Samsung Has Quite the Lead in the World of SSDs

Samsung isn’t always the first company that comes to mind when thinking of SSDs, but they are doing more than great in this area. The market research firm IHS recently released the report for the global SSD market in 2014 where Samsung takes a strong lead over the competition.

There isn’t much doubt that this was started with the 840 EVO series that brought a high-capacity drive with good performance and an unbeatable price for the time. Samsung hasn’t been sitting still since then and launched several successful drives and the new NVMe-based SM951 SSD will no doubt help to continue that trend and strengthen Samsung’s foothold.

Samsung claimed the first place with a 34% market share and a full year revenue of $ 3,996,000,000, that is about the same as Intel and Sandisk put together who come in on a second and third place respectively with around $1.9 billion revenue and a market share of 17%.

Micron comes in on a fourth place with a 8% market share, Toshiba grabs the fifth with 7% and Lite-On comes in on a sixth place with just 6% market share. What surprised me most was Kingston’s place 8th place and just a market share of 3%, they have a lot of amazing drives on the market.

IHS’s future predictions don’t look like they change a lot and that Samsung will continue down the road to even more market share. The total SSD market revenue of 2014 was an impressive 11.5 billion and it is expected to raise close to 2 billion this year.

Apple Announces New App Store Record

Apple has announced record breaking new year sales on the App Store. New Year’s Day turned out to be a record for App Store sales, “New Year’s Day 2015 marked the single biggest day ever in App Store sales history”. The company also announced that developers have made a total of $25 Billion in the history of the App Store.

“This year is off to a tremendous start after a record-breaking year for the App Store and our developer community,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We’re so proud of the creativity and innovation developers bring to the apps they create for iOS users and that the developer community has now earned over $25 billion.” – Apple VP Eddy Cue.

The company also went to great lengths to highlight how it has produced over 1 million jobs in the US, with over half of that due to the App Store.

“In just six years, the iOS ecosystem has helped create 627,000 jobs in the US alone.* The App Store offers more than 1.4 million apps for iPhone, iPad® and iPod touch® users in 155 countries around the world, with more than 725,000 of these apps made for iPad. App Store customers can choose from an incredible range of apps in 24 categories, including games, social networking, photo & video, sports, health & fitness, travel, kids and many more.”

Source: 9to5Mac 

The Wolf of Wall Street Was the Most Pirated Movie of 2014

‘The Wolf of Wall Street’. Yes, the Leonardo DiCaprio biopic was the most illegally downloaded movie with 30.035 million downloads. Still, the Oscar-nominated movie grossed $392 million despite all of those downloads.

Although the highest, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ was certainly not exceptional –  the close second, Disney’s ‘Frozen’, was downloaded a massive 29.919 million times. The equally close third – the 2014 remake of ‘Robocop’, was downloaded 29.879 million times last year.

What’s most interesting about this list, is how it compares to previous years. ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ was the most downaloded movie of 2013 with just 8.72 million downloads, suggesting that movie piracy is definitely on the increase. See the full list bellow.

  1. The Wolf of Wall Street: 30.035 million (Paramount, Dec. 25, 2013)
  2. Frozen: 29.919 million (Disney, Nov. 27, 2013)
  3. RoboCop*: 29.879 million (MGM, Feb. 12, 2014; and Orion, July 17, 1987)
  4. Gravity: 29.357 million (Warner Bros., Oct. 4, 2013)
  5. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: 27.627 million (Warner Bros., Dec. 13, 2013)
  6. Thor: The Dark World: 25.749 million (Disney/Marvel, Nov. 8, 2013)
  7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier: 25.628 million (Disney/Marvel, April 4, 2014)
  8. The Legend of Hercules: 25.137 million (Summit, Jan. 10, 2014)
  9. X-Men: Days of Future Past: 24.380 million (20th Century Fox, May 23, 2014)
  10. 12 Years a Slave: 23.653 million (Fox Searchlight, Oct. 18, 2013)
  11. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: 23.543 million (Lionsgate, Nov. 22, 2013)
  12. American Hustle: 23.143 million (Sony/Columbia, Dec. 13, 2013)
  13. 300: Rise of an Empire: 23.096 million (Warner Bros., March 7, 2014)
  14. Transformers: Age of Extinction: 21.65 million (Paramount, June 27, 2014)
  15. Godzilla: 20.956 million (Warner Bros., May 16, 2014)
  16. Noah: 20.334 million (Paramount, March 28, 2014)
  17. Divergent: 20.312 million (Lionsgate, March 21, 2014)
  18. Edge of Tomorrow: 20.299 million (Warner Bros., June 6, 2014)
  19. Captain Phillips: 19.817 million (Sony/Columbia, Oct. 11, 2013)
  20. Lone Survivor: 19.130 million (Universal, Dec. 25, 2013)

Source: The Verge

What is the Most Intagramed Place on Earth?

Why it’s “the happiest place on earth” – Disneyland of course! Yes, the original of Disney’s massively successful theme parks – Disneyland in Anaheim, California, is the most Instagramed place on earth.

The company released a list of places with the most images attributed to them in 2014 and the famous theme park took the top spot. The rest of the list, included bellow, gives some surprising locations, places you probably wouldn’t associate with Instagram, while there are others that are just plain obvious.

  1. Disneyland — Anaheim, Calif.
  2. Dodger Stadium — Los Angeles, Calif.
  3. Times Square — New York, NY
  4. Siam Paragon (shopping mall) — Bangkok, Thailand
  5. Gorky Park (amusement park) — Moscow, Russia
  6. Musée du Louvre — Paris, France
  7. Red Square — Moscow, Russia
  8. Madison Square Garden — New York, NY
  9. Yankee Stadium — New York, NY
  10. The Dubai Mall — Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Source: Re/code

Facebook Apologises for Stirring Up Painful Memories With its ‘Year in Review’ Feature

Any Facebook user scrolling through their news feed over the last week have likely seen a slew of posts entitled “It’s been a great year! Thanks for being a part of it”, featuring a compilation of photo and text highlights from the user’s past year on Facebook. Unfortunately, the algorithm that picked the data wasn’t able to discriminate between good and bad memories, meaning some people were in for a rough time.

The algorithm chooses images that had the most interaction. Good in theory, but in practice a photo of, say, a deceased canine friend would certainly garner much sympathy and sorrow. The user is able to customise their Year in Review before posting, but that still requires them to view any potentially mournful images.

https://twitter.com/travislouie/status/548786433432240128

Eric Meyer, a web design consultant and writer, posted on his blog about his experience with Year in Review after losing his young daughter this year:

And I know, of course, that this is not a deliberate assault. This inadvertent algorithmic cruelty is the result of code that works in the overwhelming majority of cases, reminding people of the awesomeness of their years, showing them selfies at a party or whale spouts from sailing boats or the marina outside their vacation house.

But for those of us who lived through the death of loved ones, or spent extended time in the hospital, or were hit by divorce or losing a job or any one of a hundred crises, we might not want another look at this past year.

After reading the blog post, Facebook’s Product Manager Jonathan Gheller apologised directly to Meyer. He later said, “[The app] was awesome for a lot of people, but clearly in this case we brought him grief rather than joy […] We can do better — I’m very grateful he took the time in his grief to write the blog post.”

Source: Mashable

Facebook, Minecraft Lead iOS App Store 2014 Charts

Well isn’t this a surprise – Facebook Messenger and Minecraft pretty much lead the 2014 iOS App Store charts.

The top free iPhone app was Facebook Messenger while the top paid iPhone app was the game Heads Up!, with Minecraft: Pocket Edition in second place. The top iPad app was Minecraft: Pocket Edition with YouTube as the top free iPad app.

Free iPhone apps:

1. Facebook Messenger
2. Snapchat
3. YouTube
4. Facebook
5. Instagram
6. Pandora Radio
7. Google Maps
8. Flipagram
9. Spotify Music
10. 2048

Paid iPhone apps:

1. Heads Up!
2. Minecraft – Pocket Edition
3. Afterlight
4. Plague Inc.
5. Sleep Cycle alarm clock
6. Facetune
7. Cut the Rope 2
8. Bloons TD 5
9. A Dark Room
10. 7 Minute Workout Challenge

Free iPad apps:

1. YouTube
2. Netflix
3. Calculator for iPad Free
4. Skype for iPad
5. Microsoft Word
6. Facebook Messenger
7. Facebook
8. Candy Crush Saga
9. Chrome
10. Clash of Clans

Paid iPad apps:

1. Minecraft – Pocket Edition
2. Cut the Rope 2
3. Heads Up!
4. The Room Two
5. Survivalcraft
6. Notability
7. Terraria
8. Plants vs. Zombies HD
9. Hide N Seek : Mini Game With Worldwide Multiplayer
10. Card Wars – Adventure Time

Source: iTunes

Steam Wintersales Are upon Us, Hide Your Wallets

It’s that wonderful time of year, no wait, hide your wallets. The Steam Winter Holiday sales have started and will be running until January 2nd. As every year, there are thousands of games at huge discount and with a temptation that is hard to resist.

The Steam Holiday sales feature both badges and the community’s choice again. You get to vote for some of the upcoming sales and you’ll earn trading cards for votes and purchases. Steam also introduced the Booster Pack Creator that lets you recycle leftover cards into gems when the sales are over.

Seen above are the top-sellers so far, and it isn’t hard to see why. There are some great deals in there with Microsoft Flight Simulator at an 80% discount, Civilization V complete at an 75% reduced price and even the new Beyond Earth can be had at an 40% discount.

Other running deals included Euro Truck Simulator 2 at an 85% discount, Dark Souls 2 at a 63% discount and State of Decay can be yours for €4.74 with its 75% discount.

Thanks to Steam for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Steam

SteelSeries Unveils Fnatic Branded Gaming Peripherals

SteelSeries already worked with Fnatic when developing their gaming peripherals and now they’ve created a brand new Fnatic branded line-up ready for the Dreamhack Winter 2014. Featuring the Fnatic team colours as well the logo, the three new devices get a great look.

Seen above is the SteelSeries Rival Fnatic Edition Mouse that will retail for €69.99. It features an optical sensor with zero acceleration, SteelSeries switches for more than 30 million clicks and a soft touch finish to enhance the comfort. It also has a 3D printable nameplate at the back, allowing you to give it that extra personal touch.

The SteelSeries Apex Fnatic Edition Keyboard will retail for €109.99 and is labeled as the world’s fastest gaming keyboard due to the low-profile design and layout. It will give you 88 possible macro combinations and a 16.8 million coloured illumination option.

The most expensive part of the new Fnatic branded gear is the SteelSeries 9H Fnatic Edition Headset that is set to an MSRP of €169.99. The Dolby 7.1 virtual surround sound gaming headset will deliver a natural and accurate sound experience and features double-enclosed ear cups for extra comfort. Not seen below is the microphone, but that is of course also present. It wouldn’t really be a headset without.

The new Fnatic peripherals are available as of now on SteelSeries’ and Fnatic’s websites. If you should be attending Dreamhack Winter 2014 then you can check them out first-hand there.

Thanks to PRweb for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of PRweb

HP Finish off their Fiscal Year with Interesting Q4 Results

Hewlett-Packard have just their fourth quarter earnings this past Tuesday, posting some interesting results to round out their 2014 fiscal year.

Here’s a quick summary of the report:

  • Net income of $2 billion, rated at 70 cents per share
  • Non-GAAP earnings at $1.06 per share on a revenue of $28.4 billion – dropping 2% year-on-year
  • Wall street was reportedly looking for earnings of $1.06 per share on revenue of $28.76 billion
  • HP shared have fallen by roughly 2.6% in the after-hours trading due to the above fact
  • Fiscal 2014 saw HP bring in earnings of $3.74 per share and a revenue of $111.5 billions, falling 1% compared to 2013’s results

HP’s CEO Meg Whitman commented on these results, stating that her companies “turnaround” is back on track and running as expected:

“In FY14, we stabilized our revenue trajectory, strengthened our operations, showed strong financial discipline, and once again made innovation the cornerstone of our company. Our product roadmaps are the best they’ve been in years and our partners and customers believe in us. There’s still a lot left to do, but our efforts to date, combined with the separation we announced in October, sets the stage for accelerated progress in FY15 and beyond.”

As we said in the beginning, this information provides interesting results. Their non-GAAP earnings are down 2% year-on-year alongside their fiscal 2013 revenue falling 1% year-on-year, but they certainly aren’t generating a loss and seem to be traveling much better than Sony at the moment. who have been reporting major issues amongst the eastern mobile market, alongside their picture studio being taken over by hackers in the past few days.

HP are in the middle of their plan to splinter their PC and printer businesses from their enterprise unit, we’re interested to see what the end result will being after 2015 is through. In the mean time, we’re going to have to see what this whole “five year turnaround” will bring to us, day by day.

Image courtesy of Open IT Strategies

Dell UP2715K Expected in December for Less than $2K

Dell is full of good display news today, this time regarding the world’s first 5K monitor that is about to hit the market. Sources now say that the Dell UP2715K will retail for less than $2000 despite the current official $2500 listing and there is more good news on as it could arrive as early as December.

We’ve seen Apple launch their iMac with a 5K screen, but so far anyone else hasn’t been able to get this resolution. Dell’s 27-inch monitor has a IPS display with GB-r-LED backlighting that offers a 5120 x 2880 resolution with a 8ms grey to grey response time, 1000:1 contrast ratio, 350 cd/m2 brightness and 178/178 viewing angles. The screen has a wide colour gamut with 99% Adobe RGB and 100% of sRGB coverage.

The optical bonding and anti-reflective coating used eliminates reflection from the LCD panel itself and the protective glass layer in front of it. This in return allows more light to be transmitted and dramatically improves clarity, vividness and contrast. Dell also gave it an anti-smudge coating to help you keep it clean.

There are a lot of options on how you want to use the monitor as it has VESA mounts as well as a stand that supports tilt, swivel, height and rotate adjustments. Sound is provided by integrated Harman Kardon 16W speakers and it has 6 USB 3.0 ports, two DisplayPort, one mini-DisplayPort as well as a card reader.

Thanks to TFTcentral for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Dell

Reliable Tech – Hardware Repair Rate Rankings Released

As computer enthusiasts often get hostile about their favorite brands warranties, returns and reliability, we’ve just been given an insight into hardware failure and warranty rates across popular technology manufacturers.

Only just being released but complied with data relevant prior to October 2014, these statistics will show the top four performers in each category.

Starting with motherboards, the results read:

  • GIGABYTE: 2.51%
  • MSI: 2.65%
  • ASUS: 2.86%
  • ASRock: 2.99%

Before you grab your pitchforks and book the next-leaving flight to the island country of Taiwan, take a close look at the results and think about what you see. The first thing noticeable is that all four of these figures are land within a 0.5% margin, which is a pretty impressive result. Another interesting fact is that of ASUS’s ranking. We’ve just reported that ASUS are looking to out-sell all other brands in 2014, followed next by GIGABYTE, but looking at these statistics shows they aren’t the most reliable.

As with many other things in life (even including CS:GO tournaments), these broad spectrum statistics aren’t a be-all and end-all. Obviously it’s a little damaging for ASRock to be places last in the race and GIGABYTE are sure to have some PR bragging rights given their first place rating – but warranty tracking is often a fickle thing.

If you wish to see the full list of rankings and percentages (and have a translating app or add-on handy), please feel free to check a list compiled here (in Chinese), or the full comprehensive list (in French).

Power supply rankings came in at:

  • FSP Group: 0.83%
  • Be Quiet!: 0.84%
  • Corsair: 1.32%
  • Cooler Master: 1.51% 

The memory (RAM) rankings are:

  • Kingston: 0.36% 
  • Crucial: 0.57%
  • G.Skill: 0.97%
  • Corsair: 1.20%

Graphics card failure rates are slightly higher than any other statistic – ranking from 5.09% down to 2.25%.

  • MSI: 2.25%
  • Gainward: 2.67%
  • GIGABYTE: 2.98%
  • ASUS: 3.00%

It’s also interesting to note that there’s a rather large (in comparison) failure rate here reported of the Radeon R9 280X – coming in at 8.81%.

Hard Drive manufacturers have reported:

  • Seagate: 0.69%
  • Western Digital: 0.93% 
  • HGST: 1.01% (former Hitachi)
  • Toshiba: 1.29%

SSD’s saw most of the lowest rates of failure and a very close race within the top 3:

  • Samsung: 0.24%
  • Intel:  0.27%
  • Sandisk: 0.29%
  • Crucial: 0.57%

Please note that this statistical data has been taken from French online dealers, meaning some companies were not included due to their product sample being too small to manage. But either way this gives you a pretty fair comparison of companies units as a whole.

Coming from my own experience, as a person who’s previously worked in a hardware manufacturing company for 4 years, here’s a few things I’ve noticed about this warranty/failure rate subject:

  • Not every end user will warranty their broken products
  • Warranty percentages can often be skewed by a bad batch of products due to shipment, storage or factory error
  • Warranty percentages are not always reported, double checked, nor stock-taken

Rankings thanks to Hardware.fr

DirecTV to be the First Cable Company offering 4K TV

There’s a very common and rapidly growing group within the popular Reddit community, they’re called ‘cord cutters‘. Currently grossing over 60k subscribers, this sub Reddit is dedicated to strategies, alternatives and methods to cutting your cable service for life as more people move to online means. DirecTV has just announced that they will be the first to offer 4K TV streaming via their pre-existing infrastructure. No doubt in a bid to keep their customers satisfied and possibly increase their market share,

4K is the new craze, offering massive resolutions, with massive prices to match. A standard ‘big brand’ 4K TV will set you back upwards of $1,500 here in Australia, more than double that of a 1080p TV. If 4K is something that tickles your fancy however, DirecTV will be offering on demand Holocaust pictures and Paramount Pictures productions in this outstanding resolution, but there’s a catch. As according to DirecTV’s website, this content will only be applicable to Samsung 2014 launched 4K TV sets – which are TV’s with RVU technology and the only devices available on the market supporting DirecTV’s 4K TV-demand functions. Alongside this, DirecTV 4k users will need to install the companies HD DVR set-top box (HR34 or later).

DirecTV offer their service for varying prices ranging from $3.99 per movie up to full subscription plans. They’ve also reportedly claimed that there will be much more on-demand 4K content available in the near future. Next year should see DirecTV launching their 4K broadcast channels alongside competitor Comcast’s similar services.

Some of DirecTV’s most popular on-demand movies currently on offer are: Star Trek (2009), Transformers: Age of Extinction and The Mummy: Pharaoh’s Secret.

Image courtesy of Bitcointalk.org

Top Dog – ASUS Motherboards Expected to Outsell GIGABYTE

According to ‘industry sources’, CnBeta has recently reported that ASUS is now expected to move more units in 2015 and kick GIGABYTE off the top position. ASUS motherboard shipments in Q3 2014 have been bumped to over 6 million, mostly due to their aggressive price cuts and new marketing strategies – this has seen them extend their lead over Taiwanese component manufacturer and competitor GIGABYTE.

Asustek has reportedly been expecting their total shipments to be greater than GIGABYTE this calendar year, but are most likely going to experience a smaller profit growth margin thanks to the price cuts and increased marketing budgets as mentioned above.

Q4 is going to continue the well-selling nature of ASUS in 2014, providing an estimated 5.6 million (minimum) units sold, amounting to 20.7 million units total this year. Comparing this to GIGABYTE who have managed to move 9.7 million motherboards in the total second half of 2014 – sitting 11.6 million units moved behind ASUS in the same period.

Insiders have told CnBeta that they expect ASUS’ significant decline in profit to see them fall around 20% in margin from last years earnings. Comparing this to GIGABYE who posted a profit increase from $97.8 million to $107.8 million in 2013 thanks to increased sales of their high-end products.

In addition to these two giants, it is reported that MSI International and ASRock motherboard sales and profits are set to decline from now until into the second half of 2015.

Looking at these statistics, it seems that GIGABYTE are possibly the user’s choice when it comes to high-end motherboards, whereas ASUS are winning the (much larger) general consumer race.

What motherboard do you run in your system? Personally I have just picked up a GIGABYTE H97N-WIFI for my Thermaltake Core V1 Mini-ITX build, but I have no major preference either way.

Razer’s Nabu Smartband Said To Be Rolling Out In October

Razer looks to be closer to a final release date for its Nabu smartband than initially thought. A press release earlier this month indicated that Razer is working with mobile gaming developer, Tencent Games, in order to bring ‘Timi Run Everyday’ to the smartband, as well as revealing a fourth quarter release date.

A number of developers and at least 1,000 Razer fans, who got to smartband for $1, have been granted beta access to the device so far. The first changes in the Nabu smartband were noticed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June, when the 32 x 32 pixel display was removed due to user feedback. Also, the upper screen is said to have been ignored most of the time, leading to its complete removal and changing the way the larger screen activates.

Even though Razer pointed to the last quarter of 2014 as a release date for the smartband, it is aiming to release the Nabu smartband sooner rather than later. This is why October is said to be the most suitable release date. Also, developers such as Wargaming, Techland, Halfbrick and Shortbreak Studios have signed on for the Nabu smartband. However, no details on what projects they might be working on was released.

Thank you Electronista for providing us with this information

Germany v Brazil World Cup Thrashing Broke Twitter Records

The Germany Vs Brazil Semi-final match in this year’s World Cup has certainly caught the attention of any football fan or anyone involved in football after their 7-1 thrashing against the home team a couple of days ago. The thrashing on the pitch was not the only top score to grab people’s attention as twitters servers also got a thrashing through a record-breaking 580,000 tweets per minute being sent around the world.

In a statement following the match, Twitter reported that the new record washed out the previous record which was set earlier this year during the Super Bowl which stood at 24.9m tweets. In comparison this match topped 35.6m tweets.

This new record has been great advertising for Twitter, showing that their growth is still going strong. Other events over the last few years that have stood out on twitter include Beyoncé’s half time performance during last year’s Super Bowl at 268,000 TMP (Tweets per minute), Miley Cyrus’ MTC VMA performance at 360,000 TMP and this year’s Brazil Vs Chile World Cup match, which during penalties topped out at 388,985 TMP.

Although some analysts say Twitter is a dying trend and social media such a Facebook is more popular, this record-breaking event has shown that this is far from the case. With the World Cup final now only a few days away, if Germany give their opponents yet another trashing there is a chance that we could see the current record being broken once again.

Source and Image courtesy: The Guardian

Graphics Card Sales Reported to have Dropped Significantly in Q2 2014

Graphics cards are apparently not on the list of shopping items for gamers or even cryptocurrency miners. Studies show that a decline in sales has been noticeable in Q2 this year. While graphics card sales have been going down for a long time, the aforementioned quarter seems to be the worst.

The reports show that sales in Q2 have dropped by 30-40% compared to the previous quarter and according to Jon Peddie Research, the Q1 total shipments of graphics cards dropped to 14 million units, it being a decline of 0.8% compared to the same quarter last year. The drop in sales is said to be the worst in recent years.

Sources from Taiwan have apparently noted that the drop in sales could be due to cryptocurrency miners who have previously used AMD Radeon cards to mine in recent years and have now turned to more advanced ASIC chips or gave up the mining business completely.

The consequences are then reflected in graphics card sales, having the previous users not purchasing new graphics cards and selling their old ones on eBay or similar auction websites.

In the meantime, graphics card manufacturers are said to have asked both AMD and NVIDIA to cut Radeon and GeForce GPU prices in order to make current graphics cards more competitive. However, the response gained from the GPU manufacturers consisted of simply reducing their shipments.

No confirmed figure of graphics cards is known to be on the market. If the figures prove to be high, local retailers are said to be expected to cut graphics card costs eventually. However, people who are thinking of buying a new graphics card in the near future should not rely on a price drop since retailers have a high chance of not cutting prices if the figures turn out to be in the supply demand balance range.

Thank you KitGuru for providing us with this information

New Patriot Fuel iON and Mobile Products on Display at Computex 2014

Computex 2014: Patriot are very well-respected in the PC industry for their memory products, but they’re really making some interesting advances in the mobile sector. They’ve already been successful with their mobile charging products in the past, but now they’re set to take it to the next level with their latest Fuel iON products.

The Fuel iON magnetic charging stand works in combination with a very nice quality iPhone 5/5s (S5 and note 3 will follow soon) case with an s-view window. Then you have a clip around external battery which fits around your iPhone, and this also adapts the lightning cable connection to a microUSB! While also featuring a powerful magnet in the back and built-in charging system. The stand its self is really nice too, and the magnet in the case combined with the stand allows you to quickly snap your phone into place without having to fiddle around with cables, giving you a great desktop stand and of course it charges your device at the same time.

The Fuel iON Pad is an optional extra, perfect for putting on  your bedside table for charging and docking your phone on an evening.

our favourite accessory is easily the Fuel iON Car Mount is a high quality windscreen mount, but again features a powerful magnetic mount and wireless charging. Perfect for those who use their smart phone for navigation.

New wall adaptors allow a single USB charging point while not sacrificing a plug socket, and the model on the right even offers extra power protection for your devices.

The mains powered four port hub offers 2 x 2.1a and 2 x 1.0a, making a perfect charging point for your mobile devices.

Fuel Active 6000, a usb mobile charging station which also comes fitted with a rescue strobe light/torch functionality.

All models are expected to launch in Q2 this year, stay tuned for more information.

InWin Factory Tour Computex 2014 Part 2

Welcome to part two of our InWin factory tour, we’ve already seen how they produce their tooling components and injection moulds to create the plastic components of a chassis, so what’s next? Well since some of the biggest parts of a chassis are the panels, which come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, but also consist of many other small metal components such as hard drive bays, motherboard backplate etc, you need a lot of big machines to create them.

CNC machines are a big aspect of this and InWin have some pretty powerful ones that offer a multitude of cutting techniques, although the most popular here is certainly the laser cutters such as the one below.

The CNC machine above is churning out metal components, which are then stacked in these bays ready to work their way further down the production line.

The cut panels are still in the early states, but if I’m not mistaken, these are going to become server chassis.

Further down we have some even more impressive CNC machines, these two giant cutters can perform 64 different cuts thanks to its huge tool bank, allowing it to produce complete components and several of them at any one time.

Here you can see one of the parts it has made, which looks like a hard drive bay before it has been bent into shape. The giant machine has used multiple tools at once to cut the multitude of shapes required for this design.

There are a lot of tools needed for each production run, which are all kept on hand here. Obviously there are a few missing, since they’re in the machines which are currently cutting.

Here are even more tooling components which are used as templates for chassis components, just like the moulds we say in the first part of the tour, they’re huge and heavy, even those used for small components are likely a 100lbs and above.

This is one of the technical aspects of the production line, metal sheets are folded in a press by an engineer. Each fold has to be lined up by hand and done one at a time, so more complete chassis designs can take quite a while to perform.

This was easily one of the coolest things on the tour, a simple metal sheet starts its life here and is picked up by the suction cups above, before being passed along to the machine on the left.

It is then drilled, stamped, pressed and beaten by one machine at a time before being passed onto the next one in this long line. Each has their own job to perform and the final component is put in a stack all the was at the end of this row of machines.

More tooling once again, this machine here is used to drill the motherboard screw holes into the motherboard back plate.

Smaller components require finer machines ad continual die stamping is used to create thing such as PCI slot covers, brackets and covers.

Metal roll is fed through the machine and literally stamps out the shapes and components needed.

Check out part 3 of the tour here.

Roccat Teasing “Own The Couch” For Computex 2014

Roccat are cooking up something big for Computex 2014 with the launch of a teaser website called Own The Couch. With the Computex event set to take play next week (eTeknix will be there!) Roccat look set to make a “contribution to your living room experience” when they make their full announcement on June 10th.

What could this be? We’ll I think it is a safe bet that it will be a peripheral, or range of peripherals that are best suited to big screen gaming. My first guess would be a new controller, something the company hasn’t done yet. However it could also be a living room friendly mouse and keyboard combo, who knows.

This is a pretty big deal though, especially since Roccat are one of the best in the business for creating high-quality, high-performance gaming products, so I’ve no doubt that whatever it is, it will be awesome.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”450″]http://youtu.be/v459CWfiEGE[/youtube]

Either that, or they plan on selling blue leather couches, now that would be weird.

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of TweakTown.

Breaking News: Halo 5: Guardians Coming In 2015

There are a lot of rumors floating around about the next title in the Halo series, with everything currently pointing to Halo 2: Anniversary Edition for the Xbox One later this year, but what about the main series? Microsoft has just named Halo 5: Guardians, and it’ll be heading to the Xbox One in autumn/fall 2015, so still a while off yet.

The new game will land alongside the new television series, and 343 Industries general manager Bonnie Ross has described the new game as “a massive and exciting project” that “takes full advantage of the Xbox One’s hardware and ecosystem to create worlds and experiences worthy of next-gen”. We should hope so too, given the legacy of the Halo series and Xbox consoles, they need to make this a real console seller, or they may as well pack up their compters and quit the industry.

The sequel was teased last year at E3 with a very vague trailer, no name for the game or anything, but with the next E3 just around the corner, it’s about time someone said something about the new game.

Ross added that with “the scope, features and scale we’ve been dreaming of for more than a decade”, when talking about the game running at 60 frames per second and on dedicated servers. The TV series that launches alongside the new game will be produced in collaboration with the legendary Steven Spielberg and no doubt represents a massive cash investment from both 343i and Microsoft.

“Halo 5: Guardians is a bigger effort than Halo 4. That applies to the content and scope of the game, as well as the technology in what’s now a brand new and more powerful engine,” said Ross. “It’s a game that will hopefully demonstrate the talent, learnings and abilities of the 343 Industries team. A game that will incorporate the things we learned from Halo 4 about technology, aesthetics, performance and scale – and perhaps more importantly, understanding and embracing a community of gamers who love what lies at the heart of this game, and the limitless potential of the Halo universe.” he added.

Ross teased that there will be even more information about the Halo sequel at this years E3 next month and with such a long wait until the new game is released, it leaves a perfect release window for the rumoured Halo 2 re-release which is expected to launch in November to cater to the Christmas rush, something that has been long awaited after the success of Halo CE: Anniversary.

Now all we have to do is sit and wait for E3, and perhaps it will be the season when the new consoles finally start getting their killer apps, not just generalised multi-format releases and sub-par launch titles.

Thank you CVG for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of CVG.

Silverstone Desktop Amp & DAC At CeBIT 2014

Here we are once again at the Silverstone booth at CeBIT 2014 and while we’ve already had great fun checking out their new chassis products for 2014, I can’t help but be even more excited about their audio products. Silverstone are well known in the industry for their attention to detail and premium grade engineering, a mindset that works well when designing high-end audio equipment.

Below we have the RAV01 and the RAV02 audio products, both of which are part of Silverstone’s premium grade gaming series “Raven”. The devices booth look simple enough, black boxes with a pair of audio jacks on the front. The RAV01 is external and compact, while the RAV02 is a little larger to allow mounting in a 5.25″ drive bay slot on your chassis. Both of them are designed to filter and improve the quality of your sound while gaming, perfect for blocking background noise and giving your headset an extra kick.

The really awesome stuff comes in the form of the new desktop amp and DAC (Digital Audio Converter). These two sleek looking devices are made from beautifully finished brushed aluminium and while they can be run separately you can hook the pair together to really reap the benefits of high-end headsets and headphones on your desktop. Improved signal quality and power delivery really makes a big difference and I’ll be taking a closer look at these products in the coming weeks for an in-depth review.

There is still more great things to see at the Silverstone booth as well as from the rest of the show here at CeBIT 2014, so well be back very soon with even more coverage from the show floor.

PC Specialist’s Latest TV Ad Campaign Launches Today

When it comes to getting your name and brand out in there in the wide world, we typically see system integrators and computer hardware vendors advertising their presence through online ad campaigns on websites such as ourselves and through printed press such as tech magazines. There is, however another method of advertising that can reach a far greater audience in a fraction of the time that it takes a printed advert to get noticed – this is of course TV advertising.

Following their formation in 2003, PC Specialist are one of the few specialist vendors and system integrators out there to have used this method to reach out to the most people in the UK for entertainment purposes at any one time. With PC Specialist now topping the charts as the UK’s biggest and most successful system integrator, they are today launching their third TV advertising campaign to once again push their brand out to the UK market and will be seen on a number of channels including Channel 4. To assist in the production of the advert, PC Specialist has teamed up with Asus and Intel on the hardware side along with Ubisoft and EA on the gaming side to produce a thirty-second clip that coincides with the launch of two of the biggest games for 2014 – Titanfall and Watch_Dogs.

If that is not all, we are working closely with PC Specialist this year to bring to you reviews on some of the best gaming systems that they have to offer, be it a budget gaming system or a no reservation top end rig and this started off last week when I had a look at their mid range Vanquish 230XT. Whilst we are eager to see the advert appear on the TV ourselves, PC Specialist have been kind enough to upload the advert to Youtube for the world to see and share their support for this award-winning team.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_t7UEbHEOA[/youtube]

2014’s Hottest Hardware, Are You Ready For Some Epic Upgrades?

2014 is already proving to be a great year for tech lovers, and with the PC market currently offering a mixture of incredible value and high performance components, there has never been a better time to be a PC enthusiast. Yet for all the high-end hardware on the market that we have available to us today, we can’t help but look forward at what is coming next. There’s always something just around the corner that makes you want to delay your next upgrade, something bigger and better that promises to be a real game changer. Today we thought it would be great to take a quick look at some of the hottest things that could hit the market this year.

Improved Performance And Power Consumption From DDR4 Memory


First up we have DDR4 memory, this one has been a long time coming and while it may not offer huge performance increases over current offerings, it’s improved reliability and lower power usage is certainly a tempting option. With new hardware that supports DDR4 slowly working its way towards the consumer market it’s nice to see that there may be some changes in the memory market later this year, and that’ll hopefully pave the way to big performance increases further down the line.

Cheaper 4K Capable Monitors And Devices


4K gaming is quite a popular topic these days, but 4K isn’t just about gaming, it can be used for movies, content creation or the most popular thing in the internet world, porn doge memes. The only issue with 4K is that it’s insanely expensive compared to its 1080p and 1440p counterparts. The screens are very expensive, and even recent price cuts to sub $1000 still leave it out of the reach of many. We expect this year will see not only the screens coming down in price, but to also be followed by price cuts in 4K capable graphics cards.

Faster And More Powerful Graphics Hardware


Speaking of new graphics cards, we love the current line up of graphics cards that are on the market. AMD are pushing some gorgeous hardware and Nvidia have some serious powerhouses of their own, but the grass is always greener on the other side and we would be crazy to not be excited about what is coming next from the red and green camps. With Maxwell and Volta from Nvidia and further developments from AMD with their GCN (Graphics Core Next) and APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) hardware, PC gaming is set for some big changes. Getting ultra-high graphics on 4K hardware is far from easy, so more powerful and more efficient hardware, as well as huge changes in memory management will help a lot.

High Performance Next-Generation CPU’s


Going hand in hand with the new graphics cards and memory products we’re looking forward to, we’re even more excited about the next generation of CPU hardware from both Intel and AMD. With Broadwell and Skylake, as well as an even more advanced range of APU’s on the horizon, we can expect support for DDR4, unified memory, faster data transfer speeds and advancements in power management and a whole lot more. Personally I’m looking forward to Skylake more than anything, but for now my Ivy Bridge will do me just fine. If AMD keep boosting the power in their APU’s enough, we may also have a great solution for compact gaming rigs and SteamBox style builds.

Ultra-High Performance And Capacity SSD’s


It’s not often that I can get too excited about storage, SSD’s are great for boosting system performance and they’re endlessly more powerful than their mechanical counterparts. However, their performance seems to be hitting its limits and short of RAID configurations, there isn’t much else that can be done. New memory controllers, as well as other advances should see some nice improvements later this year, but we’re hoping there is another big change ahead that will see massive gains in terms of read and write times, not to mention power consumption and price reductions.

That about wraps it up for our most wanted tech and when combined you can see that we’re hoping for a pretty broad improvement in performance across the whole spectrum of PC components and devices. With 4K working it’s way to becoming common place and prices of UHD displays dropping we’re going to need lightning fast, and large capacity storage devices to handle all the rendering, massive textures and more that come with it, just look at the 48GB needed to install Titanfall and you can see where we are heading! Then you’ll need more powerful graphics cards to enjoy them to their full potential, and the added performance and power management of new CPU’s and memory products certainly couldn’t hurt either.

What tech are you looking forward to later this year? Will you be upgrading now, or are you planning on holding out for the next generation of hardware? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of PCLABAnandtechGeForceHotHardware and Techradar.

Apple Rumored To Release New iPads Along With Its 12.9-inch “iPad Pro” This Fall

A lot of rumors have been floating around regarding the new devices Apple is to deliver this year. From large display iPhones, to the iWatch and even new versions of the current iPads, they are all targeted to be released as early as the end of 2014. The iPad Pro for example, a device which has been rumored to have a 12.9-inch display and be dedicated to business clients and education, is also expected to be released this fall.

While Samsung already made its move with its 12.2-inch tablets at CES, Apple is expected to speed up its development and do the same thing this year and we should see the first 12.9-inch iPad by the end of this year. It is said that Q3 is the earliest possible time for Apple to release its new tech though.

Earlier rumors suggest that Quanta Computer will be tasked with production of the large iPad. Apart from this tablet, Apple is also rumored to release new models of its Retina iPad Mini and iPad Air. The same release date as the iPad Pro has been suggested for the latter iPads as well, though we are most likely to see them next year rather than this year.

Thank you VR-Zone for providing us with this information

Alien: Isolation Announced By SEGA

SEGA has officially unveiled Alien: Isolation. In the game, you will take the role of Ellen Ripley’s daughter, Amanda. The game is planned for a late 2014 release on PC, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4 and Xbox One.

“Creative Assembly has created a truly incredible gaming experience, capturing perfectly the very core of what has made the Alien franchise remain relevant after 35 years,” said Jeffrey Godsick, president of Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products. “This partnership has led to the creation of a game that is simply outstanding and sets the tone for what is to come this year for the 35th anniversary of Alien.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVy_yqA2lcI[/youtube]

One of the plot threads that is teased in the “Alien” franchise, but hasn’t been explored in the films, is the throwaway line about Ellen Ripley’s daughter, whom she outlived thanks to her 50 year stasis between the first two films. Now it seems that story is finally getting told, in the form of a new “Alien” video game from SEGA, Twentieth Century Fox, and Creative Assembly, titled Alien: Isolation. You can see the announcement trailer, a developer diary, and some screenshots for the game below along with the full press release.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meNE4CPtnCo#t=28[/youtube]

“In Alien: Isolation, we have taken the series back to the roots of Ridley Scott’s 1979 movie, the original survival horror,” said Alistair Hope, Creative Lead at Creative Assembly. “Our Alien is a truly terrifying creature, as intelligent as he is hostile, relentless, brutal and unstoppable. This is the Alien game fans of the series have always wanted.”

Thank you Coming Soon for providing us with this information
Image and videos courtesy of Coming Soon

Affordable 4K Monitors From Asus & Lenovo Unveiled At CES 2014

Earlier in the week in my post regarding my thoughts on what’s going to be the talk of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show I made a guess that 4K was once again going to be high in the rankings as panels become more affordable and more developed over the last 12 months. Well it appears that my thoughts were right on the money and both Asus and Lenovo have stepped forward to give us a taster with their sub US $800 displays that pack the massive 4K resolution that it seems we are all desperate to get our hands on.

Over the last few months we have seen no end of 4K monitors available on the market, but truth be told they have been well out of the price range of many of us and so they were only but a reality for those with a deep pocket. The time has now come, however, where 4K panels have been condensed into a smaller frame, but remarkably the price has dropped considerably.

Starting off with the PB287Q from Asus, content creators can now stop saving up for the $3000 asking price of Asus’ larger 31.5″ panel that has been on the market for the last few months. Compared to its bigger brother, the PB287Q packs virtually the same feature set, with both DisplayPort 1.2 and MHL-capable HDMI ports on hand and the same jaw-dropping resolution of 3840 x 2160. The most important factor to consider though is the remarkable price of just US $799 which brings this monitor right into the price bracket of many high end content creators such as myself.

Like Asus, Lenovo are also breaking the mould with their own affordable 4K screen. The ThinkVision Pro2840m like the PB287Q is also a 28″ panel that packs the same 3840 x 2160 resolution, but it also features three USB 3.0 ports and dual 3W speakers for an extra premium over the Asus offering of around $1 – yes $1!.

Both monitors are scheduled to be available in the early to mid part of Q2 this year and I’ll make sure to head over to both vendors stands this week to get a closer look at what these screens have to offer.

 

CyberpowerPC Show Off The Fang Battle Box At CES 2014

CyberpowerPC are taking this years show by the horns and are giving us a whole heap of toys to look at and play around with. We’ve already seen their Steam Box offering but there is yet another system in their suite that has caught my eye. Tucked away to the side of the room is a system that looks somewhat like a took box or flight case, but with LEDs inside. This is the coveted Fang Battle Box.

Packed inside this mighty little box is a whole LAN gaming system with more than enough grunt to pwn those n00bs with ease. After going to many LAN events, it’s apparent that some people could do with a more robust system to carry from home to the gaming halls and this is exactly the design path that CyberpowerPC have gone down with the Battle Box.

Obviously with a system of this sort, having an easy way to transport it is paramount and on the top a chunky handle is provided – as one would expect with a flight case design and next to this we find two USB3.0 ports, power and reset buttons and the case latch to open the system up,

The underside of the case features some large rubber feet on one end of the system is a full arrray of I/O ports so as soon as you arrive at LAN, all you need to do is plug it in and play!

Opening the case up we find that this is more than just a LAN ready chassis, Alongside a GTX 780 Ti and a 4770k topped with a Corsair closed loop water cooling unit is a 120GB SSD paired with a 1TB mechanical drive, 16GB Dual-Channel memory, cooler master fans and a 500W power supply from Corsair.

The Fang Battle Box is due for release around now and I am certainly looking forward to getting this rather unique system in for review, after all it’s not everyday you see a system in a flight case available to buy off the shelf.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/QEH6GgDu_9U[/youtube]