New Startup Kickstarts Stylish Signal-Blocking Tin Foil Hats

Are you one of the unlucky few who fall victim to government mindreading via invisible microwave beams? Are you spending far too much money on tin foil to protect your brain from being probed, or are you just self-conscious when wearing your ramshackle silver hat in public? Well, good news everybody! A new company based in London is Kickstarting a batch of stylish, signal-blocking tin foil hats, so you won’t have to resort to wrapping your head in foil any more.

Shield Apparel has launched the Shield, described as “signal proof headwear”, suitable for blocking “signals from cell phones, wi-fi routers, microwaves and it generally blocks waves transmitted from electric devices,” according to the Kickstarter campaign.

“We know that we need to say something more about the technology and design to grab your attention and trust, so here we go,” the Kickstarter reads, in some kind of weird, metatextual self-commentary. “To achieve the signal proof quality we use a unique fabric (pure silver) which is antimicrobial, antiodor, washable and was originally produced for military purposes and we put it between the hat’s layers.

“It’s not blocking for 100% percent,” the blurb adds, “but better than nothing.” Better than nothing? Phew! At least it’s not a complete waste of money…

It seems that the Iluminati is probing more minds than previously thought, with 194 backers pledging £10,085 towards the Shield’s £13,000 goal, with 10 days to go. Will you be investing in tin foil hats or is this taking it a bit too far?

eTeknix 2015 Christmas Buying Guide – Treat Yourself or Someone Else!

The time for holiday festivities is almost upon us and as the modern tradition of consumerism continues to grow, it becomes harder and harder to pick the right gifts for people every year, or perhaps it’s just me who struggles? Either way, we’ve sat around a Christmas fire, or just a general fire in November and December, getting into the gift buying state of mind and picked a range of our favourite products which we’ve reviewed here at eTeknix throughout 2015, as what better products to recommend than the ones we’ve had in our own hands and tested!

We’ve got a huge range of budgets covered here today, although I think it’s fair to assume that given we play around with graphics cards and a lot of enthusiast friendly products, there are some real wallet busters here too. Of course, you can use this guide to find some of the best products of the year to treat your family, friends and more, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t just spoil yourself too!


Rock Band 4 Band in a Box

Get ready to rock out this Christmas and no doubt many other days. Pick up the guitar, drum sticks, or just butcher your favourite song on the microphone. Rock Band 4 – Band in a Box is a fantastic gift and it’s a great thing to deploy at parties too, certainly beats the usual Karaoke chaos! It comes with the guitar, microphone, drums and the game for $249.99. To save costs, the standalone game with the guitar is just $129.99. In the UK, the Band in a Box is £219.99, while the guitar and game is just £109.99.

Check out the full review here.


Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX Chassis

The Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX Mid-Tower chassis is by far my favourite chassis of 2015, it just oozes high quality inside and out, with capabilities for high-end water and air cooling and so much more. It is available from Overclockers UK for £139.99 and is available in both Gun Metal and black.

Check out the full review here.


Raijintek Styx Micro-ATX Aluminium Chassis

What a fantastic little chassis this is! Built from beautifully finished brushed aluminium and available in a wide range of colours, this would make a great gift for someone building a new gaming system this Christmas. The Raijintek Styx chassis is available from Overclockers UK for just £64.99.

Check out the full review here.


be quiet! Silent Base 800 Chassis

Another expensive chassis on our list, but one of the best we’ve seen this year. If you’re wanting to build someone, or yourself, a gaming PC that not only looks great but is as silent as you could ever hope for, the Silent Base 800 Window is the way to go. It is available from most popular retailers for 149,90EUR/119 GBP/149,90 USD ex. VAT.

Check out the full review here.


Corsair Strafe RGB MX Silent Red Mechanical Keyboard

Featuring the innovative Cherry MX Silent Switches, the Corsair Strafe RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is simply amazing to use. It’s packed full of features and is by far the quietest mech we’ve ever tested. A little expensive, but I’m sure anyone would be happy to unwrap this at Christmas. The Strafe is available for £139.99 from Overclockers UK, while the MX Red and the MX Brown are priced at £129.95. If you want the non-RGB version, you can find the MX Red and the MX Brown at £99.95 each.

Check out the full review here.


Thermaltake Commander Gaming Gear Keyboard and Mouse Combo

The TteSports by Thermaltake Commander Keyboard and Mouse Combo is a great gift for Christmas, it’s affordable, has a nice range of features and you get a keyboard and a mouse in a single nice and tidy (and easy to wrap) box! With prices around £23.99 it’s hard to say no to such a great deal! Readers in the US can pick one of from Newegg for an equally impressive $29.99.

Check out the full review here.


CM Storm Quick Fire XTi Mechanical Keyboard

RGB mechanical keyboards are everywhere this year, but the XTi from Cooler Master is my personal favourite so far. It’s no-fuss and bold design is great for home and office, gaming or work, with the added bonus that it’s incredibly durable and has some of the nicest lighting tones I’ve seen so far, even if it does only allow for a mixture of red and blue! You can pick up the XTi from Box for just £134, although there’s also a deal that includes a free mouse here!

Check out the full review here.


Corsair Scimitar RGB MOBA/MMO Gaming Mouse

The Gaming Scimitar RGB MOBA/MMO Gaming Mouse is packed full of features that will put a smile on any PC gamers face. With RGB lighting, excellent performance and a customisable keypad on the side, it’s one of the best mice we’ve ever tested. better yet, it’s only £69.95 from Overclockers UK.

Check out the full review here.


Logitech G502 Proteus Core Gaming Mouse

The Logitech G502 is a prime example of how great a gaming mouse can truly be. This is without a doubt the best mouse sensor we’ve ever tested and the rest of the mouse isn’t exactly lacking in features either. I’d be tempted to buy this one for myself this Christmas, but you could always treat someone else with it too. It’s available directly from the Logitech website (with free shipping) for just £69.99.

Check out the full review here.


G.Skill MX780

A relatively new entry on the peripherals market, the G.Skills MX780 is a fantastic gaming mouse, with a switchable left or right handed grip that makes it ideal for a wide range of gamers. With a retail price of just $59.99 it is exceptional value for a Christmas gift, and given its spec, it’ll go head to head with many of the best mice on the market.

Check out the full review here.


Corsair Void Headset

We were absolutely blown away by the Corsair Void series, some of the best sounding, most comfortable and best-looking headsets we’ve ever seen! They would make a great gift, but be careful, if you try them out before you give them away, you may want to keep them. The Corsair Void USB 7.1 RGB Headset is available from Overclockers UK for just £79.99. This is £10 cheaper than the Wireless headset which is £89.99, I prefer the wireless and think it’s not much more to pay for the extra tech, but you’re own preferences will obviously determine which model you prefer.

Check out the reviews for the USB 7.1, Wireless 7.1 and 2.0 headsets here.


Astro A40 TR + Mix Amp Pro

Eager to get the best of the best gaming headset for you or your loved one? Then make no exception, the Astro A40 TR Headset with Mix Amp Pro is the way to go. This is one that’s sure to leave a dent in your wallet, but as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. Available from the Astro store for £200, plus around £48 for the optional Mod Kit, the Astro is expensive, but the sound quality, features and comfortable fit are priceless.

Check out the full review here.


Crucial BX200 SSD

SSD prices are dropping constantly and there really has never been a better time to invest. If it’s for your own system, you can give yourself a great upgrade without spending a fortune, but the smaller drive sizes make excellent gifts to those who could do with a performance upgrade on their system. The Crucial BX200 comes with an MSRP of £234.49 ($299.99) for the 960GB model and £66.49 ($84.99) and £116.99 ($149.99) for the smaller 240GB and 480GB models, plus the small boxes are super easy to wrap up as a gift.

Check out the full review here.


QNAP TS-251 2-Bay NAS

Give the gift of a connected home this Christmas, from streaming your movies around the house, to backing up those important files, there are a lot of benefits to owning a NAS. Not the cheapest of gifts, but it’s one of those products where if you buy cheap, you’ll likely regret it in the long run. The QNAP’s TS-251 Turbo NAS can be found at NewEgg for $384.99, at Scan UK for £295.32, or through Geizhals starting at €284.

Check out the full review here.


Sapphire Nitro R9 380X 4GB Graphics Card

AMD have created a mighty powerhouse with the R9 380X and the Sapphire Nitro is one of the finest examples. It’s fast, sleek and affordable, more than enough power for 1080P ultra gaming, or 1440p high gaming, making it a great addition to anyone who wants the latest PC games for Christmas. The Sapphire Nitro R9 380X is currently available from OverclockersUK for £199.99. NeweggUS currently has this card listed for $229.99.

Check out the full review here.


Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Graphics Card

Spend a little more, get a lot more, the GTX 970 is a superb card, but one that may be getting a little expensive for those looking for a Christmas gift. With enough power to play anything on the market and even delve into high-end resolutions, it’s a strong contender for something to put under the Christmas tree, or even put on your own wish list. The Gainward Phoenix GTX 970 is currently available in the UK from SCAN for £273.56 and for an estimated $360 in the US.

Check out the full review here.


Nvidia GeForce GTX 980ti 6GB Graphics Card

It wouldn’t be Christmas if we couldn’t all hope and dream, but the Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 980Ti is currently one of the best cards on the market and we would be crazy not to suggest the best of the best. Available in the UK for the £599.99 it’s certainly not cheap, although we’ve seen some great deals bringing it down below £500, so it’s best to shop around. Just imagine the look on your partners face when they unwrap this monster on Christmas day!

Check out the full review here.


DDR4

Getting a little more back to reality and reasonable prices, DDR4 memory is dropping in price quite nicely now. It was super expensive at launch, but now you’ll often find DDR4 kits at equal or lower prices to their DDR3 equivalents. That makes them a great upgrade for Christmas, but make sure you have a DDR4 motherboard to go with it!

Check out our latest memory reviews here.


Shield Android TV

Snapped up a 4K TV in the Black Friday deals? The Nvidia Shield Console is the most powerful Android device on the market, and it’s the perfect media player for Plex, 4K content on Netflix and more. Even better, it’s also a very powerful gaming system, with many AAA games available to play, as well as game streaming features that will leave you wondering why this device doesn’t cost more than £149.99! You can buy the Shield TV and accessories directly from Nvidia here.

Check out the full review here.


Thermaltake Water 3.0 Extreme S

Think someone could do with a cooling upgrade for their system, or perhaps even parts towards a new system build this Christmas? Treat them to an AIO water cooler and they’ll be able to reduce the noise from their system and unlock its overclocking potential! The Thermaltake Water 3.0 Extreme S is a little expensive, but it’s still a competitively priced AIO at just £81.98 and would make a great gift, especially if you’re just going to treat yourself.

Check out the full review here.


Alpenfohn Atlas

The Atlas is one of the coolest coolers we’ve seen this year, a tiny form factor with big performance and virtually silent acoustics. Building a system for someone or upgrading your own, this is one cooler you’ll want to consider and given that it’s available from Overclockers UK for a very reasonable £42.95, it’s another great addition to our buying guide.

Check out the full review here.


be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim

Need a premium cooler but don’t want to pay a premium price this Christmas? The be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim is more affordable, but still packs some impressive performance figures. It’s available from Scan.co.uk for just £30.52 + shipping here in the UK and from Amazon.com for $49.90 + $9.80 shipping in the US.

Check out the full review here.


Inateck Mercury Box Bluetooth Speaker

Love your music on the go, when you’re out at the park, or anywhere for that matter? The Mercury box offers up a huge sound from such a tiny box. Built from aluminium and featuring a waterproof design, it’s one of the best mobile speakers on the market, great for listening to music wherever you are! Available from Amazon.com for just $48.99 and readers in the UK can get it from Amazon.co.uk for £49.99.

Check out the full review here.


OnePlus 10,000mAh Mobile USB Power Bank

The perfect stocking filler, a 10,000 mAh mobile battery. This has enough juice to charge most mobiles several times, and it’ll even recharge high-end devices such as iPads with ease too. Perfect for travelling, and best of all, it’s super lightweight and affordable. The power bank is £13.99/$14.99/€15.99 and you can order it directly from OnePlus.

Check out the full review here.


Gaming Systems

Nothing says I love you like a kick-ass gaming PC. Of course, budgets vary wildly from hundreds to even thousands of pounds/dollars, but that’s the joy of buying a PC, or building your own, there’s so much to choose from! With so many awesome system integrators around these days, you can’t go far wrong. Chillblast, CyberPower, PC Specialist, Vibox, Freshtech or Overclockers UK.

Gaming in the living room? Why not invest in a CyberPower Syber Steambox! Prices start at £485 and go right up to £1905, giving you a great choice to suit your needs, and your budget.

