Introduction, Design, User Interface
Gaming. Laptop. Portable. These may well be the three most contradictory words in the PC industry. It’s been possible to game on laptops for years, but making a high-quality gaming experience portable is a goal rarely achieved.
Alienware made a stab at resolving the contradiction in 2010 when it released the M11x, but the result was questionable. No one can argue that the M11x isn’t portable, but its gaming performance is no better than a 15.6” laptop with mid-range discrete graphics. There simply isn’t enough room in the chassis to cool a larger, more powerful GPU. Worse, the M11x is simply too small for most people to use every day.
Enter the Alienware M14x. The larger display size of this laptop makes it possible to equip a more powerful GPU as well as a full-power Core i5 processor rather than a low-voltage model. Let’s look at the full specifications.
We can already see that the M14x will easily outperform its smaller cousin. The better hardware increases price as well as size, however – the base is $1099 and our review unit, featuring upgrades like a quad-core processor and 1600x900 resolution, rings in at $1274.
Subject: Mobile | February 28, 2012 - 03:43 PM | Matt Smith
Tagged: tegra 3, tablet, nvidia, MWC, mobile world congress, gaming
Nvidia has always been happy to show off the gaming capabilities of Tegra 2 and Tegra 3. No surprise there – the company’s roots are in PC graphics, which goes hand-in-hand with PC games. When we reviewed the Transformer Prime there were several beautiful pre-installed games, such as Shadowgun, that showed off the hardware. Now Nvidia has come up with not one but five more new titles to brag about at Mobile World Congress – including a new Sonic the Hedgehog game.
Let’s have a look at them.
Dark Kingdom THD
This is a role-playing game built in the vein of games like Diablo and Torchlight. The visuals are impressive and a game like this should control well on a tablet, so this could prove to be an excellent title. I do wish the graphics offered more variety, however – they look a bit dark and dreary to me.
Eden to GREEEEN THD
Hey, are you tired of tower defense games yet? I hope not, because that’s what Eden to GREEEEN is, albeit it one that has somewhat less restrictive mechanics than most titles in the genre. Of the games that Nvidia showed at Mobile World Congress this is easily the least attractive, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be fun to play.
Golden Arrow THD
This is a hack-and-slash title that apparently will be including a lot of lens flare and explosions. I’m not sure that sounds appealing, but if you’re into that sort of thing, go for it. There’s no video available for this title right now, so we don’t have a lot to go on.
Hamilton’s Great Adventure THD
This game, which is already available on other platforms (you can even pick it up on Steam), is a puzzle game that asks players to navigate hazardous terrain on their quest to collect treasure and do over adventure-y things. The versions of this game that have come out for other platforms have received a fair amount of praise, so Nvidia is wise to be bragging about adding this to its stable.
Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode II
Nvidia has been bragging about Tegra 3’s console-quality graphics, so why not poach one of console gaming’s most popular franchises? Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode II looks to be a straight port of the version that will be available on game consoles, which means platforming at light speed with excellent 3D graphics. I sincerely hope that the controls are solid, because if so, this could be one of the best games on any tablet.
Availability for the titles shown by Nvidia is generally vague, but can be summed up as vaguely “spring.” The Sonic game, for example, will be coming out for Xbox 360 on May 16, so the tablet version will probably release sometime close to that date.
Subject: General Tech | February 22, 2012 - 05:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, serious sam 3 bfe
If you are a fan of old style shooters which involve nothing more complicated than killing everything that moves then you will probably enjoy this post over at The Tech Report. It covers the new Serious Sam 3:BFE and all of its explosive joys. One of the more attractive new features is the expanded co-op mode with up to 16 people able to coordinate their firepower against hordes of beasties. Check out the 'big, stupid fun' and see if this is the game you need to help you blow off steam.
"In his latest blog post, TR's Geoff Gasior gets sucked into Serious Sam 3: BFE, a retro shooter that puts a coat of fresh paint on a franchise famous for over-the-top FPS combat."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Gotham City Imposters (PC) Game Review @ HardwareHeaven
- HTML 5 Gaming: Classic and Modern Titles You Can Play for Free Today @ TechSpot
- Guild Wars 2 Opens Beta Sign-Ups For 48 Hours @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Swoop In The Tribes: Ascend Beta This Friday @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- The Vita game guide: impressions of 14 launch titles @ Ars Technica
- I play LoL; What should I know about Dota 2? @ LanOC Reviews
- Super Meat Boy Review @ eTeknix
- Gotham City Imposters Game @ HardwareHeaven
- Asura's Wrath (XBOX 360) Game Review @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: General Tech | February 16, 2012 - 02:08 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: PC, mass effect 3, gaming, game, ea, bf3, battlefield 3
Update: Apparently EA has decided to pull the deal because it was too good of an idea :(.
The final installment in the Mass Effect trilogy is almost upon us, and for those itching to get a taste of Mass Effect 3 can now go and download the Mass Effect 3 demo for the PC via EA's Origin service. The demo delivers about an hour (they claim two hours, but I finished it in about an hour and I was purposefully taking it slow to take in the scenery and such) of Shephard battling against a (spoilers ahead) Reaper invasion.
Personally, from playing the demo I'm not convinced that it is going to live up to the hype, and it seems to be rather "dumbed down" compared to the first one. With that said, it was not terrible and I will likely pick it up if only to finish out the story. The story itself hits hard in the demo and I am excited for that aspect of the Mass Effect sequel, for example. If you have not already done so, check out the demo that's out now.
Anyway, if you do enjoy the demo and are getting pumped for the release this March, EA is currently running a rather good deal on Origin for those willing to Pre-Order Mass Effect 3 from the Origin store. According to EA, users who place a pre-order for Mass Effect 3 through the Origin store for any platform (including digital download, boxed PC copy, Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3) before March 5, 2012 will receive a free digital PC edition of Battlefield 3 for free. The codes for BF3 will be emailed to customers when they become available.
As always, there are some caveats:
- The offer is only valid for those in US and Canada.
- You must pre-order through Origin and cannot be combined with any other discounts.
- You are not eligible for the free copy if you already own Battlefield 3 on Origin.
- The Battlefield 3 codes will be emailed no later than March 8, 2012.
That last one is a big one (for me anyway). Considering Battlefield 3 is already released, why can't those that pre-order ME3 get instant access to it? I was all for the deal at first as I have not yet purchased BF3 and if I could get it for free by pre-ordering a game I was likely to buy anyway it sounded like a sweet deal. Unfortunately, not being able to jump into BF3 to hold me over until Mass Effect 3 launched makes it less awesome. After all, once Mass Effect 3 releases, I'm not going to want to play Battlefield 3 anymore! Considering Battlefield 3 will likely still be approximately $60 on Origin in a few months, getting it free is still a good deal, but it's less of a impulse purchase knowing I might not get the Battlefield 3 code until after I have Mass Effect 3 downloaded.
It's there if you want it though, so go download the Mass Effect 3 demo and let us know what you think of it!
Subject: General Tech | February 15, 2012 - 03:22 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, far cry, far cry 3, ubisoft
If you follow the information from the just released official trailer of Far Cry 3 then the date you await is the 7th of September. The leaked trailer which arrived 5 hours ago stated a date of the 6th, which was almost the only difference between the two releases. Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN has both the trailers if you want to take a peek.
"This is the ‘official’ version of the Far Cry 3 trailer, which is almost exactly the same as the one that leaked earlier on today. I actually felt bad about linking to that one, but we’re all about disclosure here at RPS: whether you’re Ubisoft or John Walker, we’ll get to the heart of the story, no matter what. So, tell us Ubisoft: why did the leaked trailer have a Sept 6 release date when this one says Sept the 7th?"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Bastion PC Review @ eTeknix
- Skyrim High Resolution Texture Pack Comparison @ NGOHQ
- Unreal Engine 4 will "shock" gamers, says Epic @ HEXUS
- STOMP! STOMP! STOMP! MechWarrior Tactics Sign-Ups @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- A new standard in design: in-depth with the PlayStation Vita @ Ars Technica
- Console Gaming - What to expect in 2012 @ eTeknix
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 Xbox 360 @ Tweaktown
- UFC Undisputed 3 (XBOX 360) Review @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: General Tech | February 8, 2012 - 02:50 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, skyrim, elder scrolls, mod
High Definition Textures have arrived for Skyrim via Steam. The download is just over 3GB and contains .BSP files which is the file type Bethesda in general and Skyrim in particular store their textures. This is rather handy as two mods which already add high definition textures do so via a new folder called Textures under your Skyrim folder. This means that the mods do not interfere with the official HD download as far as crashing the game, however more investigation is needed to discover how the mods interact as far as texture rendering priorities as well as determining which gives you the best looking textures.
Just download it via Steam and ensure that you enable it via the Data Files option on your Skyrim launcher. While you are clicking on that download you might notice a link to something called Steam Workshop. This leads you to a section of Steam where you can download mods for Skyrim via Steam which can be applied to your game though it does not necessarily replace Nexus Mod Manager. When you have clicked on the mod then the next time you launch Skyrim it will run a check and synchronize your game and the mod. The mods can be enabled and disabled just like the HD textures via the Data Files portion of your Skyrim launcher.
The addition of official HD textures and supported mods is a brilliant move by Bethesda and Steam and the PC gaming community wholeheartedly thanks them for this wonderful addition to the game. Many PC users initial experience with Skyrim was not positive, especially those using AMD graphics cards. The patches to Skyrim and AMD's drivers have finally fixed most performance issues users experienced and with the addition of PC specific improvements and mods Bethesda may have gone a long way to wooing back those users who were initially unimpressed with the game.
Along with these additions does come a plea to Steam. You may notice negative comments underneath the mods which you choose, such as "It should say "Stolen by: Manic Zombie" The uploader gave no credit to the author of this.". This is very unfortunate for the brilliant mind that decided to model mudcrabs with a monocle and top hat as the number of users of this mod will soar but the modder themselves are doomed to obscurity. It could be that Manic Zombie was indeed the original modder as the Japanese site links to a download on Skyrim Nexus that he posted. If Steam is going to offer mods the modding community would greatly appreciate it if Steam researched the mod to ensure that the submitter is indeed the actual source of the mod or at least has the modders permissions. The "Report" button is a great start but in order to help attract game modders to Steam, reassurance that they will get recognition for their mods would go a long way to bringing even more modders into the fold.
"The long-awaited Skyrim Creation Kit is out, and it’s come with the rumoured High-Resolution Texture Pack all the kids wanted! The game’s also 33% off on Steam in the US and UK at the moment, if this is what you were waiting for."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Unstoppable Gorg Review - The Aliens Are Coming! @ Techgage
- Need For Speed: The Run PC Review @ eTeknix
- Paradox Hint At Three New Games, Revealed Next Month @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Microsoft Flight release date pinned down @ Hexus
- PC Gaming - What to expect in 2012 @ eTeknix
- Soul Calibur V @ HEXUS
- NFL Blitz 2012 Edition PlayStation 3 @ Tweaktown
- SOULCALIBUR V Review @ HardwareHeaven.
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 (XBOX 360) Review @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: General Tech | February 1, 2012 - 03:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: skyrim, gaming, creation kit, bethesda
Attention all modders and Elder Scrolls fans, the official Bethesda Creation Kit for Skyrim is coming down from the mountain to give a shout out to the community. It will be a free download via Steam under Tools and will not only give you the tools to mod the game but it can also replace the Nexus Mod Manager for updating and enabling or disabling mods. From the description of the Creation Kit those familiar with previous versions from Elder Scrolls games and Fallout 3 will be familiar with the interface. If you want to see a video of this tool in action head to Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN and feast your eyes on the newest drain on your free time.
"Bethesda is soon to release the Creation Kit for Skyrim, that’ll allow official modding to begin, along with some really powerful-looking tools. It will also plug directly into the Steam Workshop, which will make adding user-created mods to your game over 39024% easier. You can see a video giving an overview of those features below."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Know Your Enemy: Firaxis On XCOM, Part 1 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Star Wars: The Old Republic @ Tweaktown
- An Hour With… King Arthur II @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Most Anticipated PC Games of 2012 @ Techspot
- Syndicate Video Preview @ IGN
- FIFA 12 (PS3) Review @ HardwareHeaven
Subject: General Tech | January 31, 2012 - 04:42 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: xbox next, xbox 720, xbox, gaming, 2012
The Internet has seen quite a few Xbox Next / Xbox 720 (or whatever it will end up being called) rumors over the past few months, and many gamers were likely hoping for the next generation console refresh to come in time for a holiday launch. According to Microsoft Marketing Director Cedrick Delmax; however, this is just not going to happen. Tom's Hardware quoted, from an interview with LePoint.Fr, Delmax in further stating that the "Xbox 360's cycle is not at all finished." He further tried to prove his point by saying that the Xbox 360 is not dead yet because the company did not see a need to cut the price of the current console this year. When pushed with questions about the console's competition in the Wii U (launching this Christmas season) and the eventual successor to Sony's PS3, the Microsoft spokesperson said that they would not be making any "hasty moves" and the next Xbox would come in its own time. More information including a statement from sony can be found in this separate Lepoint.fr interview.
Sticking around until at least 2013!
Well, it looks like Microsoft is really riding this horse (the Xbox 360) until it dies. Hopefully they know what they are doing and the next Xbox rises from the ashes like a Pheonix instead of crumbling because they waited too long to enter the next generation. Game developers are already starting to hit a wall in how far they can push the current consoles and will start to turn to the PC (finally) to show off their graphics prowess. What are your thoughts on this, are you satisfied with your Xbox 360, especially when compared to the graphics on current PCs (for example, Battlefield 3)?
Subject: General Tech | January 26, 2012 - 01:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: quickfire rapid, mechanical keyboard, input, gaming, cooler master
If you prefer keyboards with built in fans, sirens, LEDs and a key count somewhere north of 200 then you might as well skip this review. Cooler Master not only eschews extra function keys on the QuickFire Rapid gaming keyboard, they've also dropped the numpad. The keyboard features CHERRY MX blue switches which are intended more for typists, with the red and black varieties more for usage by gamers. Sporting a quick response time in USB mode and true n-key rollover in PS/2 mode, you won't find yourself dying because the game didn't register a keystroke. If you are interested in a mechanical gaming keyboard and don't mind paying $80 then check out the review at Techgage. If you want to shop around then check Scott's reivews on out front page.
"CM's QuickFire Rapid gaming keyboard is unlike any other. It's not flashy, it doesn't have a bunch of bright LEDs, it has no macro support and... it has no numpad. So what is it that sets it apart? Its sturdy design and use of CHERRY MX blue mechanical key switches. Let's see if those features make up for what's lacking."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Corsair Vengeance K90 @ OC3D
- Capsule Review: Rosewill's RK-9000 Mechanical Keyboard @ AnandTech
- Corsair Vengeance K90 MMO Gaming Keyboard @ Kitguru
- Enermax Briskie Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo Review @ HardwareHeaven
- QPAD MK-Series Mechanical Keyboards (85, 80 and 50) @ Metku.net
- Epic Gear Hybrid Pad Mouse mat @ techPowerUp
- Tt eSPORTS THERON Gaming Mouse Review @ Real World Labs
- SPEEDLINK STRIKE FX-6 PS3 Bluetooth Controller Review @ Madshrimps
- Fractal Design Define XL USB 3.0 Upgrade Kit @ Hi Tech Legion
- Warpia Easy Dock Pro - Wireless USB Docking Station Review @ MissingRemote
Subject: General Tech | January 26, 2012 - 01:34 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: xbox 720, xbox, rumors, radeon hd 6670, next box, microsoft, gpu, gaming, console, amd
Microsoft's Xbox 360 is coming up on seven years old, and the company has sold more than 66 million units. Naturally, as graphics techniques and software has advanced, the aging hardware is starting to hold back game developers from implementing higher detail settings and larger maps with more players. Both developers and gamers are clamoring for the next Xbox to be released so that they can advance to the next stage of gaming. PCs are way ahead in the graphics quality race as the hardware has greatly advanced in the interim, and console gamers and game developers are starting to take notice and want for the features. Bring on the Next Box (or Xbox 720 or whatever it will eventually be called). With updated hardware, it should give console gamers some new (to them) shiny graphics to look at and smoother frame rates at the same quality settings we have now.
According to IGN, sources have confirmed that the next generation gaming console will have six times the processing power of the current generation Xbox 360. This increase in processing power is due in part to the updated graphics card that is akin to the AMD Radeon HD 6670 GPU, which while only a budget/HTPC card on the PC side of things, is a nice step up from the Xbox 360's ATI Xenos graphics chip.
The card will support 1080p, DirectX11, multiple display outputs, and 3D. Unfortunately, pricing for the upcoming gaming system was not revealed nor were any other details about the specific underlying hardware. If you are in the mood for more speculation on what might be inside the next Xbox, Tech Radar has compiled a list of the various gossip around the net about the console.