pc The Daily VR Zone News Summary   4 May 2011

In today's news roundup:

  • A budget gaming PC built to a cost of US$599 gets built and tested to see if it has the juice needed to perform as one;
  • ASUS's mATX motherboard, the P8H67-M Evo, which is said to offer an attractive price-to-performance ratio, gets reviewed;
  • A recently-discovered patent dating back to 2009 has ignited suspicions that Steve Jobs may be lying about Apple's policy with regards to collecting location data from iPhone users;
  • Xobni for Outlook, an inbox plugin offering social intelligence and relationship management inside email messages, is opening an app store to users and developers;
  • Steam is currently having an 'EA Week' promotion where selected EA titles will be put up for grabs at heavily discounted prices for each day of the week, and
  • Rumour has it that the Wii's successor will be using yet another proprietary optical disc format capable of storing up to 25GB of data, utilize SD cards as its main media for data storage due to the console lacking a built-in HDD, and feature a resolution cap of up to 1080i.

Hardware news

$599 Gaming PC Built and Tested
Description: When NVIDIA launched the GTX 550 Ti, it was interesting to see in their slides that they made mention of how it was the perfect model to build a $599 US gaming PC. As someone who has more power than I need in video and just about every other component of my system, I really found myself wondering, could we build a $599 US PC?

Xigmatek Pantheon Case Review on Technic3D (German)
Description: (Machine translation) The Xigmatek Pantheon is the next PC-Case in the Technic3D Editorship. The Pantheon Tower supports ATX and Mini-ITX motherboards and have place for eight Cooling-Fans and a Watercooling Kit. We will check this and many more in the following Review.

Patriot 32GB Supersonic USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ Madshrimps
Description: The latest high performance Supersonic USB 3.0 Flash Drive from Patriot Memory features Quad Channel Technology and has exceeded our expectations in terms of write speeds, managing to beat all other previously tested USB 3.0 similar products.

ASUS P8H67-M Evo Review @ ocaholic
Description: With the P8H67-M EVO ASUS has an mATX motherboard in its portfolio which tries to win customers hearts with an attractive price performance ratio. Wether this board is able to convince or not that's what we will show on the following pages.

Xigmatek Elysium Super Tower Review @ Tweaknews
Description: So, you're unsatisfied with your current full-tower case? Not enough room? Too plain? Well, Xigmatek may have the answer. Their new Elysium is one of the largest chassis' on the market and will even support the huge SR-2 (HPTX) platform. With room for two power supplies and a whopping ten expansion bays, the hardware choices are virtually limitless and the front drive bays will support eight hard drives and up to five ODDs at the same time without modification.

Antec One Hundred Computer Case @ Benchmark Reviews
Description: The Antec One Hundred computer case is touted as "the gaming case that delivers high-end features at a price that won't break the bank." Many gamers (and non-gamers) will purchase cases with sexy exteriors, only to find that the functionality and performance of the case are significantly hindered. For experienced users, a gaming case brings certain expectations, such as the need for good cooling, ease of use for install and re-installation of components, proper placement of USB ports and audio jacks, as well as several other factors. Benchmark Reviews will take the Antec One Hundred for a spin and you can decide if it meets your criteria for a good economy gaming case.

AMD Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition Processor Review @Hi Tech Legion
Description: With the new Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition CPU, AMD has upped the speed for their existing AM2+/AM3 platform. The Phenom II X4 980BE clocks in with a stock speed of 3.7Ghz, making it the fastest out of the box clock speed AMD currently offers. With an unlocked multiplier, the Phenom II X4 980BE also invites you to explore overclocking and see just how much more speed you can get. The Phenom II 980BE also sports a full 2MB L2 cache and 6MB L3 cache. In the AM3 platform, the onboard memory controller is able to take full advantage of DDR3 memory up to PC3 10600.

HIS Radeon 6870 IceQX Review – XSReviews
Description: Just to keep things fresh and prevent you all from getting bored with all the headset reviews we’ve been putting out recently, here’s something a bit more internal,a GPU from HIS. This is the IceQX variant of their HD 6870 Graphics card from AMD.


Consumer Electronics and Software news

Apple patent application indicates Jobs may have lied
Description: The ongoing kerfuffle over Apple devices allegedly tracking their users' locations has taken yet another turn. It all started on April 20th, when tech bloggers Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden reported their discovery that iPhones and 3G iPads running iOS4 were supposedly maintaining a stealth file of locations that the devices had traveled to – with their users. Apple responded on April 27th, stating that the devices were simply anonymously contributing to a database of local Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers, that helped to triangulate the phones' location faster than GPS alone. Now, however, a just-discovered patent application filed by Apple in 2009 has some people doubting that claim.

Xobni Opens App Store for Outlook
Description: Xobni for Outlook, an inbox plugin offering social intelligence and relationship management inside email messages, is opening an app store to users and developers Tuesday. The Xobni Gadget Store allows users to pick and choose from nearly 20 free and paid applications to add to their Outlook experience. At launch, the store includes gadgets from notable productivity, CRM, social media and collaborative-focused companies including Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Salesforce CRM, Chatter and Yammer.

Logitech Ultimate Ears 100 Noise Isolating Earphones Review
Description: Logitech are super veterans of the PC industry and have basically covered every type of audio product and PC peripheral known to man. And it's initially here that we must plead ignorance to the success Logitech have been having all over the world with their Ultimate Ears product range. Because put simply, we had never heard of Ultimate Ears until the '100' series were delivered to us.

16GB Zune HD drops to $169, edging closer to EOL?
Description: With Windows Phone 7 offering full Zune functionality and then some, the new mobile OS has clearly created a surplus of lower-capacity Zune HD devices, causing Microsoft to respond with a rather significant price drop. Typically, a discount would indicate an imminent refresh, but we doubt that's the case here. The 16GB Zune HD has shaved off $30, to $169.99, and you can now grab the 32GB version for $199.99 — the same price you would have paid for the 16 gig before the drop, and nearly $100 less than the $299 you'll spend on a 32GB iPod touch. The 64GB model is holding fast at $349.99, but with a $70 plunge on the mid-capacity model, you might have just enough cash left over for that tattoo you've always dreamed of.

iPhone 5 will miss June and July, says AT&T representative
Description: The next iPhone will indeed miss the standard June-July release schedule, an AT&T customer representative claims. The statement was made after one customer noticed that his eligibility for a subsidized upgrade had been delayed by over five months, and contacted AT&T for an explanation. "Apple has informed us that they do not plan to release the iPhone in the June to July timeframe, though there will be a newer version in the future," part of the representative's response reads.


Gaming news

Pilotwings Resort Nintendo 3DS Review
Description: Pilotwings as a series is an interesting one. First launched on the Super Nintendo system, the game is either derided or loved by each gamer with a Nintendo console. The fact is that the older games were hard, incredibly hard in fact; so difficult that you could get stuck for hours on end with nothing to do just trying to beat one challenge. However, for many gamers that is what made the game so appealing and when we heard that it was coming to 3DS with 3D graphics we were excited. However, we also had a worry that given the casual market that Nintendo now targets, it would be toned down and unfortunately this is only the beginning of its problems.

It is a EA Week On Steam
Description: It is a EA week on Steam as a variety of selected games from the publisher will be going on crazy sale. Today is a Need for Speed sale, you can get Need for Speed: Undercover for just $2.50! If you want to lay out a bit more (but still not very much), Need for: Speed Shift and Hot Pursuit are available for $6.80 and $14.99, respectively. (prices are all in USD)

Wii Successor Lacks a Hard Drive, Includes 8GB Internal Storage – Report
Description: Nintendo will officially detail its successor to the Wii in just over a month's time at E3. In the meantime we have to continue parsing through rumors about every aspect of the system. The latest such report from Kotaku suggests Nintendo will again eschew hard drives with its new console and instead offer 8GB of internal, flash-based storage.