Maingear has just unveiled its Axess HD Gamer, a low-profile HTPC rig that manages to muscle a fully fledged gaming PC into a low profile design.
"The Axess HD Gamer was conceived to deliver unsurpassed gaming performance fused with advanced media center capabilities all contained within a low profile case, making the perfect cornerstone for any home theater environment," said Wallace Santos, CEO and Founder of Maingear.
The base configuration includes an Intel Core i7 920 processor, 3GB of triple channel DDR3-1333MHz memory, an Asus Rampage II Gene X58 mATX motherboard, two Nvidia GeForce 9800GT videocards with 1GB of GDDR3 per card, 500GB hard drive, 16X DVD reader, Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit, and a Phantom Lapboard.
If that's not powerful enough, several upgrades are available, some of which include an Intel Core i7 975 processor, 12GB of memory, Blu-ray drive, a pair of Intel X-25M SSDs, and more.
While Asus ambitiously prides themselves on being innovators in design akin to Apple, they’re taking aim at Nintendo in the video game console market as well.
According to Jonathan Tsang, the Vice Chairman of Asus, they have “polished off” a video game system that they claim will rival the Wii. “We have a product we think is better than the Wii. But the content is complicated,” stated Tsang in an interview.
Asus’ problem isn’t with the hardware currently, but rather with the software. They have plenty of ways to design and produce a system, but their support on the software side is lacking. A console with no games isn’t bound to be very successful.
“Sometimes it is a chicken-and-egg problem,” Tsang continued. “We don’t have the chicken, so cannot have the egg.”
All that's missing from Logitech's newest flight simulation controller is a cockpit. The Flight System G940, as it's being dubbed, is the company's first ever force-feedback flight sim peripheral and has enough pieces to keep hardcore flight sim fans busy, and those new to the genre thoroughly overwhelmed. And that's just fine with Logitech.
"There's nothing ordinary about a G-series gaming peripheral, and the G940 is no different," said Ruben Mookerjee, Logitech's director or product marketing for gaming. "We approached this project with the goal of redefining the flight sim experience. Whether you're flying an A380, an F/A-18 Hornet, or a Comanche helicopter, when you want to feel the wind on your winds, control engines together, or independently or master tricky maneuvers, the G940 behaves and feels like the real thing -- from takeoff to landing."
The three-component G940 comes with a force feedback joystick and dual throttle and rudder pedals, along with no less than 250 programmable button options integrated in a fully featured Hands On Throttle-and-Stick (HOTAS) design.
Logitech says its G940 will start shipping in September with an MSRP set for $299.
Alienware is set to debut it’s new “allpowerful” gaming notebook at E3 next week, but conveniently enough, the detailed specs have been broken early by Gizmodo and I forced myself to read this twice just to make sure I wasn’t mistakenly looking at a desktop. The m17x crams in two 1GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 280m graphics cards, along with the new Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad.
It can also optionally be configured with up to 8GB of DDR3-1333, a 1TB hard drive (or optional 512GB SSD), as well as blue ray. Another amazing feature is the crystal clear 1920x1200 17” display, a resolution that is still somewhat rare in the notebook category. Additionally, since we all know this type of graphics horsepower can be somewhat power hungry, if your looking to do non-gaming tasks, it also has a build in Nvidia 9400M to help with battery life if all you need is aero glass. As for input/outputs, it comes with an impressive load out of options which includes 4USB, eSATA, as well as Display Port & HDMI.
The pricing is expected to start at around $1,800, but don’t expect to get all the features listed above at that price point.
Building on their Republic of Gamers (ROG) brand, Asus recently announced the OC Station, a hardware-based, bay-mounted device that will allow users access to a slew of overclocking parameters.
The OC Station will fill up two 5.25-inch bays, and will feature a 3-inch TFT-LED display on an adjustable faceplate (movable up to 30 degrees). There is also a large rotary switch on the front, which is where the real business will take place. Users will be able to adjust fan speeds, change system voltages and frequencies in real time – all without having to use the BIOS. It will also let users check out their system information and change ROG-exclusive settings such as CPU Level Up and the Asus EPU-6 Engine.
No word yet on pricing or availability. But, if you’re interested in this type of thing (and I know you are), check out a leaked gallery of pictures here.
The general consensus is that Logitech's latest gaming keyboard, the G19, is better in nearly every way than the G15 it's poised to replace. And if you want to get your hands on one, you finally can, but you'll have to order it from Dell. According to tech news site Engadget, Dell somehow managed to snag a 30-day sales exclusive on the keyboard.
We've already posted a hands-on impression of the G19 way back in January of this year, which you can read here. The most notable improvement of the G19 is the inclusion of a bright 320x240 tilting LCD screen. Users can view the time, resource load, VoIP communication data, and even watch YouTube videos on the nifty display, in addition to a host of other uses.
More macro keys are found on the G19, along with the ability to adjust the color of the backlight. All in all, it's a worthy successor to one of the most popular gaming keyboards on the market.
The G19 is available now through Dell for $180 (plus tax and shipping).
Most parts of the country aren't expected to see any more snowfall until next winter, but the relationship between Nvidia and Intel couldn't be any more chilly. At odds with each other over Nehalem licensing, netbook platforms, and other tech related spats, the two sides seem all to happy to take digs at one another when the opportunity arises. For Nvidia, that means calling to question Intel's claim that its Core i7 processor can improve game performance by up to 80 percent.
"I have a copy of Intel’s latest deck that they share with press and customers, and on there they have a slide that is called The Intel Core i7 920 Processor, where they claim that gaming performance goes up by 80 percent when you use a Core i7, said Tom Peterson, Nvidia's technical marketing director. "Now, I was impressed by that claim, and I was trying to figure out how they could possibly say such a thing, and it turns out that Intel is basing that claim on only 3DMark Vantage’s CPU test."
Peterson went on to point out that the synthetic benchmark's CPU test doesn't actually measure game performance, and to say otherwise would be disingenuous. To drive his point home, Peterson showed Nvidia's own benchmarks of a Core 2 Duo E8400 machine outfitted with a GeForce GTS 250 videocard. The PC averaged 41.6 FPS in Nvidia's testing, and only increased to 42.4 FPS after upgrading to a Core i7 965. But after upgrading to a pair of GeForce GTX 260 videocards, that number jumped to 59.4 FPS.
"In real gaming, there's no difference between a Core i7 and a Core 2 Duo," Peterson concluded.
Back in December, we gave you the low-down on how to build a kick-ass $800 gaming PC. Well, lately the economy has been in a bit of a shamble, so we’ve lowered our price ceiling to spec out a tightly budgeted $500 rig that will deliver admirable gaming framerates and still leave you some cash to actually buy some games and pay off that credit-card debt.
The last time we conducted a $500 PC build-off (October, 2007), we matched a Allendale-based Core 2 E4300 CPU with a Nvidia 8500GT, which gave us pathetic FEAR and Quake 4 benchmark results. That build cut so many corners that we even opted out of a case and used a cardboard box instead (in retrospect, a really bad idea). Almost two years later, the tech is better and prices for some component categories have dramatically dropped. A bit wiser and gutsier, we were determined to build a PC that could actually play modern games.
In order to keep the machine under $500, we factored out the price of purchasing an operating system, and assume that you already have a copy of Windows XP, Vista, or the Windows 7 Beta lying around. And obviously, we were forced to restrain ourselves from choosing the high-end premium parts that we would normally recommend to readers. But despite the low cost, we actually didn't have to make any real compromises to get a solid gaming machine. Our (relatively) cheapo PC actually surprised us in our benchmark tests -- scoring close to our zero-point system -- and made us feel confident that a rock bottom price doesn’t automatically mean rock bottom performance.
Join us as we take on the $500 Gaming PC Challenge!
In today’s world of gaming hardware, ray tracing is the epitome of gaming graphics. Sadly, rendering them is difficult for current hardware due to their extremely random nature. Caustic Graphics is fixing that issue, all thanks to their graphics co-processor, the Ray Tracing Processing Unit (RTPU).
The RTPU works alongside current 3D graphics processors to bring rays at frame rates acceptable for interactive applications. While the offered 3-5 frames per second works for these applications, it’s nowhere near what gamers require. Thankfully, they claim that their second generation of hardware, out sometime next year, will be able to deliver 14 times that frame rate.
Be sure to check out a video of the tracing in action here.
After pricing out $1000 and $1500 gaming systems, we wanted to go a bit on the high-end and see how we would configure a $2000 gaming PC. $2000 may be more than a lot of you are willing to spend on a new home-built PC, but there are plenty of people out there who spend more than $2000 on custom-designed boutique systems from OEM builders. And for those fat-walleted gamers, this article will show that you can get a whole lot more if you build it yourself (though putting the pieces together is another matter). Just as with the $1500 PC, this build leans heavily on the CPU and GPU side to optimize the rig for high-res gaming, though it'll perform more than admirably with video encoding and other productivity tasks. And as always, we write this with a disclaimer that your own personal configurations and preferences may differ from ours, which does not make them any less valid. In fact, we encourage you to use our guide as a template so you can create your own spreadsheet to swap out the parts we chose with what may suit your needs and budget.
Read on for our parts and price list, and please leave your feedback in the comments section to get the conversation started!