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Today Western Digital launched their new 5mm 2.5" Blue. This model will only come in 500GB. Capacity options are limited presumably due to a single 500GB platter, which is about all you can fit into a housing that's only 5mm thick.
The drive launches at an MSRP of $89.00, but don't rush out to buy one just yet. The new drive will require a purpose-built installation, as it uses a new SFF-8784 edge connector to receive data and power from the host system. You're basically going to need a laptop that has a bay designed for just this drive, which may take a while.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | April 22, 2013 - 06:16 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Kickstarter, oculus rift, Virtuix Omni
Even if you no-one watches you game, this device would probably be difficult to store in a closet.
Team Fortress 2 is a fun game and one of the first with support for the Oculus Rift VR headset. But why stop there? The Omni is an omnidirectional treadmill which allows users to move within the device and have that motion translate into computer input. This means that running, strafing, and apparently jumping in your containing vessel will control a videogame character.
How the heck they expect to Scout double-jump? Beats me.
The company is currently in preparation for a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign. Under the assumption that no trickery is going on, this could be a leap forward for VR.
Perhaps a small-business arcade might like to get a few gaming PCs set up? To me, it sounds like an interesting novelty previously reserved for theme parks and traveling mall demonstrations. If it works as planned, it might even be a better technology.
Still no word on price or predicted availability, but I expect that will come soon.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Displays | April 22, 2013 - 05:34 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: LG, ips, hack
Operators are standing by...
Of course Apple is not a primary manufacturer of LCD panels; like everyone else, they buy their panels from someone like LG. Due to how much Apple loves IPS technology, which I cannot blame them for, they in fact do purchase their displays from LG.
If you have an itchy soldering iron, so can you.
According to EmertHacks, the LG part number for retina iPad screens is LP097QX1-SPA1. The blog post states that he could find the panel for as cheap as $55, but my own digging game up with costs between $60 and $200 plus shipping. These panels are mostly destined to iPad repair shops, but you can give it a better home.
With under $20 of other parts, this panel could be attached to a DisplayPort connection. All said and done, you could have a 2048x1536 9.7" display with an 800:1 static contrast ratio for about $70.
Subject: General Tech | April 22, 2013 - 02:04 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: opteron, history, get off my lawn, amd, 64-bit
AMD64 arrived a decade ago with the launch of the first Opteron processor in April of 2003, back in the days when NVIDIA made motherboards and ATI was a separate company. In those days AMD looked like serious competition for Intel as they were out innovating Intel and competing for Big Blue's niche markets as they were first to cross the GHz line and the first to offer a 64bit architecture on a commercially available platform. At that point Intel actually licensed AMD64, re-branded it as x86-64 and used it on their Xeon processor line, a huge victory for AMD. Unfortunately there was not much in the way of consumer software capable of taking advantage of 64-bit architecture and unfortunately remains so to this day, apart from peoples ability to benefit from the enlarged RAM pool allowed. Take a walk down memory lane at The Inquirer, and remember the good old days when AMD was prospering.
"A DECADE AGO AMD released the first Opteron processor and with it the first 64-bit x86 processor."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel pushing adaptive all-in-one PCs with new components @ DigiTimes
- ASUS PCE-AC66 review: 802.11ac via PCIe @ Hardware.info
- Garmin nuvi 2597LMT Review @ TechReviewSource
- The TR Podcast 132: BioShock, bundles and big SSDs
Subject: General Tech | April 22, 2013 - 01:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
How does 500GB of bandwidth saturating SSD for a mere $0.65/GB sound to you? The Samsung 840; yes, the non-Pro version which will have little to no effect on observable performance, is a mere $325 from LogicBuy today. Since it is the 500GB model you not only experience increased speed over smaller model, you actually have a large pool of available storage without a sceond HDD. Your desktop or laptop will love you for this!
Deal Description: Samsung 840 Series 500GB SATA 6Gb/s 2.5" SSD
BuyDig offers Samsung 840 Series 500GB SATA 6Gb/s 7mm 2.5" SSD (MZ-7TD500BW) for $324.99 ($0.65/GB) with free shipping. You save over $125.00 from retail list price.
Today Western Digital launched a new line of Hard Disk Drives. The Xe is very similar to their VelociRaptor, with the same 2.5"-3.5" heat sink adapter plate. The primary difference, however, is these units feature Dual Port SAS connectivity.
The new drives feature a 5-year warranty and will come in 300, 600, and 900GB capacities. With SAS HDD's becoming scarce lately, there is a definite gap developing in existing legacy SAS systems. We're glad to see a lower power SAS-connected 10,000 RPM offering to help bridge that gap.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems | April 20, 2013 - 07:36 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows, start button, Metro
The latest rumors, based on registry digging and off-the-record testimony, claims that Windows 8.1 will including the option of booting directly into the desktop. A bold claim such as this requires some due diligence. Comically, the attempts to confirm this rumor has unearthed another: the start button, but not necessarily the start menu, could return. On the record, Microsoft also wants to be more open to customer feedback. Despite these recent insights into the future of Windows, all's quiet with the worst aspect of modernization.
Mary Jo Foley, contributor to ZDNet and very reliable bullcrap filter for Microsoft rumors, learned from a reliable source that the Start Button might have a place in the modern Windows. Quite the catch while fishing to validate a different rumor; she was originally investigating whether Microsoft would consider allowing users to boot direct to desktop via recently unearthed registry keys. Allegedly both are being planned for at least some SKUs of Windows 8.1, namely the Professional and Enterprise editions.
But, as usual for Microsoft, the source emphasized, "Until it ships, anything can change." No-one was clear about the Start Button from a functional standpoint: would it be bound to display the Start Screen? Would it be something more?
Personally, I liked the modern Windows interface. Sure, it is messed up on the modern-side when it comes to multiple monitor support, but that can easily be fixed. As you will note, I am still actively boycotting everything beyond Windows 7 and this news will not change my mind. We are bickering over interface elements when the real concern is the deprecation of user control. Outside of the desktop: the only applications you can use are from the Windows Store or Windows Update; the only websites you can browse are ones which Internet Explorer can render; and the only administrator is Microsoft.
Imagine if Microsoft is told by a government that its citizens are not allowed encryption applications.
The Windows Store is clearly modeled by, and about as messed up as, the Xbox Marketplace. Even if your application gets certified, would Microsoft eventually determine that certification fees should be the burden of the developer? That is how it is on the Xbox with each patch demanding a price tag of about $40,000 after the first-one-free promotion. That would be pretty hard to swallow for an open-source application or a cute game that a teenage woman makes for her significant other as a Valentine's gift.
Microsoft's current Chief Financial Officer, Peter Klein, stated in his third quarter earnings release that Windows Blue, "Further advances the vision of Windows 8 as well as responds to customer feedback." Despite how abrupt this change would seem, the recent twitchy nature should not come as a surprise; Microsoft has had a tendency to completely change course on products for quite some time now. Mary Jo mentioned how Microsoft changed course on UAC but even that is a bad example; a better one is how Microsoft changed from its initial assertions that Windows 8 Developer Preview would not be shaped by customer feedback.
A lot has changed between Developer Preview and RTM.
Then again, we can hope that Microsoft associates this pain with love for the desktop. I would be comfortable with the modern Windows if we were given a guarantee that desktop x86 applications would forever be supported. I might even reconsider using and developing applications if they allow loading uncertified metro-style applications and commit to never removing that functionality.
I can get used to a new method of accessing my applications. I can never get used to a middle-man who only says "no". If Microsoft is all ears, I hope we make this point loud and clear.
Subject: Storage | April 19, 2013 - 07:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: sshd, Seagate, Hybrid Drive, 500gb
We have seen many hybrid drives come and go, most of which only benefited desktop users who were accessing certain files often enough that they were cached on the flash memory. Seagate has introduced a new iteration of the SSHD specifically for laptops, uniting 500GB of 5400 RPM platter based storage with 8GB of MLC NAND and a 64MB cache which [H]ard|OCP recently benchmarked. They didn't forget desktop users as they released 1TB and 2TB models at 7200 RPM but it is the laptop version which is perhaps more interesting as not many models allow the installation of a second drive like desktops do. The testing results were mixed, with several obvious benefits interspersed with odd performance changes after multiple runs, however the small price differential between a standard HDD and a SSHD might just convince you to pick up this new breed of hybrid drive.
"Seagate has introduced the next generation of Solid State Hybrid Drives, commonly referred to as "SSHD." These drives use a small amount of MLC NAND to accelerate the performance of a 5400 RPM spinning disk. Today we test the mobile version against other available SSD caching solutions."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Crucial's M500 SSD @ The Tech Report
- SuperSSpeed S301 Hyper Gold SLC Enterprise SSD @ Tweaktown
- Consumer (Samsung and OCZ) vs. Enterprise (SMART Optimus) SSD Performance Analysis @ SSD Review
- Hardware.Info tests lifespan of Samsung SSD 840 250GB TLC SSD
- Kingston SSDNow V300 240GB SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- ADATA XPG SX900 128GB with SandForce B02 controller SSD @ Tweaktown
- SMART Storage Systems CloudSpeed 500 Enterprise SSD @ Tweaktown
- Samsung SM843 Enterprise SSD Review (240GB) @ SSD Review
- Plextor M5M (256GB) mSATA @ AnandTech
- Samsung PM841 512GB mSATA SSD @ SSD Review
- Intel 525 120GB mSATA SSD @ Hardware.info
- Thermaltake BlacX Duet 5G USB 3.0 Docking Station @ Tweaktown
- Seagate Backup Plus 1 TB Portable Hard Disk Drive @ TechARP
- ADATA DashDrive Elite UE700 USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ Pro-Clockers
- ICY DOCK MB662U3-2S Dual Bay USB 3.0 RAID Enclosure @ Tweaktown
- Icy Dock ICYRaid MB662U3-2S Dual-HDD Enclosure Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Infortrend EonNAS Pro 510 @ Legion Hardware
- Asustor AS 602T @ Kitguru
- QNAP TS879-Pro 8-Bay NAS @ eTeknix
- Thecus N7510 7-Bay NAS @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | April 19, 2013 - 05:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: sales, workstation
The Tech Report put up an editorial which discusses the recent reports on the shrinkage of PC sales and point out that it is not necessarily Personal Computer sales which are slowing but only the workstation sales. You may feel that a PC is a desktop and only a desktop but the market has changed to the point where a watch can qualify as a personal computer and your smartphone definitely does. The term post-PC may be applicable but at the same time limiting your definition of a PC to a desktop and possibly laptops is not as accurate as it once was. The term workstation is accurate for those of us who actually do work which requires the power of a multicore system with dedicated daughterboards, but the vast majority of users do not need the power of a full system. Enthusiasts and professionals will always need the power of a full workstation but perhaps it is time to realize we may be in the minority, which is why sales of traditional workstations have declined. Ask makers of ARM devices if their sales are declining; the main stream market is shifting to devices that many of us would not consider a "real PC".
"PC shipments suffered their greatest decline ever last quarter, in spite of Windows 8 and all those tablet-notebook hybrids. Some say there's no hope, but I disagree. Because the PC is booming—just not the PC we know."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Google smashes analyst expectations with 31 percent revenue climb @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft CFO quits as quarterly results fail to sparkle @ The Register
- AMD posts mediocre numbers, cites 'difficult market environment' @ The Register
- Cupertino funk, part II: No joy in iVille @ The Tech Report
- Java 8 Delayed To Fix Security @ Slashdot
- Rosewill Ultra-Slim HDMI RedMere Cable Review @ Legit Reviews
- Intel Chipset Codenames Cross-Reference Table @ Hardware Secrets
- Bad Microsoft patch trapped you in a boot loop? Here's your fix @ The Register
- Win Tt eSPORTS Gaming Gear @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | April 19, 2013 - 03:03 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Today's special is a 29", 2560 x 1080 IPS LED backlit LCD with an HDCP compliant Dual-link DVI, DisplayPort 1.2, Mini DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI, and D-Sub inputs as well as USB 3.0 and audio. It claims an 8ms response time and from the TFTCentral testing it lives up to the hype and is capable of gaming with little to no ghosting whatsoever. Free shipping and a 3 year warranty is also something that makes this deal even more attractive.
Deal Description: Dell UltraSharp U2913WM panoramic 29" 2560 x 1080 LED-backlit LCD Monitor
Dell Home is offering 29-inch UltraSharp U2913WM 2560 x 1080 LED-backlit LCD Monitor for $539.99 with FREE shipping. Use $100 instant savings and extra 10% coupon code: ?K0N8$SDH1ZF0P to get final price. Backed by 3-year Advanced Exchange Warranty and Premium Panel Guarantee.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 19, 2013 - 02:51 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: raja koduri, apple, amd
Interesting information has surfaced today about the addition of a new executive at AMD. Raja Koduri, who previously worked for ATI and AMD as Chief Technology Officer, departed the company in 2009 for a four year stint at Apple, helping to turn that company into an SoC power house. Developing its own processors has enabled Apple to stand apart from the competition in many mobile spaces and Koduri is partly responsible for the technological shift at Apple.
Starting on Monday though, Raja Koduri is officially back at AMD, taking over as the CVP (Corporate Vice President) of Visual Computing. This position will result in more complete control over the entirety of the hardware and software platforms AMD is developing including desktop discrete, mobile and APU/SoC designs. This marks the second major returning visionary executive in recent memory to AMD, the first of which was Jim Keller in August of 2012 (also returning from a period with Apple).
It will take some time for Koduri to have effect on AMD's current roadmap
Having known Raja Koduri for quite a long time I have always seen the man as an incredibly intelligent engineer that was able to find strengths in designs that others could not. Much of the success of the ATI/AMD GPU divisions during the 2000s was due to Koduri's leadership (among others of course) and I think having him back at AMD at an even more senior role is great news for both discrete graphics fans and APU users.
In a discussion with Koduri recently, Anandtech got some positive feedback for PC gamers:
Raja believes there’s likely another 15 years ahead of us for good work in high-end discrete graphics, so we’ll continue to see AMD focus on that part of the market.
Koduri sees 15 years more GPU evolution
So even though this hiring isn't going to change AMD's position on the APU and SoC strategy, it is good to have someone at the CVP level that sees the importance and value of discrete, high power GPU technology.
In many talks with AMD over the last 6 months we kept hearing about the healthy influx of quality personnel though much of it was still under wraps. Keller was definitely one of them and Koduri is another and both of the hires give a lot of hope for AMD as a company going forward. Some in the industry have already written AMD off but I find it hard to believe that this caliber of executive would return to a sinking ship.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 19, 2013 - 08:46 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: nzxt, case fan, fan controller, fan hub, cooling, grid
NZXT has announced that it is making its Grid fan hub available to the masses. No longer only available with certain NZXT cases, the Grid fan hub takes a single Molex power cable and provides 3-pin power outputs for up to ten fans.
The NZXT kit will come with the Grid hub, a 200mm long Molex power adapter, a single 200mm long (3-pin) female-to-female adapter cable, and two 200mm (3-pin) fan extension cables. NZXT is also including five black cable ties to assist with cable management.
Unfortunately, the Grid does not provide functionality to allow adjustable fan speeds. All fans connected to the Grid hub will run at 100% unless other means (such as resistors) are used inline to slow them down. If you only care for speed, and are in a situation where your motherboard does not support enough fan headers but you cannot justify a full fan controller the Grid might be for you. For the price, it is serviceable in that regard.
Speaking of pricing, the Grid fan hub will be available soon with a MSRP of $11.99. More information is available on NZXT's product page.
Is the Grid something that you could see yourself using?
Subject: Cases and Cooling | April 19, 2013 - 07:03 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: PC-Q28, PC-Q27, mini-itx, Lian Li, aluminum case
PC Chassis manufacturer Lian-Li has launched two new mini-ITX cases that will be available next month. The PC-Q27 and PC-Q28 are both brushed aluminum cases that accommodate a single graphics card, a mini-ITX motherboard, at least one case fan, and several hard drives.
The PC-Q27 is the smallest of the two cases at 7.8” x 11.8” x 9.4.” The case is constructed of aluminum and the outside features a black or silver brushed aluminum finish. The front of the case features a single 5.25” optical drive bay, a LED-lit power button, and two USB 3.0 ports on the right side of the case. Internally, the PC-Q27 case uses Lian-Li’s rail motherboard mounting system for mini-ITX boards. It can host a single graphics card up to 195mm in length, two 3.5” hard drives, and one 5.25” drive. The case is cooled by a single 120mm bottom-mounted fan when the hard disk drive bay is removed. To facilitate airflow, the case has vents along the bottom and rear of the case. The case is held up by case feet to allow the fan to pull in cool air.
Meanwhile, the PC-Q28 is a bit larger and wider at 8.9” x 12” x 13.5.” IT also comes in a silver or black brushed aluminum design. This case is the successor to Lian-Li’s PC-Q18. It can hold a mini-ITX motherboard, a single GPU up to 290mm in length, and up to seven 3.5” hard drives. The mini-ITX case features two removable hard drive cages and two fans. There is a single 140mm fan located on the bottom of the case that acts as an intake (and includes a dust filter to keep the case internals clean), and one 120mm exhaust fan on the top of the case. The outside of the case features four case feet to lift the case off the ground, rounded corners, and a simple front panel that host a power button and 5.25” drive bay. The right side of the case hosts two USB 3.0 ports and two analog HD audio jacks.
Both of Lian-Li’s new mini-ITX cases will be available sometime in May. The smaller PC-Q27 has an MSRP of $78.99 while the PC-Q28 will cost $118.99.
Read more about the Mini-ITX form factor at PC Perspective!
Subject: Storage | April 19, 2013 - 06:10 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: trim, ssd, sandforce 2281, sandforce, ROG, raidr, raid, PCIe SSD, asus
ASUS is reportedly adding two new PCI-E Solid State Drives (SSD) to its Republic Of Gamers lineup. Dubbed RAIDR, the new PCI-E SSDs use 19nm Toshiba MLC NAND flash driven by two SandForce 2281 controllers. In turn, the two SandForce drives are put into a hardware RAID 0 configuration for maximum speed. The RAIDR SSD internals are encased in a stylized EMI shield along with a ROG-branded back-plate. In all, ASUS’ RAIDR SSDs measure 157 x 120 x 20mm.
The ASUS RAIDR drives show up as a single disk driven by a standard AHCI controller, which allows the two RAID 0 SSDs connected via the PCI-E bus to be boot-able and support the TRIM command. Both RAIDR solid state drives also support Native Command Queuing (NCQ), SMART, Secure Erase, Windows 8 Secure Boot.
According to specifications provided by Sweclockers, ASUS is launching 120GB and 240GB versions of the PCI-E SSDs. Both capacities feature 100,000 IOPS, 128-bit AES encryption, and 620,000 MTBF ratings.
The 120GB RAIDR SSD supports up to 765MB/s sequential reads and 775MB/s sequential write speeds. On the other hand, the 240GB RAIDR drive supports up to 830MB/s sequential reads and 810MB/s sequential writes.
Additionally, ASUS is bundling its RAIDR drives with Kaspersky Antivirus 2013 and a number of ASUS utilities (including SSD TweakIt). The drives should be available sometime next month, but pricing is still unknown. Adding PCI-E SSDs is an interesting move by ASUS that should help the company diversify and expand its ROG branding. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing how the drives stack up when they are released (and hopefully a PC Perspective review)!
Subject: General Tech | April 19, 2013 - 04:15 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: metro: last light, gaming, deep silver
Metro: Last Light is nearing completion, with an expected release date of May 17th for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. Developer Deep Silver – famous (or perhaps infamous) for the STALKER game series – has taken over the project from THQ.
According to Bit-Tech, publisher 4K Games has announced the game’s system requirements. It seems that Metro: Last Light will continue the system-punishing trend that its Metro: 2033 predecessor started. In order to play the game with all the eye candy, gamers will reportedly need at least a NVIDIA GTX 690 or GTX Titan video card. Notably absent from the requirements list is an AMD equivalent, but the AMD Radeon HD 7990 would be the closest match.
The Optimum system requirements represent PC that will be able to crank up all the details. At least a quad core CPU clocked at 3.4GHz, 8GB of RAM, a GTX 690 (or GTX Titan), and Windows 7 or higher is recommended.
The Recommended system requirements suggests hardware used to play the game with most details turned on and at at least 1920 x 1080 resolution. 4K Games recommends at least a 2.6GHz quad core processor, 4GB of RAM, and a DirectX 11 compatible GPU equivalent to at least a NVIDIA GTX 580, GTX 660 Ti, or AMD HD 7870.
Interestingly, even the minimum system requirements are pretty steep compared to other modern titles. A computer running the 32-bit version of Windows XP or higher is needed along with at least a 2.2GHz dual core CPU, 2GB of system RAM, and a DirectX 9 Shader Model 3 compatible video card such as the NVIDIA GTS 250 or AMD HD 4000-series.
The suggested system requirements (especially the optimum level) are impressive, and do suggest that Metro: Last Light is a game that will take full advantage of PC hardware. (I am curious to see whether the system requirements are mostly due to graphical prowess or code optimization issues though. In other words, I hope that the game is more-stable than the STALKER series.)
One thing is for sure: my unlocked AMD 6950 is looking rather dated in light of the new Metro: Last Light specifications!
Subject: Systems | April 19, 2013 - 03:56 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: servers, project moonshot, microserver, hp, arm, Applied Micro Circuits, 64-bit
A recent press release from AppliedMicro (Applied Micro Circuits Corporation) announced that the company’s X-Gene server on a chip technology would be used in an upcoming HP Project Moonshot server.
An HP Moonshot server (expect the X-Gene version to be at least slightly different).
The X-Gene is a 64-bit ARM SoC that combines ARM processing cores with networking and storage offload engines as well as a high-speed interconnect networking fabric. AppliedMicro designed the chip to provide ARM-powered servers that will reportedly reduce the Total Cost of Ownership of running webservers in a data center by reducing upfront hardware and ongoing electrical costs.
The X-Gene chips that will appear in HP’s Project Moonshot servers feature a SoC with eight AppliedMicro-designed 64-bit ARMv8 cores clocked at 2.4GHz, four ARM Cortex A5 cores for running the Software Defined Network (SDN) controller, and support for storage IO, PCI-E IO, and integrated Ethernet (four 10Gb Ethernet links). The X-Gene chips are located on card-like daughter cards that slot into a carrier board that has networking fabric to connect all the X-Gene cards (and the SoCs on those cards). Currently, servers using X-Gene SoCs require a hardware switch to connect all of the X-Gene cards in a rack. However, the next-generation 28nm X-Gene chips will eliminate the need for a rack-level hardware switch as well as featuring 100Gb networking links).
The X-Gene chips in HP Project Moonshot will use relatively little power compared to Xeon-based solutions. AppliedMicro has stated that eh X-Gene chips will be at least two-times as power efficient, but has not officially release power consumption numbers for the X-Gene chips under load. However, at idle the X-Gene SoCs will use as little as 500mW and 300mW of power at idle and standby (sleep mode) respectively. The 64-bit quad issue, Out of Order Execution chips are some of the most-powerful ARM processors to date, though they will soon be joined by ARM’s own 64-bit design(s). I think the X-Gene chips are intriquing, and I am excited to see how well they fare in the data center environment running server applications. ARM has handily taken over the mobile space, but it is still relatively new in the server world. Even so, the 64-bit ARM chips by AppliedMicro (X-Gene) and others are the first step towards ARM being a viable option for servers.
According to AppliedMicro, HP Project Moonshot servers with X-Gene SoCs will be available later this year. You can find the press blast below.
Subject: General Tech | April 19, 2013 - 12:06 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows blue, windows 8, windows, microsoft, leaked build
A new build of Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8.1 (also known as “Windows Blue”) operating system has leaked to the Internet. Build 9369 is the build in question, and it adds quite a few new features to the Start Screen.
My Windows 8 Start Screen.
The new Windows 8.1 build features further integration with the company’s SkyDrive cloud storage service as well as new applications and synching options. The new SkyDrive integration includes the ability to save files to SkyDrive by default, as well as a new “Files” application on the Start Screen (Metro, Modern UI, whatever-it’s-called-this week interface) that allows users to browse local and SkyDrive files in a Windows Explorer-like fashion without leaving the Start Screen.
Microsoft has also tweaked the Start Screen search function to allow users to begin typing on the Start Screen and get search results on the right-hand side of the display without leaving the Start Screen icons. Personally, I would have liked to see Microsoft revamp the Start Screen search to show all results by default and let me filter afterwards rather than only showing applications by default and letting me remove the filter by clicking a button. It should be the other way around in my opinion, but I suppose the current changes so far are still positive ones (even if they are not the changes I was hoping for).
Build 9369 also adds new sync-able settings that includes synching mouse, Start Screen, and file explorer settings across your Windows PCs. Microsoft has also added a click-able button to the Start Screen that allows non-touchscreen users to easily bring up the Apps List. Once viewing the list of all installed applications, the build allows users to sort the apps by name, install date, or by the frequency of use.
Microsoft has also made a multitude of smaller tweaks to existing functionality. You can find a full list of changes and a video walk-through of the new build over at WinBeta. Windows 8.1 is shaping up to be a better operating system, though it remains to be seen whether or not it is worth paying a subscription price for.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Displays | April 18, 2013 - 08:52 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, seiki, se50UY04, hdtv, hdmi 1.4, displays, 4k, 3840x2160
This just in! We have a 4K TV in the PC Perspective Offices!
While we are still working on the ability to test graphics card performance at this resolution with our Frame Rating capture system, we decided to do a live stream earlier today as we unboxed, almost dropped and then eventually configured our new 4K TV.
The TV in question? A brand new SEIKI SE50UY04 50-in 3840x2160 ready display. Haven't heard of it? Neither have we. I picked it up over the weekend from TigerDirect for $1299, though it actually a bit higher now at $1499.
The TV itself is pretty unassuming and other than looking for the 4K label on the box you'd be hard pressed to discern it from other displays. It DID come with a blue, braided UHD-ready HDMI cable, so there's that.
One point worth noting is that the stand on the TV is pretty flimsy; there was definitely wobble after installation and setup.
Connecting the TV to our test system was pretty easy - only a single HDMI cable was required and the GeForce GTX 680s in SLI we happened to have on our test bed recognized it as a 3840x2160 capable display. Keep in mind that you are limited to a refresh rate of 30 Hz though due to current limitations of HDMI 1.4. The desktop was clear and sharper and if you like screen real estate...this has it.
The first thing we wanted to try was some 4K video playback and we tried YouTube videos, some downloaded clips we found scattered across the Internet and a couple of specific examples I had been saving. Isn't that puppy cute? It was by far the best picture I had seen on a TV that close up - no other way to say it.
We did have issues with video playback in some cases due to high bit rates. In one case we had a YUV uncompressed file that was hitting our SSD so hard on read speeds that we saw choppiness. H.265 save us!
And of course we demoed some games as well - Battlefield 3, Crysis 3, Skyrim and Tomb Raider. Each was able to run at 3840x2160 without any complaints or INI hacks. They all looked BEAUTIFUL when in a still position but we did notice some flickering on the TV that might be the result of the 120 Hz interpolation and possibly the "dynamic luminance control" feature that SEIKI has.
We'll definitely test some more on this in the coming days to see if we can find a solution as I know many PC gamers are going to be excited about the possibility of using this as a gaming display! We are working on a collection of benchmarks on some of the higher end graphics solutions like the GeForce TITAN, GTX 680s, HD 7990 and HD 7970s!
If you want to check out the full experience of our unboxing and first testing, check out the full live stream archived below!!
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 18, 2013 - 04:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, HD 7850 DirectCU II
With a custom cooler, 1 DP port, 2 DVI-I connectors, and 1 HDMI connector and only requiring a single PCIe 6 pin power connector the ASUS 7850 DirectCU II is a great blend of efficiency and flexibility for those looking for a card which costs around $200. On the other hand if you have no plans to overclock the card, the GTX660 which [H]ard|OCP compared this card to is slightly more powerful, costs the same and is a better choice for those who are planning on running dual GPUs. Check out the overclocked performance of this HD7850 in the full review.
"ASUS has refreshed its AMD Radeon HD 7850 DirectCU II video card with DirectCU and DIGI+ VRM with Super Alloy Power, poised to give you a robust video card with an improved overclocking experience. We will see whether this new revision brings new value to the Radeon HD 7850 GPU and we will compare it to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- PowerColor Radeon HD 7850 PCS+ Review @ OCC
- Asus Radeon HD 7790 DirectCU II OC 1GB @ eTeknix
- XFX Radeon HD 7790 Black Edition OC 1GB @ eTeknix
- XFX R7790 Black Edition OC @ LanOC Reviews
- Club3D Radeon HD 7790 13Series 1GB @ eTeknix
- GIGABYTE Radeon HD 7790 1GB & NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 2GB Review @ Techgage
- ASUS Radeon HD 7790 DirectCU II OC Overclocked @ Tweaktown
- 23 AMD Radeon HD 7870 / 7950 and Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 / 660 Ti graphics card round-up @ Hardware.info
- AMD Radeon Gallium3D More Competitive With Catalyst On Linux @ Phoronix
- Diamond BizView 750 @ LanOC Reviews
- History of the GPU, Part 3: The Nvidia vs. ATI era begins @ Techspot
- History of the Modern Graphics Processor, Part 4: The GPGPU era arrives @ TechSpot
- iXBT Labs Review: i3DSpeed, March 2013
- ASUS GTX670 DirectCU Mini OC @ Hardware.info
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost Roundup @ Hardware Canucks
- GTX 650 Ti Boost SLI @ LanOC Reviews
- Palit GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB OC @ Tweaktown
- ZOTAC GeForce GTX 650 TI Boost Edition @ Modders-Inc
- EVGA GTX 650 Ti Boost SC 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- MSI GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 2GB Twin Frozr Edition Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- MSI GTX 650Ti Boost Video Card Review @ Ninjalane
- Gainward GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost GS Dual & GTX 660 GS Dual @ Legion Hardware
Subject: Editorial | April 18, 2013 - 01:55 PM | Scott Michaud
So, news which might excite our readers: we are going to try reviewing video games.
Of course, the first thing which needs to be addressed when reviewing games is our grading system. Games, in particular, are a very artful medium and as such it does not entirely make sense to quantize its qualities.
The simple answer is, we will not.
Step back and consider how we review hardware: we run some benchmarks, we discuss the features in often numbing detail, and we assign an award-badge to the product according to our opinion. A hardware could receive no merit; it could receive a bronze, silver, or gold medal; finally, the truly extraordinary products will receive an Editor's Choice Award. If you think about it, these can transfer quite easily to video game reviews.
Our expectation is to apply two ratings to every review: a badge and a number.
A badge is very good at qualifying our assessment of a product whereas numerical scores are very good at quantifying a derivable value. We, collectively as PC gamers, have certain expectations for games and they usually demand more than the impressions of a typical console gamer. Simultaneously, we tend to be an afterthought for a lot of titles; yes, I am being generous even with that statement. Many games are outright broken, crippled by DRM, or otherwise demonstrate in very obvious terms that our money is somehow inferior. On the other hand, there are games which go above and beyond reasonable expectations held by PC gamers, and even some unreasonable ones, and are rarely hailed for it.
We are not able to judge the artistic qualities of a game using a numerical score, but we can judge its technical merits using a numerical rubric.
And so exists our planned review metric. The main point is that there will not be any definite rank-order to each game, at least from an artistic standpoint. A game is allowed to really well on one category and really terribly on another. If you are concerned with the game itself, keep more of an eye toward which award we gave it. If you are concerned about how well the game exists as a PC title, take a look at the numerical score.
There are of course caveats to this method. A viewer who looks solely at the numerical score will not know much, if anything, about the game itself. The numerical score is just a gauge for the level of effort put into the PC version.
Then again, would you expect any less from a website called "PC Perspective" which reviews products with a blend of explanation of its qualitative features mixed in with strict quantitative benchmarking?
Lastly, this is not about whether a game is "better" on a PC or on a console. Developers are free to focus on whatever platform they desire. A game designed around a console and ported to the PC will still get a great score if the finished result exhibits a "great" level of care. Likewise, even if your game is PC-exclusive, do not expect us to give it a great score if it cannot alt-tab worth a damn and is wrapped in DRM which roots our system using kernel-mode drivers.
It is not particularly hard to make a great PC experience, all it takes is effort. Fortunately, that is a property that we can assign an honest grade to.
We would really like to hear your feedback on this. Drop a line in the comments below!