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Subject: General Tech | April 17, 2014 - 01:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, hsa, berlin, Opteron X-series, Red Hat
Next Wednesday we will get our first look at the HSA enabled Opteron X Series, otherwise known as Berlin. AMD will be unveiling the processor at the Red Hat Summit in San Francisco with an X2100 Opteron running on a Linux environment that is based on the Fedora Project. We have very recently had a chance to see the desktop equivalent, Kaveri, in action but this will be the first example of AMD's heterogeneous computing on a server. Keep your eyes peeled for our coverage, in the mean time you can get a preview at The Register.
"AMD will give the first public demo of its second-generation Opteron X-Series server processor, code-named "Berlin", at the Red Hat Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft reissues Windows 8.1 Update for enterprise customers @ The Register
- Learn How to Contribute to the Linux Kernel, Take the Eudyptula Challenge @ Linux.com
- Delays in OLED TV shipments impede growth of OLED material market, says DisplaySearch @ DigiTimes
- Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS @ The Register
- Steam vulnerability allows hackers to bypass security and swipe account data @ The Inquirer
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | April 16, 2014 - 08:40 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Intel, silvermont, arm, quarterly earnings, quarterly results
Sean Hollister at The Verge reported on Intel's recent quarterly report. Their chosen headline focuses on the significant losses incurred from the Mobile and Communications Group, the division responsible for tablet SoCs and 3G/4G modems. Its revenue dropped 52%, since last quarter, and its losses increased about 6%. Intel is still making plenty of money, with $12.291 billion USD in profits for 2013, but that is in spite of Mobile and Communications losing $3.148 billion over the same time.
Intel did have some wins, however. The Internet of Things Group is quite profitable, with $123 million USD of income from $482 million of revenue. They also had a better March quarter than the prior year, up a few hundred million in both revenue and profits. Also, Mobile and Communications should have a positive impact on the rest of the company. The Silvermont architecture, for instance, will eventually form the basis for 2015's Xeon Phi processors and co-processors.
It is concerning that Internet of Things has over twice the sales of Mobile but I hesitate to make any judgments. From my position, it is very difficult to see whether or not this trend follows Intel's projections. We simply do not know whether the division, time and time again, fails to meet expectations or whether Intel is just intentionally being very aggressive to position itself better in the future. I would shrug off the latter but, obviously, the former would be a serious concern.
The best thing for us to do is to keep an eye on their upcoming roadmaps and compare them to early projections.
Subject: Storage | April 16, 2014 - 07:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asustor, AS-204TE, NAS, xmbc
The Asustor AS-204TE is an Atom powered Linux Network Attached Storage device for home use which comes with a respectable amount of applications. uTorrent will run on the device, it is capable of communicating with the XBone Media Centre as well as iTunes as well as FTP transfers and even PLEX to allow it to connect to your mobile devices. You can install up to 16TB of storage on four 3.5 or 2.5" disks which will run at SATA II and can be set up as single disks, JBOD and RAID 0, 1, 5, 5 + Hot Spare, 6 or 10. All of those features do come with a cost, the NAS will run you almost $500 without any disks included; if the sticker shock doesn't scare you away you should read techPowerUp's comprehensive review.
"Asustor is hard at work to establish itself as a good name on the NAS scene, and they are on the right track. Today, we will take a look at the AS-204TE, which Asustor says to be the best multimedia and storage-center solution for your home because it comes equipped with all typical NAS functions, an HDMI port, and XBMC support."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Synology DS414 High Performance 4-bay NAS Server for SMB & SOHO Review @ Madshrimps
- Thecus N5550 5-Bay NAS Server and XBMC Home Theater Computer Review @MissingRemote
- ADATA AE800 DashDrive Air Review @HiTech Legion
- Zalman ZM-VE300 USB 3.0 External Drive Case Review @ Legit Reviews
- Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB Portable HDD Review @ Techgage
- Should You Select MBR Or GPT When You Install A New Drive? @ TechARP
- Seagate Enterprise Capacity 3.5 SED 4TB SATA III HDD @ NikKTech
- Keep your SSD Healthy ADATA SSD Toolbox @HiTech Legion
- MyDigitalSSD Pocket Vault SSD @ The SSD Review
- Samsung XP941 Native PCIe M.2 SSD @ SSD Review
- Plextor M6S SSD @ SSD Review
- Plextor M6e 512GB PCI Express Solid State Drive @ eTeknix
- Crucial M550 512GB SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Intel 730 Solid State Drive @ X-bit Labs
- OCZ Vertex 460 240GB SSD @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | April 16, 2014 - 03:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, pillars of eternity, obsidian
Pillars of Eternity is Obsidian's Kickstarted RPG which is touted as a spirtual successor to the Baldurs Gate and Icewind Dale series with a bit of Planescape tossed in, using the new Infinity Engine. The gameplay footage we have seen shows artwork reminiscent of those games with vastly improved quality on the non-static elements and Chris Avellone is no stranger to writing decent story arcs, all bringing hope to fans of the once great Black Isle. One piece has been missing until recently, the soundtrack of these games were crucial in building the atmosphere of these games and now Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN has a snippet of the music that will appear in the game which you can listen to here.
“Making Pillars of Eternity feel like a modern day Infinity Engine game is important to us, and music plays a big role in achieving that goal. But what does that actually mean in practice? Well if you were to loosely analyze the music from Baldur’s Gate 1 & 2 and Icewind Dale 1 & 2 for example, you would find a number of stylistic similarities between them."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- SMAC Your Lips: Civilization Beyond Earth Announced @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Sudo Shock: System Shock 2 Now On Linux @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Titanfall: Expedition DLC map pack announced at PAX East @ HEXUS
- Mass Effect Reborn Mod Jumps Into Homeworld 2 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- R2-Detailed: X-Wing Alliance Resurrected @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- A Crying Shame: Crysis, Crysis 2 Multi Shutting Down @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | April 16, 2014 - 01:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: steambox, amd, sempron, athlon, Kabini, SteamOS
A popular question that has arisen from the release of the four new low cost Kabini processors has been their effectiveness in powering a Steam Machine. Phoronix have just finished testing the new Athlon and Sempron chips, paired with several laptop IGPs using Catalyst Linux driver fglrx 13.35.5/OpenGL 4.3.12798 on Ubuntu 14.04. They tested Counter-Strike: Source, Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, and Portal at a variety of resolutions to see just how much performance these chips offer. None of the chips could offer acceptable performance at 1080p and only Portal was delivered at 60fps assuming you used 1024x768. They will be following this review with another that will pair discreet GPUs with Kabini which should increase gaming capabilities greatly.
"Earlier today the latest installment of our extensive Linux testing of AMD's new Athlon AM1 APUs were shared in the form of RadeonSI vs. Gallium3D benchmarks of the Radeon R3 Graphics found with these new entry-level APUs. Not included with that open-source vs. closed-source driver testing was any Source Engine / Steam Linux game testing due to an XCB DRI3 issue, but this article is devoted to looking at the Catalyst performance for the Sempron 2650, Sempron 3850, Athlon 5150, and Athlon 5350 to see whether any of these APUs can make the cut for a budget Steam Machine."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Lacie confesses to year-long data breach as hackers harvest customers' details @ The Inquirer
- Intel sees 'signs of improvement in the PC business' but earnings remain 'Meh...' @ The Register
- A scanner, darkly: Master data-miner Google tweaks terms of service @ The Register
- Nvidia's new CUDA 6 has the 'most significant new functionality in the history of CUDA' @ The Register
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 16, 2014 - 11:39 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, giveaway, galaxy, contest
UPDATE: Our winners have been selected and notified! Thanks to everyone for participating and stayed tuned to pcper.com as we'll have more contests starting VERY SOON!!!
Our sponsors are the best, they really are. Case in point - Galaxy would like us to give away a pair of graphics cards to our fans. On the block for the contest are a Galaxy GTX 750 Ti GC and a Galaxy GTX 750 GC option, both based on the latest generation Maxwell GPU architecture from NVIDIA.
I posted a GTX 750 Ti Roundup story that looked at the Galaxy GTX 750 Ti GC option and it impressed in both stock performance and in the amount of overclocking headroom provided by the custom cooler.
How can you win these awesome prizes? Head over to our YouTube channel to find or just watch the video below! You need to be a subscriber to our YouTube channel as well as leave a comment on the video itself over on YouTube.
Anyone, any where in the world can win. We'll pick a winner on April 16th - good luck!
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | April 16, 2014 - 01:56 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: valve, steam
Valve does not release sales or hours played figures for any game on Steam and it is rare to find a publisher who will volunteer that information. That said, Steam user profiles list that information on a per-account basis. If someone, say Ars Technica, had access to sufficient server capacity, say an Amazon Web Services instance, and a reasonable understanding of statistics, then they could estimate.
If interested, I would definitely look through the original editorial for all of its many findings. Here, if you let me (and you can't stop me even if you don't), I would like to add my own analysis on a specific topic. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on the PC, according to VGChartz, sold 3.42 million copies on at retail, worldwide. The thing is, Steamworks was required for every copy sold at retail or online. According to Ars Technica's estimates, 5.94 million copies were registered with Steam.
5.94 minus 3.42 is 2.52 million copies sold digitally. Almost a third of PC sales were made through Steam and other digital distribution platforms. Also, this means that the PC was the game's second-best selling platform, ahead of the PS3 (5.43m) and behind the Xbox 360 (7.92m), minus any digital sales on those platforms if they exist, of course. Despite its engine being programmed in DirectX 9, it is still a fairly high-end game. That is a fairly healthy install base for decent gaming PCs.
Did you discover anything else on your own? Be sure to discuss it in our comments!
Subject: General Tech, Systems | April 15, 2014 - 08:48 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: vaio, sony, battery issue
So it turns out that Sony, after releasing their last VAIO PC refresh before the division is sold to Japan Industrial Partners, have found an issue with Panasonic's custom lithium battery packs. The VAIO Fit 11A models, released February 2014, have the potential to overheat and catch fire, burning itself and the PC. They are in the process of creating a refund, repair, or exchange program but, in the mean time, request users stop using the devices for their safety.
In head-crushing formation. #HandsCheck
The affected products fall under the model number, "SVF11N1XXXX", where Xs are, of course, some random letter or number. This information is printed underneath the display, accessible using the "release-lock" latch when the laptop is open.
Of course, this is all just unfortunate for Sony. The last product they create under their VAIO brand requires what basically amounts to a safety recall -- for a third-party component. Beyond that, Panasonic asserts that the flaw only seems to exist in the batteries that were customized for Sony. Panasonic, like many manufacturers, introduces slight modifications to existing products for a specific customer's needs. They do not believe that their other batteries, even of the same model, is defective outside of the shipment that Sony received.
At some point, you just need to feel bad for them...
Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 15, 2014 - 03:36 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: cooler master, Elite 110, mini-itx
The CoolerMaster Elite 110 can give your next mini-ITX system build a unique look. The squarish case is 280x260x208mm (11.1x10.3x8.2") and can house a GPU of up to 210mm in length and cooler with a maximum height of 76mm, somewhat limiting your choice of components but not ridiculously so. It can handle a 120 or 140mm fan or radiator in the front and two 80mm fans on the side and also has space for 3 HDDs or 4 SSDs. [H]ard|OCP encountered some difficulties when installing multiple HDDs but not enough to stop them from awarding this case with a Silver Award; with the caveat that you should only purchase it at the MSRP of $49.99.
"Many enthusiasts now days are trying their hands at minimizing their PC footprint. Mini-ITX motherboards have progressed a long ways in terms of stability and feature set in the last three years. Cooler Master has a new solution for those looking to minimize while not giving up cooling or features in their Mini-ITX enclosure."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- In Win 901 Mini-ITX Case Review @ Hardware Asylum
- Thermaltake Urban T81 Full Tower @ NikKTech
- Cooler Master HAF Stacker @ techPowerUp
- Zalman Z3 Plus White Mid-Tower Case Review @HiTech Legion
- Thermaltake Urban T81 Extreme Full Tower Chassis @ eTeknix
- BitFenix Prodigy M Case Review @HiTech Legion
- NZXT Source 530 @ Kitguru
- Coolermaster HAF Stacker 935, 315R & 315F Modular Chassis @ eTeknix
- Fractal ARC MINI R2 Computer Case Review @ Madshrimps
- NZXT H440 Silent Mid-tower Case Review @ Modders-Inc
- XSPC Razor R9 290/290X Full Cover Cooling Block Review @HiTech Legion
- ARCTIC Accelero Hybrid II-120 Air/Liquid Cooler @ NikKTech
- Cooler Master Glacer 240L AIO Liquid CPU Cooler @ [H]ard|OCP
- Enermax ETS-T40 Black Twister @ techPowerUp
- Thermalright Silver Arrow IB-E CPU Cooler @ NikKTech
- Deepcool Gamer Storm Gabriel Review @ Modders-Inc
- Dark Rock Pro 3 by beQuiet! Review @ TechwareLabs
- Cooler Master Nepton 140XL CPU Cooler Review @ Hardware Secrets
- SilentiumPC Fera 2 HE 1224 CPU Cooler Review @ Madshrimps
- Noctua NH-D15 Dual-Tower CPU Cooler Review @ Modders-Inc
Subject: General Tech | April 15, 2014 - 02:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: microsoft, win 8.1, win 8.1 update
The end of support for XP is an annoying but sensible move on Microsoft's part however today's announcement that Windows 8.1 EoL is the Patch Tuesday in May is anything but sensible. The announcement states that no more updates for Win 8.1 will be released, if a customer wants to receive updates they must still be running Win 8 or upgrade to Win 8.1 Update 1. The continued support for Win 8 machines seems rather odd and is perhaps intended to mollify corporate users who have not had the 8.1 patch pushed out as Microsoft has removed Win 8.1 Update 1 from their WSUS servers over a week ago making it impossible for corporations to properly upgrade their users to Update 1. For those who bought a device recently this deadline does not give them much time to apply Update 1, especially when you consider the amount of critical errors installing Update 1 is causing. Catch the vitriol over at Slashdot and think back to the good old days when all you had to keep track of were the various flavours of Win7.
"Microsoft TechNet blog makes clear that Windows 8.1 will not be patched, and that users must get Windows 8.1 Update if they want security patches, InfoWorld's Woody Leonhard reports. 'In what is surely the most customer-antagonistic move of the new Windows regime, Steve Thomas at Microsoft posted a TechNet article on Saturday stating categorically that Microsoft will no longer issue security patches for Windows 8.1, starting in May,' Leonhard writes. 'Never mind that Windows 8.1 customers are still having multiple problems with errors when trying to install the Update."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Google might reward secure websites with better ranking @ The Inquirer
- Micron plumps STACKED SILICON BEAUTY with SerDes @ The Register
- Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray @ The Register
- Xtorm LAVA CHARGER Universal Solar / USB Charger @ NikKTech
- Using Samba to Share Your Linux Folders with Another PC or Virtual Machine @ Techgage
- Gigabyte CDRomland OC Workshop @ Madshrimps
Subject: General Tech | April 15, 2014 - 07:03 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Intel, Education, convertible tablet, atom z3740d
Intel has introduced a new convertible tablet aimed at the education market (specifically as a tool for students to use in their studies) conveniently dubbed the Intel Education 2-In-1. This latest product is a portable dockable tablet powered by an Intel Atom processor and running Windows 8.1 along with Intel Education software.
The new Education 2-In-1 tablet is the successor to Intel's previous Education Tablets series which included two Atom powered devices running the Android OS. The latest convertible tablet features a 10.1 touchscreen and capacitive stylus that weighs 683 grams (1.51 pounds). The tablet can also be connected to a keyboard dock for a total weight of 1.173 kilograms (2.58 pounds). It is a ruggedized design that can withstand up to 70cm drops (50cm when docked) and is both water and dust resistant per IP51 specifications.
The upcoming PC features a 10.1” 5-point multi-touch display with a resolution of 1366x768, a 1.26 MP webcam, and a 5.0 MP rear camera. The keyboard dock offers up a full qwerty keyboard, trackpad, additional IO ports, and a second battery. Intel rates its Atom-powered tablet at 8 hours of battery life for the tablet itself and 11 hours (total) when docked with the keyboard.
External IO includes:
- 1 x USB 3.0
- 1 x Micro SD card slot
- 1 x Audio out/Mic in combo jack
- 1 x Micro HDMI
- 2 x integrated speakers
- 1 x Integrated microphone
The tablet further offers up a wide array of sensors for obtaining environmental data including an accelerometer, ambient light sensor, electronic compass, gyroscope, and optional GPS. Students can also get temperature readings via a probe and pair the rear camera with a magnification lens. The sensor and image data can be fed into the educational software bundled with the tablet for use in school labs.
Internally, the convertible tablet is powered by a quad core Intel Atom Z3740D processor clocked at 1.8 GHz, 2GB of DDR3L 1333 MHz memory, and either 32 GB or 64 GB of internal eMMC storage. Networking is handled by an 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 radio along with optional NFC, 3G, and LTE cellular radios. The tablet hosts a 7600mAH (28 Wh) battery while the keyboard dock offers up an additional 15 Wh battery.
On the software side of things, the tablet runs the 32-bit version of Windows 8.1 which is bundled with Intel's educational software suite and McAfee AntiVirus Plus. The educational software includes a digital textbook library from Kno Products.
The ruggedized design leaves something (read: aesthetics) to be desired, but the somewhat-bulky convertible is built to handle the inevitable, well, handling by students during their daily class schedules. Further, the Bay Trail SoC should run Windows 8.1 well enough to run the basic applications needed for coursework.
Intel has not yet released pricing or availability information on its latest educational hardware offering.
As more schools are looking into supporting digital learning material and incorporating devices such as laptops, tablets, and e-readers, Intel does not want to be left out of the game. The Education 2-In-1 is not likely to be a direct-to-consumer product but more of a business-to-educational institution offering much like Google's Chromebook subscription program and is intended to show off the hardware and software 'experience' that the company's Bay Trail Atom SoC platform is capable of enabling.
Subject: Processors | April 15, 2014 - 12:09 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: z97, Intel, i7-4790, haswell refresh, haswell, h97
Intel is releasing a refreshed lineup of processors based on its latest generation “Haswell” micro-architecture. The new lineup is comprised of 27 new desktop processors and 17 new mobile CPUs (44 in total). The new chips will displace the existing Haswell processors at their existing price points with small clockspeed increases.
On the desktop side of things, the Haswell Refresh lineup includes four new Core i7, ten Core i5, five Core i3, five Pentium, and three Celeron processors. The new chips come in both standard and (multiple) lower-TDP variants. At the top end, Intel is introducing a new non-K part called the Intel Core i7 4790 which is a quad core (eight thread) processor clocked at 3.6 GHz with 8MB of L3 cache. The new CPU also comes in 65W i7-4790S (3.2 GHz) and 45W i7-4790T (2.7 GHz). The new desktop parts range in tray price from $45 to $303.
Additionally, Intel is updating its mobile lineup by introducing 17 new chips. The refreshed lineup includes six Core i7s, four Core i5s, five Core i3s, one Pentium, and one Celeron CPU. The mobile parts range in tray price from $75 to $434. Like the desktop range, the mobile chips come in multiple low power TDP SKUs. Five of the new chips are quad cores while the rest are dual cores.
Intel’s new refreshed Haswell processors are reportedly coming early next month as part of the "Haswell Refresh Platform." The chips will fully support motherboards based on Intel’s upcoming LGA 1150 9-series chipsets, and the various motherboard manufactures appear to be hard at work getting their lineups ready. As a result, enthusiasts can expect to see the new chips and motherboards (using the H97 and Z97 chipsets) on store shelves soon.
If you have not already bought into Haswell, the refreshed lineup is worth waiting for. if you are already running a Haswell-based system, upgrading to a refreshed Haswell CPU and H97 or Z97 motherboard makes much less sense. Instead, you should ride it out until Sky Lake or at least Broadwell (upgrade itch permitting, of course).
Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2014 - 06:00 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: audio, asus, Xonar U7, usb sound card
ASUS has an easy way for you to upgrade your sound without needing to crack open your case, the Xonar U7 USB sound card. Capable of delivering 7.1 surround with a Cmedia 6632A processor and no less than three different Cirrus signal conversion chips this is a high quality device for $90. Connectivity is equally impressive, on one side an amplified 3.5 mm headphone output and shared line-in/microphone3.5 mm jack, on the other are Side, Center, and Rear channel outputs, an SPDIF output and the USB jack. Read Legit Reviews' full article to hear how they felt the Xonar U7 performed.
"We got an early look at an upcoming affordable USB powered sound card from ASUS called the Xonar U7. Its compact form makes it easy to setup or use with laptops which normally can’t have their audio solutions upgraded."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Creative Sound BlasterAxx 200 Axx @ techPowerUp
- Making Your Speakers Mobile: Logitech Bluetooth Audio Adapter Review @ Techgage
- Wavemaster Stax 2.1 Speaker @ eTeknix
- Rosewill R-Studio Ampbox Bluetooth Speaker Review @ Legit Reviews
- VidaBox OpenSqueeze Network Players @ techPowerUp
- Cooler Master CM Storm Pitch Gaming Earphones Review @ Madshrimps
- Attitude 1 Almaz Multi-Format Headset @ eTeknix
- BitFenix Flo Gaming Headset @ Benchmark Reviews
- Bit Fenix Flo Headset @ Funky Kit
Subject: Processors | April 14, 2014 - 03:22 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Kabini, linux, Athlon 5350, Athlon 5150, Sempron 3850, Semprov 2650, amd, athlon, sempron
An easy way to trim the cost of a lower end system is to skip Windows and install Linux, along with picking a less expensive AMD chip to power your system. AMD has recently gifted us with new Kabini based Sempron and Athlon chips, the most expensive of which is available for less that $70. For testing Phoronix used Ubuntu 14.04, the 3.14 kernel and Mesa 10.2 along with the Radeon 7.3.99 driver. You will be glad to know that there were no compatibility problems with Linux whatsoever, all CPUs performed more or less as expected as you can see for yourself in the full review.
"It's been a busy past few days since AMD launched their "AM1" Socketed Kabini APUs. After the initial Athlon 5350 Linux review on launch-day, I did some tests involving a faster kernel and newer Mesa code along with some reference DDR3 memory scaling benchmarks for these APUs with Jaguar processor cores. Since then the Athlon 5150 and Sempron 3850/2650 APUs arrived."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- AMD Athlon 5350 APU On Linux @ Phoronix
- AMD Athlon 5350 APU and AM1 Platform Review @ Legit Reviews
- AMD Athlon 5350 @ Kitguru
- AMD “Kabini” AM1 Athlon 5350 @ eTeknix
- AMD Athlon 5350 Kabini AM1 APU Review @ Modders-Inc
- The Workstation & Server CPU Comparison Guide @ Tech ARP
Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2014 - 01:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gartner, pc sales, desktop market share
With a total of 76.6 million PCs shipped worldwide in the first quarter of 2014 the desktop market only shrunk by 1.7% compared to the first quarter of 2013. Gartner attributes this to two main factors, new desktops being purchased to replace aging machines running WinXP and a decline in the sales of tablets, at least in the US. Lenovo retains its top spot globally but HP has been doing quite well with their marketing and now hold top spot in both the US and EMEA. Check out all their findings at DigiTimes.
"The end of XP support by Microsoft on April 8 has played a role in the easing decline of PC shipments," said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. "All regions indicated a positive effect since the end of XP support stimulated the PC refresh of XP systems. Professional desktops, in particular, showed strength in the quarter."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- US Senate sees 'Let Me Google That For You' bill @ The Inquirer
- It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer @ The Register
- Akamai Reissues All SSL Certificates After Admitting Heartbleed Patch Was Faulty @ Slashdot
- Intel to enhance water resistance in new products @ DigiTimes
- Microsoft cans free custom domain support in Outlook @ The Inquirer
- So you invent a wireless network using LEDs, what do you do next? Add solar panels. Boom @ The Register
- Linksys EA6900 AC1900 Smart Wi-Fi Wireless Router @ NikKTech
- Win a £1000 laptop with Scan, KitGuru and MSI
Subject: Displays | April 11, 2014 - 05:25 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: touch screen, philips, 231C5 SmoothTouch
If you are going to use Windows 8 as your OS you will find it is a better overall experience to use if you have a touchscreen. With mobile devices that is not a problem but for the most part desktop systems do not tend to sport a touchscreen. Enter the Philips 231C5 SmoothTouch a 23" IPS 1080p display with a built in webcam and microphone as well as multi-touch capability of course. The array of inputs are sufficient, two HDMI ports – one with MHL capabilities, DisplayPort, VGA, two USB 3.0 ports and stereo audio. Before you dismiss this display completely you should check out eTechnix full review.
"When Microsoft announced the imminent launch of Windows 8, one of the revolutionary aspects of the new operating system was its more streamlined integration into touch screen devices. Since that time we have seen touch screen capable notebooks and Ultrabooks swarm the market and the era of the touch screen computer has changed the way that many of us have interacted with our systems."
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- NEC MultiSync PA272W 27" Professional Monitor Review @ Hardware Canucks
- ASUS MX279H 27-inch LED-Lit AH IPS Monitor @ Phoronix
- Choosing the Right Projector for your Needs @ TechwareLabs
- Nvidia G-Sync: My Impression @ Kitguru
- Samsung PN64F8500 64 Inch Plasma Smart TV Review @ Tweaknews
Subject: General Tech | April 11, 2014 - 03:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: valve, Steam Controller, gdc 14
At the Game Developers Conference last month The Tech Report had some one on one time with the Steam Controller and walked away with a less than positive impression. It would seem that the learning curve for this device is rather steep, especially when they tried Portal 2. Fine aiming, circle strafing and other tasks which come naturally to those used to a keyboard and mouse were quite difficult to accomplish on the new controller. When asked, the Valve rep admitted it took them about 8 hours to familiarize themselves with the Steam Controller. Is that too steep a learning curve or is it simply part of the fun of playing with a new type of console and controller?
"Valve's Steam controller looks great on paper. It promises not just greater accuracy than conventional console gamepads, but also support for point-and-click titles that traditionally required a mouse and keyboard. There's a downside, though. As TR's Cyril Kowaliski learned first-hand, the Steam controller has a pretty steep learning curve—steep enough, perhaps, to put off some potential converts."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Cheat Win XP DEATH: Little-known tool to save you from the XPocalypse @ The Register
- Microsoft kills off Windows XP with side-scrolling shoot-em-up @ The Inquirer
- Pocket-sized robotic mobile printer debuts on Kickstarter @ The Inqurier
- Hacking Your Linux Keyboard with xkb @ Linux.com
- BlackBerry not afraid to throw its mobe biz under a bus, says CEO Chen @ The Register
- Google Chrome 64-bit @ NGOHQ
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 11, 2014 - 03:30 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: nvidia, geforce, dx11, driver, 337.50
UPDATE: We have put together a much more comprehensive story based on the NVIDIA 337.50 driver that includes more cards and more games while also disputing the Total War: Rome II results seen here. Be sure to read it!!
When I spoke with NVIDIA after the announcement of DirectX 12 at GDC this past March, a lot of the discussion centered around a pending driver release that promised impressive performance advances with current DX11 hardware and DX11 games.
What NVIDIA did want to focus on with us was the significant improvements that have been made on the efficiency and performance of DirectX 11. When NVIDIA is questioned as to why they didn’t create their Mantle-like API if Microsoft was dragging its feet, they point to the vast improvements possible and made with existing APIs like DX11 and OpenGL. The idea is that rather than spend resources on creating a completely new API that needs to be integrated in a totally unique engine port (see Frostbite, CryEngine, etc.) NVIDIA has instead improved the performance, scaling, and predictability of DirectX 11.
NVIDIA claims that these fixes are not game specific and will improve performance and efficiency for a lot of GeForce users. Even if that is the case, we will only really see these improvements surface in titles that have addressable CPU limits or very low end hardware, similar to how Mantle works today.
Lofty goals to be sure. This driver was released last week and I immediately wanted to test and verify many of these claims. However, a certain other graphics project kept me occupied most of the week and then a short jaunt to Dallas kept me from the task until yesterday.
To be clear, I am planning to look at several more games and card configurations next week, but I thought it was worth sharing our first set of results. The test bed in use is the same as our standard GPU reviews.
|Test System Setup|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-3960X Sandy Bridge-E|
|Motherboard||ASUS P9X79 Deluxe|
|Memory||Corsair Dominator DDR3-1600 16GB|
|Hard Drive||OCZ Agility 4 256GB SSD|
|Graphics Card||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 2GB
|Graphics Drivers||NVIDIA: 335.23 WHQL, 337.50 Beta|
|Power Supply||Corsair AX1200i|
|Operating System||Windows 8 Pro x64|
The most interesting claims from NVIDIA were spikes as high as 70%+ in Total War: Rome II, so I decided to start there.
First up, let's take a look at the GTX 780 Ti SLI results, the flagship gaming card from NVIDIA.
With this title, running at the Extreme preset, jumps from an average frame rate of 59 FPS to 88 FPS, an increase of 48%! Frame rate variance does increase a bit with the faster average frame rate but it stays within limits of smoothness, but barely.
Next up, the GeForce GTX 770 SLI results.
Results here are even more impressive as the pair of GeForce GTX 770 cards running in SLI jump from 29.5 average FPS to 51 FPS, an increase of 72%!! Even better, this occurs without any kind of frame rate variance increase and in fact, the blue line of the 337.50 driver is actually performing better in that perspective.
All of these tests were run with the latest patch on Total War: Rome II and I did specifically ask NVIDIA if there were any differences in the SLI profiles between these two drivers for this game. I was told absolutely not - this just happens to be the poster child example of changes NVIDIA has made with this DX11 efficiency push.
Of course, not all games are going to see performance improvements like this, or even improvements that are measurable at all. Just as we have seen with other driver enhancements over the years, different hardware configurations, image quality settings and even scenes used to test each game will shift the deltas considerably. I can tell you already that based on some results I have (but am holding for my story next week) performance improvements in other games are ranging from <5% up to 35%+. While those aren't reaching the 72% level we saw in Total War: Rome II above, these kinds of experience changes with driver updates are impressive to see.
Even though we are likely looking at the "best case" for NVIDIA's 337.50 driver changes with the Rome II results here, clearly there is merit behind what the company is pushing. We'll have more results next week!
Subject: General Tech | April 11, 2014 - 02:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: corsair, contest
Corsair is sponsoring PC DOMINATION, SPRING 2014, a system building and tuning competition for PC enthusiasts. PC Domination isn't a single contest, but more than ten separate challenges for system builders and tuners. It doesn't matter if you have a high-end or mid-range system. There's a contest for everyone to participate in! Participants will be competing to win a variety of Corsair’s top products including cases, coolers, gaming keyboards, memory, and more. The first 500 complete entries will get a FREE Corsair PC Domination T-shirt.
You can participate in the CPU tuning contest by submitting your HWBot and Cinebench benchmark scores. If you don't have the latest and greatest system, don't let that stop you from participating since there will be an award for whoever can do the most with the least. And, to keep things fun for everyone, we are not allowing sponsored professional overclockers to participate.
There are three contests:
- Intel CPU (Air Cooling or All-In-One Cooling)
- AMD CPU (Air Cooling or All-In-One Cooling)
- Custom Loop Liquid Cooling (Intel and AMD)
To participate in the GPU tuning competition, submit your 3DMark scores! Just like our CPU Tuning competition, go ahead and enter if you don't have the latest and greatest GPU as there will also be an award for whoever who can do the most with the least. It's what you can do with what you have that matters. Sponsored professional overclockers are not able to participate, sorry!
There are three contests:
- NVIDIA GPU (Air Cooling Only)
- AMD GPU (Air Cooling Only)
- Custom Loop Liquid Cooling (NVIDIA and AMD)
System Build Competition
To enter this competition, just submit photos of a system you've built. This is your chance to show off every aspect of your machine, whether it's the color scheme, amazing cable management, or just your overall awesomeness in system building!
There are three contests:
- Standard System Building (Retail Parts – No Modifications or Customizing)
- Custom Cooling System (Custom Water Loops – No Chassis Customization)
- Open System Building (Full Customization and Modification)
Subject: Processors | April 10, 2014 - 04:38 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: sempron, Kabini, Athlon 5350, athlon, amd, AM1
AMD has officially announced its socketed Kabini chips and the AM1 platform. Information on the chips and motherboards have been slowly trickling out since CES, but now they are finally official and available for purchase at retail.
Specifically, AMD has launched four desktop Kabini processors under the Athlon and Sempron brands. In addition ASRock, ASUS, Biostar, ECS, Gigabyte, and MSI all have AM1 platform motherboards ready to accept the new AMD chips. The motherboards come in mini ITX and micro ATX form factors.
The AMD Athlon 5350 SoC Installed in the ASUS AM1I-A motherboard which was used in our full Kabini review.
All four of the AMD chips have 25W TDPs and integrated GPUs with 128 stream processors. The Kabini chips support four PCI-E 2.0 lanes, two SATA III 6 Gbps ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and eight USB 2.0 ports. Motherboard permitting, the Kabini GPU supports up to three display outputs (HDMI, DisplayPort, and VGA). The chips differ by CPU and GPU clockspeeds, core count, and DDR3 memory frequency support. On the low end, the $34 (MSRP) Sempron 2650 is a dual core part clocked at 1.45 GHz with a GPU clocked that 400 MHz that supports a maximum memory clockspeed of 1333 MHz. The top-end Athlon 5350 is a quad core processor clocked at 2.05 GHz with a GPU clocked at 600 MHz and supports DDR3 1600 MHz. This chips has a $59 MSRP. The desktop chips are similar to their mobile counterparts, with slight differences in clockspeed and (of course) price and the socketed implementation.
|Processor||TDP||CPU||L2 Cache||GPU||Maximum Memory Speed||Price|
|Athlon 5350||25W||4 cores @ 2.05 GHz||2MB||128 SPs @ 600 MHz||1600 MHz||$59|
|Athlon 5150||25W||4 cores @ 1.6 GHz||2MB||128 SPs @ 600 MHz||1600 MHz||$49|
|Sempron 3850||25W||4 cores @ 1.3 GHz||2MB||128 SPs @ 450 MHz||1600 MHz||$39|
|Sempron 2650||25W||2 cores @ 1.45 GHz||1MB||128 SPs @ 400 MHz||1333 MHz||$34|
The motherboards for the new Kabini processors will come in mini ITX and micro ATX. We previously covered AM1 platform boards from ASRock, Biostar, and MSI. In general, the boards offer up most of the standard IO and other functionality that enthusiasts are used to from existing AMD motherboards including multiple display outputs, networking, audio, and a plethora of USB ports on the rear IO panel and SATA ports, PCI Express slot(s), and two DDR3 DIMM slots internally. Interestingly, the boards are fairly bare and free from chipsets because the IO is included in the processor itself. This enables motherboards that are notably cheaper than, say, FM2+ and AM3 boards.
When AMD first launched the AM1 platform, the company stated that a combination of a Kabini chip and FS1b-socketed motherboard would add up to about $60. Now that the platform is official, retail prices are starting to pop up. With the Kabini processors and motherboards each ranging from around $30 to $60, AMD has technically hit that mark. Adding a hard drive, RAM, and enclosure will get you a baisc and complete system for less than $150.
AMD's Kabini chips are set to compete against Intel's Bay Trail-D processor which comes pre-soldered onto motherboards. The AM1 platform does look to be the slightly cheaper option that also gives users the choice of motherboard and the possibility of upgrading to soecketed Beema (Kabini's successor) SoCs.
If you are interested in desktop Kabini, be sure to check out our full review of the AMD Athlon 5350 at PC Perspective!
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