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News Archives for April 2016

New Rumors of a Refreshed Xbox from Microsoft

Posted: April 1, 2016 @ time: 09:06AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Lately there have been several rumors going around the Internet that Sony will be releasing a PlayStation 4.5. Well it appears Microsoft is not content with being left behind as a new rumor predicts the coming of the Xbox φ (Xbox phi). For those who do not know, φ is the Golden Ratio, a value with some interesting characteristics. For example φ2=φ+1 and φ-1 equals the square root of φ. It can also be found in various works of architecture, as the ratio seems to be pleasing to the eye, which is appropriate as the refreshed Xbox will provide better visuals.

If we do a little math, because φ is approximately equal to 1.618, the Xbox φ is a 0.618 improvement over the Xbox One, which is more than the 0.5 improvement the PS4.5 represents over the PS4. There is no word yet on if Nintendo might try to transcend both companies by releasing an NX e (≈2.718), or skip directly to an NX π (≈3.142).

Source: An Irrational Mathematician


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Hardware Roundup: Friday, April 1, 1921, Edition

Posted: April 1, 2016 @ time: 09:45AM
Author: bp9801

The end of the week has arrived, bringing with it the start of April and April Fool's Day, where everything you see should be taken with just a grain of salt until proven otherwise. A day of pranks and gags, but the items we have for you today are no joke. There is a review on the Razer Blade Stealth, an Ultrabook that puts mobility ahead of raw gaming performance, but can use the Razer Core to give it the gaming prowess it needs at home. A new case mod is highlighted that uses a custom built case for one of the most unique builds you'll see this year. Wrapping things up is a podcast covering the latest news and reviews from the past week.

Laptops/Tablets
Razer Blade Stealth @ TechSpot

Miscellany
Case Mod Friday: MSI Scratch Build @ ThinkComputers
Podacst #393 @ PC Perspective


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Strongest Commercial Titanium Alloy Created

Posted: April 4, 2016 @ time: 09:26AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

When most people think of titanium, I suspect many envision some very strong material that is used in only special situations like airplanes and spacecraft. Actually, titanium on its own is not all that strong and must be made into an alloy to get its amazing strength. Now, thanks to researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, we may see titanium coming to cars because they have developed a new and very strong alloy that is also relatively inexpensive to make.

About fifty years ago, metallurgists discovered titanium could be combined with iron, vanadium, and aluminum to create an alloy called Ti185. This alloy is quite strong, but only in certain places because of how the mixture tends to clump and form defects. Six years ago, PNNL developed a new way to create Ti185 that uses titanium hydride powder instead of molten titanium, and now they have optimized the process to make an even stronger version. This optimization involved carefully examining the placement of the atoms within the alloy after it underwent heat treatment. Heat treatment involves heating a metal up to high temperatures and then rapidly cooling it water, which causes the atoms and molecules to be locked in arrangements they would not normally have. The researchers found that by repeatedly treating the alloy at specific temperatures, they could influence the structure to make the alloy stronger than before, and this whole process is actually fairly inexpensive.

The type of steel used in cars has a tensile strength of 800-900 megapascals, but this optimized Ti185 comes in at nearly 1700 megapascals, so approximately double the tensile strength while being half the weight. While still more expensive than steel, its strength-to-cost ratio makes it more affordable for use in lightweight vehicles, and this research could lead to other alloys that could be cheaper. For example, it might be possible to optimize alloys of aluminum to give them greater strength, while keeping costs and weight in check.

 

 

Source: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


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Hardware Roundup: Monday, April 4, 2016, Edition

Posted: April 4, 2016 @ time: 10:23AM
Author: bp9801

A new week begins, with plenty of items coming for the ride to give April a nice start. There is a review on the HIS R7 250 Twin Fan 2GB D5 LP video card, a low profile model that can help give a boost for those playing at smaller resolutions or on a tight budget. We have a look at the Thermaltake Core X9 E-ATX Cube Chassis's ability to fit as much gear as possible, with it pushed to the limit. For storage needs, the Crucial 480GB BX200 TLC SSD gets reviewed to see what kind of speed and performance it offers. If you need a new control setup for your games, perhaps the Fnatic Gear Flick Optical Mouse and Boost Control Mouse Pad is for you. To keep a processor cool in a tight spot, the Noctua NH-L9x65 might be the solution. Wrapping things up is a guide on how you can build a 32-thread Xeon PC for less than a Haswell-E machine.

CPUs
Building a 32-Thread Xeon Monster PC for Less Than a Haswell-E Core i7 @ TechSpot

Video Cards
HIS R7 250 Twin Fan 2GB D5 LP @ Madshrimps

Cases
Thermaltake Core X9 E-ATX Cube Chassis - Advanced Topics @ PC Perspective

CPU Cooling
Noctua NH-L9x65 @ LanOC Reviews

Storage/Hard Drives
Crucial 480GB BX200 TLC SSD @ Madshrimps

Keyboards/Mice
Fnatic Gear Flick Optical Mouse and Boost Control Mouse Pad @ Madshrimps


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G.SKILL Announces 32GB Ripjaws DDR4 Set

Posted: April 4, 2016 @ time: 03:59PM
Author: CheeseMan42

G.SKILL has announced the latest addition to its Ripjaws DDR4-3000MHz line of memory with a 32GB set comprised of two 16GB sticks. Designed for high-end laptops and small form factor systems using the SO-DIMM form factor, this line of memory runs at CL16 latency with a voltage of 1.2V, helping in situations where lower power consumption is needed most. This kit features XMP 2.0 support for the latest Intel Core processors.

Source: Press Release


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Acer Targets New Chromebase at Enterprise Users

Posted: April 4, 2016 @ time: 04:21PM
Author: CheeseMan42

The Chromebase is the answer for users that are looking for a desktop system running the Chrome OS. The latest offering from Acer is being referred to as the Chromebase for meetings and "has been fine-tuned to support video conferencing." The system is built around a 24" 1080p touchscreen and integrated HD webcam, with support for hosting meetings for up to 25 people through Google Hangouts. The system is rounded out with a dual core Celeron 3215U, 4GB of RAM, 16GB SSD, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and USB 3.0. The Chromebase has an MSRP of $799 and includes a year of management and support.

Source: ZDNet


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Core i7-6950X Confirmed Through Intel Support Website

Posted: April 5, 2016 @ time: 05:01AM
Author: gebraset

Enthusiasts and gamers could be getting a nice treat from Intel in the somewhat near future with the release of the Intel Core i7-6950X Extreme Edition CPU. The new CPU, which will be the first Extreme Edition chip released by Intel since August of 2014 and will fall under the Broadwell-E umbrella, is rumored to launch in three different variants that include 10, eight, and six cores. The support website for Intel does confirm that the Core i7-6950X will boast a total of 25M of cache with clock speeds of up to 3.5GHz, which should ensure some amazing performance in a variety of applications.

Prices of the new Intel Core i7-6950X are expected to range from $390 for the six-core version to $1,500 for the 10-core variant.

Source: PCWorld and WCCFTech


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20 KW Wireless Charging Achieved for Vehicles

Posted: April 5, 2016 @ time: 09:34AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Many people see electric vehicles becoming a dominant form of transportation in the future, but there remain several serious challenges to overcome. Among these issues are range and the time it takes to recharge batteries. Researchers at ORNL have recently achieved 20 KW wireless power transfer for vehicles that could help address both of these issues.

Wireless charging is something currently found today with several gadgets and small devices, because some enjoy the convenience of simply setting something like their phone on a special pad to charge it. Wirelessly charging a vehicle would provide a similar convenience, as one could park it in their garage and walk away. At 20 KW, this system is not comparable with commercial plug-in systems, but it does reach 90% efficiency, which is important for reducing wasted energy, but also keeping people safe from the magnetic fields involved. The researchers are already looking at reaching 50 KW, which would match those commercial units and make it a potentially viable product.

While parking a vehicle for several hours to charge is definitely a realistic scenario, the researchers also investigated this system's dynamic charging capabilities. This would mean an electric vehicle, like a bus that stops at specific places, could be partially charged while picking up or dropping people off. This would extend the bus's range between full recharges, but could also be applied to allow vehicles to charge without stopping.

 

 

Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday, April 5, 2016, Edition

Posted: April 5, 2016 @ time: 11:50AM
Author: bp9801

A new day is here, with a couple of items to help you get through it. We have a review of the Corsair Carbide Series 400C case, which has a large side window to show off the internals and a clean design to fit in any room. There is also a look at VR performance and how to measure it, trying to figure out the best way to determine what your hardware is giving you as you explore the world of virtual reality.

Cases
Corsair Carbide Series 400C @ ThinkComputers

Gaming
Measuring VR Performance and Experiences - A Prologue @ PC Perspective


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Capture Creatures to Tame or Fight in Fallout 4 - Wasteland Workshop; Arrives April 12

Posted: April 5, 2016 @ time: 12:26PM
Author: bp9801

It was just a little bit ago that the first Fallout 4 DLC, Automatron, arrived, and now we're gearing up for the next one. A trailer for Wasteland Workshop, the second of the so far three announced DLCs for Fallout 4, is now here to give us an idea of what to expect from it. Wasteland Workshop lets us design traps and capture live creatures, from raiders to Deathclaws and everything in between. Yes, a raider counts as a creature here, because really, they do try to kill you on the spot, just like the other creatures. Once you've captured a creature, you can either tame them or have them face off against others in battle, including your own settlers. Wasteland Workshop also includes more design elements for your settlements and workshops, letting you build nixie tube lighting, letter kits, taxidermy, new power options, and far more.

Fallout 4 - Wasteland Workshop arrives next Tuesday, April 12, on the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It costs just $4.99 by itself or as part of the Season Pass, which is now $49.99.

Source: Bethesda.net


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Roku Announces Third Generation Streaming Stick

Posted: April 5, 2016 @ time: 04:04PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Roku is one of the biggest names in the home streaming market, and the company has now updated its lineup with the third generation of the Roku Streaming Stick. As the "lower-cost streaming service," the Streaming Stick is priced at $49.99 and has a similar form factor to the Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV Stick. The latest iteration features a quad core processor that provides "8 times the processing power of the prior version" and puts it ahead of the previously mentioned competitors. After an update to the mobile app, users will be able to listen to their content through the app and a pair of headphones. The device is powered by the latest version of Roku OS, version 7.1, and gives access to more than 3,000 streaming channels and 300,000 movies and TV episodes.

Source: Tech Crunch


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HP Spectre is Thinnest Laptop Yet

Posted: April 5, 2016 @ time: 04:20PM
Author: CheeseMan42

HP has revealed its thinnest laptop yet, which it claims is also the thinnest laptop available when counting "laptops that have shipped over 1 million units as of Feb. 10." The Spectre has a 13.3" 1080p screen, weighs 2.45 pounds, and is just 0.4 inches thick. The low weight can be attributed to being constructed from aluminum and carbon fiber. The Spectre is powered by a sixth generation Core i5 or i7, 8GB of RAM, and up to 512GB of PCIe connected SSD storage. The Spectre has an MSRP of $1,249.99 and will be available online starting April 25 and at Best Buy retail locations on May 29.

Source: Mashable


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Method Discovered for Building 3D Microstructured Battery Electrodes

Posted: April 6, 2016 @ time: 09:15AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

For many modern devices, the battery can be the bulkiest component, which is a problem as people demand smaller and thinner devices, without sacrificing battery life. One way to improve the performance of a battery is to use electrodes with 3D microstructured architectures, as these provide more places for ions to interact with. However, making such structures is difficult, but researchers at Aalto University have successfully demonstrated a way to build them.

This new method combines atomic and molecular layer deposition techniques to build thin films from lithium terephthalate. This is a hybrid organic/inorganic material recently found to be a viable anode for lithium-ion batteries. Surprisingly, even though lithium terephthalate is a hybrid compound, it survived the deposition technique that reaches temperatures between 200 ºC and 280 ºC. It also does not require conductive additives to achieve an excellent rate capability, but adding a protective layer of the solid-state electrolyte, LiPON does enhance its performance.

When the researchers tested the anodes they constructed, they found they retained 97% of their capacity after 200 charge/discharge cycles.

Source: Aalto University


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday, April 6, 2016, Edition

Posted: April 6, 2016 @ time: 09:36AM
Author: bp9801

The middle of the week is here, bringing with it several items to get you through the day. We have some details on NVIDIA's upcoming Pascal line of cards and what we can expect from these after the Tesla P100 announcement. The SteelSeries Siberia 800 Wireless Gaming Headset gets put to the test to hear how it stacks up. VR gaming is starting to gain momentum, with a look at the HTC Vive and SteamVR to give us an idea of what to expect from the headset. If you need some help on upgrading a PC, we have a guide that looks at two different ways to upgrade based on data results. Finishing things for today is the Native Union CLIC 360° iPhone Case, designed to protect the latest iPhones without adding a ton of extra size to it.

Video Cards
NVIDIA Pascal Architecture Details, Tesla P100, GP100 GPU @ PC Perspective

Speakers/Headphones
SteelSeries Siberia 800 Wireless Gaming Headset @ Madshrimps

Mobile
Native Union CLIC 360° iPhone Case @ ThinkComputers

Miscellany
SteamVR HTC Vive In-depth - Lighthouse Tracking System Dissected and Explored @ PC Perspective
Computer Upgrades: A Data-Based Perspective @ Benchmark Reviews


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VRMark Preview and More Added to 3DMark

Posted: April 6, 2016 @ time: 01:08PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Futuremark, the company behind several popular benchmarking suites, is rolling out a big update for 3DMark. This update adds a new user interface, a more flexible design, and for the Advanced and Professional Editions, a VRMark Preview. Naturally VRMark will be a virtual reality benchmark when it releases, but for now users can explore two test scenes with the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or their monitors, if they lack a headset.

The new user interface is designed to be faster and more flexible as additional tests are added. Already since this version of 3DMark launched, Fire Strike Ultra, Sky Diver, and the API Overhead tests have been added. To accelerate updating the suite, its internal framework has been rebuilt to allow individual benchmarks to be downloaded and installed independently. So if you do not need or want the Ice Storm tests, which are more geared for less powerful machines, you can leave them out. This applies to both the Steam and standalone versions.

Source: Futuremark


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DEEPCOOL Announces CAPTAIN EX Series of Liquid Coolers

Posted: April 6, 2016 @ time: 03:52PM
Author: CheeseMan42

DEEPCOOL has added a trio of new liquid coolers as part of the CAPTAIN EX series under its GAMER STORM product line. The coolers will be available with radiator sizes of 120mm, 240mm, and 360mm with patented Separate Section design, visible liquid flow, and LED lighting. DEEPCOOL has utilized high-density water micro channels and silent TF 120 double blade fans to ensure high performance cooling and designed the CAPTAIN EX series for tool free installation. All three units will be available this month at an MSRP of $79.99 for the 120mm, $109.99 for the 240mm, and $139.99 for the 360mm.

Source: Press Release


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Doom Announces Open Beta and Season Pass

Posted: April 6, 2016 @ time: 04:12PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Bethesda has announced an open beta for the next iteration in the Doom series that will run from April 15-17. The open beta follows on the heels of a closed beta last week and will feature the same content, which includes team deathmatch and Warpath modes with Heatwave and Infernal maps. The company also announced that it will create free and paid DLC for the game with free content provided for the SnapMap mode and paid content in the form of maps, weapons, and in game customization items. Three DLC packs have been preemptively announced with a price of $14.99 each, or $39.99 for the set, with the first becoming available in the summer.

Source: Polygon


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AMD’s R9 490 and 490X GPUs Might Release Late June

Posted: April 7, 2016 @ time: 09:23AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

For anyone waiting for the release of AMD's next series of GPUs, the latest rumor puts the release in June. Supposedly, the R9 490 and R9 490X will have their paper-release at Computex, which runs from May 31 to June 4, with the official launch later that month. Given the naming, these are likely meant to be the replacements for the Hawaii based R9 390 cards, so where exactly the Fury cards will be relative to these is hard to guess, before we get some performance numbers and definite specs.

The R9 490 and R9 490X GPUs should be based on the Polaris 10 core, which is the higher end Polaris core we saw demonstrated at the Capsaicin event. It was the lower powered Polaris 11 core showing off its power efficiency off at CES earlier this year. Polaris cores are based on the GCN 4.0 architecture and are going to be manufactured using 14 nm FinFET processes. Current GPUs use 28 nm processes and this reduction in size and change in transistor design will bring with it significant power savings and performance improvements.

Source: WCCFTech


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday, April 7, 2016, Edition

Posted: April 7, 2016 @ time: 09:41AM
Author: bp9801

The first full week of April is nearing its end, but before it does we have a couple of items for you to see. The VIVO Titan mid-tower case is a new model from a new company, yet it offers plenty of internal space and a clean exterior design that is sure to appeal to many. Our other item for the day is the Cooler Master Masterkeys Pro S gaming keyboard, which offers Cherry MX switches, RGB LEDs, and a tenkeyless design to fit in smaller spaces.

Cases
VIVO Titan @ PC Perspective

Keyboards/Mice
Cooler Master Masterkeys Pro S @ LanOC Reviews


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Offworld Trading Company Getting Full Release April 28

Posted: April 7, 2016 @ time: 10:43AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Today it has been announced by Stardock and Mohawk Games that Offworld Trading Company will have its full release on April 28. Like many Stardock titles, it has been available for some time in a pre-release state, allowing players to provide feedback before the game reaches version 1.0.

Offworld Trading Company is not your usual strategy game, as instead of simulating large military battles, it is an economic real time strategy game. You are trying to build up your company on Mars, with the ultimate goal of taking control of the Martian market by driving your competition back to Earth. With enough capital you can access the offworld markets to buy out rivals, or turn to the black market to disrupt their production.

Source: Offworld Trading Company Official Website


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RIOTORO Announces CR1080 Case

Posted: April 7, 2016 @ time: 03:32PM
Author: CheeseMan42

RIOTORO has announced a new case targeted at users that are looking to fit a full size ATX motherboard into a small form factor. The CR1080 has dimensions of 9.625" x 14.125" x 15.5" with a dual compartment design, separating the motherboard and GPU from the power supply and hard drives. A single 120mm fan with blue LEDs is included and the case has space for a total of four 120mm fans and one 80mm fan. The case has a translucent side window with space for full size GPUs, two 3.5" or 2.5" drives, and an additional 2.5" drive. VP of Sales Nelson De Moraes described the case stating, "The style and size of the CR1080 was designed to fit into any environment while delivering the expandability and cooling efficiency of a full-size gaming PC." The CR1080 has an MSRP of $79.99.

Source: Press Release


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BitFenix Introduces Alchemy 2.0 Individual Wires, Connectors, and Combs

Posted: April 8, 2016 @ time: 06:29AM
Author: gebraset

Back in February of this year, BitFenix introduced Alchemy 2.0 modular cables, which continue to provide system builders with high-quality connections in a variety of colors. Now, the creator of various hardware and peripherals has officially introduced Alchemy 2.0 individual wires, connectors, and combs. The new components provide consumers with some of the most customizable sleeving products available, as each is built with truly high quality materials. The individual wires boast 16AWG thick pure copper strands, new High Current Alloy Terminals, and an ultra-dense sleeve that stays in place, all while being very flexible. The Alchemy 2.0 connectors are made with a special rubber for a perfect fit, are certified by CUL and TUV, and are capable of operating in a wide range of temperatures from -10 to 150-degrees Celsius. Lastly, the combs from BitFenix offer a unique SoftHold protection for excellent aesthetics and can be cut to fit various cable lengths.

Source: Press Release


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Pulverizing Material Improved it For Use in Batteries

Posted: April 8, 2016 @ time: 07:40AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Many technologies we have today are only possible because of how much energy lithium-ion batteries can store, and their ability to be recharged. As the devices they power have improved though, these batteries have been approaching their limits, requiring new technologies or chemistry for the future. Thankfully researchers at NIST have found a way to improve the characteristics of a material that one day could serve as an energy storage medium.

The material in question is a compound of hydrogen and boron, and either lithium or sodium, with one of the boron atoms replaced with carbon. The researchers previously discovered this substitution improved the compound's ability to conduct ions by a factor of ten. What they have now found is a way to overcome an issue with its behavior at different temperatures. When in an environment hotter than boiling water, the material would conduct ions quite well, but at lower temperatures, such as room temperature, it lost its conductivity and thus its performance. The recent discovery is that by crushing the material into nanoscale particles, it maintains it conductivity at room temperature and far lower, making it potentially viable for batteries.

Now the researchers are investigating how the material might be used in next-generation batteries, with the hope of convincing people of the material's potential.

Source: NIST


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Hardware Roundup: Friday, April 8, 2016, Edition

Posted: April 8, 2016 @ time: 09:52AM
Author: bp9801

The end of the week is here, with Friday bringing a few items to help get you to the weekend. There is a review on the Corsair M65 PRO RGB Gaming Mouse, featuring the company's highest ever DPI and customizable lighting to set itself apart on your desk. If you're needing a smartphone on the cheap, perhaps the Oppo F1 with its 5" 720p display and Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 SoC is the one for you. Wrapping things up is a new case mod that would look right at home in a mad scientist's lab, which is fitting considering it's called the Mad Scientist.

Keyboards/Mice
Corsair M65 PRO RGB Gaming Mouse @ Neoseeker

Mobile
Oppo F1 @ TechSpot

Miscellany
Case Mod Friday: Mad Scientist @ ThinkComputers


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Corsair Extends Warranty of Select Power Supplies to 10 Years

Posted: April 8, 2016 @ time: 10:16AM
Author: bp9801

Corsair, maker of many components for your computer, has extended the warranty of several of its power supplies from seven years to ten years, giving you that much more peace of mind. Starting right now, all current and future PSUs in the AXi, HXi, RMi, and RMx series get an additional three years added to their warranty with no input required from you. This gives a ten-year warranty on all these PSUs, ensuring they can last you through multiple builds without fear. Corsair decided to extend the warranty to show its trust and confidence in these PSUs to last for a long time. The extended warranty is available worldwide on these four PSU series, so regardless of where you are, you get a full decade of protection. Only the AXi, HXi, RMi, and RMx PSUs receive the extension, with all other Corsair PSUs remaining at their initial warranty length.

Source: Press Release


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Corsair Officially Launches the SPEC-ALPHA Case

Posted: April 8, 2016 @ time: 10:55AM
Author: bp9801

During CES this year, Corsair unveiled several new cases, with the 400C and 400Q launching soon after the show. The other new case, the SPEC-ALPHA, was going to take a bit longer, but now the wait is over as the Corsair SPEC-ALPHA is available to purchase. The SPEC-ALPHA features a unique angular design that sets it apart from other cases, while offering plenty of cooling and hardware potential inside. It's a mid-tower case with a tool-free design that can fit up to an ATX motherboard, video cards up to 380mm long, CPU coolers up to 156mm high, and a 190mm long power supply.

The side window can show off your components, while the three included 120mm fans can keep things cool, thanks to the built-in fan controller (up to five total fans can be installed). If water cooling is your thing, a 240mm radiator can fit inside the front of the SPEC-ALPHA, with a 120mm rad in the rear. Three 3.5" drive bays and four 2.5" drive bays offer plenty of storage options, while the Direct Airflow Path design means no 5.25" bays to mess up the cooling. Inside there are also cable routing cutouts and tie downs to keep everything neat and tidy, further helping get the air directly where it's needed. Two USB 3.0 ports and audio in/out adorn the front of the case, while the rear has seven expansion slots to perfectly fit those ATX motherboards.

The Corsair SPEC-ALPHA is available now in black/grey, white/red, and the previously unknown black/red color schemes. Each case is $79.99 and comes with a two-year warranty.

Source: Press Release


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New Method Developed to Quickly Transmit Quantum Encryption Keys

Posted: April 11, 2016 @ time: 07:16AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Undoubtedly encryption is a very important tool for securing communications, but modern encryption methods can all be beaten with clever tricks or brute force. In the future though, quantum encryption could be used to protect sensitive information in such a way that it cannot be compromised without the intended user's knowledge. Central to this kind of security is quantum key distribution, which has been limited to just hundreds of rather slow data rates, but researchers at the University of Cambridge have found a way to speed it up by up to six orders of magnitude.

Quantum encryption protects data because the key to decrypt it is transmitted using quantum mechanical particles, such as photons. When these photons are observed, to determine what the key is, their quantum mechanical properties change, meaning the key is altered and this can be detected. While theoretically quantum encryption cannot be broken, by attacking the real hardware components involved, it could potentially be compromised, so a protocol called measurement-device-independent quantum key distribution (MDI-QKD) was developed. While this has been demonstrated successfully, it has been limited to operating at just a few hundred bits per second, or less, because of how hard it is to create indistinguishable particles from the different lasers involved. The Cambridge researchers have addressed this problem by developed pulsed laser seeding for injecting photons from one laser beam into another. This method reduces the time jitter of the pulses, allowing them to be significantly shorter.

Using pulsed laser seeding, a data rate of up to one megabit per second is possible, which represents a one hundred to one million improvement factor. This new protocol could be leading us to the practical implementation of quantum cryptography.

Source: University of Cambridge


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Hardware Roundup: Monday, April 11, 2016, Edition

Posted: April 11, 2016 @ time: 09:44AM
Author: bp9801

A new week is here, bringing with it a few items to kick it off. There is a review on the Cooler Master QuickFire XTi mechanical gaming keyboard, featuring Cherry MX Brown switches and multi-color backlighting to change between blue and red with ease. We also have the Logitech G900 Chaos Spectrum gaming mouse getting tested to see if this is Logitech's best mouse ever, with its dual-mode wired/wireless design and 12,000 DPI sensor. Wrapping things up for today is a look at 20 of the worst PC setups seen during March.

Keyboards/Mice
Cooler Master QuickFire XTi Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ Madshrimps
Logitech G900 Chaos Spectrum Gaming Mouse @ TechSpot

Miscellany
20 of the Worst PC Setups - March 2016 @ ThinkComputers


Complete Story


G.SKILL Adds Low Latency Kit to Trident Z Line

Posted: April 11, 2016 @ time: 03:12PM
Author: CheeseMan42

G.SKILL has announced the addition of a new set of memory to its Trident Z line. The DDR4 set operates at 3600MHz with CL15-15-15-35 timings at an operating voltage of 1.35V. Timings such as this are typically seen in memory at lower frequencies, but G.SKILL used "specially selected high performance memory components" in order to reach those timings. The new set is available as a pair of 8GB sticks and is compatible with XMP 2.0 profiles.

Source: Press Release


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AMD Gives Radeon Pro Duo a Release Date of April 26

Posted: April 11, 2016 @ time: 03:23PM
Author: CheeseMan42

At its Capsaicin Event at the most recent Game Developers Conference, AMD showed off its upcoming beast of a card, the Radeon Pro Duo. The card packs two Fiji GPUs, 8GB of first generation High Bandwidth Memory, and four DisplayPort outputs into a single offering. The card boasts 16 teraflops of computing power and a premium price tag of $1500. The card will be available starting April 26 and could be an attractive choice for users looking to get into VR. It is worth noting that Fiji is the last generation of AMD GPU and the second generation of High Bandwidth Memory is already on the way. It will be interesting to see how this stacks up against single GPU offerings or systems that utilize multiple GPUs in an SLI or CrossFire setup.

Source: Tweak Town


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Researchers Find Desensitization Occurs with Gamers in Video Games

Posted: April 12, 2016 @ time: 07:58AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

As technology has advanced, video games have benefited with richer and sharper graphics, which is well demonstrated now by the virtual reality displays currently available and those scheduled to release later this year. This realism has resulted in several studies finding players will actually feel guilty after amoral acts, such as unjustified violence. Now researchers at the University of Buffalo have discovered gamers can become desensitized as they continue to play a particular game, and this spills over to similar games.

A sometimes used defense of violence in video games is that actions in a virtual world do not translate to the real world, but the findings that gamers feel guilty after committing these virtual acts would seem to challenge that claim. This new study adds on that playing a violent game over and over again desensitizes the player to this guilt, and that this applies to similar games as well. Why this happens and what the mechanisms are behind the desensitization is unclear though.

Currently the researchers have two arguments, with the first being that games become less sensitive to the stimuli causing guilt. The second argument considers tunnel vision, with a gamer's perception changing from that of a non-gamer with repeatedly play. Eventually a gamer might just be processing what they see differently, disregarding meaningless information and coming to recognize how artificial the virtual environment is. The researchers are planning future work to try to answer determine what the answer is.

Source: University of Buffalo


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday, April 12, 2016, Edition

Posted: April 12, 2016 @ time: 09:27AM
Author: bp9801

Another day is here, with a few items to get you going on this Tuesday. We have a review on the Zalman Z9 Neo case, a stylish case featuring a full length door on the front for a stealth appearance that can fit in any room in your home. For those needing an air cooler that doesn't take up a ton of space, the Noctua NH-L9x65 low profile CPU cooler might just tbe the perfect solution. On the other side of cooling, there is another entry in the water cooling guide covering the addition of memory blocks to the loop and general maintenance to keep the loop clean and performing throughout its life.

Cases
Zalman Z9 Neo @ Benchmark Reviews

CPU Cooling
Noctua NH-L9x65 Low Profile @ Frostytech

Cooling
Water Cooling 101: Adding Memory Blocks & Maintaining Your Loop @ ThinkComputers


Complete Story


Consumer NVIDIA Pascal GPUs May Use Both GDDR5 and GDDR5X

Posted: April 12, 2016 @ time: 12:38PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

As we approach the announcements and releases of the next generation of GPUs from both AMD and NVIDIA, more and more rumors have been coming out. This rumor is that the consumer versions of NVIDIA's upcoming Pascal GPUs will use both GDDR5 and GDDR5X. For those hoping to see HBM 1 or 2, this rumor might be a disappointment, but it also makes sense because of the limited availability of these memory chips and their cost. Plus GDDR5X represents and significant improvement over GDDR5, doubling the current standard's performance and density, without increasing memory usage.

The rumor says that the top-of-the-line Pascal consumer card, referred to as the GTX 1080, will use GDDR5X, while the step-down GTX 1070 will use GDDR5 memory instead. This is somewhat interesting, if it turns out to be true, because GDDR5 and GDDR5X chips use different pin arrays, making different PCBs necessary for the two versions of the GP104 GPU die.

Source: WCCFtech


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Kingston Announces Two Encrypted Flash Drives

Posted: April 12, 2016 @ time: 04:32PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Kingston has added a pair of hardware encrypted USB flash drives to its lineup with the DataTraveler 4000G2 with Management (DT4000G2DM) and DataTraveler Vault Privacy 3.0 with Management (DTVP30DM). The drives can be managed with SafeConsole or DataLocker and meet the Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) guidelines, allowing them to "ensure maximum corporate and personal data security." The drives are protected by 256-bit AES encryption and the DT4000G2DM is FIPS 140-2 Level 3 validated while the DTVP30DM is FIPS 197 certified. Through the use of SafeConsole, users will have access to "secure resetting of forgotten passwords, activation of full audit trails, geolocation and geofencing to ensure cross-border compliance, automatic inventory, and a “remote kill” feature in the event of device loss." Flash business manager Ken Campbell described the continued focus on security for business and personal customers, stating "Our latest encrypted managed USB drives, the recent IronKey acquisition and growing DataLocker partnership all demonstrates Kingston’s commitment to providing the most secure and largest family of encrypted USB solutions on the market." The drives will be available in capacities of 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB.

Source: Press Release


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Malware Found on Surveillance Cameras Sold by Amazon

Posted: April 12, 2016 @ time: 06:34PM
Author: gebraset

Mike Olsen, a security researcher that runs a blog on the topic of hacking, recently purchased a set of six power over Ethernet outdoor surveillance cameras for his friend's home. After receiving the devices, he unfortunately was greeted with an interface that failed to provide access to normal controls and operations. In order to see if a bad style was hiding the controls that he needed, he took a look at the code that made up the interface page and noticed an iframe that linked to a strange looking host name. After some research, Olsen immediately found that the domain was related with malware that had quite a bit of a history.

While it is unknown if the seller of the PoE cameras had any idea that the malware was indeed present within the interface of the camera, Olsen's experience does serve as a good reminder that even when a seller has a good rating, a product is a good deal, and Amazon is the retailer, malware can still exist without knowledge to the consumer.

Source: Mike Olsen


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RGB360 Lighting Kit Debuted by DEEPCOOL

Posted: April 13, 2016 @ time: 08:03AM
Author: gebraset

DEEPCOOL, a leading manufacturer of computer chassis, cooling solutions, power supply units, and electronic accessories, has officially debued the RGB360 LED strips. The latest product from DEEPCOOL provides excellent lighting for any computer setup and offers users with 16.8 million colors that are displayed in a bright, soft, and uniform design. The RGB360, which featues a flexible FPC substrate and magnetic design, offers a lifespan of 100,000 hours, can be easily cut to fit within any chassis, and is controllable through the included remote control that can alter light settings from 10 meters away.

The RGB360 from DEEPCOOL features an MSRP of $29.99 and will be available to purchase sometime this month.

Source: Press Release


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday, April 13, 2016, Edition

Posted: April 13, 2016 @ time: 09:32AM
Author: bp9801

The middle of the week is here, bringing with it a few items to get you through the day. There is a look at the WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra NAS, a 2-bay unit that can keep your data backed up safely and shared among any device you connect. For those needing some better sound, the Edifier Pure Sound H480 Hi-Fi Monitor Headphones get reviewed to see how this budget-focused model performs. Finishing things for today is the SISWOO A5 Chocolate Smartphone, an Android model with a 720p screen and a quad-core CPU to deliver plenty of performance without breaking the bank.

Storage/Hard Drives
WD My Cloud EX2 Ultra NAS @ ThinkComputers

Speakers/Headphones
Edifier Pure Sound H480 Hi-Fi Monitor Headphones @ PC Perspective

Mobile
SISWOO A5 Chocolate Smartphone @ Madshrimps


Complete Story


Maple Syrup Found to Protect Neurons

Posted: April 13, 2016 @ time: 12:02PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

This bit of research is from the University of Montreal, which might not be all that surprising. Researchers there have discovered at maple syrup can actually help protect neurons from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. Before you start downing any syrup though, this study was done with C. elegans worms that do not have to worry about illnesses like diabetes, and was just for educational purposes.

The C. elegans worms used have been genetically modified to express TDP-43, which is related to ALS, and will result in 50% of the worms being completely paralyzed after two weeks. To see if maple syrup would make a difference, the worms were given some at various concentrations and compared with worms on a normal diet. At the two week mark, only 17% of the worms were paralyzed, showing that the syrup did in fact help protect them from the illness.

The reason maple syrup helped is because it contains sugar and some powerful antioxidants, polyphenols. Neurons use sugar for food, and diseased neurons need more to fight the toxic proteins associated with ALS. Two of the antioxidants identified, gallic acid and catechol, also have a neuroprotective effect, which certainly helped as well, even though they are only present in small concentrations.

Source: University of Montreal Hospital Research Center


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FBI Paid Hackers to Gain Access to iPhone

Posted: April 13, 2016 @ time: 03:40PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Late last month, the FBI dropped its fight to force Apple to help it gain access to an iPhone used by the San Bernardino terrorists, but declined to reveal how it was able to access the phone. According to "people familiar with the matter," the FBI was able to gain access to the phone by paying professional hackers who were able to find an exploit. The FBI was then able to create a hardware device that would allow it to disable a feature that erases all data on an iPhone after 10 incorrect attempts to enter a four digit PIN. The exploit is said to only work on the iPhone 5C with iOS 9, which the FBI describes as a "narrow slice" of phones. The government has not decided if it will release details of the exploit to Apple and Apple has said it won't pursue legal action to force the government to do so. FBI Director James B. Comey described the thought process of the Bureau, stating "they’re going to fix it and then we’re back where we started from."

Source: The Washington Post


Complete Story


Windows 10 Anniversary Update Available July 2016

Posted: April 13, 2016 @ time: 04:23PM
Author: CheeseMan42

The Windows 10 Roadmap indicates that the Anniversary Update will be available sometime in July 2016 with a number of features that are currently being previewed in Windows 10 Insider Preview 14316. Some of the features include "updates to Windows Defender, support for external touch displays when using Continuum, new authentication methods that will help users unlock their PCs using their Windows Phone or Android devices, and improvements to Microsoft Passport." Also expected to be included in the update are changes to Cortana, the Microsoft digital assistant. Among the expected improvements to Cortana is "pulling reminder-relevant info from emails so you have the details at hand."

Source: WCCF Tech


Complete Story


New Method Developed for Stabilizing Qubits

Posted: April 14, 2016 @ time: 07:36AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

As powerful as modern computers become, there are some operations they will never be able to do very well. Quantum computers however, do have the potential to complete some of these operations very quickly, because of the quantum mechanical effects they have at their disposal. The catch is that quantum mechanical systems are as fragile as they are powerful, but researchers at MIT have developed a new means of stabilizing quantum bits.

In traditional computer, information is stored with the charge of electrons, but in quantum computers, the quantum bits or qubits store information with properties that can enter a superposition. Superposition is a quantum mechanical phenomenon that allows a particle to exist in multiple, usually exclusive states, but is also very fragile. The qubit in this case is a nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center within a diamond. A pure diamond is comprised of carbon, but researchers discovered that by replacing a carbon atom with a nitrogen atom, and removing another carbon atom next to it, creates a quantum system that can be used as a qubit. What the researchers did is use microwave exposure to entangle the state of the electrons within the nitrogen-vacancy, with the state of the nitrogen atom's nucleus. This entanglement means that if anything goes wrong when the quantum computations are done, both the NV center and the nucleus will be affected. After the computation is completed, the nucleus and NV center are disentangled and are exposed to additional microwaves. These microwaves have been calibrated though, so that their effect on the NV center depends on the state of the nitrogen nucleus, so only if an error occurred would the qubit be touched.

With experiments the researchers found this method allowed the qubit to stay in it superposition for about a thousand times longer than if the method were not used. Obviously that is a significant accomplishment and we could see it quickly being used to as part of new protocols for quantum computing.

Source: MIT


Complete Story


Hardware Roundup: Thursday, April 14, 2016, Edition

Posted: April 14, 2016 @ time: 10:16AM
Author: bp9801

Another week of April is nearly in the books, but not before we have some items for you to check out. A few different AMD APUs and CPUs get tested, with the A10-7890K, A10-7860K, and Athlon X4 880K all reviewed to see what they can do. The Phanteks Eclipse P400S Silent Edition mid-tower case is reviewed to check out how this version of the case can keep your system from being the loudest thing in the room. Wrapping the items up for today is a look at the Tt eSPORTS Shock 3D 7.1 PC Gaming Headset, a USB model that could give your gaming experience the boost it needs.

CPUs
AMD A10-7890K, A10-7860K, and Athlon X4 880K @ LanOC Reviews

Cases
Phanteks Eclipse P400S Silent Edition @ PC Perspective

Speakers/Headphones
Tt eSPORTS Shock 3D 7.1 PC Gaming Headset @ Madshrimps


Complete Story


Thermaltake Announces Core W Case Series

Posted: April 14, 2016 @ time: 04:16PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Thermaltake has announced the latest addition to its case family with the Core W series, made up of the Core W200 and Core WP200 with the Core P200 pedestal chassis. The cases were designed with Thermaltake's "core values of Excellent Quality, Unique Design, Diverse Combinations and Boundless Creativity" and gives users the ability to make a massive dual system chassis. Up to 20 hard drives and 10 PCIe devices can be installed along with plenty of space for liquid cooling systems and general system cooling. The dual chassis design of the Core W series allows for one system to be installed in each part of the case, with support for motherboards ranging in size from Mini ITX to XL-ATX.

Source: Press Release


Complete Story


Microsoft Files Lawsuit Against US Government Over Data Requests

Posted: April 14, 2016 @ time: 04:30PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Earlier today Microsoft filed a lawsuit against the United State Justice Department in the District Court in Seattle. The subject of the lawsuit is Section 2705(b) of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which "allows the government to obtain secrecy orders preventing companies from letting their customers know when their data is the target of a federal warrant." Microsoft feels that this violates the First and Fourth Amendments, but recognizes that "secrecy may be needed in some cases." The main objection of Microsoft is that the number of requests seems to be increasing and the majority of the requests have no end date. Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith addressed the lawsuit, stating "We believe these actions violate two of the fundamental rights that have been part of this country since its founding. These lengthy and even permanent secrecy orders violate the Fourth Amendment, which gives people and businesses the right to know if the government searches or seizes their property. They also violate the First Amendment, which guarantees our right to talk to customers about how government action is affecting their data. The constitutional right to free speech is subject only to restraints narrowly tailored to serve compelling governmental interests, a standard that is neither required by the statute being applied nor met by the government in practice here."

Source: WCCF Tech


Complete Story


TRENDnet Relaunches IPView Mobile Application

Posted: April 15, 2016 @ time: 04:32AM
Author: gebraset

TRENDnet, a networking hardware brand that provides award-winning networking and surveillance solutions to small and medium-sized businesses and home users, has officially relaunched its IPView mobile application for Android and iOS. The latest version of the software provides a more intuitive user interface, stability improvements, and performance fixes. The application allows owners of all TRENDnet IP cameras and NVRs to take video snapshots, zoom in and out, and view video thumbnails, and also provides owners of select devices with the ability to utilize preset PTZ patrol, real-time pan and tilt, and two-way audio.

IPView from TRENDnet is free to download from the App Store and Google Play, and features an upgrade option of $3.99 that enables auto-scan, multi-view, and recording to device or Dropbox functionality.

Source: Press Release


Complete Story


White Graphene Can Make Batteries More Resilient to Heat

Posted: April 15, 2016 @ time: 08:44AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

When recharging a battery, it will start to heat up and for many applications, that is not too big a problem, but in some cases that heat can kill the battery, and even ignite it. To address the issue, work is being done to develop new battery components that can take the heat. Researchers at Rice University have recently developed a new combined electrolyte and separator that can survive temperatures up to 150 ºC.

Last year this same group of researchers discovered a kind of clay could be used as an electrolyte that would work at up to 120 ºC. From that work they speculated that hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN), or white graphene, could do an even better job. It is called white graphene because it is structurally similar to normal graphene, a form of carbon that is just one atom thick. Unlike graphene though, h-BN is an insulator and is also not a good ionic conductor. With properties like that, one would not expect it to improve a battery's performance, but it actually did. Despite being a relatively inert material, it combined with a piperidinium-based ionic liquid and lithium salt appeared to catalyze better reactions from the chemicals around it.

With the ability to operate from room temperature up to 150 ºC, the batteries using it can have very wide temperatures, which will be very important for some industrial and aerospace applications. For example, wellheads for the oil and gas industry require batteries that can survive the high temperatures they are exposed to. Non-rechargeable batteries have to be used currently, because only they can endure the temperatures involved, but now that may change.

Source: Rice University


Complete Story


Hardware Roundup: Friday, April 15, 2016, Edition

Posted: April 15, 2016 @ time: 09:49AM
Author: bp9801

The end of the week is here, bringing several items to help welcome in the weekend. There is a review on the Tesoro Sagitta Spectrum Gaming Mouse, featuring a 5000 DPI sensor, full RGB lighting, and eight programmable buttons to customize however you need to get the results in your games. To help the mouse out, the Corsair MM300 Anti-Fray Cloth Mouse Mat may just do the trick of providing a clean surface with the best possible control. If you need a new game that will help brutalize your sensors, Dark Souls III is now available and benchmarked to see what kind of performance you get in a range of setups. Wrapping things up is a new podcast covering the latest news and reviews from the past week.

Keyboards/Mice
Tesoro Sagitta Spectrum Gaming Mouse @ Benchmark Reviews

Mouse Pads
Corsair MM300 Anti-Fray Cloth Mouse Mat @ Neoseeker

Gaming
Dark Souls III Benchmarked: GPU & CPU Performance @ TechSpot

Miscellany
Podcast #395 @ PC Perspective


Complete Story


AMD Announces FirePro W9100 Workstation Graphics Card

Posted: April 15, 2016 @ time: 10:49AM
Author: CheeseMan42

AMD has long released graphics cards targeted at professional workstations under the Fire lineup, and the FirePro W9100 is the latest card to bear that name. The previous iteration of the FirePro W9100 featured 16GB of GDDR5 memory while the just announced upgrade boasts a whopping 32GB. Other aspects of the card remain the same with 2816 stream processors, 176 texture units, and a GPU speed of 930MHz. Doubling the memory of the card comes with a bump in price from $3999 to $4999. The 32GB version of the FirePro W9100 is expected to be available sometime this quarter.

Source: Anandtech


Complete Story


NVIDIA Releases GeForce Hot Fix Driver 364.96

Posted: April 17, 2016 @ time: 08:03AM
Author: gebraset

NVIDIA has recently released version 364.96 of its GeForce hot fix driver, which primarily focuses on providing support for the Doom open beta that commenced just a few days ago. The driver also is said to have fixed some FPS drops that occur on select GPUs after waking up from sleep. Affected titles for this FPS drop issue include Dark Souls 3 and The Division, though some users on the official NVIDIA forums are reporting that Dark Souls 3 is suddenly crashing after installing the GeForce Hot Fix Driver 364.96.

For individuals that have a supported NVIDIA GPU and are still enjoying the Doom open beta throughout the rest of today, it just might be worth downloading the latest hot fix driver from NVIDIA.

Source: WCCFtech


Complete Story


Intel is Reportedly Cutting Thousands of Jobs This Year

Posted: April 18, 2016 @ time: 05:09AM
Author: gebraset

According to multiple sources within the company that are familiar with its plans, Intel is looking to cut thousands of jobs throughout this year in an effort to reorganize its business objectives and maintain its healthy profit margins. While the job cuts have not been officially announced within the company or even publicly disclosed, those familiar with the matter note that the reduction in employment at Intel will decrease numbers in some parts of the business by double digits. Additionally, the next round of job cuts at Intel is expected to be larger than the layoffs that occurred last year in which more than 1,100 jobs were eliminated. The reduction in Intel's workforce is supposedly due to the shifting business market as more consumers purchase mobile devices and prolong upgrading their current personal computers. The company is also facing increased costs that are associated with manufacturing more complex and smaller chip designs.

With the recent change in top-level executives at Intel, and the refocus the company is taking on longterm growth, the thousands of job cuts that are expected throughout this year seem rather unsurprising.

Source: Oregon Live


Complete Story


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