Say hello to Katharine Byrne, our hardware editor

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The hivemind grows stronger! After years of wishing we could expand our hardware coverage, we’ve finally found the perfect person to help us do it. Katharine Byrne joins us with years of experience and has already set about writing guides, reviews, and educating the RPS team about what all the bits of plastic inside their computer boxes do. Come and share your best welcomes in the comments below.

Katharine joins us from MCV where she was news editor and prior to that spent years writing about hardware for Expert Reviews. As RPS’s first hardware editor, Katharine will be writing and editing words about all the plastic bits in and around PCs, with a focus on clear, expert advice that doesn’t break down into an incoherent jumble of graphs and jargon.

Like Matt, Katharine has already been writing for the site over the past month, producing reviews of monitors, keyboards and headsets in that time, and there’ll be plenty more to follow in the weeks and months ahead.

You can read about all of Rock Paper Shotgun’s beautiful writers on our about page, including Adam, Alec, Alice, Brendan, Graham and John. But not Matt or Katharine because Graham still hasn’t got around to adding them yet. Give him a minute.

Say hello to Katharine!

72 Comments

  1. Darkmessage says:

    Hello

  2. Rulin says:

    Cool, hi Kat and welcome!

  3. S-Hellequin says:

    You must be either very brave or very foolish- ahem, I mean, WELCOME!

  4. DarkFenix says:

    Well at least this one has arms.

  5. Sp4rkR4t says:

    Hi Katharine, while I fully support the idea of RPS expanding it’s hardware coverage and it not descending into graphs & figures, in some instances (monitors & GPUs especially) some of the numbers really are important and what I have seen over the past few weeks haven’t exactly been the most helpful.

    Heres hoping the hardware section grows into something helpful and informative going forward.

    • Katharine Byrne says:

      Hello! Thanks for the feedback – always good to try and get a reading on exactly how much data you guys want, so will try and incorporate more going forward without going too overboard!

      • Chorltonwheelie says:

        I love highly technical graphs explained with industry jargon.
        Part of the reason I’m an inveterate PC gamerite.
        Welcome and good luck.

        • Mr. Perfect says:

          Indeed. If I’m considering dropping hundreds on a new component, I want some damn thorough testing and data. Typically I get my hardware reviews from Anandtech.com or Arstechnica.com. So if RPS publishes a one page hardware article I’m going to spend a good thirty seconds trying to figure out how to click through from the introductory page to pages two through ten. Once I’ve realized my mistake, I’ll probably think the article is “cute” and move along. ;)

          If you’re aiming at a more casual reader, ignore me and I’ll not bother you again.

          • Hedgeclipper says:

            While I’d also look at Anandtech.com or Arstechnica.com those sites already exist and I’d assume RPS doesn’t have the resources to compete with that level of testing so I can see why they’d want to try a different approach.

      • Beefsurgeon says:

        Yes, more data please!

      • Premium User Badge

        platypusfool says:

        Just to confuse things – less data please! For me, keeping it high level and focussed on feel rather than technical details would be ideal.

        Surely those who want numbers can get them from Google? I’d prefer RPS writing to have a bit more character than that.

        Welcome to the site, have fun and all will be good!

      • WombatDeath says:

        I’m a man of simple needs. What I want, and what the previous RPS hardware expert provided, was a clear instruction of what to buy. If I want a graphics card I don’t want to have to look at loads of info, I just want someone to tell me what to pick in the low, medium and high price ranges with a brief explanation of what sort of performance I might get at each level.

        Obviously, other people will have their own (wrong) priorities and I don’t expect you to cater purely to my own personal preferences (I do really).

        Edit to add: hello!

        • LegendaryTeeth says:

          Welcome!

          I’m going to second this, I don’t want the impression to be created that we all want another Anadtech. I love Anadtech, but when I want their type of coverage I can just go there. A big part of the reason I come to RPS is because they don’t get bogged down on review scores and such for games.

          What I want is high level information. What features to look for. Breakdowns on big concepts like IPS vs TN, if this new SSD technology is worth an upgrade, or what the latest buzzword gets us.

          But most importantly: excellent, fun writing, with style and personality, about things the author is clearly passionate about. So just do that please, whatever it is!

          • Herring says:

            Agreed. A high-level recommendation with some reasoning behind the options (best bang-for-buck, supports AwesomeNewTech(TM) etc) gives me enough to get going on. If I want a technical breakdown there’s specific websites / forums to go to.

            And hello!

      • brucethemoose says:

        You don’t need to show tons of data, but consistency and setup information is absolutely critical, IMHO.

        I would love to see this in every review:

        – The hardware/software config. What CPU, motherboard, RAM at what speed, resolution and monitor, GPU, windows version, graphics driver version etc. Basically, print out or screenshot Speccy in the article.

        – Settings. Eg what exact game settings are you using? What switches are flipped in the AMD/Nvidia control panels? Did you do any manual or automatic ini tweaks? If it’s a mouse, what are your windows mouse settings? If it’s a headset, what software sound settings are you using?

        – Testing methodology. What level(s) did you run? Did you do benchmarks, attempt repeatable manual runs, or something else?

        Some other RPS “reviews” were devoid of even basic setup info, and it made them totally meaningless to me, as I had no context for the words I was reading, and had no idea if the reviewer was being anything close to consistent.

      • puppybeard says:

        Another one here for Team If It’s Too Hard, I Won’t Understand It. I will definitely look at stats though, and will move my eyebrows in a way that suggests I know what’s happening.

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        phuzz says:

        Put me in the camp of “some stats, but no need to try and ape anand/ars/etc.”
        When I’m actually thinking about dropping my own money on something I’ll read everything, on every site, but most of the time I just read reviews to keep a general idea of what’s happening. I’m more interested in finding out any new features or gubbins this particular bit of hardware has, and roughly where it fits into the lineup (ie is it a super high end gizmo, or a cheap budget one, or somewhere in between) and does it have any particular downsides.
        One thing that might be interesting would be articles for people who haven’t tried upgrading their own PC before, for example an article for someone who’s thinking about upgrading the monitor they’ve had since forever saying ‘here’s the different type of screen tech, here’s a quick run down of the common resolutions (eg 1080, 1440, 4k, ultra-widescreen etc)’ with some upsides and downsides of each (eg ‘ultra-widescreens give you more pixels, but they’re not supported by all games’).
        Basically articles that might help encourage people to learn a bit more about what goes on in the humming black box they’re sat beside, and a step closer to becoming the sort of geeks who’ll read a dozen in depth reviews of the MSAA in a particular graphics card just for fun (ie like us :)

  6. Premium User Badge

    Frog says:

    Hullo Katharine :)

  7. SirSnake says:

    Excellent! Always good to expand the team.

    Be interesting to see what you add that is different to other sites and keeps with the RPS style.

    I look forward to it!

  8. Sakkura says:

    This official update is a bit belated, isn’t it? Welcome aboard! Hope you’re prepared for the grognards in the comment section.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    Welcome to the realm of infinite bears!

  10. caff says:

    Welcome! I look forward to seeing what bits of shiny plastic and metal you recommend.

  11. Creeping Death says:

    Finally! Why did these posts take so long? Saw their inclusion in the last few weekend what are you playing articles and been very confused.

  12. Sin Vega says:

    Hello! What does this cable plug into?

  13. RaunakS says:

    Welcome to our house! Enter freely. Go safely, and leave something of the happiness you bring.

  14. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    Doodly-howdy!

  15. Spuzzell says:

    Welcome!

    Please feel free to take these comments as a baseline and graph subsequent comments against them.

  16. Premium User Badge

    Grizzly says:

    That is a cool picture.

  17. dangermouse76 says:

    Love me some hardware coverage. Also a bit of a stat and comparison fan to. So if this made it into the reviews, that would be a plus for me.

    And welcome !

  18. Koozer says:

    Okay, right, so, is that another Horace, or has the same old Horace we love/fear been cyborgified? Will we see vanilla Horace again? Are there more Horaces? Maybe infinite Horaces??

    Also hello Katharine.

  19. Premium User Badge

    Earl-Grey says:

    Hello.

    There, I’ve said it.
    I know my friendly demeanour is intoxicatingly welcoming but don’t let it go to your head.

  20. jomurph86 says:

    Hi!

  21. MiniMatt says:

    Welcome! Any hints on how you’ll be voting in the annual calendar? Can you be bribed? Not that we have a forum side bet running or anything.

    Re hardware, my only request would be a nod toward noise. A (functionally) silent PC is a god send, and in the absence of an anechoic chamber TDP is a really useful benchmark – on the basis that more watts means more heat means more fans spinning faster. Not to mention what burning all those watts does to the polar bears.

    • caff says:

      Yes please, I’m the same – noise is very important to me. However, you don’t need to tell us how noisy a particular stick of RAM is (unless you want to, that is).

    • Premium User Badge

      tigerfort says:

      A third vote for some mention of noise levels, at least on a rough comparative level (“this is much quietier than other gtx1060s in the same price range” is enough to be useful if precise numbers are tricky).

    • elvirais says:

      +1 for the noise comments. It’s very important to me too.

  22. R. Totale says:

    Hallo! What is a “hardware”?

  23. Ejia says:

    Surprisingly, Borg-assimilated Horace is less frightening

  24. Premium User Badge

    kwaylood says:

    Hullo! Already enjoying the articles, looking forward to more.

  25. Ratty says:

    Hullo & Welcome,
    Now please something about these graphics card prices.
    Thx
    :)

  26. Mi-24 says:

    Hello and welcome!
    I have a couple of questions on hardware I’ve been meaning to ask:
    – if you plug a power cable into itself do you get infinite power?
    – Why is my wifi so terrible?
    – what does that purpose of that screwdriver in my pc case? what does it do if its not attached to anything? If I remove it will my pc explode?

  27. Wednesday says:

    Can you shoehorn her onto the podcast asap? It’s kinda worse off, phonically, for being just blokes.

  28. NetharSpinos says:

    Hello!

  29. Ben King says:

    Hi Katharine! Welcome to RPS! The tech stuff is all over my head by and large, and I usually only think about hardware when it’s time to replace the entire PC setup, but it’s still fun to read about all the fancy new bells and whistles.

  30. Be_reasonable says:

    So is this person actually going to do journalism, or is this about selling products by masking them as articles? The first post so far really hasn’t set a good tone. I understand you have to make money, but this looks just like blatant advertising for specific companies.

  31. hfm says:

    Greetings!

  32. mac4 says:

    Where’s the any key?

  33. Massenstein says:

    Hello! I hardly (heh) understand anything about computer hardware but sometimes I need to if I want to use it so guides extremely welcome.

  34. cpt_freakout says:

    Hola!

  35. a very affectionate parrot says:

    Looking forward to reading the hardware reviews… and finally being able to afford the stuff years after it’s obsolete.

  36. Premium User Badge

    Sihoiba says:

    Hello and welcome!

  37. DantronLesotho says:

    Hello and congrats! I look forward to continual great hardware coverage!

  38. Cederic says:

    Hello Katharine.

    May we please perhaps get an exploration of Microsoft’s Mixed Reality and whether the headsets are remotely comparable to the Vive and Oculus Rift?

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