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Acer makes Predator even cooler

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Acer has introduced the Predator Orion 9000 and the Predator X35 to its range of high-end gaming machines.

Acer unveiled the Predator Orion 9000 series of gaming desktops with Windows 10, its most powerful to date; and the Predator X35 monitor leveraging NVIDIA G-SYNC and Acer HDR Ultra technologies for smooth performance. Acer is also offering a new Predator headset and mouse to enhance gaming enjoyment and control.

Acer supplied the following information:

Designed to intimidate enemies and inspire game play, the commanding aesthetics of the Predator Orion 9000 series feature a black-and-silver spacecraft-like exterior with customizable RGB lighting along the sides of the front bezel. A massive side window panel showcases the remarkably striking and powerful interior with a design that keeps electromagnetic interference (EMI) levels in check despite the size of the opening.

Optional fans with customizable RGB lighting create a virtual light show for an even more arresting appearance. Outfitted with two handles and wheels covered with a carbon fibre pattern, the new rigs can be easily moved from one location to another. Tool-less side panels make component upgrades easy and the push-open top gives users a quick way to switch fans. A front-access headset cradle and cable management help keep the game area tidy.

“The Predator Orion 9000 is the most powerful PC we’ve ever made,” said Jeff Lee, General Manager, Stationary Computing, IT Products Business, Acer. “With 4-way graphics and 18-core processors, it is a platform that takes gamers and intense graphic users beyond their dreams.”

The Predator Orion 9000 series feature liquid cooling and Acer’s IceTunnel 2.0 to keep the temperature down while the game heats up. IceTunnel 2.0 is an advanced airflow management solution that cleverly separates the system into several thermal zones, each with an individual airflow tunnel to expel heat. Huge metal mesh panels on the front and top allow more cold air in and the rising hot air of the liquid-cooled CPU out, while up to five 120 mm fans in the front, top, and back channel cool air through the chassis.

Part of the airflow is redirected towards the back of the motherboard tray to cool the storage devices. The graphic cards feature blower-style fans to drive the heat out from the back, while the PSU is self-contained to avoid thermal interference.

An Extreme Platform for Gaming and Content Creation

As one of the initial major OEMs to bring AMD’s latest Radeon RX Vega graphics to a gaming desktop, Acer raises the bar with the capability to support up to 4 Radeon RX Vega cards to deliver near-photorealistic imagery – in real-time at high resolutions in stereo and at high refresh rates. Gamers also have the option of two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080Ti cards in SLI, which support virtual reality with ease.

“We are thrilled that Acer has chosen the AMD Radeon RX Vega graphics card for their highest performing PC ever made. RX Vega is a perfect complement to the Predator Orion in terms of both beauty and power. A single RX Vega enables ultra high resolutions and a tear-free, buttery smooth 60 frames per second. And with groundbreaking new features such as the High Bandwidth Cache Controller and Rapid Packed Math, gamers can only expect their system to perform better and better as new titles continue to emerge to take full advantage of them,” said Scott Herkelman, VP and General Manager, Gaming, Radeon Technologies Group, AMD.

The Predator Orion 9000 will offer up to a cutting-edge Intel Core i9 Extreme Edition 18-core processor and up to 128 GB quad-channel DDR4 memory, allowing it to handle compute-intensive tasks with ease while providing exceptional performance.

“The new Intel Core X-series processor family raises the bar for what’s possible with desktop computing, delivering up to 18 cores and 36 threads for incredible performance and extreme megatasking raw power,” said Anand Srivatsa, General Manager of the Desktop Platform Group, Intel. “This unprecedented level of power is on full display thanks to our strong partnership with Acer on the Predator Orion 900 featuring the Intel Core i9 Extreme Edition processor.”

One-punch overclocking enables battlers to select turbo performance with a single press of a button.

Excellent connectivity includes two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports (one Type-C and one Type-A), eight USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports (one Type-C and seven Type-A) and two USB 2.0 ports (Type-A). The Predator Orion 9000 series support a total of three M.2 slots to extend the ability to increase the speed, power and capabilities of the PC, and four PCIe x16 slots provide ample expansion for video cards.

Acer Predator X35: Awe-Inspiring Visuals

This large 35-inch, 21:9 monitor sports an immersive 1800 curve and a brilliant (3440 x 1440) WQHD resolution. Featuring NVIDIA G-SYNC, Acer HDR Ultra and quantum dot technologies, it also provides the best possible contrast quality with high dynamic range. Advanced LED local dimming in 512 individually-controlled zones shine light only when and where it is required. The Predator X35 delivers a broader, more deeply saturated color gamut covering 90 percent of the DCI-P3 color standard, and a luminance range several times greater than that of traditional dynamic range monitors. The fast 4 ms response time and high 200 Hz refresh rate combined with NVIDIA G-SYNC, makes gameplay smooth and life-like with no tearing or visual artifacts.

Outfitted with Predator GameView, there are eight pre-set display modes to optimize visuals for different types of action. In addition to Standard, ECO, Graphic and Movie, there are three special game modes, including Action, Racing and Sports, which can be easily accessed through a hotkey or the On-Screen Display (OSD) menu. Gamers can also define their own custom profile and program each mode according to their preferences.

Acer BlueLightShield technology lets customers reduce blue light emissions by selecting from four different filter settings via the OSD menu. The premium VA panel enables wide viewing angles up to 178-degrees horizontally and vertically. In addition, Dark Boost technology allows fine details to be seen in dimly lit environments.

Predator Gadgets Enhance Gameplay

The Predator Galea 500 gaming headset puts you right inside the game, giving you the ability to hear and not just see the exact location of elements within the game. Acer TrueHarmony 3D Soundscape technology recreates the acoustic space based on the orientation of the player’s head, convincing the brain that sound is coming from a fixed direction. Featuring a driver diaphragm made from bio-cellulose with rubber surround, the Predator Galea 500 headset delivers clear highs with resounding lows, and responds quickly to precisely reproduce vocals and mid-high range notes, while a unique acoustic cavity helps deliver punchy rhythmic bass. The Predator Galea 500 is also customizable, letting customers select from three modes including EQ Music, Movie and Sport.

The new Predator Cestus 500 gaming mouse features a unique dual switch design, which allows gamers to adjust the click resistance according to the game type they are playing, such as a lighter resistance for FPS games that demand a more nimble reaction, or a heavier resistance for fine maneuvers in RTS games. It features 16.8 million RGB color lights, 8 lighting patterns, 5 on-board profile settings, 8 programmable buttons, and a gold-plated USB connector.

Pricing and Availability

The Acer Predator Orion 9000 series, The Acer Predator X35, The Predator Galea gaming headset and Predator Cestus will not be available in South Africa.

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When will we stop calling them phones?

If you don’t remember when phones were only used to talk to people, you may wonder why we still use this term for handsets, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK, on the eve of the 10th birthday of the app.

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Do you remember when handsets were called phones because, well, we used them to phone people?

It took 120 years from the invention of the telephone to the use of phones to send text.

Between Alexander Graham Bell coining the term “telephone” in 1876 and Finland’s two main mobile operators allowing SMS messages between consumers in 1995, only science fiction writers and movie-makers imagined instant communication evolving much beyond voice. Even when BlackBerry shook the business world with email on a phone at the end of the last century, most consumers were adamant they would stick to voice.

It’s hard to imagine today that the smartphone as we know it has been with us for less than 10 years. Apple introduced the iPhone, the world’s first mass-market touchscreen phone, in June 2007, but it is arguable that it was the advent of the app store in July the following year that changed our relationship with phones forever.

That was the moment when the revolution in our hands truly began, when it became possible for a “phone” to carry any service that had previously existed on the World Wide Web.

Today, most activity carried out by most people on their mobile devices would probably follow the order of social media in first place – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn all jostling for attention – and  instant messaging in close second, thanks to WhatsApp, Messenger, SnapChat and the like. Phone calls – using voice that is – probably don’t even take third place, but play fourth or fifth fiddle to mapping and navigation, driven by Google Maps and Waze, and transport, thanks to Uber, Taxify, and other support services in South Africa like MyCiti,  Admyt and Kaching.

Despite the high cost of data, free public Wi-Fi is also seeing an explosion in use of streaming video – whether Youtube, Netflix, Showmax, or GETblack – and streaming music, particularly with the arrival of Spotify to compete with Simfy Africa.

Who has time for phone calls?

The changing of the phone guard in South Africa was officially signaled last week with the announcement of Vodacom’s annual results. Voice revenue for the 2018 financial year ending 31 March had fallen by 4.6%, to make up 40.6% of Vodacom’s revenue. Total revenue had grown by 8.1%, which meant voice seriously underperformed the group, and had fallen by 4% as a share of revenue, from 2017’s 44.6%.

The reason? Data had not only outperformed the group, increasing revenue by 12.8%, but it had also risen from 39.7% to 42.8% of group revenue,

This means that data has not only outperformed voice for the first time – as had been predicted by World Wide Worx a year ago – but it has also become Vodacom’s biggest contributor to revenue.

That scenario is being played out across all mobile network operators. In the same way, instant messaging began destroying SMS revenues as far back as five years ago – to the extent that SMS barely gets a mention in annual reports.

Data overtaking voice revenues signals the demise of voice as the main service and key selling point of mobile network operators. It also points to mobile phones – let’s call them handsets – shifting their primary focus. Voice quality will remain important, but now more a subset of audio quality rather than of connectivity. Sound quality will become a major differentiator as these devices become primary platforms for movies and music.

Contact management, privacy and security will become critical features as the handset becomes the storage device for one’s entire personal life.

Integration with accessories like smartwatches and activity monitors, earphones and earbuds, virtual home assistants and virtual car assistants, will become central to the functionality of these devices. Why? Because the handsets will control everything else? Hardly.

More likely, these gadgets will become an extension of who we are, what we do and where we are. As a result, they must be context aware, and also context compatible. This means they must hand over appropriate functions to appropriate devices at the appropriate time. 

I need to communicate only using my earpiece? The handset must make it so. I have to use gesture control, and therefore some kind of sensor placed on my glasses, collar or wrist? The handset must instantly surrender its centrality.

There are numerous other scenarios and technology examples, many out of the pages of science fiction, that point to the changing role of the “phone”. The one thing that’s obvious is that it will be silly to call it a phone for much longer.

  • Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube
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MTN 5G test gets 520Mbps

MTN and Huawei have launched Africa’s first 5G field trial with an end-to-end Huawei 5G solution.

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The field trial demonstrated a 5G Fixed-Wireless Access (FWA) use case with Huawei’s 5G 28GHz mmWave Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) in a real-world environment in Hatfield Pretoria, South Africa. Speeds of 520Mbps downlink and 77Mbps uplink were attained throughout respectively.

“These 5G trials provide us with an opportunity to future proof our network and prepare it for the evolution of these new generation networks. We have gleaned invaluable insights about the modifications that we need to do on our core, radio and transmission network from these pilots. It is important to note that the transition to 5G is not just a flick of a switch, but it’s a roadmap that requires technical modifications and network architecture changes to ensure that we meet the standards that this technology requires. We are pleased that we are laying the groundwork that will lead to the full realisation of the boundless opportunities that are inherent in the digital world.” says Babak Fouladi, Group Chief Technology & Information Systems Officer, at MTN Group.

Giovanni Chiarelli, Chief Technology and Information Officer for MTN SA said: “Next generation services such as virtual and augmented reality, ultra-high definition video streaming, and cloud gaming require massive capacity and higher user data rates. The use of millimeter-wave spectrum bands is one of the key 5G enabling technologies to deliver the required capacity and massive data rates required for 5G’s Enhanced Mobile Broadband use cases. MTN and Huawei’s joint field trial of the first 5G mmWave Fixed-Wireless Access solution in Africa will also pave the way for a fixed-wireless access solution that is capable of replacing conventional fixed access technologies, such as fibre.”

“Huawei is continuing to invest heavily in innovative 5G technologies”, said Edward Deng, President of Wireless Network Product Line of Huawei. “5G mmWave technology can achieve unprecedented fiber-like speed for mobile broadband access. This trial has shown the capabilities of 5G technology to deliver exceptional user experience for Enhanced Mobile Broadband applications. With customer-centric innovation in mind, Huawei will continue to partner with MTN to deliver best-in-class advanced wireless solutions.”

“We are excited about the potential the technology will bring as well as the potential advancements we will see in the fields of medicine, entertainment and education. MTN has been investing heavily to further improve our network, with the recent “Best in Test” and MyBroadband best network recognition affirming this. With our focus on providing the South Africans with the best customer experience, speedy allocation of spectrum can help bring more of these technologies to our customers,” says Giovanni.

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