Water is a fairly common material in the Universe thanks to how much hydrogen and oxygen want to bond to form the molecule. When the elements do bond, energy is released and could be tapped to power man-made devices, but first we need the hydrogen and oxygen to bond. A common idea is to create systems that use solar energy to split water molecules, and researchers at Berkeley Lab have recently developed a new device for doing so.
This new device is actually a combination of nanowires made of silicon and titanium oxide. These materials are both semiconductors that react with light, but different parts of the spectrum. Silicon operates in the visible and infrared ranges, while titanium oxide reacts to ultraviolet light. When exposed to sunlight, the two materials also do different things as the silicon adds electrons to protons to produce hydrogen, and the titanium oxide pulls the oxygen out of water molecules. To improve performance, the titanium oxide nanowires are arranged like a forest on the larger silicon nanowire. This configuration increases the surface area to interact with water and helps capture sunlight.
Currently the device only achieves 0.12% solar-to-fuel conversion efficiency, which is not horrible, but does need to be increased for commercial use. Fortunately the researchers already know one way to optimize the system by matching the energy outputs of the silicon and titanium oxide.
NVIDIA first announced the i500 LTE modem as part of the Tegra 4i at Mobile World Congress in February. The company has shown off an updated demo at CTIA 2013 in Las Vegas this week, featuring a new software update. The latest update allows the modem to reach speeds of 150Mbps, an increase from the MWC demo of 100Mbps. The combination of software-defined radio technology and Deep Execution Processors allowed NVIDIA to increase the performance without the need of new hardware, showing the potential for further upgrades as the software development proceeds.
Enermax has announced five new models of case fans, all of which feature the new patented Adjustable Peak Speed technology. This new technology allows users to select an RPM range for the fan to operate in, and it will then be kept within that range using pulse width modulation or an integrated thermal sensor. The Twister Advance line is receiving the Cluster, Everest, and Magma. The 120mm fans range in speed from 500 to 1800 RPM and use Twister Bearings and batwing fan blades. The T.B. Vegas and T.B. Vegas Quad feature one and four colors of LEDs, respectively. Each of these fans will allow for a number of different configurations to customize the appearance of your fans. The Quad features a total of 48 LEDs and the single model has 18.
The rumors on Microsoft's next Xbox have been around just as long as those on the PlayStation 4, but then Sony went ahead and revealed its new system to the world this past February. Now it's Microsoft's turn to show off its next console, which we've known the date for a while but that's pretty much all. Until now, that is, as Microsoft has formally unveiled the Xbox One. It isn't the Xbox Infinity, Loop, or even 720, but Xbox One. It's designed to be the center of your living room, with games, movies, music, and more all being controlled by the console. It does require an Internet connection, but you can still play games and watch movies/TV if it drops out. There's a new Kinect sensor, a controller that pretty much resembles the current X360 one, and, oh yeah, a look at the Xbox One itself.
Microsoft's Xbox One is similar in size to the 360, except it's much more angular without a curve in sight. Since it's meant to be the center of your living room, it can turn on your TV just by telling the console: "Xbox on." There's no need to change inputs manually either if you want to watch TV, just another voice command changes it over for you. The Xbox One features near instant switching if you want to get back to gaming, or browse the Web, or watch a movie; Microsoft is touting less than a second delay for the switching. It features a snap mode similar to the PC one, where you can have the browser on one side while you're watching TV on the other. It's multitasking on a console, which is great to see in this day and age.
The Kinect sensor comes bundled with every Xbox One, so it's no longer another accessory. It's been improved with a 1080p camera and can process 2GB of data a second to read the room. Skeleton and 3D tracking are more precise, plus it can even read your heartbeat (useful for exercise/dance games). Since the Kinect is included with every console, it means your living room is now the perfect spot to make and receive Skype calls. Oh, and it's the only way to do group calls, too. Microsoft has worked in a TV guide into the Xbox One, with the Kinect (or a smartphone) controlling that side of it.
