Intel learns from Sandy Bridge mistakes, but is it enough?

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | June 24, 2011 - 01:13 PM |
Tagged: linux, Ivy Bridge, Intel

Back when Sandy Bridge launched, Intel had some difficulty with Linux compatibility due to their support software not being available long enough ahead of launch for distribution developers to roll it in to their releases. As a result, users purchasing Sandy Bridge hardware would be in for a frolic in the third-party repositories unless they wished to wait four or five months for their distributions to release their next major version. This time Intel is pushing code out much earlier though questions still remain if they will fully make Ubuntu’s 11.10 release.


You mean there's Intel... inside me?

Intel came down hard on themselves for their Sandy Bridge support. Jesse Barnes, an open-source Linux developer at Intel, posted on the Phoronix Forums his thoughts on the Sandy Bridge Linux issue:

"No, this is our job, and we blew it for Sandy Bridge. We're supposed to do development well ahead of product release, and make sure distros include the necessary code to get things working … Fortunately we've learned from this and are giving ourselves more time and planning better for Sandy Bridge's successor, Ivy Bridge."

Now, six months later as support for Ivy Bridge is getting released and rolled into their necessary places, Intel appears to be more successful than last time. Much of the code that Intel needs to release for Ivy Bridge is already available and rolled in to the Linux 3.0 kernel. A few features missed the deadline and must be rolled in to Linux 3.1 kernel. While Phoronix believes that Fedora 16 will still be able to roll in support in time it is possible that Ubuntu 11.10 may not unless the back-port the changes to their distribution. That is obviously not something Intel would like to see happen given all their extra effort of recent.

Source: Phoronix

What an odd time to be a .NET programmer

Subject: General Tech | June 24, 2011 - 12:08 PM |
Tagged: .net, longhorn, microsoft, windows, winfx

Way back in the beginning of the 00's, before Win7 was Win7, Microsoft announced the development of a new OS that was named Longhorn.  This was an ambitious plan to move from the old Win32 programming interface to a newcomer called .NET which Microsoft had designed to be an alternative to both Win32 and VisualBasic.  There would still be backwards compatiblity with Win32 apps but no more extensions to the API would be created.  Of course as we know this project never saw the light of day and Win7 remained dependant on the two old, if familiar APIs.

As if that was not bad enough for those programmers who chose .NET for their specialty, a few weeks ago Microsoft gave them another kick when they announced the upcoming Windows 8 OS will utilize HTML5 and JavaScript, not .NET nor even the old pair that programmers are familiar with.  This was not well recieved by those who had spent significant time and money becoming adept programming .NET applications.

Now, in a move that is hard to judge if it is a mean trick or an honest attempt to placate the hoards of fuming .NET programmers, Microsoft has announced that Longhorn is not dead; it was just resting.  Windows 8 will ship with a pair of runtimes, .NET 4.5, and a C++ implemention which will be called WinRT and do everything Win32 could do and more and will work with the new user interface design tool they're calling DirectUI.  Even Silverlight is being integrated into the APIs, which means all that training in Microsoft programming may pay off in the end.  Drop by Ars Technica and decide if this is bull or not.


"Early this month, Microsoft dropped something of a bombshell on Windows developers: the new Windows 8 touch-friendly immersive style would use a developer platform not based on .NET, which Microsoft has been championing for the past decade. Instead, it would use HTML5 and JavaScript. Since then, the company has refrained from making any further comment on the issue. In particular, the question that has many Windows developers particularly concerned—how can I make use of my existing skills and experience when developing these new applications?—remains unanswered; the company plans to reveal nothing until its BUILD conference in September."

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Source: Ars Technica

Meet the Medic, Uber Update, and TF2 itself are freed

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2011 - 11:13 PM |
Tagged: valve, tf2, free to play

All week long Valve has been teasing about their largest content update to date with 8 of the 9 classes getting one to three items each and a new map for the expanded mayhem to rage on. Their tease wrapped up today with the release of a 4 minute cinematic trailer for the game, “Meet the Medic”, which is the first released in over two years. Meet the Medic displays the gruesome and dark nature of the character and shows the historical inception of the Ubercharge to the Team Fortress universe. If you wish to experience the new content but do not own Team Fortress 2 you can simply fire up Steam and get it, forever; Valve has decided to release it for free.



Yes, it is. While Steam sales of days past have placed the price of the game as close to the free territory that a game could reasonably be, Valve has decided to outright waive the entry cost for the game in lieu of optional item micro-transactions. Last September during the Mann-Conomy Update, Valve inserted a system where users can purchase official and community-created content (the creators of each mod receive commission from said transactions) as an alternative of earning it through achievements or receiving them randomly in “drops” as an incentive to play the game. Valve decided that for the length of the game being on the market and for the volume of sales from the item purchase system that it would be no longer necessary to collect money from the game itself.


But… shouldn’t he be holding two pistols?

So with the update today: load up your Steam, even if you never had purchased Team Fortress 2 before, and go practice medicine. Do go harm.

Super Fast PCI Express Cable Capable of 32 Gbps Announced By The PCI SIG

Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 23, 2011 - 07:30 PM |
Tagged: thunderbolt, storage, pcie, PCI SIG, Opitical, Intel

Just as Intel is slowly persuading its super fast data interconnect, the PCI Special Interest Group is already introducing their own competing standard in the form of a PCI Express cable that is slated to be capable of a drool-worthy 32Gbps (gigabits per second). Planned to be constructed from copper wire, the cable standard will be launched as part of the PCI Express 3.0 standard and will be able to pipe both data and power through a thin, flattened cable up to 3 meters (9.84 feet) in length.

The PCIe cable is able to achieve this high bandwidth by combining up to four parallel lanes, each capable of 8 Gigatransfers per second (GT/s). Further, it will be able to provide approximately 20 watts of maximum power to peripheral devices. Speedy connectivity to fast SSD based portable hard drives as well as to tablet and smart phone devices for sync, additional touch interface, and external displays are all aims of the PCIe cable. It is squarely aimed to compete with Intel-backed Thunderbolt; however, the PCI SIG has not stated as such, yet. The interest group was quoted by EE Times in saying "There are solutions [like this] in the industry--Thunderbolt is one of them, and some companies are doing own thing,"


Intel's Thunderbolt and the PCIe cable will soon enter the Thunderdome to battle for supremacy

The PCIe cable is expected to be ready for peripheral device makers’ integration as early as June 2013. In the future, the cable is likely to be included in the PCI Express 4.0 standard where it will receive an upgrade to 16 GT/s lanes, and from their it will subsequently receive an upgrade to an optical based transmission material.

You can read more about the new PCI Express cable as well as its merits as a open standard (and how that affects Thunderbolt’s proprietary nature) over at EE Times.

Source: EE Times

Part raptor, part mouse, all game

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2011 - 05:50 PM |
Tagged: raptor-gaming, mouse, input, gaming

The Raptor-Gaming LM2 mouse actually looks unique in a market where several mouse bodies are rebranded and perhaps slightly modified and sold as a unique product.  In theory the use of a 2400dpi optical sensor should help keep the price down and they also completely skipped any sort of control software. That might annoy micromanagers but it will please the plug'n'play crowd.  Hardware Heaven felt that with 5 buttons including the scroll wheel it has enough controls for most usage but the asking price is equivalent to mice with more features and a control suite which is why they recommend you give this mouse a miss.


"Today we have another new product from Raptor-Gaming, the LM3 gaming mouse. The LM3 is a mid-range gaming mouse offering simple plug and play support and we will find out if it suits the needs of today's demanding gamers."

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PC Perspective Podcast #159 - AMD Llano Notebook Platform, AMD Fusion platform architecture, X79 Rumors, the deal about BAPCo and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2011 - 02:39 PM |
Tagged: x79, podcast, nvidia, llano, Intel, fusion, APU, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #159 - 6/23/2011

This week we talk about the AMD Llano Notebook Platform, AMD Fusion platform architecture, X79 Rumors, the deal about BAPCo 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: - 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, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:27:10

Program Schedule:


  1. 0:00:30 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or
  4. and
  5. 0:01:50 AMD A-Series Llano APU Sabine Notebook Platform Review
  6. 0:05:00 AMD Fusion System Architecture Overview - Southern Isle GPUs and Beyond
  7. 0:33:24 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  8. 0:34:00 AFDS11: AMD Demonstrates Trinity Powered Notebook
    1. AFDS11: Upcoming Trinity APU will use VLIW4 / Cayman Architecture
  9. 0:35:45 AFDS11: ARM Talks Dark Silicon and Computing Bias at Fusion Summit
  10. 0:41:30 AFDS11: Microsoft Announces C++ AMP, Competitor to OpenCL
  11. 0:45:45 New Rumor Indicates X79 Chipset Will Support Both 1366 and 2011 Sockets
  12. 0:49:49 Microsoft is probably laughing as AMD speculates the unlikelihood of Intel buying NVIDIA
  13. 0:54:45 Larrabee rides again, almost ... meet Knights Corner the new Many Integrated Core design
    1. Intel Hopes For Exaflop Capable Supercomputers Within 10 Years
  14. 0:58:35 What's the big deal with BAPCo? Why Benchmarking Matters
  15. 1:05:20 Crysis 2: Cry Harder (with DX11 and High Res textures)
  16. 1:06:00 *Allyn Show and Tell*
  17. 1:12:45 Quakecon Reminder -
  18. 1:13:17 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan:
    2. Jeremy: How to Encrypt Your Dropbox Files, at Least until Dropbox Wakes the F* up
    3. Josh: nice combo!
    4. Allyn: Lytro
  20. and
  21. 1:25:45 Closing


Hello Idoru, welcome to the uncanny valley

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2011 - 12:15 PM |
Tagged: uncanny valley, j-pop, idoru

At first glance this article at Gizmodo looks like a fluff peice about a Japanese pop bad comprised of seven young women; however one of them is not real.  She is a composite of the six real band members mapped onto an actors face.  So while she might not quite be the full virtual Idoru of William Gibson's book, the face does not exist except as 150GB worth of data.  There has been another similar star in the form of Miku Hatsune, though 'she' was a full CGI persona attached to a synthesizer, a very graphical user interface if you will.  Perhaps you are not into j-pop, but the implications for games will probably interest you.  Where L.A. Noire is famous for the mapping of mouths during speech and individualized facial tics and tells, with this type of technology any face or combination of faces could be mapped to an actor.  Character skins indeed.


"The fact is that yes, she looks exactly like the others. Literally. The big eyes, the juicy lips, the perfect cheeks, the cute chin, the blinding smile and the angelical look belong to the other six member of AKB48. Eguchi Aimi is not a real person, she has been composed in a computer using parts from her fellow band members. Her fans, who are legion, just learned about it this week, when this shocking video demonstrating the process, was published in YouTube. They just couldn't believe it and you won't believe it either:"

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Source: Gizmodo

Asus Invites You to Attend The Republic of Gamers Formula X Event

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2011 - 12:14 AM |
Tagged: ROG, Republic of Gamers, overclocking, gaming, Formula X

This weekend Asus is holding an event open to the public for all computer enthusiasts interested in overclocking, gaming, case modding, and benchmarking. Sponsored by Asus, Intel, NVIDIA, and NVIDIA, Antec, Kingston, Patriot,CoolerMaster, CPU Magazine, Corsair, and Razer, 20 of North America’s top overclockers have been invited to push the latest Asus Republic of Gamers motherboards and graphics cards to the limit with the help of some LN2. In addition to the prize of respect, during the competition the participants will be awarded with over $50,000 USD worth of hardware from the sponsors.

Asus is gearing up for Formula X with lots of awesome ROG hardware

In addition to the overclocking and case modding showcases, various new Republic of Gamers hardware will be making its North American debut including the z68 Maximus IV Extreme-Z and Maximus IV Gene-Z motherboards, Matrix GTX 580 Platinum GPU, and the ROG G74SX gaming laptop.

According to Asus, the two day event is open to the public and no admission fee is required. With 2300 liters of liquid nitrogen on hand, Asus is confident that the overclocking event will be a great experience for everyone involved. The Formula X event will take place this weekend on the 25th and 26th of June 2011 from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM on Saturday and 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Sunday, and is located at Fry’s Electronics 1077 E. Arques Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94085. A phone number is also provided at (408)-617-1300.

If you are local or are going to be in the area this weekend, we encourage you to stop by and check out the enthusiast event. For those who can not make it stay tune to PC Perspective for the latest happenings on Formula X.

Source: Asus

Bumpday 6/22/2011: Honda-Vu

Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2011 - 11:01 PM |
Tagged: tablet, cog, bumpday

This past week Sony decided to release their first video in their new tablet PC ad campaign months before the release of their product. By the end of the campaign Sony promises five total videos parts (excluding a prologue and maybe more spin-offs just to make me a liar) which they hope will captivate you until the autumn. The first thing I thought of when viewing this video is the Honda Cog video so I guess it is time to bump it up in our memory.


You forgot the uphill rolling tires Sony!

Back in April 2003 our web forum went abuzz with Honda’s stunning Rube Goldberg machine made mostly out of Honda Accord parts. It did not take long for discussion to devolve into picking on then-mocked FORD because most four-letter words are easy to make acrostic poems for. None of the links still work as they are 8 years old; however, it is still available to be viewed on Youtube and I would be irresponsible to embed it here as well. So nostalgia at the commercial, and nostalgia at the forum thread long since forgotten.


Source: PCPer Forums

Crysis 2: Cry Harder (with DX11 and High Res textures)

Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2011 - 10:31 PM |
Tagged: patch, dx11, crysis2

“Yeah, but does it play Crysis 2 now?”

Crysis 2 has shed the resource hog reputation of its predecessor while simultaneously shedding its reputation as a game to show off your computer with. There was also a lot of ranting in the forums during it and its demo's releases about how good of PC game it was altogether. Coming on Monday, Crytek is setting to release their anticipated DirectX 11 patch along with a higher resolution texture pack for those with computers that scoff at Crysis 2 in its current state.


Can you run me now? Good.

(Image from Crytek, modified)

The change list for patch 1.9 includes a set of notable additions:

  • DX11: Tessellation + Displacement Mapping
  • DX11: High Quality HDR Motion Blur
  • DX11: Realistic Shadows with Variable Penumbra
  • DX11: Sprite Based Bokeh Depth of Field
  • DX11: Parallax Occlusion Mapping
  • DX11: Particle Motion Blur, Shadows, and Art Updates
  • DX11: Water Rendering improvement using Tessellation and Displacement Mapping
  • Realtime Local Reflections
  • Added support for Higher Resolution Textures Package
  • Improved advanced video settings menu
  • Improved Tone Mapping
  • (And the usual bug fixes and such)
Both of these additions, the patch and the texture pack, were at one point accessible through the MyCrysis website. I did not see the update (as I do not own Crysis 2) until after they were removed; however, Crytek does state that both updates will be made available after official release on June 27.  
Do you think you will don on the nanosuit again? (Registration not required for comments)
Source: MyCrysis