Gigabyte USA Announces Gigabyte eSports LAN

Subject: General Tech | May 15, 2012 - 06:22 PM |
Tagged: LAN party, lan, gigabyte, gaming, case mod contest

Popular motherboard manufacturer Gigabyte Technology Co. recently announced the Gigabyte eSports LAN (GESL), which is its first eSports event in North America. The event includes a BYOC (bring your own computer) LANFest, tournament competitions in Starcraft II and League of Legends, a case mod competition, presentations, and an event raffle. The competitions each feature various prizes for winning including Gigabyte G1.Sniper 3 motherboards, graphics cards, RAM, and other computer hardware. Starcraft II and League of Legends further offer $11,000 and $10,000 prize pools respectively.

Gigabyte_Esports_LAN.jpg

The event will be held at the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, California from June 15th to June 17th, 2012. In additon to Gigabyte, the eSports event is co-sponsored by Kingston and Cooler Master, among others. The LAN competitions will be broadcast in HD for free during the event for those that can’t attend in person. Alternatively, users can purchase spectator badges for $15 USD. There will also be an event raffle during the GESL that will give away various pieces of computer hardware and company swag to attendees.

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Further, the case mod contest will showcase systems from participants of the BYOC LANFest or spectators, of which five winners will be chosen. They will receive computer hardware and coverage in CPU Magazine should they win.

More information on the event can be found at the Gigabyte eSports LAN website (thegesl.com).

Source: Gigabyte USA

Stressing out GPUs with a DX9 game; is the Witcher 2 the new Crysis?

Subject: General Tech | May 9, 2012 - 03:09 PM |
Tagged: gaming, witcher 2

[H]ard|OCP overheard that The Witcher 2 underwent a large update, to the tune of 10GB or so, which gave them an opportunity to pit the newest GPUs from NVIDIA and AMD against a game which has a reputation for being hard on graphics card.  The Radeon HD 7970 and GeForce GTX 680 both struggled equally at 2560x1600 on this game, which is quite impressive for a year old game.  The most demanding feature of the game is UberSampling, which incorporates Antialiasing and Anisotropic Filtering and can bring even these powerful graphics cards to their knees.  When it was enabled [H] saw frame rates reduced to 20fps or lower, something that the old standby Crysis just cannot do.  You can argue that a DX9 game lacks many of the optimizations of DX10 and 11 which help the performance of these cards but it would seem that as far as testing the raw graphics power of a card,

H_witcher2.jpg

"The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings just underwent a major update. The Enhanced Edition offers a new zone, more quests, more cinematics, and several bug fixes. This DX9 game has the reputation of being one of the most demanding and stressful games on modern video cards. We put this theory to the test."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Microsoft Xbox 360 and Kinect Bundle for $99 On Contract

Subject: General Tech | May 8, 2012 - 02:58 AM |
Tagged: xbox 360, microsoft, gaming, console

The Xbox 360 has now been available in some form for almost seven years and has sold approximately 67.2 million units. Consumers are able to get the updated Xbox 360 4GB model for $199 USD at many retailers along with the Kinect add-on for $99. If that price still seems too steep, Microsoft has started to offer a subsidized Xbox 360 and Kinect bundle for those users lucky enough to live close to a physical Microsoft Store. There are currently 17 stores in a number of US states, with four more listed as "coming soon."

Xbox360SwithKinect.jpg

Microsoft is offering a two year contract of Xbox Live Gold for $14.99 a month. As a promotion for signing the contract, the company will sell a 4GB Xbox 360 S and Microsoft Kinect add-on for $99 USD. In total, the system will cost $458.76 plus applicable taxes–$359.76 for the monthly contract and $99 for the hardware. Interestingly, the subsidized cost ends up being more expensive than buying it outright. In under five minutes of searching around Amazon, I found 2 1 year subscriptions to Xbox Live Gold and an Xbox 360 S 4GB and Kinect hardware bundle for $380.20.

Xbox360Promo.jpg

That isn’t surprising but is still interesting that the subsidized model with contract does end up being more expensive. If you can’t afford the upfront cost the subscription may be worth it, especially with the Xbox Next not coming this year. Buying the hardware outright is going to cost less but considering the Xbox is rather dated at this point, paying $99 for the hardware–with the Xbox Live Gold contract not being locked to that one console– may be a better deal should the next Xbox be released within that two year window then buying both consoles outright. At least then, you can apply the contract towards the new console and not be out as much money on the original hardware. In the end, it is a nice alternative method for getting the console and Kinect hardware.

On the other hand, for the price of a subsidized Xbox 360, you could buy a shiny new GTX 670 for a gaming pc (hehe).

Source: Microsoft

Steam Allows Remote Installation of Games

Subject: General Tech | May 6, 2012 - 03:48 PM |
Tagged: valve, steam, gaming pc, gaming, games

Valve recently released a beta update for its Steam client that allows users to remotely install games to their local machine using the steampowered.com website.

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After installing the beta update to the local Steam client (Steam > Settings > Beta Participation), just leave the client logged in on your machine. Then navigate to Community page of the Steam website. After that, click on the Games category where the website will then list all the games tied to your Steam account. If you have a game you want to download and install while you are away, just hit the install button to the right of the game’s name.

This is certainly an interesting feature for some, especially if you happen to be on vacation during a Steam Holiday Sale! (hehe). More details on the process can be found here. Is this a feature you’ll be using?

Source: Valve

New trailer for Mechwarrior Tactics

Subject: General Tech | May 2, 2012 - 02:01 PM |
Tagged: online, Mechwarrior, gaming

PC Gamer got their hands on a new preview of Mechwarrior Tactics, the soon to be released free to play online game.  The beginning clearly shows the turn based nature of the game, especially when there is an overlay of hexes on the map, a necessity if they want to provide an experience close to the tabletop game which it has evolved from.  Once the action starts you can see Jump Jets in action as well as several LRM attacks, all nicely animated.  Fans are anxiously awaiting the release of this game, to see if it truly remains free to play as well as to see if the game is actually enjoyable.

MW_T.jpg

"Hexes with mechses makeses me happy"

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Source: PC Gamer

Ubuntu, now available through Steam

Subject: General Tech | April 25, 2012 - 03:12 PM |
Tagged: gaming, linux, steam

It seems the Gabe Newell doesn't like hearing that you can't game on Linux and is planning on releasing a Linux version of both Steam and the Source Engine.   The implementation is planned to be natively supported by Linux with no need for Wine, Phoronix has seen it running with an install of Ubuntu and a Catalyst driver for the Radeon that was providing graphics.  The Linux community has been waiting a long time for this day and now that Gabe is focusing his attention on this project there is hopes that it will soon come to fruition.  Phoronix could not be happier.

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"For those that have doubted the exclusive Phoronix claims for quite a while now that the Steam client and Source Engine are in fact being ported to Linux, the doubts can be nearly laid to rest. Even I began to wonder how long it would take before the clients for their popular games would be publicly released under Linux. However, after confirming the information perhaps a bit too soon, their level of Linux interest is much more clear after spending a day at their offices. A meeting topped off the day with Gabe Newell regarding Linux where he sounded more like a Linux saint than an ex-Microsoft employee. Valve does have some great plans for Linux beyond just shipping the client versions of Steam and their popular games on the Source Engine."

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Source: Phoronix

Kids these days even need their Game of Life in HD

Subject: General Tech | April 18, 2012 - 01:37 PM |
Tagged: gaming, game of life, john conway, von Neumann

John Conway's Game of Life originated in the 40s as a way of expressing the idea of cellular automata, aka life.  Originally a thought experiment using paper it has since become a very popular tool for young programmers to cut their teeth on, since the rules are very simple and you only need to input the original state after that the 'game' proceeds based on the rules.

For a space that is 'populated':
    Each cell with one or no neighbours dies, as if by loneliness.
    Each cell with four or more neighbours dies, as if by overpopulation.
    Each cell with two or three neighbours survives.
For a space that is 'empty' or 'unpopulated'
    Each cell with three neighbours becomes populated.

It is also a way to study how complexity can form from very simple initial states, as in some games you will resolve to a static square, while other times you might meet a fluctuating glider gun or a toad.  If you've never encountered this program before or are interested in setting it up on an FPGA then head to Hack a Day and see if you can't get some HD cellular automata to live more than 30 or 40 generations.

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"We’re going to have to take [Mike's] word for it that he built Conway’s Game of Life with high-definition video output. That’s because this screenshot is his only proof and it looks a bit fuzzy to us. But we are interested in the project which used an FPGA to generate a 1080p VGA output of the classic programming challenge."

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Source: Hack a Day

Wait, copy/pasting levels is a bad thing? Dragons Age 3 reputed to be much less like Halo

Subject: General Tech | April 11, 2012 - 04:19 PM |
Tagged: gaming, dragon age 3, BioWare

If you can believe the hints that BioWare is dropping, Dragon Age 3 should feel a lot less like a very expensive, poorly designed add on and more like an actual new game.  Of course, this comes from a very quick talk given at PAX about an unannounced game which might or might not be in development, so your sodium intake for the day should be adjusted to compensate.  They also implied that your choices would Effect the ending of the game ... now where have we heard that before?

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"Rumours are flying that Dragon Age 3 might be something more like the sequel to Dragon Age we’ve been hoping for. After Dragon Age 2 came out feeling more like a side-project, BioWare have dropped some hefty hints that they’re looking to redress much of that in an unannounced third game for the series. At a PAX East panel, as spotted by Eurogamer and recorded by Gamespot, Dragon Age developers discussed what a hypothetical game might contain, were it to exist, which it currently doesn’t, but obviously does. It’s to be a far more varied game, with new locales, and decisions that carry over from previous games."

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Wireless Headsets and PC Cases Added To Vengeance Lineup

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | April 5, 2012 - 03:47 PM |
Tagged: vengeance, headset, gaming, corsair, case

Corsair announced today that a new wireless headset and gaming PC case would be joining the ranks of the existing Vengeance lineup of headsets and keyboards. Making their initial debut at PAX East this weekend, the new Vengeance 2000 wireless headset and Vengeance C70 Case will be available for purchase later this year.

The Vengeance 2000 is Corsair’s latest headset that takes the brushed aluminum, 50mm drivers, and microfiber ear cups of the Vengeance 1500, adds some blue and white accents and then cuts the cord. In pace of the USB cord, Corsair utilizes 2.4 GHz wireless to deliver 5.1 and 7.1 virtual surround sound up to 40 feet away and with a battery life of 10 hours. The headset further features a noise canceling microphone and battery that can be recharged via micro USB cable.

V2000_left.png

From the wording of the press release, it sounds like the charging cable will only act as a power cable -- meaning it will not make the headset wired. The wireless 2.4GHz radio may be problematic for gamers living in areas with lots of 2.4GHz interference (like an apartment building with lots of WiFi devices and microwaves), and in that case the wired Vengeance 1500 would be a better choice. (We are attempting to verify the wireless only aspects and will update the article if we receive a response). Update: Corsair has clarified to us that the headset is always wireless -- the USB cable is only used for charging and firmware flashing.

Arriving with two carrying handles and an ammo box aesthetic, the Vengeance C70 is ready for the war against heat with space for up to 240mm radiators (they suggest the H100) on the top and bottom or 10 total case fans. The case further features a steel front panel, eight PCI-E slots, and two removable hard drive cages with space for three 2.5” or 3.5” drives (for a total of six hard drives). The PCI-E slots and other internals use standard Philips head screws.

C70_G_handlesUP.png

The Vengeance C70 will be available in three colors: Military Green, Arctic White, Gunmetal Black. The external of the the case features large mesh grills over the fan areas. The front of the case features a honeycomb mesh for up to two fans, three 5.25” drive bays, and -- along the top -- two large buttons for power and reset with the power being the large red button (which would be difficult to resist pressing all the time). It also houses microphone and headphone jacks, and two USB 3.0 ports. All three C70 cases have two carrying handles on the top that fold down into recessed parts of the case when not being used.

C70_all3.png

The two new Vengeance entrants will be available this summer. The C70 will be available for purchase soonest -- as early as May -- with an MSRP of $139 USD. Meanwhile, the Vengeance 2000 wireless headset has an MSRP of $149 USD and will be available in June. More information on Corsair’s entire Vengeance gaming lineup is available here.

Source: Corsair

Fancy a peek at the Diablo III beta?

Subject: General Tech | April 4, 2012 - 01:34 PM |
Tagged: gaming, diablo iii

While we cannot offer you a way to get into the beta, it is possible to show off a game play movie made by Slashdot, or two.  The release of this gaming is fast approaching with just over a month to the May 15th release date ... assuming no more delays occur.  From the video we learn that the developers have made the stats autolevel so that players do not have to worry about breaking their character with poor stat choices.  Many skills will be tied to the equipment you are wearing and so will not be a permanent choice, swapping your equipment will change your skills.  Hopefully Slashdot is right when they state the developers spent a lot of time toning down the tedium and raising the level of fun.

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"It's been almost four years since Diablo 3 was announced, and its development began years earlier. Its predecessors helped define the action RPG genre, so anticipation is high among fans of the franchise. The game has undergone closed beta testing since September, and a lot has changed since then. Now that Blizzard has settled on May 15th as a release date, we thought this would be a good time to take a look at the state of the game as it currently exists. These two videos show actual gameplay of the various classes, explain the skill and rune systems, take a look at the auction house, and go over many of the other changes since the beginning of development."

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Source: Slashdot