Friday, January 20, 2012

Looking back @CES 2012 - The interesting bits

CES (Consumer Electronic Show) 2012 has reached its conclusion yet there are lots of things left over to speculate on. There have been many exciting technologies and gadgets shown in this years event and some of them were truly amazing, others not so much! AnandTech made a full list of things and events that took place over in CES. You can find it here. Check it out, we have some very interesting techs and products ahead of us in 2012. Here is some of my personal favorites among those -

  • AMD Trinity APU - An APU built on Pile-driver cores and 2nd generation DX11 graphics which could very well be the next big thing in integrated graphics. Trinity would be made available by 2nd half of 2012 and should have enough graphics horsepower to make IGP gaming a reality. But a lot depends on how much improvement Piledriver cores/modules bring over Bulldozer cores. Trinty will be an update of the existing Llano line up.
  • Intel IvyBridge CPU and Ultrabooks built on it - IvyBridge will be a die-shrink of the existing SandyBridge CPU architecture from Intel and the first one to utilize a 22nm processing node. This is a very promising chip because the smaller process will allow for better power and thermal efficiency, more headroom for higher frequencies and better graphics. Intel has confirmed now that IB will have DX11 functionality, so no worries there. One thing to note here, while Intel will reuse its existing graphics architecture found in SandyBridge i3/i5/i7 CPUs, the die shrink would make it possible for IB to fit in more graphics execution units than its predecessors thus providing more 3D-gaming power. For a completely new architecture we've to wait for Haswell. Meanwhile Intel has been very active with their big Ultrabook push recently and IB CPUs are a big part of the plan. Intel and its OEM partners has shown off quite a few attractive Ultrabook models based on this new chop in this years CES. The target is to have longer battery life and better graphics.
  • Nokia's new breed of Windows Smartphones - This is a very interesting development that many of us have a keen eye on. It came as a surprise to many when Nokia announced it'll ditch Meego for WP(Windows Phone) and make Smartphones based on Microsoft's Operating System. MS has been hard on work to enter the smartphone business for long but without much success so this collaboration was a very important one for them. Intel seemed to be the biggest loser, Microsoft the prime gainer and Nokia...well only time will tell! Nokia Lumia 800 was the first to show up with WP7 this year and is the best Windows based Smartphone to have. It goes to show Nokia still has what it takes to make great Phones. In CES this year, Nokia has announced Lumia 900 which will be a very interesting upgrade to their Lumia line-up with features like a 4.3" Super AMOLED screen! 
  • Sapphire Edge-HD3 - We all know Sapphire to be a top tier Graphics card manufacturer but did you know that it also makes some of the smallest PCs around? Yes, that's true. Sapphire's Edge-HD series of mini PC/Nettops have been great products. I have one Edge HD2 in my possession for sometime now and love this little PC (yes I call it a PC because it does all the basic tasks a Personal Computer is supposed to do and more) for its style, portability and functionality. It works as fall back device for me aside from being a great HTPC replacement. My only gripe about this little beauty is that it runs on an Intel Atom D525, which is quite underpowered and sluggish in today's standard. Nvidia's ION is what makes my HD2 unique. I was looking for an upgrade and it seems I'll get it soon in form of Sapphire Edge-HD3! This iteration of Edge-HD is built on a very capable AMD E-450 dual-core Bobcat APU with integrated Radeon HD6320 graphics- which should be the perfect upgrade for anyone using an ION based device like myself. E-450 is clocked at 1.65GHz compared to E-350's 1.6GHz , has better graphics to offer and definitely will make a great little PC considering E-350 is already a very good option for building Media Servers, HTPCs, Nettops and Bare-bone PCs.
CES 2012 promised us a great number of enticing technologies and products that will arrive very soon. Actually there are many fantastic tech and gadgets (like Android Icecream Sandwich or those huge Amoled displays!) I would've liked to focus on but being limited of both time and scope, can't right now. But rest assured we, who like to keep a tab of new and exciting technologies, will have our hands full in upcoming months!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A dark day @ Wikipedia to prevent a dark future

In an unique attempt to register its protest against the draconian and short-sighted SOPA, Wikipedia, the largest and widely used free online encyclopedia, has blacked and stalled their Wikipedia website. This is not permanent but could very well be the case in future if the USA congress passes the act that is SOPA! In a way Wikipedia is showing us glimpses of that dark future. This is a very serious matter and one that relates to our freedom and integrity. There are some serious flaws in the design and proposal of SOPA/PIPA, which could in effect toll the death bell of a free and boundless internet. The likes of Google,Yahoo, Facebook and PayPal have already raised their voices against this draconian act officially and many more are joining them everyday. You can find a full list of the names protesting SOPA here. But Wikipedia has taken the protest to a new level after today's event. We would like to congratulate them for their efforts as this is not just a concern of USA anymore and everyone from every country in the world should raise their voices about how they want their internet to be in upcoming days. A free and expressive internet is what we all strive for and it is our responsibility to protect the very essence of the internet as we know it. In this small personal blog of mine I try to concentrate on PC technologies surrounding us but under these circumstances I believe we all should learn about the potential threats from SOPA/PIPA and raise our voices against it.

I also found some good articles on this concerning matter, read them to have a better understanding.,

Update: Many others including Craiglist, Reddit and Electronic Frontier Foundation also decided to black-out their respective sites. Here is more.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Intel shows DX11 graphics in VLC media player!

We told earlier that CES 2012 is going to be very interesting and so far it is turning out to be very much so. But at the same time there have been some controversies floating around. Intel's recent Ivy Bridge Ultrabook demonstration being the latest one to spark some conspiracy theories. Funny thing is this whole debacle was pretty much avoidable as we'll see in the end. Things started with Intel showing off their latest gizmos that is the Ultrabooks. For those who are not familiar with the term Ultrabook, it's a new form factor introduced by Intel and its partners recently. The idea is not a new one though as Ultrabooks are basically ultra-portable and compact Notebooks in an attractive envelope - much like the popular Macbook Air from Apple. The demo was about the upcoming Ultrabooks which would feature the much anticipated Ivy Bridge CPUs from Intel. Ivy Bridge CPU is supposed to be the first chip made in 22nm process and should have better graphics capability compared to its previous generation of chips as promised by the giant chipmaker. As we all know graphics performance is the Achilles-hill of Intel's CPU line, Ivy Bridge would be a very important step-up for Intel's integrated graphics road map. Ivy Bridge will also be the first Intel chip to feature DirectX 11 which in process would help them to restore the parity with the offerings from Nvidia and AMD as both of them already have DX11 in their products. So in this particular demo, everyone's eye was fixed on how Ivy Bridge IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor) performs. Things started well as Intel's Mooly Eden, VP, PC Client Group, presented a real time havok physics rendering demonstration of a troll, which is impressive. Next up was a DX11 racing demo, where Mr. Eden was supposed to play a live game on one of the Ultrabooks shown off. But as soon as he started the game playing session - VLC control panel popped up!! It was a clear indication of the fact that it was not a real time graphics rendering rather a per-recorded video clip running on VLC media player. We all are fans of VLC player, which is one of the best media player out there. But surely there is a dimensional gap between running a recorded game session and playing a game live on a PC! It was hilarious and embarrassing at the same time because it was supposed to be a LIVE demo of Ivy Bridge's graphics prowess and nothing in Mr. Eden's talks earlier suggested otherwise. See the video linked above for yourself to be the judge. Afterwards Mr. Eden tried to rectify the situation by saying "they're running it from backstage" but it was a little too late for that. Rumors started to fly and forums became full of conspiracy theories suggesting Ivy's IGP is not performing up to the expected level. Some even went a bit further by claiming that Ivy bridge DX11 functionality is broken! Later though Intel came out with an acceptable clarification and assured that Ivy Bridge IGP is capable of running real time games and that it was mere lack of time and space which caused the confusion. If that is the case then I feel it's safe to say that it was a stupid PR stunt that went wrong and the situation was avoidable. When you have nothing to hide why would you run a recorded video instead of a live demo without disclosing the facts first? In the end IB (Ivy Bridge) might just be fine and performs as expected (we'll see it soon enough as IB is due to launch in March/April, 2012) but this kind of deception only adds to confusion and controversy. Intel is a market leader in many ways and has a very high stature, I hope they'll learn their lessons from this kind of mistakes.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

CES 2012

So the CES (Consumer Electronic Show) has started in Las Vegas and some very interesting things going on there. The CES is very big an event nowadays with many vendors and manufacturer trying to showcase the very best of their products. The PC enthusiast community generally keeps an eager eye over these events since many upcoming products are first shown here and new technology arrives with new announcements. Apart from these CES also serves as a platform where the manufacturers get to interact with the consumers directly. Also this is great opportunity for them to know what the market wants from them. This year we're waiting for some great news from the major players like Intel, AMD, Google, MS, Apple and others and we'll look froward to that. Meanwhile this is what I found on YouTube, a casual interview with the CES Boss Gary Shapiro himself, who has been behind the success of this show for many years now. Also we would like congratulate him for opposing the draconian SOPA in his opening address, which earned a good deal of appreciation from the tech community.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

MS celebrates as IE-6 loses market share

For once Microsoft is happy that its prominent browser- Internet Explorer is losing its grip on the market! Well we're not talking about the latest iterations of IE but the venerable IE6. It's no secret that MS is keen on retiring the iconic web browser for sometime now. The recent statistics show that the use of IE6 is in decline and the number of its users is less than 1% of the total market in the US and several other countries with most users already upgraded to a newer edition or a different browser altogether. So Microsoft's IE team is having a party and a cake. But the celebration might seem a bit premature as there is still a considerable number of users worldwide using this year old browser. China for one has a huge number, a whooping 25% of its internet users are still using IE6! There are two questions here, why MS wants to retire IE6 and why people still use it? The answer of the first one is simple, there are numerous security loopholes in IE6 which makes it pretty vulnerable to threats like malwares and hackers. It is very important to use a secure web browser nowadays considering the overgrowing threats in the internet and because the browser is the primary tool for net activity it becomes the target of choice for cyber criminals. The reason to why IE6 still is so much popular among users can be attributed to its long history and success. Just like the Windows XP, IE6 has become almost a legend in its category and had a long reign. Many of those who are still using it also have Win-XP in their machines. Also there may be some enterprise or corporate clients using it under old contracts. But like all good things it has to come to an end and according to MS, it's about time.

News source -,

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy new year

A very happy new year to all our readers, we are looking forward to keep you updated with the most interesting aspects of the modern tech world throughout 2012. So don't forget to check back!