AMD Announces Large Price Drop on Radeon R9 Nano

When AMD launched the Radeon R9 Nano mini-ITX graphics card back in September 2015, the card gained a lot of popularity for several reasons. It was one of the smallest graphics cards available and at the same time delivers a punch that is similar to other high-end cards. The performance is thanks to the HBM memory and Fiji GPU while the small size was made possible by the use of optimal clocking of both the GPU and memory for both power consumption and heat. However, the card did have one fault and that was the price. At a price of $649, the AMD R9 Nano was a hard pill to swallow.

It is now January 2016 and it looks like AMD wants a larger cut of the GPU market. Maybe the manufacturing process has caught up and has been refined for cheaper productions costs, or something else. We don’t know why, but that doesn’t matter anyway as long as the result comes in. And it does and AMD announced a price cut from $649 and all the way down to $499. The $150 price cut equals about 23 percent which is quite nice.

There is no doubt that this price cut on the AMD Radeon R9 Nano will convince quite a few people to get this card that previously wanted it but thought it was too expensive. I am sure there will be quite a few more hardcore mITX gaming builds out there this coming time, and most of them will be powered by this little marvel of a graphics card.

After all, the R9 Nano has a peak power draw of 175W and only measures 6-inch while delivering a level of performance that are on par with larger and more power-hungry GPUs. It also blows the GTX 970 Mini-ITX away with up to 30 percent better performance.

Is this enough to convince you to switch to an AMD Radeon R9 Nano graphics card? $499 is still a respectable price and it might not be in everyone’s budget. Oh, and we should naturally consider that these are the manufacturers suggested retail prices. We have previously seen the cards drop in price at various outlets.

AMD Hints Possible Price Drops for Current-Gen Consoles

We have already seen some price drops on the current generation gaming consoles, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but it hasn’t been anything that major up until now. Consoles have a scheduled lifetime before the next generation of 5 to 7 years, so they’ll still be around for a while. We do however see optimizations along the way as it also happened in the past, the PS2 and PS3 both got upgrades along the way.

AMD has now hinted that there at least are opportunities in the current generation’s lifetime to develop new technology that will allow for a price drop without any impact on performance. This is most likely based on optimization of the production line and process along with the initial development costs starting to get back home and not have as big an impact as when a product is freshly launched. This news came out during a round-table talk where AMD’s CEO Lisa Su attended.

“The consoles work on a five to seven year strategy, that’s the lifetime for these consoles,” said Lisa Su. “Without talking about any particular party’s console; there will be opportunities to cost-reduce.

While Lisa Su didn’t mention any timeframe on this, it is pretty safe to assume that it won’t be far in the future. We are also approaching the mid-life of the current generation consoles that were launched roughly three years ago now and that was about the time where we saw upgrades in the previous generation Xbox and PlayStation consoles.

While some might argue that PC gaming is superior to Consoles, and it probably is, consoles have their merit and there is no doubt why they keep such a high popularity. A price drop on said consoles could further boost the sales by convincing more people to get it. A cheaper price is something we all like and I’m sure that they’ll quickly make up for the lost profit in that regards with the higher sales numbers and thereby more sales of games and peripherals too.

Fallout 4 PS4 Performance Woes

As with most AAA game launches, some retailers send out the game early to ensure delivery for the big day. Most of the time it works, sometimes it’s late (and we always hear about when it’s late), but sometimes the delivery service works some magic and delivers the game a few days early. This time around, PS4 copies of Fallout 4 have made the way to customers.

Without sounding like a broken record, WCCFTech has reported another Frames Per Second (FPS) issue like we had with Batman: AK and even Witcher 3, great. Users on the Neogaf board who have received this early copy have reported the extreme performance dip when in heavy gunfire or in graphically intensive areas such as when Molotov Cocktails explode. There is a video link at the end of this article.

Twitter user @Tidux is one of the lucky (or unlucky) customers who received the game early and has been tweeting constantly with updates regarding the game mechanics and features. After a quick read of the tweets, I can safely say there are no spoilers to the game storyline/ missions or similar.

There has been no official response from Bethesda to this, however, a Twitter user had a response regarding what the performance is set to be like, to which Pete Hines of Bethesda tweeted:

Now here is the problem for pre-launch users, the basic game disk(s) is sent out to customers and then after the official launch, you are prompted to install additional “Day One” updates to patch whatever problems there may possibly be. If you try to play the game before the official launch, you will not have downloaded this patch and problems may be apparent. We can only wait and see with less than 12 hours to the official launch and possible Day One patches to be released.

Warning, the comments contain strong language and mild spoilers.

Here is a link to a video of the FPS issue.

The Times of DDR4 Costing More Is Almost Behind Us

DDR4 memory has been on the market for some time now and up until recently it had one major problem – the price. The DDR4 memory prices were also the only reason that I went with a Z97 instead of an X99 rig when I last upgraded. That has however changed slightly in the background and without many people noticing it.

If you don’t care about the brand name or looks and enter a price comparison site, you’ll notice that there barely is any difference between DDR3 and DDR4 memory. A search on a 2133MHz memory kit consisting of two modules and a total capacity of 16GB brings some surprising results.

The cheapest DDR4 kit is a Crucial 16GB kit (CT2K8G4DFD8213/CT2C8G4DFD8213) that only costs €109.95, or €6.872 per GB. Looking at DDR3 memory, the cheapest kit is a G.Skill Ares kit (F3-2133C10D-16GAB) for €104.30, or €6.519 per GB. That is a very small difference and granted these are two different types of modules, but it paints a great image of the trend that is going on.

And it could very well be thanks to Samsung that we see this trend, as DigiTimes reports that sources tell them that Samsung is slashing their prices in order to gain market share. This is great news for us as consumers, but it does set its marks in the industry.

There is less profit for companies in producing DDR4 memory chips and module vendors have started to suffer as a result of this. Allegedly, OEMs have started to purchase their chips directly from manufacturers, cutting vendors out of the loop with demands of reduction in quotes. Adopting the 20nm process also brought along more costs and issues than anticipated and Intel’s delay of Skylake is also hurting the companies.

So we might soon be living in a world where DDR4 memory not only is price equivalent to DDR3, but one where it’s actually cheaper.

Thank you DigiTimes for providing us with this information

Scientists Find a Way to Reveal Your Viral Past With Just a Drop of Blood

During our lifetime, we get exposed to dozens of viruses, but luckily our bodies are well equipped to deal with it. Our immune system produces antibodies to deal with foreign agents and make us well again. However, the antibodies tailored for these viruses tend to linger in our bodies prolonged periods of time.

A team of researchers from Harvard, MIT and Howard Hughes Medical Institute got a brilliant idea of making use of the above-mentioned antibodies and came up with a new method of revealing what viruses your body was exposed to. The method is called VirScan and it can reveal your entire viral history with just a drop of blood.

The method involves mixing a patient’s blood with a set of known human viruses. Each virus carries a unique protein signature that the antibodies are trained to identify and attack. This means that dropping a blood sample filled with antibodies in a pool of viruses will ‘activate’ the antibodies and tell the researchers which virus strains were targeted.

To test their theory, the researchers performed tests on 569 patients. The results revealed that, on average, we are exposed to 10 viral species, with some even being exposed to up to 84 viral species. VirScan has also proved to be a cheap testing method, allowing doctors to perform a variety of tests at once for about $25.

The researchers say that VirScan is not only about identifying your past viruses. The method can also be used for early detection of viruses such as hepatitis C and HIV, as well as give doctors more insight on some viruses we don’t quite understand yet.

Thank you Newsweek for providing us with this information

Smartphone Shipments in China Faced with First Decline in Six Years

We’ve all been super hyped with the latest smartphones these past years, haven’t we? I mean, since Steve Jobs revealed the first iPhone back in 2007, every manufacturer went crazy and started expanding this industry, building all sorts of smart devices in an attempt to draw more customers.

During this time, the smartphone industry has flourished from all the hype. However, nowadays we have smartphones that pretty much handle most stuff we do on our PCs or laptops. So does this inspire you to upgrade as you were eager to do in the past? Yeah… I thought so.

