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Subject: General Tech, Mobile | May 15, 2014 - 02:59 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Sound Blaster E3, Sound Blaster E1, Creative
Okay, so these products (SoundBlaster E1 and SoundBlaster E3) are confusing because they have several roles. Both are billed as "headphone amplifiers" with battery power. These types of products are somewhat rare and niche on the whole. Probably the main reason for using the amplifier portion is if you had high impedance headphones. Creative claims to support 600 Ohm headphones with both of these models.
And this is where Creative started tossing other features in.
Both the E1 and E3 can be used as an external sound adapter for PCs and Macs. While features, such as EAX, have gone by the wayside due to modern audio APIs, there is still room for sound devices to differentiate in terms of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), and so forth, especially when compared to some on-board solutions. Speaking of SNR, the E1 advertises 106dB while the E3, 110dB. Also, sometimes you just want another sound card and USB is convenient. Both include ASIO drivers which is especially useful, although not too uncommon, for professional recording software.
The E3 then goes off on a tangent. Its USB hookup can attach not just to PCs and Mac, but also Android and iOS mobile devices. While it also has Bluetooth for iOS 5+ and Android 3.1+, it can be used as a wired, external sound card over USB on Android 4.2+ (using USB Streaming over Android Open Accessory Protocol 2.0) and iOS 7+ (using a Lightning USB adapter). This allows users to bypass the built-in amplifiers of their smartphones and tablets without Bluetooth compression. I would be interested to see reviews of this unit compared with the 3.5mm jack quality of typical mobile devices.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 14, 2014 - 09:56 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ultraviolet, mozilla, DRM, Adobe Access, Adobe
Needless to say, DRM is a controversial topic and I am clearly against it. I do not blame Mozilla. The non-profit organization responsible for Firefox knew that they could not oppose Chrome, IE, and Safari while being a consumer software provider. I do not even blame Apple, Google, and Microsoft for their decisions, either. This problem is much bigger and it comes down to a total misunderstanding of basic mathematics (albeit at a ridiculously abstract and applied level).
Simply put, piracy figures are meaningless. They are a measure of how many people use content without paying (assuming they are even accurate). You know what is more useful? Sales figures. Piracy figures are measurements, dependent variables, and so is revenue. Measurements cannot influence other measurements. Specifically, measurements cannot influence anything because they are, themselves, the result of influences. That is what "a measure" is.
Implementing DRM is not a measurement, however. It is a controllable action whose influence can be recorded. If you implement DRM and your sales go down, it hurt you. You may notice piracy figures decline. However, you should be too busy to care because you should be spending your time trying to undo the damage you did to your sales! Why are you looking at piracy figures when you're bleeding money?
I have yet to see a DRM implementation that correlated with an increase in sales. I have, however, seen some which correlate to a massive decrease.
The thing is, Netflix might know that and I am pretty sure that some of the web browser companies know that. They do not necessarily want to implement DRM. What they want is content and, surprise, the people who are in charge of the content are definitely not enlightened to that logic. I am not even sure if they realize that the reason why content is pirated before their release dates is because they are not leaked by end users.
But whatever. Technical companies, who want that content available on their products, are stuck finding a way to appease those content companies in a way that damages their users and shrinks their potential market the least. For Mozilla, this means keeping as much open as possible.
Since they do not have existing relationships with Hollywood, Adobe Access will be the actual method of displaying the video. They are clear to note that this only applies to video. They believe their existing relationships in text, images, and games will prevent the disease from spreading. This is basically a plug-in architecture with a sandbox that is open source and as strict as possible.
This sandbox is intended to prevent a security vulnerability from having access to the host system, give a method of controlling the DRM's performance if it hitches, and not allow the DRM to query the machine for authentication. The last part is something they wanted to highlight, because it shows their effort to protect the privacy of their users. They also imply a method for users to opt-out but did not go into specifics.
As an aside, Adobe will support their Access DRM software on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Mozilla is pushing hard for Android and Firefox OS, too. According to Adobe, Access DRM is certified for use with Ultraviolet content.
I accept Mozilla's decision to join everyone else but I am sad that it came to this. I can think of only two reasons for including DRM: for legal (felony) "protection" under the DMCA or to make content companies feel better while they slowly sink their own ships chasing after numbers which have nothing to do with profits or revenue.
Ultimately, though, they made a compromise. That is always how we stumble and fall down slippery slopes. I am disappointed but I cannot suggest a better option.
Subject: General Tech | May 14, 2014 - 04:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, carmageddon reincarnation, Alpha
If you have fond memories of the first two Carmageddon games and are still a little bitter about TDR 2000 then you probably don't live in Australia. For those sick and twisted individuals who did love picking pedestrian guts out of their hair and who didn't back the Kickstarter, for $30 you can pick up Carmageddon: Reincarnation on Steam; at least the early access version. What better way to spend an evening that by torturing peds, other racers and yourself as the game is more than a little buggy at this point, with missing content and a new city map that will crush your GPU. Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN takes a peek under the bloody hood here and if you do pick up the game remember to post any serious (and repeatable) issues at http://carmageddon.com/bugger.
For a more stable gaming experience just head to the Gaming Forum and see when the Fragging Frogs will be playing next.
"Anyway, in the meantime, work continues. Carmageddon: Reincarnation yesterday launched its second big Early Access update, bringing a new level, three new cars, more performance options, and other doodads."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Deals up to 90% on 100 great titles in limited numbers--Spring Insomnia Sale kicks off! @ Good Old Games
- Humble Bundle kicks off 14 days of daily game bundles @ HEXUS
- EA Ending Online Support For Dozens of Games @ Slashdot
- Portal on the NVIDIA SHIELD for $9.99 @ Legit Reviews
- Gameplay trailer for Titanfall Expedition DLC published @ HEXUS
- Details of Battlefield 4: Dragon's Teeth DLC leak out @ HEXUS
- IN THE GRIM DARKNESS OF THE FAR FUTURE THERE IS ONLY CHESS @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Impressions: Stalker: Lost Alpha @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | May 14, 2014 - 02:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: kinect, Oculus
Gizmodo might be going a bit far in calling this a Holodeck but what Oliver Kreylos has done with three Kinects and an Oculus Rift is rather impressive. As with most cool new projects involving the Oculus you cannot capture what is going on with a picture but that doesn't help with the jealousy you will be feeling after watching some of the videos. The Kinects capture his motion and the Oculus displays his body inside the zombie game he is using; there will be some space limitations if you are not good at walking in place but it certainly seems less expensive to set up than previous devices we have seen.
"With no shortage of ingenuity, 3D video expert Oliver Kreylos managed to transplant his entire body into a virtual reality environment using three Microsoft Kinects and an Oculus Rift. It's a little fuzzy, but it's easy to recognize what he's really done. He's created a Holodeck—or something close to it."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- CSO John Byrne claims AMD is leading @ Kitguru
- The RAM Disk Guide @ TechARP
- Intel wireless charging bowl video demo @ The Inquirer
- Apple, Beats and fools with money who trust celeb endorsements @ The Register
- Red Hat burps out cloudy OpenStack beta distribution @ The Register
- BlackBerry opens devices to third-party management – including its new, sub-$200 Z3 @ The Register
- More light bulbs? Yep, more light bulbs @ The Tech Report
- Your Old CD Collection Is Dying @ Slashdot
Subject: General Tech | May 13, 2014 - 12:40 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: opengl, Intel, amd, nividia, graphics drivers
If you have ever wondered what happened to OpenGL games which used to be common then there is a good post to read over on Slashdot. A developer paints an honest and somewhat depressing picture of what it takes to write working OpenGL code in this day and age. In his mind the blame lies squarely on the driver teams at the three major graphics vendors, with different issues with each of them. While officially referred to as Vendors A, B and C anyone even slightly familiar with the market will figure out exactly which companies are being referred to. While this is a topic worthy of ranting comments be aware that this refers specifically to the OpenGL driver, not the DirectX or Mantle drivers and each company has it's own way of making programmers lives difficult, none are without blame.
"Rich Geldreich (game/graphics programmer) has made a blog post on the quality of different OpenGL Drivers. Using anonymous titles (Vendor A: Nvidia; Vendor B: AMD; Vendor C: Intel), he plots the landscape of game development using OpenGL. Vendor A, jovially known as 'Graphics Mafia' concentrates heavily on performance but won't share its specifications, thus blocking any open source driver implementations as much as possible. Vendor B has the most flaky drivers. They have good technical know-how on OpenGL but due to an extremely small team (money woes), they have shoddy drivers. Vendor C is extremely rich."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Qualcomm plans to shift 20nm orders from TSMC to Samsung or Globalfoundries, say sources @ DigiTimes
- NSA is accused of sneaking backdoors into hardware exports @ The Inquirer
- Mozilla axes HATED ads-in-Firefox tab ... but they won't stay dead for long @ The Register
- The Illusion of Overclocking Support @ Hardware Asylum
- WIN Awesome i5 4690 CYBERPOWER Z97 PC @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | May 12, 2014 - 09:42 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, shield, half-life 2, Portal
What would Gordon Freeman do? He would tell everyone to... ... oh right.
Well, apparently he is available on the NVIDIA SHIELD, now, along with Portal. I am not talking about GameStream. These two games have been ported to Android, but only through the SHIELD. From their screenshots, the mobile games look pretty good, especially Portal with its look-through mechanics.
As usual, whenever NVIDIA really wants something, they will often parachute engineers through your skylights to do it for you. The company revolves around delivering experiences to their customers, which is a good mindset for a company to have. This is one of the main reasons for Microsoft and the success of PC gaming, especially in the late 90's with their DirectX efforts.
If you have an NVIDIA SHIELD, Half Life 2 and Portal are available now for $9.99, through TegraZone.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 12, 2014 - 08:00 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: titan z, nvidia, gtx titan z, geforce
To a crowd of press and developers at their GTC summit, NVIDIA announced the GeForce GTX Titan Z add-in board (AIB). Each of the two, fully unlocked, GK110 GPUs would each have access to 6GB of GDDR5 memory (12GB total). The card was expected to be available on May 8th but has yet to surface. As NVIDIA has yet to comment on the situation, many question whether it ever will.
And then we get what we think are leaked benchmarks (note: two pictures).
One concern about the Titan Z was its rated 8 TeraFLOPs of compute performance. This is a fairly sizable reduction from the theoretical maximum of 10.24 TeraFLOPs of two Titan Black processors and even less than two first-generation Titans (9 TeraFLOPs combined). We expected that this is due to reduced clock rates. What we did not expect is for benchmarks to show the GPUs boost way above those advertised levels, and even beyond the advertised boost clocks of the Titan Black and the 780 Ti. The card was seen pushing 1058 MHz in some sections, which leads to a theoretical compute performance of 12.2 TeraFLOPs (6.1 TeraFLOPs per GPU) in single precision. That is a lot.
These benchmarks also show that NVIDIA has a slight lead over AMD's R9 295X2 in many games, except Battlefield 4 and Sleeping Dogs (plus 3DMark and Unigine). Of course, these benchmarks measure the software reported frame rate and frame times and those may or may not be indicative of actual performance. While I would say that the Titan Z appears to have a slight performance lead over the R9 295X2, although a solid argument for an AMD performance win exists, it does so double the cost (at its expected $3000 USD price point). That is not up for debate.
So, until NVIDIA says anything, the Titan Z is in limbo. I am sure there exists CUDA developers who await its arrival. Personally, I would just get three Titan Blacks since you are going to need to manually schedule your workloads across multiple processors anyway (or 780 Tis if 32-bit arithmetic is enough precision). That is, of course, unless you cannot physically fit enough GeForce Titan Blacks in your motherboard and, as such, you require two GK110 chips per AIB (but not enough to bother writing a cluster scheduling application).
