Microsoft Giving Away Free Media Center Keys For Windows 8

Subject: General Tech | October 28, 2012 - 04:55 AM |
Tagged: wmc, windows media center, Windows 8 Pro, windows 8, microsoft, free

Microsoft has decided to separate Windows Media Center from its latest operating system, making it a paid add-on to Windows 8 Pro. This has the consequence of making users wanting to upgrade their home theater PCs to Windows 8 have to pay not only for the more expensive Pro version but the add-on pack with WMC as well. Needless to say, I was less than pleased to hear that news. Especially, since CableCard users are stuck with WMC if they want to watch or record any shows flagged with anything more restrictive than copy freely (copy once, copy never).

Fortunately, Microsoft has backed away ever so slightly from that position by giving away free WMC keys to users until January 31, 2013. You will still need to pony up for the Pro version of Windows 8, but at least you will not have to pay for the add-on pack to get what is essentially the same media center that is available in Windows 7.

WMC_Windows 7_Program Guide_Most Viewed Channels.png

You can obtain a key by heading over to this Microsoft web page and entering your email address. The company is offering up a single key per email address. Even if you do not currently have Windows 8, it might be prudent to grab a key just in case. Note that you will need to activate the key by January 2013 or it will expire, however.

Once you have Windows 8 Pro installed, to add Windows Media Center, open up the Start Screen and search for “add features.” Click on “Settings” and then “Add features to Windows 8.” You will then be prompted for a product key, and once you input the key Microsoft emailed to you, follow the remaining prompts to install it. A restart will be required (and is automatic, so save any open documents!), and then you can get your WMC fix.

The promotion will end on January 2013 so grab the free keys while they last!

Read more about Windows 8 at PC Perspective.

Source: Microsoft

Asus Zenbook Refresh Introduces Several New Ultrabooks

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | October 28, 2012 - 03:18 AM |
Tagged: zenbook, windows 8, ultrabook, nvidia, laptop, Ivy Bridge, GT650M, GT620M, asus

Asus has announced a refresh of its Zenbook lineup of Intel-powered ultrabooks to accompany its new VivoBooks and VivoTabs running Windows 8. Available next month, the PC OEM is introducing six new laptop SKUs with Ivy Bridge processors and dedicated graphics cards from NVIDIA. Specifically, the Asus Zenbook UX21A, UX31A, UX32VD, UX42VS, US52VS, and U500VZ ultrabooks are coming soon with the refresh.

ZENBOOK_UX31A_Touch_Ba.jpg

The UX31A Ultrabook with touch display

The new Zenbooks will have Ivy Bridge processors, up to 10GB of memory, and up to NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M graphics. They maintain the aluminum chassis of Asus’ previous generation ultrabooks but up the hardware ante. The company has expanded the lineup to include models with 11.6,” 13.3,” 14,” and 15.6” IPS displays, backlit keyboards, and multitouch trackpads. The U500VZ and UX31A can even be outfitted with capacitive touchscreen displays.

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The ASUS UX42VS Zenbook

The VX42VS further includes an optical drive, but otherwise the Zenbooks source of storage lies in solid state or hybrid hard drives. Interestingly, the UX32VD and U500VZ can even be configured with two 256GB solid state drives in RAID 0 (Ryan’s favorite kind of RAID).

ZENBOOK_UX42VS_Ab.jpg

The ASUS UX52VS Zenbook

The following chart outlines all the known specifications. Note that several of the ultrabooks are not listed on Asus’ website yet so exact dimensions are unknown for the UX52VS and U500VZ in particular.

Zenbook UX21A UX31A UX32VD UX42VS UX52VS U500VZ
Dimensions 299 x 196.8 x 3 ~ 17 mm 325 x 223 x 3 ~18 mm 325 x 223 x 5.5 ~18 mm 14" tapers to 6mm ~15" tapers to 6mm ~15"
Weight 1.1 kg 1.3 kg 1.45 kg 1.5kg 2.2kg 2 kg
Processor i5 3317U or i7 3517U i5 3317U or i7 3517U i5 3317U or i7 3517U i3, i5, or i7 IVB i5 or i7 ULV IVB i7 std voltage
RAM 4GB 8GB*  6GB* 6GB 10GB 8GB
Graphics HD4000 HD4000 GT620M GT645M GT645M GT650M
Storage 256GB SSD 256GB SSD 2 x 256GB SSD (RAID 0) 1TB Hybrid Hard Drive 1TB Hybrid Hard Drive 2 x 256GB SSD (RAID 0)

*onboard + 1 x SODIMM

All of the new Zenbook laptops will be available in November and will come with Windows 8. Pricing will range from $699 to $1999 for the premium model (The U500VZ). Specific pricing details should become available closer to launch.

A pair of Corsair mouse and keyboard combos

Subject: General Tech | October 26, 2012 - 06:20 PM |
Tagged: input, gaming mouse, mechanical keyboard, corsair, m60, k60, m90, k90, Corsair Vengeance

Pairing your mouse and keyboard will not unlock special powers like a full outfit will in many games however there is something satisfying about having matched peripherals, especially when they are effective tools.  The Corsair Vengeance K90 and M90 as well as the M60 and K60 are up for review at Neoseeker.  The Vengeance 90 series is the more customizable, and expensive of the two, perfect for those who need to be able to program a wide variety of macros to launch at the press of a single button while the 60 series is more for those who play FPS games and really don't need the same level of programability.  Check out the full review to see which of the two combos most attracts you.

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"Corsair tests the waters of the keyboard and mouse market with their first input device peripherals that use Cherry MX Red switches and dedicated gaming features. We test out the Vegeance K90/M90 and K60/M60 keyboard/mouse combos in our latest review."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Neoseeker

How to Build a PC with Windows 8 - PC Perspective Live!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems | October 26, 2012 - 02:46 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, video, system build, live

Today at 3pm EDT we are going to be doing a live stream of a system build and Windows 8 installation on our PC Perspective Live! page.  Won't you come and join us?

UPDATE: Did you miss the event?  Well then, we have you covered with the replay of the two and a half hour stream right here!

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Sorry, no, I won't be doing it blindfolded this time...

If you are looking to learn how to build a PC, how the Windows 8 setup goes along with initial Windows 8 experiences, or just want to hang out during a lazy Friday, click on the link above or on the flashing radio tower to the left and join us!!

More on the 'Just Good Enough' OS

Subject: General Tech | October 26, 2012 - 02:14 PM |
Tagged: winRT, vivotab rt, asus

Why settle for second best when you can get your hands on a WinRT powered device?  If Fruit Ninja and Farmville represent the pinnacle of your gaming experience, if using macros in Office software just seems complicated, the ability to install software from any source is just too much choice to handle and if being able to join a Domain sounds dirty to you; why not supersize your phone by replacing it with an ASUS VivoTab RT?  The Tech Report tried out this convertible device, a tablet in the front and a laptop in the back, with some mixed success.  While the OS interface was comfortable for them, attempting any real work in Office proved quite a chore and they look forward to trying out an Intel powered Surface device with the full Win8 OS.  If you are looking for more information on Microsoft's unique new OS head on over.

TR_convertible.jpg

"After using that system for about a week, there is one thing I can tell you with absolute certainty: a Windows 8 convertible is in my future. It probably won't be the VivoTab RT, but my time with that device has made plainly clear that Microsoft's fusion recipe has immense potential."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Deals for October 26th - Windows 8 Pro Upgrade for $39

Subject: General Tech | October 26, 2012 - 01:36 PM |
Tagged: deals, deal of the day

Top deal

Microsoft Windows 8 Pro Upgrade for $39.99 with free shipping @ Microsoft Store (normally $70).

deal1026-2.jpg

Laptops

17.3" Dell XPS 17 Core i7 Quad-core 1080p Laptop for $884.99 with free shipping @ Dell (normally $1,596.99 - Use coupon code Q7ZK$?L?JWTS3$).

Desktops

Dell Inspiron One 2330 23" 1080p All-in-one Multi-touch PC w/ Windows 8 for $779.99 @ Dell (normally $849.99).

Computer Components

Seagate GoFlex 1TB USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive for $79.99 with free shipping @ Dell (normally $100).

ViewSonic 27" Widescreen LED-Backlit LCD Monitor for $280 with shipping (normally $300 - Use coupon code LXH73621).

Viewsonic VX2450wm 24" LED-Backlit Monitor for $180 plus shipping (normally $250 - Use coupon code PVR73549).

Crucial M4 2.5" 256GB SATA 6Gb/s SSD for $188 with free shipping (normally $250).

256GB Samsung 830 Series SATA III SSD w/ Laptop Kit for $189 with free shipping (normally $220).

Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" SATA 6Gb/s SSD for $170 with free shipping (normally $200).

MSI N570GTX Twin Frozr II GeForce GTX 570 1280MB Video Card for $210 with free shipping (normally $250 - Use this form).

Zotac Dual-core VIA Booksize Barebone System for $119.99 with shipping (normally $170 - Use this form).

Logitech Gaming Keyboard G105: MW3 Edition for $34 with free shipping (normally $80)..

Accessories

Sharper Image Bluetooth Shower Speaker for $84.99 (normally $99.99 – use coupon codeENT2010).

Source: LogicBuy

ASUS Launches Line of VivoBook Laptops Running Windows 8

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | October 26, 2012 - 01:05 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, vivobook, laptop, asus

Asus has launched a line of VivoBook laptops to accompany its series of convertible Vivo Tab Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets. Initially, there will be two VivoBooks available around Windows 8’s October 26, 2012 launch date that will come in 11.6” and 14” screen sizes with the VivoBook X202 and S400 respectively.

The VivoBook series will focus on multitouch input available on a lightweight laptop chassis. They will have a similar tapered design as the company’s Zenbook laptops, and will use metal for the chassis and a glass screen rather than plastics. SonicMaster audio, and 32GB of Asus WebStorage space (for three years) also come standard with all VivoBooks models.

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The X202 VivoBook

Interestingly, the specifications put the laptops just out of ultrabook territory, which should mean cheaper starting prices. Both the X202 and S400 will have processor options spanning Intel's lineup from lowly Celeron 847s to its Core (Ivy Bridge) series. However, the X202 will be limited to a top end of Core i3 while the S400 will be able to utilize up to a Core i7 processor. Both further feature 5400 RPM hard drives, though the S400 will have a 24GB caching SSD option to speed up general performance. Also, the X202 and S400 will come with multitouch displays and large trackpads. While Asus made no claims on the S400, they have stated that the X202 will have a trackpad normally used on a 14” laptop despite the X202 being a smaller 12” model. The larger trackpad will allow for easier gesture control of Windows 8, according to the company.

The specifications for the X202 and S400 VivoBook touch-enabled laptops are as follows:

VivoBook Model VivoBook X202 VivoBook S400
Processor Options

Intel Core i3

Intel ULV Pentium 987

Intel ULV Celeron 847

Intel Core i3, i5, or i7

Intel ULV Pentium 987

Intel ULV Celeron 847

Display 11.6" @ 1366 x 768 14" @ 1366 x 768
Graphics Integrated (Intel) Integrated (Intel)
Memory 1333MHz DDR3 up to 4GB 1600MHz up to 8GB
Hard Drive 320GB/500GB 5400RPM HDD

320GB/500GB 5400 RPM

+ 24GB SSD (cache drive)

Ports 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x Ethernet, 1 x VGA, 1 x HDMI, 1 x SD Card Reader 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x Ethernet, 1 x VGA, 1 x HDMI, 1 x SD Card Reader
Wireless 802.11n Wi-Fi 802.11n Wi-Fi
Dimensions 30.3cm x 20.0cm x 2.17cm 33.9cm x 23.9cm x 2.1cm
Weight 1.4Kg (with 38W/h Li-Po battery) 1.8Kg (with 44W/h Li-Po battery)
Operating System Windows 8 Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro
Starting Price $599 (for Core i3-3217U) $699.99 (for Core i5-3317U)

Of course, the laptops will come pre-loaded with either Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro. The X202 measures a bit over 0.85-inches and the S400 is slightly thinner at approximately 0.82-inches. On the other hand, while the S400 is thinner, it weighs more at approximately 3.96 pounds versus the X202's 3.08 pounds.

The X202 is in stock at Amazon now, and should be availabe at other retailers soon. The Core i3-3217U (1.8GHz) version has a listed price of $599. On the other hand, the S400 with an Intel Core i5-3317U (1.7GHz) has a list price of $699.99. Unfortunately, pricing on the other models is still unknown, though you can expect the Pentium and Celeron powered X202 and S400 VivoBooks to be cheaper – it is jsut how much cheaper they will be that is still up in the air.

These do appear to be interesting machines if you are considering a new Windows 8 computer and want more of a traditional laptop form factor than the dockable tablet announcements that have dominated the news.

What do you think, would you use a touch panel on a laptop?

Podcast #224 - ASUS N66U Router, AMD FX 8350 and 6300 CPU, our Windows RT hands on, and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2012 - 02:26 PM |
Tagged: windows rt, windows 8, vivotab rt, vishera, tegra, podcast, nvidia, n668, linus, fx 8350, fx 6300, asus, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #224 - 10/25/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the ASUS N66U Router, AMD FX 8350 and 6300 CPU, our Windows RT hands on, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, and Linus Sebastian

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:30:18

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. 0:00:50 Welcome our Guest: Linus Sebastian of Linus Tech Tips!
  2. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:07:50 ASUS RT-N66U Router and Adapters Roundup
    2. 0:13:15 AMD Never Settle 12.11 Driver Update
      1. The Never Settle Bundle is awesome too
    3. 0:25:50 AMD FX-8350 and FX-6300 Vishera CPU Review
  3. 0:36:20 This podcast is brought to you by MSI
  4. News items of interest:
    1. 0:37:15 A quick look at the data on Apple's Fusion Drive
    2. 0:46:30 AMD work force cut coming?
    3. 0:52:10 ASUS VivoTab RT Released
      1. Hands on time!
    4. 1:07:45 ASUS TAICHI as well - can this really become popular
    5. 1:08:45 Corsair Carbide 200R Launches
      1. LinusTech Video on it
  5. Closing:
    1. 1:06:15 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: Lantronix xPrintServer
      2. Jeremy: Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project
      3. Josh: Nice motherboard, now with new CPUS!
      4. Allyn: Media Player Classic - Home Cinema
      5. Linus: Fractal Design Define R4
  1. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  2. http://pcper.com/podcast
  3. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  4. Closing/outro

Be sure to subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube channel!!

Corsair Announces Vengeance MM200 and MM400 gaming mouse mats

Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2012 - 01:58 PM |
Tagged: mouse pad, input, corsair

FREMONT, California — October 25, 2012 — Corsair®, a worldwide designer and supplier of high-performance components to the PC gaming hardware market, today announced a new range of gaming mouse mats, designed with durable, gaming-grade surfaces designed to maximize the performance of high-quality gaming mice like the Vengeance® Series laser gaming mice.

"Just as performance sports cars needs premium-quality tires in order to maximize performance on the road, a high-quality gaming mouse mat is essential to maximize the performance of gaming mice like the Vengeance laser gaming mice”, said Ruben Mookerjee, Vice President and General Manager of the Components Business Unit at Corsair. "Corsair gaming mouse mats are engineered from the ground-up to deliver the consistent performance that gamers demand, so they can focus on winning."

Two model ranges will launch initially: the Vengeance MM200, and Vengeance MM400.

MM200_MED_angled.png

Vengeance MM200

The Vengeance MM200 mouse pad features a glide-optimized textile surface that has been carefully screened to ensure consistent tracking with any gaming mouse sensor. Features of the MM200 include fray-resistant edges, and a non-slip rubber base to prevent bunching or slipping during intense gameplay. The MM200 is available in four sizes, including extra large and wide formats, to suit different playing styles.

MM400_STD_detail_surface.png

Vengeance MM400

The Vengeance MM400 mouse mat features a tuned, low-friction polymer surface that has been engineered to provide outstanding glide and precise control, for pixel-accurate aiming. The surface is particularly effective when used with performance laser gaming mice, such as the Corsair Vengeance Series mice. The MM400 is available in a single, over-sized format with 957 cm2 of available gaming surface, to ensure you won’t run your mouse off the edge in a critical moment.

Pricing and Availability

The Corsair Vengeance MM200 and M400 mouse pads are backed by a 1-year limited warranty, and are available now from Corsair's worldwide network of authorized retailers and distributors. The suggested US retail prices are listed below.

MM200: Small $12.99; Medium/Large $14.99, Extra Large $24.99, Wide $16.99 MM400: $29.99.

 

Source: Corsair

Tired of hearing about WinRT yet?

Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2012 - 01:32 PM |
Tagged: win8, winRT, microsoft, tablet, surface

Now that you have finished reading and absorbing Scott's take on what WinRT will mean to developers of games and programs as well as users who have become habituated to the desktop being the computer you might wonder if there are any alternate viewpoints.  AnandTech offers a different take, starting with the history of tablets and touchscreens and the ways in which Microsoft has previously failed in that market.  They move onto the rational behind the decision to toss backwards compatibility out the window as well as how the app environment will likely change over the near future and the new locked down nature of the desktop.  You can finish up with a look at the current state of WinRT's apps such as Office 13 and the different versions of IE on these WinRT powered devices.

anand_WordSplash_575px.png

"Meet Windows RT. It’s Microsoft’s first major foray into the modern tablet market, the shipping version of Windows-on-ARM, and it’s one of Microsoft’s most important product launches ever. Windows 8 shares the same touch-friendly user interface, but the ARM silicon makes RT an almost entirely tablet-centric operating system, the first for Microsoft. Combined with the focus on premium hardware experiences, this is Redmond’s most serious push to be competitive with the iOS and Androids of the world. How does it fare? Keep reading."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: AnandTech