Following the Cloud I, II, and Revolver, Kingston's branched-off HyperX brand has now entered the $50 headset market with its HyperX Stinger. The company is targeting a more affordable market with this product launch, and aims to compete most directly with the Logitech G430 headset. The launch of the Stinger headset is accompanied by the FPS Alloy mechanical keyboard, priced at $100, which we also covered while at the show.
The Stinger is fairly simple in its componentry: Two ear-cups, obviously, and a mutable microphone, along with an on-ear volume slider. The headset is largely made of plastics and doesn't have the quality feel of higher-end units, like the Cloud II, but that's the trade off of building a cheaper product. A metal headband exists quietly under the plastic exterior, and similar foam padding is present in the headband and ear cups.
If MOBA games are clustered into the overall “strategy” genre, that makes it the most popular in the world. A game like League or HOTS differs heavily from RTS, but the former creators of Rise of Nations think that they can tap into a new audience of strategy fans with a fusion of genres.
Dropzone is an RTS that eliminates base building and instead focuses on player control over three hero-type units, leveraging a sports-like points system as a victory condition. The three pilots man mech fighters, primarily split between the classic Tank, Support, and DPS roles. An additional two classes will be added in the future. Players draft their pilots and load-outs before each match, each load-out offering various passive (Software) and active abilities.
As soon as the electrical contacts of a switch are joined from a switch depression, an electrical signal is dispatched within the mouse for processing by its internal components. That initial queue of processing helps rule-out potential spurious behavior, electromagnetic interference (or cross-talk), and performs any necessary calculations for the input command. If deemed an intentional user action, that input is sent down the USB cable (or transmitted wirelessly) to the system.
We discussed this process in our Logitech G900 Chaos Spectrum review. There's a misconception with users that wireless input devices are inherently slower than their wired counterparts, when the reality is that the opposite can be true – and is, with the G900 and G403 wireless. The recent PAX West 2016 event gave us an opportunity to get hands-on with the company's USB analyzer setup to demystify some of the wireless vs. wired mouse arguments.
The AMD Gen 7 APUs and AM4 platform have officially begun shipment in some OEM systems this weekend, primarily through OEMs at physical retail locations. AMD's launch includes entry-level and mainstream AM4 chipsets, promising the high-end Zen chipset (990FX equivalent) at a later date. AM4 platform shipment begins with the B350, A320, and X/B/A300 chipsets in accompaniment with the A12-9800 and down.
Let's run through the new Gen7 APU finalized specs first, then talk AM4 chipset specs. Note that the new AM4 motherboards are making major moves to unify the FM and AM platforms under AMD's banner, so Zen's FX line equivalent and the Gen7 APUs will both function on the same motherboard. The below table (following the embedded video) provides the specs for the A12-9800, X4 950, and other relevant chips:
Once a leading force in the industry with the Antec 900, the company has been mostly quiet for the last few years. Antec's newest endeavor is in partnership with Razer, similar to what NZXT did with the H440 (“By Razer”) and S340 (“By Razer”) cases. We're not completely sure of how much design involvement Razer had with Antec on the case, but previous partnerships were largely logo licensing/branding and green/black color schemes that were not otherwise available.
The case was at PAX West 2016 for the first time, where we got a few moments of unsupervised hands-on with the case (see video below) for the basic specs. Since shooting that video, we've also retrieved a specs table from Antec (also below) with the hard information.
EVGA's Power Link was shown briefly in our Computex coverage, but the unit has received a few updates since then and is closer to finalization. The idea of the Power Link is pretty straight-forward: It's an L-shaped enclosure with power rails that wraps around the right side of the card, and exists solely to manage cables away from the top power inputs. The cables instead connect to the Power Link, on the right side of the card, with the Link tapping into the video card's power more discreetly (under guise of an EVGA-branded “L”).
The new Power Link, shown for the first time at PAX West, has made it possible to shift the power headers connecting to the card so that more device layouts are accommodated. The Link still won't work for power headers that face their clip opposite the reference layout (clip toward the back of the card), but will now work better for cards where PCI-e connections are slightly left/right of where EVGA's might be located. We're told that this Link will fit most cards on the market (reverse clip orientation notwithstanding), and that includes non-EVGA cards.
Corsair announced its new 460X enclosure at PAX West today, demonstrated at the booth alongside the also-new Air 740 case. Both cases build upon familiar Corsair designs, but have made significant enough modifications to assign new SKUs.
The Corsair 460X is familiar to the 400C (reviewed) – the shroud, for one, is exactly the same – but has completely new tooling. The company has made a few changes to the cable routing holes (slight horizontal movement), added a few switches for fan and LED controls, improved radiator mounting support, and added tempered glass to the left and front of the enclosure. That glass measures in at 4mm thick, matching what most of the competition is producing for this year's trending tempered glass designs. As with other cases using tempered glass, In Win's lineup included, Corsair is using four flat-head thumbscrews that pass through the glass and thread into the steel on the other side.
The NZXT Noctis 450 enclosure was modified for display at Intel's booth for PAX West 2016, featuring an LCD panel for the side “window” in place of the usual acrylic. The display was built by iBUYPOWER as a prototype, and is effectively a 4:3 screen slapped onto the side of the case, then backlit (because there is no normal LCD LED backlight) by the internal case LEDs. White components are specifically used to create a high-contrast viewing port, meshing with the LCD panel in a way that allows video playback on the side of the case.
For the show, iBUYPOWER loaded a splash/advert video onto the side panel that scrolled through Intel and IBP logos. The future may permit more dynamic integrations with the panel, like loading PC monitoring software (e.g. NZXT CAM) with high contrast onto the display, then extending through usual Windows functionality. That's not possible yet, but is one of the considerations made by the team.
Before Rainbow Six: Siege launched, it seemed like the game had some real momentum behind it -- even potential as a competitive shooter. Counter Strike: Global Offensive has also been making waves in the eSports scene; last year, ESL Cologne set the record for most viewers on a single stream with 1.3 million watching CS:GO. There is real demand for tactical, team-based shooters.
The team at Giant Enemy Crab are currently looking to fulfill that desire with upcoming title “Due Process.” Comprised of around nine people, Giant Enemy Crab have been putting Due Process together for around a year and a half now. We recently had a hands-on gameplay session with Due Process, joined by GN Hardware Editor Patrick Stone and members of the Giant Enemy Crab team.
PAX East's show floor was flooded with as many attendees – if not more – as we've seen in the past five years, but this year marked a major milestone: The wireless internet was usable. Traditionally, the sheer size of PAX begins an onslaught upon the internet which is unsustainable by convention center networks. This year, the BCEC stepped-up its game with the Aruba WiFi project and went forth to release statistics on bandwidth consumption, active concurrent users, and total user count for the weekend. The project was a culmination of work from Aruba Networks, MCCA, and M S Ben Bow, and has been underway since 2014.
This also gives an updated idea as to the size of PAX. We haven't received numbers in years, but the show should be in excess of 70,000 attendees at this point. The wireless network is not, of course, used by every attendee (none of our staff connected to it with mobile devices), but it's still heavily saturated.
Here are a few charts:
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