ZOTAC ZBOX PI320 Pico PC Fits in Your Pocket

By Published August 27, 2014 at 12:53 pm

A new PI mini-PC from ZOTAC ships at 115.5 x 66 x 19.2mm, similar to a Raspberry Pi. The new “ZBOX PI320” ships with Windows 8.1 pre-installed on its 32GB Flash memory and fills-out a form factor that ZOTAC calls “Nano XS.”

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The computer is equipped with Intel's quad-core Baytrail BGA CPU running the IGP for graphics (specific CPU undefined), 2GB of DDR3L memory, 32GB eMMC integrated Flash, and room to expand storage via micro SD/SDHC/SDXC.

Seagate Announces First 8TB HDD

By Published August 26, 2014 at 8:34 pm

Seagate announced today that they have managed to achieve new feats of storage capacity. Seagate is the first company to get an 8TB 3.5” HDD to the consumer market, according to Seagate Vice President of Marketing Scott Horn. This comes only a few months after the company released its 6TB HDD and hopefully means they may be creating even larger HDDs as they are learning more about achieving high density storage in the restrictive space, but that’s probably overly optimistic speculation on my side.

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Retailers and manufacturers are always happy to give consumers purchasing options: Spend an extra $30 and get buying insurance, another $50 and you get an extended warranty, spend untold thousands on a car to add Bluetooth, and in the case of video cards, an extra $20 and you get a “faster” card in the form of a pre-OC or “SuperClock.”

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We’ve explained overclocking as it pertains to GPUs in the past, but never looked specifically at pre-overclocked or SuperClocked cards. The realistic intent of higher-clocked GPUs is to enable users who are either too busy/lazy to overclock, would prefer to have an expert do it for them, or who are legitimately unaware of or afraid of overclocking. Some of the high-end overclocking cards are binned-out with hotter chips (chips that can overclock higher), but not all SuperClocked and pre-overclocked cards are like this. Many of the available options are just overclocked versions of the stock card.

Minecraft Remade in Trials Fusion Map

By Published August 25, 2014 at 9:39 am

When asked what we most enjoy in gaming, it’s always easiest to point to the mods made by the community. Mods extend a game’s life far past what its creators could have accomplished, as evidenced by our Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas mod overhaul guides.

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Trials Fusion mapper “PneumaticBog484” just recently recreated Minecraft inside of Trials Fusion. For the unfamiliar, Trials is a popular cross-platform title that features a trials rider (in motocross form) progressing through increasingly deadly levels; the goal is to overcome obstacles in the fastest fashion possible. Fusion shipped with a powerful map editor -- so powerful that even the mechanics of Minecraft could be recreated within it.

This weekend sales round-up lands on the anniversary of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. For those who don't know (and those who don't care but can't force themselves to stop reading), this is the volcano that destroyed Pompeii. Instead of celebrating by trying to set off more volcanic eruptions around the world, I suggest you look into these hot deals -- including a Volcanic Isles GPU -- while they last. We found a CPU cooler at $75, 8GB of low-profile RAM for $73, a 3TB HDD for only $100, and an optical gaming mouse at $30.

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PAX Prime 2014 Full Exhibitors List

By Published August 23, 2014 at 2:19 pm

PAX is always a big event for us. Actually, it was one of the very first events that GamersNexus covered, way back in its infancy. The reason we’ve always liked PAX is the same reason its 70,000+ attendees cling to: It’s a consumer event, prioritizing attendees over everyone else -- that includes media. We get no special treatment there as is oft the case at industry tradeshows, so the feeling of the exhibition is overall more “real.”

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The mobile Guidebook app was recently released with the full PAX schedule, the maps, and the list of exhibitors. All of this can be viewed on a desktop here or downloaded to mobile here. Be sure to follow us on twitter, facebook, and YouTube for on-site coverage.

For sake of ease, we’ve listed all of PAX Prime 2014's on-site exhibitors followed by booth or room number. Keep in mind that several game and hardware companies are hosting media display suites off-site that won’t be listed, but will still be covered when our PAX coverage section goes live.

We remarked upon the GTX 750 / 750 Ti reveal that passive cards were a distinct possibility, given the low TDP and ability of the cards to operate solely on motherboard PCI-e power. Hovering at a 55W TDP, nVidia’s GM107-powered GTX 750 doesn’t draw any power from the PSU and has a lower thermal footprint than any of its higher-powered brethren. With the right heatsink design, it’s always been an ideal candidate for a passively-cooled, silent, low-profile HTPC video card.

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ZOTAC announced its “GTX 750 ZONE” passively-cooled solution just a few weeks ago. Standard GTX 750 specs apply, the one exception being that Zotac has nixed the active fan in favor of a larger aluminum and copper heatsink with no active components. Thermals are always a concern when operating a passively-cooled device, and with GPUs, thermals will directly impact the throttling and performance (FPS) output in games.

We benchmarked Zotac’s passive GTX 750 Zone video card for temperatures and framerate (FPS) in Metro, GRID, Battlefield 4, Titanfall, Watch_Dogs, and FurMark. These results can be extrapolated upon for a wider-spectrum understanding of the GPU’s worth for gaming.

One of the hurdles of TLC NAND and VNAND is an inherently lower count of program / erase (P/E) cycles that the SSD can endure. This is the nature of packing more voltage levels into a cell to accommodate for the extra bits each cell can hold (yielding our higher capacity and lower cost). More voltage levels means more granularity required when attempting to read/write data, and the NAND loses its ability to accurately perform those reads / writes as it ages. Controllers have to step in to ensure longer life when using TLC NAND.

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There was a time when mouse bungees cost $20 to $30 and were a novel invention. Thankfully, that time's long past. There was also a time when we reviewed Razer's eXactMat X (2009) and remarked that its $40 price-point was the most we'd ever shelled-out for a mouse pad, but followed-up that the purchase was well worth it for sturdy aluminum.

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Razer's pad, by the way, is still in use and now has about 5 years of life on it. Aluminum lasts a lot longer than cloth -- go figure.

Thermaltake's new Tt eSports "Draconem" mouse pad is a 2mm-thick, dual-side mousing surface with detachable cable bungee. The smooth side of the pad is brushed aluminum and anodized, outfitted with decals in opposing corners for the Tt eSports logos; the rougher side is grittier to offer greater traction with the mouse's Polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon) feet, colored with a red dragon emblem off-center.

The Draconem is somewhat massive, scaling in at 360 x 300 x 5mm (14.1 x 11.8 x 0.2") and taking up significant desk real-estate.

The Best Video Game Easter Eggs & Cameos

By Published August 19, 2014 at 1:02 pm

We’ve all had moments playing games when we’re deeply engrossed in a mission, quest, or achievement hunt... and then something completely unexpected comes our way. Tributes to other games (Mario references in Legend of Zelda games), intentionally unfitting dialogue (or surprise voice-overs), and creepy-beyond-creepy additions are some of the ways we remember how games surprise us and succeed with something that doesn’t belong.

ee-borderlands-minecraftA cave in Borderlands features Minecraft-style Creepers, loot, and terrain elements.

With that, we give you GamersNexus’ Favorite Video Games Easter Eggs. This brief list compiles some of the industry's best gaming easter eggs and their locations, including Duke Nukem, Gears of War, The Witcher, and more.

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