More leaks about NVIDIA's Dual-GPU GTX 690? May be?

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 10, 2012 - 07:18 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, leak, GTX 690

More information has surfaced about NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 690 video card. While other tidbits came to light, perhaps most interesting is the expected May release.

NVIDIA has suffered from quite a few leaks near their launch of the GeForce GTX 680 GPU and its associated cards. Benchmarks were accidentally published early and product pages were mistakenly posted premature. The hot streak continues.

10-nv_logo.png

It may be time to just reset fate and skip to the GTX 700-series. I mean they will eventually be rebranded 700-something anyway.

I kid, I kid.

Not many specifications were leaked, although there is not much left that cannot already be assumed about the card due to the similarities with its sister part.

The reference model GTX 690 will require two 8-pin power connectors and output via three DVI ports as well as a mini DisplayPort. The already released GTX 680, by contrast, requires two 6-pin connectors and outputs by two DVI, an HDMI, and a full size DisplayPort.

The new card will require more power for its dual GK104 GPUs as the larger power connectors would suggest. While the GTX 680 is happy with 550W of total system power, the GTX 690 would like a system power supply of at least 650W. Since the 680 is expected to draw a maximum of 195W, an extra 100W would put estimates for the 690 power draw at somewhere around 295W.

Unfortunately estimates based on rated total system power are very inaccurate as power supply requirements are often raised to the nearest 50W. Really, the 690 could be anywhere between 245W and 295W and even those figures are just estimates.

Still, it looks as though my 750W power supply will survive past May when the leak claims that the GTX 690 is expected to arrive. Yay! May!

Source: EXPreview

Composite Copper and Graphene to make a cool couple.

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | April 10, 2012 - 06:03 PM |
Tagged: graphene, cooling

Researchers at NC State University have tested the heat dissipation properties of copper-graphene. Their findings suggest that the material could be cheaper and more effective than pure copper.

Some people have gone to ridiculous lengths to cool their components. Some people flush their coolant regularly. Some people will never live down mineral oil jokes. No two computers are not on fire. Awwww.

Copper is regularly used as a method of dissipating heat as it is highly efficient when sufficiently pure. While copper is expensive, it is not expensive enough to be prohibitive for current use. Alternatives are still being explored and a researcher at NC State University believes graphene might be part of the answer.

bathroomsuctionfan.jpg

Some people stick a bathroom suction fan out a window and run a 3” drier hose into their case.

As always, I become immediately skeptical when a team of researchers make a claim such as this. Whether or not these issues are valid have yet to be seen, but they come to mind none-the-less. The paper claims that the usage is designed for power amplifiers and laser diodes.

My first concern is with geometry. Effective cooling is achieved by exposing as much surface area between two materials as is possible for the situation. Higher heat conductance allows heat to get away much more efficiently, but the heat still needs to be removed to a reservoir of some sort, such as your room. There has not been much talk about the possibilities to then remove the heat after copper-graphene so efficiently sucks from the heat source.

My second concern is with the second layer of indium-graphene. While it seems as though the amount of indium required is quite small -- just a single layer between the heat source and the copper-graphene -- we do not really know for certain how that relates to real world applications. Indium is still a very rare element which is heavily mined for touch screen devices. It might prove to be cheap, but there is only so much of it. Would we also be able to reclaim the Indium later, or will it end up in a landfill?

These concerns are probably quite minor but it is generally good practice to not get too excited when you see a research paper. Two points if you see any of the following: Nano, Graphene or Carbon Nanotubes, Lasers, and anything related to High-Frequency.

Take a pictorial tour of Kingston's SSD facility

Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2012 - 11:48 AM |
Tagged: kingston, fab, tour, ssd

Tweaktown was invited put on a bunny suit and take a tour of Kingston's SSD manufacturing facility in Taiwan.  Starting from a pile of surface mount transistors which are automatically soldered and inspected before being baked at up to 270C once all the components have been mounted to the PCB, they snapped pictures of as much of the process as they could.  From there it is off to the testing facility where Kingston ensures that all the drives that came off of a particular run are up to the expected standards.  TweakTown does mention a burn-in machine, but unfortunately they were told not to post them as Kingston wanted to keep at least a few trade secrets from getting out.  It could also be that they don't want the world to know that they cloned Al several times and use his SSD killing expertise as the final test before releasing a drive to the channel to be sold.

TT_SSD.jpg

"We were exclusively invited into the Kingston factory where few media have been and got shown the process of making an SSD from start to finish. Due to media restrictions, we were not allowed to produce a video of the tour, but we were allowed to take photos. Obviously Kingston is a market leader in memory and SSD products and there is plenty of sensitive machinery and such - and we needed to respect that and their rules."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: Tweaktown

Raspberry Pi Computers Pass EMC Compliance Testing

Subject: General Tech, Systems | April 8, 2012 - 08:38 PM |
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, pcb, emc test, computer, compliance testing, arm

The highly anticipated Raspberry Pi ARM computer has run into several launch hiccups, the most recent being that the distributors -- RS and Farnell -- refused to sell and ship the devices without the Raspberry Pi passing the proper electromagnetic interference testing. While such certification is not required for Arduino or Beagle Boards, the companies stated that because the Raspberry Pi was (more) likely to be used as a final consumer product (and not a development board) it needed to obtain and pass EMC testing to ensure that it would not interfere with (or be interfered by) other electronic devices.

According to a recent blog post by the charity behind the ARM powered Linux computer, the Raspberry Pi has passed the EMC compliance testing with flying colors -- after a few hiccups with a network hub used to test the Raspberry Pi while it was being hit with an EM field were sorted out.

Raspberry-Pi.jpg

The team has been working out of Panasonic’s facility in South Wales to test the Raspberry Pi. Due to having the lab area for a whole week, they managed to knock out consumer product inference testing for several other countries as well. Mainly, the Raspberry Pi is now compliant with the UK CE requirements, the United States’ FCC, Australia’s CTick, and Canada’s Technical Acceptance Certificate (TAC).

Assuming the paper work is properly filed and RS and Farnell accept the certifications, the Raspberry Pi units should begin winging their way to customers shortly. Are you still waiting on your Raspberry Pi, and if so have you decided what you intend to use it for yet?

If you are interested in the Raspberry Pi, be sure to check out some of our other coverage of the little ARM computer!

NVIDIA Tegra 4 Specifications Sheet Leaks

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | April 7, 2012 - 07:11 PM |
Tagged: tegra 4, tegra, SoC, nvidia, mobile

The Chinese language VR-Zone website has allegedly managed to get their hands on a leaked specifications sheet for NVIDIA’s upcoming Tegra 4 System-on-a-chip (SoC) aimed at mobile tablets. Codenamed “Wayne,” the new SoC will come in several flavors and will arrive next year.

The upcoming chips will have 10x the performance of NVIDIA’s original Tegra and five times the performance of the current generation Kal-El Tegra 3 chip. NVIDIA has run into several hurdles in integrating an LTE cell radio into their SoCs, but if the leaked document is true, the company will finally release a Tegra chp with built-in LTE 100 and HSPA42 cell radio capabilities as early as the third quarter of 2013.

Badge_Tegra_3D_large.jpg

Further, the Tegra 4 SoCs will come in four flavors: T40, T43, AP40, and SP3X. T40 will represent the first Tegra 4 chp that manufacturers and consumers will be able to get their hands on -- as early as Q1 2013. It is a quad core part with one companion core and will run at 1.8 GHz. T43 is an evolution of the T40 and will bump up the clockspeed to 2.0 GHz. The AP40 chip will be the first budget Tegra 4 processor and will run anywhere between 1.2 GHz and 1.8 GHz. The T43 and AP40 SoCs are reportedly coming out in Q3 2013. All three chips -- The T40, T43, and AP40 -- are based on the ARM Cortex A15 architecture.

  T40 T43 AP40 SP3X
Release Date Q1 2013 Q3 2013 Q3 2013 Q3 2013
Markets Aimed At Flagship Flagship Mainstream Mainstream
Tablet Device Screen Size 10" 10" 10" 7"
Processor Clockspeed 1.8 GHz 2.0 GHz 1.2-1.8 GHz 1.2-2.0 GHz
Core Count 4+1 4+1 4+1 4+1
Chip Architecture A15 A15 A15 A9
Cell Radio       LTE100/HSPA42

 

The final Tegra 4 chip is called SP3X, and it will arrive in Q3 2013. Aimed at mainstream tablets with 7” or smaller screens, the upcoming SoC will feature LTE support and will have a clockspeed of 1.2 GHz to 2.0 GHz. It is a quad core (plus one companion core) part but is reportedly based on the ARM Cortex A9 architecture.  The leaked release dates do seem to be in line with earlier reports, though they should still be taken with your daily dose of salt.

 

Right now Tegra delivers on performance and many high end mobile devices have incorporated the NVIDIA chip. Even so, they still have very little market share, and the two mainstream Tegra 4 chips -- especially the SP3X with LTE radio -- should help them make inroads against Qualcomm and Samsung who hold a great deal of market share.

Blizzard stimming eSports. Will it lose 10 or 20 health?

Subject: General Tech | April 6, 2012 - 04:16 AM |
Tagged: starcraft 2, blizzard

Blizzard announces the Starcraft II World Championship Series. Tournaments will be held by qualifier region, country, continent, and world-wide. Winning a stage qualifies you for the next stage leading to a single global winner.