Alright, so enough about what the console can do in the living room, let's see what's powering the Xbox One to see how it stacks up. For starters, it has an eight-core CPU, 8GB of DDR3 RAM that is shared between the CPU and GPU, 32MB cache of SRAM for the GPU, a 500GB non-replaceable HDD, a Blu-ray drive, 802.11n WiFi with WiFi Direct, HDMI in/out, and USB 3.0. The CPU is of the 64-bit variety, although exact specifications are lacking at this time. The Blu-ray drive looks to be of the slot loading type, so no more disc tray that needs to take up more space. The built-in hard drive can't be replaced, but Microsoft is allowing external USB 3.0 drives to store everything the internal one can, like games.
The Xbox One is, well, rather large in size, as is the new controller. Like I said before, it resembles the current X360 one, but with some refinements. The Xbox jewel in the middle is moved up top, vibration sensors are built right into the triggers, the D-pad has been reworked to hopefully remove frustrations, and the battery compartment is flush with the body.
Xbox One uses a rather unique method for the OS, as it runs not one but three simulatenously. There's the main system OS that's a paired down version of Windows for apps and non-game software downloaded from the store, an "Xbox OS" to handle games, and finally a third OS that's really more of a virtualization helper to make sure the main and Xbox OSes can talk to each other. The Xbox OS is a fixed component throughout the Xbox One's lifespan, so developers know that won't change regardless of what kind of updates Microsoft rolls out to the main OS. These OSes enable the multitasking of the console, especially with the HDMI passthrough for a cable/satellite box. However, even though Xbox One runs a modified version of Windows, developers won't be able to drag and drop PC apps onto the console. Microsoft says it's possible, but it requires some coding and UI tuning to make it work.
There's no release date or price mentioned, with Microsoft planning to reveal a lot more at E3 next month. Forza Motorsport 5 is a launch title, but information on it is very lacking. EA was on stage to show off its new EA Sports Ignite engine that's going to be powering the likes of Madden, FIFA, NBA Live, and UFC, with those four games due "in the next 12 months." Activision showed off the new Call of Duty: Ghosts, which includes timed DLC exclusive for the Xbox One. CoD:G features a new game engine and an impressive-looking world, complete with 3D textures for better immersion. As for any other games, it seems we're left waiting until E3.
If you're wondering how the Xbox One's PC architecture will handle current Xbox 360 games, well, it won't. The Xbox 360 is based on PowerPC and that means games built for it, including Xbox Live Arcade games, won't be able to make the transition to the Xbox One. No backwards compatibility may be an issue for some people, but Microsoft isn't concerned about that as it still plans to support the 360 with new games and apps. Your Xbox Live Gamertag and Gamerscore are going to transfer over to the new system, however, so at least there is that.
We have a little bit of everything a new computer needs up for review today, even how to build a thin mini-ITX PC for those desiring a small and silent rig. We have a look at the PowerColor Radeon HD 7790 TurboDuo video card, complete with a factory overclock and a dual fan cooler. Moving to a bigger component, we have the MSI Z77A-GD65 Gaming motherboard that could be the perfect fit for that HD 7790. There's also a look at a 16GB set of RipjawsX RAM from G.Skill, which pairs two 8GB sticks together. We have a review on the SilverStone DS322 Dual Bay USB 3.0 enclosure for those needing a lot of external storage. If you need a new keyboard, then have a look at the Truly Ergonomic mechanical keyboard, which uses Cherry MX Browns in a unique shape.
Samsung is getting set to show off some new display technology during the Society for Information Display's Display Week 2013, which runs from May 21 to 23 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. It'll have a large assortment of sizes and technologies there, including a 1920x1080 AMOLED display with a broad color gamut of 94% Adobe RGB for mobile phones, and an 85-inch Ultra HD LCD TV panel. On the computer side, Samsung will have a 10.1", 2560x1600 LCD panel for laptops, and a 13.3" screen for laptops with a 3200x1800 resolution. No, that isn't a mistake; this panel really does pack a 3200x1800 resolution in only a 13.3" format. It translates to 276 pixels per inch, but that isn't what Samsung is most proud of with this screen. It's designed to increase power savings by 30% compared to past models, thanks to a lower number of drive circuits and a more efficient LED backlight unit.
