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News Archives for February 2015

Raptr Gaming Platform and Community Hacked

Posted: February 2, 2015 @ time: 05:20AM
Author: gebraset

Raptr, one of the fastest growing online gaming platforms and communities in the world, has officially been hacked. The service itself is integrated into the AMD Gaming Evolved application, which is similar to NVIDIA’s GeForce Experience. According to the Raptr Founder and CEO, Dennis Fong, user names, email addresses, password hashes, and some first and last names may have been compromised due to the attack. Fortunately, Raptr makes use of a two-factor authentication system to redeem Raptr Reward Points, meaning that points earned as a Raptr member should be protected against unauthorized redemptions. Fong also states that all individuals who use Raptr should change their account passwords immediately, especially if the same password was utilized for other accounts on other websites or services.

Source: VideoCardz.com


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Möbius Strips Made of Light Created

Posted: February 2, 2015 @ time: 08:54AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

At one point or another, you have probably made a Möbius strip, as it is a fairly common demonstration in schools. In Nature however, it is far less common, but now researchers from the University of Rochester, University of Ottawa, and some European researchers, have created it with light.

Being an electromagnetic wave, light waves oscillate in some direction, and that direction is their polarization. Normally one would expect light to be randomly polarized, or polarized in the same direction across a beam, but that is not the case here. The researchers produced a beam of what is called structured light. Unlike typical beams, structured light has had its polarization controlled to the point that it can oscillate in any direction, in all three dimensions. To make the beam of structured light, the researchers fired a laser through a special liquid crystal lens, producing a Möbius strip in the beam's polarization.

To prove they had created that shape, a particle was scanned through the beam, and the researchers measured how the light was scattered. This allowed them to measure the polarization of the beam across its cross-section, confirming the Möbius strip shape.

Source: University of Rochester


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Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: February 2, 2015 @ time: 11:35AM
Author: bp9801

It is the start of a new week, as well as the start of February, and we have some items for you to check out. There is a look at the be quiet! Silent Base 800 case, which is the first case from the company and incorporates plenty of features to appeal to everyone. We also have the Reeven Hans RC-1205 CPU cooler to see if it will help keep your chip nice and cool. If you're in the market for a tablet/laptop hybrid, then perhaps the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix is the one for you. Finishing off today's items is a look at the ErgoDox Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Kit, a very unique keyboard sporting an ergonomic design and Cherry MX switches.

Cases
be quiet! Silent Base 800 @ ThinkComputers

CPU Cooling
Reeven Hans RC-1205 @ Frostytech

Keyboards/Mice
ErgoDox Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard Kit @ LanOC Reviews

Laptops/Tablets
Lenovo ThinkPad Helix (2014) @ TechSpot


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Amazon Updates Echo with Additional Voice Control Capabilities

Posted: February 2, 2015 @ time: 11:52AM
Author: gebraset

Since the release of the Amazon Echo, users of the device have been unable to control streaming music through applications like Spotify without a phone or tablet nearby. That has now changed, thanks to the latest update to the personal assistant offered by Amazon. The update allows users to control iTunes, Pandora, and Spotify with their voice, eliminating the need to use a phone or tablet to control song choices. As before, music streaming must still be initiated from a phone or table, but the additional voice control capabilities add a nice touch to the Amazon Echo.

Along with additional voice control capabilities, the latest update to hit the Amazon Echo provides increased response speed and accuracy for various questions, extended coverage of facts sourced from Wikipedia, new spelling words and definitions, and a new "Simon Says" mode that repeats whatever is spoken after the phrase.

Source: ZDNet


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Raspberry Pi 2 Now Available

Posted: February 2, 2015 @ time: 04:40PM
Author: CheeseMan42

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced the next iteration of its popular small form factor computer, the Raspberry Pi 2. The new system uses a 900MHz quad core ARM Cortex-A7 chip from Broadcom, offering a nearly six fold performance increase over the previously used 700MHz single core ARM11. The Pi 2 also upgraded to 1GB of RAM and maintains the same form factor and connections of the previous generation Pi 1 Model B+ to make upgrading easy for current owners. It will be compatible with a wide variety of Linux Operating Systems including Raspbian and Ubuntu Snappy Core, and it will also introduce support for Windows 10. CEO Eben Upton described the relationship stating, "For the last six months we’ve been working closely with Microsoft to bring the forthcoming Windows 10 to Raspberry Pi 2. Microsoft will have much more to share over the coming months. The Raspberry Pi 2-compatible version of Windows 10 will be available free of charge to makers." The Pi 2 is available immediately at a price of $35, the same cost as the Model B+.

Source: Raspberry Pi


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Google Earth Pro Available At No Cost

Posted: February 2, 2015 @ time: 04:52PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Google has announced that its 3D image viewing software, Google Earth Pro, will now be available free of charge. Users can obtain a free key for the software that once cost $399 from Google, with current users not required to do anything to continue to use the software as expected. The Pro version expands on the features of Google Earth by adding "tools that help users measure 3D buildings, print high-resolution images for presentations or reports, and record HD movies of virtual trips around the world." Ezra Gottheil of Technology Business Research described the possible rationale behind the move to free stating, "First, the revenue they were accruing from it wasn't so great. And second, they see a way to monetize it in the long run, if it's more broadly used."

Source: Computer World


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Trailer For Warhammer 40K: Regicide Released

Posted: February 2, 2015 @ time: 04:59PM
Author: CheeseMan42

With rumors about a Total War game based on the Warhammer universe swirling, a trailer for a confirmed game, Warhammer 40K: Regicide, has been made available. The game puts players in control of units from the futuristic version of the Games Workshop game on a chess board. The game will be released later this year and it is looking very promising.

Source: PC Gamer


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Intel Signs Definitive Agreement to Acquire Lantiq

Posted: February 2, 2015 @ time: 05:30PM
Author: gebraset

Intel, one of the largest semiconductor chip makers in the world, has signed a definitive agreement that will allow the company to acquire Lantiq, a leader in state-of-the-art broadband access technology. Lantiq already holds over 2,000 patents related to broadband communications and has seen its technology deployed in more than 100 global operators. Intel plans on utilizing the technology that Lantiq holds to enhance connected experiences in the home. More specifically, the acquisition will allow Intel to harness the various DSL solutions that Lantiq offers, enabling the chip maker to expand into various gateway markets such as DSL, Fiber, LTE, retail, and IoT smart routers.

The Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Client Computing Group at Intel, stated that "The combination of our cable gateway business with Lantiq’s technology and talent can allow global service providers to introduce new home computing experiences and enable consumers to take advantage of a more smart and connected home." Dan Artusi, the CEO of Lantiq, noted that "Together we can drive the transformation of the broadband customer premises equipment (CPE) as it becomes a smart gateway that connects an increasingly diverse roster of devices and services in the home."

Financial details regarding the acquisition were not released by either company. The transaction, which is expected to close in approximately 90 days, is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

Source: Yahoo Finance


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Sony Online Entertainment Gets Acquired, Becomes Daybreak Game Company

Posted: February 2, 2015 @ time: 10:10PM
Author: bp9801

Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) is now no longer part of Sony, as it has been acquired by Columbus Nova and bears a new name: Daybreak Game Company. All of Daybreak's games released under the Sony name remain, as will the current H1Z1 and the upcoming EverQuest Next and Landmark. The new studio is effectively an independent studio now, and since there's no Sony control, multi-platform games are now a go. We can expect games on Xbox One and mobile now, in addition to PC and PlayStation 4. Exactly what will be coming to the other platforms is unknown, but at least they will be included in future developments. John Smedley will continue in his role as president with Daybreak, which is nice to see considering he effectively turned SOE in what it is today.

As for why Sony suddenly decided to sell off SOE, it seems the studio was no longer properly fitting into Sony's strategy. Sony has evidently been cutting back on investing in game development, and with huge projects, like the aforementioned EverQuest titles, SOE needed a new owner. The exact cost Columbus Nova paid for the studio isn't known at this time, so it could be exceptionally large or a little more fitting to a game studio. At any rate, Daybreak Game Company will exist as it always has, just now without the Sony name and Sony ownership.

Source: GamesIndustry.biz


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Easing Multicore Traffic Jams with Data Structures

Posted: February 3, 2015 @ time: 07:18AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

The saying goes that two heads are better than one, and in this case, what is true for humans is also true for processing cores, with multicore processors being more efficient than single core CPUs, to a point. That point comes when you are dealing with more than eight cores, because then the actions of the cores start running into each other. Researchers at MIT, however, have refined a data structure system to remove this problem until you reach 80 cores.

There are a variety of data structures that can be used, and each has their own advantages and disadvantages. A priority queue gives each piece of data a priority value when it is stored, and only those with the highest priority can be retrieved. With a multicore processor, each core is going to grab that data and put it in their cache, and then when one of them writes to the cache, it invalidates the caches of the other cores. To get around this, the researchers allow the cores to pull items other than the first in the queue, but then the cores have to know where to find the data.

One way to find the data is to build a link list, where each element points to the address of the next. This could lead to a similar traffic jam as before though, so the researchers instead employed a skip list, which uses multiple, smaller, linked lists. The cores are able to search these smaller lists first, to find the data, and if they do not, go down a layer to another linked list until they do find the data. This will not prevent the cores from running into each other, causing a traffic jam, but it will make it much less common.

Source: MIT


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday Edition

Posted: February 3, 2015 @ time: 09:44AM
Author: bp9801

A new day is upon us, with a couple of items for your viewing pleasure. We have a review of the Raidmax Hyperion micro-ATX case, which sports a dual chamber design with a fairly clean exterior style to fit in nearly any setup. There is also a look at the LUXA2 Lavi-S Bluetooth headset that may seem like any other set of Bluetooth headphones that can do duty as a headset, but there are also external speakers on the outside so you only need one accessory.

Cases
Raidmax Hyperion @ Benchmark Reviews

Speakers/Headphones
LUXA2 Lavi-S Bluetooth Headphones @ ThinkComputers


Complete Story


CM Storm Swift RX Mousepad Series Announced by Cooler Master

Posted: February 3, 2015 @ time: 12:02PM
Author: gebraset

Cooler Master, a leading creator, innovator, and manufacturer of desktop components and accessories, has just announced the CM Storm Swift RX mousepad series. The new mousepads are made of textured microscopic mesh that ensures ultimate precision, special treated stitched edges that reduce fraying, and a natural rubber base that holds the product in place. The CM Storm Swift RX mousepad series serve as a replacement to the highly successful Speed-RX series mousepads that have served gamers for quite some time.

The Storm Swift RX mousepad series from Cooler Master will be available to purchase sometime this month and will be offered in three sizes, including small, medium, and large.

Source: TechPowerUp


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Samsung Appoints New Smartphone Marketing Chief

Posted: February 3, 2015 @ time: 12:33PM
Author: gebraset

Samsung has revealed that it has appointed Lee Sang-chul as its new smartphone marketing chief, less than a month before the company is expected to unveil is next Galaxy S device in Barcelona. Lee Sang-chul, who has worked as the head of Latin American operations and Russian operations for Samsung, is replacing Kim Seok-pil, who apparently stepped down due to health reasons. Despite the health concerns, Kim Seok-pil is expected to return to work at a later time, according to a person familiar with the matter. Lee Sang-chul will be in charge of overseeing the launch of the new Galaxy S device, which is crucial for Samsung due to the decrease in mobile earnings that the company has recently experienced.

Source: Reuters


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Imperfect Borders May Improve Graphene

Posted: February 3, 2015 @ time: 03:35PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Graphene is an atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal structure, similar in appearance to chicken wire. At least pristine graphene is while the real stuff tends to contain many imperfections across the sheet. Normally one would think that imperfections would negatively impact a material's properties, but researchers at Rice University have found that they may actually improve them.

One of the ways to grow graphene is with a process called chemical vapor deposition, which uses catalysts to trigger the growth of graphene, as carbon atoms fall on them. From each of these catalysts domains grow, which eventually meet up to form a single sheet. The borders of these domains tend not to align with each other, so while the hexagonal structure may exist within them, the edges may be comprised of rings containing five or seven atoms. According to the Rice researchers' new model, these grain boundaries may actually improve the sheet's mechanical properties, making them tougher, instead of introducing weak points. They may even create a band gap, a property of semiconductors that graphene lacks.

As the current work is all theoretical, it will have to be confirmed by experiments, which is harder than it may sound because the domain boundaries will have to be precisely misaligned with each other. It may not be easy, but the researchers already have an idea that may work.

Source: Rice University


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Kingston Announces DataTraveler 4000 Gen 2 USB Drives

Posted: February 3, 2015 @ time: 04:38PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Kingston has announced a pair of new USB flash drives, the DataTraveler 4000 Gen 2 and DataTraveler 4000 Gen 2 Management Ready. Both drives are FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certified to provide users with a tamper-evident seal and hardware-based 256-bit AES encryption. The combination of physical and hardware based security, along with reformatting the drive after 10 unsuccessful unlock attempts, make this drive a great choice for anyone with sensitive information. The Management Ready version offers extra features for companies including remote password reset, configuration of device policies, and compliance auditing. Both drives use USB 3.0 and are available in sizes ranging from 4GB to 64GB.

Source: Press Release


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Razer Announces Newest Blade Gaming Laptop

Posted: February 3, 2015 @ time: 04:54PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Razer has announced the newest version of the Razer Blade gaming laptop, and it once again packs plenty of power into a very small space. The first feature that sticks out is a 3200x1800 touch screen display based on an Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide panel. The high resolution screen is powered by an NVIDIA GeForce 970M GPU that uses NVIDIA Optimus technology to swap with Intel Integrated Graphics for battery saving. Included RAM has been doubled to 16GB and a maximum of 512GB of storage can be installed using SSDs. The high resolution model will be available on February 16 at an MSRP of $2,199 while a 1080p version can be had for $1,999.

Source: Engadget


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Revolver 360 RE:Actor Now Available on NVIDIA GRID Gaming Service

Posted: February 4, 2015 @ time: 05:19AM
Author: gebraset

NVIDIA has announced that owners of SHIELD Tab and SHIELD portables can now play Revolver 360 RE:Actor for free, thanks to its addition to the NVIDIA GRID gaming service. Revolver 360 RE:Actor is a unique, independent shooter that has been brought to the United States by publisher PLAYISM, a Japanese company that aims to deliver creative games and content from Japan to gamers around the world. The game is developed by Cross Eaglet, a Japanese outfit famous for their frenetic action and unique mechanics, and focuses on a unique perspective rotation mechanic. This mechanic allows players to rotate the world, giving them the ability to not only slay the wealth of enemies around them, but also dodge incoming fire and find hidden items.

Revolver 360 RE:Actor is available for free through the NVIDIA GRID gaming service until June 30, 2015.

Source: Press Release


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Silicene Transistor Created

Posted: February 4, 2015 @ time: 07:22AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Since the discovery of graphene, researchers have been working to determine how its properties can be used and if other materials could be made with similar properties. One proposed material was silicene, which is an atom-thick sheet of silicon atoms and is very difficult to fabricate. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have found an easier way to work with it though, and used that method to build the world's first silicene transistors.

Both graphene and silicene are 2D materials with extraordinary electrical properties, but while graphene is a conductor, silicene is a semiconductor. This makes it of greater potential use for computers, but its fabrication limitations must be overcome, such as its reactivity with air. To work around this the Texas researchers worked with those at the Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems to reduce the exposure to air by growing silicene on a block of silver and then coating it with alumina. These protective layers made it possible to transfer the silicene to an oxidized-silicon substrate, and then remove some of the silver, leaving two electrodes with silicene between them.

Among the potential advantages to silicene transistors are very high speeds and great efficiency, while possibly also being easier for manufacturers to work with, as it is a form of silicon. Before it can get anywhere near our electronics though, better ways to make it need to be found, and that is what the researchers are looking into now.

Source: University of Texas at Austin


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POSEIDON Z Forged Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Unveiled by Tt eSPORTS

Posted: February 4, 2015 @ time: 11:12AM
Author: gebraset

Tt eSPORTS, the leading expert in professional e-Sports gaming peripherals, has just unveiled the POSEIDON Z Forged mechanical gaming keyboard. The latest input device offers an aluminum faceplate that provides a sleek and smooth finish, 10 macro keys with customizable profiles, five levels of adjustable blue backlighting, and mechanical switches that offer a lifespan of up to 50 million keystrokes. The POSEIDON Z Forged mechanical gaming keyboard also includes a detachable USB cable that has been designed for storage and travel, as well as a built-in dual USB port hub and USB sound-card with a headphone and microphone jack.

The Tt eSPORTS POSEIDON Z Forged mechanical gaming keyboard will be available to purchase this March and will carry an MSRP of $139.99.

Source: Press Release


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Tuning Band Gap Without Changing the Material

Posted: February 4, 2015 @ time: 03:42PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

The band gap is one of the most important properties of a material in modern technologies, especially for electro-optical devices. It is what determines whether the material will absorb a photon or not, so the ability to tune the band gap would be invaluable. Normally this would require changing the structure or the chemistry of the material, but researchers at Northwestern University have found a much simpler solution.

The band gap is the energy distance between the conducting and non-conducting electron bands in an atom. Only with the right amount of energy can an electron be made to jump across the band gap, and conduct any energy. To tune this value, a material's composition typically has to be altered and normally that just results in a change of one electron volt. What the Northwestern researchers found with their quantum mechanical calculations is that shifting the layers in an oxide material can tune the gap by two electron volts. Shifting the layers, so that different atoms align with each other, does not alter the chemistry of a material.

As the current work is all just computational, the next step is to experimentally test that. If successful, this research could have some powerful implications as materials could have their properties altered, resulting in new properties, without becoming altogether different materials.

Source: Northwestern University


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G.SKILL Sets DDR4 Overclock Record Again

Posted: February 4, 2015 @ time: 05:05PM
Author: CheeseMan42

G.SKILL has once again managed to achieve the highest memory frequency overclock for DDR4 memory, with a new high of 4355MHz. The overclock was set using the extreme performance Ripjaws 4 on an ASUS Rampage V Extreme with an Intel i7-5960X. Liquid nitrogen cooling was used to keep everything running cold to help ensure stability at high frequencies. In addition to the highest DDR4 overclock, the Ripjaws 4 memory was used to set three world records in the month of January.

Source: Press Release


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Radeon Users Experience Memory Leak Issues While Running Battlefield 4 on Windows 8.1

Posted: February 4, 2015 @ time: 05:16PM
Author: gebraset

Although AMD was successful at making the most out of the GeForce GTX 970 memory problem that was recently confirmed by NVIDIA, the company is now having issues of its own. According to David Sirland, who works at DICE LA, Radeon graphics cards are currently experiencing  memory leak issues while running Battlefield 4 on Windows 8.1. Robert Hallock, the Head of Global Technical Marketing for AMD, confirmed the problem and has reemphasized that it only affects Windows 8.1, though the cause of the leak is unknown at this time. The memory leak issues, which seems to be more severe in extended gaming sessions, is expected to be resolved for Radeon users within the next beta driver update from AMD.

Source: WCCFtech


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FCC Announces Planned Regulations For The Internet

Posted: February 4, 2015 @ time: 05:36PM
Author: CheeseMan42

The Chairman of the United States Federal Communications Commission, Tom Wheeler, has announced a proposal that would treat Internet Service Providers as common carriers under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. This is the latest action in the ongoing battle for Net Neutrality that has caused a great deal of debate with supporters of Net Neutrality being outspent by lobbyists and interests against Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality maintained popular opinion support and generated more comments in its favor. The proposal is seen as a "striking victory for net neutrality advocates," and Wheeler stated "I am submitting to my colleagues the strongest open internet protections ever proposed by the FCC. These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services." The FCC must vote on the proposal by February 28 and if approved it would likely face a tougher challenge in the Republican controlled Congress.

Source: The Verge and Venture Beat


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Improving LEDs to Surpass Lasers

Posted: February 5, 2015 @ time: 07:32AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Lasers and LEDs are two very common optical technologies that both provide very clear light, but have very different uses. These different uses are because of the different ways the technologies emit light, and their advantages and disadvantages. Now researchers at Berkeley Lab have made a discovery that could erase one of LEDs disadvantages and lead to optical interconnects on chips, and more.

Lasers produce their light by stimulated emission, which is actually what the 's' and 'e' stand for in the word, so energy is pumped into the device and something (a photon) has to trigger the emission of the photons. Light emitting diodes however rely on spontaneous emission, so energy is pumped in and the device naturally emits the light as a result. As lasers are stimulated, they can emit light faster than LEDs, which are limited by the size of the molecules involved. In fact spontaneous emission rates would have to increase by a factor of 200 to surpass stimulated emission, but the Berkeley researchers just managed to reach 115. This was achieved by adding gold optical antennas at half the wavelength of the light to the emitting material, making it easier to emit the photons.

One of the potential applications for such fast LEDs would be for short distance communications, such as on a microchip, where lasers would be too large and draw too much power to be desirable. Considering the researchers believe their optical antenna approach could lead to a 2500-fold increase in emission rate, this research could lead to a tremendous speed boost.

Source: Berkeley Lab


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday Edition

Posted: February 5, 2015 @ time: 09:57AM
Author: bp9801

We are fast approaching the end of the week, but not before there are some items for you to look over. There is a review of the Corsair Graphite Series 760T case, which features a simply massive side window to show off your setup. We also have the Patriot Memory Supersonic Boost XT 64GB USB 3.0 flash drive, with its fast speeds and durable design to easily transfer your data regardless of where you are. The Tt eSPORTS DRACONEM Aluminum mouse pad gets tested to see how well it can support your hectic gaming moments. Finishing off for today is a wishlist of 10 features Android Wear should have.

Cases
Corsair Graphite Series 760T @ LanOC Reviews

Storage/Hard Drives
Patriot Memory Supersonic Boost XT 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ Madshrimps

Mouse Pads
Tt eSPORTS DRACONEM Aluminum Mouse Pad @ ThinkComputers

Miscellany
Wishlist: 10 features Android Wear should have @ TechSpot


Complete Story


YouTube Experimenting with Multi-Angle Videos

Posted: February 5, 2015 @ time: 12:25PM
Author: gebraset

YouTube is now experimenting with yet another new feature known as multi-angle videos, which the company hopes its users will enjoy. The multi-angle video experiment allows content creators to upload videos that feature different camera angles, allowing them to focus on different parts of a performance, location, individual, and more. Viewers of these videos can switch between the different video angles on the fly while watching the content, providing YouTube users with a new way to interact with online streaming media. The YouTube multi-angle video experiment is currently only available to users located in the United States and is off-limits elsewhere.

Source: TechHive


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Health Insurer Anthem Suffers Security Breach

Posted: February 5, 2015 @ time: 01:09PM
Author: gebraset

Anthem, the second largest health insurer in the United States, has publically revealed that its servers have been hacked. The hacking, which affects the names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, email addresses, and employment information of as many as 80 million current and former members and employees, was done through sophisticated means. According to Joseph Swedish, the Anthem CEO, current evidence suggests that credit card numbers and medical records have not been exposed through the security breach. Anthem has stated that it made actions to immediately close the security breach as soon as it was found, and is also working with the FBI to figure out the true extent of the issue. Swedish, who also fell victim to the breach, has revealed that Anthem will contact individuals who are found to be affected by the data breach.

Source: CNET


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Social Media Can Cause Depression Depending on How You Use It

Posted: February 5, 2015 @ time: 03:03PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Every day I regularly check certain websites when I launch my browser to see the latest, and I suspect many of you do so too. For many of you one of those websites is probably Facebook, so you can see the latest posts from friends and family. Depending on how exactly you use Facebook though, it may be causing symptoms of depression, according to researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

The researchers found that these feelings of depression followed feelings of envy after 'surveillance use' of Facebook. This would be using Facebook to gauge how wealthy someone is, or the happiness of their relationship, which if compared against their own situation, causes the envy. Users who use the site for more positive purposes, like just staying connected, did not suffer any of these negative feelings.

Source: University of Missouri-Columbia


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Samsung Will Power The Next iPhone

Posted: February 5, 2015 @ time: 04:43PM
Author: CheeseMan42

It is being reported that Samsung will provide the processors for the next generation iPhone, in addition to earlier rumors that it will make the chips for the Apple smartwatch. The processor will be based on the ARM A9 architecture and will be an upgrade from the current A8. Apple relied on both Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor for the iPhone 6, but TSMC is still using the 20nm process while Samsung has moved to 14nm. It was previously rumored that Samsung is planning to use its Exynos chip for the next Galaxy S smartphone rather than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, giving Samsung access to a large portion of upcoming smartphone sales.

Source: Tech Spot


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Steam Beta Client Updated For Better DLC Tracking

Posted: February 5, 2015 @ time: 04:49PM
Author: CheeseMan42

An update has been pushed to the Steam Beta client that provides users with an improved system for keeping track of owned and installed DLC. The update provides an easy to use interface that presents all of your DLC in an easy to read scroll box. This new feature could prove to be especially useful for games with a large amount of DLC such as Crusader Kings or Call of Duty.

Source: PC Gamer


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Finding People in a Credit Card Metadata Haystack

Posted: February 6, 2015 @ time: 08:16AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Many of us would probably like to think that we can be hidden in a crowd and that without personal information, identifying an individual from a massive database is going to be very difficult. Well, it looks like that is not the case as researchers at MIT have found that they can accurately identify people out of datasets of over one million people, using just three, imprecise, pieces of purchase information.

For this work, the researchers worked with a data set that contained the names and locations of shops, days purchases were made, and the amounts of each purchase. Purchases made with the same credit card were given the same identification number. The researchers then analyzed the data set for any similar purchase patterns, between the identification numbers. They found that with just two data points, without price information, they could identify 40% of the people in the data set of over one million people, and with five points, almost everyone could be identified. They then tried coarsening the data, such as considering ranges of purchase amounts the same and purchases made the same week instead of the same day, and found that just four purchases were needed to identify 70% of the people. This coarsening was in part done to emulate if someone had to guess at the information, like they had looked at a shared pictured and not multiple receipts.

Obviously this shows that in Big Data, it is still possible to find specific people, without specific information. The researchers, as part of separate work, are also working on a system that would give people more control over their information, limiting what third-parties can access to only pertinent data.

Source: MIT


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Hardware Roundup: Friday Edition

Posted: February 6, 2015 @ time: 10:02AM
Author: bp9801

The first week of February is nearly in the books, and to mark the occasion we have plenty of items for you to look over. There is a review of the Sentey Optimus Plus mid-tower case, which features a large side window, fan controller, and even an SD card reader built right in. We also have the Gigabyte BRIX S BXi7H-5500 Broadwell Ultra Compact PC, which is just barely bigger than the palm of your hand. If you need some cooling for your CPU, perhaps the ID-Cooling SE-214X heat sink is the one for you. Thirteen different NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 cards get put to the test to see how they each handle overclocking. The new Battlefield Hardline beta gets tested to see what kind of performance you can expect on it. We also have a case mod using the Hex Gear R40 to make a unique model with a sweet color scheme. Lastly there is a podcast covering all the news and reviews from the past week.

Cases
Sentey Optimus Plus @ Benchmark Reviews

Video Cards
GeForce GTX 960 Overclocking Report: 13 Cards Tested @ PC Perspective

CPU Cooling
ID-Cooling SE-214X @ Frostytech

Small Form Factor
Gigabyte BRIX S BXi7H-5500 Broadwell Ultra Compact PC @ PC Perspective

Gaming
Battlefield Hardline Beta Benchmarked, Performance @ TechSpot

Miscellany
Case Mod Friday: Icy Blue Angel II @ ThinkComputers
Podcast #335 @ PC Perspective


Complete Story


Bringing Concentrating Solar Cells to Products

Posted: February 6, 2015 @ time: 03:12PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Every day more energy comes to Earth from the Sun than humanity uses, so it is only natural that we are trying to harness it. The catch is that there are limits to how well we can capture this energy and the technologies that do better jobs tend to also be more expensive. Researchers at Penn State though have recently developed a high efficiency concentrating solar cell that could be small and cheap enough to make it to roofs.

Traditional photovoltaics are subject to the Shockley-Queisser or SQ Limit, which states that single-junction solar cells cannot surpass approximately 34% efficiency. With additional junctions and concentrated light however, that limit increases, and the Penn researchers have designed a new multi-junction concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) system that could be cheap and efficient enough to make it onto our roofs. The photovoltaic element in the system is a miniaturized gallium arsenide solar cell less than a square millimeter in size that can be made in large batches. These cells are then placed on a moveable sheet between a lens and concave mirror, both of which are 3D printed. That sheet moves to keep the cell in the shared focal point of the lens and mirror, which moves over the course of the day as the Sun moves.

So far the researchers were able to achieve about 100 times solar concentration with their system, but 200 times concentration is possible with better printed lenses. The hope is to develop this technology into CPV panels that would take up as much room as traditional solar panels, but generate more power. One catch though is that they require a lot of direct Sunlight, so they are not suitable for all places.

Source: Penn State


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Mortgage Calculator Added to Google

Posted: February 6, 2015 @ time: 03:42PM
Author: gebraset

Although many mortgage calculators exist on the Internet that can be easily accessed through financial blogs, institutions, and more, Google has decided to implement its own version. Users can access the mortgage calculator by simply searching "mortgage calculator" on the Google website. The calculator, which will appear below a range of paid advertisements, allows users to select their mortgage amount, the interest rate, and the mortgage period. While the calculator is quite simple, as it does not include escrow payments made for homeowners insurance and property tax, it does break information down by monthly payments as well as the maximum loan amount a user can support.

Source: CNET


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GamerStorm Assassin II CPU Cooler Announced by DEEPCOOL

Posted: February 6, 2015 @ time: 03:56PM
Author: gebraset

DEEPCOOL has officially announced the GamerStorm Assassin II CPU cooler, which improves on the features offered by the previous generation GamerStorm Assassin. The DEEPCOOL GamerStorm Assassin II CPU cooler includes a large nickel-plated copper base, eight nickel-plated copper heat pipes, two aluminum fin stacks, a push fan, and a conveyor fan. The two aluminum fin stacks are actually different shapes, which is why the CPU cooler features a conveyor fan, and the cooler itself is quite massive, measuring in at 143mm x 158mm x 167mm and weighing 1.48kg. The GamerStorm Assassin II CPU cooler boast support for all modern CPU sockets, including LGA2011v3, LGA1150, AM3+, and FM2+.

Pricing and availability of the GamerStorm Assassin II CPU Cooler has not yet been released by DEEPCOOL.

Source: TechPowerUp


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Version 9.4 of Google Maps Includes Local Guides

Posted: February 6, 2015 @ time: 04:14PM
Author: gebraset

Google has persistently upgraded its Maps application in the past, with the addition of Uber integration, shareable directions, suggestions for nearby restaurants, and more. In an effort to improve Maps, as well as compete with Yelp, Google has added a new feature to version 9.4 of Maps, known as Local Guides. The feature, which is essentially a rebranding of the City Experts program, allows Google Maps users to view destination recommendations given by individuals who are labeled as Local Guides. These city experts can only be classified as Local Guides once they successfully achieve the milestone of having 50 high-quality reviews, making them more reputable over others who review eateries, public attractions, music venues, and more.

Version 9.4 of Google Maps is expected to rollout through the Play Store in a staggered fashion, something that is quite usual for application upgrades pushed by Google.

Source: PCWorld


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Netflix Planning Legend of Zelda Series

Posted: February 7, 2015 @ time: 05:44AM
Author: CheeseMan42

Online streaming service Netflix has recently had a great deal of success with some of the original content it has created for streaming including House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Netflix is now in "the early stages of developing" a live action series based on the Legend of Zelda games from Nintendo. The series is being described as "Game of Thrones for a family audience" and will see Netflix work closely with Nintendo to get everything right. Representatives from Netflix and Nintendo declined to comment on the rumor.

Source: Wall Street Journal


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AMD's R9 300 Series Nearing Release; Early Details Leaked?

Posted: February 8, 2015 @ time: 11:10PM
Author: bp9801

It looks like AMD isn't going to sit idly by in the video card world, as apparently it is planning to release the R9 300 series shortly. We may get the new cards this month even, or at the very least around the start of Spring. The flagship card will more than likely be the R9 390X running a Fiji XT core, with an R9 390 on a Fiji Pro core. Considering the R9 290X debuted as the flagship nearly 16 months ago, it is definitely time for AMD to get something new available. These R9 390X cards should be exceptionally fast, as they're expected to make use of SK Hynix's 3D stacked High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) to deliver up to four and a half times the bandwidth of GDDR5. This would mean 640GB/s of bandwidth on a 4096-bit bus and 1.25GT/s transfer rate, with a 1024-bit input/output interface. The R9 390X could have 4GB of HBM, along with 4096 GCN cores and maybe even a water cooler instead of an air cooler.

There is also rumor of a dual-GPU R9 395X2 planned for the end of the year, with a water cooler and $1499 price tag. First things first will be the R9 390X, 390, 380X, 380, 370X, 370, and R7 360 sometime in the next few months. We'll have to see exactly what these cards will be like and if they'll truly have that HBM memory on the 390X, but if so, they may be the new cards to consider. The other cards in the lineup will make use of GDDR5, with the R9 380X having 4GB on a 512-bit interface, the 370X running 3GB on a 384-bit interface, and the R7 360 featuring 2GB on a 256-bit interface.

