Elgato Game Capture HD60 Review

October 1st, 2014 by Manmohan No comments »

It’s gotta be rough trying to sell dedicated game capture equipment these days. The advent of the newer consoles, which have video sharing features such as saving gameplay clips or real time livestreaming over Twitch or uStream, as well as screenshot capabilities, built right into them, has rendered dedicated capture cards a little obsolete, at least as far as the average end user is concerned. Oh, don’t get me wrong, for the enthusiast who’s really into capturing game assets and/or livestreaming, the features on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One barely suffice, and dedicated capture equipment is almost a necessity, but for most people? It’s an anachronism: why spend $200 on a capture card for my console when it does most of that stuff just as well right out of the box?

In a sense, it’s like the classic handheld game system conundrum. Handheld game consoles have also found their existence questioned by non dedicated mobile game players (namely smartphones and tablets). Are these smartphones and tablets as good at playing games on the move as dedicated handhelds? No, but it hardly matters, does it? The average person is content playing Temple Run on his iPad.

Into a market like this, Elgato has released its newest game capture equipment, the Elgato Game Capture HD60. The obvious question here isn’t if it’s good – we’ll get to that in a minute, but the long and short of it is that it is, it’s very good – the question here is, who exactly is this made for? And is it good enough for them?


Thermaltake Core V51 Mid-Tower Case Review

October 1st, 2014 by Manmohan No comments »


Today we are reviewing the Thermaltake Core V51 mid-tower case.

Thermaltake is a company that needs no introductions. To be honest, the reason most of us know the name is because we’ve probably, at some point in the past decade, had one (or more) of its products installed in our systems. In the early days, the Thermaltake brand was synonymous with performance cooling but, over the last few years, it is hard to find a segment of the industry the company hasn’t expanded into.

We have featured numerous products from Thermaltake in our product reviews over the years, everything from the company’s cooling products and award winning power supplies to audio components and its uniquely distinctive computer cases.

While still a relatively young company, established in 1999, Thermaltake is built on unwavering will and dedication to address issues and innovate at the same time for computer enthusiasts and corporate users worldwide.

With its comprehensive line of products available, it enables Thermaltake’s core customers to enjoy a one-stop-shop experience, reduce product design-in evaluation period and most important of all, flawless integration process. Each of Thermaltake’s strengths enables its customer to focus on their core business while taking advantage of the skills and efficiency of a single thermal management solution partner.

With strong support of Research & Development team standing behind the brand, Thermaltake is committed to never-follow but always-lead. Always striving to be the best, we continuously benchmark our performance against the very best internally and externally. Customers are our greatest asset and Thermaltake does not take that for granted. That is why Thermaltake is the industry leading in customer service and customer support with around-the-clock automated product return service.


Shellshock affects dozens of Cisco and Oracle products

October 1st, 2014 by Manmohan No comments »

The Shellshock vulnerability and several related ones found over the past week stem from errors in how the Bash command-line interpreter for Unix and Linux systems parses strings passed to it by external scripts. The flaws allow attackers to trick certain processes running on vulnerable machines to pass malicious strings to Bash that would then get executed as commands on the underlying OS.

Security researcher Rob Fuller has put together a collection of Shellshock proof-of-concept exploits gathered from various sources. The most well-known attack vectors are through Web servers that run CGI scripts and through SSH (Secure Shell) daemons, although other applications that interact with Bash are also potential targets.

Cisco has identified 71 products so far that are exposed to the vulnerability. These products serve various purposes, including network application, service and acceleration; network content and security; network management and provisioning; routing and switching; unified computing; voice and unified communications; video, streaming, TelePresence and transcoding.

The number of Cisco products vulnerable to Shellshock and related bugs far exceeds the 38 confirmed not to be vulnerable. The company is reviewing an additional 168 products and hosted services, so the list of vulnerable products is likely to increase.

“The impact of this vulnerability on Cisco products may vary depending on the affected product because some attack vectors such as SSH, require successful authentication to be exploited and may not result in any additional privileges granted to the user,” Cisco said in its advisory.

Oracle is also in the process of identifying which of its products are vulnerable. So far the company has released Shellshock patches for nine products: Oracle Database Appliance 12.1.2 and 2.X; Oracle Exadata Storage Server Software; Oracle Exalogic; Oracle Exalytics; Oracle Linux 4, 5, 6 and 7; Oracle Solaris Operating System 8, 9, 10 and 11; Oracle SuperCluster; Oracle Virtual Compute Appliance Software and Oracle VM 2.2, 3.2 and 3.3.

An additional 42 products use Bash in at least one of their versions and are likely to be vulnerable to Shellshock, Oracle has found. No patches are currently available for those products. Four other products are currently being investigated to determine if they’re using vulnerable Bash versions.

“Oracle has not assessed the impact of this vulnerability against products that are no longer supported by Oracle,” the company said in its advisory.

Other vendors with products built on top of Linux, whether those are hardware appliances, SCADA platforms, specialized servers or embedded devices, are likely to release Shellshock patches in the near future.

The overall impact of the Shellshock vulnerability and the related Bash bugs is hard to quantify given the ubiquitous nature of this basic component in the Unix and Linux world and the fact that all Bash versions going back to 1993 are likely vulnerable. The multiple attack vectors only add to the complexity of determining which systems are at risk.


China’s 3D printing market to quadruple

October 1st, 2014 by Manmohan No comments »

While still a nascent market in China, the production and sale of 3D printers are expected to quadruple over the next four years, according to a new report.

“While 3D printing has been touted as a way for Western economies to compete with China’s manufacturing advantages, the Asian giant is also taking rapid strides to parlay its traditional strengths into 3D printing as well,” Richard Jun Li, a Lux Research director, said in a statement.

Li is the lead author of a new report titled, “China’s Growing 3D Printing Ecosystem.”

China is rapidly embracing 3D printing and sales of printers are expected to grow four-fold to 37,800 printers in 2018, as revenues more than triple to $109 million, according Lux Research.

Chinese 3D printers are competing on cost with leading global brands such as MakerBot, 3D Systems, EOS and Stratasys. Of the 21,550 printers produced by China in 2013, some 12,810 units were exported.

Just as in other regions of the world, China’s automotive industry is the leading industrial application for the machines because creating prototype parts with 3D printers vastly improves time to market over traditional manufacturing methods.

China’s automotive 3D printing market saw $6.8 million in revenue, followed by machines in education with $6.5 million.

China’s automotive 3D printing sector will grow at 31% annually, riding on the strengths of the world’s largest car market, according to Lux Research.

In terms of unit shipments, the consumer market was the largest application segment, with just over 5,900 units in 2013, according to Lux.

By 2018, the Chinese 3D printer market (excluding imported 3D printers) will grow to 37,800 units, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34%, with printer revenue growing to $109 million in 2018, at a CAGR of 27%.

Worldwide, the sale of 3D printers and related materials is expected to balloon from $75 million this year to $1.2 billion by 2018, according to a Juniper Research report released earlier this year.

Driving that surge from today’s relatively low levels will be the entry of mainstream printer companies such as HP and Epson to the 3D fray, Juniper Research noted in its report, “Consumer 3D Printing and Scanning.”

According to Juniper, the U.S. and Europe are leading the rest of the world for consumer 3D printer adoption; hobbyists and early tech adopters in those regions are driving that surge. Retailers such as Staples and service providers including UPS are testing in-store 3D printing services to provide their customers an opportunity to use the technology without having to buy the hardware and related materials.

China’s consumer 3D printer market is expected to be led by purchases for the education sector. At the same time, 3D printing for China’s healthcare market is also expected to increase, according to Lux Research.

In terms of printer type, metal 3D printers are forecast to be the fastest growing segment in the next five years, followed by low- to medium-end thermopolymer printers.

“Far from being disrupted by 3D printing, China will thrive as its expertise in electronics, manufacturing, and its growing domestic market make it a threat and an opportunity for aspiring 3D printing value chain participants,” Li said.


Surprise! Microsoft jumps to Windows 10

October 1st, 2014 by Manmohan No comments »

Microsoft just said no to 9. The follow-on to the current Windows 8 operating system will be known as Windows 10.

Originally codenamed Windows Threshold, the new operating system essentially does away with the dependency on the tiled “Metro” user interface that Microsoft had attempted to implement across its entire device line, from desktop PCs to Surface tablets and Windows Phone devices. In its place is a combination of the so-called live tiles, present in areas like the new Start Menu, and a more classic Windows experience that aims to please both touch and keyboard-and-mouse users.

Windows 10 is such a substantial leap, according to Microsoft’s executive VP of operating systems, Terry Myerson, that the company decided it would be best to skip over Windows 9, the widely expected name for the next version.

“Windows 10 will run on the broadest amount of devices. A tailored experience for each device,” Myerson said at a press event here Tuesday. “There will be one way to write a universal application, one store, one way for apps to be discovered purchased and updated across all of these devices.”

Microsoft has spent the better part of two years, since Windows 8′s debut in October 2012, responding to criticism over the direction in which it took the operating system that has long dominated traditional PCs. Windows 8 introduced the touch-prioritized Metro design with live tiles and removed key elements of Windows 7, disrupting the familiar look and feel for long-time Windows users. The changes were representative of an overall acceleration of Microsoft’s unification of its touch-enabled mobile devices with its desktop and laptop software.

Those changes found many critics and detractors.

Windows 8.1, released last year, attempted to address those complaints with the revival of core Windows design and usage properties, such as the Start button. Now, with Windows 10, Microsoft is not quite hitting the reset button on touch, but wants to make sure it does not repeat history in its attempt to take Windows forward.

“We believe that, together with the feedback you provide us, we can build a product that all of our customers will love,” Myerson said. “It will be our most open collaborative OS projects ever.”

Taking the stage after Myerson’s introduction was Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of operating systems and the current public face of Windows and Windows Phone design and development. He gave attendees a live demo of an early build of Windows 10. Belfiore, too, put the emphasis on a great leap forward.

“We want all these Windows 7 users to have the sentiment that yesterday they were driving a first-generation Prius,” he said, “and now with Windows 10 it’s like we got them a Tesla.”

Windows 10 combines elements of Windows 8′s forward-thinking design and the familiarity and functionality of Windows 7, still the most popular Microsoft OS. According to Web traffic-tracking firm Net Applications, Windows 7 could be found on 51 percent of desktop PCs in August, compared with just over 13 percent for versions 8 and 8.1 combined.

“It’s easy to say, ‘Oh it’s Microsoft giving up on touch,’” Belfiore said, pointing out the most obvious criticism of the scaled-back Metro interface. “We’re absolutely not giving up on touch. We have a massive number of users who know Windows 7 well and a massive, but smaller, number of people who know Windows 8 well.”


Fujitsu to design Japanese exascale supercomputer

October 1st, 2014 by Manmohan No comments »

Japan has chosen Fujitsu to help it regain the top spot in the global supercomputer race with an exascale machine, which at 1,000 petaflops would be about 30 times faster than the leading supercomputer today.

The electronics giant said Wednesday it will work with the Riken research center to come up with a basic design for the supercomputer that would succeed the K computer, a machine they co-developed that grabbed the No. 1 spot in June 2011.

Riken has a mandate from Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to develop a next-generation supercomputer, and said it chose Fujitsu following an open bidding process to develop a “post-K supercomputer.”

Fujitsu will initially collaborate with Riken on a basic design, working towards beginning operation of the post-K computer supercomputer by April 2021.

The Riken Advanced Institute for Computational Science did not specify a performance speed or other characteristics of the machine, which it is calling the FLAGSHIP 2020 Project.

Leaving the term “exascale” out of the name may indicate some doubt about how fast the machine will run. However, a MEXT document suggests the performance will be around 1 exaflops (floating-point operations per second), which is 1,000 petaflops or 1 quintillion calculations per second. That figure is 1 followed by 18 zeros.

While work on the specifications is only just beginning, the FLAGSHIP machine would have characteristics including a multi-core architecture with general-purpose CPUs, network interfaces embedded in CPU chips and multi-dimensional torus network topology inherited from the K computer, according to a Riken spokesman.

The computer would be used to tackle high-level simulations in nine priority areas set by MEXT that include drug discovery, earthquake and tsunami prediction systems, global environmental modeling and the creation of new high-performance materials.

The 10-petaflops K computer, which became fully operational in September 2012 after leading the Top500 supercomputer list, has been used in similar projects. It was recently used in research that involved an unprecedented 10,240 simultaneous simulations of global weather patterns, according to Riken.

An exascale computer, however, would set a new threshold in cutting-edge supercomputer development.

The U.S., China and European countries are also working to build exascale computing systems, but Japan has been clearer about its development timeline.


Lenovo closes purchase of IBM’s x86 server business

September 30th, 2014 by Manmohan No comments »

China’s leading PC computer maker Lenovo Group Ltd announced Monday that it would close an acquisition of IBM’s x86 server business on Wednesday for a purchase price of approximately $2.1 billion, an important move for the company to step into the global server market.

The acquisition will make Lenovo “the third-largest player in the $42.1 billion global x86 server market,” according to a press release from Lenovo and IBM e-mailed to the Global Times.

Lenovo noted that it is buying IBM’s x86 server business intact and is committed to following the IBM x86 product roadmap, including Flex and x86-based PureFlex integrated systems.

IBM will continue to provide maintenance delivery on Lenovo’s behalf for an extended period of time, said Lenovo, without specifying a period.

The acquisition will enable Lenovo to extend its “capabilities in enterprise hardware and services,” and make it “a strong number three in the global server market,” Yang Yuanqing, chairman and CEO of Lenovo said in the press release.

The acquisition by Lenovo is an important step for the PC maker to extend its business globally, Xiang Ligang, president of cctime.com, a telecommunication news portal, told the Global Times. “It will be a new engine for Lenovo following its PC business.”

Despite the fact that IBM’s x86 server is low-end server, the acquisition, “which is just beginning for Lenovo to set foot in the server sector, will enable Lenovo to win more business clients globally,” Xiang noted.

Lenovo acquired IBM’s PC business, including the ThinkPad line of PCs, in 2005.

Some observers were quoted by Reuters as saying that they “expected the deal would take longer to close because of uncertainty about how US regulators might respond to a Chinese company buying a server business during a time of cyber-security tensions between the US and China.”

But Lenovo said that its transaction “satisfied regulatory requirements and conditions, including clearance by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US.”


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