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Dell XPS 13 (9300) Review : Incredible Ultra-Light Laptop!

The Dell XPS 13 (9300) features the first-ever InfinityEdge display with Gorilla Glass 6 protection.

Find out why we think it’s an incredible ultra-light laptop worthy of our Reviewer’s Choice Award!

 

Dell XPS 13 (9300) : Featuring The InfinityEdge Display

The Dell XPS 13 (9300) continues the evolution of the XPS 13 line, with an ultra-light chassis built from machined aluminium and woven glass fibre, with Gorilla Glass 6 protection.

With the first-ever InfinityEdge display, the XPS 13 (9300) offers a 13.4-inch display in an 11-inch form factor, that fits neatly on an airplane’s seat tray.

 

Dell XPS 13 (9300) : Colour Options

Our unit comes in the Frost White colour with an Arctic White woven glass fibre palm rest.

Dell also offers the Platinum Silver colour option, with a Black carbon fiber palm rest.

 

Dell XPS 13 (9300) : Specifications + Options

Specifications XPS 13 9300
Display Size 13.4-inch
Display Options 4K touch screen (3840 x 2400)
Full HD touch screen (1920 x 1200)
Full HD non-touch (1920 x 1200)
Display Features WLED backlight
60 Hz refresh rate
500 nits max. brightness
35 ms response time
1200:1 contrast ratio
Colour Gamut 4K : 90% DCI-P3
Full HD : 100% sRGB
Operating System Microsoft Windows 10 Home
CPU + GPU Options Intel Core i7-1065G7 + Iris Plus Graphics
Intel Core i5-1035G1 + UHD Graphics
Intel Core i3-1005G1 + UHD Graphics
Memory Options LPDDR4X-3733 (8 / 16 / 32 GB)
LPDDR4-3733 (4 GB)
Storage Options PCIe NVMe SSD (512 GB / 1 TB / 2 TB)
Audio Realtek ALC3281-CG audio chip
2 x 2.5 watt speakers
Dual microphone array
3.5 mm audio jack
Wireless Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2×2)
Bluetooth 5.1
External Ports 2 x Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type C) ports
– with Power Delivery and DisplayPort
1 x 3.5 mm audio port
1 x microSD card slot
Camera HD webcam
Fingerprint Sensor Yes, capacitive 500 dpi sensor
Keyboard Backlit keyboard
19.05 x 18.05 mm key pitch
Touchpad 1300 x 722 pixel resolution
Battery 4-cell 52 Whr lithium-ion battery
Charger 45 watt USB Type C charger
Dimensions 296 mm wide
199 mm deep
14.8 mm thick
Weight 1.27 kg (touch screen)
1.20 kg (non-touch)

 

Unboxing The Dell XPS 13 (9300) Laptop

The Dell XPS 13 (9300) comes in a premium white cardboard box. Once you fully unbox it, you will find these items :

  • Dell XPS 13 (9300) laptop
  • Dell USB Type C to USB Type A dongle
  • 45 watt charger with integrated USB Type C cable
  • Power cord with localised plug
  • XPS 13 9300 Quick Start Guide + Safety and Regulatory Information

 

Dell XPS 13 (9300) : Hands-On Experience!

This Dell XPS 13 (9300) is an eminently thin and light laptop. It offers a 13.4-inch display in an 11-inch form factor that weighs only 1.27 kg, and is less than 15 mm thick.

It easily fits into the smallest laptop bag, and even a large handbag. And when you can fly again, you will love how it fits onto the airplane’s seat tray!

Once you try it out, you will find it hard to go back to regular laptops – you will find them heavy and unwieldy!

Next Page > Dell XPS 13 (9300) : A Closer Look!

 

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Dell XPS 13 (9300) : A Closer Look!

13.4-inch Display In 11-Inch Form Factor

This Dell XPS 13 (9300) model comes with a 4K UHD+ touch display, with a resolution of 3840 x 2400 pixel, a colour gamut of 90% DCI-P3 and DisplayHDR 400 certification.

The incredibly high resolution and wide colour gamut allow your high resolution photos and HDR content to really pop.

Dell also offers a Full HD+ display, with a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels and 100% sRGB colour gamut; in both touch and non-touch options.

All three display options are 25% brighter at 500 nits, and are protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 6 against scratches and impact.

Cameras + Security

The thin bezel at the top conceals two cameras – a regular 720p webcam, and an infra-red camera for facial recognition.

So you can either unlock the XPS 13 using the IR camera and Windows Hello, or the fingerprint sensor, which integrated into the power button.

While its 720p webcam may be rather low in resolution, it uses a new 4-element lens for sharper image quality. It also supports temporal noise reduction to improve video quality in low-light conditions.

We hope that Dell would look at upgrading it to a 1080p camera, with a physical or electronics privacy shutter.

Performance

Our Dell XPS 13 (9300) is powered by the Intel Core i7-1065G7 – a 4-core, 8-thread processor with 8 MB of cache and built-in Iris Plus Graphics.

You can opt for a Core i5-1035G1 or the Core i3-1005G1, both of which come with integrated UHD Graphics.

A redesigned cooler keeps things cool, using a single heat pipe and evaporator design with dual condensers and GORE thermal insulation. The hot air is exhausted through the hinge at the back.

It can get a little toasty from the hot exhaust when you use it on your lap, especially if you’re doing compute-intensive tasks like rendering videos.

It also comes with 16 GB of dual-channel LPDDR4X memory running at 3733 MHz. The memory is soldered onto the motherboard and cannot be upgraded.

Our unit came with a 1 TB SK hynix PC611 PCIe NVMe SSD, but you can opt for a smaller 512 GB SSD, or a larger 2 TB SSD.

Ports

Due to its ultra-slim profile – 14.8 mm at its thickest point, the XPS 13 has very limited ports.

On the left side, you will find a microSD card reader; as well as a single Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type C) port, which supports Power Delivery and DisplayPort output

On the right side, you will find a 3.5 mm microphone and headphone combo port, with a second Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type C) port, which also supports Power Delivery and DisplayPort output.

You can plug the USB Type C charging cable into either Thunderbolt 3 port. But unless you are using it on-the-go, you really only have one free port to use.

The good news is Dell actually bundles the XPS 13 (9300) with a free USB Type C to USB Type A dongle, so you can use your USB Type A drives and devices (including cables) with it.

Keyboard + Touchpad

The Dell XPS (9300) comes an edge-to-edge keyboard, and a 17% larger touchpad for maximum working comfort.  The keyboard is backlit, and comes with larger key caps!

It definitely offers a far superior typing experience to the horrible butterfly switch keyboard used in Apple MacBook Pro laptops.

Connectivity

Our XPS 13 (9300) comes with the Killer AX1650 module, which offers Wi-Fi 6 connectivity with 2×2 antennas, and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity.

It is much too thin to support a LAN port, but you can add LAN connectivity using a USB-C dongle.

Audio

The two long stripes on both sides of the XPS 13 are not cooling vents, but ports for its 2.5 watt stereo speakers, which are tuned with Waves MaxxAudio Pro.

Its 3.5 mm microphone / headphone combo jack is also optimised with the 360-degree Waves NX 3D virtual surround sound with head tracking.

Finally, its dual microphone array is powered by Waves MaxxVoice Pro, which supports VOIP and is Cortana Farfield-capable.

Next Page > XPS 13 (9300) Performance, Verdict + Award 

 

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Dell XPS 13 (9300) : Performance

Our Dell XPS 13 (9300) is powered by the 15-watt Intel Core i7-1065G7 (Ice Lake) with 4 cores and 8 threads, and Iris Plus Graphics with 64 Execution Units.

It comes with 8 MB of cache, and has a 1.3 GHz base frequency that ramps up to 3.5 GHz during intensive tasks.

Our review sample came with 16 GB LPDDR4X-3733 dual-channel memory, and a 1 TB SK hynix PC611 PCIe NVMe SSD.

Work Performance : PCMark 10

The Intel Core i7-1065G7 is a 25 watt processor that can be configured to run at a lower TDP of 15 watt – to improve battery life and reduce thermal output.

At the full 25 watt TDP, it should deliver PCMark 10 scores in excess of 4700. It is obvious now that Dell configured it for the cooler 15 watt TDP. This is why benchmarks are important.

This makes the Dell XPS 13 (9300) about 7.6% slower than the HUAWEI MateBook X Pro, which uses the Intel Core i7-10510U processor.

Gaming Performance : 3DMark Time Spy

The integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics sounds powerful on paper – with 64 Execution Units – but it is only about as fast as the NVIDIA GeForce MX130 / GeForce 940MX.

So this is most definitely NOT a gaming laptop, although you should have no problem playing older games and games that are not 3D graphics-intensive like DOTA 2.

Battery Life : YouTube + Modern Office

The Dell XPS 13 (9300) comes with a 4-cell smart lithium-ion battery that is rated for 52 Whr.

Dell claims a battery life of up to 18 hours and 49 minutes with the Full HD+ display, and up to 12 hours and 13 minutes with the 4K UHD+ display.

In our general use, we have no problem working a full day on it without recharging, which makes it really convenient when travelling.

That said, we locked the brightness at 50% – higher than the average of 40% – to see how it performs in these worst-case scenarios :

YouTube Streaming

The Dell XPS 13 (9300) lasted 8 hours 15 minutes streaming YouTube videos in theatre mode using WiFi, before its battery dropped to 10%.

PCMark 10 : Modern Office

The Dell XPS 13 (9300) lasted 6 hours 36 minutes before it powered off while running the Modern Office benchmark.

Battery : Recharging Speed

Its 65 watt fast charger took about 52.5 minutes to hit the mid-point (55%), but 2 hours 23.5 minutes to fully recharge its battery from 10%.

Here are the times it takes to recharge from 10% :

  • 15% – 5 minutes 57 seconds
  • 20% – 11 minutes 53 seconds
  • 25% – 17 minutes 45 seconds
  • 30% – 23 minutes 22 seconds
  • 35% – 29 minutes 25 seconds
  • 40% – 35 minutes 8 seconds
  • 45% – 41 minutes 22 seconds
  • 50% – 46 minutes 56 seconds
  • 55% – 52 minutes 39 seconds
  • 60% – 58 minutes 27 seconds
  • 65% – 64 minutes 13 seconds
  • 70% – 70 minutes 15 seconds
  • 75% – 76 minutes
  • 80% – 81 minutes 58 seconds
  • 85% – 89 minutes 41 seconds
  • 90% – 100 minutes 50 seconds
  • 95% – 118 minutes 45 seconds
  • 100% – 143 minutes 20 seconds

This gives it a battery life : recharging time ratio of 3.45 : 1 for video streaming, and 2.76 : 1 for office work.

As a rule of thumb, you will need to recharge its battery about 22 minutes for every hour of battery life.

 

Dell XPS 13 (9300) : Verdict + Award

The Dell XPS 13 (9300) is a really great ultra-light laptop for people who are always on-the-go.

It packs serious processing power, memory and a huge SSD with the latest wireless connectivity built-in, in a very thin and light package.

It is less than 15 mm at its thickest point, and weighs less than 1.3 kg. But this is something you have to hold in your hand to actually get a feel of how much engineering went into the XPS 13.

Even the latest 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro, powered by the new Apple M1 SoC, is largerthicker at 15.6 mm and weighs more at 1.4 kg!

The extremely thin profile offers some challenges to first time users – limited physical ports. Yet the XPS 13 (9300) managed to squeeze in an extra microSD card reader over the new 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1).

Even so, you will have to live with just two USB Type C ports – one of which is not available when you recharge its battery. Fortunately, the XPS 13 (9300) comes with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 wireless connectivity.

Thankfully, Dell threw in a free USB-C to USB-A dongle, so at least you have ready access to your USB Type A drives and devices out-of-the-box.

Security-conscious users will love the fingerprint sensor and IR camera, which allows for easy and secure logins. However, the webcam lacks a physical shutter, and the lid clearance is too tight to safely use a third-party shutter.

As far as battery life is concerned, the XPS 13 (9300) will last more than full day’s work without recharging. After a while, you will get used to leaving the office without the charger!

All-in-all, the Dell XPS 13 (9300) is an engineering marvel that must be experienced to truly understand. If you want the very best Windows 10 ultra-light laptop money can buy, this should be right at the top of the list.

That is why we wholeheartedly award it our Reviewer’s Choice Award!

 

Acknowledgement

We would like to thank Dell for sending us this review unit, and making us part of the #DellInsideCircle

 

Recommended Reading

Go Back To > First PageComputer | Home

 

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Apple M1 Gaming : Watch It Run The Witcher 3!

Windows gaming on the ARM-based Apple M1 is possible!

Watch how well the Apple M1 runs The Witcher 3 using CrossOver 20!

 

Apple M1 Gaming : Watch It Run The Witcher 3 On CrossOver 20!

AppleGamers successfully ran The Witcher 3 on CrossOver 20, using the 2020 Apple MacBook Pro with the new ARM-based Apple M1 SoC.

Here was their recorded gameplay of The Witcher 3 at the 1080p resolution, with the Medium graphics and post-processing presets, and VSync enabled.

They could not get the FPS counter to work, but it looks smooth and very playable, albeit with some visual artefacts.

Basically – Apple M1 gaming is not only possible, it is possible to play Windows games!

 

Windows Gaming On Apple M1 : Rosetta 2 + Windows API Translation!

That quick gameplay showcase of The Witcher 3 shows that Windows gaming is possible on the Apple M1.

The ability to run The Witcher 3 on CrossOver 20, and at such playable frame rates, is important for two reasons.

Windows App Compatibility

The Witcher 3 is a 64-bit Windows-only game, so you wouldn’t expect it to run well on the ARM-based Apple M1, right?

Running it on the Apple M1 involves translating Windows API calls using CrossOver, and then translating x86 instructions to ARM instructions using Rossetta 2.

Yet it not only worked, it ran pretty well on the Apple M1!

Performance

While AppleGamers was not able to obtain a frame rate, The Witcher 3 appears to run pretty well at the 1080p resolution.

That shows that the Apple M1’s integrated 8-core GPU is fast, and will have no problem handling native ARM games at 1080p, and likely 1440p as well.

 

Apple M1 : A Quick Primer

The Apple M1 is the first ARM-based SoC (System on a Chip) designed by Apple for use in Mac computers.

Packing 16 billion transistors, it is the first chip to be manufactured on the new 5 nm TSMC process technology.

It comes with 4 high-performance Firestorm CPU cores, 4 power-efficient Icestorm cores, an 8-core GPU, and a 16-core Neural Engine.

As the M1 is based on the ARM architecture, you can natively run iPhone and iPad apps on it. However, existing macOS apps will have to be ported over, or translated on-the-fly using Rosetta 2.

It is currently available in these Apple Mac computers :

  • 2020 MacBook Air : US | UK | AU | MY | SG
  • 2020 MacBook Pro 13-inch : US | UK | AU | MY | SG
  • 2020 Mac mini : US | UK | AU | MY | SG

 

Recommended Reading

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Influent + 3 DLCs : How To Get Them FREE!

The language game, Influent and 3 DLCs, are FREE for a limited time!

Find out how to get Influent and the three DLCs for FREE, and make sure you tell your friends!

If you missed this, well, next time join the Tech ARP Facebook page to get these updates quickly!

 

Influent

Influent immerses players in a fully interactive 3D environment where the names for absolutely every object in the game can be gleaned with a single click! Even more information can be learned with a double-click!

Every door, drawer, and cabinet can be opened with a right-click here and a right-click there, revealing more and more things to be learned!

Packed to the brim with hundreds of native audio pronunciations (painstakingly recorded specifically for this game), Influent offers players a unique opportunity to enjoy learning both vocabulary and pronunciation in the language of their choice.

  • Audio from native speakers
  • Synonym swap functionality
  • Learn at your own pace!
  • Fully interactive modern apartment
  • Over 420 words to collect and master
  • Includes Nouns, Adjectives, and Verbs
  • 15+ Languages to choose from (more to come!)

 

Influent : How To Get It Free!

Adding to your Humble Bundle Account

Humble Bundle is giving away Influent for FREE up till 1 December 2020, at 4 PM MYT (GMT+8).

  1. Log into Humble Bundle, or create your free account.
  2. Go to the Influent page.
  3. Click on the green Add To Cart button.
  4. Click on the green Checkout button.
  5. In the pop-up window, click on the Get it for free! button.
  6. Scroll down and click on the Get It Now button.
  7. Go to the Purchases page and select Influent to get your Steam key, or click on the Redeem Now link in the Humble Bundle email.
  8. You will be given access to the Windows, Mac and Linux direct download links, as well as the Bittorrent torrent link.

Direct Downloads

You can also skip all those steps if you don’t want to add it to your Humble Bundle account, and use these direct download links :

 

Influent + 3 DLCs : How To Get Them Free!

Note : This method may no longer work. Please let us know if it no longer works!

Follow these steps to get Influent as well as the French, Italian and Korean DLCs for FREE :

  1. Log into your existing Steam account, or create a new account.
  2. Go to https://store.steampowered.com/account/licenses/ using a web browser.
  3. Open the Console in your web browser
    – in Google Chrome, use Ctrl+Shift+J (Windows) or Ctrl+Option+J (Mac)
    – in Firefox, use Ctrl+Shift+K (Windows) or Command+Option+K (Mac)
  4. In the Console, copy and paste the code below, and press Enter
jQuery.post('//store.steampowered.com/checkout/addfreelicense',
{action:'add_to_cart',sessionid:g_sessionID,subid:451929});

jQuery.post('//store.steampowered.com/checkout/addfreelicense',
{action:'add_to_cart',sessionid:g_sessionID,subid:43186});

jQuery.post('//store.steampowered.com/checkout/addfreelicense',
{action:'add_to_cart',sessionid:g_sessionID,subid:39871});

jQuery.post('//store.steampowered.com/checkout/addfreelicense',
{action:'add_to_cart',sessionid:g_sessionID,subid:39884});

That’s it! You now have Influent and the three DLCs in your Steam account!

 

Recommended Reading

Go Back To > Games + Gaming | SoftwareHome

 

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WD NAS Can’t Be Seen In Windows? Here Are The Solutions!

You may be wondering why your WD NAS is no longer visible in Windows 10.

Where did it go? How do you get it back?

Find out why your WD NAS cannot no longer be seen in Windows, and what are the solutions!

 

WD NAS Can’t Be Seen In Windows : What Happened?

You may have been using your WD NAS for some time, but one day, its network share – the “drive” that you directly access – can no longer be seen in Windows 10.

The NAS links in Windows File Explorer will only lead you to the login page for the WD NAS management page, not the actual drive where you can directly read, copy, write or edit your files.

All these NAS issues are happening because Microsoft disabled the Network Browse function from Windows 10 v1709 onwards.

The problems started after Windows 10 Fall Creators Update 1709, which :

The Computer Browser service relies on the SMB 1.0 protocol to discover network devices and display them in the Windows Network Neighbourhood.

Disabling SMB 1.0 breaks the Computer Browser service, so it is automatically uninstalled and your NAS drives “disappear” from Network Neighbourhood.

Disabling guest access prevents guest or public access to your NAS drives, even to folders you specifically set to allow for public access. Hence, the Public folder they had access to earlier “disappears”.

 

Why Did Microsoft Disable Those Network Features?

The SMB1 network protocol was first implemented in Windows back in 1992, so it’s old… very old.

It’s so old that it lacks encryption. Everything transmitted via SMB1 can be captured and read, and even modified, by any attacker who gains access to the network.

Guest logins even on SMB2 do not support standard security features like signing and encryption. This makes them vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks.

That’s why Microsoft (finally) disabled them both, starting with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update 1709.

 

WD NAS Can’t Be Seen In Windows : Before We Start…

Preliminary Step #1 : Update Your NAS

Before you do anything, you should log into your WD NAS management system and update its firmware, in case it’s not already set to automatically update.

Updating its firmware will ensure that your NAS supports at least SMB 2, if not SMB 3 as well.

WD NAS Windows URL macOS URL
My Cloud EX2100 http://wdmycloudex2100 http://wdmycloudex2100.local
My Cloud DL2100 http://wdmyclouddl2100 http://wdmyclouddl2100.local
My Cloud EX4100 http://wdmycloudex4100 http://wdmycloudex4100.local
My Cloud DL4100 http://wdmyclouddl4100 http://wdmyclouddl4100.local

Preliminary Step #2 : Use A Higher SMB Protocol

Then, enable the highest SMB protocol your WD NAS supports (Settings > Network). Set it to SMB 3 if possible.

This will ensure that both your WD NAS and your network support the most secure network protocol possible, for your security.

 

WD NAS Can’t Be Seen In Windows : The Solutions!

Best Solution : Map Your WD NAS By Device Name

The best way is to manually map your WD NAS by its device name. This lets you use the more secure SMB2 or SMB3 network protocols, with direct access to your files as usual.

  1. Determine your WD NAS network path, which is based on the device name.If you changed your WD NAS device name to TechARPCloud (for example), the network name will be \\TechARPCloudHere is a list of default network paths for different WD NAS :
WD NAS Default Network Path
My Cloud Home \\MYCLOUD-last 6 digits of serial number
Example : \\MYCLOUD-123456
My Cloud Home Duo
My Cloud \\WDMYCLOUD
My Cloud Mirror \\WDMYCLOUDMIRROR
My Cloud Mirror Gen 2
My Cloud EX2 \\WDMYCLOUDEX2
My Cloud EX2 Ultra \\MYCLOUDEX2ULTRA
My Cloud EX4 \\WDMYCLOUDEX4
My Cloud EX2100 \\WDMYCLOUDEX2100
My Cloud EX4100 \\WDMYCLOUDEX4100
My Cloud DL2100 \\WDMYCLOUDDL2100
My Cloud DL4100 \\WDMYCLOUDDL4100
My Cloud PR2100 \\MYCLOUDPR2100
My Cloud PR4100 \\MYCLOUDPR2100
  1. Open Windows File Explorer and click on Network on the left pane.
  2. Key in the network path of the WD NAS, which is based on its device name. Make sure you include \\ before the network path.

  1. You will be asked to key in a user name and password.
    This can be the administrator’s login, or the login of any registered user of your WD NAS.
    Remember – Windows 10 no longer allows guest logins or public access. So you will need to create a password-protected account even for guests to use.

  1. Once you successfully authenticate your user name and password, the network shares of your WD NAS will become visible in File Explorer under Network!You can stop here, but you will need to keep keying in the network path and login to access your NAS every time you boot into Windows.

  1. For more convenience, you can create a password-protected Private Share.Start by right-clicking on a network share from your WD NAS and select Map network drive…

  1. Select a drive letter for the network share.
    Check Reconnect at sign-in if you don’t want to automatically log into the drive.
    Then click Finish to map the drive.

That’s it! If you expand This PC in Windows File Explorer, you should now see that the WD NAS network drive has now been mapped by its device name!

 

Alternate Solution : Enable Network Discovery Without SMB1

This Windows 10 workaround can be used if your WD NAS supports SMB2 or SMB3 and you prefer not to map the network drives.

  1. Go to Windows Services.
  2. Start these two services :
    Function Discovery Provider Host
    Function Discovery Resource Publication
  3. Set the Startup type for both those services to Automatic (Delayed Start).
  4. Open Windows File Explorer and go to Network.
  5. When prompted, enable Network Discovery.

Your WD NAS shares should now be visible in Windows File Explorer.

 

Worst Case Solution : Enable Network Discovery Without SMB1

This should only be attempted if your WD NAS simply cannot support SMB2 or SMB3, and can only use SMB1.

  1. Go to Control Panel > Programs.
  2. Click on Turn Windows features on or off.
  3. Expand the SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support option.
  4. Check the SMB 1.0/CIFS Client option.
  5. Click the OK button.
  6. Restart Windows 10

After Windows 10 restarts, your WD NAS shares should now be visible in Windows File Explorer.

 

Recommended Reading

Go Back To > Computer Hardware | Home

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PPM Mode from The Tech ARP BIOS Guide

PPM Mode

Common Options : Native, SMM

 

Quick Review of PPM Mode

The PPM Mode BIOS option allows you to change the operating mode of the Processor Power Management (PPM).

When set to Native, the operating system will use its native PPM support to directly control the processor’s performance states and power management.

When set to SSM, the operating system will revert to the ACPI System Management Mode (ACPI SMM), leaving power management to the processor.

If you are using an older operating system like Windows 98 or Windows 2000, you should set this BIOS option to SSM.

You should also select SSM if you are using Windows XP or Windows 2003 in a multi-processor or multi-core environment.

On the other hand, you should select Native if you are using a newer operating system that supports ACPI 3.0. This includes Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, Windows 7, Windows 2008, and Windows 10.

 

PPM Mode Details

Prior to Windows XP, Microsoft operating systems cannot directly control the processor’s power management. They can only put the processor into its SMM (System Management Mode), whereby the processor would then perform its own power management routines.

Support for ACPI 2.0 processor performance states was first introduced in the Microsoft Windows XP operating system. It finally allowed the operating system to directly control the processor’s power and performance through the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI).

However, Processor Power Management in Windows XP is limited to a single processor with a single core and running a single thread. It does not support multi-processor systems, or multi-core processors, or even multi-threading.

Support for multi-processor systems and multi-core processors was eventually added to the ACPI 3.0 specifications. Microsoft Windows Vista was the first Microsoft operating system to offer native support for PPM of multi-processor systems or multi-core processors. This includes systems using processors with multiple logical threads, multiple cores or multiple physical sockets.

[adrotate group=”1″]

This is where the PPM Mode BIOS option comes in. It allows you to change the operating mode of the Processor Power Management (PPM).

When set to Native, the operating system will use its native PPM support to directly control the processor’s performance states and power management.

When set to SSM, the operating system will revert to the ACPI System Management Mode (ACPI SMM), leaving power management to the processor.

If you are using an older operating system like Windows 98 or Windows 2000, you should set this BIOS option to SSM.

You should also select SSM if you are using Windows XP or Windows 2003 in a multi-processor or multi-core environment.

On the other hand, you should select Native if you are using a newer operating system that supports ACPI 3.0. This includes Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, Windows 7, Windows 2008, and Windows 10.

Go Back To > The Tech ARP BIOS Guide | Home

 

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KB4078130 : Emergency Windows Update To Disable Intel Spectre Patches!

You may recall our extensive coverage of Intel’s buggy Spectre 2 patches that were causing random and spontaneous reboots in over 800 CPU models. It’s gotten so bad that Microsoft was forced to issue KB4078130 – an emergency update to disable the Intel Spectre 2 mitigations that were causing the spontaneous reboots.

 

Spectre Variant 2

Colloquially known as Spectre 2, it is more accurately known as Spectre Variant 2Google Project Zero Variant 2 (GPZ Variant 2), or officially as CVE-2017-5715.

After deploying the Spectre 2 patches in their new microcode updates, Intel started receiving reports of “higher than expected reboots and other unpredictable system behaviour“.

Microsoft confirmed this, stating further that their “own experience is that system instability can in some circumstances cause data loss or corruption“.

 

KB4078130 : Update To Disable Mitigation Against Spectre, Variant 2

Unwilling to wait for Intel to fix the problem, Microsoft decided to issue KB4078130 – an “out of band” or emergency update. All it does is disable the mitigation against Spectre 2.

Their tests proved that this update is sufficient to prevent the random and spontaneous reboots experienced by the affected Intel processors.

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The KB4078130 update covers the following Windows version :

  • Windows 7 SP1 (client and server variants)
  • Windows 8.1 (client and server variants)
  • Windows 10 (client and server variants)

 

Where To Download KB4078130

This update is not applied automatically because it’s meant only for Intel systems affected by these reboot issues.

You will need to download and install it manually at the Microsoft Update Catalog.

 

For Advanced Users Only

If you are a system administrator, or a 1337 techie, Microsoft is making available a new registry key to manually disable and re-enable the mitigation against Spectre 2.

  • Instructions for Windows administrators – KB4073119
  • Instructions for Windows Server administrators – KB4072698

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The Alibaba DingTalk App Features & Details Revealed!

The Alibaba Group is taking their Dingtalk enterprise communication and collaboration platform worldwide. DingTalk CTO, Hugo Zhu and their Head of Global Business Development, Chris Wang, flew in to demonstrate how DingTalk will help businesses small and large improve their staff communication and collaboration.

 

What Is DingTalk?

Alibaba created DingTalk in January 2015 as a proprietary enterprise communication and collaboration platform that enables text, photo, voice and video communication, workflow management and collaboration among team members and enterprises of various sizes. More than 5 million companies and organizations are currently using it in China.

 

DingTalk Security

As a Chinese app targeted at enterprises, Alibaba is eager to assure users of the security of the DingTalk platform. It features end-to-end 256-bit AES encryption over SSL/TLS connections. It is also one of the first Chinese apps to have obtained the ISO/IEC 27001:2013 standard.

Enterprises that require additional security can opt for third-party encryption services that will provide assurance that the messages and data sent or shared on DingTalk cannot be accessed, even if their servers are compromised in any way.

 

DingTalk Communication Features

  • Phone / Chat: DingTalk can support up to 3,000 members in a single group chat.
  • Voice Conferencing: Multi-party participation with ease of clicking a button on the group chat for up to 50 people. Voice service is currently only available via VoIP for users outside of China.
  • Video Conferencing: High-definition video conferencing equipment for up to 16 parties, view conference status at a glance and easily switch between training and discussion mode, supports both desktop and file sharing. Video services is currently only available via VoIP for users outside of China.
  • Ding Mail: Effective email messaging and receive email notifications in chats. Ding Mail makes email messaging more like chats instead of threads.
  • Organization Chart: View organization’s structure in a glance, find people and contacts with ease.
  • Read/Unread Status: All types of messaging display read / unread statuses for improving communications efficiency.
  • Secret Chat: Send a traceless secret message for ultimate privacy and protection. Once read, the message automatically delete itself after 30 seconds. No Copy& Paste is allowed during Secret Chat mode. Both profiles within the Secret Chat are masked, hence the identities remain concealed.

 

DingTalk Office Automation Features

  • Attendance: User-friendly and smart Clocking-In and Out system, automatically generates attendance reports, approvals for business trips and leave are automatically.
  • Approvals: all your workplace tools in one place – requests for leaves, applications for business trips or reimbursements at the convenience of your phone. Recommended process templates are provided for each industry. Approval functions lets you view pending applications, keep track of all your approved applications and submit your own applications for approval.
  • Ding Drive: quick and easy file collaboration, integrated company chats, making sharing files between colleagues even easier. Easy and sharable files between companies through your external contacts or keep files only accessible to employees. Free storage for every registered organizations. Different permission settings available in regular chars, private chats or organization chats.
  • Check-In: More of a field-force feature. NO setup is required and it captures all check-in records in one report.
  • Log: View work reports from previous days, weeks or months to help identify problems
  • Announcement: Announcements can be made within your department / organization. Members will receive notifications once announcement has been posted.

 

DingTalk Collaboration Features

  • DING Message: Send important messages via SMS, phone or in the app ( DING message via phone is only available for a few customers and the function is available only to a “White List” of users and is not available to the general public)
  • DING Tasks: create and assign work tasks in seconds
  • DING Meetings: Book offline meetings, video conferences and conference calls (voice and video services are currently only available via VoIP for users outside of China)
  • External Contacts: Batch add from Phone Contacts / import from PC, Add manually or Scan Business Card to add external contacts to your DingTalk. Under the Scan Business Card function, all you need to do is scan the business card and all information will be automatically extracted and saved under External Contacts.
  • Hot Line: Local hotline number for customers in Malaysia is +603 20929588
  • Field Support: When required, DingTalk’s local team will provide onsite deployment service or training for organizations and companies.

 

DingTalk Smart Office Devices

Enterprises, small and large, can further leverage the capabilities of DingTalk with the addition of these DingTalk Smart office Devices :

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  • With the C1 Smart Wi-Fi Router, users can complete the 4-step configuration in 5 minutes. With one-click setup and seamless roaming, the router enables smart network traffic control and supports up to 256 devices.
  • Besides screen sharing between offices powered by DingTalk, users can also use D6 Wireless HD Projector or V1 Wireless Portable Projector for presentation.
  • DingTalk enables enterprises to conveniently record attendance in the workplace and at external meetings with the M1 Finger Print Attendance Machine and M2 Facial Recognition Smart Receptionist.

 

DingTalk Price & Availability

Originally designed as a Chinese app, DingTalk is now available as an English app in Google Play Store, and the Apple App Store. It is also available on the desktop for Windows and Mac systems.

The native features of DingTalk are FREE for all enterprises to use, irrespective of their size. Optional third-party, or value added services (e.g. additional Ding Drive storage) may be applicable.

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Gate A20 Option – The BIOS Optimization Guide

Gate A20 Option

Common Options : Normal, Fast

 

Quick Review

The Gate A20 Option BIOS feature is used to determine the method by which Gate A20 is controlled. The Normal option forces the chipset to use the slow keyboard controller to do the switching. The Fast option, on the other hand, allows the chipset to use its own 0x92 port for faster switching. No candy for guessing which is the recommended setting!

Please note this feature is only important for operating systems that switch a lot between real mode and protected mode. These operating systems include 16-bit operating systems like MS-DOS and 16-bit/32-bit hybrid operating systems like Microsoft Windows 98.

This feature has no effect if the operating system only runs in real mode (no operating system currently in use does that, as far as I know!) or if the operating system operates entirely in protected mode (i.e. Microsoft Windows XP or newer). This is because if A20 mode switching is not required, then it does not matter at all if the switching was done by the slow keyboard controller or the faster 0x92 port.

With all that said and done, the recommended setting for this BIOS feature is still Fast, even with operating systems that don’t do much mode switching. Although using the 0x92 port to control Gate A20 has been known to cause spontaneous reboots in certain, very rare instances, there is really no reason why you should keep using the slow keyboard controller to turn A20 or or off.

 

Details

The A20 address line is a relic from the past. It came about because the father of x86 processors – the Intel 8088 had only 20 address lines! That meant that it could only address 1 MB of memory. Of course, in the 8088 days, 1 MB of memory was a LOT!

When the Intel 80286 processor was introduced, it had 24 address lines. This represented a tremendous leap in the amount of addressable memory. Although there were only four extra address lines, that allowed the 80286 to address up to 16 MB of memory.

To maintain 100% software compatibility with the 8088, the 80286 had a real mode that would truncate addresses to 20-bits. Unfortunately, a design bug prevented it from truncating the addresses properly. Thus, the 80286 was unable to run many 8088-compatible software.

To solve this problem, IBM designed an AND gate switch to control the 20th address bit. This switch was henceforth known as the Gate A20. When enabled, all available address lines would be used by the processor for access to memory above the first megabyte.

In the 8088-compatible real mode, the Gate A20 would be used to clear the 20th bit of all addresses. This allowed the 80286 to function like a superfast 8088 processor with access only to the first megabyte of memory.

Even today, Gate A20 is still an important part of the computer. The processor needs to turn A20 on and off when it switches between real mode and protected mode. Since operating systems like Microsoft Windows 98 switch a lot between real mode and protected mode, relying on the understandably slow keyboard controller was not acceptable.

The motherboard chipset’s I/O port 0x92 (System Control Port A) was summarily recruited to take over the job. A lot faster than the keyboard controller, the 0x92 port allows the processor to switch much faster between real mode and protected mode. This translates into faster memory access and better system performance.

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The Gate A20 Option BIOS feature is used to determine the method by which Gate A20 is controlled. The Normal option forces the chipset to use the slow keyboard controller to do the switching. The Fast option, on the other hand, allows the chipset to use its own 0x92 port for faster switching. No candy for guessing which is the recommended setting!

Please note this feature is only important for operating systems that switch a lot between real mode and protected mode. These operating systems include 16-bit operating systems like MS-DOS and 16-bit/32-bit hybrid operating systems like Microsoft Windows 98.

This feature has no effect if the operating system only runs in real mode (no operating system currently in use does that, as far as I know!) or if the operating system operates entirely in protected mode (i.e. Microsoft Windows XP or newer). This is because if A20 mode switching is not required, then it does not matter at all if the switching was done by the slow keyboard controller or the faster 0x92 port.

With all that said and done, the recommended setting for this BIOS feature is still Fast, even with operating systems that don’t do much mode switching. Although using the 0x92 port to control Gate A20 has been known to cause spontaneous reboots in certain, very rare instances, there is really no reason why you should keep using the slow keyboard controller to turn A20 or or off.

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Creatable + MacPhun Design Freebie Bundle

The year-end and new year holiday season is upon us! From now until the first few days of 2016, the Internet will be replete with a ton of offers and freebies to celebrate the end of 2015, and a new start to 2016.

Here at Tech ARP, we will be posting some of the best offers and freebies, so check back often! In the meantime, enjoy this freebie from Creatable and MacPhun Software!

 

Creatable + MacPhun Design Freebie Bundle

Creatable and MacPhun Software have jointly released a Design Freebie Bundle of 27 resource packs worth $456, but is now FREE to download and use!

 

The Creatable + MacPhun Design Freebie Bundle consists of the following software :

  • Focus CK for Mac – $60 value
  • Simple Icons Set – $50 value
  • Photoshop Actions by Filterlicious – $24 value
  • UI Kit for Apple Watch Apps – $29 value
  • Mac Mockups Set – $18 value
  • Monobrand iOS UI Kit – $38 value
  • Lightroom Presets by CreativePresets – $19 value
  • Retro Jam UI Kit – $19 value
  • Exeo UI Kit – $35 value
  • Workspace Hero Images – $12 value
  • Gradient Presentation Template – $9 value
  • Royal UI Kit – $9 value
  • Tech Brochure & Newsletter Template – $23 value
  • Party Vector Icons – $4 value
  • Combinations UI Kit – $6 value
  • Boost UI Kit – $28 value
  • Winter Watercolor Backgrounds – $8 value
  • 48 Watercolor Backgrounds – $10 value
  • Artistic Backgrounds – $5 value
  • Sketch Art Photoshop Action – $5 value
  • Realistic Painting Action V2 – $5 value
  • Anaglyph PS Action – $3 value
  • Creative Design Business Cards – $3 value
  • Creative Corporate Design Letterhead – $3 value
  • Quick Paint PS Action – $3 value
  • Stationery Mockups – $3 value
  • Christmas Infographics & Illustrations – $20 value
  • Business Infographics – $5 value

Although some of them are Mac-specific, many of the resources can be used with Windows and Linux PCs.

 

How To Download The Design Freebie Bundle

Just click here to get to the Creatable + MacPhun Design Freebie Bundle landing page. Once you are there, just click on the Get This Free > link, and this screen will pop-up :

Just key in your email address and click Continue >>

You will receive an email with a secure link to download those resources.

Please note that you only need to do this once, because the offer is for ALL 27 resources. You do not have to “purchase” each free resource individually.

Enjoy!