The delay of Valve's Steam Machine (or Steam Box) has forced the hand of systems manufacturers. Alienware, Gigabyte with the Brix, and now Zotac have all begun shipping their would-have-been Steam Machines as DIY mini-PCs. Steam has disallowed the shipment of officially branded Steam Machines until the completion of its haptic controller, leaving system manufacturers scrambling to untie the resources dedicated to machines that were originally slated for a 2014 launch.

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In an official capacity, Gigabyte's BRIX Pro and Zotac's EN760 are not "Steam Machines" -- at least, not by branding -- but they might as well be. The EN760 (Newegg page) ships in two models: The EN760 and EN760 Plus. The base model ships without RAM or permanent storage at $540; the Plus edition includes a single 8GB stick of 1600MHz RAM and 1x1TB 5400RPM HDD. Both units are outfitted with an 860M mobile GPU, i5-4200U mobile CPU, and custom board design to fit in a 7.4" x 7.4" x 2" (188 x 188 x 51mm) shell. 

MSI is a prominent member of the gaming laptop industry and recently launched their revamped version of the GT70 gaming laptop, the GT72. The GT72 is identical to the GT70 in terms of specs, with the main difference being the redesigned chassis and internal cooling system. Another minor change is the addition of 2xUSB 3.0 ports, bringing the total 6 on the new GT72. The GT72 comes in two variants -- the GT72 Dominator Pro-007 and GT72 Dominator Pro-010.

msi-gx70MSI's other model - the GX70.

 

No -- this isn't Maxwell news, though I do have some comments on that below. GPU manufacturer nVidia announced today the unveiling of its new "Shield Tablet," an addition to the existing Shield family. NVidia calls its new tablet "the first tablet for gamers," shipping with LTE and wireless PC game streaming, 720p Twitch broadcast, and GRID integration.

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The Shield Tablet fills very similar use case markets as the Shield intends to, though it adds a few features for more non-gaming implementations. One of these includes a graphics-accelerated painting and tinkering application (Dabbler) that shows pigment and paint mixing in real time, along with bleeding and light source adjustment.

Ultimately, though, the new Shield Tablet is targeted at "mobile gamers" who'd like a toy on the go. And I am still of the opinion that tablets are primarily just that -- toys. Let's look at the specs.

Bethesda recently announced their first free-to-play game, Battlecry, showcased at Quakecon 2014 in a flurry of open tournaments. This was the first public glimpse of Battlecry, and it certainly didn’t disappoint in the slightest.

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To celebrate the middle of Summer (also known as "oh no, its almost time to start the back to school count-down clock"), we take a look at some items to make “homework” much more enjoyable. Our weekend sales round-up features the G710 mechanical keyboard for $120, a case from NZXT for only $55, the last-gen MSI Z87-G41 for $70, and a Mushkin 480GB SSD at $210. Keep an eye on our Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube accounts for all of our articles and additional sales throughout the week (and if you don't, we will hunt you down and force you to watch Killer Clowns From Outer Space -- you have been warned).

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Component and systems manufacturer ASUStek has just announced the availability of its next ROG ( Republic of Gamers ) motherboard, the Maximus VII Formula. ASUS has a somewhat mystifying naming convention, though we've defined the company's board names in the past. The Maximus Formula series of motherboards is considered ASUS' flagship -- the highest of the high-end -- and is iterated with Roman numerals. The Z97 family is indicated by the VII numeral.

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