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All posts tagged "gaming"

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Performance Of Intel Core i5 3470: HD 2500 Graphics Tested

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 11:00 AM

"Intel's Core i5-3470 is a good base for a system equipped with a discrete GPU. You don't get the heavily threaded performance of the quad-core, eight-thread Core i7 but you're also saving nearly $100. For a gaming machine or anything else that's not going to be doing a lot of thread heavy work (e.g. non-QuickSync video transcode, offline 3D rendering, etc...) the 3470 is definitely good enough."

Many of our readers are interested in detailed specifications and performance analyses of CPUs and GPUs. There are few better than AnandTech to conduct a through analysis, as they have done for this new Intel Core i5 chip. Their conclusion? It will work fine for you if your computing requirements are limited to activities like video transcoding, but if you are a game player you will need to look at some of their other chips to get satisfactory performance.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Console Gaming is Dying!

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 01:00 PM

"In a 26 minute presentation at GDC - available now as a voice over'd slideshow - Ben Cousins who heads mobile/tablet game maker ngmoco, uses some rather convincing statistics of electronic and gaming purchases along with market shares of developers and publishers from just a few years ago, that when compared with today, displays some surprising results. The old guard, including the three big console manufacturers - Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft - are losing out massively, compared with the new generation of gaming platform developers, Facebook, Apple and Google."

The rise of casual gaming certainly has had an impact on console gaming, but like the PC, I do not think that consoles are completely gone. Gaming at mobiles and social sites has certainly opened up the market to more people, and mobile phones have certainly improved in graphics capabilities, but consoles still retain the edge, as do a certain segment of PCs. The challenge that I see with consoles is that mobiles tend to have a much shorter development cycle. Instead of the 5 to 10 year cycle that consoles have enjoyed over the past, mobiles are getting faster almost every day, and people tend to switch up their phones much more frequently. That means that mobiles will probably catch up to consoles in the coming future, at least for a casual observer or gamer, though more serious gamers will try and demonstrate the greater depth and complexity of consoles.

Consoles also face the challenge of "smart" TVs, which are also growing in capabilities. That is probably why you see consoles working hard to push their online channels such as Xbox Live Arcade. Ultimately, the console market will probably plateau, but you will find games with much more cross platform integration, with you being able to play some parts of a game on your phone, some on your console, and some through a standard web browser.

Tags: hardware, gaming

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Maximum PC's Guide to a $700 Gaming Rig

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 07:00 AM

"Our budget gaming rig is all about instant gratification: a way for you to fill your gaming hunger with a state of the art, speedy machine, capable of playing today’s games at 1080p resolutions, for less than $700. With our instructions, you will see how you can build it yourself in less than hour. On top of that, we’ll tell you how you can easily supersize your budget box with future upgrades."

I have been assembling my own PCs for a very long time, and I generally think that assembling them is not the hardest thing; it is deciding what components to purchase that makes many give up. In particular, video cards with their extremely fine segregation do not help (nVidia's pulled a trick from the past recently: the GTX 560 and GTX 560 Ti are different cards, but who is going to tell without knowing the GPU market well?). Maximum PC offers a good starting point, but depending on where you live, the "best" part for a budget gaming rig might be different. What are your own suggestions for a cheap gaming rig?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Gaming on a Budget: A Review of Low Cost CPUs

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 05:00 PM,2859.html

"Indeed, game performance is what this article is all about. Up until now, AMD's Phenom II X4 and Athlon II X3/X4 processors have vigorously defended their status as value-packed engines in inexpensive gaming systems using sub-$200 price tags. Between June of last year and now, we've seen AMD add a couple hundred megahertz to each price point. Yes, we like more performance without a corresponding rate-hike. But the company is competing with architectural updates that make a far more profound impact on performance."

