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Samsung courts mainstream users with the Galaxy Watch

Name aside, not all that much appears to have changed with the new Galaxy Watch. Samsung’s clearly used the Gear Sport as the jumping off point here. And that’s a good thing. Since the beginning, Samsung’s wearables have been plagued by a size issue.

They’re huge — big on my wrists, even, and I’m 5’11. That rules out a pretty massive potential user base right out of the gate. The Galaxy Watches on display appeared to be the smaller of the two, at 42mm, which fit pretty comfortable on my wrist. There’s also a 46mm for those diehard big watch fans. Samsung has yet to introduce a size for even smaller wrists, but this is certainly a step in the right direction.

Those earlier rumors that the company would be jumping to the more widely used Android Wear operating system were off-base. Samsung’s sticking with Tizen here, with the Galaxy watch running version 4.0. Not a huge surprise, of course. Samsung’s taken ownership over the open OS — moving to Google’s would feel like starting from scratch.

The industrial design is also similar to earlier models, with a well, pronounced metal case and large buttons. There are two color designs, however, so you can opt for rose gold for a bit of a softer touch. And, of course, there are a whole bunch of different band options to further customize it.

LTE functionality is present here — Samsung beat Apple to the draw on that one. The watch is also 5ATM + IP68 water resistant and features a Gorilla Glass face, so it can take a licking, at all.

Like the rest of the wearable world, health is a big feature here. There are six automatic exercises (walking, running, cycling, elliptical, training, rowing, and dynamic workouts), plus sleep tracking and breathing reminder. Speaking of sleeping with the thing on, the company promises “several days of usage,” but that will depend in no small part on which size you opt for. The battery sizes are 472mAh and 270mAh for the 46mm and 42mm, respectively. So that’s certainly a point in favor of opting for the largest one possible.

We’ll no doubt be testing that, along with everything else soon. For now, I’m not seeing any features that really stand out the the rest of the wearable masses. The 46mm runs $350 and the 42mm version is $330. Pricing on the LTE models will be carrier dependent (AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon are all repped here). The device is launching at some unspecified time later this year.

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Nvidia’s new Turing architecture is all about real-time ray tracing and AI

In recent days, word about Nvidia’s new Turing architecture started leaking out of the Santa Clara-based company’s headquarters. So it didn’t come as a major surprise that the company today announced during its Siggraph keynote the launch of this new architecture and three new pro-oriented workstation graphics cards in its Quadro family. Nvidia describes the new Turing architecture as “the greatest leap since the invention of the CUDA GPU in 2006.” That’s a high bar to clear, but there may be a kernel of truth here. These new Quadro RTx chips are the first to feature the company’s new RT Cores. “RT” here stands for ray tracing, a rendering method that basically traces the path of light as it interacts with the objects in a scene. This technique has been around for a very long time (remember POV-Ray on the Amiga?). Traditionally, though, it was always very computationally intensive, though the results tend to look far more realistic. In recent years, ray tracing got a new boost thanks to faster GPUs and support from the likes of Microsoft, which recently added ray tracing support to DirectX. “Hybrid rendering will change the industry, opening up amazing possibilities that enhance our lives with more beautiful designs, richer entertainment and more interactive experiences,” said Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang. “The arrival of real-time ray tracing is the Holy Grail of our industry.” The new RT cores can accelerate ray tracing by up to 25 times compared to Nvidia’s Pascal architecture, and Nvidia claims 10 GigaRays a second for the maximum performance. Unsurprisingly, the three new Turing-based Quadro GPUs will also feature the company’s AI-centric Tensor Cores, as well as 4,608 CUDA cores that can deliver up to 16 trillion floating point operations in parallel with 16 trillion integer operations per second. The chips feature GDDR6 memory to expedite things, and support Nvidia’s NVLink technology to scale up memory capacity to up to 96GB and 100GB/s of bandwidth. The AI part here is more important than it may seem at first. With NGX, Nvidia today also launched a new platform that aims to bring AI into the graphics pipelines. “NGX technology brings capabilities such as taking a standard camera feed and creating super slow motion like you’d get from a $100,000+ specialized camera,” the company explains, and also notes that filmmakers could use this technology to easily remove wires from photographs or replace missing pixels with the right background. On the software side, Nvidia also today announced that it is open sourcing its Material Definition Language (MDL). Companies ranging from Adobe (for Dimension CC) to Pixar, Siemens, Black Magic, Weta Digital, Epic Games and Autodesk have already signed up to support the new Turing architecture. All of this power comes at a price, of course. The new Quadro RTX line starts at $2,300 for a 16GB version, while stepping up to 24GB will set you back $6,300. Double that memory to 48GB and Nvidia expects that you’ll pay about $10,000 for this high-end card.

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