News en SteelSeries Extends Headset Portfolio with Siberia Family Starting at $60 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/steelseries_sibera_headsets.jpg" alt="SteelSeries Sibera Headsets" title="SteelSeries Sibera Headsets" width="228" height="151" style="float: right;" />Snazzy looking headsets for different types of gamers</h3> <p><strong>SteelSeries today announced the launch of its new Sibera headset family</strong> consisting of several different models. Each one takes aim at gamers (as opposed to music and movie buffs) with a variety of options and price points ranging from $60 MSRP (Sibera RAW Prism) all the way to $200 MSRP (Sibera Elite Prism), the latter of which is an an upgraded version of the Sibera Elite.</p> <p>How so? It has a new, slimmer microphone and upgraded sound card to improve clarity. SteelSeries also said the <a href="" target="_blank">Siberia Elite Prism</a> has been issued fine-tuned ear cushions for superior comfort. Other features include Dolby Headphone and Dolby Pro Logic IIx for up to a virtual 7.1-channel surround sound experience, customizable illumination and audio settings, and a swappable cable system for use across PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, and mobile devices.</p> <p>Sitting below the Sibera Elite Prism is the <a href="" target="_blank">Sibera v3 Prism</a>. It runs $140 and boasts customizable lighting on the outer mesh-pattern earcups, digital audio quality with custom EQ, microphone noise suppression and auto compression technologies, and unlimited profile settings that can be saved and accessed via SteelSeries CloudSync.</p> <p>Moving down the ladder, next up is the <a href="" target="_blank">Siberia v3</a> for $100. According to SteelSeries, it has an "insanely comfortable" suspension design. As for the audio, the headset's been redesigned with a new set of drivers. The headset has a single plug along with a dual-jack extension for use on all types of gaming devices from PCs to laptops, along with mobile gadgets and consoles.</p> <p>Finally, there's the <a href="" target="_blank">Sibera RAW Prism</a> referenced above for $60. Gamers can customize and backup audio profiles, tweak the illuminated ring on each earcup with up to 16.8 million color options, and chat via the built-in microphone.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/steelseries_sibera_family.jpg" alt="SteelSeries Sibera Headset Family" title="SteelSeries Sibera Headset Family" width="620" height="229" /></p> <p>All of the new headsets are available to <a href="" target="_blank">pre-order today</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 elite prism headset Peripherals raw prism siberia steelseries v3 prism News Tue, 30 Sep 2014 04:00:52 +0000 Paul Lilly 28635 at Visceral Director Confident Battlefield: Hardline 'Will Work' at Launch <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/bf_hardline.jpg" alt="Battlefield Hardline" title="Battlefield Hardline" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />Cross your fingers the launch goes smoother than BF4's did</h3> <p><a href="">Battlefield 4's</a> launch went about as smooth as the Andrea Gail's trip out to sea in the nonfiction book-turned-movie The Perfect Storm. Hey, at least BF4 didn't sink -- the developers eventually ironed out most of the <a href="">bugs and server issues</a>, though it's understandable that some gamers are worried about Battlefield: Hardline going through similar growing pains. There's no need to be, according to <strong>Ian Milham, creative director for Visceral Games, who says that Battlefield: Hardline is in "great shape."</strong></p> <p>Heath Hindman, a journalist for <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Game Revolution</em></a>, caught up with Milham at the Tokyo Game Show and had a short chat about the upcoming game. Hindman said he expressed concern over Hardline's ability to fully function at launch considering that BF4 had several issues.</p> <p>"What you're basically asking is, 'Is your gaming going to work?' and the answer is yes, it's gonna work," Milham said, adding that his development team began work more than a year before Battlefield 4 was released. "We've been working with the DICE guys for a long time; some of our engineering work is actually in Battlefield 4 and things they've been doing since then. It's in pretty great shape now and all that work is gonna come into what we're doing doing."</p> <p>That's not to say there won't be some hiccups. In fact, Milham readily admits that bugs are virtually unavoidable when dealing with a game as big as Hardline, especially when planning for five different platforms. However, he doesn't foresee any major issues like there were with BF4.</p> <p>"We taking shipping a working game pretty seriously," Milham said. "So yes, the game will work."</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> battlefield: hardline Electronic Arts games Software visceral News Mon, 29 Sep 2014 21:30:03 +0000 Paul Lilly 28631 at Microsoft Founder Bill Gates is (Still) the Richest Man in America <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/bill_gates_2.jpg" alt="Bill Gates" title="Bill Gates" width="228" height="167" style="float: right;" />Software guru turned philanthropist tops Forbes 400 list for 21 years straight</h3> <p>You know the saying about how the rich get richer? Well, if going by the numbers, the saying is true -- in order to make the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans, you'd need a net worth of $1.55 billion, the highest it's been since <em>Forbes</em> started tracking American wealth in 1982 (last year it required $1.3 billion to make the list). And speaking of long-term trends, <strong>Bill Gates tops the list as the richest American for the 21st year in a row</strong>.</p> <p>The Harvard dropout and co-founder of Microsoft has a net worth of $81 billion. Interestingly, his stake in the company he built into an empire accounts for less than 20 percent of his total net worth, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Forbes</em> says</a>. That stake is still lucrative, however, as he added $9 billion to his net worth last year due in part to a rise in Microsoft stock.</p> <p>Having retired from daily duties at Microsoft, Gates spends most of his time with the Bill &amp; Melinda Gates Foundation, which has given away $30 billion since 2000. If that money belonged to a single person, he or she would be the 16th wealthiest person in America.</p> <p>Some other tech figures on the list include Oracle founder and CEO Larry Ellison (No. 3, $50 billion), Facebook whizkid Mark Zuckerberg (No. 11, $34 billion), Google chief Larry Page (No. 13, $31.5 billion), Google co-founder Sergey Brin (No. 14, $31 billion), Amazon head Jeff Bezos (No. 15, $30.5 billion), and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (No. 18, $22,5 billion).</p> <p>Image Credit: <a href="" target="_blank">Flickr (IssacMao)</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> Bill Gates Forbes microsoft wealth News Mon, 29 Sep 2014 18:50:26 +0000 Paul Lilly 28630 at Samsung Throws PC Gamers a Curved LED Monitor <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/samsung_sd590c.jpg" alt="Samsung SD590C" title="Samsung SD590C" width="228" height="209" style="float: right;" />A curved display with a narrow bezel</h3> <p>Display makers have been trying to sell consumers on the benefits of curved panels, hence why there are a handful of curvacious TV models to choose from. That same concept is now being applied to computer monitors -- <strong>Samsung today unveiled the SD590C, a curved monitor</strong> with a "super narrow bezel", built-in stereo speakers, and a specialized mode optimized for gaming.</p> <p>"As a leader in the display industry, Samsung is committed to pushing the envelope on both monitor design and technology to offer consumers the best experience possible," said Ron Gazzola, vice president of marketing at Samsung Electronics America. "The SD590C represents that vision, with a curved design that was carefully engineered to draw you into the display and truly make you feel a part of the content."</p> <p>The SD590C is a 27-inch display with Full HD 1080p 1920x1080 resolution, 350 cd/m2 brightness, 3000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, 4ms response time (G2G), 60Hz refresh rate, 178 degrees viewing angle (both horizontal and vertical), and three display input options (D-sub, HDMI, and DisplayPort).</p> <p>Why bother with a curved panel? According to Samsung, curved displays offer a more enveloping experience. They're also supposed to be more comfortable for long sessions because peripheral vision clutter is reduced.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/samsung_sd590c_top.jpg" alt="Samsung SD590C Top" title="Samsung SD590C Top" width="620" height="110" /></p> <p>As for the special Game Mode, with just a single click, the monitor adjusts settings for what Samsung considers optimized play -- it will detect changes in scenes, enhance the color, alter the contrast to make the darks daker and the lights lighter, make it so that gamers can see the action at all times, and enrich the sound.</p> <p>The SD590C will be available on October 1 for $430 (MSRP).</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> 5d590c curved display led monitor panel samsung News Mon, 29 Sep 2014 18:17:53 +0000 Paul Lilly 28629 at Are Touchscreen Laptops Long for this World? <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/touchscreen_laptop_0.jpg" alt="Touchscreen Laptop" title="Touchscreen Laptop" width="228" height="142" style="float: right;" />Consumers aren't getting touchy-feely with their notebooks</h3> <p>The emergency of tablet PCs and smartphones taught everyone the value of touch computing, and with Windows 8, Microsoft tried to carry that momentum over to traditional PCs. It didn't take, or least it hasn't so far, because if it had, we'd all be owners of touchscreen monitors and touch-enabled laptops. However, it looks like that ship may have sailed for certain segments -- <strong>because demand for touchscreen laptops has been weaker than expected, vendors have reportedly stopped developing them</strong>.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to <em>Digitimes</em></a> and its sources within the upstream supply chain, consumers are showing a strong preference for mouse (or trackpad) and keyboard operation on laptops versus tapping at the screen (no big surprise there). In addition, smartphone and tablet demand have combined to weaken overall notebook sales, touch or otherwise.</p> <p>Since adding a touch panel adds to the production cost and carries over to the retail price, vendors feel it just doesn't make sense to continue making touch-capable laptops.</p> <p>That decision applies to traditional laptops, including Ultrabooks, gaming notebooks, and standard laptops. Vendors will still add touchscreens to 2-in-1 hybrid devices that pull double duty as tablet PCs.</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 laptop mobile notebook touchscreen News Mon, 29 Sep 2014 16:31:27 +0000 Paul Lilly 28628 at Microsoft to Open Flagship Store on Fifth Avenue <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/microsoft_store_1.jpg" alt="Microsoft Store" title="Microsoft Store" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Just a few blocks away from Apple's flagship store</h3> <p><strong>Microsoft on Monday announced that it signed a lease to open its first flagship store at 677 Fifth Avenue</strong> in New York City, which will serve as the centerpiece of its Microsoft Stores experience. This is something Microsoft has wanted to do ever since it opened its first retail store back on October 22, 2009, but it had to be the "right location." As it turns out, that ideal location is only blocks away from Apple's flagship store.</p> <p>At present, there are 104 physical Microsoft retail store locations in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, along with online stores in 189 countries. Microsoft says its footprint has grown to a scale where 80 percent of Americans are within 20 miles of a physical store location.</p> <p>"Our Fifth Avenue location will be much more than just a Microsoft Store. In addition to retail, there will be experiential space for Microsoft as a company to further engage with our customers and partners in new and innovative ways," Microsoft stated in a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a>. "This is an important milestone for Microsoft overall, our Stores team and millions of our current customers, as well as the millions to come. We could not be more excited to join one of the most visited streets in America."</p> <p>According to <a href=";mobile=y&amp;mod=rss_Technology" target="_blank"><em>The Wall Street Journal</em></a>, the Fifth Avenue location is currently home to a Fendi shop in a "glitzy shopping corridor." The average rent in the area is $2,749 per square foot -- an exorbitant price, but one that retailers are willing to pay because of the high volume of foot traffic.</p> <p>Microsoft's Fifth Avenue spot will open sometime in 2015. In the meantime, the company plans to open 10 more locations in time for this holiday season.</p> <p>Image Credit: <a href="" target="_blank">Flickr (Dru Bloomfield)</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 microsoft retail store News Mon, 29 Sep 2014 15:10:13 +0000 Paul Lilly 28627 at Nixie is a Drone You Can Wear Like a Wristband <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Nixie Drone" title="Nixie Drone" width="228" height="70" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Powered by Intel</h3> <p>Remember <a href="" target="_blank">Edison, the SD card-sized computer Intel unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show</a> with wearables and Internet of Things (IoT) devices in mind? Ever since the company began selling the tiny development board earlier this month (for $50 a pop), we have been keeping an eye out for <strong>cool and innovative implementations that showcase some of the great things that are possible with Edison</strong>. Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait too long.</p> <p>Nixie is one such cool and innovative Edison-based project. Touted as the “world’s first wearable camera that can fly”, Nixie is a <a href="">wristband that unfolds into an aerial selfie-taking quadcopter</a>. Although there is little in the way of product information is available at this early stage, we do have this video for you:</p> <p><iframe src="//" width="620" height="320" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> aerial selfie drone intel edison nixie quadcopter selfies wearable drone wristband News Mon, 29 Sep 2014 08:14:40 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28624 at Death Knell Sounded for Yahoo Directory <!--paging_filter--><h3><strong><strong><img src="" alt="Yahoo Directory" title="Yahoo Directory" width="228" height="221" style="float: right;" /></strong></strong>In the beginning was the directory...</h3> <p>There was a time when web browsing sessions didn’t revolve around search engines, for they were rubbish, but around web directories like Yahoo Directory. Founded in early 1994 by Jerry Yang and David Filo, <strong>Yahoo Directory</strong> quickly became the go-to site for both webmasters looking to attract traffic to their websites and internet users looking to discover new and interesting sites, in the process turning the company into an Internet giant.</p> <p>Of course, Yahoo is no longer the force it once was and is desperately trying to regain focus and become relevant again. To this end, the company has been busy shutting down services that it no longer considers worthy of its resources. It has already retired more 60 product over the last two years and is once again getting ready to wield the axe. It has decided to shut down three more services: Yahoo Education, Qwiki and the&nbsp; once-iconic Yahoo Directory.</p> <p>The company, which recently raised over $9 billion from the sale of over 140 million Alibaba shares during the latter’s IPO, made the announcement <a href="" target="_blank">via Tumblr</a> Friday. Here are the 65 words it dedicated to Yahoo Directory in its announcement: “Directory: Yahoo was started nearly 20 years ago as a directory of websites that helped users explore the Internet. While we are still committed to connecting users with the information they’re passionate about, our business has evolved and at the end of 2014 (December 31), we will retire the Yahoo Directory. Advertisers will be upgraded to a new service; more details to be communicated directly.”</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> Internet web directory Yahoo yahoo directory News Mon, 29 Sep 2014 06:52:06 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28623 at AsusPro BU201 is a Rugged Ultrabook Aimed at Business Users <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="AsusPro Advanced BU201 Ultrabook for Business Users" title="AsusPro Advanced BU201 Ultrabook " width="228" height="228" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Built to meet U.S. military-standard 810G requirements</h3> <p>Asus is all <strong>set to welcome a new Windows 8.1 ultrabook to its AsusPro B Advanced line of business notebooks</strong>, a range made up mostly of 14- and 15.6-inch models. The incoming <a href="" target="_blank">AsusPro Advanced BU201</a> will be a tad different, though. With a screen size of 12.5-inch, it will be the joint smallest model in the lineup when it goes up for sale.</p> <p>Asus is promising “military-grade reliability” with the BU201, which it says has been tested to exceed the U.S. military’s MIL-STD-810G standard for toughness. This is what the official product page has to say about its sturdiness: “Through the use of UD carbon fiber materials, the ASUSPRO BU201 Ultrabook easily withstands the rigors of business travel. The LCD cover gives 20% higher panel pressure resistance compared to standard notebooks, offering better damage protection while remaining light. US military-standard quality testing includes enhanced drop testing at more than double the height and extra-strict hinge testing.”</p> <p>The BU201 packs a full HD LCD display, 4th generation Core i7/i5 processor, 4GB RAM (expandable up to 12GB), up to 1TB storage, integrated Intel graphics, HD webcam, 4-in-1 card reader, 802.11 a/b/g/n or 802.11ac (WiDi), 4G LTE, and Bluetooth 4.0. Other specs include three USB 3.0 ports, Smart Card reader, RJ45 LAN, VGA port, mini DisplayPort and a docking connector to hook in the AsusPro Ultra Docking Station. For good measure, its spill-resistant, backlit keyboard has a “SensePoint” pointing stick to go along with the standard touchpad just below it.</p> <p>There’s no word on price and availability yet.</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> asus asuspro advanced bu201 business class Hardware intel mil-std-810g notebook pointing stick ultrabook windows 8.1 News Mon, 29 Sep 2014 03:37:29 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28622 at Microsoft Exec: Windows 9 to be Free for Windows 8 Users <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Windows 9 to be free for Windows 8 users" title="Windows 9" width="228" height="173" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>‘Threshold’ will be officially unveiled on September 30, 2014</h3> <p>Microsoft has scheduled a <strong>special invite-only event for Tuesday, September 30, 2014, where it is widely expected to introduce the next version of its popular desktop operating system (codenamed “Threshold” but popularly referred to as Windows 9).</strong> As is usually the case, the event’s imminence hasn’t resulted in a moratorium on Windows 9 rumors and speculation, but instead caused the tech rumor mill to kick into high gear, with the latest juicy Windows 9-related tidbit coming to us all the way from Indonesia — and apparently straight from the horse’s mouth.</p> <p>According to Indonesian news portal <a href=";p=ct">Detik</a>, existing Windows 8 users will be able to upgrade to Microsoft’s next operating system <a href=";utm_source=pulsenews" target="_blank">absolutely free of cost</a>. And how exactly do they know this, you ask? Well, Microsoft Indonesia president Andreas Diantoro said so in Jakarta Thursday. Actually, rumors to this effect have been doing the rounds for sometime now but this is the first time that someone from Microsoft — someone as powerful as Diantoro at that —&nbsp; has commented on the subject, let alone outright confirmed the rumor.</p> <p>Although this particular report is silent on the upcoming operating system’s likely cost for those who don’t own a Windows 8 copy, Russian Microsoft leaker WZOR last month claimed that Microsoft was readying an <a href="">“awesome’ upgrade offer for Windows XP users.</a></p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> microsoft indonesia operating system report Software windows 9 windows threshold News Mon, 29 Sep 2014 01:26:59 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28621 at Graphics Analysis: Metro Games Stock vs Metro Redux Versions <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u166440/4a_games_logo.jpg" alt="4A Games" title="4A Games" width="200" height="174" style="float: right;" /></p> <h3>We compare the Metro game series to its visually updated counterparts</h3> <p>If you are a fan of single-player FPS games, then you should check out the Metro series. Metro 2033, based on the novel by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky, was developed by 4A Games and released in 2010 while its sequel, Metro: Last Light, came out last year. Both survival-horror games are set in post-apocalyptic Moscow where survivors of the nuclear fallout live within the underground metro system.</p> <p>It's a bleak setting where ammunition is your currency, which makes for some interesting dilemmas at times.&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe src="//" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Check out our video comparison comparing the stock version of the Metro series with its Redux counterparts above.</strong></p> <p>But is it worth purchasing the Redux Bundle if you already have the original games? We took the time to compare the original with its Redux counterparts to help you find out.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u166440/metro_ll_comparison_004.jpg" alt="Metro LL 004" title="Metro LL 004" width="600" height="336" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Sit back, grab a drink, and please don't shoot us</strong></p> <p>We gave both games good scores with <a title="MPC Metro 2033 Review" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Metro 2033</span></a> earning seven out of 10 and <a title="MPC Metro: Last Light Review" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Metro: Last Light</span></a> receiving an eight. But even so, on August 26, 4A Games released re-mastered editions of both games for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC platforms. Metro 2033 Redux is a rebuilt and upgraded version of the original game that takes advantage of the latest 4A Engine. For Metro: Last Light Redux, 4A Games said that it made some tweaks and included all of the DLC released for the game, along with new features and gameplay modes.</p> <p>Curious as to how much of a visual upgrade both Redux versions have received, we compared the original games to its Redux counterparts. To do that, we used our personal PC which was equipped with an AMD Phenom II X4 965 processer, 8GB of RAM, and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 780. Our overall goal was to evaluate the look of both versions and discuss how they performed relative to each other. We also made sure to run each game at the same settings, where possible, so that we would get consistent results. See our settings in the image below.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u166440/metro_2033_settings_002.jpg" alt="Metro 2033 Settings" title="Metro 2033 Settings" width="600" height="233" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Left: Metro 2033 settings - Right: Metro 2033 Redux settings</strong></p> <p>All four games were run in 1080p and quality set to "Very High," which is the highest setting for the Metro games. Mindful of those who may not have the best GPU out there, we kept SSAA to ensure good performance. However, Metro 2033 was a little tricky since we had to make sure that it was running DirectX 11 to keep it on par with the Redux version (recommended settings for the Redux edition requires a DX11-compliant GPU). Gamma settings were also kept the same at the default level.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u166440/metro_ll_settings_001.jpg" alt="Metro LL Settings" title="Metro LL Settings" width="600" height="232" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Left: Metro: Last Light - Right: Metro: Last Light Redux</strong></p> <p>With Metro: Last Light and Redux, it was much simpler to keep the settings as similar as possible since there has only been about a one year gap between both titles. That, and there were not a lot of options to tweak.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u166440/metro_2033_comparison_002b.jpg" alt="Metro 2033 Comparison 001" title="Metro 2033 Comparison 001" width="600" height="408" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>4A Games changed character models and even sequences for Metro 2033</strong></p> <p>It should come as little surprise to anyone that we saw a huge improvement when we played both versions of Metro 2033. The Redux version was not only a vast improvement with sharper graphics, but also featured enhanced visuals, tweaked gameplay, reworked environments, better lighting, re-worked character models, new animations, and better enemy AI. Suffice it to say, the differences really showed in the visuals.</p> <p>We also saw a noticeable difference when it came to performance, but in a suprisingly pleasant way. We discovered that the Redux version averages a higher framerate than the original. For example, in our experiential test, traveling through the market in Metro 2033 averaged 83FPS while the Redux version of the same location averaged a higher 95FPS. Given that the recommended specs for the remastered edition requires 4GB RAM and DirectX 11 or higher compared to the original’s requirement of 2GB RAM and DirectX 10 or higher, it seems that 4A Games has done a great job of not only upgrading the game, but optimizing it to use higher-end hardware as well. This was something that was needed since some of the complaints about Metro 2033 involved it being a poorly-optimized resource hog.</p> <p>As you can see in the next image, Metro 2033 Redux features different character models, sharper textures, and brighter lighting compared to the original 2010 game. In Redux, there is also a bit of lens flare and the goggles, which your character must wear when he ventures outside, has distinct drops of water on the edges rather than this weird blurry liquid effect in the original game.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a title="Metro 2033 comparison GIF" href=";file=output_vMH7dQ.gif" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u166440/metro_2033_comparison_003a.jpg" alt="Metro 2033 comparison" title="Metro 2033 comparison" width="600" height="335" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Click Image for an animated GIF comparing Metro 2033</strong></p> <p>But while we are impressed at the large improvements that were made for Metro 2033, Metro: Last Light is another matter. Rather than Metro: Last Light Redux being an all-out remastered edition, think of it as more of a Game of the Year edition. It’s great that all the DLC is bundled with the game, as well as additional content, but there are hardly any visual differences between the original and Redux version’s graphics that we are able to discern except that the Redux version looks a little brighter.</p> <p>Even the average FPS count isn’t that different between each version. Both Metro: Last Light and Redux averaged around 80FPS when we compared the first 25 minutes of the game with each other. The original ended up averaging 82FPS and the Redux edition 86FPS which, given we ran a purely experiential test, is within the margin of error.&nbsp;</p> <p>Take a look at the following image and you tell us if there is any visual differences between the two versions.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a title="Metro LL Comparison GIF" href=";file=output_YJ9NlT.gif" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u166440/metro_ll_comparison_001a.jpg" alt="Metro LL Comparison" title="Metro LL Comparison" width="600" height="326" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Click image for an animated GIF comparing Metro: Last Light</strong></p> <h3>Benchmarks:</h3> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u166440/metro_chart_002.jpg" alt="Metro Chart" title="Metro Chart" width="600" height="371" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Here is the chart showing you the average FPS recorded of all four games side-by-side</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">As stated earlier, the biggest difference was seen between Metro 2033 and its Redux counterparts thanks to the latest 4A Engine, graphics upgrade, and optimization. Meanwhile, the difference between Metro: Last Light and the Redux version was nominal considering not much had been changed between either version.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">So to those of you who don’t own any of the Metro games, we would recommend that you pick up the Metro bundle simply for the story, atmosphere, and the graphics. If you own Metro 2033 and appreciate high-quality graphics, then you should seriously consider picking up the Redux version. But if you own Metro: Last Light, then we would suggest refraining from purchasing its Redux counterpart unless you really want the DLC and extra content.&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> 4A Games Metro 2033 Metro 2033 Redux Metro Last Light Metro Last Light Redux Redux Bundle Redux editions Gaming News Features Fri, 26 Sep 2014 22:47:08 +0000 Sean D Knight 28612 at Chromebooks and Macs Cut into Windows PC Sales <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/chromebooks_1.jpg" alt="Chromebooks" title="Chromebooks" width="228" height="94" style="float: right;" />Retail PC sales rise up on Chromebook and Mac shipments</h3> <p>As we've said time and again, the PC sector is alive is well. <strong>According to NPD Group, retail PC sales grew nearly 3 percent during the 10-week back-to-school shopping season</strong> that went from July 4th through Labor Day week), compared to a 2.5 percent decline in the same period a year ago. Where things get interesting is when you break down those sales to look for trends in consumer spending.</p> <p>Chromebooks drew a lot of attention and led the sales drive with Chrome OS unit sales jumping 37 percent over 2013, while Mac OS-based systems climbed 14 percent. The increased sales came at the expense of Windows devices, which declined 3 percent.</p> <p>That said, Windows is still the most popular platform with a 68.4 percent share of the market, though that's down from 72.3 percent in 2013 and 75.2 percent in 2012. Mac OS-based systems take up second place with a 26.8 percent share, up from 24.2 percent in 2013 and 24.5 percent in 2012. Finally, Chromebooks bring up the rear with a 4.5 percent of the market, up from 3.3 percent 2013 and just 0.2 percent in 2012.</p> <p>Going forward, Windows is in position to reverse course. There's a concerted effort to flood the market with lower cost Windows laptops in the $199 to $249 range, along with a new OS (Windows 9) around the corner, both of which could drive sales up.</p> <p>"Due to the success of the aggressive Windows notebook pricing during back-to-school we could see a much more aggressive pricing strategy this holiday season as the seemingly stable PC volume environment emboldens the PC OEMs and the OS and chip suppliers to make a grab for market share while the industry remains relatively steady," <a href="" target="_blank">said Stephen Baker</a>, vice president of Industry Analysis at NPD</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> chromebook Hardware Mac NPD Group OEM rigs Windows News Fri, 26 Sep 2014 21:13:32 +0000 Paul Lilly 28620 at BlackBerry Trims Quarterly Losses to $11 Million, Beats Wall Street Estimate <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/blackberry_passport.jpg" alt="BlackBerry Passport" title="BlackBerry Passport" width="228" height="148" style="float: right;" />Canadian handset maker is slowly turning things around</h3> <p>If we look back a year ago, it seemed like BlackBerry was dead in the water with no lifeboat in sight. Fast forward to today and the Canadian company is in better shape with losses continuing to narrow each quarter. Granted, the company would rather be posting profits, but first it needs to find solid footing from which it can build upon. We don't know if the company is there yet, however, it's a somewhat of a positive sign that <strong>BlackBerry posted a better-than-expected $11 million loss, or 2 cents per share,</strong> for its fiscal second quarter.</p> <p>Yes, BlackBerry is still losing money, however Wall Street was expecting a loss of 16 cents per share. Before BlackBerry gets too confident, however, it will need to address falling revenue, which dropped 42 percent to $916 million. That's below the $950 million figure that investors were anticipating. Nevertheless, BlackBerry is happy with how things are going.</p> <p>"We delivered a solid quarter against our key operational metrics, and we are confident that we will achieve breakeven cash flow by the end of FY15," <a href="" target="_blank">said John Chen</a>, Executive Chairman and CEO, BlackBerry. "Our workforce restructuring is now complete, and we are focusing on revenue growth with judicious investments to further our leadership position in enterprise mobility and security, driving us towards non-GAAP profitability during FY16."</p> <p>At the current pace, BlackBerry expects to achieve break-even cash flow results by the end of fiscal 2015 and once again become a profitable company in fiscal 2016.</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> BlackBerry business revenue News Fri, 26 Sep 2014 15:59:28 +0000 Paul Lilly 28615 at Solid State Drive Price War Erupts Overseas <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/samsung_ssd_0.jpg" alt="Samsung SSD" title="Samsung SSD" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Look for lower priced SSDs in the coming weeks and months</h3> <p>We have to admit, we've been spoiled by solid state drive price drops in the past year or so. While once considered cost prohibitive by many, SSDs are mostly affordable these days, provided you're not trying to match your 4TB hard drive in capacity. SSDs typically sell for less than 50 cents per gigabyte with prices continuing to drop. Accelerating the process is a <strong>price war in China that's leading to even lower cost SSDs</strong>.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to <em>Digitimes</em></a>, SSD prices in China have "drastically fallen" to the point where you can pick up a 128GB for around $50 or a 256GB SSD for just $100. The sharp drops are a direct result of a price war started by China-based vendors TIGO Technology and Galaxy Microsystems.</p> <p>You probably haven't heard of either company, but don't rule out price drops coming to the U.S. market as well. As TIGO Technology and Galaxy Microsystems duke it out, Samsung and Kingston Technology, the two largest SSD vendors in China, are feeling the pressure to lower prices as well. Both are also major players in the U.S., so it's possible that those price drops could land stateside.</p> <p>Image Credit: <a href="" target="_blank">Flickr (Dr. Martin Von Nostrand)</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> Build a PC china Hardware solid state drive ssd storage News Fri, 26 Sep 2014 15:33:20 +0000 Paul Lilly 28614 at Intel to Invest $1.5 Billion into Chinese Mobile Chip Producers <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/sandy_bridge_wafer.jpg" alt="Sandy Bridge Wafer" title="Sandy Bridge Wafer" width="228" height="148" style="float: right;" />A big investment for a minority stake</h3> <p>Intel is turning to China to help the chip maker become a more competitive force in the mobile industry. <strong>Part of Intel's strategy is to invest up to $1.5 billion for a 20 percent stake in two Chinese mobile chipmakers</strong>, Spreadtrum Communications and RDA Microelectronics. The investment is being made under holding company Tsinghua Unigroup, an operating subsidiary of Tsinghua Holdings Col, Ltd., a solely-owned limited liability corporation funded by Tsinghua University in China.</p> <p>The two firms Intel is investing in are leading fabless semiconductor companies in China. They both develop mobile chipset platforms for smartphones, feature phones, and various other consumer electronics with support for 2G, 3G, and 4G wireless communication, Intel said.</p> <p>As part of the deal, Spreadtrum Communications will jointly create and sell a family of System-on-Chips (SoCs) based on Intel's architecture. Those products will start to become available in the second half of next year and will be sold by both companies.</p> <p>"China is now the largest consumption market for smartphones and has the largest number of Internet users in the world," <a href="" target="_blank">said Brian Krzanich</a>, Intel CEO. "These agreements with Tsinghua Unigroup underscore Intel’s 29-year-long history of investing in and working in China. This partnership will also enhance our ability to support a wider range of mobile customers in China and the rest of the world by more quickly delivering a broader portfolio of Intel architecture and communications technology solutions."</p> <p>The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions. Barring any snags or setbacks, Intel expects the deal to close in early 2015.</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> business china Hardware intel mobile semiconductor News Fri, 26 Sep 2014 15:12:35 +0000 Paul Lilly 28613 at