Intel Broadwell Processor Release Announced, Steam In-Home Streaming, and more news

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broadwellBetter Late than Never: Broadwell Coming This Holiday Season

Top processor manufacturer Intel CEO Brian Krzanich recently announced in an interview with Reuters at the Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA that the company’s new Broadwell processors would be available by the holiday season 2014. Broadwell will probably not be available in PCs for the back-to-school season, but the US holiday season is still one of the largest PC-buying periods of the year, so the new chips will hopefully buoy “Intel-inside” PC sales this year.

The successor to 2013’s 4th-generation Haswell architecture, Broadwell is a 14nm version of the 22nm Haswell that features an advertised 30% improvement in battery performance and will likely include integrated graphics boosts as well. The shrinking represents Intel’s “tick” phase in their “tick-tock” release cycle strategy. “Tocks” are years when Intel introduces a new processor microarachitecture, while “ticks” represent the shrinking of that technology, in accordance with Moore’s Law. The next “tock” release will be 2015’s “Skylake” platform.

The announcement comes after recent delays in fabrication of the 14nm architecture, which were announced in October 2013 following a slump in PC sales. At that time, Broadwell was announced as being released in the second half of 2014. Despite the delay, Intel is still ahead of many other processor manufacturers such as AMD, who still are working on getting smaller than 28nm nodes.

steam1Let the Steam Stream!

After an extended beta test period for select users, the popular video game distribution platform Steam has opened the valves (pun entirely intended) on its Steam In-Home Streaming capabilities. Released Wednesday May 21st, the service allows users to play games that they’ve downloaded via the platform on any locally networked machine if they have a good connection.

Users who download a game onto a Windows PC (preferably a powerful gaming machine) will be able to stream the game onto multiple devices logged into Steam over a local network. The game will run on the main PC, doing heavy processing and calculations on the high-end rig, and only receiving input and displaying output through the client-side box. The devices will automatically connect, and users will be able to switch between Windows, Mac, Linux, and SteamOS devices and be playing the same game at the same point. Since the streaming service will be able to pick up play where you left off on another device, it will make such transitions easy and nearly seamless. As well, this means you won’t need to wait for games to download and install on multiple machines as long as Steam is installed.

More information on Steam In-Home Streaming is available on its information page.

chinabanChina Bans Windows 8

Following US allegations of cyber-espionage against various American corporations and the end of Microsoft Windows XP support, the Chinese government has banned the use of the Windows 8 operating system on new government computers and devices. The ban came in a Central Government Procurement Center statement last Friday, which mentioned security concerns relating to Windows 8’s future, especially since Microsoft abandoned XP support earlier this year.

As we reported back in April, Windows XP is no longer receiving crucial security updates, leaving the 13-year-old OS vulnerable to attacks. A large portion of the Chinese market still uses Windows XP, (estimates go as high as 70%) though many use bootlegged copies or lack valid licenses for the OS.

Frankly, though, China knew this was coming, and while the move may push Chinese developers to create their own native OS’s, if they want to buy American again in the future, they may ultimately just be shooting themselves in the foot with regards to their computing infrastructure. Past Chinese OS’s such as StartOS Linux have not really caught on compared to Windows, after all.

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