Pioneer Respects Base-2 with 256GB Blu-ray Discs

Subject: General Tech, Storage | May 17, 2014 - 02:47 AM |
Tagged: Pioneer, bluray

By layering eight layers of 32GB Blu-ray media, Pioneer has achieved 256GB worth of storage on a single-sided optical disc. If you are more interested in storage than labels, the company acknowledges the obvious extension to double-sided media with 512GB of capacity. They also leave the door open for 1TB and larger discs by extending their signaling method to more than twelve layers.

Pioneer_logo.png

Image Credit: Wikipedia

It suffices to say that this is a lot of storage. If cost can be kept low enough, optical media could once again be viable for archival and backup. Once a drive is purchased, and USB 3.0 makes it trivial to purchase a single drive for multiple computers, a single disc could bit-for-bit copy a full SSD and other, more modern amounts of data. Basically, it is much less work backing up in 256GB chunks than 4.7GB or 25GB ones.

If cost can be kept low enough is a serious point, though. BD-Rs retail for about $50/1.3TB (according to a few Newegg searches) and DVD-Rs are around the same ($25/500GB). This is not too far from hard drive territory (~100$/2 TB). Of course, hard drives are also faster, rewritable, and do not need to be inserted into a drive for reading and writing... because they are one. People are transitioning away from optical media to hard drives. Cost would need to be phenomenal to reverse that momentum.

4K and UHD video content was not discussed but, let's face it, your mind went there, too.

Source: Pioneer

MSI Launches AG270 2PC and 2PE Gaming All-in-Ones

Subject: General Tech, Systems | May 16, 2014 - 09:06 PM |
Tagged: msi, all-in-one, AIO, gtx 880m

The MSI AG270 is an All-in-One (AIO) PC built in a 27-inch, 1920x1080, multi-touch display. The series is split into two models, the AG270 2PC and the higher-end AG270 2PE. Both are billed as gaming devices and, with a GeForce GTX 870M (2PC) or a GeForce GTX 880M (2PE), they fit the bill. The 880M, for instance, is basically a desktop GeForce 680 with 8GB of frame buffer (!!) and a slight underclock.

msi-ag270-back.png

Two processor options are available, the i7-4860HQ and the i7-4700HQ. MSI does not state whether one (or both) models has a choice, or if the higher-end processor (4860HQ) is always in the higher-end PC (AG270 2PE) and the lower-end processor (4700HQ) is always in the lower-end PC (AG270 2PC). Users will get 2TB of storage and "up to" 3 mSATA SSDs. Yamaha will provide the two 5W speakers. BigFoot (owned by Qualcomm) provides the Ethernet and Wireless N through their Killer DoubleShot network adapter. It also has a DVD and BluRay reader/writer built-in.

MSI does not discuss pricing and availability, directly, and instead point to their retail partners.

Source: MSI

Is the X2 Saturn 5.1 Gaming Headset for you?

Subject: General Tech | May 16, 2014 - 03:19 PM |
Tagged: X2 Saturn, gaming headset, audio, 5.1 headset

The X2 Saturn headset has multiple drivers in each earcup to try for real 5.1 surround sound as opposed to virtualizing it as many gaming headsets do.  The front, rear and sub speakers each have different frequency responses which Legit Reviews were kind enough to list in their review.  The omni-directional microphone can be muted via the inline controls and you can actually set the volume of each speaker separately.  Overall the headset was judged to fall in the middle of the pack with good features and some design choices which could perhaps be improved.  As well, if you love LEDs then the red lights on this headset might just interest you enough to pick up a pair.

saturn_05-645x504.jpg

"X2 has sent us a true 5.1 USB gaming headset to try out and it’s not relying on virtual surround sound to get the job done. Each earcup on the Saturn headset has multiple drivers which outputs different surround channels for better positional audio compared to two channel stereo headphones and headsets. Read on to see how it performs!"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Xiaomi MiPad Tablet is Tegra K1 Powered

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors, Mobile | May 15, 2014 - 05:02 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, xaiomi, mipad, tegra k1

Tegra K1 is NVIDIA's new mobile processor and this first to implement the Kepler graphics architecture. In other words, it has all of the same graphics functionality as a desktop GPU with 364 GigaFLOPs of performance (a little faster than a GeForce 9600 GT). This is quite fast for a mobile product. For instance, that amount of graphics performance could max out Unreal Tournament 3 to 2560x1600 and run Crysis at 720p. Being Kepler, it supports OpenGL 4.4, OpenGL ES 3.1, DirectX 11 and 12, and GPU compute languages.

Xiaomi is launching their MiPad in Beijing, today, with an 8-inch 2048x1536 screen and the Tegra K1. They will be available in June (for China) starting at $240 USD for the 16GB version and going up to $270 for the 64GB version. Each version has 2GB of RAM, an 8MP rear-facing camera, and a 5MP front camera.

Now, we wait and see if any Tegra K1 devices come to North America and Europe - especially at that price point.

Source: NVIDIA

Podcast #300! - Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming Black Edition, $599 Samsung 4K Monitor and much more!

Subject: General Tech | May 15, 2014 - 02:36 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, Intel, z97, gigabyte, Z97X-Gaming G1-WIFI-BK, black edition, Samsung, u28d590d, asus, ROG, g-sync, freesync, titan z, 295x2

PC Perspective Podcast #300!!! - 05/15/2014

Join us this week for our 300th podcast as we discuss the Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming Black Edition, a $599 Samsung 4K Monitor and much 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 Morry Tietelman

Program length: 1:25:47
  1. What happened 100 Episodes ago…
  2. Week in Review:
  3. News items of interest:
  4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
  5. Closing/outro

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

 

The Northbridge lost the war; now what?

Subject: General Tech | May 15, 2014 - 01:15 PM |
Tagged: motherboard, chipset

As Josh will reminisce while deep in his cups, those heady days when motherboard reviewers anxiously awaited the release of a new chipset are now are in the past.  The CPU has absorbed the Northbridge where all the action was, leaving the Southbridge which is still a very interesting piece of technology but one that has become very similar between boards.  Manufacturers now focus on what DigiTimes is referring to as brand power and channel relationships; recognizable branding, package deals and bundled products like Thunderbolt, DACs and wireless chargers.  Reviewers look to the UEFI features which do differ from manufacturer to manufacturer as well as within the different family lines and software tools for overclocking when looking at the board instead of looking for the significant performance differences that once existed.  There are certainly benefits to this as well, not many people remember reserving IRQ5 to PCI slot 3 nor many of the other unique eccentricities we all used to have to remember to be able to build systems in the past.  After all, the only real constant is change.

k7m_02.jpg

"Competition in the motherboard industry is expected to gradually turn to focus on each player's brand power and channel relationships as newly developed technologies are becoming similar, according to sources from channel retailers in China."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Creative Labs Announces Sound Blaster E1 and E3

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | May 15, 2014 - 02:59 AM |
Tagged: Sound Blaster E3, Sound Blaster E1, Creative

Okay, so these products (SoundBlaster E1 and SoundBlaster E3) are confusing because they have several roles. Both are billed as "headphone amplifiers" with battery power. These types of products are somewhat rare and niche on the whole. Probably the main reason for using the amplifier portion is if you had high impedance headphones. Creative claims to support 600 Ohm headphones with both of these models.

And this is where Creative started tossing other features in.

creative-pdt_22018.png.ashx_.png

Both the E1 and E3 can be used as an external sound adapter for PCs and Macs. While features, such as EAX, have gone by the wayside due to modern audio APIs, there is still room for sound devices to differentiate in terms of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), and so forth, especially when compared to some on-board solutions. Speaking of SNR, the E1 advertises 106dB while the E3, 110dB. Also, sometimes you just want another sound card and USB is convenient. Both include ASIO drivers which is especially useful, although not too uncommon, for professional recording software.

The E3 then goes off on a tangent. Its USB hookup can attach not just to PCs and Mac, but also Android and iOS mobile devices. While it also has Bluetooth for iOS 5+ and Android 3.1+, it can be used as a wired, external sound card over USB on Android 4.2+ (using USB Streaming over Android Open Accessory Protocol 2.0) and iOS 7+ (using a Lightning USB adapter). This allows users to bypass the built-in amplifiers of their smartphones and tablets without Bluetooth compression. I would be interested to see reviews of this unit compared with the 3.5mm jack quality of typical mobile devices.

The Sound Blaster E1 is available now for $69 and the E3 will follow "soon", for $169.

Source: Creative

Mozilla Firefox to Implement Adobe DRM for Video

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 14, 2014 - 09:56 PM |
Tagged: ultraviolet, mozilla, DRM, Adobe Access, Adobe

Needless to say, DRM is a controversial topic and I am clearly against it. I do not blame Mozilla. The non-profit organization responsible for Firefox knew that they could not oppose Chrome, IE, and Safari while being a consumer software provider. I do not even blame Apple, Google, and Microsoft for their decisions, either. This problem is much bigger and it comes down to a total misunderstanding of basic mathematics (albeit at a ridiculously abstract and applied level).

22-mozilla-2.jpg

Simply put, piracy figures are meaningless. They are a measure of how many people use content without paying (assuming they are even accurate). You know what is more useful? Sales figures. Piracy figures are measurements, dependent variables, and so is revenue. Measurements cannot influence other measurements. Specifically, measurements cannot influence anything because they are, themselves, the result of influences. That is what "a measure" is.

Implementing DRM is not a measurement, however. It is a controllable action whose influence can be recorded. If you implement DRM and your sales go down, it hurt you. You may notice piracy figures decline. However, you should be too busy to care because you should be spending your time trying to undo the damage you did to your sales! Why are you looking at piracy figures when you're bleeding money?

I have yet to see a DRM implementation that correlated with an increase in sales. I have, however, seen some which correlate to a massive decrease.

The thing is, Netflix might know that and I am pretty sure that some of the web browser companies know that. They do not necessarily want to implement DRM. What they want is content and, surprise, the people who are in charge of the content are definitely not enlightened to that logic. I am not even sure if they realize that the reason why content is pirated before their release dates is because they are not leaked by end users.

But whatever. Technical companies, who want that content available on their products, are stuck finding a way to appease those content companies in a way that damages their users and shrinks their potential market the least. For Mozilla, this means keeping as much open as possible.

do-not-hurt-2.jpg

Since they do not have existing relationships with Hollywood, Adobe Access will be the actual method of displaying the video. They are clear to note that this only applies to video. They believe their existing relationships in text, images, and games will prevent the disease from spreading. This is basically a plug-in architecture with a sandbox that is open source and as strict as possible.

This sandbox is intended to prevent a security vulnerability from having access to the host system, give a method of controlling the DRM's performance if it hitches, and not allow the DRM to query the machine for authentication. The last part is something they wanted to highlight, because it shows their effort to protect the privacy of their users. They also imply a method for users to opt-out but did not go into specifics.

As an aside, Adobe will support their Access DRM software on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Mozilla is pushing hard for Android and Firefox OS, too. According to Adobe, Access DRM is certified for use with Ultraviolet content.

I accept Mozilla's decision to join everyone else but I am sad that it came to this. I can think of only two reasons for including DRM: for legal (felony) "protection" under the DMCA or to make content companies feel better while they slowly sink their own ships chasing after numbers which have nothing to do with profits or revenue.

Ultimately, though, they made a compromise. That is always how we stumble and fall down slippery slopes. I am disappointed but I cannot suggest a better option.

Source: Mozilla

It's Alpha Max! Carmageddon: Reincarnation early access on Steam

Subject: General Tech | May 14, 2014 - 04:43 PM |
Tagged: gaming, carmageddon reincarnation, Alpha

If you have fond memories of the first two Carmageddon games and are still a little bitter about TDR 2000 then you probably don't live in Australia.  For those sick and twisted individuals who did love picking pedestrian guts out of their hair and who didn't back the Kickstarter, for $30 you can pick up Carmageddon: Reincarnation on Steam; at least the early access version.  What better way to spend an evening that by torturing peds, other racers and yourself as the game is more than a little buggy at this point, with missing content and a new city map that will crush your GPU.  Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN takes a peek under the bloody hood here and if you do pick up the game remember to post any serious (and repeatable) issues at http://carmageddon.com/bugger.

For a more stable gaming experience just head to the Gaming Forum and see when the Fragging Frogs will be playing next.

carmageddonreincarnation.jpg

"Anyway, in the meantime, work continues. Carmageddon: Reincarnation yesterday launched its second big Early Access update, bringing a new level, three new cars, more performance options, and other doodads."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Check out what you can do with 3 Kinects and an Oculus Rift

Subject: General Tech | May 14, 2014 - 02:57 PM |
Tagged: kinect, Oculus

Gizmodo might be going a bit far in calling this a Holodeck but what Oliver Kreylos has done with three Kinects and an Oculus Rift is rather impressive.  As with most cool new projects involving the Oculus you cannot capture what is going on with a picture but that doesn't help with the jealousy you will be feeling after watching some of the videos.  The Kinects capture his motion and the Oculus displays his body inside the zombie game he is using; there will be some space limitations if you are not good at walking in place but it certainly seems less expensive to set up than previous devices we have seen.

wbvbwmr005wslc2f4vrw.png

"With no shortage of ingenuity, 3D video expert Oliver Kreylos managed to transplant his entire body into a virtual reality environment using three Microsoft Kinects and an Oculus Rift. It's a little fuzzy, but it's easy to recognize what he's really done. He's created a Holodeck—or something close to it."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Gizmodo