Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Razer

Overview

Razer’s Blackwidow might be the most iconic mechanical gaming keyboard ever made. It’s dominated electronics store displays since it was first introduced and, as a result, few gamers don’t know the Blackwidow by name alone. Understandably, the Blackwidow series has been Razer’s flagship keyboard line since its debut with everything else coming second. All of that changes this week as the company introduces a second flagship keyboard. Today, we’re looking at the Razer Huntsman Elite, a premium keyboard with an exciting set of features and a brand new in-house key switch. But is it worth the ultra-premium $199 price tag? Let’s find out.

Specifications

  • MSRP: $199.99 (Huntsman Elite, reviewed), $149.99 (Huntsman)
  • Switch Type: Razer Opto-Mechanical Switch
  • Actuation Force: 45g
  • Actuation Point: 1.5mm
  • Travel Distance: 3.5mm
  • Lifespan: 100 million clicks
  • Fully programmable keys with on-the-fly macro recording
  • 10 key rollover with anti-ghosting
  • Gaming mode
  • Braided fiber cable
  • Aluminum matte black top cover
  • 4-sided underglow lighting with 38 customization zones
  • Ergonomic wrist rest with 24 underglow lighting customization zones
  • Dedicated media controls
  • Multi-functional digital dial
  • Chroma game integration

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Beginning with packaging, Razer continues their long tradition of over-delivering. When you open the box, you’ll find the keyboard well presented with a nice plastic cover to keep it dust free. You also find a letter from Min-Liang Tan, telling you what an amazing buying choice you’ve made and welcoming you to the Cult of Razer. Behind the letter, you’ll find the instruction manual, warranty information, and a sticker sheet with a handful of case badges.

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Contiunue reading our review of the Razer Huntsman Elite!

HyperX Reveals Pulsefire Surge RGB Gaming Mouse

Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2018 - 01:33 PM |
Tagged: hyperx, gaming mouse, optical, pixart, RGB, pulsefire

Kingston’s gaming brand HyperX is now shipping a new Pulsefire Surge RGB gaming mouse which represents both an aesthetic and hardware specification upgrade over the previous generation Pulsefire mouse. The Pulsefire Surge RGB measures 120.24 x 40.7 x 62.8mm and weighs 100g (130g including the cable). It is a symmetrical design clad in all black with six programmable buttons and a RGB LED ring that runs around the sides.

HyperX Pulsefire Surge RGB.jpg

HyperX is using a Pixart 3389 sensor that it rates at up to 16,000 DPI and 50G of acceleration. The mouse further uses Omron switches for the buttons which are rated at 50 million clicks. It connects to the PC with a 1.8-meter (5.9 ft) braided cable over USB 2.0 (1,000 Hz polling rate).

Users can program each of the six the buttons (left, right, click wheel, DPI selector, and two left side buttons) with macros, adjust the five DPI settings that the DPI button will cycle through, adjust sensor performance, and configure the RGB lighting on the LED ring, and HyperX logo) with any of 16.7 million colors and four brightness levels) using their NGenuity software. The Pulsefire Surge RGB has onboard memory that allows up to three of the configured profiles to be saved to the mouse.

The RGB equipped gaming mouse is currently available for $69.99 with a two-year warranty. It weighs a mere 5 grams more than HyperX’s previous gaming mouse but adds a better sensor (Pixart 3310 vs 3389), programmable buttons, and customizable lighting (the Pulsefire FPS was red LED only) so at least on paper it is a decent upgrade. If you don’t need the extra bells and whistles, the older Pulsefire FPS is going for a bit under $25 less now at $45.52 on Amazon. In either case, the pricing doesn’t seem too bad (I remember paying a very pretty penny for my original Razer Mamba... but at least it’s lasted as long as it has! Heh) and hopefully reviews will start popping up soon.

Have you tried gaming with HyperX and NGenuity?

Source: HyperX

Pioneer Announces First UHD Blu-ray Optical Drives

Subject: Storage | January 26, 2017 - 12:47 PM |
Tagged: Ultra HD, UHD, Pioneer, optical, drive, disc, blu-ray, BDR-S 11 J-X, BDR-S 11 J-BK, 5.25, 4k

Pioneer has announced a pair of new 5.25-inch optical drives (via their Japanese site), and both offer support for UHD Blu-ray playback. These (SATA III) drives are the BDR-S 11 J-BK and BDR-S 11 J-X, and their Ultra HD capability represents a "world's first" for a BD burner, according to Pioneer.

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Image credit: Anandtech

There has been much discussion about support for UHD Blu-ray on the PC in the past year, and the technical capabilities of existing BDXL-compatible drives seemed to offer support for the current crop of UHD media. Unfortunately, the DRM requirements seem to involve the entire chain, and these new Pioneer optical drives support the required AACS 2.0 decryption. But this is just the tip of the iceberg with system requirements, as Anandtech lists what you will actually need to play back UHD Blu-rays on your computer:

  • A PC that supports AACS 2.0 and Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX)
  • An appropriate optical disk drive
  • Software that handles UHD BD playback
  • Windows 10
  • A GPU that has an HDMI 2.0a output with HDCP 2.2 (and AACS2 supported by its driver, which eliminates current-gen standalone GPUs)
  • A 4K TV/display that has an HDMI 2.0a input with HDCP 2.2

The software playback requirements are apparently handled via the included software, which Pioneer lists as PowerDVD 14 - though even the latest commercial version (PowerDVD 16) does not support UHD playback yet. It is possible that a custom version, or one previously unavailable to the public, has been included; as Pioneer specifically states that this included PowerDVD 14 software will allow you to "play Ultra HD Blu-ray such as movies, animation, music, Blu-ray, DVD-Video on your computer".

pioneer_BDRS11JX.jpg

Image credit: Anandtech

The two models are differentiated by a more premium audio focus for the BDR-S 11 J-X (and correspondingly higher price, based on reported pricing, below), with this model offering the following audiophile-oriented enhancements:

"BDR-S 11 J-X​ displays the playback quality of the audio CD to be played back in four levels, and in the case of low quality, it carries the "audio CD check function" which displays the coping method such as setting change of this machine It is suitable for applications such as CD ripping and music playback. In addition, by applying the coating adopted also for high-end audio equipment to the disc tray to improve the vibration isolation performance, it also enhances heat dissipation by applying special paint to the interior and exterior of the enclosure, realizing high quietness and reliability..."

Pricing was not included in the official announcement, though Anandtech's report quotes (Japanese-language) PC Watch with pricing roughly equivalent to $200 US (BDR-S 11 J-BK) and $300 US (BDR-S 11 J-X) for the drives. Availability begins in late February in Japan.

Source: Anandtech

Photonic IC Created by University of Colorado Boulder

Subject: Processors | December 28, 2015 - 09:03 PM |
Tagged: optical, photonics

A typical integrated circuit pushes electrical voltage across pathways, with transistors and stuff modifying it. When you interpret those voltages as mathematical values and logical instructions, then congratulations, you have created a processor, memory, and so forth. You don't need to use electricity for this. In fact, the history of Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace was their attempts to perform computation on mechanical state.

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Image Credit: University of Colorado
Chip contains optical (left) and electric (top and right) circuits.

One possible follow-up is photonic integrated circuits. This routes light through optical waveguides, rather than typical electric traces. The prototype made by University of Colorado Boulder (and UC Berkeley) seem to use photonics just to communicate, and an electrical IC for the computation. The advantage is high bandwidth, high density, and low power.

This sort of technology was being investigated for several years. My undergraduate thesis for Physics involved computing light transfer through defects in a photonic crystal, using it to create 2D waveguides. With all the talk of silicon fabrication coming to its limits, as 14nm transistors are typically made of around two-dozen atoms, this could be a new direction to innovate.

And honestly, wouldn't you want to overclock your PC to 400+ THz? Make it go plaid for ludicrous speed. (Yes, this paragraph is a joke.)

Corsair Shows Off Sabre RGB Gaming Mice With Optical and Laser Sensors

Subject: General Tech | November 1, 2014 - 05:55 PM |
Tagged: optical, mice, laser mouse, gaming mouse, corsair

Corsair showed off new gaming mice at PAX Australia outfitted with your choice of optical or laser sensors. The new Sabre RGB mice are squarely aimed at PC gamers with a stylish automotive design aesthetic, customizable lighting, programmable buttons, and the choice of sensors. The optical model starts at $60 while the laser sensor variant has an MSRP of $70.

Corsair Gaming Sabre RGB Optical and Laser Sensor Mice.png

Corsair has packed quite a few features into gaming mouse weighing 100 grams. As the name implies, the Sabre RGB includes four LED-backlit lighting zones that can be set to one of 16.8 million colors. There are eight programmable buttons including two under the thumb on the left side of the mouse and a 1.8 meter (5.9 feet) braided USB cable. The choice of sensor and Omron switches rated at 20 million clicks are traits that competitive gamers should appreciate. The optical sensor tops out at 6400 DPI while the laser sensor can hit 8200 DPI. Corsair is bundling the mouse with CUE software which allows gamers to adjust the DPI, acceleration, smoothing, backlighting, macros, and USB reporting rate (25Hz to 1000Hz). According to Corsair Gaming Product Manager Jason Christian, the Sabre RGB was designed to be a lighter and sleeker mouse that builds upon the company's M65 and M45 series.

The Sabre Optical RGB and Sabre Laser RGB are available now for $60 and $70 respectively. More information along with a chance to win a Sabre RGB mouse, NVIDIA graphics card, and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel can be found on the Corsair Gaming website.

Also read: Computex 2014: Corsair's Cherry MX RGB Keyboards Launch

Sony's Once Open Optical Port Is Now Proprietary In Ironic Twist

Subject: General Tech | July 8, 2011 - 04:35 AM |
Tagged: thunderbolt, sony, pci-e, optical

 

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See that blue port that looks like USB 3.0?  It actually has some optical prowess up its sleeve

Sony is well known among technology enthusiasts as being a company that loves to take the proprietary route; however, in a rather paradoxical twist Sony's new optical port on the VAIO Z did not start proprietary.  In fact, it was only made proprietary after Intel and Apple changed the design of the connection that became named Thunderbolt.

Both Thunderbolt and the new Sony connection are based on Light Peak, the optical standard championed by Intel that promised up to 100Gbps optical connections over 100 meter cables (though this was only in lab conditions).  OEMs influenced Intel into postponing the optical variant of Light Peak in favor of a cheaper electric variant, which is what today's Thunderbolt implementation is.  Thunderbolt uses an electric connection over copper using active cables to promises 10Gbps (20Gbps bidirectional) transfers.  The original design for the connector for Light Peak was a connection that looked like a USB connection and would be able to support USB connections as well as accommodate the Light Peak cables.  However, Apple and Intel decided a few months before what would become Thunderbolt launched to change the connector to a mini-Display Port connection.  

The Sony connection on the other hand, employs the USB-like connector, and is capable of handling USB 2.0, USB 3.0 devices as well as the Sony VAIO Z's Power Media Dock which uses the optical connection that is "based on Light Peak," according to This Is My Next.  While Thunderbolt devices will not be able to plug into the VAIO Z's new optical connector and Sony has not released any specifications on what it is capable of, the inclusion of a Blu Ray drive, lots of I/O options in the form of VGA, DVI, HDMI, one USB 2.0, one USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, and a discrete 1GB AMD HD 6650M graphics card the connection (whatever its specific transfer capabilities) seems to be no slouch in the transfer speed(s) department.

This Is My Next has the full story on how Sony's (now) proprietary connection joined the companies lineup of proprietary technology despite Sony's efforts to use an non propriety standard (surprisingly) which you can read here.  It is certainly an interesting tale of karma and surprise.  What are your thoughts on the new connection?