The last browser to renew its self; Firefox 4 arrives tomorrow

Subject: General Tech | March 22, 2011 - 04:06 PM |
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Over the past 7 days we have seen quite a bit of action in the browser world.  Internet Explorer has hit its 9th iteration for those running Vista or Win7, with improved performance across the board, previously unseen (from Microsoft) adherence to web standards and new features such as a Do Not Track header.  The eternally updating Chrome beat even Adobe to the punch in patching a serious Flash flaw, but Firefox has been lagging behind in this busy week.  Wait no more, as today sees the release of FireFox 4, with an update to the Gecko rendering engine and a new Javascript engine called Jaegermonkey.Drop by The Inquirer for a preview before you install it.

"OPEN SOURCE software developer Mozilla has big hopes that Firefox 4 will maintain the momentum of its most popular product, and so far the results are looking good."

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Source: The Inquirer

PCMark 7 Announced For Windows 7

Subject: General Tech | March 21, 2011 - 10:30 PM |
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HELSINKI, FINLAND – MARCH 21, 2011 – Futuremark, the developer of the world's most popular benchmarking software, announced PCMark 7 today, a new benchmark offering complete PC performance analysis for Windows 7. PCMark 7 includes 7 separate test suites combining more than 20 individual workloads covering storage, computation, image and video manipulation, web browsing and gaming. A release date has not been announced though the official website states that PCMark 7 is coming soon. http://www.pcmark.com/

"Hardware innovations like solid state drives (SSDs), and new form factors such as netbooks and tablets are greatly increasing the range of PC performance available to businesses and home users," said Jani Joki, Director of PC Products and Services at Futuremark. "With so much choice available, PCMark 7 is an essential and easy to use tool to test and compare PC performance accurately and reliably across a wide range of usage scenarios."

PCMark 7 provides a set of 7 suites for measuring different aspects of PC performance with a high degree of accuracy. Overall system performance is measured by the PCMark Suite. The Lightweight Suite measures the capabilities of entry level systems and mobility platforms unable to run the full PCMark suite. Common use performance is measured by the Entertainment, Creativity and Productivity scenario suites. Component performance is measured by the Computation and Storage hardware suites. The Storage suite is ideal for testing SSDs and external hard drives in addition to the system drive.

For more information please visit http://www.pcmark.com/ or follow Futuremark on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Futuremark/

Source: FUTUREMARK

Corsair hits the low end of 2.1 speakers with the new SP2200 system

Subject: General Tech | March 21, 2011 - 05:30 PM |
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$220 Corsair SP2500 2.1speaker set, which you can see from the full review was quite impressive for those sitting directly in front of their PCs.  Overclockers Club had a chance to try out Corsair's less expensive alternative, the $90 Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2200 2.1 speaker set.  As the price difference indicates, there are significant differences between the two models, the satellites are smaller and the control for the subwoofer also affects the bass sent to the satellites though on the plus side the speakers can accept input from 3 different sources without you having to swap plugs.  Check out the full review at OCC.

"Movies aren't so involving with the SP2200. Newer movies often have audio that favors bass, and, as mentioned, the bass must be turned down quite a bit on the SP2200 to prevent it from being overwhelming and boomy. Unfortunately, this means that the overall volume must be turned up rather high to have a traditional movie experience. Fortunately, because most movie audio is intentionally very quiet so that any dramatic, loud moments are emphasized, means that quiet listening of movies is possible. Simply note that you might have to increase the volume to hear quiet parts."

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IR cameras tracking your eyes might just trump the mouse

Subject: General Tech | March 21, 2011 - 05:13 PM |
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The Lenovo-Tobii eye control PC offers a new way to interact with your PC; a few seconds of staring at dots calibrates the software and from there on you can use your eyes instead of your mouse or trackpad.  It will even be able to store different Eye Profiles, so others can use the new software without forcing you to recalibrate once they are finished.  A row of two synced infrared sensors scan your eyes 30-40 times a second leading to very precise control.   Digital Trends feels that Tobii's 'Kinect for PCs' is a strong contender for the next interface for your computer.

"First it was the mouse, then touch control, then motion. On Friday, we got our hands on Tobii's new eye-tracking laptop, which could potentially eliminate the need for the mouse by keeping tabs on what you're looking at with astounding accuracy. In the last few years, touch control has revolutionized the way we interact with mobile devices. The technology has been so popular on smartphones that Apple used its proven touch approach to reinvent the dead tablet market with the iPad. Thanks to the blooming growth of these devices, touch is taking off in a big way, taking on new form factors and posing a potential threat to our oldest friend: the PC. With all of these motion-controlled interfaces for video game systems and touch interfaces for mobile devices, the PC with its keyboard and mouse, just feels, well, old. The keyboard is still the fastest and best way to enter large amounts of data and to author written content, but the mouse and touchpad are a step removed from the natural, direct feeling one gets when using the Wii, Xbox Kinect, or a touch tablet. Tobii hopes to rectify this imbalance. Last Friday, I met up with Barbara Barclay, North American manager of Tobii Technologies (a Swedish company) to try out a completely new type of user interface built for consumer desktops and laptops. In a small office building in Manhattan, New York, she let me try out one of only 20 prototype Lenovo laptops, which each have built-in infrared sensors that track eye movement so precisely and quickly that it makes even the best mouse interfaces feel antiquated."

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Talking about Fusion with AMD

Subject: General Tech | March 21, 2011 - 04:51 PM |
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X-bit Labs had a chance to speak with Neal Robison, the Senior Director of Content and Application Support at AMD, essentially he is in charge of ensuring AMD's APUs can be easily utilized with software and convincing programmers of all varieties to design software that takes advantage of the new abilities of the Fusion APU.  They discuss a wide variety of topics, such as hardware accelerated physics to tablets and AMD's choice to remain open as opposed to hawking AMD branded applications specifically for Fusion APUs.  Get a glimpse of AMD's future in the full article.

"AMD's Fusion technology is finally here. At present AMD Fusion platforms only power low-end personal computers, in the coming months AMD will introduce Fusion chips for mainstream PCs. But what about the future of Fusion program? Will it power high-end desktops? Maybe next-generation game consoles? What advantages can Fusion bring to end users? Neal Robison, the head of software developer relations department will answer these questions here and now."

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Source: X-Bit Labs

Don't eat the green snow

Subject: General Tech | March 18, 2011 - 10:02 PM |
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If you head on over to the motherboard forum you can see a few members have been getting lately, from brand new SandyBridge systems to a Gigabyte 790X board that is throwing up BSODs on regular occasions.  No matter what made or model of motherboard you happen to have, new or old, AMD or Intel, the PC Perspective Motherboard Forum is where you should head if you are having difficulties, unless the problem is specifically with your RAM of course.  Some problems are harder than others to fix though. 

The Lightning Round is doing stellar business as there is a lot to talk about in this quickly changing world, as is the Trading Post with several new items up for sale as the original owners change their setups.  To get kit for free though you need to sign up for PC Perspective March Madness, where up to 400 people compete to come out at the top of a NCAA pool.  You can also catch the 146th episode of the PC Perspective Podcast right on our front page.

Springtime graphics round up

Subject: General Tech | March 18, 2011 - 08:06 PM |
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InsideHW gathered together a large number of video cards, broke them into four different price ranges and went benchmark crazy.  For this particular round up they were more concerned about GPU power as opposed to contrasting the different features that AMD and NVIDIA have incorporated into their cards.   As well, instead of complicating their results with multi card setups, they focused on how the cards compared when used singly.  Take a look to see how they fell on the performance scale in the full review.

 

"If you were attentive during the past few months, you’re bound to have noticed just how many new graphics card models have been presented in the past few months. To say that the market situation is confusing would be an understatement, since not only have there been plenty of new models making their appearance on the market, but an entire graphics card generation has shifted. Besides, NVIDIA seems to have made a full recovery and got back into the game as an entirely respectable competitor…"

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Source: InsideHW

AMD's new releases, 11 Llano parts by the end of the year

Subject: General Tech | March 18, 2011 - 07:51 PM |
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You still have a few months of waiting before you will be able to get hold of AMD's new CPUs but there will be 11 new processors by the end of the year.  A mix of Llano and Zacate APUs will be released along with notebooks by a variety of vendors, based on the new quad core APU with an HD 6550 onboard.  DigiTimes didn't have a break down of the exact models and speeds that are coming but you can be sure that more information will be posted once it is released by AMD.

 

AMD will launch six Llano-series APUs for desktops in third-quarter 2011 and another five models in the fourth, in an apparent effort to take on Intel's Sandy Bridge CPUs, according to industry sources.

AMD will unveil its 32nm A-series Llano APUs at Computex Taipei 2011 to be held in June and the models to be launched in the third quarter will include A8-3550 and A6-3450, while the five models to be available in the fourth quarter will include A8-3560 and A4-3360.

Additionally, AMD will also release three E-series (Zacate) APUs, including dual-core E-300, E-450 and E2-3250, in the third quarter.

AMD has also announced that a total of 24 notebooks based on its C- and E-series APU have been rolled out by ODMs, including Clevo, Coby, Compal Electronics, Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS), Hasee, Micro-Star International (MSI) and Shuttle, and are available in the market now."

 

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Source: Digitimes

Intel's tools in the coming battle for server room dominance against ARM and AMD

Subject: General Tech | March 17, 2011 - 03:36 PM |
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Intel has been dominating the high end of servers with Itanium and Xeon but the days when energy efficiency can be sacrificed in the name of processing power are coming to a close.  AMD has been working away at Intel's market share with Opteron, perhaps less powerful for some applications but also lower powered than Intel's top of the line products.  That is changing, especially as ARM is now putting out dual core processors that can handle tasks once reserved for chips made by AMD and Intel.  Intel has responded with the idea of Atom powered servers as well as lower powered Xeons, while AMD has Bulldozer and other products around the corner.  Thanks to DigiTimes we now have a rough roadmap of Intel's plans for the server room in the near future.

 

"Intel has disclosed its roadmap for low-power processors for the emerging micro server category including a new server processor based on the Intel Atom processor microarchitecture targeted for 2012.

Micro servers share infrastructure resources and are ideal for workloads where many low-power, dense servers may be more efficient than fewer, more robust servers. Intel will deliver four new processors for the category that span 45W high performance to sub-10W, all with server features including 64-bit, Intel Virtualization Technology and Error-Correcting Code (ECC).

Customers are already planning designs based on these processors, including Intel Xeon E3-1260L and E3-1220L processors in production now, Intel said."

 

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Source: Digitimes

Auzentech updates their impressive X-Meridian 7.1

Subject: General Tech | March 16, 2011 - 05:23 PM |
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Wrapped around a C-Media CMI8788 Oxygen HD PCI Audio Processor and still using a PCI slot to avoid the use of a bridge chip to allow a PCIe version the new Auzentech X-Meridian 7.1 2G looks to improve the already impressive performance of the original.  It is just as powerful and tweakable as the original, though they did shave the headphone amplifier off, so [H]ard|OCP has no qualms recommending this card for anyone who needs to update an older soundcard.  They do caution that the difference between this card and the previous generation from Auzentech, or indeed from almost any manufacturer, is so slight that users of modern C-Media 8788 cards don't need to upgrade.

"Auzentech promises to deliver the second generation high performance PCI audio card that will let you know the difference between audio that sounds great and audio that sounds perfect. We put Auzentech's new card to the test."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP