Subject: General Tech, Mobile | September 24, 2011 - 04:08 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: VIA, Patent, htc, apple
Do not let the title deceive you: we probably also find Apple and Patent Infringement stories as boring as you do; this case on the other hand makes it through our tightly meshed sift and into our news feed. VIA is best known for chipsets and specialty x86 processors. VIA’s influence was recently felt through the introduction of the netbook craze as a result of their VIA Nano CPU line which lead to the rise of the Intel Atom processor line. Recently VIA decided that they would set their sights on Apple and sue them over three patents. This is one of those cases where the what is not nearly as funny as the alleged why.
Did Apple take a bite out of VIA’s forbidden fruit?
(Image from Wikipedia, modified)
If it seems to you that VIA is suing Apple over seemingly no reason then you probably are correct. There does not appear to be any public reason for VIA to go after Apple. HTC on the other hand has many reasons to sue, technically counter-sue, Apple. For those wondering where HTC came from in this discussion: the chairperson for HTC is the wife of the CEO of VIA Technologies. It very much seems like the whole reason for the VIA lawsuit is to protect his wife's company in their own lawsuits. If these patent lawsuits continue on their current trajectory then we might just be forced to sit every company down and settle like we did with similar issues back in the 90’s: Springer.
Did Apple bite off more than they could chew? (Registration not required for comments)
Subject: General Tech | September 23, 2011 - 06:12 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: PC, gaming, beta, battlefield 3
PC Perspective’s own Scott Michaud has been eagerly awaiting the launch of Battlefield 3, and was kind enough to keep me in the loop on the important aspects of the upcoming multi-platform multiplayer shooter. One aspect that many gamers (including myself) worldwide are likely salivating over is the imminent Battlefield 3 beta launch next week. Specifically, the Battlefield 3 beta will be available for download starting September 29th, 2011 for the general public and the 27th for those who pre-ordered or purchased the Limited/Tier 1 edition of Medal Of Honor.
The beta will be available on all major platforms, including PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3. In order to play the beta on the Xbox 360 and PS3, the game will show up automatically in the Xbox Live Marketplace and Playstation Network respectively. On the PC side of things, gamers will need to download EA’s Origin client first, and then download the Battlefield 3 beta from the free games section of the Origin client.
The open beta will last until October 10th, and until then there are no caps or time limits regarding how far you can rank up or how often you can play. The map in question will be the “Op: Metro” map from the Alpha. Unfortunately, any ranks or stats you gain from the beta will not carry over into the final game.
While many gamers will be playing the beta on Xbox 360 and PS3, there will likely be a good number of gamers who will play it on the PC for the PC experience. During the EuroGamer expo, DICE General Manager Karl Magnusson spoke to NVIDIA, and stated that 1.5 million copies of Battlefield 3 had been pre-ordered and that DICE was happy to be back on the PC. Further, he stated that they are enjoying the feedback from gamers and whether it is the visuals, audio, or game play that they are enjoying, “all the feedback we get is really freakin’ cool.”
The minimum (and recommended) system requirements for the PC are as follows:
|OS||Windows Vista SP2 32 bit||Windows 7 64 bit|
|Processor||2 GHz dual core||quad core|
|Memory (RAM)||2 GB||4 GB|
|Hard Drive||20 GB||20 GB|
|Graphics (GPU)||DirectX 10 with 512mb RAM||DirectX 11 with 1GB RAM|
|Sound||DirectX compatible||DirectX compatible|
|Peripherals||Keyboard, mouse, DVD-ROM||Keyboard, mouse, DVD-ROM|
Have you been following the development of Battlefield 3 and are you looking forward to the open beta? Let us know in the comments.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Mobile | September 23, 2011 - 05:07 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: pcper live, m17x, hd 6990, alienware
UPDATE: Shows over folks! Thanks to those of you that stopped by and we'll be doing more of these types of things in the very near future. Feel free to watch the reply hosted on YouTube if you want.
So, here we go. After weeks of screwing around with a complely new studio setup at the PC Perspective office, we are going to try something new. Consider this an ultra-alpha-beta if you will. Come stop by our Live Stream channel below to watch us unbox and play around with the new Alienware M17x gaming laptop complete with Radeon HD 6990 graphics! You can even use the Justin.tv chat located at http://justin.tv/pcper to talk with us live and ask questions, etc.
