MojoKid writes "The new Intel SSD 730 will be the company's latest flagship consumer-targeted SSD. The drive, however, features technology gleaned from Intel's experience in data centers, and is actually quite similar to the DC S3500 series. Intel is doing a few things to set this drive apart, though. The SSD 730's controller and NAND components are have gone through additional qualification at the factory and the drive's firmware is tuned for high performance. The Intel SSD 730 series will initially be offered in 240GB and 480GB flavors and in the common 2.5" form factor. Intel is binning the parts used in the SSD 730 series to ensure maximum reliability, high-performance and low latency. To that end, the controller's clock speed has been boosted by 50% and the NAND is clocked 20% higher as well. You'd think that boosting the clocks might affect the long-term reliability of the drive, but Intel is offering a full 5-year warranty and rating the drive for 70GB writes/day. Performance of the new Intel SSD 730 series is top-notch, with the drive scoring at the top of the pack versus leading SSDs on the market currently with the best overall performance."Link to Original Source
MojoKid writes "Intel is announcing its new tablet and smartphone designs this week at Mobile World Congress, alongside a major push to drive adoption of its 28nm XMM 7160 and XMM 7260 modem technology. It's been two years since Intel launched its first serious Atom-based smartphone platform, codenamed Medfield. The chips that will power these efforts are the Z34 and Z35 families, known as Merrifield and Moorefield, respectively. The new Merrifield core will use a 4G-capable XMM 7160 modem, a 1080p camera capable of 60 FPS capture, and the same Bay Trail CPU that was previously released. While it lacks Hyper-Threading, the addition of out-of-order processing means that the dual-core Bay Trail will be significantly faster than the older, in-order Atom parts. Merrifield also uses a PowerVR GPU core based on Series 6 (codenamed "Rogue"). This new GPU core is substantially more powerful than the older cores Intel used in the past and contains four separate compute clusters. Historically, Intel's tablets and smartphones have targeted "acceptable" graphics rather than fielding anything genuinely first rate, but that may change in 2014."Link to Original Source
MojoKid writes "Intel has announced new 15-core Xeon E7 v2 series processors for the enterprise, big data and data center servers. The Xeon E7 processors Intel is replacing with this update are based on the old Westmere core, which first debuted in consumer products back in 2010, and have separate I/O hubs on the motherboard with a QPI link port dedicated to each of them. The new Xeon E7 v2 moves those hubs on-die, which means the system's remaining three QPI links are still providing a significant bandwidth boost — up to 8GT/s, from 6.4GT/s. The old Westmere-EX platforms had up to 72 lanes of PCIe 2.0 connectivity provided per socket while the new Xeon E7 v2 offer 32 PCIe 3.0 lanes per socket. The entire structure of the last-level cache has been reworked, with a comprehensive ring bus incorporated across all 15 cores. Intel also implemented the 37.5MB of L3 in 15 slices, which allows each core a dedicated interface to the L3. Intel claims up to a whopping 450GB/s of bandwidth per socket with the new Xeon E7 v2, counting both the quad-channel memory controllers and the L3 cache."Link to Original Source
MojoKid writes "Intel just announced new 15-core Xeon 8000 series processors for enterprise, big data and data center servers. The Xeon E7 processors Intel is replacing with this update are still based on the old Westmere core, which first debuted in consumer products back in 2010. Westmere-EX, the old 32nm chip, still had separate I/O hubs on the motherboard, and a QPI port dedicated to each of them. The new Xeon E7 v2 moves those hubs on-die, which means the system's remaining three QPI links are still providing a significant bandwidth boost — up to 8GT/s, from 6.4GT/s. The old Westmere-EX platforms had up to 72 lanes of PCIe 2.0 connectivity provided per socket; the new E7 v2 cores offer 32 PCIe 3.0 lanes per socket. The entire structure of the last-level cache has been reworked, with a comprehensive ring bus incorporated across all 15 cores. Intel implemented the 37.5MB of L3 in 15 slices, which allows each core a dedicated interface to the L3. Intel claims up to 450GB/s of bandwidth per socket counting both the quad-channel memory controllers and the L3 cache."Link to Original Source
MojoKid writes "Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon series cuts through the traditional ThinkPad's stuffy corporate facade, offering something for the conference room or coffee shop with a sleeker physique. The original ThinkPad X1 Carbon was initially released back in 2012 and at the time, its carbon fiber-infused chassis offered a combination of build quality and light-weight durability that Lenovo could still call a "ThinkPad," though the original X1 Carbon felt a little bit flimsy in spots. New for 2014, Lenovo has completely revamped the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, from the 4th generation Intel Haswell Core series processor under its hood, to its higher density carbon fiber-filled polymer skins, a higher resolution 2560X1440 display and some major upgrades to the keyboard area. One of the hallmark features of the new X1 Carbon design is Lenovo's adaptive function row display strip above the keyboard. This is actually a liquid crystal display that allows for various icon patterns to be displayed even in bright lighting conditions. Lenovo achieves this with an electroluminescent layer behind the display. Though some of the functions offered are more of a novelty, other functions like Brightness, Volume, Screen Snip, Search and some of the browser functions, are valuable additions for accessibility and usability with Windows 8."Link to Original Source
MojoKid writes "For the record, Goat Simulator was never meant to be a real game. It was just a silly bit of code that spilled out of the brains of the game developer staff at Coffee Stain Studios. But then the Internet caught a glimpse of the rough simulator and viewers unanimously agreed that this had to happen. And so it has. Goat Simulator is exactly as it sounds — you're a goat and you run around doing naughty goat-like things. Judging by the trailer, you also have the ability to defy physics for more goat mayhem than you thought possible. We're talking giant leaps off of trampolines with some crazy acrobatics. When it comes down to it, though, the real fun is wreaking havoc on humans."Link to Original Source
MojoKid writes "Two events in the telecommunications and cable world this week have highlighted why, exactly, we need net neutrality and stronger protections for consumer rights. First, on the cable side of the business, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Eagle Communications, and Comcast have collectively introduced a bill into the Kansas legislature that prevents any city from rolling out any broadband infrastructure unless said area is completely cut off from the grid. It would bar the use of eminent domain for the purpose of providing better service to a city's citizens. And not incidentally, it makes Google Fiber effectively illegal. The bill would outlaw public/private partnerships, open access approaches, and the partnership that brought Google Fiber to Kansas City. It doesn't have a single sponsor, but was proposed by John Federico, president of the Kansas Cable Telecommunications Association. Meanwhile, AT&T has been quietly assembling a patent portfolio for itself that simultaneously attacks net neutrality and consumer rights. The company applied for a patent titled "Prevention Of Bandwidth Abuse Of A Communications System" in October 2012. The abstract reads, in part: "A user of a communications network is prevented from consuming an excessive amount of channel bandwidth by restricting use of the channel in accordance with the type of data being downloaded to the user. The user is provided an initial number of credits. As the user consumes the credits, the data being downloaded is checked to determine if is permissible or non-permissible.""Link to Original Source
MojoKid writes "AMD's Andrew Feldman announced today that the company is preparing to sample its new eight-core ARM SoC (codename: Seattle). Feldman gave a keynote presentation at the fifth annual Open Compute Summit. The Open Compute Project (OCP) is Facebook's effort to decentralize and unpack the datacenter, breaking the replication of resources and low volume, high-margin parts that have traditionally been Intel's bread-and-butter. AMD is claiming that the eight ARM cores offer 2-4x the compute performance of the Opteron X1250 — which isn't terribly surprising considering that the X1250 is a four-core chip based on the Jaguar CPU, with a relatively low clock speed of 1.1 — 1.9GHz. We still don't know the target clock speeds for the Seattle cores, but the embedded roadmaps AMD has released show the ARM embedded part actually targeting a higher level of CPU performance (and a higher TDP) than the Jaguar core itself."Link to Original Source
MojoKid writes "Blizzard has released a powerful new suite of tools for Starcraft 2 modders and developers that fundamentally change the nature of what's possible in the popular RTS game. Now, players can use the same architectural and graphics design toolsets that Blizzard has used internally to build new units, tilesets, and models. Furthermore, these tools are now available even with the Starcraft 2: Starter Edition kit. Critically, artists will now be able to incorporate images and effects designed in programs like 3ds Max, Photoshop, or other high-end particle systems. The exciting thing about these releases is that Starcraft 2's modding list is as interesting as the primary game, if not moreso. Fans have faithfully created adaptations of famous Starcraft maps, implemented entirely new rulesets that blend the old, micro-friendly playstyle of Starcraft with the modern engine, and even gone total conversion with Warcraft ported over into the SC2 game."Link to Original Source
MojoKid writes "News from gaming insider Pete Doss is that Microsoft is mulling significant changes to the restrictions it places on developers regarding the Xbox One's GPU. Reportedly, some 10% of total GPU horsepower is reserved for the Kinect — 8% for video and 2% for voice processing. Microsoft is apparently planning changes that would free up that 8% video entirely, leaving just 2% of the system's GPU dedicated to voice input. If Microsoft makes this change, it could have a significant uplift on system frame rates — and it's not clear that developers would necessarily need to patch the architecture to take advantage of the difference."Link to Original Source
MojoKid writes "There's no disputing that Bill Gates is blessed with a brilliant mind. Sure, he dropped out of Harvard College, but he got accepted into the elite institution of higher learningin the first place. Leading into his college career, Gates scored 1,590 out of 1,600 on the SAT. The rest is history — he went on to co-found Microsoft, built a net worth that's in the billions ($76.8 billion at last count), and now spends his time on his philanthropic efforts. Regardless, it took 23-year-old Magnus Carlsen, a "grandmaster" Chess player since the age of 13 and new world Chess champion, just 71 seconds to defeat Gates in a friendly game of Chess on a Norwegian television show. It takes longer to heat up a cup of water in the microwave."Link to Original Source
MojoKid writes "Of all the rumors that swirled around Kaveri before the APU debuted last week, one of the more interesting bits was that AMD might debut GDDR5 as a desktop option. GDDR5 isn't bonded in sticks for easy motherboard socketing, and motherboard OEMs were unlikely to be interested in paying to solder 4-8GB of RAM directly. Such a move would shift the RMA responsibilities for RAM failures back to the board manufacturer. It seemed unlikely that Sunnyvale would consider such an option but a deep dive into Kaveri's technical documentation shows that AMD did indeed consider a quad-channel GDDR5 interface. Future versions of the Kaveri APU could potentially also implement 2x 64-bit DDR3 channels alongside 2x 32-bit GDDR5 channels, with the latter serving as a framebuffer for graphics operations. The other document making the rounds is AMD's software optimization guide for Family 15h processors. This guide specifically shows an eight-core Kaveri-based variant attached to a multi-socket system. In fact, the guide goes so far as to say that these chips in particular contain five links for connection to I/O and other processors, whereas the older Family 15h chips (Bulldozer and Piledriver) only offer four Hypertransport links."Link to Original Source
MojoKid writes "Plenty of OEMs have lifted the veil on their planned Steam Machine products but Dell really seems to want to brake free of the pack with their Alienware-designed small form factor machine that they unveiled at CES this week. It's surprisingly tiny, sleek and significantly smaller than the average game console, weighing only about 4 — 6 pounds fully configured. Dell had a prototype of the machine on hand that is mechanically exact, complete with IO ports and lighting accents. Dell also had a SteamOS driven system running, though and it was actually a modified Alienware system powering the action with Valve's innovative Steam Controller. In first person shooters like Metro Last Night, that Dell was demonstrating, the left circular pad can be setup for panning and aiming in traditional AWSD fashion, while the right pad can be used for forward and back movement with triggers setup for firing and aiming down site. You can, however, customize control bindings to your liking and share profiles and bindings with friends on the Steam network. What's notable about Dell's unveiling is that the Steam Machines initiative gained some critical mass with a major OEM like Dell behind the product offering, in addition to the handful of boutique PC builders that have announced products thus far."Link to Original Source
Deathspawner writes "While Intel's had a slight piece of the Android pie already thanks to its use in select smartphones in Europe, the upcoming kid-targeted DreamWorks DreamTab becomes the first tablet to make use of Intel's hardware. And, this is no cut-down SoC as a kids' tablet would imply. In use will be Intel's quad-core Z3740, able to peak at 1.86GHz. Of course, there's a lot more than just the hardware that makes this an interesting tablet. With DreamWorks behind it, the DreamTab could very-well become the hottest kid-target tablet ever."
Deathspawner writes "If there's one thing Valve knows how to do well, it's make money, but sometimes, its methods are a little unusual, or unexpected. Take for example, its trading cards, which allows users to purchase virtual cards off of others to craft badges which increase their Steam level. Valve first made good use of this mechanic during last summer's sale, but with the holiday one just past, it's proven that it doesn't care how many cards people buy — even if the total spent runs into the thousands.
What made the badges for this holiday sale quite a bit different than last summer's is that they could be crafted seemingly forever. One user who goes by the name of PalmDesert took that fact to heart, and crafted the same badge a staggering 1,000 times — something that Techgage estimates cost the user about $1,500. Further, the same user crafted a level 100 foil version of the badge, which would have cost over $2,000.
One thing's clear, as menial as a digital item might appear, if it's being sold, someone will buy it."