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Episode #164 - Microsoft Tablet "Surfaces"

Episode #164 of Weekly Tech Update is now available on iTunes and the Zune Marketplace.  This is our weekly podcast that covers the hottest stuff in tech - not only around BCCHardware, but also the world.  Check it out over here - as well as a free download in the iTunes store and the Zune Marketplace.

In this episode we will be discussing Microsoft’s BIG unveil, the Xbox 720 leak and stop using IE7!  We have those stories and more...

Download Episode #164
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Graphics Bits

We've got a few graphics card reviews in the bucket as well today.  Take a look and see what fits your budget.

 


Microsoft Tablet Surfaces

Microsoft had a big announcement yesterday where they showed off a completely new and innovative product - a tablet.  Now this isn't just any old tablet - it's a Microsoft branded piece of hardware and it's named after their "Surface" platform.  It will launch running Windows 8 RT on an ARM chip, but eventually move into something more powerful.  GeekSugar has a look at some stand-out features that make it different than the plethora of competition.

Surface is an eye-catching new option in the competitive tablet market. The 10.6 -inch tablet hosts some striking features that have us wanting Microsoft to announce the price and availability soon so we can claim our place in line.


ASUS LCD Two-Fer

In this ASUS two-fer we've got a couple of LCD monitors that will help you get your game on.  The first the ASUS VE228 21.5" LCD that displays your video content at 1080p.  If you are looking for something slightly larger and 3D compatible, check out the VG278H 3D Vision 2 Monitor Kit over at eTeknix.  Neither of these is a bad choice and it all depends on if you want 3D or not as to what is your best bet.

Nvidia have for a while offered up their 3D vision kits as a separate offer that work with most monitors, but what we have here is a full on bundle with a 27″ LCD & LED backlit screen with a whopping 120Hz frame rate and an impressive contrast ratio of 50,000,000:1 and Nvidia’s 3D vision wireless glasses. Sounds like a mouth watering bundle doesn’t it?


Handfull of Boards

As we finish up the hardware news for today, we've got a handful of Z77 boards and a small Fusion board for your favorite AMD chip.  We start over at eTeknix with the Biostar TZ77XE4 board.  This is a pretty solid board for sure, but if you want something a little more fancy, check out the ASRock Z77 Extreme9 board at HardwareSecrets.  Finally, the biggest and baddest Z77 in the news bucket today is the ASUS Maximus V Gene over at TechPowerUp.  This board comes pretty loaded.

On the AMD side of things is the Zotac Fusion Mini-ITX Motherboard that is based on the E-350 chip from AMD.  It's pretty decent and comes in a fanless package to boot!

Overall these specs look solid: Dual core APU @ 1.6GHz and a Radeon 6310 should have no problems with general computing tasks and HD Video playback.  6 Channel video means this board supports 5.1 Surround right out of the box; an added plus if you’re putting this in a HTPC.  Wireless N and Gigabit Ethernet for the best connectivity and speeds.


Xbox 720 Leak

It appears that the Xbox 720 has sprung a bit of a leak, and if you believe everything you hear, the Wii U will die a fast and painful death.  The next Xbox is said to have Blu-Ray support, a fast x86 processor for new games as well as some PPC compenent for backwards compatibility.  If they can pull of what they claim for the rumored $299 price tag - with backwards compatibility, this will be the ultimate box for your TV room.  It will do everything that a guy and gal could want.  TechCrunch has more details and some of the 56 page document.

Features for the next Xbox, according to the document, will include native Blu- ray playback, full support for HD and 3-D, and beefed up hardware (graphics and processor) under the hood. Other bits and pieces from the doc include PVR functionality, a low power mode setting during media playback and what amounts to an always-on mode. Gates did say years ago that the Xbox would eventually become the nerve center for any living room.


Small PSU Pile

 


Virtu Universal MVP

HardwareSecrets explores the Virtu Universal MVP technology that comes to market courtesy of Lucid.  If you remember, Lucid is the company that makes the chipset that allows you to mix and match NVIDIA or AMD based cards in a hybrid CrosSLI or SLIFire setup.  The Virtu Universal MVP tech is software-based and is available on many Intel Z77 chipset boards.  Take a look at how it performs and which cards it likes more.

The Virtu Universal MVP also allows you to combine the CPU integrated graphics processor to your regular video card, increasing gaming performance. This feature is called “HyperFormance.” This is similar to what occurs with the NVIDIA’s Hybrid SLI and AMD’s ATI Hybrid technologies, with the notable difference of not being limited to GPUs or CPUs of a specific manufacturer.


Headset Action

If you enjoy gaming as much as I do, you'll know that sound quality and experience can make or break a game.  In order to help your maximize your enjoyment without annoying others, a headset is often crucial.  HardwareHeaven looks at the Sennheiser PC 323D G4ME headset today and finds out if this is what you need to maximize your game.  They also take a look at the Corsair Vengeance 2000 7.1 Wireless headset and share how this goes.

eTeknix has the Tritton Detonator Xbox 360 headset on their bench and enjoy some console action with a great looking headset.  Take a look and find out if it sounds as good as it looks.

The Tritton range stands out from the crowd with its angular styling and contrasting colours, offering gamers of all budgets some of the best looking and performing headsets on the market today, ranging from high end wireless 7.1 headsets down to standard stereo models.


Video Game Releases

ShackNews has posted up their latest video game release list of the week and this week has a lot of downloadable titles.  There isn't much for blockbuster titles this week and probably the most excitement you're going to get is from LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes.  Check the list below and all the details over at the Shack.

PC

  • Brave: The Video Game
  • Cinders (download)
  • Gateways (download - $10)
  • LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
  • Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 (Steam - $10)
  • Quantum Conundrum (download - $15)
  • Resonance (download - $10)
  • Roller Coaster Rampage (download - $10)
  • Sid Meier's Civilization V: Gods & Kings
  • Spellforce 2: Faith in Destiny
  • Civ V: Gods & Kings and The Secret World
  • The Dark Eye: Chains of Satinav
  • The Secret World
  • Tiny & Big: Grandpa's Leftovers (download - $10)


360

  • Brave: The Video Game
  • Gateways (XBLIG)
  • LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
  • Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 (XBLA - $10)
  • Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor


PS3

  • Brave: The Video Game
  • LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
  • Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 (PSN - $10)
  • Tomba! (PSone Classic)


Wii

  • Brave: The Video Game
  • LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes


PSV

  • LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes


3DS

  • LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
  • Order Up!! (eShop - $10)
  • Slitherlink by Nikoli (eShop - $5)


NDS

  • Brave: The Video Game
  • Lola's Fruit Shop Sudoku (DSiWare - $2)
  • Pokémon Conquest


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