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The last Week In Tech

goodbye

Apparently, Intel will soon be selling CPUs with onboard AMD graphics. I have now, officially, seen everything. Yes, that includes a man eating his own head. I’m therefore leaving immediately for Nepal, where I intend to live as a goat. Which reminds me. It’s been nearly six years since my very first story and I’d like to think I’m unrivalled on RPS when it comes to the shameless recycling of other people’s gags. But, whatever. This is, ladies and germs, goodbye-ee. It’s also time to consider what’s become of the gaming PC over the last half-decade or so… Read the rest of this entry »

AMD Radeon RX 460 review: A bargain or just bad?

Multi-bazillion-transistor behemoths like Nvidia’s Titan or the AMD Radeon R9 Fury are all well and good, but it’s rare when you meet someone who actually bought one in the wild. ut the stats suggest hardly any of us actually buy them. Very few, if the latest Steam surveys are anything to do by, with not a single Titan showing up in the list. That said, even Nvidia’s mid-range GTX 1070 card is only used by 1.93% of Steam gamers these days, and that’s after a year on sale. Indeed, the second most popular GPU after Nvidia’s last-gen GTX 960 is its old budget board, the GTX 750Ti, proving that cheaper cards are still by and large the most popular choice among the majority of gamers.

AMD’s RX 460 is yet another attempt to capture that end of the market, but since we first looked at it a year ago, AMD’s gone and updated it with a slightly newer variant, the RX 560. You can still buy an RX 460 if you scout around – Scan still sell the 2GB version for around £100 – but it’s the RX 560 that should be your prime consideration. They’re both based on the same GPU, but the RX 560 has a slightly higher clock speed, giving it a small boost to performance. We haven’t looked at the RX 560 in detail just yet, but you can still get a pretty good idea about what to expect based on our following thoughts about the RX 460. Aspirational it ain’t, but could this entry-level board make for good-enough gaming graphics? There’s only one way to find out.

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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti review: The best budget card under £200

When we last looked at AMD’s entry-level Radeon RX 460, I wasn’t too impressed, so can its nearly-but-not-actually competitor from Nvidia, the GeForce GTX 1050, do any better? Well, the answer to that is slightly muddled, as I’ve actually got the GeForce GTX 1050Ti – the 1050’s slicker, slightly more expensive sibling. So, can the Ti win where the 460 failed and deliver good-enough gaming at a budget price?

For starters, you’ll have to pay a lot more for a GTX 1050Ti than an RX 460, as the cheapest 1050Ti cards rock in at about £135 in Brexit tokens or about $160. This particular 1050Ti from MSI, meanwhile – the GeForce GTX 1050Ti Gaming X 4GB – really blows the budget at just under £160 in the UK and $180 in the US according to Newegg. This is getting on for an entry-level 3D board, even if you do get a little extra for your cash in the form of a factory overclock of around 8% over a standard 1050Ti and the promise of some additional overclocking headroom thanks to improved cooling and power supply.

Still, when your typical GTX 1050 costs around £120 / $130, the RX 460 (and its closely related successor, the RX 560) can be found cheaper still at around or just under £100 / $120, the GTX 1050Ti has a lot to prove to make it worth your time. Let’s see how it holds up, shall we? Read the rest of this entry »

AMD Radeon RX 480 review: Graphics greatness you can actually afford?

AMD’s pixel pumping Radeon RX 480 is slightly old hat now. Despite its close competitor, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, being alive and well and readily available to buy, the RX 480 has all but disappeared from online retailers – unless you want to pay massively over the odds for one, of course. That’s largely because it’s now been replaced by the newer RX 580, which shares the same GPU / chipset / thingy as the RX 480, but comes with a slightly higher clock speed, allowing it to run just a teeny bit faster compared to its 480 predecessor.

That said, until we’ve taken a closer look at said RX 580 to find out just how much better it is, you can get a pretty good idea of what it’s like by reading my original thoughts on the RX 480. So how does it perform? Forget the benchmarks, let’s give the new RX 480 a good old grope.

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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 review: A big leap, but not quite a 4K slayer

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080 is no longer top dog in its GPU family – that honour now goes the GTX 1080Ti and, of course, the frankly ridiculous Titan Xp. It has, however, come down quite dramatically in price since I first looked at it, arguably making it a better buy than ever before if you’re after a 4K-capable graphics card. The economically monikered MSI Gaming X 8GB Twin Frozr VI pictured above, for instance, cost a wallet-breaking £695 a year ago. Now you can pick up one like Gigabyte’s equally succinct GeForce GTX 1080 Turbo OC for as little as £489 from Scan. Or, if you head over to our Black Friday 2017 hub, you can find one for just £439 over on Ebuyer. The 1080Ti, on the other hand, has remained at a steady £700 since launch.

A no-brainer, right? Not quite, as there’s also the GTX 1070Ti to think about as well, which costs even less at around £420 and promises near 1080 performance. We’ll be taking a look at the 1070Ti shortly, so we’ll update this page with our findings soon to let you know how we got on. For now, though, I’ll turn my attention back to the regular GTX 1080.

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Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 review: The New 1440p King?

Welcome to part two of my leisurely stroll through the new GPU landscape. Last time around, it was the mighty Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080, which suddenly looks a lot less mighty thanks to the arrival of the Titan X. Today, however, we’re looking Nvidia’s new mid-range contender, the GTX 1060. As before, I shall be spurning objectivity, benchmarks and frame-rate counters for a what-does-it-actually-feel-like approach.

I call it a mid-range card, but it seems Nvidia is currently engaged in an attempt to realign the entire graphics market. The Titan X is $1,200 and the GTX 1080 is $600 (well, $700 for those ghastly ‘Founder’s Edition’ cards), but the GTX 1060 we’re dealing with today costs just $260/£250 – that is, if you’re looking at the 6GB version, of course, as since we tested the GTX 1060, Nvidia has also released a less powerful 3GB model.

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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 review: The 1440p Graphics Card Of Choice?

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070 neatly occupies what is normally my favoured slot in the overall hierarchy of any given GPU family, namely one rung down from the top graphics chip that’s actually bought in much more significant volumes. Except, Nvidia’s Pascal family isn’t entirely normal. We’ve already touched base with the GTX 1080 and the GTX 1060, and the GTX 1070 inevitably slots in between.

Things get even more complicated when you take the recently announced GTX 1070Ti into account, which nestles between the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080. We’ve yet to test the 1070Ti, so it’s difficult to say exactly how it compares to the rest of Nvidia’s Pascal pack, but with prices currently hovering around the £420/$449 mark (and regular 1070 prices not that much lower), it could end up being a much better buy than its non-Ti counterpart, especially if you’re after a card that’s capable of super smooth 1,440p gaming. We’ll be updating this article with more thoughts on how the 1070 compares to the 1070Ti in the very near future, but for now, let’s focus on the 1070 proper. After all, when Nvidia claims it can outperform its £1,000 Titan X mega beast, that’s reason enough to sit up and take notice.

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The best gaming CPU for 2017 and beyond

Yes. I know. There has indeed been an awful lot of CPU coverage lately. What with AMD’s Ryzen and Ryzen Threadripper chips, plus the sudden launch of Intel CPUs with up to 18 cores, not to mention Intel finally upping its mainstream ante from four to six cores, 2017 has surely been the year of the CPU. Which begs an obvious question. What is now the best gaming CPU? Judging that on the hoof as the launches come thick and fast isn’t always easy. But now the dust has settled. Now we know how all these new CPUs stack up. It’s time to pick a winner.

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Intel’s Core i5-8400: the new go-to gaming CPU

corei5-8400-1

Intel’s new 8th Gen Core chips are out and there is much rejoicing. For the first time in about five years, Intel has made an unambiguous step forward with its mainstream CPUs. In short, they’ve bunged in an extra pair of cores across the board. Where once you had two cores or four cores, now you have four cores or six cores. Of course more cores don’t automatically translate into a better gaming experience. But I still think the new Core i5-8400 will become the chip of choice for gamers. Here’s why.

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Intel’s new Coffee Lake CPUs: right chips, wrong price

intelcore

Or should that be nearly the right chips at slightly the wrong prices? Either way, as I was saying Intel has finally pulled its finger out and given us PC diehards something to be other than apathetic about. No, not ridiculoso $2,000 processors with 18 cores. But new mainstream processors codenamed Coffee Lake that have now taken the leap from solid rumour to retail reality. With more cores across the board, it’s Intel’s biggest upgrade for at least five years and undeniably a good thing for gamers.

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8K non-gaming and the importance of pixels

Philips' new 8K wonderscreen

Yes, yes, I know 8K gaming is an utter irrelevance. Frankly, 4K remains a niche gaming resolution. But hang with me. 8K monitors are popping up from major manufacturers and with them the build-it-and-they-will-come logic of gaming at a preposterous resolution of 7,680 by 4,320 pixels. The fact that gaming at 8K isn’t really viable with current hardware is, up to a point, a separate issue. The mere possibility of gaming at a resolution fully four times higher than 4K begs the question of how much resolution matters and indeed how much it matters compared to other factors including refresh rate, response, colour quality, panel size and more. How important, truly, are pixels?

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Incoming: some excellent new gaming CPUs from Intel

...this isn't one of them

I’m jumping the gun just a little but a few of you have sent emails on precisely this subject and there’s a significant quantity of fairly solid info out there, so let’s talk about the shape of all things CPU and gaming. AMD’s Ryzen chips have very obviously been the big news thus far this year. But completing the picture for the next six months or so is what will shortly amount to the most significant update to Intel’s CPU line up from a gamer’s perspective in about five years. For once, it’s going to be unambiguously good news… Read the rest of this entry »

Update: AMD’s new graphics and CPU awesomeness

AMDVega2

It’s all kicking off at AMD, peeps. The new Vega graphics chip is now more than merely a press release and has finally been released into the wild. Meanwhile, the insane ThreadRipper CPU with 16 cores and 32 threads has also landed. It’s all a far cry from just a few months ago when AMD was soldiering on with an elderly graphics product and a deadbeat CPU line up. Time to catch up with AMD’s latest hardware awesomeness. Read the rest of this entry »

AMD’s new RX Vega gaming graphics revealed at last

vegaair

It’s been an arsingly long time coming but AMD finally has some new graphics tech to flog and for all of us to game upon. The new Radeon RX Vega generation of gaming cards has been announced. Inevitably, we’ll have to wait just a little longer to find out exactly how fast they are but we know enough to begin answering some key questions and posing a few more. Is this the graphics revolution we’ve all been waiting for, for instance, or is it one derivation too many of AMD’s successful GCN architecture? Strap in and let’s go.

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Why Nvidia is overcharging us all off, just a bit

As I was saying, Intel’s CPU strategy has gone into meltdown. As a consequence, the cynicism of its approach in the face of weak competition – right up until AMD pulled its new Ryzen out of the proverbial – has been laid bare. But it’s not just Chipzilla that’s worthy of your scorn. For some time now, Nvidia has essentially been ripping us all off just a little bit. Here’s why. Read the rest of this entry »

A laying-on of hands with Intel’s new 10-core monster


What’s that you say? A $1,000 10-core CPU has naff all to do with real-world gaming? To which I might riposte, who cares? Get a load of all 10 cores. Behold 20 threads humming away in Task Manager. Or I might not. But I have had a go with the new Intel Core-i9 7900X. Here’s wot I think. Read the rest of this entry »

The strange story of the PC’s not-death

Remember when the PC was dying-going-on-dead? Actually, it’s still dying with analysts prognosticating a further five per cent slippage in PC shipments this year. And yet the PC gaming hardware industry hit record sales in 2016, busting the $30 billion barrier in the process. Meanwhile, the market for innovative PC technology that’s at least ostensibly gaming-relevant has gone positively mental. Not that gaming PCs doing better than regular PCs is breaking news. But I wonder how much we’re all actually benefiting from those 18-core CPUs, VR headsets, 240Hz superwide monitors and 1TB SSDs. How much better, in other words, have your gaming PCs really got? Read the rest of this entry »

Intel’s 18-core CPU and, er, other exciting stuff

As I was saying, an 18-core CPU is obviously irrelevant for PC gaming. Actually, I was speaking then of AMD’s then-staggering 16-core Threadripper CPU. Two weeks later, Threadripper is already ancient news. It’s been comprehensively gazumped by a new 18-core CPU from Intel and suddenly the PC hardware landscape looks a little potty. I know I’ve been bleating for literally years about Intel’s sandbagging and how we needed AMD to spice things up. But this is a bit ridiculous. Be careful what you ask for… Read the rest of this entry »

AMD’s 16-core CPU and other exciting stuff

Yes, yes, a 16-core CPU is likely-going-on-definitely irrelevant for PC gaming. But it’s an exciting notion in simple technological terms and it represents something that certainly is important for gaming, namely that the PC as a platform has woken up again. Along with that mega-CPU from AMD, we also have the imminent prospect of new graphics card families from both AMD and Nvidia, new CPUs from Intel in response to AMD Ryzen assault, an intriguing new APU, again from AMD, that could just make for some nice cheapo laptops with genuine gaming chops and, well, plenty more. And the annual Computex tech shindig hasn’t even kicked off yet…

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Hands on with AMD’s cheaper Ryzen 5 CPUs

Serving up eight pukka CPU cores at a price mere mortals can afford was easily the most compelling part of the initial AMD Ryzen proposition. But there’s been some filling out of the Ryzen range since last we alighted the subject. Specifically, a load of quad-core and six-core models have hit retail. They’re significantly cheaper than the beefy eight-core beasts. Might they actually make more sense for gaming than those slightly flawed eight-core chips? Read the rest of this entry »