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Written by Dave Bagnall on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

ZOTAC International, a global innovator and leading manufacturer of graphics cards, ZBOX Mini PCs, and Solid State Drives (SSDs), ramps up a new line of storage aimed at offering enduring speed in desktops, notebooks, and external storage as it becomes an essential to every PC.

Premium Edition

Available in 240GB and 480GB capacities, the Premium Edition SSDs bring with it a suite of features. At the heart sits a quad-core Phison SSD controller and outstanding MLC NAND for marathon reliability with up to 480 TBW and up to 3,000 PE cycles. With robust performance delivering sequential read/write speeds of up to 520MBps and 500MBps, the Premium Edition SSDs are within a hair’s width of the SATA III bandwidth saturation point.

Data Protection

With data moving in and out at incredible speeds, data corruption can be an occurrence. The ZOTAC Premium Edition SSDs feature technology that enhances data protection, including:

  • End to End Data Path Protection – detects and corrects any errors along the paths that your data takes between the DRAM, controller, and NAND
  • SmartECC – reconstructs bad/faulty pages when regular ECC checks fail
  • SmartRefresh – monitoring the health status of ECC blocks and refreshing blocks intermittently to advance data retention
  • Power Failure Protection – minimizing the time data is housed in the cache to prevent data loss during unexpected power outage
  • Dynamic Wear Leveling – ensuring that the use of the NAND is spread out to extend the SSD’s lifespan

 All ZOTAC SSDs are backed by a limited three year warranty.

Tech head of a UK YouTube Technology Channel known as DaveChaos
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Written by Ex0du5_2169 on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

Revel in the remains of rampaging robots!

The first DLC for Fallout 4, Automatron, is here and it delivers a nice new chunk of content to get your teeth (and robotic claws) into. Priced at around £8 (approximately $11.50) for those who do not have the season pass, it comes at quite the bargain.

Automatron adds a new side plot, a number of quests and many more crafting options than you might first have guessed, the culmination of which is the ability to craft your own robot companions and customise them in complex and exciting ways. Be prepared to collect far more junk than you’re used to, they don’t come cheap!

The new robotic workstation and the latest iteration of my robotic companion.

The new robotic workstation and the latest iteration of my robotic companion.

Crafting robots is done in much the same way as modifying guns or power armour: first your need to build a robot frame, after that comes the expensive process of adding new parts including armour, weaponry, parts that modify speed, maneuverability and other features, go wild, you really have free reign here, no parts (besides armour specific components) are incompatible. You learn new schematics by looting robot corpses and, my goodness, are there alot of them! Repair kits are like stimpacks for robots, make sure you have a fair few of them on you at all times!

Overall I am rather pleased with the quality of this DLC, especially considering the low price (even lower, in the long term, if you purchased the season pass before March 1st 2016), the content seems solid and it adds enough to bring new life to the game, at least until the next DLC is released! Customisation is an integral part of Fallout 4 and I am glad to see this trend continued in a big way. With yet another release only a month away I am excited to see what they come up with next!

I’ve been writing for Dave for a few years now and I love it, there is always something new to research and test! I hope you enjoy my work!

Before writing I worked in IT for around 11 years and have been an avid gamer for much, much longer. I tend to enjoy everything except sports games, but I’m not above testing them if they’ve tried something new. Give me a Space 4x any day of the week!

Written by Dave Bagnall on Monday, March 7th, 2016

Assemble your team and prepare your defenses—the fight for the future is about to begin! Blizzard Entertainment today announced that Overwatch™ will arrive in stores on Windows® PC, PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, and Xbox One starting May 24.†† Heroes from around the world can join the coming conflict by pre-purchasing Blizzard’s team-based first-person shooter today at www.playoverwatch.com/buy.

In addition to receiving the previously revealed Noire skin for Widowmaker, Overwatch’s ice-cold assassin, players who preorder or pre-purchase the game for PC, PS4™ system, or Xbox One will also get a two-day head start on the upcoming Overwatch open beta for themselves and a friend. In the open beta, players will have an opportunity to play all 21 heroes and experience the intense action, tactical depth, and vibrant world of Overwatch prior to the game’s release. Following the head-start period on May 3–4 for those who have preordered, gamers everywhere will be able to assemble a team of friends and check out the game free during the all-access period from May 5–9. To learn more about the open beta, players can visit the official website.

Overwatch is a team shooter for everyone, with deep, cooperative gameplay, fast and fun competitive action, and a diverse range of larger-than-life heroes,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We think PC and console players everywhere will have a great time in the game, and we’re excited to give everyone a chance to try Overwatch out for themselves ahead of its May 24 launch.”

The Story So Far. . . .

In Overwatch, players join the ranks of a legendary force of soldiers, scientists, adventurers, and oddities, and clash on the battlefields of a near-future Earth. The game features a diverse cast of 21 heroes—each with their own unique arsenal of extraordinary weapons and incredible abilities. Teamwork is critical as players complete objectives, swap heroes on the fly, and combine their powers to game-changing effect—the action is intense, immediate, and fun.

