Gears of War: Ultimate Edition PC Graphics – Lowest Vs Max

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition has gotten off to a shaky start on PC, partly due to the erratic performance on a wide range of systems, causing frame rate drops and other glitches; basically the same as every other game launch these days. Then there’s the fact I’ve yet to know anyone who actually bought it anyway, so there’s some food for thought.

So what’s this game really got to offer anyway? Well, it’s got massively improved graphics vs the original release and that’s certainly no bad thing for those who have yet to play the original, or even just for those keen to revisit the classic first entry in the franchise. PC gaming is known for being able to push great graphics, but how do the graphics settings fair when they’re dialed all the way down to their lowest, vs how they look at their maximum? That’s what these screenshots aim to capture.

The images are ordered max/low, max/low, etc throughout.

Some fairly mixed results here, on minimum the game somehow manages to have worse textures that the original, which managed to run great on modern hardware, with high frame rates and even a mid range GPU can push it to 1440P and 4K without breaking into a sweat. However, the new one seems really muddy to me, although admittedly the maximum images do look great, they don’t seem to really change much more than a few textures. The lighting, decals, detailing and more seem fairly locked down in this images.

Overall, it’s still a great improvement on maximum from the original game, but perhaps not the big upgrade people were expecting, nor does the PC version offer any visual advantages over the Xbox One release; short of higher frame rates, but with the current state of the engine, they’re not guaranteed either.

AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.2.1 Released

AMD have been pushing hard to improve their software experience, as well as improving the frequency of graphic driver updates, helping them better compete with the relentless release of Nvidia’s Game Ready drivers. So far, their new system has been a big improvement and today is no exception, as AMD push the release of the latest Radeon Software Crimson Edition.

Version 16.2.1 is marked as a “non-WHQL” release, so basically a beta release. However, the driver comes with the CrossFireX profile for the latest AAA release, Far Cry Primal. On top of that big profile release, you can also expect some game specific bug fixes for Fallout 4 as well as Rise of the Tomb Raider.

FreeSync users have cause to celebrate too, we hope, as AMD is also including a bug fix for choppy display on systems that use both FreeSync and CrossFire at the same time, which I’m sure you can imagine is a frustrating issue for a system that’s meant to provide a smoother visual experience.

Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.2.1 Highlights

    • Crossfire Profile available for
      • Far Cry Primal

Resolved Issues

    • A black screen/TDR error may be encountered when booting a  system with Intel + AMD graphics and an HDMI monitor connected
    • Choppy gameplay may be experienced when both AMD Freesync and AMD Crossfire are both enabled
    • Display corruption may be observed after keeping system idle for some time
    • Fallout 4 – Flickering may be experienced at various game locations with the v1.3 game update and with AMD Crossfire enabled
    • Fallout 4 – Foliage/water may ripple/stutter when game is launched in High/Ultra settings mode
    • Fallout 4 – Screen tearing in systems with both AMD Freesync and AMD Crossfire enabled if game is left idle for a short period of time
    • Fallout 4 – Thumbnails may flicker or disappear while scrolling the Perk levels page
    • Far Cry 4 – Stuttering may be observed when launching the game with AMD Freesync and AMD Crossfire enabled
    • FRTC options are displayed on some unsupported laptop configurations with Intel CPU’s and AMD GPU’s
    • Radeon Settings may sometimes fails to launch with a “Context Creation Error” message
    • Rise of the Tomb Raider – Corruption can be observed at some locations during gameplay
    • Rise of the Tomb Raider – Flickering may be experienced at various game locations when the game is left idle in AMD Crossfire  mode under Windows 7
    • Rise of the Tomb Raider – Game may intermittently crash or hang when launched with very high settings and AA is set to SMAA at 4K resolution
    • Rise of the Tomb Raider – Lara Croft’s hair may flicker in some locations if the Esc key is pressed
    • Rise of Tomb Raider – A TDR error may be observed with some AMD Radeon 300 Series products after launching the “Geothermal Valley” mission
    • The AMD Overdrive  memory clock slider does not show original clock values if memory speeds are overclocked
    • World of Warcraft runs extremely slowly in quad crossfire at high resolutions

Known Issues

    • A few game titles may fail to launch or crash if the Gaming Evolved overlay is enabled. A temporary workaround is to disable the AMD Gaming Evolved “In Game Overlay”
    • Star Wars: Battlefront – Corrupted ground textures may be observed in the Survival of Hoth mission
    • Cannot enable AMD Crossfire with some dual GPU AMD Radeon HD 59xx and HD 79xx series products
    • Fallout 4 – In game stutter may be experienced if the game is launched with AMD Crossfire enabled
    • XCOM 2 – Flickering textures may be experienced at various game locations
    • Rise of the Tomb Raider – The game may randomly crash on launch if Tessellation is enabled
    • Core clocks may not maintain sustained clock speeds resulting in choppy performance and or screen corruption

If you want to download the latest AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.2.1 drivers, you can hit up the official AMD site right here.

EVGA Introduces GeForce GTX 980 Ti VR Edition

Virtual Reality is the new thing for 2016 as there is more than one VR device on its way. To pull this kind of hardware you need the rest of your hardware to play ball too, at least if you want the best possible experience. EVGA now released two new graphics cards that are the same except for the attached cooler. The new cards are called the EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti VR EDITION and come either with a reference cooler or the much beloved ACX 2.0+ cooler.

The new GTX 980 Ti VR EDITION is built around Maxwell architecture and comes with 6GB GDDR5 memory and 2816 CUDA cores, much like any other GTX 980 Ti card. The difference with this one is that one of the HDMI ports have been moved to the other end of the card and thereby acts as an internal connector rather than a rear one.

What might look silly at first does have its reason as the VR EDITION comes with an included 5.25-inch drive bay. This unit offers you a front HDMI 2.0 port that will be connected to the internal one on the graphics card as well as two USB 3.0 ports. The idea behind this is to give you easy access for connecting and disconnecting your VR device and input devices used at the same time.

EVGA didn’t reveal a pricing or availability at this time, but we can expect it to be priced very similar to existing GTX 980 Ti cards and with a slight premium added for the extra functionality.

 

Key Features

  • Built for VR: Included 5.25-inch Drive Bay with Front HDMI 2.0 and USB 3.0.
  • Internal HDMI: Connects to a 5.25” Drive Bay, no visible external wires!
  • ACX 2.0+ Cooling: EVGA’s latest cooling solution offers improved cooling, reduced fan noise and better overclocking.
  • 6GB of GDDR5 Memory: Gives you access to higher texture qualities in games, improved 4K gaming performance and optimized for the next generation of gaming.

Rise of the Tomb Raider PC Release Date Announced

The Tomb Raider series is one of those classic gaming franchises which has a huge consumer following, titles ranging from the early days of both The Sega Saturn and also the PS1 all the way through to the latest incarnation of the series “Rise of the Tomb Raider on the Xbox One next-gen console. Talking of the aforementioned “Rise” title, new details have been announced for this version of the game for the PC Platform.

So, what are the details? Rise of the Tomb Raider will be officially released on PC on January 28th 2016 and has been announced by Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics. The game will support 4K resolution and will be able to provide players with a stunning experience.

Rise of The Tomb raider will also be available through both physical and also online retailers which include Steam etc. There will also be various editions of the game and this will include a standard edition that will be priced at $59.99 dollars (£40.91), a Digital Deluxe Edition that will feature the game and its DLC pass for $89.99 dollars (£61.37) and a collector’s edition.

On the subject of the collector’s edition, below is an image to illustrate this, it will feature a Digital Deluxe version and a 12-inch Lara Croft statue, replicas of Lara’s journal and jade necklace and a steel case. It will be priced at $149.99 dollars (£102.28) and It will be also available at Square Enix’s online store, and yes I understand the irony of an image stating January 29th.

Other information includes the notion that it will be fully compatible with Windows 10 and the US edition has also been given an “M” rating, this means that the game might include elements such as intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language. The minimum specs which have been confirmed by Square Enix for the PC version are as follows,

Rise of the Tomb Raider PC Minimum Specifications:

  • OS: Windows 7 64bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i3-2100 or AMD equivalent
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 650 2 GB or AMD HD7770 2 GB
  • RAM: 6 GB
  • HD Space: 25 GB
  • DirectX: DirectX 11
  • Input: Mouse + Keyboard

Image courtesy of gearnuke

Radeon Settings: Crimson Edition Performance Analysis

Introduction


To coincide with the recent Radeon Settings: Crimson Edition release, here is our full look into the performance side using our base Windows 8.1 test system. As we all know by now, Radeon Settings is the official release name of the recently discontinued Catalyst Control Center software and comes from the newly formed Radeon Technologies graphics division.

Radeon Settings: Crimson Edition sets out to put AMD back on the map with drivers and customer support, something that has let them down in the past and ridiculed on many forums and member bases. Moving from sporadic releases of non-WHQL certified drivers, the aim is to now release 6 WHQL drivers a year with interim updates, which isn’t as many as the Green team, but it’s a vast improvement from recent years and a huge step in the right direction.

Putting stability as the core of this software, four main pillars of User Experience, Features, Performance and Efficiency are what will make the bulk of the software.

From the first look, we saw a decent improvement in performance for the sample cards and tests, but now it’s time to test our entire catalogue of AMD graphics cards from the Fury and 300 series to see how this driver really stacks up.

AMD Releases Hotfix for Crimson Edition Software and Fan Issues

AMD’s new Crimson Edition software that replaced the old Catalyst Control Center ran into some trouble over the weekend as users reported their fan speeds malfunctioning. For some users it would be stuck on maximum while other people experienced them throttled to 30% speed at all times.

AMD was quick to respond and promised a fix for the issue on Monday, and they delivered. The new AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 15.11.1 Hotfix is available for download and it should take care of those nasty fan issues. AMD hasn’t had the best track record in the past when it comes to frequent and swift updates which make this double nice to see and something that count point towards a better driver support with Crimson than we had with CCC.

The new driver doesn’t just fix the fan issues, it also brings some improvements along at the same time. There were some language and software display features fixed as well as a row of game issues.

  • [82050] Star Wars: Battlefront – Snow flickers in a few locations in the game
  • [82240] Star Wars: Battlefront – Sky rendering may be broken in some game locations
  • [82645] Fallout 4 – The compass may flicker during gameplay on AMD Radeon R9 390 series products. We continue to investigate the issue with AMD Radeon R9 290 and AMD Radeon R9 295X2 series products
  • [82667] Star Wars: Battlefront – Shadowy textures are visible around hills/structures/caves
  • [81890] Just Cause 3 – Texture corruption may be experienced during gameplay
  • [54874] Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 – Poor AMD Crossfire performance may be experienced
  • [82338] The driver installation may fail while installing the ACP component
  • [82426] The font size in Chinese language installations may be too small
  • [82438] The label range values in some AMD Freesync installations may be incorrect
  • [82536] The Radeon Settings dropbox does not close when it is clicked on a second time
  • [82603] The AMD Overdrive fan settings is always set to ON after first edit on reboot
  • [82586] Language shows up as Chinese Simplified when Chinese Traditional is selected in Windows 7
  • [82656] Radeon Settings crashes on the Display tab when cloning a display via HDMI on some notebooks
  • [82671] Overdrive fan speed is reset to Manual on exiting from a 3D game or application
  • [82766] Radeon Settings does not get upgraded in some install scenarios
  • [82691] AMD Overdrive cannot revert to default settings in some situations

You can download the new driver fix and view the full release notes on AMD’s support pages.

MSI Launches Z170A KRAIT GAMING R6 SIEGE Motherboard

MSI made a lot of system builders happy when the introduced the KRAIT EDITION motherboards a while ago and since then we’ve seen several models with the simplistic black and white layout. The newest is the MSI Z170A KRAIT GAMING and out of that sprung this new special edition that is pictured above, the Z170A KRAIT GAMING R6 SIEGE.

MSI entered a partnership with Ubisoft Entertainment and bundled this awesome looking motherboard with a copy of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege. MSI is Ubisoft’s exclusive motherboard partner and this new board is designed to celebrate this new partnership. With this new model, you will receive a free copy of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege as Standard Edition.

Besides the special edition packaging and the included game code for the game, the motherboard is almost the same as the Z170A KRAIT GAMING. Specification wise it is the same, but we do notice a few differences such as the angled SATA3 connectors. There also seems to be an ASMedia chip missing near the AudioBoost3 chip when comparing to the standard edition.

The MSI Z170 KRAIT motherboard features anything you could want from a motherboard in this category such as USB 3.1, both Type-A and Type-C, gaming-optimized Intel-powered LAN, M.2 32Gbps slot, SATAExpress, and support for multi-GPU setups.

This game bundle promotion applies to selected countries during a limited time. Redemption period starts Tuesday the 1st of December 2015 and ends Tuesday the 1st of March 2016. You can check the full details or redeem your game code on the official event page.

 

The new MSI KRAIT GAMING R6 SIEGE motherboard hasn’t gotten its official product page yet, so the below specifications are taken from the original MSI >170A KRAIT GAMING motherboard.

Features and Specifications:

  • Supports 6th Gen Intel Core / Pentium / Celeron processors for LGA 1151 socket
  • Supports DDR4-3600+(OC) Memory
  • DDR4 Boost: Give your DDR4 memory a performance boost
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 2X FASTER: USB 3.1 Gen2 offers performance twice as fast as a regular USB 3.0 connection
  • Turbo M.2 32Gb/s + Turbo U.2 ready + USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A + SATA Express 10 Gb/s
  • GAMING LAN powered by Intel: The best online gaming experience with the lowest latency
  • LAN Protect: 15KV Anti-surge protection
  • Audio Boost 3: Reward your ears with studio-grade sound quality
  • Military Class 5: The latest evolution in high-quality components featuring the brand new Titanium Chokes
  • Guard-Pro: Improved Protection and Power Efficiency
  • MULTI-GPU with Steel Armor: Steel Armor PCI-E slots. Supports NVIDIA SLI & AMD Crossfire
  • OBS Streaming software: Share your gaming achievements with the world!
  • Game Boost: Generate more FPS in games with 1 push of a button
  • EZ Debug LED: Easiest way to troubleshoot
  • Overcurrent Protection: Prevent Unforeseen Damage
  • GAMING Hotkey: Launch your favorite games with a single button
  • Click BIOS 5: Award-winning brand new Click BIOS 5 with high-resolution scalable font
  • SteelSeries Certified: Optimized for SteelSeries gaming gear
  • GAMING CERTIFIED: 24-hour on- and offline game testing by eSports players for the best gaming experience

ASUS Announces 20th Anniversary Gold Edition GTX 980 Ti

ASUS celebrates 20 years in the graphics card market with a new premium and limited edition Gold Edition GTX 980Ti. ASUS new graphics card doesn’t just sport a fancy golden design, it is also one of the fastest GTX 980Ti graphics cards and comes with advanced features for overclockers.

The new ASUS Gold Edition GTX 980Ti is up to 21.6% faster than reference models in 3D Mark 11 Extreme and provides up to 22.1% faster gaming performance in Grand Theft Auto V. The cooler on the 20th-anniversary card is the well-known DirectCU II with patented wing-blade 0dB fans – a cooler that has proven itself again and again.

ASUS added a golden backplate to match the overall design and add some extra durability to the card. The backplate also helps with overall cooling of the card, making it even better. We can also spot the power connections on the picture below and see that it requires two 8-pin PCIe power connectors. The LED field on the side of the card will show the load level by changing shade through four highly visible color gradients to provide a real-time visual guide to performance.

ASUS’ 20th Anniversary Gold Edition GTX 980Ti comes with 6GB GDDR5 memory clocked at 7200MHz on its 384-bit memory bus. The GPU features 2816 CUDA cores and runs at a base clock speed of 1266 with a boost up to 1367.

 

ASUS built the card with their acclaimed Digi+ voltage-regulation modules (VRMs) with 14-phase Super Alloy Power II components, long-life capacitors, concrete-core chokes, and hardened MOSFETs. These are all things that will ensure that you have the best graphics card for a long time.

Connection-wise, you get one dual-link DVI-I port, three DisplayPort 2.0, and one HDMI 2.0 port and the card is able to drive a digital resolution of up to 5120 x 3200 pixels at 60Hz.

There are several extra features for overclockers, such as memory defroster. This clever technology quickly defrosts the graphics card’s memory during sub-zero overclocking to ensure a sustained stability. The card also features an LN2 jumper to unlock even more overvolting options for the professional overclockers.

There isn’t anything to worry about when you mess up your settings on this card as it features a Safe Mode. The default BIOS settings are instantly flashed back at the push of a button, allowing users to overclock with the complete confidence that they can undo their changes at any time.

The new ASUS 20th Anniversary Gold Edition GTX 980TI will be available in late November, but ASUS did not reveal the pricing at this time. It is a limited edition card, so expect the price to reflect that.

AMD Radeon Software: Crimson Edition First Look and Testing

Introduction


The day has finally come where AMD’s Catalyst Control Center has taken its last installation breath and the brand new AMD Radeon Software package is released. We initially had teasers of this software a few weeks ago on November 2nd and now we are pleased to announce that it is finally here for public download. We have been using Catalyst Control Center for around 13 years with very few graphical design changes in that time, it worked for the most part and that was about it. Personally I found it too information heavy and it needed either a re-designed interface or a simpler navigation menu.

Dubbed Radeon Software: Crimson Edition, it doesn’t really flow off the tongue like CCC or Catalyst 15.## did, but we are likely to see a similar numbered structure once Crimson hits full stride in January. The Radeon Software name is pretty self-explanatory, but Crimson takes a little more explaining to fully understand. Yes the ‘AMD’ colour is Red and that has been passed onto Radeon Technologies as a signature colour, but Red is only one word for a whole host of different shades such as Current, Jam and Sangria. Yes these are typical shades of red, though likely less known compared to Scarlet, Blood and Rose. It’s not fully clear whether we will be seeing software colour changes with every annual release to match the name or if the same brushed metal background will be consistent for the upcoming releases.

Here is a quick overview of the key points of Crimson Edition which focus on a key base of stability with four pillars of User Experience, Features, Performance and Efficiency. All of these together aim to produce the best overall consumer experience, whether you are gaming or just a general day-to-day user. A full explanation into these will be on the Third Page.

Without going into too much detail here, let’s get into what is aimed to make Radeon Software: Crimson Edition a new era in graphical software drivers.

Goodbye Catalyst Control Center – Hello Radeon Software Crimson Edition!

So a few weeks ago we all heard the news that AMD has split up its Processor and Graphics divisions. Well, today we have the official word from AMD regarding the newly branded Radeon Technologies Group.

Something that AMD has previously struggled with in the graphics market is the software and drivers. While they worked, a lot of users experienced problems and that put a bad taste in a large portion of the enthusiast community. This new rebrand hopes to change things with the discontinuation of the Catalyst software and introduction of Radeon/ FirePro settings.

We will see the first introduction of Radeon settings in the form of Radeon Software Crimson Edition before the end of the year.

We were sent a press presentation to offer us an early look at what to expect from this new venture and Radeon Technologies Group (Radeon TG) want to drive home six key values of Pro Graphics, Gaming, VR/ AR, Immersive, Performance and Efficiency. Generally people would laugh at the efficiency part, but Fiji has certainly changed the minds of a lot of people.

We were shown the evolution of Catalyst Control Center (CCC), with the three most notable interface changes.

For those that are interested, here is how AMD will be naming the ongoing updates.

If this is the final consumer edition, I am very impressed by how far and different the design and layout is to the current CCC. Fewer visible menus makes the software much cleaner to look at.

The layout is more intuitive than the previous CCC iteration and a step in the social media world with quick links and easy location of games and other settings.

Built into this software is a game optimiser, which will search your computer for games and tell you your settings and the best settings for your system.

  

Here we see Overdrive, a staple part of CCC. This version looks a lot cleaner and similar to the 3rd party applications such as MSI AfterBurner and ASUS GPU Tweak.

Bundled in with this software, AMD has included preset video settings and display configurations. This makes things simpler to get the perfect viewing experience for that family film, but the best gaming experience on those dual R9 Fury Xs.

AMD Eyefinity sticks around for the upgrade, but the process has been planned to be simplified compared to the current method on CCC.

Like most software from manufacturers, you can now analyse your computer hardware and software within this to make it simpler for identifying your components for any possible troubleshooting.

Along with the press information pack, we were sent a short video outlining the key features and objectives set out for the new Radeon Software.

Personally I like how this is going, a change to the software really brings AMD up-to-date with the competition, but something I want to see is more regular driver updates and even WHQL certified updates to go along with this snazzy overhaul.

This is still an early preview and things might change by the time it gets released to the public, so we will keep you updated with anything AMD provides us with.

Marvel Phase 2 Collection Available For Pre-Order

Marvel have been releasing film after film, bringing together TV series, online series, and movies to create a rich and diverse universe. Marvel have called each set of films they aim to release (normally ending with a big film containing several of their heroes) a phase. With Marvel phase 2 recently over, the limited collector set is now available for pre-order and it impresses.

The first phase was what started it all, with Iron Man (1 and 2), the Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America, all coming together in The Avengers as one of the biggest films ever seen before. As if this collection of amazing films wasn’t enough, they went further and created a collectors edition and we all know that nothing bad comes in collectors editions.

In this case, the Blu-ray’s (both 3D and 2D) came in sleeves that were hidden nicely within a metal case alongside Shield documentation on the Avengers Initiative. As if that wasn’t enough, the case also carried a replica Tesseract (Devices Of Ultimate Power supplied separately).

So why would we expect any less from the Phase 2 collection? With films like Iron Man 3, Captain America 2 and the second Thor film carrying on strongly from the first, while the Guardians of the Galaxy join the universe and Ant-man being the latest to join. This time, your collection is ordained with the orb from Guardians of the Galaxy.

Being a huge marvel fan I own several films, but you can’t help but appreciate the effort and style found in the collectors editions. Do you buy collectors editions? Are they not worth the difference in price? Voice your opinions in the comments.

Thrustmaster Announces Alacantra Edition T300 Ferrari Racing Wheel

To mark the occasion of the Monza Grand Prix, Thrustmaster unveiled their new T300 Ferrari Integral Racing Wheel Alcantara Edition this weekend. The racing wheel features official PS4 and PS3 licenses and it is also compatible with PC. The Ferrari-themed gaming wheel combines the latest available Force Feedback technologies and the highest-quality materials for an end product that’s worthy of the Ferrari sticker.

The T300 is a premium device and it will cost accordingly. If you’re in the market for a cheaper alternative, then you might want to take a look at the recently released T150 instead.

 

One the things that make this racing wheel stand out is also the one that gave the product its name. The wheel is covered in genuine Alcantara, a unique proprietary technology that is said to be a completely groundbreaking material with aesthetic, technical and sensory qualities that no other material can match. The material is the same used for real Ferraris and it’s made in the same facilities and it is hand-stiched around the wheels 30cm diameter.

The wheel is detachable from the stand and available as an add-on or complete set. It is an official Ferrari-licensed 8:10 scale replica of the actual 599XX EVO wheel. Attached are two paddle shifters, six action buttons, a 3-position rotary switch with push function, and a multi directional D-pad.

The base is the same that already has proven itself on the T300RS and the T300 Ferrari GTE Wheels. It uses brushless industrial servo motors and features a friction-free dual-belt mechanism. The H.E.A.R.T HallEffect AccuRate Technology features a contactless magnetic sensor (16-bit resolution, with 65,536 values on the wheel’s steering axis), and an angle of rotation which can be adjusted between 270° and 1080°.

 

The final part to complete your setup is the pedal-set. That is if you opt for the complete package and not just a new wheel for your previous setup. The T3PA pedal set is fully adjustable in terms of their spacing with respect to one another, the angle of inclination, and height. The brake comes with a built-in Conical Rubber Brake Mod to give that real brake feeling.

As previously mentioned, this set won’t come cheap. It will be available from mid-October and set your back €469.99. The steering wheel alone, without base and pedals, will cost you €179.99.

MSi 970A SLI Krait Edition Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging


The AMD 970 chipset is the mainstream offering of the AMD chipsets. It offers affordability with great features, with the ability to support a huge array of CPU’s thanks to the hugely popular AM3+ socket. The socket was first introduced back in October 2011 and offered the support of the newly released Bulldozer CPU’s. Despite the new CPU socket, many users decided to hang onto their AM3 motherboards as vendors were offering BIOS updates to support the new range of CPU’s.

The 900 chipset in particular features many of the same features as the 800 series and was primarily introduced to easily differentiate between the older AM3 socket (800 series) and the AM3+ socket (900 series). With the 900 series brought HyperTransport 3.1, NVIDIA SLI and AMD Overdrive for simplified overclocking. Since launch, it has undergone many updates such as PCIe 3.0 support, USB 3.0 support and most recently, USB 3.1 support.

So today we have the MSi 970A Krait Edition. Named directly after the Krait venomous snake, MSI based not only the logo, but the colour theme to it. The 970 chipset is the lowest of the 900 series, bringing affordable performance to everyone. MSI has taken this stable chipset and added the brand new USB 3.1 features, which enabled this motherboard to support USB speed of up to 10Gb/s; this is the world’s first AMD motherboard with USB 3.1 as standard.

There’s not very much new you can say about AMD, AM3+ or the 970 chipset, so let’s just jump straight into testing.

Key Features

Manufacturers nowadays need to find innovative ways to stand out from the crowd, MSi is no exception and has crammed a huge array of features into this motherboard.

  • Military Class 4
  • Military Class Essentials
  • OC Genie 4
  • Click Bios 4
  • NVIDIA Sli
  • USB 3.0
  • USB 3.1
  • SATA 6 Gb/s
  • Command Center
  • Fast Boot
  • Live Update 6
  • M-Flash

For more information on these functions, please visit the MSi 970A Krait Edition product page.

Packaging and Accessories

The Krait Edition is a relatively new addition to the MSi line up. The box is extremely plain with just the Krait snake on the front with the extremely identifiable white and black colour theme.

In the box we find very few accessories, the usual manuals and driver CD, I/O shield and 2x SATA 6Gb/s cables.

 

Gears Of War: Ultimate Edition For PC Is Not a Port!

During the San Diego Comic Con panel held for the Gears Of War: Ultimate Edition, the Coalition Studio Head Rod Fergusson talked in more detail about the main differences between the PC version and the Xbox One version. After reiterating that the PC version will support a 4K resolution, with the addition of DirectX 12, including unlocked framerates and all the windows 10 features ranging from Xbox live, GameDVR and screenshots. The 2007 release was a port from Xbox 360, this new version is not a port of the Xbox One release.

This PC version is not a port. It’s enhanced greatly, and all the content is ”authored at a much higher rate”. There are even 4K textures all the way through the environment there were restrictions the team had when developing for the Xbox One, but once the team got around to working on the PC version they could take off those restrictions and bump up the game extremely and unlocked it fully giving the game a super crisp look.

Recently the team tested the game at 4K on a 70” TV and it was ”mindblowing” according to Ferguson, at $39.99 it’s a great deal to go back and get ready for Gears Of War 4.

It looks like Gears Of War ultimate Edition is going to look very über in terms of graphic fidelity and will take great advantage of current PC hardware.

Are you looking forward to experience Gears of War on the PC?

Thank you Dualshockers for providing us with this information

Fallout 4 Craze Crashes GAME Website

The Fallout series has been the game that most people think of when asked about post-nuclear war survival games. The newest addition to this is Fallout 4, which comes with a brand new collector addition, with added Pip-Boy wearable. The new tech is compatible with most mobile phones by docking them inside and has most fans crying in anticipation to get their radioactive hands on them.

In the UK, GAME has the exclusive rights to this new collectors edition and went on pre-order at 9am this morning; well it was supposed to anyway. Due to the overwhelming interest in the item, the GAME website crashed and caused major headaches.

As any company would do in this day and age, someone from the marketing team took to Twitter to try to ease the tense customers, using references from the game itself.

The website was then fixed, or maybe the consumers broke their computers and the amount accessing the site was less, and all of the pre-orders were taken within minutes.

Were you one of the thousands trying to access the website this morning? Did you get your hands on the Pip-Boy Edition? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you to MCVUK for providing us with this information.

Arkham Knight Batmobile Collector’s Edition Cancelled

There is some sad news for the people who pre-ordered the Batmobile Collector’s Edition of the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight game just got cancelled – and that with less than a week until release. There is no doubt that this will cause some sad faces here and there as it really was a cool edition.

GAME has been sending out emails to affected customers and Warner Brothers Games also posted a note on their official forums about the incident.

“We regret to inform you that we are not able to release the Batmobile Collector’s Edition of Batman: Arkham Knight due to unforeseen circumstances that greatly compromised the quality of this extremely limited run of product.”

It looks like the quality of the morphing figurines just didn’t live up to the standard that has to be and that WB probably just feared a lot of angry customers with faulty or broken collector items – and that wouldn’t be good for anyone. And while this cancellation is a sad thing for many, I think it was the right decision.

If you have pre-ordered the Batmobile edition you can get a refund, switch to another collection, or even use the credit for another game, so you don’t need to worry about lost money. As a little band-aid, WB will be giving out the new 52 skin pack free of charge to everyone who purchases Batman Arkham Knight.

Why Pay $10,000 When You Can Get Apple Watch Gold Plated for $399

How do you annoy the product development team at Apple and your friends at the same time? Why you get your love/hated Apple Watch gold-plated of course! It’s no surprise that people are mocking the fact that Apple are selling a (from) $10,000 edition of their new smart watch, but you would have to be rich and quite a bit bonkers to pay the retail price for the  Apple Watch Edition and its rather garish (in my opinion) 18 karat rose gold finish.

Of course, there is a cheaper solution, one that could help you look like an idiot, be the envy of your friends and not put too big a dent in your bank balance, you can get your regular Apple Watch gold-plated for a fraction of the cost and no one will be any the wiser! Except yourself, you’ll know you’re a big fraud.

Watch Plate are offering the gold plating service for just $399, which isn’t cheap, but it’s a lot less than what Apple are asking. Just FedEX them your watch, it’ll come back with your choice of 24 karat rose gold or 24 karat yellow gold.

Alternatively, Golden Dreams will sell you a custom-made watch for $3,550 in 24 karat yellow gold, 18 karat rose gold or 18 karat white gold. They’ll even offer you a choice of 160 different colours of Alligator leather straps and hand engraving.

Of course, you still need to buy your own watch, but from the “cheaper” solution of Watch Plate to the more premium solution of Golden Dreams, they’re still a fraction of the cost of the barmy price Apple wants people to pay.

Thank you 9to5mac for providing us with this information.

Thermaltake Announces Core X9 Snow Edition Chassis

Thermaltake has launched a Snow White edition of their gorgeous Core X9 e-ATX cube case. The case is particular suited for liquid cooling setups, but that doesn’t stop you from using it for something else, a file server for example, or whatever comes to your mind.

The cube design allows for endless stackability, so the height of your ceiling is your only limitation, next to maybe your wallet size when it comes to expanding to more and beyond.

Users can customize the chassis for the best viewing presentation with interchangeable window and I/O panel design. The dual chamber concept is made to improve the cooling performance and the efficiency, but also to allow you to display your expensive components even better. You have the bottom chamber for drives and PSU and the top chamber is used for your motherboard, graphics cards, and other add-ons.

The case is fully modular and you can take everything apart. A 3 +9 drive bay concept design for accessory and storage devices makes setting up the best storage solution on the market super easy and flexible. In addition, a customizable 5.25” & 3.5” drive bay feature enables users to freely interchange the 3.5” hard drive cages to suit their particular needs.

Even when you build a high-end system full of components you’ll have plenty of spare space inside. Pay attention to the amount of fans built into this case in the demo shot below, that are enough fans to make one or another artist jealous. There is room for graphics cards up to 590mm length and tower CPU coolers up to 250mm. Even the biggest PSUs will fit with the spacious 200m room in that area.

I could just keep on writing about this chassis, because I think it’s one of the most amazing ones ever built – may it be the black or this new Show White version – but if you’d like to know even more, then I’d recommend to check out the official product page where you can find all the details and extra information you might be looking for before making your final purchasing decision.

Razer Releases BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma TKL Keyboard

Razer is about to release a new and more compact version of the pretty popular BlackWidow Chroma keyboard, the new BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma. The more compact size originates from the TKL, or ten-keys-less, design where the num pad has been left out. Technically TKL is a completely wrong description as there are 17 keys less on these keyboard compared to an ordinary PC keyboard, but that’s the term it goes by.

The new tournament edition still holds all the great features of the original keyboard, including the 16.8 million customizable colour backlight option and the detachable USB cable. The compact form factor and removable cable makes it easy to carry and take with you to LANs and tournaments, and that’s where the name comes from.

Users can define their own key zones with individual coloured backlighting and the colours and areas shown in these press images are just one way it can look. You could easily create a setup where you just highlight the buttons you need for the game you’re currently playing. The keyboard is using Razer’s own mechanical switches with optimised actuation and reset points for improved performance and with a distinct tactile feel. Each of these switches is built to last up to 60 million keystrokes.

The new Razer BlackWidow Tournament Edition Chroma Keyboard will be available in the Razer online store starting April 16th for a price of $140 or April 22nd for €169.99 in Europe.

The bad news for most of us is that this is another US-layout only keyboard. Razer has a tendency to release their top-tier and best-featured keyboards with just the US-key-layout. It’s beyond me why they insist on keeping it this way, or why they don’t offer a localized add-on package for purchase so I can replace the keycaps myself. It can not be that hard for a company like Razer to laser-engrave a couple of keys with a different print. Well, it is their loss as I’m heading to my favourite online shop now to order a Ducky Shine 4 instead.

Dropbox Confirms it Has Been Working on a Google Docs Alternative

It is said that a mysterious product dubbed Project Composer has been seen on Product Hunt, an online community website where a lot of new products are shared and discovered. The product has been available for a short time, but long enough for some users to test it before having their access cut off.

Users who were lucky enough to test it say that Composer is a note-taking tool that allows for multiple users to edit and share files simultaneously. This means that Dropbox users would create and edit documents on-the-fly and without the need to use an external document editing tool.

While it was fairly clear that Dropbox accidentally leaked its project online, the company chose to deny and comment on it… at least at first. Dropbox’s head of product, business and mobile, Ilya Fushman, has confirmed that Composer is indeed one of the company’s new products that is about to hit the market.

“We’re always testing new products. We always have a bunch of stuff we’re working on — and this is one of them,” Fushman told Business Insider.”We’re excited it’s got us on Product Hunt. I think you’ll see us come out with some other stuff in that space,” he added.

However, Fushman did not provide an exact release date for Composer, stating that Dropbox usually tests its new products with thousands of customers before officially releasing it, a strategy that helps the company make sure it has the right market fit.

“We want people to use them and get feedback,” Fushman said. “We might find out that people dont’ like it.” Fushman said.

It was clear that Dropbox was going to make a document editing and collaboration tool sooner or later. Two years ago, the company acquired Hackpad. a startup that was focusing on similar software such as Composer, and last year’s acquisition included CloudOn, a mobile document editing software.

Thank you Business Insider for providing us with this information

Apple Watch Edition AppleCare+ Plan Will Cost $999

The $10,000 and up Apple Watch Edition will have the AppleCare+ plan set at $999, this will extend the warranty from 2 years to 3 years. Buyers will get a dedicated setup hotline and two years of 24/7 support with two accidental damage incidents covered in that time; people who buy the plan will have that for three years.

For the Watch Sport and the Apple Watch the standard coverage gets the buyers 90 days of phone support and a one year limited hardware warranty. The Watch Sport AppleCare+ will cost $59 and the Apple Watch version will cost $79. The AppleCare+ will get the buyers two years of phone support and coverage for two accidental damage incidents. Pre-orders for the watches starts on April 10th and it should be interesting to see if the demand is there since the reception of the product hasn’t been too great.

Source: PCWorld

Apple To Produce More Than 5 Million Watches in First Run

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple will produce 5-6 million Apple Watches in their first production run. It’s said that half of this number will be the low-end ‘Apple Watch Sport’, starting at $349. A third of those produced will be the stainless steel “mid-teer” ‘Apple Watch’ and the rest going to the highly expensive 18-karat gold ‘Apple Watch Edition’. It’s also said that the company expects to produce 1 million ‘Edition’ models a month following the launch.

“Orders for Apple Watch Edition – the high-end model featuring 18-karat gold casing – are relatively small in the first quarter but Apple plans to start producing more than one million units per month in the second quarter, the person said. Analysts expect demand for the high-end watches to be strong in China where Apple’s sales are booming.”

It’s worth pointing out that only 1 million Android Wear devices were sold last year – that being the entire year. So with the Apple Watch going on sale in April it will be interesting to see just how strong the demand will really be.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Ubuntu Smart Phones Will Finally Go on Sale next Week

The Ubuntu powered smartphones have been a long time coming, but the first one is finally ready for the European market. The Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition will be available next week for €170 through a series of online flash sales.

As the price already reveals, we won’t find the highest of specifications in this device, but it’s still interesting. The Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition has a 4.5-inch 960×540 display, a Mediatek SoC quad-core 1.3GHz Cortex A7 CPU, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of onboard NAND storage. It also has a microSD slot and two SIM card slots. The only thing that makes it stand out a bit extra is the 5-megapixel front-facing camera.

The downside as it is now, is that Ubuntu phones won’t become a desktop PC once a monitor has been docked as initially proposed. Instead, the new key feature is called Scopes and it originally debuted as Lenses in the desktop version. According to Canonical, Scopes is “a new UI paradigm” that essentially consists of a bunch of categorized home pages: one home page for news, one for music, etc.

It’s great to see some more competition in the mobile OS market as it will force everyone to put a little more thought and effort into their own version to stay ahead of the competition. People interested in the new Ubuntu phone should keep in mind that the app availability is limited as with any new OS, but the apps are based upon HTML5. This should make porting apps from other systems easy and the basics are covered upon release with apps such as Facebook and Twitter.

The first Ubuntu phone won’t be available through the usual retail channels, instead you’ll have to follow the Ubuntu account on Twitter and wait for a series of flash sales over the next few weeks.

Thanks to Arstechnica for providing us with this information

MSI Celebrates 100 Million Sold Nvidia GPUs with Limited Edition Card

MSI has already sold more than 100 million Nvidia GPUs and to celebrate that milestone they’re launching a new limited edition graphics card, the GTX 970 GAMING 100 Million Editon.

The new card comes with a green-themed TwinFrozr V and is the third colour choice you’ll get for this base card on top of the default black and red and the gold-themed we saw not long ago. Otherwise, the card looks to have the specifications as the normal version, which by the way, is an amazing card. MSI has also revealed that the cards will be shipped with a special gift, but wouldn’t reveal more at this time.

Update: Since the article was written, the card has started to be listed at different shops around the world as pre-order. Overclockers UK is one of them where this Limited Edition card can be yours for £319.99 inc VAT. Estimated time of arrival is set to January 23rd.

Thanks to MSI for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of MSI

Android 5.0 Features No Silent Mode

Android 5.o has been well received throughout the wider technology community – providing users with many new features and an updated design. However, there’s one thing that they seem to have missed – there’s no silent mode!

On Android 4.0 and previous editions, when you hit your ‘volume down’ button on your smart phone or tablet, the phone will lower your ringer levels down from loud, to vibrate and eventually into fully silent mode. This mode apparently hasn’t made the grade into Android 5.0, kind of.

Silent mode was often used by consumers to disable the ability to hear or feel incoming phone calls, text messages or calendar notifications – the only alternative to this offered in Android 5.0 is the new “zero notification mode”. This mode gives you the ability to deaden your phone completely, allowing no alerts to get between you and your task. Apparently there is somewhat of a work-around if silent mode is important to you – simply turn you volume right up to 1, restart your device and then you’ll notice silent is available to you. It’s also noted that silent mode is available on tablet editions of Android 5.0 but not the smartphone edition.

Given this information, it looks like the no-silent ability is some form of small release bug – here’s hoping it’s fixed soon.

We’ll report if and when the story develops, here on eTeknix.

Image courtesy of Chiphell

Batman: Arkham Knight set for Release on 2nd of June, 2015

Two special editions of Batman: Arkham Knight are to be released on June the 2nd, 2015 by Warner Bros. and DC.

There will be a ‘limited edition’ including an art book, SteelBook case and game disk, the Arkham Knight comic, 52 exclusive in-game skins and a Batman statue. Coming in at $144 for the PS4 or Xbox One and a $120 price for Aussies, Europeans and New Zealanders looking to play on a PC.

The other edition is appropriately named the ‘Batmobile Edition’, limited to console only. Alongside everything offered in the ‘limited edition’ box, its higher priced counterpart comes with a Batmobile transforming statue that replaces the ‘limited edition’ Batman solo statue. Coming in at $200, it’s nothing to be sniffed at.

Image courtesy of TweakTown

Z97 and Z97M Anniversary Motherboards Announced by ASRock

ASRock has announced its Anniversary Edition of motherboards, the Z97 and Z97M, following the Pentium 20th Anniversary Edition G3258. One of the key features of the aforementioned motherboards is the “Pentium Anniversary Edition” technology, making overclocking easier for users.

The manufacturer is said to have specifically designed the motherboard with overclocking and Intel’s Pentium 20th Anniversary Edition G3258 CPU in mind, being able to access the Pentium Anniversary Boost by hitting “P” when turning the PC on. From there, the feature is said to help the user automatically overclock the CPU from 3.2 GHz to a maximum of 4.2 GHz.

In addition to the overall overclocking feature, ASRock’s Z97 and Z97M Anniversary Edition motherboards are said to provide even more kick out of the Pentium Anniversary Edition G3258 CPU. A clock speed of 4.5 GHz can be easily achieved, having a performance boost of 40%. However, users can also go for the 4.8 GHz limit, where an additional 50% performance boost should be noticeable.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5F1MIVXTBgw[/youtube]

Other features present on the motherboards consist of “Super Alloy” technology for the Z97 in order to provide more stability and reliability, along with Intel’s Gigabit LAN and ELNA Audio Caps. The Z97M is said to come with ELNA Audio Caps as well, along with various video outputs, such as D-Sub, DVI-D and HDMI, supporting a Triple Monitor configuration.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information
Images and video courtesy of TechPowerUp