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Thursday July 31, 2014

Video Game Documentary As Vacuous As Games Themselves

This video game documentary is as vacuous as games themselves? If calling video games "mindless" doesn't get your blood boiling, I'm sure this quote will:

We are led down a rabbit hole of mendacity about how video games are good, how they have a unique and fundamental role in society (that will never dissolve, only change form), and how we’re only now beginning to understand and explore how they can improve human existence. Pardon me for being a naysayer, but bah humbug! What a colossal load of tripe!


PC Code Stripping - Is It Legal Or Not?

Apparently "PC code stripping" is a big issue in the EU. Who knew?

"Whilst re-selling game keys may well amount to a breach of contract – as such re-selling is almost invariably prohibited by the terms of the corresponding game’s End User Licence Agreement – whether such re-selling is illegal has been unclear for some time," says Harbottle and Lewis associate Nicolas Murfett.


Thermaltake Urban T81 Case

There is a review of the Thermaltake Urban T81 full-tower case posted at PureOverclock today. For comparison purposes, you can see our evaluation here.

The Urban series of chassis is a reset of Thermaltake’s design team. The days of boisterous designs are being replaced with sleeker lines and more modern curves. This is an effort to attract gamers, water cooling and overclocking enthusiasts with this new Urban series of chassis. The flagship model, the Urban T81, will be put to the test in this review. We will attempt a build that should please all three segments.


AMD A10-7800 Kaveri APU Review Round-Up

Reviews are coming in from around the internet and, as always, we've done our best to round up as many reviews as we can and post links to them here for your convenience. We'll add more reviews throughout the day as we find them.





AMD Introduces New APUs For System Builder And DIY Market

AMD today introduced the new AMD A10-7800 Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) to the component channel. This 4th generation A-Series APU with 12 Compute Cores (4CPU + 8 GPU) unlocks the APU potential with Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) features, and boasts powerful AMD Radeon™ R7 Series graphics for outstanding performance across applications. Combined with AMD’s acclaimed Mantle API, the AMD A10-7800 APU can enable accelerated performance across select AMD Gaming Evolved partner titles.

Revolutionary Architecture

  • Up to 12 Compute Cores (4 CPU + 8 GPU) deliver amazing performance and responsiveness, that leverages the capability of the APU on various workloads, applications and top gaming titles

  • The breakthrough new Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) allows the CPU and GPU to work together in harmony by quickly dividing and directing tasks to the appropriate cores for new levels of performance and efficiency for desktop and notebook PCs, enabling a new era of compute capabilities with compute cores

  • Award-winning Graphics Core Next Architecture with AMD Radeon™ R7 series graphics and compute capability makes it a top choice for gamers who expect the best

  • Support for UltraHD (4K) resolutions and new video post-processing enhancements that make 1080p videos look amazing when upscaled on an UltraHD-enabled monitor or TV


Microsoft Adds New Board Member

Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday announced that John W. Stanton, a pioneer and innovator in the U.S. and global wireless industry, has been appointed to the company’s board of directors, increasing the board’s size to 11 members. Stanton currently serves as chairman of Trilogy Equity Partners, a private equity fund that invests in early-stage growth opportunities in the wireless ecosystem, and Trilogy International Partners, a wireless operator in Central and South America and New Zealand.


NVIDIA Interns Build Bikes for Low-Income Kids

Smartphones. Remote controlled cars. Digital music players. Every kid loves electronics. Ask kids what they want most, however, and the answer is almost always the same. They want bicycles, Robyn Bartkowski, a program manager with TurningWheels For Kids, a non-profit that distributes bikes to low-income kids in the San Francisco Bay Area, told a group of NVIDIA interns gathered at our Santa Clara campus Thursday. "A bike can change the trajectory of a young person’s life," Bartkowski said.

So, 80 members of our latest crop of interns got to work, cracking open boxes and building 20 bikes for local children with the help of a team of volunteers from TurningWheels. Giving is a big part of NVIDIA’s culture. So involving interns in giving is an important part of exposing them to life at NVIDIA.


Wednesday July 30, 2014

MSI Z97S SLI Plus LGA 1150 Motherboard

If you are planning on building an enthusiast overclocking system, you'll definitely want to check out our evaluation of the MSI Z97S SLI Plus.

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MSI once again brings us a solid, stable, and reliable motherboard with some great overclocking and positions it in the multi-GPU category. Usually when we see marketing moves like this we think of $200, $300, or even $400 motherboards. This MSI platform rings in at the $138 mark, which spikes this motherboard in the value category as well.


AMD Announces the Availability of 64-bit ARM Opteron Developer Kits

AMD today announced the immediate availability of the AMD Opteron™ A1100-Series developer kit, which features AMD’s first 64-bit ARM®-based processor, codenamed "Seattle." AMD is the first company to provide a standard ARM Cortex®-A57- based server platform for software developers and integrators. Software and hardware developers as well as early adopters in large datacenters are eligible and can apply on AMD’s website.

With this announcement, AMD becomes the only provider of 64-bit ARM server hardware with complete ARMv8 instruction set support to foster the development of the ecosystem for efficient storage, Web applications and hosting. AMD is the only provider to offer the standard ARM Cortex-A57 technology.


Crytek Shares Plans For The Future

After the announcement was made earlier today that the Homefront IP has been sold to Deep Silver, Crytek made this blog post sharing the company's plans for the future.

Firstly, Crytek has been in extensive discussions with leading producer and distributor of digital entertainment products, Koch Media, regarding the acquisition of rights for the "Homefront" IP. On completion of the proposed acquisition, the Homefront team from Crytek's Nottingham studio would transfer their talents to Koch Media in compliance with English law and continue their hard work on upcoming shooter, "Homefront: The Revolution". Both parties hope to finalize and implement a deal soon.

The internal restructuring will also see the development of Crytek IP, "HUNT: Horrors of the Gilded Age", transferred from their studio in Austin, USA to Frankfurt. Crytek will retain a presence in Austin, with several staff members maintaining the CRYENGINE support team to assist North American licensees. Employees who are not set to be part of that support team will be invited to apply for new positions at Crytek in Germany.


[H]ardware Round-Up II

Cases: Bitfenix Neos Mid-Tower Case @ XtremeHardware

ETC.: Aorus Thunder M7 MMO Gaming Mouse @ HiTech Legion

CM Storm Resonar Gaming Earphones @ eTeknix

Logitech G402 Hyperion Fury Gaming Mouse @ PCPer

Nixeus MODA Mechanical Keyboard @ Legit Reviews

Motherboards: Biostar Hi-Fi Z97WE @ techPowerUP!

Sony: EA Access Doesn't Represent Good Value

Apparently Sony doesn't think $30 a year is a good deal for EA's Access program.

"We evaluated the EA Access subscription offering and decided that it does not bring the kind of value PlayStation customers have come to expect," a Sony representative told us via email. "PlayStation Plus memberships are up more than 200% since the launch of PlayStation 4, which shows that gamers are looking for memberships that offer a multitude of services, across various devices, for one low price. We don’t think asking our fans to pay an additional $5 a month for this EA-specific program represents good value to the PlayStation gamer."


BitFenix Phenom Micro-ATX NVIDIA Edition

If you are the proud owner of a NVIDIA based video card, and you are shopping for a micro-ATX case, you'll no doubt want to read this review of the BitFenix Phenom Micro-ATX.

The case once again features Bitfenix’s SofTouch™ Surface Treatment at the front and the top. This being the Nvidia Edition also means that it features subtle green accents and embossed side panels with Nvidia logos. There’s also support for long graphics cards, tall CPU Coolers and even water cooling support for up to x1 140mm radiator and x1 240mm radiator, impressive for such a small case.


Tor Warns Users It Was Attacked

If you are a Tor user, you might want to read this.

On July 4 2014 we found a group of relays that we assume were trying to deanonymize users. They appear to have been targeting people who operate or access Tor hidden services. The attack involved modifying Tor protocol headers to do traffic confirmation attacks.


BitTorrent Unwraps Chat App Bleep

Hmmm, I wonder which group this chat app will be the most popular with?

The chat application promises real messaging secrecy that slices through the technological Gordian knot of encrypting instant message traffic by using the same decentralized approach behind torrents. Windows 7 and Windows 8 users can sign up now for the Bleep pre-alpha.


Former NSA Director Wants $1M A Month For His Services

One million dollars a month? What the hell is this guy smoking?

Keith Alexander, the recently retired director of the National Security Agency, left many in Washington slack-jawed when it was reported that he might charge companies up to $1 million a month to help them protect their computer networks from hackers. What insights or expertise about cybersecurity could possibly justify such a sky-high fee, some wondered, even for a man as well-connected in the military-industrial complex as the former head of the nation's largest intelligence agency?


Sprint Sells A Plan That Only Connects to Facebook or Twitter

I'm not saying there aren't people out there that would go for a plan like this....I'm just saying I've never met one. big grin

For about $12, Sprint will soon let subscribers buy a wireless plan that only connects to Facebook. For that same price, they could choose instead to connect only with Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest—or for $10 more, enjoy unlimited use of all four. Another $5 gets them unlimited streaming of a music app of their choice.


Best Buy CEO: Tablet Sales Are Crashing, Hope for PCs

Tablet sales are crashing? According to Best Buy's CEO that is exactly what is happening and he thinks there is hope for a PC revival to boot.

The tablets boomed and now are crashing. The volume has really gone down in the last several months. Part of the problem is that, for the Windows market, the deflation has been enormous. So you now find laptops at $300 that used to cost $1,000. So, if there’s more innovation at the high end of Windows, then you can have a revival.


Gaming [H]eadlines

Deep Silver Acquires Homefront from Crytek @ Blue's News

Destiny Beta Had 4.6 Million Players @ Joystiq

Dragon Age: Inquisition Combat Video @ Shacknews

Nintendo Lost $97M Last Quarter @ Polygon

NZXT H440 Mid-Tower Case

Check out this review of the NZXT H440 mid-tower case at ThinkComputers this afternoon. For comparison purposes, you can see our evaluation here.

Its extremely sleek design is made possibly by completely removing optical drive bay cases from the case, which make way for an all-new storage system. Inside we see new things like a steel power supply cover that has a NZXT logo on it and even two solid state drive mountings that can be seen through the large side panel window. NZXT really thought out every aspect of this case. Will it impress?


Is Snapchat Really Worth $10 Billion?

The short answer is NO! The long answer is NOOOOOOO!

According to Bloomberg, Snapchat is currently in talks over a new round of funding with investors, which include Yahoo-backed Alibaba, that if confirmed could value the company at an incredible $10 billion.


[H]ardware Round-Up

Cases: Aerocool Dead Silence DS200 @ ocaholic

SilentiumPC Aquarius X90 Pure Black @ XtremeHardware

ETC.: GAMDIAS Hephaestus GHS2000 Headset @ BmR

Tt eSports Level 10 M Gaming Headset @ TechwareLabs

Memory: ADATA XPG V3 3100MHz DDR3 @ Legit Reviews

Motherboards: Gigabyte Z97X SOC Force Overclocking @ Hardware Asylum

Schools Giving Laptops To Students Is A Terrible Idea

At least one school district feels that giving laptops to students is a terrible idea, and these are the reasons why.

By the time Jerry Crocamo, a computer network engineer, arrived in Hoboken’s school system in 2011, every seventh, eighth and ninth grader had a laptop. Each year a new crop of seventh graders were outfitted. Crocamo’s small tech staff was quickly overwhelmed with repairs. We had "half a dozen kids in a day, on a regular basis, bringing laptops down, going ‘my books fell on top of it, somebody sat on it, I dropped it,’ " said Crocamo.


[H] Reader Workstation of the Day

If staring at a monitor all day isn't your thing, I suggest you look away now! You know these guys probably game it up all the time on those huge displays on the wall. I certainly would. cool

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Airport Installs World’s First Real-Time Passenger Tracking System

First it was stores at the mall tracking your cell phones, now airports are doing it. I wouldn't be surprised if the government started snooping on our cell phones next. Oh...wait...nevermind eek!

Equipped with tracking technology from the Finland-based retail analytics company Walkbase, each device is designed to collect the "unique identifier numbers" of all mobile phones which have Wi-Fi access switched on. Users wanting access to the WiFi network will be notified of the monitoring system before they log in to the network.


Haswell-E Uses Soldered Thermal Interface Material

According to what we see in this picture at OCDrift, Intel has started using a strong epoxy between the die of the Core i7-5960X Haswell-E processor and the heat spreader. Thanks to [H] reader Arkanian for the heads up.

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Gigabyte Brix Gaming BXi5G-760 Mini-PC

The fellas over at Tech Report spent some quality time with Gigabyte's Brix Gaming BXi5G-760. If the idea of a mini-PC blows your skirt up, you'll no doubt want to check this out.

The company has stuffed a discrete Nvidia GPU and an Intel Core i5 processor into a case that takes up about as much space as a dense paperback. The amount of computing power per cubic inch here is seriously impressive, at least on paper. Is the Brix Gaming good enough to replace the typical mid-tower gaming PC?


NZXT Kraken X31 Liquid CPU Cooler

The staff at Overclockers Club seem pleased as punch with the NZXT Kraken X31 all-in-one liquid CPU cooler they just reviewed.

NZXT gives you a six-year warranty, great performance, great build quality, and the flexibility to be used as a GPU cooler with the G10 kit from NZXT (sold separately). For the $79.99 price tag, I think you get a lot of bang-for-the-buck. You get an All-in-One liquid cooler that can handle the heat of overclocking and, being an AIO, you get the space savings of a small, compact pump and remote mount radiator.


The Days Of Owning Games Are Coming To An End

How many times have we heard this argument in the last decade? I'd say at least once or twice a year, yet physical game sales are still the most popular way of buying games. Are the days of owning games really "coming to an end?"

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: If you're paying for a digital product, only spend what you're ultimately comfortable losing. If you can't put it in a closet, don't fool yourself into thinking you can always have it. Even if you can put it in the closet, you may not always have it. I'm pretty sure I have a boxed copy of The Matrix Online somewhere in my office.


Intel Fuels Next Generation of HTML5 Apps for the Mobile World

Today, Intel rolled out its latest advancements for the Intel® XDK HTML5 cross-platform development tool suite. Intel XDK helps developers create a new level of HTML5-based mobile app experiences. New capabilities include third-party services APIs for app monetization, and backend and authentication services to create more content rich, interactive apps. Developers now have the option of easily adding hundreds of open source Cordova plug-ins, including Apple In-App Purchase, Google In-app Billing, Google AdMob, Google Maps, Facebook and proprietary plug-ins. The Intel XDK is available as a free download for Windows, OS X and Ubuntu Linux.


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