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Tech Roundup – Steam gets Decked!

Hello and welcome to the Geeky Brummie Tech Round-Up!

Each week I’ll be deep diving into the world of technology. Bringing back some new pearls from Birmingham and beyond! If you want to send any local tech articles over, feel free to reach out to me at ryan@geekybrummie.com.


The Steam Deck has been revealed

It seems the PC’ gaming’s messiah has come with an answer to our portable hardware woes, either that or he got bored of waiting for the big N to release something powerful enough to run DOTA 2 properly so he’s done it himself.

Leigh covered this a bit in his weekly gaming roundup (here), but I’d go further into the specifications and what they mean

At it’s heart is an AMD Ryzen Zen2 APU, the same seen in its 4XXX series desktop APUs. APU stands for Accelerated Processing Unit, and basically means a CPU with integrated graphics. It looks to be completely custom however as it’s running 16GB of LP (low power) DDR5 onboard and has 8 RDNA2 Cores which are the same as found in the new RX 6000 series cards. This is a very similar infrastructure to the Xbox Series X and the PS5 so they’re hopefully looking at an easy codebase swap.

The screen is a 60Hz, 1280 x 800 IPS LCD, with 400 nits brightness. So no Full HD or proper HDR experiences to be found here.

All 3 versions have the same hardware as above and expandable MicroSD storage, differing storage options:

  • £349 – 64 GB eMMC (PCIe Gen 2 x1)
  • £459 – 256 GB NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4)
  • £569 – 512 GB high-speed NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4)

For me, the £459 price looks the sweet spot as eMMC storage is notoriously slow and 64GB is laughable for a modern game install. I mean Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (the 2019 one), weighs in at a crippling 200+GB on its own.

Perhaps a little unfairly it’s being compared to the Nintendo Switch, but a more fair price comparison would be the GPD Win 3 (£845 at time of writing) and the AYA NEO (£745 at the time of writing). this makes the Steam Desk a pretty decent deal comparatively.

The Steam Deck will be running SteamOS 3 based on arch Linux but Valve has already said end users are free to install windows if the wish (*insert “But Why?” Ryan Reynold gif here).

There’s also an official companion dock (not cube shaped) with 1x USB-A 3.1 port, 2x USB-A 2.0 ports, 1x Ethernet, 1x DisplayPort 1.4, and 1x HDMI 2.0 port. This is for those who might want to replace their laptop with the system and allow for some upscaled gaming.

https://www.steamdeck.com/

https://www.gpd.hk/

https://www.ayaneo.com/


Japan’s NICT reaches Ludicrous Speed with a 319Tbps Data Transfer

Japan’s National institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) have almost doubled the internet transfer record by sending data at 319Tbps, Almost twice as fast as the 179Tbps that a team of British and Japanese researchers managed in August 2020.

How fast is that? Well that’s the entire Spotify library in less than three seconds or 57,000 full-length movies in 1 second. So almost as fast as the cultural impact of Avatar disappeared.

This was achieved by using a 4-Core fibre optic cable and a 552-channel comb laser so don’t expect it to be in your home any time soon, but it shows great promise for upgrading the internet’s underlying structure in the future, as humanity’s rampant desire for cute animal videos continues.

https://www.nict.go.jp/en/press/2021/07/12-1.html

https://www.engadget.com/japan-breaks-internet-speed-record-200136933.html


Anthony Bourdain’s voice replicated in AI

Dearly missed chef, reporter and all around cool dude, has had his voice AI replicated to add quotes to an upcoming documentary, “Roadrunner”, which has garnered mixed reviews.

In an article in the New Yorker, Helen Rosner looks at the ethics of replicating Anthony’s voice for the film. And that the AI is used for voicing his written words.

It is a very controversial subject, does the words of a person who is no longer here, get to be voiced by an AI simulacrum or does that cross any ethical boundaries.

Another example in recent memory have been the hologram of Robert Kardashian ‘gifted’ to Kim on her 40th Birthday.

It’s a question I can’t begin to even broach in a Round-Up but is is troubling to think of those brought back from the dead to speak words not uttered in life.

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/annals-of-gastronomy/the-ethics-of-a-deepfake-anthony-bourdain-voice

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-57842514

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-54731382


FizzPOP Open Nights Return

With the changes in restrictions to England, our local hackerspace / makerspace can now welcome the public pack.

The first public open night will be recommencing from Wednesday 21st July. So if you want to have a tour come any you can sign up on their Meetup Profile.

Tours are usually on Wednesdays between 18:30 & 20:30

https://fizzpop.org.uk/

https://www.meetup.com/fizzPOP-Birminghams-Makerspace/events/279462849/


And that’s it for this week, if you have anything tech related you want me to shout about, let me know at ryan@geekybrummie.com! See you next week!


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