Posts Tagged ‘week in tech’

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

FreeSync vs G-Sync revisited: FreeSync 2 is coming

This didn’t go too well for AMD’s FreeSync technology last time around. But lo, a shiny new version of FreeSync is inbound. Give it up for FreeSync 2: This Time It Actually Works. OK, that’s a little unfair. But hold onto your mechanical keyboards, folks, because FreeSync 2 is as much about streamlining the PC for HDR support (and indeed making AMD your weapon of choice for HDR gaming) as it is syncing your graphics card and your monitor nicely. Confused? You aren’t the only one… Read the rest of this entry »

AMD’s Radeon RX 460 Graphics: Bargain or just bad?

Multi-bazillion-transistor behemoths like Nvidia’s Titan or the AMD Radeon R9 Fury are all very well. But the stats suggest hardly any of us actually buy them. Not a single Titan shows up in the latest Steam survey. If that’s some kind of driver-related GPU flagging anomaly, the next rung down in the form of Nvidia’s GTX 1080 clocks a mere 0.3 per cent of Steam gamers. On the other hand, the third most popular GPU on Steam is Nvidia’s old budget board, the GeForce 750 Ti. Enter, therefore, AMD’s latest attempt at a parsimonious pixel pumper, the Radeon RX 460. Aspirational it ain’t. But could it be that an entry-level board now makes for good-enough gaming graphics? There’s only one way to find out.

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Nvidia’s GTX 1070: The 1440p Graphics Card Of Choice?

Hello. Good evening. And graphics. After a brief excursion into the delights of HDR screens, it’s back to This Week in Graphics in which I deliver my subjective, benchmarkless verdict some months behind almost everyone else in the Alpha Quandrant. Being first is so easy, so obvious, after all. This time around we’re filling in the final slot in Nvidia’s new Pascal family of GPUs. If you discount the crazy money Titan X, at least. Yup, it’s the GeForce GTX 1070. As it happens, the 1070 neatly fills what is normally my favoured slot in the overall hierarchy of any given GPU family, namely one rung down from the top graphics chip that’s actually bought in significant volumes. Except, Nvidia’s Pascal family isn’t entirely normal…

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Hardware Hotness: AMD’s Zen CPU, Gaming Monitors, More VR And The Silliest Laptop Ever

What with the sober-suited Euro foil to CES that is the IFA consumer electronics show, Intel’s IDF shindig, a new console or two from Sony and new version of the smartphone that dare not speak its name, it’s been a busy week or two in tech. But has there been any joy for the good old PC? You know, that dessicated old thing that just so happens to be by far the best gaming platform, period? There’s certainly been some startling new PC-gaming kit, including surely the most preposterous gaming laptop ever. But also some newness of genuine relevance, including an update on AMD’s new Zen CPU, some very interesting screens, plus a few further potentially PC-related oddities that are hard to gauge for now.

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AMD’s New Radeon RX 480: Graphics Greatness You Can Actually Afford?

As promised, the 2016 GPUgasm continues and not a moment too soon we come to AMD’s new pixel pumper, the Radeon RX 480, otherwise known as Polaris. With Nvidia’s new graphics chipsets delivering excellent performance but at punitive pricing, the narrative I’m unashamedly desperate to deliver involves AMD to the rescue with something very nearly as good, just for a fraction of the cost. With the new RX 480 clocking in at around £200 / $200, the money part of the package looks promising. But what about the performance? Forget the benchmarks, let’s give the new RX 480 a good old grope.

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Nvidia’s Geforce GTX 1060: The New 1440p King?

The graphics launches have come thick and fast this year. What with GTXs and then the surprise Titan X from Nvidia, and AMD’s Polaris chips, there’s little chance of keeping up with the official embargo calendar. So think of this as part two of my leisurely stroll through the new GPU landscape. Last time around, it was the mighty Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080, which suddenly looks a lot less mighty thanks to the arrival of the aforementioned Titan X. This week, it’s the turn of Nvidia’s new mid-range contender, the GTX 1060. As before, I shall be spurning objectivity, benchmarks and frame-rate counters for a what-does-it-actually-feel-like approach. And yes, AMD coverage will follow in the fullness of time. Patience, Iago!

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NVIDIA GTX 1080: A Big Leap, But Not Quite A 4K Slayer

GPU season is in full swing on the PC, and in typical fashion I’m ambling nautical miles behind the action as the interwebs battle to be the first with the benchmarks. But why be first when you can be 33rd? More to the point, why wheel out eleventy-six benchmarks when the web is already creaking under the strain of metrics in every conceivable manner? Instead, I shall cast objectivity to the four winds and deliver a more subjective take on Nvidia’s new top-end graphics card, courtesy of the economically monikered MSI Gaming X 8G Twin Frozr VI GeForce GTX 1080. After all, if you can’t feel the difference, what is the point?
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AMD’s New $200/£175 VR-Friendly Gaming Graphics

It’s not quite the full disclosure I’ve been hoping for, but AMD semi-announced its new AMD Radeon RX 480 graphics card at the Computex trade show, t’other day. Yep, it’s that new Polaris graphics tech we’ve mentioned previously and as predicted the new board isn’t a mega money irrelevance, like Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080. It’s affordable and, among other things, claims to deliver 3D rendering performance for virtually reality headsets that’s comparable to $500 GPUs. VR for the masses, in other words. Sounds promising, but also strangely familiar… Read the rest of this entry »

My Driving Sim Story, Part 1: Firing Up The Playseat

What was I expecting when I set out on this driving-sim adventure? I’m not sure, but it wasn’t this. If the logistical complexities of doing driving sims properly caught me out a little, the initial experience is completely off the map. But I’m finally up and running thanks to the arrival of a Playseat seatpod thingie and I’ve had something akin to my own Matrix moment… Read the rest of this entry »

Nvidia’s New GeForce GTX 1080 Graphics

Hate to say I told you so. Or rather, I don’t and so I’m going to gloat. Contrary to numerous comment protestations, Nvidia’s 2016 graphics awesomeness has begun in the shape of its new GeForce GTX 1080 and 1070 cards. Based on the new Pascal architecture and teensy 16nm transistors, the new GPUs are exactly as expected. And yet also quite different. Meanwhile, AMD has dropped some hints regards the shape of Radeons to come. It all adds up to an exciting summer for PC graphics and a very good reason to put your GPU purchases on temporary hold, especially if VR is your bag… Read the rest of this entry »

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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Cheap SSDs? It’s All About The Brand

You might think you’re a person. Wrong. Like each and every one of us, you are a brand. So says Stephen Colbert and who am I to argue? I haven’t quite finalised the specifics for the impending launch of my own one-of-a-kind curated Lairdstyle offering, but in the meantime, I do have a serious point to make about brands. When it comes to SSDs, brands matter. Especially cheap SSDs. This week, I’ll not only explain why but also give you an easy option for a stoopid-cheap SSD that’s actually rather good. I even bought one myself. With my own money. I know, right? So, if you need a cheap SSD for your gaming rig, read on.

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Vulkan API: It’s Gaming, Jim, But Not As We Know It

One API to rule them all. Wrong fantasy franchise, perhaps, but that’s the idea behind Vulkan, the snazzy open-source successor to OpenGL, alternative to Microsoft’s DirectX and something that might shake up gaming on everything from PCs to phones. But what’s an API? And why should you care? We’ll come to that. For now, if Vulkan is everything it’s cracked up to be, it’ll make games run faster and look better on your existing PC. It might make that SteamOS thing a goer, too. Anyway, version 1.0 is out, so the chattering weberati will be casually trading Vulkan references to prove their PC gaming prowess. Time to bone up. Plus I’ve just sat through a five-hour keynote stream on Vulkan from GDC 2016. So humour me. This stuff is actually quite interesting.

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Asus PG348Q: Second Coming Of The Monitor Messiah?

OK, this is a little embarrassing. Last July I hailed, albeit with the usual journalistic qualifications, the Asus MG279Q as the Messiah of Monitors. Now I’m doing it again. And it’s another ruddy Asus monitor. But there’s nothing to be done. I cannot unsee what has been seen. And what I’ve seen is the new Asus RoG Swift PG348Q in all its 34-inch, curved-screen, IPS-panel, G-Synced and 100Hz glory. Nurse!

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