Razer Launches $129 Ouroboros Gaming Mouse

Subject: General Tech | July 31, 2012 - 04:54 AM |
Tagged: razer ouroboros, razer, mouse, gaming mouse

Gaming peripheral company Razer recently released a new high-end gaming mouse called the Razer Ouroboros. Named after an ancient symbol of a serpent or dragon, the Ouroboros is by no means using outdated technology. For $129 USD or €129.99 in Europe, the Ouroboros offers up wired or wireless connectivity, and a 12 hour battery life in an ambidextrous design. Users can adjust the length of the mouse as well as the angle of the back arch. Additionally, the Ouroboros mouse comes with one of two side panels for each side (four total) that can be switched out to make it right or left handed.

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The new Razer mouse comes from the company's Mamba pedigree. Specifically, it is packing an improved version of the 4G Dual Sensor technology that boasts up to 8,200dpi resolution. In the wireless mode, the Ouroboros features a 1ms response time and a claimed 1000 Hz polling rate. It is powered by a single AA battery that can provide up to 12 hours of use on a single charge for long gaming sessions (general desktop use and standby time should extend the battery life much more). The Ouroboros also includes LED lighting, left and right mouse buttons, a scroll wheel, and dedicated DPI switching buttons. The company's Synapse 2.0 software is also compatible with Razer's new mouse.

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The Ouroboros will be available some time in Q4 2012 for $129.99. Razer has set up a website for more information and photos of the new gaming mouse which you can find at razerzone.com/ouroboros. As a long-time user of the original (pre-dual sensor tech) Mamba, the new Ouroboros looks to be a promising gaming mouse. Just about the only feature it doesn't seem to have is adjustable weights, which always seemed like a neat feature to have.

Is it worth $129? It's hard to say without getting my hands on it in person, but it certainly looks good! What do you think?

Source: Razer

Checking the breadth of Corsair's Vengeance

Subject: General Tech | July 30, 2012 - 04:05 PM |
Tagged: input, corsair, gaming mouse, keyboard, vengeance, cherry mx red, k60, k90, m60, m90

LAN OC have been busily working their way through Corsair's Vengeance series of gaming peripherals, both the line of keyboards and mice.  They start off with the K60 and K90, both mechanical keyboards using Cherry MX Red switches and sporting customizable red rubber WASD buttons with a slant on them to make your fingers more comfortable for long nights of FPS action.  Only the K90 sports a three rows of six programmable buttons on the left hand side for use in MMOs, the K60 is more regularly sized.

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From there they move to the gaming mice, specifically the Vengeance M60 and M90 which bear many similarities.  The software suite which accompanies both mice gives you impressive control over the button programming and sensitivity of the mice and goes further with tools such as one that lets you rate the performance of the surface you are mousing on. Read on to see the physical differences between these two mice.

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"Every once in a while you find a company that is able to take a normal product that everyone has and change it in a way that makes everyone wonder why it was never done before. As much as it pains me to say this, Apple was one of those companies. In the pc components business there are a few as well, but the company that stands out the most to me would be Corsair. Every time corsair enters a new market, I find myself impressed with what they have to offer. Even though it seems like they are always jumping into random markets, they take their time and research what everyone has to offer and what people would really want to see. This week we are going to take a look at their new Vengeance lineup of mice and keyboards to see if they have done the same in these new markets. Today we are going to start with their new keyboards, let’s dig in and see what they are all about."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: LAN OC

No, Microsoft is not recording your Skype converstations with Mom

Subject: General Tech | July 30, 2012 - 01:07 PM |
Tagged: fud, skype, microsoft, office 2013

It is highly unlikely that the reason many of Skype's Supernodes have been moved to the inside of Microsoft data centres is to allow them to record your Skype conversations.  Consider instead the numerous guides on the net to disable the ability of Skype to co-opt your PC into being a temporary supernode.  With many users opting out of that necessary piece of Skype's infrastructure it could possibly cause quality of service issues with Skype.  As Microsoft is planning on bundling Skype in with the new version of Office, it makes sense that they want at least some supernodes of which they can guarantee a certainly level of QoS to their paying customers.  As The Register points out, they need to find some way to recoup the expense of purchasing the company.

The patent that Microsoft holds to allow for the silent recording of transmissions between two computers, like VoIP, is of some concern but perhaps not as much as some other coverage would have you believe.  The patent application was filed almost 2 years before the purchase of Skype; while it could certainly be used on Skype connections it seems unlikely that it was designed specifically with Skype in mind.  Perhaps a more logical application of this patent would be to offer a way for business users to record conference calls natively and not need to rely on third party software to enable them to do so.  Skype has offered up unencrypted recordings to law enforcement agencies in the past but only did so in special circumstances.  It is likely to continue to do so for as long as the laws of the land consider that process to be legal but the likelihood of general recording of all Skype conversations is almost nil.

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"Skype has issued a formal denial to reports that it has been allowing law enforcement to listen in on users' calls following a change in its system architecture.

"Some media stories recently have suggested Skype may be acting improperly or based on ulterior motives against our users' interests. Nothing could be more contrary to the Skype philosophy," said Mark Gillett, Skype's chief development and operations officer in a blog post."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

NVIDIA Hosts Mechwarrior Online Event

Subject: General Tech | July 29, 2012 - 10:21 PM |
Tagged:

On Friday evening at the NVIDIA campus in Santa Clara, CA, the company hosted a Mechwarrior online event bringing a lot of the hardcore fans.  The game's developer and publisher were on-hand to give new gamers some direction and to help organize the evenings tournaments and prizing.

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NVIDIA provided pizza and beer for those gamers of legal limit and supplied a great environment with which to either watch or participate in the online battles of the upcoming Mechwarrior Online.

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Of course there were tons of machines setup for getting some hands on time with the game and systems were shipped in from MAINGEAR, Geekbox, Shuttle and more. 

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I was able to stop by the event while I only got a short amount of play time in, the audience was certainly excited about the pending release next month.

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ASUS Republic of Gamers @ Fry's Electronics Recap

Subject: General Tech | July 29, 2012 - 09:45 PM |
Tagged: ROG, Republic of Gamers, asus

Over the weekend PC Perspective visited with ASUS for a stop on their Republic of Gamers tour, ROG @ Fry's Electronics.  On hand at the event were ASUS, Patriot, Antec and NVIDIA to showcase some exciting new hardware, perform some demonstrations both inside and outside the store and of course, offer up tons of prizes and giveaways to the DIY enthusiasts.

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Besides the $0.25 hot dogs and sodas (proceeds of which went to local community kids sports teams), I stopped by on Saturday to host a panel of Q&A with a rep from each of the individual companies involved.

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After going through some introductions and gauging the knowledge of the audience (standing room only!) we took questions and raffled off some free hardware as well. 

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Overall I thought the event was a pretty good success and there was a great amount of participation from the local hardware enthusiasts.  If you want to get involved in the market, get hands on with hardware you haven't seen yet and talk directly with the companies that affect your gaming experience, participating in events like this (and future ROG Experience Tour stops) is a fantastic way to do it!

You can see some more photos from the event after the break!!

NVIDIA Mobile Devices to Support Miracast Wireless Display Technology

Subject: General Tech | July 28, 2012 - 02:49 AM |
Tagged: wireless display, wifi alliance, widi, tegra 3, nvidia, miracast

NVIDIA has announced its support for a new wireless display technology called Miracast. The creation of the Wi-Fi Alliance and its partners, Miracast is a wireless technology that allows direct connections (sans router) between a Wi-Fi enabled device and a Wi-Fi enabled television set. It is a much more open standard than the proprietary technologies like Intel’s WiDi. Devices will require certification much like other Wi-Fi routers and wireless adapters. The Miracast standard certification program is set to launch soon with the standard’s specifications published sometime in August. Any device manufacturer will be able to use the standard and go through certification, though whether or not we will see the high adoption rate that many are hoping for remains to be seen.

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Interestingly, it looks as though NVIDIA is going to be one of the first adopters of the Miracast standard by integrating it into its Tegra 3-powered mobile devices. Using the Tegra 3 “4+1”-core System on a Chip, NVIDIA plans to use the chip to encode the audio and video information and pass it to the Wi-Fi stack where it is passed, via Wi-Fi, to the wireless display. The company wants you to be able to use its mobile tablets and smartphones as a controller to be able to play media and even games on the big screen. According to a recent blog post, NVIDIA is “actively working with our OEM partners and Miracast receiver vendors to bring this technology to market.” The company has further promised more specific updates once the Wi-Fi Alliance finalizes the specification.

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Miracast sounds good, as an open wireless display standard, but it is going to face some stiff competition from proprietary technologies. Apple’s Air Play, AMD's Wireless Display, Intel’s WiDi, and software like Android Transporter are all currently in use, and it is unlikely that those companies will forego the invested technology for an open standard. Miracast can certainly still work as a standard for all other devices, but that raises some questions. Mainly, whether or not a number of alternative devices using Miracast will be a large enough interest to compel display makers to support it. Hence my surprise when NVIDIA pledged its support, as it has the potential to be a big player in helping Miracast succeed. I'll remain skeptically optimistic on this one, but I'm curious what you think. Do you think that it will be successful as a wireless display standard?

You can read more about Miracast in this whitepaper (PDF).

Source: NVIDIA

Get an End of Nations Beta Key from PC Perspective and NVIDIA!!

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | July 28, 2012 - 01:20 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, end of nations, beta

Looking for something to do August 10-12th?  We have some good news for you! 

The wait for End of Nations is over. NVIDIA and PC Perspective are inviting our lucky readers to join the global conflict in Trion's End of Nations closed beta weekend on August 10-12th.

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Wage sprawling 56-player battles in this year's most anticipated MMO real-time strategy game for three action-packed days, absolutely free!

To get started, gear up with the ultimate weapon —an NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics card - then click the link below to get your FREE beta key!

Click right here to get an assigned key!  And have fun!!

We have 1000 keys up for grabs!!  So get one and pass it on to your friends as well!

Source: NVIDIA
Author:
Manufacturer: SiliconDust

An HTPC Perspective on home theater PC technology

We conducted a reader survey a few weeks ago, and one of the tech topics that received a surprising amount of interest in was HTPC coverage. You, our awesome readers, wanted to know more about the hardware and software behind them. I’ll admit that I was ardent about the prospects of talking HTPCs with you. As a relatively new entrant to that area of tech myself, I was excited to cover it, and give you more coverage on a topic you wanted to see more of!

Today we won't be talking about home theater PCs in the sense of a computer in the living room AV rack (Ryan covered that earlier this week), but rather a related technology that makes the HTPC possible: the CableCARD-equipped TV tuner.

I will forewarn you that this article is quite a bit more informal than my usual writings, especially if you only follow my PC Perspective postings. In the future, it may not be that way, but I wanted to give some backstory and some personal thoughts on the matter to illustrate how I got into rolling my own DVR and why I’m excited about it (mainly: it saves money and is very flexible).

Preface/Background

Despite my previous attempts to “cut the cord” and use only Internet-based services for television, me and my girlfriend slowly but surely made our way back to cable TV. For about a year we survived on Netflix, Hulu, and the various networks’ streaming videos on their respective websites but as the delays between a shows airing and web streaming availability increased and Netflix instant Streaming started losing content the price of cable started to look increasingly acceptable.

She was probably the first one to feel the effects of a lack of new content – especially with a newfound love for a rather odd show called True Blood. It was at some point thereafter, once she had caught up with as many seasons offered on Netflix of various shows as possible that she broke down and ordered U-Verse. U-Verse is an interesting setup of television delivery using internet protocol (IPTV). While we did have some issues at first with the Residential Gateway and signal levels, it was eventually sorted out and it was an okay setup. It offered a lot of channels – with many in HD. In the end though, after the promotional period was up, it got very expensive to stay subscribed to. Also, because it was IPTV, it was not as flexible as traditional cable as far as adding extra televisions and the DVR functionality. Further, the image quality for the HD streams, while much better than SD, was not up to par with the cable and satellite feeds I’ve seen.

Being with Comcast for Internet for about three years now, I’ve been fairly happy with it. One day I saw a promotion for currently subscribed customers for TV + Blast internet for $80, which was only about $20 more than I was paying each month for its Performance tier. After a week of hell Therefore, I decided to sign up for it. Only, I did not want to rent a Comcast box, so I went searching for alternatives.

Enter the elusive and never advertised CableCARD

It was during this search that I learned a great deal about CableCARDs and the really cool things that they enabled. Thanks to the FCC, cable television providers in the United States have to give their customers an option other than renting a cable box for a monthly fee – customers have to be able to bring their own equipment if they wish (they can still charge you for the CableCARD but at a reduced rate, and not all cable companies charge a fee for them). But what is a CableCARD? In short, it is a small card that resembles a PCMIA expansion card – a connector that can commonly be found in older laptops (think Windows XP-era). It is to be paired with a CableCARD tuner and acts as the key to decrypt the encrypted television stations in your particular subscriber package. They are added much like a customer-owned modem is, by giving the cable company some numbers on the bottom of the card that act as a unique identifier. The cable company then connects that particular card to your account and sends it a profile of what channels you are allowed to tune into.

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There are some drawbacks, however. Mainly that On Demand does not work with most CableCARDS. Do note that this is actually not a CableCARD hardware issue, but a support issue on the cable company side. You could, at least in theory, get a CableCARD and tuner that could tune in On Demand content, but right now that functionality seems to be limited to some Tivos and the rental cable boxes (paradoxically some of those are actually CableCARD-equipped). It’s an unfortunate situation, but here’s hoping that it is supported in the future. Also, if you do jump into the world of CableCARDs, it is likely that you will find yourself in a situation where you know more about them than the cable installer as cable companies do not advertise them, and only a small number of employees are trained on them. Don’t be too hard on the cable tech though, it's primarily because cable companies would rather rent you a (expensive) box, and a very small number of people actually know about and need a tech to support the technology. I was lucky enough to get one of the “CableCARD guys,” on my first install, but I’ve also gotten techs that have never seen one before and it made for an interesting conversation piece as they diagnosed signal levels for the cable modem (heh). Basically, patience is key when activating your CableCARD, and I highly recommend asking around forums like DSLReports for the specific number(s) to call to get to the tier 2 techs that are familiar with CableCARDs for your specific provider when calling to activate it if you opt to do a self-install. Even then, you may run into issues. For example, something went wrong with activation on the server side at Comcast so it took a couple of hours for them to essentially unlock all of my HD channels during my install.

Continue reading to find out why I'm so excited about CableCARDs and home theater PCs!

Join ASUS and PC Per At Fry’s For a ROG Gaming Event

Subject: General Tech | July 27, 2012 - 02:35 PM |
Tagged: ROG, patriot, gaming, fry's, event, asus, antec

As Ryan alluded to in last night’s podcast, there is an upcoming event at the Fry’s Electronics store in Sunnyvale, California on the last weekend in July – the 28th and 29th. Specifically, it is the second-annual Republic of Gamers @ Fry’s event held by popular motherboard manufacturer ASUS. ASUS, in concert with NVIDIA, Antec, and Patriot Memory will be on hand to answer your questions and listen to your comments. As a gaming-oriented event, the company has lined up several events for the whole family – from casual to hardcore gamers – and has brought along tons of ROG-branded hardware for you to check out. Some of the hardware on hand will include ASUS’ Maximus V Extreme and Maximus V Formula Z77 motherboards, its G75 laptops, and Vulcan Active Noise Canceling Headphones. There will also be prize giveaways both in person and online through the various social networks (for those that can’t make it in person).

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Gaming hardware spans from the ASUS Transformer tablets to custom high-end gaming machines that will be available for you to play a number of different games.

The other major event is a panel hosted by PC Perspective’s own Ryan Shrout who will be entertaining the audience along with several hardware manufacturers. The topics of discussion will include tips for first time PC builders, advanced overclocking techniques, general hardware goodness, and a question and answer section where you will get a chance to get answers from the hardware manufacturers on your important questions!

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It’s is going to be a really fun time, and you will be able to see Ryan and bug him about the podcast videos and give him (good!) feedback on the site. We are excited about it and hope to see you all there! We previously mentioned a question and answer section, and one way to ask if you can’t make it is use the comments section below this post where Ryan will do his best to get you good answers!

Below are the full details on the where and when.

Location:

Fry’s Electronics
1077 East Arques Ave.
Sunnyvale, CA 94085

When:

July 28th-29th 2012 (Saturday and Sunday) from 11am to 6pm

Misc:

Admission is free.

ASUS will be providing $0.50 hot dogs and Coke, the money from which will go towards local charities.

Of course, there is a Facebook page for more information and to RSVP. Visit http://goo.gl/Lxkdl for more event details and follow #ROGexperience to stay up-to-date on the latest event information and for some great on-site giveaways.

Source: ASUS

GPU: Finally getting recognition from Windows.

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Systems, Mobile | July 27, 2012 - 02:12 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, winRT, gpgpu

Paul Thurrott of Windows Supersite reports that Windows 8 is finally taking hardware acceleration seriously and will utilize the GPU across all applications. This hardware acceleration should make Windows 8 perform better and consume less power than if the setup were running Windows 7. With Microsoft finally willing to adopt modern hardware for performance and battery life I wonder when they will start using the GPU to accelerate tasks like file encryption.

It is painful when you have the right tool for the job but must use the wrong one.

Windows has, in fact, used graphics acceleration for quite some time albeit in fairly mundane and obvious ways. Windows Vista and Windows 7 brought forth the Windows Aero Glass look and feel. Aero was heavily reliant on Shader Model 2.0 GPU computing to the point that much of it would not run on anything less.

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Washington State is not that far away from Oregon.

Microsoft is focusing their hardware acceleration efforts for Windows 8 on what they call mainstream graphics. 2D graphics and animation were traditionally CPU-based with a couple of applications such as Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, and eventually Chrome allowing the otherwise idle GPU to lend a helping hand. As such, Microsoft is talking up Direct2D and DirectWrite usage all throughout Windows 8 on a wide variety of hardware.

The driving force that neither Microsoft nor Paul Thurrott seems to directly acknowledge is battery life. Graphics Processors are considered power-hogs until just recently for almost anyone who assembles a higher-end gaming computer.  Despite this, the GPU is actually more efficient at certain tasks than a CPU -- this is especially true when you consider the GPUs which will go into WinRT devices. The GPU will help the experience be more responsive and smooth but also consume less battery power. I guess Microsoft is finally believes that the time is right to bother using what you already have.

There are many more tasks which can be GPU accelerated than just graphics -- be it 3D or the new emphasis on 2D acceleration. Hopefully after Microsoft dips in their toe they will take the GPU more seriously as an all-around parallel task processor. Maybe now that they are implementing the GPU for all applications they can consider using it for all applications -- in all applications.