Introduction and Design
MSI’s unapologetically large GT70 “Dominator Pro” series of machines knows its audience well: for every gripe about the notebooks’ hulking sizes, a snicker and a shrug are returned by the community, who rarely value such items as portability as highly as the critics who are hired to judge based on them. These machines are built for power, first and foremost. While featherweight construction and manageable dimensions matter to those regularly tossing machines into their bags, by contrast, MSI’s desktop replacements recognize the meaning of their classification: the flexibility of merely moving around the house with one’s gaming rig is reason enough to consider investing in one.
So its priorities are arguably well in line. But if you want to keep on dominating, regular updates are a necessity, too. And with the GT72 2QE, MSI takes it all up yet another notch: our review unit (GT72 2QE-208US) packs four SSDs in a RAID-0 array (as opposed to the GT70’s three), plus a completely redesigned case which manages to address some of our biggest complaints. Oh yeah, and an NVIDIA GTX 980M GPU with 8 GB GDDR5 RAM—the fastest mobile GPU ever. (You can find much more information and analysis on this GPU specifically in Ryan’s ever-comprehensive review.)
Of course, these state-of-the-art innards come at no small price: $2,999 as configured (around a $2,900 street price), or a few hundred bucks less with storage or RAM sacrifices—a reasonable trade-off considering the marginal benefits one gains from a quad-SSD array or 32 GB of RAM.
Subject: General Tech | December 10, 2014 - 02:41 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: tf2, gaming, Source Filmmaker
If you have 15 minutes to spare then feast your eyeholes on this community made video introducing Team Fortress 2's End of the Line update. As we have seen from previous contests using Valve's Source Filmmaker these movies are well worth watching, so check it out now or save it for later. This movie also heralds the release of new hats, taunts and quite possibly a pyrotechnic rubber ducky. Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN talked with the video's director, James McVinnie, about the development of this enjoyable little film which you can watch right here.
"I’ve been looking forward to Team Fortress 2’s End of the Line update for over a year, not because I’m in love with novelty virtual clothing but because it’s built around a community-made, fifteen-minute short film. It’s out now, you can watch it below, and if you do care for novelty clothes, a portion of the profits go to the creators who toiled away making the movie."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Marching On: The Banner Saga 2 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Wacky Physics Sandwichbox: I Am Bread Released @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Wot I Think: The Talos Principle @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- The Entire Screen Of One Game Will Hurt Your Brain @ Rock Paper, SHOTGUN
- Freeman Rush: HL2 RTS Lambda Wars Free On Steam @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- inXile Tease Another cRPG Comeback: Bard or Baldur? @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Assassin's Creed Unity Review @ OCC
- Not-Deus Ex: First Look At New Game’s Engine @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- New No Man’s Sky Trailers Show Space Stations, Portals @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Borderlands The Pre-Sequel Performance and PhysX Review @HiTech Legion
- Darklands Retrospective: What RPGs Are Supposed To Be @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Call Off The Dogs: The Witcher 3 Delayed Into May 2015 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Oculus Rift Configuration Guide – Simulation Gaming @ eTeknix
- Epic Giveaway Day 7: Win a Mad Catz M.O.J.O. @ HEXUS
Subject: General Tech | December 9, 2014 - 10:47 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: street fighter v, street fighter, pc gaming, gaming
Well this is something that people have been demanding for quite some time. Not only will Capcom's Street Fighter V be available on the PC and PS4, but multiplayer can be a mix-and-match between the two platforms. You will not need to coordinate a platform of choice ahead of time. Players on both of these platforms will be able to connect to one another.
While Capcom has not released any further details, previous Street Fighter releases for the PC have supported local multiplayer when extra controllers are connected. The omission of Xbox One is definitely strange as well, given the exclusive agreement between Microsoft and Capcom for Dead Rising 3. Of course, different game, different contract, but it suggests a larger reason to avoid Xbox One. Two possible, not mutually exclusive reasons are: 1 - Sony paid them and/or 2 - Microsoft was too restrictive about cross platform play. In the past, Microsoft would only allow PC-Xbox cross-platform play if the PC title was branded as Games for Windows Live, which I do not think any game took advantage of (Update: Apparently I was wrong and Shadowrun actually launched cross-platform multiplayer before it was sunset). It also no longer exists.
Street Fighter V will be out... sometime... for PC and PS4.
Subject: General Tech | December 3, 2014 - 03:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: warhammer 40k, Imperial Guard, Adeptus Astartes, gaming, armageddon
Somehow Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon managed to sneak under the radar but it has just been released by the gang that brought you Panzer Corps; Slitherine, Strategic Simulations Inc and Matrix Games. You will take part in the Second War of Armageddon when Warboss Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka invaded the planet with a Space Hulk quite successfully thanks to that inept waste of skin, Overlord Herman von Strab. With over 30 scenarios in the main game, not including the training missions, this game will last strategy game fans for quite a while thanks to the replayability of this type of game, not even considering multiplayer nor mods. The multiplayer will allow you to play as the Legio Metalica, Salamanders, Blood Angels and Ultramarines or you can control the Orc forces. If you love Gargants, Titans and a good Waaaaaaaaugh! then you need to check this out over at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN.
No word on if there will be Squats present.
"It’s a serious-looking turn-based strategy game by the folks behind Panzer Corps, recreating the Second War of Armageddon across a big campaign with hundreds of different units and variants. And it’s out now. Come watch some orks get squished in an hour of livestreamed action."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Far Cry 4 Review @ OCC
- Campaign For A Better Memory Of Crysis 1 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Dragon Age Inquisition Review: Roaring Back To Life @ Techgage
- Assassin's Creed: Victory confirmed for autumn 2015 @ HEXUS
- Car-To-Ball: Rocket League @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Win a PlayStation 4 with HEXUS and Seagate
Subject: General Tech | December 2, 2014 - 02:45 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming, gaming, Tim Schafer, broken age
Tim Schafer and the rest of Double Fine set up a Kickstarter in early 2012 to fund a classic, LucasArts-style adventure game. After being funded over eight-fold more than they intended, they allowed the production to balloon and fit their new budget. This resulted in Act 1 being released in 2014, over a year later than their original deadline, with the second half (Act 2) coming later – expected in late 2014. Within the last couple of days, they announced that the release date has slipped into “early next year” (2015).
This is one of the problems that a Kickstarter can face. There is definitely an instinct to supercharge an over-funded product, which could lead to delays, hiccups, and other problems. On the other hand, the extra money, and the public knowledge regarding how much extra, can raise the expectations of your audience – they might feel cheated if you fail to over-deliver. Beyond this, I have been told that it is very common for budgets to inflate over the course of regular development, something that you cannot really account for in advanced crowd-funding. Again, this may be wrong – it was what I expected but, of course, hoaxes prey on that.
Since the Kickstarter launched, Ron Gilbert left the company. I pout.
Broken Age: Act 2 will be released in early 2015 and conclude the Broken Age story as a free upgrade for everyone who paid for Act 1. This is nice but, while I could see an argument for Act 1 customers needing to purchase Act 2 in the era of Telltale episodic content, it only makes sense for at least Kickstarter backers to get the whole game. I mean, it was announced as a single title; it would be a supremely bad move to promise a full game and deliver a half of one (torn at an awkward point in the narrative no-less) only to ransom the second half a year later.
Thankfully, it will be free, not just for them, but for everyone who owns Act 1.
It has been a couple of months since the release of the GeForce GTX 970 and the GM204 GPU that it is based on. After the initial wave of stock on day one, NVIDIA had admittedly struggled to keep these products available. Couple that with rampant concerns over coil whine from some non-reference designs, and you could see why we were a bit hesitant to focus and spend our time on retail GTX 970 reviews.
These issues appear to be settled for the most part. Finding GeForce GTX 970 cards is no longer a problem and users with coil whine are getting RMA replacements from NVIDIA's partners. Because of that, we feel much more comfortable reporting our results with the various retail cards that we have in house, and you'll see quite a few reviews coming from PC Perspective in the coming weeks.
But let's start with the MSI GeForce GTX 970 4GB Gaming card. Based on user reviews, this is one of the most popular retail cards. MSI's Gaming series of cards combines a custom cooler that typically runs quieter and more efficient than reference design, and it comes with a price tag that is within arms reach of the lower cost options as well.
The MSI GeForce GTX 970 4GB Gaming
MSI continues with its Dragon Army branding, and its associated black/red color scheme, which I think is appealing to a wide range of users. I'm sure NVIDIA would like to see a green or neutral color scheme, but hey, there are only so many colors to go around.
Subject: General Tech | November 26, 2014 - 02:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: far cry 3, amd, nvidia, gaming
Far Cry 4 uses the same engine as the previous game, Dunia Engine 2, albeit updated and modified for the new features GPUs can handle, especially NVIDIA's Gameworks features. This gives you some idea of how your system will handle the game but for a definitive look at performance just check out this review at [H]ard|OCP. For their testing they used the GeForce 344.75 WHQL on their GTX 980 and 970 and the Catalyst 14.11.2 Beta for the R9 290X and 290. On the Ultra preset running at 1440p the performance differences between the AMD and NVIDIA cards were negligible, once they started testing the new features such as the enhanced godrays and AA options there were some significant differences which you should educate yourself about. It is worth noting that even two GTX 980s in SLI at 3600x1920 are not capable of handling 8x MSAA, thankfully SMAA is supported in the game.
"Far Cry 4 is here, and we take an early look at how current video cards stack up in performance, and which quality settings are graphically demanding. We will also look at some image quality comparisons and talk about the state of this game at launch. Will it measure up to Far Cry 3 in terms of graphic fidelity?"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Just blame Gabe for your credit card bill
- Hot Loot: Torchlight For Free @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- CCP Shut Down Vampire: TM – Bloodlines Fan Remake @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Wot I Think: Tales From The Borderlands Ep One @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Bioshock Through The Looking Glass @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Valve updates Steam key gift tradability rules @ HEXUS
- Wot I Think: Far Cry 4 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Commander Ladystab: Another Shadow Of Mordor Outfit @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Gaming on the Grid with Nvidia's Shield Tablet @ The Tech Report
- Dragon Age Inquisition: Our chief weapons are... @ The Register
- Why Far Cry 2 Is Still The Best In The Series @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: Processors | November 21, 2014 - 04:08 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: quad core, pentium, gaming, far cry 4, dual-core, dragon age inquisition, cpus, budget, athlon
A new report covering dual-core woes with Far Cry 4 paints a "bleak future" for budget gamers.
Image credit: Polygon
For a while now the dual-core Pentium processors have been a great option for budget gaming, with the Pentium G3220 and newer G3258 Anniversary Edition taking center stage in a number of budget gaming builds. Today, we may be nearing the end of the road for dual-core CPUs entirely as a couple of high-profile games now require a quad-core CPU.
Is the anniversary really...over?
Far Cry 4 won't even open with a dual-core CPU installed, and while the game will load when using dual-core CPU's with hyper-threading enabled (for 4 total "cores") the performance isn't very good. PC World's article points to users "reporting that Far Cry 4 flat-out refuses to work with 'straight' dual-core PCs - chips that don’t use hyperthreading to 'fake' having additional cores." The article references a "black-screen 'failure to launch' bug" being reported by users with these dual-core chips.
This should come as good news for AMD, who has embraced quad-core designs throughout their lineup, including very affordable offerings in the budget space.
Image credit: AMD
AMD offers very good gaming performance with a part like the Athlon X4 760K, which matched the Pentium G3220 in our budget gaming shootout and was neck and neck with the Pentium in our $550 1080p gaming PC article back in April. And the Athlon 760K is now selling for just under $77, close to the current best-selling $70 Pentium.
Ubisoft has made no secret of their new game's hefty system requirements, with an Intel Core i5-750 or AMD Phenom II X4 955 listed as the minimum CPUs supported. Another high-profile new release, Dragon Age: Inquisition, also requires a quad core CPU and cannot be played on dual-core machines.
Image credit: Origin
Looks like the budget gaming landscape is changing. AMD’s position looks very good unless Intel chooses to challenge the under $80 price segment with some true quad-core parts (and their current 4-core CPUs start at more than twice that amount).
Subject: General Tech | November 19, 2014 - 02:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: warhammer fantasy, mordheim, gaming, skaven, goat mmo simulator
For those not familiar with Warhammer Fantasy tabletop games and fluff it is difficult to explain why this is so exciting, those of us who have are having a similar reaction to the one at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN. If you have been deprived of this gaming experience then picture it instead as a decaying city which holds a prize called the wyrdstone for the warband which is capable of defeating all comers and laying claim to the ... well something you actually don't want to play with but definitely do not want anyone else to have. The gameplay trailer below shows off their take on animated turn based gameplay, movement, actions and attacks use up dots from your action pool but the actual cost of movement is displayed as concentric circles which use up an action point each time you cross one, which is a friendly way to allow players to determine where they want to position their characters. Positioning is very important as you will see in the video; handguns are great but not when you are face to face with a Daemon. As with Blood Bowl and other reincarnations of Games Workshop tabletops, injuries are permanent and determined at the end of the round, your warrior may recover from being put out of action but they may be missing some body parts the next time you call them to battle.
If you can't wait for early access to yet another unreleased game then there is something awesome arriving for you tomorrow, assuming you are awesome enough to already own Goat Simulator! Goat MMO Simulator is a part of patch 1.2 which is released tomorrow, far more awesome that other non-simulated MMOs recently release since you can level your goat, or microwave with legs, all the way to Level 101! Check out Coffee Stain Studio's latest trailer, they have a flair for putting them together.
"Mordheim: City of the Damned is a squad-based tactical combat game set in the Warhammer Fantasy universe, in which an injured unit might return to the titular chaos-infected city with a pegleg. It’s entering Early Access this month and I can’t wait to get my hands on it."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Far Cry 4 REVIEW: It's a far cry from Far Cry 3 @ The Register
- Wot I Think: This War Of Mine @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Wot I Think: Valkyria Chronicles @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Elite: Dangerous single-player offline mode officially ditched @ HEXUS
- EA announces Battlefield 4: Final Stand DLC release date @ HEXUS
- Comedy And Tragedy: I Read Readme Files @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | November 11, 2014 - 03:10 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming, gaming, eff, DRM, consolitis
This is something that I have been saying for quite some time now: games are struggling as an art form. Now I don't mean that games are not art; games, like all content that expresses feelings, thoughts, and ideas, are art. No, I'm talking about their ability to be preserved for future society and scholarly review. The business models for entertainment are based in either services or consumables. In the entertainment industries, few (but some) producers are concerned about the long tail – the extreme back-catalog of titles. Success is often determined by two weeks of sales, and the focus is on maximizing those revenues before refreshing with newer, similar content that scratches the same itch.
DRM is often justified as maximizing the initial rush by degrading your launch competitors: free versions of yourself. Now I'm not going to go into the endless reasons about where this fails to help (or actively harms) sales and your customers; that is the topic of other rants. For this news post, I will only discuss the problems that DRM (and other proprietary technologies) have on the future.
When you tie content to a platform, be it an operating system, API, or DRM service, you are trusting it for sustainability. This is necessary and perfectly reasonable. The problems arise with the permissions given to society from that platform owner, and how easily society can circumvent restrictions, as necessary. For instance, content written for a specific processor can be fed through an emulator, and the instruction sets can be emulated (or entirely knocked off) when allowed by patent law, if patents even interfere.
Copyright is different, though. Thanks to the DMCA, it is illegal, a federal crime at that, to circumvent copyright protection even for the betterment of society. You know, society, the actual owner of all original works, but who grants limited exclusivity to the creators for “the progress of Science and useful Arts”. Beyond the obvious and direct DRM implementations, this can also include encryption that is imposed by console manufacturers, for instance.
The DMCA is designed to have holes poked into it, however, by the Librarian of Congress. Yes, that is a job title. I did not misspell “Library of Congress”. The position was held by James H. Billington for over 25 years. Every three years, he considers petitions to limit the DMCA and adds exceptions in places that he sees fit. In 2012, he decided the jailbreaking a phone should not be illegal under the DMCA, although tablets were not covered under that exemption. This is around the time that proposals will be submitted for his next batch in late 2015.
This time, the EFF is proposing that circumventing DRM in abandoned video games should be deemed legal, for society to preserve these works of art when the copyright holders will not bother. Simply put, if society intended to grant a limited exclusive license to a content creator who has no intention of making their work available to society, then society demands the legal ability to pry off the lock to preserve the content.
Of course, even if it is deemed legal, stronger DRM implementations could make it technologically unfeasible to preserve certain works. It is still a long way's away before we encounter a lock that society cannot crack, but it is theoretically possible. This proposal does not address that root problem, but at least it could prevent society's greatest advocates from being slapped with a pointless felony for trying to do the right thing.