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News Archives for September 2011

Hardware Roundup: Thursday Edition

Posted: September 1, 2011 @ time: 05:33AM
Author: Nemo

Today's roundup includes reviews on the Radeon HD 6850 Vapor-X OC 1GB video card from Sapphire, the CM Storm Sirus headphones and Kingston's HyperX 240GB solid state drive for starters. In the computer case department there are three reviews covering the Corsair Carbide 400, the Lian Li PC-90 and the Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 full tower case. We have more in store for you today and you can check out all the reviews using the links posted below.

Cases
Corsair Carbide 400R Case @ Neoseeker
Lian Li PC-90 Computer Case @ Benchmark Reviews
Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 Full Tower Case @ ThinkComputers

Cooling
Phanteks PH-TC14PE CPU Cooler @ Madshrimps

Gaming
Rugby World Cup 2011 PlayStation 3 @ TweakTown

Motherboards
Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD7 @ XSReviews

Prebuilts
Zotac's Zbox Nano AD10 Plus nettop @ Tech Report

Speakers/Headphones
CM Storm Sirus Headphones @ PC Perspective

Storage/Hard Drives
Kingston HyperX 240GB SSD @ TechSpot

Video
Sapphire Radeon HD 6850 Vapor-X OC 1GB Video Card @ TweakTown


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Star Trek Online Going Free to Play Later This Year

Posted: September 1, 2011 @ time: 08:55AM
Author: edwardquilo

Much like Champions Online did last January, Cryptic Studios will be making Star Trek Online free to play before the end of 2011. The announcement was made by the CEO of Cryptic's parent company Perfect World Entertainment, Kelvin Lau. The latter company has several F2P MMO titles under its belt, so the decision to add Star Trek Online to that list does make sense, from a competitive standpoint. Lau adds that making the game F2P will broaden its market potential in the Chinese and US territories. However, it has not been made known if Star Trek Online will use Steam's free to play system in the same vein as Champions Online

With any luck, this should rope in new players to Star Trek Online, just like the surge of new blood experienced by other MMO games that recently went free to play. 


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Replacing Lenses with Holograms

Posted: September 1, 2011 @ time: 09:45AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Everyone can get sick and probably will, regardless of where they live, though the quality of treatment you get is dependent on your location. Researchers around the world put time and effort into developing cheaper ways to collect biomedical information specifically to benefit poorer nations. The Optical Society’s open-access journal Biomedical Optics Express has just published a paper on a new microscope that is smaller, light, and cheaper than the typical microscopes a medical professional would use. The key to creating the microscope was replacing the expensive and heavy lenses with hologram apparatuses. A hologram is created when light travelling through or bouncing off of a surface is interfered with is compared against a reference beam. The resulting microscope can fit in one’s hand, weighs “as much as a medium-sized banana,” and, most importantly, costs between $50 and $100 to produce. However, unlike typical microscopes, this will not produce an image for the human eye, but data to be converted into an image. A laptop or cellphone can be used for this, or an off-site server can be sent the information for processing.


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Developer Behind L.A. Noire Goes into Administration

Posted: September 1, 2011 @ time: 10:07AM
Author: bp9801

Back in May of this year, a game many had been looking forward to, L.A. Noire, was released. The game was developed by Sydney, Australia-based Team Bondi and published by Rockstar, and the game was met with critical acclaim. L.A. Noire was the first game from Team Bondi, which had spent the better part of six years working on it. However, after the game was released some reports came out from the studio that talked of unsatisfactory working conditions, former employees who were left out of the credit list on the game, and even Rockstar saying it was not likely it would publish the next game from Team Bondi. The studio was also rumored to be selling its non-L.A. Noire intellectual property to filmmaker George Miller's KMM studio, but now, the news takes a turn for the worse. It appears that Team Bondi has been placed into external administration, meaning the fate of the studio is up in the air. Some employees are already working with KMM on Happy Feet Two, so it is likely the rest of Team Bondi will join them.

It is kind of sad to see a studio, which released such a great game, have so much trouble soon after a major release. One has to wonder if these events weren't already unfolding long before L.A. Noire ever came out, and now that the studio has nothing major in store, everything compounded at once. L.A. Noire was also announced to be released on the PC later this year, but Rockstar is having a different studio handle that so it is unlikely a delay will result.


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Tweaked Semiconductor to Release Hydrogen from Water

Posted: September 1, 2011 @ time: 10:08AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Hydrogen is the simplest of all elements with a single proton and single electron (and occasionally a neutron or two). Right now there is a great deal of interest in using this gas for fuel because the processes involved often result in only water, and not more harmful emissions. Because of how light hydrogen is though, it does not exist in our atmosphere because it will simply float off into space. One common way to get hydrogen is from coal and natural gas, which means to get the clean-burning hydrogen one must first use less clean materials. A potential source of hydrogen is water, H20, but separating the hydrogen and oxygen takes so much energy this method is not used much. Researchers at the Universities of Kentucky and Louisville have discovered a potentially cheaper means to release hydrogen from water. The team was exploring what can be done with an inexpensive semiconductor, comprised of antimony and gallium nitride, after simple tweaks were made to it. Their findings were a material capable of photoelectrochemical water splitting. What that means is if you put the tweaked material into water and let the Sun shine on it, the water will split into hydrogen and oxygen. This new technique may prove itself to be economical and a carbon-free hydrogen source for the future.


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The Old Republic Release Date to be Determined by Beta

Posted: September 1, 2011 @ time: 10:54AM
Author: bp9801

I'm sure many of you are eagerly awaiting the release date of Star Wars: The Old Republic, the first MMORPG from BioWare. Well, it seems that EA and BioWare won't commit to a firm release date until the beta wraps up. That is because fan reaction to the beta will determine when The Old Republic releases, since both EA and BioWare want a smooth and trouble-free launch for the full game. EA's Frank Gibeau said that he and the team are happy with how the beta is currently going and that the release date is looking clearer and clearer, but does say that something could happen in the September/October timeframe that changes it. Gibeau says that EA wants to avoid the launch issues that have plagued other MMOs, like World of Warcraft, where those games had huge queues to get into the servers and even experienced some crashes. As such, pre-orders for SWTOR are limited to ensure a smooth launch for when the game does launch. Quantities for the game will increase after the launch, so if you don't pre-order it now you may not get in right away.


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Creative Launches New Headsets for Consoles and PC, New Sound Card/Audio Platform

Posted: September 1, 2011 @ time: 12:25PM
Author: bp9801

Creative Labs may not be the premier audio company it once was, but that doesn't mean its products, and more specifically its headsets, aren't anything to shy away from. Today, Creative has introduced several new headsets aimed at the console and computer crowd, plus a new sound card/audio platform for PCs and Macs. The first headset is designed for the Xbox 360, and it is called the Sound Blaster Tactic360 Sigma gaming headset. It is based off the Tactic3D Sigma headset, and features a steel-core headband and 50mm drivers. It features a powered headset amplifier with voice and game audio controls to help you hear everything clearly while playing the latest Xbox 360 games. The next headset is also designed for the 360, and is called the Sound Blaster Tactic360 ION gaming headset. It is a smaller design that should be lighter in weight than the Tactic360 Sigma, and thus only features 40mm drivers. It also has a powered headset amplifier for voice and game audio controls.

Next up we have a headset designed for PC and Mac users, the Sound Blaster Tactic3D Wrath wireless gaming headset. It features 50mm, red illuminated ear cups with plush padding, a steel-core headband, detachable microphone, and a rechargeable lithium battery. It features included software called THX TruStudio Pro that features audio enhancements designed by Creative and THX engineers. That software leads me to believe this headset connects via USB, which some people do prefer. The last headset will work with PC, Macs, PS3s, and 360s, and is called the Sound Blaster Tactic3D Omega wireless gaming headset. It features FullSpectrum 50mm drivers and a detachable, noise-canceling microphone. Plugging it into a PC or Mac also makes use of the THX TruStudio Pro software, which means it should be another USB headset, though you can also plug it into an Aux-In port.

Lastly, Creative is showcasing a new sound card/audio platform it is calling Sound Blaster Recon3D. It makes use of something Creative is calling Sound Core3D, which is the world's first quad-core sound and voice processor. It uses Creative's patented Quartet digital signal processor (DSP) paired with four independent processor cores, making it the first processor to integrate an "array of DSP cores" with high-quality HD audio codecs of over 100dB on a single chip. It utilizes THX TruStudio Pro and CrystalVoice technologies, each of which feature various enhancements to improve the sound and voice capabilities of the Recon3D. There will be three variants at first, the Recon3D Fatal1ty Champion, Fatal1ty Professional, Core3D, and the Recon3D USB. The first three connect via PCIe while the last is a USB connection.

The Fatal1ty Champion includes an I/O drive with headset mini-jack, volume control, and audio input connectivity options. It also features a "stunning design" and glowing red Creative Sound Core3D processor. The Fatal1ty Professional includes the I/O connectivity on the card itself, and includes a high-quality beam-forming microphone so you don't need to use a headset. The Core3D is the basic version, which includes an integrated headphone amplifier, digital microphone interface, S/PDIF inputs and outputs, and general purpose inputs and outputs. Lastly, the Recon3D USB is an external USB device that features headset ports, line in/out, and S/PDIF input. The S/PDIF input allows for Dolby Digital decoding, plus there is a three step microphone booster on the side. On the opposite side from the mic booster is a switch that lets you toggle between a PC, PS3, and 360. It can be upgraded with wireless connectivty as well.

The Creative Sound Blaster headsets will be available later this year. The Sound Blaster Core3D and Fatal1ty sound cards don't have a solid release date except for an early next year for the Fatal1ty Champion, while the Recon3D USB will be out later this year for a price of $129.99.


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Supernova Visible in the Night Sky

Posted: September 1, 2011 @ time: 12:25PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

A supernova is one of the most spectacular events to happen in the universe, and occasionally we here on Earth are fortunate enough to see one. One was recently observed by the Palomar Transient Factory and found by supercomputers at Berkeley Lab near the Big Dipper, in the Pinwheel Galaxy, and is only 21 million light-years away. This particular supernova is a type Ia where mass falls on a white dwarf, the dead core of an already dead star, and brings it back to life. The white dwarf does not have the gravity to reignite nuclear fusion, but with the additional mass it has collected carbon, fusion occurs with such violent force as to destroy the dwarf. Supernovae can last for weeks and increase in brightness over time, just as this one has, making it possible to view with binoculars. For instructions on how to view the supernova, check out the embedded video.


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Some New Information on TES V: Skyrim Surfaces

Posted: September 1, 2011 @ time: 12:52PM
Author: bp9801

Recently, one of the editors over at Kotaku got a chance to play a little bit of Skyrim at PAX and discuss many things with the game's creative director, Todd Howard. One of the things covered is a list of which characters in the game you can and cannot kill. Howard said that "Central" characters cannot be killed and will merely drop to their knees when defeated. Rare "Protected" players can be killed by you, but not by other NPCs in the game. Both of these ensure that certain quests and characters will always remain possible, so you can't just kill anyone wily nily in the game. Characters who are neither of those can be killed by anyone, be it your own hand or one of the NPCs in the game. In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you can command animals to fight at your side, but those animals won't always obey you or be of use to you. Some animals, like a deer, may run away from any combat you engage in, while others, like wolves, can help you out.

One of the problems some people have with The Elder Scrolls and even Fallout games are the limits on how much weight you can carry. Howard knows this and says that the encumberance limits have been raised compared to Oblivion, but would not say how much more. You can raise your stamina level in the game to be able to carry a ton more items and heavier equipment than a character who does not, obviously, so hopefully we won't have to shed some gear just to be able to escape from a dungeon. As for the game's difficulty levels, Skyrim more closely resembles Fallout 3 than Oblivion in that regard. Gone is the ability that raises the level of all NPCs and monsters like in Oblivion, and in its stead are different areas of Skyrim with set difficulty levels. These levels can raise or lower some depending on your character level, so if you take a low level character into a high level area, you will be challenged. Howard did say that the loot you can find in those areas will be of the rare variety, so you will be richly rewarded if you manage to survive the trip.

There will be DLC for Skyrim and yes the first two will be exclusive to the Xbox 360 at first, but Howard did not say what we can expect from the DLC. He said that the team hasn't nailed down exactly what the DLC will be like, but expect it to be large, like Point Lookout of Fallout 3 large. Lastly, Howard said that the team has learned from Fallout 3 and when you defeat the final boss in Skyrim, you can still continue adventuring. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion let you keep on playing after defeating the final boss, and in fact gave you a nice set of armor after two weeks of in-game time had passed. Skyrim will be like Oblivion in that regard, meaning the finale is not an actual finale and the game is forever open-ended. Howard also said that future Bethesda games will let you keep on adventuring after the final boss, which to me is the greatest news of all.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim launches on November 11th for the PC, PS3, and 360.


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Graphene Photodetectors to Speed Up Internet

Posted: September 1, 2011 @ time: 01:20PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Carbon, like many substances, will produce an electric current when light is shined onto it. The one-atom thick form of carbon, graphene, has extremely high conductivity and would be an excellent choice for photodetectors and other devices that utilize the photoelectric effect. Unfortunately, graphene is so thin only about 3% off the light shining on it will be converted into electricity. Researchers at the Universities of Manchester and Cambridge have increased that percentage to 60% by adding metallic structures in front of the graphene. The metal uses the plasmonic effect to concentrate the light so the graphene can more easily absorb it. The resulting device also maintains the graphene’s high conductivity making them valuable to high-speed optical communications, such as those in the backbone of the Internet.


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Getting Hydrogen Out of Storage

Posted: September 1, 2011 @ time: 02:07PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Hydrogen has great potential as an energy source as it burns and can be utilized in fuel cells to generate an electric current. It burns a little too well though, so moving the element normally requires extreme pressure or extreme cold to keep everyone safe. This is hardly economical so researchers have successfully been finding materials to chemically store the gas, making it safe for transport. Releasing the hydrogen from the material can be difficult though. However scientists from the University of Southern California have found a catalyst system to remove the hydrogen stored in ammonia borane, a stable solid. Not only will this system release the hydrogen but also releases enough to be useful as a fuel.


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XFX WarPad Contest

Posted: September 1, 2011 @ time: 05:51PM
Author: Nemo

Today marks the first day of a new contest being launched by XFX where it'll be giving away a new XFX WarPad each day for the entire month of September. The requirements are fairly simple:  users need to like XFX on Facebook and then post a picture of their old mouse pad. That's it! Unfortunately, the contest is open to U.S. residents only and complete rules can be found here. Good Luck!


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Did Apple Lose Another New iPhone?

Posted: September 1, 2011 @ time: 06:16PM
Author: CheeseMan42

In a story that is similar to the debacle Apple had last year with the iPhone 4, it has apparently lost an unreleased iPhone 5 at a bar in San Francisco. The missing iPhone 4 fetched $5,000 from Gizmodo, while in this case it appears the device may have been sold on Craigslist for $200. The phone is alleged to have gone missing at Cava 22, a tequila lounge, and was then traced electronically by Apple. Police and Apple security went to the house and spoke to the man they found there. After giving police permission to search the residence, nothing was found, even after money was offered for the return of the phone, no questions asked. After the last lost phone, Apple has attempted to increase security, but it has been unable to remove the human element.


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GPU-Z 0.5.5 Available

Posted: September 2, 2011 @ time: 03:40AM
Author: premiumgfx

The most recent version of popular graphics utility GPU-Z, version 0.5.5, is now available. GPU-Z 0.5.5 brings a variety of updates, including full support for the Radeon graphics processor within AMD A-Series Accelerated Processing Units (APUs). Other newly-supported GPUs include NVIDIA's GeForce GT 560 Ti OEM, GT 545, GT 530, the GeForce GTX 580M, GT 555M, GeForce 520MX, GT 520M, 410M, 305M, Quadro 5000, Quadro 4000M and the Quadro 400. AMD GPUs now supported include the Radeon HD 6290, Radeon E6760 and E4690, along with the FirePro V8800, V3700 and 2460 (FireMV). GPU-Z 0.5.5 adds a new feature for multi-GPU systems, saving the GPU selected when it was last closed, and restoring this selection on restart. BIOS reading for NVIDIA GPUs has also been enhanced.  GPU-Z 0.5.5 is available now for download at TechPowerUp.


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Hardware Roundup: Friday Edition

Posted: September 2, 2011 @ time: 05:19AM
Author: Nemo

OCC reviewed the Cooler Master CM 690 II Advanced a while back and now there is a nVIDIA edition of the case and you can check it out in today's roundup. The VisionTek brand may be one that you recognize, but not necessarily one you associate with power supplies. The folks over at [H] put together a rather honest assessment of the VisionTek 700W power supply and I doubt you'll see it linked to from VisionTek's home page! There are a couple more items today including a set of sleeved cables from BitFenix, the Evercool Transformer 3 CPU cooler and a solid state drive from ADATA.

Cases
Cooler Master CM 690 II Advanced nVIDIA Edition Computer Case @ Tweaknews

Cooling
Evercool Transformer 3 @ Bjorn3D

Modding
BitFenix Alchemy Sleeved Cables @ TweakTown

Power Supplies
VisionTek 700W Power Supply @ [H]ardOCP

Storage/Hard Drives
ADATA S511 240GB Solid State Drive @ TweakTown

Miscellany
Podcast #168 @ PC Perspective
The next computing revolution will be televised @ Tech Report


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Ford Evos: The Social Networking Car of Tomorrow

Posted: September 2, 2011 @ time: 07:12AM
Author: edwardquilo

Here's an intelligent and sexy car for the bustling social networker. The Ford Evos is a hybrid concept automobile that connects you online with your social network buddies, and helps with the navigation by pointing out the quickest routes to your destination. Ford designed this futuristic car to be connected online at all times, to automatically update your work schedule, monitor the traffic and weather conditions, and to safely assist you in your driving. 

First seen in Germany, the gorgeously designed Evos integrates your information between the office, home and car, such as listening to the last song you played at home in your car. The vehicle's sensors monitor your physical state and workload, and will automatically adjust the car's temperature, music, and handling to make the driving experience more comfortable. 

Although the sleek Evos isn't scheduled for mass production, Ford says that it intends to apply the car's technology into its upcoming vehicle lineup. So it wouldn't be far fetched that in a few years time, you'll be updating your online status from your Ford Expedition. 


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Dead Island Nears Release Date

Posted: September 2, 2011 @ time: 09:14AM
Author: edwardquilo

Dead Island held gamers spellbound for a span of three minutes when its dramatic Forward/Reverse trailer was released early this year. It is perhaps because of this chilling video and musical score that a lot of people(non-gamers included) took notice of Techland's zombie title. Since the past few months we've also seen the game in action, although the actual gameplay might not have the dramatic resonance that its initial video suggested. Still, Dead Island's focus on melee based combat, an open world island, four-player co-op campaign, and role-playing elements make it a potential standout among other zombie-infested shooters out there. The latest release trailer features the game's four playable characters, giving us an outline of this unlikely band of zombie-slayers' story as they fight hordes of the undead, long enough to get rescued. 

So, if you're wondering where to spend your next virtual vacation, the fictional island of Banoi might be a good idea. Just bring along a zombie-proof machete. Dead Island will be available September 6 in the US, and worldwide on September 9, 2011

 


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Acceptably Low Error Rate Achieved for Single Qubit Processing

Posted: September 2, 2011 @ time: 09:39AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

When we overclock any component we push as far as we can until the system cannot correct all the errors and continue to function properly. Lucky for us the error tolerance for most computer parts is large enough for overclocking to be possible. Quantum computers though do not have such a wide tolerance. In fact, researchers are still struggling to achieve an error rate of one in 10,000 logic operations. From NIST comes a paper on an achieved one in 50,000 logic operations error rate for single qubit operations. It achieved this by using a microwave antenna instead of a laser, to minimize instability in the system and cooling the qubit, a trapped ion, to 4.2 K (-268.95 C). Though this is an important step towards a viable quantum computer in the future, a similarly low error rate must be achieved for two-qubit logic operations.


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Quantum Dots to Light Our Way

Posted: September 2, 2011 @ time: 11:54AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Today, when a light burns out your choice of replacement is primarily between incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. In the future there may be a third choice, and that future is coming sooner thanks to the University of Florida. Working to create a technique for low cost quantum dot-based LEDs the researchers found how to combine the materials found in organic LED panels with those of traditional quantum dots to create a hybrid LED. Quantum dots are nanoscale crystals that will emit light, like an LED does, but can be turned to a specific frequency by controlling the crystals’ size. Organic LEDs are more efficient and provide better images than traditional LCDs. To make the hybrid device would normally require two different manufacturing techniques, because the different technologies are made indifferent ways. The University of Florida has created a single device capable of creating the entire LED using a single technique. The resulting LEDs also demonstrated improved efficiency and lifetime, when compared to previous quantum dot LEDs. This technique may not be the final solution though, and future research will focus on still better methods.


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Nanowire Solar Cell Made

Posted: September 2, 2011 @ time: 12:18PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Most solar cells made today are planar and require highly processed silicon. The processing of the silicon takes a great deal of energy and money, causing the panels to be quite expensive. Organic solar cells can be made cheaper, but have such inferior efficiency to make the cost benefit disappear. Researchers at Berkeley Lab have created solar cells both cheaper and have comparable efficiency to the 5.4% of standard solar cells. These new cells are actually nanowires consisting of cadmium sulfide with a copper sulfide layer added via solution chemistry. The researchers believe they can increase efficiency by changing the amount of copper sulfide shell material and hope to achieve the ten-percent efficiency needed to be commercially viable.


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University of Leicester Reporting to Sick Bay

Posted: September 2, 2011 @ time: 12:38PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

For anyone going on a mission of deep space exploration, from astronauts traveling to Mars to the various captains of Star Trek, health is of incredible concern; there are no doctors to make a house call, except those you bring. Of course, the captains had the advantage of a few hundred years more of medical advancement, but we are catching up. Scientists at the University of Leicester have created the Leicester Diagnostics Development Unit that operates without probes and blood tests. Many diseases present themselves externally as a scent and colors, and some biometrics, such as heart rate, can be observed without invasive procedures. This modern day ‘sick bay’ combines these technologies into a single facility for comprehensive diagnoses of patients. The research team hopes of spreading their diagnostic technology to hospitals and maybe even ambulances in the future.


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Talking About Dragons Trailer Released for TES V: Skyrim

Posted: September 2, 2011 @ time: 01:25PM
Author: bp9801

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is now a mere two months away from release, which means new videos and previews are coming out fairly often. Today, we have a new video that shows Skyrim's creative director, Todd Howard, talking about the dragons in the game. The dragons have never appeared in previous Elder Scrolls games, but that never meant dragons did not exist in the game's universe. Your character in Skyrim is the Dragonborn, the one person born with the soul of a dragon that enables you to speak their language. You can find various words in the dragon language, and when combined can form these "mystical shouts" that enable you to do a variety of actions, like slowing down time or hitting an enemy with a wall of wind. As for the dragons you encounter in Skyrim, Bethesda wanted to take the dragons you can read in a fantasy book and bring them to life on the screen, from their movements to how they fight you. The dragons can be viewed as a type of boss battle, since they are these huge beasts that can breathe fire, fly through the air, crush you with their jaws, and just give you a fright. Howard says that these dragons can hunt you down through the mountains, so you probably don't stand much of a chance of outrunning one like you can a skeleton.

Lastly, Howard talked about the 360 version of the game and how it looks far better than even Fallout 3 did on the console. He says that there are lots of little details, like berries on a plant, that you can see to show the new graphics engine. There is a new face system in the game, which should be obvious from some of the screenshots and videos of the characters, plus the new interface should give us an easier time of navigating menus and the game world.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim launches on November 11th for the PC, PS3, and 360.


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PSN Adds Three Million Users After Hack

Posted: September 2, 2011 @ time: 01:47PM
Author: bp9801

The PlayStation Network hack earlier this year was pretty ugly, with all 70 million plus users being affected by it. It took Sony around a month to get the service back online, and in that time the PSN has even seen some growth. Since the service was restored in May, more than three million new people have joined the PlayStation Network. Sony CEO Howard Stringer says that the PSN is now "more secure and better than ever," with sales on the service having exceeded the numbers they were before the hack in April. It seems Sony has put the ugly days of the hack long behind it, and should be seeing plenty of growth. This year was not too kind to Sony, with the earthquake in Japan being followed by the PSN hack, but now things are starting to turn around. The amount of new people joining the PlayStation Network is a positive sign, and a step in the right direction for Sony.


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Vehicles of Battlefield 3 Get Detailed

Posted: September 2, 2011 @ time: 02:37PM
Author: bp9801

I know many of you are looking forward to Battlefield 3, so this bit of news is for you. A new post on the Battlefield blog details what we can expect from the vehicles in BF3, and there is quite a bit of information. There will be more than 80 specialization upgrades that can be unlocked for all vehicle classes, from tanks to choppers to jets and transport vehicles. There will be three unlock slots for every vehicle: one for the secondary weapons, one for the gadgets, and a third for general upgrades. Kills and experience earned while driving a vehicle will unlock more upgrades, similar to how using a weapon will unlock upgrades for it.

If your vehicle has some light damage, it will repair over time provided you don't take more damage, while ones with a lot more damage won't repair. DICE says it is designed to give non-engineer drivers and pilots more of an advantage, since taking some light damage means the vehicle will auto-repair and you don't have to wait for an engineer to stroll past. Engineers can still repair any vehicle by walking up beside them, and if your vehicle is badly damaged it will break down. A tank may slow down to a crawl before catching fire and threatening to explode unless an engineer can fix it in time. While it is getting repaired, you can still use the weapons on the tank or APC, meaning you won't be entirely out of the fight. It is a bit of a risk though, since you can stay in the vehicle while its on fire to launch a few more rounds, or run to the battle and let the vehicle explode behind you. It will be up to you and any engineers on your team to keep that tank around a little longer.

Battlefield 3 launches on October 25th for the PC, PS3, and 360.


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Xbox 360 Gets the Modern Warfare 3 Treatment

Posted: September 2, 2011 @ time: 03:01PM
Author: bp9801

It wasn't that long ago we were talking about a Star Wars-themed Xbox 360 console, and now a new game-themed console is coming out. Microsoft and Activision have announced today that there will be a new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3-themed console launching at the same time the game does this November. The 360 will include a 320GB hard drive, two controllers, a copy of Modern Warfare 3, a free month of Xbox Live Gold, and some exclusive Xbox Live Avatar items. The console and controllers will come decked out in a unique paint job for Modern Warfare 3, which looks pretty spiffy if a little grizzled. Like the Star Wars console, the MW3 console will play some unique sounds whenever you turn it on and off or open the disc tray. There will also be some separate accessories to tie in with Modern Warfare 3, like controllers and a Bluetooth headset. Each accessory will come with codes for exclusive but unannounced downloads.

The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3-themed Xbox 360 will launch on November 8th for $400. The controllers will cost you $60 while the headset will be $70.


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Official Portal Socks Now Available

Posted: September 2, 2011 @ time: 06:12PM
Author: bp9801

Video game merchandise seems to be on everything these days, from action figures to plush toys and even glassware. Clothing is another avenue you can choose to proudly display some of your favorite games, and today we have something aimed at those who have played Portal. Clothing company J!NX has created a pair of officially licensed Portal 2 Long Fall Socks, based on the design of the Long Fall Boots worn by Chell in the game. These socks won't exactly keep you safe when falling from a great height, but they will look stylish on you. The socks are only available in women's sizes, possibly because Chell is a female in the game, so these are ideal for those girl gamers or girlfriend's of gamers. The Long Fall Socks are knee-high socks, almost perfectly replicating the look of the Long Fall Boots from Portal 2. At a price of only $10, these would be an ideal gift for the girl gamer in your life. However, J!NX is currently out of stock, so it'd be best to sign up to be notified of when more inventory arrives.


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Amazon Kindle Tablet is Real

Posted: September 3, 2011 @ time: 12:06PM
Author: bp9801

The Amazon tablet has long been rumored, but now it may be closer to reality than you might think. The guys over at TechCrunch have reportedly gotten their hands on the Amazon tablet and the potential it has can be huge. Dubbed simply the Amazon Kindle, this tablet is unlike any previous Kindle. Gone is the Pearl E-Ink screen and in its place is a full color, seven inch capacitive touchscreen. The editor at TechCrunch who got to handle the Kindle was not allowed to take any pictures, but described it as similar to the BlackBerry PlayBook since both are 7" devices. The Kindle has a 7" touchscreen that is mutli-touch capable, but more on the lines of a maximum of two fingers supported at once. It uses an LCD screen that is backlit, so you can read it in the dark. Previously, there were reports of a 7" and 10" Amazon tablet, but as of now Amazon only has plans to release the 7" device, with the 10" following if the 7" is a hit. The hardware is finalized, just Amazon is tweaking the software it is running. The hardware is expected to be a single-core processor with 6GB of internal storage. Amazon expects you to make use of its cloud services for music and movies.

As for that software, the Amazon Kindle is running a heavily skinned version of Android. By heavily skinned, I mean you would not be able to tell it is an Android tablet just by looking at it. It may be running Android 2.2 or even 2.1, but all markings that make an Android tablet are gone. The color scheme for the interface is black, dark blue, and orange, fitting since those are the colors of Amazon and Kindle. The main screen resembles Cover Flow in iTunes, which displays all the books, music, movies, and apps stored on the device or in the cloud. Below the Cover Flow carousel is a dock where you can pin your favorite items, which disappears when the Kindle is held horizontally. Above that dock is the status bar that also doubles as the notification tray, with the number of notifications being displayed in bright orange.

There are no physical buttons on the Kindle, instead you tap the screen once to bring up a navigation menu that can take you back to the home screen or any of your content. For getting content on the Kindle, the Amazon store is just a click away. The Kindle uses Amazon Cloud Player for music, Amazon Instant Vider player for movies, and apps are handled by Amazon's Appstore. There is even a Web browser on the Kindle, but official Google apps are no where to be found. Whatever apps are in the Amazon Appstore are what you will get. Some apps will be bundled with the device, like Pulse and possibly Angry Birds.

The Amazon Kindle tablet is expected to launch by the end of November, just in time for the holidays. The price is expected to be $250, which puts it right in line with the Barnes & Noble Nook Color. That $250 price will also apparently get you a free year of Amazon Prime, which along with free two-day shipping also gets you access to Amazon's Instant Video service, ideal for watching some movies on your new tablet. The Amazon Kindle will be WiFi-only at first, with 3G devices planned. So, not a bad device for $250, we'll have to see what the reaction will be when it is officially announced by Amazon.


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PCG: Ultrabooks Could be the Future of PC Gaming

Posted: September 4, 2011 @ time: 02:37AM
Author: edwardquilo

Is an ultra-thin laptop the future of PC gaming? We may have the answer to that in a short amount of time. Things are progressively moving forward with Intel's $300 million funding into the Ultrabook project, and not to mention the Razer Blade, which has been touted as PC gaming's saviour.

Intel is certainly building on the Ultrabook's premise on having a powerful, lightweight laptop that won't burn a large hole in your pocket. Portable computing has been on Intel's eye lately, what with a significant chunk of the business being encroached upon by tablet computers. Several manufacturers are already showing off a few Ultrabook flavored laptops: Toshiba's Portege Z830, Asus' UX31, and Acer's Aspire S3. These svelte form-factors are thinner, more affordable than a MacBook Air, and are equipped with a brawny dual-core i7 chip.

Gaming-wise, how do these Ultrabooks fare? The built-in Intel HD Graphics 3000 might not be the best option for an immersive, graphics-rich experience, but it does offer gamers an alternative. Current framerates on a few recent games are tolerable, especially when the graphics settings are dialed all the way down. PC Gamer demonstrated this in a recent playthrough with Deus Ex: Human Revolution on an Ultrabook- it was playable, albeit missing on the graphical bells and whistles.

As it stands right now, there's still a lot of work to be done if PC gaming is to flourish on these slender machines. The next year's batch of Ultrabooks, hopefully armed with meatier GPUs, are something to look forward to.


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BioWare Wants Your Opinion on the Liara Statue

Posted: September 4, 2011 @ time: 09:46AM
Author: edwardquilo

Last July, BioWare announced that Kotobukiya's Bushoujo Statues will be featuring the women of Mass Effect. The first glimpse was of an anime-inspired illustration of Dr. Liara T'Soni as she appeared in Lair of the Shadow Broker. A statue of Liara has just been unveiled, and it's up to the legions of Mass Effect fans to decide if this well-endowed sculpture perfectly embodies the beautiful and deadly Asari scientist. Although judging by the mixed reaction of fans, the final bust might undergo a few more changes before BioWare decides on a definitive look for Liara. A pre-order announcement is expected soon. 

So what do you guys think of the prototype Liara statue?


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Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: September 5, 2011 @ time: 03:48AM
Author: Nemo

We have a couple of motherboards for you to look at today beginning with the Foxconn AHD1S-k AMD Fusion ITX board. The second motherboard is the Intel Z68-based ASRock Z68 Extreme7 Gen3. Computer Ed continues its Summer of Cases series with a look at the Fractal Core 3000 mid-tower computer case. Today's roundup also includes another review of the the NZXT Sentry Mix fan controller. The Thermaltake  Tt eSPORTS MEKA G Unit Gaming Keyboard and the Razer Mamba Dual Sensor 4G gaming mouse also make into the roundup.

Cases
Summer of Cases: Fractal Core 3000 @ Computer Ed

Cooling
NZXT Sentry Mix 6 Channel Fan Controller @ TweakTown

Gaming
Gaming Friday: League of Legends @ ThinkComputers
Deus Ex: Human Revolution PC @ TweakTown

Input Devices
Thermaltake Tt eSPORTS MEKA G Unit Gaming Keyboard @ TweakTown
Razer Mamba Dual Sensor 4G @ Bjorn3D

Motherboards
Foxconn AHD1S-k Motherboard @ XSReviews
ASRock Z68 Extreme7 Gen3 (Intel Z68) Motherboard @ TweakTown

Power Supplies
Kingwin Stryker 500W Fanless Power Supply @ PC Perspective

Miscellany
Sucker Punch (2011) Blu-ray Movie @ TweakTown


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Sign Up for the OCC Newsletter

Posted: September 5, 2011 @ time: 07:30AM
Author: CheeseMan42

For those of you that are new to the site, be sure to sign up to receive the OCC Newsletter. It is easy to sign up and will give you a heads up when something really important is happening. It will keep you up to date on any contests we might have coming up, as well as tell you about some of the more interesting news that has been posted.


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von Neumann Architecture Demonstrated for a Quantum Computer

Posted: September 5, 2011 @ time: 07:32AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

At the heart of all processors is a single architecture, called the von Neumann architecture. This is the design that separates the arithmetic core of a processor from, memory, permanent storage and central control. Scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara have successfully recreated this architecture with quantum circuits, essentially creating a quantum CPU. To test the device it was asked to run the quantum Fourier transform and a three-qubit Toffoli gate, which are key logic circuits that are needed for future quantum computing. I would recommend against waiting on your next upgrade for one of these.


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Quantum Simulator Made

Posted: September 5, 2011 @ time: 09:25AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

A primary goal for science is to understand how the universe works, from the largest scales cosmologists consider, to the small sizes of quantum mechanics. At every scale, scientists try to find equations to describe every phenomenon, but sometimes the system is too complex to create an equation for or even model them on computers. This is the case for quantum systems. If you cannot model the system in a computer, then you might as well simulate it in an experiment, which researchers at the University of Innsbruck have just made more possible. Two years ago the university used an analog approach to simulate a specific relativistic phenomenon. With advances in quantum computers to help them, the team has returned and created a digital approach to their simulation experiment. This has the potential to recreate almost any quantum system and shows very well a potential use for quantum computers.


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Leaked Achievements for Batman: Arkham City Confirm New Game Plus Mode

Posted: September 5, 2011 @ time: 10:14AM
Author: bp9801

Batman: Arkham City is still about a month away from release, but if you're wondering what it has in store for us that hasn't been announced yet, this is for you. The first game, Arkham Asylum, let you truly become Batman, but when the game was over that was kind of it. You could still explore the grounds of the asylum to get more of the Riddler trophies, but if you wanted to replay the game you'd have to start a brand new character and lose any upgrades you had on the first playthrough. Well, all of that may change in Arkham City as a leaked achievements list includes two achievements for a New Game Plus mode. That means that you will be able to take your upgraded Dark Knight back through the game a second time, and presumably face even tougher enemies to take more of an advantage over your upgraded skills. If you'd like, you can check out the full list of achievements, but if you want the game to remain mostly spoiler-free, I'd refrain from doing so.

Batman: Arkham City will release on October 18th for the PC, PS3, and 360.


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2 Mexicans Face 30 Years in Prison for Tweet

Posted: September 5, 2011 @ time: 10:22AM
Author: edwardquilo

In today's age of Twitter and Facebook, most people find tweeting and updating their online status to be a part of their daily lives. But sometimes, you've got to watch what you tweet. A radio commentator and a math tutor are now awaiting trial in a Mexican prison, for tweeting messages that allegedly was the cause for the widespread panic that erupted in the city of Veracruz. Roads were littered with vehicle crashes, and frightened parents abandoned their cars on the road in a rush to get to their children, because of a false report that gunmen were targeting schools. 

"My sister-in-law just called me all upset, they just kidnapped five children from the school."

Apparently, the above tweet made by tutor Gilberto Martinez Vera, was the final straw for the terrified Veracruz citizens, already on edge after weeks of enduring local violence from drug traffickers. A similar distressing message was also retweeted by radio commentator Maria de Jesus Bravo Pagola. If found guilty, both defendants could face a maximum 30-year sentence for terrorism and sabotage. 

The defendants maintain that they were merely transmitting information that was given to them, and that they meant to cause no harm. In a country where the threat of violence is almost commonplace, some citizens and even authorities have used social media to warn others about potential dangers. Human rights groups have already initiated petitions to have the defendants released, citing the accusations as unwarranted and exaggerated. 


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DLC for Deus Ex: Human Revolution Arriving in October

Posted: September 5, 2011 @ time: 10:33AM
Author: bp9801

Deus Ex: Human Revolution may be the best reason to play a game as summer winds down and turns to fall, but what do you do if you've already beaten the game? Well, you try out the new downloadable content for the game, of course! Early last week, code-crackers broke the secrets on an Eidos Montreal teaser site for Deus Ex: Human Revolution. That cracked code revealed some plans for DLC, and now Eidos has confirmed it. Deus Ex: Human Revolution will see some DLC arriving this October, which will be called "The Missing Link." It appears to take place during the main story of Human Revolution, since Adam, the main character, disappears for three days. Those three days are what this DLC covers, and it seems you get your augments disabled at first. You are captured and tortured, and with your augments disabled, you must rely on your basic abilities to escape a freighter heading towards an "unknown location." Eidos says that we can expect "sprawling new environments," new characters, and the ability to rebuild Adam's augments from scratch. This sounds like the perfect way to redo your augments if you are unhappy with what you've upgraded so far.

An exact release date for the first DLC for Deus Ex: Human Revolution was not announced, we just know to expect it this October.


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Apple Claims Android Started in Its Office

Posted: September 5, 2011 @ time: 10:39AM
Author: bp9801

By now I'm sure you've all heard and seen the nasty legal battle between Samsung and Apple, where Apple claims all of Samsung's products are rips on Apple's products. Apple has even won some injunctions against Samsung in Germany, effectively banning the Samsung products from being sold. Today, Apple has a new complaint that takes a run at the Android OS itself. Back in the early 1990s, Android inventor Andy Rubin worked at Apple as a low-level engineer. That right there, according to Apple, is grounds for it to seek a ban on all Android products sold. You see, Apple claims that while Rubin was working at Apple, it was his superiors that that invented the realtime API that Android is based on, and was not done while Rubin worked at General Magic and Danger. Danger was bought by Google mainly for the operating system, which would become Android.

Apple has filed a complaint with the ITC, meaning it has some truthful facts to support this claim, and means that if Apple were to sue Google directly, could possibly receive an injunction. That would mean that all Android devices would be banned from sale and Apple would take a ton of money. Now, to me this all smells like the beginnings of a monopoly, so hopefully nothing comes out of this. If it does, well, I hope you like Apple products.


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Call of Duty Elite Gets a Price Tag

Posted: September 5, 2011 @ time: 11:11AM
Author: CheeseMan42

Activision has announced the pricing for its Call of Duty subscription service, Elite. Interested gamers will be set back $49.99 per year for access to all that Elite provides. For those willing to shell out the money, they will get early access to all map packs for Modern Warfare 3, and will also be able to enter tournaments to win prizes. Subscribers will also get access to a variety of video content. From the pro-commentated match reports to the "Noob Tube" featuring comments from actors Will Arnett and Jason Bateman. Friday Night Fights will be produced by Hollywood heavyweights Ridley and Tony Scott, and will feature battles between rivals such as Democrats and Republicans each week. The Modern Warfare 3 Hardened Edition comes with a year of the Elite service included in the price. Modern Warfare 3 will be released on November 8.


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Battlefield 3 Needs 100 Hours to Unlock an Entire Kit

Posted: September 5, 2011 @ time: 11:31AM
Author: bp9801

Many people are looking forward to Battlefield 3, especially with all the features that get revealed concerning the game. One feature that has been revealed today is about the length of time required to complete a kit. A kit for the different character classes include various weapons, gadgets, and unlocks for weapons. In order to fully unlock an entire kit for one class, you will need to devote around 100 hours. Yep, that's right, around 100 hours to unlock an entire kit for just one class. BF3's senior gameplay director Alan Kertz took to Twitter this weekend to announce that, and boy, does it sound like Battlefield 3 will have gamers playing for countless hours to experience everything. DICE is clearly aiming to keep gamers striving for the fully completed kits for a long time, so I am sure this will please many of you.

Battlefield 3 releases on October 25th for the PC, PS3, and 360.


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Digital Data Going Green

Posted: September 5, 2011 @ time: 11:45AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

For those of you who don’t reformat your hard drive on a regular basis, do you know how much useless data is on your computer? Left over or duplicate files from software and old personal files; the data you don’t need any more. It may not be something to think about now, especially with HDDs with terabytes of storage, but if the future is cloud, it may be worth considering now. Researchers at John Hopkins University have published a paper applying standard recycling techniques to the “byte blight,” to clean up our computers. Naturally the best course of action is to reduce the amount of waste data, by encouraging software manufacturers to be more efficient with their code. If possible, reuse data because if multiple programs use the same code, why should the code be in multiple places? Recycle the data by having the computer check if any of it may be useful to another program. Some of this data may hold historical information, so, after personal information is removed, recover the data for study. Finally, if there is no other choice, simply remove of the data.

For the end user, this most likely appears unneeded, but if massive data centers start holding your information in the cloud for you, they may need such measure to maintain performance.


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Leaked Borderlands 2 Video Crams 14 Minutes of Gameplay

Posted: September 5, 2011 @ time: 12:30PM
Author: edwardquilo

Gearbox recently presented a video showcase of Borderlands 2, featuring a plethora of details about the much-awaited cell-shaded shooter. In this leaked gameplay video, we're introduced to a new character, Maya the Siren, who's helping out in a rescue mission to save Roland, a character from the previous game. There's also a disposable Wal-Mart-like weapon, and a new enemy called a Nomad who cleverly uses squealing midgets as meat-shields. The video isn't the best quality, but the presentation offers a tantalizing glimpse of the actual game itself(not a demo). 

Gearbox promises a leaner, more gripping experience for Borderlands 2. Judging by the collective applause to the 14-minute gameplay video, the sequel looks all set to deliver. Get ready to play the game by April 2012. 


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Sony Says Microsoft is 'Protecting an Inferior Technology'

Posted: September 5, 2011 @ time: 12:36PM
Author: bp9801

Companies are certainly no stranger to talking badly about a competitor, no matter what the subject is. Today, we have a Sony executive talking about Microsoft, and it is a pretty cut and dry subject. SCEA's Rob Dyer, senior VP of publisher relations, says that Microsoft is "protecting an inferior technology" after revelations last week that Microsoft reserves the right to veto any content that is released first on the PlayStation Network. If something releases first on the PSN, Microsoft can block it from releasing on Xbox Live Arcade. Microsoft's third party guidelines say that games released on the Xbox 360 must launch "at least simultaneously" with other consoles and must have "at least" the same features. If neither one of those are met, then Microsoft can block the game from being released on XBLA. Dyer says that is because Microsoft can't do what Sony does, even with disc-based games since those have to be under 9GB due to the DVD nature of the Xbox 360.

Microsoft does not like when a publisher negotiates something exclusive with Sony for the PS3, since it would be perceived as better on the PS3 than the 360. Dyer claims that Microsoft is trying to eliminate everything Sony does for the consumer to better protect its inferior technology. Dyer also said that independent developers are realizing that Sony does not demand "a pound of flesh" to get something released on its platform. He also stressed Valve's work with Portal 2 on the PS3 and CCP's plans with Dust 514, something that would not be possible on the 360. Dust 514 is an FPS tied into the EVE Online universe, so your actions in the FPS directly correlate to something in the PC MMORPG, like the capture of a planet.


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Richard Garriott had Discussions with EA to Develop New Ultima Games

Posted: September 5, 2011 @ time: 01:47PM
Author: edwardquilo

The famed RPG developer Richard Garriott (a.k.a. Lord British) recently sat down with EA representatives on possibly creating new Ultima titles. With the last Ultima game released over 12 years ago, he was hoping to revive the EA-owned franchise for a new generation of gamers. Unfortunately, EA didn't seem to be too enthusiastic about Garriott's idea. Still, he remains hopeful, saying that if EA does change its mind, he'll keep his door open.

If EA ever does get around to resurrecting Ultima, it would be interesting to see the land of Britannia re-imagined with modern graphics. As for the game itself, will it be a continuation of the cataclysmic events from Ultima IX: Ascension, another MMORPG, or an open-world reboot along the lines of Bethesda's Elder Scrolls series? There's a wealth of possibilities here, should EA green-light the project.


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How to Put an Xbox 360 and PS3 in a PC Case

Posted: September 5, 2011 @ time: 02:42PM
Author: CheeseMan42

One intrepid modder that goes by the name Timofiend decided that he wanted to help bring an Xbox 360 and PS3 closer together, by putting both systems in a PC case. While the creator has acknowledged that his guide wasn't written as a tutorial, it does give a record of how he was able to do it. Tim takes you through everything he did in case you wish to attempt to recreate it, from the tools and materials he used to the end product. The pictures and words of Tim do the project much more justice than my words ever could, but I think it turned out really well. Have a look to see the incredible work that he was able to do.


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Rumors Talks About Another Delay of Ivy Bridge and Bulldozer

Posted: September 6, 2011 @ time: 01:47AM
Author: Prunes

Both AMD and Intel are supposedly getting ready to launch its new CPU architectures before the end of this year, but now rumors are suggesting that both companies might delay the introductions of the CPUs.

According to the rumors, Intel will cut back on the capital investment for the upgrade of the Fab 24 facility, which would make the factory capable of manufacturing the 22nm architecture. Apparently, Intel is doing it because the PC demand is weakening according to both Forbes and DigiTimes. For most companies, it seems logical to cut back on investments when the market is weakening. But that’s not what Intel has done in the past. Historically, Intel has often chosen to invest and innovate its way out of financial problems or weak demand instead of saving up. Therefore it seems rather strange that it would do the complete opposite now.

AMD’s Bulldozer is also rumored to be delayed. The argument for this is that AMD hasn’t confirmed officially that it shipped its upcoming server-class Bulldozer products for revenue at some point in August. If that was to be true though, it would be quite a strange move by AMD, since Wall Street and all the potential buyers wouldn’t take too kindly on another delay so close to the anticipated launch date.


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday Edition

Posted: September 6, 2011 @ time: 05:59AM
Author: Nemo

We'll open up the ball today with a series of reviews on computer cases beginning with the Thermaltake Armor A30 from the folks over at Neoseeker. Following that, we have a pair of reviews on the SOLO II chassis from Antec. We have other reviews on motherboards, memory kits and more, so be sure to  use the links below to read all the articles in today's roundup.

Cases
Thermaltake Armor A30 Case @ Neoseeker
Antec Solo-II Computer Case @ Benchmark Reviews
Video Perspective: Antec SOLO II Chassis @ Pc Perspective

Memory
Patriot Viper Xtreme PC3-17066 4GB Kit @ TweakTown

Motherboards
ASRock Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen3 (Intel Z68) Motherboard @ TweakTown

Prebuilts
ZOTAC ZBOX AD03 Plus Mini-PC @ TweakTown

Speakers/Headphones
Sharkoon X-tatic SP Gaming Headset @ XSReviews

Trade Shows/Conventions
MillionManLan 10 Event Coverage @ ThinkComputers

Miscellany
The TR Podcast 95: Razer's Blade, Jobs retires, and a PC in your palm @ Tech Report


Complete Story


World’s Smallest Mirror Made

Posted: September 6, 2011 @ time: 08:52AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

No doubt this piece of news will beg the reader to ask, “Why does this matter?” The answer is how we will start then.

Researchers at the National University of Singapore and University of Innsbruck have taken a step towards making a transistor for light, instead of electricity. Using a modified form of a Fabry-Perot interferometer, they demonstrated a single atom acting like a mirror. The normal Fabry-Perot interferometer traps light between two mirrors. The mirrors are not perfect though, and a little bit of the light sneaks though them. As light escapes it is interfered with by the other light escaping, and the result, amplification or cancellation, depends on the distance between the mirrors. In this experiment, one of the mirrors was replaced with an atom. More importantly than an optical transistor, this experiment may greatly impact future cavity quantum electrodynamics, which may be at the heart of more optical devices than just transistors.


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Massive Dead Island Patch Fixes Almost 40 Game Issues

Posted: September 6, 2011 @ time: 09:20AM
Author: edwardquilo

It seems that Dead Island's debut is off to a rocky start. Apparently, Deep Silver released a dev version of the game to US Steam customers, but the publisher assured users that the final version will be available later today. The less-than-stellar reviews also indicate the game as an enjoyable zombie romp, but plagued with glaring problems that made Dead Island appear like a half-finished game. To address some of the game's numerous issues, a huge patch for Dead Island will be released this Friday. These include 37 game bugs, from twitchy animations, enemy response to fire, and graphical UI issues, among others. For the full list of the fixes, go here


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New Record for Smallest Displacement Observation

Posted: September 6, 2011 @ time: 09:28AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Materials are magnetic when the magnetic moments in its atoms are properly aligned. Ferroelectrics are similar, but instead of having magnetic poles these exhibit electric poles. Multiferroics are an odd combination of these characteristics as magnetic fields create electric poles and electric fields create magnetic poles. This strong relationship of electric and magnetic fields can potentially allow for new storage media for computers that will be faster and more efficient than current HDDs. Before those new drives can be coming off an assembly line though, we need to understand why a material is multiferroic. A team at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) devised a new technique to observe and measure the displacement of atoms within a sample. The results confirmed the characteristics arise from the distance between atoms and not the transfer of charge from one to another. Also of great interest and surprise, even to the researchers, was accuracy of the measurements; around one femtometer. The measurement itself was 20 fm, a displacement many thought would be impossible to observe. A femtometer is one million times smaller than a nanometer and one hundred-thousandth the distance between two atoms.


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Electric Motor the Size of a Molecule

Posted: September 6, 2011 @ time: 09:46AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Nanoscale motors have been made before, but there have not been any a single nanometer wide and using electricity for power. Researchers at Tufts University have created just such a motor; comprised of sulfur, carbon, and hydrogen. The carbon and hydrogen are like arms coming off the sulfur base. To test the motor they set it on a sheet of copper and used a low-temperature scanning tunneling microscope (one of about 100 in the US) to observe and provide power. The sulfur bonded with the copper and the arms were free to rotate around that axis. The experiment was done at 5 K to make sure the rotations were viewable, as at higher temperatures the motor spins faster. Future work on this motor will be focused on understanding the relationship of temperature and speed to enable real-world applications.


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