Subject: General Tech | December 9, 2017 - 04:27 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: amd, qualcomm, LTE, ryzen mobile, wireless
On the opening day of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Tech Summit, the company brought AMD on stage and announced a partnership that would see AMD use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon LTE modems alongside Ryzen Mobile SoCs to enable always connected Windows devices.
PC Perspective’s Ryan Shrout and Ken Addison attended the event and gleaned a few more details about the announcement. According to Ryan on the podcast, AMD plans to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon LTE modems in Ryzen Mobile-powered laptops and tablets. While road warriors will be able to enjoy cellular connected AMD laptops, Ryan notes that these devices may not support the new “connected standby” standard where a Windows PC is able to keep the cellular connection and the PC in a very minimal power state to download notifications, emails, and other updates in the background while the PC is otherwise sleeping.
Reading this announcement piqued my interest though for the future of this partnership. While the first devices are likely to include the Qualcomm modem on the motherboard, in the future AMD may be allowed to integrate the modem into its mobile APUs which would help AMD to compete with Intel in this space. Qualcomm is a big player and could give AMD a strong and competitive wireless solution without AMD having to navigate the murky patent waters and huge R&D costs involved with coming up with its own in-house modems.
What are your thoughts on this Qualcomm and AMD partnership?
Subject: General Tech | October 16, 2017 - 03:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: trackball, logitech, MX Ergo, wireless, input
You do not see trackballs every often anymore; new product launches even less. There are a group of users who will be very interested in this updated trackball from Logitech, either due to personal preference or a run in with carpal tunnel they never wish to repeat. The trackball sits on a magnetic base plate with a pivot point that allows you to tilt the body up to 20o for greater comfort. Logitech added basic Bluetooth connectivity in addition to their proprietary driver and dongle for those who do not wish yet another USB port occupied as well as switching to a rechargeable battery. If you want to know more about what has been added, you can read The Tech Report's full review here.
"It's been seven years since Logitech released a new trackball into the world. Join us to find out what Logitech has learned with time and whether it's kept up with some new blood."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Cooler Master MasterMouse MM520 and MM530 @ Modders-Inc
- SteelSeries Sensei 310 @ TechPowerUp
- Logitech G903 Lightspeed Professional Grade Wired / Wireless Gaming Mouse Review @ NikKTech
- Datamancer Diviner Keyboard @ TechPowerUp
- Logitech Craft review: A slick keyboard combo that takes on the Surface Dial @ Ars Technica
- Logitech CRAFT Keyboard @ TechPowerUp
Introduction and Specifications
Corsair has released a premium version of their VOID headset with the VOID PRO family, which includes wired and wireless option boasting major improvements to the previous designs.
“We made it better. Building upon the success of CORSAIR’s VOID series of headsets, VOID PRO features various significant enhancements across comfort, sound, mic quality and wireless performance designed to provide an even better gaming experience. VOID PRO resets the bar and delivers best-in-class performance.“
Surely, every major segment of the PC accessory market has reached saturation at this point, with the gaming headset market one of the most crowded. Companies need to offer more than just style and value to differentiate at the high end, with sound quality - including the microphone - now beginning to get some much-needed attention.
At times, aggressive styling and an apparent obsession with low bass seemed to dominate design choices, but a more balanced and accurate sound provides the kind of fidelity that can transform gaming and entertainment into a truly immersive experience. So, can Corsair match the improvements of such competitors as Logitech and provide a more premium sonic experience? We will find out!
Subject: Networking | May 30, 2017 - 05:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: wireless, wifi extender, wi-fi, Rivet Networks, network, msi, lan, Killer xTend, Killer Networking, gigabyte, Ethernet, computex 2017, computex
Rivet Networks has a new Killer Networking product, but it isn't a line of NICs or Wireless adapters; it's actually a combination of both interfaces (including a minimum of three Gigabit Ethernet ports) that combine to turn your PC into switch and a Wi-Fi extender. They call the new product Killer xTend, and Rivet Networks has partnered with MSI and GIGABYTE to bring the new technology to market.
"Killer xTend delivers powerful network extension capabilities to your computer by integrating a network switch that includes at least three Killer Ethernet ports and using a Killer Wireless-AC module as a Wi-Fi extender. This allows your computer to share its network access with other nearby wired and wireless devices with a strong, powerful network connection.
Consumers no longer need to mess with switches and network extenders that are expensive and difficult to configure. Instead, they can use Killer’s innovative new xTend Technology to connect devices such as gaming consoles, smart phones and tablets directly to their gaming PCs. Killer xTend keeps your games, voice, and video fast and smooth because high priority traffic on the Killer PC is prioritized above the traffic from connected devices. Killer xTend also delivers amazing speeds – with potential throughput up to 1 Gbps for each Killer E2500 plus another 867 Mbps for the Killer Wi-Fi module."
The first motherboard launching with Killer xTend is the MSI Z270 GODLIKE GAMING, with three Killer E2500 NICs and a Killer Wireless-AC 1535 module onboard.
"...the new GODLIKE adapts the Killer™ xTend technology as well and delivers powerful network extension capabilities by integrating a network switch that includes 3 Killer Ethernet ports and a Killer Wireless-AC module as a Wi-Fi extender. This allows the GODLIKE GAMING to provide the network access to other nearby wired and wireless devices with a strong, powerful network connection. Gamers no longer need to mess with switches and network extenders that are expensive and difficult to configure – instead they can use Killer’s innovative new xTend Technology to connect devices such as gaming consoles, smart phones, and tablets directly to your gaming PC. The Killer xTend keeps your games, voice, and video fast and smooth because high priority traffic on the Killer PC is prioritized above the traffic from connected devices. Killer xTend also delivers amazing throughput to your home – with potential throughput up to 1 Gbps for each Killer E2500 plus another 867 Mbps for the Killer Wi-Fi module."
GIGABYTE's AORUS Gaming Series will include Killer xTend, though no specific models were mentioned in the press release from Rivet Networks.
Full press release after the break.
Introduction and Specifications
The G533 Wireless headset is the latest offering from Logitech, combining the company’s premium Pro-G drivers, 15-hour battery life, and a new, more functional style. Obvious comparisons can be made to last year’s G933 Artemis Spectrum, since both are wireless headsets using Logitech’s Pro-G drivers; but this new model comes in at a lower price while offering much of the same functionality (while dropping the lighting effects). So does the new headset sound any different? What about the construction? Read on to find out!
The G533 exists alongside the G933 Artemis Spectrum in Logitech’s current lineup, but it takes most of the features from that high-end wireless model, while paring it down to create a lean, mean option for gamers who don’t need (or want) RGB lighting effects. The 40 mm Pro-G drivers are still here, and the new G533 offers a longer battery life (15 hours) than the G933 could manage, even with its lighting effects disabled (12 hours). 7.1-channel surround effects and full EQ and soundfield customization remain, though only DTS effects are present (no Dolby this time).
What do these changes translate to? First of all, the G533 headset is being introduced with a $149 MSRP, which is $50 lower than the G933 Artemis Spectrum at $199. I think many of our readers would trade RGB effects for lower cost, making this a welcome change (especially considering lighting effects don’t really mean much when you are wearing the headphones).Another difference is the overall weight of the headset at 12.5 oz, which is 0.5 oz lighter than the G933 at 13 oz.
Subject: General Tech | February 1, 2017 - 12:51 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: wireless, servers, firefly
Forget LiFi, Firefly uses infrared lasers to transmit data and torture acronyms. Researchers out of Penn State, backed by Microsoft, are working on a way to get rid of the wiring in your server room and replace it with IR lasers and mirrors; hold the smoke. By using multiplexed beams, they have created a proof of concept test which allows bi-directional data streams at 10 gigabits per second though there is some work to be done before it is ready for a full test.
The mirrors would be MEMs controlled, ensuring that the signal should theoretically be able to reach any receiver, even ones obscured by other equipment. Anyone sick of cable management or looking for new ways to keep people out of the server room can take a peek at the link to the research that The Register posted. On the other hand, the simple act of walking into your server room, setting down a box or even a leaf on the wind would be likely to cause downtime. Could protective goggles might be the newest sysadmin fashion faux pas?
"Shown off at Photonics West 2017 in San Francisco, Firefly (acronymically tortured out of Free-space optical Inter-Rack nEtwork with high FLexibilitY, we kid you not) proposes FSO to provide multiple 10 Gbps inter-rack links."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Windows 10 is now on a quarter of desktop machines* @ The Inquirer
- AT&T ready to trial latest attempt at pumping internet over power lines @ The Register
- KDE Plasma 5.9 Released @ Slashdot
- Suffered a breach? Expect to lose cash, opportunities, and customers – report @ The Register
- Comcast will charge extra fee for watching TV on Roku boxes @ Ars Technica
- GitLab sysadmin accidentally deletes 300GB of data @ The Inquirer
- 2K Games Wins the Right To Store and Share Your Biometric Facial Data @ Slashdot
- The Future of iOS is 64-Bit Only -- Apple To Stop Support For 32-Bit Apps @ Slashdot
- TRENDnet TV-IP314PI Indoor/Outdoor 4MP PoE Day/Night Network Camera Review @ NikKTech
Bluetooth has come a long way since the technology was introduced in 1998. The addition of the Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) in 2003 brought support for high-quality audio streaming, but Bluetooth still didn’t offer anywhere near the quality of a wired connection. This unfortunate fact is often overlooked in favor of the technology's convenience factor, but what if we could have the best of both worlds? This is where Qualcomm's aptX comes in, and it is a departure from the methods in place since the introduction of Bluetooth audio.
What is aptX audio? It's actually a codec that compresses audio in a very different manner than that of the standard Bluetooth codec, and the result is as close to uncompressed audio as the bandwidth-constrained Bluetooth technology can possibly allow. Qualcomm describes aptX audio as "a bit-rate efficiency technology that ensures you receive the highest possible sound quality from your Bluetooth audio device," and there is actual science to back up this claim. After doing quite a bit of reading on the subject as I prepared for this review, I found that the technology behind aptX audio, and its history, is very interesting.
A Brief History of aptX Audio
The aptX codec has actually been around since long before Bluetooth, with its invention in the 1980s and first commercial applications beginning in the 1990s. The version now found in compatible Bluetooth devices is 4th-generation aptX, and in the very beginning it was actually a hardware product (the APTX100ED chip). The technology has had a continued presence in pro audio for three decades now, with a wider reach than I had ever imagined when I started researching the topic. For example, aptX is used for ISDN line connections for remote voice work (voice over, ADR, foreign language dubs, etc.) in movie production, and even for mix approvals on film soundtracks. In fact, aptX was also the compression technology behind DTS theater sound, which had its introduction in 1993 with Jurassic Park. It is in use in over 30,000 radio stations around the world, where it has long been used for digital music playback.
So, while it is clear that aptX is a respected technology with a long history in the audio industry, how exactly does this translate into improvements for someone who just wants to listen to music over a bandwidth-constrained Bluetooth connection? The nature of the codec and its differences/advantages vs. A2DP is a complex topic, but I will attempt to explain in plain language how it actually can make Bluetooth audio sound better. Having science behind the claim of better sound goes a long way in legitimizing perceptual improvements in audio quality, particularly as the high-end audio industry is full of dubious - and often ridiculous - claims. There is no snake-oil to be sold here, as we are simply talking about a different way to compress and uncompress an audio signal - which is the purpose of a codec (code, decode) to begin with.
Subject: General Tech | January 5, 2017 - 10:02 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: wireless, headphones, CES 2017, CES, bluetooth, aptX
On the high-end audio side of things Audio-Technica has added to its wireless headphone lineup with both on-ear and in-ear models featuring aptX technology for high quality Bluetooth audio.
ATH-DSR9BT and ATH-DSR7BT headphones
The high-end ATH-DSR9BT and ATH-DSR7BT are Audio-Technica's first wireless headphones with their new Pure Digital Drive system:
This new technology keeps the audio signal completely digital from the audio source to the headphones’ drivers, without the need for D/A conversion stages that typically degrade the sound quality. Traditionally, the digital signal goes through a series of steps that process and transform the wireless signal. This presents several opportunities for distortion in audio quality. Our Pure Digital Drive technology eliminates the opportunities for disruption and distortion that occur in the conversion stages, providing users with a high-quality listening experience.
SonicFuel ATH-AR3BT headphones
Other new models include a "high-performance/high-value" offering in the SonicFuel ATH-AR3BT on-ear headphones, a compact folding design with a new dynamic driver "to deliver richly detailed sound" that the company says "sets a new value standard for high-performance on-ear wireless headphones" at its $119 MSRP.
ATH-CKS990BT and ATH-CKS550BT in-ear monitors
In-ear options ATH-CKS990BT ($199) and ATH-CKS550BT ($119) in the Solid Bass series feature "Dual Magnetic Field drivers with Multiple-Transition diaphragms for improved sound", and will provide better wireless functionality and better controls than previous models.
All of these new wireless headphones and in-ear monitors will be available this spring.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: General Tech | January 4, 2017 - 12:01 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: wireless, Pro-G, logitech, headset, headphones, gaming, DTS Headphone:X, CES 2017, CES, 7.1 channel, 40mm
Logitech's newest gaming headset is the G533, a wireless model that boasts superior sound quality, reliable wireless performance, and long battery life.
"The Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset features professional grade wireless technology, patent pending Pro-G audio drivers and DTS Headphone:X 7.1 surround sound, for advanced audio performance and wireless convenience. The Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset also features a long battery life and high performance design, for comfort over long gameplay sessions."
The Pro-G drivers were previously found in the flagship Artemis Spectrum gaming headsets, which I was highly impressed by when I reviewed them a year ago. The new G533 model incorporates much of the same functionality as the wireless G933 headset, with advanced driver technology and DTS Headphone:X 7.1-channel surround effects.
As to the wireless performance, Logitech states that their system is low-latency, completely lossless, and resistant to interference:
"Featuring advanced lossless digital audio transmission, the Logitech G533 delivers wireless convenience and incredible high fidelity sound at a range of up to 15 meters’. The headset maintains a strong connection, even in noisy Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI) settings and when there are dozens of wireless signals in proximity."
Specifications for the G533 Wireless Gaming Headset from Logitech:
- Driver: Pro-G 40 mm
- Frequency response: 20Hz-20KHz
- Impedance: 32 Ohms
- Sensitivity: 107dB SPL/mW
- Charging Cable Length: 2m
- Battery Life: 15 hours
- Wireless Range: 15m
- Size: 197 mm x 189 mm x 85 mm
- Weight: 350 grams (12.5 oz)
- Pickup Pattern: Cardioid (Unidirectional)
- Type: Pressure Gradient Electret
- Size: 4 mm
- Frequency response: 100Hz-20KHz
- Warranty: 2-year limited hardware warranty
The G533 Wireless Gaming Headset will retail for $149.99, with availability slated for this month.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!
Podcast #425 - Samsung 960 EVO, NZXT S340, NVIDIA revenue, wireless Vive, Serious Sam VR, Steam VR on Linux and more!
Subject: General Tech | November 17, 2016 - 03:53 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: wireless, VR, video, valve, TPCAST, tempered glass, steam, serious sam, Samsung, S340, podcast, nzxt, linux, htc, 960 EVO, 375.86
PC Perspective Podcast #425 - 11/17/16
Join us this week as we discuss new Samsung 960 EVO, NZXT S340, NVIDIA revenue, wireless Vive, Serious Sam VR, Steam VR on Linux and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Allyn Malventano, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Sebastian Peak
Program length: 1:13:46
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week