MSI Reveal GS70 Gaming Series Notebook

MSI have just announced a new 17 inch gaming notebook. The MSI GS70 is a 2.65kg notebook with a full HD 17.3 inch HD display. MSI have equipped the usual trademark SteelSeries keyboard with fully programmable backlights and have opted for a 2.1 channel speaker system.

MSI’s Matrix Display is also activated allowing users to run multiple screens for gaming when your gaming notebook is at a desk, other MSI exclusives such as Super RAID, for the SSDs, are also equipped. The outer case is an ultra-thin magnesium alloy giving the notebook a different look and feel to many other gaming notebooks.
In terms of hardware the device packs a Haswell Core i7 mobile processor, an Nvidia GTX 765M, Killer Doubleshot LAN/WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, up to 16GB of RAM, a pair of SSDs, a 2.5 inch hard drive and a six cell 60 W/h Lithium Ion battery.

  • Operating System: Windows 8
  • LED Backlight Display: 17.3″, Anti-glare display
  • Processor: 4th Generation Intel Core i7 Processor
  • Memory Type: 2 DIMM DDR3-1600 up to 16GB
  • Graphics: GeForce GTX 765M / GDDR5 2GB
  • Storage Capacity: 2 SSD with Super RAID+ 2.5″ HDD
  • Keyboard: Keyboard by SteelSeries, full color backlit
  • USB 3.0: 4
  • Card Reader: SD(XC/HC) / MMC
  • Video output: Mini DisplayPort 1.2 x2, HDMI 1.4 x1
  • Mic-in/Headphone out/ Line in: 1/1
  • Audio: Audio Boost /Sound Blaster Cinema
  • LAN/WiFi: Killer Doubleshot LAN/WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Speaker: Premium 2.1 channel speakers
  • Webcam: HD type (30fps@720p)
  • Battery: 6-Cell 60W/h Li-Ion embedded
  • Dimension: 418.5 x 287 x 21.8 mm
  • Weight: 2.65 kg w/ batter

Images courtesy of MSI

AMD Debuts New Low Power 6W G-Series APU

AMD have just announced some brand new APU additions to their G-Series of SOCs. AMD’s new GX-210JA APU features a wattage of just 6W with an average power consumption of 3W. With such a low TDP AMD expects to be able to power a variety of fanless and passive systems for applications such as industrial controls and automation, digital gaming, communications infrastructure and visual embedded products including thin client, digital signage and medical imaging.

The AMD G-Series APUs, including the newly announced GX-210JA, are capable of supporting industrial ECC (Error Correction Code) memory and temperature ranges of -40 degrees to +85 degrees. They also come packed with two to four fully fledged CPU cores, discrete-class Radeon graphics and an integrated I/O controller.

AMD’s current G-Series APU line up contains the following:

  • GX-420CA SOC with AMD Radeon HD 8400E Graphics, Quad-core, 25 W TDP, CPU freq. 2.0 GHz, GPU freq. 600 MHz
  • GX-415GA SOC with AMD Radeon HD 8330E Graphics, Quad-core, 15 W TDP, CPU freq. 1.50 GHz, GPU freq. 500 MHz
  • GX-217GA SOC with AMD Radeon HD 8280E Graphics, Dual-core, 15 W TDP, CPU freq. 1.65 GHz, GPU freq. 450 MHz
  • GX-210HA SOC with AMD Radeon HD 8210E Graphics, Dual-core, 9 W TDP, CPU freq. 1.0 GHz, GPU freq. 300 MHz
  • GX-416RA SOC, Quad-Core, 15 W, CPU Freq. 1.6 GHz, No GPU
  • GX-210JA SOC with AMD Radeon HD 8180 Graphics, Dual-core, 6 W TDP, CPU freq. 1.0 GHz, GPU freq. 225 MHz

Image courtesy of AMD

Red Harbinger Releases The Cross Desk

After a very long wait and much anticipation I have been waiting for Red Harbinger to give news on its Cross desk being released and today my friends is the day.

The Red Harbinger desk really is a system builders fantasy and for an extremely short time they are taking in pre-orders in the USA, discounted, with free shipping!

Here is a word from the CEO of Red Harbinger, Thomas Nunn

Our modding community is important; they keep us mentally motivated, and give us a reason to spend countless hours working on tough problems. Modders are the embodiment of creativity mixed with risk. A core group of modders, geeks, tech-heads and artists spent the last two years developing what would be our ultimate case. Liquid-cooling, storage capacity, flexibility in features, aesthetics, functionality, feel and craftsmanship inclusive to each and every component. The Cross desk is a combination of everything we needed; when we thought we had figured it all out, we tweaked and refined again and again until we were finally satisfied. Putting out anything less than exceptional was not an option.

A culmination of thousands of hours of thoughtful design, the Cross desk is for those who love to push the envelope and create something beyond the norm. We love the process, and hope you can enjoy all the hard work many of your peers put into this effort. Look forward to seeing what you will create with your Cross desk. The case for intelligent design has finally arrived. Enjoy – Thomas Nunn

Here are the product specs of this truly epic desk

Product Description

  • Built like an Abrams tank and designed to hold everything you could ever want; truly the last case you will ever need.
  • Solid steel and aluminum construction with industrial powder coat; every part, big and small.
  • Unmatched single PC desk design for every motherboard form factor.
  • Sturdy rubber grommets for unused liquid cooling lines.
  • Massive hard-drive storage capability.
  • Thick tempered glass top with frosted and beveled edges.
  • Master-crafted – RH frosted glass leg shelves.
  • Premium sleeved wiring for fan controllers & SATA drives.
  • Custom Limited Edition collector case badge; numbered.
  • Military-grade logo leg plates and welded chassis.
  • Brushed aluminum trim for modern finishing.
  • Expertly engineered hex fan grills.
  • Adjustable height shelving brackets for inner-leg storage.
  • Hollow legs to store wires, lights, or a stripped PlayStation!
  • Modular design for future upgrades and accessories.
  • Hidden chamber under center bridge to reduce wiring of hard-drive cables.
  • Decorative support backing to ensure your case won’t wobble…ever.
  • Created by well-known hardcore modders, engineers and designers for the last two years running.

For more info check out the link here

“Become The Galaxy” In Arcane Logic’s Hadron’s Forge For PC

Start-up games developer Arcane Logic has announced the development of their PC launch-title Hadron’s Forge. Blending real-world actual science with an immersive procedurally generated sandbox environment featuring mining, building, and almost endless space exploration, Hadron’s Forge offers to gamers a chapter-based single-player adventure and multiplayer experience in which participants have the opportunity to explore an entire star system at their leisure! Virtually everything in the game, including the terrain itself, is customizable by players. Fill a periodic table inventory as you mine ore and refine it down to its base elements! Forge parts and items from pure metals, alloys, carbon composites, advanced nanostructures and even paradoxium, the rarest material in the universe. Build bases on asteroids, moons or planets using truss, plates and utilities. You can even customize your very own interplanetary space ship!

‘Arcane Logic’, a Washington-based startup games developer spearheaded by Michael Beerman and John Savage, a duo of former aerospace engineers, are on a mission of their own; their objective is to complete the development of this highly unique, incredibly realistic, and open-ended universe. Created using a proprietary game engine developed from the ground up, ‘Hadron’s Forge’ is scheduled to include several unique modes of play, including ‘Story-’, ‘Survival-’, ‘Sandbox-’ and several Multiplayer-Modes.

In the games primary ‘Story-Mode’, you take on the role of Hadron, an aspiring young “tele-op” with a mysterious past, and an unquenchable desire to uncover the secrets hidden among the planets and asteroids of Epsilon Eridani. In this campaign-like experience, players complete segments of a larger adventure beginning with a prelude and continuing through multiple chapters. You are tasked with mining, construction, trade, exploration and espionage missions as you progress through the story line. You will also encounter many challenging construction, circuit and terrain puzzles on your journeys across the star system, which you must solve in order to uncover the secrets of ancient Eridanian technology.

‘Survival-Mode’ is an experience in which players hone their skills in short-duration scenarios that happen outside of the main ‘Story-Mode’ campaign. For instance, players may find themselves trapped in a Mining Pod on an asteroid or planet surface and they must use their skills to gather resources and fabricate power supplies to maintain life-support and escape! And finally, in ‘Sandbox-Mode’, players are invited to exploit their creativity; build asteroid bases, star ships and planetary colonies in a peaceful setting with a near limitless inventory. However, you will need to earn achievements in ‘Story-Mode’ and ‘Survival-Mode’ to unlock starting maps, materials, items and structures that then become available in ‘Sandbox-Mode’. This mode also allows players to build unique challenging puzzle rooms that you can share with your friends.

Several multi-player modes are planned as well, including ‘Cooperative’ and ‘Competitive’ modes. ‘Cooperative Mode’ allow players to work together on a Sandbox or Survival map. Head-to-head (PvP) ‘Competitive Mode’ challenges may be peaceful, such as a race to gather enough resources to fulfill a trade contract, or destructive, such as a pitted battle on an asteroid to take out the other guys Mining Pod. Additional information on multi-player modes will be announced soon.

Journalists interested in further information, additional assets or developer interviews are welcome to contact worldwide PR-Manager Hans Olsen by sending an email to hans@indiedeveloperconsulting.com. Members of the press are likewise encouraged to visit the following Hotlinks for recent updates:

Thank you Arcanelogic for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Hadron Forge.

 

 

Core i7 Ivy Bridge-E Pricing Is Revealed, Slightly Cheaper Than Expected

If you are interested in getting a Ivy Bridge-E CPU when they come out later this year, expected September, then you may be pleased to know pricing details have surfaced from VR-Zone. The first “entry” model, the Core i7 4820K, comes with a price tag of $310 USD which makes it $5 more expensive than its predecessor though it does come with a fully unlocked multiplier and a higher base clock. The Core i7 4930K, comes with a price point $39 USD lower than its predecessor despite being a better overall part. While the Core i7 4960X boasts a price about $69 USD lower than its predecessor which is welcome news given the extortionate three figure price of the Core i7 3960X.

Despite lower launch prices than predecessors Ivy Bridge-E is still a hugely expensive platform and again we will probably see the Core i7 4930K being the favourite part, much like the Core i7 3930K, because it offers nearly all the features of the much more expensive X part except with 3MB less cache and a marginally slower base clock which can be reached by overclocking.

Will you be buying Ivy Bridge-E or is it too expensive for your budget?

Image #1 courtesy of Intel and Image #2 courtesy of VR-Zone

Intel Core i7 4771 Gets Tested

Intel is planning on releasing a brand new Haswell CPU called the Core i7 4771. This will be a locked multiplier Core i7 Haswell processor with identical clock speeds and design to the Core i7 4770K. That means a 3.5GHz base clock and 3.9GHz turbo clock across four cores and eight threads. 8MB of cache, a 22nm Lithography and an 84W TDP top off the rest of the specifications for the Core i7 4771. It will come in to replace the Core i7 4770 which runs at 3.4GHz base clock and 3.9GHz turbo clock.

VR-Zone have benchmarked the new Intel CPU and unsurprisingly it performs exactly like a Core i7 4770K except without overclocking potential. The Core i7 4771 will probably replace the Core i7 4770 in the long term and sit alongside the Core i7 4770K as the leading Haswell Core i7 processors. Expect a slightly higher price premium of about $10 compared to the current Core i7 4770.

Images courtesy of VR-Zone

Whistleblower Bradley Manning Found Not Guilty Of Aiding The Enemy

Private Bradley Manning, the whistleblower behind the biggest military leak in American history, has been acquitted of the charge “aiding the enemy”. This was the most serious offence he had been charged with and had he been found guilty he would of been jailed for life without any chance of parole. That said, Bradley Manning still finds himself in a tough situation after being found guilty of five counts of theft, five counts of violating the espionage act, computer fraud charges and a variety of military infractions under the uniform code of military justice.

Bradley Manning had requested a judge not a jury to determine his fate. Prior to the trial Bradley Manning had spent nearly 3 years in custody since being arrested for the huge leak of information he made to WikiLeaks that allowed them to publicly release information about thousands of U.S war crimes and other “hushed up” incidents. Bradley Manning is expected to be sentenced later on today, July 31st. Given all his other charges he could still be sentenced in a way that sees him spend the rest of his life in jail.

Hero or a criminal? What are your thoughts on Bradley Manning?

Image courtesy of The Telegraph

Comic Strip Of Classic Snes Game “PLOK” Launched By The Pickford Bros.

First seen in the classic SNES platform game Plok!, the eponymous hero has been relaunched by creators The Pickford Bros as a regular comic strip.

Starting today, and published exclusively on the Zee-3 website, Plok The Exploding Man will follow the adventures of Plok as he wakes up after 20 years of sleep to discover that the modern landscape of video games is not quite what he expected it to be.

Plok comic strips will appear at www.zee-3.com/plok/

The Pickford Bros, John Pickford and Ste Pickford, are veteran indie game developers from the UK. Their most recent release was the BAFTA nominated iOS game Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint. They are currently working on three new iOS titles.

“We are constantly being bombarded with fan-mail requests to bring back Plok,” explained Ste Pickford, artist and co-writer of the strip, “with people asking us to make a sequel or to re-release the SNES game on Wii Virtual Console, 3DS, iOS, etc. We’ve wanted to revisit Plok for a long time, and we eventually decided that a regular comic strip would be a great way to re-introduce Plok to the world.”

“Will Plok return in his own game?” added John, the creator and co-writer of Plok, “Anything is possible, but for now he’s got a lot to catch up on, and we can draw new comic strips a lot faster than they can make new games!”

Plok was the star of the critically acclaimed SNES game Plok!, designed and produced by The Pickford Bros, developed by Software Creations and published in 1993 by Nintendo (Europe), Activision (Japan) and Tradewest (US).

I was a big fan on the game on the Snes when I was a kid and it would be great to see this fun title return, so Ste and John, if you’re reading this, please make it happen.

Thank you Pickford Bros. for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Zee-3.

Microsoft Has 4.5% Tablet Market Share For Q2 2013

Strategy Analytics reports that Microsoft has managed to attain only 4.5% of the tablet market for the period Q2 (April-June) of 2013. This means Windows still trails significantly behind both Android and iOS in the tablet market. Apparently consumers have stated that a lack of applications for Windows RT is one of the main reasons for choosing alternative platforms where applications are much more fruitful, such as Android.

Despite this apparently mediocre result for Microsoft it isn’t all bad as analysts are predicting massive shipment growth for Microsoft tablets thanks to their large price cuts across the range of Windows based tablets made by both Microsoft and its partners.

“Microsoft has reduced prices by $150 and other vendors even more; they are still not cheap, but are much more where they should be to compete. The shortage of apps continues to be a problem, with seemingly little incentive for developers to work on the platform,” Strategy Analytics notes. 

Out of 51.7 million tablets shipped in Q2 of 2013, which includes “white box” tablets that are unbranded and produced by Chinese OEMs, 2.3 million were powered by a Windows tablet OS. While the numbers seem average they are a significant improvement as in Q2 of 2012 Microsoft had just 0.5% market share and 0.2 million tablets.

Image courtesy of Microsoft

Supply Of Displays Out-paces Demand, Prices Expected To Fall

According to the latest figures published by the market analysts iSuppli the demand for large LCD/LED-LCD/IPS displays will be too low to meet demand causing widespread price drops. In terms of figures the period July through September will reportedly see supply exceed demand by approximately 15.9%. This comes after unexpectedly low levels of demand where even the lowest and most pessimistic estimates forecasted a 13.2% oversupply for the same period.

“This is the time of the year when LCD panel makers usually are ramping up production to meet holiday demand for televisions, notebook PCs, tablets and other consumer-oriented electronics,” said Ricky Park, senior manager for large-area displays at IHS. “However, the display industry is confronting the prospect of weak sales growth and a lack of visibility into future demand trends.”

Much of the decline has been encountered by Chinese suppliers who are seeing declining export growth and swelling inventories despite a strong Chinese economy. The Chinese government also terminated its energy saving TV subsidy earlier this year which is further expected to stifle demand.

That said it isn’t all doom and gloom as this year’s holiday season is expected to bring a change of fortunes for the display industry as Christmas and the Winter sales always shift some extra televisions.

Image courtesy of Samsung

Gigabyte Preparing GTX 780 SOC Graphics Card

Gigabyte’s GTX 680 Super OverClock certainly was an interesting graphics card although whether the decision to employ five 40mm fans was a sensible one is a hot topic of debate. Gigabyte is now apparently preparing a successor to the GTX 680 SOC for Nvidia’s new GTX 780 GPU. Gigabyte’s GTX 780 SOC would be designed to compete with rival flagships like the upcoming MSI GTX 780 Lightining, Galaxy GTX 780 HOF Edition and the EVGA GTX 780 Classified. In an interview with Expreview Gigabyte’s Liu Mengzong stated that:

Q: Will there be an SOC “Super Overclock” design for the GeForce GTX 780? If so, what’s the nearest time at which you plan to launch the new graphics card?

A: Possibly, In the near future we plan to bring new and amazing products for our fans. The new product would be positioned even on top of the SOC and even higher than our friends who offer lightning, ROG graphics card. It will offer high-end and feature rich utilities for users. After a short period, we would see this new GTX 780 series graphics cards.

Thus judging by the answer we can see that the Gigabyte GTX 780 SOC will arrive in the near future and will be designed to compete with leading graphics cards from Gigabyte rivals. It is also possible the SOC could be based on a customised version of the WindForce cooler since the five 40mm fan SOC cooler from the GTX 680 weren’t exactly great for noise or that popular with reviewers and consumers.

Image courtesy of eTeknix

Attitude One Tunguska 7.1 USB Surround Sound Headset Review

Today we take a look at a brand that is somewhat new to us here at eTeknix. While yes we have heard of Attitude One, we’ve even seen their products at various trade shows and online, but we’ve never had the chance to get hands on with their products and try them for our selves and the Tunguska Virtual 7.1 Surround Sound Headset is hopefully just the first product of their range that we will be taking a look at.

I’ve heard good things about A1 from industry types and general consumers too, this got our attention and it’s great to see a new name in the office. While I can’t say I’m bored with the offerings from the other big names in the industry, it certainly never hurts to have more options available to you, especially from a consumer perspective.

As always, we will be looking for a good level of design, build quality, performance and value from this headset and with a price tag of around £60  the Tunguska are certainly set to be competitive and if the performance matches the feature list, then we could in for a real treat here, so let’s get straight to the good stuff and see just what this headset has to offer.

As you can see, the A1 Tunguska come in a brightly designed box, you can’t miss a bright orange box among the crowd and this would definitely stand out at retail. There are a few features labeled on the box such as the noise cancelling microphone, 3 meter cable, USB connectivity and the virtual 7.1 drivers (stereo speakers with software produced surround effects).

The box folds out to give us a proper look at the headset and first impressions are good, although I think the white and blue clashes with the orange a little (actually, that orange clashes with everything).

Around the back we have more feature details such as the “unique 4 piece padded headset and comfortable ear cushions”, “high-sensitivity mic and mic mute” and the “high-quality 40mm drivers with neodymium magnets and membranes”. Overall a fairly standard but well equipped feature set, so let’s get them out of the box and take a closer look.

First thing out of the box was an easy to read user manual that guides you through general setup, as well as a mini CD-Rom with the standard driver software, although with included drivers I would always recommend you check the manufacturer’s website for the latest drivers first, it’s still nice to see some included as most companies no longer include any drivers at all.

The headset we have today is finished in matt black, gloss white and neon blue, a very stylish colour scheme that makes me think of the film Tron, I like that movie, so I’ll take that as a good thing.

The headset features a really bold, durable design that really stands out thanks to a mixture of chunky panels and soft edges that seem to blend retro and futuristic styles into one, it’s not going to be to everyone’s taste but I think they look great.

The headband features plenty of soft padding that provides good fit and long term comfort.

The ear cups are covered in a soft leather-like material with a soft cloth backing, enough to keep a firm fitting over your ears but not so much that you cut off all air flow.

The chunky microphone is surprisingly light weight but it isn’t removable, however it can be folded upwards out of the way or adjusted up and down to find the best speaking position.

Moving away from the main headset we have a small inline controller which features 7 small LED lights in the center, volume control button and master mutes for the microphone and headphones. It’s fairly small but it feels well made, although I fear the cable joins could be better reinforced here as this is a common point for wear and tear damage on headsets.

The cable is braided and this should aid with its life span, plus it also looks good and is generally harder to snag or tangle than grippy rubber cables.

Hook up the headset to your computer and the two pairs of lines one each ear cup light up in an electric blue that compliments the blue trim, it’s a fairly subtle lighting effect but an effectively cool looking one.

Setup & Installation

Setup was as easy as plug and play, windows detected the audio device straight away as the headset has its own internal sound card. Installation of the driver CD took a few minutes and a restart but nothing more than a couple of simple clicks to get through. The software was really comprehensive and offers plenty of features to tweak and tune the audio to your liking.

Since this is a virtual surround headset there is only one driver in each ear cup, so software steps in to do the processing magic and create the effect of multiple speakers. You can choose from stereo, quadraphonic, 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound (shown as 2, 4, 6 & 8 channel). Then below that we have the Virtual 7.1 mix enable, output modes (system) and on the right you have the ability to adjust distance, volume and rotation of any of the channel speakers, this is a feature I wasn’t expecting and being able to tweak this was fantastic for fine tuning the sound scape.

There are a few more tabs that cover general system volume levels and voice effects, but the most interesting is the EQ page which allows for full customisation of DSP effects and EQ. There are multiple presets and each can be tweaked and saved to a profile. Unfortunately though you cannot save master profiles for the software for each job so between movies, gaming and day to day tasks you would need to come into the software and adjust things manually to your liking for each application.

Performance

I was eager to test out the multi channel sound on this headset so rather than jump straight into a gaming environment I started with a few movies. I chose the blu-rays of The Hobbit and Transformers 2 since I know one has a rich musical score and some interesting soundscapes while the other has some thumping low end bass noises that can often distort weak drivers. First impressions were pretty good with the stereo mode enabled, the drivers are loud and powerful, but there was a definite slope in the EQ that left the mids feeling fuzzy and the bass feeling a little low, but by no means disappointing.

Enabling the 7.1 (8 channel mode) with the virtual surround made a big impact, but it came at the cost of overall max volume. I tweaked in the speaker distances to increase their volume, applied the large room DSP and decided that the Classic EQ was the best pre-set. Suddenly the headset went from being a “good” headset, to an absolutely fantastic one. Bass was thick, deep and distortion free with a room filling distance that you rarely get on a headset, the mid tones warmed up nicely and had lost their rough edge and the high tones became clearer and more pleasant. I think that the drivers are not very well balanced out of the box but my EQ tinkering knocked some sense into them and the sound became  fantastic for watching movies after I had made my adjustments.

Of course you may like different settings, but that’s the joy of this headset, it’s very customisable, at least to a certain extent. Push the high tones more than a little and they sound awful, same goes for the mid tones, you will benefit better from reducing the frequencies around the one you want to raise and increasing your volume, either way, great results can be found, it just takes some tinkering.

Gaming performance was on par with movies and while the effects have little to offer to games like League of Legends, fans of Skyrim and Battlefield will love the wide soundscapes, thick bass notes and clear dialogue. The noise canceling microphone is good too and while it’s nothing incredible I rarely find anything remarkable about microphone testing these days, it’s on par with the competition and sounds loud and clear, which is pretty much all you could want from a microphone.

Music playback was the real winner for me and while this benefitted from switching to stereo mode, you could still have fun with the EQ and there are a few tracks in my collection that few headphones get right, So You Die by Bloodbath is a real bone shaker that often sounds wobbly in weaker drivers, the acoustic warmth of All About Eve by Steve Vai is easily lost on many sets also but that really wasn’t the case here (although it’s worth pointing out the YouTube links I’ve provided here will not do them justice either, they’re just to give you an impression of the sound I was testing), so long as I kept the Classic EQ mode enabled, most of the other presets made powerful changes but often with negative effects to the range.

Final Thoughts

Overall I think it’s safe to say that I really like this headset, It’s full of little imperfections but it makes up for them in some really big ways and the overall sound quality is more than enough to make me part with my hard earned cash to buy a pair.

The overall appearance of this headset is of a cheaper product trying to look like a more expensive product, the design is chunky, features a lot of shiny plastics and some flashy lights, but I think A1 got the balance right and while there is a slightly cheaper look and feel to the headset, it does maintain a coolness that is often lost in this price range. They’re pretty well made too and while I fear they may smash with a few hard knocks and bumps, there are few headsets out there that wouldn’t.

Sound quality is impressive although you should really get stuck into the EQ and get things in line first. While I would argue that this is mostly personal preference, there really is a lot of extra performance and quality to be found through some simple EQ and DSP tweaks that benefit all listening scenarios. I did complain that you can’t set different profiles to tab between for music, movies, gaming etc but I found that once I had the optimum dialed in, I didn’t want to change anything other than between stereo and virtual 7.1 anyway.

It’s not all perfect though and as I said, build quality isn’t as heavy duty as the looks, the in-line controller leaves a lot to be desired although it does provide the basics and the stock audio performance is a little hollow at times.

eTeknix says: “The Tunguska is a reasonably priced mid-range headset and it packs an impressive feature set that makes it competitive in a crowded market. It’s a little unrefined in some areas but its an impressive product overall. I think this shows great promise for Attitude One and the Tunguska 7.1 is a great product for this price range.”

Pros

  • Great sound
  • Powerful EQ and DSP settings
  • Virtual Surround actually works
  • Good quality microphone
  • Braided cable

Cons

  • Cheap in-line controller
  • Some freqencies sound rough without EQ adjustments
  • Some cheaper feeling plastics

 

How To Save Some Money: Different Light Bulbs

GELighting.com – Infographic

Is it important to be energy efficient? Of course it is, but usually it isn’t worth it. How many light fixtures do you have in your home? I have a grand total of… Fourteen, many of which use more than one bulb. If I were to replace every single bulb in my house I would end up getting at least 30 bulbs, and I live in a small house.

A LED Bulb cost is down from what they were a few years ago, but they are still high. A LED bulb uses up to 85% less energy than an incandescent bulb and lasts up to 20 years longer.

GE  or General Electric posted an infographic on their Facebook page recently, giving us a little information on light bulbs.

Good.is – Infographic

Over the past few years we have seen quite the evolution, from incandescent to halogen to Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFL) to LED. As technology has bettered us to be more energy efficient many governments have banned the use of old incandescent bulbs, working them out of the marketplace.

Many of the products that we purchase to better our lives may take a very long time to pay for themselves, sometimes they never do, but those are the steps that we may take to reduce our footprint. LED lighting may be one of the better options. LED bulbs use less energy, and emit less heat than traditional bulbs. They are not made with mercury or lead, and they last up to 40 times longer. Less time wasted changing bulbs, as they last a very long time, 35,000 – 50,000 hours.

Some math to help you, based on 13 watts of electricity, which many lights are rated for being equal to 65-75 watts for incandescent bulbs, and if  you were to use the light for 6 hours a day for 1 full year.

13 watts x 6 hours x 365 = 28,470 watts or 28.47 Kilowatts.

If you were to use an incandescent bulb at a rating of 65 watts for the same time.

65 watts x 6 hours x 365 = 142,350 watts or 142.35 Kilowatts.

On the low end at 13 cents per KWh it would cost $18.46 per year for one incandescent bulb versus $3.64 for an LED bulb. A HUGE difference for those paying attention.

For me in California, electricity costs range from .13 – .35  per KWh

Comparatively there is a huge difference between an incandescent bulb and an LED bulb, the difference between CFL and LED bulbs is a lot slimmer. I would recommend that if you even have one incandescent bulb in your home you should replace it with an LED, but if that is too expensive, you should at least put in a CFL.

You can find even more fun facts on bulb comparisons from designrecycleinc.com

Expert Says NSA Have Backdoors Built Into Intel And AMD Processors

In an interesting story covered by the Australian Financial Review it is revealed that experts think the NSA has hardware level backdoors built into Intel and AMD processors. Steve Blank, recognised as one of Silicon Valleys leading experts, says that he would be extremely surprised if the American NSA does not have backdoors built into Intel and AMD chips. His reason is that the NSA finds “hacking” through backdoors significantly more simple than trying to crack encryption. For example trying to crack AES 256 bit encryption would require the power of 10 million suns to crack at the current TDP of processors. Steve Blank therefore claims that because cracking encryption is so infeasible the NSA uses hardware level backdoors instead. Steve Blank said that these suspicions arose when he saw the NSA could access Microsoft emails in their pre-encryption state and so he knew there was another way in.

Edit: Jonathan Brossard personally got into contact with us to inform us that such statements made by the AFR about his opinions and research were indeed misleading and not factually accurate at all. Jonathan Brossard claims that if you read his whitepaper from the Black Hat 2012 conference, which can be found here, it will give a totally different understanding of what he was actually saying as opposed to what the AFR interpreted him as saying. We would like to apologise for passing information onto you from the AFR that was factually inaccurate. Jonathan Brossard stated that:

“The CPU microcode update mechanism is a documented feature which helps Intel and AMD fix CPU bugs. Even if this would be an interesting attack vector, you must break strong asymmetric cryptography before you get to push microcode updates to a CPU. The article from the Australian Financial Review is misleading, and doesn’t bring the slightest proof that Intel or AMD are sharing those cryptographic keys with [the] NSA. I do not personally think [the] NSA is backdooring Intel (or AMDs) CPUs.”

Though after all that there are of course those who will say this is complete nonsense and that the reason it is undetectable is because it does not exist and it is just conspiracy theory. Indeed Intel has denied such speculation.

I myself am not sure what to make of all this but what do you think? Does the NSA have a hardware level backdoor built into every modern Intel and AMD CPU?

Image courtesy of WCCFTech, Information from AFR.com via WCCFTech

The Humble Deep Silver Bundle – Six Great Games

The Humble Bundle has given us yet another giant bundle to consider purchasing. Bringing us six games worth over $190, in which you will get six games and 1 giant pack of DLC. Though this Bundle will likely cost you a bit more, you will get an epic savings. This bundle is brought to you by Humble Bundle and Deep Silver, unfortunately this bundle is targeted at a smaller audience than usual, just the Windows PC market.

If you follow Humble Bundle, then you know how it works, if not, here is a quick run down.

Humble Bundle finds developers to host on their sales. When they offer a sale, you usually get to Pay What You Want, pay $1 or more and you get steam codes for the games listed. Next they offer you the Beat The Average, if you beat the average donation you usually get access to an extra game. Every once in a while they throw in a curve ball and throw in something like this week donate $25 or more and you get an extra game.

On top of it, you get to pick how you pay, not only by payment style, PayPal, Amazon, Google, and Bitcoin, you are set to pay whatever way you like. You also get to pick how your donation is spent, setting percentages for how much the developer gets, how much goes to charity, and how much Humble Bundle gets for hosting these sales!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnUr9ma3V-I[/youtube]

Pay What You Want

  • Saints Row: The Third
  • Saints Row 2
  • Risen 2: Dark Waters
  • Sacred 2 Gold

Beat The Average

  • Dead Island GOTY
  • SR3 Full Package (SR3 DLC!)

Donate $25 or More
(37% off!)

  • Dead Island Riptide

Part of the Pay What You Want campaign, you get all 4 of the games for Steam if you pay at least one dollar. Beating The Average Donation will earn you Dead Island (Game Of The Year Edition) & Saints Row The Third Full Package. If you Go Beyond Paying $25 Or More you get Dead Island Riptide!

6 great games, 1 awesome DLC package all for just $25.

You will also get the soundtracks, so you can enjoy the game music while you are not playing. Soundtracks for

  • Saints Row: The Third
  • Risen 2: Dark Waters
  • Sacred 2
  • Dead Island Riptide

Images courtesy of HumbleBundle

MSI Tease GTX 780 Lightning’s New Propeller Blade Cooling Solution

MSI have teased some pictures of the upcoming GTX 780 Lightning Edition graphics card on their Facebook Page recently. The photos reveal the new cooling solution for the upcoming MSI GTX 780 Lightning card which is to be released on August the 7th 2013.

The MSI Lightning card uses an Nvidia GTX 780 GPU and a custom Propeller Blade cooling solution for the Twin Frozr V cooler.

In terms of the PCB it is totally custom and uses MSI’s latest version of the “GPU Reactor” module which provides additional power stabilisation directly behind the GPU in a rather fancy looking way.  The images so far would suggest that the yellow theme will not feature in the GTX 780 Lightining’s shroud design but only time will tell. Silver and Black definitely looks more likely from these photos and would be a very nice option for users wanting a more neutral colour scheme. Though we could see LED lightning on logos or underneath the shroud to offer optional yellow to the users who have already kitted their systems out in yellow (as I know a lot of people have done with Avexir Lightning RAM, MPower/XPower motherboards and so on).

Images courtesy of MSI (Facebook)

Galaxy Unleash GTX 780 Hall Of Fame Edition

Galaxy’s GTX 780 Hall of Fame Edition is one of most anticipated cards of the year from the green team. It features a factory overclock to 1006/1058 MHz base/boost up from stock 863/900 MHz meaning it has nearly 20% more frequency allowing it to match the GTX Titan in many scenarios. The cooling solution is provided by dual 90mm fans and a HVCP (hybrid vapor chamber heat pipe) design. The outer case is made from a combination of fire-resistant polycarbonate, anodized metal, and die-cast aluminium alloy. 

The custom white PCB uses a CHiL CHL8318 VR11.1 compliant digital PWM controller and an IR3550 PowrIRstage DrMOS 4.0 compliant chipset. The customised 8+2 phase VRM has 90% efficiency and is capable of delivery up to 480 amps to the GPU – way more than it could ever need. Other additions include high quality POSCAP capacitors and high current Coiltronics inductors. The PCB uses a 10 layer design for optimum signal routing.

Finally there is a “Hyper Boost” button which acts as a “hardware supercharger” that engages special internal circuity and optimisations to increase core clocks by 8% beyond what GPU Boost 2.0 could or custom user overclocks.

Pricing and availability on this card is TBA but expect it to be available in limited quantities and priced to reflect that fact.

Product Page

Images courtesy of Galaxy

Galaxy Reveal GTX 770 Hall Of Fame Edition Graphics Card

Galaxy has announced its prestigious GTX 770 Hall of Fame Edition graphics cards. This swanky new graphics card from Galaxy features an all white PCB and cooler but it isn’t all form over function. The cooler uses a triple fan design with five nickel plated heat pipes and a long dense aluminium heatsink. Additionally Galaxy have fitted a ventilated PCI slot cover for the second PCI bracket to allow for extra airflow.

The PCB is custom and features a digital PWM controller, 8 + 2 phases, POSCAPs, MLCC capacitors, IR DirectFET MOSFETs, shielded inductors and voltage read points. Galaxy have also cherry picked and speed binned the GTX 770 GPUs used on these GTX 770 HOF cards to ensure the best performance possible.

The GTX 770 HOF uses clock speeds of 1202 MHz/1254 MHz base/boost up from stock clocks of 1046/1085 MHz. It features 2GB of GDDR5 over a 256 bit interface and this is at the stock 7GHz effective speed. The GTX 770 HOF from Galaxy will cost $449.99 MSRP.

Product Page.

Images courtesy of Galaxy

Cubitek Reveal Mini Center Aluminium Mini-ITX Chassis

Aluminium cases are becoming increasingly more popular these days even with the larger price premium they command. Cubitek have just announced a new addition to their case portfolio and they couldn’t have announced a more “in-fashion” case with it being both mini-ITX and aluminium. Their new “Mini Center” case is made from entirely from brushed aluminium and comes in both black or silver options.

The Cubitek Mini Center is suitable for HTPCs, stylish office PCs or simply small form factor systems. It can support coolers up to 80mm in height, power supplies up to 150mm (standard form factor) in length and graphics cards up to 7 inches in length with top PCIe connectors (not end ones as there won’t be room to plug cables in). The Cubitek Mini Center has dimensions of W 200 x H 250 x D 200mm / 7.8″ x 9.8″ x 7.8″ and supports two 2.5 inch drives or a single 3.5 inch drive at the bottom of the chassis. The front I/O (placed at the top) features two USB 3.0 and audio ports with the relevant case buttons.

The case features no fan mounts so uses a “passive” design. Availability is expected in August with an MSRP of $59.90 excluding VAT.

Product Page.

Images courtesy of Cubitek

Cooler Master Reveal CM 690 III Chassis

Cooler Master are always producing some of the best cases on the market and their latest release looks like no exception to that trend. The CM 690 III which we saw at Computex 2013 is the successor to the CM 690 II chassis. The CM 690 III features a redesigned interior with a new HDD/SSD combination cage that allows for 3.5 inch and 2.5 inch hard drives or SSDs to be deployed in ever slot depending on what the users want. Their is a total capacity of up to 10 SSDs and one SSD behind the motherboard tray so you really can have lots of fast storage with this case.With the SSD/HDD combo cage removed end users can support up to 423mm long graphics cards while in terms of CPU coolers the case can support up to 171mm which accounts for most really tall CPU coolers. Cooler Master have implemented a new revision of their “EZ-Tray” ODD system for those who have 5.25 inch drives or devices to mount.

In terms of cooling the case comes pre-fitted with a 200mm intake and 120mm exhaust. It supports dual 240mm radiators, one in the front and one at the top. There is also space for a 120mm radiator by the rear exhaust. If you use the smallest fan options then the case supports up to 9 fans but you can also use three 200mm fans if you prefer larger fans. All intakes are meshed with dust filters.

Availability is from next month, August and pricing will be announced by each regions.

Images courtesy of Cooler Master

ADATA Launch XPG V2 3100MHz Overclocking Memory

 ADATA have just launched a brand new series of gaming RAM from its XPG series. Their new XPG V2 3100 modules run at a staggeringly high 3100MHz and are designed to take advantage of the new Intel Z87 Haswell LGA 1150 platform. The new ADATA kits are strictly QVL certified meaning you will have to refer to the Qualified Vendor List to check if your system will have compatibility. Although of course with memory running so high your CPU may not even be capable of such a frequency altogether.

ADATA are offering up a couple of colours, Gold and Grey/Black both using black PCBs which is always a nice touch. They come with ADATA’s XPG styled heatsink allowing them to be overclocked further if your system has any headroom to do so. Pricing and availability is still TBA.

Product Features

  • Supports Intel XMP (Extreme Memory Profiles) version 1.3
  • Supports dual channel mode
  • RoHS compliant
  • Complies with JEDEC standards.
  • Uses high-quality 8-layer printed circuit boards and aluminum heat sink, effectively reducing the memory module temperature
  • Adopts Thermal Conductive Technology (TCT) thermal technology for heat dispersal
  • Supports Intel Core processors and the latest fourth-generation Z87 platform

Specifications

  • Model: XPG V2 DDR3 3100
  • Timing: DDR3 1333 CL9-9-9-24 at 1.5V & DDR3 3100 CL12-14-14-36 at 1.65V (XMP Profile 1)
  • Density: 8GB (4GB x 2)
  • Frequency (Peak transfer rate): 3100MHz (24,800MB/sec)
  • Voltage: 1.65 Volts

Images courtesy of ADATA

FEZ II Canceled “I am done. I take the money and I run” Says Developer

FEZ an independent puzzle game, originally was announced in 2007 by Phil Fish. Polytron Corporation headed up by Fish has announced the cancelation of FEZ II. FEZ was long waited before its release for Xbox 360, which wasn’t released until 2012, while PC users needed to wait until 2013 for release.

On the 27th of July, Phil Fish announced on Polytron Corporation official website the following

“FEZ II is cancelled.
I am done.
I take the money and i run.
this is as much as I can stomach.
this is isn’t the result of any one thing, but the end of a long, bloody campaign.

you win.”

Fish has not commented as to why he is leaving the gaming industry, but it could be likely that the reasoning is because of comments made about him from Angry Gamer Marcus Beer on a podcast from GameTrailers.

Video contains strong language [NSFW]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lm5Lnei4S6M[/youtube]

I don’t know why Fish has gotten into the gaming industry, but I seriously doubt it was to be praised, or even for the money. Fish has been able to produce a game, a game that is loved by many. But with all the love you get from something, you are sure to get some haters.

In 1 year Fez sold 200,000 copies for Xbox 360, selling for 800 Microsoft Points, roughly $10 each. Fez sold over 100,000 on Steam in just the first 48 hours of release.

Fish really needs a wake up call, someone put him back into the water, and show him what he got into the gaming industry for. If he started producing video games for the money, and since he is not making money he is going to leave. Good riddance. But, if he got into it to make quality video games, and for the fun, he really should stay. Buck up, and get back into the game.

Rockstar Release More Awesome Grand Theft Auto V Screenshots

September just can’t come soon enough can it, especially since Rockstar continue to tease us with images of their upcoming blockbuster Grand Theft Auto V. Now I know there are many of you who are crying to see this on PC, believe me, I want it on PC too! But you can’t deny this game doesn’t already look fantastic on consoles and PC, Xbox, PS3, it really doesn’t matter in the end because I just can’t wait to play this game… and then I’ll be forced to buy it again on PC in a year or something, but what the hell, who cares!

“Here are some new screens featuring a taste of the fast life in Los Santos and Blaine County.” said Rockstar on a recent blog post, “Stay tuned for much more details and media from the game in August including the first proper unveiling of Grand Theft Auto Online.” they continued and hopefully they’ll have even more surprises for us in the coming weeks.

For now however, kick back and enjoy the latest batch of screenshots and keep on hoping that this game makes it to PC in the near future.

Thank you Rockstar for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Rockstar.

Hydradeck, A Cover Shooter For Razer Hydra & Oculus Rift

Ever since the Oculus Rift was brought to my attention I’ve done nothing but explain to my girlfriend how I need one of these in my life, I don’t care if it’s for Christmas or if I have to sell the shirt off my back, as soon as this device hits retail (yes, I know you can buy dev kit hardware) then I will be all over it. Until then, I have to suffer demonstrations such as the one in the video below which only goes to reaffirm my desire to own the Oculus Rift, but now it seems my issues are larger, I need to start saving for the Razer Hydra also!

Combining the incredibly accurate motion controls of the Hydra with the 3D virtual headset that is the Oculus allows for a proper cover based shooter. Being able to duck behind walls and blind fire, shoot around corners, and lean over objects looks like a lot of fun and while this isn’t a truly refined title it does show a lot of promise for both devices.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/iSoj9EU7pWs[/youtube]

I used to love the Time Crisis gun games and this technology could bring the virtual arcade shooter into the world once again, yet this game has fooled a few people and due to the nature of Oculus and how it fools your senses players have already found them selves trying to lean on the virtual boxes in front of them, so the risk of faceplanting is a very real one indeed.

Thank you worldsfactory for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of worldsfactory.

Extreme Windows Blog Shows Off Triple 4K Gaming System

With 4K monitors now popping up sparingly across the market it was only a matter of time before someone went to town and made an Eyefinity 4K display set up. Someone over on the Extreme Windows Blog and has done exactly that. The system is monstrously expensive at $17,000  thanks to three Sharp PN-K321 4K Monitors, three Radeon HD 7970s…and the rest of the system.

Combined the system produced a mammoth 11520 by 2160 Eyefinity display with the help of an array of display adapters to get the correct configuration. With 1.5 billion pixels its no wonder that at least CrossFire HD 7970s are required to play most games at 60FPS with medium settings.

It is almost certain that AMD and Microsoft collaborated strongly with this venture-cum-publicity-stunt as it required some special custom drivers. Without these custom drivers the games were limited to 8FPS.

There is no doubt that this is a totally ridiculous set up that no one will use for many years to come but its nice to see that a single current generation graphics cards is capable of powering three 4K monitors even if it can only deliver 30 FPS at medium settings.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OEZ9qBxYiw[/youtube]

Images courtesy of the Extreme Windows Blog

Snowden Crowd-funding Campaign Pulled By IndieGoGo

Yes it is that same photo of Edward Snowden again!

A campaign set up to fly Edward Snowden to Latin America dubbed “Fly Edward Snowden Fly” has been pulled by Crowd-funding company IndieGoGo. The campaign was started by Christian Honey, a neuroscientist with the Oxford University, and his aim was to raise enough in travel and legal funding to help pay Snowden’s costs of reaching Venezuela where Edward Snowden has been offered asylum.

Apparently IndieGoGo have closed the funding page down because the company is based in the USA and would come under economic and legal pressure for hosting it. Furthermore the bank account being funded is apparently not owned by the whistleblower himself and thus cannot be authorised by IndieGoGo.

The campaign intended to raise $200,000 to rent a private plane to take Snowden from Russia to Venezuela avoiding NATO airspace by crossing the Pacific and not the Atlantic like commercial flights. The same organiser is looking to set up the campaign on another crowd-funding website that will not cave in to American pressure so easily.

Image courtesy of The Guardian.

Ubuntu Edge Passes 20% Crowd-Funding Milestone

Ubuntu’s new “Edge” smartphone got off to a flying start generating nearly $3.2 million in under a day of its Indiegogo campaign. Canonical’s new smartphone has now passed 22% of its funding target. Currently $7 million of the $32 million total has been generated in a few days.

In those few days the discounted versions of the phone have now vanished and now Canonical is trying to lure crowd-funders in with other perks such as limited edition phones. The campaign still has 24 days left to achieve another $25 million and it remains to be seen whether it can achieve such a milestone.

The Ubuntu Edge has the following specifications:

  • Dual boot Ubuntu mobile OS and Android
  • Fully integrated Ubuntu desktop PC when docked
  • Fastest multi-core CPU, 4GB RAM, 128GB storage
  • Micro-SIM
  • 4.5in 1,280 x 720 HD sapphire crystal display
  • 8mp low-light rear camera, 2mp front camera
  • Dual-LTE, dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4, NFC
  • GPS, accelerometer, gyro, proximity sensor, compass, barometer
  • Stereo speakers with HD audio, dual-mic recording, Active Noise Cancellation
  • 11-pin connector providing simultaneous MHL and USB OTG
  • 3.5mm jack
  • Silicon-anode Li-Ion battery
  • 64 x 9 x 124mm

For more information on the Ubuntu Edge project see the campaign page here.

Image courtesy of Canonical (indiegogo)