News en Microsoft Skins Mobile Mouse 3500 with Halo's Master Chief, Goes Up for Pre-order at Gamestop <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/halo_mouse.jpg" alt="Halo Mouse" title="Halo Mouse" width="228" height="201" style="float: right;" />An affordable rodent for Halo fans</h3> <p>It's a bit of an odd cross promotion, but to draw attention to Halo: The Master Chief Collection for Xbox One, <strong>GameStop is offering up for pre-order Microsoft's new Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 Halo Limited Edition: The Master Chief</strong>. Microsoft outfitted its existing Mobile Mouse 3500 with a highly detailed scene featuring Master Chief in his two-tone green MJOLNIR Power Assault Armor and gold hued visor.</p> <p>"With this mouse, you get Master Chief and all the awesomeness that comes standard with the popular Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 such as its ambidextrous design, snap-in nano transceiver, 2.4 GHz wireless technology, and two-color battery light indicator. You also get BlueTrack Technology that allows you to use the mouse on virtually any surface including granite, marble, carpet, and wood," Microsoft said in a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a>.</p> <p>The Mobile Mouse 3500 uses BlueTrack technology for tracking on virtually any surface. It also features a plug-and-go nano transreceiver and up to 8 months of battery life.</p> <p>If you're interested, you can place your <a href="" target="_blank">pre-order at GameStop</a> for $30 today; it will ship in October. You can also <a href="" target="_blank">place your pre-order</a> for Halo: The Master Chief Collect at GameStop for $60; it ships November 11, 2014.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> GameStop halo Hardware master chief microsoft mobile mouse 3500 Peripherals News Thu, 31 Jul 2014 23:39:26 +0000 Paul Lilly 28275 at AMD Uncages A10-7800 and A8-7600 Kaveri APUs <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/kaveri_0.jpg" alt="AMD Kaveri" title="AMD Kaveri" width="228" style="float: right;" />New APUs solve the Twitter teaser picture mystery</h3> <p>We now have our answer to a <a href="" target="_blank">Twitter picture</a> teasing a new AMD A-Series APU launch that made the rounds last week. The picture showed a dozen robots on the side of a semi-truck, leading to speculation that AMD might release a 12-core APU. In a sense, that's what AMD launched today, though not in the way you might think. <strong>AMD's updated Kaveri parts released today include the A10-7800 and A6-7600 APUs</strong>, the former with 12 Compute Cores (4 CPU and 8 GPU) and the latter with 10 Compute Cores (4 CPU and 6 GPU).</p> <p>In a more traditional sense, the higher-end A10-7800 is a quad-core chip clocked at 3.5GHz (up to 3.9GHz via Turbo), while the A6-7600 is also a quad-core part, but clocked at 3.1GHz (up to 3.8GHz via Turbo). They both feature AMD's Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) that allows the CPU and GPU to tag team tasks, TrueAudio technology, Mantle support, and configurable TDPs.</p> <p>"The AMD A-Series APUs bring a superior level of gaming and compute experiences to the desktop PC," <a href="" target="_blank">said Bernd Lienhard</a>, corporate vice president and general manager, Client Business Unit, AMD. "With support for AMD’s acclaimed Mantle API that simplifies game optimizations for programmers and developers to unlock unprecedented levels of gaming performance transforming the world of game development to help bring better, faster games to the PC."</p> <p>AMD's A10-7800 and A6-7600 are available now for $158 and $104, respectively (MSRPs).</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> a10-7800 A8-7600 amd apu Build a PC cpu kaveri processor News Thu, 31 Jul 2014 23:17:19 +0000 Paul Lilly 28274 at Security Researchers Discover Fundamental Security Flaw in USB, No Fix in Sight <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/usb_0.jpg" alt="USB" title="USB" width="228" height="170" style="float: right;" />The bad side of USB</h3> <p>Oh great, as if it wasn't bothersome enough knowing that all our online communications are susceptible to government spying with very little we can do about it, now we've come to find out that just by having a USB port, there exists a pretty serious security risk every time we plug in a compatible peripheral. The problem is that <strong>virtually any of the millions of USB devices out there can be reprogrammed for malicious purposes</strong>, and there doesn't appear to be much we can do about it.