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Subject: General Tech | June 19, 2013 - 09:51 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: Volta, nvidia, maxwell, licensing, kepler, Denver, Blogs, arm
Yesterday we all saw the blog piece from NVIDIA that stated that they were going to start licensing their IP to interested third parties. Obviously, there was a lot of discussion about this particular move. Some were in favor, some were opposed, and others yet thought that NVIDIA is now simply roadkill. I believe that it is an interesting move, but we are not yet sure of the exact details or the repercussions of such a decision on NVIDIA’s part.
The biggest bombshell of the entire post was that NVIDIA would be licensing out their latest architecture to interested clients. The Kepler architecture powers the very latest GTX 700 series of cards and at the top end it is considered one of the fastest and most efficient architectures out there. Seemingly, there is a price for this though. Time to dig a little deeper.
Kepler will be the first technology licensed to third party manufacturers. We will not see full GPUs, these will only be integrated into mobile products.
The very latest Tegra parts from NVIDIA do not feature the Kepler architecture for the graphics portion. Instead, the units featured in Tegra can almost be described as GeForce 7000 series parts. The computational units are split between pixel shaders and vertex shaders. They support a maximum compatibility of D3D 9_3 and OpenGL ES 2.0. This is a far cry from a unified shader architecture and support for the latest D3D 11 and OpenGL ES 3.0 specifications. Other mobile units feature the latest Mali and Adreno series of graphics units which are unified and support DX11 and OpenGL ES 3.0.
So why exactly does the latest Tegras not share the Kepler architecture? Hard to say. It could be a variety of factors that include time to market, available engineering teams, and simulations which could dictate if power and performance can be better served by a less complex unit. Kepler is not simple. A Kepler unit that occupies the same die space could potentially consume more power with any given workload, or conversely it could perform poorly given the same power envelope.
We can look at the desktop side of this argument for some kind of proof. At the top end Kepler is a champ. The GTX 680/770 has outstanding performance and consumes far less power than the competition from AMD. When we move down a notch and see the GTX 660 Ti/HD 7800 series of cards, we see much greater parity in performance and power consumptions. Going to the HD 7790 as compared to the 650 Ti Boost, we see the Boost part have slightly better performance but consumes significantly more power. Then we move down to the 650 and 650 Ti and these parts do not consume any more power than the competing AMD parts, but they also perform much more poorly. I know these are some pretty hefty generalizations and the engineers at NVIDIA could very effectively port Kepler over to mobile applications without significant performance or power penalties. But so far, we have not seen this work.
Power, performance, and die area aside there is also another issue to factor in. NVIDIA just announced that they are doing this. We have no idea how long this effort has been going, but it is very likely that it has only been worked on for the past six months. In that time NVIDIA needs to hammer out how they are going to license the technology, how much manpower they must provide licensees to get those parts up and running, and what kind of fees they are going to charge. There is a lot of work going on there and this is not a simple undertaking.
So let us assume that some three months ago an interested partner such as Rockchip or Samsung comes knocking to NVIDIA’s door. They work out the licensing agreements and this takes several months. Then we start to see the transfer of technology between the companies. Obviously Samsung and Rockchip are not going to apply this graphics architecture to currently shipping products, but will instead bundle it in with a next generation ARM based design. These designs are not spun out overnight. For example, the 64 bit ARMv8 designs have been finalized for around a year, and we do not expect to see initial parts being shipped until late 1H 2014. So any partner that decides to utilize NVIDIA’s Kepler architecture for such an application will not see this part be released until 1H 2015 at the very earliest.
Sheild is still based on a GPU posessing separate pixel and vertex shaders. DX11 and OpenGL ES 3.0? Nope!
If someone decides to license this technology from NVIDIA, it will not be of great concern. The next generation of NVIDIA graphics will already be out by that time, and we could very well be approaching the next iteration for the desktop side. NVIDIA plans on releasing a Kepler based mobile unit in 2014 (Logan), which would be a full year in advance of any competing product. In 2015 NVIDIA is planning on releasing an ARM product based on the Denver CPU and Maxwell GPU. So we can easily see that NVIDIA will only be licensing out an older generation product so it will not face direct competition when it comes to GPUs. NVIDIA obviously is hoping that their GPU tech will still be a step ahead of that of ARM (Mali), Qualcomm (Adreno), and Imagination Technologies (PowerVR).
This is an easy and relatively painfree way to test the waters that ARM, Imagination Technologies, and AMD are already treading. ARM only licenses IP and have shown the world that it can not only succeed at it, but thrive. Imagination Tech used to produce their own chips much like NVIDIA does, but they changed direction and continue to be profitable. AMD recently opened up about their semi-custom design group that will design specific products for customers and then license those designs out. I do not think this is a desperation move by NVIDIA, but it certainly is one that probably is a little late in coming. The mobile market is exploding, and we are approaching a time where nearly every electricity based item will have some kind of logic included in it, billions of chips a year will be sold. NVIDIA obviously wants a piece of that market. Even a small piece of “billions” is going to be significant to the bottom line.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | June 19, 2013 - 09:08 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: xbox one, gaming, DRM, disc
Microsoft faced a major backlash from users following the unveiling of its latest Xbox One console. Users were rather unnerved at Microsoft’s reveal that the new console would be required to “phone home” at least once every 24 hours in order to authenticate games and allow sharing. Considering Sony carried forward the disc traditions of the PS3 combined with the user uproar, Microsoft has reconsidered and issued an update to users via a blog post titled (in part) “Your Feedback Matters.”
Amidst the uncertainty caused by various MS sources issuing statements about functionality and DRM that conflict with one another and an air of as-yet-un-announced secrecy pre-E3 where MS released just enough info about the DRM to get users scared (can you tell the way MS handled this irked me?), the company talked about the Xbox One moving forward and taking advantage of the ‘digital age.’ The new console would require online authentication (and daily check-ins), but would also allow sharing of your game library with up to 10 other people, re-downloadable games that can be installed on other consoles (and played) so long as you log into your Xbox Live account (the latter bit is similar in nature to Steam on the PC). Further, disc games could be resold or gifted if the publishers allow it.
That has changed now, however. Microsoft has reconsidered its position and is going back to the way things work(ed) on the existing Xbox 360. Instead of taking the logical approach of keeping with the plan but removing the daily authentication requirement for games if you keep the game disc in the tray, Microsoft has taken their
ball Xbox One controller and completely backtracked.
DRM on the Xbox One is now as follows, and these changes go in place of (not in addition to) the previously announced sharing and reselling functionalities.
For physical disc games:
According to Xbox Wire, after their initial setup and installation, disc-based games will not require an internet connection for offline functionality (though multiplayer components will, obviously, need an active connection). Even better, trading and reselling of disc-based games is no longer limited by publishers. Trading, selling, gifting, renting, et al of physical disc-based games "will work just as it does today on the Xbox 360." Microsoft is also not region locking physical games, which means that you will not have to worry about games purchased abroad working on your console at home.
In order to play disc-based games, you will need to keep the game disc in the tray, even if it is installed on the hard drive, however.
Changes to Downloaded games:
As far as downloadable games, Microsoft is restricting these titles such that they cannot be shared or resold. In the previous model, you would have been able to share the titles with your family, but not anymore. You will still be able to re-download the games.
There is no word on whether or not gamers will still lose access to all of the titles in their game library if their Xbox Live accounts are ever banned. It is likely that gamers will lose any downloadable games though as those are effectively tied to a single Xbox Live account.
While at first glance it may seem as though gamers won this round, in the end no one really won. Instead of Microsoft working around gamers concerns for physical media and moving forward together, it is as though Microsoft has thrown up its hands in frustration, and tossed out all of the innovative aspects for digital/downloadable titles along with the undesirable daily authentication and other invasive DRM measures that gamers clearly indicated they did not want.
I believe that Microsoft should have kept to the original game plan, but added an exception to the daily check-in rules so long as the console was able to authenticate the game offline by identifying a physical game disc in the tray. That way, gamers that are not comfortable with (or able to) keeping the Xbox One connected to the internet could continue to play games using discs while also allowing those with always-on Xbox One consoles the privileges of sharing their libraries. Doing so would have also helped ease the console gaming populance as a whole into Microsoft's ideal digital age once the next Xbox comes out. However, instead of simply toning down the changes, Microsoft has completely backtracked, and now no one wins. Sigh.
What are your thoughts on Microsoft's latest changes to the Xbox One? Was it the right move, or were you looking forward to increased freedom with your digitally-downloaded games?
- The PS4 and Xbox One Hardware Revealed, Console Makers Have Different Goals @ PC Perspective
- E3 2013: Microsoft can ban your Xbox One library @ PC Perspective
Subject: General Tech, Processors | June 19, 2013 - 08:37 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: overclock, amd
Thankfully, they were not "firing" on all four cylinders; while Ryan does prefer thermite, overclockers tend to prefer liquid nitrogen. There are some distinct advantages of ice over fire, the main one for computer users is the potential for massive bumps in frequency and voltage. Of course, you cannot really get any effective use out of a machine that relies on a steady stream of fluid cold enough that it takes less digits to write out its temperature in Kelvin, but a large bump makes good bragging rights.
Finnish overclocker, "The Stilt", managed to push his four-core part to 8000.39 MHz just long enough to have CPU-Z validate his accomplishment. With a frequency multiplier of 63.0 atop a bus speed of 126.99, this gets within 800MHz of the AMD FX-8350 running on just one module (6 of 8 cores disabled) recorded by ASUS late last year.
But no, it will probably not run Crysis.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | June 19, 2013 - 06:33 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: steam, DRM
You can learn a lot by scanning configuration, registry files, and so forth; many have made off with a successful bounty. Most recently, some Steam Beta users dug around in their user interface (UI) files to notice a few interesting lines, instructing the user that the title they are attempting to launch will kick off a friend it is currently being shared with.
"SteamUI_JoinDialog_SharedLicense_Title" "Shared game library"
"SteamUI_JoinDialog_SharedLicenseLocked_OwnerText" "Just so you know, your games are currently in use by %borrower%. Playing now will send %borrower% a notice that it's time to quit."
"SteamUI_JoinDialog_SharedLicenseLocked_BorrowerText" "This shared game is currently unavailable. Please try against later or buy this game for your own library."
Sure, this whole game DRM issue has been flipping some tables around the industry. Microsoft tried permitting users share games with their family, utilizing about the worst possible PR, and eventually needed to undo that decision. Users would like flexible licensing schemes, but the content industry (including the platform owners like Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony, who receive license fees from game sales) are unwilling to cooperate unless they are assured that users are honest.
Of course, what usually happens is honest users get crapped on and pirates enjoy a better experience, after initial setup.
While there is not much difference, from a high level view, between Steam and the proposed Xbox One, there are a number of differences. The obvious difference is Steam's offline mode, but probably the larger reason is trust. Valve has demonstrated a lot of good faith to their customers; where Microsoft shuts down access to content people paid for, Valve has shown they have intentions for both long-term support and consideration for the user's experience.
Ultimately, I feel as if DRM is not a necessary evil, but while it exists at least there are companies such as Valve who earn trust and use DRM both for and against users. I expect that some day, the industry will turn against DRM either willingly, by legal intervention, or because companies like cdp.pl will use DRM-free as a promotional tool and nibble their way to dominance.
And yes, despite the fact that this will be confused with bias: if you prove that you are untrustworthy before, you will get away with less later regardless of your intentions.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | June 19, 2013 - 06:16 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: DRM, The Witcher 3, GOG
cdp.pl, formerly CD Projekt, has been one of the last holdouts against DRM. Founders of GoG.com and developer/publisher for The Witcher franchise, they offer a DRM-free platform for users to purchase games. Sure, they are usually good and old ones, aptly enough, but they are confident enough to include their most ambitious titles, The Witcher and The Witcher 2.
With The Witcher 3, we will see the title launch without DRM on GoG, trusting their users will purchase the title and be honest.
Apparently, the game will have a world slightly larger than Skyrim.
Hopefully, with very little empty space.
I have long been a proponent of DRM-free media, as you could probably tell. I believe that DRM-free titles end up netting more sales than the same title would have with encryption; even if that were not true, society is harmed more than enough to justify its non-existence. Sure, we all know unapologetic jerks and they are, indeed, jerks. Just because these jerks exist does not mean your company should, or successfully will, be the alpha a-hole on the a-hole food-chain. Chances are you will just upset your actual customers, now former customers. There are reasons why I never purchased (never pirated either, I just flat-out ignored the entire franchise's existence) another Crysis title after the first one's SecuROM debacle wrecked my camcorder's DVD-authoring software.
So, when The Witcher 3 comes out, back it up on your external hard drive and maybe even keep a copy on your home theater PC. Most importantly, buy it... sometime in 2014.
Subject: General Tech | June 19, 2013 - 03:23 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: witcher 2, mod, gaming
The Witcher is a series which some gamers have completely missed, labeling it yet another 3rd person hack n' slash, Elder Scroll-ish game that hasn't got much going for it. However this impression is inaccurate, at least in part. While it is indeed a 3rd person game there is a much richer storyline behind the monsters, one which is a bit more adult themed than in similar games, with political manipulations and no real heroes to speak of, merely powerful characters doing what they think is best. The Enhanced Edition came out recently with graphical improvements that will cripple even current generation GPUs and is compatible with the many mods that have already been made. Later this month one of the developers will be finalizing and releasing a new Combat Rebalancing mod which will add even more improvements to the game, even though the Witcher 3 is due out soon and this version was originally released two years ago. If you are unfamiliar with the series you should drop by Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN for details and consider picking up the game from Steam.
"A small leaflet on the news stand informs us that Andrzej ‘Flash’ Kwiatkowski, an ex-modder and now ‘Gameplay Designer’ at CD Projekt, has returned to modding in an effort to rebalance the combat in Witcher 2. The file size is currently 8 gigabytes, which is too many floppy disks to consider, but should be smaller by release. Which should be very soon."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Gunpoint @ Kitguru
- Of Course Valve Are Working On Half-Life 3, Now Shush @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Shadowrun Returns Returning Next Month, Bringing Editor @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- GoG Summer Sale Begins, Torchlight Currently Free @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Nintendo’s first free-to-play title announced as Steel Diver @ HEXUS
- Microsoft Responds on Fake Xbox One E3 Demo Story @ NGOHQ
- Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen PlayStation 3 @ eTeknix
- The Last Of Us Review (Playstation 3) @ Kitguru
- Lobster, a New Game Programming Language, Now Available As Open Source @ Slashdot
Subject: General Tech | June 19, 2013 - 03:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, Kyoto, berlin, seattle, warsaw, arm
DigiTimes named the four new families of server chip that AMD will be using to keep their products in the server room. Kyoto is known as the Opteron X-series and is available now, based on Jaguar and offering GPU compute enhancements as well as increased CPU performance. The Seattle family will replace these CPUs in the near future and will represent a new era for AMD as these chips will be clusters of ARM Cortex-A57 on AMD's advanced Freedom Fabric. Berlin will be a true x86 AMD chip with the new Steamroller architecture which will replace Piledriver and support HSA compliant optimizations. Last is Warsaw, which will be the most powerful chip, uniting 12 or 16 Piledriver cores in a chip which is compatible with the current Socket G43 used by the Opteron 6300 family, offering a simple drop in upgrade solution.
"AMD has publicly disclosed its strategy and roadmap to recapture market share in enterprise and data center servers by unveiling products that address key technologies and meet the requirements of the fastest-growing data center and cloud computing workloads."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Nvidia stretches CUDA coding to ARM chips @ The Register
- Intel previews future 'Knights Landing' Xeon Phi x86 coprocessor with integrated memory @ The Register
- Fusion-io's founding CEO quits board @ The Register
- Apple issues Java patch for Mac OS X users fixing 40 critical vulnerabilities @ The Inquirer
- Flash flaw potentially makes every webcam or laptop a PEEPHOLE @ The Register
- The Linux Kernel As An Exquisitely Sensitive Stability Test For Overclocked Systems @ TechARP
- Samsung EX2F Camera Review - A Low-Light Advanced Point-And-Shoot For Any Photographer @ SSD Review
- Australian unis to test quantum-comms-over-fibre @ The Register
- Uros Goodspeed review: MiFi, but bigger @ Hardware.info
- Adding wireless charging to any phone @ Hack a Day
- Canon PowerShot N Review @ TechReviewSource
- E3 2013: Wrap Up Coverage @ Legit Reviews
Subject: General Tech | June 19, 2013 - 02:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
There is another Haswell based notebook on sale today, though this one packs significantly more graphical power. The Alienware 14 on special sports a i7-4700MQ with a top speed of 3.4GHz, 8GB DDR3-1600 and a GT750M to power the 1366x768 screen with a 750GB HDD for storage. It also has a Killer NIC to help you out during fast paced gaming online either wired or on WiFi.
Upgrades such as a 1080p screen, Bluray, SSD storage and upgraded components are available.
- Just-released Alienware 14 Core i7 "Haswell" Gaming Laptop w/8GB RAM, 750GB 7200RPM Hard Drive, GeForce GT 750M graphics for $1,199 with free shipping.
- HP ENVY 15z-j000 15.6" AMD A8-5550M 2.1GHz Quad-core Laptop w/6GB RAM, 750GB Hard Drive for $479.99 with $9.99 shipping (normally $529.99 - use $50 coupon code NB4728 ).
- Ending tonight! 24" Dell E2414H 1080p LED-backlit LCD Monitor for $175.94 with free shipping (normally $229.99).
- 60-inch Samsung UN60EH6003 240Hz 1080p LED HDTV + $200 Gift Card for $1,199.99 with free shipping (normally $1,199.99 without gift card, effective final price $999.99).
- HP ENVY 800-030qe 4th-gen Intel Core i7 "Haswell" Desktop w/ Blu-ray, GeForce GT 640, 8GB RAM, 2TB Hard Drive, Photoshop Elements 11 Bundle, Beats Audio & 2-year warranty for $934.99 with $9.99 shipping (normally $1,099.99 - use coupon code DT6382 ).
Subject: General Tech | June 18, 2013 - 07:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Whether you are looking for a professional level display with 99% Adobe colour gamut or a large 1440p display (sorry not quite 4k) to game on, at $765 the Dell UltraSharp U2713H 27" IPS display is a great deal. The USB 3.0 connectors are a nice touch but they do add to the size of the bezel for those with enough lucre to consider running more than one of these displays.
- 27-inch Dell UltraSharp U2713H 2560x1440 IPS-panel LCD Monitor (Flagship 2013 Model) for $764.99 with free shipping (normally $999.99 - use BOTH coupon codes $PX1BGTSZ3G635 and W7HWC5Q9S4V6VH ).
- HP ENVY 700-030qe 4th-gen Intel Core i7 "Haswell" Desktop w/12GB RAM, 2TB Hard Drive, Radeon HD 7670, 2-year warranty, Photoshop Elements 11 Bundle, Beats Audio & Windows 8 for $849.99 with $9.99 shipping (normally $999.99 - use 15% coupon code DT6382 ).
- Dell XPS 14 Core i5 + 900p Gorilla Glass, Windows 7 Ultrabook for $849.99 with free shipping (normally $1,199.99).
- Sony HDR-AS15 HD Action Camcorder for $199.99 with free shipping (normally $269.99 - use coupon code SONYACAM ).
- 27-inch HP Pavilion 27xi 1080p IPS LED-backlit LCD Monitor for $271.99 with free shipping (normally $339.99 - use coupon code MT2617 ).
- Serta Ergonomic Leather Multifunction Managers Chair (Black) for $159.99 with free shipping (normally $209.99).
Subject: General Tech, Processors | June 17, 2013 - 08:11 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: haswell, Intel, Second Opinion
Ryan reviewed the Core i7 4770K earlier in the month and found it an impressive product. He was not able to properly test the CPU paired with a discrete GPU because of time restraints; we value results measured from direct monitor output, which takes longer than FRAPS and other software results. Still, Ryan believes that the boost in raw CPU performance justifies its existence in desktops without a funky "-E" tagged along for good luck.
For a second opinion, you could check NitroWare to see what a cynical Aussie thinks of Intel's latest offering. Of note, they compare software-measured frame rates between the on-chip GPU and those measured from a GTX 460 on Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge, and Haswell. He is nothing if not thorough, collecting his findings over 20 pages.
Ultimately he finds that if you are running Ivy Bridge, you will not benefit too much from the upgrade; Sandy Bridge users and earlier, on the other hand, might want to consider this platform... unless they are wanting to jump into the enthusiast-slot offerings coming up late this year and Haswell-E late the following year.
Also be sure to check back when we have our frametime measurements complete!
Subject: General Tech | June 17, 2013 - 02:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: arm, clover trail, tegra 3
ARM might be in for more of a fight than we had thought if they want to keep their market share for the next generation of cellphones, assuming of course that they are sold in North America. The Register posted about research recently done contrasting performance and power efficiency between several phone CPUs; the Lenovo K900 with a 2.0GHz Atom Z2580, a a Samsung Nexus 10 with a dual core 1.7GHz Cortex-A15, a Galaxy S4 phone running a "big.LITTLE" Exynos Octa with paired quad-core Cortex-A15 and Cortex A7 and even a Asus Nexus 7 with an Nvidia Tegra 3. Those phones give a good representation of current generation technology and it seems that while the performance for the top phones was very similar, Intel's new ATOM did it with 2/3 the amperage, specifically an average of 0.85A as opposed to the 1.38A of the second lowest competitor. ATOM seems to have finally found a market segment it can do very well in as long as the price is right.
"The industry analysts at ABI Research pitted a Lenovo smartphone based on Intel's Atom-based Clover Trail+ platform against a quartet of ARM-based systems, and Chipzilla's system not only kept pace with the best of them, but did so using less power."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Optimized Binaries Provide Great Benefits For Intel Haswell @ Phoronix
- Samsung releases PCI-Express SSD for ultrabooks @ The Inquirer
- Intel 2014 Haswell-E to pack 8 cores, DDR4, X99 PCH and more @ VR-Zone
- Microsoft unleashes wave of Azure mobile updates @ The Register
- Critical Java SE update due Tuesday fixes 40 flaws @ The Register
- Blackberry 10.2 will support Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean apps @ The Inquirer
- Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie to come in late October, also optimized for older phones @ VR-Zone
- Letting Bluetooth take the wires out of your headphones @ Hack a Day
- Adding WiFi to a kid’s tablet @ Hack a Day
- Intel bakes smaller, slower flash memory. Aah, now that's progress @ The Register
- TRENDnet AC1200 Dual Band Wireless USB Adapter (TEW-805UB) Review @ Madshrimps
- Computex 2013 Madshrimps Style @ Madshrimps
- AMD Today & Beyond Event @ SilverSpoon, Publika @ TechARP
- ModSynergy 10-Year Celebration Contest - USA and International Edition
Subject: General Tech | June 17, 2013 - 01:28 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
The prices of large format 1080p TVs have dropped sharply from their initial release, however with an additional $200 off the 50" Sharp Aquos is an exceptional deal. For those with a room large enough this deal from LogicBuy and Dell is a great excuse to finally get that big TV you have dreamed about. Those wanting 3D support or a higher resolution are going to have to wait, or spend a wee bit more money for their TV.
- 50" Sharp Aquos LC-50LE442U 1080p LED HDTV + $200 Gift Card for $548 with free shipping (normally $748).
- 14" HP ENVY 4t-1200 Core i3 Ultrabook for $401.24 with $9.99 shipping (normally $474.99 - use coupon code SVD8492 ).
- Dell Vostro 270s 3rd-gen Core i5 Quad-Core Slim Desktop w/1TB Hard Drive, Win 7 Professional for $499 with free shipping (normally $599 - use coupon code).
- 27" HP ENVY 27 IPS-panel LED-backlit LCD Monitor w/ Beats Audio for $375.99 with free shipping (normally $469.99 - use 20% coupon code MT2617 ).
- Dell Precision M4700 Mobile Workstation starting $1,019 with free shipping.
- Realspace Dorra Leather Task Chair for $59.99 with free shipping (normally $99.99).
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | June 17, 2013 - 03:16 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: xbox one, microsoft, ea, E3 13, E3
Update: Microsoft denies the statements from their support account... but this is still one of the major problems with DRM and closed platforms in general. It is stuff like this that you let them do.
Consumers, whether they acknowledge it or not, fear for the control that platform holders have over their content. It was hard for many to believe that having your EA account banned for whatever reason, even a dispute with a forum moderator, forfeited your license to games you play through that EA account. Sounds like another great idea for Microsoft to steal.
@dohertymark If your account is banned, you also forfeit the licenses to any games that have licenses tied to it as listed in the ToU. ^AC
— Xbox Support (@XboxSupport1) June 14, 2013
Not stopping there, later on in the thread they were asked what would happen in the event of a security breach. You know, recourse before destroying access to possibly thousands of dollars of content.
@KillerRamen Ensure your account security features are enabled, and security proofs details are correct. ^ML
— Xbox Support (@XboxSupport1) June 15, 2013
While not a "verified account", @xboxsupport is.
They acknowledge ownership of this account in the background image there.
Honestly, there shouldn't have been any doubt that these actually are Microsoft employees.
At this point, we have definitely surpassed absurdity. Sure, you typically need to do something fairly bad to have Microsoft stop charging your for Xbox Live. Removing access to your entire library of games, to me, is an attempt to limit cheating and the hardware community.
Great, encourage spite from the soldering irons, that works out well.
Don't worry, enthusiasts, you know the PC loves you.
Gaming as a form of entertainment is fundamentally different than gaming as a form of art. When content is entertainment, its message touches you without any intrinsic value and can be replaced with similar content. Sometimes a certain piece of content, itself, has specific value to society. It is these times where we should encourage efforts by organizations such as GoG, Mozilla and W3C, Khronos, and many others. Without help, it could be extremely difficult or impossible for content to be preserved for future generations and future civilizations.
It does not even need to get in the way of the industry and its attempt to profit from the gaming medium; a careless industry, on the other hand, can certainly get in the way of our ability to have genuine art. After all, this is the main reason why I am a PC gamer: the platform allows entertainment to co-exist with communities who support themselves when the official channels do not.
Of course, unless Windows learns a little something from the Xbox. I guess do not get your Windows Store account banned in the future?
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Processors | June 15, 2013 - 07:02 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Intel, Ivy Bridge-E, Haswell-E
In my analysis of the recent Intel Computex keynote, I noted that the displayed confidence came across more as repressing self-doubt. It did not seem, to me, like Intel wants to abandon the high-end enthusiast but rather catch up with their low performance and high efficiency competitors; they just know they are secure in that market. Of course, we could see mid-range choices dwindle and prices stagnate, but I cast doubt that Intel wants to exit the enthusiast market despite their silence about Ivy Bridge-E.
All Images, Credit: VR-Zone
And Intel, now, wants to return some confidence to their high-end consumers comma they are not slowing down exclamation point exclamation point.
VR-Zone, the site which published Ivy Bridge-E's lazy release roadmap, are also the ones to suggest Haswell-E will come before mainstream Broadwell offerings. Once again, all is right with the world. Slated for release around holiday 2014, just a year after Ivy Bridge-E, Haswell-E will come alongside the X99 chipset. Instead of Broadwell, the back to school window of 2014 will by filled by a refresh of 22nm Haswell products with a new 9-series chipset.
Seriously, it's like watching the face of Intel's Tick-Tock while a repairman is tweaking the gears.
In terms of specifications, Haswell-E will come in 8 and 6-core offerings with up to 20MB of cache. Apart from the inclusion of DDR4 support, the main advantage of Haswell-E over the upcoming Ivy Bridge-E is supposed to be raw performance; VR-Zone estimates up to 33-50% better computational strength. A depressingly novel area of improvement as of recent...
Lastly, with recent discussion of the awkwardly hobbled K-series parts, our readers might be happy to know that all Haswell-E parts will be unlocked to overclocking. This, again, leads me to believe that Intel is not hoping to suffocate the enthusiast market but rather sort their users: mid-range consumers will take what they are given and, if they object, send them on the bus to Funk-E town.
Note, while the headlining slide definitively says "All Processors Unlocked"...
... this slide says "For K and Extreme series products." I will assume the latter is out of date?
Which begs the question: what does our readers think about that potential strategy? It could lead to mainstream performance products being pushed down into BGA-territory, but cements the existence of an enthusiast platform.
Subject: General Tech | June 14, 2013 - 07:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: audio, speakers, logitech, UE Boom
Ignoring the unfortunate PR image accompanying the product, a wireless speaker which can connect to your MP3 player allows a group of people to listen to music in a much more social way than earbuds. Standing 7.25" tall with a 3" diameter the speaker is big enough that you won't lose it but small enough to be easily portable. According to the review from TechGage it is also large enough to provide quality sound, even at high volume. The next time you are out and want to share your music you won't need to blast your car stereo as it seems this device will handle the duty commendably; pity it will sell for $200.
"The UE Boom from Logitech boasts an impressively hip advertising campaign and a promise to make music more "social" again. But past all of the buzzwords and pretty packaging, is this cylindrical speaker worth all of the hype? We take a close look... and can't help but be blown away."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- alienvibes EP02 Elite HD Noise Cancelling Headphones @ NikKTech
- QPAD QH-90 Gaming Headset @ techPowerUp
- RHA MA450i Earphones @ Kitguru
- Tt eSPORTS SHOCK Dynamite Orange Gaming Headset @ NikKTech
- AIAIAI TMA-1 DJ Headphones With Mic Fools Gold @ NikKTech
- QPAD QH-90 Headset @ XSReviews
- Jabra SPEAK 510 Bluetooth And USB Speakerphone @ NikKTech
- Cooler Master Sonuz Headset @ Modders-Inc
- Logitech G430 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset Review @ Techgage
- Tt eSPORTS Shock Gaming Headset @ Kitguru
- Genius SP-U115 Colorful USB Powered Stereo Speakers Review @ ModSynergy
Subject: General Tech | June 14, 2013 - 03:55 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: apple, wwdc
If you still want more news about Apple then The Tech Report is your place to be as they've just assembled an overview of the announcements which were made at WWDC. From OS X 10.9, also know as Mavericks to the new 2D iOS7 they have a bit of coverage on everything. While Airport Extreme Base Stations might not be overly interesting to the PC crowd, the new Mac Pro and Macbook Air models might be as you can easily re-purpose them into very expensive Windows machines. They've even joined the Cloud crowd, though if you really want to learn about that you should have been there.
"If there's one thing I learned from Monday's (June 10, 2013) keynote at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, it's that demonstrations of technology are soooo much better than talking about technology. I know this because one of the main presenters, VP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi, told me so at least 39 times during his unveiling of OS X 10.9 Sea Lion. I can't argue with the man or his hair. Well played."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Tulsa’s Community Collaboration Model for Supercomputing @ Linux.com
- The IT Crowd special wants you @ The Inquirer
- Blackberry Q5 goes on sale at Orange and T-Mobile @ The Inquirer
- N-trig DuoSense Pen2: Who Needs a Stylus? @ AnandTech
- Pegatron to start shipments of inexpensive iPhone, next-generation iPad mini in August, say Taiwan makers @ DigiTimes
- Big browser builders scramble to fix cross-platform zero-day flaw @ The Register
- PCMark 8 Review @ OCC
- MySpace zaps millions of teens' tearful rants, causes wave of angst @ The Register
- NETGEAR XS708E ProSafe Plus 10GbE Switch @ Benchmark Reviews
- Comparison: GoPro Hero 3 vs Sony Actioncam vs Isaw A2 ACE @ Hardware.info
- Wet spill vacuum cleaner attachment @ Hack a Day
- Violin Memory shuffles out 'half-price' PCIe flash cards to eager tech channel @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | June 14, 2013 - 02:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
With a true 1080p screen the 17.3" Qosmio X70-ABT2G22 is an impressive gaming laptop. with a i7-4700MQ, 4GB DDR3-1600 and a GTX 770M 3GB. The 750GB HDD helps keep the price reasonable though the system would benefit from an SSD. There is an HDMI out capable of supporting 4k video for those who would prefer to use this as a semi-mobile desktop since it's 7.6lbs weight might be inconvenient after a long day. At $400 this is a great amount of savings if you move quickly.
- 17.3" Toshiba Qosmio X70-ABT2G22 4th-gen Intel Core i7 "Haswell" Gaming Laptop w/ 3GB GeForce GTX 770M Graphics for $999.99 with free shipping (normally $1,399.99).
- Dell Inspiron 660 3rd-gen Core i5 Quad-core Mini Tower w/ 8GB RAM, 2TB Hard Drive & GeForce GT 620 for $519.99 with free shipping (normally $699.99 - use $180 coupon code DZ5M1X1S0NR048 ).
- 27-inch Dell UltraSharp U2713H 2560x1440 IPS-panel LCD Monitor (Flagship 2013 Model) w/3-year Advanced Exchange Warranty for $764.99 with free shipping (normally $999.99 - use BOTH coupon codes $PX1BGTSZ3G635 and W7HWC5Q9S4V6VH ).
- 15.6" Dell Latitude E6540 4th-gen Intel Core i7 "Haswell" Business Laptop w/ Radeon HD 8790M, 1080p LCD, 9-cell Battery, Windows 7 Porfessional & 3-year warranty for $1,479 with free shipping (normally $2,112.86).
- 10.1" 64GB Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 w/Windows 8, Pen & Digitizer for $577.15 with free shipping (normally $679 - use 15% coupon code THINK4DAY ).
- Bose AE2 Audio Headphones + $50 Gift Card for $149.95 with free shipping (normally $149.99 without gift card).
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 14, 2013 - 04:06 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: E3, E3 13, ea, dice
How could I resist?
I was surprised, the EA keynote -- usually an event which dances past, carefully not leaving anything like "an impression" on its way out -- stuck with me more than any other keynote. Sure, throughout the EA Sports segment I was cleaning my "office" and only modestly paying any level of attention, but I feel that DICE swept the show when they appeared. This, and the rest of the week brought good, bad, and awesome news for us PC gamers.
You have probably seen the Battlefield 4 multiplayer demo by this point. We linked to it, we discussed it. It seems like the destructibility found in the Battlefield 3 single player campaign was absent from the multiplayer not because of a technical reason but rather a design decision. Sure, we can see the radio tower collapse, but building destruction was quite simplified even when compared to Bad Company 2.
The Skyscraper collapse seems like it is a legitimate aspect of the game this time around and not just a baloney promotional piece. When the building collapses you can notice the control point disappear from the mini-map in the bottom left corner of the HUD. That gameplay element required quite a bit of design thought, even Bad Company 2 made buildings with Conquest flags indestructible. Maybe the harsh limitations on Battlefield 3 destructibility was more to keep unified game play between the PC and the 24 player-limited consoles?
Sadly, during E3 we have found that mod support will not be available for Battlefield 4. I must compliment GM of DICE, Karl-Magnus Troedsson, for his blunt honesty. It would be much simpler to kick your feet and say wait and see for something you know will never see the light of day; but, he gave us the straight answer. Sure, he said then engine is not ready for a public release but even then he admitted that it was not for our benefit. They do not have a good idea what boundaries they want to allow modders to access. While disappointing, at least it does not have a condescending tone like we experienced with Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 3 mod support requests.
Karl-Magnus Troedsson, DICE GM: We get that question a lot. I always answer the same thing, and then the community calls me bad names. We get the feedback, we understand it. We also would like to see more player-created content, but we would never do something like this if we feel we couldn’t do this 100 percent. That means we need to have the right tools available, we need to have the right security around this regarding what parts of the engine we let loose, so to say. So for BF4 we don’t have any planned mod support, I have to be blunt about saying that. We don’t.
Moving on, though. As we know, Disney decided that LucasArts properties would be best left to the hands at EA. The internet simultaneously joy-teared at the thought of a Star Wars Battlefront title developed by DICE. Sure enough, Star Wars: Battlefront 3 is a thing, and it will be developed using the Frostbite 3 engine.
Still no word on an Indiana Jones titled based on Mirror's Edge. Heh heh heh.
Oh by the way, the announcement I am, by far, most excited for is Mirror's Edge. I absolutely loved the first game, despite its terrible dialog, for how genuine and intrinsically valuable it felt. It gave the impression of a passion project, both in gameplay and in narrative theme. Thankfully, the game is being developed and it will come to the PC.
We also found out that Mirror's Edge is planned to be an "open world action adventure title". Normally that would scare me, but, that was what we were expecting of the first Mirror's Edge before their linear bait-and-switch.
Cannot tell if good or bad... but we will see at some point in the future.
Subject: General Tech | June 13, 2013 - 04:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vishera, piledriver, FX-9590, FX-9370, Centurion, amd
The Tech Report managed to get some more information out of AMD about the new FX-9000 series that the net has been buzzing about. We now have confirmation that the base clocks for the FX-9590 and FX-9370 are 4.7GHz and 4.4GHz. They also confirmed that 220W TFP is relatively accurate which will make these the hottest chips on the market. While you won't see these chips officially for sale outside of specially built systems, there is a chance a few might pop up on eBay and if you are curious how they might perform there is a link in The Tech Report's article to an overclocked Vishera which will give you a rough idea.
"On Tuesday, AMD introduced its new FX-9000-series processors. The company quoted their peak Turbo speeds (5GHz for the FX-9590, 4.7GHz for the FX-9370) and a rough time frame for availability ("this summer"), but it revealed little else. We were left wondering about base clocks, power envelopes, and potential retail availability."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Dummy batteries let you use an AC adapter @ Hack a Day
- AMD's Seamicro SM15000 server gets Red Hat Openstack certification @ The Inquirer
- AVG buys remote monitoring player LPI Level Platforms @ The Register
- Notebook ODMs bracing for price war @ DigiTimes
- Red Hat: We do clouds at one third the cost of VMware @ The Register
- ASUS RT-AC66U 802.11ac Wireless-AC1750 Router Review @ Legit Reviews
Subject: General Tech | June 13, 2013 - 02:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Dell's UltraSharp U2413 1920 x 1200 24" IPS claims a 6ms response time which makes it suitable for gaming, as well as offering superior colour support. As it is a new model it supports HDMI, DisplayPort 1.2, DVI-D and mini DisplayPort inputs as well as acting as a 4-port USB 3.0 hub.
- Dell UltraSharp U2413 1920x1200 24-inch IPS Monitor (2013 model) for $449.99 with free shipping (normally $599.99 - use coupon code W7HWC5Q9S4V6VH ).
- Dell Inspiron 15R 3rd Gen Core i7 Touchscreen Laptop for $749.99 with free shipping (normally $1,169.99 - use coupon code 0H9Q3PQ6L3744C ).
- Apple iPhone 4S [2-year AT&T contract] (Certified Like-New) for $49.99 with free shipping.
- Dell XPS 8700 Core i7-4770 3.4GHz "Haswell" Quad-core Desktop w/8GB RAM, Radeon HD 7570 & 23" UltraSharp Monitor for $849.99 with free shipping (normally $1,174.99 - use coupon code 0H9Q3PQ6L3744C ).
- 21.5" Dell S2240T 1080p Multi-touch LED-backlit LCD Monitor for $339.99 with free shipping (normally $399.99 - use coupon code $PX1BGTSZ3G635 ).
- 50% off Webroot SecureAnyWhere Products.
- Realspace Calusa Mesh Task Chair for $84.99 with free shipping (normally $189.99 - use coupon code 1SWS81789Z348C ).