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Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | December 28, 2011 - 05:04 PM | Scott Michaud
There are a few individuals in the video game industry who attract news articles when their employers change; Richard Huddy is one. Experience with 3DLabs and executive positions at NVIDIA and ATI/AMD firmly suggests that he is in touch with graphics processing. Huddy completes his tour of the current PC GPU triangle by signing on with Intel. Given said GPU background, it would be interesting to speculate what plans Intel has for their presence in the graphics market -- and some already are.
Matrox… isn’t a part of that triangle…
KitGuru speculates that Intel realizes their attempts in developing graphics accelerators, such as Larrabee and their integrated GPUs, are lackluster; I personally believe that is a fairly safe speculation to make. Hiring the person who has dealt with developer relations throughout Europe for NVIDIA and worldwide for AMD would give you a good sense of what directions you need to be heading as a company. KitGuru also speculates that Intel desires to be placed in the consoles -- while developing a console GPU would be desirable for Intel as there would be no pressure to get huge numbers in random benchmarks, I doubt that is a core focus of Intel. If I was to speculate, and I am, my personal expectation would be to keep up with AMD and NVIDIA in the GPGPU war as well as tablet GPUs.
If you were to speculate: what do you think Intel’s motives are? Sane or crazy -- if it's legal, comment away!
Subject: General Tech, Processors | December 28, 2011 - 02:33 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: intel atom, Intel, atom
Intel’s Atom processors were created as a tier below their Celeron product line. Netbooks, then running VIA Nano processors, have started to gain popularity since their introduction in late 2007. Intel’s Atom processors took the place of the VIA parts since that time. In 2009, Intel has stated that they have seen approximately twenty percent of their sales of notebook processors replaced with sales of their cheaper Atom processors. Intel still maintains the Atom processor line, but apparently with new goals in mind.
Up and ATOM!!!
According to Digitimes, the demand for Intel’s Atom processors has declined recently. Intel, in response, decided to market that tier of parts to embedded and server customers for use in network-attached storage devices and very low-end servers. Intel is also rumored to have plans to shrink the process size of Atom in 2013 to 22nm and again shrink process size to 14nm in 2014. The upcoming 32nm Atom processor is expected by the second quarter of 2012.
Subject: General Tech | December 27, 2011 - 03:49 PM | Scott Michaud
A little standard known as Thunderbolt has made its way around the industry for its high bandwidths and promise of transporting data optically rather than electrically. Intel, the creator, eventually needed to drop optical communication from the spec with a return loosely planned but firmly believed. For the last year, Apple was the only source for Thunderbolt-capable computers; starting in April, several PC manufacturers are expected to participate in adopting Intel’s technology.
Intel weighed in on the adoption of the standard in a statement to their partners.
To speed up the standardization of Thunderbolt, Intel is cooperating with Apple and Apple is the sole vendor currently to have PC products featuring Thunderbolt technology. As demand for the technology has seen obvious growth, Intel is ready to release the technology for public use.
While I am not too fond of the more proprietary platforms, several technologies await better external busses: high-speed storage and dockable processing accelerators such as external video cards are two very good examples. We will also at some point need to break free from electron transistor-based computing methods; optical integrated circuits based on photonic crystals appear to be a logical albeit distant next step. Advancements in optical bus technology for Thunderbolt, now, would be applicable for the advancement of that technology when it becomes ready, much later.
What would you do with a faster external bus? The crazier the prediction, the better.
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | December 21, 2011 - 07:42 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: microsoft, CES2012, CES
There are just a few shopping days left until the holidays, but feel comfortable knowing that whatever panic you experience will be over just in time for CES with our associated and broadcasted panic. We will be covering the expo and many of its events starting on the 8th of January for your entertainment and your education. One company that usually has a gigantic presence at CES, albeit not as reported on by us relative to other companies, is Microsoft; this year is no different -- but CES 2013…
The software giant’s presence at CES 2013: Micro… and soft.
This year's presence? Big and right next to the restrooms.
(Image from MapYourShow.com)
Microsoft is known for having a large presence at CES each year, year after year, for recent memory. Over the years, Microsoft has unveiled products such as the original Xbox, gave a release window for their Project Natal (later Kinect), and just last year demonstrated Windows running on ARM processors. Microsoft’s official statement denotes a shift from CES announcements to releasing news through social media, their website, and their retail stores for those who enter a Microsoft retail store.
After thinking about questions like these, we have decided that this coming January will be our last keynote presentation and booth at CES. We’ll continue to participate in CES as a great place to connect with partners and customers across the PC, phone and entertainment industries, but we won’t have a keynote or booth after this year because our product news milestones generally don’t align with the show’s January timing.
I, personally, would love for Apple to take Microsoft’s booth space… for the delicious layering of irony. I would then of course love for it to have been a good decision for Microsoft to pull out to screw Apple over. Everyone wins by everyone losing.
Subject: General Tech | December 21, 2011 - 04:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, serious sam, serious sam 3 bfe
In a nice change from many other recently released games, Serious Sam 3 was obviously designed with PC gaming in mind. While it is still a DX9 game, the developers spent a significant amount of effort pushing DX9 as far as it could go to provide you with great visuals and an options screen that gives you a lot more control than other recent
console ports games. [H]ard|OCP's testing shows the game scoffs at high resolutions, with the performance at 2560x1600 being essentially the same as at 1920 x 1280. AMD holds a slight lead in performance over NVIDIA, though not enough to really brag about, either manufacturer will give you a great experience while playing this game. Check it out here.
"Croteam's latest installment in the Serious Sam series takes us back to a time when first person shooters were designed around fragging endless waves of zombified enemies, cover did not exist, and rocket launchers were semi-automatic weapons. This DX9 game comes packed with graphics options that push the current generation of graphics cards to the limit."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Winter’s Already Here, Silly: Game Of Thrones @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Hooray! A Skyrim UI Mod: SkyUI @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Review: 3D Vision 2 Experience @ Hi Tech Legion
- Gaming's biggest joys—and most bitter disappointments—of 2011 @ Ars Technica
- Skyrim LAA Patch @ [H]ard|OCP
- The Highly Anticipated Grand Theft Auto V @ kitguru
- PlayStation Move Games Roundup December 2011 @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: General Tech | December 21, 2011 - 03:39 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: llano, APU, amd, a-series
From DigiTimes we have some news that AMD has been keeping a very tight lid on for some reason. The secret was not a brand new product line or surprising advance that won't see the light of day for a long time to come, instead it was the arrival of updated A-series APUs to the market. With absolutely no press build up or even a review of these processors in sight it came as a bit of a surprise, albeit a good one. We have a pair of new A-8 and A-6 processors and a single A-4 on the desktop side, with an addional "K" in the name of two. That "K", which you will remember from Intel processors, does indeed seem to replace the Black Edition name AMD previously used to identify unlocked processors. For the notebooks are a few more chips, two of each of the A-8 and A-6, three A-4 processors and an E2 as well. The naming scheme here is concerned with the TDP of the chip, an M part is 35W and the MX is 45W.
Perhaps AMD let a few too many of their marketers go as they are not only not telling anyone about their new parts they had to borrow a naming scheme from the competition. Catch all of DigiTimes coverage here.
"AMD has updated its A-series lineup of desktop and notebook accelerated processing units (APUs), further improving its family of dual- and quad-core APUs. Along with speed and performance improvements, AMD Steady Video update make this unique feature more compelling. For desktop users, AMD extends its overclocking pedigree to the APU; for the first time users can tune both x86 and graphics settings in a single processor for boosted performance.
The updated AMD A-series APUs combine up to four x86 CPU cores with up to 400 Radeon cores, delivering powerful DirectX 11-capable, discrete-level graphics and dedicated HD video processing on a single chip. These new APUs increase performance and deliver a richer feature set than existing AMD A-series APUs. Plus, only AMD APUs offer AMD Dual Graphics for an up to 144% visual performance boost when a select APU is paired with a select AMD Radeon HD 6500 Series graphics card.
The AMD A-series family of APUs also features AMD Steady Video, designed to stabilize videos during playback. On select systems using AMD A-series APUs, Internet Explorer 9 will include an AMD Steady Video plugin, unlocking one-click control to simplify access to the premium AMD Steady Video feature for video stabilization.
All AMD A-series processors are powered by AMD VISION Engine Software, a suite of software that provides end-users with regular updates designed to improve system performance and stability, and can add new software enhancements."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- HDD industry to be dominated by Western Digital, Seagate @ DigiTimes
- Samsung MV800 Digital Camera Review @ Tech-Reviews
- Secrets and solutions from a reformed benchmarketer @ The Register
- Xerox PARC: A Brief Nod to the Minds Behind Laser Printing, Ethernet, the GUI and More @ Techspot
- eTeknix Christmas Hardware Buying Guide
Subject: General Tech | December 21, 2011 - 04:53 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: search, mozilla, google, firefox
Mozilla, the company behind the popular open source Firefox web browser receives a great deal of revenue from it's deal with Google wherein they make Google the default search engine and prominent placement in the search box. The deal between the two companies was set to end this year, and there was talk around the web that Google was set to not renew the deal now that its own web browser, Chrome, was gaining market share. Needless to say, such a deal ending would be very bad for Mozilla and the continued development of the Firefox browser.
Fortunately, according to Tom's Hardware, Mozilla has managed to renew the Firefox Google search deal for an additional three years. While the exact amount of money Mozilla is paid by Google for the search box deal, the deal's extension speaks well to Mozilla's financial stability, and should give them time to build up their browser and explore additional revenue opportunities. Firefox currently holds about a quarter of the browser market, and its continued development is important to keeping the competition on its toes and prodding IE into being standards compliant. The site quoted Mozilla's CEO Gary Kovacs in stating "this new agreement extends our long term search relationship with Google for at least three additional years," and that the deal between Mozilla and Google was "significant and mutually beneficial."
Are you glad that Firefox is going to stick around? The comment form is always open.
Subject: General Tech, Storage | December 20, 2011 - 02:52 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Seagate, Samsung, sale, partnership, hdd
Back in April of this year we heard that Samsung was going to spin off its HDD department, handing the entire compliment of staff, equipment and trademarked names to Seagate for about $1.4 billion USD total. Today that sale is complete as Seagate announced the final approval of the acquisition. This means very little for the consumer over the next 12 months, and not just because of the lack of available HDDs. Samsung's branding will remain on their HDD lines for the next year and as the entire Samsung team and facilities came with the rights to the products the design and assembly teams will be the same as when they were owned by Samsung.
Fans of Samsung notebooks and other PCs will also be unaffected as those products tended to utilize Seagate HDDs already, as the two companies have had a long and tight partnership. After a year we may see many of the Samsung lines disappear as they are folded into pre-existing Seagate product families, though it seems reasonable to hope that the new products will represent the both of best worlds.
CUPERTINO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Seagate Technology plc (NASDAQ:STX), a world leader in hard disk drives and storage solutions, today announced the closing of the transaction to acquire the hard disk drive (HDD) business of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in digital consumer electronics and information technology.
Under the terms of the transaction, Seagate has gained select elements of Samsung’s HDD business, including assets, infrastructure and employees that enable Seagate to drive scale and innovation. These assets include Samsung’s leading M8 product line of high-capacity, 2.5-inch HDDs. Samsung employees joining Seagate include a number of senior managers and design-engineering employees from Samsung's Korea facility, who will focus on development of small form-factor products for the mobile compute market. N.Y. Park, senior vice president and general manager, will oversee Seagate’s product development activities in Korea and serve as country manager of the Korea design center, reporting to Bob Whitmore, Seagate’s executive vice president and CTO.
“Together, Seagate and Samsung have aligned our current and future product development efforts and roadmaps in order to accelerate time-to-market efficiency for new products and position us to better address the increasing demands for storage,” said Steve Luczo, Seagate chairman, president and CEO. “It is an exciting time in the industry with rapidly evolving opportunities in many markets including mobile computing, cloud computing, and solid state storage.”
