Don’t Drill Your Graphics Card or Receive This Expensive Lesson

We have all done something stupid at one point or another, but some people’s actions make ours look pale in comparison. Such a case showed up this week where the victim of stupidity was nothing less than a Zotac GeForce GTX 980Ti Amp graphics card. At this point, you might want to either get the tissue box for your tears and put away the drink so you don’t risk spitting it all over from laughing; because one of those two things are bound to happen.

A user named Zanderlinde had purchased a Zotac GTX 980 Ti AMP! graphics card for his new rig, but having a custom built case, the giant heatsink on the card became an issue and he decided to get an aftermarket cooling solution instead to help that issue. So far everything is like it should be, right? But here we go.

Zanderlinde got himself a Corsair HG10 GPU cooler for his graphics card and tried to mount that to his card, only to find out that it didn’t fit properly, one of the mounting holes didn’t align properly. Being a DIY man, as he calls himself, he attempted to fix this issue; sadly he did so in the worst possible way. Instead of trying to modify the mounting bracket or create a new one himself to fix this issue, he took his power drill and made a new hole in his $1000 CAD graphics card. Yes, you read that right, he drilled another hole in the PCB of a Nvidia GTX 980 Ti graphics card.

Motherboard and graphics card PCBs are usually multi-layered and even tho you can’t see any visible connections where you drill, there might be more between the layers and it looks like Zanderlinde drilled through multiple of those. Now at this point, the card wasn’t fully destroyed yet, but it was before he was done with his stupid ideas. Realising that he might have cut some internal connection within the PCB, he got the idea to solder it up to reestablish the connection. To simulate this before actually doing it, he put a screwdriver through the hole in order to bridge the cap. Oh boy, and yes you already guessed right what happened next. Smoke started to rise from the card.

Before the last stupid attempt, parts could have been salvaged from the card, but now everything is more or less fried. To finish the card off completely, he went ahead and broke it in two. But he admits to his stupidity and called himself out for it, so there is a chance that he learned from his expensive lesson and will ask for help first before attempting something as stupid as this again.

All BBC Services are Currently Down

The BBC is currently suffering from intermittent internet service outages this morning. All BBC web-based services have been affected including iPlayer and the main news website.

DownDetector has shown a dramatic rise in reports of the websites being unavailable from around 7am too, the website is showing 500 error pages, with some parts of the website not loading at all, and others partially loading. It seems that radio and television broadcasting services are not affected but many of the services remain offline.

BBC have tweeted an apology via their Twitter account.

The last outage that the BBC encountered was back in 2011 due to technical issues and later in 2o12 the BBC revealed that it had been under cyber attack which took its telephone and e-mail services offline. However, the cause of this outage has not currently been confirmed, but we will post more information as we find it.

https://twitter.com/MintRoyale/status/682480371112505345?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

When such a big website goes down, it can be a major inconvenience for quite a lot of people. Especially for a site like BBC, which is a hub for many around the world for breaking news, weather, and so much more.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III Plagued by Performance Problems

Call of Duty: Black Ops III has finally been released and early reports suggest it’s a technical mess on PC. A large number of the Steam Reviews describe the latest COD entry as “unoptimized” which struggles to achieve a smooth frame-rate. Unfortunately, it seems the game is marred by stuttering, sudden frame drops and micro-stutter. Even on top-tier hardware, the performance is atrocious and should be avoided until patches are released to help rectify these major problems:

The general consensus is remarkably similar to early testing conducted by TechPowerUp which indicates the game utilizes a ridiculous amount of system memory and VRAM. During their initial benchmarks, a GTX 980 Ti was monitored and almost used 6GB VRAM under load, and system RAM reached a maximum utilization of 12GB. Even more concerning, when the GPU was swapped with a Titan X, the engine started to increase the VRAM usage up to 8GB. Apparently, the game runs much smoother on a GTX Titan X compared to the 980 TI which can only be a result of memory differences.

This is extremely disappointing as a spokesperson prior to release discussed improved mouse controls, a GPU bound-engine and low CPU overheads. Clearly, this isn’t an accurate reflection as people are experiencing major problems on lower threaded CPUs. An official statement reads:

Call of Duty: Black Ops III is the perfect example of why you should be very suspicious when pre-ordering video games.

Green Man Gaming Refunding Batman: Arkham Knight Until End of 2015

Batman: Arkham Knight is still a colossal mess on PC and Warner Brothers have admitted they might not be able to rectify a whole host of issues. As a result, the studio decided to offer widespread refunds even if you’ve logged a significant amount of time playing the game. However, this has to be completed through the Steam refund policy, and only applies to purchases directly on Steam. In reality, a large proposition of customers acquire keys from third-party sellers and only use Steam to activate their license.

This means, anyone who purchased the game through other retailers, or received it with an NVIDIA graphics card cannot ask for a full refund. Thankfully, Green Man Gaming has acknowledged this and released a statement which reads:

“Hi folks. Just a quick little update to let you know that in accordance with WBIE’s statement on October 31st regarding Batman: Arkham Knight, we’ll be honouring refunds on the title until the end of 2015.”

I have to applaud Green Man Gaming for once again offering refunds to Batman: Arkham Knight. This premium level of customer service makes people feel more inclined to purchase games from Green Man Gaming in the near future. I only hope other retailers will follow suit, although I’m not sure if Green Man Gaming are covering the entire costs for these refunds. Therefore, some resellers might be unwilling to do this.

If you wish to initiate a refund, please visit this link.

Warner Brothers Issuing Refunds For Disgruntled Batman: Arkham Knight Customers

Batman: Arkham Knight will go down in history as one of the worst PC releases ever to grace the platform, and continues to suffer from a plethora of performance issues. This is astonishing given the game’s budget and shockingly, Warner Brothers outsourced the port to Iron Galaxy, a studio with a terrible reputation. As a result, the PC version was produced on the cheap and ended up being removed from Steam. Once Batman: Arkham Knight had been removed, Warner Brothers attempted to rectify the performance problems and re-launch the game when it was fit for purpose. However, some users are reporting the game is somehow running worse and a huge amount of bugs haven’t been fixed.

In lieu of this information, Warner Brothers have released a post which reads:

“We are very sorry that many our customers continue to be unhappy with the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight. We worked hard to get the game to live up to the standard you deserve but understand that many of you are still experiencing issues.

Until the end of 2015, we will be offering a full refund on Batman: Arkham Knight PC, regardless of how long you have played the product. You can also return the Season Pass along with the main game (but not separately). For those of you that hold onto the game, we are going to continue to address the issues that we can fix and talk to you about the issues that we cannot fix.

Thank you,

Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment”

This is a sorry state of affairs, but at least some customers can receive a full refund. However, I’m almost certain this only applies to those who purchased the game through Steam. As a result, if you want a refund and simply entered a code from a 3rd party reseller, it looks like you’re out of luck. The same applies to people who received the game with an NVIDIA graphics card.

Hitchhiking Robot Is Vandalised After Just Two Weeks in the US

You did indeed read this correctly, a hitchhiking robot which was created by a team of intelligent minds with the aim of experimenting with artificial intelligence and human interaction, has become unstuck after entering and travelling through the US.

Below is a full length image of Hitchbot, which sounds like a futuristic Will Smith dating movie, was vandalised in Philadelphia after having spent a little over two weeks visiting sites in Boston, Salem, Gloucester, Marblehead, and New York City.   Ironically all went well for the robot when it previously travelled through Canada; the US, on the other hand, was less kind.

The team behind this experiment has vowed to continue this innovative project and will also analyse the very nature of human and AI interaction, more details of any future plans will be detailed on the 5th August 2015.

The design of the robot may look slightly malevolent, but I do think this experiment has so far allowed for research to be undertaken within the effects of a machine has on the general public. The website for Hitchbot is written in first person as if the robot is narrating his story; this includes “Family” for the team which created it. As humans we have become accustomed to interacting with technology on a more human level, from Apple’s Siri to battle warzone robots which are being developed with the aim of “thinking” for themselves.

It will be thought-provoking moving forward when the day arrives for both calling a robot “Him or Her” rather than it and also how we interact with a non-human entity.

Thank You to both Hitchbot and Instagram account for providing us with this information.

Did Batman Turn From Superhero to ‘Super Murderer’ in the Arkham Knight?

Batman is considered a superhero and was created with that intent in mind. We see that in the comics and movies created so far, but what about the games? Sure, they need to be tweaked a bit to get players more interested in the game and make it ‘sellable’, but how far would you go to change that?

According to a medical examiner, as well as some screenshots, it looks like non-lethal Batman just turned serial killer in the latest Batman: Arkham Knight title. Dr. M. Hussain points out that some of the moves pictured below can cause “damage to the spine and ribs” and other lethal injuries.

“The amount of force required to kick someone across the room would be very high and can cause damage to organs.” Dr. Hussain noted.

On top of that, some of the vehicle collisions and rocket ‘punches’ displayed below simply speak for themselves. Don’t take our word for it though. If you played the game, you may be familiar with some scenes or actions that Batman performs, where it is clearly visible that his opponent(s) have no chance of survival. Here are some examples below:

I know we are talking about a game here where “Nothing is true, everything is permitted”, but let’s be honest here. We want to know Batman for who he was created to be, right? And as far as I know, Batman did not change his approach toward villains. What’s your thought on this? Let us know in the comments below.

Thank you GamesRadar for providing us with this information

Apple Watch Smashed After Just Two Hours


I know many of you love to mock the Apple team a lot, but there’s no denying that they’re a very successful company and I’m sure many of our readers are rather passionate about the hardware that Apple produce.

The company has just started releasing some of its Apple Watches into the wild and with the usual crowd flocking to trying and get one, there’s always going to be the anticipation to show off your new hardware, unless you’re unfortunate that yours breaks just two hours after putting it on your wrist. What’s worse is that the user of the watch says they couldn’t get a specific quote for the repair from Apple Customer Service, but like most Apple products, you break one thing, you may as well just replace the whole unit, as they’re not known to be repair friendly.

We’re unsure exactly how this happened, no doubt it was hit on something or possibly even dropped. We expect to see a lot of this in the coming weeks, but let’s hope it’s not the start of a trend, as unless you’re exceptionally careless, it breaking within two hours is pretty shocking.

The world of smart watches is quickly filling up with new devices and given they’re a little more interactive that your typical watch, they need to be strong and reliable to withstand all the constant tinkering.

Have you invested in the new Apple Watch yet? I must admit I’m tempted, but I’m going to let the general population beta test it for a few weeks first.

Assassin’s Creed Unity PC Patch Breaking SLI and More… Obviously

Assassin’s Creed: Unity is somehow still broken! Yet another patch has been released on PC in the last couple of days and while it fixes some performance issues, it welcomes in a wave of new problems that are ruining the game for some players.

The fourth update for the PC release of the game breaks the Nvidia SLI compatibility, so that money you spent on a second graphics card for extra performance isn’t going to do you much good right now; at least not on this game.

When you do enable SLI you end up with diabolical flickering of the lighting and textures that are more likely to give you a seizure than anything else.

The endless saga of failures continues…

Botched Windows 7 Update Blocked Software Installations

Microsoft has withdrawn an update to Windows 7 that caused some major issues for those who installed it. Update KB3004394 completely broke the mechanism which allows the installation of software with digital signatures – even Windows updates.

Essentially, those who installed this update ended up with a computer completely unable to install a great number of software applications. Ars Technica says that the update intended to change the way the OS updates its collection of root certificates, for which Windows uses to authenticate TLS and SSL connections.  The update intended to increase the frequency in which the OS checks for those updates.

Well that didn’t go quite according to plan. A great number of users reported problems following the update, which led to Microsoft pulling it. The company has since issued a further update to solve the problems this one delivered.

Only those using Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 were affected and the update is still available for Windows 8, 8.1, Windows Server 2012, and 2012 R2 users who were unaffected.

Source: Ars Technica

Apple Finally Letting Users De-Register iMessage Account

Apple has just announced their new website, enabling users to de-register their iMessage service – helping users unbind their telephone numbers from the Apple-only offering.

This website has been developed to solve the issue of when a user stops using their iPhone and switches to another device, their registered iMessage number may conflict with the new messages they wish to send to their friends through their updated device. The “Deresgister iMessage” website provides a step by step guide on how to log off the iMessage service and allows them to enter their new information on the website – sending them a confirmation message to lift the iMessage binding.

Previously there were reports of users deactivating their iPhone only to have their iMessage account stay bound to their phone number against their will – these reports range all the way back to 2011 when Apple first released the iMessage platform. Since the beginning of 2014, Apple had promised they would provide a simplistic way to opt-out of this service, taking them a rather long 11 months to process to completion.

When comparing this to Google Hangouts or Blackberry’s BBM offerings, it’s quite different. iMessage is only applicable to Apple devices (including ‘Face Time’), where as hangouts and BBM operate through third-party app software to be used in different technologies.

Although quite late to the game, it’s good to see that Apple has fixed one of their niggling issues.

Image courtesy of Chiphell

Microsoft’s Schannel Security Update May Have Problems

Software giant Microsoft has issued a warning today based around it’s MS14-066 update which was pushed to consumers late last week. They’ve provided a workaround for those who have already installed the update and are urging all users to avoid or uninstall the update if possible.

This update was designed to fix a critical vulnerability in Schannel, with Microsoft implementing SSL/TLS encryption. This update was previously seen as highly critical by the wider audience with many tech companies and news channels urging users to update immediately. Unfortunately, this update is causing some major issues for some consumers, coming in the form of configurations in which TLS 1.2 is enabled by default and leading negotiations to fail. When the failure occurs, Microsoft and ZDNET has explained:

“TLS 1.2 connections are dropped, processes hang (stop responding), or services become intermittently unresponsive.” There may also be an event ID 36887 in the System event log withe description “A fatal alert was received from the remote endpoint. The TLS protocol defined fatal alert code is 40.” ZDNET

The MS14-066 update also contained some new features including four ciphers for TLS. The workaround as given by Microsoft is to delete the following ciphers from your system:

TLS_DHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384
TLS_DHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256
TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384
TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256

Microsoft has provided a step-by-step process on their official website.

What exactly is happening about this update is somewhat of a grey area, with Microsoft and others reportedly claiming that this update did succeed in protecting the previous mentioned loopholes – but it’s seemingly providing users with more issues than wanted or expected.

Image courtesy of Mashable

Move Over Felix – Google Exec Breaks Sky Jump Record

Google’s Vice-President Alan Eustace has just plummeted to the earth from a height of 135,890 feet to smash Felix Baumgartner’s world record set in 2012. The 24th of October marks the official record date, seeing Eustace ascend to toward space in a helium balloon and free-fall plummet back toward earth at over 820 miles per hour. This means he was not only able to break the sound barrier, but also knocked Baumgartner’s speed record off the top too.

The 57-year old tech executive wore a pressurized space-like suit during his two-hour climb to his great height, however the descent took a mere 15 minutes over the New Mexico desert.

I’m sure you’re wondering why you had no idea this was going on, especially seeing as Baumgartner’s record in 2012 was highly publicized and even live streamed. We’ve been told that this attempt was part of a project by the Paragon Space Development corporation, set as an exploration of the stratosphere – rather than a marketing stunt.

We’ve been told that Google did not have any part to play in this jump, Eustace decided to walk this one alone.

Image courtesy of AFP

NVIDIA GTX980 Breaks Records

NVIDIA’s Maxwell has proven to be quite the performance beast with results already reported of 2050MHz core clock speeds being run through the 3DMark FireStrike testing platform.

Last Friday NVIDIA released their new Maxwell architecture cards, the GTX980 and GTX970. Boasting higher performance results, lower power consumption and a vast range of overclocking options, NVIDIA’s new champion products certainly had something to prove. As expected, the new Maxwell chip has already proven itself in the overclockers field with reports of a 1.35GHz core speed being available through overclocking on air cooling alone – we were excited to see what can be done with a little extra assistance.

NVIDIA claimed before release that the 2GHz core frequency record could be achieved, with overclockers being able to reach this milestone the same day as the cards release. Not only was a record broken for core speeds, but the 3DMark FireStrike points record was also smashed.

As mentioned above, the new Maxwell chip GTX980 was used to break this record, capping at a core frequency of 2050MHz, a memory frequency of 2103MHz and supported by a Core Xeon E5-1660 CPU v3.8 16 threads CPU- running at 5.260GHz. The 3DMark FireStrike score was clocked at 19,040 points with a score of 9,191 points in the ‘extreme scenes’.

We’ve been told that the 2050MHz reading is not the end for the Maxwells overclocking capabilities – we’ll report on any furter advancements in this overclocking journey.

Cover courtesy of WCCF Tech
Inset image courtesy of EXP Review

Holidays Ruined For Some Xbox One Gamers

Xbox users reported having problems with their consoles over the holidays. The issue described consists of an error message: “”Sorry we can’t play this disk.” when attempting to read the data off DVDs or Blue-Ray Disks. And to think Christmas Holiday was about enjoying and playing your favourite games at home. Nice one Microsoft!

A Reddit user shared his experiences via the Xbox One sub-Reddit, interacting with community members on the situation. The user reports that resets did not work and described the problem in more detail.

“Hard reset that bad boy. Hold down the power button for 15 seconds until the system reboots. If that doesn’t work then restore system to factory defaults. If that doesn’t work you’re going to have to setup a repair or head back down to the retailer you bought it in.”
“Tried and none worked, place I bought it from (where I work) isn’t open until the 27th, xbox support website won’t work. Gutted.”

But Christmas is all about sharing and presents, right? So is Xbox Support, giving the user a free code for a digital game to play while he waits. However the problems don’t stop here. Another Reddit user who purchased a Launch Day Xbox One also noticed the error just now, having played only digital purchased games. What a Christmas surprise indeed!

I got Madden 25 and Dead Rising 3 on disk, popped Madden in, and wa-la! Disc drive doesn’t work! I’m going to go straight to Microsoft for this one, seeing as I purchased my Xbox One over a month ago. any tips?

Microsoft will handle all faulty consoles by giving a shipping label as well as a return box to users experiencing the issue in order to send back their faulty Xbox consoles. But it is also best to just return the broken consoles to the retail shop or online store purchased from, since they will give you another brand new one on the spot.

Thank you VR-Zone for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of VR-Zone

Sony Reporting That The ‘Blue Light of Death’ Affects Less Than 1% of PS4’s

Just a little while ago I was talking about how Microsoft’s latest console – the Xbox One was not going to offer more than 2ch audio through its optical output and how this may put some people off buying the latest console for the moment. There is however news starting to crop us that there is more worrying prospects for the owners of Sony’s latest offering – the PS4. Even though the PS4 is not going on sale in the UK and the rest of Europe for another week – till the 29th of November, the US has had the rival to the Xbox One on sale for over a week already.

Since its launch last week, there have been posts and threads popping up on the internet from a significant number of owners as they show their frustration over what is know being referred to as the ‘Blue Light of Death’. Whilst the cause of the blue light is not exactly know yet, the reason for the problems appears to be down to damage made to the units during the shipping process. A spokesman from Sony has made a statement saying that there doesn’t appear to be a singular problem across all those consoles that are affected and customers are reporting problems such as failure to turn on, a pulsing blue light or more worryingly a console that is totally bricked.

One unlucky user has posted a video on YouTube showing their console as it came out of the box with a pulsing blue light and nothing appearing on-screen. Other users have taken to Amazon’s US site where over 800 one-star reviews have been left on the product page for the PS4 stating that consoles are not working in one way or another.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/_CG3Wso7UpE[/youtube]

Even though this problem is only said to be affecting less than 1% of users, with the UK launch just a matter of days away now, there is a strong possibility that some people may be thinking twice about going for the cheaper rival to the Xbox One. With troubleshooting in mind, a thread has cropped up on the Playstation forums for users to run through if their consoles appear to not be working properly.

If you’re looking to buy or awaiting for your order of the new PS4 to be ready, what are your views on this matter? Has it affected your choice of console? Let us know.

Source and Image courtesy of Nerdacy & CNET

Broken PlayStation 4 Incidents Begin To Surface

A few reports out there have surfaced of broken PlayStation 4 consoles. The first issue was reported by Kotaku editor Stephen Totilo, who claims that one of their first PS4 console received from Sony did not work.

“The first retail PS4 we got from Sony didn’t work.In the past week, my Kotaku colleagues and I have used one pre-release PS4 and three retail PS4s with no problems. I’ve also heard from fellow gaming reporters who’ve used their PS4s with no problems. But the first retail unit that Sony provided me failed to work when I plugged it into a TV in Kotaku’s office. A colleague and I were able to compare it to a second PS4 that did work and we found that the issue was rather simple: the bad unit had a faulty HDMI jack that we couldn’t fully plug a HDMI cable into. It couldn’t make a solid connection and therefore, apparently, couldn’t transmit a stable signal to our TV. We tried different cables and monitors. The issue was with the console. Again, to be clear, the other four units we’ve tested first-hand have worked fine.”

The second claim came from Reddit user Arogon, who was the winner of an early PS4 through a competition run by Sony and Taco Bell.

“When I turn on my console it just sits there pulsing blue,” Arogon explained. “As far as I can tell it is supposed to turn white but it isn’t doing that. There is no signal on my TV either.”

Games site IGN later reported that it had suffered a similar issue with one of its retail PS4 consoles.

“IGN experienced the same issue, but it happened after the console was already working”, it wrote. It may not have contributed to the issue, but ours stopped working the morning after we updated to version 1.50. Furthermore, IGN tried a wide variety of methods to correct the issue: new HDMI cables, new inputs, new TV, putting a disc into the system, connecting it to and from the Internet, and, of course, holding down the power button during boot-up for seven seconds to try to reset things. Nothing worked. Oddly enough, we tried adding light pressure to the top of console and it briefly flickered a few active home menu images on the television.”

Another Reddit user who won a PS4 reports that, after a few login issues, the console is operating as desired. President Shuhei Yoshida from Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios says the company is looking into reports of PS4 hardware issues. However, Sony has made an official statement to clarify the number of units that could be subject to failure.

According to a representative, the correct anticipated percentage of units that will suffer from problems is .4 percent. Based on a projection of five million units sold by end of fiscal year which was March 31, 2014, that accounts for approximately 20,000 units with hardware problems. That is not a good sign for Sony’s reputation since all users expect their PS4 to work as soon as they plug it in, and not return it to be replaced.

Thank you CVG for providing us with this information