IDF 2011: Intel Haswell Architecture Offers 20x Lower Standby Power

Subject: General Tech, Processors | September 13, 2011 - 05:05 PM |
Tagged: tri-gate, sandy bridge, Ivy Bridge, idf 2011, idf, haswell

The first keynote of the Intel Developer Forum is complete and it started with Paul Otellini discussing the high level direction for Intel in the future.  One of the more interesting points made was not about Ivy Bridge, which we will all see very soon, but about Haswell, Intel's next microarchitecture meant to replace the Sandy Bridge designs sometime in late 2012 or early 2013.  Expected to focus on having 8 processing cores, much improved graphics and the new AVX2 extenstion set, Haswell will also be built on the 3D tri-gate transistors announced over the summer.

Otellini describes Haswell's performance in two important metrics.  First, it will use 30% less power than Sandy Bridge at the same performance levels.  This is a significant step and could be the result of higher IPC as well as better efficiency thanks to the 22nm process technology.  


Where Haswell really excels is apparently in the standby metric: as a platform it could use as much as 20x less power than current hardware.  Obviously Intel's engineers have put a focus on power consumption more than performance and the results are beginning to show.  The goals are simple but seemingly impossible to realize: REAL all-day power and more than 10 days of stand by time.

Source: PCPer

Oh joy the BIOS level trojan is finally here

Subject: General Tech | September 13, 2011 - 05:00 PM |
Tagged: security, fud, bios, trojan, bmw

You do not want BMW; it is a Trojan that uses your master boot record and your BIOS to ensure that it remains on your system so even after a format and reinstall of Windows it will still be infecting you.  It originally infects winlogon.exe on Windows XP and Server 2003, and to wininit.exe on Windows 7 and Vista but once it is on it installs and uses HOOK.ROM at the BIOS level to check to see if it has been uninstalled and if so it will reinstall itself.  The Register points out that in this case the enormous variety of BIOS setups is a good thing as it ensures that any BIOS level virus will always be limited in scope even if it is a vulnerability shared by a single BIOS type.


"SECURITY RESEARCHERS at Chinese antivirus firm 360 have identified a piece of malware that installs rogue code into the BIOS of targeted computers.

Dubbed BMW by 360 and Mebromi by other security vendors, the threat has separate components for the operating system, the master boot record (MBR) and the system BIOS."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk


Source: The Inquirer

A little device to make your iThang sound iNcredible

Subject: General Tech | September 12, 2011 - 09:40 PM |

Fostex's HP-P1 Headphone Amplifier & DAC is intended to sit between your audio player and your ears and skip the cheap analog path in preference of all digital signals.  That is of course a vast simplification of digital to analog conversion, but your ears are the deciding factor here.  It uses the dock port, which allows you to completely bypass any possible changes to the raw digital signal by your iThang and gets the pure digital signal that ultra-high end headphones need.  TechPowerUp was impressed, but you do have to be quite the audiophile to send $700+ on an DAC ... whether it is technically worth it or not.


"Fostex's newest product is a headphone amplifier and DAC dubbed the HP-P1. The HP-P1 offers a fully digital connection to any newer iPod or iPhone. Its ability to read digital data from the device is a unique feature that promises maximized audio quality because it bypasses the cheap analog hardware in the i-device."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Audio Corner


Source: TechPowerUp

Razer's brand new Mamba doesn't like to sleep

Subject: General Tech | September 12, 2011 - 09:20 PM |
Tagged: wireless mouse, razer, mouse, mamba dual sensor 4g, input

As its name implies the new Razer Mamba Dual Sensor 4G has two sensors to increase its accuracy though you would not know it was a wireless mouse.  It is not strictly wireless either, a locking USB plug will turn it into a wired mouse for those not desiring to worry about battery life.  The driver software allows you to change your DPI settings as well as save button programming in up to 5 different profiles.   If you need a high end gaming mouse and are willing to spend $120 to get it, drop by Bjorn3D to see the Mamba 4G in action.


"The Razer Mamba Dual Sensor 4G offers the latest in wireless mouse technology with style, ensuring a response time that is equal to a wired high end gaming mouse."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Bjorn3D

Nothing new to see here but Firesheep may be news to some

Subject: General Tech | September 12, 2011 - 03:56 PM |
Tagged: firesheep, security, fud, https

About a year ago you may have read about FireSheep, a FireFox add-on which takes advantage of the unencrypted nature of many packets being sent to social networks to allow others to access your accounts.  It is specifically used on wireless connections, in what is called a man in the middle attack, as you surf using an unencrypted connection the laptop running Firesheep captures your data before it even hits your account.  That extension is still around and causing havoc, making the news recently with the revelation that packets sent via Google have a unique session ID sent in plain text which can be used to identify a Google acount and then access the search history of the acccount.   Check out The Register for more on this topic and consider HTTPS Everywhere for your laptop.


"Researchers have released a Firefox extension that demonstrates the risks of using Google search services on Wi-Fi hotspots and other unsecured networks: With just a few clicks, attackers can view large chunks of your intimate browsing history, including websites you've already visited."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk


Source: The Register

IDF 2011: Intel Developer Forum Coverage Coming Soon!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Motherboards, Processors, Chipsets | September 12, 2011 - 02:22 PM |
Tagged: Intel, idf 2011, idf

It is once again time for our annual pilgrimage to the land of the Golden Gate to spend a few days with our friends at Intel and the Intel Developer Forum.  IDF is one of the most informative events that I attend and I am always impressed by the openness and detail with which Intel showcases its upcoming products and future roadmap.  This year looks to be no different.


What do we have on the agenda?  First and foremost, we expect to hear all about Ivy Bridge and the architecture changes it brings to the Sandy Bridge CPUs currently in the market.  Will we see increased x86 performance or maybe increases in the likelihood of us recommending the integrated graphics?  More information is set to be revealed on the 22nm tri-gate transistor as well as the X79 chipset and the Sandy Bridge-E enthusiast platform.  SSDs and Ultrabooks are also set on the docket.  It's going to be busy.

But what would a week in downtown San Francisco be without visits from other companies as well?  We are set to meet with Lucid, MSI, ASUS, Gigabyte, Corsair, HP and of course, AMD.  I expect we will have just as much to say about what each of these companies has on display as we do Intel's event.  

I am planning on live blogging many of the sessions I will be attending so stay tuned to PC Perspective all week for the latest!!

Source: Intel

Rockin' at 6.4 in Vancouver

Subject: General Tech | September 9, 2011 - 10:50 PM |
Tagged: friday

It seems this wasn't a good week for some PC Perspective members and their personal rigs.  From an overclocked rig that wouldn't behave to misbehaving motherboards to an alarm program that thinks it is an engineer there have been a variety of threads started up in the General Tech forum.  If your PC is acting just fine and you have the inclination to tinker with something else there is a guide on how to build your own directional antenna for your wireless devices.  The AMD Bulldozer rumour thread is also active this week, perhaps in part triggered by Josh's article

In the Cases and Cooling Forum you can see some great pictures of a modding project to militarize a Thermaltake Level 10 case and instructions on how to remove the front panel of an Antec 900.  In the Audio Corner you can catch a good discussion about the best speakers available at a reasonable price to pump up the volume of your TV, while in the Storage Forum you can get some advice on tweaking your SSD performance

If you are more of a audio and  visual type and would rather hear us talking about hardware instead of reading it, Ken was feeling his Wheaties and already has the video of this weeks PC Perpsective Podcast up.  It even has our first ever video question sent in by a viewer.

Rahul Sood, from VoodooPC to HP and the road forward

Subject: General Tech | September 9, 2011 - 05:02 PM |
Tagged: hp, voodoopc

While we have been focusing on the drama unfolding from Intel's Ultrabook plans there has been another story unfolding; HP's possible plans to sell or spin off their Personal Systems Group.  The rumour started a few weeks back and HP was quick to respond to the rumours stating that they were considering the move but did not have any buyers in mind.  X-bit Labs went to a great source to find out more information about HP's plans, Rahul Sood started the boutique system build company, VoodooPC which was acquired by HP five years ago.  They discuss VoodooPC, the issues present in HP's PSG division and what plans HP should consider to keep themselves relevant to system buyers.


"HP's plan to spin off its personal systems group caught everyone by surprise and results of such a move are hard to overestimate. Today we are talking to Rahul Sood, a co-founder of the legendary VoodooPC boutique PC maker and a former employee of HP. We will discuss Voodoo, HP in the past and now as well as the personal computer industry in general."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: X-Bit Labs
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Razer

The Mechanics of a Keyboard

During the duration of this review Razer announced two new mechanical keyboards, the BlackWidow Stealth and the BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth. This review is not for those products. Razer ninja’d me with stealth.


Keyboards are often overlooked during the purchase of a new computer; for many there does not appear to be any real difference between any two keyboards outside of wireless technology, backlighting, or extra keys. Those who game heavily or those who are typing enthusiasts for work or hobby might be in the market for a more personalized experience. There are whole categories of keyboard styles which allow a tailored solution to your personal style of use right down to the type of switch used to register a keystroke. Razer is no stranger to the production of input devices but they are stepping slightly out of their element with their recent products: The BlackWidow and the BlackWidow Ultimate, the first two from Razer which are based on mechanical switches.


Popping Razer’s CherryMX?

Membrane keyboards comprise the majority of the cheapest keyboards in the market with scissor-switch taking up the laptop and thin-profile keyboard market. Despite being cheap, these keyboards also have the advantage of being quite silent. A mechanical keyboard on the other hand uses an actual mechanical switch for each and every key. While such as system costs substantially more than a membrane keyboard the cost may be offset by the precision, the response, or the ability to type without “bottoming-out” each keystroke.

If the concept of a mechanical keyboard interests you then you will likely be dealing indirectly with Cherry Corp in the near future most likely with their MX line of switches. I say indirectly as Cherry avoids selling their keyboards except to business, industrial, governmental, and medical suppliers. For the rest of us there exist several companies who purchase large quantities of mechanical switches and manufactures keyboards with them for retail end-users. Some common mechanical keyboard brands include Filco, SteelSeries, XArmor, Optimus, Das Keyboard, and Ducky. Keep in mind that while there are many brands, almost all of their keyboards are produced by iOne, Datacomp, or Costar with a few exceptions. In our situation, Razer’s BlackWidow and BlackWidow Ultimate are produced by iOne who also produces the XArmor line of mechanical keyboards.

Read on for the rest of the review including benchmarks… yes that is possible!

Mozilla Issues Do Not Track Field Guide To Advertisers

Subject: General Tech | September 9, 2011 - 01:05 AM |
Tagged: mozilla, do not track, adblock

Popular open source browser maker Mozilla recently released a field guide aimed at advertisers that outlines Do Not Track functionality. The guide is reported by Computer World as including tutorials, case studies, guidelines, and sample code to “inspire developers, publishers, and advertisers to adopt DNT.”


Mozilla's Firefox browser supports the popular Do Not Track add-on.

Mozilla indicated that approximately 22,500,000 users are currently employing the Do Not Track add-on. Further, there are currently more users who use Do Not Track than there are people using AdBlock Plus.

While the field guide is a good start, the real issue for consumers lies in whether or not advertisers will take notice and allow consumers to opt out of their tracking mechanisms. In the end, advertisers will need to implement some form of opt-out procedure (or better yet, an opt-in mechanism) lest they lose any revenue because users completely block out their advertisements. Currently; however, there is a cultural battle between advertisers and consumer privacy advocates, and it remains to be seen which will win out. Where do you stand on the issue; should advertisers be allowed to collect tracking data?