performance crown? The W9100 is a full Hawaii GPU with 2,816 stream processors, 320GB/s of memory bandwidth, and six mini-DisplayPorts, all of which support DP1.2 and 4K output. It carries more RAM than any other AMD GPU -- a whopping 16GB of GDDR5 on a single card.  Even NVIDIA's top-end Quadro... Read more...
It has been nearly a year since we visited ARM in Cambridge, UK, and the company recently held another tech day -- this time in Austin, Texas. During the three-day session, ARM covered a wide range of topics, with a primary focus on server ecosystems and next-generation mobile hardware. The company started off with an in-depth exploration of its CCN-508 server interconnect.  AMD and Intel don't really have an analogous chip to this -- think of the CCN-508 as the hub that all other CPUs, GPUs, network interfaces, CPU cache, and other components connect to. Click to Enlarge ARM has revealed details on the CCN-508 before, but the company was emphasizing its server chops at Austin, talking... Read more...
As of today, AMD has a new set of high-end professional GPUs available -- and a new shot at the professional GPU crown. It's a move the company hopes will allow it to take a greater share of the professional 3D business. AMD's battle against Nvidia in the professional graphics market is similar to the company's struggles against Intel ten years ago. In both cases, initial AMD gains have been partly reversed; Jon Peddie Research estimates that AMD now holds just 15% of the professional market, down from 18.4% six months ago. Nvidia, meanwhile, has been largely idle. The company's high-end parts, the Quadro 4000, 5000, and 6000, are all based on the original Fermi architecture. By moving first... Read more...
The FirePro V3900 is AMD's latest budget solution for the professional graphics market. We covered the card's launch last month; it's a formidable step up from the V3800 it replaces. Budget card launches may lack some of the excitement of high-end product debuts, but lower-end cards like the V3900 account for a significant percentage of AMD's total GPU sales. The V3900 is interesting for another reason -- it's AMD's latest salvo in its ongoing campaign to steal professional market share away from rival Nvidia. Workstation-class GPU sales are overwhelmingly dominated by Team Green, but AMD has slashed its professional prices in an attempt to siphon market share. The FirePro V3900 is aggressively... Read more...
It has been a while since we last evaluated a workstation-class graphics card from the FirePro product line. The V9800 launched in September 2010 and was officially the last card to sport the ATI logo. Since then, AMD has released its Cayman-based Radeon HD 6900 cards for the consumer market, among many other Radeon HD 6000 series cards. It was only a matter of time before the new architecture made its way into the professional FirePro line. Today we'll be looking at a couple of new AMD FirePro models, specifically, the V7900 and V5900. A quick glace below outlines some of the important specifications of each model. With the AMD FirePro V7900, professional users are treated to 1280 stream... Read more...
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