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TweakTown News Posts - Page 62

Toshiba's BG Series M.2 NVMe SSDs are super compact

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Storage | Posted: Jan 8, 2017 4:28 pm

CES 2017 - SSDs are getting smaller and smaller, and as they do, they become more and more potent. Toshiba's latest BG Series M.2 NVMe SSD lineup is a prime example of this trend, and the company took to the show floor at Las Vegas to display its tiny-yet-mighty storage drives.




Toshiba's latest BG Series M.2 SSDs are shorter than most M.2 drives on the market, measuring just 16mm by 20mm. Despite their size, the drives still harness the power of Toshiba's high-end BiCS Flash memory, which sees TLC NAND flash memory cells stacked vertically in 48 layers to enable capacities up to 512GB in size and take full advantage of NVMe and PCIe 3.0 x2 protocols.


Toshiba's BG Series comes in 128GB, 256GB or 512GB capacities, but don't expect to be able to buy these chips: they'll only be available to select OEMs for specific products like mobile tablets and 2-in-1 notebooks.

Continue reading 'Toshiba's BG Series M.2 NVMe SSDs are super compact' (full post)

This dancing spider-robot will teach you programming

By: Lana Jelic | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Jan 8, 2017 3:33 pm

CES 2017 - Every year CES gathers many interesting startups and this year was no different. One of the most interesting things that caught our eyes is a little spider-robot that appeared to be dancing.




The robot, named STEMI Hexapod, is a product of a Croatian startup that wanted to create a learning experience in a fun and easy way. The robot comes in parts that you can then put together on your own. You will also need an app that will let you control the robot's movement by tilting the phone.


By building STEMI, you will learn 3D modeling, electronics, Arduino programming and mobile app programming. Since we strongly believe that knowledge should be available to everyone, we will make the entire platform Open Access. Also, we made all the blueprints, 3D models and the source code available for everyone to use and customize.

Continue reading 'This dancing spider-robot will teach you programming' (full post)

New Mass Effect has microtransactions, no season pass

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jan 8, 2017 2:15 pm

BioWare has confirmed that Mass Effect: Andromeda won't have a season pass, but that's not surprising, considering BioWare RPGs typically don't have season passes. But that doesn't mean the new Mass Effect won't have paid DLC--in fact, it will have microtransactions to fund multiplayer content.



BioWare General Manager Aaryn Flynn recently confirmed that ME: Andromeda wouldn't sport a season pass on Twitter. Like I said above, this isn't really a surprise--in fact, it's to be expected. What is surprising is that the game will have a loot bag style microtransaction model in its online multiplayer mode to unlock features in its card-based economy, likely similar to the one featured in Dragon Age: Inquisition. And I fully expect Mass Effect: Andromeda to have DLC packs, but we'll have to pay for them a la carte like usual--but PC gamers will likely have to shell out for more BioWare Points.


If you play BioWare RPGs on PC, then you know (and absolutely loathe) about BioWare Points. While console gamers can spend cash to buy Dragon Age and Mass Effect DLC packs on demand, PC gamers have to purchase BioWare's point-based currency from the Origin store in order to get the DLC. And that's the only way to get the DLC: BioWare doesn't lump the DLC with the games, and they don't typically offer "GOTY editions" of their games. So this antiquated model will likely carry over to Mass Effect: Andromeda, further driving a wedge through the PC gaming community.

Continue reading 'New Mass Effect has microtransactions, no season pass' (full post)

ASUS unveils ZenFone 3 Zoom with dual camera

By: Lana Jelic | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jan 8, 2017 1:28 pm

CES 2017 - With their world's first smartphone, the ZenFone AR, that is both Tango-enabled and Daydream-ready, ASUS also unveiled the ZenFone 3 Zoom.




The ZenFone 3 Zoom is a 5.5-inch smartphone designed to excel at photography with a dual-camera system that comprises two 12MP cameras, one with a f/1.7-aperture, 25mm wide-angle lens and a second with a 59mm lens. Users can instantly switch from the 25mm primary camera to the 59mm camera, giving them a 2.3X optical zoom.


The ZenFone 3 Zoom is also the first ASUS smartphone with SuperPixel camera technology that enables it to focus incredibly quickly and capture clear photos at night or in low-light environments.

Continue reading 'ASUS unveils ZenFone 3 Zoom with dual camera' (full post)

HP reveals Omen curved 3440 x 1440 100Hz G-Sync display

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Displays & Projectors | Posted: Jan 8, 2017 12:36 pm

CES 2017 - HP has unveiled its latest high-performance monitor in its enthusiast Omen gaming hardware lineup, showing that the company isn't playing around when it comes to high-end gear.




The Omen X 35 is a premium display aimed at pro gamers, featuring a curved ultra-wide 35-inch display that delivers 3,440 x 1440 resolution in a 21:9 aspect ratio for a more complete field of view--the viewing angle clocks in at 178-degrees. The panel has a 2,500:1 static contrast ratio and a refresh rate of 100Hz and leverages NVIDIA's G-Sync technology to ensure low-latency, tear-free gaming, and has a 4ms response time with overdrive enabled.




Apart from the impressive wide angle, spacious screen, and decent G-Sync enabled refresh rates, the Omen X 35's screen is nearly bezel-less: it rocks a micro-edge display with side and top bezels that clock in at just 6.87 mm, adding even more value to the panel itself. An array of ports ensures utility, including a DisplayPort 1.2 slot, a single HDMI 1.4 port, and three USB 3.0 ports as well as an audio out and headphone jack. This particular model also features an integrated headset hook to rest your audio gear onto.

Continue reading 'HP reveals Omen curved 3440 x 1440 100Hz G-Sync display' (full post)

'Deadpool' tops film piracy list for 2016

By: Ben Gourlay | More News: Celebrities & Entertainment | Posted: Jan 8, 2017 3:05 am

Despite grossing nearly $800 million at the world wide box office, the insane popularity of 'Deadpool' has seen the film top the list of most torrented film of 2016.




According to a report published by Torrent Freak, the Ryan Reynolds lead 'X-Men' spin-off triggered millions of downloads following the February theatrical release, and continuing strongly throughout the year. In no big surprise, Hollywood's 2016 tent pole blockbusters such as 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' followed closely in second place, with 'Captain America: Civil War' and 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' took fourth and fifth place respectively.


Meanwhile, the Digital Entertainment Group confirmed this week that sell-through of packaged movie media on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD was down 9.5% for the year, but digital releases such as streaming and video on demand was up 15.2%.

EDGE Memory reveals huge SSD fleet at CES 2017

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Storage | Posted: Jan 7, 2017 7:13 pm

CES 2017 - Enterprise storage giant EDGE Memory has unveiled a rather sizable lineup of high-end storage, encompassing new SSDs in all form factors including M.2, M.2 PCIe, and SATA racking all the way up to blazing-fast 3D TLC NAND memory.




EDGE Memory's storage fleet is pretty sizable, so I've included a number of product spec sheets that you can find below. The most impressive of the lot is the company's NextGen M.2 PCIe SSD, which features up to 2TB of Tier-1 3D MLC flash memory on the M.2 protocol using PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe 1.2 to hit insane 2.5GB/sec read and 1.1GB/sec write speeds.


EDGE also has some formidable drives based on the SATA protocol that use 3D VNAND flash memory. These include the eMerge 3D SSD, which sports the same grade 3D MLC flash memory as the NextGen M.2 set in a 2.5-inch SATA 6Gb/s profile. This model features 90,000 IOPs and up to 565MB/sec read and 525MB/sec write speeds.

Continue reading 'EDGE Memory reveals huge SSD fleet at CES 2017' (full post)

LiquidSky turns any device into a gaming PC for free

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jan 7, 2017 3:35 pm

CES 2017 - With LiquidSky, gamers can transform their old rigs into high-end PCs for free--all you have to do is watch ads.




LiquidSky is a more accessible free-to-play and microtransaction-style answer to NVIDIA's premium GeForce Now game streaming service. Using custom built IBM servers outfitted with high-end CPUs and enthusiast-grade NVIDIA video cards, LiquidSky using the cloud to beam supercomputer power to your outdated laptop, desktop PC, Mac, or Android and Apple mobile devices. Yes, this service will stream PC games from Steam like GTA V on your phone over the cloud, although the touchscreen controls are a bit wonky.




While LiquidSky is primarily a monetized service that requires users to buy a monthly allotment of SkyCredits via a monthly subscription service, it does have a free option, but there's a catch: advertisements. The F2P model revolves around users earning Sky Credits to trade in for game time. You get 1 hour worth of game streaming per every 6 minutes of ads you watch, but you're limited to just 3 hours of high-end PC gaming a day. The free performance probably won't be that good, however, as the lowers paid Gamer tier features 1080p 30FPS perf with a 2GB VRAM GPU, 8GB of RAM, and 3 vCPU cores.

Continue reading 'LiquidSky turns any device into a gaming PC for free' (full post)

Why I'm worried about Mass Effect: Andromeda

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jan 7, 2017 2:09 pm

I'm worried about Mass Effect: Andromeda. Actually, I'm worried about the future of the games industry as a whole--it feels like publishers only want to do safe bets and not take any chances. I think this strategy will bleed over into the latest, biggest Mass Effect game, and the RPG elements will suffer because of it.



BioWare has followed certain trends with their recent games: the titles feel derivative, casualized, and more streamlined towards all gamers, not just core RPG fans. Not too long ago, BioWare was known for making great RPGs; now the studio's identity is much more nebulous, much more uncertain. Many of BioWare's core fans who grew up playing Dragon Age: Origins and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic often feel alienated, and know that something is amiss. Games like Dragon Age: Inquisition feel off, as if something isn't right; there's a big immersion disconnect, and it all boils down to one thing: watering down RPG elements.


EA games as a whole are focused more on high-end flashy graphics, environmental effects, and other eye-catching features. While the fluidity of many games are noteworthy, especially those powered by DICE's advanced Frostbite 3 engine, there's a distinct lack of depth to the current games (with the exception of Respawn's Titanfall 2, which had impressive depth...but Battlefield 1's campaign could've been so much more than what it felt like, which was a glorified tech demo). Dragon Age: Inquisition is very guilty of this, and it felt like BioWare put graphics and effects over the meat and potatoes of the game itself.

Continue reading 'Why I'm worried about Mass Effect: Andromeda' (full post)

SanDisk launches its fastest USB drive, ever

By: Lana Jelic | More News: Storage | Posted: Jan 7, 2017 4:45 am

CES 2017 - The new SanDisk Extreme Pro USB 3.1 Solid State Flash drive now features SSD performance in a portable aluminum body.




The 256 GB USB 3.1 drive is designed to operate like a pocket SSD, but smaller since it's a USB stick. SanDisk, a division of Western Digital, is reporting that the SanDisk USB 3.1 Extreme Pro flash drive is capable of speeds of up to 420 MB/s and writes of up to 380 MB/s which is starting to approach the limits of USB 3.1 gen 1 speeds (5 Gbps).


While we aren't quite at 5 Gbps yet, this drive is already 3.3 Gbps which is still quite fast.

Continue reading 'SanDisk launches its fastest USB drive, ever' (full post)

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