A sure sign that Spring has sprung, aside from frolicking bunnies and chocolate-egg-induced sugar-comas, is the sudden abundance of new GPU slews. From AMD we get the disappointing Radeon HD 7790, while Nvidia retort with the new, improved GTX 650 Ti Boost.
I deliberately held back the review for this latest card from AMD so I could put it out alongside a review of the competing card from Nvidia, the GTX 650 Ti Boost. If I hadn’t then this review would have simply been a lot of me crying over the loss of the HD 7850 1GB, which will no longer be manufactured to make way for the HD 7790.
As it typically does for a major game launch, Nvidia has updated its GeForce card drivers to 314.22 for boosts in performance and stability. It claims recent titans BioShock Infinite and Tomb Raider both get a significant bump in frames-per-second, with the former increasing by 41 percent and the latter by an astonishing 71 percent.
Boom, it’s new graphics card Friday! I’ve got the latest graphics technology from AMD, the Sapphire Radeon HD 7790, sat in my test-rig right now and it’s chewing through gaming benchmarks like a good budget card should.
The HD 7790 is based on an “entirely new 28nm Graphics Core Next ASIC” and they’re using the GCN 2.0 moniker to shout about it. The new Bonnaire XT GPU that makes up the new card isn’t actually doing anything massively new with the Graphics Core Next architecture, the 2.0 part simply denotes a second round of the same GCN tech. But it is a new design, with just over two billion transistors, around 1.8TFLOPS processing power and a healthy 896 Radeon cores.
Logitech have announced a full refresh of their G series range of gaming peripherals, from mice and keyboards to headsets. They're not actually announcing any truly new products, but dollying up their existing line-up with new materials and improved internal components. Each of the new goodies comes with an added ‘s’ to the name, denoting the second generation of products.
What this really means is that if you’ve been looking into buying a current-gen Logitech peripheral then stay your hand, good sir/madam! The new line-up is going to drop in at exactly the same price-point, but isn’t going to be released until the start of April in the US and May in Europe.
Mechanical keyboards! They're great! Unless you don't like the click-clack, but even if you don't like the click-clack, they're great! They feel so good to use, really, and Corsair's new Vengeance K70 might become a contender. "It's more mechanical" says Corsair, meaning it uses Cherry MX Red switches (which actually aren't too clacky) under every key. It's also got lovely customizable backlighting and contoured WASD keys "so you can find them fast." Well, I think finding WASD is a skill most PC gamers don't need help with, but maybe it's more comfortable.
It seems like you can't claim to be in the business of next-gen technology these days until you've wheeled out a giant floating man-face. David Cage summoned the disembodied head of Max von Sydow to boggle over the stage at the PS4 reveal, and now, not to be out-done, Nvidia have revealed their own real-time face-o-tech at their GPU Technology Conference in California.
Aiming to help us clamber up the other side of the uncanny valley, Face Works uses a face and motion capture technology developed at the University of Southern California’s Institute of Creative Technology (ICT). The Light Stage technology is able to capture data to within a tenth of a millimetre using photographic techniques that capture the geometry of an actor's face as well as the light transmission through human skin and the reflections that come from the oils too.
CPU Boss emerged on the Interknot back in January as a one-stop tool for browsing, comparing, and ogling at the various processor chips for your motherboard's square-shaped embrace. Plenty of other PC parts fit well with the website's performance breakdowns, including the almighty video card. Here's GPU Boss then, which helps you pick the right graphics card for your machine with head-to-head stat face-offs, features, and pretty charts.
I can finally look forward to the best chance I have for merging my consciousness with the Heavy as he bellows his way across Gold Rush. Valve put out a notice yesterday announcing the Oculus Rift's VR sorcery will soon work for Team Fortress 2 in a free update later this week, marking the first Valve game to take advantage of the Kickstarted, consumer-priced goggles.
A security flaw has surfaced in the browser protocol Origin uses to launch games through custom links using the "origin:" structure. As Ars Technica reports, research group ReVuln demonstrates how a malicious program can be executed via a modified Origin link masquerading as a game launch.
In the age old battle of mechanical vs. digital it seems that SSDs have finally won. Or at least that's what it looks like on the surface.
Seagate, it was recently reported, will be stopping production of the performance end of its 2.5-inch HDD range at the end of the year. The 7,200RPM drives were once the pinnacle of notebook storage and were the drives of choice for most gaming laptops of the last few years - but no more.
Before Nvidia launched the GTX Titan wündercard, AMD held a bullish press briefing to bang the Radeon drum, claiming “performance leadership at every pricepoint”. Not only that, but they were also promising additional silicon in the first half of this year with a new range of products coming around by the end of 2013.
We’re now hearing rumours from varioussources about what exactly that new silicon is going to be, and it’s apparently called the Bonnaire XT and will be our first taste of AMD’s Graphics Core Next (GCN) 2.0 architecture.
Asus have dropped a few teaser images of their upcoming Gryphon and Z87-Deluxe motherboards on the Republic of Gamers minisite. The Z87 motherboards will house Intel’s 4th Generation Haswell Core processor architecture with the new LGA 1150 socket design. It's a few pins short of the LGA 1155, so we'll definitely need new motherboards if we want to take advantage of Intel's Haswell tech.
Here's a spot of news tracking strongly on the intrigue-o-meter: Microsoft has released sample code for its Kinect for Windows peripheral under the Apache 2.0 license. In other words, the tech giant is giving PC developers a partially open source Kinect to play around with, opening up interesting possibilities for utilizing Microsoft's motion control device in games and other software.
While we expect the next console generation to shrink the technical gap between PCs and their couchy counterparts, Valve's Steam Box initiative continues to pick up buzz. Its mission to make PC gaming living-room-friendly may represent a new market for motherboard and video card manufacturer MSI, who says it thinks Steam Box will change PC gaming as we know it. Speaking to Gaming Blend, Associate Marketing Manager Alex Chang states an expansion of the "PC landscape" could result.
Lara's locks are proving a problem for Nvidia customers, whose graphics cards are struggling to handle the AMD-developed hair-rendering technology. Given that Nvidia owns two thirds of the GPU market, that's an awful lot of Tomb Raiders out there suffering from shoddy performance - if they can even get into their game at all.
I’m one of these unlucky folk, the once-proud owner of a GTX 670, and I can’t even get into the options screen, let alone play the game. Of course, loads of games have had dreadful launches, marred by server problems and driver/graphics card issues; even the likes of Half-Life 2 and Diablo III had trouble getting out of the gate. But the current disadvantage experienced by Nvidia customers could go beyond Lara's bounteous bangs. With AMD components sitting in next-gen consoles, this may not be the only time Nvidia's driver team find themselves left behind at a major game launch.
Has anyone in the history of computing ever wanted an 18.4-inch Android tablet? How about an 18.4-inch Android tablet that transforms into a dumb 18.4-inch display the moment you dock it into its Intel Ivy Bridge-powered stand?
Let's imagine for a moment that this was a pressing consumer demand. Well, good news, imaginary consumers! The Asus Transformer AiO (All-in-One) is the very thing you have hypothetically coveted.
The tablet portion is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core CPU, running Android 4.1 with an as yet unnamed Ivy Bridge CPU and Nvidia GT 730M GPU sat in the PC Station stand.
Thermaltake’s collaboration with the BMW DesignworksUSA team has generally meant for expensive PC gaming peripherals with an emphasis on style over content. I’m hoping that the same isn’t true for the third generation of Beemer designed goodies, this time a Level 10 M Headset.
The first generation was the Level 10 chassis - a case which looked pretty good until you got up close or tried installing an actual PC inside it. The partitioned component areas looked funky, in an oversized PlayStation 2 kind of way, but meant your expensive PC gubbins got real hot, real quick.
Where once water-cooling your PC meant straying into a world of techy frustration and possible b0rking of expensive components, now it is a mainstay of mainstream gaming/performance PCs. I’m kinda hoping the same becomes true of the sort of liquid-cooling setup the University of Leeds is trialling in its School of Mechanical Engineering.
The guys over at Bit-tech are reporting the UK-based company Iceotope is working in partnership with the university on a new form of cooling for large-scale server networks. It uses a form of total immersion cooling utilising a non-conductive liquid, called Novec, which is around 1000 times more efficient at transferring heat than air.
What is it with skilled engine programmers and their ability to turn thousands of cubes into an impressive beauty? Though not entirely voxel-based like, say, the Atomontage Engine, the VoxelFarm Engine from creator Miguel Cepero still does a perfectly fine job rendering amazing landscapes on the fly.