If you are going to get a discreet sound card then go all out with the ASUS Xonar Xense kit

Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2011 - 03:55 PM |
Tagged: xonar, xense, audio, asus

The ASUS Xonar Xense Premium Gaming Audio Set is more than just a soundcard you pick up to take a bit of load off of your CPU, it is an audiophile class sound card with replacable op-amps.  The list of supported technology reads like a sound techs dream, Dolby Headphone, Dolby Prologic IIx, Dolby Digital Live, Xonar GX2.5 and ASIO 2.0. and it can process up to 192kHz/24bit bit stream.  There is nothing minimalist about the software controls that come with the card, you have significantly more control over your audio than with just about any other sound card and the screenshots that Think Computers posted show a fairly intuitive interface.  The only potential drawback is the Sennheiser PC350 Xense headset that the card ships with, which Think Computers was not overly impressed with. 

TC_Xense.jpg

"When you first see the ASUS Xonar Xense’s EMI shield, you get a sense that this isn’t anordinary soundcard. The non-ironic conclusion is, you’re right. ASUS has put together another great soundcard and bundled it with a great pair of headphones, the Sennheiser PC350 Xense Edition. The Xonar Xense offers a myriad of inputs and outputs, and can chug out high definition audio up to 192kHz/24bit without breaking a sweat. It easily is one of the coolest pieces of hardware you can add to your rig. Need more convincing? Continue reading to check out all of the details of the ASUS Xonar Xense."

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Audio Corner

Linux has been having power management problems and this is why

Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2011 - 01:49 PM |
Tagged: linux, ASPM, battery

The recent release of the 2.6.38 Linux kernel has lead to many complaints from mobile users who find their battery life noticably reduced.  Phoronix noticed the issue a while back but until now had not completed enough investigation to be able to pinpoint the cause.  With the arrival of a power monitor they are now willing to point a finger at Active-State Power Management for PCI Express and BIOS compatibility as the cause.  While the desktop users enjoy an increase in speed in certain applications that require their PCIe lanes to be going full out, mobile users notice the drain on the battery as the PCIe lanes take as much power as they can whether they need it or not.  For mobile users whose top priority is power savings, it is recommended that you stick with a pre-2.6.35 kernel as there are also power issues related to that build.  Phoronix does offer a possible solution for some users in their article if you do need to use the latest build.

Battery.jpg

"Mobile users are urged to seriously consider these results, and possibly even avoid the Natty Narwhal...I hate to say it, especially in an Ubuntu review, but the mobile edge goes to Windows for now...There are also compelling reasons for folks to avoid [Ubuntu 11.04] at all costs. Linux gamers should see substantial improvements, while mobile users suffer a dramatic loss in battery life," were among the critical comments that Tom's Hardware had in their Ubuntu 11.04 review as they were referencing the power regressions I discovered nearly two months ago within the mainline Linux kernel. As I mentioned on Sunday, the Phoronix Test Suite stack and I have now nailed this major power regression in the Linux 2.6.38 kernel that is affecting a significant number of mobile Linux users. Here is what is happening and a way that you should be able to workaround the serious regression should it affect your computer system(s)."

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Source: Phoronix

So... looks like Mozilla is a home-user company. Yep.

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | June 25, 2011 - 02:09 PM |
Tagged: mozilla, enterprise

For enterprise users looking to introduce Firefox to their business: you may wish to reconsider. Businesses are notorious for being substantially behind in version numbers, occasionally (or a lot) trading even security for compatibility. Mozilla had a staggered release schedule: a minor version number was little more than a security update; a major version number was a fairly-large overhaul. Enterprise users were able to upgrade minor version numbers and be reasonably assured that compatibility would be maintained. There were no such assurances for a major version number, thus requiring rigorous testing before applying. Mozilla has ended their policy of supporting back versions with security updates and are also moving between full versions much more rapidly, causing dissension amongst enterprise users.

IE6.png

Moving the world forward, not backwards, and always twirling towards freedom.

Ed Bott took the opportunity to prod Mozilla during his Thursday evening column. He contends that shutting out enterprise will assist in the impending implosion of Firefox and allow Microsoft and Google to pick up the pieces. I seriously disagree with that statement and applaud Mozilla for staying focused on their goal. True, Mozilla will be vastly less attractive to the enterprise; however, if Microsoft did not have Windows and Office to push with Internet Explorer, would search ad revenue and donations cover the long-term development cost incurred supporting enterprise users? And really, I would have thought Ed Bott of all people (ok, except maybe Paul Thurrott) would respect a company that can make a decision like Mozilla just did and stick by it after covering Microsoft for so long.

