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 23, 2014
The latest offering from Lian Li is the PC-Q26 case designed for Mini-ITX motherboards. The brushed aluminum case has plenty of room in the interior with space for up to ten 3.5" drives and a single 2.5" drive. The side panels are easy to pop off and thumb screws make for easy assembly and maintenance. Up to three 120mm fans can be installed in the front panel with a top 120mm fan and an 80mm rear fan. Magnetic dust filters help to ensure the inside is kept nice and tidy. Graphics cards up to 190mm in length can be installed alongside CPU coolers up to 150mm in height. The PC-Q26 is available now at an MSRP of $189.
Source: Press Release
Traditionally a camera's zoom works by changing the distance between lenses. While this does work, it is not particularly ideal, given the size of the necessary mechanics. Adaptive zoom however uses a different approach that requires a less-bulky system, and now researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have successfully brought this technology to riflescopes.
For our eyes to focus on an object, muscles must flex a lens, causing its focal length to change. Adaptive zoom works in the same way, though the lenses are now polymers and the muscles are, in this case, piezoelectric materials. More accurately the muscles are an ultrasonic piezo motor that move a rotor and lead screw, which flex the lenses. The use of an ultrasonic motor is important as it allows the focus and zoom to be maintained, even when power is lost. When tested, this new system showed it could complete 10,000 actuations on just the power of two AA batteries.
Adaptive zoom is not a new technology, but this is the first time it has been built into a riflescope for the military with the Rapid Adaptive Zoom for Assault Rifles (RAZAR), which can change from high to low magnifications at the push of a button. The change in magnification happens quickly and does not require the user to move their hands or eyes, which could save their life in a firefight. This technology could also see use in other optical devices, such as binoculars and cell phone cameras.
Source: Sandia National Laboratories
Microsoft has revealed that on December 1, 2014, it will be discontinuing the free Xbox Music streaming feature that is currently available on Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and over the Internet. According to Microsoft, the company is focusing its efforts on making Xbox Music the ultimate music purchase and subscription service experience customers, and as a result, free music streaming over Xbox Music is being retired. Users of Xbox Music who want to continue using the service will have to purchase an Xbox Music Pass, which provides access to millions of songs on a PC, phone, tablet, Xbox, and the web.
Source: Xbox Music
What would science fiction be without guns going pew pew with laser bullets? The question can also be, what would reality be with those bolts of energy, and researchers at the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences decided to find out. The researchers filmed the laser pulses traveling down a hallway, watching for how they illuminate the area.
Of course a normal camera cannot actually film a light pulse, as light travels too quickly. To overcome this issue, the camera was connected to the laser and recorded consecutive frames for different pulses, combining them into a single film. As the physics involved does not change with each pulse, the film provides all of the information as though the camera recorded just one pulse. Those pulses, by the way, were femtosecond long and 10 terawatts in power. That high power is especially important as it allowed the pulse to create a plasma fiber in the air, as it traveled. This caused the laser to self-focus, allowing it to travel much farther without degrading.
The laser itself had a frequency in the near infrared, but as it traveled through the air, it produced a white light, which is important for potential uses of the laser. White light contains many frequencies, and if this laser were used in a LIDAR system, those frequencies could be used to measure certain elements and compounds in the atmosphere.
A device's LCD display can easily be one of its greatest power drains, thanks to the backlight needed to actually show the image. This is not the only power draw though, as the pixels themselves require energy to maintain an image. Bi-stable displays however, can eliminate this requirement, and now researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology have created a bi-stable display that can also show 3D images, as reported in The Optical Society's Optics Letters journal.
Liquid crystal displays operate by twisting the liquid crystals within each pixel, causing different amounts of polarized light to escape. Normally the twisting is controlled by an electric field, but in bi-stable displays the crystals are set in place using a flash of light. This removes the constant power draw and the electrodes to deliver the energy, allowing the displays to be thinner and more efficient. The Hong Kong researchers went a step further with their design though, by building three zones into the display with different polarizations. With the proper glasses and filters, the displayed image will be 3D to the viewer.
Before you prepare to throw out your current monitor or television, the display is far from commercially viable. Currently it is only greyscale and has a refresh rate too low to show video. The technology could still see use with ereaders and possibly in credit cards, as an added security measure.
Source: The Optical Society
The week is winding down, but not before there are some items for you to check out. We have a review on the ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer AM3+ motherboard, which is focused on getting you the most out of your games. There is also a look at the Tt eSPORTS Captain Dracco gaming headset, with its rather nice style, large ear cups with 50mm drivers, and a flexible microphone. Wrapping up today's assortment is an article looking at small form factor PCs and how they, and specifically Intel's NUC platform, can take over the world.
ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer AM3+ @ Benchmark Reviews
Tt eSPORTS Captain Dracco Gaming Headset @ ThinkComputers
Small Form Factor the new world order @ LanOC Reviews
ID-COOLING, a cooling solution provider focusing on thermal dissipation and fan technology research and production, has released its SE-214X CPU cooler. The latest product from ID-COOLING features a massive heatsink that incorporates four direct contact copper heatpipes, massive aluminum heatsink fins, and a unique aluminum stick, which helps support the firmness of the heatsink while ensuring continuous contact between the SE-214X and the processor. Concerning the 120mm fan attached to the heatsink, it features rubber pads within the fan frame, specially designed blades that provide massive amounts of airflow, and PWM. The SE-214X is compatible with high profile memory and includes a full set of universal mounting brackets, making it ideal for any mainstream Intel or AMD application.
Source: Press Release
October 22, 2014
Respawn is about to unleash its biggest update ever for Titanfall, with the highlight being an all-new four-player co-op game mode called Frontier Defense. Playable on every map, including DLC maps, Frontier Defense sees you and your team battling increasingly intense waves of AI combatants, including: "hordes of Grunts and Spectres, stealthy Sniper Spectres and Cloak Drones, explosive Suicide Spectres and Nuclear Titans, ranged Mortar Titans, and even melee-resistant Arc Titans!" You can earn and deploy stationary turrets, as well as switch loadouts at new Loadout Crates.
While Frontier Defense is the only new game mode that will be available tomorrow when Game Update Eight goes live, it's not the only new game mode that will be coming to the game over the coming weeks. Deadly Ground will arrive November 5, which sees the ground covered in deadly, electrified fog in either Hardpoint, Capture the Flag, or Marked For Death. Meanwhile, Marked for Death Pro will arrive November 26, bringing "classic round-based intensity" to Marked for Death.
While new game modes are always the most exciting additions, there's a whole lot more being added in this free update. Ranked Play will enter beta tomorrow and last at least through the month, allowing Respawn to gather metrics needed to finalize details. All Gen 10 players receive beta access along with five invites to hand out to friends, earning an additional three invites each day. Capture the Flag is getting Sudden Death, where respawning is disabled. Each primary game mode of each map now have three stars to earn, providing additional challenges. There's now a full-screen map you can pull up if the mini-map is too small for you to coordinate with your team. And much more.
Lastly, there are also a bunch of improvements and optimizations, including new graphics settings for high-end PCs: HBAO and TXAA (2x or 4x). The latter requires an NVIDIA GPU.
Source: Official Site
CD Projekt RED will be debuting the opening cinematic for the highly anticipated open-world RPG The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt this Friday during the Golden Joystick Awards. Entitled "The Trail", the trailer will be made available at thewitcher.com/thetrail following the Awards, but today, the studio released a ten-second teaser if you just can't wait that long.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is coming to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on February 24, 2015.
Source: Press Release
As we near the end of October and Halloween draws closer, Valve has enabled the past five Scream Fortress events in Team Fortress 2 in anticipation of this years all new event. Valve has done this in the best interest of gamers as rushing right into this years event would be equivalent to "going from an idle state of terrorlessness to a shrieking nightmare of solid 100% terror almost instantly." It's time to load up the game and take on Merasmus and the Horseless Headless Horseman while you wait to see what tricks and treats Valve has planned.
Source: Team Fortress 2 Blog
The Phoenix Blade Series is the latest solid state drive offering from G.Skill, this time built into a PCIe form factor. The drive uses four LSI SF-2281 SSD controllers in a RAID0 configuration to create a 480GB array of MLC NAND flash capable of bandwidth "up to 4 times over typical SATA3 based SSDs." The PCIe x8 interface allows for read and write speeds up to 2,000MB/s and up to 245K IOPS.
Source: Press Release
Batteries are a big deal and we keep creating more technologies that rely on them. Naturally we also want the batteries to last longer than they currently do. One way to potentially achieve this is with lithium anode batteries, and researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have made a discovery that could help bring those batteries out of the lab.
In theory a lithium anode battery would offer the highest known theoretical capacity, when used with an aqueous electrolyte. The problem here is that lithium and water react violently together, so something must keep them separated in the battery. What the ORNL researchers have done is identified a new separator called LLZO, which is a cubic garnet material. Unlike some other separators, LLZO is able to withstand very extreme alkaline environments, even staying stable at a pH value over 14.
This great stability can indirectly increase some battery's energy density, as some have turned to diluting the aqueous solution to keep other separators from failing. By removing the need to dilute, the battery can be smaller, bumping its energy density up.
Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Unveiled back in August, NeocoreGames' Deathtrap is now available for Windows PC via Steam Early Access for $19.99. Deathtrap is a tower defense game with action-RPG elements. NeocoreGames is best known for The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing series, which is an action-RPG series that has tower-defense mini-games, so the studio is already familiar with melding both genres together.
The game features three diverse classes (Mercenary, Sorceress, and Marksman), which can be leveled to 100 and feature more than 50 skills apiece. Aside from your hero, you also have access to 25 deadly traps with more than 150 trap upgrades, which you'll certainly need to tackle the 40+ different types of invaders across three races. If that's not enough, there's a map editor and monster editor with Steam Workshop support, and there's single-player, co-op, and PvP modes.
Source: Press Release and Steam
Everybody wants to get their data faster, whether it is a game or video, the sooner it can be on their screen, the better. Of course achieving higher speeds is not easy and special technologies may be required. Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have recently set a new record for transmission rate of 40 Gbps when using signals at the high frequency of 140 GHz.
To accommodate the increased bandwidth users' demand, researchers are trying to use signals of higher frequencies. The higher the frequency, the more data a signal can carry, but it is harder to send a 100 GHz or higher signal with enough power to be detected. The Chalmers researchers were able to achieve this in their laboratory though, by wielding semiconducting circuits made of indium phosphide, and will soon be discussing their work at a conference.
The uses for such high speed, wireless data transmission are obviously numerous and include such things as transmitting live cultural and sporting events to screens in high resolution, and making connections between server rooms and even within our homes, without the need for more cables. The researchers believe that in a few years they may even be able to achieve their goal of 100 Gbps wireless transmission.
Source: Chalmers University of Technology
What are you made of? That's the question Ubisoft asks with its new experiential website for Far Cry 4, "designed to test the player's reactions in a world full of unpredictability." The site offers a cinematic experience where players must complete four different rites of passage: a deadly face-to-face encounter with "An eye for an eye"; an impenetrable mind maze with "Rabbit hole"; a hypnotic trance with "Mind Blossom"; and a blindfolded sound chase with "Escape".
Each rite will be released on a weekly basis and provide players only a few seconds to make a decision to get out of an extreme situation. "Each choice they make triggers another sequence of events, pushing the user to make another choice and so on and so forth." Ubisoft claims there are up to 42 million different routes in total, which would require 100 days to explore every combination.
Most intriguing is that players' choices will be analyzed to determine their "personality", which in turn will unlock exclusive content for Far Cry 4 via Uplay. The new experience is available from the current site, but it doesn't seem to be live just yet.
Far Cry 4 is set to release on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on November 18.
Source: Press Release
NVIDIA has just launched the new GeForce Game Ready driver, which promises to deliver the best possible gaming experience for owners of compatible GeForce graphics cards who wish to play the latest blockbuster titles. The driver, version 344.48 WHQL, brings support for Dynamic Super Resolution, or DSR, to Kepler and Fermi desktop GPUs. The new GeForce Game Ready driver also adds support for Lords of the Fallen, Civilization: Beyond Earth, and Elite: Dangerous.
Version 344.48 WHQL of the GeForce Game Ready driver can be downloaded directly from the NVIDIA website.
Source: Press Release
Motorola has revealed that its flagship watch, the Moto 360, is receiving a new Android Wear update. The update consists of smart battery saving, which will automatically put the Moto 360 into ambient mode once its battery hits 15 percent, mood lighting, which adjusts the brightness of the screen while the device is charging, and timely time checks, which syncs the watch with its paired smartphone more often to ensure that the correct time is displayed. The Android Wear update for the Moto 360 also includes various user interface tweaks, bug fixes, and enhancements that pave the way for connecting Bluetooth headsets to the watch.
The new software for the Moto 360 will roll out in phases, with users able to install the software only if their phone is connected to the Internet and their watch battery is at 80 percent or greater.
Apple has launched Maps Connect, a web tool that allows small businesses to manage their listings on Apple Maps. The new tool allows business owners to edit establishment details or insert additional information into their listing, such as an email address, phone number, and website. Businesses who meet certain qualifications, including but not limited to having over 1 million visitors per year and WiFi access, can even sign up for iBeacon, an indoor proximity system from Apple. Any updates that business owners make with Maps Connect will take roughly a week to show up on Apple Maps.
While Maps Connect is currently only available for business owners within the United States, Apple is promising that it will support more countries in the future.
Thermaltake, a leader in computer chassis, thermal solutions, and power supply units, has just launched several new power supply units within its Toughpower and Toughpower Grand series. The Toughpower series now includes 1000W, 1200W, and 1500W units, while the Toughpower Grand Series includes 1050W and 1200W models. Only the highest quality components have been used in both lines of Thermaltake PSUs, ensuring stable performance and unbeatable efficiency. The Toughpower and Toughpower Grand series are marketed at computer enthusiasts and gamers, with both series of PSUs featuring 80 PLUS Gold certification, high quality Japanese capacitors, a modular design, a massive and dedicated +12V output, and Haswell compatibility.
Source: Press Release
Some say we are in the era of big data, where massive collections of information are gathered and shared across the planet. Some of the most massive collections come from and go to research facilities, which is why unbelievably fast networks are built between them. Soon new connections will be built between the United States and Europe, delivering a capacity 340 Gbps, and the project will be managed by Berkeley Lab.
Perhaps the prime example of why this extension is needed is the Large Hadron Collider, as it can produce 30 petabytes of data a year and that value may go up over time (one petabyte is a thousand times larger than a terabyte). To be of any use, that data must be shared with other facilities for processing and study, which this new link will help with. Here in the US it will connect with the Energy Sciences Network, for distribution to US laboratories and universities, while in Europe it will connect to the GÉANT network organization with 100 Gbps links.
The goal is to have the network extension in production by January, to take advantage of the LHC current downtime for upgrades.
Source: Berkeley Lab
Staples, the world's largest office products company and a trusted source for office solutions, is investigating a possible data breach after the company revealed that there may be an issue with the credit card data of its customers. Banks have noticed unusual activity that suggests that Staples has in fact suffered a data breach of its own with store located in the Northeastern United States, according to Brian Krebs, a cybersecurity blogger that first reported the data breach that occurred at Home Depot. Staples has even contact law enforcement over the possible data breach. Mark Cautela, a Staples spokesman, noted that "We take the protection of customer information very seriously, and are working to resolve the situation." If the breach is confirmed, Cautela has stated that Staples customers will not be liable for any fraudulent activity.
Source: The Washington Post
Google has revealed that users of Gmail, Chrome, or any other Google account can now utilize Security Key for two-factor authentication if they are running Google Chrome version 38 or newer. The technology allows a USB key to be used to log into Google sites that have been verified as authentic, as long as the key makes use of the FIDO Universal 2nd Factor, or U2F, protocol. It provides better protection against phishing and also requires no mobile connection or batteries. Google account holders who choose to use Security Key simply plug it into their computer, and when prompted while attempting to login, press the button on the USB key itself for authentication.
While using Security Key is free of charge, users must purchase a USB key from a third-party vendor that supports the U2F protocol in order to utilize it.
The middle of the week is here, and with it comes a few reviews to help you get over the hump. There is a look at the MSI X99S Gaming 9 AC motherboard, which is a top-of-the-line product for the Haswell-E CPUs and DDR4 memory. We have a review on the 4K gaming performance of a pair of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 cards in SLI, so if you have the desire to play your games at that impressive resolution, this solution may be for you. Lastly the Genius DVR-FHD568 Vehicle Recorder gets put to the test to see how well it can help record your driving adventures.
Gaming at 4K: GeForce GTX 970 SLI Performance @ TechSpot
MSI X99S Gaming 9 AC @ PC Perspective
Genius DVR-FHD568 Vehicle Recorder @ Benchmark Reviews
October 21, 2014
After a little break to reveal the PC requirements and an Official Trailer for Dragon Age: Inquisition, Electronic Arts and BioWare are back with another entry in the "Gameplay Features" video series. Entitled "The Inquisitor & Followers", I'm sure you can imagine what it discusses. As "The Hero of Thedas", you can make your Inquisitor into a deadly warrior, stealthy rogue, or powerful mage, each one with unique and deadly specializations as you progress. Along your travels, you'll get to recruit nine potential followers, three of which are highlighted in the video: The Iron Bull, a powerful warrior who relishes close-quarters combat; Sera, a chaotic elven archer who can dish out deadly ranged attacks; and Dorian, a gifted mage who uses arcane magic to protect the party.
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.
Ubisoft is back with the fourth "Focus" video for Toy Soldiers: War Chest, this time covering the game's Wave System. While largely similar to previous Toy Soldiers games, some battles culminate in boss fights. In addition, community manager Jason "Paradise" Kuntz confirmed that there will be both online and split-screen co-op.
Toy Soldiers: War Chest is scheduled to arrive early 2015 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Satechi, a company headquartered in San Diego that focuses on camera, computer, smartphone, and tablet accessories, has just released the Edge Wireless Gaming Mouse. This latest product from Satechi is tailored to hardcore gamers, as it features an optical sensor, a 98-foot wireless range, up to 4000 DPI, up to 500Hz polling rate, 20G of acceleration, seven buttons, four different LED colors, and a grooved grip for maximum comfort. While the Edge Wireless Gaming Mouse does run on two AA batteries, an energy efficient chip is built-in that puts the mouse into a sleep mode after five minutes of inactivity, allowing the mouse to be used for up to 36 months without the batteries needing changed. The mouse also includes a dedicated gaming mode and video control mode, which change the behavior of the seven buttons located on the mouse that enable users to interact with games and media more efficiently.
The Edge Wireless Gaming Mouse comes with a one-year warranty and is currently available for $19.99 from Satechi and Amazon.com.
Cooler Master has announced a pair of additions to the Nepton line of all-in-one liquid coolers. The new 120mm and 240mm models join the previously released 140mm and 280mm models and have been enhanced with the addition of the new Silencio FP 120 fans. The new Silencio fans boast high air pressure, low noise output, and low power consumption. The use of 120mm and 240mm radiators should also help the radiators fit into more cases. The all-in-one design is rounded out by a pump capable of moving 120 liters of liquid per hour.
Source: Press Release
The Pure Rock is the latest CPU cooler offering from German company be quiet! and it is compatible with all current Intel and AMD sockets. The cooler has four 6mm heat pipes to help dissipate heat through the numerous fins. The included fan spins at 1500 RPM and has a lifetime greater than 80,000 hours. The cooler has dimensions of 155 x 121 x 87.5mm and should fit into a variety of cases. The Pure Rock is available immediately at an MSRP of €32.90.
Source: Press Release
Many believe that there will be a new renaissance of sorts in the near future, thanks to 3D printing. Additive manufacturing in general opens up some interesting doors at it allows for the precise construction of objects, with potentially little waste. Now researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have found a way to control the crystal structure of a material using an additive manufacturing system.
To achieve this control, the researchers had to precisely manage the electron beam from an ARCAM electron beam melting system. This system works by fusing layers of metal powder together using an electron beam. In this case, it was a nickel-based part they were creating.
Many properties of a material are influenced by its microstructure, so this work could have some very powerful implications. Microelectronics to jet engine components could all have their characteristics tailored to achieve the performance desired.
Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory