Hardware

It feels like we've been linking back to our GTX 980 review relentlessly, and it's going to happen just a few more times this month. NVidia has officially unveiled its GTX 900-series mobile lineup, starting today with the 980M, and indicates a heavy focus on extended battery life when gaming at high framerates.

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The news comes after a previous announcement of the company's “Battery Boost,” a notebook technology that eases off the GPU throttle more regularly when driving a portable unit without an AC drop to the wall. NVidia has had its scope on mobile gaming for at least a year now, but seems to be more serious this time; the company opened our briefing with industry growth trends, emphasizing that gaming notebook growth has expounded five times in three years. In light of this, the current leading graphics manufacturer presented the below image – “Closing the Gap” – and informed us that the GTX 980M would retain nearly 80% of the performance exhibited by the GTX 980 desktop video card. Considering that the GTX 680M was closer to 60% of the GTX 680's performance, the gains are noticed and large.

Hands-On Preview: GTX 980 Extreme OC Edition

By Published October 06, 2014 at 2:36 pm

After reviewing the GTX 980 a few weeks ago, we had the chance to get hands-on with MSI's 4G GTX 970 and ZOTAC's GTX 970 Omega video cards. At the time, we had the specs for the GTX 980 “Extreme” video card, but didn't have one available.

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Now we've got two.

Six new headset SKUs just hit the gaming market, all from eSports sponsor and peripheral manufacturer SteelSeries. The company has updated its lineup to scale from $60 at entry-level up through $200 with the Elite series of headsets. We've previously gotten hands-on with SteelSeries' Siberia Elite, a high-end gaming headset that's getting an update in this launch cycle.

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SteelSeries new headset stack looks like this:

Shortly after Game24 and the GTX 980 unveil (fully benchmarked here), we visited the likes of NZXT, HyperX (Kingston), CyberPower, and others to learn more about the inner-workings of the industry. This is something we're making a habit of, including previous tours of nVidia's phenomenally expensive silicon failure analysis lab and Kingston's SMT line, where we showed how RAM & SSDs are made.

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We found a fairly high-end system in the CyberPowerPC meeting room that was begging for video coverage. The unit used a modified version of NZXT's S340 enclosure, through the window of which we spotted nVidia's new GTX 980. As for the processor, the custom-built rig was running on Intel's Devil's Canyon 4790K CPU overclocked about 10% (it's capable of more, but would require fine tuning due to thermal constraints). The CPU was topped-off with NZXT's X61 that we've previously spoken about – a 280mm CLC powered by Asetek, staking variable pump speed as its claim to fame – and the host platform was Gigabyte's SOC Force Z97 overclocking motherboard. A full 32GB of HyperX Fury memory (clocked at 1866MHz natively and easily overclocked) was found slotted into the board. We previously reviewed HyperX Fury over here.

MSI certainly didn't invent second-hand embarrassment or technology industry sexism, but you might think that to be the case after watching one of their “how to build a PC” videos that features bikini-clad women (semi-NSFWhow to build an MSI computer” video). I suppose you'd be less likely to ESD a component with fewer clothes, but something tells me that it wasn't MSI's intention to convey that helpful advice. Corsair wants in on the second-hand embarrassment “gaming” videos, apparently, and has done so by inking its keyboards with a tribal tattoo.

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“Gaming glasses” have been in the industry for a number of years now. Anyone who's been to a convention or tournament has likely seen the yellow-tinted lenses in the wild, generally sourced from Gunnar Optiks, one of the only makers of gaming glasses in the market. The glasses are meant to reduce eye strain during extended computer use by acting as a simple filter – as a yellow lens would do, “gaming” or not – and reduce some of the more intense blue light. For users who do experience eye fatigue or strain, renowned (former) Penny Arcade journalist Ben Kuchera included, “gaming glasses” have reportedly worked in calming the eyes enough for longer use.

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The problem is that Gunnar Optiks wants to make about $100 off of you.

For yellow lenses.

Online backup solution BackBlaze has been publishing its data on hard drive reliability since January now, with its last update shedding some light on HDD endurance. The company uses thousands of hard drives for online backups of consumer and corporate clients and has elected to publish its performance data. DOAs are fairly common across the industry, but those are more survivable – a failed hard drive means lost data.

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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.

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.

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