for all your PC Gaming needs

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | July 5, 2011 - 02:06 PM |
Tagged: windows, games

So I am a very avid supporter of PC gaming: I do not feel that I should pay license fees to a company to actively limit me. I feel that if people keep asking me whether HD-DVD or BluRay will win that there is no reason to have eight gaming platforms co-exist (more if you include Mac, iOS, Android, etc.). I feel that instead of relying on a cardboard coffin that will arrive in 1-2 business weeks, you or your friend should be allowed to fix your own hardware… or choose your own local small business computer store to deal with in person. I feel that it is much better to buy an extra GTX 560 every four years and have money left over for a meal than a multiplayer subscription pass that does not even let you run your own dedicated servers with admins (what cheaters? BAN!) So you can guess my reaction when I saw Microsoft roll Games for Windows Marketplace into


Underlined for your convenience.

Now do not get me wrong, I was never much a fan of Games for Windows to begin with. Microsoft’s attempt to rid the PC of the stability stereotype was to push certification for all content on Games for Windows Live which worked very well for Fallout: New Vegas on the Xbox 360. Ironically the PC version was much more stable just after launch because the patch was stuck in certification on Xbox during the busy holiday season (lols!) The biggest problem with forcing certification is that would include mods as well (video, 3:10) and that is not something mod developers could really afford. Halo 2 Vista was one such Games for Windows Live game whose mod tools were so neutered that the provided tutorial level was impossible to create because jump pads assets were not provided nor able to be created.


Still, it seems odd to me for Microsoft to push so feverishly to roll PC gaming into Xbox branding when other initiatives like Steam are already showing the entire industry how to do things mostly right. It is possible that at some point Microsoft could roll Direct(X)box back in to Windows and simply create a canon home theatre PC (if Valve does not eat that lunch too); but if their plan is to merge Windows into Xbox then they are completely missing the point of why we would rather play a PC game with an Xbox 360 controller: because we choose to.

Source: Microsoft

Meet Hondo, AMD's soon to arrive 2W TDP Brazos chip for tablets ... and Apache servers?

Subject: General Tech | July 5, 2011 - 12:06 PM |
Tagged: windows 8, ontario, low power, hondo, brazos, APU, amd

Thanks to a leak from AMD, we have new information on their plans for tablets and ultra mobile platforms.  Hondo will be a member of Brazos-T, the planned improvement to the current low power version of Brazos which goes by the name of Desna.  This is not so much a new chip as a refining of Brazos and the Ontario APU, the 1GHz APU will still be made on a 40nm process and sport a DirectX 11 GPU at 276MHz also optimized for lower power consumption and heat production.  The Hudson controller is also being tweaked in the same way, with the chipset's TDP sitting at 1W compared to the ~4W the APU will consume.  It should be capable of playing 720p videos at that power setting, though you can expect a bit more power draw if you are streaming the movie wirelessly.  You can read more about the future of the new fanless APU from AMD at The Inquirer.


Image from donanimhaber

"CHIP DESIGNER AMD is planning to refresh its Brazos platform in time for Microsoft's Windows 8.

AMD launched its Brazos platform last year, though actual products tipped up earlier this year featuring a dual core processor and a DirectX 11 GPU. However with Windows 8 coming out in 2012, it is a little surprising that leaked slides point to AMD planning a refresh of Brazos, codenamed Hondo. According to the slides, Hondo is designed to operate with passive cooling, and have 2W "app power" usage, about half that of the current Brazos chips."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

The next NZXT product you buy might be a mouse; the Avatar S (in natural 3D)

Subject: General Tech | July 4, 2011 - 12:18 PM |
Tagged: input, nzxt, avatar s, gaming mouse

Available in both black and white, with a switchable DPI of 400, 800 &1600 a USB polling rate of up to 1000Hz, tracking speed of 30 in/sec and acceleration up to 20G, the NZXT Avatar S has all the bells and whistles you want from a 5 button gaming mouse.  The software suite is fairly minimalist compared to some but with 5 distinct save-able profiles, it covers all of the basics you need to get the most from your gaming sessions.  eTeknix also liked it's size as the mouse is comfortable even for those with large hands.

NZXT Avatar S Manufacturer Picture.jpg

"If we asked you to name a target category for NZXT products, peripherals would probably be the last section on your list. Recent diversion into new markets by NZXT has changed things though. They are very quickly becoming a diverse brand looking to match their newer attempts in other product categories with the amazing name they have built themselves mainly through their cases. Today we have one of their latest releases, a mouse, the NZXT Avatar S to be precise."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: eTechnix

Intel is attempting to revive their CULV with the Ultrabook

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 4, 2011 - 12:02 PM |
Tagged: Intel, culv, ultrabook, Ivy Bridge, sandy bridge, ultramobile

You can't really blame the failure of Intel's CULV form factor on just the name, though it is very awkward, since at the same time Intel was trying for that type of ultraportable we saw netbooks catch on.  The netbook was easier to market than the CULV which was being trumped by the Macbook Air on one side and the surprising popularity of netbooks in general.  Sure the Atom powered midgets couldn't do much, but they were just so cute.

We heard of the new Intel Ultrabooks at CES 2011 during Intel's keynote speech, and Ryan saw an example of one, the ASUS UX21 which sports a nice brushed aluminium shell.  It was powered by a Sandy Bridge Core i7 and was 1.7cm at its widest and weighed only 1.1kg fully loaded, sported SATA 6Gb/s and can boot in 5 seconds with ASUS' Instant On feature.  It should be available by September of this year and in theory will be a sub-$1000 Ultrabook.

DigiTimes today reported on Intel's plans for the release of their first Ultrabook and the future models, which they hope will together net Intel about 40% market share by the end of 2012.  The strategy sounds familiar, those who remember what they did with the chipset for their Atom processor.  DigiTimes reports that Intel is planning on "providing a significant budget to support its partners launching Ultrabooks".  Now that is not very specific as to the support that Intel will be offering, but with Llano's decent performance and incredible price, it will be had for 1st tier vendors to be attracted to selling Ultrabooks that are faster but cost three times as much.  Hence Intel's announcement about support for any vendors willing to build and sell their new form factor.


"Intel has recently started planning a new marketing strategy for its Ultrabook concept and has invested heavily into the related budget and resources hoping to attract first-tier notebook vendors into developing Ultrabooks, according to sources from downstream notebook players.

Due to the failure of Intel's Consumer Ultra Low Voltage-based (CULV-based) ultra-thin notebooks in 2009, while the notebook market has been severely impacted by tablet PCs, most notebook vendors are taking a conservative attitude toward Intel's Ultrabook concept and Intel is hoping its heavy investment will be able to attract these vendors to launch Ultrabook products, the sources noted.

Intel announced its Ultrabook concept in June with a goal of having 40% of the global consumers notebooks using its Ultrabook concept at the end of 2012. Asustek is already set to launch its first Ultrabook concept-based notebook, UX21, in September."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Japanese semiconductor production recovered by Q3

Subject: General Tech | July 3, 2011 - 12:59 PM |
Tagged: Japan, iSupply

The terrible earthquake and subsequent tsunami that occurred in Japan last March is slowly passing despite its horrifying impact upon the last few months. This week IHS iSuppli released a press statement indicating that the Japanese electronics industry is looking to recover from the event just six months later. iSupply in its report praised Fujitsu for its exceptionally prompt and efficient recovery amongst the other Japanese semiconductor suppliers. Fujitsu had issues during an earthquake three years earlier and the strategies implemented following that disaster are named for being the largest contribution to Fujitsu’s recovery. They fully recovered to pre-disaster state last month on June 9th.

While the recovery from the Earthquake is still a long way’s away, we are glad that Japan is continually making progress and wish them well during their hard times.

Source: IHS iSupply

Starcraft 2: Season 2 nearing end, Season 3 oncoming

Subject: General Tech | July 2, 2011 - 07:01 PM |
Tagged: starcraft 2

Multiplayer RTSes are quite a different beast from most other forms of videogames and one of the most popular is Starcraft. Its success makes it subject to dozens of tournaments per year, a UC Berkley School of Business course, a USAF team-building and crisis management training activity, and being an all-around good selling game. Starcraft 2’s multiplayer mode has distinct seasons, your rank immortalized at the end of a season and new maps injected giving maximum time to be accustomed to before the next rank freeze. The current Starcraft 2 season, Season 2, will come to a close on Tuesday morning at 8AM EST to prepare for the launch of Season 3 on the morning of Tuesday the 19th of July.


But Kerrigan only has wings in Zerg form.

(Image from Blizzard)

The third season will bring four new maps to the one-on-one map pool with the 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4 getting two new maps each. The one-on-one map pool refresh contains one long-game focused map, one quick-rush focused map, and two neutral-length maps. Blizzard is focusing on destructible debris in most of their maps as a method of directing early and late-game flow similar to Season 2 rather than the somewhat rare usage in the initial release. If you are looking to poke into that next league you would be advised to play your heart out in the next couple of days as this season is about to end. Don’t fear the Reaper!

Source: Blizzard

Minecraft hits 1.7 release. Minecraft players hit TNT, not die.

Subject: General Tech | July 1, 2011 - 01:34 PM |
Tagged: Minecraft

Videogames are not necessarily a medium about consuming. One advantage of videogames is that they are inherently a platform for creativity. You often see creativity happen haphazardly in terms of strategies and the “water-cooler moments” where an event happens and you just cannot help but discuss it. A second layer of creativity is when videogames support third-party content: you are allowed to modify the game as you desire and create your own game based around the other game. The third layer of creativity is when the game itself is mostly a platform for creativity. Minecraft falls under the vein of a “Spore”, a "Farmville", or a “Lego” where the player is less interested in accomplishing an objective than they are channeling their creativity. Now players of Minecraft have more options to express themselves as it advanced to version 1.7; or just end up piston around.


I’ve got a baaaaahahahahhhhhd feeling about this.

(Screenshot taken from Modacity Minecraft Server)

Changes for this version involve the addition of Pistons which allow you to move blocks, items, players, and mobs. There are two types of pistons: regular pistons which can push items, and slime-upgraded pistons which can push and pull items. Some possible usages include more inventive traps, flood gates, triggered stairs, and so forth. Another addition is that TNT must be lit on fire or triggered with a redstone circuit to allow players to remove potentially misplaced TNT by punching it. Fences can now also be stacked which is useful for those attempting to use them artistically or who just want a really tall fence. The last major change was the addition of shears to trim trees and sheep.

Check out these changes in action with Minecraft’s official 1.7 update video.

It's Friday for us Canadians; we'll let you have a holiday next week

Subject: General Tech | June 30, 2011 - 06:08 PM |
Tagged: friday

It is pretty quiet in the PC Perspective Forums today, probably because everyone is too busy reading up on Llano to post.  That means you should probably get any advice you need on overclocking your Athlon X2s and Phenom Black Edition processors as things are about to change.  With the new motherboards comes UEFI BIOSes which will probably prove to make overclocking easier but will bear no resemblance to the Phoenix and AMI BIOSes we are all used to. 

On the plus side The Trading Post is likely to get very busy over the next few months while people switch out parts.

Podcast #160 - Lenovo ThinkPad X1, OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2, Crysis 2 DX11 update, Llano preview and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 30, 2011 - 02:50 PM |
Tagged: podcast, X1, Thinkpad, revodrive, ocz, nvidia, llano, Lenovo, Intel, dx11, crysis 2, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #160 - 6/30/2011

This week we talk about the Lenovo ThinkPad X1, OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2, Crysis 2 DX11 update, Llano preview and more!

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: - 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, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 57:49

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:45 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or
  4. and
  5. 0:02:16 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Review: Thin is In
  6. 0:03:08 Samsung Nexus S 4G Review: Google Bliss.
  7. 0:05:04 Super Fast PCI Express Cable Capable of 32 Gbps Announced By The PCI SIG
  8. 0:08:37 OCZ RevoDrive 3 x2 480GB PCIe SSD Review - Seriously Fast Storage
  9. 0:24:23 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  10. 0:25:00 Crysis 2: DirectX 11 free update released
  11. 0:31:45 NVIDIA Releases GeForce GTX 580M and 570M, Brings Optimus to Hardcore Gaming Laptops
  12. 0:34:10 Badaboom, the once NVIDIA only transcoding accelerator, now works with Sandy Bridge
  13. 0:38:40 Llano's dance card is available, pick a date with your favourite new AMD APU tomorrow
  14. 0:41:05 Just Delivered: Cost effective AM3+ Boards.
  15. 0:42:30 Show and tell: Llano CPU and MB
  16. 0:44:26 Free games?
  17. 0:48:20 Quakecon Reminder -
  18. 0:50:45 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Bitcoins?  Ken is testing a LOT of GPUs for this!
    2. Jeremy: I guess I'll shout out to Might & Magic entertaining me for 25 SMEGGING YEARS!
    3. Josh: Eyefinity!  It is a lot of fun.  Surprising capabilities from many modern applications.  Even a lot of older ones...
    4. Allyn: RevoDrive 3!
  20. and
  21. 0:56:35 Closing



Intel's SATA controller problems didn't hurt their market share

Subject: General Tech | June 30, 2011 - 11:49 AM |
Tagged: Intel, market share

No matter that AMD claimed to be "Ready, Willing and Stable" when the Cougar Point SATA problem was discovered, the market share numbers show that they were not.  Intel's market share grew in the first quarter by 1.6% from last quarter and a 25% increase in revenue when compared to the first quarter of 2010.  That is a bit of a surprise to many tech enthusiasts who expected a drop in market share for Intel or at the most a stable quarter.  It would seem likely that laptop sales, which for the most point avoided the bad SATA ports, helped as well as the various motherboard vendors quick assurance to customers that any and all bad boards would be replaced.  The Inquirer broke the news here.


You sure about that?

"CHIPMAKER Intel came out of its Sandy Bridge chipset recall smelling like a rose, managing to increase its share of the chip market in the first quarter of 2011.

Following the launch of Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture at CES in January, the firm was left to announce the embarrassing recall of eight million or so Cougar Point chipsets after a bug was found in its SATA controller. At the time The INQUIRER said that Intel handled the recall well by taking a proactive approach, something that Isuppli's figures confirm."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer