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.
Prepare your cam to capture the Blood Moon
On 27 July 2018, South Africans can witness a total lunar eclipse, as the earth’s shadow completely covers the moon.
Also known as a blood or red moon, a total lunar eclipse is the most dramatic of all lunar eclipses and presents an exciting photographic opportunity for any aspiring photographer or would-be astronomers.
“A lunar eclipse is a rare cosmic sight. For centuries these events have inspired wonder, interest and sometimes fear amongst observers. Of course, if you are lucky to be around when one occurs, you would want to capture it all on camera,” says Dana Eitzen, Corporate and Marketing Communications Executive at Canon South Africa.
Canon ambassador and acclaimed landscape photographer David Noton has provided his top tips to keep in mind when photographing this occasion. In South Africa, the eclipse will be visible from about 19h14 on Friday, 27 July until 01h28 on the Saturday morning. The lunar eclipse will see the light from the sun blocked by the earth as it passes in front of the moon. The moon will turn red because of an effect known as Rayleigh Scattering, where bands of green and violet light become filtered through the atmosphere.
A partial eclipse will begin at 20h24 when the moon will start to turn red. The total eclipse begins at about 21h30 when the moon is completely red. The eclipse reaches its maximum at 22h21 when the moon is closest to the centre of the shadow.
David Noton advises:
- Download the right apps to be in-the-know
The sun’s position in the sky at any given time of day varies massively with latitude and season. That is not the case with the moon as its passage through the heavens is governed by its complex elliptical orbit of the earth. That orbit results in monthly, rather than seasonal variations, as the moon moves through its lunar cycle. The result is big differences in the timing of its appearance and its trajectory through the sky. Luckily, we no longer need to rely on weight tables to consult the behaviour of the moon, we can simply download an app on to our phone. The Photographer’s Ephemeris is useful for giving moonrise and moonset times, bearings and phases; while the Photopills app gives comprehensive information on the position of the moon in our sky. Armed with these two apps, I’m planning to shoot the Blood Moon rising in Dorset, England. I’m aiming to capture the moon within the first fifteen minutes of moonrise so I can catch it low in the sky and juxtapose it against an object on the horizon line for scale – this could be as simple as a tree on a hill.
- Invest in a lens with optimal zoom
On the 27th July, one of the key challenges we’ll face is shooting the moon large in the frame so we can see every crater on the asteroid pockmarked surface. It’s a task normally reserved for astronomers with super powerful telescopes, but if you’ve got a long telephoto lens on a full frame DSLR with around 600 mm of focal length, it can be done, depending on the composition. I will be using the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with an EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Ext. 1.4 x lens.
- Use a tripod to capture the intimate details
As you frame up your shot, one thing will become immediately apparent; lunar tracking is incredibly challenging as the moon moves through the sky surprisingly quickly. As you’ll be using a long lens for this shoot, it’s important to invest in a sturdy tripod to help capture the best possible image. Although it will be tempting to take the shot by hand, it’s important to remember that your subject is over 384,000km away from you and even with a high shutter speed, the slightest of movements will become exaggerated.
- Integrate the moon into your landscape
Whilst images of the moon large in the frame can be beautifully detailed, they are essentially astronomical in their appeal. Personally, I’m far more drawn to using the lunar allure as an element in my landscapes, or using the moonlight as a light source. The latter is difficult, as the amount of light the moon reflects is tiny, whilst the lunar surface is so bright by comparison. Up to now, night photography meant long, long exposures but with cameras such as the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV now capable of astonishing low light performance, a whole new nocturnal world of opportunities has been opened to photographers.
- Master the shutter speed for your subject
The most evocative and genuine use of the moon in landscape portraits results from situations when the light on the moon balances with the twilight in the surrounding sky. Such images have a subtle appeal, mood and believability. By definition, any scene incorporating a medium or wide-angle view is going to render the moon as a tiny pin prick of light, but its presence will still be felt. Our eyes naturally gravitate to it, however insignificant it may seem. Of course, the issue of shutter speed is always there; too slow an exposure and all we’ll see is an unsightly lunar streak, even with a wide-angle lens.
On a clear night, mastering the shutter speed of your camera is integral to capturing the moon – exposing at 1/250 sec @ f8 ISO 100 (depending on focal length) is what you’ll need to stop the motion from blurring and if you are to get the technique right, with the high quality of cameras such as the Canon EOS 5DS R, you might even be able to see the twelve cameras that were left up there by NASA in the 60’s!
How Africa can embrace AI
Currently, no African country is among the top 10 countries expected to benefit most from AI and automation. But, the continent has the potential to catch up with the rest of world if we act fast, says ZOAIB HOOSEN, Microsoft Managing Director.
To play catch up, we must take advantage of our best and most powerful resource – our human capital. According to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), more than 60 percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa is under the age of 25.
These are the people who are poised to create a future where humans and AI can work together for the good of society. In fact, the most recent WEF Global Shapers survey found that almost 80 percent of youth believe technology like AI is creating jobs rather than destroying them.
Staying ahead of the trends to stay employed
AI developments are expected to impact existing jobs, as AI can replicate certain activities at greater speed and scale. In some areas, AI could learn faster than humans, if not yet as deeply.
According to Gartner, while AI will improve the productivity of many jobs and create millions more new positions, it could impact many others. The simpler and less creative the job, the earlier, a bot for example, could replace it.
It’s important to stay ahead of the trends and find opportunities to expand our knowledge and skills while learning how to work more closely and symbiotically with technology.
Another global study by Accenture, found that the adoption of AI will create several new job categories requiring important and yet surprising skills. These include trainers, who are tasked with teaching AI systems how to perform; explainers, who bridge the gap between technologist and business leader; and sustainers, who ensure that AI systems are operating as designed.
It’s clear that successfully integrating human intelligence with AI, so they co-exist in a two-way learning relationship, will become more critical than ever.
Combining STEM with the arts
Young people have a leg up on those already in the working world because they can easily develop the necessary skills for these new roles. It’s therefore essential that our education system constantly evolves to equip youth with the right skills and way of thinking to be successful in jobs that may not even exist yet.
As the division of tasks between man and machine changes, we must re-evaluate the type of knowledge and skills imparted to future generations.
For example, technical skills will be required to design and implement AI systems, but interpersonal skills, creativity and emotional intelligence will also become crucial in giving humans an advantage over machines.
“At one level, AI will require that even more people specialise in digital skills and data science. But skilling-up for an AI-powered world involves more than science, technology, engineering and math. As computers behave more like humans, the social sciences and humanities will become even more important. Languages, art, history, economics, ethics, philosophy, psychology and human development courses can teach critical, philosophical and ethics-based skills that will be instrumental in the development and management of AI solutions.” This is according to Microsoft president, Brad Smith, and EVP of AI and research, Harry Shum, who recently authored the book “The Future Computed”, which primarily deals with AI and its role in society.
Interestingly, institutions like Stanford University are already implementing this forward-thinking approach. The university offers a programme called CS+X, which integrates its computer science degree with humanities degrees, resulting in a Bachelor of Arts and Science qualification.
Revisiting laws and regulation
For this type of evolution to happen, the onus is on policy makers to revisit current laws and even bring in new regulations. Policy makers need to identify the groups most at risk of losing their jobs and create strategies to reintegrate them into the economy.
Simultaneously, though AI could be hugely beneficial in areas such as curbing poor access to healthcare and improving diagnoses for example, physicians may avoid using this technology for fear of malpractice. To avoid this, we need regulation that closes the gap between the pace of technological change and that of regulatory response. It will also become essential to develop a code of ethics for this new ecosystem.
Preparing for the future
With the recent convergence of a transformative set of technologies, economies are entering a period in which AI has the potential overcome physical limitations and open up new sources of value and growth.
To avoid missing out on this opportunity, policy makers and business leaders must prepare for, and work toward, a future with AI. We must do so not with the idea that AI is simply another productivity enhancer. Rather, we must see AI as the tool that can transform our thinking about how growth is created.
It comes down to a choice of our people and economies being part of the technological disruption, or being left behind.