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Enermax updates its AIO coolers with the Liqmax II 120s

Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 23, 2015 - 01:42 PM |
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 …"

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Source: Modders Inc

Even more keyboards, check out Thermaltake's Poseidon Z RGB

Subject: General Tech | November 23, 2015 - 03:16 PM |
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?"

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BitFenix Announces Pandora ATX Mid-Tower Enclosure

Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 23, 2015 - 10:04 AM |
Tagged: pandora atx, Mid-Tower Case, enclosure, case, bitfenix pandora, bitfenix, atx case

BitFenix has released a larger follow up to the Pandora enclosure, previously a slim Micro-ATX tower. The new full ATX sized Pandora offers the same styling and optional customizable screen as the previous version, and now offers support for up to 360 mm radiators.


“The Pandora ATX offers the same much-loved unique styling as the original Pandora - but with housing capabilities for full-sized hardware and a 360mm radiator, either in the top or the front. Conceived as a versatile base for DIY projects, it is designed to show off your hardware in a tasteful manner through its large side window. The front panel is like no other, with the wrap-around side panels covering parts of it, leaving only a sober glossy black front panel housing the programmable 2.8" ICON color display visible through it. The ICON is a story in itself, allowing you to add any logo or picture you wish, for maximum personalization.”

I was impressed with the original Pandora when I reviewed it at the end of last year, but there were certainly concessions to size (beginning with the restriction to mATX or mITX motherboards) including limited cooler and taller GPU support. This was in fact a very narrow tower previously. With the new Pandora ATX you can have the same style including an optional LCD with ICON software that allows drag-and-drop customization with your own image. And while some might think ICON is a gimmick, and it arguably is, this is still a solid-looking enclosure.


So what exactly does this new Pandora ATX support? Here’s a rundown of the specs:

  • Highlights:
    • 2.8" BitFenix ICON Display
    • One-piece PSU cover and MB tray
    • Top, Front and Bottom Dust Filters
    • 360mm Radiator Support
    • 20mm Cable Clearance
    • Graphics Card Length up to 440mm
  • Materials: Steel, ABS
  • Colors (Interior/Exterior): Black/Black
  • Supported Motherboards: ATX, Micro ATX, Mini-ITX
  • LCD: 2.8" TFT, 240 x 320 (Pandora ATX only)
  • I/O: 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 2x 3.5mm Audio (Line Out, Mic-in)
  • 3.5” Drive Bays: x4, x3 (Pandora ATX Core)
  • 2.5” Drive Bays: x4, 2x (Pandora ATX Core)
  • Front Cooling: 1x 140mm (Included, Pandora ATX only), Max 3x 120mm OR 2x 140mm (Not Included)
  • Rear Cooling: 1x 120mm FDB Fan (Included)
  • Top Cooling: Max 3x 120mm OR 2x 140mm (Not Included)
  • Expansion Slots: x7
  • Power Supply: ATX & EPS, up to 220mm length
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 203 x 510 x 558 mm
  • Weight: 9.92 kg (net), 11.4 kg (gross)

It seems that the only thing we don’t know about this new enclosure is pricing and availability, which have not yet been released.

Source: BitFenix

Two new SDKs aimed at VR performance join NVIDIA's GameWorks

Subject: General Tech | November 19, 2015 - 12:22 PM |
Tagged: gameworks vr, designworks vr, virtual reality, NVIDA, sdk

There is something about this phrase which describes a feature of NVIDIA's newly announced VR SLI that excites the kid in me "multiple GPUs can be assigned a specific eye to dramatically accelerate stereo rendering".  Maybe you can't afford two GPUs per eye but the fact that it would work if you could manage it is rather impressive.  NVIDIA has announced new SDKs specifically aimed at VR design and performance, GameWorks VR and DesignWorks VR.  Epic has announced that Unreal Engine 4.3 will support these new tools and you can grab them from NVIDIA's developer website right now if you so desire.  You can read more about specific features and optimizations these SDKs will provide at this article on The Inquirer.


"The company said at the release of version 1.0 of GameWorks VR and DesignWorks VR that the SDKs will solve the power-guzzling problems associated with complex, immersive VR graphics processing."

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Source: The Inquirer

ASUS updates the TUF line of motherboards with the ASUS Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1

Subject: Motherboards | November 20, 2015 - 02:51 PM |
Tagged: asus, TUF SABERTOOTH Z170, LGA 1151

It has been a while since we saw a new Sabertooth motherboard from the other side of ASUS, The Ultimate Force, up for review but [H]ard|OCP has remedied that with the new Z170 member of this line of products.  It bears the same Thermal Armour design as previous models, adding a small fan that doesn't quite fit in with the overall design of the motherboard.  As well you will notice an absence of a visible CMOS battery, it is indeed buried under the armour.  [H]ard|OCP were less than impressed with the memory subsystem, the board is rated for DDR4 2400MHz DIMMs maximum and no higher.  On the other hand the incredible stability of this board and the amount of features available on this relatively inexpensive Z170 board did garner a Gold Award.  Read the full review to understand the benefits and drawbacks of this motherboard.


"In our opinion ASUS’ TUF series motherboards target the sweet spot in regard to features, price, and performance. TUF motherboards give you more features than most mid-range motherboards but lack certain features found on the high end. The Sabertooth Z170 Mark 1 is the flagship part of the current TUF series."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Meet the Boltzmann Initiative, AMD's answer to HPC

Subject: General Tech | November 18, 2015 - 12:35 PM |
Tagged: amd, firepro, boltzmann, HPC, hsa

AMD has announced the Boltzmann Initiative to compete against Intel and NVIDIA in the HPC market this week at SC15.  It is not a physical product but rather new a way to unite the processing power of HSA compliant AMD APUs and FirePro GPUs.  They have announced several new projects including the Heterogeneous Compute Compiler (HCC) and Heterogeneous-compute Interface for Portability (HIP) for CUDA based apps which can automatically convert CUDA code into C++.  They also announced a headless Linux driver and HSA runtime infrastructure interface for managing clusters which utilizes their InfiniBand fabric interconnect to interface system memory directly to GPU memory as well as adding P2P GPU support and numerous other enhancements.   Check out more at DigiTimes.


"The Boltzmann Initiative leverages HSA's ability to harness both central processing units (CPU) and AMD FirePro graphics processing units (GPU) for maximum compute efficiency through software."

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Source: DigiTimes

Hard West is here; get your eldritch western fix

Subject: General Tech | November 18, 2015 - 01:35 PM |
Tagged: hard west, Unity, gaming

If you backed the Kickstarter then you have had a chance to watch Hard West evolve from a single silent map to the recent update which added significant content and changed the beginning of the game significantly.  You are a dead gunslinger, brought back to an undead state in a western setting which incorporates not only natives and townsfolk but dark supernatural creatures and powers as well.  The game plays like the recent XCOM releases, with a similar turn style and cover system but also incorporates unique features such as the ability to ricochet bullets of some items on the map to shoot around corners and a shadow system designed to give you hints about who might be standing around a corner.

Nighttime changes the game dramatically and the optional permanent injury system is the exact opposite of the recent Warhammer games, severely injured members your posse will suffer negatives in the short term but possibly gaining strength once their wounds have fully healed.  You can see what Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN thought of the game here or just pick it up on Steam for $22.

"“Wild West XCOM” is about as good an elevator pitch as you could wish for. After a short delay, as of today we can find out whether Hard West can possibly live up to its glorious high concept. I played an earlier build a few weeks back – some thoughts, plus a launch trailer, below."

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Rdio Slowly Shutting Down Starting November 23rd

Subject: General Tech | November 22, 2015 - 12:35 AM |
Tagged: rdio

I say slowly shutting down because the service will remain active for a little while, letting users finish their subscriptions or use the free option. As of now, the only announced date is that Rdio will no longer renew subscriptions (or accept new paying customers) on November 23rd.


The company recently filed for bankruptcy, after trying to raise more capital and find other ways to keep the business running. Pandora will pay $75 million for the remnants of the service, although that could change if a better offer surfaces or an issue arises in bankruptcy protection. The press release states that “many members of the Rdio team will continue to shape the future of streaming music, applying our tradition of great design and innovative engineering on an even larger stage with Pandora.” It further states “Pandora is not acquiring the operating business of Rdio,” but rather just “the technology and talent.”

Rdio has not given a date that their service will end. This news is disappointing for me, because Rdio was the first music streaming service in Canada, at least that I found out about, which led me to choose it.

Source: Rdio