To 4K Or Not 4K? The Pros & Cons Of Ultra-HD Gaming

By Jeremy Laird on July 30th, 2015.

With Laird Towers currently undergoing major renovations, RPS’s hardware coverage has been forced to retreat to the vaults. But that hasn’t stopped me. No, I’ve battled through the dust, the rubble, the builders lumbering about the place at ungodly hours of the morning (I regard consciousness before 9:30am as rather uncivilised) and the relentless tea-making to bring you some reflections on 4K gaming. We’ve covered several interesting alternatives to 4K of late including curved super-wide monitors, high refresh rates, IPS panels and frame synced screens. So does that experience put a new spin on plain old 4K, aka gaming at a resolution of 3,840×2160? Read the rest of this entry »

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Should You Upgrade To Windows 10?

By Alec Meer on July 29th, 2015.

Note – we originally published this Windows 10 feature earlier this month, but it’s now revised and expanded with new information to coincide with today’s release.

Windows 10 [official site] is out today. No, don’t ask about Windows 9. I’ve been running Insider builds of Microsoft’s new, we’re-so-sorry-about-Windows-8 OS for around a month now, which updated to the release version last week, so I reckon I can help you to decide whether you should or shouldn’t upgrade to it. And, indeed, how you can upgrade to it.

Here is the tldr take-home for you: I’m now running Windows 10 as my main and in fact only operating system on both my desktop and my laptop, and I don’t regret it. It’s a little more complicated than that, though. Always is, isn’t it?

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Windows 10 Is Quietly Sharing Your WiFi Password

By Alec Meer on July 28th, 2015.

It wouldn’t be a new version of Windows without at least a few entirely bewildering decisions on Microsoft’s part, but this one’s a high speed collision of face and palm even by the standards of the company behind Windows 8. In a nutshell, there’s this feature in Windows 10 which will automatically share your wifi passwords with any and all Outlook, Skype and Facebook contacts who also use Win 10. Or, were they to manually enter your password into their Win 10 device, it would by default be treated as ‘their’ network and shared with their contacts. In other words, be vigilant – otherwise you’ll end up with Kevin Bacon using your internet connection whenever he wardrives past your house.
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Asus MG279Q: The Messiah Of Monitors?

By Jeremy Laird on July 16th, 2015.

27-inch IPS LCD panel? Check. 144Hz refresh rate? Yep. Some kind of frame-smoothing adaptive sync technology? Present and accounted for. 2,560 by 1,440 pixels? Count ‘em. A price you can afford? Bit borderline, but that was inevitable. Is Asus’s new MG279Q therefore the perfect LCD panel, the one we’ve all been waiting for, the veritable messiah of PC monitors? I’ve been eyeballs-on. All will now be revealed…
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How To Keep Your PC Cool

By Jeremy Laird on July 2nd, 2015.

Lordy, it’s hot. Well, hot if you’re British. Call it seasonable by sticky Manhattan standards or a bracing Spring cold snap for Aussies. But it’s over 90 in old money and the nation’s infrastructure is melting. Well, my kitchen PC has just fallen over again with a CPU thermal trip. So, as far as I’m concerned, it’s chaos out there. Which reminds me. We’ve never really discussed how to keep your PC cool. Given gaming is probably the only thing most of us do that loads up both CPU and graphics, this is an oversight. So here are my top eight tips for keeping your PC cool. Most of them won’t cost you a a penny and they could well help your games run faster.
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Why Curved Monitors Aren’t So Crazy

By Jeremy Laird on June 25th, 2015.

click for a bigger version

In a revisionist purge of Stalinist, possibly even Balderickesque, proportions, I deny everything. I definitely did not say that curved LCD screens are an appalling gimmick conceived to exploit our most base consumerist tendencies. Or anything about delicious, plump-breasted pigeons. Not now that I’ve actually seen one, I didn’t. A curved screen, that is. Not a pigeon. I’ve seen those before. That’s not to say curved is the next big thing. But bent isn’t so bad after all. There’s something in this curved malarkey after all- here’s why.
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TUXFACE: CryEngine Adds Linux Support

By Alice O'Connor on June 19th, 2015.

The mythical ‘Year of the Linux Desktop’ never arrived as explosively as many predicted (surprise surprise) but the open-source operating system (don’t even start, pedants – it’s been a long week and I will tear your windpipe out with my own gnarled hands) has steadily become a fairly attractive alternative to Windows. Games were always a big problem, but look at us today: most major game engines run on Linux, and Valve have made a dedicated gaming OS out of it.

You can now add CryEngine to your list of Linux Game Things, as Linux support arrived in its latest update. Crytek also added native Oculus Rift support.

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Is AMD’s New Fury GPU A Titan-Killer?

By Jeremy Laird on June 18th, 2015.

AMD wheeled out a whole new family of graphics cards at E3 this week. And there was much rejoicing. Well, there was much scripted triumphalism on the keynote stage, at any rate. I say a whole new family. Inevitably, there’s some (read: a lot of) rebadging of existing GPUs. But there is one entirely new GPU, known as Fury. It’s an absolute beast and it costs a bomb. So not many of us will be buying it. But it does debut that snazzy new HBM memory tech. Anyway, as Uncle Ben would say and would probably make for more compelling dialogue than the gunk that actually makes the big-screen cut, with new GPU badges sometimes comes much improved value for money… Read the rest of this entry »

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Computex 2015 Round-up: Robo PCs And A Whole Lot More

By Jeremy Laird on June 11th, 2015.

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With tech conference Computex 2015 a wrap, it’s been a launchtastic week or two for PC clobber. We’ve seen a new GPU from Nvidia, those new Intel CPUs, 144Hz-plus-IPS-plus-G-Sync, all kindsa new SSDs, Transformer-style PC cases, G-Sync-touting laptops, pr0n-proof keyboards with pseudo-mechanical switches. The notion that the PC industry has become dull and commoditised hardly stacks up.

Here’s a round-up of the Computex news and what of it matters to you.

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Intel’s Baffling New Broadwell CPUs

By Jeremy Laird on June 4th, 2015.

Intel has finally, belatedly, possibly even reluctantly wheeled out its latest 14nm Broadwell CPU architecture in desktop processor trim (we’ve seen it before as a mobile chip). And it’s all a bit baffling. The new chips are not really direct replacements for Intel’s existing Core i5 and Core i7 gaming favourites. They’re not really faster, except when they occasionally are. And they set new standards for integrated graphics but still make absolutely no sense for gaming. In short, you needn’t rush out and buy one.
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The Best $700 / £500 Gaming PCs You Can Buy

By Jeremy Laird on May 28th, 2015.

It ain't pretty, but it will play games

Can you even buy a proper gaming PC for £500, or approximately $700? Not a PC that occasionally turns its hand to the odd ancient game. Quake III will run on an old smartphone, but that’s missing the point. Well, it’s missing my point, which is to sniff out whether half a grand is enough for a PC bought specifically, or at least substantially, for gaming. If so what you should go for and what, exactly, do you get for your money?
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Can AMD Make Gaming CPUs A Two-Horse Race Again?

By Jeremy Laird on May 21st, 2015.

This. Is. Zen. Probably

The roulette wheel of rumours that is PC hardware news is usually pretty pointless, unless bun fights over shader specs or clock speeds are your bag. But, occasionally, something really significant for the future moves into view. This is one of those times. AMD has been talking about its upcoming PC products and technologies in the last week or two, including a completely new CPU core and some fancy memory technology that might dramatically change the way we all think about integrated graphics and gaming. Is Intel’s stranglehold about to be loosened?
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Which SSD Should You Buy?

By Jeremy Laird on May 14th, 2015.

All of this has happened before. All of it will happen again. I speak of the seemingly constant state of flux that afflicts the solid-state drive or SSD market. Well, that and my posts on SSDs which routinely predict an end game for SSD tech that somehow arrives and then starts all over again. First it was stuttering drives, then it was random versus sequential and compressible versus incompressible. Latterly, it’s PCI Express versus SATA. Whatever, it’s time to catch up on SSDs. Have they finally attained the glories of BSG up to season 1.5 (don’t argue, it’s down the pan from season two, episode 11)? Or are we still looking at the horrors of the final five? Let’s find out if anything has really changed and what the best buy is here and now.
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