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News Archives for February 2012

Hardware Roundup: Wednesday Edition

Posted: February 1, 2012 @ time: 05:41AM
Author: Nemo

Yesterday we saw a bevy of reviews on AMD's Radeon HD 7950 video card and we picked up another review on the card and this time it's on the HIS Radeon HD 7950 3GB. Gaming enthusiasts might want to check out the article on 2012's most anticipated games. We have a look at the Cooler Master GeminII M4 CPU cooler and a video on the unboxing of the Kingwin Lazer Platinum 1000W power supply. That leaves us with another review on the Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 full-tower chassis, an article covering Synology's DS212 2-Bay NAS server and more.

Cases
Thermaltake Chaser MK-1 Full Tower @ Bjorn3D

Cooling
Cooler Master GeminII M4 @ XSReviews

Gaming
Most Anticipated PC Games of 2012 @ TechSpot

Motherboards
Sapphire PURE Black X79N (Intel X79) Motherboard @ TweakTown

Power Supplies
Unboxing the Kingwin Lazer Platinum 1000W Power Supply @ ThinkComputers

Storage/Hard Drives
Synology DS212 2-Bay NAS @ TweakTown

Video
HIS Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card @ TweakTown


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Antec High Current Gamer M Series of PSUs Announced

Posted: February 1, 2012 @ time: 06:19AM
Author: Nemo

Antec has announced a new series of mid-range wattage power supplies called the High Current Gamer M. The new PSUs are hybrid modular units being offered in 400W, 520W and 620W capacities. The units are equipped with two fixed cables for the 24(20+4)-pin main power connector and the 8(4+4)-pin ATX12V/EPS12V connector. The modular cables include:

  • 2 x 8(6+2)-pin PCI-E
  • 1 x FDD + 3 x Molex
  • 3 x Molex (1 each)
  • 2 x SATA (3 each)

The units are 80 PLUS Bronze certified with up to 87% energy efficiency and the 135mm double ball bearing thermally-controlled fan ensures quiet operation. The units come with four +12V rails and 100% Japanese capacitors. The cables are all encased in black mesh sleeving and Antec backs the power supplies with a five-year parts and labor warranty. Antec is making the High Current Gamer M units available in early February at a suggested price of USD $89.95 for the 400W model, $99.95 for the 520W unit and $119.95 for the 620W PSU.


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Augmented Reality Glasses for Crime Scene Investigation

Posted: February 1, 2012 @ time: 11:31AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Not sure if this has been in an episode of any of the CSI television shows, but now if this is it won’t be part of the fiction. The Delft University of Technology has created augmented reality glasses for use at crime scenes. Using a pair of cameras the glasses allow the wearer to mark things at a crime scene for a 3D model. They also overlay a menu above the user’s left hand, when it is in the frame, while the right hand can be used for selecting options and placing markers.

The purpose of this technology is to allow objects and areas of a crime scene to be tagged without disturbing any potential evidence. The tags and 3D video the glasses record can be used in a virtual model of the scene, for use in examining and recreating the crime. Also the cameras have a feed back to a crime lab, which will allow observers not at the scene to help in the investigation.

The glasses, driven by a laptop in a backpack, have thus far been tested in a mock crime scene, but the researchers are working with the Dutch police to test the invention at a real crime scene. Future testing will not only be to perfect the technology, but also to see if it actually offers an improvement over current methods.


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Kazuo Hirai is Sony's New President and CEO

Posted: February 1, 2012 @ time: 11:51AM
Author: bp9801

After a few weeks of rumors, one of Sony's most recognizable names is getting a promotion. Kazuo Hirai has been promoted to President and CEO of Sony, with current honcho Sir Howard Stringer moving to Chairman of the Board of Directors. Last June, Kaz Hirai was promoted to Chairman of Sony Computer Entertainment, which at the time was the latest in a series of promotions for Hirai. Now, he will be running the whole show starting on April 1st, but acknowledges Sony faces some "challenging" times ahead. Hirai seeks to turn around all aspects of Sony, from video games to television to computers and mobile phones, and wants to engage with customers in new and exciting ways. Kaz Hirai credits Stringer with providing "strong leadership," and has the backing of the Board and Stringer himself. With Kaz Hirai soon to be leading Sony, I feel the company remains in good hands to continue pushing the boundaries of what electronics can do.


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Superfluorescence Observed in Solid-State Material

Posted: February 1, 2012 @ time: 12:03PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

For the first time ever, superfluorescence has been observed in a solid-state material. Previously this phenomenon had only been seen in molecular and atomic gases. As the name suggests, superfluorescence has to do with an extraordinary emission of light. Given the proper circumstances, a material’s electrons can be excited and collectively fall back to lower energies, releasing photons in a single, great pulse. Researchers at Rice University have successfully gotten this to occur in a material with 15 quantum wells stacked on top of each other, with gallium arsenide (GaAs) layers in between. Gallium arsenide is a semiconductor which will transfer the energy of an incoming photon to an electron.

With a sufficiently powerful, and fast, laser pulse, the electrons of the GaAs were excited. When electrons are excited into the conduction band, they leave bind holes where they had been. There were enough electron-hole pairs to form a magneto-plasma, and initially there was no pattern to the plasma. Before long though, the pairs lined up and started falling into the quantum wells where the pairs would recombine and release a photon. The photons then travel through the stack causing a macroscopic coherence of all photon emissions. Essentially, the laser pulse that energizes the system is like a potential energizing a capacitor. Eventually the energy in the capacitor is released all at once.

There are several mysteries surrounding this experiment though. For example, the frequency of the emitted light is related to the time it is released. Also, there were distinct peaks in time for the superfluorescent emission. Of course, what’s the fun of answering one question without thinking of a few more to ask?


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Bethesda Posts Preview Video of Creation Kit and Skyrim Workshop

Posted: February 1, 2012 @ time: 12:06PM
Author: bp9801

One of the long awaited items for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is nearly here, as Bethesda has released more information on the Creation Kit and Skyrim Workshop. The Bethesda games have all been about modding, and even The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind has an active mod community a decade after launch. With Skyrim, a new game engine means a new set of modding tools, but Bethesdad has kept the Creation Kit as close to the Construction Set as possible. Anything you want to do to Skyrim can be possible with the Creation Kit, and should open up a whole new selection of mods. With the Creation Kit comes the Skyrim Workshop, an easy way to browse and download mods. You can subscribe to different mods, search for the newest or most popular, leave feedback, and upload your own mods. Any subscribed mods will automatically download when you start the Skyrim launcher, removing any hassles someone may have with modding.

One of the new changes Bethesda has made is the ability to upload custom INI files for easier modding. This way you will no longer need to back up any INI files as the proper ones will be included with the mods. Bethesda intends the Skyrim Workshop to work with places like Skyrim Nexus, so the ability to package custom INI files can be used by all.

The Creation Kit and Skyrim Workshop will be launching soon, and you can check out the video below to get some more information on it.


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Possibly Perfect Light Absorber

Posted: February 1, 2012 @ time: 01:04PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

As reported by the Institute of Physics, researchers believe they have found a perfect absorber of light, in the infrared range of the spectrum. This could be very useful for light sensors that operate in this part of the spectrum. The material is one we’ve already come to know and love; graphene. That’s right; our atom-thick friend is at it again, being a miracle material.

The researchers found this form of carbon can absorb light by being carefully arranged in nanodiscs. Provided there is a voltage across the disks, incoming light will be absorbed as it becomes trapped in areas hundreds of times smaller than the wavelength. Key to this are plasmons; quasi-particles that actually represent the interaction between an electron and a photon. Controlling the charge on the disks affects what wavelengths are absorbed, as the charge is directly related to the electrons on the graphene disks.

The researchers wish to examine other materials and explore other frequency ranges. There is a need for good infrared light absorbers, as the current absorbers are not all that great. Potentially new and advanced infrared cameras and sensors, or even solar cells could be developed based on this work.


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Genius Releases DeathTaker Mouse

Posted: February 1, 2012 @ time: 06:09PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Genius has officially released its DeathTaker mouse, geared toward MMO and RTS gamers. We were able to get a quick look at the DeathTaker at the Genius booth at CES, and it looked promising. The mouse features nine buttons, and the Scorpion UI allows gamers to store macros for up to 55 keys in five profiles. The SCGii engine provides for independent adjustment of the X and Y axis from 100 to 5700 DPI. A removable weight system features six weights that each weight 4.5 grams. Gamers are also presented with cosmetic options, with a 16 million RGB backlighting system. The mouse will retail for $79.90.


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Cooler Master Drops Price of Storm Trooper Case

Posted: February 1, 2012 @ time: 06:25PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Cooler Master is in the middle of celebrating its 20th anniversary, and that is good news for you. As part of the celebration, Cooler Master has announced that it will be dropping the price on the Storm Trooper case to $149.99. A quick look at Newegg has the previous price at $189.99, providing a $40 savings for anyone in the market for a great case. Bryant Nguyen, Senior Product and Marketing Manager, stated “Our team has been searching for several ways to show our customers that we’ve gotten this far by the bond that we’ve forged with them and our partners over the years. It is through this, and other, gestures that we hope to convey that gratitude.” Hopefully there will be more deals on the horizon from Cooler Master as the celebration continues.


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Brighter is Better for Nanotubes

Posted: February 1, 2012 @ time: 06:53PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Carbon nanotubes, like their cousin graphene, have the potential to greatly enhance modern technology thanks to their small size, incredible strength, and good conduction. For mass production and use though there has to be some way to identify the highest quality samples and filter out those with imperfections. Researchers at Rice University appear to have found a characteristic of impurities which may aid in this way.

After painstakingly analyzing individual nanotubes, the researchers are confident in their conclusion that the fluorescence of nanotubes is directly linked to both their length and purity. The brightness seems to be limited by the length of the nanotubes, with longer samples shining brightest, but when length was held constant the brightness still varied. When a nanotube is damaged or defective, there can be other atoms attached to its surface which can disrupt the emission of light.

Fortunately the researchers have worked out an automated way to continue this research, shortening the time needed from months to just weeks. With this tool the researchers want to determine if specific production methods are causing damage to the nanotubes as they are grown.


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More Layoffs Hit THQ, CEO Takes 50% Pay Cut

Posted: February 1, 2012 @ time: 08:14PM
Author: bp9801

THQ has definitely hit some rough times, what with a refocused strategy and the removal of so many kid games from its lineup. Word has it that some more layoffs have hit THQ, with 240 employees losing their jobs worldwide as a result of the restructuring plan. This follows some layoffs at THQ's California and Australia offices, with the 240 cuts expected to be completed by September 30th, 2012. The CEO and President of THQ, Brian Farrell, will receive a 50% pay cut for one year, though next year his salary will be reviewed and odds are it will jump back up. THQ also needs to get its share price higher than $1 a share in order to remain listed on NASDAQ. Currently it is at 70 cents a share, and THQ has until July 23rd to bring it over $1 for 10 consecutive days.


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Star Wars: The Old Republic has 1.7 Million Active Subscibers

Posted: February 1, 2012 @ time: 08:28PM
Author: bp9801

It looks like BioWare's foray into MMORPGs is off to a good start, as publisher EA has released some numbers from Star Wars: The Old Republic. The big news is that Star Wars: The Old Republic has 1.7 million active subscribers, with over two million copies of the game sold so far. That many active subscribers may be a small amount of the active World of Warcraft accounts, but BioWare looks to be settling in for the long haul. The studio announced The Old Republic Guild Summit for March 4th through the 6th in Austin, Texas, where BioWare will invite guild leaders (or an appointed high-ranking officer) to attend and discuss the game. There will be a Q&A session with the developers, roundtable discussions, and even previews of new game features, which should make any invited guild leader very excited about attending. The goal is to have an open discussion between the designers and the guild leaders, and face-to-face is certainly one way to build a better relationship.


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Survey Shows One Quarter of Tweets are Not Worth Reading

Posted: February 2, 2012 @ time: 11:39AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have conducted a survey on Tweets and will be presenting their full study February 13. The goal of this research was to find what characterizes a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Tweet. For example, no one enjoys Tweets about what you are eating right then and other personal details. However, Tweets with questions, information, and even self-promotion were well received. Overall though, only 36% of the 43738 were liked by the 1443 participants in the student, with 25% not worth reading, and the remaining 39% not provoking a strong opinion either way. What that means is only about a third of Tweets are interesting and something people want to read.

The information was collected using the site Who Gives a Tweet. There participants were able to anonymously rate the Tweets of those they already follow. Putting together the ratings and reviews has allowed the researchers to devise nine lessons for improving content (more details at source link):

  • Old news is no news
  • Contribute to the story
  • Keep it short
  • Limit Twitter-specific syntax
  • Keep it to yourself
  • Provide context
  • Don't whine
  • Be a tease and don’t give away everything; encourage followers to visit the link
  • For public figures don’t share personal gossip or everyday details


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday Edition

Posted: February 2, 2012 @ time: 12:05PM
Author: Nemo

With the announcement this week from AMD on the release of the Radeon HD 7950 video card we saw plenty of reviews on the release date and we picked up another in today's roundup. We also have a review covering GTX 560, 570 and 580 cards from ASUS. We also get a chance to examine a pair of full-tower cases from Thermaltake and Fractal Design. You can find reviews on memory kits and solid state drives as well in the roundup today and all you need to do is follow the links posted below.

Cases
Fractal Design Define XL Computer Case @ Benchmark Review
Thermaltake Overseer RX-I Full Tower Case @ ThinkComputers

Input Devices
Corsair Vengeance M90 Performance Laser Gaming Mouse @ Madshrimps

Memory
G.Skill Ripjaws Z 2133CL9Q-16GBZH Memory Kit @ Madshrimps

Speakers
Microlab M700 2.1 speakers @ XSReviews

Storage/Hard Drives>
SSD performance scaling across the spectrum @ Tech Report
Corsair Performance Series Pro 128GB Solid State Drive @ TweakTown

Video
Asus DirectCU II Roundup: ENGTX560, ENGTX570, and ENGTX580 @ PC Perspective
AMD Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card Overclocked @ TweakTown


Complete Story


Listening to the Brain

Posted: February 2, 2012 @ time: 12:09PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Some months ago researchers demonstrated an ability to reconstruct a silent video a person watches, just by measuring signals from the brain. Soon we may be getting a talkie from brain. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have successfully converted brainwaves into sounds close enough to the original word for it to be guessed accurately 80-90% of the time.

This technology required the use of electrodes placed on the brain (the volunteers were already going to receive such implants for a normal medical procedure) and the signal was recorded as single words were spoken to the subject. Using computational models the brain waves were translated into audible sounds which were close enough for the original word to be guessed. With hours of repetition it should be possible to perfect the sound, so a guess is not needed, but the researchers recognize this isn’t very helpful. In real life a conversation cannot be repeated over and over again; the conversion has to work on the first try.

This could be a huge advance for people who have lost the ability to speak due to disease or stroke. If neuroscientists can find where imaginary conversation occur within the brain (where one talks to him or herself), then it may be possible to return to these people the ability to talk. That may still be a ways off, but this is an impressive step towards that end. You can listen to the audio of the original words and the converted brainwaves at the source link.


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Alan Wake Lands February 16 for the PC

Posted: February 2, 2012 @ time: 05:17PM
Author: bp9801

It was not all that long ago when Remedy Entertainment announced Alan Wake would be arriving on PCs in February. Well, February is finally here and that means Alan Wake is right around the corner, with a release date of February 16th. The game will be available on Steam for $29.99, giving a bit of a discount for PC gamers who have waited so long to try it out. Alan Wake for the PC also includes a couple of DLC packs, so there should be plenty there to keep you occupied. Remedy also released the minimum system specifications for Alan Wake, which you can check out below:

  • OS: Windows Vista or Windows 7 (see below for Windows XP)
  • PROCESSOR: AMD: Athlon X2 2.8GHz | Intel: Core 2 Duo 2GHz
  • MEMORY: 2 GB
  • HARD DRIVE: 8 GB
  • VIDEO CARD: DirectX 10 compatible or later with 512MB RAM
    • AMD: ATI Radeon 3650, 4450, 5550, 6450 or higher (per series)
    • NVIDIA: GeForce 8600GT, 9500GT, GT120, GT430, GT520 (per series)
  • SOUND CARD: DirectX 9.0c compatible
  • INPUT: Mouse and keyboard, Xbox 360 controller also supported

All in all, there is nothing too fancy there. However, Alan Wake will be able to take advantage of quad-core CPUs, can support AMD HD3D and NVIDIA 3D Vision (including multiple screens for both), and support for high resolutions and graphics. All in all, it looks like Alan Wake for the PC has been worth the wait, however the proof will be in the pudding. A boxed retail copy of Alan Wake will launch at a later date, but for now it is digital only.

Sources: IGN, Gamespy, and Neoseeker


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Estimation without Counting Observed in Artificial Neural Network

Posted: February 2, 2012 @ time: 05:19PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Researchers have been wondering for a long time how humans learn. After all, no one is born with an understanding of math or language, yet both of these develop throughout early life. In the case of math at least, many forms of life, including humans, have demonstrated an ability to understand when one set is larger than another, without counting the items. Now a virtual neural network has done the same.

This neural network was designed only to mimic the retina of an eye and then generate false images, similar to what it originally saw. How the neurons fire as the original image is viewed and the false ones made is recorded. The researchers found the lowest level of neurons, those furthest from the virtual retina, were firing based on the number of objects in the original image, despite the fact that there is no understanding of numbers in the program. This information was then given to a second program which was able to estimate whether the image had more or fewer objects than some reference number the researchers also gave it.

This finding could be very important for understanding not only how humans learn numbers, but also dyscalculia and robotic vision. Dyscalculia is a condition which makes it almost impossible for a person to acquire even basic math skills.


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Corsair Receives Four Industry Awards

Posted: February 2, 2012 @ time: 05:40PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Corsair was recently selected as the winner of four different awards from major European print publications and websites. The categories were voted on by the readers of the publications, and placed Corsair at the top of three different categories. The Obsidian 800D case grabbed the "Best Case" award from hardware.info, based in the Netherlands. The Vengeance series of DDR3 memory was awarded "Best Memory Modules" from the same site. Corsair received the Memory Manufacturer of the Year award from both PC Masters and Hardwareluxx magazine, both based in Germany. CEO Andy Paul was happy to hear the news of receiving awards that were voted on by the enthusiast community, "We're thrilled with the recognition from our customers around the world."


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Valve Previews What is in Store for Team Fortress 2 in 2012

Posted: February 2, 2012 @ time: 05:49PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Valve has released a blog post giving details on what is on the horizon for Team Fortress 2 this year. There is a secret TF2 related project that will be released this year, and the only clues are that it isn't a hat, map, or combination of the two. Thousands of items continue to be submitted to the Steam Workshop, and the team is continuing to evaluate the good ideas. The Meet the Pyro video will finally be released as well, and the team has promised that it features far more blood that the movie There Will Be Blood. The Saxxy Awards will be making their return, allowing intrepid gamers to submit their gameplay videos for prizes.


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Impurities Held Back Quantum Dot Production Method

Posted: February 2, 2012 @ time: 06:05PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Quantum dots are nanoscale semiconducting crystals sometimes also referred to as designer molecules. All semiconductors will have electrons excited by certain frequencies of light, and also give off certain frequencies of light if there is enough energy available. This is key to both LEDs and photovoltaics. What the frequencies of light are though will differ from material to material. Quantum dots on the other hand can be made to respond to whatever frequency someone wants; only production techniques stand in the way.

This makes them very interesting to every field that deals with both electronics and optics. Unfortunately creating them is not always very easy, and one method that, on paper, looked promising was not performing as people wanted. Now researchers at Berkeley Lab have figured out why, by accident.

While cleaning out the lab, a researcher checked the luminescence of a sample of quantum dots that was ix months hold. To his surprise it was responding seven times stronger than when it was freshly made. Already that is a large improvement, but why? To figure it out the researcher heated the sample to 100 C, to accelerate whatever happened during those six months. The result was a 400-fold increase in just 30 hours and an explanation.

The production method used is solution-based as opposed to the traditional colloid-based technique. This was leaving behind cations though which were blocking the movement of charge carriers. Heat causes the impurities to leave the sample, and thus boost the luminescence. Perhaps we will be seeing quantum dot displays and solar panels sooner than we thought.


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Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Gameplay Trailer Launches

Posted: February 2, 2012 @ time: 06:08PM
Author: bp9801

While Ghost Recon: Future Soldier may be a few more months away from a release, Ubisoft today is showing off a new gameplay trailer to get people excited for it. Sure, the opening may remind you of a couple other modern militay FPS games, but then you get to see what makes it a true Ghost Recon game. For one, there are some scenes with your character in optical camo, that is, you are invisible until you attack an enemy. Another scene shows what appears to be a remote controled quadrocopter letting you scout the lay of the land, while near the end you get to a see a four-legged robot walking near some soldiers. Ubisoft definitely looks to be using all aspects of military hardware, both current and upcoming, and it should help make Ghost Recon: Future Soldier worth the many delays.

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier will launch on May 22nd for the PC, PS3, and 360. The trailer is not safe for work due to language and violence.

NSFW


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NPD Numbers for January Could be Bad, According to Analysts

Posted: February 2, 2012 @ time: 08:26PM
Author: bp9801

The start of the year typically does not have much in the way of major game releases, though there are always some that launch in January. However, analysts from RW Baird predict January 2012 numbers will pale in comparison to January 2011 numbers when NPD results come in, due to no "significant new title releases." The top selling titles will most likely include Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Zumba Fitness, and Just Dance 3, but overall, the numbers are expected to be 20% lower than January 2011. The analysts also say that because of the extra hardware units available and the lack of major sales, numbers for last month will suffer on a whole. Things are expected to turn around in February and March, with the likes of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Mass Effect 3, the PlayStation Vita, and all the titles launching for the Vita.


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A Few Ubisoft Games with Always-On DRM will Not Work After a Server Upgrade

Posted: February 2, 2012 @ time: 08:56PM
Author: bp9801

No matter what your opinion is of DRM, this bit of news is just one example why always-online DRM is not the best solution. Next week, Ubisoft will be moving some of its gaming servers, which will result in the downtime of some always-on DRM games. Ubisoft did not say when the servers will be restored, but starting on February 7th, Tom Clancy's HAWX 2, The Settlers 7, and Might & Magic Heroes VI will not be playable. Other titles, like Assassin's Creed: Revelations and Driver: San Francisco will not be affected, nor will other games that can be played offline (provided you already activated those). This is a pretty big strike against why always-on DRM is more of a hinderance, as three different games cannot be played once the servers go down. Hopefully the upgrade to the new servers does not take very long, but still, games you paid for should not have an issue like that.


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Hardware Roundup: Friday Edition

Posted: February 3, 2012 @ time: 04:36AM
Author: Nemo

We have continuing coverage on the AMD HD 7950 3GB card with two reviews looking at multi-card configurations. In storage-related news, our roundup roped in another review on Synology's DS-212 two-Bay NAS device along with an article on the 830 Series solid-state drive from Samsung. We also get a chance to read up on AMD's processor and GPU roadmaps through 2013.

Manufacturers
AMD Processor and GPU Roadmaps Through 2013 @ PC Perspective

Storage/Hard Drives
Samsung's 830 Series solid-state drive @ Tech Report
Synology DS-212 Two-Bay NAS @ Tweaknews

Trade Shows/Conventions
AMD [H]ard|OCP FX GamExperience @ [H]ardOCP

Video
AMD Radeon HD 7950 CrossFire & TriFire @ Neoseeker
Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 3GB OC Video Card in CrossFire @ TweakTown


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Stereotype Threat Threatened

Posted: February 3, 2012 @ time: 11:02AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

A classic stereotype is that men are better at math than women, but there has been little if any solid evidence to explain this, even though women are not often found in high positions that require math. (Having worked with and been taught by female mathematicians, I know ability is not dependent on sex.) Basically the stereotype exists and the population seems to display it, but the explanation for why this could be true has not been found. One promising theory is called stereotype threat and it explains that if a woman believes the stereotype she will perform worse than what she is capable of.

Researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia have reexamined the studies supporting stereotype threat and have found several issues with them. For example, there is a lack of male control groups and the improper application of statistical techniques in some of these studies. The researcher did what they could to correct the problems and when they did the significance of the results disappeared, showing the studies’ conclusions were wrong.

This is a major issue because of the amount of focus given to the theory. If it were to turn out stereotype threat is incorrect then school policies and funding have been wasted trying to fix a problem in the wrong place.


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THQ Delays Metro: Last Light, Looks for Help for Warhammer 40,000 MMO

Posted: February 3, 2012 @ time: 01:15PM
Author: bp9801

The news just keeps pouring in about THQ, and none of it looks good. Just days after announcing 240 employees are being laid off, THQ announced Metro: Last Light is being delayed to 2013, and the Warhammer 40,000 MMO, Dark Millennium Online, is still on the way. However, THQ is looking for some help with Dark Millennium Online in the form of a business partner, most likely to help ensure the MMO gets released. Other games, like South Park: The Game, Crytek's Homefront sequel, and Guillermo del Toro's inSane, are still on schedule, but it is Metro: Last Light seeing the delay. Many fans have been looking forward to what Last Light can bring after the successful Metro 2033, but we all have to wait at least one more year before getting a chance with it. THQ just needs some help, so anyone with a spare $10 million should give them a call to support the Warhammer 40k MMO.


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Smart Stereo Earphones

Posted: February 3, 2012 @ time: 01:16PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

While some people may not care, for others it is a habit to make sure the left ear phone is in the left ear and right earphone in the right ear. For some audio sources, it won’t matter much, but others, like movies and video games, require the proper channels are going to the proper ear. (You don’t want to turn the wrong direction when an alien, orc, or other enemy is firing at you.)

To solve this problem, researchers at the Igarashi Design Interfaces Project have added electrodes to the front of ear buds. When the buds are put in the correct ears, the electrodes will be against the outer ear, which will form a connection. If the ear buds are reversed though, the electrodes are out in the air and not making a connection. This then triggers a chip to switch the channels, thereby ensuring the proper audio is going to its proper place.

The researchers went a step further with this though, as they also added a way for the earphones to know when they are being shared by two people. When worn by one person, there will be a weak electric current between the ear buds, but when two people wear them, the circuit is broken. This causes the chip to combine the stereo channels into a mono channel, which is sent to both ear pieces. This way both listeners get all of the audio.


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Creation Kit for Skyrim Hits Next Tuesday, Includes a Surprise

Posted: February 3, 2012 @ time: 02:50PM
Author: bp9801

Good news everyone, as Bethesda's Pete Hines announced the Creation Kit for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim "is on track" to release next Tuesday! Bethesda recently posted a preview video of the Creation Kit and showed just a little of what you can do with the in-depth modding tools, but did not reveal exactly when we would be getting it. Now, thanks to Pete Hines, VP of PR and Marketing at Bethesda, we know just a few short days await us. Hines also mentioned a "special surprise" with it, but did not elaborate any further. This surprise could be the Skyrim Workshop, but it could also be something else, like details on upcoming DLC (although the first two are 360 exclusive for a month) or even some included mods. Whatever the case may be, we only have until Tuesday to see what everyone can do with the Creation Kit for Skyrim.


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Internet Media Constrained by Brain, not Economy

Posted: February 3, 2012 @ time: 02:52PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Researchers have found it is not economic influences that limit the growth of digitally stored information on the Internet, but the human brain. Reported by Springer is the study (pdf) which considered some 633 million files, constituting 675 TB of data. This represents every file there is an outgoing link to from Wikipedia and dmoz. The file types include applications, text, images, audio and video.

The researchers looked at specific characteristics of the files, such as the bit rate, resolution, and length. These data were then plotted by how often they occur for each data type. The graph shows a decline as the axes increase, but is without an exponential tail at the end. If economic factors, such as the cost of hard drives, limited how large or how high of quality a file was, there would be such a tail. Further examination of the graph showed patterns which match the Weber-Fechner law. Basically what this law says is the noticeability of a change is follows a logarithmic curve. For example, increasing the resolution of a low resolution image is more noticeable than increasing the resolution of an already high resolution image.

What this implies is the information on the Internet cannot grow faster than what our brains can handle.


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AMD Reveals Plans for the Future

Posted: February 3, 2012 @ time: 03:40PM
Author: bp9801

AMD revealed its plans for the future yesterday, which focuses on the remainder of this year and all of next year. There is the usual talk of extending out current products with new releases and series, but there was something a bit more curious concerning ARM CPUs. I will get to that last part in a bit, but AMD wants to shorten the time frame between CPU designs to something similar to GPUs, with 18-24 months of separation instead of a few years. AMD will do that by moving away from custom designs for chips, and will instead rely on synthesized layouts and lower power usage. This will also allow for more APUs to be produced, with the CPU and GPU combined on the same die, which AMD sees as a big part of its plans.

There will be three new APU lines released this year: Trinity, Brazos 2.0, and Hondo. Trinity is aimed at performance laptop and mainstream desktop users, and pairs one or two Piledriver modules (succesor to Bulldozer) with an HD 7000 GPU. Brazos 2.0 will have a power usage between 9 - 18W, and packs two Bobcat cores with an HD 6000 GPU. The Hondo line will top out at 4.5W, and will have one or two Bobcat cores and an HD 6000 GPU. All the mentioned GPUs could just be rebrands, so the Trinity APUs will have an HD 6000 GPU while the Brazos 2.0 and Hondo will have an HD 5000 GPU.

As for regular CPUs, AMD will release the Piledriver parts under the FX line, and will have two to four modules just like the current Bulldozer line. 2013 will still see the Piledriver modules used in the desktop line, while the APU lines will get new versions based on new architecture. The server CPU line remains the same this year, while 2013 will see updated versions launch but keep the current number of modules/threads, memory channels, and HyperTransport links. The 2013 versions will be based on Piledriver, however, so the performance will be increased while using the same amount of power.

AMD has more plans as well, which you can read about in full at the source.


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Distraction Dodger: The Game

Posted: February 3, 2012 @ time: 04:10PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Distracted driving is a big issue as it causes a very large number of accidents, and fatalities, every year. The problem is especially evident in teenage drivers who have been exposed to cellphones for a large portion of their life, compared to older divers.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have created a game to educate teenage drivers to the dangers of distracted driving. The belief is some people simply do not understand how important it is to maintain focus while driving, which then makes using a cellphone, changing the radio station, eating, putting on makeup, reading, and any other activity seem less of an issue.

The game, named Distraction Dodger, has the player drive a pizza delivery truck. At first there are almost no distractions or congestion, but as the player advances, the difficulty increases as well. While driving to the next customer you have to watch out for other cars, road construction, jay-walkers, stop signs, etc. Every time you make a mistake, it is recorded and displayed to you in a graph at the end of the level. The graphics and plot may not be even close to Skyrim, but it may still be worth seeing how well you do.


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BioWare Says Gamers May Want to Keep Mass Effect 3 Saves

Posted: February 3, 2012 @ time: 04:21PM
Author: bp9801

BioWare has stated that when you finish Mass Effect 3, Commander Shepard's tale will come to an end. The Mass Effect trilogy has been all about Shepard, and any future games in the universe will focus on new characters. However, BioWare has suggested it may be a good idea to keep the Mass Effect 3 saves around once you finish the game, but did not elaborate further. What this means could be anyone's guess, but it is likely future Mass Effect games could pull some elements from the end of Mass Effect 3. BioWare still has not said there will be future Mass Effect games, but has not ruled out the possibility either. With the studio saying "it wouldn't be a bad idea" to keep the Mass Effect 3 saves, one can speculate BioWare is thinking of new ideas set in the universe.

Mass Effect 3 launches on March 6th for the PC, PS3, and 360. BioWare wants gamers to be satisified with the ending of it, and all the choices we have made in the first two games will have an impact in the third.


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Adriana Lima in Super Slow Motion for Five Hours

Posted: February 3, 2012 @ time: 04:21PM
Author: bp9801

Courtesy of Kia Motors.

You're welcome.


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Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: February 6, 2012 @ time: 04:43AM
Author: Nemo

Welcome back to another week of reviews from around the web as we have a nice collection of articles today to get things started. We have something different in the speaker section with the Scott Luminor Sound and Light Wireless System that combines speakers with LED light bulbs and pairs them with an iPod docking station. Interesting. There are several storage-related items for you to examine today with a Kingston DataTraveler USB drive, Corsair's Force Series 3 and Force Series GT solid state drive and another Kingston product in the form of the 16GB Wi-Drive wireless storage device. We have plenty more in our Monday roundup and you can check out all the reviews by following the links below.

Cooling
Cooler Master GeminII M4 CPU Cooler @ Madshrimps

Gadgets
Cooler Master Choiix Power Fort 5600 @ LanOC Reviews

Input Devices
Steelseries Ikari Gaming Mouse @ Computer Ed

Memory
Kingston HyperX Limited Edition DDR3-1600 4GB Dual Channel Memory Kit @ ThinkComputers

Power Supplies
Kingwin Lazer Platinum 1000W Power Supply @ ThinkComputers

Speakers/Headphones
Scott Luminor Sound and Light Wireless System (i-DXS 10 L Luminor) @ TweakTown

Storage/Hard Drives
Kingston DataTraveler HyperX 3.0 Thumb Drive @ TweakTown
Corsair Force Series 3 and Force Series GT SSD @ PC Perspective
Unboxing the Kingston Wi-Drive @ ThinkComputers

Video
Galaxy MDT GeForce GT 520 Graphics Card @ PC Perspective

Miscellany
Five Years With Blu-ray - Part Two @ TweakTown
End of the Internet or the beginning of a new-style Internet? @ TweakTown
The TR Podcast 105: Eye candy and SSD scaling @ Tech Report


Complete Story


70-Year-Old Nerd Grandma is a WoW Guild Master

Posted: February 6, 2012 @ time: 08:12AM
Author: edwardquilo

Who says only youngsters can be hardcore PC gamers? Not Marthazon, a 70-year-old grandmother who spends dozens of hours playing World of Warcraft as a level 85 Gnome Mage and as the guild master of her raiding guild Spartans. A constant WoW player since her daughter introduced it to her in 2005, Martha is also an avid Lord of the Rings fan, and she's a tech nerd, too. "I've always been fascinated by technology. My last job before retiring was computer tracking a large fleet of commercial trucks and their deliveries. I helped design the in-house program to track the data we needed to maintain, and I acted as the office IT."

But Marthazon isn't the oldest player in her guild, as her 72-year-old husband provides support in repair gold as their AH "king". With a fixed monthly income, WoW has proven to be a cost-effective way for the elderly couple to be active and keep up with the times. "WoW is an excellent and inexpensive recreational outlet for us old codgers. A lot less expensive than golf," adds Martha. Further proof that 50 years from now, most of us will still be happily gaming away the hours playing PC games - and if we're lucky enough, perhaps even our wrinkled spouses, too. 


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Hardware Roundup: Intel 520 Series SSD Edition

Posted: February 6, 2012 @ time: 10:49AM
Author: Nemo

Intel has released a new series of solid state drives which pairs the LSI SandForce 2281 NAND controller with 25nm NAND flash memory. The drives are slated to be released in capacities ranging from 60GB to 480GB. The drive is designed for reliability and performance with a MTBF of 1.2 million hours and 550 megabytes-per-second (MB/s) sequential reads and up to 520MB/s sequential writes. Prices start at $149 for the 60GB version with the 480GB coming in just below the $1,000 mark. The 240GB version reviewed here by OCC will set you back about $509.

Intel 520 Series 240GB @ OCC
Intel SSD 520 240GB @ Bjorn3D
Intel 520 Series SSD Full Review - SandForce on Steroids? @ PC Perspective
Intel's 520 Series solid-state drive @ Tech Report
Intel SSD 520 Series Solid State Drive @ Benchmark Reviews
Intel SSD 520 Series 240GB @ TechSpot


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Making an Atomic Antenna

Posted: February 6, 2012 @ time: 12:46PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Even though graphene may one day replace silicon in electronics, when they work together interesting things can happen. From Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) comes a proof-of-concept experiment that has made an atomic antenna. This device has the ability to receive an optical signal, convert it to an electrical signal for transmission, and then back to an optical signal.

The researchers took a piece of graphene and made point defects in it; single carbon atoms were replaced with single silicon atoms. These impurities cause a plasmonic reaction that converts optical and electronic signals.

This experiment is only a proof-of-concept test though, but it still shows promise for the future of optoelectronics. After all, a compact and reliable means to use combine optics and electronics could greatly speed up computers while also reducing energy requirements.


Complete Story


Hawken Going Free-to-Play, Beta Signups Start

Posted: February 6, 2012 @ time: 12:50PM
Author: bp9801

Fans of mech games can rejoice, as news on Hawken, the first-person multiplayer mech game, has surfaced. Adhesive Games will make Hawken, its debut game, free-to-play when it launches, in a move likely to compete against similar F2P game MechWarrior Online. This means there will be two different F2P mech games for you to sink your teeth into, and should provide gamers everywhere a chance to battle it out without having to drop a ton of cash. What's more, is that Adhesive is opening the beta signups for Hawken, giving you an early shot to try out the game before it launches in full. Hawken is expected to launch on December 12th, 2012, so the beta should be running for quite some time before the full game is ready.


Complete Story


New Graphene Transistor Design

Posted: February 6, 2012 @ time: 02:21PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Graphene is fairly often described as a potential replacement of silicon, but for one issue; the lack of a band gap. It turns out though that there are other issues preventing 300 GHz graphene transistors from being used. If such transistors were packed as densely as modern CPU transistors, the current leak would melt the chips in a fraction of a second. (No, the NH-D14 wouldn’t help with that.) Researchers at the University of Manchester have an idea for a solution though; build up instead of out.

The previous graphene transistors were built in a plane, which makes some sense since graphene is as close as one can get to an actual two dimensional object. The new design from Manchester has vertical graphene sheets and uses the material’s quantum mechanical properties. By placing the graphene on one side of a dielectric (resistant material) and a metal on the other, electrons can be made to tunnel through the dielectric. This will greatly reduce the energy and current needed for operation. Not only will the graphene encourage the electrons to tunnel, but it has the peculiar effect of allowing an external voltage to change the energy of the tunneling electrons.

Putting this all together makes the design the first vertical field-effect tunneling transistor. With further work, the researchers believe the transistor can be improved and scaled down in size to just nanometers. Ironically though, the transistor design itself may not be the most important aspect of this research. Instead it is how the researchers built the transistor one atomic layer at a time. Such control will allow for even more amazing structures to be made.


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PlayStation Network Accounts Get a Name Change

Posted: February 6, 2012 @ time: 02:35PM
Author: bp9801

Over the weekend, PlayStation gamers should have received an email from Sony talking about new Terms of Service. The email also mentioned a new name for PlayStation Network accounts, which will now be called Sony Entertainment Network accounts. When you sign in on or after February 8th (7th in the email), you will be asked to accept the new Terms of Service and User Agreement in order to continue using the SEN account. The change will affect only PlayStation 3 and Vita users (PSP users keep the PSN name), and provides some updates to parental control features, explanation of location-based services for the Vita, and some new pre-ordering conditions. For those who pre-order content from the PlayStation Store, you cannot cancel a pre-order once it has been placed; so be sure you want the item before putting money down on it. All in all, the Sony Entertainment Network account functions much like the PlayStation Network account, and you can use your PS3 or Vita like normal after the change.


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Self-limiting Optical Welding of Nanowires

Posted: February 6, 2012 @ time: 04:02PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

When trying to weld together pieces of metal, most people look to a torch or electric-arc welder, and some look to a friction welder (NASA used this for welding together sections of a capsule because it does not add weight but still creates a high quality weld). None of these methods work when dealing with nanowires though. Heating them risks destroying the sample, and pressure can also ruin the delicate structures. Fortunately, at such a small scale there are certain phenomena that can be used.

Researchers have been looking to plasmons for a variety of reasons. These quasi-particles, which are a photon and electron coupled together, have some interesting properties and can be directed along the metals they are formed. Researchers at the Stanford School of Engineering have realized that shining light onto nanowires will cause hotspots where two wires cross because of plasmonic effects.

The top wire collects plasmons, like an antenna, and focuses them at the junction between the two wires. This creates a hotspot as the energy transfers from one wire to the other, and the heat is enough to fuse them together. Once the weld is made though, the effect stops, because it is the transfer from one wire to the other that generates the heat.

To test the potential and quality of this welding technique, the researchers sprayed silver nanowires onto a piece of Saran wrap, which has a considerably lower melting point than the metal. An advantage to testing with Saran wrap is the nanowire mesh should be transparent, like the plastic. The plastic was completely unharmed by the welding process, unlike if this were done on a hot plate. The researchers then balled up the plastic and nanowire mesh, to check if the welds would withstand such treatment, and they did. This means nanowire meshes, which could be used in solar panels, LEDs, touch and non-touch screen displays, could be sprayed onto most any surface, and welded on the spot. In the future this could allow a ‘solar panel’ to be sprayed onto you window.


Complete Story


Microsoft Flight Taking Off February 29

Posted: February 6, 2012 @ time: 04:03PM
Author: bp9801

It was near the end of last year when word came that Microsoft was accepting people into the beta for the upcoming Microsoft Flight, a revival of the franchise. Microsoft Flight is set entirely on the Big Island of Hawaii and is a free-to-play game, a first for the series. The game will ship with a plane to get you started, while additional planes, regions, and "customization options" will be available for a fee. Today, Microsoft has announced Microsoft Flight will be available on February 29th, letting anyone with a computer download and start playing the game. Unlike Flight Simulator X, Microsoft Flight will be playable on a wide variety of hardware to allow as many gamers as possible to experience the joys of flight. The company also announced the game's first expansion, the Hawaiian Adventure Pack, will be available on launch day for $20. You get the RV-6A aircraft, new challenges, and 20 new missions for the price, plus you can buy the Maule M-7-260C and P-51 Mustang for $15 and $8 at launch, respectively.


Complete Story


Prototype Naval Railgun Testing Begins Soon

Posted: February 6, 2012 @ time: 05:28PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

An advantage to large naval ships is the ability to house large and powerful weapons, from missiles to cannons. The Navy has been working on an advanced type of weapon called a railgun. Unlike most guns which rely on a chemical fuel (such as gunpowder), railguns use electricity to create powerful magnetic fields. With the proper setup, these fields can accelerate objects to incredible velocities; in this case the projectiles can reach 4500 mph to 5600 mph.

Much of the research and development had been done by the Office of Naval Research in their own laboratories, but soon they will be testing the first industry railgun prototype launcher built by BAE systems. This device uses 32 megajoules of energy, while Navy’s device was only firing at 1.5 Mj. (A one ton car travelling at 100 mph is roughly one megajoule.) At first the testers are aiming for a range of just 50-100 nautical miles (57-115 miles) but intend on expanding this to 220 nautical miles (253 miles) in the future.

More work will have to be done before these weapons will be found on ships though, as automated reloading and cooling systems have to be developed. The Office of Naval Research though has recently award $10 million contracts to Raytheon Corp, BAE Systems and General Atomics to create pulsed power systems that should allow a for a firing rate of 6-10 shots per minute.


Complete Story


BioWare will Correct Errors in Latest Mass Effect Novel

Posted: February 6, 2012 @ time: 06:27PM
Author: bp9801

Tie-ins to video games are nothing new, with books, comics, and even movies seeking to expand the created universe or provide a new glimpse at it. The Mass Effect franchise is an incredibly popular game series, but it also has some books and comics telling other tales within the universe. Recently, Mass Effect: Deception launched as the latest novel, however, it had a new author instead of Drew Karpyshyn, the man who helped build Mass Effect's history. Fans were eager to check out Deception regardless, but were horrified to see the book filled with canonical errors, such as volus not being in full coverage enviro-suits. The fans lashed out over these grevious mistakes, and now BioWare has apologized for the book and will correct the errors in Mass Effect: Deception. The studio is "taking the matter very seriously," and will get a corrected edition released. When that new edition releases was not revealed, but hopefully the book can finally fit into the Mass Effect universe properly.


Complete Story


Could Bethesda Include HD Textures with Creation Kit Launch Tomorrow?

Posted: February 6, 2012 @ time: 07:13PM
Author: bp9801

The Creation Kit for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is scheduled to launch tomorrow, and Bethesda's Pete Hines said it would include a "special surprise." What exactly that surprise is has not been discussed, but one individual has done some digging to potentially give away the surprise. It appears the Creation Kit will include HD textures for Skyrim, at least according to the Steam Content Description Records. Modders have been improving the textures in Skyrim to give PC gamers something higher resolution than the console textures included, but, if this rumor proves true, Bethesda will have taken the initiative to improve the textures itself. Whether these HD textures will actually be included and at what resolution remains to be seen, but luckily the Creation Kit is scheduled to launch tomorrow when all will be revealed.


Complete Story


AVADirect Launches Clevo P270WM Gaming Laptop

Posted: February 7, 2012 @ time: 01:29AM
Author: premiumgfx

Ohio-based custom-computer manufacturer AVADirect has launched its latest gaming laptop dubbed the Clevo P270WM. The new laptop is touted as the 'fastest desktop replacement in the world,' featuring the Intel X79 chipset coupled with Sandy Bridge-E CPUs, such as the Intel Core i7-3960X. In addition to the Intel CPU, the Clevo P270WM packs up to three 9.5mm HDDs or SSDs (optional RAID configuration), up to 32GB of quad channel memory, the latest GPUs such as the NVIDIA GTX 580M 2GB with SLI support, and overclocking support. Other features include an HDMI output, three USB 3.0 ports and a 17.3" Full HD LED display. A backlit keyboard makes typing easy in low-light situations. The AVADirect Clevo P270WM gaming laptop is available for pre-order now, starting from $3000.00. The base model will include the Intel Core i7 3930K processor, NVIDIA GTX 580M 2GB video card, 4GB of DDR3 memory running at 1333MHz, a 750GB hard drive, and will run on Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.


Complete Story


Hardware Roundup: Tuesday Edition

Posted: February 7, 2012 @ time: 05:32AM
Author: Nemo

A couple of days post-Super Bowl and we have a gaming review covering the NFL Blitz 2012 Edition title for PS3. Xigmatek might be better known for its cooling products, but in today's roundup we have a look at the company's Midgard II Mid-Tower chassis. Speaking of cooling products, we also have a review on the Cooler Master Gemin II SF524 CPU cooler. There's been a bit of discussion lately in the OCC forums regarding hard drive prices and the effect of the recent flooding in Thailand on the hard drive industry. We also picked up an article titled HDD Pricewatch: Three Months Into the Thai Floods in today's roundup that further examines the situation.

Cases
Xigmatek Midgard II Mid-Tower Chassis @ TweakTown

Cooling
Cooler Master Gemin II SF524 @ XSReviews

Gaming
NFL Blitz 2012 Edition PlayStation 3 @ TweakTown

Mobile
Vaja Libretto Limited Edition iPad 2 Case @ Madshrimps

Optical Drives
Asus BW-12B1LT Internal 12X Blu-Ray Writer @ Tweaknews

Storage/Hard Drives
OCZ Synapse Cache 64GB Solid State Drive @ ThinkComputers
HDD Pricewatch: Three Months Into the Thai Floods @ TechSpot


Complete Story


The Start Button Removed in Latest Windows 8 Build

Posted: February 7, 2012 @ time: 08:25AM
Author: edwardquilo

The Start button, that familiar desktop selection first glimpsed in Windows 95, may cease to exist in the final version of Windows 8. As it stands, it has disappeared in the latest Windows 8 consumer build, which can be seen in leaked screenshots replaced with a "super bar." Earlier Windows 8 builds streamlined the Start button to match the Metro interface, but according to reports, Microsoft has been mulling over the decision to scrap the Start button indefinitely. Despite that, the functionality of the Start button hasn't disappeared entirely. It is reported that there will still be a hot corner, which when hovered with your cursor or with a finger swipe, will let you access navigation windows and offer thumbnail previews. This is an effort to provide a more consistent experience between the traditional desktop mode and the Metro UI environment. While this might be jarring to people used to the traditional Start button, the super bar will let users pin favorite shortcuts from desktop applications.

Another gripe some users have with Windows 8 is its apparent focus on touch input and the Metro UI, with the new UI reportedly being an uncomfortable experience when used with a keyboard and mouse, although Microsoft has promised to address that in an upcoming Consumer Preview.  


Complete Story


Terahertz Polarizer Tested

Posted: February 7, 2012 @ time: 11:37AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Terahertz radiation exists at the edge of the far infrared part of the spectrum, near microwaves. This range of frequencies is of great interest to researchers the world over because only water and metal blocks it. This property makes terahertz incredibly useful for communication and sensing devises as the radiation does not adversely affect the human body. From medicine to security and communication, terahertz technology would have a great impact. Before that can happen though, researchers have to be able to control the waves.

Rice University researchers have recently devised a terahertz polarizer that operates on frequencies from 0.5 to 2.2 THz. This is huge compared to other polarizers. The new design utilizes nanotubes that will other block or allow transmission of the radiation based on an external electric field. A nanotube polarizer had been tried before, but was only able to block 30-50%, which isn’t enough. To fix this the researchers made it thicker. The result is a polarizer that can switch from allowing 100% of a terahertz signal through, to blocking 99.9%.

Further improvements to the polarizer can be made, but they will require overcoming an issue all nanotube researchers are having. When nanotubes are grown the sample includes both semiconducting and metallic nanotubes. Only the semiconducting are useful in the polarize, but there is currently no efficient way to either sort out the types of nanotubes, or simply produce one kind instead of both.


Complete Story


Creation Kit for Skyrim Launches, Includes High Resolution Texture Pack

Posted: February 7, 2012 @ time: 02:18PM
Author: bp9801

The day has finally arrived, as Bethesda has launched the Creation Kit for Skyrim. The Creation Kit is an incredibly in-depth set of mod tools to let anyone create whatever they want for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. You can have your mod sent to the Skyrim Workshop for anyone to search for and download, and the Workshop also allows for you to subscribe to different mods to always keep them updated for your game. With the Creation Kit also comes the High Resolution Texture Pack, which is a free download separate from the main game. It is a 3GB download and Bethesda recommends your computer exceeds the recommend specifications before you install it. It should overhaul all the textures to turn an already good looking game into something great. You can pick up Skyrim for $40 on Steam until this Thursday, 4PM PST.

With the Creation Kit now available, it should only be a matter of time for the impressive number of created mods to swell to extraordinary heights. You can download the Creation Kit from the Tools section of your Steam Library, although you may need to restart Steam for it to show. Below is the first part of a video Bethesda has made introducing us to the Creation Kit. You can view the second part and the third part as well.


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