</p> <p>Security Research Labs in Berlin has given a name to the fundamental flaw in USB -- "BadUSB." At issue is that every USB device has a controller chip that controls the USB connection to other devices. Those controllers have firmware, and if reprogrammed -- which is easy to do since the USB-IF focused more on compatibility than security -- a benign device like a keyboard or mouse can suddenly turn evil.</p> <p>"A device can emulate a keyboard and issue commands on behalf of the logged-in user, for example to exfiltrate files or install malware. Such malware, in turn, can infect the controller chips of other USB devices connected to the computer," <a href="" target="_blank">SRLabs explains</a>.</p> <p>The device can also spoof a network card and change the computer's DNS setting to redirect traffic. Unfortunately, there are no known defenses against this other than not using your USB devices. Malware scanners can't access the firmware running USB devices, and behavioral detection isn't reliable since a BadUSB device's behavior simply looks like a user plugged in a new device.</p> <p>"Once infected, comptuers and their USB peripherals can never be trusted again," SRLabs added.</p> <p>The best analogy so far <a href="" target="_blank">comes from <em>ExtremeTech</em></a>, which likens the situation to having unprotected sex. In other words, if you plug your USB device into another PC, you can assume it's been compromised.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> badusb Peripherals Security ubs News Thu, 31 Jul 2014 17:54:51 +0000 Paul Lilly 28273 at Lian Li Introduces PC-V2130 Full Tower Case <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/pc-v2130.jpg" alt="PC-V2130" title="PC-V2130" width="228" height="222" style="float: right;" />A full tower chassis with room for multiple water cooling radiators</h3> <p><strong>Lian Li today added another big case to its lineup, the PC-V2130</strong>. As you might have guessed, this one sports a brushed aluminum design, a popular motif at Lian Li, and is an updated version of the PC-V2120. The PC-V2130 improves upon its predecessor by adding robust water cooling support, more versatile drive bay options, and an enhanced cable management scheme.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to Lian Li</a>, the PC-V2130 has 94L of space inside and can support motherboards up to HPTX. There's a tool-less removable top panel that allows for 240mm or 280mm radiators. Two additional 280mm radiators can be installed at the front and bottom of the chassis.</p> <p>For cable management and cooling, there are 8 grommeted holes, 31mm (1.2 inches) behind the motherboard tray to hide bundles, two 140mm fans up front, two 140mm fans on the bottom, a single 120mm fan on the rear, and optional fan mounts on the top.</p> <p>Other amenities include dust filters, wheels to move the case, thumbscrews, stealth covers, and more.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">PC-V2130</a> will be available soon for between $499 and $569.</p> <p><iframe src="//" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Lian Li pc-v2130 News Thu, 31 Jul 2014 17:15:49 +0000 Paul Lilly 28272 at Google Releases 64-bit Chrome Browser for Windows to Beta Channel <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/chrome.jpg" alt="Chrome" title="Chrome" width="228" height="105" style="float: right;" />64-bit Chrome creeps closer to a stable release</h3> <p>Here's a bit of good news if you've been wanting to experiment with Google's Chrome browser in 64-bit form but weren't so keen on installing an ultra-early build that might be riddled with buggy code. <strong>Google just added the Chrome 64-bit Beta Channel for Windows 7 and 8 users</strong>, giving curious users and early adopters a more stable release to play with. It's probably not a good idea to use it for mission critical applications, but it should be in pretty good shape at this point.</p> <p>You can download the installer from Google's Beta download pages. Be warned that the new version will replace the existing version you have installed, though it will also preserve all your setting and bookmarks, so there's no need to uninstall Chrome before hitting up the new release, <a href="" target="_blank">Google says</a>.</p> <p>In theory, the 64-bit build should speed up page loads and offer other benefits on the backend, especially if you're a power user with multiple tabs open at any given time. However, you may or may not notice a real-world difference, depending on your setup and your browsing habits.