Ubisoft changes Anno 2070 DRM after Guru3D critique
Over the past week a news post of ours resulted in a lot of coverage on the web. Long story short -- while we where testing the RTS game Anno 2070 for PC (from Ubisoft) we ran into downright silly DRM copy protection issues. You may install Anno 2070 on three PCs as you get three activations. That's fair and OK we feel.
However we discovered that while swapping out NVIDIA graphics cards, each time after reinstalling a card the DRM kicked back in, rendering the game inactivated. Three strikes, an you are out.
Our news post on this went viral on the web and Ubisoft got a lot of heat due to this. After getting into contact with the game producer BlueByte our activation limitation was lifted.
By itself great, but then we ran into a judgment call we needed to make. Initially we had a hard time rethinking, should we even test Ubisoft titles anymore as the DRM protection is way too heavy. We've thought about it hard and long.
In our opinion not writing about something is the most bad thing you can do and as such we decided to continue with that article. By excluding Ubisoft from the benchmarks we'll never be able to address issues like this DRM story, and they'll continue what they are doing. In fact if we'd have excluded Ubisoft titles we never would have been able to report about this issue.
By posting an article and explaining/mentioning DRM time after time, there will be more awareness about it and in the end that message will get across to Ubisoft and the producer. In the hope that one day they'll see the light.
Secondly, BlueByte certainly do not deserve getting the heat that they do this way. This company together with the developer Ralated Designs makes such brilliant and very unique game titles. It would be such a shame if they'd get damaged in the process. I would not like to have that on our account.
That said and with the VGA performance review posted moments ago we received an email from BlueByte, the producer of the game with the following information:
Just wanted to let you know, that we now remove the graphics hardware from the hash used to identify the PC.
That means everyone should now be able to switch the GFX as many times as he/she wants.
We are very happy to see that the activation scheme has been changed for anybody and everybody who purchased and is purchasing the game, you may now swap out as many graphics cards as you want. It doesn't mean though that you can change hardware (significant hardware like motherboards) more then three times. As that protection will still will apply.
But this certainly is progress, a small success really and we are happy to see that the game industry does listen towards their user-base. Overall though BlueByte and Ubisoft should have realized earlier on that this is just not the way to go.
DRM has become an annoyance factor for end-users. And though we agree there should be a certain level of game-copy protection, DRM has evolved way too much up-to a point where the publisher slowly but steadily moves into the same level as what they are fundamentally fighting, piracy and software pirates. And you as a consumer, should be protected from a publisher sniffing and checking your PCs hardware components and demanding that you are on-line to play a game.
With this statement made I'd like to invite you to check out our Anno 2070 VGA Graphics performance review. We thank everybody that helped out and although it leaves everybody with a bitter taste in their mouth something did change on the positive side of things .. and that's progress.
What do you think about this step ? Let's us know in this thread.
Sapphire AMD Radeon HD 7950 Card Leaks
Sapphire, being one of AMD's partners on the video card market, is naturally preparing its own Radeon HD 7900 cards, one of which has become the subject of a recent information leak. Yet again, information on an unannounced product has found its way to the Internet, whether its maker intended it or not. Thanks Asder00 in our forums for this one.
Output:1 x Dual-Link DVI
1 x HDMI (with 3D)
2 x Mini-DisplayPort
GPU: 900 MHz Core Clock
28 nm Chip
1792 x Stream Processors
Memory: 3072 MB Size
384 -bit GDDR5
5000 MHz Effective
Dimension: 275(L)x115(W)x42(H) mm Size.
Anno 2070 VGA Graphics performance review
For Anno 2070 the graphics engine has been updated, the game is now DirectX 11 compatible. And as such it is time to throw a couple of graphics cards (well we can't say that nineteen graphics cards are a couple really) at it to see how well the game performs with DX11 cards Anno 2012.
Check out the article here.
Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7-3770K Overclocking
The tests run by TOPPC covered both the stock and overclocked performance of the Ivy Bridge CPU and while no exact numbers were specified it seems like, on average, the ES i7-3770K was 10% faster than the current Core i7-2600K.
Overclocking wise, the chip also had a similar performance with that of its Sandy Bridge counterparts, the highest frequency achieved with all cores active being set at 4.8GHz.
TOPPC expects these results to improve when the CPU hits retail, with 5GHz being possible with all cores active, as Lenzfire reports.
Despite the not so impressive overclocking frequency achieved, the Core i7-3770K does allow for higher DDR3 speeds to be achieved as the maximum available memory option is now 2800MHz.
The Core i7-3770K will include four computing cores with Hyper-Threading support running at a base frequency of 3.5GHz, and also support Intel
GeForce Kepler 104 (GK104) 256-bit GDDR5 Memory Bus - 225W TDP
Another report has revealed more details on the NVIDIA GK104 GPU (graphics processing unit) based graphico card.This is the chip that will power the Santa Clara, California-based company's mainstream cards, also known as mid-range models.
That means that the GK104 will land on the card, or cards, that will succeed the GeForce GTX 560 Ti.
That is to say, the successor to the GTX 560 Ti will have a performance around the level of AMD's Radeon HD 7900 series. The GK104 has a memory interface of 256 bits and will be backed by up to 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM.
Meanwhile, the TDP (thermal design power) is of 225W.
Needless to say, the implications of this are massive, but one should not be too quick to jump headlong into excitement just yet. But when looking back at the GeForce 400 series being prepared, there was a similar level of hype, with many hoping for a product series that would clearly best AMD's Radeon.
The GTX 680 could arrive as early as February.
BitFenix Shinobi XL Full Tower Case
Since its release in April 2011, the BitFenix Shinobi has proven to be our most popular chassis design yet. Today, BitFenix is proud to introduce a bigger and badder follow up to this classic design - Shinobi XL. Packing XL-ATX compatibility, superior flexibility, and an all-new SuperCharge
Intel Reports Record Year Revenue Up 24 Percent
Intel Corporation today reported full-year revenue of $54 billion, operating income of $17.5 billion, net income of $12.9 billion and EPS of $2.39 - all records. The company generated approximately $21 billion in cash from operations, paid dividends of $4.1 billion and used $14.1 billion to repurchase 642 million shares of stock.
For the fourth quarter, Intel posted revenue of $13.9 billion, operating income of $4.6 billion, net income of $3.4 billion and EPS of 64 cents. The company generated approximately $6.6 billion in cash from operations, paid dividends of $1.1 billion and used $4.1 billion to repurchase 174 million shares of stock.
AMD drops Fusion branding makes it Heterogeneous
AMD decided to ditch its Fusion branding. Bit Tech writes the company has decided to rebrand its Fusion System Architecture (FSA) to Heterogeneous Systems Architecture (HSA).
With AMD supporting languages including C++ AMP and OpenCL for GPGPU offload, the company clearly feels it's time to bring the technology to a new audience under a more professional brand identity.
'We have built a heterogeneous compute ecosystem that is built on industry standards,' boasted AMD corporate fellow Phil Rogers in a statement regarding the renaming exercise. 'As such, we believe it
ASUS Radeon HD 7970 DirectCU II Photo's
A custom-design PCB, three slots coole amd mucvh more are the keywords. The PCB itself uses a 10+1+1 ASUS Digi+ VRM that draws power from two 8-pin PCIe power connectors.
This heatsink uses a large aluminum fin-stack heatsink to which heat from the GPU is conveyed by six heat-pipes, which make direct contact with it. The heatsink itself isn't very thick, but what makes the card span across three slots are its two 100 mm fans. The GPU is clocked out of the box at 1000 MHz (vs. 925 MHz reference), and 5.60 GHz/1400 MHz actual memory (vs. 5.50 GHz/1375 MHz actual reference).
MegaUpload shut down by FBI - Founders Arrested
An indictment unsealed today by the Department of Justice claims that MegaUpload has caused the entertainment industries more than $500 million in lost revenue and generated $175 million in criminal proceeds.
Two corporations Megaupload Limited and Vestor Limited were indicted by a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia on January 5th, 2012, and charged with engaging in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement.
Today, the authorities executed in excess of 20 search warrants in the United States and eight other countries.
Data centers in the Netherlands, Canada and Washington housing MegaUpload's equipment were raided. In an apparent reference to the latter location, a source has just informed TorrentFreak that the FBI are currently detaining everyone at the ISP Cogent Communications' headquarters in Washington DC, in connection with a Mega-related search warrant.
In addition to MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom who was arrested today in New Zealand, another six alleged members of the Mega conspiracy were charged in the indictment:
- Finn Batato, 38, Mega's chief marketing officer and a citizen and resident of Germany
- Julius Bencko, 35, Mega's graphic designer from Slovakia
- Sven Echternach, 39,Mega's German head of business development
- Mathias Ortmann, 40, the German CTO, co-founder and director of Mega
- Andrus Nomm, 32, programmer and head of the development from Estonia
- Bram van der Kolk, 29, a Dutch citizen who oversaw programming and network issues.
Sniper Elite V2 - Organ Piercing Rounds Interview
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Lost Alpha Trailer
Resident Evil 6 Coming
Capcom today confirmed Resident Evil 6 is in development and is coming this November.
The game is arriving on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on November 20, 2012. A PC version is coming at a later date. Capcom describes the game as a "blending action and survival horror" and is "the most ambitious, immersive and feature rich title of the series to date and promises to be the dramatic horror experience of the year."
Resident Evil 6 will follow Leon S. Kennedy and Chris Redfield who will be "joined by new characters, each with their own unique perspective and involvement, in this relentless dramatic horror experience enacted on a global scale."
Here's a synopsis of the game's plot:
It has been ten years since the Raccoon City incident and the President of the United States has decided to reveal the truth behind what took place in the belief that it will curb the current resurgence in bioterrorist activity. Due to be by the President�s side is his personal friend and Raccoon City survivor, Leon S.
Kennedy, but when the venue suffers a bioterrorist attack, Leon is forced to face a President transformed beyond recognition and make his hardest ever decision.
At the same time, Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance member Chris Redfield arrives in China, itself under threat of a bioterrorist attack. With no country safe from these attacks and the ensuing outbreaks, the entire world�s population is united by a common fear that there is no hope left.
�Resident Evil 6 represents a giant stride forward in the evolution of the series,� commented Katsuhiko Ichii, Head of R&D and Global Marketing. �The development team, led by Hiroyuki Kobayashi, is working tirelessly to deliver the most impressive Resident Evil title ever both in terms of scope and production values.
"We are all genuinely excited by the title and cannot wait to share it with the world.�
Resident Evil 6 is also getting numerous retail pre-order bonuses. GameStop, Best Buy and Amazon.com will each get an exclusive map that will function with various modes in the game. Additional details will be revealed at a later date.
AMD Catalyst Application Profile - 11.12 CAP3
Grab the new AMD Catalyst Application Profile - 11.12 CAP3 January 18 release.
This release of ATI Catalyst delivers support for the latest ATI CrossFireX profiles in a separate executable file ensuring users have access to the absolute latest set of profiles installed on their PC.
Latest profiles added :
- Star Wars: The old republic : Improves CrossFire performance
- Need for Speed: The Run
Intel Overclocking Warranty for K & X-Series CPUs
Intel announced the introduction of new program called the Performance Tuning Protection Plan (PTPP) which allows K- and X-series processors owners to purchase an additional warranty for their CPU, enabling them to get a replacement in case the old one is killed thorough overclocking.
This new plan is an addition to the standard 3 year warranty covering all Intel processors, which means that it will go into effect only if the CPU is damaged when running beyond its reference specs, otherwise the standard warranty applies.
The only catch right now is that the so called PTPP program will be launched as a test that will last six months, and afterwards Intel will decide if it will continue with its new plan.
Cooler Master X6 and X6 Elite CPU Coolers
Cooler Master, an industry leading enclosure, thermal solution, peripheral, and accessory manufacturer, showcases a tribute to their effort to continually innovate. The X6 CPU Cooler has arrived and is a daring new take on high performance cooling and design.
Designed for overclockers and gamers, X6 is adorned in a satin black finish with crimson red fan blades and accents. The heatsink employs a unique honeycomb fin structure to maximize surface area for cooling. This is used in conjunction with an angled base that acts as a means to increase overall airflow throughout the chassis. Clever air duct deployment on the outer shell directs airflow to pass over critical cooling areas. X6 also comes equipped with a high performance PWM controlled fan that can be adjusted via BIOS or OS-based motherboard tuning applications.
Ease of use is often applied to mounting systems or other system components, but fan attachment can wind up being neglected. X6 breathes new life into this lost path by coming with time-saving quick-snap fan brackets that make installation and removal a simple affair. These quick-snap brackets means that fan maintenance times will become significantly shorter. Simply release a few tabs and the fan is free to be cleaned. Reattach everything in a few seconds and go back to enjoying the immense cooling power of the X6.
X6 Elite, the answer to building the best looking and performing gaming system on a budget. Much like Cooler Master Elite Series cases represent the best value for dollar in DIY system building, X6 Elite joins the fray to do the same for CPU Cooling in the U.S. and Canada. It focuses less on aesthetic flair and incorporates minor changes to performance to achieve a well balanced setup. Whichever the choice may be, X6 and X6 Elite represent excellent choices for users of every level.
Dracula GPU Heatsink for Radeon HD 7970
Aeolus Gamer Storm designed a variant of its Dracula GPU heatsink for AMD Radeon HD 7970 graphics card as TPU reported today:
The heatsink is designed to handle thermal loads of up to 250W, when outfitted with fans. The heatsink design consists of a nickel-plated copper base (this particular variant has a circular bump where the GPU die makes contact), with the appropriate mount-hole spacing for HD 7970. Through this base, six 6 mm-thick nickel-plated copper heat-pipes pass, the opposite ends of these heat pipes pass through two aluminum fin stacks. Tests show that when fitted with two 80 mm fans spinning at 1,800 RPM, the Dracula keeps load temperatures of the HD 7970 about 35 degrees Celsius cooler than AMD reference fan-heatsink.
Yeston Radeon HD 7970 PCB with massive cooler
Alright, some Asian guy is seriously compensating for something ! Yeston has created a new Radeon HD 7970 design that incorporates a massive dual-fan cooler. Exact details aren't available, but it looks like the company is using 120mm impeller-style fans with 18 blades, and that the bundle takes up four expansion slots.