Subject: General Tech | December 27, 2011 - 03:49 PM | Scott Michaud
A little standard known as Thunderbolt has made its way around the industry for its high bandwidths and promise of transporting data optically rather than electrically. Intel, the creator, eventually needed to drop optical communication from the spec with a return loosely planned but firmly believed. For the last year, Apple was the only source for Thunderbolt-capable computers; starting in April, several PC manufacturers are expected to participate in adopting Intel’s technology.
Intel weighed in on the adoption of the standard in a statement to their partners.
To speed up the standardization of Thunderbolt, Intel is cooperating with Apple and Apple is the sole vendor currently to have PC products featuring Thunderbolt technology. As demand for the technology has seen obvious growth, Intel is ready to release the technology for public use.
While I am not too fond of the more proprietary platforms, several technologies await better external busses: high-speed storage and dockable processing accelerators such as external video cards are two very good examples. We will also at some point need to break free from electron transistor-based computing methods; optical integrated circuits based on photonic crystals appear to be a logical albeit distant next step. Advancements in optical bus technology for Thunderbolt, now, would be applicable for the advancement of that technology when it becomes ready, much later.
What would you do with a faster external bus? The crazier the prediction, the better.
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | December 21, 2011 - 07:42 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: microsoft, CES2012, CES
There are just a few shopping days left until the holidays, but feel comfortable knowing that whatever panic you experience will be over just in time for CES with our associated and broadcasted panic. We will be covering the expo and many of its events starting on the 8th of January for your entertainment and your education. One company that usually has a gigantic presence at CES, albeit not as reported on by us relative to other companies, is Microsoft; this year is no different -- but CES 2013…
The software giant’s presence at CES 2013: Micro… and soft.
This year's presence? Big and right next to the restrooms.
(Image from MapYourShow.com)
Microsoft is known for having a large presence at CES each year, year after year, for recent memory. Over the years, Microsoft has unveiled products such as the original Xbox, gave a release window for their Project Natal (later Kinect), and just last year demonstrated Windows running on ARM processors. Microsoft’s official statement denotes a shift from CES announcements to releasing news through social media, their website, and their retail stores for those who enter a Microsoft retail store.
After thinking about questions like these, we have decided that this coming January will be our last keynote presentation and booth at CES. We’ll continue to participate in CES as a great place to connect with partners and customers across the PC, phone and entertainment industries, but we won’t have a keynote or booth after this year because our product news milestones generally don’t align with the show’s January timing.
I, personally, would love for Apple to take Microsoft’s booth space… for the delicious layering of irony. I would then of course love for it to have been a good decision for Microsoft to pull out to screw Apple over. Everyone wins by everyone losing.
Subject: General Tech | December 21, 2011 - 04:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, serious sam, serious sam 3 bfe
In a nice change from many other recently released games, Serious Sam 3 was obviously designed with PC gaming in mind. While it is still a DX9 game, the developers spent a significant amount of effort pushing DX9 as far as it could go to provide you with great visuals and an options screen that gives you a lot more control than other recent
console ports games. [H]ard|OCP's testing shows the game scoffs at high resolutions, with the performance at 2560x1600 being essentially the same as at 1920 x 1280. AMD holds a slight lead in performance over NVIDIA, though not enough to really brag about, either manufacturer will give you a great experience while playing this game. Check it out here.
"Croteam's latest installment in the Serious Sam series takes us back to a time when first person shooters were designed around fragging endless waves of zombified enemies, cover did not exist, and rocket launchers were semi-automatic weapons. This DX9 game comes packed with graphics options that push the current generation of graphics cards to the limit."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Winter’s Already Here, Silly: Game Of Thrones @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Hooray! A Skyrim UI Mod: SkyUI @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Review: 3D Vision 2 Experience @ Hi Tech Legion
- Gaming's biggest joys—and most bitter disappointments—of 2011 @ Ars Technica
- Skyrim LAA Patch @ [H]ard|OCP
- The Highly Anticipated Grand Theft Auto V @ kitguru
- PlayStation Move Games Roundup December 2011 @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: General Tech | December 21, 2011 - 03:39 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: llano, APU, amd, a-series
From DigiTimes we have some news that AMD has been keeping a very tight lid on for some reason. The secret was not a brand new product line or surprising advance that won't see the light of day for a long time to come, instead it was the arrival of updated A-series APUs to the market. With absolutely no press build up or even a review of these processors in sight it came as a bit of a surprise, albeit a good one. We have a pair of new A-8 and A-6 processors and a single A-4 on the desktop side, with an addional "K" in the name of two. That "K", which you will remember from Intel processors, does indeed seem to replace the Black Edition name AMD previously used to identify unlocked processors. For the notebooks are a few more chips, two of each of the A-8 and A-6, three A-4 processors and an E2 as well. The naming scheme here is concerned with the TDP of the chip, an M part is 35W and the MX is 45W.
Perhaps AMD let a few too many of their marketers go as they are not only not telling anyone about their new parts they had to borrow a naming scheme from the competition. Catch all of DigiTimes coverage here.
"AMD has updated its A-series lineup of desktop and notebook accelerated processing units (APUs), further improving its family of dual- and quad-core APUs. Along with speed and performance improvements, AMD Steady Video update make this unique feature more compelling. For desktop users, AMD extends its overclocking pedigree to the APU; for the first time users can tune both x86 and graphics settings in a single processor for boosted performance.
The updated AMD A-series APUs combine up to four x86 CPU cores with up to 400 Radeon cores, delivering powerful DirectX 11-capable, discrete-level graphics and dedicated HD video processing on a single chip. These new APUs increase performance and deliver a richer feature set than existing AMD A-series APUs. Plus, only AMD APUs offer AMD Dual Graphics for an up to 144% visual performance boost when a select APU is paired with a select AMD Radeon HD 6500 Series graphics card.
The AMD A-series family of APUs also features AMD Steady Video, designed to stabilize videos during playback. On select systems using AMD A-series APUs, Internet Explorer 9 will include an AMD Steady Video plugin, unlocking one-click control to simplify access to the premium AMD Steady Video feature for video stabilization.
All AMD A-series processors are powered by AMD VISION Engine Software, a suite of software that provides end-users with regular updates designed to improve system performance and stability, and can add new software enhancements."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- HDD industry to be dominated by Western Digital, Seagate @ DigiTimes
- Samsung MV800 Digital Camera Review @ Tech-Reviews
- Secrets and solutions from a reformed benchmarketer @ The Register
- Xerox PARC: A Brief Nod to the Minds Behind Laser Printing, Ethernet, the GUI and More @ Techspot
- eTeknix Christmas Hardware Buying Guide
Subject: General Tech | December 21, 2011 - 04:53 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: search, mozilla, google, firefox
Mozilla, the company behind the popular open source Firefox web browser receives a great deal of revenue from it's deal with Google wherein they make Google the default search engine and prominent placement in the search box. The deal between the two companies was set to end this year, and there was talk around the web that Google was set to not renew the deal now that its own web browser, Chrome, was gaining market share. Needless to say, such a deal ending would be very bad for Mozilla and the continued development of the Firefox browser.
Fortunately, according to Tom's Hardware, Mozilla has managed to renew the Firefox Google search deal for an additional three years. While the exact amount of money Mozilla is paid by Google for the search box deal, the deal's extension speaks well to Mozilla's financial stability, and should give them time to build up their browser and explore additional revenue opportunities. Firefox currently holds about a quarter of the browser market, and its continued development is important to keeping the competition on its toes and prodding IE into being standards compliant. The site quoted Mozilla's CEO Gary Kovacs in stating "this new agreement extends our long term search relationship with Google for at least three additional years," and that the deal between Mozilla and Google was "significant and mutually beneficial."
Are you glad that Firefox is going to stick around? The comment form is always open.
Subject: General Tech, Storage | December 20, 2011 - 02:52 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Seagate, Samsung, sale, partnership, hdd
Back in April of this year we heard that Samsung was going to spin off its HDD department, handing the entire compliment of staff, equipment and trademarked names to Seagate for about $1.4 billion USD total. Today that sale is complete as Seagate announced the final approval of the acquisition. This means very little for the consumer over the next 12 months, and not just because of the lack of available HDDs. Samsung's branding will remain on their HDD lines for the next year and as the entire Samsung team and facilities came with the rights to the products the design and assembly teams will be the same as when they were owned by Samsung.
Fans of Samsung notebooks and other PCs will also be unaffected as those products tended to utilize Seagate HDDs already, as the two companies have had a long and tight partnership. After a year we may see many of the Samsung lines disappear as they are folded into pre-existing Seagate product families, though it seems reasonable to hope that the new products will represent the both of best worlds.
CUPERTINO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Seagate Technology plc (NASDAQ:STX), a world leader in hard disk drives and storage solutions, today announced the closing of the transaction to acquire the hard disk drive (HDD) business of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in digital consumer electronics and information technology.
Under the terms of the transaction, Seagate has gained select elements of Samsung’s HDD business, including assets, infrastructure and employees that enable Seagate to drive scale and innovation. These assets include Samsung’s leading M8 product line of high-capacity, 2.5-inch HDDs. Samsung employees joining Seagate include a number of senior managers and design-engineering employees from Samsung's Korea facility, who will focus on development of small form-factor products for the mobile compute market. N.Y. Park, senior vice president and general manager, will oversee Seagate’s product development activities in Korea and serve as country manager of the Korea design center, reporting to Bob Whitmore, Seagate’s executive vice president and CTO.
“Together, Seagate and Samsung have aligned our current and future product development efforts and roadmaps in order to accelerate time-to-market efficiency for new products and position us to better address the increasing demands for storage,” said Steve Luczo, Seagate chairman, president and CEO. “It is an exciting time in the industry with rapidly evolving opportunities in many markets including mobile computing, cloud computing, and solid state storage.”
This transaction was announced in April 2011 along with a series of other agreements between Seagate and Samsung. Seagate is supplying disk drives to Samsung for PCs, notebooks and consumer electronics devices. Samsung is supplying its market-leading semiconductor products for use in Seagate’s enterprise solid state drives (SSDs), solid-state hybrid drives and other products. The companies have also extended and enhanced their existing patent cross-license agreement and have expanded cooperation to co-develop enterprise storage solutions.
“The strategic relationship will open new opportunities for the two companies by mutually complementing each other’s creative technology solutions for a broad diversity of IT applications,” said Oh-Hyun Kwon, vice chairman of Device Solutions of Samsung Electronics.
The transactions and agreements substantially expand Seagate’s customer access in China, Southeast Asia, Brazil, Germany and the Russian Federation. Seagate and Samsung also have been working together to ensure that customers continue to receive a high level of service, support and innovation, including activities to align the two companies’ supply bases and delivery infrastructure. To ease the transition of products and technologies, Seagate will retain certain Samsung HDD products under the Samsung brand name for 12 months, and maintain or establish a number of independent operations including sales staff, key production lines and R&D. Customers can find more information at www.seagate.com/samsung.
The combined value of these transactions and agreements is approximately US $1.4 billion, consisting of 45,239,490 Seagate Ordinary Shares and the remaining balance settled in cash. In addition, Samsung will designate a nominee to join Seagate’s Board of Directors.
Seagate does not presently expect significant restructuring costs and expects to achieve considerable reductions in overall operating expenses for the combined business while minimizing the integration costs. As previously stated, Seagate expects that the transactions and agreements will be meaningfully accretive to non-GAAP diluted earnings per share and cash flow in the first full year following the closing. Seagate will provide additional financial information for the combined company on its fiscal second quarter conference call in late January.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | December 20, 2011 - 04:34 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, CUDA, CARMA, capital letters, arm
Okay so the pun was a little obvious, but NVIDIA has just announced the specifications and name for the development kit used to develop for their ARM-based GPU computing platform. The development kit will provide a method to build and test applications on a platform similar to what will be found in the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre’s upcoming GPU supercomputer until you are ready to deploy the finished application with real data on the real machine. Such is the life of a development units.
Carma: What goes around, comes around... right Intel?
The development kit is quite modest in its specifications:
- Tegra3 ARM A9 CPU
- Quadro 1000M GPU (96 CUDA Cores)
- 2GB system RAM, 2GB GPU RAM
- 4x PCIe Gen1 CPU to GPU link
- 1000Base-T networking support
- SATA, HDMI, DisplayPort, USB.
As the neighborhoods are adorned with lights and reindeer decorations, and the airwaves are ringing with Christmas carols, one realizes that it is that time of year again! Although December arrived much faster than any of us at PC Perspective expected, there is no doubt that time to purchase gifts is running short and this year is almost over.
In keeping with the holiday spirit, the PC Perspective team got into a discussion about items and services that we would want for Christmas and that we felt would make really great gifts for our loved ones. And thus the PC Perspective Holiday Gift Guide 2011 was born!
Subject: General Tech | December 19, 2011 - 01:59 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: smart control, remote control, htpc
It is far too common for your coffee table to have several so called universal remotes on it, to control the variety of electronic equipment which makes up your entertainment center. Each one will have a device that it works best with, either because of the presence of certain buttons or even simply not having a working control code. Tech Reviews has a possible solution for you and one that doesn't even cost all that much. The One For All Smart Control is designed to work with TV, STB, DVD, AMP, MP3 and Media devices and the best part about it is that some commands can be given using motions. Soon screaming and waving your remote at your TV will actually accomplish something.
"We’ve all seen universal remote controls for TVs, but the One For All Smart Control takes things to a completely different level. The Smart Control provides the ability to control your devices with just a simple flick, or tap, of the remote control. Retailing at only £17.50, the One For All Smart Control is an absolute bargain considering you’re receiving quite a few features. Let’s take a closer look…"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Adobe kills two actively exploited bugs in Reader @ The Register
- Adam King from Asus takes us through his laptop range @ kitguru
- The TR Podcast 102: Future TV and a holiday Ti fighter
- The3DShop GraVT Professional Photographer System Giveaway @ Legit Reviews
- TRENDnet TEW-692GR 450Mbps Router @ Rbmods
- ASUS RT-N66U Dual Band Gigabit Router @ VR-Zone
- Powercolor JustSling @ kitguru
- Zabcat xplorer² File Management Software @ Benchmark Reviews
- The Digital Lounge 2011 Holiday Buying Guide @ Tweaktown
- TomTom GO LIVE 820 Top Gear Edition Sat Nav Review @ Tech-Reviews
- Interview with ARCTIC's Daniel Man @ HardwareHeaven
- ThinkComputers Holiday 2011 Staff Wish List @ ThinkComputers
- TweakTown's 2011 Holiday Shopping Guide
- Real World Labs And RaidSonic Joint Contest
- Win a 32GB Wi-FI Apple iPad 2 for 2012 @ kitguru
- Real World Labs And Jabra Joint Contest
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | December 16, 2011 - 04:45 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Radeon HD 7000, leak, amd
Update: 5:35, added a few points.
If the convincing-looking leaked slides are to be believed, the upcoming AMD Radeon HD 7970 card is now naked before us with all its measurements laid to bare. While there still is nothing official as the embargo is not up yet, rest assured that at some point the full story will flood to the surface. What can be said is that if this slide is true, the 7970 looks to be a real beast of a card.
The supposed reference specifications of the 7970… or are they?
(Image obviously from OBR-Hardware)
As you can tell from the heavily watermarked slide, AMD claims 3.5 TFLOPs of computing power from their 2048 stream processing units clocked at 925 MHz. Contrast this against the AMD’s assertion of 2.7 TFLOPs from the Radeon 6970’s 1536 stream processors and a core clock of 880MHz; while it is not an apples-to-apples comparison, it is a healthy buff to AMD’s portfolio. Also relevant, is a more recent slide claiming much-increased performance during tesselation which NVIDIA typically has maintained a healthy lead over AMD with.
Possibly the most major point from the table is the power consumption: less than 3 Watts during idle. To give a bit of... pc perspective...: HardOCP measured the idle power consumption of the 6970 to be 24 Watts and the NVIDIA GTX 580 at 41 Watts. We are talking about an 88% decrease in idle power draw compared to AMD’s last generation’s single GPU powerhouse. It makes me wonder: how will this affect mobility graphics? According to OBR-Hardware, their slide is somewhat out-of-date; the expected peak is 200W give or take for the card on load, though I am sure that will vary depending on which brand of card you purchase.