When it comes to online games, you have to be careful when you play because some will find ways to cheat and increase the odds in their favour through less than legitimate reasons. When this happens on consoles and even more so on PC’s you are often found out by one of the many anti-cheat systems that are in place, but sometimes they don’t work 100% and will do bad things to good players, such as those currently playing Dark Souls III.
Dark Souls III is having the problem where players are experiencing a soft ban without any reason provided. The problems got so big that J Kartje, the community manager for Dark Souls III tweeted that they were “gathering all the information”.
A soft ban is much like its name, is lighter than a normal ban, letting players keep using the online component of Dark Souls III but only with other players who have been soft banned, including those that have actually cheated. How do you tell a legitimate ban from one that seems to be due to corrupted save data or a bad network connection with a wonky anti-cheat system? It would seem for now you can’t but with the problem being investigated there is hope for those of you who wish to enjoy and feel like you are being punished for bad coding.
A few days ago, mobile giant Three, announced plans to block adverts on a network level and provide a more enjoyable user-experience. It’s important to remember that only “irrelevant and excessive mobile ads” will be blocked which ensures unobtrusive ads can still bring in revenue. This seems like a sensible balance and I applaud Three’s decision to tackle mobile advertising in a direct manner. However, this viewpoint isn’t shared by O2’s (Telefonica) CEO Ronan Dunne. In an interview with Campaign at MWC, Dunne claimed ad blocking “isn’t the answer”. To be fair, Dunne did criticize companies employing intrusive adverts. Although he clearly believes a widespread network level blocking policy is flawed. Dunne also went onto say:
“In this market there is an imbalance between the interests of the consumers being supported and the interests of advertisers, and both are legitimate, but there doesn’t seem to be a fair balance.”
“The challenge is, if more and more ads are trying to be squeezed into the same time of consumption, that was never a deal that the advertising industry or brands ever signed up to.”
“What we’ve seen with some of the research we’ve done is, if it’s relevant and contextual, a lot of customers are comfortable with advertising. Good, well-considered advertising is akin to curation – it’s actually delivering value to customers.”
“It’s when it’s unsought and it disrupts their ability to consume the content that they’re after that it’s a problem. The current environment isn’t tenable, so it has to evolve.”
I’m not entirely convinced by the notion that customers accept adverts especially when you consider how many people use Adblock plugins on PCs. There’s a battle ranging between advertisers, and content providers trying to make money, and consumers wanting a clean and enjoyable experience. Wired recently waged a war on readers using Adblock and decided to block access to their site. This story across web and mobile is going to be so important and could dramatically alter the future of media companies.
Gone are the days of running around like a headless chicken, spraying bullets everywhere and ammo drops around every corner. We have been begging for harder game modes for years and slowly, but surely, the difficulty has increased.
The latest game to receive a harder game mode is the upcoming Black Ops III (3). Generally you can choose between easy/novice/hard/expert, but now the developers have introduced “Realistic”. Xbox Achievements Jason Blundell said: “[In Realistic] you have one point of life, so if you’re shot once, you’re dead. It completely changes the way you play the game. You all have to survive as a group. You end up respecting the level in a completely different way, and once gunfire opens up, everyone just drops to the ground, because if any one bullet hits you or a grenade goes off near you, you’re dead.”
The AI’s have also been given an update to “make independent decisions” and there will be “more types of AI than we’ve ever had before” said Blundell.
Will the AI receive a similar one-shot death rule, or are we going to have to stock up on ammo before each kill? Is it just me or does that sound more of a suicidal game mode rather than realistic? Surely realism would be you bleed out unless you have a direct headshot or something just as bad. Let’s find out when the game is finally released on November 6 2015.
Thank you to Gameranx for providing us with this information.
There has been rumour after rumour surrounding the Half-Life series, ever since launch back in 1997. Valve hasn’t strictly confirmed nor denied the development of Half-Life 3, but yet more rumours have been doing the rounds on Reddit that a script has been finished, but it won’t be released ‘due to fear’.
When Reddit users reached out to Valve’s Marc Laidlaw, his responses were, interesting.
“I can’t comment on Valve’s internal process, but I can say that it sounds like someone is trolling. Anonymous sources have been posting speculation masquerading as inside knowledge since the Half-Life 1 delay in 1997. If that’s any comfort, please rest assured that in my experience at Valve, fear is the last thing that would ever drive a decision about what to work on”.
One user asked “If the story is finished, why not release it as a book or a comic”, Laidlaw responded with “There’s a misunderstanding that I’ve always tried to address straight on when this question comes up, which is that a Half-Life story can somehow exist outside of a game. It can’t. The story is created through the process of trying to figure out how to best use the features of the engine within the interesting set of constraints it poses”.
“The story is a part of the game. It doesn’t exist as a separate script that is handed off to game designers which they are expected to somehow make compelling through puzzles and combat”, he continued. He then finished off by saying “The story develops while trying to solve the problem of how to make a fun game. It’s like saying ‘Why don’t you write a sonnet that’s a novel?’ The Half-Life story is really only as good as the game that lets you play it”.
I don’t quite know what to make of that, has the script been finalised and they’re just waiting on a new game engine to produce it? Is this just a load of lies trying to keep the fire burning? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Thank you to TweakTown for providing us with this information.
The witcher 3 has had a new patch released to improve the gameplay even more.
The game was released on Tuesday and is taking the internet by storm. Its developers are the polish company, CD Projekt Red.
The new patch, is now available for download on PC, for both GOG and Steam users. Those on consoles will have to wait a bit more, but CD Projekt Red confirms on its website that their versions will be available very soon. Lots of major improvements are included in the update, starting with stability tweaks for the regular gameplay and the user interface.
Visual problems, such as grass and foliage rendering issues are also remedied, while the game’s overall performance when the Nvidia HairWorks technology is enabled has been improved. What’s more, when players select the Ultra graphics preset, they’ll receive anisotropic texture sampling at a 16x setting.Blood particles on water should display correctly, and players should no longer be able to shoot crossbow bolts at friendly characters (fun as that was).
Various other bugs that have been fixed relate to stamina regeneration, map interaction, input responsiveness from the keyboard, or the special effects have also been eliminated through the update.
The full change log is as follows:
Improves stability in gameplay and the UI
Improves performance especially in cutscenes and gameplay
Fixes grass and foliage popping that could occur after density parameters were changed
Improves Nvidia Hairworks performance
Boosted texture anisotropy sampling to 16x on Ultra preset
Sharpen Post-process settings extended from Off/On to Off/Low/High
Blood particles will now properly appear after killing enemies on the water
Corrects a bug where player was able to shoot bolts at friendly NPCs
Improves menu handling
Corrects an issue with Stamina regeneration while sprinting
Fixes a cursor lock issue that sometimes occurred when scrolling the map
Generally improves world map focus
Improves input responsiveness when using keyboard
Corrects some missing translations in the UI
Corrects an issue in dialogue selections
Rostan Muggs is back
Minor SFX improvements
Thank you Thewitcher for providing us with this information
Elon Musk, owner of the outstanding Tesla EV company has finally announced the expected release date of the highly anticipated Model 3. During the quarterly financial conference call for Tesla, Musk finally disclosed the release date of the wallet-friendly Model 3.
According to Musk, Tesla will reveal the car sometime in March 2016. Now Tesla has to deliver here, the current Model S and the upcoming Model X are simply stunning. Exterior design is one thing, but with the Model 3 expected to be around 20% smaller than the Model S; interior designers needs to keep an eye on space..
As for the actual launch date, Musk has stated 2017 with a key emphasis on late 2017. Now Tesla has a little track record of releasing its cars a tad late, so hopefully we will see the Model 3 in early 2018 at the latest.
For you who are a bit confused with all of these ‘Models’, here’s a quick breakdown; the Model S is Tesla’s current flagship car, the Model X is a crossover vehicle and the Model 3 is Tesla’s ‘Ace’, an EV for everyone with a price of just $35,000. That might seem steep, but this is $35,000 for a proven all EV, I would have a serious consideration for one as my next car.
If the Model 3 does hold a price around $35,000, would you consider one as a future car? Do you think Tesla have waited too long to release a more budget-friendly version? Let us know in the comments.
Thank you to BGR for providing us with this information.
With PAX Australia wrapping up merely weeks ago, the rumors have already started flying as to 2015’s ticket offering. It’s already been reported that PAX will continue it’s support of the Victorian market by operating for the next five years within the walls of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Center (aka “Jeff’s Shed” to the locals) even before the commencement of their first installment in this particular venue, kicking off on October the 31st 2014.
The rumors were quenched in recent days, with PAX officials announcing that tickets will be going on sale for PAX Australia 2015 coming as soon as the first week of December 2014. This was confirmed by many excited Enforcers on my social media platforms singing PAX’s praise – that of positive experiences in pop culture, cosplay, gaming releases and technology.
PAX 2014 was a massive success for Australia, seeing the festival move from the relatively small Melbourne Showgrounds to the much larger MCEC venue and saw them sell out of the 3-day passes months before the commencement date. PAX has successfully provided Australians with something to do with our time and spare dollars, besides the commercialized EB Games Expo alternative.
Given this information, you’re extremely likely to see these 3-day passes sell completely within a few weeks – but it’s a little unfortunate given no companies have made or announced proper plans for exhibiting in 2015. Are you willing to grab a ticket without knowing a single sliver of information about the contents of this show? Or are you confident that PAX will put on a good show, no matter what the issues may be?
At eTeknix we’ve been told some insider info from exhibiting companies that they may not be interested in attending PAX Australia 2015. It’s an amazing branding opportunity, as they have stated, but it’s a rather expensive ordeal without an easily traceable return on investment calculation.
Apples latest iteration of its iPad mini is expected to be unveiled on the 16th of October – a date that Apple has sent press conference invitations for.
This new 7-inch tablet is expected to be released under a different name however, with speculation from some sources claiming it won’t follow suit of a normal number naming protocol – its older brother was not released as the ‘iPad mini 2’, but called the ‘iPad mini with Retina display’.
Starting 10pm Pacific time (6pm UK time) on Thursday, Apple is expected to release this new product to the world in Berlin, Germany. The new tablet is expected to be for sale before two weeks time after this date.
There isn’t really any official information as to the new iPad mini specifications, but we’ve been able to bring together some leaks and rumors for you:
A very similar look and feel to the iPad mini 2
Featuring a Retina display with a resolution of 2048 x 1536
The introduction of Retina HD (as seen in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus)
A rear-facing 4MP and 1.2MP front-facing camera
The price for the new iPad mini is unknown, but be sure to check back to eTeknix as we’ll report on the launch when it happens. For now, we’ll share with you an image leaked of the final design thanks to nowhereelse.
Good news movie fans as comedian/actor Martin Lawrence has revealed that Bad Boys 3 is in the works. The reveal came during his interview TV with Conan while Martin was promoting his TV series Partners.
Conan asked Martin Lawrence if a Bad Boys 3 will happen, which Martin responded; “I believe so. Yes. I just talked to Jerry Bruckheimer yesterday and he said its real, they’re working on the script, they’re getting close and it all looks good.”
The movie is still awaiting final approval, but with Lawrence already believing it will happen and Bruckheimer and even Michael Bay still on the cards, things are clearly moving along nicely. The best part of course would be if Will Smith returned and Martin Lawrence has already voice his desire for Will to return to the set.
The first two films were awesome, here is hoping we won’t have to wait too long for the third to hit the big screen.
Thank you Slashfilm for providing us with this information.
Tesla has recently announced they are planning a BMW Series 3 rival named the model 3.
We had heard rumors that their next release would be called the model E, but Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk had some issues in the naming process:
“We had the model S for sedan and X for crossover SUV, then a friend asked what we were going to call the third car, so I said we had the model S and X, we might as well have the E.
We were going to call it model E for a while and then Ford sued us saying it wanted to use the Model E – I thought this is crazy, Ford’s trying to kill sex! So we’ll have to think of another name.
The new model is going to be called Model III, we’ll have three bars to represent it and it’ll be S III X!” Auto Express
This new design is will be unveiled in 2016 and set to be market-ready by 2017. We’ve also learned that it’s most likely set to be an all-new design – rather than based on Teslas other models, the Model S and Model X. As for the cars technology, that’s a task for ex-Aston Martin employee Chris Porritt.
As for specific information, the model 3 is rumoured to be 20% smaller than the Model S and is said to retail for $35,000 USD, thanks to cheaper battery technology made possible by Teslas Gigafactory. Musk also mentioned that the model 3 will have a realistic range of 200 miles, which is less than its Model S brother at 306 miles.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much more to say about the Model 3 at this stage, we’re going to have to wait until the time is closer Musk told CNET:
“We don’t have any more details to share at this point. Our focus continues to be on Model S and preparing for the introduction of Model X.”
For some images of the beast in question, check them out here.
Valve have announced that they are revoking the serial keys from some 7000 copies of Sniper Elite 3 after it was discovered that they had been stolen from authorised outlets and resold to unsuspecting Steam users.
Users who have purchased the game through the unauthorised outlets will find that their games will no longer run and they will have to seek a refund for their purchase, but not from Steam themselves. Rebellion have made a list of retailers that are unaffected by the key recall, with users who have had their keys revoked having to purchase another copy of the game either through Steam directly or through an unaffected retailer.
The announcement came after a retailer discovered that a number of their game keys had been stolen, with the money from the illegal sales not going to Valve or the retail distributor.
“To clarify, one of our PC retail distributors informed us that some of their allotted Steam keys were stolen,” the developer writes. “We believe these keys were then resold to multiple companies, with no payments going to either Valve or the retail distributor.”
As a goodwill measure, Steam are offering those users who have been affected a free copy of the “Target Hitler” DLC, with proof of purchase and their key needing to be provided in order to validate their claim, however the whole situation has already resulted in a large number of users venting their anger for something which genuinely was not their fault and understandably so if I might add.
It is not known at this moment in time who stole the keys and Rebellion are not making any statement as to the retail outlets that area affected, but we can probably guess that Steam may look into their security and key validation methods to prevent situations like this happening again.
iFixit, a site dedicated to tearing mobiles, tablets, notebooks and other bits of hardware to bits in order to provide users with repair guides has wasted no time in getting their hands on the latest Surface Pro 3 from Microsoft. During the teardown, or breakdown as the case may be, it has been discovered that under the shiny surface, Microsoft have not really taken repair and upgrading into account as part of the build process.
During the tear-down, iFixit stumbled across a number of issues including ultra-strong adhesives that hold the tablet together in a unarguably over-the-top fashion, along with a screen that cracks as soon as you try to pry it up from the main body and finally a battery that deforms like hell as you try to pry it away from its footings which includes more super-strong adhesive. Now considering Microsoft have built the Surface Pro 3 to be rugged, the strong adhesive in-between the ultra-thin components is understandable, but what this means for the end users is that if they want to upgrade or have parts of their tablet replaced, there is a strong chance that the cost of replacing the battery in a few years time will also incur the cost of a new display. That said though, if you do manage to get everything apart without breaking anything (a point at which you must celebrate your achievement) there is the option to upgrade the mSATA SSD, but let’s be honest, the chance of this involving just the cost of an SSD is unlikely so personally I wouldn’t even bother considering it if I owned one myself.
Topping off the fragile built are a numerous connectors that don’t follow any market trends, but these are a minor thing aside the mass of different adhesives which Microsoft have poured into the chassis. As iFixit clearly described in their tear-down, this tablet is very much like the previous models of the Surface Pro so even though it is a powerful bit of kit, it is certainly not for anyone who wants to get their fingers inside its outer skin.
Microsoft’s Surface tablets have been at the forefront of the tablet market for long time now and as users are making more of a move over to mobile computing, Microsoft have introduced a new range of Surface Pro tablets offering up a larger 12″ display with a resolution of 2160 x 1400 for laptop-like usage on the go. The increase in screen size and resolution sees the Pro 3 shipping with 38% more space on the display and 50% more pixels for a pin sharp and clear resolution.
We’ve increased the size of the screen – Surface Pro 3 has a 12” ClearType Full HD screen with 2160 x 1440 resolution. The new screen is 38% bigger than Surface Pro 2, with 50% more pixels. In addition, every screen is color calibrated at the factory, so you’ll see accurate, brilliant colors, great white points, and great contrast on every device. The combo of the big, beautiful screen and SD card means Surface Pro 3 gives big-screen entertainment anywhere.
Powered my Intel’s 4th generation Haswell processors, the Surface Pro 3 is, according to Microsoft, the thinnest, lightest and most powerful Surface Pro table to date. In addition to a Core i3, i5 or i7 processor, solid state storage options range from 64 to 512GB with up to 8GB of RAM and Intel’s HD 4400 graphics chipset.
“So many people carry both a laptop and a tablet but really want just one device that serves all purposes,” said Panos Panay, corporate vice president, Microsoft Surface. “Surface Pro 3 is the tablet that can replace your laptop — packing all the performance of a fully powered laptop into a thin, light and beautifully designed device. You’ll love being able to carry a single device for your next class, workday or weekend getaway knowing you have all the power you need.”
At launch there are going to be five SKUs available with the entry-level Core i3 system offering 4GB RAM and a 64GB storage capacity for $799. Two Core i5 systems will offer 4GB RAM and 128GB storage or 8GB RAM and 256GB storage for $999 and $1299 respectively. Finally the two top systems with both ship with 8GB of RAM with either 256GB of 512GB of storage for $1549 and $1949.
When it comes to CPU coolers there are no shortage of options, in fact it can be quite a headache trying to find the right one for your system. With water cooling now cheaper than ever, and air cooling still pushing forward with innovative designs that have pushed performance up and prices down, not to mention the wide range of sizes, shapes and a dozen other factors that can make each one unique from the last. be quiet! have one important focus on their coolers that sets them apart from the crowd, and they’re already a world-renowned brand for their ultra quiet performance products. It’s their ambition for quiet performance that has earned them a solid reputation among system builders, gamers and many other sections of the PC building / owning world. Offering up some of the quietest products on the market has long been their goal and they’ve succeeded time and time again, especially since their quiet performance is often backed up by superb cooling capabilities, pretty much the two best qualities you could ask for from a CPU cooler.
When it comes to picking your new CPU cooler, thermal performance is obviously a top priority, having a cooler that is also quiet is a welcome second priority, followed by build quality and aesthetics. be quiet! have proven before that they can tick all these boxes with their products, so they’re a premium choice for any system builder and that’s often reflected in the premium price tag of the be quiet! product range, but as they saying goes “you get what you pay for”. The Dark Rock Pro 3 cooler that we have in the office today is the new top dog of the be quiet! range, intended to be their best ever cooling product and today I’ll be expecting nothing short of excellence from this cooler. With prices edging over £70 from most major online retailers, this is a premium class product and it’s already treading into water cooling territory at this price range, so it’s going to have to be pretty special to compete with that market.
As you can see from the specifications below, it’s rather well equipped with support for a wide range of AMD and Intel socket types, two SilentWings fans (1 x 120mm & 1 x 135mm), aluminium construction and 7 x 6mm heat pipes.
The packaging is packed full of specifications (as above) and details about the product compatibility, but we’ll take a closer look at all of this shortly.
It’s really well packaged thanks to some soft foam blocks which cover each side of the cooler, which should be more than enough to keep it protected in transit.
In the box you’ll find a small bag of components, an installation guide and of course the cooler its self, which comes with the two fans pre-installed.
In the bag you’ll find an extra set of fan clips, handy for those who want to add a third fan to the cooler, all the screw bolt and brackets for both Intel and AMD sockets and a very durable metal backplate with two soft foam pads on the back of it.
Over the last few weeks we have been hearing some interesting information come to light regarding Intel’s 5th Generation chipset and its Haswell Refresh processors and with a launch date of 11th May only a matter of weeks away now, we are starting to see snippets of information come through with regards to the motherboards that are going to power the 5th Generation processors.
MSI have been throwing out some teasers of what is to come in their latest motherboard lineup and whilst some boards were on display at this year’s CeBIT in Germany, they were only prototype items. This means that whilst they give us an insight into what is on offer when the boards finally go on sale, what is seen is only to be taken with a pinch of salt and things are likely to change between then and the final release.
So what do we know about the new line of motherboards and what features will we see across the product stack? Like previous generation boards we will see the latest release of many features including Military Class IV components, V-Check Points 2, OC Engine, Audio Boost 2 and new to this line of boards we will also see an M.2 interface for the latest SSDs as standard and a Delid Die Guard for the XPower AC as seen last week.
To break up what each board will bring to the market, have a look at the next couple of pages where I’ll touch on what each board has to offer as we go up through the stack. At the moment there is no work on pricing for any of these boards, although we will be certain to keep you all updated as information comes to light.
Over the last few months, OCZ have been in the limelight with the news of imminent bankruptcy and to be quite honest, for us reviewers and particularly those of use that review their products it has been very had to ignore the facts and what was going on. As a result I was very sceptical that I was going to get any more products from them and these were the last days of one of the best SSDs names out there. Fortunately though, help was on hand and following a buyout from Toshiba, OCZ are once again back in the game. With Indlinx controllers at their heart and now having Toshiba’s own NAND packages spread around, OCZ have now got a stable supply of components for their SSDs and with this set of critical changes taking place, there is no other way to display their come back but to release a new drive.
Following in the footsteps of the Vertex 450, the Vertex 460 is home to the same Indlinx BareFoot 3 M10 controller, however on the NAND front the younger and fresher drive takes advantage of Toshiba’s 19nm MLC NAND packages and the resulting combination sees a drive that on paper looks quite promising. The rated performance figures put it up with some of the class leading drives, although it has been priced in the region of other mainstream drives.
Whilst some people are sceptical that the buyout from Toshiba will help out OCZ in the longterm, OCZ are still going to run under their own name and the essence of OCZ’s previous products is still going to be there. I personally have high hopes for them and I look forward to seeing a number of class leading products roll off the production line in the near future. There is only one way to see how the rejuvenation process has gone and that is to put the drives to test and see what they are made of.
Bundled in with the Vertex 460, we are provided with a typical OCZ array of extras including a 2.5″ to 3.5″ drive bay adaptor, a copy of Acronis True Image Home for drive to drive migration, screws for installation and a ‘I my SSD’ sticker.
Whilst we have seen a lot from Kingston at this years Consumer Electronics Show, but this is not to say that they have shown us everything that they have to offer. Part of the reason why we see one or two things crop up just after CES comes down to development. If Kingston were to put everything together and launch it all at the same time, then there is a high chance that something will get missed out or not given as much exposure as something that is a little more revolutionary or performance pushing. This is the reason why only a few weeks after one of the years biggest tech shows Kingston are holding a smaller, more select event where they can focus their attention one a small group of products that they want to give a small push into the market and with the number of products more concentrated, the exposure that they will get from these is more defined as opposed to being lost in a stand or suite overview for example.
One of the few products that they have got on show, and the one that this mini-event is mainly pushing out is the all new DataTraveller Locker+ G3. Now whilst we have seen a wide range of drives come on to the market under both the DataTraveller name and also having the G3 tag, the Locker+ is a drive that is a little more unique with a feature that not too many drives tend to have on the market; namely encrypted storage.
Now when we think about data encryption and storage, people tend to think about the internet and systems that hold personal information about ourselves, but on the consumer end of the market, there is still the demand for secure storage to ensure that data and information cannot fall into the wrong hands. Flash drives are one of the more common pieces of consumer hardware that we tend to misplace or lose entirely and if this drive holds valuable data, either personal or in relation to a business, there is the slight potential that the damages could be far greater than expected. As a result this is the whole reason why we are seeing encrypted drives come onto the market.
To join this growing market of secure flash drives, Kingston are unveiling the new and improved DataTraveler Locker+ Generation 3 drive. With capacities ranging from 8GB through to 64GB and offering read and write speeds of up to 135MB/s and 40MB/s respectively, the thrid generation drives offer better capacities and faster speeds over the generation two secure drives that fall under the DataTraveler range. With faster speeds on offer, the new drive boasts a USB3.0 port and a sleek, rugged feeling all-metal housing with a massive 5-year warranty. Data encryption is made possible through an installation-free interface that runs directly from the drive, meaning wherever you go, you’ll always have access to your data when you need it and the security when you need it the most.
The Locker+ G3 is available now and with prices starting at around £10 for the 8GB model, ranging up to around £45 for the 64GB drive, the drives are not only desirable, but also affordable as well. Watch closely on eTeknix as will have a review of this drive coming up very soon.
Whilst the Locker+ G3 was the the key product to see, there is one drive that Kingston have been bragging about for a number of months now and one that has dropped the jaws of many enthusiasts and pro-sumers around the world. This is of course the massive 1TB capacity that is packed into the HyperX Predator USB3.0 flash drive. We are no strangers to this drive, in-fact I was the first person that was able to get my hands on this drive for review and I have to give it to Kingston, the mind boggling capacity in such a small frame is one of last years greatest innovations and since its release, Kingston have seen a strong response from the community with a fair number of drives beings sold.
If you want to read more about the HyperX Predator 1TB, take a look at our full review where we have specs and performance benchmarks of this mega drive.
Over the last few months the price of flash storage has been on a steady downhill curve and this drop in price has effected multiple sectors of the storage market. On one front, SSDs on the upper end of the capacity scale have been coming more and more affordable and as a result users have been able to get faster and larger drives instead. On another front and one which affects the product that I’m looking at today, the cost of producing larger flash drives, or ‘memory sticks’ as they are commonly known, has plummeted and high-capacity drives are more than within the budget of most of us out there who need them.
The way to look at this drop in price is to look at how expensive flash drives used to be only a few years ago. When you went online or into your high street retailer to get a flash drive, the cost of getting a 2GB drive for example was very costly and typically you saw 1GB and even 512MB drives commonly being used. Today we laugh at the cost of a 2GB drive and now we are literally being given 4GB and 8GB drives for free and this leads us back round to the statement above about how the price of storage drops over time to a more affordable level.
Putting the cost of storage to the side for a moment and taking a little trip down memory lane, we are no strangers to Mach Xtreme and the drives that they have to offer with this being the fourth drive that I’ve had to look at. Not only is this the fourth drive, but it is also the biggest, yet smallest drive that I’ve had in to review, which once again ties in with the points made above. Typically the drives that I’ve seen before now have featured SLC NAND inside and to bring this down to earth, this meant that the cost of producing the drives was a little higher in order to offer up the faster write speeds that early USB3.0 drives failed to provide. SLC NAND at the same time doesn’t suffer from the same high rates of wear over time when compared to the more affordable MLC NAND, but with advances in technology, MLC NAND now offers the best of both worlds with faster speeds and greater storage density. The end result is a drive that is faster, smaller and cheaper than before – just what everyone wants to hear in this day in age!
Like every other Mach Xtreme drive that I’ve seen, the MX-LX comes on a card back with a plastic shell holding the drive in place. On the front and rear of the card we get the usual array of information with the drives capacity clearly stated, a note highlighting the drives optimisation for Asus motherboards and on the back a run-down on the drives specifications and features.
Since its release just over two years ago, Snapchat has been going from strength to strength and more recently the simple photo messaging app which was developed by a group of university students at Stanford has seen upwards of 350 million images passing through its servers each day to well over 100 million users worldwide. Due to its huge success and popularity, Facebook have made a huge offer to the app’s CEO – Evan Spiegel of $3B, only to be turned down as the 23-year old owner deems the company to be worth much more.
This offer has astonished a number of people worldwide as it is excessively more than the $1B purchase that Facebook made earlier in the year when they acquired the similarly popular imaging application – Instagram.
It seems that Facebook are keen to get their hands on the application as their own attempts to produce a similar app known as Facebook Poke saw little attention in the field when compared to Snapchat. With Facebook so keen to get hold of the service, especially due to the high offer, we may see another bid being placed next year when the company has an evaluation remade – with a substantial growth expected.
The battle between Microsoft and Sony over who’s console is better is one that has had the two rival companies wanting to find ways to prove their offering is better. In the US, one of the biggest console buying nations, The Xbox 360 has, for the last 32 months – that is nearly two and a half years – been the top-selling console month-on-month, however after one impressive run of being at the top of its game, the 360 has finally fallen to the feet of the PS3 as it takes top spot for the first time since 2011.
According to the console sales figures released by NPD, the release of Grand Theft Auto V, which itself broke sales records, may have been part of the reason why the PS3 became more popular in September as Sony bundled in the games with their specially branded consoles.
Sales of consoles are not the only part of the market to see improvements due to Rockstar’s latest game title, whilst the Xbox 360 is still [for this year] going to be the top-selling console ahead of the launch of the Xbox One and the PS4, sales of console accessories and other gaming related hardware have also shot up by 27% (Vs. Sept 2012) as the market can’t get enough of GTA V.
Seeing as the Xbox One and the PS4 are very close to hitting the shelves, only to be quickly snatched off as everyone rushed to get the latest consoles, the slate can be wiped clean and by the end of the year we will see who is the top manufacturer.
Xbox One or PS4? Which are you rooting for? Have you got a pre-order or waiting for launch prices to fall, let us know in the comments section below.
Since I have been reviewing SSDs, there is one particular brand that as been at the forefront of my testing and who are always willing to send me the latest revision of their most popular drives. This is of course OCZ and since I took a look at the Vertex 3 nearly two years ago, I’ve seen a number of Vertex drives since. One of these drives that I looked at – namely the Vertex 3 Max IOPS 120GB is one that I still use to this day in my laptop for rendering work when out and about at events and its not skipped a beat on me once – proof that the drives are highly reliable in the long run!
Moving forward to today, the advances in SSD technology as we know are moving quicker than ever and drives are no pouring out of factories quicker that we would have imagined just a few years ago, but the big names in the SSD market are all trying to keep the users on their side by re-kindling and improving on their known product lines in order to try and keep the upper hand.
The Vertex line of drives as highlighted above is again seeing another update and a fresher look at the same time, hoping to keep it as one of the more popular drives in the SSD market. The most recent update that we saw from OCZ was with the slightly older Vertex 3, whilst the Vertex 4 is the more recent of these two drives, the V3 was a huge seller and with the move over to 20nm NAND, the creation of the Vertex 3.20 was made with scope that users of the Vertex 3 would see the update and move across to the better performing drive.
The other key element of the Vertex drives is value. In a market where competition is fierce, being able to bring top level performance down to mainstream prices is a huge factor in sales and this is what the new Vertex 450 is primarily aimed for. Since the acquisition of Indilinx, OCZ have been fitting their own proprietary controllers to their drives reducing the overall cost of the drives, which as we know is great news for the end user. The BF3-M10 controller that we see in use in the 450 is a slightly cut back version of that used on the Vector. Whilst it has a slightly lower clock speed, its clock generator has been optimised for performance and with the teaming of some 20nm NAND, OCZ have built the drive with Vector like specifications – but at a lower cost.
Unlike the Vertex 3.20 which saw a change to the standard OCZ packaging – a blister pack of all things – the 450 sees the return of the ‘standard’ OCZ outfit, with a 2.5″ to 3.52 drive bay adaptor, fitting screws and a copy of Acromis True Image for cloning the contents of your current drive to this with ease.
When it comes to SSD line-ups, its safe to say that OCZ has got virtually every inch of ground covered with budget, performance and all round value drives with the Octane, Vertex 3 & 4 and recently the Vector series of drives. At the same time of covering all price points, OCZ have proven reliability and a huge following of users, but now that the SSD has become more mainstream and the number of users that are adopting the faster technology grows, the market is become heavily inundated with new models meaning that for some the choice is too great and for those vendors that have been in the SSD sector for a while now, their now older models are not getting the same attention that they used to.
OCZ’s Vertex line of drives in my option are some of the best selling drives out there and now that they have been around for a good couple of years and then they were one of the pioneers of using MLC NAND flash to store data on their drives, pairing it with one of the most successful controllers of the SSD world – the SandForce SF-2281. Believe it or not, this is the second re-release of the Vertex 3 and this time round OCZ have made the point of making it clear about the update to the drive.
When the Vertex 3 was first released it included 34nm MLC NAND and following the move to 25nm NAND without much of an announcement from OCZ, there was a lot of upset from the consumers with some buying the 34nm drives without a clue that 25nm were also available with some improvements to the performance. Moving forward to now, OCZ are yet again shrinking the size of technology on their drives and we now are seeing 20nm NAND – that’s almost half the original Vertex 3 of two years ago. Not wanting to make the same mistake twice however, OCZ this time round are making it well known that they have updated this drive and this includes a slight tweak to the name to reflect the 20nm NAND – hence Vertex 3.20.
For the end user this shift to newer technology means a drive that is even more affordable than before whilst still retaining the same roots as the original Vertex 3 with great performance and capacity and on the factory side for OCZ this also means reduced manufacturing costs – hence the drop in end user price. Whilst the drive itself will look 99.9% the same on the outside, there is one notable difference to the packaging. We’ve for a long time got used to the small card boxes that OCZ have used that open out to house the drive inside in an anti-staic bag and a set of screws and a drive bay adaptor behind, but with more and more chassis natively supporting SSDs with specific mounting points and trays compatible with 2.5″ drives, OCZ have made the decision to drop the extras and give the user just what they need – a simple no fuss packaging – also another way to reduce the cost overall.
Breaking News! Xbox One will no longer require an internet connection, as well as that they are not going to restrict used games or game lending anymore. No more daily check-ins and it will be able to be used in all regions! At least that is what Andrew Goldfarb has told us.
Microsoft must have gotten some sense knocked into them by someone, perhaps it has been all of the BAD publicity that have been receiving recently! It has been one bad thing after another about the new Xbox One, which is not even due for release until November. Things like requiring you to connect to the internet at least once every 24 hours, requiring used games to have a paid registration, not allowing games to be shared or traded with friends and family. They will also no longer be locking Xbox One to specific regions, so you will be able to take your Xbox One where ever you please, great for if you like to travel.
Essentially Microsoft is removing all of the horrible features that they added, and they are taking a step back. They issued an official post to their website Xbox.com explaining their stance. The only time an internet connection will be required is when you initially setup your console.
Like the Xbox 360, disk based games will require the disk to be in the tray. Great news for those of us that like to share our games with our friends, or like to trade-in games when we are done with them, there will no longer be any restrictions. All of the downloadable games will work the same way, and will not require your console to be connected.
Perhaps these changes are because of the uproar of fans after Sony announced that the Playstation 4 will not require an internet connection or even authentication, as well as no fees for trading in your used games. Will Microsoft earn back some customers with this change of heart, let me know in the comments below.
Thank you IGN for providing us with this information.