Posts Tagged ‘intel’

Hands-On With Intel’s New Kaby Lake CPU

Behold. Intel has a new PC processor. Does it game, will it blend, is it AMD’s Ryzen CPU you really want and what the hell happened to ‘Tick Tock’? For answers to at least some of these questions, including the shattering news that the arrival of Kaby Lake means the era of ‘Tick Tock’ is over, summarily usurped by ‘Process, Architecture, Optimisation’ (or if leaked roadmaps are anything to go by, make that ‘Process, Architecture, Optimisation and One More for the Road’), join me on the other side. Read the rest of this entry »

How To Build A PC

The PC is brilliant. It’s brilliant for all the things you can do with it. But it’s also brilliant for being something you can build yourself. Yes, you at the back. You too can build a PC. Almost anyone can. And it’s not just easy. It’s fun. Once you get the knack, you won’t want to turn back. You’ll also be much more confident in future whenever you have to crack open the case. So here’s the RPS guide to the basics of building a PC.

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Intel’s New Uber CPU And The Future Of PC Gaming

Once upon a time, the launch of a new Intel uber CPU was unambiguously exciting. You’d have the raw appeal of the chip itself, capable of new heights of computational prowess. But you also got a glimpse of the near future for more mainstream CPUs. These days? Not so much. So what to make of the shiny new Intel Core i7-6950X and its 10 mighty cores? Is it remotely relevant to gaming? While we’re on the subject, are CPUs generally terribly relevant to gaming, now? And what might recent announcements regards high-performance respins of the Xbox One and PS4 consoles tell us about all this?

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Why Intel Quitting Smartphones Matters For PC Gaming

And lo it came to pass on the 29th day of the fourth month (or thereabouts) in the year of some or other lord from antiquity 2016 that Intel did verily smite the Atom processor. Well, mostly. More specifically, what Intel has announced is effectively the end of its ambitions to get into smartphones. It has cancelled a number of future chips designed to achieve that end. You might very well wonder what this has to do with PC gaming. Immediately and directly, naff all. But in the longer term it could be critical and it involves the very meaning of PC gaming. Allow me to explain.

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2016 Awesomeness: Nvidia’s New Pascal Graphics

If it was a car it would be a gold-wrapped, kleptocrat-owned Bugatti Veyron ostentatiously double parked outside a Knightsbridge hotel. It’s still bloated, it’s still overly complex and you still can’t afford it. But it’s a graphics chip and a harbinger of things you might actually be able to buy. I give you Nvidia’s new Pascal GP100, a 15.3 billion transistor beast and the beginnings of that 2016 awesomeness I promised for the new year. In other words, if you’re thinking of buying a new graphics card, you might want to hold fire. Meanwhile, Intel has also taken the wraps off a massive new chip you can’t afford and the final piece the Laird Gaming Dungeon™: Driver Edition has arrived. Yup, I’m liking 2016.

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AnyKey: ESL, Intel Announce Esports Diversity Initiative

Esports company ESL [official site] have partnered with Intel to found the AnyKey organisation. The group’s aim is “supporting diversity in and around the competitive gaming industry.”

ESL goes on to add:

“The organisation’s core goal is to create more opportunities and inclusive spaces, whilst advocating for the underrepresented members of competitive communities, such as women, LGBTQ participants, and people of colour.”

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Why 2016 Will Be A Great Year For PC Gaming Hardware

2016 is going to be great for PC gaming hardware. Of that I am virtually certain. Last time around, I explained why the next 12 months in graphics chips will be cause for much rejoicing. That alone is big news when you consider graphics is arguably the single most important hardware item when it comes to progressing PC gaming. This week, I’ll tell you why the festivities will also apply to almost every other part of the PC, including CPUs, solid-state drives, screens and more. Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a SATA cable in my eye, 2016 is looking up.
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Is Intel’s Skylake Finally A New CPU To Get Excited About?

Hello, good evening and give it up for an all-new Intel CPU. By chip industry standards, it’s been a long time coming. But with a nonchalant shrug of its 14nm FinFETs, Intel’s new Skylake chip has crashed the desktop PC party. Dare we hope for genuine progress? Or is the new Core i7-6700K yet another samey CPU from Intel? I also have an early take on the new Z170 platform that pairs with Skylake, in the form of MSI’s Z170 Gaming M5 motherboard. Without giving much away, Skylake is something we desktop gaming dinosaurs can definitely get excited about. But not necessarily for the reasons you might expect.

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Intel’s Baffling New Broadwell CPUs

Intel has finally, belatedly, possibly even reluctantly wheeled out its latest 14nm Broadwell CPU architecture in desktop processor trim (we’ve seen it before as a mobile chip). And it’s all a bit baffling. The new chips are not really direct replacements for Intel’s existing Core i5 and Core i7 gaming favourites. They’re not really faster, except when they occasionally are. And they set new standards for integrated graphics but still make absolutely no sense for gaming. In short, you needn’t rush out and buy one.
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Why You Don’t Need More Than Four CPU Cores

We’re back and this week I’m saving you even more money by telling you why you don’t need more than four processor cores in your PC for gaming. You don’t need more now. And you almost definitely won’t need more for several years to come. What’s, er, more, even if your cores are quite crusty, you’re probably fine.
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Week in Tech: New Intel Chips, More Mega-Monitors

There but for the grace of US immigrations officials...

It’s January and that can only mean one thing. Well, apart from New Year’s resolutions serially and unceremoniously defenestrated by the second week and a general sense of futility. No, I speak of the festival of capitalism gone completely mad that is CES in Las Vegas. Which actually happened last week. CES isn’t exactly the epicentre of all things PC. But it’s so bleedin’ huge, even a tiny fraction of it dedicated to the PC adds up to a lot of interesting things. This year is no exception, what with bonkers-fast SSDs, screens that push all my IPS, 120Hz-plus and frame-syncing buttons, integrated graphics from Intel that might be (oh OK, won’t be) good for playing games and a cheap PC case from Corsair that looks tolerable. I know, I’m really selling this stuff.
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Week in Tech: 2015 Hardware Hotness

Your new gaming PC...

We wrapped up 2014 with the best hardware bits of the year. Ever the innovator, I’m thinking how better to start 2015 than a look at the likely highlights for the next 12 months? Empty speculation and a dash of rampant SEO cheekiness? Perish the very thought. Instead, hang your cynicism on a coat hook for half an hour and humour me. With upsides that start with faster graphics and cheaper SSDs and might extend to some free gaming performance for your PC courtesy of Microsoft, turning your TV into a massive gaming rig for under £100/$150 and perhaps even a VR revolution, 2015 might not be so bad after all.

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Intel Pledges Megabucks To Improve Diversity In Tech

Big ships take a lot of turning, but chip giant Intel claims it’s to forcibly accelerate the process. It’s planning to spend $300 million to improve the diversity of its own workplace and the wider tech industry, to attract more women to the games industry, and to make games and tech a more accommodating place to people who have traditionally been minorities within it.
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Week in Tech: The PC Is Dead, Long Live The PC

My desk drawer, yesterday

You know the one about the New Scientist editor and his philosophy for the magazine, right? Science is interesting and if you don’t agree you can bugger off? It comes second hand via the shy, retiring figure that is Richard Dawkins and, for all I know, it’s probably apocryphal. But it’s at least in broadly the same ballpark as my feelings about the computer industry. It’s just had such a huge impact on the way we live. And none so much as the PC, even if the image of the poor old thing being devoured alive by a swarm of vicious mobile devices gets repeated so often, nobody really bothers to check if it’s true. And yes, we’ve been here before, kinda.

But in recent weeks it’s all become more baffling than ever. Try this for size: Record revenues for good old Intel, AMD laying off staff while another bit of what used to be AMD is paid $1.5 billion to take away what’s left of IBM’s chip production facility – deep breath – tablet sales tanking, PC sales taking up the slack, an Apple iPad chip with more transistors than an eight-core Intel PC processor, graphics chip vendors stuck on 28nm while Apple pinches all the 20nm production capacity…I’m not sure what to make of all, especially in terms of, ya know, simply playing games on PCs. But one thing is for sure, it’s interesting. And if you don’t agree… Read the rest of this entry »

Hard Choices: How To Choose The Right CPU

Apparently, some of you don’t dedicate every waking hour to keeping up with PCI Express lane counts, silicon production nodes and CPU socket redundancy. I know, some people, eh? But with that in mind, plus the tendency for product-driven reportage to get a bit jargon heavy, not to mention some significant recent CPU-related developments from Intel of late, now feels like a good moment to stick a peg in the sand, pull all the current CPU options together, outline the key technologies and issues and then point you in the direct of a few best buys. It’s time for another semi-newbie’s guide to CPUs.
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Week In Tech: Intel’s Haswell-E Is Actually Interesting

Remember when Intel’s top platform was relevant? When proper CPUs didn’t come with nonsense like integrated graphics and the Core i7-920 D0 was the weapon of choice for gamers and PC enthusiasts in the know? Good times. More recently, the LGA2011 socket and its CPUs have been irrelevant unless you had money to hose about with nonchalant abandon. Yeah, yeah, they’ve been the fastest PC platforms you could buy. But at a premium that massively outweighed the real-world benefit. No longer. Those good times are back. With its new ‘Haswell-E’ Core i7s, the new X99 chipset and revised LGA2011-v3 socket, Intel has finally delivered the goods that I, at least, have been waiting for. Haswell-E is something you’ll actually want to buy. Ride your rodents to the other side to find out why.

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Week in Tech: Intel Shrinks Desktop Apathy Down To 14nm

22nm apathy to the left, 14nm on the right

Spool up the apathy drive and buckle in for yet another family of unexciting new CPUs from Intel. The 14nm Broadwell generation is nearly upon us and Intel has begun the slow drip feed of info about a CPU hardly anyone will notice or care about in desktop PCs. It’ll be a while yet before we get full speeds and feeds. But we already know enough to say that Broadwell is more of the same. No more cores, barely any additional CPU performance, better graphics and battery life. Deathly dull and disappointing? Yup, except possibly for mobile gaming. It’s all too familiar. Of course, if it’s exciting desktop stuff you crave, Intel’s Haswell-E is, surprisingly, shaping up rather nicely. Pity I can’t tell you any more about that, for now…
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Week in Tech: Nvidia’s Gaming Tablet, No More Moore

Nvidia has wheeled out its second effort at the obviously-not-actually-a-PC-but-does-interesting-things-with-PCs Shield gaming device. And this time it’s a tablet. Which is what it should have been in the first place. But doesn’t actually mean it’s automatically good idea. Still, it’s hard to imagine Shield the Second doing much worse than Shield the First, which ended up being given away in boxes of Cheerios (ish) and even then only escaped landfills on account of being handed out by the sackful to shameless media types addicted to freebies. Meanwhile, there’s more confirmation that Moore’s Law is really no, er, more, some interesting screens get priced up, another interesting screen turns out to be an epic dud…it was ever thus.
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Week in Tech: Buy A Decent Screen, That’s An Order

While I slave away gathering all the bits for our upcoming home-build vs factory-built PC comparo extraordinaire, here’s something to think about and even get on with in the meantime. Buy a decent screen. I’ve touched on this before, but some recent shenanigans with 4K monitors and Laird Minor (little brother) being in need of a new screen have reminded me of something. My main PC display is seven years old. My secondary PC display is eight years old. And it’s only now that I’m beginning to even think about upgrading. Imagine trying to game on an eight-year-old CPU or graphics card. Nasty. Meanwhile, the skinny is out on Intel’s new anniversary-themed CPUs and the rumour mill is building up for the next wave of high-end graphics cards.
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Week in Tech: Alienware’s Non-Steambox, SSD No-Brainer

Alienware's just-a-box, er, box

Can there be any of you left not running an SSD as your main boot drive? If so, do not pass go, do not worry about M.2 and SATA Express, do not collect 200 units in non-sequential, unmarked local denomination. Just buy a Crucial MX100. It’s now on sale with the 256GB effort yours for just £78 / $109. If you don’t do it, I shall sulk. Meanwhile, it turns out Alienware is pressing ahead with its Steambox thingie in spite of Valve’s foot dragging. Consequently, Alienware now plans to sell its Steambox without SteamOS or the Steam controller. Er, what? Oh, and there’s a spot of good news concerning Intel’s new Devil’s Dumplings CPUs. They’re confirmed compatible with a bunch of existing 8 Series motherboards.

Finally, home build versus factory built. Used vs new? What are your preferences and why? I’m planning on sourcing a pre-built PC from one of the UK’s better system builders in the next few weeks and comparing it to the home-built option using both new and used components. Speak now or forever hold your peace. At least, don’t complain if I’ve missed something you wanted to know!
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