hardware

Corsair K70 RGB keyboard debuts with per-key backlighting for $170

Wes Fenlon at

Corsair has been making gaming gear for years: mice and keyboards, headsets and mousepads. Now they’re uniting their various gaming lines under one Corsair Gaming banner, and to mark the occasion they’re updating one of our favorite gaming keyboards, the Corsair Vengance K70. The new Corsair Gaming K70 RGB is still a mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX switches, but it replaces the old red LEDs with full-color RGB backlighting under every key. We tested out the K70 RGB with Corsair’s new customization software to see how flashy the lighting can get.

Look below for a video of the RGB backlighting in action.


Oculus Rift Crescent Bay prototype hands-on: experiencing true VR presence for the first time

Wes Fenlon at

Wow. I thought I had experienced virtual reality before I put on Oculus VR’s new prototype Crescent Bay headset. I put on the original Rift when it was still a duct-taped prototype. I’ve played game demos on the higher resolution Crystal Cove prototype, which added positional tracking, and the polished version that is now shipping as DK2. Every one was amazing: an experience with a technology that was clearly on the cusp of changing gaming as we know it. Putting on Oculus VR’s Crescent Bay is a different experience altogether. Those previous headsets were just shadows of virtual reality, simulacra that asked you to fool your brain into believing in the magic. In some of the Crystal Cove demos, I found myself having to remind my brain that this wasn’t real, because all my senses were telling me otherwise.

In their keynotes at Oculus Connect, the brains behind Oculus kept talking about “presence”—what it takes to create total immersion in virtual reality. It sounded like a buzzword to me, until I strapped Crescent Bay onto my face, placed its integrated earpieces over my ears, and stood on the ledge of a skyscraper looking out over a virtual steampunk cityscape. I looked down, tried to step off the ledge, and my body recoiled. I was there.


Watch Oculus Connect livestreams here all Saturday

Wes Fenlon at

Oculus Connect is Oculus VR's first developer event, and it has some major headliners: techno-wizards John Carmack and Michael Abrash are both delivering keynotes on the science and technology of virtual reality. All of Oculus Connect's talks will be livestreams on Twitch, and we've got a handy embed below if you want to watch along. We're also at the event to cover the news, talk to developers and go hands-on with the latest Oculus Rift demos.


DirectX 12's new rendering features are coming to DirectX 11.3 too

Dave James at

At this year’s Intel Developer Conference and Nvidia’s Maxwell Editor’s Day, Microsoft were busy banging the DirectX 12 drum. They were demonstrating its CPU efficiency boosts as well as talking up the new rendering features they’re implementing to show off the latest GPU hardware around.

Microsoft also announced the new rendering features are also going to be part of the DirectX 11.3 API, which is being shipped at the same time as DirectX 12. That sounds great, but it also fills me with fear. Back in 2007, DirectX 10 was exclusive to Vista, leaving popular Windows XP in the dust. The same thing could happen with Windows 7 and DirectX 12.


Nvidia's Dynamic Super Resolution is downsampling made easy

Wes Fenlon at

Back in April, Dark Souls modder Durante revealed a new tool he'd written called GeDoSaTo, or Generic Downsampling Tool. Downsampling is like the ultimate brute force anti-aliasing solution--it involves running a game at a high resolution, like 1440p or 4K or even 8K--and then using an algorithm to rescale that image to your monitor's native, like 1080p. Downsampled games look amazingly sharp, but downsampling usually requires some tricky hacks, like adjusting monitor timings or modifying game files. GeDoSaTo made it possible to downsample games more easily than ever before, but it's still a mod tool, and all mod tools require trial and error and tinkering.

Well, Nvidia's been paying attention. One of the major features coming to Maxwell GPUs like the GTX 980 is called Dynamic Super Resolution—and it's just downsampling, but with official driver support instead of hacking. The favorite technique of hardcore PC screenshotters is coming to the masses.


Nvidia GTX 980 tested: SLI, 4K, and single-GPU benchmarks and impressions

Wes Fenlon at

The Nvidia GTX 980 is here—as in, Nvidia has announced it, you'll be able to buy one soon, and it's also physically here in the PC Gamer offices. I've been playing games on the GTX 980 and benchmarking the card with the help of Maximum PC. We've put our cards together to test dual-GPU SLI performance and thrown the 980s up against a 4K monitor to see how they compare to the GTX 780 Ti, Radeon R9 290X, and other top-of-the-line graphics cards.

The big question: is the Nvidia GTX 980 worth its $550 price tag? According to our benchmarks, absolutely.


Should I vacuum my PC? — Ask PC Gamer

Tyler Wilde at

Ask PC Gamer is our new weekly advice column. Have a burning question about the smoke coming out of your PC? Send your problems to letters@pcgamer.com.

Is it OK to use a vacuum cleaner to clean my PC? Compressed air just blows the dust everywhere, which is annoying. I've done it before and it never caused a problem. — William F.

DuoScreen wants to give your laptop monitor a sidekick

Wes Fenlon at

The desktop has so many advantages over the laptop: power, price, multiple monitors. A powerful gaming laptop has the advantage of portability, but we hate giving up the productivity of two (or three) side-by-side monitors. So do the creators of a soon-to-be Kickstarter called the DuoScreen, apparently: they’ve built a prototype laptop dock that, true to its name, houses a fold-out second screen.


The best gaming laptops for any budget

PC Gamer at

Gaming laptops are the perfect solution for a very specific group of people—they’re ideal for serious gamers who need a rig that can play demanding games while remaining somewhat portable for frequent travel or LAN parties. They aren’t slim battery life champions, and building a desktop will always get you more raw gaming power for less money, so gaming laptops aren’t the most practical solution for all gamers. That said, a great gaming laptop can play the latest games on high to ultra settings with a good 1080p screen, keyboard, and cooling system.

At $1800 (~£1130), the Asus G750JS-DS71 is our pick for best gaming laptop. The JS-DS71 configuration has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 870M graphics card, a quad-core Intel Core i7-4700HQ processor, and 16GB of RAM, along with a 256GB solid state drive and a 1TB hard drive to store games and other media.


We built the Large Pixel Collider Jr., an insane gaming PC for the living room

Evan Lahti at

We love building PCs. Last year, we set out to assemble the most irresponsible gaming rig imaginable, and we called it the Large Pixel Collider. Over the past nine months, we’ve spent a ton of time writing stories, making videos, and playing around with our absurd, $10,000 computer.

But as Valve’s incursion into the living room started taking shape this year, we wondered: what if we could build an equally ridiculous but smaller PC suited for playing games on a couch?


Roccat Nyth MMO mouse supports 3D printed buttons in a fully modular grid

Andy Chalk at

The world of specialty gaming mice is about to get a little more exotic thanks to Roccat's new Nyth MMO mouse. It's a "fully modular" design, meaning that gamers can customize its mouse grid with any kind of layout they like—and if you don't like what Roccat has to offer, you can use a 3D printer to whip up your own.


Logitech unveils the G402 Hyperion Fury, claims "fastest gaming mouse" title

Andy Chalk at

Logitech's G402 Hyperion Fury "Ultra-Fast FPS Gaming Mouse" promises to be the fastest mouse on the planet, capable of reliably and accurately tracking at speeds of over 500 inches per second.

Gaming in 4K: the future is now, if you give up 60 frames per second

Wes Fenlon at

The future—aka 4K gaming—is made up of very, very small pixels. After spending the past two weeks checking out games on Samsung's U28D590D 4K monitor, I'm still going to call 4K gaming the near future rather than the present. Yes, you can play games at 3840x2160 pixels right now. Yes, 4K monitors are becoming more affordable. But are they worth it? After spending a couple weeks using one, I can comfortably say: no, not yet. Even for a high-end graphics card (or two), 4K is too demanding for max settings and high framerates. If you're willing to play at 30 frames per second, though, 4K is a different story.


Nvidia announces Shield Tablet and wireless controller, an 8-inch Android tablet focused on games

PC Gamer at

Last week Nvidia was rumored to be prepping the reveal of a new device running Android and capable of streaming games from your PC. Today, it revealed the Shield Tablet, an 8-inch tablet that uses Nvidia's Tegra K1 chip to do just that.


Nvidia rumored to be working on new PC-streaming Android box

Andy Chalk at

Nvidia is reportedly taking another run at the living room with a device that will bring PC games to HD televisions through the company's GeForce Experience technology. The device will also run Android software and make use of a "budget-priced separate controller," suggesting that it might actually be positioned as an all-in-one box meant to compete with both Steam in-home streaming and Ouya at the same time.


Alienware Alpha: impressions of the $550 Windows 8.1 Steam Machine

Wes Fenlon at

I met with Alienware at E3 2014 to look at the only prominent PC at the show: the Alienware Alpha, a miniature Steam Machine going on sale around the end of the year. This Steam Machine won't be running Valve's Linux-based SteamOS, or ship with a Steam Controller, though—when Valve delayed final releases of both to next year, Alienware decided to switch to Windows 8.1 with a custom UI and boot sequence that launches straight into Steam Big Picture. What I saw was an early, rough version of that UI, but Alienware made it clear that you shouldn't ever have to see Windows when you boot up the box. Unless, of course, you want to.


Alienware's Steam Machine is "Steam ready" but will ship without SteamOS or controller

Andy Chalk at

Alienware Alpha is a $550 Steam Machine we looked at earlier this week, during which we noted that SteamOS, the backbone of the system, isn't quite ready. That, and the inclusion of Windows 8.1 in the system specs, understandably led to some existential questions about whether a Steam Machine without SteamOS is really a Steam Machine at all; and the answer, according to Alienware, is "yes."


Oculus Rift interview with Nate Mitchell at E3 2014

PC Gamer at

The Oculus Rift was one of our favorite things about last year's E3, so we were even more excited to see it at E3 2014. While both Evan and Wes got to try the new Rift DK2 unit and a trio of demos, they also spoke with Oculus vice president Nate Mitchell about the company's big hires—such as Naughty Dog co-founder Jason Rubin—and big plans for first-party content.


Razer expands into PC cases with custom-designed NZXT H440

Wes Fenlon at

First Razer built mice and headsets and PC accessories. Then Razer built its own computers—the Razer Blade laptop and the modular Project Christine. Now the inevitable has happened: Razer's built a PC case. The company's big product reveal for E3 2014 is a custom Razer-designed NZXT H440 case, a sleek black obelisk with the usual neon green highlighting.


The NZXT H440 is part of Razer's "Designed by Razer" initiative, which means they didn't actually manufacture the case. Instead, they took a mid-tower case design from NZXT and ran it through Razer's design team in San Francisco, tweaking the materials and aesthetics to meet Razer's specifications.

Roccat Sova revealed, a mouse and keyboard solution for Steam Machines

Cory Banks at

Back in January, Evan expressed his doubts in the Steam Controller. No matter how hard Valve tries, it simply cannot replace the mouse and keyboard (though its recent delay indicates that Valve certainly wants to try). "An innovative controller can’t and won’t replace the decades-long relationship PC gamers have with WASD," he wrote, "because PC gamers don’t like compromise." And he's absolutely right.

Roccat agrees with us, and has developed a solution that it says can put the control of a mouse and keyboard setup into the living room (say, with a Steam Machine). The company today unveiled that solution to PC Gamer, a lapboard it calls the Roccat Sova.