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 24, 2014
Depending on your age, you may remember the Micro Machines series of racing video games based on the toy line of miniature vehicles of the same name. Today, developer Codemasters announced that its returning to its miniature racing titles of the 1990s with Toybox Turbos. "Toybox Turbos features 35 vehicles to collect and customise, ranging from sports cars and dragsters to emergency vehicles, taxis, ice cream vans, construction vehicles, milk float, moon buggies and more! Each can be raced in six super-charged game modes; players sprint for the line in Classic Races, set their best time in Time Trial, pass as many turbocharged toys as possible in Overtake, avoid getting wiped out by the tide in Escape, beat the clock in Countdown and take down bosses in Elimination mode. To gain the advantage, gamers can collect and use a range of power-ups spread liberally around each circuit, including, but not limited to, machine guns, mines, electronic pulses and, of course, giant hammers!"
The game contains 18 circuits inspired by childhood locations filled with obstacles and short-cuts. Best of all, not only is there four-player local and online multiplayer, but you can also mix and match the two. Toybox Turbos is coming to Windows PC via Steam, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on November 11 for $14.99 / £11.99 / €14.99.
Source: Press Release
Ubisoft has revealed the PC specs for Assassin's Creed Unity and they're fairly beefy. At a minimum, you'll need an Intel Core i5-2500K @ 3.3 GHz or AMD FX-8350 @ 4.0 GHz or AMD Phenom II x4 940 @ 3.0 GHz, 6GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 or AMD Radeon HD 7970 (2 GB VRAM). Recommended specs are an Intel Core i7-3770 @ 3.4 GHz or AMD FX-8350 @ 4.0 GHz or better, 8GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 or AMD Radeon R9 290X (3 GB VRAM). No matter what your specs, the game only supports 64-bit versions of Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8/8.1, and you'll need 50GB of hard drive space.
Along with the PC specs, Ubisoft released a new video that delves into the immersive, open-world gameplay. Narrated by Creative Director Alex Amancio, the video shows off Paris and the various side quests Unity provides.
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  & 
Two weeks ago, Ubisoft released the first in a series of Far Cry 4 videos that introduces us to the various regions of Kyrat. While that first video focused on the Lowlands, the second video focuses on the Midlands and Himalayas. The Midlands are home to lush forests, exotic animals, and Kyrat's drug trade. The region is under the control of Dr. Noore Najjar, Vice Lord of Kyrat, who not only supervises the aforementioned drug trade, but also manages the brutal Shanath Arena, where gladiators face off against wolves and tigers to the death.
While the Midlands are certainly a dangerous place, they're nothing compared to the "wicked windswept peaks" of the Himalayas. Not only must you deal with the Royal Army's elite, ravenous wolves and show leopards, and frequent avalanches, but it's also home to the Sky Prison, a craggy gulag carved into the side of a mountain. The prison's warden is Yuma, a former triad gangster and commander of the Elite Royal Guard.
Far Cry 4 is set to release on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on November 18. A Season Pass is also available, featuring a co-op escape from the aforementioned prison.
Source: Press Release and UbiBlog
As promised, CD Projekt RED debuted the opening cinematic for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt earlier today during the Golden Joystick Awards. Entitled "The Trail", it shows protagonist Geralt of Rivia and his mentor Vesemir pursuing Geralt's long lost love, a powerful sorceress named Yennefer of Vengerberg. The trailer is both beautiful and gruesome.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is coming to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on February 24, 2015.
Source: Press Release
As though holograms were not cool enough already, now quantum holograms may have a potential use for storing quantum information. As published in the European Physical Journal's EPJD, researchers at St. Petersburg State University have successfully retrieved information from a quantum hologram.
Holograms are a well understood means for storing optical information but have not been used before to store quantum information. Normally they store information using light intensity, but for a quantum hologram the medium that holds the information has to be able to store a quantum superposition. Superposition is a quantum phenomenon whereby quantum objects can exist in mutually exclusive states at the same time. To actually write the information onto the medium, the researchers had to be able to shape the control field in both space and time. The control field is the reference light used to write and later read information from a hologram medium.
Eventually the researchers would like to see quantum holograms used to store quantum signals but also to transform their quantum states. This ability would be useful for quantum communication and computation.
Source: European Physical Journal
Thermaltake has announced the addition of a pair of mid tower cases to its lineup, the Versa H34 and H35, designed "specifically designed for gamers and home-computer builders." The cases feature a transparent side window, dust filters, and stress-free cable management. Up to two 5.25" drives can be installed along with three 3.5" or 2.5" drives in modular bays, with an additional two spaces for 2.5" drives behind the motherboard tray. Two 120mm fans are included with the case and the case has enough mount points to support eight 120mm or 140mm fans.
Source: Press Release
GIGABYTE, a pioneer in the motherboard industry, has reworked the H81M-WW micro-ATX motherboard and has officially released the GA-H81M-Gaming 3. The latest gaming motherboard from GIGABYTE is very similar to the H81M-WW, with the only notable differences being a PCI-Express 2.0 x1 slot, an improved PCH heatsink, and an Intel-made gigabit Ethernet controller. The board is being marketed at entry-level builders who are looking for a motherboard that can support inexpensive and value driven gaming components while stiff offering plenty of features.
According to the GIGABYTE website the GA-H81M-Gaming 3 motherboard is currently available for purchase, but searches on Amazon.com and Newegg fail to yield any results at the time of this writing.
Source: GIGABYTE and techPowerUp
RiteAid, one of the largest drug store chains in the United States, is currently not accepting Apple Pay or Google Wallet payments across 4,600 stores. While Apple Pay was fully functional at RiteAid when the Apple payment system launched on Monday, it was disabled shortly afterwards for reasons that are unknown. The customer service department confirmed that payment systems that utilize tapping are currently not welcome, and a representative for the company stated that "We just can’t take it at this time." It is not known if the drug store chain has disabled all NFC payment abilities on its terminals, or if transactions from Apple Pay and Google Wallet are the only payments being blocked.
Google has revealed that the next update to Android Wear, which is available today for compatible devices, includes support for GPS sensors and music playback. Smartwatches that have a built-in GPS sensor can now be used to track routes, distance, and speed, all without the need of a smartphone. The Android Wear update also adds music playback capabilities, allowing smartwatch users to store music on their watch and listen to it via Bluetooth headphones.
Currently, the Sony SmartWatch 3, which is available for pre-order from Verizon Wireless and will soon be on sale through Google Play, is the only Android Wear watch to feature a built-in GPS sensor. All other Android Wear smartwatches currently on the market will be able updated to include the new music playback functionality.
There are many chemical reactions we would like to be able to do, such as converting hydrocarbons into fuels, but the processes tend to require prohibitive amounts of energy. To overcome this issue, catalysts are used, which reduce the amount of energy needed at any one time, by adding intermediate steps. Researchers at Ames Laboratory have recently modelled the movement of particles through narrow channels, which these catalyzed reactions may someday occur in.
One way to improve catalytic reactions is to increase the surface area of the catalyst, as that provides more reaction sites. To that end, researchers are investigating using porous nanoparticles, as the channels within them have a great deal of surface area. The size of these channels is important though, because the narrower they are, the more of them can exist, but if they are too narrow, molecules will not be able to pass through them. This is why the Ames researchers have created a model of mesoporous nanoparticles to simulate how molecules will behave when passing each other, in a narrow channel.
Due to the complexity of the processes involved, the researchers called upon those experienced in theoretical chemistry and applied mathematics. The hope is to optimized the size of the pores in mesoporous nanoparticles, and thereby their performance.
Source: Ames Laboratory
AMD has significantly reduced the cost for the majority of its APU lineup, making the CPU and GPU combination more attractive than ever for value orientated consumers. Newegg previously sold the A6-7400K for $85, the A8-6600K for $99, the A8-7600 for $110, the A10-6800K for $140, the A10-7700K for $159, and the A10-7800 for $165, but is now selling the AMD APUs for $58, $92, $92, $112, $123, and $133, respectively. The top of the line Kaveri APU from AMD, the A10-7850K, is now retailing for $143, a notable decrease from its previous $189 price tag.
Along with reduced pricing, AMD is offering APU customers a coupon code for one of three games for the rest of the month. Consumers who purchase an APU between now and the end of October will qualify Murdered: Soul Suspect, Thief, or Sniper Elite 3, with Thief and Sniper Elite 3 supporting the Mantle API from AMD.
Many of the solar cells you can find today are made of ultra-pure silicon, which is a slight problem as such silicon is energy intensive and expensive to make. It is necessary though, for solar panels to efficiently generate electricity. However, researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have developed a way to create solar cells of a different geometry, made of less-pure silicon.
The new design borrows from fiber optic fabrication by coating silicon fibers in glass, and heating them both up. Once heated, the silicon will melt and the glass will soften enough that they can be stretched, forming a long, thin glass fiber with a silicon core. This process naturally purifies the silicon, be melting and re-solidifying it within the glass. These fibers can then be made into vertical rod radial-junction solar cells, with electrons in the silicon absorbing the energy from the light and being captured at the junction on the surface of the silicon. Planar solar cells, for contrast, must be made of ultra-pure silicon because of the distance the electrons must travel to reach a junction or electrode.
As this manufacturing approach is based on the technique for creating bulk silicon-core fibers, producing solar cells from dirty silicon this way would be rather cheap. The catch is that prototype has only achieved 3.6% efficiency, which is far below commercially available solar panels. Of course, that will change as the technology is further developed.
Source: Norwegian University of Science and Technology
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