This transaction was announced in April 2011 along with a series of other agreements between Seagate and Samsung. Seagate is supplying disk drives to Samsung for PCs, notebooks and consumer electronics devices. Samsung is supplying its market-leading semiconductor products for use in Seagate’s enterprise solid state drives (SSDs), solid-state hybrid drives and other products. The companies have also extended and enhanced their existing patent cross-license agreement and have expanded cooperation to co-develop enterprise storage solutions.
“The strategic relationship will open new opportunities for the two companies by mutually complementing each other’s creative technology solutions for a broad diversity of IT applications,” said Oh-Hyun Kwon, vice chairman of Device Solutions of Samsung Electronics.
The transactions and agreements substantially expand Seagate’s customer access in China, Southeast Asia, Brazil, Germany and the Russian Federation. Seagate and Samsung also have been working together to ensure that customers continue to receive a high level of service, support and innovation, including activities to align the two companies’ supply bases and delivery infrastructure. To ease the transition of products and technologies, Seagate will retain certain Samsung HDD products under the Samsung brand name for 12 months, and maintain or establish a number of independent operations including sales staff, key production lines and R&D. Customers can find more information at www.seagate.com/samsung.
The combined value of these transactions and agreements is approximately US $1.4 billion, consisting of 45,239,490 Seagate Ordinary Shares and the remaining balance settled in cash. In addition, Samsung will designate a nominee to join Seagate’s Board of Directors.
Seagate does not presently expect significant restructuring costs and expects to achieve considerable reductions in overall operating expenses for the combined business while minimizing the integration costs. As previously stated, Seagate expects that the transactions and agreements will be meaningfully accretive to non-GAAP diluted earnings per share and cash flow in the first full year following the closing. Seagate will provide additional financial information for the combined company on its fiscal second quarter conference call in late January.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | December 20, 2011 - 04:34 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, CUDA, CARMA, capital letters, arm
Okay so the pun was a little obvious, but NVIDIA has just announced the specifications and name for the development kit used to develop for their ARM-based GPU computing platform. The development kit will provide a method to build and test applications on a platform similar to what will be found in the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre’s upcoming GPU supercomputer until you are ready to deploy the finished application with real data on the real machine. Such is the life of a development units.
Carma: What goes around, comes around... right Intel?
The development kit is quite modest in its specifications:
- Tegra3 ARM A9 CPU
- Quadro 1000M GPU (96 CUDA Cores)
- 2GB system RAM, 2GB GPU RAM
- 4x PCIe Gen1 CPU to GPU link
- 1000Base-T networking support
- SATA, HDMI, DisplayPort, USB.
Subject: General Tech | December 19, 2011 - 01:59 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: smart control, remote control, htpc
It is far too common for your coffee table to have several so called universal remotes on it, to control the variety of electronic equipment which makes up your entertainment center. Each one will have a device that it works best with, either because of the presence of certain buttons or even simply not having a working control code. Tech Reviews has a possible solution for you and one that doesn't even cost all that much. The One For All Smart Control is designed to work with TV, STB, DVD, AMP, MP3 and Media devices and the best part about it is that some commands can be given using motions. Soon screaming and waving your remote at your TV will actually accomplish something.
"We’ve all seen universal remote controls for TVs, but the One For All Smart Control takes things to a completely different level. The Smart Control provides the ability to control your devices with just a simple flick, or tap, of the remote control. Retailing at only £17.50, the One For All Smart Control is an absolute bargain considering you’re receiving quite a few features. Let’s take a closer look…"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Adobe kills two actively exploited bugs in Reader @ The Register
- Adam King from Asus takes us through his laptop range @ kitguru
- The TR Podcast 102: Future TV and a holiday Ti fighter
- The3DShop GraVT Professional Photographer System Giveaway @ Legit Reviews
- TRENDnet TEW-692GR 450Mbps Router @ Rbmods
- ASUS RT-N66U Dual Band Gigabit Router @ VR-Zone
- Powercolor JustSling @ kitguru
- Zabcat xplorer² File Management Software @ Benchmark Reviews
- The Digital Lounge 2011 Holiday Buying Guide @ Tweaktown
- TomTom GO LIVE 820 Top Gear Edition Sat Nav Review @ Tech-Reviews
- Interview with ARCTIC's Daniel Man @ HardwareHeaven
- ThinkComputers Holiday 2011 Staff Wish List @ ThinkComputers
- TweakTown's 2011 Holiday Shopping Guide
- Real World Labs And RaidSonic Joint Contest
- Win a 32GB Wi-FI Apple iPad 2 for 2012 @ kitguru
- Real World Labs And Jabra Joint Contest
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | December 16, 2011 - 04:45 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Radeon HD 7000, leak, amd
Update: 5:35, added a few points.
If the convincing-looking leaked slides are to be believed, the upcoming AMD Radeon HD 7970 card is now naked before us with all its measurements laid to bare. While there still is nothing official as the embargo is not up yet, rest assured that at some point the full story will flood to the surface. What can be said is that if this slide is true, the 7970 looks to be a real beast of a card.
The supposed reference specifications of the 7970… or are they?
(Image obviously from OBR-Hardware)
As you can tell from the heavily watermarked slide, AMD claims 3.5 TFLOPs of computing power from their 2048 stream processing units clocked at 925 MHz. Contrast this against the AMD’s assertion of 2.7 TFLOPs from the Radeon 6970’s 1536 stream processors and a core clock of 880MHz; while it is not an apples-to-apples comparison, it is a healthy buff to AMD’s portfolio. Also relevant, is a more recent slide claiming much-increased performance during tesselation which NVIDIA typically has maintained a healthy lead over AMD with.
Possibly the most major point from the table is the power consumption: less than 3 Watts during idle. To give a bit of... pc perspective...: HardOCP measured the idle power consumption of the 6970 to be 24 Watts and the NVIDIA GTX 580 at 41 Watts. We are talking about an 88% decrease in idle power draw compared to AMD’s last generation’s single GPU powerhouse. It makes me wonder: how will this affect mobility graphics? According to OBR-Hardware, their slide is somewhat out-of-date; the expected peak is 200W give or take for the card on load, though I am sure that will vary depending on which brand of card you purchase.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | December 16, 2011 - 03:32 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: kindle, tablet, kindle fire, ereader, sales
Although Amazon’s recent Kindle Fire eReader and tablet arrived to mixed reviews due to performance issues and privacy concerns, a great number of consumers (mainly less demanding relatives of tech enthusiasts from my experience) are buying them and enjoying them. Of personal experience, my significant other has yet to let it out of her sight for me to have time to test it out for example.
Therefore, I assumed the Kindle Fire was selling well. The sales seem to be much better than I expected; however, if these numbers by CNet turn out to be true. According to Amazon, the Kindle Fire has been the “bestselling, most gifted, and most wished for product” on Amazon.com ever since the tablet’s November 15th release.
Cnet further talked with the CEO of eDataSource Carter Nicholas who stated the Amazon statement on the Fire’s popularity was likely true. The market research firm has compiled data that shows Amazon sold 45,000 Kindle Fire tablets in one day last month alone, and Nicholas predicts increased sales over the holiday seasons. Approximately 850,000 Kindle Fires have been sold through Amazon.com’s website. Further, Isupply estimates that Amazon will ship 3.9 million Kindle Fire eReaders between October (pre-orders) and the end of December. While 850,000 Fire’s have been sold from the website, by including all channel partners and brick and mortar stores, it is estimated that Amazon has sold upwards of 2 million Fire tablets already. More information can be had here.
Because of the price, the Kindle Fire is selling like it is some kind of fire powered hotcake sale. Have you had a chance to play around with the Amazon tablet yet, and if so what are your thoughts on the device? Do you think the company will sell enough devices to give Apple a run for it’s money?
Subject: General Tech | December 15, 2011 - 02:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, gaming mouse, SWTOR, gaming headset, razer
We saw a BF3 branded gaming peripheral kit not long after the arrival of the game and you can get your hands on a Diablo 3 branded kit already, even though we are still awaiting the release of that game. Now Razer offers some love to fans of Star Wars: The Old Republic with a new mousepad, mouse and headset kit all bearing a familiar logo. The mouse is based on the Naga and has a 5600dpi sensor, 17 programmable buttons and both wired and wireless capabilities. Most important the LEDs can switch between red or blue (well, 16 million colours total) as well as changing the logo to properly advertise the side you have chosen. The headset uses 50mm drivers and also sports changeable logos and LED colours, though the mousepad lacks that ability. Along with the pack, Hardware Heaven points out that you get a colour change crystal for use in game to change the colour of your blaster bolts and lightsaber blade.
"Every big game release can be enhanced by a set of quality devices which tie in with the overall feel of the franchise and that is exactly what Razer aim to deliver with their The Old Republic gaming gear. We have the mouse, headset and mouse mat on our test bench today for a detailed look at what they offer for The Old Republic gamer."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Razer Imperator Battlefield 3 Edition Gaming Mouse @ Rbmods
- Steelseries Diablo III Gaming Mouse @ Funky Kit
- ROCCAT Kova [+] Gaming Mouse Review @ OCC
- CM Storm Xornet @ OC3D
- SteelSeries Sensei Gaming Mouse Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Roccat Kova[+] Optical USB Gaming Mouse @ Benchmark Reviews
- Ozone Strike Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ OCC
Subject: General Tech | December 15, 2011 - 12:25 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ES Halti, opengl, Basemark ES 2.0, rightware
The mobile reviews at PC Perspective tend to use SunSpider and Vellamo we also use a RightWare product called BrowserMark to test the responsiveness of smart phones and tablets. RightWare now has a new tool for reviewers and those who tweak their phones, Basemark Halti which tests OpenGL performance. This is of huge importance for those who want to have high quality gaming performance on their phones. The first benchmark is called Rush and is reminiscent of Mirror's Edge, which is quite on purpose as the benchmark is intended to replicate PC quality character rendering. The second involves a car racing around a track, a common type of gaming on a phone that contains an accelerometer. Again, this is intended to push the ability of your phone as far as it can go. AnandTech doesn't have the benchmarking software yet but you can bet it will be in their reviews for 2012.
"GPU benchmarking on the smartphone side of things is continuing to heat up, and today RightWare, maker of both BrowserMark and the very popular Basemark ES 2.0 (which are regular fixations in our smartphone reviews), has announced its OpenGL ES Halti benchmark, named Basemark Halti. Basemark Halti is slated to launch in 2012 for testing OpenGL ES Halti on devices coming in the near future."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Global Foundries does 20nm @ SemiAccurate
- How the Kindle Touch jailbreak was discovered @ Hack a Day
- Nvidia releases a GPU accelerated engineering simulation application @ The Inquirer
- TRENDnet TEW-680MB 450Mbps Dual Band Wireless N HD Media Bridge @ Rbmods
- Real World Labs And Cooler Master Joint Contest
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | December 15, 2011 - 04:03 AM | Scott Michaud
NVIDIA lays as the current front-runner for the “Last Year’s Best Decision, This Year” award. You may remember our coverage last June of the AMD Fusion Developer Summit; industry members such as ARM, Microsoft, and of course AMD discussed the potential of utilizing specialized processors and developing on open platforms such as OpenCL and Microsoft’s announced C++ AMP. Do you know what would have been an amazing announcement for AFDS to stomp OpenCL and C++ AMP? That NVIDIA would open up CUDA. Know what announcement missed that bus by a whole half a year? NVIDIA will open up CUDA.
Your platform pooh-pooh? Bear a CUDA.
While I just harassed NVIDIA for their timing, it might not be too late. CUDA is still a powerhouse of a GPGPU platform with substantial software support from absolute mammoth software packages such as Adobe Creative Suite to smaller projects like KGPU. With the open sourcing of the CUDA compiler, NVIDIA is also permitting manufacturers like AMD and even Intel to support CUDA with their GPUs, x86 CPUs, and other processing units. While I am excited at this outcome, I am still somewhat confused about NVIDIA’s timing: they are just a little late to open up and crush the market, and they seem quite abrupt if they originally intended CUDA to survive as a forever-proprietary computing platform.
Subject: General Tech | December 15, 2011 - 01:09 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: voip, google, gmail
Just in time for the holidays, Google is extending the free domestic calling via the Gmail VOIP service another year. Last year the company extended the free computer to telephone VOIP service another year and now they are doing it again. “This is our way of helping you connect with friends and family across the country,” states their recent blog entry.
In case you haven’t used the Gmail VOIP service yet, it is similar to the computer to computer and computer to cellphone (or land line) calling that you can do in Google Voice, only this is integrated into Gmail. It does require a small browser plug-in; however, it is worth it. Accessing it by clicking on the “Call a phone” link in the Gmail sidebar (in the chat/SMS section), you are able to put that headset to work by calling anyone in the US and Canada for free. I’ve used it a couple of times and found it to be rather handy for quick conversations while at my computer. Have you tried it out yet, and did you find it useful?
Subject: General Tech | December 14, 2011 - 12:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, dx11, batman arkham city
Batman makes it three for three as far as failed patches go for the current major releases. Battlefield's patch was probably the best of the three, Skyrim being the worst with Batman's simply failing to deliver what it promised ... improved DX11 performance. [H]ard|OCP recently reviewed the original game and now has published the results of their testing with the new patch. The good news is that most of the stuttering and crashes have been fixed, leaving only significantly lower performance when in DX11 mode compared to DX9. Originally you could expect a 50% reduction in fps when enabling DX11 and NVIDIA users can expect the same results at this point, AMD users will see their performance reduced by even more than pre-patch though the game its self should be more stable. If you want to run Batman Arkham Asylum at high resolution, you better have two GPUs.
"Days after our Batman: Arkham City Gameplay Performance and IQ review was published, the game was patched. The patch was ostensibly reported to fix DirectX 11 performance problems plaguing the game, but does it really do the trick? Where do our DX11 video cards stand now?"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- World of Tanks NVIDIA 3D Vision Game Review @ Benchmark Reviews
- Serious Sam 3: BFE @ kitguru
- Alan Wake PC: The First Interview @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Hands On: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Browse’n'Bash: C&C Tiberium Alliances @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Nuclear Dawning For Free This Weekend @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Star Wars: The Old Republic @ HardwareHeaven
- Batman: Arkham City Performance After The DX11 Patch @ Legit Reviews
- Valve, Half-Life 3 release date, and that t-shirt logo @ HEXUS
- More Details about South Park: The Game @ Kitguru
- Ninjalane Podcast - HWBot Country Cup 2011 Our Best Games of the Year
- Assassins Creed: Revelations PlayStation 3 @ Tweaktown
Subject: General Tech | December 14, 2011 - 12:00 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: tahiti, radeon, pitcairn, overclock, HD7000, amd
One quickly forgets about the initially released reference GPUs once the cards with custom coolers, capacitors and PCBs arrive on the market all cool and factory overclocked. Usually the original GPU and card designer, in this case AMD, licenses theit top tier partners, like MSI , Gigabyte or Sapphire, to sell cards following a design that AMD provides along with the license to design and sell the cards. As SemiAccurate points out, this has lead to a market where the only unique feature they can add is usually armed and wearing a bikini. After the card has been on the market for a while, then AMD allows non-reference designs to appear for some cards from some manufacturers.
Not so with one of the four lineups of GPUs soon to arrive on the market, AMD will be freeing us from the tyranny of Ruby in different outfits and allow their partners to modify the Tahiti Pro cards from the get go. Expect to see a large difference in the appearance and specifications of AMD's new high end series of cards. That is the only one of the four to get this treatment, Tahiti, Pitcairn and Pitcairn XT cards will still come out only as copies of the reference card design. This may change over time but for now the idea of custom cooler, power distribution and PCB design is something to look forward to in the coming years.
"Back to the new news, and it concerns the Tahiti Pro card. Word has reached SemiAccurate that Tahiti Pro will be unconstrained to the normal reference designs. If you recall, most GPU manufacturers will force AIBs to make cards based on the reference design for the first 3 months or so, and there are a variety of very good business reasons to do this.
