Silent case manufacturer Nanoxia have just previewed three of their new cases named the Deep Silence 4 (pictured above), Deep Silence 5 and Deep Silent 6 according to TechPowerUp. These three new cases use Nanoxia’s own 120/140mm Deep Silence fans and noise dampening material. The Deep Silence 4 is aimed at micro-ATX and mini-ITX systems, the Deep Silence 5 is a full tower case capable of everything beneath HPTX and the Deep Silence 6 is the case designed to support just about anything, including a HPTX motherboard and 360mm top mounted radiator. All the cases have integrated two channel fan controllers, extensive bitumen sound-proofing material and are available in white, black or black with a grey front panel.
Nanoxia Deep Silence 4 specifications:
Case Type: Mini Tower
Form Factor: Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
5.25 inch external drive bay: 2 x
3.5 inch external drive bay: 1 x (optional)
2.5/3.5 inch internal drive bay: 6 x 2.5/3.5″ + 1 x 2.5″
Case Fan (Front): 1 x 120 mm (1,300 rpm)
Case Fan (Rear): 1 x 120 mm (1,300 rpm)
Case Fan (Top): optional 1 x 120/140 mm
Height (Approx): 380 mm
Width (Approx): 200 mm
Depth (Approx): 480 mm
Material: steel, plastic
Weight (Approx): 7.8 kg
Maximum CPU cooler height: 160 mm
Maximum VGA Card Length: 265 (395) mm
Nanoxia Deep Silence 5 specifications:
Case Type: Big Tower
Form Factor: E-ATX, XL-ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
5.25 inch external drive bay: 4 x
3.5 inch external drive bay: 1 x (optional)
2.5/3.5 inch internal drive bay: 11 x
Case Fan (Front): 2 x 140 mm (1,100 rpm)
Case Fan (Rear): 1 x 140 mm (1,100 rpm)
Case Fan (Top): optional 2 x 120/140 mm
Case Fan (Bottom): optional 1 x 120/140 mm
Height (Approx): 550 mm
Width (Approx): 232 mm
Depth (Approx): 550 mm
Material: steel, plastic
Weight (Approx): 16.2 kg
Maximum CPU cooler height: 185 mm
Maximum VGA Card Length: 338 (468) mm
Nanoxia Deep Silence 6 specifications:
Case Type: Big Tower
Form Factor: HPTX, E-ATX, XL-ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
5.25 inch external drive bay: 4 x
3.5 inch external drive bay: 2 x (optional)
2.5/3.5 inch internal drive bay: 13 x
Case Fan (Front): 2 x 140 mm (1,100 rpm)
Case Fan (Rear): 1 x 140 mm (1,100 rpm)
Case Fan (Top): max. 3 x 120/140 mm, 2 x 140 mm included (1,400 rpm)
While the UK and USA’s governments talk strong anti-chemical weapons rhetoric against Assad’s Syrian government, do they even know where Syria’s capital city Damascus is? Well according to usvsth3m.com of 65 people in the American department of defence 43% couldn’t locate Syria accurately. In the UK the figures were slightly better for the UK Houses Of Parliament, 139 guesses showed that only 36% of them could not locate Damascus.
Of course the game is a bit of light-hearted fun and many probably intentionally picked wrong to make some kind of political statement, or even just to make a joke. What’s worrying though is that in the case of the American statistics it seems likely many of them genuinely weren’t sure where Damascus actually was and let’s be honest – that’s worrying.
This light-hearted take on a serious situation serves to reinforce the key issue of why are the UK and USA even trying to get involved? – especially if they do not even know where Syria is or what the purpose of Syrian intervention is. The USA’s White House has stated it will consider limited military action against Syria while the UK’s attempt at military intervention was defeated in parliament.
Well it appears ValueAct Capital might have been behind Steve Ballmer’s departure after all. Steve Ballmer, pictured above, was quick to deny rumours that the Microsoft investor was behind his decision to leave on the day he announced his scheduled retirement from Microsoft. Yet Microsoft and ValueAct recently released a statement to announce that they have signed a Cooperation agreement. The agreement sees ValueAct capital given an option of joining the Microsoft board. ValueAct’s President Mason Morfit will take the seat.
“Microsoft is a world-class company with tremendous long-term potential,” said Morfit. “At this critical inflection point in the company’s evolution, I look forward to actively working together with the board and Microsoft’s management team to continue to create value for all shareholders.”
ValueAct had been known to be behind the decision to oust Steve Ballmer and now that the deal is official things are more clear. Steve Ballmer had commented previously on ValueAct’s involvement stating:
“Our board and management team are committed to enhancing growth and value for Microsoft shareholders, and we look forward to ValueAct Capital’s input”
Just a week ago we brought you the news about Cooler Master preparing the new HAF Stacker series of cases. I posed the question “how do you take the unique HAF Series case and combine it with the unique Stacker Series case?” in that article. Well now Cooler Master have answered that question and apparently the way they combine the two series opf cases is by stacking them on top of each other in a “mod tower” configuration. There are two main cases to the HAF Stacker series the HAF 925 and the HAF 915. The HAF 915 is the smaller cases you see above while the HAF 925 is the larger case you see below (with a HAF 915 on top of it).
