Microsoft Event: Conclusion

Microsoft has presented their new Windows operating system, and I’m ready to continue the coverage after I getting over the shock of the new name. While I don’t have anything against it, it just doesn’t make sense to me. Doesn’t have to, Windows 10 is on its way.

Microsoft wants to empower novice users to get better at multi tasking and are introducing the new Task View. A new button is placed on the taskbar and when pressed it that launches the function by the same name. Mac OS X users will see this as a very familiar option.

We see multiple desktops at the bottom of the interface and it also shows all the apps that currently are open. You can switch between the different desktops with multiple apps running in their own separate areas. There’s also a new Snap Assist UI at the side where you can grab apps from multiple desktops. This might not be a world-changing feature as they said during the presentation, but it is a great addition.

Microsoft is really trying to reach all users better with the new Windows 10, may they use keyboard and/or mouse or touch interfaces to control it. Ease of use and productivity have been key words the Microsoft developers as they worked on this new version.

The command prompt has been improved as well. While it still looks the same, it has gained a new very useful feature. You can now paste with CTRL+V into the prompt. Up until now you had to access a context menu via the right mouse button, something that really interfered with productivity. A minor addition, but one that will be loved. Microsoft wants to deal with all these different input methods in a way that works for them all, not just the most popular.

A thing I think many Windows 8 users would like to see gone is the charms bar. But no such luck, the charms bar is still present in Windows 10. Lets just hope that it’ll be easier to turn off or disable for those who don’t need it, as it can be a real pain on multi-monitor setups. We were told that it was an early version, so it’s most likely going to change before the final product.

Up until now it’s been mostly focused on the desktop version, but we also get a peek at the new design for the two-in-one models. Microsoft calls this new design study the continuum and below we see the start menu as it looks for touch devices. Essentially it switches mode depending on your input. Microsoft are trying to be thoughtful about the user interface of their new cross-platform operating system.

Microsoft is launching the Insider Program tomorrow as well as the technical preview build for laptops and desktops. The preview versions for servers will follow later at an unspecified time. They’re also inviting enthusiastic fans to evaluate the new Windows with them, as they said: “We know they’re a vocal bunch.”

Microsoft is also planning to share more than ever before and earlier than ever before. “We can build a product that all of our customers will love.” We’ll be hearing more about the consumer story beginning of next year and there will be a build conference in April that will show more about the new universal apps. The actual product will be shipping sometime late 2015.

The first thing that was asked in the following Q&A round was about pricing and upgrades for Windows XP and Seven users. But no such luck at this time, this event was about the product family and the presentation of the new direction they’re taking. The naming choice was the next thing that was asked, to which the response was that once you see the improvements, you’ll agree with the decision to skip a number.

To the question about what insiders would get access to we got this reply: “We’ve never done this before. Hopefully you become an Insider, you’ll see things you haven’t seen before. There will be forums available for discussions amongst insiders, and our engineering team will be available.” So it’s a direct feedback line. Microsoft doesn’t want a repeat of the Windows 8 fiasco, and getting the users involved early seems a great way to avoid this.

Some one also joked if we would see Windows versions named after big cats now that we’ve gotten to version 10, but the answer to that was: “Probably not.” This wraps up the news surrounding the event in San Francisco, but we’ll keep you updated with the newest things about this operating system as they become available.

Thank you TheVerge for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of TheVerge

Microsoft Event: Windows 10 Demonstration

After the Windows chief Terry Myerson had presented the new Windows 10, Joe Belfiore entered the stage to demo the new operating system and he has been working on improving the tablet and PC experience. He stressed that this is a very early build, maybe to safe guard against any bugs or maybe even blue screens that might happen during the presentation.

The demonstration runs an evaluation copy of Windows Technical Preview, Build 9841 and the demonstration is said to be very basic and without music, videos or internet explorer.

Microsoft has heard the loud cries from their users: they want the desktop, and the desktop they shall get. In windows 10 it looks about the same as we’re used to from Windows 7 and 8 with Desktop view; we have the desktop background and icons at the top and the taskbar at the bottom. The Windows 7 user base is both very large and important and they need to get a familiar experience on the devices they already have, Belfiore said.

The Start Menu has changed in the direction that we’ve already seen leaked prior to the event. We have our normal pinned and most used programs to the left, the new part is the windows 8 styled tiles to the right. They feature the same functions as the windows 8 metro start when it comes to resizing, adjusting and moving them around. At the top you’ll also find a link to your user profile and the button for restart, logoff and shut-down.

“We want all these Windows 7 users to have the sentiment that yesterday they were driving a first-generation Prius… and now with Windows 10 it’s like a Tesla. They don’t have to learn a new way to drive”

The new Windows 10 experience is said to be all about personalization. The search experience has improved and is directly accessible through the start menu. It is a universal search that includes web results.

Belfiore is talking up the Windows Store and the ability for Windows 7 users to get the benefit of the new apps. The tiles and icons that are shown in the start menu are a blend of the classic and universal apps. The users are promised a familiar feel right away and the ability to work them in a way you’d expect with mouse and keyboard.

When Windows 8 users launched one of the new apps, it had a different view than the desktop versions. This duality look is not wanted any more and the new Windows allows for modern apps to run in windowed modes. In the demonstration it’s the email and trip advisor apps that are shown off. The traditional Snap-View we know since Windows 7 works in with both classic and universal apps now.

Thank you TheVerge for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of TheVerge

Microsoft Event: The New Windows Is Being Presented

We’ve seen the leaks and we’ve heard the rumours; now it’s time for some facts. The Microsoft Windows event in San Francisco is upon us and we’ll finally find out what the future of Windows will bring.

Microsoft held the event rather small and very few guests were invited. While not everyone could be there at such an event, it makes for a better and more intimate presentation. When the attendees entered the room they could spot Windows logos everywhere and some test systems that weren’t powered yet; but there weren’t any obvious hints towards the version number or name.

When the clock finally hit 6:00 PM local time, the Windows chief Terry Myerson entered the stage. He started by telling that half a billion people are using Microsoft Windows today and there are even more devices that run it. “For one audience the world still hasn’t changed, that’s our developers. Still too much to do and not enough time,” said Myerson.

“Windows is at a threshold and now it’s time for a new Windows.” The new windows is build from the ground up with a mobile-first cloud-first world in mind. But a name still hasn’t been revealed. Most people have been speculated on Windows 9 up until now, but that wouldn’t be the right choice according to Microsoft. To much has changed.

Windows One would be fitting, but that’s already been used, Myerson teases the audience. The new version of the worlds leading operating system will be called Microsoft Windows 10. Yes you read right. The new name shocked quite a few people, but I don’t see any problem with it.

It looks like Microsoft wants to abandon all the different versions and just have one operating system. One unified system that allows customers to work, play and connect between all their devices. Windows 10 will run on the broadest types of devices ever and will be just one application platform. “One store, one way for applications to be discovered, purchased, and updated across all of these devices.”

Myerson went on to ensure how valuable the enterprise customers are to Microsoft. They need to evaluate Windows early and as such Windows has started their dialogue with them today. It promises a familiar experience and all the tools they’re used to finding. “Windows 10 will be compatible with all the traditional management systems used today.”

Thank you TheVerge for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of TheVerge

Cooler Master Hyper 612 CPU Cooler Revealed

Cooler Master are a popular choice when it comes to CPU coolers; they’ve got some of the best high-end coolers on the market, and their budget friendly models are still some of the best selling coolers around. Now they’re back once again with their new and improved Hyper 612 Ver. 2.

The Hyper series has always been a popular choice, mostly thanks to it’s impressive price vs performance ratio and we expect the new 612 will offer the same award winning formula once again. The cooler has been designed to operate passively for completely silent performance on CPU’s of up to 95W. For those who need more performance, you can use the included PWM fan, and even add a second optional PWM fan if you need to.

  • Two different ways to mount the fan (plastic clip or wire clip)
  • Four anti-vibration rubbers
  • No interference with memory due to special design
  • Easy mounting procedure

The Hyper 612 Ver. 2 will be available in Europe from the end of this month and while price and availability will vary based on region, it’s expected to be found at most major retailers for around 39.90 EUR.

Thank you Cooler Master for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Cooler Master.

Asus new VivoMini barebone PC starts at $149

Asus is getting ready to launch their new mini PC based upon Intel’s fourth generation Haswell processors in November, and it has a starting price of $149. This isn’t a Chromebox or some locked down system, but a real bare-bone that allows you to upgrade some of the hardware and make your own choice on the operating system and software.

The basic model comes equipped with an Intel Celeron 2957U processor and has Gigabit Ethernet and four USB 3.0 ports. The video card is the Intel HD iGPU and it has a HDMI and DisplayPort for your video signal. Additional audio out is provided via a 3.5 mm audio jack.

Since this is a bare-bone system, it has some expansion abilities. According to the specifications it has two PCI-Express mini slots, one half-length and one full-length and also supports a mSATA SSD. The memory used is SO-DIMM and the VivoMini supports up to DDR3-1600 with a total capacity of 16 GB in 2 modules. The VivoMini also allows you to add a WiFi card if a wireless signal should be needed.

This tiny palm sized PC only measures 125 x 125 x 42 mm and supports default VESA mounts to tuck it away behind a monitor or similar. Despite its tiny size it should provide adequate 4K video output for home entertainment, but you shouldn’t expect to play any high-end games on it. Asus also has plans to offer models with Core i3 and Core i5 processors; unfortunately no price-tag or availability released on those models yet.

More and more manufacturers jump on the wagon and create these tiny sized PC’s that still offer the power we PC users want in a home entertainment environment, and Asus is no exception. The video embedded below shows how tiny this device really is, despite what it packs inside.

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Thank you cnbeta for providing us with this information

Images and video courtesy of cnbeta

Samsung Uncovers Curved 27-Inch Monitor

Samsung have revealed details of their new 1080p curved monitor; which is geared towards a more immerse entertainment experience. The 27-inch Samsung S27D590CS is aimed at gamers and heavy video-watchers where the curved screen is meant to create a more subtle 3D effect with a greater sense of depth and wider field of view.

The monitor has a wide 178-degree viewing angle and a 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution. The grey-to-grey response time is 4 ms and the screen has a refresh rate of 60 Hz. It has plenty of connection options with VGA D-sub, HDMI and DisplayPort. Besides a set of 5 watts dual speaker the monitor also has pass-through for headphones.

The monitor has a sleek design with a metallic silver stand and the thin black bezel; it doesn’t have many ergonomic options or abilities, but it can be tilted up and down from -2 to +20 degrees and it also supports 100 mm VESA wall mounts. I believe the size to be very fitting for a curved display, as the larger screens the effect is barely noticeable due to the width and on phones it’s more of a gimmick than anything else.