A whole lot of gaming for not a lot of money from Chillblast, with their very competitive Fusion NightHawk, a great option for those looking for their first gaming PC at just £599.

Got a little more budget to play around with this Christmas? The super fast gaming systems from PC Specialist that feature ASUS Maximus VIII hardware also come with the gorgeous Gladius mouse! Systems in this category start at £890 for the i5 and GTX 960 model, all the way up to £1670 for the i7 and GTX 980 Ti.

Another mid-budget powerhouse, this time from Vibox with their Element X. At just £649, this MSI R9 380 and AMD FX-6300 powered computer is great for gaming and would make a great gift this Christmas.

Time to bring out the big gun’s and really treat yourself? Or perhaps you just want your friend or family member to open a present they’ll never forget? The FreshTech Solutions Stealth Gaming PC is an absolute beast, powered by some of today’s latest and greatest hardware. Of course, it’s not cheap at £1412, but this is not your run of the mill gaming PC.

Overclockers UK offer a range of gaming systems, and general day-to-day PC’s just like another other, but with the big advantage that they’re also a normal PC component retailer. If you want to build your own system, customise a build or pick a pre-built system, you’ll find lots to play around with here.

Check out our full range of system reviews here.

NVIDIA Shield TV Discounted Tonight to £119.99 For Black Friday

Black Friday sales are almost upon us and retailers have already started to discount items via flash deals. Although, the major discounts should start tomorrow and really ramp up on Friday. One example which caught my eye is the NVIDIA Shield TV which offers 4K streaming functionality, an excellent supply of Android games and GeForce Now subscription service. The Shield TV features a Tegra X1 processor, 3GB RAM and supports a host of services from Netflix to Plex. If you’d like to know more about the Android TV, please visit our comprehensive review here.

Later on today, or possibly tonight, the NVIDIA Shield TV will be discounted to £119.99 which includes the gamepad and remote worth £39.99 on its own! At £119.99, this is great value and a suitable choice for NVIDIA users wanting to stream their game library to a TV or people demanding the best possible performance. While there are cheaper alternatives out there, the Shield TV’s specification and 4K streaming functionality is an attractive proposition at this discounted price.

The sale will commence on NVIDIA’s Store relatively soon until stocks last. I can see this deal being quite popular and it’s already been posted on HotUKDeals. As a result, it’s best to keep an eye out on the official store to see when the deal finally goes live.

Nvidia Shield Android TV Review

Introduction


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.

Nvidia’s Latest Shield TV Promotion Features a Cat Wearing a Parachute!


NVIDIA’s Shield Android TV is the ultimate streaming device to play 4K movies, and graphically intense PC games. Furthermore, the optional GeForce Now subscription offers 50 groundbreaking titles at a resolution up to 1080P while maintaining 60 frames-per-second. This is achieved via the superb networking infrastructure and currently costs £7.49 per month. Although, there is a free month trial to test the service and see how well the games run on your connection.

Today, NVIDIA announced that any Shield Android TV will come with the Shield Remote as standard. This is a saving of £39.99 and makes the experience much more friendly for a typical living room setup. To celebrate this promotion, NVIDIA decided to film the possibilities of the Shield TV, 10,000 feet in the air, or did they?

In the video, we can see a daredevil, sitting back and watching his favourite show. Clearly, this is the most exhilarating way to enjoy content, and I’m sure NVIDIA actively recommends this. Perhaps, a special edition model is in the works which comes with a fully functional C130? Skeptics out there might think the video was created via rendering. I personally agree, but the footage is certainly an interesting way to launch a product promotion.

“To celebrate, we set ourselves a death-defying* challenge to show how you #RuleTheLivingRoom in the face of chaos.  So we shot a living room out the back of a C-130 Hercules – the exact same plane that dropped five muscles cars from the sky in Furious 7.” said Nvidia.

The NVIDIA Android TV is now available with the remote for £149.99 and can be purchased here

NVIDIA Launches Major Update to GeForce Experience

I’ll be honest, up until Maxwell was released I was a die-hard AMD fanboy. Who could argue with the cut-price performance compared to the Green team even if the power consumption was higher than expected. I faced very few issues with drivers and every game I owned played (almost) flawlessly. Then came the release of the NVIDIA GTX 970, a wolf in sheeps clothing. Packing enough power to topple the top AMD card and be priced at under £300 just ticked every box and some that I didn’t even know I had such as amazing customer care and support after the purchase. Now I haven’t had to return the product, what I mean is the drivers are updated on a very regular basis and most are WHQL certified to maximise compatibility.

To house all of this support, NVIDIA released GeForce Experience around two years ago. Here gamers could check up on their components, optimise game settings with just a single click and even play games instead of opening the dedicated launcher.

As time progressed, NVIDIA added features such as SHIELD connectivity and streaming to incorporate more of the NVIDIA product family. I’m continually finding new features as I tread the depths of the settings such as LED customisation on my card which I previously understood to have a static LED.

Now the boffins at NVIDIA have decided it’s time to have a bit of a spruce up. With the GeForce Experience utility approaching 300 million downloads since launch and new features being released regularly, we now have the GeForce Experience Beta.

This Beta version will build off what made the original great and make it better, the key two features for me were Streaming with the NVIDIA Shield at 4K AT 60FPS and live broadcasting to Twitch or Youtube Live at 1080p at 60FPS. I guess live streaming is something we already know about through the dedicated programs, but to have drivers, games and streaming through a single program just saves so much time, but 4K streaming from a handheld device is astounding. You can also share what you’re doing, but we all do that on Facebook anyway so I can see this being a lesser used feature personally.

The Beta version is available to download now in hopes that enough people take part and provide feedback for NVIDIA to offer the very best experience ready for the 2015 Holiday season of game sales.

One of the very few drawbacks discussed here was the requirement of an ethernet cable to stream games efficiently on the Shield at 4K, but as we progress into 2016, this may be fixed for a completely wireless experience.

NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV Out in Europe Now

After privileged North American users were blessed with the system back in May, the people of Europe have finally been afforded the opportunity to get their hands on the NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV. Available now in the UK, Germany, and Scandinavia, the SHIELD Android TV box is available in 16GB (standard) and 50GB (SHIELD Pro) models, plus microSD and USB 3.0 slots for expanding its storage capacity.

The SHIELD Android TV box boasts a Tegra X1 processor which, according to NVIDIA, “delivers graphics performance that’s 3x faster the new (2015) Apple TV, 25x faster than Roku 3, and 4x faster than the new (2015) Fire TV.” The box can stream 4K video from Netflix and YouTube – offering 10-bit colour and Dolby 7.1 surround sound – while also supporting Kodi (the new name for XBMC) and popular media sharing app Plex. Included in the bundle is the SHIELD wireless game controller, which supports voice commands and connects via WiFi Direct and offers 40 hours of gameplay from a single charge.

As well as being a streaming media player, the Android TV box, like its other SHIELD siblings, doubles as gaming system, supporting NVIDIA’s new GeForce Now game streaming platform.

The NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV is priced £150 for the standard model, while the Pro version costs £230.

Thank you The Next Web for providing us with this information.

NVIDIA Showcases Shield Specification Compared to Latest Apple TV

The Apple TV (2015 Edition) was recently announced and geared towards high-quality video streaming due to the device’s enhanced specification. There was some speculation regarding Apple’s future strategy to accommodate the core gaming market. Despite this, these rumours didn’t come to fruition as Apple only really catered to the casual demographic. On paper, the Apple TV 2015 is a huge technical boost from the last generation product but still pales in comparison to the highly-powerful NVIDIA Shield. To emphasize this fact, NVIDIA has unveiled a chart comparing the Shield to other leading media players:

As you see, the Shield features a quad-core 64-bit CPU, 3GB RAM and capable of outputting 4K Ultra HD video. In contrast to this, the latest Apple TV only features a dual-core CPU, 2GB RAM, and maximum resolution of 1920×1080. Additionally, the Shield allows you to stream games from your NVIDIA-powered PC, and access expansive worlds in games like Skyrim. According to the specification sheet, the majority of apps are already supported with Twitch, VUDU and others coming very soon.

In this case, it’s a bit unfair to compare it to the Apple TV considering it’s not even out yet. Additionally, the type of customer Apple is aiming to please isn’t really bothered by raw specifications. However, the chart clearly shows that the Shield is unmatched when it comes to graphically intensive games in such a small, Android-based form factor.

Minecraft’s 1.9 Update Brings a Lot of New Features to the Title

Minecraft’s 1.9 Update has been recently revealed at MineCon in London, bringing a lot of changes and new features to the title. Dubbed ‘The Combat Update’, it adds a lot of changes to the combat system and some other new cool items such as shields.

One of the main combat features highlighted in the update is the ability to dual-wield weapons. This ability apparently got everyone hyped, but who wouldn’t be, since the feature now adds support of holding different items in both your hands. Also, it is said if you hold a map in one hand while having something else in another, a new minimap will be displayed to aid you in navigation.

Shields are another addition to the title, having the ability to craft and customize their banners. However, no details were given out on what is required to craft or customize their banners.

Since we talked about crafting, it is worth pointing out that new potions were added as well, all with their own unique abilities, including potions that can be added on arrow tips. It is said that there are potions that help you mark and display enemies’ position, even behind walls, as well as other great potions that may aid you in your quests.

Lastly, the biggest overhaul comes with the patch is a new world named The End, adding a much dangerous and mysterious area for users to explore. An exclusive enemy added along with the world is a purple mob that can shoot fire missiles. The interesting bit is that if you get hit by one of the latter missiles, you begin to levitate.

Other things players will see in The End are corals, which players can use to create items, various islands to add alongside the main one, and a lot of dungeons for players to raid and get prepped for the Ender-Dragon.

Thank you PixelDynamo for providing us with this information

NVIDIA Increases the Shield Gaming Library – Including HL2: Episode Two

Since getting my original Shield portable and then along the road; the Shield tablet, of course I’m now eager to get my hands on the Shield Android TV and for many good reasons. It was the set of devices that allowed me to ditch my iPad and helped to open a whole new realm of possibilities and the first being gaming, which is NVIDIA’s bread and butter so to speak.

With a whole host of games, ready at your fingertips to be streamed directly to your device, NVIDIA have been constantly adding more titles to their library, and we’re not talking some shoddy 2D indie games. We’re seeing top titles, new and old and the latest update sees a wave of over ten games including Half-Life 2: Episode Two.

Other key titles that are worth a look are Doom 3: BFG Edition, Star Wars: KOTOR and War Thunder to name a few and with more on the way thanks to the launch of the NVIDIA Shield Android TV, we will be anxiously waiting for Resident Evil 5, Borderlands 2 and much more.

Do you own a Shield device? If so, what games are you currently playing? It’s also worth remembering that you can stream games from your NVIDIA powered PC, just in case it’s not available on the NVIDIA Shield gaming library.

Thank you to Fudzilla for providing us with this information.

NVIDIA Plans on Upgrading Its Cross-Platform Tech With Latest Acquisition

NVIDIA plans on bringing your favourite games to all major platforms through its GameWorks project. Whether you want to play on your PC, NVIDIA Shield handheld console, Android gaming tablet or Android TV console, NVIDIA plans on delivering the same quality on whatever you choose. The latest deal shows that the company is also dedicated in bringing the cross-platform compatibility to a whole new level.

TransGaming is the company that developed the GameTree TV platform and an on-demand cloud gaming service, so it’s pretty clear they are all for cross-platform. Their achievements in the technology were noticed by NVIDIA, who offered them a $3.75 million deal for their tech. And guess what? Their tech is now being included in the GameWorks project.

What this means is that the GameWorks team, made out of over 300 specialists in maths and physics, now have a chance to make their code work with one of the best cross-platform tech on the market. Cross-platform compatibility is not really impossible, but it does need a lot of knowledge in different operating systems and a lot of optimization on the software side. The news comes right after Apple announced that it will make its Metal API available on Mac too, so we might see NVIDIA releasing something for the new Mac OS 10.11 El Capitan soon too.

However, let’s just stick to what NVIDIA has to offer first. The latest hardware, namely the NVIDIA 4K TV console announced earlier this year, got a lot of attention. And how could it not? I mean when you get a TV/console with NVIDIA’s Tegra X1 strapped to it, it’s hard not to notice it.

But until we get to see actual cross-platform gaming, the team needs to work out how the tech works and how to properly integrate it. This is why NVIDIA is planning on opening a new GameWorks studio in Toronto, the same city TransGaming had its headquarters in. This leads to the conclusion that NVIDIA plans on keeping the old TransGaming staff and have them work with the GameWorks team. So are you excited about what NVIDIA has in plan for the future of gaming? Let us know!

