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Manufacturer: NVIDIA

SHIELD Specifications

Announced just this past June at last year’s Google I/O event, Android TV is a platform developed by Google, running Android 5.0 and higher, that aims to create an interactive experience for the TV. This platform can be built into a TV directly as well as into set-top style boxes, like the NVIDIA SHIELD we are looking at today. The idea is to bring the breadth of apps and content to the TV through the Android operating system in a way that is both convenient and intuitive.

NVIDIA announced SHIELD back in March at GDC as the first product to use the company’s latest Tegra processor, the X1. This SoC combines an 8-core big.LITTLE ARM processor design with a 256-core implementation of the NVIDIA Maxwell GPU architecture, providing GPU performance previously unseen in an Android device. I have already spent some time with the NVIDIA SHIELD at various events and the promise was clearly there to make it a leading option for Android TV adoption, but obviously there were questions to be answered.

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Today’s article will focus on my early impressions with the NVIDIA SHIELD, having used it both in the office and at home for a handful of days. As you’ll see during the discussion there are still some things to be ironed out, some functionality that needs to be added before SHIELD and Android TV can really be called a must-buy product. But I do think it will get there.

And though this review will focus on the NVIDIA SHIELD, it’s impossible not to marry the success of SHIELD with the success of Google’s Android TV. The dominant use case for SHIELD is as a media playback device, with the gaming functionality as a really cool side project for enthusiasts and gamers looking for another outlet. For SHIELD to succeed, Google needs to prove that Android TV can improve over other integrated smart TV platforms as well as other set-top box platforms like Boxee, Roku and even the upcoming Apple TV refresh.

But first, let’s get an overview of the NVIDIA SHIELD device, pricing and specifications, before diving into my experiences with the platform as a whole.

Continue reading our review of the new NVIDIA SHIELD with Android TV!!

HP Sprout and the Dremel Idea Builder; an artistic pair

Subject: General Tech | May 28, 2015 - 12:39 PM |
Tagged: touchscreen, sprout, scanner, Realsense 3D, idea builder, hp, dremel, 3d printer

HP's Sprout is a 23" 1080p touchscreen all-in-one PC powered by a Core-i7 4790S and a GT 745A, fairly run of the mill as far as that form factor goes, but it also includes the so called HP Illuminator.  That device is part of the stand and sits above the top of the screen, it has a DLP projector paired with an Intel RealSense 3D camera as well as a more traditional 14.6MP camera.  The DLP projector is used to project a virtual workspace onto a 20-point capacitive touch mat placed in in front of the Sprout, not only increasing the area you have to work in but offering some unique interface options.

With the RealSense camera you can easily scan 3D objects and save them as .obj files which makes the partnership with Dremel make more sense, scan a real life object and then start printing it from their 3D printer, the Idea Creator.  The touch mat will also work with the Adonit Jot Pro stylus included with the system for those who prefer to use one when creating and can also help with creating in so called blended reality.  MAKE has a video of the device that will have you making 3D objects like you were a Dimac master named Barry.  For our overseas readers, if you happen to have an HP store somewhere near you then you can pop in and try the Sprout to see if it is as impressive as it sounds. 

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"It’s a powerful concept, and today at MakerCon, HP’s Sprout division (a MakerCon and Maker Faire sponsor) announced a partnership with Dremel to help move toward a full-cycle approach. Dremel’s 3D printer, the thousand-dollar Idea Builder, was featured in Make:‘s 3D printing issue last year, and performed well."

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Hands-On with the Lenovo Magic View Dual-Screen Smartwatch Concept

Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | May 28, 2015 - 02:04 AM |
Tagged:

Shortly after the keynote at Lenovo Tech World today,we got hands on with the Dual-Screen Smartwatch concept, the Magic View.

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The Magic View is an Android Wear device, which integrates a unique “virtual interactive display" via a small prism on the watch band. Users must bring the device up to their face and look through the prism to see a secondary display for tasks such as video viewing. 

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Looking inside the Magic View reminded us a lot of Google Glass. As you put your eye up to the prism on the watch band, you could see what looked like a display off in the distance. It was difficult to determine the relative size, but Lenovo claims this display is 20x bigger than the display on the smartwatch itself. Resolution was also undetermined, but it seemed to be low and about on par with the original Google Glass units.

The device itself was a bit warm and the additional display unit added some bulk, but these weren't immediate deal breakers. The design was still ergonomic and seemed like something that you wouldn't have an issue wearing all-day long.

This is definitely an early concept, but the fact that Lenovo are showing off demo units here means that they are serious about the ideas presented in the Magic View. If additional development can solve some of the heat issues, it seems like this would be a feature that doesn't detract from the core use of the device and can provide a potentially value new interaction method.

Lenovo Tech World: Magic View Smartwatch and Smart Cast Smartphone concepts shown

Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | May 27, 2015 - 10:55 PM |
Tagged: wearable, tech world, smartwatch, smartphone, smart cast, magic view, lenovo tech world, Lenovo, concept

Today at the Lenovo Tech World keynote presentation, Lenovo CTO Peter Hortensius took the opportunity to show some of the far reaching concepts for smartphones and smartwatches.

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The Magic View smartwatch is a stylish, round smartwatch reminiscent of the Moto 360 that seems from the concept renderings to be based around Android Wear. However, the uniqueness comes from what Lenovo is claiming makes it the only smartwatch with two screens.

Optical reflection is used inside of a portion of the strap in order to project a second “virtual interactive display” more than 20 times larger than the integrated display. This is made possible through Lenovo-designed silicon aimed at miniaturizing the components for this type of projection while maintaining the same performance.

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Lenovo claims this secondary screen will be useful for things like maps, as well as photo and video viewing, but it be remains to be seen if users would favor a virtual display like this over simply using their existing smartphone display. Privacy is also a big part of what Lenovo is pitching with the Magic View. Since users must place the lens portion next to their eye, other people in the same area cannot look over their shoulders and view potientially sensitive information.

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The Lenovo Smart Cast concept plays on a similar idea as the Magic View. Through the use of a build in laser projector, as well as specialized sensors, Lenovo aims at allowing users to project a large virtual touch screen onto tabletop surfaces.

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With the use of infrared sensors, users can touch the surface underneath the projection and interact just as if it were a physical display. Lenovo points towards this being useful for such applications as virtual keyboards in productivity apps, or even for media control of projected movies and light gaming such as Fruit Ninja.

The projected display is also independent of the smartphone display, allowing things such as two separate views for video chatting applications.

 

It remains to be seen if these concepts will ever actually make it into production devices, and if those devices will ever hit North America, but it's always interesting to see what R&D divisions of large companies like Lenovo are up to.

Source: Lenovo

Lenovo Tech World: Lenovo Cast Media Streaming Device

Subject: General Tech | May 27, 2015 - 10:00 PM |
Tagged: miracast, media streaming, Lenovo Cast, Lenovo, DLNA

Lenovo has announced their first media-streaming device, and the pocket-sized streamer works with both DLNA and Miracast enabled mobile devices.

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Lenovo describes the process of connecting the new Cast device, which should be familiar to those already using devices such as the Google Chromecast:

Lenovo Cast works in three simple steps: plug, link and play. First, plug Lenovo Cast into any large screen device’s HDMI port. Then link Lenovo Cast to the device’s signal. Then play and enjoy media from a DLNA or Miracast-enabled tablet or smartphone.

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The pocket-sized Lenovo Cast resembles a hockey puck

The Lenovo Cast boasts dual-frequency Wi-Fi and ransfers content up to 20 meters. Pricing is in line with other streaming options as well, as it will be available in August for $49.

Source: Lenovo

Lenovo Tech World: REACHit Announced with Cortana

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | May 27, 2015 - 10:00 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, reachit, microsoft, Lenovo, cortana

Yesterday during briefings at Lenovo’s North Campus just outside of Beijing, the Contextual Computing group took the opportunity to discuss their unique integration of a technology called REACHit with Cortana on Windows 10.

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REACHit is an indexing program that Lenovo has developed which is aimed at helping users find their documents among many different services and contexts. Once you authenticate REACHit with your accounts such as Dropbox, Box.net, Google Drive, or your local computers, Lenovo makes an index of the files which you keep there to help you more easily locate what you are looking for.

The most unique feature of REACHit comes in how you issue a search query. Lenovo has developed multiple contexts which they think will be useful in locating files, such as File Type, File Actions, Location, Calendar Events, and time frames. They are indexing the files you give them access to for these specific prompts, and hoping to present them in a more useful fashion.

One of the examples we were walked through involved the prompt, “Where is the presentation I was working on at Starbucks last week?”. In this case, Lenovo is looking at the file types (PPT), whether or not a file was Saved/Opened, the geolocation which this occurred at, and the time frame at which these operations took place.

We didn’t see a live demo of these searches working, and haven’t had hands-on time with the software yet so it’s hard to say if Lenovo has succeeded at their goal, but the technology seems like an interesting solution to a common problem.

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There are also security concerns about giving Lenovo access to all of your files, and letting them build an index your metadata. We have been told there is encryption being handled on Lenovo’s server side, but they couldn’t get into any further details about this.

REACHit at this point is purely integrated with Microsoft’s Cortana in Windows 10, and there is no other option for running a search or external API access. Lenovo expects REACHit to be available at the Windows 10 launch for Lenovo machines only, and is currently opening sign-ups for the private beta at Cortanareachit.com

Source: Lenovo

Blizzard Releases Overwatch Gameplay Video Ahead of E3

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | May 27, 2015 - 08:33 PM |
Tagged: overwatch, E3 2015, E3, blizzard

Various companies have begun teasing what we might see at this year's E3 expo. Blizzard has not historically had a big presence at the event, though. With the size and scope of Blizzcon, the company usually saves it announcements for then. In fact, I cannot think of a single, non-trivial thing that Blizzard did at E3 since the expo downsized after E3 2006.

This year, on the other hand, Blizzard will be present at AMD and PC Gamer's E3 show. The recent Overwatch previews could be leading up to this event, which takes place three weeks from yesterday. The recent video that I embed above, Tracer, is pretty interesting too. It shows how useful a light assault player could be if they don't obey the space-time continuum. The last two-thirds of the video show off an impressive kill streak.

Again, expect more E3 coverage leading up to the Expo on June 16th.

Source: Blizzard

One last look at GTAV graphics settings

Subject: General Tech | May 27, 2015 - 01:30 PM |
Tagged: gaming, GTAV, VLAN party

[H]ard|OCP is concluding their series on GTA V graphical settings with a look at various anti-aliasing technologies and shadowing options. Their testing shows that TXAA has a much greater effect on textures than FXAA but that change is not necessarily a good thing for your textures.  MSAA is not only less than effective in the game but also comes with a performance hit that makes it a rather unattractive option except in certain situations.  They also cover AMD CHS and NVIDIA PCSS soft shadow technologies and the visual effects that high resolution shadows provide.  If you are still tweaking your GTA V settings then head over to check the review out.

Make sure to head over to the Gaming forum if you haven't already as this Saturday May 30, starting at 10:00 AM ET it is the Fragging Frogs Virtual LAN party #10.  You need to confirm your attendance in this thread if you want a shot at some of the many prizes being given out by AMD, Fractal Designs and maybe even other secret prizes.  The thread also covers how to log into the TeamSpeak server as well as the gamut of games likely to be played; make sure you install any patches or mods before we kick off to maximize your gaming time.

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"In our final look at Grand Theft Auto V we will look at image quality comparisons in this game. We will focus on the main graphics options that affect performance the most and we will get to the bottom of which soft shadow option is best to use. We will also find out if FXAA and TXAA affect texture quality."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

New server chips from Intel on the way

Subject: General Tech | May 27, 2015 - 12:27 PM |
Tagged: Purley, Intel, Skylake, Cannonlake, Grantley, Romley, knights landing

The Register has obtained a slide describing the next families of Xeon processor to be released by Intel, the Purley platform which includes Skylake.  There are some interesting new developments, including on die interface for either 10Gb/sec Ethernet or 100Gb/sec Omni-Path fabrics which interested the participants at the HPC conference the slides were shown at.  They also mentioned a brand new memory architecture which is described as offering four times the capacity and 500 times the speed than current NAND, all at a lower price per chip which is likely to be somewhat of an exaggeration on their part.  There were also new Phi chips, including the long awaited Knights Landing and workstation chips for use outside the server room.

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"A presentation given at a conference on high-performance computing (HPC) in Poland earlier this month appears to have yielded new insight into Intel's Xeon server chip roadmap.

A set of slides spotted by our sister site The Platform indicates that Chipzilla is moving toward a new server platform called "Purley" that will debut in 2017 or later."

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Source: The Register

PCPer Live! LogitechG Showcase, Q&A and Giveaway!

Subject: General Tech | May 26, 2015 - 02:40 PM |
Tagged: video, pcper live, logitechg, logitech, live, giveaway, contest

UPDATE: Did you miss our live stream yesterday? Sorry to hear that! But the good news is that you can still watch the showcase and hear the questions (and answers) on the LogitechG product line. Enjoy!

If you haven't looked up what LogitechG has done lately, you are missing out on some of the most interesting and innovative gaming accessories in the market. My reconnection with the Logitech brand started in July of last year when they sent over the G402 Hyperion Fury gaming mouse, a device with a pair of sensors capable of tracking speeds as high as 28.4 mph - seriously!

Since then the team has been releasing new products and updated software that shows a dedication and drive to the enthusiast and gaming markets. The company's Intelligent Illumination system, that allows game developers to change the colors and brightness of the G910 Orion Spark based on what is happening in the game. Is your health critical? Then maybe you want the keyboard lights to pulse bright red? Or maybe when you jump into a flying vehicle you would like to illuminate the appropriate control keys?  All of this is possible.

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Besides the cool technology they have to show off, the truth is that Chris, the LogitechG peripheral guru that will be joining me, knows almost everything about keyboards and mice and headsets (oh my!). If you have a question about a specific LogitechG product, or about mice and keyboard technologies in general, this is the guy to ask and the outlet to do it.

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LogitechG Showcase, Q&A and Giveaway!!

12pm PT / 3pm ET - May 27th

PC Perspective Live! Page

Need a reminder? Join our live mailing list!

And of course, what would a live stream like this be without some giveaways? Logitech is going to supply hardware to give out during the live stream so you are going to want to be in attendance for sure! But to help build up some excitement, we are going to be giving away combinations of the G402 Hyperion Fury mouse and G440 mousing pad every weekday between now and the live stream! To sign up for the daily giveaways, use the form below. And for a chance to win a whole lot more gaming hardware, make sure you tune in on May 27th at 3pm ET / 12pm PT!!

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LogitechG Live Stream Promotional Giveaway!

If you have questions for Chris from Logitech, about mice, keyboards, switches, RGB illumination, tracking technologies - anything - let us know in the comments!