Razer, a world leader in high-performance gaming hardware, software, and systems, has launched the BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma. The latest gaming keyboard from Razer is simply a refresh of the already available BlackWidow Chroma, as it features the same switches and RGB lighting support but ditches the numpad, which reduces its size by roughly six inches. Being tenkeyless, the BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma is able to fit in areas that are limited on space, and is actually better suited to be a mobile keyboard solution for gamers.
The BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma comes with a hard carrying case and is available for immediate purchase, costing consumers $140.
Google has officially released its latest keyboard known as Google Handwriting Input. The latest keyboard from Google is able to recognize scribbled text in 82 different languages, and is also capable of understanding smiley faces. According to the search engine giant, Google Handwriting Input supports both print and cursive writing, and can be configured as the default keyboard on Android devices running version 4.0.3 and above. While Google Handwriting Input will likely just be a fun experiment for smartphone owners and children who have access to such devices, the recognition that the keyboard product offers is quite amazing to say the least.
The week is starting to wind down, but not before there are some reviews for you to check out. We have a look at the Phanteks PH-TC12LS low profile CPU cooler to see how well this smaller heat sink performs. There is also a review of the Motorola Moto E smartphone, a budget friendly model that packs an LTE radio and Android Lollipop. For another low budget option, there's the Blackview Breeze smartphone, which can also utilize Android Lollipop. Wrapping up for the day is the SpotCam HD Wi-Fi Video Monitoring Camera, a cost-effective way to spruce up the home security and record in 720p.
One day we may see the construction of a quantum Internet that will be far more secure than today's global network. This is thanks to quantum encryption, which protects data from being read and alerts users to eavesdroppers. For it to work though, we need the ability to transmit photons in a quantum state over great distances, and researchers at the University of Toronto have designed a technology to help with that.
Even modern optical communications require repeaters to ensure classical signals survive their travels, so more fragile quantum signals need special repeaters to preserve the information. The current technology for doing so is complicated, acting like a mini quantum computers, requires low temperatures, and is kind of slow. What the Toronto researchers have created is an all-photonic quantum repeater that comes with several benefits. Just by being all photonic the system is much simpler, as it no longer requires a physical quantum memory system, or an interface between matter and light. It is also able to operate at room temperatures, has a higher communication rate, and a superior fault-tolerance.
One aspect to this design that is particularly interesting is that its components have already had proof-of-principle demonstrations made. This work started as an attempt to transmit polarization over long distances, but then the researchers decided to try for the 'fancier' quantum teleportation, which teleports the entire state of a particle from one location to another.
Batman: Arkham Knight was originally supposed to launch on June 2, but it was pushed back a little bit to June 23. If you're worried about it getting another delay, have no fear, as the game's director, Sefton Hill, confirmed June 23 was the official and final launch date. Developer Rocksteady didn't want to delay the game at all initially, but felt that little extra time would be well served. Given how the game looks, even in the PS4 gameplay video below, it was a deserved delay. Hill also revealed a couple of changes to the controls, where now holding the trigger button on a controller will send Batman into a "super fast dive" straight down off a rooftop. Tapping the trigger will cause Batman to slide. What the corresponding keyboard press will be wasn't mentioned, but is probably the same as past games. Oh, and the difficulty of Arkham Knight can be adjusted on the fly, so if you want to give yourself an even tougher challenge, you're now able to without restarting the game.
Many gamers are eagerly looking forward to Star Wars: Battlefront and hoping that it lives up to the legacy of the past titles. The game won't be out until later this year, but this Friday during Star Wars Celebration, EA plans to show the first gameplay reveal for Battlefront. However, we have a little teaser for you tonight in the form of the in-game Stormtrooper model. EA had been teasing the model for a little while and finally took the wraps off it, and it is impressive. The armor is spot-on to the original movies, but dirty and dingy as befitting someone fighting the Rebel Alliance. This Stormtrooper is also sporting a black enlisted trooper pauldron and a backpack with a hose connected to the helmet, possibly for extended operations or spacewalks. Overall the detail is outstanding, and given that this is an in-game model, should make for an experience pulled right out of the movies.
The full Star Wars: Battlefront gameplay reveal is still more than a day away, but we should be in for quite a treat when it happens. You can be sure to find all the information on it right here.
The European Union has filed charges against Google accusing it of "illegal, monopolistic practices," claiming that it "abused its position as market leader by prioritizing its own services in search results and diverting traffic away from its competitors." Google could face penalties of up to 10% of its annual income, which would be roughly $6 billion. EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager described the charges stating, "In the case of Google I am concerned that the company has given an unfair advantage to its own comparison shopping service, in breach of EU antitrust rules." Google has countered by stating that it has created a number of failed products over the past few years and cited its Flight and Shopping Search tools which haven't "made a dent in the US and European markets." Two previous large antitrust victories for the EU came with rulings against Microsoft and Intel for $1.7 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively.
Electronic Arts has announced plans to shut down several free-to-play PC offerings in the coming months as they are "not as popular as they once were." The four games that are getting the ax are Battlefield Heroes, Battlefield Play4Free, Need for Speed World, and FIFA World. The games will remain up for 90 days, with some games having achieved a greater than five year lifespan. Executive VP of EA Studios Patrick Söderlund described the move as forward thinking stating, "While we say farewell to these free-to-play titles in the next few months, we are always exploring new concepts and ways to bring great games to more players around the world." He added that Star Wars: The Old Republic continues to enjoy success and that EA has plans to introduce additional content this year.
People have been fascinated with the idea of invisibility for millennia, but only in modern times may we actually achieve it. Metamaterials are man-made materials with properties impossible to find in Nature and can be used to cloak objects. As it turns out though, there is a simpler way of achieving invisibility, and researchers at ITMO University, Ioffe Institute and Australian National University have done just that.
What the researchers have done is take advantage of a classical problem concerning the scattering of light from a homogeneous sphere that was solved almost a century ago. When light strikes an object of high refractive index it can scatter by two mechanisms: resonant and non-resonant scattering. Instead of a sphere, the researchers were working with a glass cylinder filled with water, which they change the refractive index of by changing the water's temperature. By doing this correctly, the resonant and non-resonant mechanisms scattered waves of opposite phases, causing them to cancel each other out, making the object invisible. This was achieved for microwaves at 1.9 GHz and by changing the temperature of the water from 90 ºC to 50 ºC.
Though the current work dealt with microwaves, it could be applied to the visible spectrum of light. It could also have applications for the development of nanoantennas, such as building invisible support structures. As these structures would not need special, metamaterial coatings, they would be much simpler to make.
ASUS has officially announced its latest motherboard offering, the TUF Trooper B85. The TUF Trooper B85, which is based on the versatile Intel B85 Express chipset, comes with military-certified components that ensure exceptional durability and long-term reliability, and is certified by TUF engineers as a server-strength motherboard. According to the ASUS, over 7,000 hours of strict validation tests were performed by TUF engineers to ensure that the motherboard is truly able to withstand all types of conditions and heavy use. The ASUS board boasts the military-grade TUF LANGuard Ethernet socket, TUF ESD Guards 2, TUF Audio with physical shielding, TUF Thermal Radar Core for flexible temperature management, and a five-year warranty.
Not to be outdone by NVIDIA, AMD has a part of its gaming technologies used in Grand Theft Auto V. The company's Contact Hardening Shadows (CHS) is part of its Gaming Evolved technologies and can be enabled in GTA V by AMD video card users. What CHS does is calculate the distance between an object and a light source, as well as what the object's type is, to create realistic soft shadows. AMD users can enable AMD CHS under the game's Soft Shadows option, so they too get an exclusive boost, much like NVIDIA owners do with Percentage-Closer Soft Shadows.
Regardless of which video card you use, GTA V caters to both, thanks to AMD Gaming Evolved and NVIDIA GameWorks.
The middle of the week is here, with a few items in tow to help you get through the day. We have a look at the ROCCAT Tyon Gaming Mouse, which features an 8200DPI laser sensor, 12 programmable buttons, and RGBA lighting. There is also the Oppo R5 smartphone, a 4.85mm thick device that is one of the thinnest devices around. Finishing off for the day is the Samsung Magician 4.6 and 840 EVO EXT0DB6Q firmware to see if it truly is fixed on the 840 EVO SSD.
Humans have been looking to the sky for probably as long as we have had eyes, and there are still many mysteries to solve. Among these is dark matter, a source of gravitational force that may have a link to galaxy formation and the continued existence of galaxies as well. Now researchers at the European Southern Observatory have found dark matter interacting with itself in an unpredicted way.
Nobody knows what dark matter is, but we do know we cannot see it. That is not the reason we refer to it as being 'dark' though, or at least it is not the only reason. It is also called dark because it does not interact directly with normal, light matter, which also interacts with light. It even seems that dark matter does not interact with itself, except through gravity. The only means we have to observe dark matter is by the bending of light its gravity causes as light travels through the Universe. The ESO researchers looked to a collision of four galaxies and mapped the distribution of dark matter in the collision, finding one clump of it lagging behind the galaxy it surrounds. The amount of lag cannot be described by gravity though, which means there must be some other force involved. Whether that force is something we already know or something completely exotic can only be determined with more research.
This research nicely pairs with that of another team looking at collisions of galaxy clusters, which also indicated that dark matter interacts with itself. Together these studies put brackets on the behavior of dark matter, and eventually we may be able to squeeze down to whatever dark matter really is.
Grand Theft Auto V will surely keep many PC gamers satisfied for a long while, and it is the PC version that is considered the definitive version of the game. It has some jaw-dropping visuals, more life to the world than the console versions, and is probably one of the games that may make people pick up a 4K screen. Rockstar has shown the PC version off at assorted press events, with demo systems packing a pair of GeForce GTX 980s in SLI, which is something NVIDIA is rather happy about. GTA V also makes use of two NVIDIA GameWorks technologies: Percentage Closer Soft Shadows (PCSS) and TXAA. PCSS adds realistic soft shadows to the mix, while TXAA enables film-style anti-aliasing to reduce crawling and flickering seen in motion.
So we have some GameWorks technologies and demo systems showing off the PC version of GTA V with SLI GTX 980s. Add in the Game Ready Driver, and it's a small wonder why NVIDIA is happy about the game. And really, all PC gamers should be happy to have GTA V on the system it was always meant for.
Grand Theft Auto V finally is out on PC, but everything isn't all roses for every PC gamer who picked it up. There are various crashes, glitches, and flickering issues afflicting GTA V, but apparently some AMD video cards are displaying artifacts when MSAA is enabled. The bottom right corner tends to display the artifacts, for whatever reason, and it disappears when AA is disabled. Rockstar has released some workarounds for issues people may experience, but right now if you have an AMD card and have artifacts, turn off anti-aliasing.
Hopefully Rockstar and AMD can get a fix out soon for that issue, as well as any other issues currently hitting the game. GTA V looks simply stunning on PC, and especially at 4K, so perhaps the developer's comments about always having a PC version in mind is true. Now, it just needs to prove that by solving the issues posthaste.
NVIDIA has officially added Risen 2: Dark Waters to the GRID Games library. The game, which features an environment overrun by raging titans and monstrous creatures, is set several years after the end of Risen, the immensely popular RPG title in the franchise. NVIDIA SHIELD owners can dive into the world of Risen 2: Dark Waters to explore the rich landscape, interact with intriguing characters, and figure out how to get rid of the terrifying creatures once and for all.
The addition of Risen 2: Dark Waters to the GRID Games library brings the total amount of free video game titles available to SHIELD gamers to 46.
It was reported early last month that Google was planning to enter the wireless carrier market as a mobile network virtual operator (MNVO). New research conducted by Android Police has found references to Tycho, Nova, and Project Fi. Tycho is the codename of an app, Nova is the rumored name of the Google MNVO, and Project Fi is likely a temporary name for the service. The app gives users the ability to pay bills, check usage data, adjust their plan, and also request a new number. The Google service will likely follow a pay per gigabyte billing scheme with no overage charges for going over what you have paid for, you simply buy additional data at the normal rate. Existing Google Voice numbers are expected to be transferable to the service.
Tt eSPORTS, the gaming focused line from Thermaltake, has announced the availability of its newest gaming mouse, the Ventus X. The Ventus X has a unique design, featuring a fan built-in to the body of the mouse to keep your hand cool. The inclusion of the fan helps to prevent the potential negative impact of sweaty palms while gaming, giving improved grip and control. The mouse improves over its predecessor, the Ventus, with a new ergonomic design and configuration software to customize macro keys. The mouse is powered by a 5700 DPI laser and features red LED illumination. The Ventus X is available with an MSRP of $49.99.
Currently our computers rely on the charge of electrons to operate, but in the future computers may use electron spin instead, as it offers many benefits. Often these two properties seem to be kept separate, but by combining coupling these properties we can develop spin-orbitronics. Devices based on this field can be smaller, faster, and more energy efficient and researchers at Berkeley Lab have made a discovery to bring them closer to reality.
Central to many of our computers and the Internet is magnetic data storage, which relies on magnetic domains in magnetic films. What the Berkeley researchers have found concerns the walls between these domains and how they react to electrical currents. Within magnetic domains all of the spins of electrons are aligned either up or down, but the walls between them can be much more interesting. These walls can have spins that rotate in a helical spiral or in a cycloidal spiral, and either can have right or left-handed chirality. When a current runs through them the walls, depending on their spin, can be propelled with the current, against the current, or to the left or right. The researchers also found that the handedness of the walls can be flipped by controlling the strain on the film.
Spin-orbitronics could open up new ways to store data in magnetic memory devices. This would include storage devices that rely on electrical currents, instead of mechanical systems to retrieve data.
It seems like only yesterday that the only option for large data storage was HDDs, but now we are seeing ever larger and cheaper SSDs released. Corsair has launched two new Force Series LS SSD drives with 480 GB and 960 GB capacities. Like the others in the series, the drives are just 7 mm thick, feature SATA 3 connectors, and TRIM support. The drives are also able to achieve 560 MB/s read and 540 MB/s write speeds, with an advanced dynamic and static wear-leveling algorithm to keep the drives going for a long time.
Both drives are available for sale immediately from Corsair authorized retailers. The Force Series LS 480 GB is estimated to sell at $189.99 and the 960 GB drive at $379.99. Both come with a three year warranty from Corsaid.
A couple weeks back a rumor appeared that AMD was working on a new APU featuring 16 Zen cores and a Greenland GPU. It would also feature HBM and DDR4 support, but not a whole lot else was known. Now some new rumors have turned up on this APU, and it seems even more fantastical. This APU would have up to 16 Zen x86 cores with 32 threads, with 512KB of L2 cache per core and 32MB of L3 cache. It also has AMD Crypto Co-Processor and Secure Boot, which would make this more of a server chip than desktop. On the graphics side, a Greenland GPU is along for the ride, as is 16GB of HBM with 512GB/s bandwidth for just the graphics. A double precision compute rate of 1/2 is also expected, which again points to this being a server chip, especially when you factor in the possibility of ECC, RAS, and true HSA support.
DDR4 support of up to 1TB would be possible, with speeds at 3200MHz. An impressive 64 lanes of PCIe 3.0 would be available, with up to 16 lanes being split between SATA and SATA Express. Both the CPU and GPU would be able to share the cache, HBM, and system RAM, which would help boost performance to high levels.
Now, all of this does sound rather impressive and would be one amazing APU from AMD, but all of this is just rumor. It's based on a slide that may or may not be a total fabrication, and if it is true, odds are we won't see this in its full capacity on the desktop market. Servers could, maybe in 2017 or later, but desktops would probably have a stripped down version to fit in an affordable price range. Either way, whether it is all true or not, take it with a grain of salt and hope we get official news at some point.
A new day is here with a couple of items to help tide you over. We have a review on the Phanteks PH-TC14S CPU cooler, a slim tower-style heat sink that should keep things cool while providing room for RAM. Our other item for today is the Divoom Voombox Travel Bluetooth Speaker, which is a smaller single-speaker design with a waterproof exterior.
It is hard to say exactly when, but eventually we are going to have quantum computers capable of quickly performing operations even the best modern computers cannot. Much needs to be done before then though, both in terms of developing new technologies, and refining them to be easily produced. Researchers at the University of New South Wales have recently achieved both by successfully altering a qubit inside a silicon chip with an electric field.
Qubits, or quantum bits, are what quantum computers rely on, and unlike electronic bits that stores zeroes or ones, qubits are capable of representing both zero and one at the same time. This is thanks to the quantum mechanics phenomenon known as superposition. Manipulating qubits is somewhat challenging, in part because of how fragile they are, but the New South Wales researchers were able to control one using electric fields. The qubit was actually a phosphorus atom within silicon-28, an isotope of silicon that is completely non-magnetic and does not disturb the qubit. Normally manipulating such a qubit requires pulses of oscillating magnetic fields.
By achieving control over single qubits with just electric fields, a quantum computer could be made much more cheaply, by using voltage generators instead of high-frequency microwave sources. Also the manufacturing process needed to produce the qubit is similar to that used to create computer chips, further reducing costs.
be quiet!, a leading manufacturer of power supplies and cooling solutions, has expanded its line of coolers with the release of the Shadow Rock LP CPU cooler. The Shadow Rock LP features a compact low-profile design, measuring just 75.4mm tall, and offers great aesthetics with its brushed aluminum top cover and fitted aluminum caps. Despite its small size and excellent appearance, the Shadow Rock LP is capable of cooling CPUs that feature a TDP of up to 130W. The CPU cooler offers a 120mm Pure Wings 2 fan that features nine airflow-optimized fan blades and a durable rifle bearing, a wealth of aluminum fins, and six millimeter heat pipes.
The Shadow Rock LP CPU cooler from be quiet!, which comes with a three-year warranty and supports all popular Intel and AMD sockets, features an MSRP of 48 euros.
The US Department of Commerce has recently added persons and entities in China, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates to the Entity List, which is the list of entities that certain items should not be sold to. This is determined by the End-User Review Committee, which considers if the end user will use the products in ways "contrary to the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States." China was added to the list, calling for all licenses to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, because the hardware is used in Chinese supercomputers that are used for "nuclear explosive activities." Entities in Pakistan and the UAE were added because of links to the Haqqani Network, which is designated as a foreign terrorist organization, so the license review policy is now presumption of denial. These new license requirements apply to transactions where the eleven total new entities on the list, maybe the ultimate end user.
In the same document, a Germany entity was taken off the list. Apparently another entity of the same name was added to the list in 2013, so the unrelated German company requested it be removed, because being on the list was hurting its business.
Not to be outdone by NVIDIA with the release of its GeForce Game Ready Drivers for Grand Theft Auto V, AMD has released version 15.4 beta of its Catalyst driver. The driver enables peak performance for gamers utilizing AMD Radeon graphics cards and running Grand Theft Auto V, and also includes various bug fixes and Crossfire profile updates for titles such as Battlefield Hardline and Far Cry 4.
NVIDIA has officially released its GeForce 350.12 WHQL Game Ready drivers. The latest drives focus primarily on improving the overall gaming experience for Grand Theft Auto V, which has recently been made available to consumers. Owners of Grand Theft Auto V and certain graphics cards from NVIDIA will find that the GeForce 350.12 WHQL Game Ready drivers offer support for SLI Technology and GeForce Experience one-click optimizations.
Kingston has announced the KC310 solid state drive, its largest business class SSD with a capacity of 960GB. The KC310 is powered by a Phison S10 quad-core, eight-channel controller providing sequential read and write speeds up to 550MB/s and 520MB/s, respectively. Several technologies focused on reliability are featured in the drive including SmartECC, Flash error code correction, firmware-based power loss protection, and the ability to rebuild data in the event of an error. SSD business manager Ariel Perez described the new drive stating, "Corporate customers looking to upgrade client systems will also find KC310 ideal for entry-level servers with its combination of read/write speeds, IOPS, high capacity and advanced data protection."
The GeminII S524 Ver. 2 is the latest CPU cooler from Cooler Master, utilizing a top down design to provide the cooling. The decision to use a copper base in conjunction with patented Continuous Direct Contact heat pipes helps Ver. 2 improve over the performance of its predecessor, achieving up to 7% lower temperatures. The GeminII S524 Ver. 2 is compatible with all modern sockets and can accommodate 120mm or 140mm fans. A 120mm Silencio FP PWM fan is included to provide high airflow combined with sound dampening.
Efficiency has always been a priority when it comes to designing electronics, and with today's nanotechnologies, the ways to achieve it are more becoming much more advanced. Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington have been awarded a $300,000 grant from the NSF to work on a new transistor design that could improve efficiency by a factor of ten.
This new transistor design is quite different from traditional designs as all of the components are contained in a single nanopillar, less than 50 nm in diameter, and arranged vertically, so they can still be packed in on a chip. Besides its geometry, the transistors are also special because the electrons can flow through them without heating up. This is achieved by passing the electrons through a quantum well, which will cool them down to -228 ºC at room temperature, and without special external means. By keeping the electrons cool, the transistors can operate with less energy, and of course generate less heat. The results would be longer battery lives and/or lighter loads to carry.