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Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 7, 2013 - 08:21 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: serious sam, E3 13, E3
We still have another 5-or-so days left on the Serious Sam Humble Weekly Sale and so if you were interested in donating a bunch of money for mindless shooters, you still have a chance. Also, you apparently have another reason to do so.
Crowdfunding is popular these days, we even did it. Basically anyone can set up a project, collect money from random people on the internet, and give perks in return. In this case, according to PC Gamer, Croteam is apparently using revenue collected from the Humble Bundle to fund the creation of the next Serious Sam: Serious Sam 4.
If you wish to snag a bunch of Serious Sam games for yourself or your friends, all while supporting Croteam and their future titles, then donate to the Humble Sale by Thursday, June 13th, 2013 at (I believe) 2PM EDT. By the way, that is the last official day of E3.
Subject: Storage | June 7, 2013 - 06:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: sandisk, Extreme II series, marvell 9187, 19nm, mlc
SanDisk claims their Extreme II can run at 550/510 MB/s sequential read/write, and 95,000/78,000 for random read/write IOPS, a claim which [H]ard|OCP just put to the test. The two major changes to this drive that will contribute to the difference in speed are the switch from a Sandforce controller to the Marvell 9187 controller and the MLC flash which is 19nm in this drive. Testing shows that the drive does live up to expectations though they did point out the lack of encryption as a weakness. Prices for the drives are around the magic $1/GB mark, making this drive a solid contender in a very populous market.
"SanDisk releases its Extreme II series SSD, which features the Marvell 9187 controller in concert with 19nm eX2 ABL MLC NAND. The competition is heating up as another manufacturer with massive foundry capabilities releases a new SSD. Will the Extreme II "blaze through your day" and "keep you ahead of deadlines?"
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- SanDisk Extreme II Series 120GB, 240GB and 480GB SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- Seagate 600 240GB SATA III 6Gbps SSD Review @ Legit Reviews
- OCZ Vertex 3.20 240GB SSD Review @ HiTech Legion
- Crucial M500 480GB SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- LSI SandForce Next Gen SSD Controller With 1800MB/s Speeds Discovered at Computex @ SSD Review
- Seagate's 600 SSD solid-state drive @ The Tech Report
- KingFast E-Drive KF2510SCF 120GB 2.5" SATA 3 SLC SSD Review @ ModSynergy
- KingFast E-Drive 2.5'' SATAIII SLC 120GB SSD Review @ Madshrimps
- OCZ Vertex 3.20 240GB SSD review: Vertex 3 with 20nm flash @ Hardware.info
- ADATA DashDrive Elite UE700 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ eTeknix
- Zalman U3M32 32GB SLC USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ Funkykit
- Seagate's Desktop HDD.15 4TB hard drive @ The Tech Report
- Seagate Constellation ES 1TB Hard Drive Review @ PCSTATS
- Adaptec (by PMC) ASR-72405 RAID Controller (X2) Review - 1M IOPS & 12GB/s Thru 24 SMART Optimus SSDs @ SSD Review
- Vantec NexStar WiFi Hard Drive Dock Review @ Legit Reviews
- ioSafe N2 NAS / RAID Storage Solution Review @ OCIA
- Synology DS713+ NAS @ TechwareLabs
- QNAP TurboNAS TS-221 NAS Server @ NikKTech
- Infortrend EonNAS Pro 510 Review @ TechwareLabs
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 7, 2013 - 06:24 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: E3, E3 13, thief, Thief 4
The pre-expo press conferences are still three days out but only suckers want to get swamped in the press coverage, right? It is like people who leave work two days early to beat the traffic caused by people leaving a day early from a long weekend to beat traffic. This is all like that, if it were directed by Michael Bay.
And speaking of live action E3 movies, Eidos released a trailer for their upcoming Thief reboot. I really cannot tell which sections are in-engine, which are pre-rendered, and which are live action. As for the game? Well, all I know is that you are going to be stealing stuff.
Thief will be coming to the PC, PS4, and Xbox One sometime in 2014.
Let us play a little game here: what do you think is in-engine; what do you think is pre-rendered; and what do you think is live action? Let us know in the comments.
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Shows and Expos | June 7, 2013 - 03:56 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: seasonic, PSU, m12II evo, m12II bronze, haswell, computex 2013, computex
Following Intel's announcement of new Haswell sleep states, various power supply manufacturers have released compatibility lists detailing which PSUs are able to deliver the low load necessary to support the power sipping sleep states on the 12V rail (which has not been much of a concern until Haswell).
One such PSU manufacturer was Seasonic, who has quite a few Haswell-ready power supplies across several lineups including its Platinum, G, and M12II series, among others. Included in that compatibility list were two new power supplies that Seasonic is showing off at Computex this week: the Seasonic Platinum 1200 and Seasonic M12II Bronze Evo Edition.
SeaSonic Platinum 1200
The Platinum 1200 is a high-end modular power supply that is capable of powering beefy multi-GPU setups. It is 80+ Platinum rated and is up to 92% efficient at 50% load.
Sesonic M12II Bronze Evo Edition
The Seasonic M12II Bronze Evo Edition is an updated version on past models and includes two SKUs that come in at 750W and 850W. It is a fully modular unit with flat black cables and fan control tech. It is 80+ Bronze and Energy Star rated, and is compatible with Intel's 4th Generation Core processors.
Also read: The full list of Haswell-compatible Seasonic power supplies @ PC Perspective.
Subject: General Tech | June 7, 2013 - 03:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: arm, 64bit, servers
With Calxeda and Applied Micro showing off ARM64 based servers at Computex this year, in addition to the existing products coming from Marvell and Dell, DigiTimes prediction that 64bit ARM processors will quickly grow in popularity seems to be based in fact. It was not too long ago that many thought that ARM was fooling themselves if they thought they could take server space from AMD and Intel but it looks like they were right to develop server chips. With low power usage becoming more popular than processor overkill and modularity growing in importance ARM seems poised to perform far beyond expectations. Expect to see a lot more new on ARM64 processors and products over the coming months.
"Although Intel platforms are still the mainstream in the server industry, since 64-bit products have a broader range of applications, and ARM has been aggressively promoting related products, sources from the server industry expect more 64-bit ARM-based products to appear in the market between the end of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- One Year After World IPv6 Launch — Are We There Yet? @ Slashdot
- The best and worst of Computex 2013 @ The Inquirer
- YES, Xbox One DOES need internet, DOES restrict game trading @ The Register
- Interview: Steve Jackson, role-playing game titan @ The Register
- Neteller vs Payoneer - Online Payment and Prepaid Cards @ FunkyKit
- How to Install Linux @ Linux.com
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 7, 2013 - 02:33 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: amd, radeon, hd 7970 ghz edition, HD 7970, never settle
AMD just passed me a note that I found to be very interesting. In an obvious response to the release of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 that offers the GK104 GPU (previously only in the GTX 680) for a lower price of $399, AMD wants you to know that at least ONE Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition card is priced lower than the others.
The Sapphire Vapor-XHD 7970 GHz Edition is currently listed on Newegg.com for $419, a cool $30 less than the other HD 7970 GHz Edition cards. This is not a card-wide price drop to $419 though. AMD had this to say:
In late May I noted that we would be working with our partners to improve channel supply of the AMD Radeon™ HD 7970 GHz Edition to North American resellers like Newegg.com. Today I’m mailing to let you know that this process has begun to bear fruit, with the Sapphire Vapor-X HD 7970 GHz Edition now listing for the AMD SEP of $419 US. Of course, this GPU is also eligible for the Never Settle Reloaded AND Level Up programs!
Improving supply is an ongoing process, of course, but we’re pleased with the initial results of our efforts and hope you might pass word to your readers if you get a chance.
This "ongoing process" might mean that we'll see other partners' card sell for this lower price but it also might not. In AMD's defense, our testing proves that in single GPU configurations, the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition does very well compared to the GTX 770, especially at higher resolutions.
I did ask AMD for some more answers in regards to what other partners think about a competitor getting unique treatment with AMD to offer this lower price unit, but I haven't received an answer yet. I'll update here when we do!
For today though, if you are looking for a Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition that also comes with the AMD Never Settle game bundle (Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and Tomb Raider), it's hard to go wrong with that $419 option.
Computex 2013: Gigabyte Preparing Custom GTX Titan With WindForce 450W Cooler... Some Assembly Required
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 7, 2013 - 01:20 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windforce 450w, windforce, gtx titan, gk110, gigabyte
Back in April, Gigabyte showed off its new custom WindForce 450W GPU HSF, but did not name which specific high end graphics cards it would be used with. So far, NVIDIA's highest-end single GPU solution, the GTX Titan, has been off limits for GPU manufacturers as far as putting custom air coolers on the cards (NVIDIA has restricted designs to its reference cooler or factory installed water blocks).
It seems that Gigabyte has found a solution to the cooler restriction, however. The company will be selling a GTX TITAN with model number GV-NTITAN-6GDB later this year that will come with NVIDIA's reference cooler pre-installed along with a bundled WindForce 3X 450W cooler and instructions for switching out the coolers.
Gigabyte Is Showing Off the custom GTX Titan at Computex, as discovered by TechPowerUp.
Users that do take Gigabyte up on its offer to switch to the custom WindForce cooler will still be covered under the company's standard warranty policy, which is a good thing. The kit is likely to be more expensive than your standard TITAN though as Gigabyte is having to sell the card with two coolers and increased support costs. On the other hand, users could swap out the coolers and then sell the unused TITAN reference cooler to offset some of the cost of the kit.
Gigabyte is actually showing off the new graphics card with WindForce 3X 450W cooler at Computex this week. The dual slot WindForce cooler is said to keep a GTX 680 2°C and 23.3 dB quieter than the reference cooler when running the Furmark benchmark suite. The major benefit of the WindForce is having three large fans that can spin at lower RPMs to give you the same cooling performance as the reference NVIDIA design at a much lower noise volume rather than pure cooling performance. Should you be looking to push the TITAN to the extreme, a water block would be your best bet, but for many users i think the allure of a quieter air cooled TITAN may be enough for Gigabyte to snag a few adventurous enthusiasts willing to put up with assembling the new card themselves.
More information on the WindForce 3X 450W cooler can be found here.
Subject: General Tech | June 7, 2013 - 12:29 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Dell's UltraSharp U2413 1920 x 1200 24" IPS claims a 6ms response time which makes it suitable for gaming, as well as offering superior colour support. As it is a new model it supports HDMI, DisplayPort 1.2, DVI-D and mini DisplayPort inputs as well as acting as a 4-port USB 3.0 hub.
- 24" Dell UltraSharp U2413 1920x1200 IPS Monitor (2013 model) for $458.99 with free shipping (normally $599.99 - use BOTH coupon codes $PX1BGTSZ3G635 and W7HWC5Q9S4V6VH ).
- 27" Dell UltraSharp U2713H 2560 x 1440 IPS-panel LCD Monitor (Flagship 2013 Model) w/3-year Advanced Exchange Warranty for $764.99 with free shipping (normally $999.99 - use coupon code RJ6T0D4489P6T3 ).
- Dell Inspiron 15R Special Edition 15.6" Core i5 1080p Laptop w/ 2GB Radeon HD 7730M, Backlit Keyboard for $599.99 with free shipping (normally $899.99 - use coupon code 0R98V3CQ7RPQ40 ).
- 15.6" HP ENVY dv6t-7300 15.6" Quad Edition Core i7 Laptop w/8GB RAM, 750GB Hard Drive, Beats Audio for $599.99 with $9.99 shipping (normally $749.99 - use coupon code NB6382 ).
- Alienware TactX Gaming Keyboard for $67.99 with free shipping (normally $79.99 - use coupon code ZCZ5MMX9JLG01M ).
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | June 6, 2013 - 08:46 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: xbox one, E3 13, E3
So heading up to E3, Microsoft decided to drop their DRM bombshell so it would get buried over the next couple of days. In terms of permissiveness, the Xbox One is not nearly as bad as feared; of course, it is still terrible in certain ways.
Microsoft will allow games to be played offline on the Xbox One... for 24 hours. If your internet connection has been offline for longer than that period (unclear whether the timer starts when internet goes out or from last update) then your system will be locked to live TV and disc-based movies. Games and apps, even ones which should have no online functionality, will cease to function until you reconnect with Xbox servers.
This also means that if the Xbox servers have an outage lasting between 24 hours and "taken offline forever", all gaming and apparently apps will cease to function on the Xbox One.
It's like if Wall-E grew a Freddie Mercury
But at least they will allow some level of used-game transfer... if the publisher agrees. Check out this statement from Microsoft Studios:
In our role as a game publisher, Microsoft Studios will enable you to give your games to friends or trade in your Xbox One games at participating retailers. Third party publishers may opt in or out of supporting game resale and may set up business terms or transfer fees with retailers. Microsoft does not receive any compensation as part of this. In addition, third party publishers can enable you to give games to friends. Loaning or renting games won’t be available at launch, but we are exploring the possibilities with our partners.
So this will be an interesting experiment: how will revenue and profitability be affected for game publishers who deny used game sales? I honestly expect that used game sales actually promote the purchasing of more games and that initiatives to limit used game transfers will reduce user engagement. Of course Microsoft is now taking all of the flak from Sony, who may or may not be considering the same practice, but I am sure at least Microsoft is hoping that everyone will forget this when shiny new trailers erase the collective gamer memory.
In return, however, Microsoft is being fairly permissive when it comes to how many users can be licensed on a single disk. Up to ten family members are allowed access to your collective library.
And, after all, it should not be a surprise that a console game disappears when Microsoft shuts down their servers: consoles were always designed to be disposable. I have been proclaiming that for quite some time. The difference is now, people cannot really deny it.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 6, 2013 - 05:42 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: unreal engine 4, ue4, E3 13, E3, computex
We are bleeding through the overlap between Computex and E3 media windows; this news has a somewhat relevant fit for both. Unreal Engine 4 is coming and I expect we will see one or more demos and UE4-powered titles over the next week. In fact, I would be fairly shocked if we do not see the end of the Elemental Demo with the Xbox One E3 keynote. We may also potentially see Unreal Engine 4 running on mobile devices and maybe even HTML5 at some point throughout the tradeshow, either canonically through Epic or via a licensee product.
This morning, Epic opened the Unreal Engine 4 Integrated Partners Program (IPP). Of course they already have a couple of members, most of which were partners with Unreal Engine 3.
The founding IPP partners are:
Wwise from Audiokinetic
- Manages large databases of sound effects and voice-overs
- Manages subtitles and multiple dubbings of voice clips
Autodesk Gameware from Autodesk
- Contains multiple packages including Beast, Navigation, and Scaleform
- Scaleform is a Flash rendering engine for HUDs, menus, etc. developed using Flash Professional in 2D or 3D. It is what StarCraft II, Mass Effect, and Borderlands uses.
- Beast is a lighting toolkit for global illumination, radiosity, etc.
- Navigation is an AI solver, predominantly for pathfinding.
Simplygon from Donya Labs
- Reduces polygon count of models so they take up less processing resources especially as they get further away from the camera.
Enlighten from Geomerics
- Another Global Illumination solver, most popular usage being Battlefield 3.
SpeedTree for Games from IDV
- Makes a bunch of efficient trees so studios do not need to hire as many minimum wage peons.
Intel Threading Building Blocks (TBB) from Intel
- Helps developers manage C++ threading for multicore systems.
- Deals with memory management and scheduling tasks
morpheme from NaturalMotion
- Animation and physics software for designers to create animations
- Works with NVIDIA PhysX
euphoria from NaturalMotion
- Simulates animations based on driving conditions via the CPU, most popular usage being GTA IV.
PhysX and APEX from NVIDIA
- You probably know this one.
- GPU-based rigid body, soft body, fluid, and cloth solvers.
- Allows for destructible environments and other complex simulations.
Oculus Rift from Oculus VR
- You probably also know this one, especially if you keep up with our Video Perspectives.
- Head-mounted display with motion tracking for VR.
Bink Video from Rad Game Tools
- ... is not included! Just kidding, that stuff'll survive a nuclear apocalypse.
- Seriously, check in just about any DirectX or OpenGL game's credits if it includes pre-rendered video cutscenes or video-textures.
- I'll wait here.
- In all seriousness, Rad Game Tools has been licensed in over 15,500 titles. It's been a meme to some extent for game programmers. This should be no surprise.
Telemetry Performance Visualizer from Rad Game Tools
- Allows developers to see graphs of what their hardware is working on over time.
- Helps developers know what benefits the most from optimization.
RealD Developer Kit (RDK) from RealD
- Helps game developers create stereoscopic 3D games.
Umbra 3 from Umbra Software
- Determines what geometry can be seen by the player and what should be unloaded to increase performance.
- Sits between artists and programmers to the former does not need to think about optimization, and the latter does not need to claw their eyes out.
IncrediBuild-XGE from Xoreax
- Apparently farms out tasks to idle PCs on your network.
- I am not sure, but I think it is mostly useful for creating a pre-render farm at a game studio for light-baking and such.
We still have a little while until E3 and so we do not know how E3 will be, but I highly expect to see Unreal Engine 4 be a recurring theme over the next week. Keep coming back to PC Perspective, because you know we have a deep interest in where Epic is headed.
Subject: Processors, Mobile | June 6, 2013 - 04:01 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: computex, computex 2013, Intel, haswell, Ivy Bridge, k900, Lenovo, baytrail, silvermont, ultrabook, acer, aspire s7
Intel had a host of new technologies to show off at Computex this year, starting of course with the Haswell processor launch. Hopefully you have read our review of the Core i7-4770K LGA1150 CPU already but thanks to some video sent our way, we have other interesting bits to share.
Below you will see Intel demonstrating four new products. First is the Acer Aspire S7 using a Haswell dual-core platform playing back 4K content. Next up is an Ivy Bridge tablet that is running completely fanless (passive) thus generating no noise at all while still offering impressive CPU and graphics performance. Intel then pulls a Lenovo K900 Android smartphone out of its pocket powered by the Clovertrail+ enabled Atom Z2580 SoC. Finally, we get a sneak peak at the next-generation of SoC designs with a look at a Silvermont-based Baytrail tablet running at 2560x1440.
Subject: General Tech | June 6, 2013 - 03:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, Chromebook
Don't hold your breath but AMD might be looking to expand their mobile market share by supplying Chromebook OEMs with AMD processors. This would be a big win for AMD who have seen Intel taking their mobile customers but will also be a big win for the consumer as the mobile devices would have better graphics and be available at a lower price. DigiTimes also mentions discussions with Baidu, Tencent and China Mobile about server chips but as of yet there are no firm plans to move into the handset market.
"As the IT market is gradually stepping into a generation filled with mixed platforms, AMD is reportedly planning to join Google's Chromebook supply chain, hoping to penetrate Intel's dominance in the notebook market with better price/performance ratio products, according to market watchers."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Dell says Intel's Xeon turbo boost causes thread synchronisation problems @ The Inquirer
- Calxeda lines up ODM partners for EnergyCore ARM server chips @ The Register
- LSI SandForce Codename Griffin NGFF Ultrabook Version ADATA SSD Piks & Specs @ SSD Review
- WD Executive Summit: Trends in data storage @ Hardware.info
- BlackBerry wants to see rivals' phones with BBM preinstalled @ The Register
- Canon PowerShot Elph 130 IS Review @ TechReviewSource
- ASUS Zenbook Infinity: Hands On with the Most Beautiful Notebook at Computex @ AnandTech
- Computex: Phanteks exposes the Enthoo Luxe to KitGuru
- Class Action Suit Goodies Await Tech Users @ Slashdot
- Fake Mt. Gox Pages Aim To Infect Bitcoin Users @ Slashdot
Subject: General Tech | June 6, 2013 - 01:42 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, haswell, gtx 770, amd, Richland, nvidia, computex, asus, Transformer, 4k
PC Perspective Podcast #254 - 06/06/2013
Join us this week as we discuss the NVIDIA GTX 770, Haswell and Z87 Reviews, AMD Richland APUs and ton of Computex news!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano and Morry Teitelman
Program length: 1:41:16
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
0:56:20 AMD wants you to BE INVINCIBLE
Jeremy: Something I have to test for work
Allyn: Humble Indie Bundle 8
1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
Subject: General Tech | June 6, 2013 - 12:25 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Continuing this weeks theme of monitor deals is the Dell U3014 30" IPS display, an updated version of their long running Ultrasharp 30" series. The specs remain similar to the old U3011 with new connectivity options, a 4-port USB 3.0 hub, DisplayPort 1.2 and mini-DisplayPort 1.2 along with legacy connections. With a $250 instant rebate now is a good time to jump on this deal if you were planning on moving your display up to the big leagues.
- Massive 30" Dell U3014 UltraSharp 2560x1600 LED-backlit IPS LCD Monitor for $1,124.99 with free shipping (normally $1,499.99 - use coupon code RJ6T0D4489P6T3 ).
- 15.6" HP ENVY 15t 4th-gen Core i7 "Haswell" Quad-core Laptop w/8GB RAM, 1TB Hard Drive for $722.94 with $9.99 shipping (use 5% coupon code SVD8492 ).
- Dell XPS 8700 Core i7-4770 3.4GHz "Haswell" Quad-core Desktop w/8GB RAM, Radeon HD 7570 & 23" UltraSharp Monitor for $849.99 with free shipping (normally $1,174.99 - use coupon code 0H9Q3PQ6L3744C ).
- 50" Samsung UN50F5500 1080p 120Hz LED Smart HDTV + $150 Gift Card for $947.99 with free shipping (normally $999.99 without gift card).
- HTC Windows Phone 8X Smartphone 8GB [w/new 2-year AT&T contract] for $0.99 with free shipping (normally $49.99).
- Realspace PRO Quantum Mesh Task Chair for $249.99 with free shipping (normally $329.99 - use coupon code 15894765 ).
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 6, 2013 - 10:31 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: evga, minibox, mini-itx, gtx titan, gk110, gaming, computex, computex 2013
First shown off at CES 2013, the EVGA Minibox is a small form factor chassis for Mini-ITX systems that can accommodate large graphics cards. EVGA has managed to enable users to pack a lot of hardware into this tiny form factor chassis. As a demonstration of the case's capabilities, the company showed off the latest version using a full system build with Core i7-4770K and GTX TITAN interals at Computex this week in Taipei.
The Minibox chassis itself is a dark brushed metal case with two USB 3.0 ports on the front IO and space for a slot loading optical drive. The MiniBox chassis further features a motherboard tray that supports Mini-ITX boards, two 2.5" SATA hard drive bays – and best of all – enough room to install full size GPUs. In order to support lengthy graphics cards, EVGA is including a small form factor 500W power supply that is mounted on the floor of the case..
HEXUS reporters spot the EVGA Minibox at Computex 2013. Look how small it is!
There will be at least two SKUs of the Minibox, depending on whether you want to go with air or water cooling. According to Bit-Tech.net, the air cooled version will use two 92mm fans in the top of the case and one 80mm fan for the bottom-mounted PSU. The water cooled SKU will be slightly larger but have enough room for a water cooling radiator (likely 240mm). Beyond that, details are scarce, but the air cooled version is said to be available as soon as next month with water cooled options becoming available later this year.
The Minibox looks to be one of the better Mini-ITX cases out there (although the price is still unknown), and should be popular among enthusiasts wanting a small box that does not sacrifice gaming potential.
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 6, 2013 - 03:29 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: computex, Windows 8.1, windows blue
Jensen Harris, member of the Windows User Experience (UX) team at Microsoft, performed a video walk-through of the new Windows interface. Of course, as I always say when discussing Windows 8, the real problems will arise with the Windows Store and certification requirements; interface problems annoy, censorship problems harm.
But, disclaimer aside, the interface of Windows 8.1 seems much more useable.
First and foremost is the Lock Screen. People enjoy digital photo frames and a locked tablet certainly looks more classy than any other that I have seen. It will collage photos together, stored locally and shared from a phone or Skydrive over wireless, with a thin font date and time. Combined with a decent resolution IPS display, that could be an interesting way to encourage users to leave their device on its charger. Not to mention, the frame would continually synchronize with Skydrive and thus receive new photos without end-user interaction; it is useful, for instance, for the family of an elderly person who wants to keep in touch but actively rejects technology.
The All Apps screen lists all applications installed on screen. This allows users to take a little weight off of the Start Screen and, instead of using it as a launcher, use the All Apps screen as a launcher and use the Start Screen as a nexus of important information. If you wish to use the Start Screen as a launcher, similar to pinned icons for Windows 7, you will have more choice in icon size to either fit more apps or give tiles with relevant information more space.
Screen splitting was pretty horrendous in Windows 8. An application could either be in full screen, be a sidebar app, or take up the room not taken by a sidebar app. If you have multiple monitors, bringing up the Start Screen would shuffle everything around pretty much ensuring that you do not have more than a couple of apps focused at any given time. Windows 8.1 allows you to split apps directly down the middle and, if you have a large display, allow you to fit three or four applications on screen at once.
Unfortunately, and I contacted Paul Thurrott last week to confirm I was up to date, there does not seem to be any multiple monitor enhancements in Windows 8.1. If you have want to punch through your second display because of applications from the Windows Store, keep using the desktop.
Or, if you wish to try it out for yourself, Windows 8.1 will be available for public preview on June 26th.
Not Computex 2013: StarCraft II is changing. Free to play (with friends) and potential new Steam-like Battle.net
Subject: General Tech | June 6, 2013 - 02:40 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Starcraft II, HoTS
Big news for fans of Blizzard titles, as if we did not have enough news items. While the majority of this news pertains to fans of StarCraft II, Diablo and Warcraft players should pay attention. You have more to digest than the crumbs Kerrigan let fall to the ground.
The first news is most relevant if you have not yet played StarCraft II yet have a friend or friends who keeps nagging you to play with him, her, or them. A new feature, called "Spawning", allows Battle.net accounts to piggyback on the expansion level of party members. Actually, they even encourage it with XP boosts and a custom CarBot-illustrated achievement. This will also upgrade the free StarCraft: Starter Edition in a party with a Wings of Liberty or Heart of the Swarm owner to whatever expansion level is highest in the party. Starter can be promoted to Wings of Liberty or Heart of the Swarm, and Wings of Liberty can be promoted to Heart of the Swarm until the party breaks up.
The only restriction that I feel is worth mentioning: you, still, are only able to select the Starter Edition race (currently Terran) if you only have a Starter Edition account.
Of course there are other restrictions. You are unable to play the campaign, for instance. But, for the most part, the rest seem quite logical. This might also have some indirect relevance beyond Starcraft. If successful, I can see Blizzard implementing Spawning into their other franchises such as Diablo. Of course, this is just speculation of what might be at this point.
The other story comes from mmo-champion who posted screenshots of a unified Battle.net launcher. I was immediately suspicious, but after checking out the linked Battle.net Support Pages I am more convinced. The launcher looks quite a bit like Steam and that is really the only way to describe it. Each page is laid over a faded background image and players can choose from one of over a hundred avatars.
We then of course enter into the question, "Why would Blizzard spend so much effort for their handful of games?"
Who knows... yet, at least.
Subject: Memory | June 5, 2013 - 09:17 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: kingston, haswell
Fountain Valley, CA -- (June 5, 2013)-- Kingston Technology Company, Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, today announced a series of Intel® XMP-validated HyperX® memory solutions for the ‘Haswell’ 4th generation Core™ i7, i5 and i3 processors and Z87 chipset-based platforms.
Kingston® has HyperX memory in frequencies ranging from 1600MHz to 2666MHz, in various kits of two and four. The complete list of HyperX XMP-validated memory can be found here. More information on Kingston’s offerings for this new platform can be found here. HyperX memory is backed by a lifetime warranty and free technical support.
Kingston is celebrating 25 years in the memory industry. The company was founded on October 17, 1987, and has grown to become the largest third-party memory manufacturer in the world. The 25th anniversary video can be found here along with more information, including a timeline of Kingston's history. In addition, HyperX memory is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The first HyperX high-performance memory module was released in November 2002.
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 5, 2013 - 08:58 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: computex, thunderbolt, Thunderbolt 2, Light Peak
We received Thunderbolt, on the PC at least, a year ago. While not yet ubiquitous, we will be receiving an update to the interface sooner than you would expect. The main advantages of Thunderbolt is the ridiculous bandwidth and ability to daisy-chain with displays. Thunderbolt 2 looks to advance both of those features.
Thunderbolt is based around a PCI Express signal for data and DisplayPort for video, both combined down a single cable. The cable, in fact, is compatible with Mini DisplayPort adapters and devices if used exclusively for video. The upgrade to Thunderbolt 2 advances the video standard to DisplayPort 1.2; as a result, Thunderbolt 2 devices will be capable of driving a 4K monitor (supposedly with sound) without requiring multiple cables to be connected.
In terms of strict bandwidth, Thunderbolt 2 will provide double the data rate of the original Thunderbolt. Instead of 10Gbps, new devices will be able to transfer at 20Gbps. This is especially useful for video content creators looking to manage, in real time, 4K or 120Hz data transferring between cameras and video gear. Struggling with large video capture bandwidth is something we know about...
As expected, there is not really any talk about specific prices yet (I would expect that depends on implementation) but you should look forward to it landing either really late this year or early next year. As for the original Thunderbolt? Well, the new standard is backwards compatible but there is concern whether new devices would be fairly crippled without the new standard.
Subject: Processors | June 5, 2013 - 04:25 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: VLIW4, trinity, Richland, piledriver, fm2, APU, amd, a10, 6800K, 6700
Richland is here, in the form of the A10-6800K with a 4.1GHz base clock and 4.4GHz Turbo clock, support for DDR3-2133 and an improved GPU called the 8670D with 384 shaders and a 844MHz clock speed ... all for $142! Computationally you can compare it to a Core i3 or a slower Core i5 but graphically this CPU is head and shoulders above the competition as you can see in X-Bit Labs' testing. You really need to keep the price in mind, as it may not provide as much power as a Core-i5 it costs about half as much which can mean a lot to someone on a tight budget, especially when they can skip purchasing a discrete GPU altogether.
Make sure to check out Josh's reivew where he contrasts the last few generations of AMD chips.
"AMD decided to refresh their Socket FM2 platform and release a new generation of hybrid processors for it based on Richland design. This is exactly the one that earned the “Elite Performance APU Platform” title in the mobile segment."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- AMD Elite A-Series A10-6800K APU (Socket FM2) @ techPowerUp
- AMD A10-6800K & A10-6700 APU Review @ Neoseeker
- AMD A10-6800K and A10-6700 Richland APU Reviews @ Legit Reviews
- AMD A10-6800K & A10-6700 Richland APU Review @ OCC
- AMD A10-6800K / A10-6700 @ Hardware.info
- AMD A10-6800K and 6700 A-Series "Richland" Processor Review @ HiTech Legion
- AMD A10-6800K APU Richland Processor @ Benchmark Reviews
- AMD Richland APU - Release Day Coverage @ Overclockers.com
- AMD Richland Desktop Review; A10-6800K & A10-6700 Benchmarked @ Hardware Canucks
- AMD A10-6800K and A4-4000 Richland APU @ TechSpot
- Intel Core i7-4770K @ Legion Hardware
- Choosing a Gaming CPU at 1440p: Adding in Haswell @ AnandTech
- Intel Core i7-4770K CPU Review. Intel Haswell for Desktops: Ruin of Our Hopes? @ X-bit Labs