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News Archives for November 2011

Hardware Roundup: Tuesday Edition

Posted: November 1, 2011 @ time: 03:47AM
Author: Nemo

Those of you too hyped up on sugar from all that Halloween candy can try to calm down long enough to check out today's roundup. Thermaltake's Overseer RX-I full-tower computer case gets the treatment from the folks over at Benchmark Reviews. We also have an article examining the battery life on Apple iPhones. OCZ has two of its solid state drives being reviewed today with reviews on the Vertex 3 240GB and RevoDrive Hybrid 100GB (PCIe SSD + 1TB HDD). There's also an SSD upgrade kit for the MacBook Pro.

Cases
Thermaltake Overseer RX-I Computer Case @ Benchmark Reviews

Manufacturers
Interview with Zotac USA President Sean Tang @ LanOC Reviews

Mobile
iPhone 3GS / 4 / 4S Battery Life Testing - Putting the Conjecture to Rest @ PC Perspective

Notebooks
Asus' Zenbook UX31 ultrabook @ Tech Report

Speakers/Headsets
V-MODA Vibrato Remote Earphones @ ThinkComputers

Storage/Hard Drives
OCZ Vertex 3 240GB SSD @ XSReviews
OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid 100GB (PCIe SSD + 1TB HDD) @ TechSpot
A Complete SSD Upgrade Kit for MacBook Pro (Early 2011) @ Bjorn3d


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Is an iPad 2 Dressed in Dinosaur Bones and Diamonds Worth $8 Million?

Posted: November 1, 2011 @ time: 08:30AM
Author: edwardquilo

Sure, there are a lot of ludicrously expensive gadgets out there, but Stuart Hughes's iPad 2 Gold History Edition probably takes the crown as the priciest tablet on earth. What other tablet is there that's decked out with gold, diamonds, and the shaved thigh bone of a 65-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus Rex? But that dinosaur fossil isn't the only thing that makes this iPad 2 apparently worth eight million dollars: aside from the 53 diamonds and 24-carat gold exterior, it's also based on ammolite rock, which covers the device's front frame. Other than that, though, it's still the same iPad 2 that you can grab at your nearest Apple Store.

Stuart Hughes is making only two of these, but even if you did have a cool eight million dollars to spare, would you even consider buying one?


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Humble Voxatron Debut Available Now

Posted: November 1, 2011 @ time: 12:41PM
Author: bp9801

The Humble Bundle folks keep turning out great opportunities to purchase some amazing indie games for a good cause. You can choose to support the developers, charity, the Humble Bundle team, or any combination of the three with your purchase, and know that the money will actually go where you want. All of the games offered are DRM-free, meaning you can download them as many times as you wish without the hassle of an installation limit. Purchasing the games is fairly simple, as you are allowed to pay whatever amount you wish to get them. The Humble Bundle team has a new offer available, and this time a brand new game is being offered. Voxatron is a voxel-based shooter that includes over twenty levels for you to go through. You will also get the Voxde level editor to try your hand at creating some environments of your own. If you pay over the minimum for the Humble Voxatron Debut, you will also get The Binding of Isaac and Blocks That Matter for free.

The Humble Voxatron Debut will be available for another thirteen days, so act quick!


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Past Mass Effect Games a 'Preamble' to Mass Effect 3

Posted: November 1, 2011 @ time: 02:35PM
Author: bp9801

Upcoming BioWare RPG Mass Effect 3 follows the story of the previous two games, but BioWare says the game will stand on its own. BioWare Edmonton general manager Aaryn Flynn says the first two games "were just a warm up," with Mass Effect 3 being "the main event." Flynn calls Mass Effect 1 and 2 a "preamble" to Mass Effect 3, with everything happening in the first two games building up to the dramatic events in the third. Flynn likened it to the Super Bowl, with everyone wanting to watch that game, even if they didn't really follow the regular season. Mass Effect 3 has a single focus, saving the galaxy, while the past two games had a bigger web to unravel to finally get to the end. It seems Flynn believes Mass Effect 3 will be a great entry in the series for newcomers, though they will be missing out on a ton of backstory if ME3 is the first game they play. Flynn also says that ME3 will provide an end to the franchise, with the team behind the game trying to give the series an end the fans deserve.

Mass Effect 3 launches on March 6th, 2012, for the PC, PS3, and 360.


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Qubit Translation in a Quantum Computer

Posted: November 1, 2011 @ time: 02:51PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Across the world, teams of researchers are working on creating quantum computers. At the heart of a quantum computer’s power is the qubit, the information quanta similar to an electronic bit. Electrons are used as bits for the internal communication within a modern computer, and photons could be used similarly within a quantum computer. However, with all the teams working on different components and using different techniques, the photons emitted by one component may be useless to another piece of the quantum computer. Finally, researchers, at NIST, have discovered a way to transmute photons from different components and make them nearly indistinguishable. Using their device, a hybrid quantum computer, one that uses completely different internal hardware types, may be possible in the future.


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Researchers Make "Magnetic Tongue"

Posted: November 1, 2011 @ time: 02:51PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

As reported in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers have devised a "magnetic tongue" device for tasting food. Electronic noses have already been created but are limited by needing specially prepared samples and can only detect specific food components. By using nuclear resonance spectroscopy, similar to MRI’s, the researchers were able to create a device to accurately predict most of the tastes human taste testers would experience. The sensitivity of the device also allowed the researchers to know the composition of the tasted food and to relate the chemical compounds to specific sensory descriptors. This technology may allow food companies to rapidly assess their products before shipping them, to ensure their quality standards are met.


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Copper Substrate’s Crystal Form Affect Graphene Growth

Posted: November 1, 2011 @ time: 02:51PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

There is a great hope for a future with graphene based computers, instead of silicon. Graphene, a single atom thick layer of carbon, has many special properties including extraordinarily high conductivity. Growing graphene is not very easy though, as impurities can easily impair the very abilities people want. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Campaign have discovered a link, for one growth method, between the substrate graphene is grown on and the quality of the grown graphene. The method involves pumping methane gas (comprised of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms, per molecule) into a furnace with copper foil in it. When the methane strikes the copper, its hydrogen atoms are stripped away, leaving the carbon atom on the copper sheet. By imaging the crystalline structures of the foil, the researchers found a correlation between the kinds of structure and the graphene quality. Structure index 100 was horrible for producing graphene, as gaps in the structure allowed the carbon to build up vertically, instead of horizontally. Structure 111 however, with a dense hexagonal pattern to the copper atoms, was the best at producing graphene, which also has a hexagonal structure. It is not clear if the similarity in structure is what causes this. While a better means to produce high quality graphene would be of great use to those wanting to replace silicon with graphene, creating copper foils with a higher concentration of structure 111 is expensive. Still, this research shows great promise as researchers across the world are working hard to find the best means of making graphene.


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Navy Fires 1000th Shot from Railgun Experiment

Posted: November 1, 2011 @ time: 03:09PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

In March of 2007, the Office of Naval Research fired the first shot from a subscale experimental railgun at the Naval Research Laboratory. On Monday, October 31st, the researchers fired the 1000th shot from the six meter long, 5 cm diameter device. A railgun is an electromagnetic weapon that uses powerful EM fields to accelerate a mass to high velocity. The 1000th slug reached speeds as high as 2-2.5 Km/s, or roughly 4,500-5,600 mph. This puts the total energy at 1.5 megajoules; one megajoule being equivalent to a one ton car getting into a crash at 100 mph. The purpose of the experiment is to determine the best barrel design and materials to be used in larger railgun experiments, and ultimately weaponized railguns. The heat and forces a railgun would have to endure are quite extreme, and after every test fire, this experimental device is taken apart and put under a microscope to determine how the materials are enduring the conditions. Ultimately the researchers want to design a railgun for deployment on ships with energy levels reaching as high as 64 Mj and a range of 220 nautical miles, or 253 miles. That is greater than the distance between New York City and Washington DC.


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Silicon Knights Lets Go Majority of Employees

Posted: November 1, 2011 @ time: 04:19PM
Author: bp9801

Earlier this year, Silicon Knights was given a grant to help protect the 97 employees at the studio as well as add 80 more employees. Yesterday, it looks like not only did Silicon Knights not add those 80 jobs, it also let go the majority of its staff. According to a report, Silicon Knights now has 25 employees forming a core team, with the entire human resources team included in the layoffs. Since the year 2000, Silicon Knights has released four games: Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, Too Human, and X-Men: Destiny. The last title just came out this past September, but was not very popular and received poor review scores. Silicon Knights has also had several games never release, including an unnamed Sega project, and had a legal dispute with Epic Games over Unreal Engine 3. Perhaps the layoff of the majority of its employees can help Silicon Knights rebound, as its games have shown promise but been marred by technical problems.


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Source Code for Doom 3 Now Free for Everyone

Posted: November 1, 2011 @ time: 05:49PM
Author: bp9801

Doom 3 may be a little old at this point, but that does not mean it has faded away into nothingness. It was built on id Tech 4, which can still look pretty impressive today. Id Software has moved on to id Tech 5, but today the game studio has announced that the full source code for Doom 3 is being released for free to anyone who wants it. This will let anyone who wants to create games get a crack at id Tech 4, but John Carmack, id Software tech guru, says the studio is just waiting for some "final lawyer clearance" before the source code hits the Internet. When it does, I am sure it will be plenty popular and maybe in the future we'll see some indie games created with it. Hopefully, whatever games get created with the Doom 3 source code will have just a bit more lighting than the actual Doom 3 game.


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Preview Video of Behind the Wall: The Making of Skyrim Launches

Posted: November 1, 2011 @ time: 05:50PM
Author: bp9801

Today marks the first day of November, which means we are ten days away from the launch of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The game comes in two versions, a standard and collector's, and it is the latter that includes plenty of goodies. There is the 12" Alduin statue to lord over your desk, a 200 page art book that showcases nearly everything you could want to see, and a behind-the-scenes DVD to show us everything that goes into making a game on the scale of Skyrim. Today, Bethesda has released a preview video for the behind-the-scenes DVD, which is called Behind the Wall: The Making of Skyrim. This video is just a taste of what the full DVD will have to offer, but already we can see interviews with plenty of the people involved in creating Skyrim. There is also a wealth of in-game footage showing off the cities, people, animals, monsters, and the dragons. We can also see some motion-capture work being done, which should help to make the animations in Skyrim as realistic as possible.

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


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday Edition

Posted: November 2, 2011 @ time: 04:55AM
Author: Nemo

Seagate a new 3TB hard drive which is an improvement over the 3TB drive released earlier this year with new technologies including a reduction from five platters to three in the new drive. In CPUs, we have an article that revisits the AMD FX-8150. Lenovo has a portable monitor laptop users needing a second display. We also rounded up reviews on the Gelid GX-7 Stacked Heatpipe CPU cooler, Seasonic's Platinum-1000 1KW power supply and more.

Cooling
Gelid GX-7 Stacked Heatpipe Heatsink @ Frostytech

CPUs
AMD FX 8150 Revisited @ Madshrimps

Input Devices
Microsoft Touch Mouse @ TweakTown

Mobile
Cygnett Imperial iPhone 4 Case @ ThinkComputers

Monitors/TVs
Lenovo ThinkVision LT1421 Portable Monitor Review: A Second Display for Road Warriors @ PC Pespective

Power Supplies
Seasonic Platinum-1000 1 Kilowatt Power Supply @ [H]ardOCP

Storage/Hard Drives
Seagate Barracuda 3TB Hard Drive ST3000DM001 @ Benchmark Reviews

Video
Catalyst 11.10 Windows 7 Driver Analysis @ TweakTown


Complete Story


Saints Row: The Third Features In-Game Video Recorder and DX11 on the PC

Posted: November 2, 2011 @ time: 07:58AM
Author: bp9801

Saints Row: The Third is nearly here, which means you'll soon be able to get your sandbox action gaming on however you'd like. The character creator is now available, letting you design any type of character you want to play as when the full game launches on November 15th. Today, developer Volition has revealed some of the features specific to the PC version of the game, and these should go a long way towards making it a popular version. The PC version of Saints Row: The Third features an in-game video recorder as well as support for DirectX 11. The in-game video recorder is known as the Saints Video Record mode, which will let you record and export any moments you want from the game. You can post the videos to various social media websites or directly to the Saints Row website. You will also be able to turn off the game's HUD to get a cleaner video of your crazy antics.

The system requirements for Saints Row: The Third have been revealed, which shows support for DirectX 11, Crossfire and Eyefinity, and plenty of advanced graphics options. Support for advanced depth of field, reflections, ambient occlusion, "and of course, God Rays," will all be able to be enabled while playing Saints Row: The Third.

Minimum system requirements

  •  OS: Windows® XP
  • Processor: 2GHz Dual Core Processor (Intel® Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon™ X2) or higher
  • Memory: 2GB System RAM or more
  • Graphics: 320MB Video RAM GPU w/ Shader Model 3.0 support. NVIDIA® GeForce® 8800 series or better. ATI Radeon™ HD3800 series or better
  • DirectX®: 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 10GB
  • Sound: 100% DirectX® 9.0C compliant sound card or equivalent onboard sound
  • Co-Op Play: NVIDIA® GeForce® 8800 cards require 640MB of Video RAM. ATI Radeon™ HD3800 cards require 1GB of Video RAM
  • Online Steam Account

Recommended system requirements 

  • OS: Microsoft® Windows® 7
  • Processor: Any Quad Core Processor (Intel® Core i5 or AMD Phenom™ II X4) or 3.0+ Dual Core CPU
  • Memory: 4GB System RAM or more
  • Graphics: 1GB Video RAM GPU w/ Shader Model 4.0 support. NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 400 series or better. ATI Radeon™ HD5000 series or better
  • DirectX®: DirectX® 11
  • Hard Drive: 10 GB
  • Sound: 100% DirectX® 9.0C compliant sound card or equivalent onboard sound
  • Online Steam Account
     

Saints Row: The Third will be available on November 15th for the PC, PS3, and 360.


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The Grand Theft Auto V Trailer is Now Live

Posted: November 2, 2011 @ time: 10:05AM
Author: edwardquilo

It's November 2, 2011. Which game trailer is the entire gaming community staring at right now? Chances are, you're one of the millions who eagerly awaited the trailer for Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto V, since its announcement last week. With the trailer now live, rumors of the City of Angels being the backdrop of Grand Theft Auto V can now be confirmed, with the game's locales clearly taking its cues from familiar Los Angeles landmarks including its own version of Hollywood: Vinewood. If the trailer is any indication, the virtual city itself is a sprawling expanse of urban skyscrapers, wide open spaces, beaches and mountain ranges. Rockstar has been known to use in-game graphics for powering its trailers, and GTA V's slick visuals show significant improvements over its predecessor. The car models are especially well-detailed, along the lines of the impressive GTA IV mods by iCEnhancer. While it's still too early to speculate whether Grand Theft Auto V will have a PC version released alongside its console brethren, PC Gamer's extensive coverage of the game could be seen as a positive sign, too. 

What do you guys think of the Grand Theft Auto V trailer, so far? 

 


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SHARP to Help Moore’s Law Stay True

Posted: November 2, 2011 @ time: 05:40PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Researchers at Berkeley Lab are going to be starting work on the Semiconductor High-NA Actinic Reticle Review Project, or SHARP. It will be the most advanced extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) microscope when completed, and should lead researchers forward in the design and manufacture of future electronics. The microscope is designed specifically for photolithography, the technique used often in the production of computer chips, with several advances the industry may not see for some time. Photolithography uses light, in this case EUV light with a wavelength as fine as 13.5 nm, to etch patterns from a master onto a blank material. As computer technology approaches 16, 11, and 8 nm in their designs, the need for research is ever increasing, as natural laws may impair the ability to reach so far. This is especially true as imperfections and dirt on the masters cannot always be found by means other than EUV microscopes. With SHARP, such defects that could cripple a component, would be found and either repaired or removed. The project is expected to cost $4.1 million and take one and a half years to complete.


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Mind Controlled Virtual Helicopter

Posted: November 2, 2011 @ time: 05:40PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Researchers are reporting their success in creating a system to enable a person to control a virtual helicopter with only their mind. Using a cap with electrodes to read the electrical signals within a person’s brain, the data is interpreted by software to the motions of a helicopter in a flight simulator. The specific areas of the brain are associated with physical movement and, after some practice to learn what thought triggers what movements, the test subjects were able to successfully guide the helicopter through rings 85% of the time. This research shows the ability to control objects in three dimensional space with only the mind, which is needed for potential prosthetic limbs that connect to the brain.


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Combining Technology to Make Quantum Information Systems

Posted: November 2, 2011 @ time: 05:40PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Researchers at Purdue University are working on combining plasmonic and nanophotonic technologies for use in quantum computers. The goal is to create an efficient means of creating single photons. A single photon can be used as a qubit, the unit of data for a quantum computer similar to an electronic bit. Unlike a bit, which is either 0 or 1, a qubit can be both 0 and 1, at the same time. Quantum computers would only want a single photon or qubit, for switching and routing. Plasmonics, which deal with plasmons, a virtual particle consisting of an electron and photon, and metamaterials should, together, be able to offer the needed control and efficiency. There are multiple approaches to this though, and the researchers will working to see which is best.


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Recording Movement in Dreams

Posted: November 2, 2011 @ time: 05:41PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

The fact that humans dream is interesting, but how we dream is what grabs many scientists, like those at Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. Are dreams like movies, playing out in our unconscious mind, or are they something we can interact with? This is the question the researchers went after, and with the help of some lucid dreamers, they believe they have their answer. Lucid dreamers are people who can become aware of their dream state and assume at least partial control of it. By asking the dreamers to perform specific movements within their dreams, the researchers were able to connect observations they made with fMRI technology to actions parts of the dream. This is an important accomplishment, as there is normally no way to connect external measurements with events in a dream temporally. The dreamers were asked to clench their fists one at a time, for ten seconds each, and when they did the areas of the brain associated with those actions, when awake, lit up. This research may lead to scientists actually recording a person’s actions while they are dreaming, and allow greater study of this fascinating activity.


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New Hard Reset Patch Adds Survival Mode, 3D Vision, and Multi-Display Support

Posted: November 2, 2011 @ time: 07:48PM
Author: bp9801

Hard Reset released a couple of months ago, and it was a tribute to past first-person shooters. Hard Reset is the first game from Flying Wild Hog, but the studio is composed of people who worked on games like Painkiller and The Witcher series. The game is a PC-exclusive, so that means it is able to take advantage of all sorts of new technology that console ports lack. Today, a new patch is now out for Hard Reset that adds several new features, like a Survival mode, 3D Vision and Surround, and multi-display support. Those last few are reserved for users with high-end systems, but anyone will be able to take advantage of the new Survival mode. Survival mode has various difficulty settings for you to tackle, along with new maps and a leaderboard to compare how you do with your friends. There are also some gameplay tweaks, which you can check out the full list at the Steam forums.


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Lineage II Going Free-to-Play Later this Year

Posted: November 2, 2011 @ time: 08:21PM
Author: bp9801

Eventually, every MMORPG currently running will switch over to the free-to-play model, as it just seems to be a way to prolong the life of those types of games. Typically, when an MMO goes F2P, it is simply code for "you can play our game for free, but to do anything else, you need to pay money." NCSoft is trying to change that with its popular MMO, Lineage II. When the Goddess of Destruction expansion launches later this year, Lineage II will become free-to-play, but it won't be like other F2P games. Free players will have access to everything a paid player will, with no tiers or limitations on anything. Free players can still purchase items, but those will provide mostly cosmetic benefits. It is good to see an upcoming F2P MMO not try to nickel and dime you to become a paid player, which I am sure will be welcome by many.


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Three Silent Hill Games Landing Early Next Year

Posted: November 2, 2011 @ time: 09:07PM
Author: bp9801

Halloween may be over and the ghouls and goblins all put away for next year, but that does not mean scary games have to wait until next October to release. Konami wants to welcome gamers to the new year with three different Silent Hill games. Konami has confirmed that it will launch a new Silent Hill game in each of the first three months next year. The Silent Hill HD Collection will launch on January 24th, and includes Silent Hill 2 and 3 along with new voiceovers for the characters. In February, Silent Hill: Book of Memories will launch for the PlayStation Vita. Konami did not date that title, but considering the Vita launches on February 22nd, we could be looking at a launch title. Book of Memories focuses on a mysterious book that holds the protagonist's life story, but we can edit it to change the past or present. Lastly, March will see the release of Silent Hill: Downpour for the PS3 and 360. This marks the first console game since Homecoming in 2008, and in Downpour we take control of convicted felon Murphy Pendleton after his prison bus crashes outside of Silent Hill.

It looks like the first three months of 2012 will be quite scary indeed, as we first get to relive some classic Silent Hill games and then try out the new titles.


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Energy Unveils Energy Power EM-2.1 Multimedia Speaker System

Posted: November 3, 2011 @ time: 03:11AM
Author: premiumgfx

Indianapolis-based Energy, part of Klipsch Group Inc, today unveiled its Energy Power EM-2.1 multimedia speaker system. The EM-2.1 consists of two compact satellite speakers and a space-saving subwoofer, designed to fit almost anywhere whilst still providing an output of 25W. Each speaker contains a 1.3" fiber composite cone driver, while the subwoofer is equipped with a 3" front firing fiber composite cone. The EM-2.1 speaker system will suit a variety of uses, ranging from gaming, movies or music with the included 3.5mm jack for portable MP3 players. The subwoofer also has volume and bass controls for quick and easy sound tweaking. The EM-2.1 is bundled with a five foot 3.5mm audio cable and should be available soon, retailing at US$99.00.


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday Edition

Posted: November 3, 2011 @ time: 04:20AM
Author: Nemo

Our Thursday roundup brings us another look at the OCZ Technology RevoDrive Hybrid solid state drive that offers the speed of a SSD with the capacity of a mechanical hard drive. We also have several cases for you to check out starting with the Fractal Design Define Mini and two mid-tower enclosures including the BitFenix Outlaw and the NZXT Tempest 410 Elite. Battlefield 3 came out last week and we have a review looking at single player performance and image quality of the new title.

Cases
Fractal Design Define Mini @ LanOC Reviews
BitFenix Outlaw Mid Tower Chassis @ TweakTown
NZXT Tempest 410 Elite Mid Tower Case @ ThinkComputers

Gaming
Battlefield 3 Single Player Performance and IQ @ [H]ardOCP

Input Devices
Roccat KONE[+] USB Gaming Mouse @ Benchmark Reviews

Memory
GeIL DDR3 Memory Round-up | Enhance Corsa | Evo Corsa @ XSReviews

Storage/Hard Drives
OCZ Technology RevoDrive Hybrid @ TweakTown
A quick look at OCZ's 2.15 SSD firmware @ Tech Report

Video
Mobile GPU Comparison: GeForce GTX 580M and Radeon HD 6990M @ PC Perspective


Complete Story


How to Build a Hobbit House

Posted: November 3, 2011 @ time: 07:16AM
Author: edwardquilo

Ah, the cozy, down-to-earth sensibilities of a hobbit house. Anyone with a penchant for a low-energy, environmentally-friendly home is bound to be attracted to these pint-sized dwellings. In fact, Simon Dale of Southwest Wales built his own hobbit-inspired dream house with just £3,000(around $4,786), and some help from friends and family. Dale's house was constructed without any adverse environmental impact to its surroundings, utilizing materials sourced from nearby woods, eco-friendly energy sources, and a little creativity thrown in to the mix.

Everything inside Dale's house, from the flooring, windows, and pipes, were acquired from discarded materials. Lime plaster was used to coat the interior walls, while a wood burner keeps the house warm, and a cleverly designed piping system filters cool air from the earth to maintain the refrigerator's temperature. Daytime lighting is provided by a skylight, and Dale also uses solar panels to power his household electronics. Interested in building a similar setup for your next house? Then pay a friendly visit to Dale's website for more details on how to build a hobbit house within budget. 


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Piezo-phototronic Effect Improves LED Efficiency

Posted: November 3, 2011 @ time: 02:12PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have added a piezoelectric material to an LED and found greatly improved performance by stressing the added material. Light emitting diodes work by causing the positive holes in the semiconductor to be filled with negative electrons. The interaction causes the release of photons at specific wavelengths. The piezoelectric material, zinc-oxide microwires specifically, acted as the source of the electrons, the “n” part of a p-n junction, while gallium nitride was the “p” part. The strain on the microwires caused a charge to build up on their edge, which aided in the transport of the electrons and holes at the p-n junction. The result was increased emission intensity by a factor of 17 and improved injection current by a factor of four. All together the energy conversion was increased by a factor of 4.25. The LEDs in the experiment produced light in the ultra-violet range, but the researchers believe visible light can be produced by other LEDs to benefit from this piezo-phototronic effect.


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Pushing Lasers Past 100 GHz

Posted: November 3, 2011 @ time: 02:13PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Researchers at Ruhr-University Bochum have designed a laser capable of having modulation frequencies above 100 GHz. Such lasers would be of great value to the Internet in the future. The current limit to lasers in telecommunications are below 50 GHz, so the new laser design could more than double the speed of the internet, of optical lines. This record setting design achieves its high speed by controlling the spin of electrons used to power the laser. Most semiconductor lasers are powered by electrons of arbitrary spin, but the new design only allows electrons with a specific spin to power the laser. This causes the semiconductor to emit two laser modes at different frequencies. With a microresonator, the two modes can generate a single frequency in excess of 100 GHz.


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New Efficiency Record for Flexible OLED Screen

Posted: November 3, 2011 @ time: 02:13PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Organic light emitting diodes, better known as OLEDs, offer very high contrast ratios while using less energy than other display types. This type of screen also has the potential to be printed on flexible plastic, allowing screens you can bend without breaking to be made. Until recently though, such flexible displays have not been at the same level as their glass counterparts, already used in electronics. Researchers at the University of Toronto have successfully created an OLED screen on a flexible plastic substrate, with quality comparable to glass based screens. Another benefit to the use of plastic instead of glass is a reduction in manufacturing cost, so we can expect the display industry to grab this as fast as they can.

Creating the Digital Displays of Tomorrow from U of T Engineering on Vimeo.


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Making White Light from Lasers

Posted: November 3, 2011 @ time: 02:13PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

There are a variety of lighting options out there right now, including incandescent, fluorescent, and LED, but the future may add diode lasers as another. Research into modern lightning has the goal of improving efficiency, where currently LED lights rein, but they have a limit. At currents above 0.5 A the efficiency starts to drop off, so more electricity does not create as much light. Diode lasers however become more efficient as the current increases, but many scientists have felt they would be incapable of producing the color rendering quality the human eye wants. Other scientists at the DOE’s Sandia National Laboratory decided to test this claim. Combining the light from blue, green, yellow, and red diode lasers, the researchers illuminated a bowl of fruit. Similar bowls of fruit were illuminated by other light sources, including warm, cool, or neutral whites LEDs or by traditional incandescent light bulbs, and presented to participants in a study. The results showed people could tell the difference between the warm and cool LED lights, and the diode lasers, but there was no preference between the lasers, neutral LED lights or incandescent lights. While this research effectively shows lasers can be used for producing white light, we should not be expecting them to hit store shelves anytime soon. Their substrates have to be almost completely free of defects, making them expensive to make. However, the same material is also used in LED lights, so there is still a future for diode laser lights.


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Rockstar Confirms a Few Facts about GTA V - Set Entirely in Los Santos

Posted: November 3, 2011 @ time: 02:33PM
Author: bp9801

By now, I'm sure you've all seen the trailer for Grand Theft Auto V and probably have a ton of questions about the game. Well, today Rockstar has come out with some solid information about GTA V. For starters, Grand Theft Auto V will be set entirely in Los Santos and the "surrounding hills, countryside, and beaches." Los Santos is Rockstar's version of Los Angeles, first seen in GTA: San Andreas, but the two other cities from that game, San Fierro and Las Venturas, are not mentioned as being included. San Fierro is Rockstar's version of San Francisco while Las Venturas is the studio's take on Las Vegas. GTA V focuses on "the pursuit of the almighty dollar in a re-imagined, present day Southern California." GTA V is a new direction for open-world games and the freedom present in them, plus the game will have online multiplayer. Rockstar did not elaborate any further on what we can expect in GTA V, but I know we will be seeing a heap of rumors for months to come.


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Ubisoft Announces Rainbow 6 Patriots

Posted: November 3, 2011 @ time: 02:33PM
Author: bp9801

It has been a while since we have had a Rainbow Six game, but now we know when to expect a new one. Ubisoft has announced that Tom Clancy's Rainbow 6 Patriots is in development, and we should have it sometime in 2013. Now, that may seem like a ways away (and it is), but it is still good to see Ubisoft return to the Rainbow Six franchise. Rainbow 6 Patriots features a story centered on ethics. You will be in control of Team Rainbow as you face off against the True Patriots, a highly skilled and organized group unhappy with the current American government. It looks like the True Patriots are none too happy about the greedy and corrupt politicians in the US government, and it is up to Team Rainbow to stop the True Patriots. Co-op and multiplayer will be included, with Ubisoft including some new features to "enhance communication and tactical execution between teammates."

Tom Clancy's Rainbow 6 Patriots will be out in 2013 for the PC and consoles.


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Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition Launching in February

Posted: November 3, 2011 @ time: 02:33PM
Author: bp9801

Fallout: New Vegas came out last October and has seen several pieces of DLC release since then. Four of the DLC packs are add-on adventures that help to expand the game, while the other two add in a bunch of weapons and armor. Some people buy these types of games right away and then purchase the DLC, but there are always some who decide to wait until a version of the game comes out that includes all the DLC. Well, for those who have wanted Fallout: New Vegas but never picked it up, you are now being rewarded. The Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition will launch in February and includes all six pieces of DLC. This is a great opporunity for anyone wanting to play FNV but never got around to it, because when February rolls around you can pick up the base game and all the DLC for one flat price.

Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition will launch on February 7th, 2012, in North America and February 10th in Europe. It is expected to carry a $60 price tag.


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The Official Soundtrack of Skyrim Available to Pre-Order

Posted: November 3, 2011 @ time: 02:33PM
Author: bp9801

If you are anything like me, the music of a video game can make or break the experience. Sometimes a game's music can really set the stage, while other times it just does not work. In the case of The Elder Scrolls series, the music is a stunning score that can transport you to the world of Tamriel with relative ease. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim sounds like it has just as stunning of a musical score as Oblivion and Morrowind before it, if the trailers are any indicator. I have been waiting for news on the availability of Skyrim's soundtrack, and today Bethesda has confirmed its existence. You are now able to pre-order the official The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim soundtrack, which is a four disc set that will ship after November 11th. The soundtrack is available exclusively through DirectSong, and if you order it before December 23rd, your copy will be signed by the composer, Jeremy Soule.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - The Original Game Soundtrack is available for pre-order for $29.99.


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Making a Dragon Sandwich: The Sound of Skyrim Trailer Launches

Posted: November 3, 2011 @ time: 02:33PM
Author: bp9801

Eight more days is all that we must endure before getting our hands on Bethesda's latest creation, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Bethesda has been revealing videos and screenshots of Skyrim for months now, and I am sure all of them are getting you riled up to get your hands on the real deal. We have to wait until next Friday, but today we have another behind-the-scenes trailer giving us a glimpse of Skyrim. Now, we've already seen a preview of the first behind-the scenes video, and now we get a glimpse at the second one. Bethesda has titled this video Making a Dragon Sandwich: The Sound of Skyrim, and if you didn't guess it already, this video looks at the music, sounds, and voices that go into a game like Skyrim. We even get a glimpse of Skyrim's Hollywood talent, which should make for an absolutely stunning time listening to these characters come to life in the game.

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


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Corsair to Sponsor DreamHack Dota 2 Tournament

Posted: November 3, 2011 @ time: 03:31PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Corsair has announced that it will be sponsoring a Dota 2 tournament at DreamHack Winter 2011, with the official name of the DreamHack Corsair Vengeance Dota 2 Championship. The total prize pool will be 11,000 Euros, and will be open to up to 64 teams. The final two teams will meet in the DreamArena Extreme in a match to be cast by Tobi "TobiWanKenobi" Dawson. Competitors that wish to play can sign up at the official DreamHack website, and all teams that are accepted into the tournament will receive Dota 2 beta keys. DreamHack Winter 2011 will take place in Jönköping, Sweden from November 24-27. If you can't make it out to the event, there is no need to worry as the finals will be streamed in HD for all to see.


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Hardware Roundup: Friday Edition

Posted: November 4, 2011 @ time: 05:04AM
Author: Nemo

The AMD FX-8150 has been out for a couple of weeks now and we have a couple of interesting items on the processor in today's roundup. The first article looks at gameplay performance using multi-GPU setups. Certain rumors around AMP providing a water-cooling option for the FX-8150 have proven true as Neoseeker tests the stock water cooler that AMD will make available as an option with the FX-8150 in the future. We also have a couple of solid state drives being reviewed with another look at the OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid PCI-E SSD as well as a review on the MemoRight FTM Plus 240GB SSD. There's also a chance for you to examine the EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2Win 2GB Dual-GPU graphics card and more, so follow the links posted below for all the articles in today's roundup.

Cooling
AMD Bulldozer Water Cooler @ Neoseeker

CPUs
AMD FX-8150 Multi-GPU Gameplay Performance @ [H]ardOCP

Mobile
Apple iPhone 4S @ TechSpot

Motherboards
ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Professional (AMD 990FX) Motherboard @ TweakTown

Notebooks
MSI GT683 R Gaming Laptop @ Madshrimps

Speakers/Headphones
Arctic E461-BM Earphone @ Bjorn3d

Storage/Hard Drives
OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid PCI-E SSD Tests @ Benchmark Reviews
MemoRight FTM Plus 240GB Solid State Drive @ TweakTown

Video
EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2Win 2GB Dual-GPU Graphics Card @ PC Perspective

Miscellany
Podcast #177 @ PC Perspective


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Samsung's Flexible, Bending Cell Phone: The Galaxy Skin

Posted: November 4, 2011 @ time: 06:14AM
Author: edwardquilo

Modern cell phones can perform hundreds of tasks thanks to mobile apps, but physical flexibility has never been its strong suit. If you put too much pressure on the AMOLED screen of your high-end smartphone, it's bound to crack from the force. Samsung could have the solution to that problem with its latest mobile phone technology: a kinetic, bendable, OLED cell phone that can be folded in half without the risk of getting the screen cracked or damaging its inner components.

First seen at CES 2011, the Galaxy Skin is Samsung's concept flexible phone. While we don't have the hard details on the phone specs, it's speculated that this bendable phone will be 8 mm thick, Android-ready, armed with a 8 MP camera and configured with 16 to 32 GB of storage, along with a 800X480 screen resolution. It won't be a concept product for long, as the South Korean manufacturer is aiming for a release window sometime in 2012. Initial Samsung demonstrations show just how flexible the Galaxy Skin is: apparently it can be used as a media stand, or even as a wearable watch. Samsung just might be on to something really cool here.

 


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Call of Duty Elite for the PC Delayed

Posted: November 4, 2011 @ time: 08:14AM
Author: bp9801

We're just a few days away from the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, but it seems one of the most talked about features for the game will not arrive at launch for the PC. Activision has announced that Call of Duty Elite will be delayed for the PC, but Activision did not say when we could expect it. From the sound of it, Call of Duty Elite for the PC could arrive much later than the game itself, since Activision it wants to be sure the PC environment is as safe as possible. The insecurity of the dedicated servers is the main reason for the delay, and the main cause of concern for the developer. Activision is doing some extensive reworking of Call of Duty Elite for the PC, and it will be different from the console version. It will "have some reduced functionality," meaning Activision will drop the subscription for Elite for PC gamers. You can still track your stats and those of your friends, but you will need to pay for the DLC packs separately, and possibly lose access to the web TV series and competitions.

On another note, the PC version of MW3 has not been shown much at all, since all the gameplay videos and convention appearances are of the console versions. Activision says it is dedicated to the PC, but it frankly has not shown that level of dedicated yet. With the delay of Call of Duty Elite on the PC, that is just another blow to PC gamers.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 will launch on November 8th for the PC, PS3, and 360.


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Gameplay Trailer for Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand Launches

Posted: November 4, 2011 @ time: 02:49PM
Author: bp9801

Last week, we saw some screenshots of the upcoming Back to Karkand DLC for Battlefield 3. Screenshots are all well and good, but videos can paint a whole different picture. Luckily for us, EA and DICE have released a gameplay trailer of Back to Karkand, with all four maps shown in the shiny new game engine. The trailer tells what else we can expect in the DLC, like three new vehicles and ten new weapons. Three of the four maps (sorry Wake Island) feature seven flags to take over so you should hopefully be able to enjoy those maps a little bit longer. Conquest Assault mode makes a return, which should make many Battlefield fans happy. In Conquest Assault mode, one team has to capture all of the flags on a map while the other team defends them. If all the flags are captured, then that team will win.

Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand will launch in December for $14.99. Anyone who pre-ordered the game or bought the Limited Edition will receive the DLC for free.


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Rainbow 6: Patriots Prototype Video Released from Ubisoft

Posted: November 4, 2011 @ time: 03:57PM
Author: bp9801

Yesterday, we told you that Ubisoft had announced a new entry in the Rainbow Six series, Rainbow 6: Patriots. The game sees Team Rainbow face off against the True Patriots, a group that is not happy with how the American government is being run. Rainbow 6: Patriots will not be released until 2013, but that does mean Ubisoft is not looking for the opinions of gamers on what the game will be like. Today, Ubisoft has released a prototype video of Rainbow 6: Patriots and is looking for feedback from gamers. None of the footage involved is gameplay footage, it is merely to gauge our reactions to it. The video is mostly in first-person, though it does zoom out on occasion. I have to warn you, it is pretty intense and shows a very strong narrative take on the Rainbow Six series. It is not safe for work due to some language, violence, and intense action, so just keep that in mind when watching.

NSFW


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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Sold Early at K-Mart

Posted: November 4, 2011 @ time: 04:23PM
Author: bp9801

Today seems to be the day of first-person shooters, and here we have another piece of information concerning an upcoming FPS game. This is not the kind of news you would like to hear for a big release, especially if you are the developer or publisher of the game. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is not set to release until November 8th, but that apparently did not stop some K-Mart employees. A report has come out that certain K-Mart stores in Florida started selling Modern Warfare 3 for the Xbox 360 earlier this week, with the boxes labeled for immediate sale. Now, maybe the boxes actually did say that or the employees just read it wrong, but whenever I've worked in an electronics or game store, boxes are clearly labeled in bright tape to not sell before the game's street date. Microsoft and Activision are both aware that Modern Warfare 3 has sold early, but Activision will not take any action against those who play online early. The publisher just hopes everyone waits until Tuesday, when the game officially releases.


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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Goes Gold

Posted: November 4, 2011 @ time: 04:30PM
Author: bp9801

One week. Seven days. A mere 168 hours (or less) is all that separates us from playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I am sure I do not need to show you any footage of the game, as a quick scroll through our website will reveal plenty. For those unaware, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the long awaited fifth entry in the venerable RPG series from Bethesda Game Studios. The game features an entirely new game engine, a new setting, and even a new approach to the classic RPG formula. Today is a good day for fans of The Elder Scrolls, as Bethesda has announced that Skyrim has gone gold. This means the game is finished, a master copy has been made, and it has been sent off to be produced en masse. We may still have a week to go before getting our hands on what will surely be an epic game, but we can at least rest knowing that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will soon be within our grasp.

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


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Software to Simulate Human Motion

Posted: November 4, 2011 @ time: 05:06PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

With over 600 muscles in the human body, and the legs containing more than 100, modeling human motion is very complex, despite how much we take it for granted. Researchers at Stanford University’s School of Engineering have created OpenSim to model how we move. Medically, this can be a very powerful tool when attempting to treat diseases, such as cerebral palsy. The software can also aid preventative medicine, such as showing a person how their current gait could lead to joint damage. Visitors to The Leonardo, a science and technology museum in Salt Lake City, can experience this by walking over a pressure-sensitive floor. For younger museum patrons there is a display where they can control muscles in the legs to kick a soccer ball. The soccer demo is a simplified version of OpenSim, but still demonstrates the complexity of the muscles, as simply cranking up the strength does not work.

As the name suggests, OpenSim is open source and can be freely downloaded from opensim.stanford.edu.


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Improving Solar Collectors with a New Design

Posted: November 4, 2011 @ time: 05:06PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Solar panels work by transferring energy from photons to electrons, but they are limited by what frequencies of light the material can absorb in this way. From Northwestern University comes a design for a new solar absorber with the ability to capture a larger range of frequencies, and can even hold the photons until the energy is absorbed. Made of metal and silicon oxide, the metamaterial can collect photons from a variety of angles, even though neither material is photovoltaic. Because of the design alone, the photons will resonate within the material and allow the energy to be converted into heat. Unfortunately this is not immediately applicable to solar cells, as the photons are not converted to electricity, but the shape of the device may be adapted for future photovoltaics. Until then, this research may open up new ways to control the flow of heat at the nanoscale.


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NASA Working on a Tractor Beam

Posted: November 4, 2011 @ time: 05:06PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

For those familiar with science fiction stories and some video games, the concept of a tractor beam is old news. At NASA though, there is real science being considered to put tractor beams on a variety of future missions, though these will not be like the Excursion Funnels of Portal 2 (well, not entirely). The hope is to use beams of light to collect samples from the ground around rovers and other landers, as well as from the space and atmosphere around satellites. There are already three possible techniques scientists could use to achieve this; optical tweezers, solenoid beams, and Bessel beams.

Optical tweezers can hold a particle at the focal point of a laser while the solenoid beam will pull a particle towards the light source. Both of these techniques have been tested, but Bessel beams have not yet. While normal laser beams leave a dot, a Bessel beam will leave a pattern of bright and dark rings, like a ripple in water. This third technique, like the solenoid beams, would pull a sample along the light beam, to the source.

Currently the research is at the stage of collecting ideas, and eventually 30 will be selected for initial funding.


Complete Story


Gaming Linked to Creativity

Posted: November 4, 2011 @ time: 05:06PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

With studies being done to determine how video games can cause players to be more violent, researchers at Michigan State University have looked at a more positive result of games. After surveying 491 middle school students, both boys and girls, the researchers found the students who played video games were more creative than those who did not. The test to measure creativity had the students draw a picture, title it, and then write a story about it.

The relation between games and creativity was present for both boys and girls, and different race children, even when different kinds of games were favored by the children.


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Viral Update

Posted: November 4, 2011 @ time: 05:07PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

For the second viral update we will be focusing on the Duqu Trojan. An installer for the malware was found by Hungarian research firm CrySys and has been analyzed by Symantec. A computer can be infected by a Microsoft Word document that exploits a kernel vulnerability. Once infected, a computer will attempt to spread the virus throughout its network, including to computers without a direct Internet connection. Duqu seems to be targeting corporations and is stealing information to possibly create another Stuxnet-like worm. This speculation and several similarities in the code of Duqu and Stuxnet leads the Symantec researchers to believe both pieces of malware were written by the same people.

Microsoft has been made aware of the virus and will issue a patch as soon as it can. The server Duqu appeared to be contacting has also been taken offline. As there is no work-around or removal strategy for this virus yet, the best strategy is diligence and not opening files from unknown sources.

Most other viruses found recently are less worrying and of low risk.


Complete Story


Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: November 7, 2011 @ time: 06:05AM
Author: Nemo

Today's roundup includes a good mix of reviews and articles to get your week off to a good start. Computer Ed takes another look at the AMD FX-8150 processor. Also in the mix are a couple of articles examining Battlefield 3, a look at the Enermax Platimax 600W power supply along with an X79 chipset motherboard from ASUS and more.

Cooling
SilenX EFZ-92HA3 CPU Cooler @ Bjorn3D

CPUs
AMD FX: Round 2 @ Computer Ed

Gaming
Intervention: Battlefield 3's single player campaign @ Tech Report
Battlefield 3 PC @ TweakTown

Manufacturers
AMD guts PR team; move portends more changes @ Tech Report

Memory
The 48GB DDR3 Weekend! @ ThinkComputers

Motherboards
ASUS Sabertooth X79 (Intel X79) Motherboard @ TweakTown

Operating Systems
The Supreme Hackintosh 2.0 part I: Good grief, not again @ Tech Report

Power Supplies
Enermax Platimax 600W Power Supply @ TweakTown

Storage/Hard Drives
Plextor PX-PH500U3 USB 3.0 Portable Hard Disk Drive @ Madshrimps

Miscellany
HIS Desperate Upgrade GPU Competition @ XSReviews
Lego Star Wars: The Padawan Menace (2011) Blu-ray Movie @ TweakTown


Complete Story


AMD's Bulldozer Sets Another World Record at 8.58 GHz

Posted: November 7, 2011 @ time: 06:52AM
Author: edwardquilo

AMD retains its crown as the world's highest overclocked CPU with a chip running at 8.58 GHz, courtesy of Taiwanese Andre Yang. Incidentally, Yang is also responsible for pushing his AMD FX-8150 to 8.46 GHz just last week, toppling AMD's own previous overclocking attempt. To be exact, the new world record is 8584.8 MHz, and is awaiting validation in CPU-Z's database. The same hardware from his previous overclocking setup was used, namely an Asus Crosshair V Formula motherboard, with a few adjustments to the core voltage(from 1.992V to 2.076V). 

Yang also used liquid nitrogen for cooling, although a few sources indicate that the FX-8150 could still be pushed even further with a liquid helium-based cooling solution. 


Complete Story


Improving Multithread Performance with Better Structure

Posted: November 7, 2011 @ time: 12:14PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Multithreaded programs can be considerably more powerful than single threaded applications, as multiple discrete operations can be performed in parallel. Writing a multithreaded program can be very difficult though and if not done properly, errors can build up to the point of causing the system to crash. Researchers at Columbia University have created a piece of software called Peregrine to prevent errors by better control over the path the threads take within a processor. Part of the problem with multithreaded programs is a nondeterministic situation where the paths used for each thread are randomly chosen, can cause collisions. These collisions can cause incorrect values to be returned, and potentially the software to crash.

Peregrine decides the best path for multiple threads to take and intelligently selects where a thread can move its information from one path to another. When an operation completes correctly, the software will remember the paths it used, so it will not have to recalculate them in the future. A major benefit to this software is the fact it can be implemented with current hardware and programming language.


Complete Story


Robot with Gecko-like Treads Climbs Walls

Posted: November 7, 2011 @ time: 12:14PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

The gecko is a small lizard with the extraordinary ability of being able to climb on smooth surfaces, such as glass. This is accomplished with incredibly small fibers on the gecko’s toes that exploit van der Waals forces. Scientists have been trying to duplicate this ability with robots and have recently succeeded in making a tank-like robot that can drive up walls, and over corners. The key was engineering polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), a plastic, with similar structures to the gecko’s fibers. The result is the Timeless Belt Climbing Platform, or TBCP-II, robot. The design of the robot allows for expansion of the unit, similar to adding cars onto a train, enabling the technology to be scaled to the size is needed to carry a load.


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