The RPS Verdict: Steam In-Home Streaming Beta

By Alec Meer on January 30th, 2014.

A computer and a stream, yesterday

The first raft of people have been allowed into the beta of Steam’s upcoming In-Home Streaming tech, which enables you to stream pretty much any Steam game (and even a few non-Steam games) from your main games PC to another PC elsewhere in the house. Among those people are Graham and Alec, who’ve been trying it out on assorted hardware, and who here sit down to have a good old chinwag about their respective experiences. It’s a great idea on paper, but does it really work? Yes, obviously it does or they wouldn’t have released it. But does it work well? Sir, you are being clickbaited.

(Yes ok it works quite well, sort of, depending on your setup and which games you try, but please read the article anyway).
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Week in Tech: Sony Vaio Tap 11, Will It Game?

By Jeremy Laird on January 23rd, 2014.

As I wandered the debris-strewn wasteland of discarded smartphones that is the aftermath of the perfect storm of disposable consumerism at CES in Vegas earlier this month, my plan had been to regale you all with a twisting tale of ultra mobile technology and gaming. To talk about the iPhone and how its performance has ballooned by 40 times since introduction in 2007. And what it all means for the PC. I wrote it up and even managed to crowbar in an anecdote about the afternoon I spent lounging in the sun at the Colombo Swimming Club chatting to Arthur C. Clarke without once mentioning 2001 (true story and all that). But then I thought sod that whimsy, I’ll save it for another day. I’ve got an Intel Haswell-powered Sony Vaio Tap 11 at the moment. Will it game? Read the rest of this entry »

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Week in Tech: AMD’s new single-chip console killer

By Jeremy Laird on January 16th, 2014.

Kaveri. Heterogeneous computing. Mantle. What? I just want a decent CPU and graphics card, please. Don’t know about you, but feels to me like you need a masters in integrated circuit design to keep up with PC processor and graphics tech at the moment. AMD has just outed Kaveri, its latest APU or CPU-GPU thingie. What with all this heterogeneous computing stuff, the promise of Mantle and an integrated graphics core that’s not far off next-gen-console performance parity, Kaveri pulls together the tangled web that is AMD’s current strategy in a single chip and puts a different spin on what’s important in PC processors. It’s also bloody confusing. Is Kaveri any good, what does it all mean, should you care, can you even keep up? Answers of sorts I shall provide. Meanwhile, a quick note on Dell and its alleged 30Hz 4K clanger. Read the rest of this entry »

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Week in Tech: CES Show Special

By Jeremy Laird on January 9th, 2014.


Pull up a chair, pop the kettle on, stoke the fire, strangle a cat – whatever it is that loosens you up for some serious hardware hotness (Legal disclaimer: Do not strangle a cat) – and brace yourself for my CES round-up. We’ve already covered a few of the major announcements and developments, including Steam machines, high-res Oculus Rift and Razer’s Project Christine easy-upgrade shizzle. So, here’s my guide to the other PC gaming-relevant wonders from the festival of rampant, nihilistic consumerism that is the CES show in Las Vegas. There’s plenty to talk about including the messiah of monitors (Asus’s G-Sync-enabled, 1,440p effort), AMD’s G-Sync-bashing FreeSync and next-gen APUs, high-DPI PCs gone mad, an RGB-backlit keyboard and slick new cases from Corsair and, well, just stuff, stuff, stuff. Read the rest of this entry »

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RPS Xmas Compo: Custom-Cooled Sapphire Radeon 290

By Jeremy Laird on December 19th, 2013.

What do points mean?

Becoming blasé about big money graphics boards is something of an occupational hazard for a tech hack. Actually, all-too-easy access to that kind of kit can make one complacent in all kinds of unpredictable ways. For instance, why, oh why, didn’t I mine bitcoins with all those high-end GPU samples when I had the chance? But I digress. The point I’m trying to make is that pulling the trigger on the latest and greatest graphics is hardly a given for most of us. But one of you won’t have to worry about that, because we’re giving away what could well prove to be the best all-round pixel pumper on the market. An AMD Radeon R9 290 with Sapphire’s custom Tri-X cooling. Read the rest of this entry »

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Moore’s Law and the Golden Age of PC Gaming

By Jeremy Laird on December 12th, 2013.

Intel's Gordon, not Black Mesa's

Walker’s recent post on the prima facie petrifying plummet in PC sales got me thinking. Or rather rebooted a thought process I’ve been mulling lately. Just what is happening to the PC? You can make a strong argument, for instance, that we’re entering a golden age of PC gaming. Faster graphics, cheaper ultra-HD screens, the new consoles as thinly disguised PCs, VR technology – the next five years or so are going to be fabulous. But there are also signs the wheels are falling off the entire enterprise of the PC as a computing platform. Then there’s the ever-present threat of Moore’s Law hitting the wall. Can we say anything concrete about it all (the future of the PC, not the looming wall)? Prepare yourself for a multi-topic treatise… Read the rest of this entry »

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Wot I Think: Logitech G602 Mouse

By Alec Meer on December 11th, 2013.

I’m always a little confused whenever anyone starts talking about the need to replace the mouse with something touch-y or pad-y or any other kind of funnily-shaped objected intended to act as ferryman between the world of flesh and the world of pixels. I like mice. They do the job well, they’ve evolved into high-precision, versatile objects and they remain a great metaphor for remotely poking and prodding at another dimension. I’m a right sucker for regularly picking up new ones that I become (incorrectly) convinced will somehow transform my working and playing life, thanks to their claims about DPI, button placement, mechanically-augmented scroll wheels and spurious new colours of laser. I’ve got about a dozen of the bloody things kicking about in various states of disrepair or simple abandonment. Lately added to the pile is Logitech’s taser-esque G602, a wireless, gaming-centric effort that looks like it fell off the new Robocop.
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Week in Tech: Ask Oculus, Cheap 4K, Other Stuff

By Jeremy Laird on December 5th, 2013.

Happiness is an ultra-HD, low-latency VR headset

The Oculus Rift. You ask. They tell. Everything you want to know. That’s the plan, anyway. They’re busy chaps, but I’ll dust off my boxed copy of Windows 98 and do my best to beat some answers out of them. In the meantime, there’s been some movement in the 4K display arena. Dell has announced a couple of new 4K PC monitors, including a 24 incher (think of the pixel pitch, oh my science the pixel pitch) and what looks like a bargain priced 4K TN monitor. Oh, and some other stuff including an update on AMD Radeon R9 290s with better cooling in time for Xmas and a solution to one of the last great challenges in modern life, plugging in USB devices. Read the rest of this entry »

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Week in Tech: The Case for a New PC

By Jeremy Laird on November 29th, 2013.


Today, gentlefolk of RPS, I intend to make a case for a new PC. Case for a new PC, geddit? Sigh. Anyway, the other day I was aboard the good ship PC Format Magazine, still steering a firm and true course through the marketing-infested waters of PC hardware and gaming and like all worthy vessels, er, unapologetically made of wood. Or maybe it’s pressed peanut sweepings these days. Whatever, I happened upon none other than the latest revision of BitFenix Prodigy, the Prodigy M, a PC case I’ve always liked the look of but never had the chance to poke around. Turns out it’s a very nice little item indeed. There’s been plenty of talk about Steam Boxes and ultra small-form-factor rigs round these parts, but less on the arguably more practical topic of cases in general and what makes for the best compromise in terms of form factors. So, let’s talk. Read the rest of this entry »

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Week in Tech: The PC is Doomed, Long Live the PC!

By Jeremy Laird on November 21st, 2013.

Transparent aluminum?!

Or maybe it’s the other way round. Anyway, the Xbox One only has 16 ROPs. I know, 16 ROPs. The humiliation. The humanity! Nvidia’s GeForce 6800 had 16 ROPs in 2004. No idea what I’m on about? It’s cheap point scoring from a smug PC evangelist, of course, but also just a single entry in a long list of reasons why the PC is looking pretty clever now the new consoles are roaming the wild. On the other hand, I’ve had a grope around the latest factoids and rumours relating to PC processors for the next year or so and the shape of things to come feels awfully familiar. Maybe the prophets of doom are right, after all… Read the rest of this entry »

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Week in Tech: SSD Update. Just Buy One

By Jeremy Laird on November 14th, 2013.

It’s been many moons since our last update on solid state of play. And now the SSD game finds itself in a bit of an odd spot. It seems like we’re on the cusp of a big transition, what with new PCI Express-based interfaces on the horizon. At the same time, existing SATA III drives feel like they’ve finally grown up, decided to give the ‘rents a rest and started behaving reliably and responsibly. The tech has matured and the end user experience is converging on something subjectively ‘good enough’. Just pick a drive at random from one of the decent outfits and you’re good to go. Then again, wouldn’t it be bloody annoying if you bought an SSD today only to find the entire market turned on its head by super-fast drives in the space of a month or three. What should you make of it all? Read on, chaps, read on… Read the rest of this entry »

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