Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2012 - 02:04 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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:
- Total War: Shogun 2 - Fall of the Samurai (PC) Game Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Blacklight Retribution (Beta) PC Review @ eTeknix
- Max Payne 3's Multiplayer In Motion @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN!
- Firaxis Talk XCOM, Redux: Bases, Ammo, Skills Explained @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN!
- CAPCOM Digital Collection (XBOX 360) Game Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 (XBOX 360) Game Review @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2012 - 01:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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:
- AMD collaborates with Green Hills to port Integrity real-time OS @ The Inquirer
- Death of a data haven: cypherpunks, WikiLeaks, and the world's smallest nation @ Ars Technica
- Rockyou security blunder exposed data on 32 million gamers @ The Inquirer
- Plastic that SELF-REPAIRS using light unleashed by prof @ The Register
- ARM adds Mali support to the new DS5 suite @ SemiAccurate
- ASUS EA-N66U Wireless-N450 Ethernet Adapter @ Benchmark Reviews
- Canon PowerShot SX260 HS Review @ TechReviewSource
- The new Comcast Xbox Xfinity app is the first nail in net neutrality’s coffin @ ExtremeTech
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | March 28, 2012 - 04:26 AM | Scott Michaud
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.
Mobile GPUs in SLi -- not common, not unheard of, but probably a good idea for 3D.
- 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
Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2012 - 01:01 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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:
- HP gives huge chunk of storage business to channel @ The Register
- Microsoft takes down ZeuS botnets @ The Register
- Airlive N.Plug @ HardwareBistro
Subject: General Tech | March 26, 2012 - 01:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel to offer new SSDs, say Taiwan makers @ DigiTimes
- Intel extends lead over Samsung in semiconductor market share @ The Inquirer
- AMD completes its buyout of Seamicro @ The Inquirer
- Many Ivy Bridge ultrabooks expected to be showcased at Computex Taipei
- The TR Podcast 108: Take three tablets and call Dr. Kepler in the morning
Subject: General Tech | March 26, 2012 - 08:55 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows, software, photoshop, mac, editing
Adobe, the company best known for its popular prosumer photo and video editing suites and Flash player recently released a free beta version of its upcoming Photoshop CS6 photo editing software. Available for both Macintosh and Windows, the downloads are now up for grabs and should be good until the final version of Photoshop CS6 is released (later this year). The company also released a video demonstration of Senior Creative Director Russel Brown showing off several of the new features in CS6. The big new features of CS6 include the new Content Aware Move (and Fill), improved crop, new blurs, RAW 7.0 support, and adaptive wide angle lens correction. The video below shows how the new features work to enhance photos.
The Photoshop CS6 Interface
I downloaded the 64-bit version for Windows and tried out the new features. The first thing I noticed is that the tool tips seem a big buggy and can take a few tries to get them to show up. Also, in the Video Mr. Brown clicks on the Content Aware Move tool on the left but in order to actually get to it, you need to right click on the move icon as the default left click action is not for the Content Aware option. After I figured that out -- and this may indeed be common knowledge for Photoshop users, but was not for someone used to GIMP and Paint.net -- I found that the new features were pretty cool and it ran fairly quickly on my system. I would like to see the icons be a bit larger but otherwise the interface was snappy and while I stumbled at some points I think it has more to do with being used to how my usual photo editors work rather than an inherent problem with Photoshop’s interface.
I have to say that the Content Aware tools are pretty neat, and in no time I had a fleet of Corgi puppies running around the yard! And the Content Aware Move tool allowed me to move the corgis around without needing to go back and try to clone the grass back in (which I've never been too good at, heh). Granted this is something that was do-able in the past but it required quite a bit more work! It is not perfect, but it is pretty darn good for an automatic process. I was not able to test out the improved RAW support, however. The video demo made the feature look cool and I’m sure people will find it very useful. The adaptive wide angle feature further will be very useful for correcting the fish eye effect and other distortions with minimal effort. The ability for it to pull lens profiles from metadata to assist in correcting the distortion is pretty neat.
The downloads weigh in at 1.7 GB for the Windows .zip and 984 MB for the Mac .dmg file respectively. The Windows download also includes both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Both downloads are available here. The beta further includes both CS6 and CS6 Extended features, though the extra features will only be included in the Extended version when the retail version is released.
Russel Brown shows off new features in Adobe's Photoshop CS6.
Subject: General Tech | March 26, 2012 - 02:21 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: MSN Messenger, censorship
Microsoft disables linking The Pirate Bay through Windows Live Messenger and third-party applications using the protocol.
