Driveclub, created by Evolution Studios is unquestionably one of the most visually stunning titles on the PlayStation 4. Sadly, the game’s development didn’t go as planned which eventually culminated in the PlayStation Plus version being cancelled. Despite being a visual showpiece, Driveclub’s reception on launch was fairly mixed due to the inconsistent AI and online modes. Unfortunately, Sony decided to close Evolution Studios and halt the company’s current development plans. Thankfully, the company’s talented employees have been hired by Codemasters who make the F1, DIRT and GRID games. Codemasters CEO Frank Sagnier described the merger and said:
“The success of F1 2015 and DiRT Rally over the last 12 months has re-positioned the company for growth. The addition of the Evolution team to our studio group will allow us to scale our business and strengthen our leadership as the world’s premier racing game developer. I’m thrilled to have Mick Hocking join Codemasters as VP of Product Development. His experience in building AAA IP and leading great teams made him a natural choice to head the development of all of our products. I am equally thrilled to welcome his talented team to the Codemasters family and I look forward to the great games and brand new IP we will develop together.”
Mick Hocking will now take the role of VP Product Development at Codemasters and proclaimed:
“I’m delighted to be joining Codemasters at such an exciting time in the company’s growth. We have a shared passion for racing, a desire to innovate and a determination to create the best racing games and build the biggest racing community in the market. I’m very much looking forward to working with so many of the world’s greatest racing developers, on new IP as well as exciting franchises including DiRT, GRID, Micro Machines and the FORMULA ONE games.”
We’re delighted to announce that we're expanding our portfolio of studios to include the team from Evolution Studios https://t.co/i7jFTSxj8f
The Nvidia Shield TV is here at last, the much-anticipated successor to the already feature packed and exciting line of Android-powered Nvidia gaming devices. The original Shield is a great little hand-held, and we’ve tested it extensively since it was released, pushing the limits of what can be done with it, just check out the links below to see more. Then we have the Shield Tablet, a mini powerhouse of mobile gaming that still dominates the mobile gaming market for Android, in my opinion at least. Now we’ve got the Shield TV, a set-top box packed with some of the latest and greatest Nvidia mobile hardware, promising greater performance than any previous Shield devices, and more than any other competing devices on the market.
“NVIDIA SHIELD is an amazing Ultra HD streaming media player, delivering incredible resolution in favorite apps like Netflix 4K and YouTube 4K, YouTube, KODI (XBMC), and PLEX. Vivid 10-bit color and rich Dolby 7.1 surround sound make this a true home theater experience. Or plug your headphones into your SHIELD controller or SHIELD remote for a private listening experience.” said Nvidia
Equipped with the powerful new Nvidia Tegra X1 processor, which features an impressive 256-core GPU and 3GB of RAM, offers up 4K capability, support for a huge range of video and audio formats, 16GB of storage, high-speed networking and so much more; I’m amazed this little box only costs £149.99!
“Explore a world of entertainment, powered by Android TV. Tap into Google Play for a huge, dynamic selection of movies, TV shows, and apps. Say “Oscar-winning movies” or “launch Netflix” and let Google’s advanced voice commands do the work for you. Get personalized recommendations on your home screen. Even cast a show or pictures to your TV from your PC, Android, or iOS device with built-in Google Cast. SHIELD makes it fast and easy.” Said Nvidia
Equipped with a range of cool apps as standard, you’ll also find Shield Hub, Nvidia GRID and more, so there’s no doubt that this is going to be a multimedia powerhouse right out of the box.
The packaging is nice and tidy, with a good image of the Shield on the front, as well as the main spec; such as this being the 16GB model.
Around the back, we can see it’s powered by Android TV, supports voice search, 4K and gaming.
As a nice bonus, we also have the Shield remote, an optional £39.99 accessory.
The remote is super sleek, with a nice mixture of brushed aluminium finishes and a few simple buttons. The microphone button lights up in green when pressed and theirs a microphone at the top for voice controls.
At the base, a small micro-USB recharging port and a 3.5mm jack for headsets/headphones.
And finally, a brushed aluminium back.
It fits nicely in your hand and the control buttons are simple enough, a directional D-pad with a central select button, as well as a back and ok button below that.
Opening up the box, everything is very nicely packaged.
There’s a modular plug for international users, HDMI cable, micro USB cable, Shield controller and a support guide.
Building a PC can be a fairly simple task, most of the parts to together in a format that’s no less complex than a Lego set. Of course, picking the right components, putting them together in the best way and getting the best performance out of them, that’s where a little more effort is sometimes needed. One thing that can be quite easy is picking a bunch of great hardware, but keeping it running cool, quiet and efficiently, that’s a whole different ball game. Your chassis comes with fans, most likely that your CPU cooler does too, be that a water or air cooling solution, your GPU no doubt has fans and the list goes on. One thing you’ll be familiar with about fans, other than the fact that they blow air, is that they can often get a little noisy, especially when your system is running a little hot.
NZXT had great success with their GRID fan controller, a simple device that hooks up multiple fans and gives you control over their RPM via some desktop software. The new GRID+ V2 follows the same concept, but this time the unit is even better than before. Being able to take control of your fans is a great addition to your setup, as it allows you to turn them down to a whisper when watching movies or performing less intensive tasks. However, when you’re gaming, overclocking and more, being able to dial-up the fans to a suitable level gives you more control over the airflow, noise and hopefully the performance of your system.
Equipped with six fan headers, the Grid+ V2 should be able to drive all the fans in your system, and you could always invest in a couple of Y-splitters if you need to connect more per-channel. With up to 30W maximum output, the V2 shouldn’t have any trouble powering a whole bunch of fans.
The packaging is nicely designed, with just a simple image of the product and some branding on the front.
Around the back, we’ve got a slightly more detailed run down of the CAM software that is used to control the fans.
In the box, you’ll find a comprehensive setup guide. Honestly, it’s all pretty self-explanatory, but it certainly never hurts to have a helping hand.
In the box, you’ll also find a good selection of cables that you’ll need to set up the Grid+ V2. This includes a USB cable, Molex power cable, some handy cable ties and two 3-pin female to 4-pin/3-pin Y extension cables.
Finally, we’ve also got two dual-lock 3M velcro pads with adhesive backs.
NVIDIA has unveiled a Netflix-style streaming service for games entitled, ‘Geforce Now’. The service will cost $8/£7.99 per month and allows users to stream titles to a Shield device. There is already a large selection of games and the system is capable of streaming in 1080p at 60 frames-per-second. Additionally, 4K gaming will be possible via a future update when streamed with a compatible TV. According to NVIDIA, the quality of stream depends on your internet connection.
In addition to the streaming service, you will also be able to purchase games. Although, the advantage of ‘Geforce Now’ is no loading times and getting straight into the action. Arguably, the future of gaming is cloud-based and the subscription-model does offer a great deal of value. Other services like PlayStation Plus have been successful which indicates there is an acceptance in the market for similar forms of digital distribution. However, many customers still prefer to own a physical copy but this is less prevalent on the PC.
Nevertheless, NVIDIA acknowledges the popularity of Netflix and wants to hone on that success in the gaming industry. Playing 4K games via the traditional desktop experience is very expensive so it will be fascinating to see which games run in 4K first.
With the increasing trend of thin clients and lower-powered user machines, the cloud and virtual machines are taking on an ever more important role. In order to supply users with graphics and compute power even when they are using thin clients, Nvidia introduced their GRID hardware virtualization and cloud gaming service. Now AMD is jumping into the game with their own Multiuser GPU solution.
For now, it looks like AMD is focusing on the hardware virtualization side of things. With the top end card, AMD is allowing up to 15 users per card. This means the GPU is being shared between up to 15 users. Of course, this is for lighter loads, with heavier loads requiring fewer and fewer simultaneous users. Virtualization will also be done on a hardware level, with users being able to access most of the usual features with OpenCL, OpenGL and DirectX acceleration.
AMD’s announcement comes as Nvidia is also refreshing their platform with GRID 2.0. With Nvidia having already carved out their turf, it will be interesting to see how AMD will attempt to move in. Good news for AMD is that it appears that some FirePro cards will support Multiuser while GRID 2.0 requires different cards. This means for FirePro users, it may be an easy switch to enable multiple users. With true hardware virtualization support though, AMD may be able to snag some much needed marketshare before the market gets saturated.
We have had the keyboard and mouse as input devices for quite a while, and while they are some of the best and optimal ways, they are somewhat outdated and could use a refresh. There have been many attempts on new input methods, but none really stuck. We do have touch screens now, but let’s face it, they still suck big time in response times and don’t offer any improvement to productivity.
A new KickStarter project has set out to change that with a reinvention of known technologies into a new form of input device. The Sensel Morph is the first pressure-sensitive, multi-touch input device that enables users to interact with the digital world in a way that wasn’t possible up until now.
The Sensel Morph is using a patented pressure grid technology and with its high dynamic range of force sensitivity, the Sensel Morph can detect not just your fingers but any object from a paintbrush to a drumstick. One of the great things is that it works as it is out of the box with most devices and applications. It is further hackable for those who wish to get more out of the device and use it for completely new scenarios.
It comes with a micro USB to normal USB cable for use with computers, it can connect to tablets and smartphones with Bluetooth, and you can even connect it to Arduino developers boards to create completely new and ingenious devices with input options that just weren’t possible up until now.
The Sensel Morph got its name for a good reason as it can morph into almost anything. Drum computers, musical keyboards, normal keyboards, design interfaces; it is all changeable with smart overlays. The overlays are automatically detected and completely optional to use. The Overlays are physical apps made of a thin, flexible layer that you can place over the device to provide a visual map and tactile feedback for each modes unique functionality.
It is basically old techniques that were refined and morphed together for a new product that is hard to describe. I think the introduction video below can do that a lot better thanks to the visual aid; I know that I’d sure like a couple of these.
You can also check out how various professionals can use the Sensel Morph in the videos below. Use it as paint surface, turn it into a music creator, or build you completely own devices. There aren’t many limitations for the Sensel Morph.
The project has already been successfully funded, but there are still 37 days left to get in on the Kickstarter. Early bird specials are gone and a single Sensel Morph and three overlays of your choice will set you back $249. There are also multi-packages available for those who wish to extend with more than one. Check it out and start dreaming of all the amazing things you could do with this new input device.
It has been three years since the invention of the Open Smart Grid Protocol, and in that time it has found its way into over four million smart meters and devices worldwide.
It’s very similar to its brethren as it is full of security issues. Two researchers, Philipp Jovanovic of the University of Passau in Germany and Samuel Neves of the University of Coimbra in Portugal, published a paper exposing encryption weaknesses in the protocol.
The paper explains how the encryption scheme used in the OSGP is open to several attacks, the paper only demonstrates a few that can be exploited with minimal effort.
“This function has been found to be extremely weak, and cannot be assumed to provide any authenticity guarantee whatsoever,” the researchers wrote.
Adam Crain, a security researcher said the home made function is a “big red flag”.“Protocol designers should stick to known good algorithms or even the ‘NIST-approved’ short list”
The weaknesses discovered by Jovanovic and Neves enabled them to recover private keys with relative ease: 13 queries to an OMA digest oracle and negligible time complexity in one attack, and another in just four queries and 2^25 time complexity” “A different approach only requires one arbitrary valid plaintext-tag pair, and recovers the key in an average of 144 message verification queries, or one ciphertext-tag pair and 168 ciphertext verification queries”
Sounds like this is quite a nasty vulnerability!
Thank you to ThreatPost for providing us with this information
GTC 2015: After walking around the exhibition show floor at this years NVIDIA GTC event, a few things caught our eye and the main thing was a huge standing rack blade enclosure from Lenovo.
As we know with blade racks, they can support a whole host of hardware including storage modules, video cards and of course, the networking infrastructure and processing power that you’d come to expect from a system of this calibre.
Inside the Lenovo N1200 server, we can see everything needed for a highly spectacular NVIDIA GRID server. If you want to find out more about GRID, we invite you to check it out here.
We have a lot more coverage coming from NVIDIA GTC, so keep your eyes peeled.
After releasing their Android-powered handheld and tablet SHIELD devices, NVIDIA appears to be moving into the console market. The company just announced its new tech, the Android TV Console, at GDC.
CEO Jen-Hsun Huang stated that the Android TV is the world’s first 4K-capable Android set-top-box. The console is controlled via a very small micro-USB bidirectional Bluetooth remote, but that’s not what makes the Android TV so remarkable.
What makes this console so special is found under the hood, where an NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor chip lies. It was previously showcased at CES, where it was running a “mobile cockpit computer” for cars and the Unreal Engine Elemental demo. Huang states that together with NVIDIA’s Shield, it can push 4K content from any tiny device and makes it 35 times more powerful than the Apple TV.
The console is indeed powerful, however there is a matter of what it can effectively run. This is where Huang showcased a few titles, namely Resident Evil 5, Tales from the Borderlands, Borderlands: the Pre-Sequel, Doom 3 BFG Edition, Metal Gear Rising; Revengance. However, NVIDIA Shield Hub is said to be full of top-tier Android ports of PC games.
However, the key aspect and probably the most amazing part of the presentation is when Huang ran Crysis 3. This is where the Android TV showed its true power and Gizmodo stated that it ran the title “well enough to support online multiplayer”.
There have also been changes in NVIDIA’s Grid. Huang states that the changes were made so that the new Android TV could be perfectly used with the Grid, having it been made officially a service users can subscribe to. It is said that subscriptions for Grid will come in two tiers. A premium subscription level that streams games in 1080p at 60 frames per second, and a cheaper model limited to 30fps and 720p, both having access to a lot of game titles to stream.
Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information
Nvidia has been working tirelessly to develop their GRID gaming service. GRID is a cloud-based gaming service, which renders the games on Nvidia servers, streams the video output to your device, such as the Nvidia Shield Tablet. You don’t need to install the games and the graphics are what you would expect from a high-end desktop PC, not a tablet device. The whole thing works much in the same way as NetFlix; with the addition that you’re actually playing the game that’s streaming.
Nvidia is pre-announcing three new titles as they lead up to 40 titles on the GRID service. With GDC 2015 just around the corner, we can no doubt expect even more incredible announcements from the green team.
As of Feb. 17 Saints Row IV is available on NVIDIA SHIELD from the cloud-based NVIDIA GRID.
Feb. 24 Alan Wake will be available.
March 3 Metro Last Light Redux will be available.
“We started our push to 40 titles last week with indie smash Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, winner of multiple game of the year awards in 2013. This week Saints Row IV and its 9.5 out of 10 rating on Destructoid joins Saints Row: The Third on SHIELD. Title 39 will be Alan Wake, which was Time Magazine’s Game of the Year for 2010. 40 will be Metro Last Light Redux, which GameSpot gave a ‘superb’ 9 out of 10. Saints Row IV, Alan Wake, and Metro Last Light Redux will round out 40 titles on NVIDIA GRID leading up to GDC.” – Said Nvidia in a recent statement.
It’s great to see so many incredible games coming to the service, given that it launched with just 20 titles in November; the service is about to hit 40 titles! Remember, if you have a Shield or are planning to buy one, the GRID service is currently free! Giving everyone a great opportunity to try it out while Nvidia develop and grow GRID.
The latest Nvidia Shield update launched recently, bringing the Tegra powered tablet up to version 2.0 and adding Google’s latest Android operating system, Lollipop 5.0. While there were many new features, tweaks and other improvements to the general operation of the tablet with these updates, the most important one for Nvidia was the addition of their GRID gaming service.
GRID has been available in an early Beta format for some time now, but with the servers based in California, lag time for me in the UK rendered the service unplayable. Now that Nvidia has brought their EU Beta servers online, all that has changed and Nvidia have been working hard to give the service an almighty speed boost.
What is GRID? It’s essentially Netflix for gaming. You pick the title you want to play and the Nvidia super computers remotely run the game for you. Nvidia do all the heavy graphics processing for you on their high-end graphics hardware, then stream the video to your device, just like you would stream a movie. When ever you press a button on your controller, they fire that information back to their servers and stream the data back to you. This all happens in milliseconds, assuming of course that your internet is up to par with such a technology. Nvidia recommends 10mbps internet with a ping time of around 30ms to their servers.
All the screenshots below are taken directly from my Nvidia Shield. Here you can see the updated version of Nvidia Shield Hub. This is a portal app that gives you access to all your android games, PC in-home streaming and GRID games.
The GRID page has a range of games to choose, currently there are 20 top titles at your disposal.
All the games listed are big hitters and Nvidia are celebrating their Beta phase by keeping this service free of charge until March 2015.
That means you’ve got a few months ahead of you to help them test the service; just enough time to complete all the games for free?
There’s a good mixture of driving games, 3rd personal action/adventure, first person shooters and even fighting games.
That’s all the games we have available, now it’s time to put some of them to the test.
Several days ago, we at eTeknix were invited to a special event held by Nvidia in the Hilton Hotel in Reading, near to their UK offices. Only a select amount of media were invited and the event itself was very small, but the announcements were anything but.
With the recent announcement of Android Lollipop from Google being on many people’s minds at the moment, it was inevitable that NVIDIA were going to bring it to their Android based SHIELD and SHIELD tablet devices, and not only that, but within their press show, they made it very clear that they were the FIRST to bring it to a gaming tablet. Screw you Samsung!
NVIDIA were a bit coy when it came to a release date as technically it’s out of their hands and instead lays with Google, but they are expecting it to be released sooner rather than later, as we hear the Android fans rejoice. With the update, we can expect many bug fixes, some new features and great speed and performance inprovements and with the SHIELD being the fastest tablet on the market for gaming, thanks to the Tegra K1 architecture, they wanted to bring some special goodies along with the update, and special is what they brought.
Does anyone remember the Orange Box bundle that Valve released many moons ago? Giving us the hottest titles that their customers wanted? NVIDIA have done exactly the same, and upon listening to their customers, they are announcing “The Green Box” bundle. Comprising of Half Life 2, Portal, and Half Life 2: Episode 1. They were abundantly clear that Episode 1 was something to shout about and we couldn’t agree more. Not just leaving things there, but they showed us that 60FPS is where they wanted to aim for (unlike Ubisoft) and with high resolution imagery and 60FPS, Half Life 2 among the other games will simply look awesome. “The Green Box” bundle is only available on SHIELD so don’t go expecting Valve to be offering it for other devices.
A downside some may say, but I happen to think it’s the best way to play on the SHIELD Tablet is that you have to use the controller, which personally adds to the whole experience of gaming (short of using a keyboard and mouse of course). In typical NVIDIA fashion, to redeem the code, it will require the user to enter a code on the portal system.
Many questions flew around the room for tech journalists from all over Europe including if War of Thunder would be coming, and the simple answer was yes, and no more was said about that. No date, no rumour, no nothing, so at least NVIDIA are giving us a few more surprises along the way.
Another big announcement was that GRID is coming to Europe. W00000h0000!
For those who don’t know what GRID is, we entice you to check out the full section on the NVIDIA website here. We were lucky enough to try out GRID by using the American servers (I Guess it’s down to who you know, not what you know, amiright?). You can find plenty of coverage of what we thought of GRID on the original SHIELD gaming device, but now it’s coming to the SHIELD Tablet which is exciting stuff, especially as they are opening it up to further markets than ever before.
NVIDIA explained GRID to those unaware of it being similar to Netflix, but for games, and of course streaming games doesn’t go without its issues as it’s actually more complex to stream a game than doing the same task with 4K video content on Netflix. The GRID PREVIEW service will be launching very soon in the UK and the rest of Europe, with one exception. Sorry Germany but you will have to wait a bit longer due to your age restriction laws and some of the game titles having adult content (violence and the like), therefore they are hopeful of launching it there in Q1 of 2015. For those in the UK, November is when the preview service will open with an official full launch in December.
NVIDIA claim that the GRID experience with their uber Dublin based server will give the same experience as playing the conventional way on a PC and many times NVIDIA lifted the table cloth to show us all that no PC was to be found in that room. Instead, it was simple streaming across the internet from the servers in Ireland much like you’d expect Netflix to do.
Once the service opens up, you’ll be able to simply open up the SHIELD Hub application and be greeted with a list of games in a library style interface. Currently on the preview service, there are around 20+ titles including some AAA titles and sheer blockbusters such as Borderlands 2 and Batman Arkham City, which NVIDIA PR man himself Ben Berroando thought he’d show his dab hand at to show us the lack of lag/latency.
The lag or lack of it comes ultimately down to your internet connection and NVIDIA state that the minimum requirement is a 6mbit connection but recommend 10mbit to give the best possible ping and to reduce the amount of lag if any. In Europe, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue, especially as government schemes are rolling out across the continent, even in rural areas.
The biggest competitor for NVIDIA right now is the Playstation NOW and with other streaming services like OnLive not gaining popularity, the green team think they have a prime opportunity to show what they can do.
For some exciting news, for the foreseeable future, they want as many users as possible to try this out, and while it’s still in a semi-beta stage, it would be unfair to charge people to “try” it out wouldn’t it? Of course, and NVIDIA know that, so they are giving away this amazing service absolutely free when the Android Lollipop OTA update hits.
NVIDIA are claiming a 2nd December 2014 launch, but obviously this is possible to change, and shouldn’t be considered gospel at this stage, as technically it’s out of their control and in the hands of Google.
Those of you may have a few questions and don’t worry, so did we so lets answer what we think would have been some of the most common questions asked if you, our readers, were at the event.
Latency is going to be a big word thrown around with a service like this, and NVIDIA claim that for the ultimate experience, you should have a ping of 16ms or lower, and with the servers being based in Dublin, this shouldn’t be an issue, and you can test your latency from within the app.
Streaming is one thing, but the actual graphical experience is another, and we have been told that playing a game across the GRID service is equivalent to gaming on a GTX 760 or similar, which in all honesty, is pretty damn impressive.
One thing that NVIDIA are working on for the future is multiplayer support, locally and across the cloud, and this in our opinion could be the start of something huge if they can make it happen.
We also asked about other titles and DLC’s and were told that DLC’s and updates will be auto added as they hit in the future and the likes of Indy titles and crowd-funded games are a possibility in the future too.
That sums up our coverage of the NVIDIA event, and I’ve got to say that this is one of the best announcements that NVIDIA have done. Yes they are currently leading the market with their GPU product stack, and for the most part, this is their bread and butter, but when they introduce a new technology to a complete region like they have here, it gets our hearts racing and wanting to try it, and you’re in luck as we’re frantically testing out the preview service as we speak, so stay tuned for some great articles coming soon based around that.
The Grid Gaming Service is effectively a supercomputer in the cloud. All of the hard work such as graphics rendering is processed on high-end hardware at the Nvidia datacentre, then streamed to your device much like a Netflix video.
The Nvidia Sheild Hub App will hit the Google Play Store on November 18th. Simply launch the app and select GRID Games Menu and you’ll be able to play any of the 20 games that are currently available on the service.
Remember, there is no cost for running this service. GRID Preview will keep the service free of charge until June 30th, 2015.
The service is being launched in North America and being expanded to include Western Europe in December, with Asia Pacific following later next year. You’ll require at least 10 Mbps internet with a 60ms ping time to the Nvidia servers for optimal performance.
The service has been configured for Shield device owners. If you own or purchase a Shield, you’ll be able to download the updated software shortly to access the GRID service.
At launch you can expect to find games such as Batman: Arkham City, Borderlands 2 and more available on the service.
More games such as Brutal Legend and Psychonauts will be launched on the GRID service every week.
GRID will stream games at 720p resolutions at 60 frames per second; of course this will also depend on the quality of your internet connection.
That’s everything we know about GRID right now, but we will bring you further updates as soon as we have them.
TechPowerUp has just release the latest version of their GPU-Z, thep popular PC graphics information, monitoring and diagnostics utility that helps you with up to date information on your installed graphics hardware. The new version adds support for several new GPU’s and fixed various bugs.
The list of newly supported GPU’s starts with the new AMD “Tonga” GPU we showed you images of earlier today in for of the Radeon R9 285. But also the Radeon R9 M275X, FirePro W5100, W9100; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 6 GB, GTX 860M, GT 830M, GTX 780M, GT 740, GT 730, GT 720, Quadro NVS 510, FX 380M, GRID K520 and Tesla K40c are supported in the new version.
Bug fixes include correct release date for Radeon R9 290, more robust NVIDIA PhysX detection, improved fan-speed monitoring on some newer AMD cards, sensor graph overflow/underflow as well as a fixed French translation.
The new version is available free for download now and can be had in the normal plain version or as ASUS ROG themed for the extra bit of spice. Time to upgrade?, just head over to and download the new version.
Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.
Computex 2014: Here we are at Computex 2014 in the NZXT suite and boy have they got a couple of great products on display. Their X40 and X60 coolers are still some of the best cooling products on the market, but they’ve just come back with completely redesigned products, the X41 and the X61.
The X61 (seen above) feature the latest Asetek gen 4.5 revision pump, which is the first consumer pump in an AIO unit with a variable speed setting, allowing you to maximise cooling performance and noise as you see fit. It also features a 26% thicker radiator and two FX V2 fans, so pretty much everything except the water pipes is new and improved.
The X41 is much the same, the brand new pump, bigger and better radiator and the new fans.
Also on display is the new GRID+ fan controller, a six port hub with digital fan speed control and reporting and up to 30w output.
Both coolers will be available at the end of June, and best of all they’ll be priced the same as the current gen were at their launch. The X41 will be $109 and $139 for the X61. The Grid+ will be $29.99 both the coolers and the Grid+ will be available at the end of June.
You can check out our video with Mitchell from NZXT explaining the new coolers below.
When the eTeknix team visited CES 2014, there was one word that we heard more than any other, one big focus that it seems many big tech companies – especially gaming tech companies – are trying to promote, “cloud”. Now I’m sure many of you will agree that saying something is in the cloud is just a bit of clever marketing.By any definition, the whole internet is in the cloud and we’ve been using its features for a very long time. The concept of remotely accessing powerful computers via a virtual data centre from say… your home, is nothing strange either, and it’s the very basis of the technology that is used to run everything from Facebook to YouTube. On the professional side, we have industries such as science, oil & gas and construction, to name a few, that require high performance computing to drastically reduce the time required to perform large complex calculations or to generate 3D computational models.
Gaming could offer one of the biggest changes in the industry of cloud computing, at least as far as your average consumer is concerned, but could cloud computing give us all access to superior gaming by offloading the processing to the cloud? As well as offloading rendering and other graphics intensive applications for businesses? Nvidia certainly think so.
“Streaming video and music to TVs, PCs and tablets using cloud services like Netflix, YouTube, Pandora and Spotify has become the predominant way to enjoy content for connected devices. The convenience of large cloud-managed libraries of content with stream-anywhere capability is impossible to resist. Now with revolutionary NVIDIA GRID cloud gaming technology, you’ll soon be able to stream video games from the web just like any other streaming media. GRID renders 3D games in cloud servers, encodes each frame instantly and streams the result to any device with a wired or wireless broadband connection.” – say Nvidia on their Grid website.
Streaming video to various devices is pretty commonplace these days, so why aren’t we doing the same with games? Services, such as NetFlix and LoveFilm, are household names offering a subscription based model that allows you to stream virtually unlimited amount of video content directly to your TV, notebook, tablet, smartphone or desktop PC, over a cellular or WiFi network,from pretty much anywhere in the world. Yet when it comes to high-end PC gaming, or any format of gaming for that matter, processing is done on the hardware we want to play on, often requiring powerful graphics processors. With NVIDIA’s GRID gaming, its hoping to build what is known as on-demand Gaming as a Service, also known as GaaS.
GaaS aims to offload almost all of the processing to the cloud, allowing any-device gaming. That means high-quality, low-latency, multi device gaming for any PC, Mac, tablet, smartphone, TV or similar smart device. Pretty much anything with a screen, some form of input and an internet connection, and it wants to make picking a game and playing no different than searching for a video on YouTube and clicking play. That means the end user will typically already have the hardware required to play, given that most of us at least have a PC, notebook or smartphone. It gets rid of any difficult setup issues, you don’t need a disc, you don’t need to wait for the game to download – you just play.
The concept sounds too good to be true, and in reality it already exists and has done for some time. Unfortunately, the solution so far hasn’t been perfect and companies like Gaikai and Onlive took their shot at cloud based gaming around two years ago. OnLine fell into obscurity and Gaikai got snapped up by Sony, who is currently planning to re-launch the service to stream PlayStation titles. One of the biggest factors for this kind of service is latency, and as any serious gamer will tell you, latency is a big deal. The delay from your button press to the action happening on screen can have a big impact on how well a game plays and your overall experience, something of which is especially true in competitive online multi-player titles, where every millisecond can mean the difference between life and death.
It is this issue with latency that NVIDIA has addressed more than anything else. As a company, its no stranger to powerful graphics technology, so that part is relatively easy. Yet getting those graphics streamed to the end user in the blink of an eye is far from simple.
Testing for input lag – the time it takes for a signal from the controller to cause an on screen response – gets unplayable at around 200 ms, or at least it becomes noticeable to some extent. Most games, especially on consoles such as the Xbox and PlayStation, exhibit around 133 ms average response time for most games, but faster paced shooting games and rhythm games are often optimised to respond in 60-70 ms as it’s vital to get that headshot, or music note as close to when you see a visual cue on screen as possible, and that is before you factor in any lag introduced by your individual display or network by playing online.
As you can see from the graph above, NVIDIA isn’t mucking about with its latency times. The joys of using scalable hardware at the server side means that you can reap the benefits of a significantly more powerful system for rendering the graphics. Combined with powerful video streaming and compression hardware, it means that when the end user pushes a button on their controller, there is less delay in getting the visual output back to the users system. Of course NVIDIA isn’t leasing full servers to each gamer, instead it’ll be providing its GRID Software Development Kit (SDK) which will allow service and middleware providers a format to push content out via the cloud.
For each server, it is now possible to have up to 48 HD quality game streams thanks to NVIDIA’s new on-chip video encoder technology, which is the same technology that is used to cut latency by doing it within the graphics hardware, not by offloading it to a separate rendering engine. It does this by capturing the output of multiple rendered games for the entire operating system desktop instantly, using the Nvidia Fast Capture API. This API sends the images directly to the GPUs’ build-in H.264 encoder, cutting latency over a standard graphics card by a staggering 30 ms.
Of course all this hardware is useless without software, and NVIDIA says it’s been working closely with developers for over a decade to ensure that hundreds of titles will be (and are) ready for its GRID service. Unlike the launch of a new console format, GRID is effectively a collection of very powerful PC components, so its capable of running just about any software you wish to throw at it. Anyone who is familiar with remote desktop access will know this. For those who don’t fully understand the concept yet, you plug your keyboard, mouse or controller into your computer as normal and when you hit a button, the signal transmits to NVIDIA’s GRID servers where it is processed and then the output is streamed back to you as a video – effectively like having your computer a few hundred miles away from your input devices and monitor.
The underlying hardware is the stuff of super computers – custom build hardware to render games in such a high fidelity that would make most end user consumer graphics cards blush, and to do it faster and more efficiently than virtually anything else on the market. Just take a look at the specifications below of some of the server hardware that NVIDIA has to offer through both middleware partners (companies who work with NVIDIA to provide services) and OEM hardware partners (companies who will sell you the hardware).
It certainly sounds like a promising deal and it’s one that’s already been put into action by a few companies with more signing up, or at least working on a project of their own using the hardware. Playcasts and Bouygues Telecom already offer cloud gaming services in an “A la carte” rental service. You can stream games like Assassin’s Creed Revelations, Mafia II, Street Fighter Vs. Tekken and much more directly to your TV. They charge around 12.90 Euro a month for their premium package, which is obviously a lot cheaper than buying a single gaming title at retail. The only downside is that you don’t really own the games – you are effectively renting and streaming just like you do on NetFlix. Stop paying the subscription and the games are no longer available to play, not to mention there is obviously no option to play off-line with this kind of service.
What I do like to see is that some streaming services such as Bouygues allow you to rent the games individually. For a few Euros you can unlock the game for streaming for a period of 48 hours, so there’s no need to go to your nearest rental store to pick up the title, no need to use a mailout service, you just unlock and play immediately, reaping the rewards of maxed out PC graphics and low latency.
There is just one major, and pretty obvious issue with the whole thing; cloud gaming requires a rock solid internet connection and it needs to be on at all times while gaming, or else your game stream will simply be gone. Of course there will be error correcting systems, as well as safe guards in place that pause your game should you drop a connection and resume when you’re back, but it’s one problem we don’t have to deal with when gaming on a local system.
Here in the UK we are finally getting on board with fiber broadband speeds, with much of the country still lagging behind, literally. With NVIDIA already running betas for its gaming service, users are advised that they’ll need a minimum of 10 Mbps download speed, and a ping time of no more than 40 ms for optimum experience. Anything less and your 1080p stream may not look so great and the input lag could become a problem for fast paced games. The first beta users to test this service are doing so using the NVIDIA SHIELD handheld gaming device in Northern California, as NVIDIA is currently testing out the service using its San Jose servers. These users also need to have a GameStream-ready 5GHz WiFi router, which will obviously help with lag and stream quality to the device. When your gaming on the cloud, every millisecond matters.
It’s also worth pointing out that remote gaming is no stranger to NVIDIA SHIELD owners, as the hardware already allows you to use NVIDIA GameStream to render your favourite game and stream it back to the handheld device using a GeForce-powered PC – much in the same way that GRID remotely renders its content.
The whole thing sounds pretty robust and it’s clear that NVIDIA has invested heavily in the product. However, the game streaming aspect is a nice sideline for NVIDIA given that it’s a graphics company first and foremost, but its GRID products go way beyond streaming the latest gaming titles to home users and their smart devices. Smaller installations, like GRDI VCA, can be purchased for businesses that run Quadro K5000-class graphics, allowing streaming to up to eight users. This can be used for anything from film production to graphics design- anything that typically relies on GPU rendering, while also reducing the cost of installing and maintaining eight individual high-end workstations capable of doing the same job.
So is GRID the future of computing? Absolutely. However, it remains to be seen how successful it will be with consumers and many parts of the world still need to catch up in terms of internet speeds to really reap the rewards. We are confident that the business world will love the streaming technology for rendering and other tasks, but there is still a lot of work for NVIDIA to do until its gaming services are available on a larger scale.
Supermicro UK have just announced an addition to their Ready To Go family of products with the NVIDIA GRID Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. These solutions cater for the needs of even the most demanding of working environments that utilise graphics intensive applications such as AutoCAD, Bunkspeed, PTC Creo, Synerscope and Insight Earth.
This will mean users can access critical applications from anywhere, at any time, exploring highly responsive windows and a rich multimedia experience with access to the most critical applications. This ensures an industry leading experience across the board enhanced by the power of NVIDA GRID.
“As the Ready To Go range continues to evolve, the addition of VDI servers with NVIDIA GRID technology reaffirms we are delivering leading edge technologies to the market well ahead of the curve. We increase productivity and graphics intensive tasks which are perfect for businesses looking to migrate to a virtualised platform.” said Faheem Karim, Head of Sales at Supermicro UK. He continues, “ With 50% off as an introductory offer, customers wanting to run proof of concepts could not find a better time to realise the benefits of VDI.”
“NVIDIA GRID gives users of virtualized desktops the performance, stability and compatibility of hardware-accelerated graphics,” said Walter Mundt-Blum, vice president PSG EMEAI at NVIDIA. “Remote users involved in everything from product design to manufacturing to supply chain management can now enjoy the benefits of desktop and application virtualization with NVIDIA GRID technology.”
As part of the Ready To Go range, NVIDIA GRID enabled systems leverage Supermicro’s power saving technology and include comprehensive Service Level Agreements offering next business day delivery and enhanced warranty services. These new entries to the Ready To Go (RTG) range of products are available now through approved distribution partner network.
Thank you RTGServers for providing us with this information.
Codemasters have been falling behind in recent years, at least in my opinion and while I used to hold them in high regard for making some of the greatest racing games ever created I just can’t help but think that they’ve somewhat lost their touch. DiRT Showdown was one of the worst racing experiences around and while it was covered in gorgeous graphics it lacked depth from start to finish, it was simplistic and overly crammed with pop culture. The original GRID however was incredible, one of their crowning achievements and surely the 2nd one will be ever better, right?
Must like any semi realistic racing series GRID 2 is set across several famous locations that range from Paris to Hong Kong and Chicago and with it comes a multitude of racing disciplines such as Drift, Track and certain challenges style races such as Head to Head, Elimination, Overtake and Time Trial, so nothing really new there unfortunately. The only change you will find in tracks and events is something called “Live Routes” which effectively generates the track as you race around it.
I was a little (ok A LOT) sceptical of Live Routes, as you rip around the city tracks its as if the track is never-ending and the track generation is seamless throughout, it’s actual pretty cool, the main difference is that you’ve got a 5 minute time limit and no map to follow so you can be blasting around a fast corner only to realise you’ve landed on a hairpin too quickly. You’ve really got to keep your wits about you and it’s a great test of driving skill. The winner is determined by the driver who drove the furthest in the allotted time.
The who game takes place in something called World Series Racing, a new mixed event motor sport that you’re helping get off the ground. Gone is the focus on earning money and buying cars that you’ll often find in racing games, instead you have fans, you earn fans by performing well, winning races, completing challenges and promotional events etc. Win more fans and the event becomes more popular allowing you to do bigger and better things in increasingly better cars.
There are plenty of licensed cars in this game broken up into four tiers, ranging from classic American muscle such as the Ford Mustang Mk.1 1970 to the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. The only downside is there around only 42 cars in the game. Not only are there fewer cars in this game but there are also fewer options than I would have liked too, as you cannot customise, upgrade or tune your car’s performance beyond changing the colour of the paint and the decals on the side, a real shame too as it would have added more depth to the racing experience.
Another thing gone from the game is the in-car camera angle, now Codemasters mentioned this months ago and said it was the only way they could bring bigger tracks and more fidelity to the Xbox and PS3 editions of the game as something had to give for the sake of in game performance, stating that only 8% of players used the feature. Unfortunately for me I am part of that 8% and the whole issue has left a bitter taste for me as it’s one of the things I look for in my racing game experience. I wouldn’t mind so much had the done a better job balancing the remaining camera angles.
I find the bumper one is a little too low, the bonnet one doesn’t roll with the car meaning you can’t “feel” or judge your over/understeer, the chase cam is too low and the other is too far! Lucky that PC gamers can mod this issue, but console gamers are loosing out here in my opinion, at least those looking for a more authentic racing experience.
That being said, this game is far from a simulation and while GRID (the original one) was quite an arcade style experience, it still offered some level of simulation that made it incredibly thrilling to play. GRID 2 features something called “TrueFeel” which aims to find a sweet spot of realism and accessibility, albeit it favours heavily on the accessibility side and the game is pretty easy to get to grips with, but at least it still provides a good challenge on the harder difficulty settings for those that like to be pushed a little harder.
In terms of graphics performance the game is an absolute gem, Codemasters really know how to put that extra coat of polish on a racing game and GRID 2 is no exception. Real time reflections, detailed lighting effects, smoke, a complex vehicle damage system and more really push this game to its visual limits. The car models look fantastic and the tracks look really nice too. Some of the real racing tracks look a little bland but that is pretty true of the real world locations, it just often looks more apparant in computer games. The city tracks really shine though and Paris looks especially pretty with the sun setting and light breaking through trees beside the track.
Overall it might sound like I’m somewhat unimpressed with how this game plays, but that’s not really true. I’m disappointed that the game didn’t reach my high expectations of it, given what I really wanted was the original GRID with better graphics, more cars to choose from and new tracks and events. The game does offer some really nice cars and while the handling is pretty user-friendly at the best of times the game is still plenty of fun and races are often thrilling to take part in and in some ways this game reminds me of more old school arcade racers. All the focus is gone from the car tuning, I would even go as far as saying the car you pick doesn’t matter either as they often feel quite similar in terms of handling with the only differences being grip, drift and speed. Yet I still maintain that the game is fun to play.
One standout feature of this game is content, while the cars and tracks maybe a little limited there are still plenty of events and there is plenty of progression to seek, but should you tire of the single player you will find an equally engrossing multiplayer aspect to get stuck into. Much like the main game you start the multiplayer from the bottom of the ranks and your single player car garage doesn’t carry over. You have to win your way to the good stuff by playing online and this effectively doubles the size of the game. Yet the best thing of all is local split screen gameplay on the PC edition, if you have your PC hooked up to your TV and two controllers you can play against a friend, as a big fan of couch co-op games myself, this is a very welcome feature.
If you are looking for a hardcore racing simulation, don’t bother, you will not find one here. If you’re a fan on GRID then there is not guarantee you’re going to like GRID 2, but on the other hand if you’re looking for a racer that has some fun races, gorgeous looking tracks, a fun and accessible handling system and some great multiplayer mechanics, then this is one of the best racers of recent years, it is also many times better a racer than DiRT, but still not as good as the original GRID in my opinion, which really was / is one of the best racers ever made.
Codemasters have unleashed the world’s most expensive videogame with the GRID 2: Mono Edition, which is available for pre-order at a bargain price of just £125,000. This exclusive edition of the game is available for just one customer and includes the highly-anticipated racing game GRID 2, a PlayStation 3 to play it on, oh and it also comes with a 170mph BAC Mono supercar, fitted out with GRID2 livery and a full set of race ware.
The BAC Mono is a British manufactured, road-legal, ultra-high performance supercar which stars in the game. Created from high-strength carbon fibre, the BAC Mono is an unrivalled example of light-weight performance engineering and its 2.3 litre, 280 bhp four cylinder power plant will propel its driver from 0-60 m.p.h. in just 2.8 seconds.
At £125,000, the GRID 2: Mono Edition has set a new Guinness World Records title for the “Most Expensive Video Game Commercially Available – Special Edition” and will include a range of extras for the buyer to enjoy the ultimate experience of racing the car in-game and driving it in real life. The GRID 2: Mono Edition includes:
• A copy of GRID 2 for PlayStation 3 featuring bespoke packaging artwork
• BAC Mono supercar in exclusive GRID 2 livery
• A day at the BAC factory, which includes a factory tour and time spent with technicians, to customise the BAC Mono for size and specifications
• A GRID 2: Mono Edition branded Bell Racing helmet
• Race suit, boots & gloves all made to measure in BAC Mono and GRID 2 branding
• A PlayStation 3
“BAC is immensely proud and excited at the release of GRID 2: Mono Edition; a game which offers an opportunity for one lucky person to own a truly unique supercar,” said Neill Briggs, Project Director, BAC Mono. “Codemasters has developed a stunning game which focuses on delivering the ultimate driving experience and Mono is the ultimate expression of this, in both the real and virtual worlds.”
While the GRID 2: Mono Edition is a one-off, the standard edition of GRID 2 will race into retail next Friday, May 31st.
Codemasters have just released a brand new GRID 2 gameplay video, showcasing the games new drift events and reveals key Asian locations, including the addition of Hong Kong, which are set to feature in the game, all of which you can check out in the video below.
The ‘World Series Racing 3: Asia – New Frontiers’ video focuses on the Asian cars, clubs and locations set to star in GRID 2. Racers earn points for style and form in Drift events on steep and aggressive mountain roads filled with hairpins inspired by Okutama in Japan. Open Road racing is represented with Touge events in Hong Kong, where players must close the gap and take their chance to pass in one-on-one, contactless sprints.
The Street Racing category is showcased in Dubai, as cars power down highways and speed past stunning skyscrapers in this distinctive city fuelled by petrol-powered wealth. Track Racing is shown at Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi, one of the most advanced and thrilling dedicated racing circuits in the world which has played host to a wide range of motorsport up to the very highest level.
Drift events in GRID 2 push players to show their skill in maintaining style and form as they break traction on ribbons of asphalt. Available in career mode, split-screen and online, each Drift event features three short multi-car runs on technical sections featuring combinations of corners and hairpins. Players must record the highest score possible, earning points for the speed, angle and duration of their drift as well as proximity to drift markers on corners. Drifting in GRID 2 requires players to look at cars in a different way, rewarding them for car control in a vehicle’s most unstable state on each and every spectacular run.
GRID 2, the long-awaited sequel to the BAFTA-award winning, critically acclaimed Race Driver: GRID, will ship to retail on May 28 for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
With the release of GRID 2 rapidly approaching, the game is set to bring an all new and exclusive features called “LiveRoutes”, said to be a ground-breaking new system that dynamically changes the course of a race track on the fly. Codemasters have now revealed the technology in action with a new video now playing at www.youtube.com/gridgame, or you can check out the embedded video below.
Offering millions of route possibilities, which is a crazy number and I’ll just take their word for it, LiveRoutes comes into play for specific events in the game’s city environments – Paris, Barcelona, Chicago, Miami and Dubai. Junctions on LiveRoutes circuits can switch the track up to six different ways, as LiveRoutes randomly selects a route through the city.
“LiveRoutes is the new challenge event that we’re most proud of in GRID 2. It’s as fresh to racing games as Flashback was when we introduced it as a mechanic in the original GRID,” said Clive Moody, Senior Executive Producer for GRID 2 at Codemasters.
“In a LiveRoutes event, you don’t know what’s coming next and it turns each race into a test of your racecraft, car handling and reactions on circuits that cannot be learnt. In both career mode and online, LiveRoutes offers near limitless possibilities in every race and it’s a great leveller, even for the most experienced racing game players.”
The new LiveRoutes video shows how the road changes ahead dynamically on different play-throughs, creating new routes through GRID 2’s Paris Street Racing environment. Available in both single-player and in multiplayer, LiveRoutes events feature millions of potential corner combinations and offer players extensive replayability.
I’m not so sure its a great idea, but its certainly an interesting one, the prospect of having tracks that you just can’t memories (in certain modes) is a good one and its a great way to keep racers on the end throughout a race. We will no doubt find out if this system works come release day as the game is due to his the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on 31st of May.
Codemasters released ‘World Series Racing Part 1: An American Dream’, the first in a new series of trailers for GRID 2. The video is narrated by Patrick Callahan, the entrepreneur and founder of World Series Racing, the fictional cross-discipline motor racing championship that runs throughout GRID 2, who introduces his vision for the series and its beginnings in the USA.
In the video, Patrick Callahan outlines his plans for a new motorsports series and introduces players to two key racing clubs he needs to recruit as in-game footage showcases some of GRID 2’s American locations, including Street Racing in Chicago, Track Racing at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Road Racing at the dramatic California Coast. It’s Callahan’s intention to bring the best drivers from different disciplines and styles from all over the world together to compete in one unified league and find the ultimate driving superstar. But to set up a new motorsports series, and get the rewards he craves, he needs a star. And that’s where the player comes in…
As Patrick Callahan’s raw talent, GRID 2 players will travel the world, recruiting race clubs and their drivers to compete in new and traditional racing events, crossing in and out of their established disciplines. Callaghan figures if he can get the best, the crowds will come. And then he’ll bring the eyes of the world onto his new series.
GRID 2’s world will reflect the progress players make in the game. Perform on the track and gamers will grow their fanbase, earning fame – GRID 2’s xp – allowing them access to new events, sponsors, cars and increasing their profile. To immerse players further in this new world of competitive motorsport, Codemasters has collaborated with ESPN to create exclusive in-game ESPN SportsCenter live-action video sequences that chart the rise of World Series Racing as it grows from a grass-roots curiosity to a headline-grabbing championship in the global sports market.
The original GRID racing title was and still one of the greatest racers ever made, finding a fine balance between simulation and arcade gameplay, will Codemaster be able to top it’s success, only time will tell and we’ll be sure to have a review for you when the game is release for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3, on the 31st May 2013.