D-Link DCS-2630L Full HD 180-Degree Wi-Fi Camera Review

Introduction


Home security is an ever growing trend as technology gets smaller and better, and at the same time, it has also become a lot for affordable for the everyman. Today I’m taking a look at one of the best options in this category as I’m having D-Link’s DCS-2630L Full HD 180-Degree Wi-Fi camera in my testing area.

Where most home surveillance cams still come with a 720p resolution, the D-Link DCS-2630L adds on top of that and goes for the full 1080p HD experience. While 720p already was a great step up from the old 480p CCTV resolution, it just doesn’t beat the full 1080p experience. The Wi-Fi camera doesn’t just feature a higher than usual resolution, it also has a wider field of view, allowing you to monitor an up to 180-degree wide area. Basic cameras only feature 90 or 120-degree view, which allows the DCS-2630L to monitor a lot more real estate that might prevent you from having to set up multiple cameras. The wide-view feature is also a lot better to look at than a traditional wide view fisheye view that distorts things.

Recording video during daylight is an easy thing, but you’ll also want to monitor what is going on when it is dark. After all, that is the time of day we usually associate with the need for protection. D-Link added night vision capabilities to the DCS-2630L with the help of infrared LEDs. The camera is able to see in the dark at a distance of up to 5 meters (16 ft) with as little as 0 Lux light. The IR LEDs can be turned on manually, but the camera also features a light sensor that determines when the LEDs are needed.

Next to the six infrared LEDs it also features two PIR sensors that detect infrared radiation when a person or animal passes for an enhanced motion detection. And that is another one of this cameras features next to just being able to show and record what is going on. With motion and sound detection, the camera is able to start recording automatically and also push notifications to your Windows, Android, and iOS device to let you know that something is going on.

D-Link didn’t just built-in a high-quality microphone to picks up on loud noises like the breaking of glass and the ability to send notification alerts about this to you, it also features 2-way audio that lets you send audio back. A high-quality speaker lets you respond to what you see using your mobile device.

The Full HD sensor features a 1/3-inch 3-megapixel sensor to deliver images in sharp and rich detail while the camera lens is made of glass for the best possible results. All this coupled with the de-warping technology provides you with a clear and ultra-wide 180º field of view surveillance. The camera comes on a wall mountable metal stand with flexible tilt for the perfect angle. It also allows for 360-degree camera rotation to ensure that your video is perfectly level no matter where you mount it.

It isn’t just an ordinary camera on the Wi-Fi field either and it sports a proper IEEE 802.11ac dual-band connection for reliable connection and streaming. It also features a convenient WPS button for quick and simple connection with the rest of your network infrastructure. Everyone can press a button. Besides the wireless connection, the DCS-2630L also features a micro SD/SDXC card slot with support for up to 128GB memory cards. This is enough for up to a week of continuous clip recordings in 1080p.

A status LED lets you know what your camera’s doing, which is a simple but very useful thing. The whole camera in itself is very power effective and only requires a USB connection, portable battery, or power adapter to run. That also allows for a very flexible placement.

Feature Highlights

  • 180-degree Ultra-Wide-View
  • Full HD 1080p video
  • Night vision up to 16-feet
  • Sound & motion detection triggers e-mail / push alert notifications
  • 2 PIR Sensors – Enhanced motion detection senses when a person or animal passes for accurate
  • notifications
  • microSDXC card slot – Record continuous, scheduled, or detection triggered video clips directly to a
  • microSDCX card up to 128 GB
  • Unique De-warping technology maximizes the video quality with less distortion to eliminate a fish-eye view
  • Built-in two-way audio
  • mydlink app support for iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows phone

Specifications

Packaging and Content

The D-Link DCS-2630L is a consumer camera and the package is made to be as eye-capturing as the camera catches images. The front displays the camera and usage scenario as well as the product highlights such as 1080p and wide eye lens.

On the rear, you will find more detailed information about the functions and features, all in full colour.

Each of the two sides is full of information too. On one side you find the features listed above the minimum requirements for usage.

On the other side, you’ll find a simple representation of the camera’s easy setup and usage as well as what’s inside the box.

Besides the Wi-Fi camera itself, you also find the Quick Install Card with default information and QR-code for easy setup as well as the quick install guide, a GPL code statement, and an assistance card if you should have trouble.

There’s also an AC/DC adapter included with a plug fitting the region where you bought it. Due to the clever usage of micro-USB, the camera is also easily powered otherwise.

PS4 Gets Surprise Releases of Bully and Manhunt

With all the new releases that seem to come out on an almost weekly basis, it is hard to forget about some of the older games that paved the way for you to enjoy today’s releases. The PS4 has reminded us of two such games, with surprise releases of Bully And Manhunt now showing that some old games are worth rebuying.

Bully was released in 2006 and is kinda like a junior GTA. You play as Jimmy Hopkins, a rebellious teen who was dumped at Bullworth Academy by his parents. The Academy is no picknick, with players expected to survive against bullies, absent-minded teachers and a busy school day with everything from a slingshot to stinkbombs.

Manhunt, on the other hand, was released in 2003 and was quite controversial upon its release and still is even to this day. With a mix of violence and stealth, the game sees you play as James Earl Cash, a death row inmate who is promised his freedom in exchange for surviving in a city filled with people who want him dead.

Two games that shaped many lives are now available on the PlayStation store in Europe (they could also be released in North America when the store is next updated) and both retail for £11.99. With both games upscaled to 1080p with features such as Trophies, Remote Play and share play, it would seem that they are keen on bringing the PS2 games to the PS4 with all its modern perks. You can find Bully here and Manhunt here, with Bully already receiving 960 reviews since its release on the 22nd.

Far Cry Primal Graphics Card Performance Analysis

Introduction


The Far Cry franchise gained notoriety for its impeccable graphical fidelity and enthralling open world environment. As a result, each release is incredibly useful to gauge the current state of graphics hardware and performance across various resolutions. Although, Ubisoft’s reputation has suffered in recent years due to poor optimization on major titles such as Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Watch Dogs. This means it’s essential to analyze the PC version in a technical manner and see if it’s really worth supporting with your hard-earned cash!

Far Cry Primal utilizes the Dunia Engine 2 which was deployed on Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 4. Therefore, I’m not expecting anything revolutionary compared to the previous games. This isn’t necessarily a negative concept though because the amount of detail is staggering and worthy of recognition. Saying that, Far Cry 4 was plagued by intermittent hitching and I really hope this has been resolved. Unlike Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, the latest entry has a retail price of $60. According to Ubisoft, this is warranted due to the lengthy campaign and amount on content on offer. Given Ubisoft’s turbulent history with recent releases, it will be fascinating to see how each GPU this generation fares and which brand the game favours at numerous resolutions.

“Far Cry Primal is an action-adventure video game developed and published by Ubisoft. It was released for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on February 23, 2016, and it was also released for Microsoft Windows on March 1, 2016. The game is set in the Stone Age, and revolves around the story of Takkar, who starts off as an unarmed hunter and rises to become the leader of a tribe.” From Wikipedia.

DOOM Will Run at Same Resolution and Frame Rate on All Platforms

Id Software has announced that its new not-quite-a-sequel but not-quite-a-reboot DOOM announced that the forthcoming first-person shooter will run at 1080p and 60fps on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.

“We want players to wonder how DOOM and idTech 6 [game engine] games can be so visually stunning at 60 frames-per-second at 1080p on all platforms, when other titles cannot even achieve a similar look at 30 frames-per-second,” Lead Project Programmer Billy Khan told the Bethesda blog. “Our goal is to be the best-looking game at 1080p at 60fps.”

Presumably, as far as the PC release is concerned, the 1080p/60fps standard will be its minimum default, with more powerful systems able to support higher resolutions and frame rates.

“idTech 6 allows the artists and designers to quickly decorate the world with fine details,” Khan explained. “idTech 6’s physically based renderer and dynamic lighting system allows our artists to make our characters and environments more realistic and stunning than ever before.”

“Many on our tech team worked at Crytek before, so we’ve known and worked with each other for some time,” Lead Renderer Programmer Tiago Sousa added. “It’s been an interesting and productive venture, learning about idTech foundations and researching where and how we will take it to new levels.”

DOOM is set for release on PC, Xbox One, and PS4 on 13th May.

Samsung Unveils First 256GB Flash Storage Chip

Samsung has announced that it has begun producing the world’s first 256GB Universal Flash Storage (UFS) 2.0 chip, for use in next-generation, high-end mobile devices. The new UFS chip’s performance speeds exceed those of a typical SATA solid state drive (SSD).

“By providing high-density UFS memory that is nearly twice as fast as a SATA SSD for PCs, we will contribute to a paradigm shift within the mobile data storage market,” Joo Sun Choi, Executive Vice President of Memory Sales and Marketing for Samsung Electronics, said in a press release. “We are determined to push the competitive edge in premium storage line-ups – OEM NVMe SSDs, external SSDs, and UFS – by moving aggressively to enhance performance and capacity in all three markets.”

The 256GB UFS memory module boasts 45,000 (read) and 40,000 (write) input/output operations per second (IOPS), which is more than twice as fast as the previous generation of UFS chips, which operate at 19,000 (read) and 14,000 (write) IOPS.

“Using Samsung’s advanced memory technology, the new UFS memory chips are extremely compact, even smaller than an external micro SD card, giving greater flexibility to smartphone designers,” the press release reads.

Samsung hopes the new UFS chips will help support watching 1080p and 4K video on mobile devices, so presumably the memory is set to be a feature of future Samsung Galaxy tablets, and maybe even the Samsung Galaxy Note 6.

Rise of the Tomb Raider Performance Analysis

Introduction


Rise of the Tomb Raider originally launched on November 10th and received widespread critical acclaim from various press outlets. Unfortunately, the game went under the radar because Fallout 4 released on the same day. This was a strategic error which hindered the game’s sales and prevented consumers from giving it their undivided attention. It’s such a shame because Rise of the Tomb Raider is a technical marvel when you consider the Xbox One’s limited horsepower. Even though it’s not technically an exclusive, PC players had to wait until after the Christmas period to enjoy the latest exploits of everyone’s favourite heroine.

The PC version was created by Nixxes Software who worked on the previous Tomb Raider reboot as well as a number of other graphically diverse PC games. The studio is renowned for creating highly polished and well-optimized PC versions featuring an astonishing level of graphical fidelity. Prior to release, NVIDIA recommended a GTX 970 for the optimal 1080p experience and 980 Ti for 1440P. Since then, there have been some performance patches from the developer and driver updates to help with scaling across various hardware configuration. This means it will be fascinating to see the performance numbers now that the game has matured and gone through a large number of post-release hot fixes.

Rise of the Tomb Raider is an action-adventure video game developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix. It is the sequel to the 2013 video game Tomb Raider, which was itself, the second reboot to its series. It was released for Xbox One and Xbox 360 in November 2015 and for Microsoft Windows in January 2016. It is set to release for PlayStation 4 in late 2016.

The game’s storyline follows Lara Croft as she ventures into Siberia in search of the legendary city of Kitezh, whilst battling a paramilitary organization that intends on beating her to the city’s promise of immortality. Presented from a third-person perspective, the game primarily focuses on survival and combat, while the player may also explore its landscape and various optional tombs. Camilla Luddington returns to voice and perform her role as Lara.” From Wikipedia.

So, let’s get to it and see how some of the latest graphics cards on the market hold up with the latest from Crystal Dynamics!

Inno3D GeForce GTX 980Ti X3 Ultra DHS Graphics Card Review

Introduction


NVIDIA’s GTX 980Ti has proved to be a very popular choice among hardware enthusiasts requiring extreme performance at demanding resolutions. Whether you’re opting for a 21:9 3440×1440 60Hz panel, 4K display or high refresh rate 1440P monitor, there’s very few single card configurations on the market capable of dealing with advanced AA, complex tessellation and other visually taxing effects while driving a large number of pixels. Technically, the Titan X is NVIDIA’s flagship product and its 12GB frame buffer initially appears like an enticing proposition. However, the price to performance ratio is quite poor especially when you consider the 980Ti is based on the same GM200 silicone and only exhibits a few cost saving measures. Most notably, the video memory is reduced from 12GB to 6GB and the shader units have been slightly scaled back from 3072 to 2816.

Barring a few exceptions, the majority of Titan X models utilize a reference design which results in reduced overclocking headroom and higher temperatures. In contrast to this, custom cooled GTX 980Ti SKUs feature very impressive factory overclocks and enable users to access a higher power limit percentage when tackling manual core and memory boosts. As a result, it’s not uncommon for 980Ti GPUs to outperform the Titan X in certain scenarios despite costing £300-400 less. This means it is the perfect choice for the higher end demographic and also provides an improved price to performance ratio.

Today we’re looking at one of the fastest GTX 980 Ti models on the market incorporating a pre-overclocked core of 1216MHz and boost reaching 1317MHz. Additionally, the memory is set at 7280MHz compared to 7010MHz on the reference design. Given the impeccable 3-fan cooling solution, and impressive factory overclock, I expect the graphics card to perform superbly and pull away from the reference 980Ti by a noticeable margin.

Specifications:

Packing and Accessories

The Inno3D 980Ti X3 Ultra DHS is packaged in a hefty box which does an excellent job of protecting the GPU, and bundled accessories. On another note, the box adopts a really striking design which emphasizes the extreme level of performance on offer.

The opposite side includes a brief synopsis of the GPU’s capabilities and outlines the modern features incorporated into this particular model such as High Dynamic Range (HDR).

In terms of accessories, the product comes with interchangeable cover plates, an installation guide, 3DMark digital code, power supply guidelines, driver disk, and the usual array of adapters. Please note, the 3DMark code is not pictured to prevent the serial from being used.

Another highlight is the extremely high quality elongated mouse pad. I love extended mouse pads because they allow you to neatly position your keyboard and mouse while opting for a clean, sophisticated appearance. Despite being a free addition, the mouse pad is remarkably thick and should last a long time without becoming too frayed.

AOC G2460PG 24″ G-Sync Monitor Review

Introduction


I’ve never really been a fan of buying a monitor, I tend to only look at three key aspects; screen size, resolution and the overall appearance. While that is generally a good way to choose a monitor, there are a multitude of other features that require your attention depending on your intended use.

If you are a gamer or avid video editor, the response time and refresh rates would be of key interest to you to ensure that there is little input lag from your input device and that there is little screen tearing. Professional photograph editors may be less interested in those features, but the contrast ratio, brightness and available colours are more important.

Today we have the gaming orientated AOC G2460PG G-Sync enabled monitor. One of the cheapest G-Sync enabled monitors on the market at approximately £300. While this still isn’t cheap, you have to pay for the quality and performance that G-Sync will bring to your gaming experience. This monitor packs in a great feature set, with an ultra low 1ms response time, 144Hz and a huge 80m:1 contrast ratio. This monitor also features Ultra Low Motion Blur (ULMB), which drastically reduces the blur on screen which can occur in some face paced games such as the racing genre. I will not be testing this feature as it can only be activated with G-Sync off.

Packaging and Features

The front of the box is very plain, focusing primarily on the logo, screen and key details regarding the monitor such as QHD and IPS panel type. The image displayed on the monitor itself leads itself to be desired more by the professional buyer than the general gaming enthusiast.

AOC kept the website clean with more professionalism for those looking for information. The key features that were outlined apart from the QHD and 3-Year warranty are AOC flicker-free technology, integrated speakers and ergonomic stand.

 

MMD Refreshes E-Line Displays with 3 New Philips Models

MMD, a leading brand license partner for Philips Monitors, announced a refreshed line-up of consumer displays with three new models. The first new monitor is a 23-inch version using an AH-IPS panel while the last two monitors feature PLS LED panels and are 24-inch and 27-inch respectively. All three of the latest E-Line displays are said to “offer vivid, true-to-life colours and wide-angle viewing, styled in an elegance-inspired design for a light, fresh face in any home or office.”

IPS panels are the preferred ones by most people, so let’s start with the 237E (237E7QDSB) 23-inch monitor. The stand and frame is a glossy black finish with edge-to-edge glass and narrow borders. The narrow borders give minimal viewing distractions and also allow easy setups with multiple monitors. For an extra sleek look, the front border is kept free of touch buttons, instead the monitor features a discreetly placed EasySelect toggle key on the rear to make quick adjustments to monitor settings. You can spot the EasySelect key on the bottom left side in the photo below.

The EasyToogle button is present on all three new monitors, also on the 24-inch 246E (246E7QDSW) and 27-inch 276E (276E7QDSW) monitors. You also get the same 178-degree viewing angles, Full-HD resolution at 60Hz, and a 250 cd/m² brightness on all three models.

Besides the difference in panel type, the three new Philips monitors are almost identical. The 24-inch and 27-inch monitors use PLS LED technology and aren’t black. Instead, they are available in a glossy white finish with a slim and elegant metal stand. Colour-wise, the two can reproduce 82% of the NTSC colour gamut.

All three displays come with technology features such as Philips Flicker-free, SmartContrast, Economy mode, and SmartImage Lite. Connection wise you get an analog VGA D-Sub connector, a digital HDCP DVI-D connector, and an MHL-HDMI connector, making them suitable for almost any system. That even goes for mobile devices that are MHL-capable. With an optional MHL cable, you can connect it directly and charge the mobile device at the same time.

The new Philips displays 237E7QDSB, 246E7QDSW and 276E7QDSW will be available at the beginning of November at £149, £159 and £219 respectively.

Overclockers UK Launches New Marvel AMD Gaming PC Range

Overclockers UK has launched two brand new PCs in the Marvel range, the Marvel 4K and the Marvel 1080p, and it isn’t hard to guess what gaming resolutions these systems are designed for with names like that. Both systems are AMD based and come at a very reasonable price.

The Marvel 4K is designed to deliver 4K gaming at a very wallet-friendly price point but still utilizing high-grade components. The system is built with an ASUS STRIX Radeon R9 390X 8GB Graphics Card, but with upgrade options that include the Radeon Fury and FuryX 4GB HBM. To provide stable power, Overclockers added the highly recommended Super Flower PSU and a wide range of chassis to choose from. Among the cases are models from Aerocool, Cougar and Bitfenix, giving you the choice of look, style and colours. The Marvel 4K is also equipped with a selection of solid state drives, mechanical drives, or hybrid drives.

The Marvel 1080p is a more modest approach to a system and it’s built around AMD’s APUs. These systems are designed to be an alternative to gaming consoles and can be yours for a very similar price. While APUs might not be the go-to choice for hardcore gamers, they provide more than sufficient power for popular online games like League of Legends.

The Marvel 4K starts from £799.99 and the Marvel 1080p starts at £399.95, depending on customizations you choose. However, if you’re in the market for a Marvel 1080p system, you might want to get on it now as the Marvel 1080p is available with a £70 discount at the moment, reducing the price all the way down to £329.95.

Elgato Demonstrates HD60 Pro Game Capture Card

The times where online streaming was reserved for a few selected people is long gone and there are millions of gamers out there that stream their gameplay every day. Today, Elgato Gaming took live streaming of gameplay to the next level with the announcement of the new Game Capture HD60 Pro.

The HD60 Pro is built around a high-speed PCIe interface and it enables live streaming in flawless quality with near zero latency. It also comes with a powerful encoder chip directly on the card that allows the HD60 Pro to save a full resolution 1080p video with 60fps. There is no need to choose whether you want to use your power to stream or record, the HD60 Pro does both without breaking into a sweat.

The Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro can stream and record your Xbox, PlayStation, or Wii U gameplay just as well as any other HDMI signal. The new Instant Gameview feature delivers video directly to your preview screen with superior low latency technology, ensuring that in game video is perfectly in sync with your webcam reactions and audio commentary. Thanks to Master Copy, you can stream and record at the same time without compromising on the quality of your broadcast or recorded footage. Even while streaming live in 720p60 quality you can save a full resolution 1080p60 recording, with separate tracks of your webcam and live commentary.

With the purchase, you get a 2 meter long HDMI cable as well as a low profile bracket for those who wish to use it in an SFF chassis. The card does require a fair system with Windows 7 SP1 (or later), a 2nd generation Intel Core i5 CPU (i5-2xxx or comparable), a PCIe x1/x4/x8/x16 slot, 4GB RAM, and an internet connection. Stream Command requires a 2nd generation Intel Core i7 CPU (i7-2xxx or comparable).

Game Capture HD60 Pro is available online from Elgato and Amazon now for $199.95. The UK price is set to £159.95.

Canon’s 4,000,000 ISO Camera Can Shoot 1080p in Pitch Black

Canon has unveiled a new full-frame, 35mm multi-purpose camera that can shoot full colour, full HD video in pitch black conditions. The ME20F-SH achieves this feat with an incredible ISO of 4,000,000. For photography novices, a camera’s ISO scale determines its sensitivity to light; the higher the ISO, the more sensitive to light the camera is, and the less light it needs to shoot a clear picture.

The drawback with higher ISOs is that it increases the signal-to-noise, so the more sensitive to light the camera is the more digital noise it will pick up. Canon has managed to compensate for this drawback by limiting the CMOS sensor to a below-industry standard 2.26 megapixels, and increasing pixel size to 19μm, 5.5-times more than a high-end DSLR.

Canon has been testing its ultra-low light sensors for a number of years, as evidenced by this impressive video (sadly in 360p):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHnUtmenGQ0#t=19

The hope is that the ME20F-SH can usurp Sony’s A7 camera, the current industry leader for low-light shooting with its 409,600 ISO and 12.2-megapixel (8.4µm) CMOS sensor. Check this impressive video by photographer and filmmaker Philip Bloom, shot with an A7, and imagine what the Canon ME20F-SH could be capable of:

Thank you DigitalRev for providing us with this information.

Nvidia Cuts Price on 750 Ti Ahead of 950 Launch

Just after we’ve received word on Nvidia’s new GTX 950, it looks like Nvidia is prepping things up for the card’s arrival. According to Hardware.fr, Nvidia is set to cut prices on the 750 Ti by about €10 – €15. It looks like Nvidia wants to clear out as much of the 750 Ti stock before the replacement 950 arrives.

Given how close the specifications are between the 750 Ti and 950 are, it’s not surprising Nvidia wants to get rid of the 750 Ti as fast as possible. The 750 Ti comes with a core configuration of 640:40:16 which is only a tad less than the 768 shaders the 950 is armed with. While I don’t know how many TMUs or ROPs the 950 has, it likely falls around between 40:16 and 64:32. With the 960 above at 1024:64:32, there is little room for a 950 Ti though Nvidia has not been shy about filling up every possible niche, even if it means cannibalizing its own cards.

With 768 Maxwell 2.0 shaders, the 950 should do battle at the old 750 Ti price point of about $120-$150 USD. This should put it right against the R7 370 for low/medium 1080p which performs a bit ahead of the 750 Ti. Given the large gap in price between the 950 and the 960, Nvidia may end up launching a 950 Ti with 896 shaders or with 768 shaders and improved TMU and ROPs. With Pascal not likely to come till late 2016 especially for the low end, the 950 may be here to stay for quite a while.

Transcend Unveils DrivePro Body 10 Body Camera With Infrared LEDs

If you need that little bit of extra personal security, may it be for personal reasons or job related, then Transcend has a lot of options available. The latest addition to the security line-up is the DrivePro Body 10 that essentially does what their dash cams do, only for yourself instead of your car. Police officers and other security personnel could also benefit from these as pictures speak a thousand words.

The DrivePro Body 10 body camera features a F/2.8 aperture, a wide 160-degree viewing angle, a built-in battery, infrared LEDs for clear images at night, and a handy snapshot button on the front. You can record full-HD 1080p videos in 30fps and it doesn’t matter whether it is day or night as the infrared LEDs automatically turn on in low light conditions. Recording at night is now easier than ever before.

The built-in Li-Polymer battery has a charge of 1530 mAh and can record up to 3.5 hours of footage on a fully charged battery. It is optimally protected and IPX4 water-resistant against splash water and it also features a great shock resistance in case it should be dropped and passed the U.S. military drop-test standards.

The DrivePro Body Toolbox is a practical video file management system which simplifies the settings of the camera and video/photo files. It features a user-friendly interface

Transcend’s DrivePro Body 10 carries a two-year warranty and comes bundled with a 32GB microSDHC MLC memory card that offers consistent durability and endurance.

PC Specialist Lafité Notebook Review

Introduction


When I found out I’d be reviewing this laptop from PC Specialist I decided to check out their site and do some homework to see what I was getting.  Having no hands on experiences with Intel’s new Broadwell chips previous to this meant I finally get a chance to see what all of the Broadwell fuss was out, or perhaps to discover it was just marketing hype. After a while of making the cheapest and most expensive builds possible to curb my curiosity my very own review unit had arrived. Reading the spec list I was given ahead of the arrival, features like “5th Gen i5 Broadwell CPU”, “1080p 13.3″ screen”, “250GB SSD” were all ticking the right boxes to me, but when I seen how remarkably thin the chassis was on the website photos it was then my interest peaked.

The question is though, is it as good as it looks or is it all style and no substance? Let’s get this unboxed and find out!

Specifications

  • Name: PC Specialist Lafité
  • Case: PC Specialist Lafité Silver Aluminium Chassis
  • Processor: Intel® CoreTM i5 Dual Core Processor i5-5200U (2.20GHz, 2.7GHz Turbo)
  • System Memory: 8GB Kingston SODIMM DDR3 1600MHz (1 x 8GB)
  • Main Boot Drive: 250GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD, SATA 6Gb/s (upto 540MB/sR | 520MB/sW)
  • Graphics card: Intel® HD Graphics 5500
  • Battery: Lafité Series 4 Cell Lithium Ion Battery (6,300mAh)
  • Optical Recovery MediaWindows 8.1 (64-bit) DVD with paper sleeve
  • Optical Drive: None
  • Wireless: Gigabit LAN & Wireless Intel® AC-3160 M.2 + Bluetooth
  • Screen: 13.3″ Matte Full HD IPS LED (1920 x 1080)
  • OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit
  • Warranty: 3 Year Standard Warranty (1 Month Collect & Return, 1 Year Parts, 3 Year Labour)
  • Price: £599 as configured Delivered.

Opening the outer box reveals shows the majority of the notebook inner box is surrounded by extremely strong air padding

Removing the air padding reveals the inner box, it may be plain, but there’s no chance of damage in transit here.

The contents merely a few items, including AC Adapter, SSD Manual and PC Specialist handbook

Up close on the power supply.

CPU-Z

GPU-Z

AOC Offer up a Pair of New AMD FreeSync Gaming Monitors

We all take our monitors for granted, we sit in front of them for hours on end looking at cat videos on YouTube. In today’s market, most enthusiasts have moved up to 1440p or great resolution screens, but it’s nice to see companies still catering for the 1080p market.

AOC have recently announced a pair of 1080p gaming monitors featuring AMD FreeSync technology. First up is the 24″ G2460PF and then a 27″ G2770PF. Both are based on TN-film panels, but can offer outstanding refresh rates of up to 144 Hz and response times of 1 ms. Along with those tasty figures, they also feature FreeSync which synchronises the monitor’s refresh rate to the frame rate being outputted by the graphics card; this allows for seamless, stutter-free display, ideal for fast paced gaming.

They both offer viewing angles of 170°/160° (horizontal/ vertical) and brightness levels of up to 350 cd/m² (300 cd/m² for the G2770PF). Inputs include DisplayPort 1.2a (required for FreeSync), dual-link DVI and VGA.

Prices for these new monitors is set to start at $350 for the G2460PF and end at around $450 for the G2770PF; although local import taxes may alter the final price.

Some say that 1080p is a pointless resolution for monitors about 24″, especially with 1440p and 4k monitors becoming attractively priced; what are your thoughts?

Thank you to TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Rise of the Tomb Raider Director Says to Expect ‘Stunning’ Graphics on Xbox One

Developers constantly try to push Microsoft’s Xbox One to its limits to deliver the best graphics in their titles. However, most games share a core platform in the engine that makes them have more or less the same performance. But Brian Horton, Game Director for Rise of the Tomb Raider, says that they can now push the Xbox One even further to deliver ‘stunning’ graphics.

Horton said that their insights from Tomb Raider Definitive Edition allowed them to get everything out of Microsoft’s console. Don’t think it was as easy at optimizing the old stuff though. Horton pointed out that they had to redo everything from scratch, meaning that everything we saw in the old Tomb Raider titles has been completely rewritten.

They apparently haven’t hit any problems with the Xbox One’s nightmarish eSRAM either. Horton told that they were working closely with the Microsoft team and were able to understand the console’s system. There have been a lot of problems in the past for most developers working on Xbox One titles and all of them said that the console’s eSRAM was the main issue.

The biggest news however comes when Horton announced that the title is targeting 1080p and 30fps. While a lot of developers announced them same thing but failed to deliver in the end, Microsoft’s latest Xbox One SKD and the success of titles which followed thereafter tends to bring some hope for full HD on the console.

Thank you GamingBolt for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of PushSquare

Fallout 4 Director: 1080p 30FPS on “Everything”

Depending or not if “everything” really means everything, Bethesda may have some explaining to do. In an interview with DigitalSpy, Fallout 4 director Todd Howard stated that the much-anticipated title would run at 1080p on “everything”. He went on to further note that the game would be set to run at 30fps.

If Howard meant everything as in consoles, his statement makes a lot of sense. This generation of consoles is largely limited to 1080p and in some cases, has to fall back to 900p. 30fps isn’t uncommon either and for action packed titles, 60fps is a luxury. Instead of growing resolution or fps, most developers have instead turned to increasing detail and other graphical improvements. Fallout 4 choosing the same path isn’t that surprising or noteworthy.

Everything though invokes the spectre of 1080p and 30fps limits on PC as well. While resolution limits are less common, they have happened with console ports before, most recently with FFXII which started out limited to 720p. Limiting fps has also happened, most commonly with racing games but upcoming Tom Clancy title The Division is handicapped this way as well. Honestly though, the only reason for limits on PC are that the developer did not take the time to properly set up the game for higher fps and provide higher resolution assets.

Hopefully, this isn’t the case for Fallout 4 on PC. It’s a shame DigitalSpy did not clarify with Howard what “everything” meant. We will be updating you if we receive more information.

Thank you DigitalSpy for the information

Zotac CI321Nano Barebones System Review

 

Introduction


Today we are taking a look at one of Zotac’s latest ZBOX CI321 nano barebones system that is packing a dual-core 2961Y CPU. Something that makes this CI321 nano stand out of the crowd is that it carries dual Gigabit LAN and is completely silent with its passively cooled design. With the inclusion of an onboard IR receiver, this makes it an interesting option for a silent HTPC. With it being a barebones kit, you can use some memory or 2.5″ drives that you have on hand to keep the final build costs down. There has been a lot of growth in the mini PC market and Zotac has been in it for a long time with its ZBOX lineup.

Specifications
  • Name: ZBOX CI321 nano
  • CPU: Intel Celeron 2961Y (2C/2T, 1.10 GHz, 22nm, 6W)
  • RAM: User Supplied – We tested with Crucial Ballistix 2x4GB DDR3-1600 9-9-9-24 1T 1.35v 
  • SSD: User Supplied – Crucial MX200 SSD 250GB
  • GPU: Integrated – Intel HD Graphics
  • LAN: dual 10/100/1000/Gigabit Base T
  • WLAN: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Built-in Bluetooth V4.0
  • I/O: 4x USB3.0, 1x USB 2.0 , 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort, Headphone-out, Microphone in, 2x 1Gb LAN
  • OS: Supplied Barebones, Windows 10 preview used in this review
  • Warranty: 1 Year
  • Price: $149.99

Retail Packaging

Printed materials that the CI321 comes with

The hardware that you get with the CI321 allows you to mount the unit via the VESA mount of a monitor or TV. You also get an optical audio adapter for use with a Toslink connection, a dual band WiFi antenna, and screws to mount your 2.5″ SSD or HDD.

 

CPU-Z

 

GPU-Z

YouTube Live Streaming Now Available With HTML5 and 60FPS Support

It looks like the old Flash Player is going to be scrapped sooner than expected. After enabling support for HTML5 video playback, YouTube is now extending that support to live streaming sessions. This means that users can now watch live streaming videos on HTML5-enabled browsers and at 60FPS!

The slow process looks to have started late last year, when every video uploaded on the streaming service could keep its 60FPS ratio. Up until October last year, all videos were automatically converted to 30FPS once uploaded. In addition to the latter, YouTube quietly made HTML5 its default player early this year, so it would make sense for the company to continue towards fully integrating the HTML5 player.

The technology is now widely supported in all major browsers like Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari and even Internet Explorer. However, YouTube stated that the HTML5 playback for live streaming is still undergoing development, so don’t expect it to do miracles just yet. Still, the technology now is able to deliver 720p or 1080p at 60FPS and users can even skip backwards in a live stream or even play around with its play speed.

Let’s not forget about the hardware here. I mean as good as HTML5 player sounds, it still needs some hardware specs to have it run at 60FPS. This is why YouTube comes with an option to change playback to 30FPS, should 60FPS be too much for your device. Nevertheless, we are moving towards a 4K video playback era, so it’s likely everyone will upgrade their hardware sooner or later.

Thank you VentureBeat for providing us with this information

Nvidia GRID Gets 1080p60 Upgrade

NVIDIA, graphics card giant has announced the world’s first streaming cloud gaming service up to 1080p60 (1920 x 1080p resolution at 60FPS). GRID is one of the first games to stream via this method and is streaming at the same resolution as Blu-ray at a silky smooth 60FPS.

The resolution may not sound amazing, movie services have been streaming 1080p content for years. With movie services, they have the ability to buffer the full movie and stream it in manageable pieces to the consumer; this means that if the stream drops randomly, the movie will still play up to a certain point, known as buffering. Gaming is a much harder process to stream, with the gamer having the choice to change direction without notice, this means that the streaming provider needs to have massive supercomputers that can react and relay the information in the matter of milliseconds. NVIDIA have spent years perfecting their cloud streaming service and have made it a seamless experience for the consumers.

“When GRID first launched in November 2014, we were streaming at 720p60 (1280 x 720 resolution at 60 frames per second) with about 20 games. Now we stream up to 1080p60, support multi-controller mode, and have over 50 games in our service, available free for SHIELD owners through June 30, 2015.” NVIDIA has stated. “Also, Bionic Commando is now available on NVIDIA SHIELD. Just connect to GRID to play! The GRID Games library now includes 50 PC games that you can play on SHIELD devices.”

For more information, why not visit the NVIDIA Shield information page.

Wasteland 2 Runs Great in 1080p on Both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Wasteland 2 is said to be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later this year and this is just one of the reasons fans should be excited about it. According to Den Jenkins, Lead Engineer at InXile Entertainment, the title runs great at 1080p on both consoles.

Although he admits the requirements for the game are different from other titles out there, having it be a single player turn-based RPG, the development process should be good on the given resolution.

Also, the eSRAM issue on the Xbox One faced by many developers seems to be flawless for Wasteland 2, having the programmable side of it working great for a change, at least for one development team.

“We’re a single-player, turn-based RPG, so our needs for performance are a bit different than other games, like multiplayer shooters. We are looking to strike the right balance in performance and looks for our style of game. We’re currently running at 1080p and don’t foresee any issues as development progresses.” Jenkings stated. “So far, we haven’t had any issues with Xbox One development in regards to the eSRAM or anything else for that matter.” he added.

Since there aren’t so many titles out there supporting full HD resolution, Wasteland 2 could help pave the way to future games being developed in 1080p for next-gen consoles. How excited are you to play Wasteland 2 in 1080p on your Xbox One or PlayStation 4?

Thank you Gamingbolt for providing us with this information

Nikon Introduces The 1 J5, a Mirrorless camera that takes 4K Video

Nikon just introduced a new addition to its 1 series of mirrorless cameras, the J5.  The J5 has a new 20.8MP VFI CMOS sensor, an XPSA image processor, an ISO range of 160 to 12,800, NFC, and WiFi.

The brand new camera also has a 3″ high res tilting LCD that can flip up and be used from the front for selfies.  The camera can take 1080p video at 30 or 60 frames per second, and there is also an option for 720p video that records at 120fps.  While Nikon did see fit to allow it to capture 4K video it can only record it at 15 frames per second.  The camera is also great at taking still shots in continuous-shooting mode, up to 20 fps with focus enabled and 30 or 60 fps when locked.  The camera will be released soon and will start at $500.

ASUS Announces its ROG G501 Alternative, the Zenbook Pro UX501

Asus has released its new addition to the Zenbook series, the Pro UX501. Compared to the ROG G501 gaming ultrabook, the Zenbook alternative looks to differ only in colour scheme and lacks the red keyboard found on the ROG version.

The specs look pretty much the same as the ROG G501, having the Pro UX501 come with a 15.6-inch IPS 1080p or 4K display, Intel’s Core i7-4720HQ CPU, Nvidia’s GTX 960M, 16GB of RAM and up to 512GB SSD, as well as a 1TB 2.5″ HDD.

It is said that the Pro UX501 comes with two battery capacities, fitting either a 4 cell 60 Wh or a 6 cell 96 Wh battery with a life expectancy of up to 6 hours. The Zenbook is available for purchase at stores with a price tag of €1,824.

Thank you NextPowerUp for providing us with his information

Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty arrives on Xbox One today

Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty was very well received upon launch on both the PlayStation 4 and the PC via Steam, you might have read our review. Now Xbox One owners can rejoice and dive into Abe’s redesigned world. It won’t even cost much to relive the game with the remake just costing €19.99, £14.99 and $19.99 in Europe, North and South America.

This release celebrates the first outing of an Oddworld game on Xbox since Stranger’s Wrath in 2005. New ‘n’ Tasty is a ground-up remake of the much-loved original Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee and among the improvements is the 1080p resolution.

A cinematic platform adventure, New ‘n’ Tasty tells the tale of Abe, a hapless Mudokon who learns that his fellow meat factory co-workers are to be the main ingredients in the company’s next line of tasty treats.

Abe must escape RuptureFarms and beyond, liberating as many of his fellow workers as he can. Along the way, he’ll learn the secrets of his civilization and journey across perilous lands filled with dangerous creatures and lethal traps before returning to the sinister meat factory to put right the injustices faced by his long-suffering species.

Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty includes art direction from the original Abe’s Oddysee and a whole host of tweaks, improvements and brand new areas throughout, whilst remaining true to the game fans have loved since the original PlayStation. For more information on Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty the official website is http://www.oddworld.com.


Samsung Releasing Five New Curved Monitors

Samsung has launched five new VA panel curved monitors, in sizes ranging from 23.5 inches to 29 inches, and either 3000R or 4000R curvatures.

All five panels feature an eye-save mode with reduced blue light levels and a flicker-free screen, designed for people who spend a long time in front of their monitor. For videos, image editing, and gaming, the screens feature high contrast levels, bright highlights, deep blacks, and intelligent image correction.

Four out of the five monitors have a FHD resolution of 1080p, with the flagship SE790C boasting a wide FHD of 2560 x 1080, with Picture-by-Picture (PbP) and Picture-in-Picture (PiP) 2.0 functionality.

“This year is shaping up to be the year of the curved monitor, as more consumers and businesses turn to curved displays to achieve a more comfortable viewing experience,” Seog-Gi Kim, Senior Vice President of Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics, said. “As the company behind the launch of the industry’s first LED curved monitor, our introduction of this full curved lineup reflects our commitment to refine curvature design and picture quality, while also achieving energy efficiency and next-level innovation to provide a more natural, pleasurable viewing experience that our customers expect.”

Source: Hexus

Xiaomi Launches 40-Inch Android-Powered Smart TV for Only $320

Rising Chinese tech giant Xiaomi has launched a new Android-powered 40-inch smart TV at a very affordable price.

The Xiaomi Mi TV 2 is available for the bargain price of $320, and boasts a 1080p Sharp LED display with 5000:1 contrast ratio, Cortex-A9 quad-core 1.45GHz CPU, 1.5GB of RAM, 8GB of flash storage and a MIUI TV OS running through Android 4.4 KitKat.

The TV is capable of playing H.265, H.264, MPEG4, REAL, RM, FLV, MOV, AVI, MKV, TS, and MP4 formats.

The thin display – 14.5mm, front to back – also doubles as an Android gaming console.

With Xiaomi is making strides into the US and European markets this year, it seems likely that this impressive (and impressively cheap) television will be available in the West very soon.

Source: Gizmodo