Posts Tagged ‘Hardware’

Windows 10 Impressions: Releasing Any Day Now Edition

By Alec Meer on July 9th, 2015.

It’s been seven months since I spent any meaningful time with Windows 10 [official site] – no, no-one’s found any reason beyond ‘marketing, durr’ for the absence of Windows 9. This is the ‘Xbox One’ firm, after all – and it’s just three weeks until the new OS releases. With new builds being pushed to the Insider program at whirlwind speed (there were three last week alone), we’re now at the point where we can have a pretty decent sense of what the finished product will look and feel like. I.e. should you or shouldn’t you upgrade to it? Here is the tldr take-home for you: I’m now running Windows 10 (currently up to build 10162) 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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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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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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