News en Asus Rolls Out Overclocked and Custom Cooled Strix GTX 980 and GTX 970 Cards <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/asus_strix_gtx_980.jpg" alt="Asus Strix GTX 980" title="Asus Strix GTX 980" width="228" height="205" style="float: right;" />Cooler and quieter than reference</h3> <p>Are you of the opinion that speed limits are more like suggestions than enforced rules? Do you believe reference designs are for suckers? If you answered yes to one or both questions, you might be interested in the new <strong>Strix GTX 980 and Strix GTX 970 graphics cards from Asus</strong>. Both of these <a href="">Maxwell-powered</a> parts sport factory overclocks and custom cooling solutions that are supposedly 30 percent quieter than Nvidia's reference cooler.</p> <p>As Asus is prone to do, it outfitted its new cards with its Digi+ voltage-regulator module (VRM) technology and Super Alloy Power components -- fancy terms for higher end components intended to increase durability and cooling. Both cards also feature a DisplayPort interface to support gaming at up to 4K Ultra HD.</p> <p>The Strix GTX 980 is overclocked to 1279MHz, up from 1126MHz, and the Strix GTX 970 is goosed to 1253MHz, up from 1050MHz. Both sport 4GB of GDDR5 memory that runs at boosted speeds of up to 7010MHz, which is essentially reference.</p> <p>With regards to cooling, the cards use Asus' DirectCU II cooling technology that consists of 10mm heat pipes capable of transporting 40 percent more heat away from the GPU. The design also offers 220 percent more heat dissipation. <a href="" target="_blank">According to Asus</a>, the cards run 30 percent cooler and 3x quieter than reference.</p> <p>Both cards should be available today. At the time of this writing, Newegg shows the Strix 970 as out of stock and priced at $340 (plus $6.31 shipping); there's no listing yet for the Strix 980.</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> asus Build a PC Gaming graphics card Hardware strix gtx 970 strix gtx 980 Video Card News Fri, 19 Sep 2014 16:58:35 +0000 Paul Lilly 28572 at Turtle Beach Launches Ear Force Z60, Claims First PC Gaming Headset with DTS Headphone:X 7.1 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/turtle_beach_ear_force_z60.jpg" alt="Turtle Beach Ear Force Z60" title="Turtle Beach Ear Force Z60" width="228" height="192" style="float: right;" />Now available in stores</h3> <p>Turtle Beach hasn't forgotten about PC gamers. In fact, <strong>Turtle Beach just announced the availability of its Ear Force Z60 PC gaming headset</strong> that was first unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this year in Las Vegas. According to Turtle Beach, the Ear Force Z60 is the first and only PC gaming headset to utilize the new DTS Headphone:X 7.1 surround sound.</p> <p>DTS Headphone:X is supposed to make games, movies, and music sound better over headphones by enabling discrete control over speaker position and angles. Turtle Beach said it created audio presets using DTS Headphone:X for more realistic sound. How so?</p> <p>"Most surround sound mixes put the center channel about eight feet in front of the listener perceptually, which is the default for TV and film because the dialogue is coming from the screen," <a href=";t=20850" target="_blank">Turtle Beach explains</a>. "With a first person shooter and many other game genres, much of the center channel audio comes from the player's character for example the sound of the player’s feet walking in the snow, their inbound radio, and the sound of spent cartridges being ejected from their gun. Using DTS Headphone:X, the audio engineers at Turtle Beach created gaming presets that pull the center channel in towards the players' midsection to make the placement of those sounds more realistic."</p> <p>The Ear Force Z60 boasts large 60mm speakers. It also features an inline control unit to adjust chat and game audio individually, surround sound modes, and microphone mute.</p> <p>You can purchase the Ear Force Z60 now for <a href="" target="_blank">$120 MSRP</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> audio ear force z60 Gaming Hardware headphone:x 7.1 Peripherals Sound turtle beach News Fri, 19 Sep 2014 16:16:58 +0000 Paul Lilly 28571 at NFL TV Announcers Still Referring to Microsoft Surface Tablets as iPads <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/surface_2_3.jpg" alt="Surface 2" title="Surface 2" width="228" height="148" style="float: right;" />Microsoft has some coaching to do</h3> <p>Microsoft's arch rival Apple is receiving some free publicity for its iPad line during NFL games. That's because TV announcers can't seem to tell fathom that not all tablets are iPads. Take the Surface, for example. After paying the NFL $400 million for Surface to be the official tablet of the league, <strong>Microsoft is understandably ticked that its slate keeps being referred to as an iPad on national television</strong>.</p> <p>It happened on more than one occasion through the <a href="" target="_blank">end of last week</a>, and then again this past Sunday when the San Diego Chargers played against the defending champions Seattle Seahawks. In that instance, it was a local TV announcer who was confused when told the teams were using Surface tablets.</p> <p>"What? I thought it was an iPad," the announcer said, according to a <a href="" target="_blank">report in the <em>Los Angeles Times</em></a>.</p> <p>In addition to paying the NFL a reported $400 million to feature its Surface as the official tablet of the league, it also provided the NFL with hundreds of Surface 2 systems. Each team received 13 Surface tablets to use on the sideline and 12 to use in the coaches' booth. They're not connected to the Internet and teams are only allowed to view photos, not videos. The NFL then collects them after each game to prevent tampering.</p> <p>"Despite the majority of our friends in the booth correctly identifying the Surface on NFL sidelines, we're working with the league to coach up a select few," a Microsoft spokesman said.</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> microsoft NFL Surface tablet News Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:57:17 +0000 Paul Lilly 28570 at Qualcomm's Awesome Vuforia SDK Brings Augmented Reality to Eyewear <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u69/vuforia_eyewear.jpg" alt="Vuforia Eyewear" title="Vuforia Eyewear" width="228" height="151" style="float: right;" />Some exciting things are happening in the world of virtual reality<a href=""></a>, and we're not just talking about the Oculus Rift. Multiple companies are jumping on board with the VR movement, including chip maker <strong>Qualcomm, which unveiled its Vuforia mobile vision platform</strong> that developers can use to build augmented reality (AR) applications for a new generation of digital hardware.</p> <p>The Vuforia Software Development Kit (SDK) for Digital Eyewear offers a "major advance in user experience," Qualcomm says. Using the SDK, developers can program apps with interactive 3D content that's visually aligned with the underlying world. This has all kinds of potential uses -- everything from gaming to shopping and education, etc.</p> <p>"The promise of digital eyewear is to create a heads-up display for our daily lives. While the realization of this promise remains in the future, Vuforia is taking a big step in the right direction by enabling a first generation of applications for consumer and enterprise use," <a href="" target="_blank">said Jay Wright</a>, vice president of product management for Qualcomm Connected Experiences, Inc. "Developers will now have the tools required to build experiences that will drive the adoption of the digital eyewear category. We look forward to seeing what developers make possible."</p> <p><iframe src="//" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Two new features of the Vuforia SDK include Smart Terrain and HD Camera View. Short and to the point, these technologies allow users to build their own gaming environment using everyday objects. Smart Terrain then creates a 3D map of the environment you created in real-time, which in turn gives apps the ability to interact with those objects. In the video above, you can see various McDonald's objects -- cola cup, fry box, burger box -- placed on a table. A soccer app then maps the objects and allows you to make trick shots off of those items.</p> <p><iframe src="//" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>As it pertains to wearable headsets, a lot of neat things are possible with the Vuforia SDK, and not just for gaming. For example, you could be staring at an object like a water pump through a digital headset and see how to tear it down, step-by-step. Or an engine or any other object.</p> <p>The Vuforia SDK for Digital Eyewear will be available this fall in beta form for a select group of developers.</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> augmented reality qualcomm SDK virtual reality vr vuforia News Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:00:13 +0000 Paul Lilly 28569 at Toshiba Cutting Back on its Consumer PC Division <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/toshiba.jpg" alt="Toshiba" title="Toshiba" width="200" height="133" style="float: right;" />Company focusing on businesses more than consumers</h3> <p>It appears that the future of traditional PCs doesn’t look too bright, at least where <a title="Toshiba press release" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Toshiba</span></a> is concerned. Toshiba announced that it is shifting away from consumer PCs and focusing more on business PCs as part of a restructuring effort.&nbsp;</p> <p>The electronics company feels that a focus on the more profitable business-to-business(B2B) field is better for it than the unpredictable business-to-consumer(B2C) market which saw declines in <span style="color: #ff0000;"><a title="MPC article" href="" target="_blank">2013</a>&nbsp;</span>for the entire industry and early 2014. In response to the decline, it is downsizing by reducing its global workforce by 900 employees, about 20 percent of its non-manufacturing workforce, within the fiscal year as part of the restructuring efforts.&nbsp;</p> <p>Toshiba revealed that it would also withdraw its B2C resources from certain markets, but didn't say where, while focusing on developed countries that would also help to promote its B2B business simultaneously. However, the PC division isn’t the only part of Toshiba that has gone through a restructuring process. It has already restructured its TV business back in 2013 when it reported a $1 billion loss for two straight years.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> consumer PCs restructuring toshiba Toshiba restructuring News Fri, 19 Sep 2014 02:13:30 +0000 Sean D Knight 28566 at Final Fantasy 13 Trilogy Coming to PC, First Game Arrives Next Month <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/final_fantasy_13.jpg" alt="FF13" title="FF13" width="200" height="113" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>The latest Final Fantasy titles coming to PC</h3> <p><a title="Square Enix announcement" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Square Enix</span></a> has slowly been bringing the Final Fantasy franchise to the PC platform. After re-releasing Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII, the developer has been bringing some of the other older games in the franchise over. &nbsp;However,<strong> Square Enix has announced that the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy is coming to the PC platform</strong>.</p> <p>The first title in the popular JRPG series, released back in 2010 for consoles, is available for pre-order on <a title="Steam FF13 page" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Steam</span></a> and Square Enix’s online store. Those wishing to pre-order Final Fantasy 13 through Steam will get a 10 percent discount for a price of $14.39 (regular price is $15.99). FF13 Steam trading cards will also be available to those who purchase it on Steam.&nbsp;</p> <p>Final Fantasy 13 will launch on October 9. However, Square Enix did not provide a specific release date, or price, for Final Fantasy 13-2 or Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13, the latest installment of the franchise which was released back in February, except that they will be available “later next spring.”</p> <p>Have you played any of the Final Fantasy games on PC and are you looking forward to playing Final Fantasy XIII? Sound off in the comments below!</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> FF13 PC Final Fantasy 13 Final Fantasy 13 PC Final Fantasy XIII Square Enix Steam Gaming News Fri, 19 Sep 2014 00:17:25 +0000 Sean D Knight 28565 at Microsoft's Workforce Reduction Continues with 2,100 Additional Layoffs <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/microsoft_door.jpg" alt="Microsoft Door" title="Microsoft Door" width="228" height="160" style="float: right;" />Microsoft's restructuring effort will see a total of 18,000 job reductions</h3> <p>Today was a tough one in Redmond. Continuing with a restructuring plan <a href="" target="_blank">announced earlier this year</a>, <strong>Microsoft today handed out an additional 2,100 pink slips</strong> as part of a second wave of layoffs. When all is said and done, Microsoft will have reduced its total workforce by 14 percent, or 18,000 workers, as it looks to become a more agile company that can move faster towards its goals.</p> <p>The second wave of layoffs follow a first wave of around 13,000 job reductions. That leaves approximately 2,900 more job cuts to be made, though it's not clear when those will come and whether they'll happen all at once or in multiple waves.</p> <p>"The reductions happening today are spread across many different business units, and many different countries. We will continue to go through this process in the most thoughtful manner possible, with the deepest respect for affected individuals and recognition of their service to the company," a spokeswoman for <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft told <em>PCWorld</em></a> in an email.</p> <p>It's believed that most of the workers let go in the first round of layoffs were from Microsoft's Nokia Devices and Services division. Like the ones who were let go today, they were given severance packages.</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> jobs layoffs microsoft News Thu, 18 Sep 2014 20:46:47 +0000 Paul Lilly 28563 at BitFenix Pandora Case Supports Custom Images on Front LCD <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/bitfenix_pandora.jpg" alt="BitFenix Pandora" title="BitFenix Pandora" width="228" height="174" style="float: right;" />Slap your mug on BitFenix's Pandora chassis</h3> <p><strong>BitFenix today announced the release of its Pandora, a stylish and relative compact case</strong> made of brushed aluminum. In addition to its unique looks, the Pandora sports an integrated LCD panel (TFT) that measures 2.4 inches and is hidden discreetly behind the front panel. You can download software from BitFenix that allows you to upload your own images using a drag-and-drop interface.</p> <p>"Simply connect the USB cable to your motherboard, download the software from the BitFenix website, and drag your picture file onto the software. In seconds, your image file will be displayed in full color – an easy and novel new way to add your own personal touch to your PC," <a href=",bitfenix-pandora-%EF%BF%BD-style-without-limits/" target="_blank">BitFenix explains</a>.</p> <p>The design of the Pandora is inspired by the fact that an increasing number of PC users are plopping their rigs in the living room. To accommodate this trend, BitFenix wanted Pandora to look more like a modern entertainment appliance than a traditional PC. Mission accomplished, though it doesn't come at the expense of DIY amenities.</p> <p>Pandora sports an optional side window. It has three 2.5-inch drive bays, two 3.5-inch bays, a 120mm top cooling fan, 120mm front cooling fan (with an optional mount for one more), five PCI slots, USB 3.0 and 2.0 support, and cable management cutouts. The case supports micro-ATX and mini-ITX motherboards.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Pandora</a> should be available soon; no word yet on price.</p> <p><iframe width="620" height="349" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></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> BitFenix Build a PC case chassis enclosure Hardware lcd Pandora News Thu, 18 Sep 2014 20:18:29 +0000 Paul Lilly 28562 at Newegg Daily Deals: Samsung 840 Evo 500GB SSD, Intel Core i5 4690, and More! <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u69/samsung_evo_0.jpg" alt="Samsung Evo" title="Samsung Evo" width="300" height="205" style="float: right;" /><img src="/files/u154082/newegg_logo_small.png" alt="newegg logo" title="newegg logo" width="200" height="80" /></p> <p><strong>Top Deal:</strong></p> <p>Waiting on a slow computer to finish a task can set your whole day back. Before you know it, you're late for your dentist appointment, and because your dentist is now hurried, he forgets to shoot your cheek full of Novocaine before drilling into your cavity. Ouch! How can you avoid such an unpleasant trip to the dentist? By checking out today's top deal for a wicked fast <a href=";cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-SSD-N82E16820147249-_-0918&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner&amp;AID=5555555" target="_blank">Samsung 840 Evo 500GB Solid State Drive</a> for <strong>$210</strong> with free shipping (normally $350 - use coupon code: [<strong>EMCPAWB26</strong>]). That's a steal, but no worry, nobody will press charges.</p> <p><strong>Other Deals:</strong></p> <p><a href=";cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-DISPLAY-N82E16824236103-_-0918&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner&amp;AID=5555555" target="_blank">Asus 27-inch 1920x1080 2ms Full HD HDMI LED Backlight LCD Monitor</a> for <strong>$200</strong> with free shipping (normally $240 - use coupon code: [<strong>EMCPAWD58</strong>]; Additional $20 Mail-in rebate)</p> <p><a href=";cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-INT-HDD-N82E16822236623-_-0918&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner&amp;AID=5555555" target="_blank">WD Black Series 3TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5-inch Internal Hard Drive</a> for <strong>$150</strong> with free shipping (normally $180 - use coupon code: [<strong>EMCPAWB27</strong>])</p> <p><a href=";cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-CPU-N82E16819116989-_-0918&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner&amp;AID=5555555" target="_blank">Intel Core i5-4690 Haswell Quad-Core 3.5GHz LGA 1150 84W Desktop Processor</a> for <strong>$210</strong> with free shipping (normally $225 - use coupon code: [<strong>EMCPAWB29</strong>])</p> <p><a href=";cm_mmc=BAC-MaximumPC-_-DailyDeals-_-GPU-N82E16814121867-_-0918&amp;nm_mc=ExtBanner&amp;AID=5555555" target="_blank">Asus Radeon R9 280 3GB 384-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 HDCP Ready</a> for <strong>$190</strong> with free shipping (normally $225 - use coupon code: [<strong>EMCPAWB35</strong>]; Additional $20 Mail-in rebate)</p> daily deals Newegg News Thu, 18 Sep 2014 19:35:45 +0000 Paul Lilly 28561 at Tesoro Injects Shrike Laser Gaming Mouse with a Higher DPI, More Color Options <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/shrike.jpg" alt="Shrike" title="Shrike" width="228" height="151" style="float: right;" />Upgraded rodent now features an 8200 DPI laser sensor</h3> <p>Gaming peripheral maker <strong>Tesoro went back and updated its Shrike Laser Gaming Mouse with a few improvements</strong>, including an upgraded 8200 DPI sensor (up from 5600 DPI). The updated Shrike also features an updated programmable software UI, improved RGB LED lighting, and new color options. There are now five color choices for the Shrike to match your setup -- black, orange, white, yellow, and brushed silver.</p> <p>Never heard of the Shrike? It's a rodent designed mostly for first person shooter fans. It has 128kb of built-in memory, an adjustable weight system, 8 fully programmable and independent buttons, high-speed motion detection and acceleration, 1,000Hz Ultrapolling, shooting speed control, rubberized thumb grip, and an adjustable full color LED.</p> <p>With the updated software, Tesoro says its easier than before the customize and program the Shrike, both in terms of its LED lighting and creating macros.</p> <p>No word on price or availability, though as a point of reference, the original Shrike (H2L) goes for about $50 street. If searching for the newer model, look for model number <a href="" target="_blank">TS-H2LV2</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> Hardware mouse Peripherals shrike tesoro News Thu, 18 Sep 2014 16:45:22 +0000 Paul Lilly 28559 at Samsung's 20nm 6Gb LPDDR3 RAM Promises Longer Battery Life for Mobile Devices <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/samsung_6gb.jpg" alt="Samsung 20nm 6Gb" title="Samsung 20nm 6Gb" width="228" height="139" style="float: right;" />Look for thinner, longer lasting mobile gadgets</h3> <p><strong>Samsung said it has begun mass producing its 6-gigabit (Gb) low-power double data rate 3 (LPDDR3) mobile DRAM based on its 20-nanometer process technology</strong> (not to be confused with 20nm-class, which could mean anywhere from 20nm to 29nm). Why should you care? The new mobile memory chip is more efficient, which in turn will enable longer battery life in mobile devices. It could also lead to slimmer, less expensive mobile products.</p> <p>The new 6Gb LPDDR3 has a per-pin data transfer rate of up to 2,133 megabits per second (Mbps). It takes four of them to comprise a 3GB package, which Samsung says is more than 20 percent smaller and consumes 10 percent less energy than the currently available 3GB package using the company's previously lowest process technology. The end product is an improvement in every way -- mobile memory based on Samsung's 20nm process is smaller, thinner, faster, and more power efficient.</p> <p>"Our new 20nm 6Gb LPDDR3 DRAM provides the most advanced mobile memory solution for the rapidly expanding high-performance mobile DRAM market," <a href="" target="_blank">said Jeeho Baek</a>, vice president, memory marketing, Samsung Electronics. "We are working closely with our global customers to offer next-generation mobile memory solutions that can be applied to a more extensive range of markets ranging from the premium to standard segments."</p> <p>Samsung says its new 20nm process brings about more than a 30 percent productivity gain. With that being the case, they should be cheaper to produce and could ultimately lead to price savings for the end user.</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> 6Gb Hardware lpddr3 Memory mobile ram samsung 20nm News Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:56:44 +0000 Paul Lilly 28558 at Amazon Unloads Seven New Fire HD Tablets and E-Readers <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/kindle_fire_7.jpg" alt="Kindle Fire" title="Kindle Fire" width="228" height="168" style="float: right;" />Look who's ready for the holiday shopping season</h3> <p><strong>Amazon decided that releasing a new Kindle Fire HD tablet wouldn't be enough, so the e-tailer went and added more than half a dozen new slates and e-readers</strong>. It begins with the introduction of two brand new Kindles starting at $79 (Kindle) and $199 (Kindle Voyage). The Kindle Voyage ups the ante with the thinnest design yet for a Kindle device (0.30 inches) and a next generation paperwhite display.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">$79 Kindle</a> ($99 without Special Offers) is upgraded with a 20 percent faster processor, twice the amount of storage, and a touch interface. And starting at $199 (or $219 without Special Offers) for the Wi-Fi version and $269 for the Wi-Fi + 3G (or $289 without Special Offers), the <a href="" target="_blank">Kindle Voyage</a> comes with a built-in light with adaptive light sensor, 300 pixels per inch display (versus 167 on the standard Kindle), and PagePress sensor that makes it easier to turn pages.</p> <p>Moving on, Amazon also released a pair of <a href="" target="_blank">Fire HD Kids Edition</a> tablets backed by 2-year "worry-free" guarantees -- if little Billy breaks his tablet, Amazon will replace it, no questions asked. The Fire HD Kids Edition comes in 6-inch ($149) and 7-inch ($189) models with choice of a blue, green, or pink kid-proof case.</p> <p>Billed as a real tablet and not a toy, the Fire HD Kids Edition wields a quad-core processor, HD display, front- and rear-facing cameras, Dolby Digital audio, and access to Amazon's content ecosystem.</p> <p>If you're keeping count, we're up to four new devices with three more to go. Two of them belong to the all-new Fire HD category. These are also available in <a href="" target="_blank">6-inch</a> (starting at $99) and <a href="" target="_blank">7-inch</a> (starting at $139, available in October) models with 8GB and 16GB capacity options. <a href=";p=irol-newsArticle&amp;ID=1969156&amp;highlight=" target="_blank">According to Amazon</a>, the 1.5GHz quad-core processor stuffed inside these slates has 3x the graphics performance of the Samsung Tab 4.</p> <p>Finally, there's the all new <a href="" target="_blank">Fire HDX 8.9</a> powered by the latest generation quad-core 2.5GHz processor with a 70 percent faster graphics engine than the previous version. Amazon says it's 20 percent lighter than the iPad Air, and it's the first tablet with Dolby Atmos, which creates a new mobile headphone experience with multidimensional sound that flows above and around you, the company says. Pricing starts at $379.</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> amazon Hardware hdx kindle fire hd mobile slate tablet News Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:33:29 +0000 Paul Lilly 28557 at Destiny Darts to $325 Million in Five Days, Online Players Log 100 Million <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/destiny.jpg" alt="Destiny" title="Destiny" width="228" height="129" style="float: right;" />Activision Blizzard has another lucrative franchise on its hands</h3> <p>Though some early reviews have criticized <em>Destiny</em> for its repetitive game play and vague storyline, it's still raking in a lot of money for publisher Activision Blizzard. Citing Chart-Track figures, Activision Blizzard says <strong><em>Destiny</em> has sold through more than $325 million worldwide in its first five days</strong>, which underscores that it's the best selling new video game franchise launch of all time.</p> <p>Developer Bungie claims <em>Destiny</em> players have logged over 100 million hours of online play through the first week and participated in 137 million activities. In addition, <em>Destiny</em> has won over 180 awards and nominations.</p> <p>"<em>Destiny </em>fans played more than 100 million hours of the game in the first week. That's on par with the engagement levels of our most popular Call of Duty games, which obviously is an industry leader," <a href="" target="_blank">said Eric Hirshberg</a>, CEO, Activision Publishing. "Millions of gamers are having a great time playing <em>Destiny </em>and can't put down their controllers. And this is just the beginning. Destiny is a platform that will grow and evolve and we will continue to work closely with our partners at Bungie to bring a long line of new experiences and content to life in the game."</p> <p><em>Destiny</em> became one of the most highly anticipated titles of the year as gamers were eager to see what the developers of <em>Halo</em>, another hugely popular franchise, would come up with.</p> <p>Last week, Activision announced that it had shipped $500 million worth of copies to retail. Having now grossed $325 million from those sales, the sales estimate sits at over 5 million copies in circulation so far. Microsoft undoubtedly helped put copies into the hands of gamers when it ran a promotion from September 7 to 13 in which anyone who purchased a new Xbox One console from a participating retailer, including the Madden NFL 15 and Forza bundles, would be eligible for a free game priced $59.99 or less.</p> <p>As of right now, there aren't any plans to port <em>Destiny</em> over to PC, though Activision Publishing CEO Erik Hirshberg left the door open back at E3 when he said it's "something we're talking about and looking at very carefully."</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> activision blizzard destiny games News Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:29:08 +0000 Paul Lilly 28556 at GammaTech Announces Durabook R11 Tablet <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/durabook_r11.jpg" alt="GammaTech Durabook R11" title="GammaTech Durabook R11" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" />The lightest 11.6-inch rugged tablet in its class, GammaTech says</h3> <p>Tablets aren't exactly known for their durability. Can you image dropping your Android slate or iPad down a flight of stairs? If the stairs are carpeted, you might get away with it (we don't recommend testing this out), otherwise there's a good chance the screen will end up busted. <strong>GammaTech's new Durabook R11 is a rugged slate</strong> that would probably survive such a tumble, as well as other harsh situations.</p> <p>According to GammaTech, the Durabook R11 is the lightest 11.6-inch rugged tablet in its class. The slate weighs 2.73 pounds (with battery) and measures 11.4 inches (W) by 7.48 inches (D) by 0.78 inches (H), or 290mm (W) by 190mm (D) by 20mm (H) if you prefer metric.</p> <p>It boasts Military Standard 810G and IP65 certifications for drop, shock, dust, and water resistance, and is MIL-STD 461F certified for operation in hazardous locations. According to GammaTech, it can withstand extreme temperatures ranging from -14F to around 131F degrees.</p> <p>As to the hardware, the Durabook R11 features an Intel Haswell Y Series CPU, up to 8GB of DDR3L 1600 RAM, 64GB or 128GB M.2 SATA SSD, 5MP rear-facing camera, 1080p front-facing camera, two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI output, SDXC card reader, SIM card reader, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and various other odds and ends. On the software side, there are various options, including Windows 7 Professional and Windows 8.1.</p> <p>Those interested can create an account at <a href="" target="_blank">GammaTech's website</a> to get pricing and customization options.</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> durabook r11 gammatech Hardware mobile rugged slate tablet News Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:16:51 +0000 Paul Lilly 28555 at Asus May Sue X99 Motherboard Competitors Over OC Socket Design <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/asus_rampage_v_extreme_socket.jpg" alt="Asus Rampage V Extreme Socket" title="Asus Rampage V Extreme Socket" width="228" height="210" style="float: right;" />A suppy chain leak may have led to patent infringement</h3> <p>It's said that all is fair in love and war, but in the motherboard war that's currently taking place, some companies may have went too far. That's the reported opinion of Asus, anyway, <strong>Apparently Asus thinks competing motherboard makers infringed on pending patents related to its OC Socket technology</strong> found in boards based on Intel's X99 chipset for Haswell-E. Asus developed its OC Socket technology in-house.</p> <p>What is OC Socket? It has more pins than a standard LGA 2011 socket. The six additional pins are strategically spread out around the socket and allow you to tap into additional Haswell-E voltage lanes to enable higher and more stable overclocks.</p> <p>"Designed to break performance barriers, Asus OC Socket utilizes extra pins to connect a proprietary circuit to contacts found on Haswell-E's land grid array (LGA). Combined with our customized UEFI, this exclusive feature enables higher DDR4 memory frequencies, lower latencies, and enhanced stability while overclocking, extending all the way to extreme overclocking conditions, such as Liquid Nitrogen (LN2). OC Socket is 100 percent compatible with new Haswell-E LGA 2011-v3 CPUs, ensuring the ideal combination of overclocking performance and compatibility," Asus explains.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to <em>Digitimes</em></a>, an investigation by Asus has lead the company to believe that supply chain makers leaked confidential OC Socket designs to competitors. As a result, Asus is considering legal action against competing motherboard makers, including ASRock, MSI, and Gigabyte.</p> <p>Stay tuned, as we'll be watching to see how this develops.</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> asus Build a PC Hardware legal motherboard oc socket Patent Infringement x99 News Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:09:47 +0000 Paul Lilly 28554 at