NVIDIA Reports Quarter 2 Fiscal Year 2013 Financial Results

Subject: General Tech | August 9, 2012 - 07:06 PM |
Tagged: tegra 3, nvidia, kepler, financial results

Popular graphics card manufacturer NVIDIA announced its second quarter financial results for fiscal year 2013 in a conference call today. While some aspects of the business delivered less revenue than expected, its mobile Tegra and desktop/notebook graphics card divisions were up. In total, the company brought in a 13% quarter-over-quarter increase and $1.04 billion in revenue.

tegra3.jpg

Tregra is proving a successful product for NVIDIA.

NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang was part of the conference call today and he seemed positive about the company’s performance. He stated that “Our investments in mobile computing and visual computing are both paying off.” Thanks to the company’s successful 28nm Kepler architecture–and despite early yield issues–NVIDIA managed strong GeForce graphics card sales and a increased notebook graphics market share. The company attributes this increase to new Kepler-based notebook models from Acer, Apple, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, and Sony.

On the mobile front, NVIDIA has seen several successes in securing design wins. One such device is Google’s new 7” Nexus 7 tablet that is proving to be a popular device–running NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 processor. The company’s Tegra 3 SoC is further included in the upcoming Surface tablet from Microsoft.

While they do not have many numbers on it yet, the company announced its cloud computing technologies at the GPU Technology Conference earlier this year. The mobile and cloud compute tech positions the company “right at the center of the fastest growing segments of computing,” according to Jen-Hsun Huang.

The company’s Professional Solutions Business has not done well for the company, but they are hoping to turn it around with new Tesla products and the planned NVIDIA Maximus technology.

Compared to the previous quarter (Q1 FY13), the company’s operating expenses have increased from $390.5 million to $401.1 million–a 2.7% increase. Fortunately, the company still managed to pull off a 97% increase in net income from $60.4 million to $119 million. Earnings per share have also increased from $.10 to $.19 which is likely to please shareholders. As far as GAAP revenue is concerned, it is up from the $924.9 million of the previous quarter.

NVIDIA Quarterly Analysis.jpg

Going into the third quarter, NVIDIA expects to see increased revenue between $1.15 billion and $1.25 billion. The company does not expect see any noticeable changes in gross margins. Further, they expect operating expenses to decrease to be approximately $350 million–compared to $401.1 million in the previous quarter.

It seems like desktop graphics and Tegra mobile chips are the company’s big winners this quarter. The increased expected revenue is likely NVIDIAs expectation that it will sell more GeForce graphics cards once the mid-range Kepler cards are more fleshed out. Overall, it looks like things are good for NVIDIA.

You can listen to the full conference call here.

Source: NVIDIA

Podcast #213 - Windows 8 RTM, A75 Motherboards, GTX 660Ti rumors and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 9, 2012 - 04:56 PM |
Tagged: video, windows 8 rtm, windows 8, podcast, nvidia, llano, Intel, haswell, amd, a75, 660ti

PC Perspective Podcast #213 - 08/09/2012

Join us this week as we talk about Windows 8 RTM, A75 Motherboards, GTX 660Ti rumors and more!

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, Allyn Malvantano and Steve Grever

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:00:35

Program Schedule:

  1. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:02:19 PCPer Hardware Workshop Overview
    2. 0:07:00 Quakecon Coverage:
      1. http://pcper.com/reviews/Shows-and-Expos/Quakecon-2012-Day-3-Coverage
    3. 0:08:30 What MB is good for all those free APUs we gave out?
      1. MSI A75A-G55 FM1 AMD A75
      2. Asus F1A75-V
    4. 0:12:30 Windows 8 goes RTM
      1. Also, Windows 8 has new box art and changed name of Metro to Windows 8-style UI
  1. 0:18:08 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  1. News items of interest:
    1. 0:19:13 AMD FirePro APU is Launched
    2. 0:23:25 Seagate acquires LaCie
    3. 0:25:20 GTX 660 Ti Prices?
    4. 0:27:24 Steam Selling non-game Software starting Sep. 5th - Windows Store competition
    5. 0:31:00 Ivy Bridge-E will come after Haswell
    6. 0:34:00 Plextor M5 Pro SSD - Marvell finally has some speed
    7. 0:35:30 EVGA GTX 460 2Win WAS $169
    8. 0:39:05 ARMAII with DayZ as retail title
    9. 0:41:00 Curiosity landed successfully on Mars (landed with a friggin' rocket powered skycrane!)
  1. Closing:
    1. 0:44:30 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: UT2004
      2. Jeremy: Oh the decisions … SAMSUNG 830 @ $230 or Corsair Force Series GT @ $175
      3. Josh: My first cellphone in 8 years.
      4. Allyn: Google 2-factor authentication / Authenticator app for mobile
  1. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  2. http://pcper.com/podcast
  3. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper and http://twitter.com/joshdwalrath
  4. Closing/Outro

A lot for storage but little in the way of a warranty

Subject: General Tech | August 9, 2012 - 01:12 PM |
Tagged: hdd, toshiba, western digital, 3tb, Warranty, sad

As has been mentioned previously on PC Perspective the current trend of HDD manufacturers reducing the length of warranty is not being well received, though with only three manufacturers left consumers have little choice in the matter.  At least with Western Digital, you are more likely to get a 3 to 5 year warranty than you are a single year.  That negative feedback obviously hasn't fazed Toshiba, who are using the WD plants they purchased earlier this year to manufacture 1.5, 2 and 3TB HDDs, 3.5" in size and available in both 7200 and 5400RPM models and offering 1 year of warranty.  In short, a factory which was previously capable of providing a 5 year warranty on spinning disks for your long term storage now offers a shorter warranty than the SSD manufacturers who are poised to replace them.  The Inquirer offers more on this depressing topic here.

lemon.jpg

"Toshiba, the distant third vendor in the storage industry, was given the chance to buy part of Western Digital's hard drive business when it wanted to appease regulatory bodies to approve its purchase of Hitachi. With some of Western Digital's plants, Toshiba is now set to launch a range of 3.5in hard drives topping out at 3TB."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Rosewill Launches New Limited Edition RK-9000I Mechanical Keyboard

Subject: General Tech | August 9, 2012 - 03:51 AM |
Tagged: rosewill, mechanical keyboard, keyboard

Rosewill, a PC peripheral company popular for its lineup of mechanical keyboards has announced a new model. Following in the success of Rosewill’s second generation RK series (which we reviewed here) is the Limited Edition Elite Ivory RK-9000I. The new mechanical keyboard features the same form factor and black keys as the existing RK-series, but has a white color keyboard color.

Rosewill Limited Edition Elite Ivory RK-9000I.jpg

The Elite Ivory mechanical keyboard will be available with either Cherry MX Blue or Cherry MX Brown switches. The Blue variants are tailored towards typists while the Brown keys are made as a compromise between typing feel and the ability to press the key multiple types rapidly–a feature highly sought after by gamers.

Key press animations. On the left: a Cherry MX Blue. On the right: a Cherry MX Brown

Further, the keyboard will come equipped with both gold-plated USB and PS/2 connectors. The PS/2 connector will give you the full performance and allow many more keys to be depressed at the same time than is possible over USB. When Scott reviewed the RK-series keyboards, he generally liked them. As this Limited Edition Elite Ivory RK-9000I is based off of those keyboards, it should offer very similar performance.

Unfortunately, pricing and availability have not yet been released by Rosewill, but I would expect that it is coming soon.

Source: Rosewill

Buzz bugging you buddy? Hack your speakers and get rid of it for good

Subject: General Tech | August 8, 2012 - 05:42 PM |
Tagged: audio, corsair, corsair sp2200, DIY, hack

Some people you know might refer to your favourite music as noise, but you know better; what is worse than that is when you can hear noise in your music.  The annoying intermittent buzz/crackle coming out of your speakers is something a lot of us have experienced and it has a wide variety of sources, from bad cables to electronic noise effecting the signal sent from your onboard audio to defects in your speakers ... and many more reasons.  At Hack a Day is a good solution to rid yourself of noise that is caused by the speakers, this guide is specifically aimed at the Corsair SP2200s but could be applied to a wide range of speakers.  Follow along with this step by step process to use the headset amp as a pre-amp and clean up your music.

HaD_sp2200.jpg

"[Michael Chen] liked the sound he was getting out of these Corsair SP2200 computer speakers, with one big exception. They were giving off some unpleasant crackling sounds. He figured this might be as easy as replacing a faulty potentiometer, but soon found out the fix was going to be more complicated than that. All said and done he ended up reworking the design of the speakers’ amplifier board."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: Hack a Day

Could you make money off of Linux games if they played better than on Windows Mr Carmack?

