Hardware sales for the weekend are more varied in product category than we've seen of late, allowing for a more interesting round-up of options. Among the listed items, we found Corsair's 450D mid-range case, an EVGA branded GTX 970, a 1ms 24” LED LCD, and the HyperX Cloud headset.
Consoles have long touted the phrase “close to the metal” as a means to explain that game developers have fewer software-side obstacles between their application and the hardware. One of the largest obstacles and enablers faced by PC gaming has been DirectX, an API that enables wide-sweeping compatibility (and better backwards compatibility), but also throttles performance with its tremendous overhead. Mantle, an effort of debatable value, first marketed itself as a replacement for Dx11, proclaiming DirectX to be dead. Its primary advantage was along the lines of console development: Removing overhead to allow greater software-hardware performance. Then DirectX 12 showed up.
DirectX is a Microsoft API that has been a dominant programming interface for games for years. Mantle 1.0 is AMD's abandoned API and is being deprecated as developers shift to adopt Dx12. The remnants of Mantle's codebase are being adapted into OpenGL, a graphics API that asserts minimal dominance in the desktop market.
Star Citizen, the highly anticipated space sim from Cloud Imperium Games, just announced its sale of the Aegis Vanguard ship to its backers. The ship has been long-awaited by fans of the yet unfinished game, serving as a United Empire of Earth deep-space fighter. CIG's sale of the ship begins effective immediately and extends through April 6.
With AMD's Mantle in dire straits and losing ongoing support, the question of timing for its inevitable death has been fresh in our minds. Microsoft's DirectX 12 promises to accomplish many of the same objectives that made Mantle appealing – namely, putting developers “closer to the metal” – while being distributed alongside the prolific Windows OS; this, we think, has already stifled Mantle's viability to developers.
About a year ago, we published a piece notifying our readers of hoax HDMI-to-VGA passive cables proclaiming that they did absolutely nothing for the buyer; we called them “fake,” indicating that a passive cable is electrically incapable of transforming a signal, and therefore could not serve as a digital-to-analog adapter without some sort of active conversion taking place. There are a few hardware-side exceptions, but they are rare.
It was in this same content that we mentioned “SATA III cables” vs. “SATA II cables,” noting that the two cables were functionally identical; the transfer rates are the same between a “SATA III” cable and a “SATA II” cable. The difference, as defined by the official SATA specification, is a lock-in clip to ensure unshaken contact. Upon being taken viral by LifeHacker, statement of this simple fact was met with a somewhat disheartening amount of resistance from an audience we don't usually cater toward. Today, we had enough spare time to reinforce our statements with objective benchmarking.
The games industry circulates triple-A titles and genres in predictable waves. Last year saw the launch of several multi-million dollar titles, to include Watch Dogs and Titanfall, followed later by Destiny’s $500mm launch, Far Cry 4 and ACU, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and more. 2014 was a competitive year for big-name studios, though the indie scene was not unremarkable: Nidhogg, Shovel Knight, and Goat Simulator all made a huge impact.
Motherboard manufacturer Biostar today announced its latest addition to the Hi-Fi family, the B85Z5 motherboard operating on Intel's B85 chipset. The board is usable for 4th-Gen Intel CPUs using the 1150 socket. As with all B85 boards, Biostar's new unit will have somewhat locked overclocking functionality, making it a better partner to non-K SKU CPUs and business users.
Having played Fatshark Games’ Warhammer: End of Times - Vermintide, I’m left conflicted. I played the miniatures game for years -- spending untold fortunes on it -- and the idea of a game set in an Imperial (the largest Human faction) city falling victim to a mass uprising of the rat-like Skaven sounds fun and exciting. Even more interesting is the idea of a game following the events that occur simultaneously in the miniatures game, as is the case with Vermintide.
In town for GTC, we decided to stop-over in Fremont, California to tour Corsair's new US headquarters. The company moved to its new location in November and has only just begun filling the entire space, but critical business components were in full operation during our visit. Among these components are the various test and engineering labs, which provided a hands-off look at some of the test equipment deployed by the memory giant and cooling manufacturer.
Jumping straight into equipment discussion feels unfair, though – that slider image deserves demystifying. Looming above is Corsair's new logo, spotted just outside of the building before our tour. The logo is only slightly varied from the company's current sails logo, introducing harder edges for a more 'modern' design. This change comes after an unbelievably polarizing debate among gamers pertaining to the unveil of Corsair's “gaming forged” logo, a crossed scimitar design intended for some peripherals.
As a website that is dedicated to PC gaming, we decided to devote this week's sales round-up to video cards. We found a video card for just about every budget, from entry level to the more hardcore gamers. The round-up includes a GTX 750, R9 285, GTX 960, and more.