Thank you CNet for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of NVIDIA

NVIDIA Shield Android TV Demo @ Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – Following on from the press conference, we can now get hands on with the Shield android TV. The unit itself is extremely thin, around the same size as the current NVIDIA Shield Tablet; featuring a similar design.

NVIDIA chose to use Android as the operating system due to how versatile it is compared to most other operating systems and how widely adopted it is with developers.

It is hard to tell from images, but the unit displayed vivid colours with pixel perfect accuracy and zero issues on a 4k display.

  

The possibilities for this are almost endless (to within the media streaming market); this could revolutionise how we receive and relay watchable media. What makes the exceptionally good is the fact that you can game on it, much like the original Shield Tablet.

NVIDIA Presents Shield Android TV @ Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – NVIDIA are not ones to shy away from the spotlight and here is CEO Jen-Hsun flaunting the new NVIDIA Shield TV package. Packing NVIDIA’s own Tegra mobile X1 processor and based on Android TV, this device is super slim and super fast with 4K capabilities.

At retail, the package will include just the unit itself, but a vertical TV stand and voice control remote will be available separately. Built for gamers and also those who love multimedia, the Shield Android TV will allow you to play NVIDIA GRID’s huge library of games as well as stream from your own NVIDIA powered PC using the GeForce Experience application. Being based on Android, you also have the functionality to install your own apps as well as surfing the web, checking Facebook and other day-to-day tasks.

This is set to be NVIDIA’s flagship TV offering. The base price will be $199USD, but Google are currently offering $60USD Play Store credit at launch in the US.

You can also watch the announcement at GDC 2015 of which we attended below:

We aim to keep you up to date with the rest of the event from Computex.

Nvidia Shield Now Available for TV

Nvidia released a new blog post today in regards to a new Nvidia Shield. “The battle for the living room has begun.”

Nvidia posted:

“For more than 80 years, TVs have been played at you. You watched what others chose to show you when they wanted to show it to you.

Now it’s time for you to play TV. Nvidia Shield lets you play what you want when you want it. Dive into movies, TV shows, music, a world of apps and, of course, games through SHIELD — the most powerful smart TV platform ever built.”

Nvidia have come up with a new system that gets all your content and keeps it in one place, no more individual boxes for services.Nvidia state that the content is already available, services such as Netflix, Youtube and Twitch are already thriving on smartphones and PC’s.

“On-demand content is the first killer app. While the number of traditional pay TV users has been flat for years, Netflix has 57 million subscribers, more than double Comcast’s 22 million. Twitch.tv, which broadcasts live streams of video games, now reaches more than 100 million unique users each month. Apps like Tablo now let you watch — and record — broadcast and cable television from any connected device in your home. “

“This new generation of connected apps will make possible capabilities that TV fans have dreamed of for years. Apps like Netflix connect to cloud-based servers to serve up content you’ll want to watch, delivering on the promise of personalized content. Hungry for barbecue? Apps will connect you to the same click-for-delivery convenience you’re already enjoying on your tablet.”

Nvidia state that the new Shield will feature the Tegra X1 processor, which has a whopping 256 cores! The device launched today in the US and Canada in two versions. The Shield (available for $199) and The Shield Pro (available for $299) which comes with a 500GB hard drive and bundled with Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. You can also get a remote control with voice search for $49, a stand for $29 and additional controllers for $59 each. Also for a limited time you will get $60 of free Google Play credit.

You can see the trailer here:

Thank you to Nvidia for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Nvidia

Amazon Accidentally Revealed Nvidia Shield Pro

 

On Saturday Amazon accidentally revealed a pro model of the upcoming Nvidia Shield Android TV set-top box by listing the new products page, but they were just as quick to remove it again. But the internet doesn’t forget and users are fast to grab information like this. Once it’s out there, it’s out there.

So it looks like Nvidia is planning to release a Pro model of their Shield Android TV box next to the normal version. The difference between the two models will be limited to a single item and that is the storage capacity. Where the Nvidia Shield will come with just 16GB flash storage and an SD-card slot for those who need more, the Nvidia Shield Pro on the other hand looks to come with 500GB internal storage instead.

The pricing wasn’t listed for either model and neither was the release date, but it should be soon. Earlier it has said to be scheduled for a May or June sale date, so it could be any day now. With Amazon, and probably other resellers too, starting to list the products with both product and packaging photos could also point towards an imminent release.

Customers of the new Shield Android TV set-top box will get both an HDMI and USB cable, shield controller and either the 16GB standard or 500GB Pro Shield Android TV packed with the powerful Tegra X1 processor, 3GB RAM, and 4K capabilities.

Thank you PC Perspective for providing us with this information

Nvidia GRID Gets 1080p60 Upgrade

NVIDIA, graphics card giant has announced the world’s first streaming cloud gaming service up to 1080p60 (1920 x 1080p resolution at 60FPS). GRID is one of the first games to stream via this method and is streaming at the same resolution as Blu-ray at a silky smooth 60FPS.

The resolution may not sound amazing, movie services have been streaming 1080p content for years. With movie services, they have the ability to buffer the full movie and stream it in manageable pieces to the consumer; this means that if the stream drops randomly, the movie will still play up to a certain point, known as buffering. Gaming is a much harder process to stream, with the gamer having the choice to change direction without notice, this means that the streaming provider needs to have massive supercomputers that can react and relay the information in the matter of milliseconds. NVIDIA have spent years perfecting their cloud streaming service and have made it a seamless experience for the consumers.

“When GRID first launched in November 2014, we were streaming at 720p60 (1280 x 720 resolution at 60 frames per second) with about 20 games. Now we stream up to 1080p60, support multi-controller mode, and have over 50 games in our service, available free for SHIELD owners through June 30, 2015.” NVIDIA has stated. “Also, Bionic Commando is now available on NVIDIA SHIELD. Just connect to GRID to play! The GRID Games library now includes 50 PC games that you can play on SHIELD devices.”

For more information, why not visit the NVIDIA Shield information page.

GTA V – The Way It’s Meant to Be Played – 4K and Nvidia Shield

Introduction


In September 2013, Grand Theft Auto V finally hit our screens, albeit via the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, consoles that I loved playing on, but which were kept as a lead platform for far longer than they should have been. They weren’t incredibly powerful systems to begin with and time wasn’t kind to them. The buffed up release on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 sure looked pretty, but they still weren’t the way I wanted to play Grand Theft Auto V, not even close.

