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Collection X launch is ‘largest in Xbox historical past’ as Microsoft tries to fulfill demand

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(Microsoft Picture)

Microsoft this week had its largest Xbox launch ever. After debuting on Tuesday, the Collection X (XSX) and all-digital counterpart Collection S are offered out at most main retailers, with Microsoft execs each promising a “resupply” quickly. Right here’s a tweet from Xbox chief Phil Spencer:

The XSX does have the benefit of initially launching in 37 international locations, which is sort of thrice as many because the Xbox One launch in 2013. Even so, as a way to have overwhelmed the previous sales record set by the Xbox One, the XSX will need to have shipped properly in extra of 1,000,000 models on launch day.

Microsoft didn’t launch official numbers in regards to the launch. Since 2015, the corporate has stopped divulging details about particular person gross sales, as a part of what Spencer identifies as a common technique to give attention to participant numbers somewhat than models shipped.

Xbox Series X/S review: Microsoft’s new console is a big step forward, but not a leap

“I know it seems manipulative and I’ll apologize for that,” he told the Guardian on Wednesday. “The first consequence of all of the work that we do is what number of gamers we see, and the way usually they play. That’s what drives Xbox… We publicly disclose participant numbers. That’s the factor I need us to be pushed by, not what number of particular person items of plastic did we promote.”

“I feel the individuals who wish to pit us in opposition to Sony primarily based on who offered essentially the most consoles lose the context of what gaming is about right this moment,” Spencer continued. “There are three billion individuals who play video games on the planet right this moment, however possibly [only] 200 million households which have a online game console. In a manner, the console house is changing into a smaller and smaller share of the general gaming pie.”

Replace: Microsoft on Friday launched a number of extra launch stats, together with essentially the most video games performed (three,594) throughout an Xbox launch, 70% of latest consoles tied to Xbox Recreation Move members, and the Collection S including the very best share of latest gamers for any Xbox console at launch.

It’s an attention-grabbing technique general. Spencer’s gamble appears to be that by growing with subscription companies just like the Xbox Recreation Move in thoughts, somewhat than the notoriously cutthroat (and quickly shrinking) retail market, the XSX can succeed with out counting on conventional methods like big-ticket unique software program. As a substitute, it’ll be comparatively straightforward and cheap to play video games on the Xbox, in comparison with a gaming PC or a competitor’s gadget.

Microsoft mentioned in September that Recreation Move subscribers jumped 50% from April to 15 million. As a part of its most up-to-date earnings report, the corporate mentioned gaming income elevated to $three billion, up 22% year-over-year, whereas Xbox hardware income declined 27% forward of the November launch.

The XSX does appear to be getting into the most recent stage of the “console wars” at a minor drawback, with advertising and marketing surveys indicating that Sony’s PlayStation 5, which launched right this moment, has a slight lead amongst customers. That is to be anticipated, as Sony nonetheless has an enormous head of steam constructed up from the overwhelming success of the PlayStation four, in addition to a handful of common exclusives like Spider-Man: Miles Morales as PS5 launch titles.

On the similar time, nonetheless, general client curiosity in gaming consoles has not often if ever been greater, with some surveys indicating that a full 10% of the U.S. market is desirous about shopping for an Xbox Collection X/S sooner or later sooner or later. With Christmas nonetheless over a month away, that quantity is prone to enhance, significantly with “killer apps” like Halo Infinite ready on the horizon.

The XSX’s launch additionally comes alongside the standard chaos of a significant console’s first few days. Some followers have reported points with their new Xbox hardware, corresponding to particularly loud or wholly non-functional disc drives. One viral put up on social media, that includes a Collection X tower that appeared to be venting smoke, turned out to be the results of a person intentionally blowing vape smoke into the unit. That led to this what-a-time-to-be-alive tweet from Xbox:

What you’ll be able to arguably take away from that is that many individuals within the Xbox group are nonetheless a little bit sore in regards to the notorious “Red Ring of Death” phenomenon that bricked many Xbox 360s again within the 2010s. It appears unbelievable that a model new Xbox in 2020 would really catch fireplace on startup, however the emotional fallout from the previous RROD offers it simply sufficient credence that the tweet went viral.

Shoppers with points who’ve not been hotboxing their new console are inspired to succeed in out to Microsoft, through the official Xbox Support site or Twitter.

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On October 25, Apple will release iOS 15.1 and iPadOS 15.1. What we know so far

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Apple released important updates for iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 on Tuesday, to address several issues and a severe security hole affecting the two platforms. Now, according to reports, Apple is working on iOS 15.1 and iPadOS 15.1 builds for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPads.

Also, Twitter user named RobertCFO received confirmation from an Apple Product Security Team member about the final build’s release date. On October 25th, according to a leaked email that was then deleted from Twitter, iOS 15.1 and iPadOS 15.1 will be released, a week after Apple holds its conference.

This follows Apple’s general software upgrade policy, which is to release new updates a week after its events.

SharePlay, which allows you to remotely watch and listen to streaming material with your friends via FaceTime, ProRes video support, as well as Covid-19 vaccination document support in the Wallet app, are all expected features of iOS 15.1.

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PSA: Mining Chia on an SSD Will Completely Wreck It in No Time Flat

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When SSDs first started transport in shopper merchandise, there have been comprehensible issues about their longevity. Time, steadily enhancing manufacturing methods, and a few low-level OS enhancements have all contributed to solid-state storage’s popularity for sturdiness. With experiences praising SSDs as provisionally extra dependable than arduous drives even beneath heavy utilization, it’s straightforward to see how individuals may not see the brand new Chia cryptocurrency as a serious trigger for concern.

It’s. Chia is first plotted after which farmed, and whereas farming Chia takes little or no in the way in which of processing sources, plotting it should completely hammer an SSD.

It’s been years since we talked about write amplification, but it surely’s a difficulty that impacts all NAND flash storage. NAND is written in 4KB pages and erased in 256KB blocks. If 8KB of information must be changed out of a 256KB block, the drive might want to learn the unique 256KB block, replace it, write the brand new block to a unique location on the drive, after which erase the earlier block.

Write amplification has been an issue for NAND for the reason that starting and a substantial amount of work has gone into addressing these issues, however Chia represents one thing of a worst-case situation. Right here’s an excerpt from a latest Chia blog post:

Producing plot recordsdata is a course of known as plotting, which requires short-term space for storing, compute and reminiscence to create, kind, and compress the information into the ultimate file. This course of takes an estimated 256.6GB of short-term house, very generally saved on SSDs to hurry up the method, and roughly 1.3TiB of writes in the course of the creation.

The ultimate plot created by the method described above is simply 101.3GB. There seems to be an order of magnitude of distinction between the full quantity of drive writes required to create a Chia plot and the storage capability mentioned plot requires when accomplished.

Motherboard producers have gotten in on the motion, with one Chia-compliant board providing 32 SATA backplanes.

Right here’s what this boils right down to: A number of shopper SSDs are actually unhealthy decisions for mining Chia. TLC drives with SLC / MLC caches will not be really useful as a result of they provide poor efficiency. Low-end and midrange shopper drives will not be really useful, as a result of they don’t provide excessive sufficient endurance. It’s important to watch out through which SKUs you buy and enterprise and enterprise drives are extra extremely really useful normally.

Don’t purchase a QLC drive to mine Chia.

Optane would appear to be a near-perfect match for Chia, given its a lot greater endurance, however I can’t discover any data on whether or not individuals have tried deploying it in massive sufficient numbers to have some concept of what efficiency and endurance seem like beneath the 24/7 load Chia plotters are placing on their hardware. Possibly any individual will put a rig collectively utilizing it, as a lot out of curiosity as the rest.

Past that, ExtremeTech recommends customers not try and plot Chia on any SSD they aren’t snug with dropping, and to not purchase an SSD for the aim until you don’t thoughts throwing it away if it dies far more rapidly than anticipated. Chia plotting is a worst-case situation for SSD longevity and it needs to be handled as such.

One notice of fine information: To this point, Chia mining has had a a lot stronger affect on high-capacity arduous drive costs than on SSDs and smaller drives. Hopefully, this continues to be the case.

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Microsoft adapts OpenAI’s GPT-Three pure language expertise to mechanically write code

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella introduces the brand new GPT-Three integration into Energy Apps in a recorded keynote tackle for the corporate’s digital Construct convention.

Microsoft unveiled new tools for automatically generating computer code and formulation on Tuesday morning, in a brand new adaptation of the GPT-Three natural-language expertise extra generally identified for replicating human language.

The aptitude, to be supplied as a part of Microsoft’s Power Platform, is among the fruits of the corporate’s partnership with OpenAI, the San Francisco-based synthetic intelligence firm behind GPT-Three. Microsoft invested $1 billion in OpenAI in 2019.

“The code writes itself,” stated Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, saying the information in a recorded keynote tackle to open the corporate’s Build developer conference.

The characteristic is named Power Apps Ideas. It’s a part of a broader push by Microsoft and different expertise corporations to make software program growth extra accessible to non-developers, often called low-code or no-code growth.

Microsoft fine-tuned GPT-Three to “leverage the mannequin’s current strengths in pure language enter to offer Energy Apps makers the power to explain logic similar to they’d to a good friend or co-worker, and find yourself with the suitable system for his or her app,” says Ryan Cunningham of the Energy Apps staff in a publish describing the way it works.

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