News en Buy a Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge, Receive a One Year Netflix Subscription <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/galaxy_s6_netflix.jpg" alt="Samsung Galaxy S6 Nexus" title="Samsung Galaxy S6 Nexus" width="228" height="184" style="float: right;" />Enticing offer for the Android camp</h3> <p>It doesn't appear that Samsung needs much help selling Android fans on its recently released Galaxy S6 or Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones, but just in case you're on the fence, the South Korean handset maker is hoping a little nudge from T-Mobile will help. That nudge comes in the form of a <strong>one-year Netflix subscription at no additional cost when you purchase a Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge</strong> from a T-Mobile authorized dealer.</p> <p>The deal runs from now until April 12, 2015, and is open to both new and existing Netflix customers. Once you've purchased a qualifying handset, just head over to Samsung's sign-up page -- <a href="" target="_blank"></a> -- and follow the instructions. Note that you'll need to have the device in hand in order to complete the process.</p> <p>Now wait a tick, at this point you're thinking, "What good is this deal when the qualifying devices aren't even available through T-Mobile?" Good question, and here's your answer -- pre-orders count. You can place your pre-order for either handset today; they'll be in stores April 10.</p> <p>So long as you've purchased the Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge by April 12, you'll have until May 21 to sign up at the above linked page, and until June 20 to redeem the code.</p> <p>Here are two things to keep in mind. One, this is for the Netflix plan that allows you to have up to two streams simultaneously. And two, the offer is good for the first 92,000 submissions.</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> android galaxy s6 Galaxy S6 Edge mobile NetFlix samsung smartphone t-mobile News Fri, 27 Mar 2015 19:15:39 +0000 Paul Lilly 29652 at Valve and HTC to let Developers Apply for a Free Vive Headset “Soon” <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/steamvr_vive.jpg" alt="SteamVR Vive" title="SteamVR Vive" width="200" height="125" style="float: right;" />Vive Developer Edition “will be free, at least initially”</h3> <p>At GDC 2015, Valve was able to impress many people with its SteamVR technology including our own Maximum PC Online Managing Editor Jimmy Thang (see what he thought about the <a title="SteamVR Demo" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">SteamVR demo</span></a>). But what is surprising is that the company announced that a consumer version will be available in 2015. It is short notice for a device that has just been revealed, but that doesn’t seem to bother Valve. So far, a small selection of developers already have kits, <strong>but Valve and HTC will be letting developers apply for a free Vive developer kit soon</strong>, according to <a title="Ars Technica" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Ars Technica</span></a>.</p> <p>This information comes from Valve VP of Marketing Doug Lombardi, who spoke to Ars Technica, stating that ”more info and sign up forms will be available to all interested developers, big or small, via a new site coming soon.” While Lombardi didn’t reveal how many of the developers who apply online will get a free dev kit, he added that the company’s hope is to have the sign-up site up next week.</p> <p>The lucky developers who get approved will receive a Developer Edition that “will be free, at least initially,” said Lombardi. According to Valve’s <a title="SteamVR site" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">SteamVR page</span></a>, the Developer Edition “comes with a headset, two controllers, two base stations - everything you need to dive in and start creating new interactive VR experiences.”</p> <p>How many of these kits will be given away for free is anyone’s guess. But it is a different approach for Valve compared to Oculus VR, which provided early units to its Kickstarter backers and has been selling its dev kit to anyone for $350 on its website. So it will be interesting to see what developers will get the Vive dev kit and what kind of games will be developed.</p> <p>Of course, the other thing to consider is how much will the Vive cost for developers who are not lucky enough to get it for free and what the consumer version will retail for. Any guesses? Sound off in the comments below!</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> developers free developer edition htc steamvr Valve vive Vive dev kit Gaming News Fri, 27 Mar 2015 18:41:03 +0000 Sean D Knight 29651 at Tech Coalition Presses US Government to End Bulk Collection of Metadata <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/whitehouse01.jpg" alt="White House" title="White House" width="200" height="148" style="float: right;" />Microsoft, Google, and Apple among tech companies fighting against provision in the Patriot Act</h3> <p>The collection of metadata by government agencies, such as the National Security Agency, has been a source of contention for tech companies forced to hand over the information in bulk to the US Government. Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows for the bulk collection of metadata but the provision will expire in June unless the government renews it. As the date draws closer, <strong>tech companies have joined privacy groups in sending an open letter asking that Section 215 not be renewed in the Patriot Act</strong>.</p> <p>“There must be a clear, strong, and effective end to bulk collection practices under the USA PATRIOT Act, including under the Section 215 records authority and the Section 2 214 authority regarding pen registers and trap &amp; trace devices,” <span style="color: #ff0000;"><a title="Tech Coalition letter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">reads the letter</span></a></span>, explaining what the groups want. “Any collection that does occur under those authorities should have appropriate safeguards in place to protect privacy and users’ rights.”</p> <p>The letter goes on to suggest that, “The bill must contain transparency and accountability mechanisms for both government and company reporting, as well as an appropriate declassification regime for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decisions.</p> <p>While the various organizations might have differing views on what reforms should be included, the two points quoted above are ones that everyone agrees must be part of the reforms. 47 different industry and privacy organizations have signed the letter that was sent to the Obama administration. One group, called the Reform Government Surveillance, includes members such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft, and Apple.&nbsp;</p> <p>“It has been nearly two years since the first news stories revealed the scope of the United States’ surveillance and bulk collection activities,” the letter concludes. “Now is the time to take on meaningful legislative reforms to the nation’s surveillance programs that maintain national security while preserving privacy, transparency, and accountability. We strongly encourage both the White House and Members of Congress to support the above reforms and oppose any efforts to enact any legislation that does not address them.”</p> <p>Whether the US government implements such reforms come June will remain to be seen, but the potential outlook doesn’t look promising. Last year, the Obama administration asked Congress to <a title="MPC White House privacy laws" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">pass new privacy laws</span></a> proposing that telecom companies hang onto the records and only hand them over to law enforcement agencies when receiving a court order. Nothing came about from the proposal, while Congress itself was unable to reform the surveillance program. In November 2014, Congress was unable to pass The Freedom Act, a bill that would have curbed the NSA’s bulk collection of telephone records.</p> <p>Do you think the US Government will make changes to the Patriot Act regarding the bulk collection of metadata? Let us know what you think in the comments below.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> apple Google microsoft patriot act privacy groups Section 215 Tech coalition twitter News Fri, 27 Mar 2015 16:38:43 +0000 Sean D Knight 29650 at Micron and Intel Pimp 3D NAND Flash Memory with Promise of 10TB Solid State Drives <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/intel_micron_3d_nand.jpg" alt="Intel and Micron 3D NAND" title="Intel and Micron 3D NAND" width="228" height="135" style="float: right;" />Holy high capacity, Batman!</h3> <p>When it comes to storage, you typically have to choose between raw performance or oodles of storage space. If you value the former, a solid state drive is hands down the way to go. And if you need the latter, well, traditional hard drives with spinning platters are still the best option. But what if you could have both? <strong>Micron and Intel have made available 3D NAND flash memory that they say will enable SSDs to scale beyond 10 terabytes</strong> in 2.5-inch form.</p> <p>It will also enable gum stick-sized SSDs with more than 3.5TB of storage. Both are made possible by stacking layers of data storage cells vertically "with extraordinary precision," resulting in storage devices that offer three times more capacity than competing NAND technologies.</p> <p>This isn't a new concept, by any means. Samsung is already using vertically stacked cells in some of its newer SSDs, and Toshiba and SanDisk just recently jointly announced 3D NAND cell technology of their own. Indeed, stacking cells is the way of the future for SSDs, as planar NAND is reaching its practical scaling limits. By transitioning to 3D NAND flash memory, flash storage solutions can stay aligned with Moore's Law.</p> <p>So, what's different about the way Micron and Intel are going about it? They're the first to use a floating gate cell in 3D NAND, which they describe as a key design choice enabling greater performance, quality, and reliability.</p> <p>Their new 3D NAND technology stacks flash cells vertically in 32 layers. By doing so, they're able to achieve 256Gb (gigabit) multi-level cell (MLC) and 384Gb triple-level cell (TLC) die that fit in a standard package. Since they're now stacking cells, they can use individual cells that are significantly larger, which allows them to achieve up to 48GB (gigabyte) of NAND per die.</p> <p>Intel and Micron have begun sampling 256Gb MLC versions of 3D NAND to select partners and will sample 384Gb TLC later in the spring. Both companies are also working on their own brand SSD solutions based on 3D NAND technology slated for release by 2016.</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> 3d nand flash memory Hardware intel micron Solid State Drives ssd storage News Fri, 27 Mar 2015 15:54:43 +0000 Paul Lilly 29649 at Notebooks Makes Ready 2-in-1 Chromebook Models for Release in Q2 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/chromebook_2-in-1.jpg" alt="Asus Chromebook 2-in-1" title="Asus Chromebook 2-in-1" width="228" height="122" style="float: right;" />Chrome OS versus Windows, round 2: FIGHT!</h3> <p>After getting off to a slow start, Chromebooks finally began to grow in popularity as lower cost alternatives to Windows-based machines. And for a long while, Chromebooks represented the top selling laptops on Amazon.&nbsp; Now that Windows laptops can be bought for $250 or less, Chromebooks aren't as enticing, but what about 2-in-1 systems? We're about to find out as <strong>laptop makers ready 2-in-1 Chromebook models for a second quarter release</strong>.</p> <p>Citing sources from within the upstream supply chain, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Digitimes</em> says</a> Intel is planning to partner with Google and notebook players like Asus, Acer, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Quanta Computer, and Pegatron Technology to launch convertible Chromebooks next quarter. Initially these will be 11-inch to 13-inch devices.</p> <p>Like traditional Chromebooks, these 2-in-1 devices will compete on price. They'll also target students in the U.S., as that seems to be the niche that's most responsive to Chrome OS. After that, laptop makers will push 2-in-1 Chromebooks into emerging markets such as Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.</p> <p>There's no word on specific pricing at this point, though it's expected these devices will undercut Windows 2-in-1 systems by about 10 percent.</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> 2-in-1 chromebook Hardware intel laptop notebook News Thu, 26 Mar 2015 18:58:26 +0000 Paul Lilly 29647 at Leap Motion's Hand Tracking Technology is Headed to Razer's OSVR Headset <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/razer_osvr.jpg" alt="Razer OSVR" title="Razer OSVR" width="228" height="173" style="float: right;" />Handy dandy VR</h3> <p>We <a href="">spoke with Razer</a> about its Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) ecosystem at the Consumer Electronics Show a couple of months ago and were excited about the possibilities. Even more intriguing is the announcement that <strong>Leap Motion has partnered up with Razer to integrate its motion-tracking capabilities right into Razer's OSVR headset</strong> when it ships to consumers later this year.</p> <p>The OSVR Hacker Dev Kit will have an optional faceplate with Leap Motion's hardware and software embedded. This will make it the first VR headset with natural motion control technology integrated right into the head mounted display, which will open up a whole new world to developers.</p> <p>"By letting the user connect directly with the VR environment, hand tracking allows virtual reality to be as natural and intuitive as interacting with the real world, giving the user a powerful sense of presence and immersion," <a href="" target="_blank">said Michael Buckwald</a>, CEO and co-founder of Leap Motion. "We're pleased to partner with OSVR to bring our technology to the OSVR Hacker Dev Kit, helping developers enable the true potential of VR."