Week in Tech: Nvidia Laptop Graphics Update

By Jeremy Laird on March 13th, 2014.

Yes, we’ve done the Nvidia Maxwell graphics thing already. As a desktop GPU, the new GeForce GTXs 750 and 750 Ti aren’t all that exciting. But the same Nvidia GM107 chip rebadged Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M and stuffed into a laptop? Suddenly, things get a whole lot more interesting. The specifics aren’t official yet. But it looks like GM107 might just deliver twice the performance for the same power budget as its predecessor and that’s pretty exciting for thin-and-light gaming lappies. And remember, this is just the beginning for Maxwell – the arrival of second-gen 20nm Maxwell mobile GPUs could be spectacular. While we’re here, I thought a beginners guide to mobile GPUs would be useful for some of you. What with all the branding shenanigans both Nvidia and AMD get up to in the mobile space, keeping track of what’s actually on offer isn’t always easy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Week in Tech: Intel Updates ‘Orrible Haswell, Faster SSDs

By Jeremy Laird on March 6th, 2014.

Intel's new CPUs Hz so good

An extra 100MHz. This is progress, Intel style. I speak of the expected refresh of Intel’s Haswell-vintage CPUs, due in a month or so. It’s a PR upgrade to what was already an underwhelming family of desktop processors and yet another example of some pretty specular foot-dragging from Intel in recent years. Will Intel’s next properly new family of chips, known as Broadwell, be any better? If not, we should at least be able to look forward to a big step up in SSD performance fairly soon in part enabled by Intel’s upcoming 9 Series chipsets. Well, it’s something to look forward to… Read the rest of this entry »

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Week in Tech: Proprietary PC Tech and Nvidia

By Jeremy Laird on February 27th, 2014.

Last week we caught an early glimpse of Nvidia’s latest and greatest GPU design, known as Maxwell. We’ll have to wait a while to see what impact it has on true gaming PCs, but the sheer power efficiency of the new architecture certainly looks promising. Anywho, the Maxwell launch event was a chance to hook up with Nvidia and quiz them on a subject that’s been vexing me of late, namely the rise of proprietary gaming tech – well, mainly graphics – for the PC. What with Mantle and HSA from AMD, G-Sync, 3D Vision and Shield-tethered game streaming from Nvidia, it feels like gaming hardware is becoming increasingly partisan. So what gives? Tom Petersen, Nvidia’s Director of Technical Marketing for GeForce, gave me the low down.
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Week in Tech: Nvidia’s Mighty New Maxwell Graphics

By Jeremy Laird on February 20th, 2014.

Nvidia’s new Maxwell graphics kit, then. It’s out but what’s it all about? Epic performance density and power efficiency is the elevator pitch, with a spot of improved cryptocurrency hashing thrown in for good measure. But are the first new Maxwell boards – the GTXs 750 and 750 Ti – the bomb or a bum deal? Read the rest of this entry »

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Week In Tech: I Dream Of Steam Streams

By Jeremy Laird on February 6th, 2014.

For a dying platform, the technical innovations for the PC aren’t half coming thick and fast. For starters, Alec and Graham have been dabbling with Steam’s new streaming capability. It all looks bloody clever to me and has the knock on effect of rebooting interest in some previously pretty pedestrian kit. £40 mini-ITX board with embedded Atom chip as basis for client streaming box (based on a free OS)? As if that wasn’t enough, AMD’s Mantle API has gone live with beta driver support, promising a brave new age of high performance gaming for all. Well, kinda. Read the rest of this entry »

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Week In Tech: Are SSDs Really Reliable?

By Jeremy Laird on January 30th, 2014.

Oh hell, it’s happened again. But this time it’s induced not only frustration but a sudden pang of guilt. Another of my SSDs has gone titsup.com and my borderline breathless fanboyism for SSDs is flashing before my eyes. What have I done? Have I been wrong all along? Are SSDs still not fit for public consumption? At the very least, it’s reason enough to re-examine just how reliable the latest solid staters are and whether the reward is worth the risk. Read the rest of this entry »

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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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