I don’t think it should come as a surprise that, as the PC gaming market has grown, so has the need for high performance and deeply customizable accessories. Just look at the explosion of companies like Razer, Corsair and SteelSeries, all fairly new entrants into the world of gaming-specific PC keyboards, mice, audio devices and more. Logitech is likely the oldest name in keyboards and mice that many of us know; also, if you have been paying even a semblance of attention recently, you know that the Logitech G brand has been putting the giant back into the mix in regards to those coveted high end PC gaming buyers.
But what about the rest of the community, the growing segment that includes kids, parents and users that were once dedicated console gamer? For many of the people that fall into this category, the idea of paying $150 for a keyboard and $150 for a mouse seems ludicrous, and sometimes it’s hard not to agree with them. To counter, how many of these newer and less experiences gamers are banging away on keyboards that shipped with their computer or with a keyboard and mouse combination that Mom or Dad brought home from the office? There remains a need for a set of gaming peripherals that are both gaming-centric but easy to use and low cost enough to address the mass market.
Logitech’s answer is the Logitech G Prodigy brand of devices. Launching today with two mice (wired and wireless), a keyboard and a headset, the Prodigy collection is meant to be low cost and easy to use, but still offers the key technologies and advantages that higher end hardware has created.
G403 Prodigy Gaming Mouse
Available in both a wired and wireless version, priced at just $69 and $99 respectively, the G403 Prodigy mouse is a step above standard mice for gaming. The shape and feel of the unit are very clearly an iteration of the old Microsoft Intellimouse, which is one of the most, if not THE most popular input devices of the last 20 years. This gives the mouse an instantaneous familiarity to a large number of gamers and hey: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right?
The G403 has some impressive performance as well, with the same 1ms polling rate as the majority of Logitech G’s gaming mice. Both wired and wireless versions use the PMW3366 optical sensor, of which I am big fan of based on previous reviews and long term usage. This sensor is the same as the one used in the G900, for example, that doesn’t utilize pixel rounding giving gamers the most accurate translation from hand movement to screen without annoying mouse acceleration.
Podcast #415 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1060 Turbo, Intel SSD P3520, HUAWEI Mate 8, ASUS Strix X99, and more!
Subject: General Tech | September 1, 2016 - 02:57 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: yoga, video, strix x99, ssd, Predator, podcast, P3520, Mate 8, Lenovo, Intel, Huawei, Fanatec, CSL Elite, asus, acer, 1060 turbo
PC Perspective Podcast #415 - 09/01/2016
Join us this week as we discuss the ASUS GeForce GTX 1060 Turbo, Intel SSD P3520, HUAWEI Mate 8, ASUS Strix X99, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Josh Walrath and Jeremy Hellstrom
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
1:07:04 IFA 2016
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Subject: General Tech | September 1, 2016 - 01:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: htc vive, Quark VR
Bulgarian based Quark VR have met with Valve representatives to demonstrate their almost wireless prototype for improving the experience of users of the Vive. Their device is a small receiver that you wear on your body which transmits all necessary signals up to the Vive so you will not have any wires connecting your body to a PC, backpack or otherwise. As the device uses WiFi to transmit the signals there is the possibility that this could introduce lag into your VR experience, something which can have a very negative effect on your carpeting and walls. Drop by Ars Technica for more information on this project.
"A Bulgarian VR startup is promising a fix to the problem, though, saying that an untethered, wireless solution for the HTC Vive will be ready for demonstration sometime this fall."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Deep inside Nantero's non-volatile carbon nanotube RAM tech @ The Register
- HTC invests in medicare VR software developer Surgical Theater @ DigiTimes
- Exploding phablet phears phorce Samsung Galaxy Note 7 delay @ The Register
- L0phtCrack's back! Crack hack app whacks Windows 10 trash hashes @ The Register
Subject: General Tech, Systems | September 1, 2016 - 10:30 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: VR, snapdragon 820, snapdragon, qualcomm
After Google's unveiling of its pending VR platform, it would follow that the major players in the technology field would toss various hats into the ring. We saw Intel announce a reference head mounted VR system at IDF last month called Project Alloy. Today Qualcomm takes the covers off its own reference head unit, creatively called VR820.
The reference platform is built on exactly what you would expect: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC with the Adreno 530 graphics subsystem in place to handle 3D rendering. Thanks to the heterogeneous computing capability of the QC platform, the VR820 integrates an impressive array of data input including the standard gyro and accelerometer. VR820 adds in dual front-facing cameras to allow for spacial tracking and 6-degrees of freedom for movement (left/right, up/down and forward/backward, pitch, yaw and roll) and to integrate see-through or augmented reality applications. Most interesting to me is that the VR820 is among the first platforms to integrate internal eye tracking, ostensibly to allow for tricks like foveated rendering that allow the system to dynamically change quality levels based on where the users' eyes are actually focused.
The VR820 is a reference platform so you'll likely never see a Qualcomm-branded device on the market. Instead VR820 will be available to OEM out for product and resale as early as Q4 of this year, meaning there is a SLIGHT chance you'll see something based on this for the holiday.
Despite being built on what is essentially a smartphone, the VR820 will allow for higher performance on the CPU and GPU courtesy of the looser thermal constraints and the larger battery that will be built into the device. Qualcomm stated that they expect the device to allow for "a couple of hours" of use in it's current implementation. That doesn't mean a partner wouldn't decide to implement a larger battery to expand that time frame.
The current display in this device is a 2560x1440 single screen, though the SD820 and Adreno 530 could address two independent displays should a partner or future reference design call for it. Looks like Qualcomm switched up and implemented a 1440x1440 display per eye in this reference platform. It is an AMOLED display so you should see amazing color depth though I am a bit concerned by the 70Hz refresh rate it peaks at. Both the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift are targeting 90Hz as the minimum acceptable frame rate for a smooth and high quality user experience. Though I will need hands-on time with the product to decide either way, I am wary of Qualcomm's decision to back off from that accepted standard.
That being said, with the low latency AMOLED screen, Qualcomm tells me the VR820 will have an 18ms "motion to photon" latency which comes in under the theoretical ~20ms maximum for an immersive experience.
The current iteration of VR820 is running Android, though other operating systems like Microsoft's Holographic OS should be compatible if the ecosystem buys in.
It's clear that the goal of untethered VR/AR is the target for mass market experiences. I personally have doubts about the capability of something like VR820 or Intel's Project Alloy to really impact the VR gaming market without being attached to much higher end processing like we see with the Rift and Vive today. More mainstream activities like movies, conferencing and productivity are within the grasp of a processor like the Snapdragon 820. But how well will it handle games that try to emulate Job Simulator or Eve: Valkyrie? Will eye tracking capability allow for higher effective resolution gaming?
There is still a lot to learn about Qualcomm's entry into the dedicated VR space with the VR820, and though pricing will obviously depend on the specifics of the OEM that licenses the design and what modifications may occur, QC thinks the reference platform as we see it here should be in the $500 ballpark.
Subject: General Tech | September 1, 2016 - 12:47 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming, piracy
There's a lot of ways to gather information about a topic. Surveys allow a lot of responses quickly and easily, but they have many limitations.
PC Gamer ran a survey for a couple of weeks, polling their audience about whether they pirate computer games, and why. It attempts to correlate this act by age, income, country of residence, and reason. It also asks about how this practice changed over time. They acknowledge that this system could easily be gamed, whether by multiple votes or deliberate misinformation, but noted that it's an interesting study none-the-less. They even highlight a few areas of concern, like non-zero income for people who claim to be under 10 years old (of which some are probably guessing their parents salaries, but still).
The survey is interesting, though, and you should check it out.
It's important to know a bit more about how surveys work, though. Simply put, people often report information that is much different from what would have been measured, especially in hypothetical or long-term situations. Someone who records what they ate during the day, through a survey that occurs multiple times per day, is likely to be fairly accurate.
However, asking someone if advertising works on them is hilariously bad. When I've seen surveys on this, they are overwhelmingly “no” or “it informs me of products or services I would have otherwise not been aware of”. Hate to break it to you, but that's crap. It works. It works on everyone. There is an industry that is worth hundreds of billions of dollars, in the US alone, that testifies to it working.
While you would typically expect a survey about piracy to be skewed in a way that makes the respondents self-identify better, even that is not necessarily the case. About a decade ago, Paulo Ceolho was pirating his own book, leading to an increase in sales. The same happened for a comic book artist, named Steve Lieber, whose sales peaked about ~20x higher than being reviewed on Boing Boing; this peak lasted longer, too.
These sorts of effects, as well as many others, will probably not come up in a survey. In the latter case, there is an emotional reaction to an author who treats you with respect, even though you pirate their work. You actually need to test for these effects with concrete experiments.
In short, read the data with a few grains of salt. This is not an effective acquisition method for what they are attempting to learn, but it's well done for what it is.
Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2016 - 07:30 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: sony, PS3, Playstation, playstation now
As of yesterday, Sony has launched the PC version of their PlayStation Now client for Windows 7, 8.1, and 10. This service allows a catalog of PlayStation 3-era titles (which includes remakes from their previous consoles) to be streamed, in a way similar to OnLive. While the US and Canada are both supported, it's difficult to tell the other regions that it is available in, at least from Sony's official sources.
One caveat is that the service requires the DUALSHOCK 4 controller (and their upcoming, official wireless adapter if you aren't happy with USB cables). From an openness standpoint, this isn't really much better than the console, and actually worse if a far-future title becomes exclusive to it; you can't emulate software that can only be remotely accessed, but that's okay as long as you go in with those expectations. Games can be added and removed from the service with zero recourse, which means that you can lose content that has intrinsic value, especially if it's controversial. On the other hand, it allows you to experience games that you otherwise couldn't, because they were already locked into a platform. On the other-other hand, you're perpetuating that by supporting the platform, but that's your decision to make.
I'll stop that infinite loop here.
All of that aside, the service offers a seven day trial. One month is $19.99 USD, which adds to about $240 each year, while 12 months pre-paid is $99.99 USD.
Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2016 - 01:40 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: deus ex: mankind divided, nvidia, amd
It was not just Adam Jensen's cyberware that was updated since 2012, we have also seen new computer hardware and software features added to our gaming machines. [H]ard|OCP fired up the new Deus Ex to test a long list of features including tessellation, subsurface scattering, cloth physics, ambient occlusion, contact hardening shadows, parallax occlusion mapping, volumetric lighting, screenspace reflections, and chromatic aberration. They chose the three new NVIDIA cards as well as the two AMD cards. As of yet there is no DX12 support but a patch is planned but there are still some interesting findings; this game loves huge tracts of VRAM and they also found that the default AA setting may not be your best choice.
"Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is released, we take a look at performance and image quality. We will compare performance between GTX 1080, GTX 1070, GTX 1060, Radeon RX 480, and Radeon RX 470. We will also look at image quality and talk about our experiences with each video card and what is playable in DE:MD."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Game Analysis @ Kitguru
- NVIDIA Announces Vault 1080 Mod For Fallout 4 @ [H]ard|OCP
- Leak-o! Duke Nukem 3D: World Tour Rumoured @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- AMD & NVIDIA GPU VR Performance: Project Cars @ [H]ard|OCP
- Over The Plop: Battlefield 1 DLC Season Pass Detailed @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Magic And Myth In A Post-War World: Tyranny @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- In Case Of Emergency, Release Raptor Pulled From Sale @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Humble Sierra Bundle: Space Kings Police Quest for Glory etc @ HEXUS
Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2016 - 12:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: usb type-c, anker
The good news is that Google researcher Benson Leung has some help in his quest to rid the world of bad USB Type-C cords, the bad news is that he still needs it. Another intrepid investigator who goes by the moniker Nathan K discovered that the Anker PowerLine USB-C cable model A8185011 is a danger to your electronics. The labelling states 5A, 100W and yet testing shows 3A, 60W which would not be so bad except that the wire allows Rp pulldown to be doubled. This leads to a very hot charger as 5V Vconn voltages end up where they really should not be. Anker has recalled these cords so you should not see them for sale anymore but you might want to double check any you currently own.
Drop by The Register for info and a link to Nathan's Google+ post, which includes the testing data.
"Peripherals builder Anker has issued a recall after researchers found that one of its USB-C cables could potentially cause serious damage to connected hardware."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Acer Swift 7 arrives as first Kaby Lake notebook @ The Inquirer
- Holy friggin' Dell! $67bn EMC mega-gobble to complete on Sept 7 @ The Register
- Microsoft releases firmware fix for faulty Surface Pro 3 batteries @ The Register
- OneLogin breached, hacker finds cleartext credential notepads @ The Register
- Fedora 25 Alpha Linux Distro Now Available @ Slashdot
- Forcing the Windows 10 Anniversary Update @ Hardware Secrets
- NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV @ Missing Remote
Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2016 - 02:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: cooler master, MasterMouse Pro L, ambidextrous
Rejoice computer users as you will no longer be a slave to chirality thanks to your new rodent overlord, Cooler Master's MasterMouse Pro L! This mouse is properly ambidextrous, both sides of the mouse have the same buttons and fancy RGB lighting and the DPI button is equally inconvenient for everyone as it is located on the bottom of the mouse. For hardware it uses a Avago PMW-3360 IR optical sensor which can be set up to a sensitivity of 12,000 DPI. The mouse also comes with two swapable shells for the top of the mouse and CM plans on releasing the specifications so you can print your own if you so desire.
"Today, we are taking a look at the Cooler Master ‘MasterMouse Pro L’, a true ambidextrous mouse with modular covers for the body and side grips, allowing users to make physical changes to the mouse to better suit them."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- SteelSeries Rival 700 Gaming Mouse @ Benchmark Reviews
- ...And RGB for All: Cooler Master MasterKeys Lite L Combo @ Modders-Inc
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | August 30, 2016 - 12:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, GeForce 372.70, driver
NVIDIA continues with their Game Ready driver program, releasing the GeForce 372.70 driver, hand crafted in the new world by artisanal engineers to bring enhanced support to World of Warcraft: Legion, Battlefield 1: Open Beta, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, and Quantum Break. There is not much to see in the release notes, although you can now enjoy Deus Ex in glorious 3D vision assuming you have the monitor and glasses.
If you are testing the new Battlefield you should consider updating, one would suppose the bug reports submitted using this driver will be more beneficial to the developers than an older release. You know the drill, grab them from GeForce.com or NVIDIA.com.