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Subject: General Tech | February 7, 2014 - 03:22 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Starcraft II, esports
Movie studios are beginning to take video game tournaments seriously. MLG secured an ad deal with Relativity to promote their movies across its channels. Lionsgate, a more scrappy company known mostly for Michael Moore films until they took a risk on The Hunger Games, decided to one-up them and sponsor a whole tournament.
Actually, about three tournaments.
The first tournament will be run by Twitch and commentated by Nathanias and by NASL's RotterdaM and MrBitter (NASL is the company responsible for broadcasting WCS America since Season 2, 2013). It will have a $7,000 prize pool to be split among its 16 competitors. The tournament will be called, "Twitch Ender's Game on Blu-ray Tournament". Catchy.
Just a couple of days later, MLG will host the aptly titled, "MLG GameOn Ender's Game on Blu-ray Tournament". Its casters will be Team ROOT's Destiny and Catz, which is quite odd because both are competitors in the first tournament run by Twitch. Its prize pool is not yet announced. Other notable players include Scarlett, MajOr, MaSa, and Hitman.
The third "tournament" is actually a showmatch between the winners of each previous tournament. The two contestants will play a series against one another for a 70/30 split of $10,000 dollars.
It makes sense. The cost of running a StarCraft II tournament, including the prize pool, is probably significantly lower than most other ad campaigns. It just takes a company to think outside the box enough to actually do it. Lionsgate, of all the major film studios, is essentially the underdog as we alluded to earlier. Let's see how effective it is.
The Twitch tournament is currently on now and will run until February 9th. The MLG half will begin on the 11th. The Championship showmatch will be streamed by Twitch on February 22nd.
Subject: General Tech | February 7, 2014 - 02:20 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: call of duty
Call of Duty games have been developed by two main teams: Infinity Ward and Treyarch. Fans of Intel will appreciate the Tick Tock schedule where each led the development of alternating games. A third company, Sledgehammer, helped out a bit with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 after Infinity Ward practically imploded.
Such things happen when executives are terminated and armed security guards occupy your office.
Activision's recent announcement now claims that Sledgehammer Games will create their own Call of Duty titles in an arrangement I can only describe as "Tick Tock Tuck" (my term, not theirs). My only hope is that we will see a fourth studio join this arrangement and become, according to the ordered set of vowels, "Tyck". Of course, if I learned anything from elementary school grammar, they will only sometimes release a game.
Yes, I know "w" is also sometimes a vowel.
Activision intends to keep Call of Duty titles on the same pipeline approach as always, just with a third stage. Part of this could be due to increased development costs as a larger computation budget demands extra art assets and effects. On a related note, some sites are pointing to the issues with Battlefield 4 (seriously, with all of the buggy DICE games in the last ten years, why pick on this one?) and claim that Activision could avoid those problems with a little extra polish time. On the other hand, extra time does not necessarily mean anything. Dedicating an extra team means a lot less than dedicating 50% more man-hours of development per game. Are they?
Speaking of which, how many more games does Call of Duty have left in it? With this setup, whenever sales actually begin to slump, they will have a third game in the pipe to eat development costs of. Sure, they could probably release it and have some recovery. This was the year that Call of Duty: Ghosts failed to outsell its predecessor. It does feel odd to seemingly expand, right now.
The next Call of Duty will probably be announced around E3 and released this holiday season.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | February 7, 2014 - 01:30 AM | Scott Michaud
There is actually a bit more to the title's pun than meets the eye. Amazon has just purchased Double Helix Games, the video game company which resulted from a merger between The Collective and Shiny Entertainment (or whatever was left of them). Their most recent title was Killer Instinct for the Xbox One.
The Amazon Cauldron gag, now extra Shiny.
Snarkiness aside, the obvious question is: "Amazon, why are you purchasing a game developer?"
While Amazon is stating that they are simply building innovative games for customers, the rumor mill believes it is more than that. Beyond having an Android-based marketplace, various sources are reporting that Amazon is expecting to develop a sub-$300 gaming console based on that platform. It certainly sounds reasonable. It would give Amazon's video and audio services a controlled set-top box as well as a portal to their Android Appstore. Beyond that, it would not require much extra research and development. It would be a sensible next step.
That said, Amazon has already been developing games for a little while. Their current portfolio could easily be classified as, "2D". The acquisition of Double Helix could simply be a play for games with a little more... depth. Yes, I should feel bad for that pun. No, I do not.
Finally, all 75 of the employees will keep their jobs, according to TechCrunch. Their paychecks will now have an Amazon logo on them, and that is about it. Don't you love it when you can report on a merger or acquisition and not feel bad about it?
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 6, 2014 - 08:54 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, radeon, R7 250X
The AMD Radeon R7 250X has been mentioned on a few different websites over the last day, one of which was tweeted by AMD Radeon Italia. The SKU, which bridges the gap between the R7 250 and the R7 260, is expected to have a graphics processor with 640 Stream Processors, 40 TMUs, and 16 ROPs. It should be a fairly silent launch, with 1GB and 2GB versions appearing soon for an expected price of around 90 Euros, including VAT.
Image Credit: Videocardz.com
The GPU is expected to be based on the 28nm Oland chip design.
While it may seem like a short, twenty Euro jump from the R7 250 to the R7 260, the single-precision FLOP performance actually doubles from around 800 GFLOPs to around 1550 GFLOPs. If that metric is indicative of overall performance, there is quite a large gap to place a product within.
We still do not know official availability, yet.
Subject: General Tech | February 6, 2014 - 04:21 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ssd, hdd, corsair
The Corsair Blog has been publishing several really interesting articles, lately. In January, they wrote an editorial which quantifies the benefits of modestly overclocking CPU, GPU, RAM, and all of the above. Their benchmarks showed which tests favored what type of component.
This time, they look at the benefits of SSDs. Their Neutron Series GTX 240GB SSD was compared against a 3TB WD Black HDD (which is decent drive). To get into the campaign, they measured an SSD requiring a little over two minutes while the HDD took a little over two-and-a-half minutes. Multiplayer was much more significant: an SSD made it in game in 42 seconds while the hard drive took 69 second. That is a whole 40% faster.
Most importantly, getting into the game a whole 27 seconds earlier gives you first pick at vehicles. The game keeps them briefly locked to allow users to connect but, as is usual for Battlefield games, there is still an advantage for people with fast hard drives. Battlefield 2 was the unspoken benefit of purchasing a Western Digital 10,000 RPM Raptor drive, way back in 2006. You joined in as soon as you loaded which could mean nearly half of a minute to get your vehicle and go.
Shhh. Don't tell anyone.
Subject: General Tech | February 6, 2014 - 03:14 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, amd, Mantle, r9 290, 290x, battlefield 4, Chromebox, Chromebook, t440s, nvidia, Intel
PC Perspective Podcast #286 - 02/06/2014
Join us this week as we discuss the release of AMD Mantle, Battlefield 4 Performance, Chromeboxes and more!
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
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Subject: Storage | February 6, 2014 - 03:01 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ssd, angelbird, SSD2Go Pro, usb 3.0
SSDs are perfect for mobility as they can be larger than USB drives and with a good controller they can saturate the USB 3.0 or eSATA bus which is good news for those filming or taking pictures on a trip. The SSD Review has been using the Angelbird SSD2Go USB 3.0 External SSD for a long time now and it has survived quite a few trips. The speed is also impressive, ATTO reports 533MB/s on eSATA and over 400MB/s using USB 3.0. It also comes in snazzy colours.
"As a bit of a personal example, we reviewed the Angelbird SSD2Go USB 3.0 External SSD last June and that SSD has since been around the world and back, and then some. Wherever my camera equipment goes, it goes."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- OCZ Vector 150 - 120GB SSD @ Funky Kit
- OCZ Vertex 460 240GB SSD @ Custom PC Review
- OCZ Vector 150 120GB SSD Review @HiTech Legion
- Plextor M5 Pro Xtreme 256GB @ eTeknix
- Western Digital Black² Dual Drive 120GB SSD & 1TB HDD @ eTeknix
- Kingston DataTraveler Locker+ G3 16GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive (DTLPG3) @ Custom PC Review
- LaCie 5Big 20TB Thunderbolt RAID @ Kitguru
- Thecus N2310 @ techPowerUp
- QNAP TurboNAS TS-470 NAS Server @ NikKTech
- Icy Dock Black Vortex MB074SP-B Review @HiTech Legion
- Lexar microSDHC UHS-I 633x 16GB Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- Transcend 25A3 1TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive Review @HiTech Legion
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 6, 2014 - 01:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
We have more news and it is good for Galaxy fans. The newest update states that they will be sticking around!
Good news GPU fans, the rumours that Galaxy's GPU team is leaving the North American market might be somewhat exaggerated, at least according to their PR Team.
This post appeared on Facebook and was quickly taken off again, perhaps for rewording or perhaps it is a perfect example of the lack of communication that [H]ard|OCP cites in their story. Stay tuned as we update you as soon as we hear more.
Party like it's 2008!
[H]ard|OCP have been following Galaxy's business model closely for the past year as they have been seeing hints that the reseller just didn't get the North American market. Their concern grew as they tried and failed to contact Galaxy at the end of 2013, emails went unanswered and advertising campaigns seemed to have all but disappeared. Even with this reassurance that Galaxy is not planning to leave the North American market a lot of what [H] says rings true, with the stock and delivery issues Galaxy seemed to have over the past year there is something going on behind the scenes. Still it is not worth abandoning them completely and turning this into a self fulfilling prophecy, they have been in this market for a long time and may just be getting ready to move forward in a new way. On the other hand you might be buying a product which will not have warranty support in the future.
"The North American GPU market has been one that is at many times a swirling mass of product. For the last few years though, we have seen the waters calm in that regard as video card board partners have somewhat solidified and we have seen solid players emerge and keep the stage. Except now we seen one exit stage left."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft's new CEO: The technology isn't his problem @ The Register
- Oculus Releases Open Source Hardware @ Hack a Day
- HP retains the top spot in a declining PC market @ The Inquirer
- Is Intel Selling Bay Trail Chips Below Cost? @ Slashdot
- Lenovo hires ex-CIA bod to push through Moto deal @ The Register
Subject: General Tech, Systems | February 6, 2014 - 03:26 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: sony vaio, sony
Oh look, something that was not purchased by Lenovo.
Sony has decided to sell its VAIO brand to Japanese Industrial Partners (JIP). Sony has been developing computers under thO brand since the mid 90's. While never a top-five player in the industry, they had a significant presence in stores and in the possession of people I bumped into on a day-to-day basis. The division was apparently in the red. It currently employs 1,000 people, of which 250-300 are expected to be hired with this deal.
Whether the rest will be laid off or reshuffled within Sony remains to be seen.
As for Sony, they hope to focus on smartphones and tablets. They had a significant presence at last month's CES where they brought multiple Xperia models. VAIO also had its share of the attention though, so I guess that really does not mean much.
The acquisition is expected to complete near the end of July.
Subject: General Tech | February 6, 2014 - 02:34 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: microsoft, CEO
We are a little late on this news, but the hunt for a new Microsoft CEO is over. Satya Nadella, an internal choice from the enterprise division, will take over the entire company. Apart from a little buzz around Stephen Elop, and a lot of it around Allan Mulally, he was the figure on the rumors. Even though the decision was not shocking, it does question Microsoft's role in consumer devices.
Satya only mentioned devices and services twice in his first email to employees.
Speaking of his introductory email, Satya claims to have asked Bill Gates to "devote additional time to the company". He has been a Microsoft employee for over two decades and he will be supported by its famous co-founder. All of this follows the attempts to discover outside candidates and re-invent the company.
More confusingly, the aforementioned first email contained the line, "This is a software powered world", as a single-line paragraph. He wanted to make this sentence perfectly clear. He believes that Microsoft is the only company with routine success developing platforms and ecosystems. Microsoft has not felt this much like Microsoft in quite some time, which contrasts the last two years of corporate soul-searching.
Then again, those were some of their best years.
Subject: Mobile | February 5, 2014 - 06:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: msi, GX Destroyer Series, gaming laptop, Dragon Gaming Center, R9-M290X
City of Industry, Calif. – January 5, 2014 – MSI Computer Corp, a leading manufacturer of computer hardware products and solutions, announces the availability of the new GX Destroyer Series featuring AMD A10 processor, AMD Radeon R9-M290X graphics and a variety of gaming features designed to deliver optimal performance.
MSI’s GX Destroyer Series possesses the perfect combination of multimedia capability and gaming performance. Armed with AMD’s state-of-the-art mobile processor, both GX70 and GX60 Destroyers come with AMD’s latest GPU and its proprietary Mantle Graphics technology, which improves gaming performance, ensures higher resolutions and smoother gameplay and allows developers to utilize the GPU more efficiently to create a more immersive gaming experience.
GX Destroyer units are the first gaming notebooks to feature MSI’s Dragon Gaming Center, a gaming shortcut key designed to maximize performance and speed by performing full system check-ups, instantly configuring your machine to your preset gaming environment profile and closing unnecessary background applications to increase processing power. The units also feature SteelSeries’ keyboard customization software that gives users the ability to modify colors, lighting effects, and more.
“The GX Destroyer Series delivers the optimum combination of performance and affordability demanded by both the professional and amateur gamer,” said Andy Tung, CEO for MSI Pan America. “The myriad of multimedia and gaming components in both the GX70 Destroyer and GX60 Destroyer make the units the ultimate portable gaming and entertainment machines.”
The GX Destroyer Series also comes with Killer™ E2200 Game Networking for lag-free gaming, SoundBlaster Cinema for ultra-realistic sound, MSI’s Cooler Boost and Audio Boost technology and AMD’s Eyefinity technology. AMD’s Eyefinity technology allows users to run multiple independent displays simultaneous and supports 4K output displays up to 5760x1080 resolutions.
There are plans to implement the SteelSeries Engine software to provide a deeper level of customization on the GX Destroyer series as well as the upcoming next gen G Series laptops. MSI plans to roll out the software within the next few months and will provide further information on how to obtain the software for current owners of the gaming notebooks once it becomes available.
Select major retailers and e-tailers will also offer Battlefield 4 free for the GX Destroyer series when it becomes available. For more information about the latest generation GX70 Destroyer or GX60 Destroyer, please visit http://www.msimobile.com or http://usgaming.msi.com/.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 5, 2014 - 02:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, Mantle, amd, battlefield 4
Now that the new Mantle enabled driver has been released several sites have had a chance to try out the new API to see what effect it has on Battlefield 4. [H]ard|OCP took a stock XFX R9 290X paired with an i7-3770K and tested both single and multiplayer BF4 performance and the pattern they saw lead them to believe Mantle is more effective at relieving CPU bottlenecks than ones caused by the GPU. The performance increases they saw were greater at lower resolutions than at high resolutions. At The Tech Report another XFX R9 290X was paired with an A10-7850K and an i7-4770K and compared the systems performance in D3D as well as Mantle. To make the tests even more interesting they also tested D3D with a 780Ti, which you should fully examine before deciding which performs the best. Their findings were in line with [H]ard|OCP's and they made the observation that Mantle is going to offer the greatest benefits to lower powered systems, with not a lot to be gained by high end systems with the current version of Mantle. Legit Reviews performed similar tests but also brought the Star Swarm demo into the mix, using an R7 260X for their GPU. You can catch all of our coverage by clicking on the Mantle tag.
"Does AMD's Mantle graphics API deliver on its promise of smoother gaming with lower-spec CPUs? We take an early look at its performance in Battlefield 4."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Humble Sid Meier Bundle announced: So much Civilisation! @ HEXUS
- HARD ONES: Three new PC games that are BLOODY DIFFICULT @ The Register
- Developers Reporting No Payments From Strategy First @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: Systems | February 5, 2014 - 01:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: htpc, zotac, ZBOX ID45, gt 640
HONG KONG – Feb. 5, 2014 – ZOTAC International, a global innovator and manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs, today combines the power of 3rd Generation Intel Core i3 processing with NVIDIA GeForce GT 640 graphics to create the ultimate 4K ready HTPC. The new ZBOX ID45 series delivers the perfect synergy of energy-efficiency and high-quality video processing in a compact form factor.
“ZOTAC has always married the capabilities of energy-efficient Intel processors with incredible NVIDIA GeForce graphics since the first ZBOX shipped with NVIDIA ION,” said Carsten Berger, senior director, ZOTAC International. “The latest ZBOX ID45 series pushes that synergy even further with greater performance while maintaining excellent energy-efficiency.”
The NVIDIA GeForce GT 640 graphics enhances the video playback capabilities of the ZOTAC ZBOX ID45 series with high-quality HD processing and 4K video decode capabilities for a superior HTPC experience. An Intel Core i3 3227U processor delivers outstanding CPU performance with dual processor cores and Intel HyperThreading technology for unmatched multitasking responsiveness and quick video transcoding capabilities.
Dual Gigabit Ethernet enables excellent wired networking capabilities for redundant connectivity or to transform the ZBOX ID45 series into a high-performance network router. Wireless 802.11ac networking technology delivers a wireless experience that’s comparable to wired Ethernet on the ZOTAC ZBOX ID45 series.
The ZOTAC ZBOX ID45 series ships as a barebones and as a PLUS version with 4GB DDR3 and 500GB hard drive preinstalled. Users can install a variety of operating systems on the ZOTAC ZBOX ID45 series including Windows 7, 8 and OpenELEC.
- ZOTAC Combines 3rd Generation Intel Core i3 with NVIDIA GeForce GT 640
- New ZBOX ID45 series Intel Core i3 3227U 1.9 GHz, dual-core, 3MB L2 cache
- NVIDIA GeForce GT 640 2GB DDR3
- PLUS models available with 4GB DDR3 500GB HDD
- HDMI, DVI-I and VGA (with included adapter) outputs 4K video decoding
- High quality HD video processing
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi & Bluetooth 4.0 w/ external WiFi antenna
- 4 x USB 3.0
- Gigabit Ethernet Bundled
- VESA75/100 mount
Subject: General Tech | February 5, 2014 - 01:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: arm, OCP, open source, Intel, amd, seattle, opteron
The Inquirer had a chance to talk to Lakshmi Mandyam, the director of Server Systems and Ecosystems at ARM, about their plans for the server room. ARM and their SBSA team have joined forces with Microsoft's Open Technology initiative which is key to AMD's adoption of ARM architecture in their new Opteron series. These projects will offer several key benefits to customers, the open source nature will allow customization in the server room for those customers with specific needs and the know how to implement them and the nature of ARM processors can bring energy bills down. This could also be great news for smaller businesses that require a proper server, they will be able to build that server out of a number of inexpensive ARM based processors instead of having to spend the price of the currently available x86/64 CPUs from Intel and AMD.
"CHIP DESIGNER ARM announced at the Open Compute Project (OCP) Summit last week that servers based on its architecture have taken a step forward with the arrival of ARM v8-A based 64bit servers, known as the Server Base System Architecture (SBSA) specification."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Samsung reveals prices, availability dates of 'Pro' tablets @ The Inquirer
- ARM posts sterling revenue growth, but moneymen spank it anyway @ The Register
- Adobe goes out of band to fix frightful Flash flaw @ The Register
- How to Resize, Rename, Sort and Proof Photos from the Command Line @ Linux.com
- THUNDERING GAS destroys disks during data centre incident @ The Register
- Rollei CarDVR-110 Full HD GPS Car Camera @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | February 5, 2014 - 02:08 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: photoshop, opencl, Adobe
Adobe has recently enhanced Photoshop CC to accelerate certain filters via OpenCL. AMD contacted NitroWare with this information and claims of 11-fold performance increases with "Smart Sharpen" on Kaveri, specifically. The computer hardware site decided to test these claims on a Radeon HD 7850 using the test metrics that AMD provided them.
Sure enough, he noticed a 16-fold gain in performance. Without OpenCL, the filter's loading bar was on screen for over ten seconds; with it enabled, there was no bar.
Dominic from NitroWare is careful to note that an HD 7850 is significantly higher performance than an APU (barring some weird scenario involving memory transfers or something). This might mark the beginning of Adobe's road to sensible heterogeneous computing outside of video transcoding. Of course, this will also be exciting for AMD. While they cannot keep up with Intel, thread per thread, they are still a heavyweight in terms of total performance. With Photoshop, people might actually notice it.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 4, 2014 - 04:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Silverstone, strider gold s, 850W
SilverStone's Strider series has been with us for quite a while and tends to be among the better PSUs around. The new Strider Gold S provides 850W of power, with up to 70A on the 12V and four 6+2 PCIe power connectors for multiple GPUs. All of that power comes in a package a mere 150x86x150 mm, barely enough to fit the 120mm fan. [H]ard|OCP strapped it to their torture devices and saw that it could outperform even some of its close relatives in the Strider family. Not only does it get a pass, it picks up a Silver Award on its way.
"Good things come in small packages and SilverStone continues its Gold S series with smaller fully modular footprints at the 850 watt power level. SilverStone claims Gold level efficiency, tight voltage regulation, a single rail design, low fan noise, and plenty of PCIe outlets. All the things that SilverStone is famous for. "
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650W Non-Modular @ eTeknix
- Thortech Thunderbolt Plus 1000W Semi-Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 850W CM Semi-Modular Power Supply @ eTeknix
- Corsair AX1200i Modular Digital Power Supply @ eTeknix
- Seasonic S12G-450 @ Kitguru
- Silverstone Strider Gold S Series 750 W @ techPowerUp
- Corsair CS450M Power Supply Review @ Legit Reviews
- Corsair CS550M 550W @ [H]ard|OCP
Subject: Mobile | February 4, 2014 - 02:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: dell, Chromebook, Chromebook 11
Chromebooks seem to have slipped under the news radar as they are still being sold but you do not see many reviews of them. The Inquirer bucked that trend and published a review of Dell's new Chromebook 11 which sells for a mere £159 overseas and while Dell is a bit cagey about the cost her, it should be around the $250 mark. The 11.6" notebook is tiny, about an inch thick at most and weighing a mere 1.3kg and the PR claims a battery life of 10 hours. The 1366 x 768 screen is nothing new but the Haswell based Celeron 2955U is, along with a 16GB SSD for local storage and your choice of 2 or 4GB of RAM should help make this new Chromebook stand out from the previous generation.
"As you'd expect at such a low price point, Dell's Chromebook 11 isn't the most powerful device, but the firm claims that it is powerful enough to perform all tasks required by the Chrome OS with ease."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Samsung NP915S3G-K01 13.3" Touch Screen Notebook Revieww @ PCSTATS
- Enermax TwisterOdiO 16 Notebook Cooler Review @ Madshrimps
- iPad Air vs Nexus 10 head-to-head @ The Inquirer
- Le Pan TC1020 Tablet Review @ TechwareLabs
- Toshiba Encore @ The Inquirer
- Motorola Moto X hands-on @ The Inquirer
- Patriot FUEL+ 7800mAh Mobile Rechargeable Battery @ NikKTech
- XTPower MP-23000A 23000mAh Ultra-High Capacity External Power Supply Battery Pack @ NikKTech
- AT&T Unite Pro 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot Review @ Legit Reviews
Subject: General Tech | February 4, 2014 - 01:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, encoder, open source, VCE
You may have missed this news about AMD in amongst the Mantle announcements, support has been added for the VCE2 hardware encoding engine on newer AMD GCN based GPUs. The open-source Radeon driver now supports GStreamer OpenMAX which can speed H.264 encoding in general but is truly optimized for encoding for mobile devices. The current release is still a work in progress, the official release will come soon and you can track the progress by signing up to the mailing lists mentioned by Phoronix. This is good news as previously the only open source hardware accelerated encoding was through Intel's GPU and VA-API.
"AMD is doing another large and important open-source graphics driver code drop this morning. This morning AMD is publishing their VCE code that allows for hardware-based video encoding. "
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft builds admin tool to spare Office 365 sellers' blushes @ The Register
- Satya Nadella confirmed as Microsoft CEO @ The Inquirer
- Java botnet hits Mac, Linux and Windows machines @ The Inquirer
- How to Manage File and Folder Permissions in Linux @ Linux.com
- Sony denies Vaio-to-Lenovo rumour @ The Register
- Weaponized Quadrotor Upgrades @ Hack a Day
- The Obligatory Super Hole VIII – The Uppity Armchair CD Edition @ The Tech Report
Subject: General Tech, Systems | February 4, 2014 - 09:00 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Chromebox, asus
Often, people purchase a device with the intent of running a web browser on it. I understand the appeal of Joshtekk.com and we can all relate to the desire for it to have a dedicated machine. Google, through Chrome OS, targets this market with a line of laptops dedicated to web browsing. They are effective against virulent infections, a useful feature for casual Joshtekk encounters, with its limited native applications and simple recovery process.
ASUS is, by no means, first to this market. Samsung had a couple of Chromebox models almost two years ago. That said, the ASUS Chromebox will start at $179 USD (which is much cheaper than Samsung's $329 offering). The base model will contain an Intel Celeron 2955U processor (the aforementioned Samsung packed a Celeron B840), which is not a high-performance processor, but may suffice for your web browsing needs. If not, an Intel Core i3 model has also been announced but I do not have pricing to relay about that one. A Core i7-4600U version may or may not surface, as well. Its graphics will support options up to an Intel HD 4400.
One feature that is unexpected is its video outputs. The ASUS Chromebox supports both HDMI and DisplayPort connections for dual monitors and 4K. Given that this is a 5-inch by 5-inch (and fanless) design, with access to Netflix and other streaming services, it could make a good replacement for a "smart TV".
The ASUS Chromebox will be available in March starting at $179 USD. This price comes with 100GB of Google Drive space, free for 2 years. Also free: a VESA mount kit to, I believe, attach the Chromebox to the back of an HDTV.
If interested, read on for the press release.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 1, 2014 - 11:29 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Mantle, BF4, amd
AMD has released the Catalyst 14.1 Beta driver (even for Linux) but you should, first, read Ryan's review. This is a little less than what he expects in a Beta from AMD. We are talking about crashes to desktop and freezes while loading a map on a single-GPU configuration - and Crossfire is a complete wash in his experience (although AMD acknowledges the latter in their release notes). According to AMD, there is even the possibility that the Mantle version of Battlefield 4 will render with your APU and ignore your dedicated graphics.
If you are determined to try Catalyst 14.1, however, it does make a first step into the promise of Mantle. Some situations show slightly lower performance than DirectX 11, albeit with a higher minimum framerate, while other results impress with double-digit percentage gains.
Multiplayer in BF4, where the CPU is more heavily utilized, seems to benefit the most (thankfully).
If you understand the risk (in terms of annoyance and frustration), and still want to give it a try, pick up the driver from AMD's support website. If not? Give it a little more time for AMD to whack-a-bug. At some point, there should be truly free performance waiting for you.
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