Top Gear Full Presenter Line-Up Confirmed

Top Gear is one of the most successful programmes worldwide and its success relies on the camaraderie between Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May. Originally, the show used to primarily target car enthusiasts and adopted a professional style to produce detailed car reviews. Even though this proved to be a successful formula, the programme really shone to new heights with a revised presenting team and greater emphasis on comedy. This meant viewers often tuned in even if they didn’t really like motoring. Unfortunately, Jeremy Clarkson’s ‘fracas’ with a producer resulted with his dismissal and the end of Top Gear’s highly popular trio. Instead of cancelling the show entirely, the BBC decided to recruit a brand new presenting team and compete with Clarkson’s new show on Amazon Instant Video.

The line-up has been the subject of various rumours, and early reports linked Suzi Perry, and other individuals to the leading role. Finally, the BBC has disclosed their full presenting team which is as follows:

“Motorsport guru and Formula 1 commentator Eddie Jordan, world record-breaking German racing driver Sabine Schmitz, renowned motoring journalist and YouTube petrolhead Chris Harris, and car reviewer and TV presenter Rory Reid are today all confirmed to join Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc for the eagerly awaited return of Top Gear.”

The BBC also released statements from key staff members which reads:

Rory Reid –  “When I submitted my 30-second audition tape, I knew the odds were very firmly against me, as the auditions were open to absolutely everybody. To be the only person to make it through the open audition process makes me immensely proud. I’ve been a Top Gear fan for decades, but more than that, I live and breathe cars in a way that is perfectly compatible with the show. I’m looking forward to bringing my brand of knowledge, energy and humour to what promises to be a very exciting new series.”

Sabine Schmitz – “I grew up next to the Nurburgring, and have been racing for most of my life, so the chance to combine both driving and filming was too good an opportunity to pass up. I’ve appeared on Top Gear a few times in the past, so I know we’re going to have a lot of fun.”

Chris Harris –  “Top Gear is the thing that helped shape my life with cars, my perception of cars and my obsession with cars, and I’m raring to give it a go. I’m also quite gobby and happy to get into trouble, so I’m hoping I can underpin the programme with journalistic credibility but still cause some mischief. And if it all goes wrong, well, I can say I was once on Top Gear, and just head back to being that annoying small bloke off YouTube.”

Eddie Jordan – “I’m giddy with excitement to be joining Chris and the team. I have such enormous respect for all my fellow presenters and I politely ask that they go easy on these old bones. Cars are in my DNA and although I’ve been fortunate enough to accomplish most things I ever aspired to in motorsport, presenting Top Gear is quite simply the icing on the cake.”

Chris Evans – “We really do have a bit of everything for everyone. A fellow lifelong petrolhead from the other side of the pond in Matt; a fearless speed-demon in the irrepressible and effervescent Sabine; the encyclopedic, funny and wonderfully colourful character that is EJ; Chris, one of the world’s top no-nonsense car reviewers; and Rory, who simply blew me away in his audition and fully deserves his place on the team.”

What do you think of the new Top Gear line-up?

PlayStation Plus PS4 January Line-Up Confirmed

The quality of games included in Sony’s PlayStation Plus service has deteriorated in recent months and made loyal PlayStation 4 owners question its value. During the previous generation, PlayStation Plus was optional and revolved around highly acclaimed mainstream games. Sadly, Sony decided to make PlayStation Plus mandatory to access online play on their latest console and promised to improve the network infrastructure. Since then the service has heavily relied on smaller indie games which can be picked up on other platforms for almost nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of niche indie games, but I usually pick these up on PC in bundles or during Steam sales.

Sony recently sent an e-mail to PlayStation Plus subscribers informing them of the PS4 games coming to this month’s line-up. As you can see, the selection isn’t great and bound to infuriate PlayStation customers who expected major releases like The Order: 1866. Hardware Rivals is a multiplayer racing game and can be pretty fun in short bursts while Grim Fandango remastered offers fiendishly difficult puzzles and a captivating story.

Please note, this isn’t the entire line-up for January, as Sony will add a number of PlayStation 3 and PS Vita games. Furthermore, Grim Fandango Remastered supports cross-play so I assume the version included also works on the Vita.

Are you happy with the current PlayStation Plus offerings or feel they now represent poor value-for-money?

Sony Unveils November PlayStation Plus Line-Up

Sony’s PlayStation Plus service was originally devised as an optional extra which bundles a decent quantity of captivating games together in a monthly package. However, the PlayStation 4’s launch changed Sony’s attitude towards online play and forced users to become PlayStation Plus subscribers to access multiplayer gaming with friends. Arguably, this didn’t make a substantial difference due to the value proposition of the bundled games.

However, in the last 12 months, some customers have become quite disgruntled with titles on offer. Common complaints include an over-reliance on indie games, and poor networking infrastructure. As a result, Sony has work to do in terms of its PlayStation Plus library, and reducing network downtime. Today, Sony announced the November line-up for its premium service which includes:

This is certainly one of the stronger months providing you own a PlayStation 3. Sadly, if you only own a PlayStation 4, then the selection is fairly sparse. Despite this, The Walking Dead Season 2 is an absolute classic Telltale adventure and provides hours of enjoyment. I haven’t played Magicka 2, but the original managed to hold my interest for a few weeks.

On the PlayStation 3 side, Sony has included two of the most iconic titles ever made. Mass Effect 2 doesn’t require any introduction and Beyond Good and Evil is sublime. Unfortunately, I’ve not tried Dragon Fin Soup or inviZimals so can’t really comment on those.

Overall, it’s a pretty good line-up but I’m not convinced the service adds value if you only own Sony’s latest console.

What do you think about PlayStation Plus?

ZOTAC Reveal GTX 980Ti Launch Products

With the launch of NVIDIA’s GTX 980Ti graphics card just around the corner, manufacturers are starting to show off what they will be offering to consumers. This time around, it is the turn of ZOTAC.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti (ZT-90501-10P)

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti (ZT-90501-10P) Specifications:

  • 2816 CUDA cores
  • 6GB GDDR5 memory
  • 384-bit memory bus
  • Base Clock: 1000 MHz
  • Boost Clock: 1076 MHz
  • Memory clock: 7010 MHz

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! (ZT-90503-10P)

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! (ZT-90503-10P) Specifications:

  • 2816 CUDA cores
  • 6GB GDDR5 memory
  • 384-bit memory bus
  • Base Clock: 1051 MHz
  • Boost Clock: 1140 MHz
  • Memory clock: 7010 MHz

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme (ZT-90505-10P)

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme (ZT-90505-10P) Specifications:

  • 2816 CUDA cores
  • 6GB GDDR5 memory
  • 384-bit memory bus
  • Base Clock: 1253 MHz
  • Boost Clock: 1355 MHz
  • Memory clock: 7210 MHz
  • Custom PCB, 2x-8pin PEG

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti Arctic Storm

  ZOTAC GeForce GTX 980 Ti Arctic Storm Specifications:

  • 2816 CUDA cores
  • 6GB GDDR5 memory
  • 384-bit memory bus
  • Base Clock: 1051 MHz
  • Boost Clock: 1140 MHz
  • Memory clock: 7010 MHz

There as some very nice looking designs, mainly following the AMP! branding and style of previous ZOTAC graphics cards. The most interesting is the Arctic Storm with its hybrid air and water cooling solution. More images and specifications will be launched throughout Computex, we will keep you updated.

Thank you to VideoCardz for providing us with this information.

Overclockers UK Become Official Resellers for Cougar’s Full Range of Products

British fans of Cougar haven’t had that easy a task getting their hands on the devices they want, that is up until now. That just got a whole lot easier as Overclockers UK have entered a cooperation with Cougar and where they became an official reseller and will provide the full range of Cougar products.

Cougar was founded back in 2007 by a team of passionate engineers and have since made quite the mark in the industry. Among their most famous products are the Cougar 700M Gaming Mouse and Cougar 700K Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, but they also make fans, cases, and power supplies.

Both the 700K and 700M have won numerous awards and now it’s a lot easier to get your hands on those peripherals. The 700M stands out with it’s adjustable and interchangeable design and overall design for gamers while the 700K mechanical keyboard is mounted on an exposed bended aluminium structure with a brushed surface treatment.

It looks great and it is easy to clean and also comes with an extra palm rest for FPS gamers and other heavy users of the WASD area.

You can head over to Overclockers UK’s homepage and check out the whole line-up for yourself, but a fair warning: You might be tempted to use all your money. Good thing it pay-day.


ASUS Announced Their USB 3.1 Motherboards and Add-in Cards

ASUS has announced their comprehensive lineup of motherboards and add-in cards with USB 3.1, the new and faster USB standard. The new USB 3.1 standard doubles the current possible transfer speeds, something that is very welcome.

There still aren’t all that many motherboards that support the normal USB 3 standard with UASP to achieve the normal speeds, which makes this new one even better. Finally, we can get proper speeds from normal plug and play external devices.

Asus new line up consists of both new motherboards and combo packs with current ones. The combo packs will get an added PCIe card and the cards will also be sold separately for those who already have a compatible motherboard. ASUS as usually warned that it might take a BIOS update to get the cards working.

The new motherboards can be detected by the /USB3.1 suffix in the name:

  • Rampage V Extreme/U3.1 (bundled with add-in Type-A card)
  • X99-Deluxe/U3.1 (bundled with add-in Type-A card)
  • X99-Pro/USB3.1
  • X99-A/USB3.1 (Transfer Express)
  • X99-A/USB3.1
  • X99-E WS/USB3.1
  • Z97-Deluxe/USB3.1
  • Z97-Pro(Wi-Fi ac)/USB3.1
  • Z97-A/USB3.1
  • Z97-E/USB3.1
  • Z97-K/USB3.1
  • Sabertooth Z97 Mark 1/USB3.1
  • B85M-G Plus/USB3.1
  • B85-Plus/USB3.1

Thanks to ROG for providing us with this information.

Zotac Will Show off New Mini PCs during CES

During CES 2015, Zotac will be presenting their expanded ZBOX pico lineup, new E-series gaming, new passive C-series and quad display ready ZBOX mini-PCs. Looks like Zotac has a new miniPC lined up for every occasion.

“We launched major new ZBOX mini-PCs in 2014 with the passive C-series nano, gaming capable E-series and the pocketable pico series. This year we’re refining the successful formula to add more features and performance while maintaining the award-winning form factors,” says Tony Wong, CEO, ZOTAC International.

The ZBOX CI321 nano is the latest passive cooled nano-PC that comes with a dual-core Intel processor, dual Gigabit LAN, AC WiFi, and dual-channel memory support. The next-generation ZBOX E-series gaming mini-PC will add G-SYNC support, multiple display support for surround view, and 4K @ 60Hz all in one small box. The second generation of Zotac’s pico series of pocket PCs will be showcased as well, including dual display support, Gigabit LAN and USB 3.0.

There will also be a prototype ZOTAC ZBOX mini-PC on display, capable of driving four displays at once and a preview on a ZBOX mini-PC capable of accommodating up to two 2.5-inch SATA and a pair of custom modified ZBOX Sphere OI520s.

Thanks to Zotac for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Zotac