Half-Life 2 on Shield tablet

Posted by Jon Peddie on November 25th 2014 | Discuss (0)
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: nvidia gaming mobile tegra shield half-life 2

Playing an action-packed FPS on an 8-inch screen—amazing experience and memories Ten years old and still fantastic, one of the best games ever has been ported to An¬droid and Nvidia’s Tegra-based Shield tablet. The game is a whopping 2 GB and takes about an hour or more to download. When it’s finally loaded, you use the Shield wireless controller to play the game on the Shield’s 8-inch 1920 x 1200 screen, which is better than an HD experience. If you’ve played the game on a console, you won’t have any difficulty adapting to the Shield-tablet controller combo. If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool…

Playing with 4K - Do I need one, can I afford one?

Posted by Jon Peddie on February 6th 2014 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: pixels dell ultrahd 4k igzo sharp

Dell recently released a new 4K monitor, the P3214Q, that has a beautiful 32-inch IGZO IPS panel. You know the old saying: If you have to ask how much it costs, you can’t afford it? It’s still true. This little big beauty sells for $3,500, which is not cheap.   The other question to ask is what would you do with a 4K monitor? (Maybe it’s the same kind of answer: If you have to ask, then you don’t need one.) However, if you think you do need (or at the least want) one, then you will want to know how…

Playing with GeForce Experience

Posted by Jon Peddie on November 27th 2013 | Permalink
Categories: Software Review
Tags: nvidia gpu geforce driver

Nvidia has generated a clever new app for PC gamers that uses an Nvidia GPU (desktop or notebook) called the GeForce Experience. The app has two features: a DVR-like recorder, called ShadowPlay, that will make a video of what you did in the game, and an optimizer/tuner for game settings. When the app is run it finds all the games on your machine—well, most games; it didn’t find Stalker, but that’s because the app only finds games that are supported. To see if your favorite games are supported go to http://www. GeForce.com/GeForce-experience/supported-games.   After the app inventories your machine, the main…

Acer’s Chromebook

Posted by Jon Peddie on October 8th 2013 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: hp acer google android chrome chromebook

The Acer Chromebook is a slick-looking, lightweight one-inch-thick clamshell device with an 11.6-inch 1366 × 768 screen (135 PPI) powered by an Intel Celeron processor. It runs the Google proprietary Chrome OS (this is not Android), and that creates a few problems. But this lightweight machine (3 pounds) is an easy-to-tote device with a full-sized keyboard. The device has three USB 2.0 ports, as well as a RJ45, a VGA port, and a HDMI port (courtesy the Celeron). Also, as part of the Intel chipset, there is built-in Wi-Fi that finds your network almost instantly. This is an always-connected, continually updated…

Acer’s H6510BD projector and the search for S3D

Posted by Jon Peddie on July 18th 2013 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: acer peddie projector h6510bd

You can have S3D with the right ID We have been testing the new Acer DLP-based H6510BD projector for a few weeks, and gave a preliminary report on it in TechWatch Volume 13, Number 11 May 21, 2013, p 27. As a general-purpose HD projector, you can’t beat this machine. Bright, lightweight, fast, and lots of inputs.   Just to review the general specifications: It has TI’s latest and greatest display panel, a 0.65" DarkChip 3 DMD (Digital Micromirror Device is what TI is calling their DLP these days). Its native resolution is 1080P (1920 x 1080, WUXGA), and can scale…

Qualcomm captures and displays 4K

Posted by Jon Peddie on June 4th 2013 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: qualcomm snapdragon ultrahd hevc

Qualcomm says their Snapdragon 800 can capture 4K images and display those images on a 4K screen. Step by step, 4K is making its way to the home with the brand name UltraHD, and every announcement like this from vendors helps grow demand for even more household pixels. Most vendors expect the transition to 4K to happen faster than the transition to HD, but that doesn’t mean 4K is easy. It’s at least four times the resolution of HD, and as a result, it increases the burden of transmission and it compounds the requirements for storage.   Qualcomm outlines the following points as issues that are going to have to be dealt with for UltraHD video: File…

Visio service and support

Posted by Jon Peddie on March 20th 2013 | Permalink
Categories:
Tags: nvidia graphics qualcomm mt. tiburon testing tegra htc one x+

We bought a 60-inch Visio smart TV in November to watch the election (we’ve since found other uses for it). It’s a beautiful looking device, with a thin bezel and an overall thickness of just 1.9 inches. And it is smart—it found our network and connected itself almost instantly. I won’t bore you with the spec, you can read them online. The only problem with the machine was it would randomly turn itself off, after 3 minutes, or 5, or 20, you’d never know when, or if, it was going to do it. In the process of trying to figure it…

The pen is mightier than the finger

Posted by Jon Peddie on February 13th 2013 | Permalink
Categories:
Tags: nvidia graphics qualcomm mt. tiburon testing tegra htc one x+

Re-visiting N-trig and the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet Of all the tablets we’ve tested (and certainly not all that are in the market), one of my favorites is the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet. One reason is because it has excellent pen input capability. Introduced in late 2011 with a 2.1 GHz Tegra processor and Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich), the device has proven rugged, reliable, and useful. However, the pen input has been challenging at times, and I thought it would be interesting to look into that a bit more. The catalyst for my enquiry was N-trig. They visited us a few months…

Synergistic ScreenShare dual displays from Spring Design: 1+1 = 2.5+

Posted by Jon Peddie on January 7th 2013 | Permalink
Categories:
Tags:

Did you ever wish you had a larger display on your smartphone, especially when browsing? Or have you wished you could type with a larger virtual keyboard than the one on your phone? Well, dream no more, your wishes have come true with ScreenShare from Spring Design, a device that provides a second screen to most Android-based mobile devices. ScreenShare is not the first product from Spring Design (which neither designs nor manu­factures springs). The company introduced one of the world’s first dual-screen electronic readers, the Alex Reader, in 2009. The Alex Reader shared some similar features to Barnes & Noble’s…

Asus Zenbook, Fujitsu Life book, and Trinity notebook

Posted by Jon Peddie on September 26th 2012 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags:

All portables are not the same—by a long shot Even though we found almost two dozen Ultrabooks, we only had two we could test in time for this issue. And we have an AMD Trinity-based laptop. We put those three units through a couple of tests, specifically the FinalWire AID64 suite and 3Dmark11. The results were surprising, and a little disappointing.  The three machines were similar but not exactly the same. We started out with great expectation on the graphics tested and then had to keep backing off down to 1024 x 600 resolution to get a useful FPS score. What…

Review: Mobile Monitor Technologies’ Monitor2Go–The more you can see, the more you can

Posted by Jon Peddie on September 26th 2012 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: ces monitors productivity

The world is a better place. Monitor prices and weight have gone down, while size and resolution have gone up. Ultrabooks have brought us lightweight and HD screens, as well as lightweight power supplies. Life is ­better. One year ago, in fact, as late as four months ago, I, and other road warriors like me, carried a 15-inch (or a 13-inch) 6- to 8-pound laptop with a one-and-a-half- to two-and-a-half-pound power supply. The screen might be HD, but more often than not it was a squinty 1366 x 768—oy. DisplayLink has come along to answer the traveler’s prayers, at least they’re…

Review: Newer Technology Power2U AC/USB In-Wall Charging Solution: More tangle but less dead devices

Posted by Jon Peddie on September 24th 2012 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags:

Newer Technologies (is that a great name or what?) brought out a wall socket assembly, the Power2U, with a USB power cube built into it. Not only that, but it’s a smart cube that turns itself off when nothing is drawing power from it, so it’s not another zombie. Once we installed it, in a common place (near the printers), it was adopted almost immediately by the folks here—in fact, they even started fighting over it, one person unplugging another. Clearly, we have to install more units. We’ve been testing this unit for about six months now, and it has worked…

Review: Fujitsu Lifebook U772 Ultrabook

Posted by Jon Peddie on August 20th 2012 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: review netbook laptop fujitsu ultrabook

We got an Ultrabook sample to play with and ran some tests on it The pros are it is an Ultrabook, lightweight, thin and sexy, reasonably quiet (it does have a fan), and pretty darn responsive. It boots fast (for now), and it’s attractive. The cons are it’s a little costly (starts at $1,149), has a limited resolution display (1366 x 768) with a glossy highly reflective display, limited I/O (no VGA for projectors), and the keyboard requires hard typing to get it to react, especially the spacebar—boy, is that a royal PITA. The Delete and Pause keys are reversed, which…

Tuning in and tuning out

Posted by Jon Peddie on June 9th 2012 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags:

Getting a good night’s (day’s) sleep If you travel (as if anyone reading this doesn’t), you know the challenge of trying to get a restful sleep on a long flight. You stuff polyurethane memory foam in your ears, don noise-canceling headphones, put eye patches on, and swallow a sleeping pill with a glass of wine or two, or maybe soothing herbal tea. That’s one technique, and it works, but it isn’t the most comfortable at times—especially the earplugs on a long flight, or while eating. We recently learned about SleepPhones from AcousticSheep (“pajamas for your ears”). This is a soft cotton…

Review: Nvidia’s dual GPU GTX 690 AIB

Posted by Jon Peddie on May 10th 2012 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: nvidia gpu graphics report

Fastest, bestest, not biggest With the GTX 690, Nvidia was focused on creating not only the most powerful dual-GPU card in the world but also a card that was power efficient with great acoustics. There has always been a sacrifice when trying to cobble together the best enthusiast PC in trying to figure out what is the best way to get the best performance. Crossfire and SLi were the solutions up until now. Early attempts at dual-GPU cards under­performed compared to Crossfire and SLi, but the latter was expensive, took up quite a bit of real estate in the tower, and…

DisplayLink Targus

Posted by Jon Peddie on May 2nd 2012 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags:

Video and FPSs across USB with Targus DisplayLink started life as Newnham Research in Cambridge England in 2003 doing thin-client displays. It got the bright idea to provide a wireless connection to projectors from a PC. It was a great idea then, still is—even if it doesn’t yet exist. Sidestepping the radio issues, Newnham moved their video compression scheme to USB and sold the idea to Kensington Computer who put it in a universal docking station. They were the first customer for DisplayLink technology. In the early introduction of the DisplayLink USB to video devices (consisting of a software compressor and…

Acer C120 Pico projector

Posted by Jon Peddie on May 2nd 2012 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: acer technology computers projector travel

Projecting power like an aircraft carrier We got an Acer C120 Pico projector to play with (and we took it on a road trip to Finland and the UK). The units can display up to 1280 x 800 resolution, has a 1000:1 contrast ratio, and offers 100 Lumens brightness when plugged in. It can be powered by USB 3.0 and there is a battery. The convenient USB 3.0 option allows for faster display of the images at 75 ANSI lumens. Alternatively, when higher brightness matters you can power the projector with the AC adapter and get an even brighter 100 ANSI…

Ivy Bridge graphics and more

Posted by Jon Peddie on May 2nd 2012 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: aib intel pmark benchmark ivy ivy bridge

The best ever integrated graphics For comparison, we ran graphics benchmarks on the processor-based graphics in machines using Intel Ivy Bridge (IVB) processors. We ran the same series of tests on the Ivy Bridge i7-3370k running at 3.5 GHz with HD4000 graphics and compared it to a two year old entry level graphics AIB, a GTX 520, to see if integrated graphics had gotten good enough yet—and guess what—it has, within limits. We ran five tests: 3DMark 11, Heaven, Batman, Crysis 2, and Dirt3. We tried running the tests at 1920 x 1080, but couldn’t get the Ivy Bridge’s HD4000 to…

Review AMD Radeon HD 7970 and Nvidia GTX 680 AIB

Posted by Jon Peddie on May 2nd 2012 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: nvidia amd graphics ati 3d review

The world’s two fastest graphics boards are compared—GTX 680 wins A month or so ago AMD released their top-of-the-line Radeon HD 7079. Demos were sent out to the company’s favorite reviewers (that means NOT you JPR) and results started being reported, it looked good. Then a week or two ago Nvidia released its GeForce GTX 680 Kepler (Yes JPR, even you can have one), and the comparisons began. In the meantime, by trading some vintage wine and rare out-of-print copies of TechWatch we were able to get a black market HD 7970 (no thanks to AMD). And so we ran some…

Review of AMD Radeon HD 7950 Tahiti - Better than even the 6970

Posted by Jon Peddie on March 29th 2012 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: amd ati radeon review hd7950

Announced in December, AMD began shipping the HD7950 in mid-January, and through the magic of modern transportation, one arrived here already, in mid-March, so obviously you’re anxious to read all about its performance characteristics. We have been anxious to put the board to work. For our tests, we run the most common benchmarks and then compare the results as far as price and performance and power to put a product in perspective for consumers. The 79xx series is based on AMD’s most recent Southern Island Series which are based on AMD’s Graphics Core Next (GCN) technology. The 79xx series are 28nm…

OnLive Desktop

Posted by Jon Peddie on March 16th 2012 | Permalink
Categories: Software Review
Tags:

On the second of March we got notified by OnLive of their new app that offers full Microsoft Office and Adobe Reader from the cloud. We excitedly down­­­loaded it and started playing with it. OnLive Office is a somewhat different product from something like Splashtop. Splashtop allows you to remotely connect to your personal PC/Mac and control it. You will have access to all your programs/files/everything as if you are sitting in front of your PC/Mac. OnLive Office is a of virtual desktop that delivers whatever programs it supports. Currently those products include Adobe Acrobat readers and basic Microsoft Office (including…

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime

Posted by Jon Peddie on March 16th 2012 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags:

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is a slim and lightweight tablet with an attractive metallic spun finished design. Asus claims it is the slimmest tablet on the market at 0.33” thick and weighs 1.29lbs. Asus says the Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablet that offers up to 12 hours of battery life, which accomplished by having two batteries, one in the tablet itself, and another in the detachable keyboard. Equipped with a 10.1-inch Super IPS display with a 1280 x 800-resolution, a backside-illuminated 8-megapixel rear camera with flash, back-illuminated CMOS sensor and f/2.4 aperture plus a 1.3-megapixel front camera for video…

Review of Splashtop HD

Posted by Jon Peddie on March 16th 2012 | Permalink
Categories: Software Review
Tags:

This app will allow you to access your office or home PC with an Android-based tablet and use the PCs apps and files. It’s remarkably clever. On my office PC I have three high-resolution displays, the center or main display is a 30-inch, 2560 x 1600 monitor with 100 PPI. The Asus Transformer Prime has a 1280 x 800 resolution on its 10.5-inch screen giving 150 PPI (although Asus lists it at 160). When I logged in to my desktop (via the company LAN) the Transformer almost immediately replicated my main PC screen. My main PC screen went black (this is…

Splashtopping - Remote and on-line use with a tablet

Posted by Jon Peddie on March 16th 2012 | Permalink
Categories: Software Review
Tags:

We were impressed with the demonstrations Nvidia made at CES using an Asus Transformer Prime as a remote terminal to play a FPS over the internet from a remote host PC. And we were intrigued by OnLive’s Desktop, so we thought we’d try our luck at using the super tablet in such situations. We were not disappointed and in several instances quite impressed. Splashtop Splashtop was started in 2006 and originally they called themselves DeviceVM. The founders came from OSA technologies and were friends since their college days at MIT. Sometime in 2007 they renamed the company Splashtop. The company…

HP’s Ozmo-based WiFi mouse—Look ma, no dongle

Posted by Jon Peddie on March 1st 2012 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags:

Why use a Bluetooth tooth mouse when you’ve already got WiFi in your computer? That was where Ozmo devices started. The company was founded as H-Stream Wireless in 2004 with the goal of developing low power battery-operated Wi-Fi communication devices for wireless personal area network (WPAN) connectivity. Name-challenged, the company changed its name to Ozmo Devices, much better hmmm? Nonetheless, the company’s unique, patent-pending technology supports concurrent WLAN/WPAN connectivity utilizing standard Wi-Fi hardware. The company’s two-part solution includes a driver that coexists with the host platform’s Wi-Fi device and a chip embedded in the wireless peripheral. The company has been funded…

Corsair’s Vengeance gaming peripherals

Posted by Jon Peddie on March 1st 2012 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags:

Corsair introduced their Vengeance series of keyboard in December 2011, just in time for the holiday season. Their first keyboard was the K90 and it sold for $130. Recently they came out with the K60, a slightly smaller and less expensive version, which sells for $110. Our friends at Corsair sent one to us and dared us to break it. We lost, it lives. The keyboard is solid as a rock, in a sturdy brushed aluminum frame and seriously steep and positive feeling keys. The keyboard comes with a palm pad, and in it are stored extra keys, colored keys,…

Handbook of Visual Display Technology

Posted by Jon Peddie on February 13th 2012 | Permalink
Categories: Book Review
Tags: review developers technology displays books reference

Springer-SBM and Canopus Academic Publishing have announced the publication of the Handbook of Visual Display Technology. Across four volumes and more than 2600 pages, this comprehensive reference work covers all aspects of the science and technology behind displays, from the fundamentals of optics, vision and colour science, through electronic imaging, processing and manipulation, display driving, TFTs and materials science, flexible displays and touchscreens, display metrology, and concludes with a section on display markets and economic factors.  Key sections are dedicated to specific display technologies: emissive displays including PDPs, LEDs and OLEDs; Paper-like displays including electrophoretics, electrowetting, electrofluidic and MEMS; 3D display systems…

Testing Vellamo

Posted by Jon Peddie on September 24th 2011 | Permalink
Categories: Software Review
Tags: mobile tablets benchmark

Vellamo is a mobile Web benchmark that evaluates browser performance on Android devices and provides a holistic view into browser performance. It also evaluates networking, JavaScript, rendering, and user experience incorporating industry standard and custom tests. The test was developed by Qualcomm. We ran Vellamo on a couple of Android tablets and a few android phones to see how they compared. There was a mixture of operating systems and service providers as shown in the table. The tablets, with larger more powerful SoCs clearly got the best scores, while most of the phones were in the same range. Brand Model Specifications…

AnTuTu mobile device benchmark

Posted by Jon Peddie on July 28th 2011 | Permalink
Categories: Software Review
Tags: graphics 3d mobile benchmark 2d android

Nice evaluation tool for Android devices The AnTuTu System Benchmark is an Android benchmarking tool that can run a full test of a mobile devices’ processor through a series of test for easy comparison. It can test for Memory Performance CPU Integer Performance CPU Floating point Performance 2D and 3D Graphics Performance SD card reading/writing speed Database I/O performance. And when completed presents the results in a numeric list on the mobile device’s screen. We ran the benchmark on some of the mobile devices we had and got the following results (we didn’t test for SD car or Database I/O performance.…

Benchmarking Mobile devices

Posted by Jon Peddie on July 28th 2011 | Permalink
Categories:
Tags: mobile qualcomm benchmark appstore

New Web Browser test shows value of GPU clock How do you benchmark a mobile device? You download an app and run it. Qualcomm has a nice one, more on that later. But how do you benchmark a mobile device with a benchmark that isn’t in a sanctioned app store. If you had a little more control over the device you could email to your mobile device, but getting it to install from the email would be tricky. Maybe we need an app for getting apps. So if you want to test a lot of mobile devices there are some obstacles…

Review: HP Envy 17 redux

Posted by Jon Peddie on July 28th 2011 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: gpu graphics 3d gaming hp laptop envy computer

Second time’s a charm – but the first time wasn’t bad either This is a lot of computer for $1,600. It comes with a 120 Hz (S3D) 17-inch display, a Blu-ray player, 750 GB HDD (7200 RPM), 6 GB DDR3 (1333 MHz) system RAM, AMD HD6850M discrete GPU with 1 GB GDDR5, HDMI and an Intel i7-263QM (2.) GHz—2.9 GHz). It’s got a SATA I/O, DS memory slot, VGA and four USB 2.0 sockets. A whole lot of computer for not too much money. It’s a complete media center that can be used for watching HD Blu ray movies, listening to…

HP ENVY17 3D Review - a 3D entertainment system and more

Posted by Jon Peddie on April 15th 2011 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: nvidia 3d gaming hp review software s3d games

The HP 17-inch ENVY laptop is delightful. It has one of the best 3D screens I have ever seen, and it comes with one set of 3D shutter glasses. It can show 3D movies and S3D games, as well as show 3D photos and Google Earth in 3D. The system's screen resolution is 1920 x 1080 on a 17.3-inch panel with 120 Hz refresh, TN panel with sRGB+ gammut and 400 NITS brightness. The display controller is an AMD Radeon 5850 with 1GB DDR5 video memory. It has an Intel Core i7Q740 Processor running at 1.73 GHz, with 4 GB DDR3…

Testing the AMD HD 6990 with five screens - The more you see the more you like

Posted by Jon Peddie on April 12th 2011 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: amd displays

The first Eyefinity AIB we tested was the HD 5870 in October 2009 with six monitors in a 3x2 planar configuration. It was thrilling to see that much landscape but it quickly became apparent it wasn't the ideal setup for game play. The problems were the screen height was a bit too tall for learn forward FPSs, the planar setup made you lean back a bit and turn your head, and worst of all the gun sights landed right in the middle of the two rows of monitors—as one person said, the bezel becomes your gun sight; cute, but not very…

Review Cyberlink’s MediaEspresso

Posted by Jon Peddie on January 13th 2011 | Permalink
Categories: Software Review
Tags: review software media cyberlink convert converter

Ultra fast universal media converter CyberLink has impressed us almost since day one with their courage, cleverness, and consistency. One of the first companies to offer a suite, innovative with their attempt to auto edit video for action scenes (they called it "emotional"), and really good looking and easy to use UIs. MediaEspresso has been cut from that same cloth, and version 6.5 is the best yet. The program can convert video with its batch function.. You import files or complete folders, and let MediaEspresso handle the video conversion process, no need to sit by your computer till the end. The…

The Sandy Bridge Review

Posted by Jon Peddie on January 12th 2011 | Permalink
Categories: Software Review
Tags: gpu intel cpu review benchmark sandybridge

CES is over and the  hope, promise, and promise of Intel’s Sandy Bridge CPU with embedded processor graphics (EPG) has been revealed. There is rejoicing through the press and the webosphere. We’ve been testing and using a 4-core version Sandy Bridge Core i5-2500k running at 3.3 GHz. We ran a variety of tests and compared the Sandy Bridge against the previous generation, Clarkdale. As you might expect, Sandy Bridge, code named “SNB,” is a “Tock,” and considerably faster in all the operations we tested, including CPU tests, and graphics. Intel's new Sandy Bridge desktop processor architecture has a lot going on,…

Review of Trainz—A railroad simulator

Posted by Jon Peddie on December 8th 2010 | Permalink
Categories: Software Review
Tags: review trainz simulation simulator

Simulators for airplanes, ships, cars, and even spaceships are what people usually think of first when the word sim is mentioned. But for folks who like trains, a railroad simulator is a fabulous entertainment tool. When I was younger and seemed to have unlimited time I built model railroads. And then when my son was old enough to appreciate them, we built one together. Model railroads have one major problem, available space. Clever schemes of hanging the platform from the ceiling or folding up sections into the wall to reclaim the space when not in use are the stories of legends.…

Overclocking for Dummies

Posted by Jon Peddie on November 25th 2010 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: amd cpu 3dmark overclock hd4870

I have always been reticent to mess with overclocking (OC) processors for fear of ruining something and reduced stability. However since I have separated my business and benchmarking computers the stability part of the equation is not as important anymore. After reading an article in PC Aviator, the author discloses that he has been overclocking CPUs for many years and he has never actually hurt a chip. Blue Screens, yes he gets those when the OC is too aggressive but it’s always as simple as tuning it down in the BIOS until the system runs stably. We cannot officially recommend overclocking…

HP ZR30w Review

Posted by Jon Peddie on November 25th 2010 | Permalink
Categories:
Tags:

The more you see, the more you can do—a review of HP’s ZR30w That’s not just resolution, it’s color too This is another one of those stories that has a sad ending to it. HP loaned us one of their new 30-inch DreamColor displays to play with. They’re not calling it a DreamColor, they prefer the arcane ZR30w moniker—that’s what happens when you let engineers get too close to the marketing department. In truth, this new monitor doesn’t have all the features of a DreamColor, but it’s a wide gamut display that’s going to meet the requirements of many users with…

Nvidia GTX580 Review

Posted by Jon Peddie on November 9th 2010 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: nvidia review fermi gtx580

Nvidia GTX 580 review - a firmer Fermi It’s only taken over a year for a product already a year late to be realized in all its fullness, but the GTX580 does it – and it just shows how hard developing a GPU really is. Ambition, node changes and an unrealistic cadence have created almost impossible hurdles for GPU vendors to jump in the time frames the market demands, but jump they do. Gone are the days of sub-billion transistor and order of magnitude advances in architecture and performance, but the echoes of those extraordinary days linger and the press, investors…

Testing AMD’s Radeon HD6870, HD6850, and Nvidia’s GTX 460 review

Posted by Jon Peddie on October 29th 2010 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: nvidia amd gpu ati radeon gpgpu pmark ghtx graphicscard

Performance segment AIBS It’s times like these, and last week, when AMD and Nvidia roll out their latest offerings where we get to see what they’re made of and how well they do in games and compared to each other. In the last issue we checked out the mainstream offerings of the leading AIB suppliers1 and this week we’re putting the Performance segment units, AMD’s new Radeon HD6870, and HD6850 AIBs up against Nvidia’s new GTX 460 AIB. We ran all the tests on an Intel Core i7 x980 3.33 GHz, machine with 3 GB RAM, running Windows 7 - 64bit.…

Review: The tiny giants—Nvidia GT430 vs. AMD Radeon HD5550

Posted by Jon Peddie on October 13th 2010 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags:

Or should we call them mighty midgets? In late April AMD introduced the DirectX 11 Radeon HD 5550 entry-level Value Segment graphics AIB. It was well received and praised for its value, and performance. Introduced at $70 with 1GB of DDR3 and fanless, it represented a lot AIB for not too much money. Nvidia had their DirectX 10 GT220 to go up against it, and despite the hoopla of DirectX11 and a GB of memory on the AMD AIB, the older Nvidia AIB still managed to sell well. Well better late than never, and now Nvidia has released their fanless DirectX…

The Tests - Quadro 4000, Quadro 5000, FirePro V9800 and FirePro V7800 review

Posted by Jon Peddie on October 13th 2010 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: nvidia amd ati quadro firepro

We tested two Nvidia workstation AIBs, the Quadro 4000 and Quadro 5000, and two AMD workstation AIBs, the FirePro V7800 and FirePro V9800, on four benchmarks: CineBench 11.5, SpecViewPerf 11.0, Redway 3D demo, and Unigine Heaven (on OpenGL). We tested the boards on Intel i7 6-Core, 12 threads @ 3.34 GHz system running Windows 7 64-bit. The results are shown in the following charts. This procedure uses a complex 3D scene depicting a car chase (by renderbaron), which measures the performance of your graphics card in OpenGL mode. The performance depends on various factors, such as the GPU processor on your…

FirePro V9800 review

Posted by Jon Peddie on October 13th 2010 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: amd ati firepro v9800

AMD has introduced their latest FirePro product for workstations, the V9800. The V9800 includes AMD’s Eyefinity technology that enables up to six independent displays. With this board, AMD is pledging allegiance to OpenCL. AMD’s graphics have an edge for the time being with support for DirectX 11. Direct X 11 brings hardware accelerated tessellation and multithreading to take advantage of multiple processors and DirectX 11 includes the DirectCompute environment and the ability to program to the GPU and the CPU to DirectX. It’s a short lead-time but AMD is making the most of it. In order to achieve Eyefinity, ATI’s new…

Review: Movea’s Gyration Air Mouse Elite K-M

Posted by Jon Peddie on September 28th 2010 | Permalink
Categories:
Tags:

Hey, I’m using the new Air Mouse Elite keyboard and mouse. What it is Wireless optical laser mouse with a gyro that works in mid-air. It uses ST Micro MEMs 3D motion sensors with a 2.4 GHz linked USB stub. It operates up to 100 ft away via the USB RF receiver. Connect it and the KB is like any wireless K-M. Movea is a provider of motion processing chips, software, embeddable firmware, and IP for the consumer electronics industry. Movea’s is headquarterd in Grenoble, and offers Gyration branded CE products. What we like Very slick design, major improvement over the…

Olympus DM-420 Digital Recorder Review

Posted by Jon Peddie on September 2nd 2010 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags:

Eyes-free recording—testing the Olympus DM-420 digital recorder I was asked why I wanted to test a digital recorder device when I could record using my mobile phone? My first response was, “well, I am a gadget hound, and I like toys.” I was then challenged by the prospect of carrying around multiple devices when I could do everything I needed with one—the ubiquitous iPhone or some other smartphone. However, just as the iPhone has a passable camera—it’s not a great camera, and therefore, I carry a higher megapixel, higher quality pocket camera that has a flash unit, as well as an…

Cyblink Power2go 7 Review

Posted by Jon Peddie on September 2nd 2010 | Permalink
Categories: Software Review
Tags:

New and improved, better than ever—Cyberlink Power2go 7 You thought 6 was good—you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet How often has this happened to you? You’ve got a bunch of photos on your computer and you want to see them—but you can’t—they’re in ISO format—sucks to be you. Well bunky, your days of frustration and wait are over—let me hear you say hallelujah. With Power2Go’s new ISO image browser, you don’t have to burn a disc to see what is in the image, or to get the contents. Just drag and drop from the image to your hard drive. Much faster ……

Review: Nvidia’s F104 - GTX 460 mini-fur-me

Posted by Jon Peddie on July 19th 2010 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags:

A $200 board that packs a lot of wallop One of the fastest airplanes ever made was the Lockheed F104 clocking in at 1.7 mach with a 48k ft/min climb rate it was  called a missile with a pilot in it. We’ve been testing another F104 - the new F104-based Nvidia AIBs, the 1GB GTX 460 and the 768MB GTX 460 both units configured with GDDR5 memory. These are consumer derivative versions of the famous Fermi chip, minus the super computer parts like EC memory management, smaller caches, and a larger number of texture units per FP unit. The new GPU…

Nvidia’s three-screen 3D Vision system

Posted by Jon Peddie on July 8th 2010 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: nvidia graphics gaming

To do more you gotta see more—it’s the law As you all know (and if you don’t we’re going to send you to your room and make you write it a hundred times), Peddie’s 2nd law is—The more you can see the more you can do. And as you may know we’re pretty big fans of stereo games (S3D.) And, some of you may have seen at CES, or GDC, or PAX, or Computex, Nvidia’s three-screen S3D system. You could see it, but you couldn’t touch it—it wasn’t really a shipping product yet. Last week Nvidia officially released their GeForce Beta…

“Singularity”—first impressions - game review

Posted by Jon Peddie on July 8th 2010 | Permalink
Categories: Software Review
Tags: review games fps

We got a copy of Activisions’s “Singularity” (developed by Raven) and started playing with it. It’s a FPS set on a island where the Russians built a research facility in the 1950s to test a newly discovered element E99. Things didn’t turn out quite the way the scientist had hoped and the Russians (Soviet Union at the time) shut down the research center and abandoned the island. Rediscovered by a satellite scan in 2010 a U.S. special ops force is sent in to investigate, find the E99 and well, I’m not sure what they are supposed to do with it yet.…

Seeing more, doing more; a guide to putting multiple monitors to work, or play

Posted by Jon Peddie on April 16th 2010 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: amd gaming production multiscreen

We have been proponents of multi-screen displays forever, and have run almost every combination there is for over two decades now. Possibly the largest monitor in a cluster we ever had was a Sony 24-inch CRT Trinitron that weighed over 300 pounds. We’ve cabled notebooks to external monitors and built really powerful workspaces of three and four displays with effective resolutions of 4800 x 1200. We’ve tried the various Matrox Dual and TripleHead2Go combinations, and for the money we were pretty impressed, but the burden of driver tweaks limited the range of applications. The TripleHead2Go maps the GPU’s external display frame…

Benchmarking Nvidia’s GTX 480 Fermi AIB

Posted by Jon Peddie on March 30th 2010 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags:

Last week in Boston at the PAX conference Nvidia officially announced the GTX 480 and 470 AIBs based on the GF100 Fermi GPU. We’ve written it up in this issue of TechWatch (see page 1.) The board is unremarkable in its appearance, and we could not find any wood screws. As you might have heard, some who saw early versions of Fermi AIBs claimed to have spotted wood screws holding the thing together – evidence that the boards were mock-ups. We tested the Nvidia GTX 480 in an Intel Core i7 x980 3.33GHz 6 cores (12 logical processors), DX58SO X58, 3GB DDR3…

Lenovo’s new light-weight notebook—a road warrior’s delight

Posted by Jon Peddie on March 19th 2010 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: hp ces lenovo usb

Lenovo made the mistake of letting us play with their new X201s. It was a mistake because they’re going to have to pry my cold dead fingers off it to get it back. The specs: Core i7-620LM 2GHz; 4GB DDR3; 160GB hard drive; Bluetooth spacer, Intel HD graphics; Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit; 802.11n; 1yr warranty, stated battery life 12 hours with (optional) 9-cell battery. Price: $1,349 The specs I care about: The screen is 12.1-inch with resolution of 1440 x 900 (WSXGA) LED backlit. It weighs a mere 2.7 pounds—1.22 kg. When on the road weight and screen size mean…

ATI’s Radeon HD5970 Hemlock - DirectX 11, lots-o-cores, multiple displays, over-clockable

Posted by Jon Peddie on November 24th 2009 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: amd gpu graphics ati opencl directx pmark benchmark overclock

Number five in its series of new AIBs, ATI as promised delivered the dual chip HD5970 Radeon board. It’s killer fast, easy on the power supply and pocketbook, and has bonuses like multi-display output and over clocking tools. The board comes with 2GB of DDR5, one each for each GPU. The GPUs get to the PCIe lanes via a gen2 PLX PCIe bridge chip. We ran a series of tests on the board in Windows 7 and the results were very impressive—without over-clocking. ATI has a lot of headroom in the RV870 Evergreen GPU, and the two of them on the…

Kill a watt

Posted by Jon Peddie on November 19th 2009 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags:

Every month the electric bill comes in and every month it’s higher than you think it should be and every month you say we have to find out what is using all that power, it can't be just the PC I sit in front of all day, someone is leaving lights on or something. And then you go back to reading your email and tapping out tweets. At quitting time, you get up and some folks turn off their PC, others have a sleep mode set and want to have instant on when they come back so they leave the machine…

Your very own switchboard

Posted by Jon Peddie on November 19th 2009 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags:

Here at Mt. Tiburon Testing Labs we run several computers with AMD or Intel processors of various sizes. We have a variety of monitors, keyboards, and mice, and the one we want is never attached to the machine we’re going to run tests on. Not only that, when we do unravel the rat’s nests of wires, one of them in inevitably is either too short or too knotted up to reach and so a few frustrating minutes are lost sorting that out. We’ve tried to get a KVM switch that would help us manage it and couldn’t find one that handled…

Wikipedia in your pocket

Posted by Jon Peddie on October 28th 2009 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: wikireader

Openmoko has announced the availability of WikiReader, a palm-sized electronic encyclopedia containing the more than three million English language articles of Wikipedia that can be accessed immediately anytime, anywhere without requiring an Internet connection. WikiReader is available for $99 at http://thewikireader.com and Amazon.com starting today. We got to play with one briefly Saturday night and, in addition to being a real attention getter, it suddenly became the main guest—all of a sudden everyone had a question they wanted answered. WikiReader turns on instantly and we are told will run for months before its two AAA batteries need to be replaced. The…

How high can you go? - Village Tronic says 1920

Posted by Jon Peddie on October 28th 2009 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: television usb ebook vibook

Village Tronic is one of the pioneers of multi-display solutions and the company just launched a new member to its ViBook family of display extenders. These little modules provide computer users with a simple way to run several displays from a Windows or Mac desktop computer or laptop. The ViBook Plus is one of the first devices to use DisplayLink’s new DL195 chip, enabling it to support higher resolution screens of up to 1920x1200 and up to 28 inches with faster graphics and improved video playback that includes HD video streams. Up to six displays can be driven by one Windows-based…

PS3 getting better and better—We take a tour of Unchartered 2: Among Thieves

Posted by Jon Peddie on October 28th 2009 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: gaming games ps3

In addition to all the cost moves (mostly due to disk price manipulations, and a smaller box) Sony is increasing the number of titles for the PS3. That’s helped them move almost a half million units in September And from a pixel point of view, the quality of some of the new games is really getting impressive. Take Unchartered 2: Among Thieves from Naughty Dog Studios. This is a 3rd person game, classified as “adventure.” It’s action packed, some fighting, lots of shooting, some running and jumping. It has a pretty interesting story, and it’s a lot like a movie. The…

ATI Radeon HD 5770: It’s going to be tough to knock down Juniper

Posted by Jon Peddie on October 13th 2009 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: amd gpu ati aib radeon gpgpu pmark 3dmark hd5770

When ATI took us aboard an aircraft carrier in Alameda California a couple of weeks ago to introduce their new Radeon HD5870 code named Cypress, they also showed us their plan for releasing a scaled down version of the new chip code named Juniper. Phase two of their “Sweet spot” program, and on schedule, ATI delivered (literally) their Midrange AIBs the Radeon HD 5770 and 5750. Code named Juniper, the 5770 is an incredible value delivering DirectX 11 performance, with a GB of GDDR5 memory and doing it for a few dollars and a few watts. The new midrange AIBs also…

Testing the ATI Radeon HD 5870

Posted by Jon Peddie on September 30th 2009 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: amd gpu graphics ati 3d radeon gpgpu 2d teraflops

By now you’ve probably read our review of the RV870 and a half dozen others so you should already know it’s suppose to be a 2.7 TFLOPS chip with 1,600 processors and ultra fast 2GB of GDDR5 memory. The board is totally enclosed, with air vents at the back, and oddly the chip’s connector and heat-sink retention bracket is exposed, which adds a strangely aesthetic appeal. It could be we got an early test unit and the production version will have a cover plate over the chip. You can see the two six-pin power connectors at the top of the rear…

How low can you go?

Posted by Jon Peddie on September 22nd 2009 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: mobile vista disk ibm storage verbatim kodak drive flashdrive

8GB to go, Verbatim’s Tuff-Clip.(Source: Jon Peddie Research) Verbatim’s tiny 8GB USB drive speeding up Vista.(Source: Jon Peddie Research) 2.13 billion bits per buck, that’s how low. For one U.S. penny you get 21 million bits of memory in a package not much bigger than a U.S. penny. Verbatim has introduced an 8GB USB memory for $30. Verbatim, one of the pioneer companies of the industry, having started in 1969 with a license from IBM to build floppy discs, has gone through the usual ups and downs, management changes, and refinancing gyrations any 50-year-old company…

Darkest of Days: What if you could travel in time?

Posted by Jon Peddie on September 22nd 2009 | Permalink
Categories: Software Review
Tags: nvidia gpu cpu games wwii physics realistic physx

You can, and enjoy physics and cinematic visions whilst doing it: the first serious implementation of GPU-based physics. During wars and natural catastrophes people go missing, MIA in the case of wars, simply missing persons in disasters. They could be alive, they could be dead, the ambiguity of their status is the basis for the time travel in the multi-era, Darkest of Days FSP from 8Monkey Labs. In order to avoid conflicts with the time-continuum and prevent you from killing your own grandmother, you have to be in never-never land, or so the game’s story premise goes. I buy it, it…

CyberLink MediaShow—they love GPUs

Posted by Jon Peddie on September 22nd 2009 | Permalink
Categories: Software Review
Tags: apple facebook microsoft media faces flickr cyberlink photo recognition

CyberLink’s MediaShow opening screen.(Source: Jon Peddie Research) Searching and indexing faces in photos.(Source: Jon Peddie Research) FIGURE 5: Comparison between CpU (only) and GpU face recognition.(Source: CyberLink) CyberLink has been at the forefront of GPU exploitation for photos, and their latest effort is MediaShow. YAPP—yet another photo program, but this time it’s got more. If you’re like me, you have several photo programs, some you wanted, some that were forced on you. I currently have: Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Photo Gallery, Picasa 3, Roxio 2010 PhotoSuite 12, and now CyberLink MediaShow; there may…

Go fast, go long—Intel releases the Lynnfield platform

Posted by Jon Peddie on September 22nd 2009 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: nvidia intel cpu ram nehalem processor core

Lynnfield is Intel’s first mainstream Nehalem, and is being marketed as Core i5. It’s built in 45nm, has 4 cores, and Hyper Threading, 8MB of shared L3 memory, and Turbo Boost Technology for dynamic frequency scaling. The Core i5, again like the i7, has an integrated 1333 MHz DDR3 memory controller, but the Lynnfield’s is dual channel instead of triple channel. Unlike Core i7, Lynnfield communicates directly with PCI-e 2.0 graphics, though at a maximum of x16 lanes, which requires splitting them x8/x8 in multiple AIB setups. Since the CPU can interface directly to memory and graphics, no northbridge is needed…

Wolfenstein - Great game little use of GPU

Posted by Jon Peddie on September 4th 2009 | Permalink
Categories: Software Review
Tags: gpu 3d games fps activision

Activision has recently released a remake of the classic FPS Wolfenstein, and all I can say is thank you Activision. However, the GPU folks may not be quite as thankful. When I heard it was coming out I expected it to be in stereovision and have killer physics, after all this is 2009. The physics are good, damn good, but not accelerated by the GPU, and alas there’s no stereo. No doubt Nvidia will do a driver tweak and correct that but a natively developed game in stereo is just so much better. There are three elements I look for in…

Augmented Reality hits the mainstream - A darling of technorati Marvel is bringing it home

Posted by Jon Peddie on August 6th 2009 | Permalink
Categories: Software Review
Tags: 3d marvell boeing avatar mattel startrek augmented reality

Immersive Technologies’ AR demo.If you’ve ever seen a yellow scrimmage line appear in the field of a football game, you’ve experienced AR (Augmented Reality), which is a term credited to Thomas Caudell in 1990 when he was with Boeing. Lots of companies and universities have experimented with it, and there are games being played on mobile phones in Japan right now (you point your camera phone at a place and on your screen is superimposed a graphics image of a treasure or a monster). At San Diego Comic-Con 2009 last week, Mattel showed a new line of action figures based on…

eVGA’s Interview

Posted by Jon Peddie on June 12th 2009 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags:

eVGA’s Interview being tested in MTTL’s lab. The camera is in the center post. See more do more, see more together. Anyone who has read Tech Watch has heard about Peddie’s second law—The more you can see the more you can do. And you’ve no doubt heard me extol the benefits of multiple displays, seen pictures of my workspace, and suffered through my lectures on the productivity gains one gets as they add screen space. Two are better than one It’s an easy concept to grasp. If you try to replicate a desktop. A real physical desk top that is maybe…

Nvidia GTX 275

Posted by Jon Peddie on May 15th 2009 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: nvidia gpu ati

Figure 8: Pmark for Nvidia GTX 275 and ATI AIBs Figure 9: Performance comparison of Nvidia GTX 275 to ATI AIBs Figure 10: Performance per power consumption of Nvidia GTX 275 and ATI AIBs Figure 11: Performance per price of Nvidia GTX 275 and ATI AIBs The Nvidia GTX 275 is a gap filler for Nvidia designed to offer a SKU at every price point. It’s basically a scaled down 285 with 240 processors and a lower clock speed of 633 MHz (down from 648 MHz) less memory 896 MB (down from 1 GB), the memory clock is dropped to 1134…

A word about Game Booster

Posted by Jon Peddie on May 14th 2009 | Permalink
Categories: Software Review
Tags: software games boosters

Game Booster is a free program that can be downloaded from various sites (e.g. http://majorgeeks.com/Game_Booster_d6148.html). It’s advertised as being designed to help optimize your PC for smoother, more responsive game. It works by temporarily shutting down background processes, cleaning RAM, and intensifying processor performance so you can keep all the features of Vista or XP out of the way as well as all those little applets to make opening a program faster. And you can turn them back on when you are ready to get back to work. We thought we’d try it. It’s got a convenient UI for turning things…

HP DV6Z Laptop

Posted by Jon Peddie on May 14th 2009 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags: hp laptop thumbsup

My big bad HP Pavilion DV9700 notebook died. Actually it didn’t completely die, it just went blind, or maybe I did because I couldn’t see the screen anymore. It was kinda exciting to watch as it turned itself off, the screen flashed brilliant lines, rippled up down like a snake shivering, then got black bars with color highlights and then—flat line, except there wasn’t even a line. My first thought was, no problem, just connect an external monitor—that’s like flying to the sun at night so you don’t burn up—HUH? Obviously if the Nvidia GPU has fried itself there’s no external…

Lenovo Elite ThinkPad W700ds

Posted by Jon Peddie on March 3rd 2009 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags:

Thinkpad Elite W700ds second screen with menu.(Source: Jon Peddie Research) OCR seems to be able to read anything.(Source: Jon Peddie Research) Time to calibrate.(Source: Jon Peddie Research) Color calibration sensor.(Source: Jon Peddie Research) FIGURE 1: Performance characteristics of some powerful computers.(Source: Jon Peddie Research) Probably one of the most impressive machines we’ve played with in a while, the Lenovo dual-screen ThinkPad W700ds comes with a 2.53 GHz Intel Core2Duo processor with 4GB of DDR3, a 17-inch 1920 x 1200 main screen, a 10.4 inch 1366 768 second screen driven by a Nvidia FX 3700M, a 1.3 Mpixel camera, and a Ultanav…

Testing the new Nvidia monsters

Posted by Jon Peddie on February 4th 2009 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags:

Figure 1: Comparison of five leading graphics AIBs at 1920 x 1200. (Source: Jon Peddie Research) Figure 2: Comparison of five leading graphics AIBs at 2560 x 1600. (Source: Jon Peddie Research) Figure 3: Call of Duty at War played on two AIBs. (Source: Jon Peddie Research) When ATI’s half-sized half-price HD Radeon 4870 opened up a can of whoopass on Nvidia’s GTX 280, a lot of folks in the industry where all too willing write Nvidia’s epitaph. Fools. I’ve said it publicly and I’ll say it here: I’d never underestimate Jen Hsun Huang, he’ll always manage to pull a rabbit…

Nvidia breaks the 20,000 mark

Posted by Jon Peddie on January 19th 2009 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags:

Nvidia GTX295 and GTX 280. (Source: Jon Peddie Research) “In computer graphics too much is not enough”—Jon Peddie 1980 The new GTX 295 dual-GPU AIB from Nvidia is a beast—period. The $499 (MSRP) AIB has a pair of die-shrunk 55nm GTX 280 chips and the GPUs run at 576MHz while the memory is clocked at 999MHz. Compared to the GTX 280, the differences are shown in Table 1. GTX280 GTX295 Difference Processors 240 480 100% Pixel Fill rate (Gpix/sec) 19.3 39.6 105% GPU clock MHz 602 576 -4% Memory Clock MHz 2214 1998 -10% Memory size MB 1024 1792 75% Price…

Double your refresh, double your fun

Posted by Jon Peddie on January 9th 2009 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags:

The stereopsis experience To get a flicker-free stereoscopic image, you have to have 120 Hz refresh with a single screen, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a single LCD, plasma, DLP, ventricular display, or a CRT. Anything less is a compromise that will cause eye fatigue and send you away, probably not to return. So, as CRTs faded from the desktop of gamers, and too few had a high-speed DLP projector, the concept of stereovision for games languished, with the notable exception of IZ3D’s dual-plane LCD design. In addition to IZ3D, Zalman has offered a custom display which offers a passive…

VillageTronics ViBook

Posted by Jon Peddie on January 9th 2009 | Permalink
Categories: Hardware Review
Tags:

These past couple of weeks, we have had the opportunity to catch up on some of the testing that we put off. And yet, we still ran out of time—Parkinson’s law in action. But what we did get time with was very satisfying. Today’s products are getting better and better. But drivers are still the weak link. What we have tested, and continue to test, is the Nehalem, with a variety of AIBs, and are currently watching the door for the UPS guy who is bringing us a GTX 295. VillageTronics ViBook. (Source: VillageTronics) We’ve tested almost every product VillageTronics has…

ATI’s latest AIBs get a workout on Vantage

Posted by Jon Peddie on December 22nd 2008 | Permalink
Categories:
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ATI’s HD4870 and HD4850 X2 AIBs.(Source: Jon Peddie Research) Working end of the ATI AIBs.(Source: Jon Peddie Research) Figure 1: Comparison of ATI and Nvidia AIBs running Vantage.(Source: Jon Peddie Research) Figure 2: Price/performance comparison of AIBs running Vantage.(Source: Jon Peddie Research) This week, we received some more ATI AIBs, specifically a pair of Sapphire Radeon AIBs, and a pair of 1 GB HD 4870 AIBs. We also got a new Catalyst driver, so we decided to run the batch of them, including the 512 MB 4870s, for comparison. We stuck with Vantage for these tests since it is the only…

Benchmarking the new Core i7 Nehalem processor

Posted by Jon Peddie on December 1st 2008 | Permalink
Categories:
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This ain’t as easy as we make it look... The Vantage 3DMark tests were astounding—astoundingly confusing and disappointing. We expected the Intel processors to beat the AMD Barcelona. But we also expected the Nehalem to own the Core 2 Extreme, leave it in the dust, smoke it. It didn’t. The goal was simple enough, test a new Intel Core i7 3.2GHz (965 Extreme) X58-based machine against previous machines with a couple of different graphics boards. X58 is Intel’s new I/O hub that accomodates the Quickpath interface. However, we found out the early production version of the Nehalem Core i7 Intel sent…

Does Google Chrome shine?

Posted by Jon Peddie on September 15th 2008 | Permalink
Categories:
Tags:

So I did it, not on day one but by day three I downloaded Chrome and tried it. I still use it occasionally to see if there are any changes or upgrades, but basically it’s not impressive. It’s a little faster, hardly noticeable, than Firefox, and anything is faster than IE7, but who cares because no power user uses it anyway. The choice of name is amusing. “Chrome” was the ill-fated name Microsoft gave to a new software initiative in 1998, which was code-named GDI2. It was supposed to offer 3D acceleration in the UI for web-based multimedia, and, are you…

HP 2133 Mini Note struts its stuff

Posted by Jon Peddie on September 15th 2008 | Permalink
Categories:
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HP’s Mini Note 2133(Source: Jon Peddie Research) We first saw a Mini Note in early 2007 when our friends from VIA came to visit and brought some demos with them. It was an interesting device and, as usual, VIA was way ahead of the pack. In fact, VIA has almost always been ahead of the pack but they fail to win the prize when the pack catches up with them. This time it’s different and the Mini Note from HP is a design win triumph for VIA and a product win for HP. Intel has been late to the game, as…

Roxio Creator 2009

Posted by Jon Peddie on September 15th 2008 | Permalink
Categories:
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Opening screen of Roxio Creator 2009.(Source: Jon Peddie Research) There are five companies that are offering multimedia suites: Adobe, Avid/Pinnacle, Corel/Ulead, CyberLink, and NTI. I suspect Microsoft will soon be an entry into this category, and there are some other brands that have bits and pieces. Roxio has been in the business longer than most, and may actually be the pioneer. Their technology came from the Canadian company MGI, which was definitely a brave pioneer and suffered the usual fate of pioneers. They paved the way for everyone else. Roxio continued a trend that started at MGI of buying adjacent companies…

Just how fast is SSD?

Posted by Jon Peddie on September 15th 2008 | Permalink
Categories:
Tags:

Samsung has been annoying us with PR emails about their solid-state drives for almost a year now. Finally, we had enough and said put up or shut up. They put up and sent us a 15.4-inch Lenovo T60p ThinkPad laptop ($2,438.) What the hell are we going to do with this, Robert asked? Kathleen also was puzzled. The cats got on to test for warmth and softness and abandoned it. How do you test for disk or flash drive speed? Surely, there must be some special benchmarks or test programs we could get. We did find some software from PassMark and…

YABM – yet another benchmark

Posted by Jon Peddie on September 15th 2008 | Permalink
Categories:
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We bought a nifty performance test program from PassMark. (See the mention of it in this in the review of the Lenovo ThinkPad.) It’s a full suite of tests, and totally affordable ($24.) Included in the suite is a 2D and a 3D test set. They run on DirectX 9. FIGURE 1:PassMark 2D and 3D test results(Source: Jon Peddie Research) FIGURE 2:3DMark06 multi-res benchmarks.(Source: Jon Peddie Research) Since we had a couple of laptops on the bench for some other testing, we decided to run the graphics benchmarks on them too. Why not? The results were amazing. So much so we…

HP TouchSmart

Posted by Jon Peddie on August 18th 2008 | Permalink
Categories:
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By Jon Peddie with Alex Gorvoi, Robert Dow The Touchsmart in a kitchen.(Source: Jon Peddie Research) This is the most impressive entertainment PC I have ever seen, and I think I may have invented the term EPC back in 1999 when I said we would have this kind of capability by 2003—oops. It’s not perfect, but it is so much closer to the ideal consumer device we all want that its imperfections can be hopefully overlooked, if not, dealt with. This may not be a machine for your grandma or your technophobic neighbor, but for most techno savvy adults, this machine…

There’s no VGA connector. How do you hook this thing up?

Posted by Jon Peddie on July 30th 2007 | Permalink
Categories:
Tags:

LG just brought out a 20-inch LCD monitor they’re calling the FlatronWide L206WU. The unique thing about this monitor is that it uses DisplayLink’s DL-160 chip, enabling high-res graphics over a USB 2.0 link. The display offers wide-screen resolution (1680x1050) on a 20.1-inch (51.13 cm) active matrix TFT LCD panel with a non-glare screen. With 2ms response time and 3000:1 contrast ratio, the monitor is well suited for playing fast FPS games, and with the high contrast ratio it’s well suited for PCTV, as well as photo and video editing and professional graphics (i.e., DCC and CAD.). The 20-inch L206WU has…

Is that Vista in your Browser?

Posted by Jon Peddie on July 16th 2007 | Permalink
Categories:
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3D software developers have long held the dream of applying the third dimension to the Internet, which is the most comprehensive communications network that humanity has invented to date. This is the vision of a literal “Web3D” rather than simply 3D on the web—a vision which has now become reality according to SpaceTime. From now on, users can search and browse the Internet using SpaceTime’s new paradigm where information need not only be recovered, but discovered. SpaceTime claims it will save time in searching because multiple search results are displayed in their patent pending 3D Visual Stacks. All search results are…

AMD’s Radeon HD2400 and HD2600XT

Posted by Jon Peddie on July 2nd 2007 | Permalink
Categories:
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Last we told you about AMD shipping the new midrange and entry-level AIBs based on the R600 architecture, and built in 65-nm technology. This week we got a basket full of them and ran some tests. Product Web price AMD price Sapphire HD2600 Pro 512-MByte DDR3 $185.00   Sapphire Radeon HD2600 Pro 512-MByte DDR2 $185.63   Sapphire Radeon HD2600 Pro 512-MByte DDR2 $196.88   Radeon HD2600 Pro 256-MByte DDR2   $99   Sapphire Radeon HD2600 XT 256-MByte GDDR3 $210.00 $129.00 ATI Radeon HD2600 XT 256 MBGDDR4   $149.00 Sapphire Radeon HD2600 XT256-MByte DDR3 $215.00   Sapphire Radeon HD2600 XT 256-MByte GDDR3…

Revisiting some previous results

Posted by Jon Peddie on June 18th 2007 | Permalink
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We have two follow-up tests to share with you this week: the Toshiba docking station and the R600-Radeon HD2900XT. Toshiba Dynadock—it’s totally powered If you read our evaluation of the Dynadock (see TechWatch, June 4), you may recall we had, or thought we had, a problem with the rear panel USB connectors not having power, and were forced to use the front USB slots for items that required powered USB. Well, that’s just not the case and we want to set the record straight. We have verified that the Toshiba Dynadock does have powered USB ports in the back and front…

Want to do more, then you need to see more – AMD’s R690

Posted by Jon Peddie on April 9th 2007 | Permalink
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It’s taken a while, but like “S.T.A.L.K.E.R.,” the R690 has been worth the wait. What’s that? That, son, is the wait for our evaluation of the AMD R690 Asus motherboard. And the reason it took this long, when the web guys had their reviews out almost the same day AMD announced it, was due to two things: (a) the chief geek was involved in an all-consuming trial and couldn’t get to it full time, and (b) we hit some roadblocks and discovered some stuff that’s interesting, plus our test was targeted at a different POV than the yadda-yadda benchmarks. We were…

First impressions of “S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl”

Posted by Jon Peddie on April 9th 2007 | Permalink
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As usual we had more stuff to test than we could get to, so we picked the things that are most fun for us: games and displays. As so often happens, we discovered unusual and certainly undeclared artifacts, which we hope you’ll find interesting, amusing, and informative. The long-awaited game based on the nuclear accident at Chernobyl in 1986 and the subsequent movie of the same name are finally here. Created by the Ukrainian developer GSC Game World, and first unveiled back in 2001, “S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl” is a first-person shooter (FPS) set in the near-future in the ruined Chernobyl…

Getting back to the future

Posted by Jon Peddie on February 26th 2007 | Permalink
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As your official old-fart, been there-done-that curmudgeon, I’m happy to report that the PC has finally caught up with the Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) computer I used to write my thesis on back in 1980. On that 1-MHz MOS 6502–based PET computer with its whopping 4 KBytes of memory, I had a word proc-essor (which might have been called Wordpro) that was made in England, an add-on program that did real-time spell-checking called “Oops” (that’s not a typo, that was its name), and a real-time keystroke-saving program so every-thing I did was always and immediately backed up. Now to be…

Mod this, dude

Posted by Jon Peddie on February 26th 2007 | Permalink
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Figure 6. Matto’s opening screen—welcome to hell. In a recent Mt. Tiburon Testing Labs story (rFactor encore), Ted Pollak, our super-duper, super gamer analyst, goes nuts for a racing game mod (and it is pretty damn spectacular, if I do say so). I, however, went for a FPS. Not just any mod or any FPS, but Crytek’s “Farcry” and the Matto mods. If you haven’t played or don’t know about “Farcry,” don’t read any further. If you know about “Frycry” and have played it, or tried to play it, you know the Crytek engine is very powerful. Crytek is a game…

Beauty and the beast

Posted by Jon Peddie on November 6th 2006 | Permalink
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We get our hands on Playstation 3 as well as AMD’s 4x4 This week we got to play with two black beauties, one a monster, the other smaller but almost equally powerful. I’m talking abut an AMD 4x4 and a Sony PS3; read on. When we returned from a long and tiring trip to India we found a giant box in the lab (and a somewhat smaller one on top of it.) We were tried and said, let’s check it later, and then we went off to celebrate the US holiday, Thanksgiving, with friends. We should have never left, and may…

Doing more, seeing more

Posted by Jon Peddie on May 22nd 2006 | Permalink
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We have been testing a variety of multi-screen controllers. The three hardware solutions we’ve looked at have been VillageTronics, Newnham Research’s USB-to-VGA adapter, and Matrox’s TripleHead2Go. All of these devices are external to the computer, with the exception being VillageTronics, which is a PCMCIA PC card. We’ve written about VillageTronics several times, and this time we’re looking into Matrox’s nifty little box, the TripleHead2Go. The hardware installation is simple. The box connects to the PC via a standard analog VGA (sorry, no DVI for now) cable, and reports resolution via standard EDID structure, appearing to the PC as a single, very…

Wireless sucks

Posted by Jon Peddie on February 13th 2006 | Permalink
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That's right, you heard it here, up here on the mountain where we work by candlelight and still wax our own saddles. OK, it's not that bad, but we have learned that wireless isn't all it's cracked up to be, the QoS leaves a lot to be desiredÑeverywhere, except maybe Paul Ottelini's office. But we have a couple of remote spots up here and running a long Ethernet wire is just impractical. The problem is compounded by our experiments with EPCs and DMAs, and we've found that all of the units we've tried to get working can't get through our simple,…

Watching TV, and playing games – it’s all in a day’s work

Posted by Jon Peddie on November 21st 2005 | Permalink
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This week at Mt. Tiburon Testing Labs (MTTL) we're still watching TV on our PCs, but portable TVs now. We're trying to make things explode around here, but so far the only thing we've had any success with has been the microwave—boy, you should have seen that baby light up before it lifted off, but that's a story for another day. Today, it's TV. ADS InstantTV Cardbus If you think you'd like to watch TV on your PC, and you're using a laptop, you've got three choices: use an external TV module connected through USB, use a TV tuner PCMCIA card,…

This ain’t your dad’s “Quake”

Posted by Jon Peddie on November 21st 2005 | Permalink
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Opening scene, all hell is breaking loose. I recently got a copy of “Quake 4”; you should get one, too. You should get one if you like FPSs, with stunning graphics, lots of action, lots of weapons, opponents, and levels. If you don't like that kind of stuff, well, go play “Everquest,” or “WOWC.” As many you know, I've been on a rant for the past year or so about the lack of originality and the overuse of sequels (I'm so looking forward to “Doom XXVII”). But go tell that to George Lucas-wouldn't you line up to see just one more…

Monitor madness on the mountain

Posted by Jon Peddie on August 11th 2005 | Permalink
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As you know I’m a big advocate of multiple displays: “The more you can see the more you can do.”-Jon Peddie, 1998. It’s one thing to preach it, it’s another to practice. I’m practicing. The first step was to attach a second monitor to my shiny new HP nw8240 mobile workstation. What a great machine this is, 1680 x 1050, 15-inch screen powered by an ATI FireGL V5000 that not only runs real apps, but also runs “Splinter Cell Chaos Theory” in all its glory, and it’s got plenty of glory. (Speaking of game glory, have you seen the “F.E.A.R.” demo…

Compaq nw8240

Posted by Jon Peddie on July 7th 2005 | Permalink
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MTTL got paint all over its new computer this week. It's OK, though, because we Ctrl-Z'ed it and cleaned it all up. We mean, of course, that this week we got a Compaq nw8240 mobile workstation to play with and we also got our hands on a beta version of Corel Paint Shop Pro X. Sweet. Super easy install, none of that close all other applications, must reboot stuff. Unfortunately, we're going to have to reboot on the Paint Shop Pro review we wrote, since it turned out to be embargoed. We'll tell you all about it real soon. So, let's…