Amazon Gold Box Deal Titanfall for just $36

Subject: General Tech | April 22, 2014 - 07:37 AM |
Tagged: amazon, gold box, titanfall

If you haven't yet picked up Titanfall, the next multiplayer shooter from many of the creators of the Call of Duty series, today is your chance to do so at a discounted price. Amazon.com is pushing Titanfall with its daily Gold Box deal, which as the name suggests, is good for today only: Tuesday, April 22nd.

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And hey, buying your Origin game key through the link above also happens to support PC Perspective!

If you are looking at building a low cost gaming PC to play games like Titanfall, we did write an article on that exact subject back in March.

Source: Amazon

Intel Haswell-based NUCs on Sale for $329 and $265

Subject: Systems | April 17, 2014 - 01:11 PM |
Tagged: nuc, i5-4250u, amazon, 4250U

Back in September we posted a review of the latest Intel NUC device (next unit of computing), a tiny 4-in x 4-in barebones computer developed and sold by Intel directly. As a couple of readers pointed out to me today, these units are being discounted by as much as $70 today over at Amazon.com

These units share a lot of the same feature set but they differ in the processor actually embedded in them. The Core i5-4250U comes with the more expensive model and that includes the faster Intel HD 5000 graphics configuration as well. This is the same processor found in the MacBook Air and many shipping Ultrabooks. For the lower priced model you get the Core i3-4010U that runs at a static 1.7 GHz clock speed. The 4250U scales up to 2.6 GHz with Turbo Boost technology.

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Both are based on the Haswell architecture and pack a lot of processing punch in a tiny little form factor.

Keeping in mind these are barebones units, you'll still have to add memory, storage in the form of an mSATA SSD, wireless modules (unless you want to use the Gigabit Ethernet) and a power cord. If you are looking for some suggestions from us on those components, check out the lists and pricing below.

  Core i5-4250U System Core i3-4010U System
Barebones System NUC D54250WYK - $329 NUC D34010WYK - $265
Memory Crucial 4GB Single DDR3L SO-DIMM - $40 Crucial 4GB Single DDR3L SO-DIMM - $40
Storage Samsung 840 EVO 120GB mSATA - $109 Samsung 840 EVO 120GB mSATA - $109
Wireless Intel Dual Band 7260 802.11ac - $32 Intel Dual Band 7260 802.11ac - $32
Power Cord 6 ft 3-slot - $4 6 ft 3-slot - $4
Total (Amazon) $514 on Amazon.com $450 on Amazon.com

If you are really on a budget and want to save some more cash, you could go with a smaller and less expensive mSATA SSD like the ADATA Premier Pro 32GB option for as low as $39.99 but you are going to be REALLY limited on local storage space. 

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Still, for $514 you are getting most of the component technology of a high end Ultrabook but in a desktop form factor, ready to be used as your primary PC or connected to your TV for a home theater setup. I built one for my dad for Christmas to play a flight simulator on and its still going strong and he's loving it!

Going to take Intel and Amazon up on these prices? Already have a unit of your own? If so, let me know in the comments what you currently, or plan to, use it for. Happy SFF building!

Source: Amazon.com

Amazon Takes On Apple TV, Roku, and Ouya With $99 Fire TV Streaming Box

Subject: General Tech | April 8, 2014 - 01:01 PM |
Tagged: streaming box, Netflix, media streaming, html, fire tv, Android, amazon

Amazon is making a play for the living room with its new Fire TV. The tiny box offers up mobile gaming along with movie and music streaming. Users will be able to tap into Amazon’s own Prime Instant Video collection in addition to various streaming video and music services from partners (see below). The box runs an operating system based on Android and HTML and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 SoC which makes it about as powerful as today’s mid-range smartphones. At $99, the Fire TV is, ahem, a shot across the bow of devices from Apple, Roku, and Ouya.

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The box measures 4.5" x 4.5" x 0.7" and comes bundled with a remote small remote control. Amazon provides hardware ports for HDMI, optical audio output, Ethernet, and USB. The remote has basic playback controls along with a microphone used for the voice search functionality. The Fire TV is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 SoC with four Krait 300 CPU cores clocked at 1.7 GHz and an Adreno 320 GPU, 2GB of DDR2 memory at 533 MHz, and 8GB of internal flash memory. Networking includes wired Ethernet and a 802.11n + Bluetooth 4.0 radio. A large heatsink is used to passively cool all of the components.

The Fire TV is launching with a number of applications from partners. Users can stream video from Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vimeo, Vudu, Flixter, NBA, and YouTube among others. Music apps include Pandora, iHeartRadio, and Vevo. Finally, users can play back music and photos from their Amazon Cloud Drive storage. Amazon further offers up an app store for free and paid games. For example, users will be able to play Minecraft Pocket Edition, The Walking Dead, or Sev Zero using the included remote or optional $39.99 game pad.

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For media junkies with children Amazon has added the FreeTime functionality from its Kindle tablets to the Fire TV. FreeTime restricts the device to kid-friendly programming and a new optional $2.99 per month FreeTime Unlimited subscription offers up a catalog of kid-friendly media for streaming. Other software features include X-Ray (in-media information, such as identifying an actor) and ASAP which attempts to determine what programs you are likely to stream next and begin caching it in the background. For example, it will begin to cache the next episode of a TV series so that when you go to watch the next episode you will not see any loading screens.

The FireTV is a compelling alternative to the Roku (latest being the $50 Streaming Stick) and Apple TV (so long as you are not already invested in the Apple / iTunes ecosystem) while also offering up mobile gaming on the living room TV in a more-polished way that the Ouya ever did. The $99 Fire TV is available from Amazon immediately.

I think the Fire TV has real potential to catch on with most consumers, though the real test for enthusiasts and readers of PC Per will be to see if the extra features and Amazon polish will be worth the price premium over cheaper options like the Chromecast and Raspberry Pi setups.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more information and hands-on experience with Amazon's latest bit of hardware.

Source: Amazon

Amazon May Integrate Music Streaming Into Prime Subscription Service

Subject: General Tech | March 1, 2014 - 02:59 AM |
Tagged: prime instant video, prime, music streaming, amazon

Amazon has been exploring changes to its Prime subscription service, and while drone air delivery may be years out, a music streaming service is a realistic possibility. The company already offers video streaming via its Prime service in the form of a limited selection of its total Instant Video library that can be streamed for free with a yearly Prime subscription. on the music side of things specifically, Amazon already has a massive downloadable paid-for MP3 library with a browser-based (and a new PC application) digital locker and media player. 

Amazon Cloud Player.jpg

Amazon Cloud Player, a browser-based media player for purchased MP3 files.

In short, all of the pieces for a music streaming service are in place. Amazon has the e-commerce and programing experience, distribution medium, and gobs of cloud storage and processing power. Amazon simply needs the go-ahead from the labels in the form of licensing agreements which appear to be in progress according to Recode.

Amazon Prime Streaming.jpg

An Amazon-run music streaming service would face stiff competition from existing competitors such as Spotify, but if any company can come in and make it work at scale in a competitive market it is Amazon. Especially if Amazon is able to replicate music streaming and offline caching using mobile apps like Spotify offers without charging extra for the privilege. Music streaming seems to be a natural addition to its Prime Instant offering, and may just be the spoonful of sugar that makes a possible Prime subscription price increase easier to swallow.

Should Amazon and the music labels nail down a pricing agreement, I am interested to see what Amazon is able to offer in terms of user experience, applications, and library size.

Source: The Verge

Kindle Instinct. Amazon Game Consoles Rumors.

Subject: General Tech, Systems | February 7, 2014 - 01:30 AM |
Tagged: amazon

There is actually a bit more to the title's pun than meets the eye. Amazon has just purchased Double Helix Games, the video game company which resulted from a merger between The Collective and Shiny Entertainment (or whatever was left of them). Their most recent title was Killer Instinct for the Xbox One.

Amazon-extrashiny.png

The Amazon Cauldron gag, now extra Shiny.

Snarkiness aside, the obvious question is: "Amazon, why are you purchasing a game developer?"

While Amazon is stating that they are simply building innovative games for customers, the rumor mill believes it is more than that. Beyond having an Android-based marketplace, various sources are reporting that Amazon is expecting to develop a sub-$300 gaming console based on that platform. It certainly sounds reasonable. It would give Amazon's video and audio services a controlled set-top box as well as a portal to their Android Appstore. Beyond that, it would not require much extra research and development. It would be a sensible next step.

That said, Amazon has already been developing games for a little while. Their current portfolio could easily be classified as, "2D". The acquisition of Double Helix could simply be a play for games with a little more... depth. Yes, I should feel bad for that pun. No, I do not.

Finally, all 75 of the employees will keep their jobs, according to TechCrunch. Their paychecks will now have an Amazon logo on them, and that is about it. Don't you love it when you can report on a merger or acquisition and not feel bad about it?

Source: TechCrunch

Steam Holiday Sale on Amazon - Final Day!

Subject: General Tech | January 2, 2014 - 02:02 PM |
Tagged: amazon, steam, steam sale

In case you hadn't heard yet, Steam is holding their annual Holiday Sale on PC games.  What you probably didn't know though is that Amazon has committed to matching prices with the Steam sale!  Now, the Amazon sales will just give you Steam keys that you can use in Steam, so what's the point?   Well it makes it easier to combine with other purchases you may be making for the holidays and it also happens to support PC Perspective at the same.

What's not to love!?

Here are some of the best sales we found on the Steam Holiday Sale through Amazon on the FINAL DAY!  

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You can see the previous days' deals as well:

Steam Holiday Sale on Amazon - Day 12

Subject: General Tech | December 31, 2013 - 05:02 PM |
Tagged: amazon, steam, steam sale

In case you hadn't heard yet, Steam is holding their annual Holiday Sale on PC games.  What you probably didn't know though is that Amazon has committed to matching prices with the Steam sale!  Now, the Amazon sales will just give you Steam keys that you can use in Steam, so what's the point?   Well it makes it easier to combine with other purchases you may be making for the holidays and it also happens to support PC Perspective at the same.

What's not to love!?

Here are some of the best sales we found on the Steam Holiday Sale through Amazon on Day 12!  Keep in mind that deals will change frequently so buy them quickly if you find one you want!

steam12.png

You can see the previous days' deals as well:

Steam Holiday Sale on Amazon - Day 11

Subject: General Tech | December 30, 2013 - 09:51 PM |
Tagged: amazon, steam, steam sale

In case you hadn't heard yet, Steam is holding their annual Holiday Sale on PC games.  What you probably didn't know though is that Amazon has committed to matching prices with the Steam sale!  Now, the Amazon sales will just give you Steam keys that you can use in Steam, so what's the point?   Well it makes it easier to combine with other purchases you may be making for the holidays and it also happens to support PC Perspective at the same.

What's not to love!?

Here are some of the best sales we found on the Steam Holiday Sale through Amazon on Day 11!  Keep in mind that deals will change frequently so buy them quickly if you find one you want!

steam11.png

You can see the previous days' deals as well:

Steam Holiday Sale on Amazon - Day 10

Subject: General Tech | December 29, 2013 - 08:40 PM |
Tagged: amazon, steam, steam sale

In case you hadn't heard yet, Steam is holding their annual Holiday Sale on PC games.  What you probably didn't know though is that Amazon has committed to matching prices with the Steam sale!  Now, the Amazon sales will just give you Steam keys that you can use in Steam, so what's the point?   Well it makes it easier to combine with other purchases you may be making for the holidays and it also happens to support PC Perspective at the same.

What's not to love!?

Here are some of the best sales we found on the Steam Holiday Sale through Amazon on Day 10!  Keep in mind that deals will change frequently so buy them quickly if you find one you want!

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You can see the previous days' deals as well:

Steam Holiday Sale on Amazon - Day 9

Subject: General Tech | December 28, 2013 - 02:50 PM |
Tagged: amazon, steam, steam sale

In case you hadn't heard yet, Steam is holding their annual Holiday Sale on PC games.  What you probably didn't know though is that Amazon has committed to matching prices with the Steam sale!  Now, the Amazon sales will just give you Steam keys that you can use in Steam, so what's the point?   Well it makes it easier to combine with other purchases you may be making for the holidays and it also happens to support PC Perspective at the same.

What's not to love!?

Here are some of the best sales we found on the Steam Holiday Sale through Amazon on Day 9!  Keep in mind that deals will change frequently so buy them quickly if you find one you want!

steam9.png

You can see the previous days' deals as well: