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


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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AMD’s taking it one step at a time with its new Vega M Intel chips


When Intel and AMD said they were teaming up for a new kind of 8th Gen Core processor with onboard AMD Radeon RX Vega M graphics, many assumed (myself included) that this would be the start of a new, if slightly weird and wonderful relationship between the once bitter rivals.

However, it would appear that the future of Intel’s AMD Vega CPUs will rest very much on the success of its initial launch this spring, according to AMD CEO Lisa Su, suggesting the partnership may be a one-time-only deal if it doesn’t take off.

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Philips 349X7FJEW review: A great 21:9 ultra-wide monitor for Final Fantasy XII

Philips 349X7FJEW

If there are two things I love in life, it’s Final Fantasy and 21:9 monitors. It’s a select group of interests, I’ll admit, but when I heard that Final Fantasy XII was finally coming to PC (tomorrow, no less) with both 21:9 and multi-monitor support, I knew what I had to do. Yep, today marks the start of my 21:9 ultra-wide monitor group test to find the perfect display for playing Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age on PC, and the first monitor on the gambit table is the Philips 349X7FJEW.

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AMD Radeon RX 570 review: An all-round 1080p card

AMD RX 570

Back toward the end of last year, the AMD Radeon RX 570 looked like the saving grace of AMD’s graphics card line-up. However, with prices still ludicrously inflated thanks to the ongoing Great Mining Drought, even the RX 570 has now been hurled violently over the £300 barrier violently over the £300 barrier, taking it worryingly close to its vastly superior big brother, the AMD Radeon RX 580.

With fewer ‘stream processors’ (i.e. cores) than the RX 580 and just 4GB of memory, the RX 570 is once again the awkward middle child – not powerful enough to consider over the RX 580 and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, and too expensive to consider over budget alternatives like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti.  So where does this FreeSync-enabled, 1080p/1440p card sit on the best graphics card 2018 ladder? To find out, I’ve got an Asus ROG Strix RX 570 OC Edition.

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AMD Radeon RX 580 review: Our top pick for 1440p gaming

AMD RX 580

The AMD Radeon RX 580 is the patriarch of AMD’s Polaris architecture family and was, until a few months ago when all graphics card pricing went out the window, our recommended centrepiece for mid-range PC builders. Indeed, while it still occupies the top spot for 1440p gaming in our Best graphics cards 2018 article, its main rival, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060, is actually significantly cheaper at the moment, putting its reign in serious jeopardy.

For those unaware, the RX 580 comes in both 4GB and 8GB VRAM flavours. I’m covering the latter here, and it’s hard to make an argument as to why you’d consider the former: it’s not that much cheaper, but does essentially cut you off from the flashiest graphical stuff (like Ultra-high quality textures) in games which support them. Having less memory can also generally scupper you when running with higher resolutions, and considering that the RX 580 appears to have been made with 1440p firmly in AMD’s collective mind, 8GB just makes more sense.

Once again, it’s an Asus ROG Strix OC Edition I’m testing, though since the overclock in question has such a tiny boost speed upgrade from 1340MHz to a maximum of 1380MHz, it should be representative of most partner-made RX 580s. Here, however, you do get three fans, a sturdy backplate and an extra HDMI port for VR kit for your trouble.

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AMD Radeon Vega RX 64 review: Finally some competition for the GTX 1080

Asus Vega RX 64

Just as the Radeon Vega RX 56 targets the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070, the Vega RX 64 is AMD’s precision strike on the mighty Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080. About damn time, too – by focusing solely on the mid-range and entry-level RX 400 and RX 500 series (which you can read more about in our AMD Radeon RX 580 review), AMD has given Nvidia free reign of the premium market for about two years. Time for some competition in the best graphics card 2018 tourney, methinks.

The model I’m testing is Asus’ ROG Strix version, or to use its full title for the only time in this review, the Asus ROG Strix RX Vega 64 OC Edition. The poetically-named ARSRV64OCE builds on AMD’s tech – which includes 8GB of High Bandwidth Memory 2 (HBM2), which stacks its memory modules units on top of each other, supposedly speeding up how long it takes to talk to your CPU – with a nifty three-fan air cooler and, as the name suggests, overclocked cores. It’s only a little bump, mind, upping the base clock from 1247MHz to 1298MHz and the boost clock from 1549MHz to 1590MHz. As to whether all that makes the RX 64 as capable as the GTX 1080 at 1440p and, perhaps most importantly, 4K, the answer is: yes! Pretty much!

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Best graphics cards 2018 for 1080p, 1440p and 4K gaming

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080Ti

With graphics card prices soaring once again thanks to the lovely exploits of nefarious cryptocurrency miners, choosing what graphics card to buy has never been more difficult – which is why this here 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 advice on what and how to pick your next graphics card for 2018. Read the rest of this entry »

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti review: The best 1080p graphics card under £200

It’s been a pretty bleak couple of months for anyone hoping to buy a new graphics card, but there’s still a bit of good news to be found for those whose ambitions stop firmly at getting a great gaming experience at 1920×1080, as entry-level cards like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti on test here have been largely unaffected by recent price hikes.

Indeed, the GTX 1050Ti currently occupies the top spot in our Best graphics card 2018 article for 1080p gaming, and more importantly can still be found for as little as £150-odd in the UK and a fraction over $200 in the US. That’s almost half the cost of Nvidia’s next card up, the GTX 1060, which you can read more about in our Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 review. It won’t be much good for anything beyond 1080p, but if Full HD gaming is your bag, then the GTX 1050 Ti is an excellent choice.

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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 review: The best 1440p graphics card (for now)

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 is Nvidia’s new mid-range contender, chasing the coat tails of its more powerful big brother, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 and rubbing shoulders with the AMD Radeon RX 580 for 2560×1440 gaming goodness. Or at least the 6GB version of Nvidia’s card is, as you’ll also find lesser 3GB variants on sale as well.

3GB models have the same basic DNA as 6GB GTX 1060s, but they have slightly lower clock speeds and fewer cores, meaning performance won’t be as good as their 6GB counterparts. Indeed, we wouldn’t really recommend the 3GB GTX 1060, if only in the name of future-proofing yourself against the ever increasing memory requirements of the latest games. As you can see from our Best graphics cards 2018 article, you should really be looking at the 6GB version if you want something to rival the GTX 1070 at resolutions beyond 1080p, as there are plenty of cheaper cards, namely the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti, that do 1080p just as well as the 3GB GTX 1060 without you having to spend almost £300 for the privilege. Fortunately, we have one such 6GB card on test to show us what it’s capable of. Say hello to the MSI GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Gaming X.

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