The Top 20 PC Games of April, According to Raptr

Subject: General Tech | May 26, 2014 - 04:27 AM |
Tagged: steam, raptr, origin, blizzard

Raptr is a service for PC gamers to adjust graphics settings, earn loyalty rewards, and "powers" AMD's Gaming Evolved app, which adds driver updating and Twitch streaming to the previous list of features. It has a sizable user base, tens of millions internationally, which allows them to rank PC games by popularity. While it is not a perfect sample space, it tracks both Steam and non-Steam games. The leaders might make you say, "LoL, WoW!"

I am fully comfortable with myself after that pun.

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As you can probably guess, League of Legends is the most popular PC title, with 14.5% market share (with respect to time). WoW and Diablo III are almost a tie for second-and-third at 8.56% and 8.53%, respectively. DOTA II is next at 5.81% and The Elder Scrolls Online is fifth, with 3.78% of all game time.

Surprisingly, the tail is pretty long after that. In fact, the entire Top 20 takes up just 63% of play time, with the 21st place and lower, by definition, having less than a 0.73% share. This is a slow decline, leaving room for theoretically fifty games with Skyrim-level popularity. Several games just below the list are probably very close to one another.

I should also note that, since this is based on time, it probably skews toward long and intensive titles. This probably explains Diablo III, MMOs, and Minecraft as those games are played for hours if they are played at all. This really puts Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and, to a lesser extent, Battlefield 4 into perspective, with their series of short rounds.

Off the list since March is Titanfall, Rust, and Path of Exile. The first two are fairly surprising. Titanfall just launched and, it would seem, has not kept its players gaming habitually. Rust, on the other hand, is surprising because it is popular and, to my understanding, typically involves long play sessions.

At the very least, it puts context around Steam vs. Battle.net vs. Wargaming.net vs. Origin.

Source: Raptr

Securing the Internet of Things

Subject: General Tech | May 23, 2014 - 01:27 PM |
Tagged: internet of things, security, Intel

Karen Lomas is Intel's director of the Internet of Things, from smart buildings to fridges and watched and she sat down to discuss the security of these devices and the future of ubiquitous computing.  Intel expects that by 2020 there will be 26 billion internet connected devices and if we do not start to think about how to secure them now it will have serious repercussions in the future.  There is a balance which needs to be struck so that consumers will not avoid using these devices because of security concerns nor because they are too restrictive to easily be used.  As befits a Friday the discussion comes in video form.

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"THE INQUIRER and Intel held an Internet of Things (IoT) event in London this week, where we sat down with IT professionals from a range of industry sectors to discuss how the growing thirst for internet-connected devices can be used in business, and how this should be done."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Podcast #301 - IN WIN 901 Chassis, MSI Z97 Gaming 7 Motherboard, R9 Price Drops and more!

Subject: General Tech | May 22, 2014 - 06:42 PM |
Tagged: Z97 Gaming 7, z97, xiaomi, video, tegra k1, tegra, SATA Express, podcast, msi, Intel, in win 901, Broadwell, asmedia, amd, 16nm

PC Perspective Podcast #301 - 05/22/2014

Join us this week as we discuss the IN WIN 901 Chassis, MSI Z97 Gaming 7 Motherboard, R9 Price Drops 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, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Maleventano

Program length: 1:16:22
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
  4. Closing/outro

Be sure to subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube channel!!

 

NVIDIA Tegra K1 Benchmarks Spotted

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Mobile | May 22, 2014 - 04:58 PM |
Tagged: tegra k1, nvidia, iris pro, iris, Intel, hd 4000

The Chinese tech site, Evolife, acquired a few benchmarks for the Tegra K1. We do not know exactly where they got the system from, but we know that it has 4GB of RAM and 12 GB of storage. Of course, this is the version with four ARM Cortex-A15 cores (not the upcoming, 64-bit version based on Project Denver). On 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited, it was capable of 25737 points, full system.

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Image Credit: Evolife.cn

You might remember that our tests with an Intel Core i5-3317U (Ivy Bridge), back in September, achieved a score of 25630 on 3DMark Ice Storm. Of course, that was using the built-in Intel HD 4000 graphics, not a discrete solution, but it still kept up for gaming. This makes sense, though. Intel HD 4000 (GT2) graphics has a theoretical performance of 332.8 GFLOPs, while the Tegra K1 is rated at 364.8 GFLOPs. Earlier, we said that its theoretical performance is roughly on par with the GeForce 9600 GT, although the Tegra K1 supports newer APIs.

