Maximum PC - News en AMD Catalyst 14.4 Release Candidate Adds Support for Radeon R9 295X2 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/295x2.jpg" alt="Radeon R9 295X2" title="Radeon R9 295X2" width="228" height="111" style="float: right;" />Say goodbye to flickering in Titanfall when running CrossFire</h3> <p><strong>AMD this week made available to download its Catalyst 14.4 driver in Release Candidate (RC) form</strong>. The release follows the launch of AMD's dual-GPU Radeon R9 295X2 graphics card, which the Catalyst 14.4 RC drivers support. It also boasts full support for OpenGL 4.4, Mantle beta driver improvements, CrossFire fixes and enhancements, and a spattering of bug fixes, including the resolution of game flickering in Titanfall when CrossFire is enabled.</p> <p>According to the release notes, the latest RC offers frame racing improvements in Crysis 3, better performance in Far Cry when running three or four GPUs at high quality settings and high resolution, improved CrossFire scaling in Anno 2070 by up to 34 percent, improved CrossFire scaling in Metro Last Light by up to 10 percent, improved Eyefinity 3x1 support with three 4K panels, and a few other odds and ends.</p> <p>You can check out the full list of fixes and download the RC drivers <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> amd catalyst 14.4 Drivers radeon r9 295x2 Release Candidate Software News Tue, 22 Apr 2014 21:33:26 +0000 Paul Lilly 27677 at NZXT Phantom 240 Case Floats an Affordable $70 Price Tag <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/nzxt_phantom_240.jpg" alt="NZXT Phantom 240" title="NZXT Phantom 240" width="228" height="242" style="float: right;" />The least expensive Phantom to date</h3> <p>If you're a fan of NZXT's Phantom case line but tend to gravitate towards less expensive enclosures, you might be interested in the company's newest offering, the Phantom 240. <strong>NZXT's newly released Phantom 240 carries a $70 MSRP</strong>, making it the most affordable Phantom yet. It also sports a new design with a full-view window while maintaining its asymmetrical shape and comes with two FN V2 120mm case fans.</p> <p>Need more cooling? There's room for an additional 120mm fan up front, another on the bottom, and two more on top (or you can opt for 140mm fans on top). Once you've got your airflow scheme figured out, you can route cables out of the way using the 17mm of cable management space behind the right-side panel that NZXT provides. You'll also find seven routing holes and over 20 zip tie points to help with cable management.</p> <p>There's a removable drive cage to make room for extra long graphics cards (up to 400mm without the cage, versus 290mm with the cage). All tallied, the Phantom 240 features three optical bays, six 2.5-inch drive bays, and six 3.5-inc drive bays. On the outside, the I/O panel features audio inputs and two USB 3.0 ports.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">Phantom 240</a> will be available soon.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Build a PC case chassis enclosure Hardware mid-tower nzxt p240 phantom 240 News Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:46:58 +0000 Paul Lilly 27676 at Benq Starts Shipping XL-Z Series Monitors Aimed at FPS Gamers <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/benq_monitor.jpg" alt="Benq XL-Z Monitor" title="Benq XL-Z Monitor" width="228" height="219" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Benq's XL-Z monitors are specifically intended for FPS gamers</h3> <p>Holy buzzwords, Batman -- Benq is pulling out all kinds of fancy pants terms to describe its new XL-Z series of first-person shooter (FPS) purpose-built gaming monitors. <strong>Benq says its XL-Z series monitors have begun shipping</strong>, and if you're a gamer -- particularly an FPS gamer -- the company has several reasons why you might be interested in one of its displays, starting with RevolutionEyes technology.</p> <p>What exactly is it? Good question, so we looked it up. Revolution Eyes is essentially what Benq is calling its collection of technologies that makes its XL-Z series the bees knees. Things like Motion Blur Reduction, Low Blue Light, ZeroFlicker, gaming refresh rate optimization management (GROM), and a 1ms GTG response time are among them. Here, have yourself a look at Benq's YouTube video for a bit more detail:</p> <p><iframe src="//" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>"The design of our gaming monitors reflects our overall philosophy of delivering market-first features that give gamers an opportunity to conquer the game. That's why we design all of our gaming products in close collaboration with professional gamers," said Bob Wudeck, Associate Vice President, Strategy and Business Development at BenQ America Corp. "With the latest release of our XL-Z series, we've pushed the limits of performance once again by becoming the first major brand to provide Motion Blur Reduction technology for smoother game play. Add in our other exclusive features, and the XL-Z series gives players fully loaded monitors made to turn opponents on their heads."</p> <p>There are three XL-Z series monitors too choose from. They include the <a href="" target="_blank">XL2720Z</a> ($529), XL2420Z ($500), and $XL2411Z ($329).</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> BenQ Build a PC display FPS Gaming Hardware monitor xl-z News Tue, 22 Apr 2014 16:59:29 +0000 Paul Lilly 27675 at Netflix Posts $1 Billion in Quarterly Streaming, Subscription Price Hike is Coming <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/netflix_oitnb.jpg" alt="Netflix OITNB" title="Netflix OITNB" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" />Netflix is planning to bump up its subscription price by up to $2 for new subscribers</h3> <p>On hindsight, going nearly all-in with streaming was definitely the right choice for Netflix. While the company's DVD-by-mail generated $98 million during the first quarter of 2014, Netflix's streaming revenue topped $1 billion. That's a pretty big disparity and Netflix expects the gap to widen even more each quarter. At the same time, the cost of doing business isn't getting cheaper these days, and <strong>if you're thinking about joining Netflix, do it before the price goes up</strong>.</p> <p>In a <a href="" target="_blank">letter to shareholders (PDF)</a>, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells announced that a price hike is likely to occur later this quarter, however it will only apply to new members initially.</p> <p>"In the U.S. we have greatly improved our content selection since we introduced our streaming plan in 2010 at $7.99 per month. Our current view is to do a one or two dollar increase, depending on the country, later this quarter for new members only," Hastings and Wells said.</p> <p>As for existing subscribers, they'll stay at their current pricing, which will remain in effect "for a generous time period." The money generated from raising the price for new subscribers will help Netflix acquire more content and improve its streaming service.</p> <p>Though Hastings and Wells don't come right out and say it, another reason for the price hike could be to cover costs associated with ensuring its traffic is delivered to subscribers unabated. Netflix recently inked a multi-year agreement with Comcast that guarantees the ISP won't throttle its traffic, which means far less buffering and higher quality feeds, especially during peak hours.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> NetFlix revenue streaming News Tue, 22 Apr 2014 15:22:56 +0000 Paul Lilly 27674 at Heads Up: EVGA Now Offers Individually Sleeved Cables for G2 and P2 Power Supply Series <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/sleeved_cable.jpg" alt="EVGA Sleeved Cable" title="EVGA Sleeved Cable" width="228" height="187" style="float: right;" />No visible heat shrink tubing</h3> <p>There are at least a million and one different ways to trick out your PC. One of those ways is to individually sleeve all the wiring for your power supply. The end result looks pretty sweet, assuming you don't drive yourself insane before completing the tedious task. Like most anything else, there's an alternate path to the same end -- toss money at it. If you're willing to pay for the luxury, <strong>EVGA will now sell you individually sleeved cable sets</strong> that support all SuperNova G2 and P2 power supply series.</p> <p>The cable sets are available in red, black, white, and blue. Each kit consists of individually sleeved cables with no visible heat shrink tubing. They come with:</p> <ul> <li>1 x 24-pin ATX cable</li> <li>2 x 4+4 pin EPS12V CPU cable</li> <li>4 x 6+2 pin PCI-E VGA cables</li> <li>2 x 6+2 pin + 6-pin PCI E VGA cables</li> <li>4 x 3 SATA cables</li> <li>1 x 3 Molex cable</li> <li>1 x 2 Molex cable + 1 floppy connector</li> </ul> <p><img src="/files/u69/blue_sleeved_cable.jpg" alt="EVGA Blue Sleeved Cable" title="EVGA Blue Sleeved Cable" width="620" height="488" /></p> <p>Each sleeved cable set runs $90; they're available to <a href=";family=Power+Supplies&amp;chipset=+Power+Supply+Cable+Set+(Individually+Sleeved)" target="_blank">purchase now</a> direct from EVGA.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Build a PC evga g2 Hardware p2 power supply PSU sleeved cables supernova News Tue, 22 Apr 2014 14:53:02 +0000 Paul Lilly 27673 at Microsoft Clears Regulatory Hurdles, Will Close Nokia Deal April 25 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/nokia_windows_phone_0.jpg" alt="Nokia Windows Phone" title="Nokia Windows Phone" width="228" height="151" style="float: right;" />Only a few days remain before Microsoft closes its acquisition of Nokia's mobile business</h3> <p>If things had gone exactly to plan, Microsoft would have tied the knot with Nokia by now. However, red tape is sometimes sticky business, especially when it's coming from all directions. Regardless, <strong>Microsoft today announced that it's completed all the necessary steps to finalize its acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Services business </strong>(mobile handsets and such, in other words). The transaction will be complete on Friday, April 25.</p> <p>The delay gave Microsoft and Nokia time to hammer out some additional specifics. For example, the original deal didn't make any mention of online asset management, but the two sides have since agreed that Microsoft will manage the domain and social media sites for up to a year.</p> <p>Microsoft also convinced Nokia to transfer its 21 employees in China working on mobile phones to join the Redmond outfit, whereas previously all workers in Nokia's Chief Technology Office would continue employment at Nokia.</p> <p>"The completion of this acquisition follows several months of planning and will mark a key step on the journey towards integration. This acquisition will help Microsoft accelerate innovation and market adoption for Windows Phones. In addition, we look forward to introducing the next billion customers to Microsoft services via Nokia mobile phones," Microsoft stated in a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a>.</p> <p>Timing of the finalized deal comes just as Microsoft has begun rolling out its <a href="" target="_blank">Windows Phone 8.1 update</a> with Cortana voice assistant software.</p> <p>Image Credit: Flickr (Janitors)</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> acquisition microsoft mobile Nokia News Mon, 21 Apr 2014 19:06:26 +0000 Paul Lilly 27671 at AT&T Plans 1Gbps Push into 21 Additional Metropolitan Areas <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/att_1gbps.jpg" alt="Ethernet Cable" title="Ethernet Cable" width="228" height="198" style="float: right;" />Faster Internet service could be coming to your city in the near future</h3> <p>Forget about data caps, service fees, and other buzz kills of the broadband era. In regards to the high-speed infrastructure that can deliver blistering fast downloads, <strong>AT&amp;T on Monday announced a major initiative to expand its fiber network to up to 100 candidate cities</strong> and municipalities nationwide, including 21 new major metropolitan areas. This fiber network is the tunnel through which AT&amp;T's U-verse with GigaPower service travels through.</p> <p>For couch potatoes, that means access to AT&amp;T's advanced TV services, and for Internet users, we're talking up to 1Gbps service. At that speed, you could download 25 songs in a single second, a TV show in 3 seconds, and a high-definition movie in as little as 36 seconds, assuming perfect conditions.</p> <p>"We’re delivering advanced services that offer consumers and small businesses the ability to do more, faster, help communities create a new wave of innovation, and encourage economic development," <a href="" target="_blank">said Lori Lee</a>, senior executive vice president, AT&amp;T Home Solutions. "We’re interested in working with communities that appreciate the value of the most advanced technologies and are willing to encourage investment by offering solid investment cases and policies."</p> <p>The 21 lucky metropolitan candidates include Atlanta, Augusta, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Greensboro, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, Oakland, Orlando, San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis, San Francisco, and San Jose.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> 1Gbps at&t broadband gigabit gigapower Internet online u-verse News Mon, 21 Apr 2014 18:27:04 +0000 Paul Lilly 27670 at G.Skill First to Offer Low Voltage DDR3 Laptop Memory Clocked at 2133MHz <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/gskill_ripjaws_0.jpg" alt="G.Skill Ripjaws" title="G.Skill Ripjaws" width="228" height="142" style="float: right;" />Low voltage RAM for mobile enthusiasts</h3> <p>Little by little, we're seeing memory makers push the envelope in mobile and small form factor (SFF) setups by introducing high-performance SO-DIMM RAM. So it goes with <strong>G.Skill, which claims its latest Ripjaws are the industry's first DDR3L SO-DIMM clocked at a blistering fast 2133MHz</strong>. Not only is this a high-performance memory kit, it's also available in large capacities, up to 32GB (4x8GB).</p> <p>G.Skill's DDR3L kit operates at just 1.35V yet is able to reach 2133MHz with 11-11-11-31 timings. The sales pitch from G.Skill is that you're getting desktop performance and capacity on a laptop, and we won't argue against that claim assuming the kit works as advertised. It's also worth mentioning that SO-DIMM memory is becoming popular in SFF systems and mini PCs, like Intel's NUC and other similar systems.</p> <p>G.Skill posted a series of screenshots of its RAM powering an MSI GT70 2OC gaming laptop and running stable "under extreme load." MemTest shows no errors as the laptop successfully completes a Hyper Pi run with 97 percent RAM usage.</p> <p>There's no mention of price or availability, though as a point of reference, G.Skill's <a href="" target="_blank">equivalent on the desktop</a> runs about $330 street.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Build a PC ddr3l g.skill Hardware Memory ram ripjaws SO-DIMM News Mon, 21 Apr 2014 15:07:04 +0000 Paul Lilly 27668 at AMD Revitalizes Never Settle Game Bundle, Save Codes for Future Use <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/amd_radeon_gaming.jpg" alt="AMD Gaming" title="AMD Gaming" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Score free games with the purchase of select AMD graphics cards from qualifying vendors</h3> <p>In an effort to help tip the scales in its favor, AMD's been enticing gamers in need of a new graphics card with free game offers if they purchase a select Radeon GPU. AMD's Never Settle bundle has proved popular and continues to evolve with better offers and more robust terms. With that in mind, <strong>AMD just expanded its Never Settle Forever program</strong> to include more titles, more graphics card options, and a delayed redemption option.</p> <p>For the first time as part of the Never Settle promotion, AMD is letting gamers save their codes in anticipation of upcoming titles. The codes issued now are good until August 31, 2014, which is a little more than four months away. AMD didn't say which upcoming games will quality for redemption, but it's a neat option for those who already own many of the games being offered or otherwise aren't intrigued by the current crop of games.</p> <p>Another change is the introduction of indie packs. Indie packs consist of two games from independent developers, but they're bundled as one and only count as one choice in your reward tier. These aren't necessarily crap titles, either -- AMD says they're among the top downloads on Steam.</p> <p>As for the reward tiers, those who purchase a Radeon R9 295X2, 290 series, or 280 series graphics card from a qualifying vendor are eligible for the Gold tier. This includes three selections from a bunch of title options made up of Thief, Tomb Raider, Hitman: Absolution, Sleeping Dogs, Just Cause 2, and many more.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/neversettleforever.jpg" alt="AMD Never Settle Forever" title="AMD Never Settle Forever" width="620" height="364" /></p> <p>Those who purchase a Radeon R9 270 series or R7 260 series qualify for the Silver tier and can choose two free games, while purchasers of the R7 250 series or R7 240 fall into the Bronze category and can select a single title.</p> <p>For more details, along with where to purchase a qualifying graphics card, visit AMD's <a href="" target="_blank">Never Settle Forever</a> page.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> amd games Hardware never settle Software News Mon, 21 Apr 2014 14:33:40 +0000 Paul Lilly 27667 at AMD's A-Series 64-bit ARM Server SoCs Begin Sampling; Launch Set for Fourth Quarter <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Opteron A1100" title="Opteron A1100" width="228" height="173" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Opteron A1100 chips support up to eight 28nm Cortex A57 cores</h3> <p><strong>AMD began sampling its Opteron A1100 64-bit ARM processors (codenamed “Seattle”) last month</strong>, the chipmaker announced during its first quarter financial results conference call Thursday. Hailing it as a key milestone “in our ambidextrous strategy,” AMD CEO Rory Read said that the company planned to <a href="" target="_blank">begin shipping the chips in the final quarter of 2014.</a></p> <p>"We have introduced Seattle, our first 64-bit ARM server processor and the industry's first at 28nm technology, positioning AMD as the only SoC provider to bridge the x86 and ARM ecosystems for server applications," Read said. "We're catching it just as the wave is forming. This is going to be an important market over the next three, five, 10 years."</p> <p>Meanwhile, Lisa Su, AMD's SVP and GM of global business units, talked of the immense interest Seattle has managed to inspire in customers. But even she isn’t sure how much of that interest will actually translate into revenue for the beleaguered company. "Relative to revenue, it's probably too early to tell what's going to happen in 2015,” she said, “but I'd say the interest in the platform is quite high.”</p> <p>“I think the important thing for us and what we're working with the customers on is platform development and software development and ensuring that we get some of the ecosystem there.”</p> <p>When asked about Seattle finding its way into SeaMicro systems, Su had this to say: “One of the advantages of having a systems business is that we can do co-development between our chip development and our systems development. So it will be quite important for us to have Seattle in SeaMicro systems, and that’s in development.” However, she refused to put a date on the launch of such SeaMicro Fabric servers, clarifying that the “Q4 statement was a chip statement.”</p> <p>The upcoming 64-bit ARM-based server SoCs (system-on-chip) from AMD will be available with four or eight ARMv8-based Cortex A57 cores, up to 4MB of shared Level 2 cache, 8MB of shared Level 3 cache, eight PCI-Express Gen 3 lanes, two 10 GB/s Ethernet, and eight SATA 3 ports. Further, the <a href="" target="_blank">A-series chips support up to 128GB of DDR3 or DDR4 ECC memory as unbuffered DIMMs, registered DIMMs or SODIMMs. </a></p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> amd ARM opteron a1100 seattle server soc News Mon, 21 Apr 2014 05:39:28 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 27666 at