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Subject: General Tech | September 19, 2013 - 02:26 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, surround, podcast, nvidia, Intel, idf, haswell, frame rating, eyefinity, baytrail, amd, 4250U
PC Perspective Podcast #269 - 09/19/2013
Join us this week as we discuss Frame Rating on Eyefinity, News from IDF, and rumors about new AMD GPUs
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, and Morry Teitelman
Week in Review:
0:03:30 Corsair Carbide 330R Case
News items of interest:
0:54:45 Mushkin Scorpion Delux PCIe SSD
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
Subject: General Tech | September 19, 2013 - 01:51 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Spectre 13, hp, Leap Motion. spectre 17, hybrid
HP announced quite a few new products though they went a little light on the specs as far as many enthusiasts would prefer. The Spectre 13 will be a hybrid tablet and laptop, the screen a 13" 1080p and the full device being 13.4mm thick, weighing 1.47kg and selling for over $1000. Perhaps the most interesting feature of this device is that has no fans in the keyboard portion, something very rare in Haswell machines. They've also released some limited info about a 17" model which has a Leap Controller built into it, which is a little less expensive than the hybrid model and will give you a chance to wave your hands at your PC. The Inquirer spills what it knows here.
"COMPUTER MAKER HP announced a raft of PCs and laptops today, including a fanless 2-in-1 detachable Haswell powered ultrabook and a notebook with a leap motion controller built in."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Kernel Developers, Linus Torvalds Emphasize Diversity for Innovation @ Linux.com
- Intel Iris Pro Linux Graphics Yield Some Wins Against Windows @ Phoronix
- Accurate temperature control of your 3D printer extruder @ Hack a Day
- Cyanogenmod goes pro, looks to create a better version of Android @ The Inquirer
- iOS 7 review @ The Inquirer
- Meet the Unmagnificent Seven: The critical holes plugged in Firefox update @ The Register
- Mountain Mods Ascension CYO @ Modders-Inc
- Apple iPhone 5S 64GB @ eTeknix
- TESORO Joint Giveaway - Win 3 Kuven 7.1 Virtual Surround Headsets & 3 Gandiva Gaming Mice @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 19, 2013 - 12:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: graphics drivers, amd, catalyst 13.9
FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS OF AMD CATALYST™ 13.9
The AMD Catalyst 13.9 WHQL is AMD’s first logo certified driver for Windows 8.1. It does not include support for Frame Pacing or the very latest AMD CrossFire™ optimizations. AMD Catalyst 13.10 Beta includes additional performance improvements and fixes not found in AMD Catalyst 13.9 WHQL.
AMD’s first logo certified driver for Windows 8.1
Includes WDDM 1.3 support for:
- AMD Accelerated Processors (“Kabini” & “Temash”) for Desktop, Notebook or Tablet PCs, including: A4-1200, A4-1250, A4-5000, A4-5100, A4-5150, A6-1450, A6-5200, A6-5250, A6-5350, E1-2100, E1-2200. E1-2500, E1-2600, E1-2650, E2-3000, E2-3100
- AMD Accelerated Processors (“Richland”) for Desktop or Notebook PCs, including: A10-5700, A10-5745M, A10-5750M, A10-5757M, A10-5800B, A10-5800K, A8-5500, A8-5500B, A8-5545M, A8-5550M, A8-5557M, A8-5600K, A6-5345M, A6-5350M, A6-5357M, A6-5400B, A6-5400K, A4-5145M, A4-5150, A4-5300, A4-5300B
- AMD Accelerated Processors (“Trinity”) for Desktop or Notebook PCs, including: A10-4600M, A10-4655M, A10-4677M, A10-5700, A10-5800B, A10-5800K, A8-4500M, A8-4555M, A8-4557M, A6-4400M, A6-4455M, A6-5400B, A6-5400K, A4-4300M, A4-4355M, A4-5300, A4-5300B
- AMD Radeon HD 8000 Series
- AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series
- AMD Radeon HD 6000 Series
- AMD Radeon HD 5000 Series
Support for AMD Features:
- AMD Eyefinity
- AMD Dual Graphics/AMD CrossFire Technology
- AMD Overdrive
- AMD Catalyst Control Center/Vision Engine Control Center
OpenGL support for User Profiles and Catalyst Application Profiles Users can now create, per application, 3D setting profiles for OpenGL applications. OpenGL applications are now supported through Catalyst Application Profile updates (for single GPU and AMD CrossFire configurations).
AMD Enduro™ Technology enhancements: The AMD Catalyst Control Center now shows which applications are active on the Performance GPU and the Power saving GPU.
