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News Archives for August 2013

Hardware Roundup: Thursday Edition

Posted: August 1, 2013 @ time: 08:30AM
Author: bp9801

There's a couple of items for your viewing consideration today on two different ends of the spectrum. We have the Gigabyte G1.Sniper 5 motherboard for the Intel Z87 platform, which packs a Killer E2200 NIC, a 16-phase VRM, Sound Blaster Core3D audio, 4-Way SLI/Crossfire X support, and plenty more on this E-ATX board. Our other review is on the ASUS RT-AC66U wireless router that uses the new IEEE 802.11ac spectrum, which isn't quite through the approval process yet, but offers a maximum data rate of 1300MB/s. Both items could fit the bill for your needs, so check out the reviews below for the in-depth look!

Motherboards
Gigabyte G1.Sniper 5 @ Madshrimps

Networking
ASUS RT-AC66U Wireless 802.11ac Wi-Fi Router @ Benchmark Reviews


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Fastest Possible Switching in Magnetite Measured

Posted: August 1, 2013 @ time: 12:17PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Central to the operation of computers is the ability for a material to switch from a conducting to non-conducting state, and back. The faster this switching can happen, the faster a transistor based on this material can operate. Researchers at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have recently determined the fastest possible switching speed of magnetite, a naturally magnetic material.

To make the needed measurements, the researchers used the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser to pump enough energy into the magnetite sample to change its electronic structure and then probe it with a second pulse. The first pulse was from a visible light laser and successfully fragmented the electronic state of the atoms into island, which the second X-ray laser pulse was able to detect. These islands can be conducting or non-conducting, so by controlling their placement, it should be possible to create electrical pathways within the material.

The researchers clocked the switching at only a trillionth of second, or one picosecond, which is thousands of times faster than the materials used in modern transistors. Unfortunately the magnetite sample had to be cooled to -190 ºC, which would be too cold to use in desktops. The researchers are now looking at other materials though that may have comparable switching speeds at room temperature.

Source: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory


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Phanteks Releases Two New Fans

Posted: August 1, 2013 @ time: 01:46PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Phanteks has announced the release of a pair of new fans, the PH-F140XP and PH-F140SP, which is available with or without LEDs. Both fans have similar features, with the XP offering controllable RPM with a range of 600-1200 RPM while the SP is restricted to 1200RPM. The XP offers airflow up to 85.19 CFM while the SP can push 82.1 CFM. Both fans are 140mm in size and top out at 19 dBA of noise.

Source: Press Release


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Micron Closes Acquisition of Elpida Memory

Posted: August 1, 2013 @ time: 01:53PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Micron Technology and Elpida Memory have announced the completion of the acquisition of Elpida by Micron, a process that began in July 2012. Through this acquisition Micron gains 100% of Elpida equity and 89% of outstanding shares in Rexchip Electronics Corporation. Assets included in the acquisition include a 300mm DRAM fabrication plant in Taiwan and an assembly and test facility in Akita, Japan resulting in a 45% increase in manufacturing capacity. Micron CEO Mark Durcan said, "We are pleased to bring together Elpida with Micron to form the industry’s leading pure-play memory company. This combination will result in enhanced R&D and manufacturing scale, significant cost and production synergies and a stronger memory product portfolio to provide solutions to our customers."

Source: Press Release


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Valve Reveals Groups for The International 3

Posted: August 1, 2013 @ time: 02:11PM
Author: CheeseMan42

The third Dota 2 tournament put on by Valve, known as The International, begins tomorrow with the wildcard match and solo championship. The wildcard match will determine the 16th team to make the tournament and will pit Quantic Gaming from the Western qualifier against Rattlesnake from the Eastern qualifier. After determining the final team, the solo mid championship will take place, pitting players voted on by the fans against each other in a one on one matchup and will feature fan favorites like Dendi, s4, and xiao8. The group stages start on Saturday and run through Monday to determine the seeding for the main event which begins on Wednesday. Both groups appear to be equally difficult and the tournament should provide excellent matches and entertainment for fans.

Source: Valve


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NVIDIA SHIELD Officially Arrives with an Impressive Launch Roster of Games

Posted: August 1, 2013 @ time: 07:36PM
Author: bp9801

NVIDIA's SHIELD, the Tegra 4 and Android-powered gaming handheld, has arrived at long last. The device was supposed to arrive back in June, however a last minute issue appeared that caused it to be delayed. Luckily it wasn't delayed too long, as yesterday marked the arrival of NVIDIA's latest creation. Featuring a Tegra 4 processor and a 5", 1280x720 touchscreen built directly onto the controller, the SHIELD runs on the latest Android Jelly Bean OS. Not only does it have access to the Google Play Store, thousands of apps, and Android games, the SHIELD can stream PC games provided you're running a GTX 650 or better video card and the latest version of GeForce Experience. And you're on the same WiFi network as your PC, of course.

Over 65 Android games feature built-in controller support, while another 35 are optimized for Tegra and the SHIELD. Five brand new games just went live as well: Blood Sword: Sword of Ruin, Choplifter HD, Tainted Keep, Chuck's Challenge, and Space Ark. Those last two games are absolutely free, while Blood Sword costs $0.99 and Choplifter HD and Tainted Keep are both $4.99. The full list of supported games can be viewed at the SHIELD website, which includes the likes of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Arma Tactics, Zombie Driver THD, and more.

The NVIDIA SHIELD is priced at $299, and can be purchased at Newegg and NVIDIA.com once it comes back in stock (NVIDIA estimates a two to three week wait). Currently it's only available in the US and Canada, so our international friends will have to wait.

Source: NVIDIA


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Hardware Roundup: Friday Edition

Posted: August 2, 2013 @ time: 08:02AM
Author: bp9801

The first couple days of August are drawing to a close, and before they do we have some reviews for you to check out. Corsair's Carbide Air 540 Cube Case offers an interesting dual chamber design that's designed to better cool the hotter running components, and we have a look at it to see if that holds true. There's also a review on the Cooler Master Storm QuickFire XT keyboard, which is the full-size version of the company's popular QuickFire Rapid line. If you're in the market for a small and efficient computer, perhaps the review on the Gigabyte Brix Mini PC. It's based on Intel's Next Unit of Computing design, which is even smaller than Mini-ITX, and is something you really just have to see to believe. Our last review takes a look at AMD's new Catalyst 13.8 Beta driver, which is designed to eliminate any stuttering for a more fluid Crossfire experience. So far it's limited to a maximum resolution of 2560x1600, but if it does solve the problem then it'd be well worth the download.

Cases
Corsair Carbide Air 540 Cube Case @ Benchmark Reviews

Graphics Drivers
AMD Catalyst 13.8 Beta Frame Pacing CrossFire Driver @ [H]ardOCP

Keyboards/Mice
Cooler Master Storm QuickFire XT Mechnical Keyboard @ LanOC Reviews

Small Form Factor
Brix Mini PC Review: Gigabyte's Take On Small Form Factor Computing @ TechSpot


Complete Story


Self-Integrating Nanowires Grown

Posted: August 2, 2013 @ time: 08:41AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Smaller is better, in the electronics industry right now, as the smaller circuitry can be, the more circuitry you can contain on a single chip. To that end, researchers are working on how to create circuits of nanowires that are just atoms wide, but this small size makes them difficult to work with. Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science though, have found a way to grow nanowires into circuits.

Typically nanowires are grown vertically on a substrate, and are then harvested and placed down horizontally. This process leaves the nanowires in a disordered mess though, making it very hard to form an integrated circuit. The Weizmann researchers have developed a different approach that controls nanowire growth with atom-sized grooves. Catalyst particles that act as seeds for the nanowires are placed in the middle of the grooves, which then define the position, length, and direction the nanowires grow in.

The researchers have already built a logic circuit called an Address Decoder with this method, and they believe this method has great potential. Eventually it could be used to create better LEDs, lasers, and solar cells, amongst other technologies.

Source: Weizmann Institute of Science


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Apple Facing Five-Year Anti-Competitive Ban and Other Penalties for eBook Price Fixing

Posted: August 3, 2013 @ time: 12:39PM
Author: bp9801

Last month the US Department of Justice found Apple guilty of price fixing eBooks, with Apple being the ring leader of the conspiracy. District Judge Denise Cote made the initial ruling, but Apple's punishment was to be determined at a later trial. We're still waiting on that to begin on August 9, however it seems like the Justice Department is making it known what exactly it wishes Apple to be hit with. The Justice Department and 33 US states and territories have proposed a five-year ban preventing Apple from entering into any anti-competitive deals, as well as terminate all business ties with the five publishers it conspired with.

Officials also want Apple to allow Amazon and Barnes & Noble to insert links to their own respective eBookstores so consumers can better compare prices. An outside monitor would also be used to make sure Apple's internal antitrust compliance policies are up to snuff and strong enough to prevent any possible illegal practices. Apple would also be prevented from retaliating against any eBook publisher not willing to bend to its terms.

Apple is holding sway that it did no wrong and is still looking to appeal Judge Cote's ruling last month, and is unhappy with the government's proposed penalty. It won't be long before we hear exactly how everything goes down, so be sure to keep it tuned for any updates.

Source: New York Times and NBC News


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Ozone Gaming Teases New Mousepad

Posted: August 4, 2013 @ time: 11:31AM
Author: CheeseMan42

Ozone Gaming has announced the Meet The Pro mousepad series, created with the help of feedback from professional gaming teams. The pad is made with a microfiber material and has a rubber base to help keep it in place during gaming sessions. A total of three different models will be available, with each sporting the logo of a different pro team. Gamers will be able to choose from the K1ck, MVP, and Giants editions. The Meet The Pro series will be available in September of this year.

Source: Press Release


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Fang Taipan M2 Gaming Laptop Released by CyberPower

Posted: August 4, 2013 @ time: 11:42AM
Author: CheeseMan42

The Fang Taipan M2 is the latest gaming laptop from CyberPower and it boasts a number of customization options. Built on the Intel Core i7 series of processors, this laptop packs all of the power of a desktop system in a portable package. Users will be able to choose from NVIDIA or AMD GPUs with the option of SLI or CrossFire. Up to 32GB of DDR3 memory from the Kingston HyperX and Corsair Vengeance lines can be installed. A 17.3" LED screen displays everything at 1920x1080, allowing users to see all of the details in the game they are playing. Storage options include solid state drives and mechanical drives to give a balance between speed and capacity. The base system starts at an MSRP of $1869.

Source: Press Release


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Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: August 5, 2013 @ time: 08:21AM
Author: bp9801

We're into August already, somehow, and we have several items for your viewing pleasure today. There's a review on the XFX Radeon HD 7950 Double-Dissipation Black Edition video card, with its custom cooler and factory overclock to get you going right out of the box. We also have a look at the Silicon Power Blaze B20 USB 3.0 flash drive, which offers fast speeds and a sliding connector so you won't have a cap to lose. There's two smartphone reviews, with the Gigabyte GSmart Maya M1 v2 Quad running Android 4.2, and the Nokia Lumia 925 on Windows Phone 8. For something a little different, and because everyone loves free stuff, there's a chance to win the Tt eSports Level 10 M gaming mouse. It does require Facebook, so just take that into consideration.

Video Cards
XFX Radeon HD 7950 FX-795A-TDFC @ Benchmark Reviews

Storage/Hard Drives
Silicon Power Blaze B20 USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ Madshrimps

Mobile
Gigabyte GSmart Maya M1 v2 Quad @ Madshrimps
Nokia Lumia 925 Review: Windows Phone at its best, but is it enough? @ TechSpot

Miscellany
Win a Tt eSports Level 10 M Gaming Mouse! @ ThinkComputers


Complete Story


4554 CPU Hours Spent Analyzing Cloth Behavior

Posted: August 5, 2013 @ time: 10:16AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Realism is the ultimate goal for any artist working on a computer animation, but for some materials, realism is just unrealistic. One of these materials is cloth as its many interactions with the human body and itself are extremely complicated and no mathematical model exists to describe them. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University however decided to put the cloud to use, building a massive database on how cloth behaves.

To build the database, the researchers created advanced algorithms for modeling individual frames of cloth behavior on a moving body. Sometimes a transition error would occur, causing the cloth to jump in a physically impossible way. When that happens though, the algorithms would explore the error more, until it was removed and the cloth behaved properly.

When completed, the database of pre-rendered frames was 33 GB in size, making it a bit much for gaming computers. However, by applying conventional compression techniques, the database could be reduced to just tens of megabytes, without sacrificing much in accuracy, making it ideal for future video games. Follow this link to find a video about the research: Near-exhaustive Precomputation of Secondary Cloth Effects.

Source: Carnegie Mellon University


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Enthoo Primo is the Latest Case From Phanteks

Posted: August 5, 2013 @ time: 02:39PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Phanteks set out to create the Enthoo Primo in line with its other products and a focus on strong cooling possibilities. The large case features a windowed side panel and an isolated power supply chamber to prevent the heat from finding its way into the rest of your system. Water cooling support is also built in with locations to install water pumps and reservoirs. The case includes five 140mm fans with room for ten. Five 5.25" drives can be installed along with six 3.5" hard drives and up to 12 solid state drives.

