Nimble Quest is a free-to-play, top-down action game that resembles the classic game Snake, but with a twist – you control a "conga line of heroes." The object of the game is rather simple – kill a set number of enemies in a level to advance to the next. The heroes in your "snake" will automatically attack when an enemy is within range. The only control you have is maneuvering your snake up, down, left, and right. And like Snake, if you hit a wall or an enemy, you die. However, you can also die if the hero leading your snake runs out of health. Yes, the enemies attack too. Your other heroes have health too, but if they run out, they simply leave your snake allowing you to continue on without them.
Three heroes are initially available with an additional thirteen unlockable by beating levels. In order, heroes include Knight, Forest Hunter, Fire Mage, Pirate Sharpshooter, Skeletal Warrior, Gnome Inventor (hurls bombs), Champion, Lightning Mage, Ninja, Demon, Warden Spirit, Dark Wizard, Orc Warlord, Assassin, Ice Mage Princess, and Elemental Monk. While you start each game with just one hero, heroes randomly drop when you kill an enemy. When you beat one of the first thirteen levels for the first time, unlocking a hero, the hero automatically gets added to your snake at the start of the next level. As such, I actually found my first couple runs to be far better than my later attempts, as I had an easier time gaining extra fire power. As in Snake, when you get longer you do have a tougher time maneuvering – and if you crash into yourself, it's game over – but due to the attacking mechanic, growing and maintaining a long snake is essential, as you'll want to dispatch enemies as quickly as possible.
Nimble Quest also features some light RPG aspects. Aside from possibly dropping a hero, killed enemies also drop gems or one of seven items. Items include a chest that spills gems all over the level, a healing potion, an increased attack speed buff, a magnet to draw gems to you, a bomb that destroys any enemies within the blast radius, a shield, an item that temporarily freezes all enemies on the screen, and tokens. Gems can be used to upgrade the items, such as increasing the duration of the magnet or increasing the blast radius of the bomb, or to upgrade your heroes. Heroes can be upgraded three times each, improving such stats as attack rate, armor, damage, and range, depending on the hero. The first upgrade is fairly affordable, but the third upgrade is crazy expensive. Everything in the game can be earned and upgraded by playing, but micro-transactions certainly speed up the process if you're lazy, frustrated, or just want to support the developer.
While gems are spent on permanent upgrades, tokens are spent on one-offs. At the start of each level, you can add a hero, skip a level, increase the health of all heroes by 25%, increase run speed by 25%, start with a shield, or increase the attack speed of all heroes by 25%. Each of those things cost one token and are only active for that playthrough. You can also spend one token when you die to retry the stage you were just on. You probably won't be surprised to learn that tokens are quite rare. You can buy them for 1000 gems, though it appears there may be a limit of five through that method (I do not have enough gems to test that out). Of course if you're willing to spend real money, you can always purchase tokens and gems, but again, it's not necessary to play and advance in the game.
If you're wondering how I've already played Nimble Quest, it's because the game is already available for free in the iOS App Store, Mac App Store, and Google Play. I have been playing the game on my iPad. There appears to be this elitist attitude by many Steam Greenlight voters wherein they believe mobile games have no place on Steam. I think that is absolutely ridiculous – if a game is fun, why does it matter what platform it originated? And Nimble Quest is indeed fun. If you don't believe me, go download it on your iOS or Android device (or if you don't own one of those devices, ask a friend who does). Nimble Quest is free-to-play, so what to you have to lose? And on that note, let's end this elitism and welcome Nimble Quest onto Steam with open arms!
Mushkin recently received an Innovation Award from The SSD Review for its line of Chronos GO Deluxe solid state drives. The 1.8" drives received the award "due to its combination of its wide range of capacity offerings, form factor, and Mushkin's drive to push the limits of performance." Founder of The SSD Review Les Tokar highlighted the drive, stating that "The Mushkin Chronos GO Deluxe 1.8 SSD may be a relatively modest SSD to the world but it doesn't lack in performance. With both read and write transfer speeds above 500MB/s and write IOPS above 82,000, the LSI SandForce Driven characteristics are front and center."
Bit Fenix is looking to spice up the Prodigy series of cases, adding blue and green versions of the popular case. The mini-ITX case features the same windowed panel option as well as FyberFlex Composite material and SoftTouch Surface Treatment. Users will find the inside of the case to be rather spacious, allowing for up to five hard drives, GPUs up to 320mm in length, and even 240mm liquid cooling radiators.
The specifications for the upcoming NVIDIA GTX 770 graphics card have been revealed. Unlike the GTX 780, which is based on the new GK110 architecture, the GTX 770 is based on the GK104 architecture like the previous generation. It is going be a rebranded GTX 680 with higher clocks. It has 1,536 CUDA cores and a core clock of 1,046 MHz, which goes up to 1,085 MHz with NVIDIA's GPU Boost 2.0. It will be available in two variants, one with 2 GB and one with 4 GB of memory, both with a memory clock of 7,000 MHz, which is paired with a 256-bit memory interface.
The card will need a 6-pin and an 8-pin PCIe power connector, and it has a TDP of 230 W. The cooler is apparently going to be the same as the one used on the GTX Titan, which should keep the card rather cool and quiet. Two DL-DVI, an HDMI, and a DisplayPort output has been fitted on the board, so it should work with most modern monitors.
Performance has been estimated to be anywhere from 10 to 20 percent faster than AMD's HD 7970 GHz Edition; though in some games, like Tomb Raider, Crysis 3, and Max Payne 3, the GTX 770 will be on par or a little faster.
A price has not been revealed yet, but it is expected to be around the same as the HD 7970 GHz Edition.
The other day NVIDIA announced Project SHIELD has been renamed to just SHIELD, and would arrive next month for $349. Pre-orders were going to go live on May 20, with anyone subscribed to the SHIELD newsletter getting a headstart. However, it appears NVIDIA had a change in plan and opened up pre-orders to everyone starting today. Interested gamers can get the Tegra 4-powered Android handheld online at the SHIELD website or at Newegg, GameStop, Micro Center, and Canada Computers. A carrying case and custom lids can also be pre-ordered at the SHIELD website, with the case running $39.99 and lids (carbon fiber or glossy black) at $19.99.
NVIDIA's website lists the SHIELD will ship by the end of June, but again no solid date is mentioned. Each SHIELD includes a copy of Expendable: Rearmed and Sonic 4 Episode II THD to get your gaming started right away.
Lasers are a special kind of device and when they were first created, they opened a new world to scientists of many fields. Since that day they have evolved as techniques improved and new technologies replaced old. Now researchers at the University of Michigan have created a completely new kind of laser that technically is not a laser because of how different it is.
Originally 'laser' was not a word but an acronym standing for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. This new device however operates quite differently as it uses polaritons to generate the photons, instead of other photons. This technique was first proposed in 1996 and works by electrically exciting electrons to higher energy states, creating an exciton; an electron-hole pair. By carefully tuning the microcavity these excitons are in and subjecting them to a magnetic field, it is possible to couple them to a photon, making them into polaritons. What that translates to is that when the electron and hole recombine, they will release a photon of a specific frequency. This fails to meet the definition of a laser because one photon does not cause other photons to be released.
While it may not technically be a laser, it could eventually be used to replace them as it can operate using 1000 times less energy. Before we can see them being used in modern electronics and networks though, they will have to be redesigned to function at room temperature, as they currently require cryogenic temperatures.
Another week has come to a close, and what better way to celebrate than with some reviews. Today we have a look at two different storage solutions, with one of them being a multipurpose device. The ADATA DashDrive Air AE400 Wireless Storage Reader and Power Bank combines a USB drive, wireless access point, card reader, and even a rechargeable power pack for tablets and mobile phones. Quite the multitasker, so check out the review to see how well it performs each one. Patriot's Supersonic Magnum flash drive only has one task, but its 256GB of storage and USB 3.0 connection means it can accomplish it very fast, to the tune of a 250MB/s read speed and 160MB/s write speed. Read both reviews below, as well as listening to the latest PC Perspective podcast.
