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NVIDIA Releases GeForce 344.16 WHQL Drivers

Well, that was fast! NVIDIA gave WHQL signing to the GeForce 344.16 Beta drivers it released earlier this week. The drivers still support just GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 graphics cards. The release notes document (PDF) is still not clear on exactly what these drivers bring to the table, over the recently released 344.11 WHQL, but we believe it could be an important bug-fix specific to NVIDIA's new GPUs.
DOWNLOAD: GeForce 344.16 WHQL

ASUSTOR Launches Live Demo Site for ADM 2.0

ASUSTOR Inc. , a leading innovator and provider of network storage solutions, has announced today the launch of a new live demo site for users to test ASUSTOR Data Master (ADM) 2.0, the latest version of ASUSTOR's in-house developed NAS operating system. The ADM 2.0 live demo will allow users to experience ASUSTOR's intuitive software first hand before making any purchasing decisions. ADM 2.0 features an array of new and innovative features along with all-new mobile apps, AiMaster and AiData, which will allow users to truly experience the convenience of cloud computing while on the go.

Razer's Crowdsourcing Approach is Back with Razer Comms

Razer, the world leader in high-performance gaming hardware, software and systems, announced today the first update to Razer Comms, its all-in-one communications solution for gamers, based on a public user poll. Following a large crowdsourcing initiative that drew feedback from more than 10,ooo users, Razer is introducing a new file transfer feature for Comms's burgeoning user base. At the same time, the company expanded the program's infrastructure with high-speed servers in eight different locations across the globe to reduce latency and improved the overall audio quality for the software, upgrading noise suppression, echo cancellation and voice volume normalization.

"We started working on Razer Comms in 2011 as a 10 percent side project of sorts, mostly during lunch breaks, for our own personal gaming use," said Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder, CEO and creative director. "Razer Comms now has a dedicated team of experienced software engineers at its helm. The number of patches and feature additions that we've implemented according to gamer feedback speak to this software's relevance. It is definitely here to stay? and evolve."

Chromium-Based Opera 15 Has Arrived

With the travel season just around the corner, the Scandinavian browser-maker Opera Software today released the final version of its all-new Opera for Windows and Mac, debuting with a fresh look and completely new features.

If you were to visit every website in the web for just one second each, you would need over 20 years of non-stop browsing to see them all. It's pretty much the same amount of time you would need to spend a week in every city with more than half a million habitants worldwide. You may never get to visit all of these cool places, but, with the new Opera browser, surfing through an ocean of inspiring web content is now easier than ever.

AMD Super Pi History To Be Rewritten, Courtesy The Stilt

AMD Super Pi History To Be Rewritten, Courtesy Of The Stilt

AMD's typically underwhelming Super PI performance, that was usually attributed to architectural limitations when it comes to the X87 instruction set, appears to have been nothing more than a blunder on the part of the developers responsible with BIOS development and optimization for AMD platforms. Finnish overclocker, The Stilt, figured out how to considerably improve performance by going through the BIOS developers guides. The exact same guides available to the BIOS R&D teams of motherboard vendors, a surprising fact considering a single man managed to outdo an entire industry. Here is the download link to the patch: click

The Stilt posted a video in which he showed a 4.1GHz A10-6800K completing SuperPI in 17 minutes and 34 seconds. The fastest 5GHz Richland SuperPI 32M is around 18 minutes and 15 seconds. A lot faster! For more information, check out the thread in the HWBot forums.

Futuremark Unleashes New 3DMark Benchmark Suite for Windows

Futuremark released the newest installment to its 3DMark franchise. It's the first 3DMark to lack a version name, making it a "reboot" of sorts. For starters, the new 3DMark is a collection of three independent benchmark suites, each with its own demos, game tests, physics tests, and combined tests, and scoring.

Among the three suits are "Ice Storm," designed for tablets, mobile devices, and entry-level desktops, which needs nothing more than a DirectX 9.0c GPU to get going; "Cloud Gate," for notebook and home desktops, which needs a DirectX 10 feature-level GPU; and "Fire Strike," an over-the-top suite designed for today's gaming desktops, which can make even the fastest graphics cards sweat (for example, our GTX 680 in the screenshots below). The physics tests of each of these can benefit from having multiple cores and advanced instruction sets. TechPowerUp is a premier launch partner, hosting downloads on behalf of Futuremark. Grab yours below.

DOWNLOAD: 3DMark (2013)

TechPowerUp GPU-Z 0.6.7 Released

TechPowerUp released version 0.6.7 of GPU-Z, the popular graphics subsystem information, monitoring, and diagnostic utility. The new release brings some feature-additions, support for more graphics processors, and stability improvements. To begin with, we made room in the GPU-Z window to display TMU (texture memory unit) count. Support for a large number of recently-launched GPUs, including Radeon HD 7870 "Tahiti LE," mobile GeForce 600 series MX, and from Quadro family, were added.

TechPowerUp GPU-Z 0.6.7 also brings a few UI enhancements. To begin with, GPU-Z remembers window position from its previous session, cutting you time for positioning it right for screenshots. Next up, when minimized, its tray icon does more than just show you the app is running. Its tooltip (visible when hovered), displays some important sensor data. A new "-tab" command line parameter allows proverclockers to script-launch GPU-Z showing a specific tab. Among the bugs fixed are one related to a crash occurring on CrossFire setups (a Catalyst-related bug), another crash occurring on NVIDIA setups when updating sensor data (GeForce driver-related bug), temperature reading on AMD "Llano" APUs is improved.

DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z 0.6.7, TechPowerUp GPU-Z 0.6.7 ASUS ROG Themed

The change-log follows.

NVIDIA Posts WHQL-Signed GeForce 310.70 Drivers

NVIDIA released the GeForce 310.70 WHQL software suite, which isn't much more than a WHQL-signed version of the GeForce 310.70 beta drivers posted a couple of weeks ago. Available for 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP, the drivers, much like the 310.70 beta, are a cumulative of several R310 beta releases from over the past two months. They add significant performance increases over the previous 306.97 WHQL drivers.

DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 310.70 WHQL for Windows 8/7/Vista 64-bit, Windows 8/7/Vista 32-bit, Windows XP 64-bit, Windows XP 32-bit

NVIDIA Posts GeForce 310.70 Drivers

NVIDIA announced GeForce 310.70 WHQL driver suite. The change-log of the new stable drivers are little more than a cumulative of all the R310 series beta drivers launched over the past two months, which include some massive game-specific performance increases, notably up to 38 percent for FarCry 3, up to 27 percent in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, up to 18 percent in Assassins Creed III, and up to 16 percent in Battlefield 3, for GTX 680. A large number of games receive similar performance updates, NVIDIA 3D Vision profile updates, and SLI profile updates. The drivers include NVIDIA PhysX system software version 9.12.1031, and HDMI audio driver 1.3.18.0. For GeForce 400 series and later, an OpenGL 4.3 ICD is included.

DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 310.70 WHQL for Windows Vista/7/8 64-bit | Windows Vista/7/8 32-bit |Windows XP 32-bit | Windows XP 64-bit

Update: Although NVIDIA made song-and-dance about this release, and although GeForce.com misleadingly lists these drivers as stable, when you perform a manual search (where it should list stable drivers only), we found out these are in fact not WHQL-signed.

The change-log follows.

New HD Graphics Drivers Bring Windows 8 support, Leading Edge Capabilities and More

Intel has made available the new HD Graphics driver version 15.28.7.2867, which includes support for Microsoft Windows 8, OpenGL 4.0 and Ultra HD video playback & display (4K resolution). Additionally, this driver improves the gaming fun delivered on dozens of recent PC game titles including Runic Games' Torchlight 2, Arkane Studios' Dishonored, and EA's Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes. With support for Ultra HD resolution, 3rd generation Intel Core based PCs can support playback of content at resolutions beyond 1080p up to 4096x2048 on Ultra HD displays. This driver supports both Windows* 7 and Windows* 8 and be downloaded from these links:

DOWNLOAD: Intel HD Graphics Driver for Windows 8 32-bit and 64-bit

Black Mesa Coming September 14

After eight years in limbo the complete fan remake of the original Half Life game using the Source engine will finally be released. The remake will come with all the bells and whistles you have come to expect from the Source engine, including new textures, lighting effects and yes even new sounds. The only thing missing from the remake will be the "Xen" section of the game. The project lead 'cman2k' said that they are going to be releasing it later this year. They are making the "Xen" section of the game into its own expansion with new dialog added. You can already download the soundtrack here and the rest of the remake on September 14.

Source: Shacknews

Gateway Debuts NE Series Notebook Line in Canada for Students, Families

Gateway today debuts its new Gateway NE Series line of notebooks in Canada. The new Gateway NE notebook line delivers the ultimate blend of essential performance, popular features and great extras for learning, playing, being productive and staying in touch. In addition, the new Gateway NE notebooks feature an all-new design that is sleek and stylish; its matte black finish is highlighted by brushed stainless steel accents.

"The new Gateway NE Series delivers what families and students are looking for today -- a combination of the most popular features and proven technologies," said Eric Ackerson, mobile product marketing for Gateway. "This new notebook line delivers the outstanding performance and capabilities needed for classes, homework, staying in touch and having fun. Students and families planning back-to-school purchases will definitely want to consider the Gateway NE Series."

USB 3.0 Promoter Group Announces Availability of USB Power Delivery Specification

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group, in conjunction with the USB 2.0 Promoter Group, today announced the completion of the USB Power Delivery specification, which enables increased power delivery through USB cables and connectors. The specification expands cable bus power capabilities in USB applications, supplying higher voltage and current to deliver power up to 100 watts over USB Power Delivery certified cables. It is capable of delivering higher power to charge notebook PCs and power external hard-disk drives, devices which previously did not receive adequate power from traditional 5V bus power.

The USB Power Delivery specification enables a switchable source of power without changing cable direction. Existing USB cables and connectors are also compatible with this specification and will coexist with the USB Battery Charging 1.2 specification as well as existing USB-bus powered applications.

Intel Releases HD Graphics Beta Driver for Windows 8 Release Preview

Intel released a new beta driver for processors with integrated graphics, for the Windows 8 Release Preview. Carrying the version number 15.28.0.64.2770, the driver supports Windows Display Driver Model Version 1.2 (WDDM 1.2), and enables features such as stereoscopic 3D, optimized screen rotation detection, and DirectX 11 (on select graphics controller models). It supports Intel HD Graphics 4000/3000/2500/2000 (Core "Sandy Bridge" and Core "Ivy Bridge"). Intel recommends use of its Windows 7 driver for reliability with OpenGL 3.3 applications.

DOWNLOAD: Intel HD Graphics Beta Driver for Windows 8 Release Preview

Raptorfire Cronus Adapter Gives Your Gaming Platform Controller Flexibility

Raptorfire Inc., a Miami, FL-based manufacturer of gaming device modification tools, will be present at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, CA from June 5th thru 7th. The booth will feature product demos as well as Q&A sessions with product developers.

Raptorfire will feature their new gaming controller modification chips for both Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The chips, which are installed into existing hand-held controls for both systems, improve and enhance controller functionality and game play for the user. Many of the features provided by these chips include rapid fire, "drop shot", fast reload, and other popular modifications that are central to most first-person shooting games.

Windows 8 Release Preview Out Later Today: Redacted Blog Post

A blogger with Microsoft's Driver Developer Blog, none other than Chuck Chan, Corporate Vice President of the Windows Development team, jumped the gun in revealing the availability of Windows 8 Release Preview. The now-redacted blog post was screen-grabbed by Neowin.net, and pins the availability of the latest iteration of Microsoft's next-generation operating system to later today (May 31).

Entitled "Windows Hardware and Driver Developer Blog," the blog post by Chan focused on areas of driver and system software development ahead of the operating system's market launch. Windows 8 Release Preview would serve as a fairly reliable platform for developers to test their system software on. A transcript of the blog post is quoted below. Download links to Windows 8 Release Preview, Windows 8 Driver Kit, and Visual Studio 2012 Professional can be found after the break.

Borderlands 2 Special Editions Detailed

Borderlands 2 is a big fall release for both 2K Games and Gearbox, timed to hit just when you might be getting sick of grabbing loot from a certain other game. And as a big fall release, it's getting a few special editions, because of course it is. Today 2K and Gearbox detailed the two special editions of the game and the goodies stashed within. The "Deluxe Vault Hunter's Collector's Edition" ($99.99) includes a Marcus bobblehead, a hardbound art book, sticker set, map of Pandora, digital comic download code, and bonus in-game DLC. If you want to go bigger, the "Ultimate Loot Chest Limited Edition ($149.99) includes those items, plus a scaled replica of a red loot chest, steel book case, creatures ID chart, lithograph postcard set, field notes from Sir Hammerlock, a cloth map of Pandora, and a numbered certificate of authenticity.

As previously reported on Shacknews, pre-orders of either special edition will get access to the "Borderlands 2 Premiere Club," which nets you downloads of the Gearbox Gun Pack for extra weapons, a Golden Key to open a chest with a rare item in the Golden Sanctuary, the Vault Hunter's Relic to boost abilities, and the already announced Mechromancer class. Pre-ordering the standard edition will get you the Mechromancer as well, and 2K again reiterated that it will be post-launch content.

Source: Shacknews

Portal 2 Perpetual Testing Initiative Begins May 8

Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Half-Life and Counter-Strike) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced the free Portal 2 DLC titled "Perpetual Testing Initiative" will be available for the PC and Mac on May 8th.

The "Perpetual Testing Initiative" allows players to easily create, share, and play Portal 2 puzzles. The Initiative comes with a simplified puzzle maker that allows that creation of mind-bending puzzles without ever leaving the game.

NVIDIA Adds Windows 8 to GeForce Driver Update Stack

AMD may have been the first to be out with drivers for its Radeon GPUs that are optimized for Windows 8 (WDDM 1.2), but NVIDIA went a step ahead of "special-releases" for its GeForce drivers, and added Windows 8 to its update stack, meaning that Windows 8 will feature in the list of operating systems to pick from, to download drivers. NVIDIA will constantly update these drivers along with mainline releases for Windows 7/Vista and XP. The latest such driver is 296.17. This driver supports GeForce and Quadro GPUs, and according to NVIDIA, is a quick-update over 295.73 WHQL, with the addition of performance optimization for Blacklight: Retribution.

Source: VR-Zone

Building Intelligent Systems With Windows 8 Embedded

Over the past year, Microsoft has been discussing the vast possibilities offered by the emergence of a new category within the traditional embedded market - intelligent systems.

A critical component of Microsoft's enterprise strategy, intelligent systems enable an unprecedented flow of data with the power to transform industries such as retail, manufacturing and medicine, by connecting devices where data is generated through employees and customers to back-end systems and services where it is translated into strategic insight to inform business decisions.

Steam Mobile App Available to All

The Steam application for iOS and Android devices, announced last week, is now available to all gamers around the world.

Launched last week in a closed beta, the Steam app allows gamers to chat with Steam friends, browse community groups and user profiles, view screenshots and user-generated content for their favorite games, read the latest gaming news, stay up to date on unbeatable Steam sales, and more.

Origin Expands Games Catalog, DRM-Free Evangelist Joins DRM Scheme

Origin is the fledgling online download account-based DRM service from Electronic Arts launched last June, that is home to Battlefield 3. To compete effectively against other similar services, the industry-leading Steam in particular, it must offer more content. To this end, Origin has added 11 publishers to its portfolio, reports CVG. These are Trion Worlds, Robot Entertainment, Freebird Games, Recoil Games, Autumn Games, 1C Company, inXile entertainment, Paradox Interactive, Core Learning Ltd, N3V Games and CD Projekt RED. That last one is interesting, because CD Projekt RED owns and runs www.gog.com, the website dedicated to selling DRM-free games.

MegaUpload.com Shuttered: One Month 'Black March' Media Boycott Slated For March 1st

Yesterday, the website of MegaUpload was shuttered for good by the US Department of Justice over copyright infringement aka 'piracy' and various criminal charges (see the domain seizure graphic). This was done regardless of the many non-infringing files that people were also using it for, so for anyone that had their only copy of a file on the site, this is very bad news. It's also arguably even worse news for the site's operators, as they have been arrested and face extradition from New Zealand to the USA for criminal trial, all their assets seized, including all the domain names and computing infrastructure to run them, plus many personal belongings of very high value, such as fancy cars like Maseratis and Rolls-Royces and huge 100 inch TVs to name just a few.

However, this story, isn't really about this and we have linked to reports below which cover this in great detail (hot beverage recommended). MegaUpload was one of the biggest file sharing sites out there and in fact, one of the biggest sites out there, period. This means, that an awful lot of people all around the world have very much noticed its sudden demise (especially those with their only copy of a file, because they didn't bother to back it up, tsk) and are met with that highly unwelcome Department of Justice graphic, instead. Hence, the chances of an almighty backlash against this shutdown not happening are slim to none. In fact, Anonymous have already hit the websites of the DOJ, RIAA, MPAA & HADOPI (French three strikes) and others in retaliation, with likely much more to come, which is good or bad, depending on one's point of view and how effective one believes it will be.

The Pirate Bay Shifts Away From Torrents, Replaces Them With DHT

Famous and very popular media search engine, The Pirate Bay, perpetually in the crosshairs of Big Media to shut it down, is to shift away from torrent files from next month and replace them with Distributed Hash Table (DHT) and Peer Exchange (PEX) technology reports ExtremeTech. They have actually been using these for quite a while now, as this is the technology underlying their Magnet links which have appeared next to the torrent links as an alternative way to download. They have done this, because torrent files are stored centrally on a web server, which makes them vulnerable to aggressive rights holders who want to take them down, while Magnet links are decentralized "trackerless", removing this vulnerability. Also, at the moment, it's impossible for anti-piracy outfits to tell how many files a user is sharing when using Magnet links, or what they are. From next month therefore, only Magnet links will be available. Note that Magnet links are compatible with various anonymizing services, for anonymous downloading, but there can be a significant performance impact on those services. In fact, TPB has been using Magnet links with torrents for some now too, but just did so quietly, without telling anyone.

Popular BitTorrent clients such as uTorrent already use Magnet links as easily as torrent files, so there won't be much difference to the user experience. The main difference, is that they can take a bit longer to get going, but the final download speed isn't any less, due to the cascading exponential pyramid nature of incoming peer connections guaranteed to max out any internet connection, when there are enough peers.

An Open Letter to the Gaming Community from CD Projekt RED

A month ago, we reported that CD Projekt RED, makers of The Witcher 2 had claimed that they could identify '100% of pirates' and had started an RIAA-style 'settlement letter' shakedown (extortion) tactic in Germany. Well, unsurprisingly, this hasn't gone down too well with their customers and the outcry has been loud and strong, especially on gog.com, where their forums have been full of posts from disgruntled customers. Well, it looks like the pressure has gotten too much for them and they have backpedalled furiously on this decision and issued an open letter, published on rockpapershotgun.com. In it, they state that they want people to continue to have faith in them and stressed how they're still totally against 'piracy' of their products and appealed for gamers to refrain from engaging in it:
In early December, an article was published about a law firm acting on behalf of CD Projekt RED, contacting individuals who had downloaded The Witcher 2 illegally and seeking financial compensation for copyright infringement. The news about our decision to combat piracy directly, instead of with DRM, spread quickly and with it came a number of concerns from the community. Repeatedly, gamers just like you have said that our methods might wrongly accuse people who have never violated our copyright and expressed serious concern about our actions.
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