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The Mars One Astronaut Selection Program Press Conference

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News, Technology

A Netherlands non-profit group, Mars One, announced they will begin a global search on July 2013 to find the best candidates for the first human mission to Mars in 2023.

Applicants must submit a one-minute YouTube video explaining why they are the best candidate to become one of the 40 astronaut trainees. Those chosen would-be astronauts will train three months at a time beginning on 2015, and continue to train for the next 7 years to prepare for the hardships of the travel through space and living in the red planet.

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The spacecraft will launch in 2023 in route to planet Mars with four astronauts. I really thought this was a April’s Fool joke due to the insanity you will learn now, but it is for real. The unbelievable truth about this Mars One colonization project is that whoever wishes to volunteer must agree and understand this is a [One-Way] trip. There’s no plans to return back to planet Earth. The spacecraft is designed so. Hopefully, there are enough Supply Depots to endure the harsh conditions on the red planet.

Road Map

In 2014, Mars One plans to begin development of a communications satellite that will be set in orbit around Mars to facilitate broadcasting. Astronauts will have access to the internet with a six minute delay up to 22 minutes delay. Partially owned by Mars One, Interplanetary Media Group (IMG) plans to sell the broadcast rights (in advance) to raise funds for the project. IMG will televise the training, interplanetary trip, Mars landing and eventual living and experiences of the astronauts on planet Mars as a Reality Show.

And you thought the Survival reality show was harsh …

2014 will also be the year when Mars One begins Supply development. The Supply cargo will be launched into space on January 2016 containing 2500 kilograms of spare parts, solar photovoltaic panels, and general supplies. It is expected to land on the Mars outpost on October 2016.

A Mars Rover will be launched in 2018. It will explore and pinpoint the best landing spot for the 2023 first Human-boarded vessel. Mars One plans to video stream and broadcast the Rover exploration 24/7/365 via the Mars-orbiting Communication Satellite.

“In 2021 all the components of the settlement reach their destination in six separate landers. Two living units, two life support units, a second supply unit, and another rover arrive on Mars. The two rovers take all components to the settlement location and prepare for the arrival of Mars Team One, the first humans on Mars. A second video stream will be broadcast to Earth 24/7/365.”

“All water, oxygen and atmosphere production will be ready by early 2022, which is when the Earth crew is granted the go-for-launch of Mars Team One. Each component of the Mars transit vehicle is launched into a low Earth orbit and linked. In September history is made as the first four astronauts are launched on their journey to the Red Planet. Every part of this adventure will be broadcast to Earth 24/7/365.”

“The Mars Team One astronauts land in 2023 – the first humans to set foot on Mars! Once settled in, their first tasks include installing the connecting tubes between the individual capsules, configuring and activating the food production units, and assembling the remaining solar photovoltaic panels. Their epic exploration of Mars, their new home planet begins, with everyone on Earth engaged in the 24/7/365 broadcast. A few weeks later, five cargo missions arrive, bringing additional living units, life support units, and a third rover.”

“In June of 2025 Mars Team Two the second crew of four astronauts lands. They are received by their predecessors who have completed the construction of the settlement. As successive Mars One Teams arrive, the settlement will grow in its capacity for scientific research, experiments, and exploration of Mars, with a minimum of four high definition video streams providing viewers on Earth with 24/7/365 engagement.”

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Future Expansion

A new group of four astronauts will land on Mars every two years, steadily increasing the settlement’s size. Eventually, a living unit will be built from local materials, large enough to grow trees. As more astronauts arrive, the creativity applied to settlement expansion will certainly give way to ideas and innovation that we cannot conceive now. But we can expect the human spirit to continue to persevere, to even thrive in this challenging environment.

Press Conference: April 22

Mars One will hold a press conference in New York City this upcoming Monday, April 22 at noon. There will be a live stream (embed below) of their plans and volunteer astronaut trainee application process. They plan to have a live Q&A onsite and via Twitter.

Applicants must be age 18 or older. Have an excellent health condition, and eye vision. Checkout the qualifications to apply for this astronaut training position at the Mars One website.

      “On Monday 22nd April 2013, Mars One will make an important announcement about its astronaut selection program at a press conference in New York.

      The briefing will be moderated by Emily Lakdawalla, Senior Editor at the Planetary Society. The panel will include:
      Bas Lansdorp, Co-Founder and CEO, Mars One
      Gerard ‘t Hooft, Nobel laureate and Ambassador of Mars One
      Norbert Kraft, Chief Medical Officer, Mars One
      Grant Anderson, Sr. VP Operations, Chief Engineer and Co-Founder, Paragon Space Development Corporation
      Bryan Versteeg, Mission Concept Artist, Mars One

      You can be a part of the Q&A by sending us your questions and opinions via Twitter by using the hashtag #MarsOneLaunch.

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Razer Edge Pro 256GB and Razer Edge 128GB Available Now

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Diablo 3 News, Technology, World of Warcraft News

Razer unveiled the Razer Edge (codename: Project Fiona) at CES2013 winning the Best of Show CES 2013 and People’s Voice CES 2013 Awards. Razer Edge also won four coveted CES 2012 Awards. It’s a gaming tablet that can be played in four-modes: Tablet Mode, Keyboard Mode, Mobile Console Mode, and Home Console Mode.

Both the Razer Edge Pro Tablet (256GB) for $1,499, and the Razer Edge (128GB) for $1299 are available for pre-order. The price is staggering high, but that doesn’t stop gamers from buying one.

The Razer Blade Gaming Laptop was considered very expensive considering you can get a similar setup for less, and still about three shipping waves sold out consecutively. The Razer Edge tablet will ship on March 2013. Once that batch is sold out, the next shipping wave will go out on May 2013. If you fancy one of these, better pre-order the March wave while supplies last — which is not too long from now.

Crazy stuff! These are the tech specs for the Razer Edge Pro 256GB Tablet.

Below you can see some photos and the available optional docking mode peripherals.

Tech Specs

Specs   Razer Edge Pro  
Processor Intel Core i7 Dual core w/ Hyper Threading Base 1.9GHz / Turbo 3.0GHz  
Memory 8GB DDR3 (2x4GB 1600MHz)  
Video Intel HD4000 (DX11)
NVIDIA GT 640M LE (2GB DDR3, Optimus Technology)
 
Display 10.1” (IPS, 1366×768)
Multi-touch HD display
 
Operating System Windows 8  
Storage 128/256GB SSD (SATA-III)*  
Network Intel WLAN (802.11b/g/n + BT4)  
Others Stereo speakers
Codec supports 7.1 (via HDMI through optional Docking Station)
HD Webcam (front-facing, 2MP)
Array microphones
Dolby Home Theater v4
USB 3.0 x1 (green, SuperSpeed)
Audio jack (3.5mm, 4-pole, stereo out / mic in)

Razer Edge Docking Station (Home Console Mode)

The Razer Edge Docking Station connects your Razer Edge to a desktop display and peripherals. This docking station allows players to hook up an HDMI cable to a big screen TV (HDTV) and up to two gamepad controllers.

The docking station basically turns your Razer Edge tablet into a Game Console. It expands your tablet with 3x USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port, and a MIC in/Stereo out port.

Razer Edge Gamepad Controller

The Razer Gamepad Controller for Razer Edge converts your tablet into a Mobile Console placing the tablet on a peripheral attachment that adds two analog sticks placed to the left and right of the tablet. It has a immersive vibration-feedback and direct reflective acoustics, a backlit D-Pad and action buttons. (Xinput support)

The Gamepad Controller has an optional extended battery and power adapter (sold separately).

The Keyboard Mode dock station will be available at a later time. It basically converts the Razer Edge tablet into a small laptop.

StarCraft II on the Razer Edge

Alright, I know what you are thinking. “Why not get a laptop for the same price? It’s a matter of choice. Do you want a tablet like the iPad, or the Surface but also want high-end mobile video gaming on it? Then the Razer Edge can give you that … edge. And it runs on Windows 8 (DX11). I can also hear you: “Can this piece of [beep] run my favorite video games?” get the optional keyboard mode peripheral and you can play StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, World of Warcraft, and Diablo III.

Let’s say you are a proGamer and need to travel to other countries to play against the best StarCraft II players. You want to travel light, without setting up a big system, or a heavy laptop. Bring the Razer Edge tablet, attach the keyboard docking station, or the Home Console docking station plugged into a big HDTV via HDMI. This video shows you StarCraft II on the Razer Edge using the Home Console docking station.

google-fiber

Kansas City Fans: Google Fiber Expanding from Jan-Mar 2013

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, Technology, World of Warcraft News

Google has scheduled five new locations in Kansas City to get Google Fiber installed through January – March 2013. For this to happen, if you live within the locations mentioned below you must sign up and spread the word with all your neighbors to build a fiberhood.

What’s Google Fiber? One Gigabit downloads. One Gigabit Uploads. 100 times faster than your current Cable or DSL broadband speeds.

If you live in one of these fiberhoods and want Google Fiber, you must select your service plan by your deadline, listed below. Google will start installing Fiber in your area shortly after the date listed.

See the Google Map here.

  • Piper Schools — choose your plan by January 31, 2013
  • Delaware Ridge — choose your plan by February 14, 2013
  • Painted Hills — choose your plan by February 28, 2013
  • Open Door — choose your plan by February 28, 2013
  • Arrowhead — choose your plan by March 7, 2013

You can go to google.com/fiber to select any of the available plans: Gigabit + TV Plan, Gigabit Internet Plan or the Free Internet Plan.

google-fiber-network-box

Google Fiber Expanding More Into Kansas and Missouri

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, Technology, World of Warcraft News

Starting today, Blizzplanet will be updating the technology channel with the latest Google Fiber news. Google Fiber is going to drastically change the face of the internet as we have known it in the past 24 years since the introduction of ADSL and Cable internet.

I think it’s important for gaming websites to talk about Google Fiber, to help make people aware of it, and to spread the word. It’s here to stay, and it’s growing and expanding.

Google Fiber has been growing at a steady pace in Kansas City bringing 1Gbps download/upload internet access to homes. That’s a blazing 75-100 times faster than Time Warner Cable’s best speeds for only $70 a month.

So far, Google Fiber is available in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri. Google plans to expand into:

  • Kansas City North, MO
  • Kansas City South, MO
  • Westwood, KS
  • Westwood Hills, KS
  • Mission Woods, KS

It’s unknown when the service will expand into big cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, and Chicago.

Visit the Google Fiber website often to monitor new cities coming next, and to learn more about the service. Make sure to sign up when they are searching for testers, and to spread the word in your neighborhood for more and more people to join the fiberhood.

Don’t be left out.

This is the internet video gamers really need. The end of lag and latency. Blazing fast patch downloads.

    Google Fiber installations kick off today

    The title says it all! After months of building a brand new Fiber infrastructure, we’re excited to announce that today we’re officially starting to connect homes in Kansas City to Google Fiber.

    We’ve been working in a few homes over the last few weeks to make sure we can deliver a great experience, and along the way we’ve thought a lot about what “great” might mean. We want it to take the amount of time we (and you!) think it’s going to take. We want to be able to explain what we’re doing in easy to understand language, so it makes sense to you and it’s not just tech jargon! And of course we’re aiming for “one and done”—one visit, everything working when we leave your home.

    There are two stages to getting you connected. First, we’ll pull your Fiber from the street to the side of your house; we’ve already done this for several houses in Hanover Heights. Then we’ll get in touch with you to schedule the second stage, your in-home installation. We’ve put together a short video to help you understand what to expect.

    If you live in Hanover Heights and see a new box on the side of your house (and have gotten a Google Fiber sticky note on your door), look for an email or phone call from us in the next few days to schedule an appointment. When the installer arrives, he/she will ask you about where you want your devices and then get to work.

    We’ve found that the difference between dreading an installation and feeling like you had a good experience comes down to us caring about the details that matter the most to you. For example, we’ll show up when we’re supposed to—at the start of your appointment, not somewhere in the middle. We’ll clean up any mess; each installer carries a vacuum cleaner. And we’ll answer your questions and teach you about your devices—don’t be afraid to ask us questions, or to ask us to explain something again in simpler language.

    We think that these small details can make your installation efficient, helpful and memorable. And, if you have any ideas or suggestions that would make it even better, let us know!

    Posted by Alana Karen, Director, Service Delivery, Google Fiber (source)

Here’s a nice article by Business Insider explaining what Google Fiber is and offers you.

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Improve your Computer Temperature with EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, Technology, World of Warcraft News

For a long time since I built my EVGA X58 motherboard computer system (in 2008) I had wanted to get a better CPU cooler, especially with all the upgrades World of Warcraft has gotten from expansion to expansion and because intensive games like Crysis 2.

My i7-920 CPU was normally in the 78-82 degrees, with spikes of 85 — pretty bad, considering the motherboard auto-shuts at 86 degrees. During the periods of time I did not clean the interior of my computer I could probably be able to fry an egg in there.

I tried the Corsair Hydro Series H100 Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler, but I got unlucky with a non-working paperweight I had to eventually RMA/return.

I skipped getting another H100, because I needed to get a working computer ASAP, and didn’t want to run the risk of another RMA nor waste more delivery time. For something that costs $100, I’d expect it to work out of the box or to have been tested at the factory.

My next option was to get an EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler. Half cheaper than the Corsair H100 Extreme. The photos don’t make justice to this behemoth. It’s big and heavy.

The fan is actually 120 x 120mm (open your hand and extend your fingers wide and apart. That big is this CPU cooler.

After loading the EVGA e-Leet utility software to monitor my i7-920 CPU temperatures I was literally blown out of my shoes. I couldn’t believe the readings. Half the temperatures I always had with the previous CPU cooler.

It’s been 2-3 months since I installed this CPU cooler, and haven’t cleaned the case on purpose to take readings of a dusty computer interior. Not something safe to do, but for your benefit here we go.

These are my current CPU temperature readings with a dusty computer case: between 43-47 degrees. At the moment of these readings I have World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria set at Ultra settings for over 8 hours and Adobe Photoshop open. I’m amazed.

Of course, it’s recommended to clean your computer case at least once a month. I personally use the Metro Vacuum ED500 Electric Duster to clean up my computer. It certainly beats wasting money on compressed air cans that don’t do a great job. **Thanks to the fan who suggested that electric duster. I love it.

The EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler is compatible with Intel Socket 775, 1155,1156, 1366; or the AMD Socket 754,939, 940, F, AM2, AM3.

  • Fan Size: 120 x 120 x 25mm
  • Fan Speed: 750 – 2500 RPM
  • Fan Airflow: 26 – 84 CFM
  • Heat Pipes: 5 x 8mm Direct Touch
  • Fins: Aluminum / Wind Flow

What’s your favorite CPU cooler? Share your feedback with other players.

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Protoss Technology? Intel Wireless Charging Technology (WCT) – One Step Closer to Reality

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News, Technology

WiFi and Wireless Internet Connection? Technology has shown incredible feats in the past ten years, but Intel is coming forth in 2013 with a technology that makes Protoss technology nigh a reality.

Intel’s Wireless Charging Technology allows Ultrabook users to recharge their smartphone without the need of a power cord nor a USB cable. Place the smartphone a few inches from the laptop, and let it sit there. The smartphone battery will be full within an hour. Say whoa?

Could you imagine a future where stores, restaurants, Starbucks, Libraries, parks and airports have wireless charging technology? Your smartphone, laptop, gaming handheld, digital camera, iPhone/iPad and other devices never running out of juice?

Intel Blog

    Even Captain Kirk would have raised an eyebrow at the prospect of wireless charging on board the Enterprise.

    Today it’s a step closer to reality for all of us not zipping around the universe at warp speed. Demoed by Intel Labs for the first time way back in 2008, Wireless Charging Technology (WCT) by Intel literally lets you charge your smartphone wirelessly from your notebook PC. That’s right — no cables, no power cords. Of course Intel is no stranger to wireless technologies, launching Centrino mobile technology nearly a decade ago. Imagine a coffee shop without Wifi today?

    Integrated Device Technology, Inc. (IDT)  – a company with specialized expertise in wireless charging – announced it will develop and deliver chipsets for Wireless Charging Technology by Intel. IDT’s product is important and new because it leads to a solution that isn’t limited to inductive charging and ‘smartphone on a charging mat’ usage.  Size and cost reductions are key to IDT’s solution, as is their differentiated “resonance wireless charging technology” that simplifies the way the PC charges the phone wirelessly. Intel is working with companies like IDT, peripheral vendors (from smartphone cases to printers and cameras), OEMs, and other ecosystem partners to deliver a cost-effective and simpler path to wireless charging.

    Although we are not yet giving out timeframes for consumer products with WCT enabled, IDT has stated they will be delivering their full chipset solution for reference design work in early 2013. The ecosystem is already excited about this technology so we assume there will be a race to the finish line for sure.

    Imagine, for example, this wireless charging solution in an Ultrabook of the future. How would it work? You are low on juice on your phone — you simply start the WCT detection software and place the smartphone close to your Ultrabook (about an inch or so). Coupling takes place between the two devices and energy begins to seamlessly and wirelessly flow from the Ultrabook to the smartphone. Within an hour, you have recharged your smartphone sufficiently to make it through the afternoon. No more wires or chargers.

    Intel will be discussing specific plans and timelines at a later date, so stay tuned for more details on this innovation that’s one step closer from the labs to your home.

    Originally posted on the Technology@Intel Blog

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2nd Annual ASUS Republic of Gamers in Sunnyvale, CA – July 28-29

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Technology

Everyone near Sunnyvale, California will have the opportunity to win phat-lootz at the ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) Event through July 28-29. There are some workshops, mini-tournaments, prizes and charity to boot. Sounds like fun.

At the event, ASUS is gonna showcase the latest Republic of Gamers motherboards (ROG): ASUS Maximus V FORMULA (Z77) and the ASUS Maximus V Extreme.

These use the patent-pending Fusion Thermo™ hybrid VRM cooling system, GameFirst II™ + Intel® Gb LAN, mPCIe Combo and Dual-Band Wi-Fi/Bluetooth. The Maximus V Extreme kicks in with Thunderbolt connectors.

July 28 at 11:00am – 6:00pm PDT until July 29 at 11:00am – 6:00pm PDT

Fry’s Electronics, 1077 East Arques Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94085

Where: Fry’s Electronics, 1077 East Arques Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94085

When: July 28-29, 2012, 11am-6pm

Come join ASUS, NVIDIA, Antec and Patriot Memory at Fry’s Electronics in Sunnyvale, CA for 2 fun-filled days of PC gaming, DIY workshops, exclusive giveaways and of course, great in-store specials. Best of all, admission is free.

Stop by for $0.50 hot dogs and Coke sponsored by ASUS from 11am-3pm to benefit local charities and stay for any number of ongoing activities including:

  • Gaming and mini-tournaments on ASUS tablets, notebooks and custom-built gaming PCs for prizes
  • Workshops and presentations where you can learn about everything from building your first gaming PC building to overclocking with liquid nitrogen, plus get raffle tickets for an exclusive giveaway just for attending
  • Attend an exclusive Q&A panel on Saturday hosted by Ryan Shrout, Editor in Chief of PC Perspective with representatives from ASUS, NVIDIA, Antec and Patriot Memory

Keep checking this space for an updated schedule of activities and workshops, as well as prizing lists!

Intel Thunderbolt

Blistering-fast Data Transfers

An industry first, ASUS has place Thunderbolt I/O technology onboard its motherboards, and are set to revolutionize the speed at which peripherals and displays operate. Featuring a maximum bi-directional speed of 10 Gbps, Thunderbolt is 2 times faster than USB 3.0 and an incredible 20 times faster than USB 2.0. And with the ability to daisy-chain up to six devices without the need for a hub or switch, that means less overheard for a clutter free computing experience. For example, users can connect multiple native Thunderbolt storage devices, an HD video capture device and even an HD display to a single Thunderbolt chain while maintaining maximum throughput.

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OUYA the Open-Source Game Console and StarCraft II eSports on the TV

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, Technology, World of Warcraft News

A company established in Los Angeles, California started out a Kickstarter to collect money to develop an open-source game console.

They set a pledge goal of $950,000 and surprisingly it got up to 1.92 million dollars in less than 24 hours. They had surpassed the goal in only 8 hours.

Boxer8 founder Julie Uhrman explains in this video how she visualizes an open-source game console where the console is cheap, the library of games is free-to-play, and developer cost to produce games is low. Julie wants the players back to their roots. Back to their TV, in a new era where mobile gaming has flourished and dominates the market and consoles like PlayStation and Nintendo are driving developers away with the costs and difficulty and setbacks to develop for their consoles.

The key for this open-source game console to succeed are:

  • It’s based on the android platform.
  • Developers already know android development.
  • OUYA is inexpensive.
  • Game Publishers can develop games and thrive in a flexible environment.
  • Their development cost is dramatically reduced.

Ouya seeks game publishers to innovate and bring all games genres into their platform. So far Minecraft and Twitch TV have jumped onboard. This is big.

Speculation

With Blizzard Entertainment’s Next-Gen MMO Titan in the horizon, and Blizzard having its own Mobile department, it would be awesome to see Blizzard jump into the mix developing games for OUYA.

This might be the best chance to bring StarCraft II and Diablo III to the HDTV with some couching and ideas from Blizzard. Especially if OUYA integrates keyboard and mouse to their game console.

With its open-source factor, we could even see Razer innovate new Blizzard licensed products to support Blizzard games.

Twitch TV partnership with OUYA to bring video stream to the HDTV directly benefits fans. It means watching StarCraft II, and Diablo III PvP eSports straight from your TV without the need of a PC.

I can foresee Blizzard and OUYA building a great relationship if this open-source console game becomes a reality. By the looks of it, that reality looks promising. So far there are 15,392 backers signed up at OUYA’s kickstarter in less than 24 hours.

Is a Blizzard / OUYA partnership far-fetched? Not necessarily. Rob Pardo has expressed in the past his concerns about the lack of flexibility in current game consoles and the lack of a keyboard/mouse. This android-powered OUYA might be the big changer to bridge console and PC gaming development.

Anyone knows Ed Fries? He was formerly Microsoft vice-president of game publishing involved in the XBox development, and most recently the founder of FigurePrints which sells World of Warcraft character replicas created with a 3D printer. Ed Fries is involved in the OUYA game console project. Booyah! This is getting interesting.

OUYA: The Revolution will be televised

OUYA is a new game console for the TV, powered by Android.

We’ve packed this little box full of power. Developers will have access to OUYA’s open design so they can produce their games for the living room, taking advantage of everything the TV has to offer.

Best of all, OUYA’s world-class controller, console, and interface come in one beautiful, inexpensive package. All the games on it will be free, at least to try.
Great games come from great developers.

Developers can wave farewell to the roadblocks of bringing a console game to market. Anyone can make a game: every OUYA console is a dev kit. No need to purchase a license or an expensive SDK. It’s built on Android, so developers already know how it works.

That doesn’t mean OUYA is an Android port. You can create the next big title in your bedroom – just like the good old days! Who needs pants!?

OUYA could change AAA game development, too. Forget about licensing fees, retail fees, and publishing fees.

Estimated Launch: March 2013

Hardware Specs

  • Tegra3 quad-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB of internal flash storage
  • HDMI connection to the TV, with support for up to 1080p HD
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth LE 4.0
  • USB 2.0 (one) (possibly more in the future)
  • Wireless controller sporting two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons, a system button, and 3″ touchpad
  • Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich

Check out the OUYA kickstarter page.

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Windows 8 Pro Hits October with Two Current Offers $39.99 and $14.99 Upgrades

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, Technology, World of Warcraft News

Microsoft announced Windows 8 OS will be available to the public by the end of October 2012.

The company is really pushing the mass marketing campaign to facilitate Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 users to jump into the Windows 8 Pro wagon with two crazy offers.

New Windows 7 PC Sales Starting Today

Did you purchase a Windows 7 PC or laptop since June 2, 2012? If you plan to buy one between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013 you can download Windows 8 Pro for only $14.99 — exclusively from Microsoft here.

The Windows 8 Pro upgrade offer Q&A can be found here.

Old PCs

If you are running Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7, you can download an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro straight from the microsoft.com website for only $39.99 — with the option to pay $15 + shipping for a physical DVD.

The downloadable Windows 8 Pro Upgrade Assistant allows you to stop/resume download, and to create your own bootable USB or .ISO file.

You can read full details of the upgrade process here.

Press Release

July 9, 2012 — Today in Toronto, Canada, at Microsoft’s annual Worldwide Partner Conference, Windows Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller spoke to thousands of partners from around the world. She shared some exciting new details regarding Windows that I wanted to pass along.

For the first time, we provided details on Windows 8 availability. Tami confirmed that Windows 8 is on track to Release to Manufacturing (RTM) the first week of August. For enterprise customers with Software Assurance benefits, they will have full access to Windows 8 bits as early as August. Additionally, she noted that RTM is when we’ll be turning on the commerce platform so that developers can start earning money for their apps – we’ll have more to share on the Windows Store for developers blog soon. Of course, right now with the Windows 8 Release Preview, all apps are still free for people to try.

Tami went on to say that Windows 8 will reach general availability by the end of October! This means that new Windows 8 and Windows RT PCs will be available to buy and upgrades will be available starting in October. She also mentioned that that Windows 8 will be available in 109 languages across 231 markets worldwide.

macbook-pro-retina-1

Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display Arrives

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, Technology, World of Warcraft News

The Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display has arrived. What’s so hot about this new version? The buzz is it features a Retina display packed with 5.1 million pixels supporting up to 2880-by-1800 resolution.

That’s crazy! That’s 3 million pixels more than an HDTV.

The MacBook Pro Retina is even thinner than its predecessor — extremely portable: only 0.71 inch thin and weighs 4.46 pounds.

It’s the first notebook ever to include two Thunderbolt ports. It also has two USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth, FireWire 800, SDXC card slot (Photos), and an HDMI port.

The two versions of the 15-inch MacBook Pro feature an Intel Core i7 Ivy-bridge (3rd Generation 22-nm) CPU running at 2.3 GHz or 2.9 GHz depending on the model. With Turbo Boost it speeds up to 3.7 GHz.

The new MacBook Pro 15-in has a new integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 processor, plus an NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M discrete processor with up to 1GB of video memory. It switches automatically when playing 3D games, editing HD video, or CAD software.

Thunderbolt is a recent technology that contains two 10-Gbps data channels — 12 times faster than FireWire 800 and 2 times faster than USB 3.0. Those Thunderbolt ports can be daisy-chained up to six devices to plug a display and other devices. There’s an HDMI port, but there’s a Thunderbolt-to-HDMI adapter (optional) for more displays.

The MacBook Pro Retina also has a FaceTime 720HD camera that can make video calls to iPad, iPhone 4/4S, and iPod Touch.

The Multi-Touch trackpad has no buttons. The trackpad itself is the button recognizing different levels of click pressure.

The battery lasts up to 7 hours on a single charge.

Another really surprising feature of the MacBook Pro Retina is the addition of a Flash drive (SSD) 256GB / 512GB. Overall, with the Retina display and the Flash Drive, Apple was able to engineer a pretty thin notebook with enough room for an extra Thunderbolt port and other options.

Setbacks: The specs don’t mention a Superdrive (DVD). Apple assumes you can use the USB 3.0 to add a drive, I guess. The RAM is integrated into the motherboard. No RAM upgrades. Both versions have only 8GB RAM. With the removal of the hard drive and the DVD drive, considering this baby is designed for Photographers, video editors, artists, etc. a boost on RAM would have been phenomenal.

Gaming

What’s the importance of this Retina Display? Gaming will look breath-taking with the amount of detail. It’s just impossible for your eyes to discern the pixels. During the Apple conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook showed off … DIABLO III on the Retina Display at around 31:40 in the video stream.

Tim Cook didn’t specify it, but it’s hinted Blizzard Entertainment might support a higher resolution to play Diablo III on the Retina Display. Currently, Diablo III only supports up to 1920 x 1080. — “And if you think it’s just all hard work, and no play — there are some great games being created for it as well. This is Diablo III — I know a few of you have played this game. You are going to see a gaming experience with this resolution unlike anything you have seen before.”– said Tim Cook. I’ll ask Blizzard if they could comment on this.

MacBook Pro with Retina Display Options

  • Apple MacBook Pro MC975LL/A 15.4-Inch – $2,194.00

    • 2.3 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 processor
    • 8 GB DDR3 RAM; 256 GB Flash Storage
    • 15.4-inch LED-backlit Retina Display, 2880-by-1800 resolution
    • NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M 1GB Graphics
    • Mac OS X v10.7 Lion, 7 Hour Battery Life
  • Apple MacBook Pro MC976LL/A 15.4-Inch – $2,794.00

    • 2.6 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 processor
    • 8 GB DDR3 RAM; 512 GB Flash Storage
    • 15.4-inch LED-backlit Retina Display, 2880-by-1800 resolution
    • NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M 1GB Graphics
    • Mac OS X v10.7 Lion, 7 Hour Battery Life

OS X Mountain Lion Up-to-Date Program

The OS X Mountain Lion Up-to-Date upgrade will be available at no additional charge from the Mac App Store to all customers who purchase a qualifying new Mac system from Apple or an Apple Authorized Reseller on or after June 11, 2012.

Customers must request their Up-to-Date upgrade within 30 days of purchasing their Mac computer. Customers who purchase a qualifying Mac between June 11, 2012 and the date when Mountain Lion is available in the Mac App Store will have 30 days from the OS X Mountain Lion release date to make a request.

When Mountain Lion becomes available in July, come back to this page for details on how to request your copy of Mountain Lion. — source

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EVGA NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 Superclocked

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, Technology, World of Warcraft News

Gamers love to upgrade to the latest graphic cards every few years as new technologies appear, and/or economy and priorities allow.

There are a wide range of graphic card price ranges and specs, but not all can handle all types of high-end video games. In addition, most video cards before 2008 support DirectX 9, while the newest ones support DirectX 11 right-off-the-box.

All Blizzard Entertaiment games are built from the ground up to handle a wide range of low, mid and high-end video cards. If all you plan to play are Blizzard games, going for a low or mid range video card is fine as your first graphic card (if you are building your system) or if it’s an upgrade. However, if you plan to play games like Crysis 3 in the future, Farcry 3, your favorite flavor of Call of Duty, or other graphic-intensive video games — you might fall short with a low-end graphic card.

EVGA has been a personal choice since 2008. Awesome forum community where know-more-than-you overclockers are happy to answer your questions, great tech support, and the lovely 3-year warranty which covers parts and labor.

EVGA recently announced the new mid-range graphic card: EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SuperClocked.

It comes in two options: 2048MB GDDR5 ($399) or 4096MB GDDR5 ($553).

EVGA seems to be the only manufacturer out there with a 4096MB GDDR version of the GTX 670 Superclocked. Something cool about this graphic card is the adaptive VSYNC (new technology) and its dual-purpose air ventilation system.

Adaptive Vsync

The Adaptive VSync (Vertical Sync) dynamically adjusts VSync depending on frame rates for smoother gaming.

Cooling

Other manufacturers add one or two axial fans to their video cards for extra cooling. However, those two-axial fans can be deceiving. All those fans do is push hot air off the video card and back into the computer case’s interior itself, increasing the overall interior ambient of your computer and suffocate the CPU and motherboard. EVGA graphic cards on the other hand have a blower system that removes the hot air from your graphic card and your computer case altogether. It’s a more efficient ventilation system.

Not only does the fan cools your video card — it’s designed to be an air blower too. Say what? Ok, basically the fan pulls-in air into the graphic card, and expels the hot air through the back-plating vent (where you connect the cords at). A rear-exhaust. It helps remove the hot air from within the computer case for a cooler ventilation lowering its whole interior-ambient around 3 celsius degrees.

Here’s a video by EVGA explaining how this new graphic card air ventilation system works in real-time:

TXAA

Get the image quality of 8X MSAA with the performance hit of only 2X MSAA. This means a smoother gaming experience without the loss in FPS normally associated with this level of eye candy.

NVIDIA SMX Engine

Brand new processing engine which delivers twice the performance/watt compared to previous generations.

At the bottom of the page, you can find links to manufacturers other than EVGA. Here are some of the specs on the EVGA GTX 670 Superclocked (4096MB GDDR5):

Performance

  • 1344 CUDA Cores
  • Base Clock: 967 MHz
  • Boost Clock: 1046 MHz
  • Bus: PCI-E 3.01
  • 2-way, 3-way, 4-way SLI Ready
  • Texture Fill Rate: TBA GT/s

Memory

  • Memory Detail: 4096 MB GDDR5
  • Memory Bit Width: 256 Bit
  • Memory Clock: 6008 MHz
  • Memory Speed: 0.33 ns
  • Memory Bandwidth: 192.26 GB/s

Key Features

  • NVIDIA SMX Engine
  • NVIDIA GPU Boost
  • NVIDIA Surround
  • NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync
  • Support for four concurrent displays; two dual-link DVI connectors, HDMI and Displayport 1.2
  • Microsoft DirectX 11 with Direct Compute 5.0 Support
  • NVIDIA PhysX Technology
  • NVIDIA 3D Vision Ready
  • NVIDIA CUDA Technology
  • PCI Express 3.0 Support
  • OpenGL 4.2 Support
  • OpenCL Support

Interface

  • PCI-E 3.0 16x
  • DVI-I, DVI-D, HDMI, Display-Port
  • SLI Capable

Resolution & Refresh

  • 240Hz Max Refresh Rate
  • 2048×1536 Max Analog
  • 2560×1600 Max Digital

Requirements

  • 500 watt or greater power supply with a minimum of 30 amps on the +12 volt rail. ***
  • PCI Express, PCI Express 2.0 or PCI Express 3.0 compliant motherboard with one graphics slot.
  • Two 6-pin PCI Express power connectors or four available hard disk power connectors.
  • Microsoft Windows 7 / Vista / XP

Dimensions

  • Height: 4.376 in – 111.15 mm
  • Length: 9.5 in – 241mm
  • Weight: 3 lbs

Accessories

  • EVGA Driver/Software Disc with EVGA Precision Tuning Utility
  • DVI to VGA Adapter (For DVI-I) x 1
  • 6-pin PCI-E Power Adapters x 2
  • EVGA Accessory Pack
  • User Guide

NVIDIA GTX 670 – Other Companies

People might have experience with other graphic card companies. These are the 2048MB GDDR versions of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 by other manufacturers.

evga-geforce-gtx-680

New Video Card Before Diablo III?

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, Featured Stories, StarCraft 2 News, Technology, World of Warcraft News

Some fans might have in mind a thought lurking back and forth these past weeks: To get a new video card, or not.

At this point, it’s a personal choice. Blizzard Entertainment supports a wide-range of low, mid and high-end graphic cards.

According to the Minimum System Requirements, you should have a graphic card ranging:

Mac Computers

  • NVIDIA® GeForce® 8600M GT
  • ATI Radeon™ HD 2600

PC Computers

  • NVIDIA® GeForce® 7800 GT
  • ATI Radeon™ X1950 Pro

This article is partially a “reality-check” call to Diablo III fans.

For Mac users: The GeForce 8600M was released on May 2007 for MacBook Pro. The ATI Radeon™ Mobility HD 2600 was released on May 14, 2007.

For PC users: the GeForce 7800 GT was released on August 11, 2005. The ATI Radeon™ X1950 Pro was released on October 17, 2006.

If your video card is in this range, you are pretty much covered. Congratulations!

If this reality-check smacked you on the face, and your computer is not able to run Diablo III, then I’ll show below some current alternatives available.

For PC users, I always recommend EVGA video cards. They have a 24/7 Technical Support, 3-year Warranty, a great forum community for questions — and of course, these video cards support DirectX 11, and PhysX ready.

One solid question fans who haven’t ever bought a video card might have is whether “X” new video card is compatible with their current motherboard’s PCI slot, or if their power supply can handle it.

The latest NVIDIA and AMD RADEON cards require a minimum of PCI-E 2.0 16x and a 400 Watt power supply +12 Volt / 24 Amps. Some models may have different requirements. High-End cards (expensive ones) might require motherboards with PCI-E 3.0.

When the retail/online stores don’t have this type of info, it’s a good idea to visit the manufacturer’s website to look at the specification page (usually available as a PDF download).

Latest EVGA NVIDIA GeForce Cards

DirectX 11 supported graphic cards (released: 2011-2012)

Model Core Clock Memory Memory Bit Effective Memory Shader Clock Price
EVGA GeForce GT 520 810 MHz 1024 MB 64-bit 1400 MHz 1620 MHz $54.74
EVGA GeForce GT 440 810 MHz 1024 MB 128-bit 1600 MHz 1620 MHz $79.99
EVGA GeForce GTX 550 Ti 951 MHz 2048 MB 192-bit 4356 MHz 1903 MHz $169.99
EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Superclocked 850 MHz 1024 MB 256-bit 4104 MHz 1700 MHz $189.98
EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti Superclocked 900 MHz 1024 MB 256-bit 4212 MHz 1800 MHz $249.99
EVGA GeForce GTX 570 Superclocked 797 MHz 1280 MB 320-bit 3900 MHz 1594 MHz $314.99
eVGA GeForce GTX 580 SuperClocked 772 MHz 1536 MB 384-bit 4008 MHz 1544 MHz $429.99
EVGA GeForce GTX 680 1006 MHz 2048 MB 256-bit 6008 MHz - $689.99
EVGA GeForce GTX680 SuperClocked 1058 MHz 2048 MB 256-bit 6208 MHz - $659.98

Latest AMD RADEON Graphic Cards

DirectX 11 supported graphic cards (released: 2011-2012)

Model Core Clock RAM Memory Bit Memory Clock Price
XFX Radeon HD 6450 625 MHz 2GB 64-bit 800 MHz $57.99
XFX ATI Radeon HD6670 800 MHz 1GB 128-bit 1600 MHz $71.60
XFX Double D HD 7770 1000 MHz 1GB DDR5 128-bit 4.5 GHz $169.99
ASUS HD 7850 870 MHz 2GB 256-bit 4840 MHz $260.82
Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 1.0 GHz 2 GB 256-bit 4.8 GHz $359.99
XFX HD 7970 Black Edition 1000 MHz 1024 MB 384-bit 5.7 GHz $539.99

Do you have a tip or suggestion for other fans searching for a new graphic card? Let us know in the comments. Your feedback is always welcome.

DataVac-electric-duster

Cleaning Up Your Computer Before Diablo III

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, Technology

Many players have a computer system that may play Diablo III with no problems considering the wide range of configurations Blizzard Entertainment usually develops games for.

It doesn’t matter if you have a l33t computer, or an older system. All of these computer systems have a common enemy. An enemy more dangerous and unmerciful than Diablo, Mephisto or Baal. That enemy is [you].

That sounds harsh, but be honest. How often do you clean up your computer? This past year, I have cleaned my computer about three times. I have come to the conclusion that I need to clean it up more often than that. Once or twice a month shouldn’t hurt too much.

There is one factor that makes people decline to clean their computers. Which of these examples fits you?

  • Not everyone has a car to take the computer to a gas station to use the air blower.
  • I don’t have a car, and I’m lazy to order an air can online, or going to Radio Shack or other store to buy it.
  • Those darn air cans are too expensive.
  • I don’t have a vacuum cleaner
  • I have a vacuum cleaner, but I’m too busy and lazy.
  • I always forget.

I’m sure there are many other excuses or constraints that prevent players to clean their computer as often as they should. I’ll be nice and think these few are among the best reasons.

In my case, well, going to Best Buy or Radio Shack to buy an expensive air can ain’t too fun, and usually they don’t have enough pressure or last long enough to clean the entire computer parts.

Air cans can also give you a frostbite if not used properly.

You’d be surprised how much dust your computer might have right about now. Go ahead. Open the computer case and check it out. The computer case’s fans — those which bring air into its interior and the one that expels it out of your computer — do they have a thick crust of dust? Likely even your own hair or your pet’s hair. Everyone drops hair one way or the other throughout the month. This hair eventually lands on your floor, and it’s slowly pulled by the computer’s fans. When this hair accumulates on the outer-filters, or the grills, dust tends to clog there and prevent air from going in or out of the computer case efficiently.

This in turn makes the interior of your computer to build up internal heat that’s no longer dissipated.

Take a look at your CPU’s cooler sink and its fan. Are they full of dust and dirt lint? Some of it is also your hair — believe it or not. Check your graphic card. Do you see a crust of dust? Remove the graphic card from the PCI slot. What do you see in the graphic card’s fan? Yup, here’s the source of your video games losing FPS (frames-per-second), or graphic lag, Nvidia / ATI driver crashes, etc. etc.

A few days ago, I experienced some of those symptoms. I opened my computer case, and noticed an unusual amount of dust on the video card. The CPU fan, and the 120mm fans pulling and expelling air were also covered with hair and dust intermingled.

Using napkins to clean up is simply useless, and time consuming, and just silly. Air cans — I’m sorry, these are a waste of time and money. Air compressors can cost over $200, take a lot of space and do a lot of noise.

Pressurized air cans (known as disposable cleaning air dusters) sometimes come in packs of two or three 10-ounce cans. They range $13.59 – $19.99. Once the cans are empty, you need to replace them and need to spend more money. It’s better to invest in something more useful and lasting.

Update: A computer-savvy fan suggested to use the Metro Vacuum ED500 Electric Duster for cleaning. This cleans the computer case, the CPU cooler sink, the 120mm fans, and the graphic card in no time and thoroughly.

After cleaning the computer, I loaded EVGA Precision and the EVGA E-LEET Tuning Tool to monitor my CPU and the graphic card’s temperature.

The Intel Core i7-920 CPU was fluctuating between 83-86 degrees before cleaning the computer. After cleaning the computer you can see in the screenshot below the temperature is now 53 degrees. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with the temperature of each individual core, but overall 53 sounds good.

My EVGA NVIDIA GeForce 285 GTX Superclocked was a pancake-griddle, literally. The EVGA Precision tool was reflecting over 60-70 degrees before cleaning the computer. Now as the screenshot below shows, it’s sitting at a nice 44 degrees.

I only have a CPU cooler sink I installed a few years ago, but no VGA cooler. I’ll experiment with that soon.

For now that’s pretty good to keep a healthy computer temperature to play Diablo III, or other CPU / GPU intensive video games without worry about cooking an omelet on your graphic card.

I’ll later share some cooling solutions for graphic cards and CPUs to lower the temperatures beyond what your stock CPU cooler sink and GPU fan do. Clean your computer often. If you experience driver crashes often, that’s a sign you need to. Don’t wait until that happens.

Sanctuary needs you to slay demons.

Note: Edited the product used to clean my computer, and added the Metro Vacuum ED500 DataVac suggested by a fan in our comments section. It’s a more appropriate tool to use. Here’s a video showing you the power of this blower.

Tips: You won’t want all this dust floating around indoors. Always clean the computer while outdoors and wearing a mask to cover your mouth and nose. Take a shower and change cloths afterwards. The cloths are contaminated with dust that might end up on your bed or sofa. In the comments, Marco Donghi suggests to hold the 120mm case fans, and the graphic card and CPU cooler sink’s fans before and while cleaning them to prevent them going backwards and causing damage to the rotator’s mechanical parts.

EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores Classified Announced

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in BlizzPlanet Articles, Technology

EVGA just announced the EVGA GeForce GTX560 Ti 448 Cores Classified. You can now pre-order it, and it will be shipped when available. It qualifies for Free Super Saver Shipping (option available at checkout).

What’s exceptional about the GTX 560 Ti Classified version versus the normal GTX 560 Ti? Compare:

  • The normal GTX 560 Ti features only 384 Cores, 2048 MB GDDR5 memory on a 256-bit memory bus, 128 GB/s Memory Bandwidth, and supports only 2-SLI.
  • The Classified version features 448 CUDA Cores, 1.28GB GDDR5 memory on a 320-bit memory bus, 156 GB/s Memory Bandwidth , 6 Phase PWM, 3-SLI support.

The limited edition Classified version, at the same price point as the GTX 560 Ti, sounds like a good video card to play the latest games like Batman: Arkham City, and Battlefield 3 at max settings.

If this card can do wonders on these two newest games, it should play Diablo III, StarCraft II, and World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria pretty decent at max settings.

Gamers Daily News reviewed the GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores Classified and gave it the Gold Award. It exceeded even NVIDIA’s suggested FPS performance. NVIDIA estimates a 15% performance increase compared to the normal version, but Gamers Daily News found through benchmarks it was really a 25% performance increase.

Personally, I find this card to be a bit expensive, but considering the free shipping, that’s a $8.64 saving (New York). It’s also around half the price of the EVGA GeForce GTX 580.

What Gamers Daily News forgot to mention in the review was the performance comparison against the GTX 570. In their benchmark comparison, the EVGA GeForce GTX 570 Superclocked (with 480 CUDA Cores) outperformed the EVGA GeForce GTX560 Ti 448 Cores Classified by a slight margin and costs an extra $59.99.

Some of you might be looking for a leet video card, at a mid-range price. Either of those are a good choice. Not only do you get Free Super Saving Shipping with both graphic cards, you also qualify for a Free Digital Copy of “Batman: Arkham City” ($49.99 value). Ain’t that cool?

  • Core Clock: 797MHz Memory Clock: 3900MHz Shader Clock: 1594MHz
  • CUDA Cores: 448
  • Core Clock: 797 MHz
  • Microsoft DirectX 11 Support
  • NVidia Cuda, PhysX, PureVideo HD, 3D VisionSurround ready Technologies
  • NVidia 2-Way and 3-Way SLI ready
  • DisplayPort 1.1a Connector
  • HDMI 1.4a connector
  • Two Dual-Link DVI-I HDCP capable connectors

Memory Specs

  • Memory Detail: 1280 MB GDDR5
  • Memory Bit Width: 320 Bit
  • Memory Clock: 3900 MHz
  • Memory Speed: 0.5 ns
  • Memory Bandwith: 156 GB/sec
  • Texture fill rate: 44.6 GT/s

Key Features

  • DirectX 11 Support
  • 6 Phase PWM
  • Dual Fan Design

Requirements

  • 550Watt PSU
  • (1) 6 Pin PCIe Connector
  • (1) 8 Pin PCIe Connector Or (2) 6 Pin PCIe Power Connectors
  • Windows 7 / Vista / XP
  • PCIe 16x Slot
evga-geforce-gtx-560-ti-2win

EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2Win Dual-GPU Pre-Orders Detected

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, Technology, World of Warcraft News

EVGA recently announced their latest Dual-GPU graphic card, and today pre-orders are available.

The EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2Win DUAL GPU, odd as it sounds, outperforms the GTX 580 by 30%.

EVGA is teasing this baby with the marketing slogan: “Is it a GTX 585?”, to demonstrate how this card is rather a better card than the GTX 580.

I’m very confused by this product considering EVGA is competing with itself with a product that nearly shares the same price point.

The GTX 580 costs MSRP: $589.99, while the outperformer GTX 560 Ti 2Win Dual-GPU costs 571.36.

The GTX 560 Ti 2Win offers blistering DirectX 11 performance right off the box, including Tessellation — that thing people are going crazy for nowadays.

The card handles three displays: 3 Dual-Link DVI-I HDCP capable connectors, and HDMI x 1.

NVIDIA 3D surround with only one card, 3D Vision and PhysX ready.

This is also the first time I ever see a graphics card with three integrated fans. Now that’s hot! Err, cool … as in “temperature”, but still cool … as in “zomg, neat!” A YouTube video trailer can be watched below.

GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2Win Dual-GPU

  • Core Clock Speed: 850MHz
  • CUDA Cores: 768
  • Memory: 2048MB GDDR5
  • Memory Clock Speed: 4008MHz
  • Memory Bandwidth: 256.6GB/sec
  • Shader Clock Speed: 1700MHz
  • Bus: PCI-E 2.0
  • Interface: DVI-I, DVI-I, DVI-I, Mini-HDMI
  • Product Warranty: 3 year warranty upgradable upon registration
  • Product Length: 11.5in – 292.1mm

The GTX 560 Ti 2Win Dual-GPU is now a direct competitor of the XFX AMD Radeon HD 6990 which AMD claims to be the fastest graphics card in the world.

Specs GTX 560 Ti 2Win GTX 580 Radeon HD 6990
Core Clock Speed 850MHz 772MHz 830MHz
CUDA Cores 768 512 N/A
Memory 2048MB GDDR5 3072MB GDDR5 4000MB GDDR5
Memory Clock Speed 4008MHz 4008 MHz 1250MHz
Shader Clock Speed 1700MHz 1544MHz N/A
Mem. Bandwidth 256.6 GB/sec 192.4 GB/s 5.0Gbps

 

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Building a PC for Diablo III: AMD Unlocked FX Bulldozer CPU Launches

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, Technology, World of Warcraft News

AMD announced yesterday the launch of their new AMD FX family of CPUs introducing the first-ever eight-core CPU. They also released a six-core and four-core versions of the FX CPU.

      AMD (NYSE: AMD) today unleashed the AMD FX family of CPUs, delivering a fully unlocked and customizable experience for desktop PC users. The AMD FX series of desktop CPUs includes the first-ever eight-core desktop processor, enabling extreme multi-display gaming, mega-tasking and HD content creation for PC and digital enthusiasts – all for less than $245 (suggested U.S. retail price). This marks the first retail availability of processors that use AMD’s new multi-core architecture (codenamed “Bulldozer”), which is included in AMD’s upcoming server CPU (codenamed “Interlagos”) and the next-generation of AMD Accelerated Processing Units.

      “AMD FX CPUs are back with a vengeance, as validated by the recent feat of setting a Guinness World Records® title for ‘Highest Frequency of a Computer Processor,’” said Chris Cloran, corporate vice president and general manager, Client Group at AMD. “While overclockers will certainly enjoy the frequencies the AMD FX processors can achieve, PC enthusiasts and HD media aficionados will appreciate the remarkable experience that AMD FX processors can provide as part of a balanced, affordable desktop system.”

      All AMD FX CPUs offer completely unlocked processor clock multipliers for easier overclocking, paving the way for PC enthusiasts to enjoy higher CPU speeds and related performance gains. Additionally, these processors use AMD Turbo Core Technology to dynamically optimize performance across CPU cores enabling maximum performance for intense workloads.

      Starting today, the below AMD FX CPUs will be available from global retailers. Additional AMD FX CPUs and systems based on the AMD FX processors will be available for purchase following the initial launch.

      Note: click the links below to pre-order.

      AMD FX CPUs

      • AMD FX 8150 8-Core Processor, 3.6 8 Socket AM3 — $269.99
      • AMD FX 8120: 8-cores, 3.1 GHz CPU base (3.4 GHz Turbo Core, 4.0 GHz Max Turbo) — $219.99
      • AMD FX 6100: 6-cores, 3.3 GHz CPU base (3.6 GHz Turbo Core, 3.9 GHz Max Turbo) — $189.99
      • AMD FX 4100: 4-cores, 3.6 GHz CPU base (3.7 GHz Turbo Core, 3.8 GHz Max Turbo) — $129.99

Gamers new to Build-it-Yourself and interested in this new AMD FX CPU should know which motherboard and graphic cards to obtain for the best solution. AMD said yesterday, Oct 12.2011, gamers should aim to build a AMD “Scorpius” platform by matching an AMD FX CPU with an AMD 9-Series motherboard and the AMD Radeon™ HD 6000 series graphics cards.

AMD 9-Series Motherboards

There are three chipset models in the AMD 9-Series: The AMD 990FX, the AMD 990X chipset, and the AMD 970 Chipset. All support AM3, AM3+ and FX CPUs. If you have one of these motherboard chipsets, good news: You only need the CPU. However, game reviewers like HardOCP recommend the AMD 990FX chipset.

These are the Top 3 AMD 990FX motherboards used by reviewers of the AMD FX CPU.

AMD Radeon™ HD 6000 series graphics cards

Along with the AMD FX Family CPU and the AMD 990FX Motherboards, AMD recommends the AMD Radeon HD 6000 Series graphic cards for the ultimate gaming AMD Scorpius platform.

There are many graphic card manufacturers out there making these: XFX, Sapphire Tech, ASUS, BFG, Gigabyte, Visiontek, Diamond, HIS Digital and others. The AMD Radeon HD 6000 Series come in bunch of different flavors of graphics cards ranging low to high prices. You can choose your favorite manufacturer, but from what I have read EVGA is king-of-the-hill, followed by XFX and BFG Tech.

From low-end to high-end:

RAM Memory

The AMD 990FX chipset motherboard has a memory controller which handles a dual-channel DDR3 at a maximum of a 1,866MHz frequency supporting 1.5V or 1.65V.

Building a PC for Diablo III

 

intel-i7-2600k-core-sandy-bridge-box

Building a PC for Diablo III – Intel i7 Core Sandy Bridge CPU

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, Technology, World of Warcraft News

Deciding which CPU to purchase for your new gaming rig to play Diablo III is no easy feat. There are so many options and variety of CPUs with odd names and lots of numbers that it goes to the point it reads as a incomprehensible foreign language or plain Klingon.

That’s not a cool thing, because people who don’t know the differences between each CPU might end up buying a mobile CPU for their Desktop computer by mistake, or an older version of the Desktop CPU.

Following up on the previous article titled Building a PC for Diablo III – EVGA Z68 SLI Motherboard, the EVGA Intel Z68 SLI Mobo supports the Intel i5 Core (mid-end CPU) and the Intel i7 Core (high-end CPU). However, gamers that play intensive video games like StarCraft II, Diablo III, Crysis 2, and other video games should definitely look out for the high-end CPUs: Intel i7 Core for maximum processing power.

Another factor to clock in on when deciding which Intel i7 Core CPU to buy is its code-name.

The Intel i7 Core (codename: Bloomfield, Lynnfield, Clarksfield, Arrandale, and Gulftown) were the first-generation released late 2008 and mid-2010.

Don’t even look at those when building a new gaming rig. Those are outdated in comparison with what’s available today for the same price.

The latest CPUs are codenamed Sandy Bridge, known also as the Intel i7 Core (Second Generation).

The Build-it-Yourself beginners are going to ask — what gives? What’s the difference? The first generation Intel i7 Core CPUs uses the LGA 1366 socket and LGA 1156.

The second generation Intel i7 Core Sandy Bridge CPUs use the LGA 1155 socket. It also features Intel® HD Graphics 3000.

Imagine trying to fit a circle box into a square hole. The CPU pins just don’t fit into the motherboard CPU socket. You would have a paperweight so to speak if you buy a Z68 motherboard which only supports the LGA 1155 CPUs and mistakenly you choose a first generation Intel i7 Core CPU.

There is another factor to look at when looking at the name of a CPU. The Intel i7 Core (Sandy Bridge) comes in three flavors: Core i7-2600, 2600K and 2600S. Some might have a 26XX variable. So, err, which should I get?

The suffix after the 2600 model number designates the function of each particular CPU. For example, the 2600K has an unlocked multiplier, and the 2600S is designed for low-power consumption. What would happen to a gamer who goes with 2600S? No-brainer.

The Intel i7-2600 (3.4GHz) and the i7-2600S (2.8GHz) cost the same: $ 295.99. The Intel i7 2600K (3.4GHz) costs $314.99 — merely $19 bucks more for a unlocked CPU. In short:

1. don’t get the “17-2600S” version for gaming – (low-power is teh sux)
2. you can overclock the i7-2600K (3.4GHz) up to (zomg!) 4.5GHz (unlocked CPU).
3. Get the 2600 (3.4GHz) — with no suffix — if you don’t care about overclocking.

Building your own gaming rig can be expensive in comparison to what DELL, HP, Acer, Gateway and other companies ship. Or what you might find in Best Buy and other national retailers.

The key is that you are in full control of every aspect and quality of your computer parts when you build it yourself — including the RAM, CPU, Motherboard, and Graphic Card.

Some of them provide options to build your rig, but you have a narrow choice window limited to what they offer versus what you wish as a gamer.

Thus, be prepared to see eye-popping prices when it comes to buying a CPU fit for Gamers.

The Intel i7 Core is a high-end CPU, and gaming fits the bill. I hand-picked two of the three available CPU flavors. You can read the full specs at the bottom of this page. Choose your poison of Intel i7 Core Sandy Bridge (Second Generation) CPUs:

As commentcava suggested, in the comments section, gamers have another CPU option: the Intel Core i5. It’s a mid-range CPU for video and app performance. It’s nigh a $100 cheaper than the Intel Core i7. There are several Intel Core i5 flavors with a variety of suffixes, but I’d rather recommend the suffix “K” which means an unlocked CPU for overclockers. The unlocked version costs merely $4 more than the non-suffix version, no biggie in recommending it. CPU specs at the bottom of the page.

Technology keeps evolving and enhancing computing processes. It’s up to you to upgrade into the EVGA Z68 SLI motherboard and the Intel i7 Core (Sandy Bridge quad-core) now, or wait until the next wave of upgrades.

CPU Cooler

Many gamers buy cookie-cutter computers and forget to replace the stock CPU fan and to use a thermal paste.

I learned this the hard way a couple years ago when I built my rig. The motherboard would auto-shutdown at boot. EVGA motherboards have a built-in temperature LCD display, so it wasn’t hard to figure out what the problem was. Once the CPU reaches 86F degrees, the motherboard auto-shutdown to protect the mobo and CPU. When booting, the CPU works hard to load up the operating system and its processes spiking temperature up to 86F.

Now that you have your favorite flavor of the second generation Sandy Bridge Intel i7 Core, there are two important things to add to your gaming rig wishlist.

First rule when building your own gaming rig: Get a thermal grease and replace the stock CPU fan.

There are many options to look up out there when it comes to CPU fans. If you prefer air CPU coolers, EVGA recently released their own version. Considering EVGA builds motherboards and graphic cards for overclockers — I lean to think EVGA engineers know what to look for in a CPU fan.

The EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler is compatible with the Socket 775, 1156, 1366 and what we care about here: the 1155 (Sandy Bridge second-generation). It costs $49.99.

The EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler has Aluminum fins to absorb and distribute cool air. Just looking at the design tells you this fan is unique compared to other stock fans and professional fans.

The blades are thinner, longer and narrower than anything you see out there in the market. It has seven blades. Airflow speeds can be controlled through BIOS settings. It does 750-2500RPM / 26-84CFM to keep your Intel i7 Core CPU cool. EVGA guarantees this cooler keeps your computer 20 degrees lower than any stock fan cooler.

The second most important thing for a CPU is the thermal grease you must place on the CPU itself before you place the EVGA Superclock CPU cooler or other choice of fan.

Model: EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler
Part No.: M020-00-000234
Dimensions (HxWxD): 6.0×5.3×3.6 inches (152x135x91mm)
Weight: 1.14lbs (0.51kg)
Socket Support:
Intel: LGA 775/1155/1156/1366
AMD: 754/939/F/AM2/AM3
Fin Material: Aluminum
Heatpipes: 8mm Copper
Fan:

  • Size: 120x120x25mm
  • Control: via motherboard PWM
  • Voltage: 12v Max
  • Current: 0.32A
  • Noise Range: 13.2-41.5dBA
  • Speed Range: 750-2500 RPM
  • Airflow Range: 26-84 CFM
  • Life: 30,000 Hours
  • Warranty: 1 year parts and labor

The EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler costs $49.99, but take in mind the fan comes conveniently with a thermal grease paste compound in its packaging box. It usually costs an extra $ 8.00 to $19.00 when you buy the thermal paste separately.

The EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler performs as good as other professional fan coolers which cost $20 – $70 more, making its $49.99 price tag valuable. Under load on a 3.5GHz computer you get approximately 60.50 degrees Celsius, and 32.25 degrees Celsius while idle.

In the liquid cooling department, the Antec Kühler H20 920 Liquid CPU Cooling System costs twice what you would pay for the EVGA Superclock CPU cooler and cools your CPU one degree lower according to LegitReviews.

Intel i7 Core Sandy-Bridge Specs Comparison

Highlight rows with differences Intel® Core™ i7-2600 Processor (8M Cache, 3.40 GHz)

2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Processor Logo
Intel® Core™ i7-2600K Processor (8M Cache, 3.40 GHz)

2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Processor Logo
Code Name Sandy Bridge Sandy Bridge

Essentials

Status Launched Launched
Launch Date Q1’11 Q1’11
Processor Number i7-2600 i7-2600K
# of Cores 4 4
# of Threads 8 8
Clock Speed 3.4 GHz 3.4 GHz
Max Turbo Frequency 3.8 GHz 3.8 GHz
Cache 8 MB Intel® Smart Cache 8 MB Intel® Smart Cache
Bus/Core Ratio 34 34
Bus Type DMI DMI
System Bus 5 GT/s 5 GT/s
Instruction Set 64-bit 64-bit
Instruction Set Extensions SSE4.1/4.2, AVX SSE4.1/4.2, AVX
Embedded Options Available Yes No
Lithography 32 nm 32 nm
Max TDP 95 W 95 W
Recommended Channel Price $294.00 $317.00

Memory Specifications

Max Memory Size (dependent on memory type) 32 GB 32 GB
Memory Types DDR3-1066/1333 DDR3-1066/1333
# of Memory Channels 2 2
Max Memory Bandwidth 21 GB/s 21 GB/s
ECC Memory Supported No No

Graphics Specifications

Processor Graphics Yes Yes
Graphics Model Intel® HD Graphics 2000 Intel® HD Graphics 3000
Graphics Base Frequency 850 MHz 850 MHz
Graphics Max Dynamic Frequency 1.35 GHz 1.35 GHz
Intel® Quick Sync Video Yes Yes
Intel® InTru™ 3D Technology Yes Yes
Intel® Insider™ Yes Yes
Intel® Wireless Display No No
Intel® Flexible Display Interface (Intel® FDI) Yes Yes
Intel® Clear Video HD Technology Yes Yes
Dual Display Capable Yes Yes

Expansion Options

PCI Express Revision 2.0 2.0
# of PCI Express Ports 1 1

Package Specifications

Max CPU Configuration 1 1
TCASE 72.6°C 72.6°C
Package Size 37.5mm x 37.5mm 37.5mm x 37.5mm
Sockets Supported LGA1155 LGA1155
Low Halogen Options Available Yes Yes

Advanced Technologies

Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 2.0
Intel® vPro Technology Yes No
Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology Yes Yes
Intel® Virtualization Technology (VT-x) Yes Yes
Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d) Yes No
Intel® Trusted Execution Technology Yes No
AES New Instructions Yes Yes
Intel® 64 Yes Yes
Idle States Yes Yes
Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® Technology Yes Yes
Thermal Monitoring Technologies Yes Yes
Intel® Fast Memory Access Yes Yes
Intel® Flex Memory Access Yes Yes
Execute Disable Bit Yes Yes

Intel Core i5 (Sandy Bridge) Specs

Essentials

Status Launched
Launch Date Q1’11
Processor Number i5-2500K
# of Cores 4
# of Threads 4
Clock Speed 3.3 GHz
Max Turbo Frequency 3.7 GHz
Intel® Smart Cache 6 MB
Bus/Core Ratio 33
DMI 5 GT/s
Instruction Set 64-bit
Instruction Set Extensions SSE4.1/4.2, AVX
Embedded Options Available No
Lithography 32 nm
Max TDP 95 W
Recommended Channel Price $216.00

Memory Specifications

Max Memory Size (dependent on memory type) 32 GB
Memory Types DDR3-1066/1333
# of Memory Channels 2
Max Memory Bandwidth 21 GB/s
ECC Memory Supported No

Graphics Specifications

Processor Graphics Intel® HD Graphics 3000
Graphics Base Frequency 850 MHz
Graphics Max Dynamic Frequency 1.1 GHz
Intel® Quick Sync Video Yes
Intel® InTru™ 3D Technology Yes
Intel® Insider™ Yes
Intel® Wireless Display No
Intel® Flexible Display Interface (Intel® FDI) Yes
Intel® Clear Video HD Technology Yes
Dual Display Capable Yes

Expansion Options

PCI Express Revision 2.0
# of PCI Express Ports 1

Package Specifications

Max CPU Configuration 1
TCASE 72.6°C
Package Size 37.5mm x 37.5mm
Sockets Supported LGA1155
Low Halogen Options Available Yes

Advanced Technologies

Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
Intel® vPro Technology No
Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology No
Intel® Virtualization Technology (VT-x) Yes
Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d) No
Intel® Trusted Execution Technology No
AES New Instructions Yes
Intel® 64 Yes
Idle States Yes
Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® Technology Yes
Thermal Monitoring Technologies Yes
Intel® Fast Memory Access Yes
Intel® Flex Memory Access Yes
Execute Disable Bit Yes

Building a PC for Diablo III

 

evga-z68-sli-micro-box

Building a PC for Diablo III – EVGA Z68 SLI Motherboard

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, Technology, World of Warcraft News

Blizzard Entertainment will soon ship Diablo III in early 2012, and many players out there still have an old computer. Blizzard games are made to support a wide range of configurations, but with the rise of new technologies, your computer manufacturer is likely no longer providing BIOS, drivers or firmware updates, or soon won’t. Blizzard has been increasing the minimum PC requirements slowly throughout the years.

StarCraft II’s Minimum PC Requirements show some gamers with low-end CPU and Graphic Cards released prior to 2003 are unable to play the game.

PC Minimum System Requirements*:

      • Windows® XP/Windows Vista®/Windows® 7 (Updated with the latest Service Packs) with DirectX® 9.0c
      • 2.6 GHz Pentium® IV or equivalent AMD Athlon® processor
      • 128 MB PCIe NVIDIA® GeForce® 6600 GT or ATI Radeon® 9800 PRO video card or better
      • 12 GB available HD space
      • 1 GB RAM (1.5 GB required for Windows Vista®/Windows® 7 users)
      • DVD-ROM drive
      • Broadband Internet connection
      • 1024X720 minimum display resolution

PC Recommended Specifications:

    • Windows Vista®/Windows® 7
    • Dual Core 2.4Ghz Processor
    • 2 GB RAM
    • -512 MB NVIDIA® GeForce® 8800 GTX or ATI Radeon® HD 3870 or better

PC Minimum Spec Overview

In terms of CPU frequency, The Intel Pentium IV (Northwood) 2.6 GHz CPU was released on May 21, 2003. The AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 (Socket 939) shipped on October 11, 2004. That was the first off-the-box AMD Athlon CPU reaching the 2600 MHz frequency by default.

In terms of graphic cards, The ATI Radeon 9800 Pro (AGP slot) was released on March 2003 — I burned two of these before finally moving on to GeForce cards. The GeForce 6600 GT came out on August 12, 2004. Blizzard has been generous on the low-end CPU and graphics compatibility department.

PC Recommended Spec Overview

The NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX was released on November 8, 2006, and its ATI equivalent — the ATI Radeon HD 3870 was released on Nov 19, 2007. If you have either of these two video cards or better — you are within the recommended spec. It’s unknown what the Diablo III recommended spec is, but let’s be optimistic it won’t be an abysmal difference.

On the PC Recommended Specs side of things, according to Blizzard Entertainment, gamers should have a Dual Core 2.4 GHz Processor. Let’s take a look at the Intel and AMD versions which fit the spec:

The Pentium Dual Core (Allendale) 2.4 GHz CPU (65nm / Socket 775) shipped on June 2007. That’s a four year old CPU. The more advanced 45nm process Wolfdale-3M version with 2 MiB L2 Cache came out August 2008.

On the AMD front, the Dual Core equivalent that fits the 2.4 GHz recommendation is the Phenom II X2 415e (Rana) with a 2.5 GHz frequency (released on May 11, 2010) and the Athlon II X2 210e (released on September 21, 2010). There are other more advanced Phenom II and Athlon II versions, but the general idea is that Blizzard’s PC Recommended Spec is a computer built between mid-2007 and 2010. Repeat this sing-along with me … “Ouch!”

Do you really need a new computer?

Let’s be sincere — if your computer was built prior to mid-2007, and whenever you play World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Crysis or other video games your computer or graphic card wants to cry and goes hot, slow-mo, glitches, or black / bluescreens — sorry to slap you a reality-check on your face … you need a new computer.

Wrong Decisions of a Gamer

Some people like to be cheapo — or simply rely on cookie-cutter computers — and buy a Dell, Asus, HP, or Gateway computer off Best Buy, Circuit City (R.I.P), CompUSA, or other national computer retailers. I pity the foo, bro! There’s no guarantee of what you will get for what you pay. Cheap and outdated motherboards, CPU, graphic cards, etc. They are in business to generate revenue, not to sell gaming systems. Some of those computers go cheap because there’s new technology coming out and need to clear inventory to bring in the latest ones.

The best way to go, for a gamer, when it comes to getting a new computer system is: Do-it-yourself. Unless you want an Alienware Gaming System ($2000+).

I have owned a few computers in the past 11 years. The first one was a Mac G4 Tower in 2000. Later on 2004, for World of Warcraft beta I got ahold of a HP Pavillion a650e with an AMD Athlon 64 3400+ CPU. That was the worst experience ever. It took me a while to figure out why the computer kept causing problems. HP was cheapo and added a low-end power supply, the case isn’t properly ventilated, and definitely not a gaming rig. I burned two ATI Radeon 9800 Pro on that machine.

Finally, the HP Pavillion computer died. When I called HP, they wanted me to ship the computer back to their factory for repair with a $400 charge + shipping costs. After showing them the finger and cussing them out, I decided to use those very $400 in a Build-it-Yourself system.

Although I had some eight months experience at a Mac repair shop years ago, I was a first timer building a PC. I didn’t know where to start, and went with an ASUS mobo (Motherboard). It lasted me some years until the mobo died on 2010, but to be honest it was a bit outdated, and the ASUS firmware updates and support were non-existent.

Best Do-It-Yourself Gaming Rig

I spent months reading Overclocking forums for tips on which motherboard and graphic card company was best for gaming computer systems, and I finally nailed it down on March 2009 with an EVGA X58 SLI. EVGA offers 3-year warranty on their products right off the box. (Product must be registered within 30 days after purchase) and they offer optional extensions up to 5-year and 10-year Warranty. EVGA is also popular for the best tech support via phone, email, and forums. You have to do a lot of catch up nigh every month with how often they deploy mobo BIOS drivers, chipset drivers, audio drivers, graphic card drivers — you name it.

Don’t take my word for it, nor even the overclocker’s word. EVGA won the PC Pro Excellence Awards 2011 in the Motherboard and Graphic Cards categories for a second year in a row.

Overclockers love EVGA motherboards for a reason. Thus, as gamers, it is important to read and to listen to that special breed of gamers. Want a Gaming rig? Get an EVGA motherboard. Even if you don’t overclock. It doesn’t matter. Keep the default BIOS settings if you wish. Experiment later. The off-the-box Warranty, tech support and constant driver updates are worth the investment. With Diablo III around the corner, a new PC is definitely a welcome sight to have the best gameplay and visual experience.

Today, I’ll share with you the latest EVGA Z68 motherboard family. In future articles, I will recommend the latest low-end and high-end EVGA graphic cards, RAM memory, hard drives, Intel socket 1155 CPU, CPU coolers, PSU (Power Supply), and gaming cases compatible with the EVGA Z68 motherboard family. We are still three months+ away from the launch date of Diablo III, so keep an eye on follow up articles to learn what’s the latest technology out there to build a decent Build-it-Yourself Gaming Rig — not a cookie-cutter rig.

The most recent motherboards contain the Intel Z68 chipset which supports Intel Core i5 and i7 Socket 1155 Processors. After the links, you can take a look at what they have to offer.

Check out below the Computer Specs for each of these Z68 EVGA SLI motherboards:

EVGA Z68 SLI Micro

Performance

  • Based on Intel Z68 chipset
  • Supports Intel Socket 1155 Processors

Memory

  • 4 x 240-pin DIMM sockets
  • Dual Channel DDR3
  • Maximum of 16GB of DDR3 2133MHz+

Expansion Slot

  • 2 x PCIe (PCI Express 2.0) x8, 2 x PCIe x1

Storage I/O

  • 0 x UltraDMA133
  • 6 x Serial ATA 300MB/sec (4 x SATA II Internal 3G Ports + 2x ESATA) with support for RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 0+1, RAID5, RAID10 and JBOD
  • 2 x SATA III 600MB/sec 6G Ports (Internal) with support for RAID 0 and RAID1
  • Support SSD Caching

Integrated Peripherals

  • 8 Channel High Definition
  • 1 Gigabit Ethernet Ports x 10/100/1000

Multi I/O

  • 12 x USB 2.0 ports (8 external + 4 internal headers)
  • 2 x USB3.0 ports (2 external + 0 internal headers)
  • Audio connector (Line-in, Line-out, MIC)
  • FireWire 1394A (1 external/1 internal)

Form Factor

  • mATX Form Factor
  • Length: 9.6in – 243.84mm
  • Width: 9.6in – 243.84mm

Product Warranty

This product comes with a 3 year limited warranty. Registration is recommended

EVGA offers several warranty solutions for our customers to choose from. Please refer to the suffix of the part number and our warranty terms for details.

Operating System Support

Windows 7 32/64bit, Windows Vista 32/64bit, Windows XP 32/64bit

Notes: The EVGA Z68 motherboards have arrived! These motherboards based on the latest Intel Express Chipset offer incredible performance and overclocking with Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors, and with the new Intel Smart Response Technology, users can combine a Solid State Drive with a traditional mechanical drive and receive both high performance and high storage capacity! Intel Smart Response Technology implements a storage I/O caching system to provide users with faster response times for frequently used applications. The entire EVGA Z68 lineup has full support for SATA III/6G and USB 3.0 giving you the latest standards in high performance storage, and a forward thinking true next generation motherboard layout allows you to take control!

EVGA Z68 SLI

Performance

  • Based on Intel Z68 chipset
  • Supports Intel Socket 1155 Processors

Memory

  • 4 x 240-pin DIMM sockets
  • Dual Channel DDR3
  • Maximum of 16GB of DDR3 2133MHz+

Expansion Slot

  • Enthusiast Layout supporting 2-way SLI plus PhysX or CrossFireX
  • 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16/x8, 1 x PCIe x8, 1 x PCIe x4, 3 x PCIe 2.0 x1

Storage I/O

  • 0 x UltraDMA133
  • 3 x SATA II 300MB/sec (3 x Internal + 1x E-SATA) with support for RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 0+1, RAID5, RAID10 and JBOD
  • 2 x SATA III 600MB/sec (6G Ports Internal) with support for RAID 0 and RAID1
  • Support SSD Caching

Integrated Peripherals

  • 8 Channel High Definition
  • 2 Gigabit Ethernet Ports x 10/100/1000

Multi I/O

  • 10 x USB2.0 ports (6 external + 4 internal headers)
  • 2 x USB3.0 ports (2 external + 0 internal headers)
  • Audio connector (Line-in, Line-out, MIC)
  • FireWire 1394A (1 external/1 internal)

Form Factor

  • ATX Form Factor
  • Length: 12in – 304.8mm
  • Width: 9.6in – 243.84mm

EVGA Z68 SLI FTW

Performance

  • Based on Intel Z68 chipset
  • Supports Intel Socket 1155 Processors
  • Higher Gold Content in CPU pins
  • Integrated Flash Storage: use as storage, swap file, anything

Memory

  • 4 x 240-pin DIMM sockets
  • Dual Channel DDR3
  • Maximum of 16GB of DDR3 2133MHz+

Expansion Slot

  • 6 PCI Express 2.0 Slots (3 x PCIe x16/x8, 2 x PCIe x8, 2 x PCIe x1)
  • Enthusiast Layout supporting 2-way and 3-way SLI plus PhysX or CrossFireX

Storage I/O

  • 0 x UltraDMA133
  • 8 x SATA II 300MB/sec (6x Internal + 2x E-SATA) with support for RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 0+1, RAID5, RAID10 and JBOD
  • 2 x SATA III 600MB/sec (2 Internal) with support for RAID 0 and RAID1

Integrated Peripherals

  • 8 Channel High Definition
  • 2 x 10/100/1000

Multi I/O

  • 10 x USB2.0 ports (6 external + 4 internal headers)
  • 4 x USB3.0 ports (2 external + 2 internal headers)
  • Audio connector (Line-in, Line-out, MIC)
  • FireWire 1394A (1 external)

Form Factor

  • EATX Form Factor
  • Length: 12in – 304.8mm
  • Width: 10.375in – 263.5mm

EVGA Z68 SLI FTW3

Performance

  • Based on Intel X58/ICH10R chipset
  • Supports Intel Core i7 Processors

Memory

  • 6 x 240-pin DIMM sockets
  • Triple Channel DDR3
  • Maximum of 24GB of DDR3 1600MHz+

Expansion Slot

  • 1 x PCIe x16, 1 x PCIe x8/x16, 1 x PCIe x8, 1 x PCIe x1, 2 x PCI
  • 2 x 32-bit PCI, support for PCI 2.1

Storage I/O

  • 1 x UltraDMA133
  • 6 x Serial ATA 300MB/sec with support for RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 0+1, RAID5 and JBOD,
  • 2 x Serial ATA 600MB/sec with support for RAID 0 and RAID1

Integrated Peripherals

  • 8 Channel High Definition
  • 2 x 10/100/1000

Multi I/O

  • 1 x PS2 Keyboard
  • 12 x USB2.0 ports (8 external + 4 internal headers)
  • 2 x USB3.0 ports (2 external + 0 internal headers)
  • Audio connector (Line-in, Line-out, MIC)
  • FireWire 0

Form Factor

  • ATX Form Factor
  • Length: 12.0in – 304.8mm
  • Width: 9.6in – 243.6mm

Building a PC for Diablo III

 

evga-gtx-460-2win

EVGA GeForce GTX 460 2Win On Sale

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, Technology, World of Warcraft News

Introducing the EVGA GeForce GTX 460 2Win (2048 MB GDDR5 PCI-Express 2.0)! This card harnesses the power of two EVGA GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) GPU’s for blistering fast DirectX 11 performance, including tessellation performance that destroys the competition. Experience a whole new level of interactive gaming and combine up to three displays off a single card for the ultimate in 3D entertainment, or disable Surround and combine up to four displays for maximum productivity. With these features and more, the EVGA GeForce GTX 460 2Win gives you double the win!

Order it here to get a $30 mail-in-rebate for a limited time. You save $60 off the MRSP price. This graphic card has THREE fans to keep temperatures smooth. Instead of using two GPU video cards in SLI taking up four PCI-Express 2.0 slots, you have two GPUs in a single video card taking up two PCI-Express 2.0 slots.

The EVGA GTX 460 2Win has a three-years warranty upgradable upon product registration with EVGA.

If you aren’t new to EVGA, ensure your profile is up to date with your current postal address. Register your EVGA GTX 460 2Win product, and request your free Digital Creativity Suite 2011 Bundle (a $160 value): Adobe Photoshop Elements 9, Scrapbook Artist 2, and Printshop 2.0.

The Digital Creativity Suite 2011 Bundle will be shipped to the postal address listed on your EVGA profile via USPS within 7 business days.

  • Part Number: 02G-P3-1387-AR
  • Core Clock Speed: 700MHz
  • CUDA Cores: 672
  • Memory Clock Speed: 3600MHz
  • Memory Bandwidth: 230.4GB/sec
  • Shader Clock Speed: 1400MHz
  • Bus: PCI-E 2.0
  • Interface: DVI-I, DVI-I, DVI-I, Mini-HDMI
  • Product Warranty:
    Limited Lifetime warranty upon registration
  • Product Length: 11.5in – 292.1mm

Memory

Effective Memory Clock: 3600MHz
Memory Size: 2GB
Memory Interface: 512-bit
Memory Type: GDDR5

Connectors: 2 x 8 Pin

3D API

DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.1

Requirements

Minimum of a 700 Watt power supply.
(Minimum recommended power supply with +12 Volt current rating of 46 Amps.)
Two available 8-pin PCI-E power dongles

Dual-Link DVI and Supported and HDCP Ready.

NVIDIA CUDA technology with CUDA C/C++,DirectCompute 5.0 and OpenCL support

NVIDIA PhysX technology

NVIDIA 3D Vision Ready

NVIDIA PureVideo HD technology

evga-superclock-cpu-cooler-2

EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler Pre-orders

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, Technology, World of Warcraft News

The EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler M020-00-000234 pre-order is finally available. EVGA is my favorite company for motherboards and graphic cards. Great tech support and forums, and product warranty. Especially, a great line of products for gamers and overclockers.

The new EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler fits several recent CPU sockets, and built for easy installation. I added at the bottom a good “How to install” video by HiTechLegion. It can be installed in a breeze, just a few minutes and comes with its own CPU thermal paste compound.

One important thing for you to know: You require a computer case that allows open access to the back of the motherboard. Otherwise you might have to remove the motherboard (which doesn’t sound cool in your case).

What’s amazing about this new EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler is that it was tested versus a Standard i7 CPU Cooler at full load. The results are stunning. With the i7 CPU Cooler the computer’s internal temperature reached 70 F temperature at full load. With the EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler, the computer’s internal temperature was nigh 20 degrees lower !!! The comparison chart shows only 52 degrees Farenheit.

Introducing the latest entry into the award winning EVGA enthusiast product lineup; the EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler. This product was built to perform with five 8mm heatpipes that are arranged to receive the maximum airflow, direct-touch base technology providing excellent thermal transfer, wind tunnel fin design for optimal air-flow and more.

The center section of the fins form an enclosure in front of the fan hub where air flow is at its lowest, and the edges of the fins are closed. This creates two wind tunnels that maximize airflow around the heatpipes.

And of course, the full sleek black look and PWM controlled red LED fan are the perfect match for any EVGA gaming rig!

EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler Specs

  • Intel CPU Compatibility: Socket 775, 1155, 1156, 1366
  • AMD CPU Compatibility: Socket 754, 939, 940, F, AM2, AM3
  • Fan Size: 120 x 120 x 25mm
  • Fan Speed: 750 – 2500 RPM
  • Fan Airflow: 26 – 84 CFM
  • Heat Pipes: 5 x 8mm Direct Touch
  • Fins: Aluminum / Wind Flow

Fan Specs

  • Size: 120 x 120 x 25mm
  • Fan Control: Via Motherboard PWM
  • Fan Voltage: 12v
  • Max Current: 0.32A
  • Noise Range: 13.2 – 41.5 dBA
  • Speed range: 750 – 2500 RPM
  • Airflow Range: 26 – 84 CFM
  • Bearing: Hydraumatic
  • Life: 30,000 Hours

Heatsink

  • Fin material: Aluminium
  • Heat Pipes: 8mm Copper
  • Direct-touch base technology

evga-gt-520

Low-End Graphic Card EVGA NVIDIA GT 520 Available

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in StarCraft 2 News, Technology, World of Warcraft News

EVGA announced recently their new EVGA NVIDIA GT 520, a low-end video card with DirectX 11, GeForce CUDA, Blue-ray 3D, OpenGL 4.1 and Physix support.

This graphic card has a 1.4a HDMI, DVI-I and VGA connectors.

The current low-end consumption and desktop graphic card market is battled between the EVGA NVIDIA GT 520 and the AMD Radeon HD 6450. Something I love about EVGA is their 3 years warranty, great tech support and driver updates.

It’s ultimately everyone’s personal choice: NVIDIA or ATI.

According to NVIDIA, StarCraft II and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm take full advantage of the GeForce GT 520. Coming from NVIDIA, sounds like a good choice if you are building a new system, but don’t want to spend more than $100 for a graphic card. The EVGA GeForce GT 520 1024 MB DDR3 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card Video Card 01G-P3-1523-KR is available for pre-order for $79.80.

After pre-ordering, customers will get an email informing you an estimated delivery date, and customers won’t be charged until the item ships.

Those considering to go for the GT 520 should be aware it requires a motherboard with a PCI Express 2.0 connector.

Meh — I would rather get a high-end graphic card

If you are building your computer and want a high-end NVIDIA graphic card, the best one at the moment is the EVGA GeForce GTX 580 Superclocked 1536 MB GDDR5 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card with Lifetime Warranty 015-P3-1582-AR. It sports a 1536 MB 384-bit 0.4ns GDDR5 memory, running at 4050 MHz memory clock and 1594 MHz shader clock. It’s NVIDIA 2-way, 3-way and 4-way SLI ready. Each video card costs around $513.49.

I would definitely go for the superclocked version, because the watered-down version of the GTX 580 (non-superclocked) costs around $499. Not much of a saving, much better performance.

EVGA NVIDIA GT 520

Whether you stream 1080p online videos from sites like YouTube or Hulu or prefer immersive Blu-Ray 3D movies, the power of the GeForce GT 520 GPU makes your video playback fast and smooth.

In addition to rendering your high-res photos instantly, the EVGA GeForce GT 520 also speeds up the editing of your videos. And when you share your photos and videos online, you’ll enjoy a richer web experience with GPU accelerated browsers like Google Chrome and Internet Explorer 9.

Go beyond photos and videos and take your gaming to the next level. With the EVGA GeForce GT 520, your favorite DirectX 11 games come to life with lifelike characters and incredibly detailed terrain and game environments.

Microsoft® DirectX® 11 Support
DirectX 11 GPU with Shader Model 5.0 support designed for ultra high performance in the new API’s key graphics feature, GPU-accelerated tessellation.

Blu-Ray 3D Support
Enable a theater quality 3D in your home with seamless support for 1080p Blu-Ray 3D discs across any compatible 3D viewing system over HDMI 1.4, including active-shutter glasses and passive polarized displays.

Hardware Video Decode Acceleration¹
The combination of high-definition video decode acceleration and post-processing that delivers unprecedented picture clarity, smooth video, accurate color, and precise image scaling for movies and video.

TrueHD and DTS-HD Audio Bitstreaming Support
Full support for TrueHD and DTS-HD advanced lossless multi-channel HD audio codecs brings the rich sound of the master recording to your living room.

NVIDIA CUDA™ Technology
CUDA technology unlocks the power of the GPU’s processor cores to accelerate the most demanding tasks such as video transcoding, physics simulation, ray tracing, and more, delivering incredible performance improvements over traditional CPUs.

NVIDIA PhysX® Technology
Full support for PhysX technology, enabling a totally new class of physical gaming interaction for a more dynamic and realistic experience with GeForce.

HDMI Output
Support for HDMI 1.4 output enables sending both high-definition video and audio signals to an HDTV via a single cable.

Dual-link DVI Support
Able to drive industry’s largest and highest resolution flat-panel displays up to 2560×1600 and with support for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP).

PCI Express 2.0 Support
Designed for the new PCI Express 2.0 bus architecture offering the highest data transfer speeds for the most bandwidth-hungry games and 3D applications, while maintaining backwards compatibility with existing PCI Express motherboards for the broadest support.

Specifications

Model

  • Brand: EVGA
  • Model: 01G-P3-1523-KR
  • Form Factor: Lo1`w Profile Ready
  • Interface: PCI Express 2.0 x16
  • Chipset Manufacturer: NVIDIA
  • GPU: GeForce GT 520 (Fermi)
  • Core Clock: 810MHz
  • Shader Clock: 1620MHz
  • Stream Processors: 48
  • Effective Memory Clock: 1800MHz
  • Memory Size: 1GB
  • Memory Interface: 64-bit
  • Memory Type: DDR3
  • DirectX: DirectX 11
  • OpenGL: OpenGL 4.1
  • Ports: 1 x HDMI, 1 x D-SUB, and 1 x DVI
  • RAMDAC: 400 MHz
  • Max Resolution: 2560 x 1600
  • SLI Support: No
  • Cooler: With Fan
  • Dual-Link DVI Supported: Yes
  • HDCP Ready: Yes
  • Card Dimensions: 5.7″ x 4.38″
  • Features: NVIDIA CUDA technology, NVIDIA PhysX technology, NVIDIA PureVideo HD technology and Blu-ray 3D Support

evga-geforce-gtx-590-a

EVGA GeForce GTX 590 Classified Limited Edition Pre-Order Available

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, Technology, World of Warcraft News

NVIDIA recently released the GeForce GTX 590! It has been in development the past two years, and dubbed it the best video card NVIDIA has EVER made. Bold words. We will find out why shortly.

EVGA has also announced their own version of the GTX 590 with a LIFETIME warranty. The Classified Limited Edition contains a GTX 590 card, a T-shirt, a huge mouse pad, and a few extras.

Starting today, now you can pre-order the EVGA GeForce GTX 590 Classified Limited Edition 3GB GDDR5 PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card – Lifetime Warranty. Once it’s on stock, EVGA will ship it straight to your home. Better yet … FREE shipping! Choose the Super Saver Shipping option at check out to get free shipping (only in United States).

What’s so special about this video card?

Introducing the world’s fastest DirectX 11 graphics card: the EVGA GeForce GTX 590 Classified. This card combines the power of two GTX 500 GPUs on a single card in an uncompromised design. A massive 3,072MB of GDDR5 memory leaves the competition begging for mercy. Experience a whole new level of interactive gaming and combine up to three displays on a single card for the ultimate 3D gaming experience. With these features and more, the EVGA GeForce GTX 590 Classified does not just obliterate the competition, it completely annihilates it.

The GTX 590 was designed from the ground up for the enthusiast. You have performance that decimates all takers, while at the same time delivering an experience unmatched in the enthusiast market. Acoustics were a primary design focus. With the dual vapor-chamber heatsinks and large cooling fan, the GTX 590 will barely be noticeable even under heavy load. The shroud and heatsink design were both made with the idea of easy removal and installation to clean or to install 3rd-party water cooling. Additionally, the GTX 590 is capable of crunching the latest games at the highest super-sampling anti-aliasing while giving you full 3D Vision Surround2 support, or you can split up to 4 monitors up – all off of a single card. The GTX 590 truly was designed from the ground up to compromise nothing while delivering the world’s fastest graphics card.

Power Up to Four Displays
Three dual-link DVI-I connectors and one mini-DisplayPort connector provide hook-ups for up to four independent displays.

GeForce Logo Lightning
Stylish backlit GeForce LED illuminates your graphic card.

Vapor Chamber Cooler
Dual vapor chamber coolers provide optimal thermal performance to each GPU for quieter gaming.

Check out the screenshots and three videos below for further info and demonstrations.