ASUS teases external VRM device for extreme GPU overclocking

GIGABYTE and EVGA have been on the market with external VRM solutions for serious GPU overclocking, but it looks like ASUS is stepping into the game with its own external voltage regulator module, or VRM.

ASUS has already deployed GPUs with advanced 10-phase and 14-phase VRMs in the form of the ASUS Strix GeForce GTX 980 and the ASUS ROG Matrix Platinum GTX 980, but this is an entire new ballgame. The ASUS GPUs with the advanced VRMs still have limitations as they're consumer GPUs, with certain restrictions that stop too much power flowing through the card. The external VRM card will allow for far higher voltages being pushed through the GPU and memory, which should unlock some massive potential for extreme overclockers.

The VRM card in question features a "single 8-phase output with output voltage of up to 2.5V (with output voltage offset switches [+0.4V, +0.3V, +0.2V, +0.1V]) and current up to 500A. The card has on-board voltage control/monitoring, output current monitoring, VRM temperature monitoring, load-line calibration (0%, 60%, 80%, 100%), hotwire setting/monitoring and other features required by extreme overclockers. The board sports four six-pin PCIe (4*75W) input power connectors, which means that it can deliver up to 300W of power to the graphics board, enough power to break world's records" reports Anton Shilov from KitGuru.

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Sony teases PlayStation 5 could be a cloud-based console

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Dec 20, 2014 6:00 PM CST

While most news for Sony is about the hack against it by North Korea, or so the US government alleges, the Japanese giant is out there teasing its next-gen console. Yes, the PlayStation 5 has been mentioned, and it's about damn time.

Sony Computer Entertainment Executive Vice President, Masayasu Ito, talked with the online version of the Nikkei Shinbun, talked about his thoughts on the next generation PlayStation. He said that he thinks there will be a PlayStation 5, but he's not sure in what form it'll arrive. He teased that it could be a physical console in the form of the PS5, or it could be an even better device sitting in the cloud.

Ito said "I think there will be a PS5. However, I don't know what form it'll have. It could be a physical console, or it could be in the cloud. But even if the form might change, PS5 Games will be born. This is what we want." Now I'm two minds about this, especially with what has happened lately with Sony. On one hand, being in the cloud would stop a lot of the hardware issues holding us back, seeing a next-gen console barely do 1080p 30FPS would just be disastrous. On the other hand, if everything is in the cloud and Sony gets hacked... well, we know how that has turned out lately.

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Latest Call of Duty DLC stars Bill Paxton, John Malkovich, and more

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Dec 20, 2014 5:08 PM CST

Kevin "Frank Underwood" Spacey may have been the big draw card for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare when it launched, but the latest DLC for Activision's super-popular first-person shooter has some massive stars lining up to lend their talent.

These stars include The Walking Dead's Jon Bernthal, John Malkovich, Bill Paxton, and Rose McGowan. Why the new DLC? Exo Zombies, that's why. Also, probably lots, and lots of money being given to these stars for their time in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Just in time for the holidays, some star-studded Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare DLC.

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North Korea offers joint investigation with the US over Sony hack

Anthony Garreffa | BREAKING STORY | Dec 20, 2014 4:41 AM CST

The US government may have pegged North Korea behind the big hack against Sony Pictures, but now the state news agency KCNA has reported that North Korea has proposed a joint investigation with the United States over the breach.

The FBI has come forward, formally accusing North Korea of the attack on Sony Pictures, where President Barack Obama has said that he would "respond proportionally." North Korea has added that it can prove it had nothing to do with the cyberattack against Sony Pictures, with a statement from the country saying that there would be "grave consequences" if the US government turns down its olive branch over the investigation, and continues to accuse North Korea of wrongdoing.

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NVIDIA rumored to launch GeForce GTX 960 in January, 150W power draw

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Dec 20, 2014 4:19 AM CST

When NVIDIA unveiled its Maxwell architecture in September, we were thoroughly impressed. Even the high-end GPUs were able to sip power, while providing an immense amount of power. Well, the time has come for the mid-range GPUs to come out and surprise with the rumors of a GeForce GTX 960 announcement continuing, something we should hear about next month.

The new Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 960 is reportedly set for an announcement on January 22, 2015 - a new GPU that would feature a single 6-pin PCIe connector. This means the GeForce GTX 960 would only consume a total of 150W, down from the 165W required on the high-end GeForce GTX 980. We should see third-party cards from the likes of ZOTAC, ASUS, GIGABYTE and others that will ramp things up with custom coolers and increased power requirements, but the reference GTX 960 will sip between 100-120W with a total TDP of 150W.

Where things will get interesting is how competitive NVIDIA prices the GTX 960 in the market, where we should expect a price in the US of between $200-$250, which should begin to push AMD up against the wall. AMD has plenty of cards in the mid-range GPU market, with the Radeon R9 285, R9 280, and then the slightly more expensive R9 280X and R9 290s, but NVIDIA could really start taking away some of those Radeon sales with this new GeForce GTX 960. Especially if it could release it at $199, it could be the card to buy for the first half of 2015.

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Facebook again dropping in popularity among teenagers, study indicates

Michael Hatamoto | Internet & Websites | Dec 20, 2014 3:49 AM CST

No. 1 social networking site Facebook must do something to appeal more towards teenagers, as the site again dropped in popularity among users 13 to 17 years old, according to a survey conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates. Facebook usage among teenagers dropped from 95 percent in 2012 down to 94 percent in 2013, and further declined in 2014 to 88 percent.

Although 88 percent is still quite impressive, there is growing concern that Facebook no longer is the "in" thing for teenage users. Ironically, Facebook-owned Instagram is cannibalizing its market share, as other social networking websites continue to pressure Facebook. However, Facebook still seems to be in an ideal position to remain the most popular choice among teenagers, even though some have argued that the website has lost its touch.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg noted that the "vast majority of US teens are on Facebook, and the majority of US teens use Facebook almost every day." - and Forrester Research numbers found Facebook is still the top social networking website among those aged between 12 and 17.

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Miyamoto says Nintendo currently working on new consoles for gamers

Michael Hatamoto | Gaming | Dec 20, 2014 12:44 AM CST

Microsoft and Sony are clashing with their Xbox One and PlayStation 4 game consoles, while Nintendo quietly develops ideas for a new generation game console, according to Shigeru Miyamoto. It's not uncommon for companies to quickly begin development of a new game console while actively promoting its current offering - but plans typically remain quiet, with company executives not discussing anything with the media.

"For the time being, our focus is on the Wii U hardware, but Nintendo as a whole has groups working on ideas for new hardware systems," Miyamoto said in an interview with the AP. "While we're busy working on software for the Wii U, we have production lines that are working on ideas for what the next system might be."

It's possible the next Mario game could be saved until the next Nintendo console platform is made available - but the gaming world will have to wait for confirmation.

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Cybersecurity expert warns against retaliating against North Korea

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Dec 20, 2014 12:25 AM CST

The United States pointed towards North Korea being behind the massive Sony Pictures data breach, and many have argued for some type of retaliation against the country. However, trying to determine how to seek revenge on the North Korean government, in regards to cyberattacks, remains difficult. Trying a cyberattack in response would be risky, as the US has significantly more to lose if the North Koreans, along with its allies, decide to escalate the issue further.

"Nothing more," said Christopher Budd, online security communications professional, in a post published by GeekWire. "Yes, you read that right: nothing more. I believe that the U.S. should do nothing more in response to this situation than they already have: naming North Kore clearly as being behind this."

It seems more likely the US government will impose further sanctions on North Korea - and perhaps find ways to hurt the country's economy even further. Another idea is to find a way to distribute "The Interview" inside of North Korea, along with distributing "Team America" into the country - but that seems rather far-fetched.

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McAfee says cyber espionage attacks will only increase in 2015

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Dec 19, 2014 9:59 PM CST

Cyber espionage is a growing underworld business, with small nation states and foreign terror groups continuing to launch cyberattacks against enemies, according to a report released by McAfee Labs. Everything from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks to malware being delivered via social engineering techniques are being added to cyber arsenals, used by increasingly sophisticated groups.

Established nations with cyber warfare programs will look for stealthier methods to gather intelligence and cripple political and military rivals - and developing cyber espionage programs remain dedicated to stealing finances and causing disruptions.

"Of particular note, McAfee Labs now sees sophisticated Eastern European cybercriminals shifting from quick, direct attacks on financial-institution customer credentials (leading to financial theft) to a more sophisticated advanced persistent threat (APT) approach in which they collect intelligence that they can either sell or use at a later date," according to the McAfee report.

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BlackBerry's revenue drops 34%, ending the year on a bad note

Michael Hatamoto | Business, Financial & Legal | Dec 19, 2014 7:21 PM CST

BlackBerry's revenue dropped 34 percent during its fiscal third quarter, posting a net loss of $148 million, ending Q3 with $3.1 billion in cash. It may seem like a major financial loss, but the Canadian smartphone maker lost $4.4 billion during Q3 last year, and was a slightly smaller loss than reported during Q2.

The company expects it to take a "couple of quarters" before sales begin to increase, as BlackBerry still struggles to compete against the Apple iPhone - and smartphones from Samsung and other manufacturers using Google Android.

Here is what Chen said during the financial call: "Things are happening. I'm encouraged that they are happening, but I wouldn't say that all things are well. I mean we still need a lot of work and a lot of attention and working well together and that's what I'm spending most of my time on."

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