In theory at least, the curved design should allow for a smother view to the corners of the screen, as your eyes don’t need to refocus for the change in distance. This factor will be heavily increased when running multi-monitor setups, giving you a smooth view all the way to your peripheral vision.

The monitor has a MSRP of $430 and will go on sale in the US on October 1st. As for the rest of the world, your guess is a good as mine. While the specification don’t impress too much when looking at the price, you have to consider the fact that curved monitors still are a niche market; a premium has to be expected, but does it offer enough to convince you?

Thank you Samsung for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Samsung

AMD “Tonga” Features a 384-bit Memory Interface

New information about the Tonga memory interface, surely this is news from weeks ago? You would think so, as we already know that the current AMD Radeon R9 285 graphics cards run via a 256-bit wide memory interface, but the actual silicon is hiding its true potential; the GDDR5 memory interface on Tonga is actually 384-bit wide, not 256.

The Tonga silicon is larger than that of Tahiti and this hidden wider interface goes a long way to explaining why. The chip die of the R9 285 is placed on a package that features just 256 pins, but there is no reason why the hardware can’t be set on a bigger package with more pins, allowing access to the full width of the memory bus.

This means that the next Tonga hardware from AMD will be able to re-use a lot of the same hardware, but at the same time it’ll be able to use 50% more memory bandwidth vs that of the current R9 285 hardware.

thank you PC Watch for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of PC Watch.

PiPO Windows 8.1 Tablet to Cost only $82 USD

Today, domestic tablet manufacturer PiPO has announced they will be launching some high quality and low-costing Windows tablets into the market. They’ve released the Work-W4 8-inch tablet, which is said to be debuting at just $82 USD (499 yuan). Pictured above is only the prototype model, but the final product is said to end up very similar in design and functionality.

We’ve seen an increase in the ‘cheap’ domestic tablet market recently, what are your personal views on it? Having neither an allegiance to Android or Apple myself, I tend to be the kind of consumer who sticks with the ‘mainstream’ opting to get myself a Nexus 7 to try out. Or maybe you’re the kind that thinks tablets aren’t needed in this day and age with phones like the Samsung Galaxy 5 and iPhone 6 plus offering large enough screens, even before you transverse into the ‘note’ market.

As for specifications, the Work-W4 is said to offer:

● 1280 x 800 IPS LCD screen sitting at 8.0 inches in size
● Bay Trail-T 3735F Intel quad-core processors
● 16GB built-in storage
● front and rear camera
● 4500mAh battery

Many end users are making immediate comments about the low amount of RAM being supplied, which could certainly create some lag issues in the final design.

Image courtesy of Chiphell

Attitude One Rapira One Gaming Mouse Review


Attitude One are still a relatively new brand on the gaming scene, but they’ve already released a few cool products with very affordable price tags. We’ve already reviewed their Tunguska headset and their Vintorez gaming mouse, which we really enjoyed and they’re very good products in their respective price ranges, so I’m eager to find out what they have to offer with their also very affordable Rapira One gaming mouse.

The budget market is full of great options these days, with big brands like Corsair, Cooler Master, Tt eSports and many more all offering something competitive at a low price tag, so Attitude One have got some stiff competition in this part of the market. The Attitude One will only set you back just under £30, so I’m not expecting record-breaking performance, but I’ll still be expecting a good range of features at this price point.

The Rapira One is reasonably well equipped; it comes with a rubber grip coating for extra control, a four level DPI toggle, an Avago 3050 sensor that can operate up to 3500 DPI, 7 full programmable buttons and built-in LED lighting.

  • Ergonomic design with rubberized surface
  • On-the-fly 4 level DPI switch
  • Avago 3050 Optical sensor (3500DPI)
  • Super wide Teflon feet
  • 7 programmable buttons
  • LED light on/off switch at base
  • 2.0m braided cable

The packaging is very bright; you’ll have no trouble finding an Attitude One product in a retail store!

Around the back of the box we have a quick run down of the major features (see above) as well as another picture of the mouse design.

The box opens out to give you a good look at the mouse, which is secured under a protective plastic cover.

EVGA Getting Ready with GTX 980 Classified and Hydro Copper Cards

EVGA is going all out with the new Nvidia series of cards, and are now getting ready to release their 5th and 6th GTX 980 card. We’ve already seen the reference version as well as the one with the new ACX 2.0 cooler, both in normal and Superclocked versions. While these cards already impressed in benchmarks, the next ones will do so even more; I think it will be some time before these cards are forgotten.

The first new card is the EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Classified. The GPU of course has 2048 CUDA cores but it runs with a 1291 MHz base clock and has a boost all the way up to 1405 MHz; the classified version still uses 4 GB memory that runs on the given 256-bit interface. It’s clocked at 7010 MHz with a speed of 0.28 ns and a bandwidth of 224.3 GB/s. The card supports up to 4-way SLI and it’s also worth mentioning that the card features a triple BIOS.

The design is very simple, yet beautiful; for the most part it’s just black, but with some slight red accents around the company and brand logo. The cooler is the ACX 2.0 with optimized and swept fan blades, double ball bearings and an extreme low power motor. It delivers more airflow with less power draw than its predecessor, thus unlocking additional power for the GPU.

If you liked the ACX 1.0 cooler, you’ll love this one, it runs 26% cooler, 36% quieter, draws 250% less power and has a 400% longer lifespan; that’s improvement right there!

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The second card is the GeForce GTX 980 Hydro Copper, a water cooling ready version of the new flagship. The cooler is created by EK and has a beautiful black finish with the EVGA logo cut out. EVGA wants to tease us some more and still keep the cards tight when it comes to clocks speeds; the card is already rumoured to break several records, so expect it to be impressive.

Thank you EVGA for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of EVGA

Gigabyte Silently Launches New GTX 970 Graphics Card

Just a week ago Gigabyte launched their GTX 980 and 970 G1 Gaming edition and now they’ve silently launched their second factory overclocked GTX 970 version. The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 WindForce 3X OC (GV-N970WF3OC-4GD). While their press room didn’t mention the new card, it has appeared under the available products and some shops already stock them ready to ship.

The new card features a factory-overclocked GPU with a core speed of 1114 MHz and a boost to 1253 MHz. The 4 GB memory runs at 7.00 GHz (1750 MHz). The base clock is slightly lower than the G1 Gaming Edition, but the boost stays the same; the reference version runs on 1050 MHz with a boost to 1178 MHz, just as comparison.

The cooling is taken care of by the newest generation of Gigabyte’s dual-slot WindForce 3X cooling solution. The three axial 80 mm fans couple with the effective heatsink can handle a lot higher thermal loads than this card can provide; a meagre 145W TDP.

Based on the 28 nm GM204 silicon, the GeForce GTX 970 features 1664 CUDA cores, 104 TMUs, 64 ROPs, and a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 4 GB of memory. It performs 370 GFLOPS (Single) and 154 GFLOPS (Double)

There should be plenty of connection options for everyone on this card with two DVI, a HDMI 2.0 and three DisplayPort 1.2. With the Flex Display four of these can be used at once. The card measures 310 x 129 x 43 mm and allows multi-SLI setup.

While I couldn’t find it listed in neither UK nor US, German retailers have started to list it this morning starting at €339 plus shipping and handling.

Thank you Gigabyte for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Gigabyte

Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 with AIO Cooling Spotted

If Nvidia doesn’t do it, we will just do it our selves; something like that must have been gone through the heads of the engineers over at the Japanese system builder Sycom. They’ve taken the reference Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 cooler shroud and cut a corner out, removed the large heat sink and replaced it with an Asetek 740GN AIO water cooling unit instead. The end result looks great, so good that it has been believed by some websites to be a new reference design. This isn’t entirely new though as the GTX 770, 780, 780TI, and Titan Black can also be had in this modified design. While the AIO cooler takes care of the GPU itself, the rest of the card is still cooled by the reference fan.

With the impressive over-clocking headroom that the Maxwell hardware has, this version of the card must be a dream come true; of course this can never replace a full-blown liquid cooling setup, but it’s a beginner friendly approach on getting the most out of your GPU. The cheapest system with this modified GPU is the G-Master Hydro-GK3, priced at 163,680 yen, or  around £920.

While this isn’t an official cooler and it’s currently only available in Japan through Sycom, one can only hope that it inspires other companies to follow-up on this trend. I’m sure a lot of people would jump on the chance to buy a card like that as the AMD hybrid solution was very well received by consumers and reviewers alike.

Thank you Sycom for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Sycom

EVGA GTX 900 Series GPU Back Plate Offer On Hold?

It’s been a tricky month for EVGA, while the 9xx series launch has proven to be successful for all parties involved, EVGA have been hit with a few issues along the way. One of the main selling points for the EVGA 900 series graphics cards, was the promise of a cool EVGA back plate, but now it looks like many users may not be receiving one.

There was some confusion around review content that all cards would ship either with the back-plate, or that EVGA would mail out the back-plate for free for early adaptors. This has now been revised on the offending articles to reflect that only EU customers will get the free one, assuming they have the right model purchased before 20th of October. US customers who want the backplate would have to pay for the part, although price and availability hasn’t been detailed just yet and nothing is available on the EVGA website (yet).

One EVGA customer contacted their rep for some information, he shared the reply on the EVGA forums;

“I just checked that review and it has been corrected since your original email. I really do apologize for any confusion on this but we always have advertisements and rotator banners on our page when we do a promotion like this.

This review was originally created and posted by their editor W1zzard who is located in Germany, the information he would have received was based on the EU EVGA website. We unfortunately cannot be held liable for misinformation or assumptions on third party sites that we don’t have control over.”

This is a tough one, given that there are other cards on the market that come with the backplate pre-installed; I can understand that some users would have bought the card on the basis they will have one included in the deal. The backplate offers some aesthetic improvement, but also helps with the overall strength and in some cases it can also help with cooling performance.

EVGA have since pulled the promotion details from their site, but you can see the deal on the screenshot above. EVGA have stated that “We have put this promotion on hold as we are re-evaluating the details. Expect to see some news shortly.” What that will entail remains to be seen. Unfortunately for EVGA, some users are already reporting that they have returned their cards to store, or will soon be doing so.

I’m interested to see how EVGA handle the revision to their offer, as I personally know a few people who purchased these cards on this promotion, and I’m sure more than a few of our readers have done the same. We’ll update you is we hear anything else on this matter, but you can also track its progress on the EVGA forums.

Thank you EVGA Forums for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Reddit.

Gigabyte Force H Gaming Series Headsets Revealed

When you think of Gigabyte, you likely think of their graphics cards or motherboards, but they’ve also been creating some very impressive, award winning peripherals over the years; a trend they look to continue with their new Force H gaming headsets.

The Force H headsets have been designed with the high-end consumer in mind, as Gigabyte aim to offer premium quality for music lovers and audio-savvy gamers alike. The H series offers up five new headsets, each packed with a unique design, high quality components, and a promise of high-end performance.

Each Force H headset has been designed with a different audio technology, making each one uniquely suitable to different consumer requirements. The H7 and H5 are the flagship models in the range, offering true 5.1 and virtual 7.1 respectively. The H3 and H3X feature a pair of powerful 50mm neodymium drivers with inclined chambers that are said to offer ” crisp in-game details with explosive bass and incredible positional audio to hardcore gamers”. Finally we have the H1, which comes with wireless Bluetooth technology, making it ideal for wireless desktop usage as well as mobile gaming.

All of the headsets are really nicely designed and feature a retractable uni-directional microphone. The H7 and H5 feature in-line controllers and the H1 has on-board controls. The H3X will be the first to hit the market this October, the H7 and H5 will follow shortly afterwards and the H1 will ship in October. No details on price just yet, but we expect Gigabyte to reveal this information shortly.

Thank you Gigabyte for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Gigabyte.

€2,900 12GB Asus GTX Titan Black Card Makes An Appearance

Nvidia are no stranger to creating ultra high-end graphics cards with prices fit for a king, and today is no different. A mysterious new Asus graphics card has appeared online; a 12GB edition of the GTX Titan Black with a price tag of €2,900!

The normal GTX Titan Black comes equipped with 6GB of memory and costs around €900, so this is a significant price increase over the standard model. To put this into perspective, only the Titan Z comes equipped with 12GB of memory to cater to its dual GPU architecture, so this is either a crazy over priced Titan Black with double the memory, or it’s a dual GPU Titan Black.

The Asus GTX Titan Black-12GD5 features 12GB of memory, a standard dual DVI, HDMI and DP interface at the back, a price tag of €2,900; unfortunately that’s all the information we have right now, but we have to wonder who would be prepared to pay this given recent hardware price drops following the launch of GTX 9xx series cards, as well as price drops of competing AMD graphics hardware such as the R9 295X2.

Thank you Chiphell for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Chiphell.

Windows Operating System Naming Schedule set to Change

It’s been said by Industry analysts that Microsoft are set to change their naming style for their soon-to-be-released next generation offering. Currently codenamed “Threshold”, the new operating system is set to drop the numbering system off the end of the scale – killing the publics current “Windows 9” naming protocol. This was discussed at a recent press conference, marking the possibility of Microsoft killing its long-time tradition.

Although we’ve seen non-numbered Windows editions in the past such as XP, VISTA and ME, it seemed logical to most that a number would succeed Windows 7, 8 and 8.1.

This naming change is said to symbolise an end of an era and a new stage of development for corporate giant Microsoft. They’ve moved CEO’s from Steve Ballmer to Satya Nadella and are said to be focusing more heavily on equipment sales service, rather than Windows PC software design. Nadella’s strategy for Microsoft moving forwards has claimed to put “cloud computing first”, marking a slight change in direction of focus.

If you haven’t picked it up by now, Microsoft’s new offering is set to be named simply “Windows”.

Image courtesy of The United States Independent

ASUS ARES III Card Debuts in Japan

Recently, ASUS announced their high tier ROG ARES III Graphics Card. This beast brings to the table a massive 8GB of GDDR5 RAM and a custom water-cooling block pre-installed. Unfortunately for most end users, this card has been brought out at rather high price due to it’s limited edition nature; 2x 290x’s included in its architecture and water-cooling from factory.

If you want to get your hands on this bad boy in China, you’re looking at a hefty $2.7k+ USD price tag, far outweighing the R9 295X2 graphics card price at $2.1k USD in comparison. These high prices have been forcing end users to stick with their lower grade graphics cards as most cannot justify the expensive upgrade. Coupled with this, the card has only currently been made available in one place which cuts any possibility of competitive pricing.

Fly a few hours over to Japan and you can get your hands on an ARES III for only 2.1k USD – why is this the case? Some members of the public suggest China’s tariff is to blame. Claiming that China’s VAT is 17% comparable to a Japanese consumption tax of only 8%.

Unfortunately, we haven’t seen any word of this card in America or Europe as of yet, as we’re interested to see the pricing after it’s released globally.

Image courtesy of ASUS ROG

Source thanks to Chiphell

US Government Hire Call of Duty Creator As a War Advisor

America has been looking for the ‘military advantage’ over the last decade or so, ever since the terror threat was brought to their shores though the disastrous 9/11 attacks.

The Atlantic Council think tank has decided to think outside of the box, hiring Dave Anthony – the creator of the famous Call of Duty franchise. Anthony is said to be playing a part of ‘The Art of Future War Project’ run by the aforementioned think tank in an effort to work on the way that the US military conduct their campaigns. Launching next week, this project will see famous authors, screenwriters and entertainment personalities all banding together to share their knowledge and expertise.

Originally announced by former Pentagon official Steven Grundman, the idea was introduced by him witnessing his son play Call of Duty: Black Ops II, claiming that “he was struck how realistic our portrayal in ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops II’ was of a future conflict.” Grundman, in an interview with the Washington post commented “It occurred to me that the perspective of artists on this question is compelling and insightful, and it’s also different. One feature that struck me was the combination of both familiar technologies and novel ones” continuing to say “I didn’t want to satisfy myself with an approach everyone was doing. It’s a crowded field of ideas”.

A direct statement from the Atlantic Council think tank reads:

“Writers, directors and producers and other artists bring to bear observations derived from wholly different experiences in the creative world. They can ask different kinds of questions that will challenge assumptions and status quo ways of tackling some of today’s toughest national security problems”.

So what will these stars, screen genius’ and game developers actually be working on? That’s classified. But the main question being asked by the public after this release echoes “Is it worth it?”. Many users of online social media outlets have become seemingly outraged since the release of this information, claiming a waste of their tax dollars and the governments time. But as with every negative, there’s also a positive side of views where some are keen to see what this new collection of talent can produce.

Could this be the beginning of game-style technology coming to life? We hope so.

Image courtesy of Gameplanet

Information thanks to RT and Tweaktown

5 Reasons Why You Need a Barcode Printer in Your Store

Barcode technology has changed the way in which we do business. Barcode printers and associated devices have enabled store owners and employees to create, read and process product labels in order to keep track of their inventory, monitor shipping and improve the overall quality of their client’s shopping experience. These days, one can find a plethora of barcode printers available on the market. Essentially, all these models serve the same practical purpose: they create barcode labels that are attached to the products commercialized by a certain retailer. If you are contemplating the idea of launching your own business, you might be wondering: why do I need a barcode printer in the first place? Here are a few motives that could justify this purchase.

  1. Barcode Printers Are Real Time-Savers.

Can you imagine how the retail industry would look like in the absence of barcode printing and scanning technology? Store owners would be faced with even more challenges. They would have to implement a different system to record orders, manage their inventory and monitor their profit. Fortunately, at this point, their work is less stressful and time-consuming, simply because they count on barcode printers. According to WhatIs, barcode printers are those handy gadgets producing various kinds of barcode labels that get attached to objects that are put up for sale. There are two types of technologies behind modern barcode printers: thermal transfer and direct thermal techniques. Both methods represent ways in which the ink is applied to labels. No matter what type of printing technology you use, your barcode printer will let you save a lot of time while handling merchandise.

  1. Barcode Printers Help Users Keep Track of Their Inventory.

Have you ever wondered how huge warehouses manage to keep track of every single package that enters or exits the facility? The answer is quite simple: the company is counting on a modern, extremely effective barcode system that turns inventory control into child’s play. Barcodes are used so that employees can track sales and restock the shelves based on solid data that leaves very little room for misguided decisions. Barcodes allow business owners to gain full control over their own company, identify top-selling items and the ones that are actually gathering dust on the store shelves, make smarter decisions and also prevent losses associated with human typing errors, misplaced items or theft. Barcode printers play a decisive part in this equation, ensuring superior, stress-free inventory control.

  1. Increased Speed.

Busy business owners have very little spare time on their hands and are often forced to multitask to achieve their daily goals. Speed and accuracy are of the essence. In this context, it becomes obvious why a barcode printer is considered a smart long-term investment. If you can print scannable product labels in record time, this means that you can organize your merchandise, keep an eye on your inventory, classify and analyze your sold items, come up with detailed reports based on solid numbers, monitor shipping and so much more. In short, barcode printers are a part of an enormous puzzle that guarantees the profitability and popularity of your business. Whether you are selling top-notch video surveillance equipment or children’s books, you will need a barcode printer in your store to simplify your selling and inventory management.

  1. Accuracy.

When you are running a small business on a tight budget, you can seldom afford to make mistakes out of negligence. Accuracy becomes one of your main concerns. A barcode printer enables users to eliminate their worries and achieve the highest level of data protection and integrity. You just can’t go wrong with barcode printers that have successfully replaced manual operations. According to B2B Information, barcodes are permanently included on your product labels. They can’t vanish into thin air when you need to read them. Barcodes get scanned by store cashiers to provide detailed info related to the price tag of the item that’s about to be sold. By eliminating costly human errors, barcode printers help users make certain processes more automatic and flow faster without any interruptions. Last but not least, certain types of barcode printers, like the one introduced by Shopify, enables employees to create barcode labels in different sizes, leaving the door open to amazing customization options.

  1. Shipment Tracking.

According to Chron Small Business, barcode systems also let companies of all sizes make the most of a straightforward, highly accessible shipment tracking solution. Warehouses scan product barcodes when they accept cargo; packages are then re-scanned when they are being delivered. Companies that have linked their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to mobile apps can easily scan their shipments and find out whether or not one or more products are missing. Also, they can update delivery status and let their clients know when their packages are expected to depart, arrive or be delivered.

All in all, these are only 5 reasons proving that barcode printers are an essential component of a fully functional barcoding system that can take your business to a whole new level.

Lian Li Shows off New Wall-Mountable Open-Air Prototypes

Lian Li are trying out their newest prototype cases on Facebook, much in the same fashion they did with their DK-01X Desktop Case. This is an easy and great way to get customer feedback before finalizing a product. This time around Lian Li is teasing us with their newest prototypes of wall-mountable open-air cases.

The new series of cases is planned to have three sizes, mini ITX, micro ATX and ATX. They are all built upon the same principle with the only variation being size and a little bit connectivity. The case itself is made of brushed black aluminium, just like we’re used to it from Lian Li; a material that simply looks great. The top is covered with a tempered glass panel that gives you a great view on the components. This being an open-air case, it has no additional locations to mount case-fans.

The PC-05 measures 400 x 349 x 138mm and supports one slim optical drive as well as two 3.5-inch and two 2.5-inch drives. If the user doesn’t need the dedicated GPU there’s room for two further disks of choice. It has two expansion slots and no system fan. The Front panel has two USB 3.0 and HD Audio ports.

It supports graphic cards up to 200 mm and SFX power supplies up to 125 mm length. The maximum height for the CPU cooler is 80 mm.

The PC-06 features a similar layout, just a bit bigger. It measures 450 x 500 x 153 mm. There will also be a sub-model to support Water cooling called the PC-06S. The S model will have support for up to 360 mm radiators and increases the width from 500 to 546 mm.

The drive support is a little different with three 3.5-inch and one 2.5-inch bays. Without a GPU it has an additional three bays of choice. The front panel has been expanded to 4 USB 3.0 ports, otherwise it’s the same as the smaller version.

This version supports graphics cards up to 290 mm and ATX power supplies up to 170 mm length. The CPU cooler can be 95 mm in this case. There aren’t many components you can’t mount in this case with space like that.

The PC-07 is the biggest of the three and allows for full-sized ATX motherboards. It measures 500 x 524 x 153 mm and there is a water cooling model here too. The PC-07S measures 500 x 570 x 153 mm.

This version supports up to three 3.5-inch and one 2.5-inch drives, and an additional three drives when no GPU is used. It uses the same front panel as the micro ATX model and supports the same sized components.

Sadly we haven’t seen any photos of the PC-06S water-cooling model yet, but these three normal ones look amazing and so does the PC-07S rear shot below. Considering the amount of hard drive space you can get when not using a dedicated GPU, these cases would make for some great server display-cases on your wall. And with the use of a GPU you got a great looking gaming system at hands.

Thank you Lian Li for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Lian Li

Gelid SnowStorm CPU Cooler Released

Gelid are one of the biggest names in the cooling industry, their thermal pastes are some of the most popular among the enthusiast and overclocking communities, and their CPU coolers have often offered good performance for reasonable prices. Their latest cooler might not help you set any new benchmarking world records, but its compact heatsink design, which features three power heatpipes and a 92mm fan with PWM, will help keep your computer cool and quiet.

The SnowStorm CPU cooler has been designed with a unique fin architecture, which Gelid claim will distribute airflow equally around the heatsink. It features three direct touch heat pipes, which promise “unexpected cooling performance” and the PWM fan control is said to offer silent operation at low CPU temperatures.

Obviously not the greatest CPU cooler in the world, but for just 21 EUR and backed up with a 5 year warranty, the SnowStorm is looking like a great product for those on a tighter budget and I’m eager to find out how it performs in benchmarks, as Gelid coolers have proven reliable in the past.

Thank you Gelid for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Gelid.

Backblaze Reveal Their Hard Drive Fail Rates for Hitachi, Seagate & WD

Online backup service Backblaze have just published their enterprise hard drive fail rate statistics for 2014. Since they have a large data centre at their disposal, they’re in a perfect position to report on the reliability of hard drives after extensive usage; they have 34,881 hard drives in their data centre, storing over 100 petabytes of data.

“Losing a disk drive at Backblaze is not a big deal. Every file we back up is replicated across multiple drives in the data centre. When a drive fails, it is promptly replaced, and its data is restored. Even so, we still try to avoid failing drives, because replacing them costs money.” Said Backblaze. “We carefully track which drives are doing well and which are not, to help us when selecting new drives to buy.” They added.

At their disposal are 2TB, 3TB and 4TB Hitachi drives, 1.5TB, 3TB and 4TB Seagate drives, and 1TB and 3TB Western Digital drives. As you can see in the charts above and below, Seagate 3.0TB drives are failing more frequently, going from around 9% up to 15%; although even 9% is quite a high number in my opinion. Hitachi and WD drives are performing really well, although it’s clear that the 3TB WD drives are wearing out more frequently this year.

Is this a true indication of their performance and quality? Yes and no, since there are a lot of external factors at play.

“It may be that those drives are less well-suited to the data centre environment. Or it could be that getting them by drive farming and removing them from external USB enclosures caused problems. We’ll continue to monitor and report on how these drives perform in the future.” said Backblaze when discussing the causes of the drive failures.

Thank you Backblaze for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Backblaze.

DeepCool Launches Captain Series Liquid CPU Cooler

DeepCool has just launched their newest liquid CPU cooler under its sub-brand Gamer Storm. The innovative and creative new cooler, the Captain, which is a name that I think is very fitting. This has to be one of the most unusual and beautiful approaches to AIO coolers I’ve seen so far. There will be three models with radiator sizes of 120, 240 and 360 mm.

The CPU block is a patented Separated Section design. It divides the pump and cold plate into two blocks and then connects the two by a transparent tube. This allows for a visible water flow that looks somewhat like a tiny nuclear reactor when coupled with the fin design at the top. The base is made from 100% pure copper and the radiators are precision-machined with high density fins (0.2 mm).

The included fans are 120 mm PWM silent fans that operate between 600 and 2200 RPM. The fans also have a unique detachable fan impeller design; this allows you to take the fan blades off to clean or lubricate them without having to remove the entire frame.

The Deepcool Captain comes with mounting kits for both AMD and Intel, including the new Intel LGA2011-V3 socket; it also looks like a fan hub and metal sticker is included.

All three new coolers use anti-evaporation tubes to minimize the loss of pre-filled coolant from the kit.

The new Deepcool Captain liquid CPU cooler should be available October 2014 with a MSRP of $79.99 for the 120 mm, $109.99 for the 240 mm and $139.99 for the 360 mm version.

Thank you legitreviews for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Deepcool

Zotac Announce GTX 980 AMP! Extreme and AMP! Omega

Hungry for performance but looking for something extra cool? Zotac might just have something to tickle your fancy.

Yesterday they released their new poster child to the world – the Zotac GTX 980 AMP! Extreme Edition (pictured above). This mean machine is running NVIDIA’s new Maxwell chip at a minimum core frequency of between 1291 (base) and 1393 MHz (boost) and incorporates a memory clock of 7200MHz into its architecture. The card is also offering a large 4GB of memory running at DDR5 coupled with their ‘ZOTAC OC Plus‘ independent power controller which is said to allow for easier overclocking for end users.

Zotac asks if we’d like to “live above the limits”, a marketing slogan that doesn’t bring anything too fancy or new to the technology scene, but it certainly begs the question – how will this card stack up in user reviews compared to similar offerings from other companies such as GIGABYTE who offer a 1288MHz core frequency for one.

Zotac also claim that “smooth power delivery is vital when it comes to intense gaming sessions” and go on to talk about their own ZOTAC Power+ technology which is said to “monitor the GPU’s power requirements in real-time to optimize the power delivery circuitry for maximum stability while minimizing wasted energy for long-term reliability and extreme performance.” There are other various claims made through their official satellite site in regards to cooling effects, overclocking capabilities and general card architecture. Is this marketing hype, or is this really some ground-breaking technology on offer? Its up to you and the reviews to decide.

As far as the GTX 980 AMP! Omega card is concerned, Zotac offers this with slightly lower specifications and a different style.

We’re excited to see how this card will stack up against it’s competitors – make sure you continue to check eTeknix for future review articles on these graphical beasts.

Image courtesy of Zotac

Raijintek Agos Mid-Tower Chassis Review


Raijintek have been on a winning streak ever since they hit the market, launching one award-winning product after another. Their real strong point has been class leading performance at affordable prices when compared to the competition and their CPU and GPU coolers are a prime example of this. Raijintek are now looking to tackle the chassis market and we’ve got their budget friendly Agos at our disposal to see if they can do the same for the chassis market, as they have for the cooling market.

The Agos is certainly affordable, with a price tag of just under £40 from most major retailers. This is a fiercely competitive part of the market and while many of us dream of owning ultra high-end chassis products that cost £100, the reality is that £30-50 is where most of us end up spending our money, so it’ll be interesting to see what the Raijintek Agos has to offer for this kind of money.

The chassis comes equipped with all of the features you could ask for when building a gaming rig; lots of airflow with dust filters, modular storage bays, USB 3.0 support, water cooling support, room for large air coolers, space for extra fans, tool free drive installation and room for large graphics cards of up to 410mm; more than enough for even the largest cards on the market.

The packaging is fairly straight forward, with a black and white image of the chassis on the front, the product logo and a quick run down of the major features and specifications (see above).

Around the back you’ll find a more detailed run down of the specifications as well as a representation of the chassis interior and fittings.

In the box you’ll find everything you need to get your components installed; including cable ties, screws and an internal system speaker.

Nvidia Shuts Down Rumours About Adaptive Sync Support

There have been rumours going around the internet the last couple of days, that the new Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 and 970 might support Adaptive Sync. Those rumours have been shut finally down after the Chinese technology page Expreview reached out to Nvidia for a comment. Nvidia made it clear in their reply that they want to focus on their own G-sync. This isn’t very surprising, especially with the long range of compatible monitors hitting the market from Acer, Asus, AOC and other companies.

The Adaptive Sync is a royalty free and open standard developed by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) and supported by AMD. The technology does about the same as Nvidia’s own G-Sync, but without any additional hardware. Both technologies let the GPU and monitor keep the display refresh rate in sync with the GPU frame-rates. The end-result is a more fluent picture and an overall smoother result.

The rumour itself should never really have started, but once something like this takes off, it gets around. The two new Nvidia GeForce cards in question only have a DisplayPort 1.2 according to their specifications, and DisplayPort 1.2a is needed for the Adaptive Sync technology. AMD’s current R7 and R9 Radeon cards all feature the DisplayPort 1.2a and thereby already support the Adaptive Sync technology.

This might have been a very deliberate move from Nvidia to boost their own technology. When we look at the new cards, they have the newest of technology everywhere, including the HDMI 2.0 port. Using an older DisplayPort version effectively forces owners of the cards to use Nvidia’s own G-Sync technology, if they want their frame-rate synced.

I honestly have to say, I haven’t seen the two technologies side by side. So I can’t say if one is better than the other. I have however seen both demonstrated separate next to a non-synced setup, and there is a distinct difference.


After having received some comments on this article, I’d like to clarify it a bit more.  AMD FreeSync, that is part of the new VESA Adaptive Sync standard, is still a prototype system. There aren’t any actual products for it yet.

The base and support for it is there in the DisplayPort 1.2a on the graphics cards, but it requires the monitors to support it too, thus FreeSync isn’t an actual product yet. FreeSync has been demoed and it will come, but G-Sync is here today.

Thank you Expreview for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Nvidia