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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Preorders open for the Pirate3D Buccaneer 3D Printer

Pirate 3D announced that it would be opening pre-orders for its Buccaneer 3D printer beginning on November 1st 2013. This pre-order campaign launches a few months after the company successfully raised $1.4 million during a Kickstarter campaign that ran from late May and ended on June 29th.

preorders_open_for_the_pirate3d_buccaneer_3d_printer_on_november_1st

"This is the last chance to get your hands on the Buccaneer for US$497 before it hits the shelves. Our manufacturing capacity is limited, and we encourage people to subscribe to the waiting list on pirate3d.com to get their units faster," said Chief Executive Pirate (a.k.a. CEO) Roger Chang. "We were amazed by the enthusiastic support when we debuted the Buccaneer on Kickstarter. Our goal of US$100,000 was reached in less than 10 minutes. Our team has put a lot of engineering prowess into the Buccaneer to ensure its reliability and ease of use. Precision of all its mechanisms is simply impeccable. We couldn't be more excited about bringing The Buccaneer to the market,"

Pricing for the pre-ordered units will be set at $697 with discounts being offered for educational institutions, and large volume orders. The Buccaneer 3D printer is a fused filament, additive deposition style printer that can be operated wirelessly via a PC, Mac, smartphone or tablet. 

Sony's PS3 sets to outsell Xbox 360

Sony's PlayStation 3 video game console showed in September that it still was able to pack a bit of a punch, dethroning Microsoft's Xbox 360, according to the NPD Group. The Xbox 360 had been the top-selling video console for 32 straight months since January 2011.

The Xbox 360 also passed a significant milestone, though, reaching sales of more than 80 million systems sold worldwide. Nintendo reported impressive Wii U sales in September too. Units sold more than tripled month-on-month following a price cut and release of a limited edition bundle that included The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Walker HD.

Sony's sales were given a boost by the arrival of Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto V, which generated US$1 billion in sales during its first three days, setting an industry record. That single title pushed sales up 52 percent compared with the same time last year. Sales for the month were just under $1.9 billion, according to NPD.

Waiting Is Over

While GTA V is available for both the PS3 and Xbox 360, sales reportedly have been stronger on Sony's system; some gamers may have opted to get a PS3 along with the game.

"What we are seeing here is that there is a life cycle to certain types of products, and there is a time when those products slow down, which is what the Xbox 360 may be experiencing," said Susan Schreiner, consumer electronics industry analyst at C4 Trends.

"There is uncertainty that comes into play with all these devices. There comes a wait-and-let's-see attitude, instead of just going and buying it, and that may have been the case," she suggested.

"People are now picking up a PS3 when they didn't have one already," noted Schreiner.

Via ECT

AMD Radeon R9 290X 4GB Graphics Card Review

AMD Radeon R9  290X (11)
After months of rumours and media hype, AMD’s new flagship graphics card is here. We have a launch-day review for you guys to read and we’re putting this brand new GPU through its paces on the eTeknix graphics card test system. We’re very excited to bring you this review because everyone loves to see how a new flagship GPU performs and what it can deliver, even if you have no intention of ever buying it. The AMD R9 290X is a brand new GPU crafted from the same 28nm process as the HD 7000 series but using a revised architecture design (GCN 2.0 vs GCN) and a new GPU die codenamed “Hawaii”.
The AMD R9 290X brings a number of new features to the table which we will cover briefly but first let’s check a run down of the specifications. AMD’s R9 290X is a big step up from the R9 280X (HD 7970) featuring 768 more stream processors, 1.5 more TFLOPS of compute performance, 32GB/s more memory bandwidth, double the number of ROPs and much more. A default clock speed of up to 1GHz on the core and up to 5GHz on the memory is deployed, this will vary dynamically as it is adjusted by AMD’s revised PowerTune technology, which leads us on nicely to the next part – the new features of the R9 290X.
amd_r9_290x_specs
Firstly, AMD has introduced a new version of its PowerTune technology. In essence the new PowerTune can be seen as AMD’s answer to Nvidia’s GPU Boost 2.0. AMD’s new PowerTune balances clock speeds and fan speeds to maintain a steady temperature threshold. The card adjusts the clock speed dynamically along with the fan speed (which also has a threshold) to maintain that steady temperature under load. By default there is a 95 degree fixed max temperature and 40% fixed max fan speed so the clock speed will be adjusted to ensure it can achieve both those parameters. Normally this means the clock speed is lowered when the card is going to exceed either the max temperature or fan speed, or the clock speed is raised when there is sufficient temperature or fan profile headroom to support this. What this creates is an extensive overclocking system where users can balance the temperature, fan speed, clock speed and also the Power Limit to get the most performance or the most silence. AMD’s OverDrive section of their Catalyst Control Center will allow you to control all these other parameters but you will also be able to use third party overclocking tools to adjust these things too when those programs are fully updated.
amd_r9_290x_powertune
Linked to the new overclocking system is the dual BIOS system. By default the AMD R9 290X ships with two BIOSes and a switch to select between each one. The first and default switch is “Quiet Mode” and this limits the fan speed to 40% with the default 95 degree threshold. The second switch is for “Uber Mode” and this boosts the maximum fan speed to 55% and leaves the temperature threshold at 95 degrees. Uber mode allows the card to clock higher by having better cooling while Quiet mode allows it to remain quieter. Of course AIB partners will be able to benefit from dramatically better cooling than the reference design and you may not even need the dual BIOS switch to access the maximum performance. You can of course pick any custom combination of GPU temperature and maximum fan speed as shown above.
AMD has also worked hard to support 4K gaming in a “plug and play” fashion on its new flagship with default Eyefinity configurations for tiled 4K monitors such as the Sharp PN-K321 or ASUS PQ321Q monitors (and while on the topic of 4K be sure to check out our 4K gaming featured articlehere). As part of its push to 4K AMD is supporting the new industry standard for tiled displays in VESA – DisplayID v1.3. While AMD can support the very limited numbers of 4K monitors currently out on the market, in the future when 4K monitors proliferate, AMD (and other graphics providers) will need a unified standard to easily recognise stitched 4K panels.

Via eTeknix

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Apple introduces the all new iPad Air, weighs just 1-pound

Apple officially announced the next generation of the iPad. Known as the iPad Air, this new device is very similar in styling to the iPad Mini we saw unveiled this time last year. The major difference is that the iPad Air is thinner, lighter and features a much smaller bezel than previous models.

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Featuring the all new 64-bit Apple A7 processor, and the M7 motion processor, the iPad Air is said to be 8-times faster than the iPad Mini and 72-times the graphics performance of its predecessors. A 5-megapixel iSight rear camera, and Facetime HD front facing camera handle the imaging duties while its high-capacity battery provides up to 10 hours of continuous use.

Apple has managed to deliver twice the Wi-Fi bandwidth thanks to a new MiMo 802.11n radio, but had curiously left out support for the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi protocol. As I mentioned earlier, the new iPad Air is much thinner and lighter than previous models, and weighs just 1-pound while measuring a mere 7.5mm thick. The iPad Air will ship in silver, white, space grey and black colors and will retail at a pricing point of $499 for the Wi-Fi version and an LTE model will run $629.

MyDigitalSSD 128GB mSATA SuperCache 2 Caching SSD

How does a caching SSD work?  It works in conjunction with a hard drive disk (HDD) to create what the operating system sees as a single, combined storage partition.  A caching SSD utilizes specialized software to determine what programs, data, and/or files that the user accesses most frequently.  This “hot” data will be held in a dedicated “caching” partition on the SSD for much quicker access when called for.  Less frequently requested data will still reside on the HDD, until such time as it becomes frequently accessed enough to be moved to the SSD cache.  What is stored on the SSD cache is dynamic, and changes over time based on actual usage.
MyDigitalSSD caching SSD top view
Caching SSDs are even becoming much more prevalent in large data centers and enterprise storage systems, as much quicker access to frequently utilized data and routines is particularly beneficial for such usage scenarios.
Boot-up routines are the first and foremost example of what will be immediately moved to the cache and stay there.  Boot-up routines run each and every time you power on or reboot your computer.  Boot-up time is one area where we expect to see a significant improvement by utilizing a caching SSD and software.  We will utilize Greatis Software’s Bootracer to log boot times.  Our goal is to determine if the MyDigitalSSD SuperCache 2 and HybriDisk caching software can help a hard drive to attain SSD-like performance.

Spacebuilding game to be crowdfunded


The crowdfunding campaign for spaceship building game Universe was launched on Indiegogo on September 18, and is scheduled to end on November 17, 11:59 PM PT. With an $11,000 goal, indie developer Vladislav Kostin is hoping to raise enough money to make this game reality with the fully flashed out gameplay, big and diverse worlds, and a speciall features such as the Oculus Rift support.
Universe is currently in its prototype stages and is being developed to allow both single player and multiplayer campaigns. The game combines space simulator and a first person shooter game with a block building features, as the players will be able to build their own spacecraft block by block and operate it from the inside.
“The engineering and building gameplay is the main focus of the game, as well as spaceship battles.” Kostin explains. “It really matters how you build your ship and which weapons and defense systems you are choosing to use, because it can completely change the way you will approach the game objectives. And also working together with your friends as a crew on the same ship should be really really fun!”
The game prototype has been fully tested with positive results in regards to gameplay and a general performance. The developer plans to add an Oculus Rift support to the game, for a more immersive experience.
Kostin has opted for a flexible crowdfunding campaign, in order to be able to use all the funds even if the project does not meet the $11,000 target. Backers can get a full copy of the game on release for as little as $10. Higher pledges will give backers an access to alpha version of the game, special place in the game’s credits or the right to co-design an arcade mini-game that will become a part of the main title.
Universe is being developed for Windows, Mac and Linux platforms.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

MSI Radeon R9 270X 2GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC Edition Video Card Review



msi_radeon_r9_270x_2gb_twin_frozr_gaming_oc_edition_video_card_review

The launch of new mid-range video cards is always exciting as we tend to see not only reference cards from AMD or NVIDIA, but most partners have a unique version of their own that they can also bring to the market come launch day. The release of the new R series video cards from AMD has brought an absolute truck load of video cards into the office, and we're excited to test all of them.

Today we're looking at the R9 270X 2GB Twin Frozr Gaming OC from MSI. We've been a fan of the new Gaming series from MSI since its release earlier in the year for two reasons. The first is that MSI has created some unity between the motherboard and video card department with the Gaming series.

If you walk into a store and see the Gaming series video card next to a Gaming series motherboard, it makes sense that you would want to buy both together. The second is that they're based around the Twin Frozr series of coolers, which have always performed very well.

The Radeon R9 270X is the first of the Gaming series cards based around the new R series from AMD, but we're sure in the coming weeks we're going to see more and more cards fall into the series. Along with being the first MSI Gaming series card we've looked at, this is also our first retail R9 270X. So, without any further delay, let's get into the package to see just what MSI is offering.


Google shares to hit $1,000

Google is on a path of serious domination, with its stock prices hitting nearly $1000 a piece after it had reported a large increase in mobile and video advertising that helped the Mountain View-based giant increase its quarterly revenue up 23%.

google_stock_on_track_to_hit_1_000_per_share_the_sky_is_the_limit

The company has seen paid clicks increase 26% in the last three months ending on September 30, which represents the highest rate of growth in the past year. There's an offset though, with an 8% fall in average cost-per-click. J.P. Morgan analysts said "We view solid paid clicks growth to be a good indicator of demand, driven by the continued shift to mobile." The analysts expected a huge 21.5% growth.

Comparing this to Apple in 2012, who were poised to become the first company to be worth $1 trillion, it has certainly fallen from grace. Google is now positioned to be a serious contender as one of the most powerful, valuable companies in the world.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fractal Design Define R4 Case


There are two main schools of thought when it comes to enthusiast case design.  One can be thought of as attention-seeking: make it as flashy, splashy, and eye catching as possible.  The other is most often described as minimalist: strip the design down to bare essentials, keep the design accents subtle.  Fractal Design has an established reputation in the second school, and today we’re going to be taking a look at one of their latest efforts: the Define R4.

A Closer Look

thumbs front profile Fractal Design Define R4 Case
thumbs front door open Fractal Design Define R4 Case
Taking inspiration from the Arthur C. Clarke school of design, the Define R4 is for the most part rectangular, smooth, and silent.  Opening up the front door, we begin to see why; all of the places most likely to emit noise have been baffled and dampened.
thumbs front panel open Fractal Design Define R4 Case
thumbs intake fan assembly Fractal Design Define R4 Case
Opening things up a bit further, we began to see the ingenuity that has gone into this case’s design.  The intake fan cover, which is held shut by a pair of spring-loaded latches, conceals a snap-in assembly which can house a mesh-filtered pair of fans in 120 mm or 140 mm.  One 140 mm fan comes pre-installed in the lower slot.

Amazon's Elastic Transcoder converts audio files now

Amazon set out to makes our lives a tiny bit easier when it launched its cloud-basedvideo transcoder back in January, and now, it's expanding the service to audio as well. In addition to converting media files into mobile-friendly formats, the platform will also allow users to turn their videos into audio-only streams, which might just come in handy if you plan on turning a video into a podcast. The Elastic Transcoder lets you create output using AAC, MP3 or Vorbis audio codecs, and can attach relevant metadata like track names and album art to your files. In an effort to reel new users in, Amazon is offering a free usage tier capped at 20 hours minutes of converted audio content each month. After that point, you pay for what you use, so each minute of audio will cost the princely sum of $0.0045 to transcode. To see how it all works, check out the video after the break.
Update: The free tier isn't quite that good a bargain: you get 20 minutes per month, not 20 hours.

Future Sony smartphones could recharge wirelessly in just an hour

Sony
Yes, it's futuristic, but that ponderous trickle of energy from base station to device isn't great for impatient types. Sony, however, thinks that it's solved the problem of slow wireless charging with its latest invention. The new unit, based on a forthcoming version of the Qi standard, promises to pump 10 to 15 watts of energy into your device -- theoretically cutting charging times down to just an hour. While so much power would normally cause your smartphone to overheat and combust, chip and power company Rohm promises that its new control chips can handle the temperature issues. Unfortunately, we won't be seeing this hardware turn up inXperia phones until the second half of 2014, but at least that means we've got some time to recycle all of our cables.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Seasonic M12II 750W EVO Edition 750-Watt 80 PLUS Bronze PSU Review



seasonic_m12ii_750w_evo_edition_750_watt_80_plus_bronze_psu_review

Lately we've been trying to focus on mid-wattage units as they seem to fit the needs for a majority of users who have up to a pair of discreet video cards. It's nice to look at the top end hardware day after day after day, but it is always nice to go back to something more for the masses. It helps keep things in perspective with what people can actually afford and need versus what they dream about and will never have a use for.

We decided to do double duty with this latest unit from Seasonic. Most of the power supplies that we have looked at from Seasonic are well towards the full enthusiast spectrum in that they are very high quality power supplies that exhibit superb performance but they always come at a cost.

The M12II EVO Edition power supply is meant for those who want the Seasonic quality, but don't want the price. It gives a little on performance, but gains a ton on the price.

We've seen this many times before and it sometimes has bad results as too much is shaved in order to save more money. Let's check out what the M12II-750 EVO Edition from Seasonic has to offer and if they've found a solid balance with price and performance or if they've gone too far.

Sapphire Radeon R9 280X 3GB TOXIC Video Card Review


sapphire_radeon_r9_280x_3gb_toxic_video_card_review

We've already had the chance to check out two of the new R series cards from AMD in the form of the AMD Radeon R7 260X 2GB and AMD Radeon R9 270X 2GB reference models, and both did an excellent job of impressing us. The R7 260X really hits at the right price point and the R9 270X comes in also at a strong price point. Performance, though, is slightly better than we expected on the model when compared to the more expensive GTX 760, and for that reason, we felt it was a more all-round model.

Today we get to step it up in two ways. First we get to see the model that sits above the just looked at R9 270X. Along with that, we also get to look at our first retail card, and we've got to say that from first glance, we've started off with quite the looker.

The Sapphire R9 280X 3GB TOXIC is a great looking card as you can see above in our introduction image. You shouldn't judge a book by its cover, though, as they say, so we won't read into it too much. If past experience is anything to go by, though, we should have quite the card on our hand.

Mentioning again that this card is our first retail one it also means that instead of going straight into the card like our previous R series cards, we'll be checking out the bundle that Sapphire is offering. So, let's get into that before we get into the real fun stuff and see just what the brand new Sapphire R9 280X 3GB TOXIC is capable of achieving.

Google's Nexus 5 will retail for $350 for 16GB model

Google's Nexus 5 has been leaked and detailed in rumors for several weeks now, and as its launch day approaches it appears that the biggest leakster of all is Google itself. Just a few minutes ago, the next-generation flagship smartphone was listed on Google Play for just $350 for the 16GB model.

leakedtt_google_s_nexus_5_will_retail_for_350_for_16gb_model

The press photo that accompanied the listing appears to be the same image we have seen leaked several times as well. 

Samsung to offer free replacement battery for S4 users

Samsung announced that it will be offering free replacement batteries to about 30-percent of German Galaxy S4 owners. The free replacement batteries stem from many German S4 owners who have been reporting issues such as extremely fast power drain, to some extreme cases where the battery pack actually swells up enough to open the phones casing.

samsung_begins_offering_free_replacement_batteries_for_galaxy_s4

For now, it appears that the defective batteries are contained to handsets purchased in Germany which indicated that only a single batch of batteries could have been defective. If your battery is beginning to bulge, or rapidly drain of its power, Samsung urges you to seek out the nearest service center as soon as possible.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

GTA V sales cause a 27% rise in overall gaming spending

 CNET says that during the month of September total game spending in the physical channel topped $1.08 billion, and a considerable chunk of that was due to sales of Grand Theft Auto V. The report says that spending was up 27-percent in the US which was directly related to GTA V earning $848 million just days after launch.

gta_v_sales_cause_a_27_rise_in_overall_gaming_spending

Overall, total game software spending was up 53-percent year over year at $754 million, but hardware spending was down 13-percent. This drop was expected as consumers prepare for Microsoft and Sony to release their next-gen consoles later this fall. Nintendo did see its 3DS handheld console claim the top hardware spot for the fifth month in a row however and for the first time in 32 months, Sony's Playstation 3 edged out Microsoft,s Xbox 360 in number of units sold.

Microsoft releases Windows 8.1

Windows 8 was released to the public almost 1 year from today, and this morning Microsoft released its first major update to its flagship operating system. Today the company released Windows 8.1 globally for digital download, with retail boxed copies going on sale tomorrow.

microsoft_officially_releases_windows_8_1_for_download

Many new changes, updates, and features come with the 8.1 refresh, but none are more exciting than the new Windows 8 Start Button. Yes its true, Microsoft has seen the error of its ways and has returned the start button back to its rightful place... sort of. The new start button will not bring up the familiar start menu that Windows fans loved for so many years, but will instead bring up the start screen.

Friday, October 25, 2013

iPhone 5C production cut

Demands for the iPhone 5C has not been as high as Apple had expected. It appears that Apple fans like the 5S much more than they do the 5C, which has led to Apple cutting production by 20-percent on the plastic bodied 5C.

reporttt_apple_cuts_orders_for_new_iphone_5c_units_by_20_percent

While Apple may not have expected this, many industry analyst saw it coming the moment Apple released the pricing on the device. Investors and consumers widely expected the 5C to retail in the $199 range off contract, with a contract version in the $50-99 range for a 32GB model. This aggressive pricing was needed in order to take hold in the emerging markets, but apple failed to see that, and the result appears to be a plastic phone that may very well be a total flop.

Intel delays Broadwell production to 2014, cites defect density issue

Intel announced its new 14nm Broadwell processor and said that we should see it begin to ship to OEMs sometime around the end of 2013. Unfortunately, that will not be the case. During the company's quarterly earnings call, Intel said that Broadwell has been delayed until the first quarter of 2014.

intel_delays_broadwell_production_to_2014_cites_defect_density_issue

The delay is due to a recent issue with defect density in the silicon wafers that were being produced. Intel says that this issue has been fixed and yield levels are back up to an acceptable number. Some analyst speculated that the delay was actually due to an excess of Ivy Bridge inventory to which CEO Brian Krzanich replied "absolutely not." From the beginning, Broadwell has been expected to go retail in 2014, and a setback of three months is not that big of a deal.

A transcript of Krzanich comment on the matter is below:

While we are comfortable with where we are at with yields, from a timing standpoint, we are about a quarter behind our projections. As a result, we are now planning to begin production in the first quarter of next year...

It was simply a defect density issue. This was on the issue -- as we develop these technologies, what you are doing? You are continually improving the defect densities and those resulted in the yield, the number of die per wafer that you get out of the product and what happened as you insert a set of fixes in groups, you will put four or five, maybe sometimes six or seven fixes into a process and group it together, run it through and you will expect an improvement rate occasionally as you go through that. The fixes don't deliver all of the improvements, we had one of those.

Why do I have confidence? Because, we have got back now and added additional fixes, gotten back onto that curve, so we have confidence that the problem is fixed, because we have actually data and defects and so that gives us the confidence that we are to keep moving forward now and that happens sometimes in these development phases like this, so that's why we are going to over it a quarter.

Mach Xtreme Technology MX Express Driverless PCIe 2.0 x2 SSD Review

The two most notable recent trends in SSDs have been the inevitable introduction of M.2 SSDs and the unexpected announcements of ‘driverless’ PCIe SSDs, that require no more than inserting the device into an available PCIe slot and rebooting the PC system. Very close and long-standing industry relations placed us in a position to provide exclusive analysis and report on the first two to hit the streets, the KingSpec MC2J677M1T and the Mushkin Scorpion Deluxe PCIe SSDs, both capable of 2GB/s performance or higher. (Wait for it as we bring you the KingSpec 4GB/s monster very soon).

Mach Xtreme MX Express PCIe SSD Diagonal
Today, we are going to provide you with a bit of an exclusive look at a more ‘consumer directed’ variation of a new driver-less PCIe SSD, the recently announced Mach Extreme MX-Express driver-less PCIe 2.0 x2 SSD.  The MX-Express is a LSI SandForce driven PCIe SSD, available in 128, 256, 512 and 1TB capacities and has listed speeds of 800MB/s for both read and write data transfer, with up to 100,000IOPS.  Warranty for the MX-Express is 2 years and availability is much more prevalent in Europe than North America, although we did find availability with My Digital Discount in the USA.
Mach Extreme MX Express Exterior Back
Mach Extreme MX Express Exterior Front

Manufacturer suggested retail pricing for the MX-Express is 309.90€ (128GB), 379.90€ (256GB), 669.90€ (512GB) and 1449.90€ (1TB); this putting pricing for this PCIe in line with premium notebook SSDs about 2 years ago.  In the US, pricing can be found at $399 (128GB), $449 (256GB), $779 (512GB) and $1599 (1 TB) which brings it more in line with where we might see newly released PCIe SSDs, although still above the ideal pricing model.
Via The SSD Review

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Microsoft says Xbox One will not run AMDs Mantle API

During the GPU14 event in Hawaii a few weeks back, AMD touted its new Mantle API as being the great unifier between consoles and PCs and would allow more pc games to see "console like performance and optimization." This really struck a nerve with many PC gamers as they feel that the consoles should catch up to the faster PC gaming market rather than the PC being dumbed down to console levels.

microsoft_says_xbox_one_will_not_run_amds_mantle_api

Many of us in the industry assumed that this meant that Sony and Microsoft would be using the Mantle API to power its consoles which run AMD APU processors. Unfortunately that does not appear to be the case. In a recent blogpost, Microsoft said that its upcoming Xbox One console will not run AMD's Mantle API, but would feature the company's own Direct 3D 11.2 API. Additionally, AMD has also pointed out that Mantle will actually be exclusive to the PC.

Toshiba looking to acquire OCZ


2013 has not been kind to the SSD manufacturer OCZ, and it appears that is just what some companies were holding out for. Sources have told TweakTown that electronics giant Toshiba is taking a serious look at buying the floundering companies consumer storage division.

rumortt_toshiba_considering_buying_ocz_s_consumer_division

This could land Toshiba some very valuable technology that it would not have to license which could be very lucrative for the company. As for OCZ, this could be its saving grace, as the company continue to spiral downward towards a hard rock bottom. As soon as I saw this rumor come in, I messaged our Senior Storage Editor, Chris Ramseyer for his thoughts. "If the report is accurate this is a win-win for everybody. Toshiba will gain a controller to go with its flash and OCZ will escape from the low margin consumer market it created,"Ramseyer Said. "OCZ CEO Ralph Schmitt recently stated that OCZ had issues in 2013 securing flash in large volumes. Toshiba 19nm NAND flash has been proven superior to IMFT 20nm flash yet most of OCZ's recent products shipped with IMFT 20nm flash due to Toshiba 19nm shortages."

AMD Radeon R9 270X 2GB Reference Video Card



amd_radeon_r9_270x_2gb_reference_video_card_review

The other day we got a chance to look at the new AMD Radeon R7 260X 2GB and found ourselves impressed with what AMD was bringing to the table with its new $139 video card. AMD has clearly done a better job hitting the low-end mid-range sector with this model when compared to the HD 7700 series.

While we know the model name of all the new cards that are coming, AMD is slowly releasing the models in the coming weeks to make sure they spend as much time as possible in the press. Outside of the R7 260X that launched, we've also seen one of the new R9 models.

Today we'll be checking out the new R9 270X, which carries with it a price tag of $199 for the 2GB model that we're looking at today, and $229 for the 4GB model that will also be available.

Just like the R7 260X we looked at, the R9 270X that we have on hand today is a reference card from AMD. That of course means that we don't have any bundle to look at, instead we'll be moving from here straight into the card itself and the main specifications.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

iPhone users faces BSoD

Windows users will remember their fair share of BSoD's (Blue Screen of Death) over the years, but those days are mostly behind us thanks to Windows 7, and up. But, it looks like some iPhone 5S users are experiencing their own BSoD screens.

iphone_5s_plagued_by_bsod_who_would_ve_thought

The BSoD isn't what it used to be in the early Windows NT days, where it usually resulted in the installation of a bad driver, but it looks like those who are installing the free iWork apps, then trying to multi-task, a BSoD appears briefly before it restarts. Some iPhone 5S users are also reporting that they're experiencing random reboots, too.

Apple's latest iOS 7.0.2 doesn't address the BSoD or random reboot errors, but it does appear to fix up the security holes found in the lockscreen, thankfully.

Corsair Force LS 240GB SSD Review



corsair_force_ls_240gb_ssd_review

The Corsair Force LS isn't the first drive we've tested with the Phison S8 controller. We ran the controller in a few other products and went through firmware releases. We've even tested the controller with 24nm and two versions of Toshiba 19nm flash. While not as flashy as other controllers, Phison designed the S8 for consumer experience via great low queue depth IOPS performance.

Sadly, we've learned the new Force LS won't hit the US market. We suspect this has something to do with an existing product with the Phison S8 controller from MyDigitalSSD. MDSSD has a long history with Phison and this is the only reason we can think of for Corsair not to bring the Force LS to the US market.

Still, Corsair felt they needed a value offering and the Force LS fits the role. With 25nm flash nearly impossible to purchase, the Force Series 3 and Force GT drives are nearing end of life status. Nearly a year ago Corsair released the Neutron GTX to handle flagship duty and the base Neutron to fit somewhere in the middle. LS sits just below both Neutron products.

Retina iPad mini will not be released this year due to supply issues

One of the biggest downsides with Apple's iPad mini is its truly shocking 1024x768 resolution, in a world controlled by "Retina" displays unleashed by the company on its full-sized iPad and Retina-based Macs, the iPad mini is well and truly behind.

retina_ipad_mini_will_not_be_released_this_year_due_to_supply_issues

Now it looks like the company won't be releasing a refreshed, higher resolution iPad mini this year at all, according to Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White, who recently met with several electronics manufacturers and suppliers in both China and Taiwan. His sources backed up claims that Apple is having issues getting the refreshed iPad mini to the market.

The original iPad min faced supply issues thanks to manufacturing difficulties, with Apple facing deja vu over the refreshed iPad mini.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

ASRock Z87E-ITX Mini-ITX Motherboard

With Intel’s focus shifting towards power efficiency rather than maximum performance at all costs, it’s becoming increasingly unnecessary for gamers and enthusiasts to purchase bulky and cumbersome giant cases with giant motherboards with tons of cooling capacity. This is why over the past couple generations of Intel CPUs, a number of motherboard manufacturers have begun embracing the mITX formfactor, which has traditionally been reserved for low power systems.
With that said, today we’ll be reviewing out the ASRock Z87E-ITX motherboard, which as you may expect is a mITX formfactor motherboard based off Intel’s Z87 chipset. This is one of ASRock’s latest motherboards and despite the fact that it’s based off a 17cmx17cm size, the motherboard is very full featured sporting a full PCIe x16 slot for your high powered graphics, six phase DrMOS digital power delivery system, a whopping six SATA 6Gb/s ports, Intel Gigabit LAN, 802.11 AC WiFi, mSATA support, and more!
Let’s flip the page and take a closer look.

ASRock Z87E-ITX Specifications

ManufacturerASRock
ModelZ87E-ITX
FormFactorMini-ITX
SocketLGA-1150
ChipsetIntel Z87
Memory2x DDR3 DIMM Slots (Up to 32GB)
Dual Channel, Up to DDR3 2933+ (OC)
VideoIntel HD GraphicsDiscrete Graphics
AudioRealtek ALC 1150 7.1 Channel Audio
TI NE5532 Headphone Amplifier (Up to 600 ohm)
LANIntel 1217V Gigabit LAN
Wireless LANAzureWave AW-CE123H
Dual Band (2.4/5 GHz) 802.11 a/b/g/n/acBluetooth 4.0
Slots1 x PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot
1 x half mini-PCI Express slot: For WiFi + BT module
1 x mSATA/full mini-PCI Express slot
Storage6 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s connectors (SATA3_5 connector is shared with the eSATA port; SATA3_4 connector is shared with the mSATA/mini-PCI Express slot)
1 x eSATA connector
1 x mSATA 6.0 Gb/s connector
Onboard Connectors1 x Chassis Intrusion header
1 x TPM header
1 x CPU Fan connector (4-pin)
1 x Chassis Fan connector (4-pin)
1 x 24 pin ATX power connector
1 x 8 pin 12V power connector
1 x Front panel audio connector
2 x USB 2.0 headers
1 x USB 3.0 header
Rear Panel I/O1 x PS/2 Mouse/Keyboard Port
1 x DVI-I Port
1 x HDMI Port
1 x DisplayPort
1 x Optical SPDIF Out Port
1 x eSATA Connector
2 x USB 2.0 Ports
4 x USB 3.0 Ports
1 x RJ-45 LAN Port with LED
1 x Clear CMOS SwitchHD Audio Jacks: Rear Speaker / Central / Bass / Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone
Warranty3 Years
Via Custom PC Review