Tech

Asus Republic of Gamers Maximus VII Hero motherboard review

Dave James at

Surely it follows that with a new chipset should come new chips, right? And with Intel’s latest motherboard chipset, the Z97, having just launched promising support for both the Devil’s Canyon Haswell update and the next-gen Broadwell die-shrink, it’s hugely disappointing not to be sat here extolling the virtues of some fine new processors too.

But what can the new Z97 chipset offer in this first Republic of Gamers board from Asus? Well, to be fair to them quite a lot, but very little of it is actually related to Intel’s latest chipset. Right now these Z97 boards are going to live or die by their feature sets, and in typical RoG fashion Asus has thrown not just the kitchen sink, but an entire Magnet showroom at the Hero.


AMD and VESA take on Nvidia's G-Sync anti-stutter tech

Dave James at

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) have just announced the addition of Adaptive-Sync to the 1.2a specification of the DisplayPort connection. Now, if that isn’t an attention-grabbing opening to a story I don’t know what is. Bear with me though, as this new ingredient to the DP recipe should be quite a neat thing for PC gamers, as it ought to completely eradicate the problems we have with either frame-tearing or stuttery gaming performance under V-Sync.


Gigabyte announce new slimline gaming laptop

Dave James at

Taiwanese tech giant, Gigabyte, announced this week their latest slimline gaming notebook, the 14-inch P34G v2. It’s a thin ‘n’ light laptop that's supposedly "perfect for any corporate worker who needs a reliable laptop by day and then wants to play demanding games after work."

The GTX 860M inside should handle demanding games well. My feelings on the choice of graphics card are a bit mixed—on one hand the 860M is rocking the same GK104 GPU as the impressive GTX 775M of the last generation, but on the other it isn’t the version of the 860M that comes with the new Maxwell GPU.


GTX Titan Black vs. GTX 780 Ti: which is the ultimate gaming GPU?

Dave James at

Nvidia’s GTX Titan Black was released to the public a few months back. I'll admit that it didn’t interest me much. With standard GTX 780 Ti cards retailing for some £300 / $500 less than the price of the GTX Titan Black, and with almost identical specs, I got the feeling that it was only really relevant for the homebrew 3D rendering crowd.

But Nvidia have been marketing it as the “the ultimate gaming GPU for a pure gaming experience—the perfect balance of sleek design, uncompromising performance, and state-of-the-art technologies.” That would seem to indicate that it had been designed for PC gamers, so let's take a look.


Logitech's G502 Proteus Core can run at 12,000 dpi: just because you can doesn't mean you should

Dave James at

Logitech’s latest mouse, the G502 Proteus Core, arrived recently with the world’s first 12,000dpi-capable laser sensor at its heart. I’ve been playing around with it a lot over the last week or so and have been really impressed with the solid little rodent. However, I’ve not had a good time running the mouse at anything like its top speed.


First look at Asus' new Z97-A motherboard

Dave James at

Asus have blinked first on the new 9-series motherboard launch, and their Z97-A is the first of the new boards to arrive in the labs. These new mobos are appearing in preparation for the launch of a slew of updated Intel processors, offering some key new features. The Asus Z97-A is one of their mid-range offerings, and should offer decent price/performance numbers.


Saitek's X-55 Rhino flightstick is a lovely, chunky thing

Dave James at

In preparation for a hefty flightstick roundup in the magazine, I’ve just been sent the new Saitek X-55 Rhino H.O.T.A.S. (that's Hands-On-Throttle-And-Stick, acronym fans) and it’s a lovely, chunky thing. The X-55 has been put together to give Thrustmaster, and their beautiful Warthog setup, a run for their money. I should be getting the Warthog in the next couple weeks so we'll be able to have a proper head-to-head dogfight between the controller heavyweights.


Mad Catz R.A.T. TE mouse review

Dave James at

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 Never Settle Forever scheme offers new batch of games and indie bundles with cards

Dave James at

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.


How I got my GTX 750 Ti running silently with an old cooler and some simple surgery

Dave James at

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.


Source: Steam Controller will be available in "October or November"

Evan Lahti at

A trusted hardware source with knowledge of Valve’s Steam Machines project told PC Gamer at PAX East that Valve’s Steam Controller will release in October or November of 2014.


AMD Radeon R9 295X2 review

Dave James at

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 announces G502 gaming mouse with 12,000 DPI sensor

Wes Fenlon at

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


AMD double down against Titan Z with the R9 295X2

Dave James at

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.


Nvidia have gone a bit Mantle with their latest GeForce driver release

Dave James at

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.


Windows 8.1 Update 1 will be available from April 8th

Dave James at

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.


Beyond Maxwell: Nvidia announce their next next-gen Pascal GPU

Dave James at

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.


The GTX Titan Z: $1000 more than two Titan Blacks, and probably slower

Dave James at

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 announce GeForce GTX Titan Z, brings 12GB VRAM for $3,000

Phil Savage at

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.


Intel talks up new processor releases and celebrates an anniversary

Dave James at

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.