Posts Tagged ‘week in tech’

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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Can AMD Make Gaming CPUs A Two-Horse Race Again?

By Jeremy Laird on May 21st, 2015.

This. Is. Zen. Probably

The roulette wheel of rumours that is PC hardware news is usually pretty pointless, unless bun fights over shader specs or clock speeds are your bag. But, occasionally, something really significant for the future moves into view. This is one of those times. AMD has been talking about its upcoming PC products and technologies in the last week or two, including a completely new CPU core and some fancy memory technology that might dramatically change the way we all think about integrated graphics and gaming. Is Intel’s stranglehold about to be loosened?
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Which SSD Should You Buy?

By Jeremy Laird on May 14th, 2015.

All of this has happened before. All of it will happen again. I speak of the seemingly constant state of flux that afflicts the solid-state drive or SSD market. Well, that and my posts on SSDs which routinely predict an end game for SSD tech that somehow arrives and then starts all over again. First it was stuttering drives, then it was random versus sequential and compressible versus incompressible. Latterly, it’s PCI Express versus SATA. Whatever, it’s time to catch up on SSDs. Have they finally attained the glories of BSG up to season 1.5 (don’t argue, it’s down the pan from season two, episode 11)? Or are we still looking at the horrors of the final five? Let’s find out if anything has really changed and what the best buy is here and now.
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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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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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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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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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Why You Don’t Need More Than Four CPU Cores

By Jeremy Laird on March 5th, 2015.

We’re back and this week I’m saving you even more money by telling you why you don’t need more than four processor cores in your PC for gaming. You don’t need more now. And you almost definitely won’t need more for several years to come. What’s, er, more, even if your cores are quite crusty, you’re probably fine.
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Why You Need A Monitor With Adaptive Sync

By Jeremy Laird on February 19th, 2015.

We’ve done IPS panel tech. We’ve done high refresh. So let’s wrap up the holy trinity of gaming-relevant monitor technologies of late. It’s time to talk frame syncing or adaptive sync. Probably better known via brand names like Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync, frame syncing technology is all about getting your games running smoother and without any nasty screen tearing. But here’s the twist. It does that without requiring that your games run faster or that you buy a $/£1,000 mega-GPU. And it really is rather lovely
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Why You Need A High-Refresh / 120Hz-plus Monitor

By Jeremy Laird on February 12th, 2015.

Did somebody say something about IPS and high refresh?

Last week we rolled out the first in a new series of why-you-need-stuff posts. The idea being, assumptions about what is good and why come a little too easily with the ongoing churn of PC hardware news and product launches. So, let’s go back to basics with these assumed goodnesses. I kicked off with IPS monitor technology and while healthy discussion of the pros and cons of IPS ensued, so did some wailing and gnashing of teeth that a gaming website had appeared to be dismissive of high refresh rates and glossed over 120/144Hz.

This was because high refresh rates are a separate issue from panel type. Something worthy of a post of its own. This post, in fact. Is faster really better when it comes to screens?
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Why You Need An IPS Monitor

By Jeremy Laird on February 5th, 2015.


Welcome, everybody, to the first in an impossibly exciting new series of posts in which I tell you why you need to buy stuff. Or maybe why you don’t. If that sounds a lot like what I’ve already been doing with Week In Tech, there’s a twist.

The point is that a lot of jargon gets thrown around when it comes to PC hardware. Too often assumptions are made. Assumptions about what is good and bad. Assumptions about what everybody understands or cares about. With all that in mind, we thought it would be good to go back to basics with stuff that sometimes seems obvious but actually isn’t. We’ll start with IPS panel technology in PC monitors. If you’re thinking about buying a new screen, you need to know about this.

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Week in Tech: Is Nvidia’s New £150/$200 Graphics Good?

By Jeremy Laird on January 29th, 2015.

Almost definitely not what a retail 960 will look like...

Ah, the glories of high-end graphics chips. The billions of teensy little transistors. The preposterous pixel pumping power. All terribly impressive. But not hugely helpful if you simply want half-decent frame rates on a plain old 1080p monitor without re-mortgaging everything short of the shirt on your back. In an ideal world, what most of us really need is an affordable £150/$200 graphics card that’ll hook up to that 1080p monitor and run almost anything you chuck at it without worrying about optimising the settings. Well, it just so happens Nvidia has a new GPU that fits the bill, on paper at least. It’s the Geforce GTX 960. Is this the mainstream marvel we’ve all been waiting for?
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