Since the world last caught up with Overwatch at BlizzCon® 2015, Blizzard has introduced a number of game features in the ongoing closed beta test. In a new map type, Control, teams battle to capture and hold objectives in locations such as an omnic village in the mountains of Nepal and a high-tech skyscraper in a Chinese metropolis. Overwatch’s new progression system awards players with Loot Boxes containing an array of cosmetic items to personalize heroes, including sprays, emotes, voice lines, and skins such as Punk Tracer and Safari Winston.

In addition to Quick Play mode, which automatically matches players with teammates and opponents of similar skill online, players can test their mettle against computer-controlled opponents in a new Play Vs. AI mode, while Custom Games allow players to set special rules for hero switching, damage modifiers, and more. And there’s more to come in the future: Blizzard plans to patch in new heroes and maps post-launch at no additional cost. To keep up with the latest Overwatch news, head to the official website.

Meanwhile, In Stores Everywhere. . . .

Windows PC, PS4™ system, and Xbox One gamers will be able to join the fight for the future by picking up Overwatch: Origins Edition (SRP: £44.99 on Windows PC, and SRP: £54.99 on PS4™ system/Xbox One), which comes with hero skins for five characters based on their storied pasts—Blackwatch Reyes (Reaper), Strike-Commander Morrison (Soldier: 76), Overgrown Bastion, Security Chief Pharah, and Slipstream Tracer. It also includes a cache of Overwatch-themed content for several Blizzard Entertainment games, including a Baby Winston pet for World of Warcraft®, Tracer hero for Heroes of the Storm®, and more—visit www.playoverwatch.com/buy for the complete Origins Edition details.†††

Overwatch will also be available in a limited-edition, retail-only Collector’s Edition (SRP £99.99 on Windows/PS4™ system/Xbox One), which contains the digital content from Origins Edition along with a full-color visual sourcebook, the Overwatch soundtrack, and a high-quality collectible statue of Soldier: 76—the vigilante alter ego of former Overwatch commander Jack Morrison. Windows PC gamers also have the option to download a digital PC edition (£29.99, digital only), which provides the core Overwatch experience.

Overwatch will be available in English, Latin American Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, German, European Spanish, French, Italian, Polish, Russian, Korean (PC only), Japanese (PC and PS4™ system only), and traditional and simplified Chinese (PC only).†† Overwatch has been rated PEGI 12.

For more information about Overwatch, visit the official website. For screenshots, videos, and other media, visit the Blizzard Entertainment press site at http://blizzard.gamespress.com/overwatch.

With multiple games in development, Blizzard has numerous positions currently available—visit http://jobs.blizzard.com for more information and to learn how to apply.

Offer available by pre-purchasing digitally through www.playoverwatch.com/buy or preordering at select retailers until April 29, 2016—players should check with their local retailer to find out whether they are participating. Players who previously pre-purchased or pre-orderedOverwatch at participating retailers are also eligible to participate—players should contact their store for details.

††Beta/launch plans for mainland China will be announced at a later date.

†††Battle.net account required. World of Warcraft, StarCraft® II, Heroes of the Storm®, and Diablo® III content available on Windows/Mac®.Hearthstone® content available on Windows/Mac/iOS/Android. Heroes of the Storm Tracer hero will also be available separately—further details will be announced at a later date.

About Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.

Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft® and the Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® franchises, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (www.blizzard.com), a division of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industry’s most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard Entertainment’s track record includes nineteen #1 games*and multiple Game of the Year awards. The company’s online-gaming service, Battle.net®, is one of the largest in the world, with millions of active players.

Tech head of a UK YouTube Technology Channel known as DaveChaos
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Written by Ex0du5_2169 on Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

What irks me most is that I had to take time out from playing in order to get this article finished!

Stardew Valley was one of those games that turned up under my radar, I was regrettably oblivious to it until the day of release, however, since purchasing it I find myself unable to put it down, as so to speak. Initially it didn’t seem like my usual type of game and I was right, needless to say; after playing 30 hours, I am completely hooked. First impressions leave an aftertaste of browser-based farming, community based social and exploration games, alas, it is so much more.

Developed by Concerned Ape and published by Chucklefish (known for Starbound, among others); Stardew Valley takes all of the above, adds a relationship system, combat and more, throws them together (with a large dash of charm and a pinch of humour) and hits them repeatedly with the mallet of perfection. It’s refreshing being presented with a product that, so easily, blows away my expectations and charms me to this extent.

Character customisation brings a large variety of options.

Character customisation brings a large variety of options.

The opening sequence tells a little back story and then dumps you right in at the deep end with all the tools you need, there is a quest type system that gives you a rough idea of how to proceed but the decision ultimately stays with you; which crops to grow, exploration, fishing, which villager to attempt to date, it’s all on you. The freedom of choice extends to character customisation too, a surprisingly large number of options for a game that is deceptively simple-looking. Depth is the order of the day and Stardew Valley certainly delivers! From the gentle progression of seasons to character building cut-scenes, it’s the little touches that bring it to life!

I could go on forever about how truly brilliant this game is, however, I have it alt-tabbed and I would dearly like to get back to playing it soon. If I had to compile a list of my favourite games Stardew Valley would already be on it and probably in the top 10 if not 20. While the trailer gives a brief taste of the game, it’s not a full representation, it’s only around £10.99 so why not take a chance (and lose your social life as a consequence)?

I’ve been writing for Dave for a few years now and I love it, there is always something new to research and test! I hope you enjoy my work!

Before writing I worked in IT for around 11 years and have been an avid gamer for much, much longer. I tend to enjoy everything except sports games, but I’m not above testing them if they’ve tried something new. Give me a Space 4x any day of the week!

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Written by Dave Bagnall on Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

Corsair®, a leader in high-performance gaming hardware, today announced the immediate availability of the Corsair Strafe RGB Silent, the world’s first mechanical keyboard to use the new Cherry MX Silent keyswitch. With a sophisticated noise dampening system integrated into each key, the Strafe RGB Silent offers all the legendary precision and feel of German-engineered Cherry MX mechanical key switches, but up to 30% quieter1.

Continuing their long-running partnership, Corsair is the exclusive launch partner for Cherry’s new switches – you simply won’t find a Cherry MX Silent keyswitch anywhere else. Rather than using rubber O-rings or other quick-fix external fittings to reduce key noise, the Cherry MX Silent uses a patented fully-integrated noise reduction system built into every key, greatly reducing key bottoming-out and spring-back noise. The result is a keyswitch that’s up to 30% quieter, making Strafe RGB Silent the ideal choice for gamers that demand the tactile feel of a mechanical key, but prefer a quieter operation to not disturb their partner, kids or co-workers.

While the Strafe RGB Silent’s key switches might be muted, its industry-leading RGB lighting technology means it looks anything but. With a powerful on-board controller and Cherry MX RGB lighting, the Strafe RGB Silent offers gamers individual multi-color dynamic backlighting for nearly unlimited lighting customization, effects and personalization. To make customization even easier Corsair’s RGB Share service allows users to effortlessly download sophisticated and stunning lighting profiles to make their keyboard look instantly amazing.

The Strafe RGB Silent also comes fully loaded with the features gamers demand. A USB pass-through port allows the easy connection of a mouse, gaming headset or phone to a PC, while a full-length soft-touch wrist rest offers comfort for even the longest gaming sessions. Gaming grade circuitry provides 100% anti-ghosting and full 104 key rollover ensuring every critical key press registers, and with two included sets of custom textured and contoured keycaps, vital keys offer enhanced grip and feel for FPS or MOBA games.

The Strafe RGB Silent has an MSRP of $159.99 and is backed by a two-year warranty and Corsair’s comprehensive customer support. In North America it is available exclusively at Best Buy.

Not so subtle? Cherry MX Blue switches arrive for Corsair Strafe Keyboard.

Corsair has today also announced the immediate availability of the Corsair Strafe with Cherry MX Blue key switches. Users can look forward to combining the audible and tactile feedback of the Cherry MX Blue switch with the Strafe’s per-key red LED backlighting and full macro support. Additional Corsair keyboards will also carry the option of Cherry MX Blue switches soon.

Corsair Strafe RGB Silent Specifications

100% Cherry MX Silent gaming key switches – Exclusive patented noise reduction technology makes Strafe RGB MX Silent 30% quieter than other mechanical gaming keyboards.

Multi-color dynamic backlighting – Brilliant RGB backlighting enhances the experience with virtually unlimited lighting adjustability

Fully programmable – Reassign any key or set up the most extreme macros for advanced gaming

USB pass-through port – Positioned for uninterrupted game play and ready for your mouse, wireless headset adapter, or your phone

Detachable soft-touch wrist rest – Provides the comfort you need for marathon gaming sessions.

Full spectrum color – CUE Link connects your Corsair RGB keyboard, mouse, and headset to deliver the ultimate lighting experience

FPS/MOBA keycap sets – Textured and contoured keycaps for maximum grip and enhanced feel

Gaming Grade Circuitry – 100% Anti-ghosting with 104 key rollover on USB ensures no matter how fast your play, all your keypresses register

Easy-access multimedia controls – Make on-the-fly audio adjustments without interrupting your game.

MSRP: $159.99 exc. Tax

 

About Corsair

Founded in 1994, Corsair supplies high-performance products purchased primarily by PC gaming enthusiasts who build their own PCs or buy pre-assembled customized systems. The company’s award-winning products include DDR3 and DDR4 memory upgrades, computer cases, PC cooling products, gaming headsets, gaming keyboards, gaming mice, power supply units, USB flash drives, solid-state drives and system monitoring and control devices.

Tech head of a UK YouTube Technology Channel known as DaveChaos