Source: Press Release


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MSI Unveils Thin and Lightweight Gaming Laptop

Posted: August 5, 2013 @ time: 03:02PM
Author: CheeseMan42

The GS70 is the latest laptop offering from MSI and is extremely portable for gaming on the go. Targeted at gamers, this 17" laptop is thin and lightweight, weighing 5.7 pounds at just 1 inch thick. The GS70 doesn't sacrifice power for portability, packing desktop power into its small form factor. Powered by fourth generation Intel i7 processors, a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M GPU, 16GB of DDR3, and a combination of solid state and mechanical drives. The display has a native resolution of 1920x1080 and also has the option to connect to an external display through HDMI with resolutions up to 4K. VP of Sales Andy Tung said, "The GS70 has the capability to crush the most demanding games and the featherlike portability for on-the-go multi-tasking or gaming. We understand the needs of our audience and are committed to delivering solutions that exceed even the highest expectations." The GS70 is now available in two different configurations with a starting price of $1,799.99.

Source: Max Borges Agency


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New Graphene-Based Supercapacitor Created

Posted: August 5, 2013 @ time: 03:20PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Energy storage is a big deal in the modern world, as it is necessary for electronics to be mobile. Often we see batteries used for their high energy densities, but they have limited lifespans and can take a long time to charge. Supercapacitors are the reverse though, with almost unlimited lifespans and short recharging times, but low energy densities. Researchers at Monash University however have developed a new supercapacitor with energy densities comparable to lead-acid batteries.

All capacitors work by gathering opposite charges on separated electrodes, so an electric field forms between them, storing energy. Supercapacitors simply have the highest capacitance of all capacitors, and most are made of porous carbon with a liquid electrolyte to carry the charges. The researchers decided to build a new, compact electrode out of graphene, an atom-thick sheet of carbon with extraordinary electrical properties, by placing the liquid electrolyte in-between its layers, with sub-nanometer precision. This resulted in an energy density of roughly 60 Watt-hours per liter, compared to the more typical five or eight Watt-hours per liter of other supercapacitors.

Of course such a powerful supercapacitor would be of little use if it could not be mass-produced, and fortunately that should not be the case with this material. Manufacturing the electrode relied on a process similar to one used in paper making, so the transition from the laboratory to industry may not take too long.

Source: Monash University


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Exclusive Unveil - The Arcane Knights Kickstarter Campaign Launches

Posted: August 5, 2013 @ time: 04:22PM
Author: ClayMeow

We have written about Kickstarter campaigns in the past, but usually for campaigns from well-established studios and/or after a campaign has raised millions. This time is a little different. This time, the Kickstarter campaign is going live as this article goes live. What makes The Arcane Knights so special? The Arcane Knights is headed by fellow OCC staff member hornybluecow (Isaiah).

The Arcane Knights started as an experiment in game design and collaboration. The premise was straight forward: Let's Create a Game. Let's Create a Game (LCAG) was created by Isaiah "to create a website containing information for game creation." Anyone who wanted to volunteer their time could join the team and contribute. Regardless of skill level, anyone could join and learn as they go. The result of all that collaboration is The Arcane Knights. Unfortunately, unpaid hobbyists can only take the project so far, and that is why Isaiah is turning to Kickstarter to raise funds.

The Arcane Knights is a free-to-play, four-person hack-and-slash game with an isometric perspective. Isaiah says the game merges aspects from various hack-and-slash games over the years, specifically naming Gauntlet Legends, Diablo, and Castle Crashers as influences. Due to the isometric perspective, the gameplay of The Arcane Knights will have more in common with the first two, while the tone of the game will be more in line with that of Castle Crashers – comical, not serious. Indeed, the name of the main antagonist is the Evil Lord Malarkey.

While the project has been successful up to this point as a community-driven, volunteer-based project, many of the current contributors lack the time or ability to bring the full game to fruition. Part of the funds will be used to secure programmers familiar with UDK and Flash. But you may be wondering, if the game is going to be free-to-play, what's in it for you? Well for one, all backers (even those that pledge a mere dollar) will receive beta access, with $5 or more getting you earlier access. If you like physical rewards, you can net yourself a t-shirt or lithograph. Or maybe you want to design an aspect of the game? For a mere $25, 200 people can design their own Easter Egg that only they and the developers will know about. Other tiers allow you to name an NPC animal, write an in-game conversation, invent an enemy, or even name the King.

While LCAG is asking for a mere $25,000, that is merely the tip of the iceberg, used for creating the beta and completing the first level/realm. Stretch goals include adding character trees, side quests, multiplayer, voice acting, and even releasing the game files for public consumption. It's an ambitious project, which is why they need your help.

So go check out the Kickstarter campaign and be sure to tune into OCC for more exclusive The Arcane Knights reveals in the future! To start, we currently have the only high-resolution versions of the concept images, created by 2D Lead David Johnson! It's good knowing the Project Lead ;).

Source: Kickstarter


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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Acquires The Washington Post for $250 Million

Posted: August 5, 2013 @ time: 05:55PM
Author: bp9801

In a rather surprising announcement, The Washington Post has been purchased by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos for $250 million in cash. According to the paper, Amazon is playing no role in the purchase and Bezos himself will have full control of it when the sale is completed sometime in the next two months. The existing Washington Post Company, which also owns various other businesses, "will change to a new, still-undecided name and continue as a publicly traded company without The Post thereafter." The Post Company's chief executive, Donald Graham, said The Post could have survived under current ownership, but "we wanted to do more than survive."

Bezos, who was one of several potential buyers, said he won't be "leading" The Washington Post day-to-day, but there'll still be change coming to the paper. He also said The Post "will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment." There's no telling what he has in store for The Washington Post, but it sounds like everything will be alright in the long run.

Source: The Washington Post [1] and [2]


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We Need Reviewers at OCC and Neoseeker

Posted: August 5, 2013 @ time: 10:20PM
Author: bp9801

If you're a member of the community and are looking to become even more involved with your favorite tech site, then you're in luck. Both OverclockersClub and Neoseeker are looking for reviewers, and there are some requirements you have to meet first. For starters, you need to be a resident of either the United States or Canada, and have an Intel Haswell or AMD Vishera FX system. If you're in the process of getting either system, then Bosco will take that into consideration as well. A 23" monitor of at least 1920x1080 is required too, and while having three monitors is nice, it's not a requirement.

Anyone who meets all the requirements can send a PM to Bosco or email him, and he'll take it from there. Do keep in mind that there is a time requirement for the position, as some reviews can be time consuming. OCC needs two reviewers while Neoseeker needs four or five, so don't hesitate to let Bosco know your interest!

Thank you and good luck to all potential applicants!


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Radeon HD 9970 Specifications Leaked

Posted: August 6, 2013 @ time: 06:48AM
Author: Prunes

Currently NVIDIA is the king of GPUs, but it appears that AMD is getting ready to dethrone NVIDIA with its new Radeon HD 9970. Details about the new card's specifications have been leaked, and, if they are to be believed, they sure are impressive. The Radeon HD 9970 will be using a 20 nm Volcanic Islands GPU codenamed Hawaii that will use a new architecture.

The specifications sure look astounding, maybe a little too astounding compared to NVIDIA's Titan and GTX 780. According to the leak, the Radeon HD 9970 will have a clock speed of 1 GHz, 4 GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 5 GHz on a 512-bit bus, 307 GB/s memory bandwidth, 64 GPixels, 4,096 shader units, 64 render output processors, and 256 texture mapping units.

The Radeon HD 9000 series is expected to ship around October this year, and according to some reports, the flagship has already started shipping out to manufacturers. If all of this is true, NVIDIA will have its job cut out for it, but it might be wise to take this with a grain of salt as the specifications seem a little too impressive, along with the fact that 20 nm might be further out in the future.

Source: MaximumPC


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday Edition

Posted: August 6, 2013 @ time: 08:36AM
Author: bp9801

Anyone needing a new power supply is in luck, as we have reviews on two different models to fit whichever system you're building. There's the Thermaltake Smart 750W power supply with its single 12v rail and 80 PLUS Bronze certification, and then the NZXT HALE90 v2 1000W PSU, which also has a single 12v rail but an 80 PLUS Gold certification. We have a review on the Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X video card with a custom cooler that's sure to keep things stable during an intense gaming session. On another cooling side, there's a look at the Noctua NH-U12S and NH-U14S CPU coolers, which feature a 120mm and 140mm fan, respectively. If you'd rather just have a new way to type and play games, then perhaps the MSI GK-601 mechanical gaming keyboard, with its Cherry MX Red switches, backlighting, and unique style, could be just the thing.

Video Cards
Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X @ LanOC Reviews

Power Supplies
Thermaltake Smart 750W @ ThinkComputers
NZXT HALE90 v2 1000W @ [H]ardOCP

CPU Cooling
Noctua NH-U12S and NH-U14S @ Madshrimps

Keyboards/Mice
MSI GK-601 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews


Complete Story


Testing the Universe's Speed Limit

Posted: August 6, 2013 @ time: 09:50AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Part of the thinking behind Einstein's Theories of Relativity is what it would be like to ride a beam of light. Eventually the mathematics of such a trip showed that the speed of light should be the maximum speed of the Universe, but in some situations, relativity breaks down. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of New South Wales have recently made some of the most accurate speed measurements in one of these situations.

The Theories of Relativity do a good job of describing large objects, but small particles are still dominated by the Standard Model, and these theories do not play nicely together at high energies. To test the speed limit proposed by relativity, the researchers turned to isotopes of dysprosium. They then measured the speed at which electrons move from one atomic orbital to another and found it does not exceed the speed of light. The researchers also found that the electrons' speeds were the same in all directions, within 17 nanometers per second, which is ten times more precise than previous measurements.

One of the impressive aspects of this research is how simple the setup was, compared to the massive particle accelerators that could perform comparable studies. Eventually it may be improved to be a thousand times more sensitive, and reach the point where some believe relativity will break down.

Source: University of California, Berkeley


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Comcast Creating a New Anti-Piracy Scheme to Push Consumers to Purchase or Rent Content

Posted: August 6, 2013 @ time: 04:19PM
Author: bp9801

It's looking like cable giant Comcast is working on a new anti-piracy scheme that would present illegal downloaders with the option to either purchase or rent the content. According to a new report, Comcast "has begun preliminary discussions with both film and TV studios and other leading Internet service providers about employing technology, according to sources, that would provide offending users with transactional opportunities to access legal versions of copyright-infringing videos as they’re being downloaded."

Basically it's a system that will detect when someone is downloading from a peer-to-peer system, like BitTorrent or uTorrent, and then display a pop-up message with links to buy or rent that same content. It could be from Comcast's own video-on-demand library or a third-party site, like Amazon. Comcast owns many major assets, like NBC and Universal Pictures, as well as various channels, so it'd make sense for the company to push consumers to buying/renting some of its own items rather than illegally obtaining. If it works it could be a new means of cutting down on digital piracy, but it also presents a whole new can of worms, like what happens if the detection system delivers a false positive? Or how many other ISPs and copyright holders are willing to go along with this? There's a lot we don't yet know about what Comcast is proposing, but it's definitely something to keep an eye on.

Source: Variety


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Computer Hacker's Sudden Death Fuels Various Theories

Posted: August 6, 2013 @ time: 08:13PM
Author: bp9801

Computer hackers typically carry a negative connotation, but there are some who use their talents for good. One of them was Barnaby Jack, a 35-year-old originally from New Zealand, who used his hacking skills to help companies become more secure by letting them know about possible exploits. Whether it was demonstrating how easy an ATM machine could be manipulated to dump a ton of money or how an insulin pump could be tricked into delivering an extremely high dose, Jack's goal was to help make electronic devices more secure so other less scrupulous hackers couldn't take advantage of them. Jack's newest hack was to show how a pacemaker could be used to deliver a lethal shock, as seen on the TV show Homeland. However, just days before Jack was to present the hack at Black Hat in Las Vegas, he was found dead in his San Francisco home.

The cause of Jack's sudden death is a mystery, as his former colleagues at IOActive knew of no preexisting medical condition that would result in a death. San Francisco police said there was no evidence of foul play, yet the coroner's office isn't saying anything other than autopsy results won't be available for weeks or months. Jack's death is raising some questions as to just how exactly he died, with some speculations even including a government order to prevent details of pacemaker hacking from becoming public. Pacemakers are used by around five million people just in the US, and the potentially massive implications of them being hacked to kill their users may not have sat well with government officials. At least that's one of the theories being put forth, while another postulates that Jack is alive but hidden away to work on secret research projects.

Whatever the case may be, the death of Barnaby Jack right before a major hacking conference raises suspicions. Hopefully we'll know before long just how he died, but until then, there should be plenty of speculation.

Source: International Business Times


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Evercool Releases New Notebook Cooler

Posted: August 7, 2013 @ time: 01:59AM
Author: Prunes

Evercool, known for its many cooling products, has now added a new addition to its wide selection of notebook coolers. The new AIOLUS, inspired by the god of wind in Greek mythology, is made for notebooks smaller than 14 inches. The notebook cooler is designed with both performance and ergonomics in mind to ensure that the user can game for hours without sore wrists. It will use two 70 mm fans to cool the underside of the notebook, while a third fan can be placed on either side to add additional cooling. The fan speed can be adjusted using two predetermined settings, silent and overclocking, so it will not be too loud for browsing or too weak for intensive gaming. In tests, the AIOLUS has shown to reduce temperatures by up to 10 degrees Celsius, which can help prolong the notebook's life and your comfort while using the notebook. 

Source: Press Release


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IBM Creates OpenPOWER Consortium

Posted: August 7, 2013 @ time: 06:23AM
Author: CheeseMan42

IBM has announced a new partnership with leaders in the server industry like Google, NVIDIA, and Tyan. The OpenPOWER Consortium hopes to help the POWER architecture become relevant again, specifically in server markets. IBM will make the "POWER IP licensable to others and for the first time will make POWER hardware and software available to open development." IBM hopes to spark innovation in server, networking, storage, and GPU accelerated systems. Senior VP of IBM Software & Systems Steve Mills said, "Combining our talents and assets around the POWER architecture can greatly increase the rate of innovation throughout the industry. Developers now have access to an expanded and open set of server technologies for the first time. This type of ‘collaborative development’ model will change the way data center hardware is designed and deployed."

Source: Data Center Knowledge


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Crossbar Introduces Resistive RAM

Posted: August 7, 2013 @ time: 07:03AM
Author: CheeseMan42

Crossbar is a startup based in Santa Clara, California that is hoping to make a big splash in the flash memory market. The technology it is working on is called Resistive RAM and it claims to store more data that can be accessed faster than current flash offerings. Crossbar has demonstrated this technology with a 1 TB chip that is smaller than a similar capacity NAND flash chip that was fabricated by one of its partners. In addition to packing more storage into less space, the Resistive RAM will consume less power and will also have a greater lifespan than NAND flash. Resistive RAM is non-volatile and stores data using three dimensional stacks of a three layer structure, allowing more data to be stored as more stacks are added. It will be interesting to see if Crossbar can bring this technology to the market and how flash companies will respond to the challenge.

Source: Venture Beat


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday Edition

Posted: August 7, 2013 @ time: 08:36AM
Author: bp9801

The middle of the week brings a couple of reviews for you, on two totally different subjects. Our first review covers something we're all familiar with, as it's a look at the AMD Radeon RG2133 Gamer Series RAM, which is a 16GB DDR3-2133 kit. It contains four 4GB sticks, has a CAS latency of 10-11-11-30, and runs at 1.65V. Our other review is something catching on lately, as it's the BodyMedia Link Armband. It provides a way to track calories burned, how much physical activity you receive each day, and plenty of other things to ensure you're trying to be as healthy as possible. In this day and age, it's a pretty useful item to have, especially when sticking to a weight loss or exercise regimen.

Memory
AMD Radeon RG2133 Gamer 16GB Memory Kit @ Neoseeker

Gadgets
BodyMedia Link Armband @ ThinkComputers


Complete Story


Testing the Bond Between Graphene and Elastic Substrate

Posted: August 7, 2013 @ time: 08:44AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Flexible electronics is one of the technologies many across the world are working to invent. One material that may help them is graphene, due to its special physical and electrical properties. Researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of Texas have recently examined how graphene behaves when bonded to an elastic substrate; a necessary piece of research for elastic electronics to become reality.

Graphene is an atom-thick sheet of carbon which can conduct electricity very quickly while also being mechanically flexible and strong. Those properties make it ideal for flexible electronics, but only if it works well with other flexible and elastic materials. The researchers decided to test this by placing a single layer of graphene onto an elastic polyethylene terephthalate substrate. When they stretched the substrate, they found the edges of the graphene began stopped stretching as quickly as the substrate after it was stretched to just 0.3% its original length. The center of the graphene stopped stretching when it was stretched by 1.2% to 1.6%.

This information is important as it tells us about the interface properties of graphene with the substrate. The researchers also found that when the substrate was allowed to relax to its original length, the graphene buckled, forming a wavy pattern that made it easier to stretch out and back.

Source: North Carolina State University


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Large Price Cut on Radeon HD 7990

Posted: August 7, 2013 @ time: 03:52PM
Author: Prunes

Good news for anyone looking to upgrade their GPU to something really powerful. AMD's Radeon HD 7990 has received a huge price cut on Newegg, going down from $999 to $799. The price drop comes after the release of AMD's new Catalyst 13.8 Beta Driver. The new driver fixes the frame pacing issue on CrossfireX video cards, so the Radeon HD 7990 should now be able to churn out some even more impressive frame rates than before. Despite the substantially lower price, the Radeon HD 7990 is capable of competing with NVIDIA's GTX 690 and Titan, both costing around $1000.

There are still 7990s on sale on Newegg, but be warned. Some of them are non-refundable and only offer a 30 day replacement policy. So if that concerns you, you might be better off with a 7970, which is an impressive card as well.

Source: MaximumPC


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New Scaffold for Silicon Electrodes in Batteries

Posted: August 7, 2013 @ time: 04:13PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Without batteries, the world would be very different from what it is now, as mobile phones, laptops, and more could not exist. Though we do have them, they are limited in what they can do, so researchers are constantly looking for new, better designs. Those at North Carolina State University have recently discovered a design that may allow batteries with ten times the energy storage to be made.

Lithium-ion batteries rely on graphite electrodes to oxidize and reduce the lithium ions, and do a decent job of it, but silicon could do ten times better. The problem with silicon is that when it absorbs lithium ions, it swells to the point of breaking, which can reduce the battery's capacity and risk further damage. The North Carolina researchers, though, have found a way to create sheets of aligned carbon nanotubes, which are then coated with silicon. In this configuration, the silicon is less likely to break off, making a potential lithium-silicon battery more stable.

There are still technical points to work out, but the method used to create the silicon-coated nanotubes can be scaled up for commercial production. If that is achieved, we may see cell phones and electric vehicles with far better battery lives.

Source: North Carolina State University


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday Edition

Posted: August 8, 2013 @ time: 08:29AM
Author: bp9801

Today is almost all about video cards, although we do have something for a wireless network. We have a review on the MSI GTX 760 Hawk video card, which combines the Twin Frozr IV cooler with a massive factory overclock for some impressive results. Our other video card is really more of a head-to-head fight, as the AMD HD 7870 is squared off against the NVIDIA GTX 660Ti to see which one provides the best bang for your buck. Both cards are factory overclocked editions from Gigabyte, and this could be the perfect decision maker for your next upgrade. The non-video card review concerns the Diamond Multimedia WR300NSI Wireless-N Repeater, which is a small module designed to extend the range of your home WiFi so you don't have to be clustered in certain areas when on the laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Video Cards
MSI GTX 760 Hawk @ LanOC Reviews
AMD HD7870 vs. NVIDIA GTX 660 Ti @ Neoseeker

Networking
Diamond Multimedia WR300NSI Wireless-N Repeater @ Benchmark Reviews


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ADATA Upgrades DashDrive Elite

Posted: August 8, 2013 @ time: 09:38AM
Author: CheeseMan42

ADATA has announced an upgrade to its flagship external hard drive, the DashDrive Elite HE720. The latest iteration of the drive is now available in capacities up to 1TB. The drive is extremely slim, measuring only 8.9mm in thickness. The HE720 uses the USB 3.0 interface for high speed data transfers but maintains full backwards compatibility with USB 2.0 for older systems. ADATA also includes its one touch backup software with purchases of the HE720.

Source: Press Release


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NVIDIA CEO Confirms Work on Next-Gen Microsoft Surface Tablet

Posted: August 9, 2013 @ time: 12:21AM
Author: bp9801

Last year, Microsoft unveiled its Surface tablet, with the Surface RT running Windows RT and the Surface Pro on Windows 8. Both tablets offer a wealth of features and really demonstrate how well Windows 8 can work with a touch interface. However, like any good piece of hardware, as time passes things tend to fall behind in terms of performance. There's always a faster CPU or GPU just over the horizon, and it seems the Surface tablet will be benefiting from new technology before long. In a recent interview, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang confirmed his company is involved with Microsoft on a next-generation Surface tablet.

Huang spoke of a reason the Surface RT tablet hasn't quite taken off like Microsoft predicted, and that's because it didn't include Outlook. He had the following to say: "It is the killer app for Windows. Now we're going to bring it with the second-generation Surface. We're working really hard on it, and we hope that it's going to be a big success."

NVIDIA's Tegra 3 powers the Surface RT, and since it's ARM-based that means no x86 apps, like Outlook. However, from the sound of things NVIDIA is fixing that. Does this mean an x86 version of Tegra or just that NVIDIA is working with Microsoft to bring x86 apps over to ARM? Microsoft declined to comment about Huang's statements, as did NVIDIA, so it looks like we'll be left wondering a while longer.

Source: CNET and PC World


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Hardware Roundup: Friday Edition

Posted: August 9, 2013 @ time: 08:26AM
Author: bp9801

We have a couple of items for you to check out today, including one fairly unique review. If you've been thinking of stepping up to a monitor with a resolution above 1920x1080/1200 (based on recent forum topics, many people are), yet are unsure of what that means for gaming, then you're in luck. We have a review on how the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 compares against the AMD Radeon HD 7950, and how the GTX 780 does against the HD 7970, when the resolution is a massive 2560x1600. It's a good way to see just what kind of graphical fidelity you can expect, and be able to run, at such large resolutions. Our other review is on the audio side, as the Alienvibes EP02 Active Noise Canceling headphones get put to the test. ANC headphones can be a bit finicky, so read on to see how Alienvibes' version stacks up.

Video Cards
2560x1600: GeForce GTX 770-780 vs Radeon HD 7950-7970 @ Benchmark Reviews

Speakers/Headphones
Alienvibes EP02 Active Noise Canceling Headphones @ ThinkComputers


Complete Story


G.Skill Reclaims Title of World's Fastest DDR3

Posted: August 9, 2013 @ time: 12:45PM
Author: CheeseMan42

G.Skill has announced that overclocker YoungPro of TeamAU has broken the record for fastest DDR3 memory using a set of G.Skill TridentX memory. This set of memory runs at a stock speed of 3000MHz CL12 and YoungPro was able to push it 4400MHz CL13. The world record overclock was set on an ASUS Maximus 6 Impact motherboard alongside an Intel Core i7 4770K CPU with additional assistance from Liquid Nitrogen cooling. Validation of the overclock can be found at HWBot and CPU-Z.

Source: Press Release


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NVIDIA Tegra Tab on the Way?

Posted: August 9, 2013 @ time: 05:54PM
Author: bp9801

Within the past 24 hours there has been some pretty interesting news from NVIDIA. First came a hint of a next-gen Microsoft Surface tablet, and now comes this bit about NVIDIA's own tablet. Photos of a device called a Tegra Tab have recently appeared, and it seems to be a 7" tablet in the same vein as Google's new Nexus 7. The Tegra Tab has a slot for a stylus, a micro USB port, and a micro HDMI port (the Nexus 7 just has micro USB), but the rear looks to be a combination of the old and new Nexus 7s with the texture of the old and the horizontal orientation and camera placement of the new. Other than that, everything else is speculative. The new Nexus 7 runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor while the old ran an NVIDIA Tegra 3, so perhaps this is a way for NVIDIA to show off what the Tegra 4 is like in its own tablet. We already have the SHIELD, and maybe a Tegra Tab is next on the list (especially since a trademark filing has appeared).

Remember, take all of this with a grain of salt until something official comes along, if ever.

Source: The Verge


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Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: August 12, 2013 @ time: 08:39AM
Author: bp9801

Today has a focus on some new peripherals for your computer, which could make your gaming experience that much better. We have a review on the Corsair Vengeance K70 mechanical gaming keyboard that comes with a variety of switches and per-key illumination. The review today takes a look at the Black/Red model, which has red backlighting and Cherry MX Reds. On the flip side we have a look at the Cooler Master Storm Havoc gaming mouse, with its Avago 9800 sensor for a maximum 8200DPI, rubber finish, RGB lighting, and eight programmable buttons. It may just fit the bill as your next mouse. For something a little bigger, there's a review on the ASUS Z87-PRO motherboard, which has a new color scheme compared to past ASUS' boards. If you're in the market for an Intel Haswell build, this board could be your building block.

Motherboards
ASUS Z87-PRO @ Bjorn3D

Keyboards/Mice
Corsair Vengeance K70 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews
Cooler Master Storm Havoc @ LanOC Reviews


Complete Story


ASUS Announces 29 Inch Monitor

Posted: August 12, 2013 @ time: 01:25PM
Author: Prunes

ASUS has announced a new 29 inch widescreen monitor, the PB298Q, with an ultra-wide 21:9 aspect ratio. The monitor will use an AH-IPS panel to ensure accurate color reproduction and wide viewing angles. The resolution will be a slightly unusual 2560x1080 pixels, giving the monitor a PPI close to 96. The display will be LED-backlit, which enables an 80,000,000:1 ASUS Smart Contrast Ratio and a 300 cd/m2 brightness rating. This will enable the monitor to display a very dark black and a very bright white.

The monitor will have a very minimalistic, black design with a square foot, an 0.8 mm bezel, and 7 buttons located in the bottom right. On the back, one will find a DisplayPort, HDMI, and Dual-link DVI ports. The monitor also has two built-in 3 W stereo speakers. ASUS also includes the ASUS MultiFrame software that allows users to use multiple virtual desktop windows as if the user had more than one monitor. The monitor can tilt, swivel, and the height can be adjusted, so the monitor should fit every user's preference.

Source: ASUS


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Xbox One Removes Kinect Requirement

Posted: August 12, 2013 @ time: 04:50PM
Author: CheeseMan42

There were a number of unpopular aspects of the Xbox One that were revealed when Microsoft gave the first look at the next generation console. Two of the chief concerns were used game DRM and requiring a Kinect for the system to function. The first was reversed shortly after the initial announcement and Microsoft has now stated that the Kinect won't be a requirement either. Features that depend on the Kinect such as voice commands will be disabled but otherwise all system functionality will be available.

Source: IGN


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Project Phoenix Arrives on Kickstarter; JRPG with Squad-Based RTS Combat

Posted: August 12, 2013 @ time: 06:08PM
Author: bp9801

A new Kickstarter project has appeared, and this one is a little different from other video games that have appeared on the site. Called Project Phoenix, it's a JRPG with a squad-based real time strategy battle system that seeks to combine the best of East and West game development. In fact that's exactly who is behind the game, as some of the top names in video games, music, art, sound, and voice work from across the globe are involved. There's director and producer Hiroaki Yura (Diablo III and Valkyria Chronicles), game designer Vaughn Smith (L.A. Noire), lead composer Nobuo Uematsu (basically every Final Fantasy), and dozens more. It's a ton of talent, but what is Project Phoenix about?

Project Phoenix's story features clans of orcs that have come down from the mountains and begun raiding without regard. Free men from the south have supposedly returned with far greater organization than the past, and whose goal is to defeat the Empire. The elves believe a certain star signals a time of change, where the fate of everyone in the world of Azuregard will be decided. Amidst all this turmoil is paladin Marcus Stern, who meets an angel with amnesia, Ruffles, the elven princess Sylrianah, and Zarum the Lost. These four form "an unlikely bond" as they try to discover their place in the world and potentially even save it from itself.

Three modes are present in Project Phoenix: Exploration, Combat, and Character Advancement. The first means you travel across the realms of Azuregard, meet new races, characters, and obtain superior equipment. Each new location you discover allows you to equip local garb and experience the culture. The best part is there's no grinding required to get to new areas, so you can explore along at your own pace without worrying about getting that next level. The developers are making sure each new town or city you journey to has plenty of interesting characters and reason to stick around.

Combat is composed of story battles and random battles. Story battles are, obviously, designed to help progress the story, while random battles are "dynamic combat scenarios" that can occur during the story but typically when exploring areas without any story content (like revisiting an older town). Random battles are available whenever you like, too, so there's no extra burden with them. Battles are fought with a point and click system, with abilities using either mana or stamina. Tactical play and different heroes play a role in the battles, so you'll need to take into account factors like terrain and threat management to prevail. Below is a concept of what looks to be a battle.

In-game concept

As for character advancement, each character has their own class, style, abilities, and equipment, with no major concerns over which character gets a new piece of armor. Leveling up automatically improves character stats and abilities, with a talent system in place so players can customize their role. Completely customizable heroes are also being considered, so when you recruit them on your journey you can modify them however you'd like.

There's plenty more to go over about Project Phoenix, but suffice it to say this is one JRPG that could be for everybody. Project Phoenix launched with a $100,000 goal, which was soundly broken in about nine hours. The first stretch goal is at $300,000, and it doubles the amount of character and monster models, as well as including more music from Nobuo Uematsu. The $650,000 stretch goal adds in those customizable characters and a detailed city system, with higher goals offering plenty more content. As for donating to Project Phoenix, a $20 pledge guarantees a copy of the game and beta access; $25 adds in alpha access; $50 adds the soundtrack, making-of documentary, and art book; and higher tiers include a lot more, like a Phoenix companion at $60, an extra copy of the game at $70, and the chance to design a character model, NPC, or hidden boss at $10,000.

Project Phoenix's Kickstarter runs until September 11, and since funding has already been reached, any extra money raised just means a lot more goodies can be added in. The game is slated to arrive on Windows, Mac, and Linux via Steam, with Android/iOS versions planned to release in June 2015. There's also a chance Project Phoenix will appear on the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita, but developer Creative Intelligence Arts is still waiting for word on that. Project Phoenix is a single-player affair so far, but there are plans for mutliplayer and co-op if funding reaches an as-yet-unknown stretch goal.

Source: Kickstarter


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday Edition

Posted: August 13, 2013 @ time: 08:27AM
Author: bp9801

We have a little bit of everything for upgraders today, as well as a tablet for those wanting a new toy. If you need a new video card, there's a review on the HIS 7950 IceQ X2 Boost Clock video card, which features the AMD HD 7950, a custom PCB, aftermarket cooler, and a factory overclock. Anyone needing a CPU cooler is covered by the Thermaltake NiC C4, which is one of the top models in Thermaltake's new NiC line of CPU coolers. Maybe you just need a new case, so that's when you turn to the Corsair Obsidian 350D review. It applies the Obsidian series styling to a microATX case, and doesn't skimp out on any of the features the big boys in the series have. Our last review is on the Kobo Arc Android Tablet eReader that aims right at the Amazon Kindle Fire with its 1.5GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4470 CPU and POWERVR SGX 544 GPU. Read on to see how everything performs and which is the one to get.

Video Cards
HIS 7950 IceQ X2 Boost Clock 3GB GDDR5 @ Madshrimps

Cases
Corsair Obsidian 350D @ TechSpot

CPU Cooling
Thermaltake NiC C4 @ ThinkComputers

Laptops/Tablets
Kobo Arc Android Tablet E-Reader @ Benchmark Reviews


Complete Story


Windows 8.1 Reportedly Arrives in October to Coincide with New Hardware

Posted: August 13, 2013 @ time: 09:55AM
Author: bp9801

Windows 8.1 may already be available as a public preview, but Microsoft is at work on the finishing touches before it arrives in earnest. Apparently that'll happen sometime in October, and potentially with new PCs and tablets (including 7 and 8" ones) to form a sort of launch party. Those finishing touches include making Windows 8.1 more friendly to new users, such as including a '...' button to let them know when more options are available in the likes of Mail and Calendar. In addition to those, Microsoft is going to be cleaning up any lingering bugs still plaguing Windows 8.1 and getting software updates ready. It plans to have the OS in RTM later this month, which is pretty much the final step before everyone can get it.

An October release date for Windows 8.1 would be like a one-year anniversary of the OS first arriving, and bucks a trend where more time passes before Microsoft releases a major OS update. From the sound of things Windows 8.1 is much needed, as it adds a Start button, the ability to boot to desktop, use three apps side-by-side, and pleny of other features to allow users to stay on the desktop instead of going to the Modern UI. Windows 8.1 is a free upgrade for all Windows 8 and RT users through the Windows Store.

Source: The Verge


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New Gaming Laptop From CyberPowerPC

Posted: August 13, 2013 @ time: 01:08PM
Author: Prunes

If you prefer a gaming machine that you can take with you almost anywhere without having an aching back afterwards, then CyberPowerPC might have what you are looking for. The Zeus Hercules is, according to CyberPowerPC, 12 percent lighter and 18 percent thinner than other slim gaming notebooks. The laptop weighs only slightly more than four pounds and measures 13.38 inches wide by 9.96 inches deep by 0.81 inches tall.

The cheapest configuration features a 14 inch display with a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. The laptop will use an Intel Core i7 4750HQ, 4 GB of DDR3-1600 RAM, a 1 TB hard drive (5400 RPM), 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, an HDMI output, GbE LAN, one USB 2.0 port, and two USB 3.0 ports. For graphics, the laptop will use Intel's Iris Pro Graphics 5200, which, according to Intel, should offer up to twice the 3D performance of today's fastest mobile Intel HD Graphics solutions. What makes this laptop stand out besides its small size is the fact that you cannot upgrade to a discrete GPU, but the iGPU should be sufficient, if you ask Intel and CyberPowerPC, and it might contribute to the reduced size. The price starts at $1,039.

Source: MaximumPC


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Mushkin Plans Two New Products

Posted: August 13, 2013 @ time: 01:39PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Mushkin plans to show off a pair of new products at the 2013 Flash Summit, the Scorpion Deluxe PCIe SSD and Ventura Ultra flash drive. The Scorpion Deluxe is capable of reaching read and write speeds of 2165 MB/s and 1990 MB/s, respectively. It will also be able to perform up to 100,000 Input/Output Operations per Second. The Ventura Ultra is a 240GB USB 3.0 flash drive with read and write speeds of 455 MB/s and 445 MB/s, respectively. Director of Global Marketing Nicolas Villalobos said, "We are confident in the Scorpion Deluxe and Ventura Ultra, and there is no better way to express that than to display just how fast and powerful they are." Both devices are expected to be available at the end of this month.

Source: Press Release


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Trademark Application Hints at Next Blizzard Game

Posted: August 13, 2013 @ time: 02:01PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Blizzard filed a trademark for something known as The Dark Below on August 9, and it is believed that the company will reveal the meaning of this trademark at the promised press conference at Gamescom on August 21. Blizzard indicated that it would be "making a special announcement that's sure to capture the attention of the Heavens, Burning Hells and all the shadowed places that lie between," possibly pointing to a Diablo 3 expansion pack. The tease from Blizzard seems to point to the Diablo universe, but there is also a chance of a new expansion for the World of Warcraft universe instead.

Source: IGN


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday Edition

Posted: August 14, 2013 @ time: 08:21AM
Author: bp9801

Motherboards for the Intel Haswell processors keep coming out at a furious pace, and today we have another one for your consideration. ASUS' ROG series is one of the top models you can get, but the hefty price tag means some people may not be able to obtain that. However, all that changes with the Maximus VI Hero, which packs a ton of the familiar ROG features in a more budget friendly price. Switching to something different, we have a look at the top five streaming devices in order to get all your digital content displayed on your TV. It's a must read for TV show/movie lovers, music fans, and just anyone interested in cutting the cords in the living room. Our last item is a contest to try and win an Antec AMP SP1 Bluetooth wireless speaker. Facebook is required for it, so just keep that in mind when you click over to it.

Motherboards
ASUS Maximus VI Hero Z87 @ Bjorn3D

Miscellany
Top 5 Streaming Devices For Your TV @ ThinkComputers
Win an Antec AMP SP1 Bluetooth Wireless Speaker! @ Benchmark Reviews


Complete Story


Wireless Communication Without Electricity

Posted: August 14, 2013 @ time: 08:23AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Wireless communication has changed the world as it has opened up our ability to explore, record, and share information. However it is limited as it is dependent on a power source, such as a battery which has to be occasionally replaced. Researchers at the University of Washington though have developed a new wireless system that requires no power source in the connected devices.

Right now there are likely over a dozen different wireless signals passing through my body from Wi-Fi routers, cell towers, TV stations, radio stations, and more. All of these signals effectively put energy into thin air, which the Washington researchers are tapping into. Instead of creating devices that generate a signal, the researchers' devices instead reflect or fail to reflect already broadcasted signals, which also carry enough energy to power the devices. Even miles away from the original broadcast source, the researchers were able to build a network of devices feet apart.

As these devices require no power to operate, the researchers see them potentially being deployed as permanent sensor networks. Such networks could be tasked with monitoring a bridge's health, or could exist within homes to create a smart-house.

 

 

Source: University of Washington


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Samsung Announces First SSDs with 3D V-NAND Memory; Enterprise-Class Only For Now

Posted: August 14, 2013 @ time: 05:46PM
Author: bp9801

Last week Samsung unveiled the world's first 3D vertical NAND memory, and this week it announced the first solid state drives built with that memory. However, these SSDs are intended for the enterprise market and not consumer, at least at first. The V-NAND SSD comes in 480 and 960GB capacities, with the V-NAND's high capacity and outstanding reliability essential for enterprise-class servers. The 960GB model offers a more than 20% boost in sequential read and write speeds compared to non-3D V-NAND models, while still using the SATA 6Gbps interface. Samsung's 3D V-NAND memory uses "cylinder-shaped 3D Charge Trap Flash cell structures and vertical interconnect process technology to link the 24 layers comprising the 3D cell array." It basically allows for manufacturing productivity improvements more than double that of 20nm NAND flash.

Samsung does intend to create V-NAND SSDs for consumers, just right now the focus is on enterprise-class uses. The V-NAND SSDs began production this month, so I imagine it won't be long before data centers, businesses, and more start receiving some.

Source: Samsung


Complete Story


Economic Analysis Completed on 3D Printing

Posted: August 14, 2013 @ time: 06:22PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

The computers and printers we own have a heritage dating back to devices that cost many thousands of dollars and in some cases were larger than the desks our devices currently sit on. As both technologies entered households, revolutions began, thanks to the potential they offered the average person, and 3D printing may trigger its own revolution. Now researchers at Michigan Technological University have performed an economic analysis to determine the financial feasibility of 3D printers in the average American home.

Three-dimensional printers work by building structures layer by layer out of some material; often plastic. Many people believe that as they enter households, we will see people printing out products from designs they download online. In fact websites already exist to freely distribute these designs. The Michigan researchers decided to compare the cost of printing 20 items to the cost of purchasing them all from a more traditional store. These items included cellphone accessories, a showerhead, a spoon holder, and more. The results showed that the purchased items would cost between $312 and $1944, while printing them would cost only $18, for the plastic filament.

Of course there is more than the cost of the plastic involved in 3D printing, as the printers themselves can cost between $350 and $2000. Even at those prices though, the printer would likely pay for itself in a matter of months or years, and as the technology evolves, potentially sooner.

Source: Michigan Technological University


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