Star Wars Humble Bundle III; better than the movie!

Subject: General Tech | February 7, 2017 - 03:01 PM |
Tagged: gaming, Star Wars, humble bundle

Do like Star Wars games, PCPer and Unicef?  If so there is a Humble Bundle perfect for you running for the next two weeks.  Depending on how much you pay you can get up to 15 games and an X-Wing verus TIE Fighter t-shirt, with a percentage of your purchase helping us to continue to provide the content you love.  There is some overlap with previous bundles you may have picked up but for those of you missing KOTOR 1 or 2, The Force Unleashed 1 or 2, Shadows of the Empire or even the second Star Wars Battlefront game it is well worth the cost.

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How can you resist that t-shirt?

 

Sony Will Add USB Hard Drive Support To PS4 and Boost Mode to PS4 Pro

Subject: General Tech | February 4, 2017 - 02:25 AM |
Tagged: usb 3.0, sony, ps4 pro, ps4, gaming, console

Sony is taking the wraps off of its latest firmware with the release of version 4.50 “Sasuke” beta firmware for the PS4. With the new firmware, Sony is rolling out a number of UI/UX improvement and users will finally be able to use external storage with the game console. On the PS4 Pro front, Sony will be adding a “boost mode” in a future update (it may not be ready in time for a production 4.50 release) that lets legacy games access the additional GPU horsepower of the Pro version of the console to smooth out frame rates without needing any special patches from the game developers.

Sony PS4 Pro.jpg

The new firmware adds support for USB 3.0 hard drives (or SSDs) up to 8TB. Users will be able to use the external storage to store games, downloaded applications, screenshots, and videos and have it all show up on the main system menu along with the local storage. Users will not need to shuffle game data back and forth in order to play their games either. Note that currently, the actual save game data is still stored locally even if the game itself is stored on the external hard drive. Fans of the PlayStation VR (PS VR) also get an update with firmware 4.50 in the form of support for watching 3D Blu Rays. Beyond those big feature updates, Sony is also changing up the interface slightly. The Quick Menu now takes up less screen space and will allow gamers to create and join parties right from there rather than going to a separate app. In the notification area, Sony has condensed all the various notification types into a single unified list. Further, users will be able to set in game screenshots as the home screen wallpaper.

Perhaps most interesting is the planned “boost mode” for the PS4 Pro which is currently in beta. Gamers are reporting that titles such as The Evil Within and Just Cause 3 are significantly smoother frame rates with noticeably reduced stuttering. Reportedly, the boost mode will work with most PS4 games that were programmed with unlocked frame rates though the exact benefits will vary. Games that have a hard cap on the frame rate will still need specific patches from the game developers to get any improvements. Ars Technica speculates that the “boost mode” is simply Sony removing its own blocks it put in place to force compatibility with older games that were developed with the base PS4 in mind. When the boost mode is off, the PS4 Pro GPU has part of itself turned off such that it functions exactly as the PS4’s GPU and activating boost mode takes away the blocks and allows the full GPU (with it's 36 CUs) to process the game data as best it can. Getting things like native higher resolutions or more detailed textures will still require patches, of course.

If you have a PS4 or PS4 Pro, keep an eye on the beta Sasuke 4.50 firmware.

Also read:

Source: Ars Technica

You load 58GB and what do you get? A prettier settlement Garvey says is facing a threat

Subject: General Tech | February 1, 2017 - 01:50 PM |
Tagged: gaming, fallout 4

Arriving soon on Steam for Fallout 4 owners is an texture update which is rather impressive in size.  Not only do you need the space to fit a game that will triple in size but the hardware requirements have gone up, at the least an i7-5820K, 8GB GTX 1080 or RX 490 8GB and  8GB of RAM is recommended.  You will be able to add the content on Steam and easily remove it if your box is not quite up to the task. Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN were also told next week is bringing new features to Mod content.  Follow the link for screenshots.

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"Can your box blast bonny Boston? Is your rig ready for the roof felt? Can your hog handle HD hats? Is your silicon-snorting framecrusher pumped for 60 reps of sand a second? Will your deck deck the decking? Read on for the system requirements."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

For those who like it longer and harder; XCOM 2: The Long War

Subject: General Tech | January 25, 2017 - 02:35 PM |
Tagged: gaming, xcom 2, the long war 2, Pavonis Interactive

Pavonis Interactive have come through once again for XCOM fans, with the release of the Long War 2 mod, available for download though Steam.  It adds many things other than simply length to your game, such as an infiltration stage to missions which represents the amount of groundwork done by your team before the mission.  If you can reach 100% then Advent forces will be at a disadvantage, if you do not have time to fully prepare you can expect to face stronger opposition.  If you have enough active forces, you can choose to split them between two simultaneous mission instead of having to choose one mission while ignoring the other.  If this peaks your curiosity, pop over to Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN for a deeper look into the changes this mod makes to XCOM 2.

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"From the very first mission of The Long War 2, the stakes are different. Your enlarged squad isn’t doing anything as brash as blowing up an Advent statue; instead, they’ve managed to track down an under-strength patrol and are determined to take it down."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Sapphire Releases AMD Radeon RX460 with 1024 Shaders

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 18, 2017 - 08:43 PM |
Tagged: video, unlock, shaders, shader cores, sapphire, radeon, Polaris, graphics, gpu, gaming, card, bios, amd, 1024

As reported by WCCFtech, AMD partner Sapphire has a new 1024 stream processor version of the RX460 listed on their site (Chinese language), and this product reveal of course comes after it became known that RX460 graphics cards had the potential to have their stream processor count unlocked from 896 to 1024 via BIOS update.

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Sapphire RX460 1024SP 4G D5 Ultra Platinum OC (image credit: Sapphire)

The Sapphire RX460 1024SP edition offers a full Polaris 11 core operating at 1250 MHz, and it otherwise matches the specifications of a stock RX460 graphics card. Whether this product will be available outside of China is unknown, as is the potential pricing model should it be available in the USA. A 4GB Radeon RX460 retails for $99, while the current step-up option is the RX470, which doubles up on this 1024SP RX460's shader count with 2048, with a price increase of about 70% ($169).

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AMD Polaris GCN 4.0 GPU lineup (Credit WCCFtech)

As you may note from the chart above, there is also an RX470D option between these cards that features 1792 shaders, though this option is also China-only.

Source: WCCFtech

If you haven't tried Mechwarrior: Living Legends, here is a good excuse

Subject: General Tech | January 18, 2017 - 01:20 PM |
Tagged: gaming, Mechwarrior: Living Legends, crysis wars, mod

Mechwarrior: Living Legends is a total conversion mod for Crysis Wars, which you can grab free of charge from this site, they use the Crysis Wars demo to provide the assets so you do not need to purchase the game.  It will dump you and up to 32 players on a multiplayer map with a side arm and a desperate need to get a vehicle.  The vehicles range from smaller tanks and VTOLs to a wide variety of Battlemechs.  Development had stalled somewhat until this week when it was announced that Version 0.8 is now available.  You should pop by to download and install it so you can give this game a shot; even if you end up disliking it you will get your moneys worth.

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"Almost a decade ago, a talented team started working on what was to become the favorite game for many of us. Version 0.7.1, released in 2013, was to be the final version of MechWarrior: Living Legends by Wandering Samurai Studios."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Pavonis takes a break from their Kickstarter to torment XCOM 2 fans

Subject: General Tech | January 11, 2017 - 01:51 PM |
Tagged: xcom 2, mod, long war, gaming

Fans of the Long War mod for XCOM: Enemy Unknown are in for a treat, though perhaps a rather sadistic one, as a teaser for the existence of Long War 2 just arrived.  This time the mod was announced by Firaxis as opposed to the mod team, though Pavonis have updated their website with a logo for the new project.  It will be interesting to see if this means that Long War 2 will be released as a free mod or as DLC with a price tag attached.  The difference may be in the amount of time Pavonis is willing to divert away from their current project Terra Invicta.  If Firaxis does invest their own resources into developing Long War 2 it would be somewhat appropriate for them to charge some money, even if many feel this is the game they should have released in the first place.  On the other hand, if they simply want to start turning third party mods into a revenue stream for themselves; we may have the start of a problem worse than preorders and paid for day one DLC. 

Pop by Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN for a look at the first Long War and links to the recent news.

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"Pavonis have already updated their website with a Long War 2 logo and haven’t removed info about their to-be-Kickstarted standalone game Terra Invicta. That’s an XCOM-y sort of thing, though the description suggests it’ll focus on diplomatic and political strategy rather than guns and psychics."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Razer's Triple-Screen Laptop Prototype Reportedly Stolen from CES

Subject: Displays, Systems | January 10, 2017 - 11:50 AM |
Tagged: triple-screen, theft, stolen, report, razer, Project Valerie, multi-display, laptop, igzo, gaming, CES 2017, CES, BBC, 4k, 3-screen

While Razer did not name any particular product when first publicly posting about a theft (see FaceBook screencap below) from their booth at CES, the BBC is now reporting that "the stolen prototypes" in question were indeed the Project Valerie triple-screen laptop introduced last week.

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"Two prototype models of an unusual gaming laptop with three screens have been stolen at the CES tech show in Las Vegas, according to PC maker Razer. The concept device boasts three 4K screens and is said to be the first portable laptop of its kind. Razer said the laptops had gone missing from its booth at the tech show on Sunday.

The incident was being taken 'very seriously', said chief executive Min-Liang Tan. A Razer spokesman said it was offering $25,000 (£20,600) for any 'original information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction' of those allegedly involved in the crime."

Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan initially posted news of stolen prototypes from his FaceBook page:

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One would expect that the security in place at CES, including many security cameras, should produce some more information as the investigation unfolds.

Source: BBC News

CES 2017: GIGABYTE Launches AORUS Intel Z270 Gaming Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | January 9, 2017 - 12:50 PM |
Tagged: motherboard, intel z270, gigabyte, gaming, eatx, CES 2017, CES, atx, aorus

GIGABYTE announced their new AORUS Gaming lineup of motherboards featuring Intel's new Z270 chipset, and these enthusiast boards emphasize "customization and personalization" with liquid cooling support, RGB lighting effects, and improved smart fan controls.

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There are a total of six new Z270 models in this AORUS Gaming line, and will begin with the Z270X-Gaming 9 and Z270X-Gaming 8 motherboards:

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The Gaming 9 features include:

  • Supports 7th/ 6th Generation Intel Core Processors
  • Dual Channel Non-ECC Unbuffered DDR4, 4 DIMMs
  • Intel USB 3.1 Gen 2 with USB Type-C and Type-A
  • 4-Way Graphics Support with Dual Armor and Ultra Durable Design
  • EKWB G-Frost Hybrid Water Block
  • Triple NVMe PCIe SSDs in RAID 0 Support
  • Dual NVMe PCIe Gen3 x4 U.2 Connectors
  • Dual Ultra-Fast M.2 with PCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA interface
  • Intel Optane Memory Ready
  • Creative Sound Blaster certified ZxRi 120dB+ Audio
  • Killer DoubleShot-X3 Pro for the best networking experience possible
  • USB DAC-UP 2 with Adjustable Voltage
  • RGB FUSION with Multi-Zone LED Light Show design
  • Swappable Overlay for Accent LED
  • Smart Fan 5 features Multiple Temperature Sensors and Hybrid Fan Headers
  • 2 External Thermistors Headers with 2 Included Thermistors
  • Extreme 40 Gb/s Thunderbolt 3
  • Integrated HDMI 2.0 Support
  • GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS with Q-Flash Plus USB Port
  • APP Center Including EasyTune and Cloud Station Utilities

The Gaming 9's premium audio features "a combination of Hi-Fi grade WIMA capacitors and Nichicon audio grade Fine Gold capacitors", which is about as premium as it gets!

Specs for the Gaming 8 are virtually identical to the Gaming 9's above - with a couple of notable exceptions: The Gaming 8 uses a Bitspower G-Chill Hybrid Water Block instead of the Gaming 9's EKWB option for the CPU VRMs, and it offers a different LAN configuration, with a combo comprised of 1x Intel GbE and 1x Killer E2500 NIC, rather than the Gaming 9's dual Killer E2500 NICs.

Next up are the Gaming 7, and Gaming K7 models (and no, the K7 is not an AMD board from the Socket A era, I checked):

Gaming_7_K7.jpg

The feature list for the Gaming 7 motherboard is very close to the Gaming 8 (and Gaming 9, listed above), though a few things will be lost compared to its more premium siblings, including the removal of a water block for the VRMs, missing ZxRi 120dB+ audio support, and "merely" 3x GPU support, compared to the 4-way graphics support of the Gaming 8 and 9.

Finally we have the Gaming 5 and Gaming K5, which look to be the most affordable offerings in the new lineup, though features are still very good for a gaming motherboard.

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Here's the feature list for the Gaming 5:

  • Supports 7th/ 6th Generation Intel Core Processors
  • Dual Channel Non-ECC Unbuffered DDR4, 4 DIMMs
  • Fast USB 3.1 Gen 2 with USB Type-C and Type-A
  • 3-Way Graphics Support with Dual Armor and Ultra Durable Design
  • Triple NVMe PCIe SSDs in RAID 0 Support
  • NVMe PCIe Gen3 x4 U.2 Connector
  • Dual Ultra-Fast M.2 with PCIe Gen3 x4 & SATA interface
  • Intel Optane Memory Ready
  • Sound Blaster X-Fi MB5 + ALC 1220 120dB SNR HD Audio
  • Killer E2500 Gaming Network + Intel Gigabit LAN
  • USB DAC-UP 2 with Adjustable Voltage
  • RGB FUSION LED Light Show design
  • Swappable Overlay for Accent LED
  • Smart Fan 5 features Multiple Temperature Sensors and Hybrid Fan Headers
  • Lightning-Fast Intel Thunderbolt 3 AIC Support
  • GIGABYTE UEFI DualBIOS
  • APP Center Including EasyTune and Cloud Station Utilities

The primary difference in features between the Gaming 5 and Gaming K5 is integrated LAN support, with the Gaming K5 losing the second Intel NIC and retaining the Killer E2500 as its sole onboard option.

The AORUS Gaming motherboards are available to order now, and a look at Newegg.com this afternoon shows pricing ranging from $179.99 for the Gaming K5, priced incrementally all the way up to $519.99 for the deluxe Gaming 9.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!

Source: GIGABYTE

CES 2017: Gigabyte Updates Gaming and Professional Laptop Lineup

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 8, 2017 - 09:25 PM |
Tagged: thin and light, nvidia, notebook, laptop, kaby lake, gtx 1070, gtx 1060, GTX 1050 Ti, gtx 1050, gigabyte, gaming, CES 2017, CES

Gigabyte had a full line of new laptops to show off at this year’s CES, with models ranging from larger gaming enthusiast designs to slim machines that still offer plenty of gaming power from their discrete graphics.

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We’ll start with the P56, a 15.6-inch machine with an optional 4K display, 7th-gen Intel Core i7 (Kaby Lake) processor, and GeForce GTX 1070 GPU.

“The P56 provides enthusiasts with not only ultra smooth performance but also with tools to victory. All packed in a portable quality chassis. Equipped with the next gen Intel 7th Gen Core i7 7700HQ processor and the all-powerful GeForce GTX 1070 graphics. The main core of the P56 is set to drive all the latest games, not at just 1080P but even at higher resolutions with the optional 15.6” UHD 3840x2160 display.”

The P56 is equipped with a Thunderbolt 3 port, island-style keyboard with customizable per-key RGB backlighting, and a large 91Wh battery.

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Next we have the Sabre 15, which is also powered by a new 7th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (4GB) and GTX 1050 (2GB) graphics options.

“Gamers can now fully enjoy the latest performance from the pascal architecture, with fluid gaming graphics at 1080p for most recent game titles. The keyboard plays a big role in winning or losing a game, that is why the Sabre 15 comes with optimized 2.2mm travel scissor type keys, for that extra feel and precision. To top that off, the Sabre 15 features RGB backlight keyboard with 16.8 million colors (optional).”

Rounding out the updated lineup are a trio of thin-and-light professional models that are still very capable gaming machines, beginning with the AERO 14, a 19.9mm-thick (and 4.17 lb) aluminum design which features a QHD (2560x1440) IPS screen, GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, and 94.24Wh battery.

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Finally we have the P34 and P35 laptops, which claim the title of “world’s lightest 14” GeForce GTX 1050 Ti laptop (P34) and “world’s slimmest 15.6” GeForce GTX 1070 laptop”, respectively.

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The P34 is indeed light for a gaming-ready laptop, with a weight of just 3.73 lbs. For its part the 15.6-inch P35 laptop is a very high-end option, regardless of its slim construction.

“The P35 comes in at an unbeatable 20.9mm thin and weighs just 2.3Kg. It is hard to believe that such a thin chassis has a GeForce GTX 1070 inside, outputting the same performance as the desktop GeForce GTX 1070, now on the go. GIGABYTE has swapped out the old 6th gen and opt for the latest 7th gen Core i7 processor, giving professionals multitasking capabilities like never before. The unparalleled graphical power of the GeForce GTX 1070 further drives the stunning 15.6” UHD 3840 x 2160 IPS display, professionals will definitely take advantage of such a high pixel density and high RGB accuracy display, stationed or mobile. The Swappable bay gives professionals the power to swap between Blu-ray drive or up to 2TB HDD of extra storage, providing that extra customization on the go.”

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Pricing and availability information for the new laptops is not yet available.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Gigabyte