News http://www.maximumpc.com/taxonomy/term/4/%252Fu46168/article/news/Could%20Facebook%20Really%20Be%20Worth%20Upwards%20of%20%2475%20Billion en DFC Intelligence: Nearly All PC Game Sales are Digital Downloads http://www.maximumpc.com/dfc_intelligence_nearly_all_pc_game_sales_are_digital_downloads_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/steam_games.jpg" alt="Steam Games" title="Steam Games" width="228" height="169" style="float: right;" />Physical media in the PC gaming sector is nearly dead</h3> <p>Think for a moment about the last 10 PC games you purchased. If the statistics presented by analyst DFC Intelligence are correct, than at least nine of those games were digitally downloaded as opposed to physical copies. Long gone are the days when you'd walk into Software Etc. and emerge with a bag full of game boxes containing floppy disks, and later CDs. <strong>According to DFI Intelligence, 92 percent of all PC game sales around the world in 2013 were digital</strong>.</p> <p>DFC Intelligence provided that tidbit to <a href="http://www.pcr-online.biz/news/read/digital-sales-make-up-92-of-global-game-revenues/034551" target="_blank"><em>PCR</em></a>, though it didn't say what the outlook for 2014 looks like. However, there's no reason to believe that trend is reversing, especially if you've walked into a GameStop lately -- the PC section has been reduced in most stores to a sad little rack that would normally hold a few accessories.</p> <p>Going digital isn't a bad thing, nor has it hurt developers and publishers. DFC said earlier this year that the <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/%E2%80%9Cpc_games_have_surpassed_console_games%E2%80%9D_says_dfc_intelligence_owner_2014" target="_blank">PC games market leapfrogged console gaming</a> in revenue for the first time.</p> <p>"Among core gamers there is a heavy overlap with most console gamers also playing on a PC. The big difference is that consoles are now the luxury item and PCs are the necessity. Just a few years ago the reverse was true. This means PCs have the broader audience," DFI Intelligence owner David Cole explained at the time.</p> <p>It's not hard to believe. As our sister site <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/2014/08/19/analyst-says-digital-sales-made-up-92-percent-of-pc-game-market-in-2013/" target="_blank"><em>PC Gamer</em> points out</a>, EA <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/08/01/ea-financial-results-revealed/" target="_blank">announced</a> in its Q1 financial results for fiscal year 2013 that it made more money from PC sales than PlayStation 3, and it credited digital sales as the reason why.</p> <p>Welcome to the future.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/dfc_intelligence_nearly_all_pc_game_sales_are_digital_downloads_2014#comments DFC Intelligence digital downloads games Software News Wed, 20 Aug 2014 17:15:32 +0000 Paul Lilly 28387 at http://www.maximumpc.com Barnes and Noble Rolls Out Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook for $179 http://www.maximumpc.com/barnes_and_noble_rolls_out_samsung_galaxy_tab_4_nook_179 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/samsung_galaxy_tab_4_nook_0.jpg" alt="Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook" title="Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook" width="228" height="220" style="float: right;" />Welcome back to the tablet scene, Barnes and Noble</h3> <p>After failing to compete in sales with the likes of Amazon and its Kindle Fire line, <strong>Barnes and Noble is officially invested in tablets again with the introduction of the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook</strong>. The Galaxy Tab 4 Nook is essentially a combination of the Android-based Nook platform baked into the Samsung's Galaxy Tab 4 hardware and billed as the first ever full-featured Android slate.</p> <p>The device measures 7.36 (H) x 4.25 (W) x 0.35 (D) inches and weighs 9.74 ounces. It has a 7-inch display with a 1280x800 resolution (216 ppi), 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM, 8GB of onboard storage (expandable via microSD card slot), 802.11n Wi-Fi, micro-USB 2.0 port, 3.5mm headset jack, 1.3MP front-facing camera, 3MP rear-facing camera, GPS, and Android 4.4 KitKat.</p> <p>"The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook is the most advanced Nook ever, delivering the great Nook experience our customers have come to love, with the high-performance tablet features they’ve asked for," <a href="http://www.barnesandnobleinc.com/press_releases/8_20_14_samsung_galaxy_tab_4_nook.html" target="_blank">said Michael P. Huseby</a>, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes &amp; Noble, Inc. "We invite reading and entertainment fans to visit their local Barnes &amp; Noble store to experience the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook. Once they do, we’re certain they will make this innovative device part of their daily routine."</p> <p>B&amp;N says the new Nook is geared towards reading, and to get users started, it comes bundled with $200 of free Nook reading and entertainment content, including three bestselling e-books -- Freakonomics, The Wanderer, and I Am Number Four.</p> <p>You can grab an ad-free <a href="http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/samsung-galaxy-tab-4-nook-tablet/379004262" target="_blank">Galaxy Tab 4 Nook</a> right away for $179 after a $20 instant rebate. The device is available black and white color options.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/barnes_and_noble_rolls_out_samsung_galaxy_tab_4_nook_179#comments barnes and noble ebook reader galaxy tab 4 nook mobile samsung slate tablet News Wed, 20 Aug 2014 16:42:25 +0000 Paul Lilly 28386 at http://www.maximumpc.com Steve Ballmer Leaves Microsoft's Board to Focus Energy on Los Angeles Clippers http://www.maximumpc.com/steve_ballmer_leaves_microsofts_board_focus_energy_los_angeles_clippers_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/ballmer_clipper.jpg" alt="Steve Ballmer at Clipper Rally" title="Steve Ballmer at Clipper Rally" width="228" height="162" style="float: right;" />Ex-Microsoft chief cuts last remaining tie to go all-in with the Clippers</h3> <p>Admit it, you miss Steve Ballmer, even if just a little bit, right? Okay, so maybe some of you don't -- perhaps you're still holding a grudge over Windows 8, or perhaps Ballmer's slow play into mobile has you shaking your head. He hasn't always made the right decisions during his time at Microsoft, but nobody can question his passion. Now it's the Los Angeles Clippers organization and fan base that will get to see his antics on a consistent basis. In an open letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, <strong>Ballmer announced he's stepping down as a board member at Microsoft</strong>, thus truly marking the end of a 34-year run with the company.</p> <p>It's been nearly six months since Ballmer relinquished his role as CEO of Microsoft, and now that he's no longer on the board of directors, his only remaining tie with the organization is that of a shareholder, which anyone can become with a $45 investment. Ballmer said it would be "impractical" to remain on the board as he takes on teaching responsibilities and the constant demands of owning an NBA franchise after acquiring the Clippers for $2 billion.</p> <p>He offered some parting advice for Nadella, telling him that "Microsoft will need to be bold and make big bets to succeed in this new environment." Ballmer believes the future success of Microsoft lies in part with enterprise subscriptions, hardware, and advertising revenues. He also imparted plenty of optimism and said Nadella is free to bounce ideas off of him.</p> <p>"I bleed Microsoft — have for 34 years and I always will. I continue to love discussing the company’s future. I love trying new products and sending feedback. I love reading about what is going on at the company," Ballmer wrote in his letter to Nadella. "Count on me to keep ideas and inputs flowing. The company will move to higher heights. I will be proud, and I will benefit through my share ownership. I promise to support and encourage boldness by management in my role as a shareholder in any way I can."</p> <p>As for Ballmer's future, he's already made his presence and style know to Clipper nation during a fan rally in which he brought his usual high energy and fervor. You can watch the fan rally below.</p> <p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/4U10FUI7W78" width="620" height="465" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/steve_ballmer_leaves_microsofts_board_focus_energy_los_angeles_clippers_2014#comments basketball clippers microsoft nba steve ballmer News Wed, 20 Aug 2014 15:54:47 +0000 Paul Lilly 28385 at http://www.maximumpc.com Acer Introduces a Pair of Space Saving Veriton Desktop PCs http://www.maximumpc.com/acer_introduces_pair_space_saving_veriton_desktop_pcs <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/acer_veriton_monitor.jpg" alt="Acer Veriton Monitor" title="Acer Veriton Monitor" width="228" height="206" style="float: right;" />Mini desktop systems take aim at businesses and education</h3> <p><strong>Acer today announced its new Veriton N4630G series of commercial mini desktops</strong> for businesses and educational institutions in the U.S. There are two models in the new series -- Veriton N4630G-i54570X and Veriton N4530G-i34150X -- both of which offer security features in a space saving, one-liter chassis. They're also fairly affordable, with the former selling for $649 and the latter going for $549.</p> <p>In terms of simplifying routine IT tasks, both rigs come with various software tools for managing system images and protecting intellectual assets. These include Acer Officer Manager (AOM), which allows IT workers to remotely configure system settings and deploy usage limits, and Acer ProShield, which wraps various security features (encryption, file shredding, BIOS import and export tool) within a unified interface.</p> <p>As for the hardware, the <a href="http://us.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/professional-model/DT.VKMAA.002" target="_blank">i34150X sports </a>an Intel Core i3 4150T processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GbE port, two USB 3.0 ports, three USB 2.0 ports, SD card reader, VGA and DisplayPort output, mini PCI Express slot, and choice between Windows 7 Professional 64-bit or Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit. The <a href="http://us.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/professional-model/DT.VKMAA.006" target="_blank">i54570X</a> is nearly identically spec'd, save for the processor, which is bumped up to an Intel Core i5 4570T.</p> <p>Both systems are available now.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/acer_veriton_nettop.jpg" alt="Acer Veriton Nettop" title="Acer Veriton Nettop" width="620" height="278" /></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/acer_introduces_pair_space_saving_veriton_desktop_pcs#comments Acer Desktop Hardware n4630g OEM rigs veriton News Wed, 20 Aug 2014 15:14:29 +0000 Paul Lilly 28384 at http://www.maximumpc.com Lenovo Adds Three Business Class Desktop PCs to ThinkCentre Line http://www.maximumpc.com/lenovo_adds_three_business_class_desktop_pcs_thinkcentre_line_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/lenovo_e63z.jpg" alt="Lenovo E63z" title="Lenovo E63z" width="228" height="186" style="float: right;" />Latest systems from Lenovo are all business</h3> <p>After <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/lenovo_reports_104_billion_quarterly_revenue_reaches_record_high_pc_market_share_2014">five straight quarters</a> of being on top, Lenovo shows no signs of relinquishing its position as the world's largest supplier of PCs (in terms of sales and volume). The number one PC maker is also determined to outpace the industry average in desktop PC growth, hence <strong>Lenovo just announced three new additions to its ThinkCentre desktop PC line</strong> designed for business users as companies look to leave Windows XP in the dust.</p> <p>The first of the new systems is the ThinkCentre E63z, a space saving all-in-one machine with a 19.5-inch HD+ display. It's decked out with business-friendly features such as smart USB protection, CompuTrace support, and a Kensington slot that doubles a chassis lock. Models powered by Intel Core i3 processors also include HDMI output, a card reader, and a Rapid Charge USB port to keep those mobile devices juiced up.</p> <p>Second up is the ThinkCentre M53. It comes in the same "Tiny" form factor as its high powered siblings, the M73 and M93p, but with a lower price tag. It includes a remote power up option with a supported keyboard and flexible mounting options to help make the most out of your desk space.</p> <p>Finally we have the ThinkCentre M79 with AMD A-Series APU options inside. It offers up to 50 percent superior graphics performance compared to its predecessors and comes with SSD and SSHD options. These mini towers can also support three independent displays with the optional DisplayPort connector.</p> <p>The ThinkCentre E63z is available now starting at $479 with Intel Core i3 models coming later this year. Lenovo's ThinkCentre M79 is also available now, starting at $49, and the ThinkCentre M53 tiny desktop will be available soon starting at $439.</p> <p>See pics of all three rigs in our gallery below.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/lenovo_adds_three_business_class_desktop_pcs_thinkcentre_line_2014#comments business e63z Hardware lenovo m53 m79 OEM rigs thinkcentre News Wed, 20 Aug 2014 13:00:31 +0000 Paul Lilly 28381 at http://www.maximumpc.com Seeing Double: HTC One M8's Identical Twin Runs Windows Phone 8.1 http://www.maximumpc.com/seeing_double_htc_one_m8s_identical_twin_runs_windows_phone_81_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/htc_one_m8_for_windows.jpg" alt="HTC One M8 for Windows" title="HTC One M8 for Windows" width="228" height="219" style="float: right;" />Exact same phone, completely different platform</h3> <p>The HTC One M8 is one of the most popular Android devices available, but what would happen if you stripped the phone of Android and installed Windows Phone 8.1 under the hood? Ladies and gentlemen, you're about to find out. <strong>HTC today unveiled the HTC One M8 for Windows</strong>, which in addition to bringing a premium design to the Windows Phone platform, it's also the first time an iconic flagship device has been offered on multiple OSes, HTC says.</p> <p>If you're familiar with the specs of the Android version, then you're familiar with the Windows SKU, as well. It's the exact same device, save for the software and Windows Phone tattoo on its backside. It sports the same all-metal unibody design, curved back, 5-inch 1080p display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core 2.3GHz processor, 32GB of internal storage, microSD card slot, Duo Camera with UltraPixel, 5MP wide-angle front-facing camera, and so forth.</p> <p>"Consumers love the HTC One (M8) and today’s introduction extends that enthusiasm to new audiences hungry for choice in their mobile experience," <a href="https://www.htc.com/us/about/newsroom/2014/2014-08-19-htc-one-m8-windows/" target="_blank">said Jason Macikenze</a>, president of HTC Americas. "HTC fills a gap in the market for unique devices that put a premium on form and function. Microsoft shares our vision, and that’s why we committed to bringing the Windows Phone platform to the HTC One (M8)."</p> <p>The HTC One M8 for Windows is available now through Verizon Wireless online for a promotional price of $100 with a two-year service agreement or $30 per month via Verizon Edge; it will also be available in stores tomorrow.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/seeing_double_htc_one_m8s_identical_twin_runs_windows_phone_81_2014#comments Hardware htc mobile one m8 smartphone windows phone 8.1 News Tue, 19 Aug 2014 18:03:13 +0000 Paul Lilly 28379 at http://www.maximumpc.com Fuhu Unveils Ginormous 20-inch and 24-inch Nabi Big Tab Tablets for Kids http://www.maximumpc.com/fuhu_unveils_ginormous_20-inch_and_24-inch_nabi_big_tab_tablets_kids <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/nabi_big_tab_hd.jpg" alt="Fuhu Nabi Big Tab HD" title="Fuhu Nabi Big Tab HD" width="228" height="205" style="float: right;" />A massive tablet for the little ones</h3> <p>At first glance, you might think <strong>Fuhu's 20-inch and 24-inch Nabi Big Tab HD tablets</strong> were built for Shaquille O'Neal. After all, who else but a 7-foot 1-inch massive specimen would such giant slates be for? Turns out Fuhu designed the large size tablets specifically for kids, an interesting target audience for what the company claims are the world's biggest Android tablets made for sharing.</p> <p>"We are so pleased to introduce the nabi Big Tab line of products and are excited about the implications as a new category of family tablets. We were simply amazed at how Big Tab's larger format transformed our interactions with our children, family gatherings and made the tablet experience easier for seniors," <a href="http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/family-time-reinvented-fuhu-introduces-nabi-big-tab-hd-line-worlds-biggest-tablets-made-1939623.htm" target="_blank">said Jim Mitchell</a>, CEO. "We are hopeful, that everyone will fall in love with Big Tab like we have."</p> <p>Fair enough - we won't begrudge Fuhu's attempt to modernize family time, though consumers will be the ultimate judge if there can be a category such as this one. We're skeptical, considering the asking price -- $449 for the 20-inch model and $549 for the 24-inch version, both of which cost more than a PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Wii U.</p> <p>The 20-inch version boasts a 1600x900 resolution and the 24-inch features a 1920x1080 display, both with 15-point capacitive touch support. Both also feature an Nvidia Tegra 4 quad-core processor, 16GB of onboard storage, and removable carrying frame.</p> <p>Fuhu's selling point (behind the big size displays) is the software. Lots of kid friendly games, entertainment, and educational apps come bundled with the Nabi devices.</p> <p>Both models will launch this fall.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/fuhu_unveils_ginormous_20-inch_and_24-inch_nabi_big_tab_tablets_kids#comments android fuhi Hardware mobile nabi big tab slate tablet News Tue, 19 Aug 2014 17:42:49 +0000 Paul Lilly 28378 at http://www.maximumpc.com Razer Gives BlackWidow Mechanical Keyboard a Counter Logic Gaming Facelift http://www.maximumpc.com/razer_gives_blackwidow_mechanical_keyboard_counter_logic_gaming_facelift_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/razer_clg_blackwidow_angled.jpg" alt="Razer CLG BlackWidow Keyboard Angled" title="Razer CLG BlackWidow Keyboard Angled" width="228" height="135" style="float: right;" />A BlackWidow like you've never seen one before</h3> <p>Razer has once again teamed up with Counter Logic Gaming (CGL) to release a custom version of an existing Razer peripheral. You may recall that late last year, Razer launched a limited edition CLG version of its DeathAdder mouse in the team's iconic black and white colors. This time, <strong>Razer and CGL took the BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth keyboard and gave it a makeover</strong> to match.</p> <p>The new Counter Logic Gaming BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth keyboard sports a similar finish with the team's logo imprinted onto a two-tone black and white body, while the keys are individually illuminated in CLG's white coloring. As before, the keyboard utilizes Razer mechanical switches that were built from the ground up for gaming.</p> <p><a href="http://www.razerzone.com/press/detail/press-releases/all-new-counter-logic-gaming-razer-blackwidow-keyboard-released" target="_blank">According to Razer</a>, its team of engineers identified the optimal actuation distance for a gaming switch to a fraction of a millimeter and reduced the distance between the actuation point and resent point by almost half to allow for faster, more precise gaming commands compared to standard mechanical switches.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/razer_clg_blackwidow.jpg" alt="Razer CLG BlackWidow Keyboard" title="Razer CLG BlackWidow Keyboard" width="620" height="275" /></p> <p>There are five dedicated macro keys that are fully programmable with on-the-fly macro recording, a gaming mode option, 10-key roll-over anti-ghosting, USB pass-through, 1000Hz Ultrapolling, and support for Razer Synapse.</p> <p>The new plank is available now for $150 MSRP.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/razer_gives_blackwidow_mechanical_keyboard_counter_logic_gaming_facelift_2014#comments blackwidow clg counter logic gaming Hardware keyboard mechanical Peripherals razer News Tue, 19 Aug 2014 16:37:15 +0000 Paul Lilly 28376 at http://www.maximumpc.com Corsair Commander Mini Gives You Control of Your PC's Cooling and Bling http://www.maximumpc.com/corsair_commander_mini_gives_you_control_your_pcs_cooling_and_bling_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/corsair_commander_mini.jpg" alt="Corsair Commander Mini" title="Corsair Commander Mini" width="228" height="114" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Always keep your cool</h3> <p>Heat is the bane of any PC enthusiast and we all go to great lengths to ensure our systems don't cook themselves. Need a little assistance keeping those temps in check? Corsair thinks it can help with its new <strong>Corsair Commander Mini control unit. It's a compact device that mounts inside your P</strong>C, is powered by a SATA connector, and comes with a cable to connect to a USB 2.0 header.</p> <p>Once installed, you can download the free Corsair Link Dashboard software and start captaining your cooling and case lighting scheme. The Commander Mini sports four Corsair Link Digital ports, six fan control connectors, four temperature probe inputs, and a port for connecting Corsair Link LED lighting strips.</p> <p>An advantage of this type of setup is you don't need to play around in the BIOS, which offers limited options compared to the Commander Mini. Everything is configurable from the desktop using the Corsair Link Dashboard software. In addition, you can glance vitals such as coolant temperature, ambient temperatures (at multiple points), and the speed of case fans and fans built into compatible components.</p> <p>The Commander Mini is available now <a href="http://www.corsair.com/en-us/landing/commander-mini" target="_blank">direct from Corsair</a> for $60 MSRP.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/corsair_commander_mini_gives_you_control_your_pcs_cooling_and_bling_2014#comments commander mini cooling corsair Hardware led lighting Peripherals News Tue, 19 Aug 2014 16:00:12 +0000 Paul Lilly 28375 at http://www.maximumpc.com HP Stream 14 Laptop Runs Windows 8.1 and Costs $200 - What Now, Chromebooks? http://www.maximumpc.com/hp_stream_14_laptop_runs_windows_81_and_costs_200_-_what_now_chromebooks <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/hp_stream_14.jpg" alt="HP Stream 14" title="HP Stream 14" width="228" height="182" style="float: right;" />Could a 14-inch Windows notebook be a Chromebook killer?</h3> <p>Microsoft isn't blind to the fact that Chromebooks are flying off of store shelves, both virtual and physical, and so a month ago the Redmond outfit let slip that it was working with various partners to offer low cost alternatives in the $199 to $249 range. Turns out it wasn't just lip service. Meet the <strong>HP Stream 14, a 14-inch notebook running Windows 8.1 and carrying a $200 price tag</strong>.</p> <p>German-language website <a href="http://www.mobilegeeks.de/hp-stream-199-dollar-notebook-kommt-mit-14-inch-display-amd-plattform-100-gb-onedrive-alle-details/" target="_blank"><em>Mobile Geeks</em> </a>got its hands on press photos and official HP documents outlining the Stream 14. Based on the spec sheet, this low cost laptop sports AMD hardware inside -- specifically, an AMD A4 Micro-6400T quad-core processor with integrated Radeon R3 graphics powering the 14-inch display's 1366x768 resolution. It also features 2GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, memory card reader, two USB 2.0 ports, a single USB 3.0 port, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI output, webcam, full-size keyboard, and a 45W battery.</p> <p>Documents also reveal that Microsoft will include 100GB of cloud-based OneDrive storage for two years with the 3.9-pound laptop, just as Google offers 100GB of Google Drive storage with every Chromebook. That certainly levels the playing field and steals significant thunder away from Google's Chromebook push.</p> <p>No word yet on when the HP Stream 14 will launch, though given all the data available, we suspect it will be soon, especially if Microsoft and HP want to take advantage of the back-to-school shopping season.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/hp_stream_14_laptop_runs_windows_81_and_costs_200_-_what_now_chromebooks#comments Hardware hewlett-packard hp laptop mobile notebook OEM rigs stream 14 windows 8.1 News Tue, 19 Aug 2014 15:33:37 +0000 Paul Lilly 28374 at http://www.maximumpc.com Nvidia Shield Tablet Review http://www.maximumpc.com/nvidia_shield_tablet_review_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3>Updated: Now with video review!&nbsp;</h3> <p>Despite its problems, we actually liked <a title="Nvidia Shield review" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/nvidia_shield_review_2013" 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><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/dGigsxi9-K4" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>We've updated our review to include the video review above.</strong></p> <p>At eight inches, the Shield Tablet features a gorgeous 1900x1200 display, which shares the same resolution as Google’s flagship <a title="nexus 7 review" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/google_nexus_7_review_2013" 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 is 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 (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 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 used to purchase, download, and launch 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 cards, 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 <em>the</em> 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 claims 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 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>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 lighter and is 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 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="http://www.maximumpc.com/nvidia_sweetens_shield_console_android_442_kitkat_price_drop_199_through_april" 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. One quibble with it is that we wish the trackpad was more square, to at least mimic the dimensions of the tablet; 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 remedied the issue. One noticeable feature missing from the controller is rumble support. Nvidia said this was omitted on the original Shield to keep the weight down; its omission is a little more glaring this time around, however, since there's 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. 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 otherwise setting up the cover and getting it to act as a stand 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 gratis, 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 the 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 is first and foremost 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, 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 possible was likely on Nvidia’s mind. Of course, not everyone may even want a controller, with the general lack of support for them 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 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.</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 that 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 that we couldn’t get to work 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="//www.youtube.com/embed/rh7fWdQT2eE" 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 checklist, the Shield Tablet is easily the top contender today. We’d take it over the second-gen Nexus 7 in a heartbeat. 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> <p><em><strong>Update:</strong> The original article incorrectly labled the Shield Portable benchmarks with the Nexus 7 figures. The issue has been resolved and both benchmark charts are listed below.&nbsp;</em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/nvidia_shield_tablet_review_2014#comments android Google Hardware KitKat maximum pc nvidia portable Review shield tablet wireless controller News Reviews Tablets Mon, 18 Aug 2014 21:36:57 +0000 Jimmy Thang 28263 at http://www.maximumpc.com Rebooted King's Quest Adventure Game Won't Be a Point and Click http://www.maximumpc.com/rebooted_kings_quest_adventure_game_wont_be_point_and_click_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/kingsquest.jpg" alt="King's Quest" title="King's Quest" width="228" height="144" style="float: right;" />King's Quest is coming back in a different way</h3> <p>News broke last week at Gamescom that Activision is bringing back the Sierra brand, which it will use as a launching ground for different indie developed titles. One of the first will be a reimagined version of <em>King's Quest</em> developed by The Odd Gentlemen, a small game studio known for <em>The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom</em>. There aren't a lot of details to share just yet, but one thing we do know is that the <strong>reimagined King's Quest won't be a point-and-click game</strong>.</p> <p>"There's not much I can say about King's Quest," Activision's MacLean Marshall posted to Twitter. "All I can say is that I've seen it, and it's not a point-and-click game. But it looks awesome."</p> <p>The Odd Gentlemen later took to Twitter to clarify that even though it won't be a point-and-click title like the original, "the game is very much an adventure game. It doesn't only use the mouse."</p> <p>Marshall had a lot more to say to <a href="http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2014/08/16/sierra-s-new-king-s-quest-won-t-be-a-point-and-click-adventure.aspx" target="_blank"><em>GameInformer</em></a> about the sudden Sierra movement,<a href="http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2014/08/16/sierra-s-new-king-s-quest-won-t-be-a-point-and-click-adventure.aspx" target="_blank"><em></em></a> though nothing too specific about King's Quest, other than Activision might allow more than one studio to use the same characters and universe. Color us intrigued.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/rebooted_kings_quest_adventure_game_wont_be_point_and_click_2014#comments adventure game king's quest point-and-click Sierra Software News Mon, 18 Aug 2014 19:49:40 +0000 Paul Lilly 28370 at http://www.maximumpc.com Microsoft Yanks Patch Tuesday Kernel Update Containing a BSOD Bug http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_yanks_patch_tuesday_kernel_update_containing_bsod_bug_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/bsod.jpg" alt="BSOD" title="BSOD" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Just when you thought that BSODs were a thing of the past</h3> <p>After installing Microsoft's August 2014 Patch Tuesday updates, you may have noticed some wonky behavior in Windows. If you're especially unluckly, you may have even been experiencing those dreaded Blue Screen of Death errors that have largely been eradicated in recent years. It turns out <strong>there's some potentially buggy code that could cause BSODs after installing the updates</strong>, which prompted Microsoft to pull the patch offline while it investigates the issue.</p> <p>"Microsoft is investigating the behavior in which systems may crash with a 0x50 Stop error message (bugcheck) after any of the following updates are installed:</p> <ul> <li>2987291: MS14-045: Description of the security update for kernel-mode drivers: August 12, 2014</li> <li>2970228: Update to support the new currency symbol for the Russian ruble in Windows</li> <li>2975719: August 2014 update rollup for Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2</li> <li>2975331: August 2014 update rollup for Windows RT, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2012</li> </ul> <p>This condition may be persistent and may prevent the system starting correctly," Microsoft says.</p> <p>There are a couple of other known issues associated with the update, both of which relate to fonts, though the BSOD problem is by far the most concerning. If you're negatively affected by the update, or simply don't want to risk that something will go wrong, Microsoft details a <a href="http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2982791" target="_blank">step-by-step instructions</a> to get things working again.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/microsoft_yanks_patch_tuesday_kernel_update_containing_bsod_bug_2014#comments blue screen of death BSOD microsoft Patch Tuesday Security Software News Mon, 18 Aug 2014 19:20:33 +0000 Paul Lilly 28369 at http://www.maximumpc.com Blizzard's Bumping Up the Price of World of Warcraft Subscriptions in the U.K. http://www.maximumpc.com/blizzards_bumping_price_world_warcraft_subscriptions_uk_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/wow_2.jpg" alt="WoW" title="WoW" width="228" height="165" style="float: right;" />As subscribers flee, subscription pricing goes up</h3> <p>Gravity ensures that most of what goes up must also come down (even that helium filled balloon will return to Earth one day, minus the helium inside), but when it comes to World of Warcraft, the world's most popular MMORPG, the opposite is true. That's to say that hot on the heels of Blizzard Activision announcing that <strong>WoW's number of subscribers have gone down, the price of a subscription is going up. </strong></p> <p>"We regularly look at our pricing around the world and from time to time we make changes in light of local and regional market conditions. As such, we want to give everyone a heads-up that we will shortly be adjusting the pound sterling subscription price of World of Warcraft," Blizzard Activision <a href="http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/11546524896" target="_blank">announced on Battle.net</a>.</p> <p>Beginning November 13, a monthly sub will rise to £9.99 for 30 days (up from £8.99), to £28.17 for 90 days (up from £25.17), and £52.14 for 180 days (up from £46.14). The suggested retail price of the 60-day prepaid time card will be £20.99.</p> <p>Players with recurring/auto-renewing subscriptions at the time of the price change will keep their current price for two years, as long as there are no interruptions.</p> <p>Some 800,000 players fled World of Warcraft in the last quarter, bringing the total number of subscribers to 6.8 million. That still qualifies WoW as biggest MMORPG in the world, though it's a far cry from its peak of 12 million in 2010.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/blizzards_bumping_price_world_warcraft_subscriptions_uk_2014#comments activision blizzard Draenor games MMORPG Software world of warcraft News Mon, 18 Aug 2014 18:53:48 +0000 Paul Lilly 28368 at http://www.maximumpc.com Take a Sneak Peek of Three Upcoming Gigabyte Motherboards for Haswell-E http://www.maximumpc.com/take_sneak_peek_three_upcoming_gigabyte_motherboards_haswell-e_2014 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/gigabyte_x99_gaming_g1.jpg" alt="Gigabyte X99 Gaming G1 WiFi" title="Gigabyte X99 Gaming G1 WiFi" width="228" height="141" style="float: right;" />A colorful collection of motherboards</h3> <p>Intel's next generation Haswell-E processor launch is just around the corner, and the closer it gets, the more products we're seeing from its hardware partners. Haswell-E will usher in a new Intel X99 chipset with support for DDR4 memory. The upcoming CPUs will slip in socket 2011 motherboards, of which we've already seen several. You can add three more options to the list -- while details are light, <strong>we have pics of three upcoming Gigabyte motherboards for Haswell-E</strong>.</p> <p>The three boards include the Gigabyte GA-X99-UD7 WIFI, Gigabyte GA-X99-SOC Force, and Gigabyte GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI. As suggested by the model numbers, all three are X99 motherboards. Unfortunately, we don't have any fascinating details to share about any of the boards, though we do have a trio of pics you can click through in our gallery below <a href="http://www.fudzilla.com/home/item/35528-gigabyte-cooks-up-three-haswell-e-motherboards" target="_blank">courtesy of <em>Fudzilla</em></a>, which got its hands on the product shots.</p> <p>Word <a href="http://www.techpowerup.com/204172/intel-core-i7-haswell-e-and-x99-motherboards-launch-date-revealed.html" target="_blank">around the web</a> is that Intel will launch its next flagship Core i7 HEDT (high-end desktop) processors, otherwise known as Haswell-E, on August 29. It's rumored the chip maker will debut two 6-core CPUs and a single 8-core part, the Core i7 5960X with 20MB of shared L3 cache and a 3GHz clockspeed.</p> <p>The two 6-core parts include the Core i7 5930K (15MB of shared L3 cache, 3.5GHz) and Core i7 4820K (specs unknown).</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/take_sneak_peek_three_upcoming_gigabyte_motherboards_haswell-e_2014#comments Build a PC GA-X99-Gaming G1 WIFI GA-x99-SOC Force ga-x99-ud7 WIFI gigabyte Hardware haswell-e intel motherboard News Mon, 18 Aug 2014 16:51:11 +0000 Paul Lilly 28367 at http://www.maximumpc.com