Oh, and we are going to give away some random stuff sitting around the office to those of you that comment in the Justin.tv chat too, so there is that as well. :)
Just as a side note: this is our first attempt at something like this so it might be perfect but it is more than likely going to be a bit rough arond the edges. I am most curious though to get some feedback on what you liked, didn't like or would like to see additional or changed in this kind of process. We aren't going to focus only on "unboxings" and stuff - far from it. Instead expect to see live demonstrations of hardware, overclocking attempts, multi-display gaming setups and more. If you can, please leave some feedback in the comments below!!
Note: We should be underway by 5:25pm ET or so!
Subject: General Tech | September 23, 2011 - 10:32 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Internet, Comcast, computer
This week saw the national launch of Comcast’s internet connectivity program for low income families. As a result of the Comcast-NBC merger, the company was required to create a low cost option for families in the US to connect to the internet. Dubbed the Internet Essentials program, it is undoubtedly a good thing to come out of the deal despite the more nebulous aspects.
The Internet Essentials program entails a $9.95 plus tax per month cable connection with 1.5 Mbps download speeds and 384 Kbps upload speeds, which is a good value compared to more expensive DSL or slower dial up connections. In addition to the Internet connection, families who sign up will receive a voucher through Acer or Dell for a computer in the amount of 149.99 plus tax. While specific specifications of the computer have not been given, Comcast describes it as a netbook computer with Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and the Windows 7 Starter operating system. It may also be bundled with productivity software when available. Families will also have access to free training materials in print, online, or in person. The service will be available throughout the Comcast service area for eligible families. In order to qualify for the service, families must have at least one student eligible for free lunches through the National School Lunch Program, must not have any overdue Comcast bills or unreturned equipment, and the household must not have had Comcast service for the past 90 days. Unfortunately, those families with students who only qualify for reduced price (but not free) lunches will not qualify for the Internet Essentials program.
The ISP will begin taking customers starting in the 2011 to 2012 school year, and will continue taking on new customers for three years following the initial roll out. Customers who are already using the Internet Essentials service will continue to be eligible for it so long as at least one child is eligible for free lunches, they do not close their Comcast account, and they do not violate the company’s residential ISP service agreement.
I for one am glad to see Comcast offering this service as the Internet is becoming increasingly important for students as a learning, collaboration, and productivity tool. Students can now be on a more level playing field in their school work, and this is great news, even if Comcast was forced to offer it as a condition of their merger approval. If you are interested in or know a family that might benefit from the Internet Essentials service, please head over to the company’s website or call 1-855-8-INTERNET (1-855-846-8376) for an application.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Storage | September 22, 2011 - 04:42 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: pcper, giveaway, drobo, contest
UPDATE: Just a couple more days left on this contest - we are closing entries for this Drobo at 12:01am EST on September 26th!
So you know here at PC Perspective we are big fans of backing up your data. And one such brand of devices that helps users do that efficiently and safely is Drobo. We are still working on our Drobo FS review here internally, but should probably check out Allyn's previous review of the 8-bay Drobo Pro to get an idea of the technology and reliability of Drobo.
But, back to the point, did we say you could win a brand new Drobo for yourself? Yes, you can get your hands on a free Drobo FS unit by simply filling out a form and using your Twitter and Facebook accounts to spread the good word of data security!!
What do you have to do? It's a simple three step process:
- Follow @Drobo on Twitter and send a message to all your friends with the hash tags #drobo and #pcper telling them about your love of both!
- OR .... hit up Drobo on their Facebook page and leave a note on YOUR wall for your friends on the same topic - backing up your data and how Drobo gets it done.
- Finally, fill out the form at http://bit.ly/pcperdrobo to finish the job.
You will be emailed a coupon for a Drobo even if you don't win the free one, so you can still get something out this deal, right?!?
Our thanks go out to Drobo for the donations and to our loyal reader base for support PC Perspective over the years!
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 22, 2011 - 02:26 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: skyrim, rage, pc gaming, diablo iii, consoles, battlefield 3, batman
During a conference call with NVIDIA this week some interesting information from DFC Intelligence, "a strategic market research and consulting firm focused on interactive entertainment and the emerging video game, online game, interactive entertainment and portable game markets" according to their webiste, was revealed that paints the world of PC gaming in a much more positive light than previously expected. By anyone's account, the coming fall and winter release schedules are going to be packed with fantastic releases:
Several of these games, including DOTA 2, Diablo III and The Old Republic are going to be PC-only titles with others (like Battlefield 3, RAGE and Skyrim) that will without question look better and play better on the PC. This sets up a great time for hardware companies like NVIDIA and AMD to sell system upgrades in order to maximize user experience in these titles.
And while most gaming pundits have been telling us for years that PC gaming is dying, the report from DFC tells a different story:
Based on revenue alone, estimates show PC gaming to surpass the sales of console games by 2014 with steady growth. How can this be? Have you stopped by your local Gamestop or Best Buy and seen the shelf space devoted to PC games compared to that devoted to the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii?
Here is the key and it is something we have always suspected but haven't really been able to nail down: packaged sales are dying while digital distribution methods and new monetary game mechanics are increasing. Because the industry's most prolific digital sales platform is notoriously tight with sales numbers (Valve's Steam), we have to depend on third party reports from DFC and others. According to this chart, the digital sales of gaming on the PC are skyrocketing and will take PC revenues past consoles in just a few years time.
One note here: this does NOT just include downloaded games in the traditional sense. Instead, new pay models like the monthly subscriptions of World of Warcraft and "free to play" models that charge for upgrades and additional features are really going to be pushing the industry forward. Looking at titles like League of Legends that claims 15 million PC gamers worldwide and others like World of Tanks and World of Planes, this trend is growing and though it differs from the "traditional" PC gaming mentality, it appears to be dominating our future.
Many a PC gamer has lamented about the "console port" generation of games and this graph demonstrates how the power of the PC and the power of the current generation of consoles have diverged over the years. By NVIDIA's estimates we are now about 8-9x the performance level of the Xbox 360 when compared to the GTX 580 that currently sells for about $450. But if you look at the quality difference between something like Deus Ex: Human Revolution on the PC and the consoles, you do NOT see anything close to that kind of improvement. Game developers have always had their hands tied by having to develop for the lowest common platform and while the PC market (when dominant) meant an upgrade cycle of 2-3 years we are now hitting a 6th year of static console gaming power.
If we want to see games that look like THIS, a screenshot from the Unreal Engine Samaritan demo, then we need to boost the baseline and soon.
But the numbers that DFC Intelligence provided give hope to those die-hards in the enthusiast and PC gaming community that with the expanding reach and positive growth of the PC market as a whole, developers will see this as their chance to move the medium forward beyond the status quo.
Subject: General Tech | September 22, 2011 - 02:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hyperformance, lucid
The Tech Report sat down with Offir Remez from Lucid to talk about their horribly named new product, HyperFormance. Don't dismiss the actual technology because of the name however, instead think of it as Smarter V-Sync for your games. This is intended to help with the tearing that can be present as frames are dropped by the video card trying to match the 60Hz refresh rate of an LCD monitor. This is rather important when you consider the attention reviewers are now paying to those tears and dropped frames as a better way of measuring the in game performance of various GPUs. Read on to learn about HyperFormance as well as Lucid's other recent products.
"Lucid's new 'HyperFormance' tech may have an unfortunate name, but it still has the potential to change the way we think about GPU performance by delivering a vastly improved gaming experience through a single intelligent software algorithm."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Samsung has started mass production of 20nm DDR3 @ SemiAccurate
- Modifying DD-WRT’s protected GUI @ Hack a Day
- Adobe rushes out emergency fix for critical bug in Flash @ The Register
- The Web's rapid release cycle—and how IT departments can tame it @ Ars Technica
- Canon EOS 600D Review @ t-break
- Sony Bravia KDL-55NX720 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Win a Sapphire HD6870 Dual Fan Overclock Edition @ kitguru
- Real World Labs And Plextor Joint Contest
Subject: General Tech | September 22, 2011 - 12:20 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Troll, pcie, PCI Express, Patent, Lawsuit
There is an expression that states "everything is bigger in Texas," and that goes double for patent lawsuits. A company by the name of Internet Machines MC LLC recently lodged a complaint with the Eastern District of Texas for alleged patent infringement by a number of OEM manufacturers, system builders, and retailers of computers containing PCI Express switching technologies. Specifically, Internet Machines holds US Patent number 7,539,190, a rather generalized patent that covers multicasting in a shared address space wherein data is stored in a buffer and then forwarded to its intended port. The companies being called to court include PLX Technology, Alienware, Dell, Samsung, and others. While the computers that are assembled using PCI Express may well be utilizing switching technology, the fact that Internet Machines is going after system assemblers and retailers-- companies that work with computers but do not design and build the motherboards and other components themselves-- instead of the standards body that designs and maintains the PCI Express standard that everyone in the industry uses raises a question of integrity on the part of Internet Machines. Are their motives true in defending their patents, or is it the method of operation of a patent troll?
A diagram describing the patent in question
A system builder who wishes to remain anonymous contacted us with further details on the patent case in question. It seems that this patent showdown is not Internet Machines’ first rodeo. They have previously pursued other companies over US Patents 7,421,532 and 7,454,552 which cover switching with transparent and non-transparent ports. The case was settled in 2010, and it seems that Internet Machines (a seemingly no longer operating company) is not satisfied with the settlement. Internet Machines is moving for a jury trial in this latest round of lawsuits and concerns yet another data switching patent for PCI Express that covers multicasting in a shared address space. It widens the net further by including numerous system builders and OEMs that build devices that contain PCI Express technology but do not deal with the PCIe standard directly. How the company has been able to patent aspects of the PCI Express standard is unclear; however, they patent is worded in such an ambiguous way that it could apply to almost anything they wanted it to.
Beyond the ambiguous use of the patent system is the issue of targeting companies that have little control over the PCI Express specification to begin with. Our source worded it best in stating that PCI Express is a standard that everyone uses. The companies targeted by Internet Machines’ recent lawsuit do not manufacture motherboards or control the PCI Express standard. “We build computers, that’s it.” What are your thoughts on the issue? Let us know in the comments below.
Subject: General Tech | September 21, 2011 - 02:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, cartel, syndicate
Over at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN is an interview with Shams Jorjani who works for Paradox and is involved in the development of a game called Cartel. If you don't quite recognize the company's name, Paradox is most well known for Magicka and Mount & Blade. His first response defines what is great about Paradox, "Well we’re making PC games! That’s what we do, right?"
Cartel won't be ready for a year or more but as it is envisioned you will be fighting Cartels (think Megacorporations) with a squad of elite troops that you kit out with the equipment you have stolen or researched. While Jorjani doesn't like the Syndicate: Total War comparison, it might be a good way for those who have no idea what Syndicate is to grasp the concept.
"Paradox are developing a game called Cartel. The timing is interesting, because this is a game of two familiar halves: one real-time squad-based RTS action, the other on a global research and diplomacy map. And it is set in a near-future world of global mega-corporations, or “cartels”, battling for ultimate supremacy. Sound familiar? It should do. This is the antidote to EA’s new Syndicate being an FPS, and Paradox aren’t too shy about it. I talked to Paradox’s Shams Jorjani about what the Swedish publisher is up to, and whether this could be regarded as Syndicate: Total War.
Sadly, there are no images at this time. Boo."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Hard Reset Gameplay Performance @ [H]ard|OCP
- The dreams in which I'm dying: Ars reviews Gears of War 3
- Warco: an FPS where you hold a camera instead of a gun @ Ars Technica
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution Gaming and Performance Review on AMD Radeon HD 6000 Series Video Cards @Hi Tech Legion
- F1 2011 Game Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Dead Island @ Tweaktown
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution PC Review @ eTeknix
- Hard Reset Review @ Techgage
- Hard Reset GPU & CPU Performance Test @ TechSpot
- Hands-on with the Diablo 3 beta: keep that Internet on! @ Ars Technica
- The Race For Space: Lifeless Planet @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Starhawk - PS3 @ HEXUS
- Gears of War 3 Game Review (XBOX 360) @ HardwareHeaven
- God of War Collection Volume 2 Review (PS3) @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: General Tech | September 21, 2011 - 01:29 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, GK117, GK107
The news on the street is that two chips from NVIDIA's Kepler lineup should be arriving relatively soon, but don't get too excited. The GK117 will be a hybrid Fermi/Kepler card, not a GPU but perhaps a powerful addition to any render farm or other application which can benefit the new architecture. It could also just be a test chip the NVIDIA created to test the integration capabilities of the two architectures. The GK107 seems to likely be a mobile part, something SemiAccurate dismisses quickly as it will have to compete with the integrated GPUs present in both AMD and Intel mobile chips.
There is no sign of the Kepler everyone is waiting for, the GPU that will power NVIDIA's next generation of graphics cards. Why haven't we seen any sign of it yet? Drop by SemiAccurate for speculation on some of the possible reasons.
"Nvidia has two Kepler parts taped out and likely back in house by now. They are however, not the fire-breathing big chips you would expect.
Sources tell SemiAccurate that the first Kepler chips taped out about three months after the first 28nm Fermi shrink taped out. If you remember when we exclusively told you about the dates on those about a month ago, now there are a few more details to add."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- How to run Windows 8 in VirtualBox @ ExtremeTech
- Getting to grips with SSD performance @ The Register
- NAS Benchmarking Utility @ Computing on Demand
- Skype for iPhone makes stealing address books a snap @ The Register
- UEFI – Just How Important It Really Is @ Hardware Secrets
- LGA 2011 and Sandy Bridge-E News from IDF 2011 @ X-bit Labs
- NVIDIA Talks PC Gaming Trends @ Techgage
- Guide on choosing a Wireless Router @ t-break