DFC Intelligence reports global PC gaming software market growth from $22 billion to $25 billion in 2014, while Gartner predicts PC gaming software sales to increase to $20B from $17.7B. Either way, we're seeing nearly $3B in growth over last year. Combined console hardware and software sales are expected to reach $49B in 2014 (PS4, XB1, and respective games sales). This is a $5B growth over last year and is a totaling of PlayStation, Xbox, Wii, and other console hardware and software sales.

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The total combined video game market revenue is projected as raking in $101B in 2014.

AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) has been on the rise over the past year, and a lot of it is attributed to the company's Graphics & Visual Solutions Group, the organization housing Radeon and the PS4/XB-One SoCs.

  Q4-13 Q3-13 Q4-12 2013 2012
Revenue $1.59B $1.46B $1.16B $5.30B $5.42B
Operating Income
(loss)
$135mm $95mm $(422)mm $103mm $(1.06)B
Net Income / 
Earnings per share
$89mm / $0.12 $48mm / $0.06 $(473)mm / $(0.63) $(83)mm / $(0.11) $(1.18)B / $(1.60)

PC components have frighteningly high failure and DOA rates when compared against other industries, but perhaps one of the least reliable components - and worst to lose - is the hard drive. While talking with a representative from the audio industry at CES, the point was made that "you only need to have the device fail one time before you decide to never buy from that company again." That's generally true, and is generally why we opt for WD or Hitachi in our gaming PC builds -- I've personally had too many drives fail from other sources not to do this.

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Online backup provider Backblaze ran an internal reliability study on 25,000 hard drives and statistically analyzed the endurance of devices from each major company: Seagate, WD, and  Hitachi. The worst hard drive manufacturer, according to Backblaze, is Seagate -- swaggering in with a 14% annual failure rate across all of its offerings.

Update: AMD has commented on the slide.

Rumors abounded earlier this year that AMD would be ditching high-end / enthusiast-class CPUs in favor of a heavier focus on APUs and mainstream CPUs. With large thanks to its console adaptation, AMD posted its first profit since 2012 in Q3 this year, making for a promising future for the company. The same earnings report indicated that AMD's desktop computing solutions have dwindled in profitability over the course of the last year, meanwhile their GPU and APU solutions have nearly doubled in revenue.

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Given this information, the rumors earlier this year made sense: If AMD can pump its R&D into graphics and hybrid solutions (Mantle, HSA, and Hybrid Graphics are all promising), then perhaps the best move would be to cut the FX line. Intel hasn't produced a mainstream mid-range or better processor without an IGP in several years (the i-series CPUs are effectively APUs, though Intel doesn't define the fusion as such); buying one of the go-to Intel CPUs (4670K or 4770K) also means you're getting an IGP with it that, frankly, very few readers in our audience even want or care about.

A new leaked slide allegedly from AMD could indicate that the company is terminating their FX line of CPUs and the AM3+ socket type, and with speculation whirling, let's bring some reality to the scene.

With the end of convention season now upon us -- marked most notably with the conclusion of PAX Prime -- it's time to start prepping for next year's big events. We'll be hitting 15 of the biggest gaming, hardware, and "nerd culture" events in 2014, but there are always smaller, local shows to consider as well; if you're interested in getting into convention culture, we'll briefly overview the major (and some minor) events to add to your watch list. This list of gaming, hardware, & LAN events should serve as your top-level itinerary of gaming expositions to consider attending. In the least, get out to something local and support your homegrown gaming communities!

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There's an uncountable number of local shows out there, so if we missed one that's near you, be sure to drop a comment with information for others in the region! Because the amount of gaming conventions is purely overwhelming, we've compiled them in table format for quick-reference. The events are separated into their greater categories, but may span numerous categories (PAX hosts gaming, hardware, and e-Sports events, for instance).

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