Intel Core i9-10900K, Core i7-10700K and Core i5-10600K marketing slides surface online

In brief: Intel’s upcoming 10th generation Comet Lake-S CPUs are reportedly coming at the end of this month, and judging by several leaked promotional slides, they should be the best Skylake refinement the company can make before moving on to a new architecture step on its desktop CPUs.

This past week Intel unveiled the 10th generation, Comet Lake H-series CPUs for high-end laptops, sparking gamers and creators’ enthusiasm with potent silicon that breaks the 5 GHz speed barrier inside a 45 W thermal envelope.

Of course, people have also been waiting for a while now to see the desktop variants in all their glory. After all, these will require new motherboards with LGA 1200 sockets, so everyone wants to know if they’re worth upgrading to.

The new processors are reportedly slated for an April 30 announcement, and the marketing materials have already leaked online.

As expected, the i9-10900K seems to be a 10-core processor with a base clock of 3.7 Ghz and the ability to boost up to 5.3 Ghz using Intel’s Thermal Velocity Boost (TVB) technology. This appears to be an exclusive feature of all 10th generation i9 variants. The i9-10900K is expected to have a TDP of 125W, and TVB will only kick in for short, burst workloads, and only when temperature and power budget allow for it.

Based on various benchmarks that have surfaced over the last few months, the i9-10900K is expected to be quite a bit faster than an i9-9900K (up to 30% in some scenarios). Leaks hint that it could be faster than AMD’s Ryzen 3700X but also a tad slower than an R9 3900X.

Power efficiency won’t be a strong point for the i9-10900K (which remains a 14nm part), which means Intel will have to play with pricing to get a winning formula against losing more market share to AMD. The latter is expected to unveil its Zen 3 CPU lineup in the second half of this year, and those will be improvements on 7nm, Zen 2 CPUs, which are already proving to be a better deal.

The i7-10700K will be an 8-core CPU with a base frequency of 3.8 GHz that will only go up to 5.1 GHz, but it won’t support Thermal Velocity Boost. Contrast that with mobile Comet Lake i7 parts which do get support for TVB, and you’d think that Intel forgot to add that in for the desktop part. However, even on high-end laptops that will feature the best possible cooling solution, the desktop i7-10700K with the standard, Turbo Boost 3.0 will likely be able to sustain all-core boost clocks for much longer than say, the i7-10875H with TVB.

The i5-10600K will be a 6-core CPU with a moderately higher base clock of 4.1 GHz and a maximum boost clock of 4.8 Ghz. All three Comet Lake-S unlocked CPUs will come in two versions, one with a recycled Intel UHD 620 iGPU (rebranded to UHD 630 and running at slightly higher clocks), and a KF series without an iGPU.

At this point, pricing is everyone’s guess, and so is Intel’s ability to deliver these parts as originally planned, considering the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on supply chains worldwide.

Facebook wanted to buy Pegasus spyware in 2017 to monitor iPhone users

A hot potato: Facebook sued spyware firm NSO Group in October 2019 for enabling a precisely-targeted attack on several WhatsApp users by means of fake servers and explointing a VoIP-related vulnerability in WhatsApp. Now NSO says Facebook tried to buy its Pegasus spyware tool long before caring for its users getting hacked.

An ongoing court battle has surfaced an interesting piece of information that, if proven true, could result in another scar on Facebook’s public image.

Back in October 2019, Facebook sued Israeli firm NSO group for allegedly facilitating a hack on several high-profile WhatsApp users on behalf of unnamed government clients. This involved a sophisticated attack that used fake WhatsApp servers in order to make the target devices easier to breach.

NSO is known for licensing its infamous Pegasus spyware tool to whomever wants the ability to steal data from your Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Facebook accounts, not to mention everything that’s stored on your phone.

Court documents filed this week and spotted by Vice have revealed that Facebook representatives approached NSO in 2017 with the intention of using their software on iPhone and iPad users.

Interestingly, the social giant had very little interest in using it as hacking tool, but was exploring the idea of harnessing it to effectively monitor iOS users, which is notoriously more difficult than targeting Android users. The proposed deal would have had Facebook pay a fee for every user it would be able to track through Pegasus.

According to court filings, Facebook at the time was “concerned that its method for gathering user data through Onavo Protect was less effective on Apple devices than on Android devices.” NSO CEO Shalev Hulio refused to license Pegasus for that purpose, so Facebook went ahead and launched Onavo without that functionality.

Of course, even without Pegasus to give it superpowers, Onavo was built as a VPN that secured your internet activity and made it obscure for everyone but Facebook. This eventually led to its removal on both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store.

As for NSO, the company says it chose not to sell Pegasus to Facebook as the latter “is a private entity and not a sovereign government or government agency for national security and law enforcement purposes and therefore does not meet NSO’s customer criteria.”

In the meantime, Facebook made not one but two apps to collect data on you and pay for it upfront. One is called Study from Facebook and looks at how you use apps, and the other is Viewpoints, which pays you to take short surveys.

US attorney and FBI warn that ‘Zoom bombing’ a federal offense

Why it matters: With an unprecedented number of people working, schooling, and socializing from home, there are a lot more victims for cybercriminals to target. However, even playing a seemingly harmless prank on unsuspecting victims can result in fines and prison time under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Federal prosecutors have put pranksters and hackers on notice: If you are thinking about “Zoom bombing” — don’t. Zoom bombing is where someone barges in on a video conference and displays porn or some other disruptive content. According to the Department of Justice, such acts are a federal offense and subject to harsh fines and imprisonment.

“You think Zoom bombing is funny? Let’s see how funny it is after you get arrested,” Matthew Schneider, US Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, said in a DoJ press release. “If you interfere with a teleconference or public meeting in Michigan, you could have federal, state, or local law enforcement knocking at your door.”

The warning comes as the Zoom video conferencing app has exploded in popularity. The tool’s user base has grown 20-fold to over 200 million in just over three months, causing the company to freeze feature development to fix security issues brought on by the increased numbers and use cases that extended beyond the scope the company intended.

However, Zoom is not the only telecommuting application, and the law applies to them all. Regardless of whether a person interrupts a Zoom meeting or a Microsoft Teams conference, it is still a violation of USC 18 section 1030 of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Sentences can range from one to 10 years in federal prison, depending on the specifics of the violation. Fines can be up to $100,000 for misdemeanor acts and $250,000 for felonies as well as the seizure of property.

“We were alerted to this problem by a Michigan reporter who participated in a Zoom conference that was hijacked,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. “Since then, we have learned of other incidents around the country.”

The FBI urges people to exercise “good cyber hygiene” when using teleconferencing apps and has outlined some tips and steps to reduce risks on the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) website. Victims of conference hijacking can also report it on the IC3’s reporting page.

Masthead credit: Zoom Lock by Ink Drop, Video Conferencing by Girts Ragelis

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Amazon expected to postpone Prime Day this year

In context: Amazon’s annual Prime Day event is typically one of the most highly-anticipated sales periods of the year. Thousands of products, from computer components to games and electronics, see steep discounts, making it the perfect time to splurge if you have cash to spare.

Unfortunately, even Prime Day isn’t safe from the destructive path of Covid-19. The virus’ spread has caused major disruptions to Amazon’s business model, and you need look no further than a recent Reuters report for evidence of that. According to the outlet, Amazon is planning to push Prime Day back by at least a month.

This news might seem insignificant to those who don’t participate in the Prime Day “festivities,” but for Amazon, it’s quite the opposite. The company is reportedly expecting to take at least a $100 million revenue hit due to the delay. At worst, Amazon may lose up to $300 million, but the lower $100 million figure is more “likely.” The cause for these potential losses relates to excess device stock (presumably Echo units and the like) Amazon may now need to sell off at a steep discount.

We don’t know what date Prime Day will be moved to — and we wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon doesn’t know for sure, either — but Reuters say the current plan is to host the event in August at the earliest (previous Prime Days have taken place in July).

Last year, Amazon sold over 175 million products during Prime Day, which was quite the achievement. It remains to be seen whether or not the company will be able to beat that record this year, considering the fact that thousands upon thousands of worldwide consumers have lost their jobs due to Covid-19.

New details emerge on Apple’s upcoming entry-level iPhone

Rumor mill: Apple’s plan to launch a successor to the iPhone SE may have been delayed a month by labor and component shortages in China, but the company is reportedly nearing the launch date, especially if you look at subtle accidental leaks that no one paid attention to for weeks.

With so many people waiting for a less expensive iPhone that is easier to hold in an average sized hand, the rumor mill has been churning many pieces of information about Apple’s upcoming device.

A particular dilemma in everyone’s minds has been the name of the new iPhone. The best educated guess has been that Apple would just call it iPhone 9, since it’s going to be almost indistinguishable from iPhone 8 in its exterior design.

However, according to a new report from 9to5Mac, Apple will simply call it iPhone SE, as in the “new iPhone SE,” presumably because everyone is already familiar with the name. This seems to have slipped Apple’s silo through an early listing for a Belkin InvisiGlass screen protector that is described as compatible with iPhone SE/8/7 – which the company promptly rectified on its official online store to remove the mention.

This also confirms the form factor of the device – an iPhone 8 shell with a 4.7-inch display, powered by the same chipset as the iPhone 11 lineup, and support for Touch ID. It will come in white, black, and Product(RED) variants with a choice between 64, 128, and 256 GB of storage. Pieces of iOS 14 code have also suggested the existence of a 5.5-inch, entry-level iPhone, which means the new iPhone SE could come in a “Plus” version.

And since many were also hyped about the potential $399 starting price, the notion that a launch is imminent for later this month makes it hard to believe that the company will change that in the middle of a pandemic that leaves entire industries and millions of jobs in limbo. The situation even has Apple thinking about postponing the launch of the more expensive, 5G-ready iPhone 12.

As China got the spread of Covid-19 in the country under control, Apple re-opened its physical stores, which is possibly a sign that the company wants to use this opportunity to battle Chinese smartphone giants that have been churning compelling iPhone alternatives for half the price.

Apple AirTags tracking device name spotted in iOS support video

What just happened? Apple’s interest in developing a tracking device that you can stick to items like your keys or briefcase has been leaked enough at this point that its existence is almost a foregone conclusion. However, Apple may have just accidentally confirmed the gadget in a support video for iOS.

We have heard hints over the last year that Apple has been working on a tracker-like device similar to Tile key fobs. The first was last April when the company merged Find My iPhone and Find My Friends into one app. In June, evidence of it appeared in the source code of an iOS 13 beta build. Then in January of this year, renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo mentioned that a tracking device was in the works. However, Apple never confirmed any of these rumors.

On Friday morning, Appleosophy spotted a video posted by Apple on its support pages confirming the existence of a device the company is calling “AirTags.” The clip was evidently posted on accident as it has since been removed.

The recording showed the Find My iPhone settings screen (above). Not only does it clearly list the AirTags name, but it also confirms that it will be capable of offline tracking.

“Offline finding enables this device and AirTags to be found when not connected to Wi-Fi or cellular,” says the description under the “Enable Offline Finding” setting.

This discovery seems to validate that the tracker will be equipped with the U1 chip found in iPhone 11, which uses Ultra-Wideband technology to ping surrounding devices for more accurate location data. AirTags will likely use the same technique to tell Find My where it is.

So Apple has inadvertently outed AirTags as coming soon. If the other rumors hold, users will be able to use an augmented reality interface on their iPhone or iPad to find their AirTags, even if there is no WiFi or cellular connection available.

Since there is already a video showing the AirTags in the settings of iOS, it would not be surprising to hear Apple come forward with a formal announcement in the coming months.

Masthead credit: MichaelJayBerlin

Google Fi temporarily increases data limits to 30GB per month, extends payment grace period

Why it matters: Google Fi, the wireless mobile service run by the search giant, is implementing a couple of policy changes to help customers during these uncertain times. For some, it could be the difference between staying connecting and getting cut off from the outside world.

Google in a recently updated support document said that as of April 1, customers on its Flexible and Unlimited plans will now have up to 30GB of full-speed data at their disposal before throttling measures kick in.

Normally, the Flexible plan affords 15GB of high-speed data before being slowed down to 256 kbps (or you buy more high-speed data at $10 per GB). The Unlimited plan, meanwhile, pushes the cap a bit higher to 22 GB.

Google said it is also temporarily extending the payment grace period so customers who are experiencing financial hardships can stay connected. The new grace period lasts 60 days from a customer’s missed billing date.

Seeing as nobody really knows when this whole mess will be behind us, Google didn’t impose an end date for either policy change. It’d be nice if Google and others like Comcast stuck with the elevated caps after the pandemic passes – or eliminated them entirely – but I wouldn’t count on that happening.

Google isn’t the only provider taking steps to help customers during the outbreak. AT&T and Cricket last month announced more affordable plans that start at $15 per month, matching a similar offer rolled out by T-Mobile earlier in the week.

Masthead credit: dennizn, metamorworks

MSI Announces GeForce GTX 1650 D6 Series Graphics Cards

As the world’s most popular GAMING graphics card vendor, MSI is proud to announce its graphics card line-up based on the GeForce GTX 1650 GPU. The big change is that instead of GDDR5, these new models are fitted with faster GDDR6 memory modules, providing better performance than the original models. These new models will get the designation “D6” in their names to indicate the usage of faster memory. The GeForce GTX 1650 has been carefully architected to balance performance, power, and cost, and includes all of the new Turing Shader innovations that improve performance and efficiency.

Equipped with excellent thermal solutions, the MSI GeForce GTX 1650 D6 series is designed to provide higher core and memory clock speeds for increased performance in games. MSI’s GAMING series delivers the top notch in-game and thermal performance that gamers have come to expect from MSI. With solid and sharp designs, GAMING and VENTUS XS provide a great balance with strong dual fan cooling and outstanding performance. The AERO ITX and Low Profile (LP) series are great options for gamers looking to include Turing power into a small form factor build. With this comprehensive line-up there is plenty of choice for any demand.

After winning numerous awards on the MSI RTX 20 series, the 7th generation of the iconic TWIN FROZR thermal design is tailored to cool the MSI GeForce GTX 1650 D6 GAMING series as well. Featuring two of MSI’s patented TORX 3.0 fans, the unique fan design combines the advantages of two differently shaped fan blades to generate huge amounts of airflow. The new trims on the traditional fan blades create concentrated airflow for higher air pressure while also reducing noise. The customized heatsink is designed for efficient heat dissipation to keep the temperature low and performance high. An aggressive gunmetal grey & black look emphasizes the glorious glow of white LED into the card. Using the updated & improved MSI Dragon Center software, controlling and syncing your LED-lit components is easier than ever.

Dressed in a fashionable Black & Silver design with industrial style shapes, the MSI GeForce GTX 1650 D6 VENTUS XS series is a smaller version of the popular VENTUS design. The new dual-fan thermal design provides more concentrated airflow and air pressure for enhanced cooling performance. Using a direct contact design, the heatsink transfers heat from the GPU quickly and efficiently.

The GeForce GTX 1650 D6 AERO ITX models are small in size, but just as big in performance as their bigger brothers. The AERO ITX model utilizes a single high-performance fan on a compact heatsink featuring efficient heatpipes and optimized dissipation. All of this is covered by a very classy looking black and white shroud with some carbon details. Even in a small form factor, staying as silent as possible is important.

For people that are looking for the most compact version of MSI GeForce GTX 1650 D6 models, there is the Low Profile (LP) series. Featuring a dual fan thermal design for a stable environment with better dissipation. Its smaller size is suitable for mini systems and specific low profile chassis. Included in the box are two sizes of brackets for users to choose from.

MSI Afterburner is the world’s most recognized and widely used graphics card Overclocking software. It gives you full control of your graphics card and enables you to monitor your system’s key metrics in real-time. Afterburner gives you a free performance boost for a smooth in-game experience thanks to higher FPS.

GeForce GTX 1650 graphics cards are transitioning to GDDR6 due to “industry running out of GDDR5”

In a nutshell: Nvidia isn’t known for sneaking out new graphics cards without announcing it to the world, even when they only offer minor upgrades over their predecessors, but it looks as if a new GTX 1650 packing GDRR6 memory has arrived without much fanfare.

Speaking to PC Gamer, an Nvidia rep said the company released the new card because “the industry is running out of GDDR5, so we’ve transitioned the product to GDDR6.”

An early review of the new GTX 1650 version appeared on Expreview (via Videocardz). It uses the same TU117-300 GPU with 896 CUDA cores as its predecessor, though the base clock in the newer card drops from 1485 MHz to 1410 MHz, while the boost falls from 1665 MHz to 1485 MHz.

The memory clocks might be lower, but the updated card comes with 12 Gbps memory modules instead of the 8 Gbps found in the GDDR5 version, pushing the maximum bandwidth from 128 Gb/s to 192 Gb/s.

Overall, it was found that the latest GTX 1650 is 5 to 8 percent faster in synthetic benchmarks and 2 to 10 percent faster in most games than its GDDR5-sporting predecessor.

We weren’t overly impressed with the GTX 1650, giving it a score of 60 in our review; the GTX 1650 Super, which uses GDDR6, is a much better buy.

It’s noted that most modern graphics cards use GDDR6. The GTX 1660 is one exception, but buyers will likely opt for the GTX 1660 Ti or GTX 1660 Super, both of which use GDDR6 instead of GDDR5.