eTeknix Visit Corsair Rapidfire Keyboard Launch Event in London

A few days ago, we were invited down to London for a top-secret event, giving us the opportunity to check out the latest gaming keyboard from Corsair. Of course, now that the NDA has lifted, we’re able to share with you what we say at the event, as well as bring you a full review of the new K70 in all its glory and boy is it good!

Of course, we have to share this fantastic teaser from Corsair first.

Equipped with an innovative new switch that was created in a partnership between Cherry and Corsair, the new K70 Rapidfire features the MX Speed switch (they’re the right most row on this block).

MX Speed is very much like MX Red, in that it is a lightweight and fast linear switch, but the major change comes from the fact that the switch has a 40% reduction in actuation distance, meaning less force is needed, response times are cut and the keys return rate is quicker, allowing you to touch-type and game at an increased pace vs the regular red switch.

Corsair were kind enough to set up some cool games and plenty of the keyboards for us to try out.

Some of our friends at Dignitas putting the keyboards through their paces.

There are two models available as of today, The full-size K70 and the shorter K65.

Both keyboards follow the iconic K70/K65 designs, and are fully equipped with RGB lighting, although a non-RGB version is also available for the K70.

The return of the USB pass-through port and BIOS switch!

 

K70 Quickfire RGB is to be £149.99 and non-RGB is £119.99, while the smaller TKL version, the K65 RGB, will also be £119.99. Expect all major retailers to have stock or pre-orders from today.

Want to know even more about this keyboard? Check out our full review here.

What Can We Expect From NVIDIA GTC 2016

With NVIDIA’s GPU Tech Conference due to start in 2 days time, we give our thoughts as to what to expect.

Do you think we will see a new graphics card launching from NVIDIA at the event?

Check the video below for our thoughts and opinions.

Do you think a new Pascal based card is likely to be announced?

Unmaned Jets to be Backed by “Arsenal Planes”

Technology changes, every day it shifts and moves. A major area for technological advancement is the military. Companies and governments pay billions to advance technology in everything from bulletproof walls to injectable sponges. One of the areas for advancement is drones or unmanned aircraft. The problem is that these craft need to not only be smarter but also built for stealth, something strapping a few weapons to them doesn’t help with. The proposed solution, back up the stealthy ones with the big guns mounted to an ‘arsenal plane’.

Traditional unmanned planes can only equip a few weapons, the problem being that they just become too big and end up drawing too much attention on radar. The solution proposed by the Defence Department budget, is that they would instead have an arsenal plane behind the stealth jet.

Described as “a flying launch for all sorts of different conventional payloads. In practice, the arsenal plane will function as a very large airborne magazine, networked to 5th-generation aircraft that act as forward sensor and targeting nodes”. While not a new idea the concept of a small jet being the precursor to a giant multi-purpose airstrike is certainly a frightful one.

With the reuse of old craft to save on costs, the issue of strapping a lot of explosives to an outdated model surely raises some heath and safety questions.

Apple Watch Hermès Collection Launches Today

The Apple Watch is a polarizing device due to the high cost, daily charging requirement and potential to become outdated very quickly. Despite these reservations, various models across an assortment of price brackets sold surprisingly well even though many users mocked the concept online. On the other hand, strong evidence suggests many Apple Watch owners are dissatisfied and not using the device after a few months of purchasing. Perhaps, the initial appeal has subsided and it’s no longer a fashionable piece of technology in their social circle. During the past couple of months, there’s been a number of rumors circulating about the Apple Watch 2. As a result, it seems strange to unveil a new line-up based on the existing Apple Watch 1 specification. While this is certainly true, Apple doesn’t seem to think so, and decided to launch the Hermès Collection today!

Here is a brief synopsis of what the range entails:

“Uncompromising craftsmanship. Pioneering innovation. Groundbreaking functionality. Apple Watch Hermès is the culmination of a partnership based on parallel thinking, singular vision and mutual regard. It is a unique timepiece designed with both utility and beauty in mind. With leather straps handmade by Hermès artisans in France and an Hermès watch face reinterpreted by Apple designers in California, Apple Watch Hermès is a product of elegant, artful simplicity — the ultimate tool for modern life.”

The budget model in the Hermès Collection, and I use that term loosely, features a conventional leather strap, and comes in either a 38mm or 42mm case. Dubbed the Single Tour, prices start at £1000 and can be purchased in Fauve, Noir, and Capucine colour straps. Next up is the Double Tour which surrounds the wrist twice. I’m not entirely sure the reason behind this design. Nevertheless, you can only acquire this model with a 38mm case but strap colours include Fauve, Etain, Capucine and Blue Jean. Pricing here start from £1150. Finally, the Cuff incorporates a much wider strap and only has one a Fauve strap and 42mm case option. According to Apple’s online store, the price for this watch will be £1350.

ZOTAC Updates ZBox Line-Up @ CES 2016

CES 2016: ZOTAC’s Zbox range offers impressive performance in such a portable form factor. This makes it the perfect choice to use in a living room setup and connect the system to a 4K television. Clearly, complex tasks at such a high-resolution requires a powerful system but this needs to be achieved without compromising on the signature size. One of the latest additions incorporates Intel’s latest Skylake architecture and two DDR3L DIMMS supporting a maximum of 16GB. Additionally, the system utilizes Intel HD Graphics 520 and contains a 2.5″ SATA bay for large storage options. There’s also support for the latest USB 3.1 Type-C, Bluetooth 4.0, and 802.11ac WiFi.

ZOTAC also unveiled an early version of a passive cooled Skylake system which contains a hefty aluminium heatsink to provide effective heat dissipation. The system will also house an Intel Core i3-6300U and looks very promising. Please note, this is just a prototype, and could be officially unveiled during Computex.

Here we can see the ZOTAC PC stick which implements 802.11ac WiFi, 2GB DDR3L, 32GB eMMC, Micro SD slot, and Intel Atom processor. This should make it a great choice for media streaming or rudimentary tasks which don’t require a great deal of processing power.

Finally, Zotac unveiled a number of new Zbox units designed for gaming applications featuring AMD graphics solutions.. The EA740 incorporates an R9 M365X chip with MXM module. This means it’s remarkably simple to upgrade the graphics hardware at a later date. Other key specifications include an Intel Core i3-6100T, 2GB DDR3L slots, USB 3.0 Type-C, 3 DisplayPorts. In addition to this, Zotac is also producing on a Zbox with 6 DisplayPort connectors. Overall, there is a great amount of small tweaks to the Zbox range and I’m interesting to see how the product line develops in the near future.

Oculus Rift Pre-Orders Now Available

Virtual reality is often described as a revolution in entertainment and the Oculus Rift demonstrated how visually stunning VR experiences can be. This inspired other companies to enter the VR market and look beyond traditional gaming purposes. VR has potential in the medical professional and can also put sports fans into the action in a way never thought possible. After a lengthy development period, the Oculus Rift retail model is now available for purchase and comes with an Xbox One controller, Oculus remote and VR sensor. Additionally, the unit is packaged with EVE Valkyrie and A Lucky’s Tale!

The Rift also utilizes integrated headphones designed for VR which creates a enthralling experience and expands the sense of depth during games. Of course, they can be removed and you can use the headphones of your choice.  The entire package will cost $599 plus sales tax and shipping which depends on your region. In the UK, expect a price of around £400. While this is a considered purchase, there is additional value with the includes extras and the Oculus Rift is a truly mind-blowing experience. This will be more than enough to encourage hardware enthusiasts to purchase. However, I doubt the mainstream customer will consider the Rift until there is a significant price cut or budget alternative. Please note, the Rift requires a high-end PC with the minimum specification listed below:

  • NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD R9 290 equivalent or greater
  • Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
  • 8GB+ RAM
  • Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
  • 3x USB 3.0 ports plus 1x USB 2.0 port
  • Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer

What do you think of the Oculus Rift’s launch price?

Watch Forza 6 Launch Trailer Made with Grand Theft Auto V

We can easily say that Grand Theft Auto V for PC was one of the biggest games of 2015 and one of the games where we have seen most user-created work originate from. In the past, we mostly saw amazing Skyrim work and while that’s still being created and released, we’ve gotten a whole lot more Grand Theft Auto V content. The mods for the game allow you to take it to the next step, do new things, and recreate quite a few things. The newest remake in that regard is the Forza 6 Launch Trailer that was made entirely with the use of Grand Theft Auto V and its tools.

As mentioned, the entire video that is embedded below was made with Grand Theft Auto V and its tools, but the creator also used a few mods in order to get it just right. Among the mods and tools used were the Project RELOAD GTA V Graphics enhancer, Simple Trainer, and various car mods.

“Come and join us in a whole new world of racing in our brand new games, Forza Theft Auto. Discover the fun of racing simulation while driving in a big open world while also ramming into people and kill them, by guns,” the video description reads.

The creator of the video was inspired by the official launch video several months ago and decided that it was worth a remake in Grand Theft Auto V. To avoid some copyright restrictions, the video was shortened by about 2 seconds over the original trailer and the sound was pitched down. Other than that, it looks pretty sweet and it is some amazing work.

RavevnwestR1, as the YouTuber calls himself, made the video in just a couple of days and also stated that it isn’t perfect. He thinks he could do better, so we might see an upgraded version in the future. For now, you may just enjoy the work he’s already done.

Here  is the original launch trailer for comparison purposes. What do you think? Did RavenwestR1 nail it with his rendition off Forza Theft Auto V? Let us know in the comments.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CXqEHMgiFg

This isn’t the first remake that RavenwestR1 has made and you can find a lot more cool work on his YouTube channel.

China Launches its Most Advanced Disaster Prevention Satellite

2015 has been a good year for the space industry across the world and now China have closed out the year with a landmark launch of their own. Today they successfully launched the Gaofen-4 satellite as part of the country’s high-definition Earth observation project.

Gaofen-4 was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in the Chinese province of Sichuan. The launch took place on the 29th of December at 00:04AM local time. Carrying the satellite into orbit was a Long March-3B carrier rocket. According to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND), this is the 222nd launch of a Long March family rocket, which have been in operation since the 1970s and the 19th mission this year.

The successful launch of Gaofen-4 is a significant step in China’s HD Earth observation project, as it has unique capabilities as China’s first geosynchronous orbit HD optical imaging satellite, featuring visible light and infra-red staring optical imager with a common optical system. Gaofen-4 differs greatly from the Gaofen-1 and -2 satellites, which both hold low orbits of 600-700km from the earth, which 4 will orbit as far as 36,000 km away in a geosynchronous orbit. It is due to its advanced imaging systems that it can be placed at a distant orbit, without issue, reportedly being able to spot oil tankers in the sea with its optics. The purpose of the data gathered by Gaofen-4 can be applied in a number of ways, including disaster prediction and monitoring, weather prediction, agriculture monitoring and even national security. This isn’t the end of China’s satellite endeavors either, as Gaofen-4 is only the third satellite of seven planned to be launched by 2020.

We can only hope that the space agencies around the world continue their efforts into 2016, as if they can continue to top 2015, the future is bright for the myriad of space projects.

Image credit to Xinhua/Yue Yubin

Thermalright Unveils “Macho Direct” CPU Cooler

The advent of affordable closed liquid cooling solutions has made many system builders switch from traditional air cooling to sealed loops. However, air cooling is generally cheaper, more reliable and significantly quieter compared to the Asetek competition. Clearly, many consumers dismiss them on the basis of aesthetics, but their price to performance ratio is difficult to beat! Thermalright has just announced their latest air cooling product which adopts a very unusual, if fairly comical name. The Macho Direct is the company’s first Heatpipe Direct Touch cooler and should provide great performance on a budget. 

The cooler also utilizes a unique aluminium fin design to reduce air resistance and maximize airflow. Additionally, the small gaps counteract the accumulation of air between the cooling fins to help with cooling performance. On another note, the concave formed heat pipes cool the CPU very effectively especially when you consider the product’s design. In terms of dimensions, the Macho Direct is 4 mm lower than the Macho Rev. B. This makes it possible to mount the Macho Direct in tighter cases where space is limited. At the same time, the weight of the Macho Direct with a fan mounted is reduced by 820g.

A TY 140 Black PWM-fan is included with the cooler. The fan is equipped with a low-wearing “Enhanced Hyper-Flow Bearing”. Thanks to the very low starting speed of just 300 rpm and the maximum speed of only 1,300 rpm, the black fan runs very silently at 15 – 21 dB(a) and is almost inaudible while running.  The Macho Direct will be sold exclusively by the Mindfactory AG in Germany with an MSRP is 36.99 Euro, incl. 19% VAT.

AMD Zen Rumours Point to Earlier Than Expected Release

Before anyone gets too excited about this news, so far this is only a rumour that originates from one source, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t dream, hope and get a little bit excited. A german tech publication got wind from a Motherboard manufacturer that we could see new AMD Zen based motherboards as early as March 2016, well ahead of the otherwise known Q4 2016 plan.

The new AMD Zen CPU will use a new socket and also incorporate the current DDR4 capabilities and as such completely new boards have to be designed. In a routine inquiry about this, the publication got a surprising response from the manufacturer. The response: “The internal timetable foresees a March 2016 launch”. That is a lot sooner than expected.

There are however several ways that this could be both good and bad, true and false. The original Zen timetable has a Q1 2016 schedule that later got pushed. So the company could have been getting the information from old documents. Another possibility could be that we see Opteron CPUs on the new Zen architecture before we get the consumer FX versions around the holiday sales 2016.

Either way, I am one of them that is excited to see what AMD has cooked up in their labs and how well it will perform compared to the competition.

AeroCool Announces XPredator GM Series 80 Plus Gold PSU Line-Up

Aerocool might not be the most recognizable name in the technology industry but they have a great selection of cases, fan controllers, air coolers, fans, and power supplies. The company was setup back in 2002, and continues to bring great products at affordable pricing. Although, I’ve personally not used any of the items in their line-up. The latest addition is a new range of power supplies rated to an 80 Plus Gold efficiency standard. While this isn’t the greatest rating available, it’s more than enough for the average user and should come at a much cheaper price point. The XPredator series comes in 550W, 650W, 750W, and 1000W models to suit a variety of usage scenarios.

Furthermore, all of the units in this range feature DC-DC switching, a single +12V rail design, active electrical protections, Core C6/C7 power-state support, and active PFC. As you can see from the picture above, each power supply adopts a semi-modular design to help with cable management. The 1000W model utilizes a 140mm fan while the lower wattage versions use a 120mm. Unfortunately, AeroCool didn’t provide any pricing information at this time, but I’m pretty sure these units are aimed at the mainstream gaming market. As a result, they should be pretty affordable.

Fallout 4 Ships 12 Million Copies on Launch Day

Fallout 4 is one of the most anticipated video game releases in recent memory and on course to break a number of sales records. Bethesda shipped 12 million copies on launch day:

“representing sales in excess of $750 million.”

Similarly, the data already shows that Fallout 4 set a new record for physical media and managed:

“record breaking sales”

Although, it’s important to remember that shipping units doesn’t necessarily refer to 12 million copies sold on launch day. However, it’s still an impressive figure and exemplifies the appetite for Fallout 4. Bethesda also went on to say:

“Major retailers have informed Bethesda of the tremendous consumer interest in Fallout 4 , with some noting it was the most pre-ordered game this year,”

“Following the release, Bethesda was advised that launch day sales at some of the leading retail chains were the largest of any game released this year,”

“Bethesda is now shipping more Fallout 4 units to retailers to meet ongoing market demand.”

Fallout 4 rightfully has a massive following and creates such a passionate response from fans. It’s no surprise that the game is already breaking almost every conceivable record. For example, Fallout 4 managed to reach a remarkable 470,000 concurrent players on Steam and surpass the previous record holder, Grand Theft Auto V. Overall, Fallout 4 is an absolute triumph from a commercial sense and received extremely positive reviews. Although, there are some criticisms about the PC version.

In comparison, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim shipped 7 million copies in 48 hours to retailers and sold through 3.5 million to consumers during the first day of trading.

Mozilla Launches Firefox For iOS

Mozilla’s hesitance to offer their Firefox web browser on iOS devices stems from a bitter disagreement with Apple in 2013. During this period, Apple imposed hefty restrictions which prohibited Mozilla, and other browser makers to use their own rendering engine. As you might expect, Mozilla was outraged by these demands and believed they were completely unfair. However, with the soaring popularity of iOS, Mozilla has changed their approach and accepted Apple’s terms.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoAtBKmNUEY

Firefox is now available on iOS devices and incorporates a number of useful features including Intelligent Search, and Virtual Tabs. Firefox Accounts also allows you to easily sync passwords, internet history, and auto-complete forms on various systems. Private Browsing is another essential component which provides enhanced protection against data snooping. User privacy is such an important aspect of any modern browser and at the heart of Firefox’s ethos.

Unfortunately, I highly doubt the browser will make any serious impact on iOS as most people just use Safari. There are some exceptions who prefer Chrome, but I can see Firefox’s adoption being in the minority. Nevertheless, it’s a great piece of news if you prefer the Firefox desktop browser and want to continue that experience on an Apple device.

Which browser is your favourite and why?

Brits Will Have to Wait Until 2016 for the SurfaceBook

If you live in the UK and would like to get your hands on the new SurfaceBook from Microsoft like your American and Australian friends, then you are out of luck for quite some time. This news comes directly from Microsoft’s booth at the Future Decoded venue in London via Micheal Gillett, Microsoft MVP for Windows Consumer Apps.

The latest news tells us that it will be at least March 2016, if not April 2016, before it will become available for UK customers. It will most likely be the same date or later for the rest of Europe too, but that’s just speculation so far. There are still quite a few parts in the world where you can’t get any Surface products at all yet, so this certainly isn’t a new scheme.

Whether this is down high demand where the production can’t keep up or if it is another portion of company stupidity and regional exclusives is down to everyone’s own guess, but one thing is sure: People won’t be happy about this. I am personally planning a new portable and powerful workstation purchase very soon and had my eyes on a Surface Book. With this news, I might just put my eyes on a new Yoga or similar instead.

While we are in the sad corner, there is more coming and that is in regard to the new Surface Pro 4. The Surface Type Cover with fingerprint scanner won’t come to the UK at all, at least there currently aren’t any plans for it. There is no real reasoning behind this, at least no official ones. So you can get your tinfoil hats out and start making your own theories on that too.

Overall, this is not the best news out of the house of Microsoft. It was only yesterday that Tim Cook was dissing the Surface Book, so it will be interesting to see what comes tomorrow.

OnePlus to Announce New Handset

The original OnePlus handset was extraordinary popular due to a feature-rich specification and superb price. However, its successor, the OnePlus 2 doesn’t live up to the “flagship killer” name and struggled to stand out from the crowd. In 2015, the market is flooded with amazingly affordable handsets as many Chinese manufacturers like Hauwei, try to become the price to performance brand of choice. For instance, the Honor 7 retails for a similar price to the OnePlus 2 and doesn’t revolve around the absurd invite system.

OnePlus is reportedly launching a new, larger handset called the OnePlus X on October 29th which features a 1.9GHz processor and 5.5-inch display. The company released a teaser image which doesn’t offer much information in regards to the product launch. However, an FFC filing suggests the X model is in production. This is an interesting move for OnePlus as they usually stick to a very limited array of handsets. Additionally, will the new X smartphone required an invite to purchase? OnePlus really needs to get rid of this nonsense as consumers grow tired of waiting and buy a competing product.

I’m interested to see how well the OnePlus X does and if it manages to restore the company’s reputation.

Is OnePlus still the best choice in terms of price to performance?

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information.

MSI Announces GS40 Gaming Laptop Range

MSI has unleashed the GS40 Phantom series featuring Intel’s 6th generation Skylake i7 6700HQ processor which provides 20% improved performance than the i7 4720HQ in typical usage scenarios. The GS40 range offers portability without sacrificing on power demands and incorporates the highly capable GTX 970M into a stylish brushed-aluminium chassis. Furthermore, the laptop only weighs 1.6kg and has a height profile of 19.5~21.8mm.

On another note, the GS40 contains a PCI-E Gen3 SSD slot which allows for extreme read speeds up to a staggering 2200MB/s. Also, the range supports up to 32GB of memory, with the basic model opting for 8GB DDR4-2133MHz. Other features include premium-quality DYNAUDIO speakers accompanied by the highly regarded Nahimic Audio Enhancer. There is even an ESS SABRE HiFi Audio DAC to help accentuate subtle sounds in a loud mix.

MSI’s Cooler Boost 3 technology utilizes 5 heat pipes and dual fans to create a quiet, and extremely cool user-experience. The Super Port enables the end-user to transfer large files up to 1000MB/s and fast charging for smart-devices up to 3A. The laptop series opts for RGB lighting via the SteelSeries Engine 3 and contains a vast array of customization. MSI decided to use Killer networking to prioritize gaming traffic and prevent lag spikes.

Finally, any laptop in the GS40 Phantom range is bundled with a 1-year license of XSplit to professionally stream games in superior quality. Here is a rundown of the complete specification:

Roccat Unveils New Kova Gaming Mouse

Roccat has announced the new Kova gaming mouse featuring an ambidextrous design and streamlined shape to create maximum comfort across a wide range of grip styles. Additionally, the Kova utilizes a 3500 native dpi Pro-Optic r5 sensor which extends up to 7000 dpi for extreme sensitivity gameplay. To help with demanding tasks, the mouse is powered by a 72MHz Turbo Core V2 32-bit ARM-based MCU and contains 512KB of on-board memory.

The Kova also opts for a 12-bit data channel, 1000Hz polling rate, 1ms response time, 1.8m braided cable and employs 20G of acceleration. In the peripheral market, RGB lighing is the latest trend and embedded into the Kova. You can adjust the colour of the scroll wheel and mouse rim to individual shades or use visual lighting effects. Roccat’s Swarm software is an essential addition to adjust button arrangements, and other visual tweaks.

The Kova houses a wide array of programmable side buttons which are easily accessible without having to move your hand. This should make the device an excellent choice for various genres. Also, the mouse comes in either a white or black finish and is visually stunning. As white components become more popular, it’s imperative for manufacturers to create products to match a certain theme.

NVIDIA Shield TV Coming to UK Stores Tomorrow

The NVIDIA Shield TV is an astonishingly powerful Android device which allows you to watch video content in 4K and stream visually demanding PC titles from the cloud. Additionally, the Shield TV supports native Android games and offers the best of mobile gaming and PC in a neat package. The system harnesses NVIDIA’s extremely efficient Tegra X1 processor and GRID technology to offer a fluid and immersive gaming experience.

Finally, NVIDIA’s Shield TV is coming to the UK and will be available from tomorrow in participating retailers. Conceptually, the Shield TV could become the future of gaming as cloud-servers are used to offset the processing power. Therefore, it’s possible for users to only need a low-cost, system to access some of the most demanding games out there. Despite this, the NVIDIA Shield TV is feature-rich and puts the latest Apple TV to shame. With 4K streaming capability, the Shield TV is a flexible device and should suit a wide range of customers.

It will be interesting to see the initial sales figures and the general consensus from UK customers. PC gaming is becoming more accessible and there isn’t as much of a requirement to spend huge amounts of money on a top-tier rig.

Here is a complete rundown of the recommend price:

  • Shield ATV Base (16G + Controller) £ 149,99
  • Shield ATV PRO (500G + Controller) £ 219,99
  • Shield Wireless Controller £ 49,99
  • Shield Remote £ 39,99
  • Stand £ 24,99
  • GFN £ 7,49

What do you think of the NVIDIA Shield TV?

Xbox One Elite Controller Launching October 27th

The Xbox One Elite controller is scheduled for release on October 27th according an online listing via Microsoft’s official store. Priced at $149.99, the Xbox Elite controller is extremely expensive but features a modular design with interchangeable paddles. This unprecedented level of customization allows the end-user to alter the controller’s design and find an arrangement that fits their style or a particular genre. Ideally, the controller is best used for competitive play and I can it being quite popular with serious Halo players or Call of Duty console teams.

Microsoft is guaranteeing release day delivery if you order before the 23rd October:

Pre-order by 2PM PST on October 23rd and get it the day it’s released.”

I’m extremely interested to see the launch sale figures and how many people are prepared to pay such a high premium. The Xbox One Elite controller is undoubtedly a feature-rich device but is it worth $149.99? Only time will tell, as the first batch of users provide first-hand reports. Personally, I would love to try out this device but it’s well above my price range. To put this into perspective, I could buy a premium mechanical keyboard for around the same price.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information.

Gigabyte Geforce GTX 950 Unboxed Before Launch

NVIDIA’s GTX 950 is allegedly set to launch on August 20th but this hasn’t stopped YouTube channel Discos Duros y Mas from opening an aftermarket model, prior to release. The video features Gigabyte’s small form-factor GTX 950 which utilizes a single 90mm fan for cooling. While this particular card isn’t particularly powerful, it should cope with popular games without huge graphical demands. Unfortunately, the video is in Spanish and I’m unable to deduce anything that’s been said. Although, according to my Portuguese friend, the video title translates to,

“We present you the unboxing of the NVIDIA video card, a worth successor of GTX750ti.”

The GTX 950 is based on NVIDIA’s GM206 core and contains 768 Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA) cores with 2GB VRAM on a 128-bit interface. Early reports suggest the core clock will be 1089 MHz while the boost speed ramps up to 1266 MHZ. Perhaps the most impressive feat is this can be achieved through a 90W TDP. This is 30W less than the GTX 960 so it will be interesting to compare the raw performance numbers.

AMD intends to counteract the GTX 960’s release with the R9 370X. This is because the current R7 370 is extremely underpowered and performs poorly in compute benchmarks. I’m looking forward to the GPU showdown to see which card ends up on top.

Thank you VideoCardz for providing us with this information.

Why You Shouldn’t Upgrade to Windows 10 Today

Introduction


The launch date of Windows 10 has finally arrived after an extensive Beta testing period for users in the Windows Insider Program. Microsoft’s latest operating system is designed to be light on system resources and implement the Metro user-interface in a less obnoxious way. Windows 8 was heavily criticized by Microsoft customers, game developers and even Valve who became so concerned, they pushed their own Linux-based operating system. Microsoft’s strategic direction was too focused on mobile devices and tried to implement touch functionality at the expense of Desktop PCs.

Microsoft made a catastrophic error in trying to enforce full-screen applications through the Metro user-interface. As a result, it was extremely awkward to arrange multiple Windows and the OS felt pretty cluttered. Furthermore, navigating to newly installed programs, the Control Panel or advanced settings seemed counter-intuitive and hidden behind too many sub-menus. The end result was a terrible operating system for power users or customers opting for a traditional keyboard and mouse control scheme.

Windows 8.1 alleviated some of these concerns but kept the garish Metro system and Microsoft were unwilling to admit defeat. Many users derogatorily refer to Windows 8 as “the next Vista” and refuse to upgrade from the highly acclaimed Windows 7 operating system. Given the amount of disdain Windows 8 received, you might be a little perplexed about not upgrading today. However, there are a number of factors which you should take into consideration before upgrading.

Slow Download Servers


As with any digital product launch, the download servers are being hammered and resulting in extremely slow download speeds. This can create a rather frustrating experience as the queues grow and Microsoft struggles to keep up with demand. Perhaps waiting a few days is a more cogent option so you can download the update when the servers aren’t overpopulated. Also, the free download only applies to existing customers. Subsequently, you cannot legitimately acquire an ISO from a fast mirror and apply the update yourself. Personally, I would perform a re-format of my existing operating system, then install Windows 10; unless you have a boot SSD and few programs, this may take a while.

Windows 10 Could Suffer From Undocumented Compatibility Problems


Despite undergoing a thorough Beta testing phase, Windows 10 hasn’t been adopted on such a widespread scale. This means various third-party programs, games or hardware could experience teething problems. For example, older printers using a Parallel to USB converter might no longer work until the manufacturer releases a fix. Of course, this is a very small percentage of people but emphasizes what kind of problems you might run into. More commonly, many older games could become unstable or fail to detect the platform being used. It shouldn’t be a major issue due to Windows’ compatibility mode, but it’s something to be wary of.

Additionally, mods or unofficial game patches are untested and it’s sensible to let others be the guinea pig. Another factor to take into consideration is the amount of old games like Wing Commander which already struggle on modern operating systems. Windows 10 is brand new, so the amount of threads with information to get the game running will be minimal. Hopefully, the Windows 8.1 fixes work on Windows 10, but this is still an unknown entity.

DirectX 12 is Here, the Games are not


In terms of potential, DirectX 12 is one of the most revolutionary changes to PC Gaming in over a decade. This new low-level API reduces CPU overheads and theoretically increases the performance of games by an estimated 20%. However, there are no games on the market able to leverage this extra performance and it’s up to developers to begin supporting the new API. Realistically, this could take at least a year before modern games are reworked to use DirectX 12.

A large quantity of older games were produced by defunct studios and unable to implement DirectX 12 functionality. I highly doubt this could be done by a modder since the engine needs to be reworked. The data on DirectX 12 is quite new and we need to wait until the API has matured before analyzing its significance. Make no mistake, DirectX 12 will be a monumental change, but gamers shouldn’t expect to see this anytime soon.

Windows 10 Will be Free for a Year


It’s remarkably easy to get into the hullabaloo of a product launch and be disappointed by the final result. There’s no need to rush if you want to upgrade because Windows 10 will remain free for an entire year. As such, you could wait a month to see how well the operating system has been received and until the launch bugs are patched. Perhaps Windows 10 doesn’t offer enough of an improvement from Windows 7 and isn’t worth the hassle of learning a new visual style. This will be fairly prominent with those who aren’t technically minded and struggle to navigate around an operating system.

The Metro UI Still Exists


For all Windows 10’s posturing about returning to its Desktop roots, the Metro UI is still an integral component, albeit in a less obtrusive manner. In Windows 10, clicking the Start icon brings up the familiar Start menu. Unfortunately, this takes up a lot more space as the Metro icons are positioned adjacent to the Start menu. Once pressed, the menu can take up to 50% of your screen space instead of the narrow 20% seen in Windows 7. Microsoft’s ideology revolves and integrating all their services together including mobile, PC and Xbox. This sounds like a good idea, but I strongly believe Microsoft should release two versions of Windows 10; a Metro-based tablet edition and PC version which drops the Metro UI completely.

Windows 8 or 8.1 users can download an invaluable tool called Classic Shell which removes the Metro UI and replaces it with a simple, yet customizable Start menu. I’m surprised Microsoft didn’t take greater notice of this software which creates a much better experience than Windows’ 10 default setup. While the tool should work on Windows 10, this is just another example of how previous operating systems can be made more intuitive than Microsoft’s latest effort.

Final Thoughts


Windows 10 is shaping up to be a highly successful release, as Microsoft attempts to transfer individuals from older operating systems through the free upgrade incentive. Despite this, launch dates are always marred with a wide array of problems. In this case, the servers are almost at breaking point and I wouldn’t recommend downloading the update right now. Furthermore, DirectX 12 games could be some time off, and the Metro user-interface is still an integral part of the user-experience.

There’s no need to rush out and instantly download the update either as the average user will not majorly benefit from upgrading today. This doesn’t apply to technology enthusiasts or tweakers who want to play with the latest operating system. I’m still wary about the lack of mature drivers for unusual peripherals and wonder if they will work without any complications.

Microsoft has hinted that this could be the last version of Windows formally released. After that, Windows could possibly become a service platform which evolves without reselling the operating system as a product revision. Windows 10 is here and you should definitely upgrade, but now is probably not the best time for everyone.

New World Rally Championship Revealed

Racing fans have something to look forward to as the launch trailer for the new World Rally Championship game has been shown off and we have been given an official time of release. WRC5 is the latest installment in the series and almost everyone will be able to play this new game, as it will be available on a multitude of systems.

Playstation Vita, PS3, and PS4 owners will all be able to play this game and so will Xbox 360 and Xbox One users. PC players aren’t left out either as the game also will be available through Steam. This covers most households, meaning there isn’t much to hold you back from experiencing the latest rally game from Bigben Interactive.

While the trailer doesn’t explicitly state that the footage shown is from actual in-game recording, the images speak for themselves. The driving might be pre-scripted for the purpose of creating the video, but otherwise it looks like genuine in-game footage.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vpY5R37Q6k

Speaking for the above statement is the previous seen in-game footage shown off during E3 this year. Back then we saw some gaming with an early version of the game and it already looked sweet there.

Thank you Rock Paper Shotgun for providing us with this information

Intel Skylake Will be Limited to just Three SKU Variants at Launch

With the launch of Intel’s next iteration of CPU’s just around the corner, rumours have been circulating media outlets for a short while. This can be in the form of pricing or unreleased specifications or even pictures of the naked PCB.

Information is now coming around that the release of the Skylake processors will be staggered, much like how AMD are currently doing with the R9 Fury range or NVIDIA has done with the GTX 900 series. What we have deduced is that in the first wave of releases, we will only be able to purchase the more desirable CPU’s, the i7-6700k, i5-6600k and a currently unknown, but what can be assumed as the i5-6500k; however, that is purely my assumption.

We already know the pricing of the i7-6700k to be somewhere in the region of $400 and the i5-6600k around $280, so the possibility of a higher range i5 or lower range i7 could be quite high to fill in the $300 region.

What we have also seen through these sources is that even though these are the HOT chips, stock will be extremely limited. Could this be due to poor manufacturing processes of the new 14nm silicon or maybe prices could be raised due to high demand; who knows.

What are your thoughts on this? Will you be jumping on the LGA 1151 bandwagon at launch? I know I will be; if I can get a chip that is.

Batman Arkham Knight Didn’t Get a Smooth Launch Either

Batman Arkham Knight has been anything else but smooth sailing for Warner Interactive and Rocksteady. The game was postponed, the Batmobile edition‘s figurine fell apart and had to be cancelled, and lastly the limited edition collectors box had to be delayed due to a missing certification.

The game in itself has now finally been released and you’d think that the folk behind it could relax for five minutes and watch the praise come in from happy users and customers – but that is far from the case. Users are reporting extremely poor performance and that even with systems that go way past both the minimum and recommended specifications.

Rocksteady also seemed to forget to optimize the game properly for AMD hardware despite the main audience have consoles based on AMD hardware. The minimum specs were changed prior to launch and an R9 HD7850 with 3GB VRAM was the new minimum. The issues aren’t just with AMD cards though as the they didn’t incorporate Nvidia’s drivers all to well either. Users are reporting of high-end rigs with Titan X graphics cards that barely manage to score 60fps on a 1080p resolution.

The game in itself has been locked to 30fps on the PC, but this can be changed by editing an .ini file. One could however speculate that the lock was purely designed to hide the performance issues on this poorly coded PC port.

Both Nvidia and AMD have released new drivers that hopefully will help this some, but Nvidia noted that there might be issues with SLI setups and recommend that you disable them for now while playing Batman Arkham Knight. The critics on Steam aren’t pleased and the game’s reviews reflect that.

Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information

AMD Representive Confirms Dual Fiji Release Schedule

AMD showcased their new line of AMD Radeon R7 and R9 300 series graphics cards as well as the much-anticipated Fury, Fury X, and Fury Nano at their big event during E3 this year. Up until the event, we saw a lot of leaks and information about all those cards and knew most already.

But AMD still had one ace up their sleeve and one that I don’t think anyone expected. Their Quantum gaming PC built with a dual-GPU graphics cards. But that isn’t just some GPUs on there, those are two Fiji GPUs with 4GB HBM memory each; That is some serious GPU power in a compact form factor.

We got very sparse information about the card at the E3 event and it was only mentioned to be released after the other cards and without any specific time frame.

AMD just held the press event for the Australian launch of all these cards and TweakTown had their guy Anthony Garreffa present. Being prepared to find out more, he headed straight for the stage to get some answers from AMD and a great picture of the new card.

The representative cornered didn’t want to reveal too much either, but gave the confirmation that the new dual Fiji GPU graphics card will be released this year. Seeing as we’re already halfway through the year, an estimated guess would be November. If it will be called the Radeon R9 Fury X2 or something else still remains unknown as the rep didn’t want to confirm anything on the naming.

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information

LG’s G4 is now available in the US

Living in US? Looking for a new high-end smartphone? You might want to add the LG’s G4 to your list as a US Telecom Carrier T-Mobile has stocked it up and launched online sales today. The pricing is, as expected, $599.76 outright or $0 down with 24 monthly payments of $24.99. The device will be available in two variants
(Color / Back Panel) which are metallic gray and the T-Mobile exclusive, brown leather. Both the variants have absolutely no hardware specification differences. T-Mobile has mentioned that they will begin shipping online orders out immediately and the G4 will hit T-Mobile retail shops on June 3rd. However, if you are looking for the G4 with the Black leather option, you might have to wait till Sprint makes the device available on June 4th.

As LG G4 is the only major flagship device with expandable storage. T-Mobile is throwing in a free 128GB microSD card for a limited time (and till the limited stock) which end the end-user up with 160 GB of storage. This pretty much for any user to store all the multimedia files like Pictures, Videos, Movies, etc. You can grab your device right now from here.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information.

Sony Launches Xperia A2

Sony has just made Xperia A2 official in Japan. We are familiar with Sony’s practices of launching devices in the country before teh US and Europe markets; Sony has launched it exclusively with Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo. Some of the smartphone’s features can lead you to think of it as flagship, but the rest will just define it as high-end at best.

Specifications of the Sony Xperia A2:

  • 4.6-inch 720p display
  • 9.1mm thickness
  •  129 grams
  • 16GB storage (expandable up to 128GB)
  • 2GB RAM
  • Quad core Snapdragon 800 SoC
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • 2,600 mAh battery
  • 4G LTE connectivity
  • IPX5,8 / IP6X certification for water and dust resistance

Xperia A2 sports a bit dated HD (720p) display which is sensible considering the size of the panel is just 4.6″ so pixel density won’t be hurt as much. It boasts, reportedly, the same shooter as witnessed in Xperia Z1, a 20.7 MP Exmor RS sensor and carry all the water and dust resistance capabilities as found in Sony’s Flagship devices. It will be available for purchase starting next month in various color variants like Grey, Pink, Blue and White.

We currently do not have any more information on it global launch, but we will keep you up to date as soon as we do.

Thank you Sony for providing us with this information.