Gaming en Graphics Porn (February 2015): Space Engine, Skyrim, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and More <!--paging_filter--><h3 style="margin: 0px 0px 5px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 21px; vertical-align: baseline; letter-spacing: -0.05em; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-weight: normal; color: #990000; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background: transparent;"><img src="/files/u162579/16299201755_f5f489d8a4_k.jpg" alt="Need for Speed" title="Need for Speed" width="250" height="105" style="float: right;" />Showcasing the sexiest, most photogenic game screenshots this side of the Internet</span></h3> <p>We're celebrating February with a gallery full of amazing screenshots. As always we've got a few obligatory Minecraft and Skyrim screens, but we've also got shots from newer games like Dragon Age: Inquisition and Ultraworld. Some supremely helpful folks over at <a href="" target="_blank">/r/GamerPorn</a> have again volunteered their work for this month's edition of <a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Graphics Porn</strong></a>.</p> <p><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background: transparent;"><em><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background: transparent;">Whether you've been following our&nbsp;<a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #cc0000; text-decoration: none; background: transparent;" title="screenshots" href="" target="_blank">handy-dandy guide on how to capture beautiful-looking game screens</a>&nbsp;</span>or&nbsp;<span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background: transparent;">simply print-screening some beautiful wallpaper-worthy game moments, we want to be able to share your captured works of art with the world. If you think you can do better than the pictures submitted below, please email your screenshots to&nbsp;</span><a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #cc0000; text-decoration: none; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-color: transparent; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;" href="" target="_blank"></a><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background: transparent;">&nbsp;so we can show them off. Make sure to include the name of the game, a title for the screenshot, and a description of what's happening on-screen.</span></em></span></p> Dragon Age: Inquisition features Gaming Graphics Porn screenshots Skyrim Space Engine Features Fri, 20 Feb 2015 20:34:15 +0000 Ben Kim 29323 at Nvidia Press Invite Teases New Gaming Product Launch <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/tegra_k1_0.jpg" alt="Nvidia Tegra K1" title="Nvidia Tegra K1" width="228" height="147" style="float: right;" />Mysterious product announcement is three weeks away</h3> <p>Quick, does anyone have Encyclopedia Brown on speed dial? Kudos, by the way, if you know who that is. And if you do, perhaps you're good at solving mysteries. That trait might come in handy when trying to figure out what Nvidia has in store for three weeks from now. <strong>Nvidia's been sending out press invites for a "special event" that will take place on March 3rd</strong>, and at that time it will reveal a product that promises to "redefine the future of gaming."</p> <p>Are you donning your detective cap? Then here goes.</p> <p>"I would like to invite you to attend a very special event on March 3rd. More than 5 years in the making, what I want to share with you will redefine the future of gaming. I look forward to seeing you there," Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang states on the invite.</p> <p>While we'd love it if Nvidia shocked the world with a new and affordable GPU that's capable of 8K gaming with all the settings maxed out, early speculation suggests this is a mobile play. Part of the reason for that is because Nvidia showed off its <a href="" target="_blank">Tegra X1 "super chip"</a> at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last month, though not with any accompanying devices.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/nvidia_invite.jpg" alt="Nvidia Invite" title="Nvidia Invite" width="609" height="601" /></p> <p>The odds-on favorite right now is that Nvidia will announce a next generation Shield Tablet built around Tegra X1. Other than that, however, it's a guessing game as to what other hardware and features will be included.</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 nvidia News Wed, 11 Feb 2015 18:23:55 +0000 Paul Lilly 29413 at Razer Sharpens Blade Laptop with 3K Touchscreen, Faster Hardware <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/razer_blade_2015.jpg" alt="Razer Blade 2015" title="Razer Blade 2015" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" />Refreshed Blade sees several upgrades</h3> <p>Razer's original Blade laptop is officially old news. That's because <strong>Razer today introduced a pair of refreshed Blade gaming notebooks</strong>, one with a Full HD 1080p (1920x1080) IPS display and the other with a touch-enabled QHD+ 3K IGZO (Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide) panel. Both models feature updated internals, including a faster CPU and GPU, though no Broadwell inside.</p> <p>The higher end model boasts a 14-inch panel and is still being billed as the thinnest and lightest gaming laptop in its size class. What that translates into is a 4.47-pound laptop measuring 13.6 inches (W) by 0.70 inches (H) by 9.3 inches (D).</p> <p>Powering the display is a 4th Generation Intel Core i7 4720HQ processor (2.6GHz to 3.66GHz), 16GB of DDR3L-1600 RAM, and Nvidia GeForce GTX 970M graphics with 3GB of onboard memory. Other hardware and features include 128GB/256GB/512GB SATA M.2 SSD storage options, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, three USB 3.0 ports, HDMI output, 2MP webcam, backlit anti-ghosting keyboard, and Windows 8.1 64-bit.</p> <p>As before, the Blade comes housed in a precision-cut CNC aluminum chassis. Inside is a custom designed trckpad and the aforementioned backlit keyboard, which also sports programmable keys powered by Razer's Synapse software.</p> <p>Pricing for the higher end model <a href="" target="_blank">starts at $2,200</a>, and you can place your order now. Alternately, the non-touch Full HD 1080p version features similar specs, but with half the RAM (8GB) and only a 256GB SSD option. That one's <a href="" target="_blank">priced at $2,000</a> and is also available to order now, though ships in 3-4 weeks.</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> blade Gaming Hardware laptop notebook razer News Tue, 03 Feb 2015 17:31:19 +0000 Paul Lilly 29360 at AMD Takes a Chip Shot at Nvidia's GTX 970 Controversy, Cuts Radeon R9 290X Pricing <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/amd_4gb.jpg" alt="AMD 4GB" title="AMD 4GB" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Did anybody <em>not</em> see this coming?</h3> <p>What do you do when you see your enemy <a href="">twisting in the wind</a>? You strike, of course, and that's exactly what AMD predictably decided to do as rival Nvidia goes into damage control concerning the memory controversy on its GeForce GTX 970 graphics card. <strong>AMD and its partners have lowered the price of their Radeon R9 290X graphics cards to as low as $280 after rebate, or $300 without</strong>.</p> <p>Credit AMD for waiting until precisely the right time to drop pricing. Had AMD done this when news first broke that there were performance issues on the GTX 970 when accessing onboard memory above 3.5GB, it would have been jumping the gun. From a strategic standpoint, it's brilliant to roll out the price cuts immediately after an Nvidia employee said he would help GTX 970 customers <a href="">obtain a refund</a> on their card, if they in fact decide to return it and are unable to get a refund on their own.</p> <p>AMD's price cut could end up being the deciding factor for anyone who was on the fence about keeping their GTX 970 card. In reality, Nvidia's card is still a fantastic GPU for the money, at least for most users, and Nvidia originally said it's working on a driver update that should improve memory performance. That bit has since been edited out of the original post, though we suspect Nvidia will still try to fine tune things.</p> <p>Nevertheless, picking up a competitive card for as much as $50 less than the GTX 970 will be tough for some gamers to ignore, especially those who have yet to upgrade. And to make sure the point is driven home, AMD's technical communications lead, Robert Hallock, took a jab at Nvidia on Twitter by <a href="" target="_blank">posting a picture</a> of the Radeon R9 290 with the caption, "4GB means 4GB."</p> <p>Speaking of which, the Radeon R9 290 can be found on Newegg for as little as $250 after rebate, or $270 without.</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 Build a PC Gaming geforce gtx 970 graphics card Hardware nvidia price cut radeon R9 290x Video Card News Fri, 30 Jan 2015 16:49:04 +0000 Paul Lilly 29341 at Sapphire Adds Triple Fan Cooler to 8GB Radeon R9 290X, Tweaks Clocks and Lowers Cost <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/sapphire_radeon_r9_290x_8gb_0.jpg" alt="Sapphire Radeon R9 290X 8GB" title="Sapphire Radeon R9 290X 8GB" width="228" height="225" style="float: right;" />More than just a big frame buffer</h3> <p>Sapphire was the first company to release an 8GB version of AMD's Radeon R9 290X graphics card, though it's no longer the only one -- a handful of other graphics card players jumped on board after AMD gave them a <a href="" target="_blank">reference design</a> to play with. Be that as it may, <strong>Sapphire is intent on standing out from the crowd, so it went and retooled its 8GB R9 290X with a triple fan cooler</strong> and some other changes.</p> <p>According to Sapphire, its Tri-X triple fan cooler is the first in the industry to use a central 10mm heatpipe in addition to four subsidiary heatpipes for even heat distribution throughout the heatsink. The fans themselves have dust repelling bearings with dual ball races and are equipped with aerofoil section blades. Topping it off is a fan cowling designed to guide the airflow for maximum cooling efficiency, Sapphire says.</p> <p>The company also points out that it builds its own PCB rather than outsourcing production. In this instance, its using a 6-phase VDDC power design.</p> <p>You'll find 8GB of GDDR5 memory on the new card, along with a 512-bit interface. The memory is "now clocked at 1375MHz (5.5GHz effective) delivering higher bandwidth than earlier models."</p> <p>Other features include a dual BIOS design, two 8-pin power connectors, and engine clock of up to 1020MHz.</p> <p>As for pricing? Good question -- Sapphire said the card comes it at a "slightly lower cost" but didn't specifiy an exact price. It's also not showing up in retail yet, though we'll update this article when/if we hear back from them. In the meantime, you can see more of the card on its <a href=";gid=3&amp;sgid=1227&amp;pid=2548&amp;psn=&amp;lid=1&amp;leg=0" target="_blank">product page</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> 8GB Build a PC Gaming graphics card Hardware radeon R9 290x sapphire Video Card News Thu, 29 Jan 2015 18:45:34 +0000 Paul Lilly 29334 at Gamers Petition for GeForce GTX 970 Refund Over Error in Specs <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/nvidia_geforce_gtx_970.jpg" alt="Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Diagram" title="Nvidia GeForce GTX 970" width="228" height="184" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Internal miscommunication at Nvidia led to confusion over the GTX 970's specs</h3> <p>Sometimes the tech world can be like a geek version of a soap opera, and this is one of those times. The main characters in this case are Nvidia and the GeForce GTX 970. If you're looking for a quick summary of events, it's this: Gamers noticed a slowdown in performance when games tried to access more than 3.5GB of memory on the GTX 970. This in turn led to Nvidia explaining a new memory architecture in the GTX 970, along with clarification of specs that were different than originally reported. In light of all this, <strong>there's a petition floating around demanding a refund for anyone who purchased a GTX 970</strong>, but to really understand what's going on, a deeper explanation is necessary.</p> <p>This all began a week ago when users on various forums began investigation a memory issue with the GTX 970. At a glance, it seemed that the card was only using 3.5GB of its 4GB of GDDR5 memory. Upon closer look, it was discovered that a serious performance drop could occur when accessing that final .5GB of VRAM, which isn't an issue on the GTX 980.</p> <p>To clarify what was happening, Nvidia issued the following statement:</p> <p>"The GeForce GTX 970 is equipped with 4GB of dedicated graphics memory. However the 970 has a different configuration of SMs than the 980, and fewer crossbar resources to the memory system," Nvidia said. "To optimally manage memory traffic in this configuration, we segment graphics memory into a 3.5GB section and a 0.5GB section. The GPU has higher priority access to the 3.5GB section. When a game needs less than 3.5GB of video memory per draw command then it will only access the first partition, and 3rd party applications that measure memory usage will report 3.5GB of memory in use on GTX 970, but may report more for GTX 980 if there is more memory used by other commands. When a game requires more than 3.5GB of memory then we use both segments.</p> <p>"We understand there have been some questions about how the GTX 970 will perform when it accesses the 0.5GB memory segment. The best way to test that is to look at game performance. Compare a GTX 980 to a 970 on a game that uses less than 3.5GB. Then turn up the settings so the game needs more than 3.5GB and compare 980 and 970 performance again."</p> <p>Nvidia Senior VP of GPU Engineering, Jonah Alben, <a href="" target="_blank">spoke with <em>PC Perspective</em></a> and broke things down even further with a quite a few technical details. He also offered a helpful diagram, seen below.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/gtx_970_diagram.jpg" alt="Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Diagram" title="Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Diagram" width="620" height="479" /></p> <p>As you can see in the graph, there are 13 enabled SMMs, each with 128 CUDA cores for a total of 1,664. There are also three that are grayed out -- they've been disabled from the full GM204 found on the GTX 980. But what's really important is the memory system, which is connected to the SMMs through a crossbar interface.</p> <p>"That interface has 8 total ports to connect to collections of L2 cache and memory controllers, all of which are utilized in a GTX 980. With a GTX 970 though, only 7 of those ports are enabled, taking one of the combination L2 cache / ROP units along with it. However, the 32-bit memory controller segment remains," <em>PC Perspective</em> writes.</p> <p>There are a couple of takeaways there. First is the GTX 970 has less ROPs and L2 cache than the GTX 980 even though it was reported otherwise. Why? Nvidia blames the gaffe on an error in the reviewer's guide, which is usually a PDF (or actual paper) containing detailed info on a product prior to its launch that manufacturers send out to reviewers, and a misunderstanding between the engineering team and the technical PR team on how the architecture actually functioned.</p> <p>Bottom line is, the GTX 970 has 56 ROPs and 1,792KB of L2 cache instead of 64 ROPs and 2,048KB of L2 cache like the GTX 980.</p> <p>That's actually not as big of a deal as it sounds, as the SMMs are the true bottleneck, not the ROPs.</p> <p>"A quick note about the GTX 980 here: it uses a 1KB memory access stride to walk across the memory bus from left to right, able to hit all 4GB in this capacity," <em>PC Perspective</em> writes. "But the GTX 970 and its altered design has to do things differently. If you walked across the memory interface in the exact same way, over the same 4GB capacity, the 7th crossbar port would tend to always get twice as many requests as the other port (because it has two memories attached). In the short term that could be ok due to queuing in the memory path. But in the long term if the 7th port is fully busy, and is getting twice as many requests as the other port, then the other six must be only half busy, to match with the 2:1 ratio. So the overall bandwidth would be roughly half of peak. This would cause dramatic underutilization and would prevent optimal performance and efficiency for the GPU."</p> <p>There are a LOT more details to digest, and rather than continue to quote bits and pieces, we suggest you read <em>PC Perspective's</em> <a href="" target="_blank">detailed report</a>. If after doing so you come to the conclusion that it's much ado about nothing, great, there's nothing more to see here. However, if you fall on the other side of the fence and feel duped, you can check out and sign the <a href="" target="_blank">petition at</a>.</p> <p>Our take? It's an unfortunate situation Nvidia created for itself, and gamers have a right to be angry over the misreported specs. At the same time, it appears that the impact on real-world performance is negligible, at least for now -- this could be a bigger issue as higher resolution game play becomes more common. Even still, it remains a great card for the 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> Build a PC Gaming geforce gtx 970 graphics card Hardware petition Video Card News Tue, 27 Jan 2015 20:07:53 +0000 Paul Lilly 29322 at EVGA Breeds New Torq X5 and X3 Mice for Gamers <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/evga_x5.jpg" alt="EVGA Torq X5" title="EVGA Torq X5" width="228" height="182" style="float: right;" />Built from the ground up for gaming</h3> <p>Quick, what's the first thing you think of when you hear "EVGA?" Most people would probably say graphics cards, followed by power supplies (or vice versa). Motherboards would have also been an acceptable answer, as would have Shield. But gaming mice? That's the type of last place answer that goes unanswered on Family Feud, yet it also represents EVGA's newest products. Specifically, <strong>EVGA just announced two new Torq series rodents, the X5 and X3</strong>, both designed from scratch for "hardcore gamers."</p> <p>There are actually four different models -- Torq X3, X3L, X5, and X5L. The "L" denotes a laser sensor, while the other two both use optical. Here's a better look at how they break down:</p> <ul> <li>Torq X5L: Laser 8200 dpi, RGB LED, Omron 20m switches, 1000Hz polling rate</li> <li>Torq X5: Optical 6400 dpi, RGB LED, Omron 20m switches, 1000Hz polling rate</li> <li>Torq X3L: Laser 5000 dpi, RGB LED, Omron 10m switches, 1000Hz polling rate</li> <li>Torq X3: Optical 4000 dpi, red LED, Omron 10m switches, 1000Hz polling rate</li> </ul> <p>All four variants have access to five profiles and eight buttons, and are ambidextrous in design, measuring 1.53 (H) by 4.64 (L) by 2.59 (W) inches. They also sport on-the-fly adjustable DPIs and work with EVGA's Unleash software.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">Torq X5L</a> ($60), <a href="" target="_blank">Torq X5</a> ($50), and <a href="" target="_blank">Torq X3</a> ($40) are all available now direct from EVGA; the <a href="" target="_blank">Torq X3L</a> ($40) is a Best Buy exclusive, and also available 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> evga Gaming Hardware mouse Peripherals torq x3 torq x5 News Tue, 27 Jan 2015 16:17:56 +0000 Paul Lilly 29318 at What Impact Will HoloLens Have on PC Gaming? <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/hololens_holobuild2.jpg" alt="HoloLens Holobuild" title="HoloLens Holobuild" width="228" height="152" style="float: right;" />When physical and virtual worlds collide</h3> <p>Microsoft made a <a href="">handful of revelations</a> during its press event yesterday, such as that <a href="">Windows 10 will be a free upgrade</a> for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users for the first year, and that Cortana is headed to the desktop. But one of the most intriguing things Microsoft talked about was HoloLens, essentially a head mounted display that splatters holograms all over your living room, or wherever you happen to be wearing it. There are several potentially viable applications for this kind of technology, though the one I'm most curious about is gaming.</p> <p>You'd have to be blind, deaf, and dumb, <em>and</em> live under a rock the size of Manhattan to have not noticed the industry-wide push toward virtual reality, especially in the gaming sector. The name that comes to mind, of course, is Oculus and its Oculus Rift headset. Oculus captured the imagination of gamers and developers alike when it solicited funding on Kickstarter, and now that it's owned by Facebook, funding is one thing the project should never have to worry about again. Instead, the big question is when will it be ready for mass consumption, followed by what will the experience be like?</p> <p>So it goes with HoloLens, though let's be careful not to clump the two together. Whereas Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus are VR headsets that cover your entire line of vision so that all you see is a virtual world, HoloLens is different. It's an augmented reality experience, somewhat like Google Glass, though arguably more ambitious. When you wear a HoloLens headset, it fills your real-world environment with virtual objects and overlays, and you can manipulate them. Oh, and in case you're wondering, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey is "<a href="" target="_blank">Super excited</a>" about HoloLens, further underscoring that these are different products.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/hololens_holobuild.jpg" alt="HoloLens Holobuild" title="HoloLens Holobuild" width="620" height="343" /></p> <p>Several applications come to mind, like 3D modeling and virtual exploration. And of course PC gaming -- one of the demos Microsoft is fond of showing is Holobuilder. It looks like Minecraft and works like Minecraft, filling your mapped out environment with blocks and bits and pieces that you can then manipulate. I haven't tried it, nor have I experienced HoloLens in person, though I've done my fair share of reading. You can too, and I'd suggest checking our own <a href="">Jimmy Thang's in-depth impression</a> of HoloLens, along with that <a href="" target="_blank">of our sister site, <em>PC Gamer</em></a>.</p> <p>I agree with Jimmy that HoloLens has the potential to be an all-around transformative technology, but what I wonder is if something like this has the legs to excite developers and gamers alike. I'll go ahead and assume that Microsoft hashes out the hardware challenges so that users don't have to heave a 5-pound battery over their shoulder, and that HoloLens in its finished form will be lightweight, comfortable, and truly wireless. Those are challenges on the design end, and I suspect they'll be figured out.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/hololens_0.jpg" alt="HoloLens" title="HoloLens" width="620" height="254" /></p> <p>The bigger roadblock is getting game developers on board to create interesting content, and then convincing gamers that there's something here to be excited about. I'm skeptical, mainly because I wonder about the viability of gamers adopting headsets on a mass scale. I have no doubt there will be a niche audience, but what about mainstream users? Will the price be set at a place where gamers at large can afford to join the HoloLens party, or will this be a high-end experience for gamers with higher levels of disposable income?</p> <p>If Microsoft can clear that hurdle, then it needs to get developers to make some games that go beyond Minecraft. For me, it's a bit easier to envision gaming on VR headsets like Oculus Rift as opposed to augmented reality gear like HoloLens, but I'm keeping an open mind about it.</p> <p>My other fear is that gaming will be gimmicky and that the novelty will wear off after the first few titles. If you own a Wii, you know what I'm talking about -- it's fun to flail about in the living room when you first try it, and you'll quickly invite friends over to see what the fuss is about, though after awhile the 'wow' factor diminishes -- I'd much rather pay Skyrim some attention if I only have time for one or the other.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/populous.jpg" alt="Populous" title="Populous" width="620" height="387" /></p> <p>Still, I'm reminded of Populous and how much fun I had with that game several years ago. I think a modernized version would be a prime candidate for something like this, and since your environment dictates the shape and form of the virtual world that's overlayed on top of it, it would be easy to keep things fresh. A more modern (though still dated) example would be Black &amp; White, another God game that seems like a natural fit.</p> <p>I'm sure there are other potentially fun scenarios, and it will be up to developers to figure them out and then deliver on whatever experience they're shooting for. Though this technology has been around for some time, I consider this new territory, and only by exploring it will we find out if there's something here for gamers to be stoked about.</p> <p>Finally, if not HoloLens, I wonder what other hardware will help shape the future of PC gaming. Don't get me wrong -- I see myself wielding a mouse and keyboard for the foreeable future, but if the HoloLens earns itself more than just a footnote in the history of gadgets, it could inspire a slew of add-ons and peripherals, as well as competing headsets that go beyond the place where HoloLens is currently at.</p> <p>In any event, the short answer, quite simply, is that I don't know what impact HoloLens will have on PC gaming, and while I'm skeptical it will transform the industry, I'm willing to keep an open mind, or at least indulge in some novelty fun (somebody please develop a Populous-type game for this!).</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> augmented reality Gaming holograps Hololens microsoft News Thu, 22 Jan 2015 20:36:31 +0000 Paul Lilly 29298 at AMD Radeon R9 380X Rumored to Arrive in Second Quarter of 2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/amd_gpu_0.jpg" alt="AMD GPU" title="AMD GPU" width="228" height="192" style="float: right;" />Rumor has it the Radeon R9 380X will feature 4,096 GCN cores</h3> <p>Keeping in mind that nothing is ever official until it's official (one of the many mottos of Captain Obvious), purported details of AMD's forthcoming Radeon R9 380X have started to emerge. If they turn out to be accurate, you can expect the <strong>Radeon R9 380X to arrive sometime between April and June of this year</strong> with 4,096 GCN cores in tow, along with 4GB of 3D stacked High Bandwidth Memory (HDM).</p> <p>That's according to <a href="" target="_blank"><em>WCCFTech</em></a>, which is getting its information from Swedish website <a href="" target="_blank"><em>SWEClockers</em></a><em>, </em>"which have been proven to be quite accurate in their estimations." In this case, the report points to AMD running with the 380X nomenclature rather than 390X, which would indicate that an even more powerful graphics card is on tap for 2015.</p> <p>As for the 380X, the use of HBM is reported to be 9 times faster than GDDR5. Looking at just the increased number of compute units, however, it's estimated that the 380X could be 45 percent faster than AMD's R9 290X, and that's without taking into considerations architectural improvements or memory bandwidth.</p> <p>The card will be based on a GPU code named Fiji XT. Along with its release, AMD is expected to refresh its current lineup with new GPUs, including a Radeon R9 270 replacement called Trinidad.</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 Build a PC Gaming graphics card Hardware radeon r9 380x Video Card News Tue, 20 Jan 2015 18:33:19 +0000 Paul Lilly 29284 at Steam for Linux Bug Can Wipe Out All Files on a PC <!--paging_filter--><h3>Even files on external storage <img src="" alt="Steam for Linux" title="Steam for Linux" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />devices are not safe</h3> <p>Barely a fortnight into the year and we have already got ourselves a <strong>strong contender (if not a shoo-in) for the year’s scariest Steam bug</strong>. The good news is that the vast majority of Steam users don’t have anything to worry about as the bug in question, which was reported by a user named “keyvin” on <a href="" target="_blank">Valve’s GitHub repository</a>, only affects the Steam for Linux client.</p> <p>Many Steam for Linux users have reported encountering a devastating bug when trying to launch the client after manually moving their Steam installation directory. According to GitHub user keyvin who was the first to report the bug, he had “everything owned by my user”, including all the files on a 3TB external hard drive, deleted when he tried running the Steam client after having moved the <em>~/.local/share/steam directory</em>.</p> <p>Apparently, a <a href="" target="_blank">line in that reads <em>'rm -rf "$STEAMROOT/"*'</em> is to blame</a>. Meant to delete everything under the Steam data directory when the script is run with the —reset_steam option, the line can end up being interpreted as&nbsp; <em>'rm -rf "/"*'</em> by the machine when the <em>STEAMROOT</em> directory is missing, causing the deletion of each and every file owned by the user.</p> <p>Valve has told <a href="" target="_blank">PCWorld</a> that it has so far failed to reproduce the issue, adding that it is working on “some additional checks to ensure this [bug] is not possible while we continue to investigate.”</p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> bug flaw Gaming linux steam for linux Valve News Mon, 19 Jan 2015 07:48:33 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29270 at CES 2015: Razer Announces Forge TV, a $100 Android-Powered Game Console - Now with Video! <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/razer_forge_tv.jpg" alt="Razer Forge TV" title="Razer Forge TV" width="228" height="157" style="float: right;" />Another attempt to get Android into the living room</h3> <p>You can always count on Razer to introduce a surprise product or two every year at the Consumer Electronics Show. Last year it was Project Christine, a modular PC concept that may one day become an actual consumer product. And this year? Well, <strong>Razer has multiple items on tap, including Forge TV</strong>, which it describes as a high-performance Android TV micro-console with a lofty goal.</p> <p>That lofty goal is to "bring hardcore PC gaming and Android gaming into the living room" through a new gaming ecosystem. The ecosystem in question consists of the following parts:</p> <ul> <li>Razer Forge TV micro-console</li> <li>Razer Cortex: Stream -- a proprietary streaming technology that's hardware agnostic and DX9 (or higher) compatible</li> <li>Razer Serval -- console style Bluetooth gaming controller</li> <li>Razer Turret -- wireless living room gaming mouse and lapboard</li> </ul> <p>"Razer Forge TV is a device that is able to bring together the most popular elements of an entertainment center," <a href="" target="_blank">says Min-Liang Tan</a>, Razer co-founder and CEO. "It powers popular music and movie apps and plays Android TV games that an entire family can enjoy. For the hardcore gaming audience, it will bring PC gaming to the couch. Razer Forge TV is what we see as the future of consoles."</p> <p>The Forge TV is the main component here, and it consists of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core Krait 450 CPU clocked at 2.5GHz, Adreno 420 GPU, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of built-in storage, Bluetooth 4.1 + HS, 802.11ac (2x2) Wi-Fi, and GbE LAN port, HDMI 1.4 output.</p> <p>In addition to gaming on the Forge TV, users will have access to other types of apps and will be able to interact with the console through their mobile devices, including iOS, Android, Chromebook, Windows, and more.</p> <p>Forge TV will be available in the first quarter for $100, or $150 bundled with a Serval controller.</p> <h3>EDIT</h3> <p>We now have video of Razer speaking about its Forge TV. Check it out!</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> android ces2015 console Forge TV Gaming Hardware micro-console razer News Thu, 08 Jan 2015 20:30:23 +0000 Paul Lilly 29212 at CES 2015: Alienware Showcases New 17-Inch and 15-Inch Gaming Laptops [Video] <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/alienware_laptops.jpg" alt="Alienware 15-inch and 17-inch laptops" title="Alienware 15-inch and 17-inch laptops" width="228" height="132" style="float: right;" />Thinner and lighter Alienware laptops</h3> <p>Several years ago, it was vogue to gobble up boutique builders -- Dell acquired Alienware, HP grabbed Voodoo PC, and OCZ (now owned by Toshiba) snagged HyperSonic. Out of those, only Dell has consistently kept its enthusiast brand active with new product releases, and at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, <strong>Dell brought along a couple of new Alienware 17-inch and 15-inch laptops to display</strong>. Let's have a look.</p> <p>These won't compete with Ultrabooks or any other ultra thin laptops for thinness and weight (these are desktop replacements, after all), though they are slightly slimmer from the previous generation models, which Dell achieved primarily by removing the optical drive. Combined with some internal tweaks, Dell says it was able to shave away 20 percent of the thickness.</p> <p>Inside you'll find some high-end hardware, including optional Intel Core i7 quad-core processors, up to Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M graphics, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to 2TB of HDD or 512GB SSD. As for the display, Dell went with a Full HD 1080p resolution, though there will be a 4K option on the 15-inch model.</p> <p>Why no 4K option on the 17-inch version? That's a question Online Managing Editor and alien abduction survivalist Jimmy Thang made sure to ask, and according to Dell, there aren't as many 4K panel options in the 17-inch space as there are in smaller categories, and that's especially true in the IPS space, which is a feature Alienware wants to stick with.</p> <p>Pricing starts at $1,499 for the 17-inch and $1,199 for the 15-inch model, both of which are available now.</p> <p>More info in the video below!</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> alienware ces2015 dell Gaming Hardware laptop notebook OEM rigs News Thu, 08 Jan 2015 14:22:59 +0000 Jimmy Thang and Paul Lilly 29219 at CES 2015: Origin PC Discusses Laptops with Desktops CPUs and Omega Console [Video] <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/origin_pc_omega.jpg" alt="Origin PC Omega" title="Origin PC Omega" width="228" height="156" style="float: right;" />Laptops and desktop CPUs and PC consoles, oh my!</h3> <p>We've already seen some interesting developments coming from boutique system builders at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, though there's still plenty more to talk about. Like what? Well, <strong>Origin PC arrived at CES with laptops configured with desktop processors and a few living room game systems</strong> (call them PC consoles, if you will, but not Steam Box) that should play nice with your 4K TV.</p> <p>Continuing our video coverage, Online Managing Editor and level 73 CES Wizard Jimmy Thang transported himself to Origin PC's hideout to get a glance at its new systems. Origin PC started off by showcasing three new laptop PCs -- EON15-S, EON15-X, and EON17-X.</p> <p>The latter two support desktop processors up to an Intel Core i7 4790K. Why shove a desktop CPU into a notebook? "Why not" and "it's totally awesome," is what we were told. Origin PC elaborated on its reasoning, saying that it comes to down to power -- desktop chips are typically faster than their mobile counterparts, and for customers who need or would otherwise appreciate the added horsepower, or "grunt on the go," these laptops are for them.</p> <p>What about cooling and throttling? Origin PC admits that these laptops can get a little loud, but they run cool and run at 100 percent without throttling, as it's performed extensive thermal testing.</p> <p>Origin PC also showed off its new <a href="" target="_blank">Omega living room PC</a>. It will come in multiple different cases, including one that supports up to three graphics cards. These are perhaps more expensive than what some of it competitors are offering, but also more powerful, allowing for game play at 4K and beyond (in some instances), rather than just 4K output.</p> <p>See more:</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> ces2015 Gaming Hardware laptop notebook omega origin pc rigs News Wed, 07 Jan 2015 17:51:40 +0000 Jimmy Thang and Paul Lilly 29210 at CES 2015: Spying Digital Storm's Stunning Aventum 3 PC [Video] <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/digital_storm_aventum_3.jpg" alt="Digital Storm Aventum 3" title="Digital Storm Aventum 3" width="228" height="149" style="float: right;" />A killer system that's pre-wired for liquid cooling</h3> <p>Liquid cooling isn't new by any means -- enthusiasts have been cooling their PCs with water since around the discovery of fire (give or take a few years). But what makes <strong>Digital Storm's new Aventum 3 system a different kind of beast is how the liquid cooling setup is implemented</strong>. It's pre-wired and configured to allow for easy user upgrades without mucking up the intricate installation. Let's have a closer look.</p> <p>Online Managing Editor and shark wrestler Jimmy Thang steam rolled his way into Digital Storm's suite at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to give you an up close and personal view of the Aventum 3. According to Digital Storm, it's the only PC with a liquid cooling and power distribution system built into the chassis -- the cooling loop is inside the system, allowing customers to connect their own components and perform upgrades. Everything is pre-wired behind the chassis, giving it a bit of a plug-and-play characteristic.</p> <p>The Aventum 3 is a big case, though not quite as big as the Aventum 2 that earned itself a 9 verdict and Kickass award when we <a href="" target="_blank">reviewed it last year</a>. And of course it's also customizable, including the tubing -- you can choose from regular, acrylic, or copper tubing.</p> <p>Pricing will start at around $3,000 for an Aventum 3 when it becomes available in the Spring.</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> aventum 3 ces2015 Digital Storm Gaming Hardware OEM rigs News Wed, 07 Jan 2015 17:20:34 +0000 Jimmy Thang and Paul Lilly 29209 at CES 2015: MSI Marries a Mechanical Keyboard to a Gaming Laptop [Video] <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/msi_gaming_laptop_1.jpg" alt="MSI GT80" title="MSI GT80" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />Proof that laptop keyboards don't need to suck</h3> <p>Over the course of the last couple of years, MSI has been taking the gaming laptop category by storm, and we've seen a lot of interesting offerings from the company. However, it's <strong>MSI's new GT80 Titan SLI-009 that has us intrigued</strong>. The company brought its latest system (along with several other goodies) to the Consumer Electronics Show, so we sent Online Managing Editor and resident gaming whiz Jimmy Thang to check things out.</p> <p>There's a lot going on with the GT80 -- obviously the inclusion of dual GPUs is notable, though hardly a first in the gaming laptop category. However, what is a first is the inclusion of a built-in mechanical keyboard rather than all those membrane planks that are so commonplace.</p> <p>SteelSeries is behind the design of the mechanical plank, which uses Cherry MX Brown switches that offer a light tactile response and are non-clicky (though not silent). You'll also notice that the trackpad is positioned to the right of the keyboard, not below it, so that it more closely resembles a desktop setup. In addition, if you tap the top left corner of the trackpad, it turns into a digital number pad with haptic feedback -- pretty snazzy!</p> <p>The space above the keyboard pops off to offer easy access to things like RAM and storage. That's a huge convenience compared to some systems that require almost a complete teardown to access internal parts.</p> <p>Also in the video below are some other gaming laptops and an interesting laptop dock that gives compatible laptops (in this case, the GS30) desktop graphics power at full speed PCI-E x16.</p> <p><iframe src="//" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Ah, but we're not finished touring MSI's booth! MSI has its hands in a lot of different product categories, and of course that includes motherboards. MSI showed off a new model featuring a USB 3.1 Type-C connector. Compared to USB 3.0, MSI demonstrated significantly faster transfer times via USB 3.0. Have a look:</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> ces2015 Gaming GT80 Hardware laptop mechanical keyboard msi notebook OEM rigs News Tue, 06 Jan 2015 19:25:50 +0000 Jimmy Thang and Paul Lilly 29198 at