AMD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition Revisited

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 25, 2012 - 02:59 PM |
Tagged: radeon, amd, video, pitcairn, hd 7870 ghz edition, hd 7870

There have been quite a few new graphics card releases this year and with the now crowded GPU market, we have gotten many requests to revisit some of the earlier launches to see how they stack up in the latest GPU landscape.  One such card is AMD’s Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition, which has seen some dramatic improvements since its initial release in March. 

AMD’s entire lineup of graphics cards based on the Southern Islands architecture were released between the months of January and March of this year, with only a few updates during the summer to combat new releases from NVIDIA.  Though they don’t get as much review time anymore, the Tahiti, Pitcairn and Cape Verde GPUs still have a lot to offer gamers and the Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition is a perfect example of that.

Thanks to recent price cuts, the Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition and all other Pitcairn GPUs can be found for much less than when they were launched.  With a starting price of $350 in March, some base HD 7870s can be found online for $250 and sometimes less with rebates today making it a great deal for gamers on a budget. 

You can check out all of our graphics card reviews right here to see how the market currently stands but there are really very few bad choices anymore.

Live Recap: Gigabyte Z77X-UP7 and Z77N-WiFi Motherboard Preview

Subject: Motherboards | September 9, 2012 - 06:14 PM |
Tagged: z77x-up7, z77n-wifi, video, live, h77n-wifi, gigabyte

A PC Perspective Live Recap is a recorded version of a previously live streamed event from http://pcper.com/live.  If you couldn't make the original air time, or simply want to re-watch, the on-demand version is provided below!

On the way to the Intel Developer Forum, Gigabyte's Colin Brix stopped by the PC Perspective offices to talk with us about the new Z77X-UP7 flagship motherboard with some really impressive overclocking features as well as the latest iteration of Gigabyte's Ultra Durable 5 technology. 

While he was here, we also got to see a sneak preview of the mini-ITX motherboard, the Z77N-WiFi!

If you missed the live event you can watch the replay below!

New NBCUniversal TV Shows Coming to Amazon Prime Instant Video

Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2012 - 04:33 AM |
Tagged: video, prime instant video, nbc, kindle fire, amazon

Amazon has inked a new deal with NBCUniversal to bring a number of new TV shows to its Prime Instant Video subscription service. The new shows include "Parks and Recreation, Parenthood, The Starter Wife, Friday Night Lights, Heroes, Battlestar Galactica, and more."

Internet shopping juggernaut Amazon recently announced a new deal with NBCUniversal to expand the catalog of free movies and television shows offered to Amazon Prime members. Specifically, the company is adding additional content to the Prime Instant Video library which customers subscribed to Amazon's $79 (per year) Prime shipping service get free access to.

Thanks to the new deal, Amazon Prime fans will soon see an influx of new content from NBCUniversal which should hold you over until Amazon can work more deals with studios to make it more competitive with market leader Netflix.

According to Amazon, the new content deal will include several TV series. Battlestar Galactica, Friday Night Lights, Heroes, Parks and Recreation, Parenthood, and The Starter Wife will soon all be available to stream to PCs and Kindle Fires (and other Amazon compatible devices, of course). The company claims that the Prime service now offers up to 22,000 videos, and the NBCUniversal deal should add a couple hundred more to the catalog. These relatively new titles will be a nice addition to the Prime lineup, and if all goes according to plan there should be even more new content for customers to look forward to. 

NBCUniversal Cable and New Media Distribution President Frances Manfredi stated the following:

“We look forward to further expanding NBCU’s content offering available to Prime subscribers in the near future.”

It is not yet clear what other shows might be included in that "near future," but here's hoping it is additional recent TV shows as Prime could really benefit from more of those. I'll admit to being a bit disappointed in the Prime offerings compared to what is available to buy/rent (the full Amazon Instant catalog is really good, but the Prime subscription catalog is only a very small subset of that content library). However, with a rumored Kindle Fire successor on the way, I would not be surprised to see the company push Prime more–and hopefully use its online retailer muscle to bring more studios in on delivering content for Prime subscribers. 

Amazon has made the full press release available on its website.

Do you use the Prime video streaming service? What shows would you most like to see available with your Prime subscriptions? (Personally, i wouldn't say no to some Stargate).

Source: Amazon

Live Review Recap: MSI Z77 MPower Motherboard Preview and GPU Lineup

Subject: Motherboards | August 22, 2012 - 08:35 AM |
Tagged: z77 mpower, Z77, video, msi, mpower, live review, live

Earlier this week MSI's Alex Chang stopped by the PC Perspective office to show off a new motherboard, the Z77 MPower.  If you missed the live stream, you can check out the replay right here below!  Be sure you keep an eye on our LIVE schedule on the right hand side as future events pop up!

MPower introduces a 24-hour burn-in test that is one of a kind. Electronic components are manufactured on an assembly line and then statistical sampling is used to ensure quality of construction. Every MPower board is tested using a full Prime95 burn-in test for 24 hours under a heavy overclock.

msimpower.jpg

While you can probably reproduce this yourself in the comfort of your own home, MSI basically is doing this at the factory level to ensure every single board performs at the highest level. Not only are we changing the game of overclocking, but we’re also ensuring consistent and enduring performance from a desktop mainboard.

Source: MSI

Live Review Recap: GeForce GTX 660 Ti

Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards | August 16, 2012 - 08:45 PM |
Tagged: video, nvidia, live review, live, kepler, gtx 660 Ti, GK104

A PC Perspective Live Review Recap is a recorded version of a previously live streamed event from http://pcper.com/live.  If you couldn't make the original air time, or simply want to re-watch, the on-demand version is provided below!

Today has been a busy day for the PC Perspective crew.  Not only have we published like 100 graphics card reviews in the last three days but we also held a live event at the offices to host NVIDIA's Tom Petersen to discuss and debate the release of the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti.

If you need to catch up, you should check out our GeForce GTX 660 Ti review posted earlier today to learn all about this $299 GPU that offers very compelling performance that competes with the HD 7950 and leaves the HD 7870 a fairly distant second.  Based on the same GK104 chip as the GTX 680 and the GTX 670, the GeForce GTX 660 Ti should find a lot of new homes this week.

For this event we not only gave a short presentation with some demos and review discussion, we also featured questions from the hardware subreddit and gave away an EVGA GeForce GTX 660 Ti to a lucky viewer! 

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more events and contests and the best reviews anywhere on PC hardware!!

Live Recap: PC Perspective LAN Party - Unreal Tournament 2004

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | August 9, 2012 - 10:35 PM |
Tagged: video, ut2004, unreal, live

After the PC Perspective Podcast on Wednesday night, we played some Unreal Tournament 2004 with many of the PCPer staff and fans.  If you missed it - shame on you!  Keep an eye on the Upcoming Events schedule on the right hand side here to see when and what we'll play next.

In the meantime, feel free to waste a couple of hours watching us play UT2004 - in the past.

PC Perspective Hardware Workshop 2012 @ Quakecon 2012 in Dallas, TX

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Cases and Cooling, Processors, Memory, Systems, Storage, Mobile, Shows and Expos | August 9, 2012 - 10:30 PM |
Tagged: video, workshop, streaming, quakecon, prizes, live, giveaways

It is that time of year again: another installment of the PC Perspective Hardware Workshop!  Once again we will be presenting on the main stage at Quakecon 2012 being held in Dallas, TX August 2-5th.  

workshop_logo.png

Main Stage - Quakecon 2012

Saturday, August 4th, 2pm CT

Our thanks go out to the organizers of Quakecon for allowing us and our partners to put together a show that we are proud of every year.  We love giving back to the community of enthusiasts and gamers that drive us to do what we do!  Get ready for 2 hours of prizes, games and raffles and the chances are pretty good that you'll take something out with you - really, they are pretty good!

Our thanks for this year's workshop logo goes to John Pastor!!

Our primary partners at the event are those that threw in for our ability to host the workshop at Quakecon and for the hundreds of shirts we have ready to toss out!  Our thanks to NVIDIA, MSI Computer and Corsair!!

 

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msi_logo_small.png

corsair_logo_small.png

Live Streaming

If you can't make it to the workshop - don't worry!  You can still watch the workshop live on our page right here as we stream it over one of several online services.  Just remember this URL: http://pcper.com/workshop and you will find your way!

Case Mod Competition

Along with the Hardware Workshop, PC Perspective is working with Modders Inc on the annual case mod contest!  There are two categories for the competition: "Scratch Built" and "In the Box" that will allow those that build their computer enclosures from the ground up to compete separately from those that heavily modify their existing cases and systems.

For more details, be sure to check out the on going thread at the Modders Inc Forums!

Prize List (will continue to grow!)

Continue reading to see the list of prizes for the workshop!!!

