Mods, oodles of control configurations, switches and sliders for unholy graphical settings even God was unaware existed – these are the things that allegedly make PC gaming special. Clothesline inexperienced gamers with this taught branch of options, however, and they’ll see their first Game Over before even glimpsing the start screen. BioWare CEO Ray Muzyka’s solution? Er, it’s kinda vague.
“I think there are more people playing PC games and more dollars being spent on the PC space than ever before, but it’s taking a different form,” the good doctor told CVG.
“We can still make deep rich experiences but we have to make them easy to access, you have make the control system really easy to use, and you have to make people feel like they’re playing an experience that they can play how they want to play it, whether that is long sessions or short sessions.”
How does BioWare intend to make space for graduates of the PopCap Academy without giving core gamers the boot, though? Your comment section dialogue options are as follows:
“[Persuasion] Why even bother with casual gamers? They’ve only spurned your advances in the past.”
“Wait a minute, Muzyka! Sounds like you’re talking about console games to me!”
“Well, BioWare, you’ve never failed me in the past, so why should I doubt you now? I’m exceptionally level-headed and uninteresting.” (Click here for light side points.)
Currently all netbook manufacturers are pounding the market with a barrage of netbooks. The intervening lull between successive netbook models is constantly shrinking, leaving consumers spoilt for choice and a tad overwhelmed.
HP is about to launch a new netbook, the Mini-note 2140, in February but a report about its successor has already emerged. Its successor, the Mini-note 2150, will have at least one additional feature in form of a built-in 3G modem, according to Digitimes. The 2150 is rumored to be scheduled for a June launch. Nothing else is currently known about the 2150.
The 10.1-inch Mini-note 2140 will be launched in February with prices beginning at $500.
It's usually not too difficult finding a power outlet no matter where you're at, but that won't do you any good if your juice-deprived gadget needs to sip on a USB connector for a refill. Travelmate's USB Power Adapter seeks to solve this problem with not one, but two USB ports on a single plug-in device.
Not only does it come with two USB ports accessible via a retractable USB cable, but a bevy of connector tips and charging plugs keeps you covered in most situations. Tips include an iPod/iPhone, Sony Ericson, Motorola HTC/Dopod, and two Nokia tips (one standard, one small), along with a car cigarette plug.
Systems builders have been living high on the hog when it comes to memory, and why shouldn't they be when considering how far RAM prices have fallen in the past year. Even builds with basics tasks in mind can be found rocking with 4GB or RAM, which at one time would have been a costly proposition.
We won't go so far as to say these good times are coming to end, but prices are heading back up it seems. According to Robert W. Baird and Company, Inc., fully tested DDR2 spot prices are up between 1 and 3 percent. NAND Flash contract pricing is up even more to the tune of 7 to 30 percent. Meanwhile, memory companies' attempts to cut back production have resulted in a 22 percent worldwide DRAM production since September.
In other memory related news, Robert W. Baird and Company says ProMOS, Elpida, and PSC must resubmit plans for DRAM bailout funds. Candidates selected to receive bailout funds aren't expected to finalized until later this month.
If you're building from scratch, chances are you've been eyeballing Intel's newly minted Core i7 platform (as you should be). But the decision isn't so cut and dry when your budget doesn't allow for a new motherboard and kit of triple channel RAM. For those of you sitting pretty on an LGA 775 platform and in need of a processor upgrade, Intel has announced a handful of price cuts affecting its Core 2 Quad, Core 2 Duo, Pentium Dual Core, Celeron, and Xeon chips, as well as announced several new lower wattage Core 2 Quads, which drop the TDP from 95W to 65W.
Among those with the new lower TDP rating are the Q9650 (3.0GHz, 12MB), Q9550 (2.83GHz, 12MB), and Q8200 (2.33GHz, 4MB). However, these new revisions won't come cheap, commanding an $82, $107, and $103 premium respectively over their 95W counterparts with newly lowered prices.
New processor models include the E7500 (2.93GHz, 3MB, 1066MH) and E5400 (2.80GHz, 2MB, 800MHz), priced at $133 and $84 respectively in thousand-unit trays.
Following Intel's P55 chipset, which is expected to launch sometime late this summer, Intel will release four more mainstream chipsets in the first quarter of 2010. These include the H57, P57, Q57, and H55.
DigiTimes says the higher end H57, P57, and Q57 chipsets will boast support for a revamped version of Intel's Turbo Memory technology currently codenamed Braidwood. This will help with boot times by moving frequently accessed data away from the hard drive and over to Flash memory. The memory chips will also sport a dedicated NVRAM controller for SSD-like read and write speeds, Fudzilla says.
All chipsets will support up to 14 USB 2.0 ports (save for the H55, which checks in with 12), up to 6 SATA ports, and up to 8 PCI-E x1 ports (H55 again being the exception with 6 PCI-E x1 ports).
If you've ever wondered why user reviews should be taken with a grain of salt, it's because of incidents like this. Amazon operates a site called Mechanical Turk, which Amazon describes as "a marketplace for work that requires human intelligence." Thousands of low paying tasks are available for registered users to complete, such as transcribing audio, identifying objects in a photo or video, and other chores humans are still better at than computers. But it was never intended as an outlet for companies to solicit positive user reviews, and that's what a Belkin employee was caught doing.
According to an ad posted on the site, Michael Bayard, Business Development Representative at Belkin, offered to pay users 65 cents for each positive 5/5 review they posted, instructing them to "write as if you own the product and are using it." The ad even asks users to look for negative reviews and mark them as "not helpful."
It didn't take long for Belkin to catch wind of the situation and offer a statement denying knowledge of what was going on.
"It was with great surprise and dismay when we discovered that one of our employees may have posted a number of queries on the Amazon Mechanical Turk website inviting users to post positive reviews of Belkin products in exchange for payment," wrote Mark Reynoso, Belkin President. "Belkin does not participate in, nor does it endorse, unethical practices like this."
Reynoso goes on to say that this is an isolated incident and has worked with Amazon to remove all associated postings.
Having trouble seeing what all the fuss is about after buying a new HDTV? Better get your eyes checked, says Vision Express. According to a study by the UK optometry chain, as many as one-third of adults and children are in need of glasses, contact lenses, or a stronger prescription in order to take advantage of the higher resolutions offered by high definition displays.
"Even a marginally short-sighted person sitting on a sofa watching an HD broadcast may not see the full benefits in enhanced image quality," said Phillip Hyde, head of professional services as Vision Express. "If you're investing in HDTV, you ought to have your eyes checked to make sure you get the full benefit."
So there you have it. The next time some killjoy disses your new Blu-ray player and swank new 52" LCD TV, you can confidently accuse them needing to see an eye doctor.
MSI has been pretty active on the ultra portable PC front, and seems eager to pioneer in an otherwise uninspiring category of computers. After launching the first hybrid storage netbooks a few weeks back, they are now set to debut the first dual core Atom 330 enabled HTPC. The new MSI NetTop D130 will sport 2GB of DDR2 memory and comes standard with a built in DVD burner and 7.1 channel surround sound.
MSI is marketing this as an alternative to stand alone DVD players and are quick to emphasize how easy it is to hook up to modern LCD or Plasma displays. With a peek power consumption of around 35w, it’s defiantly an appealing package. We will have to hold out on passing a verdict however until we see a price and get to play with one in the lab. Currently it is expected to retail in the $200-$300 dollar range but unfortunately MSI has not finalized the pricing.
Circuit City announced on Friday that it will close all of its remaining 567 US stores. As a direct result of the retail chain's closure 34,000 people have been rendered jobless.The company had been in talks with a few potential buyers for quite sometime. In fact, the parleys reportedly went beyond midnight Thursday. However, as the discussions bore no fruits Circuit City was left with no other choice but to liquidate itself. Circuit City is currently offering discounts of up to 30% - which might be revised later - as part of its liquidation sale. Cnet’s Brooke Crothers’ described the situation inside the Circuit City store he visited as chaotic.