Srp 22

A ‘Brave’ New Benchmark: Putting the Browser’s Hype to the Test

Source: bitcoin

benchmark

We previously tested a very early build of Brave to see what kind of performance the new browser was packing. The thing is, that build wasn’t feature-complete or optimized for release. Now that it’s out in the wild (users are still waiting on the promised Bitcoin-centric features mind you) with all of its bells and whistles we thought we’d revisit our initial tests, and cast a wider net to give you a good metric for Brave’s real-world performance as it stands. 

Also read: Mycelum Gets P2P Tumbling

Is it as fast as it was before release? Is the responsiveness a nice bonus to their browsing experience, or is it just placebo compounded by novelty? We’ve rounded up six modern browsers, including a peek at the still-in-infancy Mozilla Servo, and tested them rigorously in an attempt to answer these questions.

Brave Benchmark Data

Each Browser is the latest version available, stock standard with no customization whatsoever, with the exception of Firefox, which is heavily extended and in use as my daily driver. I included it in testing to give a baseline for performance after long-term use and customization.

These are the normalized scores for each benchmark we ran. It’s hard to see a clear performance champ, but Brave initially looks healthy. Note that Vivaldi, Chromium and Brave are all based on Chrome, so we can reasonably expect them to perform similarly, though Brave is anecdotally supposed to be more performant. Speedometer seems heavily skewed towards Chrome optimization as well:

Here we see memory consumption with a large amount of tabs open. Brave consumes the second highest amount of memory out of all the browsers tested. Something to consider, as it may not run as well on systems with less than 8GB of RAM:

Interesting side note: I attempted to benchmark a release optimized build of Servo to see how far the project had progressed, and I very quickly got my answer — not very. The only thing I could get to run was Mozilla’s Dromaeo JS suite, which puts Servo’s performance at a little below a customized Firefox:

Here are the Peacekeeper Platform-Neutral Benchmark scores, relative to Brave’s performance. The picture starts to get a little clearer here:

And the aggregate normalized scores from every benchmark used in our tests:

Benchmark Conclusions and Recommendations

Brave is disappointingly slow, performing the worst out of the box, and only beating my extended and abused installation of Firefox. It even underperforms the aggregate average that includes Firefox as a negative outlier.

It also comes in second to last on system resources, and given the lack of promised bitcoin integration and the abysmal privacy situation hidden under a veneer of ad-blocking, I see little to no reason to use this new browser. It might be an upgrade if you’re moving from Internet Explorer or Safari, (or a really dirty install of Firefox) but the UX feels like a portal into the mid-2000’s, and any performance increase you’ll feel is an almost guaranteed placebo.

If you want a pretty, clean, user experience, try out Vivaldi. It performs similarly, and there’s a lot of thought put into the UX. Need privacy or just hate web advertising? Install a few add-ons in Chromium or Firefox.

Want to get paid BTC to view ads? Try getting in early on an MLM scheme, because there’s no word on when that’ll be coming to mainline Brave. Given time, and assuming the devs make good on all proposed features, this browser may become attractive, if not blazing fast. Until then, stick with what you’ve got, or try one of the other perfectly serviceable browsers represented in the benchmarks.

Questions about the browsers covered here? Leave them in the comments!


 

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A ‘Brave’ New Benchmark: Putting the Browser’s Hype to the Test

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Čvc 30

Radeon Overview: Aftermarket Polaris Cards Shaking up GPU Mining?

Source: bitcoin

Polaris

The Radeon RX 480 was released onto the GPU market without much fanfare, sold as a mid-range card at a low price – which is exactly how it performs. Despite the excitement in the gaming press about AMD’s Polaris architecture and the RX (and upcoming Pro WX) line of GPUs, particularly about the card’s price point, it seems to have been glossed over by the crypto mining community. 

Also read: The Bitcoinist Podcast is Back

The 480 boasts 26-27 MH/s when put to the task of ETH mining, around 85 percent of what its older brother, the 390X, can put out at around half of the launch price. Despite the card’s promise as an efficient and inexpensive piece of mining hardware, the first batch of reference models had power delivery issues, mediocre cooling, and a lack of raw performance that raised concerns for those looking to put them to work in 24/7 mining operations.

Impressive Hashpower at a Good Price

Miners on the fence about Polaris will be happy to know that the AIB partner cards, as well as the cut-down RX 470 and 460, are coming to market in the next few days. These cards come with superior cooling and beefed up power delivery that makes them more desirable for mining and other intensive uses.

With a lot of the initial red flags thrown up around this GPU about to become non-issues, we’ve decided to revisit the Polaris architecture and explore just how efficient and powerful the RX 480 is when it comes to GPU mining.

We’ll be comparing cards utilizing the RX 200, 300 and 400 series GPUs to analyze how each generation of GCN stacks up against the next when it comes to mining Ethereum. I’ve left nVidia’s Pascal and Maxwell cards out of the benchmarks because, despite their improved hashing performance, comparisons across the manufacturers, and from OpenCL to Cuda optimized mining, is beyond the scope of this article.

When looking at AMD GPU mining performance, it helps to understand the incongruity between their GPU architectures and their branding. Cards in the previous generation’s 300 series are primarily refreshes of older chips, with higher clocks and more/better memory. The 390X, a mining favorite, for example, is essentially a memory extended, overclocked 290X. The 380 is a souped-up 285 (which is the newest design from them outside of the Fury series’ Fiji Chip and the newer Polaris architecture), and the 370 is working with the same chips put into the now four-year-old HD 7000 series cards.

Because each price range of card uses a different architecture, with various design time frames and iterations, you’ll see dramatic jumps between each step in their lineup, and only marginal gains from generation to generation. The newest RX 400 series is unique in that it is the first non-iterative jump in design in nearly five years for AMD, and, as you’ll soon see, it certainly shows:

Polaris: New Efficiency King

AMD’s Polaris 2.0 architecture shows an appreciable 28 percent raw performance improvement over the last gen 380, and an even more dramatic 51 percent improvement over the previous iteration’s 285.

Of course, it’s not as simple as looking at raw hash power when evaluating mining equipment. Otherwise, the RX 480 would take a lackluster backseat to the current king in GPU mining, the 390X. What’s remarkable about the 480 is that it achieves this high level of compute performance while drawing less than half of what the 390X does at the outlet. With the latest drivers, the card only draws 159 Watts under full load, and under-volting the card further can increase its performance by stabilizing its maximum “boost” frequency. That’s right, the 480 holds the unique position of performing better with less power than the default settings.

So what does this drastic reduction in power draw mean? Well, the RX 480 blows every other card in the lineup out of the water regarding efficiency. It only draws 6 watts, compared to the 390X’s 11.5 or the 285’s godawful 12.3 watts, per mega-hash, per second. The 400 series’ Polaris GPUs are as much as 104.38 percent, or 85.16 percent on average, more efficient hash-for-hash than the GCN 1.X cards of the 300 and 200 series:

At the average cost of power in the US, around 10 cents per kilowatt-hour as of May 2016, you could expect to pay $440 in electricity per month for a 1 GH/s mining rig using 480s, where a similar setup using 390Xs would cost around $842 per month (this figure excludes the power draw of the other components in the system, but all things equal that’s still a $400 a month difference per GHash).

With aftermarket RX 480s hitting the shelves right about now, the Polaris line of GPUs has become an incredibly attractive piece of mining hardware. It’ll be interesting to see the effects Polaris will have on large-scale operations, as well as what the 470 and 460 will bring in terms of Hashpower per watt.

Questions or comments on the performance of Polaris or Pascal GPUs? Leave them in the comments!


Detailed power draw data courtesy of Tom’s Hardware.

The post Radeon Overview: Aftermarket Polaris Cards Shaking up GPU Mining? appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Radeon Overview: Aftermarket Polaris Cards Shaking up GPU Mining?

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Úno 03

Six Ethereum Projects and its Five Competitors

Source: bitcoin

Six Ethereum Projects and its Five Competitors

A lot of 2.0 projects have fallen by the wayside, but currently, Ethereum (ETH) development has continued to show its decentralized blockchain platform wants to stick around for the long run. Startups, legacy institutions, and developers using the programmable currency are popping up left and right. Below is a list of six projects using the ETH blockchain to try and conquer many different 2.0 tasks. Then we discuss a few competitors in the crypto-environment going after some the same goals. As time progresses in this world of decentralized distributed ledgers, the race for 2.0 technology continues.

