Here's a formula to help boost sales: Take something popular - for example, The Dark Knight - and then apply it to something completely unrelated, like videocards. Of course, copyright concerns could come into play, so be sure and design a character or logo that resembles nothing from which it was borrowed (in this case, steer clear of Batman).
Perhaps we're being too cynical and maybe Asus isn't a fan of DC's comic hero gone big screen. In any event, Asus' new Dark Knight series of videocards will inevitably conjure up thoughts of Christian Bale in his most recent role as Batman, but the new GPUs have no association to arguably the best super hero movie to date. Instead, the "self-designed" Dark Knight branded cards will come with a special heatsink the company claims ups the cooling performance ante while keeping noise levels down.
"The ASUS designed EAH4870 DK and EN9800GTX+ DK Series come equipped with the specially designed Dark Knight Fansink," Asus wrote in a press release. "This innovative fansink is equipped with 4 heatpipes and a large heatsink surface area; and is made of aluminum alloy to deliver extreme cooling while retaining operating levels at only 32dB—almost imperceptible in a quiet room—catering to users who require maximum cooling without excessive fan rotation noise."
The new cards also come with a handful of technologies and buzzwords aimed at attracting the overclocking crowd. These include an EMI shield, DIP spring chokes, LF PAK MOS, and all-solid Japanese capacitors. Put together, Asus claims end users can expect a 9 percent performance improvement while gaming. Utility belt not included.
If there's one surefire way to piss off Maximum PC readers, its by mixing politics with technology news. But despite the ire that will inevitably ensue (don't worry, we're not telling you who we think you should vote for), sometimes the two sections overlap to where we must risk the torches and pitchforks in order to report what's going on.
In this case, the real subject matter is in-game advertising. Love it or hate it, in-game ads are here to stay and they might even help decide who our next president is. At the very least, it could become a growing trend. We're talking about political ads preceding an election, and helping to set what could become a precedent, Barack Obama's reaching out to Xbox 360 gamers through virtual billboards. The ads have been spotted in Burnout Paradise, which apparently have been purchased for an undisclosed sum.
"I can confirm that the Obama campaign has paid for in-game advertising in Burnout," Holly Rockwood, directory of corporate communications at Electronic Arts, told Gigaom.com in an email. "Like most television, radio, and print outlets, we accept advertising from credible political candidates."
EA went on to clarify that the ads' subject matter "do not reflect the political policies of EA or the opinions of its development team." But that might not matter if gamers feel that mixing politics with videogames is taking advertising too far.
Do you have a problem with political billboards appearing in games? Hit the jump and give us your take.
When it comes time to shop for a videocard, most people are concerned about the pixel pushing power and how well a new GPU can handle Crysis. Yet others are more concerned with a videocard's ability to fit into a home theater PC setup, both physically and functionally. Some GPUs are even sought after for their ability to fold proteins, but apparently there's another use emerging, one with malicious intent.
According to Global Secure Systems, a Russian firm used Nvidia GPUs to break through WPA and WPA2 encryption. Assuming the report is accurate, the implications are nothing less than frightening, as GSS claims the brute force attack managed to accelerate WiFi 'password recovery' times by up to 10,000 percent.
"This breakthrough in brute force decryption of WiFi signals by Elcomsoft confirms our observations that firms can no longer rely on standards-based security to protect their data," noted David Hobson, managing director of GSS. "As a result, we now advise clients using WiFi in their offices to move on up to a VPM encryption system as well."
But even moving to a VPN may not be enough, as many VPNs use AES encryption just like WPA2. And by throwing videocards into the mix (it remains unclear which specific Nvidia GPUs were utilized), accessibility quickly becomes a growing concern.
Does this latest attack concern you? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
That's right. I'm at Apple's campus to see the new MacBooks and whatever else that Apple's going to roll out today. We'll be casually liveblogging and stealing images from our sister site, MacLife. We'll be counterprogramming, looking at things from a more hardware focused end, while MacLife will corner the market on news from the Mac fan perspective. Read on for more info and refresh frequently, we'll be updating til the end of the event. (Protip: Logged in users see updates as they happen, while folks who don't log in only see updates every ten minutes or so.)
Acer's making a bid for your living room with its new AX3200 desktop PC. Sporting dimensions of just 10x4x14 inches, it should have no problem wiggling into an HTPC environment. Nor will it have much trouble mingling, as Acer's new desktop comes with a Blu-ray drive, an HDMI-out port, and support for Dolby Home Theater 5.1 surround sound.
Other components include a triple-core AMD Phenom 8450 processor clocked at 2.1GHz, a 640GB hard drive, 4GB of memory, a multi-card reader, and a bevy of ports including no less than nine of the USB 2.0 variety and an eSATA port.
"Offering 64-bit Windows, a Blu-ray drive, and significant memory, the Acer AX3200 packs plenty of power for tackling the demans of multitasking and the latest digital entertainment," said Stephanie Eggert, senior manager for Acer America's Retail Desktop Product Planning.
With all that the $680 PC comes with, a cut had to made somewhere and that happens to be in the graphics department. Gamers will find little to lust over with the integrated Nvidia GeForce 8200 GPU.
The AX3200 is available now through Fry's, though it's currently priced $70 over Acer's MSRP.
Come November 19th, Microsoft will kick off its new 'Xbox Experience,' and with it some tantalizing changes to your console's dashboard. One of the more anticipated features includes the ability for Netflix subscribers to stream the online rental service's downloadable catalog straight to the Xbox 360 console for easy viewing on that living room television set. Customized avatars and a party chat feature are just some of the other enhancements that will flesh out the revamped dashboard.
That's great for 360 owners who have the requisite storage space (128MB minimum) to accommodate the update, but Microsoft has unveiled a new memory upgrade program that will keep Core and Arcade owners from being left out in the cold. Impressively, Microsoft is handing out free 512MB memory units to Core owners with the option of picking up a refurbished 20GB hard drive for $20. For $10 more, Arcade owners get the same 20GB hard drive plus a three-month membership to Xbox Live. Not a bad deal for either party.
To check if you're eligible, you'll need your console's 12-digit serial number and 12-digit ID handy, both of which can be found in the Dashboard's System Information area.
Perhaps consumers remain skittish at the presence of malware that cropped up on frames sold from popular retailers like Sam's Club, Target, and Costco. Or maybe everyone's saving up for Kodak's 7.6" OLED display. Whatever the reason, so far it's turned out to be a disappointing year for digital photo frame suppliers, who watched as demand failed to keep up with expectations.
Despite sagging sales, suppliers are hoping for a strong finish in the fourth quarter and continue to launch new products in anticipation of the holiday shopping season when demand tends to peak. But don't be surprised to find bigger frames this year. Price competition for the 7-inch frame market is cutthroat with the Free On Board (FOB) price hovering at just $30, causing some manufacturers to not even take orders for the smaller frames. Instead, look for a sales push in the 10.4-inch and 12-inch segments, which in addition to costing more also typically come with some multimedia functionality.
Have a digital picture frame recommendation? Hit the jump and let us know!
Think Spore is too short? Think Spore is too long? Think Spore is just right? Well it doesn't matter what you think; EA is putting Spore on a McDonald's diet, and the game won't stop expanding until it is the Space phase. Today's highly expected declaration -- which slaps release dates on a "Cute and Creepy" parts pack and an add-on for the aforementioned Space phase -- is only the beginning.
The Cute and Creepy set, not mincing any words, will include roughly 100 parts of both kitten-copyingly adorable and kitten-crunchingly horrifying varieties. For a mere $19.95, you can help break the record for world's fastest expansion pack when Cute and Creepy launches on November 18. It also works with Spore Creature Creator, making it the first expansion to cost more than the title it's expanding.
On the other hand, the Space pack sounds more akin to a real expansion pack. Slated for release during spring of 2009, it will see "players' space faring creatures... beam down from their spaceships to explore new planets and earn rewards for completing challenging missions" as well as "a new Adventure Creator will allow players to build and share online their own custom missions."
We were hoping EA might expand some of Spore's less-awesome stages, but hey, at least EA's heralds aren't shouting the joys of Spore: H&M. Yet.
SSDs are the hottest trend in storage, but how long will an SSD last? Right now,there's no industry standard for longevity or reliability. However, Cnet reports that Seagate and JEDEC are working together to establish a standards-based method for determining those factors.
Seagate isn't alone in working with JEDEC, the standards body responsible for standards in the solid-state industry. Earlier this year, X-bit Labs reported that JEDEC's JC-64.8 committee, which is responsible for developing SSD standards for embedded and removable storage, is being co-chaired by Micron Technologies and Seagate.
Micron brings its experience in memory technologies, while Seagate brings its experience in drive reliability to the endeavor. As Cnet reports:
Seagate says it can tap into the decades of expertise it has in error correction. "Some of the skills we've picked up along the way, to deal with imperfect media, has applicability to dealing with imperfect media on NAND."
Seagate's own SSDs won't hit the market until 2009, but hopefully its work with JEDEC to set standards for reliability will help make all SSDs more reliable.
So, what do you think? Will Seagate's presence on the JEDEC committee responsible for SSD standards make this latecomer to SSDs the one to trust when product finally hits the street? Or, are you ready to use SSDs right now? Join us after the jump for your chance to sound off.
No one can deny that StarCraft II's recently announced reverse-Voltron has officially renewed Blizzard's license to print money, but they can deny Blizzard's good intentions. Vehemently. Don't worry, though; the StarCraft crafters went out of their way to provide a few argument-dominating quotes on the off-chance you're still feeling a tad miffed about their decision.
"One of the things that [StarCraft II lead producer] Chris Sigaty was saying in interviews this weekend is that we had always planned to do two expansion packs for StarCraft II. This structure just reshuffles how we were going to do things," StarCraft rep Bob Colayco told Edge in response to the titular moo-juice allusion.
"Just to give you some context, typically with Blizzard RTSes, we release a single-player campaign that gives players just a taste of each race. The original StarCraft had 10 missions each or so for Terrans and Protoss. When we released the Brood Wars expansion pack, there was another eight or so missions for each of the missions."
Each race-focused StarCraft II release, then, includes the same number of missions -- and therefore, roughly the same amount of content -- as their unified predecessor. However, instead of a pithy 10 missions per race, the Terrans stand front and center for 30 missions, as do the Zerg and Protoss.
"Well, if you want to say 'one game' is 90 missions long, then yeah, I guess you’re only getting a third of a game each time," Colayco added. "Show me a game where there are 90 missions. We’re giving players a full-fledged single-player campaign experience included in each of the games."
See? That's no cash-grabbing scheme. That's Blizzard's sacrifice. We'd type more, but we're too busy saluting and choking back a single, glistening tear.