This holiday season the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, two of the most powerful consoles in gaming history, will compete for gamers' attention. Microsoft has been trailing in sales throughout the last year-according to BetaNews, 3.3 million PlayStation 4s have shipped in the last quarter , whereas Microsoft has only shipped 2.4 million combined Xbox 360 and One units. This holiday season, both console giants will offer bundles in an attempt to climb to the top of the hill. Here are some of the upcoming holiday deals for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Black Friday Comes Early
While both consoles will be offering great bundles this holiday, Microsoft isn't wasting any time offering a discount on their console. IDigitalTimes reports that Microsoft is offering a $50 discount on the Xbox One from now until Jan. 3. This price drop effects all Xbox One bundles as well, meaning that you can already pick up an Xbox One bundle for between $349 and $449.
Sony hasn't reacted to this price cut yet with its own console price cut, though it is possible that something may be announced in the next few weeks. With their console outselling the Xbox One worldwide, it seems unlikely that Sony will decrease the base cost of the PS4 this year.
While the base PlayStation 4 probably won't see a price drop any time soon, Sony and video game retailers are offering some incredible bundles this year. For example, Walmart is offering a PlayStation 4 Mega Console Bundle with a camera, controller, and choice of game for $509. The bundle represents a large discount on the various peripherals and games that a serious gamer would be buying in the next year.
Sony's "Destiny" bundle is being sold by several retailers and includes a copy of the best selling title "Destiny" as well as a special edition Glacier White PlayStation 4 console and controller. The irony of this bundle is that Bungie,the developers of "Destiny" are also the developers of the legendary Xbox exclusive "Halo," and while there is a similar Xbox One bundle on the market, it is very likely Sony bundle sales will conquer Xbox One bundle sales this holiday season.
NVM Express has announced the new NVMe 1.2 specification, and many of the features are aligned to increase adoption in mobile designs, such as laptops and ultrathins. NVMe is a new storage protocol that provides amazing performance and low latency in comparison to legacy approaches, but while we have seen some amazingly fast enterprise SSDs hit our labs, NVMe hasn't quite made it to the consumer space. New power management features will allow NVMe SSDs to kick into lower power states, which will increase battery life for mobile applications.
Another new feature can also help to make SSDs more affordable. The NVMe specification now supports a host-based memory buffer. With the notable exception of SandForce devices, current SSDs use DRAM for caching. This extra DRAM component adds cost, draws more power, and takes up space on the SSD. NVMe 1.2 allows the SSD to use the computers RAM for SSD management, which means simpler, and cheaper, SSD designs. The smaller form factors will also lend themselves well to ultra-thins, 2-in-1's, and tablets. One neat aspect is that the SSD can request varying amounts of DRAM from the host system. This DRAM is typically utilized for translation tables for the FTL, but it isn't hard to imagine some uses for caching actual data in the future. Enhanced temperature management will keep the SSD from overheating, which is also a key feature in cramped laptops and ultra-thins. If the SSD reaches a high temperature it can simply throttle performance to cool down. These new features are welcome additions, and new NVMe SSDs will speed their way into your home computer or mobile device soon.
CalDigit has announced that pre-ordering is available for their new T4 Thunderbolt 2 RAID enclosures, and units begin shipping on November 14th. Thunderbolt 2 is a flexible interface that provides up to 10 Gb/s of throughput. This massive bandwidth allows for easy daisy-chaining of connected devices, such as storage devices and monitors. The small connector is a big benefit, and there are adapters for a myriad of other devices, such as USB, Ethernet, DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI, or VGA. It might seem counter-intuitive to connect displays onto the same connection as a storage device, but this eliminates multiple connectors while providing up to 4K resolutions for video displays. Thunderbolt 2 has made a big splash with content creators and video/picture editors, as big bandwidth equates to faster external storage options.
CalDigit has yet another innovative product for the Thunderbolt 2 crowd with the surprisingly compact T4 external RAID enclosure. The 4-bay device supports HDDs and SSDs in striped, mirrored, or redundant configurations. The enclosure supports RAID 5, which protects against a single drive failure. For professionals who use their external storage in the field this is a big plus. Some of the most common data recovery projects involve data recovery for photographers and videographers. The T4 will satisfy even the most demanding professionals with 1,370 MB/s of throughput and dual Thunderbolt 2 ports. 4 drive bays allow for plenty of storage capacity and also allow creation of multiple storage arrays. All of this is backed up by a five-year warranty. The T4 is available for $899 MSRP with 4TB of storage. For the latest in Thunderbolt 2 performance data head over to our Thunderbolt section, where out resident Thunderbolt expert Tyler Bernath breaks down the latest products.
DriveSavers are like the MacGyver of data recovery services. If you lose data from your phone, SD card, SSD, HDD, NAS, SAN, or anything inbetween, they can recover it. One of the keys to timely and affordable data recovery are the numerous technical alliances they forge with storage companies. SanDisk has become the latest company to partner with DriveSavers by providing them with technology, techniques, and tools to assist in SSD data recovery. This partnership will help SanDisk customers recover from disasters like the fire that mutilated the poor notebook below.
DriveSavers is one of the most trusted names in data recovery for good reason, they have been at it since 1985 and have a slew of technical certifications and clean rooms for data recovery. DriveSavers actually recovered the data from the notebook above, and that might actually be considered tame by their standards. We actually had a unique opportunity to visit the DriveSavers facility earlier this year, and it was a fascinating learning experience. For a deeper understanding of data recovery jump over to our DriveSavers Data Recovery Site Tour - Your Data, Recovered article for a close look at our tour and their data recovery techniques.
Last night, I played a couple of hours of the just-released Assassin's Creed: Unity, and was absolutely disgusted at the performance of the game, even on my powerful PC.
I'm running a Core i7-4930K, 16GB of Corsair 2400MHz DDR3 RAM, SSDs galore from SanDisk, and two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980s in SLI - yes, GTX 980s, two of them. All of this is sprinkled over the awesome ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q monitor, which has a native resolution of 2560x1440 and 144Hz refresh rate. I went into the game at 1440p, at its highest possible settings (with anti-aliasing disabled) and was getting an abysmal frame rate.
Quitting out of it, it crashed - and then I couldn't get back into it. Disabling SLI and rebooting, it still didn't work - so I downloaded and installed the new GeForce 344.65 Game Ready drivers, which helped. Back into the game, I reduced the resolution all the way down to 1280x720 and medium detail, which provided around 40-45FPS... which is way, way under what I should be getting. I quit out, jumped into Alien: Isolation which is running at 2560x1440 with everything cranked (again, sans AA) and I was getting 100FPS+. Battlefield 4? Same thing.
Senior Producer on the game, Vincent Pontbriand even said that the studio was "Technically we're CPU-bound. The GPUs are really powerful, obviously the graphics look pretty good, but it's the CPU [that] has to process the AI, the number of NPCs we have on screen, all these systems running in parallel". Now, see that CPU bound commment there - look at the screenshot from the game above (taken on my PC) and tell me how those copy/pasted NPCs would take up precious CPU resources.
NVIDIA already has two great GPUs in its GeForce GTX 970 and GTX 980 cards, but the mid-range market needs some lovin', too. This is where the GeForce GTX 960 comes into play, and according to the latest rumors, it won't be as cut down as previous generations have been.
The GeForce GTX 960 will reportedly maintain its GM204 core, as well as the 256-bit memory bus and 4GB of GDDR5 memory that both of its bigger brothers have. The GTX 960 will reportedly be clocked at 933MHz on the Core, and most likely 1408 Stream Processors, with 88 Texture Units behind it.
When it comes to pricing, we should expect some cut throat pricing from NVIDIA, with a price of under $249 in the US. When will it be unveiled? We should see it coming into the world in Q1 2015, so we don't have much longer to wait.
Netflix has just enabled 1080p content for Apple's new iPhone 6 Plus, with the company updating its iOS application so that the higher-resolution iPhone can now enjoy Full HD content.
The latest app is now capable of 1080p playback, just like its older Android 4.3 counterparts. The new Netflix for iOS app has a few other improvements for iOS 8, as well as improved Chromecast streaming.
Waiting for that Nexus 6 smartphone? You'll have your chance later today with multiple wireless carriers opening up pre-orders for Google's latest handset.
AT&T will be offering up the Midnight Blue version of the Nexus 6 for $682.99 outright, or on a two-year contract on its Next plan for $249.99. Sprint will be offering the same Midnight Blue version of the phone, but will start it up on November 14. T-Mobile has already announced the Nexus 6 for $0 down on a two-year contract.
As for U.S. Cellular and Verizon, they will both offer the Nexus 6 at some point in the future, but haven't laid out their plans just yet. The Nexus 6 did reach the Google Play store last month, but pre-orders were snapped up within minutes.
During the NVIDIA's Editors Day 2014 in Monterey Bay, California just a couple of months ago (man, I miss that place) the company showed off its new second-generation Maxwell architecture, and gave birth to the GeForce GTX 900 series. But one of the cooler things shown off during the event, was VXGI, or Voxel Global Illumination.
NVIDIA used VXGI to recreate the infamous photo from the Lunar landing in 1969, attempting to debunk conspiracy theories on whether it happened - and whether the photos were fakes or not. Well, the company has now released that Apollo 11 demo, for anyone with a GeForce GTX 970 or GTX 980 to play around with it.
The Apollo 11 demo is powered with Unreal Engine 4, and takes some serious GPU horsepower to run it.
We knew it was coming, but Avalanche Studios has confirmed it: Just Cause 3 is coming. JC3 will be released next year, for current-generation consoles and PC.
Xbox One and PS4 users will be over the moon, but Xbox 360 and PS3 users? Not so much. Just Cause 3 will throw gamers into the fictional Mediterranean islands, which are ruled by a dictator. We did hear about microtransactions for Just Cause 3, but the developer has ruled them out, as well as a free-to-play model.
The leaked screenshots? Don't worry about those, according to the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Avalanche, Christofer Sundberg. He said: "Those leaked screenshots were taken from an ancient version of Just Cause 3. Like most games, this one went through an exploratory phase where we looked at different control schemes, different technologies, different business models. Those leaked screenshots show aspects of that process, and in no way reflect the game we are making today".