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Final Fantasy XIII, XIII-2, and Lightning Returns Comes to PC

Subject: General Tech | September 22, 2014 - 02:50 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, final fantasy xv, final fantasy xiii, final fantasy

Square Enix is "very interested" in the PC platform. They acknowledge that the Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII Steam re-releases were quite popular. These titles were originally released on the PC in 1998 and 2000, respectively. They are now interested enough to bring the three titles in the Final Fantasy XIII universe to Steam that were Xbox 360 and PS3 exclusives. Also, the first title is launching for $16, $14.39 on pre-order, so they are not even gouging us with a full-price tag.

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The first title will be available in two and a half weeks (October 9th). The other two are expected to roll out by Spring 2015. Also, Final Fantasy IV was released on September 17th. They are actually releasing them faster than most people can probably play them. The flood gates are open. In their Final Fantasy XIII news post, PC Gamer muses about the rest of the franchise reaching the PC, such as FFX and FFX-2. It would make sense. I mean, they released (or are working on) seven remakes, not even counting the two MMOs. That is already a large chunk of the main franchise.

Personally, I wonder if this is testing the waters for Final Fantasy XV.

Final Fantasy XIII is being released on October 9th for about $15, give or take a dollar.

Source: PC Gamer

Sleeping Dogs Developer's Triad Wars Is PC Exclusive

Subject: General Tech | September 22, 2014 - 08:43 PM |
Tagged: united front, triad wars, square enix, sleeping dogs

Triad Wars, set in the Sleeping Dogs universe, takes the setting into an online "open-world" game that is exclusively for the PC. United Front, the developer of both Sleeping Dogs and this title, is said to be partnering with Nexon to make it a free-to-play game, at least last we heard. Suddenly, PC-exclusivity makes a lot of sense. The game is currently in closed beta, which they are accepting applications for, but it is set to launch in 2015.

The most weird part, to me at least, is that Square Enix is still involved with the title and Nexon is mentioned nowhere (outside of the aforementioned statement by United Front's CEO's from last June). United Front is definitely the developer, okay, but how are the other two companies involved, specifically? Did Nexon get pushed out? How is Square involved, other than hosting the accounts? No clue. Perhaps this will be answered in tomorrow's Reddit AMA. We'll see.

Triad Wars is expected to be Free-to-Play and officially launch in 2015.

Source: United Front

Event on September 30th "For Windows and the Enterprise"

Subject: General Tech | September 16, 2014 - 08:01 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows, windows 9, threshold

In two weeks, Microsoft will be holding an event to communicate where Windows is going. It is expected that a public technical preview will launch either at the show, or immediately thereafter. The invitation reads, "Join us to hear about what's next for Windows and the enterprise." This seems to mean that the next version of their desktop OS, probably called Windows 9, will have a strong focus on enterprise features. Contrast this with Windows 8, which I feel comfortable saying wanted to win consumers away from iOS and Android tablets.

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Image Credit: The Verge

Virtual desktops and the Start Menu's return were strong signs, too.

Pretty much the only announcement that they could make to get me excited would be sideloading for all versions (which would also remove developer certificate requirements for those apps). I know that it is seductive from a "gatekeeper against malware" point of view, but it decimates the whole reason for having a computer. The Windows Store requirements are just too terrible. No third-party browser engines? C'mon. Microsoft has expressed their continued support of these regulations at Build, but I can hope for a surprise. Seriously Microsoft, give users the option to install what they want, regardless of the API used.

Two weeks until we know. We might even have access by then.

Source: The Verge

Logitech G910 Orion Spark RGB Mechanical Keyboard Announced for November at $179.99

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | September 17, 2014 - 01:04 AM |
Tagged: mechanical keyboard, logitech, g910 orion spark rgb, g910

The newly announced Logitech G910 Orion Spark RGB mechanical keyboard is based on their own mechanical switch, developed in partnership with Omron, dubbed "Romer-G". It supports 16.8 million colors in the backlight under each individual key. Logitech will provide software to control this lighting and an SDK for developers to integrate custom functionality into their game. It includes nine macro buttons with three profiles.

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The Romer-G switch is (at least currently) exclusive to this keyboard. It is designed with a very small actuation point, 1.5mm from the top of the key. This means that you finger will need to travel less distance, and thus take less time, before the action is registered. From a feeling standpoint, they have a soft spring and a tactile bump at the point of actuation, but no click. Logitech did not comment on whether the G910 contains o-rings to further dampen the sound.

