Hard choices: The Week In Tech

Pay attention!

Something old, something new, something borrowed and something doomed. That’s the remit, chaps, keeping you updated with all things hard and gamey every week. I’ll stick the best of the latest kit and most RPS-relevant trends under your snouts, a mix of kit I’ve tried, stuff I haven’t got my hands on yet but looks interesting and other things wot you need to know. This week, some sexy new screens, a new SSD from Intel, a pint-sized gaming portable, AMD on the ropes and more. So much more.

AOC’s bezelless beauties

Edge-to-edge IPS: AOC’s new panels

First up, a pair of new LCD panels from AOC. We’re talking 23 and 27 inches. We’re talking IPS. And we’re talking zero bezel. Well, almost zero bezel. Hold that thought.

AOC isn’t exactly renown for producing premium panels. Cheap and anonymous is AOC’s typical ruse. And these things aren’t the most aggressively priced panels. But there’s nothing quite like them, that I’m aware of at least.

To be clear, I haven’t done a full review of either and I’ve only seen the 27 incher in the liquid crystal. Anyway, what makes them special is down to the no-bezel effect. I’m not sure exactly how it’s achieved – i.e. whether AOC is simply packaging panels differently or whether there’s something new going on terms of the layers of filters and coatings. But the screens don’t have conventional bezels.

The surface of the panel, complete with a matte anti-glare coating (huzzah), extends very nearly to the very edge of the chassis. The limits of the actual pixel grid / display content don’t reach quite that far. But from a normal viewing distance the effect is very much of virtually zero bezel.

Visually, it’s pretty dramatic stuff. Suddenly, every other monitor on the market looks a bit dated, a bit clunky. Once you’ve seen one of these things in action, anything with a conventional bezel kind of blows.

Performance wise, I suspect we’re dealing with 6-bit panel tech. And the chassis quality is patchy upon close inspection. But from what I’ve seen, the 27-inch model has nice image quality and is well up to a bit of gaming.

There’s also an interesting angle involving multiple panels. With so little bezel, multi-monitor gaming could be interesting. OK, there’s no 120Hz action. And both panels are merely 1080p. No 2,560-pixel hawtness here. But I likey. Hopefully, other manufacturers will follow suit. Anyway, codes and prices for the two screens:

AOC I2367FH, circa £150
AOC I2757FM, circa £230

Step forward NVIDIA’s real high-end GPU

The NVIDIA Tesla K20X: Note lack of video ports

Some of you get upset about this. But as far as I’m concerned, NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 680 isn’t a high end GPU. It’s a mid-range GPU that turned out so brilliantly, NVIDIA can get away with charging top dollar for it.

But now the real high-end chip from the latest Kepler generation has finally hit the market. Problem is, it’s currently only available in co-processor form as an NVIDIA Tesla card, namely the Tesla K20X and Tesla K20.

They’re designed for general-purpose compute and specifically applications that benefit from massively parallelised floating point performance. In other words, they’re not graphics cards and you can’t use them as such. Anyway, the GPU at the heart of these cards is known as GK110 and it’s twice as complex as the GK104 chip found in the GTX 680.

Yes, some of that complexity is spent on functionality that’s utterly irrelevant to squirting out games at silly frame rates. But we’re still talking 2,496 shader cores to the 680’s 1,536. Youch.

What’s more, there are times when the 680’s somewhat cut-down architecture does hurt frame rates. GK110, I suspect, would beat just about any current game engine into a quivering, bloody pulp. Yes, maybe even Crysis the First. But will it ever make it into a graphics card?

I hope so. I like outrageously high end GPUs. They deliver in games in ways silly-money CPUs do not. And it’s just plain annoying to know NVIDIA has an epic graphics chip in hand, but won’t allow the world to game with it. But I honestly don’t know if it’s going to happen.

On the one hand, AMD’s aggressive pricing means it has a mightily competitive bunch of GPUs right now. And NVIDIA has past form when it comes to ensuring it scores the PR win of having the fastest single GPU in the world and at almost any cost.

On the other, m’colleague on ye olde print favourite PC Format, Dave James, recently pointed out that NVIDIA is holding strong on pricing in the face of AMD’s competition. So, maybe it’s not bothered. Fingers crossed, anyway.

Intel’s new killer SSD

Back in control: Intel’s new SSD has an in-house chipset again

Dabbling with SSDs has been a bit hit and miss for Intel. When it launched the X25-M back in 2008, there was much rejoicing. Intel had made SSDs reliable. Then it turned out Intel’s SSDs stuttered, too.

Since then, Intel’s SSD’s have had plenty of ups and downs. It’s earned a reputation for best-in-the-industry validation and reliability. But it’s fallen behind on raw technology and speed, eventually buying in controllers from third parties.

But now the new Intel SSD DC S3700 has arrived and it very much looks like Intel is back in the game. It sports Intel’s own third-gen controller. Overall, the new drive seems to match the best when it comes to the usual showbiz benchmarks but throw a whole new level of performance consistency and reliability into the mix.

I’ve been too busy driving the new Range Rover in Morocco (possibly the best new car launched this year, if anyone cares) to have a play with one just yet. But it looks awfully, awfully promising.

A bit better than benchmarking SSDs…

Anywho, if I was in the market for a drive at this very picosecond, I’d probably wing it and get an S3700. I know. Crazy.

Update: For clarity, the S3700 is targetted at enterprise customers, not consumers, so it’s very expensive. But I’m hoping the controller goodness will tranistion to Intel’s consumer drives fairly soon.

Eurocom’s little Monster

Not big, but is is tolerably clever

You’ve probably had enough talk of portable gaming in recent Hard Choices posts. But I’ve had the Eurocom Monster in for a few weeks and it’s worth a little mention.

It’s a 13-inch lappie with decent gaming chops. The headline specs of my sample are GeForce GT 650M and Core i7 quad-core, so it’s a little CPU heavy to be perfectly balanced for gaming.

But it’s genuinely compact and there aren’t many systems so small that can game like this wee beastie. The context here is ultraportables, so you’ll forgive the slight contradiction with my previous guidance re mobile GPUs.

Downsides include the bland, slightly cheapo whitebook chassis from Clevo, a mediocre LCD panel (piss poor viewing angles, but at least the 1,366 x 768 native is a good match for the GPU) and disappointing battery life of around three and a half hours. Anyway, it’s yours for about £650. It’s not perfect, but with the above caveats in mind, it’s worth a butchers. I’d put it on your shortlist if you’re looking for something very small but gaming-plausible.

AMD on deathrow

Say it ain’t so

Bear with me on this, there’s going to be some investor speak. But it’s worth it. AMD’s stock price is hideous right now, very nearly its lowest since 1990. That’s a very, very long time ago.

Sales of the new Trinity mobile chip are apparently poor. Its server chip sales are weak. And the Steamroller update for its core CPU design is rumoured to have been delayed to 2014. The graphics chips are doing well, but that’s a relatively small part of its business.

What about revenues from games consoles you (very probably don’t) cry? My understanding is that they don’t ultimately amount to much. AMD is still mostly about conventional x86 CPUs.

Intel and NVIDIA stock are bombing, too. But AMD is much weaker overall. It’s almost entirely dependant on traditional PC products, while NVIDIA has its Tegra ultramobile chip for phones and tablets as a get-out-of-jail card and Intel is simply big enough to bleed for years before turning terminal and has the resources to diversify in the meantime.

AMD reportedly has over $1 billion in cash in the bank, believe it or not. But at current burn rates, it’ll hit probably the wall within 18 months. Sooner if things get worse, which many expect. And with doubts over its future and its stock price in the pan, it can’t borrow money to invest its way out of trouble.

Put simply, AMD is in the poo. It needs to launch a miracle product inside a year. But all the interesting new stuff probably won’t appear until 2014.

If it does die, it will be truly horrible for the competition for both gaming CPUs and GPUs. This will effect you if it happens. You have been warned.

The good news is that we’ll know fairly soon. If AMD is still with us in two year’s time, then the crisis will be over. In the meantime, tell everyone you know to buy AMD products!

And finally…

Windows 8: Wot you think?

Windows 8 is out. OK, it’s not hardware. And I’ve not got a lot to say about it currently other than suspecting a Windows 8 tablet convertible is almost definitely in my future. I need more time to feel it in my bones. So what do you guys think about Windows 8? Have you tried it yet?

Toodles for now.


  1. BobbyDylan says:

    Windows 8. eeeewwwww…..

    • Prime says:

      I have the upgrade disk winging its way to me as I type. I look forward to meeting this strange hybrid betwixt OS and Mobile/OS.

      I think.

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    • Teovald says:

      Windows 8 : on one side we have got a weird melange between mobile and destop. This Frankeinsteinesque mixture has not been created by designers or ergonomists but by mad businessmen.

      And on the other side you have clear moves in the direction of a closed pc platform. Please no. Just no.

      My only hope is that it will kick-start Linux adoption, or at least backfire enough to force Microsoft to reconsider his positions. I am not holding my breath though.

      • MichaelPalin says:

        You mean, the same linux that is struggling with it’s own mobile inspired monstrosities that are Gnome 3 and Unity?

        • Premium User Badge

          Hodge says:

          This. Abysmal desktop environments are one thing Microsoft most definitely do not have a monopoly on.

        • Claidheamh says:

          While it is true that GNOME 3 and Unity are monstrosities, at least there are still plenty good alternatives.

        • silverhammermba says:

          Linux != Ubuntu. Just because Gnome 3 and Unity might suck doesn’t mean that suddenly there aren’t any other desktop environments to chose from on Linux.

    • Didden says:

      If all you use your PC for is Gaming, Windows 8 is awesome. Its so streamlined and trim. And the interface isn’t stopping me from launching games.

      • subedii says:

        If all I used my PC for was gaming, I wouldn’t own a PC.

        • Guvornator says:

          Amen to that.

        • vorvek says:

          What would you use then? D:

        • Oh Tyrone says:

          So, are you saying that PC:s are inferior to, say, consoles (I’m guessing here, but since that’s the top competing platform for gaming, I’d say it’s a reasonable guess) when it comes to gaming, but the fact that a PC is capable of other things as well makes it worth having one?
          Or are you saying that a PC isn’t a PC if all you do is play games?

          Please, do correct me if I’m wrong, but both of those statements seem a bit off to me. Master race, and all that.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Windows 8 + Start8 = pretty good, after all. I’ve been running on it for a few weeks now and don’t have any complaints. The new file transfer is excellent, it’s a lot faster to boot and shutdown and multi-monitor support has finally been improved.

      Also, I’ll do my little PSA again: if you’re a student, take advantage of Microsoft’s Dreamspark program to get a free copy of Windows Server 2012, then head on to link to win2012workstation.com to convert that into a fully working desktop OS. It’s basically indistinguishable from Windows 8, except you get access to a lot of high-end server features on top like an advanced firewall and extensive management options.

    • Miltrivd says:

      Exactly. And is not because of the silly environment ONLY.

      Modern (Metro) UI + Windows Store + Microsoft behaviors when implementing new features (link to en.wikipedia.org). Platform enclosing on the way. RT based devices are there already.

      Do not support that.

  2. Love Albatross says:

    That Eurocom laptop is relevant to my interests. I’ve been after something to replace an ancient 12-inch Dell XPS and it being no larger than 13-inches but still featuring a proper CPU and half-capable GPU fits the bill. That screen is off-putting though. The only other thing I’ve been able to find meeting my criteria is the 13-inch VAIO S. Anyone know if the NVIDIA 640M is any cop?

