GTC 2013: Prepare for Graphics Overload

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Mobile, Shows and Expos | March 18, 2013 - 09:10 PM |
Tagged: GTC 2013, nvidia

We just received word from Tim Verry, our GTC correspondent and news troll, about his first kick at the conference. This... is his story.

Graphics card manufacturer, NVIDIA, is hosting its annual GPU Technology Conference (GTC 2013) in San Jose, California this week. PC Perspective will be roaming the exhibit floor and covering sessions as NVIDIA and its partners discuss upcoming graphics technologies, GPGPU, programming, and a number of other low level computing topics.

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The future... is tomorrow!

A number of tech companies will be on site and delivering presentations to show off their latest Kepler-based systems. NVIDIA will deliver its keynote presentation tomorrow for the press, financial and industry analysts, and business partners to provide a glimpse at the green team's roadmap throughout 2013 - and maybe beyond.

We cannot say for certain what NVIDIA will reveal during its keynote; but, since we have not been briefed ahead of time, we are completely free to speculate! I think one certainty is the official launch of the Kepler-based K6000 workstation card; for example. While I do not expect to see Maxwell, we could possibly see a planned refresh of the Kepler-based components with some incremental improvements: I predict power efficiency over performance. Perhaps we will receive a cheaper Titan-like consumer card towards the end of 2013? Wishful thinking on my part? A refresh of its GK104 architecture would be nice to see as well, even if actual hardware will not show up until next year. I expect that NVIDIA will react to whatever plans AMD has to decide whether it is in their interest to match them or not.

I do expect to see more information on GRID and Project SHIELD, however. NVIDIA has reportedly broadened the scope of this year's conference to include mobile sessions: expect Tegra programming and mobile GPGPU goodness to be on tap.

It should be an interesting week of GPU news. Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more coverage as the conference gets underway.

What are you hoping to see from NVIDIA at GTC 2013?

ASUS PadFone Infinity Bows at MWC 2013

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | March 1, 2013 - 04:35 PM |
Tagged: snapdragon 600, qualcomm, padfone infinity, padfone, MWC 13, MWC, asus

Mobile World Congress 2013 pulled up stakes yesterday in Barcelona, but the buzz will echo worldwide for quite a while. While fewer companies are unveiling flagship devices at the big industry shows, one new entrant into the mobile sphere definitely caught our eye: the ASUS PadFone Infinity.

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Image via ASUS.com

Not to be confused with ASUS's 7" phablet Fonepad, the PadFone Infinity is the company's third version of its two-in-one phone/tablet, and it has taken major strides beyond its predecessors, the PadFone and the PadFone 2.

On its own, the handset is a 5" LTE phone, powered by Qualcomm's 1.7 GHz Snapdragon 600 Quad-core CPU, with 2 GB of RAM and the integrated Andreno 320 GPU that can crank out 1080p video sweetness (improving on the PadFone 2's 720p), and with 64 GB of onboard storage. Also included is 50 GB of free ASUS Webstorage for two years.

The PadFone Infinity ships with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean (although the demo video embedded below says 4.1) and is the first in its family to sport an anodized aluminum unibody with a brushed-metal back case.

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Image via ASUS.com

But slide it into the PadFone Station, and suddenly you're holding a full-HD, 10.1" tablet. Basically, it's like getting two devices on a single carrier contract.

The devices' battery performance is fairly impressive, at least when taken in tandem. The phone lists 19 hours of 3G talk time, which can triple when connected to the Station. The phone's battery claims 6.5 hours of browsing and nine hours of video playback, to each of which you can add 7.5 hours when connected to the Station.

The phone's 5" display--up from 4.3" and 4.7" in the first two generations respectively--features 1920x1080 pixels (the same as the pad's 10.1" screen) with a resolution of 441 PPI. (Compare at 326 PPI on the iPhone 5's Retina Display.)

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Image via ASUS.com

The dimensions of each device are relatively svelte. The phone is 8.9 mm thick, tapering sharply to 6.3 mm at the edges, and weighing in at 141 grams (roughly 5 ounces, for the metrically challenged). The pad is 10.6 mm thick and adds 530 grams (nearly 19 ounces) to the overall weight.

On the chassis you'll find a MyDP port, which supports Micro-USB 2.0 and 1080p video-out, 3.5 mm audio, and a Nano SIM slot. The front camera shoots 2 megapixels, while on the rear is an almost obscene 13MP, f/2.0 camera that features a burst mode of 8 frames per second. It shoots 1080p MPEG4 video at 30fps or 720p at 60fps.

ASUS says the PadFone Infinity will be available in April in Taiwan and in "selected other countries from early Q2 2013" at the hefty price of 999 euros (roughly US $1,300). Sadly, there is no word of a U.S. release.

Check out ASUS's demo video:

Happy 0th Birthday Firefox OS

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | February 26, 2013 - 04:19 AM |
Tagged: Firefox OS, mozilla, firefox, MWC, MWC 13

Mobile World Congress is going on at Barcelona and this year sees the official entry of a new contender: Firefox OS.

Mozilla held their keynote speech the day before the official start to the trade show. If there is anything to be learned from CES, it would be that there is an arms race to announce your product before everyone else steals media attention while still being considered a part of the trade show. By the time the trade show starts, most of the big players have already said all that they need to say.

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If you have an hour to spare, you should check it out for yourself. The whole session was broadcast and recorded on Air Mozilla.

The whole concept of Firefox OS as I understand it is to open up web standards such that it is possible to create a completely functional mobile operating system from it. Specific platforms do not matter, the content will all conform to a platform of standards which anyone would be able to adopt.

I grin for a different reason: should some content exist in the future that is intrinsically valuable to society, its reliance on an open-based platform will allow future platforms to carry it.

Not a lot of people realize that iOS and Windows RT disallow alternative web browsers. Sure, Google Chrome the app exists for iOS, but it is really a re-skinned Safari. Any web browser in the Windows Store will use Trident as its rendering engine by mandate of their certification rules. This allows the platform developer to be choosey with whichever standards they wish to support. Microsoft has been very vocally against any web standard backed by Khronos. You cannot install another browser if you run across a web application requiring one of those packages.

When you have alternatives, such as Firefox OS, developers are promoted to try new things. The alternative platforms promote standards which generate these new applications and push the leaders to implement those standards too.

And so we creep ever-closer to total content separation from platform.

Source: Mozilla

OCZ Technology to Showcase Next-Generation Enterprise Storage Solutions at CeBIT 2013

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | February 25, 2013 - 02:12 PM |
Tagged: ocz, ssd, PCIe SSD, CeBIT 2013, ZD-XL Accelerator

SAN JOSE, CA—February 25, 2013—OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today announced that it will preview a variety of enterprise storage solutions at next week’s CeBIT 2013 conference in Hannover, Germany. As a renowned global forum, CeBIT represents a great opportunity for attendees to be the first to see and experience the latest innovations in solid-state storage from an industry leader in enterprise SSDs, virtualization, and caching software. OCZ offers a complete suite of storage solutions that address VMware, Linux, and SQL Server platforms, and invites IT decision-makers who are evaluating or implementing solid-state storage in the data center to visit the Company’s exhibit in Hall 2, Stand E43, from March 5th through 9th.

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OCZ will unveil the next-generation ZD-XL SQL Accelerator, a culmination of enterprise hardware and software converging as one tightly integrated and optimized solution. The ZD-XL Accelerator addresses SQL Server database applications to not only ensure that the data for this implementation is right, relevant, and readily available on SSD flash when the SQL Server needs it, but also that the data is accessed with the highest possible I/O performance. For simple deployment and ease of use, this tightly integrated, optimized solution features ‘implementation wizards’ to guide DBAs so they can optimally manage data cached to the flash. While showcasing the ZD-XL solution OCZ will invite enterprise customers to become beta testers for this exciting solution.

Also included in OCZ’s exhibition at CeBIT will be demonstrations to preview the upcoming VXL 1.3 Virtualization Software and LXL Acceleration Software with OCZ’s innovative Direct Pass Caching Technology, which not only addresses VMware but is also optimized for Linux applications. OCZ is one of the few SSD providers with a robust portfolio of virtualization and caching software that combine the power of flash acceleration with the power of storage virtualization. This enables multiple virtual server loads to run concurrently on a single physical host, not only increasing CPU and memory resource utilization, but also simplifying deployment, high availability (HA), and maintenance of the server loads.

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The next-generation of workstation PCI Express (PCIe)-based SSDs will also be available soon as part of the Company’s award-winning Vector Series. These drives reside directly on the PCIe bus and will support four PCIe Gen2 lanes providing lower latency to data, faster file transfers and system boot-ups, expanded storage capacities, and an even quicker, more responsive experience over the already blazingly fast SATA 3.0-based Vector Series. The Vector PCIe Series will feature an advanced suite of flash management tools that deliver enhanced drive endurance and data, making it ideally suited for power computing, content creation, and workstation applications.

CES 2013: Caustic, now part of Imagination, Shows Series2 Ray Tracing Accelerators

Subject: Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | January 12, 2013 - 11:38 AM |
Tagged: series2, ray tracing, imagination, ces 2013, CES, caustic

We have talked with Caustic on several occassions over the past couple of years about their desire to build a ray tracing accelerator.  Back in April of 2009 we first met with Caustic, learning who they were and what the goals of the company were; we saw early models of the CausticOne and CausticTwo and a demonstration of the capabilities of the hardware and software model. 

While at CES this year we found the group at a new place - the Imagination Technologies booth - having been acquired since we last talked.  Now named the Caustic Series2 OpenRL accelerator boards, we are looking at fully integrated ASICs rather than demonstration FPGAs. 

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This is the Caustic 2500 and it will retail for $1495 and includes a pair of the RT2 chips and 16GB of memory.  One of the benefits of the Caustic technology is that while you need a lot of memory, you do not need expensive, fast memory like GDDR5 used in today's graphics cards.  By utilizing DDR2 memory Imagination is able to put a whopping 16GB on the 2500 model.

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A key benefit of the Caustic ray tracing accelerators comes with the simply software integration.  You can see above that a AutoDesk Maya 2013 is utilizing the Caustic Visualizer as a simple viewport into the project just as you would use with any other RT or preview rendering technique.  The viewport software is also available for 3ds max. 

There is a lower cost version of the hardware, the Caustic 2100, that uses a single chip and has half the memory for a $795 price tag.  They are shipping this month and we are interested to see how quickly, and how eager developers are, to utilize this technology.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

CES 2013: Micron demos DDR4 DIMMs, announces 20nm Crucial M500 SSDs at $0.60/GB

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2013 - 11:12 AM |
Tagged: micron, crucial, ces 2013, CES

At the Micron/Crucial, we were shown an expansion to their DDR3 memory line, to include lower profile parts:

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These reduced height modules should make for easier installation into HTPC and other small form factor PCs and even 1U Servers.

Next we saw DDR4 running at its native 2133 MHz speed. Here is what the DDR4 DIMM looks like:

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Note the slight bulge at the center of the pin area. This is to make installation easier, as there is a considerable increase in pin count, which would have made installation more difficult if not for that design feature. Note the increased contact density in this pic:

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Last (and most certainly not least), Micron announced their next SSD Series, the M500. This line uses a newer Marvell controller with Micron engineered firmware, driving 20nm IMFT flash:

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All models will employ the enterprise feature of a capacitor bank used to store some reserve power. This helps to minimize any possible data loss should power be interrupted while data is being written:

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Micron told me they are planning a 1TB model, running *MLC* flash (not TLC), and they are shooting for a price point of $600. That's $0.60/GB! If this scales down at the lower capacity points, we should be in for some pretty nice price dips in Solid State Storage for 2013!

 

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

CES 2013: Western Digital thin 5mm and 7mm hard drives now also come in hybrid SSHD!

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2013 - 10:03 PM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, western digital, wdc, sshd, hybrid, 5mm, 7mm

Today Western Digital showed me their new 5mm and 7mm mobile hard drives. These are very thin, intended for Ultrabooks, and come not only in the familiar Blue product line, but also in a new Solid State Hard Drive (SSHD). The new thin hybrid models are dubbed WD Black. The 5mm Blue and Black will be available in 500GB capacities:

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Adding another 500GB to reach a 1TB capacity point requires another platter, and therefore another 2mm, bringing the 1TB Blue and Black to 7mm:

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The WD Black SSHD will come with either 16 ot 24GB of flash memory cache (varying based on OEM configuration / request). More to follow on these once we can get some hours logged on their new models.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

 

Sapphire CES 2013: Mini-PCs are the Future

Subject: Shows and Expos | January 9, 2013 - 09:11 PM |
Tagged: Vapor X, sapphire, PCs, graphics, APU, amd

 

Sapphire was a quick trip with a few interesting things to show off.  At the moment we are in a quiet period with AMD and NVIDIA graphics releases.  While AMD has released a few of their mobile based 8000 series parts, we are still not expecting a major desktop refresh anytime soon.  This is somewhat bittersweet for the graphics partners.  On one hand they have more time to differentiate their products and create more value for their consumers.  On the other hand there is no major push with new technology that will help the bottom line.

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The company is not only involved with graphics, but has a long history of producing motherboards.  They offer products for both AMD and Intel, but their primary focus is to address the APU market.  FM2 is well fleshed out with Sapphire with A85X, A75, and A55 products.  Sapphire does find it slightly easier to compete in the AMD market than going against the biggies in the larger and potentially more lucrative Intel market.

The area where they are hoping to experience the most growth in is the micro PC market.  These are very small “desktop” style products based on mobile parts.  These are robust little units which do not ship with an OS or the ability to build in an optical device.  Due to Sapphire being such a strong AMD partner, they are primarily focusing on APUs in this market as well.

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The Edge VS8 is the top product for Sapphire in this market.  It is based on a mobile Trinity APU that is quad core enabled running at 1.6 GHz.  The graphics portion is the 7600G, which looks to feature the entire complement of GCN units but obviously clocked down to save on power.  The VS4 features Trinity but with a dual core processor running at 1.9 GHz.

The lower end Edge HD series is a slightly older unit, and the HD3 runs the last generation Llano processor.  They also feature an Intel based HD4 that runs the Celeron 897 processor.

These PCs are shipped without operating systems and can also be bought in a barebones state.  For example the VS8 comes standard with 4GB of memory and a 320 GB HD (spindle based).  By buying a barebones version a user can easily stack as much memory as possible in the machine as well as use a SSD to give that much more performance.

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Sapphire continues to offer their entire line of AMD based graphics cards and are really pushing their Vapor X technology.  Which leads us to our next product.  Sapphire will start introducing their CPU cooling designs to the market and will be using the Vapor-X technology.  Vapor chamber cooling will be coming to the CPU market very soon and at competitive prices.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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CES 2013: WonderMedia Dualcore PRIZM SoC

Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2013 - 07:35 PM |
Tagged: WonderMedia, ces 2013, CES

WonderMedia, a subsidiary of VIA Technologies, designs low-cost ARM processors. Like many chip designers such as NVIDIA, they do not have their own fabrication capabilities. Still, companies such as TSMC are almost always happy to fulfill orders for interested parties.

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Vis-à-VIA

While the majority of CES hype is about the devices, they would literally be pretty dumb without logic behind them. WonderMedia is hoping to power your cheap tablets and set top boxes and in the process bring them up to Android 4.2. The System on a Chip (SoC) also supports Miracast in hopes to bring wireless display technologies down to an even cheaper price point.

The PRIZM WM8980 is currently available for sampling with mass production shipments in Q1 2013.

Check in after the break for the press release.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

Source: WonderMedia

CES 2013: Valve Announces Steam Box Not Announced in '13

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2013 - 02:44 PM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, valve, Steam Box

CES opened with excitement from Xi3 Corporation and their announcement of the Piston. When Gabe Newell spoke with Kotaku at the VGAs he said that we would see Big Picture PCs this year. With word that Xi3 received funding from Valve some of us, including myself, wondered if this Piston was Valve’s “Nexus” Steam Box.

Ben Krasnow, hardware engineer at Valve, comments in the video below about whether we have seen Valve’s canonical Steam Box or if there are any planned announcements for 2013.

Thank you Ben.

There seems to be some discrepancies between statements from Krasnow and Valve Managing Director, Gabe Newell. The major deviation concerns whether the official Steam Box will be based on Linux or another operating system. When interviewed by The Verge, Gabe Newell claimed the official box will be based on Linux with no unclear terms:

We’ll come out with our own and we’ll sell it to consumers by ourselves. That’ll be a Linux box, [and] if you want to install Windows you can. We’re not going to make it hard. This is not some locked box by any stretch of the imagination.

Krasnow in an email discussion with Engadget was somewhat more timid in future plans. The Engadget article was published on the same day as the The Verge interview which makes neither position particularly out of date. His statement:

"The box might be linux-based, but it might not," he continued. "It's true that we are beta-testing Left for Dead 2 on Linux, and have also been public about Steam Big Picture Mode. We are also working on virtual and augmented reality hardware, and also have other hardware projects that have not been disclosed yet, but probably will be in 2013."

At the same point this might all become irrelevant very quickly. As reported yesterday, Gabe Newell in the very same interview seemed to strongly suggest that post-Kepler GPUs will bring virtualization to the consumer market. If that is the case, then the only barrier between Linux and Windows would be for a company to provide a user-friendly virtual machine. Having your host operating system as one or the other would not particularly matter if the user could run gaming applications from the other platform.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

Source: Engadget

CES 2013 Video: NVIDIA GRID Cloud Gaming Technology

Subject: Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2013 - 11:46 AM |
Tagged: video, nvidia, grid, cloud gaming, ces 2013, CES

Despite all the excitement about the NVIDIA Shield handheld gaming device at CES, the company was also heavily promoting its GRID Cloud Gaming Technology, marking another company that is promosing "game everywhere on everything".  NVIDIA's claims of lower latency thanks to rendering and encoding on the same GPU have really yet to be verified as the hands-on demos they had at the show were running on local servers (not exactly a real-world test...).

NVIDIA isn't planning on releasing a self-branded service to the public but instead wants to sell servers to ISPs and service providers to increase density (more games per server) and performance.  There are no current cloud gaming companies using GRID technology so it looks like we'll have to wait a bit longer to see it's true capabilities.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

CES 2013: Razer Edge Back Again. Fiona Always Was Edgy.

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2013 - 02:58 AM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, razer

Last year Project Fiona was presented by Razer and we felt as awkward about it as it looked.

This is a new year and it looks like Razer took a bit of feedback from critics of yester-CES. The design itself looks quite similar than it did except that the controller-handles are now detachable. The Edge can operate in four different modes: tablet, keyboard, the controller-handles, and “home console” mode.

The Home Console mode allows you to dock your tablet and access it using 3 USB ports, HDMI, and 3.5mm audio in/out. You can use it as a desktop or as a home theatre PC. Also with Steam’s Big Picture Mode it sees the big picture as a potential Steam Box.

The technical specifications are slightly more solid than last year:

  • Intel Core i7 (2 core, 4 threads) @ 1.9GHz Turbo to 3.0GHz
  • Intel HD 4000/NVIDIA GT 640M LE
  • 8GB DDR3
  • 126/256GB SSD
  • Intel WLAN (B/G/N + Bluetooth 4.0)
  • 10.1” IPS 1366x768 10-point touchscreen
  • Windows 8

So what do you think? While I expect it will be out of my budget and I would probably just barely survive on 256GB due to recent 20-25GB games -- I think it looks pretty good.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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Source: Razer

CES 2013: The Verge Interviews Gave Newell for Steam Box. Valve's Director Hints Post-Kepler GPUs Can Be Virtualized!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Networking, Systems, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 11:11 PM |
Tagged: valve, gaben, Gabe Newell, ces 2013, CES

So the internet has been in a roar about The Steam Box and it probably will eclipse Project Shield as topic of CES 2013. The Verge scored an interview to converse about the hardware future of the company and got more than he asked for.

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Now if only he would have discussed potential launch titles.

Wow! That *is* a beautiful knife collection.

The point which stuck with me most throughout the entire interview was directed at Valve’s opinion of gaming on connected screens. Gabe Newell responded,

The Steam Box will also be a server. Any PC can serve multiple monitors, so over time, the next-generation (post-Kepler) you can have one GPU that’s serving up eight simulateneous [sic] game calls. So you could have one PC and eight televisions and eight controllers and everybody getting great performance out of it. We’re used to having one monitor, or two monitors -- now we’re saying lets expand that a little bit.

This is pretty much confirmation, assuming no transcription errors on the part of The Verge, that Maxwell will support the virtualization features of GK110 and bring it mainstream. This also makes NVIDIA Grid make much more sense in the long term. Perhaps NVIDIA will provide some flavor of a Grid server for households directly?

The concept gets me particularly excited. One of the biggest wastes of money the tech industry has is purchasing redundant hardware. Consoles are a perfect example: not only is the system redundant to your other computational device which is usually at worst a $200 GPU away from a completely better experience, you pay for software to be reliant on that redundant platform which will eventually disappear along with said software. In fact, many have multiple redundant consoles because the list of software they desire is not localized to just one system so they need redundant redundancies. Oy!

A gaming server should help make the redundancy argument more obvious. If you need extra interfaces then you should only need to purchase the extra interfaces. Share the number crunching and only keep it up to date.

Also check out the rest of the interview over at The Verge. I decided just to cover a small point with potentially big ramifications.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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Source: The Verge

CES 2013: OCZ reworks product lines, releases PCIe-based Vector SSD

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 09:30 PM |
Tagged: vector PCIe, vector, ocz, ces 2013, CES

Today at CES, OCZ released the Vector PCIe SSD:

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This is essentially a RevoDrive, still using VCA 2.0 as the method of tying a pair of SSDs together, only in this case OCZ has ditched SandForce in favor of their new Indilinx parts lifted from their Vector Series. I witnessed the pre-release part turning in 160,000 4k random read IOPS and upwards of 1GB/sec sequential throughput.

OCZ was also showing a new iteration of their VXL enterprise caching software:

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The new software, dubbed LXL, is currently in beta testing. LXL is linux based and employs a caching driver to tie the SSD into the SAN or other local storage. The benefit is that there is also a user-land application and GUI that can 'tune' the caching driver based on default and custom scripts. This tuneability lets the administrator control what sort of data gets cached based on the expected workloads placed on the storage system. This prevents infrequently accessed data from pushing the speed-critical content out of the cache, and should prove more effective than typical caching drivers which are generally unintelligent on their own.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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CES 2013: NZXT Phantom 630 Case

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 04:45 PM |
Tagged: nzxt, ces 2013, CES

Am I the only one who thinks the slanting between the metal and the grating on the front of that case looks like a play on The Phantom of the Opera?

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NZXT wants the Phantom 630 to be the case for the desires of every enthusiast. While you can never satisfy the type to cram an i7 into a toaster, the 630 does seem to have a nice feature checklist and a lot of nooks and crannies to hide your components. To illustrate their design in a single bullet point: you can fit not one, but two SSDs behind the motherboard tray to keep them out of the way. The rest of the drives are installed in bays which can be rearranged in different configurations.

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The case is also designed with water cooling in mind. NZXT claims support for both 3x120 and 2x120 radiators. Unfortunately, liquid cooled machines are a foreign concept to me so I am not sure how difficult those radiators are to fit in conventional cases. I mean, I figure that a 3x120 radiator is over a foot long because I understand the metric system, but I have never experienced the struggle of trying to stick it somewhere. That said, I assume if you are in to sort of thing you could decide for yourself immediately. Also included is a 30Watt single-channel fan controller integrated into the case.

The Phantom 630 will be expecting to retail for $179.99 when it comes to market in Matte-Black, Gunmetal, and White options.

Press release after the break

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Source: NZXT

CES 2013: ASUS Systems with No Two Alike

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 03:31 PM |
Tagged: ces 2013, CES, asus

ASUS has a lot of products to get through so there is no sense in waiting.

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The ASUS TAICHI is back in the news with a second model but only one capitalization: upper. As we said in the last article, the device uses two 11.6” 1080p touch displays on both sides of the lid to show mirrored or even unique information to the user and to people behind the laptop. With the lid closed the laptop will then also function as a tablet. The newer addition to the TAICHI family increases the screen size to 13.3”.

  • 11.6” 1080p or 13.3” (unlisted, probably also 1080p) IPS Dual touch-displays.
  • Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 or i7 processor
  • Intel HD 4000 GPU
  • USB 3.0
  • 4GB of RAM (11.6”, 13.3” unlisted)

ASUS-Systems-2.jpg

The ASUS Transformer AiO is an all-in-one computer with a dockable 18.4” tablet. The dock contains a full-featured desktop with the tablet containing a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra processor. The device uses both Windows 8 for the base station or Android 4.1 for the tablet. When the tablet is removed from its base it is still able to function in Windows 8 mode by communicating wirelessly with the base station.

  • 18.4” 1080p IPS display with 10-points of touch recognition
  • Intel Ivy Bridge processor

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The ASUS Transformer Book TX300CA runs in the same vein as the popular Android-based Transformer Prime: a tablet able to dock into a keyboard to function as a laptop. The TX300CA differs from its Prime counterpart by running full Windows 8 on an Intel processor. If you wanted a Transformer Prime but are too locked in to Windows then you might want to look at this.

  • Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7 processor
  • Intel HD 4000 GPU
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM
  • Both an SSD and a HDD
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB 3.0
  • Dual Cameras: “HD” (720p?) front-facing and 5MP rear-facing
  • 13” 1080p IPS multi-touch display

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The ASUS VivoTab Smart Tablet utilizes Clover Trail for a full Windows 8 experience. Unlike the prior models there is not a whole lot to discuss apart from its tech specs below!

  • Intel Clover Trail Atom Z2760 dual-core
  • 10.1” 1366x768 IPS LED 5-point touch display
  • 9.5 hour battery life
  • Dual Cameras: 2MP front-facing and 8MP rear-facing
  • NFC sensor

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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

Source: ASUS

CES 2013: Valve Talks Piston, Better Listen. Steam Box!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 02:06 PM |
Tagged: Xi3, valve, trinity, Steam Box, ces 2013, CES, amd

Going from a failed Kickstarter to Valve’s premier console? Sounds like a good anecdote to tell.

Valve has finally discussed the Steam Box in more concrete details. Get ready for some analysis; there are a bunch of hidden stories to be told. We will tell them.

Update for clarity: As discussed in IRC technically this was an Xi3 announcement that Valve will have at their booth but not an official Valve announcement. That said, Valve will have it at their booth and Valve funded Xi3.

Another Update for new information: Turns out this is not the Valve-official device. Ben Krasnow, Valve hardware engineer, made a statement that the official Steam Box is not planned to be announced in 2013. What we will see this year is 3rd Party implementations, and that should be it. News story to follow.

ValvePiston.jpg

Image by Engadget

As everyone is reporting, Valve hired out Xi3 Corporation to develop the Steam Box under the codename Piston. Xi3Corporation was founded in 2010 and revealed their first product at CES two years ago. In late September, Xi3 launched an unsuccessful Kickstarter to fund their latest designs: The X7A and the X3A.

The X7A Modular Computer is the most interesting as it seems to be what the Piston is based on. Regardless of the Kickstarter’s failure, Valve still reached out to Xi3 Corporation chequebook in hand. According to the Kickstarter page, the X7A has the following features:

  • 64-Bit Quad-Core x86 processor up to 3.2 GHz with 384 graphics shader cores.
    • My personal best guess is the AMD A10-4600M Trinity APU.
  • 8GB of DDR3 RAM
  • 1 TB of “Superfast” Solid State Memory
  • Four USB 3.0
  • Four USB 2.0
  • Four eSATAp
  • Gigabit E
  • 40Watt under load
  • “Under $1000” although that includes 1TB of SSD storage.
    • Also Valve could take a loss, because Steam has no problem with attach rate.

The key piece of information is the 40Watt declaration. According to Engadget who went hands-on with the Valve Piston, it too is rated for 40Watt under load. This means that it is quite likely for the core specifications of the Kickstarter to be very similar to the specifications of the Piston.

Benchmarks for the 7660G have the device running Far Cry 3 on low settings at around 34 FPS as well as Black Ops 2 running on Medium at 42 FPS. That said, with a specific hardware platform to target developers will be able to better optimize.

During the SpikeTV VGAs, Gabe Newell stated in an interview with Kotaku that third parties would also make “Steam Boxes”. They are expected to be available at some point in 2013.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

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Source: Engadget

CES 2013: Corsair Raptor Yields Apter Adapters

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: raptor gaming, corsair, ces 2013, CES

Corsair purchased German peripheral company, Raptor Gaming, in the middle of last August. Today Corsair announced the availability of a whole line of Raptor products to complement their well-known Vengeance series. Now Corsair has two whole product lines to populate with goodies.

K3_diag02_black.jpg

The Raptor line currently consists of PC gaming keyboards, mice, and headsets. The line should be available immediately in both the United States as well as Raptor’s home country of Germany.

The main advantage of the Raptor product line is that they contain “more conventional materials”, as per Corsair’s description, to broaden their price spectrum. As an example, while the Vengeance line of keyboards is mechanical, the Raptor should be based on membrane-dome technology found in the common keyboard.

If you are not in the US or Germany, other regions should be added within the next 6 months.

Press release after the break.

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Source: Corsair

Connected Data's Transporter spotted in the wild at CES

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 04:25 AM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, transporter

At CES we got a look at some real Transporter hardware in action, and got a few of our questions answered. First some pics:

DSC02746_resize.JPG

DSC02747_resize.JPG

Now for the new stuff we learned:

  • There is now a Windows as well as a Mac desktop / laptop client.
  • Shared folders can be mounted and sync'd by remote users who do not have a Transporter on their network.
  • Will be available in 1TB, 2TB, and no drive configurations (but you must install your own for the Transporter to function, as it has no internal storage capability).
  • WiFi capability (in addition to GigE) will *possibly* be available in two speed grade options (i.e. 1x1 or 2x2), the faster grade carrying an additional cost.

The rest of the details on the Transporter are in our last post covering it. We look forward to testing one of these shortly and will report back.

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Source:

CES 2013 Video: ASUS VG248QE 144 Hz 24-in and MX299Q 29-in 21:9 2560x1080 Monitors

Subject: Displays, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2013 - 01:18 AM |
Tagged: vg248qe, mx299q, monitor, display, ces 2013, CES, asus

ASUS continues its push into the monitor market with a pair of new models debuting at CES 2013.  First up is the VG248QE, a 24-in 1080p monitor that runs at a refresh rate of 144 Hz and supports NVIDIA's 3D Vision 2 and a 1ms gray-to-gray response time.  These are TN panels so you might be surprised to see they are going to priced quite reasonably in the $399 range.  The display also includes a new ASUS technology called GamePlus that embeds crosshairs for games into the OSD on the monitor to offer additional options in troublesome 3D modes.

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The second new monitor we saw was the MX299Q, a 2560x1080 monitor in the exciting new 21:9 form factor.  These allow developers, traders or just every day users to have two "full screen" applications open at the same time without the need for multiple displays.  The MX299Q will also include Bang & Olufsen powered speakers.

IMG_9038.JPG

Check out our talk with Nick from ASUS about these new displays!

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

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