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News Archives for December 2014

Turning Cellulose into Gasoline and More

Posted: December 1, 2014 @ time: 06:52AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

One of the reasons so many materials are made from petrochemicals is because oil contains long chains of hydrocarbons. Synthesizing similar hydrocarbon chains has traditionally been all but impossible, but that has been changing of late. Now researchers at KU Leuven have found a way to convert cellulose into these materials, and with one more step, into gasoline.

Cellulose is a very common chemical on Earth because of its role in plant life, and it is already made of long chains of hydrocarbons. The catch is that it also has a lot of oxygen bonded to it, which has to be removed before being converted into petrochemicals. The researchers found a way to remove the oxygen though, such that waste materials like sawdust could be thrown into a chemical reactor with a catalyst, and at the right temperature and pressure, the desired hydrocarbons will be produced half a day later.

While using this method to produce gasoline is one application, it could also be used to create ethylene, propylene, and benzene, which can become rubber, plastic, nylon, insulating foam, and more.

Source: KU Leuven


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Intel Will Likely Power the Next Google Glass

Posted: December 1, 2014 @ time: 10:19AM
Author: gebraset

Although Intel missed the majority of the smartphone boom, with its competitor ARM powering the majority of the smartphones currently available, the chip manufacturing company is still highly interested in getting acquainted with the mobile market. According to sources familiar with the matter, the next version of Google Glass will feature Intel hardware inside, an effort that represents the business strategy Intel currently has in regards to the mobile sector. Intel plans to market the next version of Google Glass to work environments, focusing specifically on hospitals and manufacturing plants.

Neither Google nor Intel has offered any confirmation or denial of the report.

Source: Engadget


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Rumors Suggest That the Windows 10 Dashboard is Coming to Xbox One

Posted: December 1, 2014 @ time: 10:36AM
Author: gebraset

According to recent rumors, Microsoft will push an update in January for the Xbox One that will integrate the Windows 10 dashboard with its popular gaming console. The new dashboard is expected to usher in support for new features, such as the ability to use a mouse as well as support for installing and playing Windows PC games. While the integration of the Windows 10 dashboard and its accompanying features is still a rumor at this point, with official word from Microsoft expected to come at an event it is holding in January, the thought of having a gaming console with PC features is highly interesting.

Source: WCCFtech


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Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: December 1, 2014 @ time: 10:44AM
Author: bp9801

The Thanksgiving weekend is over in the US, which means it is time to head back to school and/or work (except retail, who have already been working). There are a lot of items to kick off the week and final month of 2014, so let's dive right in. We have a review on the MSI GeForce GTX 970 4GB Gaming video card, which offers a custom cooler to keep the card from going up in flames. A couple of cases get tested as well, with both the NZXT H440 Razer Edition and Fractal Design Node 804 up for consideration. The QNAP TS-653 Pro SMB NAS gets reviewed to see if it is the solution to those needing more storage. We also have the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact smartphone, which offers all the features of the regular Z3 in a smaller package. Ending things are a look at the 20 Worst PC Setups from the month of November, and an in-depth look at Intel's new 3D NAND and what it offers.

Video Cards
MSI GeForce GTX 970 4GB Gaming @ PC Perspective

Cases
NZXT H440 Razer Edition @ Benchmark Reviews
Fractal Design Node 804 @ LanOC Reviews

Storage/Hard Drives
QNAP TS-653 Pro SMB NAS @ Madshrimps

Mobile
Sony Xperia X3 Compact @ TechSpot

Miscellany
20 of the Worst PC Setups - November 2014 @ ThinkComputers
Intel's new 3D NAND will cost less, but may offer effectively similar write speeds @ PC Perspective


Complete Story


Steam Gift Trading Sees a Change

Posted: December 1, 2014 @ time: 11:00AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Steam sales are a great time to stock up on games, like the one going on now and the one likely to start later this month. These games can be purchased for yourself, or purchased and placed in your inventory, to be gifted or traded away later. In the case of trading games, it will be later than it had been as Valve now blocks game trades for 30 days after the purchase. Games can still be gifted at any time as the change is only to the trading system.

The reason for this change is that some people were apparently exploiting the time it can take to process a transaction. A game would enter their inventory, allowing them to trade it for something, only to have the game they traded away revoked from the new owner. The person exploiting the system would still have whatever they traded for.

Source: Steam Trading Cards Group


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Windows XP Usage Lowers Thanks to Windows 8.1

Posted: December 1, 2014 @ time: 11:06AM
Author: gebraset

According to StatCounter, Windows 8.1 has officially overtaken Windows XP usage. Windows XP is now used by 10.69 percent of the total desktop market, dropping from 11.95 percent in October, while Windows 8.1 is now utilized by 10.95 percent of all users, up from 9.31 percent in October. The growth of Windows 8.1 is likely due to the recent back-to-school season, along with the surge of holiday shopping. Additionally, more users may be moving to Windows 8.1 due to the free upgrade that Microsoft has continued to offer Windows 8 users.

Despite the growing amount of people now using Windows 8.1, Windows 7 continues to represent the majority of the total market, with the five-year-old operating system now accounting for 50.34 percent of the total market.

Source: PCWorld


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Leaked Benchmark Details Upcoming AMD Radeon R9 300 Series

Posted: December 1, 2014 @ time: 02:52PM
Author: CheeseMan42

A leaked set of screenshots reportedly show the performance of the upcoming AMD Radeon R9 300 series of GPUs, also known as Fiji XT. The results come from Chinese website Chiphell, which has leaked accurate benchmarks in the past, and shows the average performance and power consumption compared to current generation cards. The card was tested on several current generation games at a resolution of 2560x1440 with all graphics settings maxed out. The average results for the R9 300 were about 16% higher than a factory overclocked GeForce GTX 980 and 31% better than the AMD R9 290X series. The full specifications for the R9 300 remains unknown at this time, but it will be interesting to see if the card will put AMD back on top of the GPU hill.

Source: Kit Guru


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Earth has a Plasma Shield

Posted: December 1, 2014 @ time: 03:06PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

On the surface of the Earth we are not exposed to much radiation, but surrounding the planet are belts of very high energy radiation, such as electrons traveling at nearly the speed of light. For years now we have observed at these ultrarelativistic electrons do not come to close to the Earth, but have not understood why. Using data from NASA's Van Allen Probes, researchers at MIT have devised an explanation that could be of great use for future satellites.

These ultrarelativistic electrons move so fast that they can complete an orbit of the Earth in just five minutes. With so much energy, they pose a serious risk to satellites and astronauts, but for conveniently they do not come within 11,000 Km of the Earth's surface. To explain this limit, the researchers looked at a few possibilities, including the Earth's magnetic field and ground-based radios. The magnetic field could not be the answer, because the limit is not affected by weak spots in it, and terrestrial radio waves would not affect the high energy electrons. What the researchers eventually determined was that the solution has to do with the plasmapheric hiss. This is a phenomenon of very low frequency electromagnetic waves in the Earth's upper atmosphere. The researchers determined that when the electrons encounter it, they are made to move parallel to the Earth's magnetic field, which causes them to collide with neutral gas atoms, which absorb them.

This explanations means there is a very firm barrier that will prevent any of these ultrarelativistic electrons from coming below 11,000 Km. Such information will be very important to future satellites, as it effectively gives them a safe zone where they will be free of this ionizing radiation, allowing for much longer lifespans.

Source: MIT


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GPU Memory Bandwidth of 1TB/s Could Be Coming Soon

Posted: December 1, 2014 @ time: 05:25PM
Author: CheeseMan42

The AMD Radeon R9 390X is expected to be one of the first cards to use High Bandwidth Memory, HBM, and has the potential to provide memory bandwidth up to 640GB/s over a 4096-bit memory bus. The first generation of HBM is made by SK Hynix and is capable of bandwidth of 128GB/s per die, with up to four die able to be grouped. The second generation of HBM will be even faster, reaching bandwidth up to 256GB/s per die, giving it the ability to provide 1.28TB/s bandwidth per four core group. For comparison, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 has 224GB/s memory bandwidth. The massive increase in memory bandwidth will help to provide for better performance, especially as higher resolution displays gain popularity.

Source: Tweaktown


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Razer Nabu Available Tomorrow

Posted: December 1, 2014 @ time: 05:36PM
Author: CheeseMan42

The Razer Nabu, winner of the Best of CES award this past year, will be available for purchase from the RazerStore and participating retailers. The Nabu joins a number of "wearable" devices from manufacturers such as Samsung and LG and "delivers discreet notifications from smartphones, is a highly accurate fitness tracker, and stands as the world’s first social wearable by way of a unique band-to-band communication capability." The device has gone through extensive testing since the reveal at CES including a Beta program and a Developer Program that gave app developers an early shot at the device. The Nabu will carry an MSRP of $99.99 and was summed up by CEO Min-Liang Tan who called it "a device that has something cool in-store for everyone."

Source: Press Release


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Futuremark Issues Minor Updates For 3DMark and PCMark 8

Posted: December 1, 2014 @ time: 05:49PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Futuremark has released software updates for its popular 3DMark and PCMark 8 benchmark software that fixes some bugs while keeping scores mostly unchanged. 3DMark has received improved hardware detection and a reduction in hardware monitoring overhead. A memory issue was also fixed that had the potential to cause a crash while stress testing. One of the fixes for PCMark 8 can influence scores in the Storage Consistency and Storage Adaptivity tests found in the Professional Edition. PCMark 8 also has an update to improve hardware compatibility and was issued a fix that could cause the Adobe After Effects test to fail.

Source: Press Release


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Xbox Live Successfully Taken Down by Lizard Squad

Posted: December 2, 2014 @ time: 05:47AM
Author: gebraset

The Lizard Squad, an infamous hacking group that has successfully brought down gaming servers for a variety of games and services during the past few months and even issued a bomb threat recently, was able to take down Xbox Live late Monday night. The group likely used a DDOS attack to make Xbox Live unavailable to gamers, and the group even went back to posting on a Twitter page about the attack, despite Twitter suspending the group’s account a few weeks ago. Lizard Squad noted that the attack on Xbox Live was simply an early Christmas gift for Microsoft, and that the unavailability of Xbox Live is the first of more things to come in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Source: Attack of the Fanboy


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Intel Roadmap Outlines Dedication to Improved Semiconductor Manufacturing Processes

Posted: December 2, 2014 @ time: 06:09AM
Author: gebraset

An Intel roadmap that has recently been made available to the public shows that Intel is expecting technology innovation to continue in regards to shrinking its processors. Desktop processors that make use of 14nm technology are expected to be available sometime next year, while 10nm processors are likely coming late next year or early 2016. In order to make 10nm processors a reality, the semiconductor industry will have to go through the process of upgrading to extreme ultraviolet lithography, or EUVL, technology. Intel is also planning on offering 7nm processors sometime in 2017, which is amazing considering that, in 2007, the chip manufacturer was offering 45nm processors to consumers.

Source: TweakTown


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Keeping Buildings Cool by Radiating Heat to Space

Posted: December 2, 2014 @ time: 06:47AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

With as much as 15% of energy in the United States going toward air conditioning, technologies that can keep things cool efficiently are always of interest. Researchers at Stanford University have devised a novel approach that reflects and radiates heat into space with a passive and advanced mirror.

The mirror is a multilayered material just 1.8 microns thick, making it thinner than aluminum foil. It contains seven layers of silicon dioxide and hafnium oxide atop a layer of silver that have had their thicknesses tuned to best radiate infrared light into space, while also reflecting Sunlight. Radiating infrared light is one of the ways a warm body can give off heat, and at the frequency this light will be at, it will not warm the air it passes through. When the researchers tested their photonic radiative cooling mirror, as they are calling it, the mirror was almost 9 ºF cooler than the air surrounding it as it prevented some 97% of Sunlight from actually reaching the building.

Before we can see these mirrors deployed to reduce cooling costs, two issues must be addressed. Naturally, one is how to mass produce the mirrors, but the other is the daunting task of finding ways to effectively shuttle heat from inside a building to the radiator, so it can be sent to space.

Source: Stanford University


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Acompli Acquired by Microsoft

Posted: December 2, 2014 @ time: 07:19AM
Author: gebraset

Microsoft has announced that it has officially acquired Acompli, a provider of innovative mobile email applications for Android and iOS. The main mobile application developed by Acompli, which was created by veterans of VMware and Zimbra, focuses on allowing users to fully interact with their emails on their smartphones and tablets. According to Microsoft, the acquisition of Acompli represents the company-wide effort to help people accomplish more with their mobile devices. Microsoft expects to integrate aspects of the primary Acompli mobile application with projects that are being actively developed by the Outlook team.

Although Microsoft did not reveal financial details of the acquisition of Acompli, Re/code reported that the technology giant paid more than $200 million for the provider of innovative mobile email applications.

Source: Microsoft Blog and Re/code


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Intel Acquires PasswordBox

Posted: December 2, 2014 @ time: 07:32AM
Author: gebraset

PasswordBox, a San Francisco-based security company that has introduced innovative technologies like Legacy Locker, secure password sharing, and 1-Tap Login to apps and websites for mobile phones since its launch in June, 2013, has been acquired by Intel. According to a blog post by PasswordBox, the company in the will be fully integrated into Intel Security, a global leader in secure technology. Intel plans to integrate the technology offered by PasswordBox into their own suite of applications and services, providing secure and seamless online experiences for millions of users.

PasswordBox will continue to remain available as is, with Intel Security offering all new and existing customers a premium subscription at no cost as a thank you to for the support that PasswordBox has received. The free premium subscription will remain available to customers until the release of a new product from Intel Security.

Source: PasswordBox Blog


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday Edition

Posted: December 2, 2014 @ time: 09:48AM
Author: bp9801

It is a new day with a couple of articles for you to check out, including one that examines a potential problem. The first looks at the Tesoro Excalibur G7NL gaming keyboard, which comes with mechanical switches, backlighting, and onboard memory to save any macros you may create. Our other article takes a look at reported screen flickering with G-Sync displays and what exactly is happening if it occurs.

Keyboards/Mice
Tesoro Excalibur G7NL Gaming Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews

Monitors
A Look into Reported G-Sync Display Flickering @ PC Perspective


Complete Story


Steam Beta Broadcasting Launches

Posted: December 2, 2014 @ time: 02:18PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

For some people, livestreaming gameplay probably seems like a weird phenomenon, at least until Amazon bought Twitch for almost $1 billion. Then and now Twitch seems to be the primary streaming service, but that may be changing in the future as Valve has begun a Steam Broadcasting beta.

Currently you are only able to view streams in the Steam beta client, Google Chrome, and Apple Safari. That is if you have permission. Under Broadcasting options, the streamer can restrict viewers to friends they invite, require friends ask to watch, allow friends to watch freely, or allow anybody to watch freely. There are also options for video dimensions, bitrate, where to show the viewer's chat, if the desktop is streamed, and if the microphone is streamed. Streams are live only and not archived, but who knows, maybe that will change through the course of the beta.

Starting a broadcast is a little different than other services as it starts when someone chooses to watch, instead of streaming all of the time with people coming and going as they please. You are able to stop a broadcast at any time though, through the Steam Overlay.

Source: Steam Community


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NVIDIA Adds More Batman Games to GRID Service

Posted: December 2, 2014 @ time: 04:25PM
Author: CheeseMan42

As part of a GRID Tuesday event, NVIDIA announced the addition of Batman: Arkham Origins and LEGO Batman: The Video Game to its GRID cloud gaming service. The games are available for free to NVIDIA SHIELD users as part of the GRID service and gives them a chance to play popular games on their portable systems. The two games join Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, both of which were launch titles for the GRID service.

Source: Press Release


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Amazon Enlists Robot Help to Fill Holiday Orders

Posted: December 2, 2014 @ time: 04:36PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Amazon is taking advantage of the acquisition of manufacturer of Kiva in 2012 as part of the holiday shopping season, using robots built by the company to increase efficiency in filling the massive amounts of orders it is receiving. The robots drive around the warehouse guided by tape markers and transport racks of merchandise to human workers who then box and ship the items. The robots cut out several miles of walking per day for employees and also allow for better use of warehouse space as they are able to better maneuver than their human counterparts.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek


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Child of Light Reaches Profitability

Posted: December 2, 2014 @ time: 08:09PM
Author: ClayMeow

Roughly six months after its initial release, Ubisoft's beautiful platforming RPG Child of Light has attained profitability. Speaking at the GameON: Finance conference in Toronto, creative lead Patrick Plourde proclaimed that "it's profitable enough that we would have been able to fund a sequel." Ubisoft took a chance on the smaller project because Plourde agreed to be the Creative Director on Far Cry 3. Plourde didn't want to make Far Cry 3 initially, but Ubisoft's upper brass told him that if he helped build that brand, they would give him "a free shot" at the game he wanted to make. Seems like that agreement was a win-win for Ubisoft, as both games enjoyed great critical and commercial success.

At its peak, there were roughly 40 people working on Child of Light, which Plourde said cost "a couple of million" to make. In September, the Child of Light development team was officially established as a core team at Ubisoft Montreal. While Ubisoft's large-scale AAA titles get a lot of heat, its smaller-scale projects like Child of Light, Valiant Hearts: The Great War, and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon have been universally praised and have enjoyed great success at a fraction of the cost.

Source: GamesIndustry.biz


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Infiltrate ACE Chemicals in Batman: Arkham Knight

Posted: December 2, 2014 @ time: 08:33PM
Author: ClayMeow

The highly anticipated Batman: Arkham Knight is still half a year away, but Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) is releasing a series of gameplay videos that feature Batman taking on Arkham Knight's henchmen in the ACE Chemicals plant. The first two videos have already been released. Part One shows off the new Fear Takedown, while Part Two features an epic Batmobile showdown with some drone tanks.

Batman: Arkham Knight will be arriving June 2, 2015, on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Source: Press Release


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The Crew Has Officially Hit the Streets

Posted: December 2, 2014 @ time: 08:43PM
Author: ClayMeow

Ubisoft's MMO-CarPG The Crew has officially released, so of course that means a Launch Trailer:

The Crew is now available for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. But if you're looking for reviews, you may have to wait a little while.

Source: Press Release


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The Desert is Unforgiving in Total War: ATTILA

Posted: December 2, 2014 @ time: 08:53PM
Author: ClayMeow

Back in the beginning of November, Creative Assembly released a cinematic trailer for Total War: ATTILA entitled "The White Horse". So I guess it's only natural that its brand new cinematic trailer is entitled "Red Horse"? The trailer shows "the Sassanid Empire exploiting the confusion around it and striking out in war on its neighbours." Behold the Red Horse:

Total War: ATTILA is scheduled to arrive sometime in 2015, exclusively for PC (Windows and Mac).

Source: Press Release


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First Episode of Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series Has Arrived

Posted: December 2, 2014 @ time: 09:13PM
Author: ClayMeow

Details started to spill last month, and now the time has finally come for the first of six episodes of Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series. Entitled "Iron From Ice", Episode One launched today for Windows PC and PlayStation 4, with Xbox One and Xbox 360 versions arriving tomorrow, the iOS version arriving Thursday, the PlayStation 3 version arriving December 9, and an Android version "later this month." A Mac version was supposed to arrive alongside the Windows version today, but has been temporarily delayed while Telltale works on resolving some last-minute issues.

Source: Press Release and Steam


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Sony Releases Limited Edition PS4 to Celebrate 20 Year Anniversary

Posted: December 3, 2014 @ time: 06:34AM
Author: gebraset

In order to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of the original PlayStation, which was released in Japan on December 3, 1994, Sony has released a limited edition PlayStation 4. The latest edition of the Sony gaming console features the same gray appearance that was featured on the original PlayStation, with the controller matching the color scheme as well. A special 20 year anniversary marking has even been placed upon the console, and the old PlayStation logo is present too.

Interested consumers in the United States can purchase the 20 year anniversary model of the PlayStation 4 immediately for $499. This model will likely sell out quick, however, as only 12,300 units have been produced, which are also available to consumers located in Europe and Japan.

Source: CNET


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Protons Found to Pass Through Graphene

Posted: December 3, 2014 @ time: 07:09AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

At times I wonder if we will ever stop finding new uses for graphene. It has previously been found that graphene is impermeable to gases and most liquids, so many expected protons to be blocked, just as hydrogen is. Researchers at the University of Manchester though have found that protons can slip through, which may lead to applications in fuel cells.

Graphene is an atom-thick sheet of carbon with a hexagonal structure to it, like chicken wire. This structure, it turns out is able to block every gas, including hydrogen and helium, and all liquids but water. Protons, which are hydrogen atoms without an electron, were expected to also be blocked, but when the researchers tested it, they found the protons slipped through easily, especially if the temperature was elevated or catalytic nanoparticles covered the graphene film. This ability to let protons but not hydrogen through could also be present in boron nitride, which is also called white graphene, as it has the same structure.

This discovery could have valuable applications with fuel cells, as a replacement to existing proton membranes. These membranes are meant to only allow protons through, but some of the fuel can slip through too, degrading the cell's performance. As graphene even a thin film of graphene would block the fuel, that degradation would be prevented. The researchers point out that graphene could be used to harvest hydrogen from the air, by applying a current to it.

Source: University of Manchester


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday Edition

Posted: December 3, 2014 @ time: 10:34AM
Author: bp9801

It is the middle of the week, with a couple of items to help get you through the day. We have a review of the Thermaltake Versa H34 mid tower case, which offers an affordable price and plenty of possibility for those interested in modding a case. It can also fit a multitude of fans and radiators, so it should appeal to an assortment of people. Our other item for today is a roundup of some of the best tech deals and discounts for students, since it is the holidays after all.

Cases
Thermaltake Versa H34 @ ThinkComputers

Miscellany
Roundup: 18 Student Tech Deals and Discounts @ TechSpot


Complete Story


COUGAR Unleashes 600K Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Posted: December 3, 2014 @ time: 10:42AM
Author: gebraset

COUGAR, a leading brand in eSports and computer peripherals, has officially launched the 600K mechanical gaming keyboard. The latest input device from COUGAR shares the same design of the previously released 700K, but instead of being fully customizable and extendable, the 600K focuses on a sleek and pure design. The COUGAR 600K features Cherry MX Switches, N-key rollover, a gold-plated USB connector, a USB pass-through, and quick adjustment of the repeat rate of keys. The 600K also features a dedicated key to activate or deactivate the Windows key, multimedia keys, and lighting control for the LED backlit keys.

The COUGAR 600K will be available in all four Cherry MX Switch colors.

Source: Press Release


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Using Ultrasound for 3D Haptic Shapes

Posted: December 3, 2014 @ time: 03:15PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Since the first rumble pack was developed, people have been trying to developer better and more advanced haptic systems to provide users with tactile information. In some cases haptics have even been used for rehabilitation and surgical training. Researchers at the University of Bristol have recently described a way to create 3D haptic shapes, which users can feel in mid-air.

To create these floating 3D shapes, the researchers use ultrasound patterns that combine and cancel out to create air disturbances. These disturbances are invisible but can be felt by a hand entering the projected, haptic shape. To visualize the effect, the researchers aimed the patterns at a layer of oil, showing off the technologies ability to project moving objects and multiple objects at the same time.

Last year some of the same researchers also developed UltraHaptics technology, which could similarly provide haptic feedback in the air, though in that case to identify buttons on a display. This new technology could be used to let surgeons feel diseases, like tumors, by touching haptic recreations from CT scans.

Source: University of Bristol


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Gangnam Style Causes Software Update For YouTube

Posted: December 3, 2014 @ time: 05:48PM
Author: CheeseMan42

YouTube has been forced to update its software due to the overwhelming popularity of the video for Gangnam Style, released by Korean rapper Psy in 2012. The video broke the view counter when it reached 2,147,483,647, the maximum number capable with a 32-bit signed integer. The counter has now been updated to 64-bit and will be able to track views up to 9,223,372,036,854,775,807 which shouldn't be hit for around 4 billion years at the current pace.

Source: Ars Technica


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Patriot Reenters the SSD Market with Torch Series

Posted: December 3, 2014 @ time: 06:07PM
Author: gebraset

Although Patriot Memory was one of the early pioneers of the SSD market, the memory manufacturer has failed to provide consumers with any of its own SSDs for quite some time. Patriot is apparently looking to change that by reentering the SSD market, thanks to its new Torch series. The latest SSD series from Patriot comes with 16nm Synchronous NAND and features sequential read speeds of 555MB per second and sequential write speeds of 535MB per second.  The Patriot Torch SSD also includes intelligent advanced wear-leveling in order to provide extended reliability.

The latest SSD from Patriot is only available in capacities of 120 and 240GB, comes with a three-year warranty, and can be purchased from retailers such as Amazon.

Source: TweakTown


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In Evolve, Will You Save the Colony or Destroy it?

Posted: December 3, 2014 @ time: 07:54PM
Author: ClayMeow

Turtle Rock's 4v1 shooter Evolve may be strictly multiplayer, but that doesn't mean it can't have a story – or at least some semblance of one. 2K Games has released a new Story Trailer entitled "Evacuation", which shows twelve elite hunters sent to protect a distant colony planet from some deadly monsters. And if you look closely, you may catch a glimpse of a brand new monster, Wraith.

Evolve is scheduled to arrive on February 10, 2015 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Pre-ordering grants you the Monster Expansion Pack.

Source: Press Release and Steam


Complete Story


Google Planning on Kid-friendly Versions of Existing Products

Posted: December 3, 2014 @ time: 08:26PM
Author: ClayMeow

According to USA Today, Google is planning on rolling out new versions of several of its popular products geared toward those twelve years of age and younger. While details and a timetable have not been divulged, this likely means kid-friendly versions of Google search, YouTube, and maybe even Chrome. Pavni Diwanji, vice president of engineering, explained the decision: "The big motivator inside the company is everyone is having kids, so there's a push to change our products to be fun and safe for children. We expect this to be controversial, but the simple truth is kids already have the technology in schools and at home. So the better approach is to simply see to it that the tech is used in a better way."

USA Today notes that this move will likely not be without controversy. Tech companies targeting children doesn't usually go over very well, and there's a little thing called the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which tries to protect against companies mining information from children without parental consent. As long as Google steers clear of that, this could be quite popular amongst parents trying desperately to shield their childrens' eyes from more mature content.

Source: USA Today


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Target and Kmart Stop Selling Grand Theft Auto V

Posted: December 4, 2014 @ time: 05:29AM
Author: gebraset

Target and Kmart have both decided to pull Grand Theft Auto V from store shelves in Australia, citing that the video game title poses a significant level of concern in regards to its included content. The decision comes shortly after Target received an online petition with over 41,000 signatures that called on the retailer to stop selling the game. The petition, created by a group of women who have experienced sexual violence and abuse, called out Grand Theft Auto V for portraying acts of violence against women as pure entertainment. It is worth noting that while the petition requested that Target stop selling the game, it was likely removed from Kmart as well due to both retail chains being owned by the same group, Wesfarmers.

While Grand Theft Auto V is being removed from Target store shelves in Australia, the retailer will continue to sell other R18+ rated content.

Source: CNET and Kotaku Australia


Complete Story


GeForce GTX 980 ROG Matrix Platinum Announced by ASUS

Posted: December 4, 2014 @ time: 06:14AM
Author: gebraset

ASUS has officially announced its single-GPU flagship graphics card that is based on the GeForce GTX 980 chip, the Republic of Gamers Matrix Platinum. This latest graphics card from ASUS includes features that are common with other ROG video cards, such as a color-coded load indicator, a defroster circuit that prevents frost formation when under LN2 cooling, a sleek back-plate, and a ROG-themed GPU Tweak utility. The GTX 980 ROG Matrix Platinum also feature a signature ROG-themed air cooling solution, in which ASUS has incorporated a high-density fin-stack heatsink with 10-mm thick heat pipes along with an ASUS-designed CoolTech hybrid fan that is capable of pushing air both laterally, and axially. While the core clock speed is unknown at this time, ASUS did reveal that the GTX 980 ROG Matrix Platinum, which utilizes a strong 14-phase VRM, features a GPU Boost frequency of 1342MHz.

No pricing information for the GTX 980 ROG Matrix Platinum has been released by ASUS.

Source: TechPowerUp


Complete Story


Hardware Roundup: Thursday Edition

Posted: December 4, 2014 @ time: 11:00AM
Author: bp9801

The week is drawing to a close, but we have no shortage of reviews to help get you through it. We have a review on the ASUS Maximus VII Impact motherboard, which is a feature-rich product in a Mini-ITX format. If you're on a tight budget yet still want a Mini-ITX build, then perhaps the ECS Z97I-DRONE is the one for you. For anyone needing a case, there's the BitFenix Pandora, which is a slim Micro-ATX model that could be right at home in a home theater setting. The Rosewill RGB80 mechanical keyboard gets reviewed to see how it can handle gaming and office work. There's a look at the Tt eSPORTS BAHAMUT external sound card for all your audio needs, especially if that means 5.1 virtual surround. Wrapping things up today is an article examining how to reinvent the digital pen, as well as one looking over the recent ASUS Open Overclocking Cup.

Motherboards
ASUS Maximus VII Impact @ PC Perspective
ECS Z97I-DRONE @ Madshrimps

Cases
BitFenix Pandora @ Benchmark Reviews

Keyboards/Mice
Rosewill RGB80 @ LanOC Reviews

Sound Cards
Tt eSPORTS BAHAMUT External Sound Card @ ThinkComputers

Miscellany
It's Time to Reinvent the Digital Pen @ TechSpot
ASUS Open Overclocking Cup 2014 @ Madshrimps


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Making Metamaterials Digital

Posted: December 4, 2014 @ time: 11:03AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Metamaterials are a special class of materials with unnatural properties. For example, a metamaterial can be made to bend light backwards, opening up the possibility for invisibility cloaks and flat lenses. Actually designing and building them is rather complicated though, but researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have made a recent discovery that may make it all much simpler.

Inspired by digital electronics that can sample analog signals to create a digital signal; the researchers found they could create metamaterial bits based on electromagnetic properties. Specifically it is a material's permittivity they look at, which is a measure of how it reacts to an electric field inside of it. When you place two materials with different and opposite permittivity values against each other, you can get some very odd results like a new permittivity value far outside what the two original materials had. By controlling the geometry of the bits though, the permittivity of the metamaterial byte can be controlled. All it takes is that the two materials have opposite permittivity values; one must be positive and the other negative.

Obviously this discovery could dramatically simplify the design of bulk metamaterials, especially as it opens up so many material combinations. The researchers did their simulations with silver and glass, but if these materials do not have the necessary physical properties to be used as a hyperlens, another combination could be found and the lens made from that.

Source: University of Pennsylvania


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TYR-SD962 CPU Cooler Announced by Xigmatek

Posted: December 5, 2014 @ time: 07:21AM
Author: gebraset

Xigmatek, a manufacturer of computer peripherals and thermal solutions, has just announced its latest entry-level CPU cooler, the TYR-SD962. The TYR-SD962 is a tower style heatsink that incorporates two 6mm copper heatpipes that make direct contact with the CPU. The heatpipes pass heat to the aluminum fins of the Xigmatek TYR-SD962, which are cooled by the included 9225 fluid-dynamic bearing fan. The included Xigmatek fan is capable of spinning between 1,200 and 2,800 RPM, with noise output of up to 28dBA. Processors with thermal loads of up to 100W are supported, and the latest Xigmatek heatsink, which measures 65mm x 85mm x 121mm without the included fan, is compatible with LGA1150, FM2+, and AM3+ sockets.

Source: TechPowerUp


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Electrically Reading Nitrogen Vacancies for the First Time

Posted: December 5, 2014 @ time: 07:22AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

In the future we may have advanced quantum computers capable of running algorithms that modern electronic computers could never hope to. There is still a lot of work to be done before these devices can become reality though, including finding ways to store and read quantum information. Now researchers at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen have found a way to access the information stored in nitrogen vacancies electronically, which has never been accomplished before.

Nitrogen vacancies are a defect found in diamonds where carbon atoms have been replaced by nitrogen atoms. When the nitrogen atoms are hit by a laser, an electron is popped up to a higher energy state, creating an electron-hole pair that can store quantum information. To access this information, the researchers used nanodiamonds and a layer of graphene. When the electron-hole pair, which acts as a dipole, formed in the diamond, another dipole formed in the graphene, which is highly conductive. Gold electrodes are then able to record the induced charge, thereby measuring the information electronically.

As the electron-hole pairs will disappear in a matter of nanoseconds, the researchers had to use a laser that reaches into picoseconds and use very sensitive equipment. Such a combination should allow it to future quantum computers to achieve clock speeds in the terahertz domain, if this system is used.

Source: Technische Universitaet Muenchen


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Hardware Roundup: Friday Edition

Posted: December 5, 2014 @ time: 11:00AM
Author: bp9801

The first week of December is nearly in the books, but not before we have some reviews for you to check out. There is a look at the NZXT H440 Razer Edition case, which is designed in part with Razer to deliver a unique experience. We also have a look at the new Ubisoft game The Crew and how it performs on various video cards. For something a little different, there's the ROCCAT Apuri Active USB hub, which adds four USB 2.0 ports and even a mouse bungee to your desk. We have a rather unique case mod called the ASUS ROG Table and Rig, and you really have to see it to believe it. Wrapping things up is a podcast covering the latest news and reviews from the past week.

Cases
NZXT H440 Designed by Razer @ PC Perspective

Gaming
The Crew Benchmarked: Graphics & CPU Performance @ TechSpot

Gadgets
ROCCAT Apuri Active USB Hub @ Benchmark Reviews

Miscellany
Case Mod Friday: ASUS ROG Table & Rig @ ThinkComputers
Podcast #328 @ PC Perspective


Complete Story


New Coating Improves Lithium Battery Electrodes

Posted: December 5, 2014 @ time: 11:02AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Everybody is likely familiar with lithium batteries because they are such a ubiquitous energy storage system. What fewer people may know though is that they are very hard to improve and that one method to do so presents serious issues. Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory however, have recently found out why a specific coating can improve that method's effectiveness.

Normally lithium batteries rely on graphite electrodes to absorb and release the lithium ions, thereby storing and releasing electricity. Silicon electrodes can potentially hold ten times as many lithium ions though, and could allow for batteries with many times the life we have today. The problem is that silicon is so fragile that the swelling it undergoes when taking in the lithium ions breaks the electrodes. Silicon nanoparticles can help, and also offer even better performance, but still suffer the fracturing problem. Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and University of Colorado, Boulder have found that a rubber-like coating of aluminum glycerol protects can let the nanoparticle electrodes survive five times longer. Now, thanks to PNNL, we know why.

Uncoated silicon nanoparticles will have an oxide layer on their surface, which restricts their ability to swell, but the aluminum glycerol, or alucone, actually removes that oxide layer is allows for the swelling. The researchers also observed the alucone preventing the nanoparticles from merging, which was another issue that would damage the electrodes.

Source: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


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Dying Light PC System Specs Revealed Alongside Season Pass Details

Posted: December 5, 2014 @ time: 08:46PM
Author: ClayMeow

If you're planning on picking up the PC version of Techland's upcoming first-person, open-world survival horror game Dying Light, you better have a fairly modern and beefy rig, especially if you want to reach those coveted recommended specs.

MINIMUM:

  • OS: Windows® 7 64-bit / Windows® 8 64-bit / Windows® 8.1 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel® Core™ i5-2500 @3.3 GHz / AMD FX-8320 @3.5 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM DDR3
  • Hard Drive: 40 GB free space
  • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 560 / AMD Radeon™ HD 6870 (1GB VRAM)
  • DirectX®: Version 11
  • Sound: DirectX® compatible
  • Additional Notes: Laptop versions of graphics cards may work but are NOT officially supported.
  • Windows-compatible keyboard, mouse, optional controller (Xbox 360 Controller for Windows recommended)

RECOMMENDED:

  • OS: Windows® 7 64-bit / Windows® 8 64-bit / Windows® 8.1 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel® Core™ i5-4670K @3.4 GHz / AMD FX-8350 @4.0 GHz
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM DDR3
  • Hard Drive: 40 GB free space
  • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 780 / AMD Radeon™ R9 290 (2GB VRAM)
  • DirectX®: Version 11
  • Sound: DirectX® compatible
  • Additional Notes: Laptop versions of graphics cards may work but are NOT officially supported.
  • Windows-compatible keyboard, mouse, optional controller (Xbox 360 Controller for Windows recommended)

In addition, Techland revealed the Dying Light Season Pass, containing three content packs for $19.99 / £15.99 / €19.99:

  • Cuisine & Cargo – Available first for Season Pass holders, these two hardcore missions let players put their skills to the ultimate test. Investigate buildings sealed off in the very first days of the outbreak – with the infected inside. Explore ominous corridors of once the most famous restaurant in Harran, and employ both stealth and combat to ransack a zombie-filled loading bay at an abandoned railroad yard.
  • Ultimate Survivor Bundle – Players will receive seven unique in-game items that will bring fighting zombies to a whole new level. Grab three special outfits and four blueprints for over-the-top weapons to make your survival in the quarantine zone a good bit easier.
  • The Bozak Horde – The final Season Pass drop will deliver a new map and gameplay, playable in either single-player or co-op. Go inside the Harran Stadium, the most famous landmark in the city, and test your combat know-how against relentless hordes of the Infected. Fight increasingly stronger and larger enemy waves as you oppose a mysterious psychopath called Bozak.

Dying Light will launch January 27 in the Americas, January 28 in Australia and New Zealand, and January 30 in Europe and Asia; priced $49.99 for PC and $59.99 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Pre-ordering allows you to "Be The Zombie".

Source: Press Release and Steam


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Dead Island: Epidemic Enters Open Beta with New PvE Mode, Crossroads

Posted: December 5, 2014 @ time: 09:08PM
Author: ClayMeow

Free-to-play MOBA Dead Island: Epidemic has been in Steam Early Access for awhile, but now it's finally available to the public, as it has officially entered Open Beta. In doing so, the game also received a major content update, adding an all-new PvE mode called Crossroads, switching to a global progression system, overhauling the crafting system, adding a unique passive ability to each character, and making a smarter loot drop system.

Dead Island: Epidemic can be downloaded via Steam.

Source: Press Release


Complete Story


Paradox Interactive Halts Development of RPG Runemaster

Posted: December 5, 2014 @ time: 09:42PM
Author: ClayMeow

Paradox Interactive has announced that development of its upcoming RPG Runemaster has been suspended until further notice, with the development team being moved to other projects within Paradox Development Studio. Runemaster was a highly ambitious tactical RPG set within six worlds of Norse mythology and featuring procedurally generated content. Unfortunately that ambition could not be realized, and "Runemaster in its current form was unable to live up to the standards" Paradox sets for itself.

Runemaster was announced back in January for PC and PlayStation 4. Check out the Story Trailer from August:

Source: Paradox Interactive


Complete Story


Dying Light Story Trailer Begs You to Live by Your Own Rules

Posted: December 5, 2014 @ time: 09:54PM
Author: ClayMeow

On the heels of the PC system requirements and Season Pass details, coming a brand new Story Trailer for Techland's Dying Light. Enjoy!

Dying Light will launch January 27 in the Americas, January 28 in Australia and New Zealand, and January 30 in Europe and Asia; priced $49.99 for PC and $59.99 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Pre-ordering allows you to "Be The Zombie".

Source: YouTube


Complete Story


New The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 'Elder Blood' Trailer Features the Return of Ciri

Posted: December 5, 2014 @ time: 10:11PM
Author: ClayMeow

Thanks to the Game Awards 2014, that means we get a plethora of new trailers and thankfully that includes one of the biggest games of 2015, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The new trailer is entitled "Elder Blood" and shows the return of Ciri, who is being hunted by the Wild Hunt due to the Elder Blood that flows through her veins. Oh, and the game took home the award for "Most Anticipated Game."

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is coming to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on February 24, 2015. Sixteen DLCs are planned, all for free!

Source: Facebook [1] & [2]


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Imagination Announces Raspberry Pi Competitor

Posted: December 6, 2014 @ time: 01:09PM
Author: CheeseMan42

British company Imagination has announced a barebones computer to compete with the Raspberry Pi. The Creator CI20 beats the Pi in processor speed, memory, and onboard storage, and also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for connectivity while many competitors only have wired Ethernet. The CI20 is available for purchase now, with shipment expected to begin in January, at an MSRP of $65. Imagination has previous experience designing graphics chips for Apple devices and will use a graphics chip found in iPads for the CI20. Chris Green, principal technology analyst at the Davies Murphy Group, described its' potential impact saying, "There will be a modicum of pick-up, especially for people trying to develop for Android it could be a very useful low-cost device to have. But do I think it will make much wider impact? The answer is no."

Source: BBC


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Grim Fandango Remaster Gets a Release Date

Posted: December 6, 2014 @ time: 01:23PM
Author: CheeseMan42

When it was announced that a Grim Fandango remaster was coming to PC and PS4 in July, Double Fine had yet to settle on a release date. The game has now been given a release date of January 27 on PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, and Vita consoles. In addition to the release date announcement, Double Fine revealed that a remaster of Day of the Tentacle is also on the way for PC and PS4. As someone that never got a chance to play these highly touted games when they were first released, I am very eager to get my hands on the remastered versions.

Source: PC Gamer


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Street Fighter V Coming Exclusively to PC and PS4 with Cross-Platform Play

Posted: December 6, 2014 @ time: 02:38PM
Author: ClayMeow

You may have seen the leaked Announcement Trailer ahead of time, but Capcom made it official today – the next iteration of the venerable Street Fighter series is exclusive to PC and PlayStation 4. Not only that, but thanks to a strategic partnership between Sony and Capcom, Street Fighter V will feature cross-platform play for the first time ever. Yes, that means PC gamers and PS4 gamers can face off each other!

Street Fighter V has no release date just yet, but its first gameplay demonstration will take place at the Capcom Cup grand finals tournament on December 13. You can watch it live at twitch.tv/capcomfighters.

Source: Press Release and Capcom Blog


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