Welcome to Tech Bytes! In this series, we bring the biggest news hitting the Tech and Gaming fields, getting them into a simple brief for you to quickly catch up on, so you’re up to speed over that dinner and drinks.
March 2022 springs up a few surprises in tech and gaming, with names like Apple in the mix. If you’re not caught up on everything that has been revealed, join us as we go through them in our Tech Bytes round-up!
Apple presents new powered-up Mac Studio for creatives
For creatives looking at upgrading their machines, Apple has splashed the details on the newest entry into the Mac lineup, the Mac Studio. The Mac Studio is their all-new desktop machine, sitting right along with the Mac Mini and Mac Pro — the reality being that it is a combination of the two latter systems.
Design-wise, the Mac Studio is akin to a stacked-up Mac Mini, featuring a taller chassis at 3.7-inches. In addition, it houses more ports, with up to six Thunderbolt 4 ports, an SD card slot, two USB-A ports, an Ethernet port, and a port for the HDMI. And at the heart of it is their new chip, the M1 Ultra (essentially two M1 Max chips fused together). It boasts powerful specs with 20 CPU cores, 64 GPU cores, and can go up to 128GB of RAM — specs that best even a Mac Pro.
Premiering alongside the Mac Studio is Apple’s new Studio Display external monitor. It has a 5K resolution screen that can output 600 nits of brightness. At the front, there’s also a 12MP camera that can be used for video calls.
Both the Mac Studio and Studio Display were made available to purchase in Singapore in the middle of March. The former starting at S$2,899 (S$5,899 for the M1 Ultra configuration), while the latter starts at S$2,299.
PRISM+ goes loud with a new soundbar line
Local tech brand PRISM+ has thus far only explored the visual space, producing both monitors and TVs for consumers since starting up. And with the recent launch PRISM+ Alpha OLED TV line, it looks like they will continue to specialise in that direction. However, alongside that launch was also the announcement that they will be delving into audio as well.
PRISM+ is launching new soundbar products, the PRISM+ Symphony and Flow. The PRISM+ Symphony is the premium offering, boasting Dolby Atmos. The 5.1.2 soundbar also has HDMI-eARC, enabling users to play audio at high fidelity. Meanwhile, the PRISM+ Flow is an entry-level option with a smaller profile, allowing it to be more versatile for setups on desktop or small rooms. In addition, the 2.1 speaker system also comes with Dolby Audio Technology.
Both soundbar systems also come with wireless subwoofers to enable more optimal and flexible placement within your home space. There are also five preset modes for News, Music, Sport,
Gaming, and Movie to cater to different types of media.
PRISM+ Symphony and Flow are available now, and the company touts affordable pricing for both, with the Symphony costing S$699 while the Flow goes for just S$249.
Square Enix debuts new future titles
PlayStation had another State of Play showcase this month, this time dedicating the space to their Japanese partners. And among them, you have the big-hitters Capcom and, of course, Square Enix. Naturally, all eyes are on Final Fantasy XVI and Final Fantasy VII Remake Part 2, but the company has opted to use the time to showcase two new games that will be coming later.
The first is The DioField Chronicle. It is a strategy game featuring real-time battles, telling a tale of war and human drama with its narrative and cast of characters. Visually, the game also uses a ‘Diorama’-styled look during battles to present a unique aesthetic that is as though you are overlooking the battlefield yourself. During its unveiling, no specific date was mentioned, but it is set to come out within this year.
The other is Valkyrie Elysium, the last title shown in the presentation. It marks a return to the Valkyrie Profile series, an old-school franchise that first came out in 1999 but hasn’t seen a release on consoles since 2007. The Valkyrie Profile series is an RPG with turn-based elements, but Valkyrie Elysium seems more Action-based, using a fast-paced combo system. Like The DioField Chronicle, it will also launch in 2022 though no specific date was revealed.
While many fans are no doubt eagerly waiting on news for the two big Final Fantasy games, Square Enix seems to have much more on the sleeve than previously thought.
AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800X3D finally gets a release date
Announced earlier at CES 2022, the newest AMD desktop processor — Ryzen 7 5800X3D — has now officially gotten a release date. Consumers can look forward to getting it next month, on 20 April, when it will cost US$449.
The Ryzen 7 5800X3D is the first Ryzen processor to feature AMD 3D V-Cache technology. This enables a performance boost of roughly 15% over the existing Ryzen 5900X.
Also, a new series of new desktop processors containing AMD’s Zen 2 and Zen 3 architectures will be made available. These are meant to be entry-level processors for consumers starting out on PC gaming. The most expensive option is the Ryzen 7 5700X, which costs US$299 and has Zen 3 architecture along with 8 cores and 16 threads. At the other end of the list, the Ryzen 3 4100 is just US$99 and uses Zen 2 architecture with 4 cores and 8 threads.
The new slate of processors will be made available from 4 April onwards and come bundled in with an AMD Wraith Stealth cooler.
Get set for a new Witcher game
After the turmoil of Cyberpunk 2077, developer CD PROJEKT RED is going back to familiar roots. The studio officially teased that they are working on a new game in their very successful Witcher series, almost seven years since the release of the last title.
Few details were revealed alongside the announcement, but it was made known that this sequel will be built using Epic Games’ latest Unreal Engine 5 — which is an intriguing departure from their own engine, the REDengine. Also, the studio revealed that it would be forming a multi-year strategic partnership between itself and Epic Games.
The developers were quick to note that this partnership does not mean that the new Witcher game will be exclusive to the Epic Games Store platform on PC. So that indicates that players will be able to get it from the likes of Steam when it eventually launches.
Given the problems that arose from Cyberpunk 2077, it would seem CD PROJEKT RED is aiming to deliver their next Witcher game in less troubling circumstances with the stability and reliability of Unreal Engine. Hopefully, it runs true, and we look forward to hearing more about the game when they are ready to showcase it.
This marks 2022 March’s edition of Tech Bytes, and we hope this roundup gives you a little insight into tech to be excited about. Check with us again in April 2022, as we bring you more byte-sized news every month!
Visuals courtesy of Apple, PRISM+, Sony PlayStation, AMD, and CD PROJEKT RED.