Cooler Master has announced the addition of the Havoc laser mouse to the CM Storm product line of gaming accessories. The mouse is capable of 8200 DPI to allow for extremely fast mouse speed in game. Eight programmable buttons allow users to customize their experience and 128kb of onboard memory lets you take your settings with you. The Havoc also has full RGB support to give users different glow options. The Havoc is available now with an MSRP of $54.99.
Patriot has partnered with Meteor Entertainment to offer a special edition of the RAGE XT USB 3.0 flash drive to go with HAWKEN. The 64GB flash drive includes a seven day Double XP Boost for the online mech fighting game. The RAGE XT has read and write speeds up to 180MB/s and 50MB/s, respectively. Product Manager at Patriot Meng Jay Choo said “The Patriot Supersonic RAGE XT epitomizes excellent USB 3.0 performance, durability, and portability. Meteor’s HAWKEN is one of the fastest multiplayer games on the planet. Partnering the two products to create this exclusive bundle offers game centric consumers something truly special.” The drive is available now at an MSRP of $59.99.
Magnetic data storage has been used in computers for a long time now, and the modern form of this technology, hard disk drives, are typically slower than solid state drives based on electronic flash memory. New approaches to magnetic storage however could succeed flash for speed and efficiency, such as that developed my MIT researchers.
One advantage to magnetic memory is that it can store data permanently, as is the case with HDDs, but magnetic fields are difficult to isolate and to flip at low power. Both of these issues will have to be overcome for magnetic data storage to take the performance crown, and that day me be sooner thanks to the MIT researchers. They discovered a way to stop magnetic domains travelling around 'racetrack memory' at 20 meters per second, and then flip their state by applying a voltage; not a magnetic field. The key to this was a highly ionized material resting between the memory and the electrodes. The material had its atoms stripped of its electrons, giving them an electric charge, so when the voltage is applied to the electrode above, the ions would be drawn to or repelled by it. This in turn can change the magnetic bit below the material.
Potentially this magneto-ionic design could lead to others, creating a new family of devices. Fortunately the materials used to create the current device are simple oxide materials already used in semiconductor manufacturing.
Last year AMD announced it would begin building licensed 64-bit ARM processors as part of the new Cortex-A50 series for its server line. Earlier today the first details of that new series, as it unveiled the Seattle SoCs based on the ARM Cortex-A57. This new line is 64-bit, just like AMD's x86 server chips, and come with either eight or sixteen cores. Each one supports up to 128GB of RAM, features integrated ten gigabit Ethernet (10 GbE), and AMD "Freedom Fabric" technology, which allows for low-power CPU cores to be grouped together into clusters in order to be fed data more efficiently. AMD is planning on both the eight and sixteen-core SoCs to run at 2GHz, with the company saying the ARM chips offer two to four times the performance of the newly announced x86 low-power Opterons.
The Seattle SoCs are expected to begin sampling in the first half of 2014, with shipments set for the latter half. A pair of more tradtional server processors were also unveiled today, with the Berlin CPUs being available in the first half of 2014 and the Warsaw CPUs in the first quarter of next year. The Berlin parts are quad-core chips available in an APU or standalone CPU format, are based on the Steamroller architecture (the second major revision of Bulldozer), and includes support for heterogenous Uniform Memory Access. As for Warsaw, those are twelve or sixteen-core Piledriver CPUs for server motherboard with two or four sockets. AMD claims the Warsaw parts will offer "significantly improved performance-per-watt" than the Opteron 6300 line.
As annoying as a software bug can be, what will always make it more vexing is if you cannot figure out what caused the problem. As an end user, bugs can be frustrating, but for a developer whose software is throwing errors, the lack of any apparent cause is far worse. To help find the causes, researchers at the University of Illinois College of Engineering and Intel have partnered to produce QuickRec for tracking and recording multithreaded programs.
QuickRec is a prototype multicore architecture designed specifically to record everything the processor does while running a piece of software. This data can then be examined by developers, and even replayed to isolate any errors. This includes accidental errors and those caused by malicious code meant to disrupt legitimate programs attempting to complete their tasks.
Such a computer 'black box' could have great influence on how multithreaded programs are monitored and debugged in the future. Importantly, it does not negatively impact the performance of the processor.
There's a bit of everything in today's roundup, starting with one of NVIDIA's latest video cards. The GeForce GTX 770 gets the DirectCU II treatment by ASUS, which means a custom cooler and the opportunity for even higher overclocks than what it already comes with. If you're a watercooling aficionado or want to get into it, yet your case doesn't have a ton of extra room, perhaps our next review is the perfect solution. The XSPC AX Radiator Desk Stand allows for a radiator to be installed externally in order to help with cooling and preserve your case's interior space. We also have a look at the Wi Reader and Wi Reader Pro wireless cloud servers for iOS and Android/iOS, respectively.
One technology still in the laboratory today that many want to see enter industry is printable organic electronics. Organic electronics are made of relatively inexpensive polymers that can be bent and folded as desired, unlike rigid and fragile silicon. As the polymers used can be dissolved in solutions, researchers have been working to develop methods of printing it, like an inkjet printer, and those at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have developed a new process for doing so.
Fluid-Enhanced Crystal Engineering, or FLUENCE, is the name of the process which preserves previous developments for printable electronics, while improving them as well. An issue with printed electronics is that the materials do not conduct electricity very well, and this is partly because the crystals within the material are chaotically aligned. This impairs the flow of electrical current, but the researchers designed a special printing blade that mixes the ink to create a more uniform film. They also patterned the substrate the polymer is printed on to, in order to prevent unruly crystals from forming.
When tested the new thin films were more than 10 times better at conducting electricity, than films created with similar methods. Now the researchers are testing FLUENCE on other polymers, to see what materials it works with, and have seen some success already.
The Thermaltake Allways Control is a new notebook cooler from Thermaltake that offers an interesting level of control over its cooling power. Dual 70mm fans have an adjustable speed knob, but this cooler also offers users the ability to direct the airflow and target specific areas of their systems if desired. An aluminum plate helps the cooler to maximize its cooling ability, with enough room to accommodate laptops up to 17". The Allways Control features four USB ports to expand peripheral capabilities.
ADATA showed off a number of current and new products at the Computex show in Taiwan this year. The DashDrive Elite HE720 is a slim external hard drive with a brushed metal finish and one touch backup. The DashDrive Air AE400 is able to create a wireless hotspot for up to 10 devices while also offering the ability to charge devices through USB. The DashDrive Elite UE700 is a USB 3.0 flash drive with capacities up to 64GB and transfer speeds up to 200MB/s. The DashDrive UV150 is an entry level USB 3.0 flash drive with capacities up to 32GB. Rounding out the current products was the XPG Series V2 memory modules, which are compatible with the latest Intel Core processors and the Z87 platform while offering an interesting heatsink design.
The AE800 is a USB 3.0 external hard drive that offers wireless data transfers with compatibility up to 802.11n and can also act as a wireless hotspot for up to eight devices. The DashDrive Durable UD311 is a USB 3.0 flash drive that is built to withstand impacts and water in a compact design. The DashDrive Elite SE810 is a solid state drive that can be connected using USB 3.0 SuperSpeed or Thunderbolt for read and write speeds up to 490MB/s and 400MB/s, respectively.
Information on more Haswell chips has been leaked. The Pentiums do not bring much excitement to the table, since they all have fairly low specifications, and there are not any great improvements. The i3 chips do bring some new changes to the table with Haswell's new graphic chips named GT1 (HD4400) and GT2 (HD4600), which should improve the graphical processing power by a fair margin compared to Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge. The i5 chips have also seen some improvements with the new GT2 iGPU and slightly higher clock speed than their predecessors. What stands out the most regarding the i7 chips is the large amount of cache for the i7-4960X, which is a massive 15 MB. Other than that it is just a slight improvement compared to last generation, when you look at the figures below.
Samsung has started mass production of their new PCI-Express SSD, named XP941. The new SSD fits a new form factor called M.2, measuring only 80 mm by 20 mm. It weighs a mere 6 g, which, according to Samsung, is nine times less than a standard 2.5-inch SSD.
Despite the SSD's size, it packs some serious performance. Sequential read performance can be as high as 1,400 MB/s. If that number means nothing to you, it translates to the SSD reading 500 GB of data in just six minutes; whereas a normal hard drive would need 40 minutes to do the same.
Despite the recent move to mass production, Samsung said that major notebook manufacturers have already received the new SSDs with capacities of 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB. So hopefully we will start seeing slim notebooks with blazing fast SSDs.
As electronics progress the size of circuitry decreases, and eventually we may find circuits components made of single atoms. Before that day can come though, we need to have a better understanding of a number of quantum mechanical phenomena. Among these is the spin Hall effect, which researchers at NIST have observed for the first time in a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC).
The spin Hall effect is a phenomenon that affects the movement of particles with spin values, such as electrons. When these particles move, even if they are initially moving in a straight line, they will veer off to one side or another, depending on their spin. This effect could have implications in quantum computers, so researchers are trying to measure it but it can be difficult to resolve it from other effects. This is why the researchers turned to a BEC, which is a cloud of atoms that behave as though they are all a single, large atom. Such an exotic state is actually simpler to work with, for the purpose of isolating the spin Hall effect.
To measure the spin Hall effect on the BEC, the researchers used a laser to push the cloud of atoms, and found that it curved to one side as it moved. While this essentially created an atom spin transistor, with the ability to manipulate spin currents like modern transistors effect electrical currents, a BEC would likely not be practical to build a logic gate from. Instead it will serve as a system to study the spin Hall effect in greater detail.
We have a lot of items to start the week with, so let's get right down to it. There's a couple of video cards up for review, although one is of the laptop variety. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M gets put through a series of tests to see just how powerful this new mobile GPU is, while the XFX Radeon HD R7790 shows what it can do against competitors in its price range. We have a review on the In Win D-Frame case, the be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 850W power supply, and plenty of others. There's a look back at Computex 2013, an article on a nice case mod, and also a chance to win an NZXT Phantom 630 case (Facebook required). Click the links below to check out all of these and more!
G.Skill has released the results of its overclocking efforts at Computex 2013, and a number of world records were broken using its products. Memory frequency of 4283.2MHz was achieved using G.Skill TridentX memory by Hiwa, Christian Ney, and Young Pro. A PI Fast time of 9.78 seconds was achieved with Trident memory by Fredyama, Shamino, and Young Pro. The same trio completed Super Pi 32M in 4 minutes 36.672 seconds using TridentX memory. K|NGP|N set records in 3DMark Fire Strike and Fire Strike Extreme with scores of 31125 and 20089, respectively. A 3DMark05 score of 70106 was set by HiCookie, Dinos22, and Young Pro.
MSI is bringing a new laptop geared towards gamers to the market, the GE40. The GE40 is powered by an Intel Haswell i7 processor and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760M GPU. The inclusion of the 760M allows users to attach an additional two displays to the laptop. A 14" screen operates at a resolution of 1600x900. Users can choose from two storage configurations, both of which include a 750GB hard drive with the option of a 128GB mSATA SSD. The system is rounded out with 8GB of memory, Gigabit Ethernet, and Wireless N. Everything is packed into an aluminum enclosure and weighs just 4.4 pounds. The model with no SSD starts at $1,299.99 and the inclusion of an SSD brings the price up to $1,399.99. Be sure to enter the Just Game! contest that MSI is currently running to have a chance at winning the GE40.
Noctua has not been sitting idle, which became apparent at Computex 2013. The company showed of a bunch of new products, along with some old but improved ones.
Adding to the popular A-series fans, Noctua is releasing 200 mm, 92 mm, and 80 mm models that will allows builders more flexibility, when putting together new systems. The fans will have known features, such as Flow Acceleration Channels, AAO frames, and SSO2 bearings. Noctua also revealed new ruggedized industrial models that will borrow many features from the A-series. These fans have a fiber-glass reinforced polyamide construction and a new 3-phase motor design with six poles that insures lower vibrations, reduced power consumption, and a smoother running fan.
For all the builders on a budget, Noctua wants to have you covered as well. The new series of fans, currently called Project Redux, are based on the popular NF-S12B and NF-P14, and will be released in Q4 2013. The series will come in more accessibly priced packages, and though they won't be at the same level technically as the fans mentioned above, they are sure to live up to Noctua's high standards.
Noctua has also been developing a new heatsink base plate that will improve heat spreading to all the heat pipes. The base will use a new, state-of-the-art hot pressing technology to make a diamond-copper composite insert. This new composite has a thermal conductivity of about 500 W/mk, which is 25 percent higher than pure copper. The company also revealed more information about its work with ANC fans. This technology will allow for quieter running fans without sacrificing RPMs. The technology is still not ready for mass production, but Noctua is hoping to release fans with the technology in Q2/Q3 2014.
Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is part of the Local Group of galaxies, which contains multiple galaxies with ours being the second biggest. The queen of the Local Group is the Andromeda galaxy, which shares many characteristics with us and in the future will likely collide with us, creating a massive elliptical galaxy. Using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory researchers have identified 26 potential black holes in Andromeda, adding to the nine previously found.
To find these black holes, Chandra had to observe the other galaxy over 150 times across 13 years. Being an X-ray telescope, Chandra is an ideal tool for finding black holes as matter falling into them will produce the high energy radiation. To help determine if the X-ray sources were possibly black holes or neutron stars, the researchers also brought in ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory, which can distinguish X-rays of different energy levels. Neutron stars are other, very dense stellar objects that can emit X-rays, but only black holes could produce the signals the researchers found.
At 35 black hole candidates, the Andromeda galaxy is now second only to the Milky Way in number of potential black holes found. Many of these new candidates were found in globular clusters, remnants of ancient star formation also present in the Milky Way, but curiously no black holes have ever been identified in ours.
We have a couple of reviews for you to check out as the week draws to a close. There's a look at both the NZXT Kraken X40 and X60 liquid CPU coolers, which are sealed systems so the setup is just as easy as an air cooler. If you're looking to setup a killer home network, we have a review on the NETGEAR XS708E ProSafe Plus 10GbE Switch. This unit features eight RJ-45 ports for Cat 6, and one SFP+ port for a fiber optic connection, all while designed to handle 10Gb/s speeds. Read on to see how these models fare in their respective reviews.
The Oculus Rift is many gamers' ultimate dream. It enables higher emersion than a typical monitor would, since you will only see the game world. Two new exciting announcements have been made with the first being a new 1080p prototype, and the second being that Epic Games has been working along side the Oculus team on integrating Unreal Engine 4, and the Oculus Rift now supports Unreal Engine 4 out of the box.
Not many details have been revealed regarding the new 1080p prototype, but on top of the higher resolution, it will feature improved brightness, contrast, and color. Despite these improvements, the prototype is not necessarily representing what consumers will be able to buy, when the final product is released. But it allows developers to keep creating content, and the Oculus team says that the Oculus SDK will "automatically handle the resolution and distortion changes for the consumer version".
I am sure many games cannot wait to get their hands on the Oculus Rift, and try what has only been seen in science fiction movies; however, there is still some more development needed before the product wil reach consumers.
Later this month, Futuremark will be releasing PCMark 8 for everyone to enjoy, but because of the hardware releases presently occurring, it decided to get the Professional Edition out to the hardware industry and press.
PCMark 8 is the newest in the PCMark series of benchmarks, which focuses more on overall system performance than on graphics. It supports Windows 7 and Windows 8 and has multiple new features, including application tests and battery life testing for laptops and tablets. Battery life testing loops the selected benchmark until the mobile device's battery drops to 20%, allowing you to determine how long a charge lasts under different scenarios. The application tests will open other pieces of software to run controlled tests on, including some Microsoft Office applications and Adobe Create Suite software.
As a member of the press, I was supplied with a press key and have been exploring the software. You can read about my experiences here: PCMark 8 Review.
A lot of science is about moving on from failure, as serendipitous discoveries are simply not common. Sometimes when you move on you take with you knowledge to improve new systems, and other times the only knowledge you have is to not try what you already did again. For manganese and gallium nitride, the latter seemed to be true, but researchers at Ohio University have made a discovery that suggests otherwise.
About ten years ago, researchers were very hopeful that a combination of manganese and gallium nitride could be used to create spintronics. Eventually these materials were abandoned because they simply would not work together and researchers moved on to other materials. After running some simulations though, the Ohio researchers took another look at these materials and found a way to combine them that could make the combination viable. This new method relies on the nitrogen polarity of gallium nitride, instead of the gallium polarity, to attach the manganese atoms, and uses heat to more permanently bond the different atoms.
An important property of the new material is that it is stable at room temperatures and higher, which will be useful for some applications. However, this work could still prove to be a failure as the new molecular structure the researchers created may not have the magnetic properties at room temperature needed for spintronics.
Kingston has announced that it will be joining the Open Data Center Alliance as a solutions provider member. The ODCA is "an independent consortium comprised of global IT leaders working together to define and deliver a unified set of common standards and the highest level of interoperability for data centers and cloud computing." Kingston is seen as a strong partner for big data initiatives due to its "DRAM server memory solutions and enterprise-class solid-state drives." Server memory business manager at Kingston Sim Phengdara said “We're excited to join the ODCA as it has attracted such a diverse group of industry elites —customers, vendors and service providers — all sharing the same passion and commitment in driving future innovations for data center and cloud computing initiatives."
The latest hard drive offering from Seagate is targeted towards NAS users. The Seagate NAS HDD was designed to operate in one to five bay NAS configurations that are always on. The drives will be available in capacities up to 4TB, delivering up to 20TB of total storage in five drive arrangements. The drives feature a number of technologies from Seagate designed to allow for excellent NAS performance including customized error recovery controls, improved vibration tolerance, and advanced power management. A number of big names in the NAS market are already on board including Thecus, QNAP, and Synology.
Club3D might not be the best known hardware company, but it has 16 years of experience none the less, when it comes to manufacturing graphic cards. The company has manufactured cards with both NVIDIA and AMD chips on them for many years, but the company has now decided that it will focus on AMD's chips only. The reason for parting with NVIDIA is unknown, although rumors say that NVIDIA is currently trying to decrease the number of add-in boards.
AMD is, according to Judith Ma Tseng, CEO at Club3D, able to deliver a complete solution to the customers. Tseng believes that "[Club3D] can offer a better solution going forward wth AMD alone."
The Director of Desktop Product management at AMD Graphics, Zvika Greenstein, is confident that Club3D made the right decision, because "with products like the Radeon HD 7990 Dual GPU, Club3D has a long-standing reputation for delighting enthusiasts with spectacular products based on AMD Radeon™ graphics chips". He also takes the decision as "a powerful acknowledgement of [AMD's] leadership in graphics space".
Some people can be dismissive of video games, claiming that they have no redeeming value, such as improving a player's decision making skills. Researchers that study gaming's effect on people though are coming to different conclusions. Those at Duke University, after searching for college students that do not play video games, found that gamers have superior visual sensitivity.
When playing a video game, like a first person shooter, it is important that you are able to quickly recognize threats and allies. This requires the player's brain interprets the screen more efficiently than a non-gamer's, at least in theory. To test this, the researchers showed non-gamers and intensive gamers, a total of 125 people, a ring of eight letters for a tenth of a second. After a delay, the participant was asked what letter was in a specific place. The delays ranged from 0.013 seconds to 2.5 seconds and for each interval the gamers performed better.
There are three possible reasons the gamers performed better, though the researchers believe that, based on these results, a greater visual memory retention is not the reason. Instead they suggest it could actually be a combination of the other two reasons; gamers may be able to see things more quickly, and are able to make better decisions based on what information they have. Only brain-activity information will be able to determine what the true reason is.
Today we have a nice mixture of reviews and articles for you to check out, starting with a review on the Enermax Triathlor FC 550W power supply. This more budget-friendly PSU from Enermax features modular cables and an 80PLUS Bronze certification, so it could be just what your new build is missing. If you need portable storage, we have a review on a 16GB USB 3.0 Flash drive from Mushkin that should interest you. There's a look at the Cooler Master Notepal Ergostand II to help keep your laptop cool during long run times. We also a handy article look at various computer tips and tricks that everyone should know, including some you may not have been familiar with.
Antec, one of the leading manufacturers of many computer products, announced several new items during the recently ended Computex trade show. The company is releasing several new cases, power supplies, and Bluetooth speakers, as well as updating its Kühler line of liquid CPU coolers. For the gamers, Antec has the new Nineteen Hundred, which is described as a "super gaming tower." There's also the P100 performance case that should continue the legacy of the other Performance One series cases (like the P183). On the power supply side, Antec is introducing its new High Curent Pro Platinum PSUs that feature OC Link technology and Grid, which is a piece of software providing real-time display, control, and alarm functions. The Bluetooth speakers include the SP3, SP1 Zero, and SP1 Plus for users needing more sound while out and about.
Its Kühler liquid CPU cooler line is being updated with three new models: the Kühler H2O 650, 950, and 1250. The 650 features an extra large pump to help with coolant circulation so your CPU gets cooled down faster. There's also a powerful fan to make sure air gets through the radiator easier. Plus there's the RGB LED that's controlled by firmware to let you know the temperature, as well as the universal mounting bracket to attach to both AMD and Intel CPUs. The 950 doubles the height of the 650 and adds two PWM fans controlled by Antec GRID software. Then there's the Kühler 1250, which features a 240mm design and two cooling pumps to ensure even the hottest CPUs are kept in line. Its fans are also controlled the Antec GRID.
Expect all of these Antec products to be available soon, with the Kühler H2O 650, 950, and 1250 arriving in the third quarter of this year.
Since its discovery, graphene has gotten a great deal of interest for researchers, due to its unique properties, including being two-dimensional. In the years following, other 2D materials have been isolated and studied, to learn their properties and how they may interact with each other to form complex devices. Researchers at Rice University have recently found a way to grow a 2D semiconductor, which could have implications in the future of computing.
Among graphene's properties is its extreme electrical conductivity, which is useful but also limiting as electronics need more than a conductor. Hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) is another 2D material, with a similar structure to graphene, but is an insulator. The material the Rice researchers are working with now is the semiconductor molybdenum disulfide (MDS) and could have great potential when combined with the other two materials. This material has been investigated before, but was always hard to grow with suitably large grain sizes. The researchers had noticed that specific features in the substrate affected its growth, and with that knowledge they managed to grow larger, useable grains.
Though more work is going to be needed before we can see these three materials in products, they could be combined to create field-effect transistors, integrated logic circuits, photodetectors, and flexible optoelectronics. For now, materials scientists are going to be having a field day trying to build special crystals from these materials.
The middle of the week brings a couple of items for your viewing pleasure, but both of them are worth checking out. AMD is in the next-generation consoles from Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft, which is causing some concern from the media that it'll carry over into the PC side as well. However, we have a new article where NVIDIA reaffirms its committment to PC gaming and working with developers to ensure PC games are precisely how they should be. We have a review on a new NAS from ASUSTOR, which is a four-bay unit with an Intel Atom processor and Linux distro to help get your files wherever you need them in your home.
Many people like the idea of cloud-based technologies because it gives users access to 'better' hardware than their own. Of course the catch is security, as any cloud-based technology requires information is transmitted along public communication lines. To address that issue, researchers have been working on homographic encryption and those at MIT have made a recent breakthrough that could change the shape of cloud-computing.
Homomorphic encryption is a system that allows operations to be performed on encrypted data without decrypting them. Unfortunately it is limited in what it can do as operations like searching requires the remote server know the search term and the data. The MIT researchers found a way to solve this problem by combining homomorphic encryption with other security methods, including the garbled circuit system and attribute-based encryption. Garbled circuit systems allows a single encrypted operation to be performed on a single encrypted data item, but is a private-key system, while attribute-based encryption is public-key and reusable. What the researchers have done is placed the decryption algorithm within a garbled circuit, which is itself protected by attribute-based encryption and embedded in homomorphic encryption.
The result of this combination is a system with the potential of allowing for general functions to be securely performed on encrypted data, stored in the cloud. As optimizations are made to improve performance, we could see it deployed to protect surveillance data, while still allowing the data to be searched.