Hardware

Computer component manufacturer NZXT steps away from hardware for a moment to release their first bit of software: meet CAM. CAM is an elegantly designed PC monitoring program that finally does remote system observation right. After using other PC monitoring software like System Mechanic, which overloads their program with a lot of unneeded and non-functional features, CAM delivers with the bare basics for enthusiasts, focusing on everything you should need to monitor your gaming rig.

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There's been a lot of delaying going on in the industry lately. NVidia and AMD have both pushed back launches (Maxwell, Titan Z) on the GPU side, Intel pushed back X99 / HW-E to 3Q14, and even delayed Broadwell into "4Q14 or 1Q15." All of these delays are attributable to fabrication process changes that are sweeping the semiconductor industry right now; we're shrinking the process to a point that it's small enough that new engineering hurdles have arisen -- good news for innovation, but bad for the impatient.

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AMD stated yesterday in a press statement that the Radeon R9 280 would see price cuts to $250 from a previous $300+. The cryptocurrency craze caused a severe spike in retail prices of AMD cards (far exceeding MSRP) for a number of months, but with pressure from AMD and the frenzy dying down, we've seen a return to original MSRP. With prices firmly stabilized, AMD has issued price cuts across the board for several members of its family -- including the R9 280.

Video Card New Price
NVIDIA GTX 780 Ti $720
AMD R9 290X $510
NVIDIA GTX 780 $510
AMD R9 290 $380
NVIDIA GTX 770 $300
AMD R9 280X $290
NVIDIA GTX 760 $255
AMD R9 280 $250
AMD R9 270X $200
AMD R9 270 $170

Rumors were spun on social pages and overclocking forums today that nVidia's Titan Z had been "canceled" or "indefinitely postponed," depending on who you asked. We first covered the Titan Z at its live unveil during GTC, in case you missed that, where we filmed the introduction of the company's new full double-precision, 2xGK-110 GPU. AMD announced its new W9100 FirePro card shortly thereafter, soon followed by its 295X2, which is targeted more at gamers and lacks full double-precision support.

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I'd like to take this opportunity to educate the community on two key items: First, the Titan Z has not been canceled or postponed beyond its initially-targeted 2Q14 release date, and second, the Titan Z and 295X2 are not meant for identical markets. Each device has its place and they are not head-to-head competition.

Let's start with that first item.

GN contributor Patrick Lathan wrote his review of the GX Gaming "Deathtaker" almost exactly one year ago. GX Gaming is a business unit of Genius, a large manufacturer in the East, and was the company's first attempt at breaking into the US market with gaming peripherals. I recently regrouped with Patrick to talk about a new mouse review (stay tuned for that) when he mentioned a couple issues that had arisen with the Deathtaker.

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We do our best to review products extensively (I even take the mice apart) and in a timely manner, so unfortunately it's simply impossible to get more than 1-2 months on a device before we put the review up. Occasionally editors and writers like Patrick will continue to use the mouse going forward, depending on how much they like the particular device; Patrick has about a year of use on the Deathtaker, priced at around $50 MSRP, and recently updated me on its endurance. For reference, I also decided to stick with the GX Gaming Gila that I previously reviewed and have about a year of use on that one, though it's a bit higher grade than the Deathtaker. We'll talk about that one next.

AMD announced Monday their upcoming plans for "SkyBridge," due to come out in 2015, and customized AMD/ARM cores ("K12") due in 2016. The 2014 road map AMD laid-out is promising across mobility and x86 applications (more on the latter in a future post). AMD is the first company that is minimizing costs by having a single motherboard for both ARM and x86 architecture, giving more potential reach for consumers and sticking with AMD's effort to let buyers keep their board upon upgrading CPUs. AMD has always owned a bit of a niche market (except the days when they dominated with the Athlon 64), but they are expanding their strategy to one of differentiation from the norms of semiconductors.

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Following our Assassin's Creed 4 graphics technology analysis, nVidia has announced their 2013 holiday season video card game bundles. From October 28th through the holiday season, GTX 660 & 760 purchasers receive a free copy of Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, and $50 off of the SHIELD. Any system builders purchasing a GTX 770, 780, or Titan video card will also receive Batman: Arkham Origins and $100 off of nVidia's SHIELD.

nvidia-bundle

The timing for this advancement in augmented reality is particularly convenient, given our content plan to publish a large virtual reality article in the next day or two. Ramping into this article, though, we'll talk briefly about Technical Illusions' castAR glasses.

cast-AR-sliderThe castAR system uses light and holography to produce an interactive, real-world 3D projection.

As opposed to the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality head-mounted display (HMD) that enhances gaming experiences by improving player immersion, castAR takes the augmented reality approach. Augmented & Virtual Reality are similar in their dedication to immersion and fidelity, but differentiate themselves in implementation; AR devices generally augment the real world (already used in psychiatry and psychology), while VR tends to stick with digitally-rendered environments.

Up until castAR, there wasn't a whole lot out there in terms of modern AR on the consumer-level. Technical Illusions' kickstarter video offers insight as to what the pair of glasses could be used for, showing two of its developers playing chess in "real life" without use of any physical pieces:

FORCED Game Tournament Features PC Hardware Prizes

By Published October 07, 2013 at 1:31 am

If you recall our coverage of the indie game "Forced" back when it was still in beta/alpha stages, the game is focused on fast-paced-yet-tactical action combat in an arena-like setting.

forced-screenshot

 

Built around gladiatorial co-operative 4-player combat, teams of players (or solo acts) venture into an arena, slay hordes of monstrosities, and utilize a unique "spirit mentor" object to trigger interactive objects. The Spirit Mentor follows players around with a tap of the space bar, but can be firmly planted in one place with another tap; this can be used to set up triggers, like planting the Spirit Mentor in one region, then tapping space to have it fly through objects on the map (like healing statues).

Intro to Forced aside, Beta Dwarf—the team behind the game—has announced its partnership with Alienware, SteelSeries, and Intel to host a tournament featuring more than $10,000 in prizes. The prizes include SSDs, keyboards, mice, and other hardware.

Cyanide Studio—the same team behind the Game of Thrones game, DungeonBowl, and Blood Bowl—has been hard at work on a new tactical combat game for the PC, Arklash: Legacy. This fantasy game's been underway for a while now, but we've patiently awaited more screenshots and deeper information before making any posts about it.

arklash-legacy-1

In a recent press release, the team explained that the "heart of Arklash: Legacy's gameplay" is tactical combat, stating:

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