Author:
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Cooler Master

True 5.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset

Cooler Master is a household name in the PC case world, and an established player in the cooling industry.  Not content with those two areas, Cooler Master has expanded into power supplies, keyboards, mousepads, and a plethora of other accessories where they apparently make a tidy bundle.  Coolermaster is now moving into a new area; gaming audio.  Under the “CM Storm” brand, Coolermaster is releasing its own set of cans.

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We were sent a production quality sample, but it did not come in the retail box that is availble now.

Cooler Master is hoping to deliver a profound audio experience to users with their CM Storm Sirus (not Sirius mind) True 5.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headphones.  The design and packaging certainly look impressive, but what counts in the end is the sound emanating from these products.

Read the entire article here.

Windows 8 Will Support Mounting ISO and VHD Files Natively

Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2011 - 12:50 AM |
Tagged: windows 8, VHD, microsoft, ISO

The Microsoft blog “Building Windows 8” reported today that the company’s next operating system, Windows 8, will support natively mounting ISO and VHD files. As a bit of background, ISO files are all the folders and files included on a CD or DVD encapsulated into a single file. Similarly VHD files are all the files and folders on a hard drive encapsulated into a single file. These VHD files are used primarily by Virtual Machine and imaging backup programs. Just as the OS did not support zip files out of the box for many iterations, ISO mounting has always required third party tools like Daemon Tools and SlySoft’s Virtual Clone Drive. However, it looks like the time has finally come for Microsoft to roll ISO mounting into the operating system. Steven Sinofsky stated that managing ISO and VHD files continue to be important for businesses and power users and that “we know even more support for VHD is a big request, so stay tuned.”

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Rajeev Nagar, the group program manager on the Storage and File Systems Team, detailed how the ISO and VHD mounting will work in the upcoming Windows OS. For ISO files, users need only to select the ISO and choose the mount option in the Windows Explorer ribbon interface. Windows will then create a virtual CD/DVD drive with the files contained in the ISO available. The drive will also be able to eject the ISO file from the ribbon interface with a single click.

On the VHD, or Virtual Hard Drive, front, it is only a matter of double clicking on the VHD and allowing Windows to assign a drive letter and presenting users with all the files and folders contained in the VHD file. User will be able to interact with the virtual drive just as they would with a “normal” hard drive.

One issue with the ISO and VHD support in Windows 8 is that while users will be able to mount and interact with ISO and VHD files, they will not be able to create the files from scratch. Makers of ISO burning and VHD creating utilities are likely to appreciate still being relevant. Still, its a welcome step in the right direction for power users.

More information on Windows 8's native ISO and VHD support, including a video of it in action, is available on the MSDN blog.

Source: MSDN

It's not a gaming mouse, the Microsoft Touch Mouse works for a living

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2011 - 08:51 PM |
Tagged: input, mouse, gestures

With so many companies focusing on gaming peripherals, the mouse you use at your day job really hasn't changed very much.  You can see the design is very plain but that has the added benefit of making the mouse equally comfortable for lefties and righties.  It is wireless, using two AA batteries to power it and it is able to transmit up to 10' away from the receiver and work on most surfaces.  TechReviewSource mention several of the gestures that will work with the mouse, from minimizing and maximizing to acting as an alternative to ALT-TAB.  If you are looking to give your desk at work something special, check out the review here.

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"The Microsoft Touch Mouse combines a traditional mouse with multitouch gestures to make navigating and using Windows 7 on a desktop computer just like a notebook with a touchpad. While a little expensive, it is very responsive, comfortable to use and intuitive."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

GLOBALFOUNDRIES 20nm tape out

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2011 - 04:34 PM |
Tagged: tape out, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, amd, 20nm

When then discussion turns to a chip taping out, we are referring to an obsolete practice where a chip would be designed on a large scale and then reduced through photolithography.  Originally, once a chip design was finalized on paper it went to the artwork stage where an engineer would literally tape out and glue the design to create a photomask which would allow light through in a variety of ways or utterly block it.  That light was focused to create a smaller version, which then was used to make an even smaller version ... until it was of a size to etch the physical components of the chip onto the wafer and with a bit of luck and a lot of skill you would end up with a chip that worked to the specs you expected.

You can't exactly do that anymore, as the current generation of chips coming out of GLOBALFOUNDRIES uses a 20nm process, smaller than even extreme UV wavelengths and the magnitude of size reduction would be insurmountable.  Thankfully there is CAD and many other more mature ways of creating chips than the old cut and paste method.  This puts AMD in a good position to transfer to a 20nm process in the future, smaller than Intel's 22nm process but lacking the Tri-Gate three dimensional transistors that Intel will be implementing.  Drop by The Inquirer for more.

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"CHIPSHOP Globalfoundaries has announced that it taped out a test chip using its 20nm process node.

Globalfoundaries, best known for being the main chip fab partner of AMD, has been working to get its 28nm and 20nm process nodes up and running. For Globalfoundaries and its customers - in particular, AMD - having a mature 20nm process is desirable to show it has possibilities for die-shrinkage in the near future."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

Turtle Beach is still alive and kicking bass

Subject: General Tech | August 29, 2011 - 06:10 PM |
Tagged: audio, headset, turtle beach, DPX21, 7.1

Old time techies will remember Turtle Beach fondly, as there was once a time when they were the only choice in sound cards other than Creative.  ASUS blew that market wide open and now we see many other manufacturers releasing sound cards, even if the majority of users now depend on onboard codecs.  Turtle Beach does still make sound cards, the Riviera being their current model, but they've also expanded into headsets.  The newest Turtle Beach headset is the DPX21 which is a package containing the PX 21 headset and the Ear Force DSS controller which allows you different connection choices as well as a host of controls.  The Ear Force has separate volume controls for the game and chat, and bass tuning, there are also two controls that tbreak suggests you avoid, one which is a sound ‘expander’ and an option to force Dolby-esque surround sound.  If you leave those two controls alone though, tbreak loudly proclaims their love of the virtual 7.1 surround sound and feel it is worth the $150 investment .

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"While the name may evoke imagery of cute turtles and soft sunny beaches, for the techie among us, the name Turtle Beach only evokes one picture: kick-ass surround sound gaming headsets. And what a lovely picture that is. Turtle Beach have been at the game for a long time, making a name for themselves by churning out impressive, high quality headsets for the current gen consoles."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: tbreak

Cedar Trail preview, can it keep Intel's netbook lineup alive?

Subject: General Tech | August 29, 2011 - 05:56 PM |
Tagged: cedar trail, Intel, Atom N2800

If you haven't run across them yet, VR-Zone just released a sneak peek at Intel's new ultramobile chip lineup, which we know as Cedar Trail.  The benchmarks that they found are a little odd, consisting of 3DMark 2006 and PCMark 2005 so the results need to be taken with that context in mind.  Still the Atom N2800 manages to triple the performance of the previous Atom generation so there have been some noticeable improvements.  The problem is the netbook form factor its self, as tablets and even smart phones can replicate the tasks that the netbook was intended for.  That could mean that no matter how good Cedar Trail is, the form factor it is set to dominate may be going extinct.  They do offer HDMI out now though.

VR_Z_CedarTrail_benchmarks.jpg

"We're not sure how much life there's left in the netbook market, but considering that Intel is looking to offer some very affordable next gen Atom processors, its upcoming Cedar Trail processors might just be what the netbook market space needs to catch a second wind. VR-Zone can exclusively unveil the first benchmark figures for Intel's upcoming mobile Atom processors and although they're unlikely to blow anyone's mind, they're a huge improvement over the previous generation."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: VR-Zone

Happy Birthday Rick Hansen

Subject: General Tech | August 26, 2011 - 09:11 PM |
Tagged: friday

Even we at PC Perspective have been hit with data loss, for instance quiet a few of the older podcast recordings were sent to silicon heaven when Ryan's RAID array bit the big one, which is why it is always nice to see new options for backing up data safely and securely. You can read about a new option in the Networking and Security forum which one member has had experience with.  Head to the Motherboard Forum for a different members in depth analysis of the Gigabyte A75M-D2H which will prove a perfect base for a Llano build. 

The Overclocking Forum is seeing some action as well, with two different members writing about their experiences overclocking their systems, one of whom even provides pictures.  Not as many pictures as in this system build though

If you are more in the mood for socializing, the Fragging Frogs would love to have you join them for a gaming session so that you will be fresh for the arrival of Battlefield 3 or you could vist The Lightning Round for battle of a different type. You can chat with the Folding Frogs or the Killer Frogs BOINC team as well as donate your spare CPU cycles to a good cause or just poke through the Trading Post to see what kit you can pick up from fellow members.  As well don't forget this weeks podcast, where we don't talk about Steve Jobs.

Firefox Designer Says Mozilla Will Be Keeping Version Numbers

Subject: General Tech | August 26, 2011 - 05:33 PM |
Tagged: mozilla, browser, firefox

We reported earlier that Mozilla would be removing the version number from the About page due to a posting by Asa on the bugzilla page; however, designer Alex Faaborg has come forth to clear up the issue with the statement that “there are no plans to adjust the version number. It will remain in its current place in the about window, and we are going to continue with the current numbering scheme.”

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That statement was in the mozilla.dev.usability group, which you can read here. Further in the thread, Alex notes that the confusion began from within the Mozilla UX design group, and Asa defended the design team with his posting on what he thought the final decision was. If the UX team had been playing a joke on Asa, it would have been perfectly executed, says Alex “that’s what I mean when I say significant confusion.”

With development that is done in public, some confusion is to be expected seems to be the sentiment of the thread. All said and done, are you happy to hear that the versioning will remain the same (as of now), or did you want to see them removed from the about screen?

Source: Mozilla

Mod a dial that goes to 11 onto your AMD graphics card

Subject: General Tech | August 26, 2011 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: DIY, overclocking

One of the favourite features on the high powered graphics cards that Ryan has been reviewing this week is the ability to manually overclock the card while running it.  Instead of having to use the built in software tools of the driver to first modify the speed and then running a test cycle it is possible to raise the frequency manually using controls on the card.  The changes occur on the fly, without the software first testing to ensure stability which necessitates the presence of a reset button to take you back to stock frequencies.  Thanks to Hack a Day you can now see how it is now possible to build your own paddle switch to do the same thing as the high end cards without having to spend the money or reach inside your case.  Check out this project which will give you a paddle that not only upclocks your cards memory and GPU separately, it can also reset you back to default speeds if you go too far.

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"[Fred] likes to squeeze every cycle possible out of his graphics card. But sometimes pushing the clock speed too high causes corruption. He figured out a way to turn a knob to adjust the clock speed while your applications are still running.

The actuator seen above is a Griffin Powermate 3.0. It’s a USB peripheral which is meant to be used for anything you can imagine. [Fred] uses an AutoHotKey script that he wrote to capture the input from the spinner, process that information, then adjust GPU clock speed in the background. Since the clock on his ATi Radeon 5800 can be adjusted using the AMD GPU clock tool, it’s an easy choice for this application. Now better graphics are at the tips of his fingers. See for yourself in the video after the break."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Hack a Day

GameStop pulls Deus Ex: Human Revolution From Shelves

Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2011 - 06:06 PM |
Tagged: PC, gaming, deus ex 3

Yesterday the news broke that GameStop had opened new copies of Deus Ex: Human Revolution PC games, and removed OnLive coupons before selling the games as new. Today, Ars Technica reports that the brick and mortar game retailer has responded to the backlash by taking their ball and going home (as the expression goes) by pulling all copies of Deus Ex: Human Revolution from store shelves.

According to a screenshot of an email posted by GameLife (shown below), GameStop has sent out an email to employees to pull all Regular PC Edition of Deus EX: Human Revolution, and place them in storage to be returned to the vendor in the future. The company further stated that the reason for pulling the copies of the game is due to the included OnLive coupon competing with their own Spawn Labs Gaming Division. “We are returning all copies of the PC regular edition to the vendor in agreement with Square Enix.”

Fortunately, any customers who had the game reserved will still be able to purchase the game if they still wished to. Returns of the game will also be honored for those with a receipt.

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While this move has been supported (publicly) by Square Enix, it is sure to only further enrage customers, and result in bad PR. The issue for most customers is not the removal of the free OnLive coupon included in the package in and of itself, but the fact that GameStop represented these games and new and unopened to customers. When customers found out that their new games, which they paid a new premium price for, were actually opened (and had materials removed) prior to them purchasing them many were understandably displeased over the mis-communication.

While pulling all copies is well within the companies right, as is removing the coupons (so long as the games are not then advertised and sold as new and unopened) it is not going to help calm the waters. It is hardly my place to suggest to the company how they conduct opertions; however, as a consumer I feel that they should know their practice and recent reactions are a bit unnvering.  Do you think GameStop is handling the situation correctly? What would you like to see the company do to assuage its customers?

Source: Ars Technica