Of course, Intel has released better solutions with Haswell. Benchmarks show that Iris Pro is able to play Battlefield 4 on High settings, at 720p, with about 30FPS. The HD 4000 only gets about 12 FPS with the same configuration (and ~30 FPS on Low). This is not to compare Intel to NVIDIA's mobile part, but rather compare Tegra K1 to modern, mainstream laptops and desktops. It is getting fairly close, especially with the first wave of K1 tablets entering at the mid-$200 USD MSRP in China.

As a final note...

There was a time where Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, said that the difference between high-end and low-end PCs "is something like 100x". Scaling a single game between the two performance tiers would be next-to impossible. He noted that ten years earlier, that factor was more "10x".

Now, an original GeForce Titan is about 12x faster than the Tegra K1 and they support the same feature set. In other words, it is easier to develop a game for the PC and high-end tablet than it was to develop an PC game for high-end and low-end machines, back in 2008. PC Gaming is, once again, getting healthier.

Source: Evolife.cn

Zotac Announces ZBOX Sphere OI520 and OI520 Plus

Subject: General Tech, Systems | May 21, 2014 - 06:33 PM |
Tagged: zotac, zbox

Zotac has announced the ZBOX Sphere OI520 in two forms. The Plus version comes with 4GB of DDR3 RAM and a 500GB hard drive while the standard version leaves the choice (and installation) up to the user. At the very least, that means it is user-serviceable. Its real draw is its "orb form factor" with decent, albeit laptop, performing components.

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The ZBOX OI520, from behind.

Its actual system specifications are:

  • Intel Core i5 4200U
  • Intel HD Graphics 4400 (GT2)
  • HDMI and DisplayPort
  • Wireless AC (802.11ac), Gigabit Ethernet, and Bluetooth 4.0
  • 3x USB 2.0, 4x USB 3.0, SD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC Card Reader
  • Supports up to 16GB of RAM (2xDDR3L)
  • Supports one 2.5-inch HDD/SSD
  • Apparently, no OS pre-installed.

Pricing and availability are not yet announced. Obviously, that will be the biggest factor in someone looking for a barebones PC, like this one. Also, Intel graphics support on Linux is not the most pleasant, kind-of famously. Zotac claims full support for Windows 7 and Windows 8, of course, but you will probably need to factor that price in if that is the direction you want to go.

Source: Zotac

How much RAGE is in the new Wolfenstein

Subject: General Tech | May 21, 2014 - 05:27 PM |
Tagged: wolfenstein, id tech 5, gaming

Wolfenstein: The New Order uses the much maligned id Tech 5 engine made infamous by RAGE, which leads many to ask if it will have the same issues.  The negative similarities are certainly there, a 10GB Day 1 patch, serious issues with one vendor's cards and once you start playing the game the 'texture pop' that was evident in RAGE return to either annoy or be ignored depending on your preference and a 60fps cap.  With that out of the way you can look at the specs you need to play this game, the most noticeable of which is that you have to have a 64-bit OS, 32-bit versions need not apply.  The minimum hardware is also rather restrictive, you need a Core-i7 or equivalent top end AMD processor, lesser silicon need not apply, as well as a GeForce 460 or ATI Radeon HD 6850, and 50GB free space.  

The good news is that there are graphical settings this time which you can tweak, overriding the engine's 60 fps fetish but never peaking above that ceiling.  [H]ard|OCP tested a XFX Radeon R9 290X Double Dissipation and a GTX 780 Ti at 2560 x 1600 without an issue though when testing the 280X and GTX 770 at the same resolution they noticed that Ultra settings were removed from the options on the NVIDIA product while the 280X had no issues with Ultra at all.  Read the full story for all the gritty details and the rather disappointing conclusion.

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For real fun head to the Fragging Frogs servers for some gaming, find the schedule on our Gaming Forum and see if you have what it takes to knife O-Dog or Lenny!  It might be a good idea to introduce yourself first though!

"Wolfenstein: The New Order is out on PC. It utilizes the id Tech 5 game engine and sports fast paced first-person shooter gameplay. We look at some video card performance, make some comparisons, and look at image quality as well. Can this game overcome the stigma associated with RAGE since its the same engine?"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: [H]ard|OCP

AMD's Bald Eagle; 4K casino games anyone?

Subject: General Tech | May 21, 2014 - 03:06 PM |
Tagged: amd, Bald Eagle, embedded, hsa

AMD has just introduced their powerful new embedded chip called Bald Eagle.  Depending on the model of processor you purchase you get two or four Steamroller CPU cores, and up to eight GCN GPU cores based on the HD 9000 series.  That gives the higher end chips enough juice to power up to four independent 3D, 4K, or HD displays which you can bump up to nine if you include an embedded Radeon E8860 discrete GPU in your system.  The cores are all fully HSA compliant and will support ECC and non-ECC DDR3 at speeds of up to 2133MHz as well as support for PCIe Gen3 x16, PCIe Gen2 2x4 and USB and SATA as well.  Check out more at The Inquirer.

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"Bald Eagle also enables heterogeneous system architecture (HSA), which first appeared in AMD chippery in its desktop Kaveri APUs this January, and which allows the CPU and GPU to share the same system memory, vastly simpifying the programming challenge of getting GPUs to shoulder the parallel-processing chores that they excel at far better then CPUs."

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Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Third time is the charm for the Surface Pro?

Subject: General Tech | May 20, 2014 - 01:36 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, Surface Pro 3

Microsoft is continuing it's so far ill advised attempt at selling hardware with the release of the Surface Pro 3.  The Pro version continues to run Win8.1 and so should not encounter the compatibility issues that the Surface RT presented but at an MSRP of $800 it is nowhere near as inexpensive either.  The 800g tablet is powered by a Haswell Core i7 processor and the 12" 2160x1440 display sports a 3:2 aspect ratio which Microsoft points out offers 6% more viewable content.  It is also fairly tough as it was dropped from about waist height in the demo without suffering any damage.  The other nice feature is the optional docking station which allows you to plug in peripherals and use the Surface as a display, or use the docking port to output to a 4K display.  Check out more about the Surface Pro 3 and it's "full-friction" multi-position hinge at The Tech Report.

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"Microsoft has just spilled the beans on its Surface Pro 3 tablet, and the details are really quite interesting. The company has taken a fresh approach to the Surface Pro this time around, with a stated goal of "removing the conflict" between the tablet and laptop form factors."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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AT&T Buys DirecTV for $48.5 Billion USD in Stock

Subject: General Tech | May 19, 2014 - 04:02 PM |
Tagged: direcTV, att, AT&T

That silly AT&T is now acquiring companies other than the ones they shed off during the 1974 antitrust lawsuit. This time, it intends to acquire DirecTV in a deal valued at $48.5 billion USD, in stock. All said and done, the total transaction is valued at $67.1 billion. Currently, DirecTV sits at a market cap of 42.77 billion USD and the stock is trading in the range of 84 to 85 dollars per share. In this deal, shareholders will receive $95 per share, about 30% in cash and 70% in AT&T stock.

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Owning the globe... trademark.

The deal also claims to have several benefits for consumers. AT&T pledges to add 15 million customer locations, mostly rural, with fiber and wireless local loop (microwave). They also pledge to follow FCC's Open Internet Order from 2010, for at least three years after closing.

Three years of Net Neutrality, fun.

Seriously, none of that has anything to do with DirecTV and it should be enforced, anyway. It is nice that Net Neutrality has become a buzz word, mostly in terms of people becoming aware to it, but an action would be significantly more helpful. Remember that we, at PC Perspective, host our own video streaming service for our podcasts and live events. We rely on our traffic reaching our audience.

But, of course, none of that has anything to do with DirecTV either. It is possible that they could give concessions to help the acquisition go through and, honestly, I am not too against this purchase, if viewed in isolation. Let's just hope that, like their split-up compromise, they don't immediately start undoing it when they think no-one's watching.

We're watching.

Source: AT&T/DirecTV

So Are Google (YouTube) and Twitch in Acquisition Talks?

Subject: General Tech | May 19, 2014 - 02:36 AM |
Tagged: twitch.tv, youtube

Well... crap. It looks like the YouTube arm of Google is in talks to purchase Twitch. Variety, while not my first choice of source for these issues, claims that the deal is basically done, excluding regulatory involvement, and valued at $1 billion USD in cash. These details are apparently disputed, however, by sources which claim that a deal is in progress but is no-where near the stage that Variety reports.

youtube-live.jpg

Twitchy hands...

For us, this will probably suck. It seems like Twitch is much easier to deal with than YouTube when it comes to copyright issues, at least from my observation point. Beyond that, it is doubtful that Google will leave the service as an independent entity. It would not surprise me if Google transitions existing Twitch streaming contracts to YouTube Live and slowly dissolves what is left.

Speaking of what is left, no source seems to be clear on whether this deal is for all of Twitch Interactive, including Justin.tv. The company was rebranded just recently, mid-February of this year, to "Twitch Interactive". Previously, it was known as "Justin.tv", after its older sibling website.

What does our audience think? Can any good come from this?

Source: Kotaku