Rovio buys Futuremark Games Studio: polar opposites unite!

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | March 29, 2012 - 07:24 PM |
Tagged: Rovio, Futuremark

Rovio Entertainment purchases Futuremark Games Studio, but not all of Futuremark, for an undisclosed amount.

Rovio is known for making graphically lightweight yet intensely addictive games for about as many desktop and mobile platforms as they can get away with. Futuremark Games Studio is known for making beautiful PC games which are entertaining to some extent. Naturally they make a perfect couple.

roviofuturemark.jpg

So *that’s* how it got shattered!

Of course the real topic for discussion is why Rovio would want to purchase Futuremark Games Studio. One possible reason is that Rovio wishes to challenge Infinity Blade by Epic Games and capture the market of mobile eye-candy games. The other possibility would be that Rovio wishes to expand into making large budget games themselves.

In their purchase, Rovio has only acquired the studio but not any of their intellectual properties. Shattered Horizon and their other games remain property of the original parent company, Futuremark.

What do you speculate is just over the Shattered Horizon?

Source: Rovio

So what's that Red Hat full of? Money. Lots of money.

Subject: General Tech, Systems | March 29, 2012 - 04:46 PM |
Tagged: Red Hat, linux

Red Hat becomes the first Linux company to be worth over a billion dollars (edit for clarity: I meant take in over a billion dollars in revenue) with $1.13 billion in revenue last year.

Red Hat, Inc. is an open source software company based in Raleigh, North Carolina. The company’s identity is primarily with their current flagship product, Red Hat Enterprise Linux -- and a Cornell University lacrosse hat. The company also sponsors and holds liability over the Fedora Project which counterbalances Enterprise Linux by providing a free and community-supported operating system.

goldtux.png

Just for clarification, that’s a rich penguin, not a rich drake.

Red Hat reported earnings of $1.13 billion dollars in revenue with $146.6 million in earnings. Subscriptions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux were declared responsible for $965.6 million dollars of their total revenue.

ZDNet has also reported that Linux is progressively eating market share from UNIX and Windows for servers shipped with preinstalled operating systems. Red Hat and other Linux vendors are progressively getting more of the same treatment as Microsoft has enjoyed in the past.

The future is bright for Linux, which is unfortunate due to the hole in the Ozone layer over Antarctica. Maybe the rest of the $1.13 billion is sales of sunscreen?

Source: ZDNet

Podcast #195 - GTX 680 Review, the MSI HD 7970 Lightning, and a 4GB GTX 680!

Subject: General Tech | March 29, 2012 - 03:29 PM |
Tagged: ssd, podcast, nvidia, Intel, gtx680, amd, 7970, 680

PC Perspective Podcast #195 - 03/29/2012

Join us this week as we talk about our GTX 680 Review, the MSI HD 7970 Lightning, and a 4GB GTX 680!

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: 1:00:26

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. Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5 LGA 2011 EATX Motherboard Review
  6. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 2GB Graphics Card Review - Kepler in Motion
  7. Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3 Review: Kepler's First Laptop
    1. PC Perspective Live Review Recap: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
  8. MSI R7970 Lightning Review: AMD's HD 7970 Gets the Treatment
  9. This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  10. Galaxy Readying 4GB and Hall Of Fame Edition GTX 680 GPUs
  11. About that pricing AMD; you sure you want to stick with it?
  12. Super Talent Releases New RAIDDrive upStream PCI-E SSD
  13. Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: is lame and didnt have one
    2. Jeremy: I got a better deal but this is close
    3. Josh: Two SSDs for the price of one 
    4. Allyn: Khan Academy
  14. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  15. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  16. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  17. Closing

Source:

Once again, ubiquitous computing spells the end of Wintel

Subject: General Tech | March 29, 2012 - 12:30 PM |
Tagged: arm, Intel, windows, Android, embedded systems

A story at The Register spells out the end of Windows, this time by 2016.  The growth of cellphones with enough processing power to be more than just glorified telephones is going to change the market, of that there can be no doubt.  On the other hand without some serious upgrades to the interface it seems very unlikely that a cellphone will be sitting on a desk with a mouse, keyboard and monitor connected to it.  In fact the very idea that ARM will one day outsell x86 processors is absurd, last year 2.2 billion ARM processors were sold, that number may be higher than all the processors AMD and Intel ever fabbed.  Keep that in mind when someone tells you that ARM may one day outsell CPUs intended for use in Windows machines.  

Android outselling Windows could be a reasonable prediction for the near future, but again it is hard to imagine Android replacing Windows Server or business oriented Linux distros, even if they are running on an ARM processor.  Then again, stranger things have happened.

skyisfalling.jpg

"Windows might be on the rise in the world of embedded systems, but if IDC's prognostications are right, then Windows is about to get its kernel handed to it with the rise of Android on what the market researcher dubs "smart connected devices."

By IDC's reckoning, makers of PCs, tablets, and smartphones shipped some 916 million units of machinery in 2012, raking in an astounding $489bn in moolah."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

Google's Deep Shot patent: It's like copy-paste with a camera

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | March 28, 2012 - 02:33 PM |
Tagged: google

Google patents the ability to take a photo of an internet-capable application such as a website or videogame to share its state to another device.

If you have ever used a smartphone keyboard than you would probably know how difficult it is to type certain web addresses into your location bar. If you are leaving a device but want to resume using the web application you left behind then you might just need to take a picture of it. In the future that might be preferred way to transfer what you are doing between devices.

GooglePatentDeepShot.png

Imagine how different the Copy/Paste war would we have been given this on the iPhone?

From how I understand the patent, both devices would need to be logged into the same Google account. Such a limitation means that you could not show your laptop to a friend in a lecture hall and share the state of your website with them. This limitation also means that someone malicious could not take a picture over your shoulder to find out where your Google Maps destination will be. It is possible that Google could allow you to share it with, for instance, Google+ circles -- but that is all my speculation.

The patent extends beyond surfing web sites. Specifically mentioned is the ability to capture the state of a videogame and transfer it to a different platform.

So what do you all think? Creepy or cool, perhaps both?

Source: ZDNet

How much GPU power does Commander Shepard need to save the galaxy?

Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2012 - 02:04 PM |
Tagged: mass effect 3, gaming

[H]ard|OCP set out to see just how much you can get from Mass Effect 3 with a powerful GPU.  On the test bench from AMD was an HD 7970 and a 7950 while from NVIDIA a GTX 580 and 570 were tested.  All were tested at 2560x1600 with FXAA, 16X AF and Dynamic Shadows, with MLA enabled on the AMD cards and every single card provided more than adequate performance.   Since that went so well, they dropped down to an HD 7870, 7850 and 7770 from AMD and a GTX 560 Ti with only the HD 7770 having to reduce settings at 2560x1600.  Obviously this game was designed by the Anti-Bay; with the emphasis on story and not pretty explosions.

H_ME3.jpg

"The final instalment in the Mass Effect saga has arrived to give gamers their sci-fi war and romance fixes. But does the game offer hardware enthusiasts anything? Does it have any cutting edge technology to make our high-dollar video cards worthwhile? Does it make us glad we spent our hard-earned dollars upgrading or does it leave us flat?"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

AMD and SeaMicro partnering to develop a processor agnostic HPC interconnect

Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2012 - 01:21 PM |
Tagged: amd, seamicro, interconnect, purchase, HPC, 3d torus, freedom

In the beginning of March it was announced that AMD would be spending $334 million to purchase SeaMicro, a company who holds the patents on the 3D torus interconnect for High Powered Computing and servers.  This interconnect utilizes PCIe lanes to connect large amounts of processors together to create what was commonly referred to as a supercomputer and is now more likely to be labelled an HPC machine.  SeaMicro's current SM1000 chassis can hold 64 processor cards, each of which have a processor socket, chipset and memory slots which makes the entire design beautifully modular. 

One of the more interesting features of the Freedom systems design is that it can currently utilize either Atom or Xeon chips on those processor cards.  With AMD now in the mix you can expect to see compatibility with Opteron chips in the very near future.  That will give AMD a chance to grab market share from Intel in the HPC market segment.   The Opteron series may not be as powerful as the current Xeons but they do cost noticeably less which makes them very attractive for customers who cannot afford 64 Xeons but need more power than an Atom can provide.

The competition is not just about price however; with Intel's recent purchase of QLogic and the InfiniBand interconnect technology, AMD needs to ensure they can also provide a backbone which is comparable in speed.  The current Freedom interconnect has 1.28Tb/sec of aggregate bandwidth on a 3D torus, and supports up to sixteen 10-Gigabit Ethernet links or 64 Gigabit links, which is in the same ballpark as a 64 channel InfiniBand based system.  The true speed will actually depend on which processors AMD plans to put into these systems, but as Michael Detwiler told The Register, that will depend on what customers actually want and not on what AMD thinks will be best.

amd_freedom_interconnect.jpg

"As last week was winding down, Advanced Micro Devices took control of upstart server maker SeaMicro, and guess what? AMD is still not getting into the box building business, even if it does support SeaMicro's customers for the foreseeable future out of necessity.

Further: Even if AMD doesn't have aspirations to build boxes, the company may be poised to shake up the server racket as a component supplier. Perhaps not as dramatically as it did with the launch of the Opteron chips nearly a decade ago, but then again, maybe as much or more - depending on how AMD plays it and Intel and other server processor makers react."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

MAINGEAR unleashes the Titan-17s on the world.

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | March 28, 2012 - 04:26 AM |
Tagged: maingear, titan-17, GeForce 675M

MAINGEAR announces an update to their 17” desktop replacement laptop, the Titan 17, with a GeForce GTX 675M and optional NVIDIA 3D Vision 2.

There exists a smaller but very real segment of the market who wishes to have the power of their desktop computer in a smaller and slightly more portable package. Perhaps they desire to have the coolest single-object computing device at their LAN party? Whatever their reasons, they are served by companies like MAINGEAR who regularly provide new and better models for their choosing.

titan17_glasses_cards_nvidia.png

Mobile GPUs in SLi -- not common, not unheard of, but probably a good idea for 3D. 

On their product page, they have yet to update the technical specifications as of this posting. The updated ones from their press release are as follows:
  • Video Card: up to NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 675M SLI with 2GB GDDR5
  • Display: 17.3" Full HD  1920 x 1080 - (1080p) Widescreen (16:9 Aspect Ratio) LED Backlit with Super Clear Glare Type Screen / with optional built in 3D emitter and 120Hz panel.
  • Processor: Up to Intel® Core™ i7-3960X Processor Extreme Edition
  • Memory: Up to 32GB Quad Channel DDR3 – 1333/1600Mhz
  • Optical Drive: Up to 2X Blu-ray reader/8x Multi Combo (BD-R, DVD+-RW, CD-RW)
  • Hard Drive: Up to 3x 512GB Solid State Drive or 750GB 5400RPM SATA 2.5
  • Network Adapter: Killer™ Wireless-N 1102 supports 802.11a/b/g/n
  • Audio: Built-in High-Definition Audio, S/PDIF Digital output, 1 Built-in Microphone, 5 Built-in Speakers, 1 Built-in Sub Woofer, THX® TruStudio Pro™
  • Media Card Reader: Built in 9-in-1 Media Card Reader (MMC/RSMMC/MS/MS Pro/MS Duo/SD/Mini-SD/SDHC/SDXC), 1 Express Card 54/34 Slot
  • Operating System: Genuine Windows® 7 Home, Professional or Ultimate 64-Bit
  • Battery: Removable Polymer Smart Lithium-Ion battery pack (8 cell)
  • I/O Ports: 1 HDMI out, 1 DVI-I out,1 Display Port 1.1,  2 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0 Ports,1 eSATA Port, 1 IEEE-1394b Fire Wire, 1 S/PDIF out, 1 RJ-45 LAN, 1 Headphone Jack, 1 Microphone Jack, 1 Line-in Jack, 1 S/PDIF output Jack
  • Dimensions: (W)16.25" x (H)1.75" x (D)10.75"
  • Price:  Starts at $2,599 with limited time FREE shipping offer
Do you have a use for a desktop replacement? If so, what would you use them for? If not, do you prefer a full desktop or a smaller laptop?
Source: MAINGEAR

Bad Ultrabook sales could be very bad for suppliers

Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2012 - 01:01 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, fud

Intel's Ultrabook mobile form factor requires very specific components which is causing a great deal of concern among component makers.  The parts that are designed specifically for Ultrabooks are not necessarily useful in any other form factor which makes them unattractive to manufacture since poor Ultrabook sales would mean that they are stuck with a large amount of unusable inventory.  If that concern limits the supply of parts for Ultrabooks then we could see a self-fulfilling prophecy as poor availability at the retail level will lessen the attraction for both consumers as well as major laptop vendors who may not want to include a product that might or might not be available for a customer to purchase.  DigiTimes points out that because of the previous failure of Intel's CULV form factor, many of the manufactures are already leery of the Ultrabook.  We shall see what effect that has on Intel's sales over the next few months as Ivy Bridge hits the market.

giz_xlarge_lenovo-u300s.png

"Component makers, seeing their downstream brand partners are aggressively entering the ultrabook market, are concerned that if demand for ultrabook is not as good as expected, their inventories could hurt their performance as ultrabook components are mostly custom made and cannot be used in traditional notebooks, according to sources from the upstream supply chain."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes

About that pricing AMD; you sure you want to stick with it?

Subject: General Tech | March 26, 2012 - 01:45 PM |
Tagged: gpu, pricing, nvidia, amd, radeon

AMD has spent a lot of money developing GCN and it shows with products that provide better performance than the previous generation and do so with less power consumption, a hard trick to pull off.  There are also numerous other architectural changes in the three current families of Southern Island cards which benefit users, but most will be focused on faster graphics without the need to upgrade their PSU.  Until last week, since AMD had the fastest GPU going period, as well as much better price/performance numbers than NVIDIA's choice, there was no reason for AMD to consider changing their pricing structure as they need to recuperate the amount of dollars spent on R&D as well as manufacturing.

Last week the GTX 680 changed that, as not only did NVIDIA steal the performance crown back from AMD but they also successfully reduced the power consumption which was the Achilles Heel of Fermi.  Even worse news for AMD was the pricing that NVIDIA attached to their flagship Kepler product, at $500 they are priced below AMD's HD 7970 by between $50 to $100.  AMD's only hope is that the process problems at TSMC will keep the availability of the GTX 680 down, which it seems to have as NewEgg has run out of that card.  Hoping that your competitor cannot keep their stock up is not exactly a good model to run your business.

Unfortunately any price change AMD makes will have repercussions on many models.  The 7950 averages about $460 which is far too close to the GTX 680's price since the performance is not that close, however dropping the HD 7950 towards $400 makes the HD 7870 at $360 a little uncomfortable.  That is going to have an effect on AMD's profitability, since they likely set out their accounting based on the current pricing of the Radeon series and will have to recalculate a lot of numbers to lower price and still remain profitable.  However painful a process that might be they need to think of it sooner, rather than later; NVIDIA has more Kelper cards in store and they are not going to cost more than the GTX 680.

So far we have not heard any substantiated rumours about price changes from AMD but you can speculate that they must be coming.  For now you should first decide how much your budget can manage and then start looking for specials at retailers that bring the cards down to the price you have decided you can afford.  If they aren't low enough today then wait a few days as the GPU market is going to be decidedly unstable for the next while. 

AMD-VS-Nvidia.jpg

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk