We pour one out for Katherine, then discuss all the sweet gear we spotted at CES.
The No BS Podcast has returned, both from the holiday break, and from CES, and we've recorded Episode #216. Sadly, things are starting off on a somber note, as Editor-in-Chief Katherine Stevenson has announced she is leaving the magazine to pursue other interests here at Future US. She will be sorely missed, and we wish her the best of luck at her new gig. Since we must carry on, we did, so we jumped into a discussion of all the hardware we saw at CES, including the Steam Machines, 4K panels, Razer's Project Christine, and Oculus Rift. Gordon had his ear to the ground for CPU news at CES too, and discusses what Intel told him at the show. We also all have a chat about AMD"s new Kaveri APU. We finished the proceedings with our Editors' Picks, and the Gordon tackled the controversial topic of comic books being made into movies and wearable computing.
It didn't take long for Asus to jump into the 4K monitor market and claim it as its own. If you thought the price of the Philips UltraClear was reasonable (compared to 30-inch panels with lower resolutions), take a gander at the Asus PB287Q, a 28-inch display with a 4K ultra high definition resolution (3840x2160), TN panel, and blazing fast 1ms response time for just $799. Business users should take note as well.
Philips just waved a hand in front of professionals looking for a high resolution display and said, "This is the monitor you're looking for." The monitor in question is the Philips UltraClear, a 28-inch panel with a 4K ultra high definition (UHD) resolution (3840x2160) for $1,200. That might not be affordable for the budget buyer shopping a 24-inch 1080p display, but if you're looking to go big, that's a pretty aggressive price tag compared to the crop of 30-inch panels featuring 2560x1600 resolutions.
Expect Steam Machines, wearable computing, and more
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is undoubtedly the biggest tech convention in the world. Tons of gadgets and gizmos are revealed at the show every year and with CES 2014 taking place next week, you should expect nothing less.
It's fast becoming clear that monitor makers will be the ones pushing UltraHD 4K resolutions while there's still a dearth of content, and we're just fine with that (gaming on high-end graphics cards is our go-to application for these sexy panels). Enter Dell, the newest participant to throw its weight around in the 4K category. Dell's offering is its new UltraSharp 32 (UP3214Q), a 31.5-inch Ultra HD panel with a 3840x2160 resolution, which is four times that of Full HD 1080p.
Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Hisense introduced its aggressively priced 55-inch XT880 4K Ultra High Definition Smart TV for $1,999. That may not exactly fall into the "affordable" category for most shoppers, but it wasn't all that long ago when two-grand was the going rate for a regular TV of the same size. These days that gets you a 65-inch or 70-inch Full HD 1080 LED, or in this case, a 55-inch 4K panel.
It doesn't matter if the chicken or egg came first, we have tasty recipes for both. Likewise, it doesn't matter if Ultra HD monitors or 4K video becomes commonplace first, just so long as both get here, and in short order. So far, it looks like hardware might be winning out. We're seeing more and more Ultra HD panels come to market, including Dell's new UltraSharp 32 PremierColor (UP3214Q) display.
Nvidia is hosting a two-day press event in Montreal, but it's AMD that's stealing some of the headlines. The Sunnyvale chip designer decided to crash Nvidia's party by setting up shop in a hotel across the street to showcase its Radeon R9 290X graphics card and compare benchmarks against Nvidia's GeForce GTX 780 part. It's a brazen tactic and we hear Nvidia isn't real happy with AMD's stunt, but GPU politics aside, we have some benchmarks AMD is allowing the media to share.
You're going to hear a lot more about 4K resolutions in 2014. More and more, we're starting to see 4K monitors and televisions trickle into the marketplace, but as far as PC gaming is concerned, not all hardware supports running games smoothly at Ultra HD. To take the guesswork out of it, boutique system builder Origin PC has partnered with GPU maker Nvidia to design and build 4K gaming-ready "BattleBox" systems.
Poked your head into Microsoft's "Extreme Windows Blog" lately? You should, but be warned, what you'll find is extremely graphic. By that we mean Microsoft is pushing graphics technology to the brink of awesome by configuring three Sharp 4K Ultra HD displays in an Eyefinity setup. That translates into a 12K setup pushing 1.5 billion pixels per second, which is nothing short of mind numbing.