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News Archives for July 2011

Hardware Roundup: Friday Edition

Posted: July 1, 2011 @ time: 03:49AM
Author: Nemo

SilverStone is known for making high-quality computer cases and today we get a chance to examine the Precision PS06 mid-tower chassis which can be had for around $100US at online retailers. For the audiophiles out there, the folks over at [H] bring us a review on the Audio-Technica ATH-AD900 headphones. Yesterday saw a flurry of reviews on AMD's A8-3850 Llano APU and we have another one in today's roundup. Neoseeker has an article covering the Sapphire HD 6950 DiRT 3 Edition video card and we even have an article on the DiRT 3 video game. All these reviews, and more, can be found using the links below.

Cases
SilverStone Precision PS06 (SST-PS06B-W) Mid Tower Chassis @ TweakTown

Cooling
Koolance CPU-370 Water Block @ Bjorn3D

CPUs
AMD A8-3850 Lynx APU Processor @ Benchmark Reviews

Gaming
Riding DiRTy @ Tech Report

Input Devices
Steelseries 6Gv2 Mechanical @ XSReviews

Speakers/Headphones
Audio-Technica ATH-AD900 Headphones @ [H]ardOCP

Storage/Hard Drives
Patriot Wildfire 120GB Solid State Drive RAID Report @ TweakTown

Video
Sapphire HD 6950 DiRT 3 Edition @ Neoseeker

Miscellany
PCPer Podcast #160 @ PC Perspective


Complete Story


Myspace Lays Off Over Half its Staff

Posted: July 1, 2011 @ time: 08:45AM
Author: F13Bubba

Just days after being sold to Specific Media for $35 million, Myspace has laid off more than half its workforce. Earlier this week, a TechCrunch report had guessed at the layoffs, but put the number at 150 employees, or 37.5% of the 450 that Myspace had employed.  According to the company’s Wikipedia page, that number is correct, but it also notes that another 150 have been put on a transition plan that will let them work and get paid while looking for a new employer. Myspace was the king of social networking sites starting in 2005, with Facebook stealing that title around 2008. The site peak at just over 100 million users in 2008, and is now down to less than 30 million while Facebook currently has an estimated 139 million unique users.


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Workshop on Making Molecule-size Computer Chips

Posted: July 1, 2011 @ time: 09:30AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology And Research, A*STAR, will be holding its first AtMol (Atomic Scale and Single Molecule Logic Gate Technologies) workshop where experts will discuss how to make molecule-sized computer chips. At the moment such small circuits are not needed but it is predicted that within 10-15 years conventional means of production will hit a barrier and further miniaturization will be impossible. Instead of having to rush to find a new production method at that time, researchers are looking now and will hopefully have the new technique ready in time (E-beam Lithography: From Prototyping to Mass Production describes another method). The challenge with constructing molecular computer chips is their size. At such a small scale ultra high-precision tools of the highest quality must be used. It has been accomplished though, as a team from the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, a part of A*STAR, has previously constructed the smallest digital logic gate with a single molecule.

The hope is to construct a prototype molecular processor in four years.


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From Electrons to Magnets

Posted: July 1, 2011 @ time: 12:19PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

As the name suggests, electronics use electrons but what if we started using something else? Researchers at the University of California – Berkeley are working on building a magnetic computer with components that use nanomagnets inside of chips. Instead of using an electric current to move data, nanometer-sized bar magnets would be used instead, for memory, logic, and switching operations. This is not just for curiosity, as a magnetic computer could be a great deal more efficient than an electronic one. How much more efficient? One million times more efficient, as only 18 millielectron volts of energy would be lost per operation at room temperature; the Landauer limit. This limit is the smallest amount of energy that can dissipate and be lost from an operation. Of course, that is what the calculations say the magnetic computers could reach and reality may differ, but to even be a factor of ten off is still a major accomplishment. Also, as the Landauer limit varies with temperature, the colder the circuits the more efficient they can be.

The challenges to making a magnetic computer are the wires and transistors, as the magnets can already act as the memory.


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Age of Conan Now Free to Play

Posted: July 1, 2011 @ time: 12:50PM
Author: edwardquilo

Cimmerians and the rest of the Hyborian continent's citizens will be experiencing massive changes in the Age of Conan MMO. Dubbed the Age of Conan Unchained, Funcom's latest version of the brutal game will now be free-to-play, and also introduces several welcome additions by way of patch 2.6. Players can freely roam the dangerous Hyborian landscape at no cost, while premium members gain access to extra content. An in-game store will also be available to all players, with exclusive content reserved for premium members. Another update is the vanity armor option, which lets players wear items outside of combat. Could be useful for charming a damsel after her rescue. Funcom also eases up on the difficulty level, and Khitai dungeons now offer increased rewards for six-man raids on normal mode. Prices have also been slashed heavily for faction armor pieces. With all these enticing new features, the ancient world of Hyboria is sure to receive a healthy influx of new players looking for a bloody ride.

 


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Jellyfish Invasion Forces Nuclear Power Plant Shutdown

Posted: July 1, 2011 @ time: 12:52PM
Author: edwardquilo

Who would have expected that a group of soft-bellied invertebrates would cause a nuclear plant to go offline? The Torness Nuclear Power Station's two reactors were shut down after swarms of jellyfish were discovered blocking the power plant's underwater cooling filters. These filters were designed to deter underwater contaminants from entering the cooling system. Located in Edinburgh, Scotland, the power station's staff turned off the reactors as a precautionary measure only, and the public has been assured that there was no cause for alarm. Torness relies on two Advanced Gas Cooled Reactors for dissipating heat, but also uses cooling from sea water for increased safety. The power plant has since turned one of its reactors back on, and will resume normal operations sometime next week, after the area has been completely cleared of jellyfish. It is speculated that recent changes in the water temperature may have been the cause for the sudden increase in jellyfish population in the area.


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Sony's 'Welcome Back' Program Ends Sunday

Posted: July 1, 2011 @ time: 01:01PM
Author: bp9801

I'm sure many of the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable owners out there have taken advantage of the "Welcome Back" program Sony was offering due to the PSN hack. If you own both the console and handheld, you could have gotten four free games, two per system. Some may have wondered if the program would last indefinitely or if there would be a set time it would end. Well, the program is ending and it is coming up soon. Sony has announced that its "Welcome Back" program will end this Sunday, meaning if you haven't chosen your free games, activated your PlayStation Plus 30 day free trial, or gotten your 100 free items in Home, now is the time to do so. The program will run through Sunday, July 3rd, so now is definitely the time to get your free items or miss out on them forever.


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iTunes Festival 2011 to Stream Live on Apple Devices

Posted: July 1, 2011 @ time: 02:44PM
Author: edwardquilo

July 1st marks the first day of Apple's annual iTunes Music Festival in London. The month-long celebration will be happening every day, featuring a diverse range of 62 artists including Paul Simon, Foo Fighters, My Chemical Romance, Duran Duran, Jimmy Eat World, Moby, and a yet-to-be announced mystery artist for the July 15 date, all streaming live on your Apple devices. If you're in London, you can grab the concert tickets for free, although you might not have long as this week's concerts have all been sold out. For everyone else who can't make it to the live concerts, live streaming is the next best thing to being there, just download the official app on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. The app streams the shows live and provides information on the artist lineup in greater detail. If you have a second-generation Apple TV, you can even stream through AirPlay support. Who knows, perhaps live concert streaming could become the norm as more people spend the bulk of their time in front of computers and even less outdoors.


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Intel Discontinues X-25E SSD Line

Posted: July 1, 2011 @ time: 02:55PM
Author: bp9801

As with any hardware, there comes a time when something newer and faster comes out to replace a product. In the world of solid state drives, newer and faster models seem to come out almost every month, so this bit of news shouldn't surprise much of anyone. Intel has announced that it will be discontinuing its X-25E SSD line and will replace it with the 710 Series for enterprise users. The X-25E SSDs use 50nm SLC NAND Flash memory, which is in short supply, so Intel is dropping that line of drives by the wayside. The 710 Series use 25nm MLC-HET NAND Flash memory and will arrive in the middle of August, and seeing how the X-25E SSDs will be discontinued on July 11th, there will be a slight gap between them. You may be able to find some stock of the X-25E drives at a few places, but many have sold out and once other sites run out, those SSDs will be all gone.


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Adobe Pulls Consumers In

Posted: July 1, 2011 @ time: 05:53PM
Author: gebraset

With Apple recently releasing the new version of their Final Cut Pro program, reviews have started to pop up all over the Internet. Sadly, the program has received horrible ratings, and consumers are looking for something else at this point. Adobe is agreeing obviously, and is trying to get consumers to switch over to their comparable products, which include both Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 and CS5.5 Production Premium. Most users of these programs, or those users who work in the field of video production, realize that the Adobe counterparts are quite expensive. However, in order to get consumers to switch from the incredibly disliked Apple product, Adobe is offering both the previously stated products for fifty percent off. Even if the user is not using the latest version of Final Cut Pro, they can still switch over and take full advantage of the discount. These savings also apply for users of the Avid Media Composer, but the sale will cease to exist on September 30 for both products.


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Valve Offers Free Portal 2 Soundtrack Downloads - Part 2

Posted: July 1, 2011 @ time: 06:07PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

On May 25 the OCC homepage had on it Valve Offers Free Portal 2 Soundtrack Downloads. At that time it was only the first of the three volumes Valve released, and today they have released the second. Here is the track list:

  • *  You Will Be Perfect
  • *  Halls of Science 4
  • Bots Build Bots
  • An Accent Beyond
  • Robot Ghost Story
  • Die Cut Laser Dance
  • Turret Redemption Line
  • *  Bring Your Daughter to Work Day
  • Almost at Fifty Percent
  • Don’t Do It
  • I AM NOT A MORON
  • Vitrification Order
  • *  Music of the Spheres
  • *  You Are Not Part of the Control Group
  • Forwarding the Cause of Science
  • *  PotatOS Lament
  • The Reunion
  • Music of the Spheres 2 (Incendiary Lemons)

Those with a * before the title are also available as ringtones. There are an additional eight ringtones from the sound effects of the game:

  • Button Positive
  • Button Negative
  • Blue Paint
  • Shoot Blue Portal
  • Door Close
  • Door Open
  • Shoot Orange Portal
  • Turret Machine Gun

Enjoy!


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12 Fantastic Minutes of Batman: Arkham City

Posted: July 2, 2011 @ time: 09:32AM
Author: edwardquilo

As if the relatively far-off October release for Batman: Arkham City wasn't a long enough wait for all of us, someone thought releasing this footage would be a good idea to make the wait all the more painful. There's lots of details to take in from the twelve-minute teaser here, and I'll try not to spoil it too much for you guys. I will however take the liberty of telling you which characters do appear here: Catwoman shouldn't come as any surprise, as she's been extensively covered as Batman's ally of-sorts in the game. She teases Batman with an alluring ease, which I'm sure even the iron-willed Caped Crusader wouldn't mind. Two-Face also makes a formidable appearance here, as do the details on his horribly scarred face. Jack Ryder, a.k.a. the Creeper shows up as well, although not as a costumed superhero, but as a mild-mannered reporter who almost gets beat up by escaped Arkham inmates. Whether Ryder will appear as the Creeper later in the game remains unknown. Developer Rocksteady looks all set to deliver another stunning Batman game from the looks of it, and October 2011 cannot come soon enough. 

 


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Samsung Drops One Suit with Apple, has Another

Posted: July 2, 2011 @ time: 12:57PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Bloomberg is reporting that Samsung has dropped its patent infringement counter-suit against Apple, filed on April 21. This suit was in response to Apple's own patent infringement suit from April 15. Bloomberg explains that Samsung has done this to "steamline the legal proceedings." While this suit has been dropped Samsung will still defend the patents mentioned in the suit via its counter-claim to Apple's suit.

On June 28 Samsung filed another suit in the U.S. against Apple, claiming technology used in the iPhone and iPad are infringing patents. A similar suit was also filed by Samsung in the U.K. making it at least five countries with on-going litigation between the two companies. Samsung also filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission, requesting all imports of the allegedly infringing devices be blocked.


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SAMSUNG Galaxy S II Sells Quick

Posted: July 3, 2011 @ time: 09:29PM
Author: gebraset

With the mobile era currently upon all consumers, phones are updating at an alarming rate, tablets are being released left and right, and other forms of mobile connections are being made day by day. SAMSUNG has had much success with its original Galaxy S phone, as it sold three million phones when it was released, in just eighty-five days, with more users adopting by the minute. Now, SAMSUNG is holding a new crown on its own record, with the release of their Galaxy S II smartphone. Sales are currently astonishing analysts, with a total of three million phones being sold in an amazing fifty-five days. These numbers translate into one phone being sold every second and a half, which ushers in one of the fastest selling mobile phones to date, especially for the electronics company itself. For the Galaxy S II phone, the future looks completely bright, as more phones continue to be picked up off of the wireless carrier shelves everyday.


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HP Launches Llano-based Pavilion dv6z Quad Edition Laptops

Posted: July 4, 2011 @ time: 03:40AM
Author: premiumgfx

Hewlett-Packard has launched its latest line of Pavilion dv6z Quad Edition laptops, this time with a twist. The Palo Alto-based company has added AMD processor configurations to its Quad Edition laptops for the first time, with previous releases being Intel-exclusive. HP has added five options from AMD's recently released Llano-series of Accelerated Processing Units (APUs). The new APUs range from the low-end A6-3400M running at 1.4GHz, to the high-end A8-3530MX clocked at a higher 1.9GHz. It is worth noting that the stock speeds can be increased to between 2.3 and 2.6GHz on selected cores using AMD Turbo technology. Processors aside, the dv6z Quad Edition laptops feature up to 16GB of memory backed by up to 1TB of 5400RPM storage, and are equipped with either an 1366x768 or 1920x1080 15.6" screen. Additional graphics options include a 512MB or 1GB GDDR5 Radeon video card. Connectivity options include HDMI 1.4, VGA, two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports, along with a webcam and optical drive (DVD or Blu-Ray). As always, 802.11b/g/n wireless and Bluetooth support come as standard. The Quad Edition laptops have a sleek design featuring an island-style keyboard, and will be available in either dark umber or steel gray color schemes. Windows 7 Home Premium is the operating system of choice. The Quad Edition laptops are available now, priced from $650.


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Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: July 4, 2011 @ time: 05:35AM
Author: Nemo

It's the start a new week of reviews from around the Web and we'll get things rolling with a look at video performance on the AMD A8-3850 Llano APU. We also have a discrete video card in the form of the Sapphire HD 6950 Dirt 3 Edition. There are a couple of products from Corsair in today's roundup with reviews on the Special Edition White Graphite Series 600T Case and the SP2500 2.1 PC speaker system. Be sure to follow the links listed to read all of the reviews in our roundup.

Cases
Video Perspective: Corsair Special Edition White Graphite Series 600T Case @ PC Perspective

CPUs
AMD A8-3850 (Llano) APU Video Performance Examined @ TweakTown

Gaming
Gaming Friday: Borderlands @ ThinkComputers
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D Nintendo 3DS @ TweakTown

Motherboards
MSI Big Bang Marshal (Intel P67 Express) Motherboard @ TweakTown

Speakers/Headphones
Corsair SP2500 2.1 PC speaker system @ LanOC Reviews

Video
Sapphire HD 6950 Dirt 3 Edition @ LanOC Reviews

Miscellany
Alice In Wonderland (1951) Blu-ray Movie @ TweakTown
AMD - Total War: Shogun 2 Contest @ Madshrimps


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OnLive's Massive Indie-pendence Day Sale

Posted: July 4, 2011 @ time: 07:54AM
Author: edwardquilo

OnLive is hosting an Indie-pendence Day sale on a great selection of mainstream games and indie titles for a limited time. Fantastic games like Batman: Arkham Asylum, BraidJust Cause 2, World of Goo, and Amnesia: The Dark Descent are just a few of the titles that are available for a fraction of the original price. Scroll through the list below for some of the discounted titles, there's probably at least one game you haven't played yet. You'd better act fast though, as this sale won't be around for long. 

  • Aliens vs. Predator: $13.39
  • Alpha Protocol: $20.09
  • Amnesia: The Dark Descent: $5.00
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum: $9.90
  • Braid: $2.50
  • Darksiders: $13.39
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution: (pre-order) $44.99
  • Defense Grid Gold: $3.50
  • Ghost Busters: The Video Game: $9.99
  • Homefront: $37.49
  • Just Cause 2: $19.99
  • Osmos: $2.50
  • Red Faction: Guerrilla: $13.39
  • The Maw: $2.50
  • Trine: $5.00
  • World of Goo: $2.50


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Hackers Tweet False Obama Assasination From Fox News Account

Posted: July 4, 2011 @ time: 07:57AM
Author: edwardquilo

Apparently the disbanding of LulzSec hasn't dampened other hackers' attempts to wreak havoc on the Internet. A hacker group who call themselves Scriptkiddies has been credited for breaking into the Fox News Twitter account @foxnewspolitics. The culprits then used the hacked account to report the false news about President Obama's alleged assassination. 

Here's how the hackers reported the news: “BREAKING NEWS: President @BarackObama assassinated, 2 gunshot wounds have proved too much. It’s a sad 4th for #america. #obamadead RIP.” However, the tweet was unsubstantiated as the main Fox News account mentioned nothing about any incident relating to the President's shooting or well-being. Other news agencies also report nothing in relation to the outlandish tweet. Fox News has not yet made any statement on the incident. 


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Increasing the Efficiency of Spintronics

Posted: July 4, 2011 @ time: 09:37AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Spintronics has been described as the successor to modern electronics, a field that may hit a very hard wall as early as 2015. While modern electronics operate on the charge of an electron, spintronics take advantage of the spin, or magnetic moment, of the electron. One immediate advantage of spintronics is that no heat is released when transferring information, as no electronic current is needed to do so. The transfer of information in this way is called “spin current.” Of course there are still some obstacles to overcome with spintronics. The one researchers at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Physics have addressed is the inefficiency of creating a spin current. Their solution is to use the interaction of spin waves, the wave property of spins, to create spin currents, and could be ten times more efficient than using pre-interacting spin waves. This research is more important than just a way to make more efficient spintronics. The researchers have also linked the fields of spin current and spin wave interaction, which could lead to more advances.


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Life After Mass Effect 3

Posted: July 4, 2011 @ time: 12:58PM
Author: edwardquilo

Wow. Mass Effect 3 hasn't even come out yet, and we're already hearing heavy Internet rumblings from all over on where Mass Effect should be heading after the trilogy ends in an earth-shattering conclusion. Don't get me wrong, the Mass Effect Universe has tons of potential to go beyond an RPG, but where exactly will BioWare be taking us post-Mass Effect 3? BioWare still has its plate full with developing the final game, and not to mention that supernova of an MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, so why don't we take matters into our own hands? What exactly do we want in another Mass Effect game? Here are some ideas that I think are worth mulling over. 

  • Jeff "Joker" Moreau's own space-sim game. Yeah, he's a crippled pilot with brittle bones, but who else can navigate the Normandy SR-2 amidst a horde of gigantic Reaper cruisers with ease? I say give Joker a leaner, meaner assault spacecraft and give the guy tons of space opera battles à la FreeSpace 2. He can even bring along EDI for the ride. If anyone can pull this off, Bioware can. 
  • Mass Effect, GTA style. The one thing I felt lacking in Mass Effect was the chance to drive a sleek new 22nd-century convertible in an open-world environment. I mean, you're supposed to be landing on several planet's cities but where are the cars, trucks or hovercycles? Yes, you're given the opportunity to maneuver the UT-47 Kodiak Drop Shuttle or the Mako, but I wasn't really a big fan of driving those clunky blocks. Just think of the possibilities to giving players the option of driving any available vehicle on sight. Now imagine driving a car in a bustling Mass Effect metropolis a hundred years into the future. Remember the chase sequence in Lair of the Shadow Broker? Bioware can easily top that with open-world GTA mechanics, complete with screaming pedestrians, futuristic taxis and Mass Effect RPG gameplay. 

Ok, that's enough about what I think. Do you want a Liara T'Soni spin-off? Or Garrus Vakarian in his own FPS, Halo-style? A Mass Effect MMO, you say? Let us know what you guys have in mind. 


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Firemint's 48-Hour Sale

Posted: July 4, 2011 @ time: 01:01PM
Author: edwardquilo

Aw, isn't that sweet. We've caught Firemint in a generous 4th of July mood, and just look at what the talented mobile apps developer has in store for us iPhone and iPad gamers: up to 80% off on Firemint titles for the next 48 hours. That's right, Real Racing is on sale for just $0.99. Take a look at the great games Firemint has on a huge discount below. Hurry up and buy Real Racing HD for yourself, and send Flight Control HD as a gift to your girlfriend: that two-day sale will be over before you know it. 


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PlayStation Network Finally Returning to Japan

Posted: July 4, 2011 @ time: 01:20PM
Author: bp9801

Well, it has been a long time coming in the land of Japan, but finally the country is going to have its PlayStation Network service fully restored. Sure, it has been covered before but finally Sony has announced the service will be fully restored in its home country. July 6th will be the date the PS Store and Qriocity return to Japan and I am sure there will be a "Welcome Back" program of its own waiting for the Japanese consumers. I am sure many of the Japanese PS3 owners will be quite happy to get access to the Store and music service, so now they'll be able to catch up on all the demos, trailers, DLC, and other content American and European PS3 owners have been enjoying for over a month. It really is better late than never, and just in time for the dog days of summer.


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Games for Windows Marketplace Coming to...Xbox.com?

Posted: July 4, 2011 @ time: 02:25PM
Author: F13Bubba

After less than a year into the service, Microsoft has pulled the plug on its Games for Windows Marketplace. However, for those of you who may have preferred it to Steam, fear not, it’s not really going away, it’s just moving to a more logical location. Microsoft announced it will be incorporating the service into… Xbox.com. All joking aside, this move has many scratching their heads, as buying PC games from an Xbox website seems… counter-intuitive at best. However, multiple Microsoft execs have said that the move is the next logical step towards integrating its Live service across all Microsoft powered devices. It will be interesting to see how GFWM is integrated into Xbox.com, as details at the moment are scarce. However, the possibility of PC gamers being able to play over Live with their Xbox friends is intriguing.


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Gears of War 3's Unfinished Campaign Leaked, Epic Games Investigating

Posted: July 4, 2011 @ time: 05:15PM
Author: bp9801

It seems that the unfinished single player campaign for Epic Game's upcoming Gears of War 3 has made its way to some torrent sites. The copy includes the entire single player campaign and even reveals some multiplayer options, but the version on the torrent sites is an unfinished copy. It is also a JTAG version, which means it will only play on modded Xbox 360 consoles used for development kits. I know the game is still a couple months away, but it is not recommended, obviously, to download the leaked copy because it is not the completed version and also because Epic Games is one of the better development studios out there. Epic is also investigating how the unfinished campaign got leaked and is working with law enforcement officials to figure out how to correct the issue. Epic has said that it has confirmed the leaked copy is not a final build of the game and does not indicate what fans can expect when the game launches on September 20th.


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday Edition

Posted: July 5, 2011 @ time: 04:34AM
Author: Nemo

It used to be that cooling with water meant a major commitment in choosing and assembling discrete components. In the last few years though, there have been several self-contained water-cooling kits to hit the market that were capable of cooling at least as well as a top-end air cooler but at lower noise levels. Today's roundup includes reviews on both water and air coolers with the Antec Kühler H2O 920 CPU cooler and the Thermolab Trinity heatsink. We also picked up a review on the MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II video card. There are more articles for you to check out using the links posted below.

Cooling
Thermolab Trinity Heatsink @ Frostytech
Antec Kühler H2O 920 CPU Cooler @ Madshrimps

CPUs
Redefining The Basic PC @ Computer Ed

Power Supplies
Coolermaster GX450 vs Nexus Value 430, low-end PSUs battle @ Madshrimps

Storage/Hard Drives
ADATA S511 Solid State Drive @ Benchmark Reviews

Video
MSI N560GTX TI Twin Frozr @ XSReviews


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Pegatron to Ship 15 Million iPhone 5s for Apple

Posted: July 5, 2011 @ time: 06:51PM
Author: edwardquilo

Pegatron Technology is reported to have received orders from Apple to provide 15 million iPhone 5 units with shipping scheduled for September 2011. The Taiwan-based notebook manufacturer, also known for providing notebooks to companies such as Asus and Acer, has previously expanded its infrastructure and manpower to accommodate the high demand for the previous generation iPhone. Suppliers are said to have begun delivering components to Pegatron to meet the expected September 2011 shipment. Although not yet publicly announced, it has been speculated that the iPhone 5 could be similar to the iPhone 4, with a few changes such as an 8MP camera resolution, dual-core processor power and an increased display size.


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Solar Cells Internal Structure Studied

Posted: July 5, 2011 @ time: 08:17PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Researchers from the Universities of Sheffield and Cambridge have made a discovery that can lead to cheaper and more efficient solar cells. By using neutron and X-ray scattering they were able to examine the internal structure of the photovoltaic films they made without destroying the film in the process. What they found was when a complex mixture of molecules was painted onto a surface, the molecules would separate to the top and bottom of the layer to maximize the efficiency of the cell. This discovery and the use of multiple scattering techniques can lead to increased efficiency of solar cells made from cheaper materials. This includes materials that are flexible and can be placed over large areas, like a cling-film.


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Hubble’s One Millionth Observation

Posted: July 5, 2011 @ time: 08:37PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

While Americans were watching controlled combustion devices propelling ignited metals and other chemicals (fireworks) the Hubble Space Telescope, at the ripe old age of 21, made its one millionth science observation. This was not a picture we can make a wallpaper of, but a spectroscopic measurement of the atmosphere of HAT-P-7b, or Kepler 2b, an extrasolar planet. This adds to the over 50 terabytes of data recorded thus far, but the analysis of this most recent data will take months.

Originally launched on April 24, 1990 onboard the Space Shuttle Discovery, Hubble has been called the most successfully science mission of all time having confirmed the existence of black holes, dark matter, parts of general relativity, determined the size and age of the universe, and more.


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Netflix Watch Instantly Hitting Central and South America

Posted: July 5, 2011 @ time: 09:13PM
Author: bp9801

Soon, it seems all of North America will be able to stream Netflix's line up of movies and TV shows to their devices. Netflix has announced that it is bringing its Watch Instantly service to Central and South America, plus the Caribbean nations. All told, 43 nations in Central and South America will be getting access to Netflix Watch Instantly, plus the company is expanding into Mexico as well. It is looking like Netflix will be reaching the majority of the countries in the Western Hemisphere, though pricing details and when exactly the service will launch are still up in the air. Still though, if you live in any of these countries, you will soon be able to enjoy Netflix. Maybe someday soon Netflix will expand into the rest of the world, but for now, its sights are just set on the Americas.


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday Edition

Posted: July 6, 2011 @ time: 04:11AM
Author: Nemo

In our roundup today is a series of three mid-tower cases designed to suit just about any taste. The Silencio 550 from Cooler Master sports a sleek black design and, as its name suggests, is designed for quiet operation with its sound-absorbing foam side panels. The Corsair Obsidian 650D also offers a sleek black design with a bit more flair with its windowed side panel. The third offering is the Cooler Master Storm Enforcer gaming case. The name Swiftech has long been associated with premium CPU cooling products and today we get an opportunity to check out its pre-built water cooling kit in the form of the H20-220 Edge. That's not all we have for you today, so be sure to check out all the reviews posted below.

Cases
Coolermaster Silencio 550 @ XSReviews
Corsair Obsidian Series 650D Mid Tower Case @ ThinkComputers
Coolermaster Storm Enforcer gaming case @ Madshrimps

Cooling
Swiftech H20-220 Edge Watercooling Kit @ Bjorn3D

Gaming
F.3.A.R. Gameplay Performance @ [H]ardOCP

Input Devices
Razer Nostromo @ LanOC Reviews

Mobile
Samsung Droid Charge Review: The Droid Brand Goes 4G @ PC Perspective

Power Supplies
Kingwin Lazer Platinum 550W Power Supply @ ThinkComputers

Storage/Hard Drives
Corsair Force 3 120GB Solid State Drive @ TweakTown

Miscellany
TR's web comic: Talent @ Tech Report


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Sony to Release PS4 in 2012

Posted: July 6, 2011 @ time: 12:19PM
Author: F13Bubba

According to a Taiwanese tech news wire, Sony is set to begin production of its next-gen console by the end of 2011. The report from Digitimes says that the “Playstation 4” or PS4 would be ready to ship in 2012. The report claims that the new console will be manufactured by Foxconn and Pegatron technology, the same companies that provide most of the components for Apple’s mobile iDevices. Also in the report is the claim that the console will be controlled by body movement akin to the Microsoft Kinect. This is an interesting announcement, as top Sony execs had at one time stated they expected the PS3 to have a ten year lifespan. In 2009 they changed that estimate to less than eight years, but if this report turns out to be correct, that will put the PS3 just around 5 years, as it was released in October of ’06. The report also indicated that the planned 2012 shipment is 20 million units.


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Kingston Offering Prize to Game Designers

Posted: July 6, 2011 @ time: 04:12PM
Author: CheeseMan42

The flash memory division of Kingston Technology has announced a promotion to go along with its new Wi-Drive. The Wi-Drive is a portable, wireless storage solution for use with Apple devices. The iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch are all compatible with the Wi-Drive. The $1,500 grand prize also comes with global promotion of the game, which could lead to much more revenue down the line. Kingston is looking for creative minds to develop a game idea using any means they choose that incorporate the functionality and ideas of the Wi-Drive. Entries must be hosted on a website by the August 31 deadline. Full rules can be found on the official contest page.


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ARM Chips to Rival PS3 and Xbox 360

Posted: July 6, 2011 @ time: 04:25PM
Author: CheeseMan42

ARM, the most popular chip designer for mobile devices, has stated that it believes its Mali GPU will be able to match the performance of the PS3 and Xbox 360 within 18 months. ARM was able to accomplish this using several techniques, and not just throwing more transistors at the problem. ARM had to think outside the box as battery technology isn't able to keep up with CPU technology. ARM uses a combination of "very aggressive power management and multiple GPUs that can power up as required." The current Mali core, the Mali-400MP, already appears in the Samsung Galaxy S II, but the Mali T604 is where the design should really begin to shine. As the first core to support GPGPU functionality with support for OpenCL, it will open the possibilities for server deployment as well as superb mobile graphics.


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iPads Account for 1% of Global Internet Traffic

Posted: July 6, 2011 @ time: 04:27PM
Author: edwardquilo

It appears that Apple's continuing quest for global domination shows no signs of slowing down. Since its launch more than a year ago, iPad tablets have been slowly but surely gaining momentum in the mobile internet space. According to a report published by NetMarketShare, the iPad has planted a significant foothold on mobile web users, with 1% of the world's internet access credited to iPad owners. A closer inspection of previous months statistics also indicates that the iPad's market share in the mobile and tablet devices category has grown exponentially by 10% since March 2011, compared to desktop computers. In relation to this, the April 2011 numbers from StatCounter also indicate the iPad's strong showing in U.S. web traffic, well ahead of Linux devices. Pretty impressive, considering that by most standards Apple's ubiquitous iPad is still a relatively new product. But while some may view this as a preemptive sign indicating that our beloved desktop systems are in danger of being eventually replaced, tablet computers have a long way to go before they reach a degree of flexibility offered by our stalwart do-it-yourself systems. 


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TeraDiode Releases New Direct-Diode Laser

Posted: July 6, 2011 @ time: 07:28PM
Author: Tyrium

TeraDiode, a company created as a by-product of an old MIT team, has released a new direct diode laser which it claim is just flat out better than the majority of the industrial-grade lasers on the market. Power in the context of lasers generally equates to size, most heavy duty lasers are way too expensive to maintain and run to be an option for all but the largest companies. To make its laser more accessible and efficient, TeraDiode eschewed the usual bulky chemical laser design for one favoring semiconductors. This doesn't just make the laser smaller and more efficient, it also makes it safer as there are no possible toxic chemicals to keep in check. Even if it's more compact and less expensive, the laser would be useless if it lacked the power to do the things expected from an industrial laser, right? Not a problem, says TeraDiode. The company has made assurances that the laser can not only cut and weld industrial grade metals, but that it may be possible to blow stuff up using it.

TeraDiode already has plans in the works to adapt its laser design to a more military focus. The company says that its laser could be used in a few years to knock out incoming artillery and missiles when mounted on ships, but TeraDiode has even more immediate plans for the laser. The plan is to mount an array of lasers on the back of a fighter jet in order to confuse or even destroy incoming missiles. TeraDiode says that testing of such a device could begin as early as a year from now. However, all of these plans rely on the new laser being as powerful and compact as the company says it is, and, like all claims, only time can tell whether it holds true or not.


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iPhone Users Spend Nearly 15 Hours a Month Gaming

Posted: July 6, 2011 @ time: 07:50PM
Author: bp9801

Apple always wants you to think that its phones are more than just phones. It wants you to use your iPhone to listen to music, browse the Internet, and even play games. It is the games that iPhone users seem to be embracing the most, as they spend nearly 15 hours a month gaming on their phone. The actual number is 14.7 hours a month, which is a pretty good chunk of time for a mobile phone. For a comparison, Android users only spend 9.3 hours a month gaming on their phones, while the overall average, including Windows Phone 7 and BlackBerry owners, is only 7.8 hours a month. The study doesn't look at what kind of games are available on every platform, which could be a big difference, but just sees how much time is spent on each mobile platform playing a game. It also seems that 93% of users are more likely to spend money on a game, while a news or weather app, the two next most popular app downloads, aren't as likely to be bought. Smartphone users download a game 64% of the time, yet if you're curious about how many get an educational app, only 11% of owners get one of those. It seems the smartphone gaming market is definitely gaining steam.


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How is Your Computer Posture?

Posted: July 6, 2011 @ time: 08:15PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

How are you sitting right now? Is it really comfortable, or are you bending like you know you shouldn’t? If you’re not sure you can ask the first place winners of the 2009 Christopher Columbus Awards Competition, a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) program. The four middle school students won the competition by studying the posture of fellow students and employees in their neighborhood, and then making a device to monitor and alert you of your poor posture. What they found was 80% of office workers and 75% of students were incorrectly sitting at their workstations. To improve those numbers they invented and tested the “Posture Pad,” a seat pad that vibrates or makes a sound when you are not sitting correctly. They received a $25,000 grant to assist their efforts, not only with the pad but also to educate their community on ergonomics and posture. Now they will be presenting their work at the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.


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AMD FX-8130P Processor Hits 5.1GHz on Air

Posted: July 6, 2011 @ time: 08:19PM
Author: bp9801

The upcoming AMD Bulldozer processors aren't even out yet, but that isn't stopping some performance numbers to leak out. One of the latest leaks is something rather promising, as an AMD FX-8130P processor, the flagship eight-core model, hit 5.1GHz on an air cooler. That number is staggering when you think about it, plus it appears the chip needed 1.59375 volts to hit that speed, but it did do it on an air cooler. There are some screenshots of the feat, plus a video, and the results speak for themselves. The motherboard used was an ASUS Crosshair Formula V and the cooler was a Noctua DH-14, so the hardware seems to be the right kind for an impressive overclock. For the record, the FX-8130P is supposedly clocked at 3.8GHz with a 125W TDP and 8MB L3 cache. The price should be set at $320, which if true, will make it hard to beat or resist.


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Civilization World for Facebook Now Live

Posted: July 6, 2011 @ time: 08:36PM
Author: edwardquilo

The open beta launch for Civilization World on Facebook has started, allowing millions of Facebook users the chance to finally experience the casual version of Sid Meier's strategy gaming classic. This iteration of the game has been tailored to take full use of Facebook's social interaction features, and has been designed to be an experience shared with other people. The game is free-to-play like other Facebook games, and as previously speculated, offers players in-game items such as weapons and armies at an extra cost. To keep things balanced for players who don't purchase in-game items, a daily limit has been imposed as to how much players can spend.

The premise: Players find themselves beginning the game in an ancient timeline, developing a fledgeling settlement starting from a single house and eventually, with a little help from your Facebook buddies, turn into a powerful empire ending in the space ages. Hardcore Civilization gamers might find the game mechanics to be overly simplified compared to the PC versions, but the casual approach made by Firaxis could be just the thing to lure in thousands of new players. The upside of this is that you can leverage fellow Facebook players to help you out in building your empire, much like Facebook's other social games. The game is far from being complete though, and you might find some niggling issues, especially with the combat. Still, if you've got tons of time to kill online, sign up for Civ World, and let us know how many hours you've lost playing Sid Meier's latest.


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Improving Literacy by Video Games

Posted: July 6, 2011 @ time: 08:40PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

North Carolina State University has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) program, to develop a video game to improve the literacy of students. The game will emphasize scientific and technical literacy, a challenging area to students nationally. The team hopes to have the program rolled out and in use by at least one thousand students of rural North Carolina by September 2012. From there, the goal will be for 25,500 students to be playing the game each year by 2016. While that may seem rushed, they will be able to building upon “Crystal Island,” a piece of software one of the team members already developed to teach biology concepts to middle-school students.


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Toyota Joins The Linux Foundation

Posted: July 6, 2011 @ time: 09:19PM
Author: bp9801

In what may seem like an odd move at first glance, The Linux Foundation has announced that car manufacturer Toyota has joined the non-profit group. The automotive industry is undergoing a shift, to where new cars are becoming almost as connected as your home office, so Toyota becoming a member of The Linux Foundation makes sense. Linux provides an open system for car manufacturers to build on for in-car computers which can help to get car owners more connected to the world at large. Toyota is planning on using its new connection with The Linux Foundation to use Linux for its In-Vehicle-Infotainment to better address the needs and expectations of its car owners. The Linux Foundation is very pleased to be welcoming Toyota to its member ranks and hopes to have the car giant help bring more advancements to Linux.


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday Edition

Posted: July 7, 2011 @ time: 04:45AM
Author: Nemo

Reminiscent of yesterday's roundup, we again have three cases for you to examine today. SilverStone's full-tower Raven RV03 does things a bit differently with its motherboard orientation that is rotated 90 degrees clockwise from the norm. We also have a full-tower case from Thermaltake with a review on the Chaser MK-1. Finishing up the list of cases today is another review covering the Corsair Obsidian 650D mid-tower chassis. Moving on to the graphics card section we find a review on the PowerColor Radeon HD 6850 SCS 3. In CPUs, there is an article comparing the different flavors of Sandy Bridge processors and a video that examines the overclocking and gaming performance of AMD's new A8-3850 processor.

Cases
Silverstone's Raven RV03 case @ Tech Report
Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 Full Tower Chassis @ TweakTown
Corsair Obsidian 650D Mid-Tower Case @ Tech Spot

CPUs
i3 vs i5 vs i7 Sandy Bridge comparison @ LanOC Reviews
Video Perspective: AMD A-series APU Overclocking and Gaming Performance @ PC Perspective

Input Devices
Soyntec Inpput R490 Green Spirit @ XSReviews

Video
PowerColor Radeon HD 6850 SCS 3 @ Neoseeker


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Verizon Ending Unlimited Data

Posted: July 7, 2011 @ time: 09:01AM
Author: F13Bubba

Earlier this week, Verizon announced the end of its unlimited data plan would come today, July 7, leaving Sprint as the last of the big four carriers with an unlimited data option. This news isn’t particularly surprising, as the telecom company first announced it was doing away with unlimited data in March, and follows the trend that AT&T and T-Mobile have set. 

On to the costs: Verizon’s entry point for data is now 2GB for $30 per month, previously what the unlimited plan cost. They also have 5 and 10 GB tiers, for $50 and $80 per month respectively. Customers who use feature phones (not smartphones) with Internet capability can choose a 75MB plan for $10 per month. Users who go over their plan limits will be charged $10 per GB used.

A few extra tidbits to note: Verizon customers who had the unlimited plan before July 7th will be grandfathered in, and allowed to keep their data plan, as was the case with AT&T. Also, Verizon will send you text alerts once you have reached 50%, 75%, 90%, and 100% of your data usage, which is a good gesture, considering it’s more difficult for the average consumer to quantify data usage than minutes used.


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Corsair H80 and H100 CPU Coolers Available for Purchase

Posted: July 7, 2011 @ time: 03:04PM
Author: F13Bubba

Corsair announced today that its newest generation of Hydro CPU coolers is now available at retail outlets. This new generation includes the Hydro Series H80 and H100 liquid CPU coolers. As with their predecessors, the H80 and H100 are both pre-filled, closed-loop cooling solutions for the user that wants the quiet operation of a water cooling loop, but in a compact package. The H80 has a double thick radiator, two 120mm fans, and can be mounted wherever one would mount a 120mm fan, much like the H70. The H100 is a completely new design, featuring a full 240mm radiator with two 120mm fans. Both coolers come with a Corsair Link connector, which enables them to take advantage of Corsair’s new Link software for temperature monitoring and fan control. The H80 has a suggested retail price of $109, with the H100 coming in at $119. More information on all of Corsair's Hydro series coolers can be found at the manufacturer's website.


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Six Strikes Copyright Enforcement Could be Heading Your Way Soon

Posted: July 7, 2011 @ time: 04:19PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Several major Internet service providers in the United States, including Verizon and Comcast, have voluntarily signed on to a "six strikes" copyright enforcement policy with the movie and music businesses. The proposed system is very similar to what is currently in place. The ISP will forward copyright infringement notices to subscribers, and will continue to protect subscriber information from accusers. However, this new agreement hopes to focus on educating violators of the penalties that they could face for their illicit activities. This could also provide relief to parents who may not know what their children are up to online. There is no wording in the agreement requiring the ISP to turn off access to paying customers, but some form of punishment may arrive with the fifth or sixth strike.


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Motorola Droid 3 Available Next Week

Posted: July 7, 2011 @ time: 04:40PM
Author: CheeseMan42

The Motorola Droid 3 phone will be making its way to the Verizon network on July 14, one week from today. The Droid 3 features a number of improvements over its predecessor, most notably a 1GHz dual-core processor. The phone also features 512MB of RAM and 16GB of storage, with the possibility of an extra 32GB with a microSD card. The four inch screen will feature a qHD resolution of 960x640. Full 1080p video can be captured and output over HDMI using the available 8 megapixel camera. The phone will run the Gingerbread edition of Android and will be available for the price of $199.99. Unfortunately, customers will also be forced to choose one of the new tiered data plans from Verizon.


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Spotify Landing Stateside

Posted: July 7, 2011 @ time: 09:20PM
Author: bp9801

Europe's favorite music streaming service is finally landing over on the shores of the U.S. Spotify has announced that it will be launching its service in America, although it has only put up a U.S. website with a sign up link. If you mosey on over to Spotify's U.S. website, you can get signed up to give the service a whirl when it does launch. Spotify did not announce when it would launch in the U.S., just that it will be coming over here soon. Sure, you could try Amazon's or Apple's music streaming service, but the majority of Europe can't be wrong with how popular Spotify is, not to mention the low, low price of zero dollars. If that interests you in any way, then feel free to sign up at its new U.S. website.


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EA Says Valve is to Blame for Crysis 2 Disappearing from Steam

Posted: July 7, 2011 @ time: 09:54PM
Author: bp9801

A little while back, Crysis 2 disappeared from Steam. You could get the game from EA's Origin service along with other digital distribution sites, but not from Steam. EA made some comment about how some of Valve's policies with Steam was the reason for the removal, and now some confirmation has come out. EA is claiming that Valve is to blame for why Crysis 2 is no longer on Steam, citing a dispute with how games are patched and updated on the service. EA has no problem with whichever company sells one of its game, but the process of patching and updating a game should be handled directly by EA in order to build a rapport with its customers. Due to that, EA removed Crysis 2 from Steam and says that some future titles won't be available on the service as well. It seems EA has issues with how Valve wants to handle how games available on its Steam service are updated, and because of that, EA pulled Crysis 2 and may do so again with other titles in the future.


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Dragon Age 2: Legacy DLC Announced

Posted: July 7, 2011 @ time: 10:05PM
Author: edwardquilo

Get ready to reinstall Dragon Age 2, as a new DLC for the hit RPG has just been announced at EA's Summer Showcase 2011. Dragon Age 2: Legacy focuses on your character Hawke's bloodline, and will delve deeper into your main character's mysterious lineage. The game pits the player against a dangerous criminal cartel bent on hunting down Hawke's family, and the player must stop their murderous rampage. It has even been suggested that this organization is so powerful that even the famed Grey Wardens steer clear of their path. Players will also be encountering a different breed of Darkspawn, a Genlock Alpha, as well as new locales to explore, such as the Grey Warden Prison. The DLC has also been designed to be playable at any time during the main Dragon Age 2 campaign, letting you use new weapon bonuses and carry it back to the main game. BioWare hopes that players will use each party member's abilities to their tactical advantage, as players will be encountering multiple mini-boss fights during the course of the adventure. 

The DLC will be available on July 26, 2011 for the PC for 800 BioWare Points, Xbox 360 for 800 Microsoft Points, and PS3 for $9.99. 


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Hardware Roundup: Friday Edition

Posted: July 8, 2011 @ time: 05:08AM
Author: Nemo

As we wrap up another week of reviews, our roundup today has a two-bay NAS server from QNAP. If you're wondering what's up with next generation gaming consoles, we picked up an article on some of the rumors floating around out there. We also have a good mix of other hardware reviews covering networking, motherboards, video cards and more, so take a moment to check out all the reviews linked to below.

Input Devices
Gigabyte Aivia M8600 @ LanOC Reviews

Mobile
TechSpot's Smartphone Buying Guide: Q3 2011 @ TechSpot

Motherboards
ASUS F1A75-V Pro (AMD A75) Motherboard @ TweakTown

Networking
ASUS USB-N13 802.11n Network Adapter @ ThinkComputers

Operating Systems
Ubuntu ushers me out of the Windows XP era @ Tech Report

Storage/Hard Drives
QNAP TS-219P+ NAS Network Server @ Benchmark Reviews

Video
ASUS ENGTX560 TI DirectCU II @ Neoseeker

Miscellany
Revising Cinema for the Blu-ray age - Where to draw the line? @ TweakTown
Rumors on Next Generation Console Hardware @ [H]ardOCP
PC Perspective Podcast #161 @ PC Perspective


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