Author > Brian Chan

Former Lecturer. Gamer. Idea Generator. Tournament Organizer. Loves Kairosoft games. Lived in a box twice in Recettear. Never turns down a Catan challenge. Cheats in Monopoly. Broke Skyrim. Sucks at Dance Central. Plays a fem Shep. Heavy bow-gunner in MH3p. Completed Persona 2 Portable 4 times. Well, he's just too damn free.

Posts by Brian Chan

MaGaCon tickets are on sale! PS Vita Giveaway begins!

MaGaCon’s second year seems to be getting bigger and better, with frequent giveaways and a whole new look! MaGaCon tickets went on sale recently with a special early bird promotion, going at 50% off! MaGaCon is Malaysia Games Convention, an annual event in its second year this year. This year’s MaGaCon will be in Publika, Solaris Dutamas, from 3rd – 4th November 2012.

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MaGaCon giving away Video Games

Magacon have begun their second giveaway and today, gave a sneak peak at their Tier 4 giveaway prize.

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Magacon’s Video Games Bundle giveaway features a number of recently released titles on the PC/Console platform and also Dark Siders II, which is set to release mid-end August. So, if you’ve thinking of game shopping but didn’t have a chance to do it during the steam sales, why not try out for this giveaway? Here’s a list of the games they will be giving out. According to their site, more games can be recommended by participants through their facebook fan page.

PC
Prototype 2
Starcraft 2
Mass Effect 3
Dirt Showdown
The Sim’s 3
Civilization 5
Kingdoms of Amalur
Ghost Recon Future Soldier
Spec Ops: The Line
Darksiders 2
Saint’s Row: The Third

Consoles
Prototype 2
Kingdoms of Amalur
Ghost Recon Future Soldier
Marvel vs Capcom 3
Spec Ops: The Line
Street Fighter x Tekken
Mass Effect 3
Dirt Showdown
Darksiders 2
Spec Ops: The Line
Saint’s Row: The Third

For more info on this giveaway, visit this link.

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[Review] Acer Aspire S5

oh, you sexy beast

By now, you’ve probably heard of the Acer Aspire S5 and even possibly had a chance to fool around with it (like I did – nothing kinky I might add). One thing that most will conclude is that the Acer Aspire S5 is indeed, without a doubt, thin, light and incredibly fast.

That isn’t all however, the S5’s design allows for extreme portability, the weight, despite a meager difference in comparison to the Acer Aspire S3 on paper, feels very much lighter.

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The Acer Aspire S5 brings to the plate the 3rd Generation of Intel Ultrabook processors, preceding Sandy Bridge and dubbed the Ivy Bridge. Compared to Sandy Bridge the Ivy Bridge delivers 5% to 15% increase in CPU performance and 25% to 68% increase in integrated GPU performance.

Here’s the specs:

Processor & Motherboard:
• Intel® Core™ i5-3317U Processor (3 MB L3 Cache, up to 1.70 GHz with Turbo Boost
up to 2.60 GHz, DDR3 1600 MHz 17W), supporting Intel® 64 architecture, Intel®
Smart Cache
• Mobile Intel® HM77 Express Chipset
• 4GB DDR3 RAM (Max 4GB)
• 128GB SSD

Graphic:

Intel® HD Graphics 4000 with 128 MB of dedicated system memory, supporting
Microsoft® DirectX® 11, OpenGL® 3.1, OpenCL™ v1.1

Audio:
• Optimized Dolby® Home Theater® v4 audio enhancement

Communication:
• Bluetooth® 4.0+HS
• Acer Crystal Eye HD webcam with 1280 x 1024 resolution
• Acer InviLink™ Nplify™ 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™

Others:
• 13.3″ HD 1366 x 768 resolution, Acer CineCrystal™ LED
• Multi-gesture touchpad, supporting two?finger scroll, pinch, rotate, flip
• 2-in-1 card reader (SD™, MMC)
• Thunderbolt™ port and Two USB 3.0 ports with one Power-off Charging
• HDMI™ port with HDCP support
• Acer PowerSmart long?life battery, supporting up to 1,000 charge cycles
• 34 Wh 2310 mAh 4?cell Li?polymer standard battery pack
• Estimated battery life: up to 6.5 hours
• 324.4 (W) x 227.3 (D) x 11.2/15 (H) mm
• Weight: 1.20 kg
• 1-Year International Traveller Warranty
• Colours Available: Midnight Black

You might be asking a few questions right about now.

1. How exactly is the ACER ASPIRE S5 faster?

The Acer Aspire S5 comes with an Intel Ivy Bridge processor (Intel Core i5-3317U) which also includes 4Gb DDR3 1600Mhz RAM and a 128GB SSD. It is built for speed and portability, something that you really need on the go – travel requires you to shut it down often and with these features on board, it can be done between 1.5 seconds to 6 seconds to a maximum of 15 seconds, depending on which state the S5 is in. (sleep, deep sleep or fresh boot)

It’s something you’d use pre-flight, in-flight and possibly at a nearby coffee place, but other than that, the battery life will only last you 6.5 hours at most. Still way better than the S3.

That’s not all, really. The Acer Aspire S5 includes two USB 3.0 and a Thunderbolt™ port for extremely fast transfer times.

2. What makes it so thin?

Oh, you sneaky sneaky thing. Magic Flip hides I/O ports.

With a feature named the Magic Flip, all I/O ports are hidden below the Ultrabook and, using an electric motor, can be revealed via the Magic Flip button. Upon activation, the I/O ports will be revealed. Shutting down the S5 will automatically close it and it will automatically open to vent heat, if your CPU temperature increases beyond a certain threshold. The Magic Flip also comes with embedded software, aiding in ensuring that there are no devices plugged in when it closes (it will not close if devices are plugged in and it will remind you on screen).

This Ultrabook does NOT have any DVD or CD drive, which helps save a lot of space. To be honest, you don’t really need one. Besides that, there is no LAN network port and since it isn’t meant for games, that’s totally fine. Playing around too much with the Magic Flip may break it, I assume that is  the only reason why this baby only has a one (1) year warranty.

3. What makes it better than any other Ultrabook out there?

Beside it being the thinnest, one of the lightest and arguably the fastest Ultrabook in the market at the moment, its design rivals Apple’s MacBook Air. If you’re a Windows user and not into the MAC OS, this would be your best alternative to the MBA. Besides that, it has a decent battery life and good enough for lightweight entertainment on the go.

Conclusion

If you’re strapped for cash but need an Ultrabook, the S5 might not be your cup of tea. If you’re not strapped for cash but need an Ultrabook, theres a small chance that you’d prefer the MacBook Air. Many ultrabooks suffer from a keyboard depth issue, and the Acer Aspire S5 doesn’t really address that problem. So do try it out if you can, as your comfort levels may differ when using this.

All in all, the Acer Aspire S5 is undoubtedly a powerful, thin and portable machine, however, it is on the pricey side with features that may not be practical to some.  The design of the S5 is definitely a significant improvement over its predecessor and shows that Acer aims to improve. I can however, sum up what I think about adding new features into ultrabooks with this quote.

“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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[Comparison] Acer Aspire S5 vs Acer Aspire S3

Acer Aspire S3 Vs Acer Aspire S5

Razor Thin, Lightning Fast

Well now, we all know that the Acer Aspire S5 is definitely better than the Acer Aspire S3 – techies will frown at the need to mention this, but by how much? I can easily write up a statistical comparison using numbers and charts which you would probably not care about (which will be included at the bottom anyway), in which case, it would be an obvious difference. The fact is, it’s better to see it for yourself. Besides the speed, the S5 is actually slightly larger in some dimensions, thinner, lighter and has better build quality compared to the S3. The looks may fool you though, the chrome exterior of the S3 will make it look tougher and stronger, but in reality, it’s the same material only with the S5 being lighter.

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As a proud owner of a swimming Acer Aspire S3, I had no doubt the S5 will trample my little pony, but I had to know by how much.

We did a test that with a fresh S5 (no programs installed except an anti virus) versus a S3 in diagnostics mode (minimum items for start-up to make it “fairer” for the poor S3). The S3 isn’t using a SSD, while the S5 is Ivy Bridge with a SSD on board.

Conclusion, the S5 can turn on, get into windows and shut down before the S3 can even get past the load screen. Now, the best part about it is that, from sleep to wake, its a lightning speed of 1.5 seconds and 6 secs out of deep sleep. Impressive improvement to say the least. But is that enough to pay RM1,000 more?

Slight difference in size

As I previously stated, the build quality is significantly better and is much lighter than its predecessor – 1.2kg vs 1.35kg. It is slightly larger too, if you look at this comparison here (ignore those 2 games, some of my favourites but not related to any tests here :D) – 324/15/227mm vs 323/18/219mm (width, depth, height).

2 Acers and 2 Games.

 

In conclusion, the Acer Aspire S5 is THE rival to the MacBook Air in terms of pricing and weight, if not a Window’s equivalent. The ‘magic flip’ I/O port is interesting, but may be impractical considering that the amount of space saved isn’t largely significant. Adding more moving parts (the electric motor on the ‘magic flip’) gives it another part to break. All in all, the Acer S5 is THE thinnest ultrabook out in the market for now, ‘Magic Flip’ is probably the most innovative improvement one could have on an ultrabook. However, rumour has it that the Acer Aspire S3’s newer generations will be upgraded to the Ivy bridge as well, which narrows the speed difference down. The Acer Aspire S5 is very generous with its 256GB SSD, which would be a seller by itself for an ultrabook this size. It all boils down to your own personal preference, your need for speed and the amount of weight you intend to carry. Its fast, its thin and its light – “Thincredible” seems absolutely fitting.

Here’s the statistical comparison for the Acer Aspire S5 versus Acer Aspire S3.

Acer Aspire S5 (Link)

Processor 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-3517U
Memory 4GB, 1333MHz DDR3
Hard drive 256GB SSD (128GB x2, RAID 0)
Chipset Intel HM77
Graphics Intel HD4000
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Dimensions (Width,Depth,Height) 324mm x 15mm x 227mm
Screen size (diagonal) 13.3 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 1.2kg/1.49kg
Category 13-inch Ultrabook

 Acer Aspire S3 (Link)

Processor 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 2467M
Memory 4GB, 1,333MHz DDR3
Hard drive 20GB SSD / 320GB 5,400rpm
Chipset Intel UM67
Graphics Intel HD3000
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Dimensions (Width,Depth,Height) 323mm x 18mm x 219mm
Screen size (diagonal) 13.3 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 1.35kg / 1.67 kg
Category 13-inch Ultrabook


 

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The Walking Dead Video Game

Players make decisions as Lee Everett, protagonist of The Walking Dead video game.

The Walking Dead is now a video game too.

While it’s not totally uncommon for a comic book to be adapted as a TV series and re-adapted as a video game later, I wished that  “The Walking Dead” would NOT walk that path. The reasoning behind it? I like it too much and most adaptations are horrible! However, with that being said, THIS adaptation has tremendous potential. The game is divided into five episodes and decisions players make in each episode affects the next. This spoiler filled trailer explains how that works, if you don’t mind the spoilers that is. Reminds me of what Mass Effect promised in their series of games(and quite dishearteningly failed to deliver in their final installment).

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The Walking Dead video game delivers cell-shaded artwork coupled with an extremely satisfying back story, staying as close as possible to its comic book roots. Players take the role of Lee Everett, a convicted criminal who gets a second chance at life in a horrifying world filled with the undead, while attempting to hide his identity. Oh, and you get to meet Glenn and some others before they meet Rick Grimes.

