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News Archives for December 2012

Future iPad and iPhone May Feature Intel Processor

Posted: December 1, 2012 @ time: 01:57AM
Author: EuroFight

Analytical group RBC has said that Apple may be considering using Intel chips in future iPads and iPhones. The deal would involve Intel producing ARM-based processors designed by Apple, and in return, Apple would use Intel chips in some of its devices. There may seem little value in Apple producing its own processors considering the range of chips on the market. However current Apple products feature Samsung chips, and the relationship between the two companies has recently become rather strained.

Apple, nor Intel, have made any statement about the possibility, however it would seem a logical choice for Intel with the desktop market currently in decline to keep using all its factories. Intel would also finally be able to get a foothold in the mobile market, which has been one of the corporation's main aims in the past couple of years. The partnership would be a step forward for both companies, but we will have to wait and see if any such relationship develops in the future.


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Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro has Half the Battery Life of Windows RT Tablet

Posted: December 1, 2012 @ time: 02:10AM
Author: bp9801

Just the other day Microsoft revealed the price of the Surface with Windows 8 Pro, with $899 netting you a very nice tablet running the latest version of Windows. It also has a 1080p screen, 4GB of RAM, and an Intel Core i5 processor and HD 4000 graphics to make it a worthwhile upgrade over the Windows RT version. However, there is a bit of a downside to the Windows 8 Pro tablet, and that is the battery life. Microsoft revealed the Surface with Windows 8 Pro has about half the battery life of the Windows RT version, which means around four and a half hours on a full charge. That time can vary, of course, but it's a far cry from the nine or so hours of the RT tablet. The Windows 8 Pro tablet does turn off WiFi and other connectivity options while hibernating, which is a nice positive.

When you look at it from a price to battery life angle, the Surface with Windows 8 Pro sits very nicely in with the Ultrabooks (as it's intended), although it does fall a little short of those in battery life. Still, it's an alternative for anyone wanting a pure touch screen device that isn't lacking any Windows 8 features.


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Steam Greenlight Spotlight: Orc Attack

Posted: December 1, 2012 @ time: 09:49PM
Author: ClayMeow

Orc Attack is a third-person co-op brawler where you control one of the titular orcs on a journey to destroy the evil humans that have invaded your land. To aid you in your quest, you can join forces with up to three friends in local and online multiplayer. We don't have many co-op brawlers on the PC, but that's not the only thing that makes the game stand out – it also features generous helpings of burping and farting.

While you'll be engaging in your fair share of melee combat with various weaponry, your "magical attacks" in Dirty Mode are various burps and farts, depending on the orc you choose. When you play for the first time, you'll get to choose among four orcs: green, red, blue, and yellow. The green orc has an acid burp and explosive fart, the red orc has a fire burp and explosive fart, the blue orc has a stone burp and double fart, and the yellow orc has a ice burp and healing fart. Eventually you'll unlock an additional four orcs, but there are no details on their abilities. For those that aren't so keen on depicting flatulence in video games, there's Magic Mode, which is completely gas-free. The game features 25 missions over four campaigns, with over 30 enemy types, including bosses.

If you've ever wanted to join forces with some friends and kill enemies with burps and farts, Orc Attack is certainly the game for you. Even if that latter doesn't appeal to you, the game looks like a promising 3D co-op brawler. In addition to the game being on Greenlight, there is also a Kickstarter campaign currently under way, with just seven days left. Pledging at least £8 (approximately $13 USD) allows you to choose whether you'd like a digital copy for the PC, XBLA, or PSN. Of course there are a lot of other rewards as well, so check out the Kickstarter page, but don't forget to also vote for the game on Greenlight regardless of whether you pledge or not! OCC's image servers are apparently still down, but the official site has a lot more screenshots.

Last week's Spotlight: Grimind. And don't forget to visit the forum thread.


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THQ Humble Bundle Breaks $2 Million on First Day

Posted: December 2, 2012 @ time: 08:36AM
Author: CheeseMan42

The Humble Bundle was first introduced as a means to package several Indie games together and allow gamers to pay what they want for all the games. The most recent iteration of the Humble Bundle features several AAA titles from THQ, the first bundle that wasn't focused on Indie games from small developers. In addition to featuring big games from a well known company, this is the first bundle that features DRM in the form of Steam and was also restricted to Windows. The THQ bundle managed to raise $2.4 million in the first 24 hours, eclipsing the totals of all but one of the previous bundles. However, there has been some speculation that a lot of that money is going entirely to charity and that THQ won't be seeing a large chunk of that money.


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Details of Bungie's New Game Destiny Leaked

Posted: December 2, 2012 @ time: 01:33PM
Author: EuroFight

Popular gaming website IGN has got its hands on leaked materials on Bungie's upcoming video game Destiny. The materials leaked include storyline details as well as concept art. Bungie itself later confirmed the authenticity of the leak in a post on its official website. It is unlikely that Activision, the publisher of the Destiny series, is particularly impressed by the leak, however it has made no comment.

According to the leak, the game is set 700 years from the present day and is set in the last remaining city on Earth after human attempts to colonise the solar system failed. Alien monsters are converging on planet Earth, while the player is tasked with defending the city as well as finding the source of the aliens and eventually eliminating them. More details on Destiny are expected to be announced at E3 2013, ahead of the release of the first game in the series next fall.


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Macronix Develops Self-Healing NAND Flash

Posted: December 2, 2012 @ time: 03:25PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Researchers at Taiwanese company Macronix have proposed a solution that will allow NAND flash to bypass the degradation that results from programming and erasing the memory thousands of times. The team had previously found that NAND flash could be returned to a "good" state but it would require "heating for hours at around 250°C" The new technique would achieve similar results by heating groups of memory cells to 800°C for a brief period using onboard heaters. The results of their research are being presented at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting in San Francisco, California from December 10-12. If this technique can be refined and placed into commercial solid state drives, it would have a tremendous impact on the reliability and lifespan of these storage devices.


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Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: December 3, 2012 @ time: 05:06AM
Author: Nemo

Today's roundup includes a review of the Corsair Hydro Series H80i and H100i liquid CPU coolers that represent an upgrade over the original Corsair Hydro Series H80 and Hydro Series H100 cooling units. ASUS' dual-band RT-N56U "Black Diamond" wireless N router offers 4 GB LAN ports and USB connectivity in a sleek enclosure. You can check out the review below to see if its performance matches its style.

Cooling
Corsair Hydro Series H80i and H100i Liquid CPU Coolers @ Madshrimps

Networking
ASUS RT-N56U "Black Diamond" Wireless Router @ PC Perspective

Miscellany
Stop the Hoarding @ Computer Ed
ThinkComputers & TT eSPORTS Facebook Giveaway @ ThinkComputers


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Aftershock's Massive Titan CrossFire Edition Laptop Offers Dual 7970M Setup

Posted: December 3, 2012 @ time: 06:03AM
Author: edwardquilo

Singapore-based Aftershock PC has been churning out some very capable customized mobile gaming machines since last year, and its latest Titan CrossFire edition notebook ups the ante with its optional dual AMD Radeon 7970M GPUs. For those favoring the green camp, Aftershock can also outfit your custom Titan with either a 2X GeForce 670M GTX 2GB GDDR5 SLI or 2X GeForce 680M GTX 4GB GDDR5 SLI. At its most basic, the Titan ships with an Intel Core i5-3210M 2.5GHz CPU, a 17.3-inch FHD Matte Display, but high rollers can easily upgrade to a Core i7-3820QM 2.7GHz (3.7GHz w/Turbo Boost), up to 32GB of DDR3 Memory, 1x mSATA SSD and 2x Detachable 2.5-inch 9.5mm (H) SATA HDD for storage and 17.3-inch FHD Glossy Display with 90% NTSC color gamut.

A mobile CrossFire solution also poses possible heat issues, but Aftershock seems to have remedied this with three vents on the chassis including fans that reportedly make the laptop only slightly warm even on intense gaming sessions. With a starting price of SGD 2,700, not everyone can afford this portable monolith, but for those willing to cough up the cash the Titan looks all set to crunch some respectable framerates thanks to its dual-GPU configuration. 


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Where do Cellphone Bans Work?

Posted: December 3, 2012 @ time: 07:23AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

It is not uncommon to be told many times by many people when you are younger that you should never drive and use your cellphone at the same time. The reason is because any distraction, especially when your eyes leave the road for the screen, increases your risk of getting in an accident. But will banning cellphones when driving really help? According to researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, it may depend on where you are.

The researchers looked at accident reports across seven years for New York state and Pennsylvania, which have similar weather and counties with various sizes and densities. Also Pennsylvania does not have a cellphone ban while New York does. The results of the analysis showed that in urban counties, after an initial increase in accidents, the number dropped significantly, which is what proponents of the bans want to see. In very rural areas though, the trend was for accidents to increase in the presence of the ban.

The researchers are not sure why there would be an increase as a result of the ban. Potentially it could be due to unknown factors or is just an anomaly in the data. Until the exact reason can be determined though, the research appears to suggest that cellphone bans should be considered on a county-by-county basis, instead of as a single, sweeping law.


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Crysis 3's High Performance System Specs Promises to Melt Your PCs

Posted: December 3, 2012 @ time: 08:15AM
Author: edwardquilo

When Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli boldly proclaimed to "melt down PCs" with Crysis 3, a few enthusiasts were skeptical while others remained optimistic. As most people can attest, the first game did push the boundaries of graphics back in 2007, but the visuals took a backseat with Crysis 2 catering to a multiplatform crowd. Now that we finally have the Crysis 3 system requirements for inspection, anything less than a 1GB DirectX 11 capable graphics card (NVIDIA GTS 450 or AMD Radeon HD5770) may require you to finally bite the upgrade bullet to enjoy buttery smooth gameplay, although you may have to be content with the lowest graphics settings. Moving up to either an NVIDIA GTX 560 or AMD Radeon HD5870-based rig will help ramp up the graphics somewhat, but to truly appreciate Crysis 3's bleeding edge visuals you'll be needing the big guns, namely NVIDIA's GTX 680 or AMD's Radeon HD7970. Then again, even with a mighty Core i7-2600+NVIDIA GTX 680 combo, there might just be a chance that an occasional visual hiccup could occur. With that in mind, is your rig ready for Crysis 3?

Minimum System Requirements:

• Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8

• DirectX 11 graphics card with 1GB Video RAM (NVIDIA GTS 450 or AMD Radeon HD5770)

• Dual core CPU (Intel Core2 Duo 2.4 Ghz E6600 or AMD Athlon64 X2 2.7 Ghz 5200+) and 2GB Memory (3GB on Vista)

Recommended System Requirements:

• DirectX 11 graphics card with 1GB Video RAM (NVIDIA GTX 560 or AMD Radeon HD5870)

• Intel Core i3-530 or AMD Phenom II X2 565 and 4GB Memory

High Performance System Requirements:

• High-end DirectX 11 graphics card (NVIDIA GTX 680 or AMD Radeon HD7970)

• Intel Core i7-2600k or AMD Bulldozer FX4150 and 8GB Memory


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Precise Pressure to Improve Solar Cells

Posted: December 3, 2012 @ time: 09:00AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

One of the obstacles for solar power is that materials often only respond to certain frequencies of light, and not more of the wide spectrum shining on them. This selectivity is related to the band gap, the property which makes a semiconductor a semiconductor. Now researchers at MIT have found a way to manipulate the band gap in order to broaden the spectrum a semiconductor can absorb.

The band gap is the gap between the conducting and non-conducting electron energy levels for an atom. If an electron does not have the energy to cross the gap, it cannot move, and thus cannot be harnessed as an electric current. What the researchers have done though is found a way to induce changes in molybdenum disulfide's (MoS2) band gap by applying force to it. This material can be made into a sheet just one molecule thick and by pressing into it to create a funnel shape, the atomic structure changes enough to tune the band gap. This tuning should make it responsive to a wider range of frequencies than it is currently.

Thus far this research has only been theoretical, but the next step will be to experimentally test it. Earlier this month we saw how again strain on a material can affect its electrical properties, but then it was making graphene a semiconductor. Together these two results definitely show that the field of strain engineering is deserving of further exploration.


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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Dragonborn Arrives on PC and PS3 Early Next Year

Posted: December 3, 2012 @ time: 11:59AM
Author: bp9801

Tomorrow the new DLC for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Dragonborn, arrives on the Xbox 360. It returns players to the island of Solstheim to track down the first Dragonborn, while riding some dragons along the way. There's also new weapons and armor, including some familiar types from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, and a wealth of new monsters to face. So far, the new DLC has only been announced for the 360, but today Bethesda revealed The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Dragonborn arrives on the PC and PS3 early next year. The studio did not announce an exact date for the PC and PS3 versions, just that we'll be getting it in the early part of 2013.

Hopefully the inclusion of the PS3 for Dragonborn means any woes affecting the console and Skyrim DLC is solved (or soon will be), and maybe soon we'll have word on when Dawnguard and Hearthfire arrive for the console. Until then, just keep it tuned for any new information, especially since Bethesda is teasing more Skyrim news is on the way next year.


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New Manufacturing Method for Vaccines

Posted: December 3, 2012 @ time: 12:03PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Be sure to wash your hands more often now as flu season has started. Also cover when coughing or sneezing. Influenza is a relatively common virus, demonstrated by there being a 'flu season,' but can still be quite dangerous if a patient is not careful. This is why vaccines are developed and distributed to those most at risk of catching the virus and taking ill. Making the vaccines though is not an easy task and can require months, but German researchers may have found a way to speed up the process.

Vaccines work by exposing the body to some characteristic part of the virus. In the case of influenza, it is specific proteins located on the surface of the virus (and not the virus itself; just the proteins). To create the proteins for vaccines, influenza strains are grown in eggs or with cell cultures, before being destroyed to harvest just the proteins, but this is a complex process. The researchers decided to remove the virus from the equation and instead work with a piece of messenger RNA (mRNA) that encodes for just the proteins in question. By injecting just the mRNA into the skin cells of mice, the researchers were able to get the cells to generate the proteins, which then trained the immune system to attack the whole virus, when later exposed.

Previous research has been done that used DNA instead of RNA, but was unsuccessful in humans. Though not tested in humans yet, this research is promising as it works in multiple other species.


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PengPod Tablet Company Meets Target on Indiegogo

Posted: December 3, 2012 @ time: 02:49PM
Author: EuroFight

PengPod is a new startup funded from its crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, and plans to create a number of Linux-based tablets and stick-based mini-PCs. The tablets offered will be available in 7- and 10-inch variants and will be based on the Allwinner A10 SOC, boasting a 1.2GHz ARM Cortex A8 core, HD video processing, as well as 3D rendering capabilities. The devices will also support HDMI output, and the 7-inch tablet will be provided to users that pledged $99 or more.

The larger 10-inch variant of the tablet will also feature WiFi, a front-facing camera as well as dual-boot capabilities with Android and Linux will be given to those who have made a pledge of $185 or more. The value of the PengPod tablets will give them a great advantage over its competitors and may have the potential to completely overturn the tablet market, but we'll have to wait for the PengPod 1000's release in January next year to see it's impact. Preorders of the tablets can be made through the firm's official website.


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Sapphire Brings Vapor-X Cooling Technology to Processors

Posted: December 3, 2012 @ time: 03:34PM
Author: EuroFight

Graphics card manufacturer Sapphire has recently released its first CPU cooler, based on its existing Vapor-X technology that places a liquid-filled chamber "in direct contact with the CPU surface" enabling heat to be transferred more effectively. The cooler uses four 7mm heatpipes combined with aluminum cooling fins to dissipate the heat effectively. Two 120mm fans, similar to those used in the Sapphire Dual-X series of graphics cards, help maintain airflow around the heatsink to ensure optimum heat dissipation.

The cooler is suitable for CPUs with a TDP of up to 200W, and supports a wide range of sockets most notably Intel LGA755, 1155/6 and 2011, and AMD AM2/+ AM3/+ as well as APU sockets FM1 and FM2. The fans are powered by a single 4-pin splitter that connects to the fans' individual power cables to keep things cool and quiet. The design also incorporates blue LEDs for those looking for their CPU cooler to keep the chip cool while remaining looking cool itself. The cooler is available now from $69.


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HighPoint Announces New RAID Controller

Posted: December 3, 2012 @ time: 05:43PM
Author: CheeseMan42

HighPoint has announced the second generation of SATA 6Gb/s storage controllers, the RocketRAID 600L series. The 600L series of HBA's feature PCIe host controllers, port multiplier support, and a RAID Management Suite. Each 600L series HBA has four ports that support internal, external, and combination connection options and also support point-to-point connections to port multiplier based devices. The RAID Management Suite allows for quick and easy configuration of several different RAID and JBOD arrays. A web based interface is available for all major operating systems and a command line interface is also available for Linux and FreeBSD. PC and Mac platforms are officially supported and device drivers are available for Linux and FreeBSD. The Rocket 640L and 644L are available in direct connectivity options at a price of $69 and the RocketRAID 640L, 642L and 644L support RAID and port multipliers and cost $99.


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New Contender in the Lighting Industry

Posted: December 3, 2012 @ time: 06:02PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

The electric light bulb is easily one of the, if not the most important piece of technology ever developed. It enables people to continue working into the night or a dark environment without hazardous lamps. Since the technology was first developed, it has been reinvented multiple times to give us a variety of lighting solutions, from the traditional incandescent to the new fluorescent and still newer LED. Now researchers at Wake Forest University have developed yet another lighting technology based on Field-Induced Polymer ELectroluminescence (FIPEL).

The light itself is made of a polymer matrix consisting of three layers of a white-emitting plastic and some nanomaterials mixed in. This combination enables it to produce white light similar to that we receive from the Sun, as opposed to the slightly yellow light of fluorescents and slightly blue of LEDs. In terms of efficiency, this technology reaches to that of LEDs; more than twice as efficient as compact fluorescent lights. Being made out of plastic, this material can be produce into a multitude of shapes including those needed for light a house or some specialty purpose.

Currently the researchers are working with a manufacturer to bring these to market as soon as next year. When that happens the product will not only lighten up your life, but also do so more safely, as the technology does not use hazardous materials, like those in fluorescent bulbs.


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New 3DMark in Development, Teaser Trailer Available

Posted: December 4, 2012 @ time: 05:13AM
Author: CheeseMan42

Futuremark is nearing the end of development for the newest version of 3DMark, the go-to graphics benchmark, and the company has released a trailer for its newest test, Fire Strike. Fire Strike is a DirectX 11 benchmark designed to bring your hardware to its knees, featuring advanced rendering techniques that the company believes "are likely to become commonplace in PC games in two to three years time." You can view the trailer below, and it can be watched at the natively rendered resolution of 2560x1440 by selecting "original resolution" from the quality settings drop down on YouTube. Full details on Fire Strike and the other two new tests can be found on the 3DMark website.


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AMD Updates Opteron Processor Line

Posted: December 4, 2012 @ time: 05:29AM
Author: CheeseMan42

The AMD Opteron line of processors helped me to get my start in overclocking with a pair of chips that clocked exceptionally well. It has been a long time since I broke 3GHz with my Opteron 148 and 170, and AMD has just announced an update to the Opteron line of processors today. The Opteron 4300 and 3300 are low-power units that are targeted at "cloud servers that process Web transactions." The new Opterons will be featured in the SeaMicro servers from AMD, upgrading from the current 4200 and 3200 series. The 4300 series has six different options ranging in price from $191 to $501, delivering speed from 2.2GHz to 3.1GHz, and drawing just 35 to 65 watts. The 3300 series has three CPUs ranging in price from $174 to $229, clock speeds between 1.9GHz and 2.6GHz, and drawing power between 25 and 65 watts.


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday Edition

Posted: December 4, 2012 @ time: 06:11AM
Author: Nemo

We have certainly seen quite a few Z77 chipset motherboard reviews in the roundup the past couple of months so there shouldn't be a lack of choices for any new builds you may be planning. One segment that we haven't seen well represented is the small form factor and today we have a review on a mini-ITX Z77 board from ECS. Speaking of small form factor, we also have a review on the Giada i35G mini PC based on the Intel Atom D2500 processor, suited for light general-purpose computing and for use as a media player. Neoseeker has a review of the BitFenix Hydra Pro Fan/LED Controller and we have reviews on the new H60 and H55 liquid coolers from Corsair and more, so be sure to follow the links below for all of the articles in today's roundup.

Cooling
The NEW Corsair H60 and H55 CPU Liquid Coolers @ [H]ardOCP
BitFenix Hydra Pro Fan/LED Controller @ Neoseeker

Memory
Corsair Dominator Platinum 2800 MHz @ Bjorn3D

Motherboards
EVGA Z77 Stinger mini-ITX Motherboard @ PC Perspective

Prebuilts
Giada i35G Mini PC @ ThinkComputers

Storage/Hard Drives
Silicon Power Diamond Series D03 USB 3.0 Portable HDD @ Madshrimps

Miscellaneous
Cutting the Cord Part 1: The Assessment @ PC Perspective


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Presumed Radeon 8000 Sea Islands Specs Emerge

Posted: December 4, 2012 @ time: 08:09AM
Author: edwardquilo

AMD's upcoming Radeon HD 8000 "Sea Islands" cards will reportedly be packing in more transistors making it physically larger than previous-gen "Tahiti" GPUs, and will be produced using a 28nm manufacturing process. The new GPUs will feature an updated Graphics Core Next architecture, with the 8970 bolstered by an increase of 5.1 billion transistors and 2,560 stream processors, and the 8950 speculated to have lesser stream processors at 2,304. Both cards will be running at GPU speeds of 1,050 MHz, while the memory will be clocked at 6,000 MHz and 5,500 MHz, respectively. The duo will also be sharing the same 384-bit memory bus with 3GB of GDDR5 memory. A beefier HD 8990 will have two underclocked 8970s combined with 6GB RAM. On the 8800 side, its GPUs are said to have a 3.4 billion transistor count, 256-bit bus width, and stream processors of 1,792 for the 8870 and 1,536 on the 8850. Lastly, the 8770 will have 192-bit memory bus and 2.1 billion transistors, an improvement over the HD 7700 which it replaces. 

As the information originates from an unconfirmed source, for the meantime it is best to treat these details with a pinch of salt, although the specs do appear somewhat solid, if only on paper. 


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Voyager 1 Spacecraft in Unexpected Region of Space

Posted: December 4, 2012 @ time: 08:46AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

In 1977, NASA launched the Voyager spacecraft which were destined to leave the Solar System and give man its first glimpse of an interstellar environment. Despite how many years have passed though, neither craft have yet exited the heliosphere, though Voyager 1 may be close. Right now though, it is in a region of space researchers had not anticipated, as reported by NASA.

The heliosphere is a giant bubble of charged particles the Sun blows around the entire Solar System, and its outermost layer, the heliosheath, is considered the boundary of interstellar space. Once one crosses into interstellar space, it is expected that the magnetic field lines will suddenly change direction, as the Sun will no longer be the dominate source. Thus far this has not happened according to Voyager 1's instruments, though the intensity of the magnetic field has been increasing while the speed of charged particles has dropped to zero. Basically while the effects of the Sun are definitely appearing to disappear, the 'signpost' indicating we have left the Solar System, is still ahead of us, which is not what anyone expected.

The researchers who monitor the data from Voyager 1 believe it may just be a matter of months or a couple years before it has finally escaped the Sun's influence. Until the field lines start shifting though, they are not going to celebrate as it was the field lines which had previously pinpointed when the spacecraft passed another milestone in the heliosphere; the termination shock where the solar wind abruptly slows.


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Facebook Gets Initial Approval of 'Sponsored Stories' Lawsuit Settlement

Posted: December 4, 2012 @ time: 12:17PM
Author: EuroFight

U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg has given Facebook preliminary approval of a settlement to a lawsuit initially filed in May this year with regards to Facebook's 'Sponsored Stories'. The settlement would involve the firm awarding each user who objected to being part of the social network's 'Sponsored Stories' advertisements $10 in compensation. The settlement would also involve Facebook giving users the opportunity to opt out of the program if they wish.

Facebook has since removed 'Sponsored Stories' advertisements for users in the U.S., but the class-action lawsuit currently held against Facebook still applies. Facebook first began displaying friends' 'Likes' alongside advertisements in the sidebar on the right of the page, but then integrated them into the news feed. This was deemed a breach of privacy and prompted the class-action lawsuit to be filed. Facebook issued a short statement on the proceedings of the settlement stating that it was pleased with the approval. Despite this, there will likely be a long wait before the proceedings draw to a close and the settlement is finalized.


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Teaching Robots to Deceive

Posted: December 4, 2012 @ time: 01:03PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Among the short stories within I, Robot by Isaac Asimov is Little Lost Robot. In this story, a robot lies to the humans in order to protect itself from destruction, and even goes so far as to teach other robots so it can more easily blend in and deceive the humans. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are now teaching robots similar deception tactics, to protect them and other resources from destruction.

Both methods of deception being taught are based on animal behaviors; specifically squirrels and a species of bird. The bird, when encountering a predator, will seek out another group of birds and pretend to be a part of it, while taunting the predator. Due to the large group, the predator will decide not to attack and leave. When modeled, the researchers found this to be the best strategy the group is large enough to cause the predator to leave. A squirrel however deceives other squirrels in a different manner to protect its cache of nuts. Normally it will patrol these caches, but when there is another squirrel which may steal the nuts, it will move to other areas without any hidden nuts, to pull the other squirrel away from the nuts.

These behaviors are likely going to be of the most benefit to military operations as a means to protect valuable assets. However, as the researchers will immediately point out, the idea of teaching robots to deceive humans prompts many ethical questions, and hopefully there will be further discussion to decide how such teaching may be applied.


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So Far, Windows 8 Resembles Vista in Terms of Usage Uptake

Posted: December 4, 2012 @ time: 01:04PM
Author: bp9801

Windows 8 has been available for over a month now, which is usually a good time for some companies to begin measuring how its sales are doing compared to past versions. The news for Windows 8, however, is not that great, as Net Applications puts 1.2% of Windows PCs as running Windows 8 at the end of its first full month. That number resembles Windows Vista more than it does Windows 7, as Vista was only on 1% of all Windows PCs after its first full month. Windows 8 merely doubled its usage share from the end of October to the end of November, while Vista increased it five times between the end of January, 2007, and the end of February, 2007.

One possible cause has to do with the economy, as five years ago it was a little easier to afford a brand new operating system. There were also far fewer choices to get connected back when Vista launched, as smartphones were approaching final design stages and tablets didn't quite resemble the sleek options of today. Those are only possibilities, and the lack of moving to Windows 8 could be something as simple as more people are happier with Windows 7 than they were with Vista. If you're wondering how Windows 7 fared, well, it had 4.3% at the end of its first full month, so Microsoft's new OS is well behind that figure.


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Examining Heat Flow at the Nanoscale

Posted: December 4, 2012 @ time: 01:05PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Just as in many other disciplines, examining assumptions can yield interesting and important results. Such was the case with the recent work of researchers at MIT, Boston University, Boston College, and the California Institute of Technology. The assumption they targeted concerned how heat moves through a superlattice made of layers the thickness of a strand of DNA.

The quantum of heat is a quasi-particle representing a unit of vibrational energy called the phonon. Like other quanta, it exists with both wave and particle properties, but depending on the situation may favor one form other another. The assumption is that when the interface between two materials is rough enough, the scattering of the phonons would cause them to act as particles and not waves, but when actually tested, the results were not so simple. For high frequency phonons, the scattering was enough to make them act as particles, but lower frequency phonons acted like waves.

By controlling the roughness of the interface between the layers of material in a superlattice, it should be possible to also control the heat flow. Such manipulation would be very useful for thermoelectrics, which require a heat differential and computer chips, which want to stay cool.


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New GeForce 310.70 Drivers Arrive with Improvements Across the Board

Posted: December 4, 2012 @ time: 02:23PM
Author: bp9801

NVIDIA has released its latest graphics drivers that is sure to help performance in all the latest games. The new GeForce 310.70 drivers are WHQL certified and offer some improvements over the latest beta drivers. How much improvement, you ask? Well, some games see as much as a 37% increase in performance, which is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Ubisoft's brand new Far Cry 3 is the beneficiary of the 37% improvement, with a 26% gain for Black Ops II, 18% for The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, 17% for Assassin's Creed III, and 12% for Battlefield 3. NVIDIA has also added TXAA support to Black Ops II and Assassin's Creed III, made Fullscene Sparse Grid Supersampling Anti-Aliasing easier to use, fixed problems like shadow flickering in AC3, and a collection of new SLI and 3D Vision profiles.

You can read the full details on the new GeForce 310.70 drivers at the source and grab the correct version for your system here.


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Depression and Anxiety Linked to Using Multiple Media Forms

Posted: December 4, 2012 @ time: 07:12PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

When I write these news items I typically have my source open on one half of my screen, the editor I use to write my item on the other half and some music playing in the background. Thankfully I do not actively listen to the music but instead use it for noise because according to researchers at Michigan State University, multiple media use is linked to depression and anxiety in young people. The nature of this link is not yet known though, so they cannot comment if the multitasking causes the depression or anxiety, or if people with depression or anxiety are drawn to multitasking.

To perform the experiment the researchers asked 319 people about their media consumption and also gave them a mental health survey. The consumption survey inquired about how often the subjects used multiple forms of primary media, such as television, music, cell phones, computers, video games, and more, during a week. The mental health survey uses well-established measures for assessing the subjects' mental states, but is not unto-itself a means to clinically diagnose them with any illness.

The next step in this research is of course to determine causation. If multitasking with different kinds of media does indeed cause depression or anxiety, then means to alleviate the problem will have to be developed. If instead those with depressive and anxious tendencies are drawn to multitasking, a new approach to treating the illnesses may be possible, or at least a new warning sign has been discovered.


Complete Story


Hardware Roundup: Wednesday Edition

Posted: December 5, 2012 @ time: 06:02AM
Author: Nemo

So, what do we have in store for you today? First up, we have a video card review that examines the GTX 680 and Radeon HD 7970 in multi-display setups. We also have a separate review on the ASUS Matrix Radeon HD 7970 3GB overclocked card.  There is an article on the Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR3-1866 16GB memory kit and we also have reviews on a SilverStone card reader as well as an Acer Windows 8 ultrabook. Don't forget to check out the Far Cry 3 gaming performance piece before you go.

Gadgets
Silverstone FP37 SDXC USB 3.0 Card Reader @ Benchmark Reviews

Gaming
Far Cry 3 Performance Test: Graphics & CPU @ TechSpot

Memory
Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR3-1866 16GB Memory Kit @ ThinkComputers

Notebooks/Tablets
Acer Aspire S7 Windows 8 Ultrabook @ XSReviews

Video
GTX 680 vs. Radeon HD 7970 - Multi-Display Showdown @ [H]ardOCP
ASUS Matrix Radeon HD 7970 3GB Overclocked Graphics Card @ PC Perspective


Complete Story


Akasa Preps Low-Profile 59mm Tall CPU Cooler, the Nero LX

Posted: December 5, 2012 @ time: 06:32AM
Author: edwardquilo

The Taiwanese cooling veterans at Akasa are readying the newest addition to its portfolio of thermal solutions, the low-profile Nero LX. This relatively diminutive CPU cooler has a footprint of 120 x 120 x 59mm (W x D x H), making it a viable option for HTPCs or small cases with cramped innards. Built with four direct contact heatpipes, Akasa is targeting the miniscule cooler for high performance heat dissipation, with its svelte 12cm fan capable of low noise output of around 11.50 - 31.50 dB(A). Fan speed varies between 600 - 1900 RPM. The cooler is backwards compatible with Intel's LGA775 and AMD's Socket AM2, AM2+, while offering support for LGA1366, LGA1156, LGA1155, AM3+, AM3, along with Socket FM1. Akasa is also bundling a high performance thermal compound in the package, although no word yet on pricing nor availability. 


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Nanobubbles for Medicine

Posted: December 5, 2012 @ time: 07:50AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Bubbles were a lot of fun to play with when I was younger, and though the years have passed, I still encounter many children who also find them fun to play with. Bubbles have a serious side to them though and thanks to the work of Rice University researchers, they may soon be saving lives from diseases including cancer. In this case though, it is not large soap bubbles, but tiny nanobubbles that can affect cells.

These nanobubbles are created by heating up plasmonic nanoparticles with lasers. Depending on the design of the nanoparticle, a different result can be had. A solid nanoparticle makes very small bubbles that can pierce a cell membrane, allowing chemicals to flow inside. Hollow nanoparticles however create much larger bubbles that will actually explode a cell. When the researchers tested this they did so in a single sample, with the nanoparticles contained in separate model cancer cells, so only one kind of particle was within a single cell.

This discovery should have some interesting effects on modern medicine and gene therapy, which can require cells be processed outside of the body, as it offers high efficiency while still being selective and fast. The researchers currently do have plans for building a prototype of this technology and testing it with human cells in the near future.


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LaCie Updates D2 to Feature USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt

Posted: December 5, 2012 @ time: 11:12AM
Author: EuroFight

Yesterday, hard drive manufacturer LaCie released its updated version of the LaCie D2 external hard drive. The update means the drive now supports USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt connectivity, enabling transfer speeds of up to 180MB/s. The improved transfer speeds makes the LaCie D2 two times faster than FireWire connectivity and almost four times faster than the previous USB standard, USB 2.0. The hard drive is available in 3TB and 4TB variants, with the 3TB version retailing for $299, and the larger 4TB drive for $399.

The drive inside is a 7200RPM hard disk with 32MB cache with support for 256-bit software encryption, and is also compatible with Kensington Lock. The drive is passively cooled via the aluminium enclosure and heat sink combination. The drive also comes bundled with the LaCie Desktop Manager, which manages encryption, shortcut configuration, and email alerts through one piece of software.


Complete Story


Stress Linked to Facebook Friends

Posted: December 5, 2012 @ time: 11:27AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

I can remember years ago when Facebook was just meant for schools and you needed an invite to join. That party is over now as Facebook is open to just about everyone, and just about everyone is on the site. However, having such a large community is not necessarily a good thing as researchers at the University of Edinburgh have found the more friends you have, the higher your stress levels.

For this research, some 300 Facebook users were surveyed, with an average age of 21. From that survey the researchers found what the most common social circles are for friends to be from, which unsurprisingly is led by offline friends and family. Also on the list though are colleagues and extended family, which it appears the higher stress levels are coming from. Due to the large number of older family members and bosses also on the site, Facebook users are getting stressed out when they post something contrary to the image they normally try to present to these people offline. Considering more than half of employers have claimed to not hire people based on their Facebook postings, that stress may be warranted.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the report also discovered that two thirds of the Facebook users they surveyed do not know how to use the listing privacy settings, which will prevent certain friends from viewing your posts.


Complete Story


Qualcomm Reveals Two New Snapdragon S4 Chipsets

Posted: December 5, 2012 @ time: 12:55PM
Author: EuroFight

Mobile chip manufacturer Qualcomm has added two new chipsets to its line of Snapdragon S4 SoCs. Both chipsets feature a quad-core processor and include an Adreno graphics processing unit, allowing host devices to record and play back 1080p videos and feature up to 13MP cameras. Qualcomm also claims that the new chipsets will feature improved battery life, which is often a key shortfall in many of today's mobile processors.

Recently, more and more vendors have been opting for processors in Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 series on the basis of their outstanding performance and battery life when compared to many other mobile SoCs. Over 100 devices featuring Qualcomm processors have been released to date, including the Windows Phone 8, certain versions of the Samsung Galaxy S3, and many of Nokia's Lumia 8xx and 9xx series of mobile phones. This gives Qualcomm plenty of potential for growth in the near future, so we can hope to see many more chipsets revealed over the next couple of months.


Complete Story


Mimicking Cork to Build 3D Nanostructures of Graphene

Posted: December 5, 2012 @ time: 01:34PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

That amazing two dimensional material, graphene, has a myriad of use in its 2D form, but researchers want to take it to the third dimension to unlock even more of its potential. The trouble is that making 3D structures out of graphene can result in a brittle and poor performing monolith. Researchers at Monash University though have found a way to make a superior structure by mimicking cork.

Cork is a very useful material and humans have been taking advantage of its strength and elasticity for thousands of years. Now the honeycomb cell structure and tightly packed fibers that give cork its physical properties are being reproduced with graphene to replicate similar properties. Using freeze casting the researchers were able to form graphene into the appropriate structure and thus made a material lighter than air that can still support 50,000 times its own weight. Importantly though, this structure does not compromise the conductivity of the graphene.

Potentially this form of graphene could find use in the aerospace industry and tissue engineering. It likely will be used elsewhere too as more researchers make it and imagining what they can do with it.


Complete Story


Prolimatech Launches Ultra Sleek Vortex 14 Fan

Posted: December 5, 2012 @ time: 04:07PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Prolimatech has launched a new case fan with a low profile form factor, the Ultra Sleek Vortex 14 Fan. The lower profile of this fan is designed to help it fit into cases that are tight on space or to help fit a powerful fan on a tower heatsink without impeding the placement of RAM. The Ultra Sleek Vortex 14 is a 140mm fan, but is only 15mm thick rather than the standard 25mm and it also has the mounting holes of a 120mm fan. The inclusion of pulse width modulation helps to keep the performance up while keeping the noise down.


Complete Story


Mushkin Adds to Atlas Series of Solid State Drives

Posted: December 5, 2012 @ time: 04:21PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Mushkin is adding a 480GB SSD to the Atlas series, a line of SSDs in the mSATA form factor. The high capacity drive represents the most storage in the mSATA form factor to date and should be great news for anyone with an Ultrabook that needs more storage. The new SSD is powered by a SandForce SF-2281 SSD processor and has a SATA 6Gb/s connector. The drive also features S.M.A.R.T. support and TRIM support where enabled by operating system drivers. The 480GB Atlas will be available in January at an MSRP of $499.99.


Complete Story


4D Transistors to Continue Speed Gains

Posted: December 5, 2012 @ time: 08:07PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Silicon, you have served us well, but soon your time will end, as we push through barriers you simply cannot overcome. Exactly what will replace you is still being determined, but researchers at Purdue University have designed a new kind of transistor made from indium-gallium-arsenide that is at least intriguing, if not amazing.

To reach the impressively small transistors we have now at 22 nm, the designs have gone vertical and are no longer the traditional 2D planes. This new design is also vertical, with three tiny nanowires stacked on top of each other, but goes a step further. Dubbed "4D" transistors by one of the researchers, this design actually shows improved performance when the transistors are built directly on top of each other.

This ability to stack transistors will obviously lead to faster processors as more transistors will be able to fit in the same area, but that is not the only way to fit more of these a die. The gate size for this design is just 20 nm, which may not be much smaller than the 22 nm of modern processors, but still is smaller.


Complete Story


Hardware Roundup: Thursday Edition

Posted: December 6, 2012 @ time: 05:36AM
Author: Nemo

We have another Far Cry 3 review that examines performance using a GeForce GTX 680 and Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition video card in both single monitor and SLI/CrossFireX configurations. Next up is a motherboard review and this time it's not another Z77 board, but rather an AMD FM2 board from Gigabyte. The last bit of hardware is the Patriot Gauntlet wireless drive, but we also have the second installment in the Cutting the Cord series as well.

Gaming
Far Cry 3 Video Card Performance Preview @ [H]ardOCP

Motherboards
Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4 AMD FM2 Motherboard @ Benchmark Reviews

Storage/Hard Drives
Patriot Gauntlet Node Wireless Enclosure @ ThinkComputers

Miscellany
Cutting the Cord Part 2: Building your HTPC - The Hardware @ PC Pespective


Complete Story


Intel Capable of Producing Chips in 14nm Tech within 2 Years

Posted: December 6, 2012 @ time: 06:27AM
Author: edwardquilo

It will take Intel around two years to manufacture processors in 18-inch diameter wafers using the 14 nanometer silicon fabrication process, said its chief technology officer Justin Rattner. The CTO elaborates that this will be made possible as development between the technology and machinery that will make it happen steadily inches closer to completion. With that said, Rattner adds that the rate at which Intel pursues these advances will extend Moore's Law by 10 more years. The latter part of 2013 will see Intel starting its 14nm CPU production with batches of the P1272 and P1273 SoCs. Once 14nm becomes more mainstream, Intel will head further on into 10nm, 7nm, and 5nm manufacturing processes, which should begin by 2015.


Complete Story


AMD Will Not be Abandoning Socketed CPUs

Posted: December 6, 2012 @ time: 07:12AM
Author: edwardquilo

Intel has caught a bit of flak amidst rumors that it will ditch offering socketed CPUs after its Haswell lineup to focus on BGA packages which permanently embeds processors on motherboards, and AMD has responded by proclaiming that it will not abandon production of socketed client processors. While Intel has diffused the gossip somewhat, AMD maintains that the DIY PC enthusiast market remains a critical part of the company's offerings.

Here's what AMD's Chris Hook had to say: "AMD has a long history of supporting the DIY and enthusiast desktop market with socketed CPUs & APUs that are compatible with a wide range of motherboard products from our partners." The next two years will bring in the "Kaveri" APU and FX CPU lineup, which will remain as socketed products. He adds that while AMD has a diverse range of BGA-packaged processors that caters to ultrathin notebooks, all-in-one desktops, along with embedded applications and tablets, the company has no current plans to move to BGA only packaging and will continue its support of this critical market segment. "For the desktop market, and the enthusiasts with whom AMD has built its brand, we understand what matters to them and how we can continue to bring better value and a better experience."


Complete Story


Graphene is Translucent, Not Transparent, to a Substrate's Properties

Posted: December 6, 2012 @ time: 07:51AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Graphene is a sheet of carbon just one atom thick with truly extraordinary properties, and some of those come from its two dimensional shape. That shape is also why researchers have been looking at it as a coating in order to craft materials with controlled conductivity and wettability. However researchers at MIT have discovered that depositing graphene on to a substrate does not always give the desired results.

Wettability is the ability of something to get wet with extreme examples being superhydrophilic materials that love getting wet and superhydrophobic materials that repel water. Previous work has shown that if you coat materials with graphene, it is the underlying substrate's wettability that determines the wettability of the entire package, but this effect was not studied at the extremes, until now. The MIT researchers have discovered that graphene is not perfectly transparent to a superhydrophobic or superhydrophilic material's wettability. Instead the researchers describe it as translucent, which is a problem for those hoping to coat electronics with graphene to prevent water damage.

Overall though, this may not be a problem as it demonstrates a more complex interaction between the graphene and substrate occurs. As understanding of this interaction grows it should be possible to take advantage of it for new, more interesting purposes.


Complete Story


NVIDIA's GeForce Experience Enters Closed Beta

Posted: December 6, 2012 @ time: 11:25AM
Author: EuroFight

NVIDIA has today announced the closed beta of the GeForce Experience, a free piece of software designed specifically to help gamers manage the more technical side of computer gaming. The software was announced along with the GTX 690 in April this year. The current closed beta release has the ability to automate the process of updating graphics drivers and detect the system configuration to automatically set in-game graphics settings. These two tasks are often time consuming and tedious when trying to settle down to play a new game, so NVIDIA hopes the release of the GeForce Experience will help alleviate the annoyance of these tasks.

The first function of the software, keeping software drivers up-to-date, has been a major shortfall of most previous graphical software, and it is surprising another company has not tried this before. The process is fairly simple: the software checks on a remote server for any new driver updates and downloads them as required. The second function, automating the task of modifying in-game detail settings, however is a much more complex task. NVIDIA have approached this in a more time consuming manner through having testers play each game at various detail settings and analyzing the results to obtain the ideal settings for a specific configuration. This software is still in the early stages of the closed beta, so it will be a while before we see this software available for download, but when the software is eventually released it should make the technical side of gaming much easier.


Complete Story


A Look at Immersion in Online RPGs

Posted: December 6, 2012 @ time: 12:33PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

For any story medium, whether it be books, movies, or games, achieving immersion is important to the producers as that is when the consumer gets the greatest experience from the story. That is why so technology such as surround sound and 3D video has been developed; too make it so real people think it is. Researchers from the University of Gothenburg though have recently found that for video games, immersion may need more than technological gimmicks to achieve.

Over the course of ten months, the researchers followed World of Warcraft gamers and learned that the belief of actually being in the game world is both vulnerable and short-lived, in part due to the game mechanics. How can a defeated enemy return from the grave for you to kill again? How can players communicate across the world? What the researchers found is that the gamers must rely on their imagination and language skills to explain away these in-game inconsistencies, so players that lack the creativity to develop an explanation are unable to achieve immersion.

This conclusion contradicts the commonly held belief that the fantasy worlds of games are so enticing that gamers are unable to escape them. That may through into doubt future attempts to use online gaming for educational purposes.


Complete Story


Intel Will Not Abandon Socketed CPU Market... Yet

Posted: December 6, 2012 @ time: 12:53PM
Author: EuroFight

A report was recently published that suggested processor manufacturer Intel may move away from LGA-based processors and move towards BGA-based processors for the consumer market. LGA processors have a socket, so the CPU can be removed from the motherboard and replaced or upgraded, whereas BGA processors are soldered directly to the motherboard itself, which would make processors very difficult to upgrade. This sparked an outcry among PC enthusiasts who often choose to upgrade processors instead of changing an entire motherboard. BGA processors do offer many advantages, including reduced power consumption and heat output, as well as a smaller die size.

Initially, Intel did not respond to the report, but rival AMD stated that it had no plans to abandon socketed processors in the near future. More recently, however, Intel has responded by saying that it has no plans to replace socketed processors with BGA packages, which will come as a relief to PC enthusiasts everywhere. The official statement from Intel spokesman Daniel Snyder does state that Intel "cannot comment on specific long-term product roadmap plans".


Complete Story


The Earth at Night by NASA and NOAA

Posted: December 6, 2012 @ time: 03:44PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Scientific organizations like NASA and NOAA use countless instruments to gather data about the world and beyond. Most of that data is something most people would not be able to interpret as anything interesting, but the images produced from that data are almost awe inspiring. The Black Marble is a new series of images of the Earth that show it at night when the most obvious illumination is that produced my man.

The name Black Marble is in reference to the Blue Marble image taken by the crew of Apollo 17, which shows the Earth like a blue glass marble floating in space. Since then numerous images sets have been taken of the Earth and also named the Blue Marble, including the Blue Marble: Next Generation which features complete, true color images of the Earth for every month of the year. Both the Black Marble and BM:NG were made from multiple images that were selected for their clarity and stitched together to form large mosaics, but the Black Marble was taken using the new NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite.

Part of this satellite's mission is to study the Earth at night because it is not well documented, relative to daytime-Earth, and it should do its job well. The satellite can observe the airglow of the night sky, spot light from ships at sea, as well as auroras and other natural light sources such as volcanos.

(Check out the source links for the more, fullsize images.)


Complete Story


PowerColor Launches New HD7850 Based GPU

Posted: December 6, 2012 @ time: 04:11PM
Author: CheeseMan42

PowerColor has announced that it is launching the HD7850 Fling Force Edition [APAC Limited] GPU. The new card features core speed of 910MHz, 2GB of GDDR5 running at 1200MHz, and several output options. It is cooled by "Fling Force" technology, featuring additional fan blades to increase airflow by up to 10% on the 95mm fan. Fan power is increased when the card is under load, and speed and noise are decreased when in 2D mode. Rounding out this card is the inclusion of Gold Power Kit design to provide power efficiency and stability when overclocking.


Complete Story


COUGAR Announces White Editions of Two Cases

Posted: December 6, 2012 @ time: 04:26PM
Author: CheeseMan42

COUGAR has announced that it will be creating white colored editions of two popular cases, the Volant and Solution. The mid-tower cases target both the high-end and affordable markets with the Volant and Solution, respectively. Both cases support ATX and Micro ATX form factor motherboards, a honey-comb and mesh hybrid intake design, and sufficient space for all your needs. There are mount points for three 5.25" drives, one external and six internal 3.5" drives, and one 2.5" drive. There are also mount points for up to eight case fans and a pair of holes on the rear of the case to route water cooling tubes.


Complete Story


Catching the Movement of Atoms

Posted: December 6, 2012 @ time: 05:19PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Photography has been reaching to true extremes this twelve months as the shadows cast by atoms have been imaged and the movement of light pulses has been filmed. Now, thanks to researchers at Elhuyar Fundazioa, we should soon be able to film the movement of individual atoms within molecules. This is accomplished by combining different technologies that already operate at the extreme: free electron lasers and streak cameras.

Observing atoms directly has been accomplished before using ultrafast pulses from X-ray lasers, which is still the case here. The femtosecond pulses strike the atom with enough energy to launch electrons out of orbit, and those photoelectrons are then captured to form a still image. To actually film the movement of the atoms there has to be a means to measure when the photoelectrons were ejected, which is where the streak camera comes in. This type of camera uses a rapidly changing electromagnetic field to force the electrons to take different paths, based on when they enter the camera. The temporal profile of the photoelectrons match that of the original X-ray burst well enough that when all of the information is combined, the researchers can construct when the electrons where hit and where they came from.

The ability to observe the movement of atoms is more important than just being able to create some awesome movies. Chemical reactions and phase changes occur when atoms move, so observing the movement during the process will enable us to better understand it.


Complete Story


According to Lenovo, Industry 'Underestimated' Touchscreen Demand

Posted: December 7, 2012 @ time: 01:40AM
Author: bp9801

The arrival of Windows 8 brought a new change to the familiar world of computers, with Microsoft joining the likes of Google and Apple in the touchscreen spread. Previous attempts by Microsoft to incorporate touch weren't always the smoothest, but Windows 8 changes all of that, even with a fairly slow uptake. Computer manufacturers now have to consider including touchscreens in laptops and even desktops to make use of all the new features of W8, however it seems some supply problems weren't entirely foreseen. Gerry Smith, newly named president of Lenovo's North America region, recently said the industry "underestimated" the demand for touchscreen PCs with the advent of Windows 8. Now, Lenovo is one of the world's largest computer manufacturers, so when an executive says the touchscreen demand was unexpected, it carries some weight.

Smith went on to say that with every "major architectural transition," there is a prediction on where things will go. The touchscreen prediction was far off, so there'll be some evaluation on just how that came to be and what can be done in the future. Good news is the touchscreen supply is back on the upswing, with Smith stating the January to July timeframe should have increased availability. A positive to take away from all of this is missing the estimation for touchscreens is good sign, as it means devices with them were selling well enough to cause a shortage. It shows a huge potential for touchscreens in Smith's eyes, and hopefully the entire industry.

As for Lenovo, well, Smith estimates about half of all its PCs will come equipped with touchscreens in the next few years or so. That number could be echoed across the entire computer industry, but we'll just have to see how it pans out.


Complete Story


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