Razer made quite a splash at this year’s CES when it unveiled its Blade Stealth Ultrabook gaming notebook, so it’s perhaps no surprise that it has not wasted time in making the device available for purchase. You can now buy the slimline, portable gaming machine for as little as $1,000, with orders expected to begin shipping by the end of the month.
It’s certainly worth considering if you’re in the market for a new, lightweight laptop with a lot of oomf. At just 2.75 pounds, this is far lighter than your average gaming Ultrabook and it packs a Core i7-CPU too, so it is very capable when it comes to general computing.
It also has 8GB of LPDDR3 memory and up to 512GB of M.2 SSD storage, though you can pick a 256 or 128GB model for a slightly reduced price tag. There are also options for the display, with choices including a QHD 2,560 x 1,440 display, or a higher-end UHD 3,840 x 2,160 alternative.
The only potential issue here for a gaming laptop is that this system uses Intel 520 HD graphics. The gamers among us are likely turning their noses up and looking away, but hold fire. Razer’s idea with the Blade Stealth is that it’s powerful, but lightweight on the move, and when you fancy doing some gaming you sit down next to your Razer Core and off you go.
The Razer Core is a separate product, which admittedly isn’t available yet, but it will be soon. What the Core does is let you plug in an external graphics card (inside the Core enclosure) into your Blade Stealth using the USB Type-C port, which is capable of monstrous bandwidth. That lets you offload a 3D rendering to the external hardware, keeping the Ultrabook free from the power drain of whatever GPU you choose to put in there, as well as cutting back on weight and size.
The only downside of course is that if you do buy yourself a Blade Stealth it won’t be that gaming-capable when released on January 29. It will be in the future, though, if you pick up a desktop GPU and a Core. Whether this is a success will really depend on the price of that external enclosure.
On its website, Corsair announced that it would be releasing today a new pair of water blocks capable of converting any Corsair Hyrdro Series CPU cooler into a convenient GPU cooler, supporting Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 980 Ti, Titan X, GTX 980, and GTX 970, among others.
Dubbed the HG10 N980 and HG10 N970, these new cooling brackets can work in conjunction with any liquid CPU cooler in the Corsair Hydro series. How it works is pretty simple: it converts the closed-loop system into a thermal GPU solution. As a result, if you’re into overclocking, this should presumably help you do so with ease.
Regardless of which bracket you choose, both come packed with a 70mm low-noise blower fan built in. The shroud on the N980 in particular is compatible with the stock PCB layouts of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 980 Ti, 980, and Titan X cards. A multi-tasker, the cooling bracket is designed to refrigerate both the memory and voltage regulator modules (VRMs) of the graphics unit. The equally affordable N970, on the other hand, only chills the VRMs and is compatible exclusively with Nvidia’s GTX 970-flavored cards.
Corsair has composed a complete list of graphics cards that can be used with the N980 and N870 liquid cooling brackets. In the tech specs section of each respective product page, Corsair ensures to mention popular GPU brands like MSI, Gigabyte, Galax, EVGA, Zotac, and PNY, along with specific model numbers for each brand. The N980, for instance, is compatible with four different models of the GTX 970, while the N970 can be used to cool several different models of the GTX 760, 670, and 660 Ti GPUs.
You can purchase both the Corsair Hydro HG10 N980 and the N970 from the company’s select set of authorized retailers or, alternatively, directly from its website. Both cooling brackets are priced moderately at $50 while a compatible CPU cooler can be purchased separately.
Joby Gorilla Pod
(Price : $12)
You know that old saying, “the best camera is the one you have with you”? Same thing applies to tripods. The best one is the one you have on hand, so instead of spending a small fortune on a 50-pound Manfrotto, you should drop 12 bucks on a Gorilla Pod. These things are brilliant. In addition to standing upright like a traditional tripod, their flexible legs allow them to grip onto tree branches, hand rails, and just about anything else you’ll ever need to mount a camera on.
(Price : $21)
Sugru might be the greatest invention of the 21st century. When you take it out of the package, it’s soft and malleable like play-doh, allowing you to mold it into practically any shape you need. Over night, it solidifies into hard rubber — making it ideal for fixing broken things, sealing leaks, and building stuff. The potential applications are only limited by your imagination
Bondic Plastic Welder
(Price : $23)
Forget super glue. Instead of haphazardly squeezing some adhesive out of a tube, Bondic allows you to join two materials together with liquid plastic that hardens under UV light. You know those little UV glue guns that dentists use to fill minor cavities before they get too serious? It’s basically the exact same adhesive technology, just tweaked a little and redesigned for a different purpose. This is a must have if you’re prone to breaking sunglasses a lot
Tile (2nd Gen) Item Finder
(Price : $25)
Originally, Tile was a little device that you could clip to your keys or stick in your bag. During your morning misplaced-my-keys routine, you could use your smartphone to track it down, as long as you were in 50 to 100 feet of the lost item. The Tile would play a little song to help you find the object. The problem was that its 0.5-inch thickness still made it a bit too bulky to stick on your phone. Now, Tile has announced its app update allows users to find a missing phone, even when it’s on silent or vibrate.
It’s a concept companies like GE are also working on, because not only is it quieter, it’s more energy efficient and does away with the refrigerant. Haier’s model uses water and CO2. It operates similarly to compressors, only with magnets, using metals that heat up in the presence of a magnetic field and cool down when they’re not. Unlike a compressor, the Haier fridge only has one moving part, meaning it won’t vibrate. That’s ideal for wine storage, according to the company, as is the fact that it has “zero fluctuations in temperature.” Its sound output is less than 30 decibels, which is about as loud as a library. By comparison, the latest dishwashers typically range between 40 and 50 decibels.
The wine fridge, which was on display at IFA 2015 and debuted at CES 2015, will be available in 2016, though the price hasn’t been set yet. The company also hopes to put the technology in bigger appliances in the future. Haier’s high-end brand Casarte was also showing off its fridge with an oil-less compressor. Though it’s still a compressor, it’s helps the appliance hold a more consistent temperature.
A company called Phononic is working on a similar appliance, though it would have separate compartments for whites and reds. It already has its solid-state thermoelectric machines ready for ctw on Facebook
This morning, Sony kicked off the 2016 edition of the Tokyo Game Show with a host of new game announcements and other news. Among the updates shared at the company’s conference came the official rebranding of the virtual reality system many had become very familiar with as Project Morpheus.
Sony announced that the peripheral will now be known as PlayStation VR — a rather dry name for an exciting bit of equipment. As is the norm for video game hardware, the codename was far more interesting than the official label it will be released under.
Executive vice president Masayasu Ito is quoted as saying that the new name ‘reflects our hopes that we want our users to feel a sense of familiarity as they enjoy this amazing experience’ in a post on the official PlayStation Blog for Europe.
Project Morpheus was first announced at the 2014 Game Developers Conference, but had reportedly been in development for some three years ahead of its unveiling. Since then, it’s been a constant presence at trade shows, and hands-on impressions have largely been very positive.
Sony has maintained that the hardware will be ready for a retail release in early 2016, and the fact that this rebranding has taken place now certainly lends credence to that plan. The consumer version of the Oculus Rift is also anticipated to release in the first quarter of next year.
The race for virtual reality dominance is certainly starting to hot up, although it remains to be seen which device will come out on top. A fun experience for five minutes in a trade show setting is one thing, but the proof of the pudding will come when the hardware is in the hands of consumers — then we’ll see whether this tech is really the future of gaming, or just the latest fad.
Two new announcements from the Team Green front as we head into the holidays. Nvidia’s 361.43 driver has just dropped, with two significant updates inside it, though only one will be of immediate benefit to customers. First, Nvidia has fixed the driver bug that caused abnormally high power consumption at high refresh rates when using Maxwell cards. This should prevent the issue we documented earlier this year where power consumption spiked at higher refresh rates.
Note: This issue was initially reported as affecting G-Sync monitors and we saw no sign of a problem with a 144KHz non-G-Sync display. Other readers, however, reported that they had problems and Nvidia’s bug report doesn’t mention G-Sync specifically. Regardless, this driver (Windows 10 / Windows 7/8/8.1) should solve the problem.
The other improvement looks farther down the road to OpenGL and VR support. Nvidia has introduced a custom OpenGL extension, “GL_NVX_linked_gpu_multicast,” that can accelerate HMD rendering and boost performance by up to 1.7x. The company states that Autodesk VRED Professional 2016 SR1-SP4 has already integrated the capability and explains the new extension as follows:
“With the driver in the new multicast mode, all OpenGL operations that are not related to the extension are broadcast to all GPUs in the SLI group. Allocations are mirrored, data uploads are broadcast, and rendering commands are executed on all GPUs. This means that without the use of the special functionality in the new multicast extension, all GPUs are executing the same work on the same data.”
SLI is important to VR because it allows the system to dedicate one GPU to each eye, rather than rendering right-left-right-left in quick succession. What this new Nvidia extension does is allow the system to upload the same scene to two different graphics cards simultaneously without incurring additional overhead.
Nvidia’s DesignWorks VR and GameWorks VR SDK contain additional documentation and some code samples to showcase how these functions work. We’re seeing both AMD and Nvidia up their VR game as Oculus and other solutions move towards shipping. VR is expected to dominate the gaming conversation in 2016, even if actual titles and experiences remain thin on the ground.
Both AMD and Nvidia have talked up multi-GPU support as important to a premium VR experience, and it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out in the next 12-18 months. Because VR rendering alternates between eyes on a single-GPU, it’s possible that we’ll see situations where it’s better to choose two cheaper, somewhat slower cards for VR gaming as opposed to a single high-end GPU. Historically, the price curve tends to favor this solution, provided that micro-stutter is kept under control (the difficulty in doing this under DX11 is also part of why multi-GPUs have remained fairly niche).
SilverAir Sock — Stink-proof wool sock
Silver is an amazing element. Not only is it great for stuff like slaying werewolves and making expensive forks, it also naturally kills bacteria. For this reason, it’s also extremely effective at resisting odors. Keeping this in mind, Y Athletics developed SilverAir – a line of high-performance sportswear with silver woven into the fabric to make it completely stink-proof. You might remember them from a couple years ago when they came to Kickstarter to fund the launch of their stink-proof shirt. Now, about a year and a half later, the company is back with another addition to its stink-proof gear lineup — a pair of wool socks.
These badboys are made from the same special fabric as before, and feature tiny threads of silver throughout to ward off pesky, odor-causing bacteria. The cool thing is that, as a result of harboring less bacteria, not only do these socks stink less, they also last a bit longer. The project has already annihilated its $35,000 funding goal, and expects to start shipping as early as August.