Misc

Ever since the Sony hack was unveiled, it's been clear that the movie studios haven't given up on SOPA, but an analysis of the MPAA's collective actions on the anti-piracy issue have unveiled plans that go far beyond simply sponsoring legislation or advocating for particular positions. Now, Google has announced it will fight to dismiss lawsuits filed by Mississippi's Attorney General Jim Hood, alleging that the AG in that state is acting as a paid, sponsored lackey of the movie industry.  Understanding Project Goliath The collision between the MPAA and Google arises from a fundamental... Read more...
Let me state right off the bat that I'm primarily a PC gamer. You might not know it if you set foot in my living room, where you'll find an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii all jockeying for attention in my home theater rack, but outside of sports titles and the occasional party-type game played through the Kinect, I play games on a PC. I bring this up because Grand Theft Auto V isn't yet available for the PC, marking one of the title's few shortcomings in what's otherwise an engaging, open world with a connected storyline that's masterfully woven through the perspective of three playable... Read more...
After 25 years of typing on keyboards, I've field-tested everything from IBM's legendary Mode M to the sort of $4.99 specials that were, as far as I could tell, constructed from styrofoam, packing peanuts, and pocket lint. About a year ago, I made the jump to a pair of mechanical keyboards and haven't looked back since. Marco wrote an excellent explanation on the various types of keyboard switches and capabilities that I'd recommend reading for more background info. The board on the table today is Gigabyte's Aivia Osmium, and it's an impressive beauty. The Osmium includes a USB 2 port, USB 3 port,... Read more...
Trusted sources we've spoken to in the semiconductor industry have implied that TSMC is considering a partnership with Apple that would realign the manufacturer's technology roadmap and fundamentally alter the balance of power between the foundry and its other customers. Morris Chang, TSMC's CEO, spoke about the possibility of closer collaboration with its customers in general terms last Friday, but at the time we thought the likelihood of an Apple alliance was unlikely. We've since been given reason to think otherwise. A dedicated alliance with Apple that gives the company first access to... Read more...
For PC gamers, the gear we use to play can provide a tangible edge in our games. Although much noise is made about backlit keyboards boasting gamer oriented layouts and fancy mice with odd shapes, the most important considerations for gaming are still the guts of the gaming machine, a comfortable desk layout, a good monitor and a quality sound reproduction device. While most gamers understand the need for a capable system and a quality monitor, they don't often appreciate that last bit about sound. The engineer didn't hear the spy approaching from behind. Any old speaker will provide the most... Read more...
On September 1, GlobalFoundries played host to the first annual Global Technology Conference (GTC for short). While there were a fair number of partner presentations on display, the conference was primarily driven by GlobalFoundries executives and announcements. When we spoke to GlobalFoundries in March we remarked on the company's aggressive roadmap; we were curious to see if the company would still be on track six months later. Based on comments made by company CEO Doug Grose, GlobalFoundries is on track to realize some $4 billion in revenue for the year 2010 and plans to double its size within... Read more...
Just this past week, the Game Developers Conference was held in downtown San Francisco, CA. If you're unfamiliar with GDC, it is the "world's largest professionals-only game industry event." In other words, everyday gaming enthusiast can't just walk in off the street to take a look around. GDC is held every spring and is basically a forum for learning and networking for the creators of computer, console, handheld, mobile, and online games. Hundreds of companies come out to present their latest wares, preview upcoming titles, and also interview... Read more...
As details of upcoming Lynnfield processors and P55 chipset-based motherboards hit the scene, there is a growing buzz within the industry about the effects of bringing Nehalem down into the mainstream market segments. While X58 and Core i7 performance dominates, complete system pricing has kept some average consumers looking to upgrade wistfully on the fence. That roadblock will likely be cleared by P55 as the companies involved eagerly expect to see widespread adoption of the high performing and relatively affordable platform.   On August 18, 2009, Loews Hotel in Santa... Read more...
While most computer enthusiasts overclock their systems to get increased performance from their components, there are a select few that push the limits of hardware to another level for the entertainment factor alone. Instead of just trying to get higher frame rates for gaming or better throughput for other types of workloads, these extreme enthusiasts run a series of benchmarks to see who can achieve the highest score or finish with the fastest time. Professional overclockers throughout North America often participate in ongoing competitions online to see how fast they can run their processors... Read more...
When you think of GIGABYTE, you may envision only a manufacturer of motherboards and video cards, but there is a lot more to this Taiwan based company than initially meets the eye.  GIGABYTE also markets Network Servers, Notebook PCs, a broad array of peripherals and their Thermal Solutions line which covers PSUs, air and water cooling kits, and Chassis. When perusing GIGABYTE's line of chassis in preparation for this article, we were taken aback by just how extensive their collection was.  Their high-end 3DMercury line integrates liquid cooling with a slick aesthetic, which... Read more...
It's probably safe to assert that, by and large, DIY Small Form Factor PCs are still niche products.  Although they have been offered by the likes of Shuttle, AOpen, MSI and many others for nearly half a decade now, there's still an audible gasp that's heard from non PC-centric folks when then first encounter one.  Questions range from, "What is it?" to "What does it do?"  And even when it has been explained that the mini machine is simply a PC, albeit much smaller than usual, heads still shake, believing that a PC must be big and bulky in order to work properly.  It's a common belief, if only... Read more...
  Trends in PC hardware usually come about for a good reason.  As processor and memory speeds continued to rise, many manufacturers responded by producing more elaborate air cooling apparatuses.  Some of them worked well, while others offered almost no improvement at all.  In either case, lowering temperatures in this way usually resulted in an unwanted side effect: excessive noise.  As high-speed fans were placed over this and that chipset, the cacophony of whirring and buzzing machinery became a little more than most users were willing to bear.  So the... Read more...
Although performance has been greatly enhanced over the last few years through the use of faster spindle speeds, larger caches, and newer interfaces, hard drives still tend to be a bottleneck in a typical PC. Mechanical devices, by their very nature, require time to seek the data requested, read it, and then transfer that information back to system memory. Also, while SATA technology has increased transfer rates from the paltry 33MB/s of the original ATA spec to a healthy 300MB/s on the latest SATA-II controllers, there's still room for improvement, although the drives themselves will still struggle... Read more...
The beige box; you had one, I had one, just about everyone and their mother had one. It wasn't that long ago either, that we all had our generic cases on display for no one to notice. Of course, this was back in the day when megahertz ruled, megabytes were plentiful, and a 56K modem was a bragging right. Fast forward a bit, and now we're running on high speed connections, Gigahertz is the word, and Gigabytes don't really seem that big. With all these new technical advances, it was only a matter of time before the boring beige box was given a makeover. A quick trip to just about any major hardware... Read more...
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