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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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AppDate: uKheshe bring banking to the masses

In his apps roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights uKheshe, FNB’s banking app with its will feature, Split Payments, Momentum Safety Alert and Fleetonomy.

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uKheshe micro transaction platform

Financial inclusion took another step forward as local start-up, uKheshe, South Africa’s cheapest and most convenient QR cash card and micro transaction platform, won the 2019 Global Fintech Hackcelerator @ Southern Africa competition. 

“The issue of financial inclusion is a global one and the more we can do to uplift the unbanked and under banked, the healthier their respective economies will become,” says Clayton Hayward, co-founder, uKheshe.

While 1.2 billion people have opened a financial account since 2011, there is still an estimated 1.7 billion adults worldwide (or 31% of adults) who don’t have a basic transaction account.  Globally, two-thirds of adults without an account cite a lack of money as a key reason, which implies that financial services aren’t yet affordable or designed to fit low-income users.

To find out more about uKheshe click here

FNB’s banking app with will feature

First National Bank now lets its customers draw up their own wills via the FNB Online Banking platform at no cost. To date, the bank has seen a significant increase in the number of clients who drafted their own wills online, with over 52 000 clients already accessing the functionality.

Approximately 80% of South Africans don’t have a valid will in place; and many people believe that it’s a need only when they get older, or later in life. 

“Whilst the digital process is simple and easy to use, the solution also helps with a dedicated client support centre should clients need further assistance or advice regarding the drafting of their wills,” says Johan Strydom, Growth Head, FNB Wealth and Investments. “The solution aims to simplify the process and allows customers to easily draft a will online anytime and at any place, at no cost. In addition, FNB will keep your original will in safe custody at no extra cost.”

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Available the FNB app which can be be downloaded here.

Split Payments

PayFast has launched Split Payments, a South African-first that instantly splits a portion of an online payment with a third party. The service is designed to facilitate fast, safe payments for platform-based businesses, including online marketplaces.

For those who run a marketplace that brings together multiple sellers or merchants looking for new sales channels, Split Payments addresses payment headaches with a simple API integration.

Consumers are used to engaging with large global transactional platforms such as AirBnB, Uber, and Amazon. The benefits and extended reach of these types of platforms are catching on locally, and organisations like estate agency groups and even community marketplaces are setting up digital trading platforms.

The app allows businesses to instantly split out commission, membership or listing fees, when a payment is made via one of its supported payment methods.

For each online payment received  the business can determine what the split is, either a fixed amount, a percentage, or a combination of both. Custom recurring payment integration, such as subscriptions payments, can also be split automatically.

Platform: iOS and Android

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Download Split Payments here

Read more about Momentum’s new Safety Alert app and Fleetonomy.

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Why 4G is still a thing

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Even with the 5G era already upon us, investment in 4G/LTE networks is still vitally important for operators in sub-Saharan Africa and must remain a core focus of network construction for the immediate future. This is according to David Chen, Vice-President, Huawei Southern Africa. 

“Currently, the mobile broadband penetration rate in Africa is only 47%, while 4G penetration rate is merely 10%,” Chen said.

“Insufficient coverage causes LTE users to fall back to the 2G or 3G networks, resulting in significant decline in user experience. It also leads to congestion on the 2G and 3G networks and makes it difficult to release spectrum used by 2G and 3G.”

Chen said that LTE and 5G complement each other and are evolving in parallel. In the next few years, 5G will mainly be used in more industrial communications.

LTE will remain the primary choice for global mobile communications through 2025. It will form the basic layer of national networks, especially when it comes to the mobile broadband access.

“It will take a long time for 5G to provide nationwide continuous coverage. Before that, enhanced LTE networks can guarantee optimal user experience for 5G users, including services such as VR, AR, and cloud gaming,” said Chen.

He said that it is important for operators to invest in 4G to secure future growth, as it is estimated that there will be an additional 80 million LTE users in sub-Saharan Africa by 2025.

Driven by this growth, LTE traffic in sub-Saharan Africa will increase by a factor of 8.8. By 2025, about 80% of all data traffic in the region will be over an LTE network.

LTE will also be the main source of future revenue for operators.

“According to GSMA Intelligence, 2G and 3G users in sub-Saharan Africa will gradually migrate to 4G,” said Chen. “By 2025, the proportion of 2G users will drop from 46% to 12%.”

Part of the reason for the migration to 4G is because the ecosystem is mature.

“The price of feature phones supporting VoLTE in the sub-Saharan Africa market has been as low as $25,” Chen said.

Since 5G equipment is already available, there is an opportunity for operators to build out their 4G networks while ensuring that they can evolve to 5G in future.

Chen offered the following tips to operators to ensure they are ready for 5G:

  • All future equipment installations should be 5G ready, allowing easy upgrades to 5G through software updates.
  • Software should support multi-standard spectrum sharing to improve spectrum efficiency, and to allow the smooth migration of 2G and 3G users.
  • Networks must support 4G and 5G coordination, in terms of spectrum, operation and maintenance. This will ensure that users have a consistent experience as we enter the 5G era.
  • The value of existing ICT infrastructure, such as base station sites, must be maximised to avoid overlapping services and wasted resources. This would mean boosting the capacity and coverage of every station for optimum efficiency.
  • Carriers should explore the business case for all possible 5G innovations when building 4G networks, and not just embrace 5G for its own sake. This will mean building business models around IoT, video, live broadcast, augmented reality, and virtual reality.
  • It is important that operators build partnerships with providers that can support the ongoing spectrum evolution with fast site upgrades and large-capacity solutions. The idea is to maximise the value of 4G networks, and smoothly evolve to 5G without unnecessary infrastructure investment.

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