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

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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Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus—Like playing a B-movie with robot Nazis

Video captured/edited by Mark Walton.

In Wolfenstein: The New Order, which tells the story of an alternate history where the Nazis win the Second World War, veteran William “B.J.” Blazkowicz awakens from a coma to find the Nazis have acquired the technology to build giant killer robots powered by the brains of fallen soldiers.

In an effort to stop the Nazis, B.J. infiltrates a Nazi research facility, stealing its flagship nuclear submarine only to find that the codes to operate it are hidden on the Moon. Naturally, Blazkowicz proceeds to the Moon, before returning to Earth to fight the robotic reincarnation of a former soldier.

As stories go, The New Order‘s—even for a video game—is wonderfully ludicrous. But that raises a question for the sequel. When you’ve already battled giant killer robots and travelled to the Moon, just where do you go from there? The answer, in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, is travelling to the most ridiculous, confusing, and downright terrifying place on earth: the good ol’ US of A.

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Matt Groening’s first Netflix series will go all Futurama on Game of Thrones

We don’t often get buzzy about a new Netflix series announcement, especially one without any teaser footage, but Tuesday’s Netflix news shook up the perfect jar of nerd bees.

Simpsons/Futurama co-creator Matt Groening is the latest showrunner to join the online streaming platform, and he’s bringing a substantial number of Futurama staffers and voice actors to a new project: Disenchantment, set to premiere in “2018.” From what we’re hearing, this will put the Groening-series spin on fantasy series like Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings—meaning, equal parts mockery and reverence. Twenty episodes have been ordered, and they will premiere in 10-episode chunks.

A ton of Futurama voice actors are participating, including Billy West, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, and Tress MacNeille. The show as announced will revolve around a “hard-drinking young princess” named Bean, voiced by Broad City star Abbi Jacobson, and her primary companions will include a personal demon voiced by Adult Swim super-weirdo Eric Andre and an elf voiced by comedian Nat Faxon. Longtime Simpsons showrunner Josh Weinstein will join Groening as an executive producer, while Futurama animation company Rough Draft Studios is currently working on the new series. (That series’ final episode aired on Comedy Central in 2013.)

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Get the NES Classic on ThinkGeek while you can [Updated: You can’t]


Update: The three bundles that cost $150 and under have sold out as of 3:37 pm Eastern time, roughly 12 minutes after they were first posted. Three other bundles priced at $169, $170, and $220 are still available.

Further update: All six bundles are out of stock as of 3:47 pm, just over 20 minutes after going up.

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MAME devs are cracking open arcade chips to get around DRM

The community behind the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME) has gone to great lengths to preserve thousands of arcade games run on hundreds of different chipsets through emulation over the years. That preservation effort has now grown to include the physical opening of DRM-protected chips in order to view the raw code written inside them—and it’s an effort that could use your crowdsourced help.

While dumping the raw code from many arcade chips is a simple process, plenty of titles have remained undumped and unemulated because of digital-rights-management code that prevents the ROM files from being easily copied off of the base integrated circuit chips. For some of those protected chips, the decapping process can be used as a DRM workaround by literally removing the chip’s “cap” with nitric acid and acetone.

With the underlying circuit paths exposed within the chip, there are a few potential ways to get at the raw code. For some chips, a bit of quick soldering to that exposed circuitry can allow for a dumped file that gets around any DRM further down the line. In the case of chips that use a non-rewritable Mask ROM, though, the decappers can actually look through a microscope (or high-resolution scan) to see the raw zeroes and ones that make up the otherwise protected ROM code.

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The dramatic details of Steve Jobs’ life are playing out in a new opera

The Making of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, The Santa Fe Opera (YouTube)

Steve Jobs has been the subject of all kinds of art over the years, and now scenes from his life will play out on stage with powerful vocals in a new opera. The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs highlights the “complicated and messy” life of the Apple cofounder and is the product of a partnership between composer Mason Bates and librettist/Pulitzer Prize winner Mark Campbell.

Pairing something as contemporary as the story of Steve Jobs and Apple with a classical medium such as opera may seem like a mismatch. However, Bates was convinced he and Campbell could produce a compelling opera focusing on a big theme of Jobs’ life—his need to control everything and make a perfect product, in contrast with the inherent uncontrollable nature of life.

The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs isn’t a simple story, and that’s not just due to Jobs’ complexities. The stage production is nonlinear, recreating 18 scenes that occurred at various times during Jobs’ life and career. It features important characters that made Jobs’ who he was by the time he passed away in 2011, including business partner Steve Wozniak, his wife Laurene Powell, and Japanese priest Kobun Chino Otogawa, who helped guide Jobs’ conversion to Buddhism.

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Pyre review: A brilliant reinvention of the term “fantasy sports”

Role-playing games and sports video games have more in common than you think. Decades ago, series like Sensible World of Soccer and Tony La Russa Baseball (on PC, not console) filled their career modes with lots of money- and roster-management menus. Modern major-league games and soccer games like FIFA 17 have carried those traditions over, sporting enough card-slotting and story-driven career modes to make them a hat and a wizard robe away from being a full-blown adventure.

But what if a sports game went further with its RPG elements? What if it had a high-stakes, internal-drama story, where relationships between teammates—along with the winners and losers you confront along the way—affected everything from the storytelling to the number-crunching min-max possibilities? I invite the big dogs at EA Sports, 2K Games, and Sony Santa Monica to look at a tremendous example of that experiment: Pyre, out today from Supergiant Games.

Pyre is a departure from the top-down, world-roaming adventures of Supergiant’s previous games Bastion and Transistor. It’s definitely not a Zelda-like quest with gritty narration, but it does see Supergiant continuing its streak of taking an established genre and saying, “we’re gonna build a helluva narrative and aesthetic world in there.”

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

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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