Weekly Giveaway #14: BitFenix Outlaw Chassis

Hot on one competition ending, we’ve teamed up with chassis manufacturer BitFenix to offer THREE lucky readers the chance to win a BitFenix Outlaw chassis to give their system a new sense of style.

The Outlaw is one of the newest products in the BitFenix product range and is aimed at users wanting the very best on an affordable budget. It comes included with some unique features with an inverted motherboard tray, and the ability to house the largest graphics cards on the market, making this chassis a much talked about product.

You can find out more about this chassis on the BitFenix website here.

Winning this fantastic prize couldn’t be simpler as all you have to do is head on over to our forums to find out more

Google+ introduces a powerful photo editing suite for free

After Google+’s Instragram-like controls added, and the basic photo editing tools, with which Google shares albums with Picasa, meaning any edits will have a mirror effect, the famous search engine turned social network has stepped up its game with a new photo editing suite not only proving to feature powerful tools, but free to use as well.

Accessed from the desktop version by clicking the edit button when you’re in the full-screen light-box view you just select “Creative Kit” to access this palette of new tools for your photo editing pleasure.

Powered by PicNik as well as being Flash-based, ‘iDevice’ users will find themselves left out of the pleasure, but the suite is worth the change to the desktop. From there you will be able to crop and tweak your photos, in which you’ll find another Instagram-like tool in the form of a filter this time. Another interesting feature is the “Sunless Tan” tool, which needs not explanation, it’s exactly what it says it is.

As we’re at the very end of the month of October, the Halloween seasonal toolkit is available, allowing you to transform any photo into a horror show.

Source

New AMD/ATi drivers, Catalyst 11.10 WHQL released

AMD has released its last driver update for October. With a whole host of new games released this month it was important to get a set of WHQL signed drivers out for the new releases to both optimise gameplay and fix bugs. Along with this a whole selection of other bugs were also fixed. The preview drivers have been out for nearly 2 weeks but this is now the final version of the new drivers.

Download the latest drivers: Windows 7/Vista/32 bit , Windows 7/Vista/64 bit or for any other operating system see here.

You can read the release notes below:

Windows 7 specific bug fixes include:

  • Some OpenGL games like Enemy Territory Quake Wars no longer experiences random corruption.
  • Lost Planet 2 no longer experiences random crashes when running the benchmark.
  • F1 2010 and Dirt 2 no longer experience random flashing during the game.
  • Google Earth no longer displays random corruption when running in OpenGL mode.
  • Mafia II no longer experiences a random crash during game loading / game play when Crossfire is enabled.
  • Unigine Heaven running in DirectX 11 mode no longer experiences a performance drop when running with Dual Graphics enabled.
  • Homefront no longer experiences random game crashes.
  • Random flashing is no longer experienced when playing back SD/BD content on a 120Hz monitor.
  • An application crash is no longer randomly observed while playing M2V/Mpeg2/Mpeg4 files and toggling the Hardware Acceleration setting.
  • Display corruption is no longer experienced on the primary display when running in extended display mode with AERO enabled.

AMD Eyefinity enhancements

  • Enables support for Eyefinity 5×1 display (portrait and landscape) configurations
  • Maximum supported resolution has been increased to 16000 x 16000 pixels on the AMD Radeon HD 6000 Series. (limited to DX11 applications only)
  • Bezel compensation is now possible when using sets of displays that have mismatched pixel densities.

AMD VECC/CCC enhancements

  • Improvements have been implemented to better facilitate the enabling and control of the following features within the Vision Engine Control Center / Catalyst Control Center
    • AMD Overdrive for GPUs
    • Information Center (software and hardware)

BitFenix Expands to India

Today, BitFenix is proud to announce that through a distribution partnership with XTREME GRAFIX, BitFenix gear will be made available in India. For the first time ever, gamers in India will be able to get their hands on BitFenix products, and see how these products have garnered over 200 awards and positive reviews worldwide.

“We are excited to bring BitFenix products to India with our partners at XTREME GRAFIX,” says David Jarlestedt, BitFenix Product Manager. “Through this partnership, gamers in India will get to see and feel why our products have become a favorite of gamers and PC enthusiasts alike.”

XTREME GRAFIX is one of the fastest growing companies in the IT Distribution industry in India. Their main focus is to provide the major section of the Personal Computer users, i.e. the Gamers with a source to obtain High End Computer gaming hardware via a well-established distribution channel. Their USP is not only amazing value for money, but the care which they take in every sale, the way they bond with the customers.

XTREME GRAFIX was established in 2007, as a small retail online store for High-End computer hardware. Today they have entered the distribution business, which proves their commitment for growth along with their brands.

BitFenix has grown by leaps and bounds in the recent years, and we are proud to partner with them in introducing their product line in India. They have an amazing lineup, and though a young company, much like ours, we are sure that BitFenix will become a well-known brand, and will be on the top of the list of every Indian gamer for their next PC upgrade,” said Sudhir S Mani, Chief Operating Officer, XTREME GRAFIX.

Source: Press Release

 

SpeedLink Medusa NX 5.1 Headset Review

Today is the turn of a headset, but from a company you have probably not heard of much or even at all, in fact excluding this one recent news story then they have not been mentioned on this site. This is mainly due to them being very focused on their own German market.

That is not to say they are a small company, in fact Speedlink have one of the largest collections of products I have ever seen. To put this into perspective under ‘Headsets’ they have 31 different products – although several are the same model in different colours, this is still a lot of products.

Speedlink have  included a nice, circular, carry bag, and as the headset is fold-able it should fit in easily.

This headset is a full 5.1 headset and so we expect it to have a good collection of cables, as such the Medusa NX has front, rear, centre/subwoofer and microphone jacks.

There is also a USB connector to provide  power for the headset, although SpeedLink do make a fully-USB version of this headset.

As we would expect with this type of headset, there is also an in-line remote with plenty of options. This side has 1 on/off switch and two volume controls for the Centre speakers and the Bass Vibration.

 

The other side of the remote has 2 more volume controls for the Front and Rear channels, each control goes from 0 to 10.

Moving to the headset itself, we find a flexible microphone that includes noise cancelling technology for crystal-clear voice transmission.

Each ear cup rotates 90 degrees outwards and folds inwards making them very easy to store away which is especially useful for gamers who take their own peripherals to LAN parties for instance.

The ear cups are made of a soft fabric style padding which make them extremely comfortable to wear especially for long periods of time.

The headband is also well padded, and is fairly springy to help it fold up into a smaller space, perfect for fitting it into the carry case. They have also made it fairly obvious that its made by speedlink due to the rather large lettering on top.

The first thing we did when we got this headset, after plugging it in, was to sit down and watch a good film. This was to test the surround sound and sound quality aspects of the headset, as well as the general comfort and usability of the headset. We then tested this headset during several skype conversations to check the quality of the headsets’ microphone and the noise cancellation system.

The surround sound of this headset is very impressive, and while not the best we have tried it is certainly in the same league. Due to the use of 4 speakers in each ear cup the headset is able to produce a fairly encompassing sound which during films and games allows you to know exactly where the sound is coming from. It did however feel that everything was very close, as if you had 5.1 surround sound set-up in a very small room, or you were fighting in a broom cupboard, the range and depth of sound was just not there when compared with other headsets. The sound quality was also fairly good with a nice tone and decent balance of bass, although when needed the bass can really pack a punch which is very impressive for this size headset.

We also found that the noise cancellation and microphone worked well together and that during skype conversations we were heard very clearly, although we found it very easy to knock the microphone out of place as it rotates a bit too easily. The flexibility of the microphone is certainly useful as you can literally get it into any position you want.

In terms of comfort we found the Medusa Headset really excels, compared to other full 5.1  headsets it is extremely light and so after a few minutes you do forget you are wearing a headset. The ear pads are just the right size that they support some of the weight without crushing your ear and still block some of the external noises.

The price of this headset makes this one of the best value headsets we have ever seen and tested here at eTeknix. For just £48.60 you can have the full surround sound experience which does have pinpoint precision and impressive sound quality as well as punchy bass and full control over each channel. A perfect peripheral for everyones computer demands, whether a serious gamer or just wanting to enjoy films without annoying the neighbours, and at this price, we really couldn’t knock it.

ASRock unveil the sublime looking Extreme9 X79 motherboard

ASRock never fails to disappoint these days when it comes to bringing out high performance motherboards packed full of features. They are now one of the biggest motherboard makers internationally falling behind only to ASUS and Gigabyte and looking at this new board you can see why they are doing so well. In addition to the obviously stunning design the board has there are a tonne of other features:

  • High grade CPU PWM design;
  • Dual EPS 8 Pin CPU power to support overclocking;
  • Complex and actively cooled heatsink design to maintain chipset and VRM stability;
  • 8 DIMM slots supporting Quad Channel;
  • Five PCI-E 3.0 16X lanes;
  • Single PCI-E 2.0 1X slot;
  • ASRock game blaster add on card (audio and network combo card with creative soundcore audio);
  • Eight SATA III ports and Four SATA II ports;
  • 8 USB 3.0 (Four header, four rear panel);
  • USB 2.0, Firewire and Gigabit LAN;
  • A UEFI click BIOS to top everything off.
Judging by the level of features and connectivity we can certainly expect this board to be one of the most expensive LGA 2011 motherboards to hit the market along with the Republic of Gamer boards from ASUS.

Apple could be targeting ultrabooks with an ultrathin 15-inch MacBook

With the ultrabooks proving to be hard selling product as it seems people looking for slim notebook are staying faithful to Apple, the latter could potentially make the road even bumpier for the ultrabooks.

Apple Insider reported the rumour that Apple is said to be testing a 15” ultrathin version of the famous MacBook series.

The ultrathin component here is said to the LCD screen, on which Apple must have put a serious diet, but with their experience going back more than four years, I don’t see why we should be preoccupied.

A couple of weeks back, Apple introduced faster Sandy Bridge chips in their MacBook Pro lineup, no doubt to start aiming at the ultrabooks, but it seems they’re already preparing to “pull the trigger”.

While Intel is already having a hard time selling its smaller sized ultrabooks, nothing has been announced that could counter a 15” yet.

Could this mean that Intel is “destined” to stay into their “bulkier” market? One thing we’re pretty much certain of, Apple is looking to stay king of the ultrathin notebook market.

Source

Intel prepares Cedar Trail platforms for launch

Intel is planning the release of its latest atom based platforms. The integrated Cedar trail platform will come to market on no less than 11 motherboards, some European retailers have started listing them as of today. The Cedar Trail platform is based of the Cedarview Atom processors which are the first atoms to be constructed from Intel’s 32nm manufacturing process. The overall package runs on a 10W TDP whilst maintaining a board form factor of 220mm by 220mm which is 20mm under the mATX form factor standard.

In the graphics department Intel have reportedly used the SGX 545 core from PowerVR in order to give twice the graphical performance of the previous generation Atoms. However, there are still quite serious Direct X issues which mean that the new Atoms will only be Direct X 9.0 capable so miss out on all the features of Direct X 10,10.1 and 11. The Atoms feature an updated HDMI controller which now supports up to 1.3a.

No specifications on the motherboards are known yet but like we said there will be 11 of them ranging from the cheapest D2500HN which has a dual core 1.8GHz Atom priced at €56 for the platform all the way up to the best platform which is the D2700DC and this has a 2.13GHz Atom and costs €75. Five of the boards feature the faster D2700 Atom and the other six feature the slower D2500 Atom. Retailers say they hope to start shipping these to customers in about 2 weeks.

Source: Fudzilla

 

 

10 million copies of Battlefield 3 shipped

Starting from the pre-order numbers of 3 million copies, the sales have been jumping to a whooping 10 million copies, and retailers are still requesting more stock.

Battlefield 3 has already been a success before the release of the BETA, but when it got out, millions of players gathered to take part in the exquisite multiplayer experience that DICE and EA have implemented into their game.

Even though a smashing success on the multiplayer part, both EA and DICE want to keep the single campaign in their titles, Frank Gibeau from EA explains:

“The single play experience is important. It’s a great way to get fans into the experience, have them train up and get ready for multiplayer. A lot of fans just enjoy having that single player experience. So I think you have to have both.”

On which EA’s CEO, John Riccitiello, adds:

“Remember as well that single player is often how new players ramp into the game. It’s a way for new players to get exposed to a franchise.”

If you haven’t tried it yet, or you’re waiting for Modern Warfare 3 instead, don’t, just go out there and get yourself a copy, it’s a purchase you will hardly regret.

Source

ASRock debuts the first mATX LGA 2011 motherboard

ASRock has released some pictures of its ASRock X79 Extreme4-M micro ATX motherboard which supports Intel’s LGA 2011 and X79 platform. It is the first mATX board to hit the market so far which is a nice marketing win for the team at ASRock. The board measures in at 240mm by 240mm. The board is surprisingly feature packed for such a small and compact design. The CPU socket is powered by a high quality 8 phase VRM using solid state chokes and driver MOSFETs. There are four DIMM slots supporting quad channel memory with there being two either side of the CPU socket. You get three PCI-E 3.0 lanes (16X/8X/16X) and a PCI lane which means the full extent of the mATX expansion capability is used.

Like most of the other boards we have seen (with exception to the ECS X79 Black Extreme) the X79 chipset is actively cooled by a small 40mm fan. All six of its SATA ports are wired as internal ports, with two SATA 6 Gb/s and four SATA 3 Gb/s. Connectivity features include 8+2 channel HD audio with optical and coaxial SPDIF outputs, four USB 3.0 ports (two on the rear panel, two via header), one gigabit Ethernet, a number of USB 2.0 ports, Firewire, and legacy PS/2. The CMOS can be reset from the rear panel. The board will feature UEFI BIOS support.

Source: TechPowerUp

Arctic announces its iPad 2 hard cover

ARCTIC announces its new accessory – the Hard Case with Cover for iPad 2. This new case is designed with a strong emphasis on premium quality and multiple functions.The Hard Case with Cover for iPad 2 is equipped with a magnetic cover to provide a full protection for your iPad 2.You can lift and close the magnetic cover to wake up your iPad 2 or put it to sleep, respectively. In addition, there is also a soft micro-fiber lining within this case to keep your iPad2screen spotless.

With this hard case, your iPad 2 is more resistant to scratches and shock so that you can be at ease while travelling with your iPad2. Moreover, the anti-slip texture of this case helps minimize the possibility of accidentally dropping your iPad 2. You can still use with your rear camera and listen to your music library from your iPad 2 with the precise die-cuts on this case. It simply defines full protection for your iPad 2 wherever you go.

Its ultra-slim design allows you to carry your iPad 2 effortlessly. You can also view and use your iPad 2 at two different angles to maximize your viewing and typing comfort by adjusting how you fold this case. So say goodbye to neck pain and wrist injuries with the Hard Case with Cover for iPad 2.

The Hard Case with Cover for iPad 2 comes with a MSRP at 29.95 USD and 21.67 EUR, excl. VAT.

Source: Press Release

New Contac 39 and 30 CPU coolers from Thermaltake

Thermaltake, being the industry pioneer brand in thermal solutions with the mission of “delivering the perfect user experience,” carrying the corporate vision of “building Thermaltake Technology into a cultural brand for the enjoyment of entertainment, e-Sports, technology, and lifestyle,” featured the Contac CPU air cooling Series that aids in fulfilling various needs in the market as well as the corporate mission of “delivering the perfect user experience.” This fall adding the shimmering Thermaltake Contac 39 and Contac 30 CPU air cooling to the series, providing a wider range of solution for bargain hunter who desire value and performance equally.

The shimmering Contac 39 and Contac 30 materialized with dual and single crystal clear blue LED fans presented the blare while it performance, as well as improved curved aluminum fins of heat sink that not only reduce back air resistance but also grant for a better heat dissipation while heat been transferred from the CPU to the heat sink. Moreover, the new designed multifunctional surface-mount with back-plate will support all Intel and AMD chipsets as well as the latest Intel Sandy Bridge-E Socket LGA-2011.

Prosperity of Performance
The Contac 39 and Contac 30 are exactly what the name suggested; a direct touch technology with three 8mm Æ heat pipes is inherited along with special design low noise 120mm PWM fans that automatically adjust the fans’ speed between 800~2000 RPM according to the system condition to grant for a more direct and smart heat dissipation. The fans are connected with anti-vibration soft mounts allow easy access for installation and removal of cleaning as well as decrease the noise while the fans operate.

For more information, visit the product pages of Contac 39 and Contac 30. 

Source: Press Release

Lian Li PC-6B Mid Tower Chassis Review

Lian Li have long been known for their extremely elegant and very expensive aluminium cases. Quality has always oozed from almost every case they have produced, but with that quality and aluminium material, an unaffordable price tag looms nearby. As we enthusiasts believe, if a brand is offering high quality and desirable products, they shouldn’t change their production and design aims due to the possibility of the changes resulting in a lack of quality to hit a certain price point. Thankfully, Lian Li have managed to maintain their elegant aluminium design while also producing a case which meets a far more appealing price point; the Lian Li PC-6B.

The PC-6B’s side panel, front bezel and main body are constructed of high quality aluminium with a brushed finish. The elegant black exterior is certain to be alluring for users who demand a well-dressed computer case. An interior comprised of silver aluminium will, due to its easy and hassle free cutting in comparison to a steel chassis, certainly appeal to the avid modders who love nothing more than chopping up a case.

Functionality wise, the PC-6B supports graphics cards up to a goliath 440mm in length, CPU coolers which are around 160mm tall and the biggest power supply units that the market has to offer. 3 3.5” HDDs and 2 2.5” SSDs can be installed simultaneously on the removable HDD cage. There is the possibility of installing 3 devices in the 5.25” bays. A variety of motherboard form factors are supported and 8 PCI slots ensure excellent expansion options.

It seems as if the Lian Li PC-6B could be a huge hit with its attractive £90/€95/$100 price tag. Will the high expectations be met?

HP planning Windows 8 tablets, WebOS plunged into doubt

HP is planning the launch of some tablets based upon the pending operating system Windows 8. HP is waiting for Microsoft to launch Windows 8 next year before it sends its new tablets to market. This is good news for the company who have reversed plans to scrap both the tablet and PC divisions within a month. It is also good news for consumers as HP send their tablets to market at very competitive prices.

HP CEO Meg Whitman has said HP will now start to narrow down in order to focus on making the best of what it does instead of trying to diversify further but it looks like tablets and computers are still on the agenda but WebOS may be off the agenda.

Meanwhile, HP is still unsure what the plans are for WebOS:

“We are continuing to focus on Microsoft-based tablet that we have and one that will develop on Windows based,” said Todd Bradley, executive vice president of HP’s personal systems group. “I think from a WebOS perspective that’s kind of the next piece of work to complete”

Deus Ex: Human Revolution – The Missing Link DLC PC Review

[wpcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]Eidos have done it again. They’ve delivered us a great playing experience with the release of the new DLC for Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The Missing Link is a full DLC that will happily give you an additional 4-5 hours worth of gameplay unlike the previous two DLC’s that are just additional weapons and one mission.

If you’ve yet to complete Human Revolution or you’re not that far in, it may be worth stopping here as it may spoil a little of the gameplay you’re heading up to.

The game takes place within the 3 days you were ‘stowed away’ on a container ship heading forSingaporefrom Heng Sha. Detailing what happened to Jensen over the course of the trip. Seemingly according to Human Revolution you were just in Stasis for the trip. Apparently not.

The cargo ship belongs to the security for hire organisation, Belltower. One of – if not the largest organisations you’ll come across in the game. When Jensen is discovered to be stowing away within the stasis chamber he’s quickly retrieved and strapped up for a bit of interrogation. After refusing to answer questions and being left alone in the room, it’s apparent that somebody on the ship is on your side as your restraints are unlocked and you’re free to escape. That’s a good thing, right? Off you go to kick some ass as you would have previously. Wrong….

Whilst strapped up you’ve been stripped of all your body armour and are left topless and covered in blood, the first mission sees you making your way back to a holding area after overhearing guards whittering on about where your items are being kept. So essentially you start with nothing, except presumably very heavy and hard hitting augmented arms to knock people over with.. Once you’ve found your equipment you goal is to escape the cargo ship which has essentially been dubbed ‘The Frying Pan’.. if you think it’s all over once you’re off the ship, think again.

As it turns out, the ship wasn’t initially headed forSingapore, it instead takes you to a ‘Off the radar’ Belltower offshore facility where things start to get a little more tricky. At first Ammo is scarce for the weapons you acquire and you (this is probably just me being awful) find yourself dying more often in the DLC than you did in the full game! Bare in mind here that you have barely no player selected augmentations by this stage to help you scuttle past enemies.

It’s inside the facility that the story starts to unfold and grab a hold of you. While following the main storyline there are indeed a few side quests that will help with those little bit of extra experience points and credits along the way. One of these side quests is finding parts of a weapon that may make life easier towards the end.

As The Missing Link takes place on this offshore facility, there’s not much in the ways of sight seeing, once you’re actually in the facility you’ll find yourself running through the same areas on a few occasions, frustratingly there is some sections of the game you can’t skip by quickly and you find yourself staring at the screen for a good 30 seconds… I myself found it very tedious and considering you’ll encounter this at least 6 times… oh dear.

[/wpcol_1half] [wpcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””]Sure, the repetitive areas have different enemies in them each time, but once you’ve learnt to navigate them the first time around it’s pretty easy to make your way around them.

On the subject of enemies – there’s not really any you’ve not already run across in Human Revolution, however there are a few new turrets that you (or I at least) never came across in the main game. Well technically they shouldn’t be called turrets… as I did run straight in to a sensor beam just to see what would happen. Turns out it’s a stationary Typhoon Explosive system.  Oops.

There’s a very limited supply of Praxis points while running around here, so potentially there’s areas you may not be able to access on your first play through. if you spend all your points in combat you’ll making a lot of noise to get around, but if you choose stealthy options you can probably do the whole thing a lot more subtlety than I did. I don’t think there was one area where I didn’t set off the alarms..

After spending all my points in Armour, Legs and Strength there were a good amount doors / terminals I came across that had level 5 security encryptions. Needles to say I wasn’t getting in to those rooms on this play through.

When you’re coming up to the end of the DLC, you have some hard decisions to make. Or not dependant on your play style, you may just be a ruthless, heartless type of person anyway. Finally when you get to the end you guessed it… there’s a Boss fight.

Personally I found this to be far too easy to describe. At least no where near as cunning or annoying as the bosses you encounter in Human Revolution. It was over before I realised it.. I was creeping around expecting to be slaughtered by a barrage of bullets but it never came.

For the price of The Missing Link, it’s definitely worth the buy. Especially if you’re one that enjoys following the story of games, as this pretty much is an integral part. For many it won’t have much replayability but for others it will.

I myself will probably go back and do it all again to try and get some of the achievements I missed. One or two look rather tricky… The PC (Steam) version adds 10 achievements to unlock, potentially more if some are hidden like Human Revolutions.

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ECS X79R-AX Black Extreme Motherboard pictured

ECS may not be the biggest motherboard manufacturer on the market, but they still make well priced quality motherboards and they are doing this for Intel’s upcoming X79 platform. The ECS X79R-AX Black Extreme Motherboard is due out for the Intel launch next month and the board is well equipped for a entry or mid level X79 system. The first look at the system shows only passive heat sinks with no heat pipes which implies at board orientated at a stock use of the LGA 2011 processors, hefty overclocking is not intended here. There are also only four DIMM slots supporting quad channel memory up to 2400MHz, this is contrary to a lot of Gigabyte, MSI and ASUS motherboards released with eight DIMM slots. The I/O panel is reasonably well equipped for an entry priced motherboard:

  • Clear CMOS button;
  • Two e-sata 6GB/s;
  • Bluetooth and WiFi;
  • Four USB 3.0;
  • Dual Gigabit LAN;
  • 7.1+2 Channel HD Audio.
As far as storage options go you get 12 SATA ports internally although we think that if the rear e-sata ports are in use this affects two ports internally leaving only 10. But still 12 SATA ports is a substantial number, the II and III configuration is not specified but it seems likely to be half and half (6 SATA II and 6 SATA III ). There is a third party chipset to provide two of the SATA III ports because of the problems with the X79 chipset that limited the number of SATA III ports it could provide. There are four PCI-E 3.0 Lanes at 16X/8X/16X/8X with them dropping down to all 8X when more than two are occupied. There is also a couple of PCI-E 2.0 1X slots for any expansion cards you may have. Solid CAPs and Chokes are used throughout and there is also a voltage read off point near the 24 pin ATX connector for those who are interested in that kind of thing.

MSI introduces their latest gaming laptop

MSI has recently unveiled their latest product in their gaming notebook line-up with the GT780DX, promising ground shaking performances.

With gaming desktops at the top of their performances, they still present a transport problem, you can’t usually take your entire rig with you on vacations, getting it around the house is difficult enough as it is, yet companies such as MSI are looking into gaming on the portable level, on which they have advanced further with this new product.

This beast is powered by Intel’s latest Second Generation Core i7 processors, equipped with the complete Turbo Drive Engine from MSI as well as the Cooler Boost and four slots of DDR3 memory for up to 32GB or RAM, making it already powerful, to add even more, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 570M discrete graphics card with 3GB of GDDR5 memory has been fitted into it, making the word beast an understatement.

Coming with RAID 0 capabilities, as well as SSDs, an wide choice is provided, all of which will only provide a fast and responsive computer. Although to add to the storage, a wide arrays of devices can be connected onto the GT780DX, through two USB 3.0, three USB 2.0, one eSATA or the card reader.

All of this wouldn’t be worth a lot if the display isn’t up to the task, but it’s not the case here, as a 17.3” Full HD 1920×1080 display incorporated with Cinema Pro technology will reproduce the incredible image you will want to look at. To make the experience even more worthwhile, high-end cinema technologies have been included to give an incredible sound, all of which courtesy of Dynaudio and THX TruStudio Pro that will give the listener one hell of a show, which, when not playing, can be enjoy with the Blu-ray/DVD Super Multi.

Something without which no gamer would be able to be at the top; the keyboard. This specific keyboard has been designed for gamers by no other than the world renown gaming peripheral manufacturer SteelSeries. By changing the location of the Windows key and making the CTRL and ALT keys larger, SteelSeries and MSI have made sure that the game is not interrupted, on the contrary, they made sure it can be perfected.

Another feature added is LED lighting, something common on high quality notebooks, but this one is rather unique, as with the simple press of a button, you will be able to change modes between Normal, Wave, Breating, Dual Color and finally Gaming. In the latter, you will have you entire right keyboard in darkness, while the left part, most commonly the centre of attention of the gamers hands, will be lighted up to show your fingers where to go even in pitch black.

Of course, what would we do without internet? Becoming more than common, you can never leave this information out, as this is always requested; 802.11 b/g/n WLAN as well as Gigabit LAN, Bluetooth 3.0+HS also find its way. “Skypers” as well as other people video conferencing will be happy to know that a 720p HD webcam as also been integrated.

Stay tuned for more information about the release date and price of this monstrous machine.

Source

Tt eSPORTS latest products sporting White-Ra design

Thermaltake’s gaming sub-division, Tt eSPORTS, has recently announced, and proudly it seems, their latest product, one gaming peripherals and a matching accessory, both of which designed by the famous gamer Aleksey “White-Ra” Krupnyk.

With several winning titles under his belt, inspiring and supporting computer gaming around the world, as well as providing some advices for gaming products, White-Ra has now been made an official team member of the Tt eSPORTS design team, the Saphira Gaming Mouse and the White-Ra Special Tactics Mouse Pad have seen the light of day.

Taking part in the entire production process, Aleksey has made sure these new products will make the better become best.

Covered with Tt eSPORTS’ industrial grade rubber finish, a perfect grip and comfort will give the first edge in-game, allowing for more control and longer play time without tiredness, the lighting effects embedded will also make it blend into your gaming environment, stimulating your combat atmosphere at the same time.

Tt eSPORTS’ optical sensor dubbed T.P.G, for TT PRO GRADE, and the adjustable DPI from 100 to 3500, it will work on most surfaces and will provide efficient, fast and precise movements with the fluidity to add to the gamers efficiency. With OMRON gaming switches, the Saphira will hold on to its quality for over 5 million keystrokes

With side-bar grips in addition to the rubber coating, the Saphira becomes more and more an extension of your body, and for even more control, the four DPI indicating lights inform you of your setting before going into action, making sure you’re at your full potential.

Two side buttons equipped with a function-lock key to prevent any command behaviour while in game, and the personalized weight-in design while give even more freedom of control with a choice ranging from 4.5g to 22.5g. An on-board memory of 32kb gives the space for saving the settings of 5 fully customizable macro keys for your games.

To add to its precision, the White-Ra Special Tactics mouse pad will provide the optimization of the Saphira’s performances with the synthetic fabric and the Cross-Weave Technology making the surface easy to glide on for the speed, while still maximizing precision.

Sized at 360 x 300 x 3mm, a perfect fit for any gaming situation, the carrying bag will allow an easier transport of the players accessories for fast deployment on the field.

To top on the lighting effect of the Saphira, as well as any other Tt eSPORTS’ mice, the Special Tactics mouse pad is available in both white and black, leaving to style choice to the gamers themselves.

While not yet priced and announced, you can check more details from the official product pages of the Saphira Gaming Mouse and the White-Ra Special Tactics Mouse Pad.

HP has changed its mind, they’re still going forward with the PC business

Hewlett Packard, better known as HP, can now be introduced as the computer manufacturer once more, as they recently announced a change of mind, or better, a step back on their announcement.

Between the CEO changes, from Lep Apotheker to Meg Whitman, former eBay CEO, HP’s plans and future have been going “forward and backward” for some time, leaving us wondering what is really going to happen, on which Whitman cleared the current plans by saying:

“HP objectively evaluated the strategic, financial and operational impact of spinning off PSG [Personal Systems Group]. It’s clear after our analysis that keeping PSG within HP is right for customers and partners, right for shareholders, and right for employees. HP is committed to PSG, and together we are stronger.”

Moreover, they’ve announced they’ll be back with products such as tablets, more precisely Windows 8 tablets, as well as the new trend with the ultrabooks.

“I think we need to be in the tablet business and we’re certainly going to be there with Windows 8,” said Whitman. “We’re going to make another run at this business.”

While HP is still working on supporting the webOS, providing updates to the current models equipped with the OS, the future of the software division itself is still uncertain.

Around the same time of HP’s former CEO’s announcement of discontinuing the PC manufacturing, the HP TouchPad dropped price lighting fast, with prices of $99 for a $500 tablet, the stock easily flew out the window, although there are some good news and bad news.

The good news is that, even though HP has announced they won’t be selling, neither will they manufacture the TouchPad, Best Buy has announced they will sell what’s left of their TouchPad 32GB versions for $149.99 starting November 1 online, and November 4 in-store.

Bad news is that in order to have access to such a deal, you have to buy a computer by either HP or Compaq, whether it be a Laptop, Desktop or All-in-One. That may slow the sales compared to the previous offers of the tablet.

Source 1; Source 2; Source 3

AMD report third quarter earnings

 

 

AMD today announced revenue for the third quarter of 2011 of $1.69 billion, net income of $97 million, or $0.13 per share, and operating income of $138 million. The company reported non-GAAP net income of $110 million, or $0.15 per share, and non-GAAP operating income of $146 million.
“Strong adoption of AMD APUs drove a 35 percent sequential revenue increase in our mobile business,” said Rory Read, AMD president and CEO. “Despite supply constraints, we saw double digit revenue and unit shipment growth in emerging markets like China and India as well as overall notebook share gains in retail at mainstream price points. Through disciplined execution and continued innovation we will look to accelerate our growth and refine our focus on lower power, emerging markets, and the cloud.”

Quarterly Summary

      • Gross margin was 45 percent.
      • Cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities balance, including long-term marketable securities, was $1.86 billion at the end of the quarter.
      • Computing Solutions segment revenue increased 6 percent sequentially and 5 percent year-over-year. Sequentially, higher mobile and server microprocessor revenues were partially offset by lower desktop revenue. The year-over-year increase was primarily driven by higher mobile processor and chipset revenue.

Operating income was $149 million, compared with $142 million in Q2 11 and $164 million in Q3 10.

 

For those who want some relative figures below is a table comparing Intel and AMD’s Third quarter figures:

  Intel AMD
Revenue $14.3 billion $1.69 billion
Net Income $3.7 billion $97 million
Operating Income $5.1 billion $138 million

Summary of Key Events for Q3 2011

  • Microprocessor ASP increased sequentially and decreased year-over-year
  • Leading notebook manufacturers including Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and Toshiba continued to increase global availability of their notebook platforms based on the AMD A-Series APUs, bringing brilliant HD graphics and up to 10.5 hours of battery life to users worldwide.
  • Acer, ASUS, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba also introduced ultraportable notebooks with improved performance and battery life based on the updated AMD C- and E-Series APUs.
  • AMD introduced the first processors based on the next-generation x86 “Bulldozer” architecture
  • AMD launched the AMD FX series of desktop processors, including the first-ever eight-core desktop processor that enables extreme multi-display gaming, mega-tasking and HD content creation. The 8-core AMD FX desktop processor also set the Guinness World Record for ‘Highest Frequency of a Computer Processor’.10
  • The next-generation AMD Opteron processor codenamed “Interlagos” began shipping in the quarter and has been integrated into a significant number of new or upgraded supercomputer installations including the High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart, the UK’s National Academic Supercomputer Service, the Swiss National Supercomputing Center and the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) “Titan,” which is expected to be one of the world’s fastest supercomputers.
  • AMD announced two advances in its work with the software community to promote development of applications that take full advantage of the computing power found in APUs and discrete graphics processor units (GPUs).
  • AMD announced an AMD Fusion Fund investment in BlueStacks, whose software enables Android applications to run on Windows-based devices.
  • AMD software partner MotionDSP announced that it has optimized the industry-leading Ikena real-time video reconstruction software for OpenCL, to enable a 60 percent improvement on AMD FirePro professional graphics.
  • Graphics segment revenue increased 10 percent sequentially and 4 percent year-over-year. The sequential increase was driven primarily by seasonality in the add-in-board market. The year-over-year increase was primarily driven by increased discrete mobile graphics revenue.
  • Operating income was $12 million, compared with operating loss of $7 million in Q2 11 and operating income of $1 million in Q3 10.
  • GPU ASP increased sequentially and year-over-year.
  • AMD demonstrated the industry’s first 28 nanometer mobile GPU. AMD’s next-generation family of high-performance graphics cards is expected to ship for revenue later this year.
  • AMD launched the AMD Radeon HD 6990M GPU, the world’s fastest mobile graphics product11 with support for DirectX 11 gaming, AMD Eyefinity Technology multi-monitor configurations driving up to six monitors, and AMD App Acceleration that enhances the performance of a growing number of games as well as multimedia and productivity applications.
  • AMD expanded the company’s professional graphics solutions to the real-time professional video and broadcast graphics market with the launch of AMD FirePro SDI-Link.

Current Outlook
AMD’s outlook statements are based on current expectations. The following statements are forward-looking, and actual results could differ materially depending on market conditions and the factors set forth under “Cautionary Statement” below.

AMD expects revenue to increase 3 percent, plus or minus 2 percent, sequentially for the fourth quarter of 2011.

For additional detail regarding AMD’s results and outlook please see the CFO commentary posted at quarterlyearnings.amd.com.

Source: Press Release

Asus Rampage IV Extreme First Look

At the Asus X79 Socket 2011 event, we got a first hand look at the Rampage IV Extreme motherboard.

The Rampage IV is part of the ROG series of boards and is an overclockers dream. We take a look at the general layout and design of the board to see why it’s set out to be the best of the best.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDorADI67jM[/youtube]

Asus Sabertooth X79 Unique Features Looked Into

At the Asus LGA 2011 X79 event, we got a first hand look into Sabertooth and it’s unique features that make it a diverse product against its competitors.

This includes the flashing of your BIOS without a CPU or memory, and the ability to control the temperature from all around the board with different profiles and manual settings through use of the onboard sensors that are placed around the board.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qI_IiS9nUY[/youtube]

Intel releases SSD management software

Intel has released new software to assist with the management of Intel solid state drive products. The Intel Solid-State Drive Toolbox 3.0 system software is recommended for use with all Intel SSD products and it gives users a lot of useful functionality and information about their Intel products. For example most SSDs have a limited amount of write cycles the NAND Flash memory can do before they breakdown and Intel’s stated write cycle lifetime for their SSDs is 5000 cycles.  This software monitors your Intel SSD for performance degradation, and provides a measure of how many rewrite cycles are left, so you can plan beforehand about backing up your data and replacing it. The software also provides a suite of diagnostics for your Intel SSD. Finally, the software can update your drive’s firmware without the need for a DOS bootable disk.

Download

Source: TechPowerUp

Asus Sabertooth X79 First Look Preview

At the Asus LGA2011 X79 event, we took a look at the Sabertooth X79 motherboard which carries on with the famous Sabertooth branding including the fantastic features that consumers have come to love.

Some new and unique features have hit this board and we take a first hand look into what they are and how they’ve been developed.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7t8McFdjd0[/youtube]

Asus P9X79 Preview

Taking a very quick overview look at the Asus P9X79 motherboard from Intel’s new LGA2011 X79 lineup. We were able to attend the Asus LGA2011 X79 launch event, where press from across Europe were shown the upcoming boards.

The board includes some of the much loved features that we’ve seen before, but with some newer technology.

Shuttle Launches Matrox-Powered Mini PC to Support up to 16 screens

Matrox Graphics today announced that Shuttle , a leading specialist in innovative mini PCs, has validated the Matrox M-Series multi-display graphics cards with the new Shuttle XPC H7 5820S mini PC. The M-Series PCI Express (PCIe) x16 boards support up to eight DisplayPort or single-link DVI monitors at resolutions of up to 2560×1600 per display. A second M-Series card can be combined within the H7 5820S workstation, allowing system integrators to actualize a wide range of multi-display installations in corporate, digital signage, security surveillance, process control, and other professional environments.

Measuring only 19 centimeters (7.5 inches) in height, the space-saving Shuttle XPC H7 5820S mini PC comes equipped with an Intel Core i7 processor with up to six cores and up to 16 GB of DDR3 memory to reliably run the most demanding professional applications. The high-performance H7 5820S can be incorporated with one or two M9128 dual-monitor, M9138 triple-monitor, M9140/M9148 quad-monitor, and M9188 octal boards. With up to 2 GB of on-board memory and advanced desktop management features such as stretched and independent desktop modes, M-Series cards render pristine image quality and exceptional functionality across all displays.

“Shuttle is excited to be integrating Matrox’s flagship graphics cards within the H7 5820S mini PC,” said Tom Seiffert, Head of Marketing & PR Europe, Shuttle Computer Handels GmbH. “Customers will be delighted to add M-Series boards into our solution for deployments that can range from enterprise wide dual-monitor workstations to visualization platforms across an immersive 16-display configuration.”

“Space-conscious environments migrating to smaller PCs will typically sacrifice multi-display functionality, but this is not the case with Shuttle’s new H7 5820S,” said Ron Berty, Business Development Manager, Matrox Graphics Inc. “This hardware collaboration allows Shuttle to leverage M-Series’ technology and build a professional-grade workstation that can deliver multi-monitor installations at par or even better than their larger form-factor counterparts.”

Source: Press Release

EVGA announces its GTX 580 Batman Arkham City edition

EVGA has released its special edition GTX 580. The “Batman Arkham City Edition” is due to be released with a reference design GTX 580 covered with Batman decals and themed batman packaging. The card is also “Superclocked” to clock speeds of 797/1594/4050 MHz (core/CUDA cores/memory effective). Although we are surprised to see there is no mention of an included copy of the game Batman Arkham City, and being $30 more expensive than the standard price of a GTX 580 we think this product really needs to pack a free copy, especially when you consider no effort has been made to include a custom cooler or any special features you would expect from a “Superclocked” product.

As it is a GTX 580 it is based of the GF-110 chip that has 12 CUDA cores, and 1536 MB of GDDR5 memory across a 384-bit wide memory bus. The product is available from Newegg for $529.99.

Source: Press Release