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

Like X-COM meets Freelancer with bloody great space worms; Solar Warden

Subject: General Tech | May 16, 2018 - 03:23 PM |
Tagged: gaming, solar warden, Kickstarter

Solar Warden is a Kickstarter project running for six more days with a fairly low target of $40K US and it has a demo out which you can load up to try.  It is still very much a work in progress but gives you an idea of the overall scope of the game.  There are financial mechanics similar to X-COM in that you have to keep the various countries of the world happy so they will continue to finance your war against outer space Kinder eggs of the worst kind.  These falling rocks often contain some nasty silicon-based enemies seeking to devour the Earth while you seek to stop them, either through letting the AI handle your ships or by taking direct control of them for Freelancer style dogfights.  

You can check out the launch trailer at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN, install the demo to see if what you think or just head to Kickstarter to back it as I have.

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"The Solar Warden demo is still pretty early and unoptimised, and drops you right in at the deep end with little to no tutorial so brace yourself for a rough ride unless you’re a combined X-Com and X-Wing veteran."

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Atomic Heart's adorable murderbots

Subject: General Tech | May 9, 2018 - 04:44 PM |
Tagged: gaming, Mundfish, Atomic Heart

Russian based Mundfish released a teaser trailer of a very interesting looking first person shooter set in a rather strange area, a huge one if the map shown in the video is traversable.  The enemies are quite unique, but somehow seem whimsical even while they are trying to kill you.  There will also be a VR version called Soviet Luna Park VR which should arrive in the next few weeks to give you a look at the environment and residents, Atomic Heart does not yet have a release date.  Pop on over to Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN to see the trailer.

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"Set in an alternate earth, Atomic Heart puts you in the shoes of a government agent, sent in solo to investigate just what has gone wrong at a Soviet research facility. The answer, if the trailer below and System/Bioshock-standard cliche is anything to go by, is everything. Violence ensues."

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NVIDIA GeForce GTX Cards Finally Return to Stock at MSRP

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 9, 2018 - 12:23 PM |
Tagged: video card, pricing, msrp, mining, GTX 1080, gtx 1070, gtx 1060, gtx, graphics, gpu, gaming, crypto

The wait for in-stock NVIDIA graphics cards without inflated price tags seems to be over. Yes, in the wake of months of crypto-fueled disappointment for gamers the much anticipated, long-awaited return of graphics cards at (gasp) MSRP prices is at hand. NVIDIA has now listed most of their GTX lineup as in-stock (with a limit of 2) at normal MSRPs, with the only exception being the GTX 1080 Ti (still out of stock). The lead time from NVIDIA is one week, but worth it for those interested in the lower prices and 'Founders Edition' coolers.

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Many other GTX 10 Series options are to be found online at near-MSRP pricing, though as before many of the aftermarket designs command a premium, with factory overclocks and proprietary cooler designs to help justify the added cost. Even Amazon - previously home to some of the most outrageous price-gouging from third-party sellers in months past - has cards at list pricing, which seems to solidify a return to GPU normalcy.

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The GTX 1080 inches closer to standard pricing once again on Amazon

Some of the current offers include:

MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1080 ARMOR 8G - $549.99 @ Amazon.com

EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 SC GAMING ACX 3.0 - $469.99 @ Amazon.com

EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 SC GAMING 6GB - $299.99 @ Newegg.com

GTX 1070 cards continue to have the highest premium outside of NVIDIA's store, with the lowest current pricing on Newegg or Amazon at $469.99. Still, the overall return to near-MSRP pricing around the web is good news for gamers who have been forced to play second (or third) fiddle to cryptomining "entrepreneurs" for several months now; a disturbing era in which pre-built gaming systems from Alienware and others actually presented a better value than DIY builds.

Source: NVIDIA

HyperX Launches Predator DDR4 RGB Modules With Infrared Sync

Subject: Memory | May 3, 2018 - 04:06 AM |
Tagged: hyperx, gaming, ddr4, ddr4-2933, RGB, RGB LED

Kingston’s enthusiast-focused HyperX brand recently launched a new set of RGB-equipped DDR4 memory modules that use IR transceivers to sync up the LEDs across all the DIMMs. The aptly named Predator DDR4 RGB memory kits feature stylized angular black aluminum heat spreaders and RGB LEDs along the top edge. The DIMMs use eight 1GB chips along a single side.

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HyperX’s new Predator DDR4 modules are compatible with Asus Aura Sync, Gigabyte RGB Fusion, and MSI Mystic Light Sync RGB LED control software. The new kits are available in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB capacities using one, two, or four 8GB modules. HyperX rates (PDF) the modules at DDR4 2933 MHz with CL15-17-17 timings at 1.35V when using the Intel XMP profile. Out of the box, the modules run at 2400 MHz (CL17) and 1.2 volts, however.

The RGB modules reportedly offer smooth lighting effects with low latencies thanks to the direct module-to-module IR communication keeping everything in sync.

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The HyperX Predator DDR4 RGB modules come with a lifetime warranty and have a MSRP of $257 for the 16 GB (2x8GB) kit and $513 for the 32 GB (4 x 8GB) kit. Fortunately, the kits are going for a bit less than MSRP online with the 16 GB RGB kit going for $245.99 and the 32GB RGB kit going for $491.99 or about $20 to $30 over the non-RGB Predator DDR4 3000 MHz offerings.

Source: HyperX

Faster my stompybots, faster! Mod out the pauses in BattleTech

Subject: General Tech | May 2, 2018 - 03:19 PM |
Tagged: mod, gaming, battletech

The slow pace of BattleTech, which is driving many people spare, seems to have been a deliberate choice on the developers part.  Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN links to Reddit posts which make this fact obvious and thankfully allow you to reverse this decision.  There are five variables you can edit in the games file directory with a text editor to reduce the pauses to 0, or whatever your preferred number is.   There are also several ways to multiply the speed at which your Mech's move, the easiest of which is creating a registry key which makes all mechs move five times as fast, or you can manually edit the 53 files for each mech with a multiplier of your choice.  There is a third way, involving activating a debug mode, which offers a wide variety of commands for your enjoyment if you so desire.

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"Two things stand between BattleTech and true greatness. User guides and videos solve the bonkers decision to not so much as hint at absolute combat necessities that make the difference between grim slugfest and satisfying tactical supremacy, but the other one’s trickier."

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Stomping from tabletop to desktop, Battletech is here

Subject: General Tech | April 25, 2018 - 03:22 PM |
Tagged: battletech, gaming, paradox, harebrained schemes

If you have played the tabletop version of Battletech before, then you have some idea how long a single turn can take.  Paradox and Harebrained have replicated that somewhat, much to the dismay of Alec over at Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN who found the pacing extremely slow even after turning off the closeup animation feature.  Having managed to steal an hour yesterday to try the new game I can understand why he feels this way, as there is a long waiting period for the sequential weapon animations.  For now it is enjoyable, watching PPCs and missiles impact an enemy but I can believe that after a dozen missions or more it will begin to pale. 

If you are easily bored by turn based games, and found the new X-Com incarnations to be paced too slow for enjoyment you might want to steer clear of this game.  If, on the other hand, you can't wait to teach those crunchies not to play with the big boys or engage in a bit of friendly death from above this is worth picking up.  The game manages to replicate the feeling of massive inertia from the tabletop and the battles are very satisfying.  I still haven't seen secondary ammo store explosions yet but here's hoping!

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"There was, for once, none of the thunderous din of new kitchens or loft extensions being built in one of the adjacent terraced houses, and nor was my own PC’s volume set high as I threw stompy tankbots at each other in XCOM-meets-Mechwarrior turn-based strategy game/boardgame adaptation BattleTech. "

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