Source: ZDNet

Thankfully John Isner and Nicolas Mahut's match is not still going

Subject: General Tech | June 24, 2011 - 06:31 PM |
Tagged: friday, forum, eliza effect

Upgrading anything on your PC is great fun but it can also invites great pain into your life as you give the sadistic side of your 'puter a chance to mess with your head.  Even if the upgrade is external, your internet connection for instance, there is still a chance that somewhere, somehow, the PC will find a way to make you miserable.  Here in the the PC Perspective Forums, we don't see this as a reason to leave forehead prints in your desk, we consider it a learning experience, and we do it to ourselves on purpose ... or possibly accidentally?  It is not just PCs ether, our mobile devices are getting smart enough to mess with us as well and the customer support can be worse. 

If you are looking for something more than jsut sharing tech advice, you can blow people away or blow their arguments away.  If you are feeling more altruistic you can Fold@Home and try to save lives or pick up a BOINC project or 12 and contribute to our scientific knowledge.  Then again if you want to be entertained while you learn, we didn't quite make the length of a double podcast but Epsiode 159 of the PC Perspective Podcast runs 1:27:10.

 

 

Intel learns from Sandy Bridge mistakes, but is it enough?

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | June 24, 2011 - 01:13 PM |
Tagged: linux, Ivy Bridge, Intel

Back when Sandy Bridge launched, Intel had some difficulty with Linux compatibility due to their support software not being available long enough ahead of launch for distribution developers to roll it in to their releases. As a result, users purchasing Sandy Bridge hardware would be in for a frolic in the third-party repositories unless they wished to wait four or five months for their distributions to release their next major version. This time Intel is pushing code out much earlier though questions still remain if they will fully make Ubuntu’s 11.10 release.

19-tux.png

You mean there's Intel... inside me?

Intel came down hard on themselves for their Sandy Bridge support. Jesse Barnes, an open-source Linux developer at Intel, posted on the Phoronix Forums his thoughts on the Sandy Bridge Linux issue:

"No, this is our job, and we blew it for Sandy Bridge. We're supposed to do development well ahead of product release, and make sure distros include the necessary code to get things working … Fortunately we've learned from this and are giving ourselves more time and planning better for Sandy Bridge's successor, Ivy Bridge."

Now, six months later as support for Ivy Bridge is getting released and rolled into their necessary places, Intel appears to be more successful than last time. Much of the code that Intel needs to release for Ivy Bridge is already available and rolled in to the Linux 3.0 kernel. A few features missed the deadline and must be rolled in to Linux 3.1 kernel. While Phoronix believes that Fedora 16 will still be able to roll in support in time it is possible that Ubuntu 11.10 may not unless the back-port the changes to their distribution. That is obviously not something Intel would like to see happen given all their extra effort of recent.

Source: Phoronix

What an odd time to be a .NET programmer

Subject: General Tech | June 24, 2011 - 12:08 PM |
Tagged: .net, longhorn, microsoft, windows, winfx

Way back in the beginning of the 00's, before Win7 was Win7, Microsoft announced the development of a new OS that was named Longhorn.  This was an ambitious plan to move from the old Win32 programming interface to a newcomer called .NET which Microsoft had designed to be an alternative to both Win32 and VisualBasic.  There would still be backwards compatiblity with Win32 apps but no more extensions to the API would be created.  Of course as we know this project never saw the light of day and Win7 remained dependant on the two old, if familiar APIs.

As if that was not bad enough for those programmers who chose .NET for their specialty, a few weeks ago Microsoft gave them another kick when they announced the upcoming Windows 8 OS will utilize HTML5 and JavaScript, not .NET nor even the old pair that programmers are familiar with.  This was not well recieved by those who had spent significant time and money becoming adept programming .NET applications.

Now, in a move that is hard to judge if it is a mean trick or an honest attempt to placate the hoards of fuming .NET programmers, Microsoft has announced that Longhorn is not dead; it was just resting.  Windows 8 will ship with a pair of runtimes, .NET 4.5, and a C++ implemention which will be called WinRT and do everything Win32 could do and more and will work with the new user interface design tool they're calling DirectUI.  Even Silverlight is being integrated into the APIs, which means all that training in Microsoft programming may pay off in the end.  Drop by Ars Technica and decide if this is bull or not.

ars_disturbing_longhorn.jpg

"Early this month, Microsoft dropped something of a bombshell on Windows developers: the new Windows 8 touch-friendly immersive style would use a developer platform not based on .NET, which Microsoft has been championing for the past decade. Instead, it would use HTML5 and JavaScript. Since then, the company has refrained from making any further comment on the issue. In particular, the question that has many Windows developers particularly concerned—how can I make use of my existing skills and experience when developing these new applications?—remains unanswered; the company plans to reveal nothing until its BUILD conference in September."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Ars Technica

Meet the Medic, Uber Update, and TF2 itself are freed

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2011 - 11:13 PM |
Tagged: valve, tf2, free to play

All week long Valve has been teasing about their largest content update to date with 8 of the 9 classes getting one to three items each and a new map for the expanded mayhem to rage on. Their tease wrapped up today with the release of a 4 minute cinematic trailer for the game, “Meet the Medic”, which is the first released in over two years. Meet the Medic displays the gruesome and dark nature of the character and shows the historical inception of the Ubercharge to the Team Fortress universe. If you wish to experience the new content but do not own Team Fortress 2 you can simply fire up Steam and get it, forever; Valve has decided to release it for free.

medic1.jpg

Fuhreeeeeeeeeeeeee?

Yes, it is. While Steam sales of days past have placed the price of the game as close to the free territory that a game could reasonably be, Valve has decided to outright waive the entry cost for the game in lieu of optional item micro-transactions. Last September during the Mann-Conomy Update, Valve inserted a system where users can purchase official and community-created content (the creators of each mod receive commission from said transactions) as an alternative of earning it through achievements or receiving them randomly in “drops” as an incentive to play the game. Valve decided that for the length of the game being on the market and for the volume of sales from the item purchase system that it would be no longer necessary to collect money from the game itself.

medic2.jpg

But… shouldn’t he be holding two pistols?

So with the update today: load up your Steam, even if you never had purchased Team Fortress 2 before, and go practice medicine. Do go harm.

Super Fast PCI Express Cable Capable of 32 Gbps Announced By The PCI SIG

Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 23, 2011 - 07:30 PM |
Tagged: thunderbolt, storage, pcie, PCI SIG, Opitical, Intel

Just as Intel is slowly persuading its super fast data interconnect, the PCI Special Interest Group is already introducing their own competing standard in the form of a PCI Express cable that is slated to be capable of a drool-worthy 32Gbps (gigabits per second). Planned to be constructed from copper wire, the cable standard will be launched as part of the PCI Express 3.0 standard and will be able to pipe both data and power through a thin, flattened cable up to 3 meters (9.84 feet) in length.

The PCIe cable is able to achieve this high bandwidth by combining up to four parallel lanes, each capable of 8 Gigatransfers per second (GT/s). Further, it will be able to provide approximately 20 watts of maximum power to peripheral devices. Speedy connectivity to fast SSD based portable hard drives as well as to tablet and smart phone devices for sync, additional touch interface, and external displays are all aims of the PCIe cable. It is squarely aimed to compete with Intel-backed Thunderbolt; however, the PCI SIG has not stated as such, yet. The interest group was quoted by EE Times in saying "There are solutions [like this] in the industry--Thunderbolt is one of them, and some companies are doing own thing,"

 

Intel's Thunderbolt and the PCIe cable will soon enter the Thunderdome to battle for supremacy

The PCIe cable is expected to be ready for peripheral device makers’ integration as early as June 2013. In the future, the cable is likely to be included in the PCI Express 4.0 standard where it will receive an upgrade to 16 GT/s lanes, and from their it will subsequently receive an upgrade to an optical based transmission material.

You can read more about the new PCI Express cable as well as its merits as a open standard (and how that affects Thunderbolt’s proprietary nature) over at EE Times.

Source: EE Times

Part raptor, part mouse, all game

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2011 - 05:50 PM |
Tagged: raptor-gaming, mouse, input, gaming

The Raptor-Gaming LM2 mouse actually looks unique in a market where several mouse bodies are rebranded and perhaps slightly modified and sold as a unique product.  In theory the use of a 2400dpi optical sensor should help keep the price down and they also completely skipped any sort of control software. That might annoy micromanagers but it will please the plug'n'play crowd.  Hardware Heaven felt that with 5 buttons including the scroll wheel it has enough controls for most usage but the asking price is equivalent to mice with more features and a control suite which is why they recommend you give this mouse a miss.

HH_raptor-gaming-lm3.jpg

"Today we have another new product from Raptor-Gaming, the LM3 gaming mouse. The LM3 is a mid-range gaming mouse offering simple plug and play support and we will find out if it suits the needs of today's demanding gamers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

PC Perspective Podcast #159 - AMD Llano Notebook Platform, AMD Fusion platform architecture, X79 Rumors, the deal about BAPCo and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2011 - 02:39 PM |
Tagged: x79, podcast, nvidia, llano, Intel, fusion, APU, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #159 - 6/23/2011

This week we talk about the AMD Llano Notebook Platform, AMD Fusion platform architecture, X79 Rumors, the deal about BAPCo 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 Malventano

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

Program length: 1:27:10

Program Schedule:

 

  1. 0:00:30 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. 0:01:50 AMD A-Series Llano APU Sabine Notebook Platform Review
  6. 0:05:00 AMD Fusion System Architecture Overview - Southern Isle GPUs and Beyond
  7. 0:33:24 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  8. 0:34:00 AFDS11: AMD Demonstrates Trinity Powered Notebook
    1. AFDS11: Upcoming Trinity APU will use VLIW4 / Cayman Architecture
  9. 0:35:45 AFDS11: ARM Talks Dark Silicon and Computing Bias at Fusion Summit
  10. 0:41:30 AFDS11: Microsoft Announces C++ AMP, Competitor to OpenCL
  11. 0:45:45 New Rumor Indicates X79 Chipset Will Support Both 1366 and 2011 Sockets
  12. 0:49:49 Microsoft is probably laughing as AMD speculates the unlikelihood of Intel buying NVIDIA
  13. 0:54:45 Larrabee rides again, almost ... meet Knights Corner the new Many Integrated Core design
    1. Intel Hopes For Exaflop Capable Supercomputers Within 10 Years
  14. 0:58:35 What's the big deal with BAPCo? Why Benchmarking Matters
  15. 1:05:20 Crysis 2: Cry Harder (with DX11 and High Res textures)
  16. 1:06:00 *Allyn Show and Tell*
  17. 1:12:45 Quakecon Reminder - http://www.quakecon.org/
  18. 1:13:17 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: https://www.findbigmail.com/
    2. Jeremy: How to Encrypt Your Dropbox Files, at Least until Dropbox Wakes the F* up
    3. Josh: nice combo!  http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.654093.24-176-144
    4. Allyn: Lytro
  19. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  20. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  21. 1:25:45 Closing

Source:

Hello Idoru, welcome to the uncanny valley

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2011 - 12:15 PM |
Tagged: uncanny valley, j-pop, idoru

At first glance this article at Gizmodo looks like a fluff peice about a Japanese pop bad comprised of seven young women; however one of them is not real.  She is a composite of the six real band members mapped onto an actors face.  So while she might not quite be the full virtual Idoru of William Gibson's book, the face does not exist except as 150GB worth of data.  There has been another similar star in the form of Miku Hatsune, though 'she' was a full CGI persona attached to a synthesizer, a very graphical user interface if you will.  Perhaps you are not into j-pop, but the implications for games will probably interest you.  Where L.A. Noire is famous for the mapping of mouths during speech and individualized facial tics and tells, with this type of technology any face or combination of faces could be mapped to an actor.  Character skins indeed.

eguichi.jpg

"The fact is that yes, she looks exactly like the others. Literally. The big eyes, the juicy lips, the perfect cheeks, the cute chin, the blinding smile and the angelical look belong to the other six member of AKB48. Eguchi Aimi is not a real person, she has been composed in a computer using parts from her fellow band members. Her fans, who are legion, just learned about it this week, when this shocking video demonstrating the process, was published in YouTube. They just couldn't believe it and you won't believe it either:"

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Tech Talk

Source: Gizmodo

Asus Invites You to Attend The Republic of Gamers Formula X Event

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2011 - 12:14 AM |
Tagged: ROG, Republic of Gamers, overclocking, gaming, Formula X

This weekend Asus is holding an event open to the public for all computer enthusiasts interested in overclocking, gaming, case modding, and benchmarking. Sponsored by Asus, Intel, NVIDIA, and NVIDIA, Antec, Kingston, Patriot,CoolerMaster, CPU Magazine, Corsair, and Razer, 20 of North America’s top overclockers have been invited to push the latest Asus Republic of Gamers motherboards and graphics cards to the limit with the help of some LN2. In addition to the prize of respect, during the competition the participants will be awarded with over $50,000 USD worth of hardware from the sponsors.

Asus is gearing up for Formula X with lots of awesome ROG hardware

In addition to the overclocking and case modding showcases, various new Republic of Gamers hardware will be making its North American debut including the z68 Maximus IV Extreme-Z and Maximus IV Gene-Z motherboards, Matrix GTX 580 Platinum GPU, and the ROG G74SX gaming laptop.

According to Asus, the two day event is open to the public and no admission fee is required. With 2300 liters of liquid nitrogen on hand, Asus is confident that the overclocking event will be a great experience for everyone involved. The Formula X event will take place this weekend on the 25th and 26th of June 2011 from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM on Saturday and 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Sunday, and is located at Fry’s Electronics 1077 E. Arques Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94085. A phone number is also provided at (408)-617-1300.

If you are local or are going to be in the area this weekend, we encourage you to stop by and check out the enthusiast event. For those who can not make it stay tune to PC Perspective for the latest happenings on Formula X.

Source: Asus

Bumpday 6/22/2011: Honda-Vu

Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2011 - 11:01 PM |
Tagged: tablet, cog, bumpday

This past week Sony decided to release their first video in their new tablet PC ad campaign months before the release of their product. By the end of the campaign Sony promises five total videos parts (excluding a prologue and maybe more spin-offs just to make me a liar) which they hope will captivate you until the autumn. The first thing I thought of when viewing this video is the Honda Cog video so I guess it is time to bump it up in our memory.

bumpday.png

You forgot the uphill rolling tires Sony!

Back in April 2003 our web forum went abuzz with Honda’s stunning Rube Goldberg machine made mostly out of Honda Accord parts. It did not take long for discussion to devolve into picking on then-mocked FORD because most four-letter words are easy to make acrostic poems for. None of the links still work as they are 8 years old; however, it is still available to be viewed on Youtube and I would be irresponsible to embed it here as well. So nostalgia at the commercial, and nostalgia at the forum thread long since forgotten.

BUMP!

Source: PCPer Forums

Crysis 2: Cry Harder (with DX11 and High Res textures)

Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2011 - 10:31 PM |
Tagged: patch, dx11, crysis2

“Yeah, but does it play Crysis 2 now?”

Crysis 2 has shed the resource hog reputation of its predecessor while simultaneously shedding its reputation as a game to show off your computer with. There was also a lot of ranting in the forums during it and its demo's releases about how good of PC game it was altogether. Coming on Monday, Crytek is setting to release their anticipated DirectX 11 patch along with a higher resolution texture pack for those with computers that scoff at Crysis 2 in its current state.

Crysis2.jpg

Can you run me now? Good.

(Image from Crytek, modified)

The change list for patch 1.9 includes a set of notable additions:

  • DX11: Tessellation + Displacement Mapping
  • DX11: High Quality HDR Motion Blur
  • DX11: Realistic Shadows with Variable Penumbra
  • DX11: Sprite Based Bokeh Depth of Field
  • DX11: Parallax Occlusion Mapping
  • DX11: Particle Motion Blur, Shadows, and Art Updates
  • DX11: Water Rendering improvement using Tessellation and Displacement Mapping
  • Realtime Local Reflections
  • Added support for Higher Resolution Textures Package
  • Improved advanced video settings menu
  • Improved Tone Mapping
  • (And the usual bug fixes and such)
Both of these additions, the patch and the texture pack, were at one point accessible through the MyCrysis website. I did not see the update (as I do not own Crysis 2) until after they were removed; however, Crytek does state that both updates will be made available after official release on June 27.  
 
Do you think you will don on the nanosuit again? (Registration not required for comments)
Source: MyCrysis

Fantasy Island for the undead, welcome to Dead Island

Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2011 - 12:43 PM |
Tagged: gaming

Way back in February a trailer went up for Dead Island which received a lot of press as it was put together very well and added a little more emotion to a genre which only tends to consider brains as a food item.  Ars Technica has hd a chance to play through the game both on their own and in co-op mode and are satisifed that this is not a case of Dead Rising meets Left4Dead.  This serious yet light hearted game will be available come early fall, hopefully with a demo released before that.

