Don't head out on a wild goose chase when buying a GPU to play Witcher 3

Subject: General Tech | August 26, 2015 - 01:52 PM |
Tagged: gaming, The Witcher 3, VLAN party, fragging frogs

[H]ard|OCP has taken the guesswork out of GPU performance on the current version of Witcher 3 in this round up featuring 10 GPUs, five from each company.  Of course only NVIDIA supports lips occluded by PhysX powered mustachios but not everyone is obsessed with perfect hair.  Indeed when it takes a $1000 video card just to enable the lowest options on HairWorks at 1440p without disabling every other feature one wonders why HairWorks had gamers tied up in knots.  Check out the full review for performance comparisons and even some HairWorks nitpicking.

This weekend also marks the 11th Fragging Frogs VLAN party, which kicks off on Saturday August 29 10:00 AM ET and will go until the last frog has been fragged.  Sign up in this thread if you haven't already and if you are new to the Fragging Frogs follow the links to the FAQ threads for information on which patches or mods you will need to apply to your games to get playing as soon as possible. 


"We take The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, using the 1.08.2 patch and latest drivers, find the highest playable settings and examine apples-to-apples performance with and without GameWorks across 10 video cards. We put a focus on NVIDIA HairWorks and how it impacts performance and find out which video cards provide the best gaming value."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Lian Li and ASUS ROG Create Mini-ITX Gaming Enclosure

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 18, 2015 - 12:26 PM |
Tagged: Lian Li, ASUS ROG, mini-itx, enclosure, case, gaming

Lian Li has announced a new mini-ITX enclosure featuring ASUS ROG branding, and this compact gaming case supports full size power supplies and larger liquid coolers, though not everything will fit inside this tiny enclosure.


There are more than a couple of similarities to the NCASE M1, that crowdfunded mini-ITX enclosure that Lian Li built for NCASE, but the PC-Q17 doesn’t support dual-width liquid coolers the same way. Part of this has to do with the side window in this new case, essential to show off your diminutive gaming rig. So where does that 240mm radiator fit?


Not everyone will like having the cooler outside of the enclosure, but it’s nice that the case offers this functionality without having to modify it should you desire this level of CPU (or in the case of an AMD Fury X, GPU) cooling. For many a smaller air cooler could suffice, and as we can see from this build photo it does look very nice housing a complete system.


As usual no pricing or availability information accompanies this announcement.

Source: TechPowerUp

The Steam Boy gets a new name and pre-order price

Subject: General Tech | August 12, 2015 - 04:06 PM |
Tagged: gaming, Steam Machine, valve, Smach Zero

The portable Steam machine previously referred to as the Steam Boy is now called the Smach Zero and you can pre-order it starting November 10th for $300.  The device will feature a 5-inch 720p touch screen powered by an AMD Steppe Eagle SoC with a Jaguar-based CPU and GCN-based Radeon graphics.  It will have 4GB of RAM onboard, 32GB of internal storage with more available vis an SD Card Slot and support for USB OTG.  HEXUS was told the device should be able to handle Half-Life 2, Civilization V, Dota 2, Tropico 5, BioShock Infinite or Cities: Skylines on its integral display or outputted via the HDMI port.  Check out more on the Smach Zero here.


"Smach Zero Steam Machine pre-order availability and pricing have both been confirmed by the device maker. Smach published a press release yesterday saying that the handheld will be available on pre-order from 10th November at a special introductory price of $299."

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Source: HEXUS

Just imagine the lineup at the spawnpoint for the Falcon, or Slave 1 for that matter

Subject: General Tech | August 5, 2015 - 02:08 PM |
Tagged: Star Wars Battlefront, gaming

Thankfully a lineup will not be the problem as you will only be able to upgrade to a hero ship by locating a specific power-up present on the map, one hopes there is some randomness to this as otherwise both teams are likely to ignore each other as they battle their teammates to get to the power-up first.  There will be two main ship types, the X-Wing and TIE Fighters which have traditionally been the dogfighters and are likely to focus on energy weaponry with limited missile capability.  The TIE Interceptor and A-Wing are traditionally faster vehicles intended for scouting or rapid assaults using the A-Wing's concussion missile or the additional laser cannons present on the Interceptor.

According to the links from Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN the rebels will be able to temporarily generate shielding while the Imps will have what is effectively a turbo boost which should vary the tactics used depending on which team you play.  Check out the trailer below for a teaser.

"Twenty players will soar through the skies shouting “Zwap! Zwap!” and making noises like a trumpeting elephant driving a car on wet pavement (true story) in Star Wars Battlefront, backed up by more AI ships, in the newly-announced Fighter Squadron mode."

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How exactly does one kickstart a Battlemech?

Subject: General Tech | July 29, 2015 - 01:46 PM |
Tagged: gaming, Mechwarrior, battletech

BattleTech is coming back baby!  Harebrained Schemes who have successfully rebooted the Shadowrun RPG system on PC and who are in the final steps of releasing the third game in that world have just announced plans to start a new Kickstarter campaign.  This time it will be a trip to the world of Battletech, the details are slim but we can expect to see both the larger view of the Battletech galaxy and the Houses that populate it as well as mech management and combat.  From what Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN were told this will be turn-based, not the FPS style of the Mechwarrior series of old.  No matter, this news is still exciting so keep your eyes peeled for more information.


"Harebrained Schemes is pleased to announce their return to Kickstarter this Fall to partner with backers in co-funding the creation of BATTLETECH. Jordan Weisman, the creator of BattleTech and MechWarrior, is back with the first turn-based BattleTech game for PC in over two decades."

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Bringing the Elder to Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, more Skyblivion progress

Subject: General Tech | July 22, 2015 - 02:28 PM |
Tagged: gaming, elder scrolls, skywind, skyblivion

While Morrowind is obviously superior to Oblivion there are those who would rather explore Cyrodiil in the middle of Tamriel.  Either way, it will be more pleasant to explore your old hunting grounds with the improvements to the engine made in Skyrim.  Not only are we now waiting on the brilliant modders behind Skywind to wrap up now the same group are also getting tantalizingly close to wrapping up Skyblivion.  If you don't have both games in your Steam inventory yet you should keep an eye out for deals.  There is a second trailer you can watch over at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN.

"Recent videos show many, many minutes of progress on Skyblivion, trotting around the province of Cyrodiil, leaping into Oblivion gates, and pottering about the Shivering Isles. It looks a lot like Oblivion but in Skyrim, which is sort of the goal of the whole thing. Skyblivion!"

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Total War offers you the Catbird seat, Warhammer style

Subject: General Tech | July 15, 2015 - 03:28 PM |
Tagged: warhammer fantasy, waauuugh, total war, gaming

It looks like Total War:Warhammer will be teasing us with animations of some of the units we will see in the new game, starting with the Demigryph a smaller and ride-able version of that worlds Griffons, which you do not want to annoy.  You can expect a number of trailers as the game gets closer to release; this Friday you can expect to see another video showing the Demigryph in game.  The Empire does certainly have some nice troops which will be fun to learn about but like Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN it is the greenskin troop movies I am looking forward to seeing.


"There’s a more pressing matter though. Did Games Workshop tell Creative Assembly that the Warhammer Fantasy world would be dead before Total War: Warhammer was released? It seems unlikely that the game has been planned as a eulogy of sorts but that would be a beautiful thing."

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If you like turn based hex map combat keep an eye on Chaos Reborn

Subject: General Tech | July 8, 2015 - 02:53 PM |
Tagged: linux, gaming, early access, chaos reborn

Julian Gollop was involved in the original X-COM and recently completed a successful Kickstarter for Chaos Reborn, a single and multiplayer turn-based games of wizards warring for supremacy.  It is now available for both Windows and Linux on Steam Early access and you can visit the official site of you are interested in picking up extras on top of the game itself.  One of the more interesting features is the in game gold, which is earned while playing single player but is spent on upgrades for multiplayer and is not available for purchase outside of the game.  There will be no pay to win, instead it is a play to win model that those familiar with multiplayer FPS games such as Battlefield are familiar with.  If that style of game holds any attraction to you and you loved X-COM then head to Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN for a look.


"What the singleplayer ‘Realms’ mode does, at least in this earliest, unfinished incarnation, is both encourage you to experiment with different gear in order to gain an edge over tougher or specialised enemy, and give you a way to get hold of new gear without having to repeatedly brave (or beat) multiplayer opponents."

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Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Logitech

Logitech Focuses in on Gaming

Logitech has been around seemingly forever.  The Swiss based company is ubiquitous in the peripherals market, providing products ranging from keyboards and mice, to speakers and headsets.  There is not much that the company does not offer when it comes to PC peripherals.  Their 3 button mice back in the day were considered cutting edge that also happened to be semi-programmable.  Since that time we have seen them go from ball mice, to optical mice, to the latest laser based products that offer a tremendous amount of precision.


Gaming has become one of the bigger movers for Logitech, and they have revamped their entire lineup as well as added a few new products to hopefully cash in on the popularity of modern gaming.  To further address this market Logitech has designed and marketed a new batch of gaming headsets.  These promise to be moderately priced, but high quality products that bear the Logitech name.  We go from the very basic up to the top 7.1 wireless products.  Originally these covered a pretty significant price range, but lately the discounts have been extremely deep.  The lowest end gaming headset is at $40US while the 7.1 wireless model comes in around $90 US. 

I am looking at two models today that span the lowest end to the 2nd highest.  The first headset is the G230 analog set.  The second is the G35 wired 7.1 USB with Dolby Headphone technology.  I have never been a fan of wireless headphones, but the G35 should be a fairly good approximation of the performance of that part.


My goal is to look at these two wired units and see what Logitech can offer at these two very affordable price points.

Click here to read the entire Logitech G230 and G35 review!

Subject: Systems
Manufacturer: PC Perspective
Tagged: quad-core, gpu, gaming, cpu

Introduction and Test Hardware


The PC gaming world has become divided by two distinct types of games: those that were designed and programmed specifically for the PC, and console ports. Unfortunately for PC gamers it seems that far too many titles are simply ported over (or at least optimized for consoles first) these days, and while PC users can usually enjoy higher detail levels and unlocked frame rates there is now the issue of processor core-count to consider. This may seem artificial, but in recent months quite a few games have been released that require at least a quad-core CPU to even run (without modifying the game).

One possible explanation for this is current console hardware: PS4 and Xbox One systems are based on multi-core AMD APUs (the 8-core AMD "Jaguar"). While a quad-core (or higher) processor might not be techincally required to run current games on PCs, the fact that these exist on consoles might help to explain quad-core CPU as a minimum spec. This trend could simply be the result of current x86 console hardware, as developement of console versions of games is often prioritized (and porting has become common for development of PC versions of games). So it is that popular dual-core processors like the $69 Intel Pentium Anniversary Edition (G3258) are suddenly less viable for a future-proofed gaming build. While hacking these games might make dual-core CPUs work, and might be the only way to get such a game to even load as the CPU is checked at launch, this is obviously far from ideal.


Is this much CPU really necessary?

Rather than rail against this quad-core trend and question its necessity, I decided instead to see just how much of a difference the processor alone might make with some game benchmarks. This quickly escalated into more and more system configurations as I accumulated parts, eventually arriving at 36 different configurations at various price points. Yeah, I said 36. (Remember that Budget Gaming Shootout article from last year? It's bigger than that!) Some of the charts that follow are really long (you've been warned), and there’s a lot of information to parse here. I wanted this to be as fair as possible, so there is a theme to the component selection. I started with three processors each (low, mid, and high price) from AMD and Intel, and then three graphics cards (again, low, mid, and high price) from AMD and NVIDIA.

Here’s the component rundown with current pricing*:

Processors tested:

Graphics cards tested:

  • AMD Radeon R7 260X (ASUS 2GB OC) - $137.24
  • AMD Radeon R9 280 (Sapphire Dual-X) - $169.99
  • AMD Radeon R9 290X (MSI Lightning) - $399
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti (OEM) - $149.99
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 (OEM) - $235
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 (ASUS STRIX) - $519

*These prices were current as of  6/29/15, and of course fluctuate.

Continue reading our Quad-Core Gaming Roundup: How Much CPU Do You Really Need?