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My Experiences With the ASUS ROG SWIFT PG278Q

By: guano Sep 5, 2014 | 2 Comments

Had a few points to add to all the ROG SWIFT reviews on the internets...

  The ROG SWIFT PG278Q is the finest gaming monitor ever! Period. With that said, if you spend a significant amount of time on the desktop then you may want to use this as a second display. There are still tradeoffs when choosing a display for your PC, here are a couple things to consider when looking at the SWIFT. Thanks for watching!

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What is G-Sync?

By: BatRastered Jan 12, 2014 | 2 Comments

For those who wondered what a G-Sync monitor was and why it was cool.

We mentioned G-Sync monitors at CES during our most recent podcast, if you didn't know what it was, this will help.

The 780ti will be out on November 7. While the rest of NVIDIA's lineup gets a price cut starting October 29th.

GeForce GTX 780 Ti will be available for sale starting on November 7th at a suggested e-tail price of $699.

We still don't know too much about the performance of this card, other than it should be a little better than the 780 and a little worse than the Titan. However, the 780 is already pretty close to the Titan, so that's a small window to fit in. Also, there were no announcements about the Titan's price today, so it seems either the Titan will remain out there at $999 as a status symbol or will be replaced by the 780ti altogether at some point.

"As a result of GTX 780 Ti joining our lineup, the new suggested e-tail price for GTX 780 is $499 and GTX 770 is $329. These prices will be live in e-tail by 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 29th."

$150 price cuts FTW! The 780 is now a super attractive $499 ($50 below the Radeon 290X that slightly outperforms it) and comes with a killer holiday bundle:

"Purchase a GTX 780 Ti/780/770 and receive a free copy of Batman: Arkham Origins, Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, plus $100 off a SHIELD purchase."

That's a great deal, especially if you are interested in the SHIELD device. Lesser version of the GeForce lineup are still eligible for a slightly reduced bundle deal.

"Purchase a GTX 760/660 and receive Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, plus $50 off a SHIELD purchase."

With this and the recent AMD 290X introduction, it's a great time to be a PC gamer. Now, if only I had a 1440p/120Hz monitor to use all this power.

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Tips for Choosing An Enthusiast Class Graphics Card

By: guano Sep 23, 2013 | 0 Comments

Tips for making a solid decision, buying a video card

    I've been building PCs for about 15 years now. Everything has changed so much! In most ways it has gotten easier and more affordable for the average person to roll their own gaming computer. Here is a link to my current setup if you're into that sorta thing. I wanna throw out a few of the most important considerations when buying an enthusiast class graphics card. I would define an enthusiast GPU as one that gives you uncompromising performance and image quality.  You can game on a mainstream class card and decrease the image quality and play just about any game starting at $150.00 bucks at 1080p. The enthusiast cards start at $225.00. Here are some tips on choosing the right card with some links to help you along.

  • Unless you are wealthy or crazy, you should consider price to performance as a key metric in buying a card.  There is a diminishing return in the form of minimum frames per second when you pass the mid range price of about $250.00, which tends to be the sweet spot.  At the time of writing this, the GTX 760 sells for exactly $250.00 and is Tom's favorite in the 2-$300 range.  You can play the most demanding games on the high setting @1080p.  Not too shabby!!! Along with minimum frame rate you should look at a GPUs ability deliver smooth frames to your display.These are the 2 most important factors behind price to performance.
  • When using benchmarks to help decide, remember that a single GPU solution is always better than multi GPU.  There will be a condition known as micro stutter in a multi GPU setup to contend with as well. Mileage will vary upon your setup as well. Beware. AMDs Crossfire is pretty broken and if you must run 2+ GPUs, you must go with the green team  There is also  the issue of scaling when running multiple GPUs, may it be 2 GPUs on one card or multiple cards. In general, a 2 GPU solution will only yield around 85-90% of theoretical perf.  Adding a third or fourth GPU has a dramatically less efficient scaling and should really be avoided from a price/perf point of view. If your ultimate goal is to have the performance of the $500 GPU, just wait and buy it when you have all the cash.  Granted 2 $250 GPUs will be faster, it will most likely require a multi GPU ready power supply and motherboard that were designed for these configs, which will most likely be more costly in the long run.  Multi GPU setups are not for the faint of heart or for those on a budget. It can be a pain to manage and introduces cooling considerations that most aren't ready for.  It can be hot and loud unless perfectly executed.
  • You don't need a card over $250 unless you absolutely insist on running the highest level of antialiasing in your games or you're running a resolution over 1920x1080.  All that extra horsepower may actually go to waste. Buying the über card will only see gains in minimum FPS at 1080 seeing that the $250 card is probably frame capped at 60 on the max FPS side already!  You can pretty much max the eye candy on an enthusiast class card.  If you want higher minimum FPS, turn down the antialiasing. It is often the bottleneck.  Most serious online multiplayer gamers (may that be WoW, FFXIV, DotA, LoL or CoD, CS or BF) run low or no AA and turn off v-sync because they are the settings that most effect display lag. With those settings in line your minimum FPS will never be an issue with the other settings cranked!
  • There needs to be some balance in your computer.  If you're running a CPU that doesn't have an integrated memory controller, you may want to consider a CPU and motherboard first.  It's not so much about this one feature as you are probably more than four or five generations back in architecture.  A GTX 760 and an Intel Core Duo is an example of a 7 year old platform with a modern GPU. There will be a bottleneck between the components.  A new GPU will scale with your platform, meaning the faster the CPU, the more frames the GPU will give you! You can get an i3 (with abysmal integrated graphics perf) and a motherboard for $250.  These GPUs need to stay fed and that's just what it takes these days.  If you have a platform more than 3 or 4 generations back, don't spend money on a new card.  Consider a used GTX 4xx or HD 5xxx series GPU. Other budget based alternatives are an AMD APU and motherboard for about $250, that will give you the gaming performance of about a $100 discrete GPU, possibly killing two birds with one stone, if you are just way behind the times.  Instructions per clock are not on par on AMD CPUs, compared to Intel's latest offerings but this is a very viable solution for those on a budget!

    Good luck and have fun!

Yesterday at CES NVIDIA mad a surprise announcement that they were entering the handheld gaming space with their "Project Shield". What does this new handheld have in store for the console space?

Yesterday at CES NVIDIA mad a surprise announcement that they were entering the handheld gaming space with their "Project Shield".

"Take your gaming anywhere with Project SHIELD, a gaming portable designed for gamers who yearn to play when, where and how they want. With the advanced processing power of NVIDIA® Tegra® 4, a full-size game controller, breakthrough Wi-Fi technology, and stunning HD video and audio, Project SHIELD redefines what gaming can be."

Project Shield

While playing Android games with a controller is a novel concept (something the Ouya is also trying to do), I'm not sure anybody wants this, espeically if they already have an android device (or iPhone) in their pocket.

What is kind of interesting though, is the Shield will stream your full-on PC games (if you have an NVIDIA graphics card of recent vintage) to the device via WiFi allowing you to play your PC games on the couch, and with the extra bonus of an HDMI out port, you can even do this on the big HDTV in your living room. That's a nice feature if the device is only a couple hundred bucks, but if it's priced more like a console at 300 or even 400 bucks, I see the masses jumping to the next generation Playstation and XBOX consoles instead (assuming they are in fact coming out this year).

Anybody out there have a need for this product or some novel way they plan on using it? Leave a comment and let us know.

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PhysX on Borderlands 2 with an NVIDIA GeForce

By: BatRastered Sep 18, 2012 | 3 Comments

We played a couple hours of Borderlands 2 on PC while waiting for our Loot Chest editions to show up. We checked it out with PhysX turned on to see the difference. How does it compare to the console experience? Exclusive video.

We first saw the PhysX demo that NVIDIA released on youtube about a month ago. I have to say, we were blown away with that video, but needed to see it for ourselves.

PhysX with and without

When building GoukiJones' rendering machine last year, we included a GeForce GTX 560ti (then $249). The good news is that card is still up to date enough to play Borderlands 2 on high detail with PhysX enabled (on GoukiJones' 16x10 monitor). The better news is you can now get a GTX 660 for about $230 that will outperform the 560ti while using less power.

We were given a steam code by NVIDIA for a copy of Borderlands 2 so we could test the PhysX engine vs the console versions we usually play here at the Gouki.com offices. Thanks guys!

Seeing the extra elemental sparks fly looks really cool and the bodies fall to the ground realistically while bits and pieces of their armor pop off and wheel away in all directions. Though what really changes are the various cloth awnings, tarps, banners, and flags that inhabit the world of Pandora. Instead of being solid objects that don't move at all, they now come to life, blowing in the wind, reacting to your movements and gunshots, and generally behaving like you'd expect in the real world. It's not vital to game play, but it certainly makes the environment feel more alive.

Many other, smaller things stood out to me as well... from the snow melting on the screen to the goop (for lack of a better word) that sticks around after the exploding barrels are dealt with to the blood that pours from your own body after your shield is gone and you take a hit, PhysX makes for a more believable experience. I love how the little bits and pieces stick around in the environment during the gunfight. It littered the ground after one boss battle.

I used a Razer Onza tournament edition to control the game, it worked really well and just as I expected coming from the Xbox. This made the transition pretty smooth and I felt right at home on Pandora. One of the big differences from the consoles is just the huge amount of customizations you can do to the video settings, changing the FOV and customizing the level of detail and hud and just about anything else you could want.

This test proved one thing to me at least, the consoles are really overdue for a refresh. At this rate, last year's GPUs are doing some amazing things that I would consider "next-gen" if I saw it on my TV... and with Valve's announcement of "Big Picture" mode for Steam, and the rapid decline in prices of last year's GPU tech, putting together a gaming PC for the living room for less than the launch price of typical console ($350-450) seems within reach. Hopefully more and more games support the controller out of the box too, as I'm horrible with a keyboard/mouse when it comes to gaming.

NVIDIA looks to bring the next gen power of their Kepler chips to the mainstream with the $300-ish 660ti

The new GeForce 660ti retails for about $300 and will run any modern game at 1920x1080 on high settings with PhysX enabled according to our contact at NVIDIA. There aren't a ton of games that make good use of PhysX but Borderlands 2 is one... that demo is the first PC demo to make me feel like I'm missing out on something by playing the game on a console. And guess what? For a limited time buy a 660ti on Amazon and get Borderlands 2 for free. That's a great combo right there!

Click the source link for the full press release.

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NVidia PhysX demo featuring Borderlands 2

By: BatRastered Aug 16, 2012 | 4 Comments

This is a demo showing what games using the PhysX engine on the newer NVidia cards can do. It just happens to feature my most anticipated game, Borderlands 2.

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Still holding off on a new video card for your PC. Would a free copy of Arkham City and $20 get you to go for it?

This is one of the best deals I've seen in a while. Not only is the 560ti a great card for $250, but you get a $20 rebate and a free copy of the latest Batman game when it comes out.

This card is overclocked out of the box and includes a lifetime warranty.

Don't miss out Jimmy! This card is going into GoukiJones' new video editing machine, he'll probably be giving that Batman code away since he'll be pwnn that Xbox version, so stay tuned for that!

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Video card upgrade time

By: BatRastered Nov 30, 2010 | 7 Comments

Need a video card before Star Wars: The Old republic comes out, but want to keep it under $150? Some recommendations...

MSI GeForce GTS 450 (Fermi) N450GTS CYCLONE 1GD5/OC Video Card

MSI GeForce GTS 450 (Fermi) N450GTS CYCLONE 1GD5/OC Video Card

VisionTek 900301 Radeon HD 5750 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity

VisionTek 900301 Radeon HD 5750 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity

Both of these cards are under $150 and support dual and even triple monitor setups and DirectX 11.

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