Source: PCPer

Podcast #213 - Windows 8 RTM, A75 Motherboards, GTX 660Ti rumors and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 9, 2012 - 04:56 PM |
Tagged: video, windows 8 rtm, windows 8, podcast, nvidia, llano, Intel, haswell, amd, a75, 660ti

PC Perspective Podcast #213 - 08/09/2012

Join us this week as we talk about Windows 8 RTM, A75 Motherboards, GTX 660Ti rumors and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout Josh Walrath, Allyn Malvantano and Steve Grever

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:00:35

Program Schedule:

  1. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:02:19 PCPer Hardware Workshop Overview
    2. 0:07:00 Quakecon Coverage:
      1. http://pcper.com/reviews/Shows-and-Expos/Quakecon-2012-Day-3-Coverage
    3. 0:08:30 What MB is good for all those free APUs we gave out?
      1. MSI A75A-G55 FM1 AMD A75
      2. Asus F1A75-V
    4. 0:12:30 Windows 8 goes RTM
      1. Also, Windows 8 has new box art and changed name of Metro to Windows 8-style UI
  1. 0:18:08 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  1. News items of interest:
    1. 0:19:13 AMD FirePro APU is Launched
    2. 0:23:25 Seagate acquires LaCie
    3. 0:25:20 GTX 660 Ti Prices?
    4. 0:27:24 Steam Selling non-game Software starting Sep. 5th - Windows Store competition
    5. 0:31:00 Ivy Bridge-E will come after Haswell
    6. 0:34:00 Plextor M5 Pro SSD - Marvell finally has some speed
    7. 0:35:30 EVGA GTX 460 2Win WAS $169
    8. 0:39:05 ARMAII with DayZ as retail title
    9. 0:41:00 Curiosity landed successfully on Mars (landed with a friggin' rocket powered skycrane!)
  1. Closing:
    1. 0:44:30 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: UT2004
      2. Jeremy: Oh the decisions … SAMSUNG 830 @ $230 or Corsair Force Series GT @ $175
      3. Josh: My first cellphone in 8 years.
      4. Allyn: Google 2-factor authentication / Authenticator app for mobile
  1. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  2. http://pcper.com/podcast
  3. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper and http://twitter.com/joshdwalrath
  4. Closing/Outro

Windows 8 Reaches RTM Status, Almost Immediately Leaked

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | August 4, 2012 - 06:29 AM |
Tagged: windows 8 rtm, windows 8, video, start screen, microsoft, Metro

Preface: If you prefer a video version, you can check out a video walkthrough of Windows 8 RTM with commentary. For those that want a written preview, I have attempted to break the article up into sizeable chunks. The first part is the introduction and "what's new" regarding getting it set up versus our guide for installing the Consumer Preview. The following sections are for showing off desktop applications and metro/Windows 8 Style UI apps. Finally, a short conclusion and general impressions section as well as some questions for you to answer should you want to join the discussion. Once again, I've gone with a more informal voice for the preview as there is a lot of opinion in here, this is by no means a full review!

Please note that unless otherwise stated, these opinions are my own, and not PC Perspective's. I am interested in hearing your opinions on the RTM build as well, and you can participate in the comments below without registration (though you get some nice benefits–like an avatar and ability to edit posts–if you decide to).

Windows 8 RTM has leaked to the Internet, here's what's new and what I think of it

Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 operating system is well on its way for the final public release on October 26, 2012—in fact OEMs are starting to get their hands on the code, and it is officially in Release To Manufacturing (RTM) status. While Microsoft TechNet subscribers will be able to download the Windows 8 RTM build on August 15, 2012, it has already been leaked to the Internet as is available on various file-sharing websites.

Win8RTM_Start_Screen.jpg

To be more specific, the leaked build is a volume license version of Windows 8 Enterprise (N) RTM. It is further an “N” edition, which means that it is aimed at the European market and has Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center stripped out. The "N" editions are the result of an EU case relating to alleged anti-competitive actions. From that leaked build, people have managed to create a bootable ISO version for clean installs where there is no existing OS on the machine as well as a zipped folder that can be used for upgrade installations.

Needless to say, the news that the RTM had leaked piqued my interest, so I set out to get my hands on it (and report my findings). I managed to find a non-bootable image called "MICROSOFT.WINDOWS.8.ENTERPRISE-N.RTM.X64.VOLUME.ENGLISH.NON_BOOT_DVD-SAMOVARWZT" (wow that's a long file name) that seemed to check out as being legitimate. I then took that 6.05 GB folder and used the files to do a clean install from a Windows 7 x64 virtual machine I had around for testing just this sort of thing.

Win8RTM_04.jpg

Unlike our previous Windows 8 Consumer Preview installation guide, this RTM build does not require a key to be entered in order to complete the install. As a volume license version, you are allowed a 30-day grace period to activate (I have not tested if the Windows 7 -rearm trick works to extend that yet). Other than the key issue, the clean install procedure is the same as the steps we covered previously. Aesthetically, Microsoft has changed to a purple background and the beta fish logo at boot-up (when the installer restarts the system) is gone. It is replaced by a small light-blue Windows 8 logo.

Win8RTM_10_Windows 8 Logo Screen.jpg

Once the installer has finished, it will restart the computer and, upon boot will present a nice graphical OS selection list which appears to be a new addition to the RTM build. After choose Windows 8, you enter the Windows setup wizard which guides you through setting computer options and configuring your user account.

Nice GUI bootloader OS Selection screen (new to RTM).jpg

The setup process in Windows 8 RTM appears to be identical to that of the Consumer Preview version that I installed a couple of months ago (how time has flown!). Below is an animated .gif of the setup screens, which appears to be the same as the Consumer Preview except using a slightly different background color.

After that finished though, I was pleasantly surprised with what came next. After asking for some sort of tutorial ever since the Developer Preview, Microsoft has finally provided one–sort of. Basically, after setup finishes, the screen goes dark and then an animation pops up that briefly shows you how to access the Windows 8 Charms bar by moving your mouse to any corner of the screen. Then it dumps you out to the desktop.

Not exactly what I was hoping for, especially considering I was only able to find out how to actually close a Metro "Windows 8 style UI" application without going to the task manager from a forum post of all things. Needless to say, some of the mouse gestures are not obvious, and I do consider myself to be at least somewhat technically savvy. Therefore, I can only imagine how lost some people might be when presented with Windows 8. When I had the Developer and Consumer Preview(s) installed on my Dell XT convertible tablet, the touch and gesture stuff was easier to discover but it is still not apparent. I was really hoping for a tutorial similar to what Microsoft did for Windows XP that introduces the interface and all the new features on the first setup (and accessible later if needed).

Still, it is a step in the right direction, and the tutorial at least points out one of the new mouse/touch navigation features. Here's hoping that MS adds more to that start-up tutorial by the time final code is out and it is for sale. Below is an animated .gif image of the brief tutorial. Note that the actual tutorial has some fading transitions between scenes. The last two images are two clips from a constantly changing background color as the OS loads the desktop and Windows 8 Start Screen for the first time. It cycles through all the colors available to choose from in the Personalize setting during account creation.

Once Windows has finished setting up your user account, you will be presented with the Windows 8 Start Screen for the first time. In my case, it was an array of "Metro" Windows 8 Style UI live tiles on a dark blue background with my name and photo in the top-right-corner. You can see what my Start Screen looks like in the image below. Yours will look similar but the photos and location information will be different. So you'll have the same stock apps, but the information on the tiles will not be the same. The information in question will be pulled from the Microsoft/Windows Live account that you signed into during the initial setup process.

Start_Screen_First_Boot.jpg

Continue reading to see the new "Metro" apps, desktop UI, and my final thoughts

A New Dawn of a new era: NVIDIA tech demo reboot.

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 25, 2012 - 08:55 PM |
Tagged: A New Dawn, video, nvidia, kepler

NVIDIA has released a demo for their latest GPUs which might be a little familiar for long-time PC gamers. A New Dawn is a remake of their Dawn demo for the GeForce FX line of graphics processors -- now with less fake Subsurface Scattering.

What better way to gratify your purchases than scantily clad demihumans?

It has been just months shy of a decade ago when NVIDIA revealed Dawn to attendees of the 2002 Game Developer’s Conference. Dawn, titled after both lead character as well as setting, was set to promote NVIDIA’s GeForce FX line of graphics processors.

Less lensflare than a dance-pop video.

Every day I'm fluttering -- ROFL.

A New Dawn demonstrates the progression between early-stage DirectX 9 through current DirectX 11.1 hardware. Dawn has been remodeled and reskinned with actual subsurface scattering to liven up her skin; fine-grained hair with blur shaders to prevent aliasing; and certainly no extra clothing. Her environment is modeled and tessellated -- a step up from the box she used to reside in.

A New Dawn is available for download from NVIDIA’s website if your system meets the minimum specifications -- which, if you have a Kepler GPU, is quite forgiving for a system that a Kepler GPU would make sense to be in.

Source: NVIDIA