Posts Tagged ‘Hardware’

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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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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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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Why £200 / $250 Is The 1080p Graphics Card Sweet Spot

By Jeremy Laird on April 30th, 2015.

Is this the best sub-£200 board you can buy?

What’s the best graphics card mere mortals can buy for around £200 / $250? This is a question for the ages. Or at least for a slow Thursday evening. In all seriousness, the £200 / $250 price point ticks a lot of important boxes. It’s been in and around the sweet spot for balancing price and performance for properly gameable graphics for a while. I reckon it’s also pretty near critical mass in terms of how much you lot are willing to spend on a video board. At a push, most of us can stretch to £200 / $250 if the payoff is great gaming. Luckily, it is.
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The Most Pointless Hardware In PC Gaming

By Jeremy Laird on April 23rd, 2015.

Catharsis comes in many forms. But there’s none so satisfying as a good old fashioned sweary rant. Hell, I’m not even talking about a pseudo-Charlie-Brooker-but-not-nearly-as-witty polemic. More shouting obscenities into the wind. The time has come for me to unload on my top ten most cursed ruses in PC gaming hardware. In truth, the following is not entirely devoid of practical insight. But you have been warned. It ain’t pretty. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wot I Belatedly Think: Surface Pro 3

By Alec Meer on April 17th, 2015.

bigger on the outside

Older readers may recall not a lot, what with being old and all. Only slightly older readers may recall my talking about replacing my laptop with a Surface Pro 2 around 18 months ago. Microsoft’s tablet/laptop hybrid has served me reasonably well for work and play, but the one aspect of it I increasingly struggled with was the size.
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G-Sync vs. Freesync: Which Dynamic Refresh Is Best?

By Jeremy Laird on April 9th, 2015.

The best things in life aren't free

It feels like whole months since there was a good old fashioned fisticuffs between AMD and Nvidia. They do so love a PR punch up. But this one’s a bit different. Nvidia’s G-Sync technology versus AMD’s FreeSync isn’t the usual trench warfare over fractions of a frame per second. It’s much more interesting than that. It’s all about something called dynamic or adaptive refresh and how that can make games run much more smoothly without necessarily upgrading your video card and even at modest frame rates. G-Sync has been available for a while. But now the first FreeSync panels are out battle can commence…

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Why You (Might) Need A Decent PC Case

By Jeremy Laird on March 26th, 2015.

The ultimate in modular construction and max-flow air cooling...

Do you need a proper PC case? Not really, no. In fact, you don’t strictly need a PC case at all. A fully functional PC will actually hang together perfectly well without one. Would you appreciate one? Ah, now that’s more complicated question. I therefore present to you the proverbial good PC case, and a semi-serious dissertation that examines some of the more convincing reasons why you might want one.
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SteamVR: A Chat About What Worked And What Didn’t

By Alec Meer on March 20th, 2015.

Alec and Graham have both had a go on SteamVR, aka the HTC Vive (as described here and here). Yes, aren’t they glorious, beautiful, shining examples of humanity? You can touch them if you like. No, not there. And not for that long. What are you.. ew, no, no, get off.

Actually, just stand over there and avert your eyes while they have a big old natter about what worked best, what might go wrong in practice, where this might all lead to, whether this is basically MAGIC, Valve vs Oculus and whether the hell we should let children use this thing.
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Is Nvidia’s New Titan X Uber-GPU Good Enough?

By Jeremy Laird on March 19th, 2015.

All in black: Nvidia's big new beastie

The same. But different. In a good way. That’s the take-home from the launch of Nvidia’s new Titan X graphics. Yes, it’s another $1,000 graphics card and thus priced well beyond relevance for most of us. And yet it’s different enough, philosophically, from Nvidia’s previous big-dollar Titans to signal something that does matter to all of us. The focus with Titan X has moved back to pure gaming and away from doing other variously worthy and unworthy stuff on GPUs, like folding proteins or, I dunno, surveying for oil.
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You Can Have Windows 10 This Summer, If You Like

By Alec Meer on March 18th, 2015.

yes, yes grimdark macho colours for xbone fans

Is Windows 10 out this summer? Yes, Windows 10 is out this summer. Honestly, some news stories are hard to take anywhere.

Er. Well, it seems that, in the Northern Hemisphere at least, June 21 is the first official day of summer and September 22nd the last, so there’s your Windows window. Unless Microsoft pull a fast one and go with Southern Hemisphere timing. They’re crrrrrrrrazy like that, these Microguys.
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Why You Need A Solid-State Drive

By Jeremy Laird on March 12th, 2015.

SanDisk Extreme Pro, m'current SATA SSD weapon of choice

You might think the technical properties and real-world performance of your PC’s hard drive is pretty tangential to your gaming experience. After all, games are not rendered on hard drives. And yet you would be wrong. I view a decent solid state drive as one of the most important cornestones to any half-decent PC. And that includes half-decent gaming PCs. As why-you-needs go, then, this one is awfully easy.
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