Sources: WCCFTech [1], [2], [3], and KitGuru


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Intel Plans to Bring 10nm Chips to Fruition in 2017

Posted: February 9, 2015 @ time: 05:28AM
Author: gebraset

According to Taha Khalifa, the general manager for Intel in the Middle East and North Africa region, the company plans to launch its 10nm chips in early 2017. The first batch of 10nm processors, which will be code named Cannonlake and are the "Tick" in Intel’s "Tick Tock" cadence, are expected to offer SoC interconnect improvements such as shared coherent physical memory addresses and a more capable set of heterogeneous functionality. The 10nm chips will initially be integrated into tablet offerings and mobile devices, allowing these products to take on slimmer, lighter, and more elegant designs, all while using energy more efficiently. Mainstream and high performance 10nm chips will launch sometime afterwards, catering to other markets and consumers.

Time will tell if Intel is able to follow its current projection of launching 10nm chips in 2017, as Moore’s law continues to be difficult for semiconductor companies to keep up with.

Source: WCCFTech


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Double the Distance of Fiber Optic Signals

Posted: February 9, 2015 @ time: 07:02AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Of all the data used by humanity, some 99% of it travels along optical fibers, and with demand for the Internet rising, the capacity of optical fibers becomes more and more important. One way to carry more information on optical fibers is to send multiple signals at different frequencies. The issue is that these separate optical channels will still interfere with each other, causing errors, but researchers at University College London have found a way to address it.

What the researchers achieved was a way to receive all of the optical channels together, effectively eliminating the interactions between them. The researchers have already tested it using a 16QAM super-channel and high-speed super-receiver, successfully receiving all of the channels without error. The researchers are next want to test with 64QAM, 256QAM, and 1024QAM, which are super-channels used for digital cable TV, cable modems, and Ethernet connections respectively. To add a bit more context to this advancement, currently optical signals can travel about 3190 Km without error. This method would increase the error-free distance to 5890 Km just be changing the receiver; without having to replace the optical cables, which can be an expensive endeavor.

Source: University College London


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Hardware Roundup: Monday Edition

Posted: February 9, 2015 @ time: 10:03AM
Author: bp9801

It is the start of a new day, and a new week, with plenty of items to help get you going. There is a review of the ASUS GTX 980 Strix, with its custom cooler and factory overclock to get your games looking even better for longer. On the other side, we also have the ASUS R9 290X Matrix Platinum, which is the company's flagship AMD card, complete with a sweet looking cooler and ROG features. The Phanteks PH-TC14S CPU cooler gets tested to see if it is the one for you to keep your processor from burning up. If you're in the market for a new computer and aren't sure what processor to get, we have an article covering the best CPU for your buck. Finishing things off today are the Noreve iPad Air 2 Protective Cases to keep your new tablet safe from harm.

Video Cards
ASUS GTX 980 Strix @ LanOC Reviews
ASUS R9 290X Matrix Platinum @ LanOC Reviews

CPUs
The Best CPU for the Money: AMD FX vs. Intel Budget Shootout @ TechSpot

CPU Cooling
Phanteks PH-TC14S @ ThinkComputers

Laptops/Tablets
Noreve iPad Air 2 Protective Cases @ Madshrimps


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Super Bowl Halftime Show Powered by MAINGEAR System with Four GeForce GTX Titan Z GPUs

Posted: February 9, 2015 @ time: 01:08PM
Author: gebraset

Although information surrounding the systems that power the Super Bowl is generally not revealed to the public, it has been announced this year that a custom system from MAINGEAR was used to run the Super Bowl halftime show. The system, which was needed to render animation at 3780 x 3024, was comprised of an Intel Core i7-5930K processor, an ASUS X-99E WS motherboard, 16GB of Corsair Vengeance DDR4 RAM, a Samsung 850 PRO 256GB SSD, two Corsair AX 1200i PSUs, and four NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Z GPUs in SLI. Cooling for the MAINGEAR system was provided through an all liquid cooling solution utilizing EK Water Block products.

Source: TweakTown


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ADM 2.4 Beta Released by ASUSTOR

Posted: February 9, 2015 @ time: 02:14PM
Author: gebraset

ASUSTOR, a leading innovator and provider of network storage solutions, has just released the beta version of ADM 2.4. This latest version of the exclusive operating system for ASUSTOR NAS devices includes a variety of new functions such as an improved shared folder encryption mechanism, optimized performance for SSDs, newly added multimedia previews, and support for SNMP network management protocol. The beta version of ADM version 2.4 also includes an enhanced Network Defender that allows users to configure a trusted list of trusted IP addresses in addition to manually configuring black and white lists using the IP country or area of origin via the Geo IP expansion module.

The latest version of ADM is available for immediate download and is suitable for use on all ASUSTOR NAS devices.

Source: Press Release


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Mapping Temperatures in Transistors

Posted: February 9, 2015 @ time: 03:43PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

We all know how important it is to keep our electronics cool, and on the macroscale, this is not hard to achieve. On the microscale however, it is more difficult because even measuring the temperature of the components is a challenge. Researchers at the University of Southern California though have found an ingenious way to make those measurements, which should translate to the semiconductor industry easily.

Part of what makes it so hard to measure the temperature of a microelectronic device, like a transistor, is that a temperature probe will actually affect the temperature of the system. This makes accurate measurements impossible, so simulations have been used to infer temperatures within devices. The California researchers realized a way to make the measurements without a temperature probe by using an electron microscope. When the temperature of a material changes, so too does its volume and density, which is what the researchers are measuring with a transmission electron microscope. The electrons from the microscope creates plasmons in the material, which shift depending on its density, and now these shifts have been analyzed closely enough to make local temperature measurements.

Among the advantages of this new technique, named Plasmon Energy Expansion Thermometry, is that it can measure temperatures within a device, like a transistor, and not just on its surface. Semiconductor manufacturers already use transmission electron microscopes to measure the size of their devices, so measuring temperatures should not be too difficult for them to do as well. The research has so far been done with aluminum, so the next step is to translate the technique to other materials, including silicon.

Source: University of Southern California via EurekAlert!


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HyperX Announces Cloud II Gaming Headset

Posted: February 9, 2015 @ time: 05:30PM
Author: CheeseMan42

HyperX has announced its latest gaming peripheral, the Cloud II headset, delivering updates and improved performance over the previous generation Cloud headset. The headset uses a USB sound card audio control box to deliver hardware based 7.1 virtual surround sound. Users will have full control over their sound with separate controls for audio and microphone as well as a toggle switch for 7.1 sound. The sound card also provides "noise cancellation, auto gain control and echo cancellation," while the headband and ear cups are made of 100% memory to provide comfort when wearing them for long periods of time. The Cloud II is compatible with PC, Mac, PS4, and Xbox One.

Source: Press Release


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BIOSTAR Launches Gaming Z97X Motherboard

Posted: February 9, 2015 @ time: 05:49PM
Author: CheeseMan42

BIOSTAR has launched its latest motherboard for Intel based systems, the Gaming Z97X. This motherboard represents the first attempt by BIOSTAR at a motherboard designed specifically for gamers "from the ground up to be cool looking and high performing." The board has support for socket 1150 processors in an ATX form factor with three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, PCIe M.2 support, dual gigabit Ethernet, and BIOSTAR Super Hi-Fi Audio. Also included is the Gaming Commander box, a device that fits in a standard CD-ROM slot on your case with several interesting features. Users will have access to microphone in and audio out jacks with a built-in USB DAC, volume control buttons, and various temperature indicators.

Source: Press Release


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New Allotrope of Carbon Discovered

Posted: February 10, 2015 @ time: 08:19AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Carbon is an amazing element in part because it can form so many materials with various properties, including graphite, diamond, fullerenes, nanotubes, and graphene. Since its discovery, graphene has been of particular interest for its mechanical and electrical properties. Now a new allotrope of carbon modelled by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University may steal away some of that interest.

Graphene is an atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal structure, like chicken wire. What the Virginia researchers have theorized is a pentagonal structure, which is why they call the new material penta-graphene. According to their predictions, the new material would be very stable, very strong, and survive temperatures up to 1000 K. It would also have the curious property that if you stretch it in one direction, it will expand in the perpendicular direction as well, instead of contracting. Perhaps most interesting is that it will be a semiconductor and not a conductor, like graphene is.

Sadly all of the work so far is theoretical and based on computer models, so a means of fabricating it must be discovered to test any of it. Once that is achieved though, you can bet a lot of people will be exploring penta-graphene's various applications.

Source: Virginia Commonwealth University


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday Edition

Posted: February 10, 2015 @ time: 10:02AM
Author: bp9801

The week keeps rolling right along, with a couple of items for you to check out. There is a look at the Plextor M6e Black Edition 256GB PCIe SSD, which is a nicer looking M6e drive to go along with more color schemes. It should still have the same performance as the regular M6e SSD, but you'll need to check on the review to see for sure. We also have the Corsair Hydro H110i GT CPU cooler, a revamped and improved version of the H110 with a new pump and improved static pressure 140mm fans.

Storage/Hard Drives
Plextor M6e Black Edition 256GB PCIe SSD @ PC Perspective

CPU Cooling
Corsair Hydro H110i GT @ Madshrimps


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GeForce GTX 750 Ti Strix 4GB Announced by ASUS

Posted: February 10, 2015 @ time: 10:13AM
Author: gebraset

ASUS has officially announced a 4GB version of its value oriented GeForce GTX 750 Ti Strix graphics card. The latest card is identical to the 2GB version of the GeForce GTX 750 Ti Strix, as it features clock speeds of 1124MHz core, 1202MHz GPU Boost, and 5.40GHz effective memory, but offers gamers double the memory. Since the card is basically the same as the previously released version of the ASUS GeForce GTX 750 Ti Strix, the 4GB model still offers 640 CUDA cores based on the Maxwell architecture as well as a 128-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface.

Pricing and availability surrounding the 4GB version of the GeForce GTX 750 Ti Strix was not immediately released by ASUS.

Source: TechPowerUp


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Bethesda Announces First-Ever E3 Conference

Posted: February 10, 2015 @ time: 11:24AM
Author: bp9801

It may only be February, but Bethesda is already looking ahead to June, as it has announced it will be holding its first-ever E3 conference on June 14. That's a full two days before E3 officially kicks off, and the conference will take place in Hollywood, CA, with the studio inviting fans to attend live or via a Twitch stream. Typically the E3 conferences are reserved for Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft, Sony, and Nintendo (and in that order, usually), with Bethesda in the past appearing during Microsoft's conference. However, this year Bethesda wants its own show, which means the hype and speculation can officially begin in earnest.

So, is the conference for the big one, Fallout 4? It has been five years since Fallout: New Vegas arrived, and three years since The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, so it should certainly be time for Fallout 4. Or will the conference reveal some news on the new DOOM, especially since beta access was included in pre-orders of Wolfenstein: The New Order? Could we get something about Dishonored 2 to confirm it as a franchise? Would Bethesda announce something on all three? Hopefully, but for now, everything is pure and utter speculation. Speculation that you can sure wil be rampant until June 14 rolls around.

Source: Bethesda Blog


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