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Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | November 24, 2012 - 08:14 PM | Scott Michaud
Dustin Browder of Blizzard Entertainment performed an interview with Team Liquid during the Battle.net World Championships.
Team Liquid is a very active team in competitive gaming with a strong focus on the Starcraft franchise; only recently did the team expand to include DOTA2. Their most notable accomplishment would likely be Liquipedia, a wiki containing a wealth of strategies and tactics for anyone in the public to utilize.
The interview was detailed in discussion of specific balancing changes -- and most importantly -- the thought and methodology behind them.
If you go on the Blizzard forums you will likely see a mass of posts which just do not get it. The purpose of a rebalancing is to slowly change unit stats just enough to alleviate a specific problem. Each small adjustment forces players to change their tactics which will get them thinking about new and innovative ways of winning. When a player comes up with a new tactic you will then get an oscillation between the races in the matchup as either side figure out how to overcome the other all the while begging for nerfs and buffs.
If you are interested in understanding what it takes to be a game designer then it will be a half-hour well spent.
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | November 21, 2012 - 02:58 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: starcraft 2
Starcraft is one of those franchises which fit the spectator game mold. The action can start as early as two minutes in and either player could buckle and break at any moment. Spectators anticipate how chosen tactics will interact before the players are privy to all the required information and appreciate the skill of the execution as it happens.
Enough tournaments are held throughout the year that many upper-tier players need to choose where they will participate. The South Korean GSL and American MLG are two of the most popular tournament organizations but when developer-publisher Blizzard hosts an international tournament with $250,000 USD of prizes it instantly proves its worth.
The 2012 Battle.net World Championship wrapped up from Shanghai, China over the last weekend. Competitors from 14 countries on five continents clashed until we were left with South Korea taking Bronze, Silver, and Gold.
There was not too much Terran love present this year with just four of the 32 finalists needing to construct additional supply depots. Quarterfinals saw an even split between Protoss and Zerg which eventually paired down to a Protoss versus Protoss finale.
The Gold Medalist PartinG received a PartinG gift, heh heh, of $100,000. This prize makes him the second-highest earning Protoss competitor behind Korean MC of team oGs.
Blizzard has already booked next year’s tournament to coincide with BlizzCon 2013 which will return after its 2012 hiatus.
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Processors, Systems, Shows and Expos | September 12, 2012 - 09:34 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: mineral oil, Intel
Intel has been dunking servers in oil for the last year and found the practice to be both safe and effective. Ironically it has been almost a year since we played around with mineral oil cooling – and when we did – we did not want to upgrade or fix anything. Intel agrees.
Intel inside, slick mess outside.
Often cooling a computer with a radiant that is not air focuses on cooling a handful of specific components and leaving the rest exposed to air. Gigabyte in their recent live presentation showed how the company reduced waste heat on the motherboard as it delivers power to the CPU as the latter likely receives more cooling than the former. With mineral oil you are able to more efficiently cool the entire system by immersing it in a better coolant than air.
This still makes Ken wake up in a cold sweat… is what we convince ourselves.
After a full year of testing servers, Intel has decided that oil immersion cooling should be utilized by more server hosts to cut costs over traditional air conditioning. In their test they used heat sinks which were designed for air and dunked them pretty much unmodified into the mineral oil dielectric. Apart from the mess of it – Intel engineers always carried cleaning cloths just in case – Intel seems to only sing praise for results of their study.
Of course Intel could not help but promote their upcoming Phi platform which you may know as the ancestor of Larabee.
Now the real question is whether Intel just wanted to shamelessly plug themselves – or whether they are looking so closely at alternative cooling solutions as a result of their upcoming Phi platform. Will we eventually see heat dissipation concerns rear their heads with the new platform? Could Intel either be sitting on or throttling Phi because they are waiting for a new heat dissipation paradigm?
Could be interesting.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Cases and Cooling, Processors, Memory, Systems, Storage, Mobile, Shows and Expos | August 9, 2012 - 10:30 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, workshop, streaming, quakecon, prizes, live, giveaways
It is that time of year again: another installment of the PC Perspective Hardware Workshop! Once again we will be presenting on the main stage at Quakecon 2012 being held in Dallas, TX August 2-5th.
Main Stage - Quakecon 2012
Saturday, August 4th, 2pm CT
Our thanks go out to the organizers of Quakecon for allowing us and our partners to put together a show that we are proud of every year. We love giving back to the community of enthusiasts and gamers that drive us to do what we do! Get ready for 2 hours of prizes, games and raffles and the chances are pretty good that you'll take something out with you - really, they are pretty good!
Our thanks for this year's workshop logo goes to John Pastor!!
Our primary partners at the event are those that threw in for our ability to host the workshop at Quakecon and for the hundreds of shirts we have ready to toss out! Our thanks to NVIDIA, MSI Computer and Corsair!!
If you can't make it to the workshop - don't worry! You can still watch the workshop live on our page right here as we stream it over one of several online services. Just remember this URL: http://pcper.com/workshop and you will find your way!
Case Mod Competition
Along with the Hardware Workshop, PC Perspective is working with Modders Inc on the annual case mod contest! There are two categories for the competition: "Scratch Built" and "In the Box" that will allow those that build their computer enclosures from the ground up to compete separately from those that heavily modify their existing cases and systems.
For more details, be sure to check out the on going thread at the Modders Inc Forums!
Prize List (will continue to grow!)
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Mobile, Shows and Expos | August 7, 2012 - 03:33 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Siggraph, opengl, OpenGL ES, OpenGL 4.3, OpenGL ES 3.0
OpenGL turned 20 as of the start of this year. Two new versions of the API have just been released during SIGGRAPH: OpenGL 4.3 and OpenGL ES 3.0. Ars Technica put together a piece to outline the changes in these versions – most importantly: feature parity between Direct3D 11 and OpenGL 4.3.
As much attention as Direct3D gets for PC gamers – you cannot ignore OpenGL.
Reigning in graphics hardware is a real challenge. We desire to make use of all the computational performance of our devices but also make it easy to develop for in as few times as possible. Regardless of what mobile, desktop, or other device you own – if it contains a GPU it almost definitely supports either OpenGL or OpenGL ES.
Even certain up-and-coming websites utilize the GPU to break new ground.
The Khronosgraph says 20 years.
Two new versions of OpenGL were recently published: OpenGL 4.3 as well as OpenGL ES 3.0. For the first time OpenGL allows programmers to access compute shaders which makes it easier to accelerate computations which do not work upon pixels, vertices, or geometry without bringing in OpenCL or some other API. Unfortunately this feature does not appear to carry over to OpenGL ES 3.0.
OpenGL ES is also important, not just for native mobile development as it is intended, but also because it is considered the basis of WebGL. It is likely that a future WebGL revision will contain the OpenGL ES 3.0 enhancements such as many rendering targets, more complex shaders, and so forth.
But it seems like the major reason why these two revisions were released together – apart from their timing aligning with the SIGGRAPH trade show – is because OpenGL and OpenGL ES have been somewhat merged. OpenGL ES 3.0 is now a subset of OpenGL 4.3 rather than some heavily overlapping Venn diagram. Porting from one specification to the other should be substantially easier.
So happy birthday, OpenGL – just don’t go down the toilet on your 21st.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors, Shows and Expos | June 14, 2012 - 11:46 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: live blog, arm, APU, amd, AFDS
Day 3 - Thursday, June 14th
We are here at AFDS 2012 for the day 3 keynotes - join us as find out what else AMD has in store.
If you are looking for Tuesday or Wednesday keynotes and information on the announcement of the HSA Foundation, you can find it below, after the break!
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 13, 2012 - 09:03 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: trinity, spire, Silverstone, rosewill, nzxt, corsair, computex 2012, computex, asus, amd
The Tech Report found a few more Computex 2012 pictures to show off, including a teaser from NZXT of the previous Phantom model as the new model is still under NDA, no such problem for the case modders showing off at the Thermaltake booth nor for InWin and their new H-Frame case. Sticking with the cooling motif is this new fan from Spire which uses a new type of bearing to provide a longer life and Corsair's two new lineups of 120mm and 140mm fans, the AF series designed to maximize air flow through a case and the SF series for heatsinks and radiators which benefit more from the increased static pressure larger fan blades can provide. From Rosewill they spotted a silent PSU, SilverStone a SFX model perfect for an HTPC and big 1200W digitally controlled PSU from Corsair. Wrap up the tour with some bad news about the expected delay of Trinity on the desktop and some good news for audiophiles from ASUS' Xonar team.
"We've wrapped up our Computex coverage with another round of news. On tap: the PSUs and case mods that stood out at the show, new fans from Corsair and Spire, a chat with Asus' Xonar audio team, details on NZXT's next-generation Phantom enclosure, and word of a delay to AMD's desktop Trinity APU."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD and ARM joined by Imagination, TI, and MediaTek @ SemiAccurate
- AMD 2013 APUs To Include ARM Cortex-A5 Processor For TrustZone Capabilities @ AnandTech
- TSMC reiterates supply of 28nm chips to come close to demand in 4Q12 @ DigiTimes
- TSMC joins giant fab race @ The Register
- Open Rail, or, why didn’t we think of this? @ Hack a Day
- nstall Windows 8 from a USB Drive, Dual-boot with XP, Vista and 7 @ TechSpot
- Netgear ReadyNAS Duo v2 @ Legion Hardware
- Computex: Thunderbolt is coming, slowly for now @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | June 13, 2012 - 12:07 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: InfoComm 2012, firepro, amd
AMD launches their new FirePro W600 graphics card for professional uses where you desire to drive up to 6 4K monitors from a single-slot PCIe card. The FirePro W600 will be available immediately at an estimated MSRP of $599.
We may be deep in the middle of AMD Fusion Developer Summit 2012 coverage -- but AMD is not just in Seattle this week. The processor and graphics card company is also attending InfoComm 2012 where they released a new FirePro graphics card for a very specific customer. The AMD FirePro W600 is classified as a professional graphics card for display walls.
That description is very accurate.
This single slot card can feed up to 6 4K displays through its 6 mini-DisplayPort 1.2 outputs. Also announced is the multi-stream transport hub (MST hub) which can forego 4K output for 4 separate 1080p displays. They do not claim that 24 1080p monitors can be output from the card so it is possible that there is a limit to prevent all 6 mini-DisplayPorts from being utilized.
If you prefer to not use any hubs and simply have one display per output then you have the option to send independent audio streams to each of the 6 displays. Each of your 4K monitors could be fed different audio all from the same PC and all from the same card.
Enterprises interested in the card would also receive PowerTune and ZeroCore features which were introduced in the Radeon line to reduce power usage. ZeroCore specifically would allow the card to consume up to 95% less power while the rest of the PC is idle.
The FirePro W600 has an MSRP of $599 and is available for purchase immediately.
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | June 11, 2012 - 03:30 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: WWDC 12, apple, macbook pro
Apple has upgraded their MacBook line to Intel Ivy Bridge and includes USB 3.0 support. The MacBook Airs will be supported by Intel HD Graphics 4000 where the new MacBook Pro will be powered by NVIDIA’s Kepler-based GeForce GT 650M. This GPU will be used to power a 2880x1800 (220ppi) resolution screen -- which I will absolutely not feed into the “retina display” marketing term.
Apple has announced new hardware at the start of their World Wide Developers Conference this morning.
As Intel begins to flood the PC marketplace with their latest and greatest Ivy Bridge mobile processors it stands to reason that Apple would not want to be left out. Apple will update their entire laptop lineup to the new CPUs as well as add some Kepler to their MacBook Pro line. The biggest deal is the high resolution 2880x1800 displays which should make text look very smooth and crisp.
Not pictured, 27” IPS display… because 60” HDTV makes it seem more impressive.
The MacBook Air will not have the option of discrete graphics. The 11-inch model will have a screen resolution of 1366x768 where the 13-inch model will contain a 1440x900 screen. Both USB3.0 and Thunderbolt will be supported on each of the MacBook Airs as well as each of the MacBook Pros. SSD technology is also prominently mentioned and was expected.
The new MacBook line ships today. The new lineup of MacBook Airs has starting prices of between $999 and $1499 and the high-resolution MacBook Pro starts at $2199.
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 11, 2012 - 11:55 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nuc, computex 2012, computex
The Tech Report are still trying to catch up on all of their coverage of Computex as there were a lot of exhibits to make it to. Intel has once again come up with a questionable name for an interesting product, the Next Unit of Computing is a 4" x 4" x 1" system which could be used for tasks similar to the Raspberry Pi, but as they were running Cinebench on an i5 powered version you can expect quite a bit more from the NUC. Contrast that with EVGA's lineup of GTX 680's all of which are larger than the Intel system. The Classified version sports a larger cooling fan as it has double the amount of memory typically found on a GTX 680 at 4GB, they also have a watercooled GTX 690 and a model of the card which claims to have a hot clocked GPU which will be interesting to examine when it arrives on a test bench.
Cooling enthusiasts might be very interested in Enermax's dive into watercooling or for air cooling you could see how Noctua's active noise cancellation works. BitFenix displayed an interesting miniITX encloure and SilverStone showed off a pair. Check out all the pictures and more by following the links.
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Corsair new Link_A_Media SSD’s, memory and more @ Kitguru
- Ultrabooks is the future, but it isn’t quite here, yet @ Kitguru
- Intel offers 56Gbit/s Infiniband on Xeon E5 server motherboards @ The Inquirer
- Ninjalane Podcast - Skyrim Tower Defense Processor Selection for Overclocking CyberpowerPC
- US Navy buys Linux to guide drone fleet @ The Register
- Average selling price of tablets drops 21% in three months @ The Register
- Zeo Bedside Sleep Management System Review @ Madshrimps
- What is a CSC? featuring Samsung NX200 @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 11, 2012 - 12:01 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: mali, arm, amd, AFDS
In a blog post over at arm.com, ARM Fellow Jem Davies has made a point to let us all know that he is going to be attending the AMD Fusion Developer Summit yet again, but this time with something more concrete to discuss. In a very self-aware statement, Davies writes in his post that "my appearance last year generated a lot of speculation about the nature of the relationship between ARM and AMD."
From Davies' post:
This year, we have a great deal to discuss. ARM is all about low power and many people in the industry now realize that GPUs have a central role to play in providing highly energy-efficient computing. It’s an exciting future that can grow the ecosystem that surrounds computing. ARM’s unique portfolio of CPU, GPU, interconnect and physical IP puts us at the forefront of one of the most important technological changes in a long time. Reflecting on that and some of those changes, I will be making an announcement at the show.
Emphasis above is ours.
Also worth noting is that Jem Davies does not have his own session at AFDS, but rather we can expect to see him to come out on stage during another keynote, likely during Phil Rogers' or Mark Papermaster's.
AMD wants into the tablet market. ARM could accelerate that process.
Exactly WHAT the ARM/AMD announcement might be obviously isn't known by many yet, but we have speculated many times that an AMD built, ARM architecture processor, with Radeon-based graphics technology and ARM low-power CPU cores, could help AMD enter into the world of ultra-lower power SoCs very quickly. Markets like the pending onslaught of Windows 8 RT tablets and clamshells have NVIDIA foaming at the mouth and AMD would be remiss to not attempt to tackle the same markets and one-up Intel at the same time.
It should be an exciting week! Keep checking pcper.com and our AFDS site tag for all the latest news including keynote live blogs!
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | June 8, 2012 - 06:09 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: video, unreal engine 4, E3 12, E3
Epic has released as much of their GDC demo as they are able to in an effort to end E3 2012 with a bang. They have included a second video to walk through the engine for developers to enjoy. We will explain to the masses why it is awesome.
Before we go any further -- the video you have been waiting months to see.
Be prepared for a particle-filled generation.
As was the case with Intel’s sand-to-CPU video -- the demo is pleasing but the supplementary info is the prize.
Epic released a 10 minute developer walkthrough to highlight the most important features of Unreal Engine 4. You can see it below and read on to see what that all means.
Yes, Unrealscript did not make it to Unreal Engine 4.
The first major feature of the engine is real-time dynamic global illumination and glossy specular reflection. Traditional video game graphics only considers the first bounce of light from a source -- if that bounce does not reach the player camera then it does not exist. Global illumination allows objects to be lit not just by light sources but also by light bouncing from neighboring objects.
It has been very popular to calculate how light interacts with objects ahead of time for the last generation as well as a portion of the generation prior to that. With those methods you are able to soften the shadows cast by light and make the scene feel much more naturally lit. The problem arises when anything in the scene moves or changes as obviously happens in a video game.
Unreal Engine 4 has the ability to calculate Global Illumination in real time. Dynamic lights such as muzzle flashes or flames are able to not just illuminate the area around them but also induce that area around it to light each other.
Also, static sources such as moonlight shining in the window against the floor can bounce from the floor and slightly lighten the walls with a bluish tint without being calculated ahead of time. Developers can try lighting effects without waiting for sometimes hours to see the results. This also means that what would have been once a pre-computed lit scene with nothing moving can now be destroyed and still remain properly lit. And now the moon can even move if the designer wants.
Specular material on the gold statue
Diffuse material on the gold statue, notice how the floor lighting from the statue desaturates and changes.
In this scene we see how light can reflect against a statue and influence the objects around it. A specular material has a much smoother and more mirror-like surface than a diffuse material which tends to scatter light in all directions. If you were to shine a laser against a mirror the beam would bounce and you would not see it unless you were in the reflected path whereas if you shine the laser against the wall you would see a dot regardless of how you look at it. This is because the wall, like a projector screen, is like trillions of microscopic mirrors all pointed in different directions which each take a tiny fraction of the light and sends it in a different direction.
In Unreal Engine 4, this effect means that a shiny surface will not only glare if you look at it but also light the objects around it differently than a diffuse surface. You can see that effect against the floor.
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 8, 2012 - 02:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: computex, computex 2012, msi, slider s20
We've seen a few hybrid tablet/notebooks, from the familiar ASUS Transformer to Acer's Iconia but MSI has one that really stands out. As you can see from the pictures that The Tech Report snapped, MSI's Slider S20 has a retractable keyboard instead of a detachable one which will likely add to the weight but could be more convenient than a keyboard dock especially as it also acts as a stand.
Antex is working on their P280 series, with a microATX version and a full sized version with an integral housing for a radiator on the top for those who want a tidy watercooling solution. If you more into CherryMX switches then it is the Rosewill pictures that will interest you as they showed off a few new models at their booth.
"For our third Computex digest, we have news about an MSI Windows 8 tablet with a slide-out keyboard, a new version of Antec's famous P280 enclosure, and upcoming Rosewill mechanical keyboard with configurable backlighting."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- BIWIN shows off SSD With New Controller, World First Interview @ TechwareLabs
- Computex 2012: AMD targets US$599-899 range for APU-based ultrathin notebooks @ DigiTimes
- Intel phone boss: 'Multi-core detrimental to Android mobes' @ The Register
- The problem with passwords @ The Inquirer
- HDD oligopoly to keep post-flood prices high till 2014 @ The Register
- Globalfoundries looking to beat UMC in 2012, eyeing top spot among foundries @ DigiTimes
- Thermaltake New Products at Computex 2012 @ TechwareLabs
- The md5crypt() author says the algorithm is no longer secure @ The Inquirer
- Apple iPad Mini Secret Pics Leaked and Revealed @ TechwareLabs
- Win an Asus GTX680 courtesy of ARIA and Kitguru!
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Shows and Expos | June 7, 2012 - 06:49 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: hsa, fusion, amd, AFDS
One of the best show experiences I had last year was a surprise to me - AMD's first annual Fusion Developer Summit (AFDS) was hosted in the Seattle / Bellevue area. I say that it was a surprise only because the inaugural year for vendor-specific shows like this tend to be pretty bland and lack interesting information, but that wasn't the case in 2011. We saw ARM get on stage with AMD to talk about the idea of "dark silicon" and how to prevent it, we saw the first AMD Trinity notebook and even got details of the Tahiti GPU architecture well ahead of release.
We expect even better things in 2012.
While I don't know exactly what surprises will be on display this year I am looking forward to seeing the improvement from software developers after having another 12 months to work on APU-accelerated applications. HSA (heterogeneous system architecture) has been getting a lot of buzz from AMD and the industry as we push towards a combined memory address space and the ultimate acceleration of programs across both serialized and parallel processors on the same die.
If you are in the Seattle / Bellevue area and you have the ability to attend AFDS, I would highly encourage you to do so. You'll have access to:
- Never before seen demos
- Technical tracks and sessions to learn about HSA and programming for it
If you can't make it though, you should definitely follow the whole event right here at PC Perspective - the easiest way is to keep track of our AFDS tag to make sure you don't miss any of the potentially industry shifting news!
You can also expect us to have a live blog from the event as well!
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 7, 2012 - 03:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: computex, computex 2012
The Tech Report had a chance to see Lucid's latest new product to enhance the ability of your computers graphics, it is called XLR8 Dynamix software and it seems almost designed to emulate what Ryan saw in his Rage testing. Instead of lower quality textures being an issue, in this case Lucid is attempting to dynamically reduce the quality of background textures to allow for higher frame rates on lower powered GPUs.
From AMD they saw the first Brazos 2 chips, which you can read about here. They caught snaps of Gigabyte's GA-X79S-UP5 server board with a combination of 14 SATA and SAS ports for a huge amount of storage and picked up a bit of news about the fastest mobile chip on the planet.
"Here comes our second helping of Computex coverage. We've got the skinny on Nvidia's Kepler-based mobile GPU flagship, AMD's 2012 E-series APU platform, a decked-out Sandy Bridge-E motherboard from Gigabyte, and Lucid's latest GPU virtualization mojo, which boosts fluidity on Intel IGPs by dynamically tweaking texture detail."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The Awesome and Unusual and Crazy From Computex 2012 @ TechwareLabs
- Computex 2012 Day 2 - Hotel Walk of Fame Part 1 @ Ninjalane
- Computex 2012 Day 2 Coverage Blog @ Ninjalane
- OCZ: We will plug Lightning into your Thunderbolt @ The Register
- Solid state storage for the enterprise and consumers: Q&A with Alex Mei, CMO at OCZ Technology @ DigiTimes
- MD5crypt Password Scrambler Is No Longer Considered Safe @ Slashdot
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 5, 2012 - 10:46 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: video, elder scrolls V, elder scrolls, E3 12, E3
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is getting an expansion pack known as “Dawnguard”. The expansion explores vampirism and to a lesser extent, lycanthropy. Extra content includes new quests related to those vile blood-suckers as well as new abilities and two new skill trees.
Todd Howard spoke at DICE conference and played a video of his team’s GameJam: one week of passion projects.
The Skyrim GameJam sizzle video highlighted several of those projects with many already included in recent patches. A fairly decent period of the video was focused on Vampirism and Lycanthropy and forms the basis of the newly announced Skyrim: Dawnguard expansion pack.
G4 has forwarded some further details from Bethesda as a part of their E3 coverage.
Hopefully the Werebear has also made the cut.
This DLC seems to be a homecoming of the typical expansion packs that we PC gamers remember.
The extra campaign appears to be fairly lengthy for an update with a decently engrossing story. The trailer suggests that you will have a different series of quests depending on whether you support the vampire cult or wish to destroy it. In addition we will also receive two separate skill trees: vampirism will be advanced by feeding on the living and lycanthropy will be advanced by feeding on the dead.
The expansion will launch on (editor's note: Forgot to write the 360 release date) June 26th for the Xbox 360 first with the PS3 and PC to follow at an unspecified date. There is no mention of price. (editor's note: Apparently it'll be ~$20 and was briefly mentioned in the video I linked -- must have missed it.)
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 5, 2012 - 07:34 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: video, Star Wars, E3 12, E3
Star Wars 1313 is a mature-themed video game published and developed internally by LucasArts as well as its sister companies: Lucasfilm Animation, Industrial Light and Magic, and Skywalker Sound. The game allows the player to experience being a bounty hunter in the Star Wars universe. The demo released at E3 is powered by Unreal Engine 3 and an NVIDIA GPU.
The Star Wars franchise has not been the most beloved lately -- but this might change some minds.
Rumors leading up to E3 have claimed that a game would be announced which allows you to play as Boba Fett. On the opening day LucasArts announced Star Wars 1313 which allows you to take control of an unidentified bounty hunter in the Star Wars universe. Geoff Keighley of Game Trailers and Spike TV was shown a demo of the game.
What does this have to do with Nashville, Spike?
There are two possibilities for the identity of the bounty hunter -- and they are not mutually exclusive. Typical speculation is that the bounty hunter will be the premiere star in an upcoming LucasFilm production such as a live action TV show. What I speculate, and the look of the player model supports this, is that the character actually is related to Jango Fett as was previously rumored.
That of course is just speculation and not one that I will flesh out any further.
The demo itself was stated by Mark Rein of Epic Games to be running on Unreal Engine 3. LucasArts has confirmed that the demo is running on a PC with an NVIDIA GPU doing the calculations.
I have not been able to track down release date information or supported platforms but it is pretty safe to say given the demo that it will be available on the PC. I guess that is all I really care about, to be honest.
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 5, 2012 - 05:44 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: elder scrolls, E3 12, E3
Zenimax has launched a new teaser trailer for their upcoming Elder Scrolls Online. You will not see any in-game footage nor will you see any information in the trailer. To learn more about the game, you will need to be satisfied with testimonials -- which thankfully exist, at least.
So the “big MMO” space will likely be a three-way clash between EA, Activision/Blizzard, and now Bethesda.
I would expect that The Elder Scrolls franchise would be one of the strongest contenders against Warcraft and Star Wars. According to PC Gamer, The MMO will span the whole of Tamriel which is a departure from earlier installments which mostly flesh out a single area. The world will graphically not keep up with Skyrim yet will keep up with modern MMOs.
And EVE Online for the rest…
Three factions will be available for the player to choose from: The Aldmeri Dominion, the Daggerfall Covenant, and the Ebonheart Pact with the Bird, Lion, and Dragon emblems respectively. PVP between these three factions will be constrained to Cyrodiil which you may remember from Oblivion. Imagine catapults versus a castle sieging into the fortress and you would be imagining what some witnesses have described.
G4 has their hands on a few (older) screenshots which show the -- yes, third person -- gameplay of the MMO.
Oh look, a Venus fly trap.
Game Informer has quite a wealth of information about the two provinces controlled by the Daggerfall Covenant: High Rock and Hammerfell. Maps of both are present and dotted with allegedly present cities full of quests and attractions. This will be your home if you choose either Breton, Orc, or Redguard as your player race.
Game Informer also promises a feature on the Aldmeri Dominion tomorrow.
Subject: Motherboards, Shows and Expos | June 5, 2012 - 01:06 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Z77, x79, trinity, sandy bridge-e, PLX PEX 8747, Ivy Bridge, Intel, fm2, asrock, amd
Four new Intel motherboards from ASRock were revealed at Computex, the X79 Extreme11, Z77 Extreme9 and Z77 OC Formula. All use their new XFast 555 Technology software for XFast RAM, XFast LAN and XFast USB which should at the very least allow you great control over all the frequencies on your motherboard.
The motherboard for power users supports Sandy Bridge E processors, the X79 Extreme11 sports PLX PEX 8747 bridges which means this motherboard can run multi-GPU 4-Way SLI/CrossFireX at PCIe Gen3 x16/x16/x16/x16 and puts EVGA's Classified SR-2 in serious trouble on the Leaderboard when released. 24 + 2 Power Phase Design, onboard Creative Sound Core3D and an LSI SAS2308 chip which gives you ten SATA3 connectors with 8 of the able to be set to SAS mode.
The Z77 Extreme9 also sports the PLX PEX 8747 bridge which allows a surprising full PCIe Gen3 x8/x8/x8/x8 quad GPU mode. The included T2R Dual Band WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n + BT v4.0 Module supports dual band WiFi and BlueTooth and combines with the Wi-SB BOX to provide better signal and an extra pair of USB 3.0 connectors.
The Z77 OC Formula wants to step on ASUS' toes; while the score is impressive, the overclocks need a little work. They don't say much about this board but from the preliminary testing it looks like great fun for the serious overclocker.
Last but not least is the Z77 Extreme6/TB4 which features four channel Thunderbolt, for that you can read two Thunderbolt ports. ASRock mentions that this "allows one port to be connected to the onboard graphics and the other one can be used for discrete graphics card." which could lead to all sorts of speculation.
On the AMD side we have the ATX FM2A75 Pro4, and microATX FM2A75 Pro4-M and FM2A75M-DG which support Trinity processors but unfortunately we don't have much more than their names. TechPowerUp did get some pictures of the boards recently.
They are also showing the EN2C602-4L, E3C204-V, E3C204-4L and H77WS-DL server boards which come with a full suite of software to ensure an easy setup, an IPC motherboard for those small purpose-built applications and an intriguing HTPC box called the ASRock VisionX Series. This is reputed to featuring Ivy Bridge, Radeon HD 7850M graphics and AMD HD3D Technology with dual band WiFi but might cost a bit more than the alternative, the ASRock MINI Series which has and AMD E2-1800 backed up by a Radeon HD7340.
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Shows and Expos | June 5, 2012 - 12:09 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: rosewill, computex, computex 2012, Fortress, Tachyon, SilentNight, Hercules, Throne
Rosewill is up to quite a bit at this years Computex with quite a few different products to house or interface with your computer. Starting with the largest of their new lineup; who wouldn't want another full sized Throne in their house?
Nine hard drive bays with four fans passing air over them, ten expansion bays to handle even the Wonder Twin Dream System with handy grommets for watercooling or wire management the interior of your case will look snazzy. A bottom mounted PSU and top mounted large exhaust fan does make air cooling an extreme system possible for any hydrophobics out there. Those preferring a good looking exterior will like the LEDs.
Speaking of PSUs, they are showing off an 80Plus Platinum Certified tro at Computex with the Fortress, Tachyon and SilentNight with the 1600W Hercules standing tall above them.
They have two mechanical keyboards on display as well, though they do not specify which type they have used, the Limited Edition Elite Ivory RK-9000 series and the backlit RK-9100. That doesn't cover all the releases they have (though it does their pictures), as they have the RSV-L4500 server chassis with up to 15 3.5" drives and eight 120mm fans, the RMX-N360RT wireless router for beginning network techs as well as experienced ones and a dual Xeon Super System named after a cult classic, which may be the only way to lay your hands on four GTX680's, the Red Dawn.