Subject: General Tech | September 18, 2013 - 08:43 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: usb 3.0, SFF, nuc, celeron, Bay Trail, atom
Intel and Gigabyte announced new Haswell powered SFF (small form factor) PCs earlier this month around the time of Intel's IDF 2013 conference. It seems that Haswell is not the only processor Intel has in mind for NUC, however. A recent report from Hexus.net suggests that a new lower-cost NUC will be available early next year for $140. The NUC DN2810FYK will use Intel's new Bay Trail-M Atom processor and be available as a barebones system or motherboard/processor combination. The barebones system, which includes a case, motherboard, soldered processor, and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi module will have a $139 MSRP.
Intel's Bay Trail Atom processors use the Silvermont architecture which was built from the ground up with low power usage and efficient performance in mind. The new SoCs will span from smartphones and tablets to desktop PCs. The specific chip used in the upcoming DN2810FYK NUC PC is the Celeron branded N2810, which a dual core 7.5W TDP (4.5W SDP) Bay Trail-M SoC clocked at up to 2GHz with Intel HD Graphics clocked at 756 MHz. The processor comes pre-soldered onto the NUC motherboard which supports a single DDR3L SO-DIMM, one SATA port, and one mPCIe slot for the included Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.0 NIC. For the barebones system, users will only need to bring their own RAM and a SATA hard drive or SSD to the table.
External IO includes:
- 1 x USB 3.0
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x IR receiver
- 1 x Analog audio jack
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet port
As such, the Bay Trail-powered NUC is not quite as expandable as the Haswell model which supports four USB 3.0 ports (among other additional ports) externally and a mSATA SSD slot internally. On the other hand, because of the reduction in IO and hardware horsepower, the new NUC will be significantly cheaper than the existing models.
The DN2810FYK is slightly taller than the Haswell NUC at 55mm (versus 35.6mm), which is likely due to the use of mobile-class SATA drives rather than mSATA. Again, this is a compromise that allows Intel to offer up a budget SFF system.
Code-named "Forest Canyon," I expect the new Next Unit of Computing PC to be a popular NUC option that will help to drive adoption of small form factor systems thanks to the attractive $140 price point while still being sufficient performance wise for budget desktop, HTPC, and home server uses! I will wait for the full reviews to make up my mind, but I am optimistic about the upcoming Bay Trail-M NUC.
Is this Atom-powered NUC the one that you've been waiting for?
Subject: General Tech | September 18, 2013 - 06:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: adata, DashDrive Durable HD710, ruggedized
While they couldn't get their hands on an APC like one site did, The Tech Report did their best to test the resilience of the Adata DashDrive Durable HD710. They tested both the water resistance as well as its ability to absorb shocks by dropping the drive onto both laminate flooring and a nice refreshing drink of water. The bath was quite effective at washing off the crud it accumulated on the floor but there were no problems using the drive even after it had been abused. Even better, it performed quite well, especially on single threaded file transfers. You can see the whole review here.
"Adata's DashDrive Durable HD710 puts a terabyte of storage inside a shock-resistant, waterproof enclosure with a USB 3.0 port. We take a closer look to see if it can survive everyday abuse."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- WD My Passport Slim 1TB Portable Hard Drive Review @ Techgage
- WD My Passport Slim 1TB Portable Hard Drive Review @ Legit Reviews
- HGST Touro Desk Pro 4TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive @ NikKTech
- Western Digital RED WD30EFRX 3TB SATA III HDD @ NikKTech
- Asustor AS-302T @ techPowerUp
- Synology DS1813+ / NAS with SSD Caching @ Legion Hardware
- SuperTalent USB 3.0 Express Dram Disk @ SSD Review
- Micron P420m 1.4TB PCIe SSD @ SSD Review
- LSI 9300-4i4e SAS PCIe 12Gb/s HBA Card @ Benchmark Reviews
- KingSpec MultiCore 1TB Driverless PCIE SSD @ SSD Review
- Mushkin Scorpion Deluxe PCIe SSD @ SSD Review
- Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB SSD Review @ OCIA.net
- Silicon Power S55 Slim SATA III 240GB SSD Review @ Madshrimps
- Samsung SSD 840 Evo Review: 250GB & 1TB Drives Tested @ TechSpot
- Toshiba THNSNH Solid State Drive Review: Dark Horse @ X-bit Labs
Subject: General Tech | September 18, 2013 - 01:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, Saints Row IV
[H]ard|OCP lined up five GPUs from the two competitors to see if Saints Row can benefit from serious GPU power. They set the performance bar at an average of 40fps and raised the graphics options as high as they could while staying above that target frame rate. For the high end GPUs 2560x1600 was playable at the highest settings though the mid-range cards needed to be reduced to 1920x1080 to remain playable except for the 7870 Gigahertz Edition which retained the higher resolution. As you can guess from the fact that even a 650Ti or 7790 can max out the graphics options there is not much new in this game from a quality perspective and it really does not stress modern GPUs. You can have fun playing it but don't expect jaw dropping scenery.
"Deep Silver's next game is out in the Saints Row saga. Today we examine Saints Row IV focusing on the games performance with the latest hardware on the market. We dissect image quality in great detail and find out if this is a game we expect to see in 2013, or if it falls flat on its face in the innovation department."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Betafield: BF4 Open Beta In October @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Arma 3 Benchmarked: GPU & CPU Performance @ Techspot
- Humble Indie Bundle 9 Review @ OCC
- GTA 5 @ The Inquirer
- Grand Theft Auto V Blows All Other GTAs Away @ Wired
Well Blow Me
DownUp: MechWarrior Online Launches @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | September 18, 2013 - 12:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, arm, Cortex-A57, servers, seattle
DigiTimes spoke with AMD's current server guru about their move from providing only x86/64 based processors in their server chips to the inclusion of ARM cores in the Seattle chip family. These will be the first processors from AMD using 64-bit Cortex-A57 cores and they hope to sell them to companies who depend on Hadoop or run web hosting services which will benefit from scalability. As these will be true APUs as well, any application which can be accelerated by a GPU will also greatly benefit from the new design from AMD. It is AMD's hope that they will be able to offer server customers a choice in the architecture they want to use in their server rooms and able to choose between more than just competing x86/64 chips.
"Commenting on AMD's decision to make ARM-based processors for servers, corporate vice president and general manager of AMD's server business, Suresh Gopalakrishnan, said that as more server applications will show up in the future, different architectures will provide different advantages to clients. Providing solutions based on market demand will be the major business strategy for AMD's server business, Gopalakrishnan noted."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Explaining the low level stuff you don’t know about ARM programming @ Hack a Day
- Nvidia announces the Tegra Note Android tablet prototype @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft relents: 'Go ahead, install Windows 8.1 on clean PCs' @ The Register
- IBM Bets Big Again on Linux: $1B for Linux on Power Systems @ Linux.com
- Windows Phone 8 is deemed secure by the US and Canadian governments @ The Inquirer
- Blackberry Z30 Phablet Announced @ Slashdot
Subject: General Tech | September 18, 2013 - 12:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gskill, ddr3, quad channel
Taipei, Taiwan – 18 September 2013 – No limit is too high for G.SKILL memory. In just a week after the official release of the new Intel Ivy Bridge-E Core i7 Extreme processors, G.SKILL memory is already testing the extreme limits of the Intel processors and broke the world record for fastest DDR3 yet again. This time a 16GB (4x4GB) G.SKILL TridentX memory kit is overclocked to a blistering DD3 4072MHz - the first instance of a quad-channel DDR3 memory kit to break the 4GHz barrier!
This astounding feat was made possible and achieved on the new Intel i7-4960X CPU and the ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition motherboard under LN2 extreme cooling.
Subject: Mobile | September 18, 2013 - 12:04 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: tegra note, tegra 4, tegra, tablet, pny, nvidia, evga
Over the past couple of months there have been several leaks about a potential NVIDIA-branded tablet based on the Tegra 4 SoC. Most speculated that NVIDIA had decided to enter into the hardware market directly with a "Tegra Tab" in a similar vein to the release of NVIDIA SHIELD. As it turns out though NVIDIA has created a platform for which other companies can rebrand and resell an Android tablet.
According to NVIDIA, the Tegra Note platform will enable partners to bring 7-in tablets to market packed with the feature set NVIDIA has been promising since the launch of the Tegra 4 SoC. Those include stylus support, high quality audio, HDR camera capabilities and 100% native Android operating systems.
Maybe more interesting are the partners that NVIDIA is teaming with for this launch. While companies like ASUS have already done the development work to prepare various size tablets based on Tegra chips in the past, NVIDIA is going to introduce a couple of its graphics cards partners to the mobility ecosystem: EVGA and PNY in North America.
While we have questions about the capability for either of these companies to truly support a tabletin today's market but the truth is likely that NVIDIA is handling most if not all of the logistics on this project. What is not in question is the potential for high value: these tablets will start with a suggested retail price of $199.
We already know most of the technical details about the Tegra 4 SoC including the 4+1 Cortex A15 CPU cores and the 72-core GPU. NVIDIA claims they will get 10 hours of video playback with this platform but I would like to get data on the weight and battery size before calling that a win. The display resolution is a bit lower than other competing high-end options in the market today but the sub-$200 price point does mean there had to be some corners cut.
UPDATE: I asked NVIDIA for more information on the size, weight and battery capacity and got a quick answer. The battery capacity is 4100 mAh and the entire device weighs 320g. Compared to the Google Nexus 7, the current strongest 7-in tablet in my opinion, that is a 4% larger battery (vs 3950 mAh) and 10% heavier device (vs 290g). The Tegra Note reference is also a bit thicker at 9.6mm compared to the 8.65mm of the Nexus 7.
There are more details on the official NVIDIA blog post making the announcement this morning including direct OTA Android updates so check that out if you think you might be interested in one of these tablets in the coming months!
Subject: General Tech | September 18, 2013 - 07:53 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Windows 8.1, Windows 8 Pro, windows 8, microsoft
Microsoft has been developing Windows 8.1 over the summer, and the free update to Windows 8 is almost ready for consumers. Set for official release on October 18, Windows 8.1 will be available as a downloadable ISO and physical DVD in retail packaging. Microsoft will offer up Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Pro, and a Windows 8.1 Pro Pack (which upgrades an existing Windows 8.1 install to Pro).
The new operating system will be available as full version software, which means that users will not have to upgrade from an earlier version of Windows. The asking price gets a full retail key which can be used on its own to install Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 Pro in a VM, a new system build with no prior OS, or in a dual boot environment. As far as installation and upgrade options, users will be able to perform upgrade or clean installs using the installation media. Microsoft recommends that Vista and XP users backup all files and perform a clean install of both the OS and applications. On the other hand, the company has encouraged Windows 7 users to go through the update process where users will be able to keep personal files. However, even Windows 7 users will have to re-install any applications that do not come bundled with Windows. Users that are already running Windows 8 can grab the free update and safely do an in-place install/update to Windows 8.1 from the Windows Store.
If users have OEM machines that come pre-installed with Windows 8.1, they will be able to add on the Pro features (including being eligible for Windows Media Center) by purchasing the Pro Pack upgrade rather than needing to purchase a full Windows 8.1 Pro download or DVD.
The various Windows 8.1 flavors will be available on October 18th. The base Windows 8.1 will cost $119.99 while Windows 8.1 Pro will cost $199.99. The Windows 8.1 Pro upgrade pack will be available later this year following sometime after Windows 8.1's launch for $99.99. Note that these are prices for users without prior licenses. Users that are already running Windows 8 can upgrade to Windows 8.1 for free.
For comparison, full versions of Windows 8.0 and Windows 8.0 Pro were $99.99 and $139.99 at launch respectively.
Will you be upgrading to Windows 8.1?
Subject: Graphics Cards | September 17, 2013 - 10:28 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: amd, radeon, hawaii
As we get closer and closer to the reveal of AMD's next generation graphics chip code named Hawaii, details will find their way out.
Tonight I came across an interview with AMD's Matt Skynner on Forbes.com that offered up one confirmation that we all suspected: AMD's Hawaii GPU will keep the same 28nm process technology utilized with the Radeon HD 7000 parts.
Another thing I can tell you is about the process node: this GPU is in 28nm. Some have speculated that it was 20nm and it’s not for a specific reason: At 28nm for an enthusiast GPU, we can achieve higher clock speeds and higher absolute performance.
Straight from the horses mouth. Based on those comments we can also assume that clock speeds will be higher than 1.0 - 1.1 GHz we are seeing today with the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition so performance increases will not be the sole result of shader count changes and increases.
Skynner also assures gamers they are not targeting the $999 price range, at least not initially.
They’re coming in Q4. I can’t reveal a pricepoint but we’re looking at more traditional enthusiast GPU pricepoints. We’re not targeting a $999 single GPU solution like our competition because we believe not a lot of people have that $999. We normally address what we call the ultra-enthusiast segment with a dual-GPU offering like the 7990. So this next-generation line is targeting more of the enthusiast market versus the ultra-enthusiast one.
AMD is targeting a much smaller die size that NVIDIA has with GK110, the latest iteration of NVIDIA's massive GPU offerings.
It’s also extremely efficient. [Nvidia's Kepler] GK110 is nearly 30% bigger from a die size point of view. We believe we have the best performance for the die size for the enthusiast GPU.
The rest of the interview is a little cookie-cutter though he does briefly reference some of the issues that have caught the Radeon HD 7990 by surprise.
Sorry, still no details on if/when Battlefield 4 will hit the Never Settle bundles!
Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 17, 2013 - 07:05 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: akasa, venom medusa, air cooling, heatsink
If you are looking for a cooler that screams high performance then the Akasa Venom Medusa is the heatsink for you, assuming you have a double wide case. At 1.3kg this is one of the heaviest coolers on the market, with measurements of 129.5x144x163mm (5x5.7x6.4") without fans, it is also one of the largest. The two 140mm fans [H]ard|OCP used in their testing ensured that the cooler performed very quietly and it performs as well as any of the other high end aircoolers on the market. The one drawback is the price, at $85 it costs almost as much as some self contained watercoolers.
"Akasa is a smaller thermal solution company that does have a solid reputation. The Venom Medusa CPU air cooler is a massive unit that promises better cooling with eight high capacity heatpipes, dual 14cm "Viper" fans that promise more airflow, most of all we get promised it is a "Monster of All Extremes." Does it have a place in your next build?"
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Raijintek Themis @ techPowerUp
- Silverstone AR01 and AR02 CPU Cooler Review @ HiTech Legion
- Thermalright AXP-200 Low-Profile CPU Cooler @ NikKTech
- The Best CPU Coolers: 10-Way Roundup @ Techspot
- XSPC Raystorm 750 EX240 Liquid Cooling Kit Upgrade @ HiTech Legion
- SilverStone SST-TD03 All-In-One Liquid CPU Cooler @ Benchmark Reviews
- Fractal Arc Midi R2 Computer Case Review @ Madshrimps
- Lian Li PC-Q28 Aluminum Mini-ITX Tower PC Case @ Benchmark Reviews
- Corsair Hydro Series H100i Extreme Performance CPU Cooler Review @ Legit Reviews
- Zalman Reserator 3 Max watercooling setup @ Rbmods
- NZXT Kraken X40 & X60 CPU Water Cooler Reviews @ Legit Reviews
- Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 Mid-Tower Chassis Review @ Techgage
- Corsair Carbide 330R Silent Mid-Tower Case Review @ HiTech Legion
- Corsair Obsidian 900D Super Tower Case @ NikKTech
- Phanteks Enthoo Primo Full-Tower Case Review @ HiTech Legion
- Corsair Carbide Series 330R Quiet Case @ Kitguru
- Antec GX700 ATX Computer Case @ [H]ard|OCP
- Rosewill Throne Full Tower Case Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Aerocool GT-S (Black Edition) Chassis @ Funky Kit
- EVGA Hadron Air Mini ITX Case Review @ Hardware Canucks
Subject: General Tech | September 17, 2013 - 04:52 PM | Ken Addison
This weekend in a combination of bad influence from my roommates, and wandering around our local Microcenter, I ended up picking up my first mechanical keyboard, the Ducky Channel Zero DK2108S.
Subject: General Tech | September 17, 2013 - 03:32 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: organic, flexible silicon
Researchers in Saudi Arabia have invented a new way of creating flexible and semi-transparent MOSFETs using silicon which is much less convoluted and expensive than the current methods. This is of great benefit as the organic materials being used in current flexible electronics are significantly slower than their inorganic counterparts, though cheaper and easier to produce. If this breakthrough is able to scale up to commercial levels high resolution flexible displays with quick response times might not be as far away as previously thought. Nanotechweb has the details of the research for you to look at.
"A new, low-cost, state-of-the-art CMOS compatible process to make flexible and semi-transparent silicon-based circuits has been unveiled by researchers at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia. The technique is an important step forward to making high-performance flexible and transparent computers, says the team."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Spot DRAM prices soar over 30% in less than 2 weeks @ DigiTimes
- Nvidia appoints Colette Kress as CFO @ DigiTimes
- Intel Iris Pro Linux Performance Doubles With Driver Upgrades @ Phoronix
- Insiders Say B&N Will Launch New Nook,Tablet In October @ Slashdot
- How the VDSL Connection Works @ Hardware Secrets
- KVM kings unveil 'cloud operating system' @ The Register
- Double trouble for Whatsapp users as service is targeted by fresh malware @ The Inquirer
- One man’s microwave oven is another man’s hobby electronics store @ Hack a Day
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | September 16, 2013 - 09:15 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Steam Box, LinuxCon, Gabe Newell
Valve Software, as demonstrated a couple of days ago, still believe in Linux as the future of gaming platforms. Gabe Newell discussed this situation at LinuxCon, this morning, which was streamed live over the internet (and I transcribed after the teaser break at the bottom of the article). Someone decided to rip the stream, not the best quality but good enough, and put it on Youtube. I found it and embed it below. Enjoy!
Gabe Newell highlights, from the seventh minute straight through to the end, why proprietary platforms look successful and how they (sooner-or-later) fail by their own design. Simply put, you can control what is on it. Software you do not like, or even their updates, can be stuck in certification or even excluded from the platform entirely. You can limit malicious software, at least to some extent, or even competing products.
Ultimately, however, you limit yourself by not feeding in to the competition of the crowd.
If you wanted to get your cartridge made you bought it, you know, FOB in Tokyo. If you had a competitive product, miraculously, your ROMs didn't show up until, you know, 3 months after the platform holder's product had entered market and stuff like that. And that was really where the dominant models for what was happening in gaming ((came from)).
But, not too surprisingly, open systems were advancing faster than the proprietary systems had. There used to be these completely de novo graphics solutions for gaming consoles and they've all been replaced by PC-derived hardware. The openness of the PC as a hardware standard meant that the rate of innovation was way faster. So even though, you would think, that the console guys would have a huge incentive to invest in it, they were unable to be competitive.
Microsoft attempts to exert control over their platform with modern Windows which is met by a year-over-year regression in PC sales; at the same time, PC gaming is the industry hotbed of innovation and it is booming as a result. In a time of declining sales in PC hardware, Steam saw a 76% growth (unclear but it sounds like revenue) from last year.
Valve really believes the industry will shift toward a model with little divide between creator and consumer. The community has been "an order of magnitude" more productive than the actual staff of Team Fortress 2.
Does Valve want to compete with that?
This will only happen with open platforms. Even the consoles, with systems sold under parts and labor costs to exert control, have learned to embrace the indie developer. The next gen consoles market indie developers, prior to launch, seemingly more than the industry behemoths and that includes their own titles. They open their platforms a little bit but it might still not be enough to hold off the slow and steady advance of PC gaming be it through Windows, Linux, or even web standards.
Speaking of which, Linux and web standards are oft criticized because they are fragmented. Gabe Newell, intentionally or unintentionally, claimed proprietary platforms are more fragmented. Open platforms have multiple bodies push and pull the blob but it all tends to flow in the same direction. Proprietary platforms have lean bodies with control over where they can go, just many of them. You have a dominant and a few competing platforms for each sector: phones and tablets, consoles, desktops, and so forth.
He noted each has a web browser and, because the web is an open standard, is the most unified experience across devices of multiple sectors. Open fragmentation is small compared to the gaps between proprietary silos across sectors. ((As a side note: Windows RT is also designed to be one platform for all platforms but, as we have been saying for a while, you would prefer an open alternative to all RT all the time... and, according to the second and third paragraphs of this editorial, it will probably suffer from all of the same problems inherent to proprietary platforms anyway.))
Everybody just sort of automatically assumes that the internet is going to work regardless of wherever they are. There may be pluses or minuses of their specific environment but nobody says, "Oh I'm in an airplane now, I'm going to use a completely different method of accessing data across a network". We think that should be more broadly true as well. That you don't think of touch input or game controllers or living rooms as being things which require a completely different way for users to interact or acquire assets or developers to program or deliver to those targets.
Obviously if that is the direction you are going in, Linux is the most obvious basis for that and none of the proprietary, closed platforms are going to be able to provide that form of grand unification between mobile, living room, and desktop.
Next week we're going to be rolling out more information about how we get there and what are the hardware opportunities that we see for bringing Linux into the living room and potentially pointing further down the road to how we can get it even more unified in mobile.
Well, we will certainly be looking forward to next week.
Personally, for almost two years I found it weird how Google, Valve, and Apple (if the longstanding rumors were true) were each pushing for wearable computing, Steam Box/Apple TV/Google TV, and content distribution at the same time. I would not be surprised, in the slightest, for Valve to add media functionality to Steam and Big Picture and secure a spot in the iTunes and Play Store market.
As for how wearables fit in? I could never quite figure that out but it always felt suspicious.
Subject: General Tech | September 16, 2013 - 03:36 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Zeus PSU, Silverstone, modular psu, 1350W
Way back in the early stages of this year Lee reviewed a PSU that not many would need but those who want multiple cards would appreciate, the SilverStone Zeus 1350W PSU. The 12V lines, which is what GPUs care about are split into 6 with each able to provide 30A for a peak of 105A, 1260W delivered to your cards. Unfortunately for SilverStone [H]ard|OCP have been working on this review since February and this final review is actually of the third unit that was sent to them as the initial PSUs had major problems.
UPDATE: Tony from SilverStone reached out to explain the exact cause of the issue.
"... it turned out that the circuit breaker he had wouldn’t play nice with ZM1350’s higher in-rush current. Since power supplies are essentially analog devices, there are variances in production so the third unit apparently worked as ZM1350 was borderline tripping his breaker."
With the cause known you can decide on your own if your buildings curcuitry can support this PSU.
"SilverStone's Zeus series is back from a four year hiatus with a new 1350 watt PSU offering to enthusiasts. This Zeus is rated with Silver efficiency at 50°C, and comes to the alter with a host of features including modular cables to keep your build looking tidy. You can even tune the rails by hand if you wish. Time to see if heads roll."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Cooler Master V-series 850W Power Supply Review @HiTech Legion
- Be Quiet Pure Power L8 CM 730W Semi-Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- Antec High Current Gamer 850W Semi Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- Corsair CX500M (V2) Semi Modular Power @ eTeknix
- Cougar PowerX 550W PSU @ Kitguru
- XFX Pro 650W Core Edition Non Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- Rosewill Tachyon 750 W @ techPowerUp
- be quiet! PowerZone 650W PSU @ Kitguru
- Antec High Current Gamer 620W Semi Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- EVGA 500B 500W Power Supply Review @ Legit Reviews
- Antec EarthWatts Platinum 450W Non-Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- Enermax Triathlor 450W Non-Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | September 16, 2013 - 01:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: usb, cellphone, security
The USB condom is an adapter which disables the two data ports present on your USB connector to prevent a malicious charger from installing interesting things on your smartphone, if you decide to stick it into a strange charger. Many will immediately point out that this device is much larger than a simple power adapter which makes it easier to leave behind as well as being large enough to hide nasties of its own, so you wouldn't want to borrow someones condom. If you read through the comments on Slashdot you can pick up some interesting problems that this device could cause, from devices which refuse to charge without their data connections active to devices which actively communicate the amount of power they will accept for a charge. It is unlikely your device would have an expected amperage less than the USB spec and go up in flames but it is worth knowing that the possibility exists.
"Yep, a USB condom. That term is mostly a dose of marketing brilliance, which is to say that grabs your attention while also serving as an apt description of the product. A little company called int3.cc has developed a product—a USB condom—that blocks the data pins in your USB device while leaving the power pins free. Thus, any time you need to plug a device such as a smartphones into a USB port to charge it—let's say at a public charging kiosk or a coworker's computer--you don't have to worry about compromising any data or contracting some nasty malware. It's one of those simple solutions that seems so obvious once someone came up with it."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Will Intel's Quark Run Linux? @ Linux.com
- Microsoft reissues September patches after user complaints @ The Register
- The easy or hard way to build a PWM dimmer @ Hack a Day
- Memory muddle muddies Intel's Exascale ambitions @ The Register
- Ray Milton Dolby OBE - 1933-2013 @ The Inquirer
- ASUS PCE-AC66 Wi-Fi AC1750 PCIe Wireless Adapter @ Benchmark Reviews
- MyKronoz ZeBracelet Review @ TechReviewSource
Subject: General Tech | September 15, 2013 - 06:30 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: z87, Thunderbolt 2, sonnet, Intel, idf 2013, idf, gigabyte, asus, asrock, aja, 4k
Intel recently launched its next generation Thunderbolt 2 interface, and several devices using the new connection were shown off at the Intel Developer Forum. The major takeaway from Thunderbolt 2 is the increased bandwidth and benefits to video production houses working with large uncompressed media. Specifically, Thunderbolt 2 is a PCI-Express based external interface that sends both video output and data down a single cable. Upgrades over the original 10Gbps Thunderbolt standard include an updated to the DisplayPort 1.2 video standard and double the bandwidth to 20Gbps. Thanks to the increased bandwidth, Thunderbolt 2 enables simultaneous video output and video file transfer of 4K media. Video editors can watch and transfer 4K video to an DisplayPort-equipped monitor and external RAID array respectively.
Intel is kicking off the Thunderbolt 2 standard with the launch of its DSL5520 and DSL5320 Thunderbolt 2 controllers, which are already in the hands of device manufactures. In fact, there were quite a few bits of hardware being shown off at this years IDF that already support the new Thunderbolt 2 standard. Intel is expecting even more devices in 2014.
Professional video editing and workstation hardware with Thunderbolt 2
While consumer PC hardware will be supporting Thunderbolt 2, the new interface is most beneficial to professional users and IDF was the launch pad for several high end pieces of production gear. Sonnet launched the Echo Express III external PCI-E card chassis that allows users to hook up PCI-E cards to systems via Thunderbolt 2 (for example: video capture card or fast solid state storage). Also, AJA showed off a video/audio capture box called the IO 4K that supports daisy chaining other Thunderbolt 2 devices and acts as a video capture card capable of taking in 4K and UltraHD video sources as well as high end audio inputs. Finally, PROMISE Technology showed off its Pegasus2 RAID 5 enclosure and SANLink2 Thunderbolt 2 bridge device.
External boxes are not the only professional products with Thunderbolt 2 at IDF, however. The technology is also being integrated into workstations, including the Apple Mac Pro with six Thunderbolt 2 ports and HP’s new lineup of desktop workstations.
Z87 Motherboards With Thunderbolt 2
Thunderbolt 2 will also be used in consumer gear as well, including Z87 motherboards. Asus, AsRock, and Gigabyte all had motherboards on display that each featured two Thunderbolt 2 ports. The new interface will be available on the multiple boards from the manufacturers. German tech site ComputerBase.de posted several photos of Thunderbolt 2-equipped motherboards and gave a glimpse at the upcoming hardware.
The Asus Z87-Deluxe/Quad, an AsRock Z87 motherboard, and Gigabyte Z87X-UD5 TH spotted at IDF by ComputerBase.de.
Of note are the ASUS Z87-Deluxe/Quad, AsRock Extreme 11/ac, and Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 TH. All boards off LGA 1150 CPU sockets, four DDR3 DIMM slots, a slew of SATA 6Gbps ports, multiple PCI-E 3.0 x16 and x1 slots, and rich rear IO including two Thunderbolt 2 ports (naturally).
The AsRock Z87 Extreme 11/ac via ComputerBase.de.
The following chart breaks down the specifications. Unfortunately pricing and availability have not been announced for these boards, but expect to pay a premium for the high end gaming hardware and new Thunderbolt 2 controller. (The Asrock Extreme 11/ac in particular takes the word “high end” to the, well, extreme.)
|ASUS Z87-Deluxe/Quad||AsRock Extreme 11/ac||Gigabyte Z87X-UD7 TH|
|PCI-E 3.0 x16||3||4||5|
|PCI-E 3.0 x1||4||3||2|
|Audio||6 x analog, 1 x optical||5 x analog, 1 x optical||5 x analog, 1 x optical|
|Video out||1 x HDMI||1 x HDMI, 1 x DP||1 x HDMI, 1 x DVI|
|USB 3.0||6 (+4 USB 2.0)||6 (+2 USB 2.0)||6|
It is promising to see so many devices this early into Thunderbolt 2's launch, and the various high end motherboard using both Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3 gives consumers the best of both worlds and access to all manner of external peripherals. The bandwidth increase is certainly welcome, and I am interested to see what sorts of new devices it enables. For now, I think Thunderbolt 2 is going to be mainly a professional (or at least "pro-sumer") technology. With that siad, 4K capture and video output is already being worked on, and I am curious to see what other applications and technologies will really be able to push the new 20Gbps interface and what trickles down to the consumer space!
Are you excited about Thunderbolt 2? Let us know what you think of the IDF-launched products and the interface technology in general in the comments below!
Subject: General Tech | September 15, 2013 - 06:11 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: gskill, G.Skill, ddr4
G.Skill showed off DDR4 memory modules at the Intel Developer Forum last week, and it appears that the technology is well on its way to being ready for Intel's next generation Haswell-E enthusiast platform. The modules that G.Skill showed off werre DDR4 DIMMs clocked at 2,133 MHz and come in 4GB capacities. The modules are manufactured by SK.Hynix and branded and tested by G.Skill. The company did not indicate what voltages they are using, but it is likely at or close to 1.2V given the conservative clockspeed.
VR-Zone spotted DDR4 DIMMs from G.Skill at IDF.
The modules on the IDF show floor where static engineering samples, which means that they were not functional units. G.Skill indicated to X-bit labs that “the next generation of DDR memory is still under development, and G.Skill is working to push the new technology to its limits in the future.”
As the DDR4 standard and Haswell-E HEDT CPU/motherboard platform is still being worked on, G.Skill still has about a year to improve its modules and offer additional overclocked SKUs (which the company is known for). It is nice to see progress being made on the new memory technology that is said to be a bit faster and require less voltage.
Read more about the progress of DDR4 at PC Perspective.
Subject: General Tech | September 14, 2013 - 08:55 PM | Scott Michaud
There is an elephant in the room: Eldritch has a similar art style to Minecraft. The aesthetic, terrain and structures made up of large voxels, provides a simple set of rules for randomly generated worlds and it does that very well. Filling up a volume is easy when everything is kept to discrete grids and most geometry, being box-symmetric, takes very little effort to model. The resulting environments can be just as interesting to explore.
A creepy trailer?
Eldritch, on the other hand, is not based upon terraforming the landscape. This game is a first person action title heavily influenced by the works of H. P. Lovecraft... and its tropes. Rock Paper Shotgun previewed an early build and gave (at least me) mixed signals about whether the game was creepy or zany; the trailer does nothing to clarify this position. Whatever RPS thought the atmosphere was, they proclaim it was "nailed".
Eldritch is available to pre-order through the Humble Store, exchanging $15 for beta access, and is set for release on October 21st.
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