The Crowbar *WAS* for Half-Life 2 (and Portal) on SHIELD

Subject: General Tech | May 12, 2014 - 09:42 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, shield, half-life 2, Portal

What would Gordon Freeman do? He would tell everyone to... ... oh right.

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Well, apparently he is available on the NVIDIA SHIELD, now, along with Portal. I am not talking about GameStream. These two games have been ported to Android, but only through the SHIELD. From their screenshots, the mobile games look pretty good, especially Portal with its look-through mechanics.

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As usual, whenever NVIDIA really wants something, they will often parachute engineers through your skylights to do it for you. The company revolves around delivering experiences to their customers, which is a good mindset for a company to have. This is one of the main reasons for Microsoft and the success of PC gaming, especially in the late 90's with their DirectX efforts.

If you have an NVIDIA SHIELD, Half Life 2 and Portal are available now for $9.99, through TegraZone.

Source: NVIDIA

NVIDIA Titan Z Missed Its Release Date

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 12, 2014 - 08:00 PM |
Tagged: titan z, nvidia, gtx titan z, geforce

To a crowd of press and developers at their GTC summit, NVIDIA announced the GeForce GTX Titan Z add-in board (AIB). Each of the two, fully unlocked, GK110 GPUs would each have access to 6GB of GDDR5 memory (12GB total). The card was expected to be available on May 8th but has yet to surface. As NVIDIA has yet to comment on the situation, many question whether it ever will.

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And then we get what we think are leaked benchmarks (note: two pictures).

One concern about the Titan Z was its rated 8 TeraFLOPs of compute performance. This is a fairly sizable reduction from the theoretical maximum of 10.24 TeraFLOPs of two Titan Black processors and even less than two first-generation Titans (9 TeraFLOPs combined). We expected that this is due to reduced clock rates. What we did not expect is for benchmarks to show the GPUs boost way above those advertised levels, and even beyond the advertised boost clocks of the Titan Black and the 780 Ti. The card was seen pushing 1058 MHz in some sections, which leads to a theoretical compute performance of 12.2 TeraFLOPs (6.1 TeraFLOPs per GPU) in single precision. That is a lot.

These benchmarks also show that NVIDIA has a slight lead over AMD's R9 295X2 in many games, except Battlefield 4 and Sleeping Dogs (plus 3DMark and Unigine). Of course, these benchmarks measure the software reported frame rate and frame times and those may or may not be indicative of actual performance. While I would say that the Titan Z appears to have a slight performance lead over the R9 295X2, although a solid argument for an AMD performance win exists, it does so double the cost (at its expected $3000 USD price point). That is not up for debate.

Whichever card is faster, AMD's is half the price and available for purchase right now.

So, until NVIDIA says anything, the Titan Z is in limbo. I am sure there exists CUDA developers who await its arrival. Personally, I would just get three Titan Blacks since you are going to need to manually schedule your workloads across multiple processors anyway (or 780 Tis if 32-bit arithmetic is enough precision). That is, of course, unless you cannot physically fit enough GeForce Titan Blacks in your motherboard and, as such, you require two GK110 chips per AIB (but not enough to bother writing a cluster scheduling application).

Source: Unknown

Move over G-Sync! FreeSync arrives on DisplayPort 1.2a

Subject: General Tech, Displays | May 12, 2014 - 03:29 PM |
Tagged: g-sync, freesync, displayport 1.2a, adaptive sync

AMD might have originally thought that dynamic refresh rates were not worth adding to their machines but they did develop FreeSync quite a while ago and now that G-Sync is available they've changed their minds.  Even better for the consumer is the way that they went about releasing it; not as proprietary hardware which is only compatible with certain monitors but as an update to the DisplayPort standard which does not require any extra hardware.  We do still have a while to wait before these monitors hit the shelves, the display scaler and control chips manufactures will have to incorporate the new standard into their designs but once they do they should be functional on both NVIDIA and AMD as long as you are connecting with DisplayPort.  Read more about the process on The Tech Report.

Also, you can read the official VESA press release.

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"PC gaming animation may soon become more fluid than ever, thanks to a development just announced by the folks at the VESA display standards organization. VESA has officially added a feature called Adaptive Sync to the DisplayPort 1.2a specification, which means that a G-Sync-style adaptive refresh mechanism could be built into nearly every new desktop monitor in the coming months and years."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

AMD Allegedly Preparing New Mobile Kaveri APUs Including the Flagship FX-7600P

Subject: General Tech, Processors | May 11, 2014 - 11:41 PM |
Tagged: ulv, mobile apu, laptop, Kaveri, APU, amd

According to leaked information, AMD will allegedly be releasing mobile versions of its Kaveri APU later this year. There are reportedly seven new processors aimed at laptops and tablet that follow the same basic design as their desktop counterparts: steamroller CPU cores paired with a GCN-based graphics portion and an integrated memory controller.

According to information obtained by WCCF Tech, AMD will release four ULV and three standard voltage parts. All but one APU will have four Steamroller CPU cores paired with an Radeon R4, R5, R6, or R7 graphics processor with up to 512 GCN cores. The mobile APUs allegedly range in TDP from 17W to 35W and support various AMD technologies including TrueAudio, Mantle, and Eyefinity.

An AMD slide showing a die shot of the desktop "Kaveri" Accelerated Processing Unit (APU).

Of the seven rumored APUs, two of them are OEM-only parts that feature the “FX” moniker. The FX-7500 is the fastest ULV (ultra-low voltage) APU while the FX-7600P is AMD’s flagship mobile processor.

The FX-7600P is the chip that should most interest mobile gamers and enthusiasts looking for a powerful AMD-powered laptop or tablet. This processor allegedly features four CPU cores clocked at 2.7GHz base (that turbo to a maximum of 3.6GHz), a GPU with 512 GCN cores clocked at a base of 600MHz and a boost clock of 666MHz. The chip further uses 4MB of L2 cache and is a 35W TDP part. This should be a decent processor for laptops, offering acceptable general performance and some nice mobile gaming with the beefy integrated GPU!

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The leaked AMD mobile Kaveri APU lineup via WCCF Tech.

Of course, for productivity machines where portability and battery life are bigger concerns, AMD will reportedly be offering up the dual core A6-7000. This 17W ULV processor combines two cores clocked at 2.2GHz (3.0GHz boost), a GPU based on the Radeon R4 with 192 GCN cores (494MHz base and 533MHz boost), and 2MB of L2 cache. Compared to the FX-7600P (and especially the desktop parts), the A6-7000 sips power. We will have to wait for reviews to see how it performs, but it will be facing stiff competition from Intel’s Core i3 Haswell CPUs and even the Bay Trail SoCs which come in at a lower TDP and offer higher thread counts. The GPU capabilities and GPGPU / HSA software advancements (such as LibreOffice adding GPGPU support) will make or break the A6-7000, in my opinion.

In all, the leaked mobile chips appear to be a decent upgrade over the previous generation. The new mobile APUs will bring incremental performance and power saving benefits to bear against competition from Intel. I’m looking forward to more official information and seeing what the OEMs are able to do with the new chips.

Source: WCCF Tech

Free as in UT!

Subject: General Tech | May 8, 2014 - 03:04 PM |
Tagged: gaming, unreal engine 4, Unreal Tournament, kick ass, epic games

The only way Epic could have excited gamers more than the announcement that Unreal Tournament is coming back is to announce that it is utterly free with no DLC or pay-to-win ... which is exactly what they did!  It will be built on Unreal Engine 4, the one you can license at $19 a month and will be designed from the ground up to be moddable and eventually there will be a marketplace where modders can trade, sell or give away their work.  Polygon wasn't given any hint of a release date but this news is so exciting it almost makes you forget UT3 ever existed!

Of course you don't have to wait to join in on some classic UT2K4 action, just head to the Gaming Forum and see when the Fragging Frogs will be playing next.

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"Developer Epic Games revealed today that the multiplayer shooter's next incarnation — in development in Unreal Engine 4 for Linux, Mac and Windows PC and called simply Unreal Tournament — will be free, moddable and collaboratively developed with fans."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Polygon

Podcast #299 - ASUS Z97-Deluxe, NCASE M1 Case, AMD's custom ARM Designs and more!

Subject: General Tech | May 8, 2014 - 11:57 AM |
Tagged: podcast, video, asus, z97, Z97-Deluxe, ncase, m1, amd, seattle, arm, nvidia, Portal, shield

PC Perspective Podcast #299 - 05/08/2014

Join us this week as we discuss ASUS Z97-Deluxe, NCASE M1 Case, AMD's custom ARM Designs 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, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano, and Morry Tietelman

Program length: 1:27:11
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
  4. Closing/outro

Be sure to subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube channel!!

 

DICE loves teasing us with Star Wars

Subject: General Tech | May 7, 2014 - 03:50 PM |
Tagged: gaming, Star Wars, Star Wars Battlefront, dice, ea

We have been not so patiently waiting for this announcement from DICE and EA ever since last years E3 but we finally have a rough idea when we can expect Star Wars Battlefield ... in about another year.  While that is not the answer we were hoping for it does give hope to fans that we will indeed venture once more into a galaxy far far away!  EA even suggested there could be as many as six new titles announced at the next E3 though we do not know how many will take place in the Star Wars universe; who knows they might even set one in the Legends Universe.  Click on the links at Polygon for the full story.

STAR WARS: "LEGENDS" - Full Trailer from marc dominic rienzo on Vimeo.

"Publisher Electronic Arts plans to show more from Star Wars: Battlefront, the DICE-developed game set in the Star Wars universe, at this year's E3, EA CEO Andrew Wilson said during an investor call today."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: Polygon

Results of the PC Perspective and Fragging Frogs Virtual LAN party #6

Subject: General Tech | May 7, 2014 - 03:16 PM |
Tagged: gaming, fun, fragging frogs

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The Fragging Frogs doubled our previous attendance at the 6th Virtual LAN party and may well have quadrupled the fun.  UT2004 and Battlefield 4 were by far the highest attended events with Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and Titanfall also attracting quite a few gamers.  There were two challenges for prizes, an elimination UT2K4 event in which the top 10 scores went on to try to kill Lenny as many times as possible in an all versus Lenny team deathmatch.  He loves that kind of attention and we love that game, especially Fragball with Redeemers!

The second challenge took place in BF4; the first player to knife either O-Dog or tommyp1ckles picked up one of the over two dozen AMD FX-8350s we gave away.  O-Dog managed to embarrass himself a bit, managing to get stabbed in under a minute in the first of the two challenges but redeemed himself by stabbing tommyp1ckles in the second round.

You can find out when the next Virtual LAN Party is as well join in on the regular Fragging Frogs gaming sessions reach out to Lenny and all the gang on the Gaming Forum.

The full list of prizes included:

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From AMD:

  • FX-8350 processors - 25 in total!
  • Warsam71's personal 7990 dual GPU video card
  • Never Settle Forever SILVER game codes - 10 in total

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From Epic Games:

  • Games, strategy guides and posters signed by Tim Sweeney
  • keys chain, sticker and bracelet sets

Thanks go to Warsam71 from AMD and iFlak from Epic who helped make this event even better and stopped by for a little gaming themselves.

Also, special thanks go to:

  1. Lenny - for herding cats like a pro
  2. iamApropos - for streaming and promoting our event
  3. Spazster (aka tORNTV) - for creating event graphics, our sweet intro video and promoting our event
  4. iwalkwiththedead - for creating event graphics and promoting our event
  5. Brandito - for hosting our Teamspeak server
  6. mmettin - for hosting our UT2004 server
  7. Activate:AMD - for managing our Battlefield 4 server
  8. Ryan - for Upgrading our TeamSpeak server from 32 to a much needed 64 slots

Drop by the forums to see the full list of winners (my 8350 is back in the pool for #7) and make sure to offer your thanks for all the hard work from those who organized and supported this event!

ARM's CoreLink family feels right at home in the server room

Subject: General Tech | May 7, 2014 - 02:33 PM |
Tagged: arm, servers, CoreLink, CCN-508, CN-504

ARM has a new chip on the block, the CCN-508,  It is a capable of combining up to eight 64-bit ARMv8 CPU clusters of four cores apiece, either all ARM Cortex-53s or ARM Cortex-57s, using ARM's AMBA 5 CHI interconnect technology.  Those processors can then be attached to a wide variety of what ARM refers to as partners, including up to 24 other AMBA interconnects for other CPUs, DDR3 or DDR4 memory controllers, PCIe, SATA, and 10-40 gigabit Ethernet.  So much for ARM just being a mobile processor; check out more at The Register.

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"ARM has released more details about the innards of its cache-coherent on-chip networking scheme for use cases ranging from storage to servers to networking – specifically, its CCN-5xx microarchitecture family and its newest member, the muscular CoreLink CCN-508."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Crysis 3 Hacked to Run at 8K - But Can Anything Power It?

Subject: General Tech | May 7, 2014 - 02:01 PM |
Tagged: quad crossfire, gpu, dual graphics, Crysis 3, 8k, 4k

We’ve seen what happens when you put two monstrous graphics cards together with Ryan’s look at a R9 295X2 CrossFire setup and now here’s something that would challenge even that: Crysis 3 at 8K resolution!

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An enthusiast called "K-putt" has created a hack to allow the 8k setting, and his Flikr gallery has full-res versions of the screenshots. (Be warned - they're HUGE files!) While this likely isn’t practical even with a quadfire setup like we had for those tests (K-putt was only getting 2 FPS with his single-card setup), it’s still very nice to look at!

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The original Crysis became famous as the game that would bring any system to its knees, and now any game can really challenge a system just by adding a 4K monitor. With prices coming down to the sub-$700 range already it won’t be long until a multi-4K monitor setup will actually become feasible.

Here's what comes up under "4k monitor" on Amazon today:

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Prices are dropping! Just be warned: Before attempting anything like this you’d better have the GPU horsepower or it’ll just be a (very pretty) slideshow!

Also at Intel and Google's Chrome OS Event: Human Rights

Subject: General Tech, Processors | May 7, 2014 - 03:06 AM |
Tagged: conflict-free, Intel, Congo

The Intel and Google keynote speech closed out with a video and an announcement. Each Chrome OS device that they mentioned will be among the first to use Haswell and Bay Trail processors manufactured with conflict-free minerals. They are not abandoning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, rather they seem to be forcing their suppliers to adhere to human rights standards if they want to do business with Intel.

This initiative has apparently led to the creation of the "Conflict-Free Smelter Program" which is run by the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative. This industry body includes several other companies, such as AMD, Apple, Foxconn, IBM, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Pegatron, Qualcomm, every laptop manufacturer that I could think of, and over 150 others.

Intel has been discussing this for a little while, and taking positive steps toward this goal along the way. There really is not that many other ways to say it: reducing the suffering in the world is a great goal.

Source: Intel

NVIDIA GTX 780 Ti on Thunderbolt 2 by DIYers

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Mobile | May 7, 2014 - 02:26 AM |
Tagged: Thunderbolt 2, thunderbolt, nvidia, GeForce GTX 780 Ti

Externally-attached GPUs have been a topic for many years now. Numerous companies have tried, including AMD and Lucid, but no solution has ever been a widely known and available product. Even as interfaces increase in bandwidth and compatibility with internal buses, it has never been something that a laptop salesperson could suggest to users who want to dock into a high-performance station at home. At best, we are seeing it in weird "coin mining" racks to hang way more GPUs above a system than could physically mount on the motherboard.

Apparently that has not stopped the DIY community, according to chatter on Tech Inferno forums. While the above video does not really show the monitor, MacBook Pro, and GPU enclosure at the same time, let alone all wired together and on, it seems reasonable enough. The video claims to give the MacBook Pro (running Windows 8.1) access to a GeForce GTX 780 Ti with fairly high performance, despite the reduced bandwidth. Quite cool.

Check out the forum post for a few more details.

Source: Tech Inferno

Get Psyched! Bethesda Releases System Requirements For Wolfenstein: The New Order

Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2014 - 10:04 PM |
Tagged: wolfenstein, pc gaming, gaming, core i7, 60fps

Bethesda recently published the system requirements for Wolfenstein: The New Order on its blog. The game, which is currently up for pre-order from Steam, is a next generation first person shooter for the PC and consoles (PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360). The system requirements below represent the hardware that PC gamers will need to run the game at a steady 60 FPS at 1080p.

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Gamers will need a PC with at least an Intel Core i7 or equivalent AMD processor, 4GB of system memory, and 50GB of free hard drive space running a 64-bit operating system. On the graphics front, users will need to be running a NVIDIA GeForce 460 or AMD Radeon HD 6850 graphics card or better. The game will further require a broadband internet connection and Steam activation. These hardware suggestions are what Bethesda believes is needed in order to run the game "as it was intended to be experienced" on the PC.

Console gamers have similar hard drive space requirements, but obviously will run the game at reduced graphical fidelity as they are limited to their respective fixed hardware.

More information on the system requirements for the various platforms can be found on the Bethesda blog.

Wolf3D Get Psyched Loading Screen.jpg

If your PC is up to the task of powering BJ Blazkowicz, it's time to get psyched! And In the meantime, why not enjoy some classic Wolfenstein 3D? 

Will you be picking up Wolfenstein: The New Order when it comes out.

Asus Introduces Bay Trail-Powered C200 and C300 Chromebooks

Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2014 - 09:48 PM |
Tagged: asus, Chromebook, Bay Trail

Asus has launched two new chromebooks based around Intel's Bay Trail SoC and running Google's Chrome OS. The new models are the 11-inch Chromebook C200 and the 13-inch Chromebook C300. The new devices are clamshell-style laptops with hidden display hinges, a plastic cases with a matte finish to reduce fingerprint visibility, chiclet keyboards, and large trackpads supporting multi-touch guestures. Asus' new Chromebooks will be available in June starting at $249.99 for the base C200 laptop.

The Asus Chromebook C200 is an 11-inch laptop with an 11.6" display with a resolution of 1366x768, a 720p webcam, stereo speakers, chiclet keyboard, and a trackpad that is reportedly as large as those "normally found on a 14-inch laptop." External IO includes an SD card, HDMI port, a microphone/headphone audio combo jack, one USB 2.0 port, and one USB 3.0 port.

Asus Chromebook C200 11-inch laptop.jpg

The Asus Chromebook C200.

From there the Chromebook C300 takes that platform and places it in a larger 13" chassis. The display size is increased to 13.3" but maintains the same 1366x768 resolution. The other difference is in color palete: the C200 is silver and dark grey while the C300 is completely dark grey. The C200 weighs 2.5 pounds and is 0.8" thick while the C300 weighs 3.1 pounds and is slightly thicker at 0.9".

Asus Chromebook C200 and Chromebook C300 Specifications.png

Internally, the C200 and C300 feature a dual core Intel Celeron N2830 Bay Trail-M SoC clocked at 2.16 GHz (2.41 GHz Turbo Boost) with 1MB of cache, Intel HD Graphics, and a 7.5W TDP. In addition to the SoC, Asus is packing in 2GB of RAM and 16GB of eMMC storage. Asus did not provide a mAh battery rating, but both Chromebooks reportedly last up to 10 hours of average usage before needing to be charged.

Asus Chromebook C300 13-inch laptop.jpg

The Asus Chromebook C300.

Storage can be extended via an SD card and by taking advantage of 100GB of Google Drive cloud storage which Asus provides free for two years. The upcoming Chromebooks support dual band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

Both the Chromebook C200 and Chromebook C300 will be available in the US at the end of next month starting at $249.99. The company has not yet released pricing for the larger C300, however.

Read more about Chromebooks at PC Perspective!

Source: Asus

MSI Ships GS70 Stealth Pro and GS60 Ghost Pro 3K Gaming Notebooks

Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2014 - 03:39 PM |
Tagged: msi, GS60 Ghost Pro 3K, GS70 Stealth Pro, gtx 870m, ultrabook

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City of Industry, Calif. – May 6, 2014 – MSI Computer Corp, a leading manufacturer of computer hardware products and solutions, announces the immediate availability of the GS60 Ghost Pro 3K and the GS70 Stealth Pro gaming notebooks. Designed for the mobile gamer who demands a sexy and sleek design with performance capable of shredding any game settings, MSI’s newest gaming notebooks feature NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M graphics, 4th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, Killer Gaming Networking and Super RAID Technology.

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MSI’s Super RAID technology provides superior data processing and accessing speed by supporting multiple SSDs and increasing data read/write speeds. MSI’s GS70 Stealth Pro, equipped with the latest Super RAID 2 technology, combines the power of three mSATA SSDs, kicking up read speeds to over 1,500MB/s or three times faster than high performance single SSD notebooks and more than 15 times faster than conventional laptops with standard SATA hard drives.

Both the GS70 Stealth Pro and GS60 Ghost Pro 3K come equipped with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M graphics, the latest generation of graphic processors designed to deliver true PC gaming experience on the go. The GS60 Ghost Pro 3K is MSI’s lightest 15” notebook and the first 3K display notebook to utilize Mg-Li alloy, an ultra-light and sturdy material and delivers high performance gaming without the weight. The newly equipped 3K display fully embraces NVIDIA graphic capabilities and immerses gamers in an all new definition of HD gaming at resolutions of 2880x1620, for sharper and more stunning images.

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“The GS70 Stealth Pro and GS60 Ghost Pro 3K are the epitome of portable gaming notebooks,” says Andy Tung, President of MSI Pan America. “We’ve packed smoking speeds, deadly graphics and amazing customization power into featherlike notebooks that will withstand any challenges during the heat of battle.”

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MSI’s newest GS gaming notebooks feature an intelligently designed dual-fan cooling system that efficiently lowers system temperature even under the most strenuous gaming sessions. Dual cooling fans draw in air from vents at the top of the notebooks, circulates it through the motherboard and processor, and dissipates it via dual vents at a 45 degree angle that avoids the gamer’s hands when using a mouse. This proprietary cooling system ensures maximum airflow when compared to systems with air intakes on the bottom of the notebooks and creates a better and more enjoyable gaming experience.

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MSI’s GS70 Stealth Pro and GS60 Ghost Pro 3K are available starting at $1,999.99.

Source: MSI

Intel and Google Host Chrome OS Event, Announce New Products With Haswell i3 and Bay Trail SoCs

Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2014 - 03:01 PM |
Tagged: Intel, haswell, Chromebox, Chromebook, Chromebase, chrome os, Bay Trail

Intel hosted an event on Chrome OS today where the company discussed its partnership with Google and announced new Chrome devices based on the company's latest generation Haswell and Bay Trail processors.

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Intel continues to work with Google to develop the Chromebook and the company sees potential for Chrome OS devices to expand to additional markets outside of consumer and education. Specifically, Intel and Google are pushing into the commercial markets by working with OEMs to put together devices aimed at corporate customers as productivity machines, video conferencing boxes, and drivers of customer kiosks and digital signage.

Intel and Google In Multi Year Partnership.png

In addition to the expansion to new markets, the existing consumer and education markets continue to grow with the use of Chromebooks in schools doubling versus last quarter with 10,000 schools now employing the Google-powered hardware. Consumers have also pushed Chromebooks to the top six of Amazon charts with the Acer C720 having 4.4 out of five stars and over a thousand customer reviews.

Intel and Chrome OS Partnership Growing to 20 New Device Designs.jpg

Chrome OS is not only expanding into other markets but to additional form factors in the form of Chrome Boxes and Chrome Bases which are small form factor desktop systems and All-In-One devices powered by Chrome OS respectively. The second half of this year will see the number of Chrome OS devices expand from four design choices by four OEMs to twenty design choices from at least nine OEMs.

Intel Offers Conflict Free Haswell and Bay Trail Processors.jpg

The upcoming Chrome OS devices will be powered by new processor options from Intel in the form of conflict-free Intel Haswell Core i3 CPUs and Intel Bay Trail SoCs. The Haswell Core i3 option is an upgrade over the Pentium and Celeron "Entry Level Haswell" parts and offer increased performance in offline computing tasks, app switching, and multi-tasking. The Bay Trail parts will enable passively cooled (fan-less) Chromebooks with around 8 hours (up to 11 hours+) of battery life while still offering up acceptable performance for watching videos or working with documents. Intel further claims that the Bay Trail powered Chromebooks will be thinner at less than 18mm and up to 15% lighter than existing models.

Intel Powered Acer Chromebook.jpg

An 11.6" Chromebook powered by an Intel Haswell Core i3 processor coming later this year.

Intel showed off several new Chrome OS products that will be coming later this year. The new Chromebooks include Haswell i3-powered laptops from Acer and Dell for $349, the Lenovo N20 Chrome and N20p Chrome powered by an Intel Celeron (Bay Trail) SoC, and the Intel Education Chromebook Reference Design which CTL will bring to market later this year. It was also revealed that the already-announced Lenovo ThinkPad Chromebook with its Yoga-style hinge will actually use a Bay Trail SoC.

The Intel Education Chromebook Reference Design is a platform designed by Intel that other OEMs can take, tweak, and bring to market. It is a clamshell-style laptop with a rotating camera and ruggedized chassis aimed at students.

Intel Education Chromebook Reference Design.jpg

Intel's reference platform is a ruggedized clamshell laptop aimed at students.

Laptops and tablets dominated the show, but the company did unveil a tiny new Chrome Box from HP (slated for availability in June) that can sit behind a computer display or be used to drive digital signage and customer kiosks.

HP Chromebox.jpg

Further, Intel demonstrated a new Chrome OS form factor with what it calls a "Chrome Base." The first Chrome Base is coming from LG later this month as a 21" All In One computer running Chrome OS for $349.

LG Chromebase Chrome OS All In One.jpg

Chrome OS in general is expanding from traditional clamshell laptops to larger screens and alternative form factors (desktop, tablet, convertible, et al), and when asked about the future of touch on Chrome OS and the overlap between Android and Chrome OS Caesar Sengupta, VP of Product Management at Google, explained that the company feels that touch is a key aspect in the computing experience and that Google is interested in supporting and improving touch on Chrome OS and evaluating customer use on alternative form factors. Further, Mr Sengupta stated that Google is focusing on Chromebooks, Chrome Boxes, and the new All In One Chrome Bases with physical keyboards for Chrome OS while Android is focused on mobile phones and touch-based tablets. As OEMs introduce more touch-friendly and acrobatic hinged Chrome devices, there is likely to be some overlap, but ultimately decisions affecting the directions of the two OSes will be based on customer demand.

Google also used the event to announce that within the next few weeks users will be able to play movies and TV shows offline using the Google Play Movies Chrome app.

Google Play Movies Chrome App Allows Offline Play.jpg

Overall, the event demonstrated that Chrome OS is growing at a healthy pace. Devices using the cloud-friendly operating system will be in 20 countries by the end of this year (versus 9 currently), and the new x86 processor options will enable a smoother user experience and faster application performance. I am genuinely interested to see where OEMs are able to take Chrome OS and what it is able to do as Google continues development of the software.

If you are interested, you can watch a recorded version of the live stream on the Intel website.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more Chrome device news as the hardware gets closer to release.

Source: Intel

Building a SkyBridge in 64 bits, between ARM and x86

Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2014 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: amd, arm, project skybridge, k12

The Register has put together an overview of what AMD discussed yesterday about the K12 processor and Project Skybridge.  The most impressive feat is Project SkyBridge; with the license AMD now has to develop ARMv8 architecture they will be creating pin compatible ARM and x86 SoCs, so you can choose which you want to drop in your server and can easily change your mind any time in the future.  The more traditional 64-bit x86 processors will be "Puma+" cores while the ARM SoCs will be 64-bit A57s, and will not only be fully HSA compliant but will be able to run Android.  They also delve into AMD's upcoming strategy to remain a valid contender in the silicon ring, read on to get a glimpse into Papermaster's brain.

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"AMD has announced that it will create pin-compatible 64-bit x86 and ARM SoCs in an effort it's calling "Project SkyBridge", and that it has licensed the ARMv8 architecture and will design its own home-grown ARM-based processors."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Internet Explorer 11 Is a Good Browser

Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2014 - 04:16 AM |
Tagged: Internet Explorer 11, IE11

According to Peter Bright of Ars Technica and their source, NetMarketshare, Internet Explorer 11 is steadily increasing in popularity. The browser is, now, more popular than both IE10 and IE9, combined. To put that into perspective, IE11, alone, is just a few percent shy of their entire Firefox usage numbers.

ie11.png

Of course, these figures change wildly depending on who performs the measurement. Wikimedia, for instance, claims that only 18% of their users are browsing with IE (NetMarketshare says 58%). W3Counter also has a significantly higher volume of Safari users, almost triple, than anyone else. (Update: 5/6/2014 @ 1:18pm EDT -- That 18% figure probably does not include IE11. Actual IE figure, including IE11, is probably ~25%)

Still, Internet Explorer 11 is Microsoft doing things right. They are embracing web standards, including ones which are outside the realm of the W3C. Because of WebGL's potential impact for web apps, they have even accepted it, a Khronos Group standard, into their ecosystem. IE11 shows what Microsoft can do when they need to. They were being pushed around by Google Chrome and mobile app platforms and, in response, they made a really good browser. Hopefully its adoption weeds out old Internet Explorer versions and give us a healthy mix of truly standards-compliant browsers.

Maybe then, we can truly write just one frickin' website.

Source: Ars Technica

SanDisk Unveils 4TB SSDs... Because.

Subject: General Tech, Storage | May 6, 2014 - 03:46 AM |
Tagged: toshiba, ssd, sandisk, 4TB SSD

If you are an enterprise, SanDisk is getting a bit SAS-y with some pretty large SSDs. How large? 4TB. Not large enough? Why are you the way you are. Also, according to VR-Zone, 6TB and 8TB versions will follow, in 2015 (Update: 5/6/2014 @ 5:56pm EST -- VR-Zone might have meant "16TB"... as Tom's IT Pro claims to have heard from SanDisk). These drives will be produced with 19nm NAND, not utilizing the 15nm cells from their partnership with Toshiba. SanDisk claims their choice of 19nm was for reliability. Also, clearly, they are not suffering with density.

Speaking of reliability, the SanDisk warranty is rated in both time as well as the supported number of full drive writes per day. The Optimus MAX SSD is rated at one-to-three drive writes per day, or 4-12TB per day, over the course of its 5-year warranty.

4TB Optimus MAX SSDs are expected to launch "to select OEMs and through the channel" in Q3.

Source: SanDisk

Intel Leaks: Skylake and 100-Series Chipsets Expected 2015

Subject: General Tech, Processors | May 6, 2014 - 03:19 AM |
Tagged: Skylake, Intel, Broadwell

VR-Zone is returning to their "leak everything Intel has" gig with a few light details about Skylake, the architecture after Broadwell, and its accompanying 100-Series chipset. The main detail is that Skylake, despite Broadwell and its delays, is still expected for 2015. This sort of makes sense, because this architecture runs on the same 14nm fabrication process as Broadwell, but it is surprising nonetheless. Intel could have slowed down its entire release cycle to compensate for how difficult it is to make smaller transistors and keep a steady "Tick-Tock".

Or maybe they hope that the process shrink after Skylake, Cannonlake at 10nm, will be on schedule?

Intel-Skylake-Platform-Details1-1024x718.jpg

Image Credit: VR-Zone

The second major detail is the available sockets. A couple of years ago, there was a fear that Intel would drop LGA sockets, starting with Broadwell, and switch entirely to the non-replaceable BGA soldered-to-the-motherboard format. Intel has later decided to support LGA with Broadwell and that will continue with Skylake.

This leads us to the third major detail - product categories. There will be four of them in the consumer range: H (BGA) for regular notebooks, Y (BGA) for desktops and all-in-ones, U (BGA) for ultrabooks, and S (LGA) for standard desktop computers. The slide lists a few more details which I believe signify core count and GPU version. If so, the lineup of Skylake processors would be the following:

  • (BGA) Quad Core Skylake-H with GT2 Graphics
  • (BGA) Quad Core Skylake-H with GT4e Graphics, the successor to Iris Pro.
  • (BGA) Dual Core Skylake-Y with GT2 Graphics
  • (BGA) Dual Core Skylake-U with GT2 Graphics
  • (BGA) Dual Core Skylake-U with GT3e Iris Pro Graphics
  • (LGA) Quad Core Skylake-S with GT2 Graphics
  • (LGA) Dual Core Skylake-S with GT2 Graphics
  • (LGA) Quad Core Skylake-S with GT4e Graphics, the successor to Iris Pro.

The inclusion of an enthusiast, LGA SKU with GT4e graphics is promising, especially for us. We, of course, continue to want products that we can, you know, buy and put into our desktops at will. It will certainly be interesting to see how these GPUs perform and it could lead to some healthy SteamOS builds.

There's a lot of information here. Expect us to chew on this over the next little while.

Source: VR-Zone