Subject: General Tech | February 23, 2014 - 01:01 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: MWC 14, MWC, Lenovo, DOit
Lenovo, according to their tagline, is for those who do. Until now, they never quite define, "Do what?" At Mobile World Congress, they launched their lineup of mobile applications under their collective brand, "DOit". DOit! Suddenly, it all became clear.
In all seriousness, Lenovo DOit is a collection of five apps which range from backup to camera usage which the company is announcing at Mobile World Congress. These apps are:
- SHAREit: allows users to share photos, apps, contacts, and so forth on a peer-to-peer connection.
- SECUREit: provides antimalware, data usage monitoring, and an encryption services.
- SYNCit: stores an online backup of contacts, SMS text messages, and calls.
- SNAPit: is an alternative camera app with its own set of features.
- SEEit: manages your photo gallery and allows users filters and effects.
These apps attempt to put Lenovo's spin on the needs of their end-users. SHAREit as an example, which is available for Google, iOS, Windows Phone, and Windows XP/7/8, is developed around the hypothetical user who wants to share large data files between mobile devices. It seems like, because their example user would want to share across multiple devices, that they opened it up to other platforms and devices. On the other hand, SNAPit and SEEit are only available on Lenovo devices because it is an enhancement.
The availability of this suite varies on the device. SHAREit is available now on the Google Play store as a free app with iOS, Windows Phone, and Windows XP/7/8 allegedly coming before the end of the month. SYNCit and SECUREit is available on Google Play for free, but not for iOS or Windows. SNAPit and SEEit are only available pre-loaded on Lenovo smartphones and tablets, alongside other three apps.
The Lenovo announcement should be available at their news site.
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | February 23, 2014 - 01:01 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: tablet, MWC 14, MWC, lenovo yoga, Lenovo
At Mobile World Congress 2014, Lenovo has announced the YOGA Tablet 10 HD+. Just last month, we discussed the Yoga Tablet 8 and Yoga Tablet 10 which were presented in October. Those tablets each had a 1280x800 display (even the 10-inch model), both sizes use the same MediaTek MT8125 SoC (Wi-Fi, MT8389 for 3G), and it is 1GB of RAM all-around. Performance was expected to be in the ballpark of a Tegra 3 device.
These are all areas which are bumped for the new YOGA Tablet 10 HD+. The 10.1-inch screen is now at 1080p quality, the SoC is a Qualcomm Snapdragon Quad running at 1.8 GHz, and the RAM is doubled to 2GB. It will running Android 4.3 with an alleged over-the-air (OTA) update to 4.4 KitKat, at some point.
Make sure to bend at the knee and put your hands toge... oh right.
Comparing between the Yoga Ultrabooks, running Windows, and the YOGA Tablets, running Android, would probably not be wise. They are very different designs. The Ultrabooks hinge with an always-attached keyboard while the tablets have a keyboard-less stand. Rather than the Ultrabooks trying to make a keyboard comfortable in tablet usage, the tablets use the small metal hinge to prop up the screen. They key aspect of the cylindrical hinge is its usage as a handle and the volume it provides as battery storage. Ryan found the old versions' 18-hour rated battery life to be fairly accurate, and the new 10 HD+ is rated for the same duration (actually, with a bonus 1000 mAh over the original Tablet 10). Another benefit of its battery location is that, if you are holding the tablet by its hinge, the battery's weight will not have much torque on your fingers.
Of course, now comes the all-important pricing and availability. The Lenovo YOGA Tablet 10 HD+ will be released in April starting at $349. This is higher than the prices of the Tablet 8 and Tablet 10, $199 and $274 respectively, but you also get more for it.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 21, 2014 - 05:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: PSU, seasonic, S12G-550, 550W, 80 Plus Gold
With an 80 Plus Gold rating and the ability to deliver 45A on its single 12V rail the 550W Seasonic S12G-550 PSU is perfect for a mid-range rig. A pair of 6+2 PCIe connectors gives you a choice of powering a single high end GPU or two low or midrange GPUs. It is also relatively small, barely larger than the 120mm cooling fan it uses though some may be turned off by its non-modular cables. At around $85 it is not the least expensive model at that wattage but [H]ard|OCP's Silver Award proves it is worth it if you want solid power for your system.
"Seasonic builds some of the best computer power supplies on the market. When do we ever get a power supply that is actually a better product than what it is marketed to be? Not often, but that is the case with the S12G-550 PSU. It is not terribly inexpensive, but it is a great value for your hard earned dollars."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Thortech Thunderbolt Plus 850W Semi-Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- Xigmatek Vector P Series 700 W @ techPowerUp
- be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 850W Modular PSU Overview @ Modders-Inc
- Antec High Current Pro Platinum 1300W @ [H]ard|OCP
- Thermaltake Smart M550W Semi-Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- Antec HCP-1300 1300W Power Supply Unit @ NikKTech
- Antec EarthWatts Platinum 550W Non-Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- Antec TruePower Classic Series 750 W @ techPowerUp
- Cougar CMX V.3 850W Power Supply Review @HiTech Legion
- Troubleshooting a Broken Power Supply @ Hack a Day
- Ravpower RP-PB13 14,000 mAh Power Bank @ Kitguru
Mobile Gaming Powerhouse
Every once in a while, a vendor sends us a preconfigured gaming PC or notebook. We don't usually focus too much on these systems because so many of readers are quite clearly DIY builders. Gaming notebooks are another beast, though. Without going through a horrible amount of headaches, building a custom gaming notebook is a pretty tough task. So, for users who are looking for a ton of gaming performance in a package that is mobile, going with a machine like the ORIGIN PC EON17-SLX is the best option.
As the name implies, the EON17-SLX is a 17-in notebook that includes some really impressive specifications including a Haswell processor and SLI GeForce GTX 780M GPUs.
|ORIGIN PC EON17-SLX|
|Processor||Core i7-4930MX (Haswell)|
|Cores / Threads||4 / 8|
|Graphics||2 x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4GB|
|System Memory||16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600|
|Storage||2 x 120GB mSATA SSD (RAID-0)
1 x Western Digital Black 750GB HDD
|Wireless||Intel 7260 802.11ac|
|Screen||17-in 1920x1080 LED Matte|
|Optical||6x Blu-ray reader / DVD writer|
|Operating System||Windows 8.1|
Intel's Core i7-4930MX processor is actually a quad-core Haswell based CPU, not an Ivy Bridge-E part like you might guess based on the part number. The GeForce GTX 780M GPUs each include 4GB of frame buffer (!!) and have very similar specifications to the desktop GTX 770 parts. Even though they run at lower clock speeds, a pair of these GPUs will provide a ludicrous amount of gaming performance.
As you would expect for a notebook with this much compute performance, it isn't a thin and light. My scale tips at 9.5 pounds with the laptop alone and over 12 pounds with the power adapter included. Images of the profile below will indicate not only many of the features included but also the size and form factor.
Subject: General Tech | February 21, 2014 - 03:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: appstore, apps, andriod, iphone, obvious
Perhaps there are some people out there who are unaware that the free apps you download to your phone are broadcasting a lot of information about them back to the publishers but it seems that even the paid apps are playing freely with your personal info. According to the report The Inquirer read, of 95% of the top 200 free apps for iOS and Android have at least one nasty habit and more worrying is that 80% of the top paid for apps also have at least one questionable practice. There are differences in what information is shared, free apps are more likely to broadcast your location. Read on to see what else your apps are sharing with the world.
"Could the apps you have installed on your mobile phone be snooping on you? Based on the latest data from app security analytics firm Appthority, it's not merely possible; it's actually more than likely, particularly if you downloaded those apps for free."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Google's Project Tango Android prototype will 3D map the world around it @ The Inqurier
- DIY Router Base For Your Dremel @ Hack a Day
- New Flash vuln exploited (again). Adobe posts emergency fix (again) @ The Register
- Help! Apple has snaffled the WHOLE WORLD'S supply of sapphire glass @ The Register
- System Mechanic Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Retiring greybeards force firms to retrain Java, .NET bods as mainframe sysadmins @ The Register
Subject: Storage | February 21, 2014 - 01:49 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: toshiba, toggle NAND, M.2, hg6, 19nm
Toshiba has announced a new series of solid state drives under it's own brand. Called the HG6, the new Toshiba drives come in 2.5," mSATA, and M.2 form factors and range in capacity from 60GB to 512GB. Despite the acquisition of OCZ, it appears that Toshiba will continue to produce drives internally and under the Toshiba name.
The new Toshiba HG6 SSDs are aimed at both consumer and business use with multiple form factors to allow the drives to be used in ultrabooks, desktops, and servers. The drives will be available in 2.5" SATA 6Gbps (7mm and 9.5mm), mSATA, and the newer M.2 specification. The drives use Toshiba's 19nm Toggle 2.0 MLC NAND flash. Toshiba has not release random read/write numbers, but claims that the drives achieve up to 534 MB/s sequential reads and 482 MB/s sequential writes.
Enterprise friendly features include QSBC ECC (Quadruple Swing-By Code error correction) and TCG opal 2.0 compatible self encryption.
The Toshiba HG6 SSD series will be available in March 2014. The company has not yet released pricing information on the new drives, however.
Subject: Processors, Mobile | February 21, 2014 - 10:47 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: wearables, wearable computing, quark, Intel, arm
On a post from the official ARM blogs, the guns are blazing in the battle for the wearable market mind share. Pretty much all the currently available wearable computing devices are using ARM-based processors but that hasn't prevented Intel from touting its Quark platform as the best platform for wearables. There are still lots of questions about Quark when it comes to performance and power consumption but ARM decided to pit its focus on heat.
For a blog post on ARM's website:
Intel’s Quark is an example that has a relatively low level of integration, but has still been positioned as a solution for wearables. Fine you may think, there are plenty of ARM powered communication chipsets it could be paired with, but a quick examination of the development board brings the applicability further into question. Quark runs at a rather surprising, and sizzling to the touch, 57°C. The one attribute it does offer is a cognitive awareness, not through any hardware integration suitable for the wearable market, but from the inbuilt thermal management hardware (complete with example code), which in the attached video you can see is being used to toggle a light switch once touched by a finger which, acting as a heat sync, drops the temperature below 50°C.
Along with this post is a YouTube video that shows this temperature testing taking place.
Of course, when looking at competitive analysis between companies you should always take the results as tentative at best. There is likely to be some change between the Quark Adruino board (Galileo) integration of the X1000 and what would make it into a final production wearable device. Obviously this is something Intel is award of as well and they are also aware of what temperature means for devices that users will have such direct contact with.
The proof will be easy to see, either way, as we progress through 2014. Will device manufacturers integrated Quark in any final design wins and what will the user experience of those units be like?
Still, it's always interesting to see marketing battles heat up between these types of computing giants.
Subject: Mobile | February 21, 2014 - 09:00 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: tegra note 7, tegra 4, nvidia, LTE, i500
In November of last year NVIDIA and some of its partners around the world released the Tegra Note 7, a 7-in tablet that was powered by NVIDIA's Tegra 4 SoC. I posted a review of the unit on its launch and found that the Note 7 offered some impressive features including a high quality screen, stylus input and high performance graphics for a cost of just $199. Users that were looking for a budget priced Android tablet that didn't skimp on features found a perfect home with the Tegra Note 7.
In preparation for Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week, NVIDIA is announcing a new model of the Tegra Note 7 that adds an LTE modem. The appropriately named Tegra Note 7 LTE still includes the full performance Tegra 4 SoC but adds to it the NVIDIA i500 software LTE modem that enables support for the LTE and HSPA+ bands in the US. That means you can expect support on AT&T and T-Mobile networks. This is NOT the Tegra 4i SoC that integrates the i500 controller directly on die; this integration is two distinct chips.
The rest of the specifications of the Tegra Note 7 LTE remain the same as the previous model. A 7-in 1280x800 resolution screen, front facing stereo speakers, front and rear cameras, chisel and brush tipped stylus and more. The price of this new model will be $299 and it should be available "in the 2nd quarter." That is a $100 markup over the current Tegra Note 7 that is WiFi only. The Google Nexus 7 only has an $80 premium for the LTE-enabled option.
Also announced with the Tegra Note 7 LTE is the availability of the 4.4.2 KitKat Android update for all Tegra Note 7 devices. Along with the Android OS tweaks and updates you'll get support for the NVIDIA Gamepad Mapper to enable touch-based games to work on an attached controller.
Another solid OS update for existing Tegra Note 7 devices and LTE data support in a new model perk up the NVIDIA tablet line quite a bit. With MWC kicking into high gear in the next few days I am sure we will see numerous new competitors in this 7-in tablet market though so we'll have to hold judgement on the Note 7's continued placement in the market.
Subject: General Tech | February 20, 2014 - 07:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vlan, gaming, fun, fragging frogs
This weekend, specifically at 10AM ET on February 22nd the fifth Virtual LAN Party kicks off, hosted by the famous Fragging Frogs and PC Perspective, with a good chance of some secret visitors from the Red Team. There is no set end time for the event nor for any of the games so if you have any time on Saturday in which you do not find yourself saving innocents from a fate worse than death* then hop on and play with us. You get to hang out with Forum members you have built friendships with, shoot those you hold a grudge against, and have the chance to frag Ryan, Josh and all the other PC Per staff brave enough to set foot into this battle royale.
*The only acceptable excuse to bail on us.
The games are many, both old and new; with a strong likelihood of every Battlefield game since 1942 represented along with spicy versions of Unreal 2004, Torchlight II, Hawken, a game involving heavy weapons versus dinosaurs and much more. You can see the whole list here and can suggest others if we missed one of your favourites. To prepare for the event you should install TeamSpeak 3 which is our chat client of choice; you can find the server info right here. Other than that just show up when you can and hop into the game of your choice.
We have been doing VLAN's on a very irregular schedule since 2010 but if this weekend goes well we might just start eating a bit more fibre and start a more regular schedule. There were once even tournaments held, though that was back when UT2K4 was shiny and new, which we could start up again. For even more fun, you could help the Frogs get back together on the regular schedule we used to hold to back in the golden days of yore. Don't forget to consider a jump in The Pond once you are finished playing, keep that CPU and GPU working full out!
This is also a great time to thank Lenny and AMD for the wonderful good deed that they did for one of our long term members. You can read about their good works here and be sure to thank them for putting the effort into helping out one of our own.
We look forward to seeing you there and shooting you several times.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 20, 2014 - 05:45 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: nvidia, mining, maxwell, litecoin, gtx 750 ti, geforce, dogecoin, coin, bitcoin, altcoin
As we have talked about on several different occasions, Altcoin mining (anything that is NOT Bitcoin specifically) is a force on the current GPU market whether we like it or not. Traditionally, Miners have only bought AMD-based GPUs, due to the performance advantage when compared to their NVIDIA competition. However, with continued development of the cudaMiner application over the past few months, NVIDIA cards have been gaining performance in Scrypt mining.
The biggest performance change we've seen yet has come with a new version of cudaMiner released yesterday. This new version (2014-02-18) brings initial support for the Maxwell architecture, which was just released yesterday in the GTX 750 and 750 Ti. With support for Maxwell, mining starts to become a more compelling option with this new NVIDIA GPU.
With the new version of cudaMiner on the reference version of the GTX 750 Ti, we were able to achieve a hashrate of 263 KH/s, impressive when you compare it to the performance of the previous generation, Kepler-based GTX 650 Ti, which tops out at about 150KH/s or so.
As you may know from our full GTX 750 Ti Review, the GM107 overclocks very well. We were able to push our sample to the highest offset configurable of +135 MHz, with an additional 500 MHz added to the memory frequency, and 31 mV bump to the voltage offset. All of this combined to a ~1200 MHz clockspeed while mining, and an additional 40 KH/s or so of performance, bringing us to just under 300KH/s with the 750 Ti.
As we compare the performance of the 750 Ti to AMD GPUs and previous generation NVIDIA GPUs, we start to see how impressive the performance of this card stacks up considering the $150 MSRP. For less than half the price of the GTX 770, and roughly the same price as a R7 260X, you can achieve the same performance.
When we look at power consumption based on the TDP of each card, this comparison only becomes more impressive. At 60W, there is no card that comes close to the performance of the 750 Ti when mining. This means you will spend less to run a 750 Ti than a R7 260X or GTX 770 for roughly the same hash rate.
Taking a look at the performance per dollar ratings of these graphics cards, we see the two top performers are the AMD R7 260X and our overclocked GTX 750 Ti.
However, when looking at the performance per watt differences of the field, the GTX 750 Ti looks more impressive. While most miners may think they don't care about power draw, it can help your bottom line. By being able to buy a smaller, less efficient power supply the payoff date for the hardware is moved up. This also bodes well for future Maxwell based graphics cards that we will likely see released later in 2014.
Subject: Motherboards | February 20, 2014 - 03:29 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: z87, Killer Fatal1ty, asrock
ASRock has picked up some impressive branding recently but the question of performance remains. They have been in the motherboard business for a while but have always been considered a bargain brand by most enthusiasts. [H]ard|OCP reviewed their flagship Z87 board recently to see if perhaps it is time to reconsider that impression. With three PCIe 3.0 16x slots and four PCIe 2.0 1x slots it does seem a high end motherboard and the inclusion of an onboard KillerNIC may also attract some attention. If this board really wants to attract attention it is the overclocking and stability which really matter and seeing as how it finished the review wearing a gold medal you can get a rough idea of how that testing went. Read the full review to see ASRock's impressive Killer Fatal1ty board in action.
"If you’re a long time reader of HardOCP then you probably know we are not huge fans of ASRock as a brand overall. Recently we purchased a new motherboard to spend some time with the ASRock Z87 KILLER FATAL1TY, and as a result our opinions are changing. Is that change for the better or for worse?"
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- EVGA Z87 Stinger (Intel LGA 1150) @ techPowerUp
- ASUS RAMPAGE IV BLACK EDITION @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte GA-Z87X-OC @ X-bit Labs
- Gigabyte G1 Sniper Z87 Motherboard Review @ Hardware Asylum
- ASRock Z87 Extreme11/ac @ SSD Review
- GIGABYTE Z87X-UD5 TH Intel Z87 Thunderbolt Motherboard Review @ Legit Reviews
- ASUS Z87I-PRO (Intel LGA 1150) @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD4H Motherboard Review @ Modders-Inc
- MSI Z87I Gaming AC Mini-ITX @ Kitguru
- ASUS A88X-PRO AMD FM2+ Motherboard Review @ Legit Reviews
- Gigabyte GA-F2A88X-UP4 AMD FM2+ Motherboard Review @ OCIA
- ECS KBN-I + AMD E1-2100 "Kabini" APU @ Phoronix
Subject: Storage | February 20, 2014 - 02:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: LaCie, external drive, 5TB, thunderbolt
That didn't take very long, Toshiba just announced their 5TB drive and now LaCie has announced an external drive with 5TB of storage. You will need Thunderbolt to properly interface with it, perhaps a good thing for users since transferring 5TB over USB 2.0 is not the most enjoyable experience. This also means you can pick up the 5 bay model called 5big and have 25TB of external storage available for you.
CUPERTINO, CA – Today, LaCie announced the availability of 5TB, 7200 rpm hard–drive capacities in its 5big Thunderbolt Series, 2big Thunderbolt Series and d2 Thunderbolt Series. Delivering external storage products that range from 5TB single drive systems to 25TB RAID solutions boosts storage capacity by 20 percent. This increase showcases the company's commitment to provide the fastest, highest capacity storage solutions on the market.
Increasingly larger file formats for film and photography have driven the demand for more storage capacity. The availability of 5TB hard drives enables LaCie to deliver significantly more storage capacity in its same compact desktop designs. This saves professionals valuable desktop space.
LaCie's 5big Thunderbolt now features a capacity of up to 25TB, which makes it the largest 5–bay storage solution on the market. Combined with industry–leading speeds up to 785 MB/s*, it is the ideal product for video professionals to pair with a Thunderbolt–enabled computer, like the new Mac Pro, to drive 4K workflows. Photography professionals will appreciate the larger capacities of the d2 Thunderbolt and 2big Thunderbolt, with the same fast transfer speeds and responsive photo browsing that they depend on from these products.
The new capacities are also available on the LaCie 2big Quadra and d2 Quadra storage solutions. All products can be purchased at the LaCie Online Store and LaCie Resellers.
Subject: General Tech | February 20, 2014 - 02:17 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, toshiba, raptr, R9 290X, r9 290, pcper, OEM, maxwell, gtx 750 ti, desktop pc, 750 ti, 5TB
PC Perspective Podcast #288 - 02/20/2014
Join us this week as we discuss the release of the NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti, Upgrading Crappy Desktops, 5TB Hard Drives and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Subject: General Tech | February 20, 2014 - 01:36 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: VIA, rumours
VIA, that once famous company which has petered out in the North American market is back in the news. According to DigiTimes they recently joined forces with a firm owned by the Chinese government and is now moving production over to new facilities. VIA has only 20% of this new joint venture which could signal the final end to their existence as a producer of x86 processors. The move could be influenced by Intel, who license both the PCIe and x86 technology to VIA but this is deemed unlikely as Intel would like to stay on the Chinese governments good side. The current Nano and V7 are Vista capable and appear in mobile devices in the AP region.
"VIA Technologies is rumored to have started shifting its x86 CPU technologies and related personnel to its newly formed IC design joint venture with a China government-owned investment firm, according to market watchers, adding that VIA recently notified clients that it will stop supplying x86 processors temporarily."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- SkyDrive is dead! All hail Microsoft OneDrive! Happy now, Uncle Rupe? @ The Register
- Microsoft cries out to UK government against open source @ The Inquirer
- Cisco's the new Tivo, pumps out 'DVR in the cloud' offering @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | February 20, 2014 - 02:40 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: square enix, pc gaming, final fantasy
Update: Fixed a couple of points as per the comments.
Final Fantasy might be returning to the PC as its publisher, Square Enix, grows more interested in the platform. Final Fantasy VII and VIII were both available on the PC within a few months of their original PlayStation releases. Since then, Final Fantasy was basically non-existent on the platform, beyond the two MMO releases (XI and XIV).
Within the last year, both titles were re-released on Steam to decent sales. Yoshinori Kitase, producer for the franchise, told Eurogamer that this popularity has grabbed their attention. He acknowledged that the developer does not have a lot of experience with creating a good PC experience, but they could be very interested in the future.
It's an early stage for us. We haven't got an awful lot of experience in this field. So when we have more know-how and experience in this market we would be very interested.
Kitase also noted that, by ignoring the PC platform, their games are completely off the table in several markets. He did not mention any markets by name, but China only recently reopened its borders to Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo after banning them in 2000. In Brazil, a PS4 launched at a little over 3x the US price, after converting into USD, because of tax and other distribution issues.
Also, while not mentioned in the article, Square Enix has been very active in porting their back-catalog to mobile platforms. This seems to be a time of re-evaluation for the company. While they have had recent troubles with projecting sales figures, mostly with Eidos releases, they have at least dodged Games for Windows Live in favor of Steam.
Also, ending with a pun, Final Fantasy VII supports Cloud Saves. Hehehe.
Subject: General Tech | February 19, 2014 - 07:22 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: wolfenstein, Doom 4, bethesda
Of course, many will disagree with the concept of pre-ordering. Many have said that you should wait until reviews are released before making a purchase. Ironically, a couple of these people have also argued against the merits of game reviews, which is food for thought. Still, there is a solid argument for not spending your money blindly. It can be nice to get bonus content for reserving copies, such as developer commentary, but it can easily get ridiculous.
What if I don't own that platform!!!
In this case, if you pre-order Wolfenstein: The New Order, you will get access to the beta for the upcoming Doom game (carefully not called, "Doom 4") inside the box. Unfortunately, they will not provide much more details than that. They will not mention whether it will be single-player or multiplayer, when it will start, how long it will last, or what platforms it will occur on.
"Beta timing and platform options are subject to Bethesda Softworks' discretion."
Personally, I cannot see how this would be possible. Wouldn't it be absolutely terrible PR if a gamer purchased Wolfenstein for a platform that the Doom Beta was not available for? I would have to expect that this is only in there for legal reasons, in case an issue arises. Still, that would absolutely suck. Bethesda does like the PC platform, however. I guess we have that going for us.
Wolfenstein: The New World Order will be available on May 20th in North America.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | February 19, 2014 - 06:15 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: bioshock infinite
The team behind the original BioShock and Bioshock: Infinite decided to call it quits. After seventeen years, depending on where you start counting, the company dissolved to form another, much smaller studio. Only about fifteen employees will transition to the new team. The rest are provided financial support, given a bit of time to develop their portfolios, and can attend a recruitment day to be interviewed by other studios and publishers. They may also be offered employment elsewhere in Take-Two Interactive.
The studio formed by the handful of remaining employees will look to develop games based on narrative, which is definitely their strength. Each game will be distributed digitally and Take-Two will continue to be their parent company.
While any job loss is terrible, I am interested in the future project. BioShock: Infinite sold millions of copies but I wonder if its size ultimately caused it harm. It was pretty and full of detail, at the expense of requiring a large team. The game had a story which respected your intelligence, you may not understand it and that was okay, but I have little confidence that it was anywhere close to the team's original vision. From budget constraints to the religious beliefs of development staff, we already know about several aspects of the game that changed significantly. Even Elizabeth, according to earlier statements from Ken Levine, was on the bubble because of her AI's complexity. I can imagine how difficult it is to resist those changes when seeing man-hour budgets. I cannot, however, imagine BioShock: Infinite without Elizabeth. A smaller team might help them concentrate their effort where it matters and keep artistic vision from becoming too dilute.
As for BioShock? The second part of the Burial at Sea DLC is said to wrap up the entire franchise. 2K will retain the license if they want to release sequels or spin-offs. I doubt Ken Levine will have anything more to do with it, however.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 19, 2014 - 04:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: geforce, gm107, gpu, graphics, gtx 750 ti, maxwell, nvidia, video
We finally saw Maxwell yesterday, with a new design for the SMs called SMM each of which consist of four blocks of 32 dedicated, non-shared CUDA cores. In theory that should allow NVIDIA to pack more SMMs onto the card than they could with the previous SMK units. This new design was released on a $150 card which means we don't really get to see what this new design is capable of yet. At that price it competes with AMD's R7 260X and R7 265, at least if you can find them at their MSRP and not at inflated cryptocurrency levels. Legit Reviews contrasted the performance of two overclocked GTX 750 Ti to those two cards as well as to the previous generation GTX 650Ti Boost on a wide selection of games to see how it stacks up performance-wise which you can read here.
That is of course after you read Ryan's full review.
"NVIDIA today announced the new GeForce GTX 750 Ti and GTX 750 video cards, which are very interesting to use as they are the first cards based on NVIDIA's new Maxwell graphics architecture. NVIDIA has been developing Maxwell for a number of years and have decided to launch entry-level discrete graphics cards with the new technology first in the $119 to $149 price range. NVIDIA heavily focused on performance per watt with Maxwell and it clearly shows as the GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB video card measures just 5.7-inches in length with a tiny heatsink and doesn't require any internal power connectors!"
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- MSI GTX 750 Ti Gaming Video Card Review @HiTech Legion
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti @ Benchmark Reviews
- ASUS GTX 750 OC 1 GB @ techPowerUp
- MSI GTX 750 Ti Gaming 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750Ti the Arrival of Maxwell @HiTech Legion
- Palit GTX 750 Ti StormX Dual 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- The GTX 750 Ti Review; Maxwell Arrives @ Hardware Canucks
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti vs. AMD Radeon R7 265 @ Legion Hardware
- MSI GTX750Ti OC Twin Frozr @ Kitguru
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti "Maxwell" On Linux @ Phoronix
- A quick look at Mantle on AMD's Kaveri APU @ The Tech Report
- Sapphire Radeon R9 Tri-X OC video card @ Hardwareoverclock
- AMD Radeon R9 290: Still Not Good For Linux Users @ Phoronix
- AMD Radeon R7 265 2GB Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- Sapphire Radeon R7 260X OC 2GB Graphics Card Review @ Techgage
- XFX Double Dissipation R9 280X @ [H]ard|OCP
Subject: General Tech | February 19, 2014 - 04:01 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, titanfall, modding
If you didn't get lucky enough to get in on the Titanfall demo then all you can do is read the previews and wonder if what you are missing out on is really as good as people say it is. The reviews we've seen have been very positive and describe what seems to be a new style of online shooter. The basics remain the same and we have all seen footage of the 3 storey mechs which give the game its name but Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN also describes how parkour is a big part of the game and is easier to get used to than Mirror's Edge. The launch process also sounds like an improvement, when starting you end up in a private area which makes it easy to pick who you play with if you have a group of up to 12 people together. Even with the limit of 6 players per side the map won't feel empty thanks to the designed inclusion of bots on both teams. It is also nice to hear that Respawn is already acknowledging the modding community for the PC version of their game.
"There are a lot of different ways to make videogame fights meaningful. Singleplayer games do it by couching your shotgun blasts and pistol whips in the context of a story. Multiplayer games do it by emphasising competition via scoreboards, and by layering XP bonuses and equipment progression on top as rewards for each kill. Titanfall aims to do it with a mixture of all of the above, and based on its limited beta, finds mixed success."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft kicks off a week of Xbox 360 game price cuts @ The Inquirer
- > HACK INFO ON DISRUPT ONTO RPS FRONT PAGE @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Irrational Games, developers of BioShock series, to close @ HEXUS
- Jacking Into The Matrix: EVE And Oculus’ Utopian Dreams @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Mein Gott: Wolfenstein Preorders Secure DOOM Beta Access @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
An Upgrade Project
When NVIDIA started talking to us about the new GeForce GTX 750 Ti graphics card, one of the key points they emphasized was the potential use for this first-generation Maxwell GPU to be used in the upgrade process of smaller form factor or OEM PCs. Without the need for an external power connector, the GTX 750 Ti provided a clear performance delta from integrated graphics with minimal cost and minimal power consumption, so the story went.
Eager to put this theory to the test, we decided to put together a project looking at the upgrade potential of off the shelf OEM computers purchased locally. A quick trip down the road to Best Buy revealed a PC sales section that was dominated by laptops and all-in-ones, but with quite a few "tower" style desktop computers available as well. We purchased three different machines, each at a different price point, and with different primary processor configurations.
The lucky winners included a Gateway DX4885, an ASUS M11BB, and a Lenovo H520.
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