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 »

AMD’s THREADRIPPER is not a name I created?

THREADRIPPER, I have only just discovered, is the dramatic name of AMD’s new high-end processor line launching in August.

My immediate questions are: when did AMD hire me and why can I not remember?

I’m sure AMD have some very talented copywriters and productnamers but when they name a processor THREADRIPPER and declare their CPU launch schedule to be an “onslaught” I know that it must have been written by me.

Me, who coined 2016’s smash-hit slang name for a fast PC, “silicon-snorting framecrusher”. Me, who’s tipped for Time Person of the Year 2017 for creating its opposite, “digestive-dunking framenudger”. Me, who says things like “pigrig … ripped full of beef with chops to spare”. Me, who writes this garbage every damn day. Read the rest of this entry »

Amazon Prime Day: The best PC game & hardware deals

You’d better watch out, you’d better not cry, you’d better not pout, I’m telling you why – Bezos is coming to town. It is Amazon Prime day, the online retailer’s annual old stock clear-out/attempt to steal Black Friday’s thunder, and that means a whole lotta deep discounts on PC hardware and games. Much of it is total sewage, but as RPS’s resident carer-about-things-with-flashing-lights-on, I’m fairly well-placed to cherry-pick a few highlights for you. I’m pretty picky – this is all stuff I’m very tempted to buy for myself (or would be if I didn’t already own something similar/fancier).

This piece will be updated throughout the day as more deals go live. At the time of first posting, we only have UK deals, but US ones will be added shortly too. Read the rest of this entry »

Oculus Rift + Touch bundle price cut £200 in sale

Get gogged on.

Folks who liked the look of diving into cyberspace but were put off by the price: is £399/$399 low enough for you to bite? Oculus are taking their tops off for the summer – the top £200/$100 of the price of Rift cybergoggles bundled with Touch motion controllers, that is. Sorry. That’s… that’s really bad. I shouldn’t have done that. I do have a desire to write the awful ‘jokes’ in marketing copy but I shouldn’t make you suffer for it. The point is: for the next six weeks, £399 gets you goggs and matching wagglers. Low enough for you, missus? 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 »

Vive ‘Knuckle’ controllers promise five-finger gestures

As much as I still have brief giggles with the occasional VR toy, it’d take something close to a miracle to make me spend more large sums of money on anything goggle-related any time soon. Where once I might have gazed at details about Valve’s upcoming second generation motion controller for the Vive with covetous awe, now I stop short at “huh, that’s kinda cool, I guess.” The ‘Knuckles’ controllers are Valve/HTC’s riposte to the Touch handheld gizmos for the Oculus Rift, and read like a meaty upgrade from the responsive but limited wands that ship with the Vive. Most importantly: these suckers can purportedly track which each finger on each of your hands is up to.
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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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Review: HP’s Omen 17 is as close as gaming laptops get to a bargain

Honestly: Ripley here walked over and posed of her own volition while I was taking photos. I guess you know what they say about black cats and omens...

When I began my quest to review a horde of gaming laptops, at the end of which I would purchase the one I liked the most, I was reasonably convinced of two things. One, I wouldn’t settle for something that I considered to be graphically underpowered. Two, I didn’t want something gigantic. The first conviction was challenged by the relatively affordable Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming, whose humble 1050 Ti GPU proved surprisingly meaty (sadly, the awful screen ultimately deterred me from purchase there), and now the second has come undone in the face of the colossal 17″ HP Omen. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Have You Played… Overclocking?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I admit, sometimes my diversions into more general computing topics in this series can be only tenuously argued to represent ‘playing’, but I stick to my overheated and unstable guns when it comes to overclocking. It’s totally a game. High stakes, potentially high reward, potentially calamitous – but increasingly rarely so. To the extent that I really do think most players of PC games should give it a shot.
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AMD’s not-really-new Radeon RX 500 graphics

And lo on the 18th day of the fourth month, verily did AMD wheel out its latest but not necessarily greatest new graphics cards. I give you the new AMD Radeon RX 580, 570, 560 and 550 – precision engineered to smite the evil Nvidia. Except they’re not really new. Instead, they’re basically dirty old re-badges of existing graphics cards. That doesn’t automatically mean they’re not of interest. But it does mean we’ll have to wait a little longer for something really revolutionary from AMD.
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Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming review: cheapish portable power

My ongoing quest to find the perfect gaming laptop – at the conclusion of which I shall buy my favourite – continues. I should note at this point that ‘perfect’ can mean several different things in this case. Clearly, attractiveness, features and performance are the main draws, but this is by no means a money no object deal. If a decent lappie is cheap enough, the fact that I won’t spend months trying and failing to justify the cost to myself means it might tick the ‘perfect’ box despite falling short in other areas.

And so to Dell’s £1000 Inspiron 15 Gaming, aka the Inspiron 7567. A diamond in the rough, or a get-what-you-pay-for folly?
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What Xbox ‘Project Scorpio’ means for PC gaming

Microsoft has dished the deets on its upcoming ‘Scorpio’ hardware update for the Xbox console, and in what amounts to uncharacteristic detail and candour given the ruddy thing isn’t going on sale until the end of 2017. But what are we poor PC peasants to make of the Beast of Redmond’s latest game box and its towering on-paper capabilities? In short, what influence will Project Scorpio’s trick new hardware have on future PC games? Read the rest of this entry »

Windows 10 Game Mode tested: minimal gains, unless you’re unusually cruel to your PC

Microsoft chucked out the Windows 10 Creators Update this week, which is the sort of thing that true-blue enthusiasts of IBM-Compatible home computers used to call a Service Pack back in the day. It’s a surprisingly game-focused update in its way, a built-in streaming service (akin to Twitch, only inevitably far less popular) known as Beam, a concerted effort to put all its game-related settings into one place and Game Mode – a new setting that, in theory, can boost game performance.

We talked to Microsoft about their own hopes for Game Mode a couple of months back, but now it’s time to see what – if anything – it does in practice. Read the rest of this entry »

Nvidia release the most powerful GPU ever for the fourth time in under a year – but why?

It hungers for --new blood--

I appreciate that headline inclines a little towards melodrama, but this is really the situation: with AMD having spent the past year as something of a sleepy giant, Nvidia have been engaged in serial one-upmanship with themselves. Just under a year ago, their GTX 1080 GPU became handily the world’s most powerful consumer graphics card, followed by the even beefier 2016 Titan X shortly afterwards, which was then marginally pipped by the comparatively affordable GTX 1080 Ti last month. Now they’ve leapfrogged themselves once again with a new $1,200/£1,180 brute known as the GTX Titan Xp.

Specs’n’that below, but I think the bigger question here is ‘why are they doing this?’ Are they scared of AMD’s long-delayed riposte, or are they trying to trounce yesterday’s reveal of Microsoft’s new 4K Xbox?
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Mad Catz files for bankruptcy

Mad Catz, the controller company known for their plastic guitars and mice which look like cars from a cyberpunk anime, has filed for voluntary bankruptcy. The company has ceased operations, its directors and officers have resigned, and they’re starting liquidation. Mad Catz have been in financial trouble for a fair while and tried to turn it around, including selling their Saitek flight sim line to Logitech in September, but this looks like the end. Read the rest of this entry »