Vive Developer Edition “will be free, at least initially”
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 SteamVR demo). 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, but Valve and HTC will be letting developers apply for a free Vive developer kit soon, according to Ars Technica.
Microsoft, Google, and Apple among tech companies fighting against provision in the Patriot Act
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, tech companies have joined privacy groups in sending an open letter asking that Section 215 not be renewed in the Patriot Act.
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? Micron and Intel have made available 3D NAND flash memory that they say will enable SSDs to scale beyond 10 terabytes in 2.5-inch form.
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. 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 laptop makers ready 2-in-1 Chromebook models for a second quarter release.
We spoke with Razer 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 Leap Motion has partnered up with Razer to integrate its motion-tracking capabilities right into Razer's OSVR headset when it ships to consumers later this year.
MSI is laying claim to the world's first AMD motherboard with USB 3.1 support. The board in question is MSI's new 970A SLI Krait Edition, 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.
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, Amazon today announced a pair of unlimited storage options with Amazon Cloud Drive 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.
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.
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.
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 EVGA's new GeForce GTX 980 Hybrid with an all-in-one water cooling already installed. All you need to do is plug the card into your mobo, feed it power, and mount the single 120mm fan radiator.