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New Mount & Blade: Warband Expansion

Subject: General Tech | October 17, 2014 - 06:32 PM |
Tagged: taleworlds, mount & blade

While it seems odd, it makes more sense once you realize that TaleWorlds is not actually developing it. The company supports its mod community and, for the second time, decided to promote one into a full DLC. The previous mod was Napoleonic Wars, developed by Flying Squirrel Entertainment, which is now a full independent game studio.

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The expansion, Mount & Blade: Viking Conquest, is the commercialized and updated Brytenwalda mod. Being an external effort, I doubt that TaleWorlds diverted much resources away from Mount and Blade II: Bannerlords to release this expansion. As an added benefit, it might launch a new independent games company -- maybe even a virtual furniture and meatball franchise.

While the company has not announced online player counts yet, this engine is known for supporting hundreds of players. Napoleonic Wars regularly has servers with 200-player caps not including horses (although I have heard, but not seen, that people have pushed that up to 250). This could be very interesting for a Viking Age theme.

Source: TaleWorlds

Can you see the difference between these DDR4-3000 DIMMs?

Subject: Memory | October 20, 2014 - 02:12 PM |
Tagged: Vengeance LPX, corsair, Ripjaws 4, G.Skill, hyperx predator, kingston, ddr4, DDR4-3000

With the new DDR4 standard comes new speeds and of course updated branding from the major memory resellers.  As it is brand new there is a possibility that some memory is better than others at this point, which is why Kitguru assembled three different kits to test.  Corsair's Vengeance LPX, G.Skill's Ripjaws 4 and Kingston's HyperX Predator all have very similar specifications on paper though each has a distinctive look.  Read on to find out if there is a brand that you should be looking for right now, or if it is price and availability which should drive your purchasing decision.

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"One of the key technological advancements that the Haswell-E processors and Intel’s latest High-End Desktop (HEDT) platform iteration have brought into the consumer limelight is DDR4. We compare three 16GB quad-channel memory kits from Corsair, G.Skill, and Kingston, all running at 3000MHz. Is there a specific set of ‘go-to’ memory at this early point in the DDR4 life-cycle?"

Here are some more Memory articles from around the web:

Memory

 

Source: KitGuru
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of MSI

MSI upped the ante with their X99S Gaming 9 AC board, combining their black and red Dragon-inspired design with support for the newest Intel LGA2011-3 socket processors and DDR4 memory modules. The board features heat sinks over all the expected areas as well as a large LED-lit heat sink over the X99 chipset. MSI also integrates an armor-style overlay covering their audio components and an overlay cover for their rear panel. One of their most interesting additions is the MSI Streaming Engine, touted to assist with graphics encoding to make up for the lack of the integrated graphics processor in the Haswell-E CPUs. As a flagship board, the MSI X99S Gaming 9 AC comes at a flagship price with an MSRP of $429.99.

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Courtesy of MSI

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Courtesy of MSI

MSI integrated an 8-phase digital power delivery system into the X99S Gaming 9 AC, combining Hi-C and Dark capacitors with super ferrite chokes for optimal power delivery with enhanced power efficiency characteristics. The board includes the following integrated features: eight SATA 3 ports; one SATA Express port; one M.2 PCIe x4 32 Gb/s port; a Qualcomm® Atheros Killer E2205 NIC; Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth; five PCI-Express x16 slots; a 2-digit diagnostic LED display; on-board power, reset, CMOS clear, and OC-Genie buttons; Slow Mode boot, Multi-BIOS, OC Genie mode, and Audio Power switches; Realtek audio solution with isolated audio PCB and Nichicon audio capacitors; dedicated per-channel headphone OP-AMPs; integrated V-Check voltage measurement points; Streaming Engine with integrated AVerMedia HD H.264 encoding chip; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

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Courtesy of MSI

Continue reading our review of the MSI X99S Gaming 9 AC motherboard!

Fancy a look at the MSI GS70 Stealth Pro?

Subject: Mobile | October 17, 2014 - 02:59 PM |
Tagged: msi, GTX 970M, GS70 Stealth Pro, gaming laptop

Hardware Heaven just put up a quick overview of the new MSI GS70 Stealth Pro with the GTX 970M, i7-4710HQ, 16GB of DDR3-1600, a pair of Toshiba m.2 SSDs in RAID0 and a 1TB HDD.  The screen is 17.3" at 1920×1080 and for those using this as a desktop replacement the HDMI and two mini-DisplayPort connections will allow 4K or triple display setups.  It is less than 2cm thick but thanks to the all metal design it should not bend as much as certain other recently released mobile devices.  The benchmarks of a variety of games showed the i7-4710HQ to perform similarly to the i7-4800MQ but the real star was the 970M; check it out here.

To really delve deep into this new mobile GPU check out Ryan's review.

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"Last week NVIDIA launched their latest mobile GPU, based on their Maxwell architecture which powers the likes of their high end GTX 980. Today in our MSI GS70 Stealth Pro Review (GS70 2QE) we take a look at a laptop which uses the new GTX 970M in games such as Alien Isolation and The Enemy Within."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

Mobile

Flustered over Win10's surveillance habits? Have you met Predix?

Subject: General Tech | October 14, 2014 - 06:28 PM |
Tagged: predix, Cisco, Intel, GM, verizon, Privacy, security

GM's Predix asset management platform has been used for a while now, after they came to the realization that they were in the top 20 of the largest software developers on the planet.  They found that by networking the machines in their factories as well as products that have been shipped to customers and are seeing active use that they could increase the efficiency of their factories and their products.  They were aiming for 1% increase, which when you consider the scale of these industries can equate to billions of dollars and in many cases they did see what they had hoped for.

Now Cisco and Intel have signed up to use the Predix platform for the same results, however they will be applying it to the Cloud and edge devices as well as the routers and switches Cisco specializes in.  This should at the very least enhance the ability to monitor network traffic, predict resource shortages and handle outages with a very good possibility of a small increase in performance and efficiency across the board.  This is good news to those who currently deal with the cloud but it is perhaps worth noting that you will be offering up your companies metrics to Predix and you should be aware of any possible security concerns that may raise because of that integration to another system.  You could however argue that once you have moved to the cloud that this is already happening.

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"GE, Intel, Cisco, and Verizon have announced a big data deal to connect Predix — GE’s software platform — to machines, systems, and edge devices regardless of manufacturer."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

ICY DOCK on display with a nice array of drive accessories

Subject: Storage | October 17, 2014 - 05:06 PM |
Tagged: icy dock, ICY CUBE MB561U3S-4S, MB662U3-2S, external drive

Techgage has an assortment of Icy Dock products that they examined to make up this review. The ICY CUBE MB561U3S-4S is a 4-bay external drive enclosure, which will take all of the installed drives and create a single volume out of them.  This happens automatically, there are no other RAID options available when you use this particular dock but it does simplify the setup process.  The MB662U3-2S is a two bay enclosure which offers more choices for setup, you can set the drives to Large, JBOD, RAID 1 or RAID 0.  If you just have a single drive, they also have an external 3.5” SATA HDD enclosure and finally two HDD caddies which slide into a 5.25" drive bay. The first can be set up to fit a pair of 2.5" drives and the second is for hotswapping.  Check them out if you are in need of storage accessories.

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"It has been quite some time since we have looked to see what ICY DOCK has been up to. This is a company that established its reputation by making some very good hard drive accessories through the years. In this article we are going to take a look at several offerings from the company – from mobile to desktop. Let’s see what it has to offer."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: Techgage

Viva la LIVA, your USB powered system

Subject: Systems | October 20, 2014 - 05:42 PM |
Tagged: LIVA, silvermont

Yes, you read that right; this system can be powered by a USB power source, as long as it can provide a minimum of 2.1 amps.  It runs Windows 8.1 on a Silvermont generation Atom, with 64GB of local storage and 2GB of RAM and it is amazingly small, instead of showing you the exterior you can see the size of the board in comparison to the Atom and the VGA port.  It has a UEFI BIOS, certainly pared down in comparison to a high end motherboard but with more than enough options for what this device needs to do.  Check out the MadShrimps review here and be ready for another review to appear on our front page.

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"The mini PC kit ECS has offered is shipped in a DIY format, and incorporates a dual-core Intel Celeron processor, 2GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage. The footprint of the product allows us to carry it anywhere and it can be even powered by an USB powerbank, if it can deliver at least 2.1 A"

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

Source: MadShrimps

Raptr's Top PC Games of Sept. 2014 (Bonus: A Stats Lesson)

Subject: General Tech | October 20, 2014 - 10:14 PM |
Tagged: raptr, pc gaming

Raptr, a PC gaming utility, tracks the time spent within each game and aggregates that data across its user base. Its actual purpose is for game recording, adjusting quality settings for your machine's performance, community engagement, and so forth. Still, it is allowed to collect that data, so it does, and it shows fairly interesting trends of game popularity. Note that these figures represent percentage of total game play, by hour.

Before we get into the numbers, a quick reference about statistics. It may be counter-intuitive, but you can get a pretty accurate result from a relatively small amount of data. Ars Technica's "Steam Gauge" polled 100,000 random Steam accounts, including hidden ones by poking at generated IDs, and came up with fairly accurate sales figures, confirmed by a few indie developers.

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Where you can run into difficulties is if your random sample has some non-randomness, outside of your intended bounds. For instance, if you want to see trends involving PC gamers then it is logical to limit your survey to PC gamers, but you can run into systematic error if the study is voluntary, self-reporting, or has some other bias. Sometimes you cannot control these biases for your experiment, so multiple, different experiments may be necessary to dial in on a causation.

In this case, it seems like Raptr's study is an honest representation of the typical Raptr user. Tens of millions of samples is enough to crush random error. The only question that I can think of is whether Raptr users represent a sample space that you care about. If you want to know about the average gamer, including console, casual, and mobile, then maybe not. The average PC gamer? Definitely closer, but it should be compared to other studies in case there is disproportionate representation of some group. Interesting none-the-less? Of course.

So, that aside, the top three PC games of this poll stayed exactly where they are:

  1. League of Legends
  2. World of Warcraft
  3. DOTA 2

World of Warcraft and DOTA 2 held steady, but League of Legends increased its lead by over 14% (relative to second place). 22.54% of all play time that is recorded by Raptr is done in League of Legends. Diablo III jumped up to 5.23% of total due to the launch of a new "season", which encourages players to create new characters and compete for placement and loot. Basically, it attempts to recreate the feeling at launch where enthusiasts attempt to be the first to reach the level cap, and so forth.

The recently launched The Sims 4 found its way to #16. It launched on September 2nd, so it had basically a full month to collect usage time (including the launch surge). Raptr expects that it will slip off the list for October, and that makes sense for me.

Source: Raptr

Did you know XFX makes enclosures too?

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 16, 2014 - 06:48 PM |
Tagged: xfx, Series Bravo, Type-01

XFX has expanded into the enclosure market with a case priced to take on big names like Corsair and Thermaltake.  It is visually unique on the outside, especially with there watercooling grommets which are designed differently than you see on other cases.  The Type-01 is fairly large, 518 x 232 x 562mm (26.6 x 13 x 22.2") and can hold up to eleven 2.5/3.5" drives of which five can be reconfigure to only fit 2.5" drives which will increase the maximum allowable length of your GPU to 14" from a mere 12".  The Tech Report appreciated the design of the front power and reset buttons, as they are socketed you can remove the front panel without having wires still connecting it to the case.  There are many things to like about this case especially if you are using air cooling but there is one caveat, this case will not support 240mm radiators so be forewarned if that was your plan.  Check out the whole review to see the other features XFX added to this case.

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"The Type-01 Series Bravo Edition is XFX's first entry into the PC enclosure market. Priced at $129.99, this stylish enclosure faces some fierce competition, most notably from Corsair's Obsidian Series 450D. We've put the Bravo through its paces to see if it's a worthy contender."

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

CASES & COOLING

Back to the Present Future? Hoverboard-like object appears on Kickstarter

Subject: General Tech | October 21, 2014 - 01:16 PM |
Tagged: hoverboard, hendo

Arx Pax Labs, Inc. have a brilliant marketer and an interesting product in development; one year before the exact date a certain Marty McFly travelled foward to in time they have announced the Hendo hoverboard Kickstarter project.  Their current products use a patented tech which they refer to as Magnetic Field Architecture to create a field which allows their devices hover when over a non-ferrous metallic surface.  This does have some drawbacks, namely the limited amount of areas in which the device will function, as well as creating difficulties steering but the tech does work and will continue to be developed to provide more functionality.  For $10,000 you could get your hands on one of the 10 working prototypes though a more attractive price point and a less limited product supply is at the $300 mark which will get you the Whitebox Dev kit, which is literally a floating white box for you to use and take apart.  There are lower priced tiers which will allow you to have a 5 minute ride on one as well.

Engadget tried it out and the current model can solidly support up to 300lbs, the next generation is expected to handle 500lbs.  There are far more uses for this technology than the hoverboard though perhaps not quite as fun.  Delivery companies could implement hover pallets like you see in many sci-fi programs and conveyor belts might be a thing of the past.  It might even be possible to temporarily raise a properly configured building off of the ground during an earthquake with enough of these devices installed in the foundation.  Check out their Kickstarter's comment section for more information and links to other sites that have had a chance to try out the hoverboard.

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"A KICKSTARTER PROJECT is offering investors the chance to own a hoverboard a bit like the one in Back to the Future 2 for just $10,000."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Engadget

Corsair's HX1000i is good, but not quite great

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 21, 2014 - 02:26 PM |
Tagged: modular psu, HX1000i, Corsair Link, corsair, 80 Plus Platinum

Corsair have updated their high end and high powered PSU line with the HX1000i, developed once again with CWT and sporting an 80 PLUS Platinum rating and Corsair Link integration.  The documentation is a little confusing, referring to a single 12v rail rated at 83.3A or 1000W but also mentioning it can be toggled to multiple 12V rails, not to mention the small rounding error in their math.  The actual PSU is very well constructed and passed all of the tests that [H]ard|OCP's torture chamber required of it; just not to the same level that the older HX1000 unit managed.  That is a little disappointing as you would hope that the quality would improve over time but it is in line with the competition and certainly not a bad showing, merely not what [H] had hoped for.   It is still worth your consideration so make sure to read through the whole review to see if the HX1000i meets your needs.

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"Corsair's HX series represents its "second tier" line of enthusiast computer power supplies, but its new HX1000i does take the top spot when it comes to its ~1000 watt power supplies that are Platinum certified and fully modular. Let's see if this latest addition from Corsair represents its quality pedigree of days gone by. "

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

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Cooler Master Announces Nepton 120XL and Nepton 240M All-In-One Liquid CPU Coolers

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 21, 2014 - 04:15 PM |
Tagged: Nepton 240M, Nepton 120XL, Nepton, cooler master, all in one

They are not quite available yet but Cooler Master have announced two new all in one watercoolers, the Nepton 120XL and 240M which incorporate a new Silencio fan which as you may expect offers good performance with low noise.  If the pricing follows the previous generation of Nepton you can expect to see the 120mm model retail for around $100 and the 240mm for around $120. 

Taipei, Taiwan — Oct 21st 2014 — Cooler Master, a leading creator, innovator, and manufacturer of desktop components and peripherals as well as mobile accessories today announced the Nepton 120XL and 240M, the latest additions to the Nepton all-in-one liquid cooling family. See full details on the Nepton 240M product page here.

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Keeping It Cool
Nepton 120XL and 240M are introducing a brand new Silencio fan from Cooler Master. This fan is designed with unique fan blades and technology in order to maximize air flow and static pressure with minimal noise output. The result of these fans and Nepton’s skived fin micro-channel technology brings Nepton 120XL and 240M to a whole new level of cool, mirroring the thermal success of the Nepton 140XL and 280L models.

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Maximum Compatibility
The Cooler Master Nepton series was introduced with the 140XL and 280L models, which sported 140mm and 280mm radiators respectively. The new Nepton 120XL is equipped with a 120mm radiator while the Nepton 240M is equipped with a 240mm radiator. These sizes allow more opportunity for builders and enthusiasts to get their hands on the incredible performance from the Nepton line.

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Sealing the Deal
Using Cooler Master’s exclusive design, the pump of the Nepton series pushed 120 Liters of liquid per hour through the flexible and robust FEP tubing to maximize thermal transfer. Topping the pump with a simple geometric design and illuminated Cooler Master logo, the Nepton series continues to turn heads. Backed by a 5-year warranty, Nepton 120XL and 240M will be cooling systems for years to come.

Availability
Nepton 120XL and 240M is now shipping to vendors in North America and will be available soon. Price and availability may vary based on region.