Steve Burke

Steve Burke

NVidia’s GPUs bring all the manufacturers to the yard. The release of GM204 first saw our review of the reference GTX 980 – presently the objective best video card we’ve ever tested – followed-up shortly by coverage of ZOTAC’s new Amp! Overclocking GPU lineup. While at the Game24 unveil event, we managed to catch up with MSI to discuss its SKUs for the GTX 970 and GTX 980 series.

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MSI brought their GTX 970 4G “Gaming” video card along, equipped with an updated Twin Frozr cooler using dual 100mm push fans and a somewhat standard heatpipe / heatsink design. Let’s get into the specs.

Following-up on our GTX 980 benchmark and review that went live yesterday, board manufacturers now have their own variations on the new Maxwell cards up for sale. Most of the manufacturers have altered the design in some way: a cooler overhaul, pre-overclocks, heavier-duty capacitors, and additional pins for power are a few of the common changes. Zotac has done all of these with their “Amp! Omega” GTX 970 GPU we got hands-on with.

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Zotac’s new GTX 980 and GTX 970 both ship in standard (unmodified GPU specs + aftermarket cooler), Omega, and Extreme editions. The Omega and Extreme GPUs host a suite of OC-tuned hardware features and a slightly boosted clockrate.

It’s been a months-long journey of GTX 800, then GTX 900 rumors, broken embargoes, questions, and anticipation. The GTX 750 Ti saw the debut of NVidia’s Maxwell architecture almost 7 months ago, making for one of the first times the company has ever unveiled a low-end product before its architecture flagship. Then things went silent. Time passed, and as mobile 800-series GPUs began shipping, we still hadn’t heard about what would eventually become the GTX 900 series.

Then a box showed up.

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“The World’s Most Advanced GPU” was written on the hefty black and green box, a few phone calls were made, and we knew it was time.

Tucked away in a suite just outside the bustling convention center streets of PAX Prime, we met with Logitech to discuss the introduction of their new “Romer-G” mechanical keyboard switch. Logitech's G910 “Orion Spark” RGB mechanical keyboard spec includes the Romer-G switch, a decisive split from the industry's Cherry MX and Kailh obsession. The G910 is Logitech's first keyboard to feature the updated switches and aims to compete with other RGB boards on the market.

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The new switches make several noteworthy steps away from what we're used to in Kailh and Cherry MX, with each tweak primarily around typing precision, switch endurance, and feel.

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA), responsible for developing and maintaining many of our video interface standards, today announced an overhaul on its DisplayPort 1.2a interface. The newest version of the interface will enable 32.4Gbps link bandwidth – a substantial increase over the existing 17.28Gbps bandwidth – and boasts readiness for the impending 5K displays.

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The Oculus Rift is one of the most anticipated PC peripherals in recent years. Oculus VR received $2 million in crowd funding for the virtual reality device during an initial pass of its Kickstarter campaign, overshadowed only by a multi-billion dollar acquisition by Facebook earlier this year. The virtual reality headset already has development kits in the hands of early supporters and game developers – the likes of Star Citizen included – though gamers have yet to hear potential release dates for the final product.

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After our “where did RTS go?” discussion with Pat Pannullo, former Tiberian Sun designer and current Grey Goo Lead Designer, we got a hands-on play session with the upcoming RTS. Grey Goo – conveniently “GG” – seeks to bring the genre back to its more “beer and pretzels” origins of the 90s and early 00s.

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The game still hosts a very real potential for a competitive scene, but it's specifically built to be an input-simplified RTS; the team wants to avoid the complexity of StarCraft – a game that uses heavy unit abilities, structure abilities, macro, micro, and meta play – and instead bring the focus back to core real-time strategy mechanics, the meta game, and epic battles. The resulting product is a game that scales to high competition just as well as it scales to casual LAN play (and Grey Goo does offer LAN), giving players a clear arc of progression if the desire to compete increases.

Hardware naming conventions tend to be about as sensible as salad names at a health bar. We've previously dissected the ASUS naming convention, Intel's chipset names, and AMD's chipset names. With the advent of DDR4 on Broadwell-E (X99 / LGA2011-3), it's time for manufacturers to shuffle the memory lineup around.

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We had the opportunity to speak with Kingston (HyperX) and Corsair while at PAX Prime 2014. Other memory manufacturers were unavailable, so we'll visit them in future posts. This content looks specifically at what the product names mean between Kingston's HyperX lineup and Corsair's DDR4 lineup.

Command & Conquer may not have been the definitive “first” game in the RTS genre, but it was a milestone in gameplay and mechanics that paved the way for future titles. The 90s and very early 00s saw the rise of “strategy” as a genre, with RTS championing its market dominance. In a very similar fashion to the present-day flood of MOBAs, early RTS and campaign strategy once comprised what felt like the majority of popular titles.

rts-wallAbout 25% of my RTS collection, ordered chronologically and then by series.

Command & Conquer was just a small piece of that. We saw the arrival of Age of Empires, Age of Mythology, Empire Earth, Shogun: Total War, Ground Control, and the sleeping giants that spawned a decade of games – Warcraft and StarCraft; campaign games also grew, with large thanks to Civilization, Rise of Nations, Galactic Civilizations, and Hearts of Iron; city builders like Zeus, Poseidon, Caesar, Settlers, and Pharaoh also carved out a niche in the overarching “strategy” marketplace.

Half of GN’s team is presently in Whistler Blackcomb as a refresher off the tail-end of PAX Prime 2014 (full event coverage here), but that hasn’t stopped us from pumping out content – including this Star Citizen piece. We recently published an interview discussing the research and implementation of procedural generation within Star Citizen, the stretch goal set about “$10 million ago,” so to speak.

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Today’s content specifically explains customization within Star Citizen. We spoke with CIG CEO & Chairman Chris Roberts about character, ship, organization, and space station customization in Star Citizen, including ship tuning and painting. As a quick throw-in, we asked Roberts about adjusting or changing FOV in Star Citizen.

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