The Esports Stadium Arlington
On Monday, November 19, we were invited to partake in the unveiling of North Texas' latest technological marvel, the Esports Stadium Arlington. Arlington is already a well known sports destination, hosting both the Dallas Cowboys at the AT&T Stadium, and the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park. The city partnered with Populous and NGAGE Esports to construct the largest eSports venue in North America, hoping to make Arlington (and North Dallas) a hub for eSports in addition to its well-known sports stature.
Populous was chosen for their expertise in designing cutting edge sports-related venues with NGAGE Esports providing the eSports and gaming-related tweaks to make the venue a reality. The Esports Stadium Arlington is a 100,000 square foot space within the existing Arlington Convention Center complex with seating to accommodate a 2,500 person crowd watching the matches on its 85 foot long LED wall screen above the competition area.
From the initial approach to the venue, it is obvious how much importance Arlington is putting behind its new Esports Stadium Arlington. It has top billing on the venue sign as well as an LED screen scrolling announcements for upcoming events at the venue. The venue's kickoff event will be a CSO League event occurring over the Thanksgiving weekend (Nov 24 - 25).
Upon entering the venue, you are greeting with a large and brightly lit space with no doubt left as to its eSports-centered use. There are hanging banners with the venues core themes - Fan, Player, Icon, as well as a large name plaque with the venue's logo, a mural with various eSport-related highlights, and a fully stocked merchandise section. The merchandise section has various gamer wear, as well as video cards and peripherals, on display and for sale for those interested.
Upon entering the Esports complex proper, you first enter the gaming area containing various console and PC gaming areas where both the general public and teams to play their chosen titles of choice. They even have console style stations where players can get the true 1-v-1 experience.
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
A few weeks back, GIGABYTE hosted several press outlets and retailer partners in Miami to unveil their latest product offerings, centered around their Intel Z390-based motherboard and NVIDIA RTX 20 series graphics card lines. On display was the normal assortment of channel, gaming, and enthusiast-class boards and graphics cards, in addition to some other products that you would not normally associate with GIGABYTE. They are beginning to push the boundaries of their product lines with everything from in-house developed PSUs and memory to hard drives and case fans. They even had a few PCIe-base M.2 RAID cards on hand. All-in-all, GIGABYTE is pushing into the run up to Christmas and 2019 swinging for the fences.
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
Among the changes covered was the revamping of their product lines and naming conventions to make it easier for consumers to know what they're paying for across each product line. The motherboard line will consist of the AORUS line at the top, split into enthusiast and gaming tiers, the mid-tier GIGABYTE Gaming line, and the Ultra Durable (UD) Series for their base tier. Similarly, their graphics lines will be split across the AORUS line at the top, the GIGABYTE Gaming OC line as their mid-tier offering, and their Windforce OC and Turbo OC lines as their lower-tier offerings.
AORUS Motherboard Specs
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
With the release of the Intel Z390 chipset, GIGABYTE worked hard to equalize their board series and models so that users didn't feel forced to buy the highest end boards to get all the latest and greatest features. As exemplified in their AORUS board line, all boards share Intel-based GIGE LAN controllers, GEN1 and GEN2 USB 3.1 controllers, and at least two on-board M.2 ports (even on their mini-ITX board). The differentiation comes in the form of added integrated ports and enhanced cooling for the VRMs and chipset, allowing for more targeted overclocking ceilings.
20-Series Graphics Cards Specs
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
Courtesy of GIGABYTE
Their 20-series graphics cards lines share the same reconfiguration of their branding and design with all cards within a card family (families being 2070 / 2080 / 2080Ti) sharing common features and base level design decisions. The higher end cards in each of the product families have enhanced power capabilities and cooling potential for the enthusiasts wanting to squeeze that last bit of FPS out of their system.
Subject: Shows and Expos | August 29, 2018 - 02:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Swift 5, Predator XB273K, OJO 500, Nitro XV273K, g-sync, freesync, aspire, acer
Acer announced a variety of new products at IFA, from monitors to laptops by way of a gaming throne. First up are a pair of monitors, the G-Sync Predator XB273K and FreeSync Nitro XV273K and two other models. The 4k IPS Predator sports an impressive 144Hz top refresh rate, with a variety of Acer VisionCare features to reduce eyestrain.
The Nitro series support FreeSync, and come in three models, a 4k IPS display and two 2560×1440 models, one IPS and one TN. All three monitors can match the 144Hz top refresh rate of the Predator. Purists will be a little disappointed that all four of these monitors were designed to the VESA DisplayHDR 400 standard.
A wide variety of laptops were revealed, including the Swift 5 which is the lightest 15" laptop on the market. The magnesium-lithium alloy construction of the body keeps the weight to 990g (2.2lbs), which is lighter than most high end CPU heatsinks. Inside you can choose from a i7-8565U or Core
i5-8265U, up to 16GB DDR4 and an NVMe SSD.
Their Aspire lineup has been updated with the Aspire 7 series featuring the Intel i7-8705G or or i5-8305G processor both of which have AMD's Radeon RX Vega M GL graphics onboard. The Aspire 5 will offer a choice of 8th gen Amber Lake-Y or Whiskey Lake-U chips paired with NVIDIA's GeForce MX150 GP while the Aspire 3 line will offer a low cost laptop for students, with the choice to include an optical drive.
If you are looking for an all-in-one, the Aspire Z 24 is a impressive implementation of that form factor. Hidden behind the 1080p 10 point touchscreen is a Whiskey Lake-U processor paired with a GeForce MX15 and even support for up to 32GB of Optane memory. It is designed to be controllable from up to 4 metres away, offering more than just a small footprint on a work desk.
Last but not least is the OJO 500 Mixed Reality headset. The two screens combine to offer a 100 degree FOV at a 2880 x 1440 resolution with up to a 90Hz refresh rate. Acer chose to include small speakers in the headset as opposed to integrated headphones, in keeping with the mixed reality nature of the headset. The headset and two Bluetooth controllers will sell for $399US and will be compatible with Steam as well as Windows 10.
This is a Thronos, in which a Predator desktop PC and three screens can prevent any chance of human interaction.
Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | August 29, 2018 - 02:19 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: xps 13 2-in-1, XPS 13, ifa 2018, i7-8500Y, i5-8200Y, dell, core m, amber lake
With a choice of either the Core i5-8200Y or Core i7-8500Y, the chassis design of the XPS 13 2-in-1 remains largely unchanged from when it's introduction in 2017. However, users should look forward to the increased performance and battery life from the new 8th generation Intel processors.
The XPS 13 2-in-1 will start shipping September 11th, starting at $999.99.
Dell also launched a slightly more inexpensive option for users looking at their standard XPS 13 notebook for users looking who aren't as performance conscious.
Featuring a dual-core Intel Core i3-8130U, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB SATA SSD, and a 1080P display, this new XPS 13 configuration is now available for $899 from the Dell site and other retailers.
Finally, Dell announced that their popular Developer Edition XPS 13 is now shipping with the latest release of Ubuntu (18.04). As always, these Developer Editions come preconfigured with Ubuntu and all the necessary drivers out of the box and are less expensive than their Windows-toting counterparts.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | August 22, 2018 - 02:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: turing, RTX 2080, nvidia, geforce, ansel
NVIDIA has been showing off a slideshow in Germany, offering a glimpse at the new features Turing brings to the desktop as well as in-house performance numbers. As you can see below, their testing shows a significant increase in performance from Pascal, it will be interesting to see how the numbers match up once reviewers get their hands on these cards.
While those performance numbers should be taken with a grain of salt or three, the various features which the new generation of chip brings to the table will appear as presented. For fans of Ansel, you will be able to upscale your screenshots to 8k with Ansel AI UpRes, which offers an impressive implementation of anti-aliasing. They also showed off a variety of filtres you can utilize to make your screenshots even more impressive.
The GigaRays of real time ray tracing capability on Turing look very impressive but with Ansel, your card has a lot more time to process reflections, refractions and shadows which means your screenshots will look significantly more impressive than what the game shows while you are playing. In the example below you can see how much more detail a little post-processing can add.
There are a wide variety of released and upcoming games which will support these features; 22 listed by name at the conference. A few of the titles only support some of the new features, such as NVIDIA Highlights, however the games below should offer full support, as well as framerates high enough to play at 4k with HDR enabled.
Keep your eyes peeled for more news from NVIDIA and GamesCom.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 7, 2018 - 01:13 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Tiger Rapids, Intel, kaby lake
Recently seen in the Lenovo Yoga devices, mobile devices with dual screens are attracting attention but so far the implementation has not been without troubles. Intel showed off two prototype machines at Computex that they believe will offer what this segment of customers is looking for. The Tiger Rapids machine has a conventional touchscreen on one side and some sort of electronic paper display on the other, which has a bit of give to it so that using a stylus on it gives you some tactile feedback. It is powered by a Kaby Lake processor of some description, with an SSD and the unfortunately common lone USB Type-C port on it. At 4.7mm thin it is a fairly impressive design.
Their second does not bear a code name but resembles the Yoga as it has two traditional touchscreens with one generally displaying a keyboard. We don't know much about them, but you can take a peek at them over at The Inquirer.
"The first machine codenamed Tiger Rapids - this is Intel after all - mixes one touchscreen panel with an electronic paper display designed specifically for note taking and stylus scribbling, even coming with a slight give to simulate writing on paper."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- At last: Magic Leap reveals its revolutionary techno-goggles – but wait, there's a catch @ The Register
- Indiegogo Calls Time On The ZX Vega @ Hack a Day
- Valve Will Stop Removing Controversial Games on Steam Unless They Are 'Illegal or Straight up Trolling' @ Slashdot
- BlackBerry Key2 official with dual cameras and 'brand new' keyboard @ The Inquirer
- Tech ARP Computex 2018 Live Coverage – Day Three
- AMD Computex 2018 - Threadripper 2, 7nm Vega + More!
Subject: Cases and Cooling, Shows and Expos | June 6, 2018 - 05:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Z-Tower, InWin 307, InWin, computex 2018
Behold InWin's new flagship case, the Z-Tower, and stare in amazement at eight giant pieces of cast aluminium it is made from.
If you look carefully at the picture from their product page below you can just make out what appears to be a PSU at the bottom as well as a motherboard mounted on the back, or possibly not ... regardless the airflow in the case is certainly not restricted, assuming you can determine how to install the components. This limited edition case will certainly make your system stand out, as we certainly haven't seen its like before.
For the RGB addicts comes a simliarly impressive case, the 307, which bears a resemblance to the already available 303 chassis but with a big difference. The front panel features an array of RGB LEDs which are connected to an audio sensor so that the lightshow can change in real time based on the music you are listening to. If you prefer you can use the GLOW software to program your own animated featurette to display.
To make it even more impressive and to boost your EGO you can add some of their new RGB fans.
Subject: Cases and Cooling, Shows and Expos | June 6, 2018 - 02:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: scmd, System Cable Management Device, seasonic, PSU, computex 2018, backplane
Seasonic have come up with a new cable management system which could replace the modular cabling that is the current choice for those who despise case clutter.
As you can see above, with a compatible PSU you are able to connect directly to the Seasonic Backplane, aka the SCMD, with all of your power plugs distributed on the side of the device. Simply connect the cabling you require, and leave out any you do not need. It is thin enough to fit behind your motherboard, thus hiding almost all of your wiring and also ensuring you do not have to stretch that additional motherboard power cable.
Seasonic claims that introducing the SCMD into your power loop will only drop efficiency by 1% overall, making it a perfect alternative to modular cabling. As with all things Computex this year, it does indeed sport an RGB logo, if you prefer to install it where it can contribute to the rave party in your case. We do not yet have a price or a date on which it becomes available, but Seasonic suggests it will come in three sizes to ensure a proper fit in almost any system.
Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 5, 2018 - 03:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: xenbook, UX580, thunderbolt 3, pantone, asus
ASUS revealed their new Xenbook, with its new ScreenPad and NanoEdge bezels, which give this laptop an 83% screen-to-body ratio. You will be able to get a variety of models, including a 4k alternative for those who can't stand 1080p anymore.
Inside you will find a processor of up to an i9-8950HK, 16GB of DDR4-2400, a GTX 1050 Ti and a 1TB PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD. The 15.6" screen is PANTONE vaildated with guaranteed Delta-E colour difference of less than 2.0 for the 4K display model and less than 3.0 for the 1080p, as well as 100% Adobe RGB and 132% sRGB coverage.
The ScreenPad is a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display, replacing a standard touchpad with support for up to to four finger gestures. As it is more capable than the run of the mill touchpad, ASUS included a configureable menu at the top of the ScreenPad, which can perform a variety of tricks. If you are using a compatible Microsoft Office product the menu will offer you various ribbon commands, or you can control your YouTube and Spotify sessions. If you prefer you can also use it as a secondary monitor or use the ASUS Sync app to display and control your smartphone.
This adds up to a powerful little machine, with a reported MSRP of $2300. Now have some PR ...
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling, Memory, Shows and Expos | June 4, 2018 - 05:39 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: RGB, M5, m3, h5, gigabyte, computex 2018, aorus
Gigabyte went full spectrum RGB at this years Computex, announcing an entire gamut of equipment with dancing colourful lights. The first of these are are the four piece AORUS RGB 16GB DDR4-3200MHz memory kit, which ships with two 8GB DIMMs and a pair of dummies.
The dummies, as you are no doubt asking yourself, are to let you populate all four DIMM slots and yet keep the price down to ~$230. The dummies are not dim, they have the same lighting features as the DIMMs do, making the rave in your case even more impressive.
The Aorus M5 and M3 mice also give off illumination which will satisfy dedicated RGB enthusiasts, especially when paired with the Aorus P7 RGB mousemat.
The M5 contains a Pixart 3398 optical sensor, capable of up to 16,000 DPI as well as removable weights which let you pick your preferred heft, at least between 18g to 130.5g. The M3 uses a Pixart 3988 sensor, which tops out at 6400 SPI which is honestly quite sufficient for the vast majority of users. The two mice are both able to function while slightly lifted about a surface and can produce 16.7 million hues with their RGBs.
Now that the inside and outside of your computer as well as the mouse and its mat are glowing away in glorious technicolour, you should not leave yourself out of the show. Strap on the Aorus H5 headset and become part of the show as you sync your ears with the patterns produced by your other peripherals. As with the other components the H5 is not just eye candy, the 50mm beryllium magnets in the headset will deliver your ear candy as well.
Keep an eye out for more from Gigabyte and Aorus.