Subject: General Tech | June 3, 2013 - 03:55 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: livestream, gaming, computex 2013, asus
ASUS will be kicking off Computex 2013 with a livestream where the company will likely announce new products. The theme for the event is "We transform". The press conference will be held at 38 Songren Road Xinyi District, Taipei, 101 Taiwan, but for those not in attendance the livestream is in approximately 3 hours and allow enthusaists and press to cover the event from afar.
If you are a 'night owl,' insomniac, or just plain excited about new ASUS gear feel free to tune into the livestream at this link (or via the embedded stream below the break) and discuss any announcements in the comments below!
The livestream and press conference starts at 3:00am ET (3:00pm local Computex time).
I am expecting to see some new motherboards, graphics cards, and PCs from ASUS to complement the launch of Intel and NVIDIA's new CPU and GPU components. Perhaps we will finally see the launch of the rumored RAIDR PCI-E SSDs. It should make for a good show, so tune in if you can!
While you are waiting for the live stream to start, feel fee to check out Morry's review of the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Extreme Motherboard, a new Z87 motherboard!
Subject: Systems, Mobile | June 2, 2013 - 11:18 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: quadro k1000m, origin pc, nvidia, kepler, Intel, haswell, gtx 700M, gaming, eon17-s, eon15-s
Origin PC has announced that it will be integrating Haswell CPUs and GTX700M GPUs into its line of gaming notebooks and desktops. Specifically, Origin PC will add Haswell CPUs to its Genesis, Millennium, and Chronos desktop PCs. Origin PC is also outfitting its EON gaming laptops with both Haswell CPU and GTX700M GPU upgrades. And to sweeten the pot (if only slightly), Origin is bundling a voucher for Grid 2 with each Haswell-equipped Origin PC order.
Both the EON15-S and EON17-S gaming laptops feature Intel Haswell processors, NVIDIA GTX700M or Quadro K1000M mobile graphics cards, and up to five storage drives when the optical drive is removed. The laptops are even able to have an independent RAID of two mSATA SSDs and two hard drives or SSDs along with a non-RAID storage drive in the optical bay—that's a lot of storage for a laptop!
The laptops come with customizable display lids available in red, black, silver, or a custom air brush as well as back-lit keyboards and touchpads. As the SKU names suggest, the EON15-S has a 15.6” display while the EON17-S has a 13.3” display. Origin PC is further offering factory overclocking for the Haswell processors and GTX700M graphics cards. The company claims up to a 20-times power reduction during idle thanks to the more power-efficient hardware.
Unfortunately, all this new tech comes at a premium, and the EON15-S and EON17-S gaming notebooks start at $1,722 and $1,784 respectively. As far as the desktops go, there is also a slight bump in price depending on the Haswell chip you select during the customization process. Upgrading to an Intel Core i7-4770K on the GENESIS desktop costs an extra $193, for example.
You can find more information on the Origin PC website.
Not to be left out, GPU partner Zotac has announced its own set of graphics cards based on NVIDIA's GK-104 GTX 770 GPU called the GTX 770 and GTX 770 AMP! Edition. Both cards come with Zotac's custom dual fan cooler and have some impressive factory overclocks. In fact, the GTX 770 AMP! Edition is the fastest factory clocked GTX 770 so far, and is the only card to feature overclocked memory.
The Zotac Geforce GTX 770 features a GPU base clock of 1059 MHz and a GPU boost clock of 1098 MHz. It will be available with either 2GB or 4GB of GDDR5 memory. In either memory configuration, Zotac is keeping the GDDR5 at the stock clockspeed of 7010 MHz.
Meanwhile, the GTX 770 AMP! Edition has GPU clockspeeds of 1150 MHz base and an impressive 1202 MHz boost. However, the GTX 770 AMP! does not only feature an overclocked GPU, but overclocked memory at 7200 MHz.
The chart below compares the two Zotac graphics cards.
|Zotac GTX 770||Zotac GTX 770 AMP! Edition|
|GPU Base||1059 MHz||1150 MHz|
|GPU Boost||1098 MHz||1202 MHz|
|Memory||2GB or 4GB||2GB|
|Memory Clock||7010 MHz||7200 MHz|
Both of the Zotac graphics cards also come with a Splinter Cell game bundle that includes three (digital download) games:
- Splinter Cell: Double Agent
- Splinter Cell: Conviction
- Splinter Cell: Blacklist (will be release later this summer)
As far as pricing and availability, the GTX 770 (ZT-70301-10P) is on sale now at Newegg for $400, but the 4GB GTX 770 and GTX 770 AMP! have not yet been released by the looks of it, and Zotac has not announced official pricing or ship dates yet. More information can be found here. The AMP! Edition has some impressive factory overclocks, and the benchmarks should be interesting.
Subject: General Tech | May 29, 2013 - 06:47 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, metro last light
Metro 2033 quickly gained a reputation as a game which can take everything a modern GPU could throw at it and still want more. Now we have not only a new generation of Metro but also some new hardware to test it with, namely the TITAN and the GTX 780 which are now in [H]ard|OCP's test bed. They tried out the new game at 2560 x 1600 with high tessellation enabled and found the TITAN to be the overall winner thanks to its ability to support PhysX at these high settings, with the GTX 780 a very close second and perhaps a better choice for those not planning on using PhysX. Their testing also backs up the developers statement that in order to enable SSAA you will need a second GPU.
"Today we look at 4A Games Metro: Last Light. Running the 4A Engine it supports modern DX11 effects including tessellation, and NVIDIA PhysX, providing realistic simulations of particles, water, cloth and fog. We'll evaluate this game using today's latest video cards including GTX TITAN and GTX 780, for a total of eight video cards."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Metro: Last Light @ LanOC Reviews
- Metro: Last Light PC @ Tweaktown
- Metro: Last Light Performance, Benchmarked @ TechSpot
- Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Review @ OCC
- Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon @ Tweaktown
- Defiance Review: Resistance is Not Futile @ Techgage
- Wot I Think: GRID 2 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Endless Space Now Even More Endless Than Before @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: Systems | May 22, 2013 - 12:21 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Richland, msi, gx70, gx60, gaming notebook, gaming, APU, amd
MSI announced two new gaming notebooks powered by AMD's latest Richland APUs today called the GX70 and GX60. Both gaming notebooks use AMD A10-5750M processors, a discrete AMD graphics card, 8GB of RAM, and a 750GB (7200 RPM) hard drive. Other shared specifications include a Killer E2200 NIC, Blu-ray drive, THX certified speakers, a headphone amp, and a large 9-cell battery.
The GX70 is the largest of the two gaming notebooks at 8.6 pounds and packing a 17.3” display. The GX70 uses the A10-5750M APU and a Radeon 8970M discrete mobile GPU to deliver gaming performance to the 1080p display. The system is also capable of outputting to multiple displays over HDMI and supports AMD's Eyefinity 3D technology. On the outside, the MSI GX70 features a 17.3” 1920 x 1080p display with an anti-reflective coating as well as a SteelSeries gaming keyboard.
Meanwhile, the MSI GX60 is a 15-inch notebook that weighs 7.7 pounds. This gaming notebook uses an AMD A10-5750M APU and a Radeon 7970M mobile discrete GPU. Further, the GX60 has a 15.6” 1080p anti-reflective display and SteelSeries gaming keyboard.
MSI claims that the new AMD Richland APUs will give its gaming notebooks much better battery life. The new GX70 and GX60 will have up to 40% better graphical performance compared to previous generations thanks to the new APUs and discrete cards. According to MSI VP of Sales Andy Tung, “the GX70 and GX60 deliver the ultimate sensory experience for both professional and amateur gamers.” More information on the new gaming notebooks can be found on this MSI press release.
Introduction and Design
While Lenovo hasn’t historically been known for its gaming PCs, it’s poised to make quite a splash with the latest entry in its IdeaPad line. Owing little to the company’s business-oriented roots, the Y500 aims to be all power—moreso than any other laptop from the manufacturer to date—tactfully squeezed into a price tag that would normally be unattainable given the promised performance. But can it succeed?
Our Y500 review unit can be had for $1,249 at Newegg and other retailers, or for as low as $1,180 at Best Buy. Lenovo also sells customizable models, though the price is generally higher. Here’s the full list of specifications:
The configurations offered by Lenovo range in price fairly widely, from as low as $849 for a model sporting 8 GB of RAM with a single GT 650M with 2 GB GDDR5. The best value is certainly this configuration that we received, however.
What’s so special about it? Well, apart from the obvious (powerful quad-core CPU and 16 GB RAM), this laptop actually includes two NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M GPUs (both with 2 GB GDDR5) configured in SLI. Seeing as it’s just a 15.6-inch model, how does it manage to do that? By way of a clever compromise: the exchange of the usual optical drive for an Ultrabay, something normally only seen in Lenovo’s ThinkPad line of laptops. So I guess the Y500 does owe a little bit of its success to its business-grade brethren after all.
In our review unit (and in the particular configuration noted above), this Ultrabay comes prepopulated with the second GT 650M, equipped with its own heatsink/fan and all. The addition of this GPU effectively launches the Y500 into high-end gaming laptop territory—at least on the spec sheet. Other options for the Ultrabay also exist (sold separately), including a DVD burner and a second hard drive. The bay is easily removable via a switch on the back of the PC (see below).
Subject: General Tech | May 13, 2013 - 03:37 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: sony, semi-custom business unit, ps4, gaming, financial report, amd
Sony, a company with an annual profit of 436 billion Yen ($458 million USD) in its fiscal year ending March 31, 2013 saw PS3 and PS2 sales decline and a slight bump up in PSP and PS Vita sales. In a recent earnings call covered by Euro Gamer, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Masaru Kato stated that the company expects this year to be even better with the launch of its upcoming PlayStation 4 console. Sony does not believe it will incur any significant losses with the PS4 and that sales will "increase significantly." Unlike the PS3 which used a Cell chip that was expensive to develop, the PlayStation 4 uses mostly-traditional PC hardware. With the upcoming console, AMD did the majority of the development legwork which saved Sony money. As a result, Sony believes that the PS4 will turn a profit much faster than it took the PS3.
Looking into Sony's next fiscal year ending March 2014, the company is putting a renewed focus on smartphones and smart TVs. In the previous year, Sony saw combined PS3 and PS2 sales decline to $16.5 million from $18 million the prior year. Sony expects to sell approximately $10 million worth of PS3s in the upcoming fiscal year. While the company's PS2 console had a wild ride, it is no longer included in the company's sales forecast. Sales of Sony's mobile PSP and PS Vita gaming consoles are expected to decrease to a mere $5 million as well. Basically, Sony has a lot riding on its PlayStation 4 console. It expects to see its next-generation console make up for the decreased sales of its existing hardware.
Either way, a profitable Sony is a good thing, and I hope that the upcoming console is priced to sell while also resulting in a tidy profit for the company. I expect the Xbox-PS3-PC gamer flame-war to be especially entertaining this year, as the consoles are essentially using lower-end PC hardware (heh) and the two consoles specs are more-similar than ever.
Subject: General Tech | May 8, 2013 - 08:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Star Wars, obsidian, gaming, ea
Disney may have passed exclusive rights to EA for the Star Wars franchise but that might not mean the end of the world if Obsidian Entertainment's CEO has anything to say about it. Just as BioWare worked with Obsidian the idea of an EA and Obsidian partnership is not completely off the table. This might not full reassure those who still miss the old days of Black Isle and BioWare games but it seems that there is hope for the future of Star Wars games. Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN has a quick interview with Feargus Urquhart discussing his efforts to partner up with EA.
"We now live in a world where The Sims: Star Wars or Need for Speed: Tosche Station could become things. I’m not saying it’s likely (though the former would not shock me in the slightest), but Star Wars is under new management, so who knows? For now, all we can say for sure is that BioWare, DICE, and Visceral are actively adding their own chapters to the space opera, but we won’t see results from those initial efforts until at least mid-2014 – and much later, in all likelihood."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Time to Ante Up Again: Poker Night 2 Review @ Techgage
- Bone Hordes: Hellraid Teaser Trailer @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Old, Faithful: OpenXcom Is Near-Complete @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Xciting Stuff: X: Rebirth Pathfinding Dev Diary @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Wolfenstein Videogame Announcement Bingo @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | May 1, 2013 - 07:03 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, mod, duke nukem, obsessive
You might think you expressed your disappointment about the pile of garbage that was Duke Nukem Forever by posting scathing reviews online, but you have nothing on these modders who attempted to create the Duke we were all promised by modding Duke Nukem 3D. If you still have the DN3D kicking around, or at least the DUKE3D.GRP file you can head to ModDB and download a 30MB mod which will expand Las Vegas far beyond the original game. Don't expect miracles, they can only reuse existing assets but they certainly impressed Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN who posted a trailer-ish movie of the mod in action.
"A group of modders have been busily attempting to rewrite history – by recreating the game that 2001 trailer suggested in good old Duke Nukem 3D. Given they suffered a degree of 3D Realms-esque hubris in their struggle to finish the thing, are these the first Method Developers?"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Hurrah! – Defense Grid 2 Funded By Secret Investor @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- New GTA V trailer details the lives of the three protagonists @ HEXUS
- Impressions: Neverwinter @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- BioShock Infinite PC @ eTeknix
- Chapter & Verse Of Space Hulk @ Rock, PAper, ShHOTGUN
- God of War: Ascension PlayStation 3 @ eTeknix
- Injustice: Gods Among Us Xbox 360 @ Tweaktown
Good effort goes a long way
The wait has been long and anxious for Heart of the Swarm, the expansion to 2010's StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty. Blizzard originally hinted at a very rapid release schedule which did not exactly come to fruition. The nearly three years of development time for Heart of the Swarm is longer than a single studio spends on a full Call of Duty title; although, one could make a very credible argument that a Blizzard expansion requires more effort to create than said complete Call of Duty title.
But as Duke Nukem Forever demonstrated, a long time in development does not guarantee a fully baked product coming out the other end.
Blizzard games have always been highly entertaining albeit without deep artistic substance; their games are not first on the list for a university literature syllabus. But, there is a lot of room in life for engaging entertainment. In terms of the PC, Blizzard has always been one of the leading developers for the platform; they know how to deliver an exceptional PC experience if they choose to.