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Subject: General Tech, Mobile | September 30, 2013 - 10:30 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: msi, gp70, gp60, gaming notebook
Today, MSI unveiled its new GP series of notebooks aimed at business professionals that want a work machine that can also handle multimedia and gaming workloads. Specifically, MSI is launching one 17" GP70 and two 16" GP60 notebook SKUs which vary slightly in terms of storage, screen resolution, and processor (and the GP70 being physically larger). The new GP series notebooks are available now at various online and brick-and-mortar retailers with a starting MSRP of $899.99.
MSI's GP70 gaming/professional laptop.
The GP series laptops have Intel Haswell processors, NVIDIA GT740M graphics, 8GB of DDR3 memory, and up to 750GB (GP60) or 1TB (GP70) of mechanical hard drive storage options. Further, all GP series notebooks are equipped with 720p webcams, SteelSeries gaming keyboards, multi-touch trackpads, and gold plated audio jacks backed by a headphone amplifier. IO on the various GP SKUs includes two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, two audio jacks, one Gigabit Ethernet LAN jack, one SD (XC/HC) card slot, and HDMI video outputs. The laptops all have 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless radios.
The MSI GP60 laptop.
At the low end is the MSI GP60 2OD-052US which includes an Intel i5-4200M CPU, up to 750GB of HDD storage, and a 15.6" display with a resolution of 1366x768. The MSI GP60 2OD-072US bumps the specifications up a bit to an Intel i7-4700MQ processor and a non reflective 1080p 15.6" display. Meanwhile, the MSI GP70 offers up to 1TB of HDD storage but has a 17.3" anti-glare display with a resolution of 1600x900. The laptops range from 5.29 to 5.95 pounds.
The following chart (courtesy of MSI) breaks down the individual SKUs in more detail.
The MSI GP series is available now with starting MSRPs of $899.99 (GP60 with i5), $1,049.99 (GP60 with i7), and $949.99 (GP70) respectively. It is nice to see more notebooks coming out with dedicated graphics, especially in the business sector where laptops tend to be less 'flashy'.
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Systems | September 27, 2013 - 02:42 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: SteamOS, Steam Controller, reverse-consolitis
Steam Controller is the third, and final, announcement in the Steam Hardware event. Sure, the peripheral looks weird. It looks very weird. The first thing(s?) you will notice, and likely the driving influence for the iconography, is... or are... the touch pads which replace the expected thumbsticks. The second thing you will notice is the "high resolution" (no specific resolution or dimension was provided) touchscreen.
The most defining aspect of the controllers, as previously stated, is its pair of trackpads. This input method might actually stand the chance of precise controls while maintaining comfort for a couch. To start, I will quote Valve:
In addition, games like first-person shooters that are designed around precise aiming within a large visual field now benefit from the trackpads’ high resolution and absolute position control.
The emphasis was placed by me.
Last year, almost to the date, I published an editorial, "Is the Gamepad Really Designed for Gaming?" In it, I analyzed console controllers from an engineering standpoint. I blamed velocity-based joystick control for the need to enable auto-aim on console titles. Quoting myself, which feels a little weird to be entirely honest:
Analog sticks are a velocity-oriented control scheme where the mouse is a relative position-oriented control scheme. When you move a joystick around you do not move the pointer to a target rather you make it travel at some speed in the direction of the target. With a mouse you just need to move it the required distance and stop. It is easier to develop a sensitivity to how far you need to pull a mouse to travel to the target than a sensitivity to how long to hold a joystick in a given direction to reach a target. Joysticks are heavily reliant on our mental clocks and eye coordination.
Each trackpad can also be clicked, like the thumbsticks of current controllers just probably more comfortably, to provide extra functionality. From a User Experience (UX) standpoint, I can envision a first-person shooter which emulates a (velocity-based) joystick when the right trackpad is pressed (assuming it is very light to press and comfortably to rub your thumb against while pressing) but switches to position-based when touched but not pressed.
The implication is quick rotation when firing from the hip, but positionally-based targeting when precision is required. Maybe other methods will come up too? I find the technology particularly exciting because Valve, clearly, designed it with the understanding of position-based versus velocity-based control. This challenge you rarely hear discussed.
