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Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 16, 2014 - 11:39 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, giveaway, galaxy, contest
UPDATE: Our winners have been selected and notified! Thanks to everyone for participating and stayed tuned to pcper.com as we'll have more contests starting VERY SOON!!!
Our sponsors are the best, they really are. Case in point - Galaxy would like us to give away a pair of graphics cards to our fans. On the block for the contest are a Galaxy GTX 750 Ti GC and a Galaxy GTX 750 GC option, both based on the latest generation Maxwell GPU architecture from NVIDIA.
I posted a GTX 750 Ti Roundup story that looked at the Galaxy GTX 750 Ti GC option and it impressed in both stock performance and in the amount of overclocking headroom provided by the custom cooler.
How can you win these awesome prizes? Head over to our YouTube channel to find or just watch the video below! You need to be a subscriber to our YouTube channel as well as leave a comment on the video itself over on YouTube.
Anyone, any where in the world can win. We'll pick a winner on April 16th - good luck!
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | April 16, 2014 - 01:56 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: valve, steam
Valve does not release sales or hours played figures for any game on Steam and it is rare to find a publisher who will volunteer that information. That said, Steam user profiles list that information on a per-account basis. If someone, say Ars Technica, had access to sufficient server capacity, say an Amazon Web Services instance, and a reasonable understanding of statistics, then they could estimate.
If interested, I would definitely look through the original editorial for all of its many findings. Here, if you let me (and you can't stop me even if you don't), I would like to add my own analysis on a specific topic. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on the PC, according to VGChartz, sold 3.42 million copies on at retail, worldwide. The thing is, Steamworks was required for every copy sold at retail or online. According to Ars Technica's estimates, 5.94 million copies were registered with Steam.
5.94 minus 3.42 is 2.52 million copies sold digitally. Almost a third of PC sales were made through Steam and other digital distribution platforms. Also, this means that the PC was the game's second-best selling platform, ahead of the PS3 (5.43m) and behind the Xbox 360 (7.92m), minus any digital sales on those platforms if they exist, of course. Despite its engine being programmed in DirectX 9, it is still a fairly high-end game. That is a fairly healthy install base for decent gaming PCs.
Did you discover anything else on your own? Be sure to discuss it in our comments!
Subject: General Tech, Systems | April 15, 2014 - 08:48 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: vaio, sony, battery issue
So it turns out that Sony, after releasing their last VAIO PC refresh before the division is sold to Japan Industrial Partners, have found an issue with Panasonic's custom lithium battery packs. The VAIO Fit 11A models, released February 2014, have the potential to overheat and catch fire, burning itself and the PC. They are in the process of creating a refund, repair, or exchange program but, in the mean time, request users stop using the devices for their safety.
In head-crushing formation. #HandsCheck
The affected products fall under the model number, "SVF11N1XXXX", where Xs are, of course, some random letter or number. This information is printed underneath the display, accessible using the "release-lock" latch when the laptop is open.
Of course, this is all just unfortunate for Sony. The last product they create under their VAIO brand requires what basically amounts to a safety recall -- for a third-party component. Beyond that, Panasonic asserts that the flaw only seems to exist in the batteries that were customized for Sony. Panasonic, like many manufacturers, introduces slight modifications to existing products for a specific customer's needs. They do not believe that their other batteries, even of the same model, is defective outside of the shipment that Sony received.
At some point, you just need to feel bad for them...
Subject: General Tech | April 15, 2014 - 02:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: microsoft, win 8.1, win 8.1 update
The end of support for XP is an annoying but sensible move on Microsoft's part however today's announcement that Windows 8.1 EoL is the Patch Tuesday in May is anything but sensible. The announcement states that no more updates for Win 8.1 will be released, if a customer wants to receive updates they must still be running Win 8 or upgrade to Win 8.1 Update 1. The continued support for Win 8 machines seems rather odd and is perhaps intended to mollify corporate users who have not had the 8.1 patch pushed out as Microsoft has removed Win 8.1 Update 1 from their WSUS servers over a week ago making it impossible for corporations to properly upgrade their users to Update 1. For those who bought a device recently this deadline does not give them much time to apply Update 1, especially when you consider the amount of critical errors installing Update 1 is causing. Catch the vitriol over at Slashdot and think back to the good old days when all you had to keep track of were the various flavours of Win7.
