Quick, blurt our the first brand that comes to mind when you think about high-end motherboards. Did you say Biostar? Lies! We would have accepted several brand names, though Biostar isn't one that's typically associated with premium boards (to be fair, the company has released a few top dwellers). We don't know if that's going to change, and apparently neither does Biostar, which "launched the first development of what might become a possible series of high-end gaming boards." That's how Biostar describes its new Hi-Fi Z97Z7 motherboard. Might? Possible? C'mon Biostar, if you're going to play with the big boys, you need to bring a barrel of confidence with you!
Call it a marketing play if you will, but Corsair is determined to demonstrate its commitment to PC gamers by creating a new division called Corsair Gaming. It's under this new title that Corsair will release new and rebranded peripherals for gamers, starting with three RGB keyboards (K95 RGB, K70 RGB, and K65 RGB), two RGB mice (M65 RGB in black or white color options), and a pair of headsets (H1500 and H2100).
When Google first announced Chrome OS in 2009, among the few people who were polite enough to not dismiss it outright, and predict for it either a stillbirth or an early demise, were those who saw a merger with Android as its ultimate fate. Of course, let alone a full-blown merger, we have yet to see substantial interplay between the two platforms. The best we have seen, all these years down the line, is the ability to run a grand total of four Android apps on Chrome OS — and that too is a very recent development. Even now, Google is only working with “a select group of Android developers” and is unlikely to bring more than a handful of mobile apps to Chrome OS in the near future. Well, that’s what hacks are for, right?
Oculus making steady progress on road to consumer Rift
At its two-day Oculus Connect developer conference in Los Angeles this week, Facebook-owned Oculus VR introduced a new, improved version of its Rift virtual reality head mounted display (HMD). Called Crescent Bay, this latest prototype packs a number of improvements over the DK2 model. These improvements, the company says, are enough to ensure a level of immersion “that’s impossible to achieve with DK2.”
Runs Windows 8.1 but boots straight into Steam’s Big Picture Mode
Syber, a division of California-based boutique system builder CyberPowerPC, has announced an Nvidia GeForce GTX 980-packing gaming PC that boots directly into Steam’s Big Picture Mode. The Syber Vapor Extreme, as the machine is called, is not an altogether new product, but the latest addition to an upcoming line of Windows 8.1-based gaming consoles the company unveiled at E3 2014 back in June.
Are you of the opinion that speed limits are more like suggestions than enforced rules? Do you believe reference designs are for suckers? If you answered yes to one or both questions, you might be interested in the new Strix GTX 980 and Strix GTX 970 graphics cards from Asus. Both of these Maxwell-powered parts sport factory overclocks and custom cooling solutions that are supposedly 30 percent quieter than Nvidia's reference cooler.
Turtle Beach hasn't forgotten about PC gamers. In fact, Turtle Beach just announced the availability of its Ear Force Z60 PC gaming headset that was first unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this year in Las Vegas. According to Turtle Beach, the Ear Force Z60 is the first and only PC gaming headset to utilize the new DTS Headphone:X 7.1 surround sound.
Microsoft's arch rival Apple is receiving some free publicity for its iPad line during NFL games. That's because TV announcers can't seem to tell fathom that not all tablets are iPads. Take the Surface, for example. After paying the NFL $400 million for Surface to be the official tablet of the league, Microsoft is understandably ticked that its slate keeps being referred to as an iPad on national television.
Some exciting things are happening in the world of virtual reality, and we're not just talking about the Oculus Rift. Multiple companies are jumping on board with the VR movement, including chip maker Qualcomm, which unveiled its Vuforia mobile vision platform that developers can use to build augmented reality (AR) applications for a new generation of digital hardware.