Hardkernel Launching Quad Core ODROID-X Android Computer

Subject: General Tech | July 14, 2012 - 08:53 AM |
Tagged: SFF, Samsung, linux, hardkernel, Exynos 4, computer, arm

If you are an Android developer and have been itching to get your hands on some high end, quad core hardware, than Korean company HardKernel may have just what you’re looking for. The new ODROID-X is an Android developer board (meaning it comes as just a single board computer sans case or accessories. For $129 plus shipping and customs fees, you can have a 90 x 94mm PCB with a Samsung Exynos 4412 ARM Cortex-A9 quad core at 1.4 GHz (1MB cache), Mali 400 GPU, 1GB RAM, and runs on a 5V, 2A power adapter.

Hardkernel ODROID-X.jpg

IO for the ODROID-X includes headphone and microphone jacks, six USB 2.0 ports, 10/100 Ethernet, SDHC card slot, 50-pin GPIO connector, UART serial connector, MIPI-CAM camera connector, HDMI, and a power jack. In other words, it is extremely expandable. It is capable of outputting 1080p video over HDMI when using the H.264 video codec thanks to dedicated hardware acceleration. Hardkernel will happily sell you accessories but you would likely be better off buying it from a local retailer or online shop that is in-country to avoid the extra shipping and customs fees. The power jack and other ports are standard, so there aren’t any worries there. Android 4.0 ICS is reportedly available for download, though no word yet on when the newly announced Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" OS build will be up on the site.

Thanks to the Samsung Exynos 4, you definitely have more oomph than the 700 MHz ARMv7 in the Raspberry Pi, though this board isn’t nearly as small (and costs about four times as much). If you need the extra horsepower, this may be worth considering at this price but be sure figure out the import taxes and shipping for your location to figure out what it will really cost you to get your hands on. Read more about the ODROID-X's specifications over at the Hardkernel website.

Source: Ars Technica

Attention audiophiles, ASUS has heard your pleas and answered with three sound cards

Subject: General Tech | July 13, 2012 - 02:18 PM |
Tagged: audio, asus, DGX, DSX, xonar, ROG Phoebus, pcie

While many of us are perfectly content with the quality of the audio output from the motherboards onboard audio codec there are others who because of incompatibilities (looking at you PunkBuster) or who are gifted with good ears who are still in the market for a discrete sound card.  A forum member recently pointed out that the sound card on the Hardware Leaderboard was so old it didn't ship with Win7 drivers so ASUS's timing on releasing three new sound cards couldn't have come at a better time.  The ASUS Xonar DGX 5.1 is the lowest cost of the three cards at $40, though currently on NewEgg the Xonar DSX 7.1 card is only $37 after MIR.  Finally is the Republic of Gamers Xonar Phoebus at $200, with a long list of features for those who want the best.  Drop by [H]ard|OCP to see how these three cards do when put to the test.

H_asus_audio.jpg

"Asus recently released it's new flagship gaming sound card, the ROG Xonar Phoebus, as well as updated PCI-Express versions of its popular DG and DS sound cards. All three of these cards feature quality components for products in their respective price ranges. Today, we will tell you exactly what each card may bring to your PC audio experience."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Desktop Trinity may be retarded

Subject: General Tech | July 13, 2012 - 01:31 PM |
Tagged: amd, trinity, fm2, A10-5800k

After launching the mobile version of Trinity, AMD let desktop users know that they could expect to see Socket FM2 processors released in the summer.  That may no longer be the case according to a report that DigiTimes heard about which puts the timeline closer to October.  Even worse, this delay is due to them making some changes to the processors design which hints at all sorts of horrible possibilities of which the best you can hope is that they are having yield problems.  Hoping that AMD just wants to see existing stock of Llano processors sold makes little sense, none of the major tech companies seems to feel any regret at pushing out new designs over top of old ones no matter how much stock currently exists.

Worth noting is that in October, assuming we do see Trinity launch, AMD will have current generation chips and motherboards using AM3, AM3+ (Vishera), FM1 (Llano), FM2 (Trinity) and FT1 (Brazos 2.0).  To say that this is going to confuse customers is an understatement. 

amd-trinity-600.jpg

"AMD has reportedly postponed the launch of its Trinity processors for desktop platforms from August to October in order to make some adjustments to the processors' designs. Downstream motherboard makers are also rushing to make adjustments to their new motherboard projects set to release in the second half, according to sources from motherboard makers."

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Source: DigiTimes

AMD Social Media Reviewers Wanted - 2000 AMD APUs Available Free!

Subject: General Tech, Processors | July 12, 2012 - 03:51 PM |
Tagged: amd, llano, APU, comiccon

If you are in the San Diego area today or tomorrow, you should make it a point to stop by Belo San Diego (http://www.belosandiego.com/ 438 E Street), a night club near the convention area, to visit with the AMD and the Geek and Sundry group.

day.jpg

Felicia Day, most popular for her role in the web-series The Guild, will be part of the on going event between 10am and 2am both today (the 12th) and tomorrow sponsored by AMD.  She is excited to be there - just look!

If you stop by the Belo nightclub during those hours you can take home a FREE AMD A8-3870K APU (with accompanying motherboard) if you agree to use your social media outlets (Twitter and Facebook) to tell your friends about the experience.  You will in fact become an AMD Social Media Reviewer!

Sorry, if you aren't in the San Diego area, you are out of luck on this promotion.  This is just another reason why attending ComicCon is so enticing!

Source: AMD

Looking longingly at a Linux Laptop?

Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2012 - 02:40 PM |
Tagged: linux, laptop, Chromebook, asus, EeePC 1225C, sputnik

If you are less than impressed by Windows 8 or are looking to avoid the costs incurred by a Windows installation on the laptop then Linux.com has four systems you should consider.  First up are the Chromebook models available at stores like Best Buy, like the Samsung 12.1-inch Series 5 Chromebook.  If the ChromeOS isn't to your liking then perhaps the Asus EeePC 1225C which comes with Ubuntu installed on it.  It is not yet widely available but should make it to North America in the not too distant future.  Dell is also getting into this market with their Project Sputnik which Tim covered a few weeks ago.  Finally are what are referred to as Diminutive Desktops which cover devices like the Raspberry Pi, VIA's APC and a number of other models.  You might have more choices when it comes to Linux powered retail PCs than you think.

Chromebook.jpg

"Windows may still be the default operating system on the vast majority of mainstream PCs thanks to Microsoft's many longstanding OEM partnerships, but that's not to say it hasn't been possible for some time to buy desktop machines with Linux preloaded.

No, indeed! Thanks to vendors such as System76, ZaReason, EmperorLinux and others, Linux fans have long been able to get desktops, laptops, netbooks and more preloaded with a variety of Linux distributions -- and that's not even counting several on-again, off-again efforts by Dell, Wal-Mart and others to sell Linux boxes on their retail shelves."

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Source: Linux.com

Podcast #209 - Thunderbolt on Windows, Western Digital Red Drives, a passively cooled GTX 680 and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2012 - 01:35 PM |
Tagged: WD, ThunderFX, thunderbolt, ssd, red, podcast, Intel, gtx 680, gpu, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #209 - 07/12/2012

Join us this week as we talk about Thunderbolt Performance on Windows, the new Western Digital Red Hard Drives, a passively cooled GTX 680 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 and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:15:06

Program Schedule:

  1. Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. Quakecon - we need Tshirt ideas!!
  6. 00:05:45 Thunderbolt Performance on Windows with ASUS P8Z77-V Premium
  7. 00:17 Gigabyte G1.Sniper M3 Motherboard Review
  8. 00:18:30 AMD, Vishera and Beyond!
  9. 00:26:45 HP Envy 14 Spectre Review
  10. 00:28:30 Western Digital Red 3TB NAS HDD Review
  11. 00:41:51 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  12. 00:42:45 Passively cooled GTX 680 anyone?
  13. 00:45:45 Windows 8 Pro will run you $39
  14. 00:50:00 Overclocking makes your system less stable...duhhh
  15. 00:57:00 ASUS and Gigabyte raise warranty times
  16. 00:58:30 Mid-range Kepler rumors
  17. 01:03:03 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: ThunderboltEX from ASUS
    2. Jeremy: I like this Lenovo X220 work stuck me with
    3. Josh: Like I need another time sink
    4. Allyn: WD Red
  18. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  19. http://pcper.com/podcast
  20. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  21. Closing

​For those of you that prefer the video version, see below:

Revisiting single GPU and triple monitor gaming

Subject: General Tech | July 11, 2012 - 02:06 PM |
Tagged: triple, multi monitor, gaming

One of the biggest arguments for NVIDIA Surround and AMD EyeFinity is cost, depending on the size of monitor you choose you can get three 1080p displays for half to 2/3's the price of a single 30" LCD and end up with around about half again as many pixels.  You do end up with bezels in the way but choosing a monitor with a thin bezel can help as does the tools the drivers offer which help you offset your display to cope with the bezels.  With new drivers available, The Tech Report tested gaming on both the GTX680 and the HD7970 on three Asus 24" ProArt PA246Q LCDs.  Check out the performance differences as well as getting an idea how high you can turn up your graphics options when gaming at 5760x1200 on a single GPU.

TR_desk-bf3.jpg

"Three-screen setups might be the best upgrade for gamers. We surround ourselves with a wrap-around config to see how the latest games and graphics cards fare."

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Surface is just a proof of concept?

Subject: General Tech | July 11, 2012 - 01:38 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, surface, ballmer

Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer, recently referred to the Surface ultraportable as "just a design point".  This is bound to disappoint a lot of geeks who fell in love with the new touchscreen tablet/laptop which showed off the new Win8 interface in a much more effective manner than we have seen from previous computers.  On the other hand, many OEM's will find this announcement reassuring as when the Surface was first introduced they were less than impressed at a software company muscling in on their territory.  Still, he expects to sell a million or so of the devices so those who really desire a Surface should be able to get their hands on one.  Check out more about the conference Ballmer held in Toronto at The Register.

microsoftsurface.jpg

"Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has downplayed the impact of Redmond's "iPad-killer" – aka the Surface tablet – as he wrapped a comforting arm around PC OEMS that may feel a little unnerved by the move.

The covers were lifted off the shiny slate weeks ago, but it was dismissed by several hardware vendors, including long-time partner Acer, which said Microsoft should concentrate its efforts on software development."

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Source: The Register

NVIDIA Preparing New Mid-range Kepler Graphics Cards

Subject: General Tech | July 10, 2012 - 07:20 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, gtx 660 Ti, gtx 660, gtx 650 Ti, gtx 640, graphics cards, gpu

We have seen and reviewed NVIDIA’s high-end Kepler graphics cards, but the company’s mid-range line has been even harder to find than the GTX 680 was a couple months ago. That may be about to change though, as recent rumors suggest that the company is preparing at least three mid-range graphics cards for public release.

geforce-gt-640-3qtr.png

The current GT 640. Expect the refresh to look very similar.

The cheapest rumored card is a refresh of the existing GeForce GT 640. The refresh is slated for an August 2012 release and it takes the existing GK107 GPU with 384 CUDA cores and pairs it with GDDR5 memory instead of the currently used GDDR3. Videocardz predicts that the move to GDDR5 will bump the price up to a bit over $100.

The next card up will reportedly cost around $150 and will be released in August. The GeForce GT 650 Ti will allegedly be based around the GK106 GPU with 960 CUDA cores enabled. It will likely be paired with up to 2GB of GDDR5 memory and a 192-bit memory interface. This card will likely be the high-end HTPC and/or very entry level gaming card on the NVIDIA side.

However, for those serious about wanting to get into gaming, they should probably spend a bit more on the GPU and get at least the GTX 660. This rumored card is using a GK106 GPU with 1152 CUDA cores enabled and an alleged 1.5GB of GDDR5 memory with a 192-bit interface. As far as pricing, it will be positioned between the GT 650 Ti and the GeForce GTX 670 – somewhere in the $200-300 range.

Interestingly, if rumors turn out to be true, there may be yet another new graphics card that would fill the performance (and price) void between the GTX 660 and GTX 670: the GeForce GTX 660 Ti. Allegedly, the GTX 660 Ti would be very close to the GTX 670 as far as specifications are concerned. Both cards are based on the GK104 Kepler GPU (which we recently reviewed) and would have 1344 CUDA cores enabled. Where the two differ in the predicted specifications is memory. While the GeForce GTX 670 has either 2GB or 4GB of GDDR5 memory on a 256-bit interface, the GTX 660 Ti will have 1.5GB or 3GB of GDDR5 memory with a 192-bit interface. This card is also predicted to be released in August with the above mentioned NVIDIA GPUs. You can expect this card to be priced in the $300 to $400 dollar range, with an emphasis on the former for reference designs with 1.5GB of memory.

All these rumored cards should really help NVIDIA to flesh out its Kepler lineup and take on AMD on all fronts. These cards (assuming the rumors hold true, of course) should also be much easier to find and get a hold of since they are probably using binned chips that could not be sold as a GTX 670 or GTX 680 which were difficult to find in stock at launch.

What do you think about these rumors, do they sound plausible? Have you been holding off on Kepler until cheaper cards are released? Let us know in the comments below. You can find more information on the rumored graphics cards here.

Source: Videocardz

Cooler Master Storms in with a new gaming mouse and pad

Subject: General Tech | July 10, 2012 - 03:06 PM |
Tagged: cooler master, Storm Sentinel Advance II, Storm Speed-RXL, gaming mouse

If you are shopping for a gaming mouse it is worth dropping by Neoseeker for a look at a matched set of Cooler Master Storm products, the Sentinel Advance II mouse and Speed-RXL pad.  The new version of the Sentinel offers adjustable weight, DPI settings from 200 to 8200, 25 Hz – 1000 Hz USB rate fine-tuning, 8 programmable buttons and 9 virtual buttons via button combo presses.  You will also get new version of the CM Storm Tactics software which allows you multiple mouse profiles as well as the opportunity to tweak the LED lighting on the mouse. The mat comes in three sizes, so you can choose the best one for you and is much thicker and sturdier than many mousepads on the market.  Drop by to see the whole review.

NS_CMstormAII.jpg

"Today Neoseeker will be taking a look at the CM Storm Sentinel Advance II gaming mouse and the CM Storm Speed-RXL gaming mouse pad from Cooler Master. The manufacturer is always looking to take its game one step further, and the Sentinel Advance II aims to do just that with a long list of features including 200-8200 DPI tracking resolution, 128 KB Sentinel-X memory for profiles and macros and customizable multi-color LED light system, to name just a few."

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Source: Neoseeker