Hardware

Back in the day – cue black-and-white flashback – computers used to take up entire rooms. Gradually, this has changed. Personal computers have become smaller and smaller, and now the SFX form factor allows PCs that are the size of consoles. The SFX PSU form factor was originally used for HTPCs, made possible by SilverStone’s high-wattage SFX PSUs; SFX options have evolved, and now SFX form factor cases like Fractal Design Node 202 and SilverStone RVZ01 support SFX PSUs and full-length GPUs. GPUs are placed horizontally to reduce the vertical height of the case and allow for small form factor gaming PCs that don’t have to compromise between high-end components or a small size.

Unfortunately, there are few SFX power supplies with enough wattage to comfortably run a system with both a high-end GPU and high-end CPU.

Memory manufacturer gone-rogue Corsair today released an update to its peripheral lineup – alongside SFX PSU updates, which we'll post separately – in the form of a $50 RGB mouse. The newest Sabre mouse is emblazoned with a mask of Corsair's new “sails” logo, behind which rests one of the four RGB LEDs; the other three are located within the scroll wheel, front-side grill, and left-side thumb position.

Here's the thing: That comment in the headline has always been shortsighted, and will always be shortsighted. We've seen it a few times lately – the majority of comments on our DirectX 12 explicit multi-GPU and Vulkan benchmarks have been positive – but a stand-out few have explicitly scolded our efforts for testing new APIs on games which are known to be incomplete. Our articles and videos contain massive sections that fully detail just how far along any new tech is, disclaiming the possibility that – like with Vulkan – it may be under-performing due to an early build state.

But that's not a reason to leave something untested, and to think as such is a mix of denial and naivety.

Here's an example comment: “None of these tests matter right now as Vulcan is not fully optimized.” [sic]

These comments are rooted in denial that's resultant of marketing build-up for the new APIs. Anything short of game-changing is seen as an indication that it is “too early” to test, and disregarded for being unimportant. But it's not too early to test; these early adopter games are living pieces of software, and they constantly change – that makes them perfect to build test data for a new API.

The press drivers we used in our recent Dx12 benchmark have been officially released to the public. AMD's new 16.2 beta drivers include Dx12 optimizations that coincide with the Ashes of Singularity Version 2 Dx12 Benchmark; we strongly recommend these drivers for AMD users hoping to test their systems with Dx12.

AMD's 16.2 Beta drivers make a number of important updates for graphics devices. Performance and “quality improvements” have been made for Rise of the Tomb Raider and CrossFire configurations running The Division or XCOM 2. Additional issue resolutions have been submitted for black screens, “choppy gameplay” and display corruption.

The new drivers are available here.

Full list of changes:

AMD Posts Internal SteamVR Performance Test Results

By Published February 23, 2016 at 6:00 am

For years now, VR has seemed to be right around the corner, but consumer VR is (finally) becoming a reality with the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift soon hitting retailers. Unfortunately, the system requirements for VR – to the woe of my wallet – are fairly demanding.

The Oculus Rift officially recommends an nVidia 970 or AMD 290, an i5-4590, and 8GB+ of RAM. In comparison, the Vive has the same recommended specs with the exception of memory, where the Vive recommends only 4GB.

NVIDIA Takes Subtle Shots at AMD's Vulkan Beta Drivers

By Published February 16, 2016 at 11:06 am

This morning's press embargo on the official Vulkan 1.0 API ratification lifted at 9am, when our post and video went live. The major news was AMD's Vulkan beta drivers, which developers were welcomed to download for initial testing of the new low-level API; AMD's Vulkan beta drivers can also be used for the Talos Principle.

In an nVidia announcement one hour after the embargo lifted, the company contacted us about its own Vulkan support – not shy to take a few shots at AMD's hour-prior news release. In its email to us, nVidia made the following between-the-lines statement (emphasis theirs):

RGB components have been trending toward adoption of game-specific profiles to better justify the multi-colored peripherals. Logitech and Corsair have both been making gains on this front -- Logitech best-known for its GTA V "red-and-blues" flashing profile, and now Corsair for its community-made CSGO weapon skins profile.

Uploaded freshly to the Corsair community downloads page, user "Schwitz" has created individualized key backlighting profiles for RGB-enabled Corsair devices, fully recreating popular weapon color themes in the Valve shooter. Among others, an orange-and-white "Asiimov" pattern clearly matches its in-game inspiration, "Hyper Beast" goes heavy on the bright blues, "Case Hardened" mixes purples, whites, blues, and orange, and other color sets like "Redline" and "Boom" keep it more simple.

AMD just announced a partnership with IO Interactive for inclusion of its forthcoming “Hitman” title in the “Gaming Evolved” program. The involvement boasts “top-flight effects and performance optimizations for PC gamers,” further underscoring a focus on DirectX 12 workload management for increased overall quality.

The last week's worth of computer hardware news contained a few disappointments – the removal of non-K overclocking from some boards, for one – and a few upshots. One of those upshots is on the front of VR, headed-up by Epic Games in a publicly released video reel of unique implementations. Virtual reality's use cases also expanded this week, as developers Epic Games have learned new means to utilize the technology (something we think needs to happen).

Our weekly hardware news recap is below, though the script has been appended for the readers out there. Topics for this week's round-up include Intel's crack-down on non-K overclocking, editing games within VR, AMD's Wraith, a Sony SSD, and some new peripherals.

Since the dawn of the membrane switch, “gaming” keyboards have invested heavily in design choices that would make a Transformer self-conscious. An unrivaled dedication to excessive plastic and edgy aesthetics have driven keyboards to a market position that rivals cases, opposed only by an equally over-done and dutiful worship of brushed metals and deified simplicity. There's little middle-ground with keyboards, and ASUS has managed to violate as many design standards as possible with its Horus GK2000 keyboard.

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