Gaming has long been a driving force on the PC, though sometimes it's easy to forget when companies put so much focus on dedicated consoles. Even Microsoft is guilty of turning its back on the PC gamer to some extent. Microsoft Studios VP Phil Spencer admitted as much, saying he and his company "lost our way a bit in supporting Windows games," but that's in the past. Looking ahead, Spencer and company have found renewed interest in PC gaming.
Today marks the official launch of AMD's Radeon R9 290 graphics card, a high-performing part that rivals Nvidia's GeForce GTX 780 for $100 less. We put a stock clocked R9 290 card through its paces and came away mighty impressed with its performance (see for yourself). However, the real fun begins when AMD's hardware partners come out with their own custom versions, and one of the first out of the gate is Powercolor.
AMD has been promising big things from its Mantle graphics API, not the least of which is that its flagship GPU will "ridicule" Nvidia's GeForce Titan in Battlefield 4 in terms of performance. As opposed to high level APIs like OpenGL and Direct3D that operate on many different devices, Mantle is a low level API focused on AMD's Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture. There's potential to do some great things with Mantle, and that has developers excited.
Thin. Light. Sexy. These are three adjectives boutique system builder Maingear is using to describe its latest laptop, the Pulse 17, though it's not an Ultrabook (Intel) or an ultra-thin (AMD). So what is? The Pulse 17 is a full-fledged gaming notebook that pairs Intel's 4th Generation Core processor family (Haswell) with Nvidia's GeForce GTX 765M GPU in a package that weighs less than 6 pounds.
Mouse problems emerge as a result of Windows 8.1 upgrade
Gamers who went ahead and snagged the upgrade to Windows 8.1 may be rethinking their decision right about now, as many are experiencing mouse problems during games. Microsoft has acknowledged the issues as a known problem this week after users began pouring in with reported issues on their tech support forums.
We've seen some thin and light gaming laptops come through the pipeline in recent weeks, but on the other end of the spectrum are full fledged desktop replacements that bring the bulk. Once such system is Origin PC's new EON17-SLX, an unapologetically big and burly system that wields up to two Nvidia GeForce GTX 780M GPUs. Such a luxury costs a pretty penny, though a single GPU setup starts at $1,999.
Goodie Bags, spooky costumes, and Pumpkin Moon events await
Terraria fans can get in on some ghoulish fun with the Halloween update available to PC players. We detailed this world-building adventure recently in our Most Relaxing PC Games list, so if you haven't snapped it up yet, now's a great time.
Turn that crusty console into cash when buying an Alienware system
Alienware just expanded its trade-in program to include current consoles and is willing to pay $200 for your used Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 3, or Microsoft Xbox 360 when you purchase a new rig. The timing couldn't be any better, because with both Microsoft and Sony getting ready to launch new consoles next month, the value of these systems has never been lower. Trading in a Nintendo Wii is an especially interesting proposition.
Sharkoon is claiming that its Rush Core headset for gamers teeters on the high end with a premium design and feature-set, yet manages to carry a low price tag of just 17 euros (~$23 in U.S. currency). We're a little skeptical at how well a budget priced headset can sound, but on paper and in pictures, it certainly has the look of a quality set of cans (we'll reserve judgement until we get a chance to audition them).
It seems every PC maker is suddenly on a quest to build smaller sized gaming rigs, presumably because they envision these boxes taking residence in your living room where they'll host Steam games on your big screen TV. One of the newer candidates is CyberPowerPC's Hadron Air, a mini iTX based gaming system that measures all of 6.6 inches (W) by 12 inches (H) by 12.1 inches (D).