NVIDIA bets on VR by announcing VR Direct, works with the Oculus Rift

NVIDIA Editor's Day 2014 - One area of NVIDIA's new direction with Maxwell is virtual reality, with a totally new focus on VR with something NVIDIA calls VR Direct. VR Direct provides multiple technologies from the Maxwell architecture, and previous technologies from NVIDIA, to make the VR experience much better.

First, we have low-latency, which will reduce the amount of time it takes for the scene to be rendered on your PC, and displayed to the VR display sitting just an inch or so from your eyes. Second, we have VR SLI: something that will help your GeForce GTX SLI setup render the two scenes (one to each eye) much better, resulting in improved performance and better yet, scaling between your GPUs.

Latency is something NVIDIA is very concerned about, with the company wanting to remove as much of it as possible, in order to get a better VR gaming experience. As you can see, right now we have around 50ms of delay between the image being rendered and outputted to something like the Oculus Rift, but NVIDIA have some new technologies to remove much of this delay.

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NVIDIA releases the GeForce GTX 980, its most advanced GPU at $549

Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards & GPUs | Sep 18, 2014 9:30 PM CDT

For the past week or so, we have been sitting on the information of NVIDIA's new GeForce 900 series GPUs, with the two latest cards now official: the GeForce GTX 980 (our review is right here), and GeForce GTX 970. NVIDIA is pricing the GTX 900 series very competitively, with the GeForce GTX 980 priced at $549, and the GTX 970 at only $329. These are some incredible price points considering the feature set, improved performance, additional features and reduced TDP. NVIDIA will be discontinuing the GTX 780 and GTX 770, shifting the price of the GTX 760 to just $219.

For starters, we have the new Maxwell architecture, which is where NVIDIA is pulling this rabbit from a hat from. NVIDIA has some serious magic from Maxwell, with the star of the show, the GTX 980, really pushing the boundaries of what is possible from a GPU, without requiring a nuclear reactor to power it. For starters, the "GM204" has 5.2 billion transistors, 2048 CUDA cores, 128 Texture Units, 64 ROPS, and a 256-bit wide memory bus with 4GB of GDDR5.

NVIDIA has achieved this huge jump over the GK104 thanks to twice the performance of the GK104 with the GM204, and two times the performance-per-watt over GK104, too. There's an improved schedular, new datapath organization, and over 40% delivered performance per CUDA core on GM204. The memory architecture behind Maxwell has also received an injection of improvement, with enhanced compression algorithms, and enhancing caching effectiveness, and when compared against the GTX 680, we have some big improvements.

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Microsoft's focus with Halo is on consoles, but we already knew that

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Sep 18, 2014 8:01 PM CDT

We all know Halo is for the most part, an Xbox exclusive, but Microsoft is pledging better PC support, where is does the first-person shooter stand on the PC? Executive Producter on the game, Dan Ayoub, explains: "We've definitely heard the questions about PC. Right now we're a couple months out from the Xbox version's release, and that's our main focus right now. That's quite honestly where all our headspace is right now".

Considering that Halo: Master Chief Collection is close to release, one would've thought there is no better time than now than to release it onto the PC. But, with four games with one of them receiving a complete graphical overhaul, it might have been too much for the company: releasing an Xbox One version, and a PC version.

Ayoub added: "From a technical standpoint, you look at the architecture of the Xbox One and there are some similarities to the architecture of a modern PC. That certainly makes that sort of cross-platform development easier. But beyond that the ease goes away. Master Chief Collection is massive. We have to coordinate four games, 100-plus maps, a lot of new cinematics, and Halo 2 Anniversary". Microsoft seems to be all-in with Halo on Xbox, with Ayoub saying: "We wanted to do a great job on console. The anchor of Halo: Master Chief Collection is the ten-year anniversary of Halo 2 on console. So our approach was to focus primarily on console as a result of that".

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Acer's new 28-inch 4K-capable G-SYNC monitor is now available

Anthony Garreffa | Displays & Projectors | Sep 18, 2014 6:54 PM CDT

4K monitors are great and all, but you need some serious horsepower to drive 60FPS on them at 3840x2160. NVIDIA's G-SYNC is the perfect technology to help that, with Acer unveiling its new XBO series of monitors, with the first being the XB280HK, a 28-inch 4K-capable monitor at 60Hz, with NVIDIA's G-SYNC technology.

The other, is the XB270H, which is a 27-inch monitor with a Full HD resolution, but a 144Hz refresh rate. Both displays have a 1ms response time, NVIDIA's G-SYNC technology, "comfortable ergonomics and excellent connectivity". Both of the new XBO series displays feature DisplayPort connectivity, and multiple USB 3.0 ports.

When it comes to pricing, Acer has priced the 4K-capable XB280HK at an MSRP of $799, while the 1920x1080-capable XB270H is priced at an MSRP of $599. Both of Acer's XBO series of monitors will be available in the US and Canada next month.

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'X-Men' spinoff 'Deadpool' feature greenlight by Fox

Ben Gourlay | Celebrities & Entertainment | Sep 18, 2014 6:20 PM CDT

With studios grasping to secure the rights to every potentially bankable comic book character, its no surprise that Twentieth Century Fox have greenlight the production of Marvel's Deadpool character, a spin off of the X-Men franchise. What is more of a surprise is how long the studio has taken to do so.

Back in 2012, a 2 minute short directed by Tim Miller and motion captured and voiced by Ryan Reynolds was created to energise Fox, however the plan evidently failed and the project stalled until earlier this year when the footage was leaked online. While the HD footage was promptly removed by the studio, it seems the positive word has won the studio over.

Ryan Reynolds has apparently not yet signed on, but is expected to. Reynolds played the role of Deadpool in the X-Men spinoff 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' but that take on the character is apparently unrelated to this new version.

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PMC-Sierra unveils new embedded I/O controller line

Paul Alcorn | IT/Datacenter & Super Computing | Sep 18, 2014 1:33 PM CDT

PMC-Sierra has announced a new line of embedded I/O controllers that offer double the density and a 40% power consumption reduction compared to competing solutions. These new controllers differentiate themselves by offering the only 16-port 12Gb/s SAS and 6Gb/s SATA option for OEM and ODM applications. These controllers address expanding Open Compute, Windows Cloud Server, OpenStack and Project Scorpio designs. The emergence of easy-to-use cluster-in-a-box solutions and the enhanced functionality of Windows Storage Spaces also provide exciting new possibilities for I/O controllers, which do not provide RAID functionality.

The controllers offer the choice of either SAS or SATA, and are fully compatible with Adaptec's burgeoning product stack, which includes RAID adapters and HBA's, SAS Expanders, and the emerging Flashtec NVMe solutions. Two 16-port controllers, the 12Gb/s SAS PM8076 and 6Gb/s SATA PM8006, offer 16 ports of connectivity; and the 12Gb/s SAS PM8074 offers a scaled back 8-port design. All three controllers are pin-compatible, allowing OEM's and ODM's to offer purpose-built solutions based upon similar designs.

Reducing the number of components required to manage ever-growing numbers of storage devices is an important consideration. The PMC controllers can remove the requirement for plug-in RAID controllers, HBA's, and expanders. This delivers the lasting advantage of lower power consumption and reduced design complexity. Bringing these features onto the motherboard enables the ultra-dense designs becoming more commonplace in hyperscale deployments.

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Apple rumored to tease new iPads, OS X Yosemite on October 21

Apple has just finished launching its new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones, as well as announcing its first wearable: Watch. But now that is all out of the way and iPhones begin shipping to consumers around the world, the rumors of the new iPad begin.

The latest rumor is that the Cupertino-based iGiant will announce its new iPad on October 21, as well as the official release date of OS X Yosemite. The successor to the iPad would be the sixth-generation full-sized iPad, while a new iPad mini would be a third-generation slate. It would make sense to announce them next month, for two reasons.

First, Apple probably didn't want to take the hoopla away from the iPhone launch, as the iPhone is obviously very important to them. And second, the fifth-generation iPad and second-generation iPad mini were announced in October 2013, launching them on November 1.

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Logitech launches the G910 Orion Spark RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

Anthony Garreffa | Peripherals | Sep 18, 2014 12:29 AM CDT

Logitech has just unveiled something it is calling the 'most advanced mechanical gaming keyboard in the world' with its new G910 Orion Spark RGB Mechanical Keyboard. This new keyboard features Logitech's exclusive new Romer-G mechanical switches, something that offers "25 percent faster actuation than any other mechanical switch, improved durability and intelligent Illumination".

The new Orion Spark features the Romer-G mechanical switches, something that can't be found on any other keyboard, with an actuation point of 1.5mm, the "Romer-G switches register your key presses up to 25 percent faster than competing mechanical switches". Logitech has improved the durability of these keys, too, which are capable of up to 70 million keystrokes, which is around 40% longer than competing keyboards. This allows gamers to bash down on those keys millions of times, without worrying about wearing them down quick.

Logitech has built-in some nifty lighting into each and every key on the G910 Orion Spark, with every key capable of being individually customized from a palette of 16.8 million colors. The lighting "is centrally located within each switch and is directed by precision optics, to ensure that the lettering on each key is evenly illuminated". There's a new application available from Logitech G, something that works with LGS to "enable delivery of a wide range of information on your mobile device including anything from in-game intelligence, to vital system performance stats, to media controls". Not only that, but there are also nine programmable buttons, which can be used for anything from easy access to certain applications, or complex commands.

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The biggest gaming news sites are involved in a massive conspiracy

Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | Sep 17, 2014 11:03 PM CDT

I don't think anyone saw this coming, but Breitbart has written a piece "Exposed: The Secret Mailing List of the Gaming Journalism Elite" which exposes some of the biggest editors, reporters and reviewers of gaming news sites. This expose accuses these editors and sites from shaping industry-wide attitudes to events, and much more.

These editors and sites using a private Google Groups mailing list, which is called Gaming Journalism Professionals, or GameJournoPros. This group revolves around developer Zoe Quinn, who had "a sexual relationship with at least one prominent games journalist -- a journalist who had mentioned her and her products in his reporting" reports Breitbart.

The report is quite damning, but getting to the point, it looks like GameJournoPros is one giant voice, with one even larger, single opinion. They collectively collude on major issues, to "distort coverage of ethics violations and to support figures to whom they are politically sympathetic". We should expect this to either be blown up, or brushed under the rug, as game developers and publishers have invested tens of billions of dollars into the gaming industry, but if this is the result, do we need a big change? Can these editors ever be trusted with their obviously skewed opinions, if these reports and leaks are indeed true? What do you think?

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Ghostbusters franchise reboot looks beyond just one movie

Ben Gourlay | Celebrities & Entertainment | Sep 17, 2014 7:31 PM CDT

Despite the fact that the last 'Ghostbusters' film was released over 25 years ago, the franchise has continued to grow and reach a more mythical status, with fans gobbling up licensed goods including action figures, a video game, comic books, TV shows and even gaming machines.

Ghostbusters franchise reboot looks beyond just one movie

With Sony Pictures this month releasing a 30th anniversary Blu-ray edition, which includes for the first time a release of 'Ghostbusters 2' for the first time in high definition, attention once again moves to the long-mooted second sequel, or franchise reboot. So, what exactly is the hold up?

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, franchise co-creator and star Dan Aykroyd reveals that the plans for the series extend far beyond just one more movie - likening the series to the Marvel and Star Wars universes.

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