Subject: General Tech | November 26, 2015 - 11:22 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: uplay, steam, pc gaming, origin, GOG
While everyone's in a turkey and gravy coma, retailers are hoping that you'll feel a bit browsy with your drowsy. Black Friday deals are popping up everywhere; some are good, but some are token at best... including the Black Friday sale on tokens at the local arcade.
Anyway, four (edit: Fixed typo) of the largest PC gaming services are Steam, UPLAY, Origin, and GOG.com. Steam is predictably the largest sale. It's another “Exploration Sale,” which is another way of saying, “Here's a few examples of great deals; browse for crap you like. You might find something cheaper. I dunno.” Speaking of a few examples, Elite Dangerous is now just a third of its price. Grand Theft Auto V is now reduced too, although it's not yet in the impulse buy territory. Call of Duty Black Ops III also received a little chop in price, which is unusual for the franchise. You'll probably want to browse Steam in general, especially if there's a game that you've been eying but couldn't justify buying yet.
UPlay's sale is a bit more... weird. If you played Tropico 5 but put it down before buying the DLC, the pack of boosters is now 75% off ($11 CDN here). Surprisingly, the vast majority of sales have nothing to do with Ubisoft titles, and the three exceptions are from 2013 / 2014.
Origin is a bit more rounded in terms of old and new titles. FIFA 16, released just this fall, is about 40% off where I am. Tomb Raider is in the mid-single digits of dollars. Battlefield Hardline is about $10. Do not buy The Witcher 3 here though, if the Canadian prices carry over to the US. The sale even extends back to Command & Conquer: The Ultimate Collection, NHL 09, and Medal of Honor: Airborne. It just keeps scrolling.
Now for GOG. This is, again, a sale that you should probably browse. If you were interested in The Witcher 3, purchasing it from GOG instead of Steam will get you the same sale but DRM-free. Its new price is $29.99 USD, unless you're Canadian. We get it for $23.49 USD at GOG or $29.99 CDN at Steam. I guess they feel like giving a slightly larger discount to compensate for the lack of turkey-goggles. Browse the “On Sale” tab in the bottom right before you leave too.
Subject: General Tech | November 23, 2015 - 03:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: poseidon Z RGB, thermaltake, mechanical keyboard, input
The keyboard market has changed drastically over the past year with the introduction of mainstream mechanical keys and improved LED backlighting features. Where once the market was not that competitive and only a few major players were offering products we now have a wide variety of brands to choose from. This makes it hard to stand out in the market without adding extra features to your keyboards, which leads us to the Thermaltake Poseidon RGB. This particular keyboard has an integrated 32-bit processor which allows you to choose between 16.8 million colors for each key. The keys use Kailh Brown RGB switches, a less expensive clone of the Cherry MX Brown switches more commonly found on these types of boards. Find out if they are good enough over at Benchmark Reviews.
"Just a few months ago, full RGB mechanical keyboards were rare beasts, and the inclusion of full per-key RGB lighting commanded a very high price, with some keyboards selling for almost $200.00. Now, prices are coming down rapidly and vendors are starting to compete on features, but how many more features are there left to add?"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- TT eSports Challenger Prime @ Kitguru
- G.Skill Ripjaws MX780 RGB Laser Ambidextrous Gaming Mouse @ eTeknix
- Razer Mamba Chroma Mouse Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Corsair Gaming Scimitar RGB MOBA/MMO Gaming Mouse @ eTeknix
Subject: Systems | November 26, 2015 - 04:51 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Raspberry Pi, raspberry pi zero
The Raspberry Pi Zero is a new version that lowers the cost of gigahertz-class computing devices to just $5. It is based on a 1.0 GHz ARM11 core from Broadcom that is about 40% faster than the original Raspberry Pi. It also has 512MB of RAM, which is a lot for embedded or hobbyist applications. In fact, it doubles the original Raspberry Pi Model A (and is on part with the Model B). Storage is handled by a microSD card slot, as is the case with every previous Raspberry Pi except the Compute Module.
They also offer an alternative to the $5 price tag. If you pick up the print edition of MagPi magazine #40, which is the Christmas 2015 issue, you will receive a free Raspberry Pi Zero. The Raspberry Pi Foundation says that they printed 10,000 copies of this magazine. This is probably much more interesting than a CD-ROM demo of Battlezone II.
