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Subject: General Tech | September 19, 2011 - 01:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Catch more on both of these stories and their history at The Register.
"Google has officially launched Native Client – a means of securely running C and C++ code inside a browser – as part of a new stable version of its Chrome browser that activates this rather controversial sandboxing technology.
Mountain View turned on Native Client, aka NaCl, in the Chrome beta last month, and on Friday, it debuted in the new Chrome 14, a stable release that also includes Google's new Web Audio API."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- M-Lab (Thanks DigitalKitty)
- Intel extends its influence beyond the CPU realm @ The Register
- Rambus shows off how to sniff crypto keys @ SemiAccurate
- Windows 8 and the marginalization of geeks @ The Tech Report
- UNIVAC: the troubled life of America's first computer @ Ars Technica
- Essential Open Source Tools For Windows Admins @ Slashdot
- This Is What Started AMD's Open-Source Strategy @ Phoronix
- Testing EXT4 & Btrfs On A Serial ATA 3.0 SSD @ Phoronix
- Gamefest 2011 Rundown @ XSReviews
- From iQ2011: HTC Flyer 10.1 Hands-on @ t-break
- From iQ 2011: A Tsunami of Data @ t-break
- IDF 2011 Recap and Announcing Pipeline @ AnandTech
- From iQ 2011: AllJoyn connects devices easily @ t-break
- Contest For Three NZXT Havik 140 CPU Coolers @ Legit Reviews
- New Quiz: Cooling @ Hardware Secrets
- The TR Podcast 96: IDF and inside the second
- Computing on Demand: C.O.D. Giveaway: Sentey Burton GS-6500B
Subject: General Tech | September 17, 2011 - 07:50 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: usb, PC, mic, headsets, gaming, corsair, analog, 7.1, 5.1
Following in the success of the company’s HS1 gaming headset, Corsair recently unveiled three new gaming headsets in its new Vengeance lineup of gaming peripherals. The new arrivals include the Vengeance 1100, 1300, and 1500 audio peripherals, of which two support USB connections.
The Vengeance 1100 is the smallest of the three gaming headsets, and features a behind-the-head headphone design and boom microphone extending from the left speaker. Using 40mm drivers, the headphones are capable of a claimed 94 decibel dynamic range, and is one of Corsairs lightest headsets. The microphone is of the unidirectional variety and features noise cancellation technology. Connectivity options include two 3.5mm audio jacks at the end of the 1.8 meter cable for headphone and microphone or a single USB connection with the included adapter cable.
The Vengeance 1300 headset with dual 3.5mm analog connections.
While lightweight and open ear headphones have their place, they are not for everyone. Thankfully, Corsair have also introduced two larger designs dubbed the Vengeance 1300 and 1500 to suit the needs of gamers who prefer (whether out of desire for isolated sound or to appease the significant other) the around-the-ears circumaural design. The 1300 supports connecting to high end sound cards with 3.5mm audio connections for both sound and the noise canceling cardioid microphone while the Vengeance 1500 connects to the computer using USB for both sound and microphone. Both models feature 50mm drivers, 95 decibel dynamic range, 3 meter cables, noise canceling microphones, and support for positional audio. Further, the Vengeance 1300 uses X-Fi CMSS-3D while the 1500 headset supports 5.1 and 7.1 Dolby Headphone positional audio. The larger designs are bound to be relatively heavy compared to the smaller Vengeance 1100; however, the closed ear design should provide cleaner audio while blocking out background noise.
As far as pricing and availability are concerned, the new gaming headsets and other Vengeance gaming peripherals are slated for an October 2011 launch worldwide. The Vengeance 1100 weights in at an attractive $39 US MSRP while the larger 1300 and 1500 have a suggested retail price of $79 US and $99 USD respectively.
Do you game with headsets, or are you more of the crank-the-home-theater-speakers-to-11 (and immerse the whole neighborhood in your Battlefield match) kind of person? I have somewhat recently moved to a pair of headphones for gaming and it definitely has its benefits (including the aforementioned spouse acceptance factor...). How do you think the new Corsair headsets will stack up to the competition? Let us know in the comments!
Subject: General Tech | September 17, 2011 - 04:30 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: mice, mechanical keyboard, corsair
For such an old technology it certainly seems like gaming mechanical keyboards are making a surge into the market lately. More and more hands are in the pot full of Cherries; each hand with their personal set of distinguishing features to set their offering apart from all the others. Some prefer to opt for backlighting; some prefer to opt for ludicrous amounts of keys to be pressed at once; and some prefer to duke it out in switch type, extra buttons, and price. Razer recently jumped in to the fray with their premiere and recently expanded BlackWidow product line. Corsair seems to have their sights directly on Razer, however, with their own mechanical keyboard lineup: The Vengence K60 FPS keyboard and the K90 MMO keyboard the latter with blue backlighting. Also announced are two gaming mice, one to complement each keyboard with similar model numbers: M60 and M90.
Are your ears burning Razer? This could get bloody.
I must say that upon overviewing Corsair’s claims of a 20KRO keyboard I am quite interested in this product. According to their product page, they have essentially created the basis of an NKRO keyboard by isolating every key from each other (rather than having certain combinations of as low as 3 keys confuse the controller) but instead of using a native PS/2 controller for real NKRO they opted for messing with USB in such a way to allow up to 20 keys pressed at once. While the question still remains of how up-to “up-to” really is, if they really isolated every key it is possible that you simply will not have enough fingers to jam the keyboard without physically trying to make it happen. Such a feat is possible, however: Microsoft has done a similar accomplishment with their SideWinder X4 keyboard, claiming 26KRO over USB.
I mean honestly, who needs two hands on your FPS keyboard?
It seems very much like Corsair is attempting to ram into the market chest-first like some Cherry-flavored Kool-Aid man. A special one-handed wristguard for the FPS model and replaceable keycaps for the WSAD and number keys knowing that without backlighting they are the first to go show that they thought this through before they made their leap. The backlight K90 also priced nearly identically to Razer’s BlackWidow Ultimate at $129 with the FPS-centric K60 priced at $109 though that price includes the wrist guard. The two mice are priced at $79 for the M90 and $69 for the M60. Update 9/17/2011: I forgot to mention, Corsair said it should be available in October.
Subject: General Tech | September 16, 2011 - 01:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: win8, security, microsoft
It's confirmed, Windows 8 will have anti-virus rolled into it and it does a wee bit more than you might think. They have updated and expanded Windows Defender as part of the protection scheme but have also taken advantage of the integration possible when your antivirus becomes part of your OS. Your boot path will be scanned at every restart to ensure no malware has tainted it and it will be protected while your system is running by Defender, along with a long list of other vectors that are commonly used to attack systems.
"Rumours about Microsoft planning to bundle an antivirus function in its upcoming operating system have caused quite a bit of a stir in the security community over the past couple of days. Some people have declared themselves supportive of the move, while others rushed to point out its possible drawbacks."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Live blog: IDF 2011 Justin Rattner keynote @ The Tech Report
- iPhone 5 revealed accidentally by Casemate @ Tech-Reviews UK
- Apple said to have contracted with TSMC @ DigiTimes
- A sea change comes to Intel @ The Register
- Wolfenstein Ray Traced and Anti-Aliased, At 1080p @ Slashdot
- Microsoft: No Windows 8 ARM support for x86 apps @ The Register
- Splitted-Desktop Shows Fanless Sandy Bridge Cooling At IDF 2011 @ Legit Reviews
- Day 3 IDF Coverage @ Legit Reviews
- PSN's New User Agreement Bans Class Action Lawsuits @ NGOHQ
Subject: General Tech | September 16, 2011 - 04:05 AM | Scott Michaud
People and their apps these days; why have a full blown application when you can have the first three letters of it for 99 cents? Apple started the trend aimlessly with their iPhone after realizing that people wanted more native access to the hardware and has since seen a very warm reception for that decision. App Stores have spread since that time with just about every mobile platform having at least one, Mac OSX having one, and Windows developing one for their next release. Before there were App Stores, Linux users had a long history of application repositories which functioned very similarly to App Stores except that they were free. Ubuntu decided that the time is right to allow paid applications alongside free ones with the restrictions of 2.99$ minimum cost and 20% commission for Canonical, according to The Register.
Next thing you know and we’ll be able to rent a Tux.
Personally I like the ability for a developer to distribute their content digitally with an easy ecommerce platform for both developer and user. There always is the risk of greed taking over and locking down platforms except through controlled channels which can harm everyone involved: users have less choice and lock-in; developers have less freedom; the platform owner sacrifices the market share and openness of their platform; and art loses its permanence and preservation. On the other hand, a Linux distribution is one of the least likely to go greedy if only for the cross-compatibility and free-license nature of the platform allowing nearly instant turn-over.
What do you think about Ubuntu’s App Store? Is it a load of Crapp? Registration not required to comment.
Subject: General Tech | September 15, 2011 - 07:23 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: sandy bridge, podcast, Ivy Bridge, idf 2011, idf, gpu, cpu, bulldozer, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #170 - 9/15/2011
Join us this week as we discuss AMD Bulldozer developments, the Windows 8 Developer Preview, News from IDF and more!
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
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano
This Podcast is brought to you by
Sorry about audio problems due to Skype and Ryan having little bandwidth on the road
- 0:00:40 Introduction
- 1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- Stay Tuned for a contest!!
- 0:01:30 ECS HDC-I Fusion Mini ITX Motherboard Review
- 0:02:36 Bulldozer First Release and the State of 32nm AMD Parts
- 0:10:15 AMD Bulldozer Processor hits 8.429 GHz - New World Record!
- 0:13:50 Oh joy the BIOS level trojan is finally here
- 0:17:50 Windows 8 Developer Preview Build Sees Public Release At BUILD Conference
- 0:23:45 This Podcast is brought to you by
, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
- 0:24:37 IDF 2011: Intel Haswell Architecture Offers 20x Lower Standby Power
- 0:27:08 IDF 2011: Intels Shows a PC Running on Solar Power
- 0:30:10 IDF 2011: New Ivy Bridge Details from Mooly Eden Keynote
- 0:35:27 SSD Update: 710 series
- 0:38:31 IDF 2011: ASUS UX21 Ultrabook Still Sexy, I Still Want It
- 0:39:34 Win a Free Drobo Storage Device at PC Perspective!!
- 0:40:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
- Ryan: Ultrabooks - I wants them
- Jeremy: Stop ruining many of the fond memories I have of my teenage years!
- Josh: gettin closer to that $1 per GB: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227552
- Allyn: mumble
- 1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
Subject: General Tech | September 15, 2011 - 03:43 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: World of Planes
I think the gloves are off...
Are you a weary developer who need a pick-me-up after the simultaneous thrashing of both the Build conference and the Intel Developer Forum? Do you see the long tunnel of development now that you have Windows 8 installed on your PC? Do you wish to fly away with the birds and ensure dozens of newbs do not? You do? Oh that is a shame because World of Planes is not out yet. Here, have a trailer to cheer you up.
The dangers of Kamakazis while you Kamakazi: Don't drink and dive.
World of Planes, despite being similar in name to World of Tanks, is in no-way related to the latter game; it is not even from the same developer. Both World of Tanks and World of Planes are both MMOs without a subscription cost. It remains to be seen how the potential confusion over the name will help or harm either World of Tanks or World of Planes and their respective developers.
There are both smoke and mirrors in this trailer.
Graphically the game looks quite good for an MMO with volumetric clouds and smoke along with a bunch of shader effects. The water looks very convincing except when viewed at too sharp of an angle. Fighters and bombers both make an appearance in this game which should make for some interesting scenarios in gameplay. There is still no release date set however a Beta was stated to be available sometime this month.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Processors, Chipsets, Systems, Storage, Mobile, Shows and Expos | September 15, 2011 - 12:15 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: live blog, Intel, idf 2011, idf
PC Perspective is all over the 2011 Intel Developer Forum and we'll be covering it LIVE here all week. Expect to hear news about Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge-E, SSDs, X79 chipsets, 22nm tri-gate transistors and more! We will have specific news posts about the major topics but if you want to keep up with our information to the minute, then you'll want to migrate to this page throughout Tuesday, Wednesay and Thursday morning.
You can also hit up http://www.pcper.com/category/tags/idf to see all of the posts relating to and coming from IDF this week!
Feel free to leave comments for me on what exactly you want to know and I will do my best to address your questions as the day progresses.
Subject: General Tech | September 15, 2011 - 11:53 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: win8, Metro
Windows 8 is a Microsoft product that has undergone a little bit more than a makeover. A company that has been made famous for a slavish devotion to legacy software and hardware has completely turned around and headed straight for the new. That is not to say that there isn't legacy support included in Win8, but considering that addons like Flash are not supported in the Metro interface you can tell than Microsoft made some different decisions as to how they want to interact with legacy apps, something Flash is quickly becoming as you can read about at The Tech Report.
The thing is that you feel like you are missing out on something if you don't have a touchscreen interface. The Metro interface feels like a cell phone interface not a PC interface, which it seems is exactly what Microsoft wanted. There is no doubt this was designed for tablets first and PCs second, though with very little time to play with a pre-beta build it could be that there is more included for the PC user than it first seems. However with users already using a registry entry to disable the Metro interface altogether, the new interface is going to be a hard sell to those who use Win7 let alone the WinXP hold outs.
Will it be so much better an interface on the tablet than the current choices however? The OS its self will support multi-touch and multitasking better than current competitors products but they will be running on the same hardware and one very good reason that most tablet or even cellphone OSes don't preform very well when multitasking. Once dual core chips become more common in the ultramobile devices it will make more sense, but is Microsoft really changing so much that it is going to release an OS before the hardware is capable of fully utilizing it? That would be a big turnaround for a company that didn't want to drop support for any legacy applications or hardware, no matter how ancient.
"Microsoft let out an interesting bit of news early this morning: Internet Explorer 10 won't support plug-ins in its Metro incarnation. That means no Flash support. Apparently, the only way to get Flash to run will be to toggle over to Windows 8's classic "desktop" mode and use IE10 in there. Justifying the move, Microsoft says not supporting plug-ins in the Metro version of IE10 "improves battery life as well as security, reliability, and privacy for consumers." That all sounds awfully familiar..."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Windows 8 Won't Support Plug-Ins; the End of Flash? @ Slashdot
- Microsoft BUILD: Windows 8, A Pre-Beta Preview @ AnandTech
- Windows Server 8: built for the cloud, built for virtualization @ Ars Technica
- Globalfoundries secures 28nm orders from over 30 clients @ DigiTimes
- Intel Aims For Open-Source OpenGL 3.0 Driver By Year's End @ Phoronix
- Google purchases Big Blue patents to defend Android @ Ars Technica
- SATA to move to PCI Express @ SemiAccurate
- Italian Hacker Publishes 0day SCADA Hacks @ Slashdot
- Thunderbolt is coming to PCs next year @ The Inquirer
- Ubuntu 11.10 Home Encryption Performance @ Phoronix
- IDF 2011: Fundamental Tranformations @ X-bit Labs
- Intel Ivy Bridge: Microarchitecture Details from IDF 2011 @ X-bit Labs
- IDF 2011: ASUS UX21 13-inch Ultrabook Hands-On Preview @ Legit Reviews
- Fujifilm FinePix F550 EXR Review @ TechReviewSource
- Q&A: Contributing To Open-Source Projects @ Phoronix
- Asus WL-330N3G 6 in 1 Wireless-N Router @ kitguru
- Win 4 Kingston 16GB microSDHC @ t-break
- Win 4 Kingston 16GB DataTraveler Ultimate 3 drives @ t-break
Subject: General Tech | September 14, 2011 - 02:10 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, deus ex 3
[H]ard|OCP has been spending a lot of time in the world of Deus Ex to test the effectiveness of a variety of GPUs in rendering the game and the various effects with. NVIDIA and AMD have two different methods of taking advantage of the new graphical features in Deus Ex, so this is not just a look at performance but also a look at image quality. Three cards from each vendor were tested, in single monitor setups as well as multi-monitor scenarios. See how your card will stack up in the review.
"Deus Ex: Human Revolution landed a few weeks ago, bringing a worthy addition to one of the most admired PC gaming properties of all time. We've given it a thorough going over, and have lots to share. We test six of the hottest video cards around to show you what this game can really do, along with an in-depth look at image quality."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Dead Island Game Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Dead Island PC update: it's still broken @ Ars Technica
- Hard Reset Game Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Syndicate is coming back, as a first-person shooter. Hurray? @ Ars Technica
- Gaming Friday: Warhammer 40K: Space Marine @ ThinkComputers
- Life is the emperor's currency: Ars reviews Space Marine
- Resistance 3 @ HEXUS
- Practiced Bravado: Max Payne 3, Trailer 1 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Everything Ever: The Diablo III Skill-Splurge @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Crysis 2 Review @ eTeknix
- Driver San Francisco Xbox 360 @ Tweaktown
- Bodycount Review (Xbox 360) @ Kitguru
- Rise of Nightmares Game Review (XBOX 360 Kinect) @ HardwareHeaven
- Resistance 3 Game Review (PS3) @ HardwareHeaven
- StarFox 64 3D brings a classic back in fine form @ Ars Technica
Subject: General Tech | September 14, 2011 - 01:36 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, idf, idf 2011
Ryan wasn't the only one madly recording the Intel Developers Forum keynote address by Mooly Eden, The Tech Report was also there. Drop by their record of the live blog that they created here, complete with pictures from a different angle than Ryan's and with different content in some cases. There is even a hacker ninja!
"Our own Scott Wasson and Geoff Gasior live blogged Mooly Eden's keynote (complete with pictures) at the Intel Developer Forum this morning. The keynote centered on Intel's mobile endeavors, including Windows 8 tablets and Ivy Bridge-powered ultrabooks. Eden also gave a sneak preview of Intel's next-gen Haswell processors, which will succeed Ivy Bridge in 2013."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Cloudy with a chance of backups @ The Tech Report
- Hands On with Windows 8 Developer Preview @ TechReviewSource
- Microsoft BUILD: Windows 8, A Pre-Beta Preview @ AnandTech
- Hands-on with Windows 8: it's good stuff on the PC, too @ Ars Technica
- Intel, Google 'optimize' chips for Android @ The Register
- Bittorrent.com's software download hacked to serve malware @ The Register
- Intel RTS2011LC CPU Water Cooler Shown at IDF 2011 @ Legit Reviews
- Intel DX79SI Motherboard Revealed - X79 Express Chipset @ Legit Reviews
- TP-Link TL-PA211KIT @ Rbmods
- Bigfoot Networks Killer 1102 Wireless-N Network Card Comparison Review @ ThinkComputers
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Processors, Shows and Expos | September 14, 2011 - 01:25 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: mooly eden, Ivy Bridge, idf 2011, idf
Today is day 2 at the Intel Developer Forum and with the first keynote out of the way, we can share a few short details about Ivy Bridge that we didn't know before. First, the transistor count is 1.48 billion - a hefty jump over Sandy Bridge that had less than 1 billion.
There was also mention of a new power management feature that will allow interrupts from other hardware devices to go to other cores than Core0, which it had ALWAYS done in the past. This means that it can route it to a core that is already awake and doing some work and not wake up a sleeping core unless necessary.
We also saw the Ivy Bridge processor running the HAWX 2 benchmark, now with support for DX11.
If you look at the die image at the top of this post, you will also notice that it appears more of the die has been assigned to graphics performance than was allocated to it on Sandy Bridge. Remember that on AMD's Llano about 50% of the die dedicated to stream processors; it would appear that by adding support for DX11, nearly doubling performance and including required support for things like DirectCompute, Intel was forced to follow suit to some degree.
Mooly laughed at press taking pictures of the die as he had purposely modified the image to hide some of the details or distort them to prevent precise measurements. Still, it looks like about 33% of the new Ivy Bridge processor is dedicated to graphics and media. This is good news for consumers, but potentially very bad news for the discrete GPU market in notebooks and low end PCs.
Finally, Mooly Eden ended with a brief look at future Ultrabooks that will be based on the Ivy Bridge processor.
If you thought the current generation of Ultrabooks was sexy (as I do) then you will really like what is coming up next.
Subject: General Tech | September 14, 2011 - 01:04 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows, windows 8, Metro, developer preview, microsoft
While some folks may be dissapointed that Microsoft's first public beta download was not released this week at their BUILD conference, we did get the next best thing; Microsoft released a developer preview build for 32 and 64 bit systems yesterday. The download page went live at 11 PM Eastern Time, and hosts three versions of the Windows 8 build available to the public-- despite the name an MSDN subscription is not required. The download page does hint that MSDN subscribers are able to access additional downloads, however.
The three available downloads include a disk image (.iso) with developer tools, a 64 bit Windows 8 disk image, and a 32 bit Windows 8 disk image. Of the three versions, the last two will be most applicable to the public and enthusiast users.
The Windows 8 Start screen
The Developer Preview with applications for software development work weighs in at a hefty 4.8 GB .iso and features a 64 bit copy of Windows 8, the Windows Metro SDK for applications, Microsoft's Visual Studio 11 Express, Microsoft's Expression Blend 5, and 28 Metro style applications. Because of the hefty download, you will need a dual layer DVD or USB drive if you plan on installing it on bare metal (single layer DVDs need not apply, in other words).
The next largest download is the 64 bit Windows 8 Developer Preview build that drops the development software and features only the 64 bit Windows 8 operating system and Metro style applications. This download weighs in at an easier to manage 3.6 GB .iso disk image. The minimum system requirements for both 64 bit builds include a 1 GHz or faster x64 CPU, at least 2 GB of RAM, 20 GB of hard drive space for installation, a WDDM 1.0 supported DirectX 9 capable graphics card, and a touch screen to utilize the touch functions.
The final download is a 32 bit version of Windows 8 with Metro style apps suited for older computers with less than 4 GB of memory or lacking 64 bit capable hardware. At 2.8 GB, this disk image is the smallest of the bunch.The Developer Preview. The minimum system requirements for this build are a 1 GHz or faster x86 processor, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of available hard drive space for installation, a DirectX 9 graphics card with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver support, and (I am embarrassed Microsoft believes this needs to be listed) a touch screen in order to take advantage of the touch screen functionality of the OS.
All three builds are of the English language variety and are available here for your downloading pleasure. Note that if you do choose to install the Windows 8 download on bare metal, you will need to wipe out your current installations, and a clean reinstall of your old operating system will be required to restore your system; therefore it would be prudent to at the very least make sure everything important is backed up before attempting the installation. For those less adventurous a free Virtualization program might be in order. Keeping in mind that performance will impacted by running it as a virtual machine, Virtual Box seems to handle Windows 8 very well using the Windows 7 64 bit settings after allocating 4 GB of RAM and the maximum amount of video memory. VM Ware and other paid solutions should also handle the operating system well enough for you to get an idea of Microsoft's vision for the operating system by using tweaked Windows 7 presets.
What features of the Windows 8 developer preview would you like to see tested out? After you've had a chance to check the operating system out for yourselves, let us know what you think of Windows 8 in the comments!
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | September 14, 2011 - 11:48 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: idf, idf 2011, asus, ultrabook, ux21
Yes, I realize the ASUS UX21 was first shown at Computex in June, but this was my first chance to get my hands on it and I have to say after using it for just a few minutes and comparing it to the aging Lenovo X201 that I am typing this on, I am in love with the form factor.
I don't have anything else to report yet - no performance metrics, no real-world testing, but I couldn't pass posting these few pictures of it. Enjoy!
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards | September 14, 2011 - 02:12 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: virtu, mvp, lucid, idf 2011, idf, hyperformance, hydra
Lucid has a history of introducing new software and hardware technologies that have the potential to dramatically affect the PC gaming environment. The first product was Hydra shown in 2008 and promised the ability to use multiple GPUs from different generations and even different vendors on the same rendering task. Next up was Lucid Virtu, a software solution that allowed Sandy Bridge processor customers to take advantage of the integrated graphics features while also using a discrete graphics card. Lucid added support for AMD platforms later on and also showcased Virtual Vsync earlier this year in an attempt to improve user gaming experiences.
That is a nice history lesson, but what is Lucid discussing this time around? The technology is called "HyperFormance" (yes, like "High-Performance") and is included in a new version of the Virtu software called Virtu MVP. I'll let the Lucid press release describe the goals of the technology:
HyperFormance, found in the new model Virtu Universal MVP, boosts gaming responsiveness performance by intelligently reducing redundant rendering tasks in the flow between the CPU, GPU and the display. 3D games put the greatest demands on both the CPU and GPU. And as the race for higher performance on the PC and now in notebooks never ends, both CPUs and GPUs keep gaining performance.
First, a warning. This software might seem simple but the task it tries to accomplish is very complex and I have not had enough time to really dive into it too deeply. Expect an updated and more invasive evaluation soon. There are a couple of key phrases to pay attention to though including the idea of boosting "gaming responsiveness performance" by removing "redundant rendering tasks". The idea of boosting responsiveness pertains to how the game FEELS to the gamer and should be evident with things like mouse movement responsiveness and the stability of the on-screen image (lack of tearing). Lucid's new software technology attempts to improve the speed at which a game responds to your actions not by increasing the frame rate but rather by decreasing the amount of time between your mouse movement (or keyboard input, etc) and what appears on the screen as a result of that action.
How they do that is actually very complex and revolves around the Lucid software's ability to detect rendering tasks by intercepting calls between the game engine and DirectX, not around dropping or removing whole frames. Because Lucid Virtu can detect individual tasks it can attempt to prioritize and learn which are being repeated or mostly repeated from the previous frames and tell GPU to not render that data. This gives the GPU a "near zero" render time on that current frame and pushes the next frame through the system, to the frame buffer and out to the screen sooner.
To think of it another way, imagine a monitor running at 60 Hz but playing a game at 120 FPS or so. With Vsync turned off, at any given time you might have two to four or more frames being rendered and shown on the screen. The amount of each frame displayed will differ based on the frame rate and the result is usually an image some amount of visual tearing; you might have to top 35% of the screen as Frame1, the middle 10% of the screen as Frame2 and the bottom 55% as Frame3. The HyperFormance software then decides if the frame that is going to take up 10% of the screen, Frame2, has redundant tasks and if it can be mostly removed from the rendering pipeline. To replace it, the Lucid engine just uses 65% of Frame3.
The result is an output that is more "up to date" with your movements and what is going on in the game engine and in "game time". Like I said, it is a very complex task but one that I personally find very interesting and am looking forward to spending more time visualizing and explaining to readers.
Interestingly, this first implementation of HyperFormance does require the use of a multi-GPU system: the integrated GPU on Sandy Bridge or Llano along with the discrete card. Lucid is working on a version that can do the same thing on a single GPU but that application is further out.
Frame rate without HyperFormance
There is a side effect though that I feel could hurt Lucid: the effective frame rate of the games with HyperFormance enabled are much higher than without the software running. Of course, the GPU isn't actually rendering more data and graphics than it did before; instead, because HyperFormance is looking for frames to report at near zero frame times, benchmarking applications and the games themselves *think* the game is running much faster than it is. This is a drawback to the current way games are tested. Many gamers might at first be fooled into thinking their game is running at higher frame rates - it isn't - and some might see the result as Lucid attempting to cheat - it isn't that either. It is just a result of the process that Lucid is trying to get to work for gamers' benefits.
Frame rate with HyperFormance
Instead, Lucid is attempting to showcase the frame rate "increase" as a responsiveness increase or some kind of metric that indicates how much faster and reactive to the user the game actually feels. It might be a start, but claiming to have 200% responsiveness likely isn't true and instead I think they need to spend some time with serious gamers and have them find a way to quantify the added benefits that the HyperFormance application offers, if any.
There is a LOT more to say about this application and what it means to PC gaming but for now, that is where we'll leave it. Expect more in the coming weeks!
Subject: General Tech, Processors | September 13, 2011 - 06:07 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: TSMC, idf 2011, idf, GLOBALFOUNDRIES
While learning about the intricacies of the Intel tri-gate 22nm process technology at the Intel Developer Forum, Senior Intel Fellow Mark Bohr surprised me a bit by discussing the competition in the foundry market. Bohr mentioned the performance advantages and competitive edge that the new 22nm technology offers but also decided to mention that other companies like TSMC, GlobalFoundries, Samsung and IBM are behind, and falling further behind as we speak.
When Intel introduced strained silicon in 2003, it took competition until 2007 to implement it. For High-K Metal Gate technology that Intel brought into market in 2007 it wasn't until 2011 that AMD introduced in its product line. Finally, with tri-gate coming in 2011, GlobalFoundries is talking about getting it implemented in the 2015 time frame.
Obviously those are some long delays but more important to note is that the gap between Intel and the field's implementations has been getting longer. Three years for strained silicon, three and a half for high K and up to four years for tri-gate. Of course, we could all be surprised to see tri-gate come from a competitor earlier, but if this schedule stays true, it could mean an increasing advantage for Intel's products over AMD's and eventually into ARM's.
This also discounts the occasional advantage that AMD had over Intel in the past like being the first to integrate copper interconnects (on the first Athlon) and the first to develop a Silicon-on-Insulator product (starting with the 130nm process); though Intel never actually adopted SOI.
Subject: General Tech | September 13, 2011 - 05:05 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: mcafee, Intel, idf 2011, idf
As the Intel Developer Forum commences we finally learn a little bit about what Intel is attempting to do with the acquisition of McAfee among other tidbits. Malware is one of the banes of computing existence. Information is valuable, security is hard, and most people do not know either. Antimalware software remains a line of defense between you and infections in the event that your first three lines of defense (patching known security vulnerabilities in software; limiting inbound connections and permissions; and common sense) fail to help. While no antimalware software is anywhere near perfect Intel believes that getting protection a little deeper in the hardware will do a little more to prevent previously unknown exploits.
Great Norton’s Ghost!
According to McAfee’s website, DeepSAFE is a platform for security software to see more of what is going on in the hardware around the Operating System itself. They are being very cagey about what technology is being utilized both on their site as well as their FAQ (pdf) which causes two problems: firstly, we do not know exactly what processors support or will support DeepSAFE; secondly, we do not know exactly what is being done. While this is more details than we knew previously there are still more than enough holes to fill before we know what this technology truly is capable of.
Subject: General Tech, Processors | September 13, 2011 - 01:22 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: solar power, solar cell, idf 2011, idf
While on stage during today's opening keynote at the Intel Developer Forum, Intel CEO Paul Otellini showed of a prototype processor running completely on a very small solar cell.
Paul on the left, Windows 7 in the center, prototype ultra-low power CPU on the right
Running Windows 7 and a small animated GIF of a cat wearing headphones, the unannounced CPU was being powered only by a small solar panel with a UV light pointed at it. Though Intel didn't give us specific voltages or power consumption numbers they did say that it was running at "close to the threshold of the transistors". Assuming we are talking about the same or similar 22nm tri-gate transistors used in Haswell, we found this:
My mostly uneducated guess then was that they were able to run Windows 7 and this animation on a processor running somewhere around 0.1-0.2v; an impressive feat that would mean wonders for standby time and the all-day computing models. This is exactly what Intel's engineers have been targeting with their transistor and CPU designs in the last couple of years as it will allow Haswell to scale from desktop performance levels all the way to the smart phone markets on a single architecture.
Keep in mind only the CPU was being powered by the solar cell; the rest of the components including the hard drive, motherboard, etc were being powered by a standard power unit.
You can see the solar panel and UV light on the right hand side of this photo. Interestingly, when the presenter moved his hand between the light source and the panel, the system locked up, proving that it was indeed being powered by it.
Subject: General Tech, Processors | September 13, 2011 - 01:05 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: tri-gate, sandy bridge, Ivy Bridge, idf 2011, idf, haswell
The first keynote of the Intel Developer Forum is complete and it started with Paul Otellini discussing the high level direction for Intel in the future. One of the more interesting points made was not about Ivy Bridge, which we will all see very soon, but about Haswell, Intel's next microarchitecture meant to replace the Sandy Bridge designs sometime in late 2012 or early 2013. Expected to focus on having 8 processing cores, much improved graphics and the new AVX2 extenstion set, Haswell will also be built on the 3D tri-gate transistors announced over the summer.
Otellini describes Haswell's performance in two important metrics. First, it will use 30% less power than Sandy Bridge at the same performance levels. This is a significant step and could be the result of higher IPC as well as better efficiency thanks to the 22nm process technology.
Where Haswell really excels is apparently in the standby metric: as a platform it could use as much as 20x less power than current hardware. Obviously Intel's engineers have put a focus on power consumption more than performance and the results are beginning to show. The goals are simple but seemingly impossible to realize: REAL all-day power and more than 10 days of stand by time.
Subject: General Tech | September 13, 2011 - 01:00 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: security, fud, bios, trojan, bmw
You do not want BMW; it is a Trojan that uses your master boot record and your BIOS to ensure that it remains on your system so even after a format and reinstall of Windows it will still be infecting you. It originally infects winlogon.exe on Windows XP and Server 2003, and to wininit.exe on Windows 7 and Vista but once it is on it installs and uses HOOK.ROM at the BIOS level to check to see if it has been uninstalled and if so it will reinstall itself. The Register points out that in this case the enormous variety of BIOS setups is a good thing as it ensures that any BIOS level virus will always be limited in scope even if it is a vulnerability shared by a single BIOS type.
"SECURITY RESEARCHERS at Chinese antivirus firm 360 have identified a piece of malware that installs rogue code into the BIOS of targeted computers.
Dubbed BMW by 360 and Mebromi by other security vendors, the threat has separate components for the operating system, the master boot record (MBR) and the system BIOS."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel changes radios on the fly @ SemiAccurate
- AMD: Windows-8-on-ARM app compatibility is relative @ The Register
- AMD FX-series Bulldozer chip pricing tips up @ The Register
- Linux.com pwned in fresh round of cyber break-ins @ The Register
- Epson WorkForce 840 All-in-One Printer Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Win a Mad Catz Cyborg R.A.T 7 Gaming Mouse – Abino Edition @ Tech-Reviews
- Tt eSPORTS Keyboard and Mouse Modding Contest