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On In-Game Advertising, or the Invasion of Your $60 Space

This piece is intended to present a short thought-experiment in regards to the ever-increasing prevalence of ads in our lives. With their ubiquitous presence and the development of ever more complex ways of ad targeting and display technologies, ads have become a part of our lives. From million dollar spots in the Super Bowl towards content-locks happening unless we allow ads to be forced upon us, ads will eventually become more of an issue than they already are.

This issue in itself isn't much attractive at the outset - ads are naturally (and correctly) viewed as intrusions in our choice of content. I know how much I loathe using any ad-imbibed products. But the key point here isn't the fact that ads exist - they will always do so. It's the way they are delivered.
There are some situations where ads make sense, and are even a vital component of a product's marketing and monetization. Free-to play smartphone games and services such as Spotify or YouTube have to find ways of delivering content free of charge while achieving business sustainability. That "there are no free meals" is true for almost every aspect of our lives; but such a mantra is the lifeblood of companies. However, in some cases, ads are jarring, obtrusive, and can ruin an experience. Enter ads in computer games.

Oculus Slashes Rift Pricing

After introducing Rift at a less than amenable price-point, consumers with an eye for VR have been left with the slight hope of decreasing product prices over time (I know I have). Now, Oculus has announced a "slash" in the Oculus Rift pricing - though this isn't as much a straight-up price slash as it is a bundle deal. Case in point: Oculus appears to have stopped selling standalone Oculus Rifts.

Before, you had to pony up 600$ for the Oculus package, with an extra $199 cost for the Touch controller package. After Oculus has moved an estimated 200,000 units, apparently the company is willing to entice more users by now selling a complete Oculus Rift + Touch controllers package for the same price as a standalone Oculus Rift would go for - $600. The company also slashed the price of the standalone Touch controllers to $99 (from the $199 they launched at) and dropped the price of the extra Constellation cameras from $79 to $59.

NVIDIA Cuts Price of its GeForce GTX 1080 Graphics Card: $499

In the wake of its $699 GeForce GTX 1080 Ti enthusiast-segment graphics card launch, NVIDIA lowered the pricing of its previous GeForce "Pascal" flagship, the GeForce GTX 1080, which is now down to USD $499, from its launch price of $599 (custom-design baseline pricing). The GTX 1070 is unflinched for now, from its $349 baseline pricing. This launch should turn up the heat on AMD, with its HBM-powered Radeon RX Vega pricing, much in the same way the GTX 980 Ti steered pricing of the Radeon R9 Fury X.

The Power of Marketing - AMD's Ryzen Hype Train Hyperloops On

AMD did it again: building-up such a tremendous speed on its new products' hype train that the Ryzen 7 1700X, Ryzen 7 1800X, and Ryzen 7 1700 managed to jump straight to first, second, and fourth spots of Amazon's list of best-selling CPUs, respectively, dethroning even Intel's mighty i7 7700K. Granted, it isn't hard for the processors from one or the other manufacturer to quickly jump and wrangle about the spots on retailer's best seller lists - there Are only two manufacturers of consumer-grade, high-performance x86 CPUs. But keep in mind: this is a pre-order we're talking about, with nothing but leaks and marketing maneuvering for consumers to base their purchase on.

Pricing of Entire AMD Ryzen Lineup Revealed

AMD Wednesday launched its much awaited Ryzen performance desktop processor lineup with three top 8-core models, the Ryzen 7-1800X priced at USD $499, followed by the Ryzen 7-1700X at $399, and the Ryzen 7-1700 at $329. You're probably curious as to the rest of the lineup, especially the cheaper six-core SMT-enabled parts. Here they are. The Ryzen 5-1600X is designed to lure buyers away from the Core i5-7600K, and probably even the i7-7700K. This six-core chip with SMT, which enables 12 logical CPUs for your software to deal with, is endowed with the full 16 MB of L3 cache, and is not only unlocked, but also features the XFR (extended frequency range) technology. It's clocked at 3.60 GHz, with 4.00 GHz TurboCore. The Ryzen 5-1600X is priced at $259, and is sure to draw some attention.

Next up, is the Ryzen 5-1500. This 6-core/12-thread chip lacks XFR, but is still unlocked, ticks at 3.20 GHz with 3.50 GHz TurboCore, and features the full 16 MB of L3 cache. At $229, and with a TDP of 65W, this chip is sure to disrupt Intel's "Kaby Lake" Core i5 lineup. The quad-core Ryzen lineup is built by disabling one of the two 4-core CCX complexes on the 14 nm "Summit Ridge" silicon, and feature 8 MB of L3 cache. The lineup is led by the $199 Ryzen 5-1400X. This quad-core chip ticks at 3.50 GHz, with 3.90 GHz TurboCore, and features XFR and SMT, which enables 8 threads. Next up, is the quad-core Ryzen 5-1300, priced at $175, with the Core i3-7350K in its crosshairs, clocked at 3.20 GHz and 3.50 GHz Turbo. At the bottom of the pile is the Ryzen 3 quad-core lineup, which lack SMT. The Ryzen 3-1200X is priced at just $149, but you get 3.40 GHz clocks with 3.80 GHz Turbo, and XFR, and 8 MB of L3 cache. The cheapest Ryzen chip is just $129. The Ryzen 3-1200 lacks XFR, but gives you 3.20 GHz clocks with 3.50 GHz Turbo.

Source: OCaholic

TrendForce Reports Global DRAM Revenue Jumped 18.2% Sequentially in Q4 2016

Peak season demand and surging prices for DRAM products across different applications resulted in an 18.2% sequential growth in the global DRAM revenue for the final quarter of 2016, reports DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce.

Smartphone shipments peaked in the fourth quarter on account of the traditional busy season. Chinese smartphone brands continued to post strong sales while Apple benefitted from the release of iPhone 7. "Rising demand for mobile DRAM kept squeezing the industry's production capacity for PC DRAM," said Avril Wu, research director of DRAMeXchange. "Contract prices of PC DRAM modules increased by more than 30% sequentially on average in the fourth quarter due to insufficient market supply. Server DRAM lagged behind PC and mobile DRAM in terms of price hike during the same period, but it is expected to catch up in the first quarter of this year."

AMD's Ryzen R7 8-core, 16-thread Processor Prices Outed for Europe

A Spanish-based hardware site has just outed what they claim to be AMD's upcoming R7 Ryzen chips' pricing, and if true, these seem to spell a spectacular amount of value (if performance is at the rumored and expected range, naturally).

As it is, the prices cover only three models of AMD's overall Ryzen line-up, namely, the R7 1800X, the R7 1700X and the non-X, R7 1700 (all 8-core, 16-thread parts). According to the source, these chips will feature base clocks in the order of 4 GHz for the 1800X; 3.8 GHz for the 1700X; and 3.7 GHz for the 1700. Overall european pricing (including taxes) is set at €599.99 for the 1800X; €469.99 for the 1700X; and a "measly" €389.95 for the 1700. As always, you can expect US pricing to be even more competitive; perhaps a $349 pricing for the 1700 chip (which also carries a 65W TDP to boot).

From this, and considering all AMD Ryzen processors will be multiplier-unlocked, we can surmise that the 1700 should be quite a steal at this pricing. And this also bodes well for AMD's upcoming 6-core, 12-thread R5 processors - status-quo upsetting at an affordable price-point, anyone?
Source: elchapuzasinformatico, Reddit user pheder

AMD's Radeon Pro Duo Deeply Discounted on Expected Vega Onslaught

Inventory clearing is as much a part of business as breathing is part of life; as such, various retailers have apparently started to offer deep, deep discounts on AMD's past technology in the form of their Radeon Pro Duo - the once and still king of the hill in the red camp, where performance and technology is concerned.

But as the "out with the old, in with the new" adage still stands, retailers are now clearing inventory of their Radeon Pro Duo graphics cards, sometimes offering almost 50% off from the original launch price of $1499. Newegg, for example, has the card for $799 on both their North American and Asia Pacific online stores.

Ozone Announces the Strike X30 Mechanical Keyboard

The Ozone gaming brand has recently announced a new addition to their mechanical keyboard line, the Strike X30. The brand new Strike X30 is powered with the latest RGB backlit technology which unlocks customizable lighting effects on each key, with 16.8 million colors and variety of lighting effects. For a more advanced configuration Ozone has included ten on the fly customizable color maps, and G-mode function to provide full customization.

"We are very pleased with the release of the Strike X30. We wanted to create a keyboard that includes all the major features required by the current gamers and at the same time make it affordable for everyone to enjoy it" says Rafael Borrego, Ozone's product engineer.

Cooler Master Unveils the MasterWatt Maker MIJ 1200 W Power Supply

At CES 2017, Cooler Master unveiled a limited edition of their MasterWatt line of power supply units: the MasterWatt Author ME 1200 W. As the name implies, this is a 1200 W power supply, rated at 80 Plus Titanium efficiency levels (which means >94% energy efficiency), though Cooler Master claims this PSU is able to achieve >95% efficiency levels. Built exclusively with Murata components, Cooler Master are presenting this one as the best power supply they've ever made, and they're therefore pitting it as a special, limited edition PSU, of which only a few thousand samples will be produced and sold: at an over $1000 price-tag.

Dell Unveils 32", 8K UltraSharp Monitor

At CES 2017, Dell has unveiled yet another addition to their monitor product line, and this one is drool worthy: an 8K, 32" UltraSharp monitor, with an insanely high resolution of 7,680 x 4,320 at 60Hz. Labeled as the world's first 32-inch 8K resolution display with Dell PremierColor, the UP3218K offers 1.07 billion colors and packs in more than 33 million pixels - four times as many as a 4K display and 16 times more than Full HD. That means it offers a PPI rating of 280 - which translates into "very high" settings for a desktop screen.

SSD Pricing to Surge on the Back of NAND Shortages - Stock Your SSD Needs

Business. Business never changes. Whether you're for Keynes or Hayek, some truths just can't be escaped: and the one based on the market tending to equilibrium between the forces of supply and demand is oft times almost akin to a law of physics - other times, not so much. This time, it appears as if the market forces are steering NAND prices through the roof. The causes? Varied, though you probably carry one of them in your pocket most of the time. We earlier reported surging prices in the DRAM market, spurred by the Note 7 fiasco and increased production of that smartphone's competitors (and Samsung's own products) to fill the gaping hole left by its forcible market removal. But not only by DRAM are smartphones powered - they also make use of NAND flash.

AMD's RX 470 may see price-cut in wake of NVIDIA's GTX 1050 Ti Launch

According to TweakTown, AMD may be preparing to bring the fight to the as-of-yet unannounced GTX 1050 Ti with a $10 price-drop on their 1080p price-performance king RX 470 from the current $179, bringing the price down to $169. NVIDIA is purportedly planning to bring the GTX 1050 Ti to market at the $149 price point, with a rated TDP of only 75 W and apparently no need for additional power connectors (at least on reference designs). However, faced with a measly $20 difference from the supposedly higher-performing RX 470 - which could sometimes be up to 30% faster - the battle for the $150 bracket might prove to be an uphill battle for the green camp.

Add to that the latest updates unveiled by Oculus on Oculus Connect 3, with the RX 470 being stamped with the VR-ready approval, as well as the greater availability and lower price of FreeSync monitors (sometimes with as much as four times the number of FreeSync offers versus G-Sync ones), and it really does seem that AMD is poised to offer the best value in its price bracket. Of course, things get muddier if you take into account the current pricing landscape for graphics cards from either manufacturer (where most models are selling upwards of their MSRP).

NVIDIA Cuts GeForce GTX TITAN-Z Price by 37 Percent, But for OEMs Only

With a price-tag of US $2,999, the GeForce GTX TITAN-Z from NVIDIA is the most expensive consumer graphics card in recent times. You needn't be a Vulcan to tell that it's overpriced by a lot, and that NVIDIA is selling these cards at a gargantuan margin. In a bid to see more system builders sell the card to their high-paying customers, NVIDIA cut prices of the card, by as much as 37 percent. An OEM partner will now be able to source a GTX TITAN-Z from NVIDIA for as less as $1,830. What they do with the cards - such as charging the full $2,999 for the option, is their business. DIY users will still have to cough up three grand for one of these illogical cards.

Source: Sweclockers

Graphics Card Shipments to Drop Drastically in Q2 2014

Graphics card vendors are bracing for a brutal spell for Q2, 2014, in which they expect sales to sequentially drop by 30 to 40 percent. They are attributing this to swelling inventories (unsold graphics cards) lower down the supply chain. The drop in graphics card sales, for the first time, is being attributed to a drop in the demand for GPUs by crypto-currency miners, who are either moving on to more energy-efficient mining technologies, such as ASICs, or quitting the business, following the drop in value of various major crypto-currencies, such as Bitcoin. These miners end up selling high-end graphics cards at attractive prices on marketspace websites such as Ebay, affecting brand-new high-end graphics card sales. Graphics card vendors (AIB and AIC partners), have asked GPU manufacturers AMD and NVIDIA, to help them cut prices to boost sales, however, both have cut down supplies, to deal with the situation, instead. Swelling inventories often translate into price-cuts for the end users, so be on the look out.

Source: DigiTimes

Intel Lowers Prices of Multiple Core and Celeron Processors

The last Sunday of 2013 has seen Intel do a little price slashing, taking between 4% and 26% off the price tag of 31 processors, mostly mobile models. The only desktop chips that got a cut (between 9% and 11%) were three low-power Haswell-based chips, namely the Core i7-4770R, i5-4670R and i5-4570R.

On the mobile front we have lower prices for a trio of high-end quad-cores (i7-4960HQ/5% cut, i7-4950HQ/5% cut, i7-4850HQ/7% cut) as well as for a multitude of Celeron CPUs based on the Ivy Bridge, Haswell and Bay Trail architectures. The full list of price cuts is available in the table below.

NVIDIA to Cut Pricing of GeForce GTX 780 and GTX 770 Post GTX 780 Ti

In addition to launching the GeForce GTX 780 Ti, NVIDIA could adjust prices of two of its key high-end SKUs to make them competitive with AMD's lineup. Prices of the GeForce GTX 780, which is currently priced at $649.99, and retails for as low as $620, could be slashed down to $499.99. The $399 GeForce GTX 770, which is losing ground to the Radeon R9 280X, which is $100 cheaper than it, could see its price slashed down to $329.99. The GeForce GTX 780 Ti could become NVIDIA's fastest single-GPU product, faster than even the GTX TITAN, and could occupy a $699.99 price-point. We're not sure if NVIDIA will continue to manufacture GTX TITAN. In addition, buyers of GTX 780 and GTX 770 will receive two things, a game bundle and a discount coupon for NVIDIA Shield. The bundle includes Batman: Arkham Origins, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, and Splinter Cell: Blacklist. The discount coupon for NVIDIA Shield will shave a cool $100 off its $299.99 price.

Sharkoon Launches the Rush Core Gaming Headset

Sharkoon expands its entry level PC headset series with a low-priced, closed design, gaming stereo headset. The new Sharkoon Rush Core stereo headset comes in a black/white color scheme and it's aimed at price-conscious gamers.

Due to the enclosed ear cup design ambient noise is reduced. The built-in speakers have a diameter of 40 mm and a maximum power of 150 milliwatts. The headband and earpieces are padded to ensure a comfortable fit during wear. In addition, it also features a swiveling, flexible microphone, which can be pivoted into the desired speaking position. The volume control is integrated into the 250 centimeter long cable and offers the possibility to completely mute the microphone. It is connected by means of two 3.5 mm stereo jacks, for the headset and microphone, respectively. The headset is ideal for games as well as other voice and multimedia applications. A transport bag is also included with the headset.

SteelSeries Introduces The Rival Optical Gaming Mouse

SteelSeries, the leading global innovator of gaming peripherals, today introduced the Rival Optical Gaming Mouse. The Rival delivers unparalleled technology through an advanced optical sensor for deadly precision, along with our new proprietary switches that provide speed, consistency and durability across a 30 million-click lifespan. Rival's ergonomic right-hand design features an advanced anti-sweat coating and rubber side grips to deliver optimal texture, feel, and comfort. On top of all this great technology, the Rival offers multiple levels of customization ranging from 16.8 million color illumination options, to SteelSeries ExactTech settings all of which are powered by the new SteelSeries Engine 3 software.

"We've named our newest optical gaming mouse the Rival, because we believe that it meets and surpasses every other optical mouse in its price bracket on the market," said Bruce Hawver, SteelSeries CEO. "The new ergonomic shape and state of the art hardware deliver unmatched levels of precision, comfort and durability. Combining this level of hardware with new SteelSeries Engine 3 software, users will find an entirely new customization experience that redefines how a mouse can be configured."

Scythe Launches Innovative New Fan - Grand Flex 120

Japanese CPU cooler and case fan expert Scythe proudly presents its new top-notch Grand Flex 120 mm fan series. These new axial fans surprise with the aggressive design and are set to be the successor of the incredibly successful S-FLEX series, taking it to the next level in terms of design and performance.

"Sealed Precision FDB" was newly developed from scratch as the core for its Grand Flex 120 mm series. This bearing is based on the "Fluid Dynamic Bearing" technology that has served Scythe well for several popular high-end series in the past and is now being used as a very solid and reliable foundation for the new design. Scythe's Fluid Dynamic Bearing utilizes lubricantoil between the shaft and the bearing, resulting in excellent lubrication and silent operation. The used high-grade lubricant oil can withstand high temperatures of up to 250 degree Celsius, and are additionally of special interest for industrial use. Grand Flex 120 case fans are made for long time silent operation and are rated with MTTF (Mean Time To Failure) of 120.000 hours (at 25 degree Celsius).

On the Clock with Parvum Systems

The modding and custom water cooling scene has never been a particularly stable or reliable medium to build a business in and around of, with its intrinsically superfluous character making it a particularly risky bet for a start-up of any sort, and indeed a losing bet for very many of those who did bite the bullet, invested the money and delivered the goods, but failed to capitalize on what can best be described as a frivolous demand. A multitude of brands with a wide variety of products have come and gone, while some of those still on the scene are slowly fading into irrelevance, all of whom failed to correctly grasp the nature of that demand.

Thankfully, all is not gloom, this is a vibrant scene I'm talking about, with many household names that have been around for many many years, and some quite new ones also, doing very well and in some instances thriving. All of whom brought and bring to market products that not only meet existing demand, but primarily come to generate it. While generally a low volume market, the sheer variety of products is quite overwhelming, from completely over the top contraptions such as the Aqua Computer GIGANT radiators or the obscenely expensive, functional artwork boasting the Murderbox branding, to grotesquely designed and executed kitsch that will remain unnamed, in-between you'll find anything meeting every taste or budget. And from this busy, vibrant and idiosyncratic scene a new player by the name or Parvum Systems is looking to carve a piece for itself.

Buffalo Ships High Capacity DriveStation DDR USB Hard Drive

Buffalo Technology, a global leader in the design, development and manufacturing of wired and wireless networking and network and direct attached storage solutions, today announced that its DriveStation DDR, a high performance external USB 3.0 hard drive with 1 GB DDR3 RAM cache for accelerated transfer speeds, is available for purchase today at select retail partners. Ideal for a variety of users including tech enthusiasts, digital photographers and videographers and media buffs, DriveStation DDR offers extremely fast file transfers, comparable to SSD, with the high capacity and value of a traditional external HDD device.

The DriveStation DDR utilizes Buffalo's MegaCache Accelerator, a 1 GB DDR3 RAM cache system, to greatly accelerate file transfer rates, notably outperforming other USB 3.0 hard drives. Compared to a standard USB 3.0 hard drive, the 1 GB DRAM cache of the MegaCache system efficiently caches data as it's transferred to automatically boost performance for transfer speeds up to 408 MB/s, 2.3x faster than USB 3.0 hard drives and more than 10x faster than USB 2.0.

DRAM Contract Price Falls Below US$16 Due to Weak Demand

According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, PC-ODM shipment figures indicate this year's peak shipment period for PCs has passed. Notebook shipments have shown a downtrend in October, indication that DRAM demand is slipping. As 4 GB modules are now the mainstream specification, price decline was more significant than for the 2 GB modules; average 4 GB price fell by 1.54% to US$16, while the lowest price broke the US$16 mark, arriving at US$15.75, amounting to a mere US$0.83 for 2 Gb chips - nearly the same as spot price. 2 GB module price, on the other hand, stayed the same at US$9.25. As module prices fall to such lows, DRAM suppliers are strategically focusing on high-density 4GB module shipments in hopes of stimulating sales due to content per unit increases.

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