ARSdeadislandface.jpg

"Dead Island takes place on a beautiful tropical island, and you are tasked with taking control of one of four characters to do your best to survive an outbreak of zombies. The game features a wide-open world to explore, but while it may be constantly compared to other games like Dead Rising, it successfully manages to feel like its own game. I've had the chance to play the single-player game, as well as take the four-player co-op play for a test drive, and I've enjoyed both."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: Ars Technica

AMD is out and ARM is in for several major notebook vendors

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | June 22, 2011 - 12:05 PM |
Tagged: arm, amd, texas instruments, snapdragon, amazon, tegra

It is not just AMD which is forging a new relationship with ARM, which we saw evidence of during the AMD Fusion Developer Summit, several other manufacturers are making good on previous statements made while waiting for AMD, and are going to be selling ARM based notebooks.  These companies are not on the fringe of the market, these are major vendors like ASUS which are releasing quad-core ARM based notebooks which will use SnapDragon, Tegra or TI for the graphics portion.  DigiTimes has the scoop here, as well as news on a tablet which will be released by Amazon running an unspecified TI processor which we should see by August.

Texas-Instruments-logo-design.png

"Several vendors, including Samsung Electronics, Toshiba, Acer and Asustek Computer, plan to develop ARM architecture notebooks, with products possibly to be launched as early as the end of 2011, according to industry sources.

The sources pointed out that ARM-based systems using Android were already launched under the smartbook name two years ago with Toshiba and Lenovo both launching products in the retail channel. However, due to weaker than expected demand, the related products were soon phased out of the market.

Since ARM's CPU has already been upgraded from single-core two years ago to quad-core with a significant increase in performance, while the platform's storage capacity has also seen significant improvements, and an enhanced user interface, ARM is already capable of launching notebook products that are able to run for a long period of time, and if the price is attractive, there is a great chance for the products to create a brand new market segment in the IT industry.

Asustek has already made plans to launch a 13-inch ARM-based notebook adopting Nvidia's processor with Android.

The sources pointed out that there are already several brand vendors reportedly set to launch ARM-based notebooks with prices lower than US$299 to compete for market share and the vendors' processor choices include Nvidia's Tegra, Qualcomm's Snapdragon and processors from Texas Instruments."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Microsoft updates Skydrive, teases me personally

Subject: General Tech, Storage | June 21, 2011 - 10:26 PM |
Tagged: skydrive, microsoft

There are a number of reasons for which someone would desire to have their data accessible from the internet and there are a number of services that provide that capability in many different ways. If you are looking to collaborate on a small project with automatic syncing then you will probably find your way to Dropbox. If you are looking to access your music collection from your variety of devices then you will probably like Amazon or Google’s music lockers. Should you be looking to migrate a business to a really large online storage system then Amazon S3 might be worth hooking into. If you are a home user who wishes to store and share your photos, documents, and videos with friends and family then Microsoft recently updated their Skydrive service to help users like you; it should be available to you right now.

Why start the video from the desktop, Microsoft? A guy has feelings you know.

One feature I wished that Microsoft would have implemented to Skydrive at some point over the last few years is an easy method to map your Skydrive account to a drive letter on your computer. Sadly this feature is still not present in Skydrive. What are present are features to make Microsoft’s service look much more user friendly and much more like a native application. Their new photo browser looks quite a bit like their Windows Phone 7 tile interface with photos shown in their original aspect ratio fitting together like a puzzle. There is also a nice looking content browser that slides both pictures and videos across a viewing screen with thumbnails below for selection. With features like these with a focus on cross-browser support it is obvious that Microsoft is looking to be your family’s content hub and prevent Facebook from getting that much more powerful in this space.

What do you use, if anything, to share content with friends and family?

World's first 7-inch Android 3.2 tablet

Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 21, 2011 - 06:58 PM |
Tagged: Huawei, CommunicAsia, Android 3.2

There seems to always be a trade show going on at some corner of the ellipsoid world particularly at this time of the year. Down in Singapore the CommunicAsia 2011 exhibition is on until the 24th and news is starting to trickle out about advancements in communication technology. If you were holding your breath until Android reached version 3.2 on devices you can almost finally exhale, if you are still conscious because you can at best hold your breath for like 8 minutes and Android products are not that quick to ship. Yet.

Seventh floor… going up… ... WHAMMY BAR!!!

Huawei announced on the 21st that they are releasing a 7-inch tablet based on Android’s 3.2 release. The tablet will feature a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor from Qualcomm but no mention of how much system RAM it will contain as it still allegedly depends on partners. The capacitive touchscreen will be IPS-based at a 217 PPI pixel density. After a little trigonometry: a 7-inch screen will have a resolution somewhere between 1280x720 and 1366x768 if its pixel density is 217 pixels per inch. The unit itself is capable of outputting 1080p to an external display through HDMI. There are currently no details towards a price, but Huawei stated that there are no plans for a Wifi-only version. The unit is expected to ship in the third quarter of this year.

Source: Engadget

What's the big deal with BAPCo? Why Benchmarking Matters

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | June 21, 2011 - 02:36 PM |
Tagged: VIA, sysmark, nvidia, Intel, benchmark, bapco, amd

It seems that all the tech community is talking about today is BAPCo and its benchmarking suite called Sysmark.  A new version, 2012, was released just recently and yesterday we found out that AMD, NVIDIA and VIA have all dropped their support of the "Business Applications Performance Corporation".  Obviously those companies have a beef with the benchmark as it is, yet somehow one company stands behind the test: Intel.

Everyone you know of is posting about it.  My twitter feed "asplode" with comments like this:

AMD quits BAPCo, says SYSmark is nutso. Nvidia and VIA, they say, also.

AMD: Voting For Openness: In order to get a better understanding of AMD's press release earlier concerning BAPCO...

Ooh, BapCo drama.

Why Legit Reviews won't use the latest BAPCo benchmark:

Even PC Perspective posted on this drama yesterday afternoon saying: "The disputes centered mostly over the release of SYSmark 2012. For years various members have been complaining about various aspects of the product which they allege Intel strikes down and ignores while designing each version. One major complaint is the lack of reporting on the computer’s GPU performance which is quickly becoming beyond relevant to an actual system’s overall performance. With NVIDIA, AMD, and VIA gone from the consortium, Intel is pretty much left alone in the company: now officially."

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Obviously while cutting the grass this morning this is the topic swirling through my head; so thanks for that everyone.  My question is this: does it really matter and how is this any different than it has been for YEARS?  The cynical side of me says that AMD, NVIDIA and VIA all dropped out because each company's particular products aren't stacking up as well as Intel's when it comes to the total resulting score.  Intel makes the world's fastest CPUs, I don't think anyone with a brain will dispute that, and as such on benchmarks that test the CPU, they are going to have the edge.  

We recently reviewed the AMD Llano-based Sabine platform and in CPU-centric tests like SiSoft Sandra, TrueCrypt and 7zip the AMD APU is noticeably slower.  But AMD isn't sending out press releases and posting blogs about how these benchmarks don't show the true performance of a system as the end user will see.  And Intel isn't pondering why we used games like Far Cry 2 and Just Cause 2 to show the AMD APU dominating there. Why?  Because these tests are part of a suite of benchmarks we use to show the overall performance of a system.  They are tools which competent reviewers wield in order to explain to readers why certain hardware acts in a certain way in certain circumstances.  

Continue reading for more on this topic...

Source: PCPer

RAZER cuts the cord on their new Chimaera Gaming Headset

Subject: General Tech | June 21, 2011 - 11:59 AM |
Tagged: audio, wireless audio, headset, razer

RAZER's new headphones are wireless, with three rechargable AAA batteries which are easily accessible so that when they do finally stop holding a charge you can easily get at them to swap them for new ones.  The charging dock is quite well designed, actually giving you something more stylish than a nail to hang your headphones on when they are not in use as well as charging them.  When you are using them you will enjoy interference free quality audio, both sending and receiving, if the review at Mad Shrimps is anything to go by.  They liked this headset more than other wireless sets they have used in the past and compared them favourably to wired sets. 

MS_RazerChimaera.jpg

"The RAZER Chimaera Gaming Headset offers wireless connectivity for maximum liberty of movement, features large cups for confortable wear during long gaming sessions, a uni-directional microphone with a flexible mic boom and an easy to use charging dock."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: Mad Shrimps