Turtle Beach is still alive and kicking bass

Subject: General Tech | August 29, 2011 - 02:10 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."

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Source: tbreak

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

Subject: General Tech | August 29, 2011 - 01:56 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.

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"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."

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Source: VR-Zone

Happy Birthday Rick Hansen

Subject: General Tech | August 26, 2011 - 05:11 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 - 01:33 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 - 10:31 AM |
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."

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Source: Hack a Day

GameStop pulls Deus Ex: Human Revolution From Shelves

Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2011 - 02:06 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

AMD Names Rory P. Read President and CEO

Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2011 - 12:14 PM |
Tagged:

After 8 months without a CEO, AMD has finally made a choice and allowed Thomas Seifert to step back into the role of Senior VP and CFO, which he has stated was his preferred role in the company.  The new CEO is Rory Read, who comes from the role of COO and President of Lenovo, the company made famous by taking over IBM's hardware business at the end of 1994 for $1.75 billion.   Rory presided over Lenovo for the past year and was with the company in other roles for a period of 5 years, following a 23 year career at IBM.  The 2009-2010 year for Lenovo has seen growth that took them to acquire their largest share of the PC market ever, a fact which should reassure anyone worried about his management abilities.

Lenovo is an odd beast, with their teeth further into the design process than some of their competitors.  Those familiar with ThinkPads may have encountered the pricing of replacement parts, as in some cases a generic part will not fit.  The same goes for ThinkCenters and their obnoxiously proprietary PSUs.  That does not mean that he will bring that type of philosophy with him to AMD; it belongs to a system retailer not a hardware manufacturer.  Instead try and focus on the fact that while running a company that is targeted at a niche market, he shoved the competition to the side and took his company further than it ever had been.

Also, some guy in a turtleneck side stepped from CEO to chairman.

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"SUNNYVALE, CA, Aug 25, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- AMD (NYSE: AMD) announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Rory P. Read, 49, President and Chief Executive Officer of AMD, effective today. Mr. Read has also been appointed to the Company's board of directors.

Read joins AMD from Lenovo Group, Ltd., where he was most recently President and Chief Operating Officer responsible for leading day-to-day global operations while overseeing the development and implementation of the company's growth strategy."

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Source: AMD

AntiBumpday 8/24/2011: Party collapsed from low HP?

Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2011 - 02:32 AM |
Tagged: bumpday

Last week we saw HP announce the end of the WebOS hardware development during their end-of-quarter investor conference call. Last week also saw the most ridiculous bump, so old that names on the forum even fail to be recognized. There is only one way to cancel a division by zero: let us push it to the limit with the world’s shortest bumpday!

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Palm, point on the dolphin where HP Touchpad you.

Less than a week ago, discussion about HP’s future was pushed to our forums from a source that was not us.  We will overlook the short-sightedness, of course, as they were no doubt too busy short-selling HP stock. For those shareholders unlucky enough to ride the wave they ended up more washed-up than HP has been in the last 6 years. We shall ignore the cross-Atlantic cruise missiles and end with the hope of a new Destruction Derby or Wipeout game on the PC. Mmm -- nostalgia.

Source: PCPer Forums

Deus Ex gives beautiful performance on cards costing less than $250

Subject: General Tech | August 24, 2011 - 12:24 PM |
Tagged: gaming, deus ex

[H]ard|OCP received a preview of Deus Ex and we at PC Perspective might be jealous but we will still give a nod to them for putting together a preview of the performance you can expect.  Using a base of an ASUS P6T6 WS Revolution, a Core i7 920 overclocked to 3.6GHz, and 6GB of Corsair DDR3-1600, they tested a GTX 580 and GTX 570 and an HD 6970 and HD 6950.  The good news is that even the unmodded HD 6950 could play at an average above 30fps with every option at maximum at a resolution of 2560x1600, AMD's cards using MLAA and NVIDIA utilizing FXAA.  That is great news for those with a single monitor and single GPU setup, but Deus Ex is able to accept up to 5 monitors in EyeFinity or NVIDIA Surround which means you did not waste your money.

See what happens when you don't render tessellated water underground and turn concrete barriers into works of art Crytek?

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"We secured an advance copy of Deus Ex: Human Revolution so that we could show our readers how the game will perform when it launches later today. We've given it a quick once-over with four different video cards. We have a full run-down of the game coming after it officially launches, but this is here to whet your appetites now!"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

We now know about NVIDIA's New Years presents

Subject: General Tech | August 24, 2011 - 11:09 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, fermi, kepler, leak

There is good news and bad news out of SemiAccurate about NVIDIA today.  The bad news is that the chips are all Fermi, they have simply been shrunk to 28nm from 40nm.  That makes the idea of mobile variants arriving first very probable with the respectably low TDP shown on the leaked chart.  There at the bottom, in the row with the most question marks are the higher powered chips.   The good news is that the list is incomplete, there is more in store for consumers in the same time frame.  They will likely be 40nm but they will definitely not be Kepler chips.

semiacc_Nvidia_mobile_GPUs.png

"What does Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) have coming up for the post-Christmas GPU line? You have heard a lot about the 28nm parts, and here is what you will be seeing.

The short story is this, Nvidia is putting out a bunch of Fermi shrinks on 28nm, and you will likely see the mobile variants first. They are as follows, with some information a bit blurred to protect the exact sub-species of mole involved."

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Source: SemiAccurate