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News Archives for October 2015

First Optical Rectenna Created for Converting Light Directly to DC

Posted: October 1, 2015 @ time: 06:14AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

The ability for antennas to convert radiation into electrical currents has been put to use for many decades now, but these systems have operated at radio and microwave frequencies. By moving up to optical frequencies though, antennas combined with rectifier diodes could be used to directly generate direct current. Now researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have finally achieved this with a rather ingenious design using carbon nanotubes.

To start the researchers grow conductive, vertically-aligned carbon nanotubes on a conducting substrate. The nanotubes are then coated with aluminum oxide, an insulator, and finally thin, transparent layers of calcium and aluminum are applied, forming a metal-insulator-metal diode. Bringing the antenna closer to the diode makes similar systems more efficient, so making the antenna one of the metals in the diode, as is the case here, is the ideal design. This efficiency is needed too, because the rectifier has to be able to switch on and off at femtosecond intervals in order for it to create a current from visible light.

Currently the proof-of-principle rectennas has an efficiency of have an efficiency of about one percent, but based on the work of others, the researchers are confident they could reach over 40% efficiency. Potential applications include photodetectors, and energy conversion systems that capture waste heat or light for generating electricity.

 

 

Source: Georgia Institute of Technology


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday, October 1, 2015, Edition

Posted: October 1, 2015 @ time: 11:28AM
Author: bp9801

We have arrived at the first day of October, and with it comes several items for you to look over. There is a review of the Thermaltake Core P5 case, a unique take on cases where everything installs on a flat chassis, with clear panels being built up around it to show off the components. We have a look at the Tenda AC15 AC1900 Dual-Band WiFi Router to see if it should your current router, and not just because how much more affordable it is than other wireless AC models. There is an article giving credit to the old Xerox PARC and what kind of contributions it has given us over the years. Ending things for this Thursday is a look at GeForce NOW and the early impressions of NVIDIA's new game streaming service.

Cases
Thermaltake Core P5 @ ThinkComputers

Networking
Tenda AC15 AC1900 Dual-Band WiFi Router @ Benchmark Reviews

Miscellany
NVIDIA GeForce NOW Initial Thoughts and Review @ PC Perspective
Xerox PARC: A Brief Nod to the Minds Behind Laser Printing, Ethernet, the GUI and More @ TechSpot


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Using Performance Cloning to Improve Memory Designs

Posted: October 1, 2015 @ time: 02:14PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

We are always on the lookout for the best hardware, so naturally manufacturers are doing what they can to claim that title. One way to help achieve that is to optimize the designs for the software the hardware will be running. The catch is that sometimes that software is not available to the manufacturers, but researchers at North Carolina State University have developed performance cloning systems to help out.

Performance cloning builds a profile of how a program performs that can then help direct hardware optimization. This is important if the software in question is proprietary, like that used by several large corporations and Wall Street firms, because the software itself need not be shared with the manufacturer. Performance cloning has been used before for optimizing CPU design, but this new work focuses instead on memory systems. The researchers developed two techniques called MEMST (Memory Emulation using Stochastic Traces) and MeToo. MEMST looks at how much memory is used by a program, where that data is stored, and its retrieval pattern. MeToo analyzes memory timing behavior, profiling how often data is retrieved and if there are periods of rapid memory requests.

Potentially this work could lead to improvements with DRAM, memory controllers, and memory buses. The next step for MEMST and MeToo is to develop an integrated program, which also includes the researchers' work on cache memory, and commercializing it.

Source: North Carolina State University


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Windows 10 Adoption Slows Down

Posted: October 1, 2015 @ time: 03:50PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Microsoft enjoyed a rather quick adoption rate of its latest Operating System, Windows 10, capturing 5.21% market share after its first full month of availability. Growth slowed in the month of September, increasing market share by just 1.42% to 6.63%. Windows 8 increased 0.04% to 2.6% while Windows 8.1 fell 0.67% to 10.72%. Windows 7 dropped 1.14% but still holds a commanding lead at 56.53%. Windows XP even managed to increase in use from 12.14% to 12.21%.

Source: Fudzilla


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Amazon to Ban Sales of Apple TV and Chromecast

Posted: October 1, 2015 @ time: 04:01PM
Author: CheeseMan42

As of October 29 Amazon plans to discontinue sales of the Apple TV and Google Chromecast on its website, advising all merchants through a memo. Amazon made this move as "it wants to sell living room devices that are fully compatible and optimized for its Amazon Prime Video service," adding that "Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, and Fire TV are excellent choices." The divide between the companies appears to be centered around an unwillingness to share revenue from content sales with Apple and Google. Consumers will still be able to get their hands on the devices through many other reputable retailers.

Source: The Verge


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In-Game Advertising Can Hurt Player Opinions

Posted: October 2, 2015 @ time: 07:11AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Advertising can be found in all manner of places, and the virtual environments of video games are no exception. Such advertising comes in different forms though, from virtual billboards to sponsored items. Researchers at Penn State decided to investigate what impact a player's performance has on their views of the sponsored item.

For this study, which had 85 participants (59 female and 26 male), the researchers used a racing video game and had the players drive a car featuring a VW logo. To measure performance the researchers recorded the number of laps completed, and the times the player crashed. What the players did not know is that the characteristics of the car had been modified by the researchers, to create an easy and difficult version of the game. The results showed a link between player performance and their retention of the advertised brand and opinion of the brand. Those players who performed better remembered the brand better and reported a more favorable attitude of the company, while those who performed worse reported just the opposite. This means that advertising in a game does not guarantee a positive result for the company.

The researchers also looked into the virtual billboards also featured in the game and found that recall of the ad was very low. This indicates that the branded products get more attention than the more traditionally placed ads.

Source: Penn State


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Hardware Roundup: Friday, October 2, 2015, Edition

Posted: October 2, 2015 @ time: 10:40AM
Author: bp9801

Friday has arrived at last, with a few items in tow to kick off the weekend. There is a new segment in the Android to iPhone transition, with the home screen and battery life compared to see just where the two devices stand. A new case mod takes the In Win 909 case, spruces it up with a ton of high-end components, and outfits one sweet water cooling setup. It's actually a sponsored rig and will be available for purchase later this year, so if this is something that strikes your fancy and you can afford it, this custom rig could be yours. Lastly, a new podcast looks back at the news and reviews from the past week.

Mobile
Android to iPhone Day 6: Battery Life and Home Screens @ PC Perspective

Miscellany
Case Mod Friday: Alaskan Arctic @ ThinkComputers
Podcast #369 @ PC Perspective


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Microsoft Buys Havok Away from Intel

Posted: October 2, 2015 @ time: 11:09AM
Author: bp9801

Microsoft has made a new purchase today to help boost its PC gaming focus, as it has acquired Havok from Intel. Havok is known for its 3D physics and is used in more than 600 different video games, including the Halo, inFamous, The Elder Scrolls, and Dark Souls series. Microsoft says it will continue to work with developers and license Havok out to different partners, which is great considering every studio from Activision to EA, Sony, and Nintendo utilize it. Havok is seen as a nice complement to Microsoft's own DirectX 12, Visual Studio, and Azure suites for game developers, with all of those now under one roof. The cloud computing aspect of Azure looks to be one area where Microsoft is going to take Havok, as it has plans for a "complete cloud service" for Havok. The upcoming Crackdown 3 will be one of the first games to make use of this Havok cloud, with others undoubtedly following suit.

With Microsoft's purchase of Havok, it stands to reason the company wants to show it's serious about getting back to PC gaming. Hopefully this is just the start of that, and no dropoff in Havok use by developers and partners comes as a result. Considering how much Intel licensed out Havok over the past eight years or so, Microsoft would be wise to keep up that trend.

Source: Microsoft Blog


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Is Cheating in a Social Media Game Cheating?

Posted: October 2, 2015 @ time: 02:37PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

That is the topic researchers at Concordia University decided to investigate. Many people would say that social media games differ from more traditional video games in a number of ways, and the researchers wanted to see if the views on cheating are also different between the two.

To perform the study the researchers surveyed some 151 social media gamers, aging from 18 to 70. The survey investigated the respondents' views on cheating in general, in social media games, and what kind of practices players use. The researchers found that the responses largely fell into two main categories, according to the player's view of cheating. One category defined cheating as breaking with socially expected player conduct, so to gain an unfair advantage or otherwise act socially irresponsibly. The second group defined cheating as playing outside of the formal game rules. Across the board though, those methods of cheating that require some level of technical knowledge, like using cheat codes and external software, were condemned, but other forms were not so quickly criticized.

When the researchers asked if cheating in games on other platforms was different from cheating in social media games, a third of the participants said it was different. Next the researchers want to see if a player's ethics are affected when they use their real identities in the game.

Source: Concordia University


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Heat Might Extend Battery Lifetime

Posted: October 5, 2015 @ time: 06:45AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Batteries are an integral technology supporting modern life, but despite how widespread they are, they can be dangerous. Overtime it is possible for lithium-ion batteries to form dendrites inside of them, which can reduce battery life, cause a short circuit and even a fire. As published in The Journal of Chemical Physics by AIP Publishing, researchers at Caltech have found that heat might reduce dendrites, ultimately extending the usable lifetime of a rechargeable battery.

Batteries store and release energy by moving ions between the two electrodes, but because the ions do not always return correctly, small structures called dendrites can form. Over time the dendrites can grow, eventually connecting the two electrodes causing a short circuit. What the researchers observed is that when heated to 55 ºC, the dendrites could shorten by up to 36%. To understand why, they turned to computer models that showed the atoms in the dendrites moving around enough to cause them to topple.

This does not mean you should start baking old rechargeable batteries, as there are still a number of other variables to consider, but the researchers are going to keep investigating. Eventually this could develop into a way to keep our batteries working longer, just by adding some heat.

Source: EurekAlert!


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Hardware Roundup: Monday, October 5, 2015, Edition

Posted: October 5, 2015 @ time: 10:17AM
Author: bp9801

The first full week of October is upon us, with plenty of items for you to check out to get it started right. There is a review of the GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming G1 motherboard, the company's flagship model for the Gaming G1 series that definitely carries a flagship price. The KingFast F9 256GB SSD gets tested to see how this Silicon Motion controller-equiped drive performs. We have a look at the Mionix Castor gaming mouse, a right hand-only mouse that sits in between Mionix's two other mice in terms of size. Corsair's VOID Wireless Dolby 7.1 Gaming Headset gets reviewed to hear how Corsair has improved its audio technology. A USB 3.1-equipped hard drive enclosure from Vantec gets tested to see what kind of speed increases the new standard offers. Wrapping things up is a look at the best routers to purchase, covering everything from budget models to mainstream and beyond.

Motherboards
GIGABYTE Z170X-Gaming G1 @ PC Perspective

Storage/Hard Drives
KingFast F9 256GB SSD @ Madshrimps
Vantec NexStar 3.1 2.5-inch Hard Drive Enclosure @ ThinkComputers

Keyboards/Mice
Mionix Castor @ LanOC Reviews

Speakers/Headphones
Corsair VOID Wireless Dolby 7.1 Gaming Headset @ Madshrimps

Networking
Best of Routers: Budget, mainstream, and overall picks @ TechSpot


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New Study Examines How Video Games Improve Brain Functions by Type

Posted: October 5, 2015 @ time: 02:31PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Whether people like it or not, video games have an impact on how our brains function and better understanding of this can prove useful. To that end, researchers have recently published an article in the Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences journal from SAGE Publications about the ways different types of games influence our brains.

With such a wide variety of video games, it is important to consider how different types and genres may impact us. As one example, action games that have quick moving targets moving in and out of our vision and require the player to make rapid decisions all appear to improve our attention skills, brain processing, and much more. However total play time can still predict poorer attention in the classroom, and there are behavior impacts beyond our cognitive abilities.

With modern video games so often using principles also used by psychologists, neuroscientists, and educators for altering behavior and educating people, understanding these impacts is very important. This is compounded by the active learning video games usually employ, as these methods also tend to be more effective than passive learning. The published article is free for a limited time if you follow the link given in the source.

Source: SAGE Publications


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Patriot Announces Viper 4 DDR Memory Kit

Posted: October 5, 2015 @ time: 03:35PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Patriot has announced the addition of a 3600MHz kit to its Viper 4 DDR4 memory line, designed for use with Intel Skylake processors on the 100 series platform. Viper 4 is a dual channel kit with the 3600MHz iteration achieving timings of 17-18-18-36 at 1.35V. This kit will be available in a capacity of 8GB at an MSRP of $169.99. VP of Engineering Les Henry described the new memory stating, "Our Viper 4 Line continues to reach new heights with our latest launch of the new 3600MHz kit paired with the new Intel® Skylake Platform. We will continue to prescreen each IC prior to building the modules to ensure stability and provide unsurpassed performance to our customers." The 3600MHz Viper 4 memory is available immediately in store and online at retailers such as Fry's, Newegg, and Amazon.

Source: Press Release


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JXD Singularity S192 Presents New Android Handheld Gaming Option

Posted: October 5, 2015 @ time: 03:54PM
Author: CheeseMan42

The NVIDIA Shield is probably the most well known device in the handheld Android gaming market, but JXD hopes to make a name for itself with a device known as the Singularity S192. The most easily seen difference between the two devices is that the S192 has the screen built into the controller, similar to the design of the Wii U Gamepad. The S192 is powered by an NVIDIA Tegra K1 SoC with 2GB of RAM. The screen is 7" in size and a 10,000mAh battery is estimated to provide up to 11 hours of video playback and six hours of gaming. The S192 is rounded out with a 13MP rear camera and 5MP front camera. It can be yours at an MSRP of $299.

Source: Liliputing


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Build 10558 of Windows 10 Brings Additional Features and Refinements

Posted: October 6, 2015 @ time: 05:35AM
Author: gebraset

Windows 10 preview build 10558 has leaked over the weekend and includes some additional features and refinements that further polish the operating system. Some of the new features include new Messenger and Skype Video applications, tab previews within the Microsoft Edge browser, and the ability for users to install applications to various drives. The Start Menu features a redesigned context menu that is available to utilize upon right-clicking a tile within the menu, and build 10558 of Windows 10 also ushers in redesigned icons for various components such as sound devices.

The first major update to Windows 10 is expected to arrive sometime next month, and should provide users of the latest Microsoft operating system with an improved experience overall.

Source: WCCFtech


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Two-Quantum Bit Logic Gate Build in Silicon

Posted: October 6, 2015 @ time: 05:53AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

For decades silicon has been used to construct the various electronic devices we rely on, and while silicon is approaching its end for these devices, using silicon is actually a goal for quantum computers. This is because we already have a robust infrastructure for manufacturing silicon devices, so realizing quantum computing components with the material will make them easy to produce. Researchers at the University of New South Wales have recently created the final piece in the silicon quantum computing puzzle by building a two-qubit logic gate.

Like in a traditional computer, the logic gate is what performs the logical operations on inputs, but instead of working on electronic bits, it will instead work on quantum bits, or qubits. While electronic bits can exist as either a 0 or 1, qubits can exist as both 0 and 1 at the same time, thanks to a phenomenon called superposition. Exploiting superposition like this is what will allow a quantum computer to perform highly parallel tasks no modern computer can. As this is a two-qubit logic gate, it can operate on four values at a time, while a three-qubit gate would operate on eight. To create this new device, the researchers modified the design of electronic transistors so that each one would only be associated with one electron, and then the data is encoded onto the electrons as spin.

All the other components necessary to construct a quantum computer have been made of silicon previously, so this discovery provides the final piece to the puzzle. The next step for this research is to find industry partners for manufacturing full-scale quantum processor chips.

Source: University of New South Wales


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday, October 6, 2015, Edition

Posted: October 6, 2015 @ time: 10:21AM
Author: bp9801

A new day is upon us, with some new items for your viewing pleasure. There is a review of the BitFenix AEGIS mATX case, a smaller model that features a 2.8" LCD display on the front and room for seven case fans inside. An SSD from a relatively unheard of company in the consumer landscape called Centon gets tested, as its C-380 480GB model is compared to the competition. A WiFi Audio Extender from D-Link is reviewed to see how much of a boost it can be to your wireless network, as well as helping with audio streaming. Finally we have a build log for a new test bench system, covering all the components that makes it up and the reasons behind each choice.

Cases
BitFenix AEGIS @ Neoseeker

Storage/Hard Drives
Centon C-380 480GB SSD @ Benchmark Reviews

Networking
D-Link Wi-Fi Audio Extender @ ThinkComputers

Miscellany
Building the Bench: A New System for Cases and Cooling @ PC Perspective


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Squad Creation and Tactics Can Make All The Difference in Wasteland 2: Director's Cut

Posted: October 6, 2015 @ time: 10:39AM
Author: bp9801

The journey back to the revised and revamped wastes is nearly here, as the Wasteland 2: Director's Cut launch is a week away. To help prepare you for the journey, be it new or familiar, is a new video covering squad creation and tactics narrated by game creator Brian Fargo. Creating the right squad is of utmost importance in Wasteland 2, as the variety of encounters, enemies, and choices mean your squad must have a range of abilities. It is up to you to decide who makes up your squad, as they can be one of the pre-made squaddies from inXile, or custom creations by you. If you go the custom route, you can alter everything about the squad member, from their appearance and clothing style, to the skills, attributes, and weapon specializations. Try to go with a balance of different abilities, as like I said before, the right squad can make all the difference in the wastes.

In addition to choosing the perfect squad for your journey to save the people in the area, it is just as important to use sound tactics to overcome any encounter. This is where a range of abilities and specializations can come into play, as it can influence how you approach each encounter. Not all of them are solved by combat, as the correct dialogue choices can eliminate a fight, or make it a whole lot easier. Sometimes you need safe cracking or computer hacking to get out of the siutation or present a new pathway, so your choices in who to bring can prove invaluable.

Wasteland 2: Director's Cut arrives October 13 for the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It is a free upgrade to all current owners on PC, while anyone else can pick it up for $40.

Source: YouTube


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Ubisoft Announces Far Cry Primal

Posted: October 6, 2015 @ time: 10:59AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Yesterday some of us watched an unusual reveal by Ubisoft for an upcoming title the gradually revealed cave paintings. Now we know this was the announcement event for Far Cry Primal, the next game in the Far Cry franchise.

Like other games in the franchise, Primal is an open world sandbox game, but instead of being in a remote, lawless environment, you will be playing in the year 10,000 BC, the Stone Age, when humans are fighting to survive as a species. You will play as Takkar, the last member of his hunting game that has arrived in the land of Oros, and eventually become the first human to tame the wilderness. On your way to that victory, you will have to hunt for food, deal with predators and other tribes, craft weapons and tools, and master fire. The game is being developed by Ubisoft Montréal in collaboration with Ubisoft Toronto, Ubisoft Shanghai Studio, and Ubisoft Kiev Studio.

Far Cry Primal is scheduled to release February 23, 2016 for both the Xbox One and Playstation 4, with the PC release coming in March. Until then you can check out our reviews of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and Far Cry 4.

 

 

Source: Press Release


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Geralt's New Adventure Awaits in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Hearts of Stone Launch Trailer

Posted: October 6, 2015 @ time: 11:03AM
Author: bp9801

It's nearly time to step back into the shoes of professional monster slayer Geralt of Rivia when the Hearts of Stone expansion arrives next week for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Hearts of Stone sees Geralt captured and forced to work for the Merchant of Mirrors to defeat the bandit captain Olgierd von Everec. Unfortunately, Geralt is marked by some type of magic on his face that doesn't seem all that pleasant, so it isn't like he could deny the Merchant of Mirrors if he wanted. This bandit captain won't be entirely easy to bring down, as he's been cursed with immortality, which you can see in the Hearts of Stone launch trailer below. He's going to present a new challenge for Geralt, one that he's hopefully up to the task of defeating. All is not quite as it seems, however, so choose carefully when the time comes.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Hearts of Stone adds more than 10 hours of new adventures, quests, monsters, items, and even a romance. Your choices help shape where Hearts of Stone leads you, and it looks to be one exciting journey. It arrives on October 13 for the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It can be purchased now for $9.99 (discounted to $8.49 for now) or as part of the Expansion Pass for $24.99.

Source: YouTube


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be quiet! Announces Silent Base 600 Case

Posted: October 6, 2015 @ time: 03:56PM
Author: CheeseMan42

German company be quiet! has announced its newest case, the Silent Base 600. The company followed the design motto "Form Follows Function" in creating a case that "combines excellent cooling efficiency with perfect air circulation" providing users with "whisper-quiet operation." The cooling in the case is based around a pair of pre-installed Pure Wings 2 and a three step fan controller that allows users to adjust cooling performance and noise to suit their needs. The case has mount points for an additional five fans and can also accommodate water cooling solutions. Graphics cards up to 413mm in length and CPU coolers up to 170mm in height can be installed. The case is available now in orange, black, and silver at an MSRP of $109.90 for the standard case or $119.90 for a windowed model.

Source: Press Release


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Cyberpunk 2077 Will Be Bigger Than The Witcher 3

Posted: October 6, 2015 @ time: 04:17PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Cyberpunk 2077 is the next project from CD Projekt Red, the studio behind The Witcher trilogy. Not much has been revealed about the game up to this point, other than that the studio has switched its focus from The Witcher to the new game. Visual effects artist Jose Teixeira has revealed some rather large, though vague, details about the game stating "Cyberpunk is far bigger than anything else that CD Projekt Red has done before. We're really stepping into the unknown in terms of complexity and size and problems we encounter." He also believes that the size of The Witcher 3 will help the studio going forward adding "If anything, working on The Witcher 3 was a really good and often brutal learning experience. Cyberpunk is going to benefit greatly from it. I can almost guarantee it." Unfortunately Teixeira and the studio remain silent on a release date, but the latest expansion for The Witcher 3 should hold you over for now.

Source: MCV UK


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Microsoft Introduces the Surface Book Laptop

Posted: October 6, 2015 @ time: 05:04PM
Author: bp9801

Microsoft has had its Surface tablet for quite some time, proving to people that a powerful Windows tablet is possible, and one that is also starting to be imitated by the competition. Today Microsoft has a new product that is sure to get collective mouths watering, as it unveiled the Surface Book. This is the company's first laptop and it comes loaded with features, starting with a Maxwell GPU from NVIDIA. It also has either an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, integrated Intel HD 520 graphics on models without the NVIDIA GPU, an SSD ranging in size from 128GB to 1TB, and 8 or 16GB of RAM. The Surface Book features a 13.5" PixelSense display with a 3000x2000 resolution touchscreen, which supports ten point multi-touch. It can be used like a regular laptop, making it the first ever true laptop in the Surface line; flip the screen around to take advantage of the Surface Pen and the pen-first mode; or completely detach the screen and use it just like a tablet. Yes, the Surface Book is a laptop, but it still holds true to its heritage and becomes a fully functioning tablet at the push of a button.

Also on the Surface Book is 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, a five megapixel front camera, eight megapixel rear camera, dual microphones, front-facing speakers with Dolby audio, and a TPM chip for enterprise security. Connectivity options include two USB 3.0 ports, a full-size SD card reader, SurfaceConnect, a headset jack, and mini DisplayPort. Battery life is stated to reach 12 hours with video playback, but that can always change based on how much or little you're doing on it.

Windows 10 Pro powers the Surface Book, giving you the latest and greatest OS from Microsoft. The company bills it as a professional laptop, but also one that can hunker down and play some games, with Microsoft's Panos Panay billing it as the perfect device for gamers, developers, architects, scientists, designers, content creators, and just about anyone else you can think of. The NVIDIA GPU can help out immensely in Adobe Illustrator, Lightroom, Photoshop, or just for some gaming to unwind after a long day.

The Microsoft Surface Book arrives on October 26 for $1,499, with the price bumping to $1,899 if it has the NVIDIA Maxwell GPU. Each Surface Book comes with the Surface Pen, the keyboard, a power supply, and a one-year warranty. Pre-orders are now live from Microsoft's online store.

Sources: Microsoft and NVIDIA Blog


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Improving Solar Cells by Hiding the Contacts

Posted: October 7, 2015 @ time: 06:21AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Solar cells are a technology more and more people and companies are turning too, but their efficiencies are still too low to truly compete with conventional energy sources. Many solar panels have an efficiency of just 20% or lower, which means at least 80% of the solar energy is lost. Researchers at KIT have devised a clever way to improve these numbers some, by hiding the electrical contacts that otherwise block like from reaching the active solar cells.

Along the surface of solar cells are electrical contacts needed for capturing the current the cells produce. As much as a tenth of the solar cell's surface area may be blocked by these contacts, so by hiding them, the amount of energy the cell produces could increase by that same amount. To achieve this, the researchers have developed two possible solutions that both apply a polymer coating to the cell. One solution needs the polymer to have precise optical properties such that the index of refraction changes based on location, redirecting the light to the active elements. The second approach is more promising as it could be added to mass produced solar cells cheaply. In this approach, the surface of the cloaking polymer is grooved so that the light that would hit the electrical contacts is refracted away from the contacts, and to the cell.

So far these methods have only been modelled on a computer, with the next step being to produce the solar cells and measure their new efficiencies. The researchers are optimistic that they will indeed recover that normally lost 10%.

Source: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday, October 7, 2015, Edition

Posted: October 7, 2015 @ time: 10:17AM
Author: bp9801

The middle of the week is upon us, and we have a couple of items to help occupy your time. There is a review of the G.SKILL Ripjaws V DDR4-3200 8GB dual channel memory kit, which isn't the company's fastest DDR4 kit, but it should be plenty quick enough for anyone looking to build an Intel Z170-based computer. We also have the Motorola Moto X Style (or Pure, for the US market) smartphone review, a 5.7" phone with a 1440p display and 3GB of RAM that is sure to stand with the flagship phones of other companies.

Memory
G.SKILL Ripjaws V DDR4-3200 8GB Dual Channel Memory Kit @ ThinkComputers

Mobile
Motorola Moto X Style/Pure @ TechSpot


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Assumption for Batteries Proven False After Decades

Posted: October 7, 2015 @ time: 02:36PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Currently lithium-ion batteries dominate when it comes to energy storage because of their great energy density, but the search is on for alternatives as lithium is not exactly a common material. One possible replacement is potassium, but it has not been seriously investigated since 1932 because it was assumed it did not work with the bulk carbon used for anodes. Researchers at Oregon State University decided to test that assumption and found it is false, opening the door to cheaper potassium-ion batteries.

By weight lithium represents just 0.0017% of the Earth's crust, which makes it fairly rare, and therefore somewhat expensive. It is also difficult to recycle, which again adds to its cost compared to other, more accessible materials, such as potassium. It is 880 times more abundant in the crust, which would significantly reduce costs, if it replaced lithium. For the past 83 years though it was believed that potassium would not work with the carbon-based anodes found in batteries, but now we know it can.

The initial potassium-ion batteries the researchers built do not have the performance of modern lithium-ion batteries, but with some improvements it should be possible to bring them up to par. As these batteries would be able to utilize much of the same manufacturing infrastructure for producing carbon anode materials, they should be able to be made at low cost and find homes in phones, computers, cars, and much more.

Source: Oregon State University


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LoopPay Corporate Networks Breached

Posted: October 7, 2015 @ time: 03:55PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Samsung has reported that LoopPay, a company it acquired earlier this year, was the victim of a network security breach. LoopPay is responsible for the "secret sauce behind Samsung Pay," the payment service launched just last week. The attack was reportedly carried out by "a state-sponsored Chinese hacking group—known as the Codoso Group or Sunshock Group among security professionals." Samsung chief privacy officer Darlene Cedres addressed the breach stating, "Samsung Pay was not impacted and at no point was any personal payment information at risk. This was an isolated incident that targeted the LoopPay corporate network, which is a physically separate network from Samsung Pay. The LoopPay corporate network issue was resolved immediately and had nothing to do with Samsung Pay." it is believed that the motivation behind the attack was to gain access to the intellectual property of LoopPay, particularly magnetic secure transmission and cryptographic information.

Source: Fortune


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Version 358.50 of NVIDIA GeForce Game Ready Driver Released

Posted: October 7, 2015 @ time: 04:21PM
Author: gebraset

NVIDIA has officially released its latest GeForce Game Ready driver, version 358.50 WHQL. The newest NVIDIA graphics driver offers Game Ready support for the Star Wars: Battlefront Open Beta, updated features and functionality for the GameWorks VR SDK, and support for the latest OpenGL ARB extensions as well as OpenGL ES 3.2. For Windows 10, version 358.50 of the NVIDIA GeForce Game Ready driver ushers in SLI support for ShadowPlay and GameStream, as well as Stereo support for DirectX 12 SLI and 3D Surround. SLI profiles for Layers of Fear, Miscreated, Trainz: A New Era, and Zui Zhong Bing Qi were also added as part of the latest driver.

Version 358.50 WHQL of the NVIDIA GeForce Game Ready driver supports a wealth of GeForce 900, 700, 600, 500, and 400 series cards, and can be immediately downloaded from the official NVIDIA website.

Source: NVIDIA


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Amazon Considering Live TV Service

Posted: October 7, 2015 @ time: 04:25PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Rumors indicate that Amazon has engaged in talks with major media companies including CBS and NBC Universal for several months regarding the creation of a online pay-TV service. The service would pair Amazon original content with offerings from other networks, creating an offering to provide consumers with another option for "cutting the cord." Frost & Sullivan analyst Dan Rayburn addressed the rumors stating, "It’s possible Amazon is simply looking at the economics of the business, which would involve them talking with content owners about costs." Rayburn also added that the recent acquisition of Elemental Technologies "provides a platform to deliver live TV over the Web."

Source: Bloomberg


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Improved 3D Pixel Display Prototype Developed

Posted: October 8, 2015 @ time: 05:41AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Back in January a news item went up about a new prototype 3D display that used 3D pixels or Trixels. That original prototype was monochromatic but now the researchers at the Vienna University of Technology and TriLite Technologies have built a new, full color version.

Instead of using traditional pixels with specific polarizations and special glasses to display a 3D image, these display use an advanced laser system. Each Trixel consists of three lasers (red, green, and blue) that are aimed at a moveable mirror. This mirror rotates to pass the laser beams across the field of vision, but while the mirror rotates the beams are modulated. This allows the brightness, and now the color too of the image to change in the time it takes to pass from one eye to the other. A display built of these would directly send different images to our eyes, instead of requiring some device to filter what our eyes see.

The new module is 12x9 Trixels, and by combining modules a large outdoor display can be built. The software to drive such displays has already been developed and is even compatible with current 3D movies. Now the researchers and TriLite are looking for partners to mass produce the technology.

Source: Vienna University of Technology


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday, October 8, 2015, Edition

Posted: October 8, 2015 @ time: 10:44AM
Author: bp9801

The first full week of October is drawing to a close, but not before we have some reviews for you to check out. There is another review on the AMD FX-8320E CPU to see what this low power product brings to the table. We also have the SilverStone ML06-E Mini-ITX HTPC case, a sleek yet compact case that can still hold plenty of components while taking up just a little bit of room. The Lexar JumpDrive P20 USB 3.0 flash drive gets tested to show how quickly you can read and write files to it. Finishing things off today is the Apple iPhone 6s Plus review, where the company's new flagship goes up against the competition in order to show its true colors.

CPUs
AMD FX-8320E @ Neoseeker

Cases
SilverStone ML06-E @ Benchmark Reviews

Storage/Hard Drives
Lexar JumpDrive P20 USB 3.0 Flash Drive @ Madshrimps

Mobile
Apple iPhone 6s Plus @ TechSpot


Complete Story


Fallout 4 System Specifications and Release Information Revealed

Posted: October 8, 2015 @ time: 11:15AM
Author: bp9801

Fallout 4 is just over a month away, with many people planning how much time they'll take off from work to explore the Commonwealth or figure out their SPECIAL stats, among others. In addition to that, people were wondering just what kind of computer they would need to run it. Well, wonder no more as Bethesda has revealed the system specifications for Fallout 4, as well as a whole bunch of other release information. For starters, Fallout 4 requires Steam in order to play on PC, which was expected considering Bethesda's recent titles do, too. It also supports Steam Achievements to track your progress and compare it with your friends. Xbox One and Xbox 360 controller support on the PC is supported with no extra adjustments; other controllers are supported, but may need a little extra tweaking. There are some other bits and pieces to know, but those can wait until the systems specifications.

Minimum

Windows 7/8/10 (64-bit OS required)
Intel Core i5-2300 2.8 GHz/AMD Phenom II X4 945 3.0 GHz or equivalent
8 GB RAM
30 GB free HDD space
NVIDIA GTX 550 Ti 2GB/AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB or equivalent

Recommended

Windows 7/8/10 (64-bit OS required)
Intel Core i7 4790 3.6 GHz/AMD FX-9590 4.7 GHz or equivalent
8 GB RAM
30 GB free HDD space
NVIDIA GTX 780 3GB/AMD Radeon R9 290X 4GB or equivalent

Nothing there is too crazy and many should be able to play it no problem without any extra hardware purchases. The 30GB hard drive size is a touch high, but not excessively so when compared to recent games (consoles need between 28 and 35GB of free space). The 64-bit Windows OS is a nice requirement to see, as is the 8GB of RAM. If you're sitll rocking 4GB, this is definitely the time to upgrade. Video cards should be easily covered by most people, although I can see some purchases in the near future for some. All in all, most people should be able to run Fallout 4 no problem when it arrives on November 10.

The launch date is November 10, but it unlocks at 12:01am EST in the U.S. So that means if you live out on the west coast, you can start playing Fallout 4 at 9:01pm on November 9. In other markets, Fallout 4 unlocks at 12:01am local time on November 10, except in most of Asia where it's 12am on November 11 and December 17 at 12am in Japan. Language support is wide, with North America receiving English and French voice/text; South America has English voice/text and pt-BR and Latin American Spanish text; UK, Australia, and New Zealand are English voice/text; most of Europe gets English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish voice/text; Russia and Poland get English voice/text and Polish and Russian text; most of Asia is English voice/text and English voice/Traditional Chinese text; and Japan is Japanese voice/text.

The Pip-Boy companion app supports Android, iOS, and Windows Phone devices, and works with the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One copies of the game. The Pip-Boy Edition Pip-Boy supports the Apple iPhone 6/6s, 5/5s, and 4/4s, and the Samsung Galaxy S5, S4, and S3. Customizable phone inserts can be tailored to your specific phone if you have one other than those listed. Any phone larger than those models will not fit inside the Pip-Boy in order to keep it accurate with the in-game model, but you can still use the Pip-Boy app and go from there.

That should cover just about all there is on Fallout 4 at the present time. We have the system specifications for PC, the console storage size, the release time, Steam support, and Pip-Boy app and Pip-Boy Edition information. Mod support and launch info was previously covered here, where mods will arrive early next year through Bethesda.net. We'll see you in the Commonwealth beginning on November 10 (or a bit before if you're not on the east coast of the U.S.).

Source: Bethesda.net


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Graphene Pores Found to Vary in Behavior

Posted: October 8, 2015 @ time: 02:21PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Graphene is a very interesting material for a number of reasons, with a lot of focus is given to its electrical properties. It also has some curious physical properties, such as the ability to block many materials, even when the graphene is just a film. Now researchers at MIT have investigated how nanoscale pores in graphene behave and may have found ways to control this behavior.

Graphene is an atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms, and ideally the sheet looks like chicken wire, but it often possesses defects. The researchers actually wanted these defects to make them the desired nanometer-sized holes. To isolate the pores the researchers used an ion beam to puncture a layer of silicon nitride, which the graphene sheet was then placed on top of. For an ion to pass through both layers, the researchers reasoned they would have to pass through the graphene pores. Next the researchers measured the flows of different salt ions through the setup by measuring changes in the current and voltage from pore to pore and ion to ion. They discovered that some pores were stable while others demonstrated a conductance that swung back and forth. The varying conductance indicates the pores were allowing many kinds of ions through, while the stable conductance suggests those pores were only allowing specific ions through.

When the researchers got to work modeling the pore behavior to interpret the measurements they found that a pore's size, electrical charge, and position of the charge all affect its behavior. This suggests that it could be possible to control these pores to selectively allow through only specific ions. Potentially this could be used for sensors, trace metal mining, and water purification systems.

Source: MIT


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NVIDIA Plans to Discontinue GeForce GTX 960 2GB Model

Posted: October 8, 2015 @ time: 03:45PM
Author: CheeseMan42

NVIDIA currently offers the GeForce GTX 960 with 2GB or 4GB of RAM, but Chinese site HWBattle is reporting that the 2GB version will be discontinued. The company believes that limiting the GTX 960 to 4GB will "make it more attractive to buyers." There is speculation that the move is in response to the 960 under performing the comparably priced AMD R9 380. The original competitor for the GTX 960 was the lower performing R9 280, but the release of the lower priced R9 380 turned this price point in favor of AMD.

Source: WCCF Tech


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Sony Cuts PlayStation 4 Price Ahead of Holiday Shopping Season

Posted: October 8, 2015 @ time: 03:57PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Sony has announced a $50 price cut for the PlayStation 4, dropping the price from $399.99 to $349.99. The new price goes into effect in the United States tomorrow, with Canadian shoppers seeing a price drop from $449.99 CAD to $429.99 CAD. A number of new bundles will accompany the price drop for the holiday shopping season including game bundles with Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, and Star Wars Battlefront.

Source: PC Mag


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Liquid Cooling Built Into a Chip

Posted: October 9, 2015 @ time: 06:16AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

We all know that proper cooling our components is critical for achieving and maintaining the best possible performance, which is why some of us turn to liquid cooling solutions. As impressive as some of our setups may be though, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have likely topped anything we have. The researchers delidded an FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) device and etched cooling passages directly into the silicon to bring the cooling water to within a few hundred micros of the transistors.

To continue increasing the performance of various computer chips, transistors and other components are being made smaller and are being packed more tightly together. Along with the increase in performance, improvements in heatsinks must come as well, which can be problematic as these better heatsinks would likely need more power and be larger in size. This is why the researchers decided to try bringing the heatsink closer to the components. After removing the stock heatsink and heat-spreader, the researchers etched passages into the silicon for water to flow through and added silicon cylinders, to further improve heat transfer. A layer of silicon was then placed over the passages and ports were attached for the water tubes.

When tested, this cooling system kept the device at 24 ºC using 20 ºC inlet water, while an air-cooled device came in at 60 ºC. The FPGA device the researchers used was made by Altera Corp. and while they only worked with this device, this work can be applied to other computers, including CPUs, GPUs, and more.

Source: Georgia Institute of Technology


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Hardware Roundup: Friday, October 9, 2015, Edition

Posted: October 9, 2015 @ time: 11:28AM
Author: bp9801

The end of the week has arrived, with a few things for you to check out. There is an explanation of the different SD card speed classes, grades, bus modes, and file systems, so if you've ever had a question on what SD card to purchase, this guide should have you covered. A new case mod is highlighted that probably shouldn't be called a case, as the entire system is wall mounted. It has a ton of hardware and water cooling, and is just something to behold. Our final item for the day is a podcast covering the latest news and reviews from the past week.

Storage/Hard Drives
SD Card Speed Classes, Grades, Bus Modes, and File Systems Explained @ PC Perspective

Miscellany
Case Mod Friday: MAXXPlanck v2 @ ThinkComputers
Podcast #370 @ PC Perspective


Complete Story


New Tools Developed for Protecting Privacy in Large Datasets

Posted: October 9, 2015 @ time: 03:37PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Big data is revolutionizing many areas of science, but before researchers can collect and use this information, they must first determine if and how they are going to protect the privacy of the individuals in the set. Before researchers would just remove names, but then it was shown to be possible to re-identify people by comparing information within an anonymized dataset with public information. Now researchers supported by the NSF have developed a new tool that should be able to protect a person's privacy without compromising the data.

This tool utilizing differential privacy, which was first described in the mid-2000s. Using this tool, identities are protected by adding noise to any queries of a dataset. If researchers requested information from a dataset, the answer would be approximately accurate: accurate enough for the study but not informative enough to identify anyone. There is enough randomization present in the data that one will not be able to distinguish between the real world and one in which an individual's data is not present in the dataset. If applied too simply, multiple queries could eventually reveal someone's identity, but by intelligently increasing the noise and correlating it across queries, this can be avoided.

Not all dataset could have this differential privacy system applied, because there are times you want specific information, like when searching for a matching organ donor. For those studies that do not require such specific information though, this could enable a number of currently private datasets to be publicly accessed.

Source: National Science Foundation


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TRENDnet Begins Shipping TV-IP322WI Outdoor Network Camera

Posted: October 9, 2015 @ time: 06:30PM
Author: gebraset

TRENDnet, a global provider of award-winning networking and surveillance solutions to small and medium-sized business and home users, has announced that its latest network camera, the TV-IP322WI, is now available to purchase. The TV-IP322WI is a 1.3 megapixel Wi-Fi network camera that is capable of being connected through an 802.11n network or a PoE network. The camera captures video at 960p, is capable of seeing items in the dark up to 100 feet away, and features an operating temperature range of -22 degrees Fahrenheit to 140 degree Fahrenheit. TRENDnet has equipped the TV-IP322WI with Dynamic IR and Digital Wide Dynamic Range, and the camera also comes with an IP66 outdoor weather rating along with a microSD card slot for storage of up to 64GB.

Interested consumers can purchase the TRENDnet TV-IP322WI, which features an MSRP of $154.99, from major retailers and other authorized TRENDnet partners around the world.

Source: Press Release


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Hulu Virtual Reality Application Launching Soon

Posted: October 9, 2015 @ time: 06:33PM
Author: gebraset

Tim Connolly, the Head of Distribution at Hulu, has announced that the company’s virtual reality application is expected to launch next month alongside the release of the Gear VR headset that Samsung is making available for just $99. The application will allow Hulu viewers to experience content in an entirely new way through the use of a reasonably inexpensive device. Hulu is planning to be one of the major companies that supports virtual reality, with the online streaming service even considering the commission of original series that are available only in virtual reality. Hulu is also thinking about the possibility of offering immersive environments relating to its 2D video, allowing viewers to view content within and inside of various scenes. Connolly noted that "We think this is a smart bet that helps position us as an innovator and helps us learn earlier on what could be a substantive storytelling environment."

Source: CNET


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ASUS Incorporates Skylake in Its Republic of Gamers G752 Laptop

Posted: October 10, 2015 @ time: 11:11AM
Author: gebraset

ASUS has released the successor to its popular G751 laptop, the Republic of Gamers G752 laptop. The G752 from ASUS includes Skylake processors across its lineup, Thunderbolt 3.0 support over USB-C, and independent cooling for the CPU and GPU in what the company is calling the "Mobile 3D Vapor Chamber" cooling system. The base version of the Republic of Gamers G752 laptop, which costs $1,500, includes an Intel Core i7-6700HQ, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965m, a 1TB hard drive, and a 1920x1080 IPS panel with G-sync. Consumers can upgrade the included graphics card to a GeForce GTX 970m for $100 more, and the $1,800 version of the G752 laptop includes the upgraded graphics alongside a 128GB M.2 SSD. The Republic of Gamers G752 laptop tops out at $2,000, which provides gamers with a GeForce GTX 980m.

Source: PCWorld


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Robotic Finger Mimics Real One in Appearance and Function

Posted: October 12, 2015 @ time: 06:06AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Many examples of science fiction tell us that robots will look like humans, even to the point that they can be confused with actual people. That is not at all the case with today's robots, but work is being done to narrow the gap, in part to recreate the functionality of our bodies. Now researchers at Florida Atlantic University have created a robotic finger that both looks and operates like a real finger.

This new finger was built using shape memory alloy (SMA), a CAD model of a real finger, a 3D printer, and a method to train the SMAs. With the 3D printer, the researchers built the inner and outer molds of a finger to hold the SMA actuators. Shape memory alloys can be trained to return to a specific shape when heated. In this case one actuator was trained to extend straight out when heated, and the other trained to curve when heated. An electric current passing through the actuators provides the heat necessary for manipulating the SMA plates, with the power source at the base of the finger, keeping it all rather light, while still being strong and dexterous.

One day we may see this technology brought to prosthetic arms, but for now the target is for undersea operations. For the actuators to flex quickly, the finger must be able to cool rapidly, which is easier to achieve underwater than in the air.

Source: Florida Atlantic University


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Phanteks Announces New Fans and Thermal Paste

Posted: October 12, 2015 @ time: 07:17AM
Author: CheeseMan42

Phanteks has announced two new series of case fans with the MP Series High Static Pressure Fans and SP Series Premium Fans. The MP Series uses "high static air pressure allowing for a direct and focused airflow making them ideal for the densely packed fins of a radiator." The fans use seven blades to generate "silent and controlled" airflow. The SP Series have nine blades and uses UFB bearings to create "a longer lifespan" while adding stability. The fans are available in sizes of 120mm, 140mm, and 200mm.

The PH-NDC thermal compound is made of "NANO diamond-like particles of hybrid compound, design for using in environment with low thermal resistance." The design of the compound provides for better heat dissipation when compressed and requires no burn-in time to reach peak cooling performance.

Source: Press Release


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Dell Agrees to Purchase EMC For $67 Billion

Posted: October 12, 2015 @ time: 11:34AM
Author: CheeseMan42

Dell has announced that it will purchase storage specialist EMC in conjunction with Silver Lake, MSD Partners, and Temasek Holdings for a total of $67 billion. The deal has a total value of $33.15 per share, a 28% boost from the October 7 closing stock price, with a mix of cash and stock being used as compensation. EMC has a 21% share of the storage market, roughly double the share for Dell, and the acquisition should augment the Dell server business and return value to EMC shareholders. The deal will close sometime next year between May and October.

Source: Ars Technica


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Teaching AI with Partial Credit

Posted: October 12, 2015 @ time: 02:26PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

According to science fiction artificial intelligence will one day lead to machines that can at least emulate emotions, if not actually experience them. We are not there yet, and likely will not be for a long time as we are still trying to teach systems how to identify various objects. Researchers at MIT have decided to try a new approach for training machine learning systems by awarding partial credit for nearly right identifications.

One use of machine learning systems is for scanning images and identifying objects and actions in the scene. Traditionally if a systems gets it wrong, it is told it is and then moves on. What the MIT researchers are doing is awarding partial credit to the system if its wrong answer was close enough to the right one. If instead of tagging an image with 'sunshine' it tagged with 'summer,' the system would be given some credit because sunshine and summer are likely to co-occur. Traditional methods would score the system as wrong as if it had tagged the image with 'rhinoceros' in place of 'sunshine.' The images and human-sourced tags were gathered from Flickr.

To make it possible to award an appropriate score, the researchers turned to the Wasserstein distance, which compares probability distributions and thus provides a metric of how correct the machine learning system was. Beyond helping the AI learn, this approach could also make an AI more useful for people, as sometimes the terms we use to search for something are not exactly correct, but still similar.

Source: MIT


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Calling All Rangers! Your Journey Awaits You in the Wasteland 2: Director's Cut Launch Trailer

Posted: October 13, 2015 @ time: 12:30AM
Author: bp9801

The definitive version of Wasteland 2 has arrived at last, with Wasteland 2: Director's Cut now available to download on Steam. It should also be available on GOG, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One when those respective stores update in the Americas (Europe is October 16). Wasteland 2: Director's Cut incorporates a whole host of new features, from new voiceovers to improved/rebalanced gameplay, a Perks system to take advantage of when leveling up, new Quirks to add a positive and negative gameplay element to each character's personality, and plenty more. The graphics engine has been overhauled to Unity 5, so that means the game will look vastly better for anyone who played it before, and gives it plenty of new enhancements, such as improved character models, revamped lighting, and new environment art to really stand out. To highlight some of this, inXile has released the Wasteland 2: Director's Cut launch trailer, giving you a fantastic idea of what to expect when you load up the game.

Wasteland 2: Director's Cut is a separate file in Steam and other digital platforms, so you will need to download it all over again. It's a 15GB download, which winds up being about 4GB less than the original version. Sadly, PC players won't be able to use their past saves in the Director's Cut due to all the changes possibly destroying any chance of compatibility. It's a small price to pay, but well worth it to experience the game all over again. System requirements are the same, except the Director's Cut now requires a 64-bit operating system. For more information on the specific changes and features, and to give you something to read while the game is downloading, the FAQ on the Wasteland 2 website covers the main details.

Wasteland 2: Director's Cut is a free download for all current PC/Mac/Linux owners, and a $40 purchase for everybody else on regardless of computer or console.

Source: Wasteland 2 Website


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Serendipity Strikes Again with Topological Insulator Discovery

Posted: October 13, 2015 @ time: 05:56AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Cartoons have taught us that when someone has an idea, a light turns on above their head. For researchers at Penn State though, the idea came after the light turned on, and this idea could have a dramatic impact on future computers, quantum computers, and much more. The researchers have found a way to write and erase electronic structures on topological insulators (TIs), without disturbing the material.

Originally the researchers were working toward another goal, but discovered a drift in their measurements. Eventually they narrowed down the source of the error to the fluorescent lights in the lab causing the electronic properties of a topological insulator to change. At first they were glad to be rid of the error, but then they realized that they had accidentally produced an effect that is normally very hard to create. Topological insulators are curious materials that are electrically insulating through their bulk, but conducting on their surface. This leads to a variety of special quantum phenomena, which could be exploited for spin-based computers and quantum computers, but these quantum phenomena are so fragile that controlling them is quite challenging.

It turns out that the overhead fluorescent lights were producing ultraviolet light at just the right frequency to polarize the substrate material the researchers were using; strontium titanate. This polarization then leaked into the topological insulator, altering its electronic properties noninvasively, and the effect persists after the light is turned off. By focusing the ultraviolet light, the researchers found they could draw electronic structures onto the substrate and the TI, and by applying red light, the structures could be erased quickly and easily. Control tests also showed that this effect is not limited to TIs but is applicable to other materials grown on strontium titanate, including complex oxides, graphene, transition metal dichalcogenides.

Source: Penn State


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Tt eSPORTS Reveals Affordable CRONOS AD Gaming Headset

Posted: October 13, 2015 @ time: 08:36AM
Author: gebraset

Tt eSPORTS, the leading expert in professional e-Sports gaming peripherals, has officially announced the CRONOS AD gaming headset, the latest addition to its popular CRONOS family of products. The CRONOS AD incorporates plenty of features that are sure to entice novice and even professional gamers, such as the auto adjusting headband that incorporates soft breathable mesh fabric, a retractable and bendable microphone, and an inline controller for volume control and microphone muting. Red LED lighting on the ear cups and microphone allow gamers to be noticed in any environment, and the 40mm driver coupled with the high-energy neodymium magnets allow for frequency response from 20Hz to 22KHz. Additionally, the CRONOS AD by Tt eSPORTS includes the ability for users to remove the USB cable for additional device functionality, and also provides the ability to fold the headset flat for easy storage and transportation.

The CRONOS AD gaming headset is quite affordable with its MSRP of $59.99, and interested consumers can explore the latest Tt eSPORTS headset more on the official product webpage.

Source: Press Release


Complete Story


Hardware Roundup: Tuesday, October 13, 2015, Edition

Posted: October 13, 2015 @ time: 10:01AM
Author: bp9801

October is breezing on by, but luckily we have plenty of items for you to check out on this Tuesday. We have a review of the Gigabyte X99-SLI motherboard, a budget-friendly entry into Intel's Haswell-E platform that still packs plenty of features. The SilverStone Fortress FTZ01 Mini-ITX presents a slim and unique case for those wanting something small for their build. There is a look at the Patriot Viper 4 DDR4 2400MHz 16GB memory kit, which could be the perfect choice for those on the X99 or Z170 platforms. MSI's GT72S Dominator Pro G gaming laptop, with its full GTX 980 video card, gets an early look to see what kind of numbers one might expect from it. The Lenovo ThinkPad Stack device set, which includes a portable router, external hard drive, and Bluetooth speaker, get reviewed to see which ones, or all, you should consider. We also have another entry in the transistion from Android to iPhone, a look at the best computer cases released this past year, and an article looking for a new gaming center in the city of Pittsburgh.

Motherboards
Gigabyte X99-SLI @ ThinkComputers

Cases
SilverStone Fortress FTZ01 @ Benchmark Reviews

Memory
Patriot Memory Viper 4 Series DDR4 16GB 2400MHz @ Madshrimps

Laptops/Tablets
MSI GT72S Dominator Pro G Preview @ PC Perspective

Gadgets
Lenovo ThinkPad Stack @ PC Perspective

Mobile
Android to iPhone Day 17: SoC Performance @ PC Perspective

Miscellany
Best Computer Cases of 2015 @ TechSpot
Looking For Group – A New Gaming Center in Pittsburgh @ ThinkComputers


Complete Story


Single Atom Alloy Found to be Effective Catalyst

Posted: October 13, 2015 @ time: 02:04PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Catalysts are critical for a large number of reactions that we rely on every day, and many more we will likely rely on in the future. When it comes to catalysts though, fairly often platinum is highly desirable, which is troublesome because of its rarity and thus its cost. That could change soon though, thanks to researchers at Tufts University.

Catalysts work by adding steps to a chemical reaction, but these steps require less energy to occur than the reaction otherwise needs. What the researchers discovered is that platinum mixed with copper creates a highly effective and inexpensive catalyst, if the amount of platinum is low enough. Carbon monoxide likes to find to platinum, which risks poisoning the reaction, so by keeping the amount of platinum low enough that single atoms of it are spread across the copper, the catalyst is most effective. At such low concentrations, these materials are known as single atom alloys.

The researchers found the new catalyst does a good job of splitting hydrogen molecules into hydrogen atoms, which is needed for hydrogenating butadiene, an impurity in propene streams, and continues to work well even under industrial conditions. Potentially other catalysts could be made by creating single atom alloys of copper and other precious metals.

Source: Tufts University


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