Psst ... Hey buddy. Ya wanna see the GTX 680 under my jacket?

Subject: General Tech | March 20, 2012 - 11:26 PM |
Tagged: pelly, nvidia, leak, gtx 680, fermi, 28nm

The gang over at Tweaktown managed to get pictures of a retail Gigabyte GTX 680, which is not only better than candid snaps from Las Vegas making it to the web, it also solidifies a few facts.  For instance, as you can see below there are two 6-pin PCIe power connectors which pegs the maximum supplimental power that this card can draw at 150W.  That is a big difference from the two 8-pin PCIe connectors that could deliver up to 275 to a GTX 580; NVIDIA has obviously made a huge step forward in power savings with the move to 28nm regardless of any design or manufacturing problems they may have had to overcome to deliver this card to retailers.  

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Tweaktown didn't stop there either GPU fans; it seems that the online\brick and mortar computer chain NCIX made a little mistake and let the GTX 680 appear on their wishlist app.  Both an EVGA and an MSI model of the GTX 680 could be added to your wishlist ... for the price of $578.20 USD plus delivery.  That same retailer currently sells HD 7970's for between $564.99 USD to $619.99.  If only there had been some leaked benchmarks which might indicate which way AMD might have to adjust their pricing.

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Lucas is so going to sue you!

Source: Tweaktown

PC-exclusive Sim City engine demoed. The peasants approve.

Subject: General Tech | March 20, 2012 - 08:51 PM |
Tagged: Sim City

Sim City will arrive in 2013 only on PC, with some level of mod support, and some level of awesome.

The new Sim City was officially unveiled a couple of weeks ago at Game Developers Conference accompanied by a teaser trailer. Apparently Will Wright, the original creator of Sim City, will not be involved with the project. A second video was released yesterday which outlines the simulation rules which govern gameplay. It is worth your time to see.

Looks like they have the Wright idea...

It appears as though Maxis has spent the majority of their development focus with their GlassBox engine on the interactions between aspects of the city. Buildings such as fire stations can be upgraded and resources such as coal and water are finite. It is up to you to not just manage your city, but have it properly laid out.

Towards the end of the GDC teaser, it was hinted that your city would neighbor others. While the game would be functional as a single player experience, within multiplayer your city influences its neighbors. Beware the trade winds.

The game will only be available on Microsoft Windows and will include some level of mod support. Employees at Maxis have claimed that they will use the same mod package format as The Sims and SimCity 4. It appears as though EA might be taking another stab at a pure PC title. I hope they do it well, and it serves them well.

Source: Youtube

Windows 8 To Be Released "Around October"

Subject: General Tech | March 20, 2012 - 02:08 PM |
Tagged: windows on arm, windows 8, microsoft, arm

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview has been out for a few weeks now, and despite the controversy around the new interface it does seem to be coming along nicely as far as development and bug testing is concerned. While the Windows On ARM has received much less attention and Microsoft has publicly released very little about it, we can only assume that the company is working hard on getting it up and running on upcoming ARM tablets.

There have been several reports on release time frames, and the general consensus for the Windows 8 release will be Q4 2012 at the latest. Alternatively, if Bloomberg's sources "with knowledge of the schedule" are to be believed, the public will be getting both Intel and ARM versions of Windows 8 a bit earlier than expected. Specifically, Microsoft has chosen their upcoming operating system to "go on sale around October." Microsoft will also be releasing more specific dates during an event for its hardware partners in April.

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Apparently, Microsoft has been rather strict with device makers in regards to hardware configurations allowed for launch devices that are to be powered by the Windows on ARM version of Windows 8. Of the ARM launch devices, only three of them will be tablets. Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows business, has stated that both the ARM and Intel/AMD versions of Windows 8 will be released at the same time, and that “I wouldn’t be saying it’s a goal if I didn’t think we could do it.” Microsoft restricting the designs is likely the reason they are able to get WoA out of the door at the same time as the tried and true x86 and x64 versions.

More information on Windows 8 can be found around the site:

Source: Bloomberg

TSMC's 28nm process is going to be around for the long haul

Subject: General Tech | March 20, 2012 - 01:12 PM |
Tagged: TSMC, nvidia, amd, southern islands, kepler, 28nm, maxwell, llano

TSMC's 28nm process has been in the news for a long time, sometimes this was a good thing but more often it was not.  Back in May of 2009 the first announcements of TSMC's brand new 28nm process hit the news with major production slated to start in early 2010.  That didn't happen on time, much to several companies dismay as Josh unhappily discussed towards the end of 2010.  This set a trend for TSMC's 28nm process for a while, for instance AMD did not quite meet their promise of readily available 28nm GPUs in 2011, though a late December launch for the HD7970 did meet the spirit of the agreement.  The delays and issues on TSMC's 28nm lines had a variety of causes, perhaps one of the worst being TSMC's overly optimistic attitude about their production capabilities especially when AMD had a surprise for them.  Add to that the long line of woes during the development and production of NVIDIA's 28nm Kepler GPU as well as the recent shutdown of the production line, and you can see why TSMC's 28nm process has spent a lot of time being maligned in the news.  It almost makes you forget about the 40nm process woes, but that is ancient news.

All that effort is not going to waste as DigiTimes reports that TSMC is planning on expanding their 28nm capacity this year and expects that process to account for 10% of their 2012 revenue.  The next question on most peoples minds is the progress on TSMC's 22nm process which in 2010 they announced would be ready by Q3 2012, something which NVIDIA's Maxwell team is probably anticipating with great anxiety.

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"With current capacity for 28nm processes filled up, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is likely to expand the leading-edge process capacity later in 2012, according to industry sources.

TSMC reportedly is running at full capacity at its 12-inch fabs due to strong orders for 28nm as well as 40nm and 65nm designs. In order to avoid orders to rivals such as United Microelectronics (UMC) and Samsung Electronics, TSMC will have to speed up the pace of its leading-edge capacity expansion in particular its 28nm capacity, the sources said."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes
Author:
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Cerwin-Vega

Introduction and Features

It's not very often that I get to use and enjoy a review item while working on the actual review, but that's exactly what I'm doing as I sit here listening to my favorite music. The new Cerwin-Vega! XD3 Powered Desktop Speakers have been designed to optimize sound quality while keeping the enclosures small and providing easy integration with your PC and other desktop accessories at an affordable price. The XD3 desktop speakers incorporate ¾" silk dome tweeters, 3" woofers, high-quality cross-overs, and a 15W per channel internal amplifier in solid wood (MDF) enclosures.

2-XD3-lg.jpg

XD3 Powered Desktop Speakers Key Features:

• The perfect companion for your computer and/or media player
• Compact size without "compact" sound
• Rich and natural sound of a real wood enclosure
• Two-Way speaker: ¾" Tweeter and 3" Woofer
• 15 Watts per channel amplifier with built-in crossovers
• Front panel Aux. in and Headphone out
• Ported enclosure and Vega-Bass help increase bass response
• Magnetically shielded to prevent interference
• Appearance matches laptops and LCD monitors
• Perfect for music, gaming and media production

Continue reading our review of the Cerwin-Vega XD3 Powered Desktop Speakers!!

Apple Sitting On Pile Of Cash, Will Pay Out Dividends

Subject: General Tech | March 19, 2012 - 01:44 PM |
Tagged: finance, computer, apple

Apple inc, the popular consumer electronics and computer company behind such brushed aluminum products as the MacBook and iPad is currently sitting on a huge pile of cash. Specifically, they have $97.6 billion dollars on hand in cash and securities (!). Allegedly, former CEO Steve Jobs maintained these liquid assets in the event that they needed to buy out a company to make any problems go away.

Apple_MoneyVault.jpg

Apparently, current CEO Tim Cook has other ideas about what to do with the company's money, including giving a small portion of it back to shareholders in the form of dividends. In light of this announcement, the company expects their stock price a grow over the long term. After generating $31 billion in cash last year (September to September), and on track to rake in even more profits this year Tim Cook does not foresee a dividend having any negative impact on their liquid assets. The quarterly dividend in question is set to be $2.65 per share stating July 1, 2012.

Apple is further instituting a $10 billion share buyback program that is reportedly being implemented to offset shares issues to employees. The buyback program will last for three years and begins on September 30, 2012.

After the release of the iPad 3 new iPad (sigh) and positive reaction to dividend announcement, their stock price is rising and they are still sitting on quite the pile of money even with the new dividend!

Source: PhysOrg

This new malware goes straight to your RAM, no installation required

Subject: General Tech | March 19, 2012 - 11:58 AM |
Tagged: Virus, Trojan-Spy.Win32.Lurk, ram virus, Kaspersky Labs, javaw.exe, fud

A lovely little electronic beastie was spotted by Kaspersky Labs on Russian ad servers recently which uses a Java exploit (long since patched) to corrupt javaw.exe while it is running on system memory, infecting machines without any installation required whatsoever.  While this sounds quite bad, the fact is that in your memory it can infect running programs but not move out of the memory without triggering an installation process and will not survive a system reboot.  That is why as soon as this malware finds its self on a systems RAM it immediately tries to install the Lurk Trojan, which is when your problems would start and when your anti-virus/anti-malware protection should notice something amiss. 

By its self the new virus poses little direct risk but it represents a new attack vector for drive by infections, which could get into protected space and be able to launch an attack from within the systems memory, a much faster and more intimate way of attacking than coming over the network.  With home systems sporting more that 4GB of RAM, there is a lot more space for this type of virus to work with than there was just a few years ago.  Read on at The Register, if you dare.

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"The researchers aren’t quite sure how unusual it is, describing it as both “unique” and “very rare”, but no matter how scarce this type of malware is it does sound rather nasty as it “… uses its payload to inject an encrypted dll from the web directly into the memory of the javaw.exe process.” That mode of operation means Windows and MacOS are both affected by the exploit, which is hard for many antivirus programs to spot given it runs within a trusted process."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

Linux Kernel 3.3 Merges With Android, Now Available

Subject: General Tech | March 19, 2012 - 11:46 AM |
Tagged: OS, linux kernel 3.3, linux, kernel, Android

Linux kernel 3.3 has recently been released for public consumption, and it features quite a few new features and improvements. The kernel is the code that developers than build upon to create all the various Linux distributions such as Fedora, Mint, and Arch Linux (among others).

This latest release, version 3.3 includes various improvements to the file system, btrfs, networking, architecture, and EFI BIOS support. In regards to the file system, the Linux 3.3 kernel supports improved balancing and the ability to re-stripe between different RAID (redundant array of independent disks) levels. Further, the kernel will now allow an x86 boot image to be processed by EFI firmware in addition to the traditional BIOS microcode boot that is present in the majority of today's machines. Also, Kernel 3.3 improves the networking aspects by improving the ability to bond multiple NICs to improve networking throughput and/or to provide redundant connections. Support for a new architecture has also emerged such that Linux kernel will work with Texas Instruments C6X based chips. These chips include the "family of C64x single and multicore DSPs."

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The above improvements are just the tip of the iceberg, however. The most talked about new feature is likely going to be the inclusion of Android code from Google's Android OS project. According to the Kernel Newbies website, the disagreements between Linux kernel developers and Google have been "ironed out," and code from the Android project will now start to be rolled back into the Linux kernel. They expect that Android coming home to traditional Linux will make developing code and end user software easier for everyone, and they expect further Android and Linux integration in the future.

More information on the latest Linux kernel release is available here.

You know, where I come from: Dubstep Claptrap is a disease.

Subject: General Tech | March 17, 2012 - 05:26 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, gearbox, borderlands 2

Gearbox advertises an enhanced PC experience for Borderlands 2 in the form of a love letter.

It takes a lot of devotion, effort, and trust to make a compelling game for the PC. Apparently Claptrap is willing to take all the time necessary to get into our pants -- or wherever else you carry your credit card. It is somewhat sad how stories like these are newsworthy. This kind-of calls to attention how half-assed most games are these days in general, for all systems, especially when it comes to optimizing for platform-specific traits.

claptrap.png

Actually on second thought, maybe we will need some Penicillin.

The list of PC-specific enhancements is quite long, but most entries are based on interface and Steam integration features:

  • FOV slider
  • “100%” mouse usable menus/mouse wheel scrolling
  • Remappable keybindings for keyboard/mouse
  • PC specific UI
  • Native multiplayer matchmaking
  • Push to talk
  • Logitech keyboard support ((I assume they mean LCD screen information))
  • LAN support (including OFFLINE mode)
  • Control pad support
  • Integrated v-sync option
  • Support for higher resolutions
  • Mouse smoothing options (can be disabled completely)
  • Cloud save support
  • Achievement support
  • Friends list support
  • No port forwarding required

Is there any feature that you wish would be included for the PC version? Personally I would like the option for splitscreen support especially for those with Eyefinity setups. How about you?

Google Rumored To Release $199 Nexus Tablet

Subject: General Tech | March 17, 2012 - 04:33 PM |
Tagged: nexus tablet, google, Android

The Kindle Fire and Nook Tablets are two low cost Android tablets that are arguably the first Android tablets to be very successful, especially as gifts during this past holiday season. The $500+ iPads are nice, but not everyone is willing to pay that much money for a secondary computing device (the PC isn't dead yet!). There is also the form factor issue in that many consumers prefer the smaller and more portable 7" tablets that Apple has yet to provide.

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Image via techiser

It seems as though Google has taken notice of the success of the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet and is ready to throw it's weight around and show manufacturers how to replicate that success with a reference 7" tablet of their very own. Much akin to the Google Nexus smart phones that Google released to act as a base / vanilla platform for manufacturers to base their designs on; Google is planning to release a Google Nexus Tablet. Recent rumors suggest that such an Android tablet is a "done deal" according to sources within Google's supply chain. Further, the Nexus tablet will allegedly feature a 7" form factor and will be powered by a TI OMAP 4 processor to keep costs low (versus using NVIDIA's Tegra 3). In addition, the Nexus Tablet would run an updated version of Android, specifically Android 4.1.

Speaking of costs, the Verge has stated that the new Nexus Tablet will retail for $199 USD, though there may be other varied SKUs that come in at lower/higher price points depending on the amount of RAM and storage.

The Google Nexus smart phones never really caught on with the majority of consumers, but many tech savvy people appreciated the vanilla Android experience that did not involve waiting months for OS updates (I'm looking at you, Samsung). If anyone can create a low cost tablet to replicate the success of the Kindle Fire, it's Google. What are your thoughts on these recent rumors?

Source: The Verge