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Subject: Editorial, General Tech | August 3, 2011 - 09:24 PM | Scott Michaud
Just recently we looked at a Tom’s Hardware review of CPU architecture since about 2005. While the performance of the CPU itself was not covered in the review, that was entirely not the purpose of the article; the problem investigated was whether there was a lot of innovation with the architectures themselves or whether companies were just ramping up the clock rate and adding more cores to get their performance. Implied in the article’s findings was the extent to which Intel was relying on a higher clock rate to even be comparable to AMD at the time, and even if they were being comparable is debatable. At some point AMD decided to change their tactics and stop ranking their processors by clock rate due to the huge disparity between Intel’s performance and their own at any given clock. This drew some flak in the forums but ended up sticking as even Intel dropped the Gigahertz moniker.
I owned a Core 2 Duo E6600 MHz! It’s so fast they needed to count in hex!
Scott, not me but another Scott, accused AMD back in 2001 of confusing users about the actual clock rate of their products. That post was crushed by video gaming’s most popular astrophysicist: yes, exactly. That didn’t stop the debate about whether that is an ethical thing to do, whether Intel’s ethics are any better, or whether they’re hypocrites. Regardless, the soapbox was eventually put away and everyone went back to their lives.
Subject: General Tech | August 3, 2011 - 02:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: steam, gaming
Could it be? Is there an actual explanation as to why every single Steam game you ever bought just has to install DirectX, even though you just installed it for that last game you bought and the one before that and the one before ...
Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN has the explanation as to what is going on, though it is up to you to decide if it is reasonable or not. Gone are the days of one DX fits all games, instead each of the currently used versions of DX, as in DX9, DX10 and DX11 depending on your software and hardware have many sub-versions. In DX9's case, there are over 40 versions of a D3D helper library called D3DX and that number grows in DX10 and DX11 and that is before you toss in 32bit versus 64bit OS versions.
Doesn't it make you happier to know the reason why you are stuck watching that stupid progress bar slowly grow instead of being able to play the game you just bought?
"Oh God, not again – can’t I just play the damned thing? WHY? [Stomp, stomp, stomp."] This is a sound surely as familiar to the residents of the Brunswick area of Brighton as are the constant squawks of seagulls fighting over the contents of their recycling boxes. This is a sound I make, or at least variations upon it, every single time I first run a game I have downloaded via Steam. This time, I always think. This time it won’t ask me to install DirectX again first. Surely the 1023rd time’s the charm. That dream will likely never come to pass. However, at least we now know why – Valve have explained this particularly modern annoyance."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Hard Reset: PC exclusive, single-player only, new engine, OMG @ Ars Technica
- Preview of id Software's Rage @ Slashdot
- Diablo 3 will let you buy and sell items for real-world cash @ Ars Technica
- Preorder Battlefield 3 with Origin, get early beta access @ Ars Technica
- Limbo @ HEXUS
- Borderlands 2 Is Really Real, Due 2012 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Titanic Quest: Crate Speak About Grim Dawn @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Dead Island - PC, Xbox 360, PS3 @ HEXUS
- Call of Juarez: The Cartel PlayStation 3 @ Tweaktown
Subject: General Tech | August 3, 2011 - 02:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ultrabook, Intel
Look at that UX21 there, isn't it gorgeous? Only 1.1kg of brushed aluminium, fully kitted out with a new style lithium battery, is only 1.7cm thick and it has ASUS' Instant On technology which will boot you to desktop in 5 seconds. It was shown off as the shining example of what Intel's Ultrabook could be at this years CES and everyone who saw it loved it. It seemed that Intel was going to go straight to the core of Apple's ultra light market, not that their processors aren't already in Apple's MacBooks but it is nice to keep the PC partners happy as well.
DigiTimes has heard from a few manufacturers and are ready to add a large lead weight to the Ultrabook, the same weight that dragged down the CULV; namely price. When competing with Apple, the number one thing you need to do is beat them on price. You might be able to match their quality of design, or match them on the size of the notebook or even on the weight but the problem is that Apple was there first. Consumers know Apple's ultramobile platforms and have been using them for years, so if a newcomer tries stealing market share from Apple the only thing they cannot match is Apple's prices. The manufacturers that DigiTimes talked to placed the cost of the components they need to include to meet Intel's specfications are ~$1000, which is the market price of a lower end MacBook Air. Since businesses tend to like to make a bit of profit, as does everyone else in the supply chain, the cost of even a low end Ultrabook will be higher than an equivalent MacBook. Unless Intel is willing to drop prices, the Ultrabook will likely do even worse than the CULV, since at least the CULV had a mobile power user niche to crawl into and hide.
"While Intel is positioning ultrabook as a set of specifications to enable partners to design notebooks imitating MacBook Air, ultrabooks may encounter the same frustrations as CULV notebooks did if prices are not lower than those of the Air, according to sources from Taiwan-based supply chain makers.
The sources pointed out that Intel's ultrabook concept is not a brand new innovation, but a design to allow first-tier notebook players to quickly catch up with Apple's advances in the ultra-thin segment and help the notebook industry recover from the impact of tablet PCs.
Intel has been hosting conferences with the upstream notebook supply chain about its ultrabook since the second quarter and is providing suggestions and assistance in designing related components and methods for reducing costs. Ultrabooks will feature a similar design as MacBook Air and adopt li-polymer batteries, which will completely remove the device's capability of exchanging the battery, to significantly reduce weight, while the machine will adopt metal chassis for heat dissipation and a solid state drive (SSD).
In addition, all the components will be soldered on to the machine's PCB to save space and reduce weight, but the new methods will completely change the existing notebook production process of combining several modules together.
The sources pointed out that the new MacBook Airs are priced at about US$999-1,599 with rather strong demand in the US; however, designing an ultrabook based on Intel's technical suggestions will still be unable to reduce the machine's price level to lower than the MacBook Air's unless Intel is willing to reduce its prices, which already account for one-third of the total cost. If Intel does reduce its prices there is a chance for vendors to provide pricing below US$1,000."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Apple II+ retrocomputing with an FPGA @ ExtremeTech
- IE users are stupid report was faked @ The Inquirer
- Zero day bug threatens many WordPress sites @ The Register
- Google Patches 30 Chrome Bugs, Adds Instant Pages @ Slashdot
- Elpida starts producing 25nm DRAM chips @ The Inquirer
- IBM To Unveil Secure Open Wireless At Black Hat @ Slashdot
- Intel Sandy Bridge Speeds Up On Linux 3.1 Kernel @ Phoronix
- Compro IP70 Network camera @ Bjorn3D
- Real World Labs And Antec Joint Contest
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | August 3, 2011 - 01:21 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SoC, qualcomm, PC, mobile, gaming, console
Mobile gaming has seen a relatively sharp rise in popularity in recent years thanks to the rise of powerful smartphones and personal media players like the iPod Touch and its accompanying App Store. Mobile networks, powerful System On A Chips (SoC) that are capable of 3D graphics, lighting, and physics, and a large catalog of easy to download and play games have created an environment where people actually want to play games on their mobile devices. Many people now indulge themselves in quick Angry Birds sessions while in long lines, on work breaks, or wherever they have time when out and about.
One area where mobile devices have not caught on; however, is at home. Mobile devices face stiff competition from game consoles and the PC. That competition has not stopped numerous manufacturers from trying to implement an all-in-one mobile console that was portable and easy to plug into a larger display when at home. Everything from cheap controllers with logic inside that allows them to play old arcade games to smart phones with HDMI outputs costing hundreds of dollars have passed through the hands of consumers; however, the mobile console has yet to overcome the sheer mind share of consumers who prefer dedicated game consoles and their PCs.
According to Anandtech, Qualcomm, a popular manufacturer of ARM SoC for smart phones has announced its plans to pursue that vision of an integrated, mobile console. They claim that the increased power provided by next generation SoC technology will allow tablets and smartphones to deliver graphics that are better than those of current dedicated game consoles like the PS3 and Xbox 360. Due to Sony and Microsoft wanting to extend the lives of consoles well into the future, mobile technology may well surpass it. The company "is committed to delivering both the hardware and the software support needed to bring developers to these mobile platforms," according to Anandtech.
Qualcomm wants to bring portable consoles to the masses powered by their SoCs and backed by their software. The tablets and smartphones would be able to connect to displays using HDMI or wireless technology in addition to supporting controllers (or acting as a controller itself). Further, the games library will be the culmination of software from all platforms and will rival the graphical prowess of the current consoles. Qualcomm hopes that a large library and capable hardware will be enough to entice consumers to the idea of a portable console becoming their all-in-one gaming device.
Portable consoles are similar to tablets and 3D television in that there is a major push for it every few years, a few devices come out, and then it dies off to be reborn again a few years later. Whether Qualcomm is able to pull off the plans for a portable console remains to be seen; however, the device is bound to catch on at some point. At the very least, this is certainly not the last time we will hear about the portable console. You can see more of Qualcomms plans here.
What do you believe is holding back the portable console from catching on with consumers? Is it a good idea in the first place?
As Superman fans well know, Kal-El is faster than a speeding bullet, and NVIDIA’s new Tegra 3 Kal-El chip is no different. We reported on a demonstration of the Kal-El chip running games with dynamic lighting and realistic cloth physics earlier this year, and it is certainly an impressive mobile chip.
Speaking of “impressive,” Asus’ chairman Jonney Shih was quoted by Forbes recently in stating that the upcoming Transformer 2 device would be “impressive.” While Shih was not able to share any details about the device in question, he did mention that Asus will be unveiling new tablets before the end of this year. With the NVIDIA Kal-El chip set to launch this month, the timing is certainly favorable for a quad core Transformer 2.
The Transformer 1, will the second iteration have even more oomph?
Of all the Android tablets, the Transformer has been one of the most well recieved; therefore, it seems likely that Asus would pursue another iteration of the device. Whether that device will be powered by the Tegra 3 chip is still uncertain, however. Do you think the rumor of a quad core Transformer is likely, or is this something that is "too good to be true?"
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Processors | August 3, 2011 - 02:11 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Netburst, architecture
It is common knowledge that computing power consistently improves throughout time as dies shrink to smaller processes, clock rates increase, and the processor can do more and more things in parallel. One thing that people might not consider: how fast is the actual architecture itself? Think of the problem of computing in terms of a factory. You can increase the speed of the conveyor belt and you can add more assembly lines, but just how fast are the workers? There are many ways to increase the efficiency of a CPU: from tweaking the most common or adding new instruction sets to allow the task itself to be simplified; to playing with the pipeline size for proper balance between constantly loading the CPU with upcoming instructions and needing to dump and reload the pipe when you go the wrong way down an IF/ELSE statement. Tom’s Hardware wondered this and tested a variety of processors since 2005 with their settings modified such that they could only use one core and only be clocked at 3 GHz. Can you guess which architecture failed the most miserably?
Pfft, who says you ONLY need a calculator?
(Image from Intel)
Netburst architecture was designed to get very large clock rates at the expensive of heat -- and performance. At the time, the race between Intel and its competitors was clock rate: the higher the clock the better it was for marketers despite a 1.3 GHz Athlon wrecking a 3.2 GHz Celeron in actual performance. If you are in the mood for a little chuckle, this marketing strategy was all destroyed when AMD decided to name their processors “Athlon XP 3200+” and so forth rather than by their actual clock rate. One of the major reasons that Netburst was so terrible was branch prediction. Branch prediction is a strategy you can use to speed up a processor: when you reach a conditional jump from one chunk of code to another, such as “if this is true do that, otherwise do this”, you do not know for sure what will come next. Pipelining is a method of loading multiple commands into a processor to keep it constantly working. Branch prediction says: “I think I’ll go down this branch” and loads the pipeline assuming that is true; if you are wrong, you need to dump the pipeline and correct your mistake. One way that Pentium Netburst kept high clock rates was by having a ridiculously huge pipeline, 2-4x larger than the first generation of Core 2 parts which replaced it; unfortunately the Pentium 4 branch prediction was terrible keeping the processor stuck needing to dump its pipeline perpetually.
The sum of all tests... at least time-based ones.
(Image from Tom's Hardware)
Now that we excavated Intel’s skeletons to air them out it is time to bury them again and look at the more recent results. On the AMD side of things, it looks as though there has not been too much innovation on the efficiency side of things only now getting within range of the architecture efficiency that Intel had back in 2007 with their first introduction of Core 2. Obviously efficiency per core per clock means little in the real world as it tells you neither about raw performance of a part nor how power efficient it is. Still, it is interesting to see how big of a leap Intel made away from their turkey of an architecture theory known as Netburst and model the future around the Pentium 3 and Pentium M architectures. Lastly, despite the lead, it is interesting to note exactly how much work went into the Sandy Bridge architecture. Intel, despite an already large lead and focus outside of the x86 mindset, still tightened up their x86 architecture by a very visible margin. It might not be as dramatic as their abandonment of Pentium 4, but is still laudable in its own right.
Subject: General Tech | August 2, 2011 - 03:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, ROG, Vulcan ANC Pro, headset, audio
If you find yourself gaming in a noisy environment and are trying to keep your contribution to the noise down by using headsets it can be frustrating if you cannot hear the game you are playing. ASUS has a way to solve that, thanks to the active noise cancellation in their Republic of Gamers Vulcan ANC Pro Gaming Headset. Red & Blackness Mods tried out a pair for review and were impressed by the light weight of the headset as well as detachable mic for when you don't need to communicate with team mates. They were not overly impressed with the sound quality but as these are specifically designed for gaming that is not a major concern and not attempting for high end audio helped keep the price down.
"Asus mostly known for their high end laptops and motherboards have recently started pumping out various accessories and even touchpads. Today we are taking a look at the Asus Vulcan ANC Pro Gaming headphones that you can pick up for around 50$. What type of quality and sound quality can we expect from these?"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- ASUS Vulcan ANC (Active-Noise-Cancelling) Pro Gaming Headset Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Cooler Master Sirus Gaming Headset @ XSReviews
- Tt eSPORTS Shock One Gaming Headset Review @ eTeknix
- SonoCore Cindy COA-805 IEM @ reviewstash
- CM Storm Sirus Headset Review @ Hardware Secrets
- CM Storm Sirus @ OC3D
- TTesports Shock Spin Headphones @ Rbmods
- Grace Digital GDI-IRMS300 Internet Micro Hi-Fi Stereo System Review @MissingRemote
- Thermaltake Shock One Headset @ Bjorn3D
- Roccat KULO 7.1 USB Virtual Surround Headset Review @ Real World Labs
- Scythe Kama Bay AMP 2000 Rev. B Amplifier Review @ Madshrimps
- SteelSeries Siberia V2 for PS3 @ OC3D
Subject: General Tech | August 2, 2011 - 03:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: idf, intel developers forum, Ivy Bridge, haswell
At last years Intel Developers Forum, the star of the show was Sandy Bridge as we had not yet seen the chip in action. That seems longer than a year ago, but it was only last September which means that we are drawing close to the 2011 IDF. According to DigiTimes this year they will be focusing on mobility products, as we know Intel is working on a new(ish) form factor which they are calling Ultrabook which will replace the CULV form factor that we have known previously. There were not that many ultrabook branded Sandy Bridge products released this year and with the upcoming release of Ivy Bridge it seems that there won't be many in the future, as Ivy Bridge is intended to do everything Sandy could and use less power doing it. The other focus that DigiTimes expects to see, as do we at PC Perspective, is more information on Haswell which will be the next generation of Intel chip architecture. We don't expect to see working silicon until 2013, but you can expect a lot more information about the instruction sets it will use, which is only to be expected at a developers conference.
"CPU maker Intel is set to host its Intel Developer Forum (IDF) show in San Francisco from September 13-15 and its plans for ultrabook, upcoming Ivy Bridge- and Haswell-based processors as well, as its strategy for next-generation tablet PC processor, are all expected to become focuses at the show, according to sources from PC players.
Intel, was originally set to enter the Ivy Bridge-based CPU generation in the fourth quarter of 2011, but after considering the yield rate of the 22nm process and the market status worldwide, the company, in the end, decided to postpone the launch of the new-generation CPU to March of 2012, allowing a smooth transition between the two generation of CPU structures.
In addition to the Ivy Bridge structure, Intel is also set to reveal the detail specifications of its Haswell processor, which will appear in 2013, at IDF in September, the sources noted.
As for ultrabook, Intel will display several completed models from the first-tier notebook players including Asustek Computer, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Lenovo, at the show with Intel is also expected to provide the detail of its ultrabook design concept as well as its three stages of execution plan for the device.
For tablet PCs, Intel has been cooperating with Google to pair up its Atom Z670 processor with Android 3.0, while will showcase its latest progress in MeeGo and AppUP Center at the show."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel and Mobile Computing @ ThinkComputers
- In-Depth with Mac OS X Lion Server @ AnandTech
- HTML5 poses security risks @ The Inquirer
- Skype releases its Ipad app @ The Inquirer
- TechwareLabs Zotac Factory Tour in Dong Guan China
- Weekly Giveaway #9: Dirt 3 @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | August 2, 2011 - 11:43 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: firefox, chrome, browser
The Firefox UX development team recently posted a presentation showing off some of the latest design and UI (user interface) improvements for the popular Firefox web browser by Mozilla. While not all of the design choices shown in the presentation will make it into the Aurora or other beta builds, they do indicate that Mozilla is at least considering mixing up their traditional interface for upcoming releases. The image below is one of the screenshots included in the presentation, and at first glance it may be mistaken for Google's Chrome browser. However, upon closer inspection it becomes clear that Mozilla have not simply copied Chrome's minimalist design but they have gone with a similar tab design, continued with the transparency that is already present in certain builds and sprinkled some Mozilla flair on top to create one possible look for a future Firefox browser.
Some other proposed changes of the design include a new menu that is icon based versus word lists and is located on the right side of the window as well as an improved full screen experience that seeks to give web apps the screen real estate they need. A new home tab and add-on manager interface are also proposed changes. As shown in the screenshot above, tabs that are not in focus, have their backgrounds become fully transparent so that only the text is visible. This definitely helps the main tab stand out and may help in reducing the amount of distraction users face when having multiple tabs open.
While these are only proposed changes, it is apparent that Mozilla are planning some kind of major UI overhaul if they can get the users to accept it, and the next major release may well see a slightly more chrome-esque appearance with that special Firefox flair. What are your thoughts on the proposed designs, do they seem likely? If you are still using Firefox, what features of other browsers would you like to see Firefox emulate?
Subject: General Tech | August 2, 2011 - 07:54 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows, operating system, microsoft
Windows XP is almost old enough that revisionist historians can have a crack at it without anyone speaking out against it. That is, it would be if not for the large number of users still using the operating system at their home and work. The decade old operating system has only now fallen below 50% of Windows' market share. More specifically, the slip in market share occurred between June and July where it fell 0.63% to a total of 49.94%.
The numbers are percentages of MS's total 87.66% market share.
In comparison, Windows Vista holds a much smaller 9.24% market share after dropping 0.28%. Microsoft’s most recent operating system, Windows 7; meanwhile, saw a gain of 0.74% to a total of 27.87% market share, which puts the new operating system well on its way to overtaking the XP juggernaut. Techspot has the full scoop on the market share situation, which you can read about here.
Are you still using Windows XP?
Subject: General Tech | August 1, 2011 - 01:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Ivy Bridge, x79, Waimea Bay, sandy bridge-e
It almost seems as if AMD is the only company managing to keep up to their schedules, though you could argue that they don't have a CEO cracking the whip and pushing forward release dates. First NVIDIA's GPU woes and now thanks to VR-Zone we know that the X79 Waimea Bay chipset won't be made available until November, which significantly reduces the chances of it being under your Christmas Tree. It should get them to major manufacturers in time for them to consider the platform when they release their 2012 lineup, but as system builders we can only hope that someone pushes out a product as quickly as possible, so we can pick it up and spend January dealing with the inevitable bugs you get from pushing something out early.
But wait, that's not all ... how does an Ivy Bridge processor locked at a 100MHz base clock strike you? It seems that is what Intel is planning on releasing with both Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge-E, with a less than useful exception. Both chip architectures will be theoretically overclockable, but not in the single MHz steps that we have become used to. Instead Ivy Bridge will offer you the ability to jump from 100MHz to 133MHz, no stops in between. Sandy Bridge-E will offer higher stops but again it will limit you to only those frequency jumps, something the overclocking community is not going to appreciate.
"We don't like to be the bringers of bad news, but it's come to our attention that Intel has decided to change its high-end consumer Waimea Bay platform one more time before it launches. The only good news is that we've managed to pin-point which month the platform is expected to launch and that is November and there are several reasons behind this choice."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD to launch high-end FX series processors in September @ DigiTimes
- Next Generation GPUs: AMD's Cray On a Chip? @ VR-Zone
- Q & A With Western Digital @ Tech ARP
- Q & A With Western Digital Part 2 @ Tech ARP
- TechwareLabs 2011 Video Interview with Intel Mobility Brand Manager
- Chrome Extension Helps Find Noisy Tabs @ Slashdot
- Sneaky online tracking used by major websites is exposed @ The Inquirer
- Bandai Namco Gaming Event July 2011 @ HardwareHeaven
- The Summer of Honeycomb, Part 3: Win a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 @ AnandTech
- Win a Nokia E6 Smartphone @ t-break
Subject: General Tech | July 31, 2011 - 01:17 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: battlefield 3
A non-disclosure agreement is created for those times where certain people need to receive information, get demonstrations, and so forth before the organization wishes to release to the public. We respect the wishes of the individuals and organizations that provide us with information that assists us with our jobs. Currently Battlefield 3 is undergoing private Alpha testing for a select number of invitees – I am not one of those invitees (at least, as of the time of this writing) and thus have no obligation to keep silent on information that was leaked to the public. That is convenient, of course, as some information leaked out on system benchmarks with a wide variety of video cards and processors pitted against DICE’s upcoming shooter.
The first thing to realize, and one of the main reasons for the non-disclosure, is that development builds are development builds: optimizations will be made that will speed things up; enhancements will be made that may make things possibly slower but better for some reason or another. Do not assume that these numbers will even closely reflect the finished product, just the state of the game as it exists right now.
That said and in mind: to expect a smooth experience at 1080p you should anticipate having a GTX 460 or Radeon 5830 as your minimum and a GTX 560 Ti or a Radeon 6950 if you want to hover at around 60 FPS. The GTX 590 actually fell well below the GTX 580 and even fell below the GTX 570 which means that SLi is not yet supported… which should be no surprise for an unreleased game! On the CPU side of things, while no Sandy Bridge processors were tested it looks like performance will hit a bit of a plateau around the 6-core Phenom IIs, upper Core i5, and lower Core i7 parts. Battlefield 3 Alpha really looks as if it appreciates four or more cores thumbing its nose at all the dual core offerings tested. If you would like to see more, check out GameGPU’s page.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | July 30, 2011 - 03:53 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: usb computer, Raspberry Pi
I must say, that unlike cake: pie is the foundation of everlasting relationships – like circumference and diameter! That, and cake always seems to end up in lies (yes, that horse is still twitchin’). While my personal favorite flavor is blueberry I might just become fond of Raspberry Pi in the near future. We originally reported on the organization dedicated to providing computing technology to the masses a few months ago when they showed off their prototype computer-in-a-usb-stick. More progress on the logistics as well as a firm specification on the PCB have occurred since then and it aligns nearly perfectly with original predictions.
That… doesn’t really look edible…
(Picture from Raspberry Pi)
The original prediction was a $25 device 700 MHz device backed by 128MB of RAM and an OpenGL ES 2.0 1080p-capable GPU. While that is still true, a second model will be released for $35 with double the RAM and an extra USB port for peripheral connectivity due to the addition of the SMSC LAN9512 two-device USB hub. The alpha board is slightly larger than the final design due to the ports required for debugging purposes and contains an extra couple layers on the PCB that will not be present in the final version. It is still expected to ship within the next 9 months (12 from original post) with the target narrowed slightly to likely sometime in 2011.
Subject: General Tech | July 29, 2011 - 01:29 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: duke nukem
You know that part of Portal 2 where you slowly advance in time throughout Aperture Science’s history? That is kind-of what I feel like whenever I play Duke Nukem Forever or it decides to show up in one way or another. At various points in the game you feel like you are walking around through a confused mess of references to Duke Nukem 3D, Half Life, Halo, Team America, and World of Warcraft. With the latest DLC it looks like you have dug up to the year 2007 as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Team Fortress 2 get their turn for parody.
(Image from Gearbox Software)
The DLC, aptly called the “Parody Pack”, will contain four maps each with their own characteristic weapon. The first map is a typical modern urban map called “Call of Duke” where you will be given the option to wield the “N00b T00b” as your custom weapon. “Sandbox” is just like it sounds: you fight in a sandbox with children’s toys – and sticky bombs. “Inferno” appears to be one of those old-fashioned teleporter maps where you physically cannot get from point to point without warping at least once; for newer gamers, think somewhat like a Chiron TL34 from Halo only likely less enclosed -- and with a “DFG” for a weapon, whatever that is. Lastly we get the TF2 parody “2Forts1Bridge” where you can mow down people with a minigun. Three game modes are also included: “Freeze Tag” where you must freeze and shatter your opponents, “Hot Potato” which is like keep-away with a woman, and “Hail to the King” which rounds out any classic shooter with free for all deathmatch. It will be available in the autumn for free if you pre-ordered Duke though there is no word on the price if you are not in the “First Access Club”.
Subject: General Tech | July 29, 2011 - 11:22 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: lcd, solder, capacitor, DIY
Over at The Tech Report you will find a handy guide on restoring a monitor with busted caps to working condition, for not much money nor effort. A bit effort is all that you need to track down a dead capacitor on the circuit board, identified by the bulge which will be apparent at the top of the cap. Once you've found it you just need to desolder it and swap in a new one and your once broken monitor will be working again. Even better, this procedure can resurrect any peice of equipment you have which is suffering from failed capacitors. If you've never used a soldering iron to fix something, this would be a great place to start.
"In his latest blog post, our own David Morgan shows how to bring a monitor back from the dead with a simple capacitor transplant."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Google launches Page Speed Service optimiser @ The Inquirer
- Hackers' Flying Drone Now Eavesdrops On GSM Phones @ Slashdot
- Ask the Experts: Enterprise & Cloud Computing Questions Answered, Part 1 @ AnandTech
- Compro IP 70 Network Camera @ AnandTech
Subject: General Tech | July 29, 2011 - 02:35 AM | Scott Michaud
Minecraft, the insanely popular videogame from independent developer Mojang, follows in the PC gaming history of providing customers with constant free content updates along with the usual bug-fix patches. Many developers have been swayed recently by the thought of micro-transactions and have to some extent pushed their customers toward paying for whatever content was not on the disk, and sometimes even paying extra for that too. Notch, the most high-profile member of Mojang, has been teasing about possible additions to be made in upcoming patches: the possibility of boss fights and a screenshot of an enigmatic new mob.
I wonder if the bosses will have derpy eyes too.
One thing that has become a common view about Minecraft is that it will kill you and aggravate you in many annoying ways unless you are very careful (and often when you are). The creeper is often considered annoying by Minecraft players due to its ability to spawn or move into difficult to deal with spots, be even more difficult to deal with when there, and cause demolish your creations when there. Many players got frustrated enough to the point of disabling the mob or its destructive capabilities altogether. A development screenshot posted by Notch on his Google+ a new experimental mob doing what many fear could be the new creeper: hold a block! Where did (s)he get the block? What will (s)he do with it? Could the game itself grief you? No other details are available yet but it certainly puts players off ease for the possibilities… but not necessarily in a bad way.
See this? This is someone’s nightmare.
(Image from Notch, Mojang)
Mojang has wanted to lead Minecraft more towards a more typical game model as an alternative to a tool for creation without much else to do thereafter. Due to an admiration of another Minecraft-like game, Terraria, Notch has mentioned the desire to add boss battles to the game. The catch is that, like Terraria, you would have the ability to create the terms for the boss battle rather than be guided to a game designer’s creation until you either quit playing or overcome it and move past it. I should also say that there have been plenty of additions to Minecraft that have been planned or worked on in the past that ultimately get scrapped so there is no guarantee that anything in this news story will end up in the game proper.
Subject: General Tech, Processors | July 28, 2011 - 06:50 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Sandy Bridge-EP, Intel
Since we got back together with Sandy B we have played a few games, made a couple home movies together, and went around travelling. Now that our extended vacation is over Sandy decided it is time to get a job. Sandy B was working part-time as a server and apparently like her job because Intel brought her to a job opening in Jaketown. Intel has apparently released details on their server product, Sandy Bridge-EP “Jaketown” that will debut in Q4, to replace the current server line of up-clocked desktop parts with disabled GPUs.
According to Real World Tech, Intel’s server component will contain up to 8 cores and sport PCI-Express 3.0 and Quick Path Interconnect 1.1. Rumors state that the highest-clocked component will run at up to 3GHz with the lowest estimated to be 2.66GHz. The main components of the CPU will be tied together with a ring bus, although unlike the original Sandy Bridge architecture the Sandy Bridge-EP ring will be bi-directional. Clock rates of the internal ring are not known but the bidirectional nature should decrease travelling distance of data by half on average. The L3 cache size is not known but is designed to be fast and low latency.
Intel looks to be really focusing this SKU down to be very efficient for the kinds of processes that servers require. There is no mention of the Sandy Bridge-EP containing a GPU, for instance, which should leave more options for highly effective x86 performance; at some point the GPU will become more relevant in the server market but Intel does not seem to think that today is that day. Check out the analysis at Real World Tech for more in-depth information.
Subject: General Tech | July 28, 2011 - 05:16 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: ssd, podcast, ocz, Intel, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #164 - 7/28/2011
This week we talk about Intel and AMD Earnings, Intel MLAA, 28 nanometer GPUs, Viewer Questions 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, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano
This Podcast is brought to you by
- 0:00:43 Introduction
- 1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- 0:02:13 Intel and AMD Provide Positive Earnings
- 0:13:35 Bulldozer will be on time, missing CEO or not
- 0:14:45 Intel MLAA: Matrox had the right idea, wrong everything else
- 0:23:00 This Podcast is brought to you by
, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
- 0:24:04 Intel reproduces '8MB bug', fix coming soon.
- 0:32:20 Video Perspective: AMD Steady Video Technology on AMD A-Series APUs
- 0:35:28 Phone in your overclocking, MSI Afterburner App for Android
- 0:37:00 OCZ wraps both its ARMs around a new SSD controller and gives it a little TLC
- 0:40:55 AMD CFO States They Will Have 28 Nano-meter GPUs Out This Year
- 0:45:45 Apple is da bomb! Vulnerability found in battery circuitry
- 0:54:05 Email from Tom about Eyefinity
- 0:59:06 Email from Greg about Eyefinity again
- 1:05:05 Email from Luke about SSDs
- 1:10:08 Email from Jesse about SRT notebooks
- 1:14:05 Quakecon Reminder - http://www.quakecon.org/
- Tshirts, prizes, stuff!
- Win a truck: http://www.pcper.com/news/Shows-and-Expos/QuakeCon-2011-Arrive-clunker%E2%80%A6-leave-beast
- 1:16:32 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
- Ryan: Evernote
- Jeremy: isostick ... 1/2 way through the kickstart process even
- Josh: dirt cheap USB 3.0 16GB
- Allyn: Sony DSC-HX100V
- 1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- 1:25:46 Closing
Subject: General Tech | July 28, 2011 - 12:40 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ssd, sandisk, sandisk ultra
SanDisk is releasing a line of SSDs, called the Ultra series. They are not aimed at the high end market, they use the older SATA 2 interface and claim sequential transfer speeds of 280MB/s read and 270MB/s write. The prices should range from $130 for the 60GB product to $450 for the 240GB model, which puts them about middle of the road for pricing. They also list expected lifetime in terms of the amount of data written to them; 40TB of data written for the 60GB up to 120TB of total data written to the 240GB. The Register covered the release here.
"SanDisk has a new Ultra line, a cruise flash missile aimed at taking out PC and notebook hard drives and replacing them with much faster SanDisk SSDs.
These are 2.5-inch format, 2-bit multi-level cell flash drives, coming in 60, 120 and 240GB capacity points. The Ultra brand is used by SanDisk for consumer flash products such as SDHC cards, and now a trio of SSDs will be sold under the Ultra name."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Three out of four rootkit infections are on Windows XP @ The Inquirer
- Google explains its real name commitment on Google+ @ The Inquirer
- TSMC slowing down capacity expansion; revises 2011 capex @ DigiTimes
- Netgear N600 DGDN3700 Wireless N ADSL2+ Modem Router Review @ Legit Reviews
- State of the PC in 2015: An Ars Technica Quarterly Report
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 28, 2011 - 02:12 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: sony, S2, S1
So part one and part two of Sony’s “Two Will” campaign went off to advertise the upcoming launch of the S1 and S2 Honeycomb tablets over the last couple months with promise of three more on the way. Recently Sony made good on that promise and posted the third last “Two Will” video to Youtube and this one was substantially different from the ones before it. Titled “Filled with fun”, this one has much less of a dark and bleak atmosphere trading the harsh shadowing with light and color.
I don't think it's legal to romance a tablet; well, maybe in Japan.
While rails still play an important role, there is much less emphasis on impressing you with perfectly timed plungers pressing the touchscreen as it zips past. Instead, “Filled with fun” passed by various stations which symbolize the various roles of the tablet: music, movie consumption, literature consumption, and games. There is also a strong emphasis on portability and love in the themes of each of their videos.
Why do you think Sony keeps referencing love in these videos? What is the significance of the couch just before the domino “to be continued”? (Registration not required to comment.)