  3. lizzardborn says:

    AMD is in trouble, not ATI. ATI holds the line and is in better shape. I think that that part of the company will survive or be bought. And CPU-s are boring. In few years there will be ARMs good enough for gaming with the out of order execution of the recent cores and speed of development. And I don’t care what exactly will move my rig cpu wise. And there is always the possibility of viable emulator x86 – arm.

    Also the recommendation to buy products from a company that may be out of business is a bit like the Lehman Moment of Jim Cramer.

    • skinlo says:

      ATI doesn’t exist anymore. If AMD goes, the chances are their graphics card division (ATI) will as well, unless they spin that out as a new firm.

      • FriendlyFire says:

        It’d actually be likely that AMD would downsize until they basically become ATI, just with a new name and a different headquarters.

    • vorvek says:

      Well, the PS4 will use both an AMD CPU and a graphics card based on the 7900 series; I am guessing that will have a somewhat positive impact on their finances.

    • Jeremy Laird says:

      See my comment below re my doubts that there’s realistic hope someone will pick up bits of ATI and start knocking out PC graphics chips. Highly unlikely, I think.

  4. Clavus says:

    It’s already been widely concluded that the AOC isn’t exactly bezelless. The plastic edge is 2mm wide, but there’s another 10mm between that and the actual screen. Limitation of the actual LCD technology patented by LG.

    • grundus says:

      Thank you, I came here to say this. I expect anyone looking to buy them will notice this upon further research, but it should still be made clearer, even if Sir. Laird mentioned it briefly (edit: Ok, having read it properly that’s more than brief, but still). Still, even with the hidden bezel, the 6-bit IPS and the iffy build quality, that’s a 27 inch IPS for the price of a 24 inch Dell Ultrasharp. However the 23 inch is the same price as the 23 inch Dell, at least as far as I can see at a glance on that Amazon there.

      Also, as Sir. Laird made the point of multi-monitor gaming benefiting from the reduced bezel: The AOCs don’t have a VESA mount. I realise some people use desks for their gaming but if you’re building a sim racing/flight rig then the lack of VESA mounts is going to be a right pain.

      • Heighnub says:

        The 27″ may be around the same price as a 24″ Ultrasharp, but it is only 1920×1080, less than the Dell’s 1920×1200 (and a much lower PPI).
        It probably also doesn’t have a warranty as good as Dell’s.

    • arccos says:

      I was disappointed about this, too. Marketing-speak seems to be picking up a bit on “bezel-less” LCDs that aren’t actually bezel-less. If someone came up with the tech to be actually bezel-less, it would get lost in the noise.

      I guess the only way to swing this right now is a projection.

    • Jeremy Laird says:

      I think you must have missed the bit where I said, “the surface of the panel, complete with a matte anti-glare coating (huzzah), extends very nearly to the very edge of the chassis. The limits of the actual pixel grid / display content don’t reach quite that far.”

      Have you seen one in action, or are you writing it off based on something you’ve read?

      Regards the claims of misleading marketing, well, what do you expect? For AOC to market it as, “the amazing new AOC screen that has quite a small bezel. But it’s not actually bezelless, it’s 2mm wide. Oh and the pixel grid is a bit further in, too. So it kind of all depends on how you define a bezel. Please buy one!”

      Hardly. You market it as “virtually” borderless / bezelless. Anyway, I’ve seen the 27-inch model. It’s not my new pick of all panels or anything like that. I made it clear it wasn’t actually bezelless and pointed out other shortcomings.

      But it looks great and very different to normal screens. It’s an interesting screen that’s worth knowing about.

      • Ragnar says:

        The issue is what “quite that far” means. I took it to mean that the visual gap between screens would only be about 8 mm (4 mm for each screen), but it sounds like the gap is actually the same 24 mm (12 mm for each screen) that you’d find on Dell Ultrasharps. If the gap between screens is the same, does it really matter if the gap is plastic bezel or blank LCD screen?

        I agree that the bezel-less design is appealing, and that hopefully it would result in LCD panels that extend right up to the edge, but currently I feel like the dead space on the screen, the lack of VESA mounts, and the poorer QC means that you’re better off getting a Dell Ultrasharp for a little more money – at least in the 23″ monitor range.

  5. Shivoa says:

    AMD already have just about announced they don’t plan to complete with Intel on gamer x86 concerns (being a node behind will ensure they get less performance per Watt for overclockers and they’ve also said they’re not chasing the x86 bleeding edge of performance but will focus on mainstream, APUs, and diversify their work to other areas). If AMD do bleed out then someone will buy up ATi or another player will enter the market (possibly with ATi’s patent portfolio to work with) like one of the mobile companies that may be prepared to look beyond tile-based rendering and see what they can do with 100W+ and a lot more transistors.

    • Jeremy Laird says:

      Not convinced. Re the “someone will buy the ATI bit and keep it going” idea, if AMD goes to the wall, odds are pretty much all the good engineers will have legged it by the time anyone can buy the ATI bit.

      SO you’re left with the IP / patents. I agree that someone like Qualcomm (who has apparently set up shop just two buildings down the road from the ATI/AMD office in Canada and is already poaching ATI / AMD engineers) will likely buy the IP to make better graphics for phones and tablets. But I really can’t see them trying to take to NVIDIA. Even with all the IP, it would be such a big ask.

  6. ocelotwildly says:

    In relation to AMD circling the drain, does this have any impact on how we should approach current choices regarding graphics cards? I’m saving up to hopefully get my hands on a new monster gaming PC in about 6 months time and currently whiling away my lunch breaks on pcpartpicker and r/buildapc seeing what’s available (although I’m aware that in 6 months time there could be a lot more new tech out there).

    Current consensus seems to be that the 7970 with the newest drivers is the best available graphics card, but could AMD going under have an impact on that in the long run? If all driver development stops in its tracks, is that liable to leave it struggling to play the games of the future more than it’s Nvidia counterparts? Or do driver updates generally come to the end of their cycle when a new range of cards come out and the 7970 be frozen in time once they start developing something else?

    • Carbonated Dan says:

      don’t buy a £320 GPU now if you won’t be able to afford another one in two years – performance growth is such that you’re best off spending £160 now and £160 in two years

      what I’m saying is, if you’ve any concerns about value for money, don’t buy top end hardware

      • Snakejuice says:

        As someone who has used budget/mid-range systems his whole life (I’m 30) and recently started dabbling in more expensive stuff, I have to say that buying top end hardware is the best decision I’ve ever made. If gaming is your hobby and you spend most of your free time doing it then it just makes no sense to be cheap about it – buying quality hardware WILL improve your quality of life (or atleast your gaming experience)!

        PS. When I say hardware I don’t just mean CPU/GPU, I mean every part inside your computer and peripherals such as monitor, keyboard (get a mechanical one!) and mouse.

        • boniek says:

          You sir are scholar and gentleman. I arrived at precisely the same conclusion – don’t be afraid of spending more money on things you love to do because it is worth it by definition (assuming that by spending more money you get better stuff of course;))

      • Ragnar says:

        I would disagree. The bleeding edge is generally overpriced, but the next step down is usually a very good choice. For example, the i5 3750k rather than the i7 3770k for CPUs, or the GTX 670 rather than the GTX 680 for GPUs.

        The high-end card you buy now will match the mid-range card 2 years from now, but will give you much better performance for those two years. The GTX 470 I bought 2 years ago for $300 still has comparable performance to a $200 card today – for a savings of $100 versus buying a new $200 card every 2 years, and it gave me better performance for those 2 years.

        In addition, the high-end card will give you access to Eyefinity / Surround / Multi-Monitor gaming now that you would not have with the mid-range card.

    • Jeremy Laird says:

      AMD’s fate wouldn’t worry me inordinately if I was buying a GPU today. Whatever you buy today, you’re not going to be using it for pukka gaming five years from now. The technology moves one so fast.

      If things don’t look better a year from now, I’d probably take a more cautious view.

  7. Hoaxfish says:

    Been putting around on an old HP laptop with Win8 (since the preview releases).. the only real “oh hey, that’s cool” I’ve hit on is using the sidebar snap to put a to-do list while I continue to use the old Win7-style desktop.

    I updated the touchpad to a win8-compatible driver, but because it’s recessed rather than smooth with the rest of the laptop body, I can only manage some basic scrolling and the occasional edge-swipe (charms bar, or task switching… but not the down or up swipes). It’s an appalling experience, juddery, jerky, inconsistent, etc. I imagine it’s a bit better on a “flat” touchpad you get on more recent devices.

    Bought an older touch-monitor, but that doesn’t support edge swiping, so is frankly a waste of time to use with Win8 (i.e. double check before buying any old touchscreen in case it’s not actually compatible)

    Win RT/Surface RT seems to be having some issues with performance (also reports of the keyboard cover splitting open), so most people I know are waiting for the Surface Pro. Tablaptops are currently all expensive as heck, so I don’t see much coming from that direction.

    Probably the weirdest thing I’ve seen around Win8 hardware was a keyboard with added buttons specifically for the swipe gestures (e.g. one button brought up the charms sidebar).

  8. MichaelPalin says:

    I though AMD had a competitive product with the Fusion line. Isn’t the market big right now on the kind of devices that would benefit from CPU+GPU chips?

    • Carbonated Dan says:

      Fusion only competes at the bottom of the gaming market; non-gamers would be better off with an i3, and even the most cash-strapped gamers should think hard before picking up any AMD proc, even if it saves them £60 on a discrete GPU

      as for fusion lappies, welp, not a fan – a bud picked up a £750 fusion thing recently and I wish he’d consulted me first – sold well above the performance/price point

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        The hell are you talking about? The Fusion series consistently beats anything Intel has to offer in the integrated graphics area. If you’re going to spout fanboy nonsense, at least try to be just a little honest.

  9. SanguineAngel says:

    I have windows 8 and I cannot say enough bad things about it. But on the other hand, looking around the webs it seems an equal amount of people love as hate it. Maybe I’m just playing it wrong

    • Hoaxfish says:

      There’s a lot of “business stuff” about it not selling well, sales being below MS’ forecast etc. I think at the moment it may pick up a bit once we really see touchscreen hardware on the shelves (a lot of shops are holding back to avoid over-stocking it in case it really is an under-performing Vista 2.0).

      I don’t think it’ll be going away any time soon though. MS itself is talking about being “mutli-form” now (e.g. Xbox, phone, surface, smartglass being part of one “whole” product… very little PC/Windows-specific ideas)

    • lizzardborn says:

      You most certainly are. The problem is that microsoft had gone out of their way to make the right way impossible on the desktop. And also the right way is somewhat guilty of schizophrenia, and obscure. And very narrow.

      It is a usability nightmare with steep learning curve. One you get used to it, and all of it kinks it is acceptable and fast. Microsoft fucked up big time here.

      • SanguineAngel says:

        Narrow is most certainly the key word there in my experience thus far. I presume that 50/50 split comes down simply to what those people want to use their operating system for.

  10. melnificent says:

    Windows 8 on PC is the standard desktop with an oversized Start menu.

    At first glance you could be forgiven for thinking that it is a tablet based OS. Don’t let that start screen fool you. It’s just an oversized start menu, and is referred to as “Start” by the OS itself. Most applications run just fine, with a couple of early day quirks and gotchas to look out for, I had to google how to shutdown, which is pretty unforgivable for a current OS. There is a distinct lack of menus in native applications with the desktop versions having the ribbon UI and the Modern UI (Metro) needing a right-click to get the options.
    You will spend as much time on that tiled start screen as you do in your start menu on other versions of windows, ie very little. I’ve been using windows 8 since release and I only see the start menu when I’m using system application. Start > Right Click > All Apps is your friend. It shows what would have been the nested start menu system in a flat file system, headed by folder names. I found myself liking this one feature of the windows 8 as it makes finding that elusive shortcut, you know the one nested in 3 menu’s under a different option, a lot easier to locate.

    At first glance it seems like a Frankensteins monster, with multiple influences stuck together with tape, glue and string.
    On closer inspection it’s more the mad hatter, CHANGE PLACES EVERYONE, it’s a whole being, but has a tendancy to flip out because it can. And like the mad hatter, they think they are in charge of everyone, and can place bizarre restrictions where and how they choose to do things.

    When it comes to the important stuff, gaming, it’s a mixed bag.

    OpenGL support is non existent in the standard drivers. FTL runs at about 15fps on windows 8, compared to 60fps vsynced on windows7. GLQuake which is over 15 years old runs in single digit FPS on the starter hallway, provided it starts at all.

    DirectX is similarly half-baked. The Walking Dead requires a windows 7 dll just to stop DirectX faulting when a controller is plugged in at startup. Luckily it’s a simple enough to do, but this shouldn’t be needed.
    Benchmarks show that the improvement in DX games is a fraction of a percent in most cases. With OpenGL being a downright failure throughout on standard drivers.

    Is it the start of a graphics standards war again? Purposely crippling OpenGL to force games on windows to use DirectX. In the PC world, this could have a knock-on effect for the linux market. Supporting Win, Linux and MacOS would be costly and extremely time consuming as windows starts to subvert the standards again.
    The other effect is to limit development of console titles to the MS platform as that will be the only one that will fully support DirectX. It’s a definite hostile move. But how long will it last?

    Installing Nvidia’s new drivers fixes some of the openGl issues.
    AMD/ATI drivers make no difference at present.
    But the sheer numbers of people buying pc’s that will have windows 8 installed and have no clue about drivers will undoubtable have an influence over the future direction of AAA game support. And may also have some influence over indies.

    I’m really, really hoping it continues to be badly received as it is currently. As if it isn’t then it will be bad for the entire PC and gaming market

    • FriendlyFire says:

      FTL runs butter smooth here, and I’ve had no issue with any OGL, DX8, 9 or 10 game thus far, and that’s with the AMD drivers. Obviously if you’re trying to run games with the generic drivers performance is going to suck, but that’s ALWAYS been the case.

  11. KingCathcart says:

    Windows 8 – It’s ok.
    Boots up nice and fast, has some interesting new features.
    The whole start menu/tablet app thing is pretty meaningless unless you have a touch screen but you can more or less ignore it.

  12. Nucleus says:

    Have been on Win8 since the release. Yeah, the metro-thing is awful on the PC, but you dont really have to use it and the performance gain is noticable enough to make it worth it.

  13. mondomau says:

    “AOC I2757FM, circa £230″
    You have got to be fucking kidding me. I just dropped £400 (actually £320 ex VAT since it’s a business expense) on the Hazro 28” model a month or so ago.

    EDIT: “OK, there’s no 120Hz action. And both panels are merely 1080p. No 2,560-pixel hawtness here.”

    Ah, ok. I am mollified. /Tantrum off.

  14. Dood says:

    Interesting article. But what’s up with the weird out of place Range Rover product placement?

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      He is also a car reviewer, so he sometimes puts in what automobile he’s reviewing at the moment.

      At any rate, I disagree. SUVs are a plague in the automobile industry, with people lacking in any form of sense or taste lapping them up, making Audi and BMW spin out endless pointless iterations (the SUV coupe hybrids, eugh). Even Lamborghini has a shit looking one in the line.

      The best car this year is without doubt the Pagani Huayra. Such presence!

  15. tigershuffle says:

    Nvidia are smelly pirate hookers

  16. pepper says:

    This article has a great ‘staring eyes’ tag deficit!

  17. Bobtree says:

    “This will effect you if it happens.”

    A shameful display.

  18. DrGonzo says:

    Using Windows 8 and there’s no going back for me. If you’re into music creation on Windows it’s a must. It minimizes crackling and interference. My cpu rarely goes over 3 or 4% usage even with NI Massive going, and even Tyrell no longer crackles.

    • Shortwave says:

      Why did you have to tell me that? … DAMMIT.
      /me goes to install 8

      BAH, I hate to love you..

    • Oh Tyrone says:

      This is the best news in… well, at least two days! Could you possibly tell me if resource handling has gotten any better as well? On Windows 7, I frequently have problems with stupid Omnisphere hogging all my memory, so if that’s been improved, I’m switching as soon as possible.

    • fish99 says:

      I don’t really get why Win8 would make your DAW and VSTs more cpu efficient, or why you used to have audio crackles on your previous OS :p

  19. james.hancox says:

    Here’s hoping AMD’s Jagwar is as good as people are making it out to be, their Bobcat was really pretty brilliant for what it was. *fingers crossed*

  20. SquareWheel says:

    I’m digging Windows 8 so far. It’s like Windows 7+1. Don’t enter metro-mode very often so that doesn’t really effect me.

    Lots of bandwagoning going on. It’s cool to hate, I suppose.

    • Snakejuice says:

      I don’t know if hate is the right word, I’d rather say worried. Windows RT is a CLOSED platform, Windows 8 looks EXACTLY like WinRT. I simply don’t know how not to be worried about this.

      If WinRT was an OPEN platform I would have already gotten Win8 but now I just hope it fails.

  21. frightlever says:

    In general I love these hardware overviews, though less so just a month after putting together am entirely new PC.

    With new tech you should probably make it clear that you’re high-lighting the probable current best, rather than actually making a purchasing recommendation. With something like the new Intel SSDs it would probably be safer to see how they fare once they’ve been out for a while.

    • Jeremy Laird says:

      Frightlever, old thing. I said I hadn’t had a chance to play with it. I used language like “wing it” and “crazy” with ref to buying one. Surely it’s very clear I’m not making a conventional buying recommendation!

  22. roryok says:

    I increasingly feel that I may be the only person on the planet who likes (likes) Windows 8. It’s like a slightly faster, slightly neater version of Windows 7, which was already awesome. Everything works on it, and I find the start screen better than the classic start menu.

    I’ve heard the surface has issues, and I imagine Windows RT is kind of limited. But Windows 8 Pro is making me happy.

    • Prime says:

      I’ve been wrestling with W-8’s image myself; at first I really wanted to hate this one. I think it stems from not wanting to be bitten like people were with Vista or even the appalling Window ME. Like Star Trek movies this is the turn of the bad step-child to menace us all. However, careful reading online seems to turn up a lot of people genuinely happy with the improvements it brings to W7, and they make it seem easy to either dismiss and ignore Metro or learn to accept it.

      I have it on order and am getting excited to try it. Fingers crossed!

    • roryok says:

      If I hadn’t needed to install it for work I probably wouldn’t have, and like you I’d have originally been on the fence. And I’d be listening to all the naysayers and people like notch who say it’s destroying PC openness or whatever. I mean, from all the talk, one would assume it was some kind of horrible iPad / GFWL lovechild

      But I had to install it, and I now prefer it to windows 7. As for the PC openness comments, all the PCs in my house can run linux, xp, windows 7 etc, and also windows 8. And again, any windows 7 apps or games I’ve tried have run. I don’t see how it limits openness anymore than the previous versions did. As a developer (not games but still) I can say all it adds is opportunities, and all it takes away is a menu from 1995

  23. Sakkura says:

    The Intel SSD DC S3700 is an enterprise drive, so it has enterprise pricing. Leave it alone and get a Samsung 840. Or an 840 Pro if you want to splurge.

  24. Roz says:

    A new game, drink every time Jeremy writes ‘Bezel’ in the first section.

    Oh, and free windows 8 keys – link to windows.microsoft.com
    Read about it here – link to extremetech.com