We're revisiting our Evolve benchmark, now that the game has fully launched and (some) drivers have been updated. Our previous Evolve bench tested the game's beta, but disclaimed heavily that the beta meant a lack of driver support and software-side optimization. The return benchmark uses much of the same methodology and represents the same game as previously, so this article will be a bit shorter in length.
With the likes of Dreadnought and Star Citizen looming ominously on the horizon, there's a fair split between impending combat-intensive and sim-intensive space games.
In our preview of Dreadnought, we explain that it plays like an FPS might, but casts players into battleships that move on six axes; this creates a fast-paced, competitive atmosphere without imposing the simulation aspects deployed in most space games. Then there's Star Citizen, which has gone off the deep-end with strategic depth, story telling, combat and mercantile mechanics, and roleplaying options. This leaves little room for players who want a space sim without the inaccessible complexity of X3, Evochron Mercenary, and depth of Star Citizen. Elite: Dangerous took a chunk of this niche, but there's room for more.
Recently, the monitor industry has amusingly reminded me of laundry detergent. It seems like everybody is coming out with detergents that are four times as potent, and the monitor industry isn't too different in its marketing language. With the rising popularity of 4K, it's just a matter of time until the norm is to have a monitor with four times as many pixels as a 1080p screen.
The normalization of 4k monitors is certainly very exciting, but current-gen GPUs still struggle with playing games at such a high resolution. Similarly, prices for 4K monitors may be dropping, but are still high for the average gamer. Luckily, 2560x1440 screens are a reasonable compromise between performance, pixels, and price.
This round-up looks at some of the best 1440p displays on the market, particularly with a focus on gaming needs.
Closed-loop liquid cooling (CLC) supplier Asetek has agreed to settle its ongoing patent infringement lawsuit vs. CoolIT. CoolIT, also a liquid cooling supplier, allegedly infringed upon Asetek's patents (8,240,362 & 8,245,764) that effectively lay claim to liquid pumps mounted to the CPU cooling block.
CoolIT is the most recent in a string of action imposed against Asetek's competitors, a list that includes Cooler Master and Swiftech.
Update: CoolIT has provided a statement, found below.
AMD's Gaming Evolved software application – a partnership with Raptr – has been compromised in a security exploit and is encouraging users to change passwords. The utility is used for game video capture (similar to ShadowPlay, but web-enabled), but also enables easier drive management and game-hardware integration (settings optimization for video cards, similar to GeForce Experience).
As exciting as 2015 will be for video game releases, it will be equally as exciting for news and developments emerging from post-2015 titles. We’ve known the next Mass Effect game has been in development for at least several months, and probably longer than that, but the game is far from release. Bioware GM Aaron Flynn posted on Neogaf about his team’s outlook on expanding the Mass Effect universe and supporting that through the gameplay.
The next Mass Effect -- which has not been named “Mass Effect 4” -- will mark the series’ debut on the new consoles, assuming we don’t get a remastering of a series collection (we’ve seen enough of those). Dragon Age may be Bioware’s next-biggest existing IP, but even so, Flynn is adamant that Mass Effect’s core experience, or gameplay “template,” will not be the same; in other words, it won’t be as closely linked as From Software titles (Dark Souls and Bloodborne) or Ubisoft’s heavy-hitters Assassin’s Creed & Watch Dogs.
Below, we examine Flynn’s insight and discuss some of the ways Bioware can take its IP and construct a stronger core gameplay offering. This article does not explore storyline continuity or love interests among quarians and volus, as much as I’d love to get into that, so prepare yourself for some Mass Effect meat & potatoes.
Space games are everywhere. The industry goes through waves of genre- or setting-specific infatuation, and this era of gaming seems to be obsessive about space sims and spaceship battles. The looming monolith is Star Citizen, as we all know, but there's also the recently-released Elite: Dangerous, indie newcomers Rebel Galaxy and Voidspace, and non-sim games like Dreadnought.
Space sims are notoriously learning- and time-intensive, making them somewhat inaccessible to gamers who seek nothing more than space-flight combat and the obliteration of massive capital ships. That's where games like Dreadnought come into play, developed by Yager and housed under Greybox alongside Grey Goo.
The HyperX Cloud II headset is an update to the first Cloud, using an identical chassis and build with a few key upgrades. The Cloud II still allows swappable ear cups with leatherette or memory foam, uses a braided cable for durability, and uses two 53mm sound drivers. HyperX's use of 53mm drivers grants the Cloud some of the largest gaming headset drivers out there, generally matching up against 40mm and 50mm competition.
The major difference with the Cloud II against its predecessor is the introduction of an in-house designed DSP, responsible for processing virtual surround at 7.1 channels; the original cloud delivered a strict stereo output and was connected via two 3.5mm jacks. Kingston's new Cloud uses a single, 4-pole 3.5mm jack (left output, right output, mic, ground) that connects to the DSP (Digital Signal Processor, basically an in-line sound card), which then attaches to the host via USB. The DSP is tasked with processing the audio, including mic input.
Frequency response (output) is tuned to 15Hz – 25KHz on the Cloud II, affording a range slightly wider than nearby competition (normally 20Hz-20KHz), though this won't necessarily be all that noticeable to most users.
Our long-standing favorites on the site have been Plantronics' GameCom 780 ($60) & 788 refresh ($80). Priced at $80, the Cloud II headset serves as a direct alternative to the Plantronics 788 and offers similar gaming audio features.
Anyone who pays attention to computing knows that Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has been struggling for some time. They are in the unfortunate position of being #2 (of two) for CPUs, second to Intel. AMD primarily focuses on the budget-market with APUs and CPUs that outperform Intel’s directly-competing options in that range. In the GPU market, AMD is again #2 (of two) to NVIDIA for discrete GPUs, and this is a vicious and close marketing battle.
AMD has exhibited a steady downward spiral in their stock prices for the past 4 years.
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