Sunday, February 25, 2018

Plextor M9Pe(G) NVMe 512GB M.2 SSD Review

5:31 PM
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Plextor has indeed been busy ramping up its offerings for high-performance storage solutions, and what we’ve seen last January was just the thing for it. Three new products in the M9Pe banner, one PCIe add in card M9PeY RGB, and two M.2 models – the M9Pe(G) and the M9PeGN. Sure, Plextor’s naming conventions might be confusing at first glance, but don’t let that distract you from its capabilities. What we have here at the moment is the M9Pe(G) in the flesh, an M.2 NVMe 512GB SSD that’s complete with a thermal heatsink.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
PERFORMANCE
Sequential Read Speed*Up to 3,200 MB/s
Sequential Write Speed*Up to 2,000 MB/s
Random Read Speed*Up to 340,000 IOPS
Random Write Speed*Up to 280,000 IOPS
ENVIRONMENT AND RELIABILITY
Power RequirementDC 3.3V 2.5A (Max.)
Temperature0°C ~ 70°C / 32°F ~ 158°F (Operating)
MTBF>1,500,000 Hours
Endurance (TBW)320
Warranty5 years
COMPATIBILITY
Operating System SupportedMicrosoft Windows 8.1, 10/ Linux OS
Agency ApprovalUL, TUV, FCC, CE, BSMI, VCCI, RCM, KCC, EAC, ROHS, WHQL
Command Set SupportTRIM, S.M.A.R.T, IO queue, NVMe command
InterfaceM.2 PCIe Gen 3 x4 with NVM Express
Firmware UpgradeSupported
FORM FACTOR AND CONNECTORS
Form FactorM.2 2280
Power ConnectorM.2 connector for DC 3.3V input
Data ConnectorM.2 Connector
DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT
Dimension (L/W/H)80.00 x 22.00 x 2.30 mm / 3.15 x 0.87 x 0.09 inch
Weight (Max.)10g / 0.35 oz
PRICE
256GB$150
512GB$247
1TB$460

PACKAGING

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Plextor is definitely one for packaging, a trend we’ve seen as of late starting with the company’s M6e Black Edition. That’s just the thing of class. The M9Pe(G) on the other hand is a bit colorful in packaging so to speak, with some of the elements looking familiar. You’ll probably notice this from the get-go.
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Once you open up the box, you’ll be met with the M.2 SSD itself, together with a single piece screw to give you an extra in case you’ve lost the one in your motherboard. No manuals where we’re going. It’s as straightforward as it gets anyway.

DESIGN

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As mentioned, Plextor does have two M.2 offerings in the M9e series. The M9PeGN is the bare M.2 unit, while what we have right here is the cool one with the heatsink.  Anyway, the M9Pe(G) is comes with an aesthetically pleasing heatsink that would make a perfect match for your black and red themed rig. No RGB here, mind you. That (non)glory belongs to the flagship M9PeY PCIe M.2 SSD, which could be your thing if you’re one for rainbow flower powers. Of course, it’s not just for aesthetics. Not only does it look great, the heatsink also helps dissipate heat during workloads for long term usage.
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Now, on to the specifics, the M9Pe(G) is an M.2 2280 SSD. It measures 80.00 x 22.80 x 4.70 mm, and it weighs about 13g. The heatsink adds up around 3g from the bare 10g M9PeGN, just to put it out there if you’re wondering how much the heatsink weighs.

PERFORMANCE

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Needless to say, ur expectations were indeed very high coming in. We've seen how the company's M8Pe series performed, and to put that up further with its claim of up to 3,200MB/s sequential read and up to 2,000 MB/s write. So, let's get this on with a couple of benchies.

Crystal Disk Mark

We begin with one of the storage benchmark standards with Crystal Disk Mark to measure both of its read and write rates through a series of tests.
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AS SSD Benchmark

AS SSD Benchmark is one of the standards when it comes to storage benchmarking, and it reads/writes a 1 GByte file as well as randomly chosen 4K blocks. It can also measure in IOPS in addition to MB/s.
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ATTO Disk Benchmark

ATTO Disk Benchmark is an industry leading benchmark that help measure performance of system storage such as hard drives, solid state drives, RAID arrays, and so forth.
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Real World Performance

For the real world performance, we'll be using a set of 20GB file consisting of 119 video files, as well as an archived 16GB to test it out. The time is measured in seconds, and of course, lower is better.
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CONCLUSION

Plextor aims its M9 series straight at high-end users and enthusiasts looking to get the best available in the market. No question there - Plextor's M9Pe(G) indeed brings blisteringly fast speeds and high capacity storage that doesn't come with compromises. Simply put, if you have the budget to spend, the Plextor M9Pe(G) is easily one of the best options you can get your hands on today.

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Saturday, February 24, 2018

CAPCOM Pro Tour Is Punching its way Thru 2018 with Street Fighter V!

10:49 PM
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Warriors rejoice! After a successful run of the Pro Tour in 2017, Capcom is back for 2018 with the all-improved CAPCOM PRO TOUR!

This year, the tour will be focusing on of course the highly-popular fighter Street Fighter V: Arcade on its Third Season. Players all over the world will be competing in various Street Fighter events all over the world for the $600,000 prize pool.

Included in one of the Capcom-sanctioned events would be Evolution 2018 which will be happening on August at sparkling Las Vegas, Nevada. For those aspiring warriors who won't make EVO, there are a ton of events across North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. The Global events start as early as March and will run all throughout the year until November.

This long tour will give plenty of chances to determine who the powerhouses are and who are deserving to be in the Capcom Cup 2018 by the end of the year.

Including in these events will be the Last Chance Qualifier event first introduced in Pro Tour 2017, where Alienware|Nemo from Japan claims the final spot in a deserving fashion, showing prowess up until last year's Capcom Cup where he earns Third.

Also like the Previous Capcom Pro Tour, RISE|Mena RD will automatically get a spot for Capcom Cup 2018 to defend his title. Will the rising star be able to win everything 2 years in a row and do the Dominican Republic twice as proud? Can ECHO FOX's Tokido get his revenge? I can't wait!

For more in-depth details on the Capcom Pro Tour, vist the official ProTour Webiste Here.



Earth Defense Force and Starship Troopers Unite! DLC Collaboration Announced.

10:47 PM
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A match made in heaven! Erm... well, in this case, Earth.

Following a fairly acceptable 300,000 copy shipped launch for long-running Earth Defense Force 5, D3 Publishing announced a collaboration with a similar futuristice bug-busting franchise Starship Troopers!

To be exact, Earth Defense Force 5 will have downloadable content including armor and enemies from the CGI Movie: “Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars”. Honestly, being a fan of the first film and the book, I still can't believe they are continuing with the sci-fi franchise. The CGI Film happened to have a short cinema run before it went on to direct-to-video. It marks the return of Jhonny Rico and Dizzy though, so that may be something to look into.

As for our readers who have not heard of Earth Defense Force, (EDF for Short), I wouldn't blame you. It's a niche but long-running series much similar to Dynasty Warriors. EDF started out on the Playstation 2 and everything hasn't changed much since. Much like Starship Troopers, you get to play as a soldier packed with heavy artillery shooting down giant insects and arachnids, and as the story progresses, you get to ride a giant mech and kick giant monster butt. EDF 5 is no different.

Earth Defense Force 5 released in Japan only last December 2017. No word on a western release yet, but we hope to get positive news soon, as previous EDF titles have been released outside Japan anyway (We hope that includes the Starship Troopers collab).

If you like mindless fun via shooting down bugs and protecting our Mother Earth from any Alien Attack, EDF might be the game for you.

We'll keep you posted for more of the action as it comes.

Here's the trailer for the announcement (in Glorious Nippon):

Ubisoft and Blockchain? Innovation Explored in DICE 2018

10:44 PM
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In a time of accelerated disruption and transformation, innovations that originate in one industry can very quickly upend many others. Unexpected events have almost become the norm. Faced with rapid and regular revolutions, how do you anticipate the opportunities -- and the risks -- that the future holds? How do you drive forward-thinking change in a creative organization?

