eSports as a whole has grown monumentally over the past few years. Thanks to companies like Valve for example, and their investment in large scale tournaments like The International (the implementation of the Compendium did wonders for the prize pool), interest in competitive gaming has shot through the roof. Apparently this bodes well for hardware companies as a whole, because according to research from EEDAR, those who follow eSports tend to spend more cash on their gear on average than those who don’t.
In my opinion, phablets are too big to be used as a phone (without the general public laughing behind your back), and too small to really be considered a tablet. Advantages they do have however, are price and functionality. If you’re looking to kill those two birds with one stone, there’s no denying that a phablet combines both with ease. The Asus fonepad 7 is one such device, even if it does have some minor drawbacks.
You may have hardware that can run Crysis at 4K and set new benchmarks with massive numbers that will send a rush of blood to your secondary brain, but all that tech is useless without a proper power supply unit. A few years back, Cougar got into the PSU game and released the CMX 700: a power supply that wasn't as good as it could have been. But Cougar is back, with a new and updated piece of Eskom-defiant technology. And its a sophomore effort that is leagues ahead of their previous PSU work.
Everyone is getting their hands on some piece of the VR pie. And when I say everyone, I mean it in every sense of the word. Razer announced their vision of a VR future with their open-source virtual reality initiative (OSVR), which aims to aid future VR headsets and projects with some financial and supportive backing. So it’s only logical that Leap Motion has jump aboard already.
Valve has had a pretty stellar week at both MWC and GDC. Despite not revealing Half-Life 3 (then again, will they ever?), the primarily software-focused company made a big statement with their HTC-powered VR Vive headset, as well as the host of different Steam Machines coming to market in November. To cap things off, Valve has introduced a brand new section to Steam – and it’s full of hardware.
We are VR, baby. Love it or hate it, but virtually real hardware and software is here to stay as the field has opened up with various companies throwing their goggles into the ring. While the Oculus Rift may dominate headlines, Sony might have something up their sleeve that could prove an equal match for that VR trendsetter. It’s called Project Morpheus, and thanks to some beefy new hardware that has been added to it, it looks like Morpheus is finally ready to hit the shelves next year.
[Update] Nvidia has responded to the memory issue. NVidia’s GTX 970 is the current price-to-performance darling, offering incredible visual for incredible value. It seems, however, that it’s harbouring a dark secret. It’s a 4GB card, but it looks like a significant chunk of that VRAM doesn’t work.
A keyboard is arguably the most important piece of input hardware on a PC. Ever tried conveying an important email or essay with a mouse? Of course you haven’t! For gamers, a keyboard goes beyond being a simple literary production device. We need something that is sturdy, comfortable, and has a reliable WASD setup (or QWER for in my case… obviously). Cue the COUGAR 700K, a solid keyboard that seems to hit all the right spots.
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.