Goal Zero Shows Off Sherpa 50 Portable Power Pack At CES 2012

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2012 - 05:20 AM |
Tagged: CES, solar, goal zero, sherpa, portable power

Goal Zero has a product on display at CES 2012 that every CES news and reviews editor can appreciate, a small and light 50 Watt Hour battery pack that can provide USB, 12 V, 16 V, and AC power (via a separate attachment). The portable recharger acts as a big battery that can recharge cell phones, laptops, cameras, and other devices thanks to a Lithium Iron Phosphate battery.

Veronica Belmont of Tekzilla fame shows off the Sherpa 50.

The Sherpa 50 weighs 2.2 pounds and is encased in a aluminum shell with rubberized edges and provides 50 Watt Hours of extra battery power, enough to recharge an iPad twice or "power a cell phone for 50 hours," according to the company's product video. It further features a small LCD screen that displays the remaining battery power in 20% increments, AC and 12V inputs, USB and 12 V outputs. The power pack is designed to be used with the company's 13.5 watt fold-able solar cell array for long camping, hiking, or climbing trips. An event like CES would also be the perfect place to have a bit of extra power on tap.

The device is going to run $250 without the optional AC inverter and will be available in June 2012. More information on the technical specifications can be found here.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Goal Zero

Sony Shelves OLED Tech, Brings Crystal LED TV To Bear Against OLED Competition

Subject: General Tech, Displays | January 10, 2012 - 02:50 AM |
Tagged: CES, sony, led, crystal led, oled, tv

While I read a few weeks ago that Sony would not be showing off any OLED TVs at CES, I was a bit saddened. The company was the first to bring a real OLED television one step above vaporware, even if it was only 11" and prohibitively expensive it was advancing the technology. Well, CES is here and Sony did not bring any OLED television to demo, much less bring to market this year. Fortunately, LG and Samsung have the OLED TVs covered. The question of how Sony plans to compete with the OLED competition seems to be in improved LED TV technology.

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Speaking of LED TV technology, while Sony did not bring an OLED TV to CES, they did bring a new LED TV that they claim is much improved over current LED back-lit televisions. They are calling this technology "Crystal LED," and it is powering a 55" prototype television at this years CES. The 55" television uses very small RGB (red, green, and blue) LEDs to create the picture. This is an important distinction as current "LED TVs" are really just LCD televisions with LEDs as the back-light; where the LEDs shine light through the LCD pixels to create the picture. This Sony prototype is an actual LED TV, not just a branding misnomer as the LED lights are what creates the picture and not just a light source.

According to Engadget, Sony claims their true LED TV is greatly improved over LED-back-lit LCDs and offers 3.5 times the contrast, a 1.5 times wider color gamut, and is 10 times faster than LCDs. Although these are Sony's numbers and should be taken with a grain of salt (until independent reviewers can verify), they at least seem reasonable and plausible. The contrast improvement and true blacks should be readily possible thanks to the panel tech being self emitting. If done right, it should come close to the contrast offered by OLEDs which share the self-emitting property. The ability to be 10 times faster than LCDs may be the most questionable number, but still not an outrageous claim.

Stay tuned for more information as we get it! Do you think Sony's Crystal LED prototype has a chance against OLED?

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Engadget

OLED TV Greatness: Samsung and LG Showing Off 55" OLED TVs

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2012 - 11:34 PM |
Tagged: tv, Samsung, oled, LG, 55

There were rumors floating about the Internet pre-CES concerning a massive 55" OLED Television from LG. Lo and behold, CES is upon us and not only do we have a OLED TV from LG to drool over, but Samsung has also joined the fray with its own TV!

The LG television is 55" of OLED panel. The TV is 4mm thick and weights a mere 16.5 pounds, which is quite impressive compared to comparably sized LCD and Plasma Televisions which can weigh around 80 pounds and are not pleasant carrying up three flights of stairs (that's personal experience talking, folks). According to The Verge, LG claims their image processing technology, "Color Refiner," and WOLED (white organic light emitting diode) panel results in "the most natural colors of any TV set."

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Also squarely in the good news pile, the company claims to have wrangled the manufacturing process into a more streamlined solution and are able to offer the panel at much lower price points than previous OLED televisions. The bad news; however, is that "much lower price points" are good but when it's "much lower" from tens of thousands of dollars, it's not all that much lower for most folks.

The LG US Director of Product Development, Tim Alessi, stated that the OLED beauty would be available for purchase towards the end of this year (Q4).

Meanwhile, Samsung is showing off a OLED television of its own. The TV promises accurate colors, "true-to-life" image quality, and extremely minimal motion blur. This is thanks to an OLED panel featuring RGB sub-pixels. In the world of apps and app stores, the Samsung TV includes access to the company's Smart TV apps. Further, the television has a Microsoft Kinect like feature called "Smart Interaction" that allows users to turn the set on and off, search the browser, and start up applications using voice commands.

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Samsung will be putting this beauty on "sale" in the second half of the year; however, there is no word yet on pricing (though indications are north of "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" territory).  More info on the Samsung can be found here.

While I won't be getting one of these this year, I will definitely be jealous of the early adopters who do. Although the 4K 3D LED backlit LCD TVs are cool and all, OLED colors just look so damn good! Stay tuned for more CES news and drool worthy photos (I just hope we'll be able to pry the guys away from the OLED and 4K TV demos)!

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: The Verge

ASUS' P9X79 Deluxe, the new baseline for the X79 series

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2012 - 06:45 PM |
Tagged: x79, asus, p9x79 deluxe, lga2011, Intel

X-Bit Labs discusses Tick+ and Tock- in their reivew of the ASUS P9X79 Deluxe, as Intel's original Tick-Tock product strategy seems to have been changed recently.  As you can see the board is quite crowded, in part because of the 8 DIMM slots, so crowded that ASUS moved some of the power chokes to the backside of the board.  You get four PCIe 3.0 slots, of which two can run at full 16x speeds when populated, as well as a pair of PCIe 2.0 1x slots.  On the back are a half dozen USB 3.0 ports as well as four 2.0 ports, S/PDIF out as well as 6 analog out provide sound and it even sports WiFi and Bluetooth.  Check out what X-Bit considers the new standard in X79 boards.

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"ASUSTeK mainboards are the leading brand today that is why this particular model seems to be an ideal choice for opening a series of articles dedicated to the new platform. We will dwell on absolutely everything about it: package, accessories, technical specifications, EFI BIOS functionality, new programs and utilities, overclocking potential, performance and power consumption."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

Source: X-Bit Labs

A first look at CES 2012

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2012 - 04:31 PM |
Tagged: CES, storage visions, Intel, sandforce, 520 Cherryville

The theme of this years Storage Visions is 'Heavy Storage for Thin Clients' but that is not the biggest bit of new that Legit Reviews gathered from their meeting with the organizers.  They got confirmation that Intel will indeed be using a Sandforce based controller in an upcoming SSD, the 520 Cherryville, which will replace the 510 series.  As well, Micron was showing off their 20nm NAND, Crucial has a new Adrenaline drive to test and IOSafe will provide you a fire and waterproof housing to keep it in.

Don't forget about OCZ though, the card you can see below is the newest Z-Drive and it sports 8TB of flash storage (12TB max) available in MLC, SLC and eMLC depending on your needs and budget.  It is a PCIe 3.0 compliant card, one of the first available on the market.  You can also read about OCZ and Micron's joint project in the full post at Legit Reviews.

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"OCZ and Marvell have teamed up and are showing off the Z-Drive R5 for the very first time at Storage Visions. The OCZ Z-Drive R5 is the industries fastest PCI Express (PCIe) storage device. The reason that Z-Drive R5 features a jointly developed "Kilimanjaro" OCZ and Marvell native PCIe to NAND flash controller platform, allowing for completely scalable performance and redundancy while eliminating the need for a separate storage controller, thus reducing the cost to deploy high performance solid state storage systems in the data center. It uses a PCI-Express Gen3 x8 slot to get up to 1.6M IOPS!"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Steam Sees Huge Growth in Sales and Users

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2012 - 06:39 AM |
Tagged: valve, steam, growth, gaming, game

Valve, the company behind the Steam digital (game) distribution service recently announced their 2011 growth data for Steam. Tech Power Up reports that Steam did exceptionally well last year and managed to grow its sales numbers and user base quite a bit.

Among the data, the service saw a more than 100% growth in year over year sales "for the seventh straight year." Further, the service boasted 5 million simultaneous players during the Steam Holiday Sale! Even more mind blowing is the amount of data the company served to users at 780 Petabytes of data (that's a lot of game downloads; about 89.35 million copies of Dirt 3 for example!).

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Steam, taking my money since HL2.

Also, Valve managed to bring more games into the Steamworks fold including Skyrim and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Since the program's inception, over 400 games have shipped with the Steam DRM and achievements. Quite a success! CEO Gabe Newell seems happy about the service's success and confident about the future. He was quoted by the site in stating "Looking forward, we are preparing for the launch of the Big Picture UI mode," and that Steam continues to evolve to meet customer and game developer demands for content. More information can be found here.  

I'm glad that Steam is continuing to grow.  On the other hand, my wallet is going to hate me come the Steam Summer Sale!

Acer Launches New "AcerCloud" Cloud Service

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2012 - 02:42 AM |
Tagged: sync, streaming, cloud, CES, acer

Last summer Acer purchased a cloud-service company for $325 million, and now that we are at CES the reason for the acquisition is apparent. According to Cnet, Acer is launching a new cloud service. Dubbed the "AcerCloud," the new service allows users to stream and sync files between Windows computers and Android mobile devices. Acer Chairman J. T. Wang stated that the company is "determined to make it very successful and sustainable."

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The new cloud service will launch with three applications to facilitate streaming and syncing photos, music, videos, and documents. These apps are named Clear.fi Photo, Clear.fi Media, and AcerCloud Docs. The company is going to integrate the cloud streaming service with their ultrabook lineup. AcerCloud is only the first of many cloud streaming services to emerge recently. Amazon Cloud Drive Service, Google Music, and Apple's iCloud are just a few of the popular streaming services that Acer has to compete with. That's before taking into account syncing services like Dropbox, Sugar Sync, and SpiderOak among others. Needless to say, the AcerCloud is going to have quite a bit of competition to contend with. Whether their proprietary cloud can carve a niche into the market filled with platform agnostic alternatives remains to be seen; however, competition is a good thing and Acer is likely not (going to be) the last company to launch a cloud service of its own this year.

Do you use any of the streaming and/or syncing services? What would it take to give Acer's solution a try?

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

PC Per(sonal) Game of the Year 2011

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | January 8, 2012 - 07:36 AM |
Tagged: opinion, gaming, game of the year, fps, deus ex: human revolution, deus ex

I have to say that 2011 was a pretty good year for PC gaming. Sure, it wasn't without some drab moments; however the diamonds in the rough more than made up for it. Those gems are the PC games that especially stood out for being of quality stock and most of all were awesomely fun.

Skyrim and Battlefield 3 have received a good deal of attention and praise among the PC Per staff, but I'm going to toss the guys a curve ball and name Deus Ex: Human Revolution as my personal favorite PC Game of the Year 2011. Here's why!

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Well, first a bit of history. Growing up, I was always a big PC gamer (earliest game I remember is Digger on an actually floppy floppy disk), but somehow missed the first Deus Ex. I read about it year after year on various technology and gaming sites' "Greatest PC Games of All Time" lists, but somehow never picked it up. A couple years ago, I saw it pop up on a Steam sale, so (naturally) I bought it and gave it a shot. There was a lot of hype behind it, and as such it had a lot to live up to.

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Try taking away my equiptment now!

Unfortunately, it never really came close to living up to all of the hype and praise that people gave it. That is not to say that it's a bad game, just that compared to the newer games that I was used to it wasn't my personal favorite. From the perspective of comparing it with games of its time, it certainly is an interesting release and relatively really good. Compared to the much improved graphics, controls, budgets, and hardware of years later (when I finally played it); however, it simply did not measure up. One of my main gripes with the game was that the AI was not all that great and at some points would have super vision that could spot me from a football field away in the shadows. Had I played it when it came out and had games of that era to compare it to, (and the nostalgic love) I'm sure I would be among those singing it's praises but as a late comer to the game I just wasn't interested.

While PC gamers grew up with Deus Ex, I grew up with the Metal Gear Solid series and I absolutely loved sneaking around and being Solid Snake. Sure, the story was a crazy one, but the same could be said for Deus Ex. That's not to say that I didn't play PC games like Doom 3 (I went from Wolfenstein 3D to Doom 3 due to not growing up with constant internet access living out in the boonies and not having the money for a powerful GPU) but that the games that most stick around in my mind as favorites and fond memories were things like MGS (whereas others may have held Deus Ex for example). I did find Deus Ex's story interesting though even if I wasn't too impressed with the graphics or game play, so when I read that a new Deus Ex was coming out and that it was getting the proper PC attention (thanks, Nixxes!) as it should, I jumped on the chance to play it. Now that I have built a few PCs and have a decent video card, playing the new Deus Ex: Human Revolution was a "no-brainer".

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Enough vents to make even Solid Snake jealous!

To make what could be a long and spoiler-ific story about Deus Ex: HR short, the game is my personal game of the year because it made me feel like Solid Snake again, vents and all. The conversations, hacking, story, augments, and graphics were all really fun and memorable. From walking around the city and listening to the people to punching through a wall to take out an enemy to sneaking through the vents and reading all the emails the game was immersive and I found myself staying up all night not wanting to go to sleep in favor of breaking into my co-workers office and reading their email... umm all in the name of keeping the office secure (some Head of Security I was!). Some of the comments I blogged about just after completing the game include that despite the long loading times, there are more vents than you can shake a stick at and being able to stealth around was very fun. More specifically, I noted:

"The emails and conversations that you overhear walking around the city are nice touches that help immersion. Some people have complained about the graphics quality; however, for what it is I find them to be very good. For a multi-platform game, it certainly runs well on the PC, which is an exceptional feat in this day and age!. . . . I have to say that it was an awesome experience!"

I'm sure that Ryan will disagree that Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the Game Of The Year, but for me it was very memorable, fun, and far exceeded my expectations. Now that I have found out about some cool sounding mods for the original Deus Ex, I may have to give it a second chance ;)

I invite the rest of the PC Per crew to share their personal Game of the Year as well as you, the readers! What was your favorite game this year, and why?

Runners up included Saints Row: The Third which is also crazy fun and Portal 2 who's story was awesome but came out so early in the year that it slipped my mind as GOTY.

CES 2012 Day 0 Podcast - 1/7/2012

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | January 8, 2012 - 07:20 AM |
Tagged: ultrabook, podcast, nvidia, Intel, CES, amd

PC Perspective CES 2012 Day 0 - 1/7/2012

Join us tonight as we talk about our CES predictions for this year, from Las Vegas!

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, Josh Walrath, Matt Smith and Allyn Malventano

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

TMAK World Votes Battlefield 3 Game Of The Year

Subject: General Tech | January 8, 2012 - 06:16 AM |
Tagged: games, game of the year, bf3, fps

TMAK World, a technology blog recently held a contest to see what game the site's users deserved the Game of the Year award. They received 1,117 votes and tallied them up for a top 10 list. According to the article, the top three games represented 75% of the votes, and the first and second games were both ones that released close to the end of the year.

Anyway, without further adieu, The Game of the Year for 2011 is Battlefield 3! The popular multi-player first person shooter (FPS) won with 33% of the votes. Portal 2 and Skyrim followed up in third and second place respectively with 14% and 26% of votes.

Continue on to TMAK World to find out which other PC games made the Top 10 list!

Source: TMAK World