Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2011 - 10:31 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: patch, dx11, crysis2
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)
Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2011 - 12:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Way back in February a trailer went up for Dead Island which received a lot of press as it was put together very well and added a little more emotion to a genre which only tends to consider brains as a food item. Ars Technica has hd a chance to play through the game both on their own and in co-op mode and are satisifed that this is not a case of Dead Rising meets Left4Dead. This serious yet light hearted game will be available come early fall, hopefully with a demo released before that.
"Dead Island takes place on a beautiful tropical island, and you are tasked with taking control of one of four characters to do your best to survive an outbreak of zombies. The game features a wide-open world to explore, but while it may be constantly compared to other games like Dead Rising, it successfully manages to feel like its own game. I've had the chance to play the single-player game, as well as take the four-player co-op play for a test drive, and I've enjoyed both."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- From SimCity to Real Girlfriend: 20 years of sim games @ Ars Technica
- From Elite to Rollercoaster Tycoon: 20 years of sim games, part 2 @ Ars Technica
- Alice: Madness Returns brings solid platforming, tedious length @ Ars Technica
- How the indie Jamestown, a 2D shooter and instant classic, was born @ Ars Technica
- Gaming 3.0 @ t-break
- GT Omega Racing Simulator @ Tweaktown
- Red Faction: Armageddon Game Review (PC) @ HardwareHeaven
- Contemporary Graphics Cards in Duke Nukem Forever @ X-bit Labs
- How Infinite Fixes BioShock’s Key Problem @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Impressions: Six Gun Saga @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Mobile gaming and where it will leave dedicated gaming handhelds @ t-break
- Child of Eden Game Review (XBOX 360) @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | June 22, 2011 - 12:05 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: arm, amd, texas instruments, snapdragon, amazon, tegra
It is not just AMD which is forging a new relationship with ARM, which we saw evidence of during the AMD Fusion Developer Summit, several other manufacturers are making good on previous statements made while waiting for AMD, and are going to be selling ARM based notebooks. These companies are not on the fringe of the market, these are major vendors like ASUS which are releasing quad-core ARM based notebooks which will use SnapDragon, Tegra or TI for the graphics portion. DigiTimes has the scoop here, as well as news on a tablet which will be released by Amazon running an unspecified TI processor which we should see by August.
"Several vendors, including Samsung Electronics, Toshiba, Acer and Asustek Computer, plan to develop ARM architecture notebooks, with products possibly to be launched as early as the end of 2011, according to industry sources.
The sources pointed out that ARM-based systems using Android were already launched under the smartbook name two years ago with Toshiba and Lenovo both launching products in the retail channel. However, due to weaker than expected demand, the related products were soon phased out of the market.
Since ARM's CPU has already been upgraded from single-core two years ago to quad-core with a significant increase in performance, while the platform's storage capacity has also seen significant improvements, and an enhanced user interface, ARM is already capable of launching notebook products that are able to run for a long period of time, and if the price is attractive, there is a great chance for the products to create a brand new market segment in the IT industry.
Asustek has already made plans to launch a 13-inch ARM-based notebook adopting Nvidia's processor with Android.
The sources pointed out that there are already several brand vendors reportedly set to launch ARM-based notebooks with prices lower than US$299 to compete for market share and the vendors' processor choices include Nvidia's Tegra, Qualcomm's Snapdragon and processors from Texas Instruments."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Google Chrome extension detects dangerous websites @ The Register
- Programmers urged to code with their tootsies @ The Register
- The Linux Kernel Power Problems On Older Desktop Hardware @ Phoronix
- Making Airsoft guns far more potent @ Hack a Day
- AMD Rejects BAPCo's SYSmark 2012 - Should We? @ Techgage
Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 21, 2011 - 10:26 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: skydrive, microsoft
There are a number of reasons for which someone would desire to have their data accessible from the internet and there are a number of services that provide that capability in many different ways. If you are looking to collaborate on a small project with automatic syncing then you will probably find your way to Dropbox. If you are looking to access your music collection from your variety of devices then you will probably like Amazon or Google’s music lockers. Should you be looking to migrate a business to a really large online storage system then Amazon S3 might be worth hooking into. If you are a home user who wishes to store and share your photos, documents, and videos with friends and family then Microsoft recently updated their Skydrive service to help users like you; it should be available to you right now.
Why start the video from the desktop, Microsoft? A guy has feelings you know.
One feature I wished that Microsoft would have implemented to Skydrive at some point over the last few years is an easy method to map your Skydrive account to a drive letter on your computer. Sadly this feature is still not present in Skydrive. What are present are features to make Microsoft’s service look much more user friendly and much more like a native application. Their new photo browser looks quite a bit like their Windows Phone 7 tile interface with photos shown in their original aspect ratio fitting together like a puzzle. There is also a nice looking content browser that slides both pictures and videos across a viewing screen with thumbnails below for selection. With features like these with a focus on cross-browser support it is obvious that Microsoft is looking to be your family’s content hub and prevent Facebook from getting that much more powerful in this space.
What do you use, if anything, to share content with friends and family?
Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 21, 2011 - 06:58 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Huawei, CommunicAsia, Android 3.2
There seems to always be a trade show going on at some corner of the ellipsoid world particularly at this time of the year. Down in Singapore the CommunicAsia 2011 exhibition is on until the 24th and news is starting to trickle out about advancements in communication technology. If you were holding your breath until Android reached version 3.2 on devices you can almost finally exhale, if you are still conscious because you can at best hold your breath for like 8 minutes and Android products are not that quick to ship. Yet.
Seventh floor… going up… ... WHAMMY BAR!!!
Huawei announced on the 21st that they are releasing a 7-inch tablet based on Android’s 3.2 release. The tablet will feature a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor from Qualcomm but no mention of how much system RAM it will contain as it still allegedly depends on partners. The capacitive touchscreen will be IPS-based at a 217 PPI pixel density. After a little trigonometry: a 7-inch screen will have a resolution somewhere between 1280x720 and 1366x768 if its pixel density is 217 pixels per inch. The unit itself is capable of outputting 1080p to an external display through HDMI. There are currently no details towards a price, but Huawei stated that there are no plans for a Wifi-only version. The unit is expected to ship in the third quarter of this year.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | June 21, 2011 - 02:36 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: VIA, sysmark, nvidia, Intel, benchmark, bapco, amd
It seems that all the tech community is talking about today is BAPCo and its benchmarking suite called Sysmark. A new version, 2012, was released just recently and yesterday we found out that AMD, NVIDIA and VIA have all dropped their support of the "Business Applications Performance Corporation". Obviously those companies have a beef with the benchmark as it is, yet somehow one company stands behind the test: Intel.
Everyone you know of is posting about it. My twitter feed "asplode" with comments like this:
AMD quits BAPCo, says SYSmark is nutso. Nvidia and VIA, they say, also. http://bit.ly/kHvKux
AMD: Voting For Openness: In order to get a better understanding of AMD's press release earlier concerning BAPCO... http://bit.ly/kNtKkj
Ooh, BapCo drama.
Even PC Perspective posted on this drama yesterday afternoon saying: "The disputes centered mostly over the release of SYSmark 2012. For years various members have been complaining about various aspects of the product which they allege Intel strikes down and ignores while designing each version. One major complaint is the lack of reporting on the computer’s GPU performance which is quickly becoming beyond relevant to an actual system’s overall performance. With NVIDIA, AMD, and VIA gone from the consortium, Intel is pretty much left alone in the company: now officially."
Obviously while cutting the grass this morning this is the topic swirling through my head; so thanks for that everyone. My question is this: does it really matter and how is this any different than it has been for YEARS? The cynical side of me says that AMD, NVIDIA and VIA all dropped out because each company's particular products aren't stacking up as well as Intel's when it comes to the total resulting score. Intel makes the world's fastest CPUs, I don't think anyone with a brain will dispute that, and as such on benchmarks that test the CPU, they are going to have the edge.
We recently reviewed the AMD Llano-based Sabine platform and in CPU-centric tests like SiSoft Sandra, TrueCrypt and 7zip the AMD APU is noticeably slower. But AMD isn't sending out press releases and posting blogs about how these benchmarks don't show the true performance of a system as the end user will see. And Intel isn't pondering why we used games like Far Cry 2 and Just Cause 2 to show the AMD APU dominating there. Why? Because these tests are part of a suite of benchmarks we use to show the overall performance of a system. They are tools which competent reviewers wield in order to explain to readers why certain hardware acts in a certain way in certain circumstances.
Continue reading for more on this topic...
Subject: General Tech | June 21, 2011 - 11:59 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: audio, wireless audio, headset, razer
RAZER's new headphones are wireless, with three rechargable AAA batteries which are easily accessible so that when they do finally stop holding a charge you can easily get at them to swap them for new ones. The charging dock is quite well designed, actually giving you something more stylish than a nail to hang your headphones on when they are not in use as well as charging them. When you are using them you will enjoy interference free quality audio, both sending and receiving, if the review at Mad Shrimps is anything to go by. They liked this headset more than other wireless sets they have used in the past and compared them favourably to wired sets.
"The RAZER Chimaera Gaming Headset offers wireless connectivity for maximum liberty of movement, features large cups for confortable wear during long gaming sessions, a uni-directional microphone with a flexible mic boom and an easy to use charging dock."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- SteelSeries Spectrum 7XB Gaming Headset Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Roccat Kulo Stereo Headset Review @ eTeknix
- SteelSeries 7H For i Devices @ OC3D
- Arctic Sound P351 Gaming Headset Review @ HardwareLOOK
Subject: General Tech | June 21, 2011 - 11:38 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: opteron, interlagos, bulldozer, amd
It might just be that the ISC is the perfect place to show off their new chip or it may have been Intel's displaying of the 50 core Knights Corner silicon yesterday; whatever triggered it we finally get a look at AMD's Bulldozer. A 1U server by Supermicro contained two 16-core Bulldozer chips though other vendors are claiming to be able to fit a 4 socket system in the same size case. Those sweet talking wonks over at The Inquirer not only talked their way into getting a few photos of the system they were even allowed to fondle it, which revealed heatsinks that were cool enough to touch even when running POVRay which lends credence to the idea of 4 CPUs, or 64 cores, in a 1U box. We are still looking at Q3 for a release of the new Opteron architecture, with no news at all as to AMD's plans to turn that architecture into an APU in a later generation of chips.
What a little chutzpah gets you
"CHIP DESIGNER AMD chose the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) to finally demonstrate a working Bulldozer system.
At AMD's ISC stand one could find several 2U and 4U servers built with older Opteron chips, but it was a 1U pizza box server made by Supermicro that housed two 16-core Bulldozer chips running live demonstrations of POVRay. This is the first time that AMD has publicly displayed its next generation Opteron processor, codenamed Bulldozer."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- 13-Year-Old Password Security Bug Fixed @ Slashdot
- McAfee announces Wavesecure security software @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft could buy RIM @ The Inquirer
- Intel to launch Ivy Bridge in March 2012 @ DigiTimes
- Google revives TV buzz with SageTV buy @ The Register
- Google bypasses admin controls with latest Chrome IE @ The Register
- Resistive memory: how small can you go? @ NanotechWeb
Subject: General Tech | June 21, 2011 - 03:33 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: vsis, sudo, PlanetLab, linux
The Unix-based computer has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to enforcing permission levels upon their users. Back during the infancy of operating systems the idea of permissions did not compute with many of the platform developers. Today it is next to impossible to imagine a modern operating system without some sort of hierarchy of trust. Historically there were various methods of controlling access: first there was “su” which temporarily logged you in as another user; then there was “sudo” which let you just execute commands to another user rather than log in as them; now PlanetLab claims to have a better offering, called “Vsys”.
Vsys was created to allow finer control over what user is allowed what action. One feature is the ability to create extensions, scripts from executable files, to define what is permissible and what is not. It is apparently possible to permit certain combinations of commands but no other similar combinations. PlanetLab, the creator of Vsys, is a research network headquartered at Princeton University. From the wording of the article it appears as if Vsys was an internal tool developed for their researchers to have more specific access to what was necessary which they now released publicly. While it has been stated that Vsis will not replace sudo for the common user it should be useful for administrators of larger groups of users.
Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 20, 2011 - 09:06 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: storage, raid, network attached storage, NAS, drobo
Just Delivered is a new section of PC Perspective where we share some of the goodies that pass through our labs that may or may not see a review, but are pretty cool none the less.
When the time is right for dedicated network storage and you don't want to go through the hassle or complication of building your own FreeNAS or other type of device, one of the best options on the market according to our own Allyn Malventano is a Drobo.
For an upcoming review we just received a new Drobo FS, the network attached version of the Drobo lineup. Available in both a standard and a "Pro" model, the former with 5 bays the latter with 8, they are about as idiot-proof and easy to setup as a NAS can be.
The Drobo FS only has a single connectivity option: the Gigabit Ethernet port for connection to your primed-and-ready router. Adding or swapping hard drives for larger models is super easy and the "BeyondRAID" technology makes it reliable as well as simple to use.
We are looking forward to putting the Drobo FS to the test in the coming days and reporting back to you on the performance, features and reliability of it.