Week in Tech: Flicker-free Screens, AMD Noise, Nvidia 780 Ti

By Jeremy Laird on November 7th, 2013.

Suffering from headaches, tired eyes and all-round gaming fatigue? Must be that flickering LCD monitor ripping up your retinas. No idea what I’m on about? BenQ would have you believe flickering LCD monitor backlights are the new evil and it has the solution. Flicker-free backlight tech. I’ve tried it and can reveal whether it’s the next big thing after 120Hz-plus panels. It’s not. Next! Graphics. AMD and Nvidia are currently squelching about and looking grumpy following of one of their traditional pissing contests. An unpleasant image but it’s good news because it means things are very closely matched. Still, we need to tidy up a few details after all the new GPU launches and some last minute changes including AMD’s Radeon R9 290 and its dodgy cooling and final specs on the Nvidia Geforce GTX 780 Ti. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wot I Think: Microsoft Warface Surface Pro 2

By Alec Meer on November 1st, 2013.

I did an exceptionally silly thing. I bought one of Microsoft’s terribly expensive laptop/tablet hybrids, the Surface Pro 2. Upon realising how silly this was, because it’s hardly got much gameability and I can’t ever upgrade it, I returned it. That wasn’t the exceptionally silly thing, though. That happened when I realised how much I missed the Surface, so two days later I went out and bought another one. From a different shop, of course – I couldn’t have faced the look on the salesperson’s face otherwise.

I am pleased, if slightly guilt-wracked, to report that I am now sticking with my purchasing decision. Which also means I’m in a situation to tell you whether this attempt to crossbreed faithful old Mr PC with flighty young Ms Tablet has been successful, from the point of view of someone who primarily uses their computer for the pursuit of entertainment.
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Week In Tech: The Bifurcatin’ PC, Nvidia Spoils AMD’s Party

By Jeremy Laird on November 1st, 2013.


With AMD making noise lately with new(ish) graphics cards and the threat of console-derived gaming domination courtesy of Mantle, the inevitable has happened. Nvidia has hit back. Predictably there’s a new and pointlessly pricey graphics chipset to take on AMD’s mighty Radeon R9 290X. Of more interest to we mere financial mortals are a range of broader technologies and updates, one of which is alleged to deliver the smoothest gaming mankind has ever seen. Meanwhile, is there a worrying new trend in the PC’s technical development? Certainly, there are early signs that a split in the hitherto relatively happy community that is the PC platform itself is becoming a realistic threat… Read the rest of this entry »

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Week in Tech: AMD’s Mostly Not-New Graphics

By Jeremy Laird on October 10th, 2013.


All of this has happened before. And all of it will happen again. AMD has just launched its latest family of ‘new’ graphics boards and I feel like number two’s been whispering portentous, spacey waffle in my ear. The spec lists for the new boards are shot through with galactic levels of déjà vu. But before you get completely bummed out by what mostly amounts to a major bout of rebranding from AMD, there’s a wildcard in the form of this weird new thing called Mantle. It might – just might – give AMD GPUs, including every Radeon HD 7000 already in existence, an unassailable performance advantage in the bulk of new games over the next few years. Read the rest of this entry »

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Week in Tech: Ultra-SFF Gaming FTW?

By Jeremy Laird on October 3rd, 2013.


Could it be true? That here in my mortal hand I do hold a nugget of purest gaming? Not exactly. It’s the latest and tiniest NUC, Intel’s so-called ‘Next Unit of Computing’. It’s a full-function PC with Intel’s best graphics ever. And it’s claimed to sport pukka gaming chops. Meanwhile, Valve has been punting SteamOS, the whole Steam Box thang is still on – as far as I know – and Xi3′s Piston has been priced up at a preposterous $1,000. Chuck all that into the mix and you might wonder whether the NUC looks a lot like a entry-level Steam Box, on the hardware side at least. And if so, does the small-form-factor gaming thing add up? Read the rest of this entry »

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Week In Tech: 4K, The Complete And Unabridged Shizzle

By Jeremy Laird on September 23rd, 2013.

It’s been a long, hot summer and there’s only so long one man can stare out over the Med and self-medicate-going-on-immolate on passable local vino (turns out that length of time is three weeks). The wi-fi was rubbish, anyway. So, I’m back with some regular updates on all things hardware related. And I’d like to kick off with 4K gaming. The best thing since the original bilinear-filtered graphics accelerators? Or, like stereoscopic 3D, just another over-hyped irrelevance that’ll give you a hurty head, an empty wallet and the sneaking suspicion that the tech industry is pathologically cynical? I’ve got the answers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Week In Tech: Haswell Mobile, AMD Goes GHz Gaga

By Jeremy Laird on June 17th, 2013.

Some of you were a teensy bit miffed by my unceremonious defenestration of Intel’s new Haswell CPUs as desktop chips. In fairness, when you’ve only played with the desktop iterations, that’s going to influence your outlook. And Intel really was asking for it. Anyway, while I mentioned Haswell has some serious mobile chops, it’s worth having a closer look at what it all means for mobile gaming and what you should be looking out for when bagging a laptop. In other news, AMD has annouced a 5GHz processor. Surely this can’t be the beginning of a new GHz war…? Read the rest of this entry »

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Build A Better-Than-Xbox-One/PS4 PC For £500

By Alec Meer on June 14th, 2013.

Well, don’t take that entirely literally. I’m just writing that to get your attention and/or I can’t think of a more accurate way to do it within the character limit. Obviously you can’t build your own Xbox One or PlayStation 4 – they use some custom hardware not available to PC-builders to do their next-generation thing, they’re running bespoke operating systems (and all the horror-DRM that goes with it) and contain it all with in a comparatively small black monolith that sits underneath your TV. Additionally, console games can be made to specific hardware requirements, which can entail a far great degree of optimisation than trying to target a hundred thousand million different PC configs. No matter what the console generation, the PC comparison can never be an exact one. What you can do, though, is build yourself a PC that has a little more grunt under the hood than these apparent future-machines, for pretty much the same amount of money.

To be honest, while hitting the £420 price of an Xbone is eminently possible, I’d recommend you spend just a little more on a games PC than that – it’ll last you longer, there’s more scope for upgrading later, games will look fancier and you won’t have to spend a week trawling price comparison sites. Either way, the idea that a beefy games PC costs thousands of dollars/pounds is an outdated and wildly inaccurate one.
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AMD Aiming To Smooth Ports Between PC And Console

By John Walker on June 5th, 2013.

Both the Xbox One and the PS4 are going to contain AMD graphics chips. Which must be lovely for them, and deeply annoying for NVidia. Of the current gen, the Xbox 360 has an AMD GPU, but the PS3 sports Nvidia’s idiotically named RSX ‘Reality Synthesizer’. The next gen consoles are both basically PCs in a box, and as such both are going to feature a version of AMD’s Radeon – the card that fills so many desktop PCs. And indeed both contain AMD CPUs too. According to a report on PC Advisor, that means Advanced Micro Devices (as I’ve just learned their name stands for) are hoping this means they can make ports far less of a faff.

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Hard Choices: Intel’s ‘Orrible New Haswell Chips

By Jeremy Laird on June 3rd, 2013.


Move along. There’s absolutely nothing to see.

Still here? Fine. Intel’s new Haswell CPUs are a non-event for the desktop PC. In fact, with Haswell Intel’s indifference to the desktop might just have been upgraded to spite. If you really must have an explanation, here it is. Read the rest of this entry »

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Week In Tech: Hands On With Those New Games Consoles

By Jeremy Laird on May 27th, 2013.

Ha, sorry. Not really. But it got your attention. And there’s a thin tendril of truth in it. It’s been a busy week in hardware and in my mortal hands I hold a laptop containing AMD’s Jaguar cores. The very same cores as found in the freshly minted games consoles from Microsoft and Sony. So what are they like and what does it mean for PC gaming?

Meanwhile, Nvidia drops a price bomb of the bad kind and Intel has some new chips on the way. Read on for the gruesome details. Read the rest of this entry »

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