It's not Invisible War 2, we promise!

Subject: General Tech | June 8, 2011 - 04:24 PM |
Tagged: deus ex, gaming

About the only thing more dissapointing than Deus Ex 2:Invisible War would probably have to be Daikatana.   Eidos Montreal however promises that Deus Ex 3 will be nothing like that and will try to focus on what made the first game so enjoyable.  Many sites, including Ars Technica, were given a 10 hour preview of the game and so far the feedback has been quite positive.  That is no guarantee of a good game but it does bode well for fans of the original.

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"There are few games with both the respect and baggage of Deus Ex. The original PC game is considered by many to be a masterpiece, and the sequel—Invisible War—is considered by many to be one of the most disappointing games ever released. Eidos Montreal has been working on a new Deus Ex title that is part prequel and part reboot, with Square Enix as the publisher."

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Source: Ars Technica

It's world IPv6 Day

Subject: General Tech, Networking | June 8, 2011 - 03:38 PM |
Tagged: what could go wrong, networking, ipv6, 404

On February 3 of this year, the last block of IPv4 addresses were allocated which brought IPv6 to the forefront of the minds of many network heads.  NAT and internal LANs can extend the usage of IPv4 for quite a while and many of the allocated addresses are not actually in use which is a good thing as not many OSes support IPv6 natively, nor do many network appliances.

That brings us to today, where many major websites are cumulating all of the internal testing they have been performning by doing a 24 hour dry run of IPv6.  Companies like Juniper and Cisco have been working to ensure their portion of the Internet's backbone will be able to handle the new addressing scheme so that clients can connect to the sites that are testing IPv6.  Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Bing have all turned on IPv6 as have several ISPs including Comcast, AT&T and Verizon, with Verizon's LTE mobile network are also testing IPv6.  You can see a full list of the participants here.

This will of course involve a little pain, as new technology does tend to have sharp edges.  You may well see a few 404's or have other problems when surfing the net today but overall it should not be too bad, Google predicts about a 1% failure rate.  The hackers will also be out to play today, likely using the larger sized packets for DDoS attacks.  Since the IPv6 packets are four times larger than an IPv6 packet, a flood of the new protocol will be super effective at DDoS attacks.  As well, most of the IPv6 packets will be bypassing companies current deep packet inspection hardware and software, IPv6 is not backwards compatible with IPv4 so the network appliances used for that type of scan simply cannot inspect IPv6 packets.  That is not to say that these devices cannot inspect IPv6 packets, simply that for a one day test major providers are reluctant to completely reprogram the devices.   In the case of an attack, most of the participants have a plan in place to revert immediately back to IPv4.

So, if possible on your machine, fire up IPv6 and give it a whirl.  There is a simple test here to see if you are IPv6 compliant and if it is enabled or a more comprehesive test here.

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"Sponsored by the Internet Society, World IPv6 Day runs from 8 p.m. EST Tuesday until 7:59 p.m. EST Wednesday. The IT departments in the participating organizations have spent the last five months preparing their websites for an anticipated rise in IPv6-based traffic, more tech support calls and possible hacking attacks prompted by this largest-ever trial of IPv6."

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AMD, IBM, Nintendo: Over ten years of The Wii U nit.

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 8, 2011 - 07:06 AM |
Tagged: Nintendo, E3, amd

Nintendo’s hardware manufacturers have been pretty stable for the last two generations of consoles. Following the NEC and SGI pairing of the Nintendo 64, Nintendo roped in the talents of IBM and AMD to create the hardware for the GameCube. With the transition to the Wii, AMD and IBM remained as the hardware producers for Nintendo’s console and with the announcement of the Wii U (the successor to the Wii) that will still remain true.

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HOOOOOOOO Wii! (Image by Nintendo)

AMD published a press release to state that the Wii U will contain AMD Radeon HD graphics to power Nintendo’s first entry to the high definition club. AMD touted their experience in multiple display support during their Wii U press release which would be suitable for the LCD monitors embedded in their controllers. IBM also released a statement confirming that they are shipping multi-core 45nm parts for the Nintendo’s next-generation console but did not state any more details such as how many cores or their clock speed.

Nintendo is rarely ever vocal about the specifications of their consoles and this version is no different. For their entire press conference Nintendo did not even show the console itself opting to focus on the controller and software. Beyond the controller, the hardware looks to be comparable to Microsoft and Sony’s offering from the limited info and screen shots we have seen. More info should come up as we approach the Wii U’s launch in a little over a year.

Source: marketwire

4 GHz Wall? TurboBoost to ramming speed!

Subject: General Tech, Processors | June 7, 2011 - 09:25 PM |
Tagged:

Intel has been pushing for higher clock rates for ages now. While 4 and even 5 GHz is not entirely uncommon for those wishing to step outside Intel’s specifications and push the frequency as high as it can go, Intel has yet to allow their parts at that frequency in any supported fashion. That has recently changed with Intel’s Xeon line.

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I don’t know, does Turboboost count as stock speed?
 

Tom’s Hardware noted from Intel’s spec sheet that Intel’s Xeon E3-1290 is clocked at 3.6Ghz with its Turbo Boost rating on single-threaded applications spiking to 4 GHz. Their original intention with their Netburst architecture from 2004 was to peak to ridiculously high frequencies but they quickly found their scalability ended below the 4 GHz line killing their plans for a 4 GHz SKU. With the Xeon architecture quite close to the higher-end Sandy Bridge parts it is possible that we might see 4 GHz in the desktop soon.

Sub $100 sound from Corsair

Subject: General Tech | June 7, 2011 - 06:19 PM |
Tagged: audio, corsair sp2200, corsair

To match the higher end SP2500 2.1 speaker kit Corsair has released the SP2200 2.1 kit, with a much lower price and hopefully a similar quality of audio reproduction.  The size of the speakers have been significantly reduced, but the general usage remains the same as they are obviously intended for use by someone directly in front of the PC.  [H]ard|OCP found problems pairing these speakers with the Realtek ALC889 audio chip and could not get them to sound anything other than underpowered when using it.  They did sound better from a full soundcard but still fell short the expectiations [H] had after reviewing the SP2500s.

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"Corsair's new line of audio products have quickly made the company a worthy brand choice for consumers and a strong competitor for its rivals in the PC audio market. Can the company's first budget entry continue the trend?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

A tease from Research@Intel Day

Subject: General Tech | June 7, 2011 - 04:52 PM |
Tagged: Intel, Research@Intel Day, CMOS

Intel has been obsessed with shrinking all of their processes recently, be it flash storage or their processors and the basic transistor inside their CPUs.  They have a new success story that they will be sharing during their Research@Intel Day, they are the first to shrink their analog CMOS technology below 65nm.  The new process will be 32nm, the same process as their current CPU generation which brings several benefits but the most important one being that they can move that circuitry directly onto the same die as the digital circuitry.  Read more at SemiAccurate.

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"It’s June and for those of you following the computing industry you know that Intel is having its yearly Research Day. This year Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) shows off about 40 different research projects – and we will dig more into them tomorrow after the doors have opened.

However, we thought that you should have a sneak peek at one of the most interesting research projects: 32nm analog CMOS design."

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Source: SemiAccurate

A keyboard for the terminally paranoid

Subject: General Tech | June 6, 2011 - 07:10 PM |
Tagged: input, secure wireless, aes-128, keyboard

Wireless connections are convenient, as anyone who has dealt with well tangled cords and wires can attest to.  The downside is that without proper setup they are incredibly insecure and can still be vulernable to certain attacks even when properly secured.  One particular vulnerabillty of wireless connections that tends to be missed completely is wireless peripherals, especially the keyboard.  What use securing your WiFi when your keyboard is broadcasting everything you type, up to an including passwords, in plain unencrypted text.  tbreak examines the Microsoft Wireless Keyboard with AES-128 encryption, perfect for securing yet another attack vector on your PC. 

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"Do you feel insecure when you press keystrokes on your current wireless keyboard, some one might capture them and find out what passwords or other information you are typing? Then Microsoft has just announced a brand new wireless keyboard and mouse for you. It sends all wireless keystrokes and mouse clicks with AES 128-bit encryption."

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Source: tbreak

... but NVIDIA, how can we have fun with Microsoft always staring at us like that?

Subject: General Tech | June 6, 2011 - 03:52 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, microsoft, lawyers

It turns out that while NVIDIA did not quite sell its soul to get its GPU into the first XBox, it did give up its right to go out unchaperoned.  As part of the deal Microsoft can block any large purchase of NVIDIA shares by another company.  If a company tries to purchase 30% or more of NVIDIA's shares then had and still has Microsoft has the right to put kybosh on the deal.  A decade ago when the deal was first inked the agreement would have made a lot of sense to Microsoft; they were going to depend on NVIDIA's GPU and did not want to have another company buy a majority share in NVIDIA to get a grip on Microsoft's new gaming console.  This deal makes NVIDIA rather unattractive to many companies as the investment of time and money necessary to set up a large deal could be utterly wasted if Microsoft decides it doesn't like the look of NVIDIA's new bedmate.  The Inquirer has more here, and are currently awaiting a response to the article from Microsoft.

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"AN UNLIKELY BETROTHAL between Microsoft and Nvidia has been uncovered that gives Microsoft the right of first and last refusal to buy Nvidia.

Microsoft entered into an agreement with Nvidia back in 2000 when the chip design outfit was brought in to work on the GPU of what would then become Microsoft's Xbox. That in itself isn't particularly surprising, but Information Week dug up a 10K filing with the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) in which Nvidia reported that Microsoft had first and last rights of refusal should a third party make an offer to buy 30 per cent or more of Nvidia's shares."

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Source: The Inquirer

Thermaltake Level 10 GT White, Frio GT and BigWater coolers and USB Power Strip

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Shows and Expos | June 5, 2011 - 03:28 AM |
Tagged: computex, thermaltake, frio, level 10, power strip

Thermaltake had its standard booth array of cases, coolers, keyboards, mice, headphones, etc but also had some new items to show us when we stopped by.  The first was a new "Snow Edition" of the Level 10 GT chassis we reviewed back in April.

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The case remains mostly unchanged with some USB 3.0 ports up front, 5 "EasySwap" HDD bays and room for some very long graphics cards.  The white color is not paint but rather plastic injected so you won't have to worry about the paint scratching off. 

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Next up is the Frio GT CPU cooler - yes the above image is showing you a freaking CPU COOLER.  It supports up to 300 watts of cooling and does so with an enormous amount of heatpipes, fins and airflow.  This cooler will be available in Q4 and should cost you under $100.

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Under the two big collections of fins you can see the heatpipes that move the energy from the CPU cores.  Obviously you are going to need to check out your case and motherboard dimensions before picking up a cooler like this as I imagine there are going to be quite a few configurations that are incompatible. 

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Thermaltake is also going into the self-contained water cooling direction as well with the internally designed and built BigWater A80.  Thermaltake claims this device will get better results than the competition by including some interesting airflow modifications.  Expect this to be very price competitive and be available in Q3.

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A big surprise at the booth was new USB-controlled power strip called the "Wireless USB Control Series".  Besides offering some convenient USB outlets directly on the power strip, this surge protector also has a USB powered remote control that will turn on and off the "Energy Saver" ports with the push of a button.

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The remote sits in a little stand on top of your desk so you can power offer your display, printer or other devices all at once and without reaching behind anything.  For those of you that want to go green then this will allow you to do so for a modest cost of $30-40 later this year.

Computex 2011 Coverage brought to you by MSI Computer and Antec

Source: Thermaltake

Happy 50th Birthday Larry Lessig

Subject: General Tech | June 3, 2011 - 10:37 PM |
Tagged: PC Perspective Forums, friday

There is no giving up in the PC Perspective Forums, a member may have just had a medically licensed vacuum cleaner suck out the contents of their wallet and when trying to relax in front of the PC afterwards found a dead monitor awaiting them instead of the comfort they were looking for; they do not give up.  Instead like the dedicated enthusiast that we all are, the PC was disassembled to find the root of the cause, in this case a PSU with bulging capacitors, and then they posted to our forums which has gathered several informative replies on how to properly replace the bad caps.  You can also take inspiration from this member who is still working with an old Biostar board based on the nForce750a chipset or from this member who is trying to determine if their screen is broken or if it is their GPU that is to blame. 

Perhaps less frustrating than serious PC problems, it could still be quite upsetting to find out your PC can't handle the bandwidth demanded by your new Blu-ray player or the hurdles of installing your OS on an SDD for the first time (OK, less hurdle and more hurtle)  or even deciding whether it is worth using 4 DIMMs yet or not.  Those type of decisions provide a lot of meat for our forums, be it deciding between a Core i3 or a Phenom II or even which software is best for testing stability.

You will be glad to hear Ryan took the time off during Computex to attend PC Perspective Podcast #157; though it turns out he and Ken aren't the only PCPer's there.