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Subject: Processors | November 21, 2014 - 04:08 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: quad core, pentium, gaming, far cry 4, dual-core, dragon age inquisition, cpus, budget, athlon
A new report covering dual-core woes with Far Cry 4 paints a "bleak future" for budget gamers.
Image credit: Polygon
For a while now the dual-core Pentium processors have been a great option for budget gaming, with the Pentium G3220 and newer G3258 Anniversary Edition taking center stage in a number of budget gaming builds. Today, we may be nearing the end of the road for dual-core CPUs entirely as a couple of high-profile games now require a quad-core CPU.
Is the anniversary really...over?
Far Cry 4 won't even open with a dual-core CPU installed, and while the game will load when using dual-core CPU's with hyper-threading enabled (for 4 total "cores") the performance isn't very good. PC World's article points to users "reporting that Far Cry 4 flat-out refuses to work with 'straight' dual-core PCs - chips that don’t use hyperthreading to 'fake' having additional cores." The article references a "black-screen 'failure to launch' bug" being reported by users with these dual-core chips.
This should come as good news for AMD, who has embraced quad-core designs throughout their lineup, including very affordable offerings in the budget space.
Image credit: AMD
AMD offers very good gaming performance with a part like the Athlon X4 760K, which matched the Pentium G3220 in our budget gaming shootout and was neck and neck with the Pentium in our $550 1080p gaming PC article back in April. And the Athlon 760K is now selling for just under $77, close to the current best-selling $70 Pentium.
Ubisoft has made no secret of their new game's hefty system requirements, with an Intel Core i5-750 or AMD Phenom II X4 955 listed as the minimum CPUs supported. Another high-profile new release, Dragon Age: Inquisition, also requires a quad core CPU and cannot be played on dual-core machines.
Image credit: Origin
Looks like the budget gaming landscape is changing. AMD’s position looks very good unless Intel chooses to challenge the under $80 price segment with some true quad-core parts (and their current 4-core CPUs start at more than twice that amount).
Subject: General Tech | November 21, 2014 - 01:55 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gladius, ASUS ROG, gaming mouse
ASUS has tried something new with their Gladius mouse, detachable USB cables and swappable switches. The mouse ships with a 2 meter braided cable and a 1 meter rubber cable which uas a standard microUSB connector to connect to the mouse, theoretically allowing a wide variety of other possible cabling choices. As well the switches for the top and side buttons are also changeable, you can replace them with a variety of Omron D2F and D3FC Series switches if you so desire. This is definitely aimed at games, the mouse supports 2000Hz USB polling rates and the Pixart 3988 optical sensor has a 6400dpi resolution. Read Benchmark Reviews article here to see what they thought of this mouse that should fit most right hands.
"The ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) line of products is no stranger to gaming peripherals, however recently, ASUS has turned to it’s newer product line, Strix, to release most of it’s gaming oriented products. This made the release of the ASUS ROG Gladius mouse confusing at first, but after realizing that this is ASUS’ premium mouse option it only made sense to put it in ASUS’ most prominent line of products. In this article, Benchmark Reviews takes a look at the ASUS ROG Gladius Gaming Mouse."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- ASUS Strix Claw gaming mouse and Strix Glide Speed mat @ eTeknix
- Cooler Master Mizar Gaming Mouse Review @ OCC
- Zowie FK1 gaming mouse @ Kitguru
- Aorus Thunder M7 MMO Gaming Mouse Review @ Modders-Inc
- GAMDIAS Aegis Multi-Function Gaming Set @ eTeknix
- Tesoro Tizona Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ OCC
Subject: General Tech | November 21, 2014 - 01:53 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: unreal engine 4, game jam
Update 3: Day 3 is live. Clearly not going to be done before the Game Jam, but it sounds like this should be a regular thing that I do.
Update 2: Day 1 is starting just after 2 PM EST (~10-15 minutes from now). Stream is up. Link in first update.
Update: Live in less than five! Join me at Twitch.tv/ScottMichaud
It is all for fun, right?
Last week, the official Unreal Engine Twitter account tweeted about an online game jam being held, which starts this Friday (November 21st) at midnight and ends just 72 hours later. In that time, participants will attempt to create a full video game. All art, music, code, and so forth must be created in that short window. Existing engines, libraries, and utilties are allowed though, and they are actively encouraged with several license of Unreal Engine 4, Unity Pro, Clickteam Fusion, and GameMaker: Studio being provided to contestants. There are no prizes, except that the top ten, highest-voted entries will be featured in a PewDiePie YouTube video. He is the host of this game jam.
The theme of this game jam is, “Fun to play and fun to watch”. Funny is a bonus.
Oh why not? I have an idea for a quick-ish Unreal Engine 4-based game. While expectations should be kept low, I will enter the jam and I intend to stream the whole development process live on Twitch. Whether or not I am successful, I hope that it will be fun and entertaining for everyone involved. Drop in! Talk in the chat room! Say your opinion! Give suggestions! Embrace exclamation points!
I am not, by any metric, a professional game developer, but it should be a good weekend!
Barring technical issues, the stream will start at around 11:55 PM on Thursday, November 20th, 2014. I will probably work for a few hours that night outlining the concepts and creating assets. I hope you will attend! (Details will be available before the event both here and on Twitter).
Subject: General Tech | November 21, 2014 - 12:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
The Tech Report have put together a collection of what they have found to be the most interesting mobile devices you can get your hands on for yourself or to give to others. With the new Broadwell based Core-M available they've recommended a few convertible laptops for your gifting needs in addition to more traditional style laptops including a very inexpensive Bay Trail powered model. If you would rather a device which is neither fish nor fowl then their four tablet recommendations which includes NVIDIA's Shield or the recommended phablets would intrigue you more than a convertible laptop. In keeping with their tradition, no one is recommended to injure themselves or others with the purchase of a Chromebook thanks to the continued draconian limitations on application support on these ChromeOS powered devices.
"Quite a lot has changed since we spun off the mobile section of the TR System Guide into our first mobile staff picks. In just five months, we've seen the arrival of the Core M, Android 5.0, iOS 8.0, and a fresh batch of Nexus hardware and iDevices. All of this calls for a new edition."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop @ The Register
- DerpTrolling hacker group leaks thousands of PSN, Windows Live log-ins @ The Inquirer
- Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP @ The Register
- Asus RT-AC87U 4×4 (Bridge Mode) @ Kitguru
- As Insomnia i53 kicks off explore its origins with Craig Fletcher: KitGuru TV
Subject: General Tech | November 20, 2014 - 10:10 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: yahoo, mozilla, google, firefox
Mozilla, developer of the Firefox web browser, has been mostly funded by Google for the last decade. Between 2005 and 2011, the search giant slowly ramped up its contributions from around $50 million USD for a single year to just over $100 million for the last year. All of this money was to keep the default search engine set to Google for the location and search bar. At that time, journalists were voicing their concerns that Mozilla would be cut off after the success Google saw with their Chrome browser.
In December 2011, Google and Mozilla surprised the world with a different announcement, $300 million dollars per year until November 2014, or almost three times their previous annual contributions. I could not help but feel it was like a light bulb that flares before it extinguishes, although later rumors claimed that Microsoft and Yahoo drove up Google's bid with high counter-offers. Of course, that deal ends this month and Google is no longer the winning bid, if they even proposed a deal at all.
This time, Yahoo won for the next five years (in the US) with a currently undisclosed sum. Yandex will be the default for Russia, and Baidu has been renewed as the default in China.
Yahoo also committed to supporting the Do Not Track (DNT) header for Firefox browsers. If your settings have DNT enabled, the search engine will adjust its behavior to acknowledge your request for privacy. One thing that has not been mentioned is how they will react to your request. This could be anything from treating you as completely anonymous, to personalizing your search results but not your ads, to personalizing your ads but not your search results, to only looking at the geographic location of your IP address, and so forth.
The search experience is not what you will get by going to the Yahoo homepage today; the new site was developed in collaboration with Mozilla and will launch for Firefox users in December. It will go live for every other Yahoo user in 2015.
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 20, 2014 - 07:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: sli, NVIDA, GTX 970
The contestants are lined up in [H]ard|OCP's test bench, at around $700 you have a pair of GTX 970's and in the same weight class are a pair of R9 290X cards, next weighing in at just under $550 are two R9 290s, and rounding out the completion are a pair of GTX 780's who punch somewhere between $800 to $1000 depending on when you look. The cards are tested for their ability to perform on a 4K stage as well as in the larger 5760x1200 multi-monitor event. After a long and gruelling battle the extra work the 290X put into trimming its self down and fitting into a lower weight class has proven to be well worth the effort as they managed to show up the 970's in every performance category although certainly not in power efficiency. Any of these pairings will be powerful but none can match a pair of GTX 980's who are also in a price class all by themselves.