</p> <p>What this will do for developers is allow them to write code for a single platform that works across multiple hardware devices, Leap Motion says. And for consumers, that means a consistently smooth experience, as the integrated OSVR motion plugin supports multiple motion device types.</p> <p>Motion tracking is really the next step VR. It's something other companies are working on as well, including MindMaze with its <a href="">neuro-goggle headset</a> and of course Microsoft and its <a href="">HoloLens platform</a>.</p> <p>According to Leap Motion, this collaboration with Razer is "the first in a future lineup of head mounted displays thta will feature Leap Motion's technology built-in," suggesting that other headsets will see the same kind of integration, perhaps even Oculus Rift.</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 headset leap motion osvr razer virtual reality Wearable News Thu, 26 Mar 2015 18:28:01 +0000 Paul Lilly 29646 at MSI 970A SLI Krait Edition is First AMD Motherboard with USB 3.1 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/msi_970a_sli_krait_edition.jpg" alt="MSI 970A SLI Krait Edition" title="MSI 970A SLI Krait Edition" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Introducing USB 3.1 to AMD</h3> <p><strong>MSI is laying claim to the world's first AMD motherboard with USB 3.1 support</strong>. The board in question is MSI's new <strong>970A SLI Krait Edition</strong>, which sports a black and white tuxedo theme that would probably look pretty nifty inside a white theme enclosure. But behind the looks is a USB 3.1 interface that allows for transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps, double that of USB 3.0, and 20 times faster than USB 2.0.</p> <p>Earlier this year MSI rolled out the <a href="" target="_blank">Z97S SLI Krait Edition</a> based on Intel's Z97 chipset. It too brought a black and white color theme but no USB 3.1 support. Now AMD is getting the fancy pants treatment.</p> <p>The 970A SLI Krait Edition is a socket AM3+ board with support for AMD FX, Phenom II, Athlon II, and Sempron CPUs. It has four DIMM slots supporting up to 32GB of DDR3-2133 (OC) memory, two PCI x16 slots, two PCI-E x1 slots, two standard PCI slots, six SATA 6Gbps ports, a single GbE LAN port, and an assortment of USB 3.1, 3.0, and 2.0 ports.</p> <p>MSI touts high quality components and build quality such as solid capacitors, "Dark Choke" with a special core design that allows it to run a a lower temp with a higher capacity, isolated audio PCB, and so forth.</p> <p>No word yet on when the <a href="" target="_blank">MSI 970A SLI Krait Edition</a> will be available or for how much. As a point of reference, the aforementioned Intel version runs about $110 street.</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> 970 A SLI Krait Edition amd Build a PC Hardware motherboard msi usb 3.1 News Thu, 26 Mar 2015 17:46:48 +0000 Paul Lilly 29645 at Amazon Takes Storage Wars to the Cloud, Now Offers Unlimited Plans <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/amazon_cloud_0.jpg" alt="Amazon Cloud" title="Amazon Cloud" width="228" height="228" style="float: right;" />Never run out of cloud storage again</h3> <p>The future of cloud storage is likely to come down to price and supplementary features rather than allotted storage space. Looking to push the issue, <strong>Amazon today announced a pair of unlimited storage options with Amazon Cloud Drive </strong>that are available to anyone and everyone, not just Amazon Prime members. Amazon isn't the only cloud provider that offers unlimited space, but it might be the first to pitch it to home consumers on a standalone basis.</p> <p>Microsoft also offers unlimited online storage through OneDrive, though you have to subscribe to Office 365. So does Dropbox, though it's aimed at Business users and is significantly more expensive at $15/month than Amazon's. And then there's Google, which offers unlimited storage through its Google Apps Unlimited and Google Apps for Education services.</p> <p>As for Amazon, it's new Unlimited Photos Plan is free for three months and then runs $11.99 per year, so about a buck a month. You can store as many photos as you like in Amazon's Cloud Drive, plus 5GB of additional storage for videos and other documents and files.</p> <p>The second option is Amazon's Unlimited Everything Plan. It too is free for the first three months, and then $59.99 per year ($5 per month). You can store whatever you want with this plan -- photos, videos, files, documents, movies, music, etc.</p> <p>"Most people have a lifetime of birthdays, vacations, holidays, and everyday moments stored across numerous devices. And, they don’t know how many gigabytes of storage they need to back all of them up," said Josh Petersen, Director of Amazon Cloud Drive. "With the two new plans we are introducing today, customers don’t need to worry about storage space—they now have an affordable, secure solution to store unlimited amounts of photos, videos, movies, music, and files in one convenient place."</p> <p>If you're interested in trying out either plan, <a href=";*Version*=1&amp;*entries*=0" target="_blank">go 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> amazon cloud Cloud Drive storage News Thu, 26 Mar 2015 16:06:48 +0000 Paul Lilly 29644 at A Week with Logitech's MX Master <!--paging_filter--><h3>This mouse is as subtly handsome as it is precise</h3> <p>Last week, Logitech stopped by the Maximum PC office to show off its new mouse, the MX Master. The device looked pretty compelling, as did the short promo video, but we looked forward to using the mouse to see how it really fared.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u200840/mxmaster_mouse-and-receiver-620.jpg" alt="Logitech MX Master" title="Logitech MX Master" width="620" height="465" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The Logtech MX Master and unifying reciever.</strong></p> <p>First off, this mouse isn’t built for gaming. The lack of glowing LEDs that you could signal an aircraft with—and the fact it’s wireless—separates it from conventional gaming gear. Instead, the mouse sports a smooth black surface that is actually really nice to rest your palm on. The black matte surface is accented by a very subtle brown-ish bronze bit of plastic that runs from left to right around the back and covers the bottom.&nbsp;</p> <p>While this mouse could be used in games that don’t require ultra-fast response times, it’s primarily made for design and engineering professionals. It feels very precise and smooth, and we imagine that working in AutoCAD would be a pleasure. While tooling around on the web and doing some basic cropping in Photoshop, we never felt that we were fighting with the mouse to get the cursor to be exactly where we wanted it to be.</p> <p>What we really love about this thing is the wheel. The MX Master’s wheel is a standard line-by-line click wheel and again, feels very precise. But give the wheel a good flick of the middle finger, and it free-spins until it slows down enough that the “clutch” catches the wheel and returns it to “line-by-line” mode.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u200840/mxmaster_mouse-top.jpg" alt="Logitech MX Master (top)" title="Logitech MX Master (top)" width="620" height="827" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The top of the MX Master is simple and effective. Clicks feel precise and deliberate.</strong></p> <p>To give you a good idea of just how free it spins, we loaded up Twitter and gave the wheel a good spin down the page. Twitter was able to lazy-load tweets at the bottom of the browser fully six times before the wheel stopped. It’s actually really fun to use.</p> <p>Logitech calls this “Smart Shift,” and it does feel pretty intelligent. The threshold at which the wheel free-spins can be set in the Logitech software. You can also switch the mouse between “fixed” mode or “Smart Shift” with a middle button just behind the wheel.</p> <p>The other thing that we think makes this a great working mouse is the ability to pair it to three different computers. The mouse pairs with Logitech’s standard unifying receiver, but also pairs with Bluetooth-enabled computers.</p> <p>There’s a little button on the bottom that allows you to switch channels, each corresponding to a different pairing. We used the first channel to connect to our workstation and the second to connect to our Linux laptop via Bluetooth. For sysadmins or creative professionals who have more than one machine at their desk, this is great. It also means that you can use it at work, and take it home without fearing that you’ll lose the unifying receiver.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u200840/mxmaster_mouse-bottom.jpg" alt="Logitech MX Master (bottom)" title="Logitech MX Master (bottom)" width="620" height="827" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The bottom of the mouse is what you'd expect, except for the channel selector near the rear.</strong></p> <p>The MX Master’s thumb button is also quite subtle: it’s part of the molded matte black surface, directly below the thumb. The thumb click is silent, and brings up the Windows’ window switcher (like Alt+Tab) by default. For Macbook users, the thumb button is supposed to simulate a three-finger swipe gesture on the track pad.</p> <p>There is also a scroll wheel and two side buttons for your thumb to get more of a workout, though the two buttons default to browser forward and back functions.</p> <p>Of course, all of the buttons can be customized in Logitech’s software, but the default assignments feel pretty well thought out.</p> <p>The mouse charges via a microUSB port at its nose, where you’d expect a cable to be if the mouse were wired. You can use the mouse while charging, but it’s still wireless; the USB cable isn’t sending any data. Three inconspicuous green LEDs show charge progress.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u200840/mxmaster_charging.jpg" alt="Logitech MX Master charging" title="Logitech MX Master charging" width="620" height="465" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Three small LEDs let you know the mouse is charging. Nothing flashy here.</strong></p> <p>We haven’t played any games with the MX Master just yet, but so far we're impressed with build quality and attention to details that people who work on computers all day can really appreciate. The laser is supposed to work on glass too, but we are working with a wood laminate desk, so we'll just have to take Logitech’s word on that for now.&nbsp;</p> <p>Again, this mouse is geared for professionals, and is priced at $100. If you can get your company to pay for it or write it off on your taxes, this mouse is worth a look.</p> logitech Logitech MX Master mice News Features Wed, 25 Mar 2015 22:05:07 +0000 Alex Campbell 29638 at U.S. Sees 10Mbps Jump in Average Broadband Speed <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/broadband.jpg" alt="Broadband" title="Broadband" width="228" height="164" style="float: right;" />Put the pedal to the metal</h3> <p>Cover your eyes if you live way out in the boondocks or anywhere else where broadband Internet access is about as mythical as a unicorn, this might sting a little. It turns out the U.S. is seeing faster download speeds. According to data pulled from Ookla's Speedtest, the average download speed for broadband (not including mobile) in the U.S. is 33.9Mbps. That's up a full 10Mbps from April of 2014.</p> <p>As <em>Cord Cutters News</em> points out, the recent surge in broadband is doing wonders for where the U.S. ranks in the world. It's no secret the U.S. trails several other territories, but the 10Mbps boost in the past year pushed the U.S. ahead of several others, including the U.K. (30.18Mbps), Germany (29.95Mbps), Spain (28.28Mbps), Russia (27.7Mbps), and Ireland (27.29Mbps).</p> <p>That said, the U.S. ranks 27 out of 199 countries and still trails some others by a wide margin, particularly Japan at 60.49Mbps and South Korea at 84.31Mbps. And that's after factoring in Google's Fiber rollout to several different locations.</p> <p>As for speeds stateside, Washington leads the way with an average broadband connection of 45.6Mbps, followed by Missouri (41.21Mbps), New York (40.86Mbps, California (40.8Mbps), and Utah (40.47Mbps.)</p> <p>Image Credit: <a href="" target="_blank">Flickr (Sean MacEntree)</a></p> broadband Internet Speedtest News Wed, 25 Mar 2015 20:05:13 +0000 Paul Lilly 29643 at EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Hybrid Gets Wet and Wild with Maxwell <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/evga_geforce_gtx_980_hybrid.jpg" alt="EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Hybrid" title="EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Hybrid" width="228" height="219" style="float: right;" />When air cooling isn't enough</h3> <p>Have you ever tried liquid cooling a graphics card? It's not the most difficult thing in the world, though between the water cooling loop and delicately removing the card's stock cooling solution, it can be a little intimidating. And then there's <strong>EVGA's new GeForce GTX 980 Hybrid with an all-in-one water cooling already installed</strong>. All you need to do is plug the card into your mobo, feed it power, and mount the single 120mm fan radiator.</p> <p>There's no filling required, no custom tubing to mess with, and no maintenance. Your reward for giving the Maxwell-based GPU a bath is significantly lower temperatures compared to Nvidia's reference air cooler. According to EVGA's benchmark chart, a card running at 70C degrees using a reference cooler would be under 45C with the Hybrid.</p> <p>The card itself comes factory overclocked. Instead of a base clockspeed of 1,126MHz and boost clock of 1,216MHz, the Hybrid runs at 1,291MHz and 1,393MHz, respectively. The 4GB of GDDR5 memory stays at stock speeds -- 7,010MHz on a 256-bit bus, resulting in memory bandwidth of 224.3GB/s.</p> <p>Of course, cooler temps invite overclocking, and EVGA has a couple of software tools to help with that. One is EVGA Precision X, which allows you to adjust the GPU and memory frequencies, moitor temps, and more. You can also use EVGA's OC Scanner X to stress test and benchmark your overclocked card.</p> <p>The GeForce GTX 980 Hybrid is <a href="" target="_blank">available now</a> direct from EVGA for $650. If you already own the card, you can purchase the Hybrid water cooler by itself for $100, which is also <a href="" target="_blank">available now</a>.</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> Build a PC evga Gaming GeForceGTX 980 Hybrid graphics card Hardware liquid cooling maxwell Video Card News Wed, 25 Mar 2015 19:03:14 +0000 Paul Lilly 29641 at Microsoft Decides Against Sharing Rendering Engines Between Project Spartan and IE11 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/project_spartan.jpg" alt="Project Spartan" title="Project Spartan" width="228" height="193" style="float: right;" />Lines have been drawn</h3> <p><strong>Some changes are coming to the way Microsoft's Project Spartan and Internet Explorer browsers will handle the web</strong> once Windows 10 ships. As originally conceived, both browsers would use the new rendering engine built for Project Spartan, and both would be capable of switching back to the legacy Trident engine to load certain sites that use dated technologies, and also to ensure compatibility among specific enterprise sites. Not anymore.</p> <p>In a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a> this week, Microsoft said it decided against its original browser strategy after taking into considering "strong feedback" from its Windows Insiders and customers. So instead of sharing engines on Windows 10, Project Spartan will exclusively use the new engine, while IE11 will stay unchanged from Windows 8.1, using just the legacy Trident engine.</p> <p>"We feel this change simplifies the role of each browser. Project Spartan is our future: it is the default browser for all Windows 10 customers and will provide unique user experiences including the ability to annotate on web pages, a distraction-free reading experience, and integration of Cortana for finding and doing things online faster," Microsoft said. "Web developers can expect Project Spartan’s new engine to be interoperable with the modern Web and remain 'evergreen' with no document modes or compatibility views introduced going forward."</p> <p>This should make things easier on users in deciding on what kind of experience they want -- Project Spartan will have all the bells and whistles for a modern web (Cortana integration, annotations, reader modes, etc), while IE11 will support legacy sites and technologies. And by clearly separating the two browsers, Microsoft can focus on its vision for Project Spartan as the web evolves without juggling multiple engines.</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> browser ie11 internet explorer 11 microsoft project spartan Software windows 10 News Wed, 25 Mar 2015 16:36:31 +0000 Paul Lilly 29640 at Logitech Arms MX Master Wireless Mouse with a Darkfield Laser <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/logitech_mx_master_wireless.jpg" alt="Logitech MX Master Wireless" title="Logitech MX Master Wireless" width="228" height="192" style="float: right;" />This rodent isn't fazed by glass or glossy surfaces</h3> <p>The hype is high for <strong>Logitech's new MX Master Wireless mouse</strong>. Featuring a hand-sculpted design and a "Darkfield" laser, Logitech is billing the MX Master as "the new paradigm for precise, fast, comfortable computer navigation." Apparently the peripheral is particularly adept at working across multiple screens, devices, and operating systems, and of course it brings ergonomic traits to the table as well.</p> <p>Let's first talk a little about the Darkfield laser. As Logitech explains it, optical and traditional laser sensors rely on irregularities in the surface to track the direction and speed of mouse movement. So does Darkfield, but it uses the "smallest possible detail to create a micro-road map of the surface," resulting in better precision on a wider number of services, including glass and glossy finishes.</p> <p>It also has a speed-adaptive scroll wheel that lets you auto-shift from click-to-click to hyper-fast scrolling, along with a unique thumbwheel that's oriented horizontally for side-to-side scrolling and page switching.</p> <p>The MX Master Wireless rodent connects to an included Logitech Unifying receiver or via Bluetooth. If you use multiple devices, you can pair the mouse with up to three of them and switch between your systems with the touch of a button on the bottom. Pretty nifty.</p> <p>You can adjust the sensor from 400 dpi to 1,600 dpi in increments of 200. That doesn't sound like much, though the mouse has racked up some positive first impressions and reviews around the web. We'll let you know our own opinion once we get a chance to test one out.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">MX Master Wireless</a> mouse will be available next month for $100 MSRP.</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> Darkfield Hardware logitech mouse MX Master Peripherals News Wed, 25 Mar 2015 15:09:01 +0000 Paul Lilly 29639 at OCZ Vector 180 Solid State Drive Marches Out on a Barefoot 3 Controller <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/ocz_vector_180_ssd.jpg" alt="OCZ Vector 180 SSD" title="OCZ Vector 180 SSD" width="228" height="150" style="float: right;" />Did somebody say "flagship?"</h3> <p>Don't look know, but <strong>Toshiba's OCZ Storage Solutions division just rolled out a new flagship SATA 6Gbps solid state drive, the Vector 180</strong>. It's an "enthusaist-class" SSD that's supposed to deliver rock-solid stability and performance to high-end consumer systems. Armed with an OCZ Barefoot 3 controller and in-house Toshiba A19nm MLC NAND flash memory, the Vector 180 series is rated to read and write files sequentially at up to 550MB/s and 530MB/s, respectively.</p> <p>It also offers up to 100,000 IOPS of 4KB random read and up to 95,000 IOPS of 4K random write performance. These aren't the fastest ratings we've seen in SATA 6Gbps territory, but they're right up there. Just as importantly, OCZ says its SSD Guru storage management software tool helps users to do routine monitoring and maintenance, thereby unlocking the drive's full potential.</p> <p>"With the new Vector 180 Series, OCZ is once again raising the bar for high performance client solid state drives," said Ralph Schmitt, CEO of OCZ Storage Solutions. "Vector 180 leverages our award-winning proprietary controller technology and features normally found in our enterprise-class drives, like Power Failure Management Plus, to deliver high-density SSDs with exceptional performance, endurance, and reliability for gamers, enthusiasts and workstation users."</p> <p>The drive is available in 120GB, 240GB, 480GB and 960GB capacities. Each is backed by OCZ's 5-year "ShieldPlus" warranty, and should something go wrong, OCZ will replace the drive with little-to-no hassle -- just provide your serial number and you'll receive a brand new (not refurbished) advanced product replacement along with a pre-paid return shipping label for your faulty drive. You don't even need your purchase receipt. Pretty snazzy.</p> <p>As for price:</p> <ul> <li>OCZ Vector 180 120GB: $90</li> <li>OCZ Vector 180 240GB: $150</li> <li>OCZ Vector 180 480GB: $275</li> <li>OCZ Vector 180 960GB: $500</li> </ul> <p>The higher the capacity, the better than the price-per-gigabyte.</p> <p>You can find the product page <a href="" target="_blank">here</a> and the SSD Guru download page <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> barefoot 3 Build a PC Hardware ocz solid state drive ssd SSD Guru storage toshiba Vector 180 News Tue, 24 Mar 2015 19:30:16 +0000 Paul Lilly 29634 at EVGA's Supernova 650 GS and 550 GS PSUs are the Strong Silent Types <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/evga_650_gs.jpg" alt="EVGA Supernova 650 GS" title="EVGA Supernova 650 GS" width="228" height="203" style="float: right;" />Power supplies a librarian can love</h3> <p>Building a quiet PC isn't as easy as it sounds. The process of putting the pieces together is mostly the same, unless you're custom installing noise dampening material and rubber grommets, but finding the right components can be challenging. This is especially true of the power supply -- if you don't want to trust your system to a fanless PSU, EVGA may have a serviceable solution.</p> <p><strong>EVGA today announced its Supernova 650 GS and 550 GS PSUs</strong>, both of which are supposedly "completely silent when under low loads." They're also actively cooled, though the 120mm Teflon nano-steel bearing fan "does not spin until necessary," EVGA says.</p> <p>Noise (or lack thereof) isn't the only thing the new Supernova GS units have going them. These are both 80 Plus Gold certified PSUs. They're also fully modular with flat cables, use Japanese brand capacitors, and boast a single +12V rail design with 54A available on the 650W model and 45A on the 550W model.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">Supernova 550 GS</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">650 GS</a> will be available soon for $90 and $100, respectively.</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> 550 GS 650 GS Build a PC evga Hardware power supply PSU supernova News Tue, 24 Mar 2015 19:02:09 +0000 Paul Lilly 29633 at