E3 12: Elder Scrolls Online gets more than a useless teaser.

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 5, 2012 - 05:44 PM |
Tagged: elder scrolls, E3 12, E3

Zenimax has launched a new teaser trailer for their upcoming Elder Scrolls Online. You will not see any in-game footage nor will you see any information in the trailer. To learn more about the game, you will need to be satisfied with testimonials -- which thankfully exist, at least.

So the “big MMO” space will likely be a three-way clash between EA, Activision/Blizzard, and now Bethesda.

I would expect that The Elder Scrolls franchise would be one of the strongest contenders against Warcraft and Star Wars. According to PC Gamer, The MMO will span the whole of Tamriel which is a departure from earlier installments which mostly flesh out a single area. The world will graphically not keep up with Skyrim yet will keep up with modern MMOs.

And EVE Online for the rest…

Three factions will be available for the player to choose from: The Aldmeri Dominion, the Daggerfall Covenant, and the Ebonheart Pact with the Bird, Lion, and Dragon emblems respectively. PVP between these three factions will be constrained to Cyrodiil which you may remember from Oblivion. Imagine catapults versus a castle sieging into the fortress and you would be imagining what some witnesses have described.

G4 has their hands on a few (older) screenshots which show the -- yes, third person -- gameplay of the MMO.

elder-scrolls-online-switches-to-third-person-first-screens-emerge.jpg

Oh look, a Venus fly trap.

Game Informer has quite a wealth of information about the two provinces controlled by the Daggerfall Covenant: High Rock and Hammerfell. Maps of both are present and dotted with allegedly present cities full of quests and attractions. This will be your home if you choose either Breton, Orc, or Redguard as your player race.

Game Informer also promises a feature on the Aldmeri Dominion tomorrow.

Computex: 3DMark Announces Windows 8 Benchmarking - First Screenshots

Subject: General Tech | June 5, 2012 - 01:37 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, computex, benchmarking, 3dmark

Popular benchmarking software company Futuremark has announced on their website a new version of their 3DMark application for Windows 8 benchmarking. While not available for download (yet), the application can be used to benchmark the performance of Windows 8 machines. Currently the company is calling the software "3DMark for Windows 8" which breaks the traditional numbered naming scheme.

3DMark_Windows8.jpg

Not much is known about the particulars yet, but we were able to snag some screenshots from their site which may or may not be publicly available any more. Take a look below the break (there are quite a few). More information should be coming shortly as Computex 2012 marches on.

I will miss the rocket powered airship and big guy with the minigun, but I suppose these benchmarks will be fun to watch as well.

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See more screenshots after the break!!

Source: Futuremark

Could Corning have finally made affordable ePaper?

Subject: General Tech | June 5, 2012 - 12:43 PM |
Tagged: video, willow glass, flexible display, corning

Corning has been successfully selling its Gorilla Glass on mobile devices as a much stronger and more durable alternative to other glass or plastic screens.  We have seen flexible OLED devices before now but the cost has always been prohibitive enough to prevent a large consumer release.  By tweaking the process Corning uses to make Gorilla Glass the company is now able to produce sheets of flexible 0.5mm thick Willow Glass a metre across which will help lower production costs.  The Register reports that Corning is confident that their new product will be compatible with touchscreen LCDs and OLEDs and will add flexibility while reducing weight.

"Corning has been showing off a new form of flexible glass that is the thickness of a sheet of paper yet easy to mass-produce.

Dubbed Willow glass, the material can be manufactured to just 0.05mm thickness compared to current 0.2mm or 0.5mm screens, and is suitable for touch control systems and with LCD and OLED displays. The extraordinary flexibility of the glass comes from the materials used to build it and the process by which it is made."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

Rosewill Premieres a Full Line of Gaming Weaponry

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Shows and Expos | June 5, 2012 - 12:09 AM |
Tagged: rosewill, computex, computex 2012, Fortress, Tachyon, SilentNight, Hercules, Throne

Rosewill is up to quite a bit at this years Computex with quite a few different products to house or interface with your computer. Starting with the largest of their new lineup; who wouldn't want another full sized Throne in their house? 

THRONE 3.jpg

Nine hard drive bays with four fans passing air over them, ten expansion bays to handle even the Wonder Twin Dream System with handy grommets for watercooling or wire management the interior of your case will look snazzy.  A bottom mounted PSU and top mounted large exhaust fan does make air cooling an extreme system possible for any hydrophobics out there.  Those preferring a good looking exterior will like the LEDs.

THRONE 1.jpg

Speaking of PSUs, they are showing off an 80Plus Platinum Certified tro at Computex with the Fortress, Tachyon and SilentNight with the 1600W Hercules standing tall above them. 

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They have two mechanical keyboards on display as well, though they do not specify which type they have used, the Limited Edition Elite Ivory RK-9000 series and the backlit RK-9100.  That doesn't cover all the releases they have (though it does their pictures), as they have the RSV-L4500 server chassis with up to 15 3.5" drives and eight 120mm fans, the RMX-N360RT wireless router for beginning network techs as well as experienced ones and a dual Xeon Super System named after a cult classic, which may be the only way to lay your hands on four GTX680's, the Red Dawn.

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Source: Rosewill

This morning at Computex it is ASUS in the spotlight

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 4, 2012 - 01:02 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, ultrabook, taichi, tablet, computex, asus, transformer book, Transformer

ASUS has been showing off its new mobile products at Computex, as you can see from Ryan's pictures below this post.  You can catch all the PC Perspective coverage by checking this page, as all Computex related content will show up there.   With all the fancy new products, the more pictures the better which is why you should also check out the coverage The Tech Report put up.  They snapped a few photos of the dual display Taichi which doesn't have a lid, instead there is a second independent touch screen display on the back which takes the idea behind ASUS' Transformer series to a whole new level.  That doesn't mean they abandoned the Transformer though as they also showed off three brand new Ivy Bridge powered Transformer Books and two separate tablets, the 600 and the 810 with the Tegra powered 600 running WinRT for ARM and the 810 running Windows 8 thanks to its Atom processor.

TR_tablet810.jpg

"We're rarely surprised at trade shows these days, but Asus CEO Johnny Shih saved something special for the end of his press conference today. After discussing everything from cloud storage to all-in-ones to notebooks and tablets, he pulled out one more thing: the Taichi. It looked like any other notebook, and Shih took great pleasure in showing off the "beautiful black mirror finish" on the top panel. I couldn't help but shake my head and sigh; the glossy finish was covered in fingerprints and smudges."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Computex: Intel Showing Off Thunderbolt Controllers and Hardware

Subject: General Tech | June 4, 2012 - 05:28 AM |
Tagged: thunderbolt controller, thunderbolt, motherboards, Intel, computex

Anandtech stopped by the Intel booth at Computex 2012 to check out their Thunderbolt display. Intel has three upcoming controllers, with the smallest being only 5.6mm wide. The company is also showing off several motherboards and Thunderbolt peripherals at their booth.

Intel has started off their Computex 2012 showings but showing off several bits of Thunderbolt hardware. They displayed three Thunderbolt controllers in various sizes (and accompanying capabilities), Thunderbolt-equipped motherboards such as this Asus motherboard we were able to get a video demonstration of, Thunderbolt docks, and other Thunderbolt peripherals.

Anandtech was able to get some photos of Intel’s booth display. One of the cool shots that they managed to take shows off three of Intel’s Thunderbolt controllers. From left to right are the Light Ridge, Cactus Ridge, and Port Ridge controllers. While the Cactus Ridge controller is capable of being a host and supporting attached devices, the smaller Port Ridge controller can only connect to Thunderbolt peripherals and only supports a single Thunderbolt port–this chip will see use primarily in tablets and other mobile devices.

Thunderbolt Controllers.jpg

In addition to the controllers themselves, Anand spotted several motherboards on display that all sported Thunderbolt controllers. These boards are further aimed at running Windows powered PCs, which is an important consideration with Apple having a large lead on adoption of the technology. Among the motherboards on display are the ASRock Extreme6 and ASRock TB, ASUS P8Z77-V Premium (LINKAGE), a Foxconn board of unknown make, Intel DZ77RE-K75, Gigabyte Z77X-UP5 TH, Gigabyte Z77X-UP4 TH, and a MSI Z77A-GD80 (LINKAGE).

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A Thunderbolt Equipped Motherboard: The MSI Z77A-GD80

It does seem like Computex 2012 is the year for an explosion of Thunderbolt devices. As Ryan mentioned on This Week In Computer Hardware, the cost of Thunderbolt devices and the cost of cables versus the “good enough” (and much cheaper) USB 3.0 technology is going to really hold Thunderbolt back from widespread adoption. There is no doubt that Thunderbolt has the potential to be very useful, but the market of people that could really use the technology to it’s fullest is relatively small. Expect Thunderbolt to stick around, at least for a while, but it will likely not rival that of USB 3.0 as far as integration with computers and user adoption. On the other hand, if they can get the cost of cables and related hardware down far enough such that the difference between it and USB 3.0 is not much it could take off...

What do you guys think of all the Thunderbolt technology coming out of Computex (and it’s only day 1!)?

Other Thunderbolt news:

Source: AnandTech

New Matrox DS1 Dock For Macbooks Uses Thunderbolt

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | June 3, 2012 - 11:08 PM |
Tagged: computex, thunderbolt, Matrox, macbook, dock, apple

Matrox has recently launched a new Thunderbolt dock aimed at adding desktop peripherals to Apple Macbooks and Ultrabooks. The dock connects via a single Thunderbolt cable (it does require a separate power source as well) and provides one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, a DVI video output, audio in/out jacks, and a Gigabit LAN port. It will be available for purchase in September with an MSRP of $249 USD.

Matrox has released a new laptop dock called the Matrox DS1 that is designed to pair with Thunderbolt-equipped notebooks and provide several additional connectivity options. The aluminum chassis is reminiscent of a slimmer WD My Book drive because of the book like shape. The front of the DS1 dock is a Thunderbolt input and status LED. On the back of the dock is a DVI output, three USB ports (one USB 3.0, two USB 2.0), microphone input, headphone output, and a Gigabit LAN port. To the far right is a DC power input which means that the dock is a bit less portable than I would like but it is not clear how big of a “wall wart” it will come with.

Matrox_DS1_Thunderbolt_Docking_Station.jpg

The company has stated that the aluminum case should protect the dock in just about every use case, and the additional IO certainly adds much needed connectivity to Ultrabooks where available ports are at a premium. Senior Director of Sales and Marketing for Matrox, Alberto Cieri, has been quoted by Apple Insider in stating “The new Matrox DS1 docking station easily enables the creation of an ergonomic workspace and brings much-needed expandability for printers, scanners, storage, smartphones, optical drives, cameras, flash drives, and other peripherals.”

Matrox_DS1_Thunderbolt_Docking_Station_Connections.jpg

The Matrox DS1 will be shown off at Computex 2012 this week in Taipei, Taiwan at Intel’s booth (M0410 in the Nangang Exhibition Hall). After that, it will be shown off at WWDC in San Fransico and Infocomm in Las Vegas on June 12th and June 13th to June 15th respectively. In September of this year it will be available for purchase with an MSRP of $249 USD.

Situations like this are where Thunderbolt really shines, and I would not be surprised to see companies outfitting employees with Ultrabooks for mobile use and a larger monitor and peripherals for in-office use (eschewing a separate desktop machine altogether). The price, especially considering Thunderbolt cables themselves are expensive is going to be the most limiting factor for docks like these despite their usefulness.

Editor's Note: Although Tim didn't mention it, one kind of interesting drawback is that this device does NOT include a Thunderbolt pass through, basically preventing users from taking advantage of the daisy-chain capability TB can offer via a single port / connections on the laptop or computer.

Verizon To Upgrade FIOS To 300Mbps for $204.99 a Month

Subject: General Tech | June 3, 2012 - 04:23 AM |
Tagged: verizon, pricing, Internet, fios, fiber, 300mbps

According to sources that talked with The Verge, Verizon is planning on offering faster internet services for its FIOS customers, but the new tiers are going to cost a pretty penny.

Verizon will be upgrading many of its FIOS internet speeds, and the changes are set to go into effect on June 17th. The base 15/5Mbps (download/upload) plan will cost $10 more than the current price of $54.99 at $64.99 a month. The current 25/25Mbps will be upgraded to 50/25 and will not see a price increase–it will continue to cost $74.99. The current 50/20Mbps plan will see a significant speed bump to 150/65Mbps, and it will cost $94.99 a month (no price increase). A new 75/35 speed plan will become available and it will cost $84.99 a month. Finally, the service that readers will be drooling over–the 300Mbps plan–will feature speeds of 300Mbps downloads and 65Mbps uploads. It will cost a hefty $204.99 a month, a price that The Verge notes is a mere $5 more than the 150/35 speed tier that it replaces.

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In typical Comcast telco fashion, Verizon has managed to tack on up to three fees including a $5 per month fee for those without a contract, a $5 fee for those that do not subscribe to FIOS phone service, and a $100 fee to install equipment for those that want the upper two speed tiers. Fortunately (sort of...), users can avoid the $100 fee if they are new customers or already subscribe to the company’s 150Mbps tier. Also on the less-than-stellar news front, Verizon will not be upgrading plans for those on VDSL plans (in buildings where Verizon delivers fiber to the premises and uses copper from there to homes–think older apartment buildings). Even worse, VDSL customers will still be subject to the increased pricing although they cannot take advantage of the upgraded speeds.

$5 fee for those without FIOS phone, $100 fee for top two tier upgrade.
Single Family Home VDSL 1 VDSL 2 2 Year Contract Month-to-Month Rate
3/1 Mbps 3/1 Mbps 3/1 Mbps $54.99 $59.99
15/5 Mbps 10/2 Mbps 15/5 Mbps $64.99 $69.99
50/25 Mbps 20/5 Mbps 20/10 Mbps $74.99 $79.99
75/35 Mbps 30/5 Mbps 50/10 Mbps $84.99 $89.99
150/65 n/a n/a $94.99 $99.99
300/65 n/a n/a $204.99 $309.99

(Source: The Verge. The 150/65 plan doesn't seem like a bad deal actually, if only I had FIOS in my area!)

So this fiber internet upgrade announcement seems great at first does have a dark side. Some customers will be getting a great deal while others will be getting the short end of the stick. Here’s hoping that you are one of the lucky customers on the middle tiers who have FTTH that get a free speed upgrade! More information on the specifics of this upgrade should be coming later this month.

Source: The Verge

G.Skill To Host Overclocking Invitational at Computex 2012

Subject: General Tech | June 3, 2012 - 04:07 AM |
Tagged: overclocking, overclock, msi, hicookie, gigabyte, G.Skill, evga, computex 2012, asus

G.Skill will host an overclocking event at Computex 2012 with seven overclockers in an attempt to break world overclocking records. The company is teaming up with ASUS, EVGA, Gigabyte, and MSI for the event, which will be held in Taipei, Taiwan from June 5th to June 9th 2012.

Enthusiast RAM manufacturer G.Skill has announced that they will be hosting an overclocking event at Computex 2012 in Taiwan. The company is partnering up with motherboard manufacturers ASUS, EVGA, Gigabyte, and MSI who will provide several high end motherboards for the overclocking invitational.

G.Skill has further invited seven professional overclockers to attend the event and try to break world records for processors and DDR3 memory using LN2 and a combination of high end motherboards, graphics cards, and G.Skill’s DDR3 RAM. The overclockers in question are Elmor, Fred Yama, Hiwa, Young Pro, Kingpin, HiCookie, and Dinos22. HiCookie was covered by us recently when he pushed a Core i7 3770K to 7.03 GHz and DDR3 memory to an impressive 3.28 GHz. The G.Skill event will push for even higher overlcocks.

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The overclocking event will run from June 5th, 2012 to June 9th, 2012 from 11am to 5pm. It will be located at Computex 2012 in the Nangang Exhibition Hall at booth L0118. The event schedule will be as follows:

Date Motherboard Brand Platform G.Skill Overclockers Motherboard Overclockers
June 5th MSI Z77 & X79

Hiwa (Switzerland)

Young Pro (Australia)

Elmor (Sweden)
June 6th ASUS Z77

Hiwa (Switzerland)

Young Pro (Australia)

Fred Yama (Japan)
June 7th EVGA Z77 & X79

Hiwa (Switzerland)

Young Pro (Australia)

Kingpin (USA)
June 8th Gigabyte Z77

Hiwa (Switzerland)

Young Pro (Australia)

HiCookie (Taiwan)

Dinos22 (Australia)

As G.Skill's first overclocking invitational, they will need to push hard for success, and they made sure to have the best record-breaking chance possible by inviting some of the world's best overclockers. As a personal fan of G.Skill, I'm rooting for them to break the RAM overclocking record!

Source: G.Skill

MAINGEAR Unveils Pulse 11 Ultraportable Gaming Notebook

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | June 3, 2012 - 03:21 AM |
Tagged:

US-based boutique computer vendor MAINGEAR today announced (no public facing press release was available at time of writing) a new ultraportable notebook that comes packed with hardware to play the latest games on the go. The notebook in question is the Pulse 11, and as the name implies it is an 11” laptop with the latest Intel Ivy Bridge and NVIDIA Kepler hardware. Weighing in at 3.97 lbs (~1.8 kg) and packing a 6-cell lithium ion battery, the custom gaming notebook has a mostly plastic chassis, full keyboard minus the numpad, large trackpad under the space bar, and a 11.6” LED-backlit display with 1366x768 resolution (16:9).

Pulse 11 hero stylized.jpg

Despite the plastic chassis, it manages to look nice on the inside as well as the laptop lid–which features a textured pattern and centered MAINGEAR logo. The photo below shows the keyboard and trackpad while the photo above shows off the top of the notebook.

pulse11-hero.png

External IO includes a Gigabit LAN port, VGA output, HDMI output, mic and headphone out ports, two USB 3.0 ports on the left side of the notebook, an SD card reader on the front, and a DC power jack, one USB 2.0 port, and a Kensington lock on the right side. There are no ports on the rear of the laptop as that area is taken up by the large Li-ion battery.

pulse11-leftside.png

The internals of the gaming notebook are the most notable features, however. The Pulse 11 features an Intel Core i7 or i5 Ivy Bridge processor up to a Core i7 3612QM (35W TDP) as well as a NVIDIA GT 650M graphics card with 2GB of GDDR3 memory. Even better is that this notebook supports NVIDIA Optimus technology, which means that it can shut down the dedicated GPU while not gaming to save battery power. Other internals include up to 16GB of dual channel DDR3 1600MHz memory, and either one 600GB SSD or 750GB SATA hybrid hard drive (a mechanical hard drive with large flash memory cache).

pulse11-top.png

The Pulse 11 comes further equipped with an 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth card (internal) and a 9-in-1 multimedia card reader. For audio, the notebook features two speakers that are rated for THX TruStudio Pro sound. The gaming notebook runs the Windows 7 Home, Pro, or Ultimate x64 operating system, and can be optionally upgraded to Windows 8 Pro for $15 USD.

Pulse 11 right stylized.jpg

The gaming notebook starts at $999 USD for the base model and goes up from there. It should further be available for purchase starting today (or very soon afterward).

MAINGEAR has stated that its Pulse 11 gaming laptop is “made for gamers looking for a powerful ultraportable that delivers the best of mobile entertainment in its size as well as “the MAINGEAR Pulse 11 was designed to meet the needs of gamers, students, on-the-go digital warriors, and anyone looking for power in the smallest package possible.”

More photos of the Pulse 11 are available below:

Source: MAINGEAR