In a recent blog post by nVidia's Tony Tamasi and video blog by Assassin's Creed 4 Associate Producer Sylvain Trottier, we've been given deeper technical insight into AC4's driving technologies. From a hardware enthusiast perspective, such videos help us understand and visualize the many acronyms that plague PC graphics, "putting a face to the names," as it were.

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In this detailed post, we'll explore the actual real-world meaning of Volumetric FX (fog, smoke), horizon-based ambient occlusion (HBAO), Percentage-Closer Soft Shadows (PCSS), new dynamic lighting FX, and graphics tech in AC4. First, let's start with the new AC4 video that showcases these technologies in action:

Welcome to another edition of Mik's picks. The new school year is fast approaching -- as we noted in our recent budget gaming PC build -- so we've now begun our yearly ritual of back-to-school hardware sales round-ups. Even if you're not a school-goer yourself, you can still take advantage of the annual purge by hardware retailers.

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Welcome to another edition of Mik's Picks, where I scour the interwebs for hardware deals and report back with my findings. I've found some fantastic deals out there for anyone looking to build or upgrade gaming PCs; this week, we found hardware sales on a monitor, PSU, HDD, and a couple of GPUs.

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3D technology has been around for a long time, but has grown significantly over the years - of late, "3D ready TVs" and "3D movies" have become the latest buzz words, and public opinion seems to slant toward gimmicky and borderline useless. We're here to analyze the uses and pitfalls of nVidia's gaming version of 3D technology, which they've named 3D Vision (we've spoken about it before).

This article is meant to be one of the most in-depth analyses of 3D technology currently available on the web, so that means it's going to be comprehensive and, namely, long. Don't worry, though: we'll be able to convey the positives and the negatives to help your decision making. For your convenience, we've paginated the article into several sections. We've also summarized our opinions, so if you're short on time, start with that and go from there. There is also a TL;DR summary of each major paragraph at the end of the section, so check those out! Let's get to the question on everyone's mind:

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