That's the description for Ubisoft's summary of its main stage spot this past DICE 2018, a gaming and technology conference featuring the most prominent of video game influencers such as Phil Spencer of Microsoft and Mike Morhaime of Blizzard fame.

Now what exactly is the concern for innovation and forward-thinking change Ubisoft describing? Lidwine Sawyer, Director of Insights and Trends at Ubi's Strategic Innovation Labs, is gearing towards Cryptocurrency's core technology concept: the Blockchain.

According to her interview with IGN, exploring the blockchain allows gamers the chance to "finally have real digital collectibles that cannot be replicated by anyone and can be 100 percent owned by you. Thanks to the blockchain, we can now have the equivalent of a digital Picasso, with the advantage that it’s a lot more difficult to steal something on the blockchain than to steak a Picasso."

Blockchain, as a quick info, allows for data to be decentralized and every information that is added to the “block” is communicated to everyone, that means everyone has a record spread out of what transpired, instead of relying in one central source to prove authenticity. This makes any digital item passed around with a blockchain tech implemented is very hard to replicate if not impossible.

Ubisoft Innovation Labs have made headways into innovation and game integration in the past, including the AI voice integration in Star Trek:Bridge Crew and the introduction of Sam, Ubisoft's personal gaming assistant interface.

I can understand the reaction of some when they think of something negative when they see Ubisoft and Blockchain in the same sentence. This could be less of a concern now, in my opinion, as Ubisoft is starting to shape back up, given their improvements of Rainbow Six: Siege and somehow reviving the mess that was For Honor. Plus, the technology has been explored just recently, with Cryptokitties (a game that allows you to breed rare cats and trade them off for Ethereum – an emerging Cryptocurrency) leading the charge.

We're crossing our fingers to see how well Ubisoft will utilize and explore Cryptocurrency tech and see where this gaming future leads us down to.


Elite Games Expo Brings Nine New Mobile Games in the Philippines

10:51 AM

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Gyeonggi Content agency (GCA), a provincial South Korean government agency which represents the Gyeonggi Province, together with Elite Games Inc., a leading premier service provider in the Philippines introduced 9 new mobile games to the country. The Philippines will be the launchpad for these new games into the Southeast Asian market.

Elite Games Inc. and GCA announced their partnership during the Philippine-Korea Video Game Cooperation Conference last December 2017.

Elite Games Inc. and GCA introduced the following games:
1.            Velator
2.            Clan & Conquest
3.            MachiKnights
4.            Hello Hero: Epic Battle
5.            Joy Planet
6.            Trade Tycoon
7.            Crown Masters
8.            Aero Blaster
9.            Fantasy Tales

The new mobile games were introduced at the Elite Games Expo through mobile game experiential booths. At the event, everyone was given a chance to try the games first-hand or download them through the Google Play Store or App Store.

Johnny Paek, CEO of Elite Games, Inc., said that the Elite Games Expo is the one of many game introductions that they’ll do to promote game development and release of Korean-developed games in Southeast Asia. Next stop is Indonesia and the rest of the Southeast countries.

Gyeonggi Content Agency representative, Sung Gil Moon, Director of GCA, was excited about the Elite Games Expo and said that the event will pave the way for more South Korean game developers to gain access to one of the most dynamic gaming bases in the world. Gyeonggi Content Agency is one of the provincial agencies representing tech and game developers in Gyeonggi-do, one of the major centers of technology and gaming development in Korea.

Elite Games, Inc. will provide support services and development for all the games introduced at the Elite Games Expo.

Gaming continues to rise

In the report. State of the Game Industry 2018, released by the Game Developers Conference, PC and mobile are still the most popular platforms to make games for.  Similar statements from a GamesIndustry.biz article, IHS Markit is predicting world consumer spending on games to have broken $110 billion in 2017, with mobile games apps driving the most growth. The same report said that by 2018, gaming will break $120 billion mark. In the report, IHS Markit predicts that mobile games apps spending will break 50% share of the games market in 2018. Its share in 2008 was just 7%.

According to Statista.com, revenue in the Philippines Mobile Games segment has reached more than US$175 million in 2017. By 2022, mobile phone game revenues will reach US$256 million or more than a quarter of a billion dollars.

Paek said that with ever growing mobile and online game industry, Elite Games Inc and GCA will make sure to help nurture game publishing and development here in the country and the rest of Southeast Asia.


Friday, February 23, 2018

H1Z1 Playerbase Nearing Extinction, Loses 91% Of Players!

8:10 PM
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One of the proponents of the Battle Royale Genre, H1Z1 now is jumping ship to other games of its genre or stopped playing entirely. First doesn't always seem best apparently, as the game is still in early access right now and it's hitting Daybreak Studios really hard, playerbase-wise.

In an extensive report from Githyp, H1Z1's King of The Kill (Battle Royale side of the game) Has lost 91% of its playerbase ever since it's peak in July 2017. Coming over from the site's report as well, that number has peaked from July's 150,000 Players down to this month's 14k players. Checking the stats from outside the report as of the time of writing this, the numbers are down to 4,000-ish an hour peaking at 8,000 for the day. This means the decline is far from over.

H1Z1 has had many struggles recently with disgruntled players jumping over to PlayerUnkonwns Battlegrounds and Fortnite Battle Royale. Also, being 2 years in early access with still plenty of its problems intact, the game is having a hard time self-supporting its infrastructure. It's also been competing with DayZ for a while now.

H1Z1 specifically is imploding on itself due to poor player complaints from their Steam Page and Reddit, including not having enough players to play with, and claiming the latest season of patches have ruined what already is a game in shambles (Compared to its peers).

If Daybreak doesn't fix community complaints and offer fresh things, then H1Z1 is gonna be Zombieland soon enough.


Transcend Offers Conformal Coating as an In-House Customizable Option Across Full Range of Embedded-Use Flash and DRAM Products

7:57 PM

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Transcend Information, Inc., a leading manufacturer of industrial-grade products, is proud to offer conformal coating as a customization option on its full range of embedded-use flash and DRAM products to increase their protection against a wide variety of environmental conditions such as moisture, dust, corrosion, and chemical contaminants.

Coating Methods
Conformal coatings can be applied via a range of methods including manual brushing, manual spraying, dipping, or by automated spraying machines. Transcend utilizes automated spraying machines for its conformal coating application due to their speed and accuracy. With automated spraying application, Transcend is able to maintain a precise coating thickness with optimal results. 

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Coating Materials
Due to the wide range of applications that require conformal coatings, different materials—each having unique strengths and weaknesses—may be utilized. The coating, which encapsulates the entire printed circuit board (PCB), provides a physical barrier against moisture, dust, and other environmental contaminants. The most common coating materials are acrylic, silicone, urethane, and epoxy. Silicone and epoxy coatings can withstand exposure to high temperatures, while urethane has good chemical resistance. Acrylic coatings have excellent moisture and electrical resistance, and therefore are the preferred choice for the majority of applications.

Transcend offers an acrylic conformal coating solution supplied by HumiSeal, one of the leading conformal coating manufacturers. The acrylic coating is quick–drying and features excellent flexibility, moisture protection, electrical isolation, and fungus resistance. It is also compliant with MIL, IPC, RoHS, and UL standards, and is well-suited to most applications. Transcend also offers different coating materials for specific application needs.

Transcend's Conformal Coating
Transcend's conformal coating is applied directly to the module surface (except for the "gold-fingers") to completely encapsulate the PCB and all mounted components. The coating shields the DRAM or flash module from environmental factors, increasing the durability and reliability of the system.

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To guarantee that Transcend offers the highest quality embedded solutions, our coating process meets IPC-A-610D standards, which specify coating color, coverage, and thickness. Our coating material contains fluorescents to aid final inspection of the product. The coating is 100% inspected under UV light for distribution, quality, and uniformity.

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Transcend recommends conformal coated flash and memory modules for use in harsh environments with high moisture (forests), high dust (factory, desert), or chemical contaminants. These include chemical refinery plants, automotive applications, military environments, railroad systems, and traffic control systems.





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