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Logitech Releases G633 and G933 Headsets for Premium Gaming Market

Subject: General Tech | August 27, 2015 - 04:00 AM |
Tagged: logitech, headphones, gaming, G933, G633, DTS Headphone:X, 7.1

Today Logitech is announcing that they have added to their headset lineup with two new products.  This is a fairly big announcement as it has been around five years since Logitech did anything with their gaming headset.  Units like the recently reviewed G35 and G230 have been around since 2010.  Users have been complaining as of late about a lack of fresh products on the scene, even though those previous products have adequately filled their niche.

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The two new products coming out are the wireless G933 and the wired G633. These are under the new brand Artemis Spectrum Gaming Headsets.  The G633 has a MSRP of $149.99 putting it at the higher end of gaming headsets.  Compare this to the G35 which originally shared that MSRP, but is now around $79 at retail.  The top end G933 is a pricier option at $199.99 US.

Logitech has done a lot of work in terms of physical characteristics and the software they are using to drive these units.  Neither comes as a pure analog solution, but instead utilizes a USB connection to power the wired and wireless units.  Logitech continually refines its gaming software and this provides a great amount of flexibility when it comes to usage scenarios and audio features for these headphones.

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Powering these cans is a newly designed 40 mm driver that is created from a stiffened fabric rather than paper or plastic.  Logitech is branding these as the patent pending Pro-G audio drivers.  The engineers worked with materials people to develop the technology that is said to provide audiophile quality sound across a variety of applications.  I had asked why Logitech stayed with a 40 mm driver when other companies were utilizing larger 50 mm units which can deliver potentially deeper bass.  The answer was that they discovered that 40 mm was the sweet spot for this material to provide a flat curve without diminishing the high end.  The 50 mm prototypes just did not have the high end performance of the 40 mm units, so it was decided to sacrifice a bit of the low end to keep things more balanced and brighter.

Previously the Logitech Gaming headphones used Dolby Headphone support to simulate 3D/positional sound.  This is changing up with these latest headphones.  The new ones do support a virtual 7.1 audio solution as well as the new DTS Headphone: X support.  This is an area where Logitech has again done quite a bit of work to improve their HRTF support.  Ryan was shown around 30 different ear “models” that were used to measure how sound was reflected, refracted, and tone shifted when audio  was played around these models in multiple positions.  HRTF stands for Head Related Transfer Function.  Humans can recognize sound positioning through a lot of processing in the brain.  The brain can recognize when a sound’s tone is shifted due to the individual curves and shape of a person’s ear.  Logitech has taken this data and created a software solution that more accurately provides this effect than their previous G35 and higher headphones which features the 7.1 functionality.  This functionality will also seem more realistic when combined with a higher end driver, such as what is included with the Pro-G audio drivers.

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The boom microphone is very similar to the previous models.  It can swing down and provide some decent audio for outgoing.  It will not match more professional units, but we can only hope that it is superior to the previous generation of headphones that Logitech has put out.

One area that could potentially be controversial is that of the LED lighting on the headphones.  The headsets light up around the cups and can be changed to the tune of 16.8 million colors.  The side plates can also be swapped, so potentially custom made plates can be swapped in to show whatever logos or pictures as one desires.  One positive of this design is that the LED lights are facing to the rear of the listener’s head, so potential reflections off of a screen (or glasses) will just not happen.  The headphones also feature three programmable G-Keys, a feature that was on the previous G35 units.  It also features the mute button and the scroll wheel to control volume.  These are handy, handy things for those that have already created a dozen macros on their keyboard and could potentially start mashing buttons.  Not like I have ever done that before trying to mute some headphones…

These headphones also have a unique feature in that they can dynamically mix multiple inputs.  The G633 can mix audio from two different inputs while the G933 can handle three inputs.  There are multiple use scenarios for this such as playing on a console while having the headphones attached to a cellphone.  Users can mix and match this functionality in a variety of scenarios that will fit their lifestyle.  This is slightly more interesting for the wireless G933 as more devices can be connected, and the user can be free of a plethora of cables attached to the base unit.

The G933 also have an option of being a wired unit through analog cables.  This does provide some nice flexibility for users, as well as playing for hours more when the batteries of the wireless headphones are recharging.  This flexibility was not featured in previous wired headsets and is a nice change of pace.

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Certain products have a long lifespan when it comes to product cycles.  Headphones are one of these areas (just ask Grado and how many generations they have gone through in the past 25 years).  Logitech has done some serious groundwork to make sure that these are competitive and high quality units.  The final proof will of course be listening to these cans under multiple scenarios to see if the new drivers are in fact as good as they claim to be.  With the laser like focus that Logitech has been aiming at gaming as of late, I am pretty comfortable in the idea that these headsets are the real deal when it comes to quality audio under gaming, movies, and music situations.  Individual tastes will of course vary, but Logitech has spent a great deal of time and effort to make these competitive with the industry at large.  It is a good step forward and I look forward to hearing the results.

The G633 will be available starting in September while the G933 will come to market in an October timeframe.  The DTS Headphone:X support will be a software upgrade with the Logitech Gaming software in October.

Source: Logitech

Microsoft Releases Build 10532 to Fast Ring Insiders

Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2015 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft

Less than a week and a half after publishing 10525, Microsoft has pushed Windows 10 Build 10532 to members of the Windows Insider program that are set to receive “Fast” releases. This version adjusts the context menus for consistency. In the provided screenshot, all I can really notice that is different is the icons for Display Settings and Personalize are now axonometric, rather than face-on. The Feedback app has also been updated to allow sharing.

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While Slow Ring users are still on the general public build, 10240, it might not be too long. Gabe Aul mentioned on Twitter that they were evaluating 10525 for Slow Ring. With 10532 being released though, that has almost definitely been put off. The next update is particularly important, as it will be the last chance for Windows Insiders to disable Insider Builds before all of them will be pushed off of 10240. It's about time to decide whether you want to use the stable version that's supported by all manufacturers, or continue with pre-release versions.

To receive 10532, join the Insider program from Windows Update's Advanced options and set it to receive Fast builds. To leave the Insider program, go to the same Advanced options menu and press the button to stop receive Insider builds.

Source: Microsoft

This is your Intel HD530 GPU on Linux

Subject: Processors | August 26, 2015 - 02:40 PM |
Tagged: Skylake, Intel, linux, Godavari

Using the GPU embedded in the vast majority of modern processors is a good way to reduce the price of and entry level system, as indeed is choosing Linux for your OS.  Your performance is not going to match that of a system with a discrete GPU but with the newer GPU cores available you will be doing much better than the old days of the IGP.  The first portion of Phoronix's review of the Skylake GPU covers the various versions of driver you can choose from while the rest compares Kaveri, Godavari, Haswell and Broadwell to the new HD530 on SkyLake CPUs.  Currently the Iris Pro 6200 present on Broadwell is still the best for gaming, though the A10-7870K Godavari performance is also decent.  Consider one of those two chips now, or await Iris Pro's possible arrival on a newer socketed processor if you are in no hurry.

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"Intel's Core i5 6600K and i7 6700K processors released earlier this month feature HD Graphics 530 as the first Skylake graphics processor. Given that Intel's Open-Source Technology Center has been working on open-source Linux graphics driver support for over a year for Skylake, I've been quite excited to see how the Linux performance compares for Haswell and Broadwell as well as AMD's APUs on Linux."

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Source: Phoronix

Need to fake a signature? Perhaps you should try ThermalTake's new Posiedon keyboard

Subject: General Tech | September 1, 2015 - 07:18 PM |
Tagged: input, thermaltake, Poseidon Z Forged

At $100 the ThermalTake eSPORTs Poseidon Z Forged keyboard is a little less than most LED bearing mechanical keyboards.  It has 10 programmable keys, five to a side, which caused Techgage some consternation. but they did get used to the placement of the Enter key eventually.  The model they tested used Blue switches, Brown are also available if that happens to be your preference. The onboard DAC amplifier for S/PDIF headphones makes the keyboard an even better value compared to the competition, Techgage like how it performed but wonder if another lower cost version could be offered without the DAC.  Check out the full review here.

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"Thermaltake was once known only for its chassis and cooling products, but over the years, the company’s branched out tremendously. Through its Tt eSPORTS brand, it caters to those who take their gaming seriously. On the test bench today is a perfect example of a “serious” gaming peripheral: the Poseidon Z Forged keyboard."

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Source: Techgage

Navigating Skylake, here's a map of the ASUS Z170-A

Subject: Motherboards | August 27, 2015 - 06:16 PM |
Tagged: Z170-A, skylake-s, lga1151, Intel Z170, asus

Morry looked at the ASUS Z170-A at the beginning of the month, while SkyLake was still being launched and we were learning about multiple Z170 boards every day.  With the chipset still so new it is worth investigating the results of other sites when they tested ASUS' mid-range motherboard which costs about half of the Z170-Deluxe.  The aesthetics of this board are somewhat simpler than the Deluxe model and [H]ard|OCP reported the motherboard felt much thinner and more flexible, it didn't break but it certainly didn't feel as sturdy as the more expensive model.  Apart from the construction they also could not reach the same RAM speeds as they did with the Deluxe, one of the testers could not get 3200MHz DIMMs to run completely stable at their JEDEC specs.  Check out the full review here, the price on this motherboard can make the small issues moot for many enthusiasts looking to upgrade to a new Intel based system.

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"Previously we looked at ASUS’ Z170-Deluxe which offered users a huge amount of features and a premium price to go with it. Not everyone wants to spend $300 or more on a motherboard which is why ASUS has just what you need. ASUS’ Z170-A offers all the performance without all the extra features and fluff and a low price point."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Western Digital Updates My Cloud OS3, Refreshes My Cloud Mirror

Subject: Storage | September 1, 2015 - 03:00 AM |
Tagged: western digital, wdc, OS3, My Cloud Mirror

A little over a year ago, we took a look at the Western Digital My Cloud Mirror. This was a simple network connected storage device that came with a suite of software and mobile apps to give remote access to the data stored at home.

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Today Western Digital announced a refresh to the My Cloud Mirror. Available for pre-order today and in stores at the end of this month, the new Mirror is essentially just a speed boosted version of the original version (which was no slouch really). Something the added speed may help with is the functionality being added to WD's My Cloud OS software:

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The new 'OS3' version adds some requested features, such as using the My Cloud as a hub for syncing across multiple systems (similar to Dropbox, but with your own storage being used instead of their servers).

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Another requested feature was the ability to backup and/or offload pictures and videos from mobile devices. This can be done only when connected to WiFi or over cellular data if the user has the GB/month to spare on their data plan.

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Another interesting feature is My Cloud Albums. This feature lets you invite your friends/family to share *their* photos / videos from an event. You send them a link and they can then upload their content directly to your My Cloud via their mobile browser or via the My Cloud app (if they have it installed). This sounds like a great idea for collecting photos taken at group events like birthday parties or weddings.

My Cloud OS3 is slated for a 21 September release. We will take a look another look at its features once released.

Western Digital's full press blast appears after the break.

Kids these days and their Raspberry Pi's

Subject: General Tech | August 27, 2015 - 02:14 PM |
Tagged: nifty, Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi and its various flavours have been out for a while now and we have heard of a variety of projects developers and hobbyists have come up with but this story from The Register has them all beat.  With a little Googling and a lot of creativity and inspiration there are kids out there creating all sorts of new uses for the little device.  One 11 year old was a little worried about her Grampa and used a Pi along with PHP and HTML to pair a device with a webpage which can bring up a web browser for him, allow simple texting capabilities and to photos to make sure he is still OK.  Others have created a scanner to keep track of scores in netball or to make sure that the sushi they grab from a restaurant's conveyor belt isn't getting too old.   Give kids a chance to create and what they come up with will blow you away.

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"Completely at home with Raspberry Pis, these kids Google around for the things they don’t know how to do - because when you’re 11, you don’t know what you can’t do. They are inventing the future, and for them it’s just child’s play."

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Source: The Register