AMD's Bulldozer boards will support SLI

Subject: General Tech | March 31, 2011 - 12:01 PM |
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According to slide over at VR-Zone, the new 990FX and 990X chipsets will support NVIDIA's SLI multi-GPU technology.  That announcement does come with caveats, 7 and 8 series boards will not support SLI and there will be absolutely no support for the NF200 bridge chip.  Even still any time the consumer is given more choices it is a good thing.

"For so long, AMD enthusiasts have to resort to unofficial patches to make SLI work on their boards but not anymore. NVIDIA has finally agreed to make their SLI technology available for AMD 9-series chipsets boards supporting the Zambezi processors based on Bulldozer architecture."

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Source: VR-Zone

Examining Dragon Age II's hardware requirements

Subject: General Tech | March 30, 2011 - 12:36 PM |
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Dropping by [H]ard|OCP will give you a chance to see what kind of power you need to get the most out of the second iteration of Dragon Age.  Unlike some other games, this one supports DX11 so the first requirement to get every possible effect is to pick up a DX11 GPU.   For their tests they chose the GeForce GTX 580, 570, and 560 Ti as well as the Radeon HD 6970, 6950, and HD 6870 and used the High-Resolution Texture Pack.Drop by and see how your rig will fare.

"Dragon Age 2 is here in the hopes to provide your fantasy-action-adventure-role-playing fix. Its graphics are upgraded from the first game with advanced DirectX 11 features. Is it going to make mince-meat of your video card, or is it a kinder and gentler sort of bloodbath? We've got game performance on six video cards!"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

What could possibly go wrong? Hotmail enables Javascript in emails

Subject: General Tech | March 30, 2011 - 11:53 AM |
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Maybe you are not quite so paranoid as to stick strictly to text only emails but you probably raise an eyebrow when an email wants to download content such as pictures from an external site.  Such practices are a great way for spammers to verify that an email is active but for now are not really a security risk.  Hotmail, in an attempt to keep users, will now be enabling javascript code to pull in live multimedia content directly to your emails and straight into your temp folders.  Good thing there aren't any known security risks for doing so.   Check out the full scoop at The Inquirer.

 

"EMAIL SERVICE PROVIDER Microsoft will allow companies to run Javascript code within Hotmail users' mailboxes.

Microsoft has said that its Hotmail service will analyse email and present certain forms of content in a way that it believes is the "most common things people do when they receive the email". This means that groups of images will automatically be put into a slideshow or videos will be embedded directly in emails from simple Youtube links."

 

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Source: The Inquirer

Finally, you can dump those WinXP thin clients

Subject: General Tech | March 29, 2011 - 11:39 AM |
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If you work for a company that utilizes thin client machines and is a devoutly Windows shop with no interest in Linux then the announcement of a yet another version of Windows 7 will actually impress.  Added to the wide variety of available flavours will be Windows Thin PC, allowing you to ressurrect old hardware into something useful for more than collecting dust.  The new Windows will incorporate the virtualization improvements of the Server 2008 and several other new technologies while still retaining the all important disk write lock that makes thin clients so safe and easy to support.  Follow the link from The Inquirer for a look at the community technology preview.

 

"SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Microsoft has announced a technology preview of Windows Thin PC.

Microsoft announced it would be releasing a preview of Windows Thin PC last month, now a public technology preview release has been made available. However Microsoft confirmed that the final release will be only for Microsoft's Software Assurance customers."

 

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Source: The Inquirer

Razer jumps into audio with their gaming speakers

Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2011 - 06:16 PM |
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If Razer sells it you can be sure that the product is aimed at gamers and their new Ferox Module Gaming Speakers are no exception.  They are definitely small, Red & Blackness Mods describes them as the "size of big eggs", and the round design helps reinforce that image.  The round design is not a fluke, these are omni-directional and best for when you want to share your sounds with others.  Drop by and take a look.


(not quite life sized)

"With the iPad and its competitors taking over the market there is a bigger need for portable accessories for them. There are a lot of portable speakers on the market for surf pads and cells but none of them really stand out in the competition. Razer are trying to solve this by releasing their Ferox module gaming speakers. We are going to test this speaker kit out with various devices to see what these egg sized speakers can do."

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Can you benchmark a mouse quantitatively?

Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2011 - 03:17 PM |
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Mouse reviews, especially the high end gaming mice with adjustable DPI and a dozen or more buttons, are of the qualitative variety.  With no easy way to measure the performance or the impact on efficiency, the reviewer is limited to describing their experience with the mouse and how it felt to use for protracted periods of time.  An article at Slashdot links to a software tool that goes by the name of Metalocity which claims to fix that, and you can download the program to try it yourself.

"A new mouse performance speed-testing software has scientifically demonstrated that there is virtually no difference between the performance of expensive, high-end gaming mice and cheap laser office mice. The software, called Metalocity, is available for free download so you can test your own mice and confirm the empirical results for yourself. It also shows that the multi- button approach of the Razer Naga and WarMouse Meta increases user speed by up to 112 percent."

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Source: Slashdot

Looking for a silver lining in "The Cloud"

Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2011 - 11:52 AM |
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You've heard about "The Cloud" and the miracles of having your applications hosted by another company over the web and by now you might be getting a little sick of it.  The promises made by those first service providers made it seem as though your email, databases and other programs that cost your business serious money to maintain could be reduced to a sliver of it's previous cost and as a bonus The Cloud will make your website bulletproof.  Now that the shine has worn off a bit and cloud computing has actually been available long enough for proper testing and usage we have a much better idea exactly what it is capable of and what new skills techies need to catch up on.  Ars Technica answers a couple of common questions small to medium business should ask themselves before they reach for the sky

 

"The best argument against outsourcing e-mail to the cloud is also gone: Gmail for Business also comes with enterprise support. And Google also works with partners now, so you can get local support too. We are working together with Romneya for example, a Belgian Google Partner."

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Source: AnandTech

PC Matic Pitstop goes for -$0.01 on Frys

Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2011 - 11:35 AM |
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I realize that many of our readers are likely over confident in their own computing skills that software like the piece I am about to mention will seem unnecessary, but others will find the tip interesting if only for friends and family.  PC Matic Pitstop is a package that combines the benefits of a virus scan with a malware removal service, driver updates, registry tweaks and more.  And while you can read positive reviews from sites like Brighthub and CNet, but the price is what will really convince you to give it a try.

 
 
Fry's is offering the software package for -$0.01 after a mail-in rebate for a limited time.  As far as cost, it doesn't get much better than that, so if you think this suite might help your or your family out with a system in need of a clean up, maybe give it a try!

Grab a copy of the Silmarillion ... apparently it's Tolkien Reading Day

Subject: General Tech | March 25, 2011 - 06:43 PM |
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Perhaps we are a little odd here at PC Perspective, after all a post entitled Another Good One is guaranteed to be about a difficult computer problem, not a viral video about a kid who loves cats on Friday, but we know what we like and are proud of it ... even if we aren't perfect.  We like to break things (or at least stress them) so that we can find out how they work and how to rebuild them, and to add to our collection of random screws that didn't fit back in. In that spirit, why not see if you can break the beta version of the new improved PC Perspective design and get a peek at the future while you are at it. 

Sometimes we go for the maximum punch and other times we take a more minimalist approach but we never do seem to take the easy road.  Once everything is working, to relax we engage we engage in activities which require split second reflexes or argue about the unsolvable problems that face the world.  If you do find that it all gets too much for you, just be glad you can watch the four of us do what we have done #147 times before.

Antec Donates Online Store Sales Proceeds to Japan Disaster Relief

Subject: General Tech | March 25, 2011 - 02:11 PM |
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Fremont, CA – March 24, 2011 – From now until April 24, 2011, Antec will donate 10 percent of proceeds generated from its online store sales to the American Red Cross, helping offer relief to earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan.

Understanding the far-reaching effects of its actions and recognizing its responsibility as a global company, Antec will offer its online store customers a 10 percent discount on all orders $50 or more, and free ground shipping on all enclosure and power supply orders (excluding b-stock items).

Orders can be placed at the Antec online store at http://store.antec.com. For more information about the American Red Cross visit http://www.redcross.org.

Source: Antec

Is it worth picking up a USB 3.0 add-in card?

Subject: General Tech | March 25, 2011 - 12:07 PM |
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The Tech Report investigates a question that is probably on the minds of those who upgraded their PC hardware just before the release of USB 3.0, is it worth picking up a PCIe USB 3.0 card?  They grab a Mukii TransImp TIP-PU301 2 port USB card and run through what you can expect in the way of bandwidth depending on the implementation of PCIe your motherboard has as well as the effect of legacy cables. 

"SuperSpeed USB connectivity may be a nice additional perk as part of a future system, but is it worth the trouble as a standalone upgrade?"

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The most concise and accurate Crysis 2 review you need

Subject: General Tech | March 23, 2011 - 01:22 PM |
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If you've been living on pot noodles for months to save up enough money to upgrade your system for Crysis 2 then maybe it's time to reinstall FarCry 2 or Metro 2033, there must be a few mods out there to amuse yourself with.  Whatever level of fail BulletStorm reached with encrypted .ini files, Crysis 2 surpassed them and kept on going.  Who needs a DX11 game on an XBox after all, let alone challenging play or graphics that crush modern GPUs?   Kyle at [H]ard|OCP will help you save some bucks buying this console port, but if you really want to play it he did stick with it long enough to provide a performance preview.

 

"We have played them all! Farcry, Crysis, and now Crysis 2. If you were relying on Crytek to stress your new AMD or NVIDIA GPUs, well, you will likely have to wait another 4 years, or never probably. Crysis 2 graphics suck. Yes the graphics suck and you all know why. Crytek sold us out for a bunch of pussy 360 gamers. Gameplay is about as exciting and motivating as pulling a scab off your dog's scrotum. Open gameplay? Yeah right. Challenging? Not in the least. Crysis 2 goes into the "Never Finished" game bin with Daikatana. Come to think of it, Daikatana had better multi-player."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Cedar Trail gets its big reveal at IDF in Beijing

Subject: General Tech | March 23, 2011 - 12:27 PM |
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Intel's new mobile platform for netbooks, notebooks and all-in-one PCs will be unveiled next month in Beijing.  Cedar Trail in its various forms could start to arrive on the market before the second half of the year, leading with netbooks powered by the new generation of Atom processor.  Graphically you can expect DX10.1 support and the ability to stream 1080p video, though we don't know how smoothly yet.  Digitimes has the tip here.

"Intel will introduce Cedar Trail, its new platform specifically designed for use in netbooks (Cedar Trail-M) as well as nettops and entry-level all-in-one PCs (Cedar Trail-D), at Intel Developer Forum (IDF) to take place in Beijing, China, during April 12-13.

The third-generation Cedar Trail platform will feature a 32nm Atom processor (Cedarview), that is already in beta testing and should be able to start shipping in May or June. The platform will support DirectX 10.1, Blu-ray content playback and dual-display output, and supports output formats such as LVDS, eDP, HDMI and DP.

In addition, Taiwan-based Asustek Computer may announce its US$200-250 ultra-thin netbook at the show."

 

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Source: Digitimes

The last browser to renew its self; Firefox 4 arrives tomorrow

Subject: General Tech | March 22, 2011 - 12:06 PM |
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Over the past 7 days we have seen quite a bit of action in the browser world.  Internet Explorer has hit its 9th iteration for those running Vista or Win7, with improved performance across the board, previously unseen (from Microsoft) adherence to web standards and new features such as a Do Not Track header.  The eternally updating Chrome beat even Adobe to the punch in patching a serious Flash flaw, but Firefox has been lagging behind in this busy week.  Wait no more, as today sees the release of FireFox 4, with an update to the Gecko rendering engine and a new Javascript engine called Jaegermonkey.Drop by The Inquirer for a preview before you install it.

"OPEN SOURCE software developer Mozilla has big hopes that Firefox 4 will maintain the momentum of its most popular product, and so far the results are looking good."

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Source: The Inquirer

PCMark 7 Announced For Windows 7

Subject: General Tech | March 21, 2011 - 06:30 PM |
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HELSINKI, FINLAND – MARCH 21, 2011 – Futuremark, the developer of the world's most popular benchmarking software, announced PCMark 7 today, a new benchmark offering complete PC performance analysis for Windows 7. PCMark 7 includes 7 separate test suites combining more than 20 individual workloads covering storage, computation, image and video manipulation, web browsing and gaming. A release date has not been announced though the official website states that PCMark 7 is coming soon. http://www.pcmark.com/

"Hardware innovations like solid state drives (SSDs), and new form factors such as netbooks and tablets are greatly increasing the range of PC performance available to businesses and home users," said Jani Joki, Director of PC Products and Services at Futuremark. "With so much choice available, PCMark 7 is an essential and easy to use tool to test and compare PC performance accurately and reliably across a wide range of usage scenarios."

PCMark 7 provides a set of 7 suites for measuring different aspects of PC performance with a high degree of accuracy. Overall system performance is measured by the PCMark Suite. The Lightweight Suite measures the capabilities of entry level systems and mobility platforms unable to run the full PCMark suite. Common use performance is measured by the Entertainment, Creativity and Productivity scenario suites. Component performance is measured by the Computation and Storage hardware suites. The Storage suite is ideal for testing SSDs and external hard drives in addition to the system drive.

For more information please visit http://www.pcmark.com/ or follow Futuremark on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Futuremark/

Source: FUTUREMARK

Corsair hits the low end of 2.1 speakers with the new SP2200 system

Subject: General Tech | March 21, 2011 - 01:30 PM |
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$220 Corsair SP2500 2.1speaker set, which you can see from the full review was quite impressive for those sitting directly in front of their PCs.  Overclockers Club had a chance to try out Corsair's less expensive alternative, the $90 Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2200 2.1 speaker set.  As the price difference indicates, there are significant differences between the two models, the satellites are smaller and the control for the subwoofer also affects the bass sent to the satellites though on the plus side the speakers can accept input from 3 different sources without you having to swap plugs.  Check out the full review at OCC.

"Movies aren't so involving with the SP2200. Newer movies often have audio that favors bass, and, as mentioned, the bass must be turned down quite a bit on the SP2200 to prevent it from being overwhelming and boomy. Unfortunately, this means that the overall volume must be turned up rather high to have a traditional movie experience. Fortunately, because most movie audio is intentionally very quiet so that any dramatic, loud moments are emphasized, means that quiet listening of movies is possible. Simply note that you might have to increase the volume to hear quiet parts."

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IR cameras tracking your eyes might just trump the mouse

Subject: General Tech | March 21, 2011 - 01:13 PM |
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The Lenovo-Tobii eye control PC offers a new way to interact with your PC; a few seconds of staring at dots calibrates the software and from there on you can use your eyes instead of your mouse or trackpad.  It will even be able to store different Eye Profiles, so others can use the new software without forcing you to recalibrate once they are finished.  A row of two synced infrared sensors scan your eyes 30-40 times a second leading to very precise control.   Digital Trends feels that Tobii's 'Kinect for PCs' is a strong contender for the next interface for your computer.

"First it was the mouse, then touch control, then motion. On Friday, we got our hands on Tobii's new eye-tracking laptop, which could potentially eliminate the need for the mouse by keeping tabs on what you're looking at with astounding accuracy. In the last few years, touch control has revolutionized the way we interact with mobile devices. The technology has been so popular on smartphones that Apple used its proven touch approach to reinvent the dead tablet market with the iPad. Thanks to the blooming growth of these devices, touch is taking off in a big way, taking on new form factors and posing a potential threat to our oldest friend: the PC. With all of these motion-controlled interfaces for video game systems and touch interfaces for mobile devices, the PC with its keyboard and mouse, just feels, well, old. The keyboard is still the fastest and best way to enter large amounts of data and to author written content, but the mouse and touchpad are a step removed from the natural, direct feeling one gets when using the Wii, Xbox Kinect, or a touch tablet. Tobii hopes to rectify this imbalance. Last Friday, I met up with Barbara Barclay, North American manager of Tobii Technologies (a Swedish company) to try out a completely new type of user interface built for consumer desktops and laptops. In a small office building in Manhattan, New York, she let me try out one of only 20 prototype Lenovo laptops, which each have built-in infrared sensors that track eye movement so precisely and quickly that it makes even the best mouse interfaces feel antiquated."

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Talking about Fusion with AMD

Subject: General Tech | March 21, 2011 - 12:51 PM |
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X-bit Labs had a chance to speak with Neal Robison, the Senior Director of Content and Application Support at AMD, essentially he is in charge of ensuring AMD's APUs can be easily utilized with software and convincing programmers of all varieties to design software that takes advantage of the new abilities of the Fusion APU.  They discuss a wide variety of topics, such as hardware accelerated physics to tablets and AMD's choice to remain open as opposed to hawking AMD branded applications specifically for Fusion APUs.  Get a glimpse of AMD's future in the full article.

"AMD's Fusion technology is finally here. At present AMD Fusion platforms only power low-end personal computers, in the coming months AMD will introduce Fusion chips for mainstream PCs. But what about the future of Fusion program? Will it power high-end desktops? Maybe next-generation game consoles? What advantages can Fusion bring to end users? Neal Robison, the head of software developer relations department will answer these questions here and now."

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Source: X-Bit Labs

Don't eat the green snow

Subject: General Tech | March 18, 2011 - 06:02 PM |
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If you head on over to the motherboard forum you can see a few members have been getting lately, from brand new SandyBridge systems to a Gigabyte 790X board that is throwing up BSODs on regular occasions.  No matter what made or model of motherboard you happen to have, new or old, AMD or Intel, the PC Perspective Motherboard Forum is where you should head if you are having difficulties, unless the problem is specifically with your RAM of course.  Some problems are harder than others to fix though. 

The Lightning Round is doing stellar business as there is a lot to talk about in this quickly changing world, as is the Trading Post with several new items up for sale as the original owners change their setups.  To get kit for free though you need to sign up for PC Perspective March Madness, where up to 400 people compete to come out at the top of a NCAA pool.  You can also catch the 146th episode of the PC Perspective Podcast right on our front page.

Springtime graphics round up

Subject: General Tech | March 18, 2011 - 04:06 PM |
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InsideHW gathered together a large number of video cards, broke them into four different price ranges and went benchmark crazy.  For this particular round up they were more concerned about GPU power as opposed to contrasting the different features that AMD and NVIDIA have incorporated into their cards.   As well, instead of complicating their results with multi card setups, they focused on how the cards compared when used singly.  Take a look to see how they fell on the performance scale in the full review.

 

"If you were attentive during the past few months, you’re bound to have noticed just how many new graphics card models have been presented in the past few months. To say that the market situation is confusing would be an understatement, since not only have there been plenty of new models making their appearance on the market, but an entire graphics card generation has shifted. Besides, NVIDIA seems to have made a full recovery and got back into the game as an entirely respectable competitor…"

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Source: InsideHW