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Is 2016 a make or break year for AMD?

Posted on 23rd Jul 2015 at 10:36 by Antony Leather with 48 comments

Antony Leather
There has been some pretty grim reading surrounding AMD in the last few days. The fact it's now worth just a quarter of what it paid for ATI back in 2006 may sound pretty devastating, but even just a year later in 2007, the company was actually worth less than the $5.4 billion it paid for the GPU giant, so things have clearly been on a consistent downward spiral.

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The best things at Computex 2015

Posted on 10th Jun 2015 at 09:04 by Matthew Lambert with 4 comments

Matthew Lambert
If you followed our day by day updates on Computex 2015, you'll know we caught up with loads of companies who all had on display their latest and upcoming products. Now that the dust has settled and the jetlag mostly dissipated, I wanted to give a more personal view on what I thought were the things that truly stood out – let me know if you agree or disagree! Be sure to check out the full coverage of Computex here for a better idea and more images of the products discussed: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3

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Dear publishers, please just let me buy your game

Posted on 19th May 2015 at 09:26 by Rick Lane with 42 comments

Rick Lane
Imagine sitting down in a restaurant and ordering a meal; let's say, Surf and Turf with chips and a side-salad. The waiter informs you that the arrival time of your meal will be announced in ten minutes. The time passes, and the waiter rolls up and apologises, saying your meal has been delayed. But good news! They're ready to announce that the prawns for your surf and turf can now be ordered early for an extra £5.

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Some questions about our new CPU cooler test systems

Posted on 30th Apr 2015 at 10:15 by Antony Leather with 59 comments

Antony Leather
We're currently in the process of building numerous new test systems here at bit-tech and before we leap in and start churning out reviews with our awesome new hardware, I wanted to reach out and get some feedback on a couple of questions involving our CPU cooler systems.

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Is Nvidia's GTX 960 really a disappointment?

Posted on 28th Jan 2015 at 11:16 by Antony Leather with 27 comments

Antony Leather
It's taken a while to arrive but the eagerly-awaited sub-£200 version of Nvidia's Maxwell-based graphics cards is finally here. However, the GTX 960 is not quite what we were all expecting.

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Battle of the GPUs: Is power efficiency the new must-have?

Posted on 17th Nov 2014 at 08:47 by Antony Leather with 46 comments

Antony Leather
Even just a year ago, having a hot-running graphics card such as AMD's R9 290X, was par for the course. Admittedly, there have been hotter and cooler examples of 'the must have' GPU over the years but in general, if it's good value and performs well, I'm usually sold.

This is especially true with me as I usually rip the stock cooler off a new graphics card straight away and fit a waterblock, so heat has never really bothered me. The exceptions were excessively inefficient models such as Nvidia's GTX 480, which weren't that fast and could heat your average Olympic swimming pool. Equally, AMD's dual-GPU offerings have often generated too much heat and been overkill for my needs.

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How can companies like CM Storm keep up with gaming?

Posted on 12th Nov 2014 at 14:47 by Matthew Lambert with 20 comments

During my time at Cooler Master HQ, I sat down with various product managers, one of which, Bram Rongen, handles the gaming division CM Storm. His responsibilities extend to all peripherals and accessories, though some cases are also marketed under the brand.

How can companies like CM Storm keep up with gaming?
Click to enlarge

Unfortunately, CM Storm has nothing new to announce at present. After all, it's had numerous launches in the past few months, including the Sirus-C, the Quick Fire Rapid-I, the Resonar and most recently the NovaTouch TKL. This latter one is the division's most important product for at least the rest of the year, as it is the new flagship keyboard (it even has its own microsite). Bram is rightfully very proud of the NovaTouch TKL – it's a fantastically crafted piece of kit.

Of course, no company will do too well without a strong product catalogue, but our conversation got me thinking about how there is now so much more beyond this for CM Storm and other such companies and brands when it comes to success in the world of gaming peripherals.

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AMD and Nvidia need to step up to the 4K challenge

Posted on 30th Sep 2014 at 09:30 by Antony Leather with 125 comments

Resolution, particularly pixel density, is the new frontier when it comes to gaming graphics. There’s little doubt, certainly from my first hand experience, that 4K offers huge advantages in sharpness, even on 24in and 27in monitors – not just on super-large screens.

Some may disagree here, but to me, I’d welcome more pixels than my current 24in 1,920 x 1,200 main monitor offers. As I have two screens, I’ve also considered investing in a super-wide screen too.

AMD and Nvidia need to step up to the 4K challenge
LG's 34UC97 is a curved 34in super-wide monitor that sports a resolution of 3,440 x 1,440 - Click to enlarge

There are some fantastic-sounding options here in the ultra high resolution department as well. LG and AOC have 34in 3,440 x 1,440 monitors plus Dell and LG have recently announced their own curved versions (WANT). The prospect here for immersive, high resolution gaming is pretty compelling but the extra screen real-estate is useful for all manner of other tasks too. I’ve played with super-wide monitors before as well, as you can read about here, and despite older 30in models only sporting 1,080 vertical pixels, I didn’t find this too restrictive when editing photos and the like.

AMD and Nvidia need to step up to the 4K challenge
AOC's u3477Pqu super-wide 3,440 x 1,440 monitor will retail for around £500 in October - Click to enlarge

However, there’s one major issue stopping me splashing some cash on a new ultra HD monitor. This is the fact that I’d need to invest twice as much again in the graphics department to be able to get playable frame rates in games. I’ve never been one to tone down graphics settings in order to get playable frame rates; this is partly the reason I find myself writing about PC hardware for a living, apart from the fact I caught the upgrade bug two decades ago.

However, even if I was prepared to drop a little in terms of detail settings, this still wouldn’t be enough to allow even a £400 single-GPU graphics card to handle all the latest games, never mind my aging GTX 660 Ti. Even Nvidia’s latest effort – the GTX 980 was a long way from achieving playable frame rates in Crysis 3 in our review; you’d need to opt for a monster such as AMD’s R9 295X2 in order to get some headroom at 4K.

AMD and Nvidia need to step up to the 4K challenge
To be able to play all current games at 4K, you need to invest in multiple GPUs or AMD's R9 295X2 - Click to enlarge

Something else that concerns me, though, is that there’s not much effort going on to address the main issue here, which is that higher resolutions are going mainstream. Windows 8.1 achieved a lot in terms of 4K scaling, though there are a few more issues to iron out, not least of all by software companies with their own program scaling.

However, we’re nearly at the point where it makes absolute sense to aim for 4K in a mid to high-end system, rather than a super-high end one as is the case at the moment. This doesn’t mean I think those of us with limited wallet power won’t consider splashing out £300-400 on a 4K-capable graphics card, but the fact is that once 4K monitors fall in price further, mid and high-end enthusiasts will have a bit of a problem on their hands.

AMD and Nvidia need to step up to the 4K challenge
Nvidia's GTX 980 can play some games at 4K, but doesn't offer much headroom - Click to enlarge

They can afford a 4K monitor, but not the graphics card/s to power it in games. We haven’t had such a big reason to upgrade our graphics card since Crysis landed but AMD and Nvidia need to do more to make these ultra high resolutions more attainable outside of super-expensive systems. In the past, you've needed to invest heavily if you game on triple screens, for example, and I think this needs to change.

4K is waiting to take off, be it in super-wide or standard aspect ratio monitors. In addition, true 4K gaming is also something the latest consoles lack. So this is also a huge opportunity for PC gaming to take a giant leap forwards and offer something tangible when it comes to a better gaming experience.

In short what we need is a GTX 970-type graphics card that can handle the latest games at 4K – something in the region of £250-350 – not the £700 odd that you’d currently need for something like the R9 295X2. So come on AMD and Nvidia, rise to the challenge and give us more reasonably-priced 4K-capable graphics cards.

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Who benefits from the idea of gamers?

Posted on 5th Sep 2014 at 10:39 by Rick Lane with 23 comments

Rick Lane
The last few weeks have been a dismal time for many people involved in the games industry. A combination of vicious personal attacks on important female figures in the industry, torrents of accusations regarding journalistic ethics and rampant paranoia over the perceived destruction of gaming itself has all bundled together in one great snowball of malevolence, misinformation and outright misery. I'm not going into the nitty-gritty of recent occurrences in this article, but these pieces here and here here give a pretty good summary of events.

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What the hell is videogame AI anyway?

Posted on 16th Jul 2014 at 09:05 by Rick Lane with 10 comments

Rick Lane
Dearest readers of bit-tech! Come hither and listen to my whispered words, as I am a troubled soul. For a long time now I have lamented the lack of progress made in the AI sphere of game development. In the years surrounding the millennium AI was bold and bright and exciting. Games like Unreal Tournament, Thief, Black and White and Halo were doing clever and innovative things with artificial intelligence, providing enemies that could use teamwork to outmanoeuvre us, guards that would hunt us, and a big daft monkey that could learn from us.

This continued until around 2005, with FEAR being the last game I can recall with truly memorable AI. Then something changed, and after that nothing changed. Stealth AI has patrolled the same pathways for years, shooter AI crouched behind a wall circa 2006 and decided to make a home there, and when was the last time you played a game that involved the AI learning anything?

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The Swindle Review

The Swindle Review

Size Five's procedurally generated criminal caper is a thrilling blend of...
Mod of the Month June 2015 in association with Corsair

Mod of the Month June 2015 in association with Corsair

We've picked six of the best projects that are under contruction

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