Maximum PC - Gaming en Valve and HTC to let Developers Apply for a Free Vive Headset “Soon” <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/steamvr_vive.jpg" alt="SteamVR Vive" title="SteamVR Vive" width="200" height="125" style="float: right;" />Vive Developer Edition “will be free, at least initially”</h3> <p>At GDC 2015, Valve was able to impress many people with its SteamVR technology including our own Maximum PC Online Managing Editor Jimmy Thang (see what he thought about the <a title="SteamVR Demo" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">SteamVR demo</span></a>). But what is surprising is that the company announced that a consumer version will be available in 2015. It is short notice for a device that has just been revealed, but that doesn’t seem to bother Valve. So far, a small selection of developers already have kits, <strong>but Valve and HTC will be letting developers apply for a free Vive developer kit soon</strong>, according to <a title="Ars Technica" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Ars Technica</span></a>.</p> <p>This information comes from Valve VP of Marketing Doug Lombardi, who spoke to Ars Technica, stating that ”more info and sign up forms will be available to all interested developers, big or small, via a new site coming soon.” While Lombardi didn’t reveal how many of the developers who apply online will get a free dev kit, he added that the company’s hope is to have the sign-up site up next week.</p> <p>The lucky developers who get approved will receive a Developer Edition that “will be free, at least initially,” said Lombardi. According to Valve’s <a title="SteamVR site" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">SteamVR page</span></a>, the Developer Edition “comes with a headset, two controllers, two base stations - everything you need to dive in and start creating new interactive VR experiences.”</p> <p>How many of these kits will be given away for free is anyone’s guess. But it is a different approach for Valve compared to Oculus VR, which provided early units to its Kickstarter backers and has been selling its dev kit to anyone for $350 on its website. So it will be interesting to see what developers will get the Vive dev kit and what kind of games will be developed.</p> <p>Of course, the other thing to consider is how much will the Vive cost for developers who are not lucky enough to get it for free and what the consumer version will retail for. Any guesses? Sound off in the comments below!</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> developers free developer edition htc steamvr Valve vive Vive dev kit Gaming News Fri, 27 Mar 2015 18:41:03 +0000 Sean D Knight 29651 at PC Gaming Week: Maximum PC Editors' Rigs <!--paging_filter--><h3>We invite you in to check out our personal systems</h3> <p>In celebration of <strong>PC Gaming Week</strong> by our sister publications, we at Maximum PC thought it would be good to contribute to the cause, with an article dedicated to exploring the rigs of our editors. The bunch of us gathered together, and you could tell it was a battle of testies. Truth be told, it wasn’t really about who had what system, but rather, why did things get built that way and for what purpose. We hope you’ll see how diverse we are in terms of builds, and each build will be accompanied by the editor’s comments, on why they put together what they did.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u99720/maxpc_bros.png" alt="MaxPC Staff" title="Maximum PC Staff recording a podcast" width="619" height="473" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">In the media world, people like to talk about how we should remain unbiased. But truth be told, there’s some amount of bias in everything. And you know what? That’s great, because if you didn’t want valuable insights and opinions, you would read an article written by a robot. Bias, under appropriate moderation, allows you as a reader to come away with a level of awareness that help lead you toward either a better buying decision, or a better understanding of what helps and what’s just garbage.</p> <p>We hope you enjoy reading about each of our personal rigs and the insights into why we picked the stuff we have.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">If you want to jump to different systems, click one of these links to check them out:</p> <ul> <li>Alex Campbell's system (this page)</li> <li><strong><a href=",1">Tom McNamara's system</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href=",2">Jimmy Thang's system</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href=",3">Tuan Nguyen's system</a>&nbsp;</strong></li> </ul> <h3>First up: Alex Campbell, Associate Editor</h3> <p style="text-align: left;">CPU: AMD A8-5600K 3.6GHz<br />CPU cooler: ARCTIC Freezer 7 Pro<br />Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-F2A88X-D3H<br />GPU: EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 1GB<br />RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3<br />SSD: Kingston HyperX 3K SH103S3/120G 120GB<br />HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500GB 7200RPM x 2, Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB 6,200rpm<br />Audio: Creative Labs SoundBlaster X-Fi<br />PSU: Rosewill RX850-S-B Extreme Series 850W<br />Case: CM Storm Scout 2 Advanced<br />Keyboard: Logitech K800<br />Mouse: Logitech M310<br />Display: An unimpressive 1080p display<br />Accessories: None</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> </p><p><img src="/files/u99720/alex_campbell_pc_1.jpg" alt="Alex Campbell home rig" title="Alex Campbell home rig" width="620" height="465" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Alex Campbell's home rig.</strong></p> <p>My machine at home is a bit of a Frankenstein monster that I built in early 2014, from a combination of new-ish parts and cannibalized bits from my old desktop built in 2010. In early 2014, I was still in school finishing up my bachelor’s, which was focused on photojournalism.</p> <p>In case I turned photography into a business, I needed a new machine to handle some photo editing in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. I also wanted a machine that could handle some video editing. I knew my budget wouldn’t be able to handle a 4K load, so I didn’t even try to reach that level. Instead, I focused on making sure I had enough storage to keep all the hefty RAW files from my Nikon D90.</p> <p>I play games, too, so I needed a card that could render decent framerates with a some RTS and FPS games I could find on Steam. Primarily, though, my goal was to create a midrange digital workstation to produce media. </p> <p>I’ve been an AMD builder most of my life, so I looked for a decent mid-range FM2 chip to do the number crunching, and settled on an AMD A8-5600K Trinity Quad-Core 3.6GHz. I dropped it into a GIGABYTE GA-F2A88X-D3H that I chose for its price, USB 3.0 ports, and decent reviews on Newegg. The fact that it sports 8 SATA 3 ports was a big plus, as I was planning on packing it full of spinning drives. I transplanted my ARCTIC Freezer 7 Pro Rev. 2 CPU Cooler onto my new chip, and used the stock AMD fan for my old CPU, which is now the heart of a SAMBA file server.</p> <p>Video is powered by an EVGA GeForce GTX 550 Ti, which was a solid card, and can still play many games at a decent framerate. While it’s still a great card for what I paid, the 550 Ti doesn’t support many of the latest features of NVIDIA’s drivers and software.</p> <p>I grabbed a couple of 8GB DDR3 1866 GSKILL Ripjaw X Series RAM sticks to run my apps. Sure, 1866 wasn’t the fastest speed available, but again, my starving-student budget didn’t give me much wiggle room.</p> <p>Storage was the name of the game for this build, so I nabbed a 120GB Kingston HyperX 3K SH103S3 SSD for my system partitions. The SSD houses both Windows 8.1 and Arch Linux. A pair of 500GB Seagate Barracudas house my “active” video and photo files. One drive serves as the “main” working disk and the other is the backup. In case you’re wondering, they’re not linked in RAID 1, because RAID is not a backup scheme, it’s a drive redundancy scheme. Using the second drive as a backup ensures that if something happens to my work, I can get the next most recent version of my working files back.</p> <p>Media and personal live on a 1TB Barracuda, which is split between an NTFS partition for Windows and an Ext4 partition for my Linux /home directory.</p> <p>I threw all of this into a CM Storm Scout 2 Advanced case. The case is nice because the built-in front LEDs have their own toggle switch and the carrying handle on top is quite comfortable to use. When I moved up to the Bay Area, it was much easier to pack into my car than my server was. It also has decent space for cable management on the back panel and plenty of fan-mounting options.</p> <p>I powered the rig with a 850W Rosewill RX850-S-B Xtreme Series I transplanted from the server box. The power supply is 80 Plus Bronze, which helps with my power bill. The thing is also surprisingly silent, which is nice if I sleep with the computer on in my room.</p> <p>My storage solution also includes my server, running on a quad-core Athlon X2 Black Edition with two cores unlocked in BIOS. The server’s Arch Linux image lives on a 60GB SanDisk SSD. A pair of 2TB Barracudas serve as photo-archive drives. One drive serves as the primary and the other as backup, just like the working drives in my main box. Backups are automated with rsync and cron. The server also has a 3TB Barracuda for NAS use and is encrypted with dm-crypt/LUKS. I really should buy a couple more for a RAID array, though. The server is powered by a 650W Cooler Master GX.</p> <p>My peripherals and display are rather lackluster and in dire need of replacement, but I do like my illuminated Logitech K800. It’s not mechanical or great for gaming, but the backlighting is gentle and fades in and out as you move your hands over it, which is great for working at night, or just adjusting the system volume while watching Netflix from across the room.</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Tom McNamara, Technical Editor</h3> <p>CPU: Intel Core i7 3770K @ 4.2GHz<br />CPU cooler: NZXT Kraken X40<br />Motherboard: Gigabyte GX-Z77-UD5H<br />GPU: MSI Gaming 4G NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980<br />RAM: Corsair LP 16GB (4x 4GB) DDR3<br />SSD: Crucial M500 480GB<br />HDD: Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB <br />Audio: Onboard<br />PSU: Thermaltake TPG-675M Toughpower 675W<br />Case: Fractal Design Define XL R2<br />Keyboard: Logitech G710+<br />Mouse: Logitech M310<br />Display: Dell S2340M 23-inch<br />Accessories: None</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u99720/tom_mcnamara_pc_1.jpg" alt="Tom McNamara's home rig" title="Tom McNamara's home rig" width="620" height="836" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Tom McNamara's home rig.</strong></p> <p>My overall strategy with this system was to create something that would be fairly quiet, spacious, and understated. I don't go for case windows because they let more noise through, and I get over looking through them after a few days anyway. So, the Fractal Design Define XL R2 fit the bill. It has sound-absorbing panels and three 140mm fans pre-installed.</p> <p>For the CPU, I wanted something with eight threads, so I went with the Intel Core i7-3770K. It gets me better performance than AMD's FX-8350, and it draws much less power. I cool it with an NZXT Kraken X40, since I'm not going for particularly high clock speeds. I still use the original "Kraken Control" software instead of CAM, because I prefer the simpler interface. The radiator is mounted in the top of the case. The GA-Z77-UD5H motherboard has served me pretty well so far. I might try an Asus board in the future, because I like their fan control software, and I tend to get pretty high overclocks out of them, and with less fiddling in the BIOS. I use low-profile RAM because you never know when you might need the physical clearance, and I don't need fancy heatsinks. DDR3 just doesn't get hot enough to warrant them, in my experience.</p> <p>I went with the MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4G because I wanted something beefy, but not noisy. This GPU is rated to pull around 165 watts under load, so the card's cooling fans don't have to make much noise. I can also add a second 980 without stressing out my 675-watt power supply, whereas two Radeon R9 290Xs would call for about 850 watts.</p> <p>For storage, I got a good deal on a 480GB Crucial M500, but I ended up running out of room for my Steam games, so I got a 1TB Samsung 840 EVO to give me some breathing room. I was using my 4TB Seagate HDD to copy games over when I needed room; copying them back later is much faster than re-downloading. It's also good to have for system and file backups.</p> <p>For input, I've been using the Corsair M65 for a while now. Its finish doesn't rub or flake off, which I've had happen with other mice. That flaking makes the texture feel weird and like the mouse is dirty even though it looks fine. I'll probably be trying out the Logitech G303 soon, though, for some variety.</p> <p>I got a good deal on the Dell S2340M monitor, and I liked it so much that I bought another. The back of it is a bit awkward, though; bulky DVI connectors simply can't fit. It also doesn't do HDMI. The image quality is great, and the bezels are thin, but 23 inches is just a bit too small for my tastes. I'll probably be getting a 2560x1440 monitor soon, now that we're going to be getting things like 144Hz IPS and FreeSync. Unfortunately, the S2340M doesn't rotate into portrait mode, and I don't currently have enough desk space for two of those and a 1440p display. First-world problems.</p> <p>I've had good luck with Logitech's keyboards, so I bought a G710+ a while back. It has white LED backlighting, Cherry MX brown mechanical switches, and some macro keys that I never use. But it's quiet and hasn't let me down yet. I tried the Corsair RGB keyboard, but I found its keys too springy for my taste. Before this, I was using a Tesoro Durandal G1NL, which is also Cherry MX Brown, but with a reddish-orange backlight similar to the Sidewinder X4 that I had before that. I stopped using the G1NL because it wouldn't initialize until Windows had booted, meaning I couldn't access the BIOS. No amount of tweaking would fix it. I keep hoping that Microsoft will enter the mechanical keyboard fray, but they don't seem to be interested in enthusiast keyboards or mice anymore.</p> <p>I play a variety of games on this rig. Lately, it's been Cities: Skylines, which some people have described to me as the de facto sequel to Sim City 4. I think it's pretty great, especially for $30. I've also been dabbling with Star Citizen; its very transparent and publisher-free development process has been fascinating to watch. Shadow of Mordor has also been great fun, and I'm looking forward to testing my system's limits with The Witcher 3.</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Jimmy Thang, Online Managing Editor</h3> <p>CPU: Intel Core i7 3770K<br />CPU cooler: Hyper 212<br />Motherboard: Something useful<br />GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan<br />RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3<br />SSD: Samsung 840 Pro 256GB<br />HDD: Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB <br />Audio: Creative Sound Blaster Z<br />PSU: A car battery<br />Case: Fractal Design Define R4<br />Keyboard: Razer Black Widow<br />Mouse: Logitech Daedalus Prime<br />Display: ASUS VG248QE 24-inch 144Hz</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u99720/jimmy_thang_pc_1_s.jpg" alt="Jimmy Thang's home rig" title="Jimmy Thang's home rig" width="420" height="682" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Jimmy Thang's home rig.</strong></p> <p>At the heart of my current home rig, I’m using a 3770K CPU, GTX Titan GPU, and 16GB of Corsair Vengeance RAM. In addition to gaming, I dabble in photo and video editing, and my i7 processor and 16GB of RAM are good enough for my amateur needs there. I’ve also got a 4TB Seagate HDD that allows me to store the copious assets. Of course, that isn’t my only storage drive. For the OS, I’m running a Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD, which allows my PC to boot up in under 15 seconds. All of this is wrapped in a white Define R4 chassis, which I like because of its clean aesthetics. </p> <p>Currently, my main display is a 24-inch 144Hz 3D panel from Asus. I don’t use the 3D features at all, but I do like having super high framerates (for when 60fps simply won’t do). I also have a separate 24-inch IPS display from Dell, which I use as a secondary monitor to help with productivity work. My GeForce GTX Titan may seem overkill for a 1080p display, but I’m also playing around with an Oculus Rift DK2, which has demos render 1080p scenes twice for each eye, and demands experiences be a consistent 75fps. VR games like space simulator Elite Dangerous really put my Titan to work here.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u99720/jimmy_thang_pc_2_s.jpg" alt="Jimmy Thang's displays" title="Jimmy Thang's displays" width="620" height="362" /></p> <p>When I’m not running around in VR, I find myself playing a lot of different indie games like Darkest Dungeon or Transistor. I was also really into League of Legends for a while. Yes, these games don’t tax my hardware at all, but I’ll occasionally play more demanding games, such as Evolve or Shadow of Mordor, and I like knowing that I have a relatively future-proof rig capable of maxing out any game I throw at it. This, of course, will change when I make the eventual move to a 4K monitor (I’m mostly waiting for the scaling issues to be resolved before I dive in). </p> <p>The accessories I’m using to play these games include Razer’s Black Widow mechanical keyboard (I like the really loud and clicky feel of it) and Logitech’s Daedalus Prime mouse, which was originally designed for MOBAs with its quick click-actuation time. For audio, I’m using Corsair’s Vengeance 2100 wireless headset. It can be a burden to charge every now and then, but the audio quality and sound isolation are great, and I really enjoy the freedom of being able to walk around my room untethered as I listen to music. I’m also using a wireless Xbox 360 controller, which I feel is the best controller for PC gaming at the moment, but that could change with Valve’s Steam Controller that’s coming out this November.</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Tuan Nguyen, Editor-in-Chief</h3> <p><strong>System 1, The Workhorse:</strong><br />CPU: Intel Core i7 3970X<br />CPU cooler: NZXT Kraken X41<br />Motherboard: ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition<br />GPU: EVGA 04G-P4-2986KR NVIDIA GTX 980<br />RAM: Samsung “Green” Low-profile (8 x 4GB) DDR3 <br />SSD: Samsung 850 Pro 256GB x 2<br />HDD: Western Digital Black WD4003FZEX 4TB x 4<br />Audio: Onboard + Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 5.1, Astro Gaming A40 headset<br />PSU: Seasonic Platinum-1000 1000w<br />Case: NZXT H440 Black/Blue<br />Keyboard: Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate<br />Mouse: Logitech MX Master<br />Display: Dell UltraSharp U3011 30-inch, Dell UtraSharp 2311h 23-inch<br />Accessories: APC Smart-UPS 1500 UPS, Fujitsu U2300 Magneto-Optical drive, Logitech C920 webcam</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u99720/tuan_nguyen_pc_3.jpg" alt="Tuan's workhorse" title="Tuan's workhorse PC" width="620" height="827" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Gigabyte X79A-UD5 mobo has since been replaced with an ASUS Rampge IV Black Edition.</strong></p> <p><strong>System 2, The Decapitator:</strong> <strong>Digital Storm Bolt 3</strong><br />CPU: Intel Core i7 4790K<br />CPU cooler: Digital Storm HydroLux Liquid<br />Motherboard: ASUS Maximus VII Impact<br />GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan X<br />RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum (2 x 8GB) DDR3 <br />SSD: Samsung 850 Pro 512GB<br />HDD: Western Digital Black WD4003FZEX 4TB<br />Audio: Onboard + [Below], Astro Gaming A50 headset<br />PSU: Seasonic Platinum-1000 1000w<br />Case: Digital Storm Bolt 3<br />Keyboard: Das Keyboard 3 Ultimate<br />Mouse: Logitech G502<br />Display: Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5030UB Projector<br />Accessories: APC Smart-UPS 1000 UPS, Xbox 360 controller (wired)<br />Audio: Pioneer Elite VSX-82TXS receiver, Aperion Audio Verus Grand HD speakers</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u191083/tuan_nguyen_pc_4.jpg" alt="Digital Storm Bolt 3" title="Digital Storm Bolt 3" width="620" height="776" /><br /><strong>Tuan's Decapitator:</strong><span style="text-align: start;">&nbsp;</span><strong>Digital Storm Bolt 3</strong></p> <p>I’ve been a gamer for as long as I could remember. I gamed on Atari’s old systems, 286 PCs with yellow monochrome CRT monitors, and a huge array of everything available, up until today. I grew up on all the consoles. I actually don’t own any of the recent consoles, but I do own a first-generation Sony PlayStation running over SCART RGB video into my receiver—I know, it’s pretty nerdy, but I love it. The last console I bought was an Xbox 360. There just aren’t enough great games on the current consoles to warrant getting them. But there are many, many great games on the PC. My setup consists of two different PCs for two different purposes, although one could argue that the two systems could swap duties just fine.</p> <p>The first system is called The Workhorse. It’s used for… you guessed it, work. I’d wager though, that it could play games decently, too. I do play a limited number of games on it, but I save the real entertainment for another system. </p> <p>I went with an NZXT H440 chassis because I enjoy having a minimalistic and clean setup, at least on the outside. On the inside, however, I’ve crammed just about the best components that I could into the system. It’s using a Sandy Bridge Extreme Edition only because I haven’t the chance to move into the new CPUs, but the Core i7 3970X is still a beastly six-core CPU. The motherboard is a loaded ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition, and I chose it because I ended up preferring ASUS’s EFI over Gigabyte’s. Previous to the Rampage, I was using a Gigabyte X79A-UD5 board, which wasn’t quite as stable. And honestly, Gigabyte really needs to do a better job with their firmware. One of the photos shows my old Gigabyte motherboard, but the more recent photo of the entire computer shows the ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition.</p> <p>I’d like to point out that the RAM you see in the photo doesn’t look like much. In fact, it may even look like old DIMM sticks before heatsinks became all the rage. In the overclocking community, these Samsung DDR3 sticks are considered the “golden” standard. They run so cool and clock so fast, you don’t even need heatsinks. I’ve never been a fan of decorative heatsinks, instead I prefer simple ones with actual fins that are efficient at removing heat. A lot of the stuff that’s out there today is all about grabbing your attention. Give me stability over that any day.</p> <p>Other than that, the components I picked are what I feel are best in class. From the SSD to HDD, to GPU and PSU, the components I have in The Workhorse are essentially the best. The Dell UltraSharp U3011 was the company’s previous flagship 30-incher. Dell now has the U3014, which delivers a 30-inch display backed by LED instead of the CCFL backlighting in the U3011. Still, it’s a beauty, but it’s not a “gaming” display by any means. It doesn’t do any of the faster refresh rates, nor does it have the best response time for some types of games, and it doesn’t come with G-Sync either. I use an Acer XB280HK 4K 28-inch display at work that has G-Sync, and I can honestly say, I want G-Sync or FreeSync in all my future displays. </p> <p>To round out the system, I use a Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate for input nirvana. I actually have 3 of these keyboards. Once for this system, one for the entertainment system, and one for my PC at the office. I’m just a really big fan of Cherry MX blue switches. And yes, all the keys are blank on these keyboards.</p> <p>OK, enough work, let’s play.</p> <p>For my entertainment duties, I was really attracted to Digital Storm’s Bolt series of PCs. No only does Digital Storm build really good PCs, they do so with the best components that you and I can buy. Thus exists the Bolt 3. </p> <p>Digital Storm co-designed a chassis, with Lian Li, that I feel is an excellent fit for the living room—that is, not too big, and looks great laying horizontally. At this point, you might be asking why didn’t I just build another rig. Good question. My answer is, this publication is called Maximum PC, not Maximum DIY. I think as fans of PCs, and fans of technology in general, <a href="">we should appreciate and embrace all types of technology</a>. There are plenty of reasons why someone would choose to build or not to build. Since I’ve been building all my life, I figured: why not see what’s going on the other side? And you know what? It’s awesome! Funny how life works.</p> <p>The Bolt 3 is loaded to the gills with the best parts: an NVIDIA Titan X, Core i7 4790K, Samsung 850 Pro SSD, and more. The best part of the rig, though, is the design. It’s sleek, black, and has a huge plane of dark tempered glass covering one side of the system. It’s slightly larger than the outgoing Bolt 2, but the slight increase in volume allows better airflow, as well as maintenance. In fact, there’s space for two Titan X cards, but I have yet to figure out how to cram that second card in.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u191083/tuan_nguyen_pc_5.jpg" alt="Digital Storm Bolt 3" title="Digital Storm Bolt 3" width="620" height="574" /></p> <p>For its duties as a home-theater gaming rid, the Bolt 3 is connected via HDMI to my Pioneer receiver, which in turn is connected to a monster of a projector: an Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5030UB. This is one of the best prosumer 1080p projectors you can buy. It’s extremely highly rated, and outputs a mind-blowingly good picture, even with ambient lighting. </p> <p>I play (or have played): Battlefield 4, Titanfall, League of Legends, Starcraft 2, Diablo 3, World of Warcraft, Supernova (alpha), and a bunch of other titles. Right now though, the game I enjoy playing the most is Ori and the Blind Forest. If you haven’t played it, get it. If you don’t know it, get it. My game library is a mixed bag of different genres, and we know that different games require different hardware to get maximum fidelity. So, going with a Bolt 3 configured as it is allows me to enjoy any title on the market in my living room without fuss. Of course, we’d be just as happy and supportive if you built your own, too.</p> <p>Other than games, I use the Bolt 3 for all other duties, such as movie playback, and the occasional web browsing.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 10px;"><strong>And that's a wrap</strong></span></p> <p>We hope you enjoyed having a deep look into what we use for our own personal systems at home. We try to keep things varied, and all of us have different things that we do with our PCs. No matter what each of us use though, one thing is clear: we love to build stuff. I'd like to point out though that Alex only showed a photo of his PC from the outside because his system is horrendously dusty on the inside. Awful!</p> <p>We're interested in what you guys have in your builds, or if you bought a pre-built, what did you configure it with and why? Why one CPU over another? Why 64GB of RAM instead of 32GB? Is there a brand favorite you have and why? And, if you have questions for our editors about their specific setup, hit us up in the comments!</p> amd build PC Campbell intel McNamara Nguyen nvidia Thang Gaming Editor Blogs Systems Tue, 24 Mar 2015 21:36:26 +0000 Maximum PC Staff 29636 at AMD Announces Four New FreeSync Monitors <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/benq_xl2730z.jpg" alt="benq xl2730z" title="benq xl2730z" width="200" height="216" style="float: right;" />AMD claims that Nvidia G-Sync technology can negatively affect FPS</h3> <p>Shore up your homes everyone, it appears that another battle is about to be waged between AMD and Nvidia consumers. The resulting storm is going to be over AMD’s FreeSync and Nvidia’s G-Sync technologies. While&nbsp;<strong>AMD announced that four new monitors with FreeSync support are now available</strong>, it didn’t stop there. The company went on to claim that Nvidia’s G-Sync can negatively affect a game’s FPS.</p> <p>Simply put, both technologies allow graphics cards to synchronize the display of a video game’s frame with the output of a video card. In addition, they both eliminate tearing and stuttering in games though AMD claims that, through internal studies, Nvidia’s G-Sync can negatively affect a game’s FPS by 1.14 percent (Alien: Isolation was the game used for the study). For the same study, the company claimed that FreeSync saw an improved affect of 0.16 percent FPS. Another issue that AMD pointed out is that consumers can disable FreeSync (or adaptive sync) off on FreeSync monitors while G-Sync monitors cannot turn off VSync which can reduce the mouse’s latency.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u166440/amd_gsync_chart.jpg" alt="amd gsync chart" title="amd gsync chart" width="600" height="226" /></p> <p>The company didn’t stop there as it pointed out some of the benefits of manufacturers using its technology compared to Nvidia’s. AMD’s FreeSync will not require a proprietary module, will have no licensing fees, is open source, use DisplayPort, be compatible with standard monitor features (audio, scaling, OSD), and have a refresh rate range of 9-240Hz. All of which would make the tech more appealing to manufacturers compared to Nvidia’s G-Sync which AMD points out requires a proprietary module, charges a licensing fee, is not open source, and has a refresh rate range of 30-144Hz.</p> <p>But while fanboys can argue to their hearts content about these differences, there are four new monitors that are currently available that supports AMD’s FreeSync tech. The cheapest monitor will be the LG 29UM67 29-inch monitor featuring an In-Plane Switching panel that will start at $449 with 2560x1080 (21:9 ultrawide) resolution and 48-75Hz refresh rate. For $499, there is the Acer XG270HU 27-inch monitor with TN Type Panel, 2560x1440 (16:9) resolution, and 40-144Hz refresh rate. Next is the BenQ XL2730Z 27-inch monitor with a TN Type Panel, 2560x1440 (16:9) resolution, and 40-144Hz refresh rate that will retail for $599. Finally, there is the LG 34Um67 34-inch monitor IPS with 2560x1080 (21:9 ultrawide) resolution and 48-75Hz refresh rate for a starting retail price of $649.</p> <p>Additional monitors supporting FreeSync will be available soon.</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> amd FreeSync FreeSync monitors g-sync monitors nvidia Gaming News Monitors Fri, 20 Mar 2015 01:45:47 +0000 Sean D Knight 29616 at GDC 2015: Interview with Cloudhead Games, Developer of The Gallery: Six Elements [Video] <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/mpc_interview_cloudhead_games.jpg" alt="Cloudhead Games" title="Cloudhead Games" width="200" height="120" style="float: right;" />VR tech demo impresses attendants</h3> <p>During GDC, Valve was making quite an impression with attendants who experienced the company’s SteamVR demonstration (you can <a title="MPC Valve VR" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">read about the experience</span></a>). But it wouldn’t have been impressive if it weren’t for some of the titles that are currently being developed. Maximum PC Online Managing Editor Jimmy Thang was able to<strong> interview a couple of the developers at Cloudhead Games about its VR title The Gallery: Six Elements, </strong><strong>one of the VR tech demos being shown</strong><strong>.</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="" width="600" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p><a title="The Gallery: Six Elements website" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">The Gallery: Six Elements</span></a> is an exploration game with a fantasy setting that has been developed for virtual reality. It features a fully interactive environment where users will be able to pull, lift, grab, push, and even smash their way through different elemental worlds while trying to find the main character’s sister. &nbsp;</p> <p>Cloudhead Games developed its demo specifically for Valve’s SteamVR demonstration though the developers say that The Gallery: Six Elements will be adjustable to accommodate a 4x4 up to a 15x15 foot area. For those worried about running into walls, though, the developers talked about Valve’s Chaperone System which will show a graphical representation of a wall, in the game, when you get too close to a wall in your room. A feature that, according to the developers, will be in all SteamVR games.&nbsp;</p> <p>Be sure to watch the video to learn more about The Gallery: Six Elements and Valve’s SteamVR.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> Cloudhead Games GDC 2015 steamvr The Gallery: Six Elements Valve virtual reality Gaming News Mon, 09 Mar 2015 15:08:08 +0000 Sean D Knight and Jimmy Thang 29562 at GDC 2015: Gabe Newell Talks About Growth of PCs, Source 2, Steam Link, and More [Video] <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/mpc_gabe_newell_02.jpg" alt="Gabe Newell" title="Gabe Newell" width="200" height="198" style="float: right;" />Valve’s tools are there to “keep PC gaming moving forward”</h3> <p>Valve certainly turned heads with its <a title="MPC's impressions of SteamVR" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">SteamVR experience</span></a> and other announcements about <a title="Valve announces Steam Machines and Source 2" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Source 2</span></a> and <a title="Syber announces Steam Machines" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Steam Machines</span></a> during GDC 2015. But the announcements didn’t stop there. The company also held a presentation that Maximum PC Online Managing Editor Jimmy Thang was able to record, where <strong>Valve boss Gabe Newell talked about Steam Machines, Steam Link, Source 2, Steam Controller, Vulcan, and the growth of PCs</strong>.&nbsp;</p> <p>While Valve didn’t allow any questions to be asked during the presentation, Newell talked a fair amount regarding the growth of the PC industry saying that Steam has seen an increase of 50 percent year-over-year. A claim that is substantiated by the company's announcement last month that the digital distribution platform currently boasts 125 million accounts. He went on to briefly talk about how the industry has continued to grow when it comes to hardware, that there has been a 20 percent decline in bandwidth cost, advancements when it comes to monitors, and the rise of generated user content. All of which has contributed to the PC industry's growth.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="" width="600" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p>Newell also talked about Valve’s Source 2 engine and how it will be free for everyone to use. One of Valve’s focuses on its newest engine, he elaborated, is productivity for both developers and gamers. Vulcan, which is the next-generation of OpenGL, was also talked about and how it is a cross-platform API that will be supported by companies such as Valve, Blizzard, and Epic Games.&nbsp;</p> <p>There was also a demonstration of Valve’s new Steam Link hardware that will let users play games in 1080p and 60Hz, in conjunction with a Steam Machine, PC, or Mac on any televisions. The Talos Principle, a pre-alpha version of Unreal Tournament, and even System Shock 2 to demonstrate the Steam Link and Steam Controller.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you want to hear what Gabe Newell has to say, be sure to watch the video.</p> <p>So what are your overall impressions of Valve and its various announcements at GDC? Let us know in the comment section below!</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> Gabe Newell GDC 2015 Source 2 Steam Link steam machines Valve Vulcan Linux Gaming News Sun, 08 Mar 2015 22:38:38 +0000 Sean D Knight and Jimmy Thang 29556 at Nvidia Reveals Game-Streaming Grid Service Will Have Free and Premium Tier <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/nvidia_logo.png" alt="Nvidia Logo" title="Nvidia Logo" width="200" height="155" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Game-streaming service officially coming in May</h3> <p>For the past three weeks, Nvidia has been teasing a new gaming product that it would unveil at GDC. Now, while the company’s new <a title="New Nvidia Shield Console" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Shield Gaming console</span></a> is an intriguing device, we were also interested in something else the company talked about. Along with the new console, <strong>Nvidia also officially revealed its plans for its Grid subscription-based streaming service</strong>.</p> <p>According to Nvidia's live presentation at GDC, the Grid streaming service will be backed by Nvidia Grid supercomputers all around the world. Set to launch in May, the service will have two tiers. Grid will allow consumers to stream games at 720p at 30 FPS for free while Grid Plus will offer games at up to 1080p and 60 FPS, both with a latency of 150 milliseconds. Sadly, we don't know how much the premium service will cost as of yet.&nbsp;</p> <p>But for those of you who are not keen on paying to stream a game, you will be able to purchase AAA games from the Grid store, which, at the moment, will offer 50 titles, though Nvidia says that more games will be added each week.&nbsp;</p> <p>Do you think Internet bandwidth is going to be an issue? Sound off in the comments below!</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> grid Grid streaming service Grid subscription nvidia Nvidia Grid Nvidia shield subscription service subscription streaming service Gaming News Wed, 04 Mar 2015 05:43:45 +0000 Sean D Knight 29534 at Syber Announces Line of Steam Machines at GDC <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/syber_steam_machine_switch.jpg" alt="Syber Steam Machine Switch" title="Syber Steam Machine Switch" width="200" height="148" style="float: right;" />Company will offer six models</h3> <p>Ever since Valve announced last year that it was <a title="Valve delays Steam Machine launch" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">delaying the launch</span></a> of its Steam Machines, in order to perfect the Steam Controller, we have been wondering when that would be. Last week, the company announced that it would showcase new living room devices, a SteamVR hardware system, and a finalized version of the Steam Controller. Now we're the first glimpses of the new hardware as <strong>Syber has announced its line of Steam Machines at GDC</strong>.</p> <p>Syber, which is a division of CyberPowerPC, revealed that it will be offering six Steam Machines, powered by SteamOS, with In-Home Streaming capability that will be available for purchase later this fall. Some of the Steam Machines will be shown at GDC and the company has provided some hardware specifications in addition to the price.</p> <p>“We created the Syber Steam Machines to give gamers more power and more customization than the standard video game consoles like Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Wii, and Microsoft Xbox,” said CyberPowerPC VP of Product Eddie Vong.</p> <p>At the cheaper end of the line, the company is offering the Syber Steam Machine-E, which will be powered by a quad-core AMD processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics, with a retail price of $449. For $549, there is the Syber Steam Machine-P, which comes with an Intel G3258 3.2GHz processor and AMD Radeon R9 270X card. Those looking to spend more money can shell out $999, which will get them the Syber Steam Machine-K, which sports an Intel Core i5-4690K and Nvidia GeForce GTX 970.&nbsp;</p> <p>Aside from the six models, the company says that its Steam Machines are capable of being fully customized with the latest hardware from Nvidia, AMD, and Intel, and there's a new color on offer, too, called Syber fire-orange. However, such Steam Machines will have a starting price of $1,399.</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> cyberpowerpc steam machines syber Syber Steam Machines Valve Gaming News Wed, 04 Mar 2015 01:32:00 +0000 Sean D Knight 29531 at Valve Announces Steam Link, Source 2, and More at GDC <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/steam_link.jpg" alt="Steam Link" title="Steam Link" width="200" height="112" style="float: right;" />Source 2 will be free for content developers</h3> <p>The Game Developers Conference is in full swing and we are starting to get a glimpse of what is being shown there. One of the more interesting parts of GDC revolves around what Valve has up its sleeve. <a title="Valve to show new living room devices" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Last week</span></a>, the company said that it would be presenting some new living room devices in addition to its Steam Machines and finalized Steam Controller. Now, the wait is over, as <strong>Valve has announced the Steam Link, Source 2, and two new technologies for its VR headset</strong>.</p> <p>The Steam Link&nbsp;is designed to extend a user’s Steam experience to any room in the house by streaming Steam content from any PC on the same home network. Steam Machines, Linux PCs, Windows PCs, and Macs will be able to take advantage of Steam Link, which will support 1080p at 60Hz with low latency. According to the company, the Steam Link will retail for $49.99 in the United States, and is also available with the Steam Controller for an additional $49.99.</p> <p>Valve also revealed two new technologies designed for its recently announced VR headset. There is Lighthouse, a room scale tracking system, and a VR input system. "In order to have a high quality VR experience, you need high-resolution, high-speed tracking," said Valve's Alan Yates. "Lighthouse gives us the ability to do this for an arbitrary number of targets at a low enough BOM cost that it can be incorporated into TVs, monitors, headsets, input devices, or mobile devices."&nbsp;</p> <p>Lighthouse will be free for any hardware manufacturers that might interested in the tech; developer versions of the VR headset will be available this spring, with a consumer version available by the end of the year.</p> <p>But Valve wasn’t done. It also announced the Source 2 engine, the successor to its Source engine, which has been used for games such as Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike: Source (check out our list of <a title="10 best Source Games" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">The 10 Best Source Engine Games</span></a>). The company says that its latest graphics engine has been designed for both professional developers and gamers who might be interested in creating and developing their own games. Valve will make Source 2 available for free to content developers.</p> <p>VR demos are currently being shown at GDC, along with Steam Machines scheduled to be released sometime in November from partners such as Alienware and Falcon Northwest. One upcoming Steam Machine demo will show Epic's recently announced Unreal Tournament running on a 4K monitor via a Falcon Northwest Steam Machine.</p> <p>Which one of these announcements has grabbed your curiosity? Or do you think Valve has bitten off more than it can chew? Let us know in the comments section below!&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> lighthouse Source 2 source engine Steam Link steamvr Valve vr headset Gaming News Wed, 04 Mar 2015 00:47:17 +0000 Sean D Knight 29529 at Cryptic Studios to Create In-game Memorial for Leonard Nimoy in Star Trek Online <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/star_trek_online.jpg" alt="Star Trek Online" title="Star Trek Online" width="200" height="123" style="float: right;" />Players visited Vulcan to pay their respects</h3> <p>Yesterday, actor <a title="MPC Nimoy Passes at 83" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Leonard Nimoy passed away</span></a> at his home at the age of 83. Nimoy was known for his iconic role as Mr. Spock on Star Trek: The Original Series, and subsequent movies, though he was also a director, author, producer, and singer among other things. As a tribute to the actor and his role in Star Trek, <strong>Cryptic Studios announced that it will create an in-game memorial for Mr. Spock and Leonard Nimoy in Star Trek Online</strong>.</p> <p>Shortly after Nimoy’s death was announced, around a thousand players logged into the free-to-play MMO and travelled to Vulcan to pay respect to the actor and his character, Mr. Spock, which Nimoy voiced in the game. STO developer Cryptic Studios posted its own acknowledgement of Nimoy’s passing and then followed up with an announcement for plans to include an in-game memorial.&nbsp;</p> <p>“I want to once again express my heartfelt condolences to the friends, family, and fans of Leonard Nimoy,” said Star Trek: Online executive producer Steve Ricossa on the game’s <a title="STO forums" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">official forums</span></a>. “Everyone at Cryptic Studios was saddened to hear of his passing and we want to make sure we never forget the cultural impact of the man or the character he played. To that end, the Star Trek Online team will implement a standing in-game memorial to Spock and Leonard Nimoy this Thursday March 5th with our regular weekly maintenance.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Ricossa continued, “In this way, we hope to keep his memory as alive in our game as he is in all of our hearts.”</p> <p>Were you one of the STO players who paid tribute to Leonard Nimoy and will you visit the memorial when it is added? Let us know in the comments below!</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> Cryptic Studios Leonard Nimoy memorial Mr Spock Star Trek Online Gaming News Sat, 28 Feb 2015 23:50:46 +0000 Sean D Knight 29497 at Capcom Looking for Solution Over Resident Evil Revelations 2's Lack of Offline Co-op <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/resident_evil_re2.jpg" alt="RE: R2" title="RE: R2" width="200" height="151" style="float: right;" />PC version was initially advertised to have offline co-op</h3> <p>If you were one of those PC gamers who purchased Resident Evil Revelations 2 for its advertised offline co-op, then you already know that the PC version has no such feature. Owners of the game soon discovered that the feature was missing despite it being advertised on the Steam store page. However, <strong>Capcom says that it is “currently looking into the matter” in regards to the lack of offline co-op in Resident Evil Revelations 2</strong>.&nbsp;</p> <p>“We apologize to our Resident Evil Revelations 2 PC players who purchased the game and expected to have local co-op as a feature,” said Capcom in a <a title="Capcom statement" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">statement</span></a>. “The feature wasn’t intended for this version and that caveat was mistakenly omitted from the product description on the Steam page earlier, and then included as soon as we were made aware. This was an unintentional error and again, we apologize for the confusion this may have caused.”</p> <p>Resident Evil Revelations 2 is an episodic action-adventure, survival horror title that follows Claire Redfield, one of the survivors of Raccoon City, who appears in a number of games in the Resident Evil franchise. The feature was initially advertised on the Steam store page and was quickly removed. But, at the very least, this incident has resulted in Capcom looking for a way to make it up to PC gamers as the statement adds, “We are currently looking into the matter and potential solutions and we hope to have new information to share very soon, so please stay tuned. Thank you for your patience and understanding.”&nbsp;</p> <p>While it doesn’t sound as if Capcom will include offline co-op mode, it did announce that the game’s Raid mode will support online co-op when it releases a patch “shortly after launch.” But in the meantime, feel free to check out our list of <a title="22 Best Co-op PC Games" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">The 22 Best Co-op PC Games</span></a> if you are looking for a co-op game.</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> capcom co-op offline co-op pc version resident evil Resident Evil: Revelations 2 Gaming News Fri, 27 Feb 2015 23:48:02 +0000 Sean D Knight 29494 at