A few years ago, one common attack vector for malware was to hijack messenger clients and send malware links to users on your friends list. Later malware was programmed aggressively enough to hold simple conversation as they attempted to gain the user’s trust.
At some point, Microsoft decided to block links to known attack sites in an attempt to prevent users from lemming their computer.
You're dead linked to me...
Recently Microsoft has decided to add the current URL of The Pirate Bay to their block list. Microsoft has not made an announcement whether their employee, a third party company, or a computer algorithm censored The Pirate Bay. Microsoft has accidentally blocked links to Youtube in 2008 due to a mistake caused by one of their third party partners.
Since The Pirate Bay was the only torrent tracker to be blocked by MSN, it is entirely possible that an infected ad link could have automatically added the site to the block list. Google maintains a similar blacklist to be used in their Chrome browser and their search page.
So what do you guys think? Accidental or deliberate? Internal, External, or Automatic?
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | March 25, 2012 - 08:42 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: TSMC, nvidia, Intel
NVIDIA would like Intel to be their fab partner for ARM processors. Turns out NVIDIA-produced ARM products are not tempting to Intel.
Last month we reported that Intel would open up their fabrication plants to contracts from other companies. We stated that the world would likely end if Intel were to ever produce products from NVIDIA. It turns out that the world is safe.
Turn out the lights, pretend we’re not home.
Intel is far and away the most advanced semiconductor fabricators in the world and many companies would love to have their components created in their factories. Intel is very aware of how sophisticated their technique is relative to their competitors and exercises that advantage.
NVIDIA currently fabricates their chips at TSMC. That partnership has proven to be slightly problematic to NVIDIA’s business goals. Their Kepler launch turned out to not be nearly as soft of a launch as was proposed by SemiAccurate -- but that is to be expected from a website by that name (especially with NVIDIA news).
Perhaps you were a little too greedy in requesting that Intel manufacture your ARM processors, NVIDIA? Maybe you should test the waters with a discrete GPU order or, you know, some other market that Intel does not compete in try as they might.
Even still, there was a rumor going around when Intel partnered with AMD for hardware-accelerated physics support. It does not seem like Intel really want to be friends. Plenty of fish in the sea, though.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | March 25, 2012 - 06:55 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: kindle fire, amazon
Taiwanese-based machining company, Catcher Technology, is rumored to start producing an order of chassis for the new Kindle Fire.
Amazon has thus far been very successful at gaining public awareness about their tablet devices. Apple still holds the dominant position in the tablet market although Amazon seems to be comfortably secure where they are. Sales of the original Kindle Fire were somewhere north of 5.5 million units.
Like Sandra Bullock -- start with a Fire on the Amazon, add Speed and get really big.
Despite hefty sales of their first product, the Fire was based on the Blackberry Playbook design to saturate the market for Christmas and was not what Amazon originally intended.
Rumors have suggested that the new Kindle would include a 10-inch screen and have higher performance. ZDNet recently questioned the value of a larger and higher performance model. ZDNet attributes the success of the Kindle Fire to its cheap price point and argues that $200 is the impulse buy point.
Unfortunately, although strong rumors claim that Catcher Technology will develop the chassis -- the rumors appear to say nothing about what size they will be.
But hey, at least Catcher will have new CNC machines to play around with.
Subject: General Tech | March 23, 2012 - 07:04 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: friday, Pelly Angry!
They say that you know good art when you see it, for beauty is in the eye of the beholder ... and airflow is important in this case. Others have abandoned the ridiculously poor thermal conductivity of air for the superior ability of water to move heat. From the basics of setting up a watercooled system to an experienced member upgrading the watercooling in their system, if you have hot questions you are just burning to ask, head to the Cases'n'Cooling Forum for a deluge of answers.
The Video Card Forum has been quite busy this week, trying to keep up with the large number of leaks that NVIDIA seems to have sprung this week (we believe in NDAs at PC Perspective), which cumulated in the release of the GTX 680 yesterday. Are you headed out to buy one right now or are you saving up for another pair of monitors first? Once you do finish the upgrade why not see if the extra peripheral vision will help you frag fellow Frogs on gaming night?
If that is not your cuppa, then you could always join The Lightning Round to weigh in on your feelings about the Republican Primaries in the US or whatever other political or social topic you would like to have a debate about ... except the NDP Leadership race in Canada, after all you don't want to bore people. On the other hand if you prefer to watch other people talk and debate then catch the latest episode of the PC Perspective Podcast available here and coming to a movie theatre near you.