All | Editorial | General Tech | Graphics Cards | Networking | Motherboards | Cases and Cooling | Processors | Chipsets | Memory | Displays | Systems | Storage | Mobile | Shows and Expos
Subject: General Tech, Systems | September 23, 2013 - 02:20 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: valve, SteamOS, Steam Box, big picture mode
SteamOS is the first announcement, of three, in Valve's attempt to install a PC into your living room. The operating system is unsurprisingly built from Linux and optimized for the living room. Still no announcement of hardware although the second part is less than 48 hours away. The key features of SteamOS will also be ported to the Steam client on Windows, OSX, and Linux. Are you seeing... the big picture?
The four main features are: in-home streaming, media services, family sharing, and family options.
In-home streaming allows users to, by leaving their Steam client running on their PC or Mac, use their network to transmit video and controller input to SteamOS. The concept is very similar to OnLive and Gaikai. Latency is barely an issue, however, as the server is located on your local network. As the user owns the server, also known as their home computer, there is less concern of the service removing the title from their library. Graphics performance would be dictated by that high-end PC, and not the gaming consoles.
As a side note: Gabe Newell, last year at CES, mentioned plans by NVIDIA to allow virtualized GPUs with Maxwell (AMD is probably working on a similar feature, too). Combined with in-home streaming, this means that two or more Steam boxes could play games from the same desktop even while someone else uses it.
SteamOS will have music, movie, and TV functionality. Very little details on this one but I would assume Netflix is a possibility. The Steam distribution platform can physically handle video and audio streaming, especially with their updates a couple of years ago, but their silence about content deals leads me to assume they are talking about third-party services... for now, at least. We do know, from LinuxCon, that Gabe Newell is a firm believer in one library of content regardless of device.
We have already discussed Steam Family Sharing, but this is obviously aimed at Steam Box. One library for all content includes games.
Lastly, Steam will be updated for family control options. Individual users can be restricted or hidden from certain titles in other users' libraries. This helps keep them at-or-above parity with the gaming consoles for concerned parents.
Valve also believes in user control.
Steam is not a one-way content broadcast channel, it’s a collaborative many-to-many entertainment platform, in which each participant is a multiplier of the experience for everyone else. With SteamOS, “openness” means that the hardware industry can iterate in the living room at a much faster pace than they’ve been able to. Content creators can connect directly to their customers. Users can alter or replace any part of the software or hardware they want. Gamers are empowered to join in the creation of the games they love. SteamOS will continue to evolve, but will remain an environment designed to foster these kinds of innovation.
SteamOS will be free, forever, to everyone. Both users and system builders (including OEMs) can download the operating system and install it on their machines. No release date, yet, but it will be available soon... Valve Time?
The second announcement will occur at 1PM EDT this Wednesday, September 25, 2013. According to their iconography, we can now assume SteamOS will be the circle. The next announcement is circle in square brackets: SteamOS in a box? If you come on over to find out (please do! : D), stick around an extra couple of hours (minus the time it takes to write the article) for our AMD Hawaii Live Stream at 3PM EDT also on September 25th.
Subject: General Tech | September 23, 2013 - 01:39 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
At $500 this particular Inspiron 14z offers quite a bit of performance for the road warrior. A 1.8 GHz Core i3-3217U, 4GB RAM, a 32GB SSD for OS and programs along with a 500GB HDD for storage is not too shabby for the price. It is under 1" thick and weighs under 5lbs making it extremely portable.
- Dell Inspiron 14z 14" 3rd Gen Core i3 Ultrabook w/ 32GB SSD, Windows 7 for $499.99 with free shipping(normally $689.99).
- HP Pavilion 23xi 23" 1080p IPS LED-backlit LCD Monitor for $189.99 with free shipping (normally $229.99 - use coupon code: MU2121).
- Lenovo IdeaTab A2107 7" Android 4.0 16GB Tablet for $159.00 with free shipping (normally $229.00 - use coupon code: SPECIALSAVINGS).
- Sony BDP-S1100 Blu-ray Disc Player for $79.99 with free shipping (normally $89.99).
- Linksys AE1200 Wireless-N 300Mbps USB Adapter for $29.99 only (normally $49.99).
- Foscam FI8918W Wireless Camera w/ Night Vision for $59.99 with free shipping (normally $139.99).
Subject: General Tech | September 23, 2013 - 01:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: office 365, microsoft, Android
While Enterprise admins are less than impressed with the new Office 365 model and the changes that are required to their environments to make this new product function correctly many SMBs, students and home users have a lot to be happy about. Device sharing is going to be a big thing, with one license allowing you to use Office 365 on a variety of the devices you own. Support on NVIDIA's Shield is still a rumour but compatibility with Android phones is much closer to reality. There are workarounds you need to put into place in order to make most Android phones function correctly, which The Register kindly linked to in their article and you will need to hunt down the originally released Microsoft installation file which they have pulled but you will be able to use Office 365. Hopefully you won't be trying to write long dissertations on your phone but reading and editing are quite possible.
"Unlike the video editing or CAD workstation beasts that are still utterly reliant on Windows, Android is slowly evolving into a workable platform for basic productivity."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Here's why the CrossFire Eyefinity/4K story matters @ The Tech Report
- BlackBerry BLOODBATH! Company warns of nearly $1bn quarterly loss @ The Register
- Chaos Computer Club: iPhone 5S finger-sniffer COMPROMISED @ The Register
- USB 3.1 demo shows new spec well on its way towards 1.2GB/sec goal @ The Register
- Odeon wants audiences to play multiplayer video games on the big screen @ The Inquirer
- The TR Podcast 142: Intel intros everything at IDF and we react
- Sub $100 3D printer rakes in Kickstarter cash @ The Inquirer
- Win mega prizes with be quiet! and Kitguru
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | September 21, 2013 - 12:13 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: razer, Naga, Lefties
So, after a few years of regular use, I wore out my Razer Lachesis. I am a lefty who never sold out to the right-handed world of computer peripherals. Joysticks do not count, I am naturally right-handed with those for some reason... scissors too... but that is beside the point. Most of the mice out there, for me to use at least, are ambidextrous and thus symmetric.
The Razer Naga (2014) is the first truly left handed mouse that I have owned. These are my impressions over my first day of usage.
Being a left-handed mouse Razer decided that it would, by default, switch the left and right mouse buttons. This can be changed in the drivers by first assigning your right mouse button to a left mouse button and then assigning your left mouse button to a right mouse button. Not the other way around.
The reason for this user experience seems to be, since all changes in the driver are applied immediately (without "ok" or "apply" buttons), Razer did not want users to accidentally lose every left mouse button. Imagine fixing that problem without a left mouse button. I would have prefered the app to, instead, fire a popup telling users to bind something else to "left mouse button" before removing it. Greying out the box is confusing and users might think they cannot, ever, rebind that button. That is just a minor complaint.
A slightly bigger issue is how they included a tilt-wheel without allowing the drivers to bind ScrollLeft and ScrollRight events. This can easily be fixed with a Razer Synapse update but why was that not included at launch? They are aware of the problem, too, as their support pages suggest users bind scroll wheel tilt to keyboard left and right. A great alternative for web browsers, but will not work in Photoshop or word processors.
Yes, you can make a custom profile for each application to input whatever horizontally scrolls them; better yet, just let us bind left and right scroll commands. Do it Razer! Dooooo it!
Weird quirks in the drivers aside, I really like the mouse. Each of the buttons, both in the side and on the top, are crisp. The build quality is solid. The body is comfortable. My only (physical) complaint is that the mouse body tends to get quite warm if you hold it for a couple of hours. That is, it feels warmer than other mice I have used. Otherwise it is basically what I have been looking for over the last decade.
So many buttons to bind!
Subject: General Tech | September 20, 2013 - 01:55 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Star Wars, lucasfilm, lucas art, 1313
In a bid to reduce the time it takes to get a movie to screen as well as saving money on locations and sets Lucasfilm is working to modify their game engine to be used to make movies. The 1313 teaser that they showed off last year was certainly of almost cinematic quality and as it turns out that observation is more true that we thought. You can see how they will mix motion capturing with the game engine in the video at the end of The Register's article. We certainly have a long way to go before we finally make it across the uncanny valley, especially for physical effects like water and fire but there is sense in thinking that game engines can progress to being good enough to replace film. The real question is if this technology will be available to all so we can all participate in making films and perhaps make Hollywood obsolete. Maybe plots and character development will make a comeback if everyone can make any special effect they can think of easily and quickly.
"OVER THE NEXT DECADE video game engines will be used in film-making, with the two disciplines combining to eliminate the movie post-production process."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft hooks up with AT&T, gazes into YOUR data center @ The Register
- Crytek wants to use existing open street map data for video game environments @ The Inquirer
- Final preview of IE11 for Windows 7 uncanned @ The Register
- Moving Your ‘Non-Movable’ Android Apps to an SD Card @ Techgage
- DIY Ultrasonic acoustic levitation @ Hack a Day
Subject: General Tech | September 19, 2013 - 08:05 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: webgl, artillery games
Artillery Games is taking it beyond a demo. They are developing a fully 3D Real Time Strategy (RTS) title, trailer above, based upon these web standards. The team of 11, 12 including the company pet, consists of many ex-Googlers along with alum from Intel, Lucasarts, Adobe, and more. Their video is quite impressive and, I would say, comparable to an XCOM: Enemy Unknown or StarCraft II level of graphical quality.
That is pretty good, considering we are comparing the Real Time Strategy to full RTS releases.
Being compatible with web browsers also affords quick turnaround for developers. Changes will not require a lengthy compile process as web standards are compiled at run-time anyway. Modifications should require, at worst, a browser refresh and, at best, swap by the next animation frame. This level of rapid iteration should help developers polish their creations quickly.
Speaking of quick, a private beta is expected before the end of the year. Full release is scheduled for some time in 2014. Their demo is shown on Firefox and Google Chrome. They have not mentioned anything about Internet Explorer 11, the first IE release with WebGL support, but who knows.
Subject: General Tech | September 19, 2013 - 02:26 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, surround, podcast, nvidia, Intel, idf, haswell, frame rating, eyefinity, baytrail, amd, 4250U
PC Perspective Podcast #269 - 09/19/2013
Join us this week as we discuss Frame Rating on Eyefinity, News from IDF, and rumors about new AMD GPUs
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: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, and Morry Teitelman
Week in Review:
0:03:30 Corsair Carbide 330R Case
News items of interest:
0:54:45 Mushkin Scorpion Delux PCIe SSD
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
Subject: General Tech | September 19, 2013 - 01:51 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Spectre 13, hp, Leap Motion. spectre 17, hybrid
HP announced quite a few new products though they went a little light on the specs as far as many enthusiasts would prefer. The Spectre 13 will be a hybrid tablet and laptop, the screen a 13" 1080p and the full device being 13.4mm thick, weighing 1.47kg and selling for over $1000. Perhaps the most interesting feature of this device is that has no fans in the keyboard portion, something very rare in Haswell machines. They've also released some limited info about a 17" model which has a Leap Controller built into it, which is a little less expensive than the hybrid model and will give you a chance to wave your hands at your PC. The Inquirer spills what it knows here.
"COMPUTER MAKER HP announced a raft of PCs and laptops today, including a fanless 2-in-1 detachable Haswell powered ultrabook and a notebook with a leap motion controller built in."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Kernel Developers, Linus Torvalds Emphasize Diversity for Innovation @ Linux.com
- Intel Iris Pro Linux Graphics Yield Some Wins Against Windows @ Phoronix
- Accurate temperature control of your 3D printer extruder @ Hack a Day
- Cyanogenmod goes pro, looks to create a better version of Android @ The Inquirer
- iOS 7 review @ The Inquirer
- Meet the Unmagnificent Seven: The critical holes plugged in Firefox update @ The Register
- Mountain Mods Ascension CYO @ Modders-Inc
- Apple iPhone 5S 64GB @ eTeknix
- TESORO Joint Giveaway - Win 3 Kuven 7.1 Virtual Surround Headsets & 3 Gandiva Gaming Mice @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 19, 2013 - 12:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: graphics drivers, amd, catalyst 13.9
FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS OF AMD CATALYST™ 13.9
The AMD Catalyst 13.9 WHQL is AMD’s first logo certified driver for Windows 8.1. It does not include support for Frame Pacing or the very latest AMD CrossFire™ optimizations. AMD Catalyst 13.10 Beta includes additional performance improvements and fixes not found in AMD Catalyst 13.9 WHQL.
AMD’s first logo certified driver for Windows 8.1
Includes WDDM 1.3 support for:
- AMD Accelerated Processors (“Kabini” & “Temash”) for Desktop, Notebook or Tablet PCs, including: A4-1200, A4-1250, A4-5000, A4-5100, A4-5150, A6-1450, A6-5200, A6-5250, A6-5350, E1-2100, E1-2200. E1-2500, E1-2600, E1-2650, E2-3000, E2-3100
- AMD Accelerated Processors (“Richland”) for Desktop or Notebook PCs, including: A10-5700, A10-5745M, A10-5750M, A10-5757M, A10-5800B, A10-5800K, A8-5500, A8-5500B, A8-5545M, A8-5550M, A8-5557M, A8-5600K, A6-5345M, A6-5350M, A6-5357M, A6-5400B, A6-5400K, A4-5145M, A4-5150, A4-5300, A4-5300B
- AMD Accelerated Processors (“Trinity”) for Desktop or Notebook PCs, including: A10-4600M, A10-4655M, A10-4677M, A10-5700, A10-5800B, A10-5800K, A8-4500M, A8-4555M, A8-4557M, A6-4400M, A6-4455M, A6-5400B, A6-5400K, A4-4300M, A4-4355M, A4-5300, A4-5300B
- AMD Radeon HD 8000 Series
- AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series
- AMD Radeon HD 6000 Series
- AMD Radeon HD 5000 Series
Support for AMD Features:
- AMD Eyefinity
- AMD Dual Graphics/AMD CrossFire Technology
- AMD Overdrive
- AMD Catalyst Control Center/Vision Engine Control Center
OpenGL support for User Profiles and Catalyst Application Profiles Users can now create, per application, 3D setting profiles for OpenGL applications. OpenGL applications are now supported through Catalyst Application Profile updates (for single GPU and AMD CrossFire configurations).
AMD Enduro™ Technology enhancements: The AMD Catalyst Control Center now shows which applications are active on the Performance GPU and the Power saving GPU.
Subject: General Tech | September 18, 2013 - 08:43 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: usb 3.0, SFF, nuc, celeron, Bay Trail, atom
Intel and Gigabyte announced new Haswell powered SFF (small form factor) PCs earlier this month around the time of Intel's IDF 2013 conference. It seems that Haswell is not the only processor Intel has in mind for NUC, however. A recent report from Hexus.net suggests that a new lower-cost NUC will be available early next year for $140. The NUC DN2810FYK will use Intel's new Bay Trail-M Atom processor and be available as a barebones system or motherboard/processor combination. The barebones system, which includes a case, motherboard, soldered processor, and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi module will have a $139 MSRP.
Intel's Bay Trail Atom processors use the Silvermont architecture which was built from the ground up with low power usage and efficient performance in mind. The new SoCs will span from smartphones and tablets to desktop PCs. The specific chip used in the upcoming DN2810FYK NUC PC is the Celeron branded N2810, which a dual core 7.5W TDP (4.5W SDP) Bay Trail-M SoC clocked at up to 2GHz with Intel HD Graphics clocked at 756 MHz. The processor comes pre-soldered onto the NUC motherboard which supports a single DDR3L SO-DIMM, one SATA port, and one mPCIe slot for the included Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.0 NIC. For the barebones system, users will only need to bring their own RAM and a SATA hard drive or SSD to the table.
External IO includes:
- 1 x USB 3.0
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x IR receiver
- 1 x Analog audio jack
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet port
As such, the Bay Trail-powered NUC is not quite as expandable as the Haswell model which supports four USB 3.0 ports (among other additional ports) externally and a mSATA SSD slot internally. On the other hand, because of the reduction in IO and hardware horsepower, the new NUC will be significantly cheaper than the existing models.
The DN2810FYK is slightly taller than the Haswell NUC at 55mm (versus 35.6mm), which is likely due to the use of mobile-class SATA drives rather than mSATA. Again, this is a compromise that allows Intel to offer up a budget SFF system.
Code-named "Forest Canyon," I expect the new Next Unit of Computing PC to be a popular NUC option that will help to drive adoption of small form factor systems thanks to the attractive $140 price point while still being sufficient performance wise for budget desktop, HTPC, and home server uses! I will wait for the full reviews to make up my mind, but I am optimistic about the upcoming Bay Trail-M NUC.
Is this Atom-powered NUC the one that you've been waiting for?
Subject: General Tech | September 18, 2013 - 06:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: adata, DashDrive Durable HD710, ruggedized
While they couldn't get their hands on an APC like one site did, The Tech Report did their best to test the resilience of the Adata DashDrive Durable HD710. They tested both the water resistance as well as its ability to absorb shocks by dropping the drive onto both laminate flooring and a nice refreshing drink of water. The bath was quite effective at washing off the crud it accumulated on the floor but there were no problems using the drive even after it had been abused. Even better, it performed quite well, especially on single threaded file transfers. You can see the whole review here.
"Adata's DashDrive Durable HD710 puts a terabyte of storage inside a shock-resistant, waterproof enclosure with a USB 3.0 port. We take a closer look to see if it can survive everyday abuse."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- WD My Passport Slim 1TB Portable Hard Drive Review @ Techgage
- WD My Passport Slim 1TB Portable Hard Drive Review @ Legit Reviews
- HGST Touro Desk Pro 4TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive @ NikKTech
- Western Digital RED WD30EFRX 3TB SATA III HDD @ NikKTech
- Asustor AS-302T @ techPowerUp
- Synology DS1813+ / NAS with SSD Caching @ Legion Hardware
- SuperTalent USB 3.0 Express Dram Disk @ SSD Review
- Micron P420m 1.4TB PCIe SSD @ SSD Review
- LSI 9300-4i4e SAS PCIe 12Gb/s HBA Card @ Benchmark Reviews
- KingSpec MultiCore 1TB Driverless PCIE SSD @ SSD Review
- Mushkin Scorpion Deluxe PCIe SSD @ SSD Review
- Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB SSD Review @ OCIA.net
- Silicon Power S55 Slim SATA III 240GB SSD Review @ Madshrimps
- Samsung SSD 840 Evo Review: 250GB & 1TB Drives Tested @ TechSpot
- Toshiba THNSNH Solid State Drive Review: Dark Horse @ X-bit Labs
Subject: General Tech | September 18, 2013 - 01:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, Saints Row IV
[H]ard|OCP lined up five GPUs from the two competitors to see if Saints Row can benefit from serious GPU power. They set the performance bar at an average of 40fps and raised the graphics options as high as they could while staying above that target frame rate. For the high end GPUs 2560x1600 was playable at the highest settings though the mid-range cards needed to be reduced to 1920x1080 to remain playable except for the 7870 Gigahertz Edition which retained the higher resolution. As you can guess from the fact that even a 650Ti or 7790 can max out the graphics options there is not much new in this game from a quality perspective and it really does not stress modern GPUs. You can have fun playing it but don't expect jaw dropping scenery.
"Deep Silver's next game is out in the Saints Row saga. Today we examine Saints Row IV focusing on the games performance with the latest hardware on the market. We dissect image quality in great detail and find out if this is a game we expect to see in 2013, or if it falls flat on its face in the innovation department."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Betafield: BF4 Open Beta In October @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Arma 3 Benchmarked: GPU & CPU Performance @ Techspot
- Humble Indie Bundle 9 Review @ OCC
- GTA 5 @ The Inquirer
- Grand Theft Auto V Blows All Other GTAs Away @ Wired
Well Blow Me
DownUp: MechWarrior Online Launches @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | September 18, 2013 - 12:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, arm, Cortex-A57, servers, seattle
DigiTimes spoke with AMD's current server guru about their move from providing only x86/64 based processors in their server chips to the inclusion of ARM cores in the Seattle chip family. These will be the first processors from AMD using 64-bit Cortex-A57 cores and they hope to sell them to companies who depend on Hadoop or run web hosting services which will benefit from scalability. As these will be true APUs as well, any application which can be accelerated by a GPU will also greatly benefit from the new design from AMD. It is AMD's hope that they will be able to offer server customers a choice in the architecture they want to use in their server rooms and able to choose between more than just competing x86/64 chips.
"Commenting on AMD's decision to make ARM-based processors for servers, corporate vice president and general manager of AMD's server business, Suresh Gopalakrishnan, said that as more server applications will show up in the future, different architectures will provide different advantages to clients. Providing solutions based on market demand will be the major business strategy for AMD's server business, Gopalakrishnan noted."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Explaining the low level stuff you don’t know about ARM programming @ Hack a Day
- Nvidia announces the Tegra Note Android tablet prototype @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft relents: 'Go ahead, install Windows 8.1 on clean PCs' @ The Register
- IBM Bets Big Again on Linux: $1B for Linux on Power Systems @ Linux.com
- Windows Phone 8 is deemed secure by the US and Canadian governments @ The Inquirer
- Blackberry Z30 Phablet Announced @ Slashdot
Subject: General Tech | September 18, 2013 - 12:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gskill, ddr3, quad channel
Taipei, Taiwan – 18 September 2013 – No limit is too high for G.SKILL memory. In just a week after the official release of the new Intel Ivy Bridge-E Core i7 Extreme processors, G.SKILL memory is already testing the extreme limits of the Intel processors and broke the world record for fastest DDR3 yet again. This time a 16GB (4x4GB) G.SKILL TridentX memory kit is overclocked to a blistering DD3 4072MHz - the first instance of a quad-channel DDR3 memory kit to break the 4GHz barrier!
This astounding feat was made possible and achieved on the new Intel i7-4960X CPU and the ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition motherboard under LN2 extreme cooling.
Subject: General Tech | September 18, 2013 - 07:53 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Windows 8.1, Windows 8 Pro, windows 8, microsoft
Microsoft has been developing Windows 8.1 over the summer, and the free update to Windows 8 is almost ready for consumers. Set for official release on October 18, Windows 8.1 will be available as a downloadable ISO and physical DVD in retail packaging. Microsoft will offer up Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Pro, and a Windows 8.1 Pro Pack (which upgrades an existing Windows 8.1 install to Pro).
The new operating system will be available as full version software, which means that users will not have to upgrade from an earlier version of Windows. The asking price gets a full retail key which can be used on its own to install Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 Pro in a VM, a new system build with no prior OS, or in a dual boot environment. As far as installation and upgrade options, users will be able to perform upgrade or clean installs using the installation media. Microsoft recommends that Vista and XP users backup all files and perform a clean install of both the OS and applications. On the other hand, the company has encouraged Windows 7 users to go through the update process where users will be able to keep personal files. However, even Windows 7 users will have to re-install any applications that do not come bundled with Windows. Users that are already running Windows 8 can grab the free update and safely do an in-place install/update to Windows 8.1 from the Windows Store.
If users have OEM machines that come pre-installed with Windows 8.1, they will be able to add on the Pro features (including being eligible for Windows Media Center) by purchasing the Pro Pack upgrade rather than needing to purchase a full Windows 8.1 Pro download or DVD.
The various Windows 8.1 flavors will be available on October 18th. The base Windows 8.1 will cost $119.99 while Windows 8.1 Pro will cost $199.99. The Windows 8.1 Pro upgrade pack will be available later this year following sometime after Windows 8.1's launch for $99.99. Note that these are prices for users without prior licenses. Users that are already running Windows 8 can upgrade to Windows 8.1 for free.
For comparison, full versions of Windows 8.0 and Windows 8.0 Pro were $99.99 and $139.99 at launch respectively.
Will you be upgrading to Windows 8.1?
Subject: General Tech | September 17, 2013 - 04:52 PM | Ken Addison
This weekend in a combination of bad influence from my roommates, and wandering around our local Microcenter, I ended up picking up my first mechanical keyboard, the Ducky Channel Zero DK2108S.
Subject: General Tech | September 17, 2013 - 03:32 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: organic, flexible silicon
Researchers in Saudi Arabia have invented a new way of creating flexible and semi-transparent MOSFETs using silicon which is much less convoluted and expensive than the current methods. This is of great benefit as the organic materials being used in current flexible electronics are significantly slower than their inorganic counterparts, though cheaper and easier to produce. If this breakthrough is able to scale up to commercial levels high resolution flexible displays with quick response times might not be as far away as previously thought. Nanotechweb has the details of the research for you to look at.
"A new, low-cost, state-of-the-art CMOS compatible process to make flexible and semi-transparent silicon-based circuits has been unveiled by researchers at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. The technique is an important step forward to making high-performance flexible and transparent computers, says the team."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Spot DRAM prices soar over 30% in less than 2 weeks @ DigiTimes
- Nvidia appoints Colette Kress as CFO @ DigiTimes
- Intel Iris Pro Linux Performance Doubles With Driver Upgrades @ Phoronix
- Insiders Say B&N Will Launch New Nook,Tablet In October @ Slashdot
- How the VDSL Connection Works @ Hardware Secrets
- KVM kings unveil 'cloud operating system' @ The Register
- Double trouble for Whatsapp users as service is targeted by fresh malware @ The Inquirer
- One man’s microwave oven is another man’s hobby electronics store @ Hack a Day
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | September 16, 2013 - 09:15 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Steam Box, LinuxCon, Gabe Newell
Valve Software, as demonstrated a couple of days ago, still believe in Linux as the future of gaming platforms. Gabe Newell discussed this situation at LinuxCon, this morning, which was streamed live over the internet (and I transcribed after the teaser break at the bottom of the article). Someone decided to rip the stream, not the best quality but good enough, and put it on Youtube. I found it and embed it below. Enjoy!
Gabe Newell highlights, from the seventh minute straight through to the end, why proprietary platforms look successful and how they (sooner-or-later) fail by their own design. Simply put, you can control what is on it. Software you do not like, or even their updates, can be stuck in certification or even excluded from the platform entirely. You can limit malicious software, at least to some extent, or even competing products.
Ultimately, however, you limit yourself by not feeding in to the competition of the crowd.
If you wanted to get your cartridge made you bought it, you know, FOB in Tokyo. If you had a competitive product, miraculously, your ROMs didn't show up until, you know, 3 months after the platform holder's product had entered market and stuff like that. And that was really where the dominant models for what was happening in gaming ((came from)).
But, not too surprisingly, open systems were advancing faster than the proprietary systems had. There used to be these completely de novo graphics solutions for gaming consoles and they've all been replaced by PC-derived hardware. The openness of the PC as a hardware standard meant that the rate of innovation was way faster. So even though, you would think, that the console guys would have a huge incentive to invest in it, they were unable to be competitive.
Microsoft attempts to exert control over their platform with modern Windows which is met by a year-over-year regression in PC sales; at the same time, PC gaming is the industry hotbed of innovation and it is booming as a result. In a time of declining sales in PC hardware, Steam saw a 76% growth (unclear but it sounds like revenue) from last year.
Valve really believes the industry will shift toward a model with little divide between creator and consumer. The community has been "an order of magnitude" more productive than the actual staff of Team Fortress 2.
Does Valve want to compete with that?
This will only happen with open platforms. Even the consoles, with systems sold under parts and labor costs to exert control, have learned to embrace the indie developer. The next gen consoles market indie developers, prior to launch, seemingly more than the industry behemoths and that includes their own titles. They open their platforms a little bit but it might still not be enough to hold off the slow and steady advance of PC gaming be it through Windows, Linux, or even web standards.
Speaking of which, Linux and web standards are oft criticized because they are fragmented. Gabe Newell, intentionally or unintentionally, claimed proprietary platforms are more fragmented. Open platforms have multiple bodies push and pull the blob but it all tends to flow in the same direction. Proprietary platforms have lean bodies with control over where they can go, just many of them. You have a dominant and a few competing platforms for each sector: phones and tablets, consoles, desktops, and so forth.
He noted each has a web browser and, because the web is an open standard, is the most unified experience across devices of multiple sectors. Open fragmentation is small compared to the gaps between proprietary silos across sectors. ((As a side note: Windows RT is also designed to be one platform for all platforms but, as we have been saying for a while, you would prefer an open alternative to all RT all the time... and, according to the second and third paragraphs of this editorial, it will probably suffer from all of the same problems inherent to proprietary platforms anyway.))
Everybody just sort of automatically assumes that the internet is going to work regardless of wherever they are. There may be pluses or minuses of their specific environment but nobody says, "Oh I'm in an airplane now, I'm going to use a completely different method of accessing data across a network". We think that should be more broadly true as well. That you don't think of touch input or game controllers or living rooms as being things which require a completely different way for users to interact or acquire assets or developers to program or deliver to those targets.
Obviously if that is the direction you are going in, Linux is the most obvious basis for that and none of the proprietary, closed platforms are going to be able to provide that form of grand unification between mobile, living room, and desktop.
Next week we're going to be rolling out more information about how we get there and what are the hardware opportunities that we see for bringing Linux into the living room and potentially pointing further down the road to how we can get it even more unified in mobile.
Well, we will certainly be looking forward to next week.
Personally, for almost two years I found it weird how Google, Valve, and Apple (if the longstanding rumors were true) were each pushing for wearable computing, Steam Box/Apple TV/Google TV, and content distribution at the same time. I would not be surprised, in the slightest, for Valve to add media functionality to Steam and Big Picture and secure a spot in the iTunes and Play Store market.
As for how wearables fit in? I could never quite figure that out but it always felt suspicious.
Subject: General Tech | September 16, 2013 - 03:36 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Zeus PSU, Silverstone, modular psu, 1350W
Way back in the early stages of this year Lee reviewed a PSU that not many would need but those who want multiple cards would appreciate, the SilverStone Zeus 1350W PSU. The 12V lines, which is what GPUs care about are split into 6 with each able to provide 30A for a peak of 105A, 1260W delivered to your cards. Unfortunately for SilverStone [H]ard|OCP have been working on this review since February and this final review is actually of the third unit that was sent to them as the initial PSUs had major problems.
UPDATE: Tony from SilverStone reached out to explain the exact cause of the issue.
"... it turned out that the circuit breaker he had wouldn’t play nice with ZM1350’s higher in-rush current. Since power supplies are essentially analog devices, there are variances in production so the third unit apparently worked as ZM1350 was borderline tripping his breaker."
With the cause known you can decide on your own if your buildings curcuitry can support this PSU.
"SilverStone's Zeus series is back from a four year hiatus with a new 1350 watt PSU offering to enthusiasts. This Zeus is rated with Silver efficiency at 50°C, and comes to the alter with a host of features including modular cables to keep your build looking tidy. You can even tune the rails by hand if you wish. Time to see if heads roll."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Cooler Master V-series 850W Power Supply Review @HiTech Legion
- Be Quiet Pure Power L8 CM 730W Semi-Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- Antec High Current Gamer 850W Semi Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- Corsair CX500M (V2) Semi Modular Power @ eTeknix
- Cougar PowerX 550W PSU @ Kitguru
- XFX Pro 650W Core Edition Non Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- Rosewill Tachyon 750 W @ techPowerUp
- be quiet! PowerZone 650W PSU @ Kitguru
- Antec High Current Gamer 620W Semi Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- EVGA 500B 500W Power Supply Review @ Legit Reviews
- Antec EarthWatts Platinum 450W Non-Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- Enermax Triathlor 450W Non-Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | September 16, 2013 - 01:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: usb, cellphone, security
The USB condom is an adapter which disables the two data ports present on your USB connector to prevent a malicious charger from installing interesting things on your smartphone, if you decide to stick it into a strange charger. Many will immediately point out that this device is much larger than a simple power adapter which makes it easier to leave behind as well as being large enough to hide nasties of its own, so you wouldn't want to borrow someones condom. If you read through the comments on Slashdot you can pick up some interesting problems that this device could cause, from devices which refuse to charge without their data connections active to devices which actively communicate the amount of power they will accept for a charge. It is unlikely your device would have an expected amperage less than the USB spec and go up in flames but it is worth knowing that the possibility exists.
"Yep, a USB condom. That term is mostly a dose of marketing brilliance, which is to say that grabs your attention while also serving as an apt description of the product. A little company called int3.cc has developed a product—a USB condom—that blocks the data pins in your USB device while leaving the power pins free. Thus, any time you need to plug a device such as a smartphones into a USB port to charge it—let's say at a public charging kiosk or a coworker's computer--you don't have to worry about compromising any data or contracting some nasty malware. It's one of those simple solutions that seems so obvious once someone came up with it."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Will Intel's Quark Run Linux? @ Linux.com
- Microsoft reissues September patches after user complaints @ The Register
- The easy or hard way to build a PWM dimmer @ Hack a Day
- Memory muddle muddies Intel's Exascale ambitions @ The Register
- Ray Milton Dolby OBE - 1933-2013 @ The Inquirer
- ASUS PCE-AC66 Wi-Fi AC1750 PCIe Wireless Adapter @ Benchmark Reviews
- MyKronoz ZeBracelet Review @ TechReviewSource
Get notified when we go live!