Beware of Snapdragons for they are subtle and quick to anger

Subject: General Tech | April 30, 2015 - 01:15 PM |
Tagged: snapdragon 810, qualcomm, LG, Samsung

There have been many stories about Qualcomm's difficulties lately, from the court case with NVIDIA to Samsung and LG not using their Snapdragon 810 for their new smartphones.  Qualcomm has struck back at the speculations about problems with this chip that rose from these decisions, pointing out that Microsoft, Xiaomi, Motorola and Sony will all be releasing devices with the Snapdragon 810 in the near future.  LG put in their two cents as well, pointing out their decision to use the 808 chip was made over a year ago and they are still planning on utilizing the next generation Snapdragon 820 in the future, not to mention that they use the 810 in their G Flex 2.  Samsung has also shown their belief in Qualcomm's products considering they will be fabbing the 820.  You can see a short video of an interview with Qualcomm about this topic over at The Register.

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"QUALCOMM HAS DEBUNKED chatter that LG ditched its octa-core Snapdragon 810 chip for the G4 owing to overheating problems."

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Source: The Register

Keep your GTA, there is an island to be 'liberated'

Subject: General Tech | April 29, 2015 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: gaming, chaos, just cause 3

Sure, pretending to be a gangster can be fun and the many gameplay videos of GTAV certainly make it look entertaining but it pales in comparison to the over the top chaotic gameplay of the Just Cause series.  Watch the trailer below which covers a mix of gameplay, scripted events and cutscenes invoke.  Now decide whether destroying a town with your grapple attached to a bus while flying a helicopter seems like more entertainment than using a mod to drop whales across GTAV's landscape.  The modding community will certainly develop more interesting things to do in GTAV, then again the JC2 modders helped have the multiplayer version of the chaos simulator.  Up to you if you would rather demolish things as a gangster or as a 'liberator'.

Whatever you do remember, only you can stop pre-orders.

"Watching the “gameplay reveal” trailer for Just Cause 3 is like watching the ambitions of every guns, vehicles and explosions game made real. It’s the ludicrously overblown action blockbuster that Uncharted’s scripted events and cutscenes invoke."

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Put some Spring in your step with new peripherals

Subject: General Tech | April 29, 2015 - 12:34 PM |
Tagged: freesync, 4k, gsync, keyboard, gaming mouse, input

It has been a relatively quiet year for new CPUs and GPUs as we await new releases apart from the occasional incredibly high priced new product.  On the peripheral side it has been anything but quiet, with numerous gaming mice and keyboards of both mechanical and other types being released.  Not only that but we are finally starting to see both AMD and NVIDIA's variable refresh rate monitors appear on the market as well as new 4k and other more traditional displays.  The Tech Report has some recommendations for all of the above as well as other backup peripherals, audio devices and more in this article here.

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"It's time for our latest roundup of recommendations for monitors, keyboards, mice, and more. We've tied it all together in our April 2015 peripheral staff picks."

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Cirrus7 Shows Off Fanless Nimbini Broadwell NUC PC

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | April 28, 2015 - 08:15 PM |
Tagged: cirrus7, SFF, nuc, broadwell-u, fanless

Next month, German manufacturer Cirrus7 will begin shipping its new Nimbini system. The Nimbini is an even smaller variant of the company’s small form factor Nimbus PC. This time, Cirrus7 has managed to pack a Intel NUC system into a fanless case with multiple layers of stacked laser cut aluminum panels that double as a heatsink for the internals. Even better, the Nimbini supports Intel’s Rock Canyon and Maple Canyon NUC boards, and supports Broadwell-U processors up to the 28W Core i7 models with Iris Graphics (e.g. the two core, four thread, Core i7-5557U with Iris Graphics 6100).

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The Nimbini will come as a complete system (150 x 150 x 87mm) preloaded with Windows or Ubuntu Linux operating systems or as a barebones DIY kit – which at upwards of 90 pieces (per FanlessTech) is not for the faint-of-heart! This case can be customized to add different covers and to vary the thickness of the case by adding or removing layers. The standard configuration leaves room for a 2.5” drive in addition to the usual M.2 SSD used with NUCs. If you aren’t using that second storage drive, you can make the case thinner or expand it for maximum cooling. While also aesthetically pleasing, the best part about the aluminum construction is that it is a fanless design which is perfect for a HTPC (home theater PC) or audio engineering setup. Cirrus7 claims to support up to 28W processor TDPs without any fans.

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Rear IO for the Intel Maple Canyon NUC installed in the layered Nimbini chassis.

Cirrus7 will being taking pre-orders in May. Among others, both the Rock Canyon (with its IR receiver and accompanying case window) and Maple Canyon internal hardware (NUC boards) with dual DisplayPort outputs will be on offer. Pricing has not yet been announced, but it looks promising if you are looking for a premium silent SFF PC.

Source: Cirrus7

Windows 10 "Getting Started" Video Updated for Build 10061

Subject: General Tech | April 28, 2015 - 07:27 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10, BUILD, build 2015

BUILD 2015 begins tomorrow, and I expect we'll learn the last features that Microsoft intends to add to Windows 10 at launch. The conference is targeted at software and web developers first and foremost. We might not see too much on the consumer side, but we should get under-the-hood information that will be relevant to consumers. For instances, some questions about Windows Store, WinRT, and DirectX 12 might be answered. We might even get a public DirectX 12 SDK (and more).

Note: WinRT (API) is not the same as Windows RT (OS).

As we noted earlier, development was forked into a 100xx-branch and a 101xx-branch of build numbers. We assume that, due to the proximity to the conference, the lower build number is getting polished for public presentation while the higher builds will surface later, with more experimental features.

Microsoft published an introduction video, based on the 10061 build, to introduce the new OS to new users. I guess they are expecting a new wave of testers after the conference, probably both developers and enterprise evaluators. It is brief but interesting, although it surprisingly did not mention anything about the “Continuum” interface to switch between mouse/keyboard and touch experiences.

As stated, BUILD 2015 starts tomorrow and we will probably have a bit of coverage for it.

Source: Neowin

Garbage Day on Steam Greenlight

Subject: General Tech | April 28, 2015 - 04:08 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming

If you have ever watched the movie Groundhog Day, then the premise of this game should be familiar. Garbage Day borrows its premise and lets the player do whatever they want for a day, and time resets. The game is said to justify the theme with a nuclear power accident, because the average person doesn't understand how nuclear energy works so why not?

In the movie, this gave Bill Murray countless opportunities, literally, to understand the town and figure out what he was supposed to do to move on with his life. This is the core of many video games, such as the Hitman franchise, but it is perceived as repeated failures. The game will supposedly have an end state to allow the player to break the cycle based on their actions. Unlike a stealth-action game however, it looks like it encourages goofing off as a means to soften the repetition.

It's an interesting thought and it's on Steam Greenlight, albeit without a (recent) demo.

Kubuntu drops the old KDE for the new Plasma 5 desktop environment

Subject: General Tech | April 28, 2015 - 12:31 PM |
Tagged: plasma, linux, kubuntu

Kubuntu came about when Ubuntu switched to the Unity desktop environment as a KDE based alternative, which as Linux.com points out caused much disgust due to bugs at launch and a less than attractive interface.  The newest version now uses the Plasma 5 environment, the first release to do so, replacing version 4 which has been in use almost decade now.  This distro still uses Dolphin as its file manager but now uses Simple Desktop Display Manager (SDDM) instead of KDM.  It also incorporates systemd, with these two changes users of Arch Linux will feel right at home.  Check out the review for a list of the programs it ships with as well as the ones that Linux.com added after the fact to make Kubuntu work best for their machines.

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"The latest version of Kubuntu, 15.04, aka Vivid Vervet was released last week and it's available for free download. With this release it has become the first major distro to ship Plasma 5 as the default desktop environment."

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Source: Linux.com

Godavari rumours abound

Subject: General Tech | April 27, 2015 - 01:04 PM |
Tagged: Summit Ridge, rumours, Godavari, Bristol Ridge, amd

This morning DigiTimes is reporting on a unconfirmed rumour that AMD's new APU, Godavari, will be arriving towards the end of May of this year.  This goes along with the leak that WCCFtech reported on this weekend, they have information that the chip will be a Kaveri design with up to four Steamroller cores, a GCN 1.1 base GPU with up to 512 stream processors and a dual-channel DDR3 memory in an FM2+ socket.  If their information is accurate you can expect to see models with 65W or 95W TDPs and boost clocks in the 4GHz range depending on the model.  Also worth noting is the rumour that AMD has placed orders with ASMedia Technology for USB 3.1 controller ICs for release in September.

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"AMD will launch Godavari series APUs at the end of May to compete with Intel's Broadwell and Skylake platforms, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers."

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Source: DigiTimes

Window 10 Technical Previews Will Expire (As Expected)

Subject: General Tech | April 26, 2015 - 07:31 AM |
Tagged: windows 10, windows, microsoft

There are still a few users on old Windows 10 Technical Preview builds from 2014. In a few days, there won't be: their computers will refuse to boot. The affected builds that will completely brick themselves on April 30th are 9841, 9860, and 9879. You cannot accuse Microsoft of surprising users though, because Windows has been notifying them since April 2nd and force-rebooting every three hours since April 15th if they didn't take the warnings seriously. The current batch of builds are valid until October.

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WinBeta has linked this policy to Microsoft's rumored piracy policy. My thoughts? No.

This is actually typical of Microsoft when it comes to pre-release operating systems. In fact, the only difference between this and Vista's pre-release (ex: “Beta 2”) expiration is that Microsoft relaxed the reboot time to three hours. It was two hours back in the Vista era but otherwise identical. That policy only applied to the previews then, and I see no reason to believe that it will be extended to released operating systems now.

Granted, with the Windows 10 continuous update structure, it does raise concern about what will happen if/when Microsoft releases a build that users don't want. For instance, imagine Microsoft decides to cut off legacy support for Win32 -- will customers have the ability to opt-out of the upgrade treadmill and continue to use applications that are then unsupported, like practically every Steam game they own?

But I see no reason to think that this policy has anything to do with that.

Source: WinBeta

The new and improved Rosewill RK-9000V2

Subject: General Tech | April 24, 2015 - 03:22 PM |
Tagged: rosewill, RK-9000V2, mechanical keyboard, input, cherry mx brown

The Tech Report has had some less than positive experiences with Rosewill's RK-9000, while the actual keyboard is quite functional there have been many issues with the USB connectors.  Rosewill has now released the RK-9000V2, very similar to the original model but with an improved cord and connector.  The model they were sent to review has Cherry MX brown switches, with other flavours available if you prefer a different switch.  Currently the RK-9000V sells at $99.99 for the red, black, and blue variants and $109.99 for the brown, making this an affordable option for those who want a mechanical keyboard.

Scott rightly pointed out that the 9000V2 is the third incarnation of this keyboard, he reviewed the second generation back in 2012.

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"Rosewill's RK-9000 is one of the most popular mechanical keyboards around. Now there's a new version, the RK-9000V2, and we've gotten our hands on one to see how it compares to the original."

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