OCC TECH NEWS
We here at OverclockersClub love to give things away to our members, and today we have a new contest for you. Noctua, purveyors of exceptional CPU coolers, has three heat sinks to give away. If you want a chance to win either the NH-D15, the NH-U14S, or the NH-U12S, then you are in luck! Any one of these CPU coolers can help keep your system from going thermal, and just may help you get to that next level of overclocking. The rules for this contest are fairly simple: take a picture of your current heat sink in your computer and post it in the contest thread. As these are all desktop coolers, only users with desktop computers are able to enter. However, the contest is open world wide, so there are no restrictions other than the type of computer you have.
The Noctua giveaway will last for two weeks (until November 2), so there is plenty of time to enter. All entrants can have the picture either attached in their post or hosted on a file sharing website (like Imgur). If you are one of the lucky winners, you have 48 hours to respond, or else it will go to someone else. Good luck to all who enter!
October 19, 2014
ACE Team's side-scrolling fighting game Abyss Odyssey launched in July and received a fairly good reception. The combat takes some getting used to, but the art style and soundtrack are simply amazing. While the game is available on consoles, the PC is the preeminent version with its inclusion of Versus Mode. Now Versus Mode is even better with the introduction of the much anticipated Online Versus Mode for up to four players. The new update also adds mid-combo transformation for even more complex combat techniques, a new enemy called the White Phantom, and Zeno Class II's Golem as a new boss. As a bonus, Golem is playable in Versus for owners of Zeno Clash II or the Abyss Odyssey Soundtrack on Steam.
Source: Press Release
Back in August 2012, Moon Spider Studio announced its debut title, Harold. Then, silence. Now, over two years later and after four years of development, the indie studio is finally revealing more of its platformer racing game – a game where you don't actually control the character, but rather the environment around him.
While originally scheduled for PC and consoles in 2013, Harold is now a PC exclusive, planned to release later this year. The game features twelve distinct courses and three unique game modes.
Source: Press Release and Official Site
October 18, 2014
Things are not looking too good for AMD right about now. The company has a new CEO, Lisa Su, but she's already facing a tough decision due to AMD's recent market struggles. Overall revenue dropped 2% from last year, but the Computer and Graphics division saw revenue drop 16% in the same time. That division also saw an operating loss of $17 million, which is a fair bit more than the $6 million loss in the last quarter. The news isn't all bad for AMD, however, as its Enterprise, Embedded, and Semi-Custom division saw a revenue increase of 21%. Still, as a result of all this, AMD is restructuring and laying off 710 employees worldwide; roughly a 7% reduction in workforce. There's no telling if the layoffs will affect people across all divisions or only certain ones (or just one), but hopefully it can help get AMD back on track. It's never easy seeing so many people lose their jobs, and probably is not how the new CEO wanted to kick off her rule.
Source: Bright Side of News
After a highly successful Kickstarter campaign came to an end on September 14, 2012, Planetary Annihilation exited Steam Early Access and officially launched on September 5, 2014. Now developer Uber Entertainment is back on Kickstarter with yet another real-time strategy game, but one that bears little resemblance to Planetary Annihilation, except maybe the robots. Human Resources is a real-time strategy game exclusively for PC "that puts you in command of apocalyptic factions vying to conquer the drifting remains of a shattered Earth." Those factions include ancient squid monsters from another dimension and giant killer robots. There's no human faction because, well, they're your resource.
The story behind Human Resources is quite unique. As the human race is wont to do in any sci-fi story, they are responsible for the apocalypse that has befallen them. It all began when newly-sentient automated factories started churning out waves of giant robots known as Machines, hell-bent on dismantling and recylcing all of mankind. In a last-ditch effort to save themselves from the Machines, humans decide to invoke the tentacled Ancient Ones. What could possibly go wrong? Oh wait, I know – the Ancient Ones now compete with the Machines to consume the last remains of Earth. It's a lose-lose situation for mankind. Don't think that these will be the only two factions in the game though – Uber plans on adding more asymmetric factions based on community feedback during development.
Up to eight players can duke it out on procedurally generated "floating fragments of Earth as they are ripped from the planet and pulled toward the waiting mouths of god-sized faction leaders." Each battlefield is full destructible, allowing players to not only uproot buildings and use them as giant clubs, but also decimate the terrain beneath them by boring giant holes in the ground or cutting the Earthshard in two. A single game may also encompass more than one Earthshard.
While the premise alone sounds pretty sweet, I think I'm actually more impressed by the game's visual style. This may be a post-apocalyptic game, but it's as far from gray and drab as can be. Using a unique cel-shaded, comic-style aesthetic, Human Resources is colorful and gorgeous.
Uber Entertainment is seeking $1,400,000 in its Kickstarter Campaign, which is actually $500,000 more than the initial goal for Planetary Annihilation, but still shy of its eventual pull of $2.2+ million. According to Uber, the higher goal is simply because Human Resources requires a lot more content – "more animation, more effects, more organic art, more everything!" And for those Planetary Annihilation fans who may be worried that Uber is moving on from that game, no need to fret – Human Resources is being built by a separate team than the one that is currently working on and will continue to work on Planetary Annihilation.
If you're interested in backing Human Resources, the lowest tier is a mere $20. Beta access can be had at the $40 tier, which also comes with $50 in-game credit for Uber's Super Monday Night Combat. Alpha access requires a mininum pledge of $90, but not only comes with that same SMNC in-game credit, but also a copy of Planetery Annihilation. If you're interested in various physical rewards, you'll have to fork over a minimum of $125, with Uber's reasoning being that fulfillment and shipping costs would be too cost prohibitive below that point. Of course, there are several other tiers in-between and after, so check out the Kickstarter page below to find one that best suits your desires. The Kickstarter Campaign ends on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 4:00PM EDT. It's still over $1 million away from its goal, so get cracking and help spread the word!
Human Resources is currently planned exclusively for Windows, though I wouldn't be surprised to see Mac and Linux/SteamOS versions in the future considering Uber is using the same core engine as the one used for Planetary Annihilation. It's obviously too early to tell for system requirements, but we do know that the game will support English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Korean languages, with other languages possible as time and funding permits.
Microsoft Studios and 343 Industries, in conjunction with Vanguard Games, have announced top-down shooter Halo: Spartan Strike, the spiritual successor to Halo: Spartan Assault. The game takes place during the events of Halo 2, but features "an all-new story that will take you from New Mobasa on Earth to the enigmatic Gamma Halo located at the edge of charted space." During the game's 30 challenging missions, you'll get to use new weapons (Suppressor, Scatter Shot, Binary Rifle, and Incineration Cannon) and new armor abilities (Proximity Mine, Bubble Shield, Teleport, Shock Chain, and Airstrike), as well as drive various vehicles, like the iconic Warthog. There will also be weekly challenges with leaderboards, and players can earn Xbox achievements that unlock content for Xbox One's upcoming Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
Despite the Xbox One unlocks, Halo: Spartan Strike is exclusive to Windows 8 devices, coming to Windows 8/8.1 Phone, Windows 8/8.1, and Steam on December 12 for $5.99. Supported controls include keyboard and mouse, USB Xbox controller, and touch-controls using a virtual joystick.
Source: Press Release and Xbox News
October 17, 2014
Hewlett-Packard has announced plans to end support for webOS cloud services on January 15, 2015 as "the user count has dwindled to the point where it is no longer viable to keep the services running." The end of support won't cause webOS powered devices to stop working, but will disable several device features including cloud backup. Users will also be prevented from new app purchases through the HP App Catalog, and only apps purchased by November 1 will be available for download up to the shutdown date. Another key feature that will no longer be available is password recovery and HP is encouraging users to keep their passwords "in a safe location or turn off the device locking function."
Mirrors are fairly common and useful objects, but do you know how they work? When light, electromagnetic radiation strikes a mirror, it interacts with the electrical component, causing the reflection to have the reverse electric field. Though not possible naturally, metamaterials can allow for magnetic mirrors that reflect the magnetic component, and, as reported in The Optical Society's Optica journal, a new design has been developed.
The reason metamaterials are required for a magnetic mirror has to do with the fact that magnetic fields interact with charged particles, but light has no charge. The first metamaterials to achieve magnetic mirroring only worked on long microwave frequencies. More recent designs using 'fish-scale' shaped metallic components allow for shorter wavelengths, but have considerable signal loss and are very dependent on the components' particular shapes. The new design addresses these issues by using a 2D array of non-metallic dielectric resonators. These resonators interact strongly with the magnetic component of light and, being made out of tellurium, have a low signal loss compared to their metallic counterparts.
Among the reasons magnetic mirrors would be useful is that traditional mirrors reversing the electric components of light, causes that component to cancel out, at the surface. This prevents nanoscale antennas and quantum dots from interacting with the light. By preserving the electric component, a magnetic mirror would allow for the maximum absorption of the light, and new technologies.
Source: The Optical Society
Rdio, an online music service that is currently available in 60 countries across the world, has converted its entire music library to AAC. The file format is generally more data efficient and offers better sound quality than a MP3 digital music file, and is available immediately through the audio quality settings menu within Rdio. In addition, the online music service now offers 320kbps streaming across web, Android, and iOS applications. Rdio previously defaulted to 96kbps MP3 streaming, but users can now choose streaming bitrates of 64kbps, 96kbps, and 320kbps, though Rdio Unlimited subscribers are the only ones who can access the 320kbps streaming bitrate.
This news comes roughly six months after Rdio announced a joint venture with Bob Weir that was aimed at improving audio quality while sparking discussions about the unfairness of streaming audio quality.
CBS is looking to steal market share from other video streaming services, as it has just launched its own digital subscription service known as CBS All Access. The new service offers on demand video and live streaming content that consists of CBS Television's current lineup, previous seasons, and classic shows. Primetime shows will be available the day after they air, and past seasons and more than 5,000 episodes of CBS Classics are available on demand. Users of CBS All Access can also stream local CBS Television stations live in 14 of the largest United States markets. President and CEO of CBS Corporation, Leslie Moonves, noted that "CBS All Access is another key step in the Company's long-standing strategy of monetizing our local and national content in the ways that viewers want it."
CBS All Access currently costs $5.99 per month and can be accessed through the CBS website and through the CBS App, which is available on Android and iOS devices.
Source: CBS News
Google has publically revealed through a tweet on its official Android Developers account that Google Play Games now supports Nearby Multiplayer. The technology enables two players to be synced together within the same game as long as they are physically near one another. Support for Nearby Multiplayer allows developers to create local competitive and cooperative experiences between two Android players that are close by each other, paving the way for mobile games to plant themselves as substantial offerings in the video game market. The feature is built into the Google Play Games API and is immediately available to developers who wish to take advantage of it.
Ubisoft has officially launched The Bot Squad: Puzzle Battles, a free-to-play strategy, tower defense hybrid for iOS and Android devices. The game features both offensive and defensive levels, with offense requiring you to maneuver your robot units around traps and blockers, while defense plays out like your typical tower defense game. There are dozens of robots to check out and you can level them up to build a stronger army. At launch, the game features a whopping 180 stages to complete, while Ubisoft has said post-launch support will continuously add additional stages, along with more puzzle modes and units.
The Bot Squad: Puzzle Battles is currently available on the App Store and Google Play.
The end of the week has arrived, and with it comes some items for you to look over before the weekend hits. We have a review on the Cooler Master Mizar gaming mouse, which features an ergonomic shape, seven buttoms, and an 8200DPI. There is also a look at the Maingear Pulse 15, a gaming laptop with an Intel Core i7, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870M, and a 3K resolution. For those looking to ditch cable, there's an article looking at various hardware alternatives to access TV content. Wrapping things up is a podcast looking back at the latest news and reviews of the past week.
Cooler Master Mizar Gaming Mouse @ Benchmark Reviews
Maingear Pulse 15 @ TechSpot
Cutting the Cord: Part 1 Alternatives Boxes @ ThinkComputers
Podcast #322 @ PC Perspective
More many modern technologies, thin is in, but this example may be a bit extreme. Researchers at Columbia University and the Georgia Institute of Technology have discovered a 2D material that exhibits the piezoelectric effect. This effect links mechanical deformation to the creation of electrical voltages.
Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) is part of a family of materials known as transition metal dichalcogenides, which are 2D semiconductors. In theory, they can all be piezoelectric because they all break central symmetry, but this is the first time one has been successfully tested. While MoS2 did demonstrate the effect though, it does not always. As a bulk material, it does not, but even when working with atomically-thin sheets, it does not always. There must be an odd number of layers to generate any electricity, because with an even number the layers' output voltages will actually cancel each other out. Also electricity was only generated when the material was deformed in a specific direction.
Even with all of these conditions, this is still an important discovery, as it suggests other piezoelectric materials that can be just atoms thick. Being so thin, the materials will be naturally flexible, making it possible to use these generators to power wearable devices.
Source: Columbia University
System software update 2.0, the latest firmware for the PlayStation 4, is set to bring exciting new features to owners of the Sony video gaming console. Firmware version 2.0 will offer a redesigned content area, improved filter and sort functions within the library, enhanced voice commands, the ability to change the background color of the home screen, and an 'Add to Library' button that allows games to be added to a player’s library without downloading them. The latest system software update will also usher in a USB music player, live broadcasting enhancements, SharePlay and YouTube support, additional themes, and a friend suggesting feature known as Players You May Know.
Scott McCarthy, the director of product planning and software innovation at Sony Computer Entertainment America, has revealed that more features surrounding version 2.0 of the PlayStation 4 firmware, which will be released this fall, have yet to be announced.
October 16, 2014
The yearly Halloween event for Killing Floor is Halloween Horror and is now available to play on Steam. Two new maps, Club Clandestine and Devil's Dollhouse, will be available and are filled with Halloween themed Zeds, including the new Toy Master mod. Players will be able to earn new achievements as well as achievements from previous Halloween events. Tripwire will be offering a number of special DLC bundles and will also offer reduced prices on all DLC. Killing Floor is free to play for the weekend as part of the Steam Free Weekend Weekend and is also on sale for $4.99.
Source: Tripwire Interactive
Google has submitted an application to the US Federal Communications Commission to conduct tests in California across a number of wireless frequencies. One of the frequencies is a "rarely-used millimetre frequency capable of transmitting large amounts of data," and could potentially be used as a wireless extension of the Google Fiber service. Is was not revealed exactly what the tests would be for, but this is a logical explanation according to some experts. Wireless engineer and consultant Stephen Crowley said, "You could look at it as a possible wireless extension of their Google Fiber wireless network, as a way to more economically serve homes. Put up a pole in a neighbourhood, instead of having to run fibre to each home."
Ubisoft has posted a new video for Assassin's Creed Unity that introduces us to the various characters in the game and their voice actors. In order of appearance, there's Dan Jeanotte as protagonist Arno Dorian, Catherine Bérubé as Elise de la Serre, Alex Ivanovici as Marquis de Sade, Brent Skagford as Napoleon Bonaparte, and Bruce Dinsmore as Maximilien de Robespierre.
Assassin's Creed Unity will release on November 11 in North America and November 13 in EMEA territories for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. A Season Pass is also available with eight hours of additional content, including Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China, a unique 2.5D reimagining of the franchise.
Source: Press Release and UbiBlog
As an avid PC gamer, this is not the kind of news you may want to hear. According to a post on Reddit, some Ubisoft engineers were going to visit a school and answer some questions, so naturally the poster invited suggestions for questions. Among the questions were some concerned with the performance and features of games released for PC and console. One of the questions got the answer that prior to release, the console manufacturers receive a copy of the game and then let Ubisoft know "what to keep and what to throw away." For 30 FPS versus 60 FPS gameplay, a Game Architect answered that while they do target 60 FPS, limitations force them to settle on 30 FPS. The poster then said, "He (the Game Architect) then implied that console makers are pressuring them into doing the same thing on PC."
While there may be more to this than these answers provide, the prospect that the console manufacturers are influencing PC versions of games negatively is not very reassuring. It is definitely worth giving the sources a read, if you are interested in this, to see the other questions and answers.
Sources: Reddit and TweakTown
Back in July, Ubisoft unveiled the Far Cry 4 Kyrat Edition, which includes the Limited Edition of the game, a Collector's Box, a Travel Journal, a Propaganda Poster, a Map of Kyrat, and a 7.9" Pagan Min Figurine. Today, Ubisoft posted an unboxing video that shows off the contents.
Far Cry 4 is set to release on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on November 18.
COUGAR, a leading brand in eSports and computer peripherals, has just released the 600M gaming mouse. The new mouse, which is the company’s second gaming mouse after the award-winning 700M, provides an aesthetically appealing design, gaming specific features, and state-of-the-art technology. The COUGAR 600M contains premium components such as OMRON switches, an ADNS-9800 Sensor, and a premium quality soft touch surface, which all add to the quality feel that the 600M provides. The latest gaming mouse from COUGAR also comes with a 32-bit ARM processor, 512KB on-board storage, eight fully configurable buttons, and a floating key with an LED backlight that can display up to 16.8 million colors.
The COUGAR 600M is compatible with the COUGAR UIX System and COUGAR FUSION, which allows for easy configuration of all the device’s functions, mode synchronization, macro sharing, and more.
According to COUGAR, the 600M will be available for purchase before the end of the year.
Source: Press Release
We may not think about it when we turn a light on, but every light source only produces so many photons in a second. Depending on the application, this emission speed can be critical, such as in telecommunications where 10 billion photons need to be produced in the blink of an eye. Typical LEDs only produce 10 million photons in that much time, but researchers at Duke University have found a way to close the gap.
The Purcell effect describes how emissions from fluorescent molecules can be increased when the molecules are near an intense light source. To create that light source, the researchers sandwiched the molecules between a 75 n silver nanocube and a thin film of gold. When the cube size and gap are tuned properly, the researchers realized a 1000 fold increase in fluorescence speed for the LED.
That record-setting speed may be surpassed before long though, as the researchers believe that aligning the molecules could magnify the effect. Regardless, fast light sources like this could prove invaluable for telecommunications and even quantum cryptography.
Source: Duke University
October 15, 2014
Erich Schaefer and Travis Baldree have sure been around the block. Before teaming up to found Runic Games and develop the highly successful Torchlight series, the two worked on several projects. Schaefer co-founded Blizzard North and worked on the Diablo series, then left that to co-found Flagship Studios and made Hellgate: London. Baldree developed Fate at WildTangent, then worked with Schaefer on Mythos at Flagship Studios. Now the two are at it again, having left Runic Games in April to found Double Damage Games. Today, the studio announced its first game, Rebel Galaxy.
"Rebel Galaxy is an action-packed, swashbuckling space opera. You'll battle pirates, explore anomalies, befriend aliens, scavenge battle wreckage, mine asteroids, and discover artifacts. Choose your path as a roguish do-gooder, crafty space-trader or power-hungry privateer - or maybe a little of each! Buy larger and more powerful craft with your hard-earned credits, and outfit them with a variety of wicked weapons and defenses. Set in a galaxy of fantastic sights, and secrets to be found, Rebel Galaxy is above all a space epic of adventure, exploration, and combat."
Rebel Galaxy is slated to arrive in 2015 for PC (via Steam) and PlayStation 4, with Xbox One also a possibility.
Source: Press Release and Official Site
Teams around the world are working on technologies to enable quantum computers, and some teams are right next to each other. Two teams at the University of New South Wales have independently developed two quantum bit, or qubit systems, and have even set some records with them.
The fundamental units in quantum computers are qubits, which are particles put into a superposition. Superposition is a phenomenon that allows something to exist in multiple, exclusionary states at the same time, and from this quantum computers would be able to run algorithms far different than conventional computers. Superposition is fragile though, so qubits must be designed for great accuracy, and to achieve that here, both teams used pieces of pure silicon-28, which is nonmagnetic, unlike the mix of isotopes in modern electronics. One team put a phosphorus atom in their silicon, actually creating two qubits (the nucleus and the electron) while the other created an artificial atom that is very similar to MOSFETs, a kind of silicon transistor.
The ability to build a qubit in and from silicon is of great importance as it could allow current manufacturing methods and tools to construct quantum computers in the future. The phosphorus-atom qubit design also managed to survive for 35 seconds, which is impressive for any solid-state qubit, but is actually the record for silicon qubits.
Source: University of New South Wales
Whether your reason is simply for aesthetics or to tackle a particular terrain, if you plan on picking up Ubisoft's MMO-CarPG The Crew, you're going to want to customize your car. Ubisoft has released a new "Customization Trailer" that provides just a peek inside the game's car customization system.
The Crew is set to arrive on December 2 for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Xbox 360.
Source: Press Release
With the launch of Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth just one week away, Firaxis Games has shared the game's opening cinematic, entitled "The Chosen". "As part of an expedition sent to find a home beyond Earth, lead your people into a new frontier, explore and colonize an alien planet and create a new civilization in space."
Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth is launching exclusively for Windows PC on October 24, with pre-orders netting the Exoplanets Map Pack.
Source: Press Release
If not for dopants, much of today's technology may not exist. Doping is the process of adding atoms to a material, to change its properties, and is critical for controlling the characteristics of semiconductors. After being placed in a material though, the doping atoms can move around, and ORNL researchers have finally caught them in the act.
Previous studies examining the diffusion of doping atoms had to use indirect macroscopic methods, and were limited to the surfaces of materials. By using a scanning transmission electron microscope though, the researchers were able to watch the as manganese and cerium atoms moved through the bulk of a piece of aluminum nitride. Just as theory predicted, though counter to normal expectations, the larger cerium atoms were observed to move while the smaller manganese atoms remained stationary.
By understanding how dopant atoms behave, this research could lead to better semiconductor devices, including LED lights. The color emitted by these lights is determined by the dopants, and their movement could affect when the LED fails.
Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory
The middle of the week is upon us, and with it comes a few items to help pass the time. We have a review on the NZXT S340 mid tower case, which offers a very stylish look and plenty of features to appeal to nearly anyone. There is also a look at the CONNECTEDEVICE COOKOO 2, an analog watch that can connect to your phone via Bluetooth for all kinds of display options. Wrapping up today's items is the final history of the computer, which focuses on how the CPU has changed and evolved in recent years.
NZXT S340 @ ThinkComputers
CONNECTEDEVICE COOKOO 2 Watch @ Madshrimps
History of the PC, Part 5: Computing goes mainstream, mobile, ubiquitous @ TechSpot
Nanoparticles are a technology that could one day become completely ubiquitous with uses in everything from medicine to cosmetics. Before that can happen though, we must first learn how they behave, including how they can penetrate human skin. Researchers at the University of Southampton have recently conducted the research to determine just how that behavior works.
Other studies have examined why some nanoparticles will enter the skin and others will not, but never quite had the level of control necessary to make definitive statements. This new research does though, as it controlled the surface charge, shape, and functionality of gold nanoparticles for its tests. The results indicate that nanorods with a positive charge are two to six times better at penetrating the skin than other nanoparticles. Coating them with penetrating peptides increased the penetration by up to a factor of ten, allowing the particles to reach into the dermis.
This work could be used to develop nanoparticles for topical drug delivery, but it could also be used to prevent nanoparticles from entering the skin. If a cosmetic were to contain potentially toxic nanoparticles, they could be prevented from entering the skin just by designing them to be unable to.
Source: University of Southampton
October 14, 2014
Electronic Arts and BioWare have released a new trailer for Dragon Age: Inquisition, entitled "The Hero of Thedas", with the entire thing created using actual gameplay. I think it's safe to say that graphically, Inqusition is the most beautiful and stunning RPG to date, and will likely not even be challenged until The Witcher 3. Of course, if you want to play it in all its glory, be sure to check out the PC requirements.
Dragon Age: Inquisition will launch on November 18 in North America and November 21 in Europe for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. The Standard Edition costs $59.99 for all platforms, while a Deluxe Edition is available for $69.99 and includes the following bonus content: Flames of the Inquisition Armor, Flames of the Inquisition Armored Mount, Skyhold Throne, Red Hart Halla, Bog Unicorn, and the digital soundtrack. Pre-ordering either version grants you some nice fiery weapons from the Flames of the Inquisition Arsenal.
Remember, you can currently pick up Dragon Age: Origins for FREE on Origin.