CES 2012: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Hybrid Demonstration Video

Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2012 - 10:07 PM |
Tagged: Thinkpad, Lenovo, hybrid, CES

Earlier in the weekend we heard about Lenovo's new ThinkPad X1 Hybrid notebook that combines standard Intel x86 hardware with a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor running an open-source Linux OS.  While you will not be able to run both pieces of hardware at the same time the Media Mode allows you to put the Windows OS and hardware to sleep and run the light-weight OS with about double the battery life.

Lenovo was on hand at CES Unveiled to give us a walk through of how the feature really works.  Take a look!

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

OCZ shows a new R4 - the Z-Drive R4 CloudServ, with 16 (!) SandForce 2200 SSD's!

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2012 - 04:10 PM |
Tagged: z-drive, ssd, r4, pcie, ocz, CES

OCZ has a monster of a Z-Drive R4 on display at Storage Visions. We looked at the original 1.6TB R4 back in September. That one had 8 SF-2200 controllers on-board. This new R4 has 16!

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This R4 has a beast of a VCA 2.0 controller. It's cooled by heat pipes, can handle up to 16 SATA links, address up to 16TB of storage, and pass up to 1.4 million IOPS across a PCIe bus at 6.5GB/sec (yes, GigaBytes). Note: this is not the R5, it's just a *really* fast R4.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

CES 2012: OCZ Chiron is world's fastest and highest capacity SATA SSD

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2012 - 04:02 PM |
Tagged: CES, ocz, chiron, sata, ssd

OCZ is taking the lid off of even more SSD products at CES 2012 and we have another pretty impressive piece of hardware called the Chiron to show.  Basically a follow up to the OCZ Colossus drive we reviewed back in November of 2009, the Chiron claims to be the fastest and highest capacity SATA-based SSD.

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The Chiron will be available in capacities of up to 4TB and will fit in the standard 3.5-in form factor of traditional hard drives.  This would enable users to finally use SSDs for their mass storage though prices will likely be the limiting factor for some time to come.  Server OEMs will be able to deploy up to 96TB of SSD-based storage in a standard 4U rackmount server. 

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Based on OCZ's upcoming Indilinx Everest II controller, the Chiron will have transfer rates as high as 560 MB/s and over 100,000 4k IOPS.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

CES 2012: OCZ shows DDR based SATA 6Gb/sec aeonDrive

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2012 - 03:45 PM |
Tagged: ssd, ocz, CES, aeondrive

Today at Storage Visions we saw OCZ displaying their new aeonDrive. This is a pure RAM based SSD meant for high end database applications where thousands of random writes per second take place continuously.

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This is a multiple layer PCB, with extra connections that appear to allow even more to be stacked together. The unit pictured is only 32GB capacity, but considering it's all RAM, that's quite a bit.
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While the RAM is DDR3-1333 from Micron, we figure it's running at a lower clock rate, since all of that data passes through a single SATA 6Gb/sec interface. OCZ claims up to 140,000 4K IOPS and >500,000 single sector (512 byte) IOPS. Those figures are essentially saturating the capabilities of SATA 6Gb/sec.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

CES 2012: OCZ Shows Lightfoot, Thunderbolt External SATA Drive

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 8, 2012 - 03:01 PM |
Tagged: thunderbolt, ssd, ocz, lightfoot, CES

Today at the Storage Visions conference before the start of CES 2012, OCZ was on hand to show off a few new items they have planned for the year.  First up is the Lightfoot, a successor to the OCZ Enyo external USB 3.0 SSD that we reviewed and really enjoyed our time with. 

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As you can see it looks quite a bit bigger than the original Enyo and that is on account of the increased storage capacity.  You can expect to see sizes as high as 1TB and it will also be available in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB.  

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Here is the Thunderbolt connector that many a Mac user and, hopefully soon, PC users will be able to take advantage of for improved throughput with transfer rates as high as 750 MB/s quoted by OCZ. 

OCZ claims that the one of the benefits of moving to the Thunderbolt interconnect is improved latency and highly accurate time synchronization that will allow for professional audio and video work to be done directly on the drive.  We are pretty eager to see if this is the case...

The time frame for this device is still unknown but we'll see if we can get more information this week by asking the right people. 

UPDATE: OCZ is telling us that Lightfoot will cost about $2/GB, so that 1TB model will run around $2000.  For those a bit more frugal, you can get the 128GB option for something like $250.  

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Happy Holidays from… oh crap CES. Also, it’s Microsoft’s last

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | December 21, 2011 - 07:42 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, CES2012, CES

There are just a few shopping days left until the holidays, but feel comfortable knowing that whatever panic you experience will be over just in time for CES with our associated and broadcasted panic. We will be covering the expo and many of its events starting on the 8th of January for your entertainment and your education. One company that usually has a gigantic presence at CES, albeit not as reported on by us relative to other companies, is Microsoft; this year is no different -- but CES 2013

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The software giant’s presence at CES 2013: Micro… and soft.

This year's presence? Big and right next to the restrooms.

(Image from MapYourShow.com)

Microsoft is known for having a large presence at CES each year, year after year, for recent memory. Over the years, Microsoft has unveiled products such as the original Xbox, gave a release window for their Project Natal (later Kinect), and just last year demonstrated Windows running on ARM processors. Microsoft’s official statement denotes a shift from CES announcements to releasing news through social media, their website, and their retail stores for those who enter a Microsoft retail store.

After thinking about questions like these, we have decided that this coming January will be our last keynote presentation and booth at CES. We’ll continue to participate in CES as a great place to connect with partners and customers across the PC, phone and entertainment industries, but we won’t have a keynote or booth after this year because our product news milestones generally don’t align with the show’s January timing.

I, personally, would love for Apple to take Microsoft’s booth space… for the delicious layering of irony. I would then of course love for it to have been a good decision for Microsoft to pull out to screw Apple over. Everyone wins by everyone losing.

Blizzcon 2011 Day 1 Photos

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | October 21, 2011 - 07:28 PM |
Tagged: wow, starcraft, nvidia, LG, diablo iii, diablo, blizzcon 2011, blizzcon, asus, antec

Hey everyone!  I am still busily collecting information at Blizzcon 2011 but I thought I would share with you some of the photos I took from the first half of the first day of the show.  If you haven't experienced Blizzcon before (and I hadn't) this is one hell of a celebration of PC gamers.  Even if you aren't a fan of StarCraft, World of Warcraft or Diablo, this is an impressive event with a main stage area seating 15,000!!!

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Check out all the photos on our Facebook page here (available to public as well!)  I'll have some coverage of the Antec, ASUS and NVIDIA booth as well later in the evening so be sure to check back.

Here are a couple more samples, but be sure you check out the link above for ALL of the the photos!!

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Watch the Top StarCraft II Pros Face Off in an Epic E-Sports Battle to the Top

Subject: Shows and Expos | September 29, 2011 - 03:35 PM |
Tagged: starcraft 2, nvidia, geforce.com

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—September 15, 2011—Calling all StarCraft II fans! NVIDIA is bringing together the e-sports community to watch the GeForce StarCraft II professional championship matches with live premier streaming video and BarCraft events scheduled for Thursday, September 29th from 6pm to 9pm PDT.

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The GeForce StarCraft 2 Pro/Am tournament is the first of its kind on GeForce.com where over 9300 players will have competed over 12 weeks to win more than $22,000 in cash and prizes. The live premier streaming video event will feature world-renowned StarCraft II shoutcasters, Husky and Day[9] of The Game Station, commentating the final three professional matches to crown the champion.

“The GeForce StarCraft II Pro/Am tournament has been a great success for us and we deeply appreciate the support of the StarCraft II players, spectators, and our sponsor ASUS,” said Drew Henry, general manager of the GeForce business unit at NVIDIA. “We’ve had over 70 professional and over 9300 amateur players compete and over seven million spectator views of the Husky and Day[9] shoutcasts to date. We applaud the StarCraft community for gathering around the GeForce StarCraft II Pro/Am tournament and making it one of the largest tournaments to date.”

NVIDIA is providing three exciting ways for StarCraft fans to enjoy the championship videos all on the same time and date:

· A live premier video will be streamed on GeForce.com as well as on www.Twitch.tv.

· For gamers in the San Francisco, California Bay Area, a live BarCraft event will be held at the Mad Dog in the Fog bar at 530 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117.

· A virtual BarCraft event featuring the Xmobb technology will be hosted on GeForce.com. Xmobb enables fans to gather in a 3D theater and view their favorite videos together, while interacting via text chat and other fun features.

Stay tuned to GeForce.com for up to date information on the GSPA tournament and its September 29th finale.

Source: NVIDIA

IDF 2011: Knights Ferry Shown 8-Deep Running Ray Tracing

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors, Shows and Expos | September 15, 2011 - 06:17 PM |
Tagged: ray tracing, knights ferry, idf 2011, idf

Very few things impress like a collection of 256 processor cores in a box.  But that is exactly what we saw on our last visit to the floor at the Intel Developer Forum this year when I stopped by to visit friend-of-the-site Daniel Pohl to discuss updates to the ray tracing research he has been doing for many years now.  This is what he showed us:

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What you see there is a dual-Xeon server running a set of 8 (!!) Knights Ferry many-core processor discrete cards.  Each card holds a chip with 32 Intel Architecture cores running at 1.2 GHz on it and each core can handle 4 threads for a total of 1024 threads in flight at any given time!  Keep in mind these are all modified x86 cores with support for 16-bit wide vector processing so they are pumping through a LOT of FLOPS.  Pohl did note that only 31-32 of the cores are actually doing ray tracing at any given time though as they reserve a couple for scheduling tasks, operating system interaction, etc.

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Each of the the eight cards in the system is using a pair of 6-pin PCIe power connectors and they are jammed in there pretty tight.  Pohl noted this was the only case they could find that would fit 8 dual-slot add-in cards into it so I'll take a note of that for when I build my own system around them.  Of course there are no display outputs on the Knights Ferry cards as they were never really turned into GPUs in the traditional sense.  They are essentially development and research for exascale computing and HPC workloads for servers though the plan is to bring the power to consumers eventually.

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To run the demo the Knights Ferry ray tracing server was communicating over a Gigabit Ethernet connection to this workstation that was running game processing, interaction processing and more and passed off data about the movements of the camera and objects in the ray traced world to the server.  The eight Knights Ferry cards then render the frame, the Xeon CPUs compress the image (8:1 using a standard Direct 3D format) and send the data across the network.  All of this happens in real time with basically no latency issues when compared to direct PC gaming. 

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While the ray tracing game engine projects might seem a little less exciting since the demise of Larrabee, Pohl and his team have been spending a lot of time on learning how to take advantage of the x86 cores available.  The Wolfenstein demo we have seen in past events has been improved to add things like HDR lighting, anti-aliasing and more.

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Though these features have obviously been around in rasterization based solutions for quite a long time, the demo was meant to showcase the fact that ray tracing doesn't inherently have difficulty performing those kinds of tasks as long as the processing power is there and alotted to it. 

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I am glad to see the ray tracing research continuing at Intel as I think that in the long-term future, that is the route that gaming and other graphics-based applications will be rendering.  And I am not alone - id Software founder and Doom/Quake creator John Carmack agreed in a recent interview we held with him

Source: PCPer

IDF 2011: Intel Many Integrated Core (MIC) Knights Corner

Subject: Processors, Shows and Expos | September 15, 2011 - 01:54 PM |
Tagged: idf, idf 2011, knights ferry, knights corner, mic, terascale

During Justin Rattner's closing keynote at the Intel Developer Forum he discussed the pending changes to the Many Integrated Core Architectures (MIC) that we previously knew as the Terascale projects.  While we have heard about the Knights Ferry component for some time, and it was basically used a software development platform for Intel's many-core initiative. 

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Impressive to see at this stage, the upcoming Knights Corner product will actually be built on the new 22nm tri-gate transistors and with more than 50 cores.  They haven't posted more details on what exactly ">50" refers to but it does mean that Intel continues to progress down this path and is going to be pushing the terascale computing projects into the future. 

Rattner also indicated that not all of the cores on the many-core projects have to be identical and we will soon see designs that combine more than the x86 processors to make for truly heterogeneous computing platforms. 

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Research into the program continues including things like stacked and shared memory, new communications protocols like optical interconnects, etc.  We are just as eager to see the fruits of this research as we were for its application to gaming and graphics that eventually failed.

Source: PCPer