Spilling what happened in Vegas

Subject: General Tech | January 15, 2014 - 12:55 PM |
Tagged: CES 2014

If you have read all of our coverage of CES 2014 and are in need of more then The Tech Report can help you get your fix.  This roundup has dozens of links all broken down by category.  From Cases and Cooling through Input devices there should be just about everything you could need to know about.  There are even a good half dozen links covering one of the hottest recent topics, the Steam Machine.

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"We did this last year, and you guys seemed to enjoy it, so we've done it again. Here's a handy, shortbread-style list of every single news item we posted for this year's Consumer Electronics Show. Old news stories can normally be found here in our archive, but isn't this much nicer?"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Steam In-Home Streaming Closed Beta First Wave Begins

Subject: General Tech, Networking | January 15, 2014 - 02:27 AM |
Tagged: valve, SteamOS, pc game streaming

In-Home Streaming could be the feature most likely to kick-off SteamOS adoption. This functionality brings existing PCs to televisions without requiring the user to actually bring the box to their living room. Likewise, to justify purchasing a SteamOS behemoth, it seems likely to me that Valve will allow streaming back to Steam client from Steam Machines.

Video Credit: Devin Watson (Youtube)

Obviously the catalog of Windows games is the most obvious usage for In-Home Streaming but, in some years, maintaining just one high-end computer might dominate.

We will soon find out more about how it works. Valve has just allowed the first wave of development partners (and apparently many others) to the In-Home Streaming closed beta. Youtube videos are already beginning to leak out, or not-leak out depending on the NDA if one exists, which show it in action. The video, embedded above, is of a Lenovo T410 with an Intel Core i5 and integrated graphics streaming DayZ over Wireless-G. It looks pretty good at, they claim, without any noticeable lag.

The floodgates are open. Now, we wait with our umbrellas.

Source: Steam

The FCC has painted itself and net neutrality into a corner

Subject: General Tech | January 14, 2014 - 01:27 PM |
Tagged: net neutrality, legal, FCC

The US FCC has been told they do not have the authority to enforce its Network Neutrality rules as they have defined the Internet as something unique and therefor not covered under the existing common carriage regulations.  These regulations have evolved for over 100 years from when they first referred to actual physical carriages transporting goods and have since expanded to less physical services such as cable TV.  That has allowed government agencies to regulate providers and transporters of goods and services by accounting for almost any business practice that has been used since this regulations inception.  Unfortunately as the FCC has chosen to define broadband internet as a distinct service the ruling today does make legal sense, there are no legal statutes on the books specifically about Net Neutrality and now the debate should shift to whether it is wiser to attempt to create a brand new set of regulations or if the FCC should attempt to change its stance and attempt to have common carrier regulations apply to broadband suppliers and their negotiations with both edge providers and end users.  It is worth following the link from Slashdot to the ruling, it is 80 pages long but contains a lot of the history of the legal decisions that have lead to this point as well as containing some amusing analogies.  After all, it is not like at least one mobile provider is already set to take advantage of the current unenforceable nature of net neutrality regulations. 

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"According to a report from Gizmodo, a U.S. Appeals Court has invalidated the FCC's Net Neutrality rules. From the decision: 'Given that the Commission has chosen to classify broadband providers in a manner that exempts them from treatment as common carriers, the Communications Act expressly prohibits the Commission from nonetheless regulating them as such."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Slashdot

If it didn't work the first dozen times just keep doing it anyways; Win 9 will be Modern too

Subject: General Tech | January 13, 2014 - 01:52 PM |
Tagged: win 9, win 8.1, threshold, microsoft, dumb

Even if one literal definition of insanity is to repeat the same process exactly while expecting different results, that doesn't prevent that strategy from occasionally being effective when working with PCs.   It is not always the best way to deal with all issues however, something Microsoft may not be willing to admit if the rumours about Windows 9 are true.  What was once going to be a major update to Win 8 may now be released as a newly named version of Windows according to the info at The Inquirer.  The rebranding of the Win 8.1 Service Pack implies that the changes made to the OS will be mostly cosmetic; though a facelift to the GUI would be good the chances that Microsoft will drop their new Modern interface are quite slim.  At least Microsoft is still able to claim this release did not go as badly as Vista.

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"We reported on Friday that the Threshold project was being tipped as a major update for Windows 8, however according to Winsupersite it will instead be billed as a new Windows operating system version slated for release in April 2015."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

DisplayPort Adds DockPort Extension to Royalty-Free VESA Standard

Subject: General Tech | January 13, 2014 - 01:26 PM |
Tagged: amd, vesa, dockport

One of AMD's pet projects will be seeing the light of day in the very near future, one that could put another nail in Thunderbolt's overpriced coffin.  AMD in association with several other VESA members have developed an update to DisplayPort called DockPort that will provide USB 3.0 power and data over the cable at the same time it transmits up to 21.6 Gbps of DisplayPort Video.  This will be of great usage when connecting your machine to a docking station, with one cable you get a lot of connectivity options and could also mean much smaller and less expensive docking stations are possible.

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INTERNATIONAL CES, LAS VEGAS (7 January 2014) – The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA®) announced today that DockPort will be added as an official extension to the existing DisplayPort standard. DockPort is an emerging technology that enables high-speed USB 3.0 data over the existing DisplayPort connector. Originally developed by AMD, Texas Instruments, and other VESA member companies, the DockPort extension will allow notebooks, tablets and other small form factor computers to aggregate the display, data and power interfaces into a single convenient connector.

Computers and other smart devices require high-speed I/O ports to share high-resolution video with external displays, high-bandwidth data with external storage and other peripherals, and power for battery charging. As notebooks and tablets become thinner and more portable, consumers want to combine these three common interfaces into a single port on their mobile device. With a single DisplayPort connection using the new DockPort extension and enhanced power capabilities under development, consumers will be able to attach their computers or tablets to a docking station and have instant, hassle-free access to a wide array of external resources.

“Consumers are happiest when they can personalize their electronics systems and reduce the number of cables they need to deal with at the same time,” explained Steve Belt, AMD’s corporate vice president of strategic alliances. “We identified DisplayPort as an ideal starting point and began collaborating with other industry leaders to create DockPort as an extension of DisplayPort’s capabilities. With just one inexpensive connector, users can now access power, a mouse, keyboard, external optical and hard disk drives, printers, gaming controller, and up to four external monitors. That’s a lot of capability from a single, standardized connector.”

AMD’s Discovery Tablet reference design, which utilizes DisplayPort with the DockPort extension to enable video, data and power over one connector, won two 2014 CES Innovation Awards.

“VESA’s decision to augment the popular DisplayPort standard with the single-connector capabilities of TI’s innovative DockPort controller is a win for end equipment designers and consumers,” said Wes Ray, systems and applications manager for Consumer and Computing Interface at Texas Instruments. “As an open standard, DockPort will be readily available for designers to implement, and more quickly deliver, the convenience of a single connection in devices such as tablets, notebooks, docking stations and dongles.”

DisplayPort is the world’s most advanced, high data rate video interface standard. It connects computers and other video sources to televisions and displays, while maintaining backward compatibility with VGA, DVI and HDMI. The global standard is backed by more than 200 technology leaders worldwide.

Designed to be robustly ‘future proof’ as well as backward compatible, DisplayPort allows a video source to drive up to four displays, and it is the only video interface that can support 4K UHD TVs and displays with deep color at 60 frames per second. DisplayPort with the DockPort extension will continue to be a royalty-free standard. DisplayPort-certified systems are available from every leading display manufacturer, and consumers purchase millions of DisplayPort products every year.
“Being a modern, high-speed, packet-based digital interface, DisplayPort was designed to be extensible while also providing backward compatibility,” said Craig Wiley, Sr. Director of Marketing for Parade Technologies, and Chair of the VESA Board of Directors. “Similar to Thunderbolt and MyDP, the new DockPort extension will utilize the flexibility of DisplayPort technology to create a single display, data, and, in the near future, power connector, while still being backward compatible with all other DisplayPort devices. We expect the DockPort feature will appear in main-stream products since its performance is tailored for standard connectors and passive cables.”

