Creative's new SoundCore3D chipset and Recon3D line analyzed

Subject: General Tech | May 7, 2012 - 05:05 PM |
Tagged: audio, Creative, Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty, SoundCore3D

The newest flagship card from Creative is the Fatal1ty branded Sound Blaster Recon3D PCIe 1x card, which is the first to feature their new SoundCore3D chipset which brings 192kHz sampling rates at 24-bit to SoundBlaster.  It comes with a microphone and like many of the high end cards on the market comes with a front panel which adds RCA stereo inputs jacks, DSP mode selection buttons, and analog volume and recording level knobs which can be pushed in flush with the face of the panel to both lock them and allow you to close the door on your case.  [H]ard|OCP tried out Rightmark Audio Analyzer as well as their own ears to try to gauge the quality of sound produced by this new SoundBlaster series, which you can read about right here.

H_Recon.jpg

"Creative's latest Sound Blaster flagship sound card features its new SoundCore3D chipset along with a powerful headphone amplifier, a beam forming microphone, and the return of the company's popular front panel audio I/O bay. Is this card a worthy successor to its Audigy and X-Fi brethren?"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Intel wants to be the colloidal silver lining in the cloud

Subject: General Tech | May 7, 2012 - 04:30 PM |
Tagged: Intel, mcafee, cloud

It really has been almost a year and a half since Intel bought McAfee and we started speculating on what this would mean.  It was a common hypothesis that Intel wanted to leverage the Trusted Execution Technology that exists in Xeon processors as well as a belief that there would be instruction sets in the Core architecture that could be used to make your machine more secure without sacrificing performance.  That theory has proven true as Jason Waxman who is in charge of Intel's Cloud initiative spoke about the current and planned implementations of their hardware assisted antivirus.  A new tool called McAfee Management for Optimized Virtual Environments AntiVirus will handle scans and updates for the server and service side and new additions to McAfee's ePO agent which expand its ability to secure networks and servers.  The Register put together a generalized look at what we know so far and while we are still hoping to see more specifics from Intel soon it is certainly more interesting than the other McAfee story currently circulating.

silverlining_small.jpg

"Jason Waxman, general manager of Intel's Cloud Infrastructure Group, said that over the last year or so he'd been inundated with questions about what Intel was going to do with McAfee since it lashed out $7.68bn for the security firm, during an industry-wide buying spree on cyber-security companies. Chipzilla's been intentionally quiet on the subject, but was now ready to talk he said."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

Steam Allows Remote Installation of Games

Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2012 - 07:48 PM |
Tagged: valve, steam, gaming pc, gaming, games

Valve recently released a beta update for its Steam client that allows users to remotely install games to their local machine using the steampowered.com website.

installsteambeta.jpg

After installing the beta update to the local Steam client (Steam > Settings > Beta Participation), just leave the client logged in on your machine. Then navigate to Community page of the Steam website. After that, click on the Games category where the website will then list all the games tied to your Steam account. If you have a game you want to download and install while you are away, just hit the install button to the right of the game’s name.

This is certainly an interesting feature for some, especially if you happen to be on vacation during a Steam Holiday Sale! (hehe). More details on the process can be found here. Is this a feature you’ll be using?

Source: Valve

Corsair Launches Air Series of High Airflow and High Static Pressure Fans

Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2012 - 05:09 PM |
Tagged: static pressure, high airflow, fans, corsair, air series

Corsair announced earlier this week that the company is expanding their cooling options to include PC case fans with their new Air Series. They have been bundling fans with their self-contained water cooling units since their release, but they have been rebranded fans from other manufacturers. With the Air Series, Corsair has designed the fans in-house and then had partners capable of building the units actually manufacture them. The fans in the Air Series have been designed to balance airflow and quiet operation for enthusiasts that want cooling performance with consideration towards noise.

fan_af140_up_b_1.png

Corsair AF140 Quiet Edition

Currently Corsair is offering 120mm and 140mm fans which focus on either high static pressure or high airflow. They feature a hydraulic bearing system, rubber case mounting points, and a variety of colors to choose from including red, blue, and white colored rings around the fan blades.

fan_af120_up_r.png

Corsair SP120 Quiet Edition

The fans with AF in the model name are part of the high airflow subset and are geared towards moving as much air as possible through your case. There are two 120mm and one 140mm fan for sale at the time of writing. Corsair has designed the fans with thin custom molded blades for a fan that moves lots of air and can be installed in spaces as small as 3cm in depth.

fan_sp120_up_w.png

Corsair SP120 High Performance Edition

Alternatively, Corsair is offering fans that deliver a high static pressure, which makes them ideal for pairing with watercooling radiators and air cooling heatsinks. These fans have “SP” in the model name, and are currently limited to two 120mm fans. The high static pressure is achieved by using seven wide blades and a custom molded enclosure.

The following chart from Corsair details the currently available Corsair fans.

Edition Description Size (mm) Noise (dBA) Airflow (CFM) RPM Static Pressure (mmH20)
AF120 Quiet Low noise, good airflow 120x25 21 39.88 1100 not measured  
AF120 Performance High airflow 120x25 30 63.47 1650 not measured  
AF140 Quiet Low noise, high airflow 140x25 24 67.8 1150 not measured
SP120 Quiet Low noise, High pressure 120x25 23 37.85 1450 1.29
SP120 High Performance High pressure 120x25 35 62.74 2350 3.1

 

Ruben Mookerjee, VP and General Manager of the Components Business Unit at Corsair stated that "Many PC fans on the market are general purpose designs that not always suited to the task which they're assigned. We took our expertise in PC case and cooling and designed fans that have very specific uses. Each fan is the right tool for the right job."

The new Corsair Air Series fans are on sale now and carry an MSRP of $16.99 USD for the AF120/SP120 (120mm high airflow and static pressure) fans and $18.99 USD for the 140mm AF 140 fans. More information on the Corsair fans can be found here.

Source: Corsair

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:

Tech Talk

 

Source: LanOC