AMD are sending out free processors to fix Ryzen Vega motherboard issues

AM4 motherboard

AMD’s new Ryzen processors with Vega graphics have been causing quite a stir lately. Offering Nvidia GeForce GTX 1030 levels of graphical fidelity without the need for a dedicated card, the Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G are quickly becoming the CPU of choice for many budget system builders – at least when US retailer Newegg isn’t charging $20 more than AMD’s official prices for them anyway.

Now, however, it appears that not all AM4 socket motherboards actually support them out of the box – which is pretty problematic if you’ve just bought a whole new system and don’t have an older AMD processor handy to get your motherboard updated. Fortunately, AMD is on the case, as you can now request a free ‘boot kit’ from them that will let you do just that.

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How to avoid Vive’s VR subscription price hike

Viveport

For the five of you that own an HTC Vive, I’ve got some bad news for you. At the end of March, the price of HTC’s Viveport subscription service is going up. In the UK, £6.99/month will become £8.99/month on March 22nd, with a similar price increase taking place across all 60+ countries where Viveport’s available.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to avoid it if you’ve yet to sign up to it. All you need to do is become a subscriber before March 22nd and HTC have promised you’ll be able to keep the £6.99 sub price for at least the rest of 2018. The same rule applies to all current Viveport subscribers too.

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BenQ GL2580HM review: Great looks undermined by terrible contrast

BenQ GL2580HM

What’s this? A screen that isn’t prefaced by the words ‘best monitor for Final Fantasy XII‘? Well, I never. Yes, I’m having a small break from my 21:9 test quest to take a look at something altogether more affordable: the BenQ GL2580HM.

While not a ‘gaming monitor’ as such, this slimline 24.5in 1920×1080 TN display costs just £140 in the UK (or around $150 if you can find it in the US) and is arguably one of the most stylish monitors I’ve seen in some time. Let’s see if it’s any cop.

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Bought an AMD Ryzen Vega APU from Newegg this week? You could be in for a partial refund

AMD Ryzen 5 2400G

Earlier this week, AMD’s new Ryzen APUs with built-in Vega graphics – the Ryzen 3 2200G and the Ryzen 5 2400G – finally went on sale for $99 and $169 apiece. That’s how much AMD said they would cost and most retailers, lo and behold, have been selling them for those exact amounts.

Newegg, however, haven’t been playing ball this week, as their initial prices for the pair of Ryzen Vega APUs were around $20 more than their recommended retail prices. Fortunately, the metaphorical mob has retaliated quickly against these price shenanigans (hopefully by pelting them with old eggs), and affected customers are now being offered partial refunds to bring their purchases back in line with everyone else.

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WD Blue 3D NAND review: Better for big workloads

WD Blue 3D NAND

When Western Digital first released its Blue line of SSDs, it’s probably fair to say that they didn’t really make much of an impact. Not in the face of the mighty Samsung 850 Evo, at least, which still tops several Best SSD lists even today. Now, thankfully, WD’s finally jumped on the 3D NAND bandwagon, making its latest Blue 3D NAND SSDs much more competitive. There’s still some way to go before they reach the same dizzying heights as Samsung’s new 860 Evo, but the key thing is that they’re much less expensive, potentially making them better buys for anyone looking to keep costs down.

It’s also one and the same as SanDisk’s Ultra 3D SSD, giving you even more buying options as prices continue to fluctuate. WD acquired SanDisk in mid 2016, but decided to keep both brands going for the sake of their respective markets, with WD always having been better on the businessy side and SanDisk being bezzie mates with the general public. With both SSDs readily available online, however, the only thing you need to worry about is how much they both cost.

Right now, that’s the WD Blue 3D NAND, and with claimed sequential read and write speeds of up to 550MB/s read and 525MB/s write, it could potentially be even better than the 860 Evo. Let’s find out how it fares in practice.

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Asus ROG Pugio review: Lefties rejoice

Asus ROG Pugio

Finally, a proper ambidextrous gaming mouse (of the mice I’ve looked at, anyway). After the sort-of-but-not-really symmetrical designs of the Steelseries Rival 110 and the HyperX Pulsefire FPS, the Asus ROG Pugio is the real deal, offering right and left-handed comfort in equal measure.

It’s quite expensive as gaming mice go, coming in at £62 in the UK and $90 in the US, but much like the Asus ROG Gladius II, the Pugio comes with a number of handy extras to help make up for it. There’s no second USB cable, sadly, but you do get two spare Omron switches and a pair of side button covers. If you’re left-handed and in need of a new mouse, read on.

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Acer Predator Z35p review: A 21:9 monitor with a one-hit KO price

Acer Predator Z35p

Of all the ultra-wide 21:9 displays I’ve looked at so far in my quest to find the best monitor for Final Fantasy XII, the Acer Predator Z35p is by far the most expensive. At £800 / $990 at time of writing, it’s around £150 / $300 more expensive than the Philips 349X7JEW and £50 / $200 more than the AOC Agon AG352UCG.

Sure, it has a 35in curved 3440×1440 VA display with a 100Hz refresh rate, an adjustable stand and Nvidia G-Sync support, but can it really justify such a hike? Let’s find out.

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AMD’s new Ryzen Vega processors are out now and cost next to nothing

AMD Ryzen 5 2400G

AMD’s new Ryzen processors with built-in Vega graphics have finally launched around our fair planet. First announced at CES back in January this year, the Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G are the first APUs of their kind to come with AMD’s tasty Vega graphics built right into the chip, giving budget PC builders a much-needed boost in power and potentially negating the need to have a dedicated card altogether.

What’s more, they only cost $169 / £150 and $99 / £90 apiece, bringing some sweet relief to those suffering from the ongoing GPU crisis.

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Asus ROG Gladius II review: An expensive gaming mouse you probably won’t mind shelling out for

Asus ROG Gladius II

I’d normally balk at the idea of spending over £30 on a mouse. I’ve never been one for owning flashy gizmos or the latest and greatest, so the thought of forking over more than double that for something like the Asus ROG Gladius II (which currently costs just over £70 in the UK and $95 in the US) would, ordinarily, be positively horrifying.

Thankfully, the ROG Gladius II has more than earned its keep over the last couple of weeks, as it’s not only one of the most comfortable mice I’ve ever used, but it also comes with a load of handy extras to help justify its price, such as a pair of spare Omron switches and two detachable USB cables, one braided and one regular rubber.

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Samsung 960 Pro review: Blistering speed that costs an absolute bomb

Samsung 960 Pro

There are several things that make the Samsung 960 Pro a bit special. The first is its ridiculous speed. With a claimed sequential read speed of up to 3500MB/s and a sequential write speed up to 2100MB/s, this is essentially a Formula One car crammed inside a drive no bigger than your index finger. It was also the first NVMe SSD aimed at us normal, non-enterprise folk to come in a 2TB capacity, offering caverns of space in a pint-sized package.

For many, it’s one of the best SSDs ever made. The other thing that makes it stand out, however, is that it costs an absolute fortune, with the smallest 512GB model starting at £260 / $300, going all the way up to over £1000 / $1249 for that oh-so-special 2TB version. You could buy yourself a new graphics card with that kind of money, or even an entire PC. Why, then, should you consider getting this over its significantly cheaper 960 Evo sibling? Let’s find out.
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Samsung 960 Evo review: Still the best value NVMe SSD money can buy

Samsung 960 Evo

When Samsung first launched their pair of flagship 960 SSDs at the tail-end of 2016, they were the fastest NVMe SSDs on the planet. Coming in 960 Evo and 960 Pro flavours, they were five times faster than your typical SATA3 SSD and offered almost as much speed as their PCIe-based interfaces could manage.

Today, little has changed, and both remain widely regarded as the best SSDs around, NVMe or otherwise, with the 960 Evo in particular often being the favoured choice over its more expensive sibling. Available in 250GB, 500GB and 1TB size options, the 960 Evo is still a lot more expensive than SATA3 SSDs like the Crucial MX500 or even Samsung’s own 860 Evo, but with 250GB sticks starting from around £110 / $120, at least it doesn’t feel like you have to remortgage your house just to get your foot in the door.
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AOC Agon AG352UCG review: The Final Fantasy XII monitor quest continues

AOC AG352UCG

As I continue my quest to find the best ultra-wide monitor for playing Final Fantasy XII, the next display in my party roster is the AOC Agon AG352UCG. Equipped with a 100Hz refresh rate, Nvidia G-Sync support and an LED-laden lower bezel, this curved, 35in 3440×1440 monitor has almost everything you could possibly want for the ultimate 21:9 experience. Almost.
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Roccat’s Khan Aimo RGB brings LEDs and Hi-Res audio to its classic gaming headset

Roccat Khan Aimo RGB

Hot on the heels of their Kone Aimo mouse that came out at the end of last year, Roccat are now following it up with an all new Aimo-themed headset. Dubbed the Khan Aimo RGB, this USB headset is about to bring Hi-Res audio and its ‘smart’ Aimo lighting system to your waxy ear holes.

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The great GPU crisis – why are graphics cards so expensive now, and just how bad is it?

ZEC tales

Updated to reflect the latest, even more horrifying graphics card prices & availability, plus the concurrent RAM shortage.

If you’ve made a point of leaving any conversation as soon as you hear the sound ‘bitc…’ start to emanate from someone’s face-hole, I’ve got some bad news for you. The effects of the cryptocurrency goldrush are no longer confined to twitchy-eyed evangelists and screechy news headlines – for the second time in recent memory, it’s caused a huge spike in graphics card prices, both new and second-hand, as the crypto-clan rush to snaffle up any GPU they could possibly use to mine blockchain currencies such as Ethereum and Zcash. Even the recent decline in crypto exchange rates hasn’t brought GPU pricing back down to Earth – quite the opposite, in fact.

This means two things for us, in practice. 1) Now is the worst possible time to buy a new graphics card for gaming 2) now is the best possible time to sell on any unused old graphics cards you own.
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Corsair launches their second gaming chair, the T2 Road Warrior

Corsair T2 Road Warrior

When you think of Corsair, you probably think of RAM, keyboards and gaming headsets like the Void Pro RGB, but did you also know they make gaming chairs? Well, you do now, and their second such chair, the T2 Road Warrior, is about to bring all the bells and whistles to the world of derriere gaming support thanks to its many degrees of tilt and reclining comfort. And before you ask, no, there isn’t a single RGB LED in sight.

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Samsung 860 Pro review: Just say no and get the 860 Evo instead

Samsung 860 Pro

Samsung’s Pro range of SSDs have always had a hard time in the face of their cheaper Evo counterparts. On the face of it, they’re meant to be faster and longer-lasting – the best of the best SSDs, so to speak – but when the Samsung 850 Evo and 960 Evo proved to be pretty much just as quick as their respective Pro siblings for a lot less cash, they’ve become increasingly hard to justify. Unless you regularly move hundreds of GBs of files around your PC on a daily basis, Samsung’s Evo SSDs are more than enough for your typical gamer.

The 860 Pro is no different. Speed-wise, Samsung claims it’s a fraction faster than both the outgoing 850 Pro and incoming 860 Evo with a sequential read speed of up to 560MB/s and a sequential write speed of up to 530MB/s, but in reality they’re all pretty much identical. Why, then, should you consider the 860 Pro? It’s all to do with endurance.

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Samsung 860 Evo review: Improved endurance, but just as fast as the 850 Evo

Samsung 860 Evo

For the past three years, Samsung’s 850 Evo has been consistently one of the best SSDs money can buy. It’s often been more expensive than the competition, but its speed, endurance rating and generous five-year guarantee have all helped it secure its place as one of the mainstays of any PC gaming build. Finally, however, it looks like the 850 Evo’s time at the top is about to end, as Samsung’s just replaced it with the brand-new 860 Evo.

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Best SSDs 2018: Top solid state drives for gaming

Best SSDs 2018

Buying an SSD can be a bit of a headache when you’re constantly being bombarded with such friendly terms as mSATA and M.2 this, and NVMe and PCIe that, which is why we’re here to help you pick the best SSD for you and your budget. Below, you’ll find our current top picks as well as in-depth buying advice on how to pick your next SSD. Whether it’s for general performance or the fastest speeds money can buy, we’ve got you covered.

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Samsung 850 Evo review: Still a great SSD for those in the UK

Samsung 850 Evo

The Samsung 850 Evo is one of the most popular SSDs around, and with good reason. Thanks to its blistering speeds, five-year guarantee and best-in-class endurance rating, it’s sat near the top of most best SSD lists ever since it first came out at the end of 2014. If your PC’s been feeling a bit sluggish lately, then the Samsung 850 Evo will almost certainly give it a much-needed boost.

Having said that, Samsung’s just replaced the 850 Evo with the newer 860 Evo. There’s not actually a huge amount of difference between them speed-wise, but the 860 Evo doubles down on the 850 Evo’s already excellent endurance levels and takes it to the next level. That’s not to say you shouldn’t still consider a Samsung 850 Evo, though, as those in the UK will find it a much better buy than its newer sibling. In the US, it’s a different story, as 850 Evo stock has pretty much already dried up, making the 860 Evo the obvious choice. Still, if you’re looking for a new SSD and live in the UK, then read on, as the 850 Evo is still a pretty tough act to beat while it’s still available.

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Crucial MX500 review: Better value than Samsung’s 850 Pro

Crucial MX500

The MX500 is Crucial’s first SSD with flashy new 64-layer 3D NAND memory. This means that the data storage cells inside are stacked on top of one another, 64 deep. In comparison to 2D NAND, which only has a single layer of cells, 3D NAND has much higher storage density. This opens the door to potentially huge storage capacities, as well as making the NAND itself cheaper to produce for a certain capacity.

But why, you may ask, am I reviewing Crucial’s latest SSD tech in an old-school 2.5in SSD? Wouldn’t an NVMe drive’s faster interface give the NAND more of a chance to shine? In short, yes, it would. But not everyone has a motherboard with the requisite NVMe-compatible M.2 slot. After all, motherboards with M.2 slots only started appearing less than three years ago, and as long as my nearly-six-year-old gaming PC can still play The Witcher 3 at 60fps, it ain’t going anywhere. So let’s see what the new Crucial MX500 is capable of, and whether it can upset our previously established list of Best SSDs.

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