CES 2014 Thursday

For next two days I’ve decided to see the Las Vegas Convention Center side of CES. This This is where the major companies are. At first I tried to get to the LVCC extended parking lot which is usually $10 but it was full. Then I went out to Ross parking lot. There was a no convention parking sign behind the store there was a lot for convention guest for $20. So I went around maybe to the Hilton and lo and behold the sign says $30. Headed back to Venetian where I parked before and found the Palazzo garage closer so I parked there.

I got on the shuttle to LVCC. The LVCC had more grandeur displays. A lot of the big companies are here. I tried to look for Creative Labs or Canon but couldn’t find them. What I did find are big screen LCD TVs. Curved ones too.
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And cars too. Here’s a Ford Mustang.
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And Finally I got outside to see what’s at the central lot. I found AMD’s booth with a surround dome tent. The set up is run by a single Firepro graphics. Inside the bigger tent are displays of AMD powered devices including demos of Kaveri. I like to dabble in Blender seeing Big Buck Bunny playing. I asked the guy standing in from of it, Jerry what’s going on with the display. It’s a step down from 1080p 60 hz to 4k 24 hz. That’s the compromise of 4K display is their refresh rate and they are showing a step down filter which minimize the jerkiness of going stepping down the frame rate. Since a Blender movie is playing I asked if Cycles will ever support AMD OpenCL. He doesn’t know about and will notify the compiler team.

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Then after that I saw the Delorien parked outside the Gibson Guitar Tent. Inside a band is playing and near the entrance are displays of guitars.

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CES Las Vegas 2014 Wednesday

My first day at CES. It is Wednesday. I skipped the first few days with all the announcements.

Since I work an Animal Hospital the first thing I see are these little digital bones. It monitors your pet’s exercise activity. It connects to your smart phone via Bluetooth.

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The next guy asked me “do you walk and text?” I said no I don’t. At least I try not but I really don’t. So this next booth is an iPhone case with swivel mirror by the camera lens. You download their app and display video showing where you should be looking while texting.

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The next thing I saw was a bamboo stick resembling a hockey stick with tin cans on the bottom. It is a prototype of an ultrasonic mosquito killer. Just stick into water where mosquitoes live for 10 second and should kill 97% the larvae. Those that do survive will be quite smaller. A no chemical solution to mosquito problems.

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The next one is an exercise machine designed to strengthen you ligament and muscle. It’s a elliptical machine fitted with foot brace that sway in and out. This is a common way athletes get injured by twisting their foot causing ACL tears. This helps strengthen the muscles supporting ACL ligaments. I tried it out and it feels like walking on slippery slopes.

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The next thing I saw was a backup LED Light. It works without power up to four hours and you can use the regular switch to turn it off and on. You won’t even notice the power went out unless you look out see your neighbors power go out.

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This is an iPhone case where you can plug your iPhone in.

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A sleep monitoring device that goes under your bed sheet. It connect to an app to monitor your sleep and give advise for a better night sleep. It keeps a score on how well you sleep.

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LiFi is a new way to go wireless. Data can be sent through light from an LED light source.

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These heads are the results of 3D printing. The tan ones are the original. The machine can both scan and print 3D. You can also set the resolution. The higher the resolution the smoother the printed object.

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These are universal remote with larger button for easier channel surfing in the dark.

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These are sling pads for portable device. That way you won’t drop them.

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These are actually Bluetooth speakers. It can also hold your electronic device and protect it from water.

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Solar panels and 100 Watt power supply for your portable or outdoor needs. Great for emergencies and for onsite photographers.

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A really thin subwoofer.

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Inflatable solar LED light.

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One wheel go board. Looks fun.

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A new way to connect your devices. Combine magnets and USB port and you get Nanoport. From the makers of magnetic nanodots.

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A view from the parking garage at the Venetian.

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Of course some video clips from that day.

AMD Test Drive Review

First Glance

The Phenom II has been phenomenal. The Athlon has gotten me through the turn of the millennium. Is it time to upgrade from the Phenom II? Well I am lucky enough to have been chosen for an AMD test drive promotion. There were 95 of us that got this kit. All have similar kit. The only thing different is the motherboard. Everyone got a random motherboard with FM2 socket from different manufacturers. I got one from Asrock.

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Heres a list of all the parts:

  • AMD A10-6800K APU
  • FM2 A85X motherboard Mine was the Asrock FM2A85X Extreme 4
  • 2×4 AMD Radeon RP1866 Performance Memory
  • Fractal Arc Midi R2 Case
  • Fractal Tesla R2 650W Power Supply Unit
  • Kingston SSDNow V300 Series 2.5″ 60GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive
  • LG 24X DVD Burner

Softwares:

  • Windows 7 OS Disc Mine came with the 32 bit Professional  installer.
  • Cyber Link PowerDVD 13
  • Winzip 17
  • Corel After Shot

 

A rant

My gripes with way AMD counts their cores is that it makes it seem like you are getting less per core. When they decided this modular design I remember they were competing with Intel’s hyperthreading. I wish they would have counted the module as core module and each ALU a hypercore. It would have been easier to explain in a marketing point of view. It avoids the “it’s not quite a full core” that people complain about.

 

Putting it together

The case it and motherboard has a lot of USB 3.0 ports and only two USB 2.0 ports, quite the opposite of my old system. The kit looked completed until I started putting them together. It was missing the heat sink. A quick search online and a user mentioned that I should contact them to for a stock heat sink to be sent. So I did. When the heat sink arrived it wouldnt fit. The bar and lever was a millimeter short and I cant get it to hook on to the latch.

So I ordered the Corsair H100i water cooler. This brings the project to $99 from my pocket. The H100i cooling grill and fan fit the case snuggly, barely enough room for upper memory lever to maneuver. I set the fans to pull the air from the top of the case. This was the recommended settings given by Corsair. The top of the heat plate shows the Corsair logo with color changing LED lights. You can choose a fixed color, color cycle or change depending on temperature.

On first boot the BIOS looks very different from the ones Ive been used to. It has a graphical interface as opposed to the old plain text with colors. You can also use the mouse on the BIOS. Even connect to the internet to update the BIOS which I did use.

 

Initial thoughts

Comparing my current Phenom II X6 1055T it felt like a crossgrade instead of an upgrade. Tomshardware put the A10 6800 one tier above the 1055T noting that you need it to at least two tiers to see a speed improvement. Ruse was playable at the lowest display settings. Then again this is the lowest setting so I quickly installed my HD 6770 in crossfire.

 

Previewing Window 8.1

Its a good timing to try out Windows 8.1. A new system and a new OS, thats great time to put two and two together. Is Windows 8.1 workable without a touch screen? For me it is no. I have not tried Windows 8 so I can not compare. Windows 8.1 to me is like a Full Screen Windows Media that you cant minimize. The desktop is an app within Metro that doesnt fit well together. Its an Apps and Application disaster zone of a UI. Also some drivers just dont seem to work but worked fine when I went back to Windows 7.

 

Making AMD Test Drive my own

Before I experimented with Windows 8.1 preview I tried to see if my old hard drives would be recognized. They were set up as a pair of RAID 0 and pair of RAID 1. It didnt recognize the drives so I just used the included SSD 60 GB. After installing Ruse, MS Office 2010 and another game, the drive was quickly full. So I kept looking the strange looking BIOS to see what setting it has and what is possibly wrong. I did set it to RAID. After a week I accidentally found why it didnt recognize it and it has something to do with UFI mode. It was a mode for Windows 8 but there is a mode for legacy. Legacy worked for the old RAID drives. I can now access my 11 years of photo archives.

Ive named my computer appropriately as AMDTestDrive. My previous one was the age old Neutron Orange which started out as an Athlon 64 X2 but the mobo got fried and I upgraded to Phenom II X6. The Phenom II X6 has now been donated to my brother.

This AMD Test Drive kit came with Corel After Shot software. What a better time to use it. I am an aspiring photographer. Ive taken many pictures using raw on my T2i and After Shot can read them all very quickly. If only Paint Shop Pro was this fast and easy to use. It does give me the option of using Juniper or Devastator. I take it that the code name for the APU GPU is devastator. At least it I know I can use the GPU portion of the A10 when paired with a discrete graphics card like my AMD HD 6770 in crossfire.

I have not installed Cyberlink Power DVD. I got Windows Media and VLC installed already. Not sure If I want to add more to the clutter of players.

I get a free Sim City for submitting this review so Ill be giving that a try soon.

The built in sound died on me one day after plugging in my head phone. It worked one day with my head phones the next day it wouldnt play and it would erratically think the head phones are plugged in and not plugged in. I have a Bluetooth speaker though which worked fine but anything plugged in directly had no sound. I had to buy Sound Blaster Recon3D which sounded much better with a header to plug the HD audio on the case.

Ive been procrastinating on this review for a month now and I can now see dust forming on the filters in the front and top of the case.

 

Conclusion

Id like to thank AMD for allowing me this opportunity to test drive and keep this brand new PC. My Neutron Orange PC was showing signs of old age though Phenom II X6 has shown to be a great value and still as good as some of the newer systems.

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Almost getting the hang of this WordPress

More than a month after installing WordPress, I think I’m finally getting the hang of it. Better than the old ways of me hand coding webpages which by the way you can find the archive tab. Still have some experimenting to do though. I spend more time on Facebook than on this site which I should update more often. If I get a non-spam comment then I’ll push myself to update this site more often.

My First WordPress Entry

This the first post other than the initial post done by installer. I will be viewing videos on how to set up WordPress. Hopefully I’d get this thing set up to where it is practical.

Here’s a picture I took lately. At Cornerstone Park/Railroad Lake in Henderson, Nevada.

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