New Intel Graphics Drivers Further Spread Quick Sync Video

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | February 25, 2014 - 01:33 PM |
Tagged: Ivy Bridge, Intel, iGPU, haswell

Recently, Intel released the 15.33.14.3412 (15.33.14.64.3412 for 64-bit) drivers for their Ivy Bridge and Haswell integrated graphics. The download was apparently published on January 29th while its patch notes are dated February 22nd. It features expanded support for Intel Quick Sync Video Technology, allowing certain Pentium and Celeron-class processors to access the feature, as well as an alleged increase in OpenGL-based games. Probably the most famous OpenGL title of our time is Minecraft, although I do not know if that specific game will see improvements (and if so, how much).

Intel-logo.svg_.png

The new driver enables Quick Sync Video for the following processors:

  • Pentium 3558U
  • Pentium 3561Y
  • Pentium G3220(Unsuffixed/T/TE)
  • Pentium G3420(Unsuffixed/T)
  • Pentium G3430
  • Celeron 2957U
  • Celeron 2961Y
  • Celeron 2981U
  • Celeron G1820(Unsuffixed/T/TE)
  • Celeron G1830

Besides the addition for these processors and the OpenGL performance improvements, the driver obviously fixes several bugs in each of its supported OSes. You can download the appropriate drivers from the Intel Download Center.

Source: Intel

BYOD is going to lead to BYOB in the IT Room

Subject: General Tech | February 25, 2014 - 12:44 PM |
Tagged: security, nightmare, byod

The new generation of workers arriving on the scene are of a connected generation, fully conformable with technology and ways of sharing; though with neither clue nor care about security.  That extends from doing an end run around Sharepoint and sFTP sites in favour of Dropbox and Google Drive, blissfully unaware that the Terms and Service agreement spell out that they now have a copy of your proprietary data for quality assurance purposes thus breaking security agreements made with clients.  The software is only a part of the problem as Bring Your Own Device arrives on the scene with your new hires.  Benchmark Reviews has put up an overview of what that may mean for many companies and discusses the benefits of implementing true Mobile Device Management software.  With proper MDM you can, for the most part, retain some control over the devices connected to your systems, attempting to blacklist the many apps which will happily share any of your company's information stored on the phone and in many cases be able to wipe the device remotely after the inevitable accidental loss of such a device.

MDM's mitigating the problems created by BYOD is good in theory but it overlooks one major issue that this will cause.  Your IT staff are now going to be bombarded by requests to fix these random devices, from Microsoft and Apple to Sony and Google through Lenovo and Samsung, every tablet or portable device in every possible configuration of OS and software will show up on your IT peoples desks.  Regardless the original official policy, once you accept BYOD your IT people will spend huge amounts of time figuring out basic troubleshooting for devices they've never seen before as you can bet there is no budget to give IT one of each device and time to get familiar with it. 

In many cases your techies won't even be able to say with certainty that the device is capable of doing what the user wants in the first place.  How will you explain to someone who picked up a Surface that WinRT is not going to be able to be added to the domain for ActiveSync access or that your Samsung just isn't going to connect to that Sharepoint site you do a lot of work on?  What will you do when someone hands you a Huawei MediaPad X1?  BYOD may attract young new minds to your company but realize that there is a cost to be paid in both lawyers fees when your client discover how much of their data has been accidentally shared as well as in the time your already overworked IT staff have to support your actual infrastructure.

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"Let’s face it, smart phones and tablets have become a common part of life. It is not unusual to walk into a place and see a majority of the people with their eyes down, totally engrossed in a mobile device. This is something that happens out in everyday life and is becoming increasingly more common in the workplace. Laptops and desktops are starting to be replaced by tablets and laptop-tablet hybrids. No matter the business industry, just like computers, tablets and smartphones are becoming essential in almost all areas of business."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

CompuLab Launches Haswell-Powered SFF Intense PC 2

Subject: General Tech | February 24, 2014 - 10:22 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, SFF, mintbox, linux, ipc2, haswell, compulab

CompuLab, the company behind the MintBox, launched its small form factor Intense PC 2 last month in four SKUs using Intel's latest Haswell processors. The systems are now available for purchase starting at $388 for the base model. The Intense PC 2 shares a similar form factor to the existing Intense PC and MintBox systems (resembling a consumer router), but features new hardware and IO options.

CompuLab IPC2.png

The Intense PC 2 measures 6.3” x 7.4”x 1.57” and has an aluminum chassis that acts as a passive heatsink for the internal components. The case is dark gray with a finned top surface. The front of the system can be customized with FACE modules that offer different IO options. However, by default the Intense PC 2 has two USB 3.0 ports and three indicator LEDs on the front and the following IO ports on the rear:

  • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports (Intel NICs)
  • 2 x HDMI video outputs
  • 1 x DisplayPort video output
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 3 x RS232
  • 3 x (2 x analog, 1 x digital S/PDIF)
  • 1 x SIM card slot
  • 2 x antenna connectors

The FACE modules can expand connectivity to include VGA ouptuts, video capture inputs, additional networking, and additional USB ports (among other options).

IPC2 IO.jpg

Internally, the Intense PC 2 has a small motherboard that comes with an Intel Celeron, i3, i5, or i7 Haswell processor, up to 16GB of DDR3L 1600 MHz memory (two slots), a single mSATA port, and a single mPCIE port (the mSATA port is a combo mSATA/mPCIe port). An 802.11ac+Bluetooth 4.0 radio is included as part of the package. The 15W TDP CPU can be passively cooled, and at the high end you can get up to an Intel Core i7 4600U with HD 4400 graphics. The dual core (plus hyperthreading) chip can turbo up to 3.3 GHz. The table below from the CompuLab specification sheet (PDF) details the hardware layouts of the various IPC2 SKUs.

IPC2.jpg

The Intense PC 2 is aimed at desktop users as well as the industrial sector. The passively cooled mini PC can be easily used as a desktop, home server, router+802.11ac access point, HTPC, or Steambox (streaming endpoint mainly), for example. It is also capable of driving signage and large 4K displays for adversiting and other tasks.

IPC2 pricing.jpg

The Intense PC is available in four base SKUs ranging in price from $388 to $902. Adding an SSD and/or pre-installed OS add to that base price. CompuLab offers a 5 year warranty on the SFF system.

Source: CompuLab

Microsoft is hoping price cuts will make Win8 more attractive

Subject: General Tech | February 24, 2014 - 12:19 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, surface, win8

DigiTimes does not specifically mention Surface but there are not too many devices running Windows 8 which can be purchased for under $250.   By reducing the licensing fee by $35 for machines that are at that price level Microsoft might make system builders a little more interested to include low cost Windows 8 machines in their lineup as they can sell at a higher margin or at a lower MSRP.  Of course consumers would still have to buy them for those companies to make a profit and it seems very unlikely that a 10% price reduction will convince people they need a Surface or similar device when there are so many other alternatives available.  It does make you wonder if you could get your hands on a Win8 license at a lower cost if you promise to install it on a cheap system.

Surface-Press-02-380-80.jpg

"Microsoft plans to further decrease Windows 8.1 licensing rates for entry-level PCs priced below US$250 and tablets, from nearly US$50 currently to about US$15, according to Taiwan-based PC supply chain makers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

MWC 2014: Lenovo S860, S850, S660 Phones Announced

Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | February 24, 2014 - 12:01 AM |
Tagged: smartphones, MWC 14, MWC, Lenovo

Also at Mobile World Congres, Lenovo expanded their smartphone portfolio with three additions. Each of these belong to the S-series, although they are only loosely related to one another. North American readers will probably not be able to purchase them, of course; Lenovo's US and Canada websites do not even have a section for smartphones (products like the Vibe Z can be searched directly - but are not available). I take that as a sign.

lenovo-mwc14-smartphones.jpg

Anyway, the three phones belong to the S-series but each has a distinct customer in mind. The S860 seems to picture a business user who travels and wants to talk for long periods of time between charges. The similarly named S850 cuts back on RAM and charge capacity, replacing it with aesthetics (colors and an all-glass exterior) and a slightly lower price for users looking for design. Finally, the S660 is the lowest-price of the three, sacrificing things like camera, storage, and screen resolution for users who do not care about any of that.

Let us compare the three phones in a table.

  S860 S850 S660
Display 5.3" 720p 5" 720p 4.7" 960x540
Processor (SoC) MediaTek Quad-Core, 1.3 GHz
RAM 2GB 1GB
Dual SIM Card Yes
Storage 16GB 8GB
Battery Capacity 4000mAh 2000mAh 3000mAh
Battery Life
24 hours
(3G voice)
Unlisted "All Day"

All three phones will be available this year, either at retail or on Lenovo's website. The Lenovo S860 is expected to retail for $349, the S850 should be $269, and the S660 comes in at $229.

Source: Lenovo

MWC 2014: Lenovo YOGA Tablet 10HD+ Announced

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | February 23, 2014 - 01:01 PM |
Tagged: tablet, MWC 14, MWC, lenovo yoga, Lenovo

At Mobile World Congress 2014, Lenovo has announced the YOGA Tablet 10 HD+. Just last month, we discussed the Yoga Tablet 8 and Yoga Tablet 10 which were presented in October. Those tablets each had a 1280x800 display (even the 10-inch model), both sizes use the same MediaTek MT8125 SoC (Wi-Fi, MT8389 for 3G), and it is 1GB of RAM all-around. Performance was expected to be in the ballpark of a Tegra 3 device.

Lenovo-yoga-tablet-hand.jpg

These are all areas which are bumped for the new YOGA Tablet 10 HD+. The 10.1-inch screen is now at 1080p quality, the SoC is a Qualcomm Snapdragon Quad running at 1.8 GHz, and the RAM is doubled to 2GB. It will running Android 4.3 with an alleged over-the-air (OTA) update to 4.4 KitKat, at some point.

android-yoga.png

Make sure to bend at the knee and put your hands toge... oh right.

Comparing between the Yoga Ultrabooks, running Windows, and the YOGA Tablets, running Android, would probably not be wise. They are very different designs. The Ultrabooks hinge with an always-attached keyboard while the tablets have a keyboard-less stand. Rather than the Ultrabooks trying to make a keyboard comfortable in tablet usage, the tablets use the small metal hinge to prop up the screen. They key aspect of the cylindrical hinge is its usage as a handle and the volume it provides as battery storage. Ryan found the old versions' 18-hour rated battery life to be fairly accurate, and the new 10 HD+ is rated for the same duration (actually, with a bonus 1000 mAh over the original Tablet 10). Another benefit of its battery location is that, if you are holding the tablet by its hinge, the battery's weight will not have much torque on your fingers.

Of course, now comes the all-important pricing and availability. The Lenovo YOGA Tablet 10 HD+ will be released in April starting at $349. This is higher than the prices of the Tablet 8 and Tablet 10, $199 and $274 respectively, but you also get more for it.

Lenovo Press Release after the break.

Source: Lenovo

MWC 2014: Lenovo DOit Apps Announcement

Subject: General Tech | February 23, 2014 - 01:01 PM |
Tagged: MWC 14, MWC, Lenovo, DOit

Lenovo, according to their tagline, is for those who do. Until now, they never quite define, "Do what?" At Mobile World Congress, they launched their lineup of mobile applications under their collective brand, "DOit". DOit! Suddenly, it all became clear.

lenovo-doit-camera.jpg

In all seriousness, Lenovo DOit is a collection of five apps which range from backup to camera usage which the company is announcing at Mobile World Congress. These apps are:

  • SHAREit: allows users to share photos, apps, contacts, and so forth on a peer-to-peer connection.
  • SECUREit: provides antimalware, data usage monitoring, and an encryption services.
  • SYNCit: stores an online backup of contacts, SMS text messages, and calls.
  • SNAPit: is an alternative camera app with its own set of features.
  • SEEit: manages your photo gallery and allows users filters and effects.

These apps attempt to put Lenovo's spin on the needs of their end-users. SHAREit as an example, which is available for Google, iOS, Windows Phone, and Windows XP/7/8, is developed around the hypothetical user who wants to share large data files between mobile devices. It seems like, because their example user would want to share across multiple devices, that they opened it up to other platforms and devices. On the other hand, SNAPit and SEEit are only available on Lenovo devices because it is an enhancement.

The availability of this suite varies on the device. SHAREit is available now on the Google Play store as a free app with iOS, Windows Phone, and Windows XP/7/8 allegedly coming before the end of the month. SYNCit and SECUREit is available on Google Play for free, but not for iOS or Windows. SNAPit and SEEit are only available pre-loaded on Lenovo smartphones and tablets, alongside other three apps.

The Lenovo announcement should be available at their news site.

Source: Lenovo

Free phone apps are pretty free with your personal information

Subject: General Tech | February 21, 2014 - 03:18 PM |
Tagged: appstore, apps, andriod, iphone, obvious

Perhaps there are some people out there who are unaware that the free apps you download to your phone are broadcasting a lot of information about them back to the publishers but it seems that even the paid apps are playing freely with your personal info.  According to the report The Inquirer read, of 95% of the top 200 free apps for iOS and Android have at least one nasty habit and more worrying is that 80% of the top paid for apps also have at least one questionable practice.  There are differences in what information is shared, free apps are more likely to broadcast your location.  Read on to see what else your apps are sharing with the world.

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"Could the apps you have installed on your mobile phone be snooping on you? Based on the latest data from app security analytics firm Appthority, it's not merely possible; it's actually more than likely, particularly if you downloaded those apps for free."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

The best possible way you could spend Saturday, Feb 22nd

Subject: General Tech | February 20, 2014 - 07:35 PM |
Tagged: vlan, gaming, fun, fragging frogs

This weekend, specifically at 10AM ET on February 22nd the fifth Virtual LAN Party kicks off,  hosted by the famous Fragging Frogs and PC Perspective, with a good chance of some secret visitors from the Red Team.  There is no set end time for the event nor for any of the games so if you have any time on Saturday in which you do not find yourself saving innocents from a fate worse than death* then hop on and play with us.  You get to hang out with Forum members you have built friendships with, shoot those you hold a grudge against, and have the chance to frag Ryan, Josh and all the other PC Per staff brave enough to set foot into this battle royale. 

brady.png

*The only acceptable excuse to bail on us.

The games are many, both old and new; with a strong likelihood of every Battlefield game since 1942 represented along with spicy versions of Unreal 2004, Torchlight II, Hawken, a game involving heavy weapons versus dinosaurs and much more.  You can see the whole list here and can suggest others if we missed one of your favourites.  To prepare for the event you should install TeamSpeak 3 which is our chat client of choice; you can find the server info right here.  Other than that just show up when you can and hop into the game of your choice.

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We have been doing VLAN's on a very irregular schedule since 2010 but if this weekend goes well we might just start eating a bit more fibre and start a more regular schedule.  There were once even tournaments held, though that was back when UT2K4 was shiny and new, which we could start up again.  For even more fun, you could help the Frogs get back together on the regular schedule we used to hold to back in the golden days of yore.  Don't forget to consider a jump in The Pond once you are finished playing, keep that CPU and GPU working full out!

PCPerEditorsChoicePNG-200.png

This is also a great time to thank Lenny and AMD for the wonderful good deed that they did for one of our long term members.  You can read about their good works here and be sure to thank them for putting the effort into helping out one of our own.  

We look forward to seeing you there and shooting you several times.

NVIDIA Coin Mining Performance Increases with Maxwell and GTX 750 Ti

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 20, 2014 - 05:45 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, mining, maxwell, litecoin, gtx 750 ti, geforce, dogecoin, coin, bitcoin, altcoin

As we have talked about on several different occasions, Altcoin mining (anything that is NOT Bitcoin specifically) is a force on the current GPU market whether we like it or not. Traditionally, Miners have only bought AMD-based GPUs, due to the performance advantage when compared to their NVIDIA competition. However, with continued development of the cudaMiner application over the past few months, NVIDIA cards have been gaining performance in Scrypt mining.

The biggest performance change we've seen yet has come with a new version of cudaMiner released yesterday. This new version (2014-02-18) brings initial support for the Maxwell architecture, which was just released yesterday in the GTX 750 and 750 Ti. With support for Maxwell, mining starts to become a more compelling option with this new NVIDIA GPU.

With the new version of cudaMiner on the reference version of the GTX 750 Ti, we were able to achieve a hashrate of 263 KH/s, impressive when you compare it to the performance of the previous generation, Kepler-based GTX 650 Ti, which tops out at about 150KH/s or so.

IMG_9552.JPG

As you may know from our full GTX 750 Ti Review,  the GM107 overclocks very well. We were able to push our sample to the highest offset configurable of +135 MHz, with an additional 500 MHz added to the memory frequency, and 31 mV bump to the voltage offset. All of this combined to a ~1200 MHz clockspeed while mining, and an additional 40 KH/s or so of performance, bringing us to just under 300KH/s with the 750 Ti.

perf.png

As we compare the performance of the 750 Ti to AMD GPUs and previous generation NVIDIA GPUs, we start to see how impressive the performance of this card stacks up considering the $150 MSRP. For less than half the price of the GTX 770, and roughly the same price as a R7 260X, you can achieve the same performance.

power.png

When we look at power consumption based on the TDP of each card, this comparison only becomes more impressive. At 60W, there is no card that comes close to the performance of the 750 Ti when mining. This means you will spend less to run a 750 Ti than a R7 260X or GTX 770 for roughly the same hash rate.

perfdollar.png

Taking a look at the performance per dollar ratings of these graphics cards, we see the two top performers are the AMD R7 260X and our overclocked GTX 750 Ti.

perfpower.png

However, when looking at the performance per watt differences of the field, the GTX 750 Ti looks more impressive. While most miners may think they don't care about power draw, it can help your bottom line. By being able to buy a smaller, less efficient power supply the payoff date for the hardware is moved up.  This also bodes well for future Maxwell based graphics cards that we will likely see released later in 2014.  

Continue reading our look at Coin Mining performance with the GTX 750 Ti and Maxwell!!

Podcast #288 - NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti, Upgrading Crappy Desktops, 5TB Hard Drives and more!

Subject: General Tech | February 20, 2014 - 02:17 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, toshiba, raptr, R9 290X, r9 290, pcper, OEM, maxwell, gtx 750 ti, desktop pc, 750 ti, 5TB

PC Perspective Podcast #288 - 02/20/2014

Join us this week as we discuss the release of the NVIDIA GTX 750 Ti, Upgrading Crappy Desktops, 5TB Hard Drives 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, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

 
Program length: 1:13:15
 
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Allyn: Got Descent? Great! Now run it in high res (D1X Rebirth).
  4. Closing/outro

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

 

VIA is not dead yet; maybe?

Subject: General Tech | February 20, 2014 - 01:36 PM |
Tagged: VIA, rumours

VIA, that once famous company which has petered out in the North American market is back in the news.  According to DigiTimes they recently joined forces with a firm owned by the Chinese government and is now moving production over to new facilities.  VIA has only 20% of this new joint venture which could signal the final end to their existence as a producer of x86 processors.  The move could be influenced by Intel, who license both the PCIe and x86 technology to VIA but this is deemed unlikely as Intel would like to stay on the Chinese governments good side.  The current Nano and V7 are Vista capable and appear in mobile devices in the AP region.

10b.jpg

"VIA Technologies is rumored to have started shifting its x86 CPU technologies and related personnel to its newly formed IC design joint venture with a China government-owned investment firm, according to market watchers, adding that VIA recently notified clients that it will stop supplying x86 processors temporarily."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Square Enix Interested in Final Fantasy PC

Subject: General Tech | February 20, 2014 - 02:40 AM |
Tagged: square enix, pc gaming, final fantasy

Update: Fixed a couple of points as per the comments.

Final Fantasy might be returning to the PC as its publisher, Square Enix, grows more interested in the platform. Final Fantasy VII and VIII were both available on the PC within a few months of their original PlayStation releases. Since then, Final Fantasy was basically non-existent on the platform, beyond the two MMO releases (XI and XIV).

square-final-fantasy-7.jpg

Within the last year, both titles were re-released on Steam to decent sales. Yoshinori Kitase, producer for the franchise, told Eurogamer that this popularity has grabbed their attention. He acknowledged that the developer does not have a lot of experience with creating a good PC experience, but they could be very interested in the future.

It's an early stage for us. We haven't got an awful lot of experience in this field. So when we have more know-how and experience in this market we would be very interested.

Kitase also noted that, by ignoring the PC platform, their games are completely off the table in several markets. He did not mention any markets by name, but China only recently reopened its borders to Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo after banning them in 2000. In Brazil, a PS4 launched at a little over 3x the US price, after converting into USD, because of tax and other distribution issues.

Also, while not mentioned in the article, Square Enix has been very active in porting their back-catalog to mobile platforms. This seems to be a time of re-evaluation for the company. While they have had recent troubles with projecting sales figures, mostly with Eidos releases, they have at least dodged Games for Windows Live in favor of Steam.

Also, ending with a pun, Final Fantasy VII supports Cloud Saves. Hehehe.

Source: Eurogamer

Wolfenstein: The New Order Pre-Order Includes Doom Beta

Subject: General Tech | February 19, 2014 - 07:22 PM |
Tagged: wolfenstein, Doom 4, bethesda

Of course, many will disagree with the concept of pre-ordering. Many have said that you should wait until reviews are released before making a purchase. Ironically, a couple of these people have also argued against the merits of game reviews, which is food for thought. Still, there is a solid argument for not spending your money blindly. It can be nice to get bonus content for reserving copies, such as developer commentary, but it can easily get ridiculous.

31-rage.jpg

What if I don't own that platform!!!

In this case, if you pre-order Wolfenstein: The New Order, you will get access to the beta for the upcoming Doom game (carefully not called, "Doom 4") inside the box. Unfortunately, they will not provide much more details than that. They will not mention whether it will be single-player or multiplayer, when it will start, how long it will last, or what platforms it will occur on.

"Beta timing and platform options are subject to Bethesda Softworks' discretion."

Personally, I cannot see how this would be possible. Wouldn't it be absolutely terrible PR if a gamer purchased Wolfenstein for a platform that the Doom Beta was not available for? I would have to expect that this is only in there for legal reasons, in case an issue arises. Still, that would absolutely suck. Bethesda does like the PC platform, however. I guess we have that going for us.

Wolfenstein: The New World Order will be available on May 20th in North America.

Source: Bethesda

Irrational Games Implodes with Controlled Demolition

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | February 19, 2014 - 06:15 PM |
Tagged: bioshock infinite

The team behind the original BioShock and Bioshock: Infinite decided to call it quits. After seventeen years, depending on where you start counting, the company dissolved to form another, much smaller studio. Only about fifteen employees will transition to the new team. The rest are provided financial support, given a bit of time to develop their portfolios, and can attend a recruitment day to be interviewed by other studios and publishers. They may also be offered employment elsewhere in Take-Two Interactive.

bioshock_infinite_sp.jpg

The studio formed by the handful of remaining employees will look to develop games based on narrative, which is definitely their strength. Each game will be distributed digitally and Take-Two will continue to be their parent company.

While any job loss is terrible, I am interested in the future project. BioShock: Infinite sold millions of copies but I wonder if its size ultimately caused it harm. It was pretty and full of detail, at the expense of requiring a large team. The game had a story which respected your intelligence, you may not understand it and that was okay, but I have little confidence that it was anywhere close to the team's original vision. From budget constraints to the religious beliefs of development staff, we already know about several aspects of the game that changed significantly. Even Elizabeth, according to earlier statements from Ken Levine, was on the bubble because of her AI's complexity. I can imagine how difficult it is to resist those changes when seeing man-hour budgets. I cannot, however, imagine BioShock: Infinite without Elizabeth. A smaller team might help them concentrate their effort where it matters and keep artistic vision from becoming too dilute.

As for BioShock? The second part of the Burial at Sea DLC is said to wrap up the entire franchise. 2K will retain the license if they want to release sequels or spin-offs. I doubt Ken Levine will have anything more to do with it, however.

Can Titanfall really be as fun as it sounds?

Subject: General Tech | February 19, 2014 - 04:01 PM |
Tagged: gaming, titanfall, modding

If you didn't get lucky enough to get in on the Titanfall demo then all you can do is read the previews and wonder if what you are missing out on is really as good as people say it is.  The reviews we've seen have been very positive and describe what seems to be a new style of online shooter.  The basics remain the same and we have all seen footage of the 3 storey mechs which give the game its name but Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN also describes how parkour is a big part of the game and is easier to get used to than Mirror's Edge.  The launch process also sounds like an improvement, when starting you end up in a private area which makes it easy to pick who you play with if you have a group of up to 12 people together.  Even with the limit of 6 players per side the map won't feel empty thanks to the designed inclusion of bots on both teams.  It is also nice to hear that Respawn is already acknowledging the modding community for the PC version of their game.

titan3.jpg

"There are a lot of different ways to make videogame fights meaningful. Singleplayer games do it by couching your shotgun blasts and pistol whips in the context of a story. Multiplayer games do it by emphasising competition via scoreboards, and by layering XP bonuses and equipment progression on top as rewards for each kill. Titanfall aims to do it with a mixture of all of the above, and based on its limited beta, finds mixed success."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Another reason to toss a Tomato onto your router

Subject: General Tech | February 19, 2014 - 12:33 PM |
Tagged: security, router, TheMoon

A worm known as TheMoon has been in the news recently but the actual infection of Linksys routers has likely been spreading for quite a while now.  You may have also read about the backdoor on Linksys/Cisco and Netgear routers which as been open for almost a decade and can be as simple as connecting to port 8083 if you can get direct access to the router.  Some of these vulnerabilities can be mitigated by turning off remote administration and uPNP services but it seems your consumer level router is still a huge security risk.  Your best bet is to spend a weekend and follow the advice of most Slashdot commentators; flash your router with OpenWRT or a version of Tomato and you will have better security and control over your router.  Just don't do it to the modem your ISP provided you with.

foneraOpenWRT02small.gif

"The remote-access management flaw that allowed TheMoon worm to thrive on Linksys routers is far from the only vulnerability in that particular brand of hardware, though it might be simpler to call all home-based wireless routers gaping holes of insecurity than to list all the flaws in those of just one vendor. An even longer list of Linksys (and Cisco and Netgear) routers were identified in January as having a backdoor built into the original versions of their firmware in 2005 and never taken out."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Slashdot

Intel Roadmap Including Xeon E7 v2 Lineup

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | February 19, 2014 - 03:28 AM |
Tagged: Intel, SoC, atom, haswell, Haswell-E, Airmont, Ivy Bridge-EX

Every few months, we get another snapshot at some of Intel's products. This timeline has a rough placement for every segment, from their Internet of Things (IoT) product, the Quark, up to the Xeon E7 v2. While it covers from now through December, it is not designed to be a strict schedule and might contain an error or two.

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Image Credit: VR-Zone

First up is Ivy Bridge-EX (Xeon E7 v2). PCMag has an interesting rundown on these parts in depth, although some aspects are a little fuzzy. These 22nm-based chips range from 6 to 15 cores and can access up to 1.5TB of memory, per socket. Intel also claims they will support up to four times the I/O bandwidth for disk and network transactions. Naturally, they have all the usual virtualization and other features that are useful for servers. Most support Turbo Boost and all but one have Hyper-Threading Technology.

Jumping back to the VR-Zone editorial, the timeline suggests that the Quark X1000 will launch in April. As far as I can tell, this is new information. Quark is Intel's ultra low-end SoC that is designed for adding intelligence to non-computing devices. One example given by Intel at CES was a smart baby bottle warmer.

The refresh of Haswell is also expected to happen in April.

Heading into the third quarter, we should see Haswell-E make an appearance for the enthusiast desktop and moderately high-end server. This should be the first time since Sandy Bridge-E (2011) that expensive PCs get a healthy boost to single-threaded performance, clock for clock. Ivy Bridge-E, while a welcome addition, was definitely aimed at reducing power consumption.

Ending the year should be the launch of Airmont at 14nm. The successor to Silvermont, Airmont will be the basis of Cherry Trail tablets and lower end PCs at the very end of the year. Moorefield, which is Airmont for smartphones, is not listed on this roadmap and should not surface until 2015.

Source: VR-Zone

AMD Gaming Evolved App with Redeemable Prizes

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 19, 2014 - 12:01 AM |
Tagged: raptr, gaming evolved, amd

The AMD Gaming Evolved App updates your drivers, optimizes your game settings, streams your gameplay to Twitch, accesses some social media platforms, and now gives prizes. Points are given for playing games using the app, optimizing game settings, and so forth. These can be exchanged for rewards ranging from free games, to Sapphire R9-series graphics cards.

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This program has been in beta for a little while now, without the ability to redeem points. The system has been restructured to encourage using the entire app by lowering the accumulation rate for playing games and adding other goals. Beta participants do not lose all of their points, rather it is rescaled more in line with the new system.

The Gaming Evolved prize program has launched today.

Press release after the teaser.

Source: raptr

NVIDIA Releases GeForce TITAN Black

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 18, 2014 - 09:03 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, gtx titan black, geforce titan, geforce

NVIDIA has just announced the GeForce GTX Titan Black. Based on the full high-performance Kepler (GK110) chip, it is mostly expected to be a lower cost development platform for GPU processing applications. All 2,880 single precision (FP32) CUDA Cores and 960 double precision (FP64) CUDA Cores are unlocked, yielding 5.1 TeraFLOPs of 32-bit decimal and 1.3 TeraFLOPs of 64-bit decimal performance. The chip contains 1536kB of L2 Cache and will be paired with 6GB of video memory on the board.

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The original GeForce GTX Titan launched last year, almost to the day. Also based on the GK110 design, it also featured full double precision performance with only one SMX disabled. Of course, no component at the time contained a fully-enabled GK110 processor. The first product with all 15 SMX units active was not realized until the Quadro K6000, announced in July but only available in the fall. It was followed by the GeForce GTX 780 Ti (with a fraction of its FP64 performance) in November, and the fully powered Tesla K40 less than two weeks after that.

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For gaming applications, this card is expected to have comparable performance to the GTX 780 Ti... unless you can find a use for the extra 3GB of memory. Games do not display much benefit with the extra 64-bit floating point (decimal) performance because the majority of their calculations are at 32-bit precision.

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Black is available today at a price of $999.

Source: NVIDIA