Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | February 15, 2012 - 02:02 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ultrabook, Pegatron, asustek, apple
Pegatron Technology, an independent spin-off company of Asustek, will apparently stop manufacturing ultrabooks for Asustek as early as the end of March. According to a Digitimes, Pegatron will give up ultrabook orders from Asustek due to pressure from their new partner, Apple. Apple has not been pleased by the competition that ultrabooks bring to their MacBook Air lineup of higher-end ultrathin laptops.
Asus really needs to find their Zen...
Have you ever seen a teenager who fights with their parents and moves out with their boyfriend or girlfriend? You know how that usually ends up with a lot of grief and a giant cellphone bill? With Pegatron currently assembling iPhones for Apple we already got the latter portion of that prophecy. How much grief all parties will incur is still pending.
On the other hand, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes of ZDNet is also rebutting the entire story with claims that it does not make sense. He asserts that Apple cannot push its weight against manufacturing and design companies and risk burning bridges.
On the other other hand, it very much does fit Apple’s recent modus operandi with their treatment of Samsung, HTC, and Google. Apple is also willing to drop large vendors with little hesitation. Apple threatened to drop Intel last summer over power concerns. From my position it is more believable than what the ZDNet article lets on.
What do you believe? Has Apple gone and bucked the Pegasus?
You know, I used to be a point and click adventurer like you: until Sierra took an arrow in the knee. Free remakes!
Subject: General Tech | February 14, 2012 - 07:06 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Sierra, Sarian
I tried saying that to a receptionist once -- but the interview ended up just being me answering questions.
Sierra was at one point a leading developer and publisher of adventure titles for the PC. The Quest series of franchises have three major lines: King’s Quest, Police Quest, and Space Quest. Telltale Games announced a continuation to King’s Quest, though the other two franchises are not so lucky.
Police Quest spun off into Police Quest: SWAT and Police Quest: SWAT 2; the former was a full-motion video simulation game and the latter was a real-time strategy game. Two sequels were produced, dropping Police Quest from the title, as tactical first person shooters. You can imagine the fate that followed.
Despite their futures, these are still very fun puzzle-adventure titles and well worth visiting or revisiting.
If you like what you play, the later episodes of the Quest franchises are available DRM-free at GOG.com. If, for some reason, you prefer DRM: you can also pick up each, with the exception of Police Quest, at Steam.
Rosewill produces a whole lineup of products with seemingly incongruous variety. You can get matching brands for your blood pressure monitor, your wine opener, your DSLR bag, and your computer power supply. The vast majority of Rosewill's distribution flows through Newegg.
Their RK-9000 mechanical keyboard was manufactured by CoStar under the Rosewill branding. With that product, they brought a high quality mechanical keyboard to North America for a very decent price of just under a hundred dollars. For what might as well be considered a Filco keyboard, that is an outstanding price. It did not have media keys; it did not have backlighting; but it was a solid keyboard which felt great to type on and had outstanding performance.
Check out our video review of the Rosewill RK-9000 second generation and read on for the written review
At some point Rosewill decided to discontinue the RK-9000 without an official announcement. Beyond a sudden and sustained drop in availability, there was no evidence that the keyboard was no longer produced. A few silent months went by until Rosewill officially announced a second generation of RK-9000 mechanical keyboards. It was then clear why the RK-9000 was discontinued: it was being replaced and updated.
We were approached by the company to conduct a review of their recently released mechanical keyboards. Included was not just the Cherry MX Blue switched RK-9000, but also its three newly introduced siblings: the MX Brown switched RK-9000BR, the MX Black switched RK-9000BL, and the MX Red switched RK-9000RE. A little under three months ago we have received the review units and have been in the process of testing them ever since.
What Rosewill was unaware of was that I am a proud owner of the original RK-9000 keyboard. This review is more than a review of Rosewill’s new products, but also will be a comparison between the new product and their original offering. Despite sharing a Newegg product page with its ancestor, the new keyboard is not identical. For good measure, I also have a Razer BlackWidow Ultimate lying around -- slightly dilute the oversaturation of the letter R in tested product names… albeit, not the company names.
A new contender has enterkeyed.
If you happen to have an original RK-9000, is it time for an upgrade? If you are interested in all of the hoopla about mechanical keyboards, is this the correct time and place to dive in?
Subject: General Tech | February 14, 2012 - 12:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, Mark Papermaster, fad, Financial Analyst Day, Rory Read
If you haven't had a chance to read through The Tech Report's breakdown of AMD's Financial Analyst Day and the speech that the new CEO Rory Read gave. Rory replaced long time CEO Dirk Meyer at the helm of AMD after the large shake up AMD underwent late in 2011 and this was one of his first chances to describe his vision for AMD and the market in 2012. He spend a fair amount of time on low power processors and ultramobile form factors, describing his vision of AMD outflanking Intel at that market segment. With a history of lower pricing and recent low power processor families, he sees Brazos as a much better alternative than Intel's Ultrabook and especially the anemic Atom line. He also discussed ARM, not only as a possible future competitor for what used to be be AMD and Intel's exclusive turf as well as possible future competition for AMD's planned SoC products. Read on for more.
"AMD has a new management team and a new direction. They recently shared their vision for the company's future, and we were there, listening and then chatting with new CTO Mark Papermaster. Read on for our report."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Google Wallet falls open after casual hack @ The Register
- RIM extends its free Playbook offer @ The Inquirer
- Ultrabook prices to drop 20-30% in early March to April @ DigiTimes
- AMD to release six Trinity chips by October @ The Inquirer
- Intel, Nvidia to showcase latest technologies at MWC 2012 @ DigiTimes
- HP previews ProLiant Gen8 servers @ The Register
- Two interesting demos at AMD FAD 2012 @ SemiAccurate
- GK104 pops up in the wild @ SemiAccurate
- Toddy Smartcloth Screen Cleaner @ TechwareLabs
- Trendnet TPL-307E2K Powerline Adapter kit @ Rbmods
- VMware's Virtual GPU Driver Is Running Fast @ Phoronix
- easyCover Nikon D90 Camera Case @ TechwareLabs
- 7.8GHz AMD LN2 Overclocking at GIGABYTE Extreme OC Workshop @ Tweaktown
- Win a Steelseries Kana Mouse plus a Qck Mouse Pad @ Funky Kit
- Win two 8GB Kits of G.Skill Low Profile Extreme DDR3 ARES Memory! @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | February 13, 2012 - 01:18 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows 8, windows, OS, microsoft, logo
That fluttering window containing flag that would carry Microsoft into Operating System dominance on the, er, wind of success debuted with Windows 3.0 in 1990. As the years have passed, the company has made alterations and updates to keep the design modern. After 22 years of ingraining into people's minds that the flag logo is Windows, Microsoft may be ditching it in favor of a new minimalistic monochromatic affair. According to Chinese site cnBeta.com, Microsoft will roll out the new Windows logo with the launch of Windows 8. Allegedly, the new logo will be four turquoise panels with a shifted perspective and separated by interior white borders. The site claims that the evidence lies in a logo photo and a photograph of a physical "Windows" button on a tablet.
Personally, I think Microsoft would be crazy to change their logo, and especially insane to switch to this particular alleged new logo. Minimalist designs certainly have their place, but the colorful Windows logo that we are all used to has always done a good job of catching the eye (and four blue-green rectangles just don't do it for me). Not to mention that the company has had 22 years to burn into the minds of consumers that the logo is Windows, and it will be difficult for people to accept the new logo. There is definitely a certain amount of nostalgia and consumer confidence associated with the "old" logo, and it seems odd that Microsoft would be so cavalier to throw it away just to make their logo look better on the Metro desktop. Perhaps if they were changing direction and entering a different market or if they had a line of crappy products they would want a new logo, but that really does not seem to be the case. Here's hoping the photos are just fake. On the other hand, if Microsoft does end up taking out the start button it's not like people will be seeing the new logo anyway (heh).
What are your thoughts on the new logo? Am I off base in thinking that the current logo has a lot of "mindshare" built up and it would be crazy to just leave it behind?
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | February 9, 2012 - 09:36 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: WOA, windows, arm
Microsoft has been ridiculously cagey about the discussion of Windows 8 on ARM. At last month’s CES trade show there was a disturbingly low amount of information. Available information about Windows on ARM was in abrupt demonstrations performed by Microsoft spokespeople or behind glass display cases.
Today Steven Sinofsky of Microsoft released quite a bit of information -- over 8500 words even if you exclude image captions and section titles -- about Windows on ARM (officially named “WOA”). Feel free to read for yourself at MSDN’s blog, or keep on reading for our brief summary.
Actually most of the blog post is about building Windows 8 on ARM.
We reported that Windows on ARM has been classified as stable for approximately two weeks at this point. Our questions about WOA availability were answered, and more: WOA is intended to be released simultaneously as Windows 8 for x86-64. WOA will also not be available standalone and you must purchase a device with it pre-installed.
From the chipset through the firmware and drivers, the work is optimized to be great for WOA. Partners are working hard on creative industrial designs and form factors that will include more than tablets. These are all under development today.
The PC will come with the OS preinstalled, and all drivers and supporting software. WOA will not be available as a software-only distribution, so you never have to worry about which DVD to install and if it will work on a particular PC.
Applications written for Windows on ARM can only be distributed through Windows Update or the Windows Store. Being an advocate of the open PC I find this quite unnerving as it quickly creates situations where art becomes at the mercy of the platform owner similar to what is seen on the consoles. That said, it also seems to suggest that Microsoft is not intending WOA to be fill all the roles of a typical PC.
Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote will be available for WOA as Office 15. The typical file explorer and desktop will also be available for WOA. Mouse and keyboard support is also available for Windows on ARM. These will all be available within Office so the user can control there their files will be stored.
Windows 8 for x86-64 will be released as an open Beta at the end of the month. Microsoft will also release, by invite only, devices for developers. The intent of course is to give developers time to create applications for WOA. You should not expect those devices to be any more than development tools designed to prevent day-one apps from being developed in a single day.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 9, 2012 - 08:48 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: amd, radeon, southern islands
Working from home comes with a host of stereotypes and assumptions that the rest of world places on people like myself. I am often accused of working in my underwear, not showering through day-long stretches, not working and instead playing games all day and of course, being a drug dealer. And NOTHING perpetuates that vision from the outside world like an overnight UPS package arriving with the sound of rattling pills inside. This is what greeted me after my delivering smirked away:
In preparation for an upcoming graphics launch AMD thought up a pretty interesting marketing campaign geared around a "Verdetrol 1GHz" drug that will apparently help the reviewing community "enhance performance". Hmph.
Actually contained within are 28 jelly beans (get it, 28nm???) of a flavor I can't quite detect though I am guessing they are somehow related to this. And of course, these pills are for "external use only" - a healthy warning.
The telephone number is listed as 905-555-7770 so you can probably guess what the hubbub is all about.
And while the directions state to take one tablet daily by fan intake, we were never one to conform.
Podcast #188 - Featuring David Hewlett - White Space Wireless, AMD and NVIDIA GPU roadmaps, Hard Drives with lasers and more!
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | February 9, 2012 - 04:08 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: wireless, whitespace, ssd, podcast, nvidia, mdt, intel 520, Intel, gpu, APU, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #188 - 02/09/2012
Join us this week as we talk about White Space Wireless, AMD and NVIDIA GPU roadmaps, Hard Drives with lasers and more!
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
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malvantano, and David Hewlett
This Podcast is brought to you by
- 1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- 0:01:30 Introduction with David
- Okay, seriously, how nerdy are you really?
- What kind of hardware systems and specs do you have?
- What games are you playing today?
- 0:13:25 AMD Processor and GPU Roadmaps Through 2013
- 0:28:30 Galaxy MDT GeForce GT 520 Graphics Card Review
- 0:32:00 Intel 520 Series SSD Full Review - SandForce on Steroids?
- 0:43:00 This Podcast is brought to you by
, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
- 0:45:05 White Space Wireless Discussion
- 0:56:00 Increased Hard Drive Write Speed and Density - Using Frickin' Lasers
- 1:02:00 An academic collaboration leads to a GPU/CPU collaboration
- 1:07:25 AMD shows 18mm thin reference ultrathin notebook based on Trinity
- 1:11:05 Tablets / Ultrabooks in Schools
- 1:16:45 NVIDIA Kepler Graphics Cards Lineup Leak To Web
- 1:22:30 PC Perspective Office Tour - Feb 6th, 2012
- 1:26:40 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
- 1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
Subject: General Tech | February 9, 2012 - 12:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: arm, Intel, amd, atom, low power, cortex, Medfield, hondo
To revive an old buzzword some of you may have forgotten, ubiquitous computing is the current holy grail of the computing industry. If AMD, Intel, ARM and to a lesser extent NVIDIA, can get the market to prefer one of their low power processors over the competitions there is a lot of money to be made in the mobile market. The way that they are approaching the market is very different however. In Intel's case they pride themselves on the general computation power of their upcoming Medfield processor though that comes at the cost of power consumption and less graphics capabilities. AMD. like Intel, are trying to reduce the power consumption of their chips and though they lag behind in general CPU performance the graphics capabilities are generally considered superior.
Then there is ARM, which is striving to overcome its reputation of providing chips low in power, both electrically and computationally. Their latest Cortex processors are certainly display a vast improvement in performance compared to previous generations. The power consumption may have increased but not to the levels of consumption of the Intel and AMD chips. Intel and AMD need to continue lowering their power consumption without sacrificing power while ARM needs to increase performance without impacting the power consumption before anyone can be considered a clear winner. There is another consideration which DigiTimes points out; right now ARM is winning the price war which could be every bit as important as power consumption or computational power.
"While Intel and AMD have been making efforts to develop low power processors for use in smartphones and tablet PCs, they cannot compete with solutions from ARM in terms of price, according to notebook makers."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Android's Chrome finish comes too late for Flash coating @ The Register
- Transactional Synchronization in Haswell @ Intel
- Google touts website prefetching with Chrome 17 @ The Inquirer
- AMD announces FirePro V3900 for entry-level professional graphics @ DigiTimes
- Windows 8 confirmed for February 29th (Beta Queue) @ Kitguru
- Ninjalane Podcast - Basic Casemodding Listener Mailbag Interview with a Top Overclocker
- Samsung NX 200 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Weekly Giveaway #21: Antec LanBoy Air and High Current Pro 750W Power Supply @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | February 8, 2012 - 02:50 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, skyrim, elder scrolls, mod
High Definition Textures have arrived for Skyrim via Steam. The download is just over 3GB and contains .BSP files which is the file type Bethesda in general and Skyrim in particular store their textures. This is rather handy as two mods which already add high definition textures do so via a new folder called Textures under your Skyrim folder. This means that the mods do not interfere with the official HD download as far as crashing the game, however more investigation is needed to discover how the mods interact as far as texture rendering priorities as well as determining which gives you the best looking textures.
Just download it via Steam and ensure that you enable it via the Data Files option on your Skyrim launcher. While you are clicking on that download you might notice a link to something called Steam Workshop. This leads you to a section of Steam where you can download mods for Skyrim via Steam which can be applied to your game though it does not necessarily replace Nexus Mod Manager. When you have clicked on the mod then the next time you launch Skyrim it will run a check and synchronize your game and the mod. The mods can be enabled and disabled just like the HD textures via the Data Files portion of your Skyrim launcher.
The addition of official HD textures and supported mods is a brilliant move by Bethesda and Steam and the PC gaming community wholeheartedly thanks them for this wonderful addition to the game. Many PC users initial experience with Skyrim was not positive, especially those using AMD graphics cards. The patches to Skyrim and AMD's drivers have finally fixed most performance issues users experienced and with the addition of PC specific improvements and mods Bethesda may have gone a long way to wooing back those users who were initially unimpressed with the game.
Along with these additions does come a plea to Steam. You may notice negative comments underneath the mods which you choose, such as "It should say "Stolen by: Manic Zombie" The uploader gave no credit to the author of this.". This is very unfortunate for the brilliant mind that decided to model mudcrabs with a monocle and top hat as the number of users of this mod will soar but the modder themselves are doomed to obscurity. It could be that Manic Zombie was indeed the original modder as the Japanese site links to a download on Skyrim Nexus that he posted. If Steam is going to offer mods the modding community would greatly appreciate it if Steam researched the mod to ensure that the submitter is indeed the actual source of the mod or at least has the modders permissions. The "Report" button is a great start but in order to help attract game modders to Steam, reassurance that they will get recognition for their mods would go a long way to bringing even more modders into the fold.
"The long-awaited Skyrim Creation Kit is out, and it’s come with the rumoured High-Resolution Texture Pack all the kids wanted! The game’s also 33% off on Steam in the US and UK at the moment, if this is what you were waiting for."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Unstoppable Gorg Review - The Aliens Are Coming! @ Techgage
- Need For Speed: The Run PC Review @ eTeknix
- Paradox Hint At Three New Games, Revealed Next Month @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Microsoft Flight release date pinned down @ Hexus
- PC Gaming - What to expect in 2012 @ eTeknix
- Soul Calibur V @ HEXUS
- NFL Blitz 2012 Edition PlayStation 3 @ Tweaktown
- SOULCALIBUR V Review @ HardwareHeaven.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 (XBOX 360) Review @ HardwareHeaven