"We take 2-Way NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 SLI for a spin and compare it to R9 290X CF, R9 290 CF, GTX 780 SLI at 4K resolution as well as NV Surround on a triple-display setup. If you want to see how all these video cards compare in these different display configurations we've got just the thing. Find out what $700 SLI gets you."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 AMP! Extreme Edition @ Bjorn3d
- MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G Review @ OCC
- Gigabyte GTX 970 WindForce 3X @ HardwareOverclock
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 SLI Overclocked @ [H]ard|OCP
- MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4G @ Bjorn3D
- Raijintek Morpheus VGA Cooler Review @ Hardware Asylum
- AMD Radeon Gallium3D Is Catching Up & Sometimes Beating Catalyst On Linux @ Phoronix
Subject: General Tech | November 20, 2014 - 03:23 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nexus 9, nokia n1, lollipop
Sticking with the Lollipop theme of today is a comparison of two large tablets which will be competing for the same market, both powered by the 64 bit version of Lollipop. They are both fairly large, the Nokia N1 is 201 x 139 x 6.1mm (7.9 x 5.4 x 0.25") and a weight of 318g, the Nexus 9 is 228x154x7.9mm (9 x 6 x 0.3") at a weight of 425g. Both of the tablets have IPS displays with a resolution of 1536 x 2048, obviously the smaller Nokia has a slightly higher pixel density. It is when you examine the internals that the differences really start, Nokia has gone with a quad-core 2.3GHz Atom Z3580 while the Nexus is powered by a dual-core 2.3GHz Tegra K1. The Nokia is the tablet of choice for those who take selfies as the front facing camera is 5MP though both have an 8 megapixel camera on the back. The Nexus will likely last longer on the run with a 6,700mAh battery compared to Nokia's 5,300mAh battery. The Inquirer has not had a chance to run benchmarks but there is one final statistic worth noting, the Nexus 9 is to retail for $400 while the N1 is planned to sell for about $250.
"MICROSOFT-FREE Nokia unveiled the Lollipop-powered Nokia N1 tablet this week, which looks to steal buyers away from Google's Nexus 9 with its stock Android 5.0 software, 64-bit Intel chip and fully aluminium design."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- PHONDLESLAB-ULOUS: Motorola Moto X Android phablet @ The Register
- Nexus 6 @ The Inquirer
- ThL 5000 Smartphone Review @ Madshrimps
- Diamond USB 3.0/2.0 to HDMI/DVI Mini Ultra Dock Review @ OCC
- LUXA2 PL3 10400mAh Leather Power Bank Review @ NikKTech
- Best iPhone 6 Cases @ The Inquirer
- Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000 @ The Inquirer
Subject: General Tech | November 20, 2014 - 02:40 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, msi, am3+, windows 10, Inateck, corsair, Neutron XT, nvidia, mfaa, shield, grid, gigabyte, raptr, Dell 4K
PC Perspective Podcast #327 - 11/20/2014
Join us this week as we discuss NVIDIA MFAA, Corsair's Neutron XT SSD, New Dell 4K Monitors
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, and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:33:45
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Ryan: ProClip for your car
Subject: Processors | November 20, 2014 - 01:31 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: amd, APU, carrizo, Carrizo-L, Kaveri, Excavator, Steamroller, SoC, Intel, mobile
AMD has certainly gone about doing things in a slightly different manner than we are used to. Today they announced their two latest APUs which will begin shipping in the first half of 2015. These APUs are running at AMD and are being validated as we speak. AMD did not release many details on these products, but what we do know is pretty interesting.
Carrizo is based on the latest iteration of AMD’s CPU technology. Excavator is the codename for these latest CPU cores, and they promise to be smaller and more efficient than the previous Steamroller core which powers the latest Kaveri based APUs. Carrizo-L is the lower power variant which will be based on the Puma+ core. The current Beema APU is based on the Puma architecture.
Roadmaps show that the Carrizo APUs will be 28 nm products, presumably fabricated by GLOBALFOUNDRIES. Many were hoping that AMD would make the jump to 20 nm with this generation of products, but that does not seem to be the case. This is not surprising due to the limitations of that particular process when dealing with large designs that require a lot of current. AMD will likely be pushing for 16 nm FinFET for the generation of products after Carrizo.
The big Carrizo supposedly has a next generation GCN unit. My guess here is that it will use the same design as we saw with the R9 285. That particular product is a next generation unit that has improved efficiency. AMD did not release how many GCN cores will be present in Carizzo, but it will be very similar to what we see now with Kaveri. Carrizo-L will use the same GCN units as the previous generation Beema based products.
I believe AMD has spent a lot more time hand tuning Excavator instead of relying on a lot of automated place and route. This should allow them to retain much of the performance of the part, all the while cutting down on transistor count dramatically. Some rumors that I have seen point to each Excavator module being 40% smaller than Steamroller. I am not entirely sure they have achieved that type of improvement, but more hand layout does typically mean greater efficiency and less waste. The downside to hand layout is that it is extremely time and manpower intensive. Intel can afford this type of design while AMD has to rely more on automated place and route.
Carrizo will be the first HSA 1.0 compliant SOC. It is in fact an SOC as it integrates the southbridge functions that previously had been handled by external chips like the A88X that supports the current Kaveri desktop APUs. Carrizo and Carrizo-L will also share the same infrastructure. This means that motherboards that these APUs will be soldered onto are interchangeable. One motherboard from the partner OEMs will be able to address multiple markets that will see products range from 4 watts TDP up to 35 watts.
Finally, both APUs feature the security processor that allows them access to the ARM TrustZone technology. This is a very small ARM processor that handles the secure boot partition and handles the security requests. This puts AMD on par with Intel and their secure computing solution (vPro).
These products will be aimed only at the mobile market. So far AMD has not announced Carrizo for the desktop market, but when they do I would imagine that they will hit a max TDP of around 65 watts. AMD claims that Carrizo is one of the biggest jumps for them in terms of power efficiency. A lot of different pieces of technology have all come together with this product to make them more competitive with Intel and their process advantage. Time will tell if this is the case, but for now AMD is staying relevant and pushing their product releases so that they are more consistently ontime.
Subject: General Tech | November 20, 2014 - 01:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: google, lollipop, google play, shield
As you have no doubt heard, Android 5.0 aka Lollipop has been released, with NVIDIA's Shield picking it up immediately and most users having no issues whatsoever. Nexus devices have also started to download and install it although that process is not going as smoothly as The Inquirer reports that many users are finding their devices almost unusable after they installed the new OS. We shall see over the coming days if that is a rare occurrence or if the problems are widespread. There was also an update to Chrome which brings stable 64bit performance to Apple users and some changes to the way bookmarks are handled in the beta version as well as numerous bugs which were found and bounty was paid on. There are even more updates to Google Play, maps, wallet and other products which you can catch up on at The Inquirer.
"YEE-HAW AND HOWDY pardners. In the week when it began to rain Lollipops in earnest, it's time to hit the trail for the Google Round-Up."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Finally light bulb's Tesla tech gives LEDs a worthy rival @ The Tech Report
- AMD's Carrizo APUs look to boost laptop and all-in-one performance @ The Inquirer
- A Raspberry Pi in a Game Boy Advance SP @ Hack a Day
- Asustek hosts event to showcase cloud computing, IoT solutions @ DigiTimes
- How SanDisk is Becoming an Open Source Player @ Linux.com
- Commentary: Who will win in race for Apple A9 chip orders? @ DigiTimes
- Sailfish OS tablet is GO: Fans stuff cash into Jolla's cap in hand @ The Register
Subject: Displays | November 20, 2014 - 10:50 AM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: TN, Samsung, nvidia, monitor, ips, g-sync, freesync, amd
We have been teased for the past few months about when we would see the first implementations of AMD’s FreeSync technology, but now we finally have some concrete news about who will actually be producing these products.
Samsung has announced that they will be introducing the world’s first FreeSync enabled Ultra HD monitors. The first models to include this feature will be the updated UD590 and the new UE850. These will be introduced to the market in March of 2015. The current UD590 monitor is a 28” unit with 3845x2160 resolution with up to 1 billion colors. This looks to be one of those advanced TN panels that are selling from $500 to $900, depending on the model.
AMD had promised some hand’s on time for journalists by the end of this year, and shipping products in the first half of next year. It seems that Samsung is the first to jump on the wagon. We would imagine that others will be offering the technology. In theory this technology offers many of the same benefits of NVIDIA’s G-SYNC, but it does not require the same level of hardware. I can imagine that we will be seeing some interesting comparisons next year with shipping hardware and how Free-Sync stacks up to G-SYNC.
Joe Chan, Vice President of Samsung Electronics Southeast Asia Headquarters commented, “We are very pleased to adopt AMD FreeSync technology to our 2015 Samsung Electronics Visual Display division’s UHD monitor roadmap, which fully supports open standards. With this technology, we believe users including gamers will be able to enjoy their videos and games to be played with smoother frame display without stuttering or tearing on their monitors.”
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | November 19, 2014 - 07:36 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: x86, restructure, mobile, Intel
Last month, Josh wrote about Intel's Q3 earnings report. The company brought in $14.55 billion USD, of which they could keep $3.31 billion. Their PC group is responsible for $9 billion of that revenue and $4.12 billion of that profit, according to the Wall Street Journal. On the other hand, their mobile division is responsible for about $1 million – and it took over a billion to get that million. This has been the trend for quite some time now, as Intel pushes their square battering ram into the mobile and tablet round hole. Of course, these efforts could benefit the company as a whole, but they cannot show that in a quarterly, per-division report.
And so we hear rumors that Intel intends to combine their mobile and PC divisions, which Chuck Mulloy, an Intel spokesperson, later confirmed in the same article. The new division, allegedly called the “Client Computing” group in an internal email that was leaked to the Wall Street Journal, will handle the processors for mobile devices but, apparently, not the wireless modem chipsets; those will allegedly be moved to a “wireless platform research and development organization”.
At face value, this move should allow Intel to push for mobile even more aggressively, while simultaneously reducing the pressure from investors to give up and settle for x86 PCs. Despite some differences, this echos a recent reorganization by AMD, where they paired-up divisions that were doing well with divisions that were struggling to make a few average divisions that were each treading water, at least on paper.
The reorganization is expected to complete by the end of Q1 2015, but that might not be a firm deadline.
Subject: Displays | November 19, 2014 - 07:31 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: monitor, ips monitor, display, dell, 4k
Dell has released two new 4K monitors, and according to a story published by The Tech Report these are using IPS panels.
The new models are available on Dell's site priced starting at $599, which puts them into what had been TN territory just a few months ago. The original report came from TFT Central, which claimed to have leaked information about new 4K monitors from Dell with 60Hz IPS panels. Dell released the leaked model numbers at just $599 and $699 for the 24-inch and 27-inch versions, respectively.
Updated: Dell's website specifies that these are in fact IPS in the full tech specs rundown for each panel. I surmised that these could potentially be a VA or other panel type as well, as of course IPS is not the only display technology capable of wide viewing angles.
The monitors arrive factory-calibrated to 99% sRGB color (according to Dell's product pages) and feature tilt, swivel, and rotation, so they could be a great option where the full 178° viewing angle is preferred over the existing TN-based 4K offerings.
Subject: General Tech | November 19, 2014 - 02:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: warhammer fantasy, mordheim, gaming, skaven, goat mmo simulator
For those not familiar with Warhammer Fantasy tabletop games and fluff it is difficult to explain why this is so exciting, those of us who have are having a similar reaction to the one at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN. If you have been deprived of this gaming experience then picture it instead as a decaying city which holds a prize called the wyrdstone for the warband which is capable of defeating all comers and laying claim to the ... well something you actually don't want to play with but definitely do not want anyone else to have. The gameplay trailer below shows off their take on animated turn based gameplay, movement, actions and attacks use up dots from your action pool but the actual cost of movement is displayed as concentric circles which use up an action point each time you cross one, which is a friendly way to allow players to determine where they want to position their characters. Positioning is very important as you will see in the video; handguns are great but not when you are face to face with a Daemon. As with Blood Bowl and other reincarnations of Games Workshop tabletops, injuries are permanent and determined at the end of the round, your warrior may recover from being put out of action but they may be missing some body parts the next time you call them to battle.
If you can't wait for early access to yet another unreleased game then there is something awesome arriving for you tomorrow, assuming you are awesome enough to already own Goat Simulator! Goat MMO Simulator is a part of patch 1.2 which is released tomorrow, far more awesome that other non-simulated MMOs recently release since you can level your goat, or microwave with legs, all the way to Level 101! Check out Coffee Stain Studio's latest trailer, they have a flair for putting them together.
"Mordheim: City of the Damned is a squad-based tactical combat game set in the Warhammer Fantasy universe, in which an injured unit might return to the titular chaos-infected city with a pegleg. It’s entering Early Access this month and I can’t wait to get my hands on it."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Far Cry 4 REVIEW: It's a far cry from Far Cry 3 @ The Register
- Wot I Think: This War Of Mine @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Wot I Think: Valkyria Chronicles @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Elite: Dangerous single-player offline mode officially ditched @ HEXUS
- EA announces Battlefield 4: Final Stand DLC release date @ HEXUS
- Comedy And Tragedy: I Read Readme Files @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | November 19, 2014 - 12:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Novec, mineral oil, liquid cooling, Iceotope, 3M, PetaGen
It has been over a year since we last heard from Iceotope and their total immersion cooling system for servers but they have finally hit the market with the PetaGen liquid cooling system. Using 3M's inert liquid which is branded Novec and after working with Intel to ensure the system can handle high end processors they are ready to launch a series of cabinets and products to sell to data centers, or at least ones with heavily reinforced flooring. The weight could be a drawback for their sales people, not only are false floors going to be unfeasible there is a good chance the density of a totally immersed server will require serious support to resist the lure of gravity. The investment could be worth it, their original claims seem to have been accurate and their system can reduce the cost of cooling your servers from about 50% of your operating cost down to 2%. More attractive for some is that the waste heat is dumped into water which can heat to around 45C, enough to be recycled for building heating and other purposes to further lower a businesses operating costs. Drop by The Inquirer for a bit of the history and more information on the company that is making mineral oil obsolete.
"BRITISH SERVER COOLING FIRM Iceotope has developed a cooling system in partnership with Intel designed for high performance computing and supercomputing."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Richard Huddy discusses AMD Mantle V Nvidia CUDA @ Kitguru
- Cries of spies as audit group finds possible 'backdoor' in Bittorrent Sync @ The Register
- Microsoft Azure Outage Across the Globe @ Slashdot
- Microsoft issues emergency patch for bug affecting all versions of Windows @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft ending support for Windows Server 2003 expected to drive replacement of servers, say Taiwan makers @ DigiTimes
- Extreme Repair of an All-in-One PC @ Hack a Day
Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 18, 2014 - 02:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: SFF, mini-itx, micro-atx, corsair, carbide series air 240
Corsair's new Air 240 is a decent choice for a high end Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX system as it is 15.6" x 10.2" x 12.6" (397 x 260 x 320 mm ) which is enough to squeeze in a larger sized GPU although not deep enough for most high end air coolers. A self contained LCS is not a bad idea as the case ships with three 120mm fans and can fit another three 120mm fans and a pair of 80mm fans for air coolers, or up to a 240mm radiator instead if that is your preference. The drive cages are all tool-less and strategically placed to give you more room for other components, it will be a tight squeeze for your hands while installing your system. The Tech Report were impressed with the case and while it did lack some extra features like a fan controller it is worth the impressively low price, currently $90.
"The Carbide Series Air 240 is a small-form-factor case with an interesting dual-chamber design. We loaded it up with our Casewarmer system and took it for a spin."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- In Win D-Frame Mini - Mini-ITX @ [H]ard|OCP
- be quiet! Silent Base 800 @ techPowerUp
- be quiet! Silent Base 800 Chassis @ Kitguru
- Fractal Design Core 3300 Review @ OCC
- Elegance in Aluminum – Lian Li PC-A61 Chassis Review @ Techgage
- Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV @ Benchmark Reviews
- Aerocool Xpredator Cube Case @ Kitguru
- Antec P100 @ techPowerUp
- Deepcool Gamer Storm Maelstrom 120 @ techPowerUp
- Thermalright Macho Rev.B CPU Cooler Review @ NikKTech
- Xigmatek Gaia II CPU Cooler @ eTeknix
Subject: Motherboards | November 18, 2014 - 01:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, Rampage V Extreme, X99, ASUS ROG
The Rampage V Extreme is the new high end X99 board in ASUS' Republic of Gamers series and carries a very high price. The list of extras that are included are impressive, ranging from T-Topology to minimize electrical crosstalk to an ASUS OC socket and LN2 mode as well as physical extras such as the ROG OC panel which allows you to adjust voltages and frequencies via manual controls as well as adjusting fan speeds and other system variables. The output options are very impressive, a dozen SATA ports and two SATA Express ports, ten USB 3.0 ports, 3 WiFi antenna connections as well as optical audio output and gold plated mini-stereo jacks for use with the SupremeFX 8 channel audio codec. [H]ard|OCP takes you on a tour of this incredible board, the overclocking software and more in their latest motherboard review.
"The Rampage V Extreme needs no introduction. It is the flagship of the ASUS Republic of Gamers aka ROG product line. If the pattern of previous Rampage motherboards holds it should be one of the best motherboards money can buy. Is the new ROG crown jewel still worthy of the crown at its $475 price point?"
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- ASUS X99-A @ Benchmark Reviews
- ASRock X99 Extreme11 @ Kitguru
- Gigabyte X99-UD4 @ Kitguru
- ASUS Maximus VII Hero mainboard @ HardwareOverclock
- Biostar Hi-Fi Z97Z7 Motherboard Review @ Modders-Inc
- ASUS Z97-PRO LGA1150 @ Silent PC Review
- MSI Z97 Gaming 9 AC Motherboard Review @ Techgage
- ASUS Crossblade Ranger (FM2+) @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | November 18, 2014 - 12:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, tablet, smartphone
Intel's smartphone and tablet divisions are being rolled up under Kirk Skaugen's PC Business division in what was described as an attempt to "accelerate Intel's opportunity in the marketplace". This is definitely needed as Intel is having great difficulties garnering market share in the mobile industry, the only successes they have had are with larger more expensive tablets. One possible benefit of this merger that was mentioned in the Inquirer's article was Intel's plans to leverage the growing use of LTE in both tablets and laptops, perhaps we shall see a 4G card become far more common in even basic models. Intel implied that they are not planning any layoffs at this point although unless their ultramobile division can pick up the pace it seems inevitable that some will feel the axe. We shall see over the coming year if Intel's focus on low powered silicon can help in their battles against incumbents such as ARM and Qualcomm.
"INTEL HAS ANNOUNCED plans to merge its smartphone and tablet operations with its PC division in a bid to make the two businesses more efficient, and to further compete with rivals in the mobile semiconductor market."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- A first taste of Lollipop on Nvidia's Shield Tablet @ The Tech Report
- The optic NERVE of it: Intel declares WAR on InfiniBand @ The Register
- Lenovo unveils a water-cooled dual-socket Intel Xeon E5 server @ The Inquirer
- Asustek said to be adopting Qualcomm solution for new ZenFone; looking for price cut from Intel @ DigiTimes
Subject: Mobile | November 18, 2014 - 10:40 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: tegra, shield tablet, shield, nvidia, grid
In December of last year we took NVIDIA's GRID technology through some testing and discussed our experiences in text and video. At that point you were able to play 8 specific games under the guise of a beta program. The experience was pretty good and a definite improvement over my first attempt at streaming games (OnLive). Here is what I wrote last year:
Overall my experience with the first beta of GRID was very positive including both latency and image quality. Yes, there were definitely times when we got a lot of macro-blocking due to bandwidth hiccups, but they were infrequent. You could tell pretty much anytime there was motion on the screen that you were watching a video rather than native gameplay, but I think the effect is much less apparent now than it was when I first tried services like OnLive.
Input latency is also definitely seen, and was most evident in my testing with Street Fighter IV. You can even see some of it in our video embedded on this post. That is something that NVIDIA claims to have really optimized for with their integrated H.264 encoding on the server GPUs, but getting more servers in more locations will help tremendously moving forward.
Today, along with the official roll out of the Android 5.0 Lollipop software update for the SHIELD Tablet, the NVIDIA GRID service goes into official release. What exactly that means is up in the air, as the service is still set to be free to all SHIELD and SHIELD Tablet users through June 2015. What I can tell you is that the quality of the experience has been improved and the game selection has expanded quite a bit, with more to come.
Setup of GRID is much easier now, as long as you have the appropriate hardware to get GRID service up and running. That means a SHIELD Portable or SHIELD Tablet with SHIELD Controller. These are the items that stand out beyond that:
- Internet connection with at least a 10 Mbps download speed
- Home network with 60 ms or less ping time to a GRID server
- NVIDIA GameStream-ready 5 GHz Wi-Fi router
I have asked for the location of the GRID servers geographically, as that will definitely be a factor in your ability to get the appropriate 60 ms or lower ping time. (UPDATE: NVIDIA tells me that the current locations are Oregon and Virginia.) The list of compatible routers has been growing over the last year as well including some from Netgear, D-Link, Buffalo and ASUS. If you don't already have one of these routers, you can still TRY to use the GRID service but it won't be officially supported by NVIDIA.
LEGO Batman 2
The games available to play on NVIDIA GRID has expanded as well.
- Alan Wake's American Nightmare
- Batman: Arkham Asylum
- Batman: Arkham City
- Borderlands 2
- Brutal Legend
- Darksiders 2
- Dead Island
- Dirt 2
- LEGO Batman 2
- LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
- Race Driver GRID
- Strike Suit Zero
- Saints Row: The Third
- Street Fighter X Tekken
- The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
- Trine 2
- Ultra Street Fighter IV
There are some great titles in here including Borderlands, Saint's Row, The Witcher 2, the Batman games, etc. and if you haven't played them before then getting access to them for free is awesome. Even better, NVIDIA has committed to adding one new game each week between now and June of next year. NVIDIA upgraded the login / account system to move away from being associated solely with the device and instead uses your Google account login information to register save data.
In terms of game quality and gaming experience, I would say that GRID continues to improve. I spent some time with DiRT 2, LEGO Batman 2, Street Fighter IV and The Witcher 2 and in all cases the games looked great, with very little macro-blocking or stutter. We tested on both our office connection (1.0 Gbps fiber) and my home connection (30 Mbps cable) and the results were pretty much the same.
For those concerned with latency of input, there is definitely still some there, most apparent in fighting game like Street Fighter IV. With Borderlands and Borderlands 2 being the only FPS games in the collection, you could likely assume that the twich-style actions of these types of shooters would be most affected. Titles like Street Fighter IV and DiRT 2, for those of us that don't consider ourselves experts, can be adjusted to; you can make your mind compensate for the added input differences of playing games locally.
With the SHIELD Tablet, another possible use for GRID is to play these streaming games on your TV. The tablet itself has an HDMI output and is capable of outputting 1080p to your big screen. With the SHIELD Controller you can get a true couch gaming experience with GRID; I am looking forward to showing this to my niece and nephews over the Thanksgiving holiday and getting some reactions and feedback.
The Witcher 2
The other big news today is the release of SHIELD Tablet software update 2.0 that includes Android 5.0 and Lollipop, updates for the new GRID release and an updated NVIDIA Dabbler V2.0 program. We'll have more thoughts on that software update very soon but you can get more details on the upgrades Lollipop provides for NVIDIA's tablet right here.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 17, 2014 - 03:12 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: thermaltake, ToughPower 1200W Gold, kilowatt, modular psu
The Thermaltake Toughpower 1200W Gold is an almost fully modular PSU built by Enhance which runs about $200 though [H]ard|OCP has linked to a rather nice deal on the PSU at NewEgg right now. The PSU is for high end builds, the eight PCIe 6+2 connectors are backed by a single 12V rail capable of providing 100A, in other words every bit of power the PSU can offer. The overall impression that [H] had of this PSU once the testing was completed was that it was good, but not amazing. It did not fall short on performance but at the same time did not stand out in the crowd, if you can get this PSU on special it is certainly worth adding to your short list especially if you are sensitive to noise. It is not the most quiet kilowatt class PSU they have tested but the 135mm fan keeps the decibels reasonable.
For a completely different high end PSU, make sure to check out Lee's review of the fully modular High Power Astro GD 1200W.
"Thermaltake has traditionally shined when it comes to computer power supplies in excess of 1000 watts. But in the past these power supplies have often been very costly. Today we cover Thermaltake's new 1200 watt power supply that is currently selling for $139 after $30 MIR. Is it worth your hard earned dollars?"
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web: