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AMD Unveils Threadripper CPU

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AMD reveals its near-future compute product roadmap at its Financial Analyst Day, with upcoming offerings including the high-end Ryzen Threadripper CPU and Ryzen 3 desktop CPUs.

AMD ThreadripperAimed at the high-end desktop segment, the Threadripper is a Zen-based CPU carrying up to 16 cores and 32 threads. It is to feature a new platform with expanded memory and I/O bandwidth, and promises to "fulfill the insatiable desire for more cores and threads that permeates the extreme desktop market" once it launches on Summer 2017. More details should be available soon at Computex 2017.

Also announced is the Q3 2017 availability of Ryzen 3 CPUs, while more PCs from "top 5" OEMs running on Ryzen 7 and 5 CPUs should hit the market on Q2 2017.

Rest in Peace, MP3

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MP3, the much loved audio compression algorithm, is dead-- or so its creator, the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, insists as it terminates licencing for a number of related patents.

MP3 PlayerInstead, the institute suggests, customers should switch to Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), which it describes as a "de facto standard for music download and videos on mobile phones." AAC is definitely superior to MP3, since it allows for streaming TV and radio broadcasting with higher-quality audio at lower bitrates.

The story of the MP3 format started in the late 1980s, when Fraunhofer and the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg joined forces to work on a means to send audio over telephone lines. The eventual result was the MP3, a technology the Fraunhofer failed to capitalise on due to a combination of industrial sabotage, piracy and, at one unfortunate point, the German government refusing to give a patent for a music streaming service due to its being technologically absurd at the time.

The Acer Windows Mixed Reality VR Headset

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The 2017 Microsoft Build conference sees Acer announce a Windows Mixed Reality VR headset-- one available on the holiday season in a bundle including the new Microsoft motion controllers.

Acer headsetAlso unveiled at the conference, the Microsoft motion controllers are reminiscent to the upcoming Touch controllers designed for the Oculus headset. The Microsoft controllers are wireless, and like the Touch controllers feature multiple buttons and triggers allowing users to "grasp" items within a virtual space.

However, unlike the Touch controllers, the Microsoft take on the accessories does not require an external sensors or markers-- instead, the controllers use vertically-placed glowing ring in conjunction with sensors built into the headset.

Satechi Intros Type-C Pro Hub

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Accessory maker Satechi announces the Type-C Pro Hub-- a means for customers to add 7 more ports to USB-C enabled notebooks such as the 2016 MacBook Pro.

Satechi Pro HubThe Pro Hub is similar to the first Satechi Type-C Hub, but adds two Thunderbolt 3 dongles taking up both ports on either side of the latest MacBook Pro. Once plugged into the notebook the hub provides access to a passthrough Thunderbolt 3, USB-C port, HDMI and two USB 3.0 ports, as well as SD and microSD card readers.

Microsoft: Windows 10 PCs total 500 Million

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Microsoft opens the 2017 Build developer conference with the announcement that Windows 10 machines total 500 million, 8 months after it revealed 400m devices run on the latest version of the OS.

Windows 10 devicesBack in April 2016 the company was hoping to have 1 billion devices running on Windows 10 by 2018. However, by July 2016 it was forced to revise the perhaps overly optimistic forecast, especially following the failure of Windows-powered smartphones to capture the imagination.

In fact, Microsoft was hoping to sell 50 million Windows 10 Mobile devices-- a number currently clocking at, well, around zero, leaving something of a gap in the expected userbase.

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