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> 64-bit beta browser chrome Google Internet online Software Windows News Wed, 30 Jul 2014 18:50:35 +0000 Paul Lilly 28270 at Best Buy Sees "Crashing" Tablet Sales <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/best_buy_0.jpg" alt="Best Buy" title="Best Buy" width="228" height="163" style="float: right;" />Tablet fad is slowing down</h3> <p>Best Buy's computer section looks decidedly different today than it did a couple of years ago. Gone are the aisles filled with desktop machines, which are now relegated to a small section off the side (if at all), replaced by mobile devices, including rows and rows of tablets. You can't fault Best Buy for following the money trail, and just as tablets took over the floor space when everyone wanted one, look for PCs to take some of its territory back. Why? <strong>Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly says tablets are now crashing.</strong></p> <p>Joly made the statement to <em>Re/Code</em> in an interview, adding that he's seeing a revival in the PC business at Best Buy due in part to Microsoft's decision to stop supporting Windows XP. In addition, two-in-one devices that combine both a tablet and laptop are gaining favor among Best Buy's shoppers.</p> <p>"The tablets boomed and now are crashing. The volume has really gone down in the last several months. But I think the laptop has something of a revival because it’s becoming more versatile," <a href="" target="_blank">Joly said</a>. "So, with the two-in-ones, you have the opportunity to have both a tablet and laptop, and that’s appealing to students in particular. So you have an evolution. The boundaries are not as well defined as they used to be."</p> <p>Interestingly, Joly blamed some of the declining PC sales on the "enormous" deflation in the Windows market. He points out that you can find laptops selling for $300 that used to cost $1,000. The solution? More innovation at the high end of Windows, Joly says.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> best buy Hardware mobile slate tablet News Wed, 30 Jul 2014 18:27:16 +0000 Paul Lilly 28269 at Maingear's Spark Lights Up the Small Form Factor Gaming Scene, Now Available <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/spark.jpg" alt="Maingear Spark" title="Maingear Spark" width="228" style="float: right;" />A tiny but spunky gaming PC</h3> <p>Maingear first introduced its Spark system back in January during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas. At the time, the Spark was supposed to be <a href="">Maingear's eventual Steam Machine</a>. Valve threw a wrench in those plans by delaying the whole Steam Machine initiative until next year, but it hasn't stopped Maingear from forging ahead in the small form factor gaming department. On the contrary, <strong>Maingear just launched its Spark gaming system</strong> to the pubilc.</p> <p>Let's talk dimnensions. Somewhat similar in form to Intel's NUC, Maingear's Spark measures a scant 4.5 inches (W) x 4.23 inches (D) x 2.34 inches (H) and weighs 0.89 pounds, making it the smallest, lightest, and most versatile gaming PC solution Maingear has ever offered, the company said.</p> <p>As for specs, Spark still boasts AMD on the inside -- an AMD A8-5557M APU clocked at 2.1GHz (3.1GHz via Turbo) with AMD Radeon R9 M275X graphics. It also sports a pair of SO-DIMM DDR3-1600/1333 slots, mSATA slot (supports up to 512GB), 2.5-inch tray, GbE LAN, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI output, mini DisplayPort, four USB 3.0 ports, and Kinsington Lock.</p> <p>Pricing starts at $699, which includes 4GB of DDR3-1600 RAM and 500GB WD Blue 7200 RPM hard drive. That doesn't include Windows -- pricing starts at $120 for Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (Windows 8 options also available).</p> <p>You can <a href="" target="_blank">configure a Spark system</a> now.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Hardware maingear OEM rigs sff Small Form Factor spark News Wed, 30 Jul 2014 17:52:58 +0000 Paul Lilly 28268 at Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Earns Major Kudos From DisplayMate <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/surface_pro_3_2.jpg" alt="Surface Pro 3" title="Surface Pro 3" width="228" height="163" style="float: right;" />Surface Pro 3 impresses DisplayMate with excellent color accuracy</h3> <p>The <strong>Surface Pro 3</strong> is arguably the first tablet capable of replacing a notebook, which is something Microsoft is quite fond of saying, but did you know that it <strong>has one of best display screens of any mobile device</strong>? That's not Microsoft making that claim, it's Dr. Raymond M. Soneira, President of DisplayMate Technologies Corporation. Dr. Soneira put the Surface Pro 3 through its paces and came away quite impressed with the tablet's panel.</p> <p>"Based on our extensive Lab tests and measurements on the display for the Surface Pro 3, Microsoft has produced an excellent professional grade high performance display for Windows. In fact, the Surface Pro 3 has one of the very best and most accurate displays available on any mobile platform and OS," <a href="" target="_blank">Dr. Soneira said</a>. "It joins near the top of a small set of tablets that have excellent top tier displays – ideal for professionals that need a very accurate high performance display for their work, and for consumers that want and appreciate a really nice and beautiful display."</p> <p>That's high praise from one of the most respected display gurus in the business. The Surface Pro 3 earned it by reproducing some of the most accurate on-screen colors of any tablet or smartphone ever measured by DisplayMate.</p> <p>It's also only the second display to earn "Very Good to Excellent" ratings in all categories, save for Brightness Decrease. Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 was the other, the Surface Pro 3 is more accurately calibrated with the best "Absolute Color Accuracy" DisplayMate has ever measured, Dr. Soneira says.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> display displaymate laptop microsoft notebook surface pro 3 tablet News Wed, 30 Jul 2014 17:25:55 +0000 Paul Lilly 28267 at Logitech’s G402 Hyperion Fury is the Speedy Gonzalez of Gaming Mice <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/logitech_g402.jpg" alt="Logitech G402" title="Logitech G402" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Billed as "the fastest gaming mouse, bar none."</h3> <p><strong>Logitech added the G402 Hyperion Fury Ultra-Fast FPS Gaming Mouse</strong> to its stable of mice today, though unlike any other previous mechanical rodent, this is supposed to be the fastest mouse on the planet (sorry, Speedy Gonzalez). The heart and soul of the G402 is Logitech's exclusive Fusion Engine, which combines a sophisticated optical sensor with the company's Delta Zero sensor technology to enable reliable tracking in excess of 500 inches per second.</p> <p>"We took on the challenge of creating the world’s fastest mouse in service of FPS gamers, and after three years of intensive R&amp;D we are proud to launch a mouse that only Logitech could develop," <a href="" target="_blank">said Ehtisham Rabbani</a>, general manager of the Logitech gaming business. "The Logitech G402 Hyperion Fury is the fastest gaming mouse, bar none, and the best mouse for high-speed FPS gameplay. Its lightweight design, combined with the precision and capability of the Fusion Engine, lets you make fast, furious swipes and dominate the battlefield, proving once again that Science Wins!"</p> <p>According to Logitech, a common complaint among gamers is that their mice can't track as fast as they move. With the above mentioned sensor technologies, along with an accelerometer and gyroscope, the G402 supposedly solves that problem.</p> <p>Other features of the G402 include 8 programmable buttons, on-the-fly DPI switching via four pre-configured settings between 250 DPI and 4,000 DPI, 1ms report rate to eliminate lag, and a 32-bit ARM processor to both power the above mentioned technologies and to allow you to save macros.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">Logitech G402 is available to pre-order</a> now for $60 and will begin shipping in August.</p> <p><iframe src="//" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> g402 hyperion fury Gaming Hardware logitech mouse Peripherals News Wed, 30 Jul 2014 15:25:12 +0000 Paul Lilly 28265 at Nvidia Shield Tablet Review <!--paging_filter--><h3>The best gaming tablet in town</h3> <p>Despite its problems, we actually liked <a title="Nvidia Shield review" href="" target="_blank">Nvidia’s original Shield Android gaming handheld</a>. Our biggest issue with it was that it was bulky and heavy. With rumors swirling around about a Shield 2, we were hoping to see a slimmer, lighter design. So consider us initially disappointed when we learned that the next iteration of Shield would just be yet another Android tablet. Yawn, right? The fact of the matter is that the Shield Tablet may be playing in an oversaturated market, but it’s still great at what it sets out to be.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154082/shield_tablet_shield_controller_war_thunder.jpg" alt="Shield Tablet review" title="Shield Tablet review" width="620" height="343" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The new wireless controller uses Wi-Fi Direct instead of Bluetooth for lower latency.</strong></p> <p>At eight inches, the Shield Tablet features a gorgeous 1,900x1,200 display, which shares the same resolution as Google’s flagship <a title="nexus 7 review" href="" target="_blank">Nexus 7</a> tablet. At 13.1 ounces, the Shield Tablet is about three ounces heavier than the Nexus 7 but still a lot lighter than the original’s 1 lb. 4.7 ounces.&nbsp;</p> <p>Part of the weight increase with the Shield Tablet over the Nexus 7 is due to the extra inch that you’re getting from the screen, but also because the Shield Tablet is passively cooled and has an extra thermal shield built inside to dissipate heat. It’s a little heavier than we like, but isn’t likely to cause any wrist problems. On the back of the Shield is an anti-slip surface and a 5MP camera, and on the front of the tablet we have a front-facing 5MP camera and two front-facing speakers. While the speakers are not going to blow away dedicated Bluetooth speakers, they sound excellent for a tablet. In addition to the speakers, the Shield Tablet has a 3.5mm headphone jack up at the top. Other ports include Micro USB, Mini HDMI out, and a MicroSD card slot capable of taking up to 128GB cards. Buttons on the Shield include a volume rocker and a power button which we found to be a little small and shallow for our liking.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154082/shield_tablet_exploded_view_black_bckgr.jpg" alt="Nvidia Shield Tablet guts" title="Nvidia Shield Tablet guts" width="620" height="349" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The guts of the Nvidia Shield Tablet</strong></p> <p>All of this is running on the latest version of Android KitKat version 4.4. Nvidia says that it will update the tablet to Android L within a few weeks of Google’s official release. If Nvidia’s original Shield is any indication of how well the company keeps up with OS updates, you should be able to expect to get the latest version of Android but after a couple of weeks if not a months after release. Regardless, the Shield Tablet is running a pretty stock version of Android to begin with the main difference being that Nvidia has pre-loaded the tablet with its Shield Hub, which is a 10-foot UI for you to purchase, download, and launch your games.</p> <p>Arguably the real star of the tablet is Nvidia’s new Tegra K1 mobile superchip. The 2.2GHz quad-core A15 SOC features Nvidia’s Kepler GPU architecture and 192 CUDA cores along with 2GB of low power DDR3. K1 supports many of the graphical features commonplace in GeForce graphics card including tesselation, HDR lighting, Global illumination, subsurface scattering, and more.</p> <p>In our performance benchmarks, the K1 killed it. Up until now, the original Shield’s actively-cooled Tegra 4 is arguably one of the most if not the most powerful Android SOC on the market, but the K1 slaughters it across the board. In Antutu and GeekBench benchmark, we saw modest gains of 12 percent to 23 percent in Shield vs. Shield Tablet action. But in Passmark and GFX Bench’s Trex test, we saw nearly a 50 percent spread, and in 3DMark’s mobile Icestorm Unlimited test, we saw an astounding 90 percent advantage for the Shield Tablet. This is incredible when you consider that the tablet has no fans and a two-watt TDP. Compared to the second-gen Nexus 7 , the Shield Tablet benchmarks anywhere from 77 percent to 250 percent faster. This SOC is smoking fast.</p> <p>In terms of battery life, Nvidia is claiming you’ll get 10 hours watching/surfing the web and about five hours from gaming with its 19.75 Wh battery. This is up 3.75 Wh up from Google’s Nexus 7 equivalent and from our experiential tests, we found those figures to be fairly accurate if not a best case scenario. It will pretty much last you all day, but you'll still want to let it sip juice every night.</p> <p>Of course if you’re going to game with it, you’re going to need Nvidia’s new wireless Shield Controller. Sold separately for $60, the 11.2-ounce Shield Controller maintains the same button layout as the original Shield controller, but feels a lot like a lighter and more comfortable to hold. While most Android game controllers operate over Bluetooth, Nvidia opted to go with Wi-Fi Direct stating that it offers 2x faster response time and more bandwidth. The extra bandwidth allows you to plug in a 3.5mm headphone into the controller and also allows you to link up to four controllers to the device, which is an appreciated feature when you hook up the tablet to your HDTV via the Shield Tablet’s <a title="shield console mode" href="" target="_blank">Console Mode</a>. Other unique features of the controller include capacitive touch buttons for Android’s home, back, and play buttons. There’s also a big green Nvidia button that launches Shield Hub. The controller also has a small triangle shaped clickable touch pad which allows you to navigate your tablet from afar. A quibble we had with it is that we wish the trackpad was more square, to at least mimic the dimensions of the tablet as the triangle shape was a little awkward to interface with. Another problem that we initially had with the controller was that the + volume button stopped working after a while. We contacted Nvidia about this and the company sent us a new unit which did remedy the issue, however. One noticeable missing feature from the controller is rumble support. Nvidia said this was omitted on the original Shield to keep the weight down, however its omission is a little more glaring this time around since there is no screen attached to the device.