The touchscreen is also a large clickable surface. The controller recognizes touch input and overlays the contents of the screen atop the user's screen but it will not commit the action until the touchpad is pressed. This is designed so the gamer will not need to look at their controller to see what action they are performing.
Personally, I hope this is developer-accessible. Some games, as the WiiU suggests, can benefit from hiding information.
Haptic feedback also ties into the trackpads. Their intent is to provide sensations to the thumbs and compensate for loss of mechanical sensation with thumbsticks. Since they are in there, Valve decided to offer a large, programmable, data channel to very precisely control the effect.
They specifically mention the ability to accept audio waveforms to function as speakers "as a parlour trick".
The devices will be beta tested, via the Steam Machine quest, but without wireless or touchscreen support. Instead of a touchscreen, the controller will contain a four-quadrant grid of buttons mapped to commands.
Thus wraps up the three-pronged announcement. Valve directs interested users to their Steam Universe group for further discussion.
Subject: General Tech | September 27, 2013 - 02:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
If you need a tablet that can do a bit more than an Android or eReader you can pick up Dell's 10" Windows 8 tablet. The 1366 x 768 IPS display is made of Gorilla Glass and for communications it features both a 720p front facing webcam and a 8MP rear camera. Powered by an Atom Z2760 it may not be the fastest machine out there but with the optional 64GB SSD upgrade it will certainly perform well for a tablet.
- Dell Latitude 10 32GB Windows 8 Tablet for $399.00 with free shipping(normally $570.00).
- Toshiba Satellite C855-S5346 15.6" Dual-Core Laptop for $299.99 (normally $399.99).
- ony 10.1" Xperia Tablet Z 16GB w/Free Headphones ($40 value) for $499.99 with free shipping
- SanDisk Ultra Plus 256GB 2.5" Laptop SSD for $174.00 with free shipping(normally $219.00 - use coupon code: DIG5).
- Seagate Backup Plus 2TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive for $89.99 only (normally $129.99)
- Olympus SP-810UZ 14MP Digital Camera w/ 36x Zoom for $149.99 with free shipping. (normally $129.99)
Subject: General Tech | September 26, 2013 - 05:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, coolermaster, CM Storm, Havok, quickfire xt, gaming mouse, mechanical keyboard
Up for review at Overclockers Club is a pair of CM Storm peripherals, the Havok gaming mouse and the Quckfire XT mechanical keyboard. Their review unit had Cherry Blue switches but you can choose your favourite Cherry switch when you order the keyboard. For those who prefer a minimalistic looking keyboard with a lot of hidden features this is a great choice. The Havoc gaming mouse is also fairly plain looking and also hides a variety of features. This model is definitely a right handed mouse and best avoided by those with tiny hands but for right handed folks who like to have a hand full of mouse the Havoc could be the peripheral you are looking for.
"Overall I really enjoyed the CM Havoc gaming mouse. I usually don't go for the fat mice, but this is one you can definitely be a chubby chaser for and still be thought of as okay. It is definitely set to fancy those with a palm grip and despite having small hands there's not too much there. It is built nice and sturdy and even some rage smashes of the mouse have not shown any instant signs of loss. The little bit of lighting really adds to the mouse in my opinion; for some reason I fall into the category of loving a little bit of customization through a little bit of lighting on my peripherals. The lighting is subtle enough and you can turn it off completely without it looking like it is broken. I didn’t like that I couldn’t have my full RGB spectrum, but I can settle with the standard options provided. The mouse glides quite well even on the cheapest of mouse pads and is great for many hours of game play, work, and whatever else you use your mouse for. It's just a nice simple connection between you and your machine."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Gigabyte Force K7 Stealth Gaming Keyboard @ eTeknix
- CM Storm Mech Gaming Keyboard @ Kitguru
- eSPORTS MEKA G-Unit Gaming Keyboard @ Modders-Inc
- Corsair Vengeance K70 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ Legit Reviews
- GAMDIAS HERMES GKB2010 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews
- SteelSeries Apex Gaming Keyboard Review @ Madshrimps
- CM Storm QuickFire XT (Cherry MX Blue) Gaming Keyboard Review @HiTech Legion
- Logitech G602 Wireless Gaming Mouse @ NikKTech
- Tesoro Colada Mechanical Keyboard @ Rbmods
- Roccat Ryos MK Pro Keyboard @ Kitguru
- Mionix Avior 8200 Laser Gaming Mouse @ NikKTech
- CM Storm Quickfire XT Mechanical Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews
- Cooler Master CM Storm Havoc Gaming Mouse Review @ Legit Reviews
- TteSports Theron Infrared Gaming Mouse @ eTeknix
- Mionix AVIOR 8200 @ techPowerUp
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | September 26, 2013 - 05:25 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Rock, Paper, Firefox OS, APC
Update: (9/28/2013) APC responded to my email and confirmed all models support up to 32GB microSD cards (so, microSD or microSDHC).
Firefox OS is an operating system which boots into a web standards rendering engine. All applications and user interface elements are essentially web sites, often hosted by the device but could obviously have online components as the creator desires, web standards making it easier to port and manage code.
Hardware designers are continuing to adopt the platform.
APC, an initiative of VIA Technologies, got our attention over a year ago when they launched their smaller-than-a-banana Android desktop. It was an interesting design which came out at roughly the same time as the Raspberry Pi. I cannot tell whether that boost or harmed consumer interest.
Either way, the APC has announced two successors: The APC Paper and the APC Rock. Both devices dropped Android (side note: the $50 APC 8750 based on Android 2.3 is apparently still available) replacing it, instead, with Firefox OS. Both devices are in the Neo-ITX form factor although that should not matter too much, for Paper, as it includes a case.
Paper covers Rock, get it?
The raw specifications are as follows:
- SoC: VIA ARM Cortex-A9 @ 800 MHz
- GPU: Built in 2D/3D up to 720p
- Memory: 512MB DDR3
- Storage: 4GB NAND Flash
Expandable Storage: microSD (maximum 32GB)
- Update: APC confirmed all models support up to 32GB, which is microSDHC
- I/O: HDMI, VGA (Rock-only), 2x USB 2.0, MicroUSB, 3.5mm Headphone/Mic
This build of Firefox OS contains mouse and keyboard support. If you wish to install your own operating system, while you are on your own, the kernel and bootloader are available on the APC website and the hardware is unlocked. They also provide access to the ARM debug headers for the real developer types.
If you are one of these developer types, would you consider fixing a known issue? APC will donate free devices to users who submit fixes for specially tagged bugs on their Github repo. Think of it like investing time fixing a product which, if you would have bought it, probably would have crushed the bug anyway.
It would have been nice to see a bump in processor performance and graphics functionality, and perhaps more than 512 MB of RAM, although it should be sufficient for light web browsing. As a developer of GPU-intensive web applications, which I expect to have an article on soon, I am not sure how much that colors my view of these devices. Then again, we are also talking about devices in the Roku price-point, so (apart from sticking with 720p... come on now) I may not have a valid complaint.
Both devices are available now, in limited quantities, through the manufacturer website. The Paper carries a price tag of $99 USD while the Rock is slightly cheaper at $79 USD.
Subject: General Tech | September 26, 2013 - 02:41 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, valve, SteamOS, Steam Box, steam, razer, R9 290X, R9, R7, podcast, Naga, corsair, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #270 - 09/26/2013
Join us this week as we discuss AMDs new GPU lineup, SteamOS, the Steam Box, 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: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, and Morry Teitelman
Week in Review:
0:43:15 Happy 10th anniversary Hammer!
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
Subject: General Tech | September 26, 2013 - 01:28 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
For serious gaming power in a small form factor this Alienware 18 is hard to beat, though hardly mobile with dual GTX 765s and an i7-4700MQ. 8GB RAM and a 750GB HDD come on this particular model but there are possible upgrades including a 4 x 256GB SSD RAID-0 for the truly well off consumer. The 18.4" screen is 1080p and is non-touch which is not a problem as this machine ships with Win7.
- NEW! Alienware 18 "Haswell" Core i7 1080p Gaming Laptop w/ Dual 2GB GeForce GTX 765M SLI for $2,049.00 with free shipping(normally $2,099.00 - use coupon code: 2M66J?BPVPP$F3).
- Toshiba Satellite L70-ABT2N22 17.3" Core i3 Laptop w/6GB RAM (Customizable) for $499.99 with free shipping (normally $794.99).
- Microsoft Office365 Home Premium (5PC, 1yr) [download] for $85.97 with free shipping (normally $99.99).
- Dell XPS 8700 Core i7 "Haswell" Quad-core Desktop for $749.99 with free shipping(normally $874.99).
- Belkin N600 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender for $74.99 only (normally $89.99 - use coupon code: HSBTS5).
- ZAGGwipes for $4.99 with free shipping.
Subject: General Tech | September 26, 2013 - 01:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
If you are worried that you will not make it into the beta test for the Steambox on Steam you may still have a chance to get your hands on one, at least for a little while. Several versions of the Steambox are going to exist, coming from different manufacturers and while they may not all be called Steambox they will have the same OS but perhaps different hardware. If you keep your eyes peeled you may spot a chance to try one of these devices at an expo or perhaps even on your own. In the mean time your best bet is to apply now on Steam for a chance to test the new machine and you can do so with the handy link provided at The Inquirer.
"GAMES DEVELOPER Valve isn't set on the idea of a Steambox as a hardware console, and is hoping that its fans will help it refine its plans"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Blackberry Z30 hands-on @ The Inquirer
- T-Mobile pulls BlackBerry products from US retail stores @ The Register
- Android App Development for Beginners: Layout and UI Options, Part Two @ Linux.com
Subject: General Tech | September 26, 2013 - 01:13 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: PSU, ocz, fatal1ty series, 550W, 750w
SAN JOSE, CA— September 26, 2013—OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) and power management solutions for computing devices and systems, today announced the availability of its new Fatal1ty Series power supply products, first unveiled at Computex 2013. This refreshed lineup for gamers features high efficiency, a fully modular cable design, and a robust feature-set to meet the demanding needs of multi-GPU systems and provide exceptional system stability.
The latest enthusiast-grade series from OCZ, these new Fatal1ty PSUs were co-developed with twelve-time world champion Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel to meet the specific needs of fellow gamers, and will be available in 550W and 750W models designed to offer performance and reliability coupled with an updated feature set. With up to 85% energy efficiency at typical loads, the Fatal1ty series features an excellent 80-Plus Bronze rating. Both models feature a powerful single +12V rail for exceptional power distribution, along with 135mm temperature and load-controlled fans with trademark glowing red LEDs for stylish and silent operation for high-end gaming rigs.
“The Fatal1ty line of PSUs have been popular among gamers looking for high quality, reliable power for the latest GPUs and power hungry system components,” said Bob Roark, VP of Power Management at OCZ. “The new Fatal1ty 550 and 750W PSUs feature a brand new core and are not only quieter and more energy efficient but also provide customers with enhanced flexibility with a complete modular cable design.”
“I’ve been working with OCZ for many years and these latest PSUs continue the string of quality products for which the Fatal1ty brand is so well known,” stated Fatal1ty.
Fatal1ty Series PSUs are built-to-last with premium components and heavy-duty protection circuitries that utilize specialized DC-to-DC converters for compatibility with Intel’s®Haswell™ platform, and are able to operate at lower power usage when off or in standby mode. Equipped with a fully modular cable management system and complete array of connectors, these latest PSUs promote an organized case environment that maximizes airflow by eliminating unnecessary wiring, ideal for case-modders and system builders opting to maintain the aesthetics in customized PC builds.
With an improved feature-set in a sleek, modular design for gamers, the latest Fatal1ty power supply models are available immediately and are backed with a 3-year (550W model) or 5-year (750W model) warranty.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 26, 2013 - 03:35 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: frame rating, frame pacing, amd
Scott Wasson of The Tech Report just received an interview with Raja Koduri, head of Graphics Hardware and Software Development at AMD, a few hours ago. Part of the interview discussed frame the frame pacing issues we, as well as The Tech Report, published over the last year. In short, the news seems good for owners of Radeon graphics cards, future and even current.
The "Hawaii" powered Radeon R9 290 and R9 290X graphics cards are expected to handle CrossFire pacing acceptably at launch. Clearly, if there is ever a time to fix the problem, it would be in new hardware. Still, this is good news for interested customers; if all goes to plan, you are likely going to have a good experience out of the box.
Current owners of GCN-based video cards, along with potential buyers of the R9 280X and lower upcoming cards, will apparently need to wait for AMD to release a driver to fix these issues. However, this driver is not far off: Koduri, unclear whether on or off the record, intends for an autumn release. This driver is expected to cover frame pacing issues for CrossFire, Eyefinity, and 4K.
Koduri does believe the CrossFire issues were unfortunate and expresses a desire to fix the issue for his customers.
Keep checking PC Perspective for more information as it comes out!
Editor's Note: I just spoke with Raja Koduri as well and he basically reiterated everything that Scott noted in his story on The Tech Report as well. The upcoming 290X will have frame pacing at Eyefinity and 4K resolution at launch while the cards below that in the R9 series, and users of Radeon HD 7000 cards (and likely beyond) will need some more time before the driver is ready. I'll be able to talk quite a bit more about the changes to BOTH architectures very shortly so stay tuned for that.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | September 25, 2013 - 05:23 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: radeon, R9 290X, R9, R7, GPU14, amd
The next generation of AMD graphics processors are being announced this afternoon. They carefully mentioned this event is not a launch. We do not yet know, although I hope we will learn today, when you can give them your money.
When you can, you will have five products to choose from:
- R7 250
- R7 260X
- R9 270X
- R9 280X
- R9 290X
AMD only provides 3D Mark Fire Strike scores for performance. I assume they are using the final score, and not the "graphics score" although they were unclear.
The R7 250 is the low end card of the group with 1GB of GDDR5. Performance, according to 3DMark scores (>2000 on Fire Strike), is expected to be about two-thirds of what an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti can deliver. Then again, that card retails for about ~$130 USD. The R7 250 has an expected retail value of less than < $89 USD. This is a pretty decent offering which can probably play Battlefield 3 at 1080p if you play with the graphics quality settings somewhere around "medium". This is just my estimate, of course.
The R7 260X is the next level up. The RAM has been double over the R7 250 to 2GB of GDDR5 and its 3DMark score almost doubled, too (> 3700 on Fire Strike). This puts it almost smack dab atop the Radeon HD 6970. The R7 260X is about $20-30 USD cheaper than the HD 6970. The R7 is expected to retail for $139. Good price cut while keeping up to date on architecture.
The R9 270X is the low end of the high end parts. With 2GB of GDDR5 and a 3DMark Fire Strike score of >5500, this is aimed at the GeForce 670. The R7 270X will retail for around ~$199 which is about $120 USD cheaper than NVIDIA's offering.
The R9 280X should be pretty close to the 7970 GHz Edition. It will be about ~$90 cheaper with an expected retail value of $299. It also has a bump in frame buffer over the lower-tier R9 270X, containing 3GB of GDDR5.
Not a lot is known about the top end, R9 290X, except that it will be the first gaming GPU to cross 5 TeraFLOPs of compute performance. To put that into comparison, the GeForce Titan has a theoretical maximum of 4.5 TeraFLOPs.
If you are interested in the R9 290X and Battlefield 4, you will be able to pre-order a limited edition package containing both products. Pre-orders open "from select partners" October 3rd. For how much? Who knows.
We will keep you informed as we are informed. Also, the announcement is still going on, so tune in!
Subject: General Tech, Systems | September 25, 2013 - 02:16 PM | Scott Michaud
If you were hoping to purchase a Valve-stamped device then you will be disappointed.
Valve, as it becomes increasingly clear, does not want to limit SteamOS to specific hardware. With the tag line, "Finally, a multiple choice answer", Valve wants consumers to purchase from OEMs or create the devices themselves.
Valve will make 300 of their own boxes and deliver them to selected beta testers, for free, after an "eligibility quest" ending October 25th. No specifications have been announced for these devices except that they are high performance, upgradable, and open. Even if you do not get one of these boxes, completing the quest will earn you a Steam badge so, that is something, right?
The most important announcement, hidden in the FAQ, is that game streaming will be available during the Beta test. I could assume, from this, that it will be available at launch. This allows users to access "the 3,000 games on Steam" whether running natively or networked to your gaming computer. Also in the FAQ, SteamOS will have mouse and keyboard support although it clearly is designed for gamepad input, too.
The longer this goes, the more correct I feel about Valve picking up the slack left behind by Microsoft. These boxes look at consoles from the model of "Media Center Extenders" except with Steam and other streaming partners being the Media Center server instead of actual Windows Media Center. Sure, I expect them to be more powerful than Roku boxes and many even more powerful than the Xbox One and PS4, but they are looking to follow that market segment.
I do not see these devices even trying to compete with PC market share.
You can purchase your own Steam Machine from a number of OEMs in 2014. The beta contest closes October 25th and those devices will be shipped between now at the end of the year. For details on the "eligibility quest", check out Steam's page.
Make sure to come back on Friday for the last of three announcements. Also, if you're around in 45 minutes (after publish), check out AMD's Hawaii GPU announcement live stream.
Subject: General Tech | September 25, 2013 - 02:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Alienware have updated their 17" lineup of notebooks and LogicBuy is offering you a way to knock a bit off of the premium price they are charging for it. Built around an i7-4700MQ processor and 8GB of DDR3-1600, supplemented by a GTX 765M with 2GB GDDR5 this will be a gaming powerhouse if you are willing to foot the bill. The 1600 x 900 screen does not support touch but as the machine runs Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit that should not be a problem at all.
- NEW! Alienware 17 "Haswell" Core i7 Gaming Laptop for $1,449.00 with free shipping(normally $1,499.00 - use coupon code: 2M66J?BPVPP$F3).
- AASUS "Haswell" Core i7 17.3" 1080p Gaming Laptop w/12GB RAM, NVIDIA 765M for $1,354.00 with free shipping (normally $1,399.00 - use coupon code: LaborSaving25BG).
- SLenovo G500 15.6" Pentium Dual-Core Laptop for $420.06 with free shipping (normally $630.09).
- Logitech K600 Windows 8/Android Tablet Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard w/ Stand for $56.09 with free shipping(normally $65.99 - use coupon code: QG3G$33HH3QP0?).
- Samsung DA-F60 20-Watt Portable Bluetooth Speaker for $219.99 only (normally $279.99).
- Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX50V 20.4MP Digital Camera w/ 30x Optical Zoom + FREE 32GB SD Card for $379.00 with free shipping (normally $449.99).
Subject: General Tech | September 25, 2013 - 01:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: fx-51, decade, athlon 64, amd
Back on September 23, 2003 a site called AMDMB did a review of the Athlon 64 FX-51 processor, which turned out to be the fastest desktop processor on the planet at the time and could handily beat Intel's offerings even with their higher clock. As Slashdot has pointed out that this is indeed the 10th year anniversary of the release of that processor they thought it would be nice to look back on a better time in AMD's history. Head to Slashdot to read through the comments and click through to ExtremeTech who have put together a retrospective.
"It's been a decade since AMD's Athlon 64 FX-51 debuted — and launched the 64-bit x86 extensions that power the desktop and laptop world today. After a year of being bludgeoned by the P4, AMD roared back with a vengeance, kicking off a brief golden age for its own products, and seizing significant market share in desktops and servers."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Apple blings up new iMac with latest Intel chips, next-gen Wi-Fi @ The Register
- HTC staring down the barrel of a US sales ban after Nokia's patent coup @ The Register
- Nikon Coolpix S9500 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Win a Titanic £2,000 gaming system with PCSpecialist and Kitguru
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 25, 2013 - 02:59 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, Nouveau, linux
AMD commit numerous updates to the open source driver community, three months ago, and has otherwise assisted the Linux community in the past. The same has not been true for NVIDIA. Despite a respectable (albeit lacking compared to Windows) proprietary driver for Linux, this GPU vendor was not adored by the community. They have not been accused of malice, it would just seem to be control over both the end-user experience and, of course, their secret sauce.
I, obviously, do not have a crystal ball of fortune telling (the journalist house of auction ran out and the gift shop is just too expensive) so it is anyone's guess the future extent of NVIDIA's involvement. For now, their assistance included 42 pages of Device Control Block documentation and proprietary developers answering questions on the Nouveau mailing list.
Many, from Ars Technica to our staff discussions at PC Perspective, note how the change of heart aligns with the SteamOS announcement. I do not really believe these events are related if only because I doubt NVIDIA would wait to contact developers until Valve spoke up. I would have to expect that SteamOS would not be a surprise to NVIDIA especially after Gabe Newell discussed Maxwell virtualization all the way back at CES.
You would think they would have come about while working with NVIDIA on the game streaming technology. You know, allow a single desktop to utilize multiple games across multiple devices. Even still, you would think NVIDIA would just put even more effort into their proprietary driver rather than help Nouveau.
Either way, we will keep an ear out for NVIDIA involvement with the open source community.
Subject: General Tech | September 24, 2013 - 01:32 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Dell's brand new E2414H, a 1080p 24" LED backlit display is on special today, rated at a 5ms average response time making it decent for gaming. It is perhaps not the best deal to pick one up alone as your purchase comes with a $100 Dell gift card. Instead why not think of it as buy two and get one free and now you've got triple monitors to play on!
- Dell E2414H 24" 1080p LED-backlit LCD Monitor + Free $100 Gift Card for $199.99 with free shipping(normally $229.99).
- ASUS RT-N66U Dual-Band Wireless-N900 450Mbps Gigabit Router for $149.00 with free shipping (normally $169.99).
- Seagate Expansion 1TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive for $79.99 with free shipping (normally $91.99).
- Photive 2,600 mAh or 5,200 mAh Portable Backup Battery Charger Power Bank for $$19.99 - $29.99 with free shipping
- Lenovo G500 15.6" Pentium Dual-Core Laptop for $420.06 only (normally $630.00).
- ZAGG invisibleSHIELD Apple iPhone 5/5S/5C for $14.99 with free shipping (normally $24.99).
Subject: General Tech | September 24, 2013 - 01:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vmware, oops, vsphere
Words like irreversible are enough to turn a sysadmin's hair grey and fall out in large clumps and unfortunately that is a word that applies to those who upgrade to VSphere 5.5 while running VMWare 5.1. The good news is that if you have not upgraded yet, you can now get the VMWare 5.5 update which is compatible with VSphere 5.5 and will ensure you do not have to install VMWare 5.1 again from scratch and rebuild everything. Follow the knowledge base links from The Register to update or to attempt to save your replications if you upgraded prematurely.
"But as explained in this knowledge-base article, “if you have Automatic Check and Install updates selected the vSphere Replication appliance will automatically upgrade to version 5.5”. If that happens on an existing vSphere 5.1 installation, very bad things will happen."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Roll Your Own Customized Ubuntu With UCK @ Linux.com
- World Maker Faire: 3D printed tower defense @ Hack a Day
- Teardown reveals Samsung built A7 chip inside the iPhone 5S @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft unveils Surface 2, Surface Pro 2 @ DigiTimes
- Nvidia announces own-brand Tegra Note tablet @ DigiTimes
- BlackBerry inks deal to go private for $4.7bn @ The Register
- Hoax fools iPhone users into thinking that iOS 7 makes their device waterproof @ The Inquirer
- Boot To Zork @ Slashdot
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | September 23, 2013 - 09:38 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: JavaOne, JavaOne 2013, gpgpu
Are the enterprise users still here? Oh, hey!
GPU acceleration throws a group of many similar calculations at thousands of simple cores. Their architecture makes it very cheap and power efficient for the amount of work they achieve. Gamers, obviously, enjoy the efficiency at tasks such as calculating pixels on a screen or modifying thousands of vertex positions. This technology has evolved more generally than graphics. Enterprise and research applications have been taking notice over the years.
GPU discussion, specifically, starts around 16 minutes.
Java, a friend of scientific and "big-data" developers, is also evolving in a few directions including "offload".
IBM's CTO of Java, John Duimovich, discussed a few experiments they created when optimizing the platform to use new hardware. Sorting arrays, a common task, saw between a 2-fold and 48-fold increase of performance. Including the latency of moving data and initializing GPU code, a 32,000-entry array took less than 1.5ms to sort, compared to about 3ms on the CPU. The sample code was programmed in CUDA.
The goal of these tests is, as far as I can tell, to (eventually) automatically use specialized hardware for Java's many built-in libraries. The pitch is free performance. Of course there is only so much you can get for free. Still, optimizing the few usual suspects is an obvious advantage, especially if it just translates average calls to existing better-suited libraries.
Hopefully they choose to support more than just CUDA whenever they take it beyond experimentation. The OpenPOWER Consortium, responsible for many of these changes, currently consists of IBM, Mellanox, TYAN, Google, and NVIDIA.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | September 23, 2013 - 02:20 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: valve, SteamOS, Steam Box, big picture mode
SteamOS is the first announcement, of three, in Valve's attempt to install a PC into your living room. The operating system is unsurprisingly built from Linux and optimized for the living room. Still no announcement of hardware although the second part is less than 48 hours away. The key features of SteamOS will also be ported to the Steam client on Windows, OSX, and Linux. Are you seeing... the big picture?
The four main features are: in-home streaming, media services, family sharing, and family options.
In-home streaming allows users to, by leaving their Steam client running on their PC or Mac, use their network to transmit video and controller input to SteamOS. The concept is very similar to OnLive and Gaikai. Latency is barely an issue, however, as the server is located on your local network. As the user owns the server, also known as their home computer, there is less concern of the service removing the title from their library. Graphics performance would be dictated by that high-end PC, and not the gaming consoles.
As a side note: Gabe Newell, last year at CES, mentioned plans by NVIDIA to allow virtualized GPUs with Maxwell (AMD is probably working on a similar feature, too). Combined with in-home streaming, this means that two or more Steam boxes could play games from the same desktop even while someone else uses it.
SteamOS will have music, movie, and TV functionality. Very little details on this one but I would assume Netflix is a possibility. The Steam distribution platform can physically handle video and audio streaming, especially with their updates a couple of years ago, but their silence about content deals leads me to assume they are talking about third-party services... for now, at least. We do know, from LinuxCon, that Gabe Newell is a firm believer in one library of content regardless of device.
We have already discussed Steam Family Sharing, but this is obviously aimed at Steam Box. One library for all content includes games.
Lastly, Steam will be updated for family control options. Individual users can be restricted or hidden from certain titles in other users' libraries. This helps keep them at-or-above parity with the gaming consoles for concerned parents.
Valve also believes in user control.
Steam is not a one-way content broadcast channel, it’s a collaborative many-to-many entertainment platform, in which each participant is a multiplier of the experience for everyone else. With SteamOS, “openness” means that the hardware industry can iterate in the living room at a much faster pace than they’ve been able to. Content creators can connect directly to their customers. Users can alter or replace any part of the software or hardware they want. Gamers are empowered to join in the creation of the games they love. SteamOS will continue to evolve, but will remain an environment designed to foster these kinds of innovation.
SteamOS will be free, forever, to everyone. Both users and system builders (including OEMs) can download the operating system and install it on their machines. No release date, yet, but it will be available soon... Valve Time?
The second announcement will occur at 1PM EDT this Wednesday, September 25, 2013. According to their iconography, we can now assume SteamOS will be the circle. The next announcement is circle in square brackets: SteamOS in a box? If you come on over to find out (please do! : D), stick around an extra couple of hours (minus the time it takes to write the article) for our AMD Hawaii Live Stream at 3PM EDT also on September 25th.
Subject: General Tech | September 23, 2013 - 01:39 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
At $500 this particular Inspiron 14z offers quite a bit of performance for the road warrior. A 1.8 GHz Core i3-3217U, 4GB RAM, a 32GB SSD for OS and programs along with a 500GB HDD for storage is not too shabby for the price. It is under 1" thick and weighs under 5lbs making it extremely portable.
- Dell Inspiron 14z 14" 3rd Gen Core i3 Ultrabook w/ 32GB SSD, Windows 7 for $499.99 with free shipping(normally $689.99).
- HP Pavilion 23xi 23" 1080p IPS LED-backlit LCD Monitor for $189.99 with free shipping (normally $229.99 - use coupon code: MU2121).
- Lenovo IdeaTab A2107 7" Android 4.0 16GB Tablet for $159.00 with free shipping (normally $229.00 - use coupon code: SPECIALSAVINGS).
- Sony BDP-S1100 Blu-ray Disc Player for $79.99 with free shipping (normally $89.99).
- Linksys AE1200 Wireless-N 300Mbps USB Adapter for $29.99 only (normally $49.99).
- Foscam FI8918W Wireless Camera w/ Night Vision for $59.99 with free shipping (normally $139.99).
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