AMD's new Embedded Solutions Group aims at a new market

Subject: General Tech | June 12, 2012 - 01:01 PM |
Tagged: amd, arm, IBM, Freescale, AFDS, ESG

According to the VDC Research Group's findings, the embedded market will hit $6bn in sales in 2012 and keep growing at a rate of 12%-15% per year.  AMD seems poised to move into this market with the formation of their Embedded Solution Group and the changes we have been seeing to their processor lines.  Current Opteron HE and EE chips consume between 35W and 65W depending on the number of cores and that amount might be trimmed down as new models come out.  They also have lines of embedded Athlon, Turion, Sempron, and Geode LX based chips and have hired an FPGA veteran, Arun Iyengar, to manage the ESG though The Register expresses doubt that AMD is thinking of developing it's own FPGA business.  More likely they hope to provide powerful alternatives for those in the market that now need a little more from their embedded products.  Read the full story here and keep your eyes peeled for more news coming out of the AMD Fusion Developer Summit.

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"The new management team at Advanced Micro Devices is looking everywhere, including under the couch cushions, to find some money so it can afford to explore the embedded systems market again. The chip biz hopes rivals Intel and the ARM collective are too distracted to notice the foray as they fight over each others' territories in PCs, servers and mobile devices."

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Source: The Register

SilverStone SST-HE02 giant passive CPU cooler

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | June 11, 2012 - 06:29 PM |
Tagged: Silverstone, SST-HE02, passive cooling

Olivier of FanlessTech notified us of a recent SilverStone passive CPU cooler. If you would prefer to jam your case with a giant piece of metal than hear a fan whine -- you should read on. I must say, this gets me interested.

I hope this will continue to be a trend of not needing to trade-off between performance and silence.

It is becoming very difficult to find passive cooling systems for PC parts and it becomes even more difficult if you actually want a good PC when all is said and done. The latest cooler from SilverStone will support CPUs up to 95W which is well over what is required for even the higher-end 77W Ivy Bridge processors.

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If only there would be options like this for a GTX 680 or similar GPU.

It is a shame that passive power supplies seem to have not crept too far past 500W and that GPU coolers have been getting substantially less and less passive over time. But I guess someone needs to break the ice and I am glad that you will at least have an option for passively cooling higher-end CPUs and maybe we will see that trickle into other high-end PC markets.

The SST-HE02 is expected to cost $70 and will be available late in Q3 of this year.

Source: FanlessTech

A capacitor powered mouse from Genius

Subject: General Tech | June 11, 2012 - 03:48 PM |
Tagged: input, mouse, Genius DX-ECO

Why would you want a wireless mouse which has abandoned batteries and instead uses a large capacitor?  Apart from the obvious environmental benefit of never tossing out drained batteries, how does a charging time of 3 minutes for an 4 hour charge sound?  Bjorn3D also reports that the capacitor will have an expected lifespan of 100,000 charges which ought to last you until we have a new way of interfacing with our PCs.  It uses BlueEye technology to ensure that your cursor will properly track across any surface.  Bjorn3D was a little disappointed that there was only 2 DPI modes but that will not matter to the mobile office user.

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"Have you ever considered the environmental waste from all of the disposable batteries you throw away from your wireless mouse? The DX-ECO from Genius has an ingenious solution to this problem. The DX-ECO uses capacitors as opposed to conventional batteries to store a charge. This makes the mouse extremely light and have a recharging time of only 4 minutes."

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Source: Bjorn3D

WWDC 12: Apple announces new MacBooks, high res screen

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | June 11, 2012 - 03:30 PM |
Tagged: WWDC 12, apple, macbook pro

Apple has upgraded their MacBook line to Intel Ivy Bridge and includes USB 3.0 support. The MacBook Airs will be supported by Intel HD Graphics 4000 where the new MacBook Pro will be powered by NVIDIA’s Kepler-based GeForce GT 650M. This GPU will be used to power a 2880x1800 (220ppi) resolution screen -- which I will absolutely not feed into the “retina display” marketing term.

Apple has announced new hardware at the start of their World Wide Developers Conference this morning.

As Intel begins to flood the PC marketplace with their latest and greatest Ivy Bridge mobile processors it stands to reason that Apple would not want to be left out. Apple will update their entire laptop lineup to the new CPUs as well as add some Kepler to their MacBook Pro line. The biggest deal is the high resolution 2880x1800 displays which should make text look very smooth and crisp.

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Not pictured, 27” IPS display… because 60” HDTV makes it seem more impressive.

The MacBook Air will not have the option of discrete graphics. The 11-inch model will have a screen resolution of 1366x768 where the 13-inch model will contain a 1440x900 screen. Both USB3.0 and Thunderbolt will be supported on each of the MacBook Airs as well as each of the MacBook Pros. SSD technology is also prominently mentioned and was expected.

The new MacBook line ships today. The new lineup of MacBook Airs has starting prices of between $999 and $1499 and the high-resolution MacBook Pro starts at $2199.

Source: Apple

Wrapping up Computex

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 11, 2012 - 11:55 AM |
Tagged: nuc, computex 2012, computex

The Tech Report are still trying to catch up on all of their coverage of Computex as there were a lot of exhibits to make it to.  Intel has once again come up with a questionable name for an interesting product, the Next Unit of Computing is a 4" x 4" x 1" system which could be used for tasks similar to the Raspberry Pi, but as they were running Cinebench on an i5 powered version you can expect quite a bit more from the NUC.  Contrast that with EVGA's lineup of GTX 680's all of which are larger than the Intel system.  The Classified version sports a larger cooling fan as it has double the amount of memory typically found on a GTX 680 at 4GB, they also have a watercooled GTX 690 and a model of the card which claims to have a hot clocked GPU which will be interesting to examine when it arrives on a test bench.

Cooling enthusiasts might be very interested in Enermax's dive into watercooling or for air cooling you could see how Noctua's active noise cancellation worksBitFenix displayed an interesting miniITX encloure and SilverStone showed off a pair.  Check out all the pictures and more by following the links.

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AFDS 2012: AMD Wireless Display to compete against Intel WiDi with open standards

Subject: General Tech, Processors, Displays | June 10, 2012 - 06:45 PM |
Tagged: widi, Intel, awd, amd wireless display, amd, AFDS

While perusing through the listings and descriptions of sessions and presentations for the upcoming AMD Fusion Developer Summit, I came across an interesting one that surprised me.  Tomorrow, June 11th, at 5:15pm PST, you can stop by the Grand Hyatt in Bellevue to learn about the upcoming AMD Wireless Display technology.

AWD (AMD Wireless Display) is a multiple-platform application family to enable wireless display technologies much in the same way that Intel has been pushing with WiDi.  While Intel's take on it requires very specific Intel wireless controllers and is only recently, with the release of Ivy Bridge, getting the full-steam push from Intel, AMD's take on it is quite different.

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Intel introduced WiDi in 2010

According to the brief on this AFDS session, AMD wants to create an API and SDKs for application developers to integrate AWD into software and to leverage the WiFi Alliance for an open-standards compliant front-end.  Using AMD APUs, the goal is provide lower latency for encoded video and audio while still using the required MPEG2TS wrapper.  We are also likely to learn that AMD hopes to make AWD open to a wider array of wireless devices.

AMD often takes this "open" approach to new technologies with mixed results - CUDA has been in place for many years while the adoption of OpenCL is only starting to take hold and 3D Vision still is the standard for 3D gaming on the PC.  

After having quite a few chances to use Intel's Wireless Display (WiDi) technology myself I can definitely say that the wireless approach is the one I am most excited with and that has the most potential to revolutionize the way we work with displays and computing devices.  I am eager to see what partners AMD has been working with and what demonstrations they will have for AWD next week.

Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm Expansion -- New Details

Subject: General Tech | June 8, 2012 - 09:19 PM |
Tagged: Too cool for E3, Starcraft II

Blizzard has released a new video to get us all excited about the upcoming expansion pack for Starcraft 2. Most of the changes announced at Blizzcon have been once again altered -- and the video more closely reflects what we should see when the game is launched.

Blizzard is one of the companies known for leaving nothing sacred from a patch.

Can you guess what their pre-release changelog is like?

Several months ago at Blizzcon we were introduced to the proposed Heart of the Swarm changes. A development blog post from Dustin Browder in mid-April discussed removing the shredder, changing the warhound, as well as bringing back the mothership and overseer and otherwise sweeping changes through everything.

Nothing is sacred except the marine… trollololololololol.

The mothership in and around the Beta had several abilities unique to the Starcraft universe such as the wormhole transit, temporal rift, and planet cracker. By game’s release the mothership was a big and slow arbiter from Brood War -- at least if you consider vortex and stasis field to be the same spell. At the start of the changes it looked as though Blizzard would once again return to what they have done in the past. Thankfully they still seem to be trying new and unusual things.

For all of you who loved the Mothership and Carrier tech... the Mothership is back!

Were your carri-ears burning? Sorry for that... poor Mr. Lonely.

Also released is the first Battle Report which gives us our first casted look at the game as it currently stands. Sean (Day[9]) Plott and Rob Simpson cast two Blizzard employees playing on the new expansion pack. My first reaction is that Protoss might be a little too harassment focused and that Zerg might be a little too powerful in straight-up battles.

But I know as well as anyone that it will take time to see what works and Blizzard will change what does not without any form of hesitation.

Source: Blizzard

Get Ready for Gigabyte’s US eSports LAN Event

Subject: General Tech | June 8, 2012 - 08:45 PM |
Tagged: prizes, lan, gigabyte, gaming, event, esports

Last month we reported that Gigabyte would be hosting its first eSports LAN party in North America. Running from June 15 to June 17, the GESL event will feature tournament competitions, a bring your own computer (BYOC) LAN fest, case mod competition, event raffle, and a number of presentational speakers.

The Gigabyte eSports LAN will be offering up various pieces of hardware including Gigabyte G1 Sniper 3 motherboards, graphics cards, and memory (among others). StarCraft II and League of Legends are the two games that will be used in the tournament competitions and Gigabyte is offering up $11,000 and $10,000 prize pools respectively. The case mod competition will feature custom computers from participants of the LANFest, and CPU Magazine will be recognizing the winner in its magazine.

And because that was not enough gaming goodness, the MadCatz will be hosting its own Street Fighter X Tekken tournament below the GESL main event. The tournament will run throughout the weekend, with a championship tournament on Sunday. They will be providing fight sticks and winners will receive prizes from MadCatz and Dolby. The event requires gamers to have a LANFest or spectator badge ($15), but is otherwise free to enter. 

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Further, Odyssey Gaming will be holding a GESL pre-party with several professional StarCraft II players. While space is limited, gamers with spectator badges are welcome to attend and there are also a few slots open for those that wish to play some StarCraft II. The pre-party event attendees will also get a pre-party raffle ticket, extra GESL raffle ticket, and free photo booth access. For those that wish to play, they will need to purchase a GESL Pre-Party Gan Pack with includes 4 hours of gameplay time and will cost $20. Otherwise, gamers with spectator badges are welcome to attend free of additional charges. The professional players on-site will include viOLet, DeMusliM, Clide, Ryung, and Alicia.

The GESL Pre-Party will be held on June 12, 2012 from 6pm to 10pm PST. The location is about 15 minutes from the main GESL event (California Polytechnical University in Pomona, California) at the Odyssey Gaming cyber cafe.

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The is coming up fast, so those interested in attending should purchase a spectator badge as soon as possible (which will cost $15). For those interested in the LANFest but cannot make it to the show, Gigabyte will be streaming the event in HD for free. In case you missed the details in our earlier article, the GESL will be held at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, California. More detailed information on finding your way around the university can be found on this FAQ.

In addition to Gigabyte, co-sponsors of the GESL include Kingston and Cooler Master who will be giving away some swag and computer hardware to attendees at the show. More information can be found at the GESL website at thegesl.com. Will you be attending the LANFest? Are you at least excited to watch some Starcraft II? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Gigabyte USA

E3 12: Unreal Engine 4 -- What you (and we) missed at GDC.

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | June 8, 2012 - 06:09 PM |
Tagged: video, unreal engine 4, E3 12, E3

Epic has released as much of their GDC demo as they are able to in an effort to end E3 2012 with a bang. They have included a second video to walk through the engine for developers to enjoy. We will explain to the masses why it is awesome.

Before we go any further -- the video you have been waiting months to see.

Be prepared for a particle-filled generation.

As was the case with Intel’s sand-to-CPU video -- the demo is pleasing but the supplementary info is the prize.

Epic released a 10 minute developer walkthrough to highlight the most important features of Unreal Engine 4. You can see it below and read on to see what that all means.

Yes, Unrealscript did not make it to Unreal Engine 4.

The first major feature of the engine is real-time dynamic global illumination and glossy specular reflection. Traditional video game graphics only considers the first bounce of light from a source -- if that bounce does not reach the player camera then it does not exist. Global illumination allows objects to be lit not just by light sources but also by light bouncing from neighboring objects.

It has been very popular to calculate how light interacts with objects ahead of time for the last generation as well as a portion of the generation prior to that. With those methods you are able to soften the shadows cast by light and make the scene feel much more naturally lit. The problem arises when anything in the scene moves or changes as obviously happens in a video game.

Unreal Engine 4 has the ability to calculate Global Illumination in real time. Dynamic lights such as muzzle flashes or flames are able to not just illuminate the area around them but also induce that area around it to light each other.

Also, static sources such as moonlight shining in the window against the floor can bounce from the floor and slightly lighten the walls with a bluish tint without being calculated ahead of time. Developers can try lighting effects without waiting for sometimes hours to see the results. This also means that what would have been once a pre-computed lit scene with nothing moving can now be destroyed and still remain properly lit. And now the moon can even move if the designer wants.

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Specular material on the gold statue

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Diffuse material on the gold statue, notice how the floor lighting from the statue desaturates and changes.

In this scene we see how light can reflect against a statue and influence the objects around it. A specular material has a much smoother and more mirror-like surface than a diffuse material which tends to scatter light in all directions. If you were to shine a laser against a mirror the beam would bounce and you would not see it unless you were in the reflected path whereas if you shine the laser against the wall you would see a dot regardless of how you look at it. This is because the wall, like a projector screen, is like trillions of microscopic mirrors all pointed in different directions which each take a tiny fraction of the light and sends it in a different direction.

In Unreal Engine 4, this effect means that a shiny surface will not only glare if you look at it but also light the objects around it differently than a diffuse surface. You can see that effect against the floor.

Read on after the break to continue with the discussion of Unreal Engine 4 features.

Deals for June 8th - OCZ Vertex 3 240GB SSD for $194

Subject: General Tech | June 8, 2012 - 02:58 PM |
Tagged: vertex 3, ssd, ocz, deal of the day

Today's deal is one that might interest a lot of PC Perspective readers - an OCZ Vertex 3 SSD for about $0.80/GB!  

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If you are one of the 95% of PC Perspective readers interested in upgrading your storage system or you have another computer sitting around that could use the benefits of an SSD inside, this is a great opportunity to get one at a nice price.

You can check out our review of the OCZ Vertex 3 SSD right here, if you need a bit of a refresher.  

Head on over to LogicBuy to get this OCZ Vertex 3 240GB SSD for $194!!

Source: LogicBuy