Epic talks a storm of bullets. Piracy hurt the sequel?

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | April 10, 2012 - 10:45 PM |
Tagged: piracy, epic games, bulletstorm

Mike Capps of Epic Games, among many other developers and publishers, completely misses the point about piracy. No-one can control piracy, they can only control factors which influence it -- but controlling those factors is meaningless if sales are sacrificed in the process. No-one gets paid by not being pirated; people get paid by making sales.

Frequent readers of my editorials are probably well aware that I am quite vocal about many topics including piracy, the consumables model of art, censorship, and used content sales. I take a very mathematical approach to a lot of complicated topics. Unfortunately, a lot of what is considered common truths is based on fundamentally invalid statistics. It gives me a lot to write about.

Mike Capps of Epic Games was interviewed by GameSpot during PAX East and at some point in the discussion the topic floated across Bulletstorm. On the topic of its lower-than-expected sales, Capps added that the PC version was adversely affected by piracy.

bulletstorm.png

Piracy gnashing its teeth?

Similar statements have been made for countless other games at countless other times. Each of those statements makes a subtle but gigantic mistake in formulating the problem: piracy is not something which does, piracy is something which is. Piracy does not affect your sales, but whatever affected piracy might also affect sales in one way or another.

The intuition is that sales decrease as piracy increases and vice versa. That assumption is nullified by counter-example: do not release a product. Piracy and sales, if you do not release a game, will trend in the same direction: to zero. It is now obvious that sales and piracy do not always inversely correlate.

As Mike Capps also stated in the interview, Bulletstorm had a very rough launch and lifespan on the PC. Bulletstorm required for Games for Windows Live, encrypted its settings, and did other things to earn a reputation since launch as a bad console port to the PC. Customers complained about the experience on the PC which fueled an inferno of uncertainty and doubt for potential buyers.

Being pirated is not losing a sale, but losing a customer before their purchase is.

I was personally on the fence about Bulletstorm and this negative word-of-mouth lead me to ignore the title. I did not purchase the game, I did not pirate the game; I ignored the game. Perhaps those who pirated your title did so because they were interested, became discouraged, but were not discouraged enough to avoid giving it a chance with piracy?

What I am saying is -- piracy cannot reduce your sales (it cannot do anything, it is a measurement), but perhaps whatever combination of factors reduced your sales may also have increased your piracy?

Piracy is an important measurement to consider -- but it, like sales, is just that, a measurement, nothing more. Strive to increase your sales -- keep an eye on your piracy figures to learn valuable information -- but always exclusively strive to increase your sales. It is the measurement that will pay your bills.

Source: GameSpot

More leaks about NVIDIA's Dual-GPU GTX 690? May be?

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 10, 2012 - 07:18 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, leak, GTX 690

More information has surfaced about NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 690 video card. While other tidbits came to light, perhaps most interesting is the expected May release.

NVIDIA has suffered from quite a few leaks near their launch of the GeForce GTX 680 GPU and its associated cards. Benchmarks were accidentally published early and product pages were mistakenly posted premature. The hot streak continues.

10-nv_logo.png

It may be time to just reset fate and skip to the GTX 700-series. I mean they will eventually be rebranded 700-something anyway.

I kid, I kid.

Not many specifications were leaked, although there is not much left that cannot already be assumed about the card due to the similarities with its sister part.

The reference model GTX 690 will require two 8-pin power connectors and output via three DVI ports as well as a mini DisplayPort. The already released GTX 680, by contrast, requires two 6-pin connectors and outputs by two DVI, an HDMI, and a full size DisplayPort.

The new card will require more power for its dual GK104 GPUs as the larger power connectors would suggest. While the GTX 680 is happy with 550W of total system power, the GTX 690 would like a system power supply of at least 650W. Since the 680 is expected to draw a maximum of 195W, an extra 100W would put estimates for the 690 power draw at somewhere around 295W.

Unfortunately estimates based on rated total system power are very inaccurate as power supply requirements are often raised to the nearest 50W. Really, the 690 could be anywhere between 245W and 295W and even those figures are just estimates.

Still, it looks as though my 750W power supply will survive past May when the leak claims that the GTX 690 is expected to arrive. Yay! May!

Source: EXPreview

Composite Copper and Graphene to make a cool couple.

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | April 10, 2012 - 06:03 PM |
Tagged: graphene, cooling

Researchers at NC State University have tested the heat dissipation properties of copper-graphene. Their findings suggest that the material could be cheaper and more effective than pure copper.

Some people have gone to ridiculous lengths to cool their components. Some people flush their coolant regularly. Some people will never live down mineral oil jokes. No two computers are not on fire. Awwww.

Copper is regularly used as a method of dissipating heat as it is highly efficient when sufficiently pure. While copper is expensive, it is not expensive enough to be prohibitive for current use. Alternatives are still being explored and a researcher at NC State University believes graphene might be part of the answer.

bathroomsuctionfan.jpg

Some people stick a bathroom suction fan out a window and run a 3” drier hose into their case.

As always, I become immediately skeptical when a team of researchers make a claim such as this. Whether or not these issues are valid have yet to be seen, but they come to mind none-the-less. The paper claims that the usage is designed for power amplifiers and laser diodes.

My first concern is with geometry. Effective cooling is achieved by exposing as much surface area between two materials as is possible for the situation. Higher heat conductance allows heat to get away much more efficiently, but the heat still needs to be removed to a reservoir of some sort, such as your room. There has not been much talk about the possibilities to then remove the heat after copper-graphene so efficiently sucks from the heat source.

My second concern is with the second layer of indium-graphene. While it seems as though the amount of indium required is quite small -- just a single layer between the heat source and the copper-graphene -- we do not really know for certain how that relates to real world applications. Indium is still a very rare element which is heavily mined for touch screen devices. It might prove to be cheap, but there is only so much of it. Would we also be able to reclaim the Indium later, or will it end up in a landfill?

These concerns are probably quite minor but it is generally good practice to not get too excited when you see a research paper. Two points if you see any of the following: Nano, Graphene or Carbon Nanotubes, Lasers, and anything related to High-Frequency.

Take a pictorial tour of Kingston's SSD facility

Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2012 - 11:48 AM |
Tagged: kingston, fab, tour, ssd

Tweaktown was invited put on a bunny suit and take a tour of Kingston's SSD manufacturing facility in Taiwan.  Starting from a pile of surface mount transistors which are automatically soldered and inspected before being baked at up to 270C once all the components have been mounted to the PCB, they snapped pictures of as much of the process as they could.  From there it is off to the testing facility where Kingston ensures that all the drives that came off of a particular run are up to the expected standards.  TweakTown does mention a burn-in machine, but unfortunately they were told not to post them as Kingston wanted to keep at least a few trade secrets from getting out.  It could also be that they don't want the world to know that they cloned Al several times and use his SSD killing expertise as the final test before releasing a drive to the channel to be sold.

TT_SSD.jpg

"We were exclusively invited into the Kingston factory where few media have been and got shown the process of making an SSD from start to finish. Due to media restrictions, we were not allowed to produce a video of the tour, but we were allowed to take photos. Obviously Kingston is a market leader in memory and SSD products and there is plenty of sensitive machinery and such - and we needed to respect that and their rules."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: Tweaktown

Raspberry Pi Computers Pass EMC Compliance Testing

Subject: General Tech, Systems | April 8, 2012 - 08:38 PM |
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, pcb, emc test, computer, compliance testing, arm

The highly anticipated Raspberry Pi ARM computer has run into several launch hiccups, the most recent being that the distributors -- RS and Farnell -- refused to sell and ship the devices without the Raspberry Pi passing the proper electromagnetic interference testing. While such certification is not required for Arduino or Beagle Boards, the companies stated that because the Raspberry Pi was (more) likely to be used as a final consumer product (and not a development board) it needed to obtain and pass EMC testing to ensure that it would not interfere with (or be interfered by) other electronic devices.

According to a recent blog post by the charity behind the ARM powered Linux computer, the Raspberry Pi has passed the EMC compliance testing with flying colors -- after a few hiccups with a network hub used to test the Raspberry Pi while it was being hit with an EM field were sorted out.

Raspberry-Pi.jpg

The team has been working out of Panasonic’s facility in South Wales to test the Raspberry Pi. Due to having the lab area for a whole week, they managed to knock out consumer product inference testing for several other countries as well. Mainly, the Raspberry Pi is now compliant with the UK CE requirements, the United States’ FCC, Australia’s CTick, and Canada’s Technical Acceptance Certificate (TAC).

Assuming the paper work is properly filed and RS and Farnell accept the certifications, the Raspberry Pi units should begin winging their way to customers shortly. Are you still waiting on your Raspberry Pi, and if so have you decided what you intend to use it for yet?

If you are interested in the Raspberry Pi, be sure to check out some of our other coverage of the little ARM computer!

NVIDIA Tegra 4 Specifications Sheet Leaks

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | April 7, 2012 - 07:11 PM |
Tagged: tegra 4, tegra, SoC, nvidia, mobile

The Chinese language VR-Zone website has allegedly managed to get their hands on a leaked specifications sheet for NVIDIA’s upcoming Tegra 4 System-on-a-chip (SoC) aimed at mobile tablets. Codenamed “Wayne,” the new SoC will come in several flavors and will arrive next year.

The upcoming chips will have 10x the performance of NVIDIA’s original Tegra and five times the performance of the current generation Kal-El Tegra 3 chip. NVIDIA has run into several hurdles in integrating an LTE cell radio into their SoCs, but if the leaked document is true, the company will finally release a Tegra chp with built-in LTE 100 and HSPA42 cell radio capabilities as early as the third quarter of 2013.

Badge_Tegra_3D_large.jpg

Further, the Tegra 4 SoCs will come in four flavors: T40, T43, AP40, and SP3X. T40 will represent the first Tegra 4 chp that manufacturers and consumers will be able to get their hands on -- as early as Q1 2013. It is a quad core part with one companion core and will run at 1.8 GHz. T43 is an evolution of the T40 and will bump up the clockspeed to 2.0 GHz. The AP40 chip will be the first budget Tegra 4 processor and will run anywhere between 1.2 GHz and 1.8 GHz. The T43 and AP40 SoCs are reportedly coming out in Q3 2013. All three chips -- The T40, T43, and AP40 -- are based on the ARM Cortex A15 architecture.

  T40 T43 AP40 SP3X
Release Date Q1 2013 Q3 2013 Q3 2013 Q3 2013
Markets Aimed At Flagship Flagship Mainstream Mainstream
Tablet Device Screen Size 10" 10" 10" 7"
Processor Clockspeed 1.8 GHz 2.0 GHz 1.2-1.8 GHz 1.2-2.0 GHz
Core Count 4+1 4+1 4+1 4+1
Chip Architecture A15 A15 A15 A9
Cell Radio       LTE100/HSPA42

 

The final Tegra 4 chip is called SP3X, and it will arrive in Q3 2013. Aimed at mainstream tablets with 7” or smaller screens, the upcoming SoC will feature LTE support and will have a clockspeed of 1.2 GHz to 2.0 GHz. It is a quad core (plus one companion core) part but is reportedly based on the ARM Cortex A9 architecture.  The leaked release dates do seem to be in line with earlier reports, though they should still be taken with your daily dose of salt.

 

Right now Tegra delivers on performance and many high end mobile devices have incorporated the NVIDIA chip. Even so, they still have very little market share, and the two mainstream Tegra 4 chips -- especially the SP3X with LTE radio -- should help them make inroads against Qualcomm and Samsung who hold a great deal of market share.

Blizzard stimming eSports. Will it lose 10 or 20 health?

Subject: General Tech | April 6, 2012 - 04:16 AM |
Tagged: starcraft 2, blizzard

Blizzard announces the Starcraft II World Championship Series. Tournaments will be held by qualifier region, country, continent, and world-wide. Winning a stage qualifies you for the next stage leading to a single global winner.

There are an astonishing number of tournaments for Starcraft II compared to almost any other strategy game. The game was made famous by its promotion of both the macrogame of economy and production as well as the microgame of control and positioning. Also, each of the three races balances each other by being entirely different, rather than in spite of it.

Due to the many different play styles as well as the imbalance of information between players and spectators, Starcraft has become a very entertaining spectator sport.

BattleChamp.jpg

At the end of the tournament they should pummel the winners with water guns.

Yes, water guns. Blizzard would never Nerf a Terran.

At the end of the tournament, an officially Blizzard-recognized champion of Starcraft will be crowned. Currently a few handfuls of players are crowned the winner of some tournament only to be overthrown at some other tournament sponsored by some other company. While the unofficial tournaments such as MLG and GSL will obviously still continue to flourish, Blizzard seems to want to control an official result that they recognize.

It is still unclear whether the event will be recurring and at what frequency. Though, chances are, not even Blizzard knows at this point.

Participating countries are listed in their blog posting. Surprisingly, Japan is not present alongside China and South Korea. Official dates have yet to be announced except that the tournament itself is expected to run this year.

Source: Blizzard

Stardock Releases Sins: Rebellion Beta 2, Adds Advent Players

Subject: General Tech | April 6, 2012 - 03:42 AM |
Tagged:

Earlier this week, Stardock officially released the new Beta 2 update of the Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion 4X RTS game. Most popular for SOASE and Impulse (which has since been sold off -- they are now offering their games on Steam), Stardock has been working on the Sins standalone sequel for more than a year now. Over the past year or so, the company has push out enough teasers to drive me crazy with lust, so when the beta was finally public I jumped in with the credit card faster than The Flash.

Titan.jpg

The TEC Rebels' Titan Class Ship

Unfortunately, the first few beta updates only allowed gamers to play the TEC (Trader Emergency Coalition) and not the other two alien races. The newly released Beta 2 is now being pushed out via a Steam update and will allow gamers to play the Advent and TEC (and both sub-classes of each, Rebels and Loyalists). The game also features several bug fixes and performance improvements. Other notable changes include balance improvements, (unfortunately) the slight Titan ship nerfing, and the addition of an introduction movie sequence at the start of the game.

Sins of a Solar Empire Rebellio 2012-04-06 02-28-11-15.png

The Advent Eradica Titan Class Ship

I have not gotten a chance to play very much of the new beta 2 yet, but the first thing I noticed was an additional capital ship for the TEC Loyalists (and possibly the other classes) that is positioned as a support craft and is capable of sending out boarding parties. Pretty neat, the game overall also seems to be a bit snappier, especially when moving between menus and such. I’m more of a TEC guy than an Advent player, but I do love crushing them in battle so I’m glad to see the Advent added to the game. The only big race left is the Vasari at this point, which suggests that the game is that much closer to final release. I am cautiously optimistic that Sins: Rebellion is going to be a game worthy of my $30 bucks. Below is a video of the new introduction movie, and the full change log for the Beta 2 release can be found over at Stardock’s Forums.

Have you played the beta yet, and if so what do you make of it?

Source: Stardock

Java Vulnerability Exposed OS X Machines To Flashback Trojan

Subject: General Tech | April 5, 2012 - 10:47 PM |
Tagged: apple, OS X, Java, trojan, flashback, botnet

Recently, word of a java bug that allowed malware -- namely a trojan known as “Flashback” -- to sneak onto OS X machines started making its way around the Internet. This piece of malicious code even managed to get its claws into Apple’s OS X operating system. Bit-Tech reports that a Russian anti-virus company known as Dr.Web has identified more than 550,000 OS X computers as taking part in a botnet -- a network of computers executing malicious code in unison, which can be used to DDoS websites, assist in harvesting information, and recruit new members to the nefarious network.

Apple Macbook Air 11 Inch.png

Located primarily in the United States, Canada, and the UK the Flashback trojan infected a number of computers and granted immediate access to the attackers. They estimate 56.6% of the infected computers were located in the US while 19.8% were in Canada and 12.8% where stationed int he UK. This makes for a very widespread infection, and it has taken Apple a few weeks to push out a patch.

If you are reading this on a Mac, don’t panic. Be sure to apply the recent Apple update, and double check that your Java version you are running is Java 6 update 31. Even if you are on a Windows machine, make sure you are using the latest version of Java to keep you as secure as possible. Identifying if you are already affected is a bit tricky, but Digital Trends has posted instructions on how to find out if you are infected and provided links to several methods of virtual bug spray to get rid of the malware.

While this does not suddenly mean OS X is a buggy wasteland full of vulnerabilities as some articles have suggested, it is a gentle (and rather horrid for those that are infected) reminder to be safe out there on the Internet and that a little anti-virus combined with safe browsing habits can go a long way to keeping you safe whether you are a Windows, Mac, or Linux user. Even if it is AV that you only run every now and then and doesn’t run all the time, it can provide a bit of piece of mind by letting you know your system is clean. Also, if you have to use Java, keep it updated along with all your other programs.

Source: Bit-Tech

Podcast #196 - The new iPad, the OCZ Vertex 4, AMD FX-6200 CPU and more!

Subject: General Tech | April 5, 2012 - 04:32 PM |
Tagged: Vertex 4, ssd, podcast, ipad, Intel, gpu, FX-6200, cpu, amd, 680

PC Perspective Podcast #196 - 04/05/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the new iPad, the OCZ Vertex 4, AMD FX-6200 CPU 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, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:10:16

Program Schedule: 

  1. Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper 
  5. 0:01:45 The New iPad (2012) Review: Pixel Power
  6. 0:07:00 SilverStone Strider Gold Evolution 1000W Power Supply Review
  7. 0:09:00 OCZ Vertex 4 512GB SSD Initial Review - Vertex Returns to its Indilinx Roots (Firmware Progression Testing)
  8. 0:25:00 AMD FX-6200 CPU Review: A Small Bulldozer Refresh
  9. 0:37:00 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  10. 0:38:50 IOLO U-NO-LOL. Ed Bott not amused by system optimizer ad
  11. 0:40:10 PC bill of materials articles creeps lower.
  12. 0:42:15 The fine waterline between genius and madness; toilet water PC cooling
  13. 0:46:15 NVIDIA urges you to program better now, not CPU -- later.
  14. 0:52:50 OCZ isn't the only one with a new drive today, Hitachi now offers a 4TB Ultrastar
  15. 0:57:00 This week: FX-6200, GTX 680 SLI and Surround Performance Testing, Z77 motherboards, MAINGEAR SHIFT system review
  16. 1:00:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: While GTX 680s are MIA still, HD 7970s are as low as $529
    2. Jeremy: Flying Car or Tricorder ... I can't decide
    3. Josh:  I really enjoy this game.
    4. Allyn: Koolance GTX 680 water block (in stock, oh wait, never mind, it *was* in stock an hour ago)
  17. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  18. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  19. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  20. Closing

Source:

Wireless Headsets and PC Cases Added To Vengeance Lineup

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | April 5, 2012 - 03:47 PM |
Tagged: vengeance, headset, gaming, corsair, case

Corsair announced today that a new wireless headset and gaming PC case would be joining the ranks of the existing Vengeance lineup of headsets and keyboards. Making their initial debut at PAX East this weekend, the new Vengeance 2000 wireless headset and Vengeance C70 Case will be available for purchase later this year.

The Vengeance 2000 is Corsair’s latest headset that takes the brushed aluminum, 50mm drivers, and microfiber ear cups of the Vengeance 1500, adds some blue and white accents and then cuts the cord. In pace of the USB cord, Corsair utilizes 2.4 GHz wireless to deliver 5.1 and 7.1 virtual surround sound up to 40 feet away and with a battery life of 10 hours. The headset further features a noise canceling microphone and battery that can be recharged via micro USB cable.

V2000_left.png

From the wording of the press release, it sounds like the charging cable will only act as a power cable -- meaning it will not make the headset wired. The wireless 2.4GHz radio may be problematic for gamers living in areas with lots of 2.4GHz interference (like an apartment building with lots of WiFi devices and microwaves), and in that case the wired Vengeance 1500 would be a better choice. (We are attempting to verify the wireless only aspects and will update the article if we receive a response). Update: Corsair has clarified to us that the headset is always wireless -- the USB cable is only used for charging and firmware flashing.

Arriving with two carrying handles and an ammo box aesthetic, the Vengeance C70 is ready for the war against heat with space for up to 240mm radiators (they suggest the H100) on the top and bottom or 10 total case fans. The case further features a steel front panel, eight PCI-E slots, and two removable hard drive cages with space for three 2.5” or 3.5” drives (for a total of six hard drives). The PCI-E slots and other internals use standard Philips head screws.

C70_G_handlesUP.png

The Vengeance C70 will be available in three colors: Military Green, Arctic White, Gunmetal Black. The external of the the case features large mesh grills over the fan areas. The front of the case features a honeycomb mesh for up to two fans, three 5.25” drive bays, and -- along the top -- two large buttons for power and reset with the power being the large red button (which would be difficult to resist pressing all the time). It also houses microphone and headphone jacks, and two USB 3.0 ports. All three C70 cases have two carrying handles on the top that fold down into recessed parts of the case when not being used.

C70_all3.png

The two new Vengeance entrants will be available this summer. The C70 will be available for purchase soonest -- as early as May -- with an MSRP of $139 USD. Meanwhile, the Vengeance 2000 wireless headset has an MSRP of $149 USD and will be available in June. More information on Corsair’s entire Vengeance gaming lineup is available here.

Source: Corsair

Now that is an unholy alliance; Intel, Apple and Qualcomm go after Samsung

Subject: General Tech | April 5, 2012 - 03:14 PM |
Tagged: apple, Samsung, Intel, qualcomm

Apple is getting some help in its legal quest to force Samsung out of the mobile phone business, even though Samsung is one of their major suppliers.  Both Intel and Qualcomm's legal teams have sifted through Samsung's source code and are offering more potential infringements for Apple to use in their case.  Qualcomm helped develop the 3G standard and so possess quite a bit of intellectual property that pertains to the use of 3G, while Intel owns an immense amount of telecom and chip patents which Samsung may have infringed upon.  The Register speculates on just why Qualcomm and Intel would offer their legal teams to Apple, as well as pointing out the obvious irony of Apple attacking its memory and screen manufacturer.

evil.jpg

"CHIP VENDORS Intel and Qualcomm have agreed to help Apple in a lawsuit against Samsung by providing source code, according to one of Apple's lawyers.

Apple's seemingly never ending battle with Samsung over smartphone patents will get helping hands from Intel and Qualcomm as the firms hand over source code to support Apple's case. According to Andrew Fox, Apple's lawyer, Intel's and Qualcomm's legal teams have sifted through the source code and agreed to provide it to Apple."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

Anonymous hacks China, climbs hacker food chain.

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | April 5, 2012 - 04:14 AM |
Tagged: China, hack, Anonymous

China has been the target of numerous successful hacking attempts by Anonymous over the last week. Many sites were defaced and in some cases data such as accounts and e-mail addresses were compromised.

Anonymous has ramped up their activism over the last six months beyond their usual DDOSing and intrusion of US government and corporate websites. Last autumn Anonymous threatened to expose members of Mexican drug cartels although that initiative faded away without too much controversy later in the year. This year they have instead assaulted the Chinese Government.

anonymous-raid.png

This could get just as messy as the drug cartels.

Much of the defacing attempts broadcast, in both English as well as Chinese, messages about the Chinese Government and their practices. One such message states:

Your Government controls the Internet in your country and strives to filter what it considers a threat for it. Be careful. Use VPN for your own security. Or Tor.

The attacks have been sustained for over a week at this point. 486 compromised sites have been listed on Pastebin as of March 30th. There does not appear to have been any public response from the Chinese Government at this point.

What sticks out to me the most is how widespread the attack on Chinese online infrastructure appears to have been despite China’s traditional focus towards cyber security. Regardless of who you are, or what you have previously been capable of, you need to take security seriously as true security is extremely difficult.

Source: ZDNet

CM Storm QuickFire Pro: Full NKRO over USB?

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | April 4, 2012 - 04:51 PM |
Tagged: cooler master, mechanical keyboard

Cooler Master announces the Cooler Master Storm QuickFire Pro mechanical keyboard available soon in four different CHERRY flavors. They claim full N-Key Rollover (NKRO) through USB, which is a first to my knowledge.

Higher-end keyboards seem to be growing further and further in fashion as of late.

Cooler Master jumped into the mechanical keyboard market with their QuickFire Rapid release in late 2011. The Rapid was available in Cherry MX Blue and Cherry MX Red switches. The Rapid was a Tenkeyless design, sparing you the width of a number pad if you do not wish to have one.

cm-storm.jpg

Of course only the Pro keyboard would have a numpad… only accountants use it or something.

Cooler Master has obviously found that the Rapid a successful product as they will launch a sister design allegedly sometime this month. The Storm QuickFire Pro is a partially backlit full-sized keyboard. The Rapid Pro will be available in Cherry MX Blue, MX Brown, MX Black, and MX Red switch designs. If you are curious about the differences between keyboard switches then check out my explanation in the Rosewill RK-9000v2 review.

The most interesting feature of this keyboard is their claim of full NKRO through USB. Traditionally in order to press every button down on a keyboard you are limited to using a PS/2 connection. Recent research at Microsoft increased the USB limit to approximately 18 keys from the usual 6kro. I would be curious to see someone put that keyboard through Aquakey to verify those claims.

The QuickFire Pro is expected to have an MSRP of $99.99. If they are like other keyboard manufacturers, that likely depends on the switch used.

Fancy a peek at the Diablo III beta?

Subject: General Tech | April 4, 2012 - 01:34 PM |
Tagged: gaming, diablo iii

While we cannot offer you a way to get into the beta, it is possible to show off a game play movie made by Slashdot, or two.  The release of this gaming is fast approaching with just over a month to the May 15th release date ... assuming no more delays occur.  From the video we learn that the developers have made the stats autolevel so that players do not have to worry about breaking their character with poor stat choices.  Many skills will be tied to the equipment you are wearing and so will not be a permanent choice, swapping your equipment will change your skills.  Hopefully Slashdot is right when they state the developers spent a lot of time toning down the tedium and raising the level of fun.

hackandslashdot.png

"It's been almost four years since Diablo 3 was announced, and its development began years earlier. Its predecessors helped define the action RPG genre, so anticipation is high among fans of the franchise. The game has undergone closed beta testing since September, and a lot has changed since then. Now that Blizzard has settled on May 15th as a release date, we thought this would be a good time to take a look at the state of the game as it currently exists. These two videos show actual gameplay of the various classes, explain the skill and rune systems, take a look at the auction house, and go over many of the other changes since the beginning of development."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

Source: Slashdot

OCZ isn't the only one with a new drive today, Hitachi now offers a 4TB Ultrastar

Subject: General Tech | April 4, 2012 - 01:07 PM |
Tagged: ultrastar, sata 6Gbs, hitachi, 7K4000, 4TB

There aren't any benchmarks yet to see what the new Hitachi Ultrastar 7K4000 4TB HDD but with the similarities to the 3TB model some assumptions can be made.  The 7200RPM drive contains five 800GB platters and a 466Gbits/in2 areal density with a 64MB cache and a rated sequential transfer rate of up to 171MB/sec.  They also managed to increase the energy efficiency of the drive somewhat, using 24% less watts per GB while offering 33% more storage.  The Register reported on both this drive as well as the 4TB Thunderbolt edition which was recently released.

hgst_7k4000.jpg

"Hitachi GST has laid a nice Easter egg: a 4TB enterprise disk drive and a first at this capacity level. It's HGST's second 4TB product.

This 3.5-inch drive technology first surfaced in September when Hitachi GST launched its 4TB G-Drive external Thunderbolt product. Now it has updated its Ultrastar line, jumping from the 3TB 7K3000 to this 7K4000 product."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

NVIDIA urges you to program better now, not CPU -- later.

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | April 4, 2012 - 04:13 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, Intel, Knight's Corner, gpgpu

NVIDIA steals Intel’s lunch… analogy. In the process they claim that optimizing your application for Intel’s upcoming many-core hardware is not free of effort, and that effort is similar to what is required to develop on what NVIDIA already has available.

A few months ago, Intel published an article on their software blog to urge developers to look to the future without relying on the future when they design their applications. The crux of Intel’s argument states that regardless of how efficient Intel makes their processors, there is still responsibility on your part to create efficient code.

nvidiainteltf2.jpg

There’s always that one, in the back of the class…

NVIDIA, never a company to be afraid to make a statement, used Intel’s analogy to alert developers to optimize for many-core architectures.

The hope that unmodified HPC applications will work well on MIC with just a recompile is not really credible, nor is talking about ease of programming without consideration of performance.

There is no free lunch. Programmers will need to put in some effort to structure their applications for hybrid architectures. But that work will pay off handsomely for today’s, and especially tomorrow’s, HPC systems.

It remains to be seen how Intel MIC will perform when it eventually arrives. But why wait? Better to get ahead of the game by starting down the hybrid multicore path now.

NVIDIA thinks that Intel was correct: there would be no free lunch for developers, why not purchase a plate at NVIDIA’s table? Who knows, after the appetizer you might want to stay around.

You cannot simply allow your program to execute on Many Integrated Core (MIC) hardware and expect it to do so well. The goal is not to simply implement on new hardware -- it is to perform efficiently while utilizing the advantages of everything that is available. It will always be up to the developer to set up their application in the appropriate way.

Your advantage will be to understand the pros and cons of massive parallelism. NVIDIA, AMD, and now Intel have labored to create a variety of architectures to suit this aspiration; software developers must labor in a similar way on their end.

Source: NVIDIA Blogs

The fine waterline between genius and madness; toilet water PC cooling

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | April 3, 2012 - 12:01 PM |
Tagged: case mods, watercooling, toilet, couric

When Google discusses using toilet water to cool a data centre, they don't exactly mean it in the way that this case mod went, but the latter is certainly easier to set up at home.  Other such inventive cooling solutions have been tried, after all what good is it if the weather outside is -40o if you don't have it vented through to your PCs intake fan?  However this is probably the first time someone popped a water pump into a toilet reservoir to use as an open cooling loop for a PC.  With a slight change to the tubing, you could probably ensure you never have to sit down on a cold seat again. ExtremeTech has pictures of the system and its creator here.

toilet-cooling-cistern-640x480.jpg

"Hot on the heels of news that Google uses toilet water to cool one of its data centers, it has emerged that an enterprising hardware hacker had the same idea some seven years ago. As you will see in the following pictures, though, Jeff Gagnon’s computer is much more than a toilet-cooled rig — it’s a case mod tour de force."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: ExtremeTech

Optical or laser, EpicGear's Meduza can do one or both at once

Subject: General Tech | April 2, 2012 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: meduza, input, gaming mouse, epicgear

If you can't decide if you prefer an optical sensor or a laser sensor better then EpicGear's new mouse is a great find.  It sports laser, optical and the blended HDST mode which combines them both and offers better sensitivity than the optical sensor though not quite as much as in laser only mode.  They also offer a hybrid mouse pad designed to be used with the mouse, which OC3D also tried out.  The software for programming macros is also worth a mention, not only does it properly record pauses between button presses but is easily editable after you've recorded them, just in case you didn't time it perfectly.

OC3D_Epicmouse.JPG

"Epic Gear are willing to throw their hat into the gaming mouse ring with the innovative Meduza mouse."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: Overclock3D

Ever wonder what is in a Reviewers Guide?

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 2, 2012 - 12:13 PM |
Tagged: NVIDA, gtx 680, reviewer guide

A long held tradition in the hardware reviewing world is to accuse reviewers of biasing their reviews by only running the benchmarks that the manufacturer wants you to run and providing slanted results.  It really doesn't matter if every single site comes out with similar results, for some if a review doesn't fit their personal bias it is obviously flawed.  As [H]ard|OCP mentions, there was a time when Reviewer's Guides did resemble something along those lines but they have changed over time as suppliers realize the more biased they attempt to make their guidelines, the less likely a review site is to follow them. 

These guides are now more of a mix between a white paper and a lengthy PR release, with relatively in depth discussions on the capabilities of the product along with highlights of what the company feels are the key features on the new product.  [H] has posted the document which arrived with their GTX 680, discussing features and yes ... suggesting the appropriate games with which to show off their cards features, though what game could you test PhysX with other than Batman?

H_reviewre.jpg

"Many times we have been asked what exactly CPU and GPU companies "require" of us when working on a review of yet-to-be-released hardware. Published here is the Reviewers Guide from the recent NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 launch in its entirety. Besides it being a great geeked-out read, you will likely learn a few things."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP