$700 Ultrabooks could provide HP's Sleekbooks with a challenge

Subject: General Tech | May 18, 2012 - 03:24 PM |
Tagged: celeron 807, celeron 877, celeron, ulv, ultrabook, sleekbook, hp

HP recently announced their plans to begin selling Sleekbooks, a ultraportable modelled after the Ultrabook but using an AMD processor.  You might lose a bit of computational power but you won't sacrifice graphical performance and the prices are slated to be noticeably less that what Ultrabooks are currently selling for, as well as the intended sub-$1000 price Intel originally stated.  Intel is firing back with the upcoming release of two Celeron processors both priced under $100.  DigiTimes also reports on five future dual core i3s which will sell between $100-$150 which will give Intel customers a large feild of models to choose from.   The two new Celerons are expected to be 17W 32nm SandyBridge processors, one single core model and one dual core model, both with Intel HD graphics onboard.

envy_sleekbook.jpg

"Intel will launch four entry-level Celeron processors including the Celeron ULV 877 and 807 for sale at US$86 and US$70 respectively and targeting ultrabooks in the third quarter of 2012. The CPUs could enable vendors to offer ultrabooks at a price level of US$699 in the third-quarter, and falling to US$599 at the end of the year or beginning of 2013, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: DigiTimes

Unreal Engine 4 first screenshots. Wicked Sick?

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | May 18, 2012 - 04:24 AM |
Tagged: E3, unreal engine 4, ue4

Epic Games has demonstrated Unreal Engine 4 behind closed doors at GDC a few months ago. First screenshots have been released from that demo although not much more has been made public about it. While not completely epic, it definitely is exciting. Unreal Engine 4 is expected to be further unveiled at or near E3 in June.

Both Wired Magazine and PC Gamer have released screenshots and articles from the Unreal Engine 4 Game Developers Conference 2012 (GDC12) demo.

Epic has been quiet about the next generation of their game development platform. Only a handful of lucky individuals were shown the demo at the GDC and those who did could not share their experience. Epic has said that they would have liked to publicly demonstrate their product, but were unable to due to non-disclosure agreements that they themselves were placed under.

Unreal-Engine-4-3.jpg

I think that guy needs some thixomolded magnesium alloy. He seems to be running a little hot.

Either he’ll cool down, or produce a beautiful white bloom.

(Screenshot Credit: PC Gamer)

Wired claims that Epic will unveil the rest of Unreal Engine 4 in June which likely means that it will occur on or around the E3 press conference.

It is thus easy to speculate that whatever gagged Epic will likely be unveiled at E3 too.

The major hook of the demo was that it was running in the editor and not in a baked game executable. This means that developers will have a much easier time creating their game and will also have to spend much less time preparing to work. About the only concrete tidbit in the article is that Unreal Engine 4 will not have baked lighting. Unreal Engine 4 will likely use a technology similar to Battlefield 3 where global illumination is calculated at runtime -- nearly a must for properly lit destructibility.

Both sources have their own set of screenshots. Check out both Wired and PC Gamer so you do not miss any pixels.

Source: PC Gamer

Podcast #202 Aftershow - Much Ado about Storage

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Storage | May 17, 2012 - 05:05 PM |
Tagged: podcast, aftershow

After the normally scheduled podcast recorded last night, the PC Perspective staff hung around in the chat room to talk with our fans and readers about various random hardware topics.  Rather than just throw that data away, we decided to save it and post the video here as a sort of "aftershow" for those of you that want a bit more PCPer in your life.

Enjoy!

Podcast #202 - GTX 670, NVIDIA's GK110 Tesla card, our AMD Trinity Mobile review and more!

Subject: General Tech | May 17, 2012 - 03:16 PM |
Tagged: trinity, tesla, podcast, nvidia, kepler, gtx670, GTC 2012, gk110, GK104, dv nation, a10

PC Perspective Podcast #202 - 05/17/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the GTX 670, NVIDIA's GK110 Tesla card, our AMD Trinity Mobile review and more!

If you want even more PC Perspective this, check out our "aftershow" event as well.  Event might be an over-statement though...

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: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malvantano

Program length: 1:05:16

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:21 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. 0:01:15 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Graphics Card Review - Kepler for $399
    1. GeForce GTX 670 vs GTX 570 Performance Update
    2. The GTX 670 and the Case of the Missing (and Returning) 4-Way SLI Support
  6. 0:11:20 Graphics Card (GPU) Stock Check - May 10th, 2012
    1. Hard to make a profit when no one can find Kepler cards for sale, NVIDIA
  7. 0:14:25 NVIDIA Reveals GK110 GPU - Kepler at 7.1B Transistors, 15 SMX Units
  8. 0:20:20 Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180: Atom's Wake
  9. 0:24:30 AMD A10-4600M Trinity For Mobile Review: Trying To Cut The Ivy
  10. 0:33:40 Just Delivered: DV Nation RAMRod PC - Sandy Bridge-E, 64GB DDR3, 480GB RevoDrive 3 X2
  11. 0:35:42 Plug and Pray PCIe SSD that you can upgrade; OWC's Mercury Accelsior
  12. 0:40:40 GTC 2012: NVIDIA Announces GeForce GRID Cloud Gaming Platform
    1. NVIDIA Pioneers New Standard for High Performance Computing with Tesla GPUs
    2. NVIDIA Introduces World's First Virtualized GPU, Accelerating Graphics for Cloud Computing
  13. 0:53:00 ZOTAC announces ZOTAC GeForce GT 630, GT 620 and GT 610 series
  14. 0:55:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Jeremy: Only to be used for evil
    2. Josh: Since NV doesn't have an answer yet at this price range...
    3. Allyn: If you need your files secure - without the destruction
  15. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  16. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  17. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  18. Closing

Microsoft will fix what their OEM partners break -- for $99

Subject: General Tech, Systems | May 17, 2012 - 03:13 PM |
Tagged: Microsoft Store, crapware

“Factory computers” have been loaded with demos and trials for several years now in an effort to subsidize part of the cost, get lower prices, and bloat your computer -- that last part is unintentional. Microsoft created their “Signature” lineup of PCs a couple of years ago to highlight products that only have software which Microsoft intended to install. Microsoft will soon offer a service to bring existing PCs to what Microsoft deems a Signature status for $99 if you can find a Microsoft store.

While our readers are affected by this story they are probably less so than just about any other blog.

If you did not acquire your computer by having it assembled -- and if you did, we hope you consulted our regularly updated Hardware Leaderboard -- you probably purchased it from an OEM. To make their product seem more appealing most OEMs load their products with product demos and other advertisements. This is particularly bad for PCs because they are not only annoying but also tend to bog the machine down.

Decrapified.jpg

What is it with Microsoft Stores and awkward $99 products lately?

(and yes I realize the image is inaccurate because I chose a non-consumer workstation)

Since Microsoft tends to get the brunt of the bad recognition when a Windows machine it comes to no surprise that they eventually attempted to encourage a more vanilla experience. The Microsoft “Signature” lineup of PCs were OEM-produced machines which have been removed of all software that should not come with Windows -- except maybe a few Windows Live Essentials products.

Microsoft will expand their Signature program to any PC if you can find a Microsoft Store and pay $99 to undo what their partners did.

It is unclear what specific goal Microsoft is hoping to accomplish with this program. Everyone’s first reaction would be that they are attempting to cash in at the expense of their users but that just does not make sense. They could be attempting to promote the Windows store but this certainly seems less like a carrot and more like a wet noodle. They could also be trying to pressure their OEMs by reducing the cost-per-impression they can acquire for each ad because of how easily it could be removed.

It would be most like Microsoft to honestly believe that this service will be appreciated by users. If that is true, I must disagree. ZDNet has already used this as an excuse to promote Apple computers -- which makes me headdesk because $99 is pocket change compared to that -- so I expect that if that was Microsoft’s intent it will backfire wholly.

What do you think Microsoft’s goal is: selfish vulching their consumers or something less devious?

Source: ZDNet

Corsair Giving Away Five Vengeance 2000 Wireless Headsets

Subject: General Tech | May 16, 2012 - 10:45 PM |
Tagged: vengeance 2000, vengeance, headset, gaming, corsair

Popular computer case and power supply maker Corsair recently launched a sweepstakes to get the word out about their new Vengeance 2000 wireless gaming headsets. They will be giving away five of the new virtual surround sound headsets to winners.

2000_left_lit_1.png

The contest is open to new entrants until Monday (5/21/12), and is very simple to enter. To enter the contest, head over to their Facebook contest page and hit the “Like” button. Then click on the green “Enter Sweepstakes” button. After that, they invite you to tell your friends about the contest. They have a couple thousands entries so far, so get in while you can! The Official Rules are linked on the bottom of the contest page but it looks like anyone over the age of 18 not affiliated with the company is eligible to win.

The Vengeance 2000 is essentially the wireless version of the company's Vengeance 1500 USB gaming headset with a noticeable makeover. The headset uses 50mm drivers and 2.4GHz wireless technology to deliver virtual surround sound without a wired connection to the PC, and up to about 40 feet. It also features a rechargeable battery in the headset and an adjustable noise canceling boom microphone. The headsets have an MSRP of $149 USD.

Best of luck in the contest, and if you win be sure to let us know what you think of them!

Source: Corsair

Microsoft Signature Will Clean Your Windows Install For $99

Subject: General Tech | May 16, 2012 - 06:31 PM |
Tagged: Windows 7, windows, microsoft signature, microsoft

Microsoft’s Signature program is a Microsoft Store and online service where the company resells OEM partners’ computers without all the traditional bloatware programs. The company puts a clean install of Windows on the hardware, installs Microsoft applications–including Microsoft Security Essentials, Live Movie Maker, and Live Mail–and optimized the OS for that particular machine’s hardware. This Signature install of Windows has only been available to users that purchased a new computer from Microsoft–until now.

Microsoft_Signature.jpg

According to Ars Technica, Microsoft is now offering to turn any OEM PC running Windows into a Signature edition of the operating system for a one-time fee of $99. DIYers and enthusiasts are likely to scoff at the nearly hundred dollar price tag for popping in a Windows 7 install disc and doing a clean install, but the Signature service is most certainly not aimed at the technically savvy market to begin with. Rather, this is a service for ordinary computer users to get the most performance out of their computer while avoiding the numerous “optimize my PC” scams and malware-programs-masquerading-as-Windows-utilities minefield. Doing a clean install and then optimizing the OS can take at least an hour (though enthusiasts can generally shave that time down quite a bit), and a straight fee of $99 is a lot less than consumers are likely to find elsewhere (especially since that includes 90 days of tech support). And that’s where I think this program is okay, and even a good thing. Most OEM systems come pre-loaded with a bunch of unwanted programs and trial offers that serve no real purpose besides making the OEM more money. There is also the issue of security. The majority of OEM systems come pre-loaded with some form of trial antivirus (usually Norton), and customers are notorious for not upgrading to the paid edition after the trial period or replacing it with (better) free antivirus applications. For $99, Microsoft will take the OEM machine and spruce it up to be the operating system that it should have been running in the first place. Besides price, the other barrier to this catching on is that customers need to bring the PC into a Microsoft Store (which are few and far between).

That statement is where many users are not pleased with Microsoft. They believe that Microsoft should exert more control over what OEMs are allowed to do with its operating system. Certainly, that is the ideal solution, but Microsoft is not Apple and they do not have the same level of control over the resulting hardware and what is bundled into the OS after it is purchased by OEMs. The Signature program is at least a step in the right direction and making the best of the situation. Also, it is an optional service that consumers are free to shop around to find a better price (or learn how to do it themselves by checking out guides online). It may not be the best thing, but at least Microsoft recognizes that there is a problem and is offering an alternative.

I’ll admit that I reacted unfavorably when I first read about the program, especially since it seemed so expensive for what comes as second nature to me. But not everyone wants to muck around in settings and for those with more money than time the Signature program is not a bad deal. It’s not for me, but I can see situations where it will work well. What are your thoughts on the program; do you see it as useful or is Microsoft way off base here?

Source: Ars Technica

Take a break from Diablo 3 to look behind the scenes

Subject: General Tech | May 16, 2012 - 12:04 PM |
Tagged: gaming, diablo iii

Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN was given the chance to sit down with the senior world designer and the lead technical artist of Diablo 3.  One of the topics of discussion will be near and dear to those who played the previous games in the series, co-op multiplayer, which really defined the game for those who tried it.  Somehow button mashing in tandem was much more enjoyable than the already great single player experience and the development team spent a good deal of effort bringing that experience to Diablo 3.  They also talk about the difficulties of including enough lore to keep players who want some depth to the story of the game but ensuring that those players who don't care for a back story don't feel it is getting in the way of their game.  At no time were rainbows or unicorns discussed.

diablo35.jpg

"Diablo III is now a thing that you’re capable of owning and (hopefully) playing. Just before the launch, when those network problems were yet to freeze Hell over, I sat down with senior world designer Leonard Boyarsky and lead technical artist Julian Love to keep them company as queues formed in the streets outside. Along the way, I discovered that having an ex-Troika chap on your game means that ‘lore’ is a very important word indeed, that the distant roguelike heritage hasn’t been forgotten and that technological progression doesn’t necessarily alter design principles."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Gigabyte USA Announces Gigabyte eSports LAN

Subject: General Tech | May 15, 2012 - 06:22 PM |
Tagged: LAN party, lan, gigabyte, gaming, case mod contest

Popular motherboard manufacturer Gigabyte Technology Co. recently announced the Gigabyte eSports LAN (GESL), which is its first eSports event in North America. The event includes a BYOC (bring your own computer) LANFest, tournament competitions in Starcraft II and League of Legends, a case mod competition, presentations, and an event raffle. The competitions each feature various prizes for winning including Gigabyte G1.Sniper 3 motherboards, graphics cards, RAM, and other computer hardware. Starcraft II and League of Legends further offer $11,000 and $10,000 prize pools respectively.

Gigabyte_Esports_LAN.jpg

The event will be held at the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, California from June 15th to June 17th, 2012. In additon to Gigabyte, the eSports event is co-sponsored by Kingston and Cooler Master, among others. The LAN competitions will be broadcast in HD for free during the event for those that can’t attend in person. Alternatively, users can purchase spectator badges for $15 USD. There will also be an event raffle during the GESL that will give away various pieces of computer hardware and company swag to attendees.

casemod-contest.jpg

Further, the case mod contest will showcase systems from participants of the BYOC LANFest or spectators, of which five winners will be chosen. They will receive computer hardware and coverage in CPU Magazine should they win.

More information on the event can be found at the Gigabyte eSports LAN website (thegesl.com).

Source: Gigabyte USA
Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

NVIDIA puts its head in the clouds

Today at the 2012 NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference (GTC), NVIDIA took the wraps off a new cloud gaming technology that promises to reduce latency and improve the quality of streaming gaming using the power of NVIDIA GPUs.  Dubbed GeForce GRID, NVIDIA is offering the technology to online services like Gaikai and OTOY.  

01.jpg

The goal of GRID is to bring the promise of "console quality" gaming to every device a user has.  The term "console quality" is kind of important here as NVIDIA is trying desperately to not upset all the PC gamers that purchase high-margin GeForce products.  The goal of GRID is pretty simple though and should be seen as an evolution of the online streaming gaming that we have covered in the past–like OnLive.  Being able to play high quality games on your TV, your computer, your tablet or even your phone without the need for high-performance and power hungry graphics processors through streaming services is what many believe the future of gaming is all about. 

02.jpg

GRID starts with the Kepler GPU - what NVIDIA is now dubbing the first "cloud GPU" - that has the capability to virtualize graphics processing while being power efficient.  The inclusion of a hardware fixed-function video encoder is important as well as it will aid in the process of compressing images that are delivered over the Internet by the streaming gaming service. 

 

03.jpg

This diagram shows us how the Kepler GPU handles and accelerates the processing required for online gaming services.  On the server side, the necessary process for an image to find its way to the user is more than just a simple render to a frame buffer.  In current cloud gaming scenarios the frame buffer would have to be copied to the main system memory, compressed on the CPU and then sent via the network connection.  With NVIDIA's GRID technology that capture and compression happens on the GPU memory and thus can be on its way to the gamer faster.

The results are H.264 streams that are compressed quickly and efficiently to be sent out over the network and return to the end user on whatever device they are using. 

Continue reading our editorial on the new NVIDIA GeForce GRID cloud gaming technology!!