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News Archives for December 2016

Hardware Roundup: Thursday, December 1, 2016, Edition

Posted: December 1, 2016 @ time: 07:38AM
Author: bp9801

The final month of the year has arrived, bringing with it cooler (or warmer) temperatures, as well as a few items for you to check out today. We have a review on the XFX TS Series 750W power supply, a model based on SeaSonic's popular S12G line that is sure to appeal to everyone needing power at an affordable price. There's a look at the Realforce RGB mechanical keyboard, featuring Topre switches and RGB backlighting to give you a comfortable typing experience in any setting. If you're an outdoorsman, hunter, or just a collector, our final item might appeal to you, as the BarrelCool Rifle Chamber Fan provides a portable way to cool your gun barrel down in half the time.

Power Supplies
XFX TS Series 750W @ PC Perspective

Keyboards/Mice
Realforce RGB Mechanical Keyboard @ LanOC Reviews

Miscellany
BarrelCool Rifle Chamber Fan @ Benchmark Reviews


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Hardware Roundup: Friday, December 2, 2016, Edition

Posted: December 2, 2016 @ time: 07:29AM
Author: bp9801

The week has drawn to a close, with a couple of items ending the week off for us. There is a look at the AUKEY KM-G3 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, a fairly affordable model that just might hit all the right notes after nailing the price point. Our other item for the day is a podcast covering the latest news and reviews from the past week.

Keyboards/Mice
AUKEY KM-G3 RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ PC Perspective

Miscellany
Podcast #427 @ PC Perspective


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A New Galaxy of Adventure Awaits in the Gameplay Trailer for Mass Effect: Andromeda

Posted: December 2, 2016 @ time: 07:49AM
Author: bp9801

Last night, as the Game Awards were winding down, we were all treated to some new gameplay footage of Mass Effect: Andromeda, the upcoming entry from BioWare. We saw a new cinematic trailer on N7 Day, but aside from a tiny bit of gameplay when the PS4 Pro was announced, we were missing some solid, actual gameplay. Well, fortunately BioWare delivered nearly five minutes of it last night, and if you happened to miss it last night, you're in luck. We get a little bit of everything in the gameplay footage, including some driving segments in the Nomad, combat against large beasts and more regular sized enemies, and even a bit of conversation between Ryder and a warlord. Plus the new HUD is on display throughout the footage. There's plenty more to check out, so start watching it below and try not to drool.

Everything shown in the trailer has got me ready to go for Mass Effect: Andromeda. The combat looks fluid, especially when you combine the jetpack with biotic abilities, or swapping to the disruptor ammo to take out some mechs, or trying to not get overrun by some of the new beasts you'll encounter on the different worlds. We also get a look at some more of the squadmates, like a Krogan and a female Turian, and in one combat section we see what appears to be a new alien race that's different from the Kett shown during N7 Day. There's going to be so much waiting us in Andromeda, and it's a journey I cannot wait to go on.

Mass Effect: Andromeda arrives in the spring for the PC, PlayStation 4, PS4 Pro, and Xbox One. No solid release date just yet, but hopefully that's coming before long.

Source: YouTube


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Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition Announced from Gearbox Publishing

Posted: December 2, 2016 @ time: 10:46AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Back in 2011 a game called Bulletstorm was released and on April 7, 2017 it will be coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and return to PC as Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition. This announcement came during the Game Awards 2016, along with the announcement that Gearbox Software has formed Gearbox Publishing, a division meant to help indie developers. This partnership between Gearbox and People Can Fly, the Bulletstorm developers, is also adding a bit more to the game, at least if you pre-order it, as you will be able to play the entire campaign as Duke Nukem, complete with full voice-over, in place of the game's main character Grayson Hunt.

When it releases in April, Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition will include all previously released content for the original game, a new Overkill Campaign Mode that starts you off with an unrestricted arsenal, new maps for the score-based Echo Mode, remastered audio effects, and updated visuals. The textures will be higher resolution, the polygon counts have been increased, the framerate should be smoother, and for those on PC and PS4 Pro, you will be able to play the game at 4K.

Source: Gearbox


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Benchmarks for Upcoming AMD Radeon RX 490 Leaked

Posted: December 2, 2016 @ time: 01:31PM
Author: CheeseMan42

The Radeon RX 490 is the next high end entry into the Radeon RX 400 series from AMD, and is described as "an enthusiast aimed graphics card that will be able to power AAA experiences at up to 4K resolutions and also run VR titles smoothly." The card was listed on a Norwegian retail site with an expected availability in the second half of 2017, but no pricing information. Benchmarks listed at WCCF Tech for the Radeon Pro 490 indicate that the card outperforms the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 in three different 3DMark FS benchmarks by a fair margin, which points to even better performance from the RX 490.

Source: WCCF Tech


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Hardware Roundup: Monday, December 5, 2016, Edition

Posted: December 5, 2016 @ time: 07:46AM
Author: bp9801

A new week is here, with plenty of itesm to help start it off right. We have a review of the KFA2 GeForce GTX 1080 HOF 8GB video card, sporting a massive cooler that is sure to help out when things heat up during 4K gaming. If you're after some new audio needs, then perhaps the Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 Surround Sound Headset is for you. Or maybe it's the V-Moda Crossfade Wireless Headset, which can give you some audio bliss without the cord. For fans of racing games who want a new way to control your in-game vehicle, perhaps the review of the Thrustmaster TMX wheel, with its force feedback response and affordable price tag, will convince you to buy. We have a few other things for you to check out, too, such as a look back the Game Awards 2016, a wireless router from Linksys, and some of the best older phones you can still buy.

Video Cards
KFA2 GeForce GTX 1080 HOF 8GB @ Madshrimps

Speakers/Headphones
Razer Kraken 7.1 V2 Surround Sound Headset @ Madshrimps
V-Moda Crossfade Wireless Headset @ LanOC Reviews

Networking
Linksys WRT3200ACM MU-MIMO Wireless Router @ ThinkComputers

Gadgets
Thrustmaster TMX @ PC Perspective

Gaming
The Game Awards @ TechSpot

Mobile
Older Phones That Are Still Great Buys @ TechSpot


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday, December 6, 2016, Edition

Posted: December 6, 2016 @ time: 07:47AM
Author: bp9801

Tuesday is here, with a few items along the way for your viewing pleasure. We have a review of the Deepcool GamerStorm GENOME liquid cooled case, which features a fully integrated liquid cooling loop, so all you have to do is install the PC components and hook up the loop to enjoy increased cooling performance. There are also two different looks at the Cooler Master MasterCase Maker 5t case, one of the newest case entries from the company and the flagship model of the MasterCase lineup.

Cases
Deepcool GamerStorm GENOME @ PC Perspective
Cooler Master MasterCase Maker 5t @ Benchmark Reviews
Cooler Master MasterCase Maker 5t @ ThinkComputers


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Brain Stimulation Used to Play Computer Game

Posted: December 6, 2016 @ time: 10:09AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

In the effort to create more visually stunning experiences for gamers, higher resolution monitors and more powerful components to drive them are constantly being worked on. According to science fiction though, eventually images could just be sent directly to our brains. Researchers at the University of Washington have taken a significant step toward that future with non-invasive, transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Using this standard piece of neuroscience equipment, the researchers produced phosphenes, which the test subject interpreted to navigate in a virtual world. Phosphenes are typically perceived as blobs or bars of light, despite no light actually entering the eye. The strong magnetic fields of transcranial magnetic stimulation are able to produce them, and in this case were used to provide information about a maze. With that information, the test subjects were to move their character forward or down, and with this brain stimulation made the correct choice 92% of the time. The researchers also noticed that the subjects improved over time, indicating they were learning to better identify the artificial stimuli.

While we might one day be able to experience video games within our minds, a potentially closer application, though still far away, is to assist the blind and visually impaired navigate in the real world. A lot of work needs to be done before that can become reality though, as the equipment used to create the magnetic fields is very bulky, but eventually new, more portable technologies could become available.

 

 

Source: University of Washington


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Intel Plans to License AMD GPU Technology

Posted: December 6, 2016 @ time: 04:29PM
Author: CheeseMan42

AMD has seen some hard times in recent memory, including more layoffs and a record low market share in the GPU market in the first quarter of 2016. A rumor posted earlier this year at HardOCP indicated that there was growing tension between AMD CEO Lisa Su and the leader of the Radeon Technologies Group (RTG), Raja Koduri. As a result of this, the RTG was reported to be exploring a licensing deal with Intel to provide the GPU component for the Intel iGPU. HardOCP MasterChef Editor Kyle Bennett has now provided an update on the rumor, stating that "The licensing deal between AMD and Intel is signed and done for putting AMD GPU tech into Intel's iGPU." We will have to wait and see what this will mean going forward for the two companies and Intel CPUs with integrated graphics.

Source: HardOCP


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday, December 7, 2016, Edition

Posted: December 7, 2016 @ time: 07:42AM
Author: bp9801

The middle of the week is upon us, with a few items to get you through it, regardless of what you're doing today. There is a review of the EVGA SuperNOVA 550W G3 power supply, featuring improved performance over the G2 line and silent fan operation until the power load increases beyond 50%. If you're after a new mouse, then the Razer DeathAdder Elite just might be the one for you, since it features a familiar shape and plenty of new hardware inside. We wrap things up with 20 of the worst PC setups seen during the month of November.

Power Supplies
EVGA SuperNOVA 550W G3 @ PC Perspective

Mice/Keyboards
Razer DeathAdder Elite @ TechSpot

Miscellany
20 of the Worst PC Setups – November 2016 @ ThinkComputers


Complete Story


AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition Drivers

Posted: December 8, 2016 @ time: 12:33PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

A little more than a year ago AMD released Radeon Software Crimson Edition, which are new drivers for AMD GPUs and new software suite surrounding them. At the time it offered a new user experience, improved stability, better performance, more energy efficiency, and a dozen new or enhanced features. Today AMD has again released a major update to its driver package, called Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition.

There are several new additions and improvements that come with ReLive, with two particular stand-outs. Radeon ReLive is one of these, and obviously AMD believes this is an important feature since the whole package shares the name. The simplest description is that ReLive is AMD's response to NVIDIA's Shadowplay, which I believe has since been renamed Share in GeForce Experience 3.0. Since GCN 1.0 for AMD GPUs and Kepler for NVIDIA GPUs, ASICs (application specific integrated circuits) have been included on the chip for encoding and decoding at least h.264/AVC video, but it was NVIDIA that first offered a relatively simple, driver-included tool for capturing real-time gameplay using its NVENC encoder, without a significant performance hit. There have been ways to access AMD's VCE encoder, but nothing comparable to Shadowplay/Share from AMD itself, until now with ReLive. It has the ability to keep a video buffer, so you can capture something after it happens, or just record directly to a file, like NVIDIA's solution, but it also has some exclusive features. One is the ability to add a custom overlay image, so you can have a watermark applied at the time of recording instead of after the fact. It can also stream to services other than YouTube and Twitch. Getting into more technical details, it can record at a constant frame rate to maintain audio-video sync, and can record using the h.265/HEVC codec, if you have a Polaris-based GPU. (I feel it is worth noting that while h.265/HEVC may get you better quality videos than h.264/AVC, YouTube does not currently ingest videos made with this codec, so you will need to re-encode them to something else. There are many free tools for doing this, but it still is an extra step to the process.)

The second stand-out feature is Radeon Chill. Previous drivers already enabled a user to set a framerate target, which will keep a GPU from generating more frames than necessary, reducing power usage. Radeon Chill takes this a step further as it dynamical regulates framerate, reducing it at times there is little on-screen movement, further saving power. This not only reduces power usage but can also improve response time because of fewer frames being queued. Currently Chill can only be enabled in whitelisted titles, but it can improve power efficiency by 31%, lower temperatures by 13%, and reduced frame-time by 32%.

Other features include Borderless Fullscreen support for FreeSync, Gradual Refresh Rate Ramp for mobile setups, DisplayPort HBR3 support, extended WarrMan support to older GPUs, a better ability to detect bad HDMI cables, and accelerated VP9 decoding, for the Chrome web browser.

 

 

Source: AMD [1], [2] and Radeon.com


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Hardware Roundup: Friday, December 9, 2016, Edition

Posted: December 9, 2016 @ time: 07:43AM
Author: bp9801

The first full week of December is nearly over, with a few items to go before it's all done. There is a review of the Cougar Revenger Gaming Mouse, an affordable option that features a pleasing shape and plenty of hardware inside to make it seem much more expensive than it is. A new case mod gets highlighted that takes the Thermaltake Core P3 case and changes it all up, offering a unique style all its own for this impressive mod. Wrapping things up is a new podcast covering the latest news and reviews from the past week.

Mice/Keyboards
Cougar Revenger Gaming Mouse @ Madshrimps

Miscellany
Case Mod Friday: Project Core P3 @ ThinkComputers
Podcast #428 @ PC Perspective


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Hardware Roundup: Monday, December 12, 2016, Edition

Posted: December 12, 2016 @ time: 07:41AM
Author: bp9801

A new week is upon us, with a few items to help start it off. We have a review of the NZXT S340 Elite case, a mid tower featuring a tempered glass side panel and a front HDMI port to help out with your VR headset. If you're after a 3D printer to handle various tasks, then maybe the SeeMeCNC Rostock MAX v3 is the one for you. We end things with a guide on how to stay secure and survive the dark web, should you choose to browse it.

Cases
NZXT S340 Elite @ ThinkComputers

Gadgets
SeeMeCNC Rostock MAX v3 @ LanOC Reviews

Miscellany
A Primer on Staying Secure and Anonymous on the Dark Web @ TechSpot


Complete Story


Radeon Instinct Announced by AMD to Accelerate Machine Intelligence with Vega

Posted: December 12, 2016 @ time: 02:21PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Not even half way done and December is already proving to be a very interesting month for AMD. It launched the Crimson ReLive drivers, will be having its New Horizons event focusing on the upcoming Zen CPU architecture tomorrow, and now it has revealed its Radeon Instinct program. This program includes both hardware and open-source software to advance machine intelligence, a field becoming ever more interesting and important as more and more data is collected. Creating both high performance GPU and x86 silicon, AMD sees itself as being in a strong position to fulfill the needs of the datacenters that implement machine intelligence methods.

Providing the GPU power behind Radeon Instinct are three new accelerators, the MI6, MI8, and MI25. The MI6 is based on the Polaris architecture, has 16 GB of memory, and is capable of 5.7 TFLOPS of FP16 performance at just 150 W of board power. The MI8 uses the Fiji Nano GPU with 4 GB of HBM to provide 8.2 TFLOPS of peak FP16 performance while drawing less than 175 W. You may have noticed a pattern to the names here, but I am not seeing a clear statement that the MI25 is capable of ~25 TFLOPs, but it would make sense. What AMD does say about the MI25 though is that it is based on the Vega GPU architecture, its next generation GPU architecture not expected until the first half of next year, and uses less than 300 W. All of these accelerators use passive cooling, support AMD MxGPU hardware virtualization, and 64-bit PCIe addressing for multi-GPU peer-to-peer support.

On the software side, AMD has the MIOpen GPU-accelerated library and ROCm. MIOpen is a free and open source library for GPU-tuned implementations of standard routines and should be available Q1 2017. The ROCm platform provides acceleration for several frameworks, so programmers can focus on training neural networks instead of the otherwise necessary performance tuning.

 

 

Source: AMD and Radeon.com


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday, December 13, 2016, Edition

Posted: December 13, 2016 @ time: 07:40AM
Author: bp9801

A new day is here, with a couple of items along the way to get you through the day. There is a review of the ACME Zoopa Q420 Cruiser Quadrocopter, offering a 720p camera to capture pictures and video as you navigate the drone around different areas. If you're after some other gift ideas and want to see what people are wishing for, we have that covered, too, with a wish list you can check out below.

Gadgets
ACME Zoopa Q420 Cruiser Quadrocopter @ Madshrimps

Miscellany
ThinkComputers Holiday 2016 Staff Wish List @ ThinkComputers


Complete Story


Overwatch Turned Into a Winter Wonderland

Posted: December 13, 2016 @ time: 03:56PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Overwatch is the popular team based shooter from Blizzard, and the game is now receiving a new seasonal event, following up on the Halloween event earlier this year. Two maps, Hanamura and King's Row, have received a snowy makeover and Loot Boxes now have a chance to drop one of more than 100 seasonal cosmetic items. A limited time game mode, Mei's Snowball Offensive, replaces Mei's Endothermic Blaster with a single shot snowball cannon that can be upgraded to a semi-automatic with her ultimate. The Winter Wonderland event runs from today until January 2, so be sure to take advantage of it while you can.

Source: Overwatch Blog


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Corsair Announces New M.2 Solid State Drives

Posted: December 13, 2016 @ time: 04:51PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Corsair has announced the Force MP500 M.2 SSDs, "the fastest SSDs yet produced by CORSAIR," with "performance up to five times faster than traditional SATA 6Gbps SSDs." The drives are powered by a Phison PS5007-E7 NVMe controller and utilize the PCIe Gen. 3 x4 M.2 2280 interface. This combination provides for read and write speeds up to 3,000MB/s and 2,400MB/s, respectively. In addition to the high speeds, the Force MP500 drives include proprietary SmartECC, SmartRefresh, and SmartFlush technologies to "safeguard data against corruption in case of unexpected power loss or unsafe shutdown." The Force MP500 drives are available immediately in capacities of 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB.

Source: Press Release


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AMD New Horizon Event Showed Off Ryzen CPU Technologies and Peak at Vega GPU Performance

Posted: December 13, 2016 @ time: 06:51PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Earlier today AMD held its New Horizon event, which was live-streamed for anyone interested in seeing the upcoming Zen-based CPUs being put to use, along with some new information about the new architecture. One of the announcements was that the name for the upcoming processors will be Ryzen. AMD also revealed SenseMI, which consists of multiple machine intelligence components to improve performance and efficiency. Following the Radeon Instinct announcement yesterday, we can clearly see AMD is trying to leverage this field.

The five SenseMI components are Pure Power, Precision Boost, Extended Frequency Range, Neural Net Prediction, and Smart Prefetch, and all of them will run in the background to optimize performance. Pure Power uses the over 100 sensors within the CPU to selectively reduce power consumption, based on the millivolt, milliwatt, and single-degree precision temperature measurements those sensor collect. Precision Boost is able to increase clock speeds by increments of 25 MHz, based on the task at hand and the measurements from those sensors, at it can do this at up to one thousand times a second. Extended Frequency Range allows Precision Boost to push the clock speed higher than the normal boost clock, if the cooling system has the headroom. Neural Net Prediction is an artificial intelligence neural network that analyzes what an application does so it can predict what pathways it will need in the future. Smart Prefetch fetches data it predicts will be needed ahead of when it is requested, like other prefetch systems but apparently with more sophisticated learning algorithms. No doubt helping these last two components is the combined 20 MB between the L2 and L3 caches.

Of course, the various new technologies and fancy marketing names are of little importance if the hardware cannot perform, so the Ryzen CPU with 8-cores and 16-threads, clocked at 3.4 GHz without any boost was pit against the Intel Core i7 6900K in a number of tests. The i7 6900K, which is also an 8-core/16-thread processor, was effectively off-the-shelf with the default base clock of 3.2 GHz and boost clock of 3.7 GHz enabled (though comments I have seen point out that in a multithreaded task, we might not see it boost) and was matched or beaten by the Ryzen CPU. These tests included rendering an image in Blender (and you can download the project from the New Horizon webpage), transcoding video with Handbrake, and playing Battlefield 1 at 4K resolution. For the gameplay, the CPUs were matched with a Pascal-based NVIDIA Titan X. By the way, the i7 6900K has a TDP of 140 W while the Ryzen CPU has a TDP of 95 W.

At the end of event some of the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront – Rogue One DLC was shown off, running at 4K and over 60 FPS using a Ryzen CPU and a Vega GPU. No specific information was given about the GPU, so that will have to wait for details on that.

The livestream is up on YouTube, and embedded below, for anyone who would like to watch it.

 

Source: AMD and HotHardware


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday, December 14, 2016, Edition

Posted: December 14, 2016 @ time: 07:50AM
Author: bp9801

The middle of the week is here, with several items for your viewing pleasure. We have a look at the Scythe Kabuto 3 CPU cooler, a top-flow model with a compact design that should enable it to fit in cases where vertical space is at a premium. For those after a new keyboard, perhaps the Bloody B840 LK Optic Mechanical Keyboard is for you, with its unique switches and orange backlighting. If you're wishing for a new gaming laptop, the Alienware 15 R3 might just be on the top of the list, considering it has a wide range of options for you to deck it out in. We end things with a look at some 3D printing software called Simplify3D to see just what it has to offer for your 3D printer.

CPU Cooling
Scythe Kabuto 3 @ ThinkComputers

Keyboards/Mice
Bloody B840 LK Optic Mechanical Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews

Laptops/Tablets
Alienware 15 R3 @ TechSpot

Software
Simplify3D @ LanOC Reviews


Complete Story


Hardware Roundup: Thursday, December 15, 2016, Edition

Posted: December 15, 2016 @ time: 07:58AM
Author: bp9801

Thursday is upon us, with a couple of items to help get you through the day. We have a review of the Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming K3 motherboard, a mainstream model that packs in a ton of features while keeping the price affordable. Our other item for the day is a trip down memory lane, as some of the best 3Dfx games that used the Glide API get showcased.

Motherboards
Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming K3 @ Madshrimps

Gaming
A Stroll Down Memory Lane: Best 3Dfx Glide Games @ TechSpot


Complete Story


Verizon Getting Cold Feet After Latest Yahoo Hack

Posted: December 15, 2016 @ time: 05:05PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Verizon announced a deal to purchase Yahoo in July 2016 for $4.83 billion. After the recent reveal of another hack against Yahoo that will impact up to one billion users, it appears that Verizon is reevaluating that deal. It is being reported that Verizon is looking to lower its' offering or abandon the deal altogether. One of the important issues that Verizon is concerned with is not absorbing any of the fallout from the latest hack, instead leaving that to fall on Yahoo.

Source: Bloomberg


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Hardware Roundup: Friday, December 16, 2016, Edition

Posted: December 16, 2016 @ time: 07:50AM
Author: bp9801

The last day of the week is here, with a few items along the way to help bring on the weekend. We have a review on the Roccat Suora FX keyboard, a no frills mechanical model that features RGB backlighting and macro support without adding unnecessary size to the keyboard. If you're after something a bit different, then Roccat's Sova MK Gaming Lapboard might be for you, as it enables you to use a keyboard and mouse from the comfort of your couch. For the streamers out there, the Logitech C922 Pro Stream Webcam gets put to the test to see what kind of performance you can expect out of it while recording.

Keyboards/Mice
Roccat Suora FX Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews
Roccat Sova MK Gaming Lapboard @ ThinkComputers

Gadgets
Logitech C922 Pro Stream Webcam @ LanOC Reviews


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Hardware Roundup: Monday, December 19, 2016, Edition

Posted: December 19, 2016 @ time: 07:44AM
Author: bp9801

The second to last week of 2016 is here, with a few items to help kick it off. We have a review of the KFA2 GAMER SSD L 480GB, a mainstream model that uses a Phison controller and 15nm Toshiba TLC NAND to keep its performance level nice and quick. If you're after a small PC to use as an HTPC, maybe the ASRock Beebox can do the trick, with a look at how the new Beebox-S 7200U with its Kaby Lake-U processor compares against the Skylake model. For those after a new prebuilt gaming desktop, the Lenovo IdeaCentre Y900 Razer Edition Gaming Desktop, with its Intel Core i7 6700K and GeForce GTX 1080, might just be the one for you.

Storage/Hard Drives
KFA2 GAMER SSD L 480GB @ Madshrimps

Prebuilts
ASRock Beebox-S 7200U: Kaby Lake vs. Skylake @ TechSpot
Lenovo IdeaCentre Y900 Razer Edition Gaming Desktop @ ThinkComputers


Complete Story


Accessibility Information Added to Google Maps

Posted: December 19, 2016 @ time: 05:04PM
Author: CheeseMan42

As part of working at Google, employees can use up to 20% of their time to work on personal projects that interest them. Google Drive product manager Rio Akasaka has used that time to add information about wheelchair accessibility to Google Maps. Maps will still rely on Local Guides to answer questions that will provide Google with the information, which can now be found in the Amenities section. This feature is only open in the United States for now, but the database containing the information already has millions of entries.

Source: Tech Radar


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday, December 20, 2016, Edition

Posted: December 20, 2016 @ time: 07:44AM
Author: bp9801

Another Tuesday is upon us, with a couple of items to start off the day. We have a look at the MSI GS63VR 6RF Stealth Pro gaming laptop, a powerful model that contains plenty of hardware in a package that is still light and portable. If you need some gift ideas, then you're in luck, as a new gift guide covering all manner of PC hardware, mobile gear, gadgets, and more.

Laptops/Tablets
MSI GS63VR 6RF Stealth Pro @ TechSpot

Miscellany
PC Perspective Holiday Gift Guide 2016 @ PC Perspective


Complete Story


Trident Z RGB Series RAM Announced by G.SKILL

Posted: December 20, 2016 @ time: 11:21AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

For those looking for DDR4 RAM to impress, G.SKILL may have just announced what you are looking for. The Trident Z RGB Series of memory features full-length light bars across the top of the heatspreader, allowing you to fully illuminate your RAM with various colors and effects. The LEDs do not need any special power connections and the RAM is able to reach speeds of DDR4-4266 MHz, thanks to the custom 10-layer PCB and hand-picked chips. Like all G.SKILL memory, the Trident Z RGB Series is covered under a limited lifetime warranty, and it supports XMP 2.0 for easy overclocking.

The RAM kits will be available mid-January 2017, but the software for controlling the lights is scheduled to release a month later, February 2017.

 

 

Source: G.SKILL


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Serious Sam VR: The First Encounter Enters Early Access

Posted: December 20, 2016 @ time: 02:36PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

For fans of the Serious Sam franchise, or VR, or both today Serious Sam VR: The First Encounter has entered early access on Steam. It is the original game, first released in 2001 with an HD remake in 2009, with full VR support and up to 16-player co-op, because VR FPS is always best with friends, right? There is also a deathmatch mode, because VR FPS is always best with enemies, right?

The game is a full locomotion game, so if you want you can take advantage of smooth trackpad movement, instead of using the teleportation systems seen in some VR games. Teleporting is still an option and there is even a built-in teleportation system for dodging enemies.

Being an early access title, you can expect upgrades, tweaks, and bugfixes in the future. Also, because of its release today it has a general 10% discount for a week, but if you own Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter you get another 10% off, and those with Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope get another 20% off, so the most loyal players can get the new title at 40% off.

 

 

Source: Croteam and Press Release


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Thermaltake Adds Trio of New Cases

Posted: December 20, 2016 @ time: 04:53PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Thermaltake has announced the addition of three cases to its ever expanding list of offerings with the Core X31, Core X71, and Suppressor F31. All three cases include a 4mm thick tempered glass window, 140mm Riing Blue fans, and a riser GPU support bracket. Thermaltake plans to show off the three cases at CES 2017 with market availability in January 2017. The Core X71 has a dual chamber design to separate the PSU, hard drive cages, and an optional liquid cooling loop from the rest of the components. The X71 can accommodate up to seven storage devices, two GPUs up to 420mm in length, and a CPU cooler up to 180mm in height. The Core X31 has a fully tool-less design with modular hard drive cages, providing multiple configuration options. The X31 can also handle two GPUs up to 420mm in length and a CPU cooler up to 180mm in height. The Suppressor F31 adds sound dampening panels to the options found in the Core X31.

Source: Press Release


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Hardware Roundup: Wednesday, December 21, 2016, Edition

Posted: December 21, 2016 @ time: 07:46AM
Author: bp9801

Winter is officially here, with several items along the way to help you warm up. There is a look at the Crucial MX300 M.2 525GB SSD, which offers plenty of speed in a compact format to give your system a much needed boost. If you're after a memory boost, the Crucial Ballistix Tactical DDR4-3000 32GB memory kit just might be the solution for your new rig. For those wanting a new way to control their games, the Bloody B830 Mechanical Keyboard offers unique mechanical switches and a style all its own. We wrap things up with a podcast covering the latest news and reviews, plus some discussions with David Hewlett of Stargate Atlantis fame.

Storage/Hard Drives
Crucial MX300 M.2 525GB SSD @ Madshrimps

Memory
Crucial Ballistix Tactical DDR4-3000 32GB @ ThinkComputers

Keyboards/Mice
Bloody B830 Mechanical Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews

Miscellany
Podcast #430 - Holiday Special @ PC Perspective


Complete Story


Thermaltake Announces Toughpower Grand RGB Gold Series

Posted: December 21, 2016 @ time: 05:01PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Thermaltake has announced a new line of power supplies with the Toughpower Grand RGB Gold Series. As the name suggests, it has 80 PLUS Gold certification and will be available in capacities of 650W, 750W, and 850W. The lighting is provided by a Riing 14 RGB fan that offers all 256 RGB colors and five lighting modes. Steady power is provided through a single high amperage 12V rail, with up to 90% efficiency. The PSUs are rounded out with fully modular flat black cables.

Source: Press Release


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday, December 22, 2016, Edition

Posted: December 22, 2016 @ time: 07:41AM
Author: bp9801

The week is winding down, with a couple of items to help get you through today. We have a look at the Caselabs Bullet BH7 case, a small model with an orange and black color scheme and a ton of features not normally seen in such a small case. For those just wanting a lot of power, the SilverStone Strider Platinum 1000W PSU might just be for you, especially since it has an 80 Plus Platinum rating.

Cases
Caselabs Bullet BH7 @ LanOC Reviews

Power Supplies
SilverStone Strider Platinum 1000W @ PC Perspective


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Bosco Needs a Personal Assistant

Posted: December 22, 2016 @ time: 07:53AM
Author: bp9801

There comes a time when bosses need a personal assistant to help them out with the running of their business. That's the case with our boss here at OCC, Bosco. He's in need of a personal assistant and is planning to hire someone for the position. He wants someone who will help out on certain projects at OCC and possibly our sister site Neoseeker, which will free Bosco up for some of the larger projects he has going on. What he's looking for is someone who can work a few hours or so a week, a set amount a month, or on a per-project basis, whichever is the best fit for you. Bosco figures it'll be just a handful of hours a month at the start, say between four and eight, and then it can expand from there. There's also a chance at flying out to meetings in different cities or countries, so if you have a valid passport or can get one, you'll be considered, too. Don't worry if you don't have one, as that doesn't rule you out at all.

This is a paid position, with the pay being handled hourly or on a salary, or even paid entirely in hardware, if that's what you want. As long as you're over 18, you can be considered for the position, so don't hesitate to apply! How do you apply, you ask? Well, just send an email to [email protected] with the subject of "Bosco's Assistant." Be sure to include your salary expectations, too. Due to the nature of the work, Bosco fully expects all applicants to be bond-able, have a clean criminal record, and be dependable.

If this sounds like something you want to do, send Bosco the email and hope for the best! He plans to have the position filled by the end of January 2017, so don't delay!


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AMD to Have Complete Vega Line-up From High to Low End GPUs

Posted: December 22, 2016 @ time: 02:14PM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

Next year we are expecting to see a number of new products coming from AMD, starting with the Ryzen CPUs based on the Zen architecture in Q1. The hope for these processors is to bring AMD back into competition with Intel in the high-end consumer market, an area Intel has been dominating for years. Sometime in the H1, AMD is also set to launch new GPUs using its Vega architecture. While the Polaris architecture found in the RX 480, 470, and 460 graphics cards have proven successful in the mid-range GPU market, it is these Vega GPUs that are expected to challenge NVIDIA at the high end, where the GTX 1080, 1070, and Pascal-based Titan X currently lead. The latest rumor concerning Vega comes from Fudzilla and says that Vega will be available in a complete line-up of graphics cards, extending from the high-end to the low-end market.

This is actually not too surprising a rumor, but it does specifically state the Vega line will be arriving soon, so it suggests we will not see the release strategy AMD is planning to use for the Zen CPUs, with high-end chips first and the less expensive, less powerful chips following. Along with this rumor is that Vega will not just be partnered with HBM 2 memory, which would almost be necessary for low-end cards. While HBM 2 offers significantly improved performance and efficiency it is more expensive to use than GDDR5, the current standard for VRAM. It is not part of the rumor, and I have not seen any rumor suggesting it, but perhaps we could even see some Vega GPUs using GDDR5X, which occupies a place between GDDR5 and HBM 2 for price and performance, and NVIDIA is already using it in some of its GPUs.

Source: Fudzilla


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Cherry Announces Two Silent Keyboard Switches

Posted: December 22, 2016 @ time: 05:34PM
Author: CheeseMan42

Cherry is the company behind the majority of switches used in mechanical keyboards, and they vary in noise level from loud to very loud. That is set to change as Cherry has announced a pair of switches with "integrated, patent-pending noise reduction features," the Cherry Silent and Cherry Silent RGB. The switches will be available in both Red and Black stems, offering similar functionality as their non-silent counterparts. Both utilize Gold Crosspoint contacts, which are "self-cleaning, resistant to dust and dirt and they ensure the reliability of the keyswitch in a keyboard layout."

Source: Press Release


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Hardware Roundup: Tuesday, December 27, 2016, Edition

Posted: December 27, 2016 @ time: 07:45AM
Author: bp9801

The final week of December and 2016 is upon us, with several items tagging along to start things off. We have a roundup of the Samsung 750 EVO series and all its capacities to see just what kind of performance you can get with each model. If you need a new desk, maybe the Arozzi Arena Gaming Desk, with its cloth surface for mice, is an option to consider. Maybe you want something different for your desk, which is where the standing desk starter guide comes in handy. If you just want a way to attach your monitors to your desk, then the Rosewill RMS-16003 Dual Monitor Desk Mount should be quite appealing to you. We have a review on the Linksys WRT3200ACM AC3200 MU-MIMO Gigabit WiFi Router to help transform your home network into something faster. We wrap things up with a new case mod that takes the Corsair 780T and brings it the styling of its motherboard to every single component.

Storage/Hard Drives
Samsung 750 EVO Full Capacity Roundup @ PC Perspective

Networking
Linksys WRT3200ACM AC3200 MU-MIMO Gigabit WiFi Router @ Madshrimps

Miscellany
Arozzi Arena Gaming Desk @ LanOC Reviews
Standing Desk Starter Guide: Some Dos and Don'ts @ TechSpot
Rosewill RMS-16003 Dual Monitor Desk Mount @ ThinkComputers
Case Mod Friday: 780T Taichi @ ThinkComputers


Complete Story


Hardware Roundup: Wednesday, December 28, 2016, Edition

Posted: December 28, 2016 @ time: 07:41AM
Author: bp9801

The middle of the week is here, with a few items along the way to help in winding down 2016. We have a look at the MyDigitalSSD BOOST 1TB External SSD, giving you plenty of storage and speed in a format you can bring with you and connect to any PC you happen to be using at the time. If you're after a new keyboard, maybe the ROCCAT Suora FX Gaming Keyboard, with its mechanical switches and RGB backlighting, is the next one to inhabit your desk. We finish things off today with a review on the MSI GT73VR Titan Pro gaming laptop, a massive beast that could replace your desktop computer.

Storage/Hard Drives
MyDigitalSSD BOOST 1TB External SSD @ Benchmark Reviews

Keyboards/Mice
ROCCAT Suora FX Gaming Keyboard @ Madshrimps

Laptops/Tablets
MSI GT73VR Titan Pro @ TechSpot


Complete Story


Microsoft Hopes to Improve PC Gaming With Windows 10 Game Mode

Posted: December 29, 2016 @ time: 07:36AM
Author: CheeseMan42

A reference to Windows 10 Game Mode has been spotted in build 14997 by Twitter user @h0x0d, presented with comment "looks like Windows will adjust its resource allocation logic (for CPU/Gfx etc.) to prioritize the 'Game' when running in 'Game Mode'". This build isn't available yet, but will become available as part of the Creators Update. It is worth noting that the feature does not yet work and therefore it cannot be determined if Game Mode will be compatible with services like Steam and Origin. Windows Central gathered some additional information from its sources, stating that it will function similar to how Xbox One runs games. The Xbox OS "will allocate resources to make sure the game is running the best it possibly can," and this sounds similar to what Game Mode is being described as.

Source: WCCF Tech and Windows Central


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Hardware Roundup: Thursday, December 29, 2016, Edition

Posted: December 29, 2016 @ time: 07:43AM
Author: bp9801

The year is almost over, but not before we have a few items for you to check out. There's a review on the ASUS X99-A II motherboard, an enhanced version of the previous model that upgrades the audio capabilities, adds in USB 3.1 and Broadwell-E support, and a host of other improvements. If you're after some CPU cooling, maybe the NZXT Kraken X52 Liquid CPU Cooler, with its 240mm radiator, is for you. We also have a bit of a PSA, as the chance to upgrade to Windows 10 for free is still available, despite officially ending back in July.

Motherboards
ASUS X99-A II @ PC Perspective

CPU Cooling
NZXT Kraken X52 Liquid CPU Cooler @ ThinkComputers

Miscellany
You can still upgrade to Windows 10 for free, five months after offer expired @ TechSpot


Complete Story


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