AFDS 2012: AMD Wireless Display to compete against Intel WiDi with open standards

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Displays | June 10, 2012 - 06:45 PM |
Tagged: widi, Intel, awd, amd wireless display, amd, AFDS

While perusing through the listings and descriptions of sessions and presentations for the upcoming AMD Fusion Developer Summit, I came across an interesting one that surprised me.  Tomorrow, June 11th, at 5:15pm PST, you can stop by the Grand Hyatt in Bellevue to learn about the upcoming AMD Wireless Display technology.

AWD (AMD Wireless Display) is a multiple-platform application family to enable wireless display technologies much in the same way that Intel has been pushing with WiDi.  While Intel's take on it requires very specific Intel wireless controllers and is only recently, with the release of Ivy Bridge, getting the full-steam push from Intel, AMD's take on it is quite different.

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Intel introduced WiDi in 2010

According to the brief on this AFDS session, AMD wants to create an API and SDKs for application developers to integrate AWD into software and to leverage the WiFi Alliance for an open-standards compliant front-end.  Using AMD APUs, the goal is provide lower latency for encoded video and audio while still using the required MPEG2TS wrapper.  We are also likely to learn that AMD hopes to make AWD open to a wider array of wireless devices.

AMD often takes this "open" approach to new technologies with mixed results - CUDA has been in place for many years while the adoption of OpenCL is only starting to take hold and 3D Vision still is the standard for 3D gaming on the PC.  

After having quite a few chances to use Intel's Wireless Display (WiDi) technology myself I can definitely say that the wireless approach is the one I am most excited with and that has the most potential to revolutionize the way we work with displays and computing devices.  I am eager to see what partners AMD has been working with and what demonstrations they will have for AWD next week.

ASUS preps ThunderboltEX add-in card for Z77 and H77 motherboards

Subject: Motherboards, Displays | June 4, 2012 - 09:30 PM |
Tagged: Z77, thunderboltex, thunderbolt, h77, computex, asus

Ever since we posted our series of videos with ASUS on the new Z77 chipset and the features ASUS was introducing on their P8Z77 lineup, we have had countless questions about the Thunderbolt header, the implementation and finally the required add-on card to enable it.  Well thankfully at Computex this week ASUS is revealing the product that users of the P8Z77 motherboards will need to enable the Thunderbolt connection, the ASUS ThunderboltEX.

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Even though we have already had some hands-on time with the new ASUS P8Z77-V Premium motherboard that integrates a Thunderbolt header on the board directly, the rest of the P8Z77-V line has a 9-pin header labeled "TB_header" that will allow users to purchase the ThunderboltEX card and enable the technology in their system.  ASUS was the only company to really plan ahead for Thunderbolt technology across the entire series of Z77 motherboards and as such should enjoy the feature benefits of TB for some time.

ASUS_ThunderboltEX Card_5.jpg

The ThunderboltEX will plug into the bottom PCIe slot using up the x4 connection and will be required to use a header cable to connect to the TB_header shown above.  This header serves a dual purpose - it allows the integrated graphics of the Ivy Bridge (and even discrete graphics) to pass through to the ThunderboltEX card and then out to either a Thunderbolt enabled display or a DisplayPort monitor in a daisy chain of devices.  It also allows ASUS to make sure this card is ONLY used on their own lineup of motherboards - sorry, you won't be able to buy the ASUS ThunderboltEX and use it on your Gigabyte or MSI or even your non "TB_header" ASUS motherboard.

You will also have to install an included full-size DisplayPort cable from the output on the Z77 motherboard back panel to the full-size DP input on the ThunderboltEX itself.  This allows the pass through of all the video data.

ASUS_ThunderboltEX Card_4.jpg

Once everything is configured, users will have a full speed 10 Gbps ready Thunderbolt connection to use with external storage, break out boxes and other accessories coming down the pipeline rapidly.  ASUS claims this implementation will still support 6 daisy-chained devices with a seventh device as either a Thunderbolt or mini-DisplayPort monitor.  Even better, hot plug support will still be enabled!

ASUS stands committed to the belief that motherboard design is not just about pure spec but ensuring a quality design and overall implementation. This is achieved through many means such as sensible layout, flexible I/O connectivity and robust control over parameters of operation. In addition foresight in design can play an important role. ASUS recently launched the world’s first certified native Thunderbolt motherboard with the P8Z77-V Premium. While the Premium leads the industry in respect to connectivity and overall functionality it carries a flagship price for its premium feature set. ASUS had kept this in mind along with thinking about how to best support the advanced new interconnect that is Thunderbolt. With this in mind ASUS is proud to unveil its exclusive Thunderbolt upgrade solution for its line of Z77 and H77 motherboards. The ThunderboltEX card is the first add-on card on the market enabling an easy way to upgrade ASUS motherboards with the latest I/O. This is proof in having foresight in design as compatible boards had to have a special TB header in place to support this upgrade.

Currently, the ThunderboltEX is awaiting Thunderbolt device certification and ASUS will obviously announce when that occurs.

Obviously this implementation of Thunderbolt is not as elegant as the one you will find on the ASUS Premium Z77 motherboard or the MSI Z77A-GD80, but it does enable other ASUS Z77 motherboard users to add the feature to their systems without REQUIRING to the cost up front to everyone.  It does remind me a little bit of the first days of ATI CrossFire but I think most of you would agree that this solution is better than forcing users to buy a $450 motherboard.

I don't have any information on pricing or availability but you can be sure as soon as our questions are answered by ASUS we will update this post!  

If you are looking for more information on Thunderbolt devices and performance, check out our stream of posts on the subject and take a look at the Thunderbolt / ASUS video below!

Source: ASUS

HP's 2311xi, a cheap IPS monitor currently on sale for a low price

Subject: Displays | May 30, 2012 - 03:05 PM |
Tagged: led backlight, ips display, HP 2311xi, 1080p

HP's 2311xi e-IPS monitor is LED-backlit and has a native resolution of 1920x1080, giving you much better viewing angles than more commonly found TN displays, though it does sacrifice refresh rate making this display less attractive to gamers.  Overall it seems somehow behind the times, while it has HDMI, DVI and VGA inputs HP left out DisplayPort which is becoming more commonly used on both graphics cards and prebuilt machines.  TechReviewSource also describes it as having limited adjustment capabilities which is likely to frustrate professional users.  Overall it seems that HP could have done a better job on this $200+ monitor, though HP is currently selling it with an $80 rebate making it a bit more attractive.

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"The HP 2311xi isn't your typical 23-inch LED monitor. It has an extremely wide viewing angle, a beautiful IPS display and lots of connections that include HDMI. It is a full 1080p HD display that provides a very good looking image but it lacks ergonomic adjustments."

Here are some more Display articles from around the web:

Displays

 

Windows 8 gives a little more attention to multiple monitors. Oh look -- a feature for traditional PCs.

Subject: General Tech, Displays | May 24, 2012 - 08:22 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, multi monitor

PC Mag highlights enhanced support for multiple monitor systems in the upcoming Windows 8 Release Preview. It is like Microsoft has finally thrown a bone to the desktop and to a lesser extent, the laptop. Some features that were mentioned in the article have been around for a while, however.

If you have given the gift of a multiple monitor setup -- do not expect a take-backsies without a fight.

Chloe Albanesius of PC Mag wrote an article which outlines what enhanced support multiple monitor users will experience if they move to Windows 8. A refreshing suspend of the ctrl-alt-deleterious news. Or maybe Microsoft was just afraid of being attacked with vestigial display cables?

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Just think of the possibilities of per-monitor backgrounds… a shrine just for Josh...

The article opens with a description of the author’s triple monitor setup. Oddly enough my layout is very often an exact mirror image of her layout, horizontally. I would not be surprised if that choice was due to my left-handedness -- very amused, but not surprised.

Windows 8 will make it easy to load different backgrounds for each monitor but earlier versions were capable of that for as long as I could remember. The trick is to create a single very large background image in a program like Photoshop or The GIMP. This very large image must have the same dimensions as the sum of your monitor resolutions horizontally by the sum of your monitor resolutions vertically. The top left of that image is the top left of your “primary” monitor. Fill in the backgrounds wherever the desired monitor falls on that grid -- making sure to put whatever is above and to the left of the top left corner of the primary monitor at the extreme right and bottom. Set that background to “tiled” and you are set.

Notice how I never said that making it easier would be unwelcomed rather just that it was already possible.

The more important features include the ability to enable the taskbar on each monitor and customize how icons will appear for each display. That, combined with enabling corner context support for each monitor should help alleviate some of the juggling over real estate on the primary monitor.

You should be able to see all the changes for multiple monitor users in the upcoming Windows 8 Release Preview.

That is, of course, unless Microsoft ends up starting from scratch before they launch -- again.

Source: PC Mag

De-bezel your monitor, void your warranty and run the risk of killing your LCD ... but no bezels!

Subject: Displays | May 11, 2012 - 01:18 PM |
Tagged: DIY, Alienware OptX AW2310, mod

When EyeFinity and NVIDIA Surround first hit the market we were promised LCDs specifically designed to have tiny bezels so that your multiple monitor gaming experience would be enhanced.  These monitors are still few and far between and even if you track one down their scarcity guarantees a high price.  That is probably what prompted Tweaktown to pick up scraper and hacksaw and carve up their Alienware displays' bezels.  This is of course something to be done with the full knowledge that you may well destroy your monitor but if you want gaming like in the picture below you might have to risk it.

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"A step-by-step guide on how to de-bezel an Alienware AW2310 monitor and how they look in a three screen portrait setup."

Here are some more Display articles from around the web:

Displays

 

Source: Tweaktown

"Just" Picked Up: Datacolor Spyder4PRO

Subject: General Tech, Displays | May 4, 2012 - 05:18 PM |
Tagged: colorimeter, monitor

Just Delivered is a class of articles at PC Perspective where we share what crosses into our offices, labs, houses, or nearby unguarded front porches. Today we put up with none of that. Two days ago I got off my lazy butt long enough to drive to a store to purchase a Datacolor Spyder4PRO monitor calibration device. Sure, I could have walked but -- let’s not get crazy now.

Part of doing illustration work online involves knowing how it will be viewed by the masses. Everyone will view it somewhat differently due to more-than-slight variations in their displays.

Properly calibrating your monitor to what is considered convention is difficult and not something many users do. Hardware and software exist to measure your monitor and adjust your color profiles to match. Calibrated color profiles often lose brightness and vibrancy although they are not to look good -- they are designed to look consistent.

After a couple of years of off-and-on browsing web forums for opinions on which colorimeter is the best I realized that I would be just as far ahead with a random number generator. I eventually just went with the gut and chose the Datacolor Spyder4PRO.

Colorimeter.jpg

Of course on the way home an oncoming car entered my lane to pass a bus.

It almost served me right for not leaving the whole “going outside” thing to the mail people.

Out of the box, installation was quite simple. I did have one annoyance with inputting my serial number: apparently when you input your serial number and activate online they return to you your CD key. Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems like if I were to reinstall the application I could not use the serial number that is safe and sound with the unit but rather recall the key I was given just then. That seems like a very bad method to enforce DRM -- although let’s face it, I hate DRM regardless of its form -- but thankfully I have secure notes in LastPass for situations like these.

I calibrated the three monitors very easily. My primary monitor, the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370, required two calibrations to be properly set although I believe that was my fault. Now all three monitors quite closely align to one another and seem to work well for test images in color managed applications.

My one complaint about the product itself is that it has a suction cup mount, but no suction cup. Really -- your device is almost 200$ and you cheap out on a couple-cent suction cup? Where am I even supposed to find a suction cup that will fit it? I mean, it is possible that there was an error with my package although it was sealed. Maybe it was only for the Elite package?

Really a suction cup is not necessary anyway -- they provide a counterweight on the cable to have it hang from the top of your monitor… but it is not as stable as a suction cup.

Source: PCPer

MonMount's affordable triple display mount

Subject: Displays | April 26, 2012 - 01:30 PM |
Tagged: triple, monitor mount, mount, multi monitor, MonMount, LCD-1930 Triple

For just under $50 the MonMount LCD-1930 Triple LCD Monitor Stand gives you a way to mount three monitors of up to 22" to a desk, far less expensive than other mounts on the market.  It may look minimalist but the VESA mounts can rotate between portrait and landscape and can pivot both vertically and horizontally to allow you to perfectly align your monitors.  Legit Reviews did run into several small issues, from cables weren't quite long enough to the discovery that while the stand supports 22" displays, they cannot be more than 20" wide.  It is still a much cleaner and more stable solution than having your monitors sitting on your desk.

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"We were about to give up on an affordable triple monitor stand that had articulating arms for a sweet AMD Eyefinity or NVIDIA Surround gaming setup when we ran across the MonMount LCD-1930 Triple LCD Monitor Stand Desk Mount that costs just $48.88 plus shipping! Compared to the other three monitor stands on the market this one looks like a bargain! Read on to see what we think of this space saving mount!"

Here are some more Display articles from around the web:

Displays

 

HP's inexpensive high resolution 27" display

Subject: Displays | April 5, 2012 - 03:49 PM |
Tagged: hp, 27, ZR2740w, ips display, led backlight

It may seem odd to refer to a $680 monitor as a really great deal but that is exactly what the HP ZR2740w is.  Finding a new 27" 2560x1440 IPS display with LED backlighting for under $1000 is well nigh impossible, even finding a used one for around $700 is a rare find.  HP has done what no other company has though, cutting costs by removing HDMI and speakers as well as not including an OSD. They did not skimp on the quality of the display however, with a very good response rate for an IPS display as well as a very good colour gamut.  AnandTech does warn you that the lack of OSD controls, having a colourometer to calibrate the monitor properly is very important.

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"We finally have our first real affordable 27”, high resolution display on the market now, and it comes courtesy of HP. The HP ZR2740w is a 27” IPS panel with 2560x1440 resolution (16:9 aspect ratio) and an LED backlighting system. With a street price that comes in at $700 or below, what has HP done to be able to bring a high resolution display to the masses at a price well below other vendors? Thankfully, they provided me with a unit so I could evaluate it and see."

Here are some more Display articles from around the web:

Displays

 

Source: AnandTech

ASUS offers an all in one NVIDIA 3D display package

Subject: Displays | March 13, 2012 - 12:58 PM |
Tagged: VG278H, tn lcd, asus, 3d display, 27

For those who would like to take advantage of NVIDIA's 3D gaming technology, a good place to start is the ASUS VG278H 27" 3D display.  While it is $650 it comes with NVIDIA's 3D Vision 2 glasses and 3D LightBoost thanks to the LED back lighting.  In this case a TN monitor makes sense as it gives a quick response rate and the viewing angle matters less as your 3D glasses also have a very limited sweet spot.  Hardware Canucks did feel that 27" is a bit large for 1080p resolution but that is part of what keeps the price low compared to other 3D displays and they did notice crosstalk, a problem which plagues many 3D displays.  If you feel the need to game in 3D you could do worse than the ASUS VG278H.

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"Being one of the first 120Hz capable 27" monitors, the ASUS VG278H caused a stir when it was first announced alongside NVIDIA’s 3D Vision 2. Even though it incorporates a TN panel and a resolution of only 1920 x 1080, its price is low enough to be tempting for anyone that wants stereoscopic capabilities without breaking the bank."

Here are some more Display articles from around the web:

Displays

 

A different way to extend your display

Subject: Displays | February 24, 2012 - 02:04 PM |
Tagged: sapphire, VID-2X, multi monitor

The Sapphire VID-2X offers you a new way to utilize multiple displays without needing a graphics card capable of powering a resolution of 3840x1200.  It can both clone and stretch your desktop and is Plug & Play with no software or drivers to install, simply plug it into a dual link DVI port and it is ready to go.  At an MSRP of $180 it is less expensive than an SLI or CrossFire solution though it is limited in performance by your GPU.  You might be able to stretch your game across three monitors but you might find performance suffers somewhat.  Instead you can consider this a way to get multiple monitors from a single NVIDIA GPU or a way to avoid an active DisplayPort adapter for a Radeon card.  HiTech Legion has several videos of the VID-2X in action which you should check out.

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"Sapphire's VID-2X is a plug and play compact device that was designed to extend your existing monitor into one large field of view, in effect, tricking the system and allowing you to add two additional monitors to your system from just one display port, be it a laptop, netbook, home computer, or office PC. The VID-2X from Sapphire accomplishes this without you having to install any software or drivers. In addition, the VID-2X will make use of the video card installed and, without using system resources, maintain a resolution or output in clone mode of up to 1920 x 1280. The VID-2X offers several connection options using your existing cable option of DVI, with cables included, and once installed, will double your field of view. The Sapphire VID-2X will also adapt to VGA or HDMI display ports with adapters you may have on hand with your existing system."

Here are some more Display articles from around the web:

Displays