The PC release of the game was a mystery for so long, but I kept my faith. I was sure that it will be happening and it comes as little shock that I was right on the money. The only downside to the PC release was that it took so much longer than the console editions to be released. I’ve stuck to my guns and since the original console release, I haven’t played a single minute of GTA V, I don’t know the story and the only things I have seen of the gameplay are funny videos that get posted to YouTube and Reddit.

So why did I wait so long? The promise of 4K gaming, frame rates that are at least above 30, increased texture detail, longer draw distances, mods and the multitude of other graphics enhancements that PC gaming provides us. On top of that, I love my Nvidia Shield and use it to stream games around my house, the prospect of playing GTA V on a tablet while laid in bed is just too tempting. The prospect of playing it streamed to my big screen TV in 1080p at 60FPS with the graphics dialed up to ultra, even more so.

Colorful IGame’s next Motherboard Could Feature Armor Style Cover

There is still some doubt whether the motherboard that has been shown from Colorful IGame actually is a new product about to be launched or just concept art, but I like what I see. It looks new and fresh, yet very familiar. The motherboard is built around the Z97 platform and the two first things I noticed in these published renderings were what looks to be 12 SATA ports and the pre-installed full liquid cooling for the vital parts.

I thought that they ‘forgot’ to add a M.2 slot at first, but they didn’t and it’s also present. It’s located between the bottom two PCIe x16 slots as it can be seen in the above shot. The cover, or armor, or however you’d like to label it has the Gamer Customization label printed just as the colour choice is a typical one for a gaming setup. Black and red, but Colorful also added some white to the mix.

There isn’t much known about the features set yet, but we can assume that they will be very similar to the iGame Z97 that we saw introduced not that long ago.

It will most likely use the Atheros KillerNIC E2200 Gigabit Ethernet controller and have onboard 8 channel 7.1 surround sound setup with Voice Gamer and solid capacitors. It would also be logic to assume that they took the new dual-BIOS feature with them onto this motherboard.

NVIDIA Shows Its 4K Android TV Game Console, 35 Times More Powerful than Apple TV

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 Pushing Huge Range of AAA Titles To GRID

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 10Saints 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.

Nvidia to ‘Redefine the Future of Gaming’ on March 3rd

Nvidia has sent out invitations to numerous outlets, inviting to an hour-long event that “will redefine the future of gaming”.

We do not know what they’re going to show us during the event, except that it has been 5 years in the making. The invite is very short and barely contains any information at all.

Qualified guesses point towards a new android powered gaming product, may it be a new shield or a set-top box or console type device. Your guess is as good as mine, so let’s hear them in the comments.

Thanks to DualShockers for providing us with this information.

Essential Road Trip Gadgets: CES 2015

CES 2015 is always an incredible show, bringing many, if not all, of the world’s major technology companies into one place, ready to show off their latest and greatest products. This year was a little different for us here at eTeknix. After the show, we took to the roads to visit San Francisco and Los Angeles. On our trip, we stopped by the offices of Thermaltake, Patriot, Corsair, NZXT and more! A trip like CES is a big undertaking, for me personally it requires a four-hour train journey, a ten-hour flight and we clocked up over 20 hours driving over 1500 miles. All that is before the return journey of another ten-hour flight and another four-hour train journey home. All this traveling is enough to make you tired. Fortunately, there were a few luxuries that helped make the journey just that little bit easier for us; without which, we would have struggled.

LUXA2 Phone Dock

First up we have one of the simplest gadgets of them all, but by far the one that helped us out the most on our journey from Las Vegas to San Francisco, then again on our journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles, the LUXA2 Mobile Phone Mount.

The car we used, a Ford Mustang, has a cigarette lighter high up on the dashboard, perfect for keeping your Sat Nav or mobile phone charged when mounted in a cradle or dock of some format. Even better is how the LUXA2 mount works, as the mount fits directly into the cigarette lighter, giving you a powered USB port directly from the mount to connect your phone, while also providing a sturdy mount that doesn’t have to stick onto your windscreen, or hang from the air conditioning vents. The mount was universal and proved more than capable of housing our iPhone 6 Plus.

Ultra Short Patriot iPhone Lightning Cable

The only downside with this kind of mount is that the normal iPhone cable trails all over the place. Given the phone mount we had, we found the standard cable got caught on the dashboard controls, wrapped around the gear stick and more; not what I would call ideal. Patriot, perhaps better known for their high-end memory products, also make mobile products and quickly came to our rescue. Their new Lightning USB cable is just 6 inches long, perfect for going from dock to phone. This is the perfect cable to keep in the car and it saves you having to bring your full cable with you.

Nvidia Shield Tablet

Sitting on a plane for hours on end is a tedious and often boring affair. Sure you’ve got some in-flight entertainment (on some flights), but the easiest solution is to bring your own entertainment with you. Bringing your smartphone is one solution, but the small screens aren’t really ideal for watching movies and TV shows, and battery life isn’t always enough for a long haul flight; especially so if you’re gaming on it. The Shield Tablet solves a lot of these problems, not only did the battery life hold up for the full ten-hour flight, it also provided us with a unique experience that made us the envy of other passengers; Playing Mario Kart 64 on an emulator with two controllers was by far the most fun I’ve ever had on a flight! As an added bonus, the Nvidia Shield Cover provided the perfect viewing angle for gaming, watching movies and reading articles during the flight.

MEElectronics Wireless Headphones

No journey would be survivable without my music with me, but when I’m carrying around a heavy backpack full of camera and a laptop equipment, as well as pulling along a 25KG suitcase, the last thing I need is a cable getting wrapped around my neck. I love my wired headphones, but the strap from my backpack pulls them out of my ears and it’s simply impractical unless I’m sitting still. A set of high-quality Bluetooth headphones was the perfect fix and while they were excellent to wear while walking around, leaving my tablet in my backpack to stream my music, I found them to be even better on the long flight. Being able to fall asleep on a plane is no easy task, but a light set of headphones and some music certainly helped block out the engine noise; plus I didn’t have a headphone wire getting tangled up in my arms, so that’s always a bonus. MEElectronics promised a 14-hour battery life, so our 10-hour flight proved to be easy work for them on a single charge.

eTeknix 2014 Christmas Tech Buying Guide

Christmas time is almost here and as we wrap up warm over winter, we’re also wrapping up on a year of incredible products here at eTeknix HQ. We’ve had hundred of reviews this year, but no doubt many of you are eagerly writing your letters to Santa, or at least dropping hints to your parents, partner or friends for what you want for Christmas. Of course, there’s no doubt a fair few of you who are eager to treat themselves to something cool this Christmas. We’ve scratched our heads and had a really good think about what some of our favourite bits of technology are from this last year, and if you’ve still got some money left after the manic Black Friday sales, perhaps some of these products will be perfect for you.

While I admit that I couldn’t fit all of our favourites onto this list, its certainly a killer list of great products and they’ve all won awards from us here at eTeknix for one reason or another. If you’re after a headset, a chassis, a new keyboard, graphics card, or other cool gadget, you’ll find something that’s right for you in our guide.


Astro A38 Wireless Gaming Headset

The Astro A38 headset really stood out for me, not only is it one of the more stylish looking headsets I’ve ever reviewed, but the sound quality is nothing short of incredible. They’re a little expensive, but you certainly get what you pay for and Astro have yet to create a product that was anything less than stunning. They’re a perfect gift for yourself or someone else and ideal for those who love to listen to music and play games on the go, and the wireless technology and NFC pairing makes them very user friendly.

Check out our full review here – £144 from Astro Gaming


NZXT H440 Mid-Tower Chassis

A great PC deserves a great chassis and the H440 is certainly one of my all-time favourites. It’s not the biggest, and it may not even be the best chassis ever, that much is subjective, but it’s certainly got a lot of great features.  From the PSU shroud that helps keep cable management looking neat and tidy, to the comprehensive set of dust filters, thick sound dampening material lined panels and the large side panel window; you’ll find a lot to love about this chassis.

Check out our full review here – £89.99 from Overclockers


Thermaltake Core V71 Full Tower Chassis

Not all chassis’ are created equally, the Core V71 packs an incredible range of features that make it an ideal choice for high-end systems. The Thermaltake Core V71 looks great, but the real magic comes from its extreme flexibility. It has class leading radiator and fan mounting support and there’s no doubt that you’ll be able to build a stunning air-cooled system thanks to its array of 200mm pre-installed fans, or an incredible custom water cooling loop thanks to its modular interior. If you need extreme performance without spending crazy amounts of money, this chassis needs to be at the top of your list.

Check out our full review here – £131.34 from CCL Computers


Cooler Master Novatouch TKL Keyboard

Treating yourself to a high-quality mechanical keyboard is a solid investment for anyone who uses their computer a lot. Mechanical keyboards are expensive, but their overall build quality and performance goes a long way to justifying the cost. The NovaTouch TKL isn’t your average mechanical and features something called Hybrid Capacitive Switches that offer a truly premium and luxurious typing experience. If you want to treat your fingers to a more enjoyable typing experience, try out this keyboard!

Check out our full review here – £149.99 from Overclockers


Zowie FK1 Gaming Mouse

I have yet to use a Zowie mouse that wasn’t impressive and the FK1 is by far one of their best. While this mouse only offers minor revisions over its previous model, such as a slightly larger body and an improved sensor, it’s performance is second to none. It’s ambidextrous, has one of the best performing sensors available, great ergonomics and a stylish design. If you’re serious about your gaming and want something that offers eSports levels of performance, then you’ll love what the Zowie FK1 has to offer.

Check out our full review here – £49.99 from Overclockers


Nvidia Shield Android 5.0 Gaming Tablet

Mobile gaming is something that never really excited me, but Nvidia have really pulled out all the stops with their Shield Tablet. It’s powered by the incredibly powerful Tegra K1 graphics chip and it’s one of the fastest tablets on the market. It recently received an update that added the latest Android 5.0 operating system, as well as enabling Nvidia’s GRID cloud gaming service and all this comes on top of features like in-home game streaming, 4K video output, wireless controller support and a whole lot more. The Shield Tablet is easily one of the most versatile portable on the market.

Check out our full review here – from £239.99 at Overclockers


Nvidia GeForce “Maxwell” GTX 970 Graphics Card

Nvidia are on our list once again, first they dominate the mobile gaming market, now they’re showing their worth once again in the desktop GPU market. While we admit that the GeForce GTX 980 is an incredible graphics card, you’ll not be disappointed by their GTX 970 as it offers most of the performance of its bigger brother at a much more affordable price tag. This card is packed with the latest features, it looks fantastic and for gaming, it’s one of the best cards you can buy right now. If you want to welcome your computer into the world of high-end PC gaming, this is a great place to start.

Check out our full review here (Asus Strix GTX 970) – from £247.99 at Overclockers


Asus Rampage V Extreme LGA 2011-3 Motherboard

Intel really set a new standard for PC performance this year with the launch of their consumer X99 chipsets. It’s not a cheap upgrade right now, but a new support for the latest high-end CPUs, DDR4 memory and a wave of new features make this motherboard perfect for the enthusiast and professional markets. The Asus Rampage motherboard series has long been a popular choice and the V Extreme is certainly one of the best available right now.

Check out our full review here – £329.99 from Overclockers


Gigabyte Z97X Gaming5 1150 Motherboard

Extreme motherboards are one thing, but they’re a little out of the reach of your average consumer. The Gigabyte X97X Gaming 5 series of motherboards offers a lot of exciting features that make them a great choice for high-end gaming PCs, without the colossal price tags that you’ll find with enthusiast grade products. We loved this motherboard when we review it and while the black and red colour scheme is getting a little bit repetitive in the gaming market, it’s still a great looking board that is perfect for a wide range of systems.

Check out our full review here – £109.99 from Overclockers


Gigabyte Brix Ultra Compact System

A lot of the fame and glory goes to big gaming rigs with multiple graphics cards, loads of hard drives, water cooling and all that other crazy stuff, but this system turns all that on its head. The Brix may be small, but it packs enough power to be worthy of our Extreme Performance award! When space is limited, this little rig will fit on the back of your monitors VESA mount and it packs enough performance to get through a heavy workflow with ease. It’s a little expensive, but for a full-fledged PC that’s small enough to fit in a backpack, it’s a bargain!

Check out our full review here – £503.96 from Scan


PC Specialist Vortex 440 System

If you’re looking to upgrade to an X99 equipped system, then it’s likely that you’ll also be investing in DDR4 memory, a new CPU and a whole host of other components, so why not take all the fuss out of the process and invest in one of the best systems we’ve reviewed this year, the PC Specialist Vortex 440. We loved this system, partly because it was packed full of high-end hardware, but also because it was incredible value for money. Despite what the high price tag may suggest, the Vortex 440 actually worked out cheaper to buy than it would to build it yourself; now that’s a deal we can get behind!

