Project Cars is finally here and it certainly is pretty

Subject: General Tech | May 13, 2015 - 02:52 PM |
Tagged: gaming, project cars

The Tech Report pulled out their wheel and pedals, tied their chair to their desk and tried out Project Cars, a game which shows off just what a good PC is capable of.  The cars, tracks and weather are all rendered in amazing quality with lifelike reflections and lighting.  Even better is the feel of the game, realistic handling work with the graphics to immerse you fully into the game. Their are options to help the novice driver get their skills up to speed and while there may not be quite as many tracks and cars to choose from as games such as Forza, the realism more than makes up for it.  It will also work with a controller and Steam Big Picture for those who prefer to drive from the couch.

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"In his latest blog post, TR's Geoff Gasior gets behind the wheel in Project Cars, a new PC driving game with realistic handling and jaw-dropping graphics. This may be the best-looking game in any genre, and it feels as real as it looks."

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Use your SHIELD to stream games over NVIDIA GRID at 1080p

Subject: General Tech | May 12, 2015 - 02:40 PM |
Tagged: gaming, shield, nvidia, grid

Ryan and the crew have tested out NVIDIA's GRID, the cloud streaming service that lets you play games at 720p, as long as you have a 10 Mbps down connection on a network with a NVIDIA GameStream-ready 5 GHz Wi-Fi router and 60 ms or less ping time to a GRID server.  In testing Ryan did notice lag but he still found them playable once he mentally adjusted to the delay.

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Today NIVIDA announced an upgrade to the GRID service, 35 of the 50 games on the service can now stream at a full 1080p and 60fps including Batman: Arkham Origins, Devil May Cry 4 and Dirt 3 Complete Edition.  In order to properly enjoy the HD quality you will need a compatible router from the list linked to above and connection of at least a 30 Mbps down, with 50Mbps being recommended by NVIDIA for best results. 

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The new SHIELD Hub beta is available to SHIELD owners by following the link in NVIDIA's blog post here.  They also announced the addition of Bionic Commando to their library, playable at the new resolution.

Source: NVIDIA

GTA performance part 2 ... GPUs

Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2015 - 03:46 PM |
Tagged: gaming, GTAV, 1440p, 4k, crossfire, sli

Last week [H]ard|OCP investigated the performance of GTAV on single GPU systems and this week comes the promised follow up featuring Crossfire and SLI, including the expensive Titan X.  With these high end setups, they tested 1440p and 4k performance as running these GPUs at 1080p is a crime against silicon.  At 1440p, the GTX 980 in SLI could handle more than a single Titan X though nowhere near what that card managed in SLI while on the AMD the 295X2 could keep up frame wise, but at the cost of some graphical extras.  At 4k resolutions, not even the mighty Titans could manage to run with all graphics options turned up, though it certainly did provide the best performance. AMD's GPUs lagged behind in performance however in scaling they were significantly better than NVIDIA's offerings, though there is still some room for improvement.  The real battle is at the $650 mark, you can choose between a pair of GTX 970's or a single R9 295X2 as they offer relatively similar performance but if you want the most out of GTAV you are going to have to pay much more than that.

You should also make sure to free up your calendar at the end of the month for the Fragging Frogs Virtual LAN Party #10 is coming up on the 30th!

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"This is Part 2 of our full evaluation of Grand Theft Auto V's video card gaming performance. In this part we dive into NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFire highest playable gameplay settings and apples-to-apples at 1440p and 4K resolutions. We find out just what it takes to get the most out of GTA V at its highest settings."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

First Glimpse of the MSI 990FXA-Gaming Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | May 6, 2015 - 10:21 AM |
Tagged: usb 3.1, sli, piledriver, msi, gaming, crossfire, amd, am3+, 990FXA-Gaming, 990fx

Some months ago MSI announced that they are releasing a slew of USB 3.1 compliant parts.  What was surprising was the mention of a brand new AM3+ board based on the now nearly geriatric AMD 990FX chipset.  The 990FX has had quite a lifespan with PCI-E 2.0 support and the accompanying SB950 southbridge with USB 2.0 and SATA6G features.

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It looks as if MSI is doing a clean sheet design for the 990FXA-Gaming.  This looks to be a class leading product with plenty of features.  Not only does it have the USB 3.1 support, but it also implements the enhanced audio design that we have seen on other top end boards from MSI.  It also embraces the Killer ethernet software suite (utilizing Qualcomm's Atheros Gig-E chip).

The power delivery system looks to be a full 8+2 unit, so it can officially handle the 220 watt TDP FX-9000 series of CPUs.  It supports both SLI and CrossFire.  The cooling on the board looks to be top notch as well, with a heatpipe stretching from the Southbridge, through the Northbridge, and finally to the VRMs.

We expect these boards to be available sometime around the middle of this month.  We should also be receiving a sample for testing around then.  It is nice to see new support for AMD's FX CPUs, and this should be a cost effective member of the club.  Though AM3+ is a dead end in terms of socket infrastructure, there is still a lot of value in AMD's FX CPU line.

There is no word on pricing at this time, but I would not be surprised to see it hit the $149 mark.  It does not seem as decked out as the 990FXA-GD80 which is priced around $179.  With the robust featureset that they do implement, it does look to be a value if it can hit that aggressive price point.

Source: MSI

Keep your GTA, there is an island to be 'liberated'

Subject: General Tech | April 29, 2015 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: gaming, chaos, just cause 3

Sure, pretending to be a gangster can be fun and the many gameplay videos of GTAV certainly make it look entertaining but it pales in comparison to the over the top chaotic gameplay of the Just Cause series.  Watch the trailer below which covers a mix of gameplay, scripted events and cutscenes invoke.  Now decide whether destroying a town with your grapple attached to a bus while flying a helicopter seems like more entertainment than using a mod to drop whales across GTAV's landscape.  The modding community will certainly develop more interesting things to do in GTAV, then again the JC2 modders helped have the multiplayer version of the chaos simulator.  Up to you if you would rather demolish things as a gangster or as a 'liberator'.

Whatever you do remember, only you can stop pre-orders.

"Watching the “gameplay reveal” trailer for Just Cause 3 is like watching the ambitions of every guns, vehicles and explosions game made real. It’s the ludicrously overblown action blockbuster that Uncharted’s scripted events and cutscenes invoke."

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GTA V: The GPU review

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 21, 2015 - 04:07 PM |
Tagged: GTA5, gaming, titan x, GTX 980, R9 290X, r9 295x2

Some sort of game involving driving stolen prostitutes into cars in an open sore world has arrived and the questions about what it takes to make the game look good are popping up like pills.  [H]ard|OCP seems to have heard of the game and tested out its performance on the top performing video cards from AMD and NVIDIA in both single and doubles.  You will get more out of a double but unfortunately only around a 50% improvement so obviously that second shot is watered down a bit.  In the end the GTX TITAN X was the best choice for those who want to crank everything up, with the 980 tasting slightly better than the 290X for those that actually have to ask the price.  Check the full review here.

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"Grand Theft Auto V has finally been released on the PC. In this preview we will look at some video card comparisons in performance, maximize graphics settings at 1440p and 4K. We will briefly test AMD CHS Shadow and NVIDIA PCSS shadow and talk about them. We will even see if SLI and CrossFire work."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

My that's a big world you have there, CD Projekt RED's new Witcher 3 trailer

Subject: General Tech | April 15, 2015 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: gaming, The Witcher 3, CD Projekt RED

Every trailer of the Witcher 3 so far has made the game look larger and more complex and the latest trailer continues along that vein.  Some scenes will be familiar, such as a certain griffin's head but others are completely new, especially the in town scenes.  The voiceover implies a much greater breadth of choice in how you play the story than the binary elves or humans choice of Witcher 2 but we have been disappointed by other franchises in the past.  Hopefully this game will not disappoint, it has a very devoted team who are not afraid to include uncomfortable choices or nasty dialogue in the world they have created.  It will also be interesting to see how the size of the open world translates into interesting gameplay, especially once you have cleared an area and civilians move in to settle it.  Check out the trailer below and catch additional coverage at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN ... and maybe even here, you never know.

"Hi, you. That’s The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Watch this new trailer, it’ll explain.  This shiny new five-minute trailer’s a broad overview of the game, its basic premise, the lay of its land, a few japes, and the sort of larks you’ll get up to."

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Logitech G Intelligent Illumination Shown Using Battlefield Hardline

Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2015 - 08:28 PM |
Tagged: logitech g, logitech, gaming keyboard, gaming, battlefield hardline

Logitech has created an SDK to bring a new concept to PC gaming: in-game illumination integration with G series gaming peripherals. Logitech is calling this "Intelligent Illumination", and they have created a video to show off the new tech from their work with EA on Battlefield Hardline.

Switching sides in the game alternates the keyboard color, and the lights blink when taking damage. It's certainly a novel concept, and in this instance adds additional user feedback by taking advantage of the RGB color capabilities of a modern gaming keyboard (this is the G910 Orion Spark). The possibilities seem endless, but a simple idea like context-specific keyboard mapping through custom illumination would make the controls for some games much easier to learn.

Source: Logitech

If you already own S.T.A.L.K.E.R. you can get it for free from GOG

Subject: General Tech | April 8, 2015 - 01:53 PM |
Tagged: gaming, GOG, DRM, stalker

That title and the offer it describes might sound dumb at first glance, but if you happen to have a retail copy of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. that isn't so scratched it is unusable, go ahead and try to install it.  Didn't work very well now did it? If you were savvy enough to Google through the various tips on making it work you might now understand why GOG reviving old games which no longer work because the company that managed the DRM no longer exists or that have languished because of lack of support.  GOG is working on creating a library of old games which you can install DRM free, if you have a valid serial number from your old retail copy.  As is usual you can choose between a download and a Steam version, with community support and a very good chance that it will run immediately after installation; unlike when it was first released perhaps?  The question that not many ask anymore is what will happen if Steam ends, will GOG be the ones to save our libraries of 100s of unplayed games?

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"Starting today, owners of several retail titles originally sold with DRM can get a digital copy of their game completely free at GOG.com: with no DRM as always, compatible with modern operating systems, and with plenty of goodies to boot."

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Determining what it takes to join Battlefield Hardline

Subject: General Tech | April 1, 2015 - 08:12 PM |
Tagged: gaming, battlefield hardline

[H]ard|OCP has put together an exhaustive look at what you will need to play Battlefield Hardline, using both Mantle and D3D.  They tested 5 GPUs from each vendor including the Titan X as well as the GTX 980 and R9 290X in both single and dual GPU configurations.  The Mantle version appears to require some more optimization as it was outperformed by D3D 11 in testing, hopefully this will change over time.  At 1440p the Titan is unable to keep up with the GTX 980 SLI configuration and outperforms the Crossfired R9 290X setup, when they increased the resolution to 4k the Titan came out on top.  At release the game will support dual GPUs but as you can see in [H]'s testing the scaling is not as good as it could be, again this will hopefully be addressed over time.

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"Battlefield Hardline has been released finally. We gather twelve video card comparisons and find out what you need to enjoy this game in multiplayer and campaign modes. We will look at multi-GPU scaling, D3D vs. Mantle, and VRAM usage to find out where the best money is spent to enjoy this new game."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP