Tech

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.


10 essential Windows 7 applications

PC Gamer at

Windows 8.1 has been out since October 2013, but we still cling to our installs of Windows 7. We love its reliability, even if it's missing some of Windows 8's under-the-hood improvements. If you're also still using Windows 7, your gaming PC is probably loaded with years of accumulated software. But are you using the best? Our colleagues at TechRadar put together a list of the best free programs for Windows 7, and we've boiled that list down to the 10 programs we think are essentials. If you don't have these programs installed already, here's why you should download them.


How to set up Steam in-home streaming on your PC

Wes Fenlon at

Steam in-home streaming may be the future of PC gaming in the living room. Sure, you can build a powerful gaming machine for the living room. But that's expensive. You might be able to run an HDMI cable from your desktop to your big screen TV. But that's usually impractical. In-home streaming is the third option: you use an old PC, or build a low-power client box, to stream games over your home network. Valve's in-home streaming started as an exclusive beta feature in Steam, but now it's built right into the client and available to anyone. It only takes about five minutes to set up, and it works amazingly well.

If you're ready to try out in-home streaming yourself, I'll walk you through the whole process: how to enable streaming in Steam, what kind of host PC and client you'll need, how to make sure your home network is up to the task, and how to control your games once they're up and running.

The 4 best free image editing tools on PC for screenshots and gifs

PC Gamer at

At PC Gamer, our screenshots folders are constantly full to bursting with screens of whatever game we're currently playing. When it comes time to edit them, we usually use Photoshop—but sometimes there's a better piece of software out there for dealing with images that's lighter and faster and cheaper (read: free) than Photoshop. Our colleagues at TechRadar recently rounded up the best free image editing software, and we've listed the ones we like to use below. These are our favorite utilities for making gifs, batch editing tons of screenshots, and making simple, quick edits that don't need the power of Photoshop.


The best free antivirus software for PC

PC Gamer at

The last thing you want on your PC is a virus. The second-to-last thing you want on your PC is antivirus software that slows down your computer when you're gaming. Spending money on your antivirus software doesn't guarantee that you're getting the best, either. These days, there are a ton of free antivirus options, and many of them will keep your computer perfectly safe from the trojans and spyware and adware that lurk on the Internet.


The best PC joysticks

Dave James at

Space trucking and exploring in Elite: Dangerous. Dogfighting in Star Citizen. For the first time since the glory days of 1990s space sims, the flightstick is a must-have peripheral. An Xbox controller just can't compare to the feel of a flight stick and throttle, and you'll want every one of those buttons and switches for controlling a space ship or dogfighting above a Battlefield ground skirmish. We've tested out seven sticks to help you decide which to buy. If you're on a budget, never fear—one of our favorite sticks is a mere $50/£40.


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.


Aorus get into the peripheral game with an MMO mouse

Dave James at

Gigabyte’s new gaming offshoot, Aorus, is branching out from slimline gaming laptops and taking a shot at peripherals. The first is the Thunder M7, an MMO/MOBA mouse with a lovely embossed presentation case and more buttons than you’ve got fingers.


Palit's GTX 750 Ti employs passive cooling for quiet, low-power performance

Dave James at

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.


This SSD plugs into a spare PCIe slot, but is it faster?

Dave James at

That thing in the above picture is an SSD, and a hoofing big one too. The Plextor M6e is the first M.2 SSD I’ve had arrive in the office, and it’s a 512GB drive that aims to circumvent the limitations of current SATA connections by using the same PCI Express bus that's been providing oodles of bandwidth to graphics cards for years.


Is silicon doomed? IBM invests billions in quest to find alternative

Dave James at

The days of silicon sitting inside our CPUs and GPUs are numbered, according to a recent announcement by chip giant, IBM. They’re betting a cool $3 billion dollars on being able to find a decent alternative before silicon starts to hinder hardware progress.


Octo-core Intel chips incoming this Autumn, priced at $999

Dave James at

Intel is widely expected to be dropping the octo-core Haswell-E bomb in September. The smart money places launch sometime around their Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, but only the most committed enthusiasts will want to put down $999 for Intel's new tech.


Samsung unveil their latest SSD with 3D memory

Dave James at

Over in Seoul Samsung have announced their latest SSD, the 850 Pro. It may just be a standard SATA drive, but it contains an innovative approach to scaling that stacks memory vertically to fit more GBs into the same space.


New AMD GPUs rumoured for next month

Dave James at

AMD’s R9 280 is one of the best-value graphics cards out there, but it’s still running on old Tahitii GPU hardware from the last generation. The rumour mill is grinding away at the moment, and we're hearing suggestions that AMD are working on a replacement for that old chip, code-named Tonga.


AMD re-release their 5GHz FX processor with bonus watercooling

Dave James at

To try and counter all the excited enthusiast processor chat generated by Intel’s Devil’s Canyon CPUs AMD have decided to re-release their top-end FX-9590, but this time with a Cooler Master liquid chip-chiller in the box.


Nvidia HairWorks trailer shows Witcher 3 fur tech, promotes glossy coats

Phil Savage at

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."


AMD's FX chips return, in mobile APU form

Dave James at

If you’d been hoping for AMD to stick the new Steamroller cores into a new line of dedicated gaming CPUs you might well be sorely disappointed to find the new FX silicon is actually just another APU. When I say "just another APU," I am talking about the brand new mobile version of the Kaveri architecture.


The hidden problem with 4K monitors: display scaling

Dave James at

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.


Overclocker's Vesuvius PC tested: 4K gaming, powered by quadfire Radeon cards

Dave James at

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.