Apple Will Unveil iPhone 5SE During Week of March 21st

With each passing week, more and more details about Apple’s new mini iPhone are leaking out. Named both the iPhone 5SE or just the SE, the new phone will be a replacement 4-inch model for the current 5S which is somewhat aged by this point.  Originally rumoured by multiple sources to debut at a March 15th event, it looks like Apple may have postponed the launch a week later to the week of March 21st.

For the iPhone 5SE, the biggest changes are probably going to be an upgrade to either the A8 or A9 SoC and improved LTE. Given what we’ve seen with Apple in the past, the new design is rumoured to be largely based on the iPhone 5S, with some design cues from the 6, all in a likely cheaper and easier to manufacture shell. It will of course probably keep the 4-inch screen of the 5S though it may be updated.

Along with the SoC changes, the iPhone 5SE will also become a lot more secure. As you all know, the US government is demanding Apple compromise their iPhone encryption in several ongoing court cases. With the move to the A8 or A9, Apple will no longer even have the capability to circumvent any security safeguards. This means that the iPhone lineup going forward will have much lower chance of government subversion.

In addition to the important phone announcement, there is some indication that the iPad Air might get a refresh and debut its third iteration. A new A9X processor with more ram, improved speakers, Smart Connector and rear LED flash are all rumoured to be in the works. These new devices will also likely showcase and debut a new version of iOS or even OSX.

iPhone 5se Drawings Reveal The Mini iPhone’s Possible Design

Apple is known for their hardware, from their iPods and iPads to their desktop Macs and portable Macbooks. One thing they release time and time again is their iPhones, with each generation getting a slightly reworked design and hardware upgrades to tempt users into purchasing the next device they release, it could soon be the case that you see something that looks a little bit more dated with something managing to find information referencing the much rumoured iPhone 5se.

The iPhone SE, with the 5 being dropped from its name, is said to be a new mini iPhone with the same dimensions as the iPhone 5s. With a little help from keen-eyed people, it’s now been found that the phone would feature a few changes.

Firstly the phone will feature its sleep/wake/power button on the side of the phone, a twist from the traditional top of phone approach used by most modern phones. Initial schematics also show that while the iPhone will feature curved edges there will also be a small “camera bump”. Even with these changes, the phone looks similar to the iPhone 5s in design and features, albeit it with more than likely some hardware upgrades.

It is expected that the device will be revealed on the 15th March, with a release following only a few days after. With minimal pre-order time and back to basics size option, some people may be tempted to give up their increased screen size for the ease and comfort offered by the small device.

Images courtesy of 9To5Mac.

Final Fantasy XV Pre-Beta Already Runs Fully on PC

Square Enix seem to be making a habit of porting games from their Final Fantasy RPG series to the PC. The more recent Final Fantasy XIII series of games are already available on Steam, and PC ports of many of the older games from their console homes mean that almost all of the epic franchise is now open to PC gamers. PC owning Final Fantasy fans will be pleased to hear that Final Fantasy XV programmer Satoshi Kitade announced on the official Square Enix forums that the pre-beta build of Final Fantasy XV runs on the PC and is fully playable in its entirety.

Now, this doesn’t mean that Final Fantasy XV has been confirmed for a PC release yet, it certainly puts it on the cards for the future, if Square Enix is already putting in the effort to make such an early version of the game run well on PC. It will hardly be surprising if we see a PC release of XV announced following its console release.

The real question then, is time. It took them 5 years to bring the original FFXIII to the PC (albeit poorly optimized), but only 2 for its sequels, XIII-2 and Lightning Returns.With XV already running on PC before its console release, it could be as short as months after console release that XV is available for PC. Who knows, maybe FFXVI, whenever it happens, will have a simultaneous release across all platforms.

Cyberpower PC ‘Ultra Fusion’ AMD Gaming System Review

Introduction


When I get a full system in for review, typically I will find an Intel CPU lying at the heart of the system and whilst this is partly due to their high level of popularity,; along with their multitasking abilities – for some the overall cost factor can be a bit of an issue. Naturally this means that there is only one other route to go down and this is with AMD and their line of CPUs. From our own testing of AMD processors we know that they offer a slightly cheaper alternative to some of Intel’s top line chips – such as the i7-4770k, although we do find that in some tasks, they may struggle to keep up the blue teams performance. For gamers though, all-round performance is not the main priority – it’s having a system that can offer up a great level of gaming performance and for an affordable price.

Coming forward to the last few months, AMD recently announced the release of their latest CPU into the Piledriver group of FX chips – namely the FX-9590. Now like all new processor releases, it has come into the market with a mixed response from the enthusiast community, however it looks like it has proved its way and has settled itself down in the market as the new contender to Intel’s Ivy Bridge-E i7-4960X, offering a huge difference in price as we are used to seeing with AMD chips. We know as well that anyone looking for a high-end gaming system but on a tight budget is going to benefit from an AMD chip, although the trade-off is with performance in other workload areas as mentioned above.

Cyberpower PC as we saw at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show are right on the money when it comes down to building both entry-level and high-end systems and one of their latest systems to come to the market through their UK offices is the Ultra Fusion. This pure AMD system is built into the highly popular Cosmos SE chassis from Cooler Master and is set to offer some of the best gaming performance available for anyone who is a through and through fan of AMD – or even just a pure gamer at heart! Laid on to a Gigabyte motherboard and given some HyperX Genesis memory from Kingston, this closed loop water-cooled system certainly looks the part with its spread of blue lit fans, but the real question is, how does it stack up against an Intel / NVIDIA offering?

When I took a look at the Ultima 460i Scimitar from Overclockers UK a few months ago, one comment that I made about the system was its weight. This was partly down to the extensive list of water-cooling components that had been installed into the Cosmos II, but it also had a lot to do with the weight and bulk of the super tower chassis itself. Thankfully this little brother to the Cosmos II, is far more compact and therefore easier to handle and even with a full system built-in, it’s far lighter to move around.

Like most other systems that we’ve seen shipped out, alongside the system itself, we get the motherboard box included as well and inside this is all the manuals, warranty cards and accessories that comes with each of the components, just in case they are needed or if you wish to upgrade anything at a later date.

Synology DS214Se ‘Special Edition’ 2-bay NAS Review

Introduction


Synology have been hot on the market recently with the release of the DS414 4-bay NAS – the latest revision to their popular 4-bay desktop range as it replaces the top-selling DS413. One of the main focus points of the DS414 is the price point for a pretty good level of performance. As we saw it may not be the fastest 4-bay system available, but when it’s priced considerably lower (>£100) than some of its rival units, it’s a bit of a no-brainer for anyone who is focussing more on raw capacity over performance.

Keeping on the same line, every NAS vendor has a few budget units in their product catalogue, however Synology have a more equal distribution across their range in the terms of performance and cost. As a brand Synology are not afraid to advertise that they build cheaper systems that offer lower performance figures and there is a good reason for this. When you take into account the overall cost of a typical 2 or 4-bay system with the cost of hard drives on top can easily tip over the £500 mark (or more if you go far a higher performance system); that price tag for some people does equate to a substantial chunk of money. For a number of users, the cost is simply too much to churn out. Typically those fighting the battle of cost is the home user, especially with today’s credit crunch here in the UK – where the cost of living when marked against your income is a bit out of proportion. As a result the goal is to get as much raw capacity as possible and for as little as possible.

As we’ve seen before, Synology use a simple naming system for their products, and those ending with a ‘j’ are built with capacity over performance in mind. To take things a step further, Synology have now re-written the rule book as they create a 2-bay system that is more budget conscious than ever. Bring forth the DS214Se. In the same way that the DS414 is the successor the DS413, the DS214 is the new model to the DS213 and the Se (Special Edition) marking puts this model in a position where it is even more budget friendly than before.

With the aim of the game keeping the overall purchase cost down, Synology have removed a number of features from the DS214 specification and have been more ruthless than ever. As a result, the DS214Se is going to be ideal for anyone who is a) on a very tight and b) not needing to run multiple features at the same time.

Whilst the systems specification has been cut down, the bundled extras include everything that you’ll ever need. Alongside the NAS, there is an AC power adaptor, Ethernet cable, a quick installation guide, warranty leaflet, and finally two sets of screws for fitting the drives and for holding the enclosure together.

Synology DS414 4-bay NAS Review

Introduction


Following on from my recent review of Synology’s DS213j 2-bay system, I’ve been invited to have a look at a system that is more geared for the SOHO market. This is the DS414 and for those who understand the rather simple and easy to understand naming system that Synology have adopted, the DS414 is the update to the popular DS413.

Up to this point, there has not been much information to be found in the open about this system, but to give a quick run down; over the DS413, the identical looking 414 offers up a better CPU and RAID controller and at a price that is more competitive than ever. There have been rumours circulating around that this system will be home to a CPU that is able to transcode media on the fly, however I can confirm now that this is not the case. Fortunately I can confirm that there is a new system launching very soon that will be able to perform this task and a review will appear in due course.

Alongside the NAS is a user manual, installation disk (although the latest version of Synology’s DSM can be downloaded to the system during setup), power cable with DC inverter and a pair of Cat5e Ethernet cables. With everything the user may need taken care of, Synology pack everything into a simple brown box with a monochrome design.