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Sunday August 20, 2017

Introducing Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition

Microsoft has officially unveiled the Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition, a limited edition that will feature a custom design with the words "Project Scorpio" printed on the console and the controller, alongside a sophisticated and dynamic graphic pattern across the exterior. It’s supposedly available for pre-order now, yet none of the links appear to be working...

Today we unveiled the Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition designed for fans who want to be the first to experience the world’s most powerful console – and it’s available for pre-order now for $499 USD until supplies run out. When we announced Project Scorpio last year, we were overwhelmed by the excitement from our fans. And although we revealed Project Scorpio as Xbox One X at E3 earlier this year, the codename will live on in the Scorpio Engine that powers the console, as well as in this limited-edition console. We designed the Project Scorpio Edition for fans to celebrate both our heritage and the power and precision that we are bringing into our future.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 3:40 PM (CDT)

Forza Motorsport 7 Delivers the Ultimate PC Racing Experience

That’s what Turn 10 and Microsoft alleges, having discussed the game’s PC specifications during gamescom. While the game looks (and presumably plays) great, they’ve tweaked the title so less intensive hardware is required to run it: the minimum CPU requirement has been reduced to an i5-750, meaning that budget systems, including certain Ultrabooks, can play the game. Options include benchmark mode, 21:9 display support, 8x MSAA, 16x anisotropic filtering, and an unlocked framerate.

...we’ve built Forza Motorsport 7 from the ground up to be the ultimate PC racing game, with native 4K resolution and unlocked framerate on high-end Windows 10 PCs, Xbox Play Anywhere and cross-play functionality, as well as support for multiple monitors, 21:9 displays and numerous peripherals. Plus, with more than 700 cars and 30 tracks, dynamic skies and weather, and an all-new campaign inspired by real-world racing, we’re excited to see PC gamers live their motorsport fantasies this holiday and join our community of more than five million monthly active players.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 3:25 PM (CDT)

Sorry, Amazon Is Canceling Your "Free" Echo Dot

The Echo Dot was free on Amazon for a brief moment, but naturally, it was too good to be true: the retailer is canceling any and all zero-cost orders for the tiny smart speaker. It’s not a total loss, though, as anyone who tried to get a free Dot gets $5 promotional credit. I think it’s the company that should be paying customers for putting these spy devices into their homes...

If you thought that free Echo Dot was too good to be true... well, you were right. Amazon is cancelling zero-cost orders for the tiny smart speaker, informing buyers that a "technical error" was responsible for the surprise Audible discount. You won't walk away empty-handed if you seized the opportunity, mind you. Amazon is giving would-be buyers a $5 promotional credit, so you might still get a break on the Dot if that's what you were after. Just don't expect to see a repeat slip-up any time soon.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 3:00 PM (CDT)

Assassin’s Creed Origins: Gamescom 2017 Cinematic Trailer

Xbox @ gamescom is currently underway, and Microsoft has started things off with a cinematic CG trailer for the upcoming Assassin's Creed: Origins. While it’s pretty, I would have preferred to see some new gameplay running off of the Xbox One X. Those of you who want to check out the livestream can watch it here.
Discussion Posted by Megalith 2:40 PM (CDT)

Halo Fan Builds His Very Own Warthog

It took him about seven years, but Halo fanatic Bryant Havercamp has reached the final stages of his Warthog build: he began the project with just a dune buggy and some Chevy parts, but after lots of custom bodywork, many of which was 3D printed, an authentic version of the classic FPS vehicle was finally realized. More information can be found in this reddit thread and imgur album.
Discussion Posted by Megalith 1:40 PM (CDT)

Hollywood, Apple Said to Mull Rental Plan, Defying Theaters

Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, and other major movie studios are continuing their talks with Apple and Comcast about introducing premium digital rentals for new movies only a few weeks after their theatrical debut. We’ve heard a little bit about this before, but the latest reports suggest that interested parties will move forward with or without the theater industry’s blessing. $30 to $50 for a movie sounds pretty crazy, though.

The leading Hollywood studios, except for Walt Disney Co., are eager to introduce a new product to make up for declining sales of DVDs and other home entertainment in the age of Netflix. They have discussed sharing a split of the revenue from premium video on demand, or PVOD, with the cinema chains if they give their blessing to the concept. But the exhibitors have sought a long-term commitment of as much as 10 years for that revenue split, which the studios have rejected, the people said.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 1:05 PM (CDT)

Someone Recreated Doom 2 Using the Diablo 2 Engine

Even if the thought of playing Doom 2 as an isometric ARPG never crossed your mind, I suppose the author of "Doomiablo" deserves at least some praise for his ingenuity: as you could presume, it’s a mod that turns one of id’s finest into one of Blizzard’s finest. While the level design may be Diablo, the sound and sprites are certainly Doom.

