Review: Alienware’s latest gaming laptop is a monster

A monster in good ways and in bad ways, but we’ll get to that shortly. First, here’s the plan. Over the coming few weeks and months, I’m going to review a number of gaming laptops from a variety of manufacturers. Each will be its own standalone review, but as well as the fact that each new review can involve greater comparison to the other systems, at the end of the whole boogaloo, I will buy the laptop I like best. Hardware reviews with a narrative arc. I’m like the Joss Whedon of computer journalism, me.

We kick off with Alienware’s latest 15″ machine (US and UK store link; exact specs and prices differ per territory), toting an NVIDIA GTX 1070 and an Intel Kaby Lake i7 CPU.
Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… (with a) Steam Link?

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

Despite not having previously felt as thought I needed one, I picked a Steam Link dirt-cheap in the sales, more out of curiosity than anything else. It’s pretty good – unless you try to use it over WiFi. Read the rest of this entry »

Are the latest UHD TVs any good for PC gaming?

Occasionally, it falls upon me to make solemn sacrifices in the name of empirical endeavour, the advancement of science and the betterment of mankind. It is very much in this altruistic spirit that I recently embarked upon an exhaustive and forensic investigation into the merits of the latest UHD / 4K / HDR TVs as PC monitors. Yes, I’ve been playing games on TVs. This is what I learned. Read the rest of this entry »

“We’re building 3 full VR games, not experiments”- Valve

Given they’re at the forefront of virtual reality tech, it’s kind of odd that Valve don’t have a full-fat VR game to boast of themselves. We’ve had a few experiments, most notably minigame collection The Lab and armchair tourism app Destinations, but nothing that really justifies spending hours and hours and hours in your gogglebox of choice. Well, that’s going to change, as Gabe Newell hisself has confirmed that no less than three “full” VR games are in development. He’s also bullish that the technology, though it would seem to be no runaway commercial success as yet, is bound for great things. Read the rest of this entry »

FreeSync vs G-Sync revisited: FreeSync 2 is coming

This didn’t go too well for AMD’s FreeSync technology last time around. But lo, a shiny new version of FreeSync is inbound. Give it up for FreeSync 2: This Time It Actually Works. OK, that’s a little unfair. But hold onto your mechanical keyboards, folks, because FreeSync 2 is as much about streamlining the PC for HDR support (and indeed making AMD your weapon of choice for HDR gaming) as it is syncing your graphics card and your monitor nicely. Confused? You aren’t the only one… Read the rest of this entry »

Bitter Rift: Oculus has to pay $500 million to ZeniMax over VR headset, rules court

A US court has ruled that Oculus must pay $500 million to software developers ZeniMax over the VR headset they’ve developed. The jury ruled that Palmer Luckey, who co-founded Oculus after leaving ZeniMax, failed to abide by a non-disclosure agreement he had signed while working for the company. However, the jury also found that neither Oculus nor its founders stole trade secrets. This is all part of a very messy saga that’s been thundering on since 2014 and has seen appearances in court not only of Luckey but also John Carmack and Mark Zuckerberg.
Read the rest of this entry »

Interview: Windows 10’s new Game Mode explained

Just last week (and yet somehow an eternity ago, in terms of world events), Microsoft announced that they’d soon be adding something called ‘Game Mode’ to Windows 10 with the aim of improving games’ performance, but gave away few details about what this might involve. Are we talking real framerate gains, suppressing potentially bothersome background tasks or just freeing up a wee bit of RAM?

With the first iteration of Game Mode due to arrive as part of Windows 10’s optional early Insider builds due today, I had a chat with Kevin Gammill, Partner Group Program Manager, Xbox Platform, spokesperson for the group building Game Mode, to find out what this thing actually does, which games it will support and what kind of control users will have over it. Read the rest of this entry »