Asus’ new 49in curved 144Hz monitor to take on Samsung’s CHG90

Asus VG49V

If a crate load of new TUF Gaming peripherals wasn’t enough hardware news for one day, Asus have also announced a brand-new 49in curved gaming monitor at this year’s Computex show to take on the likes of the stupidly wide Samsung CHG90. Much like its extra long 32:9 rival, the Asus VG49V comes with a curved 49in display with a 3840×1080 resolution and a super fast 144Hz refresh rate, giving you as much room as two 27in 1920×1080 monitors without any pesky bezels getting in the way.

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Move over ROG, Asus’ new TUF mouse, keyboard and headset are in town

Asus new TUF Gaming range

PC gaming’s E3 is finally here. No, not that other PC gaming show that’s taking place next week at E3 proper. I’m talking about Computex 2018, Taiwan’s yearly tech bonanza where the weird and wonderful of PC gaming hardware is shown off to the world for the first time. Sometimes these bits of hardware actually see the light of day. Sometimes they don’t. I suspect Asus’ new entry-level TUF peripherals, however, will fall into the former camp. Let’s see what’s in store.

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Nvidia Turing graphics cards reveal set for August

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Mini small

After months of speculation and a will-they-won’t-they game of leaked and delayed release dates, Nvidia look set to finally reveal all about their upcoming Turing graphics cards and the GTX 1180 this August. There’s a chance we may hear about them formally beforehand, of course, especially if the current rumours about a GTX 1180 Founders Edition appearing next month are to be believed, but whatever happens, the program outline for this year’s Hot Chips conference suggests we’ll definitely be hearing at least something about what’s in store on August 20. Read the rest of this entry »

Best gaming SSD 2018: Top SATA and NVMe drives for your PC

Best SSDs 2018

Buying an SSD can be hellish when there are so many models to choose from that all quote exactly the same read and write speeds as everyone else, which is why we’re here to help you in your quest to find the best gaming SSD for you and your budget. Simply put, you need an SSD. Mechanical hard disks (HDDs) are fine for storing lots of games and photos, but let’s face it, they’re pretty slow. With an SSD, on the other hand, the jump in speed will make Windows load in seconds, programs open in a snap and cut game loading times to ribbons.

So if terms like SATA and NVMe this and M.2 and PCIe that make your head spin, you’re in the right place, as below you’ll find all of our current top picks for gaming, as well as in-depth buying advice on how to pick your next SSD. Now that I’ve had the WD Black 3D NVMe SSD in for review as well, I’ve updated this list to reflect what’s changed in our current rankings. Whether it’s for gaming, general performance or the fastest speeds money can buy, we’ve got you covered.

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Roccat’s Titan switches suggest new mechanical keyboards are on the way

Roccat Titan switch

After years of championing the membrane keyboard, Roccat look as though they’re finally preparing to jump headfirst into the world of proper, honest-to-goodness mechanical keyboards thanks to their newly-announced partnership with leading switch manufacturer TTC.

Officially know as the Titan Switch (or the Titan Switch Tactile to give its full mouthful of a name), these will be the first mechanical switches Roccat have designed in-house, and we’ll see them inside a new mystery product very soon at next week’s big Taiwanese tech fest, Computex. I wonder what it could possibly be? Read the rest of this entry »

Best gaming monitor 2018: Top 1080p, 1440p and 4K HDR displays

Monitor buying guide header

When it comes to upgrading our PCs, we so often forget that one of the most important parts of our system is the big black box sitting right in front of us, which is why we’re here to help you find the best gaming monitor to suit your needs and budget. Let’s face it – buying a new monitor is hard. It’s one thing to look at the specs, but trying to judge whether that screen actually produces a good picture or not is nigh on impossible to do from the comfort of your own home.

Fortunately, we’ve done the hard work for you, as below you’ll find a list of all our top recommendations across a multitude of different screen sizes and resolutions. Tried and tested at Castle Shotgun itself, the only monitors you’ll find here are the ones we’ve had sat in front of our own eyeballs and measured with our trusty X-Rite Display i1 Pro calibrator. Naturally, this means we’ll be updating this list as and when new gaming monitors come in that we think deserve a place on our coveted hot list. Case in point: BenQ’s new EW277HDR, which sits newly-crowned as our best 27in 1080p monitor.

We’ll also take you through everything you need to know about screen sizes, resolutions, refresh rates, panel types, inputs and adjustable stands. By the time you’re done here, you’ll be fully equipped to find the best gaming monitor for you. Let’s begin!

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Corsair HS70 Wireless review: My new favourite wireless gaming headset

Corsair HS70 Wireless

PCs are a messy business. Most of us have wires up the wazoo, and probably not an insignificant number of knots and snarled cables to go with them. Problem is, not many of us are willing to forgo the speed and reassurance that comes from having a wired set of peripherals – except, that is, when it comes to our headsets. Life is so much better when you’re not getting throttled as you desperately try and untangle yourself from your wider pool of leads and flexes when you need to answer the doorbell or go downstairs for dinner, but good grief wireless headsets do cost a lot of money, don’t they?

Fortunately, Corsair have taken note, as their brand-new HS70 Wireless headset has finally arrived for just £100/$109. That’s a heck of a lot more appealing than the £140/$160 demanded by HyperX’s Cloud Flight and even the £130/$150 you’ll need to spend on the excellent Steelseries Arctis 7. Corsair hasn’t skimped on features, either, as you’re still getting virtual 7.1 surround sound and up to 16 hours of uninterrupted play time. Can it break into our best gaming headset rankings? Let’s find out.

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BenQ EW277HDR review: A fantastic budget HDR monitor

BenQ EW277HDR

One day, I promise to stop banging on about the marvels of HDR (also known as high dynamic range) and why you should really start thinking about upgrading your PC monitor in order to take advantage of its vibrant, life-like colours, increased brightness and general loveliness. Until then, however, I’ve got BenQ’s EW277HDR monitor to have a gander at, which might just be the best gaming monitor for HDR on the cheap I’ve seen so far. Read the rest of this entry »

HP Omen 15 gets Intel Optane Memory refresh, plus new ear-cooling headset, mice and keyboard peripherals

HP Omen 15 2018

HP unveiled a mother lode of new Omen bits and pieces this morning, including a 2018 refresh of their Omen 15 gaming laptop with Intel Core i5+ and i7+ processor options (the + bit meaning they come with Intel’s super fast Optane Memory gubbins). HP also announced a swathe of new mice and keyboard peripherals for PC, plus the world’s first gaming headset with something HP’s calling ‘active earcup cooling technology’. Chilly earlobes is something I’ve always wanted from a gaming headset, so this has me very excited indeed. Click below for more ice-cold deets.  Read the rest of this entry »

Acer’s Predator hardware brand has a comicbook origin story so awful that it’s amazing

Predator League

We all love a good origin story, so much so that even today’s reboots are birthing their own reboots – see the three different Spidermans we’ve had since 2002 and Lara Croft’s recent transformation from busty tomb raider to notorious pot-trampler and Nathan Drake-alike across both games and film. We’re experiencing something of an origin-ocalypse.

One thing I sometimes wonder, though, is the story behind outlandish tech branding, such as Gigabyte’s furious eagle Aorus logo, or AOC’s AGON theme. What’s their origin story? I like to think Asus’ ROG, or Republic of Gamers, logo, for instance, is actually a topographical map of this mysterious, titular republic that one is required to locate on a real map in order to enter its special nation state of ‘true’ gamers. This week, one of my more unusual prayers was answered, as Acer finally revealed the origin story of their Predator series (something I know you’ve just been dying to find out). It turned out to be so cringe-inducingly ridiculous that I feel duty-bound to give you the full lowdown. Read the rest of this entry »

Cougar’s Panzer EVO RGB goes mad on LEDs this June

Cougar Panzer EVO RGB

There’s no point going all in on LED motherboards, coolers, graphics cards – you name it – when you don’t have the right case that can show it all off. But why stop at components in your quest for the perfect RGB mega show? Why not get a full RGB case as well for maximum rainbow-osity? Enter the Cougar Panzer EVO RGB, which comes with four tempered glass covers and loads of space for building your RGB super rig. Read the rest of this entry »

Asus PG27UQ release date confirmed for June, but the price of this 4K G-Sync HDR monitor is still unknown

The Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ is one of Nvidia's upcoming G-Sync HDR incredi-monitors

It’s been 18 months since Asus’ super duper Nvidia G-Sync HDR monitor, the ROG Swift PG27UQ, was first announced to the world, but now the wait is almost over. Nvidia hinted last week we wouldn’t have to wait too long before it starting appearing on shop shelves, but now Asus themselves have confirmed the PG27UQ will definitely be here this June in all its 4K HDR glory.

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Asus ROG Crosshair VII Hero (Wi-Fi) review: The coolest motherboard around for Ryzen+ (literally)

Asus ROG Crosshair VII Hero

The Asus ROG Crosshair VII Hero (Wi-Fi) – try saying that three times fast – is quite possibly the ultimate ATX motherboard for cooling and USB junkies – if you’re batting for team Ryzen+, that is. If you thought having eight USB ports on the Asus ROG Strix X470F-Gaming and MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC was generous, the Crosshair VII Hero adds four more to the pile, coming in for a positively monstrous total of 12. If all that wasn’t enough, you also get a whopping nine fan headers for the coolest of cooled systems.

Nine fan headers I can just about get behind, but I can’t even begin to imagine the kind of situation where you’d need to have 12 USB ports. Still, while you can’t accuse Asus of being stingy when it comes to peripheral support, it does mean you’re giving up space for multiple display outputs (unless you count the single USB Type-C port), making it ill-suited to AMD’s other two new Ryzen chips, the Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G with integrated Vega graphics. As a companion for AMD’s Ryzen 7 2700 / 2700X or Ryzen 5 2600 / 2600X CPUs, on the other hand, the Crosshair makes a mighty fine match. Let’s see if it’s worth buying over the MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC.

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Acer’s Predator Helios 500 laptop is so huge it needs two people to lift it

Acer Predator Helios 500

All right, that title might be a slight exaggeration, but in an age of lovely slim gaming laptops like the new Razer Blade, Acer’s freshly-announced Predator Helios 500 is still very much in the ‘absolute unit’ category of these sort-of-but-not-really portable gaming machines – so much so that Acer’s top man Jason Chen (pictured above, right) needed a little help showing it off onstage yesterday at his company’s global press conference.

Weighing in at 4kg and measuring 428x298x38.7mm, this 17.3in laptop is positively monstrous compared to this year’s svelte Razer Blade, but take one look at its specs and you’ll understand why. With models going all the way up to a six-core Intel Core i9+ 8950HK (the + signifying the presence of Intel’s incredi-fast Optane Memory), a 4K IPS Nvidia G-Sync display and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card, this is a laptop that means serious business. Let’s take a look. Read the rest of this entry »

Acer introduce new family of Nitro gaming monitors that (hopefully) won’t break the bank

Acer Nitro VG0 header

Just when you thought you’d had your fill of BRAND talk this week with the Asus Arez / ROG kerfuffle, Acer have jumped in on the action as well with the introduction of their new Nitro family of gaming monitors.

A more entry-level series than their flagship Predator range, these new monitors may not have all the bells and whistles of Acer’s Nvidia G-Sync HDR-enabled Predator X27, for example, but they still offer super slim bezels, high refresh rates up to 144Hz, AMD FreeSync support and resolutions that go all the way up to 4K – and judging from my hands on time earlier today, they could be just the ticket for those after a decent mid-range screen.

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Hands on with Acer’s new Predator Cestus 510 mouse and Aethon 500 keyboard

Acer Predator Cestus 510 header

When you think of Acer’s Predator range, laptops and monitors are probably the first things that come to mind. This year, however, Acer are going all in on PC gaming peripherals, as they’ve just unveiled a brand-new mouse and keyboard at their New York press conference – the highly-flexible Predator Cestus 510 and the blue mechanical switch-themed Aethon 500. And I’ve been plastering my grubby mitts all over them.  Read the rest of this entry »

Arez in or Arez out? Asus clarify AMD graphics card brand mix-up

Asus AREZ AMD graphics cards

Last month, Asus unveiled a brand-new range of AMD Radeon RX graphics cards under the name of ‘Arez‘ – you know, like the god of war Ares, but cooler and with a ‘z’. Fast forward to last night, and you may have seen some wild rumours flying about saying that Asus have actually canned their new Arez brand in favour of their classic ROG moniker after a suggestive tweet from a vaguely official-sounding Asus Arez Twitter account. Thankfully, Asus have stepped in to clear up the confusion.

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The new Razer Blade (2018) is primed and ready for on-the-go Final Fantasy XV

Razer Blade 2018

Gaming laptops are a funny business, aren’t they? Nine times out of ten they’re nowhere near as powerful as an equivalent desktop PC, yet they usually cost just as much, if not more, than the bulky black rectangles they’re so desperately trying to replace. There’s also a matter of looks. Most gaming laptops are very much from the shouty GAMING LAPTOP school of design with their edgy angles and flashing LEDs, not to mention the fact that most of them would likely break your back as soon as you tried to remove it from your desk.

Razer’s gaming laptops, on the other hand, have always tended to hark back to the nice slim portable laptops many of us, myself included, use for work – and their new, rather lovely 15.6in Razer Blade that I went to see a couple of weeks ago, complete with its 144Hz refresh rate and one of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q chips, could well be one of their best yet. Let’s take a look.

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Best graphics card 2018: Top GPUs for 1080p, 1440p and 4K

Best graphics card 2018

There has never been a better time to pick up one of today’s best graphics cards. It’s taken a while, but graphics card prices are finally coming back down to normal, bringing the likes of Nvidia and AMD’s latest and greatest finally within reach again.

To help you choose the best graphics card for your needs and budget, we’re here to help. This article is all about identifying the single best GPU you can get for playing games at 1080p, 1440p and 4K at a price that suits you. Read on for our in-depth buying advice on what and how to buy your next graphics card for 2018.

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WD Black 3D NVMe SSD review: Bringing the fight to the Samsung 970 Evo (sort of)

WD Black NVMe SSD header

When Western Digital announced their brand-new Black 3D NVMe SSD at the beginning of April, it looked like it might finally bring some much needed competition to the all-powerful Samsung 960 Evo and potentially cause a late-game upset in our Best gaming SSD rankings.

With superior claimed sequential write speeds, equal sequential read speeds, a more generous endurance rating on the 250GB model and so-close-you-can-feel-them-breathing-down-your-neck pricing, the WD Black NVMe SSD (2018) looked like a mighty fine prospect for anyone contemplating an upgrade to their SSD setup. And in some respects, it very much is a mighty fine prospect. Then Samsung went and gazumped them with the release of their 970 Evo and, well, completely tipped it down on WD’s parade.

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