Trimming the price but not the quality from their KNS series of headsets

Subject: General Tech | May 25, 2012 - 02:29 PM |
Tagged: audio, headset, gaming headset, KRK Systems, KNS 6400

If you are looking for a decent pair of circumaural headphones that simply offer great performance and do not delve into simulating 5.1 or 7.1 sound and have a budget of around $100 then check out KRK Systems' KNS 6400.  One of the best features of both this headset and its more expensive brother are the cords, which are not integral but can be replaced if they become damaged or if KRK Systems follows TechPowerUp's suggestion of selling custom cables for those with specific needs.  The audio quality is not top notch when compared to more expensive headphones but for $100 KRK Systems seems to have done very well.

TPU_bundle.jpg

"KRK Systems is well on their way to becoming a big name in the headphone business. Today we will be taking a look at yet another interesting set of closed back headphones, namely the KNS 6400s which feature the same mechanical design as the KNS 8400."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner

 

Source: TechPowerUp

NVIDIA's big chip, the GK110

Subject: General Tech | May 25, 2012 - 11:28 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, GTC 2012, gk110

We at PC Perspective were not the only ones who became a wee bit excited when we had the news from NVIDIA about what the GK110 Kepler chip is going to be capable of.  The chip will be powering professional HPC systems with the Telsa K20 board which will deliver over a teraflop of double precision processing power.  That precision is not so important to the proper rendering of fluid dynamics in the underground water of Crysis 2 but for scientists trying to model the real world it is double what they say from the previous generation of Fermi based Tesla boards.  Check out The Tech Report as they delve into how NVIDIA tweaked their new architecture to deal with new choke points and the compute enhancements they've added.

TR_mandelbrot.jpg

"At its 2012 GPU Technology Conference, Nvidia revealed plenty of details about the biggest GPU of its Kepler generation. Here's what you need to know."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Windows 8 gives a little more attention to multiple monitors. Oh look -- a feature for traditional PCs.

Subject: General Tech, Displays | May 24, 2012 - 08:22 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, multi monitor

PC Mag highlights enhanced support for multiple monitor systems in the upcoming Windows 8 Release Preview. It is like Microsoft has finally thrown a bone to the desktop and to a lesser extent, the laptop. Some features that were mentioned in the article have been around for a while, however.

If you have given the gift of a multiple monitor setup -- do not expect a take-backsies without a fight.

Chloe Albanesius of PC Mag wrote an article which outlines what enhanced support multiple monitor users will experience if they move to Windows 8. A refreshing suspend of the ctrl-alt-deleterious news. Or maybe Microsoft was just afraid of being attacked with vestigial display cables?

roundtable.jpg

Just think of the possibilities of per-monitor backgrounds… a shrine just for Josh...

The article opens with a description of the author’s triple monitor setup. Oddly enough my layout is very often an exact mirror image of her layout, horizontally. I would not be surprised if that choice was due to my left-handedness -- very amused, but not surprised.

Windows 8 will make it easy to load different backgrounds for each monitor but earlier versions were capable of that for as long as I could remember. The trick is to create a single very large background image in a program like Photoshop or The GIMP. This very large image must have the same dimensions as the sum of your monitor resolutions horizontally by the sum of your monitor resolutions vertically. The top left of that image is the top left of your “primary” monitor. Fill in the backgrounds wherever the desired monitor falls on that grid -- making sure to put whatever is above and to the left of the top left corner of the primary monitor at the extreme right and bottom. Set that background to “tiled” and you are set.

Notice how I never said that making it easier would be unwelcomed rather just that it was already possible.

The more important features include the ability to enable the taskbar on each monitor and customize how icons will appear for each display. That, combined with enabling corner context support for each monitor should help alleviate some of the juggling over real estate on the primary monitor.

You should be able to see all the changes for multiple monitor users in the upcoming Windows 8 Release Preview.

That is, of course, unless Microsoft ends up starting from scratch before they launch -- again.

Source: PC Mag

Green is the new blue for Intel -- pledges more eco friendly

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Mobile | May 24, 2012 - 06:01 PM |
Tagged: Intel

Intel has released a report about their environmental efforts in terms of manufacturing efficiency, waste, and the efficiency of their products themselves. Their 2020 mobile and data center product line is expected to use 25-fold less power than their 2010 product line. Intel is hoping to use less water and consume 1.4 TWh less energy between 2012 and 2015 in their manufacturing with no chemical waste to landfill by 2020.

It is not easy been green.

… But, especially now, Intel can afford to try.

The chip manufacturer has set some goals for themselves to decrease their impact on the environment. These plans were published in their 2011 Corporate Responsibility Report (pdf), released last week. The plan highlights goals extending out as far as 2020.

It would seem that for Intel foresight is also 2020.

11-intel-green.png

Yes, those puns were terrible, I admit it.

One of the forefront issues raised is alterations to their supply chain. Their raw materials have been addressed -- not just for eco-friendliness -- but also for human rights violations. By the end of 2012 Intel intends to validate that all tantalum would be “conflict-free” with the other three minerals verified by the end of 2013.

On the topic of environmental impact Intel is also intending on reducing their electrical and water usage at their manufacturing plants. A total of 1.4 TWh of energy is expected to be reduced from 2012 through 2015. Intel is also lauding their solar initiatives although they fell short of committing to any specific future endeavors in clean energy in this report.

Lastly, Intel claims that their mobile and data center products will consume 25-fold less power than their 2010 counterparts. Obviously such a statement falls more under gloating than a vow to promote sustainability but it is respectable none-the-less.

Podcast #203 - ASUS N56VM notebook, XFX 7850s and 7870s, Thunderbolt on Windows and more!

Subject: General Tech | May 24, 2012 - 02:59 PM |
Tagged: video, xfx, thunderbolt, podcast, msi, Ivy Bridge, Intel, asus, amd, 7870, 7850, 680

PC Perspective Podcast #203 - 05/24/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the ASUS N56VM notebook, XFX 7850s and 7870s, Thunderbolt on Windows 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!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malvantano

Program length: 1:12:55

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. 0:02:00 You talked about all the cool stuff last week!
    1. GK110
    2. NVIDIA GRID
    3. AMD Trinity
    4. GTX 670
  6. 0:13:30 Antec High Current Pro Platinum 1000 watt PSU
  7. 0:16:20 ASUS N56VM Ivy Bridge Notebook - our reference system
  8. 0:17:30 XFX HD 7870 and HD 7850 Black Edition
  9. 0:28:25 Unreal Engine 4 Screenshots
  10. 0:31:00 AMD to stop making "needlessly powerful" CPUs
  11. 0:42:00 NVIDIA is not recalling Kepler
  12. 0:45:00 Thunderbolt for Windows from ASUS and MSI announced
  13. 0:48:30 Josh's Banana Phone - VIA $49 Android PC
  14. 0:51:30 Seagate to purchase LaCie
  15. 0:56:30 The discrete graphics card is not dead
  16. 1:02:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Pegasus R4 Thunderbolt External Storage
    2. Jeremy: DeLorean Hovercraft or levitating bed? Or I could go old school.
    3. Josh: Some Thieving Goodies from Way Back
    4. Allyn: Paragon Hard Disk Manager 12 - alignment for SSDs integral with partition moves / resizes / etc
  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

Source:

TET, ePO and SSO... McAfee and Intel's Cloud

Subject: General Tech | May 24, 2012 - 12:19 PM |
Tagged: mcafee, Intel, cloud

Intel's purchase of AntiVirus vendor McAfee has been feeding rumours and speculation for about 10 months now and while we have plenty of buzzwords and a feeling that they are looking at securing Cloud Computing only recently have we seen anything concrete.  The first product to give us insight into their actual plans has arrived on the market bearing an awkward name, McAfee Management for Optimized Virtual Environments AntiVirus.  This is essentially antivirus and antimalware specifically designed to be used in virtualized server environments which are connected to and providing services to a large amount of geographically separate devices ... aka 'The Cloud".  It is possible that they have a product which will be able to prevent the spread of an infection by leveraging the strictly partitioned nature of virtual servers and data stores, something that will be very important for anyone providing SaaS (Software as a Service) to clients. 

The Register also points out that in order to fully benefit from this AV product you will need a relatively new Xeon for your servers to support Trusted Execution Technology and a Sandy/Ivy Bridge processor for client side machines.  That means hardware upgrades which Intel's sales team would be more than happy to talk to you about.

ds-move-anti-virus.png

"What Intel is planning is a cloud-to-desktop security strategy, mixing hardware and software features in a federated framework designed to make cloud computing safer, locking down the desktop and, coincidentally, giving IT managers another reason to specify Intel's systems during the next upgrade cycle."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

Windows 8 Metro browser will have some Flash support

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | May 23, 2012 - 10:46 PM |
Tagged: WOA, windows 8, flash

Microsoft has backed down, to some extent, from their “plug-in free; web standards only” position for the Metro-half of IE10. Some, but not all, Flash content will be able to play in the Metro browser. This change should be included in the Windows 8 Release Preview expected to be released in early June.

You may turn your back on Adobe but you’ll be back in a Flash.

Rafael Rivera has published a post on his Within Windows blog which he co-authored with Paul Thurrott about Flash integration with the Metro web browser. Until recently Microsoft was passionately against anything other than web standards in their Metro browser. Plugins are still not allowed in the application but that does not exclude Microsoft from embedding Flash into the browser directly.

wflash.png

I guess Silverlight is not popular enough…

(screenshot credit: Within Windows)

Adobe actively supports Microsoft’s efforts and has provided the source code to facilitate the integration into Metro Internet Explorer 10.

Security will rest somewhat on Microsoft’s ability to patch their software in time but will also be supported by a whitelist system. Flash for Internet Explorer 10 will only be supported on certain websites in certain ways. Unless your website is listed as requiring Flash for compatibility reasons then your website will not have access to the platform.

I am not really sure whether there is a cut or dry answer to whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. The only thing I can say for certain is that Microsoft gives the impression that they had a strong and clear vision for Windows 8 and since completely abandoned their plan.

It follows the rumors of what happened to Vista: a bunch of years working on a secure memory management architecture that was scrapped at the last minute requiring over half of the OS to be rewritten in C++.

We all know how great that turned out.

Seagate Pursuing Controlling Interest In LaCie

Subject: General Tech | May 23, 2012 - 02:58 PM |
Tagged: storage, Seagate, LaCie, buyout

Seagate announced today that they will be pursuing a controlling interest in LaCie. The two companies deal in complementary areas of the storage industry with Seagate manufacturing drives and LaCie developing mobile and desktop drive enclosures and NAS solutions. In order to achieve a controlling (more than 50%) interest in the company, Seagate has offered to purchase all of Philippe Spruch’s–LaCie’s Chairman and CEO–shares. In addition to shares from an unnamed affiliate, such a buy would net Seagate 64.5% of outstanding shares of LaCie stock. Seagate is offering the LaCie shareholders €4.05 (approximately $5.09 USD) for their stock, and may be increased to as much as €4.17 should Seagate get 95% of LaCie shares and voting rights within 6 months of closing.

 

SeagateandLacie.jpg

The merging of Seagate and LaCie logos (hehe).

After acquiring a controlling interest, they would then work to buy back all other otustanding shares with a cash offer. The initial purchase of stock is still pending governmental approval. Ricol Lasteyrie & Associates has been appointed as an independent expert by the board of directors for LaCie to examine the offer and determine whether or not to accept. Should it go through, Philippe Spruch would join Seagate as the president of Seagate’s consumer storage division. He would have the current Seagate vice president Patrick Connolly and LaCie deputy general manager Pierre van der Elst reporting to him. At this time, Seagate has not disclosed how much the former LaCie employees would be paid to work for Seagate. If all the appropriate governing bodies “okay” it, the buyout is expected to happen in the third quarter of 2012 (Q3 2012).

Steve Luczo, Seagate chairman, president and CEO was quoted in the press release in stating: “Seagate has a strong commitment to the growing consumer storage market and bringing the most dynamic products to market. LaCie has built an exceptional consumer brand by delivering exciting and innovative high-end products for many years. This transaction would bring a highly complementary set of capabilities to Seagate, significantly expand our consumer product offerings, add a premium-branded direct-attached storage line, strengthen our network-attached storage business line and enhance our capabilities in software development."

The combination of Seagate and LaCie seems odd a first, because LaCie does not manufacture their own drives (so it’s not a hard drive patent portfolio Seagate is after); but they are actually complementary services. While Seagate has the hard drive storage down, LaCie has a lineup of drive enclosures and NAS boxes. By combining the two, Seagate can manufacture the drives and the enclosures themselves. Seagate does currently have a few enclosures but their expertise is primarily in the drive technology itself. The opposite is true to Lacie, so the two companies coming together is a good thing for Seagate. One thing that LaCie has done that instantly benefits Seagate is focusing on high end and premium drive enclosures. While Seagate has focused on low and midrange drive enclosures, LaCie has solely focused on high end. This is beneficial because Seagate can integrate those higher profit margin premium LaCie products into their lineup without the need for extensive research and development. Whether it will also result in an improved product lineup and/or cheaper products for consumers remains to be seen, but it has the potential to be a good thing.

Source: Seagate

Other than an internet connection, what hardware do you need for Diablo III?

Subject: General Tech | May 23, 2012 - 02:50 PM |
Tagged: gaming, diablo iii, blizzard

TechSpot wanted to see what effect your graphics card has on your experience while slaughtering mobs of baddies in Diablo III.  First they removed any chance of a CPU bottleneck by building a test bed using an i7-3960X and then they gathered over two dozen GPUs to test with, ranging from a Radeon HD 6450 to a GTX 680 and almost everything in between.  At lower resolutions all but the slowest seven cards and Intel's HD4000 were able to give 60fps or more but at 2560x1600 only half of the cards they tested could make 60fps or better.  It is interesting to see that the GTX680 and HD7970 offer the same performance at the upper end of the resolutions they tested but you should expect that to change as drivers mature.

TS_diablo5.jpg

"While we disagree with making single player components online-only, there isn't much mere mortals like us can do about it. What we can do, however, is beat the hell out of Diablo III with today's finest hardware. Blizzard has somewhat of a reputation for making highly scalable titles that run on virtually any gaming rigs, so that's largely what we expect from the developer's latest offering..."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

Source: TechSpot

Reasonably priced memristors may be coming soon thanks to a botched LED experiment

Subject: General Tech | May 23, 2012 - 01:29 PM |
Tagged: hp, memristor

Over two years ago we heard about a project at HP to design a memristor, a possible future replacement for non-volatile flash memory.  The actual resistance of a memristor component can be changed, allowing it to be used as an effective storage medium due to the incredibly short time that it takes for the medium to be written to or read.  That speed was measured in picoseconds when last we heard about advances with this storage medium, just before Christmas.  One of the main hurdles that HP has been facing with adoption of the memristor was the price, but thanks to a failed experiment designing silicon oxide LEDs that may no longer be a problem.  The Register reports on the experiment which seemed to have developed unstable LEDs but when one of the designers investigated the problem further he realized the film they had created predicatably flipped between conductive and non-conductive states as power was applied.  HP's memristors may be arriving sooner than we had thought.

ucl_reram-device.jpg

"The HP-popularised memristor device is a form of ReRAM – resistive RAM – and is fairly expensive to make. Metal oxide-based ReRAM technology promises to combine minimum memory speed with NAND non-volatility and be able to provide higher capacities than NAND, which is thought will cease to be usable as process geometries go down past 10nm. ReRAM dies will need less electricity to run and will take up less space than equivalent capacity NAND."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register