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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AMD’s Ryzen Mobile chips are finally coming to laptops

AMD Ryzen Mobile

AMD have been making quite the comeback of late. First came their Ryzen desktop processors – which are pretty darn great compared to their respective Intel competition. Then, they went after Nvidia’s GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 graphics cards with their trio of Radeon RX Vega chips. Now, it’s time for AMD laptops to get a look in, as Ryzen Mobile is finally here. Read the rest of this entry »

Valve’s Steam Link costs pennies in a bundle with Icey

ICEY

I can only assume that Valve’s Steam Link box (which lets you play your PC stuff streamed to your TV in another room) hasn’t been flying off the shelves, given the discount it’s available for today. Whether it’s just to clear shelf-space or increase visibility, right now you can grab one for 80p plus postage as part of a bundle with well-received Chinese indie action game Icey, totalling £14.49 in all.

As I’d been meaning to pick up the game at some point – being a fan of character-action games and anime excess – I figured now was as good a time as any try my first piece of official Valve-branded hardware. That, and I’ve been looking for a cheap way to avoid lugging my desktop PC and its nest of cables to the TV whenever friends are round, so the price was right for me.

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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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Microsoft’s cheaper, lower-spec VR initiative Mixed Reality launches October 17th

Arriving late to virtual reality, Microsoft have rebranded it Windows Mixed Reality et voila, the revolution will begin anew on October 17th. Microsoft have announced that Mixed Reality support will hit Windows 10 in the Fall Creators Update on that day, launching their VR initiative alongside headsets from several companies. Windows Mixed Reality is a term that supposedly will one day encompass both virtual reality and augmented reality (where cyberbits interact with the real world before our eyes), but the launch lineup is all VR headsets starting around £250. They’re not regular cybergoggs, mind, bearing lower system requirements and including built-in sensors that mean you don’t need to set up external sensors for motion controllers. And it’s named Mixed Reality, so it’s clearly different.

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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 »

Destiny 2 on PC runs smooth as perma-gloomy butter

dest1

I’ll defer to m’esteemed colleague Pip in terms of opinions about Destiny 2 [official site]’s PC beta (coming this evening – ed), currently open to pre-orderers and then for the whole wide world from 6pm UK time/10am PST today, for she has spent significantly more time than I in the Crucible. What I can do is give you a good sense of Bungie’s long-awaited return to PC-based shootybangs runs on a variety of system, how good (or otherwise) it looks, and the more nebulous but more important business of how it feels on our WASDy weapons of choice.
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HTC Vive cybergoggles get £160/$200 pricecut

HTC and Valve’s Vive cybergoggles today received a permanent price cut, taking the virtual reality headset from £759/$799 to £599/$599. Unlike the current £399 Rift sale, this is a permanent change. And it comes just in time for Rez Infinite, which our Alec has declared to be “the greatest VR game to date.” I myself am holding out for goggs with spring-loaded steel spikes over the temples so when I die in the game, I die in real life (which I understand to be a fundamental part of VR) but if you’ve simply been waiting for a lower price, voila. 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 »

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 »