Archive for August, 2010

Prior to flipping the power switch, nervous Nellies feared that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) would spell doom for our home planet as it goes knocking protons into each other. One Hawaiian dude named Walter Wagner even took the concern to court by suing to have the project shut down. He failed, of course, but wasn’t finished working the legal system.

An appellate judge for the United States District Court in Hawaii has again disappointed Wagner by denying his appeal, saying he failed to show “credible threat of harm.” The judge also said that the U.S. doesn’t control the Collider, so our legal system would be powerless to stop it anyway.

“The European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) proposed and constructed the Collider, albeit with some U.S. government support,” Senior District Judge Helen Gillmor explained. “The U.S. government enjoys only observer status on the CERN council, and has no control over CERN or its operations. Accordingly, the alleged injury, destruction of the earth, is in no way attributable to the U.S. government’s failure to draft an environmental impact statement.”

Gillmor went on to say that even if the court ruled in favor of Wagner, the decision would have no impact on CERN or Collider operations, “and would not afford Wagner the relief he seeks.”

So in other words, if the LHC does destroy the earth and all of mankind, Wagner will have to take his lawsuit international.

The problem with most passively cooled videocards is they typically bring weaksauce gaming performance into your home theater, as if all you’ll ever want to do on your swank 52-inch LCD is watch movies and play the occasional round of Peggle. That’s why we’re stoked to see Gigabyte release a totally silent Radeon HD 5770, so far the only 5770 on the planet to ship without a fan.

Keep in mind we don’t have one of these in for testing, but we have spent time with AMD’s 5770 model and liked what we saw. Gigabyte’s latest version — GV-R577SL-1GD — trades in the stock cooler for a passively cooled heatsink with four heat pipes running through a whole bunch of aluminum fins. Underneath it all sits an “ultra-huge” copper base plate.

Gigabyte seems to think it’s all pretty effective, claiming a decrease in temps of 5-10 percent over traditional designs. We’re skeptical those figures will hold up in the real-world compared to actively-cooled cards, but hey, as long as the card doesn’t fry itself or burst into flames and take our home theater down, we could care less where it ranks.

No word on when this one’s shipping or for how much.

Product Page

Corsair entered this world as a memory maker, but now dabbles in a whole host of products and peripherals. The company can now add headsets to its resume with the launch of the Gaming Audio Series HS1 USB gaming headphones.

“We set out to develop a headset with the performance that gamers demand, while also providing the pristine audio reproduction required for multi-channel movies and high bit rate music,” stated Jim Carlton, Vice President of Marketing at Corsair. “The Audio HS1 easily meets both these challenges.”

Corsair claims the use of 50mm drivers means there’s less distortion than what’s “produced by smaller, more typical drivers.” The HS1 sports a circumaural, closed-back design, replaceable memory foam ear pads, uni-directional noise-canceling mic on an adjustable boom, and an inline volume and mic controller.

The HS1 is supposedly shipping now, but if you can track down a vendor that’s selling it, your Google-fu is strong.

These days, it seems like every videogame and its Atari 2600 grandmother is getting a movie tie-in. But hey, games are awesome and so are movies, so where’s the problem? Well, see, as it turns out, game movies are not awesome. Not in the slightest. So, is it Game Over for gaming’s star on the Hollywood walk of fame? Not necessarily, says Valve’s Gabe Newell. We just need to change up our approach, is all.

“Where we got into this direction was after Half-Life 1 had shipped. There was a whole bunch of meetings with people from Hollywood. Directors down there wanted to make a Half-Life movie and stuff, so they’d bring in a writer or some talent agency would bring in writers, and they would pitch us on their story. And their stories were just so bad. I mean, brutally, the worst. Not understanding what made the game a good game, or what made the property an interesting thing for people to be a fan of,” he explained to PC Gamer.

“That’s when we started saying ‘Wow, the best thing we could ever do is to just not do this as a movie, or we’d have to make it ourselves.’ And I was like, ‘Make it ourselves? Well that’s impossible.’ But the Team Fortress 2 thing, the Meet The Team shorts, is us trying to explore that.”

And so, on this day, our dream of Jason Statham playing an illogically acrobatic, crowbar-kung-fu master Gordon Freeman – while wearing a phony beard, of course – died a quick death. We’re not sure whether to be happy or incredibly depressed about that, honestly.  

Hi there, valued Xbox Live Gold customer! Are there any sharp objects nearby? How about firearms? We’re just the messenger, after all, and would rather not be shot for this one. So, are you calm? Have you followed the late, great Bruce Lee’s teachings and become as water? Ok then, here it goes:

Beginning November 1, Xbox Live Gold will cost $60 per year. That’s a ten dollar price hike, for those of you who don’t read your credit statements. One month and three month subscriptions have also been increased accordingly. 

So, why’s Microsoft randomly kidnapping yet another one of your precious Alexander Hamiltons – especially after eight years of the same price point and Sony’s constant “neener-neener” proclamations of free online multiplayer? Well, the long and short of it is that you’re now getting a whole lot more stuff.

“As an Xbox LIVE Gold member, you can not only play blockbuster games, such as Halo: Reach with your friends online, you can also stream movies from Netflix and music from Last.fm right to your TV. You can even connect with friends near and far on Facebook and Twitter. Plus, you also enjoy exclusive discounts and early access to game demos,” said Microsoft, while also citing the upcoming additions of Hulu Plus, Video Kinect, and ESPN this holiday season.

Granted, some of those services require you to fork over additional subscription fees, but there’s no doubting that Xbox Live Gold’s a pretty slick service. The question, however, remains: is it pocket-change-worthy fool’s gold, or is it the genuine, worth-$60 article? Also, what about people who bought their game consoles for, you know, games – and couldn’t care less about Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, ESPN and the like? What’s in it for them, if anything at all?

Tough questions, huh? So we’ll let you do the heavy lifting on this one: Do you think Microsoft’s decision to rip another rib out of your piggy bank is a fair one? Will you continue subscribing to Xbox Live Gold?

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