ECS has announced a series of new motherboards with the Intel 8-series chipset targeted at the 4th generation of Core processors. The new boards will be available in the second quarter of this year in Pro, Deluxe, and Essentials models. "Pro series optimized for power computing, Deluxe series optimized for small office and home, and Essentials series optimized for home and multi-media." All of the boards will feature support for SATA 6Gb/s, PCI-E 3.0, and Thunderbolt. Also included in the new boards is ECS Durathon durability technology, ECS Hyper Alloy Choke technology, and 4-way video output.
The newest USB 3.0 flash drive from ADATA, the DashDrive UV150, is a value priced solution with a pearlescent exterior in glossy black and scarlet. The drive weighs only nine grams and has room for a lanyard strap, making it a perfect drive to carry around with you. Transfer speeds up to 90MB/s will allow for fast data transfers. The DashDrive UV150 will be available in capacities of 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB.
Some people believe that in the future, man will be melded with machine to overcome our weaknesses. While there are definitely some efforts being made on advanced implants and prosthetics, some are looking to combine electronics and organisms in a different way. At MIT researchers have modified bacteria cells to act as calculators with the ability to perform the five geometric operations as well as logarithms.
This is not the first time that cells have been modified to perform calculations, but unlike many of those previous experiments, the MIT bacteria are analog instead of digital, which comes with many advantages. Analog signals exist on a continuum, so one signal can carry quite a bit of information, compared to a single digital signal that is either 0 or 1. This allows for simpler circuits, such as the square root circuit which only has two parts, compared to the digital equivalent that has over 100. Another important advantage for analog circuitry is that cells already respond to analog signals, so the circuits could take advantage of existing mechanisms.
The researchers created their calculator from just three basic parts and are now working to develop more parts, to potentially create a library of parts to be used in cellular circuits. Eventually this could lead to more advanced molecular sensors, gene expression, as well as cellular computation and actuation.
Lian Li has unveiled a new case called the PC-Q30, for those who want something a little different, something aesthetic, or those that just want to show off. It is a curved, small form factor case that supports mini-ITX boards. The case is made of brushed aluminum with an acrylic window in the front to show off the internal components. "Whether in the living room, bedroom, or office, the PC-Q30 with its curve-shape and brushed aluminum finish takes visual command without being ostentatious," Lian Li explains.
A 140 mm fan is installed behind the motherboard and there is room for two additional 140 mm fans in the sides. The case comes with two expansion slots, four 2.5" hard drive slots, and an optional SFX power supply. The case allows PCIe cards to be 200 mm long, power supplies to be 125 mm long, and the CPU cooler can be up to 130 mm high.
In many cases before a new technology emerged to conquer a market, it existed in a variety of forms with different advantages and disadvantages inherit to their separate designs and constructions. Quantum computers are currently going through this phase as new and fundamentally different architectures are made and tested. Researchers at the University of Vienna have recently built and tested a 'boson sampling' computer, which uses photons, a type of boson, and a complex optical network to perform calculations.
Photons, the quanta of light, are being considered for use in many quantum computer designs, thanks to the relative ease they can be made with and their very high mobility. The design the researchers created takes advantage of this mobility by putting them through a network with multiple paths available to the photons. While a classical particle will be limited to a single path, a quantum mechanical particle can enter a superposition and take multiple at the same time. By then counting the number of photons to exit each output of the network, the computer is able to complete a calculation.
This ability of quantum computers to utilize superposition gives them the power to perform computations that are nearly impossible with a classical computer. Ironically though, to confirm this boson sampling computer was operating correctly, the researchers needed a classical computer to verify the quantum computer's output.
Today AMD launched the world's fastest notebook graphics card, the AMD RadeonTM HD 8970M. AMD managed to pack 1,280 stream processors on the card with an engine clock of 850 MHz (900 MHz with Boost) and a memory clock of 1,200 MHz. This gives the card 2,304 GFLOPS of single precision compute power and 144 GFLOPS of double precision compute power. Despite these impressive numbers, it is more efficient than previous generations, so your battery should last longer while you conquer the battlefield. The card supports Eyefinity, OpenCL, GPU acceleration, and DirectX 11.1.
AMD has provided some numbers on how much better the HD 8970M is compared to NVIDIA's GTX 680M, and it is clear that AMD has stepped up their game this time. The HD 8970M churns out about 20 frames more per second in Battlefield 3, which is quite impressive. The system used for the comparison contained a Core i7 3770k, 4 GB of DDR3 1600 MHz RAM, a Seagate Barracude 7200.11 hard drive, and a monitor with a 1920x1080 resolution.
We have just a couple of items for you to check out today, but each one should be something to consider. There's another look at the XFX R7790 Black Edition video card, complete with a custom cooler and a factory overclock to give the performance you need without frying the card. We also have a review on the Azza Silentium 920 case. This case comes pre-loaded with sound dampening materials and quiet fans, so it could be just the thing for a silent system.
When the Intel Haswell processors and the Z87 chipset arrive next month, ASUS is going to be sporting a new color scheme for its motherboards. Instead of the blue look past motherboards have had, the ASUS Z87 line will have a gold scheme to highlight the fact that ASUS delivers the gold standard in terms of quality, reliability, and performance. The heat sinks are going to catch your eye first, as they not only sport the new gold color but also a custom design for more surface area. That means improved cooling and better heat dissipation, which is vital for any system builder regardless of how much performance they are trying to get. The DIMM and PCIe slots, as well as the SATA ports, all get a nice splash of gold without being too in your face. Oh, and the black PCB provides a very nice contrast to the amount of gold.
As for what exactly ASUS has in store with its Z87 line, well, the Z87-DELUXE offers a huge variety of features and connectivity options as it sits at the high-end. Mainstream users can look toward the Z87-A, which packs in a ton of performance and ASUS features at a friendlier price point. There's also the Z87-PRO and Z87-PLUS for those who don't need all the top-end of features yet still want great performance. The Z87I-DELUXE offers "best-in-class" features and design in the Mini-ITX form factor. Those needing workstation reliability and features can look toward the Z87 WS, but the fun doesn't end there.
The ASUS ROG line (still decked in red and black) includes the MAXIMUS VI HERO, which brings the ROG brand to a more budget-friendly level; the MAXIMUS VI GENE and its microATX size, which also includes mPCIe Combo II for the latest M.2 (NGFF) SSD connectivity; and finally the big daddy MAXIMUS VI EXTREME, which ships with the ASUS OC Panel - "a real-time overclocking and system monitoring console that can be placed in a 5.25” drive bay or used externally." More ROG motherboards are planned, so try not to salivate too hard just yet.
ASUS is also bringing the TUF series into the Z87 fold, with the SABERTOOTH Z87 and the GRYPHON Z87, which is the first microATX TUF motherboard. Both of those feature Japanese-made 10K Black Metallic capacitors for 20% greater temperature tolerance and five times the lifespan of traditional capacitors. The SABERTOOTH features TUF components like Thermal Armor to aid with airflow, the TUF Fortifier backplate reinforcement, and the Dust Defender enclosures to protect the slots and ports from dust and debris. The microATX crowd isn't left out with the GRYPHON Z87, as owners can purchase the GRYPHON ARMOR KIT separately to deck it out with the Thermal Armor, TUF Fortifier, and Dust Defender.
There's still plenty of time to go before Intel reveals everything on its newest platform, but for now you can get an idea at what ASUS has in store for the launch. Pricing for the motherboards isn't known at this time, but expect that, and a release date, before long.
The two coolers of the new i4 Series from Noctua are targeted at Intel Xeon processors, frequently seen in workstations and servers. The NH-U12DX and NH-U9DX are compatible with LGA2011, LGA1356, and LGA1366 sockets and are mounted with the SecuFirm2™ mounting system. NF-B9 PWM fans are included with each heatsink to provide quiet airflow over the fins. Noctua CEO Mag. Roland Mossig said, "we've decided to update our DX line of coolers to work with both Square ILM and Narrow ILM based LGA2011 platforms. At the same time, we've added PWM control and switched the U12 version to the new, slimmer layout of the NH-U12S, which not only provides better performance but also ensures easier access to the RAM slots, which was another long time request from our industry partners." The NH-U9DX will have an MSRP of $64.90 and the NH-U12DX will cost $74.90.
Thermaltake is now offering a new mobile power pack through the LUXA2 brand name. The P3 2500mAh Power Bank is targeted at users of the iPhone 5 and similar mobile devices. The P3 comes with an iPhone 5 case to easily attach to your phone, and weighs just 70 grams making it easy to take with you. The 2500mAh capacity will allow users to double the battery life of their iPhone 5, and a standard USB connector provides easy access for plenty of other devices.
For some time now the United States military has been utilizing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance and occasionally as offensive platforms, because they can offer a number of advantages human piloted aircraft cannot. Among these advantages is great endurance, as UAVs do not get tired, but they can run low on fuel. At the Naval Research Laboratory though, a UAV with a special fuel source was able to stay in the air for 48 hours and one minute, shattering the previous record of 26 hours and two minutes.
The UAV is called an Ion Tiger and has at its heart a fuel cell that uses hydrogen to generate the electricity needed to power its systems. To set the previous record, the Ion Tiger used a tank of gaseous hydrogen at a pressure of 5000 PSI, but for the new record the researchers used liquefied hydrogen. Like most materials, hydrogen is denser in its liquid form, so more of it could be stored on the UAV, but it is more complicated than just filling it up with LH2. Hydrogen boils at 20 K, so the storage system had to be kept very cold to minimize fuel loss, and to optimize performance the researchers tuned the rate of hydrogen boiling off to match the vehicle's fuel consumption.
The researchers are now looking into advanced systems to manufacture LH2, which could be hard to come by in combat zones. Potentially an electrolyzer powered by solar or wind energy could be used to collect hydrogen from water, before it is compressed and refrigerated for use as a fuel.
Cooler Master has a new line of cases that may be for the more budget minded consumer, but these certainly aren't lacking in features. The Cooler Master N Series includes the N200, N400, and N600, with all of them designed with cooling, and water cooling, in mind. All three cases feature mesh front panels, an internal layout designed for maximum airflow, and support for a 240mm radiator. The N200 is a mini tower yet it can fit a 240mm radiator in the front, plus it has room for five fans and graphics cards up to 14 inches in length. The N400 and N600, meanwhile, are both mid towers that can fit the 240mm rad on the top or right side of the case for an out of the way position. A total of eight fans can fit in the N400 and it supports graphics cards up to 12.6" in length, while ten fans can go into the N600 and graphics cards up to 16.9". Each one also supports a mulitude of hard drives, SSDs, and various other internal components, plus all three include USB 3.0 support (N200 only has it on the Advanced model).
The Cooler Master N Series are available now, with the N200 priced at $49.99, the N400 at $59.99, and the N600 at $79.99.
Batteries have given humanity new ways to change our lives and our environment, especially lithium-ion batteries, thanks to their ability to store and produce large amounts of power, while being compact in size. As great as they are though, the batteries can have flaws that impair their performance and reduce their lifespan. Researchers at Purdue University though have found a very quick and effective way to catch these flaws during the manufacturing process.
Within lithium-ion batteries are two electrodes which are copper on one side and on the other is a paint-like substance. This substance is designed to capture and store lithium ions, which is how the battery is able to hold and release a charge. Imperfections in the paint, such as variations in thickness, air bubbles, and even an incorrect mixture can all affect a battery's performance, but all of these can now be detected. The researchers found that by flashing a xenon bulb on the copper side of the electrode, the opposite, painted side is heated. Imaging the heat distribution allows the researchers to discover any defects very quickly and before they could be a problem.
This quality control process takes less than a second and could have profoundly impact lithium-ion battery manufacture, but preventing poorer electrodes from being installed in batteries. Not only can these defects now be fixed on the spot, but potentially we could see them being removed from the manufacturing process, thanks to the information this process will provide.
We have a nice assortment of items for your viewing pleasure today, starting with a look at the MSI Z77A-GD65 motherboard. If you're aiming for an Intel LGA 1155 build, then this motherboard could be at its core. Having a good case is important, especially if you head to LANs often or want to get your pals into the world of PC gaming. Cooler Master's new N Series of cases could be just the thing, and luckily we have a look at the N200 to help you choose. For something different, there's a guide on how to build a Hackintosh PC on a budget, as well as checking out the top features of the new Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone.
NVIDIA first introduced the world to its Project SHIELD this past January at CES. This device is an Android-powered gaming handheld, with a 5", 1280x720 touchscreen built directly onto a game controller. Oh, and that controller contains a Tegra 4 processor to deliver plenty of power. NVIDIA has shown off a littlemore since CES, but has left out two important details: price and availability. However, wonder no more as NVIDIA has provided both as well as the proper name. The NVIDIA SHIELD arrives next month for $349 in the US and Canada, with the likes of Newegg, GameStop, Micro Center, and Canada Computers carrying it. Pre-orders begin on May 20 from those places and the NVIDIA SHIELD website, although NVIDIA is giving anyone who opted to receive Project SHIELD updates first dibs on pre-orders today.
SHIELD offers the full Android experience with access to games and apps from Google Play. It also includes TegraZone to show off exactly what that Tegra 4 processor can do, and a little something called Steam. There's GeForce game streaming, launching as a beta, to give access to your GeForce GTX 650 or higher-powered computer to enjoy games from wherever you are in the house. NVIDIA is working hard to be sure every PC game can stream without issue to SHIELD, and plan to unveil a list of supported titles at launch. A list of recommended routers is also going to be available at launch to ensure optimum streaming potential.
Some of the Android games NVIDIA is excited about at launch include: Broken Age and Costume Quest from Double Fine; Flyhunter: Origins from Steel Wool Games; Skiing Fred from Dedalord Games; and Chuck's Challenge from Niffler.
Without a doubt, steel is one of the most important materials in our species history as it allowed for the construction of skyscrapers, machines, and more. Its manufacture is also one of the largest industrial sources of carbon dioxide, constituting 5% of all of the world's CO2 emissions. Researchers at MIT though have found a way to possibly remove all CO2 emissions from the production of steel, and potentially other metals as well.
Ironically the solution the researchers developed to address this Earth-bound issue came from work concerning the Moon. With is considerably low mass, the Moon has no atmosphere to speak of, but if humans are ever to inhabit it, there must be an oxygen source. One method being considered is to release the oxygen from iron oxide in Moon dust. As iron oxide is the primary component of iron ore, which steel is made from, the researchers looked for a way to apply the method for steel production. The key was to find an electrode that could survive the temperatures of molten iron oxide while still conducting electricity. What they discovered was an alloy of chromium and iron, which are both inexpensive.
Along with zero CO2 emissions (replaced with oxygen emissions) the researchers found this method can produce very pure steel, which is a definite advantage to its adoption and use. One disadvantage though is its inability to produce the millions of tons of steel per year to be economical in large-scale plants. Instead, it may only find a home in smaller plants that only need to output hundreds of thousands of tons of steel in a year.
AMD's HD 7790 video card is making its way through all the manufacturers, and today we have a look at two varieties. One comes from Diamond and the other from PowerColor (OCC review here), with the latter offering a custom cooling solution and factory overclock to see what the new GPU can do. We have a look at a 32GB USB 3.0 flash drive from ADATA, with write speeds of 190MB/s and read speeds of 50MB/s. For some more permanent storage, there's the Seagate Thin SSHD 500GB hybrid drive. We also have a look at the ROCCAT Hiro gaming mouse pad and the Cooler Master NotePal A200 dual fan laptop cooling pad.
Most people here on OCC have probably heard of Raspberry Pi, which has been immensely popular amongst DIY enthusiasts. An add-on product called BrickPi now seeks to allow the user to utilize Raspberry Pi's computational power to handle LEGO Mindstorm robots. The add-on board is a Kickstarter project that has exceeded its goal of $1,889 by raising $21,000, so it seems there is a large interest in this product.
The board works by sliding over the Raspberry Pi. It then connects, controls, and powers Mindstorm motors and sensors, and provide power to the Raspberry Pi. The board has four ports dedicated to Mindstorm sensors and three ports for motors. The whole thing is powered by a nine volt battery, thus allowing the robot to run without a power outlet. The firmware used in the board is written in Arduino and the code is open source and available online now. Programming will be necessary, but Dexter Industries has tried to ease the process by making Python libraries for all the motors and sensors. The company is also planning on making a Scratch programming library to help children wanting to program on the BrickPi. To top it off, Dexter Industries has also made a case that has holes the LEGO pieces can snap into, and it is capable of housing both the Raspberry Pi and the BrickPi.
A Kickstarter contribution of $35 will get you the BrickPi, while $45 or more will get you the BrickPi along with the case. The manufacturer, Dexter Industries, says deliveries will begin in August 2013.
Last year researchers mathematically showed it should be possible to create a device similar to an invisibility cloak, but instead of redirecting light around an object, it would redirect heat. Now researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have created such a cloak out of copper and a silicon material.
The design of this cloak borrows greatly from metamaterial cloaks, which cause light to bend around an object, instead of striking and reflecting off of it. As copper is a good conductor of heat and PDMS silicon is not, the researchers were able to design the circular device to conduct the heat in specific directions around it, while also controlling the speed of the heat flow. This allows heat to uniformly distribute from one edge to the opposite, but the area in the center is left untouched.
As the theory behind thermal cloaks is still quite new, researchers are not able to predict all its applications. However, they do foresee it being used with electronic components, such as microchips, to manage heat.
The GeForce 320.14 beta drivers focus on the upcoming game Metro: Last Light. Single GPU and SLI performance is boosted by up to 10%. The drivers also incorporate the many improvements that were implemented in the previous 320.00 beta drivers. The previous release contained improvements and compatibility enhancements for Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, Dead Island: Riptide, and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon among others.
As the release of Project SHIELD, the portable gaming console from NVIDIA, gets closer the company has decided to show off the mold that will be used to create the device. A polycarbonate mixture is used in an injection mold process to create the lightweight casing to hold the numerous components found in Project SHIELD. Contained within the enclosure will be a Tegra 4, 5" 720p touchscreen, speakers, and more.
The most efficient solar power systems on Earth are the plants that surround us, and not the panels we manufacture. With billions of years of evolution to improve the formula, plants have a near perfect energy conversion efficiency, while our solutions struggle to achieve 20% efficiency. This is why many researchers are working to mimic plants for power generation, but those at the University of Georgia decided to just tap into plants and capture some of the electricity they produce.
Photosynthesis is the process plants use to take the energy of sunlight and with it create the sugars that fuel other processes throughout the organism. One of the steps involved separates the hydrogen and oxygen atoms in water, which releases electrons that then carry the energy to synthesize the sugars. Structures within the plant cells called thylakoids capture and store the energy from sunlight, and it is these that the researchers have modified to draw energy from. Instead of the electrons flowing as they normally would through the plant, they instead are directed down carbon nanotubes that have been connected to the thylakoids.
When tested, the researchers' design generated one hundred times more energy than similar systems, but as impressive as that is, there is still a lot of work to do. The technology and possibly the plants will need to be optimized before we could see literal 'power plants,' but some low power devices, like remote sensors, may be able to benefit from this research sooner.
We have a lot to look at today, starting with a low profile HD 7750 from Diamond. It could be the perfect addition to all those thin cases, so check out the review to see how it performs. There's a look at a semi-mechanical rubber dome keyboard from Thermaltake's Tt eSPORTS group called the Knucker Plunger. If you're in the market for an Ultrabook, then perhaps the Gigabyte U2442F will fit the bill. We also have a review on the EK Waterblock LT 360 kit, a Power2U AC/USB wall outlet, a chance to win a be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 750W PSU (Facebook required), and plenty of other items. So check out all the reviews below to see what everything is like!