It's the work of YouTuber DolloM, who has dubbed the mash-up Doomiablo. It's definitely a work in progress, and they're currently seeking feedback in the YouTube comments section. It'll be interesting to see if this can someday evolve from mere novelty into a game that'd be fun to play, but for the time being it's fun to see how flexible the ye olde Diablo 2 engine is capable of being.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 11:55 AM (CDT)

Sony "Won't Allow" Ark: Survival Evolved PS4-Xbox One Cross-Play

Jeremy Stieglitz, lead designer, programmer, and co-creative director of Ark: Survival, has revealed that cross-play between PS4 and Xbox One is working internally, but Sony is not letting it happen. This follows the company’s decision to block cross-platform play in Minecraft and Rocket League.

At E3, PlayStation executive Jim Ryan said one reason why Sony isn't allowing cross-play between PS4 and Xbox One is because the company is concerned about the safety of its users. If Sony allowed PSN to connect to an outside network like Xbox Live, Sony would not be able to fully control the experience. This could potentially put its users, in particular children, at risk, Ryan said.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 11:30 AM (CDT)

Rumored Pricing for Intel Coffee Lake CPUs

All six of Intel’s upcoming 8th-gen Coffee Lake processors have appeared at PC Canada with pricing attached: the listings suggest that the chips will range from $484.44 CAD ($378.63) for the i7-8700K down to $152.51 CAD ($119.20) for the i3-8100.

  • INTEL BOXED 8TH GEN INTEL I7-8700K PROCESSOR [BX80684I78700K]: $484.44 CAD ($378.63)
  • INTEL BOXED 8TH GEN INTEL I7-8700 PROCESSOR [BX80684I78700]: $407.73 CAD ($318.68)
  • INTEL BOXED 8TH GEN INTEL I5-8600K PROCESSOR [BX80684I58600K]: $338.00 CAD ($264.18)
  • INTEL BOXED 8TH GEN INTEL I5-8400 PROCESSOR [BX80684I58400]: $237.58 CAD ($185.69)
  • INTEL BOXED 8TH GEN INTEL I3-8350K PROCESSOR [BX80684I38350K]: $233.41 CAD ($182.43)
  • INTEL BOXED 8TH GEN INTEL I3-8100 PROCESSOR [BX80684I38100]: $152.51 CAD ($119.20)

Discussion Posted by Megalith 10:40 AM (CDT)

Elon Musk Leads 116 Experts Calling for Outright Ban on Killer Robots

A group of 116 robotics and artificial intelligence specialists are calling on the United Nations to ban the development and use of killer robots: the founders, Tesla’s Elon Musk and Google’s Mustafa Suleyman, have already penned a letter warning of the impending arms race, which will usher in the "third revolution in warfare" after gunpowder and nuclear arms.

The founders wrote: "Once developed, lethal autonomous weapons will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend. These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways. "We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close."

Discussion Posted by Megalith 10:20 AM (CDT)

Xbox One S Minecraft Limited Edition Leaks Ahead of Gamescon

Microsoft will be releasing a new limited-edition Xbox One S that looks like it came straight out of Minecraft. According to the leaked video, you’ll be able to order the customized console through the game’s official site, which will probably go live immediately after its announcement during Gamescon.

While the star of today’s Xbox GamesCon announcement is expected to the Xbox One X, it seems Microsoft is also working on a little something for their more mainstream console. reports that Microsoft briefly posted a video promoting a new Xbox One S Minecraft Limited Edition console on the official Minecraft Facebook page, removing it after 30 minutes.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 9:50 AM (CDT)

BioWare Officially Drops Support for Mass Effect: Andromeda's Single-Player

As rumored, Mass Effect: Andromeda will not be getting any additional patches for single-player or in-game story content. Instead, the Pathfinder’s journey will be expanded upon through multiplayer missions and comics/novels.

Our last update, 1.10, was the final update for Mass Effect: Andromeda. There are no planned future patches for single-player or in-game story content. In the coming weeks, our multiplayer team will provide details of their ongoing support and upcoming content, including new multiplayer missions, character kits, and what’s in store for N7 Day. We appreciate all the millions of people who came with us to the Andromeda galaxy. We hope to see you again in the Mass Effect universe.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 9:30 AM (CDT)
Saturday August 19, 2017

Intel Atom C3000 Product Briefing

Intel has spilled the beans on its latest Atom processor: the C3000 is the company’s third generation system-on-a-chip based CPU manufactured on their optimized 14nm process technology. Unlike their older brethren, these Atoms will primarily live in network and enterprise storage products instead of home devices (e.g., Ultrabooks and tablets). Intel is claiming a 4x storage performance improvement, up to 3.4x network performance improvement, and up to 2.3x compute performance improvement.

Available in a range of configurations from 2 core to 16 core and up to 256 GB DDR4 2400 MHz ECC (SODIMM, UDIMM, or RDIMM) of addressable memory, this system-on-a-chip (SoC) has an integrated platform controller hub (PCH), integrated I/O, up to four integrated 10 Gigabit Intelآ® Ethernet adapters, and a thermal design point (TDP) of 8.5 watts to 32 watts. It can run the same software and instruction sets as Intelآ® Xeonآ® processors to provide software consistency and deployability from the data center to the network edge. It also provides advanced server-class capabilities.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 4:00 PM (CDT)

Valve Is Limiting Bulk Requests for Steam Keys Due to Shady Developers

There’s been a bit of back and forth on this since the original story, but from what I can understand, Valve is paying a lot more attention to bulk key requests these days due to manipulation of their store by "developers" who are uploading content just to make a quick buck: case in point is the farming of trading cards, where dishonest individuals are requesting tons of Steam keys, only to sell them on other sites to create bot accounts that can produce cards sold for lots of profit. This post explains how the $100 Steam Direct fee could result in $9000 earned.

While our changes did impact the economics of trading card farming for new products coming to Steam, there are still a lot of games and game-shaped objects using Steam keys as a way to manipulate Steam systems. As a result, we're trying to look more closely at extreme examples of products on Steam that don't seem to be providing actual value as playable games-for instance, when a game has sold 100 units, has mostly negative reviews, but requests 500,000 Steam keys. We're not interested in supporting trading card farming or bot networks at the expense of being able to provide value and service for players.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 3:25 PM (CDT)

Why PS4 Downloads Are So Slow

Here is a long-winded, technical post on why it takes so long to download something on the PlayStation 4: the author ran a number of experiments and ultimately determined that the console does a bad job of implementing speed limits based on running applications and other factors. The software is tasked with ensuring that appropriate bandwidth is allotted for certain activities, such as online multiplayer games, yet it can barely determine whether a title is network dependent and sets limits due to programs that are merely running in the background.

The biggest problem is that the limits get applied based just on what games/applications are currently running. That's just insane; what matters should be which games/applications someone is currently using. Especially in a console UI, it's a totally reasonable expectation that the foreground application gets priority. If I've got the download progress bar in the foreground, the system had damn well give that download priority. Not some application that was started a month ago, and hasn't been used since. Applying these limits in rest mode with suspended apps is beyond insane.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 2:45 PM (CDT)

Drone-Maker Arms Quadcopter with Sniper Rifle, Grenade Launcher

Duke Robotics Inc. of Gulf Breeze, Florida, is selling a drone outfitted with an assortment of powerful armaments to military forces: it’s called the TIKAD, and the quadcopter can be equipped with an SR-25 marksman rifle made by Knight’s Armament Co.; an M321A grenade launcher; and an M4 rifle made by Colt Defense and FN America.

Governments are spending more than ever before on Defense budgets today, which provides an enormous incentive to solve problems that troops currently face. TIKAD, the Future Soldier, saves lives by replacing boots on the ground. Duke Robotics will work with select government clients around the globe with the goal to reduce the number of deployed troops as well as empower troops with immediate air-power deployment, improving prospects of mission success, minimizing battlefield injuries, loss of life to friendly troops and saving innocent civilians.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 1:50 PM (CDT)

Microsoft: "Bing Is Bigger Than You Think"

Microsoft has presented new data showing that Bing’s US market share is wildly underestimated: the search engine supposedly powers 33 percent of all Internet searches (5 billion searchers per month) in the States. Bing is also decently popular in countries such as the UK (25 percent), Taiwan (24 percent), and Hong Kong and France (19 percent).

Worldwide, Bing only has about 9 percent usage share, which is pretty much exactly as big as I thought. That amounts to 12 billion monthly searches (again, a measure of usage, but I promise to stop harping on this). Bing likewise has only 9 percent usage share in Europe. And under 5 percent market share in Latin America and Asia Pacific. By this point, you’re probably wondering what they’re bragging about exactly.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 1:05 PM (CDT)

Star Wars Battlefront II: Leaked Promo Reveals First Footage of Space Battles

Here’s a sneak peek at what sort of space battles await us when Battlefront II lands in November: the footage suggests that players will be able to pilot a number of staples from the franchise, such as X-Wings and Jedi Starfighters. Did we ever see Yoda piloting anything in the movies? I honestly can’t remember.

...aerial battles will be set in both deep space and along the surface of many planets. Unfortunately, this isn't actual gameplay footage, but rather simply in-engine. Still, it should capture the general look of Battlefront 2's dogfighting. It also has Yoda unleashing his hidden power as a badass fighter pilot. Space battles are being developed by Criterion, the Burnout developer that put together Battlefront's Rogue One VR mission - something our Martin Robinson called "the best demo for VR yet."

Discussion Posted by Megalith 12:20 PM (CDT)

Foxconn Could Be Getting $3 Billion in Incentives for Wisconsin Factory

While the plan still requires committee approval, the majority of Wisconsin lawmakers have voted for a bill that paves the way for a $3 billion incentives package for a proposed liquid-crystal display plant by Foxconn. The full amount will only be awarded if the company manages to create 13,000 jobs, but regardless of this goal, Foxconn will still get $1.35 billion for building the plant. Some estimate that taxpayers could end up paying $500,000 worth of incentives per job.

The 20-million-square-foot LCD plant would initially employ 3,000 people, but Walker and Foxconn said the company could ultimately employ 13,000 at the site. "We look forward to continuing to work with them to transform Wisconsin's economy and make it a center of worldwide high-tech manufacturing," Foxconn said in a statement, referring to the legislature. Proponents have touted the project's investment potential and job creation, including an expected 22,000 ancillary and 10,000 construction jobs.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 12:05 PM (CDT)

Tesla Model S versus Brick Wall: Drunk Joyride Ends in Crash

Having stolen his father’s Model S and engaging in a police chase, one Netherlands teen inadvertently crash tested the vehicle’s front crumple zone after he drove into a house and destroyed a large portion of its brick walling. Fortunately, no one was in the room when the car went through.

From an engineering standpoint, it again looks like a good example of the Model S’ large crumple at the front, thanks to the lack of an engine, reducing the force of the impact on the cabin. The Model S is a heavy car at ~4,500 to ~5,000 lbs depending on the configuration and therefore, it was fairly certain that it was going to go through that wall -- especially if they were indeed going at over 90 mph (~150 km/h). But despite the severity of the impact, the damages appear to be limited to the crumple zone and windshield.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 11:40 AM (CDT)

Major Design Changes Are Coming to StarCraft II

Blizzard has detailed its upcoming design patch for StarCraft II, which is expected to bring significant changes to multiplayer: the majority of tweaks involve specific units, such as MULEs, which can now harvest Vespene gas but bring in fewer minerals, while the Raven gains new abilities such as Repair Drone, which allows it to heal nearby units. Resources are also being retuned in Legacy of the Void to discourage overly defensive playstyles.

Last year we released Patch 3.8 which, unlike smaller balance patches released throughout the year, was a larger set of changes aimed at improving multiplayer StarCraft II through various design changes. This year we are embarking on another design patch and are excited to share with you our initial list of changes! This time around our general focus is to address underused units and abilities while also trying to reduce sudden game ending moments.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 11:20 AM (CDT)

First XSPC RayStorm Neo Test Mount on Threadripper

I ran into some issues with the prototype RayStorm kit yesterday when we went to mount the block on the Threadripper. Some of the threads on the hardware were beat up and would not install. We let XSPC know so that it can follow up. I am going to change around a bit of hardware here and use some of my own, which should be fine however. This is a quick pic of the first test mount. Used a lot of TIM to see how it was going to flow. CPU was never powered on, so no heat was applied. Looks to be an excellent mate considering the mount and the lack of heat. We will get it running this morning and follow up this afternoon hopefully.
I think my monthly budget for TIM is going to have to be increased.... Update: Up and running on a Gigabyte X399 Aorus Gaming 7 motherboard with 32GB of Corsair RAM. The directions of flow on the tubes is not correct. We do have correct flow on the block.
FYI, this is not the mounting posts or hardware supplied by XSPC with the prototype kit. Will follow that up with a video explanation. Ongoing Discussion Posted by Kyle 10:58 AM (CDT)

Android O Is Touching Down to Earth with the Total Solar Eclipse

Google has announced that the next major version of Android will be demonstrated on August 21, the same day of the total solar eclipse. Based on the filename for a video the company recently posted via Google+, the next release of Android will be given the name "Oreo."

On August 21st, a solar eclipse will sweep across the entire United States for the first time since 1918. Android is helping you experience this historic natural phenomenon so you can learn more about the eclipse and count down to the big day -- when you’ll meet the next release of Android and all of its super (sweet) new powers, revealed via livestream from New York City at 2:40PM ET.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 10:30 AM (CDT)

Xbox One X "Project Scorpio Edition" Leaked

Microsoft is planning a limited-edition Xbox One X console for prospective buyers who really liked the "Project Scorpio" codename and wanted it to stay. Unfortunately, it looks practically identical to the regular edition, aside from a logo stamp. The packaging (posted by Evan Blass) may be a neat bonus for fans of the original Xbox design, however.
Discussion Posted by Megalith 9:50 AM (CDT)

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