Mind the generation gap, last gen games on current GPUs

Subject: General Tech | June 20, 2018 - 01:47 PM |
Tagged: gaming, vega 64, 1080 ti, metro 2033, metro last light, Crysis 3, tomb raider

[H]ard|OCP recently revisited a few older games which proved more than a match for the GPUs of that time, to see if the current models can manage 1440p and 4k with all the graphical bells and whistles cranked up to 11.  Metro 2033 and Last Light featured PhysX, tessellation and depth of field options which the GPUs of 2010-13 had trouble with, Tomb Raider sported nicer hair than a bearded Geralt and Crysis 3 offers as much of a challenge as its siblings.  Can you now play these games at 4k, with full graphics settings when armed with a GTX 1080 Ti or Vega 64?  Check out the full review to see.

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"It is time once again to play some older PC games on the latest GPUs of today using the latest drivers. We pull from three 5-year-old games and one 8-year-old game today and see if we can maximize the IQ settings in those games at 1440p and 4K. The theme of the day: Older games that still hold up today in terms of IQ."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Trailer trashin'; missed an E3 trailer you wanted to see?

Subject: General Tech | June 13, 2018 - 02:34 PM |
Tagged: gaming, E3

Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN have complied all the trailers they could get their mitts on and posted them to a single, very long page.  If you missed any of the trailers or would like another peek then the chances are good you can find what you seek in that link.  They delve into details in the links added into their brief descriptions and you can also follow the links below to get even more information, such as the secret message from CD Projekt Red.

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"Not to worry though, here are all the trailers and news for you in one place. There’s a surprising amount of variety in the announced titles: from an old favourite making a return, much celebrated developers showing off their new series, to even a completely free game launching very soon. The games below aren’t in any particular order but you’re in for a long ride."

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New New Vegas; Fallout New California is almost upon us

Subject: General Tech | June 6, 2018 - 03:19 PM |
Tagged: mod, gaming, fallout: new vegas, Fallout: New California

The total conversion mod for Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout: New California will be released on October 23rd, or at least the Beta 2.0 version.  We first heard of this mod eight years ago, under the name Project Brazil and from the trailer posted at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN the development team has not been resting on their laurel.  They have managed to make the old engine look much better than it did originally, not to mention the 16,000 lines of dialogue they've recorded.  You can drop by ModDB to keep an eye on the teams progress and sign up for the pre-release beta if you so desire.

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"Originally announced in 2010 as Project Brazil, Fallout: New California is effectively a whole new Fallout game built on top of the New Vegas engine by modding crew Radian-Helix Media, and it’s due for release on October 23rd."

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Rivet Networks Introduces Killer Wireless xTend Technology

Subject: General Tech | June 6, 2018 - 11:55 AM |
Tagged: wireless, wi-fi, rivet, networking, mesh network, Killer xTend, Killer Networking, killer, gaming

Killer Wireless has introduced Killer xTend Technology, which is a unique solution that promises to help improve home network coverage without having to add network hardware. How is this accomplished? In a nutshell, Killer xTend can let you turn your gaming PC - or even a gaming laptop - into a wireless extender, and do so without penalty thanks to Killer's network prioritization.

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"Killer Wireless xTend introduces powerful MESH network capabilities into computers by leveraging the Killer Wireless-AC 1550 WiFi module to seamlessly clone and extend the home network. This allows Killer-enabled computers to expand the range of the home network and to give network access to nearby wireless devices. The Killer Wireless-AC 1550 Wi-Fi delivers fast and smooth gaming and entertainment experiences on PCs by prioritizing important Killer traffic such as games, voice, and video above other connected device traffic."

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You may be familiar with Killer xTend, announced at last year's Computex, but the new Wireless xTend takes a different approach. The Killer Wireless-AC 1550 Wi-Fi card is a key component, and the xTend functionality is provided as a value-add, controllable via the Killer Control Center software. What this boils down to is that purchasing a system with this latest Killer Wireless card also provides the ability to extend the range of your home network without any additional cost. Announced partners include Acer, Clevo, Dell, MSI, and Zotac.

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"Killer Wireless xTend is fully integrated into the Killer Control Center. All it takes is a simple click of the button for Killer Wireless xTend to clone and extend the network it is connected to. Nearby devices will automatically connect to Killer Wireless xTend when it provides a stronger signal than the other access points. Users can choose the uplink back to the broadband network – it can be done over wireless or if the computer is using Killer DoubleShot Pro then Killer can deliver the connected devices’ traffic over ethernet."

Full PR after the break.

Computex 2018: ASUS Unleashes ROG Phone for Serious Mobile Gamers

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | June 5, 2018 - 01:02 PM |
Tagged: asus, ASUS ROG, gaming, mobile gaming, game streaming, Gigabit LTE, computex 2018, computex

In addition to the usual Republic of Gamers branded gear, ASUS unveiled the new ROG Phone at Computex which is a high-end Android device aimed at gamers that extends the ROG brand to mobile devices. The new ROG Phone packs a ton of hardware into a six-inch smartphone that can double as a portable gaming machine and is complete with the requisite aggressive ROG aesthetics especially around back where, yes, there is even configurable RGB.

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ASUS’ new smartphone measures 158.8mm x 76.2mm x 8.6mm (6.25”x3”x0.34”) and weighs in at 200g (0.44 lbs). The device is black with white accents drawing aggressive angles on back along with vents for cooling and both Republic of Gamers branding and a configurable RGB ROG logo. The front of the phone looks fairly standard with a large 6” 18:9 AMOLED display taking up most of the front face and surrounded by dual front facing SmartAmp speakers that can reportedly get quite loud according to the various hands on videos online. The display has a resolution of 2160 x 1080, a refresh rate of 90 Hz, a 1ms response time, 10,000:1 contrast ratio, and is rated at 108.6% of the DCI-P3 color space. A dedicated image processing chip handles HDR support and the ability of the display to boost the local contrast of certain areas of the display.

As for cameras, there is an 8MP camera in front and dual cameras around back with a main 12MP camera and a 8MP 120-degree wide angle camera.

One interesting thing as far as I/O is that the phone has two USB-C ports with one in the usual spot on the bottom edge and one on the left edge to make using it in landscape mode easier. The included AeroActive cooler can plug into this port and blow air onto the back of the phone to help cool it and your fingertips while also breaking the USB-C port out into a USB-C and 3.5mm headphone jack. As far as audio, ASUS’ ROG Phone supports Dolby DTS Headphone 7.1 virtual surround sound and Qualcomm aptX for wired and Bluetooth headphones respectively.

Asus has also placed ultrasonic buttons around the edges with two on the left edge corners and one on the bottom right edge that can be used as triggers while in landscape mode for gaming or to do usual Android stuff like taking photos or launching an app.

As far as internal specifications, Asus managed to work out a deal with Qualcomm for binned Snapdragon 845 chips that can run all eight Kryo 385 CPU cores at 2.96 GHz (+160 MHz over stock). The Snapdragon 845 processor also contains the Adreno 630 GPU, Hexagon 685 DSP, Spectra 280 ISP, Qualcomm SPU, Aqstic audio, Snapdragon X20 LTE modem, and 802.11ad Wi-Fi. The chip also supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 4 though I’m not sure which level Asus has enabled as Asus is calling it HyperCharge (up to 20W with the charging IC in the adapter to reduce phone temps). The SD845 is paired with 8GB of LPDDR4X memory and either 128GB or 512GB of UFS 2.1 internal storage. The ROG Phone is powered by a 4,000 mAh battery that can be charged to 60% in 33 minutes or 85% in an hour with the included charger. The USB-C ports reportedly only support USB 2.0, however so no USB 3 speeds when transferring files – I suppose Asus needs to at least try to keep the pricing in check! Wireless I/O includes 802.11ad 60GHz Wi-Fi, 802.11ac 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz 2x2 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, and Gigabit LTE.

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ASUS is using a copper heat spreader as well as a 3D vapor chamber to keep the phone cool while gaming and to keep the Snapdragon 845’s CPU and GPU clocked as high as possible for as long as possible. For the serious mobile gamer wanting to keep the frame rates up there is also the clip on AeroActive cooler or “enhanced cooling” in the TwinView dock.

Speaking of docks, ASUS wants gamers to be able to get serious with the ROG Phone by plugging it into docks that will be sold separately. The TwinView dock adds a second display (that is reportedly identical to the AMOLED on the phone itself), physical trigger buttons, and a 6,000 mAh battery while the Mobile Desktop Dock turns the ROG Phone into a portable computer by allowing you to hook it up to a 4K display, keyboard and mouse, Gigabit Ethernet, 5.1 channel speakers, and other USB peripherals. For those wanting to game on the big screen to share games with friends there is also a WiGig dock and compatibility with the third-party Game Vice controller that turns the ROG Phone into something resembling the Nintendo Switch with joystick and physical buttons on either side.

The ROG Phone is packed with enough hardware to make it competitive with other high-end smartphones as well as the other gaming-focused phone offerings from Razer, Xiaomi, and other entrants to this market. At launch Asus has the docks and accessories down, but pricing is going to be a major concern as the phone itself is not going to be cheap and after adding the docks it might be equivalent to a budget DIY PC build (well before the GPU and RAM price spikes I guess)! On the other hand, it would be a powerful mobile device for running emulators and Fortnite and PUBG are on mobile now (heh) so maybe there is a market serious enough about mobile gaming willing to pay a premium for the ROG Phone.

What do you think? Will you be picking up the ROG Phone?

If you are curious Hardware Canucks and Austin Evans were able to get some hands-on time with the phone and some of the accessories in Taipei, Taiwan.

The ROG Phone is slated for release later this summer with specific pricing not yet available.

Source: Asus

Cutting the cord; painless or not? Corsair's HS70 7.1 headset

Subject: General Tech | June 1, 2018 - 02:20 PM |
Tagged: wireless, stereo, review, music, HS70, headset, gaming, corsair, audio, 7.1 channel

In case you missed the launch this week, Corsair have released a new set of wireless headphones, the $100 HS70.  Sebastian has already offered his impressions of this headset, slapping an Editor's Choice sticker on them but audio quality is quite subjective and you might not have the same ears.  The Tech Report and others also tested these cans out, finding them as good as the less expensive HS50s without the need for wires, which was both good and bad in their eyes.  Check out their review and recommendations here.

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"Corsair's HS70 wireless headset starts with a proven wallet-friendly design and removes the potential annoyance of having to plug in a permanent cord when it's time to game. We jammed out with these cans to see whether that improvement alone justifies the HS70's higher price tag."

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Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction and Specifications

Corsair’s HS70 gaming headset offers 2.4 GHz wireless operation, the option of 7.1 channel virtual surround effects, 50 mm neodymium drivers, and an impressively light weight. The big questions going into this review, as with all gaming headsets: how do they sound, how comfortable are they, and are they worth the price tag. Let’s find out!

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While you will quickly discover that the majority of this review concerns sound quality, it’s worth first noting the attention Corsair has made with the build quality of the HS70. As the company explains:

“Like all other CORSAIR products, carefully selected materials and components ensure long term reliability. Unlike many competitors that resort to low grade plastic components in critical structural support areas to reduce cost, HS70 WIRELESS uses rigid (AL5052) aluminum alloy yokes and a metal internal headband for increased strength and durability. High quality ABS plastics are used to further reinforce the outer headband and improve impact resistance. We built this headset to last.”

Comfort has also been considered with lightweight construction (330g or about 11.6 oz) as well as memory foam padding in the ear cushions and headband. Clamping force, heat and moisture resistance, and weight distribution have all be considered in this design, according to Corsair, and it all looks really impressive on paper. Now we just need to take it out of the box!

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Continue reading our review of the Corsair HS70 Wireless gaming headset!

It's not Fallout meets Interstate 76 so ignore it and take a look at the Fallout 4 mod, Cascadia

Subject: General Tech | May 30, 2018 - 01:48 PM |
Tagged: fallout 4, cascadia, mod, gaming

As the trailer contained about as much information as the test pattern tweet, let's take a look at something Fallout which comes with a bit more information.  Fallout: Cascadia is a work in progress by a team of experienced modders which brings the Pacific coast into the world of Fallout, offering a very different landscape than we are used to.  They have been working on it for quite a while now and from the trailers Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN posted they have been making serious progress.  There is also a link to an interview with one of the developers if this peaks your interest.

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"Whatever happens to Cascadia though, the current trailers and screenshots do a beautiful job of showing what a different sort of Fallout could look like. “In all of this greenery, the fate of the world still shines through, a skeleton in the dirt with roots climbing over it, the graffiti of the dying peering through some vines,” said Dr. Weird about the Cascadia’s post-apocalyptic Pacific Northwest."

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A peice of your Stellaris galaxy physcially quarantined? Of course it is a good idea to open it up and explore!

Subject: General Tech | May 23, 2018 - 02:23 PM |
Tagged: stellaris, gaming, distant horizons

The newest update to Stellaris has arrived, with the Niven update available for everyone and the Distant Horizons story pack available for ~$10.  The update to the base game offers some major changes to anomalies, with failure no longer an option but instead the scientist having to keep researching until they finally figure it out.  You will also see binary and trinary star systems while roaming your galaxy, which has become more mysterious as hyperlanes are not revealed until you visit a system.

The new story pack allows you to create or repair special gates, which lead to a part of the galaxy which is otherwise unreachable.  Obviously whomever locked these systems out had no idea what they were doing and you should absolutely reconnect them to the rest of the galaxy; what could possibly go wrong?  Drop by Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN for a look at the release trailer and more details on the newest update to Stellaris.

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"As is often the way with Paradox strategy game expansions, it’s accompanied by a free update which reworks parts of the base game. Expect new binary and trinary star systems, anomaly studies no longer having a chance to fail, and other tweakies."

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Making the XBox X-cessible for everyone

Subject: General Tech | May 17, 2018 - 02:48 PM |
Tagged: gaming, microsoft, xbox, accesibility, Adaptive Controller

The front of the Adaptive Controller looks rather plain and hides the ability this controller has to change some peoples worlds.  The back of the controller hides the magic, 19 3.5mm jacks, which can be used to accept input from a gamut of controller designed for those with limited mobility.  The devices include everything from breath inputs, finger switches and foot pedals, just to name a few, allowing those aids to be used to control the XBox and allow those who have been unable to play their favourite games a chance to enjoy them once again.  As Ars Technica points out, many companies have talked about making gaming more accessible but this is the first actual product to do so. 

If you now anyone who would benefit from this, or someone involved in projects like our occasional guest David Hewlett's UpgradeRequired.org you should check this out. 

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"Rather, these ports see Microsoft connecting with, and loudly celebrating, what has long been an open secret in the world of gaming peripherals: the community of add-on devices designed for limited-mobility gamers."

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Source: Ars Technica