Deals for June 1st - Dell XPS 17 Quad-core Gaming Laptop for $1000

Subject: Editorial | June 1, 2012 - 11:35 AM |
Tagged: deal of the day

PC Perspective has partnered with LogicBuy.com to bring our readers a collection of deals and coupons for computers, laptops and other miscellaneous technology products on a near daily basis.  If you have any thoughts on the deals or the process, feel free to leave them in our comments section!

Laptops

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17.3" Dell XPS 17 Core i7-2670QM 2.2GHz Quad-core Laptop w/8GB RAM, dual 500GB Hard Drives, Backlit Keyboard, 3GB GeForce GT 555M graphics and 9-cell battery for $1000 with free shipping (normally $1,663)

15.6" Dell XPS 15z Core i7 2.8GHz Ultra-thin Laptop w/8GB RAM, 1080p LCD, 256GB SSD for $1,300 with free shipping (normally $1,600 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)

13.3" Lenovo IdeaPad U300e Core i5 1.6GHz Ultrabook w/4GB RAM, 750GB HDD + 32GB SSD for $849 with free shipping (normally $1,249 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)

13.3" Dell Vostro V131 Core i5-2450M 2.5GHz thin, Aluminum body Ultra-portable w/4GB RAM, 320GB HDD, Backlit Keyboard for $539 with free shipping (normally $759 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)

11.6" HP dm1z-4100 Dual-core AMD Fusion Laptop w/4GB RAM, 320GB HDD for $345 with free shipping (normally $400 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)

 

Desktops

Dell XPS 8300 Core i7-2600 3.4GHz Quad-core Desktop w/8GB RAM, 1TB HDD & 1GB Radeon HD 6670 for $700 with free shipping (normally $1,030)

23" HP TouchSmart 520-1140t Core i3-2120 3.3GHz Dual-core All-in-one Multi-touch PC w/6GB RAM, 1TB HDD for $750 with free shipping (normally $950 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)

 

Monitors

Two (2) 23" Dell Professional P2312H 1080p LED-backit LCD Monitors w/ 3-year Advanced Exchange Warranty & Array Table Stand for $550 with free shipping (normally $665 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)

23" Alienware OptX AW2310 3D-ready 1080p LCD Monitor for $400 with free shipping (normally $450)

 

Peripherals

3TB Seagate Expansion USB 3.0 Desktop External Hard Drive for $135 with free shipping (normally $160)

7.1-channel Sony Surround Sound PC Gaming Headset (DR-GA500) for $80 with free shipping (normally $199)

15.6" Targus Meridian II Roller Laptop Case for $60 with free shipping (normally $106 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)

Dell V725w All-in-One Wireless Inkjet Color Printer for $120 with free shipping (normally $170)

Canon PIXMA MX410 Wireless All-In-One Printer for $80 with free shipping (normally $100)

 

Gaming

320GB Xbox 360 Gears of War 3 Limited Edition Console Bundle for $280 with free in-store pickup (normally $350)

 

Home Entertainment

60" Samsung UN60EH6000 240Hz 1080p LED HDTV + Samsung HMX-W300BN Waterproof HD Camcorder for $1,600 with free shipping (normally $1,900)

55" Panasonic VIERA TC-L55ET5 3D 1080p 120hz LED HDTV + Panasonic SCBTT195 Home Theater System Bundle for $1,650 with free shipping (normally $2,200 - use coupon code on logic buy)

 

Personal Portables & Peripherals

10.1MP Canon EOS Rebel XS DSLR Camera (Refurbished) w/ 18-55mm IS Lens Bundle for $300 with $16 shipping (normally $450 - use coupon code on logic buy)

16MP Nikon D5100 DSLR Camera w/ 18-55mm and 55-200mm Lenses for $800 with free shipping (normally $900).

 

Miscellaneous

GyroBall Hand Exerciser for $50 (normally $80).

Desktop Air Purifier for $185 (normally $300 - use coupon code on LogicBuy).

Source: LogicBuy

Know CPUs were made of sand? Yes, but I like your video.

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Processors | May 30, 2012 - 06:42 PM |
Tagged: Intel, fab

Intel has released an animated video and supplementary PDF document to explain how Intel CPUs are manufactured. The video is more “cute” than anything else although the document is surprisingly really well explained for the average interested person. If you have ever wanted to know how a processor was physically produced then I highly recommend taking about a half of an hour to watch the video and read the text.

If you have ever wondered how CPUs came to be from raw sand -- prepare to get learned.

Intel has published a video and accompanied information document which explains their process almost step by step. The video itself will not teach you too much as it was designed to illustrate the information in the online pamphlet.

Not shown is the poor sandy bridges that got smelted for your enjoyment.

Rest in got

My background in education is a large part of the reason why I am excited by this video. The accompanied document is really well explained, goes into just the right amount of detail, and does so very honestly. The authors did not shy away from declaring that they do not produce their own wafers nor did they sugarcoat that each die even on the same wafer could perform differently or possibly not at all.

You should do yourself a favor and check it out.

Source: Intel (pdf)

It is June 1st ... cope with it!

Subject: Editorial | May 25, 2012 - 06:52 PM |
Tagged: friday

It has been a while since last we visited the PC Perspective Forums on the front page but that does not imply that nothing has happened.  There are still problems to be solved with Operating Systems, ancient system BIOS upgrades and the ever popular driver questions to be answered.  You can learn about IvyBridge motherboards or finagling your second wireless router to behave as a WAPDrop by the Leaderboard Forum where you can discuss not only my picks for the Hardware Leaderboard but also any other PC builds you might be considering.

If your concerns are more specific then move on from the more general Forums to get help, be it recommendations about ASRock Z77 boards or maybe you have a Phenom II you want to overclock and enable extra cores on.  Pop by the Graphics Forum and discuss AMD's new Catalyst release as well as the new schedule or get right to the heart of the system with the Processor and the Overclocking Forums.

Our BOINC and Folding@Home teams are always looking for new members and new debaters in The Lightning Round are welcome to hope into the fray.  Those who like swap meets will love The Trading Post and for those of you just looking for a little high weirdness can hit the Off Topic Forum to create their own or witness ours in the latest PC Perspective Podcast!

Windows 8 -- Aero? Plain.

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 20, 2012 - 04:03 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, Aero

Paul Thurrott reports that Microsoft will dump Aero Glass in lieu of a more flat user interface for Windows 8. How far is Microsoft willing to distance itself from the desktop market to entice a foothold in the mobile space?

Remember that image I did with a turd on a desktop workstation a few days ago?

Microsoft has killed their glass-based design which they established almost a decade ago with the Longhorn technical preview.

Windows 8 Release Preview is set to release within the next two weeks and will contain Aero Glass as its desktop chrome. The shift to the flat layout will occur before release of the full version. It is still unclear whether users will be able to see it hands-on before they are expected to own it.

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The ironic part is that is probably a glass aquarium.

You may be wondering why I claim this as an offense against the desktop. Later in his article Paul gives his prediction into why Aero Glass shattered -- since Microsoft did not directly say so themselves. Aero is not the most difficult interface for a computer to render but it does require a steady amount more computation than a flat layout. Transparency, blur, and other effects take up computation power -- hence why Windows harasses you to turn off Aero if your framerate dips in a game -- and that computation power translates to battery life.

Remember when Aero was touted as a driving reason to in-place upgrade to Vista Home Premium?

I guess Microsoft believes that they do not want their tablet customers to feel like second-rate citizens. At least we know that they will be willing to throw it all away and do it over yet again. At this point that should be the most clear above anything else.

AMD will not chase Intel making "needlessly powerful" CPUs

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | May 19, 2012 - 04:52 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, trinity, cloud computing, cloud, amd

Bloomberg Businessweek reports AMD CEO Rory Read claims that his company will produce chips which are suited for consumer needs and not to crunch larger and larger bundles of information. They also like eating Intel’s bacon -- the question: is it from a pig or a turkey?

Read believes there is “enough processing power on every laptop on the planet today”.

I disagree.

The argument revolves around the shift to the cloud, as usual. It is very alluring to shift focus from the instrument to the data itself. More enticing: discussing how the instruments change to suit that need; this is especially true if you develop instruments and yearn to shift anyway.

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Don’t question the bacon…

AMD has been trusting that their processors will be good enough and their products will differentiate in other ways such as with graphics capabilities which they claim will be more important for cloud services. AMD hopes that their newer laptops will steal some bacon from Intel and their ultrabook initiative.

