Cooler Master, which is a leader in computer chassis, power supplies, and CPU coolers, has announced that it is expanding the warranty on its Nepton series CPU coolers. The Nepton series is focused on providing efficient cooling of CPUs by using an exclusive watercooling design by Cooler Master. The initial warranty for the Nepton 140XL and Nepton 280L was two years from purchase, but the warranty period has now grown to five years from the date of purchase. This extension of warranty provides the same regionally located support from Cooler Master, and goes to show how much confidence the company has in its products, specifically its Nepton series CPU coolers.
Google has added some new features to its Google Play Games platform, though some will not be available for a few weeks as the update makes its way to Android devices. One of the main updates to Google Play Games is the ability for developers to now add in cross-platform multiplayer for real-time and turn-based games. This will allow users across different mobile platforms, Android and iOS specifically, to play games with each other. The Google Play Developer Console is also receiving a refresh, with enhanced statistics and integrated C++ tools in order to support achievements and leaderboards. Gifting in-game items will soon be a possibility once the update rolls out as well. Players of mobile games will be able to gift in-game items to individuals in their Google+ circles, or to any user that they can find through searching by name.
It seems that Amazon is having a difficult time staying away from media outlets, as reports about a set top box, Android game console, video game controller, and increased Prime subscription costs have been all the rage lately. Now, Amazon is in the news once again, with reports that the company is working on a streaming stick of its own. The streaming media device will make use of an HDMI connection and stream content from multiple sources such as Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, and Netflix, which is similar to the Roku and Chromecast. It has also been reported that the streaming stick by Amazon will be able to stream games through its own servers that it controls around the world. The possibility is real, as Amazon already provides the Amazon AppStream service through its Amazon Web Services offering, which allows applications and games that are resource intensive to be accessed with very low latency from the cloud.
Could all of the rumors surrounding Amazon simply support one device that has yet to be released? Time will tell, but since Amazon has not officially announced the streaming stick that supports Amazon Instant Video, speculations are bound to continue.
Earlier today, some key Google chat services were unavailable to users. Google+ Hangouts and Google Talk suffered disruption of service for roughly three hours today, spanning from around 12:22PM EST to 3:28PM EST and 12:27PM EST to 3:28PM EST, respectfully. Initial reports of the services being down came in just before Google noted the issue, and as the disruption of service was fixed for both, more and more users were able to slowly access Google+ Hangouts and Google Talk. Google Sheets was also affected, with its service disruption lasting from 12:27PM EST to 2:44PM EST.
Due to the update, Google has apologized to users of its affected services, and has noted that reliability of its system is a top priority.
The inclusion of a driveable Batmobile adds a new element to the Batman Arkham franchise, but that's not the only way Rocksteady is keeping things fresh in Batman: Arkham Knight. Game director Sefton Hill sat down with Game Informer and explained what changes and additions have been made to the Batman Arkham formula.
Hill explained how the combat and predator arenas are "so refined" and have always been well received by fans and critics, that it was very important Rocksteady didn't change their core. As such, it's about adding rather than altering, so that Batman veterans could hop in and be instantly familiar with the gameplay, while having some new tricks at their disposal – new combat moves, new predator moves, and new gadgets. Hill went on to say how it's important that "every game feels like a new game rather than another episode of the previous game," which seems like a direct knock at Batman: Arkham Origins – despite me calling Arkham Origins the best Batman Arkhamgame to date, I still referred to as Arkham City 2.0.
Nevertheless, it still mostly boils down to the addition of the Batmobile, something Hill said has been the most requested feature since the first game. Thanks to the "next-gen" platforms, the Batmobile is now something Rocksteady can do in its vision, with Hill stating that, "hopefully for us, [Batman: Arkham Knight is] the complete Batman experience."
Batman: Arkham Knight is set to release later this year for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
As intelligent and knowledgeable as humanity may believe itself to be, Nature still has many secrets and advantages over us. One example of this is photosynthesis, as plants are much better at capturing the energy of the Sun than our technologies. Naturally then, we are trying to utilize parts of plants to improve our technologies, but now researchers at MIT have gone the other way and used some of our technologies to improve plants.
Chloroplasts are the organelles in a plant cell responsible for photosynthesis, and for some time we have been extracting them, hoping to find some way to apply them to our solar energy systems. The problem is that chloroplasts do not survive long outside of a plant, though we can extend that life by adding nanoparticles of a strong antioxidant. The researchers delivered these nanoparticles using a new technique called lipid exchange envelope penetration (LEEP) and then used the same technique to add semiconducting nanotubes. Normally plants only absorb about a tenth of the spectrum of light available to them, but these nanotubes were able to increase that amount, by acting as artificial antennae.
After seeing an improvement in the chloroplasts, the researchers moved to living plants and added nanotubes there, successfully boosting electron flow by about 30%. The hope is to eventually use bionic plants as self-powered sensors that could detect chemicals such as pesticides, poisons, and even explosives.
Atari has officially announced that RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile will be launching this Spring for iPhone, iPad, and iPhone Touch. This will mark the franchise's first numbered entry since 2004's RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, with the only other entry since that time being an ill-received 3DS spin-off in 2012.
Long-time RollerCoaster Tycoon fans have already taken to social media to express their distaste that the former PC-exclusive franchise is coming to iOS instead of PC. Many were also initially worried the game would be free-to-play with microtransactions, "ruining" a once-beloved franchise, like what happened with Dungeon Keeper. Atari addressed both concerns, taking to Twitter to say "there is a PC experience in production now for release this year" and stating that the mobile game would be priced at $2.99 USD and feature 20 pre-designed rollercoasters, in addition to "a bevy of new attractions." Players will also be able to "invite and visit their friend's parks and exchange roller coaster blueprints" thanks to Facebook and Game Center support.
While the PC version is still missing, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare has been available on Xbox One and Xbox 360 since February 25. Today, Electronic Arts announced the game's first DLC, the Garden Variety Pack. Available for free starting March 18, the Garden Variety Pack adds a new 8v8 gameplay mode called Gnome Bomb, 24 new ability upgrades (three per class), and a new map called Chomp Town, featuring Pirate Zombies. EA has provided three screenshots from the DLC, which can be viewed below.
UPDATE: Xbox has posted a preview video for the Garden Variety Pack...
The annual Pwn2own hacking contest sponsored by Hewlett Packard wrapped up late last week and the Firefox web browser from Mozilla was the greatest victim claimed during the contest. Other popular browsers and software including Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Adobe Flash were also exploited. The Zero Day Initiative from HP was the primary sponsor and a total of $850,000 in bounties were handed out for the various exploits. The biggest winner was security researcher Vupen, collecting a total of $300,000 in prize money.
The 8GB iPhone 5c is rumored to be the latest smartphone offering from Apple, and according to rumors the company will reveal it tomorrow. The rumors come from a number of European sources including a pair of German websites and reports from UK retailers that claim to have received shipments of the new phone. A price has not been revealed for the 8GB model but it will be cheaper the the 5s model and will keep all color options found in the 16GB and 32GB models of the 5c.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has announced that the 1985 co-op, hack-and-slash classic Gauntlet is getting a modernized reboot. If you're an '80s kid, you likely played Gauntlet in the arcades and/or any number of platforms the game was eventually ported to. It was one of the first multiplayer dungeon crawlers, and modern action-RPG franchises like Diablo and Torchlight owe a lot to Gauntlet.
Like the original game, players get to choose from one of four characters: Warrior, Wizard, Valkyrie, and Elf. Aside from the modernized look, this reboot features "emergent, local and online four-player gameplay," which sounds like it could be drop-in, drop-out. Either way, it's nice to see both local and online co-op is included.
Gauntlet is being developed by Swedish indie developer Arrowhead Game Studios, best known for Magicka, as part of the WB Games Vault initiative. WB Games Vault is "a direct-to-digital portfolio that will deliver paid games based on popular Warner Bros. and Midway brands, plus original IP, across multiple digital networks," with Gauntlet being its first title. As of now, it appears that Gauntlet is coming exclusively to Steam this Summer, with full support for SteamOS.
As electronics shrink their heat problems grow and could eventually put a halt to shrinking components further. One possible solution for this issue is to change the materials being used within the electronics for ones with better heat conductance. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have recently discovered how a sandwich of graphene and copper could help address the heat problem.
Copper is currently used within computer chips as interconnects chips because of its electrical and thermal conductivity, but it may not be enough in the future. By placing a layer of copper between layers of graphene, an atom-thick sheet of carbon, its thermal conductivity increases significantly, much more than just the conductivity of graphene. The researchers found that the reason for the improved conductivity is that when growing the graphene on the copper by chemical vapor deposition, the microstructure of the copper changes. Apparently the graphene and high temperature causes the copper grains to grow, and this increases its heat conduction. The increase is even greater with thinner copper films.
Potentially this discovery could enable electronics to be manufactured at smaller scales before running into a thermal barrier. The researchers are also going to work create a more accurate model of how thermal conductivity relates to grain sizes.
We have plenty to get to on St. Patrick's Day today, so let's dive right in. There's a look at the Corsair Carbide Series Air 540 case, with its unique dual chamber design for some truly interesting build possibilities. For those needing CPU cooling, the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 gets put to the test to see just what this dual tower, dual fan heat sink is capable of. We have a review on the Corsair Raptor M45 gaming mouse, which features a 5000DPI optical sensor, seven programmable buttons, and a weight system to help you customize the mouse. We also have a look at the Shuttle Barebone DS437 fanless system, an iPhone 5/5s case from X-Doria, and a couple of CeBIT 2014 articles, so be sure to hit up all the links before for the full scoop.