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+ - Performance Preview: NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet, Fastest Android Tablet Available->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Last week, NVIDIA officially announced the SHIELD tablet (powered by the Tegra K1 SoC) and its companion SHIELD wireless controller. The SHIELD tablet's specifications include NVIDIA Tegra K1 SoC (clocked at up to 2.2GHz), paired to 2GB of RAM and an 8", full-HD IPS display, with a native resolution of 1920x1200. There are also a pair of 5MP cameras on the SHIELD tablet (front and rear), 802.11a/b/g/n 2x2 MIMO WiFi configuration, GPS, a 9-axis motion sensor, and Bluetooth 4.0 LE. As it turns out, early units are shipping now to the press and initial benchmark testing shows the SHIELD Tablet and NVIDIA's Tegra K1 performance to be very strong. In fact, it could very well be the fastest Android tablet on the market currently, hands down, especially with respect to gaming."
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+ - Crytek USA Collapses, Sells Game IP To Other Developers->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Game developer Crytek's problems have been detailed recently from various source, and it's now clear that it wasn't just the company's UK studios that were affected. Crytek announced today that it has officially moved development of its F2P shooter "Hunt: Horrors of the Guilded Age" to a German developer, ignoring the fact that the majority of the US team had apparently already quit the company. The problem? Just as in the UK, the US employees weren't getting paid. In a separate announcement, Crytek also declared that development of the Homefront series had passed entirely to developer Deep Silver. The company has stated, "On completion of the proposed acquisition, the Homefront team from Crytek's Nottingham studio would transfer their talents to Koch Media in compliance with English law and continue their hard work on upcoming shooter, "Homefront: The Revolution". Both parties hope to finalize and implement a deal soon." It's hard to see this as good news for Crytek. The company can make all the noise it wants about moving from a development studio to a publisher model, but Crytek as a company was always known for two things — the CryEngine itself, adapted for a handful of titles and the Crysis series. Without those factors, what's left?"
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+ - Stanford Researchers Claim They Found "The Holy Grail" Of Battery Life->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "A research team at Stanford University is claiming to have pulled off a scientific coup that really would be a quantum leap over existing battery technology — and they've done it, supposedly, by solving a very old problem. Right now, the batteries we refer to as "lithium ion" use lithium in the electrolyte, the fluid that surrounds the anode and cathode. Electrons flow from the anode into the attached device, then back into the battery via the cathode. The reason we use lithium for the electrolyte fluid but not the anode itself is simple; lithium anodes tend to expand when they come into contact with their electrolyte solutions. As it expands, it forms tendrils of metal that cause short circuits and destroy the anode's ability to function effectively. This leads to extremely nasty problems, problems with names like "Thermal runaway" and "Explosion.". The Stanford team claims to have discovered a method for using hollow polystyrene nanospheres to isolate the electrolytic solution and the anode. This barrier layer of carbon isolates the anode and would allow the battery to be charged and discharged repeatedly without risk of explosion. If the team is correct, and we could build lithium anodes, it would open the doors for batteries 5-6x more dense than current models. Cell phones, at that point, could possibly last days on a single charge, while a car like the Tesla Model S could comfortably make a New York to LA trip without stretching for more than an overnight trickle charge."
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+ - Microsoft to Finally Pull the Plug on Windows RT

Submitted by Deathspawner
Deathspawner (1037894) writes "A lot of people have never been able to understand the logic behind Microsoft's Windows RT, with many urging the company to kill it off so that it can focus on more important products, like the mainline Windows. Well, this is probably not going to come as a huge surprise, especially in light of mass layoffs announced last week, but Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said that his company will be working to combine all Windows versions into a unified release by next year."

+ - AMD FirePro W9100 16GB Workstation GPU Put To The Test

Submitted by Dputiger
Dputiger (561114) writes "It has been almost two years since AMD launched the FirePro W9000 and kicked off a heated battle in the workstation GPU wars with NVIDIA. AMD recently released the powerful FirePro W9100, however, a new card based on the same Hawaii-class GPU as the desktop R9 290X, but aimed at the professional workstation market. The W9100’s GPU features 2,816 stream processors, and the card boasts 320GB/s of memory bandwidth, and six mini-DisplayPorts, all of which support DP1.2 and 4K output. The W9100 carries more RAM than any other AMD GPU as well, a whopping 16GB of GDDR5 on a single card. Even NVIDIA's top-end Quadro K6000 tops out at 12GB, which means AMD sits in a class by itself in this area. In terms of performance, this review shows that the FirePro W9100 doesn’t always outshine its competition, but its price/performance ratio keep it firmly in the running. But if AMD continues to improve its product mix and overall software support, it should close the gap even more in the pro GPU market in the next 18-24 months."

+ - Chinese State Media Declares iPhone A Threat To National Security->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "When NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden came forth last year with US government spying secrets, it didn't take long to realize that some of the information revealed could bring on serious repercussions — not just for the US government, but also for US-based companies. The latest to feel the hit? None other than Apple, and in a region the company has been working hard to increase market share: China. China, via state media, has today declared that Apple's iPhone is a threat to national security — all because of its thorough tracking capabilities. It has the ability to keep track of user locations, and to the country, this could potentially reveal "state secrets" somehow. It's being noted that the iPhone will continue to track the user to some extent even if the overall feature is disabled. China's iPhone ousting comes hot on the heels of Russia's industry and trade deeming AMD and Intel processors to be untrustworthy. The nation will instead be building its own ARM-based "Baikal" processor."
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+ - Ode To Sound Blaster: Are Discrete Audio Cards Still Worth The Investment?->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Back in the day (which is a scientific measurement for anyone who used to walk to school during snowstorms, uphill, both ways), integrated audio solutions had trouble earning respect. Many enthusiasts considered a sound card an essential piece to the PC building puzzle. It's been 25 years since the first Sound Blaster card was introduced, a pretty remarkable feat considering the diminished reliance on discrete audio in PCs, in general. These days, the Sound Blaster ZxR is Creative's flagship audio solution for PC power users. It boasts a signal-to-noise (SNR) of 124dB that Creative claims is 89.1 times better than your motherboard's integrated audio solution. It also features a built-in headphone amplifier, beamforming microphone, a multi-core Sound Core3D audio processor, and various proprietary audio technologies. While gaming there is no significant performance impact or benefit when going from onboard audio to the Sound Blaster ZxR. However, the Sound Blaster ZxR produced higher-quality in-game sound effects and it also produces noticeably superior audio in music and movies, provided your speakers can keep up."
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+ - Gamestop's Brilliant Idea: Require Preorders To Unlock Custom Game Content->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "One of the great universal truths of modern gaming is that preorders suck. The term refers to the practice of ordering a title at some point before it actually ships in order to get access to a variety of minor outfit tweaks, a few starting weapons, or boosts to early game play. Today, some publishers take this practice to truly ridiculous levels; the recent game Watch Dogs has no fewer than nine pre-order options. GameStop, perhaps sensing that there's pressure building against the model, wants to turn the dial up to 11 — and create preorder-locked, GameStop-specific content. According to financial analyst Colin Sebastian, "[GameStop] indicates that software publishers are more enthusiastic about partnering with it. For example, by offering exclusive content on each major game release and longer term, future models may include GameStop offering exclusive gameplay." GameStop is enjoying something of a renaissance at the moment. The company has captured a greater share of the Xbox One and PS4 market than it held at this point in the console cycle last time around and it's clearly looking to increase the attractiveness of its own business. That's fine but this kind of arbitrary lopping off of content to boost sales at particular shops simply isn't going to sit well with most gamers."
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+ - Watch Dogs Graphics And Game Play: PC vs. Xbox One With, Surprising Results->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Normally, the question of whether a game runs better on the PC or a console is a no-brainer, at least for PC users. Watch Dogs, however, with its problematic and taxing PC play, challenges that concept. And since the gap between consoles and PCs is typically smallest at the beginning of the console generation, HotHardware decided to take the Xbox One out for a head-to-head comparison against the PC with this long-awaited title. What was found may surprise you. Depending on just how much horsepower your PC has, the Xbox One (and possibly the PS4 though that wasn't compared) might be the better option. There's no question that the PC can look better, even before you factor in the mods that have been released to date, but unless you've spent $300 or more on a fairly recent GPU, you're not going to be able to run the game at sufficiently high detail to benefit from the enhanced image quality and resolution. If you have a Radeon HD 7950 / R9 280 or an NVIDIA card with greater than 4GB of RAM or a GeForce GTX 780 / 780 Ti, you can happily watch Watch Dogs make hash out of the Xbox One — but statistically, only a minority of gamers have this sort of high-end hardware."
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+ - ARM Launches Juno Reference Platform For 64-bit Android Developers->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "One of the trickiest aspects to launching a new platform update is the chicken and egg problem. Without any hardware to test on, developers are leery of committing to supporting new hardware features. Without software that takes advantage of new hardware capabilities, customers aren't willing to pay for new equipment. This is the crux of the issue with respect to the ARMv8 architecture and enabling development for 64-bit Android platrforms. As such ARM is readying their Juno development platform that combines several of ARM's most advanced technologies on a single board. The product supports big.Little in an asymmetric configuration; each board ships with two Cortex-A57s, four Cortex-A53s, and a modest Mali T-624 core. All this hardware needs an OS to run on — which is why ARM is announcing a 64-bit port of Android as part of this new development board. By including AOSP support as well as additional hooks and features from Linaro, ARM wants Juno to be a sort-of one-stop shopping product for anyone who needs to test, prototype, or design a 64-bit product for the ARM ecosystem. The Android flavor that's coming over is based on Linaro Stable Kernel 3.10. At launch, Juno will support OpenGL-ES 3.0, on-chip thermal and power management, up to 8GB of RAM (12.8GB/s of bandwidth), an optional FPGA, and USB 2.0. OpenCL 1.1 will be added in a future product update. The project is positioned as a joint ARM / Linaro launch with ARM handling the hardware and Linaro taking responsibility for the software stack."
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+ - Samsung SSD 850 Pro Drive Features 32 Layer 3D V-NAND Flash->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Samsung has just unveiled its latest series of solid state drives for consumer applications, the SSD 850 PRO. Like the previously-released SSD 845 EVO series, the 850 PRO leverages Samsung's tri-core MEX controller, but these new drives also feature bleeding-edge, 32 layer, 3D V-NAND flash memory that offers better power, endurance, and performance characteristics than traditional MLC NAND. Other features of the Samsung SSD 850 PRO series includes "Device sleep" (DEVSLP), which can maximize battery life in mobile devices and support for Samsung's RAPID mode technology, which leverages system RAM to boost performance. The SSD 850 series drives put up impressive benchmark numbers in a variety of benchmarks, besting many other drives in its class, but they also carry a long 10 year warranty."
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+ - Facebook Alters 689K User Feeds In 'Emotional Contagion' Experiment->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Here's an interesting psychological factoid: Emotional states can be transferred to other people via text-based messages on social media, such as Facebook. That means that if, for instance, you view a bunch of sad posts, you're more likely to pen a sad post yourself shortly thereafter even though you don't realize that the sad posts made you sad. Here's a snippet from the "Significance" section of the paper, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS): "We show, via a massive (N = 689,003) experiment on Facebook, that emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness." That's almost 700,000 people that Facebook experimented on. The social network purposely manipulated the Newsfeeds of hundreds of thousands of people. Shouldn't Facebook have had to notify those users that it was doing--something? The research itself is significant because, according to its authors, "emotional contagion" can happen not just in real-world interactions, but also from social media interactions. Thus, a social network could be a vehicle for massive, large-scale emotional contagion."
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+ - LG Out Innovates Competitors With QHD G3 Display And Frickin' Laser Beams->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "LG is probably getting a little tired of scraping for brand recognition versus big names like Samsung, Apple and yes, even Google. However, the company is also likely taking solace in the fact that their smartphone sales figures are heading for an all-time high in 2014, with an estimated 60 million units projected to be sold this year. LG's third iteration of their popular "G" line of flagship smartphones, simply dubbed the LG G3, is the culmination of all of the innovation the company has developed in previous devices to date, including its signature rear button layout, and a cutting-edge 5.5-inch QHD display that drives a resolution of 2560X1440 with a pixel density of 538 PPI. Not satisified with pixel overload, LG decide to equip their new smartphone with 'frickin' laser beams' to assist its 13MP camera in targeting subjects for auto-focus. The G3 performs well in the benchmarks with a Snapdragon 801 on board and no doubt its camera takes some great shots quickly and easily. However, it's questionable how much of that super high res 2560 display you can make use of on a 5.5-inch device."
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+ - Google Cardboard, A DIY VR Headset You Can Build, Fold And Recycle->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Google's I/O developer conference has had a large number of announcements, some a little more interesting than the others. Then there are some that are down-right strange — at least at first. Google's "Cardboard" easily falls into that category. Imagine sitting at I/O, watching a keynote, and then being told to pick up some cardboard on the way out. You might begin to think that Google had lost it. Well, that really did happen, and event-goers were handed a sheet of corrugated cardboard on their way out of the auditorium. Of course, this wasn't an ordinary piece of cardboard — it could be unfolded, and reconstructed into a Virtual Reality housing unit for an Android smartphone. A device like this would be useless without an app, so don't worry, Google has one. With it, you can take a tour of different locations through Google Earth, watch YouTube videos on a "massive screen", walk down the street with Street View, and partake in some other fun activities, while the app takes advantage of a phone's head-tracking functionality."
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+ - Intel And Micron Build New Xeon Phi Processor With Hybrid Memory Cube Technology->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Intel today made a splash at the International Supercomputing Conference in Leipzig, Germany by revealing new details about its next-generation Xeon Phi processor technology. You may better recognize Xeon Phi by its codename, Knights Landing. No matter what you call it, this represents a significant leap in High Performance Computing (HPC) that will deliver up to three times the performance of Intel's previous generations while consuming less power. A big part of the reason for this is the construction of a new high-speed interconnect technology called Intel Omni Scale Fabric, which Intel has been a bit cagey about, though reportedly it is comprised of silicon photonics interfaces as well as IP from Cray and QLogic. This will be integrated into the next generation of Xeon Phi processors as well as future general-purpose Xeon chips. At launch, more than 60 HPC-enhanced Silvermont-based cores will connect with up to 16GB of on-package, high-bandwidth memory designed in partnership with Micron, which leverages the fundamental DRAM and stacking technologies found in Micron's Hybrid Memory Cube (HMC) product."
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