OCC Week in Review: April 15 - 19
Things have been a little somber around here of late after the passing of Nemo, but there's still plenty to check out. We have two reviews available on some video cards from AMD, with both delivering solid numbers on a budget. The PowerColor Radeon HD 7850 PCS+ offers the chance to run some eye candy in games while providing a fantastic gaming experience for $200. The XFX R7790 Black Edition Overclocked runs the new HD 7790 GPU, and it delivers great performance at an even lower price point than the HD 7850. We even have a review on Irrational Games' BioShock Infinite, which puts gamers in the role of Booker DeWitt on the floating city of Columbia in 1912.
Flipping over to news, a Java patch recently released to fix 39 critical vulnerabilities and bugs. If you haven't downloaded it yet, now is certainly the time to do so. A Kickstarter project known as UDOO looks to combine the power of Raspberry Pi and Arduino into one educational/DIY project for a whole new generation of engineers and programmers. It's already well past its funding goal, but that shouldn't stop anyone from securing a dual or quad-core version of it. Windows users should be happy to know the Windows 8.1 (or Windows Blue) update for the newest OS may add a tradtional desktop and start menu at long last. It's just a rumor for now, but if true then Windows 8 sales could rise.
Sapphire introduced a 2GB version of the new AMD HD 7790 video card to give gamers a memory boost. On the other side, NVIDIA is partnering with Deep Silver to provide a free copy of Metro: Last Light to anyone who purchases a GTX 660 or better video card at participating retailers. Futuremark has updated both 3DMark 11 and Vantage for better compatibility with newer hardware and Windows 8, respectively.
On the science side, researchers have found a way to etch structures in graphene using DNA. Synthetic DNA was used in the process, which while it could end up improving fabrication efforts, the graphene created isn't perfect. Still, it could be very useful with more refining. A self-healing artificial leaf has been created that uses tap water instead of pure water like older models. It allows for 100 watts of power from a quart of tap water, which is pretty outstanding when you look at it in the long run. Quantum computing is going to be a major factor in the future, and now there's one more particle for qubits: atomic nuclei. A nucleus isn't affected by outside forces nearly as much as other particles, so it should mean a longer lifespan for the qubit. Researchers were also able to create it on a piece of silicon with a single phosphorus atom embedded in it, which makes it more compatible with modern electronics and more scaleable.