"Microsoft TechNet blog makes clear that Windows 8.1 will not be patched, and that users must get Windows 8.1 Update if they want security patches, InfoWorld's Woody Leonhard reports. 'In what is surely the most customer-antagonistic move of the new Windows regime, Steve Thomas at Microsoft posted a TechNet article on Saturday stating categorically that Microsoft will no longer issue security patches for Windows 8.1, starting in May,' Leonhard writes. 'Never mind that Windows 8.1 customers are still having multiple problems with errors when trying to install the Update."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Google might reward secure websites with better ranking @ The Inquirer
- Micron plumps STACKED SILICON BEAUTY with SerDes @ The Register
- Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray @ The Register
- Xtorm LAVA CHARGER Universal Solar / USB Charger @ NikKTech
- Using Samba to Share Your Linux Folders with Another PC or Virtual Machine @ Techgage
- Gigabyte CDRomland OC Workshop @ Madshrimps
Subject: General Tech | April 15, 2014 - 07:03 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Intel, Education, convertible tablet, atom z3740d
Intel has introduced a new convertible tablet aimed at the education market (specifically as a tool for students to use in their studies) conveniently dubbed the Intel Education 2-In-1. This latest product is a portable dockable tablet powered by an Intel Atom processor and running Windows 8.1 along with Intel Education software.
The new Education 2-In-1 tablet is the successor to Intel's previous Education Tablets series which included two Atom powered devices running the Android OS. The latest convertible tablet features a 10.1 touchscreen and capacitive stylus that weighs 683 grams (1.51 pounds). The tablet can also be connected to a keyboard dock for a total weight of 1.173 kilograms (2.58 pounds). It is a ruggedized design that can withstand up to 70cm drops (50cm when docked) and is both water and dust resistant per IP51 specifications.
The upcoming PC features a 10.1” 5-point multi-touch display with a resolution of 1366x768, a 1.26 MP webcam, and a 5.0 MP rear camera. The keyboard dock offers up a full qwerty keyboard, trackpad, additional IO ports, and a second battery. Intel rates its Atom-powered tablet at 8 hours of battery life for the tablet itself and 11 hours (total) when docked with the keyboard.
External IO includes:
- 1 x USB 3.0
- 1 x Micro SD card slot
- 1 x Audio out/Mic in combo jack
- 1 x Micro HDMI
- 2 x integrated speakers
- 1 x Integrated microphone
The tablet further offers up a wide array of sensors for obtaining environmental data including an accelerometer, ambient light sensor, electronic compass, gyroscope, and optional GPS. Students can also get temperature readings via a probe and pair the rear camera with a magnification lens. The sensor and image data can be fed into the educational software bundled with the tablet for use in school labs.
Internally, the convertible tablet is powered by a quad core Intel Atom Z3740D processor clocked at 1.8 GHz, 2GB of DDR3L 1333 MHz memory, and either 32 GB or 64 GB of internal eMMC storage. Networking is handled by an 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 radio along with optional NFC, 3G, and LTE cellular radios. The tablet hosts a 7600mAH (28 Wh) battery while the keyboard dock offers up an additional 15 Wh battery.
On the software side of things, the tablet runs the 32-bit version of Windows 8.1 which is bundled with Intel's educational software suite and McAfee AntiVirus Plus. The educational software includes a digital textbook library from Kno Products.
The ruggedized design leaves something (read: aesthetics) to be desired, but the somewhat-bulky convertible is built to handle the inevitable, well, handling by students during their daily class schedules. Further, the Bay Trail SoC should run Windows 8.1 well enough to run the basic applications needed for coursework.
Intel has not yet released pricing or availability information on its latest educational hardware offering.
As more schools are looking into supporting digital learning material and incorporating devices such as laptops, tablets, and e-readers, Intel does not want to be left out of the game. The Education 2-In-1 is not likely to be a direct-to-consumer product but more of a business-to-educational institution offering much like Google's Chromebook subscription program and is intended to show off the hardware and software 'experience' that the company's Bay Trail Atom SoC platform is capable of enabling.
Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2014 - 06:00 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: audio, asus, Xonar U7, usb sound card
ASUS has an easy way for you to upgrade your sound without needing to crack open your case, the Xonar U7 USB sound card. Capable of delivering 7.1 surround with a Cmedia 6632A processor and no less than three different Cirrus signal conversion chips this is a high quality device for $90. Connectivity is equally impressive, on one side an amplified 3.5 mm headphone output and shared line-in/microphone3.5 mm jack, on the other are Side, Center, and Rear channel outputs, an SPDIF output and the USB jack. Read Legit Reviews' full article to hear how they felt the Xonar U7 performed.
"We got an early look at an upcoming affordable USB powered sound card from ASUS called the Xonar U7. Its compact form makes it easy to setup or use with laptops which normally can’t have their audio solutions upgraded."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Creative Sound BlasterAxx 200 Axx @ techPowerUp
- Making Your Speakers Mobile: Logitech Bluetooth Audio Adapter Review @ Techgage
- Wavemaster Stax 2.1 Speaker @ eTeknix
- Rosewill R-Studio Ampbox Bluetooth Speaker Review @ Legit Reviews
- VidaBox OpenSqueeze Network Players @ techPowerUp
- Cooler Master CM Storm Pitch Gaming Earphones Review @ Madshrimps
- Attitude 1 Almaz Multi-Format Headset @ eTeknix
- BitFenix Flo Gaming Headset @ Benchmark Reviews
- Bit Fenix Flo Headset @ Funky Kit
Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2014 - 01:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gartner, pc sales, desktop market share
With a total of 76.6 million PCs shipped worldwide in the first quarter of 2014 the desktop market only shrunk by 1.7% compared to the first quarter of 2013. Gartner attributes this to two main factors, new desktops being purchased to replace aging machines running WinXP and a decline in the sales of tablets, at least in the US. Lenovo retains its top spot globally but HP has been doing quite well with their marketing and now hold top spot in both the US and EMEA. Check out all their findings at DigiTimes.
"The end of XP support by Microsoft on April 8 has played a role in the easing decline of PC shipments," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "All regions indicated a positive effect since the end of XP support stimulated the PC refresh of XP systems. Professional desktops, in particular, showed strength in the quarter."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- US Senate sees 'Let Me Google That For You' bill @ The Inquirer
- It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer @ The Register
- Akamai Reissues All SSL Certificates After Admitting Heartbleed Patch Was Faulty @ Slashdot
- Intel to enhance water resistance in new products @ DigiTimes
- Microsoft cans free custom domain support in Outlook @ The Inquirer
- So you invent a wireless network using LEDs, what do you do next? Add solar panels. Boom @ The Register
- Linksys EA6900 AC1900 Smart Wi-Fi Wireless Router @ NikKTech
- Win a £1000 laptop with Scan, KitGuru and MSI
Subject: General Tech | April 11, 2014 - 03:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: valve, Steam Controller, gdc 14
At the Game Developers Conference last month The Tech Report had some one on one time with the Steam Controller and walked away with a less than positive impression. It would seem that the learning curve for this device is rather steep, especially when they tried Portal 2. Fine aiming, circle strafing and other tasks which come naturally to those used to a keyboard and mouse were quite difficult to accomplish on the new controller. When asked, the Valve rep admitted it took them about 8 hours to familiarize themselves with the Steam Controller. Is that too steep a learning curve or is it simply part of the fun of playing with a new type of console and controller?
"Valve's Steam controller looks great on paper. It promises not just greater accuracy than conventional console gamepads, but also support for point-and-click titles that traditionally required a mouse and keyboard. There's a downside, though. As TR's Cyril Kowaliski learned first-hand, the Steam controller has a pretty steep learning curve—steep enough, perhaps, to put off some potential converts."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Cheat Win XP DEATH: Little-known tool to save you from the XPocalypse @ The Register
- Microsoft kills off Windows XP with side-scrolling shoot-em-up @ The Inquirer
- Pocket-sized robotic mobile printer debuts on Kickstarter @ The Inqurier
- Hacking Your Linux Keyboard with xkb @ Linux.com
- BlackBerry not afraid to throw its mobe biz under a bus, says CEO Chen @ The Register
- Google Chrome 64-bit @ NGOHQ
Subject: General Tech | April 11, 2014 - 02:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: corsair, contest
Corsair is sponsoring PC DOMINATION, SPRING 2014, a system building and tuning competition for PC enthusiasts. PC Domination isn't a single contest, but more than ten separate challenges for system builders and tuners. It doesn't matter if you have a high-end or mid-range system. There's a contest for everyone to participate in! Participants will be competing to win a variety of Corsair’s top products including cases, coolers, gaming keyboards, memory, and more. The first 500 complete entries will get a FREE Corsair PC Domination T-shirt.
You can participate in the CPU tuning contest by submitting your HWBot and Cinebench benchmark scores. If you don't have the latest and greatest system, don't let that stop you from participating since there will be an award for whoever can do the most with the least. And, to keep things fun for everyone, we are not allowing sponsored professional overclockers to participate.
There are three contests:
- Intel CPU (Air Cooling or All-In-One Cooling)
- AMD CPU (Air Cooling or All-In-One Cooling)
- Custom Loop Liquid Cooling (Intel and AMD)
To participate in the GPU tuning competition, submit your 3DMark scores! Just like our CPU Tuning competition, go ahead and enter if you don't have the latest and greatest GPU as there will also be an award for whoever who can do the most with the least. It's what you can do with what you have that matters. Sponsored professional overclockers are not able to participate, sorry!
There are three contests:
- NVIDIA GPU (Air Cooling Only)
- AMD GPU (Air Cooling Only)
- Custom Loop Liquid Cooling (NVIDIA and AMD)
System Build Competition
To enter this competition, just submit photos of a system you've built. This is your chance to show off every aspect of your machine, whether it's the color scheme, amazing cable management, or just your overall awesomeness in system building!
There are three contests:
- Standard System Building (Retail Parts – No Modifications or Customizing)
- Custom Cooling System (Custom Water Loops – No Chassis Customization)
- Open System Building (Full Customization and Modification)
Podcast #295 - AMD Radeon R9 295X2, AMD AM1 Socket SoCs, Building a 1080P Gaming PC for under $550 and more
Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2014 - 02:25 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, amd, 295x2, AM1, Plextor M6e, nvidia, 337.50, GFE
PC Perspective Podcast #295 - 04/10/2014
Join us this week as we discuss the AMD Radeon R9 295X2, AMD AM1 Socket SoCs, Building a 1080P Gaming PC for under $550 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:
0:51:18 This podcast is brought to you by Coolermaster, and the CM Storm Pulse-R Gaming Headset!
News items of interest:
1:03:10 NAB News
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2014 - 01:55 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: videocore iv, Raspberry Pi, bcm2835, arm
Although the Raspberry Pi's original purpose was as an educational tool, many enthusiasts have used the (mostly) open source hardware at the heart of home automation, robotics projects, and other embedded systems. In light of this success, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has unveiled the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, a miniaturized version of the Raspberry Pi sans IO ports that fits onto a single SO-DIMM module. The Compute Module houses the BCM2835 SoC, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of flash memory and can be paired with custom designed PCBs.
The Raspberry Pi Compute Module. Note that the pin out is entirely different from a memory module, so don't try plugging this into your laptop!
The Compute Module will initially be released along with an open source breakout board called the Compute Module IO Board. The IO Board is intended to be an example to get users started and to help them along the path of designing their own customized PCB. The IO Board has a SO-DIMM connector that the Compute Module plugs into. It further offers up two serial camera ports, two serial display ports, two banks of 2x30 GPIO pinouts, a micro USB port for power, one full-size USB port, and one HDMI output. The Raspberry Pi Foundation will be releasing full documentation and schematics for both the Compute Module and IO Board over the next few weeks.
Using the Compute Module and a custom PCB, the embedded system can be smaller and lighter than then traditional Raspberry Pi.
The Compute Module IO Board (left) with the Compute Module installed (right).
The Raspberry Pi Compute Module and IO Board will be available as a bundle (the "Compute Module Development Kit") from Element14 and RS in June. Shortly after the development kit launch, customers will be able to purchase the compute module itself for $30 each in batches of 100 or slightly more for smaller orders.
More information can be found on the Raspberry Pi blog. Here's hoping the industrial / embedded market successes will help fuel additional educational endeavours and new Raspberry Pis versions in the future.
Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2014 - 01:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, haswell, i7-4790
If you have been anxiously awaiting the release of the new Core i7-4790 and 9-series of chipsets from Intel, you are going to be waiting a bit longer. DigiTimes is reporting that the negative feedback from vendors has convinced them to delay releasing the new chip and chipset for another month. This is likely due to the number of current generation Haswell chips, motherboards and systems stuck in the channel thanks that vendors are hoping will sell thanks to the EoL of WinXP. The numbers from Gartner support their theory, the long downwards trend of PC sales has leveled off in the last quarter. We can only hope that there will be discounts and sales towards the end of the month to help clean out the channel for the release of the new generation of Haswell processors.
"Intel is set to launch its new Haswell Refresh processors and 9-series chipsets for desktops in early May, postponing the CPU giant's original schedule from April, according to sources from motherboard players."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Behind the scenes with Intel's SSD division @ The Tech Report
- Anatomy of OpenSSL's Heartbleed: Just four bytes trigger horror bug @ The Register
- SEC slaps HP with $108 MEEELION fine over bribe scandal @ The Register
- Hardware Asylum Podcast - Frankenstein Builds, Zeus Mini and LanETS Overclocking
- Oregon Scientific ATC Chameleon Dual Lens Action Camera @ NikKTech
- Condeleeza Rice joins Dropbox as firm unveils Carousel photo sharing service @ The Inquirer
- After years of flattening, curved TV screens leap into global market, says DisplaySearch @ DigiTimes
- Resetting DRM On 3D Printer Filament @ Hack a Day
Subject: General Tech | April 9, 2014 - 02:59 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, nvidia, shield
If you own NVIDIA's SHIELD then you may have noticed an over the air upgrade notification recently which you should take advantage of. Legit Reviews have assembled a look at the features you get from this upgrade, from broader access to GameStream from both your SHIELD and from any PC with a modern NVIDIA GPU to a new OS, KitKat 4.4.2. Check out how well NVIDIA implemented these updates in the full article.
"The NVIDIA SHIELD is potentially the next evolution of mobile gaming. The SHIELD in a nutshell is a blend of mobile android devices, PC gaming, and console gaming. When the NVIDIA SHIELD first came out last year, it was carrying a price tag of $299, eventually that dropped to $249 and that remains the current price for the SHIELD. Though for right now through the end of April NVIDIA has lowered the price to $199 to celebrate the latest and greatest over the air update that we announced last week here."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Confirmed @ [H]ard|OCP
- Titanfall Performance Boost: NVIDIA R337 Drivers @ Benchmark Reviews
- Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number trailer released ahead of PAX East @ HEXUS
- What’s Up With Warframe? @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Yikes: GameSpy Shutdown Will Affect A Lot Of Games @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- You’re Going To Need A Bigger Aircraft Carrier, Battlefield 4 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | April 9, 2014 - 01:56 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: google, winxp, Chromebook
Google has an offer for businesses that it hopes will be attractive enough to get them to abandon Windows complete instead of upgrading from WinXP to a new version of a Microsoft OS. They are offering businesses $100 off any managed Chromebook or other ChromeOS device and $200 if it will be running VMWare Desktop as a Service. For those who have to go through major upgrades and software re-writes this might be a reasonable alternative since these companies are less than pleased at the EOL of WinXP and now have an opportunity to try or at least test an alternative OS. It is unlikely that Windows will go the way of "tamagotchis and parachute pants" Google's Amit Singh is quoted as saying by The Inquirer but the demise of WinXP offers a unique opportunity for change to many businesses which has previously been economically unfeasable.
"GOOGLE HAS BEEN QUICK to jump on the demise of Windows XP, and is looking to persuade businesses still running the operating system to buy Google Chromebooks instead."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Replace the Retiring Windows XP with Linux @ Linux.com
- Windows XP: A Brief Retrospective @ Techgage
- Office, IE, Flash fixes accompany Windows XP's final Patch Tuesday @ The Register
- Supply chain gearing up for orders from Samsung for components used in new 2K tablets @ DigiTimes
- Eco-friendly fluid keeps SGI supercomputer cool and moist @ The Register
- WD unborks MYSTERY My Cloud borkage @ The Register
- CyberLink PowerDVD 14 Review @MissingRemote
- Camera Lens Buying Guide @ TechARP
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | April 8, 2014 - 08:44 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: cpu cooler, NH-D15, noctua
Known primarily for large and quiet CPU coolers, Noctua is not shy to attach a pair of 140mm fans to a chunk of metal. The NH-D15, announced today, can cool just about any current, mainstream or enthusiast CPU from AMD or Intel. It attaches to the CPU with a copper plate, which is connected to several copper heatpipes, which leads into two towers of aluminum fins. It is plated with nickel to prevent corrosion (I am not sure about the bottom).
As is common for these types of heat sinks, they are daunting to look at. Of course, that is not a bad thing, unless you have a very small case, but it might make you look at your stock fan differently. Noctua is claiming that their two fans spin at a maximum of 1500 RPM and a minimum of 300 RPM. This leads to a listed maximum noise value of 24.6 dBA, around the background noise of a quiet rural area at night.
The NH-D15 will be available mid-April for just shy of $100 USD.
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | April 8, 2014 - 07:07 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: thunderbolt, NAB 14, NAB, Elgato
Hmm, this is more Thunderbolt than I think we heard all year. Is there like, a video production event going on right now? No matter, because news is news (and so are product announcements). The Elgato Thunderbolt Dock connects to Thunderbolt, go figure, and provides three USB 3.0 ports, one Gigabit Ethernet port, one HDMI 1.4 output, one 3.5mm headphone jack, and one 3.5mm microphone jack. It also has a second Thunderbolt port to daisy chain with other devices, which is a common trait in Thunderbolt devices. It will retail for $229.95.
Yup, it is a Thunderbolt accessory.
Why does it seem like every Mac user in commercials have a studio apartment???
It makes sense to see devices like this. Thunderbolt is really an extension of PCIe which allows anything that was once an add-in board to be connected externally, albeit with significantly reduced bandwidth compared to PCIe 3.0 16x. This looks very clean, tidy, and much more desirable than crawling under the desk and swapping wires and thumb drives in the darkness behind your PC.
I would like to see some benchmarks on this device, however. Clearly, the sum of these outputs should be higher than the bandwidth allowed by Thunderbolt (especially if daisy-chaining another Thunderbolt device). I wonder how efficient it will be at keeping high quality signals when several devices are connected and running simultaneously.
The Elgato Thunderbolt Dock is available now for computers with a Thunderbolt port and either Mac OSX 10.9 or Windows 8.1. I guess us Windows 7 fans need to get used to the dust bunnies behind our PCs for a little longer...
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 8, 2014 - 06:44 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, geforce, drivers
NVIDIA's GeForce 337.50 Driver was said to address performance when running DirectX 11-based software. Now that it is out, multiple sources are claiming the vendor-supplied benchmarks are exaggerated or simply untrue.
Going alphabetically, Anandtech tested the R337.50 and R331.xx drivers with a GeForce GTX 780 Ti, finding a double-digit increase with BioShock: Infinite and Metro: Last Light and basically zero improvement for GRID 2, Rome II, Crysis: Warhead, Crysis 3, and Company of Heroes 2. Adding a second GTX 780 Ti into the mix helped matters, seeing a 76% increase in Rome II and about 9% in most of the other titles.
BlackHoleTec is next. Testing the mid-range, but overclocked GeForce 760 between R337.50 and R335.23 drivers, they found slight improvements (1-3 FPS), except for Battlefield 4 and Skyrim (the latter is not DX11 to be fair) which noticed a slight reduction in performance (about 1 FPS).
ExtremeTech, finally, published one benchmark but it did not compare between drivers. All it really shows is CPU scaling in AMD GPUs.
Unfortunately, I do not have any benchmarks to present of my own because I am not a GPU reviewer nor do I have a GPU testbed. Ironically, the launch of the Radeon R9 295 X2 video card might have lessened that number of benchmarks available for NVIDIA's driver, who knows?
If it is true, and R337.50 does basically nothing in a setup with one GPU, I am not exactly sure what NVIDIA was hoping to accomplish. Of course someone was going to test it and publish their results. The point of the driver update was apparently to show how having a close relationship with Microsoft can lead you to better PC gaming products now and in the future. That can really only be the story if you have something to show. Now, at least I expect, we will probably see more positive commentary about Mantle - at least when people are not talking about DirectX 12.
If you own a GeForce card, I would still install the new driver though, especially if you have an SLi configuration. Scaling to a second GPU does see measurable improvements with Release 337.50. Even for a single-card configuration, it certainly should not hurt anything.
Subject: General Tech | April 8, 2014 - 05:03 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: research, nvidia, GTC, gpgpu, global impact award
During the GPU Technology Conference last month, NVIDIA introduced a new annual grant called the Global Impact Award. The grant awards $150,000 to researchers using NVIDIA GPUs to research issues with worldwide impact such as disease research, drug design, medical imaging, genome mapping, urban planning, and other "complex social and scientific problems."
NVIDIA will be presenting the Global Impact Award to the winning researcher or non-profit institution at next year's GPU Technology Conference (GTC 2015). Individual researchers, universities, and non-profit research institutions that are using GPUs as a significant enabling technology in their research are eligible for the grant. Both third party and self-nomiations (.doc form) are accepted with the nominated candidates being evaluated based on several factors including the level of innovation, social impact, and current state of the research and its effectiveness in approaching the problem. Submissions for nominations are due by December 12, 2014 with the finalists being announced by NVIDIA on March 13, 2015. NVIDIA will then reveal the winner of the $150,000 grant at GTC 2015 (April 28, 2015).
The researcher, university, or non-profit firm can be located anywhere in the world, and the grant money can be assigned to a department, initiative, or a single project. The massively parallel nature of modern GPUs makes them ideal for many times of research with scalable projects, and I think the Global Impact Award is a welcome incentive to encourage the use of GPGPU in applicable research projects. I am interested to see what the winner will do with the money and where the research leads.
More information on the Global Impact Award can be found on the NVIDIA website.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors, Shows and Expos | April 8, 2014 - 03:43 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Intel, NAB, NAB 14, iris pro, Adobe, premiere pro, Adobe CC
When Adobe started to GPU-accelerate their applications beyond OpenGL, it started with NVIDIA and its CUDA platform. After some period of time, they started to integrate OpenCL support and bring AMD into the fold. At first, it was limited to a couple of Apple laptops but has since expanded to include several GPUs on both OSX and Windows. Since then, Adobe switched to a subscription-based release system and has published updates on a more rapid schedule. The next update of Adobe Premiere Pro CC will bring OpenCL to Intel Iris Pro iGPUs.
Of course, they specifically mentioned Adobe Premiere Pro CC which suggests that Photoshop CC users might be coming later. The press release does suggest that the update will affect both Mac and Windows versions of Adobe Premiere Pro CC, however, so at least platforms will not be divided. Well, that is, if you find a Windows machine with Iris Pro graphics. They do exist...
A release date has not been announced for this software upgrade.
Subject: General Tech, Networking, Systems, Shows and Expos | April 8, 2014 - 03:26 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: NAB, NAB 14, Thunderbolt 2, thunderbolt
Video professionals are still interested in Thunderbolt in probably much the same way as Firewire needed to be pried from their cold, dead hands. It is a very high bandwidth connector, useful for sending and receiving 4K video. Also, it was originally exclusive to Apple so you can guess which industries were first-adopters. Intel has focused their Thunderbolt announcements on the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show. This year, Thunderbolt Networking will be available for Windows via a driver. This will allow any combination of Macs and Windows PCs to be paired together by a 10 Gigabit network.
Of course, this is not going to be something that you can plug into a router. This is a point-to-point network for sharing files between two devices... really fast. Perhaps one use case would be a workstation with a Mac and a Windows PC on a KVM switch. If both are connected with Thunderbolt 2, they could share the same storage pool.
While this feature already exists on Apple devices, the PC driver will be available... "soon".
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