Subject: General Tech | January 16, 2015 - 11:01 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: raptr, pc gaming
Whoops! It looks like I forgot about Raptr's list for November. In it, Dragon Age: Inquisition and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare launched at 10th place and 17th place, respectively. World of Warcraft also jumped from 8.53% to 15.61% of total play time, which is significant and almost equal to League of Legends. Spider Solitaire also made November's list at 19th place.
This month, Dragon Age: Inquisition climbed from 10th to 6th, because it had a full month of play, while Call of Duty fell off completely (along with PAYDAY 2 and Spider Solitaire). Also, World of Warcraft did not lose its gain, but actually built upon it by a small amount. It did not grab mindshare from League of Legends though, because that game rebounded from its losses in November and was even more popular than it was in October.
That's about all that I found interesting however.
Subject: General Tech | January 15, 2015 - 02:09 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, gtx 960, nvidia, maxwell, amd, r9 380x, corsair, carbide, 300R, CES, ces 2015, ECS, Z97-Machine, Intel, crucial
PC Perspective Podcast #332 - 01/15/2015
Join us this week as we discuss GTX 960 and R9 380X Rumors, Corsair Carbide 300R Titanium, and our CES 2015 wrap up
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:11:25
Subject: General Tech | January 15, 2015 - 01:10 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: IBM, mainframe, power8
IBM has just released a new mainframe based on their new 5GHz 22nm Power8 based Processing Units with some models supporting up to 10TB of RAM, the minimum you can run is a mere 64GB. It can not only run IBM's zOS but is also capable of directly supporting Linux and can be managed with a Blade running Windows if you so desire. These fancy looking little mainframes are set up with drawers of either 39 or 42 PUs, so you can upgrade as your usage requires although 2 are actually spares and 6 are System Assist Processors, the remaining PUs can be assigned to varying roles as in previous IBM Z models. These machines are designed to handle large amounts of data traffic, providing real time encryption on up to 2.5 billion transactions per day. The Register feels that the most likely usage scenario will be to provide secure mobile data traffic, something which is certainly needed. You can also glean more information from this blog entry if you are curious about the architecture and capabilities of this mainframe.
"Of course, the proof of the pudding will be in the market, but IBM will be hoping that the billion dollars it's poured into developing the new z13 mainframe will get the big end of town as excited as Big Blue itself is."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Samsung dismisses 'groundless' talk of $7.5bn BlackBerry buyout @ The Inquirer
- Acer slips Wang Andresen into senior Euro slot @ The Register
- PAPAGO! GoSafe 272 Dashcam GS272-US @ Benchmark Reviews
- BAPCo TabletMark v3 Benchmark Presentation @ Madshrimps
Subject: General Tech | January 15, 2015 - 03:41 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: microsoft, windows, extended support
According to Microsoft's lifecycle calendar, Windows 7 left mainstream support on the 13th of January and has entered “Extended Support”. This means that the operating system will still receive security updates, but not non-security ones, and “requests to change product design and features” will not be accepted. While the OS is over five years old, it is still very popular, especially among PC gamers.
My concern is that this occurred while we anticipate major changes to the Windows platform. While I never really expected that Microsoft would release DirectX 12 for Windows, there was still hope that we would see a pre-release or developer build while Windows 7 was still in mainstream support (despite being several driver models behind). Now that the window has closed, so to speak, that hope is diminishing. Windows 8.1, on the other hand, might be okay, but I have no idea why you would want to stick with it over Windows 10, especially if it is a free/cheap update.
Besides DirectX 12, I am also concerned about Microsoft cutting off first-party web browsers at IE11. Sure, it is a much better place to end than IE8 on Windows XP, and the end-user could always install a third-party browser, but it could lead to problems for web developers. It is much easier to say “keep Internet Explorer up to date” (heck, even Microsoft is saying it) than the alternative, “use a different browser”. There are still many features under consideration (Shadow DOM being the most interesting for me) that would be nice to have, and not need to worry about the fraction of a fraction.
But at least it will be kept secure until 2020.
Subject: General Tech | January 14, 2015 - 02:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ubisoft, sad, gaming, farcry 4
[H]ard|OCP recently put out a pair of articles covering Far Cry 4, the first of which covered the various new graphics features, many of which are only available to NVIDIA users and others like the Godrays which have such a performance impact on AMD GPUs that they may as well be NVIDIA only. The second will be of more interest to gamers as they benchmark a dozen GPUs, covering NVIDIA from the GTX 750Ti through to the GTX 980 and AMD from the R7 260X through to the R9 290X. They also had a chance to test SLI performance but unfortunately as Ubisoft decided to disable Crossfire completely in the game there could not be any multiple AMD GPU setups tested. Perhaps the most telling conclusion from [H]ard|OCP is also the most obvious, even though this is an evolution of the FarCry3 engine there have been numerous issues with the game since launch and even after six patches major issues with the game and the continued refusal to support Crossfire are hurting this games performance. If you still plan to play the game you can read [H]'s full performance review to see how your GPU should perform in Ubisoft's latest ... release.
"We play Far Cry 4 on no less than twelve different GPUs for this in-depth look at what graphics settings are playable in Far Cry 4. We will talk about playable settings and show apples-to-apples so you know what to expect in this game and what upgrading your video card may do for you in this new game."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- New Baldur’s Gate Set Between 1 And 2 Coming This Year @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Ger ‘Alt Of Here With These Witcher 3 System Specs @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Skywind Continues To Move Morrowind Into Skyrim @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Alien: Isolation Safe Haven DLC launches on Steam @ HEXUS
- Not So Long: Pillars Of Eternity Release Date Is March 26th @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- It’s Time: Total War – Warhammer Confirmed @ Rock, Paper,SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | January 14, 2015 - 12:32 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: history, cpu, errata, dan luu
A question was asked of Dan Luu about what new tricks silicon has learned since the early days of the eighties. The answer covers a gamut of what tools those who work on low level code such as drivers and UEFI/BIOS now have at their disposal. It is far more than just the fact that we have grown from 8 bit to 64 bit or the frequencies possible now that were undreamed of before but delves into the newer features such as out of order instructions and single instruction, multiple data instructions. If you are not familiar with how CPUs and GPGPUs operate at these low levels it is a great jumping off point for you to learn what the features are called and to get a rough idea of what tasks they perform. If you know your silicon through and through it is a nice look back at what has been added in the last 25 years and a reminder of what you had to work without back in the days when flashing a BIOS was a literal thing. You can also check the comments below the links at Slashdot as they are uncharacteristically on topic.
"An article by Dan Luu answers this question and provides a good overview of various cool tricks modern CPUs can perform. The slightly older presentation Compiler++ by Jim Radigan also gives some insight on how C++ translates to modern instruction sets."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- CES 2015: Dell, Lenovo and HP showcase potential of Intel’s 5th-gen Core chips @ The Inquirer
- Insert 'Skeleton Key', unlock Microsoft Active Directory. Simples – hackers @ The Register
- Lego Avengers Assemble to the Helicarrier! @ Hack a Day
- TechwareLabs CES 2015 Event Coverage: Thermaltake
- Toshiba tosses out uber-slim THREE TERABYTE HDD @ The Register
- BlackBerry adopts the iPhone for promotional Twitter campaign @ The Inquirer
- The BenQ W1080ST+ & W1070+ Home Cinema Projector Launch Event @ TechARP
Subject: General Tech | January 14, 2015 - 04:20 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: GTA5, GTA Online, consolitis
The fifth major release of Grand Theft Auto was launched sixteen months ago on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, without the PC. Eventually, Rockstar announced next-gen versions for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, which explained why the PC was missing before: it was considered a next-gen platform. Those platforms launched a year after the initial release, but the PC was pushed into January 2015. Now it has been pushed again, into late March (the 24th to be precise).
It's not like we're not trying!
Again, I hope that the extra time will be worth it -- and it might be, too. The game was overwhelmingly successful from a sales standpoint, but Grand Theft Auto Online (its multiplayer component) was criticized for a wide range of issues: service connectivity, glitches including loss of characters and progression, and some even claim a lack of content. Maybe, just maybe, it will be polished by the time it gets to us. And hey, Rockstar even claims that it will launch with Heists (which could be considered a running joke in itself).
They also claim that Grand Theft Auto Online for the PC will support 30 players. Nice.
The system specifications were also released, and they're fairly modest (unlike other recent titles). At a minimum, you will need a 64-bit OS with 4GB of memory and 65GB of drive space, which might be a stumbling block for some. Besides that? Core 2 Quad Q6600 and a GeForce 9800 GT. Its recommended specs push the CPU up to an Ivy Bridge Core i5, 8GB of RAM, and a GeForce GTX 660.
It is interesting to see that only quad cores (or higher) are supported, but fairly old ones. Unless something like Far Cry 4 happens, there should be plenty enough performance in a dual-core Pentium Anniversary Edition to keep up. Hopefully Rockstar doesn't error-out machines if they do not detect at least four threads.
Subject: General Tech | January 13, 2015 - 03:52 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: set-top box, remote access, pc game streaming, nzxt, DOKO
The new DOKO device from NZXT is an interesting spin on the living room streaming box, and it's a lot more than another Netflix player.
So what exactly is it? According to NZXT "DOKO is a low latency (50-80ms), 1080p 30 FPS PC streaming device that brings you the full functionality of your PC, anywhere in your home."
The DOKO provides the interface to remotely connect to computers over your network, providing access to whatever resources you have on your PC. The DOKO has USB ports to connect peripherals and though there is no proprietary hardware required, the company has compiled a “recommend” list of compatible keyboards, mice, and game controllers on their site.
The DOKO interface
And NZXT is making the gaming aspect of the streamer’s capability a big part of the product, though with a 30 FPS limit it isn't as exciting as it could be.
“DOKO brings you unrestricted, latency-free gaming direct to your TV. Experience a new way to play your favorite PC games, with complete access to ALL of them, whether they are from Steam, Origin, Uplay or any other source.”
In-home streaming is already a part of Steam, but the idea of an agnostic gaming experience without a second computer is attractive if it works as well as advertised. The company also points out the advantage of being able to do everything your PC can do… (Uh, we’re talking about spreadsheets, right?)
The DOKO will be available exclusively from NZXT’s online store (sorry, online "Armory") for $99, and will start shipping January 28.
Subject: General Tech | January 13, 2015 - 12:59 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: win7, extended support, the cycle of life, inevitable
Sigh, the end draws nigh for that most common of desktop operating systems, Windows 7, has moved into Extended Support. This follows the move at Halloween from an active product to one no longer available but is not the final straw for the OS which is currently scheduled for 2020. The Inquirer quotes a source which places the current market share of Win7 at just over 56% globally, far above the currently selling Win8.1 but this number will slowly begin to fall, likely at a quicker pace than did WinXP's share. When a Windows product reaches Extended Support it still receives security patches and serious bug fixes, albeit at a slower pace than when it is current so don't worry that your Win7 boxen will be dying any time soon but it does make it even more worthwhile to familiarize yourself with Windows 10 as new machines will be running that OS very soon. Drop by The Inquirer for other upcoming dates, such as the final nail in Vista's coffin.
"WINDOWS 7 has reached an important milestone that begins its long, slow descent into obscurity and eventually end of life, where it will doubtless continue to command more market share than its successor."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The 4 Best New Linux Distributions to Watch in 2015 @ Linux.com
- How To Hijack Your Own Windows System With Bundled Downloads @ Slashdot
- IBM: Hey, Intel and pals. Look on our massive patent pile and despair @ The Register
- Quantum dot materials still an issue, say observers @ DigiTimes
- Making better Li-ion battery membranes @ Nanotechweb
Subject: General Tech | January 12, 2015 - 01:29 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ultrasound, opencl, hd 7850
The new bk3000 Ultrasound System from Analogic will use an embedded HD7850 and OpenCL to triple the quality of the information the ultrasound reveals. This will allow ultrasounds to reveal anatomical detail and micro-vascularization that was not available with previous ultrasound technology and could even enable Gamegaters to locate their own heads with the use of the E14C4t transducer. The most familiar usage of ultrasound is for displaying a fetus in utero but there are far more medical uses for this type of (mostly) non-invasive scan and the increase in detail and the transformation abilities that Open CL brings will not only make it more effective but could expand the usefulness of ultrasounds as a diagnostic tool. As we at PC Perspective continue to age we are very appreciative of advances such as this, especially if we can get a split screen that allows us to do a little light gaming while the doctors poke and prod!
SUNNYVALE, Calif. — Jan. 12, 2015 — AMD (NASDAQ:AMD) today announced that the AMD Embedded Radeon HD 7850 GPU is enabling cutting-edge application performance for the BK Ultrasound, powered by Analogic, bk3000 ultrasound system. Analogic is a leader in developing healthcare and security technology solutions to advance the practice of medicine to save lives.
“The AMD Embedded Radeon HD 7850 GPU with OpenCL provides a powerful and efficient pairing,” said Cameron Swen, segment marketing manager, medical applications, AMD Embedded Solutions. “This product is yet another proof point to AMD’s dedication to the healthcare segment through its technology, which helps facilitate crisp, detailed medical image visualization and other advanced graphics-driven capabilities, helping doctors provide improved care for patients.”
Analogic used OpenCL standard to gain access to the GPU for general-purpose computing, referred to as “GPGPU,” delivering exceptional performance and offering system and development cost reduction through cross-platform portability. As a result of using AMD GPU technology, Analogic achieved a 3x improvement in the amount of information in each ultrasound image and reduced time from capture to presentation. Traditional FPGAs and DSPs create a fixed, inflexible implementation that requires custom software targeted at specific hardware. Going to a software-based solution using OpenCL helps to further lower the development cost and provides improved long term value since the software can be used across product lines and through generation shifts.
“It was a critical design goal for us to implement a platform that delivered exceptional performance,” said Jacques Coumans, chief marketing and scientific officer, Analogic. “After reviewing the options available, we chose the AMD Embedded Radeon HD 7850 GPU for its excellent quality and scalability. The bk3000 ultrasound system, powered by AMD embedded graphics technology, delivers exceptional speed and image fidelity, which allows clinicians to identify anatomy and flow dynamics deeper in challenging patients.”
The AMD Embedded Radeon HD 7850 is based on AMD’s award-winning Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture to advance the visual growth and parallel processing capabilities of embedded applications. In addition to ultrasound, other applications for GPGPU include some of the most complex parallel applications such as terrain and weather mapping, facial and gesture recognition, and biometric and DNA analysis.
The new Analogic bk3000 ultrasound system is targeted for urology, surgery, general imaging, and procedure guidance applications and is commercially available in key markets worldwide.