Subject: General Tech | March 7, 2012 - 01:30 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: sales, record, pcga, PC, gaming
In two surprising bits of news, the PC gaming alliance is not only still alive and kicking, but their recent report indicates that the PC games industry saw record sales numbers in 2011. The consortium reported that worldwide PC game sales hit $18.6 billion last year, a year over year increased of 15%. The initial numbers definitely seem to suggest that PC gaming is nowhere near dead.
The PCGA states that the rise in sales is due to increases in the Chinese PC games market and the rise in popularity of Free-to-Play games like TF2, Star Trek: Online, League of Legends, and World of Warcraft (which has a free component), and many others. The integration of some of the most popular Free to Play games into Valve's Steam store certainly didn't hurt either!
Further, the release of several big hit titles including Battlefield 3, Skyrim, Saints Row: The Third, and Portal 2, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution (my pick for PC Per Game of the Year) all contributed to the record sales numbers on the PC. According to the article, Asian publisher Tencent launched League of Legends and is now bringing in 11 million players (though it's likely that not all of those players are active and/or spend money on the service) and will be surpassing Activision as the company making the most money off of PC games. Zynga, the company behind many of the
annoying time sinks popular Facebook games, continued to rake in a boatload of money with 2011 revenue of $1.1 billion.
Not only did the PC gaming alliance report these positive numbers for 2011, but they predict that the PC games industry will continue to grow. As digital distribution systems catch on and broadband connections continue to improve and spread into new areas (though Verizon and AT&T aren't helping matters by stopping further roll outs of FIOS and Uverse), the PCGA predicts that the industry will grow to $25.5 billion, which would be a 37% rise in four years. If the growth rate continues in Asian markets and publishers continue to back down from DRM in favor of producing more titles that people want to buy, their predicted growth is certainly achievable. More information on the PCGA report can be found here along with the full press release here(PDF).
Subject: General Tech | March 6, 2012 - 03:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Z77, mini-itx, maximus v gene, maximus v formula, asus, Sabertooth, p8z77-V deluxe, p8z77 work station
Ryan wasn't the only one to get a preview of the new Intel Express Z77 motherboards, other models have been spotted on the web. [H]ard|OCP had the same preview of the mATX Maximus V GENE, the SABERTOOTH Z77, mITX P8Z77-I Deluxe, ROG Maximus V Formula and the P8Z77-V Deluxe and a WorkStation version of the Deluxe as well. All are LGA1155 boards with built in video out to take advantage of the next generation of Intel's onboard HD graphics and all but the Gene feature Lucid's Hydra technology. These are the first examples of this chipset and the boards are something to behold.
"If you find new motherboards to be worthy of eye candy, then we have a treat for you as ASUS pulled back the curtains on its Z77 model motherboards last week here in Dallas, TX. While there is a whole lot we can't tell you about the next generation Intel processors to occupy the LGA1155 socket, we can run down a very new software feature set."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- A sneak peek at Asus' next-gen Intel motherboards @ The Tech Report
- AMD Confirms CPU Bug Found By DragonFly BSD's Matt Dillon @ Slashdot
- AMD invests in Nuvixa for OpenCL-accelerated applications @ DigiTimes
- Co-chiefs likely to run future TSMC, says Chang @ DigiTimes
- Intel runs three Ivy Bridge fabs ragged for April blast off @ The Register
- Windows 8 Tricks, Tips and Shortcuts @ Techspot
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | March 6, 2012 - 03:41 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: valve, Steam Box, GDC, GDC 12
Valve and Razer formally agree to support Razer Hydra motion controller in Valve’s four most popular titles and two upcoming ones.
A little over two years ago, Valve and Razer announced a partnership for their Sixense high-precision motion controllers. During CES 2010, attendees were able to experiment with a prototype motion controller from Sixense to control Left 4 Dead 2. Sixense TrueMotion controllers were later released by Razer last June as the Razer Hydra.
Now you're thinking with controllers.
This Game Developers Conference (GDC) fast forwards us to almost a year after the launch of the Razer Hydra. The price for the controller has dropped $40 to $99.99 at some point between then and now. Valve has also announced that support would be extended from Portal 2 and Left 4 Dead 2 to include Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2 and upcoming Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
The fishiest part of this whole announcement involves the Steam Box rumor from a few days ago. Valve appears to be very focused on the best portions of console gaming for the PC all of a sudden. I could easily see motion controls be used to support The Steam Box or whatever it might be called -- especially if it were used for more than just gaming and by more than just gamers.
So what do you all think?
Subject: General Tech | March 5, 2012 - 05:23 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: msi, hd 7850, hd 7870, Twin Frozr
(Industry, CA) Leading international mainboard and graphics card maker MSI today officially announced the launch of R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC and R7850 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC, two new graphics cards equipped with AMD's latest 28nm HD 7800 GPU. The R7800 series features the exclusive Twin Frozr III cooling design that is equipped with MSI's Propeller Blade technology - patented in several countries – for 20% more cooling than conventional fans. Combined with MSI's SuperPipe technology and large cooling fins, the R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC core temperature is 15°C lower than reference boards and fan noise is reduced by 9dB* in full load. The R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC supports GPU voltage adjustment technology to boost overclocking potential by up to 20%** when used with MSI's exclusive Afterburner overclocking utility. Gamers can now unleash the full potential of their graphics card for gaming and multimedia applications.
Advanced Twin Frozr III Design Runs 15˚C Cooler and 9dB Quieter than Reference Boards
The MSI R7870/R7850 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC features the Twin Frozr III cooling module that has won popular acclaim from media around the world. The proprietary Propeller Blade technology has been patented in multiple countries and features special airflow channels on the edge of the fan blades to increase airflow by 20% compared to conventional designs and reduce noise as well! Under full load, the GPU core of the R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC graphics card is 15˚C lower than the reference design and operating noise is reduced by 9dB to less than 30dB. This combination of outright performance and ultra-quiet operation is proof that MSI products can provide gaming enthusiasts with the coolest and quietest user experience!
MSI's Exclusive Afterburner Core Voltage Adjustment Technology
The R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC graphics card supports GPU core voltage adjustment technology that can be used with the popular Afterburner overclocking utility to boost overclocking potential by 20%. The ability to push the graphics card to its limits reinforces MSI's excellence in software and hardware customization, making MSI the first choice of overclocking enthusiasts. In addition to overclocking, Afterburner also supports advanced fan speed control, custom overclocking settings, Predator audio/video capture and Kombustor burn-in testing. Most exciting of all is that gamers can download the Afterburner APP for Android or iOS operating systems to perform overclocking, remote monitoring and fan speed control in real-time from their handheld devices.
PCI Express Gen 3 Graphics Card with 28nm GPU
The MSI R7800 family is equipped with AMD's latest 28nm GPU that offers greater performance and processing power than the previous generation, while reducing power consumption. The MSI R7800 series graphics cards support thePCI Express Gen 3 standard, which when combined with a compatible CPU and mainboard, double bandwidth to a staggering 32GB/s for delivering the ultimate in gaming performance.
Supports Next Generation AV Ports and AMD Eyefinity Multi-Display Technology
MSI R7800 graphics cards provide DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4a outputs that support 3D video, 7.1 channel lossless TrueHD video and DTS-HD audio, as well as supporting AMD's proprietary Eyefinity multiple display technology. The support for next-generation audio-video standards makes the MSI R7800 family the best choice for professionals and gamers.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems | March 5, 2012 - 03:32 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: pcaudiolabs, pcal, Intel, giveaway, contest
UPDATE: Contest is closed! We'll announce a winner in the next couple of days!! Thanks to all who entered and to our sponsors for allowing us the chance to give away this kick-ass system!
UPDATE 2: Congratulations to user Cameron Berry as they are the winner of the PCAudioLabs sweepstakes sponsored by PC Perspective and Intel!! Thanks to everyone that participated and be sure to stay tuned for more contests right here on pcper.com!
Our fans and readers have supported PC Perspective since its formation in 2004 and even before that back in the days of amdmb.com and athlonmb.com, and because of that support, we have been able to provide you with reviews and information on a continuous basis that we feel are the best in the industry. And when we get the chance to give back to you, we jump at the chance and that is just what happened a couple weeks ago when our long time friends at Intel introduced us to the folks at PCAudioLabs for a sweepstakes of impressive proportions.
