Subject: General Tech | June 17, 2014 - 07:26 PM | Scott Michaud
TF2, the free-to-play dress-up game with a remarkably deep combat mechanic, is less than an hour away from announcing something. It, currently, is a countdown timer above a mock TV test pattern above an old-timey military control panel. That is all we know at the moment. We'll update when we find out what is going to happen. Personally, I expect that we will see a video and likely details about a large update.
Apparently it is called "Love & War". It is a 15 minute video with an actual plotline. It seems to align with an update for between-team actions, like conga lines and square dancing. Also, there are few interesting achievements for doing those actions.
The real highlight has to be the video though. I've embedded it above. Take a quarter of an hour out of your time. It seems pretty hilarious.
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | June 17, 2014 - 06:39 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nzxt, razer, cases, steel
There does not seem to be much difference between the newly announced Special Edition H440, "Designed by Razer", and the original. The announcement claims: a custom paint design, LED lighting, a tinted window, and more. The design includes four fans (3x 120mm and 1x 140mm) and supports water cooling radiators up to 360mm.
By the specifications, nothing is different, functionally. That said, when you are dealing with a company who will budget out hundreds of thousands of dollars in research and development for a USB port color, it is entirely possible that a few screws might have moved slightly, and so forth. Then again, the images on the product pages seem fairly identical. Speaking of Razer's expensive USB ports, it looks like the USB 3.0 ports are that shade of green. Call it, "Extending their return on investment"?
Annnnd of course, no pricing or availability. That is, apart from: "Coming Soon".
Subject: General Tech | June 17, 2014 - 01:59 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: kingston, pny, ssdnow v300, optima
There is a wee bit of outrage in the community over the internals of Kingston's SSDNow V300 and PNY's Optima SSDs. In both cases the internals being sold at the moment do not match the internals that were originally benchmarked and people are outraged that the same product with a different model number has changed internals. The two drives are marketed towards value conscious purchasers and represent two different cases of modifications; Kingston with a flash change and PNY with a controller change.
The complaints against PNY are a little odd, it would seem that the 4-channel SMI 2246en controller was swapped for an 8-channel LSI SandForce SF-2281 with no price change and the only way you can be upset by that is because of a ridiculous level of brand loyalty. On the other hand Kingston has switched from Synchronous to Asynchronous NAND flash memory which does have a noticeable impact on performance and the stamina of the flash and also happens to be less expensive to manufacture. If Kingston had left the price as it was originally and specified the use of Synchronous Flash in the V300 series then you would have a good argument that they had intentionally mislead customers. The reality is that the type of flash was not specified and the price of a 120GB SSDNow V300 has halved since its release which makes this more of a slightly shady product refresh. It is not the best way to update your product line but considering the specifics of this particular case it really does not show intent to deceive.
If you really want something to be upset about then consider the example provided by The SSD Review; ASUS's swapping out of the SSD in their ZenBook with utterly no warning or price change. Now that is Bait and Switch!
"It seems that the world of technology has stopped with allegations that some SSD companies are pulling the old ‘bait and switch’ routine in their SSDs by switching off components that many had recognized through initial SSD reviews. We have read several reports and forums, most of which simply repeat the original information, and finally have decided to clarify things just a bit from our perspective. Get ready though as many may not like our viewpoint; it goes against the grain somewhat."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Micron, SK Hynix interested in investing in Taiwan SSD controller IC designers, say Taiwan makers @ DigiTimes
- Hey, VMware. You've got competition – from a Belgian upstart @ The Register
- Microsoft unveils developer channel for Internet Explorer @ The Inquirer
- In-app purchases are killing the gaming industry, says Mikko Hypponen @ The Inquirer
- How to Anonymize Everything You Do Online @ Wired
- Google's About to Ruin YouTube by Squeezing Indie Labels @ Gizmodo
Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 17, 2014 - 01:38 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ssd, Samsung 840, Samsung, kingston hyper x, kingston, endurance, corsair neutron gtx, corsair
In The Tech Report's ongoing SSD endurance challenge, three SSDs are soldiering forward. We have reached the thousand-terabyte mark, which is at least five times more than any of the survivors are rated for. These survivors: The Corsair Neutron GTX, the Samsung 840 Pro, and the Kingston HyperX 3K. Technically, the HyperX was able to reach 1PB of written data with performing only 716TB of actual writes, due to compression.
Image Credit: The Tech Report
Of course, each of the drives are less-than prestine. The Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB was slowly decreasing in its "life" attribute since the beginning, claiming to be somewhere between 75% and 80% with a fairly linear decline. If this trend continues, the drive will reach "zero" at around 4-5PB of writes. That said, its read speed has substantially dropped from the time between 900TB and 1000TB of total writes, from 500MB/s to just under 400MB/s. Also, this "life" could drop substantially if the drive encounters reallocated sectors (which this model has apparently yet to do).
The other two drives are a similar, remarkably successful story.
The Kingston HyperX drive is reporting itself to be substantially worse off, within the last 10% of its life. That said, even though it claims to be pining for the fjords, it is still working and has only reported a couple of reallocated sectors, those occurring in the last 100TB of writes.
The Samsung 840 Pro seems to still be going strong, although it had more zero or "a couple" of reallocated sectors -- every hundred terabytes yields about 500 reallocations.
As always, this is just our brief discussion of what The Tech Report found out. Be sure to check out their full article for many more benchmarks, tests, and conclusions.
Subject: General Tech | June 16, 2014 - 04:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, evga, gaming mouse, TORQ X10
We first saw the EVGA TORQ X10 at CES and recently one arrived at Scott's doorstep so we will have a full review in the near future. If you can't wait to see what this mouse is capable of you can check this review at Hardware Canucks even if you cannot buy the mouse until towards the end of this month. Not only can you adjust the weight of this mouse, the hand rests can be raised and lowered to ensure it fits perfectly in your palm. If you are wondering why this model is more expensive, it is because it has a carbon fibre shell as opposed to ordinary plastic.
"The TORQ X10 may be EVGA's first gaming mouse but its design, feature set and excellent build quality competes with some of the best peripherals available today."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Coolermaster Devastator Mouse & Keyboard @ eTeknix
- Corsair Raptor M45 @ eTeknix
- CM Storm QuickFire Rapid-i Keyboard Review @ Modders-Inc
- iRocks Rock Series K10 Gaming Keyboard @ eTeknix
- GAMDIAS HERMES GKB2010 Black Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews
- Corsair Raptor K40 gaming keyboard @ Kitguru
- Genius Imperator Pro Illuminated Keyboard Review @ Modders-Inc
Subject: General Tech | June 16, 2014 - 03:22 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: 3d printing, Printeer
Kids these days get all the cool toys, not just G.I. Joe's with missiles that actually fire and portable gaming devices capable of more colours than light and dark green. Mission Street Manufacturing's Printeer is a way to get kids interested in 3D printing and creating their own masterpieces, though at an estimated $550 it will likely be limited to schools and clubs as opposed to having their own printer. The interface is a drawing program on an iPad, something that will be quite familiar to most children but now they will have the opportunity to print out their creations. The printer is transparent as you can see from the picture at Engadget which allows these young makers to watch their creation made right in front of their eyes, a great way to get them excited about making things and a lot more fun than ShrinkyDinks!
"If Mission Street Manufacturing's Printeer hits its crowdfunding goal, though, children will have a 3D printer they can truly call their own. All you need to create a plastic masterpiece with Printeer is an iPad and a basic ability to draw. There's no scary-looking CAD programs or other intermediary tools."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Bitcoin Security Endangered By Powerful Mining Pool @ Slashdot
- NCA warns 'thousands' still at risk from Gameover Zeus and Cryptolocker malware @ The Inquirer
- Yet another reason to skip commercials: Microsoft ad TURNS ON your Xbox One @ The Register
Subject: General Tech, Storage, Mobile | June 16, 2014 - 01:54 AM | Scott Michaud
CFast is a standard, based on the merging of CompactFlash with SATA, for memory cards to have SSD-like performance. It has been around for a while, CFast 2.0 having been released in Q4 2012, but with very limited adoption. You could count the number of camera models which use it on a single hand. Still, ADATA is entering that market with a lineup of memory cards, with quite a bit of variety.
The ADATA ISC3E will come in SLC (one stored bit per memory cell) and MLC (two stored bits per memory cell) models. Capacities will range from 4GB to 64GB (SLC) or 4GB to 128GB (MLC). Speeds are fairly low, compared to modern SSDs. SLC is rated at 165 MB/s read and 170 MB/s write, while MLC can read at 435 MB/s and write at 120 MB/s. They support ECC and S.M.A.R.T.
Of course, this is kind-of interesting in terms of its small, removable form factor. Beyond that, it seems to be a few years back in terms of SSD technology. For the high resolution (or high frame rate) camera use case, read and write speeds really do not matter, except when you transfer your media off of your device (which the MLC version is clearly better suited for). Otherwise, as long as your write speed is consistently above what the camera can output, going bigger will be wasted overhead. ADATA suggests using these CFast 2.0 cards in POS terminals and kiosks but, at that point, would you really need small and removable memory?
ADATA has not released pricing and availability.
Subject: General Tech | June 15, 2014 - 02:19 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: thief, steam sale, steam, splinter cell blacklist
Update: Uh, apparently GOG's DRM-Free Summer Sale (note: everything on GOG is DRM-Free) has not yet ended. Those deals are definitely worth your time to check out.
While I missed writing about GOG's Summer Sale (okay, at the time of this publishing, theres a few hours left), I can at least alert our readers about these two deals. Splinter Cell: Blacklist, released late last summer, is almost two-thirds off at $10.19 USD (normally $29.99). Also on sale is Thief, released in late February, for about half price at $14.99 USD (normally $29.99). If you purchased these games and wanted a little more content to them, each title's downloadable content is on sale for an equivalent markdown.
While not as unforgiving as Splinter Cell: Conviction, a UPLAY account is required to activate Blacklist. You do not, however, need to be continuously logged in to it in order to play its single player mode. I believe that Thief, on the other hand, just uses Steam for its DRM.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 15, 2014 - 01:51 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: x86, SteamOS, Steam Machine, Steam Controller, steam, mobile, handheld, E3 14, E3
To be doubly clear, if the title was not explicit enough, this announcement is not made by Valve. This company is called, "SteamBoy Machine team". If not a hoax, this is one of the many Steam Machines which are expected to come out of the SteamOS initiative. Rather than taking the platform to a desktop or home theater PC (HTPC) form-factor, this company wants to target the handheld PC gaming market.
If it comes out, that is a clever use of SteamOS. I can see Big Picture Mode being just as useful on a small screen as it is on a TV, especially with its large font and controller navigation. The teasers suggest that it will use the haptic feedback-based touchpads which Valve are expected to base the Steam Controller on. It will also include a 5-inch touchscreen.
The Escapist got into contact with the team and received a few more specs:
- Quad-Core CPU (x86)
- 4GB RAM
- 32GB built-in storage
Even if this company does not make good on their expectations, companies will now be considering portable SteamOS devices. This is the sort of outside-the-box thinking that Valve was pushing for when they wanted to create an open platform. Each party will struggle to win in their personal goals, yet they can also rely on the crowd (other companies or individuals) to keep up in areas where they do not want an edge.
Philosophy aside, the company is targeting 2015 with a "Standard Edition" supporting WiFi and 3G. It would make sense to have a WiFi-only model, but who knows.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors, Chipsets | June 13, 2014 - 06:45 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: x86, restructure, gpu, arm, APU, amd
According to VR-Zone, AMD has reworked their business, last Thursday, sorting each of their projects into two divisions and moving some executives around. The company is now segmented into the "Enterprise, Embedded, and Semi-Custom Business Group", and the "Computing and Graphics Business Group". The company used to be divided between "Computing Solutions", which handled CPUs, APUs, chipsets, and so forth, "Graphics and Visual Solutions", which is best known for GPUs but also contains console royalties, and "All Other", which was... everything else.
Lisa Su, former general manger of global business, has moved up to Chief Operating Officer (COO), along with other changes.
This restructure makes sense for a couple of reasons. First, it pairs some unprofitable ventures with other, highly profitable ones. AMD's graphics division has been steadily adding profitability to the company while its CPU division has been mostly losing money. Secondly, "All Other" is about a nebulous as a name can get. Instead of having three unbalanced divisions, one of which makes no sense to someone glancing at AMD's quarterly earnings reports, they should now have two, roughly equal segments.
At the very least, it should look better to an uninformed investor. Someone who does not know the company might look at the sheet and assume that, if AMD divested from everything except graphics, that the company would be profitable. If, you know, they did not know that console contracts came into their graphics division because their compute division had x86 APUs, and so forth. This setup is now more aligned to customers, not products.
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