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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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Gadget goes to Hollywood

Gadget visited the Netflix studios last week. In the first of a series, ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK talks to CEO Reed Hastings.

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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is no stranger to Africa. He has travelled throughout South Africa, taught maths in Swaziland for two years with the Peace Corps, and visits close family in Maputo. As a result, he is keenly aware of the South African entertainment and connectivity landscape.

In an exclusive interview at the Netflix studios in Hollywood, Los Angeles, last week, he revealed that Netflix had no intentions of challenging MultiChoice’s dominance of live sports broadcasting on the continent.

“Other firms will do sport and news; we are trying to focus on movies and TV shows,” he said. “There are a lot of areas that are video that we are not doing: sports, news, video gaming, user-generated content. We don’t have live sport.

Reed Hastings at the Netflix studios in Hollywood last week. Pic: ADAM ROSE

“We’re not replacing MultiChoice at all. Their subscriber growth is steady in South Africa. They serve a need that’s independent of the Internet, via low-price satellite. There is no intention of capturing that audience. If they’re growing, it’s because they serve a need.”

While Reed ruled out any collaboration with MultiChoice on its satellite delivery platform, despite its collaboration with another pay-TV service, Sky TV in the United Kingdom, he did not close the door. He stressed that Netflix saw itself as an Internet-based service, and would pursue the opportunities offered by evolving broadband in Africa.

“If you look in other markets like the USA, how Comcast carries us on set-top boxes with their other services, it could happen with MultiChoice, the same as with all the pay-TV providers.

“We’re really focused on being a service over the Internet and not over satellite. Our service doesn’t work on satellite. Where we work with Sky is on Internet-connected devices. We’re happy to work on Internet-connected devices. We tend to work on smart TVs, but need broadband Internet for that.

“Broadband is getting faster in Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa – we can see the positive trendlines – so it’s more likely we will work with broadband Internet companies.”

Hastings is a firm believer in the idea that one content provider’s success does not depend on pushing another down.

“HBO has grown at the same time as we have, so can see our success doesn’t determine their success. What matters is amazing content with which the world falls in love.”

Click here to read on about Hastings’ views on international expansion, and how the streaming service selects content for its platform.

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Take these 5 steps to digital

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By MARK WALKER, Associate Vice President for Sub-Saharan Africa at IDC Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

Digital transformation isn’t a buzz word because it sounds nice and looks good on the business CV. It is fundamental to long-term business success. IDC anticipates that 75% of enterprises will be on the path to digital transformation by 2027. 

However, digital transformation is not a process that ticks a box and moves to the next item on the agenda – it is defined by the organisation’s shift towards a digitally empowered infrastructure and employee. It is an evolution across system, infrastructure, process, individual and leadership and should follow clear pathways to ensure sustainable success.

The nature of the enterprise has changed completely with the influence of digital, cloud and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), and success is reliant on strategic change.

There is a lot more ownership and transparency throughout the organisation and there is a responsibility that comes with that – employees want access to information, there has to be speed in knowledge, transactions and engagement. To ensure that the organisation evolves alongside digital and demand, it has to follow five very clear pathways to long-term, achievable success.

The first of these is to evaluate where the enterprise sits right now in terms of its digital journey. This will differ by organisation size and industry, as well as its reliance on technology. A smaller organisation that only needs a basic accounting function or the internet for email will have far different considerations to a small organisation that requires high-end technology to manage hedge funds or drive cloud solutions. The same comparisons apply to the enterprise-level organisation. The mining sector will have a completely different sub-set of technology requirements and infrastructure limitations to the retail or finance sectors.

Ultimately, every organisation, regardless of size or industry, is reliant on technology to grow or deliver customer service, but their digital transformation requirements are different. To ensure that investment into artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, knowledge engines, automation and connectivity are accurately placed within the business and know exactly where the business is going.

The second step is to examine what the business wants to achieve. Again, the goals of the organisation over the long and short term will be entirely sector dependent, but it is essential that it examine what the competitive environment looks like and what influences customer expectations. This understanding will allow for the business to hone its digital requirements accordingly.

The third step is to match expectations to reality. You need to see how you can move your digital transformation strategy forward and what areas require prioritisation, what funding models will support your digital aspirations, and how this tie into what the market wants. Ultimately, every step of the process has to be prioritised to ensure it maps back to where you are and the strategic steps that will take you to where you want to go.

The fourth step is to look at the operational side of the process. This is as critical as any other aspect of the transformation strategy as it maps budget to skills to infrastructure in such a way as to ensure that any project delivers return on investment. Budget and funding are always top of mind when it comes to digital transformation – these are understandably key issues for the business. How will it benefit from the investment? How will it influence the customer experience? What impact will this have on the ongoing bottom line? These questions tie neatly into the fifth step in the process – the feedback loop.

This is often the forgotten step, but it is the most important. The feedback loop is critical to ensuring that the digital transformation process is achieving the right results, that the right metrics are in place, and that the needle is moving in the right direction. It is within this feedback loop that the organisation can consistently refine the process to ensure that it moves to each successive step with the right metrics in place.

There is also one final element that every organisation should have in place throughout its digital evolution. An element that many overlook – engagement. There must be a real desire to change, from the top of the organisation right down to the bottom, and an understanding of what it means to undertake this change and why it is essential. This is why this will be a key discussion at the 2019 IDC South Africa CIO Summit taking place in April this year. With this in place, the five steps to digital transformation will make sense and deliver the right results.

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