Friday, January 31, 2014

Mantle gets a PC debut with Catalyst 14.1 beta driver and 'Battlefield 4'

AMD”s Mantle API will soon be available for PC users, and with Battlefield 4 on Windows also getting a Mantle update, users with AMD hardware should start seeing a marked increase in performance — at least that is what AMD claims.

After lengthy delays, AMD is finally set to launch the Mantle API on the PC later today. When AMD announced Mantle late last year, it was with an intention to enable low-level access to hardware, better utilization of resources, and a “console-like” development environment — which many assumed to mean the ability to write common code for any GCN platform. Mantle was also touted as an alternative to DirectX (Direct3D) and OpenGL, two high-level APIs that can be used across a wide range of hardware.

However, while Direct3D and OpenGL enable broad access to hardware, Mantle has been tailored for AMD’s hardware. In fact, it is now being seen that Mantle will provide better performance not by tweaking the GPU, but by reducing the workload of the CPU. AMD claims that APIs like Direct3D have limitations when it comes to scaling out to CPUs with many-core configurations, and that Mantle would be ideally suited “for the majority of PC gamers that have entry-level and mid-range processors.”

Therefore, if you’re running a high-end configuration already, there isn’t much that can be gained from Mantle. AMD has released information regarding how much of a difference Mantle makes in various use cases, and based on the data, it is clear that the most amount of difference will be seen in the entry-level section.

AMD has decided to cobble a FX-8350 CPU with the high-end R9 290X to demonstrate the benefits Mantle would have. In Battlefield 4, there was a 23.8 percent increase in performance when using Mantle. EA has similarly made a chart detailing how much of a difference Mantle would make in Battlefield 4:

While these numbers do show a marked difference, these are likely controlled tests. We will be running the latest Catalyst drivers and running our own test suite to see if the gains are as huge as AMD claims.

Source: AMD

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Rage of Bahamut gets musical as Hatsune Miku enters the fray

The angelic diva Hatsune Miku is taking on demons, fallen angels, dragons and monsters in the free-to-play card battle mobile game for the Android and iOS, Rage of Bahamut.

A recent press release by Crypton Future Media Inc and Rage of Bahamut developers Cygames and Rage of Bahamut distributors DeNA has announced the new collaboration and it will feature Miku *in various cards which the player can use to battle his opponents.

The collaboration started yesterday, January 31, 2014 and will end on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2014. Players who log in consecutively will get a bonus Hatsune Miku card while several events will reward the player with several new Miku costumes.

Rage of Bahamut is one of the most popular mobile games with over 10,000 players worldwide. Several of its card characters have been turned into best selling figures like Kotobukiya’s Dark Angel Olivia and Max Factory’s Cerberus. The mobile game is free-to-play and its English version can be downloaded through this link:*

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source:*PR Times Japan

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Lenovo acquisition will not affect Motorola’s device release schedule

Motorola will continue to work on its devices, which include a second generation Moto X, after the Lenovo acquisition.

Yesterday, it was revealed that Lenovo was acquiring Motorola Mobility from Google for $2.91 billion. It has been learnt that even after the deal goes through, after regulatory signoff (of which there is to be a considerable amount), Motorola will continue to finish working on devices that are already underway.

Among the devices rumoured to be launched include the second generation Moto X, which might launch later this year or earlier next year. There is also talk of a 6-inch phablet device that will be announced in 2015. In addition, Motorola is said to be working on a smartwatch. It has been alleged that Lenovo will let Motorola release all these devices, and then focus on launching Lenovo-designed Motorola handsets. It has also been rumoured that Lenovo will allow users to customize future Motorola handsets through the Moto Maker customization utility, but the facility which undertakes these customized orders will likely change.

While the device release schedule might still remain unchanged, the manufacturing of these devices might. Lenovo’s acquisition of Motorola works in its favor in this regard, as the Chinese manufacturer has an established base in most emerging countries. In Brazil, Lenovo is investing $100 million in research efforts, and the manufacturer has an established distribution hub in India. For the next year at least, Motorola will function as an individual entity. Lenovo has issued a challenge to the likes of Samsung after the acquisition, so it should be interesting to see the direction the Chinese manufacturer envisages for Motorola.

Source: Sina Weibo (registration required)

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Upcoming Samsung SM-W750V Windows Phone expected to don 4.3-inch Full HD screen

Samsung’s alleged next Windows Phone 8 effort, model numbered SM-W750V, may revolutionize the mobile market as we know it, sporting a 4.3-inch Full HD display with unequaled pixel density.

It’s a near guarantee, the leader of the mobile tech world will abandon the Tizen project before long (and before it can take off), focusing almost entirely on Android. “Almost” being the key word, as apparently Samsung hasn’t completely turned its back on Windows Phone.

Remember the SM-W750V that surfaced online a couple of weeks ago with a 1,080p panel? According to Ad Duplex, this thing is looming large on the horizon, so a Mobile World Congress intro is in the cards, but it might not be a direct rival for the Samsung Galaxy S4, LG G2 or Nokia Lumia 1520.

Instead, it could take on diminutive versions of flagships such as Sony’s Xperia Z1 Compact, the GS4 mini or HTC One mini. Wait, so what about 1,080p? Well, if Ad Duplex is right, the top-notch resolution isn’t going anywhere, and it’s to be plastered all over a tiny 4.3-inch piece of glass.

Resulting pixel density? 512 ppi. Breathtaking. Also, a little impractical, some say. Overkill I guess is the term many prefer. Oh, stop fretting, it’s just a rumor for now. Also a rumor – it’s headed straight for Verizon and no other carriers. Both stateside and worldwide.

Nah, I don’t buy it. Big Red can’t have two high-end WP handhelds in the pipeline, this and Nokia’s Lumia Icon, and hold them off for nigh launches in February. Can it?

More importantly, is a 4.3-inch Full HD, presumably quad-core and 2 GB RAM-toting state-of-the-art slab of silicon practical? Could it be the beginning of the end for Android or a desperate, unlikely to succeed move to make Windows Phone 8 popular?

Sources: AdDuplex Blog, Phone Arena

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Best Buy discounts 128 GB Microsoft Surface Pro to $500 for limited time

For two days only, Best Buy sells the first-gen Microsoft Surface Pro with 128 GB built-in storage space at just $499.99, a whopping $400 less than the tablet’s list price.

So you say Surface sales are on the rise but still unable to drive profits or challenge Apple’s iPads in any way. Classic good news-bad news scenario for MS, though Redmond’s head honchos and partners appear to be less interested in profits than actual sales or brand awareness.

Voluntarily or compelled by lack of interest from hardware buyers, Microsoft has heavily relied on promotions to boost demand for 2012 Surface models of late, going down the same road today, alongside Best Buy.

The retailer has a pretty unbelievable deal going on right now both on and offline, as the 128 GB Surface Pro costs $499.99. Technically, that’s a $400 price cut. In reality, Amazon’s been selling it for a while at $599.99. Via Microsoft’s online store, it’s also $599, albeit through Sunday every purchase comes bundled with free $50 credit on You know, since the Super Bowl is on February 2.

However you look at it, BB’s promo is clearly the most lucrative, so at the end of the day they’re your men. Hurry though, the special offer expires Saturday night.

Again, this is the 2012 Surface Pro, so its overall performance and battery life aren’t stellar. On the bright side, the 10.6-inch display is, with 1,920 x 1,080 pixels resolution, plus you get 4 GB RAM and the “full” Windows 8 Pro experience.

On a somewhat unrelated note, Best Buy’s annual yellow tag sale event also includes savings on other types of electronic gear, like MacBooks (all models are $100 off), AT&T and Verizon’s Samsung Galaxy S4 (free with contracts), and select Sony Vaio laptops at $200 discounts. So yeah, it’s the Surface Pro or nothing.

Source: Best Buy*

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‘Titanfall’ Xbox One console spotted, ‘Halo 5’ coming in 2015

Another batch of Microsoft leaks reveal a Titanfall edition Xbox One console, along with Halo 5 release information.

Microsoft is considering launching a Titanfall limited edition Xbox One console that should be available at the same time the game launches. While the news regarding the console is still a rumor at this stage, Microsoft has revealed a Titanfall edition controller for the Xbox One earlier this month that features a similar design.

In other Microsoft-related news, it has been revealed that Halo 5 is set to launch in 2015, and that Halo 2 will get an Anniversary edition that will feature 1080p content. A limited edition Halo war bundle will see ports of Halo 3 and Halo 4 for Xbox One. 343 Industries will be making the Halo 2 Anniversary edition. In addition, Microsoft is also making a live-action Halo TV series that will debut alongside the next Halo game.

The only news that has been corroborated thus far is the information that the white color variant of the Xbox One would launch sometime in October.


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μ's NEXT Love Live! Endless Parade to also be streamed in Singapore

The official Love Live! staff twitter account and the official Love Live! website have announced that the upcoming*μ’s concert,*NEXT Love Live! Endless Parade will also be streamed live in Singapore.

It was previously announced that the live concert to be held inside the Saitama Super Arena on February 8, 2014 will be streamed internationally for Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan.

The concert will be streamed live via satellite from the Saitama Super Arena at the Cathay Cineleisure Orchard in February 8, 2014 at 17:00 (5:00 pm).*Cathay Cineplexes and T-Joy CO., LTD. are hoping that the show will be uninterrupted and error free.

Tickets for the live streaming can be booked online via the Cathay Cineplexes official website:*

All nine*μ’s members will be present as*Emi Nitta (Honoka Kousaka), Suzuko Mimori (Umi Sonoda), Aya Uchida (Kotori Minami), Yoshino Nanjo (Eri Ayase), Aina Kusuda (Nozomi Tojo), Sora Takui (Niko Yazawa), Pile (Maki Nikishino), Yurika Kubo (Hanayo Koizumi) and Riho Iida (Rin Hoshizora) will all be singing and dancing the*μ’s hits and will surely electrify their overseas fans.

Read more on the School Idols of Love Live here on SGCafe through this link:*

Read more on your favorite*anime*here on SGCafe!

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Source:*Love Live! official website*and Cathay Cineplexes

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Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo goes official with hexa-core CPU and Android 4.3

Following a recent bundle of leaks, Galaxy Note 3 Neo’s formal announcement looked like a mere formality, so Samsung finally decided to go for it, but not make a huge fuss about it.

Look, there’s nothing wrong with choice. Diversity, variety. In fact, it’s what makes the Android décor special, compared with, oh I don’t know, iOS. But one has to draw the line somewhere. Unless Samsung plans to soon roll out a different device for every particular customer.

Which would be totally cool as long as the gizmos were actually different. But look at the Galaxy Note 3 Neo. Outed by Samsung Poland (?), this thing is a toned-down Note 3. It’s also basically a redesigned Note 2.

No, seriously, it’s got almost the exact same specs and features as 2012’s “big thing”. A 5.5-inch Super AMOLED 1,280 x 720 pix res display, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB on-board storage, microSD card slot, 8 MP rear-facing camera, 2 MP front snapper, S Pen support and 3,100 mAh battery.

In theory, you should notice an upgrade in the processing speed department, as the LTE-enabled Note 3 Neo model packs a one-of-a-kind hexa-core Exynos chip, comprised of four Cortex A7 1.3 GHz cores and two A15 clocked at 1.7 GHz.

Solid upgrade, if we’re to trust unofficial benchmarks. However, as far as the 3G-only Note 3 Neo is concerned, it sounds like Samsung truly recycled old hardware, branding it as new. Quad-core 1.6 GHz CPU? It’s what the Note 2 packed back in the fall of 2012.

Besides, the Note 3 Neo isn’t even completely up to date software-wise. It runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and, while it’ll surely score a 4.4 KitKat bump before long, it’s never ideal to start off behind the times.

Lastly, from a design standpoint, it’s obvious from a mile away what the inspiration is. Shave 0.2 inches off Note 3 Neo’s screen real estate, and voila, you get this faux leather back cover-touting copycat. Worst thing? Rumor has it the recommended retail price in Europe will be roughly $820 (€600) off-contract. Thanks, but no thanks, Samsung.

Sources: Sammy Today , Samsung Poland

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Mikudayo Ramen to be released during the Sapporo Snow Festival

Move over Snow Miku because Mikudayo is invading the 65th annual Sapporo Snow Festival and she will be bringing some nice and hot ramen to warm up festival goers enjoying the winter event.

The Mikudayo Ramen will be released during the 5th Snow Miku 2014 event which will feature this year’s magical girl-themed Snow Miku design. The ramen will come in three flavors, Mikudayo Salt (Sakura Mikudayo), Mikudayo Soy Sauce (Snow Mikudayo) and Mikudayo Miso (Mikudayo) and are guaranteed to be a perfect fit for the cold Sapporo winter. Each ramen will cost 300 yen.

The ramen will be sold at the Odori*Nishi 11-chome venue where there will be a dining corner where you can warm yourself up while enjoying the Mikudayo Ramen. For an additional 50 yen, you can have your ramen topped with leeks for a truly Miku experience.

Special Snow Miku vending machines will also be serving Pokka Sapporo soup which will come with a special Vocaloid sticker featuring winter editions of Kaito, Luka, Meiko, the Kagamine twins and Snow Miku 2014.

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source: IT Media

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[New PVC Figure] To Love-Ru's feisty tsundere alien princess, Nana Deviluke

She may not be as popular as her twin sister Momo, but the animal master alien princess from To Love-Ru, Nana Astar Deviluke more than makes up for it with her spunk and Vertex will be releasing a PVC figure based on this feisty tsundere.

This 1/7 scale PVC figure measures in at approximately 210mm in height and is sculpted by Satoshi Gomita as part of their DWELL figure line.

Vertex will also be releasing a figure of her mischievous twin sister, Momo Deviluke

Vertex 1/7 scale Nana Astar Deviluke is scheduled*for release late May 2014 and is now up for pre-orders via*Amiami*for 7,000 yen.

Read more on figures*here on SGCafe!

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