As a PC gamer, my most important piece of hardware is undoubtedly my mouse. For me, a good click device has to be accurate, durable, and of course, comfortable. At first glance, the Cougar 700M looks anything but that, almost alien – awkward to hold and flimsy, which, hardware, aside, would translate into horrendous accuracy. Also, it looks like it could turn into Optimus Prime at any second. Sadly, it doesn’t tick any boxes for being an undercover Transformer. As a gaming mouse though? It ticks everything twice.
Last week I told you about Razer’s new documentary focused on eSport. It is split over three parts, with an episode being released each week. The first is now out, and it’s all about Starcraft - arguably the birthplace place of eSport as we know it today.
I was excited when Geoff told me he had a gaming laptop for me to review. Under normal circumstances, I frown upon the portable Master Race, because it costs a lot more to get an equivalent desktop performance packed into that laptop shell. Still, The Acer Aspire Nitro series hides some amazing specs under that sexy exterior, better than my outdated PC by far. I opened the giant screen hood to see what was hiding underneath.
Have you ever tried explaining the concept of eSports to a non-gamer? It’s really difficult! Those with an old train of thought just can’t get their head around the fact that some people play games for a living. Even then, they don’t understand how stressful and dedicated someone has to be to be truly great. For that reason, I love all the eSport documentaries that have been coming out, as it gives some insight into the world of competitive gaming. Valve kicked off the trend with Free To Play, and not too long after, Riot Games debuted Road to Worlds. Razer are following their footsteps. They’ve unveiled their very own documentary.
A good mouse could mean the difference between life and death. Who was that snotty email for – your boss or the company that gave you poor service? Chances are, a bad mouse will result in a missclick, sending it off to your boss, which will inevitably lead to the loss of your job. This is all hypothetical of course, but it could happen! With this in mind, I took the Logitech M280 for a spin. Are its clicks accurate enough to keep you your job?
Picking out a keyboard used to be easy. Does it have the right keys? Check. Does it look sturdy? Double check. Does it come with some fancy features that make it stand out? Check again. You can still pretty much do that, but gaming keyboards in particular come with more features and buttons than the dashboard on the Starship Enterprise. Or at least Logitech's new G910 does.
When it comes to building a PC, the motherboard is easily one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. It controls what processor you can use, what type of RAM and whether you'll be able to double up on visual pushing power. A good motherboard also comes with a host of features you may or may not use, bumping up the price for the extra tweaking tools. ASUS' new motherboard is one of those.
I'm a fan of smart wearable devices. I've yet to own one, but unlike a lot of people (like Geoff), I actually see the value in having a watch or smart band everywhere I go. I guess it's because most of the common features are ones I would use, especially when it comes to health and fitness tracking. That's why I'm already very excited about Microsoft's entry into the smart wearable tech market.
Phil Spencer seems like a genuinely nice guy. Since becoming head of Microsoft's Xbox division, he changed a bunch of things, prompting people to ask if he would have changed more if he'd been running the show from the start. His response proves that he won't throw people under the bus just to make himself look good.
Audio is now more important than ever. From your regular built-in sound cards for the average consumer, to the dedicated bits of hardware that can now be purchased for cleaner audio, there are plenty of options out there. But what if you want the very best? What if money isn’t an issue for you? That’s where the Asus Essence Mark II comes in. It’s high-level audio at a high-level price. But sweet Dolby, does it deliver on that price tag.
Geoff strode into my office, dressed in his Sunday best and enjoying a glass of 9AM Vodka Daniels. “I got a job for you,” he shouted, clearly hoping that by raising his voice he would frighten out any leftover interns who had escaped our previous purges. “We got some new hardware in, and I want you to review the Asus G750J laptop”. “But Geoff,” I started blubbering, “I can’t do it. You know I can’t do hardware. Not after the war. Not after what happened at…Macho Grande”.
When it comes to specific gaming PC peripherals, there are two camps; those who think that the regular, non-fancy hardware gets the job done, and those who need the absolute best. This year’s version on Razer’s Blackwidow Ultimate keyboard is definitely for the latter, but it would be hard to call it an innovation.
AMD’s Mantle, like the impending DirectX 12 is meant to give game developers lower-level access to hardware, allowing them to extract more performance out of less hardware. AMD’s opened the API up, saying anybody who wants to use it could do so. Nvidia’s been a little quiet about Mantle, never saying whether they’d support it or not. They’ve now broken the silence – saying there’s really no point in supporting Mantle.
If you’re an avid PC gamer, your input peripherals will more than likely be something high up on your priority list in terms of important hardware. Gamers always want the best, hardware that not only does its job properly, but looks the part too. Think your gear needs an upgrade?
The Xbox One sports slower versions of essentially the same hardware as the PlayStation 4. the main differentiator though, is the custom eSRAM solution in the Xbox One to make up for the slower DDR3 memory. Right now, it’s a bottleneck that’s keeping games looking slightly worse on the Xbox One. It’s not going away – but there may be some impending workarounds.