Subject: General Tech | October 5, 2011 - 05:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ssd, plx, ocz, merger, acquisition
SAN JOSE, CA—October 5, 2011—OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the UK Design Team and certain assets from PLX Technology, further strengthening the company’s global research and development team.
PLX’s UK Design Team has built a reputation for designing innovative and reliable system-on-chip (SOC) solutions and the acquired engineering team’s expertise provides OCZ with additional resources for controller design. Through the acquisition of the engineering team and the license of intellectual property (IP), OCZ will be able to accelerate solid state drive development, reducing its time to market for next generation SSD products, while also reducing development costs.
“We are pleased to augment our engineering organization with the UK Design Team as they have been providing best of breed system-on-chip designs, software, and firmware since 1992,” said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology. “We believe the additional engineers along with the access to increased IP resources will enable us to significantly reduce the costs associated with storage protocol licensing, while simultaneously speeding our time to market.”
Pursuant to the agreement, OCZ will among other items acquire from PLX access to substantial IP and the UK Design Team, which consists primarily of approximately 40 engineers located in Abingdon, United Kingdom. PLX will retain their existing line of products which they will continue to support and supply to their customer base, and any patents related to the technology, for which OCZ will receive a perpetual license. The acquisition is subject to the satisfaction or waiver of various closing conditions.
Subject: General Tech | October 5, 2011 - 04:01 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, fusion conference
TAIPEI, Taiwan – October 5, 2011 – At Fusion 2011, AMD (NYSE:AMD) today demonstrated its next generation graphics processor, based on the cutting-edge 28 nm process technology. The demonstration was delivered by Corporate Vice President and General Manager of AMD’s Graphics Division, Matt Skynner, as part of his keynote titled, “Enabling the Best Visual Experience.” Skynner demonstrated a notebook-based version of AMD’s 28 nm next-generation graphics processor delivering a smooth, high-resolution game experience while playing Bioware’s popular role-playing title, Dragon Age 2.
“AMD strives to be at the forefront of every key inflection point in graphics technology, as demonstrated by our leadership in everything from process node transitions, to adoption of the latest graphics memory,” said Skynner. “Our pace-setting transition to the 28nm process node, coupled with new innovations in our underlying graphics architecture, is already generating excitement among the ODM community here in Taipei this week.”
Subject: General Tech | October 5, 2011 - 01:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: rage, gaming, battlefield 3
This has been a busy week for the gamer and the game reviewer as we have seen the (partial) release of two long awaited games. The first to arrive was the beta for Battlefield 3, delivered via a new delivery system called Origin which is like Steam only not as good. The beta has received good reviews for the gaming portion but the game browser and the entire process to just get into a game has not, as you can read about at The Tech Report. As reviewers we cannot just play a game however, it needs to be benchmarked for performance to ensure that you know what to expect in the way of framerates as well as how the image quality stacks up. At PC Perspective we've also made some recommendations on the best parts to buy depending on the resolution you wish to play at, which has sparked a slew of comments on our choices.
Then, the long anticipated Rage hit and proved worthy of it's name. Those who could manage to get past the many causes of the instant crash to desktop on launch were disappointed as to the quality of the Mega Textures that we were promised. This has caused upset in many places, [H]ard|OCP providing some unfiltered feed back here, which is being reflected on many other sites. Ryan went so far as to slow down game play so you can see the console-tastic texture fill rate as well as the incredibly limited graphics settings in his article on rage.
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- New Voxatron trailer shows off voxels, level editor, joy @ Ars Technica
- Ars at the Tokyo Game Show: the best titles from a world away
- Mass Effect 3 – Expo Preview @ Guru3D
- Gigabyte X58A-OC Intel X58 Motherboard Review @ ThinkComputers
- Migrating Your EA Games from Steam or Retail to Origin @ Techgage
- Nexus: The Jupiter Incident Sequel? Maybe @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Albion The Bridge: X Rebirth @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Gears of War 3 - Xbox 360 @ HEXUS
- Aliens Infestation Game Review (Nintendo DS) @ HardwareHeaven
- Dark Souls (XBOX 360) Review @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: General Tech | October 5, 2011 - 12:19 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: fud, security, microsoft, windows
An interesting study that Slashdot has linked to today breaks down three months of infection data and crunched the numbers to see how the infections made it onto systems and which systems are the most vulnerable. Fully two thirds of the infections happened to users browsing with Internet Explorer, but you must keep in mind IE's market share. At this time last year half of all users browsed the internet with some version of IE and while that has fallen to around 40% this year it is still the most commonly used browser and will therefore have a greater representation in the sample of PC s tested. As long as you keep that in mind, you can then move onto disparaging the average IE user ... especially if it is still IE6.
As well, you can see that Vista has something to be proud of. Even with the lack of PCs using the OS it has almost as many infections as WinXP machines. As to the programs most likely to be used as an attack ... Java JRE sits at 37% with Acrobat just behind at 32%, leaving the much maligned Flash responsible for only 16%.
"Since Up to 85 % of all virus infections occur as a result of drive-by attacks automated via commercial exploit kits, CSIS has actively collected real time data from them for a period of three months. The purpose of their study is to reveal precisely how Microsoft Windows machines are infected with malware and which browsers, versions of Windows and third party software that are at risk. They monitored more than 50 different exploit kits on 44 unique servers / IP addresses. The statistical material covers all in all more than half a million user exposures out of which as many as 31.3 % were infected with the virus/malware due to missing security updates."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- RIM invites BlackBerry users into MS Office cloud beta @ The Register
- HP, Dell to launch ultrabooks by 1Q12 @ DigiTimes
- McAfee, IBM gobble rival security-intelligence firms @ The Register
- Retina Quality 2560x1600 HD Panels on Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks @ VR-Zone
- Synology and Y-Cam Grasshopper Bundle @ kitguru
- Interview with Nadeem Khanzadah of Jumbo Electronics @ t-break
- Win a Gigabyte GTX590 & 5x Battlefield 3 with KG & DABS
- D-Link DCS-1130 Wireless N Network Camera @ Computing on Demand
- HardwareLOOK & Thermaltake Joint contest
Subject: General Tech | October 5, 2011 - 10:18 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: rage, PC, id, gaming, carmack
Many of the PC Perspective staff members have been testing out RAGE this week, and were among the countless fans that had been waiting impatiently for id software’s RAGE (to be released) since the first Mega-texture screenshots surfaced of the first person shooter a few years ago. As the game finally unlocked (on steam) on Monday night; however, the game’s enemies were not the only thing catching fire. The Steam Users Forum started lighting up with numerous complaints, bug issues, crashes, and graphical woes and rolled into an uncontrollable wildfire.
id Software's RAGE, when it's working
The major issues of RAGE include the trusty “CTD,” a crash to desktop, after the initial cut scene in the campaign as you emerge into the game world, screen tearing, mouse super sensitivity, and texture pop-in. According to Maximum PC, Bethesda has stated that this error is caused when using AMD’s Battlefield 3 Beta performance drivers. I experienced this issue myself when testing out RAGE, and switching to these RAGE performance drivers fixed that particular crashing issue. There are also reports of crashing during other parts of the game; however, they are more varied than the previous crash issue and do not manifest themselves on all systems. On the mouse super sensitivity front, using a mouse on in game dialog menus can be problematic as well. The mouse sensitivity seems to skyrocket, making it difficult to hit the “accept” and “decline” options compared to the mouse speed when using guns or walking around in the game world. The same physical motions seem to be greatly magnified on the in-game menus, as shown in the video below.
The remaining major issues do not necessarily affect gameplay; however, they can be distracting and certainly can interrupt the immersion factor of the game. Specifically, there is currently a texture streaming problem such that when the player turns too fast (or at all in severe cases), the textures of the game “pop in.” What this means is that the game looks blurry and missing detail until the engine is able to “catch up” and present the gamer with the (correctly) detailed textures. Bethesda indicates that this texture lag/pop in problem is due moreso to driver issues than problems with the engine. It remains to be seen whether updated drivers will be able to fully fix the texture streaming issue, however. The video below shows the texture pop in issue quite well.
The texture issue is not only a PC issue, however. Giantbomb noted in their Quick Look of RAGE that the Xbox 360 version of RAGE also experiences the texture pop in issue, though not to the extent of the PC. Beyond texture pop in, the PC version also succumbed to screen tearing issues. As an example, when entering the Wasted Garage level, the left two-thirds of my screen became filled almost completely with a solid yellow color where the image was torn in multiple places. This image below is of another user’s screen tearing experience which was less severe than mine but still enough to cause problems in playing the game.
GameFront is having RAGE screen tearing issues as well.
Finally, RAGE does not play nicely with FRAPS, which saw a massive slowdown in framerate when recording (much more than the normal dip experienced in other games). (UPDATE: the new AMD driver (updated Rage Performance Driver) seems to have fixed this for the most part.)
Some of these graphical issues may be attributable to the automatically adjusting nature of the game’s graphical settings as the game may not be able to cache/reuse textures it has recently loaded if the engine determines that the graphical settings need to be lower or higher, resulting in the engine needing to reload textures, and thus having what feels like lagging textures even in areas you’ve recently looked around. The extent to which it happens though is likely caused by a number of factors, that many hope a patch will mitigate. On the other hand, Bethesda is indicating that the texture issue is not due to the engine but rather is due to graphics drivers.
Either way, gamers are not happy with RAGE and are waiting impatiently for drivers and/or a patch to fix the various issues, whichever the case may be. It may be prudent to take a "wait and see" approach to the game before jumping in, if you haven't already purchased it of course. Are you running RAGE right now, and if so what sorts of issues (and hopefully solutions) have you run into? Vent your rage about RAGE in the comments below!
Subject: General Tech | October 4, 2011 - 11:53 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, GK107, GeForce 610M, GT 630M
VR-Zone spotted a string in the newest beta drivers from NVIDIA listing two new models of GPU, the NVIDIA GeForce 610M and GT 630M. From other rumours that we have collected from a variety of sources around the web we are fairly certain that these chips will be based on GK107, the low power version of the chip everyone wants to see, the GK100. While we are used to seeing both AMD and Intel to lead with mid to low range chips to simultaneously start off a new process size and chip family, NVIDIA doing so raises some eyebrows. NVIDIA's mobile graphics chips have to compete directly with the graphics portion of AMD and Intel's APUs and do so in a market where like it or not, you have already paid for the GPU portion of your processor. There will not only have to be an increase in performance, it will also have to justify the extra investment. We shall see what the final answer is early in 2012.
"In the latest unreleased 285 BETA drivers, the expected GeForce 600 branding has surfaced. The marketing names leaked are NVIDIA GeForce 610M and NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M. The GeForce 610M is likely to be an entry level GPU while the GeForce GT 630M could very well be a GK107 SKU."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The TR Podcast 97: Sweet spot SSDs and Amazon's new Kindles
- "Intelligent" nanofluids could cool computer chips @ nanotechweb
- Asustek will not compete with price in the tablet PC market, says CEO @ DigiTimes
- Check your machines for malware, Linux developers told @ The Register
- Win a Jabra Clipper Bluetooth Stereo Headset @ Tech-Reviews
Subject: General Tech | October 3, 2011 - 05:00 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
It is becoming difficult to discuss the quality of soundcards with anyone, since very few people use them. We've gone from needing a sound card to play back a reasonable amount of channels since the onboard audio could not handle it, to saving CPU cycles by pulling the responsibility of processing audio onto a sound card, to a point where they seem obsolete. Putting aside the fact that many PCs are outputting audio and video over a single HDMI cable or onto a USB headset, most non-audiophiles will be satisfied with the variety of outputs available on the back of a motherboard and the processing power that the onboard audio Codec needs is minuscule. At The Tech Report you can read about one technophiles experiences with sound cards and his recommendation focuses more on the importance of providing yourself with a decent sound system and top of the line speakers before in preference to upgrading your sound card.
"In his latest blog post, TR's David Morgan upgrades his integrated "In his latest blog post, TR's David Morgan upgrades his integrated motherboard audio and wonders whether discrete sound cards are still relevant."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- V-MODA True Blood REVAMP Headphones Review @ Legit Reviews
- Tt eSPORTS Shock Gaming Headset @ TechwareLabs
- Jabra FREEWAY Bluetooth In-Car Speakerphone Review @ Real World Labs
- Logitech Ultimate Ears TripleFi 10 Review@ HardwareLOOK
- Arctic Sound E461-BM Earphones @ Computing on Demand
- Turtle Beach Ear Force X12 Gaming Headset Review @ Tech-Reviews
- PocketBoom Portable Vibration Speaker Review @ Tech-Reviews
Subject: General Tech | October 3, 2011 - 12:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: llano, APU, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, 28nm, 32nm, trinity, amd
Woe is AMD, as it becomes ever more obvious that Llano is not giving good yields at GLOBALFOUNDRIES. Back in July the market noticed that while the new Llano chips were great at providing good enough graphics for a great price, they were very hard to find. As a consumer you might be able to find a notebook to purchase for yourself but as a reseller who needs to buy processors in the thousands before considering that chip as a part of the new product line up you have been out of luck. According to DigiTimes this will change in 2012 with the arrival of Trinity which will still use GLOBALFOUNDRIES 32nm process, turning to TSMC for the 28nm graphical portion. The previous hope that the supply problems would be solved in September were obviously a little too optimistic.
"Supply of AMD's Llano APUs, affected by Globalfoundries's lower-than-expected 32nm yield rates, has been significantly limited and is unlikely to recover until the company's upcoming Trinity arrives in 2012, according to sources from motherboard players. When asked about the company's upcoming Trinity schedule, AMD Taiwan declined to comment on unannounced products.
AMD started suffering from Llano APU supply shortages in July due to the yield issues and the company originally expected the supply status to return to normal in September. However, judging from the current situation, the sources believe the company's supply volume is unlikely to meet client demand through the end of 2011.
The sources estimated that the yield rate issue should be resolved in 2012, when Trinity launches."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Fanless PCs with 95W CPUs shown off @ SemiAccurate
- Vulnerability in HTC smartphones exposes user data @ The Inquirer
- Mozilla releases Rescuefox prototype @ The Inquirer
- Pandemonium as Microsoft AV nukes Chrome browser @ The Register
- Btrfs File-System For Old Computers? @ Phoronix
- Virtual showdown: Parallels Desktop 7 and VMware Fusion 4 @ Ars Technica
- A Beginner’s Guide to Video Encoding @ t-break
- Real World Labs And Enermax Joint Contest
Although id Software’s RAGE and DICE’s upcoming shooter Battlefield 3 have been getting all the attention around the PC Per office lately, Portal 2 is about to receive some free DLC that just might hold gamers over while they wait impatiently for their Battlefield 3 and RAGE pre-orders! Dubbed “Peer Review,” the upcoming DLC has been delayed several times and missed its original “summer” release date; however, it is finally releasing and will be available on October 4th.
The Peer Review DLC (download-able content) will be available on the PC, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360. According to Digital Trends, the free content will include new co-op modes for Atlas and P-Body in addition to new single play puzzles. Unfortunately, the single player puzzles will not extend the overall story of the Portal universe. Leader-boards and a new Challenge game mode will also be featured in the DLC.
One can be assured that GLaDOS is waiting. Whether gamers will finally get the promised cake is another matter, however.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | October 1, 2011 - 01:49 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: sli, gtx 570, gtx 460, bf3, battlefield 3
I know, we've been talking a lot about Battlefield 3 this week, but I have yet another set of numbers and results that I think you guys will want to see. Previously, all of our BF3 benchmarks have been run under the Ultra quality presets but it is obvious that not all GPUs or gamers are going to want to target the highest settings the game can accomplish. With that in mind I decided to test a couple of cards at Ultra, High, Medium and Low presets in order to guage how well the game scaled based on image quality.
For this round I wanted to use a high end card as well as an older, much more popular (and currently low cost) card; the result is tests on the GeForce GTX 570 1.25GB and the GeForce GTX 460 1GB reference platforms. We used the Operation Metro map and the initial outdoor section for our testing as it was the most strenuous in the beta thus far.
As a side note, if you want to see how the image quality actually changes from the Ultra, High, Medium and Low presets, check out this page of my previous performance article that included screenshots and even some animated GIFs as demonstration.
Here are the results:
On the more powerful GTX 570 you can see that BF3 scales pretty well from the Ultra settings through the Low options in even steps. By moving from Ultra down to High a gamer would see about 34% better performance and 22% better minimum frame rates. The jump to Medium gains another 41% while the move to Low gets another 25% on top of that. The gap between Low and Ultra is about ~2.3x.
The GTX 460 sees similar levels of performance grades though the move from Ultra to High only gains you about 28% and averages of 33.8 FPS or so. I would still consider that on the low side of a good game play experience and thus the move to Medium (which is 82% faster than Ultra) seems like the sweet spot for BF3.
I know we also had some requests for SLI scaling performance and, in particular, with the GTX 460 1GB cards. Since this card has been so incredibly popular we thought this would be the perfect candidate for the "SLI Upgrade Path" option and you can pick one up for $150 (or less with rebates). Let's see how well Battlefield 3 scales with multiple GPUs.
At the Ultra quality settings we saw a 60% scaling capability by adding in a second GTX 460 at stock speeds while at High settings we see that rate increases to 84%! That is pretty impressive and for the cost investment of a second GPU it looks like you are going to see better than average scaling. Considering this is with the first driver release and with a beta version of the game, I can only see multi-GPU scaling rates going up as the full retail release hits.
With these results and some others we have done through the week we are ready to put together our Battlefield 3 system build guide. Stay tuned!