OCC TECH NEWS
November 23, 2014
Samsung and NVIDIA haven't seen eye to eye on some things of late, with NVIDIA filing a patent lawsuit against both Samsung and Qualcomm over GPU licensing fees. Now Samsung is firing back with a lawsuit of its own, and this one is a little interesting. While NVIDIA wants to block Samsung Galaxy phones with its lawsuit, Samsung wants to block NVIDIA GPUs in the U.S. market. Both GeForce and Tegra products would be blocked, which would not only affect NVIDIA but any third-party company that ships its products. The exact reasoning for Samsung's desire to block the GPUs is not known at this time, but it's probably based on some technology that Samsung feels it is owed money for in order for NVIDIA to use it.
There is a long way to go before anything concrete comes of this lawsuit, so don't fret just yet. Hopefully NVIDIA and Samsung can come to some kind of an agreement for both cases, otherwise some of the most popular smartphones and GPUs won't be available in the U.S.
November 22, 2014
South Korea's SmileGate took the Internet by storm when it unveiled its isometric, hack-and-slash MMORPG Lost Ark last week, with its high production values, amazing skill effects, and a whopping 18 playable characters. While the eight-minute Debut Trailer was quite impressive, now we get a new 19-minute "G-star Trailer", showing off even more of the game and its characters. Sadly, the narration is in Korean, but it's still a visual treat to watch.
Lost Ark is expected to enter Closed Beta next year, but a Western release is still up in the air.
Source: Official Site
At its peak, World of Warcraft had a whopping 12 million subscribers, making it the most popular MMORPG in history. While Blizzard has still enjoyed great success with the game, its subscriber base has unsurprisingly declined over the years, dropping to a still respectable, roughly 7.5 million last year. But with the release of the Warlords of Draenor expansion, World of Warcraft has once again surpassed the 10-million mark as of November 13, the date of the launch. More than 3.3 million copies of the expansion were sold within the first 24 hours.
Blizzard qualifies active subscribers as the following:
World of Warcraft subscribers include individuals who have paid a subscription fee or have an active prepaid card to play World of Warcraft, as well as those who have purchased the game and are within their free month of access. Internet game room players who have accessed the game over the last thirty days are also counted as subscribers. The above definition excludes all players under free promotional subscriptions, expired or cancelled subscriptions, and expired prepaid cards. Subscribers in licensees' territories are defined along the same rules.
Source: Press Release
This Tuesday saw a record-breaking event, and it happened right in the heart of Manhattan – a 24-million-pixel LED display longer than a football field and eight stories high lit up Times Square for the first time. The world's largest display debuted with an exhibition of digital art by Universal Everything Studio, but will the home of some Google advertising next week through the New Year. While the screen's advertising firm Clear Channel Outdoor wouldn't divulge details of the Google deal, the New York Times reports that "the rate for a four-week advertising blitz is $2.5 million."
The gigantic billboard hovers over the Marriott Marquis Hotel and was commissioned by the Vornado Realty Trust in 2012 "as part of a $140 million project to expand and redevelop the Marriott Marquis' retail space." The exact cost of the screen itself is unknown. The heart of Times Square where this billboard is located is passed by an average of 300,000 pedestrians every day and 115,000 drivers and passengers. According to Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins, "This is the one place on the planet where people seek out, take pictures of and then transmit advertisement."
November 21, 2014
Ubisoft has released another "101 Trailer", this time for its MMO-CarPG The Crew. The trailer is broken up into nine parts: Intro, World, Crew Up, Factions, Skills, Missions, Rewards, Customization, and Outro. You can skip around to whatever section you'd like, or just sit back and watch the full eight-minute video. While the whole video is certainly worth a watch, Factions is particularly interesting, as I don't recall Ubisoft touching upon that much in the past.
The Crew is set to arrive on December 2 for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. An Open Beta will be available from November 25 to November 27 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Source: Press Release and UbiBlog
Far Cry 4 launched on Tuesday to fairly high critical acclaim. While the launch was accompanied by two trailers – a CGI Launch Trailer and a Story Trailer – Ubisoft has a new trailer for us to enjoy. This time around it's all about the Map Editor. "Using assets from the world of Far Cry 4, you’ll be able to add everything from vehicles to elephants to AI soldiers to weapons – even a golden effigy of Pagan Min."
Source: Press Release
Well now we know where those leaked Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series screenshots came from – it came from the Teaser Trailer. Check out the first official look at the six-part episodic game series based on HBO's mega-hit Game of Thrones:
Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series is coming soon to PC (Windows & Mac), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and iOS.
Source: Press Release
With Black Friday approaching, there is a good chance many of us will be searching through sales for "amazing deals." What influences us to actually purchase one item or another is of interest to many, and researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and Technische Universität have found that customer recommendations can play a significant role in the decision.
To do this study, the researchers looked at purchases for a toy and game mail order company for a nearly four week period. The test group was shown social network endorsements, such as 'Like' and '+1', while the control group was not. The result was a 13% increase in sales by the test group, which is a significant difference. The researchers also found that this impact is felt mostly with more hedonistic buying behavior, such as impulse buying, as opposed to targeted purchases. More investigation showed an increase in purchases of 18% when people shopped online during their free time, with an almost 26% increase in spending.
The researchers suggest that the customer recommendations may be triggering a kind of herd behavior amongst consumers. They also found that, like with targeted purchases, purchases made when consumers have little time to browse were not affected by recommendations that much.
Source: Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainx
Back in October, it was reported that Dish customers lost access seven channels due to a contract dispute with Turner Broadcasting. The channels that have been unavailable to Dish customers since the incident include Boomerang, Cartoon Network, CNN, CNN en Espanol, Headline News, truTV, and Turner Classic Movies. Today, Turner Broadcasting has announced that both companies have mutually decided to restore service of these channels, allowing subscribers of Dish Network to be able to watch their favorite television channels once more. Turner Broadcasting also revealed within its announcement that coverage of TBS and TNT has been extended due to the mutual agreement.
Source: Press Release
The end of the week is finally here, and we have a couple of items for you to consider today. There is a review on the be quiet! Silent Base 800 case, which is the company's first-ever case. It was designed to offer the best possible cooling experience while also providing quiet operation and plenty of interior space for whatever gear you want to include. Our other item is a podcast looking back at the latest news and reviews from the past week.
be quiet! Silent Base 800 @ TechSpot
Podcast #327 @ PC Perspective
They say one should not judge a book by its cover, but sometimes the cover is the most interesting part. Topological insulators (TIs) are a curious class of materials that conduct electricity on their surfaces, but not through their bulk. Researchers at Purdue University have recently found that they also possess another property that should prove useful in future applications of TIs.
Due to the different properties between a topological insulator's bulk and surface, electrons can have some odd behaviors. Among these is that electrons on the surface are always spin polarized, unlike in other materials where the spins can be random and cancel each other out. This is one of multiple special properties that could see TIs used for spintronics and quantum computers. What the Purdue researchers have found is that the electrical resistance of the material is not dependent on its thickness. This is not normally the case with other three-dimensional materials, but here it is. They also found that the conduction seemed to be topologically protected, which would help it maintain conductance as thickness decreases.
It is because of this protection and the ability to conduct electrons without disrupting their spin states that could allow TIs to be made into spintronic and quantum computers. Such computers would operate very differently from modern computers and potentially allow for much more complicated operations to be performed very quickly.
Source: Purdue University
Intel is teasing its upcoming Haswell-EX processor, which will feature a wealth of various features and technologies aimed directly at server environments. The Intel Xeon E7 v3 microprocessor, codenamed Haswell-EX, is set to offer up to 18 cores with the Hyper-Threading technology, 45MB of last-level cache, PCI Express 3.0 links, a quad-channel DDR4 memory controller, and more. The processor will be made using 22nm tri-gate technology and will feature 5.56 billion transistors, making it one of the most complex x86-based processors ever manufactured. New reliability, availability, and scalability capabilities are expected to be introduced thanks to the new Xeon E7 platform, making Xeon platforms as a whole more comparable with Itanium-based servers in terms of included features.
Intel is set to reveal technical details about its Xeon E7 v3 microprocessor at the 2015 IEEE international Solid-State Circuits Conference, which will take place in February, 2015.
Google is currently experimenting with a new service called Contributor, which provides websites with funding in a new way while also eliminating annoying advertisements for viewers. Google Contributor is partly a subscription service, as users have to pay $1 to $3 per month in order to get rid of advertisements on participating websites. That money is well spent, however, as Google Contributor promises to split up a portion of the funds with websites that are integrated with the service, allowing users to see a thank you message where an advertisement would normally be while websites continue to generate income. Even with advertisement blocking software installed, users can still support their favorite websites with Google Contributor for a small monthly fee, as long as the websites they visit are signed up for the service.
Interested website owners can apply for the program on the service’s website through a waitlist application, since Google Contributor is currently invitation only.
November 20, 2014
The United States Postal Service is the latest victim in a long line of companies to have suffered a data breach during this year. At this point in time, it is believed that approximately 100 servers and their workstations were compromised after a sophisticated adversary was able to gain access to the network used by the United States Postal Service. Data that was stolen includes names, dates of birth, social security numbers, addresses, dates of employment, and other information associated with more than 800,000 Postal Service employees. It is also believed that 2.9 million customer complaints were compromised in the attack, which include names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of those who filed the complaints. United States Postal Service cyber-security official, Randy Meskanic, stated that "At this time, we do not believe that Postal Service transactional revenue systems in Post Offices, as well as on usps.com where customers pay for services with credit and debit cards, were affected by this incident."
Employees of the Postal Service who have possibly been affected by the data breach are being provided with credit monitoring services.
Netflix, one of the largest video streaming subscription services currently available across the world, streamed a total of 19.5 million terabytes of video in the first quarter of this year. Broken down, this equates to 6.5 million terabytes of video per month, which certainly exceeds the 4 million terabytes of video streamed per month during the first quarter of 2013. Assuming that the same amount of data continues to be used for high-definition video streaming and that previous growth remains constant, Netflix will stream 27 million terabytes of video in the first quarter of 2015, which comes out to 9 terabytes if video per month. This amount will likely be larger however, as 4K content continues to make its way onto Netflix.
Source: Cord Cutters News
Enermax has announced a pair of all-in-one liquid cooling solutions as part of the LIQMAX II Series, the LIQMAX II 120S and LIQMAX II 240. The number in the product name indicates the size of the radiator, which will be cooled by one or two 2nd generation batwing fans with Adjustable Peak Speed RPM range setting. The cooling block uses patented Enermax Shunt Channel Technology which "boosts heat exchange efficiency by eliminating the boundary layers and increases the coolant exchange ratio." The LIQMAX II Series will be compatible with LGA1150, LGA2011, AM3+, and FM2+ CPU sockets.
Source: Press Release
OCZ has announced its latest line of solid state drives, the Saber 1000 Series, designed for "read-intensive applications targeting high-volume deployment hyperscale, web-hosting and distributed computing environments." The drives are built with 19nm NAND flash from Toshiba and will be available in capacities of 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB. Powered by the OCZ Barefoot 3 controller the Saber 1000 Series is capable of read and write speeds up to 550MB/s and 470MB/s, respectively. OCZ CTO Daryl Lang described the drives saying, "In designing the new Saber 1000 Series we listened to our customers to meet their growing needs for a server-class SSD that is optimized with the right balance of features, performance and cost. With the Saber 1000 Series, customers now have an ideal storage solution in which to build an all-flash datacenter, one that is able to efficiently process high volume enterprise and hyperscale workloads."
Source: Press Release
It is not uncommon for academics at universities to form spinout companies based on their research. One example is QD Vision, which is an MIT spinout that works with quantum dot displays. Thanks to partnerships with other companies, QD Vision's technology may soon be coming to the world.
Quantum dots are semiconductor nanocrystals that can be tuned to react to and emit specific colors of light. This ability to directly emit light is part of why many want to see them used in televisions, and thanks to Sony and TCL, some televisions are already using the spinout's Color IQ technology. Traditional LCD TVs place a white LED backlight behind red, green, and blue filters to produce colors on the screen. The problem is that the LED backlight is not actually white but blue; a phosphor is used to create the white light, which causes some of the light to be lost. Color IQ has a different approach as it uses the blue backlight, without a phosphor, to energize quantum dots to produce red and green. The result is a display that covers 50% of the NTSC color gamut while being 20% more efficient.
Compared to OLED displays, the Color IQ displays are just as colorful, but significantly cheaper to produce. Currently the quantum dot displays using QD Vision's technology are only available in Chine, but they are expected to come to the rest of the world in mere months.
A new day is upon us, with plenty of items for you to check out. We have a review on the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 AMP! Extreme Edition video card, with its factory overclock and custom cooler. There is also the MSI X99S MPOWER motherboard, which is a high end model that can help get your Haswell-E system to the performance levels you desire. The In Win D-Frame Mini chassis gets reviewed, which is a Mini-ITX model that has an extremely unique appearance. Plexor's M6e 256GB SSD gets tested to see how well this PCIe SSD compares to the competition. Finally there's a performance test of Far Cry 4 and how well it runs on various setups.
ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 AMP! Extreme Edition @ Bjorn3D
MSI X99S MPOWER @ LanOC Reviews
In Win D-Frame Mini @ Benchmark Reviews
Plexor M6e 256GB SSD @ PC Perspective
Far Cry 4 Benchmarked: Graphics and CPU Performance @ TechSpot
DEEPCOOL, a manufacturer of computer chassis, cooling solutions, power supply units, and electronic accessories, has announced a new simple vision of STEAM CASTLE. The latest microATX computer chassis from DEEPCOOL, which is a mid-tower, comes with a side window, blue LED lighting, and four turbo-style fan ports. STEAM CASTLE supports microATX and Mini-ITX motherboards and also can accommodate graphics cards up to 320mm in length. The case includes one preinstalled 120mm LED case fan, one USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0 port, configurable drive bays, and HD audio connections.
The DEEPCOOL STEAM CASTLE will be available in black and white color options in December, and will feature an MSRP of $79.99.
Source: Press Release
Gorilla Glass has been around for quite some time, with many manufactures using the Corning product in flagship phones, tablets, and a variety of other devices. While Corning touted how previous versions of Gorilla Glass were resistant to minor cracks and scratches, they generally failed to provide adequate protection against shattering when dropped on hard surfaces. Gorilla Glass 4 is marketed as having increased shattering resistance, as Corning has just revealed that the latest version of its glass is comprised of a new formula that is engineered to make the product stronger than ever. Gorilla Glass 4 will apparently remain intact 80 percent of the time when dropped from one meter above the ground, compared to conventional soda-lime glass that shatters every time when dropped from the same height.
While HBO GO has been available on the Xbox 360 for months, the cable network's streaming service has continued to be absent from the Xbox One ever since the application was released roughly a year ago. Microsoft today has revealed that HBO GO is now available to Xbox One users, allowing them to access HBO's entire library, including titles such as The Sopranos and Game of Thrones. The HBO Go application even supports voice and gesture controls through Kinect.
The availability of HBO GO on the Xbox One comes five months after Microsoft announced that the streaming service, which requires a subscription to a cable or satellite provider, would be coming to its latest gaming console.
Because of their efficiency, many want to see white LEDs used to light our homes, but while they do use less power, they are also less warm. White LEDs do not actually produce white light but instead emit blue light that energizes a phosphor, which then produces the white light. The resulting light has a cooler, blue tint to it, but researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology, as reported in Optics Express have found a way to create a warmer tone, when LEDs are dimmed.
Others have created LED systems that produce a warm color when dimmed by using multiple LEDs that mix their colors. These systems are rather complicated though, as control circuitry has to be used to make sure the many components work correctly together. The Eindhoven researchers' approach however is simpler as it just changes the phosphor used. This new phosphor is a composite of a liquid crystal and polymeric material, which makes it sensitive to temperature. At higher temperatures it is transparent, allowing the cooler, blue light of the LED to come through, but at lower temperatures, when the LED is dimmed, it scatters light. This causes more of the blue light to stay in the phosphor, creating a warmer glow.
Generally, humans prefer warmer, redder light in low-light situations and that may have to do with the color of the Sunrise and Sunset. By having LEDs produce a warmer light when dimmed, the technology could become more acceptable in homes. The researchers predict that products using their design could reach the market in just two years, if they are proven reliable.
Source: The Optical Society
November 19, 2014
As a pure action FPS, I thoroughly enjoyed Titanfall when it first came out. Titanfall falls somewhere between a realistic military shooter and a run-n-gun arcade shooter, with arguably the best mobility of any shooter. And of course, what's not to love about jumping into or onto a giant mech? If you passed on the game at launch, now's your chance to hop into the action at a fraction of the cost with all content.
Respawn Entertainment has revealed the Titanfall Deluxe Edition, which is now available for PC via Origin for just $39.99. The Xbox One version will be available digitally on November 25 for $49.99. The Deluxe Edition not only contains the base game and the eight major updates along the way, but also all three DLC packs: Expedition, Frontier's Edge, and IMC Rising. With Respawn adding a co-op wave defense mode called Frontier Defense last month, now's a great time to get into the fray. Check out the "New Gameplay Updates and Features" video to learn more:
Source: Press Release and Official Site
Flying Wild Hog, the studio behind hardcore first-person shooters Hard Reset and Shadow Warrior, is back with a ... kid-friendly, side-scrolling platformer. Say what?! JUJU is an extremely vibrant and colorful 2.5D platformer featuring a pink shaman panda named Juju and his lizard sidekick named Peyo. Watching gameplay, I'm immediately reminded of the recent Rayman games, but JUJU seems a lot more accessible for younger gamers, making it the perfect parent-and-child co-op game, especially with the drop-in/drop-out nature.
JUJU will feature 40 beautiful stages and nine massive, multi-stage boss battles. Single-player and co-op play are both supported, with the second player taking control of Peyo, who was specifically designed to be an easier entry point for new gamers. "Armed with an extra tongue attack and reduced chance to be targeted by bosses, Peyo has been created specifically for new players to get their feet wet in gaming." There are also time challenges, hardcore modes, secret areas, achievements, and leaderboards. It certainly seems like a game any age can enjoy.
JUJU is coming to PC (Steam), PlayStation 3 (PSN), and Xbox 360 (XBLA) on December 9.
Source: Press Release
Mozilla has announced that it will drop Google as the default search engine for the Firefox web browser in favor of Yahoo. The move comes as part of a five year partnership that will also include changes to the search engine. Yahoo will roll out an upgrade in December that includes an enhanced search function and Do Not Track functionality. The change comes after a ten year run by Google and was described by Mozilla CEO Chris Beard who said, "We believe it will empower more people, in more places with more choice and opportunity to innovate and ultimately put even more people in control over their lives online." Firefox currently holds 17% of web browser market share while Yahoo only makes up 10% of Internet searches, and perhaps this move could benefit both parties going forward.
Source: The Verge
Corsair has been a major player in the CPU liquid cooling market for a while now, but its latest product takes aim at graphics cards. The Hydro Series HG10 A1 is a liquid cooling bracket for AMD Radeon 290X and 290 graphics cards. The unit contains a bracket and heatsink and will allow users to cool the GPU in addition to important surrounding components. The HG10 is designed to be compatible with the cooling fan included with the Radeon cards to ensure "improved compatibility with the card’s fan speed and temperature monitoring features." When paired with an all-in-one liquid cooler from Corsair the HG10 will be able to provide a simple and effective liquid cooling solution. The HG10 is available now at an MSRP of $39.99 and will be available for other GPU lines such the NVIDIA GeForce Titan and AMD 7 Series early next year.
Source: Press Release
They say the family that plays together, stays together as a result of the interactions between family members. Researchers at Concordia University have found that this remains true for social networking games, as it did for traditional board games.
With many families spread across countries and even continents, staying connected can be difficult, which is why many have turned to social networks and some to social networking games (SNGs). To examine the impacts SNGs have had on families, the Concordia researchers gave questionnaires to a group of social network gamers and followed them up with interviews. They found that the games actually improved quality of time family members spent together, even if the games lack direct communication or had asymmetrical multiplayer. The reason for this is that the games gave a common topic to discuss. The researchers also found that this was not limited to younger generations, as grandparents were playing with grandchildren.
Naturally the researchers see this as a means for families to stay connected, but they also recognize that this is something game designers could take advantage of. Families connecting through a game are more likely to keep playing, and extend the life of the games more than playing with strangers or even friends.
Source: Concordia University
The middle of the week is here, with a few items for your consideration. We have another take on the MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4G video card, which offers a custom cooler and a factory overclock to get your games running their best right away. There is also a look at the Kingston HyperX Savage DDR3-2400 16GB kit, with a pretty stunning red and black theme to fit in well if you're trying to match that particular color scheme. Our final item for the day is a review on the Thermaltake Core V51 mid-tower, which has plenty of watercooling potential, even all the way up to 420mm radiators.
MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4G @ Bjorn3D
Thermaltake Core V51 @ Benchmark Reviews
Kingston HyperX Savage DDR3-2400 16GB @ ThinkComputers
Most mobile users are constantly looking for ways to save money on their wireless bills by reducing their usage. Opera Max, which offers the ability for data to be compressed on various servers operated by Opera in order to reduce mobile data consumption by up to 50 percent, is capable of doing just that. The application has gained quite a following since its initial offering, and Opera has just announced that it is now available in 16 more regions. Opera Max can now be downloaded and used by mobile users in Albania, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Japan, Laos, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.