A little something for the budding musician, the Behringer Guitar Link

Subject: General Tech | June 26, 2012 - 07:22 PM |
Tagged: audio, recording, guitar

If you have musical aspirations and are looking for a way to record your guitar, bass or vocals then the Behringer Guitar Link.  This $65 device allows you to plug in an instrument as well as a pair of headphones in one end of the device, with the USB end going directly into your PC for recording and manipulation.  The headphones ensure that you can hear what is being recorded as you are taking your amp out of the loop.  Techware Labs takes you through the software, which includes an amp simulator from Native Instruments called AC Box Combo a freeware multi-track DAW tool called EnergyXT2.  Check out the full review here.

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"The Behringer Guitar Link is positioned to be an inexpensive recording solution for guitar, but can be used for bass and microphone as well."

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Audio Corner

 

Just when you thought that books would stop being ultra

Subject: General Tech | June 26, 2012 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, Ivy Bridge, hp, dell

About the only nice thing to be said about the Ultrabook is that it is doing better than the previous CULV form factor Intel tried.  While there are a group of consumers who praise the Ultrabook, the machines never actually lived up to the specifications Intel used to define an Ultrabook.  Battery life and size have for the most part lived up to the design specifications but boot time and price certainly have not ... at least at the same time.  The inclusion of an SSD capable of quickly resuming from sleep tends to move the price north of the $1000 price limit, as do the materials used in the chassis to keep the size and weight down. 

Ivy Bridge is helping, as the price of the processor comes down as does the thermals but DigiTimes suggests that this may be overshadowed by a shortage of both thin screens and metal chassis which will offset any reduction in processor expense.  That hasn't stopped Dell who have announced two new Ultrabook models, the XPS 14 base model has an i5-3317U, 4GB DDR3-1333 and a 500GB HDD for about $1200 or the larger XPS 16 whose base model has an i5-3210M and a GT 630M as well as a HDD which will go for roughly $750-800USD.  Both models are over 2kg and neither truly fits the definition of an Ultrabook nor does The Inquirer find anything more attractive about them than a Macbook.  They are better than the HP Envy which was recently released at $600 which is inexpensive but as Matt Smith pointed out, that AMD A-Series in that Envy sleekbook is going to disappoint a lot of buyers when it comes to performance. 

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"Dell's range of XPS laptops, which are now labeled as ultrabooks in order to keep in step with Intel's latest branding, has been headed by the well received XPS 13, however the company has significantly updated its XPS 14 and introduced the XPS 15. According to the firm the XPS 14 is all about battery life while the XPS 15 is pitched at those who want to do content creation and video playback."

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Source: The Inquirer

Dell Crafting Ubuntu-based Notebook for Developers With Project Sputnik

Subject: General Tech | June 26, 2012 - 09:27 AM |
Tagged: ubuntu, sputnik, software, programming, linux, dell, computing

Dell recently announced that it is turning to an open source Linux OS to craft a developer focused operating system. Enabled by Dell’s incubation program (and accompanying monetary funding), the pilot program – named Project Sputnik – is based on Dell’s XPS13 ultrabook and the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS OS.

Ubuntu_XPS13.jpg

The Project Sputnik program will run for six months. Its goal is to create the ideal hardware and software platform for software developers. Currently, that means using Dell’s XPS13 laptop and a customized version of the Ubuntu 12.04 Linux OS. The team behind the initiative are working closely with Canonical (Ubuntu developers) to put together a custom Ubuntu image with stripped down software, custom drivers, and only the software packages that developers want.

The team wants to make it easy for software programmers to get a hold of the programing languages and environments that they need to do their jobs. It will have integration with GitHub for coding projects as well.

In the video below Barton George, Director of Marketing for Dell, talks about the Project Sputnik program and how they hope to craft a laptop aimed directly at developers.

It is an interesting program, and I hope that it does well. You can find more information about Project Sputnik and how you can get involved at the Dell website.

Source: Dell

AMD's new ultra low power CPU, the G-T16R

Subject: General Tech | June 25, 2012 - 03:59 PM |
Tagged: low power, geode, G-T16R, embedded, amd

The new embedded processor from AMD replaces the old Geode series and brings new performance to the ultra low end as this is a 4.5W TPD processor.   The G-T16R APU supports Windows 7 Embedded Compact 7, Green Hills Integrity and Express Logic Thread X operating systems which makes the lack of support for DirectX 11 a moot point as these OSes are not about to need that support to begin with.  The ultra low TDP means that no fan is required to use this processor and so you can expect an average draw of 2.3W from the system.

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DirectX 11 might be missing but looking below you can see that there is a lot of other features included with this chip, from SATA 6Gbps to HD audio as well as HDMI out and support for PCIe 2.0 4x cards, you can get quite a bit from this little chip.  Check out the ASUS press release here or just read the summary available at The Inquirer.

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"CHIP DESIGNER AMD launched its lowest power accelerator processing unit (APU) yet with the 4.5W TDP G-T16R.

AMD's G series embedded GPUs have been offering some of the lowest power DirectX 11 capable chips for some time and now the firm has brought the TDP down even further with the G-T16R. Although the G-T16R doesn't support DirectX 11, it claims considerable performance benefits over the almost archaic but popular Geode LX embedded processors."

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Source: The Inquirer

Live Video Recap: AMD Llano Blindfolded PC Build

Subject: General Tech, Systems | June 23, 2012 - 06:04 PM |
Tagged: video, llano, blindfolded, APU, amd

Well, we did it!  Today I successfully built an AMD A-series APU based computer while blindfolded LIVE.  At the start of the event I went over the various components used for the build including the AMD A8-3800 APU, MSI A75 motherboard, Corsair 550D case and 650 watt power supply and more.  After showing it all, I wrapped a scarf around my head and went to work.  

There were quite a few more hurdles than I expected including spreading the thermal paste correctly, screwing the motherboard into the case and finding the pins for the front panel power button.  I was surprised at how easily I was able to install the APU, memory and heatsink, but that likely comes with years of practice and experience with the hardware.  

In all, it took me 1 hour and 18 minutes to get to a Windows screen using a pre-installed OS on a Western Digital 1TB hard drive.  That was MUCH longer than I had originally thought it would take, so I have been humbled by those DIY PC users that build their own on without sight a regular basis!  

If you missed the live event we hosted at http://pcper.com/live you can find the replay hosted right here below.  Enjoy watching me completely make a fool of myself!

Update: The winner of the blindfolded system was selected, congrats goes to Darren who gets the task of rebuilding this rig!  :D

AMD's new Opteron head is an interconnect specialist

Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2012 - 02:37 PM |
Tagged: amd

Suresh Gopalakrishnan was most recently CTO at Freescale Semiconductor, but also once VP of Engineering at Extreme Networks, which was a company specializing in very high speed ethernet switching technology and a hardware scientist at HP's Integrated Circuits Business Division before that. This could be a great decision by Rory Read to place him at the head of AMDs server business.  With the current focus on the interconnect portion of the server and the push to have multiple low powered CPUs instead of one powerful one it makes sense to put someone with a lot of networking experience in charge of developing the next generation of PileDriver chips.  If AMD is to beat Intel at the interconnect game and fully utilize their newly purchased SeaMicro technology they need someone who has experience getting large amounts of nodes speaking to each other with as little latency as possible.  Read more about Suresh's new position at AMD over at The Register.

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"AMD's new CEO Rory Read has been shaking things up in the past couple of months while at the same time settling things down – particularly on the Opteron server chip front. To help accomplish both, he's made a major management move, hiring Suresh Gopalakrishnan to be vice president and general manager of AMD's server business unit."

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Source: The Register

Podcast #207 - Western Digital N900 HD Router, NVIDIA GT 640, Falling SSD prices, and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 21, 2012 - 04:03 PM |
Tagged: western digital, podcast, nvidia, N900, kepler, Intel, gt640, gpu, cpu, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #207 - 06/21/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the Western Digital N900 HD Router, NVIDIA GT 640, Falling SSD prices, 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: 1:17:19

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:58 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. 0:01:58 Join us for some cool live events this week! - http://pcper.com/live
  6. 0:05:15 Western Digital My Net N900 HD Router Review
  7. 0:19:00 Low-End Laptop Graphics Solution Comparison: Five Options Go Head-To-Head
  8. 0:22:03 Galaxy GeForce GT 640 GC 1GB DDR3 Review - GK107 is no GK104
  9. 0:30:17 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  10. 0:31:00 Modest announcements at the last day of the AFDS
  11. 0:34:20 Western Digital and Seagate doomed to be marked as bad sectors?
  12. 0:37:45 How did we suddenly move past the $1/GB on SSDs?
  13. 0:40:25 SK Hynix to acquire Link_a_Media Devices for $248 million
  14. 0:44:30 Microsoft Surface announced, tablet to compete with iPad
  15. 0:52:40 Intel renames Larrabee to Xeon Phi
  16. 1:01:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Pegasus R4 Thunderbolt Unit - pushing 660 MB/s with RAID-0
    2. Jeremy: I change my mind … This is what I was promised!!
    3. Josh: I love the price drop!
    4. Allyn: Jawbone HD + The Nerd
  17. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  18. http://pcper.com/podcast
  19. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  20. Closing

Has Atom finally found its home ... in cell phones?

Subject: General Tech | June 21, 2012 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: Medfield, SoC, atom z2460

Intel will be focusing a lot of attention on the mobile phone market this year, already they have started in Asia but hopefully it won't be too long until we start to see them here in North America.  Currently their Medfield SoC is fabbed on the 32nm process but we can expect to see 22nm chips with lower power consumption in the very new feature.  Companies unfamiliar to the West, such as Lava, Orange and ZTE are already either selling a phone or are about to release one, but those do not define the limits of the market.  DigiTimes describes their plans for the coming year as aggressive but with ARM already deeply entrenched in this market we have yet to see if this is the market where Atom will really find a successful niche.

 

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"Intel's Medfield platform-based smartphones have recently received attention from handset players and telecom carriers such as Orange, Lenovo, Motorola Mobility, ZTE and India-based Lava International.

Lava International already launched its 4.03-inch Xolo X900, featuring Atom Z2460 processor (1.6GHz), 1GB memory, 16GB storage capacity, 8-megapixel camera and a battery that allows users to connect to the Internet through 3G for five hours and talk for eight hours. The smartphone is priced around US$400."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes

NVIDIA Responds to Linus Torvalds’ Rant

Subject: General Tech | June 21, 2012 - 01:35 PM |
Tagged: rant, optimus, open source, nvidia, linux, linus, drivers

Last week, the founder of Linux – Linus Torvalds – gave a speech at the Aalto Center for Entrepreneurship. The aspect that most people picked up on was a certain disparaging statement towards NVIDIA. Since then, the video has spread rapidly around the Internet with critics for and against the statement. Linus does not believe that NVIDIA is easy to work with regarding Linux support, in short. NVIDIA PR recently responded to his statement in stating that the company is in fact heavily involved with Linux development, albeit mobile kernels.

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NVIDIA stated in its PR release that supporting Linux is important to the company and they understand how important a positive Linux experience using NVIDIA hardware is. I don’t think anyone is surprised by that statement, but that was not all they said. The company stated that they are big supporters of the ARM Linux kernel with a claimed second most total lines changed and fourth highest number of changesets in the kernel.

The company uses proprietary drivers, but it does support GeForce, Quadro, and Tesla graphics cards under the Linux operating system. By using a common, proprietary driver, NVIDIA claims same-day support for new graphics cards and OpenGL versions for both Windows and Linux operating systems.

Linus’ rant started when an audience member asked about Optimus support under Linux. On that front, NVIDIA did not have a direct answer – only that when it launched laptops with Optimus, it was only supported on Windows 7. Allegedly, the company is working to make interaction between its drivers and the Bumblebee Open Source Project. The Bumblebee project is working to make Optimus-powered laptops work with Linux operating systems.

What do you think of the two statements by Linus and NVIDIA? Should NVIDIA be held accountable for Optimus support under Linux? Is the company doing enough to support the OS? Or is Linus wrong? Let us know in the comments below!

Personally, as much as I like Linux, I don’t think NVIDIA should have to go out of its way to support Optimus on Linux. At least, not until the Linux OS is the operating system that comes pre-installed on an Optimus notebook. At that point, it would be on NVIDIA to provide support. Until then, they don’t have to support it on aftermarket / third part operating systems. With that said, better Linux support couldn't hurt PR-wise. As far as Linux and NVIDIA working together in a more general sense, I think that the company could certainly do more for Linux on the desktop, especially being a Linux Foundation member, but I don't think they will until it is more financially viable to do so.

The full PR statement is available after the break.

Source: Phoronix

Futuremark Teases 3DMark DirectX 11 With Tech Demo Video

Subject: General Tech | June 21, 2012 - 10:43 AM |
Tagged: windows 8, windows, Futuremark, directx 11, benchmarking, 3dmark

Popular benchmarking software developers Futuremark recently posted a video of latest 3DMark tech demo. Premiering in its Windows 8 benchmarking software, the tech demo uses complex volumetric lighting with real time scattering, tessellation, visible particles and clouds of smoke. It also uses fluid dynamics, audio by Pedro Macedo Camacho (who also created the 3DMark 11 soundtrack), ambient occlusion, and post processing. Whew, that’s a lot of shiny graphics!

We posted a few screenshots of the tech demo that showed up online a few weeks ago, and now it seems like the company is ready to show it off in video form. The embedded video below shows a mysterious figure walking through a small town nestled in a canyon with smoke, lava, and a flying robot to keep her company. The graphics are very detailed and the particle and fluid physics look really good. It should do a great job of stressing out your graphics cards when it comes out in the latest 3DMark.

Unfortunately, not much is known as far as specific release dates, or even if it will be called 3DMark 12 (or 3DMark for Windows 8). If you are into benchmarking software though, keep your eyes on Futuremark’s website as they release more details.

Source: Futuremark