The HAF 915 case will be available in two variants denoted HAF 915R or HAF 915F to indicate either a front mounted or rear mounted power supply. The overall aim of the HAF Stacker series is the freedom to configure your PC in anyway you want. There is even the opportunity to run multiple PCs, you could potentially store a file server above or below your main PC and hook it directly in using Gigabit LAN – just one example.
This stacking is made possible by a patented Cooler Master rail system to secure the cases in a few easy steps. Pricing and availability is going to vary by region and we can expect to see these cases from Q4 of 2013 meaning October 1st at the earliest.
Microsoft has announced that it is making another push for transparency against the NSA. It claims that lawsuits filed against the U.S government have been totally ignored and despite extending the deadline six times and being actively involved in talks with the U.S government, everything has ended in failure. This has left Microsoft with no choice but to take things further in legal proceedings.
“We believe we have a clear right under the U.S. Constitution to share more information with the public. The purpose of our litigation is to uphold this right so that we can disclose additional data.
On six occasions in recent weeks we agreed with the Department of Justice to extend the Government’s deadline to reply to these lawsuits. We hoped that these discussions would lead to an agreement acceptable to all. While we appreciate the good faith and earnest efforts by the capable Government lawyers with whom we negotiated, we are disappointed that these negotiations ended in failure.”
Microsoft believes the government isn’t doing enough to be transparent and uphold the constitution and that there needs to be much more clarity.
“Yesterday, the Government announced that it would begin publishing the total number of national security requests for customer data for the past 12 months and do so going forward once a year. The Government’s decision represents a good start. But the public deserves and the Constitution guarantees more than this first step.
For example, we believe it is vital to publish information that clearly shows the number of national security demands for user content, such as the text of an email. These figures should be published in a form that is distinct from the number of demands that capture only metadata such as the subscriber information associated with a particular email address. We believe it’s possible to publish these figures in a manner that avoids putting security at risk. And unless this type of information is made public, any discussion of government practices and service provider obligations will remain incomplete.”
Despite the fact Microsoft and Google do not see eye-to-eye on many issues the two companies have joined together with others across the technology sector to challenge the morally corrupt surveillance policies of the U.S government.
“Over the past several weeks Microsoft and Google have pursued these talks in consultation with others across the technology sector. With the failure of our recent negotiations, we will move forward with litigation in the hope that the courts will uphold our right to speak more freely. And with a growing discussion on Capitol Hill, we hope Congress will continue to press for the right of technology companies to disclose relevant information in an appropriate way.”
WCCFTech have managed to score some Intel presentation slides which reveal the performance of the upcoming “Silvermont” CPUs in the Atom Z3000 series on the Bay Trail platform. These CPUs use the latest 22nm process and are available with up to 4 cores and 4 threads, 2MB of L2 cache, up to 4GB of LPDDR3, Intel HD Graphics with 4 Execution Units and there will be six models. Above you can see the full specifications of all the six models. However, the really interesting thing to see is that the performance has been partially revealed.
Of course we should take these results with the relevant precautions – they are prepared by Intel’s marketing team so have been run in a way that favours the Intel Atom Z3000 series the most. Even with that said the Silvermont based Z3770 looks to be a great part capable of smoking the best Snapdragon 800 SoC out of the water.
3D Gaming is where Atom Z3770 succeeds and we can see the huge improvement over the best Clover Trail Atom processor the Z2760.
On the light media side of things the Z3770 does significantly better than all the competition including Intel predecessors.
Finally the device also allows you to run 32 bit Windows programs something that Nvidia’s Tegra and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon simply cannot do.
Microsoft has decided to start offering refurbished variants of its Surface RT tablets on the Microsoft store for $299 with free shipping and free returns in the USA. This means American consumers can pick up the 32GB refurbished Surface RT model for $299 or the 64GB model for $349.
Microsoft claims these tablets are “Microsoft Certified Refurbished” which means:
“When you buy a refurbished Surface tablet, you’re getting a solid piece of Windows-based technology that’s been carefully examined and meticulously refurbished by our expert staff. All returned Surface tablets are tuned up and re-flashed with the latest software versions and apps, so they’re as fresh as the day they were originally built. It includes a one-year limited warranty. Supplies are limited.”
Additionally the refurbished Surface RT tablets come pre-installed with touch-enhanced versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Microsoft also specifies how much useable storage end users can expect to get:
The 32 GB Surface RT has approximately 15 GB storage available for user content The 64 GB Surface RT has approximately 44 GB storage available for user content
For $299 it could certainly be worth a punt if you’re getting sick of Android or iOS.
The eagle-eyed news-writers over at Softpedia have spotted signs of the Xbox One’s release date courtesy of a promotion being run by Mountain Dew, Microsoft and Doritos called “Every 2 Minutes”. The competition gives away the hints that we should see the new console launch in late November:
“Xbox One has targeted launch date of late November 2013; therefore, the initial shipments may be slightly delayed; please allow 12-14 weeks for delivery.” States the official rules of the promotion.
Up to now Microsoft has yet to officially confirm the launch date of the Xbox One but it has been narrowed down to the November time frame. Impatient console gamers looking to get the game as early as possible will be disappointed to know that you’ll have to wait towards the end of November to get your hands on the console. Unless you’re in select European countries in which case Microsoft will delay your Xbox One well into 2014.
The Windows 8.1 RTM version is now available and has been sent to Microsoft’s hardware partners. Somewhere along the way a user has managed to get a chance to make a video about the Windows 8.1 RTM and upload it to YouTube. The video shows viewers briefly around the new Windows 8.1 RTM based on Build 9600. Some of the changes on display include Start Screen animated wallpapers, letting you shut down or sign out of your PC by right clicking the start button and offering a wider range of desktop backgrounds through the personalisation screen.
Windows 8.1 will debut to consumers on October 18th and Microsoft’s decision not to make it available on TechNet or MSDN before its official release is sure to anger those developers working within the Microsoft Windows ecosystem. Be sure to check out the full video below if you’re interested. You may also note that the video has download links to the leaked versions of the Windows 8.1 RTM.
Qualcomm has been losing a bit of ground to some cheaper ARM processors on the market and the company has produced a video to show why they are a smart choice if you’re looking for a high performance phone according to Android Authority. Qualcomm says its mainly about how efficient and fast the cores are than how many you actually have. Qualcomm claim their quad core solutions are faster than rival quad and eight core solutions. Qualcomm also notes the importance of their dual core platforms stating that 85% of the top 20 apps only use two CPU cores.
“Having a processor with better, faster cores is especially important for apps. When we looked at the top 20 apps in China, 85% of them only used two CPU cores. The 15% percent that used more than two CPU cores barely used the 3rd or 4th at all…More cores won’t make your apps move faster. Faster cores will make your apps move faster…With each new generation of Qualcomm Snapdragon Processors, we aim to add new user experiences and boost over performance. We’re able to achieve these significant performance boosts not by adding more cores, but by building better cores which work faster and use less power.”
Qualcomms advertising campaign appears to be targeted at convincing consumers to go for Qualcomm dual and quad core powered phones instead of competitor quad and octa core smartphones. Their video seems to be targeting Qualcomm’s biggest rival – MediaTek, and other “cheap and cheerful” ARM processor manufacturers who care about more cores rather than the quality and performance of those individual cores. The use of the word’s “our competitor” in the same font and styling as MediaTek’s logo is a clear indication of the jab at MediaTek.
Kingston are quite well known for their tendency to release limited edition products that are branded to celebrate certain events or partnerships and the NaVi series memory kits we have here today are no different. These NaVi series memory kits are essentially Kingston HyperX kits branded yellow to celebrate Kingston’s collaboration with the eSports Club Natus Vincere aka NaVi. Kingston says it is aiming these memory kits at gamers and enthusiasts, though I can see the appeal will most definitely be with gamers more than enthusiasts. That is because these kits only come with a 1600MHz speed in either 8GB or 16GB dual channel kits. They do of course come with the backing of Kingston’s quality standards and a lifetime warranty to support that. Part of the NaVi limited edition series also includes the NaVi HyperX 3K series SSD which will essentially be normal Hyper X 3K 120/240GB SSDs rebranded in the yellow NaVi pattern.
The packaging is simple and more or less identical to that of their packaging on other HyperX memory kits as it is essentially a HyperX kit.
The back details the information about why it is limited edition and the cooperation with NaVi.
Included is the memory kit and a warranty information document.
Our Roccat giveaway ended on Monday August 26th and with 377 entries your odds of winning were actually pretty good at around 1.06%. We have picked four lucky winners who will now be given mice based on their preferences. Luckily enough none of the four random winners choice’s clashed thanks to one winner not disclosing a preference. The winners are as follows:
RGInteger – Roccat Kone Pure Color Red/Dark Orange
Carmas – Roccat Kone Pure Color Blue
MadMax08 – Roccat Kone Pure Color White
Lisaell – Roccat Kone Pure Color Yellow/Light Orange
Nvidia has announced that it is teaming up with Warner Brothers Interactive and WB Games Montréal to bring the next instalment of the Batman video game series to Nvidia users. Customers who purchase a quality GTX series graphics card from a participating retailer will be entitled to a complimentary copy of Batman Arkham Origins when it is released worldwide on PC on October 25th 2013.
“Developed by WB Games Montréal, Batman: Arkham Origins features an expanded Gotham City and introduces an original prequel storyline set several years before the events of Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City. Taking place before the rise of Gotham City’s most dangerous criminals, the game showcases a young Batman as he faces a defining moment of his early career and sets his path to becoming the Dark Knight.
Batman has immense power, strength and speed – the same attributes that make a GeForce GTX GPU the ultimate weapon to take on Gotham’s dark underworld. The NVIDIA Developer Technology Team has been working closely with WB Games Montréal to incorporate an array of cutting-edge NVIDIA gaming technologies including DirectX tessellation, NVIDIA TXAA antialiasing, soft shadows and various NVIDIA PhysX engine environmental effects, such as cloth, steam and snow. Combined, these technologies bring the intricately detailed worlds of Gotham to life.”
A list of the participating retailers can be found on the Nvidia website right here. The offer is valid until January 31st 2014 so check your preferred participating retailer before buying to ensure eligibility.
Inno3D have just unveiled their newest VGA cooling kit which forms their “iChill HerculeZ X3 Ultra” VGA cooler. The cooler features 11 scythe blades on each of the three 90mm fans as well as five large heat pipes, 6mm as far as I can tell.
The fans casing and blades are removable for easy cleaning of the unit. Interestingly the unit adds a backplate for improved rigidity and stability.
The unit promises to shave 21 degrees off full load and 7 degrees off idle compared to the reference cooling solution. It is not known if the kit will be available to purchase as a standalone product, whether it will be bundled with Inno3D graphics cards or will come pre-fitted to Inno3D graphics cards. Inno3D could follow a similar move to Gigabyte and bundle the cooler with Nvidia’s GTX Titan because they aren’t allowed to modify the cooling design.
EVGA have just unveiled their latest budget power supply – the EVGA 600B which joins their recently announced 500B model. The 600B is capable of supplying 600 watts of continuous power at 80 Plus Bronze efficiency levels. EVGA have opted for HEC/Compucase as the OEM supplier of the 600B. The unit uses a single 12 volt rail design and has OPP/UPP/OVP/SCP protections (over power/ under power/ over voltage/ short circuit protections).
The EVGA 600B is Intel Haswell C6/C7 ready and features quiet PWM 120mm fan operation. The unit comes with a 3 year EVGA warranty and customer support.
More details can be seen here. Expect pricing to be aggressive as this unit is based on a budget OEM design.
Exceptional 3 year warranty and unparalleled EVGA customer support
80 PLUS Bronze certified, with up to 85% efficiency under typical loads
High Amperage Single-Rail design for maximum power and efficiency
Quiet and Intelligent Auto Fan for near-silent operation
Heavy-duty Power Protections provide peace of mind during operation
IDC (International Data Corporation) have updated their yearly forecast for the PC Market in 2013 – and things do not look good. The negative growth estimates have been revised down even lower and now the worldwide PC shipments are expected to drop by 9.7%. IDC expect continued decline until 2015 at the earliest making this the longest period of prolonged decline for the PC in history. Apparently in 2015 we may only see very modest single digit PC shipment growth and it is quite possible that decline will continue past 2015.
What are the factors behind this further decline? Well IDC reports stubbornly depressed consumer interest and a loss of market share to the expansion of mobile devices and tablets. The main changes to this figure come from the dramatic decline of the PC shipments in emerging markets like China.
“The days where one can assume tablet disruptions are purely a First World problem are over,” said Jay Chou, Senior Research Analyst, Worldwide Quarterly PC Trackers at IDC. “Advances in PC hardware, such as improvements in the power efficiency of x86 processors remain encouraging, and Windows 8.1 is also expected to address a number of well-documented concerns. However, the current PC usage experience falls short of meeting changing usage patterns that are spreading through all regions, especially as tablet price and performance become ever more attractive.”
If growth were to return IDC expects it to come from modest consumer refresh trends. In recent years these refresh-lifecycles have dramatically lengthened as computing power is currently substantial enough to avert upgrades, businesses are reluctant to look beyond Windows XP and Windows 7 and people find that their tablets and smartphones can cater for most of their needs.
The 8th generation of video game consoles has finally arrived after being anticipated since 2009, at the very least. Because of advances in technology — think Google Glasses — people expect a lot from the new generation of their favorite consoles, namely Wii U, the Xbox One, and the PlayStation 4. Will the new features live up to avid gamer expectations?
The Fastest Processors in the Land
Some 8th generation consoles have a leg up on the competition. Wii U has already premiered, after all, leaving Microsoft and Sony ample opportunity to up the ante. The same goes for lesser-known but hotly anticipated consoles such as Steambox by Valve, Game Stick by PlayJam, and Nvidia Shield by Android. How will these consoles take the upper hand? Processor speed is a clear leader so far.
Both the Xbox and the PlayStation use an AMD chip and a System on a Chip, or SoC. This allows the consoles to combine their GPU with their CPU, creating a smaller, more streamlined machine. PlayStation has a 1152 core processor for stellar speeds, but compared to the 360, the Xbox One’s 768 core is still pretty impressive.
Internet Connectivity Makes It Better
The good news is that neither Microsoft nor Sony will make gamers stay online all the time to play their games. At one point, Microsoft intended to make Xbox One users stay connected to the Internet around the clock, even to play offline games. While that’s no longer an issue for seemingly any of the 8th generation consoles, a fast, stable Internet connection is still a must.
Other connectivity features include ample ports. Hook up through Ethernet or USB 3.0, or make use of steady streaming Wi-Fi. This is definitely the best choice, owing to other brilliant features on the next generation of gaming consoles. PlayStation has even introduced Bluetooth 2.0 with the PS4.
A Graphic Representation
The graphics on next-gen consoles are big jumping off points. When the Wii U came out, everyone wanted to see how the graphics look—and they were appropriately stunned. During demos for Xbox One and PS4, the colors and video still played large roles, but these two 8th gens feature something even better. While Nintendo, unfortunately, still hasn’t included any movie-watching magic, both Microsoft and Sony include Blu-ray and DVD as standard features, making their consoles all-in-one entertainment options.
More RAM for Your Buck
Every gaming manufacturer has quickly realized the need for more memory and storage room. As a result, you’ll find faster memory boosts than previous incarnations. Your new PS4 will feature GDDR5 memory, but all gaming consoles will generally offer up 8GB worth of RAM. 500GB hard drives are similarly standard, so with a new console, you’ll essentially have a new computer.
Some have worried that 8th generation consoles will mark the end of gaming, but hardcore gamers realize it’s just the beginning. What new features excite you the most?
Nvidia’s GTX 770 was released as the successor to the GTX 670 when Nvidia announced the GTX 700 series quite some time ago. In essence the GTX 770 is a GTX 680 on steroids and so it isn’t really new as such. What is new is that it has a market price of $400 USD compared to the GTX 680 which has a market price of $420 USD. Of course it is cheaper and performs better as you’d expect from a card that makes the generational advancement. The unique aspect of the GTX 770 comes from its familiarity. Most AIB vendors have already worked with the GK104 GPU when it was the GTX 680 and know exactly how to get the best out of it – which can only be good for consumers.
Today we are looking at MSI’s high end GTX 770 solution that comes equipped with their popular and most recent version of the Twin Frozr VGA cooler. This card is also part of MSI’s Gaming Series so is no longer just standalone Twin Frozr. MSI has a few series that use the Twin Frozr cooler including the Hawk, Gaming, Lightning and the Power Edition cards.Unlike the MSI GTX 760 Twin Frozr Gaming OC graphics card, this one we have here today boasts a slightly chunkier heatsink design with an extra 6mm heat pipe to cope with the higher TDP of the GTX 770 compared to the GTX 760. I have already been impressed by MSI’s newest Twin Frozr VGA cooler on so many graphics cards so hopefully today we will be impressed with this latest MSI card.
The front of the box uses MSI’s Dragon styling to symbolise the gaming series. We can also clearly see this is an OC Edition graphics card meaning a higher-than-stock clock out the box.
The back is filled with all marketing stuff that you can find more about on the product page.
Included in the box is MSI’s Certificate of Quality & Stability to let you know this card is made from tested Military Class III components. The other accessories include dual 8 to 6 pin PCIe power adapters and a DVI-VGA adapter.
Samsung recently announced that they are beginning the mass production of 20nm class DDR4 modules available in 16GB and 32GB capacities. This is an advancement over the last generation of server DDR4 which was only available with 30nm class DRAM with up to 8GB capacities.
While there is no near-sign of DDR4 on consumer platforms, the benefits of DDR4 on server platforms at the moment are significant as they bring much greater throughput and greatly reduced power consumption. Samsung’s server DDR4 currently runs at 2667MB/s aka 2667MHz making it much faster than the typical 1600MHz we saw from DDR3 server DRAM. Even when compared to advanced 2133MHz DDR3 server RAM these new DDR4 modules boast 25% more performance and 30% less power consumption.
As we see DDR4 become more wholly integrated into the server and data center market it will speed up the introduction of DDR4 to the consumer platforms as costs will be reduced greatly and availability will be more prevalent.
“The adoption of ultra-high-speed DDR4 in next-generation server systems this year will initiate a push toward advanced premium memory across the enterprise,” said Young-Hyun Jun, executive vice president, memory sales & marketing, Samsung Electronics. “After providing cutting-edge performance with our timely supply of 16 GB DDR3 earlier this year, we are continuing to extend the premium server market in 2013 and will now focus on higher density and added performance with 32 GB DDR4, and contribute to even greater growth of the green IT market in 2014.”
Gigabyte have just unveiled their latest high performance H81 Haswell motherboard. The new Gigabyte H81 Amp-Up motherboard is using Intel’s mainstream H81 chipset but it is geared towards users looking for a high end audio solution. The motherboard features an onboard operational amplifier which is physically changeable so users can choose between a variety of operational amps, which can be purchase separately, all of which change the overall audio experience.
The Gigabyte H81.Amp-Up features gain boost to select between 2.5X and 6X amplication modes which devices that have high impedance headroom. USB DAC-UP is the next feature and the motherboard has a noise free digital to analogue converter with an isolated power source to minimise interference. The Realtek ALC898 audio procesor features an audio noise guard which separates the audio section at the PCB level to minimise interference. Gigabyte equip Nichicon Pro Audio Caps and used gold plated audio hardware to boost the overall quality of the audio solution.
The rest of the motherboard is made from Gigabyte mainstays such as Ultra Durable 4, High ESD protection, UEFI DualBIOS and so on. More details can be found here.
The Humble Bundle team have partnered up with Paradox Interactive in the weekly game sale. The sale started yesterday and has just over 6 days remaining at the time of writing. The two charities of choice are the American Red Cross and the Child’s Play Charity. Of course donors can choose to give to charity, the Humble Bundle company or Paradox interactive with their donation. As it stands you can get the following games if you contribute more than $1
War of the Roses
Warlock: Master of the Arcane
The Showdown Effect
Europa Universalis III Complete
If you pay more than the average, which currently stands at $5.80 then you also get:
Crusader Kings II
Unlike other weekly bundles there is a special “Big Kahuna” package where you can get 48 Paradox Interactive games and 20 soundtracks by paying $125 or more. This package includes every game Paradox Interactive have ever launched on Steam except DLC packages and Europa Universalis IV.
You can of course access the new Humble Bundle right here.
Microsoft says that its new voice chat system on the Xbox One will be superior to that used on the Xbox 360 because of the integrated Skype audio codec. Microsoft have put up audio files comparing the sound of the Xbox 360 headset to the Xbox One headset on their soundcloud channel. The comparison is done between the stock Xbox 360 included headset and the stock Xbox One included headset so obviously better headsets would have better quality but the implication is that like-for-like a headset should be better on the Xbox One over the Xbox 360.
Microsoft made a u-turn on its headset policy, when it was planning to not include one. After receiving customer feedback in abundance they decided to bundle one in with the Xbox One. Of course console gamers can decide for themselves if the Xbox One has better audio quality when they get hold of the $500 console some time later this year, believed to be November.
We’ve already seen Microsoft go a bit crazy with cutting prices in big markets like Europe, North America and the UK but now they are planning to make these cuts permanent and to spread them to all markets. ZDNet reports that Microsoft wants to make recent price cuts a permanent thing for the Surface tablet range and it also wants to expand it to markets that are yet to see the promotion.
“The customer response to recent Surface pricing and keyboard-cover promotions has been exciting to see, and we are proud to begin rollout of Surface Pro, Touch Cover and Surface RT bundles at even more affordable prices starting August 29.”
From August 29th then we can expect all markets across the world to be able to access these discounts and they mean that the Surface Pro model will start from $799 and the Surface RT bundles start from $399. Additionally Touch covers come with a discount and now start at $79. Microsoft is hoping that these price cuts will be able to inject some life into their Surface sales figures which today have been well below expectations.
The U.S. Army today announced that America’s Army: Proving Grounds (AA:PG), the next version of its official Army game, is now available in open beta for download on Steam. Players can register their Soldier name for the game at the America’s Army: Proving Ground website and then jump into the Army action.
“We took a back to basics approach that highlights a move, shoot, communicate system within a fun gaming experience that echoes teamwork-based Army training,” said Marsha Berry, Project Manager for America’s Army.
“Just like in the Army, America’s Army: Proving Grounds focuses on creating elite, well trained Soldiers that will complete the missions as a fine-tuned team beginning with smaller, focused exercises and advancing up to larger, more complex exercises.”
Bringing the best features of the previous versions to a new America’s Army environment, AA: PG stresses small unit tactical maneuvers and training that reflects the current day Army. America’s Army: Proving Grounds (AA: PG) showcases the Army by emphasizing Army Values, teamwork, training and completing the objectives through gameplay that reflects the Soldier’s Creed.
The America’s Army game features:
Fast-paced Battledrill Exercises (BDX) for small engagements of 6 players vs. 6 players. These maps focus on the basic movements and maneuvers, allowing players to learn how the enemy might react and adjust their strategies for future engagements
Forward Line Operation (FLO) training for 12 vs. 12 players. These larger mission-based exercises require players to use several skills learned in their Battledrills to achieve success
New weapons such as M9 and Remington 870 MCS shotgun and M14EBR-RI sniper rifle, which join AA favorites such as the M4/M4A1 and the M249 light machine gun
Situational awareness for spotting the enemies
Weapon suppression which adds a new level of strategy to play
A Supported Fire system for steadying or resting weapons to help with aim
Self aid where players can stabilize themselves and get back into the battle quicker
A more advanced hardcore mode
New versions of AA fan favorite maps including Hospital and Bridge
Set in a fictional country, The Republic of the Ostregals, players are in the role of an 11B Infantryman practicing combat maneuvers at JTC Griffin, a fabricated training MOUT (military operations on urban terrain) environment created by Conex modular containers and found materials. This training is crucial to the player’s success as part of a Long Range Combined Arms – Recon (LRCA-R) unit, a full spectrum capable team that embarks on special operations missions behind enemy lines.
Our good friends over at Overclockers UK, or OCUK for short, always seem to be up to something. They’ve just sent us over an exclusive teaser image for what appears to be pre-built systems using the branding and blessing of extreme overclocker “8 Pack”. For those of you who may not have heard of 8 Pack well he is one of the UK’s, and the world’s, best extreme overclockers. We’ve followed his progress at both Gamescom and Computex so far this year.
The teaser image seems pretty obvious in its implications – we can probably expect to see pre-built systems coming from Overclockers UK influenced by the mighty 8 Pack. What can we expect? Well the image shows we should expect customised builds, fully fledged custom water cooling, high performance parts, an exceptional level of build quality and no doubt super high overclocks. Overclockers UK didn’t hand us any specifics about what the image is meant to represent but they told us “something big is coming”.
UK readers interested in a pre-built system will definitely want to stay tuned for this one!
be quiet! are a brand that we believe are one of the best in the world, and based on their success in Germany as the leading power supply manufacturer, they also have a big focus on cooling products too. This stemmed from previous models including the Shadow Rock Pro and Shadow Rock Top Flow, as well as their amazing Dark Rock series of coolers and now their new Shadow Rock 2 CPU cooler.
The Shadow Rock 2 is a premium CPU cooler based on award-winning technology that be quiet! are known for by offering quiet operation and extremely high performance. Couple all of this with an amazing price point, you won’t be disappointed.
In terms of its high performance, you’ll find a total of four 8mm heatpipes and a 180W TDP allowing it to keep even the most extreme, overclocked CPU’s at a comfortable temperature level. With its specially designed cooling fins and 120mm be quiet! PWM based fan, even when working at its peak, the unit will remain almost silent with a 25.4dBA noise level at 100% fan load.
The CPU cooler naturally is compatible with all current AMD and Intel CPU sockets, making it perfect for any user wanting extreme performance and silence for an attractive price point. The Shadow Rock 2 is also compatible with socket LGA 1150 (the latest Haswell CPU socket) for those wishing to jump onto the latest technology and comes included with a three year warranty, the German market leader are confident that the Shadow Rock 2 will help continue their success in the cooling market.
Check out our unboxing video for a closer look at the product and to see what it’s all about.
TteSports are making big impressions in the gaming world, especially when it comes to eSports. They’ve been integral to the eSports community and its development for years now, both through sponsorship deals, operating gaming teams of their own and by creating some great peripherals that have proven popular with both the premium and budget ends of the eSports market.
While they may cater to the high-end with their Level 10m headset, or mechanical keyboards, they also have the best range in terms of price vs performance on the market. Their mice and keyboards are often some of the cheapest on the market and still offer impressive performance. Value for money and great performance are becoming the hallmarks of a Tt product, so they will be the two main things I’m looking for today.
One extra feature that has become the norm for TteSports is novelty, a little fun twist that makes them stand out from the crowd and that is something that is truly apparent on the Volos which features “console style” buttons on the side, an interesting diversion from the usual configurations and I really can’t wait to see how they perform in a gaming environment. Lets move on then, get this thing out of the box and see just what it has to offer.
The Volos comes in a really nicely designed and colourful box that is fairly typical of other Tt products, there is a nice image of the mouse on top and a few specifications at the bottom that detail that 8200DPI sensor, 4MB on board memory and 16.8 million colour LED lighting. There is also a sub heading that reads “MMORPG Game Battle Ready”.
Around the back of the box we have a screenshot of the GUI of the software, don’t often see this on the back of products and it’s a good indication that TteSports are confident about their software.Out of the box we see that the mouse is hard-wired with a braided USB cable. The cable is really nice quality, features a pre-fixed velcro strap to help keep it neat and tidy and a flip-top USB cover that will help protect it when not in use.
The left side of the mouse features a six buttons, the most noticeable are the Xbox colour theme buttons (blue, yellow, green and red) that feature PlayStation style symbols (Cross, Square, Triangle, Circle). Behind that we have two more buttons labeled A and B, these are rubber coated unlike that harder gloss finish of the more colourful switches at the front.
Just between and above the side buttons we have an extra switch with a slim LED indicator in the middle, the brings the total buttons on the left side of the mouse to 7.
Not content with just those, we have another three large rubber buttons on the right side of the mouse labeled C, D and E. Just like the left side of the mouse this side features some firm rubber grips that are separated from the top panel with a stylish gloss plastic.The left and right mouse buttons features firm switches and a deep cut out design that provides a good resting position for your fingers. The mouse wheel is coated in a clear and grippy rubber that will provide good control and also allow the built-in LED lighting to shine through brightly. Behind that we have an extra pair of buttons that are typically used to change DPI settings, but all buttons are configurable via the included software.
Another unique feature I’ve never seen before is the circle on the LMB, this is LED back-lit and can be set to change due to click frequency or a pre-defined lighting settings.
Around the back we have the Tt dragon logo, which is also LED backlit. More importantly though is the ergonomics of this mouse. As you can see it is heavily contoured and very wide
On the underside we have a laser sensor, a lock switch and two slim slip mats.
The back of the mouse features a small compartment with a rubber mould that can hold five 4.5g weights, allowing you to adjust the glide and balance of the mouse to your play style.
Connecting the mouse via USB brings up the LED lighting, there are four light up areas on the mouse, the LMB circle, the scroll wheel, the top left side button and the Tt dragon.
Once connected via USB and you have the software installed you can customise the mouse to your liking, this is super easy thanks to a drop down menu system for each button as well as a whopping 10 profiles to save your settings to. Each profile can be renamed, have its own macros, performance settings, lighting options and a choice of battle or normal mode. Battle mode changes the LED lighting to react with click frequency.
Each of the five DPI presets can be configured to have a range of 100 to 8200 DPI, polling range has a range of 125 to 1000 and lift-off can be adjusted also.
Each of the four LED lights of the mouse can be configured individually via a simple colour chart.
Macro recording is easy too, allowing plenty of tweaks for even the most complex of configurations.
The adjustable lift off height proved impressive, dropping the sensor lift off to below 1mm with ease and should you really need to you can take that up to around 4-5mm with the simple slider. A simple acceleration test showed that the sensor looses some data at high velocities at the upper half of its DPI range, but this isn’t uncommon and was minor enough to not be noticeable in any real world gameplay environment. Sensitivity is fantastic even as low settings and there was no prediction, angle snapping or jitter to be concerned with.
Gameplay was impressive and playing anything from Battlefield 3 to League of Legends was a pleasure, but it did take me a while to configure the unique button layout to my liking as the configuration is no like any other mouse I’ve used. The four colour buttons are not that easy to reach in a full palm rest hand position, you need to move to a slight claw grip to press them and that’s fine as it keeps them out of the way and means you can take a solid grip of the side of the mouse, great if you like to use a lift-off technique. The buttons on the right side are a little tricky to navigate and press but with a little practice that does improve, they’re certain handy for less frequent spell casts, such as something you may use before entering battle, bringing up a scoreboard or a multimedia shortcut for your music.
The mouse feels responsive and smooth while playing as much as it does while performing daily tasks, I’ve been using the mouse for nearly a week now and it’s easily the most comfortable mouse I’ve used as it promote a comfortable resting position for the full width of my large hands, something that most mice on the market do not as they often feature a slimmed body toward the rear of chassis.
Having 14 macro configurable keys per each of the ten profiles is incredible and any MOBA or MMORPG fan will love the extensive configuration options. The lock switch on the bottom of the mouse is great too as this can be used to turn macros on or off at a hardware/software level, meaning you don’t accidentally fire off something you weren’t support to pre or post battle.
I really enjoyed working with this mouse, so much so that I’ve decided to start using it on my main system for work and gaming. When I first saw this mouse I thought it looked seriously stupid and in some ways I still do think that, I can’t say I’m sold on the design aspect at all and it looks like some console controllers were melted down with a gaming mouse. Yet for all its quirks I also think it looks cool and all the wacky looking design comes along with a lot of clever design features that gives some great ergonomics to the mouse that I really like.
What I’m trying to say is don’t judge it by its looks, once its in your hand it feels great and the mixture of the soft-touch top panel, thick rubber grip panels on the side, gloss trim, customisable weight and balance and large surface area make it a joy to work with regardless of your play style. It is rare I find a mouse that suits palm rest, claw grip and lift-off techniques in one unit and it’s just another reason for that visually unique ergonomic shape that the Volos features.
TteSports fooled me with this mouse, I was expecting this mouse to be pretty poor and just a gimmick to get console gamers to like PC gaming by giving them “familiar controls” but that really isn’t the case. This is a PC mouse for hardcore PC gamers, which features a unique design theme that may appeal to a console gaming fan, but that visual aspect is where the similarities end. The extensive macro options, profiles and sensor configurations are going to be suitable for any kind of gaming, but MMORPG/MOBA gamers will certain see a lot of benefits.
The biggest benefit for the Volos is easily its day-to-day abilities, while most hardcore gaming mice are great for gaming, they can be a pain to use for tasks like Photoshop, web browsing and other daily tasks. The Volos is comfortable in any environment and even if you’re not much of a gamer you’ll be hard pushed to find a better and more versatile mouse within this price range.
eTeknix says: “TteSports have done it again, this is easily one of the best mice on the market today and it only gets better when you see the price tag (around £50). There are a few unique quirks about it that make it stand out from the crowd and in a market flooded with familiar products I think a fresh design is a great thing to see.”