Is 460TB enough flash storage for you?

Subject: General Tech | June 10, 2014 - 03:32 PM |
Tagged: hp, 3PAR 7450

If you are looking for extreme storage you can't top HP's 3PAR 7450 server at this time.  With a total capacity of 460TB you can have the largest and fastest commercially available storage for whatever you need stored.  There are some very interesting enterprise level features on this device, from deduplication to Adaptive Sparing which allows the 7450 to recover some of the over-provisioned storage on the drive used to replace failed flash.  They also offer a 5 year warranty on the drives inside as well as guaranteeing six 9's of reliability which works out to less than a minute of downtime per year.  According to what HP told The Register you can expect to pay $2/GB; it is nice to dream isn't it?

storeserv_7450.jpg

"The drives actually have 1.6TB of raw flash capacity but, using this aforementioned technology, HP says it can recover some of the over-provisioned storage – so the effective capacity of the 7450 SSDs is up to 1.92TB. Note the “up to” in HP’s statement; a cue for lots of fierce examination of Megsco’s capacity uplifting claims by competing suppliers."

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Source: The Register

E3 2014: Grand Theft Auto V PC Release in the Fall

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 9, 2014 - 11:31 PM |
Tagged: E3, E3 14, GTA5, GTA Online

So my best guess is that Rockstar was waiting on the "next-gen" assets before they bothered releasing Grand Theft Auto V on the PC. The game will be released this fall, alongside Xbox One and PlayStation 4 ports. They do not mention distribution platforms, but Steam is a fairly safe assumption, at least now that Games for Windows has been given its final rest.

Hopefully, this delay in releasing a PC version will be a temporary hiccup due to the overlapping console generations. With Grand Theft Auto IV, the same could not be said. The problem is, with how secretive Rockstar is, we cannot really tell whether the above assumption is true, or whether they were just non-committal to the PC platform until now. At either rate, until the PC version is launched, Rockstar has not and will not get my money. Of course, there is always that danger that, by the time the game does launch, I will not be able to afford its time or expense.

That's why you should always release the PC version as early as possible.

Kingston Sees Sales Growth in PC Hardware

Subject: General Tech, Memory, Storage | June 9, 2014 - 11:08 PM |
Tagged: kingston, ssd, hyperx

Kingston, known primarily for RAM, flash drives, and SSDs, discussed the health of their company. VR-Zone reported on the interview and highlighted the company's sentiments about the PC industry. Long story short, Kingston sees growth in sales of PC gaming hardware -- apparently 20% year-over-year. The company expects that this growth comes primarily from SSD upgrades, either from rotating media or, they claim, replacing years-old, entry-level SSDs with more modern (probably in both speed and size) options.

kingston-hx.jpg

Nathan Su, APAC (Asia-Pacific) director of Kingston, believes that "many users" have experienced low-tier SSDs and, it seems, would be willing to invest in the full thing. He does not clarify what he means, whether he is talking about SSD caching, or just a really small (or slow) SSDs from drive generations past.

There is a bit of a concern that SSD prices will continue to fall, with some drives reaching under 40c/GB in recent sales. As a consumer, I (selfishly) hope that prices continue to drop, while still remaining profitably sustainable for the manufacturers. Hopefully Kingston is accounting for this and will continue to see growth at the same time.

Source: VR-Zone

E3 2014: GOG Galaxy Announced

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 9, 2014 - 09:04 PM |
Tagged: E3, E3 14, GOG, gog galaxy

Good Old Games (GOG), a subsidiary of CD Projekt RED, is releasing an online gaming manager similar to Steam and Origin. The difference is that everything about it is DRM-free and completely optional. Galaxy will manage game updates, provide achievements, and host communication between friends... if you want. If you don't? That's okay. Have fun.

gog-galaxy.png

Obviously, their most popular competitor is Valve. Steam has a history of being nice to their customers and erring on their side. GOG, historically, takes it to the consumer-friendly extreme. If it lives up to their statements, this is no exception. The hope seems to be just that people will remember GOG more often and have more happy customers.