Here’s the story trailer:

The Walking Dead is published by Telltale Games, an experienced Adventure game publisher (Sam & Max, Tales of Monkey Island) and famous for comic book/movie adaptations (Back to the Future, Fables). While this game could have easily been made to be similar to Left4Dead or Dead Island, I’m really glad it isn’t a full blown shooter or shoot-em-up and is classified as an Adventure game (with gory bits of zombie killing). For 25USD, its worth every penny.

Fans of the Walking Dead will likely appreciate this. Currently, Episode 1 to 2 is available with the rest coming along within the year. The Walking Dead video game is available on steam for the PC and Mac, Xbox Live (Marketplace) for the Xbox 360, PSN for the PS3 and on the iPhone / iPad for 25USD.

Visit the The Walking Dead in the Steam store here.

 

About the Game

Gain access to the full season [5 episodes] of The Walking Dead by purchasing the Season Pass, which will act as your gateway to every episode of the game.

Episode 1 and 2 are available immediately upon purchasing the full season; each of the remaining episodes of season one will be released periodically. New episodes and updated content will be automatically downloaded and applied via the Steam client. Your new episodes will appear in the in-game menu once downloaded.

The Walking Dead is a five-part game series set in the same universe as Robert Kirkman’s award-winning comic book series. Play as Lee Everett, a convicted criminal, who has been given a second chance at life in a world devastated by the undead. With corpses returning to life and survivors stopping at nothing to maintain their own safety, protecting an orphaned girl named Clementine may offer him redemption in a world gone to hell.

A continuing story of adventure horror spanning across 5 episodes:

  • Episode 1 – A New Day (Available Now)
  • Episode 2 – Starved for Help (Available Now)
  • Episode 3 – Long Road Ahead
  • Episode 4 – Around Every Corner
  • Episode 5 – No Time Left

Key Features:

  • Based on Robert Kirkman’s Eisner-Award winning comic book series, The Walking Dead allows gamers to experience the true horror of the zombie apocalypse
  • A tailored game experience – Live with the profound and lasting consequences of the decisions that you make in each episode. Your actions and choices will affect how your story plays out across the entire series.
  • Experience events, meet people and visit locations that foreshadow the story of Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes
  • Meet Glenn before he heads to Atlanta, explore Hershel’s farm before Rick and his group of survivors arrive and before the barn becomes a notorious location in Walking Dead lore
  • You’ll be forced to make decisions that are not only difficult, but that will require you to make an almost immediate choice. There’s no time to ponder when the undead are pounding the door down!
  • Features meaningful decision-making, exploration, problem solving and a constant fight for survival in a world overrun by the undead
  • Artwork inspired by the original comic books

 

PC System Requirements

Minimum:

    • OS: XP Service Pack 3
    • Processor: 2.0 GHz Pentium 4 or equivalent
    • Memory: 3 GB RAM
    • Hard Disk Space: 2 GB Space Free
    • Video Card: ATI or NVidia card w/ 512 MB RAM (Not recommended for Intel integrated graphics)
    • DirectX®: Direct X 9.0c
    • Sound: Direct X 9.0c sound device
Recommended:

    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: Core 2 Duo 2GHz or equivalent
    • Memory: 3 GB RAM
    • Hard Disk Space: 2 GB Space Free
    • Video Card: ATI or NVidia card w/ 1024 MB RAM (Not recommended for Intel integrated graphics)
    • DirectX®: Direct X 9.0c
    • Sound: Direct X 9.0c sound device

Mac System Requirements

Minimum:

    • OS: Snow Leopard (10.6.X)
    • Processor: 2.3 Ghz Intel
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Hard Disk Space: 2 GB Space Free
    • Video Card: 512 MB NVidia or ATI graphics card
    • Additional: Not recommended for Intel integrated graphics or Mac Minis or early-generation MacBooks
Recommended:

    • OS: Snow Leopard (10.6.X)
    • Processor: Core 2 Duo 2GHz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Hard Disk Space: 2 GB Space Free
    • Video Card: 1024 MB NVidia or ATI graphics card
    • Additional: Not recommended for Intel integrated graphics or Mac Minis or early-generation MacBooks
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