AOC Reveal In-House VR Headset at Gamescom

Leading monitor manufacturer, AOC, has revealed its own Virtual Reality (VR) headset at Gamescom, Germany. We all love VR, many can’t use it because of lack of compatibility, others can’t afford it; I fall into the latter, but I’m fine with that until more games become available.

VR has had a major hype train, Oculus being the first to really popularise it with a Kickstarter campaign a few years ago. Since then, the possible use cases have been somewhat limitless with games (obviously), education, military, medical and even the adult industry; however, the choices for buyers has been limited to the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive with a couple of other lower specification versions such as Google Cardboard and Samsung VR being pushed to the main consumer market.

AOC VR oblique

Well now there is another, potentially cheaper and better optimised, option coming onto the market. Yes HTC designed the Vive in collaboration with Valve, but AOC has the technology and R&D to develop a much more compatible version; along with also waiting a few months to iron out bugs with VR games. Everything is purely speculation at the moment, only prototypes are available to view at Gamescom with very little information being passed out to external press at this time.

AOC VR AOC VR top oblique

AOC will be presenting a few of the new AGON monitors at i58 next week, maybe we’ll get a hands on at the show with some pictures, specifications and maybe even a name; AOC HMD doesn’t really have a ring to it like the Rift.

Advertisements

Summer of Gaming Week 3.5: Portable LAN Gaming

So I had a little thought, I’m going to i58 next week and a key staple of the show is BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer). While some people can handle a Corsair 900D in the back of the car, not everyone has a car large enough or even that 15-year-old who needs to put a system in the boot of their parent’s car with coats and other junk in there. As a result, I’m going to create a Portable Gaming edition of the Summer of Gaming series; perfect for LAN gaming and that only without additional upgrades.

This week is going to be slightly different, I’m going to only choose parts from Overclockers UK. The reason for this is, OverclockersUK and GAME have a pretty good partnership where GAME has started to showcase certain systems and accessories from OcUK.

Llxj0vd

Before we start, this isn’t going to be what laptop to choose or laptop vs desktop. This will solely be about creating a portable desktop, maybe with a small comparison at the end.


overclockers

OverclockersUK started out in 1999 as a small company set to change the overclocking world by offering CPUs with a known overclocking performance. As the company gained traction it steadily grew until in 2012 it was bought out by German company Caseking where it has grown further.


MOBA: League of Legends, etc…

The requirement for a LoL build isn’t very high, a basic AMD APU can run it perfectly fine and will do so at a very reasonable cost. The hardest part is making sure you can cram enough power to sustain it into a manageable build.

Processor AMD A6-6400K 43.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/amd-a6-6400k-3.90ghz-socket-fm2-apu-richland-dual-core-processor-ad640kokhlbox-cp-357-am.html
Motherboard MSI A88XI AC V2 79.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/msi-a88xi-ac-v2-amd-a88x-socket-fm2-ddr3-mini-itx-motherboard-mb-278-ms.html
RAM Team Group Vulcan 8GB 2133MHz 38.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/team-group-vulcan-orange-8gb-2x4gb-ddr3-pc3-17100c11-2133mhz-dual-channel-kit-tlaed38g2133hc11adc-my-037-tg.html
Storage #1 Toshiba 500GB 38.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/toshiba-7k1000.d-500gb-sata-6gb-s-32mb-cache-oem-dt01aca050-hdd-hd-025-ts.html
Storage #2
Power Supply XFX TS 430W 33.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/xfx-ts-430w-80-plus-bronze-power-supply-black-5-year-warranty-ocuk-exclusive-ca-019-xf.html
CPU Cooler
Case Silverstone Sugo SST-SG13WB 36.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/silverstone-sugo-sst-sg13wb-q-mini-itx-chassis-black-white-sst-sg13wb-q-ca-424-sv.html
Graphics Card

Total: £272.86

This is the absolute basic package I would opt for and at £273, it is a cracking little computer. It will play  most MOBA games at an acceptable FPS and will most certainly play most MOBA games easily; however, I believe the below additions would make this shine for an extra £60.

Processor AMD A6-6400K 43.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/amd-a6-6400k-3.90ghz-socket-fm2-apu-richland-dual-core-processor-ad640kokhlbox-cp-357-am.html
Motherboard MSI A88XI AC V2 79.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/msi-a88xi-ac-v2-amd-a88x-socket-fm2-ddr3-mini-itx-motherboard-mb-278-ms.html
RAM Team Group Vulcan 8GB 2133MHz 38.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/team-group-vulcan-orange-8gb-2x4gb-ddr3-pc3-17100c11-2133mhz-dual-channel-kit-tlaed38g2133hc11adc-my-037-tg.html
Storage #1 Samsung 250GB 850 EVO 86.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/samsung-250gb-850-evo-ssd-2.5-sata-6gbps-32-layer-3d-v-nand-solid-state-drive-mz-75e250b-eu-hd-191-sa.html
Storage #2
Power Supply Corsair CX430w 49.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/corsair-builder-series-cx-430w-modular-80-plus-bronze-power-supply-cp-9020058-uk-ca-115-cs.html
CPU Cooler
Case Silverstone Sugo SST-SG13WB 36.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/silverstone-sugo-sst-sg13wb-q-mini-itx-chassis-black-white-sst-sg13wb-q-ca-424-sv.html
Graphics Card

Total: £336.90

This build will happily play all MOBA style games with reasonable FPS at 1080p. No, it isn’t the most powerful computer ever, nor will it be able to play top AAA games at high settings, but it is perfectly placed to do what is expected.


Fast Paced Multiplayer: Rocket League, etc…

I haven’t had the pleasure of playing Rocket League or Overwatch, but by viewing multiple game reviews, both games are slightly more demanding than  most MOBA games; so more graphical power will be required.

Processor Intel G4400 53.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/intel-pentium-dual-core-g4400-3.30ghz-skylake-socket-lga1151-processor-retail-cp-593-in.html
Motherboard ASUS H110I Plus 64.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/asus-h110i-plus-intel-h110-socket-1151-ddr4-itx-motherboard-mb-687-as.html
RAM Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 8GB 2400MHz 32.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/ballistix-sport-lt-8gb-2x4gb-ddr4-pc4-19200c16-2400mhz-dual-channel-kit-black-grey-bls2c4g4d240-my-187-cr.html
Storage #1 Samsung 250GB 850 EVO 86.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/samsung-250gb-850-evo-ssd-2.5-sata-6gbps-32-layer-3d-v-nand-solid-state-drive-mz-75e250b-eu-hd-191-sa.html
Storage #2 Toshiba 500GB 38.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/toshiba-7k1000.d-500gb-sata-6gb-s-32mb-cache-oem-dt01aca050-hdd-hd-025-ts.html
Power Supply XFX XT 500W 39.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/xfx-xt-series-500w-80-plus-bronze-power-supply-ca-022-xf.html
CPU Cooler
Case Silverstone Sugo SST-SG13WB 36.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/silverstone-sugo-sst-sg13wb-q-mini-itx-chassis-black-white-sst-sg13wb-q-ca-424-sv.html
Graphics Card MSI GTX 960 129.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/msi-geforce-gtx-960-reference-design-2048mb-gddr5-pci-express-graphics-card-gx-32u-ms.html

Total: £484.80

Beefing out the computer, there’s now a newer Intel processor and more storage. The most notable difference here is the addition of a GTX 960 discrete graphics card. The GTX 960 can happily play through Overwatch at 1080p with 80FPS easily, but it allows for any random drops or increased settings/ higher resolution.

The case was kept the same to show how small this could be, but the case could be changed to suit taste to something more ‘showy’ such as the Bitfenix Prodigy in Orange.


Shoot em up’s: Call of Duty, Battlefield, etc…

Probably the most demanding game that would be seen at a LAN event would be BF: Hardline, R6: Siege or Cod. These can be quite graphically intensive and will require a graphics card with some moderate power.

Processor Intel i5-6600K 229.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/intel-core-i5-6600k-3.9ghz-skylake-socket-lga1151-processor-retail-cp-579-in.html
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-Z170N-WIFI 116.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/gigabyte-ga-z170n-wifi-intel-z170-socket-1151-ddr4-mini-itx-motherboard-mb-536-gi.html
RAM Kingston Fury 16GB 2400MHz 52.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/kingston-fury-black-16gb-2x8gb-ddr4-pc4-19200c15-2400mhz-dual-channel-kit-black-hx424c15fb2k2-1-my-229-ks.html
Storage #1 Samsung 250GB 850 EVO 86.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/samsung-250gb-850-evo-ssd-2.5-sata-6gbps-32-layer-3d-v-nand-solid-state-drive-mz-75e250b-eu-hd-191-sa.html
Storage #2 Toshiba 1TB 40.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/toshiba-7k1000.d-1tb-sata-6gb-s-32mb-cache-hdd-oem-dt01aca100-hd-024-ts.html
Power Supply Corsair CX-M 550W 58.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/corsair-cx-m-series-550w-80-plus-bronze-semi-modular-power-supply-cp-9020102-uk-ca-220-cs.html
CPU Cooler OcUK 120mm Extreme 56.92 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/ocuk-tech-labs-120mm-extreme-cpu-liquid-cooling-upgrade-bundle-bu-095-tl.html
Case Silverstone Sugo SST-SG13WB 36.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/silverstone-sugo-sst-sg13wb-q-mini-itx-chassis-black-white-sst-sg13wb-q-ca-424-sv.html
Graphics Card Zotac GTX 980Ti AMP Omega 319.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/zotac-geforce-gtx-980ti-amp-omega-edition-6144mb-gddr5-pci-express-graphics-card-zt-90504-10p-gx-097-zt.html

