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

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

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

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

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Rosewill Launches New Limited Edition RK-9000I Mechanical Keyboard

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

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

Rosewill Limited Edition Elite Ivory RK-9000I.jpg

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

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

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

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

Source: Rosewill

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

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

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

HaD_sp2200.jpg

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

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

Source: Hack a Day

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

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

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

l4d.gif

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

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: The Inquirer

Valve to Sell Non-Game Software On Its Steam Platform

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

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

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

steam_non_game_software.jpg

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

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

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

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

Source: Tested

Microsoft’s New Windows 8 Box Art Revealed

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

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

Win8box.jpg

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

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

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

Source: The Verge

Microsoft will chop bits off of Office on WinRT

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

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

Steve-Ballmer-intros-Office-2013.jpg

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

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

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

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

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

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

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Check out the other deals available today!

Laptops

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

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

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

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

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

Desktops

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

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

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

Monitors

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

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

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

Peripherals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tablets

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

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

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

Gaming:

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

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

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

Home Entertainment:

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

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

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

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

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

Personal Portables & Peripherals:

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

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

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

Source: LogicBuy

DayZ becoming stand-alone. You and what ARMA?

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

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

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

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

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

DayZ.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

Source: PC Gamer

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

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

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

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

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

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

opengl_logo.jpg

The Khronosgraph says 20 years.

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

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

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

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

Source: Ars Technica