There's no telling when this 3200x1800 resolution screen will land, but it's certainly amazing to see such a high resolution in a screen so small. Now, if only panel manufacturers can produce 16:10 panels again with that kind of efficiency and pixel density.
It was already known that the next game in the Batman: Arkham story line is being developed by Warner Bros. Montreal, a departure from the creators of the previous two games, Rocksteady Games. A new hands on demo revealed some more details about the gameplay for the latest iteration in this series, and it follows the "If it isn't broken, don't fix it," policy. The combat similar to the formula from Rocksteady will be joined by the all new Detective Mode that sees the Dark Knight use his high tech gadgets to recreate unseen events. The game itself takes place prior to the previous two games in the series, and follows Batman as he dodges villains out to kill him on Christmas Eve.
For millennia humanity has been fascinated with gold, first making jewelry from it and more recently advanced pieces of technology. These applications combined with its scarcity makes gold one of the more sought after elements in the world, so any economical means of collecting it is used. Now researchers at Northwestern University have discovered a new means to isolate gold dissolved in a solution using a cornstarch derivative.
While many people may imagine gold mining as something achievable with a pickaxe, it actually involves a great deal of chemistry as many gold sources are crude, and have it bonded with other, undesired elements. Currents methods of isolating the gold from these other elements require cyanide, which results in hazard waste products. The Northwestern researchers however stumbled upon a new way to grab the gold out of solutions while trying to create cubic nanostructures for storing small molecules and gases. Instead of cubes, needles formed and once these were examined, the researchers found the gold atoms within them were isolated, along with other metals.
After some experimentation, the researchers found it was alpha-cyclodextrin, a starch fragment that was most capable at isolating the gold atoms. In fact it is more efficient at isolating gold than the current cyanide based methods, so we may soon see industries adopting it to harvest gold from natural sources, and potentially scrap alloys.
The start of another week brings a wealth of reviews and articles for your viewing pleasure, so let's dive right in. We have a look at an HD 7790 1GB video card from HIS, complete with a custom cooler and factory overclock. There's a look at the ASUS Maximus V Formula motherboard for current Intel processors, and then two previews of what ASUS and Gigabyte are bringing to the party for the next generation processors and Z87 chipset. We also have reviews on a new Fractal Design case, a Mad Catz headset, and a Kingston 64GB microSDXC card. There's plenty of other stuff to check out, so hit up those links below for the full spread!
Nimble Quest is a free-to-play, top-down action game that resembles the classic game Snake, but with a twist – you control a "conga line of heroes." The object of the game is rather simple – kill a set number of enemies in a level to advance to the next. The heroes in your "snake" will automatically attack when an enemy is within range. The only control you have is maneuvering your snake up, down, left, and right. And like Snake, if you hit a wall or an enemy, you die. However, you can also die if the hero leading your snake runs out of health. Yes, the enemies attack too. Your other heroes have health too, but if they run out, they simply leave your snake allowing you to continue on without them.
Three heroes are initially available with an additional thirteen unlockable by beating levels. In order, heroes include Knight, Forest Hunter, Fire Mage, Pirate Sharpshooter, Skeletal Warrior, Gnome Inventor (hurls bombs), Champion, Lightning Mage, Ninja, Demon, Warden Spirit, Dark Wizard, Orc Warlord, Assassin, Ice Mage Princess, and Elemental Monk. While you start each game with just one hero, heroes randomly drop when you kill an enemy. When you beat one of the first thirteen levels for the first time, unlocking a hero, the hero automatically gets added to your snake at the start of the next level. As such, I actually found my first couple runs to be far better than my later attempts, as I had an easier time gaining extra fire power. As in Snake, when you get longer you do have a tougher time maneuvering – and if you crash into yourself, it's game over – but due to the attacking mechanic, growing and maintaining a long snake is essential, as you'll want to dispatch enemies as quickly as possible.
Nimble Quest also features some light RPG aspects. Aside from possibly dropping a hero, killed enemies also drop gems or one of seven items. Items include a chest that spills gems all over the level, a healing potion, an increased attack speed buff, a magnet to draw gems to you, a bomb that destroys any enemies within the blast radius, a shield, an item that temporarily freezes all enemies on the screen, and tokens. Gems can be used to upgrade the items, such as increasing the duration of the magnet or increasing the blast radius of the bomb, or to upgrade your heroes. Heroes can be upgraded three times each, improving such stats as attack rate, armor, damage, and range, depending on the hero. The first upgrade is fairly affordable, but the third upgrade is crazy expensive. Everything in the game can be earned and upgraded by playing, but micro-transactions certainly speed up the process if you're lazy, frustrated, or just want to support the developer.
While gems are spent on permanent upgrades, tokens are spent on one-offs. At the start of each level, you can add a hero, skip a level, increase the health of all heroes by 25%, increase run speed by 25%, start with a shield, or increase the attack speed of all heroes by 25%. Each of those things cost one token and are only active for that playthrough. You can also spend one token when you die to retry the stage you were just on. You probably won't be surprised to learn that tokens are quite rare. You can buy them for 1000 gems, though it appears there may be a limit of five through that method (I do not have enough gems to test that out). Of course if you're willing to spend real money, you can always purchase tokens and gems, but again, it's not necessary to play and advance in the game.
If you're wondering how I've already played Nimble Quest, it's because the game is already available for free in the iOS App Store, Mac App Store, and Google Play. I have been playing the game on my iPad. There appears to be this elitist attitude by many Steam Greenlight voters wherein they believe mobile games have no place on Steam. I think that is absolutely ridiculous – if a game is fun, why does it matter what platform it originated? And Nimble Quest is indeed fun. If you don't believe me, go download it on your iOS or Android device (or if you don't own one of those devices, ask a friend who does). Nimble Quest is free-to-play, so what to you have to lose? And on that note, let's end this elitism and welcome Nimble Quest onto Steam with open arms!
Mushkin recently received an Innovation Award from The SSD Review for its line of Chronos GO Deluxe solid state drives. The 1.8" drives received the award "due to its combination of its wide range of capacity offerings, form factor, and Mushkin's drive to push the limits of performance." Founder of The SSD Review Les Tokar highlighted the drive, stating that "The Mushkin Chronos GO Deluxe 1.8 SSD may be a relatively modest SSD to the world but it doesn't lack in performance. With both read and write transfer speeds above 500MB/s and write IOPS above 82,000, the LSI SandForce Driven characteristics are front and center."
Bit Fenix is looking to spice up the Prodigy series of cases, adding blue and green versions of the popular case. The mini-ITX case features the same windowed panel option as well as FyberFlex Composite material and SoftTouch Surface Treatment. Users will find the inside of the case to be rather spacious, allowing for up to five hard drives, GPUs up to 320mm in length, and even 240mm liquid cooling radiators.
The specifications for the upcoming NVIDIA GTX 770 graphics card have been revealed. Unlike the GTX 780, which is based on the new GK110 architecture, the GTX 770 is based on the GK104 architecture like the previous generation. It is going be a rebranded GTX 680 with higher clocks. It has 1,536 CUDA cores and a core clock of 1,046 MHz, which goes up to 1,085 MHz with NVIDIA's GPU Boost 2.0. It will be available in two variants, one with 2 GB and one with 4 GB of memory, both with a memory clock of 7,000 MHz, which is paired with a 256-bit memory interface.
The card will need a 6-pin and an 8-pin PCIe power connector, and it has a TDP of 230 W. The cooler is apparently going to be the same as the one used on the GTX Titan, which should keep the card rather cool and quiet. Two DL-DVI, an HDMI, and a DisplayPort output has been fitted on the board, so it should work with most modern monitors.
Performance has been estimated to be anywhere from 10 to 20 percent faster than AMD's HD 7970 GHz Edition; though in some games, like Tomb Raider, Crysis 3, and Max Payne 3, the GTX 770 will be on par or a little faster.
A price has not been revealed yet, but it is expected to be around the same as the HD 7970 GHz Edition.
The other day NVIDIA announced Project SHIELD has been renamed to just SHIELD, and would arrive next month for $349. Pre-orders were going to go live on May 20, with anyone subscribed to the SHIELD newsletter getting a headstart. However, it appears NVIDIA had a change in plan and opened up pre-orders to everyone starting today. Interested gamers can get the Tegra 4-powered Android handheld online at the SHIELD website or at Newegg, GameStop, Micro Center, and Canada Computers. A carrying case and custom lids can also be pre-ordered at the SHIELD website, with the case running $39.99 and lids (carbon fiber or glossy black) at $19.99.
NVIDIA's website lists the SHIELD will ship by the end of June, but again no solid date is mentioned. Each SHIELD includes a copy of Expendable: Rearmed and Sonic 4 Episode II THD to get your gaming started right away.
Lasers are a special kind of device and when they were first created, they opened a new world to scientists of many fields. Since that day they have evolved as techniques improved and new technologies replaced old. Now researchers at the University of Michigan have created a completely new kind of laser that technically is not a laser because of how different it is.
Originally 'laser' was not a word but an acronym standing for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. This new device however operates quite differently as it uses polaritons to generate the photons, instead of other photons. This technique was first proposed in 1996 and works by electrically exciting electrons to higher energy states, creating an exciton; an electron-hole pair. By carefully tuning the microcavity these excitons are in and subjecting them to a magnetic field, it is possible to couple them to a photon, making them into polaritons. What that translates to is that when the electron and hole recombine, they will release a photon of a specific frequency. This fails to meet the definition of a laser because one photon does not cause other photons to be released.
While it may not technically be a laser, it could eventually be used to replace them as it can operate using 1000 times less energy. Before we can see them being used in modern electronics and networks though, they will have to be redesigned to function at room temperature, as they currently require cryogenic temperatures.
Another week has come to a close, and what better way to celebrate than with some reviews. Today we have a look at two different storage solutions, with one of them being a multipurpose device. The ADATA DashDrive Air AE400 Wireless Storage Reader and Power Bank combines a USB drive, wireless access point, card reader, and even a rechargeable power pack for tablets and mobile phones. Quite the multitasker, so check out the review to see how well it performs each one. Patriot's Supersonic Magnum flash drive only has one task, but its 256GB of storage and USB 3.0 connection means it can accomplish it very fast, to the tune of a 250MB/s read speed and 160MB/s write speed. Read both reviews below, as well as listening to the latest PC Perspective podcast.
ECS has announced a series of new motherboards with the Intel 8-series chipset targeted at the 4th generation of Core processors. The new boards will be available in the second quarter of this year in Pro, Deluxe, and Essentials models. "Pro series optimized for power computing, Deluxe series optimized for small office and home, and Essentials series optimized for home and multi-media." All of the boards will feature support for SATA 6Gb/s, PCI-E 3.0, and Thunderbolt. Also included in the new boards is ECS Durathon durability technology, ECS Hyper Alloy Choke technology, and 4-way video output.
The newest USB 3.0 flash drive from ADATA, the DashDrive UV150, is a value priced solution with a pearlescent exterior in glossy black and scarlet. The drive weighs only nine grams and has room for a lanyard strap, making it a perfect drive to carry around with you. Transfer speeds up to 90MB/s will allow for fast data transfers. The DashDrive UV150 will be available in capacities of 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB.
Some people believe that in the future, man will be melded with machine to overcome our weaknesses. While there are definitely some efforts being made on advanced implants and prosthetics, some are looking to combine electronics and organisms in a different way. At MIT researchers have modified bacteria cells to act as calculators with the ability to perform the five geometric operations as well as logarithms.
This is not the first time that cells have been modified to perform calculations, but unlike many of those previous experiments, the MIT bacteria are analog instead of digital, which comes with many advantages. Analog signals exist on a continuum, so one signal can carry quite a bit of information, compared to a single digital signal that is either 0 or 1. This allows for simpler circuits, such as the square root circuit which only has two parts, compared to the digital equivalent that has over 100. Another important advantage for analog circuitry is that cells already respond to analog signals, so the circuits could take advantage of existing mechanisms.
The researchers created their calculator from just three basic parts and are now working to develop more parts, to potentially create a library of parts to be used in cellular circuits. Eventually this could lead to more advanced molecular sensors, gene expression, as well as cellular computation and actuation.
Lian Li has unveiled a new case called the PC-Q30, for those who want something a little different, something aesthetic, or those that just want to show off. It is a curved, small form factor case that supports mini-ITX boards. The case is made of brushed aluminum with an acrylic window in the front to show off the internal components. "Whether in the living room, bedroom, or office, the PC-Q30 with its curve-shape and brushed aluminum finish takes visual command without being ostentatious," Lian Li explains.
A 140 mm fan is installed behind the motherboard and there is room for two additional 140 mm fans in the sides. The case comes with two expansion slots, four 2.5" hard drive slots, and an optional SFX power supply. The case allows PCIe cards to be 200 mm long, power supplies to be 125 mm long, and the CPU cooler can be up to 130 mm high.
In many cases before a new technology emerged to conquer a market, it existed in a variety of forms with different advantages and disadvantages inherit to their separate designs and constructions. Quantum computers are currently going through this phase as new and fundamentally different architectures are made and tested. Researchers at the University of Vienna have recently built and tested a 'boson sampling' computer, which uses photons, a type of boson, and a complex optical network to perform calculations.
Photons, the quanta of light, are being considered for use in many quantum computer designs, thanks to the relative ease they can be made with and their very high mobility. The design the researchers created takes advantage of this mobility by putting them through a network with multiple paths available to the photons. While a classical particle will be limited to a single path, a quantum mechanical particle can enter a superposition and take multiple at the same time. By then counting the number of photons to exit each output of the network, the computer is able to complete a calculation.
This ability of quantum computers to utilize superposition gives them the power to perform computations that are nearly impossible with a classical computer. Ironically though, to confirm this boson sampling computer was operating correctly, the researchers needed a classical computer to verify the quantum computer's output.
Today AMD launched the world's fastest notebook graphics card, the AMD RadeonTM HD 8970M. AMD managed to pack 1,280 stream processors on the card with an engine clock of 850 MHz (900 MHz with Boost) and a memory clock of 1,200 MHz. This gives the card 2,304 GFLOPS of single precision compute power and 144 GFLOPS of double precision compute power. Despite these impressive numbers, it is more efficient than previous generations, so your battery should last longer while you conquer the battlefield. The card supports Eyefinity, OpenCL, GPU acceleration, and DirectX 11.1.
AMD has provided some numbers on how much better the HD 8970M is compared to NVIDIA's GTX 680M, and it is clear that AMD has stepped up their game this time. The HD 8970M churns out about 20 frames more per second in Battlefield 3, which is quite impressive. The system used for the comparison contained a Core i7 3770k, 4 GB of DDR3 1600 MHz RAM, a Seagate Barracude 7200.11 hard drive, and a monitor with a 1920x1080 resolution.
We have just a couple of items for you to check out today, but each one should be something to consider. There's another look at the XFX R7790 Black Edition video card, complete with a custom cooler and a factory overclock to give the performance you need without frying the card. We also have a review on the Azza Silentium 920 case. This case comes pre-loaded with sound dampening materials and quiet fans, so it could be just the thing for a silent system.
When the Intel Haswell processors and the Z87 chipset arrive next month, ASUS is going to be sporting a new color scheme for its motherboards. Instead of the blue look past motherboards have had, the ASUS Z87 line will have a gold scheme to highlight the fact that ASUS delivers the gold standard in terms of quality, reliability, and performance. The heat sinks are going to catch your eye first, as they not only sport the new gold color but also a custom design for more surface area. That means improved cooling and better heat dissipation, which is vital for any system builder regardless of how much performance they are trying to get. The DIMM and PCIe slots, as well as the SATA ports, all get a nice splash of gold without being too in your face. Oh, and the black PCB provides a very nice contrast to the amount of gold.
As for what exactly ASUS has in store with its Z87 line, well, the Z87-DELUXE offers a huge variety of features and connectivity options as it sits at the high-end. Mainstream users can look toward the Z87-A, which packs in a ton of performance and ASUS features at a friendlier price point. There's also the Z87-PRO and Z87-PLUS for those who don't need all the top-end of features yet still want great performance. The Z87I-DELUXE offers "best-in-class" features and design in the Mini-ITX form factor. Those needing workstation reliability and features can look toward the Z87 WS, but the fun doesn't end there.
The ASUS ROG line (still decked in red and black) includes the MAXIMUS VI HERO, which brings the ROG brand to a more budget-friendly level; the MAXIMUS VI GENE and its microATX size, which also includes mPCIe Combo II for the latest M.2 (NGFF) SSD connectivity; and finally the big daddy MAXIMUS VI EXTREME, which ships with the ASUS OC Panel - "a real-time overclocking and system monitoring console that can be placed in a 5.25” drive bay or used externally." More ROG motherboards are planned, so try not to salivate too hard just yet.
ASUS is also bringing the TUF series into the Z87 fold, with the SABERTOOTH Z87 and the GRYPHON Z87, which is the first microATX TUF motherboard. Both of those feature Japanese-made 10K Black Metallic capacitors for 20% greater temperature tolerance and five times the lifespan of traditional capacitors. The SABERTOOTH features TUF components like Thermal Armor to aid with airflow, the TUF Fortifier backplate reinforcement, and the Dust Defender enclosures to protect the slots and ports from dust and debris. The microATX crowd isn't left out with the GRYPHON Z87, as owners can purchase the GRYPHON ARMOR KIT separately to deck it out with the Thermal Armor, TUF Fortifier, and Dust Defender.
There's still plenty of time to go before Intel reveals everything on its newest platform, but for now you can get an idea at what ASUS has in store for the launch. Pricing for the motherboards isn't known at this time, but expect that, and a release date, before long.
The two coolers of the new i4 Series from Noctua are targeted at Intel Xeon processors, frequently seen in workstations and servers. The NH-U12DX and NH-U9DX are compatible with LGA2011, LGA1356, and LGA1366 sockets and are mounted with the SecuFirm2™ mounting system. NF-B9 PWM fans are included with each heatsink to provide quiet airflow over the fins. Noctua CEO Mag. Roland Mossig said, "we've decided to update our DX line of coolers to work with both Square ILM and Narrow ILM based LGA2011 platforms. At the same time, we've added PWM control and switched the U12 version to the new, slimmer layout of the NH-U12S, which not only provides better performance but also ensures easier access to the RAM slots, which was another long time request from our industry partners." The NH-U9DX will have an MSRP of $64.90 and the NH-U12DX will cost $74.90.
Thermaltake is now offering a new mobile power pack through the LUXA2 brand name. The P3 2500mAh Power Bank is targeted at users of the iPhone 5 and similar mobile devices. The P3 comes with an iPhone 5 case to easily attach to your phone, and weighs just 70 grams making it easy to take with you. The 2500mAh capacity will allow users to double the battery life of their iPhone 5, and a standard USB connector provides easy access for plenty of other devices.
For some time now the United States military has been utilizing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance and occasionally as offensive platforms, because they can offer a number of advantages human piloted aircraft cannot. Among these advantages is great endurance, as UAVs do not get tired, but they can run low on fuel. At the Naval Research Laboratory though, a UAV with a special fuel source was able to stay in the air for 48 hours and one minute, shattering the previous record of 26 hours and two minutes.
The UAV is called an Ion Tiger and has at its heart a fuel cell that uses hydrogen to generate the electricity needed to power its systems. To set the previous record, the Ion Tiger used a tank of gaseous hydrogen at a pressure of 5000 PSI, but for the new record the researchers used liquefied hydrogen. Like most materials, hydrogen is denser in its liquid form, so more of it could be stored on the UAV, but it is more complicated than just filling it up with LH2. Hydrogen boils at 20 K, so the storage system had to be kept very cold to minimize fuel loss, and to optimize performance the researchers tuned the rate of hydrogen boiling off to match the vehicle's fuel consumption.
The researchers are now looking into advanced systems to manufacture LH2, which could be hard to come by in combat zones. Potentially an electrolyzer powered by solar or wind energy could be used to collect hydrogen from water, before it is compressed and refrigerated for use as a fuel.
Cooler Master has a new line of cases that may be for the more budget minded consumer, but these certainly aren't lacking in features. The Cooler Master N Series includes the N200, N400, and N600, with all of them designed with cooling, and water cooling, in mind. All three cases feature mesh front panels, an internal layout designed for maximum airflow, and support for a 240mm radiator. The N200 is a mini tower yet it can fit a 240mm radiator in the front, plus it has room for five fans and graphics cards up to 14 inches in length. The N400 and N600, meanwhile, are both mid towers that can fit the 240mm rad on the top or right side of the case for an out of the way position. A total of eight fans can fit in the N400 and it supports graphics cards up to 12.6" in length, while ten fans can go into the N600 and graphics cards up to 16.9". Each one also supports a mulitude of hard drives, SSDs, and various other internal components, plus all three include USB 3.0 support (N200 only has it on the Advanced model).
The Cooler Master N Series are available now, with the N200 priced at $49.99, the N400 at $59.99, and the N600 at $79.99.
Batteries have given humanity new ways to change our lives and our environment, especially lithium-ion batteries, thanks to their ability to store and produce large amounts of power, while being compact in size. As great as they are though, the batteries can have flaws that impair their performance and reduce their lifespan. Researchers at Purdue University though have found a very quick and effective way to catch these flaws during the manufacturing process.
Within lithium-ion batteries are two electrodes which are copper on one side and on the other is a paint-like substance. This substance is designed to capture and store lithium ions, which is how the battery is able to hold and release a charge. Imperfections in the paint, such as variations in thickness, air bubbles, and even an incorrect mixture can all affect a battery's performance, but all of these can now be detected. The researchers found that by flashing a xenon bulb on the copper side of the electrode, the opposite, painted side is heated. Imaging the heat distribution allows the researchers to discover any defects very quickly and before they could be a problem.
This quality control process takes less than a second and could have profoundly impact lithium-ion battery manufacture, but preventing poorer electrodes from being installed in batteries. Not only can these defects now be fixed on the spot, but potentially we could see them being removed from the manufacturing process, thanks to the information this process will provide.
We have a nice assortment of items for your viewing pleasure today, starting with a look at the MSI Z77A-GD65 motherboard. If you're aiming for an Intel LGA 1155 build, then this motherboard could be at its core. Having a good case is important, especially if you head to LANs often or want to get your pals into the world of PC gaming. Cooler Master's new N Series of cases could be just the thing, and luckily we have a look at the N200 to help you choose. For something different, there's a guide on how to build a Hackintosh PC on a budget, as well as checking out the top features of the new Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone.