Subject: General Tech | September 27, 2016 - 12:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: lithium ion, battery
The price of lithium ion batteries is likely to spike in the near future as demand is far outstripping production. While we are using them in ultramobile laptops, there is another quickly growing industry which consumes these same cylindrical lithium polymer based batteries, the electric car industry. The demand has grown enough that suppliers are about to demand a noticeable raise in prices and as there does not seem to be any production increase they are likely to get it. This will result in a small increase in price in ultraportables and a larger one in electric cars. There is a concern that DigiTimes did not raise in their post; that this level of imbalance in supply and demand can lead to knock-offs and lower quality suppliers being considered as a source simply to ensure that a product is available.
That could be somewhat of a concern; these batteries often hold a larger charge and are usually found in greater numbers than the ones currently in the news.
"In addition to the 18650 cylinder battery, the lithium polymer battery, which is commonly used in ultra-thin notebook models, is also suffering from shortages as many vendors including Apple, Acer and Asustek Computer, have all scheduled to released new ultra-thin notebooks models in the near future."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft releases Server 2016, complete with commercial Docker engine @ The Register
- Microsoft inserts 'new kind of computer ... into our cloud' for speedier Azure services @ The Register
- Linux and Open Source Hardware for IoT @ Linux.com
- Cadence, TSMC advance 7nm FinFET designs for mobile and HPC platforms @ DigiTimes
- ZX Spectrum Vega+ defies naysayers with confirmed launch date @ The Inquirer
- Patch AGAIN: OpenSSL security fixes now need their own security fixes @ The Register
Subject: Graphics Cards | September 27, 2016 - 01:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: VR, trickster vr, amd, nvidia, htc vive
[H]ard|OCP continues their look into the performance of VR games on NVIDIA's Titan X, GTX 1080, 1070, 1060 and 970 as well as AMD's Fury X and RX 480. This particular title allowed AMD to shine, they saw the RX 480 come within a hair of matching the GTX 1060 which is a first for them and shows that AMD can be a contender in the VR market. Pop by to see their review in full.
"Arm yourself with a bow and arrows, a magic sword that flies, or if you prefer, a handful of throwing darts. Then get ready to take on the procedurally generated fantasy world full of cartoonish Orcs, and more Orcs, and some other Orcs. Headshots count as well as chaining your shots so aim is critical. Did I mention the Orcs?"
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X 8G @ [H]ard|OCP
- AMD Radeon RX 480 CrossFire Performance Comparison @ TechARP
The Handshake Approach
Evoluent is a maker of ergonomic mice and keyboards, and we received one of the company's vertical mice for review. At a glance you can see that it's a very different design than the typical mouse, as it is intended to be used with the arm in a "handshake" position.
"The patented ergonomic shape supports your hand in an upright neutral posture that eliminates forearm twisting. Many users said the Evoluent VerticalMouse provides superior comfort and even relieved their wrist pain."
The vertical design has been implemented to reduced strain on the arm and wrist, but how much of an adjustment is there in moving to this orientation? How sensitive and accurate is the sensor? Depending on your workload, precision might trump comfort, but if the VerticalMouse can provide both it would be quite an achievement.
To test it out I resolved to use the VerticalMouse with my PC exclusively for a week. It was a startling change at first, feeling quite foreign in the first minutes. For someone who uses a standard mouse hours a day (sound familiar?) I felt like I wasn't in control as I attempted to move the cursor around, and I wasn't sure how I was going to be able to adjust. But I pushed on, and rapidly began to grow accustomed to the feeling.
Switching to something that promises to ease discomfort doesn't always mean instant gratification, as any seller of orthopedic shoes can tell you. There is going to be a period of adjustment, with the end result outweighing any initial hesitation - when it's effective, of course. I could spoil the review a bit here and tell you if I'm still using the mouse after a week (I am), but I'll fully describe my impressions below.
Subject: Displays | September 27, 2016 - 03:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: pimax, vr headset, steam vr
As Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN asks in the title, can the $300 Pimax VR headset be too good to be true? It ships without headphones, or you can buy the $350 which includes audio of moderate quality or provide your own if they fit comfortably under the headset. It also does not ship with any controllers, which means that Steam games which require anything other than a mouse and keyboard will simply not work; not an empty catalogue of games but definitely more limited than the two more expensive competitors.
The headset does offer better resolution, 1920x2160 per eye, which the reviewer noticed immediately as being clearer than the competition ... as long as you were looking directly at the text or object. There were issues at the edges of your view however, as well as with quickly turning your head which is likely due to the 60fps refresh rate. This is less than the 90fps the Vive or Rift can manage as well as creating concerns about reprojection and dropped frames. There were a few other concerns mentioned in the review which you should familiarize yourself with, but the Pimax is very interesting, a light VR headset with great resolution and only two connecting cord for $300.
"In the interim, here’s Chinese outfit Pimax, who are selling what they label as the first 4K VR headset for PC, which works with SteamVR. It’s also $350 (or $300 without headphones), compared to the Rift’s $599 and Vive’s $799"
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- From The Wirecutter: The best 4K monitors (so far) @ Ars Technica
- BenQ XR3501 Curved Gaming Monitor @ Kitguru
- Dell UltraSharp 24 InfinityEdge U2417H 24in Monitor @ Kitguru
- 2 of 2