The switches are designed for high durability as well, with an expected lifespan of 70 million keystrokes (compared to 50 million advertised by Cherry and 60 million for Razer). That said, mechanical switches are designed to be put in industrial and medical devices and left unmaintained for decades, so I am not sure how practical that advantage will be.

Their partner, Omron, also collaborates with Logitech on mechanical switches for mice.

The Logitech G910 Orion Spark RGB in planned to be released this November for $179.99.

Source: Logitech G

The EVGA X99 Classified is expensive and impressive

Subject: Motherboards | September 19, 2014 - 12:41 PM |
Tagged: evga, X99, X99 Classified

The EVGA X99 Classified is definitely a premium board as it carries a $400 price tag and Legit Reviews took a look at it to see if it was worth the price.  It certainly comes with a lot of extras including 2-way, 3-way and 4-way SLI Bridges in addition to an assortment of other cables and headers.  As is implied this board can support 4 way SLI or CrossFire with it's five PCIe x16 slots as well as a 4x slot.  It bears two M.2 ports, one a type 2 and one type 3 as well as an onboard Creative Sound Core3D codex.  The overclocking potential is good, Legit hit Core i7-5960X at 4.5GHz at only 1.33V and they highly recommend it to anyone that can afford it.

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"EVGA has been known as some of the best components out there for some time now. Today I have the opportunity to look at the flagship motherboard from their Intel X99 product stack. The EVGA X99 Classified motherboard (151-HE-E999-KR) is hitting the shelves with a retail price of only $399.99! The EVGA X99 Classified isn’t geared for the casual overclockers, it’s built for those that want to push the Intel core i7-5960X to the extreme speeds using liquid nitrogen and other sub-ambient cooling methods. Read on to see how this board performs!"

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

ASUS Announces STRIX GTX 980 and STRIX GTX 970

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 19, 2014 - 01:57 PM |
Tagged: asus, strix, STRIX GTX 970, STRIX GTX 980, maxwell

The ASUS STRIX series comes with a custom DirectCU II cooler that is capable of running at 0dB when not under full load, in fact you can choose the temperature at which the fans activate using the included GPU Tweak application.  The factory overclock is modest but thanks to that cooler and the 10-phase power you will be able to push the card even further. The best news is the price, you get all of these extras for almost the same price as the reference cards are selling at!

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Fremont, CA (19th September, 2014) - ASUS today announced the STRIX GTX 980 and STRIX GTX 970, all-new gaming graphics cards packed with exclusive ASUS technologies, including DirectCU II and GPU Tweak for cooler, quieter and faster performance. The STRIX GTX 980 and STRIX GTX 970 are factory-overclocked at 1279MHz and 1253MHz respectively and are fitted with 4GB of high-speed GDDR5 video memory operating at speeds up to 7010MHz for the best gameplay experience.

Play League of Legends and StarCraft in silence!
The STRIX GTX 980 and STRIX GTX 970 both come with the ASUS-exclusive DirectCU II cooling technology. With a 10mm a heatpipe to transport heat away from the GPU core, operating temperatures are 30% cooler and 3X quieter than reference designs. Efficient cooling and lower operating temperatures allow STRIX graphics cards to incorporate an intelligent fan-stop mode that can handle games such as League of Legends1 and StarCraft1 passively, making both cards ideal for gamers that prefer high-performance, low-noise PCs.

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Improved stability and reliability with Digi+ VRM technology
STRIX GTX 980 and STRIX GTX 970 graphics cards include Digi+ VRM technology. This 10-phase power design in the STRIX GTX 980 and 6-phase design in the STRIX GTX 970 uses a digital voltage regulator to reduce power noise by 30% and enhance energy efficiency by 15% – increasing long term stability and reliability. The STRIX GTX 970 is designed to use a single 8-pin power connecter for clean and easy cable management.

Real-time monitoring and control with GPU Tweak software
The STRIX GTX 980 and STRIX GTX 970 come with GPU Tweak, an exclusive ASUS tool that enables users to squeeze the very best performance from their graphics card. GPU Tweak provides the ability to finely control GPU speeds, voltages and video memory clock speeds in real time, so overclocking is easy and can be carried out with high confidence.

GPU Tweak also includes a streaming tool that lets users share on-screen action over the internet in real time, meaning others can watch live as games are played. It is even possible to add a title to the streaming window along with scrolling text, pictures and webcam images.

AVAILABILITY & PRICING
ASUS STRIX GTX 980 and GTX 970 graphics cards will be available at ASUS authorized resellers and distributors starting on September 19, 2014. Suggested US MSRP pricing is $559 for the STRIX GTX 980 and $339 for the STRIX GTX 970.

Source: ASUS

If you like DisplayPort 1.3 wait until you meet USB 3.1

Subject: General Tech | September 23, 2014 - 09:44 AM |
Tagged: 4k, vesa, dockport, displayport 1.3, usb 3.1, DisplayPort Alternate Mode

The bilateral symmetry of the Type C plug has already put smiles on many faces, not having to flip the USB connector three times to find the right plug orientation will be a nice treat and steal some thunder from Apple's Lightning.  That is not all that USB 3.1 will be bringing however, 10Gbps of data throughput and up to 100W on a single cable have also been announced as part of the new standards capabilities.  There is something new today as well, support for DisplayPort over USB 3.1 which will perhaps only be available over specialized cables but could become a standard feature. 

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DisplayPort Alternate Mode takes advantage of the nature of USB 3.1 which offers four lanes for traffic to pass through, with a choice of USB data at up to 10Gbps per lane, up to 100W of power, DisplayPort AV at up to 8.1Gbps or at DP 1.2a speeds of 5.4Gbps which is likely the top speed on the first cables released.   For those initial cables you will need all four available lanes to be able to display at 4k resolutions but once the speed is increased to 1.3's 8.1Gbps you should be able to see VESA's promise of 4k video, Superspeed USB data and up to 100 Watts of power over a single cable.  Even when all four lanes are devoted to DisplayPort to run 5k video the cable will still support USB 2.0 speeds thanks yo separate pins dedicated for that function.

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"The new Type C USB connector is causing a lot of excitement, thanks in part to its reversibility (you can plug it in either way up) and high rates of data and power transfer. But there's now another reason to buy into in: DisplayPort support."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: VESA

NVIDIA's Maxwell offers smart performance

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 19, 2014 - 11:17 AM |
Tagged: vr direct, video, nvidia, mfaa, maxwell, GTX 980, GTX 970, GM204, geforce, dx12, dsr

The answer to the two most important questions are as follows, the GTX 980 will cost you around $560 compared to the $500 for an R9 290X and the GTX 970 an attractive $330 compared to $380 for an R9 290.  Availability is hard to predict but the cards will be shipping soon and you can pre-order your choice of card by following the links on the last page of Ryan's review.  Among all the new features that have been added to this new GPU one of the most impressive is the power draw, as you can see in [H]ard|OCP's review this card pulls 100W less than the 290X at full load although it did run warmer than the 290X Double Dissipation card which [H] compared it to, something that may change with a 980 bearing a custom cooler.  Follow those links to see the benchmarking results of this card, both synthetic and in game.

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"Today NVIDIA launches its newest Maxwell GPU. There will be two new GPUs, the GeForce GTX 980 and GeForce GTX 970. These next generation GPUs usher in new features and performance that move the gaming industry forward. We discuss new features, architecture, and evaluate the gameplay performance against the competition."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Google+ Not Required for Google Accounts Anymore

Subject: General Tech | September 22, 2014 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: google, google+

I cannot help but feel like this is a step on the eventual phasing-out of Google's most recent attempt at a standalone social network, Google+. Until just recently, the company was doing all that they could to force it into each of their services; now, they give you a "no thanks" option when creating a Google account (for GMail, Google Docs, and so forth).

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Image Credit: Marketing Land

Marketing Land claims to disagree. They expect that Google will "continue making subtle changes to the service" such as enhancements to Hangouts and Hangouts on Air, or even spinning out Google+ Photos. The thing is, these initiatives will not mean that they are supporting Google+; rather, it says that they are supporting the parts of it that worked. The article did not even mention actual Google+, the social network, as something that Google might consider updating -- just Hangouts and other sub-products.

This all depends on what you consider "Google" to be. Not having a profile on a message-sharing service does not really change much, despite how it feels. The real point should be reducing the barrier-to-entry for cross-promotion. A unified login helps in reducing effort to acquire new users without any real risk. Forcing users into your ecosystem could help, if it does not shove them away.

And Google seems to care even less about keeping users in their eco-system with a limited communication and microblogging platform.

ECS "Design Your Own LIVA" Competition Is Almost Over!

Subject: General Tech, Systems | September 17, 2014 - 11:27 PM |
Tagged: LIVA, ECS, case mods, case mod contest

ECS USA is holding a competition for North American users to design mods for the LIVA mini PC kit. The contest consists of three phases and round one, whose winners will advance to the second phase, ends on September 30th. If you want to enter in the contest, you will need to submit your first phase entry before then to be eligible for the second phase. Check out Morry's post for a second opinion.

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What are the phases?

Round 1 (Ends September 30th): You will need to publish the "soft copy" of your design draft to Facebook. This will consist of six illustrations: Front, Rear, Left Side, Right Side, Top, and 45-degree 3D illustration. See the image below for an example. The top ten participants, based on Facebook likes, will be provided with a white LIVA mini PC kit to modify in Round 2.

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Round 2 (Ends October 31st): The winners of Round 1 will, using the provided LIVA kits and your design draft, implement their customizations. Photographs of these modified cases will be sent to ECS (I assume by Facebook) for a team of judges to rank them first, second, third, or runner-up.

Round 3 (November 7th): Sit back, relax, and wait for the judges to select winners. The Champion will receive $1000 USD for their trouble, second place will get $500 USD, and third will get $300 USD. The honorable mentions will get various swags.

The contest is open to residents of the USA and Canada. Do it fast! It's less than two weeks and, as I understand it, the later you enter, the less time you will have to accumulate Facebook likes.

Source: ECS
Manufacturer: Noctua

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Noctua

Noctua is a well known player in the CPU cooling business with their focus on high quality solutions that don't kill your eardrums. The NH-D15 cooler is their current flagship product, building upon the design of their much loved NH-D14 cooler for an even higher performance product offering. The NH-D15 is composed of dual cooling towers, threaded through by six heat pipes. The heat pipes and copper base are all nickel-plated, giving the unit the signature Noctua look. We put the NH-D15 up against other high-performance solutions to best gage its cooling abilities. High performance comes at a cost with the NH-D15 being no exception at a $99.99 MSRP.

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Courtesy of Noctua

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Courtesy of Noctua

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Courtesy of Noctua

The NH-D15 incorporates everything that Noctua has learned in designing its NH-D14 and U-series coolers, coming up with an extreme performance product that maintains almost universal motherboard compatibility. The cooler features twin 150mm wide cooling towers with airflow provided by dual NF-A15 150mm, 1500RPM fans. The heat transfers from the copper base plate to the aluminum radiator towers via six copper heat pipes. The copper base and heat pipes are all nickel-plated, providing scratch and corrosion resistance without affecting thermal transfer capabilities. To ensure optimal acoustics, the NH-A15 fans have rubber corner guards on all four corners to minimize fan vibration and vibration transfer to the radiator. The CPU base plate is seamless and polished to a mirror finish, ensuring an optimal mating surface.

Continue reading our review of the Noctua NH-D15 CPU air cooler!

Micron's M600 SSD, SLC in the front MLC in the back

Subject: Storage | September 18, 2014 - 04:10 PM |
Tagged: micron, M600, SLC. MLC, DWA

Micron's M600 SSD has a new trick up its sleeve, called dynamic write acceleration which is somewhat similar to the HDDs with an NAND cache to accelerate the speed frequently accessed data can be read but with a brand new trick.  In this case SLC NAND acts as the cache for MLC NAND but it does so dynamically, the NAND can switch from SLC to MLC and back depending on the amount of usage.  There is a cost, the SLC storage capacity is 50% lower than MLC so the larger the cache the lower the total amount of storage is available.  As well the endurance rating is also higher than previous drives, not because of better NAND but because of new trim techniques being used.  This is not yet a retail product so The Tech Report does not have benchmarks but this goes to show you there are plenty more tricks we can teach SSDs.

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"Micron's new M600 SSD can flip its NAND cells between SLC and MLC modes on the fly, enabling a dynamic write cache that scales with the drive's unused capacity. We've outlined how this dynamic write acceleration is supposed to impact performance, power consumption, and endurance."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Tickle the keys on Cooler Master's new gaming board

Subject: General Tech | September 22, 2014 - 11:02 AM |
Tagged: input, cooler master, NovaTouch TKL, gaming keyboard, topre

Cooler Master’s NovaTouch TKL using something called Hybrid Capacitive switches, which you can see illustrated below.  These Topre keys use electric capacitance changes to register a keystroke as opposed to the mechanical actuation on Cherry MX switches but retain a similar feeling thanks to the spring used to return the key to it's initial position as opposed to relying on the rubber dome.  TechGage compared this keyboard favourably to the Logitech G710+ with CHERRY MX brown switches which they had used previously, a lack of clicking noises and motion that felt better to them overall garnered this keyboard a recommendation.  However as the keyboard will be released at $200, you should probably try it yourself before investing in it.

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"Cooler Master’s no stranger to peripherals; when mechanical switches became the hottest thing overnight, it wasted no time getting into the lab to make sure it created products people yearned for. The company’s just-released NovaTouch TKL highlights that goal, with its “Hybrid Capacitive” switch – one that really, really surprised us."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Techgage

ASUS and Robert Morris University Partner for "eSports"

Subject: General Tech, Displays | September 22, 2014 - 08:00 PM |
Tagged: esports, asus, vg248qe

I am a little torn about the term "eSports". Yes, I've used it. It is the accepted name. According to the definition, it mostly fits its role. Grammar and language are also fluid concepts, too. They can mean different things as time passes. I guess my real problem is that it attempts to snuggle up to "sports" for acceptance, but maintains a single-letter divider (unlike golf and, to some extent, curling). In my opinion, it is either a sport or it is something else entirely (a game, maybe?).

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Apparently they support StarCraft, too.

Also, it should be considered legitimate. Spectator sports are for entertainment, and "eSports" are entertaining to watch. Sure, it is not for everyone -- but neither is any other sport.

Two organizations that do consider it legitimate is ASUS and Robert Morris University (RMU). The college has recently announced scholarships for the top League of Legends players. After all, a sports scholarship is just an advertisement expense from the university's view. That applies to any sports scholarship. The point is to lure students to your campus and spectators to sporting events. Consistent winnings and great players gets your name out there on both fronts. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as they uphold a high standard of education, too.

Today's news is that ASUS partnered with RMU to provide "over three dozen" monitors to the university. Specifically, the VG248QE 24-inch, 144Hz display. This is almost $10,000 USD of hardware at current retail price. The press release is unclear whether ASUS donated the panels, or if they were sold at a discount. I reached out to the university over Twitter for clarification.

Honestly, I find this interesting and an innovative extension on old practices.

Source: ASUS

Android One sub-$100 Phones for Overseas Announced

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | September 17, 2014 - 02:03 PM |
Tagged: google, Android, android one

In much the same way as FirefoxOS is targeting foreign markets with low-cost phones, with the Intex Cloud Fx as the extreme example, Google is pushing for the overseas markets with Android One. Based on Android 4.4 and updated as new versions launch, for up to two years at least, the devices will not be old and outdated.

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In terms of hardware, the platform is said to feature front and rear cameras, a quad-core processor, a microSD card slot, and dual SIM slots. Google has several partners involved with the initiative: Acer, Airtel, Alcatel, ASUS, HTC, Intex, Karbonn, LAVA, Lenovo, MediaTek, Cromax, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Spice, and Xolo. Besides a baseline standard, and a bit of marketing, there does not seem to be much to the platform itself.

Of course, delivering a quality standard, at an affordable price, to places which normally cannot obtain smartphones at all is noteworthy.

Source: Google

Want Haswell-EP Xeons Without Expensive DDR4 Memory?

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards, Processors | September 20, 2014 - 03:51 PM |
Tagged: xeon, Haswell-EP, ddr4, ddr3, Intel

Well this is interesting and, while not new, is news to me.

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The upper-tier Haswell processors ushered DDR4 into the desktops for enthusiasts and servers, but DIMMs are quite expensive and incompatible with the DDR3 sticks that your organization might have been stocking up on. Despite the memory controller being placed on the processor, ASRock has a few motherboards which claim DDR3 support. ASRock, responding to Anandtech's inquiry, confirmed that this is not an error and Intel will launch three SKUs, one eight-core, one ten-core, and one twelve-core, with a DDR3-supporting memory controller.

The three models are:

  E5-2629 v3 E5-2649 v3 E5-2669 v3
Cores (Threads) 8 (16) 10 (20) 12 (24)
Clock Rate 2.4 GHz 2.3 GHz 2.3 Ghz
L3 Cache 20MB 25MB 30MB
TDP 85W 105W 120W

The processors, themselves, might not be cheap or easily attainable, though. There are rumors that Intel will require customers purchase at least a minimum amount. It might not be worth buying these processors unless you have a significant server farm (or similar situation).

Source: Anandtech

Can't wait for Homeworld? Ancient Space drops in a week!

Subject: General Tech | September 17, 2014 - 11:29 AM |
Tagged: gaming, ancient space, space sim, rts

On September 23rd a new space strategy game by the name of Ancient Space will drop, giving those of us impatiently awaiting the Homeworld Remasters release something to tide us over.  One particularly interesting feature of the game is the voice acting which will include Ron Glass from Firefly, Dina Meyer from Starship Troopers and other series, Aaron Douglas from Battlestar Galactica and several other names immediately recognizable to Sci-Fi fans.  The trailer below shows off some of the gameplay which also looks to be as impressive as the cast.   Hopefully this will be as enjoyable for the story as it is for the gameplay.  You can follow the links from Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN for more information.

The Fragging Frogs have been up to quite a bit lately, which you would have completely missed had you not the wisdom to have already joined the best gaming group on the web.  For those few who have yet to join up, once you've checked out the previous link there is a new thread to help introduce yourself and your collection of games to the group.  Try it, you just might like it!

"I feel like I’ve written about quite a few space RTSs in recent times, but none of them are releasing quite as soon or look quite as promising as Ancient Space. The latest trailer thankfully does more than show up Adam’s lack of sci-fi TV knowledge with its voice cast. It’s actual game footage, UI and all, and interspersed with comments from the developers about how the ship customisation and campaign systems will work."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Corsair's quiet HX1000i PSU could be with you for a long time

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 17, 2014 - 11:59 AM |
Tagged: PSU, corsair, HXi Series, HX1000i, kilowatt, 80 Plus Platinum, Corsair Link

Before even delving into the specifications there are two very attractive features about the Corsair HX1000i modular PSU, it has an 80 Plus Platinum rating and a 7 year warranty.  The 12V rail is capable of delivering 999.6W @ 83.3A and once a small bug in Corsair Link is solved you can actually program the PSU to either provide a single 12V rail or multiple rails.  With eight 6+2 PCIe power connectors you can power even the most demanding of video cards and the dozen SATA power connectors also make it perfect for those with a storage fetish.  At $230 it is not that expensive for a PSU of this power and one of TechPowerUp's favourite things about the PSU was the quiet performance even under load.  Check out the review to get the full picture.

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"Corsair just introduced the new HXi series, comprised of members with Platinum efficiency and full compatibility with the Corsair Link software. Today, we will take a look at the second-strongest unit of the line with 1 kW capacity, ideal for a power-hungry system with up to four VGAs."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Source: techPowerUp

ARChon Brings App Runtime for Chrome Outside ChromeOS

Subject: General Tech | September 20, 2014 - 11:33 AM |
Tagged: chrome os, chrome, google, Android

Last week, we reported on Google's App Runtime for Chrome (ARC) beta release. Its goal is to bring apps from the Google Play Store to ChromeOS through an Android stack built atop Native Client. They are sandboxed, but still hardware-dependent for performance. Since then, vladikoff on GitHub has published ARChon, a project which brings that initiative to desktop OSes.

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Image Credit: ARChon Project

To use Archon, you will need to use an x86-64 version of Chrome 37 (or later) on Windows, Mac, or Linux. This project is not limited to the handful of ARC-compatible apps that Google officially supports. The Android apps need to be converted into Chrome extensions using a tool, also available, called chromeos-apk. In fact, the example app is an open source version of the game, 2048, rather than just the four launch apps from Google.

Whether Google intends to offer this, officially, with their Chrome browser is the most interesting part for me. I would prefer that everything just works everywhere but, failing that, having a supported Android platform on the desktop without dual-booting or otherwise displacing the host itself could be interesting. And yes, Bluestacks exists, but it has not been something that I would recommend, at least in my experience of it.

Source: ARChon

Fanless, SFF or heavy weights, check out the best in quiet coolers

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 23, 2014 - 12:45 PM |
Tagged: heatsink, air cooling, water cooling, quiet

Silent PC Review has just done a major update to their lists of the best Big, Small and Fanless coolers, both air and water.  The Big list requires a fair sized case in which to contain the cooler and consists of those coolers which operate at 20 dBA or less from 1m away with no more than 45°C rise over ambient.  The graph starts with the loudest 20dBA and grows more quiet with the measured temperature appearing at the noise level they tested, those with multiple values have adjustable speeds.  The Small list has the same setup but consists of coolers that should fit in most SFF cases and the fanless lacks noise ratings for obvious reasons.  Check them all out here.

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"Recommended Heatsinks lists SPCR-reviewed top cooling devices for CPUs, VGA and other hot computer parts, ordered by cooling performance and low noise. Major update on 16 Sept 2014."

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CASES & COOLING