Ready for Diablo III? Not with Catalyst 12.4 you're not.

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 6, 2012 - 04:58 PM |
Tagged: radeon, diablo iii, catalyst 12.4, catalyst, amd

A recent forum entry from a Diablo III official agent informed gamers that if you were planning on playing Diablo III on the May 15th launch date, you had better not be using the Catalyst 12.4 drivers that were just released on April 25th.

d3cat12.4.png

While AMD still has about 9 days to respond to this issue, for a support rep from Blizzard to flat-out say that "12.4 isn't going to be supported for use in Diablo III" is indicative of a larger problem - can AMD's somewhat smaller driver team hope to keep up with NVIDIA's as we get set for another way of pretty major PC game releases? 

Quite a few users are taking up for AMD in the thread including Mortac that says:

I find this to be a very confusing answer. What are we to expect for the future? You say that Diablo III won't support 12.4, but what exactly do you mean by that? Are we to expect support for future drivers down the road, say a few weeks after release, or are you telling us that we'll never be able to update our drivers again for as long as we intend to play Diablo III? If the latter, then you guys really need to think that through again. People update their drivers for several reasons, and you cannot possibly expect everyone to swap drivers every time they play other games that might require the latest version.

How this issue will be resolved before May 15th will be of importance to quite a few PC gamers so let's hope both AMD and Blizzard can get their acts together.

Besides Blizzard's long awaited Diablo entry, PC gamers can look forward to Guild Wars 2, DiRT Showdown, Max Payne 3, a new Ghost Recon title, BF3: Close Quarters, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Far Cry 3, Borderlands 2, Bioshock Infinite and many more in the coming months.  

UPDATE 2:22pm: An AMD representative has informed us that that bug referred to by the Blizzard forum support person in fact ONLY affects Radeon HD 2000, 3000 and 4000 users.  The 12.4 Catalyst software will work fine with 5000, 6000 and the new 7000 series of graphics cards apparently.  

Also, as Robert Hallock commented in our thread below:

d3cat12.4part2.png

Source: Battle.net

This is why anti-piracy is not simple and intuitive...

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 5, 2012 - 02:07 AM |
Tagged: piracy

The Pirate Bay has recently been blocked by a number of British ISPs but single-day traffic increased to the highest it has ever been. If there was a need for yet another example of where intuition opposes reality when it comes to content piracy, please -- let this be that so we can move on to actually solving problems.

The biggest issue with anti-piracy campaigns is that so many have opinions but so few have acknowledged facts -- even when proposing litigation.

The intuitive perception is very simple: see a quantifiable amount of what could wrongfully be considered theft and assume that sales were reduced by some factor of that value. Also, if you block access to that cesspool of theft then most of the theft will go away or move somewhere else. Both of those suggestions are fundamentally flawed statistically and have no meaning besides feeling correct.

529px-The_Pirate_Bay_logo.svg_.png

Content companies: Do not blame piracy. Sales before sails -- think before you sink.

In reality there are many situations to show that an infringed copy has counter-intuitive effects on sales. More importantly to this story is the latter situation: blocking The Pirate Bay appears to have substantially increased their single-day audience by 12 million views. This seems to be yet another conundrum where no action would have been the optimal solution.

If you were to take away a single point from this article it should be the following:

Just because something seems right or wrong does not mean it is. You should treat intuition as nothing more than a guide for your judgment. Never let instinct disrupt your ability to understand the problems you are attempting to solve or ignore completely valid possibilities at solving them.

Objectivity really is a good virtue to embrace.

"Just" Picked Up: Datacolor Spyder4PRO

Subject: General Tech, Displays | May 4, 2012 - 09:18 PM |
Tagged: colorimeter, monitor

Just Delivered is a class of articles at PC Perspective where we share what crosses into our offices, labs, houses, or nearby unguarded front porches. Today we put up with none of that. Two days ago I got off my lazy butt long enough to drive to a store to purchase a Datacolor Spyder4PRO monitor calibration device. Sure, I could have walked but -- let’s not get crazy now.

Part of doing illustration work online involves knowing how it will be viewed by the masses. Everyone will view it somewhat differently due to more-than-slight variations in their displays.

Properly calibrating your monitor to what is considered convention is difficult and not something many users do. Hardware and software exist to measure your monitor and adjust your color profiles to match. Calibrated color profiles often lose brightness and vibrancy although they are not to look good -- they are designed to look consistent.

After a couple of years of off-and-on browsing web forums for opinions on which colorimeter is the best I realized that I would be just as far ahead with a random number generator. I eventually just went with the gut and chose the Datacolor Spyder4PRO.

Colorimeter.jpg

Of course on the way home an oncoming car entered my lane to pass a bus.

It almost served me right for not leaving the whole “going outside” thing to the mail people.

Out of the box, installation was quite simple. I did have one annoyance with inputting my serial number: apparently when you input your serial number and activate online they return to you your CD key. Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems like if I were to reinstall the application I could not use the serial number that is safe and sound with the unit but rather recall the key I was given just then. That seems like a very bad method to enforce DRM -- although let’s face it, I hate DRM regardless of its form -- but thankfully I have secure notes in LastPass for situations like these.

I calibrated the three monitors very easily. My primary monitor, the Samsung SyncMaster XL2370, required two calibrations to be properly set although I believe that was my fault. Now all three monitors quite closely align to one another and seem to work well for test images in color managed applications.

My one complaint about the product itself is that it has a suction cup mount, but no suction cup. Really -- your device is almost 200$ and you cheap out on a couple-cent suction cup? Where am I even supposed to find a suction cup that will fit it? I mean, it is possible that there was an error with my package although it was sealed. Maybe it was only for the Elite package?

Really a suction cup is not necessary anyway -- they provide a counterweight on the cable to have it hang from the top of your monitor… but it is not as stable as a suction cup.

Source: PCPer

Mmm, Raspberry Pi!

Subject: General Tech | May 4, 2012 - 04:02 PM |
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, hardware, embedded systems, arm

It is not often the tech community gets excited about a minimalist piece of hardware like the Raspberry Pi; unless you follow Limor Fried it is unlikely you are even aware of the last time a new Arduino shield was released or just what you can stick in an Altoids tin.  Be that as it may, the $35 Raspberry Pi has been making news and peaking the interest of a large range of people.  The specs don't stand up if you compare them to a netbook but the footprint on the Pi is much smaller, at 85.60mm x 53.98mm x 17mm.  Both models are powered with a 700MHz ARM1176JZF-S CPU core, 256MB of RAM and a Broadcom VideoCore IV GPU with the Model A lacking ethernet and a single USB 2.0 port, the Model B has 2 USB ports and ethernet.  Tim has been covering the troubled path to retail for the Pi but has yet to get his hands on one.  TechSpot did get a hold of the Model B and put together a brief tutorial covering the basics of setting up your Pi but they can't really show you how to use it, as the entire point of the Pi is that it is a flexible platform that is probably capable of fulfilling anything you can imagine a low powered system could do.

TS_pi-2.jpg

"When the first 10,000 devices shipped in mid-April, the organization graciously sent us a sample for coverage. Along with a hands-on review of the Pi, today we'll be covering basic steps for setting up the computer and other elemental post-installation tasks to get you up and running with applications. In other words, this should serve as a starting point no matter what you want to do with your Raspberry Pi."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: TechSpot

Podcast #200!!! - GTX 690, Intel 910 Series PCI-E SSD, our Podcast Life in Review, and much more!

Subject: General Tech | May 3, 2012 - 08:53 PM |
Tagged: ssd, podcast, nvidia, intel., amd, 910, 690, 680

PC Perspective Podcast #200!!! - 05/03/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the GTX 690, Intel 910 Series PCI-E SSD, our Podcast Life in Review, and much 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

Program length: 1:23:52

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. PC Perspective Live Review - GTX 690
    1. http://pcper.com/live
    2. http://www.pcper.com/news/Editorial/Questions-GTX-690-Live-Review-Win-NVIDIA-Crowbar
  6. Podcast Life in Review
    1. #1 - 5/3/2007 - NV 8800 Ultra
    2. #10 - 8/14/2007 - AMD takes wraps off 3.2GHz Athlon 64 X2 6400+ Black Edition 
    3. #46 - 2/4/2009 - NVIDIA ION
    4. #50 - 3/26/2009 - Bigfoot new Gaming Card, Original from 2006!!
    5. #75 - 9/24/2009 - HD 5870 Launch
    6. #100 - 4/7/2010 - VRaptor 600GB
    7. #150 - 4/13/2011 - HD 6000 mid-range rumors
  7. Intel SSD 910 Series 800GB PCIe SSD First Look
  8. Dying Atoms: The Failure Of Low-Power x86 Processors
  9. SilverStone Nightjar ST50NF 500W Fanless Power Supply Review
  10. ASUS P8Z77-V Premium motherboard announced.
  11. Custom Gaming PC Being Auctioned Off For Charity Doing Multiple Sclerosis Research
  12. NVIDIA Announces dual-GPU Kepler GeForce GTX 690
  13. NVIDIA Announces GeForce Experience Cloud Service for Quality Presets
  14. NVIDIA Crates the GeForce GTX 690
  15. Cheaper GTX 670 GPU Spotted At Malaysian Retailer
  16. Moore's Law End in Sight
  17. Trinity Slides Leaked
  18. HWLB Update
  19. Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: LogmeIn Ignition - good and bad
    2. Jeremy: $60 3 LCD stand
    3. Josh:  Apparently quite CPU intensive. SRS gamers only!
    4. Allyn:  Mini SAS SFF-8087 to 4x 2.5in SATA/SAS 5.25in Hot Swap Backplane.
  20. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  21. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  22. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  23. Closing

CoolerMaster's Storm Trigger; Cherry MX Brown keys with an LED spotlight

Subject: General Tech | May 3, 2012 - 08:31 PM |
Tagged: cooler master, Storm Trigger, mechanical keyboard, cherry mx brown

Scott is PC Perspective's very own mechanical keyboard afficinado and he has covered a large portion of the current models available on the market but he has yet to get to the Cooler Master Storm Trigger.  Don't worry clicky key addicts, until he gets his own you can check out the review over at LanOC.  It uses Cherry MX Brown switches, which try to compromise between the solid bump a typist wants and the hair trigger a gamer prefers.  It also comes with 64KB of onboard memory for you to store macros and an impressive piece of software called CMStorm to allow you to program your keys exactly how you want.

LOC_storm.jpg

"Just two years ago the only mechanical keyboards you would find were from companies like DAS keyboard trying to create a nitch market. Over the past two years things have really exploded with every manufacture you can think of introducing their own mechanical keyboards. Cooler Master has been especially aggressive with multiple unique designs like their Quickfire series. What they did lack was a full featured mechanical keyboard with full backlighting, until now. Today they officially introduce their Storm Trigger, although it you look around the board was available Globally before now. With full backlighting it falls into a small category of Mechanical Keyboards with very little competition. I am excited to see how it performs."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: LanOC

May it truly be the end of our graphics card drought

Subject: General Tech | May 3, 2012 - 04:21 PM |
Tagged: NVIDA, amd, graphics card, TSMC, 28nm, kepler, southern islands, gtx690, gtx680, gtx670, gtx610

Enthusiasts were offered a bit of hope this morning with news from DigiTimes that more capacity at TSMC will be available for AMD and NVIDIA which would mean more dies being made and hopefully a larger supply of GPUs.  Since TSMC seems to have finished playing with their Cortex A9 process, there is a good possibility that the GTX680 and perhaps even the GTX690 will become common enough that the great unwashed actually have a chance to purchase one.  We can also hope that it will give NVIDIA a chance to build up stocks of the GTX670 and 610 which are due out at the end of the month and June, respectively.  Unfortunately, if a certain site is correct that may not be the case as NVIDIA will be redoing their mask and not be able to take advantage of the extra capacity TSMC could make available for them.  Perhaps if this scenario is true AMD will be able to leverage TSMC to flood the market with Southern Island GPUs and hope to win the availability war as the performance crown is firmly on NVIDIA's head in this generation of GPUs.

happydance.png

"AMD and Nvidia, impacted by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's (TSMC's) fully-booked capacity, had rather weak shipment performance in the first quarter; however, as more capacity will be gradually released by TSMC, shortages of 28nm graphics cards are expected to improve in late May, according to sources from graphics card makers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: DigiTimes

Questions for GTX 690 Live Review - Win an NVIDIA Crowbar!!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 2, 2012 - 06:37 PM |
Tagged: video, nvidia, live review, live, kepler, GTX 690, geforce

Yes, we realize it's actually a "flat bar" but that's nearly as cool to say.  Either way, wouldn't you like to win one of these?

crowbar1.jpg

Tomorrow at 1pm EDT / 10am PDT we are going to be streaming a LIVE talk between myself and Tom Petersen centered around the GeForce GTX 690 dual-Kepler graphics card at http://pcper.com/live.  We will talk about performance, power consumption, features, show demos and of course take user questions through our live chat room, twitter accounts and more. 

But we also want to get your questions TODAY to help prepare for the event.  If you have a burning question about the GTX 690 or the Kepler architecture and its features, leave us a comment below!  (No registartion required.) Both NVIDIA's Tom Petersen and I will give you our feedback.  The best question will take home an NVIDIA crowbar so you too can be prepared for the coming apocalypse!

If you want, you can also send me a message on Twitter @RyanShrout or on our PC Perspective Facebook page.  

Hurry though, we want them in tonight so we can sort and pick our favorites for the live event tomorrow.  For all the details on tomorrow's show, make sure you check our post right here!!

 

New trailer for Mechwarrior Tactics

Subject: General Tech | May 2, 2012 - 06:01 PM |
Tagged: online, Mechwarrior, gaming

PC Gamer got their hands on a new preview of Mechwarrior Tactics, the soon to be released free to play online game.  The beginning clearly shows the turn based nature of the game, especially when there is an overlay of hexes on the map, a necessity if they want to provide an experience close to the tabletop game which it has evolved from.  Once the action starts you can see Jump Jets in action as well as several LRM attacks, all nicely animated.  Fans are anxiously awaiting the release of this game, to see if it truly remains free to play as well as to see if the game is actually enjoyable.

MW_T.jpg

"Hexes with mechses makeses me happy"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

Source: PC Gamer

There is plenty of blame to go around when you are talking about the GTX 680

Subject: General Tech | May 2, 2012 - 05:05 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, TSMC, gtx680

The GTX680 would be far outselling the HD7870 if it was available anywhere but NVIDIA's biggest problem is that there is no supply to sell to the customers that want this card.  If SemiAccurate's sources are correct NVIDIA has yet to ship 10,000 cards in total, which really makes NVIDIA's stance that the supply problems are just a perception issue hard to swallow.  Mostly the fingers have been pointed at TSMC and the difficulties they have had with their 28nm production line, but that is getting old as well; if their 28nm process was inherently flawed they would not be at 95% capacity and AMDs GPUs would be just as rare as the new NVIDIA cards.  Could the issue lie with NVIDIA's chip design being flawed and producing incredibly low yields?  Is it that somehow the design takes an incredibly long time on the line in order to produce a wafer and so yields are not low so much as slow?  It is really hard to peg down exactly what is going on behind the scenes since neither of the companies involved are willing to discuss the causes behind the shortages.  That is the normal way of things however, no matter what company you talk about, you are far more likely to see denials and finger pointing than an explanation ... similar to children when you think about it really.

nvidia_ceo_tattoo.jpg

"Nvidia has been busily blaming TSMC for their many supposed failings on 28nm, but SemiAccurate has learned what is really going on. The short story is that the finger pointing around the Kepler launch problems should be at Nvidia, not TSMC."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: SemiAccurate