Posts Tagged ‘week in tech’

Is Your Feeble PC Ready For VR?

This is not virtual. This is reality. The two big beasts of the coming VR revolution are lumbering into view. It’s actually happening. By the end of April both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive VR headsets will be on sale. Things you can actually buy. Yes, yes, virtual reality has had several false starts. But this time, you can sense it. This time, it’s different. Well, probably. Oh, OK, nobody knows how big an impact VR is going to have in the next few years. But what I can do is help you to understand how much PC power you’re probably going need to get the most out of the new headsets.

Read the rest of this entry »

CES 2016: OLED PC Screens Are Coming

It's $5K. It's 4K. It's Dell's OLED display.

Didn’t I tell you 2016 was going to be great for PC gamers? Well, it’s started. The greatness, that is. And 2016, too. In fact it’s all so fantastic even the orgasm of capitalism, technological futility and conspicuous consumption that is the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas could not resist and duly served up an uncharacteristically compelling collection of intriguing new PC stuff. Stuff like OLED displays, silly-fast SSDs, graphics boxes for laptops, VR all over the shop and, well, other things that want your money.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.
Read the rest of this entry »

2016 Will Be Great For Gamers: Part 1, Graphics

This year. Soon to be so last year

Four long, desolate years. Yup, it really was 1,460 sleeps ago, almost to the day, that the very first 28 nanometer graphics chip was launched, allowing card-makers to squeeze billions more transistors into their GPUs – meaning better performance for theoretically lower costs as a result. But here we are and 28nm is still as good as it gets for PC graphics. That’s a bummer, because it has meant AMD and Nvidia have struggled to improve graphics performance without adding a load of cost. It’s just one reason why 2015 has kind of sucked for PC gaming hardware. But do not despair. 2016 is going to be different.

In fact, it’s not just graphics that’s getting a long overdue proverbial to the nether regions. Next year is almost definitely going to be the best year for PC gaming hardware, full stop, for a very long time. So strap in for what is merely part one of my guide to the awesomeness that will be 2016.
Read the rest of this entry »

Guide: The Best Gaming Monitors On A Budget

The version with the perpendicular panel costs more...

You say jump. My only question is how high? Last time around we dissected the state of play in PC monitors. But there was a problem. Some of you are skinflints. Or just, you know, normal people who may not have £400/$500-plus to blow on acres of liquid crystal magnificence. Either way, if that’s you then this is your post. I bring you profound insights into the more prosaic end of the flat-panel market. Yup, I’ve been slumming it with cheap screens. So, join me on the other side for a deep dive into the maths of colour depth. And some other stuff.
Read the rest of this entry »

The 2015 PC Gaming Monitor Mega Guide

All the screen you actually need?

Is capitalism in all its ghastly splendour is to blame? Or is it just us, we first-world punters, who have a problem with our priorities? I’m not sure. But what I do know is that, while parts of the world can’t get the basic human rights thing worked out, we’ve sure as hell nailed it when it comes to choice in the PC monitor market. 4K, adaptive-sync, 144Hz, curved screens, superwide aspect ratio – where to begin? And how can you end up with the right screen for you?

You see, I’m no latter-day socio-economic sage. But I can tell you which of this new-fangled monitor malarkey actually matters. So, who’s with me for some LCD-themed retail therapy?

Read the rest of this entry »

Do DirectX 12 & Windows 10 Make Your Games Faster?

Something something low-level abstraction. Something something optimised pipelining.

The mixed blessings of Windows 10 have been ours to experience for a few weeks now, and that means a new gaming API thingy (technical term) in the form of DirectX 12. We’ve touched on the possible impact of DX12 for all things gaming previously, how it promises to unleash CPU performance for free, bring the PC level with consoles when it comes to reducing overheads and all that jazz. Well, now it’s out, some early DX12 software has emerged and there’s all kinds of intrigue going on between AMD and Nvidia, the big noises in PC gaming graphics.

So pull up a pew and let’s see if DX12 makes games run faster on the graphics card you’ve already got… Read the rest of this entry »

Nvidia GTX 950: The Cheap GPU We Were Waiting For?

Monster GPUs, 4K screens, zillions of pixels pumped per picosecond. These things are exciting. But are they relevant to most of us? When a top graphics card costs over £500 and arguably has an optimal working life of about 18 months to two years, I’m not so sure. Either way, most of us simply don’t buy that kind of clobber. Instead we buy things like the Nvidia’s new budget offering, the £120 / $160 GeForce GTX 950. And we buy them because, well, they’re actually affordable. But what exactly is life like at the more prosaic end of the pixel-pumping spectrum? To find out, I’ve been slumming it with the new 950. This is what I have discovered.
Read the rest of this entry »

3D Card Update: AMD Fury, How Much Graphics Memory Is Enough, Nvidia’s New Budget Graphics

It’s time to catch up with the latest graphics kit and developments as fully unified shader architectures wait for no man. Nvidia has just released a new value-orientated 3D card in the GeForce GTX 950. We’re talking roughly £120 / $160 and so entry-level for serious gaming. But could you actually live with it?

Meanwhile, AMD’s flagship Radeon R9 Fury graphics has landed at Laird towers. Apart from being geek-out worthy simply as the latest and greatest from one of the two big noises in gaming graphics, the Fury’s weird, wonderful and maybe just a little wonky 4GB ‘HBM’ memory subsystem begs a potentially critical conundrum. Just how much memory do you actually need for gaming graphics?
Read the rest of this entry »

How To Keep Your PC Cool

Lordy, it’s hot. Well, hot if you’re British. Call it seasonable by sticky Manhattan standards or a bracing Spring cold snap for Aussies. But it’s over 90 in old money and the nation’s infrastructure is melting. Well, my kitchen PC has just fallen over again with a CPU thermal trip. So, as far as I’m concerned, it’s chaos out there. Which reminds me. We’ve never really discussed how to keep your PC cool. Given gaming is probably the only thing most of us do that loads up both CPU and graphics, this is an oversight. So here are my top eight tips for keeping your PC cool. Most of them won’t cost you a a penny and they could well help your games run faster.
Read the rest of this entry »