Subject: Graphics Cards | October 7, 2015 - 01:45 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: opengl es 3.2, nvidia, graphics drivers, geforce
The GeForce Game Ready 358.50 WHQL driver has been released so users can perform their updates before the Star Wars Battlefront beta goes live tomorrow (unless you already received a key). As with every “Game Ready” driver, NVIDIA ensures that the essential performance and stability tweaks are rolled in to this version, and tests it against the title. It is WHQL certified too, which is a recent priority for NVIDIA. Years ago, “Game Ready” drivers were often classified as Beta, but the company now intends to pass their work through Microsoft for a final sniff test.
Another interesting addition to this driver is the inclusion of OpenGL 2015 ARB and OpenGL ES 3.2. To use OpenGL ES 3.2 on the PC, if you want to develop software in it for instance, you needed to use a separate release since it was released at SIGGRAPH. It has now been rolled into the main, public driver. The mobile devs who use their production machines to play Battlefront rejoice, I guess. It might also be useful if developers, for instance at Mozilla or Google, want to create pre-release implementations of future WebGL specs too.
Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2015 - 09:45 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: msi, GK-701, gaming keyboard, cherry mx brown
MSI has a new mechanical gaming keyboard available, and the GK-701 features MSI’s black and red "Dragon" styling with red LED backlighting for each key, and uses Cherry MX Brown switches.
MSI is emphasizing the quality of their build with this new keyboard, stating that each key “is created with precision laser etching for extra resistance to wear and tear”, and the red LED backlight for each key is rated for “over 50 million key presses”. Additionally, the GK-701 offers a braided USB cable with a 18K gold plated connector, and there is a set of multimedia hotkeys and a game mode that disables the Windows Key. As this is a mechanical keyboard one of the biggest aspects is of course key switch selection, and the Cherry MX Brown switches MSI has chosen for the GK-701 offer a tactile “non-clicky” feel that some prefer.
GK-701 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard specs from MSI:
- Cherry MX Brown switches
- Red LED Backlight
- Windows Key Lock
- N-Key Rollover
- Multimedia Hotkeys
- Anti-slip Rubber Feet
- Ergonomic Design
- USB 2.0 connection
- Braided wire and gold-plated connector
- Switches lifetime: 50 Million Clicks
- Dimensions: 450 x 165 x 38mm, 1200g weight
The MSI GK-701 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is available now and currently selling on Newegg.com for $119.99.
Subject: Mobile | October 9, 2015 - 03:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: msi, GS60 6QE, gaming laptop, 4k
Inside the impressively thin 15.6" GS60 6QE, 390x266x20mm is a Skylake based i7-6700HQ, a 3GB GTX970M and 16GB of DDR4-2133 along with a 256GB M.2 SSD for your OS plus a 1TB HDD for long term storage. The integral display does indeed have a resolution of 4K, for external connectivity you can use either the HDMI v1.4b which supports 4Kx2K output or the Mini-Display port that supports 1080p @ 120Hz or 4K @ 60Hz. For fans of gaming in the dark it sports SteelSeries FULL back lit keyboard, programmable with the SteelSeries Engine and there is a single USB 3.1 Type C connector if you happen to have a compatible peripheral. Check out the performance at Kitguru but only if you can stomach the $1800 price tag and the fact that Norton comes pre-installed.
"There is no doubt that MSI have been releasing some of the most exciting, feature-laden laptops in the last 24 months. Today we take a look at the new GS60 6QE which incorporates a Intel Core i7 6700HQ Skylake processor, 8GB of DDR4 memory, Nvidia GTX970m, M.2 SSD and 4K Ultra HD panel. MSI have managed to cram all this tasty hardware into a chassis that measures only 20mm at the thickest point."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Sony Xperia Z5 @ The Inquirer
- Nexus 5X @ The Inquirer
- LEAGOO Elite 4 @ TechARP
- iPhone 6S Uses NVMe Storage – Performance Determined By Capacity @ SSD Review
Subject: Systems | October 9, 2015 - 06:01 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Skylake, LGA 1151, Intel H170, Intel H110, G11CDm G20CB, ASUS ROG, asus
ASUS has announced two new models of ROG Desktops for gamers based on Intel's new Skylake processors. Both models offer a choice of i5 or i7 processors and a gamut of video cards including and AMD R9 380 and in the case of the G11CD/CB an NVIDIA GTX 745 up to a 980 Ti while the G20CB ranges from a GT740 to a TITAN X.
The G11 is a full sized desktop, 176x440x442mm (6.9x17.3x17.4") and if you choose the CB model you will be able to have an H170 motherboard, a GTX 980Ti and up to a 512GB M.2 SSD. The CD model does not support those features and is built on an H110 motherboard. Both models off a choice between a DVD or Blu-Ray optical drive.
The ROG G20 offers more power in a slightly smaller case, 104x340x358mm (4.1x13.4x14.1") which is achieved by using an external power supply and dropping the optical drive altogether.
ASUS has managed to offer a vertically mounted TITAN X in this form factor, which is no small achievement. The ROG G20 also offers wireless connectivity in addition to a wired LAN Port, along with space for two internal drives.
All models share the familiar black and red ROG colour scheme, a nice mix of USB 3.1, 3.0 and 2.0 ports and 7.1 audio. There is no word on the pricing for either of these desktops, keep an eye out for updates as we learn more.
Subject: Motherboards | October 9, 2015 - 06:00 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Z170, Skylake, ROG, overclocking, motherboard, Maximus VIII Extreme, lga1151, asus
While a little less flashy looking than some of the performance motherboards we’ve seen lately, opting for an understated gray/red color scheme over a black PCB, there is nothing subtle about the new Maximus VIII Extreme. From the specs it looks to be the most overbuilt gaming/overclocking motherboard possible for the Intel Z170 chipset, and that’s exactly what the ROG Extreme motherboards are made for.
Here are the (very lengthy) specifications:
- CPU: LGA1151 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i7/i5/i3/Pentium®/Celeron®
- CPU Cache Ratio Tuning
- Turbo Ratio OC
- BCLK OC (Pro-Clock)
- iGPU OC
- DRAM: Spec supported 4x DIMM, max. 64GB
- DDR4 3866(O.C.) non-ECC, un-buffered memory, XMP 2.0
- Extreme Overclocking
- OC Zone: Retry button, Safe Boot button, LN2 mode, Slow Mode switch, Probelt, PCIe x16 lane switch, DRAM channel jumper
- OC Gadget: OC Panel II
- OC Design: ASUS PRO Clock Technology
- Optimize System
- Power Design: Extreme Engine Digi+
- DRAM Layout: 2nd Generation T-Topology
- Performance Optimization
- Intel® Quick Sync Video
- Intel® Smart Response Technology
- USB 3.1 Boost
- HW Fast Boot support
- Network: Intel® I219-V NIC with LANGuard Anti-surge
- Network bandwidth management: GameFirst III + GameFirst IV (Beta)
- Intel® Rapid Start Technology
- Intel® Smart Connect Technology
- Expansion Slots:
- PCIex16 @ x16 - 1x Max. @Gen3
- PCIex16 @ x4 - 1x Max. @Gen3
- PCIex16 @ x8/x4 - 1x Max. @Gen3
- PCIex16 @ x4 - 1x Max. @Gen3 via PCH
- PCIex1 @ x1 - 2x Max. @Gen3
The included OC Panel II fits in an open 5.25” bay
- BIOS: CPU-Free Update/USB BIOS Flashback/UEFI Level Update/EZ Flash 3/BIOS Flash Protection/CrashFree BIOS 3
- BIOS feature:
- All fans including pump header are DC and PWM mode compatible
- Wizard for simple OC and RAID
- SSD Secure Erase
- My Favorite & Shortcut
- Boot Logo Size Adjustment
- F12 BIOS Print
- Power Solution:
- Full Digital 8 Phase CPU Power Design
- 4 Phase for iGPU
- 2 Phase Digital DRAM Power Design with ASUS DRAM Power Utility
- System Agent Power: 1 Phase for VCCSA
- Extreme Engine Digi+
- Dual PWM Controllers, 1 for Vcore, 1 for VGT
- 10K Black Metallic Capacitors
- MicroFine Alloy Chokes
- OptiMOS™ MOSFET
- Real-time adjustment: ASUS DIGI+ Power Control Utility
- Anti-Surge Protection
- Mass Storage:
- 1x M.2 socket 3 with M Key; Supporting form factor 2242, 2260, 2280, 22110, PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA mode, PCIe RAID
- 1x U.2 connector (sharing PCIe with M.2)
- 2x SATA Express via PCH (SATA-E 1 share SATA with M.2)
- 8x SATA 6Gbps (2 via PCH native; 4 via SATA-E; 2 via ASM1061)
- RAID: RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 via iRST 14
- USB Support:
- 4x 3.1 (1 Type-A and 1 Type-C via Intel Alpine Ridge; 2 Type-A via Asmedia USB 3.1 controller)
- 4x USB 3.0 (4 rear, 4 mid) via PCH
- 6x USB 2.0 - 6 mid via PCH, two shared with ROG extension (ROG_EXT) port
- Bundled Software
- AI Suite 3 (Real-Time OC); ROG GameFirst III + GameFirst IV (Beta); ROG Keybot II; RAMCache; ROG RAMDisk; USB 3.1 Boost; ROG CPU-Z; ROG MemTweakIt; Lighting Control
Pricing and availability were not immediately available.
Subject: General Tech | October 6, 2015 - 08:20 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Starcraft II, starcraft, blizzard, pc gaming, legacy of the void
And oh boy is it a big one. Turning on the Battle.net launcher automatically downloads about 14GB worth of StarCraft II code and content. The patch includes the new user interface that we reported on earlier, but it also opens the Whispers of Oblivion prequel campaign for Legacy of the Void to the masses, changes the file format of game content to CASC, which might explain the huge download, and gives the option of a 64-bit game executable, and more.
About the CASC format, it was introduced in Heroes of the Storm and Warlords of Draenor as a method of storing content. It should be faster, more error resistant, easier to patch, and easier to extend the functionality of. I'm not sure how this will affect modders, authorized or otherwise, but I'm guessing that Blizzard is happy to deprecate a 20 year-old format. I'm not sure if they're migrating the content from MPQ to CASC on the client machine, or just re-downloading the content in the new format, but a 14GB patch is doing something. Lastly, this new format and the 64-bit launcher might even allow for bigger games and mods. If anyone has any experience with modding Blizzard games, be sure to leave a note in the comments, even anonymously.
Legacy of the Void will arrive on November 10th.
Subject: General Tech | October 8, 2015 - 06:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: cherry mx brown, G.Skill, ripjaws, KM780, input, mechanical keyboard
G.SKILL has extended their Ripjaws family beyond RAM with the introduction of the KM780, a mechanical keyboard sporting some unique features. For lighting enthusiasts the Cherry MX Brown keys are clear instead of black which allows the backlighting to show through significantly more than on other boards. There is a bar at the back of the keyboard which adds an interesting aesthetic and allows for a cord holder to be incorporated into the design. As well, not only can you program macros using the software there are keys which can be depressed to allow you to program a macro on the fly while playing a game. The lighting is perhaps a bit much for some but if you are a fan of keyboards that are seen and not heard you should check out the full review at Overclockers Club.
"Upon first look at the KM780, I was taken aback by the design. The bars looked odd to me, but in use they didn't bother me, in fact I had many ideas as to possible uses for them including using them as tie downs for traveling, such as to LAN parties, and for locking the keyboard down to a surface using clamps on the bars – great for systems where the keyboard will move a lot such as gaming PC chair rigs."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- TteSports Commander Gaming Gear Combo Keyboard & Mouse @ eTeknix
- Element Gaming Beryllium Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ eTeknix
- E-Blue Mazer K727 Mechanical Keyboard @ Modders-Inc
- Evoluent VerticalMouse 4 Review @ Hardware Secrets
Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2015 - 02:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, far cry primal, ubisoft
Far Cry Primal was announced and it is even more console-centric than the previous release, seeing as how the PC launch will be a month after its initial release. We can only hope that Ubisoft does spend time making sure that high end PCs do have graphic features that take advantage of the power provided by new GPUs. As for the gameplay it should be interesting as there will be no more machine guns and fancy pistols, you will be stabbing mammoths with pointy sticks and running for your life from sabretooth tigers. It also sounds as though eating enough food and other features common to the plethora of survival sims will be included, making this very different from previous games. Check out the trailer and screenshots at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN if you haven't seen them yet.
"Ubisoft attempted to announce Far Cry Primal [official site] with a tantalising livestream, which was rather spoiled by a brief leak of the game’s name and basic details. Now we know more, including proper trailers, screenshots, and a release date… which will see the game land on PC the month after it’ll arrive on console."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Trailer Breakdown: EVERYTHING Is Brilliant About The Coast Guard Trailer @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Master of Orion Trailer Gives First Look At Combat @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Cyberpunk “Bigger Than Anything CD Projekt Has Done” @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- PC system requirements for Star Wars: Battlefront published @ HEXUS
- Team Fortress 2 Marks Halloween With Alien Invasion @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Deus Ex Is 15, So Here’s Cartoon Denton & Jensen @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Fallout: Autumn Leaves New Vegas Mod @ nexus mods
Last month NVIDIA introduced the world to the GTX 980 in a new form factor for gaming notebook. Using the same Maxwell GPU, the same performance levels but with slightly tweaked power delivery and TDPs, notebooks powered by the GTX 980 promise to be a noticeable step faster than anything before it.
Late last week I got my hands on the updated MSI GT72S Dominator Pro G, the first retail ready gaming notebook to not only integrate the new GTX 980 GPU but also an unlocked Skylake mobile processor.
This machine is something to behold - though it looks very similar to previous GT72 versions, this machine hides hardware unlike anything we have been able to carry in a backpack before. And the sexy red exterior with MSI Dragon Army logo blazoned across the back definitely help it to stand out in a crowd. If you happen to be in a crowd of notebooks.
A quick spin around the GT72S reveals a sizeable collection of hardware and connections. On the left you'll find a set of four USB 3.0 ports as well as four audio inputs and ouputs and an SD card reader.
On the opposite side there are two more USB 3.0 ports (totalling six) and the optical / Blu-ray burner. With that many USB 3.0 ports you should never struggle with accessories availability - headset, mouse, keyboard, hard drive and portable fan? Check.
Subject: General Tech | October 6, 2015 - 01:11 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nuclear, security
Stuxnet hit the news five years ago when it was discovered infecting the industrial Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition systems of factories all across the world, up to and including nuclear plants. The breadth of the attack was a bit more than what Israeli intelligence and the NSA originally intended but they did succeed in severely damaging their actual target which was an Iranian uranium enrichment plant. Unfortunately it seems the development of Stuxnet might have been somewhat of a waste of resources as they could probably have achieved the same results with a simple man in the middle attack.
The Chatham House recently released a report on the state of security in nuclear power plants and facilities across the globe and the results are horrifying to say the least. From the overview that The Register provides the level of security present in many of these facilities is commensurate with your average high school. The idea that these plants are air-gapped is a fallacy and the code for the control systems can be easily altered remotely without the need to design a complex virus to infect them. Thankfully it is very difficult to cause a nuclear plant to go critical but these vulnerabilities can still cause damage to machinery and interfere with the plants ability to provide power to customers. You may not want to read the whole story if you want to sleep well tonight.