Subject: General Tech | August 8, 2012 - 04:14 PM |
Tagged: valve, linux, left 4 dead, john carmack, gaming

While running at a measly 6fps means that the zombies will get you, at 315fps you can't complain that you didn't see them coming.  That is the current frame rate Valve is reporting their Linux test machine can produce when playing the Linux implementation of Left 4 Dead.  That hardware was a Core i7 3930k, GeForce GTX 680 and 32 GB RAM and we were given a result from the same hardware running Win7; a slower 303fps after tweaking OpenGL.  That takes performance concerns out of the picture when discussing gaming on Linux but it does not quite answer what John Carmack brought up in his QuakeCon keynote speech.  As he points out, building goodwill among the Linux community hasn't paid for the programming in the past and simply increasing performance will not directly translate into better sales figures.  However if we start seeing more Linux based Valve titles outperforming Windows on the same hardware, some enthusiasts are likely to set up a dual boot system, if not move their gaming rig to Linux solely.  Read more at The Inquirer.

l4d.gif

"Valve announced its plans to port its Steam content delivery service and Left 4 Dead 2 to Linux just last month. The firm has already made astonishing progress, announcing that with various performance tweaks it has managed to get the Linux version of Left 4 Dead 2 using OpenGL to run significantly faster than the Direct3D Windows 7 version."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: The Inquirer

Valve to Sell Non-Game Software On Its Steam Platform

Subject: General Tech | August 8, 2012 - 04:06 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, valve, steam, software, mac os x

Valve’s popular Steam digital game download service has been slowly expanding its software offerings. It has offered a Mac OS X client as well as a planned Linux client. Further, the service has started to offer software beyond games including game map editors, digital magazines, and videos.

According to a recent announcement by Valve, the company is going to even further expand its non-game software offerings starting September 5th. Whether this is in response to the Windows Store or if it has been planned for some time and the Windows Store is why Gabe Newell is irked by Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system is unknown.

steam_non_game_software.jpg

While the company did not mention any specific pieces of software that will be available at launch, users can look forward to software in categories ranging from creativity to productivity. Even better, some of the new software titles will be able to take advantage of Valve’s Steamworks service to offer cloud syncing of files and automatic updating (et al).

The new programs will start showing up on September 5th, and developers can start submitting their applications to Steam using its Greenlight service.

Valve’s Mark Richardson stated that “The 40 million gamers frequenting Steam are interested in more than playing games. They have told us they would like to have more of their software on Steam, so this expansion is in response to those customer requests.”

The automatic updating in particular is exciting, and it could well give Microsoft’s Windows Store a run for its money. If Valve brings the non-game software to all platforms–Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows–it could easily rival Microsoft’s Windows 8-only offering. What do you think about this announcement, would you use Steam for software other than games?

Source: Tested

Microsoft’s New Windows 8 Box Art Revealed

Subject: General Tech | August 8, 2012 - 03:05 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, retail windows 8, microsoft, box art

Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system is well on its way to retail availability, and that means retail packaging. Unlike the simple green boxes of previous operating systems (ultimate edition excluded), Microsoft has decided to overhaul its box art for the new OS in Windows 8 UI style. The new boxes feature a large and colorful tile-based Windows logo set against either a white or black background color. Windows 8 will get a white background with Blue text and Windows 8 Pro versions will feature the black background and white text. It is not a bad design as far as Microsoft box art goes. The simple design is fairly pleasing to the eye, though some might argue that the OS inside the box is not as pretty as the box itself.

Win8box.jpg

The Verge managed to get its hands on the image above of the two boxed Windows 8 versions. Reportedly, Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro will be the only two versions that are sold at retail. Further, the two boxes are for the retail (not upgrade) versions. While The Verge speculates that the upgrade versions of Windows 8 will look similar to the boxed versions of Windows 7, there is no way to know for sure until the box art leaks or Microsoft announces it officially.

What do you think of the new Windows 8 retail box art? Did Microsoft make a good move here?

You can find more of PC Perspective's Windows 8 coverage by following our Windows 8 tag.

Source: The Verge

Microsoft will chop bits off of Office on WinRT

Subject: General Tech | August 8, 2012 - 01:53 PM |
Tagged: arm, office 2013, winRT, lies

Microsoft has done an about face which is going to disappoint office workers who were planning on switching to ARM based hardware running WinRT, which includes Microsoft's Surface tablet/laptop.  Though this was promised to us, The Register now has heard that macros, 3rd party add-ons, and support for VBA will not exist on Office 2013 for ARM.  Since that removes any possible automation from Office as well as damaging the productivity of those users who depend on 3rd party add-ons the Surface suddenly seems a lot less attractive.  For those who fervently believe that PowerPoint is the only Office application there will likely be no effect whatsoever.

Steve-Ballmer-intros-Office-2013.jpg

"If true, it would be something of an about-face for the software giant. At a press event announcing the Office 2013 Preview in July, Microsoft honcho Steve Ballmer said that Redmond was committed to providing the full Office experience on Surface and other devices running Windows RT.

"You'll see this as we and our partners ship PCs and Surface devices with ARM chips in them," Ballmer said. "Full Word. Full PowerPoint. Full Excel. You give up nothing of the rich capabilities of Microsoft Office when you embrace a Windows 8 ARM device."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Deals for August 8th - 27-in Planar 1080p Display for $209

Subject: General Tech, Displays | August 8, 2012 - 01:16 PM |
Tagged: deal of the day, planar, monitor

Today's deals are quite assorted but the highlight for me is the 27-in Planar PX2710MW 1080p monitor that you can grab for an impressively low price of $209.99!!

deal0808.png

Check out the other deals available today!

Laptops

17.3" Alienware M17x Core i7-2670QM 2.2GHz Quad-core 1080p Gaming Laptop w/4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, 2GB Radeon HD 6970M for $1,449 with free shipping (normally $1,849 - use coupon code on LogicBuy).

17.3" HP Pavilion dv7t-7000 Quad Edition Core i7-3610QM 2.3GHz Quad-core Laptop w/8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, Blu-ray & GeForce GT 630M for $800 with free shipping (normally $1000 - use coupon code on LogicBuy).

15.6" Samsung Series 3 AMD A63420M 1.5GHz Quad-core Laptop w/4GB RAM, 500GB HDD for $400 (normally $530).

15.6" Toshiba Satellite L750D AMD A6-3420M 1.5GHz Quad-core Laptop w/4GB RAM, 320GB HDD for $400 (normally $550).

15.6" HP ProBook 4535s AMD E2-3000M 1.8GHz Dual-core Laptop w/4GB RAM, 320GB HDD & Windows 7 Professional for $430 (normally $550).

Desktops

Dell Vostro 470 Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-core Mini Tower w/4GB RAM, 500GB HDD & Wireless-N, Bluetooth for $529 with free shipping (normally $679 - use coupon code W9D06J14FX10WM).

Acer Predator AG3610-UR10P Core i7-2600 3.4GHz Quad-core Desktop w/8GB RAM, 2TB HDD, 2GB GeForce GT 530 for $900 (normally $1,050).

23" HP Pavilion 23-1000z AMD A6-5400K 3.6GHz Dual-core 1080p All-in-one PC w/4GB RAM, 500GB HDD for $630 with free shipping (normally $750 - use coupon code 20LOGICBUY).

Monitors

27" Planar PX2710MW 1080p 2ms LCD Monitor w/ HDMI & 3-year warranty for $210 with free shipping (normally $470 - use coupon code D84NDZ3JCT3K3K).

27" ASUS VE278Q 1080p LED-backlit LCD Monitor w/ DisplayPort for $300 with free shipping (normally $330 - use coupon code SOD68788).

22" Dell E2213 1680 x 1050 LED-backlit LCD Monitor w/3-year warranty for $151 with free shipping (normally $199 - use coupon code on LogicBuy).

Peripherals

EVGA GeForce GTX 460 2Win (Fermi) 2GB GDDR5 Dual GPU Video Card for $170 with free shipping (normally $250 - use this form).

4TB (2 x 2TB) Iomega StorCenter ix2-200 Network Storage Cloud Edition for $325 with free shipping (normally $469.99 - use coupon code USMEDALS).

240GB SanDisk Extreme 2.5" SATA III SSD (SDSSDX-240G-G25) for $170 with free shipping (normally $230).

120GB Kingston HyperX 3K 2.5" SATA III SSD for $80 with free shipping (normally $150).

Sony Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard (VGP-BKB1) for $70 with free shipping (normally $99).

Targus Meridian II 15.6" Roller Laptop Case for $75 with free shipping (normally $90).

Dell 1355cn Multifunction Color Printer for $237 with free shipping (normally $300).

Tablets

10.1" Toshiba Excite 16GB Quad-core Tegra 3 Android 4.0 Tablet for $384 with free shipping (normally $399 - use coupon code on LogicBuy).

10.1" Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700T 32GB Tablet + Dock Bundle for $608 with free shipping (normally $650).

Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard Case (iPad 2) for $44 with free shipping (normally $60 - use coupon code).

Gaming:

GUNNAR Call of Duty MW3 Gaming Eyewear for $50 with free shipping (normally $100).

Devil May Cry Collection (360/PS3) for $30 with free shipping (normally $40).

Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (360/PS3) for $30 with free shipping (normally $40).

Home Entertainment:

47" LG 47LD950C 1080p 240Hz 3D LCD HDTV for $700 (normally $849 - use this form).

46" Westinghouse LD-4680 120Hz 1080p LED HDTV for $570 with free shipping (normally $800).

46" Sharp LC-46SV49U 1080p LCD HDTV for $480 with free shipping (normally $600).

46" Samsung UN46D6000 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV for $827 with free shipping (normally $1,099).

32" Proscan PLED3204A720p LED HDTV for $190 (normally $250 - use coupon code on LogicBuy).

Personal Portables & Peripherals:

Sony In-Ear Headphones iPod/iPhone Remote for $80 with free shipping (normally $99).

12MP Canon PowerShot SX230 HS Red Digital Camera for $194 with free shipping (normally $229 - use coupon code Learn2SaveBG5).

14MP Olympus Tough TG-320 Digital Camera Bundle for $131 with free shipping (normally $159).

Source: LogicBuy

DayZ becoming stand-alone. You and what ARMA?

Subject: General Tech | August 8, 2012 - 01:05 PM |
Tagged: DayZ

The developers from Bohemia Interactive are developing DayZ into a retail standalone game. The pricing structure will be similar to Minecraft with rapid pre-release versions and progressively decreasing discounts as the game reaches closer to release.

Much like their defeated NPCs – developers are Bohemia Interactive are pushing DayZ(s) a second time.

Originally and still currently a mod for ARMA 2, DayZ combines the open world genre with the zombie apocalypse. The survival horror is taken seriously with numerous factors necessary to remain alive and many others attempting to end you. You will be hungry, you will be thirsty, and you may even break a bone. You will also likely swear here and there.

PC Gamer picked up a recent announcement that Bohemia Interactive, developer of the ARMA 2 base game, are in development of a standalone DayZ game with the original mod developer as project lead.

DayZ.jpg

Who wants to bet that we’ll see a DayZ in Plants vs. Zombies?

The original mod will continue to be maintained alongside the retail release. While I am typically skeptical when a company claims something like that, since Bohemia Interactive makes a sale regardless of whether you purchase ARMA2 for DayZ or you purchase DayZ outright it seems at least plausible. Current players of the DayZ mod might not need to be concerned at least for quite some time.

Also announced is the pricing model which DayZ will follow. Releases will come early and often. Much like Minecraft, earlier adopters will pay less as the cost will slowly increase closer and closer to release.

One last little small note: it appears as though the developer has given the DayZ trademark to Bohemia Interactive according to their legal notice. Personally, I would have expected that he could have negotiated to keep it for security in case this turns into another Trauma Studios incident.

If you are interested, be sure to check out the new website for the standalone game.

Source: PC Gamer

For G's a jolly good L ohhh... which 20 years can't deny.

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Mobile, Shows and Expos | August 7, 2012 - 03:33 PM |
Tagged: Siggraph, opengl, OpenGL ES, OpenGL 4.3, OpenGL ES 3.0

OpenGL turned 20 as of the start of this year. Two new versions of the API have just been released during SIGGRAPH: OpenGL 4.3 and OpenGL ES 3.0. Ars Technica put together a piece to outline the changes in these versions – most importantly: feature parity between Direct3D 11 and OpenGL 4.3.

As much attention as Direct3D gets for PC gamers – you cannot ignore OpenGL.

Reigning in graphics hardware is a real challenge. We desire to make use of all the computational performance of our devices but also make it easy to develop for in as few times as possible. Regardless of what mobile, desktop, or other device you own – if it contains a GPU it almost definitely supports either OpenGL or OpenGL ES.

Even certain up-and-coming websites utilize the GPU to break new ground.

opengl_logo.jpg

The Khronosgraph says 20 years.

Two new versions of OpenGL were recently published: OpenGL 4.3 as well as OpenGL ES 3.0. For the first time OpenGL allows programmers to access compute shaders which makes it easier to accelerate computations which do not work upon pixels, vertices, or geometry without bringing in OpenCL or some other API. Unfortunately this feature does not appear to carry over to OpenGL ES 3.0.

OpenGL ES is also important, not just for native mobile development as it is intended, but also because it is considered the basis of WebGL. It is likely that a future WebGL revision will contain the OpenGL ES 3.0 enhancements such as many rendering targets, more complex shaders, and so forth.

But it seems like the major reason why these two revisions were released together – apart from their timing aligning with the SIGGRAPH trade show – is because OpenGL and OpenGL ES have been somewhat merged. OpenGL ES 3.0 is now a subset of OpenGL 4.3 rather than some heavily overlapping Venn diagram. Porting from one specification to the other should be substantially easier.

So happy birthday, OpenGL – just don’t go down the toilet on your 21st.

Source: Ars Technica

Windows 8 Users Can No Longer Boot Straight To The Desktop, Must Start With Metro

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | August 7, 2012 - 02:07 PM |
Tagged: windows 8 style ui, windows 8, windows, operating system, microsoft, Metro

The Windows 8 RTM leak has coincided with numerous articles around the Internet that detail the new features and the Windows 8 Style UI once known as Metro. It seems that a new setup process and the removal of Aero Glass were not the only big aesthetic changes. With the new build came several alleged tweaks by Microsoft that prevent several methods for automatically booting to the desktop. Group Policy tweaks and a autorun shortcut were two such methods–that worked on early beta builds but no longer work on the RTM–to skip past the Metro/Windows 8 Style UI Start Screen, according to Rafael Rivera of Windows 8 Secrets.

Previously, users could login and be automatically taken to the desktop. They would still see the Metro screen, but only for a split second. Now, users wanting to do this are back to square one, and will have to manually launch the desktop each time they login to their computers.

Windows_8_RTM_Metro_Start_Screen.jpg

It is not all bad news, however (well, at least not as bad). If you drag the desktop Metro Windows 8 Style UI tile to the top-left corner, as soon as you login, you can hit the Enter key to go to the desktop. It is a less automatic way than has been previously possible, but it is better than nothing.

You can find more information about the alleged changes to the RTM here, as well as more PC Perspective Windows 8 coverage by following the windows 8 tag.

Some speculation and opinion follows:

It seems that Microsoft is taking a very firm position on Windows 8’s new Start Screen interface and full screen applications. While it is likely that developers and enthusiasts are working on new tweaks to get to the desktop automatically again, I foresee this being a drawn out tit-for-tat battle between Microsoft and its users. Beyond the new interface, this stance of working against customization is something I have not seen before on this level, as previous operating system have had numerous tweaking utilities and Microsoft did not seem to have a problem with them. My only guess is that they believe by forcing users to use Windows 8 Style UI as much as it possibly can, it will get users used to, and accepting of, the interface faster (essentially trying to get users over the radical interface change as quickly as possible–ike ripping a bandaid off). And if I let the cynical side get the best of me, Microsoft does have a vested interest in keeping users on the Metro/Windows 8 Style interface as much as possible as they want users to buy Metro apps and not use traditional applications. They are selling the upgrades for $40 and likely want to “make up” the money (compared to selling prices of previous versions) by taking a cut of Windows Store app purchases. The company’s insistence on forcing usage is only going to hurt them, I fear, as people who are on the fence about Metro–but who are interested in the other improvements–likely want to come to the new interface on their own terms (if at all). Actively working against users trying to use and customize their operating systems may well cost them a few sales. It would seem to me that Microsoft should be welcoming anyone that wants to use Windows 8, even if they do not want to stay in (or use at all) the Metro interface but that's just my opinion and apparently Microsoft is of a different mind.

Whether you love, hate, or feel somewhere in-between on Windows 8 Style UI, options are not a bad thing. I do think that more people would be willing to give Microsoft’s new interface a chance if it was more optional than it is. What do you think?

Source: CNET

A different kind of 3D transistor

Subject: General Tech | August 7, 2012 - 01:54 PM |
Tagged: trigate, 3d transistors

In case you were worried that Intel was the only one successfully researching and implementing 3D transistors, this research from Hokkaido University in Sapporo will cheer you up.  Whereas Intel went with 22nm process SOI high-K gates utilizing Hafnium, this process creates nanowires made of indium gallium arsenide at around 10nm, though the process does not necessarily translate directly.  NanoTechWeb's article mentions that some of these transistors have 6 edges, which if all could be successfully utilized means a doubling of density compared to Intel's design, though they do not mention what the thermal impact of the increased gate count would be.  It would seem that Intel is already aware and interested in this technology; for building CMOS chips as opposed to CPUs however.

NTW_Tomioka.jpg

"Gate structures in silicon-based transistors will have to evolve in the future as these devices become ever smaller. Researchers in Japan have made an important advance in developing these next-generation architectures by successfully fabricating vertical transistors from semiconducting nanowires on a silicon substrate. The wires, made from indium gallium arsenide, are surrounded by 3D – rather than planar-shaped – gates and the finished devices have extremely good electronic properties."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: NanoTechWeb

Deal for August 7th - EVGA GTX 460 2Win for $169

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | August 7, 2012 - 01:15 PM |
Tagged: deal of the day, evga, gtx 460, 2win

Do you remember when we posted our review of the EVGA GeForce GTX 460 2Win graphics card?  Just last year it retailed for $409 and rivaled the performance of the GTX 580.  Well now you can pick one up for just $169 after a mail-in rebate!

4602win1.jpg

This card features a pair of GF104 GTX 460 GPUs on a single PCB running in a semi-permanent SLI configuration.  And considering a GTX 580 card will still cost you over $400 online today, the GTX 460 2Win from EVGA for $169 is a fantastic deal!!

Click here to get the EVGA GTX 460 2Win for $169!!

Source: LogicBuy

AMD Launches Professional FirePro APU for Workstations

Subject: General Tech | August 7, 2012 - 10:41 AM |
Tagged: FirePro APU, APU, amd, a320, a300

AMD announced today that it is extending the professional FirePro brand to its Accelerated Processing Units–APUs. Aimed at the professional market, AMD is hoping to get its APUs into workstations that perform computer aided design (CAD) work as well as multimedia content creation and editing. Thanks to the APU’s built-in VILW4 graphics, it can be used with GPU-accelerated software to speed up workloads.

AMD FirePro APU.png

Currently, there are two FirePro chips planned–the A300 and A320 APU. Both processors are based on the company’s consumer Trinity APUs. They feature four Piledriver CPU cores and a VLIW4 GPU architecture with 384 stream processors and dedicated UVD video decoding hardware. The A300 is clocked at a 3.4 GHz with a turbo speed of 4 GHz. On the other hand, the A320 has a base clockspeed of 3.8 GHz and a turbo clockspeed of 4.2 GHz. The A320 is even unlocked, which would allow open overclocking.

APU Model TDP CPU Cores CPU Clockspeed (base/max turbo) Stream Processors GPU Clock Unlocked
AMD FirePro A300 65W 4 3.4 GHz/4 GHz 384 760 Mhz No
AMD FirePro A320 100W 4

3.8 GHz/4.2 GHz

384 800 MHz Yes

 

The new FirePro APUs differ from the consumer lineup in that AMD has put them through more testing to ensure reliability and compatibility with industry software.

Features include:

  • AMD Eyefinity Technology support
  • AMD Turbo Core
  • Display resolutions up to 10,240 x 1600 for multi-monitor setups
  • Discrete Compute Offload support that allows the pairing of the APU graphics and a discrete GPU to accelerate GPGPU software.
  • 30-bit color support
  • Dedicated UVD hardware for media encoding

It is an interesting move for AMD to get into the workstation and professional design market. The company has been putting out dedicated graphics cards aimed at professionals for a long time, and now with the company betting its future on HSA and APUs, it was only a matter of time before they started aiming APUs at the professional market as well. The A300-series APUs will be available in various workstation integrators (OEMs for workstations) starting this month. Unfortunately, there is no word yet on pricing or whether the processors will be sold individually or not. You can see the full press release on the AMD website.

Source: AMD

Gigabyte Unveils GA-H77N-WIFI Mini-ITX Motherboard

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Cases and Cooling, Processors, Chipsets, Memory, Displays | August 7, 2012 - 10:07 AM |
Tagged: Z77, motherboard, mini-itx, Intel, gigabyte, ga-h77n-wifi

During a European roadshow, Gigabyte showed off a new Mini-ITX form factor motherboard for the first time. Called the GA-H77N-WIFI, the motherboard is well suited for home theater and home server tasks. Based on the H77 chipset, it is compatible with the latest Intel Core i3 (coming soon), i5, and i7 "Ivy Bridge" processors. The board goes for an all-black PCB with minimal heatsinks on the VRMs, and the form factor is the same size as the motherboard that Ryan recently used in his Mini-ITX HTPC build.

ga_h77n_wifi.jpg

The GA-H77N-WIFI features a LGA 1155 processor socket, two DDR3 DIMM slots, PCI Express slot, two SATA 3Gbps ports, two SATA 6Gbps ports, and an internal USB 3.0 header. There are also two Realtek Ethernet controller chips and a Realtek audio chip.

Rear IO on the Mini-ITX motherboard includes:
  • 1 PS/2 port
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports
  • 2 HDMI ports
  • 1 DVI port
  • 2 Antenna connectors (WIFI)
  • 4 USB 2.0 ports
  • 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • 1 Optical S/PDIF port
  • 5 Analog audio jacks

The dual Gigabit Ethernet ports are interesting. It could easily be loaded with open source routing software and turned into router/firewall/Wi-Fi access point. To really take advantage of the Ivy Bridge support, you could put together a nice media server and HTPC recording/streaming box (using something like SiliconDust's HDHomeRun networked tuners or Ceton's USB tuner since this board is very scarce in the way of PCI-E slots). What would you do with this Mini-ITX Gigabyte board?

Unfortunately, there is no word yet on pricing or availability, but the motherboard is likely coming soon. You can find more information on the motherboard over at tonymacx86, who managed to snag get some photos of the board.

Source: Tony Mac X86

Apple No Longer Updating Safari for Windows, Users Should Switch To A More Secure Browser

Subject: General Tech | August 6, 2012 - 05:55 AM |
Tagged: windows, webkit, security, safari for windows, safari, browser, apple

The Apple-developed Safari is one of the least popular webkit-based browsers on Windows. Even so, it still commands 5% marketshare (across all platforms), and that is a problem. You see, many sites are reporting that Apple has dropped support for Safari on Windows. Windows users will not get the update to Safari 6–the new version available to Mac OS X 10.6 and 10.7 Mountain Lion users. As well, it seems that Apple has removed just about every reference to ever having a Windows version of any Safari browser from its website.

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Image Credit: MacLife

The issue is that the final version that Windows users are stuck with–version 5.1.7–has a number of documented security vulnerabilities that are never going to get patched by Apple. According to Maximum PC, there are at least 121 known security holes listed in Apple’s own documentation. And as time goes by, it is extremely likely that the number of unpatched security holes will increase. Running an outdated browser is not good security practice, and running a browser that is EOL and has known vulnerabilities is just asking for trouble.

While the number of PC Perspective readers running Safari for Windows is likely extremely small, I would advise that you be on the lookout next time you are doing tech support for your friends and relatives, and if they managed to get roped into using Safari thanks to Apple’s Itunes software updater convince them to move to a (dare I say better) more secure browser like Google’s Chrome, Opera, or Firefox. At least those are still getting updates, and some are even automatically done in the background.

Have you ever used Apple’s Safari for Windows browser? What would you recommend as the best alternative? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Forbes

Ivy Bridge-E after Haswell: I think I've gone cross-eyed

Subject: General Tech, Processors | August 6, 2012 - 02:12 AM |
Tagged: Ivy Bridge-E, Intel

According to VR-Zone, an Intel roadmap has surfaced which outlines the upper end of the company’s CPU product line through the end of 3rd Quarter 2013. The most interesting albeit also most confusing entry is the launch of Ivy Bridge-E processors in the quarter after the Haswell mainstream parts.

So apparently the lack of high-performance CPU competition unhooked Intel’s tick-tock-clock.

The latest Intel CPU product roadmap outlines the company’s expected product schedule through to the end of Q3 2013. The roadmap from last quarter revealed that Intel’s next architecture, Haswell, would be released in the second quarter of 2013 with only Sandy Bridge-E SKUs to satisfy the enthusiasts who want the fastest processors and the most available RAM slots. It was unclear what would eventually replace SBE as the enthusiast part and what Intel expects for their future release cycles.

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I can Haswell-E’zburger?

(Photo Credit: VR-Zone)

Latest rumors continue to assert that Sandy Bridge-E X79 chipset-based motherboards will be able to support Ivy Bridge-E with a BIOS update.

The downside: personally, not a big fan of upgrading CPUs frequently.

In the past I have never kept a motherboard and replaced a CPU. While I have gone through the annoyance of applying thermal paste – and guessing where Arctic Cooling stains will appear over the next 2 weeks – I tend to even just use the default thermal tape which comes with the stock coolers. I am not just cheap or lazy either; I simply tend to not feel a jump in performance unless I allow three to five years between CPU product cycles to pass by.

But that obviously does not reflect all enthusiasts.

But how far behind on the enthusiast architectures will Intel allow themselves to get? Certainly someone with my taste in CPU upgrades should not wait 8-10 years to upgrade our processors if this doubling of time-between-releases continues?

What do you think is the future of Intel’s release cycle? Is this a one-time blip trying to make Ivy Bridge scale up or do you expect that Intel will start releasing progressively more infrequently on the upper end?

Source: VR-Zone

Curiosity Has Landed: First Photos from Mars

Subject: General Tech | August 6, 2012 - 01:47 AM |
Tagged: space, rover, photos, nasa, mars rover, mars, curiosity

NASA’s latest rover, named Curiosity has successfully landed on Mars a few minutes ago. The NASA team members were understandably ecstatic and gleeful as their hard work paid off. The first fruits of their labor arrived in the form of images from Mars.

Mars Curiosity Rover.jpg

An artist's depiction of the Curiosity rover on Mars

Using a rocket-powered skycrane, the one-ton rover was lowered onto the Martian surface to begin its two year mission collecting data for research into everything from water on Mars to the planets past life forms.

stream_screenshot_1.jpg

The NASA employees in the control room celebrate a successful landing.

Doug McCuistion, Director of the Mars Exploration Program for NASA’s Washington Headquarters stated in a recent press release:

 “Curiosity is a bold step forward in learning about our neighboring planet, but this mission does not stand alone. It is part of a sustained, coordinated program of Mars exploration. This mission transitions the program's science emphasis from the planet's water history to its potential for past or present life."

It is an exciting time for NASA, and I’m interested to see what comes out of the Curiosity-aided research! The first images from Mars started arriving soon after the Curiosity rover landed, and more should be coming soon. You can find a collection of images from the Curiosity landing on the NASA website.

Photos From Mars.png

One of the first images from Mars

PS While the Xbox 360 gamers got a Mars rover landing game for Kinect, PC users can now play around with their own skycrane-delivered rovers in Kerbal Space Program.

UPDATE: Several low resolution images have been posted to the NASA site and can be seen below. Higher resolution images should become available later.

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Images courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

Source: NASA