Kingdom Come delivers a challenge to modern GPUs

Subject: General Tech | February 21, 2018 - 04:49 PM |
Tagged: kingdom come, deliverance, gaming

Kingdom Come: Deliverance uses CryEngine 3, which is famous for overwhelming even the highest tier GPUs at 4k resolutions.  [H]ard|OCP's testing reveals that there may be an issue with AMD's cards on this title at the moment.  This may be resolved soon as the two Vega cards performance varied greatly, sometime surpassing the mid-tier NVIDIA cards but then falling below what they should be capable of.  Keep your eye out for a driver update if you are playing this game or plan to.  As far as NVIDIA, not even the 1080Ti can manage playable framerates with all the bells and whistles turned up on 4k.  Check out the details in the full review.

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"We take the new game Kingdom Come: Deliverance and test ten current video cards in it to find how each one performs, how those stack up, and what the highest playable settings are. We test 4K, 1440p, and 1080p, with multiple graphics settings, maximum distance sliders, and find out what you need to play this game and have a good experience."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Are you proud of the time your DM went apoplectic due to your actions in game? Check out Underworld Ascendant

Subject: General Tech | February 14, 2018 - 04:17 PM |
Tagged: Underworld Ascendant, gaming, rpg

Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN's preview of Underworld Ascendant describes a game that eclectic roleplayers will love as it seems to encourage unorthodox solutions.  Instead of trying to dodge your way over a trap; why not drop a rock in it and watch the physics engine cause a jam in the trap rendering it useless?   Perhaps you have a nefarious use for the glue plant mentioned in preview or figure sneaking behind a foe and dropping the ceiling on it makes more sense than a duel.  The game is still in development but looks like it could be a great source of entertainment for those with a certain bent.

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"This is a game in which you can levitate a crate, move it through a fire with your mind, and then lob it over a skeleton’s shoulder-bone so that it crashes into a wooden support behind that skeleton and starts a larger fire that results in collapsing struts, falling boulders, and a dog’s delight of shattered bones to chew on."

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Airtop2 Inferno: Compact Fanless Gaming PC Featuring a Core i7-7700K and GTX 1080

Subject: Systems | February 14, 2018 - 01:49 PM |
Tagged: small form factor, silent, SFF, nvidia, mini PC, Intel, Inferno, GTX 1080, gaming, fanless, core i7 7700k, compulab, Airtop2

Compulab, maker of mini systems such as the fitlet and Airtop is bringing the compact, fanless concept to a powerful gaming system - with no less than an Intel Core i7-7700K and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080. The catch? Is is not yet available, pending an upcoming Kickstarter campaign beginning February 24.

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The teaser image of the upcoming Airtop2 Inferno fanless gaming system

The Airtop2 is already available for purchase in a fanless workstation version, built-to-order with up to an Intel Xeon E3-1275 v6 and NVIDIA Quadro P4000 (starting at $2575 for that configuration before adding memory/storage), and this new "Inferno" version of the Airtop2 promises to be very interesting to silent computing enthusiasts.

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Front and rear views of the Inferno system

A fanless gaming system with high-end components is only going to be as effective as its cooling system, and here Compulab has a lot of experience on the industrial/embedded side of things.

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Exploded view of the standard Airtop2 design (no images of the Airtop2 Inferno interior available yet)

Compulab lists these specs for the Airtop2 Inferno (along with the teaser, "and a little more..."):

  • Unlocked Intel Core-i7 7700K
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
  • Up to 64 GB DDR4 2400 RAM
  • 2x NVMe + 4x 2.5″ SSD / HDD
  • 2x USB 3.1 + 7x USB 3.0 | dual LAN | front (and back) audio

Compulab has also provided some benchmark results to demonstrate how effective their fanless implementation of these components is, with results using 3DMark and Unigine Heaven available on the Inferno product page.

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The company has set up a Q&A page for the Airtop2 Inferno, but pricing/availability info will probably have to wait until February 24th when the Kickstarter campaign is active.

Source: Compulab

Low budget gaming until the bitcoins go away

Subject: General Tech | January 24, 2018 - 02:36 PM |
Tagged: gaming, linux, nvidia, amd

With the current mining insanity driving GPU prices high enough it makes more financial sense to buy a gaming laptop or boutique system than to purchase a GPU on its own.  The alternative is to continue on with your current GPU, even if it is a bit long in the tooth.  Phoronix recently tested a battery of AMD and NVIDIA cards, focusing on older or less powerful models to see what kind of gaming performance they are capable of.  The switch to Linux makes sense as Microsoft is beginning to refuse to recognize older GPUs and blocking the installation of the older drivers they require.  You will have to turn down your graphics settings to reach playable FPS but there are titles out there you can still enjoy at 1080p.

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"A request came in this week to look at how low-end and older graphics cards are performing with current generation Linux games on OpenGL and Vulkan. With ten older/lower-end NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon graphics cards, here is a look at their performance with a variety of native Linux games atop Ubuntu using the latest Radeon and NVIDIA drivers."

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Source: Phoronix

That's no moon! Stellaris adds planet killers plus the chance to mine the corpse of your enemies home

Subject: General Tech | January 17, 2018 - 02:44 PM |
Tagged: gaming, stellaris, paradox

In the not too distant future new DLC will arrive for Stellaris, likely in conjunction with the new free patch that Paradox will be releasing as that is their style.  The new DLC will include two new ship classes, Titans, which outweigh battleships and come with specific weaponry only available to that class of ship as well as the colossus.  A colossus is only marginally a fleet ship, it does not have much in the way of hull or conventional armament but is specifically designed to go after planets while your fleet protects them.  There are several different weapons you can install, from the aforementioned planet cracker to a shield generator which forever seals a planet off from the universe to a God Ray you can use on your own planets to increase spiritualist ethics attraction.

As well, the free 'Cherryh' patch will make some huge changes to the base gameplay; restricting all races to hyperspace pathways, changing how borders work and adding starbases and more detailed ground combat. 

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"Too many worlds. That’s the problem with space. You develop interstellar flight and hope to find a big emptiness that you can coast around in until all of the stars fade to black, but there’s all this stuff scattered about. Planets and asteroid belts and big alien jellysquids."

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The best way to share your game streams online

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2018 - 02:13 PM |
Tagged: amd, nvidia, relive, ShadowPlay, gaming

[H]ard|OCP are comparing AMD and NVIDIA's exhibitionist software to see which offers streamers the best experience.  The two applications are superficially similar but they both offer different features and performance, not to mention only supporting their own hardware.  From a performance standpoint, NVIDIA's ShadowPlay is slightly ahead in efficiency but not in any meaningful way, you would not be able to discern between the two in a blind test.  When you look at features, AMD's ReLive is the clear winner.  You can set your bitrate between 1-100Mbps at every resolution, from 360p to 2160p while NVIDIA maxes out at 50Mbps at any resolution and only supports up to 1440p.  There are several other features AMD included which surpass NVIDIA's offerings, read about them all here.

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"We take AMD ReLive in the AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition and NVIDIA ShadowPlay as part of GeForce Experience and find out which one is more FPS and CPU-efficient for recording gameplay. We will compare features, specifications, and find out which better suits content creators for recording gameplay."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

CES 2018: HyperX Cloud Flight Wireless Gaming Headset

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2018 - 01:07 PM |
Tagged: wireless, kingston, hyperx, headset, headphones, gaming, Cloud Flight, CES 2018, CES, 2.4GHz

HyperX has announced their first wireless headset with the Cloud Flight, and with it the promise of a whopping 30 hours of battery life on a single charge using its 2.4 GHz connection.

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"With a solid, gaming-grade wireless connection, incredible 30-hour battery life, and signature HyperX comfort, Cloud Flight allows you to play uninterrupted for longer. The closed cup design helps keep you immersed, while the durable steel slider and high-quality construction mean it’s built to withstand daily wear and tear."

The new Cloud Flight headset is compatibile with PS4/PS4 Pro as well as PC, and the optional wired connection allows use with anything that supports a 3.5 mm connection. Other features include 90° earcup rotation, adjustable lighting effects, and the detachable noise-cancelling mic is certified by TeamSpeak and Discord.

Specifications from HyperX:

Headphone

  • Driver: Dynamic, 50mm with neodymium magnets
  • Type: Circumaural, Closed back
  • Frequency response:
    • Wireless: 20Hz–20,000Hz
    • Analog: 15Hz–23,000Hz
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Sound pressure level: 106dBSPL/mW at 1kHz
  • T.H.D.: < 2%
  • Weight: 300g; 315g with mic
  • Cable length and type: USB charge cable (1m) + Detachable 3.5mm headphone cable (1.3m)

Microphone

  • Element: Electret condenser microphone
  • Polar pattern: Noise-cancelling
  • Frequency response: 100Hz-7,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: -45dBV (0dB=1V/Pa,1kHz)
  • Battery life:
    • LED off: 30 hours
    • Breathing LED: 18 hours
    • Solid LED: 13 hours
  • Wireless Range: Up to 20 meters

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The HyperX Cloud Flight wireless gaming headset is available now for $159.99, and our testing is already underway so expect the full review soon!

CES 2018: Corsair Introduces New Wireless Gaming Peripherals

Subject: General Tech | January 9, 2018 - 07:19 PM |
Tagged: MX Red, mechanical, keyboard, key switches, K63, gaming, corsair, Cherry MX, bluetooth, 2.4GHz, CES 2018, CES, wireless

Corsair continues the expansion of their peripheral portfolio at CES, and the focus here is wireless. The new products include a new wireless keyboard and mouse (Corsair's first wireless mouse) along with a Qi wireless charging mousepad and new lap board.

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K63 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard

First up is the K63 keyboard, a wireless TKL design with a trio of connection options. In addition to Corsair's 2.4 GHz connection which offers 1 ms latency, there is also the option of connecting via Bluetooth 4.2 (with a latency of 7.5 ms) or use a standard wired connection via USB (which also charges the keyboard).

The K63 keyboard has Cherry MX Red key switches (no option for other colors, currently), individual backlighting, and battery life that ranges from 15 hours of continuous use with default backlighting (default brightness is 66%), up to a whopping 75 hours of continuous use without backlight. AES 128-bit encryption is also supported, and for gamers who do not want the additional latency this adds (total of 1.08 ms), encryption can be toggled on and off via software.

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DARK CORE RGB Wireless Mouse

Corsair's first wireless mouse offers the same three connectivity options as the K63 keyboard, with 2.4 GHz or BT 4.2 wireless in addition to USB, and there is an SE version of the mouse that also supports the Qi wireless standard with its integrated charging coil, and that is complimented by the MM1000 Qi wireless charging mousepad.

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Not only did Corsair announce the new keyboard and mouse, but also the K63 Lapboard for your slick new wireless peripherals. It's a lightweight design that features memory foam padding and a built-in wrist rest, and the mouse pad is removable for cleaning/replacement.

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All of these new wireless peripherals and accessories are available now, with pricing as follows:

  • Dark Core RGB Mouse: $79.99
  • Dark Core RGB SE Mouse: $89.99
  • MM1000 Qi Wireless Charging Mousepad: $79.99
  • K63 Wireless Keyboard: $109.99
  • K63 Wireless Gaming Lapboard: $59.99
  • K63 Wireless Gaming Keyboard/Lapboard Combo: $159.99
Source: Corsair

CES 2018: ASUS ROG Strix SKT T1 Hero Edition and G703 Gaming Laptops

Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 8, 2018 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: Strix SKT T1, strix, ROG, Republic of Gamers, notebook, laptop, gaming, g703, CES 2018, CES, asus

ASUS has a pair of laptops from their Republic of Gamers lineup at CES this year, and we'll begin with the ROG Strix SKT T1 Hero Edition, a limited-edition laptop which "marks the first collaboration between ROG and top eSports team SK Telecom T1". 

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In addition to bundled ROG/SK Telecom T1 co-branded swag (team jersey, mouse pad, posters) the laptop itself has been externally designed to reflect its affiliation. Hardware reflects its MOBA-inspired gaming approach, which includes an unspecified Intel Core i7 processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, and 120 Hz IPS display (which offers 100% sRGB coverage). The keyboard features N-key rollover, upgraded switches with "20-million-keystroke durability", and RGB lighting.

Next we have the massive 17-inch ROG G703, which was launched back in November, and is "the world's first gaming laptop with an ultra-smooth 17.3-inch Full HD wide-view display with NVIDIA G-SYNC technology for a 144Hz refresh rate" according to ASUS.

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The ROG G703 is powered by an Intel Core i7-7820HK processor which is factory-overclocked for speeds of up to 4.3 GHz, and no less than an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (with a top clock of 1974 MHz) handles gaming duties. The biggest part of the laptop (literally) is the display, as ASUS explains:

"High-refresh-rate displays provide the fluidity and responsiveness demanded by top eSports gamers and enthusiasts, so ROG also created ROG Strix Scar Edition with a 144Hz panel and GTX 1070 graphics. ASUS has also introduced high-refresh-rate displays into the mainstream gaming market with the FX503 laptop, which features a 15.6-inch Full HD display with a 120Hz refresh rate and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics."

The ROG G703 also offers built-in Xbox Wireless capability, freeing up USB ports when connecting Microsoft's gaming controllers.

The ROG G703 is available now with an MSRP starting at $3499, and ASUS says the ROG Strix SKT T1 Hero Edition will carry an MSRP of $1699 with availability in Q1 2018.

Source: ASUS

The top 20 games of 2017?

Subject: General Tech | January 3, 2018 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: gaming

Ars Technica have assembled an eclectic list of games that they consider the best from last year.  Their picks include a variety of platforms, from the Switch to PC, with games ranging the full gamut.  VR games are not well represented, interesting considering the number of new games which were released this year or ported, in the case of Skyrim and others.  This could be due to the high price to be able to play, or it could represent the somewhat lacklustre uptake of VR gaming.  Take a read through the list and then post the games that they completely ignored, that deserve top billing.

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"While single-player adventures dominated our rankings this year, the full list encompasses everything from traditional shooters and throwback platformers to indie puzzles and narratives, plus a few VR experiences for good measure."

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Source: Ars Technica