CES 2012: GIGABYTE unveils Z77 -- big, small, gigabytesized

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2012 - 04:45 AM |
Tagged: gigabyte, CES 2012, CES

The first day of CES is nearly to a close and while I escape the blisters on my feet due to my location a few time zones and one border away from the organized chaos, the callusing of my fingertips has just begun. Allow us to each stretch our hands out, loosen our wrists, and prepare to indulge on distilled product announcements and testimony of how awesome various TVs look. Since we are a computer hardware website, how about indulging in a jackpot of information about Gigabyte’s next generation of Z77 Ivy Bridge motherboards?

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So… uh… did I win?

The Z77 chipset will be Intel’s higher-end platform for the upcoming Ivy Bridge CPUs as well as support for the previous generation of Sandy Bridge processors. While there are some 60-series chipsets that support Ivy Bridge with a BIOS update I am sure Gigabyte, for one, hopes you upgrade to a motherboard more suited for the CPU.

Perhaps you would like a 3D BIOS with that?

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Gigabyte decided to attack the user-interface within the BIOS and chose its weapon to be 3D graphics with their X79 motherboards for Sandy Bridge-E. Tim wrote a little piece on it last November and it looks like the product had enough potential to continue pressing the issue with their Z77 line. The 3D BIOS can also be dropped down into Advanced Mode for those who are not afraid of the more traditional BIOS layout; the advanced mode will apparently still be prettied up, just not at the sacrifice of functionality.

Big sniper, little sniper, green sniper, Killer sniper.

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Two motherboards announced during CES stem from the G1.Sniper product line: one ATX (3), and one Micro-ATX (M3). BigFoot Systems has their Killer (brand name, not adjective) technology present in these products with the larger board also containing a second Intel Gigabit network adapter.

Motherboards for small businesses.

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Gigabyte ended their press release with a few notes about their small business products. As expected, they focused their motherboard on the core needs of what a small business would desire: remote monitoring, backup, and durability.

Setting its sights on the small business market, GIGABYTE will demonstrate the B75M-D3H motherboard that represents a new product range featuring the ability to remotely monitor and manage PC health, installed software, data backup, energy saving and connectivity. This allows system integrators to add value to their products by offering these services to small businesses with between 1 and 6 PCs. Key features and selling points for these models will be manageability, affordability and GIGABYTE’s Ultra Durable design quality.

What do you think about Gigabyte’s product line? Do you desire a Micro ATX gaming machine for your desk or perhaps your home theatre cabinet? Do you own a small business? 

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: PCPer

OCZ shows Kilimanjaro platform in the form of mini PCIe through Z-Drive R5

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2012 - 04:32 AM |
Tagged: CES, ssd, r5, r4, ocz, cloudserv

Earlier today we got our first hands-on of OCZ's new Kilimanjaro platform. This is the result of a joint venture between OCZ and Micron. The premise is simple: Most SSD and even PCIe storage devices use SATA as the primary or intermediate interface. This adds latency to the connection, and eventually limits the ultimate IOPS a given device can achieve. Kilimanjaro employs a new type of controller that takes commands directly from the host system via a single lane of PCIe 2.0, and in turn directly drives 4 channels of flash. This is all done without any SATA or SAS communications whatsoever. Here is what the simplest form of this platform looks like:

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This may be a bit confusing to some. The above pic is *not* of an mSATA device. Recall that mSATA borrowed the physical specification of mini PCIe (like the Wi-Fi adapter in most laptops). This device could plug into one of those slots (or even a hybrid mini-PCIe/mSATA port), and would link to the system via a PCIe 2.0 x1 link. This makes it capable of 50,000 IOPS and 500MB/sec - speeds similar to that of a good SATA 6Gb/sec SSD. The advantage of this platform is twofold. First is the lower latency achieved by getting rid of the middle man (SATA). Second is the way PCIe bridged storage can scale. The current far extreme of this comes in the form of the Z-Drive R5:
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This is essentially the same as the mini-PCIe device we just looked at, except there are 16 of them. The 16 PCIe 2.0 1x devices are interleaved evenly through a special PHY to a PCIe 3.0 x8 link to the host system. This makes for some insane bandwidth and IOPS possibilities. I'm fairly certain that the placard in the above pic was meant for the half-height (8 channel) R5, since the platform is capable of up to 7GB/sec and 2.5 million IOPS in the full height form factor. Marvell and OCZ still have a little ways to go on driver and firmware development for this new platform, so it may be a few months before we see it in the wild. Once that happens, we might see mid-point models with 2-4 controllers replacing the RevoDrive series shortly thereafter.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Video Perspective: ASUS MeMO 701 and ASUS Transformer Prime TF700T Hands on!

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2012 - 04:15 AM |
Tagged: CES, transformer prime, tf700t, memo, asus

Matt already posted up a pictorial look at the new ASUS Eee Pad MeMO 701 but I wanted to share a video demonstration we made while visiting the ASUS suite.  Enjoy!

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

OCZ Continues to Push the Performance and Capacity Envelope for Cloud Optimized Solid-State Storage

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2012 - 06:05 PM |
Tagged: z-drive r5, z-drive R4 CloudServ RM1616, ssd, PCIe SSD, ocz, indilinx everest 2, chiron 4TB SSD, CES

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 9, 2012 - International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012 - OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs), today announces the debut of new and exciting SSD solutions. Using the world's most popular technology tradeshow as a platform, OCZ's latest SSDs demonstrate a commitment to advancing flash storage technology into greater realms of performance and versatility, further driving adoption in client and enterprise applications.

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"CES represents a great opportunity for us to showcase our latest storage technology, and highlight next generation cloud-optimized solid state solutions that address today's enterprise needs," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology. "Once again we have been able to leverage our increased R&D strength and our understanding of client needs to change the face of solid state storage and deliver innovative new solutions far ahead of our competitors, demonstrating technology leadership across all product categories."

OCZ will introduce next generation solutions designed to deliver higher performance, reliability, and storage capacity to meet the demands of the enterprise market with industry-leading products. OCZ products to be unveiled at CES include:

Z-Drive R5 – Utilizing the OCZ and Marvell co-developed Kilimanjaro platform, the fifth generation Z-Drive R5 is designed to accelerate "big data" like never before. As the world's first PCIe x16 Gen 3 SSD, which supports up to 16GB/s of total bandwidth, the R5 will be 2012's most advanced SSD, featuring performance that reaches up to an incredible 2.52 million IOPS and 7.2GB/s sequential transfers per card, with unlimited scalability and performance aggregation capability. With optional power fail protection the R5 will be available in a range of form factors including full height, half height, and 2.5-inch PCIe. The R5's industry-leading performance and storage capacities make pure flash storage in mission-critical applications possible.

Indilinx Everest 2 – The SATA 3.0-based third generation Indilinx controller is designed specifically for I/O-intensive workloads in a wide range of applications, supporting sequential speeds of up to 550MB/s, and up to 105,000 random read and 90,000 Random Write IOPS with the newest 2xnm flash technology. The Everest 2 platform supports up to 2TB capacity in a compact 2.5-inch form factor.

Z-Drive R4 CloudServ RM1616 – Making 16TB of storage on a single PCIe card a reality, the new Z-Drive R4 CloudServ RM1616 is the newest addition to the award-winning R4 Series. With performance of up to 6.5GB/s and over 1.4 million IOPS, the Z-Drive R4 CloudServ's level of concentrated performance and capacity enables system architects to design more productive infrastructures while lowering operating costs associated with hard drive technology.

Chiron 4TB SSD – The world's fastest and highest capacity SATA SSD for the enterprise, the Chiron Series provides a staggering 4TB in a compact 3.5-inch form factor. With performance exceeding SATA 3.0 bus capabilities, Chiron delivers speeds above 560MB/s and 100,000 IOPS. Eliminating the need for high capacity HDDs as anything other than backup devices, the Chiron Series enables mass SSD storage and is capable of deploying up to 96TB of storage in a 4U rackmount server chassis.

OCZ's enterprise showcase demonstrations will include, among others, an IBM System x3650 M3 highlighting the performance potential of the new Z-Drive R5 PCIe Gen 3 in a Linux server environment, as well as a HP ProLiant DL370 G6 server equipped with two Z-Drive R4 RM1616s delivering 1,400,000 IOPS per card with Windows Server 2008. In addition, drives based on the next-generation Indilinx Everest 2 platform will be demonstrated, as well as a prototype of "Lightfoot," an external Intel Thunderbolt SSD unveiling a new generation of high-performance portable storage.

 

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

CES 2012: ASUS Updates Transformer Prime with 1920x1200 Display

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2012 - 12:33 PM |
Tagged: transformer prime, Transformer, tf700t, CES, asus

The ASUS Transformer and the newer Transformer Prime are often considered the best Android tablets on the market and the most likely to be able to compete with Apple and its iPad in 2012.  Our own review from Matt Smith tells the same kind of story and is definitely worth a read to get some context for this news today.  

At CES 2012 ASUS is unveiling a new version of the Transformer Prime with the TF700T suffix that adds a couple of really nice features including a high-resolution 1920x1200 screen and a new 2.0 MP front camera for HD video conferencing.  These replace a 1280x800 resolution screen and a 1.3 MP front camera.

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The current Transformer Prime that might already be outdated...

Also worth noting is a change to the back plate on the device that ASUS claims "should enhance WiFi, BT and GPS performance."  Some users had complaints about WiFi issues and this should address it, if you are willing to pay the higher price for the better hardware as well.

Expect to see this selling for $599 to $699 when it is available this quarter.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

CES 2012: ASUS Eee Pad MeMO ME370T 7-in Tablet with IPS Screen, Stylus

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2012 - 12:32 PM |
Tagged: tablet, stylus, memo, ME370T, eee pad, CES, asus

ASUS is hitting on all cylinders today and is announcing the new 7-in tablet called the Eee Pad MeMO ME370T.  The company claims the device has "an emphasis on entertainment, media and light productivity" and with an IPS display and both capacitive and included-stylus touchscreen, the MeMO is a very unique product in the US market.

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The hardware of the MeMO includes a 1280x800 resolution, dual-core Qualcomm 8260 1.2 GHz processor and 1GB of memory.  I am kind of intrigued that they didn't use any currently available NVIDIA Tegra SoC on this though I won't speculate on why just yet.  

It will be available in both 16GB and 32GB storage capacities and has 802.11n, Bluetooth 2.1 and dual cameras for the front and back of the device; 1.2 MP front, 5.0 MP back.  The unit will have a micro USB port, an audio jack that can be used for either output or input, Micro-SD memory card slot and micro-HDMI as well.  Apparently a SIM card slot is included as well though I am not sure how that will work in the US market.

Coming in at under 1 pound, the MeMO is very light.

The Eee Pad MeMO will ship with Android 4.01 aka Ice Cream Sandwich when it is available in Q2 of 2012. 

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

ZOTAC announces a Trio of New ZBOX mini-PCs

Subject: Systems, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2012 - 12:29 PM |
Tagged: zotac, z-box, zbox id80, zbox id81, zbox ad04

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 ZOTAC is pleased to kick off CES with a trio of new ZBOX mini-PCs powered by Intel Celeron 857, Intel Atom D2700 and AMD E-450 processors and APUs in the ZBOX ID81, ID80 and AD04 series.

ZOTAC ZBOX ID81 series

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  • Intel Celeron Processor 857 (1.2 GHz, dual-core) (SandyBridge)
  • Intel HD Graphics HDMI & DVI outputs
  • 2 x DDR3-1333 SO-DIMM slots (up to 16GB)
  • Support 1 x 2.5-inch SATA HDD/SSD (SATA 6.0 Gb/s)

ZBOX ID81 Plus

  • 2GB DDR3 320GB
  • 5400RPM HDD

ZOTAC ZBOX ID80 series

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  • Intel Atom D2700 (2.13 GHz, dual-core) (CedarTrail)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M HDMI & DVI outputs
  • 2 x DDR3-1066 SO-DIMM slots (up to 4GB)
  • Support 1 x 2.5-inch SATA HDD/SSD (SATA 3.0 Gb/s)

ZBOX ID80 Plus

  • 2GB DDR3 320GB
  • 5400RPM HDD

ZOTAC ZBOX AD04 series

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  • AMD E-450 APU platform (1.65 GHz, dual-core)
  • AMD Radeon HD 6320 GPU w/ TurboCore technology
  • HDMI & DisplayPort outputs
  • 2 x DDR3-1333 SO-DIMM slots (up to 8GB)
  • Support 1 x 2.5-inch SATA HDD/SSD (SATA 6.0 Gb/s)

ZBOX AD04 Plus

  • 2GB DDR3 320GB
  • 5400RPM HDD
  • 2 x SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports
  • 4 x High-Speed USB 2.0 ports (2 on back panel, 1 on front, 1 on top)
  • Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n WiFi & Bluetooth 3.0 technologies
  • Bundled MCE-compatible remote w/ USB IR receiver
  • Bundled VESA75/100 mount

 

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Zotac

CES 2012: One Laptop per Child -- but get a tablet too!

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2012 - 01:19 AM |
Tagged: tablet, OLPC, CES 2012, CES

While tablets are so CES 2011, that does not stop that segment of consumer products from having a large showing at CES this year. You might consider them be a year too slate to the party, but that would have too many layers of pun-laden irony. One Laptop per Child Association (OLPCA) and OLPC Foundation (OLPCF) are non-profit organizations responsible for the popular One Laptop per Child (OLPC) project. OLPC is responsible for highly affordable laptops aimed at the education of youth with a particular focus on developing countries. OLPC’s XO-3 is the project’s latest announced product and their attempt at an educational tablet.

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Just a touch of Sugar…

Photo Credit: The Verge

Joanna Stern from The Verge conducted an interview with Ed McNierney, CTO of OLPC, to examine the product. While the specific system internals is not precisely known apart from their use of an ARM-based processor backed with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of permanent storage, there are two noteworthy comments regarding their ports. Firstly, while the power adapter is apparently a custom design, it is done in such a way that permits voltages between 10 and 25 volts; specifically, the OLPC is very apathetic when it comes to the purity of the inbound power and can even be charged by OLPC’s hand-crank generator. The other point-of-note for the XO-3 regards its audio jack: it is designed to be extensible to various non-auditory input devices such as a thermometer. This is not a tablet that you should be expecting under your tree both because it is not your typical consumer tablet as well as it not having a set release date -- and why do you still have gifts under your tree in January anyway? When the tablet does launch, it is expected to come along with a price-tag below $100.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: The Verge

CES 2012: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Hybrid Demonstration Video

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2012 - 10:07 PM |
Tagged: Thinkpad, Lenovo, hybrid, CES

Earlier in the weekend we heard about Lenovo's new ThinkPad X1 Hybrid notebook that combines standard Intel x86 hardware with a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor running an open-source Linux OS.  While you will not be able to run both pieces of hardware at the same time the Media Mode allows you to put the Windows OS and hardware to sleep and run the light-weight OS with about double the battery life.

Lenovo was on hand at CES Unveiled to give us a walk through of how the feature really works.  Take a look!

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

OCZ shows a new R4 - the Z-Drive R4 CloudServ, with 16 (!) SandForce 2200 SSD's!

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2012 - 04:10 PM |
Tagged: z-drive, ssd, r4, pcie, ocz, CES

OCZ has a monster of a Z-Drive R4 on display at Storage Visions. We looked at the original 1.6TB R4 back in September. That one had 8 SF-2200 controllers on-board. This new R4 has 16!

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This R4 has a beast of a VCA 2.0 controller. It's cooled by heat pipes, can handle up to 16 SATA links, address up to 16TB of storage, and pass up to 1.4 million IOPS across a PCIe bus at 6.5GB/sec (yes, GigaBytes). Note: this is not the R5, it's just a *really* fast R4.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

CES 2012: OCZ Chiron is world's fastest and highest capacity SATA SSD

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2012 - 04:02 PM |
Tagged: CES, ocz, chiron, sata, ssd

OCZ is taking the lid off of even more SSD products at CES 2012 and we have another pretty impressive piece of hardware called the Chiron to show.  Basically a follow up to the OCZ Colossus drive we reviewed back in November of 2009, the Chiron claims to be the fastest and highest capacity SATA-based SSD.

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The Chiron will be available in capacities of up to 4TB and will fit in the standard 3.5-in form factor of traditional hard drives.  This would enable users to finally use SSDs for their mass storage though prices will likely be the limiting factor for some time to come.  Server OEMs will be able to deploy up to 96TB of SSD-based storage in a standard 4U rackmount server. 

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Based on OCZ's upcoming Indilinx Everest II controller, the Chiron will have transfer rates as high as 560 MB/s and over 100,000 4k IOPS.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

CES 2012: OCZ shows DDR based SATA 6Gb/sec aeonDrive

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2012 - 03:45 PM |
Tagged: ssd, ocz, CES, aeondrive

Today at Storage Visions we saw OCZ displaying their new aeonDrive. This is a pure RAM based SSD meant for high end database applications where thousands of random writes per second take place continuously.

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This is a multiple layer PCB, with extra connections that appear to allow even more to be stacked together. The unit pictured is only 32GB capacity, but considering it's all RAM, that's quite a bit.
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While the RAM is DDR3-1333 from Micron, we figure it's running at a lower clock rate, since all of that data passes through a single SATA 6Gb/sec interface. OCZ claims up to 140,000 4K IOPS and >500,000 single sector (512 byte) IOPS. Those figures are essentially saturating the capabilities of SATA 6Gb/sec.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

CES 2012: OCZ Shows Lightfoot, Thunderbolt External SATA Drive

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2012 - 03:01 PM |
Tagged: thunderbolt, ssd, ocz, lightfoot, CES

Today at the Storage Visions conference before the start of CES 2012, OCZ was on hand to show off a few new items they have planned for the year.  First up is the Lightfoot, a successor to the OCZ Enyo external USB 3.0 SSD that we reviewed and really enjoyed our time with. 

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As you can see it looks quite a bit bigger than the original Enyo and that is on account of the increased storage capacity.  You can expect to see sizes as high as 1TB and it will also be available in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB.  

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Here is the Thunderbolt connector that many a Mac user and, hopefully soon, PC users will be able to take advantage of for improved throughput with transfer rates as high as 750 MB/s quoted by OCZ. 

OCZ claims that the one of the benefits of moving to the Thunderbolt interconnect is improved latency and highly accurate time synchronization that will allow for professional audio and video work to be done directly on the drive.  We are pretty eager to see if this is the case...

The time frame for this device is still unknown but we'll see if we can get more information this week by asking the right people. 

UPDATE: OCZ is telling us that Lightfoot will cost about $2/GB, so that 1TB model will run around $2000.  For those a bit more frugal, you can get the 128GB option for something like $250.  

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Happy Holidays from… oh crap CES. Also, it’s Microsoft’s last

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | December 21, 2011 - 07:42 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, CES2012, CES

There are just a few shopping days left until the holidays, but feel comfortable knowing that whatever panic you experience will be over just in time for CES with our associated and broadcasted panic. We will be covering the expo and many of its events starting on the 8th of January for your entertainment and your education. One company that usually has a gigantic presence at CES, albeit not as reported on by us relative to other companies, is Microsoft; this year is no different -- but CES 2013

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The software giant’s presence at CES 2013: Micro… and soft.

This year's presence? Big and right next to the restrooms.

(Image from MapYourShow.com)

Microsoft is known for having a large presence at CES each year, year after year, for recent memory. Over the years, Microsoft has unveiled products such as the original Xbox, gave a release window for their Project Natal (later Kinect), and just last year demonstrated Windows running on ARM processors. Microsoft’s official statement denotes a shift from CES announcements to releasing news through social media, their website, and their retail stores for those who enter a Microsoft retail store.

After thinking about questions like these, we have decided that this coming January will be our last keynote presentation and booth at CES. We’ll continue to participate in CES as a great place to connect with partners and customers across the PC, phone and entertainment industries, but we won’t have a keynote or booth after this year because our product news milestones generally don’t align with the show’s January timing.

I, personally, would love for Apple to take Microsoft’s booth space… for the delicious layering of irony. I would then of course love for it to have been a good decision for Microsoft to pull out to screw Apple over. Everyone wins by everyone losing.

Blizzcon 2011 Day 1 Photos

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | October 21, 2011 - 07:28 PM |
Tagged: wow, starcraft, nvidia, LG, diablo iii, diablo, blizzcon 2011, blizzcon, asus, antec

Hey everyone!  I am still busily collecting information at Blizzcon 2011 but I thought I would share with you some of the photos I took from the first half of the first day of the show.  If you haven't experienced Blizzcon before (and I hadn't) this is one hell of a celebration of PC gamers.  Even if you aren't a fan of StarCraft, World of Warcraft or Diablo, this is an impressive event with a main stage area seating 15,000!!!

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Check out all the photos on our Facebook page here (available to public as well!)  I'll have some coverage of the Antec, ASUS and NVIDIA booth as well later in the evening so be sure to check back.

Here are a couple more samples, but be sure you check out the link above for ALL of the the photos!!

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Watch the Top StarCraft II Pros Face Off in an Epic E-Sports Battle to the Top

Subject: Shows and Expos | September 29, 2011 - 03:35 PM |
Tagged: starcraft 2, nvidia, geforce.com

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—September 15, 2011—Calling all StarCraft II fans! NVIDIA is bringing together the e-sports community to watch the GeForce StarCraft II professional championship matches with live premier streaming video and BarCraft events scheduled for Thursday, September 29th from 6pm to 9pm PDT.

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The GeForce StarCraft 2 Pro/Am tournament is the first of its kind on GeForce.com where over 9300 players will have competed over 12 weeks to win more than $22,000 in cash and prizes. The live premier streaming video event will feature world-renowned StarCraft II shoutcasters, Husky and Day[9] of The Game Station, commentating the final three professional matches to crown the champion.

“The GeForce StarCraft II Pro/Am tournament has been a great success for us and we deeply appreciate the support of the StarCraft II players, spectators, and our sponsor ASUS,” said Drew Henry, general manager of the GeForce business unit at NVIDIA. “We’ve had over 70 professional and over 9300 amateur players compete and over seven million spectator views of the Husky and Day[9] shoutcasts to date. We applaud the StarCraft community for gathering around the GeForce StarCraft II Pro/Am tournament and making it one of the largest tournaments to date.”

NVIDIA is providing three exciting ways for StarCraft fans to enjoy the championship videos all on the same time and date:

· A live premier video will be streamed on GeForce.com as well as on www.Twitch.tv.

· For gamers in the San Francisco, California Bay Area, a live BarCraft event will be held at the Mad Dog in the Fog bar at 530 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117.

· A virtual BarCraft event featuring the Xmobb technology will be hosted on GeForce.com. Xmobb enables fans to gather in a 3D theater and view their favorite videos together, while interacting via text chat and other fun features.

Stay tuned to GeForce.com for up to date information on the GSPA tournament and its September 29th finale.

Source: NVIDIA

IDF 2011: Knights Ferry Shown 8-Deep Running Ray Tracing

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors, Shows and Expos | September 15, 2011 - 06:17 PM |
Tagged: ray tracing, knights ferry, idf 2011, idf

Very few things impress like a collection of 256 processor cores in a box.  But that is exactly what we saw on our last visit to the floor at the Intel Developer Forum this year when I stopped by to visit friend-of-the-site Daniel Pohl to discuss updates to the ray tracing research he has been doing for many years now.  This is what he showed us:

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What you see there is a dual-Xeon server running a set of 8 (!!) Knights Ferry many-core processor discrete cards.  Each card holds a chip with 32 Intel Architecture cores running at 1.2 GHz on it and each core can handle 4 threads for a total of 1024 threads in flight at any given time!  Keep in mind these are all modified x86 cores with support for 16-bit wide vector processing so they are pumping through a LOT of FLOPS.  Pohl did note that only 31-32 of the cores are actually doing ray tracing at any given time though as they reserve a couple for scheduling tasks, operating system interaction, etc.

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Each of the the eight cards in the system is using a pair of 6-pin PCIe power connectors and they are jammed in there pretty tight.  Pohl noted this was the only case they could find that would fit 8 dual-slot add-in cards into it so I'll take a note of that for when I build my own system around them.  Of course there are no display outputs on the Knights Ferry cards as they were never really turned into GPUs in the traditional sense.  They are essentially development and research for exascale computing and HPC workloads for servers though the plan is to bring the power to consumers eventually.

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To run the demo the Knights Ferry ray tracing server was communicating over a Gigabit Ethernet connection to this workstation that was running game processing, interaction processing and more and passed off data about the movements of the camera and objects in the ray traced world to the server.  The eight Knights Ferry cards then render the frame, the Xeon CPUs compress the image (8:1 using a standard Direct 3D format) and send the data across the network.  All of this happens in real time with basically no latency issues when compared to direct PC gaming. 

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While the ray tracing game engine projects might seem a little less exciting since the demise of Larrabee, Pohl and his team have been spending a lot of time on learning how to take advantage of the x86 cores available.  The Wolfenstein demo we have seen in past events has been improved to add things like HDR lighting, anti-aliasing and more.

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Though these features have obviously been around in rasterization based solutions for quite a long time, the demo was meant to showcase the fact that ray tracing doesn't inherently have difficulty performing those kinds of tasks as long as the processing power is there and alotted to it. 

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I am glad to see the ray tracing research continuing at Intel as I think that in the long-term future, that is the route that gaming and other graphics-based applications will be rendering.  And I am not alone - id Software founder and Doom/Quake creator John Carmack agreed in a recent interview we held with him

Source: PCPer

IDF 2011: Intel Many Integrated Core (MIC) Knights Corner

Subject: Processors, Shows and Expos | September 15, 2011 - 01:54 PM |
Tagged: idf, idf 2011, knights ferry, knights corner, mic, terascale

During Justin Rattner's closing keynote at the Intel Developer Forum he discussed the pending changes to the Many Integrated Core Architectures (MIC) that we previously knew as the Terascale projects.  While we have heard about the Knights Ferry component for some time, and it was basically used a software development platform for Intel's many-core initiative. 

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Impressive to see at this stage, the upcoming Knights Corner product will actually be built on the new 22nm tri-gate transistors and with more than 50 cores.  They haven't posted more details on what exactly ">50" refers to but it does mean that Intel continues to progress down this path and is going to be pushing the terascale computing projects into the future. 

Rattner also indicated that not all of the cores on the many-core projects have to be identical and we will soon see designs that combine more than the x86 processors to make for truly heterogeneous computing platforms. 

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Research into the program continues including things like stacked and shared memory, new communications protocols like optical interconnects, etc.  We are just as eager to see the fruits of this research as we were for its application to gaming and graphics that eventually failed.

Source: PCPer

IDF 2011: Live Blog of Keynotes, Technical Discussions

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Processors, Chipsets, Systems, Storage, Mobile, Shows and Expos | September 15, 2011 - 12:15 PM |
Tagged: live blog, Intel, idf 2011, idf

PC Perspective is all over the 2011 Intel Developer Forum and we'll be covering it LIVE here all week.  Expect to hear news about Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge-E, SSDs, X79 chipsets, 22nm tri-gate transistors and more!  We will have specific news posts about the major topics but if you want to keep up with our information to the minute, then you'll want to migrate to this page throughout Tuesday, Wednesay and Thursday morning.  

You can also hit up http://www.pcper.com/category/tags/idf to see all of the posts relating to and coming from IDF this week!

Feel free to leave comments for me on what exactly you want to know and I will do my best to address your questions as the day progresses. 

Source: PCPer

IDF 2011: New Ivy Bridge Details from Mooly Eden Keynote

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Processors, Shows and Expos | September 14, 2011 - 01:25 PM |
Tagged: mooly eden, Ivy Bridge, idf 2011, idf

Today is day 2 at the Intel Developer Forum and with the first keynote out of the way, we can share a few short details about Ivy Bridge that we didn't know before.  First, the transistor count is 1.48 billion - a hefty jump over Sandy Bridge that had less than 1 billion.

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There was also mention of a new power management feature that will allow interrupts from other hardware devices to go to other cores than Core0, which it had ALWAYS done in the past. This means that it can route it to a core that is already awake and doing some work and not wake up a sleeping core unless necessary.

We also saw the Ivy Bridge processor running the HAWX 2 benchmark, now with support for DX11.

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If you look at the die image at the top of this post, you will also notice that it appears more of the die has been assigned to graphics performance than was allocated to it on Sandy Bridge.  Remember that on AMD's Llano about 50% of the die dedicated to stream processors; it would appear that by adding support for DX11, nearly doubling performance and including required support for things like DirectCompute, Intel was forced to follow suit to some degree. 

Mooly laughed at press taking pictures of the die as he had purposely modified the image to hide some of the details or distort them to prevent precise measurements.  Still, it looks like about 33% of the new Ivy Bridge processor is dedicated to graphics and media.  This is good news for consumers, but potentially very bad news for the discrete GPU market in notebooks and low end PCs.

Finally, Mooly Eden ended with a brief look at future Ultrabooks that will be based on the Ivy Bridge processor.

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If you thought the current generation of Ultrabooks was sexy (as I do) then you will really like what is coming up next.

Source: PCPer