Video Guide: Replace a CPU Heatsink Cooling Fan

By Published February 29, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Our very first video hardware guide is here! Huzzah! The overwhelming response from the community has pushed us in a new direction to start producing quality videos in accompaniment with our amazing articles, so here's the first 'test' video to check out lighting, format, and overall flow.

In this basic case modding guide -- and I mean very basic -- we look at how to replace an aftermarket CPU heatsink cooling fan on a Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme with a new fan (mostly for longevity and LED purposes). It's very easy and requires only one thing: A screwdriver. Get those nerd muscles ready to sweat! Here's the guide:

Samsung Launches Very Shiny SD Cards

By Published February 27, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Samsung continues to branch into the many different electronics fields and has opted to update its line of SD cards with new, shiny models.

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Ranging from 2GB to 32GB, the new Class 7 (7MB/s write; 24MB/s read) SDHC and Micro SD cards will be available with brushed metal aesthetics to bring a bit of pizzazz to your mobile memory needs. Granted, SD cards are normally tucked away and out of sight.

Episode 3 of Saturday Heat Signature has arrived! In my continuing quest to unveil games of hidden value, this week I stumbled across Hawken, a free-to-play mech combat FPS that runs on the Unreal Engine. Video/preview below!

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Members of the Gamers Nexus team will unanimously agree on one thing: We get bored of games faster than companies can make them. It's a problem we've opted to call "game burnout," and has side effects of empty wallets, rivers of tears, and wasted gigabytes. Thought Skyrim was good? Twenty hours was enough for me. Liked Battlefield 3? Eh, it was all the same after eighteen hours.

steves-shelf-of-games-gn1991-2012 of games on my wall is enough to set some high standards.

Trying to secure its presence in the newly-crowded tablet market, Samsung has unveiled an interesting new device to the market.

Dubbed a "smart notebook crossover PC," Samsung is showing off a new form factor in the PC/ultrabook market, the "slate form factor," and says they will target educators as well as business-to-business communications with this device.

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As hardware and gaming enthusiasts, it's easy to acknowledge the sheer amount of complexity behind the continual stability exhibited by high-end gaming CPUs and components. The basics of processing technology advance in pendulous, perfectly-timed swings with each passing iteration of Intel and AMD's respective flagship models; enthusiasts can certainly appreciate the level of performance gained with, for example, the institution of Sandy Bridge architecture, or to go old-school, the implementation of hyperthreading on P4 CPUs. Even in non-CPU examples, the evolution of SSDs and their usefulness is worthy of mention, albeit somewhat ignored. It's something we experience every day: The changes of these technologies are instantly visible through virtue of playing games and using applications.

So the engineering behind each chip is appreciated -- but the manufacturing process (2 - 3 months), the development process (a full 2 - 2.5 years), and the unbelievable level of science behind the two in combination are hardly noticed when reading up on budget gaming rigs or explaining the functionality to newcomers. All of this comes down to one question: Where and how are CPUs made? We'll answer the latter in an extensive series, but the rest remains below...

cpu-fab-location-mapSeveral other factories exist. Fab32 is also in Arizona and manufactures modern chips, Fab42 is up-and-coming.
Click to enlarge.

BlackSpace Brings RTS to Space Mining

By Published February 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm

After decades of being the lesser-liked child of gaming, the RTS genre has recently exploded in popularity with the emergence of games like StarCraft 2 and League of Legends, both of which redefined e-sports as we know it. Luckily for those of us that have been fans of RTS games since the early days of Command & Conquer -- the DOS one -- the genre is still experiencing an influx of innovation and creativity, as Pixel Foundry boasts for their upcoming game, BlackSpace. Alongside Fray, the cyberpunk/dystopian game we posted about earlier today, this year's shaping up to look awesome for the indie market.

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Alternative Stores & Services Similar to Steam

By Published February 23, 2012 at 12:33 pm

A competitive market is a healthy market, as we know. Expressing a sense of loyalty toward any single brand or distributor is sure to end in either disappointment or highway robbery (and you won't be the one doing the robbing); I've seen it just as much as anyone else: An indie developer puts out an amazing game, no doubt worthy of many hours of play, only to have a response of "I'll get it if it's on Steam." Just because the gaming populace is generally used to Steam doesn't make it the best and only choice for game buying -- Steam has a strict approval process and a limited number of acceptance slots, so loyalty in this instance can severely limit access to exceptional games.

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Cyberpunk and dystopian settings have long been a favorite of mine, ever simulating a Tron-like (the original, not the other one), high-stakes, all-out cyber warfare between factions which have been cybernetically altered or otherwise digitized. With the existing contenders in this market aging, like the Source mod Dystopia, independent game developers Brain Candy have jumped into the, err, fray with their upcoming "simultaneous turn-based strategy" game, Fray. Damn puns.

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The sci-fi title has an intriguing backstory to any lover of computers: It's the year 2098 and, as we should hope, human interaction has been entirely limited to the Internet - or whatever it becomes in the future. Fulfilling the cyberpunk requirements of being a world dominated by malevolent companies, the world of Fray is dominated by three mega-corporations, in true 1984 fashion, with each fighting over the remaining supplies on earth. This is where the "virtual reality modules" come into play: There are multiple variations of 'modules' in the world of Fray, each serving as an escape to the definitely-going-to-happen reality of megacorporation combat -- the module we care about, though, is the combat one.

It's been a while since we posted a high-end build, well, other than the $3000+ one, and we figured some of you enthusiasts were itching to look at another hardcore PC gaming build. Our "Hardcore" builds are designed for those who want to get the best graphics and performance possible and at the same time have enthusiast-grade components -- these normally fall within the range of $700 - $1200.

We kick-started the year by adding a few new columns, an awesome budget build, and a guide that helps you learn how to build a gaming computer, which you can read here. Check it out, it may help you in the future. Additionally, you may want to check out our guide on how to cut corners when building a gaming PC, which will save you a nice amount of money.

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Without further ado, let's look at this beast:

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