Check out our full review here – around £1500 (customisable) from PC Specialist


OCZ Arc 100 240GB SSD

There’s a lot of SSD hard drives on the market right now and there are so many great ones that it’s now very easy to find one suitable for your system. The OCZ ARC 100 really stood out for us as it offers excellent performance, solid reliability, lots of features and it’s also competitively priced (per GB). Upgrading to an SSD is a great way to give your system a new lease of life, your system will boot faster and all of your games will benefit greatly from the speed boost. There is a cheaper 120GB model available, but the 240GB is the best balance of storage and value, making it a great choice for a boot drive.

Check out our full review here – £94.99 from Overclockers


Asus RT AC68U Dual Band Wireless Router

A really great router is something a lot of people overlook, it can be daunting spending a lot of money on tech like this, but the rewards soon pay for themselves. With more and more devices becoming internet connected, it’s likely that you’re not reaching the full potential of your devices networking capabilities. If you’re wanting to stream movies around your house from a NAS, play games online, while browsing the web from smartphones, tablets, consoles and other devices, then you’re going to see huge benefits from a router that can handle the most demanding workloads without sacrificing performance. The Asus RT AC68U looks great and offers a simple way to improve your home network. It’s expensive, but you certainly get what you pay for.

Check out our full review here – £166.98 from Overclockers


Crucial 32GB 2133MHz Quad Channel DDR4 Memory Kit

DDR4 memory marks the first major update to RAM memory formats in desktop systems in years, but it comes with a steep price tag. However, should you choose to make the leap for your high-end X99 platform build, then you should really consider the Crucial 32GB 2133MHZ kit. If you’re not too bothered about the aesthetics, this memory really does impress in terms of performance and offers excellent value for money vs many of the other DDR4 products on the market.

Check out our full review here – £319.99 from Overclockers


So, what will you be asking Santa for this year?

Nvidia Shield Tablet Android 5.0 Lollipop Review

Introduction


The Nvidia Shield Tablet has already landed many awards for being a great gaming tablet, I myself reviewed it just a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it! However, not all of the features were ready from day one and Nvidia have been working hard to bring the latest Android 5.0 update to their powerful tablet.

The Shield Tablet is already packed full of features, as you can see from the chart below. The new update not only updates the OS, but paves the way for even more features in the near future.

The most notable coming-soon feature is certainly Nvidia GRID, which will be launching in the EU next month when the new servers are brought online. We actually covered a lot of information on GRID recently, which you can read here. To celebrate the new updates, Nvidia are bringing even more entertainment to their already feature packed device with The Green Box Bundle. The bundle contains Half-Life, Half-Life 2 and Portal, which will run natively on the Shield Tablets mighty Tegra K1 processor. You can expect us to fully review the performance of that gaming bundle in the very near future.

Android 5.0 has been a long time coming, but owners of the Shield Tablet will be able to download the new OS from today! So time to get your tablets out and see what all the fuss is about. Which is exactly what I’m about to do right now!

OCZ Sneak in Update of Vertex 460A, Features A19 MLC NAND Flash Upgrade

“Vertex Transitions to Next-Gen Toshiba Technology” reads the latest release press from solid state manufacturer OCZ. Their Vertex 460 disk series has seen a small update to Vertex 460A – providing a revitalized flash to the Toshiba A19 MLC NAND, upgraded warranty and a slight appearance change.

Originally released as an upgrade to the 450, the 460 series utilized OCZ’s Barefoot 3 master flash and contained an upgrade to 19nm components from 20nm. The newly released 460A series now steps this up yet again, changing it up to A19 MLC flash memory. According to reports, this has made no changes to the overall performance of the device however. These drives are still available in a 120GB edition providing a 530,420 MB/s read and write or 240/480GB models with a 540,525 MB/s read and write ability.

As mentioned before, the outside appearance of the drive has changed slightly – as you can see in the cover image, it looks a little less ‘corporate’ and a little more ‘consumer new-age’, with OCZ painting some cool shades of white and blue running across the device. The warranty provided with the 460A has been upgraded to OCZ’s ‘ShieldPlus’ level, meaning that it’s still coming with the three-years as per the original 460, but means that members of the US and Europe are able to skip the broker and send their warranty claims direct to OCZ.

Image courtesy of Chiphell

NVIDIA GRID Event Coverage

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.

Game streaming

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.

Nvidia Shield Gaming Tablet Review

Introduction


The Nvidia Shield was and still is one of the coolest gadgets I have ever reviewed and owned; I still use it regularly when I want to break away from my desk and it has also become my vital travel buddy for long journeys. Gaming on the go is a great way to pass the time and mobile phones and tablets now take up a massive part of that market, but most phones and tablets come with one major drawback; touch screen displays. The original Shield solved this touch screen gaming problem by integrating a controller into the Android device; in a way that’s not all that dissimilar to other dedicated hand-held games consoles such as the 3DS and the PlayStation Vita.

The new Shield Tablet drops the integrated controller to turn the Shield into an Android tablet, this worries me somewhat as I love the integrated controller of the Shield console as it’s perfect for holding when you’re on the bus, train, plane, or anywhere else for that matter. Of course there will be pros and cons to dropping the integrated controller and that’s what I aim to find out; is the Shield better or worse for the new design choices?

A separate controller isn’t the only thing Nvidia have changed, in fact pretty much everything has been tweaked, revised or created from scratch for the Shield Tablet. The screen size and resolution has been increased, the device now features two 5MP HDR cameras, a stylus and more. The biggest feature change of all is the CPU/GPU upgrade; the Tegra 4 in the Shield was impressive, but it’s no match for the new Tegra K1 GPU and ARM Cortex A15 CPU combo.

The packaging is very nicely designed, there is a clear image of the tablet on the front and the major features and specifications are dotted around the other sides.

On the back of the box you can see an image of the Shield Tablet Cover and the Shield Controller; these are not included as standard and have to be purchased separately.

In the box you’ll find everything you need to get you started; the tablet (obviously), some safety information, and a universal USB mains power adaptor with a good quality USB cable.

The Shield Controller is also nicely packaged, with a clear image of the wireless  controller on the front of the box.

The back of the box touts the major features, such as the headset jack (with chat), built-in microphone and Wi-Fi connectivity.

The Tablet Cover comes in another similarly styled box.

On the back of the box you’ll find a quick run down of how the cover can be used as a stand for the Shield Tablet.