Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | December 4, 2013 - 03:52 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: mechanical keyboard, corsair, Cherry MX, cherry, CES 2014
The three little letters that instill fear in tech journalists (and vendors) right around the holiday season: CES. This will be the first of many news posts coming out of that event -- it is still a month away! Companies are already preparing for what will come after the holidays. Brace yourselves!
Corsair and Cherry have just released a preview of their upcoming CES announcement. Mechanical keyboards (at least those based on Cherry MX switches) were only rarely backlit. Pretty much every model of Cherry MX-based keyboard with per-key LED lighting was, at one point, developed by iOne (they produced the XArmor line of backlit keyboards and collaborated with Razer on the BlackWidow). I am not particularly sure what the difficulty was from an engineering standpoint but I do know it was rare.
Cherry, themselves, are assisting the next evolution of this technology. The company has developed a special version of their MX Red-class switch with built-in RGB illumination. The mixture of these three colors allows for a key to be lit by any color in the visible spectrum (up to the precision allowed by hardware and software). Their press release suggests 8-bit per channel control (~16.7 million colors). Their exclusive launch partner for this 2014 debut will be Corsair.
Clearly their K-series keyboards sold well.
If you want to learn more about the Cherry MX switches, be sure to check out our overview from 2012. Also, check out the Cherry website for a ridiculously informative breakdown of the switch all each of its components. Seriously, this puts my animation to shame; it is kind of depressing.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards | December 4, 2013 - 12:02 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: uppercase, msi, mini-itx
MSI is calling these products, "Mini, but Mighty". These components are designed for the mini-ITX form factor which is smaller than 7 inches in length and width. Its size makes it very useful for home theater PCs (HTPCs) and other places where discretion is valuable. You also want these machines to be quiet, which MSI claims this product series is.
The name is also written in full uppercase so you imagine yourself yelling every time you read it.
The MSI Z87I GAMING AC Motherboard comes with an Intel 802.11ac (hence, "GAMING AC", I assume) wireless adapter. If you are using a wired connection, it comes with a Killer E2205 Ethernet adapter from Qualcomm's BigFoot Networks (even small PCs can be BigFoot). Also included is an HDMI 1.4 output capable of 4K video (HDMI 1.4 is limited to 30Hz output at 2160p).
Good features to have, especially for an HTPC build.
The other launch is the GTX 760 GAMING ITX video card. This card is a miniature GeForce 760 designed to fit in mini-ITX cases. If your box is a Home Theater PC, expect it to run just about any game at 1080p.
No information on pricing and availability yet. Check out the press release after the break.
Subject: General Tech | December 3, 2013 - 02:09 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: gold box, amazon
If you haven't picked up Assassin's Creed IV yet, today might be the best chance you'll get before the holiday. Amazon.com's Gold Box deal today offers you the PC DVD, Steam, Uplay, Xbox 360 and PS3 versions for just $29.99.
Just keep in mind that the Amazon Gold Box deal ends at the end of the day!
That is half off the current Steam price and based on my time with the game, and reviews in general, Assassin's Creed IV is much better than AC3 and currently sits at a score of 87 on Metacritic.
Subject: General Tech | December 3, 2013 - 01:22 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
You can go several different ways with today's top deal but the base 15.6" system is very acceptable with a Haswell Core i7-4700MQ @ 2.3GHz, 8GB DDR3 and a 1TB HDD for storage. The base system has a 1366x768 display but this can be upgraded to a proper 1080p display aliong with a 2GB GeForce GT 740M which raises the price but offers a more attractive deal for gamers.
- HP ENVY 15t-j100 Quad Edition 4th-gen Core i7 "Haswell" Laptop for $649.99 with Free Shipping (normally $819.99 - use coupon code: LOGICBUY20).
- Dell Inspiron 660s Dual-core Slim Desktop w/ 20" Monitor for$399.99 with Free Shipping(normally $593.98).
- Xbox One Day One Complete Bundle for $669.95 with Free Shipping
- Corsair Vengeance K60 FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard for $59.99 (normally $109.99).
- XFX FX-785A-ZNL4 Core Edition Radeon HD 7850 Video Card for $89.99 with free shipping (normally $169.99).
- ASUS VX238H 23" LED Backlight Monitor for $114.99 with Free Shipping(normally $199.99).
- Kingston SSDNow V300 120GB 7mm SATA 6Gb/s SSD for $88.84 with Free Shipping(normally $159.99).
Subject: General Tech | December 3, 2013 - 01:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: purchase, ocz, toshiba
It is hard to say just how much per gigabyte Toshiba paid but for $35 million US they now own all of OCZ's storage, both consumer and enterprise. In the statement released at OCZ it is implied that not much will change at OCZ, the sales teams and engineers stand a good chance of retaining their jobs and the OCZ brand will live on. This lends credence to the statement made by OCZ yesterday that all warranties will continue to be honoured after their bankruptcy which should make many an enthusiast feel much more secure. It will be very interesting to see what the future will hold for Toshiba's SSD business now that they have access to all of OCZ's intellectual property. The Register has comments and a link to the press release here.
"The Japanese concern has indeed ridden to OCZ's rescue, thanks to a $US35m cheque that will see it “acquire OCZ's client and enterprise solid state drive business” according to the canned statement about the deal."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Logic operations on a nanomagnetic staircase @ Nanotechweb
- Keeping warm in winter the el Reg way: Setting a NAS box ON FIRE @ The Register
- HP dishes up FAIL-filled public cloud @ The Register
- Intel expected to ship 30 million tablet processors in 2014 @ DigiTimes
- Inforce IFC6410: Quad ARM A15 Snapdragon for $150 @ Linux.com
- Cellphone Charging Inductive Purse @ Hack a Day
- Christmas Global Joint Giveaway @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | December 3, 2013 - 10:32 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, usb, charger, anker
In my eternal goal to find the perfect USB charging solution for my varied use cases, I came across a 5-port unit from a company called Anker that is as close as I have found thus far. My needs are pretty concrete: lots of ports, high power to those ports and the ability to sit on a desk or table. The Anker E150 5V/5A 5-port wall charger is pretty close.
Though ideally I would like to see more than 5 ports, this capacity seems to be reasonable for most people with the standard allotment of electronics. As the name suggests, the Anker unit maxes out at 5A of output TOTAL for all 5 ports, though each port is rated at different amperage. The two ports labeled iPad will output up to 2.1A, the rest vary a bit.
Obviously the total amp output of those ports goes PAST the 5A maximum of the unit, so expect charging to slow down if you have all ports populated. I also wish that Anker would just label the outputs with their respective amperage rather than attempting to get product SEO with the current naming scheme.
Even better, the Anker E150 5V/5A 5-port wall charger can be picked up at Amazon for an impulse purchase price of $19!
Check out my full video overview below!!
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | December 3, 2013 - 04:12 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Kaveri, APU, amd
The launch and subsequent availability of Kaveri is scheduled for the CES time frame. The APU unites Steamroller x86 cores with several Graphics Core Next (GCN) cores. The high-end offering, the A10-7850K, is capable of 856 GFLOPs of compute power (most of which is of course from the GPU).
Image/Leak Credit: Prohardver.hu
We now know about two SKUs: the A10-7850K and the A10-7700K. Both parts are quite similar except that the higher model is given a 200 MHz CPU bump, 3.8 GHz to 4.0 Ghz, and 33% more GPU units, 6 to 8.
But how does this compare? The original source (prohardver.hu) claims that Kaveri will achieve an average 28 FPS in Crysis 3 on low at 1680x1050; this is a 12% increase over Richland. It also achieved an average 53 FPS with Sleeping Dogs on Medium which is 26% more than Richland.
These are healthy increases over the previous generation but do not even account for HSA advantages. I am really curious what will happen if integrated graphics become accessible enough that game developers decide to target it for general compute applications. The reduction in latency (semi-wasted time bouncing memory between compute devices) might open this architecture to where it can really shine.
We will do our best to keep you up to date on this part especially when it launches at CES.
Subject: General Tech | December 2, 2013 - 05:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, CM Storm, aluminium, Pulse-R, headset, mech, mechanical keyboard, Reaper, mouse
CoolerMaster have released a set of aluminium highlighted peripherals; the Pulse-R headset, Mech keyboard and Reaper gaming mouse. The headset is compatible with both 3.5mm jack and USB connections, offering both over the ear audio and a detachable microphone and was rated quite highly. The Mech keyboard uses Cherry MX Blue switches which are common place now, more unique is the look of the board and the features which include 64 N key rollover, LED back lighting, dual USB 3.0 ports and a charging port along with 128k of on board memory for macros. Wrapping up the package is the Reaper mouse, 8 buttons and an impressive looking scroll wheel with DPI capability as high as 8200.
"A few weeks ago we brought you three reviews from the aluminium loving peripheral range from CM Storm, this includes their Pulse-R headset, Mech keyboard and the Reaper mouse. All three of these products are designed to look great, not only on their own, but also when they’re put next to each other. CM Storm do not sell these three items as a complete set, but today we want to find out what it would be like to live with the trilogy together."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Max Keyboard Blackbird Tenkeyless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ Custom PC Review
- Logitech G510s Gaming Keyboard Review @ OCC
- Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 3 Gaming Keyboard @ NikKTech
- ROCCAT Raivo Gaming Mousepad Review @ Neoseeker
- How to use the PS4 Controller in Windows with XBOX Controller XInput Games @ HardCOREware
- Logitech G602 Wireless Gaming Mouse @ LanOC Reviews
- Tt eSPORTS VOLOS MMORPG Gaming Mouse @ NikKTech
- SteelSeries Sensei Fnatic @ LanOC Reviews
Subject: General Tech | December 2, 2013 - 04:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: MP4Nation, headphones, Brainwavz HM9, audio
The MP4Nation Brainwavz HM9 are portable over the ear headphones with a mini-jack connection, perfect for laptops and mobiles without a proprietary jack. Those using it on a cellphone will appreciate the microphone built in to the wires as well as the extra length that is provided. TechPowerUp liked the sound and design of the headphones but caution you to pay attention to the price, at the $120 preorder price they are a good bargain; not so much at the recommended $150 price point.
"MP4Nation is well known for their budget friendly headphone lineup. These solid over-ear headphones also come with a huge bundle and are built for a life on the go. Their pre-order price of $119 makes them a good price/performance option, too."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Razer Kraken Forged Edition Headphones @ Custom PC Review
- Corsair Vengeance 1500 V2 Gaming Headset @ Kitguru
- SteelSeries 5Hv3 Gaming Headset @ NikKTech
- Attitude One Tunguska 7.1 Virtual Surround USB Gaming Headset @ NikKTech
- CM Storm Pitch In-ear Gaming Headset @ techPowerUp
- Tt eSPORTS CRONOS Gaming Headset Review @ Neoseeker
- TDK TREK A26 Ultra-Portable Wireless Speaker @ NikKTech
- Arctic S113BT Portable Bluetooth Speaker @ Funky Kit
- Creative Sound Blaster ZxR Sound Card Review @ Madshrimps
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | December 2, 2013 - 03:16 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, ShadowPlay
They grow up so fast these days...
GeForce Experience is NVIDIA's software package, often bundled with their driver updates, to optimize the experience of their customers. This could be adding interesting features, such as GPU-accelerated game video capture, or just recommending graphics settings for popular games.
Version 1.8 adds many desired features lacking from the previous version. I always found it weird that GeForce Experience would recommend one good baseline settings for games, and set them for you, but force you to then go into the game and tweak from there. It would be nice to see multiple presets but that is not what we get; instead, we are able to tweak the settings from within GeForce Experience. The baseline tries to provide a solid 40 FPS at the most difficult moments, computationally. You can then tune the familiar performance and quality slider from there.
You are also able to set resolutions up to 3840x2160 and select whether you would like to play in windowed (including "borderless") mode.
Also, with ShadowPlay, Windows 7 users will also be able to "shadow" the last 20 minutes like their Windows 8 neighbors. You will also be able to combine your microphone audio with the in-game audio should you select it. I can see the latter feature being very useful for shoutcasters. Apparently it allows capturing VoIP communication and not just your microphone itself.
Still no streaming to Twitch.tv, yet. It is still coming.
For now, you can download GeForce Experience from NVIDIA's GeForce website. If you want to read a little more detail about it, first, you can check out their (much longer) blog post.
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