Subject: General Tech | March 14, 2015 - 08:00 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: star citizen, rsi
When the game is finished, Robert Space Industries is expecting the Star Citizen game client to be 100GB in size. The company was given $75 million USD from fans over the last two and a half years, and they seem to be using it for content. Individual patches are expected to be in the 2 to 6GB range, but could extend to 20GB if an architecture change requires updating old assets to some new system.
I guess this is a case of “be careful what you wish for”. When you praise a developer for producing a gigantic experience with tonnes of content, it will need to be stored somewhere. At the same time, I wonder when games from typical publishers will match this bar. Say what you like about crowd-funding, but Star Citizen seems to be an example of the business model done right (although their budget is astronomical and that probably helped).
Star Citizen is slowly being released, piece by piece, with a 2016 shipping date.
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | March 14, 2015 - 07:30 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: vive vr, vive, valve, re vive, Portal 2, Portal, mwc 15, MWC, htc, gdc 15, GDC
At the recent Game Developer Conference and Mobile World Congress events, Valve had a demo for HTC's Vive VR system that was based in the Portal universe. The headset is combined with two controllers, one for each hand, which sound like a cross between Valve's Steam Controller and the Razer Hydra.
When HTC briefed journalists about the technology, they brought a few examples for use with their prototype. C|Net described three: a little demo where you could paint with the controllers in a virtual space, an aquarium where you stand on a sunken pirate ship and can look at a gigantic blue whale float overhead, and a Portal-based demo that is embedded above. I also found “The Gallery” demo online, but I am not sure where it was presented (if anywhere).
Beyond VR, the Source 2 engine, which powers the Portal experience, looks good. The devices looked very intricate and full of detail. Granted, it is a lot easier to control performance when you are dealing with tight corridors or isolated rooms. The lighting also seems spot on, although it is hard to tell whether this capability is dynamic or precomputed.
The HTC Vive developer kit is coming soon, before a consumer launch in the Autumn.
Subject: General Tech | March 14, 2015 - 07:00 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft
So we have been on Build 9926 for a while and Microsoft is aware that we want something new. They started out this Technical Preview claiming that we will see the OS evolve as it is built. While we have, for the most part, been given builds frequently enough to influence the development, the last couple of updates have been about half of their expected interval.
For this release, Microsoft claims that there is just a single blocking bug that is preventing a public release. They also state that users who want a more stable preview build, such as those who installed it to a production machine (not naming any names... sigh), should switch their update schedule to “Slow”. Users on the “Fast” lane will get new builds much quicker. The words “Daily Builds” appeared on an internal document, but was quickly clarified as an internal memo.
Microsoft is also considering a third tier that pushes updates faster than both “Fast” and “Slow”.
There are two opposing forces when it comes to the update speed of preview software. While you end up with more stability if you are extra careful with troubleshooting, you will not catch every bug. For that matter, there are still bugs that I can point to in Windows 7 that will never be fixed at this point (there is one bug with resizing windows on vertically-separated multiple monitors that still exists in Windows 10 -- although other multi-monitor interfaces that are not in Windows 7 give plenty of workarounds room).
When the update speed is low, you are stuck with bugs that feel excruciating for what feels like forever. Add that to the slow, bursty roll-out of new features and it gives some extra merit to the fast release model. That is, unless you get so quick that you run into bluescreens and other, more critical failures. It is a tough balance that I can sympathize with and empathize to.
It's tough, so I have personally flipped my machine over to “slow”. I figure that I could keep on the more stable builds for a short period of time and wait to hear what the community thinks about each new release before flipping to the fast track.
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!
Subject: General Tech | March 13, 2015 - 01:40 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: audio, hifiman, HE-400i
When HiFiMan refers to the single-sided planar magnetic driver in the HE-400i headset they are describing the positioning of the magnets within the drivers, single sided only have magnets on the side of the driver that is facing away from your ear. As you might expect from this design decision this is not an inexpensive gaming headset but a high end audiophile headset and the $500 price tag further emphasizes this. TechPowerUp had a chance to don these earphones and try them out, connected to JDSLabs C5D and O2 headphone amps and were more than impressed. Indeed the bass reproduction of the HE-400i came near to matching the HE-560 which is twice the price. If you have a decent headphone amp and discerning ears then HiFiMan is brand to take under consideration.
"HiFiMAN has always been known to produce some pretty interesting high-end headphones. Today, we take a look at the new HE-400i. It uses the same magnet array technology HiFiMAN introduced with the critically acclaimed HE-560."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Kingston Cloud II Gaming Headset @ eTeknix
- Kingston HyperX Cloud II Headset Review @ OCC
- Corsair Gaming H1500 Dolby Gaming Headset Review @ Madshrimps
- BlueAnt PUMP HD Sportbuds Review @ NikKTech
- Turtle Beach Stealth 500X Xbox One Headset @ eTeknix
- Astro A40 + Mixamp M80 Xbox One Headset @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | March 13, 2015 - 12:48 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Q1, Intel, earnings, billions
Earlier in the week came distressing news from many manufacturers of PC components and now Intel has made their financial state a little clearer. The Register has posted the numbers, predicted earnings for Q1 of this year have dropped from USD13.7 billion +/- $500 million, down to USD12.8bn +/- $300 million. Losing about a billion dollars in profit is going to hurt anyone, even the mighty Intel. The drop in the PC market comes from a variety of sources but two of the most likely candidates are the lack of cash in consumers pockets to upgrade and a lack of competition driving an urge to upgrade. Once many gamers would willing live on ramen noodles for a time so that they could afford the next GPU or CPU upgrade thanks to the impressive performance increases the next generation offered. Now new releases tend to offer a small incremental performance increase and occasionally new features which are impressive but nowhere near what an upgrade 10 years ago offered. Certainly part of the issue is the difficult of coaxing a bit more performance out of silicon and with the reduced competition it is less financially attractive to fund expensive and risky R&D projects than it is to work on small incremental increases in efficiency and performance.
Here's hoping for a change to this market in the coming years.
"Intel has lowered its revenue forecast for the first quarter of its fiscal 2015 by nearly a billion dollars, citing a weaker than expected PC market."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- IBM Reported To Be Developing Blockchain-Based Currency Transaction System @ Slashdot
- Linksys EA9200 Tri-Band Router Review @ Hardware Canucks
- This isn't Net Neutrality. This is Net Google. This is Net Netflix – the FCC's new masters @ The Register
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | March 13, 2015 - 09:00 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: haswell, GTX 960M, gaming laptop, g501, ASUS ROG, asus
Today Asus unveiled the Republic of Gamers (ROG) G501 gaming laptop. The G501 is a 4.54 pound 15.6” laptop that packs high end hardware into a thin aluminum shell.
The ROG G501 features a dark gray 0.81” thick aluminum chassis with a brushed metal finish and red bezel accents. A 15.6” matte IPS display dominates the top half of the PC with a resolution of 3840x2160 (UHD). The lower half includes a red backlit keyboard (1.6mm key travel) with colored WASD keys and a number pad as well as a large trackpad.
External I/O on this gaming machine is extensive and includes:
- 1 x Thunderbolt
- 3 x USB 3.0
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x Audio combo jack
- 1 x SD
- 1 x 1.2MP webcam
- Wi-Fi 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.0
Asus is using the latest mobile technology with the G501 including a 47W Intel Haswell Core i7-4720HQ (4c/8t) processor, NVIDIA GTX 960M (4GB) graphics card, up to 16GB of DDR3 memory, and an impressive 512GB PCI-E x4 solid state drive (rated at 1,400MB/s reads). The laptop also supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. Asus claims that its Hyper Cool technology will keep the system running cool by using copper heatpipes and giving the CPU and GPU their own heatsink and fan which can be independently controlled to maintain a balance of heat and noise. The laptop is powered by a 96Wh Lithium Polymer battery.
This beastly gaming laptop will be available next month with an MSRP of $1,999 (with the configuration listed above). More information can be found at gseries.asus.com
In addition to the ROG G501, Asus’ GL551 and G751 series are also being refreshed to include NVIDIA’s new GTX 900 series graphics. The GL551JW will get the GTX 960M while the G751JL will use the GTX 965M.
Subject: General Tech | March 12, 2015 - 02:09 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: western digital, vulkan, video, SSD 750, Re+, raptr, r9 390x, podcast, nvidia, Mantle, Intel, imagination, gtx 960, gsync, gdc 15, freesync, Broadwell, amd
Join us this week as we wrap up news from GDC 2015, FreeSync Release Date, Vulkan and Mantle, and more!
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, Allyn Malventano, and Paul Heimlich
Program length: 1:42:16
Who the hell is this guy? Paul from Paul’s Hardware
Week in Review:
0:18:45 ASUS X99-A Motherboard Review
News item of interest:
GDC 2015 Wrapup
1:09:40 More 4GB GTX 960s
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Subject: General Tech | March 12, 2015 - 01:52 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: usb, flash drive
It is not easy to kill something via USB as the plugs deal with all sorts of devices that are off spec but it can be done. If you short ground and power the plug disables itself, TVS diodes prevent static electricity from damaging anything and excessive RF is bled off by the inline filtering beads. That didn't stop this Hack a Day reader from figuring out a way to make a killer USB drive with a inverting DC-DC converter and capacitor bank. The drive uses the power provided by the USB port to charge the capacitors to -110VDC which then discharges that to the data pins, enough to overcome the protection on the port and it repeats until the USB port is no longer capable of delivering power. Considering many USB ports are integrated onto your CPU at this point, this is not a very nice thing to do; we present this as a warning and do not recommend this or similar projects be undertaken by our readers.
"[Dark Purple] recently heard a story about how someone stole a flash drive from a passenger on the subway. The thief plugged the flash drive into his computer and discovered that instead of containing any valuable data, it completely fried his computer. The fake flash drive apparently contained circuitry designed to break whatever computer it was plugged into."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel: Windows XP upgrade slowdown hits Q1 cash flow @ The Inquirer
- Panda antivirus labels itself as malware, then borks EVERYTHING @ The Register
- Infiniband Association adds control freakery to Volume 1 spec @ The Register
- Hardware Asylum Podcast - Gigabyte Big XTU Challenge and Smart Watches
- TRENDnet TV-IP310PI Outdoor 3 MP PoE Day/Night Network Camera Review @ NikKTech
- Life, the interview and everything: A chat with Douglas Adams @ The Register
- El Reg chefs whip up Post-Pub Noshographic
- Tech ARP 2015 Mega Giveaway
Subject: General Tech | March 11, 2015 - 05:47 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: usb 3.1, Superspeed+, Superspeed Plus, asus, Z97-A/USB 3.1
Not too long ago Al and Ryan had a chance to play with a prototype USB 3.1 enclosure from ASUS and an add-in card with a controller from ASMedia. The Tech Report also received the prototype USB 3.1 enclosure with two mSATA drives running in RAID-0 mode but they happened to have an ASUS Z97-A/USB 3.1 motherboard which has a built in port and ASMedia controller. Their CrystalDiskMark results showed a ~75% boost in sequential read and write performance with 4K random write speeds also vastly increased. That is not the highlight of their review however; ASUS provided a list of upcoming USB 3.1 releases from multiple vendors so you can now get an idea when you might want to upgrade to a board with USB 3.1 on it.
"Today, we're going to take our very first look at some USB 3.1 gear. Asus has supplied us with a drive enclosure and a matching motherboard, which will help us gauge the kinds of performance gains users can expect."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Mushkin ECO2 240GB 7mm SSD Review @ TechwareLabs
- Crucial BX100 250GB SSD Review @ NikKTech
- EDGE Boost Pro Micro SSD @ The SSD Review
- Crucial BX100 250 GB @ techPowerUp
- Crucial MX200 SSD @ HardwareHeaven
- Using RAID-5 Means the Sky is Falling! @ Benchmark Reviews
- Western Digital Green (WD60EZRX) 6 TB @ Tech ARP
- Western Digital 3.5″ Red 6TB NAS HDD @ eTeknix
- An uncomplicated Buffalo in SOHO: The LinkStation 441D 4-bay NAS box @ The Register
- Thecus N4310 Soho/Home Linux NAS Server Review @ Madshrimps
- Synology DiskStation DS115 NAS @ Kitguru
- SanDisk UltraFit USB 3.0 FlashDrive (16GB) @ Bjorn3d
- MyDigitalSSD OTG mSSD 512GB USB 3.0 @ eTeknix
- VisionTek USB Pocket SSD 120GB @ Bjorn3D
Subject: General Tech | March 11, 2015 - 01:56 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, zombies, dying light, Chrome Engine 6
Dead Island used Chrome Engine 5 and Dying Light will use the sixth version of this engine which should give you an idea of the look and scope of this game. As for performance, look no further than this article from [H]ard|OCP which details the performance of the game on NVIDIA cards ranging from the GTX 750 Ti to the GTX 980 as well as Radeons from R9-285 through the 290X. This engine proved to love VRAM, at 4K the GTX 980 and R9 290X stuttered at points and the three 2GB cards showed the same problems at 1080p. It would seem that even though the 970 never used more than 3.6GB of VRAM the card performed better than either of AMD's top offerings. Pity about the lack of multiple GPU support.
"Dying Light is out on the PC and we are liking it. Today we evaluate performance on many video cards to find out what kind of gameplay experience to expect. We will also compare graphical settings and find out which ones are the most demanding and what level of video card you need for this game."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- So Good To Be Back: Unreal Tournament Trailer @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Frontier promises it won't 'dumb down' Elite: Dangerous for Xbox @ The Register
- The Miskatonic Proves Eldritch Horrors Can Be Adorable @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Descent: Underground seeks to revive PC gaming classic @ HEXUS
- Rat-Attack-Tack In Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Ashes Of The Singularity Looks Beautiful (And Expensive) @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Steam On Linux Now Has Over a Thousand Games Available @ Slashdot
- Seven Wyvern-Murdering Minutes Of The Witcher 3 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Overwatch Beta In Autumn, Two New Characters Shown @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Halcyon 6 Is Deep Space Nine To FTL’s Voyager @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN