Podcast #198 - Maingear Shift with 3x7970s, Galaxy GTX 680, Intel PCIe SSD and more!

Subject: General Tech | April 19, 2012 - 02:17 PM |
Tagged: ssd, podcast, pcie, nvidia, maingear, Intel, amd, 910, 7970, 680

PC Perspective Podcast #198 - 04/19/2012

Join us this week as we talk about a Maingear Shift with 3x7970s, a Galaxy GTX 680, an Intel PCIe SSD 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: 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: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malvantano

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

Program length: 1:15:40

Program Schedule:

  1. 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. MAINGEAR Shift System Review - Triple HD 7970s and Sandy Bridge-E
  6. Western Digital VelociRaptor 1TB Review - 10K RPM Hits a Larger Capacity
  7. Galaxy GeForce GTX 680 2GB Graphics Card Review
  8. This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  9. Intel Releases 910 Series Enterprise PCIe SSD
  10. Valve, tired of rumors, announces wearable computing
  11. AMD Three for Free promo: HD 7900 Price drop & free games
  12. Intel Announces Intel Solid-State Drive 330 Series
  13. PC Perspective Live Review Recap: ASUS Z77 Motherboards
  14. New Fusion ioFX Will Accelerate Professional Workloads
  15. Microsoft Details Four Windows 8 SKUs, Seems Reasonable
  16. The never ending story of TSMC's 28nm process
  17. NVIDIA Teases Another Graphics Card
  18. Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Linksys power line networking...sucks.
    2. Jeremy: Something to do with that old walkman you haven't thrown out
    3. Josh: Finally! Down in price!
    4. Allyn: Stable Internet
  19. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  20. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  21. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  22. Closing

Source:

Intel Medfield powered cellphone appears ... in the Orient

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | April 19, 2012 - 11:50 AM |
Tagged: atom, Medfield

The new Atom processor, named Medfield, has appeared in a market far, far away.  The chip powering Lava's Xolo X900 runs at 1.6GHz and supports hyperthreading, the graphics core is clocked at 400MHz which Intel believes should be enough to allow it to output 1080p video via its HDMI plug.  The power efficiency of the new architecture has yet to be tested but the claim by the manufacturer is eight hours of talk time and five hours of 3G web browsing.  There are no available benchmarks yet but you can get an idea of the overall capabilities of this phone at The Inquirer.

theinq_xolo.jpg

"Intel and Indian handset maker Lava announced their intention to ship an Atom smartphone at Mobile World Congress in January. However Lenovo's K800 received all the attention, so Lava's Xolo X900 slipped under the radar to become the first shipping smartphone to feature Intel's Medfield Atom processor."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

Google Drive Rumored To Launch Next Week

Subject: General Tech | April 19, 2012 - 04:23 AM |
Tagged: dropbox, storage, free storage, google, google drive

Users of online storage have been spoiled by services like Dropbox, Spider Oak, and Box.com who offer up gobs of free storage space. Before they became prevalent, there was Gmail and rumors of a Google Drive. This Google Drive never really materialized beyond user workarounds to upload files using a program that stored them in Google’s Email service’s approximate 9 GB of space.

Finally, after years of other services entrenching themselves in the market, it seems like Google may be jumping in. If rumors are true, the new online storage service will launch in the middle of next week at the drive.google.com URL. The Google Drive will reportedly offer 5GB of free storage space as well as paid tiers for increased storage levels (pricing unknown). Further, users will be able to access the files via the website and using applications. So far, rumors are pointing to a Windows and Mac OSX application, though it would not be surprising to see an Android app in the future.

GoogleDrive.jpg

I’m excited to see this service finally launch and what Google’s take on online storage will be. My only concern is whether they are jumping into the game at a time when it is too little too late. Sure, everyone and their grandmother likely have at least one Google/Gmail account but many of those people also have Dropbox accounts. The free services that were not really around when the first hints of a Google Drive emerged have not blossomed and dug their roots into the market. Even Apple and Microsoft have beat Google to the punch with cloud storage, so it is going to be an uphill battle for Google requiring something unique in order for it to catch on.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely going to be checking it out, but I believe they are really going to have to knock this out of the park on the first try in order to succeed. Will you be checking it out, and when (if?) you do please report back and let us know what you think of it. How do you think the other free and paid storage services will react to Google entering the market?

Image courtesy pmsyyz via Flickr Creative Commons

Source: The Next Web

Kids these days even need their Game of Life in HD

Subject: General Tech | April 18, 2012 - 01:37 PM |
Tagged: gaming, game of life, john conway, von Neumann

John Conway's Game of Life originated in the 40s as a way of expressing the idea of cellular automata, aka life.  Originally a thought experiment using paper it has since become a very popular tool for young programmers to cut their teeth on, since the rules are very simple and you only need to input the original state after that the 'game' proceeds based on the rules.

For a space that is 'populated':
    Each cell with one or no neighbours dies, as if by loneliness.
    Each cell with four or more neighbours dies, as if by overpopulation.
    Each cell with two or three neighbours survives.
For a space that is 'empty' or 'unpopulated'
    Each cell with three neighbours becomes populated.

It is also a way to study how complexity can form from very simple initial states, as in some games you will resolve to a static square, while other times you might meet a fluctuating glider gun or a toad.  If you've never encountered this program before or are interested in setting it up on an FPGA then head to Hack a Day and see if you can't get some HD cellular automata to live more than 30 or 40 generations.

game-of-life-hd-e1334247619396.png

"We’re going to have to take [Mike's] word for it that he built Conway’s Game of Life with high-definition video output. That’s because this screenshot is his only proof and it looks a bit fuzzy to us. But we are interested in the project which used an FPGA to generate a 1080p VGA output of the classic programming challenge."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

Source: Hack a Day

ASUS finally bids farewell to Pegatron

Subject: General Tech | April 18, 2012 - 12:44 PM |
Tagged: Pegatron, fab, asus

Back in the ancient past of computer history, also known as 2007, ASUS split its self into numerous specialized companies with Asustek as the parent company overseeing all of the subsidiaries.  Since 2010, ASUS has been slowly separating from one of their offspring, Pegatron who is an original design manufacturer of ASUS motherboards, laptops and graphics cards.  Since there are a limited amount of quality motherboard manufacturers, which have limited production capabilities ASUS has split the load between several companies including ECS for motherboards and graphics cards and reached out to Foxconn and a handful of others for their mobile products.  Over the coming year we will begin to see these products coming out and it will be interesting to see if there is any noticeable difference in the quality of ASUS products in the second half of this year.  Get more information on the coming changes at DigiTimes.

pegatron-office.jpg

"Asustek Computer plans to decrease ODM production of motherboards by Pegatron beginning mid-2012 and completely end their ODM relationship by the end of the third quarter of 2012, according to component makers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes

Namco Bandai listens to online petition, makes Dark Souls PC. Namco Bandai to integrate GFWL, receives new petition.

Subject: General Tech | April 17, 2012 - 07:49 PM |
Tagged: GFWL, Dark Souls

Namco Bandai has announced Dark Souls: Prepare to Die edition for the PC. They then immediately make it clear that they do not understand their PC fans by announcing Games for Windows Live integration. Fans turn to yet another petition.

I must give Namco Bandai credit for their overall great business practice, but sometimes heads just happen to collide with desks.

Dark Souls was released on the PS3 and Xbox 360 recently and was critically lauded for not shying away from difficulty. PC Gamers, desiring a game that would be merciless to them, set up a petition for the game to be ported to their platform of choice. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die was announced earlier this month at least partially in response to the petition.

Unfortunately, Games for Windows Live would be integrated.

headdesk.png

No... no... no...

What could the internet do but write another petition? I mean, no sense letting Namco Bandai be confused why their game would not sell as well as the original petition would suggest.

That is one of the problems with fan service: they are your best customers and your harshest critics. If you go in for a penny, you really must go in for a pound. You will be rewarded in kind.

The PC-exclusive Dark Souls: Prepare to Die is expected to launch August 24th.

Source: The Escapist

NAB 12: ACME Portable Machines Seahawk 100 on show floor

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | April 17, 2012 - 04:55 PM |
Tagged: NAB 12, ACME

ACME Portable Machines showed off their Seahawk 100 computer on the show floor of the National Association of Broadcasters 2012 show. Multiple monitors, ruggedized, semi-portable, but slightly out of date on the hardware side.

When you think about portable computing: do you think about a laptop or a tablet? Either way you probably do not think about this product. But, should you?

Well if you did you would probably know it.

ACME Portable Machines is showing off the Seahawk 100 at NAB this week. The purpose for the device is to bring a fully functional multi-monitor computer where you need it, to plug it in, and to be assured that it will work.

ACME-1.jpg

Just don't give in to the temptation to make people call you the operator...

Functionally the device is slightly out of date with an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550S 2.83 GHz processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 video card, and 2-8 GB of RAM. If your desire is to play Starcraft 2 on the three monitors than you should have no problems, but that is not why you are purchasing this PC. If you are the type of person to visit the NAB show you probably will wish to include much more RAM than the default 2GB -- or even if you are not, 2GB is quite low nowadays.

ACME-2.jpg

It's not a tumah!

Price is only available by quote, but check out their website for more information. The design definitely looks interesting for users of its niche -- professionals in the field who just cannot live without the flexibility of multiple screens.

Thanks to our friend Colleen for the heads up and photos!

The never ending story of TSMC's 28nm process

Subject: General Tech | April 17, 2012 - 04:12 PM |
Tagged: TSMC, 28nm

Once again DigiTimes is focusing on TSMC's 28nm process, a node which we have been hearing a lot about for a long time.  Today they are proposing that perhaps the industry has been a bit harsh on TSMC and the availability of working 28nm silicon from that manufacturer.  Their analyst suggests that the 28nm node is still new to the industry and that the production lines still do not have all of the bugs worked out, let alone optimizations to decrease the time it takes to produce a wafer.  This is at least partially true though AMD has been using TSMC for its 28nm Southern Islands GPUs for a while now, other companies have not been so successful in using TSMC.  That seems to have scared other companies, not only is NVIDIA looking elsewhere for chips, Qualcomm is as well.  On the other hand, ARM is trying to get their customers to do the opposite, and are optimising their processors for TSMC's 28nm node, as well as the older 40nm.

DigiTimes may be spot on when they describe TSMC's 28nm process production speeds as increasing faster than previous nodes have and that the problems are only for specific chips and not across the board like the 40nm issues were.  Since TSMC is predicting that they will be running at 95% capacity by the end of the year they had better hope that they can speed production and find a way to do so without having to shut down entire production lines in order to implement any optimizations they discover along the way as any drop in supply is going to be poorly received by customers.

No process transition goes smoothly.  TSMC may be in the news more frequently than other Fabs but those competitors are not without their difficulties as we saw with the limited amount of GLOBALFOUNDRIES produced Llano chips at the end of last year.  Hopefully the current yields do improve, not just for the sake of the GTX 680 but for all of the other customers planning on moving to this node.  In the meantime, it offers a tech-centric soap opera for enthusiast to watch and speculate on.

waffle.jpg

"Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) could ramp up its 28nm production capacity at a much faster pace than older 40/45nm and 65nm process nodes, according to Digitimes Research analyst Nobunaga Chai. To make such speculation about yield problems with TSMC's 28nm processes is unfair, said Chai, adding that the foundry is actually improving the process yield rate within its expectations."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes

Microsoft Details Four Windows 8 SKUs, Seems Reasonable

Subject: General Tech | April 17, 2012 - 07:04 AM |
Tagged: winRT, windows 8 on arm, windows 8, Metro

So Microsoft has officially stated in a blog post that their upcoming Windows 8 operating system will indeed be called “Windows 8” upon release and will come in four SKUs, three of which normal people will have use for and care about.

The three consumer oriented distributions or SKUs will be Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, and Windows RT [previously Windows On Arm]. The fourth SKU will be Windows 8 Enterprise and it will take all the features of Windows 8 Pro and then sprinkle in some IT management and volume licensing goodies to keep the majority of their customers (businesses) happy.

Windows 8 (1).png

Windows 8 (non Pro) is essentially the same feature level of operating system that Windows 7 Home Premium is now. On the other hand, Windows 8 Pro is what Windows 7 Ultimate is today. Both new Win 8 OSes are x86 and x64 based and will be the two consumer options available to upgrade to from Windows 7. Windows 8 delivers about what one would expect, media and general desktop features, multi-monitor support, media player, media center, Windows Defender, the Metro UI, Storage Spaces, and the updated Internet Explorer (among others). One interesting addition to Windows 8 (and Windows 8 Pro for that matter) is the ability to switch languages on the fly -- a feature that was previously reserved for the Ultimate edition of Windows.

Windows 8 Pro then incorporates all the features of Windows 8 and adds some important tools for worker bees and students including Group Policy, being a Remote Desktop host, BitLocker (and Bitlocker To Go) encryption, and the ability to join a domain (necessary for some students, depending on university). There are a few other goodies in the Pro version, but one nice touch is that the Pro version will be able to include Windows Media Center with an additional “media pack” download.

Windows RT is the third important SKU, despite the odd name. This new entrant is the official name for the ARM version of Windows 8. This version will only come pre-installed on certain computer systems (who have partnered with MS) meaning that Raspberry Pi users are out of luck and consumers will not be able to purchase Windows RT separately and install it on their own. This version will include the Windows desktop, language switching, multiple monitors, a VPN client, Windows Defender, device encryption (but no BitLocker), and a slew of Microsoft Office apps with updated touch-oriented interfaces. Windows RT takes many of the features of Windows 8 Pro but strips out a few things here and there to trim down the OS.

I’m glad that the previous rumors of approximately eight separate Windows 8 SKUs turned out to be false! Beyond that, I’m still absorbing the announcement and trying to figure out why they are calling it Windows RT (why not keep it simple and call it Windows On Arm). What are your thoughts on the announcement? Are you ready for Windows 8?  A Microsoft chart with more information on the feature differences between the various SKUs can be found here.

Source: Microsoft

Raspberry Pi Deliveries Starting Now

Subject: General Tech | April 16, 2012 - 11:27 PM |
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, htpc

The UK charity behind the little computer that could -- The Raspberry Pi Foundation -- announced on Sunday that their Raspberry Pi computers are [finally!] shipping out to customers that pre-ordered the Model B boards. Creator Eben Upton hand delivered the first batch of Raspberry Pi computers to distributor RS Components in Corby which you can see in the video embedded below.

Some users have already reported receiving their boards, and the charity is starting to hold lectures and classes for students in the UK using the Raspberry Pi computers. In other good news, serial production of the Raspberry Pi computers has begun at the factories which means that the backlog of pre-orders should now be taken care of faster than previously estimated by RS and Farnell. More specific estimates on when you should be getting your Raspberry Pi should be provided to you later int he week from the distributor you ordered from.

I have yet to receive any e-mail from Farnell on the status of my Raspberry Pi since the first order verification email so I have a feeling I’m at the end of the line but at least they are shipping now and I’ll have some testing to do shorty!