HP Testing Windows 8 Developer Preview on Touchpad Tablets

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | October 25, 2011 - 10:17 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, webOS, touchpad, tablet, slate, hp

The HP Touchpad was tablet that ran HP's WebOS mobile operating system.  It was also a tablet with an extremely short lifespan, one that was ended long before its time according to the sentiments of many enthusiasts.  The tablet's demise was a casualty of the company's former CEO Léo Apotheker getting rid of HP's PC division, and it started going for fire sale prices only a few weeks after its initial release.

There may yet be hope for the tablet, however.  According to Fox News, an HP employee has told them that a team within the company is playing around with the (not so) dead HP Touchpad tablets by replacing the WebOS operating system with Windows 8 Developer Preview.

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It seems as though the idea of a Windows powered slate may be something that HP is willing to try out.  Although slates nor convertible tablets have never really caught on (at least in the US) due to Windows not being the most touch friendly interface, with the rise in popularity of tablets and Microsoft beginning to put a bit more care into a touch friendly UI, HP may be weighing the odds of a Windows 8 powered slate computer.  If; however, HP goes ahead with the previous plans to ditch the PC division, the idea of a HP Touchpad reincarnation may be moot anyway.

If the souce turns out to be true; however, there may be hope for a new HP Touchpad in the future sans WebOS.  Do you think HP will go ahead with the plan to follow in the footsteps of IBM, or will it give its PC division and(/or) touchpad tablet line a second chance?

Source: Fox News

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim PC System Requirements Revealed

Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2011 - 06:19 PM |
Tagged: skyrim, PC, gaming

Although most of you are busy blasting away at Battlefield 3, there are likely quite a few that are also interested in the RPG genre, and in that vein Kotaku has recently gotten their hands on and released the minimum and recommended system requirements for the upcoming Elder Scrolls: Skyrim PC game.  Keep in mind when looking at the recommended system requirements, that they are for running the game at "High" graphics settings and not "Ultra" which will require more powerful specifications.

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Source: Gameinformer

The minimum system requirements for Skyrim are as follows:

CPU (Processor) Dual Core @ 2.0 GHz
GPU (Graphics Card) DirectX 9c compatible w/ 512MB RAM
RAM (System Memory) 2GB
OS (Operating System) Windows XP, Vista, or 7 (32 or 64 bit)

 

Those are fairly tame, and most computers around today should be able to at least run the game, with some concessions.  The recommended system requirements bump things up a bit for those that prefer shinier graphics in their RPGs.

CPU (Processor) Quad Core Intel or AMD
GPU (Graphics Card) DirectX 9 compatible w/ 1GB RAM
  AMD 4890 or Nvidia GTX 260 or higher
RAM (System Memory) 4GB
Sound Card DirectX compatible
OS (Operating System) Windows XP or 7

 

Interestingly (though not surprisingly to some), Windows Vista doesn't make the list for recommended specs, which may or may not be a mistake.  As you can see, even the recommended specifications aren't too high, at least compared to other (more demanding) new releases this year.  Is your PC ready for Skyrim?

Source: Kotaku

"We do not see the PC as the leading platform for games," my sweet patootie

Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2011 - 02:08 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, jon peddie

When the senior gaming analyst from Jon Peddie Research notices that smartphone and tablet gaming is resulting in a direct increase in gaming on laptops and desktops you really have to wonder where Carmack formed his belief that the days of PC gaming are kaput.  As well a growing trend in Asia where you can go to a boutique style PC store, purchase your components and build your machine in store with the assistance of employees there is obviously a growing market of PC gamers.  DigiTimes does point out that the actual estimated growth for PC gaming hardware did shrink from $22 billion to $19 billion, but any industry seeing 11% growth in market is not dying.  From the sounds of JPR's research, mobile gaming grows the PC gaming market, not the console market.

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"Jon Peddie Research (JPR) has announced its latest figures on the PC gaming hardware market for the second half of 2011 and forecast to 2014.