Source: VESA

Zotac Shows Off Spherical ZBOX 01520 SFF PC

Subject: General Tech, Systems | January 12, 2014 - 03:08 AM |
Tagged: zotac, zbox 01520, zbox, SFF, CES 2014, CES

Zotac unveiled a number of products at CES 2014 in Las Vegas including several small form factor (SFF) PCs. In addition to the ZBOX Steam Machine, Zotac showed off a ZBOX 01520 computer in a spherical form factor. The ZBOX 01520 comes in bare-bones and PLUS SKUs, similar to the other, existing, Zotac ZBOX computers.

On the outside, the new PC is a small black orb with straight edges on the back and bottom to support it. Inside, Zotac has fitted a tiny motherboard, an Intel Core i3-4010U dual core processor clocked at 1.7 GHz, two SO-DIMM slots (up to 16GB), a spot for a single 2.5" hard drive. The motherboard further includes one mSATA slot for a solid state drive and wireless radios for 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

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Greek tech site Tech Blog managed to snap photos of the new Zotac PC.

Rear IO on the ZBOX 01520 orb includes four USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, HDMI video output, one Gigabit Ethernet port, and a single 4-1 card reader slot.

The bare-bones kit includes the motherboard, CPU, and case while the PLUS version adds 4GB of DDR3 memory and a 500GB hard drive. Users can add their own mSATA drive for increased performance.

Beyond the basics, details are scarce on the new Zotac PC. Pricing and availability have not yet been announced. Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more details on the SFF PC as it becomes available.

Are you interested in the spherical ZBOX 01520?

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: TechBlog

SimCity Modding is Slightly Hypocritical

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | January 11, 2014 - 12:13 AM |
Tagged: SimCity, ea

Maxis and Electronic Arts recognize the hefty portion of SimCity's popularity as a franchise is due to its mod community. The current version could use all of the help it can get after its unfortunate first year. They have finally let the community take over... to some extent. EA is imposing certain rules upon the content creators. Most of them are reasonable. One of them can have unforeseen consequences for the LGBQT community. The first rule should apply to their expansion packs.

Starting at the end, the last three rules (#3 through #5) are mostly reasonable. They protect EA against potential malware and breaches of their EULA and Terms of Service. The fifth rule does begin to dip its toe into potential censorship but it does not really concern me.

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No-one can be "Best Friends" in North America.

The second rule, while mostly condemning illegal activity, does include the requirement that content remains within ESRB 10+ and PEGI 7. The problem with any content certification is that it limits the dialog between artists and society. In this case, references to same-sex topics (ex: Harvest Moon) in games may force a minimum T or M rating. A mod which introduces some story element where two Sims of the same gender go on a date or live together (again, like Harvest Moon) might result in interest groups rattling the ESRB's cage until EA draws a firm line on that specific topic.

EA is very good with the LGBQT community but this could get unnecessarily messy.

The first rule is a different story. It says that mods which affect the simulation for multiplayer games or features are not allowed (despite being the only official mode). They do not want a modification to give players an unfair advantage over the rest of the game's community.

You know, like maybe an airship which boosts "your struggling industry or commercial [districts]" and also brings in tourists and commuters without causing traffic on your connecting highway?

Maxis is still, apparently, exploring options for offline SimCity experiences. Even if they allow a server preference to not affect the global economy, mods would be able to be quarantined to those areas. Great, problem solved. Instead, it is somewhat left up to interpretation what is allowed. To make matters worse, the current examples of mods that we have are purely cosmetic.

SimCity is nowhere near as bad as Halo 2 Vista for its mod functionality (those mod tools were so hobbled that its own tutorial was impossible). It could actually be good. These are just areas for EA to consider and, hopefully, reconsider.

Source: Maxis

Just a reminder of the state of Hawaii

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2014 - 12:45 PM |
Tagged: radeon, R9 290X, r9 290, hawaii, catalyst, amd

Confirming the results that Ryan and other sites have seen are the results of [H]ard|OCP's testing of two different retail R9 290X GPUs against a pair of press sample cards.  Much as with Ryan's findings even using the newer Catalyst 13.11 Beta 5 driver, Quiet mode performance varies far more than Uber mode does but even Uber mode displays some differences between models.  However they draw a slightly different conclusion based on their experiences, determining that the variance is not just a matter of press samples versus retail cards but a variance between any and all 290X GPUs.  The complexity of this huge chip is such that the differences in manufacturing process and tolerances are to blame and some cards will simply be better than others.  They also are disappointed by AMD's marketing team, citing that the key is 'With NVIDIA GTX 600 and 700 series the video cards are "running faster than advertised" and with AMD R9 290X the video card is running "slower than advertised."'

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"The AMD Radeon R9 290X arrived recently with a high level of performance, and a high level of controversy. There have been reports of performance variance between Radeon R9 290X video cards. We have two purchased retail cards today with stock cooling that we will test and see if performance variances exist."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Intel has some good news for GLOFO

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2014 - 12:18 PM |
Tagged: UMC, SoFIA, Intel, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, atom, 28nm

GLOBALFOUNDRIES will be the primary supplier of Intel's 28nm baseband chips according to this unconfirmed report at DigiTimes.  It seems that Intel really is moving towards a new business model and will be outsourcing some of their upcoming chips to both GLOFO and UMC.  Their 28nm PolySiON process will be used to make the next generation of baseband transmitter chips and the new Atom SoC for cellphones and phablets will use TSMC's 28nm HKMG process.  The higher end Broxton SoCs will remain at Intel and use their FinFET process.  This is a big win for GLOFO and could mean the beginning of a lasting partnership with what was once an AMD asset.

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"Intel has contracted Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to manufacture its forthcoming Atom mobile processor series codenamed SoFIA, and also placed orders for entry-level baseband chips with Globalfoundries and United Microelectronics (UMC), according to industry sources."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

CES 2014: Intel Keynote with Their Dual OS and Edison

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2014 - 03:32 AM |
Tagged: Transformer Book Duet, Intel, CES 2014, CES, asus

Monday, the opening day of CES, was full of keynotes and announcements from Audi to Valve (Yahoo! was the day after). Okay, so that is probably not the complete alphabetical range, but keep reading regardless. The Intel speech had a few surprises including Gabe Newell re-announcing Steam Machines just a couple of hours after his own keynote.

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Possibly the most surprising to me was the "Dual OS platforms" announcement. Frankly, I am fine with using BlueStacks for whatever little Android use that my desktop experiences. I did see a demo of the ASUS Transformer Book Duet, however, which was able to switch between Android and Windows 8.1 with the touch of a button and about 3 seconds of black screen. It seems to be more than emulation and it is pretty clearly not rebooting.

To be clear, the following is speculation (and not even confident at that). I am hypothesizing... not reporting. Unfortunately, Intel (and ASUS) have been very silent on the actual implementation as far as I can tell. Since this is clearly branded as "Android and Windows can be friends", it would not surprise me if this was a baked solution for the two platforms and maybe even special hardware.

One possibility is that hardware or software loads both operating systems into memory or hibernation state. In this way, when the user signals their desire for a change, the former operating system is slept (or hibernated) and the processor is then pointed to the others memory space.

Video credit: PCMag

If the above is the case then I hope popular Linux distributions can get their hands on it. Rebooting is far too annoying for me to try out alternative operating systems and virtualization is also too problematic (at least for now). If I can just suspend and switch, especially with native performance on either end, then I will definitely be willing to play around. Honestly, how expensive are RAM and storage these days?

But, if it is user-accessible, then it would be a major consideration for a future upgrade.

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The other cute little announcement is Edison, a dual core PC in an SD card form factor. The hope is that this device will power wearable computing and make other devices smarter. It is based on 22nm silicon and even includes WiFi. One use case they presented was a bottle warmer which warms the milk before you even get your child.

Despite the late coverage, it was a very interesting keynote. Ars Technica still has their live blog published if you would like to skim through a play-by-play.

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Ars Technica

HCW Redefines FTW with an EVGA Z87 FTW Review

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | January 9, 2014 - 11:45 PM |
Tagged: Z87 FTW, evga

I am pretty sure that EVGA intends for it to signify For the Win, if anything. Still, HCW wants to treat it like the start of a mission statement.

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HCW got a hold of an EVGA Z87 FTW motherboard and were among the first to review it... and among the few found on Google.

Intel, with the Haswell architecture, eliminated much of the voltage regulation hardware by integrating it on the chip. This move was to improve power consumption without really affecting performance. The review goes through the unusual design of the EVGA board's power delivery. It is based on a 6-phase system, which is low, but still performed. In fact, he was again capable of reaching 4.8 GHz on his i7-4770K.

His major concern was with its price. At $220, it pushes up against a different class of motherboards such as the Gigabyte Z87X-UD5H (with more features) although it is still competitive even then. Check out his review if you want more information or just want a reprieve from the Vegas lights.

Source: HCW

CES 2014: Sennheiser Launches New PC Gaming Headsets

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2014 - 10:15 PM |
Tagged: sennheiser, headset, gaming, CES 2014, CES, audio

Hi-end PC audio manufacturer Sennheiser has announced two new PC gaming headsets aimed at enthusiasts. The new headsets are called the G4ME ZERO and G4ME ONE and feature a closed ear and open ear design, respectively.

G4ME ZERO Gaming Headset.jpg

The G4ME ZERO is a high end model circumaural headset with a foldable design, ample padding on the headband and ear cups, and noise cancelling microphone. The analog headset is rated at 150 Ohms and the speakers at 10 Hz to 26 KHz. The G4ME ZERO has a 3 meter cable that ends with two 3.5mm jacks for the microphone and headset. Users can purchase the Sennheiser PCV 05 Combo Adapter to take the two 3.5mm jacks into a single jack for use on Mac PCs and game consoles. It is slightly heavier than the G4ME ONE at 312 grams.

G4ME ONE Gaming Headset.jpg

The G4ME ONE, on the other hand, weighs 300 grams and features a open circumaural design that wraps around the ears but still lets air in to reduce sweat over long gaming sessions and allow some outside sound in.  This lighter analog headset is rated at 50 Ohms and the speakers at 15 Hz to 28 KHz. Similar to the ZERO, the ONE uses two 3.5mm jacks at the end of a 3 meter long cable. It uses plush velvet pads on the ear cups and provides plenty of padding along the headband as well.

Both headsets share a design aesthetic that incorporates white, red, and silver colors on the outside of the ear cups and microphone. The headband and ear pads are black with a large Sennheiser logo along the top end of the headband. Users can control volume via controls on the right ear cup and automatically mute the microphone by lifting the boom mic upwards. Both high end G4ME headsets look nice and comfortable from the specifications and amount of padding shown in the photos.

Along with the headsets, Sennheiser has announced a partnership with IO Interactive, which is part of Square Enix to develop game audio using Sennheiser recording equipment. The company is positioning this deal as the perfect way for gamers to get the exact audio the game developers intended by using Sennheiser microphones to record the audio, headsets in the studio to test the audio, and gamers using the same headsets to play the games. It is a nice perk for sure if you are already looking to buy into one of the company's high end headsets.

The G4ME ZERO has an MSRP of $279.95 while the G4ME ONE has an MSRP of $249.95. You can find more information on their respective product pages:

Read more about PC gaming headsets at PC Perspective.

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Sennheiser

CES 2014: BenQ Announces 24-Inch and 27-Inch Monitors With NVIDIA G-Sync Technology

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2014 - 07:46 PM |
Tagged: monitor, g-sync, CES 2014, CES, benq, 3d vision

BenQ has announced two new monitors that will incorporate NVIDIA's G-Sync technology. The 24-inch XL2420G and 27-inch XL2720G will both be available in Q1 2014. Both monitors have 144 Hz refresh rates and will support three display modes: G-Sync, Low Motion Blur, and 3D Vision. In addition to G-Sync technology, the monitors support ResolutionEyes technology which is a set of features designed to make prolonged gaming sessions easier on the eyes.

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BenQ's 27-inch G-Sync gaming monitor.

According to NVIDIA, the 24-inch and 27-inch BenQ monitors will sport a 1920x1080 resolution on an uspecificed panel time. Unfortunately, BenQ has not revealed whether it is using TN, IPS, or some other panel technology nor what the response time is beyond stating that it is "ultra fast" (which may imply a TN panel...). We do know that the monitors are hieght adjustable.

Both G-Sync capable monitors will be available in Q1 2014 at not-yet-released prices. It is promising to see other monitor manufacturers supporting G-Sync out of the box.

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: BenQ

CES 2014: AMD Supported in SteamOS "Out of the Box". Catalyst 13.11 Beta 9.9 in SteamOS Public Stable Branch

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2014 - 05:18 PM |
Tagged: SteamOS, CES 2014, CES, amd

The Steam platform prides itself on benefiting from the many billions of dollars spent by the PC industry in-fighting. Two-and-a-half of the consoles seem to realize that they cannot keep up with the constant churn as the PC trots along its exponential curve. They, now more than ever, align themselves with our industry instead of running their own R&D treadmill. Each of these companies now license the efforts of AMD.

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Simply put, consoles struggle because their business model plans on a big loss followed by a few years of rest to have a chance of breaking even. Slow and steady wins the race.

SteamOS is a console that, instead of seeing how much it can justify locking down, goes the other way. So, when the prototype units were announced, it felt really weird to see a fairly wide selection of components... from a set of Intel processors and NVIDIA discrete graphics cards. AMD and Intel were a bit late for one reason or another.

But only just a bit. An updated AMD graphics driver, the Catalyst 13.11 Beta 9.9, has just been integrated into the SteamOS public stable branch. This driver is expected to fix tearing, overlay performance, in-game performance, and "malfunctioning return to desktop".

The driver will also be released on AMD.com soon.

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

You can't take the Start from me

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2014 - 12:42 PM |
Tagged: start button, win8, microsoft, dumb

Somewhere along the line the marketing departments of many companies developed a strange theory regarding consumers; customers have no idea what they want until they are told what they want.  Somehow this theory has managed to become quite lucrative in some industries but has left other companies scratching their heads as to why it won't work for their customer base.  One example of the head scratchers would be Microsoft; a once a might empire with no competitors and the ability to dictate customers desires who now find themselves confused as to why no one wants Windows 8.  One particular reason is the removal of our beloved Start button, not the prettiest or best designed interface but one we have become accustomed to.  Pretending to put it back in Win8.1 but instead making it a button that simply metrosexualizes your GUI was a dirty trick but it was easily solved as third party companies would sell you a product which restores the familiar Start menu if you somehow found yourself forced to use Win8.  According to the leaked slides The Inquirer has seen Microsoft continues in their state denial with no sign of a restored Start button which will obviously lead to a huge increase in sales as we enthusiasts finally lobotomize ourselves and start buying only what we are told we want to buy.  At least some companies may benefit from Microsoft's delusional state.

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"According to Neowin, a leaked early build of the update has been seen in the wild and appears to change very little, having much in common with the Service Packs of older versions of Windows."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

CES 2014: Oculus Rift Prototype... Because Seeing Dots is a Symptom of NOT Throwing Up?