Basically, most platforms are give-and-take. This is take what you want.

When will it launch? What will it look like? Who knows. We will get more news this year, which suggests that we will not get the software until at least next year. Hopefully they will take their time and get it right. I mean, it is not like they need to rush. It is not a mandatory DRM platform - it is not a DRM platform at all. I do expect they will try to target The Witcher 3's launch window (February 2015) for marketing purposes, though.

Source: GOG

The schwag was cool; the keyboard not so much

Subject: General Tech | June 9, 2014 - 05:08 PM |
Tagged: sentey, gaming keyboard, Phoenix Extreme Gamer Series, input

Overclockers Club offers an alternative look at the extreme gaming keyboard market which most seem to have accepted as a reasonable product now.  There are many who will pay a high price for a mechanical keyboard with good switches as they do make a difference for frequent typers though arguably not as much for gamers.  Then there are the $50 gaming keyboard with common gel switches but a fancy exterior, eye catching colours and backlighting which generally come with bottle openers and fridge magnets.  The Sentey Phoenix Extreme Gamer is one such keyboard and if you consider it reasonable to spend $50 on a pretty keyboard you probably don't want to read this review.  Those who agree with the author and would rather kill 5 generic keyboards over time will probably crack at least one smile while they read.

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"The keyboard ultimately is a joke to my hands and for the $50 asking price, I'd rather burn through five generic builder series keyboards instead. This keyboard has no home on my desk and shouldn't on yours either. I'm happy to be done with the review, simply for the sake of never using it again. Fortunately, the carry bag will prevent me from picking up shattered keys in my driveway later; good thinking Sentey."

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E3 2014: Battlefield Hardline Closed Beta Sign Up

Subject: General Tech | June 9, 2014 - 04:43 PM |
Tagged: E3 14, E3, beta, battlefield hardline, battlefield

Quick message: The Battlefield Hardline Closed Beta is accepting applications now on a first-come-first-serve basis. Hardline is Battlefield in a cops and robbers universe. Think of PayDay 2 with Battlefield 4 graphics and gameplay elements, basically. It is developed by Visceral Games, the studio known for Dead Space.

battlefield-hardline.jpg

Note: The signup page is a bit glitchy, likely because of server load. If you are interested, hop in quick, before all of the slots are gone. The beta is open now, although it apparently takes a little bit of time before Origin recognizes that you are in it. You will know you are in when you get an email "invoice" for the Battlefield Hardline beta with a $0 transaction.

Source: EA

E3 2014: SteelSeries Announces Sentry Eye Tracking

Subject: General Tech | June 9, 2014 - 03:25 PM |
Tagged: E3, E3 14, steelseries, sentry

SteelSeries has announced Sentry, a device which tracks the user's eye movement. Since so much of professional gaming is perception and attention, it can be valuable to acquire feedback on how your eyes scan the display. This is not exactly a new service for teams. Some StarCraft 2 tournaments have even broadcast eye-tracking data to the audience.

steelseries-sentry.png

This is obviously a niche product, but that is not reason to discredit it. One of the leading reasons for purchasing a high-speed camera is to analyze golf swings (I avoided the "driving reasons" pun, for your sanity). More subtly, SteelSeries is a major sponsor of several gaming teams. They might consider their personal needs as a form of subsidization, depending on if their business arrangement with Tobii and their investment in the Sentry. If it is not significantly more expensive than licensing a different service for their players, or that service is missing critical features, then why not make it and sell part (or all) of it as a product?

Currently no pricing or availability yet.

Source: SteelSeries

E3 2014: NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet Will Exist?

Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 9, 2014 - 02:10 PM |
Tagged: shield tablet, shield, nvidia, E3 14, E3

The Tech Report had their screenshot-fu tested today with the brief lifespan of NVIDIA's SHIELD Tablet product page. As you can see, it is fairly empty. We know that it will have at least one bullet point of "Features" and that its name will be "SHIELD Tablet".

nvidia-shield-tablet-il.jpg

Image Credit: The Tech Report

Of course, being the first day of E3, it is easy to expect that such a device will be announced in the next couple of days. This is expected to be based on the Tegra K1 with 2GB of RAM and have a 2048x1536 touch display.

It does question what exactly is a "SHIELD", however. Apart from being a first-party device, how would they be any different from other TegraZone devices? We know that Half Life 2 and Portal have been ported to the SHIELD product line, exclusively, and will not be available on other Tegra-powered devices. Now that the SHIELD line is extending to tablets, I wonder how NVIDIA will handle this seemingly two-tier class of products (SHIELD vs Tegra OEM devices). It might even depend on how many design wins they achieve, along with their overall mobile market share.

Source: Tech Report

Gesture at your camera phone?

Subject: General Tech | June 9, 2014 - 01:32 PM |
Tagged: windows phone 8, nokia, kinect

If you recall, the Nokia Lumia 1020 was the 41MP camera with a phone bolted to it that was released last year.  Nokia is following up their unique product with a new version which will incorporate Kinect sensors into the phone and called it "3D Touch" or "Real Motion".  Nokia sees possible usages such as turning on the phone by grabbing it and to hover your finger  over a Live Tile and tap down in the air to bring up sub-menus.  Combine gestures with Bluetooth and you will never again know if that strange person on the street is a hipster or hallucinating.  Catch more at The Inquirer.

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"KINECT TECHNOLOGY reportedly will debut on Windows Phone this year, with the sensors set to appear in the sequel to the Nokia Lumia 1020."

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Source: The Inquirer

This Wacom "Cintiq" Really Is Based on an Intuos

Subject: General Tech, Displays | June 8, 2014 - 05:09 PM |
Tagged: wacom, Cintiq, Intuos, hack

A couple of years ago, you might remember my review of the Wacom Cintiq 22HD. It was not a review unit. I was originally saving for the Cintiq 24HD until the 22HD and the 24HD Touch were announced. At that point, I was making decision whether to upgrade to the 24HD with a touchscreen for Windows 8 development, or save some money and get the 22HD. If you have read my many editorials on Windows Store certification requirements, you might guess that, at least I believe, I made the right decision.

wacom-intuos-cintiq-hack.jpg

Image Credit: Hack a Day

This purchase was actually the second graphics tablet that I owned. Years earlier, I purchased an Adesso CyberTablet 12000 but had problems with drawing in one location and seeing the results in another. I, then, transitioned to scanning pencil-and-paper and inking/filling them with a mouse. It was at that point that I took a gamble on a Wacom Cintiq.

Why am I telling this story? Wacom Cintiqs are based on the same technology as their Intuos tablets, even down to pen compatibility, with a display built in. Well, at Hack a Day, one of their clever readers decided to make their own Cintiq out of what appears to be a Wacom Intuos3 A5. Basically, he fit a replacement 9.7-inch, 2048x1536 display, designed for Retina iPads and similar tablets, behind the touch sensor. It apparently worked without much fuss.

You can find Wacom Intuos3 6 x 8-inch pen tablets for about 120-150$ used. You can also find a 9.7-inch 2048x1536 panel and the other necessary hardware for about $70. While it is not an exact replacement for a Wacom Cintiq, it is the best you will do for under $250 (or even under $900).

Source: Hack a Day

Xbox One Controller PC Drivers Now Available

Subject: General Tech | June 8, 2014 - 04:09 AM |
Tagged: xbox, microsoft, pc gaming, reverse-consolitis

Ah cool. Microsoft has provided the 32-bit and 64-bit (x86) drivers for their Xbox One controllers. The controller can only be used in wired mode, connected to the PC with a micro-USB cable, and there does not seem to be any plans to develop a PC wireless dongle like the 360 had. It will support any game which can make use of an Xbox 360 controller, which is certainly a lot of games.

xbox-one-controller.png

The D-Pad is said to be a huge step up from the 360, which is a polite way of saying the 360's directional pad was absolute garbage. I am hesitant about the rest of the controller, though. I have heard numerous complaints about its design, particularly with its shoulder buttons, although it is hard to know without physically trying it. Like all peripherals, I would expect it comes down to personal preference to some extent.

PC gamers have other choices, too. For instance, unofficial support for the PS4 controller exists, albeit it is missing features from what I remember (it does support Bluetooth wireless on the PC, however). Also, and this is a better option, numerous PC gaming companies have their own controllers, including Razer, Logitech, and others.

But, of course, if you already have an Xbox One -- then why not try its controller on your PC?

PCIe 4.0 Is 2x Bandwidth of 3.0, like 3.0 to 2.0 and 2.0 to 1.0

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | June 7, 2014 - 05:47 PM |
Tagged: pcie 4.0, pcie, PCI SIG

You know the PCI-SIG might break the pattern with PCIe 5.0, just to mess with us. But for right now, Tom's Hardware seems to have acquired part of the PCIe 4.0 spec and it is expected to get 2 GB/s bandwidth per lane, per direction. This is double the bandwidth of PCIe 3.0, continuing the trend of each major PCIe release doubling bandwidth of the previous major version.

pcielogo.gif

A 16-lane PCIe 4.0-compliant graphics card or storage add-in board (that feels so weird to write...) has a maximum bandwidth of 32 GB/s inbound and 32 GB/s outbound, 64 GB/s total. This is still below GDDR5 bandwidth, but approaching the same order of magnitude. That said, memory bandwidth is the major roadblock for optimizing GPGPU workloads, already. APUs will probably still have an advantage in CPU and GPU tag-teaming tasks, despite their lower compute performance.

According to bit-tech, the spec is expected to arrive with Skylake and its 100-series chipset.

Microsoft Allows Developer Use of Kinect-Reserved Shaders

Subject: General Tech | June 7, 2014 - 04:32 AM |
Tagged: microsoft, xbox one, xbone, gpgpu, GCN

Shortly after the Kinect deprecation, Microsoft has announced that a 10% boost in GPU performance will be coming to Xbox One. This, of course, is the platform allowing developers to avoid the typical overhead which Kinect requires for its various tasks. Updated software will allow game developers to regain some or all of that compute time back.

xbox-one-front.png

Still looks like Wall-E grew a Freddie Mercury 'stache.

While it "might" (who am I kidding?) be used to berate Microsoft for ever forcing the Kinect upon users in the first place, this functionality was planned from before launch. Pre-launch interviews stated that Microsoft was looking into scheduling their compute tasks while the game was busy, for example, hammering the ROPs and leaving the shader cores idle. This could be that, and only that, or it could be a bit more if developers are allowed to opt out of most or all Kinect computations altogether.

The theoretical maximum GPU compute and shader performance of the Xbox One GPU is still about 29% less than its competitor, the PS4. Still, 29% less is better than about 36% less. Not only that, but the final result will always come down to the amount of care and attention spent on any given title by its developers. This will give them more breathing room, though.

Then, of course, the PC has about 3x the shader performance of either of those systems in a few single-GPU products. Everything should be seen in perspective.

Source: Eurogamer

MSI Adora20 3M All-in-One PC Is Based on Kabini

Subject: General Tech, Systems | June 7, 2014 - 02:44 AM |
Tagged: msi, all-in-one, Kabini

MSI has just announced an updated all-in-one PC which they hope you find... Adora-able? If you thought that joke was terrible, then it gets worse: I stole it from their product page. The Adora20 3M is based on an AMD E2-3800, which is a quad-core Kabini APU. Its built-in Radeon HD 8280 will not be able to play most modern games as it is unable to keep 30 FPS in either DOTA 2 or Diablo III at the screen's native (1600x900) resolution. This will be a GPU for web browsing and video decoding tasks.

msi-adora20-front.png

The device, itself, is built into a 19.5-inch touchscreen display and comes with Windows 8.1. It has two integrated 3W speakers from Creative and a one-megapixel webcam. It also has mic in, headphone out, a pair of USB 3.0 ports, two more pairs of USB 2.0 ports (one pair on the side and one pair on the back), an HDMI-out port, gigabit Ethernet, and an SD card reader (no maximum card size listed). It also has Wireless-N. An SSD will be available on some units, but not every one. A TV tuner is also optional.

The Adora design is marketed as a slim design that about nine-tenths (9/10) of an inch at its thickest. The point seems to be that it is a full desktop PC in a TV form factor. They do not mention whether it supports VESA wall mounts (and its pictures suggest that it does not). Its kickstand looks handy, but I cannot really find a compelling reason for a thin monitor that is just going to lean on its kickstand all day.

It could be a good deal, however, if it is priced appropriately. Unfortunately, we do not have details on pricing or availability yet. If cheap enough, this could be very compelling for a kiosk or a kitchen/office nook. I still question whether those use cases would care about it being less than an inch thick, but I guess it would be a nice bonus.

Source: MSI

Titanfall Ear Force Atlas! Titanfall Ear Force Atlas! Titanfall Ear Force Atlas!

Subject: General Tech | June 6, 2014 - 05:55 PM |
Tagged: audio, gaming headset, turtle beach, Titanfall Ear Force Atlas, branding gone wild, forehead

If your obsession over Titanfall, regardless of platform, has taken over your mind and you need a way to physically display that fact, then Turtle Beach has the headset for you!  Titanfall Ear Force Atlas! Apply directly to the forehead!

Branding aside these headphones are quite stiff, which may become uncomfortable after time but presented an unexpected benefit for the Kitguru tester who happens to have an Occulus Rift; they do not shift or creak as your head quickly moves in reaction to an in game event.  The bass is a bit strong for some purposes but will make your Titan sound even more impressive; the sound is perhaps a bit muddy but not enough to ruin your experience while gaming or watching movies.  Check out the full review here.

titanfallheadset-759x1024.jpg

"If you find yourself jumping from rooftop to rooftop, wallrunning your way between kills and blasting away at 30ft tall metal behemoths on a regular basis you are either playing Titanfall or need to reduce your meds. Either way though, you will probably appreciate the style of Turtle Beach’s latest headset, the Titanfall Ear Force Atlas headset. It’s compatible with the Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC, with adapters, cables and connectors galore – but does it sound good? That’s what’s important and that’s what we are here to find out."

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Source: KitGuru

Even more from Computex 2014

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 6, 2014 - 01:49 PM |
Tagged: computex 2014

HP is courting mobile users with their Pro x2 series, a stylus enabled tablet with a keyboard dock containing extra outputs and a second battery in 1080p 12.5" and 11.6" 1366x768 flavours; the smaller model is already available already starting at $850.  EVGA stepped up their game with the 1600W SuperNOVA PSU that comes with a 10 year warranty while Fractal Design was showing off refillable and expandable self contained watercoolers.  You can also catch AData's new SSDs and Kingston's M.2 SSDs and even more over at The Tech Report.

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"PC makers appear to be embracing the convertible tablet form factor with gusto at Computex 2014, and HP is no exception. Today, the company announced a pair of business-focused two-in-ones: the Pro x2 612 and Pro x2 410."

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Computex 2014: ROCCAT Tyon Got Buttons (And More?)

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 5, 2014 - 07:37 PM |
Tagged: computex, computex 2014, roccat, tyon

So this mouse has many buttons. It even has not-buttons. The ROCCAT Tyon has 31 user-customizable functions mapped over 16 buttons. The "Tyon Xcelerator", near its thumb buttons, is an analog switch designed for functions such as throttle or vertical movement. The "Dorsal Fin" is a switch that tilts left and right, like a tilt wheel, except that it also has a tilting mouse wheel.

I guess you can never have too many tilt functions.

roccat tyon.jpg

Yo Cat, Heard You Like Buttons...

In short, ROCCAT has basically put as many functions on that mouse as they believe comfortable. Personally, I think the "Xcelerator" could be quite useful for games, like Battlefield: Bad Company 2 with its UAV, where you need to move in three dimensions and rotate in two dimensions, at the same time. That just leaves about 30 other functions to think about.

The ROCCAT Tyon is "coming soon" for 99.99 Euros (~$136 USD).

Source: ROCCAT

Google's Project Tango Announced, Uses NVIDIA Tegra K1

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | June 5, 2014 - 02:51 PM |
Tagged: tegra k1, tegra, project tango, nvidia, google, Android

Today, Google announced their "Project Tango" developer kit for tablets with spatial awareness. With a price tag of $1,024 USD, it is definitely aimed at developers. In fact, the form to be notified about the development kit has a required check box that is labeled, "I am a developer". Slightly above the form is another statement, "These development kits are not a consumer device and will be available in limited quantities".

So yes, you can only buy these if you are a developer.

The technology is the unique part. Project Tango is aimed at developers to make apps which understand the 3D world around the tablet. Two examples categories they have already experimented with are robotics and computer vision. Of course, this could also translate to alternate reality games and mapping.

While Google has not been too friendly with OpenCL in its Android platform, it makes sense that they would choose a flexible GPU with a wide (and deep) range of API support. While other SoCs are probably capable enough, the Kepler architecture in the Tegra K1 is about as feature-complete as you can get in a mobile chip, because it is basically a desktop chip.

google-project-tango.jpg

Google's Project Tango is available to developers, exclusively, for $1,024 and ships later this month.

Also, that price is clearly a pun.

Source: Google

Podcast #303 - News from Computex 2014, Crucial MX100 SSD, Intel SSD DC P3700, and much more!

Subject: General Tech | June 5, 2014 - 02:39 PM |
Tagged: video, podcast, p3700, mx100, intel ssd, gsync, fx-7600p, freesync, corsair, computex 2014, computex, asus, adaptive sync, acer, 4k

PC Perspective Podcast #303 - 06/05/2014

Special guest Austin Evans joins us this week to discuss news from Computex 2014, Crucial MX100 SSD, Intel SSD DC P3700, and much 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, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Maleventano, and Austin Evans

Program length: 1:29:12
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. 0:46:00 Monitors
    2. Corsair
    3. ASUS
  3. Closing/outro

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

 

Fabulous fablessness? AMD looking to ASMedia for chip R&D?

Subject: General Tech | June 5, 2014 - 02:04 PM |
Tagged: amd, asmedia, asus, rumour

DigiTimes spilled a juicy rumour today which has AMD looking to a work even more closely with ASMedia in the future.  AMD has already partnered with this ASUS subsidiary to integrate SATA Express into their newest chips as a way to save development costs and ease production issues.  This goes along with AMD's fabless strategy that started with the split off of GLOBALFOUNDRIES and has since lead to partnerships with other major fabbers like TSMC.  While still very much in the rumour phase and with AMD refusing to comment we are not sure this will indeed occur but it does fit with AMD's current strategy of price reductions and may free up their engineers to work on more specialized designs.

asmedia-85228274.jpg

"AMD reportedly is planning to outsource its PC chipset R&D to ASMedia Technology, a subsidiary of Asustek Computer, to save costs and the cooperation is expected to greatly benefit ASMedia's revenue performance, according to sources from the upstream supply chain."

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Source: DigiTimes