The bizarre-looking Mad Catz R.A.T. is one of my favourite gaming mice of all time. The original R.A.T. 7 took over from my beloved Logitech G9 thanks to its comfortable design, accurate sensor and reassuring weight. So when I heard there was a new, Tournament Edition (TE) R.A.T. design on the way I was intrigued.
AMD have just refreshed their freebie-touting Never Settle program for giving away games in return for spending cash on Radeon silicon. The Never Settle Forever program is extending the range of AMD’s generosity and is including the low-end Radeon R7 cards as well as the standard Radeon R9 cards.
We’ve now got three tiers of rewards depending on what graphics card you end up selecting for your home rig. The top-end Radeon Gold Reward is there for anyone who picks up a new R9 290 or 280 series graphics card, which includes anyone wealthy enough to have spent £1,100 on a new Radeon R9 295X2. With the Gold Reward coupons you get to choose three free games from AMD’s pool of titles.
I've spent a lot of time recently playing around with some old hardware to see if any old parts still have use. Thanks to a mixture of Nvidia’s latest Maxwell GPU, in GTX 750 Ti reference form, and an expired Sapphire HD 6670 Ultimate I found something very good indeed: an efficient, relatively powerful, silent gaming graphics card.
The R9 295X2 is likely the final throw of the dice for AMD’s current spin of Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture. It takes a pair of the fastest Radeon graphics chips available and squeezes them into one behemoth of a graphics card.
That’s a familiar refrain, with both AMD and Nvidia traditionally filling out their top-end lineups with dual-GPU cards based on their finest single-GPUs. This time around AMD have done things slightly differently.
Logitech has a new gaming mouse, and that gaming mouse has an edgy name to go with its ridiculous new 12,000 DPI sensor: Proteus Core. Logitech's G502 Proteus Core is the successor to the G500s, which is just a year old. Logitech calls the 12,000 DPI sensor "the world's most powerful and accurate sensor" and say it's a brand new design that no other mouse on the market has.
The DPI race doesn't say much about sensor quality—most gamers use a DPI setting in the low thousands, and no one can realistically control a mouse at 1200 DPI—but Logitech claims the sensor has "zero acceleration, zero smoothing or filtering, and zero pixel rounding." Those are all magic words to hardcore gamers worried about mouse acceleration throwing off their aim. The Proteus Core's big new feature is the ability to calibrate the sensor on different surfaces to optimize tracking and lift-off distance
The graphics card arms race has always been a tit-for-tat battle since it became a tale of two companies. Not surprisingly then, this week AMD release a brand new, dual-GPU, ultra-enthusiast graphics card: the Radeon R9 295X2.
Two weeks ago, Nvidia’s CEO flashed their brand new, dual-GPU, ultra-enthusiast graphics card on stage at its GPU Technology Conference. But which of these pricey new cards will turn out to be the tat, and which the proverbial... well you get where I’m going.
The green side of the graphics card divide are today releasing a new driver that aims to grab a little more gaming performance back for their GPUs. They’re doing it in much the same way AMD’s proprietary Mantle API is boosting things for the red team.
The new release, named 337.50, is available today, and has been designed to make the existing DirectX 11 API much more efficient for Nvidia graphics cards. They are doing this by reducing the CPU overhead that the driver and API generate, which in turn means you get all the performance your graphics card can muster without being hobbled by DirectX distracting your CPU.
If you've made the move to Microsoft’s much-maligned operating system, Windows 8.1 Update 1 will be available on the 8th April. This is the update set to improve the OS and its interface for Microsoft’s core audience: us keyboard and mouse-using folk.
The big changes seem to revolve around the taskbar. With Update 1, it's possible to pin Modern UI apps to the taskbar—the Store icon is pinned there by default—and it will also appear within the Modern UI interface. This should give you a bit more consistency in your experience if you're moving between interfaces.
Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference keynote was full of announcements this week. In addition to revealing the $3000 Titan Z, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang updated Nvidia's graphics architecture roadmap with a first look at the Pascal GPU.
Because lots of people paid serious money to buy up all the GTX Titans Nvidia could make, they've decided to push things further. The twin-GPU GTX Titan Z is a $3,000 graphics card announced at the GPU Technology Conference (GTC) in San Jose. According to Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang it exists simply because “the market just wanted so much more performance,” but is it really worth all that money?
Nvidia are currently on-stage at the GPU Technology Conference (think GDC for people who really love cores). They've just announced the GeForce GTX Titan Z, a $3,000 dual-Keplar GPU graphics card that can supercharge PCs with a total of 5,760 processing cores, and 12GB frame buffer memory. To my untrained eye, then, it essentially sounds like two Titan Blacks duct taped together. I'm sure that in practice it's a little bit more complicated.
After having tried to make me care about all-in-one PCs at GDC (sorry guys, I just can’t), Intel have announced a bunch of new processor toys that are on their way either this year or next. From Haswell, to Broadwell, to Haswell-E, we’re looking at a raft of new chips for our machines.
First up we’ll be seeing a bunch of new Haswell parts, code-named Devil’s Canyon. They’ll be slightly higher-clocked versions of the parts we’ve already got - so expect maybe an extra 100MHz on top of the K-series chips.
Crucial have unveiled their new M550 series of SSDs, hot on the heels of Intel’s SSD 730 drives. These are the first new SSDs of the year, and represent two of the big boys in SSD manufacturing.
Crucial’s M550 is an update to their incredibly successful M500 series, and as such still retains the same commitment to performance and pricing. The M550 drives are competitive with the top SSDs on both of these fronts.
Crucial are using a slightly revised Marvell memory controller in their new drive, along with parent-company Micron’s 20nm NAND Flash to provide the storage. The M550 range comes with a little more space than their M500 counterparts, shifting from 480GB to 512GB, and from 960GB to a full 1TB for the relevant drives.
Razer have announced their new thin and light gaming notebook will have a hefty screen upgrade along with the new Nvidia 800M series GPU.
We’re not quite talking 4K resolutions here but the 3200 x 1800 native resolution of the Indium Gallium Oxide (IGZO) panel isn’t far off the resolution we’ve seen from the beautiful, similarly IGZO-based 4K screen from Asus. Razer is calling the screen QHD+, because the world needs more display-based acronyms.
So far, the only real world example of AMD’s new graphics API, Mantle, is some less-than-convincing performance in Battlefield 4. Now though, AMD have teamed up with Eidos and are set to release a new update to the latest Thief game, wrestling it away from the Microsoft clutches of DirectX and giving it some Mantle lovin'.
For the uninitiated Mantle is a rival graphics layer AMD have created to replace DirectX on their Graphics Core Next graphics cards. Its promise is of giving developers much closer access to the hardware they’re coding for, and reducing the processor overheads that have recently become synonymous with Microsoft’s API.
We’ve seen Microsoft teasing the GDC announcement of the latest installment in their popular DirectX series — subtitled "A Storm of Low-Level Hardware Interaction" — and now it seems the open source brigade are countering this new Microsoft offensive. Valve have freely released a software layer, ToGL, which will translate Direct3D calls to OpenGL.
We’ve already spoken about the possibility of Microsoft changing their DirectX API to be more like AMD’s new Mantle API - bringing developers more access to the actual performance hardware. Now it looks they are going to be announcing a whole new iteration of the Microsoft API and not just an update.
A new Twitter account has appeared, called DirectX12, and has teased an announcement set to take place at the Games Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco in a couple weeks time.
Over on the Neogaf forums one of their members has dug up a couple of interesting sessions from the next Games Developer’s Conference (GDC) taking place in a couple of weeks in sunny San Francisco. Both of which are talking about bringing Microsoft’s DirectX API a lot closer to the metal.
That means giving developers much more open access to the actual hardware that’s available inside modern PCs, without hiding it behind layers and layers of performance-sapping software code.
If that sounds familiar it’s because that’s exactly what AMD have been trying to do - relatively successfully by what I’ve seen in the StarSwarm demo and high-end Battlefield 4 benchmarks.
The ASRock M8 has just arrived in the office and it’s one of the best-looking mini-ITX boxes I’ve seen in a long time. It's a high-end barebone PC, which means you'll need to provide your own processor, graphics card, memory, cooler and storage, but it uses a PCIe riser board so you can lie your dual-slot graphics card in line with the motherboard.