Posts Tagged ‘Hardware’

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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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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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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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 »

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 »

13 recent games that run well on terrible laptops

‘Terrible’ only in the sense of their gaming capability. Honestly, I’m sure your laptop is lovely to look at and it was definitely a extremely sensible idea to spend all that money on it instead of buying a holiday or helping to save the pandas. Truth is, though, that playing recently-released games on the vast majority of laptops is about as effective as starting an online petition to uncancel your favourite television show.

A little discretion goes a long way, however. Sure, you may be denied the glossiest of exploding viscera, but it is entirely possible to keep up with the Joneses even on a Terrible Laptop that has no dedicated graphics card. Here are but twelve contemporary games – either recently released or still-evolving going concerns – that will indeed run on your glammed-up toaster. Additional suggestions below are entirely welcome.
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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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The quest for playable Dawn Of War III on a laptop

Something I enjoy doing, because my capacity to be tedious is matched only by my willingness to waste time on doomed endeavours, is trying to get games working on below-minimum spec PCs. Specifically, my aged Surface Pro 3 and its lousy integrated Intel graphics. Offline mode confusions aside, Warhammer 40000: Dawn of War 3 [official site] is exactly the kind of game I want to play on train rides, but officially it requires a 2GB dedicated graphics card. Unofficially, not so much. I’ve got it running, and made it look like an early 2000s RTS in the process.
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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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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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AMD’s new Ryzen CPU and gaming: Take two

As we saw two weeks ago, AMD’s new Ryzen CPU is excellent in many regards. Hurrah. But its most conspicuous weakness is gaming. Haroo. Ryzen really is awfully important for all PC enthusiasts, so it’s worth a closer look at just what is going on with Ryzen and PC gaming. Be warned, however, for now there aren’t any easy answers. Read the rest of this entry »

Hands on with AMD’s fab new Ryzen CPU

Rejoice, for AMD’s new Ryzen CPU is here. And it’s good. Thank science for that. Another dud from AMD didn’t bear thinking about. Instead, we get to ponder just how good Ryzen is and indeed how good it truly needs to be. It isn’t the very fastest CPU money can buy or the greatest gaming CPU ever. But that’s just dandy. It’s still going to blow the PC processor market wide open and force Intel to seriously up its game. Read the rest of this entry »

Razer Blade Stealth + Razer Core review: the external laptop graphics card dream

you get kitchen chairs instead of a dusty floor this time

Consider this a slight tangent from my ongoing quest to decide which gaming laptop to buy by reviewing a bunch of them. The Razer Blade Stealth is not a gaming laptop, despite coming from a company most known for aggressively ‘gamer’-orientated technology. It’s an ultrabook, which is to say very thin and light, which means no discrete graphics card and a low-power processor. The Macbook Air would be the most obvious point of comparison.

The situation changes when it’s hooked up to a speaker-sized black metal box known officially as the Razer Core. This is an external graphics card enclosure, which, with a single cable connected to a port on its outside edge, enables the Stealth to run a desktop GPU. Too good to be true? As it happens, no. Read the rest of this entry »