"The report adds that search engines can "readily identify critical infrastructure components with" VPNs, some of which are power plants. It also adds that facility operators are "sometimes unaware of" them."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD partners with Oculus and Dell to power Oculus ready PCs @ DigiTimes
- iOS malware YiSpecter: iPhones menaced by software nasty @ The Register
- Atom-thin transistor defies fundamental limits @ Nanotechweb
- Microsoft's big Tuesday reveal: New mobiles and slabs? Win 10 shock? @ The Register
- Chocolate Factory plops Marshmallow on Android slabs @ The Register
- Surface Book: MacBook Pro rival packs a Skylake chip and Nvidia GPU @ The Inquirer
- ASUS RT-AC87U & RT-AC3200 Routers Review @ Hardware Canucks
- NikKTech & Mionix Enjoy Gaming Worldwide Giveaway
- Win 1 of 3 be quiet! Silent Base 600 PC cases @ KitGuru
Subject: Storage | October 6, 2015 - 07:22 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Phison PS3110-S10, centon, C-380
The last time we heard from Centon they were using the SandForce 2281 SSD controller, which they have dropped in preference to a Phison controller in their new C-380 series of SSDs. Benchmark Reviews recently reviewed their 480GB model, using MLC NAND and sporting a 4Gb cache of DDR3-1600. The benchmark results were quite varied, sometimes the drive came in at the top of the pack yet other times it was well below average, especially writing to the drive. There is a 1 year warranty on the drive and currently it is on sale at $219 for the 480GB model, down from the list price of $399.99 ... perhaps not a drive to recommend to your friends.
"Centon isn’t a name many enthusiasts will know. I’d never heard of the company myself until this review sample; apparently, they’ve been in business for over 35 years manufacturing DRAM and flash memory products, and have only recently entered the consumer marketplace. The Centon C-380 480GB SSD SATA-III Solid State Drive, part of the “Enthusiast Solutions” series, is the focus of what Benchmark Reviews will be putting through our test suite."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- KingFast 256GB F9 SSD Review @ Madshrimps
- Micron M510DC 480GB SSD Review @ NikKTech
- Plextor M6V 256GB @ Kitguru
- The Ultimate Guide To SSD Benchmark Software @ The SSD Review
Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 8, 2015 - 02:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: reeven, ouranos
The previous models of Reeven we have seen reviewed were for SFF systems, the Steropes and Brontes. The Ouranos that Modders-Inc recently reviewed is somewhat larger, though nowhere near the mass of the serious coolers which Morry prefers. It stands at 143x161x95mm (5.6x6.3x3.7") and weighs just over a kilogram at 1030g. The design allowed for the heatsink to be installed in any orientation without interfering with RAM or components close to the socket and the adjustable fan speed lets you chose your own balance between noise and cooling performance. Read on to see the full review.
"There was a time when the prevalent design philosophy for CPU cooler design was "the bigger, the better". That is no longer the case as users now look for smarter implementations that are much more convenient and functional than simply brute-force cooling. Smaller coolers present the advantage of better compatibility with various components so the latest generation of large CPU …"
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- EK-XRES DCP 4.0 PWM combo @ HardwareOverclock
- Swiftech H240-X AIO CPU Cooler @ Modders-Inc
- Deepcool GamerStorm Captain 240 @ Kitguru
- Antec P380 Full Tower Review @ NikKTech
- Streacom F12C @ techPowerUp
- be quiet! Silent Base 600 Window Mid-Tower Chassis @ eTeknix
- BitFenix AEGIS mATX Case Review @ Neoseeker
- be quiet! Silent Base 600 (Windowed) @ Kitguru
- Cougar MX200 Case Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX Mid-Tower Chassis @ eTeknix
- Silverstone ML06-E Mini-ITX HTPC Case @ Benchmark Reviews
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 7, 2015 - 01:51 AM | Sebastian Peak
The latest game bundle for NVIDIA GPU customers offers the buyer a choice between Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege or Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.
To qualify for the free game you need to purchase a GTX 980 Ti, GTX 980, or GTX 970 graphics card. On the mobile side of things purchasing a laptop with GTX 970M or above graphics earns the game.
"It’s the final few months of the year, and as always that means a rush of new triple-A games that promise to excite and delight over the Holiday season. This year, Ubisoft's Assassin’s Creed Syndicate andTom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege are vying for glory. And to ensure the definitive versions are found on PC we’ve teamed up with Ubisoft once again to add NVIDIA GameWorks effects to each, bringing richer, more detailed experiences to your desktop."
The Bullets or Blades bundle is already underway as of 10/06/15, and to qualify for the game codes purchases require the retailer to be participating in this program. Full details are available from NVIDIA here.
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