Subject: General Tech | May 1, 2014 - 10:57 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: sapphire, factory overclocked, r9 295x2, 4k, gaming, hawaii, dual gpu
Early last month, AMD launched a new flagship dual GPU graphics card called the Radeon R9 295X2. This new card features two Hawaii-based GPUs paired with 8GB of GDDR5 memory. Since the launch, several partners have come forward with reference cards of their own. One piece of the "world's fastest graphics card" puzzle that has been missing, until now, is a vendor daring enough to take the beastly R9 295X2 and push it even further by offering up a factory overclocked edition. It looks like Sapphire is the first to attempt such a feat by offering up the factory overclocked Sapphire R9 295X2 OC.
The upcoming Sapphire card will join the existing reference design R9 295X2 and ratchets up both the GPU and memory clockspeeds. Sapphire is clocking both Hawaii GPUs at up to 1030 MHz and running the 8GB of GDDR5 memory at 5.2 GHz. These factory overclocks are modest from a numerical standpoint, but considering cards running at stock clocks of 1018 MHz for the GPU and 5.0 GHz for the memory are already pushing a 500W TDP and over the ATX PSU spec, seeing any overclock is notable.
In all, we are looking at 5,632 stream processors (Hawaii architecture), 128 ROPs, and 352 TMUs. Each GPU uses a 512-bit bus to 4GB of graphics memory. This factory overclocked graphics horsepower rounds out to a smidgen more than 11.5 TFLOPS of single precision performance.
Sapphire is utilizing the same hybrid heatsink design as the reference cards which uses a centered fan and fin stack along with a AIO water cooler with a 120mm radiator.
Sapphire has not released pricing or availability on the overclocked model, but the stock-clocked R9 295X2 has an MSRP of $1,499. You can expect the R9 295X2 OC to come in at a premium, especially considering it is the first factory overclocked version that should hit the streets.
I'm excited to see this card come to market and push the boundaries of performance.
In the meantime, Ryan got a bit crazy with two stock R9 295X2 cards in quad crossfire and two power supplies. If you've got a few grand burning a hole in your pocket (or only wish you did), see what such a drool-worthy setup can get you in terms 4K gaming at PC Perspective!
Subject: General Tech | April 30, 2014 - 01:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, stalker, lost alpha, kick ass
Reviving old games with new mods has become a popular past time for programmers and gamers alike, with one popular target being S.T.A.L.K.E.R. which has seen it's original form released for free as well as other rather impressive mods. After a long six year wait, there is another huge mod for the game now available, the Lost Alpha Standalone which does not even require you to own the full game to play as it uses the released original game. There will be bugs, you will suffer some pain but wasn't that the best part about the game? Head to Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN for links to a preview movie and the official torrent.
"It’s been in development for five years and is now available, slightly earlier than originally planned. There are download links (including an official torrent) over at Moddb and you won’t need to have the original game installed to play. I want to spend my day in the Zone."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD Mantle Patch for THIEF on Intel 3570K CPU @ Legit Reviews
- PC Gaming on Ubuntu Linux @ Benchmark Reviews
- Global PC games market revenue overtakes consoles @ HEXUS
- Cramming: Deus Ex ‘Re-imagining’ Mod Coming Soon-ish @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Golly Gee: BioShock And Deus Ex Sure Look Nice In UE4 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Trials Fusion Review: Future Stunt Biking, Slightly Exaggerated @ Techgage
- How much RAM do I really need for gaming? @ PC Review
AM1 Walks New Ground
After Josh's initial review of the AMD AM1 Platform and the Athlon 5350, we received a few requests to look at gaming performance with a discrete GPU installed. Even though this platform isn't being aimed at gamers looking to play demanding titles, we started to investigate this setup anyway.
While Josh liked the ASUS AM1I-A Mini ITX motherboard he used in his review, with only a x1 PCI-E slot it would be less than ideal for this situation.
Luckily we had the Gigabyte AM1M-S2H Micro ATX motherboard, which features a full length PCI-E x16 slot, as well as 2 x1 slots.
Don't be mistaken by the shape of the slot though, the AM1 chipset still only offers 4 lanes of PCI-Express 2.0. This, of course, means that the graphics card will not be running at full bandwidth. However, having the physical x16 slot makes it a lot easier to physically connect a discrete GPU, without having to worry about those ribbon cables that miners use.
Subject: General Tech | April 16, 2014 - 03:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, pillars of eternity, obsidian
Pillars of Eternity is Obsidian's Kickstarted RPG which is touted as a spirtual successor to the Baldurs Gate and Icewind Dale series with a bit of Planescape tossed in, using the new Infinity Engine. The gameplay footage we have seen shows artwork reminiscent of those games with vastly improved quality on the non-static elements and Chris Avellone is no stranger to writing decent story arcs, all bringing hope to fans of the once great Black Isle. One piece has been missing until recently, the soundtrack of these games were crucial in building the atmosphere of these games and now Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN has a snippet of the music that will appear in the game which you can listen to here.
“Making Pillars of Eternity feel like a modern day Infinity Engine game is important to us, and music plays a big role in achieving that goal. But what does that actually mean in practice? Well if you were to loosely analyze the music from Baldur’s Gate 1 & 2 and Icewind Dale 1 & 2 for example, you would find a number of stylistic similarities between them."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- SMAC Your Lips: Civilization Beyond Earth Announced @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Sudo Shock: System Shock 2 Now On Linux @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Titanfall: Expedition DLC map pack announced at PAX East @ HEXUS
- Mass Effect Reborn Mod Jumps Into Homeworld 2 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- R2-Detailed: X-Wing Alliance Resurrected @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- A Crying Shame: Crysis, Crysis 2 Multi Shutting Down @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | April 9, 2014 - 02:59 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, nvidia, shield
If you own NVIDIA's SHIELD then you may have noticed an over the air upgrade notification recently which you should take advantage of. Legit Reviews have assembled a look at the features you get from this upgrade, from broader access to GameStream from both your SHIELD and from any PC with a modern NVIDIA GPU to a new OS, KitKat 4.4.2. Check out how well NVIDIA implemented these updates in the full article.
"The NVIDIA SHIELD is potentially the next evolution of mobile gaming. The SHIELD in a nutshell is a blend of mobile android devices, PC gaming, and console gaming. When the NVIDIA SHIELD first came out last year, it was carrying a price tag of $299, eventually that dropped to $249 and that remains the current price for the SHIELD. Though for right now through the end of April NVIDIA has lowered the price to $199 to celebrate the latest and greatest over the air update that we announced last week here."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Confirmed @ [H]ard|OCP
- Titanfall Performance Boost: NVIDIA R337 Drivers @ Benchmark Reviews
- Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number trailer released ahead of PAX East @ HEXUS
- What’s Up With Warframe? @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Yikes: GameSpy Shutdown Will Affect A Lot Of Games @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- You’re Going To Need A Bigger Aircraft Carrier, Battlefield 4 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Athlon and Pentium Live On
Over the past year or so, we have taken a look at a few budget gaming builds here at PC Perspective. One of our objectives with these build guides was to show people that PC gaming can be cost competitive with console gaming, and at a much higher quality.
However, we haven't stopped pursuing our goal of the perfect inexpensive gaming PC, which is still capable of maxing out image quality settings on today's top games at 1080p.
Today we take a look at two new systems, featuring some parts which have been suggested to us after our previous articles.
|AMD System||Intel System|
|Processor||AMD Athlon X4 760K - $85||Intel Pentium G3220 - $65|
|Cores / Threads||4 / 4||2 / 2|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte F2A55M-HD2 - $60||ASUS H81M-E - $60|
|Graphics||MSI R9 270 Gaming - $180||MSI R9 270 Gaming - $180|
|System Memory||Corsair 8GB DDR3-1600 (1x8GB) - $73||Corsair 8GB DDR3-1600 (1x8GB) - $73|
|Hard Drive||Western Digital 1TB Caviar Green - $60||Western Digital 1TB Caviar Green - $60|
|Power Supply||Cooler Master GX 450W - $50||Cooler Master GX 450W - $50|
|Case||Cooler Master N200 MicroATX - $50||Cooler Master N200 MicroATX - $50|
(Editor's note: If you don't already have a copy of Windows, and don't plan on using Linux or SteamOS, you'll need an OEM copy of Windows 8.1 - currently selling for $98.)
These are low prices for a gaming computer, and feature some parts which many of you might not know a lot about. Let's take a deeper look at the two different platforms which we built upon.
First up is the AMD Athlon X4 760K. While you may not have known the Athlon brand was still being used on current parts, they represent an interesting part of the market. On the FM2 socket, the 760K is essentially a high end Richland APU, with the graphics portion of the chip disabled.
What this means is that if you are going to pair your processor with a discrete GPU anyway, you can skip paying extra for the integrated GPU.
As for the motherboard, we went for an ultra inexpensive A55 option from Gigabyte, the GA-F2A55M-HD2. This board features the A55 chipset which launched with the Llano APUs in 2011. Because of this older chipset, the board does not feature USB 3.0 or SATA 6G capability, but since we are only concerned about gaming performance here, it makes a great bare bones option.
Subject: General Tech | April 2, 2014 - 09:49 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: quickfire rapid, NKRO, mechanical keyboard, gaming, cooler master
Cooler Master has introduced a new mechanical keyboard to the QuickFire Rapid family. The upcoming QuckFire Rapid-i is a fully backlit mechanical keybard that offers up gaming-friendly features.
Cooler Master is keeping many of the detailed specifications under wraps, but we do know that it supports both PS/2 and USB, uses laser etched matte keycaps along with mechanical switches, and uses a 32-bit ARM processor to drive the various back-lighting profiles (a technology Cooler Master calls ActivLite).
The keyboard supports 1ms response times in USB mode along with NKRO (N Key Roll Over) which allows simultaneous pressing of multiple keys which can come in handy when using the keyboard for gaming. The ActivLite technology supports five key backlighting modes with an additional five brightness levels in each mode. Cooler Master demonstrates one mode on their website where the keys being pressed light up and slowly fade in a trailing lighting effect as you continue typing. The keyboard has on board memory capable of storing four saved lighting profiles (users can program the backlighting of individual keys).
Unfortunately, Cooler Master has not stated which mechanical switches it is using in this keyboard beyond saying that they are both "tactile" and "quiet." Considering its predecessor used Cherry MX switches, those are a good bet though.
If you are interested in Cooler Master's latest mechanical keyboard, keep an eye on the product page the company set up for further information as it gets closer to a physical launch date.
Subject: General Tech | March 25, 2014 - 02:33 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Portal, GTC 2014, gaming, nvidia
During the opening keynote of NVIDIA's GTC 2014 conference, company CEO Jen-Hsun Huang announced that Valve had ported the ever-popular "Portal" game to the NVIDIA SHIELD handheld gaming platform.
The game appeared to run smoothly on the portable device, and is a worthy addition to the catalog of local games that can be run on the SHIELD.
Additionally, while the cake may still be a lie, portable gaming systems apparently are not as Jen-Hsun Huang revealed that all GTC attendees will be getting a free SHIELD.
Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more information on all the opening keynote announcements and their implications for the future of computing!
GPU Technology Conference 2014 resources:
Subject: General Tech | March 5, 2014 - 03:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, BF4, Mantle, amd
The new Mantle API has arrived for BF4, with quite a few other games waiting in the wings which will also take advantage of this DirectX competitor. The results that [H]ard|OCP saw were not as impressive as what the marketing would have had you believe but it still offers an improvement over DirectX in some cases. With high end hardware running at EyeFinity resolutions [H] did not see much improvement, the GTX 780 Ti took the performance crown. However on a single monitor with a R9 290 or 280X they saw very significant performance increases which left both the GTX 780 and 770 lagging behind in performance. Mantle will not yet allow mid range GPUs to act like high end cards but there is promise in this new API.
"AMD's Mantle API has been with us for just over a month now, and we have strapped a variety of video cards to the test bench to see what real world differences are being delivered to gamers within Battlefield 4. We will compare D3D11, Mantle, on various GPUs, looking at highest playable settings, frame times, and discuss our experiences."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Hands On - Wolfenstein: The New Order @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Battling with Blizzard's new WoW expansion and Diablo revamp @ The Register
- Wot I Think: Strider @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Beta tasting: The Elder Scrolls Online preview @ The Register
- Thief Video Card Performance Preview @ [H]ard|OCP
- Wot I Think: Thief @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- OnLive Lives Again: New Feature Syncs With Steam Games @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Gabe Newell Dishes On Source 2, HL3 VR, More In AMA @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch PlayStation 3 @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | February 20, 2014 - 07:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vlan, gaming, fun, fragging frogs
This weekend, specifically at 10AM ET on February 22nd the fifth Virtual LAN Party kicks off, hosted by the famous Fragging Frogs and PC Perspective, with a good chance of some secret visitors from the Red Team. There is no set end time for the event nor for any of the games so if you have any time on Saturday in which you do not find yourself saving innocents from a fate worse than death* then hop on and play with us. You get to hang out with Forum members you have built friendships with, shoot those you hold a grudge against, and have the chance to frag Ryan, Josh and all the other PC Per staff brave enough to set foot into this battle royale.
*The only acceptable excuse to bail on us.
The games are many, both old and new; with a strong likelihood of every Battlefield game since 1942 represented along with spicy versions of Unreal 2004, Torchlight II, Hawken, a game involving heavy weapons versus dinosaurs and much more. You can see the whole list here and can suggest others if we missed one of your favourites. To prepare for the event you should install TeamSpeak 3 which is our chat client of choice; you can find the server info right here. Other than that just show up when you can and hop into the game of your choice.
We have been doing VLAN's on a very irregular schedule since 2010 but if this weekend goes well we might just start eating a bit more fibre and start a more regular schedule. There were once even tournaments held, though that was back when UT2K4 was shiny and new, which we could start up again. For even more fun, you could help the Frogs get back together on the regular schedule we used to hold to back in the golden days of yore. Don't forget to consider a jump in The Pond once you are finished playing, keep that CPU and GPU working full out!
This is also a great time to thank Lenny and AMD for the wonderful good deed that they did for one of our long term members. You can read about their good works here and be sure to thank them for putting the effort into helping out one of our own.
We look forward to seeing you there and shooting you several times.