Also Read: Crawling The Deep Web For Art

IBM & Samsung’s Adept  

In January of 2015, IBM revealed its ADEPT proof of concept in a paper called “Device Democracy Saving the future of the Internet of Things.” The report explains the importance of the blockchain and its use case scenarios within the IoT environment becoming “revolutionary as a transaction processing tool.” ADEPT has chosen to use a fork of the Ethereum code for its mission and the use of autonomous telemetry. IBM’s paper describes how they envision the project saying,

“In our vision of a decentralized IoT, the blockchain is the framework facilitating transaction processing and coordination among interacting devices. Each manages its own roles and behavior, resulting in an “Internet of Decentralized, Autonomous Things” – and thus the democratization of the digital world.”

Airlock Project

The Ethereum powered Airlock is called “the next generation keyless protocol.” The platform uses two primary users lockmasters and keyholders which can lock or unlock a lockbox mechanism. Airlock states on its website, “Lockmasters seamlessly grant permission to Keyholders who can access a property or lockbox under specified conditions.” The advantage of using Ethereum’s smart contracts allows Airlock’s DApp (Decentralized Application) to create a programmable environment that can operate device automation the developers say.

Microsoft Azure

Last year Microsoft announced its new cloud-based Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) platform Azure. The company has announced many different types of distributed ledgers within the projects research and development. Blockchains such as Ripple, Factom, and Emercoin have been introduced to the system, but the media has focused its attention on Ethereum. Just recently R3 CEV told the world it was using the Ethereum protocol through Azure to connect 11 banks together for a Bank-to-Bank (B2B) platform. The Microsoft cloud platform has also revealed its first Technical Preview of Azure Stack, which shows the public the projects manifestation.  

Algorythmix

Algorythmix is a blockchain based credit rating and KYC platform that just won the first prize in the Citi Mobile Challenge. The platform “Cetas” is a decentralized prototype that uses blockchain technology to bifurcate the traditional way credit ratings are handled. Algorythmix gave a statement to IBTimes UK saying, “Cetas is a decentralized platform which enables sharing of the KYC data using blockchain. The platform has an added a layer of decentralized credit rating function and advanced functionalities to address the problem of scale.” The blockchain service also has other projects which have not been conceived yet. One is Basil that can calculate cyber security risk for cyber insurance, and Hermes a platform for sensor networks for industrial IoT application.

CubeSpawn

CubeSpawn is an FMS (flexible manufacturing system) that enables big factory automation. The website states the initiative is an “open source project to build cost sensitive, high quality, modular manufacturing machines, mostly from repurposed industrial cast-offs.” The project wants to bring technical advances to everyone so the world can best allocate its resources. It believes “local high-tech manufacturing” is the answer to many global issues the world is faced with. The positives the projects could produce include reduction in long distance shipping, reducing fuel costs, encourage recycling, and ending labor inequalities.

Augur

Augur is a prediction market built on top of the Ethereum blockchain. The concept is a tool that allows users to forecast events by using software that understands the odds of basically any probability better than you do. This could make betting on sports games, elections, and future events easier because the protocol is meant to be more consistent. Augur uses a token within its system called REP (reputation) that gives a user more trust in the network. After an event occurs those who use the system more truthfully get rewarded REP. The startup just recently finished a crowd sale and also created the first contract on Ethereums Frontier.  

What’s Next in the 2.0 Race?

The Ethereum project is seeing a lot of developers messing around with the code and people are finding use cases. Despite all this the programmable currency has competition in its radar with organizations who also want to achieve the same goals. Maidsafe, Tau Chain, and Counterparty are other projects that aim to do some similar objectives that Ethereum wants to encompass. In November of 2014, Counterparty sparked controversy by porting the ETH software to its platform. The project says that it uses Bitcoin’s ledger within its network stating on its website, “Counterparty is a free and open platform that puts powerful financial tools in the hands of everyone with an Internet connection. By harnessing the power of the Bitcoin network, Counterparty creates a robust and secure marketplace directly on the Bitcoin blockchain.”

Another contender or friend is Rootstock. The platform uses Bitcoin’s blockchain as opposed to an alternative token. Rootstock is said to have the same abilities as Ethereum, and its developer says that they could compliment each other. Diego Gutierrez Zaldivar co-founder of Rootstock says in a reddit post:

The good thing is Rootstock VM is fully compatible with Ethereum VM so now you will have two platforms to run your application with two different security models and user bases. We are actually empowering the Ethereum development community not threatening it.”

 

Tau Chain is another project that claims it also will be able to take the 2.0 game to the next level. The developers of Tau believes that Ethereum’s Turing completeness is not necessarily the right direction. Ohad Asor of the Tau teams also says that its platform doesn’t need a token like ETH to operate saying, Ethereum’s model requires a coin (“fuel”). Tau doesn’t need a coin: the users can agree on the economic characteristic of the network and define any kind of incentive they find adequate, whether globally over the whole network or over their local Tau client.”

 

Maidsafe is a project that has been said it could be a friend of foe to ETH as well. The project aims to be a decentralized peer-to-peer internet platform and has similar attributes to Ethereum. Some say that Maidsafe can be considered a decentralized storage layer with a multitude of applications. Maidsafe, stands for “Massive Array of Internet Disks, Secure Access For Everyone” and wants to change the landscape of the web with its 2.0 platform.

Ethereum does have its competitors and developers are gearing up their platforms to operate with similar goals in mind. Most of these different networks have been in the top ten cryptocurrency market capitalization at one time or another and are shooting to be right below Bitcoin. There are other projects that do not have as much attention on them right now like Hivemind, which also works with prediction markets like the Augur platform. The project says it is “a Peer-to-Peer Oracle Protocol which absorbs accurate data into a blockchain” and also will incorporate similar 2.0 features to its system. The Ethereum project is definitely not alone in this landscape of smart contract technology, and highly developed blockchains as we’ve seen in the past it will have to continue strides of its own to gain a network effect.

What do you think about these Ethereum projects and the turing complete protocols competitors? Let us know in the comments below.

Disclosure: Bitcoinist is not associated with any of the above-named projects. 


 

Images courtesy of Pixbay, Twitter, and Wiki Commons 

 

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Six Ethereum Projects and its Five Competitors

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Led 06

Cheero Power Plus 3 External USB Battery Review

Source: bitcoin

Cheero Power Plus 3 External USB Battery Review

The Cheero Power Plus 3 (PP3) is a standard lithium ion battery external power bank. It comes in a classic white that hasn’t managed to attract any scuffs despite regular use. Cheero is a Japanese company that is avidly penetrating many niche areas of the technology hardware industry. Bitcoinist.net will make sure to stop by Cheero’s stand at CES 2016 in our continued effort to expand our coverage. While we are traditionally a fintech, Bitcoinist.net is now bringing our world-renowned review skills to all hardware.

Cheero Power Plus 3 Power Bank Hardware Specifications

– 13400 mAh

– DC 5v/2A Micro USB Input

– DC 5V/1A  and DC 5V/2.4A

– ~500 usage times

Cheero PP3 Power Bank Review

As a frequent traveler, I often find myself needing to recharge my phone when I am attending Bitcoin meetups and Bitcoin conferences around the country. Having all the different Bitcoin wallet apps open to show new users the width and breadth of Bitcoin wallet functionality is very taxing on my battery. Given that my phone is a few generations old, even an extended battery case doesn’t keep it truly competitive. Without this power bank (and the other one I use to keep this one topped off), I’d be just a nomad instead of a digital nomad. The 3.8×3.1×0.9 inch body bulges slightly wider than other ~10000mAh external power banks. Importantly, the Cheero doesn’t charge your gear if you don’t push the power button. This is a feature not a bug.

Pros: Two USB output ports

Cons: Only comes in white
The product is available on Amazon, but of course you should consider using Purse.io (Bitcoinist referral link) to save a few bits/bucks on Amazon instead and be able to pay in Bitcoin. It has 5 stars on Amazon and it gets 5 stars from us!

Images from Juwan Li.

Test unit provided by Cheero USA.

The post Cheero Power Plus 3 External USB Battery Review appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Cheero Power Plus 3 External USB Battery Review

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