VIA unveils the APC $49 Android PC

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Systems | May 22, 2012 - 05:22 PM |
Tagged: VIA, htpc, APC

VIA tops Gingerbread with a banana for some reason. They also unveil a $49 system powered by Android 2.3 which has been customized for mouse and keyboard support. The system draws between 4 and 13.5 watts (idle and load respectively) and can be mounted into any standard Mini-ITX or microATX chassis as well as chassis for the new Neo-ITX standard.

I guess VIA wants to be more than just Android-in-law to HTC.

It seems as though the low powered computing market is continuing to be eaten by ARM with devices such as VIA’s just announced APC Android PC. The APC seems to be aimed at the home theatre and enthusiast markets. VIA also hopes that the low price point will introduce more people to computing.

apc-via.jpg

Apparently VIA prefers bananas to Apples.

The APC is powered by an 800MHz VIA ARM11 system-on-a-chip with 512 MB of DDR3 RAM. 2GB of flash memory is embedded on the device which can be expanded by a microSD card slot. It may also be possible to install extra memory through one of the four USB2.0 ports on the device although that is not explicitly stated in the press release. Display output will be limited to 720p. Power usage will vary between 4 and 13.5 watts depending on load.

VIA is also promoting the device for its Neo-ITX form factor. The APC is 17cm x 8.5cm in dimensions -- which is just under 6 3/4” by 3 3/8” for you non-Metrics -- and can mount in Mini-ITX or microATX cases. It apparently is also smaller than a banana.

The APC is expected to ship this July for $49.

Source: VIA

Thunderbolt for Windows Performance Preview - ASUS P8Z77-V Premium

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards, Storage | May 21, 2012 - 06:57 PM |
Tagged: Z77, thunderbolt, p8z77-v premium, msi, asus

We have really been waiting for this since we first saw the release of Thunderbolt on the Apple MacBooks last year, but we finally have it: Thunderbolt support for PC users!  Both MSI and ASUS today announced availability of motherboards with integrated Thunderbolt connectivity: the ASUS P8Z77-V Premium and the MSI Z77A-GD80 will both get you a single integrated Thunderbolt port.

You can see MSI's full press release right hereWe can't find the ASUS press release anywhere Here is the ASUS press release as well, but here are a few selections:

tb01.jpg

"Intel and ASUS have worked closely on the implementation of Thunderbolt technology onto Asus motherboards”, said Jason Ziller, Intel’s Director of Thunderbolt Marketing. “The P8Z77-V PREMIUM is the first Thunderbolt certified motherboard in the industry, a testament to its solid design and compatibility."

...

With its long history of working with high tech vendors, ASUS is able to show its strength and commitment to innovation with a close relationship to three of the leading brands currently producing products with Thunderbolt technology, Elgato, LaCie, and PROMISE.

...

Thunderbolt is a new, high-speed I/O technology designed for performance, simplicity and flexibility, with lightning fast transfer speeds that are twice that of USB 3.0 and up to 20 times faster than USB 2.0. It offers simultaneous bi-directional 10Gbps transfer speeds over a single cable, with the flexibility to daisy-chain up to six Thunderbolt-ready devices with a single connection as well as offering full display port support for a 7th Thunderbolt or display port equipped monitor. This allows for a clutter-free computing experience while offering unprecedented levels of performance. Users can connect multiple Thunderbolt-enabled external storage drives to a Thunderbolt-enabled display and transfer files while watching HD movies, all without experiencing any lag. In addition for content professional this connection has been designed form the ground up for multimedia offering low latency with highly accurate time synchronization for professional audio and video applications. PC enthusiast and gamers can take immediate advantage combining Thunderbolt and on-board Lucid Virtu MVP to enjoy top-notch graphics performance.

Even better, we have some in-action video of the new ASUS Thunderbolt-implementation including performance!

This video was recorded well before today's launch during our Z77 Live Review and clearly shows some of the benefits of Thunderbolt, as well as some of the limitations, you'll find if you pick up the ASUS P8ZZ77-V Premium motherboard!

Windows 8 -- Aero? Plain.

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 20, 2012 - 04:03 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, Aero

Paul Thurrott reports that Microsoft will dump Aero Glass in lieu of a more flat user interface for Windows 8. How far is Microsoft willing to distance itself from the desktop market to entice a foothold in the mobile space?

Remember that image I did with a turd on a desktop workstation a few days ago?

Microsoft has killed their glass-based design which they established almost a decade ago with the Longhorn technical preview.

Windows 8 Release Preview is set to release within the next two weeks and will contain Aero Glass as its desktop chrome. The shift to the flat layout will occur before release of the full version. It is still unclear whether users will be able to see it hands-on before they are expected to own it.

windows8beta.jpg

The ironic part is that is probably a glass aquarium.

You may be wondering why I claim this as an offense against the desktop. Later in his article Paul gives his prediction into why Aero Glass shattered -- since Microsoft did not directly say so themselves. Aero is not the most difficult interface for a computer to render but it does require a steady amount more computation than a flat layout. Transparency, blur, and other effects take up computation power -- hence why Windows harasses you to turn off Aero if your framerate dips in a game -- and that computation power translates to battery life.

Remember when Aero was touted as a driving reason to in-place upgrade to Vista Home Premium?

I guess Microsoft believes that they do not want their tablet customers to feel like second-rate citizens. At least we know that they will be willing to throw it all away and do it over yet again. At this point that should be the most clear above anything else.

AMD will not chase Intel making "needlessly powerful" CPUs

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | May 19, 2012 - 04:52 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, trinity, cloud computing, cloud, amd

Bloomberg Businessweek reports AMD CEO Rory Read claims that his company will produce chips which are suited for consumer needs and not to crunch larger and larger bundles of information. They also like eating Intel’s bacon -- the question: is it from a pig or a turkey?

Read believes there is “enough processing power on every laptop on the planet today”.

I disagree.

The argument revolves around the shift to the cloud, as usual. It is very alluring to shift focus from the instrument to the data itself. More enticing: discussing how the instruments change to suit that need; this is especially true if you develop instruments and yearn to shift anyway.

amd-new.png

Don’t question the bacon…

AMD has been trusting that their processors will be good enough and their products will differentiate in other ways such as with graphics capabilities which they claim will be more important for cloud services. AMD hopes that their newer laptops will steal some bacon from Intel and their ultrabook initiative.

The main problem with the cloud is that it is mostly something that people feel that they want rather than actually do. They believe they want their content controlled by a company for them until it becomes inaccessible temporarily or permanently. They believe they want their information accessible in online services but then freak out about the privacy implications of it.

The public appeal of the cloud is that it lets you feel as though you can focus on the content rather than the medium. The problem is that you do not have fewer distractions from your content -- just different ones -- and they rear their head once or twice in isolation of each other. You experience a privacy concern here and an incompatibility or licensing issue there. For some problems and for some people it makes more sense to control your own data. It will continue to be important to serve that market.

And if crunching ends up being necessary for the future it looks like Intel will be a little lonely at the top.

Origin helps indie devs with 90 day grace for crowdfunding

Subject: General Tech | May 19, 2012 - 03:39 PM |
Tagged: origin, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, crowdfunding, pc gaming

EA wishes to foster independent game distribution on their Origin platform. Developers of games which are crowd-funded through a service such as Indiegogo or Kickstarter will receive 100% revenue share from the service for 90 days.

I need to give EA credit when they do something good.

The Origin online distribution system is not as appreciated as Steam has been but that does not stop EA from trying. The service was made a requisite for PC games such as Battlefield 3 which was an annoyance to gamers -- much as Steam was an annoyance to Half Life 2 players. Whether Origin was a good service or not was irrelevant as customers just do not like to be forced to use a service to access unrelated content.

Origin has decided to waive distribution fees for crowd funded content for 90 days -- wielding a carrot.

crowd-source-games-banner_v2.png

Maybe Warren Spector should crowd fund a small project at Junction Point -- publish on Origin’s Systems

It’d be like Tim Schafer, just more ironic.

Two main options for crowdsourcing projects are Indiegogo and Kickstarter. If you are one of our Canadian viewers than you are limited to posting your project on Indiegogo as Kickstarter will not fund projects outside the US; of course you can fund American projects on Kickstarter from Canada, just not create your own. With Origin you are then able to publish on an established platform and receive full revenue for the first three months.

Of course if you have licensed technology or assets such as Unreal Development Kit you are still obliged to follow those commitments. For the first three months EA will just keep their hand out of your pocket.

Source: Origin

CS6 OpenCL support -- not quite hardware acceleration for all

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 19, 2012 - 03:27 AM |
Tagged: Adobe, CS6, gpgpu

Last month, SemiAccurate reported that Adobe Creative Suite 6 would be programmed around OpenCL which would allow any GPU to accelerate your work. Adobe now claims that OpenCL would only accelerate the HD6750M and the HD6770M running on OSX Lion with 1GB of vRAM on a MacBook Pro at least for the time being at least for Adobe Premiere Pro.

Does it aggravate you when something takes a while or stutters when you know a part of your PC is just idle?

Adobe has been increasingly moving to take advantage of the graphics processor available in your computer to benefit the professional behind the keyboard, mouse, or tablet. CS 5.5 pushed several of their applications on to the CUDA platform. End-users claim that Adobe sold them out for NVIDIA but that just seems unlikely and unlike either company. My prediction is and always was more that NVIDIA parachuted in some engineers to Adobe and their help was limited to CUDA.

Creative Suite 6 further suggests that I was correct as Adobe has gone back and re-authored much of those features in OpenCL.

AdobeCSOpenCL.png

Isn't it somewhat ironic that insanity is a symptom of mercury poisoning?

AMD as a hatter!

CS6 will not execute on just any old GPU now despite the wider availability of OpenCL relative to the somewhat NVIDIA proprietary CUDA. While the CUDA whitelist currently extends to 22 Windows NVIDIA GPUs and 3 Mac OSX NVIDIA GPUs current OpenCL support is limited to a pair of AMD-based OSX Lion mobile GPUs: the 6750M and the 6770M.

It would not surprise me if other GPUs would accelerate CS6 if manually added to a whitelist. Adobe probably is very conservative with what components they add to the whitelist in an effort to reduce support costs. That does not mean that you will see benefits even if you trick Adobe into accepting hardware acceleration though.

It appears as if Adobe is working towards using the most open and broad standards -- they just are doing it at their own pace this time. This release was obviously paced for Apple support.

Source: Adobe

$700 Ultrabooks could provide HP's Sleekbooks with a challenge

Subject: General Tech | May 18, 2012 - 03:24 PM |
Tagged: celeron 807, celeron 877, celeron, ulv, ultrabook, sleekbook, hp

HP recently announced their plans to begin selling Sleekbooks, a ultraportable modelled after the Ultrabook but using an AMD processor.  You might lose a bit of computational power but you won't sacrifice graphical performance and the prices are slated to be noticeably less that what Ultrabooks are currently selling for, as well as the intended sub-$1000 price Intel originally stated.  Intel is firing back with the upcoming release of two Celeron processors both priced under $100.  DigiTimes also reports on five future dual core i3s which will sell between $100-$150 which will give Intel customers a large feild of models to choose from.   The two new Celerons are expected to be 17W 32nm SandyBridge processors, one single core model and one dual core model, both with Intel HD graphics onboard.

envy_sleekbook.jpg

"Intel will launch four entry-level Celeron processors including the Celeron ULV 877 and 807 for sale at US$86 and US$70 respectively and targeting ultrabooks in the third quarter of 2012. The CPUs could enable vendors to offer ultrabooks at a price level of US$699 in the third-quarter, and falling to US$599 at the end of the year or beginning of 2013, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes

Unreal Engine 4 first screenshots. Wicked Sick?

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | May 18, 2012 - 04:24 AM |
Tagged: E3, unreal engine 4, ue4

Epic Games has demonstrated Unreal Engine 4 behind closed doors at GDC a few months ago. First screenshots have been released from that demo although not much more has been made public about it. While not completely epic, it definitely is exciting. Unreal Engine 4 is expected to be further unveiled at or near E3 in June.

Both Wired Magazine and PC Gamer have released screenshots and articles from the Unreal Engine 4 Game Developers Conference 2012 (GDC12) demo.

Epic has been quiet about the next generation of their game development platform. Only a handful of lucky individuals were shown the demo at the GDC and those who did could not share their experience. Epic has said that they would have liked to publicly demonstrate their product, but were unable to due to non-disclosure agreements that they themselves were placed under.

Unreal-Engine-4-3.jpg

I think that guy needs some thixomolded magnesium alloy. He seems to be running a little hot.

Either he’ll cool down, or produce a beautiful white bloom.

(Screenshot Credit: PC Gamer)

Wired claims that Epic will unveil the rest of Unreal Engine 4 in June which likely means that it will occur on or around the E3 press conference.

It is thus easy to speculate that whatever gagged Epic will likely be unveiled at E3 too.

The major hook of the demo was that it was running in the editor and not in a baked game executable. This means that developers will have a much easier time creating their game and will also have to spend much less time preparing to work. About the only concrete tidbit in the article is that Unreal Engine 4 will not have baked lighting. Unreal Engine 4 will likely use a technology similar to Battlefield 3 where global illumination is calculated at runtime -- nearly a must for properly lit destructibility.

Both sources have their own set of screenshots. Check out both Wired and PC Gamer so you do not miss any pixels.

Source: PC Gamer

Podcast #202 Aftershow - Much Ado about Storage

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Storage | May 17, 2012 - 05:05 PM |
Tagged: podcast, aftershow

After the normally scheduled podcast recorded last night, the PC Perspective staff hung around in the chat room to talk with our fans and readers about various random hardware topics.  Rather than just throw that data away, we decided to save it and post the video here as a sort of "aftershow" for those of you that want a bit more PCPer in your life.

Enjoy!

Podcast #202 - GTX 670, NVIDIA's GK110 Tesla card, our AMD Trinity Mobile review and more!

Subject: General Tech | May 17, 2012 - 03:16 PM |
Tagged: trinity, tesla, podcast, nvidia, kepler, gtx670, GTC 2012, gk110, GK104, dv nation, a10

PC Perspective Podcast #202 - 05/17/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the GTX 670, NVIDIA's GK110 Tesla card, our AMD Trinity Mobile review and more!

If you want even more PC Perspective this, check out our "aftershow" event as well.  Event might be an over-statement though...

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: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malvantano

Program length: 1:05:16

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:21 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:01:15 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Graphics Card Review - Kepler for $399
    1. GeForce GTX 670 vs GTX 570 Performance Update
    2. The GTX 670 and the Case of the Missing (and Returning) 4-Way SLI Support
  6. 0:11:20 Graphics Card (GPU) Stock Check - May 10th, 2012
    1. Hard to make a profit when no one can find Kepler cards for sale, NVIDIA
  7. 0:14:25 NVIDIA Reveals GK110 GPU - Kepler at 7.1B Transistors, 15 SMX Units
  8. 0:20:20 Lenovo IdeaCentre Q180: Atom's Wake
  9. 0:24:30 AMD A10-4600M Trinity For Mobile Review: Trying To Cut The Ivy
  10. 0:33:40 Just Delivered: DV Nation RAMRod PC - Sandy Bridge-E, 64GB DDR3, 480GB RevoDrive 3 X2
  11. 0:35:42 Plug and Pray PCIe SSD that you can upgrade; OWC's Mercury Accelsior
  12. 0:40:40 GTC 2012: NVIDIA Announces GeForce GRID Cloud Gaming Platform
    1. NVIDIA Pioneers New Standard for High Performance Computing with Tesla GPUs
    2. NVIDIA Introduces World's First Virtualized GPU, Accelerating Graphics for Cloud Computing
  13. 0:53:00 ZOTAC announces ZOTAC GeForce GT 630, GT 620 and GT 610 series
  14. 0:55:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Jeremy: Only to be used for evil
    2. Josh: Since NV doesn't have an answer yet at this price range...
    3. Allyn: If you need your files secure - without the destruction
  15. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  16. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  17. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  18. Closing