Nvidia's Game24 is a 24-hour PC gaming festival featuring special events in Los Angeles, Shanghai, London, Stockholm and more, and all of it broadcast on a "virtual stage" to gamers around the world. It all begins in just a couple of days, and that means it's time to take a closer look at what's in store: Interviews, mods, reveals, and even a couple of world records.
Brace yourselves—Game24 is coming. Set to take place later this month, Nvidia is promising an unprecedented 24-hour celebration of "this thing we all love called PC gaming," with special events in major cities and a "virtual stage" that will be livestreamed to gamers around the world.
Every week, keen screen-grabber Ben Griffin brings you a sumptuous 4K resolution gallery to celebrate PC gaming's prettiest places, or in this case, PC gaming's most detailed face.
Meet Digital Ira. A collaboration between Activision and USC Institute of Creative Technologies, he's their crack at creating a photoreal digital actor,
"To achieve this," the USC ICT write on their blog, "we scanned the actor in thirty high-resolution expressions using the USC ICT’s new Light Stage X system and chose eight expressions for the real-time performance rendering. Then we shot multi-view 30fps video of the actor performing improvised lines using the same multi-camera rig." Finally, the mesh animation was transferred to standard bone animation on a 4K polygon mesh using a bone weight and transform solver. Here's what all that looks like at super-high resolution.
The Ultimate Gaming Tablet. That’s how Nvidia is trying to sell the new addition to their SHIELD ‘family’. Lots of people play games on their tablets, the reasoning goes, so why not give them a device with the latest in mobile GPU tech to offer the best gaming experience possible? And that’s what they’ve done, dropping the new Tegra K1 platform into the SHIELD Tablet, a mobile GPU with the same DNA as the very top of the PC graphics tree right now—the GTX Titan Black.
Why should any of that matter to PC gamers? Because this little device is potentially the best streaming Steam machine you can buy.
Okay, so this is mostly just going to be filed under the ‘for shits and giggles’ category, but Nvidia have just delivered their latest SHIELD Tablet to the office and I’ve been taking it out for a quick spin.
And what better way to test it’s streaming capabilities than taking to the inky black in a shiny new Sidewinder...
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.
Graphics card manufacturers, Palit, must be fans of PC Gamer as they've obviously seen my jury-rigged, passively-cooled GTX 750 Ti from April and surely been inspired to create their own.
Hubris aside, the Palit GTX 750 Ti KalmX has taken the standard reference design from Nvidia and strapped a hefty heatsink atop the GPU. Not only that but the copper base also covers the power components. Because they’ve followed the reference design, the GTX 750 Ti KalmX doesn’t require any external PCIe power connectors to run in your machine. That makes it a great choice for a small form factor, living room machine, combining a small footprint, low power requirements and completely silent operation.
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 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.
Gigabyte have announced yet another version of their increasingly impressive BRIX range of mini PCs: the BRIX Gaming. Contrary to the way mini PCs have traditionally been configured, Gigabyte’s latest actually stands a chance of delivering playable frame rates without sacrificing texture quality or post-processing.
Sometimes I worry about the endless arms race into increasingly realistic visual technology. Games are expensive and the economy is unstable—it's increasingly more difficult to justify the risk of an untested idea. Meanwhile, as studios are becoming better at realising the grizzled face of Heroman MacStubble, it feels like we should be praising advancements in AI, writing, and, more than anything, truly innovative and enjoyable systems.
Other times, though, I see a video like this, and I think, "wow, that is some dynamic wolf fur."
Big things are happening at NVIDIA, but we’re not exactly sure what that means. The PC gaming hardware gurus have decided to gameify the launch of a mysterious new product by putting it in the form of a tweet-based text adventure. It’s called “Ultimate Quest,” and from what we’ve heard it’s a five-day saga that will bring players across a dystopian urban landscape in search of a power that will change the world. This will be an adventured to challenge the most skilled gamers, but the first players to beat it will win the new product the moment it’s made available to the public.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Following something of a brouhaha about Watch Dogs' visuals, which certain quarters of the internet felt had taken a hit since the game re-emerged from its extended development cycle, Ubisoft has released a video designed to show how great the game still looks on PC. The video focuses on how Watch Dogs utilises several proprietary graphical techniques to create a greater sense of fidelity. In other words, it's real pretty.
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.
Virtual reality, SteamOS, fiber broadband, 4K displays, holodecks (you know, maybe)—the next five years of PC gaming will radically transform our immortal hobby. What new experiences will the PC games of the near future provide? How will technology surprise us? This April at PAX East 2014, we'll look into that glowing future with the innovators and PC gaming stakeholders shaping it.