PCPer 10 Days of Christmas: Day 3 - Intel Core i7-4790K

Subject: General Tech, Processors | December 16, 2014 - 11:00 AM |
Tagged: Intel, holiday, devil's canyon, 10 days of christmas

Are you still hunting for that perfect gift for the hardware and technology fan in your life? Or maybe you are looking for recommendations to give to your friends and family about what to buy for YOU? Or maybe you just want something new and cool to play with over the break? Welcome to PC Perspective's 10 Days of Christmas where we will suggest a new item each day for you to consider. Enjoy!

Today, we go from rusty gates (or rather cutting the bolts off of them with a Dremel) to tri-gates. Either way, you are probably looking for hardware that prides itself on variable speed. If you are looking to build or upgrade an upper-mainstream desktop PC, then the Intel Core i7-4790K is the last stop before Haswell-E.

intel-devilscanyon-lid.JPG

The CPU, codenamed Devil's Canyon, was Intel's offering for mainstream gamers and non-Enthusiast (capital E) enthusiasts during their Haswell refresh. It is cooler than its 4770K predecessor due to an improved thermal interface under the processor lid. It is a deal this week because its price dropped down to $299.99, which is about $50 below Intel's list price.

intel-devilscanyon-overview.JPG

If you are having trouble picking out a gift for a loved one, consider buying an Amazon.com gift card! Amazon has basically every product on the planet for your gift recipient to order and purchasing gift cards through these links directly sponsors and supports PC Perspective! And hey, if you were to buy gift cards for yourself to do your own Amazon-based Christmas shopping...that wouldn't exactly be a bad thing for us either! ;)

Did you miss any of our other PCPer 10 Days of Christmas posts?

NVIDIA Launches Half-Life 2: Episode One on SHIELD Tablet

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | December 15, 2014 - 03:31 PM |
Tagged: shield tablet, shield, Portal, nvidia, half-life 2: episode one, half-life 2, google play, google, Android

Back in November, we published news about the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet update to Android 5.0. A part of the update was the “Green Box” promotion, which gives Half-Life 2, Portal, and Half-Life 2: Episode One free with the purchase of a 32GB LTE SHIELD Tablet. Today, Half-Life 2: Episode One launches on Google Play store for $7.99 USD (or free with the Green Box). Unlike Half-Life 2 and Portal, which runs on the original NVIDIA SHIELD, Episode One requires an NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet. It also requires a controller.

nvidia-shield-tablet-hl2episodeone.jpg

Like the previous release of Half-Life 2 and Portal, this is a complete port to the ARM architecture of NVIDIA Tegra K1. The game will run natively on the device, without being streamed from a host PC. For a little perspective, the Tegra K1 has a little more compute performance than a GeForce 9600 GT – a popular mid-range GPU that launched two years after Episode One.

Half-Life 2: Episode One launched today for $7.99 USD (or free with “The Green Box” bundle).

Source: Google

PCPer 10 Days of Christmas: Day 2 - Dremel 4000 Variable Speed Rotary Tool Kit

Subject: General Tech | December 15, 2014 - 12:00 PM |
Tagged: holiday, dremel, 10 days of christmas

Are you still hunting for that perfect gift for the hardware and technology fan in your life? Or maybe you are looking for recommendations to give to your friends and family about what to buy for YOU? Or maybe you just want something new and cool to play with over the break? Welcome to PC Perspective's 10 Days of Christmas where we will suggest a new item each day for you to consider. Enjoy!

Sure, computers are fun, but sometimes they need just a little bit of tweaking. Yes, we are talking about case mods. Far and away the favorite tool for this kind of work is the classic Dremel - a variable speed model that ranges from 5,000 to 35,000 RPM.

dremel1.jpg

If you are unfamiliar with Dremel tools, these are really a jack-of-all-trades device. The kit that we are referencing at Amazon.com includes attachments for cutting, sanding, grinding, polishing and more. There are lot more accessories for the Dremel as well so it's a good idea to explore all of these options to see the breadth of projects it can be helpful on. And with a price tag of just $85 for this kit, it's a budget gift that you can get for just about anyone.

dremel2.jpg

If you are having trouble picking out a gift for a loved one, consider buying an Amazon.com gift card! Amazon has basically every product on the planet for your gift recipient to order and purchasing gift cards through these links directly sponsors and supports PC Perspective! And hey, if you were to buy gift cards for yourself to do your own Amazon-based Christmas shopping...that wouldn't exactly be a bad thing for us either! ;)

Did you miss any of our other PCPer 10 Days of Christmas posts?

Manufacturer: Multiple

Finding Your Clique

One of the difficulties with purchasing a mechanical keyboard is that they are quite expensive and vary greatly in subtle, but important ways. First and foremost, we have the different types of keyswitches. These are the components that are responsible for making each button behave, and thus varying them will lead to variations in how those buttons react and feel.

cherrymx-barekeyswitch.png

Until recently, the Cherry MX line of switches were the basis of just about every major gaming mechanical keyboard, although we will discuss recent competitors later on. Its manufacturer, Cherry Corp / ZF Electronics, maintained a strict color code to denote the physical properties of each switch. These attributes range from the stiffness of the spring to the bumps and clicks felt (or heard) as the key travels toward its bottom and returns back up again.

  Linear Tactile Clicky
45 cN Cherry MX Red
Cherry MX Brown
Razer Orange
Omron/Logitech Romer-G
 
50 cN    
Cherry MX Blue
Cherry MX White (old B)
Razer Green
55 cN   Cherry MX Clear  
60 cN Cherry MX Black    
80 cN Cherry MX Linear Grey (SB) Cherry MX Tactile Grey (SB)
Cherry MX Green (SB)
Cherry MX White (old A)
Cherry MX White (2007+)
90 cN     IBM Model M (not mechanical)
105 cN     Cherry MX Click Grey (SB)
150+ cN Cherry MX Super Black    

(SB) Denotes switches with stronger springs that are primarily for, or only for, Spacebars. The Click Grey is intended for spacebars on Cherry MX White, Green, and Blue keyboards. The MX Green is intended for spacebars on Cherry MX Blue keyboards (but a few rare keyboards use these for regular keys). The MX Linear Grey is intended for spacebars on Cherry MX Black keyboards.

The four main Cherry MX switches are: Blue, Brown, Black, and Red. Other switches are available, such as the Cherry MX Green, Clear, three types of Grey, and so forth. You can separate (I believe) all of these switches into three categories: Linear, Tactile, and Clicky. From there, the only difference is the force curve, usually from the strength of the spring but also possibly from the slider features (you'll see what I mean in the diagrams below).

Read on to see a theoretical comparison of various mechanical keyswitches.

PCPer 10 Days of Christmas: Day 1 - Google Nexus 7 Tablet

Subject: General Tech | December 14, 2014 - 10:49 AM |
Tagged: holiday, 10 days of christmas

Are you still hunting for that perfect gift for the hardware and technology fan in your life? Or maybe you are looking for recommendations to give to your friends and family about what to buy for YOU? Or maybe you just want something new and cool to play with over the break? Welcome to PC Perspective's 10 Days of Christmas where we will suggest a new item each day for you to consider. Enjoy!

The original Nexus 7 launched in 2012 and the 2013 revision was a drastic improvement in style, performance and battery life. It was such a good tablet, that even a year later, it's very likely the most popular Android tablet on the market.

nexus7.jpg

The Nexus 7 is a 7-in tablet with a 1920x1200 resolution IPS screen that holds up well in sunlight and has Gorilla Glass to resist scratches. The tablet is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro 8064 1.5GHz processor that is a bit long in the tooth but is able handle computing tasks quite handily. Obviously something like the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet would be better for dedicated gaming, but the Nexus 7 will hold its own in that area as well.

Other specifications include 2GB of DDR3L memory, 802.11n WiFi, a 15 Wh battery and it was recently updated to Android 5.0 Lollipop, that latest version Android.

nexus72.jpg

Though Google has removed the Nexus 7 from its Google Play store, you can still find it on Amazon and BHPhoto.com in both 16GB and 32GB variants.

If you are having trouble picking out a gift for a loved one, consider buying an Amazon.com gift card! Amazon has basically every product on the planet for your gift recipient to order and purchasing gift cards through these links directly sponsors and supports PC Perspective! And hey, if you were to buy gift cards for yourself to do your own Amazon-based Christmas shopping...that wouldn't exactly be a bad thing for us either! ;)

BitTorrent Labs Working On New Versions of Sync

Subject: General Tech | December 13, 2014 - 02:03 AM |
Tagged: file sync, folder sync, bittorrent sync

BitTorrent Sync is an immensely useful application that uses the torrent protocol to securely synchronize files across PCs and mobile devices. The program has been in the “beta” stage for awhile now, but BitTorrent Labs is preparing to drop the “beta” tag with the introduction of Sync 2.0 as well as a new paid-for premium version dubbed Sync Pro.

BitTorrent Sync 2.png

BitTorrent Labs will be spinning Sync off into three main products, Sync 2.0, an enterprise file replication program, and a cross platform mobile-to-mobile file transfer app.

According to the developers, Sync’s capabilities have rapidly expanded beyond simple file transfer. Sync 2.0 will continue in the same vein as the current application, adding new functionality on top of the existing free Sync 1.4 code base. Sync Pro will be a paid for version that will unlock additional features including selective file sync (a feature that Microsoft is planning to remove from OneDrive), granular ownership and file permissions (along with revocation) for shared folders, and synchronization between desktop and mobile governed by new private identities that will associate all of your devices and simplify syncing.

BitTorrent Sync Pro File Ownership.png

Sync Pro will allow more granular control over file ownership along with selective file sync.

The free version of Sync (Sync 2.0) will retain all of the functionality of the current version with some improvements and bug fixes. From there, users will be able to upgrade to Sync Pro for $39.99 per user, per year. Users will create an identity that will allow Sync Pro to be activated on all of their devices and will associate all of their devices (from which users can direct which files/folders should be synced to each device). BitTorrent Labs claims the identities are offline and private though they did not provide specifics on payment options and related privacy implications of the new premium license model and identity system.

Sync File Replication is a niche tool aimed at IT administrators that will allow business users to replicate out files and folders across thousands of devices and monitor and manage all of the associated sync operations. The program uses the Sync engine but is tooled to scale to hundreds or thousands of devices. The developers claims to have achieved a full synchronization to 1,000 PCs in under one minute in their test environment.

Additionally, BitTorrent Labs is bringing back the mobile-to-mobile file transfer feature that some may remember from earlier versions of the Sync app for mobile devices. The new Sync Mobile Large File Transfer application is being spun off into its own, separate, mobile app. It will be cross platform (iOS, Android, et al) and will  allow users to send and receive files without including a PC in the sync group.

The introduction of a paid version is a new, but not suprising twist considering its popularity and usefulness. The talk of Sync going open source appears to be merely talk, however as BitTorrent Labs looks to profit off Sync (they could still go with a licensed open source model but I feel like if they were going to do that, it would have been one of the touted features and new directions for Sync 2.0). I would have liked to see Sync go open source (if only for a full security audit) but even closed source I will likely continue using it as it is a useful and easy to use program. 

You can sign up for more information on Sync 2.0 (and when it will be available for download) on this web page. Further, this forum thread provides some much needed clarifications to their previous announcement.

Source: BitTorrent

KB3004394 could be what is interfering with Omega and other programs on your Windows 7 machine

Subject: General Tech | December 12, 2014 - 12:16 PM |
Tagged: root certificates, microsoft, KB3004394, catalyst omega

The recently released KB3004394, an update for Win 7 and Server 2008 Root Certificate Program has been causing havoc with many machines and could also be what is causing the installation errors some users have had with the AMD Catalyst Omega driver.  It is not just the new AMD driver, NVIDIA users have also seen installation issues after accepting this update and that is only the tip of the iceberg.  Reports of issues with VirtualBox, Microsoft Security Essentials, Windows Update itself and many other programs and system files are being negatively effected by this update.  If you have it on your system Microsoft recommends you manually remove it to prevent issues with your machine now and in the long term using Programs and Features --> Installed Updates.

For those who can still access Windows update you should see KB3024777, which will remove the problematic update automatically or you can download it directly from Microsoft here.

remove.GIF

"We have found that this update is causing additional problem on computers that are running Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. This includes the inability to install future updates."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Microsoft

Podcast #329 - Samsung 850 EVO, AMD Catalyst Omega, NZXT H440 Razer and more!

Subject: General Tech | December 11, 2014 - 03:48 PM |
Tagged: z97, video, Samsung, podcast, plex, nzxt, Maximus VII Impact, h440 razer, h440, FM2+, crossblade ranger, catalyst omega, asus, amd, 850 EVO

PC Perspective Podcast #329 - 12/11/2014

Join us this week as we discuss the Samsung 850 EVO, AMD Catalyst Omega, NZXT H440 Razer and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

 

 

Samsung's 32-layer VNAND dissected by TechInsights, analysed by 3DInCities

Subject: General Tech, Storage | December 11, 2014 - 03:30 PM |
Tagged: vnand, TEM, SEM, Schiltron, Samsung, cross section, 3D VNAND

Since Samsung announced VNAND, we have been following its developments with great interest. You might have seen some of Andrew Walker's cool mock ups of what this new VNAND might look like:

AndyFig1.png

Once a technology is released to the public, the only thing stopping you from knowing how it works is the ability to look inside. With detailed imagery of 32-layer VNAND recently released by TechInsights, not only was Andy able to conduct a very thorough analysis at his blog, we are able to get some incredibly detailed looks at just what makes this new flash memory tick:

Picture2.png

Flash packaging, showing interconnect traces (which connect the outside of the package to the flash dies contained within).

Picture3.png

1x: The 3D VNAND die itself. We'll use this as a point of reference of the magnification levels moving forward.

AndyFig3.png

350x: This is the edge of the die, showing how the word (data) lines are connected to the individual layers.

Picture5.png

1,500x: There it is, all 32 layers in all of their vertical glory. The only thing more amazing about the technology at play to create such a complex 3D structure at such a small scale, is the technology used to slice it in half (some of the material is tungsten) and take such a detailed 'picture' of that cross section.

Picture10.png

30,000x: Finally, we have a top down slice of the channels themselves. This lets us get a good idea of the rough process node at play here. While the columns are 80nm in diameter, there are other features that are smaller, so the process itself still seemes to be in the ~40nm range.

Our focus is of course on the performance more than the extremeny low level bits, but it is definitely cool to see imagery of this new tech. For those curious, we encourage you to check out the detailed analysis done over at 3DInCities.

Time to upgrade your alarm clock?

Subject: General Tech | December 11, 2014 - 02:56 PM |
Tagged: audio, bluetooth, clock

The Edifier Tick Tock Bluetooth alarm clock will remind the older readers of the windup alarm clocks of long ago but this one has a few new capabilities.  Apart from the digital display and 5 programmable alarms it is an FM radio with a pair of omnidirectional 4W speakers with a frequency response of 90Hz-20kHz.  That gives it much better sound quality than your average clock radio although the bass is poor, understandable considering the size of the drivers.  In addition to the FM you can input audio via an auxiliary input or pair it with a Bluetooth device so you can also fall asleep listening to the Tick Tock.  It is currently in stock on Amazon for $50 and might make a good gift.  Check the review at Madshrimps if you know someone who needs help with their sleeping patterns.

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"Do not be deceived by the mousy look of the retro Edifier Tick Tock Bluetooth retro alarm clock; thanks to the dual drivers, it is able to produce decent quality sound without distortions and at pretty high volumes. The bass is a little on the low side which is perfectly understandable but considering the overall size of the device, we cannot consider this as a negative point."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: MadShrimps