I’ve ditched Google’s Chrome browser and actively chosen to have Microsoft’s Internet Explorer as my default browser. Yes, you read that right, I’ve made the move back to Internet Explorer, the browser I always replace with Google Chrome the instant I install a new operating system onto a PC. And the reason is simple, I’ve been testing Asus’ latest 4K monitor, the PB287Q, and the only way I can keep using it as my main monitor is to ditch Chrome.
In a perfect world, the hardware experts at PC Gamer would accompany you on a shopping trip to pick up your next graphics card. We'd happily share our experience and tell you what to watch out for, what to avoid, and what you need from a GPU to squeeze the highest number of frames per second out of your gaming rig. Then again, would you really want to spend an afternoon with our posse of hardware-obsessed game addicts? The good news is you can receive the same benefit by reading our new buyer's guide below. When you're done, you don't even have to shake our clammy, mouse-worn hands.
The Infinity Vesuvius is a monster concocted by AMD and Overclockers, powered by a quadfire-tastic Radeon R9 295X2 pairing inside. Those four GPUs, housed in a sturdy Corsair chassis, will let you play at 4K resolutions without having to sacrifice top-end graphics settings, but you'll pay £4K / $6k for the privilege.
Sitting all pretty-like at the top of Steam's software roster is the new addition of the CryEngine toolkit and source code. For a $10/£6 monthly subscription, developers can license one of the beefiest and feature-rich graphics generators out there for technical boosts such as "perspective-correct volumetric soft shadows" or "procedural object deformation" or "ooh, shiny."
Intel are set to release a slew of new processors in the second half of this year, culminating in the release of the next-generation 14nm Broadwell chips. Intel CEO, Brian Krzanich, spoke at the Maker Faire in California to guarantee that after last year's delay (due to a "defect density issue"), Broadwell CPUs would be released in time for the holidays, “and not the last second of holiday” either.
Gigabyte have been touring around Europe this week showing off their first own-design closed-loop water-cooler for graphics cards. Now, closed-loop liquid-chilling isn’t new, even in GPU terms, but they generally come pre-installed. Gigabyte’s Waterforce is designed to be easily dropped onto your graphics setup—even a multi-GPU array—and allow you to cool your GPUs far more efficiently than with active air-cooling alone. Today’s graphics cards select their operating clockspeed based on a given temperature, so the cooler they are, the faster they'll run.
Much has been said about streaming from a Windows PC to SteamOS, but that functionality is available on other OSes, and fully integrated with Steam as of today. Let the Steam client update, and you can now stream a game running on a Windows PC to another Windows PC, a Linux PC, or a Mac on the same network, with "support for more systems coming soon." I tried streaming between two Windows PCs on our office network, and wouldn't you know it, it worked swimmingly.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.