</p> <p>The controller isn’t the only accessory that you’ll need to purchase separately if you want to tap into the full Shield Tablet experience, however. To effectively game with the tablet, you’ll need the Shield Tablet cover which also acts as a stand. Like most tablets, a magnet in the cover shuts off the Shield Tablet when closed but setting up the cover and getting it to standup is initially pretty confusing. The cover currently only comes in black and while we’re generally not big on marketing aesthetics, it would be nice to have an Nvidia green option to give the whole look a little more pop. We actually think the cover should just be thrown in too, especially considering that the cheapest 16GB model costs $300. On the upside though, you do get Nvidia’s new passive DirectStylus 2 that stows away nicely in the body of the Shield Tablet. Nvidia has pre-installed note writing software and its own Nvidia Dabbler painting program. The nice thing about Dabbler is that it leverages K1’s GPU acceleration so that you can virtually paint and blend colors in real time. There’s also a realistic mode where the “paint” slowly drips down the virtual canvas like it would in real life.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u154082/shield_tablet_shield_controller_trine2_0.jpg" alt="Shield tablet review" title="Shield tablet review" width="620" height="404" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Shield Controller is a lot lighter and less blocky than the original Shield Portable.</strong></p> <p>But that’s probably not why you’re interested in the Shield Tablet. This device first and foremost is a gaming tablet and even comes with a free Android copy of Trine 2. Trine 2 was originally a PC game and it’s made a great transition to the Shield Tablet. While the game was never known to be a polygon pusher, it looks just as good as it ever did on its x86 debut.&nbsp;</p> <p>With gaming as the primary driver for Shield Tablet customers you may wonder why Nvidia didn’t bundle its new controller. The company likely learned from Microsoft’s mistake with Kinect and the Xbox One: Gamers don’t like to spend money and getting the price as low as was likely on Nvidia’s mind. Of course, not everyone may even want a controller with the general lack of support for it in games. Nvidia says there are now around 400 Android titles that support its controller, but that’s only a small percentage of Android games and the straight truth is that the overwhelming majority of these games are garbage.&nbsp;</p> <p>Nvidia is making a push for Android gaming, however. The company worked with Valve to port over Half Life 2 and Portal to the Shield and they look surprisingly fantastic and are easily the two prettiest games on Android at the moment. Whether Android will ever become a legitimate platform for hardcore gaming is as good as anyone’s guess, but at least the Shield Tablet will net you a great front seat if the time ever arises.</p> <p>Luckily you won’t have to rely solely on the Google Play store to get your gaming fix. Emulators run just as well here as they did on the original Shield and this iteration of Shield is also compatible with Gamestream, which is Nvidia’s streaming technology that allows you to stream games from your PC to your Shield. Gamestream, in theory, lets you play your controller-enabled PC games on a Shield. &nbsp;</p> <p>At this point, Nvidia says Gamestream supports more than 100 games such as Batman: Arkham Origins and Titanfall from EA’s Origin and Valve’s Steam service. The problem though is there are hundreds more games on Steam and Origin that support controllers but not the Shield Tablet’s controller. For example, Final Fantasy VII, a game which we couldn’t get working with the original Shield still isn't supported even though it works with an Xbox controller on the PC. When Gamestream does work, however, it’s relatively lag-free and kind of wonderful. The one caveat here is that you’ll have to get a 5GHz dual-band router to effectively get it working.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="//" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Nvidia Shield Video Demo</strong></p> <p>Would we buy the Shield Tablet if we owned the original Shield (now renamed the Shield Portable)? Probably not. If we were looking for a new tablet and top notch gaming performance was on the check list, the Shield Tablet is easily the top contender today. We’d take it over the second-gen Nexus 7 in a heart beat. While we understand why Nvidia decided to separate the cover and controller to keep the prices down and avoid the Kinect factor, we think a bundled package with a small price break as an alternative would have been nice. All things considered though, consider us surprised. The Shield Tablet is pretty dang cool.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>$300</strong></p> android Google Hardware KitKat maximum pc nvidia portable Review shield tablet wireless controller News Reviews Tablets Tue, 29 Jul 2014 19:36:57 +0000 Jimmy Thang 28263 at Nvidia GeForce 340.52 WHQL Drivers Sit Just a Few Clicks Away <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/geforce_1.jpg" alt="GeForce" title="GeForce" width="228" height="198" style="float: right;" />Latest GeForce drivers add a bunch of SLI profiles</h3> <p>Attention GeForce graphics card owners -- <strong>you can now download new GeForce 340.52 WHQL drivers</strong> from Nvidia's website, or update automatically through GeForce Experience. Either way, new drivers are available, and with them, you can take advantage of GameStream technology to stream PC games to the new Shield tablet, which launches today to e-tailers and retailers, Nvidia says.</p> <p>That's really the big reason for the new drivers, though if you're running multiple GPUs in SLI, you'll potentially benefit from a number of SLI profiles that have been added. Specific to the 340.52 release are profiles for Battlefield: Hardline, Dark Souls II, 3DMark SkyDriver Subtest, Divinity: Original Sin, Elder Scrolls Online, GRID Autosport, LuDaShi Benchmark, and WildStar.</p> <p>There are also some new 3D Vision profiles for stereoscopic 3D gamers. They include Banished, BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea, and Krater.</p> <p>You can out more in the <a href="" target="_blank">Release Notes (PDF)</a> and can download the new drivers <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Drivers Gaming geforce 340.52 nvidia Software News Tue, 29 Jul 2014 19:01:52 +0000 Paul Lilly 28262 at Microsoft's Sharks Cove Mini PC Now Available to Pre-Order <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/sharks_cove.jpg" alt="Sharks Cove" title="Sharks Cove" width="228" height="166" style="float: right;" />Sharks Cove is ready swim in mini PC waters</h3> <p>Watch out Raspberry Pi, you're now swimming in Shark infested waters, or at least you soon will be. For those interested, <strong>Microsoft's Sharks Cove development board is now available to pre-order</strong>. A U.K. vendor has it listed for £192.99, or just a little shy of $330 in U.S. dollars. That's quite a bit more expensive than Raspberry Pi, though it's also more fully featured, hence the higher price tag.</p> <p>Sharks Cove sports a x86-based Intel Atom Z3735G quad-core processor clocked at 1.33GHz (1.83GHz Burst) with 2MB of L2 cache, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of eMMC flash storage, HDMI connector, and a memory card reader. The actual board measures just 6 inches by 4 inches.</p> <p>Microsoft's banking on the added horsepower being incentive to spend a premium on Sharks Cove versus a much less expensive Raspberry Pi. It also comes with a Windows 8.1 image and the utilities necessary to apply to Sharks Cove. According to Microsoft, Sharks Cove is ultimately intended to facilitate development of software and drivers for mobile devices that run Windows, such as phones, tablets, and similar System-on-Chip (SoC) platforms.</p> <p>"When you additionally consider that the Windows Driver Kit 8.1 can pair with Visual Studio Express and are both free with a valid MSDN account, the initial outlay for Windows driver developers is a lot less cost prohibitive than it once was," <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft says</a>.</p> <p>Microsoft said it plans to post articles related to Sharks Cove in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, you can check out <a href="" target="_blank"></a>, a site dedicated to the development board. And if you want to pre-order one, just head over to the <a href="" target="_blank">Mouse Electronics</a> website.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Hardware mini pc pre-order sharks cove News Tue, 29 Jul 2014 18:12:03 +0000 Paul Lilly 28261 at Acer Owns the U.S. Retail Monitor Market <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/acer_monitor_3.jpg" alt="Acer Monitor" title="Acer Monitor" width="228" height="196" style="float: right;" />Nearly half of all touchscreen monitors shipped last year donned an Acer label</h3> <p>Time and again, we see examples of where lower priced gadgets rule the day. We saw it when Amazon stormed the Android tablet market with its smaller size, lower cost Kindle Fire (compared to what was available at the time), and we're seeing it again in the monitor market. According to the latest data from NPD Group, <strong>Acer is selling more monitors in the U.S. than any other player</strong>.</p> <p>Acer's share of the overall monitor market during the first half of this year has bounced between 18 percent to 20 percent, which qualifies the company for pole position. In the touchscreen monitor segment, Acer slammed the competition by remaining the top maker for the entire year (from July 2013 to June 2014), reaching a high in market share of 46.4 percent in May.</p> <p>It will be interesting to see if Acer can hold onto its lead once 4K monitors grow up a little bit and become more affordable. The company's off to a good start, having <a href="" target="_blank">announced back in May</a> the first 4K monitor to support Nvidia's G-Sync technology, the XB280HK.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Acer display Hardware monitor NPD Group News Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:45:11 +0000 Paul Lilly 28260 at Intel Lifts the Lid Off Upcoming Core i7 5960X Haswell-E Processor <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/delidded_haswell-e.jpg" alt="Delidded Haswell-E" title="Delidded Haswell-E" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />Intel soldered the CPU die to the integrated heat spreader</h3> <p><strong>A picture making the rounds on the web shows what Intel's upcoming Core i7 5960X Haswell-E processor will look like</strong> if you have the nerve to pry off the integrated heat spreader (IHS). If you look close, you can see that beneath the adhesive layer that secures the IHS to the package is soldering from where Intel soldered the CPU die to the IHS with a strong epoxy. If you're an overclocker or otherwise concerned with temps, this a good sight to see.</p> <p>Soldering the CPU die to the IHS offers better heat conductivity than filling the gap with thermal interface material (TIM), the latter of which is the route Intel took with its Core i7 3770K, 4770K,a nd 4790K processors, according to the folks at <a href="" target="_blank"><em></em></a>.</p> <p>While not game changing by any means, this is simply another reason to look forward to Haswell-E. Expected to launch this September, Haswell-E will coincide with Intel's X99 Express chipset and offer support DDR4 memory support.</p> <p>As for the stripped down Core i7 5960X on display, earlier rumors suggest it will rock 8 cores, 16 threads, a 3GHz to 3.3GHz (Turbo Boost) clockspeed, 20MB of L3 cache, and a 140W TDP.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Build a PC core i7 5960x cpu Hardware haswell-e intel overclocking processor News Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:21:29 +0000 Paul Lilly 28259 at Thermaltake Launches High End Water 3.0 Ultimate All-in-One Liquid Cooling System <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/thermaltake_water_3.jpg" alt="Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate" title="Thermaltake Water 3.0 Ultimate" width="228" height="155" style="float: right;" />All-in-one kit with a 360mm radiator</h3> <p><strong>Thermaltake this week added a new self-contained liquid cooling kit to its lineup, the Water 3.0 Ultimate</strong>. It sports a large 360mm radiator with three "Triple Curve" 120 PWM fans that spin at 1,000 RPM to 2,000 RPM. If that's not enough for your overclocking efforts, Thermaltake says the large radiator supports three additional fans, bringing the potential total to half a dozen 120mm fans.</p> <p>This is Thermaltake's flagship all-in-one LCS, which stands above the Water 3.0 Extreme, Performance, and Pro kits. To give an example of its performance, Thermaltake compared the temps of its Ultimate kit versus Intel's stock cooler for a Core i7 975 running at 4GHz and 100 percent load. Intel's cooler maintained 94C, while the Ultimate held steady at 69C in Thermaltake's own tests.</p> <p>Unfortunately, Thermaltake only provides a <a href="" target="_blank">few specifics</a> about the kit -- the water block consists of a copper base plate, while the rubber tubing going to and from it measures 326mm. The pump's motor speed is 3600 RPM, give or take 150 RPM.</p> <p>No word yet on when the <a href="" target="_blank">Water 3.0 Ultimate</a> will be available or for how much.</p> <p><iframe src="//" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Hardware liquid cooling Peripherals thermaltake water 3.0 News Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:05:20 +0000 Paul Lilly 28258 at