The same results seem to show in a study made by research firm IDC, indicating that Chinese smartphone shipments have dropped for the first time in six years. They noted that Q1 2015 shipments have dropped 4% since Q1 2014 and 8% since Q4 2014. Figures show only 98.8 million units shipped this Q1, which is the first time since Q4 2013 that shipments fall below the 100 million mark.

Apple is still the top smartphone vendor in China with 14.7% market shares, which is not surprising at all, followed by Xiaomi and Huawei with 13.7% and 11.4% respectively. IDC expects a flat growth for the Chinese smartphone market this year, but some good can come of all this (at least for the consumer).

Given the figures, Xiaomi, Huawei and Lenovo might switch from their usual entry-level smartphones to more higher-spec devices to give customers a reason for upgrading their phones.

Also, the latter companies would be pushed to strongly consider expanding beyond the Chinese border and into markets that are now dominated by Samsung, HTC and others. So if you wanted to see that Xiaomi smartphone that caught your eye in stores outside of China, I don’t think you need to wait very long.

Thank you TechSpot for providing us with this information

Xbox One Sales Dip in Early 2015

After an aggressive holiday season, seeing price cuts for both Xbox One (XB1) and PlayStation 4 (PS4), figures now reveal that Microsoft has taken a hit in the first quarter of 2015. Shipments were down 20% year on year with just 1.6 million shipped worldwide.

This wouldn’t be such a bad thing in the grand scheme, but Sony announced in early March that it had already sold 1.7 million units worldwide in just the first two months of the year, with more likely stashed in retailers warehouses. Using a bit of simple math, that could possibly equate to a quarterly sales figure of over 3 million units for Sony; easily dwarfing Microsoft’s figures.

Along with the poor shipment levels, the aggressive pricing strategy has come around and bitten them hard. Revenue from Xbox platforms as a whole was down 24% year on year. This has been pinned on the fact that the XB1 has dropped 33% of its price tag from January 2014 to January 2015; meaning it would have to sell 33% more products to just match last years sales.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, Microsoft announced Xbox Live usage was up over 30%, suggesting those that own the system are spending more time and money on the system.

Console companies generally sell their products at a loss to pick up a larger player base and then make the money back on games and DLC, but reports have come in that publishers outside of Microsoft are selling fewer Xbox games than they were a year ago; adding up to the nine-month fiscal year revenues are down 7%.

Do you own a console? How would you feel if it became a ‘one horse race’? Let us know in the comments

Thank you to ArsTechnica for providing us with this information

PlayStation TV Price Drops to £45 in the UK

While Sony’s PlayStation 4 console is doing very well in terms of selling figures, it looks like its little brother, the PlayStation TV, is not going on the same path as its big brother. The PlayStation TV is an interesting concept, having the console play some PlayStation Vita, PSP and classic PlayStation games.

The best feature for this little console is its Remote Play, but a £84.99 price is a good enough reason to say no, especially if you just want to stream your PlayStation 4 games around the house. The PlayStation TV has been available in the UK for over three months now and even if it did not stand up to Sony’s expectation, the company still sees a lot of potential in it. This is why Sony has adjusted the price to £44.99.

While the price cut is huge, it’s still a long-shot for it to gain a lot of popularity overnight, even if the PlayStation TV sells with a voucher for three PlayStation Vita games. It will remain to be seen if the mini-console will get the appreciation Sony expects after this price cut.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information

iPhone to Protect Itself from Falls by Shifting Weight

According to the International Business Times, Apple has filed a patent that uses the vibration motor inside an iPhone to shift the device’s weight when falling – saving it from serious damage.

“A patent awarded to Apple by the US Patent and Trademark Office this week, describes a “protective mechanism for an electronic device” and calls on the iPhone’s processing power to recognise a fall, calculate the potential impact, and work at lightening speed to come up with a plan to save the fragile glass screen.”

The patent says that the iPhone could rapidly activate the vibration motor to ensure the device always lands on its back. The IBT report says that this would only require a simple spinning motor alongside the standard gyroscope and accelerometer to work.

This seems like quite a realistic proposition – let’s hope we see it in future iPhones.

Source: International Business Times

First Person to Get iPhone 6 Drops It During Live TV Interview.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lhXOgJ8ahA[/youtube]

So there you have it ladies and gentlemen. You’ve lined up for days now prior to the new Apple iPhone launch – waiting ever so patiently for the big glass doors to open up just so you can get your hands on the new model. Out of all the excitement and in front of hundreds of others, what do you do? Well for one Jack Cooksey from Perth, Australia – the first person in Perth to pick up the new iPhone 6 – he dropped it live on camera for the nation to see.

Thankfully though, the smartphone survived impact on the hard concrete – with Cooksey swiftly picking the device back up again with quivering hands. After the live TV interview – Cooksey said “I just can’t wait to open it again — and not drop it.” And let’s hope he does just that, otherwise it might not only be one very expensive mistake –  it might also take him quite a bit of time to receive a replacement. Apple’s new iPhone 6 has caught the world by storm yet again, with shortages of the device being reported globally. If you’re picking up the new iPhone – always remember to take it easy and handle with care! No one should have to go through the horror of a shattered screen on day one.

Thanks to PerthNow for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of PerthNow.

Indiegogo Project Aims to Detect and Cure Malaria in Indonesia Using an iPhone Kit

A project found on Indiegogo, the crowd-funding website for startup projects, states that malaria can be found and cured in Bangka, an island in Indonesia, using an iPhone-based malaria diagnostics kit.

The researchers believe that if the disease can be found and treated in time, it could lead to its complete eradication from the island. They even believe that, if the project proves to be a success, it can be rolled out on a large-scale in Africa as well.

“We want to prove that we can have a significant effect on malaria case management throughout one of these regions. The first study of this kind will take place on Bangka Island in Indonesia. With this study, we have set ourselves the goal of eradicating malaria from the entirety of Bangka Island during malaria high season.” the team of researchers state.

The kit itself is called IanXen RAPID and consists of a iPhone, a portable microscope attached to it, blood slides and lancet pen.

The process seems simple enough too. A blood drop is placed on the slide, having it be examined through the microscope by an app. The results are then said to be given out in a matter of seconds.

The team of researchers believe that this method could be a great solution for a much wider deployment by enabling diagnosis to be carried out with a fully portable kit and at a much lower cost than conventional equipment.

On Indiegogo, the project asks for small donation fee of just £5 / $8.50, stating that it will help fund the project and can even get your name mentioned on the project’s Twitter feed. Also, people feeling generous can even opt for one of the higher donation levels available on the website.

Thank you 9to5 Mac for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of 9to5 Mac

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

iPad Mini Dubbed ‘World’s Most Breakable Gadget’ by SquareTrade Europe Insurer

Smartphones and tablets are more fragile than we think, and that’s why some people get to have broken displays or other damage (even water damage) to their devices. Some may come with harder cases which can withstand some impact, and other may be even waterproof, but they are not invincible.

That’s why most people have their handsets and tablets insured, to prevent breaking your wallet along with your device. SqareTrade Europe is one of these insurers which provide this service. This is where they created a list of the “world’s most breakable gadgets” and guess what is sitting on the top of that list? The iPad Mini.

SquareTrade Europe did not perform any detailed scientific tests, rather they approached the problem with having real life situations at hand. They first dropped a few handsets from a considerable height after being submerged under water. At the end, scores were awarded to each device based on how well it passed the test, and Apple’s iPad Mini apparently came out at the top having a score of 7.5.

“By putting devices through tests that replicate real life situations, we want to help people make smart choices when it comes to choosing gadgets.” said Kevin Gillan, a managing director at SquareTrade Europe.

Other handsets following the iPad Mini are Samsung Galaxy S4 with a score of 7, the iPad Air and Galaxy S3 with a score of 6.5, and the iPhone 5c with a score of 6. Through these tests SquareTrade Europe aims not only to draw people to have their devices insured, but also express awareness of the incidents which might inevitably occur with the handsets.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information