A first look at CES 2012

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2012 - 11:31 AM |
Tagged: CES, storage visions, Intel, sandforce, 520 Cherryville

The theme of this years Storage Visions is 'Heavy Storage for Thin Clients' but that is not the biggest bit of new that Legit Reviews gathered from their meeting with the organizers.  They got confirmation that Intel will indeed be using a Sandforce based controller in an upcoming SSD, the 520 Cherryville, which will replace the 510 series.  As well, Micron was showing off their 20nm NAND, Crucial has a new Adrenaline drive to test and IOSafe will provide you a fire and waterproof housing to keep it in.

Don't forget about OCZ though, the card you can see below is the newest Z-Drive and it sports 8TB of flash storage (12TB max) available in MLC, SLC and eMLC depending on your needs and budget.  It is a PCIe 3.0 compliant card, one of the first available on the market.  You can also read about OCZ and Micron's joint project in the full post at Legit Reviews.

LR_ocz-r5.jpg

"OCZ and Marvell have teamed up and are showing off the Z-Drive R5 for the very first time at Storage Visions. The OCZ Z-Drive R5 is the industries fastest PCI Express (PCIe) storage device. The reason that Z-Drive R5 features a jointly developed "Kilimanjaro" OCZ and Marvell native PCIe to NAND flash controller platform, allowing for completely scalable performance and redundancy while eliminating the need for a separate storage controller, thus reducing the cost to deploy high performance solid state storage systems in the data center. It uses a PCI-Express Gen3 x8 slot to get up to 1.6M IOPS!"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

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

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

Steam Sees Huge Growth in Sales and Users

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2012 - 01:39 AM |
Tagged: valve, steam, growth, gaming, game

Valve, the company behind the Steam digital (game) distribution service recently announced their 2011 growth data for Steam. Tech Power Up reports that Steam did exceptionally well last year and managed to grow its sales numbers and user base quite a bit.

Among the data, the service saw a more than 100% growth in year over year sales "for the seventh straight year." Further, the service boasted 5 million simultaneous players during the Steam Holiday Sale! Even more mind blowing is the amount of data the company served to users at 780 Petabytes of data (that's a lot of game downloads; about 89.35 million copies of Dirt 3 for example!).

steam.png

Steam, taking my money since HL2.

Also, Valve managed to bring more games into the Steamworks fold including Skyrim and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Since the program's inception, over 400 games have shipped with the Steam DRM and achievements. Quite a success! CEO Gabe Newell seems happy about the service's success and confident about the future. He was quoted by the site in stating "Looking forward, we are preparing for the launch of the Big Picture UI mode," and that Steam continues to evolve to meet customer and game developer demands for content. More information can be found here.  

I'm glad that Steam is continuing to grow.  On the other hand, my wallet is going to hate me come the Steam Summer Sale!

Acer Launches New "AcerCloud" Cloud Service

Subject: General Tech | January 8, 2012 - 09:42 PM |
Tagged: sync, streaming, cloud, CES, acer

Last summer Acer purchased a cloud-service company for $325 million, and now that we are at CES the reason for the acquisition is apparent. According to Cnet, Acer is launching a new cloud service. Dubbed the "AcerCloud," the new service allows users to stream and sync files between Windows computers and Android mobile devices. Acer Chairman J. T. Wang stated that the company is "determined to make it very successful and sustainable."

acer-picstream.jpg

The new cloud service will launch with three applications to facilitate streaming and syncing photos, music, videos, and documents. These apps are named Clear.fi Photo, Clear.fi Media, and AcerCloud Docs. The company is going to integrate the cloud streaming service with their ultrabook lineup. AcerCloud is only the first of many cloud streaming services to emerge recently. Amazon Cloud Drive Service, Google Music, and Apple's iCloud are just a few of the popular streaming services that Acer has to compete with. That's before taking into account syncing services like Dropbox, Sugar Sync, and SpiderOak among others. Needless to say, the AcerCloud is going to have quite a bit of competition to contend with. Whether their proprietary cloud can carve a niche into the market filled with platform agnostic alternatives remains to be seen; however, competition is a good thing and Acer is likely not (going to be) the last company to launch a cloud service of its own this year.

Do you use any of the streaming and/or syncing services? What would it take to give Acer's solution a try?

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

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

PC Per(sonal) Game of the Year 2011

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | January 8, 2012 - 02:36 AM |
Tagged: opinion, gaming, game of the year, fps, deus ex: human revolution, deus ex

I have to say that 2011 was a pretty good year for PC gaming. Sure, it wasn't without some drab moments; however the diamonds in the rough more than made up for it. Those gems are the PC games that especially stood out for being of quality stock and most of all were awesomely fun.

Skyrim and Battlefield 3 have received a good deal of attention and praise among the PC Per staff, but I'm going to toss the guys a curve ball and name Deus Ex: Human Revolution as my personal favorite PC Game of the Year 2011. Here's why!

dxhr.jpg

Well, first a bit of history. Growing up, I was always a big PC gamer (earliest game I remember is Digger on an actually floppy floppy disk), but somehow missed the first Deus Ex. I read about it year after year on various technology and gaming sites' "Greatest PC Games of All Time" lists, but somehow never picked it up. A couple years ago, I saw it pop up on a Steam sale, so (naturally) I bought it and gave it a shot. There was a lot of hype behind it, and as such it had a lot to live up to.

DeusEx 2012-01-06 22-28-03-76.png

Try taking away my equiptment now!

Unfortunately, it never really came close to living up to all of the hype and praise that people gave it. That is not to say that it's a bad game, just that compared to the newer games that I was used to it wasn't my personal favorite. From the perspective of comparing it with games of its time, it certainly is an interesting release and relatively really good. Compared to the much improved graphics, controls, budgets, and hardware of years later (when I finally played it); however, it simply did not measure up. One of my main gripes with the game was that the AI was not all that great and at some points would have super vision that could spot me from a football field away in the shadows. Had I played it when it came out and had games of that era to compare it to, (and the nostalgic love) I'm sure I would be among those singing it's praises but as a late comer to the game I just wasn't interested.

While PC gamers grew up with Deus Ex, I grew up with the Metal Gear Solid series and I absolutely loved sneaking around and being Solid Snake. Sure, the story was a crazy one, but the same could be said for Deus Ex. That's not to say that I didn't play PC games like Doom 3 (I went from Wolfenstein 3D to Doom 3 due to not growing up with constant internet access living out in the boonies and not having the money for a powerful GPU) but that the games that most stick around in my mind as favorites and fond memories were things like MGS (whereas others may have held Deus Ex for example). I did find Deus Ex's story interesting though even if I wasn't too impressed with the graphics or game play, so when I read that a new Deus Ex was coming out and that it was getting the proper PC attention (thanks, Nixxes!) as it should, I jumped on the chance to play it. Now that I have built a few PCs and have a decent video card, playing the new Deus Ex: Human Revolution was a "no-brainer".

dxhr_vents.jpg

Enough vents to make even Solid Snake jealous!

To make what could be a long and spoiler-ific story about Deus Ex: HR short, the game is my personal game of the year because it made me feel like Solid Snake again, vents and all. The conversations, hacking, story, augments, and graphics were all really fun and memorable. From walking around the city and listening to the people to punching through a wall to take out an enemy to sneaking through the vents and reading all the emails the game was immersive and I found myself staying up all night not wanting to go to sleep in favor of breaking into my co-workers office and reading their email... umm all in the name of keeping the office secure (some Head of Security I was!). Some of the comments I blogged about just after completing the game include that despite the long loading times, there are more vents than you can shake a stick at and being able to stealth around was very fun. More specifically, I noted:

"The emails and conversations that you overhear walking around the city are nice touches that help immersion. Some people have complained about the graphics quality; however, for what it is I find them to be very good. For a multi-platform game, it certainly runs well on the PC, which is an exceptional feat in this day and age!. . . . I have to say that it was an awesome experience!"

I'm sure that Ryan will disagree that Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the Game Of The Year, but for me it was very memorable, fun, and far exceeded my expectations. Now that I have found out about some cool sounding mods for the original Deus Ex, I may have to give it a second chance ;)

I invite the rest of the PC Per crew to share their personal Game of the Year as well as you, the readers! What was your favorite game this year, and why?

Runners up included Saints Row: The Third which is also crazy fun and Portal 2 who's story was awesome but came out so early in the year that it slipped my mind as GOTY.

CES 2012 Day 0 Podcast - 1/7/2012

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | January 8, 2012 - 02:20 AM |
Tagged: ultrabook, podcast, nvidia, Intel, CES, amd

PC Perspective CES 2012 Day 0 - 1/7/2012

Join us tonight as we talk about our CES predictions for this year, from Las Vegas!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Matt Smith and Allyn Malventano

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

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

TMAK World Votes Battlefield 3 Game Of The Year

Subject: General Tech | January 8, 2012 - 01:16 AM |
Tagged: games, game of the year, bf3, fps

TMAK World, a technology blog recently held a contest to see what game the site's users deserved the Game of the Year award. They received 1,117 votes and tallied them up for a top 10 list. According to the article, the top three games represented 75% of the votes, and the first and second games were both ones that released close to the end of the year.

Anyway, without further adieu, The Game of the Year for 2011 is Battlefield 3! The popular multi-player first person shooter (FPS) won with 33% of the votes. Portal 2 and Skyrim followed up in third and second place respectively with 14% and 26% of votes.

Continue on to TMAK World to find out which other PC games made the Top 10 list!

Source: TMAK World

Thermaltake's tiny Isurus headset is perfect for your next road trip

Subject: General Tech | January 6, 2012 - 03:16 PM |
Tagged: audio, thermaltake, isurus, headset

Thermaltake has made a very portable headset, utilizing an earbud style with an omnidirectional microphone on the headset cord.  That results in a headset which is significantly more portable than an over the head design.  As it uses analog plugs, the headset is compatible with just about any device, not just your PC. Bjorn3D did note that there were some sacrifices to make the Isurus so portable, it lacks an inline volume control and the microphone tends to pick up more background noise than would be preferable.

b3d_ttisurus.jpg

"Thermaltake Isurus is a great headset for those like to travel and are seeking a portable and compact headset. This headset is far more versatile than regular bulkier headsets and can be used for so much more than gaming."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

 

 

Source: Bjorn3D

Letting the enthusiast down is one thing AMD, disappointing a major partner is another

Subject: General Tech | January 6, 2012 - 01:02 PM |
Tagged: amd, cray, interlagos

Many consumers have been annoyed with AMD this year, from the enthusiast on the bleeding edge trying to track down the elusive HD6990 to the bargain conscious market looking for  a Llano based system.  It certainly hurt AMDs bottom line to have product shortages and it has alienated customers to the point where they may not consider AMD parts in the future.  The shortages also ensured that AMD will miss an entire generation of laptops and pre-built PCs since assemblers like Dell and HP needed a guaranteed solid supply of chips before they would consider selling a product line based on those chips. 

The Register reported on even worse news for AMD this morning, it seems that Cray will miss their targeted revenue for Q4 2011 and it seems to be AMDs fault.  The delay of the Interlagos based APUs which Cray was basing its new line of high powered clusters on.  This is not the first time that this has happened, Cray has been burned by Opteron delays before.  In response Cray is designing a new cluster architecture that will be able to interconnect Intel and AMD chips over PCIe 3.0 lanes.  

These Cray machines that are being delayed have another problem as well.  Not only do they depend on the delayed Opterons they are also planned to incorporate NVIDIA's Kepler HPC cards which are suffering from a serious case of the delays as well.  Seems like it is a bad quarter to be Cray.

cray.png

"Cray is going to miss its revenue targets for the fourth quarter, the company warned Wall Street this morning before the markets opened, and it has pointed its finger (without naming names) directly at its main processor supplier, Advanced Micro Devices, as the cause of the miss."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

Cool WebGL-based map website. I won't Nokia for it.

Subject: General Tech | January 6, 2012 - 12:29 AM |
Tagged: webgl, nokia

WebGL is a web standard which attempts to bring the capacities of OpenGL to websites; I will refer to web applications as websites because that is what they are. There were a few WebGL experiments to demonstrate 3D capabilities as well as concepts for sites such as search engines. There is concern over providing that level of functionality to an application, such as a web browser, whose purpose is to routinely accept data from untrusted sources. Microsoft specifically has been outspoken over WebGL which leads to questions about their motives: a harshly learned lesson from ActiveX; or fears that developers will adopt an OpenGL-based standard? Regardless of Microsoft’s intentions, their newfound cellphone partner, Nokia, has just released a 3D mapping system developed in WebGL.

webgl-map.jpg

There needs to be a decoder ring for cellphone company drama.

While obviously not an alternative to Google Maps, Nokia’s “Maps 3D WebGL” is quite aesthetically pleasing. Buildings are rendered with quite high detail and perform quite smoothly if you are in one of the zones mapped with 3D building data. You are free to orbit and view the scene from any direction by turning the compass near the bottom of the screen. All in all it is a cool website to show off what the future could encompass when GPUs are allowed to be used for mainstream purposes. Have fun.

Source: Nokia

Velocity Micro Announces Products To Be Shown At CES

Subject: General Tech, Storage, Mobile | January 5, 2012 - 08:18 PM |
Tagged: CES, velocity micro, usb, storage, projector, peripheral, CES 2012

Velocity Micro, a boutique PC builder just couldn't wait until CES 2012 to show off some of their new products it seems, as a recent web page with some punchy font seeks to get consumers excited about their new tablets, projector, and USB optical/external hard drive combination.

cruz_tablet.png

First off, Velocity Micro plans to debut two Android tablets dubbed the Cruz Tablet T507 and T510. Both tablets run the Android 4.0 mobile operating system, and are powered by Cortex A8 processors running at 1.2 GHz. Further, the tablets feature ARM Mali GPUs at 400 MHz, 8 GB of internal storage, 512 MB of RAM, HDMI out, a front facing camera, flash support, and access to the Amazon Appstore. The differences between the T507 and T510 tablets lie in the screen size and lack of rear camera on the T510. The T507 tablet has a 7" capacitive touch screen and has an MSRP of $150 (according to Engadget) while the T510 has a 9.7" capacitive touch screen.

VMUltra_Drive.png

Next up is an external USB hard drive that also features an optical drive and USB hub. Dubbed the VMUltra Drive, the all in one external drive has a DVD-R/RW optical drive, 500 GB 2.5" SATA Hard Drive, SD Card Reader, and 3 USB 2.0 Ports. Pretty nifty, and if the price is right I may be interested in this myself for my work laptop that lacks optical drive and is running low on storage space (heh).

CESShine.png

Lastly, Velocity Micro is going to debut the Shine Projector. Supporting an "HD" resolution of 1280x768 pixels, the Shine weighs in at 9 ounces. It features a 300 Lumens (160 ANSI Lumens) brightness, 2,000:1 contrast ratio, a one year warranty, and a mini-HDMI input. Also, it's a glossy Ferrari red, sporty.

Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more CES Pre-CES coverage!

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

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

A new look at Powerline Ethernet from Sitecom

Subject: General Tech | January 5, 2012 - 11:32 AM |
Tagged: Sitecom, powerline ethernet, ethernet over mains

It has been over three years since Ryan took a look at ethernet over mains, or powerline ethernet so it seems about time to revisit that technology.   Wireless technology looks nice but comes with a variety of problems such as security and signal interference as well as really not being all that fast in many cases.  Powerline ethernet attempts to bring the best of both worlds together by using wires which already exist hidden in your walls to also transfer the data.  Since there are very few wirelessly powered TVs, HTPCs or desktop PCs you obviously already have access to a wall wart.  Guru 3D tried the current generation Sitecom Powerline Ethernet system which claims a 500Mbps raw top speed and offers encryption capabilities if you are worried about the power company spying on you.  Their testing showed performance varying from about 100Mbps in the best scenario to 35Mbps when the adapters were on separate fuse lines and kitchen appliances were present on those fuse lines.  So while your microwave might steal some bandwidth from you, surfing the web is still going to be fine.

g3d_sitecom.jpg

"The Sitecom Powerline Ethernet adapters allow you to use your mains electricity circuit to transfer data, this way you can extend your network to wherever you have a free plug socket. The product we test today comes from Sitecom, their 500 Mbps plus Homeplug.

The kit provides a connection of up to 500Mbits/sec. Divide that by 8 bits and you'd in theory would be able to see transfer speeds of 62.5 Megabyte per second. In practice, however we tested the maximum net data rate is much MUCH lower, 60~100 Mbits/sec - still that is faster than Wi-Fi and sufficient enough or streaming high-definition video from say your PC with network shares to, for instance, your HTPC."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: Guru3D

Are all USB 3.0 hubs made the same?

Subject: General Tech | January 4, 2012 - 03:54 PM |
Tagged: input, usb 3.0, usb hub, Rosewill RHB-610, SYBA SY-HUB20090

With USB 3.0 finally becoming commonplace on motherboards and mobile devices as well as peripherals, it was inevitable for USB 3.0 hubs to start to arrive on the market.  That raises two immediate questions; is it as fast as a plug located on a motherboard and is there a difference in performance between manufacturers.  RealWorldLabs looks to answer those questions by using two 4-port hubs, Rosewill's RHB-610 and SYBA's SY-HUB20090 along with a Gigabyte G1 Assassin motherboard.  It seems that with one device connected via the hub, the performance is about 90% of the direct connection to the motherboard which seems a small price to pay to not have to crawl behind your PC to swap USB 3.0 devices, unfortunately the short cables on these hubs still will have you bending over a bit to deal with them.

RWL_usb3_2way_comparisona.JPG

"If you're looking to buy a USB 3.0 compatible hub and you're worried about performance and quality issues then this comparison between two of the most famous 4-port USB 3.0 hubs currently in the market should easily answer some if not all your questions."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Some of us have fond memories of turn based games

Subject: General Tech | January 4, 2012 - 01:44 PM |
Tagged: gaming, jagged alliance

Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN were lucky enough to get their hands on Jagged Alliance - Back in Business, a game that was on its way to surpassing Duke Nukem Forever's record for longest game in development.  The new incarnation of the beloved turn based squad combat game is, as many fans are aware, in real time with a pause button to allow you to issue commands.  On the other hand it seems that the game is exactly like JA2 in that RPS recognized every tree, fence hole and building from JA2 ... and those who played it through multiple times will likely recognize them too.  One of the biggest changes, at least for the version they played with, is the lack of fog of war; when you hit a map you can see every single enemy and their moves, even without line of site.  As it turns out the enemy AI is even dumber than you thought.  Check out the full preview here.

RPS_jag.jpg

"I’ve been playing an early version of Jagged Alliance – Back In Action, the upcoming remake of one of my most beloved games. I keep my copy of Jagged Alliance 2 atop a giant stack of Soldier of Fortune magazines, which stands between an ashtray containing a smouldering over-sized cigar, some satellite surveillance photos of a dictator’s villa, a few scattered dogtags (some with bulletholes through them) and a pile of empty shell casings. I don’t know why I keep a lot of that stuff but I guess it reminds me how much of a man I am. Can Back In Action do the same?"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

Intel giveth to the server room and taketh from the desktop

Subject: General Tech | January 4, 2012 - 01:20 PM |
Tagged: Intel, cpu, core i3, core i5, core i7

As reported yesterday, there are quite a few new server chips arriving in 2012 but today the news is not so happy for bargain shoppers who were not planning on picking up an Ivy Bridge based system.  Intel will no longer be shipping out Core i5-661 & 660, Core i3-530, Pentium E5700 or Celeron E3500s and will stop producing them by the summer.  On the Sandybridge side six Core i7 models are being cut as are six Core i5 models.  As well the Pentium G960, Pentium E6600/E550 and Celeron E3300 will see their line end in the summer of 2012.  While this does make space for the new desktop processors Intel is releasing soon it means anyone planning on building a lower cost system with these parts should consider doing so soon.  DigiTimes lists all the models slated for retirement here.

EndoftheLine.jpg

"To pave the way for the upcoming launch of 22nm Ivy Bridge processors in April 2012, Intel has notified its hardware partners of its schedule for stopping the supply or production of over 25 existing desktop CPU models, according to industry sources in Taiwan."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes

Intel moves on the server room with 40 processors due for release

Subject: General Tech | January 3, 2012 - 01:58 PM |
Tagged: Intel, server, cpu, Romley, Ivy Bridge-H2, xeon e3, xeon e5

The server room will be getting an update over the next year thanks to Intel releasing numerous CPU models based on different architectures.  First up comes Romley with a total of seven 8-core Xeons, a half dozen 6-core Xeons including both the E5-1660 and 1650 as well as the E5-2640 and relatives, five 4-core Xeons and a single dual core CPU.  That will take us until close to summer.  By then Intel will be working on eleven different Ivy Bridge-H2 series CPUs including the Xeon E3-1290v2 as well as seven more higher end processors including Xeon E5-2470, which will take us towards the end of 2012.

In addition to the regular lineup, DigiTimes also lists four low power Xeons which will arrive in 2012 including the 8-core Xeon E5-2650L.

serverroomimages.jpg

"Intel is set to launch 40 new processors including those for its upcoming Romley platform, in the first half of 2012 with the company to release 20 models each quarter, according to sources from server players."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Proposed Internet Blackout Seeks To Convince Congress To Drop SOPA

Subject: General Tech | January 2, 2012 - 06:24 PM |
Tagged: terrible idea, tech, SOPA, Internet, bill

Let me say right off the bat, that personally I'm very much against the idea of SOPA due to how easily the system could be abused and the degree to which innovation would be stiffed all in the name of "stopping piracy." Fortunately, I'm not the only one against the Stopping Online Piracy Act, and many of the opponents include Internet giants Google, Facebook, Ebay, and Twitter.

blackout.png

While money being paid to congressmen may speak louder than a few tech enthusiasts writing to voice their opposition, when no one is able to perform Google searches, update their Twitter, or check their Facebook you can bet that the thousands of Americans are going to go nuts and is surely to get the attention of the everyday-person.  And when those same sites show their users who to blame, people are going to react.  (Seriously, have you been around someone when their internet has gone out for a day and they haven't been able to get on Facebook!?).  According to CNET, various top Internet sites have an ace up their sleeve and are prepared to blackout their sites such that visitors will be greeted with censorship logos naming SOPA and the government for the lack of user content and users' social networking fix.

"When the home pages of Google.com, Amazon.com, Facebook.com, and their Internet allies simultaneously turn black with anti-censorship warnings that ask users to contact politicians about a vote in the U.S. Congress the next day on SOPA, you'll know they're finally serious" says Declan McCullagh.

If SOPA passes, there will effectively be no internet, so maybe it is time to institute some MAD (mutually assured destruction) by encouraging sites to go with, as Mr. McCullagh puts it, their nuclear option and motivate people to let Congress know just how bad of an idea SOPA is.  After all, if SOPA passes how would you get your YouTube laughs, or even more importantly your PCPer fix!?  Have you called your Congressmen yet (nudge, nudge)?

Source: CNET

Finally a trip to the Southern Isles; AMD's new HD 7970

Subject: General Tech | January 2, 2012 - 01:26 PM |
Tagged: tahiti, HD 7970, 28nm, southern islands

With 2,048 stream processors, 3GB of GDDR5 memory, and DVI,  HDMI and a pair of mini-Displayport outputs the new HD 7970 can support six displays and might even have the power to do it well.  Internal reviews, which are to be taken with your daily allowance of NaCl, suggest a 70-90% jump in performance when compared to the previous generation of AMD GPUs.  This all comes at a cost however, with a ~$700 price tag being predicted for the base model and unfortunately that is likely what you will get.  Even though AMD opened up the specifications for their manufacturers, allowing them to set whatever clock speeds and cooling solutions they desired it seems that most companies opted to go with the reference model, at least for now.   The other cost is power; the new 28nm process allows extremely low powered idling but as the card requires both an 8 pin and a 6 pin PCIe power connector you can be assured the card will use a lot of power when going full out, especially if you utilize the automatic 33% overclock that is enabled by the Powertune application mentioned by The Inquirer in their article.

HD-7970.jpg

"CHIP DESIGNER AMD has released the Radeon HD 7970 based on its Tahiti GPU chip.

AMD's Radeon HD 7970 is the first graphics board design based on its 28nm Southern Islands Tahiti GPU. The chip, which AMD claims has 4.3bn transistors, has been significantly changed from the previous Northern Islands generation Cayman Radeon HD 6970, has more on-chip cache and the firm claims it has greater overclocking headroom."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

Quickly -- before the credit card bills get in: Steam Encore

Subject: General Tech | January 1, 2012 - 08:24 PM |
Tagged: steam, Space Quest

The holidays are quickly coming to a close; like Times Square, I hope you had a ball. If you were unable to take advantage of the Steam deals as they occurred over the last two weeks, you are in luck: it is deja vu day. If you did not receive Batman, Skyrim, L.A. Noire, Saint’s Row, and various other PC titles in your stocking then this might just be the perfect time to snatch one or two up. Get saddled up for the long winter months until The Darkness 2 and Jeremy’s favorite: Syndicate, the first person shooter, are both released in February.

steambusy.png

But wait, there’s more! Oh, you need to wait for Steam servers... right.

What is this you tell me? You do your banking online and you need to pass?

How about a free smile instead? If you were once a fan of classic adventure titles such as those from Sierra -- you will likely enjoy spending a little time cleaning up space one overflown toilet at a time. Just a couple of days ago Space Quest II has been remade by Infamous Adventures as a free download on either the Mac or PC platforms. A few of the most hilarious deaths imaginable for free? Roger, wilco!

Source: Steam Store

Mozilla Starts Asking For Donations from Users

Subject: General Tech | December 30, 2011 - 11:42 AM |
Tagged: mozilla, firefox, donations, browser

Mozilla, the company behind the popular open source Firefox web browser recently struck a quite lucrative deal with Google for providing the big G with a default search box and google search start page.  Apparently, 900 million (over three years) is not enough for the company; however, as they have started asking for user donations of at least $10.

firefox_donate.png

According to their new story page, "We believe the Web is a place where anyone can come to build their dreams."  The non profit states in the accompanying video that they are more than just a web browser, they are a global community fighting to keep the web a good, innovative place.  And that, they argue is why they need your support; to make the web a "force for good by making a donation today."

Personally, this feels like a cross between late night PBS broadcasts as a kid and Wikipedia's pleas for donations.  Sure, if you are a big fan of Firefox it couldn't hurt to support them; however, I don't think they are going anywhere any time soon.  What are your thoughts on this as a user?

Source: Mozilla

Richard Huddy is now Intel Inside. Well I'll be d'AMD.

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | December 28, 2011 - 05:04 PM |
Tagged: Intel

There are a few individuals in the video game industry who attract news articles when their employers change; Richard Huddy is one. Experience with 3DLabs and executive positions at NVIDIA and ATI/AMD firmly suggests that he is in touch with graphics processing. Huddy completes his tour of the current PC GPU triangle by signing on with Intel. Given said GPU background, it would be interesting to speculate what plans Intel has for their presence in the graphics market -- and some already are.

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Matrox… isn’t a part of that triangle…

KitGuru speculates that Intel realizes their attempts in developing graphics accelerators, such as Larrabee and their integrated GPUs, are lackluster; I personally believe that is a fairly safe speculation to make. Hiring the person who has dealt with developer relations throughout Europe for NVIDIA and worldwide for AMD would give you a good sense of what directions you need to be heading as a company. KitGuru also speculates that Intel desires to be placed in the consoles -- while developing a console GPU would be desirable for Intel as there would be no pressure to get huge numbers in random benchmarks, I doubt that is a core focus of Intel. If I was to speculate, and I am, my personal expectation would be to keep up with AMD and NVIDIA in the GPGPU war as well as tablet GPUs.

If you were to speculate: what do you think Intel’s motives are? Sane or crazy -- if it's legal, comment away!

Source: KitGuru