Hardware Guides

It's fitting that, following our giant post about AMD's recent downturn, I'd encounter my old ATi X800 Pro video card. I'd owned machines equipped with VGAs before this one, but this was the first standalone video card I ever bought. The model I purchased came equipped with a massive, top-of-the-line 256MB of GDDR3, a memory technology that ATi – independent of AMD at this time – had recently introduced.

The ATi Radeon X800 Pro used ATi's R420 GPU and was released in 2004, shipping in 256MB and 512MB capacities. For those complaining about the current stagnation on the 28nm process node, this GPU sat on 130nm process. Massive in comparison to today.

PAX now behind us, we've returned to our new-found efforts of addressing direct reader questions via YouTube and twitter comments. This new series has been dubbed “Ask GN” and, to our great satisfaction, has thus far yielded excellent discussion points on current topics. A couple of article ideas have emerged from the questions, too, so keep them coming!

The list for episode 3 saw inclusion of open vs. closed liquid cooling loop discussion, cable brief management tips, device controllers on a motherboard, and whether or not a motherboard impacts the gaming experience.

CastAR, formerly Technical Illusions, recently got a big boost in the form of a 15-million dollar venture capital investment. The company plans to use that money to deliver on promises to their original Kickstarter backers and push the product into a complete state. GN was able to spend an hour with castAR CEO David Henkel-Wallace and cofounder Rick Johnson to see where things stand and where the company is going.

CastAR is a head-mounted, augmented reality technology that deploys a set of projectors and lenses to cast a 3-dimensional image to a reflective sheet. When we say that castAR is an HMD, we don’t mean in the “expected” sense – it’s not like the Rift or HTC’s impressive Vive, but is more akin to nVidia’s 3D Vision glasses in form factor. CastAR is billed as a solution for multiplayer and singleplayer AR gaming, to include traditional tabletop emulation (D&D, miniatures, Magic, Jenga) and new games.

At PAX Prime, thanks to the folks at Valve and HTC, we got another first-hand experience with what may be the best option in personal VR to-date: the Vive.

Our first encounter with the Valve/HTC Vive was at GDC 2015, the headset’s first showcase, and we were limited on information and recording permission. HTC and nVidia brought the Vive to PAX Prime this year, the former bringing us into their conference room for another lengthy, hands-on demonstration. We took the opportunity to talk tech with the HTC team, learning all about how Valve and HTC’s VR solution works, the VR pipeline, latencies and resolutions, wireless throughput limitations, and more. The discussion was highly technical – right up our alley – and greatly informed us on the VR process.

Previous facility tours have brought us to NVIDIA's silicon failure analysis lab and Kingston's automated SMT line, pulling the curtains aside for an inside look at how devices are made. Yesterday, we toured Logitech's acoustics engineering and compliance labs to explore software, high-voltage test equipment, and the foamy confines of Mr. HATS' anechoic fortress of solitude.

Poor guy.

Below is a video interview with Logitech Acoustics Engineering Manager Matt Green, followed by in-depth article content and photos.

Following the tremendous growth in engagement from our fanbase – through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and the comments – we've decided to start a regular “Ask GN” series. We're using these videos to address reader questions that can be answered in a few moments, helping us to increase consistency of content delivery without sacrificing quality. That's the strategy behind it, anyway, and it's work thus far; the questions for our first episode invoked current topics of critical importance, making for strong discussion points.

For the second episode, we discuss the DirectX 12 vs. DirectX 11 disparity between AMD & nVidia (though we don't go as deep as discussing shader array size and architecture), whether or not 300W is “enough power” for a build, and the GTX 980 Ti AMP Extreme.

A bad power supply can cause a number of issues – in fact, it can even “pop!” and die. Other issues include bad regulation, response to load changes, and poor efficiency. Another consequence is volatile voltage ripple.

We will first cover what voltage ripple is, then how it affects users, and we’ll end by quantifying voltage ripple objectively.

Intel's Skylake Core i7-6700K CPU has officially been reviewed in gaming capacity. With the launch, we indicated that Intel would be rolling-out the Z170 chipset as a replacement to the current Z97 motherboard brainstem. A few major changes have been instituted in Z170 – some more visible to the consumer than others – and we've detailed most of them below. Motherboards already exist with Z170, like this MSI Krait board.

This chipset comparison between Z170 and Z97 aims to detail the differences between Intel's Haswell motherboard platform and its Skylake successor. Note that the chipsets are coupled with different CPU architectures and, as such, are not interchangeable outside of their supported processor lists. Z170 is joined by the hip with LGA1151 socket types.

After Corsair hyped and released their programmable RGB mechanical keyboard, it seemed everybody and their grandma (who only makes large print keyboards) started coming out with their competing RGB keyboards. Corsair’s early arrival to market and general popularity mean that the Corsair RGB K-series keyboards are primarily recommended while alternatives are ignored or forgotten. So, in order to help those looking for a programmable RGB keyboard, we’ve put together this roundup of reliable solutions.

This RGB LED mechanical keyboard round-up compares budget, mid-range, and high-end keyboards with RGB capabilities.

Following our massive Fury X and Z170 motherboard feature pieces, we thought we'd take a moment to revisit some simpler how-to topics. Today's guide shows how to jump a motherboard without connecting the PWR_SW header that goes to the case power button.

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