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Tag: Opposable Thumbs (Page 1 of 182)

AMD Ryzen 3 1300X and 1200: True quad-core CPUs for just $130 and $110

Enlarge (credit: Mark Walton)

Ryzen 3 1300X and Ryzen 3 1200, AMD's budget-focused quad-core CPUs, launch today for $130 and $110 respectively. UK pricing is yet to be confirmed, but don't expect much change from £120 and £100 respectively.

Like the rest of the Ryzen line-up, Ryzen 3 offers more cores compared to a similarly priced Intel chip. The Ryzen 3 1200—which features four cores, four threads, a base clock of 3.1GHz and a boost clock of 3.4GHz—is priced below Intel's Core i3-7100, a dual-core chip with hyperthreading. The Ryzen 3 1300X—which is also a 4C/4T chip with a base clock of 3.5GHz and a boost clock of 3.7GHz—is cheaper than the 2C/4T Intel Core i3-7300. Both sport a TDP of 65W.

While the Intel chips offer higher out-of-the-box clock speeds along with better IPC performance, Ryzen 3 should perform better in multithreaded tasks. AMD's own Cinebench results put Ryzen 3 ahead of Core i3 by as much as 29 percent. AMD claims Ryzen 3 will match Core i3 in 1080p gaming performance too, thanks to its two extra physical cores.

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Blizzard shuts down “legacy” WoW fan server hours after it goes up

Enlarge / The error message that greeted thousands of Felmyst players after the server was shut down by a legal threat mere hours after launching Friday.

A highly anticipated private server intended to emulate the state of World of Warcraft during the decade-old "Burning Crusade" expansion was shut down by a legal demand delivered by Blizzard representation mere hours after the server launched on Friday.

The planned launch of the Felmyst server had been heavily anticipated in the "legacy server" subcommunity of WoW players who seek to emulate a "vanilla" version of the game as it existed before the current slate of expansions and updates changed how the MMO looks, plays, and feels. While other fan-run, "Burning Crusade"-era legacy servers exist, Felmyst had already earned a reputation before launch as one of the best and most complete efforts to capture that well-remembered era of the game in a playable way.

But with thousands of players reportedly logged on after that launch Friday afternoon, the Felmyst server was unceremoniously taken down after just five hours. The reason: a cease-and-desist letter from Mitchell Silberberg and Knupp LLP, representing Blizzard, asking for an immediate shutdown under numerous copyright laws. A copy of that letter can be seen in a message from Felmyst coder and creator Gummy52 (which now stands in place of the removed Felmyst webpage and forums) as well as a video Gummy52 posted this morning.

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Hour of Devastation review: The evil elder dragon god-pharaoh has arrived. RIP.

Magic: The Gathering has expanded yet again with Hour of Devastation, a follow-up to Amonkhet that continues to riff on Egyptian mythology with a large helping of dragon-led apocalypse. We’ve drafted, built decks, and played a bunch of Hour of Devastation matches—read on for our review!

We’re also going to dive into some of the recent news around the game, including changes to set structure and release cadence, and the future of Magic’s digital offerings.

What happened to Amonkhet?

Hour of Devastation (HOU) is set on the world of Amonkhet (see our review of the original set for more info) as the prophesied “hours” arrive, momentous events that promised glory and eternal life. It turns out, though, that those events were the machinations of Nicol Bolas, the major antagonist of the set.

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Level up: How video games evolved to solve significant scientific problems

Yes, folks, this was once a revolutionary experience in gaming.


In the early 1950s, just as rock ‘n’ roll was hinting at social change, the first video games were quietly being designed in the form of technology demonstrations—and a scientist was behind it. In October 1958, Brookhaven National Laboratory physicist William Higinbotham created Tennis for Two. Despite graphics that are ridiculously primitive by today’s standards, it has been described as the first video game in history.

Higinbotham was inspired by the government research institution’s Donner Model 30 analog computer, which could simulate trajectories with wind resistance, and the game was designed for display at an annual public exhibition. Although his purpose in creating the game was rather academic, Tennis for Two turned out to be a hit at the three-day exhibition, with thousands of students lining up to see the game.

At first glance, today's video gamers and scientists might appear to be worlds apart. But starting with Tennis for Two, video games have quietly and consistently been within the purview of academic study. Each generation of gamers has seen new titles created at various research institutions in order to explore programming, human-computer interaction, and algorithms. Lesser-known chapters of history reveal these two worlds are not as far apart as you might think.

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Mario Kart director philosophical about need for the blue shell

Enlarge / Love it or hate it, Mario Kart's director see the blue shell is a necessary part of the Mario Kart formula. (credit: YouTube / ZaziNombies)

Since its introduction in Mario Kart 64, the blue shell has become a universal shorthand for the perils of video game rubber-banding; an item I called "scourge of the skillful and the great white hope of the novice" in my own Mario Kart 8 review. Targeting the first-place player with a nigh-unstoppable projectile from anywhere on the course is a perfect encapsulation of the series' focus on giving everyone playing a chance rather than letting pure racing skill win the day by default.

Love it or hate it, the blue shell is a necessary part of the game, according to Mario Kart 7 and 8 director Kosuke Yabuki. In a recent interview with Eurogamer, Yabuki said Mario Kart just doesn't feel like Mario Kart without the item.

"We're always experimenting with what new elements to introduce or what elements can be removed," Yabuki told the site. "We have tried—or we are trying—to see what the game's like without the blue shell. When we've experimented without the blue shell, actually it feels like something's missing. Like there's something not quite enough in the game. So for now we've kept it in."

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