Logitech Announces the G29 and G920 Racing Wheels

Subject: General Tech | June 11, 2015 - 04:00 AM |
Tagged: stainless steel, racing wheel, racing pedals, racing h-gear shifter, logitech, leather, G920, G29, G27, force feedback, aluminum

PC peripherals are a fickle market for companies.  Some products get replaced and updated in a very short period of time, while others remain relatively stable and the product line lasts for years.  Logitech has laid claim to one of the longest serving products in the peripheral field with the G27 racing wheel.  This product has proven to be a popular accessory for those wishing to race on a variety of platforms with a clutch, stick shift, and a force feedback wheel.  For the time it was a rather expensive part that reached the $400 mark at introduction, but has eased down to the mid-$250US range.  Five years is a long time for such a product, but the overall design and quality of the G27 has insured its place as one of the better buys of this decade.

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The G29 has a unique layout of buttons, d-pad, and a 35 position rotary knob.

Time passes and all things must change.  The G27 has lost some of its luster as compared to some of the latest products from Thrustmaster and Fanatec.  We are now in the midst of a resurgence of racing titles from a variety of sources, some of which are emerging from relatively unknown developers and veteran studios alike.  Assetto Corsa, Project Cars, DiRT Rally, and F1 2015 plus a variety of paid and F2P titles are vying for racer’s attention in this very verdant environment of software titles.  We must also not forget the new marketplace opened up by the PS4 and Xbox One.  Logitech, in their quest to gain the hearts and loyalties of gamers has renewed their push into this marketplace with a variety of Gaming products.  Today we get our first look at the two latest entries from Logitech into the racing wheel world.

Today Logitech is announcing their latest two editions to the high end racing accessory market.  The G29 has been leaked and covered, but the G920 is a new revelation to the world.  The G29 is aimed at the PS3 and PS4 market and will be available for purchase in early July of this year.  The G920 is the Xbox One and PC model that will be released this Fall.  The models differ with their button layout, but they are both based on a lot of the same technology that powers the force feedback experience in modern racing games.

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The pedals are not as colorful as the G27 (it had red accents), but it looks nearly identical to the older part.  Stainless steel pedals plus a clutch.

The base unit features a dual motor design with helical gears rather than belt driven.  The helical gears should result in less backlash as compared to a belt design which can stretch and distort the feeling of the wheel.  The shaft of the wheel features solid stainless steel bearings so that wear and tear should be kept to a minimum.  The shifters and pedals are also made of stainless steel so that these high-wear parts will work for years without issue.

The wheel itself is made of hand-stitched leather over a plastic and aluminum framing.  The wheel also features a LED light rev indicator that reports to users when to shift at redline.  The clamping system allows the wheel to be used on desks as well as driving stations through either a clamp or bolts.  The three pedal stand is of a decent weight and of course features a clutch pedal that many competing products do not have.

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The G920 is a bit more minimalist in terms of button layout.  This wheel does not feature the rev/shift LEDs that the G29 has, and this is due to how the consoles address hardware.  Apparently it is just not feasible for the XBox One to do this.

The G29 and G920 differ in their button layout, but both feature the three pedal set and paddle shift setup.  As compared to competing products from Thrustmaster and Fanatec at this price point, there is no ability to swap out wheels with the base unit.  For example both Thrustmaster and Fanatec offer a variety of wheels that can be interchanged with the hub with the gearing and force feedback hardware.  Both of those companies have a great amount of flexibility with accessories that can be swapped in and out.  This of course comes with a significant price.  The competing Thrustmaster set has F1 and other wheels that cost anywhere from $150 to $250, while Fanatec will allow a user to customize their setup for the low, low price of $1,000US plus.

The G29 and G920 include the wheel and three pedal setup as stock at $399.99.  If a user wants to include a 6-speed manual shifter, then it will cost an extra $59.99US.  That particular product is configured as an H pattern shifter, but it is not included in the base package for the G29 or G920.

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The G920 pedals are essentially identical to the G29 unit.

It is great to see the G29 available in an early July timeframe, but it is slightly disappointing that the G920 will not hit the market until this Fall.  As a die-hard PC gamer it will be a few months before I can get hands on the G920 and put it through its paces.  The racing wheel market is not overly large as most users rely on gamepads, joysticks, and keyboards for their racing needs.  As such, we do not see refreshes on a regular basis as compared to keyboards, mice, and other devices.  It is great to see Logitech addressing this market with new products that bring new features.

Edit: According to the Logitech website, the G29 CAN be used with a PC as long as the users has the Logitech Gaming software installed.

Source: Logitech

Microsoft Releases Windows 10 Build 10130 ISOs

Subject: General Tech | June 11, 2015 - 12:53 AM |
Tagged: windows update, windows 10, microsoft, ISO

Microsoft pushed out the Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 10130 to Fast Ring users late last month, and now the company is releasing downloadable ISOs for the build. Microsoft is not yet ready to make this build available to Slow Ring users, but the company is making a special exception in releasing ISO files of the build (Microsoft usually only makes ISOs available after the build has been pushed to the Slow Ring). Specifically, the ISOs are being posted online in response to certain Fast Ring users getting a 0x80246017 error and not being able to upgrade using Windows Update.

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Build 10130 will eventually come to the Slow Ring, but the company is still working on fixing several bugs including taskbar flyouts not working properly. For now we will have to wait.

However, if you are on the Fast Ring and are unable to use Windows Update, you can download the appropriate ISO for your language and system (32-bit or 64-bit), mount it, and apply the update by running the installer.

Download the Windows 10 Build 10130 ISO from the Windows Insider website.

Source: Microsoft

A week or so as a Witcher

Subject: General Tech | June 10, 2015 - 03:44 PM |
Tagged: gaming, The Witcher 3, CD Projekt RED

Techgage has spent a while in the open world of The Witcher 3 and are ready to share their experiences.  The open world is very open, you will find yourself wandering into areas you are not ready for without warning and at 50 hours in the reviewer is still seeing the occasional tutorial pop-up so they are nowhere near finishing.  You may find yourself abandoning a quest to do other side quests in order to become powerful enough to survive the encounter with the boss at the end of the quest you originally intended to do.  That is the heart and soul of a truly open game, which CD Projekt RED seem to have mastered.  Check out their review right here.

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"This land is deep in darkness, words do little to describe the hell that has befallen. War, pillaging, oppression, greed, politics and scandals. We are beyond the petty battles of good and evil, for all have monsters living within. With the stench of deceit in the air, what this world needs, is a Witcher."

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Gaming

Source: Techgage

Now that's a Surface you can get excited about

Subject: General Tech | June 10, 2015 - 02:32 PM |
Tagged: surface hub, microsoft

The Microsoft Surface that we were promised ages ago is finally being released in the form of the Surface Hub.  Two models will be available for pre-order at the start of July, a $7000 55" model and a $20,000 84" version with a delivery date in September.  The screens can recognize up to 100 touchpoints and are also designed with a stylus in mind so you can use it as a whiteboard or to add comments to your media in real time.  The device sports infrared, imaging and depth sensors which can be used to add to your meetings.  The smaller model is powered by Intel's HD4600 while the larger model contains an NVIDIA Quadro K2200.  Check it out at The Inquirer.

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"MICROSOFT HAS ANNOUNCED that an 84in Surface device will go on sale next month at the bargain price of $20,000. Microsoft announced the Surface Hub 55in and 84in touchscreen all-in-one devices in January, and said today that they will be available to order from 1 July."

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Source: The Inquirer

Need a little high end audio? Check out HiFiMAN's EF100 DAC and Amp

Subject: General Tech | June 9, 2015 - 06:04 PM |
Tagged: audio, hifiman, EF100, DAC, tube

Just the look of the EF100 DAC from HiFiMAN gives you the notion that this is not an entry level peice of audio equipment, it is aimed at those who desire near studio quality audio but who lack the means to rent studio time or buy professional level equipment.  The $500 price tag is steep but you get what you pay for, a tube driven amplifier with C-Media CM102s inside with two analogue inputs, a mini-jack and RCA inputs. If this sounds like something you might need in your life check out TechPowerUp's review right here.

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"HiFiMAN has a reputation for producing great headphone amplifiers. Today, we take a look at their newest do-it-all headphone amplifier & DAC combo with an on-board T-amp. This all-encompassing device features a class A/B headphone amplifier with a tube input stage. Despite all its features, it sells for $499, which is quite impressive."

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Audio Corner

 

Source: techPowerUp

Do you like WINE?

Subject: General Tech | June 9, 2015 - 03:57 PM |
Tagged: wine, linux

There is a tool that will be familiar to regular Linux users but perhaps not to those who have yet to spend time with the open source OS which is called WINE.  It was originally developed to run a limited selection of Windows applications in Linux but has since grown to support 22419 applications as of today.  If you want to try Linux especially if you feel limited by the amount of Steam games supported then you should check out the tutorial at Linux.com.  The hardware requirements for Ubuntu and WINE are very low, this is a perfect opportunity to get some old hardware up and running and give Linux a shot, while still being able to use most of the Windows applications you are used to.

On the other hand if you are familiar with Linux, you knew all this already.

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"To overcome this weakness, a compatibility layer called WINE was created. The name originally stood for Wine Is Not an Emulator (because everyone mistook the tool for a Windows emulator). The name is now simply Wine."

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Source: Linux.com

Skype for Web Beta in the US and UK

Subject: General Tech | June 8, 2015 - 01:48 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, skype

If you are on the go and need to make a Skype call from a machine you cannot install software on and your mobile device is out of juice or just not big enough, there is a new beta you can try out in the US and UK.  Head over to Skype.com or web.skype.com and log into your account, install a plug-in for the supported browsers which are IE, Chrome, Safari and Firefox and make your call.  The beta will be coming to everyone soon, a good idea since most usage scenarios would likely involve travellers calling home and you can check out the link to the blog post at The Register.

In addition The Inquirer let us know that the Skype for Windows desktop client will be updated to include the real time translation tool for all users.  The release may possibly coincide with the upcoming release of Windows 10, whether that OS will be ready or not is a different question.

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"Microsoft has released a beta web browser version of Skype in the US and UK, which will apparently be rolled out worldwide within the next few weeks."

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Source: The Register

Microsoft Will Support OpenSSH In Windows PowerShell

Subject: General Tech | June 7, 2015 - 08:35 PM |
Tagged: windows, remote management, powershell, openssh, mac os x, linux

Citing both leadership and corporate cultural changes within Microsoft, the PowerShell team – led by Team Group Software Engineering Manager Angel Calvo – excitedly announced support for OpenSSH earlier this week. Specifically, the team (finally, after the third such attempt) got the go-ahead from Microsoft's leadership and plans are underway to natively support OpenSSH in PowerShell as well as to contribute to the OpenBSD project on behalf of Microsoft.

Details are scarce, but this is great news for system administrators and a nice extra feature for enthusiasts that like to dabble in those "other" operating systems (which is to say, pretty much every OS except Windows) and remotely access them over a secure SSH connection to perform maintenance or transfer files.

PuTTY and PSCP from Windows to Linux Machine.jpg

Currently, Windows users need to use third party tools to support SSH clients and servers such as PuTTY (and PSCP) and Cygwin (not pictured).

Until now, users have had to rely on third party tools such as PuTTY, Filezilla, and Cygwin among others for their SSH, SCP, and SFTP needs. Accessing Linux machines using PuTTY is fairly straightforward, but going the other direction and trying to set it up so that you can access a Windows machine from a Linux machine over SSH could certainly be made easier and more stable. Native support for OpenSSH would mean both client and server support built into Windows and support for SSH, SFTP, and SCP protocols. 

From the MSDN blog and this twitter exchange, OpenSSH in Windows PowerShell is still in its infancy. It will not be launching with the rest of Windows 10 on July 29th, but with the level of customer interest hopefully pushing the refreshed Microsoft to make this a priority we may see it within the next year or two, and certainly before Windows 11!

Are you ready to get your native SSH on using PowerShell, or will you be sticking with your current third party implementations?

Source: Microsoft

Computex 2015: PowerColor Debuts Devil HDX Sound Card

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 6, 2015 - 07:00 AM |
Tagged: sound card, powercolor, devil hdx, computex

PowerColor is best known as an add-in board (AIB) partner of AMD who has also branched out into cases and power supplies. This year, they have introduced a new product category: sound cards. The PowerColor Devil HDX connects via PCIe and can take up one or two slots, depending on whether the user wants to install its included (!!) daughterboard with analog (4 x 3.5mm) surround outputs and a microphone input. Without the daughterboard, the card has a quarter-inch headphone jack, two analog RCA jacks for stereo, an RCA SPDIF output, and an optical SPDIF output. The main card is covered in a full EMF shield, because it's inside a computer.

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The card includes switchable OP-AMPs, high quality capacitors, a Cmedia CM8888 audio processor, and a Wolfson WM8741 DAC. This configuration is capable of driving headphones with up to 600 Ohm impedance. The signal-to-noise ratio is a little better on the RCA jacks, because they're not amplified, but not by much. The RCA jacks are rated at 124 dB SNR, while the headphones are rated at 120 dB SNR with the supplied OP-AMPs. PowerColor wrote a driver interface, called “Xear”, which includes ASIO 2.2 support.

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The PowerColor Devil HDX doesn't have a release date but Tom's Hardware, who spoke with the company, said it should be “over the coming months”. They also said it will retail for $159, which is apparently $50 less than their competition.

Source: PowerColor

Valve Steam Controller Pre-order Is Dated... Twice.

Subject: General Tech, Systems | June 5, 2015 - 04:22 PM |
Tagged: valve, steam link, Steam Controller, steam

So, if a company says “a limited quantity of orders will be shipped on October 16th, weeks in advance of our official launch”... does that mean October 16th is its release date? What about its official launch date of November 10th? Also, why am I trying to make sense of time when the subject is Valve?

Either way, the new Steam Controller has been put up for pre-order and given a release date. The input device will sell for $50 USD, $59.99 CDN, or £40 GBP depending obviously on where you are. It also has a finalized design that is very similar to the Xbox layout, with thumbpads replacing the d-pad and right analog stick. Going to the device's Steam page will send you to a gaming retailer to make the pre-order (wat???). I get EB Games, because I'm Canadian, while Americans get GameStop, which is the same company anyway.

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Unlike previous Steam Controller designs, the left thumbpad is shaped like a cross, which I would like to see used as a d-pad because most PC controllers that I've used are either terrible at it, or are horrible at everything else. The video also uses the left thumbpad as a scroll mechanism, but I wonder what other functionality Valve allows because I have yet to find a single mouse driver that can do everything. For instance, Razer's is unable to record mouse scroll (up, down, left, or right) events in macros.

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The rear of the controller is very interesting. The main trigger is analog up to the end, which is a tactile switch. These can be bound to independent actions, although you will obviously need to have the maximum analog command play well with the click command. The given possibility is for first person shooters where you use the analog part to bring up your iron sights while you fire with the click. I could also imagine a racing game where the throttle is analog and clicking at the end activates a boost. There are also buttons in the grips for your ring and pink finger to activate. It also looks like there's shoulder buttons above the triggers, but I can't quite tell. This would basically yield six shoulder buttons, along with all of the face inputs, which is about the max that I could imagine.

The official launch is November 10th, but a pre-release run is shipping on October 16th. The Steam Link is supposedly also available at the same time for the same price, which is basically a streaming target for Steam on the TV.

Source: Valve