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.
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.
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.
Ah, now this takes me back. A budget-priced, low-end Intel Pentium chip with serious overclocking headroom. This is what overclocking PC hardware used to be about—not pushing the latest $1,000 CPU to see what extra few numbers you could squeeze out of a synthetic benchmark, but cooking the clocks on a cheapo chip to get your games to actually run faster. It is a bit of a shame that it’s taken the celebration of 20 years of Pentiums to get Intel to relax it’s iron grip on the clockspeeds of any CPU outside the K-series.
The fact you can’t actually buy a K-series i3 is still a bit of a disappointment to me. But forget the politics and the marketing shenanigans, this is an awesome little budget gaming CPU that’s got a really good chance of wresting the budget market away from AMD’s bargain FX range.
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.
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.
Our friends at Techradar joined Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan at the company's E3 booth for a video interview showing off the new NZXT H440 case and the Kraken Neon Pros. We also get a look at the Junglecat, a mobile phone gamepad, but we expect you'll skip ahead to the new hyper-colored new Krakens.
I don't think it would be controversial for me to state that robots are cool, human flesh is weak, and the sooner we can transcend our consciousness into non-corporeal clouds of data, the better off we'll be. (On a related note: I have a cold right now, and may be angrier at biology than usual.) Even so, I'm not sure I've ever heard a phrase as distinctly chilling as "Sentry Eye Tracker," which is the name of a commercial product that, hopefully, doesn't harvest and catalogue your eyes. Instead, makers SteelSeries say, it's designed to "analyse, train and improve competitive gameplay".
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.