Unfortunately, it leads to a problem where the reviews all are the same, mainly because all the cards are the same. The main difference between manufacturers comes down to what color the AIB decides to put on the chrome bikini of the girl with the big sword riding the mythical beast just below their logo. We are partial to Hafnium bikini’s on women riding giant Were-moles around here. Luckily, Tahiti Pro changes this."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- NVIDIA Releases Source To CUDA Compiler @ Slashdot
- Global DRAM oversupply expected to fall to 13% in 1H12, say Taiwan makers @ DigiTimes
- Futuremark 3DMark 11 v1.0.3 Now Available on NGOHQ.com
- TP-Link TL-WR2543ND router @ The Inquirer
- TRENDnet TEW-691GR 450Mbps Wireless N Gigabit Router Review @ Real World Labs
- The Antec Giveaways: Part 2 @ AnandTech
Subject: General Tech | December 13, 2011 - 12:40 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hdd, shortage, thailand
DigiTimes has been doing some good old fashioned investigative journalism and has come up with some (almost) good news about HDD shortages. With the news coming out of Western Digital that they are set to resume HDD manufacturing sooner than was originally projected, along with the factories that produce parts for other hard drive manufacturers, DigiTimes predicts a 5% supply gap by Q2 2012. This significant improvement will come too late for the Christmas season, which is why companies like Intel are lowering their economic outlook for this and the next quarter. With a shortage of hard drives to put in machines comes a lowered demand for all other system components, the exception being machines utilizing only SSDs which do not make up a significant portion of the market. By the third quarter of 2012, DigiTimes predicts a return to normalcy in the global supply of hard drives. By that point we should also have a good idea how hard motherboard, CPU, GPU and other companies have been affected by the flooding in Thailand and subsequent shortages.
"Thailand's floods in early October, have created strong impact toward the hard disk drive (HDD) supply chain, causing many PC brand vendors to miss business opportunities in the fourth quarter, the traditional peak season, but Digitimes Research senior analyst Joanne Chien believes hard drive capacity will see an obvious improvement starting February 2012 after experiencing the most serious shortages in December 2011 and January 2012.
Because brand vendors are already out of HDD inventory, shipment volumes of devices with HDDs in the first quarter of 2012 will remain at a similar level as in the fourth quarter of 2011, with the HDD supply gap to remain at about four million units. In the fourth quarter, brand vendors together have a total inventory volume of about 20 million units.
Benefiting from their crisis management capabilities, Western Digital and affected upstream HDD component makers are expected to restore 70% of their total capacity by March 2012, three months earlier than their original forecast."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Floods? What floods? Seagate to open new Thai disk fab @ The Register
- Meet the boffin who gave GPUs a bigger bang for the Buck @ The Register
- SandForce Aims for the Cloud(s) @ SemiAccurate
- Hewlett Packard: confusing strategy changes cost them billions @ Kitguru
- Out-of-plane growth of CNTs on graphene for supercapacitor applications @ The Register
- Here We Go Again, Another Linux Init: Intro to systemd @ Linux.com
- Xmas gift ideas? Get your KitGuru inspiration here
Subject: General Tech | December 12, 2011 - 12:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: PCI-E 3.0
You have likely noticed motherboards arriving on the market which claim to support PCI-E 3.0, doubling the bandwidth to 8 giga-transfers and bringing an end to the PCI-E 2.x we all know and love. The problem lies in the lack of any add in cards which are also PCI-E 3.0 compliant; current generation cards will work in the slot but they will not see the full speed of the new standard. Does this mean that buying a motherboard with the new standard is an investment for the future when an SSD or graphics card arrives on the market or would you just be wasting money on a marketing ploy? That is the question Hardware Secrets asks in their recent article.
"Recently, motherboard manufacturers have been fighting their hardest to differentiate their products from one another in an effort to re-invigorate the stagnant PC business. A lot of this messaging has taken a very aggressive turn, where companies have blatantly called out or attacked competing products for not being the real deal or being up-to-speed."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Chrome is the most secured browser - new study @ The Register
- Next generation iPads to be available in 3-4 months, say sources @ DigiTimes
- It Was One Heck Of A Year For Sandy Bridge Graphics @ Phoronix
- OCZ To Launch New Petrol SATA 3 SSD Line @ SSD Review
- SkyMall’s Most Bizarre Products – Part 14 @ Hardware Secrets
- Samsung NX200 Review @ Tech-Reviews
- Win an ADATA S510 120GB Solid State Drive