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2014 - 03:35 AM |
Tagged: Oculus, oculus rift, CES, CES 2014

Ryan awaited his Oculus Rift eagerly right from the time he placed his Kickstarter donation. He was able to use the device for a few minutes at QuakeCon and last year's CES but he wanted to game for longer sessions to get feel for it. As it turned out, a few minutes in to an Unreal Tournament 3-based demo, he felt the onset of motion sickness.

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Image Credit: Oculus via Ars Technica

The company was at this year's CES with a new prototype called "Crystal Cove". This version looks somewhat like a mocap suit on your face, with various white dots to be recognized by a camera. The thought seems to be that motion capture techniques are lower latency and maybe even more precise than the motion sensors alone. That, combined with the OLED screen's new policy of quickly presenting frames for only a couple of milliseconds, is supposed to make a world of difference in terms of blurriness and nausea.

There are still concerns with the Oculus as a shipping product, however. When your eyes are covered by screens you are subjecting yourself to sensory deprivation. It may be immersive but it does not replace the reality that your body exists within. The cat may be at your feet even if it is not in your virtual world. This will obviously be less of an issue when combined with the Omni treadmill (or similar device) because it keeps your body in a defined space.

Still, advances seem to happen even more quick than a yearly basis. What do you expect the state of Oculus will be at next year's CES?

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Ars Technica

Boutique PC Vendor Xidax Now Accepting Bitcoin Payments

Subject: General Tech, Systems | January 9, 2014 - 03:10 AM |
Tagged: xidax, gaming pc, bitcoin

Xidax Performance PC, a new boutique PC vendor founded in early 2013 has announced that it is now accepting Bitcoin for payment of its custom-built gaming computers. Reportedly in response to customer demand, Xidax has added bitcoin to its payment options, which are available upon configuring a PC on the website.

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Xidax Executive Operations Officer Zack Shutt has stated the following in a press release:

“We will do whatever it takes to make custom PC buying easier and give Xidax customers more options,” said Shutt. “We’re intrigued by the growing bitcoin phenomenon and we are happy to provide bitcoin users an easy, secure way to order a custom built PC.”

The bitcoins are handled through a bitcoin payment processor where it can then be converted back to USD (as Xidax is a US-based company). It is interesting to see a PC vendor accepting Bitcoin as it is now possible to purchase an entire, custom built, PC from a major company using funds gathered from mining on a PC (albeit alt-coins converted to BTC or a stockpile of BTC from when GPU mining was still effective). More options are nice, and bitcoin does offer a secure way to pay free of high fees from the likes of Paypal and credit card processors.

What do you think about Xidax accepting bitcoin? Will it add more credibility and/or usefulness to the digital cryptocurrency?

Read more about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining @ PC Perspective.

Source: Xidax

CES 2014 Podcast Day 4 - EVGA, Origin, Native PCI-E SSDs and more!

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2014 - 02:28 AM |
Tagged: video, sandforce, podcast, plextor, pci-e ssd, origin, Marvell, kingston, evga, adata

CES 2014 Podcast Day 4 - 01/08/14

It's time for podcast fun at CES!  Join us as we talk about the fourth day of the show including exciting announcements from EVGA, Origin, PCI-E SSDs from Kingston, Plextor, and ADATA and more!

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

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

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

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano and Ken Addison

Program length: 48:41

 

CES 2014: Kyle Orland (Ars Technica) Tries Steam Controller

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2014 - 02:21 AM |
Tagged: CES 2014, CES, valve, Steam Controller

Valve has garnered a lot of hype leading up to this CES. This event was the launch of Steam Machines from their OEM partners. The line-up for their keynote speech was intense, Ryan tweeting in the crowd a whole half of an hour before the speech. Finally, at 7:59 pm EST, Gabe begun to speak... and taking questions by 8:02. Included below is a dramatization of the event.

Yes, I know, "Simpsons did it..."

... South Park probably did it too.

As previously reported, thirteen OEM designs were presented and available to discuss their product. Steam controllers came up during the question period and brought out a pretty big detail: while Valve will be making the Steam Controller, other manufacturers will be allowed to make their own. Currently release date and expected price are still unknown.

Some journalists actually got their hands on the official Steam Controller and they, naturally, shared their thoughts. Kyle Orland of Ars Technica was one of them and his opinion was quite literally split down the middle. On the one hand, pun fully intended, aiming felt about as comfortable and effective as a mouse. On the other hand, movement in legacy mode was aggravating without any tactile feedback signaling where any of the eight directions (up, down, left, right, and the diagonals) start and end.

steam-controller_bindings.jpg

Again, this opinion only stands for shooter-style games in "Legacy Mode". Developers can use the controller more effectively when they design their title for the actual API. Legacy mode maps controller input to mouse and keyboard events and signals.

He also had other comments (positive and negative) about the button layout and other aspects of the controller. It might be worth checking out if you keep in mind: it is early times and he only had a few minutes to base his opinion.

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Ars Technica

CES 2014: Corsair Launches Graphite Series 760T and 730T Full Tower Gaming Cases

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | January 9, 2014 - 02:18 AM |
Tagged: graphite series, full tower, corsair, CES 2014, CES

In addition to the Mini-ITX Obsidian 250D, Corsair is launching two full tower gaming cases under its Graphite series. The Graphite 760T and 730T are full tower cases constructed of steel and aluminum that incorporate many enthusiast-friendly features. The 760T and 730T share the same form factor and general design including two hinged side panels, tool-less drive bays, and support for air and water cooling options. Note that the 730T has metal side panels while the 760T has two windowed side panels and adds a fan controller. Further, the 760T comes in two color options (black and arctic white) while the 730T is only available in black.

760T_three_quarter_hero_low.png

The pair of full tower cases join the existing mid-tower 230T in the Graphite Series. The 760T and 730T are large 22.4" x 9.7" x 22.2" cases that offer up lots of cooling, expansion, storage, cable management, and motherboard support options. The case has a large mesh front panel that has two LED-lit AF140L 140mm  fans and three 5.25" drive bays. On the top edge of the case is the front IO panel which includes two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, two audio jacks, and power and reset buttons. The two side panels are hinged at the back and open using a handle at the front. The left side panel is transparent to show off your hardware while the opposite side panel is opaque. In all, the Graphite 760T and 730T are attractive cases with straight lines and roughly octagonal shape. The case is lifted above the ground using large case feet.

Internally, the case supports 9 PCI slots, three 5.25" drive bays, six 3.5" (or 2.5") hard drives in two modular (and removable) drive cages, four side-mounted 2.5" SSDs, seven cooling fans, ATX motherboards, and ATX power supplies. Users should have no problem fitting a beefy multi-GPU setup into the new Graphite cases.

760T_side_view_opened.png

When it comes to cooling, the Graphite 760T and 730T support up to seven fans. Corsair includes two LED-lit AF140L 140mm fans in the front and a single AF140L fan in the rear that come pre-installed. From there users can add three 140mm or 120mm fans to the top and a single 120mm fan to the bottom of the case. Users that opt for water cooling can instead install a 360mm radiator in the top of the case and a 280mm radiator to the bottom of the case. The 760T includes a fan speed switch that switches between 12V and 7V power to control the speed (and noise) of the cooling fans. The cheaper 730T does not include this integrated fan controller, however.

Both the 760T and 730T will be available in February from Corsair's authorized distributors and will include a 2 year warranty. The Graphite 760T has an MSRP of $179.99 for the black version and $189.99 for the arctic white SKU. On the other hand, if you can live without windowed side panels, a fan controller, and only one color choice, the black Graphite 730T has an MSRP of $139.99.

Personally, I find it to be a neat looking case that I am considering for my next build assuming the reviews hold up on the build quality. What do you think about the newest entrants to Corsair's Graphite Series?

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Corsair