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PlayStation 5 pre-orders now live on London Drugs' website [Update] – MobileSyrup

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Canadian retailer London Drugs is now taking pre-orders for the PlayStation 5 on its website.

You can pre-order the base $629 CAD console here, and the disc-less Digital Edition model here.

Meanwhile, PS5 games and accessories can be pre-ordered here.

This is a second batch of pre-orders for London Drugs, after the retailer’s initial supply sold out within minutes.

The PlayStation 5 will launch on November 12th in Canada.

Update 17/09/2020 at 6:05pm ET — Pre-orders for both PS5 models have already sold out.

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AMD’s newest graphics cards: RDNA2 power from $579 to $999 – Ars Technica

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Today, AMD launched the first of its “Big Navi” RDNA 2 architecture Radeon graphics cards, the RX 6800 XT and RX 6900 XT. These cards compete directly against Nvidia’s RTX 3070, RTX 3080, and RTX 3090.

Like Nvidia’s RTX 3000 line, the new cards offer 60+ fps 4K gaming, with full DirectX 12 Ultimate support, including hardware-accelerated real-time ray tracing.

Performance

RDNA2 brought enormous gen-on-gen fps gains from last generation’s “little Navi” RX 5000 series—but what most people will care about is how the components compare to Nvidia’s offerings, not to last generation’s AMD. In terms of sheer GPU horsepower, Nvidia’s RTX 3000 series and AMD’s RX 6000 series appear to be in a dead heat. As always, it’s worth taking a vendor’s own private benchmarks with a grain of salt—but we don’t expect to see materially different results in private testing later as these cards filter down to the market.

AMD did not compare the RX 6800 (non-XT) with Nvidia’s RTX 3070; instead, the 6800 was compared with last generation’s RTX 2080Ti. But for most intents—and as backed up by our own Sam Machkovech’s recent testing—these cards perform quite similarly. So we can reasonably read the RX 6800 chart as comparing to the RTX 3070.

Features

The biggest addition to the Radeon arsenal with RDNA 2 is real-time ray tracing and support for DirectX 12 Ultimate. The new cards feature one Ray Accelerator for each Compute Unit on the card, offering a roughly tenfold increase in ray-tracing performance compared to software-only implementations.

The addition of real-time hardware ray tracing brings Radeon to gaming-feature parity with Nvidia’s lineup, at least on paper. It will take some time to decipher how well Radeon’s ray-tracing support stacks up to Nvidia’s in real life—and particularly in the context of real-world games, which up until now have been advertised loudly with “Nvidia RTX” logos, even though they largely rely on a more open DirectX Ray Tracing protocol.

On the console front, Microsoft was keen on immediately reminding gamers that its next-gen consoles would leverage the “full feature set of RDNA 2 in hardware.”

The new RDNA2 architecture also brings greater power efficiency to the Radeon lineup, with the 300W 6800 XT and 6900 XT beating out their Nvidia competitors by 20W and 50W, respectively. On the lower end of the lineup, Nvidia takes the lead, with the 220W Nvidia RTX 3070 beating the 250W Radeon RX 6800.

Pricing

AMD cardAMD priceMost comparable Nvidia cardNvidia price
Radeon RX 6800$580RTX 3070$500
Radeon RX 6800 XT$650RTX 3080$700
Radeon RX 6900 XT$1,000RTX 3090$1,500

In some ways, AMD looks like it might have gotten caught with its pants down on the RX 6800 pricing. Consumers will probably have a hard time justifying an extra $80 at that price bracket on a card with higher thermals and a more uncertain real-time ray-tracing pedigree. But in other ways, AMD might have the edge—if higher amounts of VRAM in each class are your selling point. The RX 6800’s 16GB of GDDR6 VRAM doubles that of Nvidia’s comparable RTX 3070.

The value proposition is closer to even when upgrading to the 6800XT and just about overwhelming at the top tier. That’s where Nvidia’s RTX 3090 costs a whopping 50 percent more than AMD’s RX 6900 XT for roughly the same 4K frame rates delivered. Both of these AMD cards sport 16GB of GDDR6 VRAM, as well, but that’s not clocked as highly as Nvidia’s choice of GDDR6X VRAM (11GB of it in the RTX 3080, and 24GB in the RTX 3090).

If all you’re looking for is the best raw 4K frame rates on current AAA games, ray tracing be damned, the top end of the RX 6000 series seem like clear winners. For anyone heavily invested in ray tracing, sticking with Nvidia—who brought it to market a generation sooner—might be the better bet if you can’t wait a few months to see how those features and their performance shake out in the market.

This article has been updated with more information about VRAM capacity in AMD’s newest GPUs.

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Apple search crawler activity could signal a Google competitor, or a bid to make Siri a one-stop-shop – TechCrunch

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Encouraged by the spate of antitrust activity brewing in both the Justice Department and on Capitol Hill, Apple may be developing a search competitor to Google, according to a report in the Financial Times.

That would be a move ripe with irony as the push for an end to anti-competitive practices is seemingly creating greater competition among the largest companies which already dominate the technology industry rather than between those established companies and more nimble upstarts.

Signs of Apple’s resurgent interest in search technologies can be found in both a subtle but significant change to the latest version of the iOS 14 iPhone operating system and increasing activity from Apple’s spidering tools that are used to scour the web and refine search functionality, the Financial Times reported.

Apple is now showing its own search results and linking directly to websites when users type queries from its home screen in iOS 14. For context, this is a behavior that has been known for a while as people have seen the feature pop up in beta versions of iOS. And the search volume being up on Apple’s crawler is something that Jon Henshaw of Coywolf had noted back in August.

Sources cited by the Financial Times said that the change marked a significant step-change in Apple’s in-house search development and could be the basis for a broader push into search.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company certainly has the expertise. A little less than three years ago it nabbed Google’s head of search, John Giannandrea in what was widely seen as an attempt to shore up Apple’s foundations in artificial intelligence and voice search via Siri. Because of the way that Apple is organized internally, it’s unlikely that Giannandrea will be devoting full-time effort to both a potential “search product” and Siri . But it’s within the realm of possibility that he could be lending his expertise to a team working on a separate feature.

Any development of a search tool would be a third way for Apple, which now uses Google as its default search service thanks to a lucrative contract between the two (one that’s also at the heart of a Justice Department inquiry into Google’s purported anti-competitive activities around search). The only other major search services on the market rely on Microsoft’s Bing to power their results.

While the signs do point to an actual uptick in activity, there could be an explanation for Apple’s crawler activity that’s less heavy on corporate skunkworks skulduggery and more in line with goals that Apple’s stated pretty clearly.

While the story about Apple getting into direct competition with Google on search makes for a great headline, the uptick in activity could be explained equally as rationally by Siri getting more search queries and being more of an interlocutor between Apple and search services like Google or Microsoft’s Bing. This disintermediation is something that Google began years ago and has even modified and expanded over the years to combat the same kind of behavior from Siri.

Some of this comes down to semantics. By “search engine” do we mean “a web site that people type queries into” or do we mean a voice assistant that steps in to white-label web results with its own sourcing. Cutting down on the brand presence of a monster like Google on your own platform is a powerful motivator for any competitor, no matter the space.

Making Siri a one-stop-shop could inoculate Apple in the scenario where they are forced to enable a search provider choice in the iOS onboarding flow by regulation. It won’t do anything to help Google though, who pays Apple billions because iOS users are worth way more than any other mobile web users to its business. Google, for its part, says that when people have a choice they still pick Google anyway. Perhaps another reason why making Siri the search equivalent of an overtalker is the strong play for Apple.

TechCrunch has reached out to Apple for comment and will update when we hear back.

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Gallery: Concept imagines an online Apple Services Hub with Siri Search and more – 9to5Mac

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Amid suggestions that Apple is investigating the possibility of building its own search engine to rival Google, a new concept today images what an all-in-one Apple Services Hub might look like on the web. Through this hub, you’d be able to access all of your Apple ID services, as well as Siri Search on the web.

The concept was created by Parker Ortolani and it showcases how you could visit a new Apple services webpage for easy access to iCloud services, Apple Card details, Apple Music, the Apple Store, and much more. Perhaps most notably, there would also be new Siri Search capabilities.

Point your web browser to Siri․com and use Apple’s latest technologies to power up your web searches. Search Apple News for stories, updates, and financial data. You can search Apple Maps for destinations. iTunes and the App Store are there too so you find content or apps. Or search Apple․com for products, news, or support.

As of right now, you can access certain Apple services online through iCloud.com, but things like Apple Music, the apple Store, and Apple TV+ are located on their own separate webpages. This hub idea would incorporate everything into a central location, and add new Siri Search features.

Earlier today, a report from the Financial Times claims that Apple is now “stepping up” efforts to create its own search engine as its lucrative deal with Google comes under threat. While this still appears to be far off in the future, if it happens at all, you can learn more in our coverage here.

Google currently pays Apple an estimated $8-12 billion per year to be the default search engine on iOS devices. In 2018, for example, the sum was estimated at a little under $10 billion — around 20% of the company’s Services income for the year. However, antitrust regulators are now putting this deal in the spotlight, and arguing that it may be anti-competitive.

What do you think about the possibility of Apple expanding into the search industry? Would you use an Apple search engine over Google if given the option? Check out Parker’s full concept here and let us know down in the comments!

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