It looks like AMD might have some challenges ahead of itself. With the release of Sandy Bridge, Intel has some low cost CPUs that appear to compete fairly well against AMD's budget options. This just happens to coincide with AMD now being able to offer a comparable, if not better product to Intel's Atom line of CPUs. Fortunately, there is time and room for AMD to fashion a counter-attack and all the while, it serves to keep PC gaming alive for those with limited funds.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

All You Can Eat Gaming With OnLive

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 03:00 PM

"OnLive has officially launched their “PlayPack” plan that allows users to play as many games as they want for a monthly flat rate. One of the most requested features for the on-demand, instant-play video game service is finally here. OnLive members can subscribe to this PlayPack plan for $9.99 a month to have instant access to a whole library of games that they can play for, as long as they want, without any additional costs."

Netflix's streaming service has been an incredible boon to those who have data allowances for their Internet connection. No late fees, no returning discs, no hassle. Just a regular monthly fee for all the movies you want. OnLive has finally decided to start offering a similar service, but instead of movies, it is games. While the selection is not large at the moment, and the service still faces constant criticism about how good of a gaming experience one can expect, I believe that this is the right model to go with. I wonder if the price is sustainable, but subscription based services seems to be a growing trend. Netflix offers movies while Pandora and its like offer music. Instead of the occasional spike in expenses, I think that it is quite possible that in the future, we will have to just allocate a part of our monthly budget for subscriptions to everything we want.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Razer Switchblade Previewed at CES: Mobile Gaming Nirvana

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Other Laptops & Netbooks" @ 06:00 PM

"For all intents and purposes, this is a miniature netbook. But unlike the UMPCs and MIDs that never really caught traction years back, this one has a very specific purpose: gaming on the go. And it's well equipped to handle it. A full-on copy of Windows 7 is loaded on, and Razer's happy to let users surf around on the standard desktop if they so choose. If not, Razer's created an in-house overlay that makes access to the internet, media, games, etc. a cinch. Quite frankly, it's one of the most stunning overlays we've seen -- it's lightweight, non-intrusive, and it actually makes using a machine of this size more practical. The 7-inch capacitive touchscreen was decidedly glossy (and thus, a fingerprint magnet), but the 1024 x 600 screen resolution looked downright luscious."

This is "old" news because it happened earlier this month at CES, but I completely missed it in the mad rush of news that happens every CES...and I think it's worth sharing! We've seen a lot of small devices, but I've never seen anything quite like this. The keyboard is actually a series of tiny LCD displays that dynamically re-configure based on whatever game the user is playing. This is the first time I've aware of this technology being implemented in a portable laptop-like device. There's some seriously cool technology at play here!

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Peek into the OnLive Beta

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 11:30 AM

"Well, obviously looking for answers, I found a login for the closed OnLive beta and decided to sit down for a couple of weeks and give the service a thorough evaluation. In this article we'll look at both the ease of use of the service as well as the real-world experience of playing a few of the games. I think you will find the results to be interesting!"

The preview by PC Perspective does cover a lot of the concerns that have been talked about regarding OnLive, though I think they downplay the fact that they were testing in a set up that was not approved and even advised against. A fair preview of the service should be done from what OnLive considers a typical setup. That being said, the whole OnLive concept brings about bigger issues which relate to cloud computing, since that is pretty much what OnLive is. Powerful hardware, and to an extent, platform dependencies are becoming less of an issue thanks to efforts from cloud computing. This might sound good, but there are potential downsides as consumers. Instead of a single investment, you are looking at a continual cost. Privacy and security concerns become much more important. And there is also the issue of vendor lock down. Say a competitor to OnLive were to be launched, how easy would it be for you to transfer all your save games and other information?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

PC Gaming on the Move

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 10:00 AM

"Razer is working with a company called Sixense to create a motion controller that works on a principle of magnetic interference instead of accelerometers or cameras, creating a true 1:1 relation between what you do in real life and what appears on the screen."

Well, it looks nice in concept. It looks really nice. However, like many PC gaming peripherals, I do not think it will take off much at all, and no, I am not talking about the death of PC gaming. The problem is the chicken and the egg, much like what you find with what is going on with physics acceleration right now. Since a neat peripheral like this does not come standard on PCs, game publishers will be antsy about spending developer dollars on integrating it into a game, let alone make a game that is based on a motion controller. Any integration will likely be a limited, token effort funded by Razer and Sixense themselves. And of course, gamers will probably not spend any money, especially in these days, on a device that will only really work with half a dozen games. At least physics acceleration got a shot in the arm with Video card companies adopting them. I cannot see something like this taking off. Still, it looks really fun to watch!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Xbox 360 System Update

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 AM

"The team released a system update (aka Dash update) to all Xbox Live members. Over the next few hours - or the next time you sign into Xbox LIVE after that - you’ll receive a prompt to accept this mandatory update. If you participated in our Preview Program, you already have the update and will not be prompted. Hit for a list of what the update includes. A couple of things to point out: While you can browse and purchase Avatar items and full Xbox 360 games in the console with this update, the ability to add these items your Xbox 360 download queue from will be available this Thursday. Xbox LIVE integration with Twitter, Facebook and Last.FM will be available later this year. Zune Video Marketplace will also ship later this fall when it will replace the current Video Marketplace. This update will be rolled out to all Xbox LIVE members around the world over the space of a few hours, so you may not get prompted for the update immediately. Thanks for your patience and have fun."

I have not loaded this up yet, but I'm betting many of you have. So, share your thoughts on what you think in the comments.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New Sony PSP is a GO

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 AM

"The slider handheld has a 3.8-inch LCD, built-in Bluetooth and 16GB of internal storage, all in a case 50 percent smaller and 40 percent lighter than the original PSP-1000 -- a weight savings we're guessing is directly attributable to the loss of the UMD drive. That's right, the Go doesn't have a UMD drive -- games will instead load in through the Memory Stick Micro slot or over PlayStation Network."

I think they have made a few missteps here. One of the things I really like about the PSP is the large, beautiful screen. I'm not sure I'm willing to give up screen size. Granted it is more portable, but given the slider deign, I think the screen could be bigger. Next is the price point. The PSP line is nearly 5 years old, I think they could have offered this at a lower price. At the current price point I think most people will go for a DS at half the price. Finally, they should have been able to announce how UMD will be handled for existing games, this is a major question for those that have any kind of library of UMD games that wants to make the transition.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

OnLive Set to Change the Gaming World

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 12:30 PM

"While OnLive's backend servers do the heavy crunching, pretty much any PC or Mac has the power to decompress the video at what's perceived to be real-time. As Steve puts it, "video is trivial for us now." The demo starts at about 10 minutes into the video and looks damn impressive running on a Dell Studio 15 (16 minutes in) -- yes, it runs Crysis. Controlled yes, but very, very promising. See for yourself in the video after the break."

It was bound to happen. With a lot of things in the consumer market shifting towards "cloud computing", an attempt at cloud gaming was inevitable. OnLive has been in development for 7 years, and I have to admit that a lot of what they've done makes sense. If you can provide a terminal that accesses high performance machines somewhere on the Internet to play games, why not? Like any other hosted service, it gets updated automatically, you get access to a large library of games, it runs on high performance hardware and it is self-maintaining. Still, unlike most other hosted applications, gaming is a slave to latency or more specifically response time. I'm very skeptical of OnLive being able to provide a consistent quality of service that's got high resolution, pretty graphics and a fast response time. I'm biased because I still live in a world where Internet access is still relatively pokey. Even assuming they're able to find a market, or have the technology to scale graphics depending on your internet connection, the other big hurdle they'll need to overcome is the concept of people enjoying the concept of actually "owning" their games. What about you? Would you prefer to own all your games, or would you be willing to live with what amounts to a rental service?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Shuttle's SDXi Gaming System

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:17 PM

"Shuttle Inc., the leading designer and manufacturer of small form factor (SFF) computers and accessories, today announced the availability of the new custom liquid-cooled SDXi Carbon extreme gaming solution showcased earlier this month at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show. As an extreme performance system for gamers, enthusiasts, and even professionals working with graphic design, animation, or CAD, the Shuttle SDXi Carbon features a powerful quad-core Intel® CoreTM2 Extreme QX9770 processor, dual-slot NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 280 graphics card, and high-speed DDR2 memory (up to 16GB) to deliver the best possible experience for today's most demanding applications. Then to ensure maximum performance and stability at all times, SDXi Carbon features the world's first Liquid I.C.E. technology that is designed to deliver the most efficient cooling solution in an extreme small form factor system. As a finishing touch, the SDXi Carbon is custom wrapped and painted in a premium automotive level finish, making the exterior of the system as unique as the interior."

I'm not entirely sure if this is the best time for Shuttle to be releasing a liquid-cooled gaming system that starts at $2599 USD and goes up from there, but if you've got the bucks and want a small but powerful gaming system, you should definitely check out the SDXi Carbon. That paint job/case design is sweet!

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Next Generation GPU: Nvidia's GeForce 9600 GT

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 12:13 PM

"There's no doubt about it, Nvidia's GeForce 8800 GT has delivered the best bang for buck on the market since its launch, and it rightfully earned the title of bit-tech's best graphics card of 2007. It brings performance that gets close to long-time flagship—the GeForce 8800 GTX—to a price point that's somewhere between £150 and £190, depending on partner configuration. But for many gamers, that's just too much to spend on a graphics card and nobody wanted to buy the frankly disappointing GeForce 8600 GTS. Nvidia went some way to filling the gaping hole in its line-up with the GeForce 8800 GT 256MB and the GeForce 8800 GS 384MB, but neither were really better choices than the ATI Radeon HD 3850 and Radeon HD 3870 graphics cards that collectively helped to turn things around for AMD at the back end of last year."

NVIDIA keeps cranking away, giving us faster and faster GPUs - but what's a bit curious about this new series of cards (based on the G94 GPU) is that the GeForce 8800 GT 512MB card benchmarks faster in almost every case. The pricing of the GeForce 8800 GT is just a bit above the 9600 GT, so it makes you wonder why anyone would opt for a 9600 GT. Not being a hard-core gamer, I haven't really kept up to speed with the video card market. For me, reasonable performance and pure silence is always my goal - to that end, all of my video cards are passively cooled. Most of my systems are using 7600-based cards, passively cooled, and my main system that I use for playing games (City of Heroes, Neverwinter Nights 2, etc.) is using a GeForce 7950 GT that gives me great frame-rates at 1920 x 1200 resolution yet is still completely silent. I'll pay attention to the 9000 series NVIDIA products when someone releases a passively cooled card.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Time Warner to Test Usage-Based Internet Billing

Posted by Jeremy Charette in "Digital Home News" @ 08:00 PM

"Time Warner Cable will conduct a billing test in Beaumont (Texas) to see if it can reduce “network congestions” by making heavy users pay more than light users. Time Warner describes the situation like this: heavy users are 5% of the customers, but use 50% of the bandwidth. I think that Time Warner Cable is trying to improve its 6.84% profit margin rather than solving a “network congestion” problem that few customers, if any, complain about. What is not clear to me is what would happen to the “light users”. Will they be billed on usage as well – or would they stay on a flat-fee plan? As a consumer, I think that if Time Warner wants to use a pay-per-usage (or pay per Gigabytes) billing, every account should be subject to it, so that people who use little bandwidth can save."

Scary. What about customers who use VOIP phone services? Or online gaming such as Xbox Live? Or download songs from iTunes? I see a lopsided profit-driven pricing model like the one that Ubergizmo is suggesting, in which 95% of users pay the regular flat rate fee, and the 5% of "heavy users" pay extra per GB. Of course Time Warner could just adjust the bandwidth "cap" depending on how much profit they need to make each month. Sounds like the ISP makes more money while the consumer gets screwed.

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