There are an astonishing number of tournaments for Starcraft II compared to almost any other strategy game. The game was made famous by its promotion of both the macrogame of economy and production as well as the microgame of control and positioning. Also, each of the three races balances each other by being entirely different, rather than in spite of it.

Due to the many different play styles as well as the imbalance of information between players and spectators, Starcraft has become a very entertaining spectator sport.

BattleChamp.jpg

At the end of the tournament they should pummel the winners with water guns.

Yes, water guns. Blizzard would never Nerf a Terran.

At the end of the tournament, an officially Blizzard-recognized champion of Starcraft will be crowned. Currently a few handfuls of players are crowned the winner of some tournament only to be overthrown at some other tournament sponsored by some other company. While the unofficial tournaments such as MLG and GSL will obviously still continue to flourish, Blizzard seems to want to control an official result that they recognize.

It is still unclear whether the event will be recurring and at what frequency. Though, chances are, not even Blizzard knows at this point.

Participating countries are listed in their blog posting. Surprisingly, Japan is not present alongside China and South Korea. Official dates have yet to be announced except that the tournament itself is expected to run this year.

Source: Blizzard

Stardock Releases Sins: Rebellion Beta 2, Adds Advent Players

Subject: General Tech | April 6, 2012 - 03:42 AM |
Tagged:

Earlier this week, Stardock officially released the new Beta 2 update of the Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion 4X RTS game. Most popular for SOASE and Impulse (which has since been sold off -- they are now offering their games on Steam), Stardock has been working on the Sins standalone sequel for more than a year now. Over the past year or so, the company has push out enough teasers to drive me crazy with lust, so when the beta was finally public I jumped in with the credit card faster than The Flash.

Titan.jpg

The TEC Rebels' Titan Class Ship

Unfortunately, the first few beta updates only allowed gamers to play the TEC (Trader Emergency Coalition) and not the other two alien races. The newly released Beta 2 is now being pushed out via a Steam update and will allow gamers to play the Advent and TEC (and both sub-classes of each, Rebels and Loyalists). The game also features several bug fixes and performance improvements. Other notable changes include balance improvements, (unfortunately) the slight Titan ship nerfing, and the addition of an introduction movie sequence at the start of the game.

Sins of a Solar Empire Rebellio 2012-04-06 02-28-11-15.png

The Advent Eradica Titan Class Ship

I have not gotten a chance to play very much of the new beta 2 yet, but the first thing I noticed was an additional capital ship for the TEC Loyalists (and possibly the other classes) that is positioned as a support craft and is capable of sending out boarding parties. Pretty neat, the game overall also seems to be a bit snappier, especially when moving between menus and such. I’m more of a TEC guy than an Advent player, but I do love crushing them in battle so I’m glad to see the Advent added to the game. The only big race left is the Vasari at this point, which suggests that the game is that much closer to final release. I am cautiously optimistic that Sins: Rebellion is going to be a game worthy of my $30 bucks. Below is a video of the new introduction movie, and the full change log for the Beta 2 release can be found over at Stardock’s Forums.

Have you played the beta yet, and if so what do you make of it?

Source: Stardock

Java Vulnerability Exposed OS X Machines To Flashback Trojan

Subject: General Tech | April 5, 2012 - 10:47 PM |
Tagged: apple, OS X, Java, trojan, flashback, botnet

Recently, word of a java bug that allowed malware -- namely a trojan known as “Flashback” -- to sneak onto OS X machines started making its way around the Internet. This piece of malicious code even managed to get its claws into Apple’s OS X operating system. Bit-Tech reports that a Russian anti-virus company known as Dr.Web has identified more than 550,000 OS X computers as taking part in a botnet -- a network of computers executing malicious code in unison, which can be used to DDoS websites, assist in harvesting information, and recruit new members to the nefarious network.

Apple Macbook Air 11 Inch.png

Located primarily in the United States, Canada, and the UK the Flashback trojan infected a number of computers and granted immediate access to the attackers. They estimate 56.6% of the infected computers were located in the US while 19.8% were in Canada and 12.8% where stationed int he UK. This makes for a very widespread infection, and it has taken Apple a few weeks to push out a patch.

If you are reading this on a Mac, don’t panic. Be sure to apply the recent Apple update, and double check that your Java version you are running is Java 6 update 31. Even if you are on a Windows machine, make sure you are using the latest version of Java to keep you as secure as possible. Identifying if you are already affected is a bit tricky, but Digital Trends has posted instructions on how to find out if you are infected and provided links to several methods of virtual bug spray to get rid of the malware.

While this does not suddenly mean OS X is a buggy wasteland full of vulnerabilities as some articles have suggested, it is a gentle (and rather horrid for those that are infected) reminder to be safe out there on the Internet and that a little anti-virus combined with safe browsing habits can go a long way to keeping you safe whether you are a Windows, Mac, or Linux user. Even if it is AV that you only run every now and then and doesn’t run all the time, it can provide a bit of piece of mind by letting you know your system is clean. Also, if you have to use Java, keep it updated along with all your other programs.

Source: Bit-Tech

Podcast #196 - The new iPad, the OCZ Vertex 4, AMD FX-6200 CPU and more!

Subject: General Tech | April 5, 2012 - 04:32 PM |
Tagged: Vertex 4, ssd, podcast, ipad, Intel, gpu, FX-6200, cpu, amd, 680

PC Perspective Podcast #196 - 04/05/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the new iPad, the OCZ Vertex 4, AMD FX-6200 CPU 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: 1:10:16

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. 0:01:45 The New iPad (2012) Review: Pixel Power
  6. 0:07:00 SilverStone Strider Gold Evolution 1000W Power Supply Review
  7. 0:09:00 OCZ Vertex 4 512GB SSD Initial Review - Vertex Returns to its Indilinx Roots (Firmware Progression Testing)
  8. 0:25:00 AMD FX-6200 CPU Review: A Small Bulldozer Refresh
  9. 0:37:00 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  10. 0:38:50 IOLO U-NO-LOL. Ed Bott not amused by system optimizer ad
  11. 0:40:10 PC bill of materials articles creeps lower.
  12. 0:42:15 The fine waterline between genius and madness; toilet water PC cooling
  13. 0:46:15 NVIDIA urges you to program better now, not CPU -- later.
  14. 0:52:50 OCZ isn't the only one with a new drive today, Hitachi now offers a 4TB Ultrastar
  15. 0:57:00 This week: FX-6200, GTX 680 SLI and Surround Performance Testing, Z77 motherboards, MAINGEAR SHIFT system review
  16. 1:00:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: While GTX 680s are MIA still, HD 7970s are as low as $529
    2. Jeremy: Flying Car or Tricorder ... I can't decide
    3. Josh:  I really enjoy this game.
    4. Allyn: Koolance GTX 680 water block (in stock, oh wait, never mind, it *was* in stock an hour ago)
  17. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  18. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  19. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  20. Closing

Source:

Wireless Headsets and PC Cases Added To Vengeance Lineup

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | April 5, 2012 - 03:47 PM |
Tagged: vengeance, headset, gaming, corsair, case

Corsair announced today that a new wireless headset and gaming PC case would be joining the ranks of the existing Vengeance lineup of headsets and keyboards. Making their initial debut at PAX East this weekend, the new Vengeance 2000 wireless headset and Vengeance C70 Case will be available for purchase later this year.

The Vengeance 2000 is Corsair’s latest headset that takes the brushed aluminum, 50mm drivers, and microfiber ear cups of the Vengeance 1500, adds some blue and white accents and then cuts the cord. In pace of the USB cord, Corsair utilizes 2.4 GHz wireless to deliver 5.1 and 7.1 virtual surround sound up to 40 feet away and with a battery life of 10 hours. The headset further features a noise canceling microphone and battery that can be recharged via micro USB cable.

V2000_left.png

From the wording of the press release, it sounds like the charging cable will only act as a power cable -- meaning it will not make the headset wired. The wireless 2.4GHz radio may be problematic for gamers living in areas with lots of 2.4GHz interference (like an apartment building with lots of WiFi devices and microwaves), and in that case the wired Vengeance 1500 would be a better choice. (We are attempting to verify the wireless only aspects and will update the article if we receive a response). Update: Corsair has clarified to us that the headset is always wireless -- the USB cable is only used for charging and firmware flashing.

Arriving with two carrying handles and an ammo box aesthetic, the Vengeance C70 is ready for the war against heat with space for up to 240mm radiators (they suggest the H100) on the top and bottom or 10 total case fans. The case further features a steel front panel, eight PCI-E slots, and two removable hard drive cages with space for three 2.5” or 3.5” drives (for a total of six hard drives). The PCI-E slots and other internals use standard Philips head screws.

C70_G_handlesUP.png

The Vengeance C70 will be available in three colors: Military Green, Arctic White, Gunmetal Black. The external of the the case features large mesh grills over the fan areas. The front of the case features a honeycomb mesh for up to two fans, three 5.25” drive bays, and -- along the top -- two large buttons for power and reset with the power being the large red button (which would be difficult to resist pressing all the time). It also houses microphone and headphone jacks, and two USB 3.0 ports. All three C70 cases have two carrying handles on the top that fold down into recessed parts of the case when not being used.

C70_all3.png

The two new Vengeance entrants will be available this summer. The C70 will be available for purchase soonest -- as early as May -- with an MSRP of $139 USD. Meanwhile, the Vengeance 2000 wireless headset has an MSRP of $149 USD and will be available in June. More information on Corsair’s entire Vengeance gaming lineup is available here.

Source: Corsair