Free games? Why not!

Subject: General Tech | December 20, 2017 - 02:58 PM |
Tagged: ubisoft, assassins creed black flag, watchdogs, world in conflict, gaming, free games

If you haven't noticed the links in previous posts, here is a list of the games you can grab for free today.  First up is Good Old Games who are giving away Oxenfree, a point and click creepy adventure game from Night School Studio, a company formed by some ex-Telltale and Disney devs. 

The next ones do come with a small hitch; you will need to install Ubisoft's UPlay to take advantage of the deal and to play the games.  If you are willing to install the client, you can grab Assassin's Creed Black Flag, Watchdogs and World in Conflict Complete Edition. 

There are also sales going on at Humble Bundle and GoG which are worth checking out if you want to spend a bit of money on your games.

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Source: GoG

Corsair's HS50 continue to recieve kudos

Subject: General Tech | December 15, 2017 - 01:59 PM |
Tagged: stereo, review, neodymium, HS50, headset, headphones, gaming, corsair, 50mm, audio

Sebastian was not the only one who listened to Corsair's new HS50 gaming headset, several other sites tested out this $50 headset and offered their thoughts.  The Tech Report contrasted this headset with their favoured Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones which cost roughly three times as much.  They found the audio to be somewhat clearer on the more expensive headset as you might expect, but Corsair's offering came very close and offer congratulations on the quality they managed on such an inexpensive pair of headphones.  Check out their review in full right here.

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"Corsair's HS50 Stereo Gaming Headset boasts solid build quality and classy looks, plus a Swiss Army knife's worth of compatibility. We gamed with the HS50 on consoles and listened to its musical chops to see whether it's a winner for $50."

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Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

A preview of potential Volta gaming hardware

This is a multi-part story for the NVIDIA Titan V:

As a surprise to most of us in the media community, NVIDIA launched a new graphics card to the world, the TITAN V. No longer sporting the GeForce brand, NVIDIA has returned the Titan line of cards to where it began – clearly targeted at the world of developers and general purpose compute. And if that branding switch isn’t enough to drive that home, I’m guessing the $2999 price tag will be.

Today’s article is going to look at the TITAN V from the angle that is likely most interesting to the majority of our readers, that also happens to be the angle that NVIDIA is least interested in us discussing. Though targeted at machine learning and the like, there is little doubt in my mind that some crazy people will want to take on the $3000 price to see what kind of gaming power this card can provide. After all, this marks the first time that a Volta-based GPU from NVIDIA has shipped in a place a consumer can get their hands on it, and the first time it has shipped with display outputs. (That’s kind of important to build a PC around it…)

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From a scientific standpoint, we wanted to look at the Titan V for the same reasons we tested the AMD Vega Frontier Edition cards upon their launch: using it to estimate how future consumer-class cards will perform in gaming. And, just as we had to do then, we purchased this Titan V from NVIDIA.com with our own money. (If anyone wants to buy this from me to recoup the costs, please let me know! Ha!)

  Titan V Titan Xp GTX 1080 Ti GTX 1080 GTX 1070 Ti GTX 1070 RX Vega 64 Liquid Vega Frontier Edition
GPU Cores 5120 3840 3584 2560 2432 1920 4096 4096
Base Clock 1200 MHz 1480 MHz 1480 MHz 1607 MHz 1607 MHz 1506 MHz 1406 MHz 1382 MHz
Boost Clock 1455 MHz 1582 MHz 1582 MHz 1733 MHz 1683 MHz 1683 MHz 1677 MHz 1600 MHz
Texture Units 320 240 224 160 152 120 256 256
ROP Units 96 96 88 64 64 64 64 64
Memory 12GB 12GB 11GB 8GB 8GB 8GB 8GB 16GB
Memory Clock 1700 MHz MHz 11400 MHz 11000 MHz 10000 MHz 8000 MHz 8000 MHz 1890 MHz 1890 MHz
Memory Interface 3072-bit
HBM2
384-bit G5X 352-bit G5X 256-bit G5X 256-bit 256-bit 2048-bit HBM2 2048-bit HBM2
Memory Bandwidth 653 GB/s 547 GB/s 484 GB/s 320 GB/s 256 GB/s 256 GB/s 484 GB/s 484 GB/s
TDP 250 watts 250 watts 250 watts 180 watts 180 watts 150 watts 345 watts 300 watts
Peak Compute 12.2 (base) TFLOPS
14.9 (boost) TFLOPS
12.1 TFLOPS 11.3 TFLOPS 8.2 TFLOPS 7.8 TFLOPS 5.7 TFLOPS 13.7 TFLOPS 13.1 TFLOPS
MSRP (current) $2999 $1299 $699 $499   $399 $699 $999

The Titan V is based on the GV100 GPU though with some tweaks that lower performance and capability slightly when compared to the Tesla-branded equivalent hardware. Though our add-in card iteration has the full 5120 CUDA cores enabled, the HBM2 memory bus is reduced from 4096-bit to 3072-bit and it has one of the four stacks on the package disabled. This also drops the memory capacity from 16GB to 12GB, and memory bandwidth to 652.8 GB/s.

Continue reading our gaming review of the NVIDIA Titan V!!

Can system RAM help out a mid-range GPU?

Subject: General Tech | December 13, 2017 - 03:43 PM |
Tagged: gaming

TechSpot took a look at the effect of system RAM on gaming performance when using a GPU with less VRAM than a game prefers.  They tested both the 3GB and 6GB models of the GTX 1060, with 4, 8, 16 and 32GB of system memory installed.  With the rising costs of RAM, their findings suggest paying for the extra VRAM is worth it as the 3GB model didn't really start to offer proper performance with less than 16GB of DDR in the system.  That extra RAM will often cost you more than purchasing a better GPU, though perhaps not enough to justify that GTX 1080 Ti.  Check out the full review to see what effect extra RAM has on your favourite games.

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"Measuring the impact that RAM capacity has on gaming is harder than it sounds because of all the factors at play. However we've tested different hardware configurations to determine how much memory is truly useful for gaming from 4GB up to 32GB."

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Source: Techspot

Valve's Triskaphobia strikes again

Subject: General Tech | December 6, 2017 - 04:29 PM |
Tagged: Bridge Constructor Portal, Bridge Constructor, Portal, valve, gaming

Bridge Constructor will be getting a new expansion, one which features GLaDOS as well as blue and orange portals.  The video below doesn't make it obvious if there is a vehicle mounted Portal gun but it certainly gets you thinking.  Incorporating portal physics into the physics of Bridge Constructor will certainly put this on a few Steam wishlists for purchase on Dec 20th.  Check out the video below, and pop over to Ars Technica for some tidbits of other games without the number 3 involved which Valve is currently working on.

"Remember when Valve used to make new games, instead of just making insanely popular platforms for selling games (and hats and skins)? Valve promised a partial return to those days today with the announcement of a brand-new Portal game... that just so happens to be built as an expansion to Bridge Constructor."

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Source: Ars Technica

AMD Is Very Pleased To Participate in Blockchain Technology

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | December 3, 2017 - 04:26 PM |
Tagged: bitcoin, cryptocurrency, mining, gaming, lisa su, amd, Vega

AMD’s CEO Lisa Su was recently appeared on CNBC’s Power Lunch Exclusinve interview segment where she answered questions about bitcoin, blockchain technology, the tax reform bill, and sexual harassment in the workplace.

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Of particular interest to PC Perspective readers, Dr. Lisa Su shared several interesting bits of information on cryptocurrency mining and how it is affecting the company’s graphics cards. Surprisingly, she stated that cryptocurrency miners were a "very small percentage" of sales and specifically that they represented a mid-single digit percentage of buyers (~4 to 6 percent). This number is hard to believe for me as I expected it to be significantly higher with the prices of graphics cards continuing to climb well above MSRP (it wasn’t too bad when writing our gift guide and shortly after but just as I was about to commit I looked and prices had shot back up again coinciding with a resurgence in mining popularity with the price of cryptocurrencies rising and improving ROI).

Further, the AMD president and CEO states that the company is interested in this market, but they are mainly waiting to see how businesses and industries adopt blockchain technologies. AMD is “very pleased to participate in blockchain” and believes it is a “very important foundational product”. Dr. Lisa Su did not seem very big on bitcoin specifically, but did seem interested in the underlying blockchain technologies and future cryptocurrencies.

Beyond bitcoin, altcoins, and the GPU mining craze, AMD believes that gaming is and continues to be a tremendous growth market for the company. AMD has reportedly launched 10 new product families and saw sizeable increases in sales on Amazon and Newegg versus last year with processor sales tripling and double digital percentage increases in graphics sales in 2017. AMD also managed to be in two of the three gaming towers in Best Buy for the holiday buying season.

Speaking for AMD Dr. Su also had a few other interesting bits of information to share. The interview is fairly short and worth watching. Thankfully Kyle over at HardOCP managed to record it and you can watch it here. If you aren't able to stream the video, PCGamer has transcribed most of the major statements.

What are your thoughts on the interview? Will we ever see GPU prices return to normal so I can upgrade, and do you agree with AMD’s assessment that miners are such a small percentage of their sales and not as much of an influencer in pricing as we thought (perhaps it’s a supply problem rather than a demand problem, or the comment was only taking their mining-specific cards into account?)?

Source: HardOCP

Need for GPU Speed

Subject: General Tech | November 22, 2017 - 02:34 PM |
Tagged: gaming, need for speed payback, nvidia, amd

The new Need for Speed Payback uses the familiar Frostbite 3 game engine, so we have some general idea how various cards will perform.  There is a feature used in the game that changes how AMD cards perform however, this game makes use of the AMD GPU Services (AGS) library which should make their cards more effective.  [H]ard|OCP's testing did show a close race, apart from the unmatched GTX 1080Ti AMD's cards offer competitive performance and even offering taking the lead at some resolutions.  Drop by to take a look at the details.

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"Need for Speed Payback is out, we’ll look at feature performance and video card performance comparisons in today’s latest video cards. We’ll find what’s playable, and examine graphics quality setting performance among eight video cards. We will also find out VRAM and CPU usage of this new game so you pick the right video card for gaming. "

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Source: [H]ard|OCP
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: HAVIT

Keeping a Low Profile

Havit is a Chinese company with a unique product for the enthusiast PC segment: the thinnest mechanical keyboard on the market at 22.5 mm. Their slim HV-KB395L keyboard offers real mechanical switching via Kailh low-profile blue switches, and full RGB lighting is thrown in for good measure. For a keyboard that retails for $79.99 this is certainly an interesting mix, but how in the world does low-profile mechanical feel? I will attempt to translate that experience into words (by… typing words).

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Specifications:

  • 104-key Mechanical Keyboard
  • Customizable RGB backlighting
  • Kailh PG1350 Low Profile Blue Switch
  • 3mm of total travel, 45g of operating force
  • N-Key Rollover
  • Detachable USB Cable
  • Weight: 0.57 kg
  • Dimensions: 43.6 x 12.6 x 2.25 cm

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First impressions of the keyboard are great, with nice packaging that cradles the keyboard in a carton inside the box. The keyboard itself feels quite premium, with a top panel that is actually metal - unusual for this price-point.

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Continue reading our review of the HAVIT HV-KB395L RGB mechanical keyboard!

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Corsair

Is this the new budget champion?

True to their name, Corsair’s new HS50 STEREO gaming headsets offer traditional 2-channel sound from a similarly traditional headphone design. These are certainly ready for gaming with a detachable microphone and universal compatibility with both PCs and consoles, and budget friendly with an MSRP of only $49.99. How do they stack up? Let’s find out!

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Specifications:

  • Driver: 50mm Neodymium
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohms @ 1kHz
  • Sensitivity: 111 dB (± 3 dB)
  • Mic Type: Unidirectional noise-cancelling
  • Mic Impedance: 2.0k Ohms
  • Mic Frequency: Response 100Hz – 10kHz
  • Mic Sensitivity: -40 dB (± 3 dB)
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 160 x 100 x 205 mm
  • Weight: 319g
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Available Colors: Carbon, Green, Blue

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Nothing about these say “budget” when you look at the packaging and first unbox them, and they have a substantial feel to them like a pair of premium headphones - not at all like an inexpensive gaming headset.

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Continue reading our review of the Corsair HS50 STEREO gaming headset!

The Wolfensteins of Vulkan in the spotlight

Subject: General Tech | November 15, 2017 - 02:12 PM |
Tagged: gaming, Wolfenstein 2, vulkan, amd, nvidia

[H]ard|OCP took a close look at the new Wolfenstein game, covering the new graphics options which appear in the menus as well as the bugs that could be caused by then, not to mention the benchmarking.  For this Vulkan game they chose three AMD cards and four NVIDIA cards to test with a variety of thsoe options enabled as well as looking at the effect resolution has on your performance.  As we have seen in other recent games, AMD's Vega 64 is a strong contender at 4K resolutions, surpassing the GTX 1080 but not quite matching its 1080 Ti brother.  It is also worth noting this game loves VRAM, in fact 8GB is not enough for Uber settings.  Read through the full review for performance numbers as well as insight into the best graphics settings to chose.

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"Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is out; this new game uses the id Tech 6 game engine and Vulkan API to give you a great gaming experience on the PC with today’s latest GPUs. We will compare performance features, see what settings work best, find what is playable in the game and compare performance among several video cards."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP