Gaming en Asus ROG Rolls Out Ares III Dual R9 290X Graphics Card <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/asus_ares_iii.jpg" alt="Asus Ares III" title="Asus Ares III" width="228" height="175" style="float: right;" />You know it's a serious card when it comes in a briefcase</h3> <p>See that image of the Ares III? <strong>According to Asus, the Ares III is the world's fastest water-cooled dual R9 290X graphics card on the planet</strong>, and we won't argue that claim. After all, who knows what that thing's lugging inside its metal briefcase. What we do know, however, is that this impressive graphics card is wielding dual AMD Radeon Hawaii XT R9 290X GPUs, both factory overclocked to 1030MHz.</p> <p>It's flanked by 8GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 5000MHz and, according to Asus, is 15 percent faster than a GeForce GTX Titan Z when gaming at a 4K resolution</p> <p>Despite the presence of two GPUs, this is a single-slot graphics card. It features a hand-carved EK water block for a precision fit, and when hooked up, the card runs 25 percent cooler than the reference R9 295X2, <a href="" target="_blank">Asus says</a>.</p> <p>If you need even more speed, Asus points out that the Ares III features Digi+ VRM technology with a 16-phase concrete-core power design and Japanese made 10K black metallic capacitors, which reduces power noise by 30 percent and enhances energy efficiency by 15 percent without generating whines or buzzes. Translation? You can overclock this sucker.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/ares_iii.jpg" alt="Asus Ares III Card" title="Asus Ares III Card" width="620" height="597" /></p> <p>Asus is only making 500 of these cards, which will be available this month. No word yet on price.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> amd ares iii asus Build a PC Gaming graphics card Hardware r9 290x radeon Republic of Gamers ROG Video Card News Fri, 05 Sep 2014 16:52:45 +0000 Paul Lilly 28487 at Digital Storm Targets Gamers with Bolt II Battle Box Titan Z Special Edition <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/digital_storm_battle_box.jpg" alt="Digital Storm Bolt II Battle Box" title="Digital Storm Bolt II Battle Box" width="228" height="183" style="float: right;" />Liquid cooled and ready for the heat of battle</h3> <p><strong>Digital Storm today unveiled its Bolt II Battle Box Titan Z Special Edition</strong>, which is a specially priced Bolt II small form factor (SFF) rig wielding a dual-GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan Z graphics card. In addition to adding a Titan Z, Digital Storm went back to the drawing board and redesigned the Bolt II to accommodate a new Hardline Cooling System consisting of a 240mm radiator, pump, and "stunning" acrylic tubing with yellow coolant.</p> <p>"Nvidia launched the GTX Battle Box Program to allow gamers to play AAA, combat-focused games at max settings and super high resolutions," said Harjit Chana, Chief Brand Officer. "But gaming in 4K requires much more than simply upgrading components. Our Hardline Cooling System allows gamers to unlock the Bolt II’s full potential and experience games in ways they never thought possible."</p> <p>The Bolt II Battle Box is available now for just under $5,000, down from what its regular selling price should be, which is $6,658. At that starting price, the Bolt II Battle Box comes with a painted chassis, an overclocked Intel Core i7 4790K processor, Asus Maximus VI Impact motherboard, 16GB of DDR3-1600 memory, Blu-ray player, 250GB Samsung 840 EVO SSD, 1TB Seagate HDD, Titan Z graphics card, liquid cooling, internal lighting, 700W power supply, and Windows 8.1 64-bit.</p> <p>You can find out more (and/or place an order) on <a href="" target="_blank">Digital Storm's website</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> battle boz bolt ii Digital Storm Gaming geforce gtx titan z Hardware nvidia OEM rigs News Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:35:10 +0000 Paul Lilly 28418 at AMD Announces Tonga-based R9 285 Graphics Card <!--paging_filter--><h3>Touts it as being faster than Nvidia’s GTX 760</h3> <p>At its “<a href="" target="_blank">30 Year of Gaming and Graphics</a>” event, which the company broadcast live via Twitch on Saturday, <strong>Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) announced the addition of a new graphics card to its Radeon R9 family</strong>. While the Radeon R9 285 is very close to its predecessor, the R9 280, in terms of specs, the new card is built around the company’s new Tonga Pro GPU.</p> <p>The R9 285, which like the R9 280 packs 1792 stream processors, 112 texture processors and 32 ROPs, boasts a maximum boost clock speed of 918MHz (base clock speed unknown), which is a bit less than that of its predecessor. However, with a TDP of 190W,&nbsp; it is considerably more power efficient than the R9 280, which has a 250W TDP. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of their specs:</p> <p><img src="/files/u46168/r9285vs_r9280.png" alt="R9 285 vs R9 280" width="620" height="90" /></p> <p>The R9 285 will go on sale on September 2, 2014 for $249.</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> amd Gaming gpu graphics card Hardware radeon r9 285 tonga pro News Mon, 25 Aug 2014 06:45:09 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28408 at Microsoft’s ‘DeLorean’ Defeats Cloud Gaming Lag by Predicting Gamer’s Next Move <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Microsoft Delorean" title="Microsoft Delorean Cloud Gaming Tech" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>It's to&nbsp; cloud gaming latency what a warp drive is to the cosmic speed limit — a workaround</h3> <p>If you aren’t sold on cloud gaming, we don’t blame you. We aren’t either. Despite all its inherent promise, cloud gaming continues to be held back by the high latency generally associated with wide area networks — not to mention the ridiculously fast internet speeds and plenty of spare bandwidth that are the other desiderata for a quality cloud gaming experience. But what if you wanted to <strong>enable a better cloud gaming experience</strong> but didn’t know of a way to directly lower latency? How about masking it?</p> <p>That is precisely what Microsoft is trying to do with its “DeLorean” technology. On the face of it, the idea is simple. In a normal cloud gaming setup, the game visuals are rendered on a remote server and streamed to a thin client, with the rendering and streaming being initiated based on user input. What DeLorean does differently is to predict user input and pre-render a set of future outcomes based on those predictions, “delivering them to the client one entire RTT&nbsp; [round trip time] ahead of time; clients perceive no latency.” According to a <a href="" target="_blank">research paper published by the software giant</a>, the technique, which has already been tested with Doom 3 and Fable 3, can be used to mask network latency of up to 250ms. (Generally, anything over 60ms is considered less than ideal and anything over 100ms downright unplayable.)</p> <p>Besides predicting future outcomes, DeLorean also relies on state space subsampling and time shifting (to cut down on number of possible outcomes), misprediction compensation, and video compression. You would expect multiplayer to be particularly problematic for a system like this given the number of players, but Microsoft insists things are about just as bad as standard multiplayer.</p> <p>There’s a major downside to this technique, though: the bandwidth consumption can be 1.5 to 4.5 times more than your run-of-the-mill cloud gaming setup. However, the researchers “believe this is a reasonable trade-off for service providers who are otherwise unable to offer users low-latency interactivity.”</p> <p><em>Image Credit: Ed g2s/Wikipedia</em></p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> cloud gaming Gaming lag latency microsoft delorean streaming games News Mon, 25 Aug 2014 04:51:22 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28407 at CyberPowerPC's Raven X6 Gaming Laptop Takes Flight Starting at $1,199 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/raven_laptop.jpg" alt="Raven X6" title="Raven X6" width="228" height="180" style="float: right;" />A sleek and stylish laptop</h3> <p><strong>CyberPowerPC today uncaged its new Raven X6 laptop for gamers</strong>. The Raven X6 sports a 15.6-inch In-Plane Switching (IPS) display with a 1920x1080 resolution powered by an Intel Core i7 4710HQ mobile processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M graphics. It all comes wrapped in an aggressive looking chassis with sleek angles and subtle aesthetic enhancements and accents.</p> <p>Pricing starts at $1,199. In addition to the components listed above, the Raven X6 also features 8GB of DDR3-1600 RAM, 1TB hard drive (7200 RPM), two USB 3.0 ports, HD webcam with dual digital microphones, backlit keyboard, HDMI output, 4-in-1 media card reader, and Windows 8.1.</p> <p>There are a few upgrade options, such as bigger and faster storage choices, more RAM, and a bunch of accessories (mice, keyboards, headsets), though you can't hog wild pimping this thing out with more powerful components -- the options just aren't there.</p> <p>You can order a <a href="" target="_blank">CyberPowerPC Raven X6</a> right now.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> cyberpowerpc Gaming Hardware laptop notebook OEM raven x6 rigs News Thu, 21 Aug 2014 18:36:56 +0000 Paul Lilly 28393 at SteamVR Updated with Oculus Rift DK2 Support <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="SteamVR" title="SteamVR" width="228" height="129" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Oculus Rift DK2 began shipping in July</h3> <p><strong>Valve has updated the SteamVR feature it debuted earlier this year</strong>,&nbsp; <a href="" target="_blank"> adding support for the Oculus Rift DK2 head-mounted display (HMD)</a> that began shipping late last month. With this update, the still-in-beta SteamVR, which is essentially a Steam interface for HMDs like the Oculus Rift, now supports positional tracking on Windows and OSX. Road to VR has published a <a href="" target="_blank">step-by-step guide</a> on how to get SteamVR and Half-Life 2 to work with the Oculus Rift DK2.</p> <p>According to the same website, demand for the $350 DK2 is very strong, with Oculus VR, the company behind the device, having received orders for as many as 60,000 units, out of which 20,000 units have already reached buyers. The company recently updated the <a href="" target="_blank">Oculus Rift DK2 order page</a> to let everyone know that “new orders are expected to begin shipping in October 2014.”</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> Gaming Half-Life 2 Hardware oculus rift dk2 oculus vr positional tracking steamvr Home News Mon, 18 Aug 2014 02:52:52 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28361 at Alienware Alpha PC Game Console is Now Available to Pre-Order in the U.S. <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/alienware_alpha_angled.jpg" alt="Alienware Alpha" title="Alienware Alpha" width="228" height="154" style="float: right;" />Configurations start at $549</h3> <p>In an alternate reality, Dell is launching its <a href="">Alienware Alpha</a> PC game console as its official Steam Machine. In this world, however, Valve threw a wrench into every OEM's plans by delaying the launch of its Steam Machine platform until next year, as it wanted more time to tweak its Steam Controller. Fair enough, though not all system builders are willing to put their PC console plans on hold. Enter <strong>Alienware, which today announced it's taking pre-orders for its Alpha console</strong>.</p> <p>"Gamers can now secure their gateway to the entire Steam library on a system that was engineered to provide an immersive PC gaming experience, custom-tailored for the living room," Alienware said. "The Alienware Alpha merges the open ecosystem and flexibility of PC gaming with the ease-of-use and intuitive interface of consoles. This enables gamers to choose what and how they want to play, whether it’s a competitive online FPS with the bundled Microsoft Xbox 360 wireless controller for Windows, or having their friends bring their controllers of choice for a fragfest in the newest indie side scroller."</p> <p>Systems start at $549, though you can configure a higher priced machine with more potent hardware. That includes the availability of Intel Core i7 processor options, 8GB of RAM, 1TB of storage, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Nvidia Maxwell-based GPU options. All systems come with a Microsoft Xbox 360 controller to boot.</p> <p>As an added bonus, Alienware Alpha machines will also come bundled with Payday 2, Magicka, Magicka: Dungeons and Daemons DLC, and Gauntlet Helm.</p> <p>Alienware Alpha systems will ship in November, just as <a href="">previously promised</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> alienware alpha console dell Gaming Hardware OEM rigs News Tue, 12 Aug 2014 14:49:36 +0000 Paul Lilly 28331 at Origin Rolls Out Battlebox Titan Z Systems for 4K Gaming <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/battlebox_0.jpg" alt="Battlebox" title="Battlebox" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Refreshed desktops offer 4K gaming performance starting at under $4,000</h3> <p>The 4K era is in its very early stages, and though the technology still has room for improvement (especially on the monitor side), you can make the leap if you're determined. Boutique builder <strong>Origin PC is all too happy to satisfy your 4K gaming needs with its Nvidia Battlebox Titan Z systems</strong> that are now available. These are basically refreshed Genesis, Millennium, and Chronos machines equipped with Nvidia GeForce Titan Z graphics cards.</p> <p>"Whether you’re new to 4K gaming or not, each Origin PC Battlebox Titan Z system was designed to provide the best 4K gaming experience right out of the box," Origin PC explains. "With a wide variety of special bundled options for each system, such as the inclusion of a 4K monitor bundled with a Titan Z graphics card, only Origin PC’s Battlebox TITAN Z systems can deliver the ultimate 4K gaming experience at an incredible value."</p> <p>All three setups start at under $4,000 with a single Titan Z graphics card. Each one also offers different starting configurations, though depending on the model and config, you can find yourself above the $4,000 starting point in a hurry. For example, the Chronos Z is available with a single Titan Z for under $4,000 or with a Titan Z and Asus PB287Q 4K Ultra HD 28-inch monitor, though in this case, the latter option still stays under $4,000 - it's the other two that bump up above, depending on which setup you start with.</p> <p>The same options are available for the Millennium Z, plus a third configuration consisting of dual Titan Z graphics cards for the price of one. Same goes for the Genesis Z, though it adds a fourth option -- dual Cryogenic liquid cooled Titan Z graphics cards for the price of one.</p> <p>If you're interested, just head over to the special <a href="" target="_blank">4K Battlebox landing page</a> on Origin's website.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> 4k battlebox chronos z Gaming genesis z Hardware millennium z nvidia OEM origin rigs titan z ultra hd News Mon, 11 Aug 2014 15:40:25 +0000 Paul Lilly 28324 at Upcoming Alienware 13 to be Dell’s Thinnest Gaming Laptop <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Alienware 13" title="Alienware 13" width="228" height="153" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Will sport a QHD touchscreen IPS display</h3> <p>Alienware’s M11x gaming laptop launched to mostly favorable reviews in 2010 (we gave it a <a href="" target="_blank">stellar 9/10</a>) and even managed to amass a small, cult-like following before it got phased out in 2012. Since then the company has ignored <a href="" target="_blank">entreaties for the 11-inch notebook’s revival</a>, sticking with larger notebooks instead. That does not mean there is no <strong>room for a smaller and lighter laptop in Alienware’s portfolio.</strong></p> <p>The Dell-owned brand is now readying a 13-inch gaming laptop. At 1 inch thick and 4.5 pounds, the upcoming laptop is going to both considerably thinner and lighter than the Alienware 14 (1.6” and 6.1lbs), the thinnest and lightest offering in the company’s stable right now. Further, unlike its 14-inch brother, the 13 will be powered by ultra-low-voltage (ULV) processors from Intel and not standard mobile Core i chips. Other specs on the 13 will include up to 2560×1440 IPS touchscreen display, up to 16GB of RAM, two SSDs, Nvidia GeForce 860M GPU, 802.11ac Wireless and Klipsch audio.</p> <p>According to <a href=";utm_source=twitter&amp;utm_medium=social" target="_blank">Forbes</a> contributor Jason Evangelho, who recently had the chance to talk to an Alienware representative about the 13, the upcoming laptop has been designed with “a ‘full throttle’ cooling system — it’s an internal, copper, thermal solution designed to keep the hardware cool under heavy loads.” </p> <p>The Alienware 13 is scheduled to arrive on store shelves sometime during the holiday season. The exact release date and price are not known at this time.</p> <p>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></p> alienware 13 alienware m11x dell Gaming gaming laptop GeForce 860M Klipsch ulv News Mon, 11 Aug 2014 00:16:27 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 28319 at Roccat Breeds Nyth Modular Gaming Mouse and Skeltr Keyboard with Smartphone Stand <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/roccat_nyth.jpg" alt="Roccat Nyth" title="Roccat Nyth" width="228" height="196" style="float: right;" />First fully integrated keyboard/smartphone combo and modular MMO mouse</h3> <p>Roccat's been known to think outside the box when coming up with unique features for its gaming peripherals, but its newest devices take things to a new level. While at Gamescom 2014, <strong>Roccat today announced its Nyth modular gaming mouse and Skeltr keyboard/smartphone combo</strong>. Both are supposed to the be the first of their kind, the question is, how will gamers react?</p> <p>"We've wanted to develop our own MMO mouse for a long time, but like always, we end up seeing a bigger picture once we begin brainstorming. MMO mice have these massive button grids that are locked in. You can change the button functionality, but what if you don't like the layout? Our solution is a wholly modular MMO mouse, with interchangeable button combinations that suit the player," explains Rene Korte, CEO and founder of Roccat. "No two gamers are alike, and because we know that, we've gone many steps beyond just allowing them to switch out the in-package button options. Our fans will have access to our button inventory files, and those that are into 3D printing can even create their very own."</p> <p>The side part on the Nyth is replaceable, allowing gamers to transform the MMO mouse into one that's better suited for FPS gaming.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/skeltr.jpg" alt="Skeltr" title="Skeltr" width="620" height="333" /></p> <p>Also unique is Roccat's Skeltr keyboard. It has a smartphone stand, which you can use to mount your phone as a secondary display synced to the keyboard via Bluetooth. The sliding rail and rotating holster fit every size smar device, according to Roccat.</p> <p>"We also believe being able to use your keyboard to communicate on your smartphone is a no-brainer feature Roccat fans will deeply appreciate," Korte said.</p> <p>No word yet on when these devices will come out or for how much.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Gaming Hardware keyboard mouse nyth Peripherals roccat skeltr News Tue, 05 Aug 2014 17:01:46 +0000 Paul Lilly 28292 at D-Link DGL-5500 Review <!--paging_filter--><h3>A router built specifically for gamers</h3> <p>When it comes to PC parts and accessories, all roads eventually lead to gamers. Intel and AMD both sell unlocked processors so gamers can more easily overclock their rigs for a few extra frames per second; pro gamer Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel has endorsed everything from motherboards to power supplies; there’s gaming RAM; and of course, a whole assortment of accessories designed to give you an edge when smoking your friends on the virtual battlefield. Up until now, one of the few items missing from the list was an 802.11ac wireless router.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/dgl-5500_front_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/dgl-5500_front_small.jpg" alt="The new Mac Pro stole its design from this router—true story. " title="D-Link DGL-5500" width="583" height="1200" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The new Mac Pro stole its design from this router—true story. </strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/dgl-5500_back_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/dgl-5500_back_small.jpg" title="D-Link DGL-5500" width="584" height="1200" /></a></p> <p>D-Link gets credit for tying up that loose end with the DGL-5500, a dual-band AC1300 wireless router built specifically for gamers. What makes the DGL-5500 different from all the other 802.11ac models, including D-Link’s own DIR-868L (reviewed in our February issue), is the inclusion of Qualcomm’s StreamBoost technology.</p> <p>Whereas the majority of modern routers rely on simple quality of service (QoS) rules to prioritize network packets, StreamBoost examines what applications are running and how much actual bandwidth each one needs. It also manages latency because a laggy gamer is a dead gamer. The question is, does it work as advertised?</p> <p>For the most part, StreamBoost lives up to the hype. We consistently saw lower pings in online games when connected to the DGL-5500 versus our zero-point router, the Asus RT-AC66U. External factors beyond our control also affect ping, so it’s hard to offer an apples-to-apples comparison, but to give one example, our ping averaged around 42ms in Battlefield 4 when using Asus’s router. When switching to D-Link’s model and turning on StreamBoost, our pings hovered around 19ms. After firing up Netflix on a second PC and initiating file downloads on two other systems, the ping stayed around 22–24ms—that’s impressive.</p> <p>In our evaluation of D-Link’s DIR-868L, we said the fugly web-based interface could use a major overhaul, and that’s what we got with the DGL-5500. It’s much better looking than before and far less complicated to navigate, though it’s also painfully slow when switching between menus. The UI is also heavily biased toward StreamBoost—if you disable the feature, you lose access to the My Network map, which provides a graphical view of all active devices and how much bandwidth each one is consuming.</p> <p>The DGL-5500 outpaced our zero point router in 802.11n mode on the 2.4GHz band in our three indoor tests. It also did better at picking out uncluttered channels on its own—we use inSSIDer ($20, to identify the best channel(s) for testing. However, the RT-AC66U boasts better range and faster transfers in 802.11ac mode on the 5GHz band. It’s worth pointing out the DGL-5500 lacks beamforming, which concentrates the wireless signal at connected devices for longer range and better speeds.</p> <p>There are other shortcomings, as well—you can’t configure Guest networks, the single USB 2.0 port doesn’t support printer sharing, and the combined speed of both channels is capped at AC1300 rather than AC1750 as it is with D-Link’s DIR-868L. While StreamBoost is a step forward, the router is a step backward in other areas. Note to D-Link: Gamers care about this stuff, too.</p> <p><strong>$140 [street],</strong> <a href=""></a></p> ac wireless april issues 2014 Gaming Hardware hd media router 2000 Review Reviews Wed, 30 Jul 2014 22:22:18 +0000 Paul Lilly 28097 at Watch Dogs Graphical Analysis: Stock vs Worse Mod Take 2 <!--paging_filter--><h3><span style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="/files/u162579/vlc_2014-07-25_12-43-11-76.jpg" alt="Watch Dogs Featured" title="Watch Dogs Featured" width="250" height="141" style="float: right;" />We compare stock Watch Dogs against Worse Mod 1.0</span></h3> <p>Our <a href="" target="_blank">last attempt</a> at comparing the stock graphics of <a href="" target="_blank">Watch Dogs</a> received some fair criticism. Coupling SweetFX and TheWorse Mod led to noticeably darker graphics that threw off our results. You all spoke, and we listened. Here's our second take on the Worse Mod which is now in its final incarnation: <a href="" target="_blank">version 1.0</a>.</p> <p>First, a bit of background. Gamers were <a href="" target="_blank">understandbly upset</a> when Watch Dogs launched in May with <a href="" target="_blank">Uplay issues</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">lackluster performance</a>, and graphics that simply didn't match up to the <a href="" target="_blank">versions demoed and displayed at E3</a>.</p> <p>TheWorse, MaLDo, and VAAS stepped in to create TheWorse Mod. Working off of some initial modding work by kadzait24, the team set out to add the stunning ‘E3 effects’ back into the game while also including extra visual flair and improvements. We’ve done the testing, but we’ll let you, the readers, be the judge.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<iframe src="//" width="600" height="338" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <h3><span style="font-weight: normal;">Testing Methodology</span></h3> <p>We’ve redone our testing of Watch Dogs with comparable scenes rendered in the bone-stock version of the game as well as a modded version with TheWorse Mod (with Maldo textures) installed. We’ve passed up SweetFX this time around to ensure that gamma isn’t an issue.</p> <p>Our capture rig is a bit less powerful this time around with an AMD FX-6300 processor alongside an AMD R9 280X and 8GB of RAM. It’s still capable of running the game at close to 30 FPS on maxed out settings with and without the mod, however.&nbsp;</p> <p>In-game graphics settings are exactly the same as last time. Check out the specific settings below:</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u162579/watch_dogs_2014-07-24_15-06-17-06.jpg" alt="Watch Dogs Settings" title="Watch Dogs Settings" width="600" height="338" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u162579/watch_dogs_2014-07-24_15-06-38-19.jpg" alt="Watch Dogs Settings" title="Watch Dogs Settings" width="600" height="338" /></p> <h3><span style="font-weight: normal;">Breaking Down the Video</span></h3> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"><a href="" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u162579/vlc_2014-07-25_12-39-51-82.jpg" alt="Watch Dogs" title="Watch Dogs Graphical Analysis: Stock vs Worse Mod Take 2" width="600" /></a></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Aiden stands in an alleyway outside of a house (click the image for a comparison GIF).&nbsp;</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">This scene showcases the immense difference in ambiance between stock Watch Dogs and the modded version. The splitscreen effect works great here because the difference in coloring is immediately obvious. Everything is shaded in a more stylized hue that covers up the game’s unseemly bits while accentuating the beautiful shadows, lighting, and character models.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"><a href="" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u162579/vlc_2014-07-25_12-41-44-57.jpg" alt="Watch Dogs" title="Watch Dogs Graphical Analysis: Stock vs Worse Mod Take 2" width="600" /></a></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>This safehouse shot features very little movement aside from a shifting skyline (click the image for an animated GIF).</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">What’s great about this area is that it demonstrates that TheWorseMod isn’t simply a basic color filter added onto the game. In some areas, the world has a khaki hue that makes the world feel dirty and dusty. In this scene, all of the colors are more muted and mellow with the blue sky unblemished. There’s not really a noticeable improvement in this screen, but that’s because TheWorseMod really works best with movement. The effects of the mod are best demonstrated in-game or through video.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="/files/u162579/vlc_2014-07-25_12-42-05-43.jpg" alt="Watch Dogs" title="Watch Dogs Graphical Analysis: Stock vs Worse Mod Take 2" width="600" height="338" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"><strong>Cars pass by on a random street in Chicago.</strong></span></p> <p>Watch Dogs looks good, but it falls short of greatness in its stock incarnation. Everything looks a bit too plain and normal. This isn't even close to the stunning scenes we were treated to by the game’s E3 trailers.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="/files/u162579/vlc_2014-07-25_12-42-18-67.jpg" alt="Watch Dogs" title="Watch Dogs Graphical Analysis: Stock vs Worse Mod Take 2" width="600" height="338" /></span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"><strong>Aiden stands on a sidewalk as people hurry past.</strong></span></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">This particular segment looks best in-game or in the video because of the swaying trees and the numerous pedestrians. There’s a clear colorcast that makes the world come alive along with some great-looking grass and a well-worn sidewalk. &nbsp;The way the light filters through the scene and casts shadows makes this look a hell of a lot more like what we expected it to.&nbsp;</span></p> <h3><span style="font-weight: normal;">Conclusion</span></h3> <p>We’re in love with TheWorse Mod. It does a great job of making Watch Dogs feel more cinematic. The game’s stock graphics look stark, plain, and fairly artificial whereas the modded graphics make the game look more mystical, interesting, and in a way, more believable. A lot of the beauty of TheWorse Mod comes from artistic manipulation of depth of field and fog. In fact, we found that in some areas, these effects in particular were applied a bit too liberally and detracted from visibility. Minor quibbles aside, the mod is a much needed facelift for an otherwise good game.&nbsp;</p> <p>As for performance, frame rates with or without the mod were nearly indistinguishable. Some users report better performance on some machines without the added texture pack, but your mileage may vary.</p> <p>That’s our take, what do you think? Does TheWorse Mod make the game look more like it does in the game’s E3 trailers?</p> Gaming graphics analysis mod pc version stock watch dogs worse mod Features Wed, 30 Jul 2014 17:10:01 +0000 Ben Kim 28240 at Logitech’s G402 Hyperion Fury is the Speedy Gonzalez of Gaming Mice <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/logitech_g402.jpg" alt="Logitech G402" title="Logitech G402" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Billed as "the fastest gaming mouse, bar none."</h3> <p><strong>Logitech added the G402 Hyperion Fury Ultra-Fast FPS Gaming Mouse</strong> to its stable of mice today, though unlike any other previous mechanical rodent, this is supposed to be the fastest mouse on the planet (sorry, Speedy Gonzalez). The heart and soul of the G402 is Logitech's exclusive Fusion Engine, which combines a sophisticated optical sensor with the company's Delta Zero sensor technology to enable reliable tracking in excess of 500 inches per second.</p> <p>"We took on the challenge of creating the world’s fastest mouse in service of FPS gamers, and after three years of intensive R&amp;D we are proud to launch a mouse that only Logitech could develop," <a href="" target="_blank">said Ehtisham Rabbani</a>, general manager of the Logitech gaming business. "The Logitech G402 Hyperion Fury is the fastest gaming mouse, bar none, and the best mouse for high-speed FPS gameplay. Its lightweight design, combined with the precision and capability of the Fusion Engine, lets you make fast, furious swipes and dominate the battlefield, proving once again that Science Wins!"</p> <p>According to Logitech, a common complaint among gamers is that their mice can't track as fast as they move. With the above mentioned sensor technologies, along with an accelerometer and gyroscope, the G402 supposedly solves that problem.</p> <p>Other features of the G402 include 8 programmable buttons, on-the-fly DPI switching via four pre-configured settings between 250 DPI and 4,000 DPI, 1ms report rate to eliminate lag, and a 32-bit ARM processor to both power the above mentioned technologies and to allow you to save macros.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">Logitech G402 is available to pre-order</a> now for $60 and will begin shipping in August.</p> <p><iframe src="//" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> g402 hyperion fury Gaming Hardware logitech mouse Peripherals News Wed, 30 Jul 2014 15:25:12 +0000 Paul Lilly 28265 at Nvidia GeForce 340.52 WHQL Drivers Sit Just a Few Clicks Away <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/geforce_1.jpg" alt="GeForce" title="GeForce" width="228" height="198" style="float: right;" />Latest GeForce drivers add a bunch of SLI profiles</h3> <p>Attention GeForce graphics card owners -- <strong>you can now download new GeForce 340.52 WHQL drivers</strong> from Nvidia's website, or update automatically through GeForce Experience. Either way, new drivers are available, and with them, you can take advantage of GameStream technology to stream PC games to the new Shield tablet, which launches today to e-tailers and retailers, Nvidia says.</p> <p>That's really the big reason for the new drivers, though if you're running multiple GPUs in SLI, you'll potentially benefit from a number of SLI profiles that have been added. Specific to the 340.52 release are profiles for Battlefield: Hardline, Dark Souls II, 3DMark SkyDriver Subtest, Divinity: Original Sin, Elder Scrolls Online, GRID Autosport, LuDaShi Benchmark, and WildStar.</p> <p>There are also some new 3D Vision profiles for stereoscopic 3D gamers. They include Banished, BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea, and Krater.</p> <p>You can out more in the <a href="" target="_blank">Release Notes (PDF)</a> and can download the new drivers <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Drivers Gaming geforce 340.52 nvidia Software News Tue, 29 Jul 2014 19:01:52 +0000 Paul Lilly 28262 at TteSports Introduces 'Challenger Go' Membrane Gaming Keyboard with 40 Programmable Macros <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/challenger_go.jpg" alt="TteSports Challenger Go" title="TteSports Challenger Go" width="228" height="162" style="float: right;" />A gaming plank with purposely chosen membrane key switches</h3> <p>Most high end gaming keyboards these days feature mechanical key switches, of which there are a variety of types to suit different typing styles and preferences. However, <strong>TteSports said it specifically wanted to stick with membrane key switches for its new Challenger Go</strong>, which is the company's latest keyboard for gamers. According to TteSports, the membrane switches offer a "very short travel distance to actuation on each key" for an extremely fast response.</p> <p>The Challenger Go is outfitted with 10 dedicated macro keys, 5 on each side, along with 4 profiles for a total of 40 programmable macros. It also features LED backlighting and two side panel lighting accents, all of which are adjustable with 5 brightness levels and a pulse lighting effect, <a href="" target="_blank">TteSports says</a>.</p> <p>A removable cable and two-port USB hub round out the list of features. If it all adds up to something you might be interested in, set aside $60 (MSRP) and hang tight until next month when TteSports rolls the <a href=";g=ftr#.U9aBp_ldV8E" target="_blank">Challenger Go</a> out globally.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> challenger go Gaming Hardware keyboard Peripherals ttesports News Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:15:03 +0000 Paul Lilly 28254 at