Subject: General Tech, Displays | May 12, 2014 - 03:29 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: g-sync, freesync, displayport 1.2a, adaptive sync
AMD might have originally thought that dynamic refresh rates were not worth adding to their machines but they did develop FreeSync quite a while ago and now that G-Sync is available they've changed their minds. Even better for the consumer is the way that they went about releasing it; not as proprietary hardware which is only compatible with certain monitors but as an update to the DisplayPort standard which does not require any extra hardware. We do still have a while to wait before these monitors hit the shelves, the display scaler and control chips manufactures will have to incorporate the new standard into their designs but once they do they should be functional on both NVIDIA and AMD as long as you are connecting with DisplayPort. Read more about the process on The Tech Report.
Also, you can read the official VESA press release.
"PC gaming animation may soon become more fluid than ever, thanks to a development just announced by the folks at the VESA display standards organization. VESA has officially added a feature called Adaptive Sync to the DisplayPort 1.2a specification, which means that a G-Sync-style adaptive refresh mechanism could be built into nearly every new desktop monitor in the coming months and years."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The TR Podcast 154: AMD's K12, OCZ's future and the Z97 invasion begins
- Windows 8.1 Update Deadline Pushed Back @ [H]ard|OCP
- Choose Your Favorite Open Source SBC, Enter to Win Prizes @ Linux.com
- Nvidia's 64-bit Tegra K1 could end up in microservers @ The Inquirer
- ARM lays the foundation for a data center invasion @ The Tech Report
- Don't fret over SOHO routers and Heartbleed. But yeah, there's LOADS to fear on home kit @ The Register
- HyperX Event at 2BY2 @ Madshrimps
- Asus PCE-AC68 802.11ac Dual-Band PCI Express Wireless Adaptor @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech, Processors | May 11, 2014 - 11:41 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ulv, mobile apu, laptop, Kaveri, APU, amd
According to leaked information, AMD will allegedly be releasing mobile versions of its Kaveri APU later this year. There are reportedly seven new processors aimed at laptops and tablet that follow the same basic design as their desktop counterparts: steamroller CPU cores paired with a GCN-based graphics portion and an integrated memory controller.
According to information obtained by WCCF Tech, AMD will release four ULV and three standard voltage parts. All but one APU will have four Steamroller CPU cores paired with an Radeon R4, R5, R6, or R7 graphics processor with up to 512 GCN cores. The mobile APUs allegedly range in TDP from 17W to 35W and support various AMD technologies including TrueAudio, Mantle, and Eyefinity.
An AMD slide showing a die shot of the desktop "Kaveri" Accelerated Processing Unit (APU).
Of the seven rumored APUs, two of them are OEM-only parts that feature the “FX” moniker. The FX-7500 is the fastest ULV (ultra-low voltage) APU while the FX-7600P is AMD’s flagship mobile processor.
The FX-7600P is the chip that should most interest mobile gamers and enthusiasts looking for a powerful AMD-powered laptop or tablet. This processor allegedly features four CPU cores clocked at 2.7GHz base (that turbo to a maximum of 3.6GHz), a GPU with 512 GCN cores clocked at a base of 600MHz and a boost clock of 666MHz. The chip further uses 4MB of L2 cache and is a 35W TDP part. This should be a decent processor for laptops, offering acceptable general performance and some nice mobile gaming with the beefy integrated GPU!
The leaked AMD mobile Kaveri APU lineup via WCCF Tech.
Of course, for productivity machines where portability and battery life are bigger concerns, AMD will reportedly be offering up the dual core A6-7000. This 17W ULV processor combines two cores clocked at 2.2GHz (3.0GHz boost), a GPU based on the Radeon R4 with 192 GCN cores (494MHz base and 533MHz boost), and 2MB of L2 cache. Compared to the FX-7600P (and especially the desktop parts), the A6-7000 sips power. We will have to wait for reviews to see how it performs, but it will be facing stiff competition from Intel’s Core i3 Haswell CPUs and even the Bay Trail SoCs which come in at a lower TDP and offer higher thread counts. The GPU capabilities and GPGPU / HSA software advancements (such as LibreOffice adding GPGPU support) will make or break the A6-7000, in my opinion.
In all, the leaked mobile chips appear to be a decent upgrade over the previous generation. The new mobile APUs will bring incremental performance and power saving benefits to bear against competition from Intel. I’m looking forward to more official information and seeing what the OEMs are able to do with the new chips.
Subject: General Tech | May 8, 2014 - 03:04 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, unreal engine 4, Unreal Tournament, kick ass, epic games
The only way Epic could have excited gamers more than the announcement that Unreal Tournament is coming back is to announce that it is utterly free with no DLC or pay-to-win ... which is exactly what they did! It will be built on Unreal Engine 4, the one you can license at $19 a month and will be designed from the ground up to be moddable and eventually there will be a marketplace where modders can trade, sell or give away their work. Polygon wasn't given any hint of a release date but this news is so exciting it almost makes you forget UT3 ever existed!
Of course you don't have to wait to join in on some classic UT2K4 action, just head to the Gaming Forum and see when the Fragging Frogs will be playing next.
"Developer Epic Games revealed today that the multiplayer shooter's next incarnation — in development in Unreal Engine 4 for Linux, Mac and Windows PC and called simply Unreal Tournament — will be free, moddable and collaboratively developed with fans."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Sci-Fi Contest Winners @ Hack a Day
- Microsoft is developing a smartwatch to rival Samsung, Sony and Apple @ The Inquirer
- Whoops! Nvidia lets slip Q1 earnings early – and they're solid @ The Register
- HP's virtual cloud-based Z Workstation packs Nvidia Grid K2 graphics @ The Inquirer
- FCC MUST protect net neutrality to preserve AMERICA, say Google et al @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | May 8, 2014 - 11:57 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, asus, z97, Z97-Deluxe, ncase, m1, amd, seattle, arm, nvidia, Portal, shield
PC Perspective Podcast #299 - 05/08/2014
Join us this week as we discuss ASUS Z97-Deluxe, NCASE M1 Case, AMD's custom ARM Designs and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano, and Morry Tietelman
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Subject: General Tech | May 7, 2014 - 03:50 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, Star Wars, Star Wars Battlefront, dice, ea
We have been not so patiently waiting for this announcement from DICE and EA ever since last years E3 but we finally have a rough idea when we can expect Star Wars Battlefield ... in about another year. While that is not the answer we were hoping for it does give hope to fans that we will indeed venture once more into a galaxy far far away! EA even suggested there could be as many as six new titles announced at the next E3 though we do not know how many will take place in the Star Wars universe; who knows they might even set one in the Legends Universe. Click on the links at Polygon for the full story.
"Publisher Electronic Arts plans to show more from Star Wars: Battlefront, the DICE-developed game set in the Star Wars universe, at this year's E3, EA CEO Andrew Wilson said during an investor call today."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare revealed ahead of schedule @ HEXUS
- House Of Cods: New Call Of Duty Has PMCs, Kevin Spacey @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Steam Who? – Humble Bundle’s Spring Sale @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Space Empires IV Deluxe WEEK LONG DEAL! Offer ends 12 May - $2.49 @ Steam
- Wot I Made: Sir, You Are Being Hunted V1.0 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Nvidia Shield Portable Games Console @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | May 7, 2014 - 03:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, fun, fragging frogs
The Fragging Frogs doubled our previous attendance at the 6th Virtual LAN party and may well have quadrupled the fun. UT2004 and Battlefield 4 were by far the highest attended events with Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and Titanfall also attracting quite a few gamers. There were two challenges for prizes, an elimination UT2K4 event in which the top 10 scores went on to try to kill Lenny as many times as possible in an all versus Lenny team deathmatch. He loves that kind of attention and we love that game, especially Fragball with Redeemers!
The second challenge took place in BF4; the first player to knife either O-Dog or tommyp1ckles picked up one of the over two dozen AMD FX-8350s we gave away. O-Dog managed to embarrass himself a bit, managing to get stabbed in under a minute in the first of the two challenges but redeemed himself by stabbing tommyp1ckles in the second round.
You can find out when the next Virtual LAN Party is as well join in on the regular Fragging Frogs gaming sessions reach out to Lenny and all the gang on the Gaming Forum.
The full list of prizes included:
- FX-8350 processors - 25 in total!
- Warsam71's personal 7990 dual GPU video card
- Never Settle Forever SILVER game codes - 10 in total
From Epic Games:
- Games, strategy guides and posters signed by Tim Sweeney
- keys chain, sticker and bracelet sets
Thanks go to Warsam71 from AMD and iFlak from Epic who helped make this event even better and stopped by for a little gaming themselves.
Also, special thanks go to:
- Lenny - for herding cats like a pro
- iamApropos - for streaming and promoting our event
- Spazster (aka tORNTV) - for creating event graphics, our sweet intro video and promoting our event
- iwalkwiththedead - for creating event graphics and promoting our event
- Brandito - for hosting our Teamspeak server
- mmettin - for hosting our UT2004 server
- Activate:AMD - for managing our Battlefield 4 server
- Ryan - for Upgrading our TeamSpeak server from 32 to a much needed 64 slots
Drop by the forums to see the full list of winners (my 8350 is back in the pool for #7) and make sure to offer your thanks for all the hard work from those who organized and supported this event!
Subject: General Tech | May 7, 2014 - 02:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: arm, servers, CoreLink, CCN-508, CN-504
ARM has a new chip on the block, the CCN-508, It is a capable of combining up to eight 64-bit ARMv8 CPU clusters of four cores apiece, either all ARM Cortex-53s or ARM Cortex-57s, using ARM's AMBA 5 CHI interconnect technology. Those processors can then be attached to a wide variety of what ARM refers to as partners, including up to 24 other AMBA interconnects for other CPUs, DDR3 or DDR4 memory controllers, PCIe, SATA, and 10-40 gigabit Ethernet. So much for ARM just being a mobile processor; check out more at The Register.
"ARM has released more details about the innards of its cache-coherent on-chip networking scheme for use cases ranging from storage to servers to networking – specifically, its CCN-5xx microarchitecture family and its newest member, the muscular CoreLink CCN-508."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Danger, Will Robinson! Beware the hidden perils of BYOD @ The Register
- Amped Wireless REC15A 802.11ac Wi-Fi Range Extender Review @ Legit Reviews
- Seagate outs 2TB wireless hard drive with support for Android, iOS and Windows 8 @ The Inquirer
- 3D Printing's Success Points to a Rosy Future for Open Hardware @ Linux.com
Subject: General Tech | May 7, 2014 - 02:01 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: quad crossfire, gpu, dual graphics, Crysis 3, 8k, 4k
We’ve seen what happens when you put two monstrous graphics cards together with Ryan’s look at a R9 295X2 CrossFire setup and now here’s something that would challenge even that: Crysis 3 at 8K resolution!
An enthusiast called "K-putt" has created a hack to allow the 8k setting, and his Flikr gallery has full-res versions of the screenshots. (Be warned - they're HUGE files!) While this likely isn’t practical even with a quadfire setup like we had for those tests (K-putt was only getting 2 FPS with his single-card setup), it’s still very nice to look at!
The original Crysis became famous as the game that would bring any system to its knees, and now any game can really challenge a system just by adding a 4K monitor. With prices coming down to the sub-$700 range already it won’t be long until a multi-4K monitor setup will actually become feasible.
