OCZ Technology to Showcase its Leading Solid State Drives and Launch New Power Management Solutions at Computex 2013

Subject: Shows and Expos | June 3, 2013 - 03:02 PM |
Tagged: ces 2013, ocz

OCZ has given us a teaser of what we can expect to see at CES 2013 and it is a wide variety of products indeed.  They will be launching new Fatal1ty branded PSUs, which will support Haswell's new power states, with a competition between himself and another professional gamer starting the function off.  New Vector and Vertex drives will be revealed for the consumer and enterprise users will be treated to new PCIe and SAS SSDs to bring new performance levels to databases.

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SAN JOSE, CA—June 3, 2013—OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) and power management solutions for computing devices and systems, will showcase the Company's comprehensive storage solutions for client and enterprise computing along with announcing its new line of Fatal1ty Series power supply products at Computex 2013 in Taipei, Taiwan June 4 through June 8. OCZ solutions can be viewed at the main show floor this year at the Nangang Exhibit Hall, Booth K0309a.

Continuing to demonstrate its commitment to the enthusiast market, OCZ is unveiling the new Fatal1ty Gaming Series power supplies (PSUs) in updated 550W and 750W models designed to provide exceptional power solutions for gamers and enthusiasts, offering performance and reliability coupled with exciting new features. These latest PSUs feature premium components and heavy-duty protection circuitries with a fully modular cable management system to provide an organized case environment that maximizes airflow by eliminating unnecessary wiring, and utilizes specialized DC-to-DC converters for compatibility with Intel’s Haswell platform. Both models also feature a single +12V rail for exceptional power distribution, 80-Plus Bronze rating for high energy efficiency up to 85% at typical loads, along with 135mm load-controlled fans with the Fatal1ty Series of trademark glowing red LEDs for stylish yet silent operation in high-end gaming rigs.

To kickoff the launch of the exciting new power supplies, Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel will compete against fellow gamer and former sparring partner Kyle “relic” Mims in a special shootout to be held June 6, 7-11pm at the SPARK venue in Taiwan’s landmark Taipei 101 on June 6th. With a record of 12 World Titles in five different games, Wendel is one of the most successful and recognized professional gamers in history. In recent years Wendel has declined to compete professionally and instead stay focused on promoting video gaming globally in his role as a Gaming Ambassador, while concentrating on his Fatal1ty Gaming Gear enterprise which includes the latest OCZ power supplies. In this special event, press, partners, and invited attendees can get a firsthand look at the latest OCZ Fatal1ty Gaming Series power supplies, along with viewing the live head-to-head shootout between these two gamers.

For client storage, OCZ will demo its upcoming Vector PCIe SSD featuring exceptional IOPS, high bandwidth, and high capacities ideal for power users, content creation, and workstation applications. Residing directly on the PCI Express bus, the new Vector PCIe Series provides lower latency to data, faster file transfers and boot-ups, expanded storage capacities, and an even quicker, more responsive experience over the already blazing fast SATA III-based Vector SSDs. In addition, OCZ will showcase its current consumer SSD lineup with the recently launched Vertex 450 SATA III SSD Series which has already earned numerous accolades and praise from the global media for its high performance coupled with the latest 20nm flash geometry for mainstream computing applications.

OCZ will also be displaying its complete portfolio of enterprise storage solutions including the SATA based Deneva 2, Talos 2 SAS drive, and Z-Drive R4 PCIe SSD Series, featuring the newest ZD-XL SQL Accelerator that represents the convergence of enterprise hardware and software as one tightly integrated, optimized solution, ensuring that appropriate and readily available data is on SSD flash when a SQL Server needs it.

Computex 2013: Gigabyte Launches U21M Convertible Tablet With An Intel Haswell CPU

Subject: Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 3, 2013 - 01:33 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, u21m, Intel, haswell, gigabyte, convertible tablet, computex 2013, computex

Gigabyte launched its U21M convertible tablet at Computex this week. The Windows 8 PC is an 11.6” convertible notebook that is 20mm thick and weights approximately 3.28 pounds (or 3.06 lbs without HDD). It is powered by an Intel Haswell CPU with HD4000 processor graphics and it runs the full x86-64 version of Windows 8.

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The notebook features a black and slate gray colored chassis that has a brushed metal texture over the top of the keyboard deck and display bezel. Design wise, it is reminiscent of Dell's Latitude XT series with more curves. The U21M uses a similar center 180-degree hinge that allows the display to be rotated around and then laid flat against the keyboard to enable tablet mode. There are no face function buttons on the display bezel aside from the Windows key, however.

Gigabyte has made ample use of the 11.6” form factor by designing a keyboard that stretches from one side of the system to the other. The six-row keyboard looks to be well laid out with good spacing between the keys and no real key placement oddities. key travel may be an issue though as the keys are close to the metal, as it were.  Below the keyboard is a large touchpad with hardware mouse buttons.

The display itself is an 11.6” capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 1366 x 768. There does not appear to be digitizer/stylus support on the U21M, however. Above the touchscreen is a 1.3MP webcam. It also features two 1.5W speakers.

External IO options include:

  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x RJ45 (Gigabit Ethernet)
  • 2 x Audio
  • 1 x SD
  • 1 x SIM card slot

Internally, the U21M does not disappoint, with an Intel Haswell CPU, up to 8GB of DDR3 memory, and either a 128GB or 256GB mSATA SSD plus an optional mechanical hard drive up to 1TB. There is no discrete GPU, however. The system will rely on the Haswell CPU's processor graphics, though Gigabyte has not announced specific chips so the iGPU used is unknown. Wireless connectivity options include 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 + LE, and a built-in 3.5G radio. The system uses a respectable 7.4V, 40Wh Lithium-Polymer battery.

Gigabyte U21M Convertible Tablet In Tablet Mode.jpg

Gigabyte has not yet released pricing or availability dates, but you can find all the specifications along with additional photos on this product page.

My thought on this system is that it might be a good upgrade once my Dell Latitude XT finally dies on me (heh). It should definitely be faster and get much better battery life than my current convertible tablet, that's for sure! I'll be on the lookout for reviews, but what do you think about the U21M so far? If only it came in blue...

Source: Gigabyte

Computex 2013: Acer Liquid S1 Is a Quad Core 5.7" Phablet With 2,400mAh Battery

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 3, 2013 - 06:36 AM |
Tagged: tablet, smartphone, phablet, mediatek, liquid s1, computex 2013, computex, android 4.2.2, acer

During Computex Acer announced its new Liquid S1 smartphone. In fact, the term smartphone may not be enough to do the nearly tablet-sized 5.7” Liquid S1 justice, and Acer has even dubbed it a “phablet”.

On the outside, the Acer Liquid S1 has a massive 5.7” touchscreen with 720p resoultion surrounded by an aluminum side grip and a front 24mm and 8MP rear camera. The smartphone/tablet/phablet (heh) weighs in at 195g.

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The new mobile device is powered by a quad core MediaTek SoC clocked at 1.5GHz, 1GB RAM, 8GB storage, and a 2,400mAh battery that Acer claims will last “all day.” The Liquid S1 runs Android 4.2.2, and offers a stock experience apart from Acer's multitasking Float UI and Cloud Docs document software. Other features include DTS StudioSound audio, dual SIM card slots, and a microSD card support (maximum of 32GB).

Wireless connectivity options include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and 3G radios as well as wireless display and wireless printing technology.

The Liquid S1 smartphone will be available in either matte black or white across Asia and Europe for 329 Euros. It is set for release sometime in the third quarter of this year (Q3'13). US users wanting a large smartphone (or small tablet) will need to either import the Acer model or look elsewhere as the company has not yet expanded its mobile offerings to this side of the pond, excluding laptops of course.

Source: HEXUS

Computex 2013: ASUS Releases More Information On VivoPC and VivoMouse HTPC System

Subject: Systems, Shows and Expos | June 3, 2013 - 04:50 AM |
Tagged: vivopc, vivomouse, htpc, computex 2013, computex, asus

ASUS unleashed a barrage of product announcments at its opening keynote at Computex 2013 in Taipei, Taiwan earlier today. Two of the products shown off in slide form at the event were the HTPC-oriented VivoPC and VivoMouse. After the event, ASUS posted a press release that went into a bit more detail on the two devices. However, while the company has provided specifications and a tentative Q3 2013 release date, it has not yet announced pricing information.

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The ASUS VivoPC is a small form factor HTPC clad in an angular brushed aluminum textured chassis. It measures 190 x 190 x 36.2mm and is large enough to accomodate a single 3.5" or 2.5" hard drive. The hard drive and memory can be easily replaced and the PC serviced by lifting up the (lockable, via a switch on the back) lid. It will come equipped with an as-yet-unnamed Intel processor with integrated processor graphics (likely Haswell, since ASUS did not mention a SKU or series and Intel has not had its keynote yet), DDR3 memory, and an 802.11ac wireless radio. It is unclear whether or not ASUS intends to sell both barebones and fully-configured SKUs, but as mentioned previously at leas the memory and HDD or SSD can be purchased seperately.

ASUS VivoPC_2.jpg

Rear IO options include:

  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x SD card slot
  • 1 x RJ45 LAN
  • 1 x S/PDIF
  • 2 x Audio jacks
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x Power button
  • 1 x top cover lock switch

ASUS' preferred input method is, of course, their own recently-announced VivoMouse accessory, which is a large remote-control sized mouse with a large circular touchpad. The mouse has a 1200 DPI sensor and the touchpad supports 3-point multi-touch. It operates over the 2.4GHz RF frequency band, which is nice to see as it eliminates the need for an IR sensor and line of sight to the VivoPC box. The ASUS VivoMouse measures 135 x 78 x 25.5mm.

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Personally, I think that I would rather have a WMC remote (such as the remote with qwerty keyboard and mini-trackpad on one side and media controls on the other that was Allyn's hardware pick on the podcast awhile back) with hardware buttons, but I have to admit that the VivoMouse at least looks stylish and people that also run Windows apps on their HTPCs might find having a large multi-touch touchpad useful.

Pricing has not yet been announced, but ASUS has stated that users should expect both the VivoPC and VivoMouse accessory to be available sometime in Q3 2013.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more Computex 2013 coverage!

Source: ASUS

Computex 2013: ASUS Keynote -- Transformer Pad Infinity, FonePad Note, MEMO Pad HD7, VivoPC, Router RT-AC68U, Transformer Book Trio

Subject: General Tech, Networking, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 3, 2013 - 04:20 AM |
Tagged: computex, asus

ASUS wants to kick off Computex with a barrage of product announcements. Seriously, there were 6 products announced in the span of 20 minutes with no two product from the same category. Devices range from tablets and convertibles to routers and mice.

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The company started off with the new Transformer Pad Infinity. This updates their line of separable hybrid laptop/tablets with NVIDIA Tegra 4.

Raw specifications:

  • NVIDIA Tegra 4 SoC
  • 2560x1600 10.1-inch display
  • USB 3.0, Bluetooth, 4K out via HDMI
  • 6MP (I think, could be 16MP) rear, 1.2 MP front cameras

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Up next was the FonePad Note. A page from Samsung's playbook, both in name and in functionality, the FonePad is a 6" phone with a stylus pen. Coming off our recent Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 story, this device will also be powered by an Intel Atom Z2560 SoC. These could be the start of many high-profile design wins for Intel.

Raw specifications:

  • Intel Atom Z2560 SoC
  • 2GB RAM
  • 6" 1080p SuperIPS+ display, thin border
  • 8MP rear, 1.2MP front cameras
  • Front-facing stereo speakers
  • Stylus Pen

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And then we get the MEMO Pad HD7. This 7-inch 1280x800 HD tablet is designed to be cheap. It will be available for $149 in 16GB capacity for America, and a smaller $129 8GB version for emerging markets.

Raw specifications:

  • ARM Cortex A7 quad-core SoC
  • 7-inch 1280x800 HD IPS display (10-point multitouch)
  • 5MP rear, 1.2MP front cameras
  • Bluetooth, GPS, stereo speakers
  • (starting at?) 16GB ($149) USA, 8GB ($129) emerging markets

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We briefly leave mobile devices to head towards a desktop computer. The VivoPC is designed to be easily upgraded, "Just lift the lid and replace the harddrive and memory". This is being positioned as a home theater PC running Windows 8. We currently have no further specifications.

Raw Specifications:

  • 802.11ac
  • It's got a lid?

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And of course, with the discussion of an 802.11ac device we clearly need to move on to routers. The ASUS Router RT-AC68U, while a slight bit literal of a name, is supposedly the first dual-band 802.11ac Router. I am not exactly sure what the second band would be, but I am only the messenger. Regardless, this router is apparently capable of performance up to 1.9 Gigabits per second.

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And then we cannot have all of these HTPC devices without an input method, can we? Enter the ASUS VivoMouse. This device allows you to more comfortably control your PC from your couch, as far as I can tell.

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Last, but with a bang, ASUS announced the Transformer Book Trio. As you can guess, the Trio name comes from its three form factors being wrapped up into a single product: it's a notebook, a tablet, and a desktop PC. Do not worry, I will not make an iPhone announcement keynote joke; that one has already been well overplayed.

The trick is that the Trio is actually two fully functional computers with one running Android and the other Window 8. Both devices are powered by an x86 Intel-based processor, however: the main PC runs a Core i7-4500U processor and the tablet runs an Atom Z2580.

A main selling feature is that, when base is separated from screen, both devices are simultaneously useable. If you attach the base to an external monitor it will function like a desktop PC.

Raw specifications:

  • Intel Core i7-4500U (base), Intel Atom Z2580 (tablet)
  • Full HD multitouch IPS display
  • Windows 8 (base), Android Jelly Bean (screen)
  • 1TB HDD (base), 64GB flash (screen)
  • Fully compatible with Google Play and Windows Stores

Well, that's it. We will probably have a bit more analysis coming up soon. But, for now, I need to get off of Taipei time.

Source: ASUS

Computex 2013: ASUS PQ321 is a 31.5" 4K monitor

Subject: General Tech, Displays, Shows and Expos | May 31, 2013 - 02:12 AM |
Tagged: PQ321, computex, asus, 4k

Computex, the second largest expo for computer hardware, is less than a week away but its influence tends to bleed over a little bit. And, since we know our readers love 4K displays, we thought we might pass along a leak we found for a new ASUS monitor.

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Image source, ASUS via TechPowerUP

And yes, that is a 32"

The Asus PQ321 is both a relatively easy-to-remember model number and a 31.5" computer monitor with 4K2K resolution. Connect it to your computer with DisplayPort or, for at least some US models, dual HDMI to have the same resolution as IMAX Digital as well as have a legitimate reason to pick up multiple GeForce Titan graphics cards.

The raw specifications are:

  • 31.5 inch display size (16:9 aspect ratio)
  • Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide (IGZO) panel, LED backlit
  • 3840x2160 resolution (140ppi)
  • 1.07 billion colors (10-bit RGB)
  • 176 / 176 (H / V) degree viewing angle
  • 350 cd/m2 brightness
  • 8ms (gtg) response time
  • Color temperature and gamma adjustments
  • I/O: DisplayPort, 2x HDMI ("optional"), RS-232C, 3.5mm audio in and out
  • 2W stereo speakers
  • Tilt, swivel, height adjustments; VESA mount (no landscape/portrait pivot)
  • 750mm x 489mm x 256mm with stand, 13kg net weight
  • Comes with DisplayPort 1.2 cable and an RS-232C conversion cable (???)

Looking at these specifications, it certainly feels like an IPS-equivalent technology with some very telltale characteristics: the relatively slow response time for seemingly no reason, the 1.07 billion colors, the very wide viewing angle, and the relatively high pixel density per inch. This prompted me to look over at the ASUS website for some tea leaf reading. It looks as though all P- or M-series monitors utilize some form of IPS technology, the M-series referring to thin-bezel options and the P-series to relatively image quality-focused products.

So as best as I can tell, the PQ321 is a 31.5" 4K IPS monitor.

ASUS is expected to display this at Computex 2013 in Taipei along with a 39" 4K monitor. No word on pricing or availability, at least not yet.

Source: Hexus.net

GDC 13: Intel announces PixelSync and InstantAccess

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | March 27, 2013 - 08:51 PM |
Tagged: Intel, GDC 13, GDC

GDC 2013 is where the industry comes together to talk about the technology itself. Intel was there, and of course the big blue just had to unveil developments to help them in the PC gaming space. Two new major rendering extensions and updated developer tools debut. And, if you are not a developer, encode your movies with handbrake quicker!

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First up is PixelSync, a DirectX extension for Intel HD Graphics. PixelSync is designed to be used with smoke, hair, and other effects which require blending translucent geometry. With this extension, objects do not need to be sorted before compositing.

Next up is InstantAccess. This DirectX extension allows CPU and integrated GPUs to access the same physical memory. What interests me most about InstantAccess is the ability for developers to write GPU-based applications which can quickly access the same memory as its CPU counterpart. Should the integrated GPU be visible alongside discrete GPUs, this could allow the integrated graphics to help offload GPGPU tasks such as physics while the CPU and discrete GPU handle the more important tasks.

Also updated is their Graphics Performance Analyzers toolset. If you are interested in performance optimization on your software, be sure to check those out.

And for the more general public... Handbrake is now set up to take advantage of Quick Sync Video. Given the popularity of Handbrake, this is quite a big deal for anyone wishing to transcode video using popular and free encoders.

Source: Intel

GDC 13: 17 Minute Battlefield 4 Trailer Released

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Shows and Expos | March 27, 2013 - 03:25 AM |
Tagged: battlefield, battlefield 4, GDC, GDC 13

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Battlefield 4 is coming, that has been known with Medal of Honor: Warfighter's release and its promise of beta access, but the gameplay trailer is already here. Clocking in at just over 17 minutes, "Fishing in Baku" looks amazing from a technical standpoint.

The video has been embed below. A little not safe for work due to language and amputation.

Now that you finished gawking, we have gameplay to discuss. I cannot help but be disappointed with the campaign direction. Surely, the story was in planning prior to the release of Battlefield 3. Still, it seems to face the same generic-character problem which struck the last campaign.

In Battlefield 3, I really could not recognize many characters apart from the lead which made their deaths more confusing than upsetting. Normally when we claim a character is identifiable, we mean that we can relate to them. In this case, when I say the characters were not identifiable, I seriously mean that I probably could not pick them out in a police lineup.

Then again, the leaked promotional image for Battlefield 4 seems to show Blackburn at the helm. I guess there is some hope. Slim hope, which the trailer does not contribute to. I mean even the end narration capped how pointless the character interactions were. All this in spite of EA's proclaiming YouTube description of this being human, dramatic, and believable.

Oh well, it went boom good.

At the G Institute, PC Gaming is Logitech's Pursuit

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Shows and Expos | March 21, 2013 - 03:23 PM |
Tagged: PAX East 2013, PAX East, PAX, logitech

Despite recent incidents with a genetic lifeform and disk operating system, we PC gamers love our science. Yesterday, Logitech claims they renewed their commitment to both PC gaming and science just in time for PAX East 2013.

Let us just hope the pi's not a lie. Hehehe, that rhymes.

While the commercial looks and sounds like the "G" stands for "Gatorade", it really beckons the launch of eight new accessory products: four new mice, two new keyboards, and two new headsets.

  • Logitech G700s Rechargeable Gaming Mouse
    • Wireless
    • 13 programmable controls
  • Logitech G500s Laser Gaming Mouse
    • Weight/balance adjustments
    • Dual-mode scroll wheel
  • Logitech G400s Optical Gaming Mouse
    • "Delta Zero" sensor technology
    • 8 programmable controls
  • Logitech G100s Optical Gaming Mouse
    • "Delta Zero" sensor technology
  • Logitech G19s Gaming Keyboard
    • Full-Color LCD
    • Custom backlighting
    • 12 programmable "G-keys"
  • Logitech G510s Gaming Keyboard
    • Standard LCD
    • Custom backlighting
    • 18 programmable "G-keys"
  • Logitech G430 Surround Sound Gaming Headset
    • 7.1 surround sound
  • Logitech G230 Stereo Gaming Headset
    • 40mm drivers
    • 3.5mm stereo audio and mic

Check in after the break for the official press blast.

Source: Logitech

CEO Jen-Hsun Huang Sells Windows RT... A Little Bit.

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Processors, Shows and Expos | March 20, 2013 - 06:26 PM |
Tagged: windows rt, nvidia, GTC 2013

NVIDIA develops processors, but without an x86 license they are only able to power ARM-based operating systems. When it comes to Windows, that means Windows Phone or Windows RT. The latter segment of the market has disappointing sales according to multiple OEMs, which Microsoft blames them for, but the jolly green GPU company is not crying doomsday.

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NVIDIA just skimming the Surface RT, they hope.

As reported by The Verge, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang was optimistic that Microsoft would eventually let Windows RT blossom. He noted how Microsoft very often "gets it right" at some point when they push an initiative. And it is true, Microsoft has a history of turning around perceived disasters across a variety of devices.

They also have a history of, as they call it, "knifing the baby."

I think there is a very real fear for some that Microsoft could consider Intel's latest offerings as good enough to stop pursuing ARM. Of course, the more the pursue ARM, the more their business model will rely upon the-interface-formerly-known-as-Metro and likely all of its certification politics. As such, I think it is safe to say that I am watching the industry teeter on a fence with a bear on one side and a pack of rabid dogs on the other. On the one hand, Microsoft jumping back to Intel would allow them to perpetuate the desktop and all of the openness it provides. On the other hand, even if they stick with Intel they likely will just kill the desktop anyway, for the sake of user confusion and the security benefits of cert. We might just have less processor manufacturers when they do that.

So it could be that NVIDIA is confident that Microsoft will push Windows RT, or it could be that NVIDIA is pushing Microsoft to continue to develop Windows RT. Frankly, I do not know which would be better... or more accurately, worse.

Source: The Verge

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.

gtc2013-intro.png

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!

 

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

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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.

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

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