The main problem with the cloud is that it is mostly something that people feel that they want rather than actually do. They believe they want their content controlled by a company for them until it becomes inaccessible temporarily or permanently. They believe they want their information accessible in online services but then freak out about the privacy implications of it.

The public appeal of the cloud is that it lets you feel as though you can focus on the content rather than the medium. The problem is that you do not have fewer distractions from your content -- just different ones -- and they rear their head once or twice in isolation of each other. You experience a privacy concern here and an incompatibility or licensing issue there. For some problems and for some people it makes more sense to control your own data. It will continue to be important to serve that market.

And if crunching ends up being necessary for the future it looks like Intel will be a little lonely at the top.

Podcast #202 Aftershow - Much Ado about Storage

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Storage | May 17, 2012 - 05:05 PM |
Tagged: podcast, aftershow

After the normally scheduled podcast recorded last night, the PC Perspective staff hung around in the chat room to talk with our fans and readers about various random hardware topics.  Rather than just throw that data away, we decided to save it and post the video here as a sort of "aftershow" for those of you that want a bit more PCPer in your life.

Enjoy!

Podcast #201 - GTX 690 review, ASUS G75V Ivy Bridge Notebook review, a Vertex 4 update and more!

Subject: Editorial | May 10, 2012 - 03:56 PM |
Tagged: Vertex 4, podcast, nvidia, Ivy Bridge, Intel, gtx690, g75v, amd, 690

PC Perspective Podcast #201 - 05/10/2012

Join us this week as we talk about our GTX 690 review, ASUS G75V Ivy Bridge Notebook review, a Vertex 4 update 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 Malvantano

Program length: 1:04:25

Program Schedule:

  1. Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. Win a Netgear R6300 802.11ac router!!
  6. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Review - Dual GK104 Kepler Greatness
  7. ASUS G75V Review: Gaming Goes Ivy
  8. Greater than 20 Percent of Malware Articles Miss the Point
  9. Trinity Improvements Include Updated Piledriver Cores and VLIW4 GPUs
  10. More Leaks Emerge on NVIDIA’s Kepler Based GTX 670 GPU
  11. Ready for Diablo III? Not with Catalyst 12.4 you're not.
  12. Corsair Launches Air Series of High Airflow and High Static Pressure Fans
  13. Steam Allows Remote Installation of Games
  14. OCZ Updates Vertex 4 Enthusiasts to 1.4 Release Candidate Firmware
  15. Windows Media Center To Be A Pro Only Feature In Windows 8
  16. Good news from TSMC for NVIDIA and you
  17. Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: ASUS N66U Dual-band Router
    2. Jeremy: Wave your hands like an idiot for free
    3. Josh: Not exactly mine, but good.
    4. Allyn: pqi U819V 3cm USB3 
  18. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  19. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  20. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  21. Closing

Win a Netgear R6300 802.11ac router!!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 8, 2012 - 12:39 AM |
Tagged: netgear, giveaway, contest, broadcom, 802.11ac

Broadcom and Netgear came to PC Perspective recently to discuss some upcoming products based on the new 802.11ac protocol, a new technology that will enable a minimum of 1 Gigabit wireless networking in the 5 GHz spectrum.  

While we are learning about the new products that the two companies are partnering on, they offered up a few prizes for our readers: one of three new Netgear R6300 dual-band, 802.11ac routers!!

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While not on the market yet, these routers will offer some impressive new features including:

The NETGEAR R6300 WiFi Router delivers next generation WiFi at Gigabit speeds. It offers the ultimate mobility for WiFi devices with speeds up to 3x faster than 802.11n.

Compatible with next generation WiFi devices and backward compatible with 802.11 a/b/g and n devices, it enables HD streaming throughout your home. The R6300 with simultaneous dual band WiFi technology offers speeds up to 450+1300‡ Mbps† and avoids interference, ensuring top WiFi speeds and reliable connections. This makes it ideal for larger homes with multiple devices. In addition, four Gigabit Ethernet ports offer ultra-fast wired connections. Wirelessly access and share USB hard drive and USB printer using the two USB 2.0 ports.

The NETGEAR Genie® app provides easy installation from an iPad®, tablet, computer or smartphone. It includes a personal dashboard, allowing you to manage, monitor, and repair your home network. NETGEAR customers can download the app at http://www.netgear.com/genie or from the Google Play or App Store.

All you have to do to enter this contest is submit your answer the question below and be sure to include your REAL email address so we can contact you!!  The survey will run through the rest of this week (May 11th) and you can enter from all over the world!  They had one simple question:

What is the most important factor in determining what type of WiFi technology you use at home?

Email:

What is your email address?

This is why anti-piracy is not simple and intuitive...

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 4, 2012 - 10:07 PM |
Tagged: piracy

The Pirate Bay has recently been blocked by a number of British ISPs but single-day traffic increased to the highest it has ever been. If there was a need for yet another example of where intuition opposes reality when it comes to content piracy, please -- let this be that so we can move on to actually solving problems.

The biggest issue with anti-piracy campaigns is that so many have opinions but so few have acknowledged facts -- even when proposing litigation.

The intuitive perception is very simple: see a quantifiable amount of what could wrongfully be considered theft and assume that sales were reduced by some factor of that value. Also, if you block access to that cesspool of theft then most of the theft will go away or move somewhere else. Both of those suggestions are fundamentally flawed statistically and have no meaning besides feeling correct.

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Content companies: Do not blame piracy. Sales before sails -- think before you sink.

In reality there are many situations to show that an infringed copy has counter-intuitive effects on sales. More importantly to this story is the latter situation: blocking The Pirate Bay appears to have substantially increased their single-day audience by 12 million views. This seems to be yet another conundrum where no action would have been the optimal solution.

If you were to take away a single point from this article it should be the following:

Just because something seems right or wrong does not mean it is. You should treat intuition as nothing more than a guide for your judgment. Never let instinct disrupt your ability to understand the problems you are attempting to solve or ignore completely valid possibilities at solving them.

Objectivity really is a good virtue to embrace.

Questions for GTX 690 Live Review - Win an NVIDIA Crowbar!!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 2, 2012 - 02:37 PM |
Tagged: video, nvidia, live review, live, kepler, GTX 690, geforce

Yes, we realize it's actually a "flat bar" but that's nearly as cool to say.  Either way, wouldn't you like to win one of these?

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Tomorrow at 1pm EDT / 10am PDT we are going to be streaming a LIVE talk between myself and Tom Petersen centered around the GeForce GTX 690 dual-Kepler graphics card at http://pcper.com/live.  We will talk about performance, power consumption, features, show demos and of course take user questions through our live chat room, twitter accounts and more. 

But we also want to get your questions TODAY to help prepare for the event.  If you have a burning question about the GTX 690 or the Kepler architecture and its features, leave us a comment below!  (No registartion required.) Both NVIDIA's Tom Petersen and I will give you our feedback.  The best question will take home an NVIDIA crowbar so you too can be prepared for the coming apocalypse!

If you want, you can also send me a message on Twitter @RyanShrout or on our PC Perspective Facebook page.  

Hurry though, we want them in tonight so we can sort and pick our favorites for the live event tomorrow.  For all the details on tomorrow's show, make sure you check our post right here!!

 

PC Perspective and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Live Review - Thursday, May 3rd @ 1pm EDT

Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards | April 30, 2012 - 09:55 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, video, geforce, GTX 690, live, live review

We all know the reviews are coming soon - the GeForce GTX 690 is set to be launched this Thursday.  The dual-GK104 Kepler solution with the $999 price tag will likely be the highest performing graphics card on the market (and by a lot) and we are going to be discussing the launch, the technology and a lot more in our PC Perspective Live Review.

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Starting Thursday, May 3rd at 1pm EDT / 10am PDT, NVIDIA's Tom Petersen will join me at our live page (http://pcper.com/live) to talk about the new graphics card, the performance and feature characteristics that go into building a high-end solution like this and take questions from the viewers. 

You might have seen our original GTX 680 Live Review where Tom and I hosted a similar event - this is definitely something you won't want to miss out on!  

Be sure to set your calendars and join us Thursday afternoon for the event!  You can use the chat room at http://pcper.com/live to interact and ask questions or follow me on Twitter and reply to me during the show. 

Blender 2.63 released! Major feature: BMesh integration.

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | April 27, 2012 - 04:42 PM |
Tagged: Blender

The latest version of Blender has been released to the public officially. This version integrates, after much anticipation, BMesh and in the process reengineers how Blender handles geometry. Models are no longer constrained to triangles and quadrangles and can have any number of sides.

I do a bunch of illustration work for PC Perspective and elsewhere. Most of my work is in 2D these days although originally I worked in 3D applications almost exclusively. When occasions allows it, scarce as they are these days, I return to 3D if new projects need it or old projects get returned to.

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Here today, n-gon tomorrow.

I originally started with Rhino3D when I was introduced to it for a high school shop technology class. When 3D shifted to a persistent hobby I shifted to Maya and purchased an educational license. That license has become well used for game design contests and personal art projects over the past several years.

Faced with the greater than three thousand dollar price tag of a new license of Maya -- I could buy a Wacom Cintiq 24 and another used car (minus repairs) with that -- I looked at Blender once again. I am not against paying for software which gives me value over the alternatives. The GIMP just cannot replace Photoshop for my current illustration work, try as I might, and I eventually was led to purchase one of Adobe’s Creative Suites. Maybe Blender would have a different fate?

gimp.jpg

Sorry boy, cannot play today.

After a few attempts at getting used to its interface -- I mean the man-hours must be cheaper than a license of Maya, right? -- I was about ready to give it up again. The modeling flow just did not suit my style well at all. After exercising my Google-Fu I found an experimental Blender project called BMesh and loaded one of its experimental builds. After just a short period of usage it felt more natural than Maya has felt.

I felt as though I would actually choose Blender over Maya, even if given either one for free. Best part: for one, I am.

So why do I mention this in the post proclaiming the launch of Blender 2.63? Blender 2.63 fully integrates that experimental branch into the trunk core application. BMesh is, as of this release, officially unified with Blender.

For current users of Blender, Game From Scratch has put up an article which demonstrates the benefits which BMesh can provide. If you focus on modeling predominantly, your grin should grow as the article moves on. More tools should be developed for the new geometry engine too. Keep grinning.

Admittedly, again, I do not have too much time to play in 3D lately and as such your mileage may vary. Still, I can honestly say that as of what this release’s preview builds demonstrate: the water is finally warm for 3D modelers to try Blender. Is there room for improvement? Of course, but now is a great time to give it a try.

Source: Blender

Intel Announces Q1 2012 Earnings: Not a Record, but Close

Subject: Editorial | April 23, 2012 - 05:12 PM |
Tagged: trinity, Q1, Ivy Bridge, Intel, earnings, atom, arm, amd, 2012

Guess what? Intel made money. A lot of money. This is not surprising. The results were not record breaking, but they did beat expectations. Intel had a gross revenue of $12.9 billion for the quarter, with a net income of $2.7 billion. Gross margins decreased (slightly) to 64%, but the reasons for this are pretty logical as we discover down below. Compared to Q4 2011, results are still significantly down, but this is again expected due to seasonal downturns. In Q4 they had $13.9 billion in gross revenue and $3.4 billion in net income with a gross margin of 64.5%.

 
Currently Intel is showing inventory at near historic lows, and this is due to a variety of factors. The PC market has been growing slower than expected due to the hard drive shortage that started last fall. Intel has adjusted manufacturing downward to account for this, and has worked to ramp 22 nm products faster by cutting back 32n production and converting those 32 nm lines. Intel is very aggressive with Ivy Bridge, and it expects 25% of all shipments in Q2 to be 22nm products. This is probably the fastest and most aggressive ramp that Intel has ever done, and it will continue to put AMD in a hole with their 32 nm production.
 
intel_logo.jpg
 
The second half of the year should see some significant growth on the PC side. The primary push will be the release of Windows 8 from Microsoft. This, combined with the near complete recovery of hard drive production, should push PC growth the record levels. Ultrabooks are an area that Intel is spending a lot of money to promote and develop with their partners. There are some 26 Ultrabook designs on record so far, and Intel expects this number to rise rapidly. The big push is to decline the overall price of Ultrabooks, as well as enabling touch functionality for a more affordable price. While not mentioned during the conference call, AMD is also pushing for ultra-thin notebooks, and once Trinity enabled products hit the street, we can expect a much more aggressive price war to be waged on these products.
 
Smart phones are another area that Intel is actively trying to expand into. This past quarter we saw the introduction of the Orange, Lava, and Lenovo phones based on the Medfield platform. So far these have been fairly well received by users and media alike, though the products have certainly had some teething issues. Intel still has a lot of work to do, but they finally realize the importance of this market. Intel expects that there will be 450 million smart phones shipped in 2012 (from all manufacturers), and that it is expected to grow up to 1 billion shipped a year by 2015/2016 (if not sooner). Intel wants to get into those phones, and is adjusting their Atom strategy to fit it. While in previous years Atom lagged behind other processor development from Intel, they are pushing it to the forefront. We can expect to see Atom based products being manufactured on 22 nm, and then aggressively pushed to 14 nm when that process node is available. Intel feels that they have a significant advantage in process technology that will directly impact their success in achieving higher rates of utilization across product lines in the mobile sector. If Intel can offer an Atom with similar performance and capabilities, tied with a significantly lower TDP, then they feel that a lot of phone manufacturers will look their way rather than use older/larger/more power hungry products from competitors.
 
Finally, Intel essentially has little interest in becoming a foundry for other partners. They are currently working with a handful of other countries to produce products for them, but I think that this might be a short term affair. Intel will either stay with a few partners to produce a low quantity of parts, or Intel will learn what they have to about producing products like FPGAs and eventually start producing chips of their own. When Intel fabs their own parts, they essentially get paid twice as compared to foundries or 3rd party semiconductor companies.
 
Intel continues to be profitable and successful. Ivy Bridge is going to be a very big product for Intel, and they are going to push it very hard through the rest of this year. Mobile strategies are coming to fruition and we see Intel getting their foot in the door with some major partners around the world. Servers, desktops, and notebook chips still comprise the vast majority of products that Intel ships, but mobile will become a much stronger player in the years to come. That is if Intel is able to execute effectively with accelerated Atom development on smaller process nodes. ARM is still a very worthy competitor, and a seemingly re-invigorated AMD could provide some better competition with Trinity and Brazos 2.0 in the notebook/tablet market.
 
Margins will be down next quarter due to the aggressive 22 nm ramp. With any new process there will be problems and certain inefficiencies at the beginning. As time passes, these issues will be resolved and throughput and yields will rise. Intel does expect a larger PC growth through the next quarter and a higher gross revenue. It will be interesting to see if Ultrabooks do in fact take off for Intel, or will competitors offer better price/performance for that particular market. Needless to say, things will not slow down through the rest of this year.
Source: Intel

NVIDIA continues to tease, sends us a crowbar

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 23, 2012 - 09:58 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, crowbar, kepler

Remember when NVIDIA updated their Facebook page with "It's Coming..." and a picture that you had little chance of learning its origin?  Well the marketing team is at again, this time sending over a crowbar.  No, seriously.

crowbar1.jpg

"For Use in Case of Zombies Or...<NVIDIA LOGO>".  So either something BIG is coming later that I am going to need to open with said crowbar or maybe NVIDIA is partnering with Valve to announce Half-Life 3.  That second guess is just wishful thinking, sorry.

crowbar2.jpg

If nothing else I guess we'll thank NVIDIA for the additional weapon for the eventual zombie apocalypse until such time as they sit fit to clue me in on the joke.

Happy Monday!

Epic talks a storm of bullets. Piracy hurt the sequel?

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | April 10, 2012 - 10:45 PM |
Tagged: piracy, epic games, bulletstorm

Mike Capps of Epic Games, among many other developers and publishers, completely misses the point about piracy. No-one can control piracy, they can only control factors which influence it -- but controlling those factors is meaningless if sales are sacrificed in the process. No-one gets paid by not being pirated; people get paid by making sales.

Frequent readers of my editorials are probably well aware that I am quite vocal about many topics including piracy, the consumables model of art, censorship, and used content sales. I take a very mathematical approach to a lot of complicated topics. Unfortunately, a lot of what is considered common truths is based on fundamentally invalid statistics. It gives me a lot to write about.

Mike Capps of Epic Games was interviewed by GameSpot during PAX East and at some point in the discussion the topic floated across Bulletstorm. On the topic of its lower-than-expected sales, Capps added that the PC version was adversely affected by piracy.

bulletstorm.png

Piracy gnashing its teeth?

Similar statements have been made for countless other games at countless other times. Each of those statements makes a subtle but gigantic mistake in formulating the problem: piracy is not something which does, piracy is something which is. Piracy does not affect your sales, but whatever affected piracy might also affect sales in one way or another.

The intuition is that sales decrease as piracy increases and vice versa. That assumption is nullified by counter-example: do not release a product. Piracy and sales, if you do not release a game, will trend in the same direction: to zero. It is now obvious that sales and piracy do not always inversely correlate.

As Mike Capps also stated in the interview, Bulletstorm had a very rough launch and lifespan on the PC. Bulletstorm required for Games for Windows Live, encrypted its settings, and did other things to earn a reputation since launch as a bad console port to the PC. Customers complained about the experience on the PC which fueled an inferno of uncertainty and doubt for potential buyers.

Being pirated is not losing a sale, but losing a customer before their purchase is.

I was personally on the fence about Bulletstorm and this negative word-of-mouth lead me to ignore the title. I did not purchase the game, I did not pirate the game; I ignored the game. Perhaps those who pirated your title did so because they were interested, became discouraged, but were not discouraged enough to avoid giving it a chance with piracy?

What I am saying is -- piracy cannot reduce your sales (it cannot do anything, it is a measurement), but perhaps whatever combination of factors reduced your sales may also have increased your piracy?

Piracy is an important measurement to consider -- but it, like sales, is just that, a measurement, nothing more. Strive to increase your sales -- keep an eye on your piracy figures to learn valuable information -- but always exclusively strive to increase your sales. It is the measurement that will pay your bills.

Source: GameSpot

Anonymous hacks China, climbs hacker food chain.

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | April 5, 2012 - 04:14 AM |
Tagged: China, hack, Anonymous

China has been the target of numerous successful hacking attempts by Anonymous over the last week. Many sites were defaced and in some cases data such as accounts and e-mail addresses were compromised.

Anonymous has ramped up their activism over the last six months beyond their usual DDOSing and intrusion of US government and corporate websites. Last autumn Anonymous threatened to expose members of Mexican drug cartels although that initiative faded away without too much controversy later in the year. This year they have instead assaulted the Chinese Government.

anonymous-raid.png

This could get just as messy as the drug cartels.

Much of the defacing attempts broadcast, in both English as well as Chinese, messages about the Chinese Government and their practices. One such message states:

Your Government controls the Internet in your country and strives to filter what it considers a threat for it. Be careful. Use VPN for your own security. Or Tor.

The attacks have been sustained for over a week at this point. 486 compromised sites have been listed on Pastebin as of March 30th. There does not appear to have been any public response from the Chinese Government at this point.

What sticks out to me the most is how widespread the attack on Chinese online infrastructure appears to have been despite China’s traditional focus towards cyber security. Regardless of who you are, or what you have previously been capable of, you need to take security seriously as true security is extremely difficult.

Source: ZDNet

NVIDIA urges you to program better now, not CPU -- later.

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | April 4, 2012 - 04:13 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, Intel, Knight's Corner, gpgpu

NVIDIA steals Intel’s lunch… analogy. In the process they claim that optimizing your application for Intel’s upcoming many-core hardware is not free of effort, and that effort is similar to what is required to develop on what NVIDIA already has available.

A few months ago, Intel published an article on their software blog to urge developers to look to the future without relying on the future when they design their applications. The crux of Intel’s argument states that regardless of how efficient Intel makes their processors, there is still responsibility on your part to create efficient code.

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There’s always that one, in the back of the class…

NVIDIA, never a company to be afraid to make a statement, used Intel’s analogy to alert developers to optimize for many-core architectures.

The hope that unmodified HPC applications will work well on MIC with just a recompile is not really credible, nor is talking about ease of programming without consideration of performance.

There is no free lunch. Programmers will need to put in some effort to structure their applications for hybrid architectures. But that work will pay off handsomely for today’s, and especially tomorrow’s, HPC systems.

It remains to be seen how Intel MIC will perform when it eventually arrives. But why wait? Better to get ahead of the game by starting down the hybrid multicore path now.

NVIDIA thinks that Intel was correct: there would be no free lunch for developers, why not purchase a plate at NVIDIA’s table? Who knows, after the appetizer you might want to stay around.

You cannot simply allow your program to execute on Many Integrated Core (MIC) hardware and expect it to do so well. The goal is not to simply implement on new hardware -- it is to perform efficiently while utilizing the advantages of everything that is available. It will always be up to the developer to set up their application in the appropriate way.

Your advantage will be to understand the pros and cons of massive parallelism. NVIDIA, AMD, and now Intel have labored to create a variety of architectures to suit this aspiration; software developers must labor in a similar way on their end.

Source: NVIDIA Blogs

Used Game Sales -- Tempest Cartridge in a Teapot

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | April 2, 2012 - 02:39 AM |
Tagged: used sales

I start to wonder how people got so successful at business with such a short-sighted mindset.

When I arrived home tonight I cautiously browsed the tech news as I often do. Many complain about April Fools being difficult for journalists due to the plausibility of certain pranks conflicting with the fact checking process. In my travels I came across an editorial from Don Reisinger about the ethics of used game sales. While it is marginally possible to have been an early joke, the sentiments contained in the post are too common in the industry.

Piracy and used game sales are sore spots for an industry of companies who believe you either make a sale or you lose a sale. The truth of the matter is that you should be thankful that your product was not flat-out ignored and attempt to derive as much value from that relationship as possible.

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First they came for my used copy of Mechwarrior 3...

Used game sales have been mostly extinct on the PC platform since the wonderful invention of recorded product keys. Users have flocked to the consoles to retain the second sale and have often berated the PC platform for it. As consoles move closer and closer to denying used sales I wonder where they will flock to next. Perhaps maybe they should instead demand that the publisher accept used sales?

For a publisher, a used game sold is a new user of your product. Your retail partner gained extra revenue and brought users closer to your other products which might be first-sale. The user might purchase DLC, sequels, spin-offs, sister-titles, expansion packs, merchandise, and franchise tie-ins as a result of that used game. The user will probably end up playing more video games altogether than they otherwise would. Do you really wish to give up all of that value by indulging in how you feel ripped off by your own paying customers? Also, what about the first sale customer who sold their game to make up the used sale?

They are your customers -- and they are always right. Shut up and take my money when you can.

Source: Slashgear

In North America it is MC Hammer, Celine Dion and Tracy Chapman's birthday. In South Africa it is National Cleavage Day ...

Subject: Editorial | March 30, 2012 - 07:10 PM |
Tagged: friday

It is nice to see new members on the PC Perspective Forums, or even members who have been around for a while but haven't been as active as they once were.  We especially love the ones that aren't afraid to overclock their first machine, if you are going to jump into building your own machine you might as well do it with both feet.  Doing so leads to all sorts of interesting roads, first you start out buying your first UPS and the next thing you know you are building amazing mods like this.

Unfortunately after a while you become older than dirt and may become jaded after forty 'leven releases of GPUs you cannot buy even if you have the money to do, or you run into one too many audio card issues.  If you do hit that point, why not try a new operating system?  Go for a walk with a well dressed flightless waterfowl or jump through a Window you've never tried before ... if you haven't tried an OS recently you can be guaranteed it will be different from the last time you tried it. 

If that doesn't do it for you then sell all your kit at the Trading Post, though that means you won't be able to argue at The Lightning Round, game with the Fraggin' Frogs, chug with the BOINCers and F@Hers or even watch this weeks podcast ... so maybe one more hour of troubleshooting before you toss all your high tech out.

Todd McFarlane Spawned 42 years ago

Subject: Editorial | March 16, 2012 - 06:53 PM |
Tagged: friday

It is a sad thing to see the end of a hardware manufacturer or reseller as it means that a chunk of your old kit will no longer be usable and that maybe it really is time to toss out that old FIC motherboard.  Recently Abit shut its doors and closed its website, removing access to the legacy drivers which some members used and this week someone discovered the same thing about Soyo which means that they need to search long and hard to find drivers for their Dragon.  If you have any old kit from those manufacturers maybe it is time to let them go and start stockpiling 'newer'  old hardware or at the very least put it up on The Trading Post to see if fellow PCPer members would be interested in it.

Old hardware is not a worry for this forum member as you can tell from the X79 motherboard paired with an i7-3960X that was pushed all the way to 4.75Ghz at a voltage of 1.416V.  Something tells me that hardware pushed to that extreme has a short but very impressive life, whether it is cooled mostly by air or by a custom water cooler