Due to high demand, I'm not sure when you can expect to get one though.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 23, 2015 - 01:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: AIO, enermax, liquimax II 120s, watercooling
Enermax's Liqmax II 120s is a relatively small AIO watercooler, the radiator is 154x120x27 mm (6.1x0.8x1.0") and will fit on any modern motherboard, Intel or AMD. The two 120mm fans which come with the cooler are high static pressure fans with the moniker Batwing and have a physical screw on them which allows you to tune the fan speed manually. Modders Inc were impressed with this cooler, it performed relatively well and quite quietly and the fact thatit sells for $75 doesn't hurt either.
"When it comes to a new build I always keep cooling in mind. Not every rig I build has custom water reservoirs, custom piping or fancy radiators. Sometimes I just need a machine to work without spending an enormous amount of cash on custom parts. I find that All in One (AIO) cooling systems are easy to install, work well …"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- ilentiumPC Fortis 3 HE1425 cooler @ HardwareOverclock
- CRYORIG C7 @ techPowerUp
- Reeven Hans RC-1205 Review @ OCC
- Phanteks Enthoo Evolve ATX Galaxy Silver Edition @ Modders-Inc
- IN WIN 805 Mid-tower Computer Case Review @ Madshrimps
- Cooler Master MasterCase 5 @ Benchmark Reviews
- Akasa Plato X Slim Fanless Chassis i5/i7 NUC @ eTeknix
- Thermaltake Core X9 Stackable E-ATX @ eTeknix
- anidees AI4 @ techPowerUp
Subject: General Tech | November 27, 2015 - 01:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: poWiFi, wireless power, iot
It is going to take some work as it is not currently that impressive but the experiment at Cornell University shows that power over WiFi is not impossible. The experiment was not all that impressive, they charged a Jawbone headset @ 2.3mA and after 2.5 hours which they managed to charge the battery to 41% over a distance of 5-7cm. Those results are poor compared to Qi and other wireless charging solutions on the market but are promising. The power is transmitted by a wireless router that can also send and receive data so for wireless cameras and other low powered devices which transmit data this could be quite useful. You can read the research paper by following the links from Hack a Day.
"There have been a few reports of power over WiFi (PoWiFi) on the intertubes lately. If this is a real thing it’s definitely going to blow all of the IoT fanboys skirts up (sorry to the rest of you *buzzword* fanboys, the IoT kids flash-mobbed the scene and they mean business)."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel unveils 2016 tablet processor road map, say Taiwan makers @ DigiTimes
- 128GB DDR4 DIMMs have landed so double your RAM cram plan @ The Register
- Samsung Gear VR is good. So good 2016 could be year virtual reality finally makes it @ The Register
- Best Lightweight Linux Distros @ Linux.com
- Microsoft Silverlight gets Firefox reprieve for 64-bit users @ The Inquirer
- Montana Newspaper Plans To Out Anonymous Commenters Retroactively @ Slashdot
Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 27, 2015 - 03:04 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: thermaltake, Suppressor F31
The Thermaltake Suppressor F31 is significantly smaller than the F51, 497x250x515mm (19.5x9.8x20.3") and so cannot fit an eATX motherboard like its bigger sibling. On the other hand that size is much more manageable for many and is still large enough for radiators, Morry-sized heatsinks and full sized graphics cards. The simplicity of the exterior will appeal to many as will the many removable filters over fan intakes. As you might expect from the name, the case is designed to quiet the components running inside and did not disappoint when [H]ard|OCP tested the case. Check out their full review if your PC components need a new home.
"Thermaltake is upping its computer case game with the new Suppressor F31 chassis. It is nice and wide at 250mm and has plenty of features. "Leading-edge sound reduction panels on all sides, expand your cooling options with removable panels for the perfect balance in silent operation and cooling performance."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- SilverStone ML08 Mini-ITX Slim Case @ Benchmark Reviews
- SilverStone Tundra TD02-Lite AIO Liquid CPU Cooler Review @ NikKTech
- EKWB EK-XLC Predator 240 All In One Watercooler @ Kitguru
Subject: Displays | November 26, 2015 - 01:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: noon, virtual reality
Similar in looks to Oculus Gear VR the Noon VR headset is compatible with more than just Samsung phones, any iOS or Android device between 4.7 inches to 5.7 should be supported. At 230g naked, plus the weight of your phone the Noon felt a bit heavy to Hardware Canucks, a lot of that weight is balanced on your nose. The 95 degree viewing angle is impressive and there is a focus dial on the headset for fine tuning but the latency and resolution are up to your phone, not the Noon. As of yet there is little content for the Noon VR headset but the price is decent, currently it retails for $90 which makes it an interesting option for those who want to experiment with a VR device.
"With the big divide in computing power between desktops and smartphones, are we ready for mobile VR? The Noon VR headset is an attempt to answer that question."
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- Philips 272G5DYEB 27-inch G-Sync @ Kitguru
- Acer Predator XR341CK FreeSync Monitor Review @ Hardware Canucks
- AOC Q2577PWQ 25″ IPS @ eTeknix
- Nixeus NX-VUE24A 144Hz FreeSync Monitor @ Hardware Canucks
- The New Apple TV Review @ Hardware Secrets
Subject: Displays | November 28, 2015 - 05:27 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: LG, lg display, oled
LG Display announced that they are investing $1.6 Billion USD to build an OLED panel factory in Paju, South Korea. This initial cost will cover the building, the “foundations” of the clean rooms, and basic infrastructure such as water and power. Construction will begin immediately. The plant is expected to cost $8.7 Billion USD by the time it starts producing displays, which the company anticipates for early 2018. It will produce panels for smart watches, cars, and even large TVs.
The shift from LCD to OLED has been anticipated for a while, but it seems like the former technology just kept remaining viable. It kept ahead of plasma technology, despite LCD being considered inferior in terms of contrast and maintainability by some, and outlived it. SED threatened to crush it, but never really became available because Canon basically misunderstood patent licensing terms from a Texas-based nanotech company. Mobile devices helped push LED panels away from TN technology and into IPS-like panels, which closed the gap between LCD and early OLED.
LCD would eventually need to reach its maximum viable potential though, and heightened availability of OLED could do it. Hopefully the technology makes it to consumer desktop panels relatively soon. Display manufacturers have been experimenting with higher refresh rates, better displays, and higher resolution recently, but adding OLED to the mix should push the industry toward focusing on contrast and color reproduction even more heavily.
Subject: Mobile | November 28, 2015 - 09:05 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Samsung, s7, galaxy
The follow-up to the Samsung Galaxy S6 is already being rumored, which people are obviously calling the Galaxy S7. The last two phones were unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, which takes place in late February / early March. Information coming out in November is a bit... early. Some sites believe that Samsung will announce the phone in January, but who knows? Some of the rumors are interesting, though.
The one that catches my attention is the potential inclusion of a microSD card slot. External storage is rare these days, with Google removing it from their Nexus line and severely limiting what apps can do with the contents. That said, Android 6.0, recently released for a few devices, made further changes to increase its capabilities. You can now use SD cards as internal storage, but only if you agree to format and encrypt the storage to use only on that device. While the recent batch of Nexus phones don't include a microSD card slot, the changes might be enough to sway third-party manufacturers to include a slot.
As a developer, it would certainly be nice, especially if you intend to develop software that uses an SD card. Makes sense, right? Purchasing a developer phone that has all the features you might want to target?
Speaking of developer phones, the upcoming device should have a top-of-the-line processor in it. Reports are split between the Snapdragon 820 and the Exynos 8890. If it's the latter, availability is expected Q1 2016; the former started sampling a few months ago and was launched on November 11th. As such, SoC availability should be ready if Samsung intends to launch the phone early, regardless of the chosen chip, but that's probably not the limiting factor. It is also entirely possible that Samsung could include different processors for different markets. Qualcomm was absent from the Galaxy S6 line, but the S5 had some sub-models using Qualcomm processors and others Samsung's own implementation.
Either way, they are fast processors that support OpenGL ES 3.1 + AEP at the very least. The Adreno 530 is rated for about 550 GFLOPs, which is a tiny bit faster than a GeForce 9800 GT, although with Vulkan-level feature support (provided correct drivers). Thankfully Google has been more friendly to Khronos-based standards, and Samsung even more so.
When will we know for sure? Don't know. How much will it cost? Don't know. What will it be officially called? Don't know, but anything other than Galaxy S7 would be surprising. Would it make sense for Samsung to shake up the date and other long-running details? Well, the Galaxy S6 launch was lackluster, so this would be the most likely time for them to be squirrely. We'll see.
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