In 2011, over 250 million game capable home and personal use PCs will ship. To get a sense of perspective, only 220 million PS3, the Wii, and Xbox 360 consoles have shipped since the era of the modern console began in 2005.

PC gaming hardware will grow at a rate of 11% through 2014. However, the ongoing economic recession is having its effect on even the gaming market. Taking the reality into consideration, JPR has reduced its 2011 global PC Gaming hardware market estimate to US$19 billion from US$22 billion.

Nevertheless PC gaming activity (as opposed to sales) has increased in 2011 as evidenced by ongoing game sales and online activity. JPR has raised estimates of the number of people playing PC games from their previous forecast by 3% for 2011. With a base of about a half billion people who regularly engage in PC gaming, gaming is an attractive market for hardware manufacturers, many of whom consider gamers in their product design and marketing."

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Source: DigiTimes

Not 2.1 nor 5.1, these headsets go to 7.1

Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2011 - 12:09 AM |
Tagged: gaming headset, audio, 7.1 headset

With 7.1 sound came the idea that you could control the vertical as well as the horizontal.  This was usually achieved with a setup that included not only an above average amount of speakers but also a knowledge of the space you were filling with sound and an obnoxious amount of money spent on a stereo system.  Is it possibly true that you can reproduce the same feeling with an $85 pair of USB headphones?   OCC says maybe ... but you won't be disappointed by the sound when you are gaming and you might just develop an edge.

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"Now that I have made it obvious why you need a headset let me introduce the one up for review. ROCCAT has had a lot of new products released for US purchase recently after being founded in Germany back in 2007. One of its newest products available over at Newegg.com is the ROCCAT Kulo Virtual 7.1 Gaming Headset. The key here is the "virtual" tag in the product name. As it turns out, the 7.1 is a function of a stereo output rerouted through an included USB sound card. Thus it is not true 7.1 quality but perhaps it is still a great headset. Let’s take a gander at how the Kulo Headset looks and also listen to the beauty that comes from those earmuffs."

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Don't worry AMD fans, there's an ultrabook clone coming soon

Subject: General Tech | October 24, 2011 - 06:43 PM |
Tagged: amd, ultrabook, Deccan, Kerala

Not to be deterred by the issues that Intel has run into trying to out Macbook Apple, AMD will also be jumping on a notebook similar to the Ultrabook.  The successors to Brazos will be competing against Ivy Bridge and Haswell, so hopefully the statement that DigiTimes makes about vastly improved performance and power usage reduction are true.  AMD is also lookign to refresh the chips they've designed for use in tablets which you should be able to get your hands on before the end of the year, if GLOBALFOUNDRIES can produce enough chips.

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"AMD has made plans for ultrabook-like products for the next two years – in 2012, AMD will launch the Deccan platform to replace Brazos and will launch Kerala in 2013.

Since AMD's share in the global CPU market has been around 20% in recent years while the company has about 10% share in the global notebook CPU market, AMD is preparing plans for ultra-thin notebooks hoping to raise its share in the notebook CPU market.

In June 2012, AMD is set to launch Deccan, featuring Krishna and Wichita-based APUs and will upgrade to Kerala featuring Kabini-based APUs. With the upgrades, the overall performance and power consumption of AMD's platforms are expected to see an extraordinary improvement, allowing AMD to compete against Intel's Ivy Bridge platform in 2012 and Haswell platform in 2013.

For the traditional notebook market, AMD has already launched its Llano-based Sabine platform to replace Danube, but due to Globalfoundries' weak 32nm yield rates and production issues, supplies of Llano APUs has been limited, which should impact AMD's future plans for the notebook market. However, within AMD's latest plans, the company is set to launch the Comal platform, featuring Trinity-based APUs, for 2012 and will upgrade to the Indus platform in 2013 using Kaveri-based APUs.

As for the tablet PC market, AMD will push the Brazos platform with Windows operating system to target the enterprise market in 2011. In the second quarter of 2012, AMD will launch the Brazos T platform that features Hondo APUs and in 2013 will release the Samara platform, which features a similar architecture as its ultra-thin platform."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: DigiTimes

Ubuntu Extends Long Term Release Support Time

Subject: General Tech | October 22, 2011 - 02:23 PM |
Tagged: ubuntu 12.04, ubuntu, support, LTS

Canonical, the makers of Ubuntu, has announced that they are extending the support of LTS (long term support) releases to five years. Currently, the LTS releases of Ubuntu are supported for up to three years on desktops.

The new support time-line will start with the fourth long term support (LTS) release which will be Ubuntu 12.04. The 12.04 release is slated to debut in April 2012; therefore, support for the operating system would continue until April of 2017. That should be more than enough time for desktop users to find updated software or jump to another release if they don’t want to update to the latest Ubuntu release at that time.

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Canonical's proposed release schedule.

Further, the support schedule is broken down into two periods. For the first two years of the operating system’s lifetime, the OS will receive regular hardware updates via point releases. After that two year period, the remaining three years will be relegated to maintenance and security updates. One interesting thing about the LTS release support schedule lies in the fact that after the two years of hardware support updates, it will be time for the next LTS release (Ubuntu 14.04 in this case) thanks to the way the releases are staggered. This would enable businesses to update straight from the end of one LTS release to the next and maintain current with hardware updates as well as extending support even further.

The overlapping support schedule and extended support time-line are said to be the result of Canonical wishing to make enterprise customers happy. The Ubuntu Engineering Director, Rick Spencer, stated that although Ubuntu has traditionally been known for quick updates and keeping up with the latest applications and hardware, the “ability to plan for the longer term is vital.” OEMs are also likely to appreciate the longer support schedule as well in that they will be able to offer software to customers that is good for five years instead of three.

What are your thoughts on the LTS Ubuntu releases?

Source: Canonical

Blew stuff up? Don’t get Karky, kid! New Battlefield 3 trailers

Subject: General Tech | October 22, 2011 - 03:24 AM |
Tagged: battlefield 3

You might be waiting for Battlefield 3; you might also not be waiting for Battlefield 3 because you played Operation Metro and did not get any chance to play Caspian Border. The Beta is now long gone and release is just days away. To generate excitement, DICE has released another trailer focusing on the diversity of the maps: day and night; air and ground; urban, open, and open urban? Stuff crumbles, stuff dies, and stuff plain gets blown up. Check it out.

Wake Island just will not be the same without randomly bombing narrow strips of land.

Also teased in the trailer is the Back to Karkand expansion pack showing the Battlefield 3 version of Strike at Karkand with much less yellow and much more debris. Not shown are the other three maps of the expansion: Wake Island, Sharqi Peninsula, and Gulf of Oman. Unlike Battlefield 2, however: Battlefield 3 will have a single-player campaign which received its own trailer.

I somehow feel this is Dangerously Close to Medal of Honor’s anti-brass theme.

While it looks like Battlefield 3 will be a worthy sequel to 2005’s Battlefield 2, I do fear that future iterations will take a turn similar to Call of Duty after the Call of Duty 4 inflection point. How do you feel? What do you want to know about Battlefield 3 the most?

Source: Battlefield

Blizzcon 2011 Day 1 Photos

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | October 21, 2011 - 07:28 PM |
Tagged: wow, starcraft, nvidia, LG, diablo iii, diablo, blizzcon 2011, blizzcon, asus, antec

Hey everyone!  I am still busily collecting information at Blizzcon 2011 but I thought I would share with you some of the photos I took from the first half of the first day of the show.  If you haven't experienced Blizzcon before (and I hadn't) this is one hell of a celebration of PC gamers.  Even if you aren't a fan of StarCraft, World of Warcraft or Diablo, this is an impressive event with a main stage area seating 15,000!!!

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Check out all the photos on our Facebook page here (available to public as well!)  I'll have some coverage of the Antec, ASUS and NVIDIA booth as well later in the evening so be sure to check back.

Here are a couple more samples, but be sure you check out the link above for ALL of the the photos!!

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Arkham City PC System Requirements Revealed

Subject: General Tech | October 21, 2011 - 12:10 PM |
Tagged: batman

Over at GeForce.com you will find the system requirements you will need to rescue Gotham from its current status of Arkham City.  They are fairly modest to be able to play the game at a reasonable resolution, if you are willing to skip out on PhysX, 3D Vision and extreme tesellation.

In concert with a 2.4GHz Dual-Core CPU and 2GB of RAM, a GeForce 8800 GT will give you a high level of visual fidelity, but none of the extras. A GeForce GTX 460, however, in conjunction with a 2.5GHz Dual-Core CPU and 4GB of RAM, will allow you to use the game's Recommended 'High' settings and PhysX, as shown in our recent Batman: Arkham City PC Trailer.

Based on preliminary testing we’ve determined that a GeForce GTX 460 or GeForce GTX 560 will allow you to play Arkham City comfortably at 1920x1080 with PhysX enabled, as shown in the aforementioned video; a GeForce GTX 570 allows you to enable additional DirectX 11 effects, as shown in our screenshot; and a GeForce GTX 580 allows you view all of the eye-candy in stereoscopic 3D Vision for the ultimate Batman: Arkham City experience.

screenshot-16.jpg

Minimum System Requirements

    Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP, Vista or 7
    CPU: Dual-Core CPU 2.4 Ghz
    RAM: 2GB
    Graphics Card: NVIDIA 8800 or ATI 3800 with 512MB of VRAM
    Sound: Microsoft Windows XP/Vista or 7 compatible sound card (100% DirectX 9.0c-compatible)
    DVD-ROM: Quad-speed (4x) DVD-ROM drive
    Hard Drive: 17.5GB free disk space
    Input Devices: 100% Windows XP/Vista or 7 compatible mouse and keyboard

Recommended System Requirements

    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7
    CPU: Dual-Core CPU 2.5 GHz
    RAM: 4GB
    Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 or ATI Radeon HD 6850 with 768MB+ of VRAM (DirectX 11 compatible)
    Sound: Microsoft Windows XP/Vista or 7 compatible sound card (100% DirectX 9.0c-compatible)
    DVD-ROM: Quad-speed (4x) DVD-ROM drive
    Hard Drive: 17.5 GB free disk space
    Input Devices: 100% Windows XP/Vista or 7 compatible mouse and keyboard or Xbox 360 Controller for Windows

Source: NVIDIA

You've a date with Intel on the Ivy Bridge

Subject: General Tech | October 21, 2011 - 11:46 AM |
Tagged: Intel, Ivy Bridge, release

Z68, we hardly had time to know you and now you are leaving us; at least the 67 twins were around for a bit.  March will be mad for reviewers and tech junkies as Ivy Bridge is scheduled to arrive on the scene.  The updated chip moves to 22nm and will also be the first to feature Intel's Tri-Gate transistors which should keep the TDP of even the higher speed models of chip below current generation chips. DigiTimes also lists the models of motherboards that will arrive with the new chip, all half dozen of them.

ivy_bridge.jpg

"Intel is expected to unveil its 22nm Ivy Bridge CPUs in March 2012 at the earliest, with initial offerings focusing on dual- and quad-core models, according to sources at motherboard makers.

The quad-code Ivy Bridge CPUs will have thermal design power (TDP) ratings of 45W, 65W and 77W, while the dual-core models will have TDP ratings of 35W and 55W, indicated the sources.

For the 7-series desktop CPUs, Intel will launch Z77 and Z75 chipsets to replace its Z68 and P67, and a H77 to replace H67. Additionally, Intel will also release Q77, Q75 and B75 chipsets for business models, replacing the Q67, Q65 and B65."

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Source: DigiTimes