For the next two weeks we are giving our readers the chance to win a complete PCAudioLabs computer based on the Intel X79 platform and Sandy Bridge-E!! If you aren't familiar with PCAudioLabs, here is a rundown of their mission from their website:
PCAudioLabs was formed early in 2000 by Thomas Bolton and Fred Rosenbloom. At the time, they were both working at Steinberg North America in the technical department and they noticed a great need for more educational tools for music production. With a video camera and a desire to inform, they started making in depth tutorial guides to some of the biggest software products in music production. The company was a huge success but it quickly became apparent that even if people knew how to use their software, it wouldn’t be of much help if the computer they were trying to use it on didn’t do its job.
PCAudioLabs built their first custom DAW for world renowned Engineer/Producer Mark Howard and within months they were the hottest system builders in the country. Besides the enormous list of pro users that have chosen PCAudioLabs, AMD, Intel and Microsoft have all turned to PCAudioLabs whenever they have audio needs.
In 2007, PCAudioLabs tripled in size, moving into a new location and increasing staff to meet demand. By NAMM 2008, PCAudioLabs was not only the supplier of PC’s for music software giants Steinberg and Cakewalk, but also hardware manufacturers such as Roland, Yamaha and Euphonix.
Although our task is technical, we know our staff needs to be able to relate to you and your situation. That’s why not only are the people who will build your system experts in computing, they are also musicians. In fact, any person you e-mail or speak to at PCAudioLabs makes music, so you’ll never have to worry about asking a musical question and getting a technical response – we speak your language.
Inside this brand-new generation of Rok Box you'll find an Intel Core i7-3820 Sandy Bridge-E processor along with a great Intel DX79TO motherboard. Kingston has supplied 16GB of DDR3 memory to keep your audio creation rolling even with a ton of applications loaded up. Storage is powered by a 240GB Intel 510 SSD as well as dual 1TB spinning drives for recording and sampling simultaneously. ASUS has provided the GTX 560 Ti CUII TOP graphics card and the entire system is powered by an 850 watt Antec High Current Pro power supply. In total, the system from PCAudioLabs will retail for right around $3,000!!
That isn't all though as PCAudioLabs has included full versions of software required for audio production including Cakewalk Sonar X1 Essential, Native Instruments Komplete Element's, IK Multimedia's Amplitube FREE and much more. The software alone is valued at more than $600 bringing the total value here to over $3,600! See the PCAudioLabs website for more details.
I am sure you are interested in the system itself so we have created a short video to go over the hardware as well as the software included in this bundle - check it out!
Without a doubt you are wondering what you have to do to win this system. The steps are simple:
- Visit the PCAudioLabs Facebook page at http://facebook.com/pcaudiolabs, "Like" it and leave a comment on the wall if you want as well, thanking them for supporting PC Perspective and the audio creation community. They are supporting PC Perspective by giving us this system and allowing US to support YOU with the giveaway, so get over here and support THEM!
- Leave a comment on this PC Perspective post below (registration is not required, though recommended) telling us and the PCAL crew what you plan to do with this system, how you'll utilize its power in your audio creation projects, etc. What will the Rok Box improve or make easier for you?
- And if you want to follow us for more PC hardware news and upcoming contests you can do so at several locations. http://twitter.com/pcper http://facebook.com/pcper and http://gplus.to/pcper
That's it! Our sweepstakes will run between today at end at 12:01am EST on March the 6th. If you don't have your entry in by then, you are out of luck. We will pick a random winner from the comments and ship the system out that week in March. You are responsible for any taxes / tariffs but we'll cover the shipping to anywhere in the world.
A HUGE thanks goes out to our friends at PCAudioLabs and Intel for making this possible and we hope you all appreciate the work that goes into putting something like this on. Also, thanks goes to Antec, ASUS and Kingston for their support as well.
Good luck to everyone and happy audio editing!!
Subject: General Tech | March 5, 2012 - 02:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, mechanical keyboard, cherry mx blue
The recent move to mechanical keys has really opened up the keyboard market and choosing one is now about more than just a few backlights or media buttons. Scott has done a great job in showing what is meant by a mechanical keyboard as well as the differences between the main types in a recent article. One drawback to the mechanical keyboards is their size, they tend to be on the large side and are not the most easy portable of keyboards. Benchmark Reviews found a keyboard that might offer the best of both worlds, Cherry MX Blue switches on a trimmed down shell.
"Although mechanical keyboards have been making a comeback in recent years many of the design are quite bulky in comparison to their rubber dome counter parts. Looking to fill this area of the market Cooler Master designed the Storm QuickFire Rapid mechanical keyboard using the venerable Cherry MX Blue switches, fit into a comfortable 14" x 5" design. This makes the QuickFire Rapid perfect for LAN parties or mobile workers who may want a better typing experience than their laptops are able to offer. Benchmark Reviews will evaluate if the Cooler Master QuickFire Rapid is the perfect pint size keyboard or if corners were cut in order to meet size and price goals."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- QPAD MK-50 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ techPowerUp
- SilverStone EC03 USB 3.0 adapter @ Bjorn3D
- Thermaltake's Meka G1 and G-Unit keyboards @ The Tech Report
- Corsair Vengeance K60 @ XSReviews
- SteelSeries Kinzu V2 Pro Edition Gaming Mouse @ Tweaktown
- Cyborg M.M.O.7 Mouse Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Roccat Kone[+] Gaming Mouse Review @ Legit Reviews
- Corsair Vengeance K90 @ Guru of 3D
- Logitech Cube Grab-and-Go Mouse @ Tweaktown
- Gigabyte Aire M1 ultra Portable Mouse @ Funky Kit
Subject: General Tech | March 5, 2012 - 12:12 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: win8, windows 8, Metro
As many have done recently, The Tech Report downloaded the consumer preview of Windows 8 to try out the new interface from the perspective of a power user. While many glowing reviews of the OS have come from those who love the idea that their computer could just become a big phone, those of us who do far more with PCs have run into issues. One of the nastiest changes seems to be the complete removal of the Start button and breaking the registry hack that would restore it on the earlier beta version. The obvious preference for a touch interface makes keyboard and mouse control awkward at times, though once you manage to start the program you are looking for the response is the same as it was on previous versions of Windows. Not all was doom and gloom however, there are some positive points to designing a consistent touch interface which will work on your phone, tablet, laptop and desktop.
"In his latest blog post, TR's David Morgan gets acquianted with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and explores how the Metro interface affects the traditional desktop."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- A Look at the Windows 8 Consumer Preview @ SemiAccurate
- Unknown Bash Tips and Tricks For Linux @ Linux.com
- 2-for-1: Can Windows 8 satisfy both the desktop and the tablet? @ Ars Technica
- Asustek to launch Cedar Trail-based netbook in March @ DigiTimes
- Samsung ST96 Camera Review @ Tech-Reviews
- The TR Podcast 107: Chasing Ivy and mechanical keyboards
- Win an LG Optimus 3D, and £50 Credit from Three! @ Tech-Reviews
- Win a £550 solid state drive with our partners ARIA @ Kitguru
- Weekly Giveaway #23: Thecus N2800 SMB NAS Server @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | March 4, 2012 - 04:29 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ultrabook, Intel
Intel… really likes Ultrabooks.
Over the last year Intel has been attempting to push their Ultrabook platform in an attempt to promote the PC platform as both elegant and mobile. They only want to do what is best for the PC -- especially the ones which contain the most and the highest profit margin Intel parts. Is that really too much for the big blue to ask?
The real irony would be if this ad campaign increases Eyefinity sales…
Within the last year Intel has pushed Ultrabooks from as many different angles as they possibly can. They bargained with manufacturers to take the risk and develop these higher-end laptops. They set aside 300 million dollars toward technologies to further Ultrabooks in any way possible from batteries to software. Intel now completes their Ultrabook platform support triangle: they advertise the heck out of them.
So what do you see from this, a WOW or a FAIL?
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | March 3, 2012 - 09:18 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: GDC 12, GDC, crytek
Crytek unveils their large presence at Game Developers’ Conference (GDC 2012) occurring next week: what projects will be on the show floor and what projects will be discussed privately by appointment.
The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) tends to be where most gamers get their overdose of gaming news. Much fewer gamers know of the Game Developers’ Conference which occurs about three months earlier. Especially over recent years, GDC coverage sometimes ends up more exciting than E3 with announcements being more technical and oriented to developers.
A call out to interested developers.
Crytek published a press release on their website outlining their products. The release is quite cryptic in its wording, but more information should be available soon.
GFACE, our recently announced social entertainment service, and its business development team is on the lookout for fun third-party social, casual, core free2play games that can complement our launch line up. Everyone interested in becoming part of GFACE should contact us at email@example.com to set up an appointment to learn more about the GFACE Social Media Publishing Platform to “Play.Together.Live.”
Crytek’s first freemium PC Online FPS Game Service Warface invites players to check out our PVE and PVP gameplay.
GDC attendees can participate in CryENGINE presentations every full hour. Topics that will be covered are next-generation DX 11 graphics and tools upgrades, Cinebox, creating characters for CryENGINE, AI Systems, UI Actions and Flow Graph and After Action feature set for Serious Games.
CryENGINE®3 Cinebox™ will also be on the showfloor and we’d love to show you more about it. For more information, please visit mycryengine.com or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Real Time Immersive, Inc. (RTI) is a simulation and serious games studio established to support CryENGINE® licensees in the serious game and simulation market space. The team will be present on the show floor and show their latest developments.
Crytek uses their own vocabulary to categories projects which use their engine. Your project is a “Game” if it is a typical videogame such as Crysis or Mechwarrior Online. Your project is a “Serious Game” if you use their game technology for professional applications such as Lockheed Martin developing or demonstrating aircraft technology. Your project is a “Visualization” if you use game technology to demonstrate architecture or produce TV, film, and similar content in the engine.
I am most interested to find out more details about Warface and specifically find out what they could possibly be describing as a FPS Game Service with PVE gameplay. How about you? Comment away.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | March 3, 2012 - 05:16 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: valve, Steam Box, steam, GDC 12
It is rumored that Valve will announce a Steam hardware platform as early as GDC next week although that could be pushed back as late as E3 in June.
Steam has grown atop the PC platform and consists of over 40 million active user accounts. For perspective, the Xbox 360 has sold 65.8 million units to date and that includes units sold to users whose older Xbox 360s died and they did not go the cardboard coffin route. Of course the study does not account for the level of hardware performance each user can utilize although Valve does keep regular surveys of that.
A console with admined dedicated servers to kick the teabagging and griefing Steam punks.
Within the last couple of years, Valve has been popping in to news seemingly out of the blue. Allow me to draw your attention to three main events.
At the last GDC, Valve announced “The Big Picture” mode for their Steam software. The Big Picture is an interface for Steam which is friendly to users seated on a couch several feet away from a large screen TV. While “The Big Picture” has yet to be released it does set the stage for a great Home Theatre PC user interface for PC games as well as potentially other media.
I must admit, that controller does not look the most ergonomic... but it is just a patent filing.
Last year, Valve also filed a patent with the US Patent Office for a video game controller with user swappable control components. Their patent filings show a controller which looks quite similar to an Xbox 360 controller where the thumbsticks can be replaced with touch pads as well as a trackball and potentially other devices. Return of Missile Command anyone?
Also a little over two years ago, Valve announced a partnership with Razer for their Sixense high-precision motion controllers. It is possible that Valve was supporting this technology for this future all along. While motion controllers have not proven to be successful for gaming, they are accepted as a method to control a device. Perhaps The Big Picture will be optimized to support Sixense and compatible devices?
The Verge goes beyond their claims that Valve will announce The Steam Box and has included specifications for a closed-doors prototype of the system. The system was rumored to be used to present to partners at CES contained an Intel Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GPU.
You know if Microsoft had focused on Media Center for gaming rather than the Xbox...
It is very unclear whether Valve will attempt to take a loss on the platform in hopes to make it back up in Steam commissions. It is possible that Valve will just push the platform to OEM partners, but it is possible that they will release and market their own canon device.
I am interested to see how Valve will push the Home Theatre PC market. The main disadvantage that the PC platform has at the moment is simply marketing and development money. It is also possible that they wish to expand out and support other media through their Steam service as well.
At the very least, we should have a viable Home Theatre PC user interface as well as sharp lines between hardware profiles. A developer on the PC would love to know the exact number of potential users they should expect if they were to support a certain hardware configuration. Valve was always keen on supplying hardware profile statistics, and this is certainly a harsh evolution of that.