Here's what comes up under "4k monitor" on Amazon today:
Prices are dropping! Just be warned: Before attempting anything like this you’d better have the GPU horsepower or it’ll just be a (very pretty) slideshow!
Subject: General Tech, Processors | May 7, 2014 - 03:06 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: conflict-free, Intel, Congo
The Intel and Google keynote speech closed out with a video and an announcement. Each Chrome OS device that they mentioned will be among the first to use Haswell and Bay Trail processors manufactured with conflict-free minerals. They are not abandoning the Democratic Republic of the Congo, rather they seem to be forcing their suppliers to adhere to human rights standards if they want to do business with Intel.
This initiative has apparently led to the creation of the "Conflict-Free Smelter Program" which is run by the Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative. This industry body includes several other companies, such as AMD, Apple, Foxconn, IBM, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Pegatron, Qualcomm, every laptop manufacturer that I could think of, and over 150 others.
Intel has been discussing this for a little while, and taking positive steps toward this goal along the way. There really is not that many other ways to say it: reducing the suffering in the world is a great goal.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Mobile | May 7, 2014 - 02:26 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Thunderbolt 2, thunderbolt, nvidia, GeForce GTX 780 Ti
Externally-attached GPUs have been a topic for many years now. Numerous companies have tried, including AMD and Lucid, but no solution has ever been a widely known and available product. Even as interfaces increase in bandwidth and compatibility with internal buses, it has never been something that a laptop salesperson could suggest to users who want to dock into a high-performance station at home. At best, we are seeing it in weird "coin mining" racks to hang way more GPUs above a system than could physically mount on the motherboard.
Apparently that has not stopped the DIY community, according to chatter on Tech Inferno forums. While the above video does not really show the monitor, MacBook Pro, and GPU enclosure at the same time, let alone all wired together and on, it seems reasonable enough. The video claims to give the MacBook Pro (running Windows 8.1) access to a GeForce GTX 780 Ti with fairly high performance, despite the reduced bandwidth. Quite cool.
Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2014 - 10:04 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: wolfenstein, pc gaming, gaming, core i7, 60fps
Bethesda recently published the system requirements for Wolfenstein: The New Order on its blog. The game, which is currently up for pre-order from Steam, is a next generation first person shooter for the PC and consoles (PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360). The system requirements below represent the hardware that PC gamers will need to run the game at a steady 60 FPS at 1080p.
Gamers will need a PC with at least an Intel Core i7 or equivalent AMD processor, 4GB of system memory, and 50GB of free hard drive space running a 64-bit operating system. On the graphics front, users will need to be running a NVIDIA GeForce 460 or AMD Radeon HD 6850 graphics card or better. The game will further require a broadband internet connection and Steam activation. These hardware suggestions are what Bethesda believes is needed in order to run the game "as it was intended to be experienced" on the PC.
Console gamers have similar hard drive space requirements, but obviously will run the game at reduced graphical fidelity as they are limited to their respective fixed hardware.
More information on the system requirements for the various platforms can be found on the Bethesda blog.
If your PC is up to the task of powering BJ Blazkowicz, it's time to get psyched! And In the meantime, why not enjoy some classic Wolfenstein 3D?
Will you be picking up Wolfenstein: The New Order when it comes out.
Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2014 - 09:48 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: asus, Chromebook, Bay Trail
Asus has launched two new chromebooks based around Intel's Bay Trail SoC and running Google's Chrome OS. The new models are the 11-inch Chromebook C200 and the 13-inch Chromebook C300. The new devices are clamshell-style laptops with hidden display hinges, a plastic cases with a matte finish to reduce fingerprint visibility, chiclet keyboards, and large trackpads supporting multi-touch guestures. Asus' new Chromebooks will be available in June starting at $249.99 for the base C200 laptop.
The Asus Chromebook C200 is an 11-inch laptop with an 11.6" display with a resolution of 1366x768, a 720p webcam, stereo speakers, chiclet keyboard, and a trackpad that is reportedly as large as those "normally found on a 14-inch laptop." External IO includes an SD card, HDMI port, a microphone/headphone audio combo jack, one USB 2.0 port, and one USB 3.0 port.
The Asus Chromebook C200.
From there the Chromebook C300 takes that platform and places it in a larger 13" chassis. The display size is increased to 13.3" but maintains the same 1366x768 resolution. The other difference is in color palete: the C200 is silver and dark grey while the C300 is completely dark grey. The C200 weighs 2.5 pounds and is 0.8" thick while the C300 weighs 3.1 pounds and is slightly thicker at 0.9".
Internally, the C200 and C300 feature a dual core Intel Celeron N2830 Bay Trail-M SoC clocked at 2.16 GHz (2.41 GHz Turbo Boost) with 1MB of cache, Intel HD Graphics, and a 7.5W TDP. In addition to the SoC, Asus is packing in 2GB of RAM and 16GB of eMMC storage. Asus did not provide a mAh battery rating, but both Chromebooks reportedly last up to 10 hours of average usage before needing to be charged.
The Asus Chromebook C300.
Storage can be extended via an SD card and by taking advantage of 100GB of Google Drive cloud storage which Asus provides free for two years. The upcoming Chromebooks support dual band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
Both the Chromebook C200 and Chromebook C300 will be available in the US at the end of next month starting at $249.99. The company has not yet released pricing for the larger C300, however.
Read more about Chromebooks at PC Perspective!
Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2014 - 03:39 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: msi, GS60 Ghost Pro 3K, GS70 Stealth Pro, gtx 870m, ultrabook
City of Industry, Calif. – May 6, 2014 – MSI Computer Corp, a leading manufacturer of computer hardware products and solutions, announces the immediate availability of the GS60 Ghost Pro 3K and the GS70 Stealth Pro gaming notebooks. Designed for the mobile gamer who demands a sexy and sleek design with performance capable of shredding any game settings, MSI’s newest gaming notebooks feature NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M graphics, 4th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, Killer Gaming Networking and Super RAID Technology.
MSI’s Super RAID technology provides superior data processing and accessing speed by supporting multiple SSDs and increasing data read/write speeds. MSI’s GS70 Stealth Pro, equipped with the latest Super RAID 2 technology, combines the power of three mSATA SSDs, kicking up read speeds to over 1,500MB/s or three times faster than high performance single SSD notebooks and more than 15 times faster than conventional laptops with standard SATA hard drives.
Both the GS70 Stealth Pro and GS60 Ghost Pro 3K come equipped with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M graphics, the latest generation of graphic processors designed to deliver true PC gaming experience on the go. The GS60 Ghost Pro 3K is MSI’s lightest 15” notebook and the first 3K display notebook to utilize Mg-Li alloy, an ultra-light and sturdy material and delivers high performance gaming without the weight. The newly equipped 3K display fully embraces NVIDIA graphic capabilities and immerses gamers in an all new definition of HD gaming at resolutions of 2880x1620, for sharper and more stunning images.
“The GS70 Stealth Pro and GS60 Ghost Pro 3K are the epitome of portable gaming notebooks,” says Andy Tung, President of MSI Pan America. “We’ve packed smoking speeds, deadly graphics and amazing customization power into featherlike notebooks that will withstand any challenges during the heat of battle.”
MSI’s newest GS gaming notebooks feature an intelligently designed dual-fan cooling system that efficiently lowers system temperature even under the most strenuous gaming sessions. Dual cooling fans draw in air from vents at the top of the notebooks, circulates it through the motherboard and processor, and dissipates it via dual vents at a 45 degree angle that avoids the gamer’s hands when using a mouse. This proprietary cooling system ensures maximum airflow when compared to systems with air intakes on the bottom of the notebooks and creates a better and more enjoyable gaming experience.
MSI’s GS70 Stealth Pro and GS60 Ghost Pro 3K are available starting at $1,999.99.
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