F1 2012 PC Review

This week I decided to try something a little out of my comfort zone when it comes to gaming, F1 2012. Now I’m already a big fan of racing games, but I never got into the whole F1 thing, I’m not a sports fan and I generally like variety in my racing games, with a wide selection of exotic sports cars, classic road cars and maybe a few open wheel racers to top it off. So I never really saw the fun (for me) in playing a game where there is only one kind of car, obviously they’re not identical in everyway, but they’re still all F1 cars.

I was offered this review sample and I wasn’t about to turn down the chance to play one of this years top selling racing titles regardless of my racing game preference. F1 2012 comes from Codemasters, who are by far one of my favourite developers, especially for racing games. Codemasters have been around now since 1986 and have everything from Micro Machines to Colin McRae all the way upto F1 under their belt, so they certainly know how to make a popular racing game.

The game was released from PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 this month but it is the PC edition that I will be using for todays review. It’s already off to a strong start in sales too, placing nicely in the UK top 20 multiformat sales charts, so lets crack on with the play test and see if I can catch the F1 bug.


Gigabyte crack 3DMark Vantage P10000 barrier with Trinity APU

Gigabyte has been putting AMD’s new Trinity APU through its paces. Interestingly enough they actually benched the APU with a 3DMark Vantage test instead of just grabbing some CPU-Z and GPU-Z validations before blue-screening.

Gigabyte put the A10-5800K APU flagship through its paces both in terms of the GPU and CPU. Using LN2 cooling the Gigabyte overclocking team managed 5.2GHz on the CPU, up from stock speeds of 3.8GHz, and they hit 1591MHz on the GPU, up from 800MHz stock.

This massive overclocking boost helped the A10-5800K smash through the P10000 barrier on 3DMark Vantage. At stock clocks the A10-5800K is 33% better than the A8-3870K in terms of gaming performance. Whilst the “super-overclocked” LN2 testing Gigabyte conducted reaped 137% better performance than the stock A8-3870K.

All things said, we know this isn’t realistic usage scenario, but it does go to show the new Trinity “K” (unlocked) APUs will be very good overclockers and should allow the consumer to get some awesome bang-for-buck gaming performance from the Trinity platform.


AMD A10-5800K Trinity APU can reach 6.5GHz with LN2

AMD is claiming that its $140 A10-5800K Trinity APU is capable of up to 6.5GHz with LN2 cooling. This makes it superior to Intel’s offerings in terms of “GHz-bang-for-buck” considering a 2500K costs $220 and would struggle to get near those same speeds under LN2, whilst the new Ivy Bridge chips are even more expensive but are capable of a similar level.

The A10-5800K is based on the second generation 32nm Piledriver processor architecture and these results suggest that we should expect great things from AMD’s Piledriver FX processors (in terms of extreme overclocking) that are due to be released soon with the same processor architecture.

Obviously, its worth pointing out straight away that extreme overclocking results generally have little consequence on the real world performance of these chips. However, What this does show is that if you are into extreme overclocking then you’d be better placed snatching those records with Trinity than you would with Sandy/Ivy Bridge – especially if you’re on a budget (consider most extreme overclockers kill several processors before they get the clock speed they want).


ASUS announce HD 7970 Matrix Edition graphics cards

We’ve been waiting for something more-special from ASUS with the HD 7970 GPU for a while now, since we’ve only had the Direct CU II TOP so far. We first saw the ASUS ROG HD 7970 Matrix Edition video card at Computex 2012 when it was still in development. It is now finished and ready for consumers to throw their hard earned cash at.

The HD 7970 Matrix Edition video card is released with the newer variant of the HD 7970 GPU that features better power tuning controls and a higher clock speed. There will be two variants of the Matrix Edition, a platinum and a normal edition. The Platinum Edition gets an extra 50MHz on the core clock but apart from that there isn’t much difference – obviously the Platinum Edition cards should have chips that have been binned higher and should in theory overclock better.

The Matrix Edition has 1000/1050/6600MHz core, boost and memory clocks respectively whilst the Matrix Platinum Edition has 1050/1100/6600MHz. Both cards come equipped with a 20 phase VRM supplied by two 8 pin PCI Express power connectors. The VRM features sophisticated load-line calibration features with manual LLC factor control (fine-tune protection against V-droop during voltage-sensitive overclocking sessions).

ASUS VGA hotwire support has been added with clearly labelled voltage tuning and read off points. This allows you to overcome the 1.3v maximum the card has when tuning through the operating system using ASUS GPUTweak, this should only be needed for extreme overclocking. The PCB features an LN2 mode switch, which loads an extreme-cooling-optimized BIOS.

ASUS have included a fan override button which sets the two fans on the Direct CU II triple slot cooler to 100% without software interference. An additional LN2-optimized VRM heatsink is included in the package. Prices start at US $490.



NZXT Cryo E40 Notebook Cooler Review

NZXT are a company targeted more at gamers and enthusiasts than just your average notebook user. That’s why when we received the Cryo E40 from NZXT and had a look at it, we could see straight away it was designed from the ground up with advanced cooling performance in mind.

Notebook coolers are somewhat a subjective product. Some believe that they should simply cool down a notebook, others think they should integrate USB hubs, card readers and audio systems. However, NZXT have taken the simple approach with the Cryo E40, developing a notebook stand with two cooling fans – and that’s it.

The device is cleverly shaped for up to 15.6 inch notebooks, because lets face it the vast majority of notebook owners use notebooks 15.6 inches large or less. The two fans are complete movable and are both paired to a single USB connector because NZXT knows not every notebook is the same – where one might have a GPU intake vent another might have a RAM vent.

Before we give you a tour of the product, the packaging and how it performs let us first recap the specifications below:

  • Model: CRYO E40
  • Dimensions : 60x420x300mm
  • Laptop Support:15″ Max
  • Colour: Black
  • Material: Steel mesh, plastic, rubber
  • USB Ports: None
  • Fan Control: None
  • Fans: 2x80mm
  • Fan Speed: 2500+/-10% RPM

Rumours of a $99 Nexus tablet materialise – is the tablet market ready for a shake up?

Google’s $199 (in the US at least) Nexus 7 tablet that ASUS built for them, is not only a seriously awesome piece of technology, but it’s cheap, fast, reliable, and sports the latest and greatest mobile operating system from the Mountain View-based company, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

Now we’re hearing rumors from DigiTimes that we could see a $99  Nexus-branded tablet in the near future. Better yet, two new tablets – not just one $99 model. It would be a newer, thinner device, but we’re probably staring down the barrel of it taking some serious chops to its hardware muscle to get the price down by half of the current $199.

If I had to guess, we’re probably looking at the NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core SoC being ramped down, or removed – maybe to a dual-core design from a company like Qualcomm? A reduction in on-board storage? Down to 4GB possibly. We might also see this get locked into a two-year contract, too.

What would you like to see in a $99 Google Nexus tablet? Would you expect it to keep its 7-inch size? Or could we see a drop to 6-, or 5-inch?


Steam for Linux to see a 1,000-person limited beta in October

Valve announced Steam for Linux not too long ago, where they told the world that they were experiencing better frame rate results under the open-source OS compared to Windows, in Left 4 Dead 2 on OpenGL. This was impressive, but the public haven’t seen much since.

Now the company is teasing that there will be an internal beta of Steam for Linux sometime next week, after which we’ll see an external beta open up to 1,000 lucky gamers sometime next month, if all goes to plan. Valve’s private external beta will include support for Ubuntu 12.04 and above, and will include access to just a single game – most likely the company’s Left 4 Dead 2.

Over the next coming of weeks, Valve will open up a sign-up page for the external beta, where participants will be selected based on their PC configuration so that the company can test a wide variety of hardware.

This is an interesting step for the company, as it would provide the ground work to their own platform – Steam Box, the rumored system that has been getting lots of fan fare, but the company has constantly denied it. We know they’re working on wearable computing, so imagine a world where 2013 includes a Linux-powered Steam Box being announced, at the same time as a completely next-gen wearable computing device from Valve,  and Half-Life 3.

Ok, probably don’t imagine that, because you might get your hopes up – I just did.


Pretec SDHC 32GB 433x Media Card Review

In the world of digital media, one of the most abundant forms of media apart from USB flash drives, are SD cards. The vast majority of digital cameras these days use this card format and its variations in order to store photos and video in the masses. There are a few names out there that do shout out above the rest and consequently we see them used everywhere and people buy these brands without thinking about it, based on their reputation, known long term performance and reliability.

Pretec is one brand however that doesn’t necessarily come straight to mind when we think of memory cards, but in respect to the other players on the market, they are one of the original frontiers of Compact Flash and SD cards, offering their first SD cards way back in 1998.  Since then, the Taiwanese based company has built a large catalogue of over 200 patents and has shown that it has a strong R&D team by consistently rolling our faster and higher capacity cards. Their catalogue doesn’t consist solely of memory cards, with USB flash drives making up the other portion of their product lineup.

For any photographer or video camera user, having a high speed card that can take the punishment that todays latest DSLRs and HD video cameras can give is critical both in terms of performance, but also its reliability. The last thing any person wants to see is that their card has failed and all the media is lost – especially for the professionals.

The card we are taking a look at today is one of Pretec’s most recent offerings, and boasts to be the world’s 1st company (as of Computex 2011) to offer up a Class 16 433x SDHC/SHXC card with read speeds of over 65MB/s. Whilst this may sound great and it is a good starting ground, how will the card stand up to our testing process where we test the card with its read and write speeds but also but continuously punishing the card to see if there are any flaws that crop up – that’s what we are here to find out.

AMD 12.9 Beta Drivers available

We always like to keep you up to date on the latest AMD and Nvidia drivers and in the past day AMD have made available its 12.9 beta drivers. The new 12.9 beta drivers feature perfomance upgrades, bug fixes and support for new GPUs. You can download them from here. AMD is also introducing a requirement to have Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 installed to fully utilise the Catalyst Control Center and all its features. This will become permanent in future releases. The new package is roughly 219MB in size, so if you’ve got a slow internet connection you might want to grab a hot drink.

AMD Catalyst Mobility now includes support for AMD Enduro Technology.

  • AMD Enduro Technology for Notebooks delivers:
    • Long lasting battery life
    • GPU accelerated performance for gaming, video, and compute apps
    • A Seamless and automatic experience

New features found in Catalyst 12.9 Beta:

  • Re-designed Catalyst Control Center user interface
    • View all profiled applications
    • View recently run applications
    • Profile applications based on power source
  • Expert mode control and customization
    • Performance centric AC
    • Battery centric DC

Performance highlights of AMD Catalyst 12.9 Beta (versus AMD Catalyst 12.8)

  • Up to 10% in Lost Planet 2 in single GPU configurations

Feature Highlights of AMD Catalyst 12.9 Beta Linux Driver:  New OS Support

This release of AMD Catalyst Linux introduces support for the following new operating systems.

  • Ubuntu 12.10 early look support
  • RHEL 6.3 production support

Resolved issue highlights of the AMD Catalyst 12.9 Beta driver

  • Tri and Quad CrossFire+ Eyefinity configurations – Certain DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 applications lower than expected performance
  • FireFox – corruption observed in CrossFire configurations
  • Enabling Overdrive settings increased clocks in all power states
  • Availability of AMD Video Converter support in AMD Catalyst 12.9 Beta Windows 7 and Windows Vista packages


AMD officially announce second generation “Trinity APUs”

It has been a long time coming but finally AMD has announced the FM2 Trinity accelerated processing units (APUs). The new generation of APUs feature upgraded CPU and GPU components compared to the first “Llano” instalment of AMD APUs.

On the CPU side AMD has opted for the revised Piledriver CPU architecture instead of the Bulldozer CPU architecture found on Llano. Trinity APUs, like Llano, will only fit up to 2 modules on the die meaning a maximum of four cores. The revision to Piledriver should see higher clock speeds, lower power consumption and around 10-15% better CPU performance out of the box.

On the GPU side AMD has updated the integrated graphics from the Evergreen GPU parts (HD 5000) to the VLIW4 Northern Islands GPU parts (HD 6000). The overall manufacturing process size remains at 32nm but the overall graphics performance should again be about 10-15% better with a similar thermal envelope. The number of GPU cores ranges from 128 on the entry model to 384 on the flagship model.

Memory support is at 1866MHz for nearly all models and there will be three unlocked Trinity APUs out of six. Only one model (the entry model) has 1600MHz support maximum. Pricing will range from $70 to $140.

Full specifications can be found below:

Source: Press Release

Top 10 pirated film list gets a revamp

The anti-piracy scene has fallen off the news agenda a bit recently with only Kim Dotcom and Megaupload managing to sustain media attention. However, Piracy is still an ever present problem and we want to take a more light-hearted look at it by seeing what people spend their hard earned…bandwidth on downloading.

Its been well over a month since we last updated the Top 10 pirated film list. Last month this was what the top 10 looked like:

Now a month later and this is what the new top 10 looks like.

There are some quite dramatic changes but the Dictator clings to a top 10 spot with the Avengers. There are a couple of new entries at 4 and 5 but its not surprising to see Resident Evil: Retribution and Men In Black 3 dominate the charts.

It is always fascinating to see what people actually go and download when they do not have to worry about the cost of purchasing the film. Although the top 10 pirated films tends to reflect the films with the biggest advertising budget, more than it does the best films, as shown by the total lack of correlation between film rating and chart position.


Google Maps takes a deep breath, now exploring the ocean floor

Google have taken navigation is a totally new direction, where we’ve gone from normal maps, to Street Maps, to Google Earth, Google Sky Map, and now the Mountain View-based company are offering the first underwater panoramas through Google Maps.

Google partnered up with the Catlin Seaview Survery, a project focused on recording and unveiling the world’s oceans and reefs, where they’ll provide a “Sea View” experience in six of the ocean’s most beautiful coral reefs: Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef; Lady Elliot Island, Great Barrier Reef, Wilson Island, Great Barrier Reef; Apo Island, Philippines; Oahu, Hawaii: Hanauma Bay; Maui, Hawaii, Molokini Crater.

Google’s images were snapped with a specially designed underwater camera, dubbed the Catlin Seaview SVII, which snaps high-res, 360-degree pictures every three seconds while travelling underwater at speeds of around 2.5 miles per hour. The aim of the project is to give scientists across the world a tool they can use to monitor change in marine environments now, and in the future, all while giving the rest of us an amazing insight into the world’s oceans – exploring them from our electronic devices without getting wet.


MSI FM2-A85XA-G65 (A85X) Motherboard Preview

It’s been quite quiet on the motherboard front lately with no releases from both Intel or AMD, though we’ve seen a few manufacturers aim on higher-end Z77 based boards from the likes of ASRock, Asus, Gigabyte and MSI. Also with Thunderbolt being released, we’ve noticed a few boards crop up from time to time, though the hardware to match the boards isn’t exactly available in full force.

For AMD it’s been even quieter with FM1 slowly trotting on by and AM3+ still appealing to a selection of consumers. Z77 in our opinion hit AMD hard and has seen a lot of faithful AMD users jump ship to the blue corner, but AMD are hoping to redeem this by releasing their next generator of APU based products, which is where we find ourselves today.

Today AMD have allowed us to lift the lid on their new FM2 socket motherboards which incorporate a couple of different chipsets and with an MSI board on our doorstep, we thought that it would only be right to take a look at that first.

We’ve taken a look at a couple of MSI boards in the past and have been impressed with their work and hope that they can follow this trend on with the FM2-A85XA-G65 featuring the A85 chipset.

As this is only a preview, we are bound by NDA to only show you what AMD approve and therefore will be showing you the board in full detail including style, design and features. Sadly, as much as we want to, we’d love to show you benchmarks and of course overclocking but that will have to wait for another day.

So until then, lets take a look at the board and package, but before that, we need to look at what comes included with this FM2 A85 motherboard from MSI.

Cooler Master preparing Seidon 120M liquid CPU cooler

Cooler Master have been dabbling with the idea of selling closed loop liquid CPU coolers for well over a year. Now their finally nearing the market launch of their “Seidon 120M” liquid CPU coolers. We aren’t sure how different these will be to everything else on the market since the vast majority of liquid CPU coolers are made by Asetek or CoolIT and then rebadged by the retailing companies. Corsair, Antec, AMD, Intel and many more companies use rebranded closed loop liquid CPU coolers and market them as their own.

Cooler Master’s Seidon 120M uses a a 150.3 x 118 x 27 mm aluminum fin radiator with a copper micro-channel block. The tubing is dubbed as flexible plastic, but sometimes the plastic tubing tends to be a lot harder and less flexible than rubber tubing – so lets hope for Cooler Master’s sake that it is actually flexible.

The included 120mm fan operates between 600 to 2400RPM offering up 19 to 40 dBA of noise output although we aren’t sure about CFM ratings. The pump is supposed to be no louder than 17 dBA.

Socket compatibility is AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2, FM2/FM1, LGA1155/1156, LGA2011, LGA1366, and LGA775. Pricing and availability are not known yet, but expect them within a couple of months at prices competitive with the similar offerings from Corsair, Enermax, Antec and others.


Dell preparing 29 inch 2560 by 1080 display

We’ve seen 2560 by 1600 displays and we’ve also seen 2560 by 1440 displays. However, a 2560 by 1080 display is something we have never seen. According to reports, Dell will be adding a display with that exact resolution to its UltraSharp S series.

The Dell U2913WM display with be 29 inches big and is likely to feature IPS display technology. The aspect ratio will be a strange 21:9 or 21.33:9 to be pedantic. The upcoming monitor also features four USB ports and D-Sub, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort connectors.

Dell haven’t revealed pricing or availability but it is “coming soon”. We’re not sure how your games, pictures and videos are going to look on a screen like this but one thing is for sure, this is a widescreen on steroids.


Intel to retire most Sandy Bridge processors by March 2013

Intel this week revealed its plans for discontinuing the vast majority of the Sandy Bridge 32nm LGA 1155 portfolio. All the processors that are due for retirement come from the Sandy Bridge 32nm generation of Celeron, Core i5 and Core i7 processors.

The only Celeron to get the chop is the G440, probably because its performance is so low that demand has been lacking. The rest of the 32nm Sandy Bridge Celerons will live on and many will be rebranded and renamed for the latest generation of LGA 1155 processors. Most Core i3 and Pentium processors will also get the same treatment.

The Sandy Bridge Core i5 series takes a huge hit, including the popular 2500K. The Core i5-2310, i5-2320, i5-2400, i5-2400S, i5-2405S, i5-2500, i5-2500K, i5-2500S and i5-2500T will all be discontinued next year as the fully fledged transition to 22nm begins. From the Sandy Bridge Core i7 series the i7-2600, i7-2600K, i7-2600S and i7-2700K all get the chop next year too.

All the CPUs listed are set to be available for orders until March the 29th, 2013, and will continue to ship while supplies last (for the retail versions) or until September the 27th , 2013 (for the OEM tray versions).


Intel CEO says that Windows 8 isn’t ready for the public yet

Microsoft’s next version of Windows is nearly here, with Windows 8 being just weeks away from release. But close partner of the Redmond-based company, Intel, has some interesting thoughts on the operating system.

Intel CEO, Paul Otellini, thinks that Microsoft are releasing the OS too early, and that it is being released before it’s fully ready and that there are improvements that need to be done to Windows 8 before it should be released. Normally, someone of Otellini’s power would not get caught talking like this, but Bloomberg are reporting on it – not just a random blog, so it does have some weight to it. The Bloomberg story reported:

“Intel Corp. Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini told employees in Taiwan that Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 8 operating system is being released before it’s fully ready, a person who attended the company event said.

“Improvements still need to be made to the software, Otellini told employees at a company meeting in Taipei today, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the meeting was private.”

Windows 8 has a large task ahead of itself, as the OS is built more for touch-screen devices, and tablets. This means that consumers on Windows 7 won’t have much of a reason to upgrade, but for new PCs and devices, it will be great. So if you’re in the market for a new Ultrabook, or tablet, you might want to wait a few more weeks.


OCZ Synapse 64GB Solid State Cache Review

A couple of months ago we took a look at OCZ’s RevoDrive Hybrid, a PCI-express solution incorporating 128GB of RAW flash memory and a 1TB hard drive into a single cached solution that you drop into your system. Whilst we did find it a great solution, the slight downside was the cost and the fact that the hard drive was only 5400RPM, a factor that may put a few people off considering there is a slightly cheaper alternative solution that rivals the all in one hybrid solution such as the RevoDrive Hybrid. This alternative solution is to provide solely the cache drive – typically a small 64GB SSD and alongside that the Dataplex software key that links the SSD to a hard drive giving the SSD read performance but with the hard drive capacity that everyone longs for.

We have seen recently, more so during our time at UK LAN Gaming event i47, the appeal of SSD caches is starting to grow upon the end user and their relative cost against performance gain in upgrading older systems is a major factor in this uptake. We do have to take into account that for pure all round performance that a pure SSD solution is best, but this quickly becomes an expensive option when you’re after a large amount of fast readable storage at your fingertips.

Built ground up for caching purposes, lying at the heart of the drive is a SandForce SF-2281 controller, one that has dominated the market for quite a while with its solid performance, even given the fact that OCZ acquired Indilinx early on last year. Like other caches of its type, the Synapse hosts 64GB of MLC flash memory and offers upto 550MB/s read performance. One feature we do note with the Synapse is the capacity over provisioning and in the case of the Synapse, this is at a level of 50% and given the firmware is built for caching instead of long term storage, the data processes and footprint is completely different to that of a standard SSD. Given the relative success of the RevoDrive Hybrid, lets take a look on to see how the Synapse not only performs in its own right, but when setup into a cached array with one of our Seagate Barracuda 3TB drives.

Arctic Breeze USB Desktop Fan Review

Computers produce a lot of heat, which is the primary reason why computer enthusiasts spend so much money buying advanced cooling solutions. By cooling your computer down, you actually chuck all that heat out into your room and if you’ve got high end hardware then your computer can raise the room temperature a lot.

Arctic have devised the perfect solution for this scenario and while it may seem like a gimmick, we wanted to give it a go to see what it’s all about, especially after seeing so many games sporting one at the latest Multiplay Insomnia i46 LAN gaming event in Telford

The Arctic Breeze USB Fan that we have today is a 92mm fan that is meant to sit on your desktop and keep you cool by blowing air in your direction. Being a USB powered device with no drivers needed for installation, it could be used at home, work, college, university or in any place where there is a powered USB port available.

It doesn’t matter why you are hot, be it a heat wave or be it dual HD 6990s running Furmark, the Arctic Breeze USB desktop fan is still a potential saviour to your heat problems.

Here are some of the key specifications from the product page:

AMD Piledriver pricing revealed

AMD’s next generation of desktop processors are due for release very soon. The second generation of 32nm processors from AMD, codenamed Piledriver, will continue the Vishera FX platform on the AM3+ socket and with the 990FX chipset.

Now what you all came here for…

An American retailer has leaked some information about the price of AMD’s new line of processors. AMD will release four models, the FX 8350, FX 8320, FX 6300 and FX 4300. They will cost $253, $242, $175 and $131 respectively.

If we now check the pricing of “Bulldozer Equivalents” we see that the FX 8150, FX 8120, FX 6100 and FX 4100 cost $190, $160, $120 and $109 respectively. So there are indeed some significant price hikes from AMD towards the higher end – notably on the 8 cores processors whilst the 6 and 4 core processors are only marginally higher.

As expected, with AMD implementing resonant clock meshing technology, clock speeds are much higher than the previous generation. Power consumption and wastage is hopefully reduced dramatically too.

AMD’s flagship comes clocked at 4GHz out of the box. We are surprised at high price of the FX 8320 that leaves you with 0.5GHz less performance on each core compared to the FX 8350, 28GHz of total processing power instead of 32GHz. By that logic most people, if they want to get Piledriver, should go with the FX 8350 instead of the FX 8320.


Scythe Mugen 3 Rev.B CPU Cooler Review

Scythe are a big name when it comes to cooling components within the computer industry. We are delighted to finally have our first Scythe CPU cooler in for review today. On the test bench for a heat-beating is the Scythe Mugen 3 Revision B CPU cooler, the third instalment of the popular high performance Mugen series.

The update to Revision B has seen the CPU cooler bring LGA 2011 support, in addition to carrying support for every other major consumer socket on the market right now. Scythe’s Mugen 3 utilises only one 120mm “Slip Stream” PWM fan yet boasts substantial cooling capabilities thanks six high performance heat pipes.

Scythe’s most emphasised feature about the Mugen 3 CPU cooler is the M.A.P.S (Multiple Airflow Pass-Through Structure) technology. This technology claims to have better optimised the heat sink for better airflow and heat removal, so if that’s true then we should see some pretty impressive temperature numbers from the Mugen 3.

The Mugen 3 is by no means a small CPU cooler, in fact it is clear from first impressions that users with high profile RAM may need to get the tape measure out first. One thing that is almost guaranteed though, is silence. With the likes of QuietPC stocking the Mugen 3 we know we are probably in for some gentle treatment on the ears today.

As always, here are the basic specifications of the Scythe Mugen 3 Rev.B CPU Cooler straight away so its clear what we are working with in this review:

  • Compatibility – LGA 775, LGA 1156, LGA 1366, LGA 1155, LGA 2011, AM2, AM2+, AM3, AM3+, FM1
  • Dimensions (with Fan) – 130 x 108 x 158 mm / 5.12 x 4.25 x 6.22 inches
  • Noise – 9.6 to 32.15 dBA
  • Air Flow – 14.7 to 88.11 CFM
  • Fan Speed – 300 to 1600 RPM
  • Static Pressure – 0.34 mmH2O / 3.33 Pa
  • Overall Weight – 825 g / 29.10 oz
  • Material of Base Plate – Nickel-plated copper

Nintendo are region-locking the Wii U

This news might come as a blow to Nintendo fans, as the company has confirmed that their upcoming next-gen console, Wii U, will be region-locked. Nintendo have confirmed the news to CVG.

Region locking will have games purchased in the US, Japan or Europe only work on the machines in those countries – meaning you can’t import games, or send them to your friends in other countries. Nintendo aren’t new to the region-locking game, though – as they’ve locked pretty much all previous consoles: 3DS, Wii, GameCube, N64, SNES and NES.

But, you would think with the recent business troubles Nintendo have had – posting their first loss in decades, as well as a downward spiral of Wii sales, and the increased competition form Microsoft and Sony, that Nintendo would want to use every trick they could to keep consumers. Will this turn customers away? It hasn’t so far with previous Nintendo consoles, but we live in a far different world today than we did when the Wii was released.


Cooler Master CM Storm Scout 2 Mid-Tower PC Chassis Review

CM Storm are well known among the gaming community for their current popular choice the Scout, a chassis that not only catered to the demanding needs of many gamers but also managed to offer a lot of features at a very reasonable price point, but while it was and still is a fantastic chassis, it wasn’t perfect, which if I’m being fair (I am) no chassis is, at least not for everyone. So with some of the issues in mind from the original Scout chassis CM Storm have looked to not only improve on their previous design but to bring it more up to date at the same time.

It’s been awhile since we had a CM Storm chassis in the office, with the last one being the stunning CM Storm Trooper which Chris looked at last November and awarded it our Editors Choice award, you can read that review here. With that in mind, the Scout has a lot to live up to, both in terms of the Scout (original) being a firm favourite with many gamers and the Trooper also being an eTeknix award winning chassis, can the Scout 2 earn a similar high honour from us today?

Lan gaming is a big deal in the gaming world, with events like LanHack and iSeries catering for thousands of gamers with their bring your own computer format, so it stands to reason that if you attend these events you are going to want a chassis that ticks all the right boxes, affordable, robust, stylish, packed with features and of course have an air of quality about it all. This is what the Scout 2 is all about, with a huge carry handle on the top, support for large graphics cards, great cooling solutions, plenty of hard drive bays, style and a price tag of around £90.

So come and take a look at the next few pages where I will be taking a closer look at just what the CM Storm Scout 2 has to offer and fitting it out without test system.

Topower Black-X Series DDR3 1333MHz 8GB Memory Kit Review

You may remember that back in March we took a look at a set of memory from a brand that are only known in certain areas of the market and for us, was a slightly newer venture, but was an interesting move for us none the less. You can find the review of that very kit here, which is made by a brand that may be known to some as Topower.

As we were so pleased with the kit we looked at back in March, and it winning our “Extreme Performance” award, we were keen to see what other modules in their product range could do. This brings us to today with the Black-X Series kit which is aimed with maximum compatibility in mind while keeping heat to a minimum which is exactly why it’s perfect for gamers and workstation users alike as it the heatspreaders are specially developed in Japan with heat-dispersion the key focus.

With memory module kits, you’ll find that there isn’t a mass amount to talk about in terms of the design as truth be told, most modules look very similar barring a few superficial differences. The main thing that we try to focus on is of course the performance, overclockability and every inbetween, and that’s exactly what we will aim to show in this review.

We will start things off by taking a look at the packaging of the product, design of the heatspreaders and then move onto the stock performance of the modules before we can start pushing them to their limits.

Intel to release quad-core, LTE-capable Medfield chips later this year

Intel are slowly toying with their Medfield-powered smartphones, releasing them to India, China, Russia and the UK, but surprisingly, they’ve left out the US market for now. Marketing chief, Sumeet Syal has told TechCrunch that their current-gen x86 system-on-chip won’t support LTE, but there is a revised chip coming later this year that will.

This new version will reach us later in the year, with production cranking up in 2013. Syal also said that the quad-core versions will arrive soon, where he claims they’ll benefit from Intel’s Hyper-Threading technology. Syal also said that Intel is “comfortable” with the progress of their entry into the smartphone market, but haven’t revealed any digits on just how well they’re actually doing.

We should hear more about these numbers in Intel’s Q3 earnings call next month, where we’ll find out if Intel are in fact doing well, or not.


Foxconn riots in Chinese factory, involve 2,000+ people

We all know of the poor working conditions that Foxconn push on their employees, paying them less than $1 per hour, for 6 days per week, 12 hour days, but it looks like the situation is worse now with reports of huge rioting at the manufacturing facilities of the Chinese iPhone manufacturer.

The situation involved 2,000 workers at just before midnight on Monday, with the incident being bought under control by local police four hours later. According to the police, 40 individuals were arrested, but the cause of the dispute is currently “under investigation by local authorities”. Foxconn are working closely with the authorities, but it reportedly “appears to not be work-related”, according to a statement from Foxconn Technology Group to The Next Web.

The factory involved was the Taiyuan-based Foxconn facility, which has some 79,000 workers and produces components for consumer electronics, automobiles, and precision moldings. There were rumors of fatalities, but Foxconn have issued a statement denying that anyone has died from the events.


Nvidia to compete with Xeon and Opteron processors

In the enterprise market Intel and AMD are the only two big players (VIA’s presence is debatable), with Intel wielding a significant advantage in most cases. Now Nvidia wants a piece of the action but it plans to drop the complexity and inefficiencies of the traditional x86 method deployed by AMD and Intel.

Instead Nvidia will create high performance CPUs from ARM architecture cores where the x86 processing doesn’t matter so much. Simply put, Nvidia wants to use its own ARM based processors in Tesla based supercomputers.

Project “Boulder” as it is named is an ultra-high performance system-on-chip with 8-16+ “fat” ARM-compatible cores as well as high-bandwidth interconnects and I/O. Project Boulder is due in 2014 and is aimed at serial processing tasks while Nvidia’s GPUs are in charge of the parallel processing tasks.

Project Boulder will sit alongside Project “Denver” which will combine Maxwell GPUs with Denver based ARM CPUs to create the Echelon system chip. Since both Denver and Boulder will arrive in 2014 we are assuming that this is when Nvidia is planning an all-out-assault on the processing market with its ARM-based innovations.