Posts Tagged ‘Hardware’

Elite Dangerous, Nostalgia, Joysticks & Returning To Space

By Alec Meer on April 11th, 2014.

I come and go on old franchises and old ideas being resurrected by rich old men for rather less rich and old men and women. Sometimes it seems like a roadblock to fresh invention, other times it seems like returning to roads that games were forcibly and unfairly turned away from as forces of marketing and demographic-chasing decided they weren’t suitably commercially viable. For example: space sims didn’t all but die out because the possibilities were exhausted. Though there have always been survivors, they all but died out because they required huge budgets to pull off well, but could not command the sort of easily advertised-at mainstream audience required to earn their keep. What remained turned inwards, servicing the very particular demands of a passionate few, and making themselves all the more inaccessible to those who were interested but not quite so fervent about it.

The comeback, thanks to the removal of almost all middlemen and the ability to engage directly with an audience large enough but spread far and wide, is something I find incredibly exciting. After having barely touched space games for years, I now find myself owning a £120 joystick and obsessed with Elite 4.
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Week in Tech: DirectX 12 And Faster PC Games

By Jeremy Laird on March 20th, 2014.

It’s not a huge surprise. But it is interesting. Microsoft has lifted the lid on its latest graphics API, DirectX 12. And the big news isn’t a fancy new rendering technology. The big news is better performance. Just like AMD’s Mantle API, DX12 promises to reduce CPU loads when playing games by as much as 50 per cent. Intriguingly, DX12 is coming to the Xbox One and phones, too. Which brings us to the really good bit. It looks likely your existing graphics card will be compatible with DX12. And that includes Nvidia GPUs… Read the rest of this entry »

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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: 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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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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RPS Xmas Compo: Win a Sapphire Radeon 290

By Jeremy Laird on December 26th, 2013.

What do points mean?

UPDATE:
We have a winner and a back-up (incidentally, the only two correct answers), both of whom have been informed by email. If you don’t have an email, I’m afraid you’re out of luck.

The answer is Intel’s aborted Larrabee graphics project. It was based on ancient Pentium MMX cores, the first ASIC was cancelled as a graphics chip and reappeared as a co-processor branded Xeon Phi under the codename Knight’s Corner. Would sir care for a vertex – geddit? Sigh.

Thanks to everyone who mailed in.

Right, then. This is your chance to win that slick, trick Sapphire Radeon R9 290 Tri-X. It’s been winning hearts and minds across the review community in recent days and the early numbers look like it delivers a gaming experience to match anything. And I mean anything. I doubt you’ll be able to feel the difference between Sapphire’s custom-cooled 290 and even Nvidia’s silly-money GeForce GTX 780 Ti. Fingers on buzzers, then. 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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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: 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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