Total: £1000.80

This is going to be one of the best computers to take to a LAN event. No game will require more than a GTX 980Ti or the best quad core processor unless you like to run some heavy mods on a higher resolution. However, if you’re going to a LAN event, it’s likely you will want to take a 1080p monitor.


Show Off Mode Activated

Some may only want to take their computer to show off, prove that they have the very best computer at the show (unlikely with some of the modder builds at the show such as davido_labido). If this is you, but you still want to cram as much as possible into as small of a case as possible; maybe this is for you.

Processor Intel i7-6800K 409.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/intel-i7-6800k-3.40ghz-broadwell-e-socket-lga2011-v3-processor-retail-bx80671i76800k-cp-611-in.html
Motherboard ASRock X99E-ITX/AC 239.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/asrock-x99e-itx-ac-intel-x99-socket-2011-ddr4-mini-itx-motherboard-mb-142-ak.html
RAM Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB 3200MHz 179.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/corsair-vengeance-lpx-32gb-2x16gb-ddr4-pc4-25600c16-3200mhz-dual-channel-kit-white-cmk32gx4m2b3-my-487-cs.html
Storage #1 Samsung SM961 1TB NVMe 529.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/samsung-sm961-polaris-1tb-m.2-2880-pci-e-3.0-x-4-nvme-solid-state-drive-hd-226-sa.html
Storage #2
Power Supply Silverstone 600W Titanium 124.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/silverstone-strider-600w-80-plus-titanium-modular-power-supply-ca-434-sv.html
CPU Cooler Corsair H80i V2 89.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/corsair-hydro-series-h80i-v2-extreme-performance-liquid-cpu-cooler-cw-9060024-ww-hs-037-cs.html
Case Lian Li PC-TU100A 94.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/lian-li-pc-tu100a-mini-itx-cube-silver-ca-625-ll.html
Graphics Card ASUS GTX 1080 Founders 695.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/asus-geforce-gtx-1080-founders-edition-8192mb-gddr5x-pci-express-graphics-card-gx-400-as.html

Total: £2365.90

This computer is completely overpowered for 99% of applications that would be present at a LAN event. Maybe you want to live stream and require the additional CPU cores and RAM? If not, this is definitely a show-off build.

If you wanted, this could be beefed up further with an i7-6950X, Titan X Pascal, more RAM, custom water cooling and so on; the only limit is your budget. Why you would spend this much money on a computer solely for LAN events is beyond me, maybe you attend multiple events a year or you do a lot of recording on the go?


How do these stack up to pre-built options?

So what about letting OverclockersUK build the system for you? Some people may not want to build the system themselves through lack of confidence or lack of time. Personally, I like to build my system myself, learning how to build it gives me satisfaction and also you can add/ remove cables to your taste; maybe you want to add another storage drive in the future and don’t want to have to worry about cable routing later.

I’ve aimed to spec as close as possible to the £1000 build while keeping as many components the same.

evosystem

At £1600, this does feature an i7-6700K, slightly larger case and a 240mm radiator.  However, these additions only add up to roughly another £100. You are paying for the convenience of having a computer arrive at your door fully working ready for an operating system, no part lottery plus it comes with a 4.5GHz guaranteed overclock.

What about a laptop?

This generation, laptops have increased in potential to within 10% of their desktop equivalent. Featuring full specification desktop graphics card and near enough full desktop processor.

laptop

The best (and cheapest) I found was the MSI GT72VR gaming laptop. It features a GTX 1070, which is roughly on par with a GTX 980Ti. The only real advantage of a gaming laptop is the ability to carry it around with you and use it in more places such as a train. If I had the option of a gaming laptop, I would choose something like this.


Thoughts

So there we have it, my interpretation of some pretty good and varying LAN appropriate gaming systems. Yes, these systems could be changed to incorporate different processors or graphics cards, maybe you only want mechanical storage or only solid state? However, AMD is dominating the low-end gaming segment, whereas NVIDIA dominates once a discrete card is introduced; especially with the recent price drops.

Pros
–  Experience at building computers
–  Satisfaction of building your own computer
–  Can choose exactly what parts to use
–  Can space purchases out to avoiding paying a large amount at               once
–  Compact and relatively lightweight to move around
–  Takes up little room when at home

Cons
–  Some parts may not work out of the box (damage from factory)
–  Some parts may not be compatible if you buy without research
–  At this size, further compatibility issues can be present with               length of graphics cards and CPU coolers
–  Upgrading parts can be difficult in the future, no room for SLI/           Crossfire and limited room for more storage drives


I’ll be at i58 next week covering all the systems on show, bringing all the latest as it happens.

Event: Insomnia58 @ NEC Birmingham

It’s almost that time again, iSeries has come again for the Summer event held in the ever popular NEC Birmingham. This will be the first event TechHubClub will be attending officially and we’ll offer coverage on Saturday.

Insomnia

Growing from a humble show, iSeries has gone from strength to strength and becoming a staple event in the gaming calendar. Some criticism was thrown around after GAME bought the event and there was a definite console presence at i54, but this has obviously not deterred the hardcore BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) participants with the event having to be moved to a larger location from the Ricoh Arena Coventry to NEC Birmingham.

I will be there covering the event on Saturday 27th, bringing the latest news and products at the show; maybe there will be a vlog?

If you are going to the event, stop by the Gigabyte stand. Gigabyte has been running a charity raffle for the recent events for the baby hospice Zoe’s Place and has raised a huge amount of money thanks to people like you. I’ll be buying a ticket or two.

Are you going to this or any other events for the rest of the year? Let us know in the comments.

Summer of Gaming Week 3: The £1000 Golden Nugget

It’s that time of the week again, Week 3 of the series has come so quickly. With it, NVIDIA has announced some tasty price drops to the Maxwell graphics card line-up, so maybe we can get some pretty epic computers for this price. This week we are going to look at the £1000 budget, generally, this is the area everyone wants to aim for but make compromises somewhere along the line (normally processor or graphics card) to save some cash.

This is the area I normally aim for when speccing up a computer for friends or family. It will have loads of power, play almost any game at max settings and last a fair few years.

Just like last week, I have chosen to link four typical UK retailers, OverclockersUK (OcUK), SCAN, Novatech, and Maplin. OcUK, Scan, and Novatech have a single retail store whereas Maplin has many stores across the UK; which makes this a nicer option if you prefer to purchase your items that day. There are other retailers available, but most were discounted as they didn’t offer products for every style.

overclockers

OverclockersUK started out in 1999 as a small company set to change the overclocking world by offering CPUs with a known overclocking performance. As the company gained traction it steadily grew until in 2012 it was bought out by German company Caseking where it has grown further.

badge-scan

Scan, established in 1987, set out as and still is a tight knit family-run business. The key focus of the company is to find, deliver and support a wide range of computing products to its customers; this is shown through the Scansure product. Scansure allows the customer to purchase and build their computer completely worry free if an accident does happen during the building process.

novatech_logo

Novatech boasts over 27 years experience with its technological background and pushes that knowledge out to its customers. A key focus on customer case and satisfaction are present throughout the transaction process and aftercare; “Worry free computing” at its finest.

500px-Maplin_Electronics_logo.svg

Maplin is the oldest and widest company on the list today. Starting out in 1972 as a basic component reseller and branching out in 1992 to Asia puts this company at the top of the list in terms of recognition. Focussed more on the barebone components such as circuit boards, Maplin has a much more diverse range of products while still catering for the walk-in computer enthusiast.


Week 3: The £1000 Golden Nugget

The £1000 computer has come a very long way in recent years and choosing the right time to build can reap a much better computer than previously thought.

Maplin component list:

Processor Intel i5-4690 194.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/intel-core-i5-4690-socket-1150-quad-core-350ghz-processor-a21qy
Motherboard ASUS H81M-PLUS 39.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/asus-h81m-plus-intel-motherboard-a28nk
RAM Corsair Vengeance Pro 16GB 1866MHz 84.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/corsair-vengeance-pro-16gb-2x8gb-ddr3-1866mhz-cl9-desktop-memory-blksilv-a83nj
Storage #1 WD 2TB 74.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/wd-everyday-2tb-internal-35-inch-sata-iii-hard-drive-a14qu
Storage #2 Samsung 120GB 750 EVO 47.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/samsung-750-evo-120gb-sata-iii-25inch-ssd-a46uw
Power Supply Corsair CX550M 51.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/corsair-cx550m-550w-semi-modular-atx-80-plus-bronze-power-supply-a65uu
CPU Cooler Corsair H60 53.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/corsair-hydro-series-h60-120mm-cpu-liquid-cooler-2013-edition-n96qq
Case NZXT S340 59.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/nzxt-s340-black-mid-tower-case-a51uy
Graphics Card MSI Armor GTX 1070 429.98 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/msi-geforce-gtx-1070-armor-oc-8gb-gddr5-graphics-card-a19xx

Total: £1038.90

WHAT? A GTX 1070 with this? Can’t complain about that, although that’s really the only part you can’t really complain about. The processor is a previous generation NON-OVERCLOCKABLE i5-4690 with a really low-end motherboard.

The storage solution isn’t too bad, along with the power supply and case. The CPU cooler isn’t something I would normally opt for, but I decided against an H100i (or similar) mainly due to the lack of overclocking on the CPU.

For what it is, the computer is decent, but there are better options on the market for the price.


OverclockersUK component list:

Processor Intel i5-6600K 324.98 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/gigabyte-z170x-gaming-3-intel-core-i5-6600k-cpu-and-motherboard-bundle-30-pounds-saving-bu-029-gi.html
Motherboard Gigabyte Gaming 3 0 Bundle
RAM Kingston HyperX Fury 16GB 2400MHz 52.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/kingston-fury-black-16gb-2x8gb-ddr4-pc4-19200c15-2400mhz-dual-channel-kit-black-hx424c15fb2k2-1-my-229-ks.html
Storage #1 Toshiba 2TB 58.94 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/toshiba-e300-2tb-5700rpm-64mb-cache-low-energy-hard-drive-hdwa120uzsva-hd-047-ts.html
Storage #2 Corsair Force LE 240GB 68.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/corsair-force-le-240gb-2.5-sata-6gbps-solid-state-drive-cssd-f240gbleb-hd-059-cs.html
Power Supply Corsair CX550M 63.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/corsair-cx-m-series-550w-80-plus-bronze-semi-modular-power-supply-cp-9020102-uk-ca-220-cs.html
CPU Cooler OCUK Tech Labs 240mm 59.90 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/ocuk-tech-labs-240mm-extreme-cpu-liquid-cooling-upgrade-bundle-bu-096-tl.html
Case In-Win 703 54.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/in-win-703-midi-tower-black-red-ca-050-iw.html
Graphics Card VGA GTX 980Ti SC ACX 349.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/evga-geforce-gtx-980ti-superclocked-acx-2.0-6144mb-gddr5-pci-express-graphics-card-06g-p4-4993-kr-gx-288-ea.html

Total: £1034.69

This is more like it (and how the rest will follow), a current generation processor, DDR4 RAM and a just general better all rounder.

The i5-6600K is probably the current best gaming processor available right now; only being pipped by the i7-6700k in games that utilise hyperthreading.

Yes, there has been a step back by using a GTX 980Ti, but a small sacrifice in raw gaming power to have a much better all round computer was a no brainer in my books.

Some may be looking at the questionable OcUK Tech Labs CPU cooler, I have had experience with these in the past and they are very good; maybe I can get one in soon to compare to my current H100i.

Remember: If you are a member of the OcUK forums and have been for a while, you may be eligible for free next-day shipping to any of the listed countries; check out the forum post here!


Novatech component list:

Processor Intel i5-6600K 219.98 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products-components-processors/intelskylake1151/bx80662i56600k.html
Motherboard MSI Z170A Tomahawk 109.99 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products-components-motherboards/intelsocket1151/z170chipset-z170atomahawk.html
RAM Kingston HyperX fury 16GB 2400MHz 69.98 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products-components-memory-pc/ddr4memory/ddr4pc4-192002400mhz/hx424c15fb2k216.html
Storage #1 Toshiba 2TB 59.99 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products-components-harddrives-internal/sata2tbto2.5tb/dt01aca200.html
Storage #2 SanDisk Z410 240GB 57.98 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products-components-harddrives-internal/ssdsolidstate/240gbto400gb/sd8sbbu-240g-1122.html
Power Supply EVGA 600W 45.98 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products-components-powersupplies/451wto650w/100-w1-0600-k3.html
CPU Cooler Antec Kuhler H1200 Pro 64.99 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products-components-cooling/watercooling/240mm/0-761345-10900-0.html
Case Phanteks Enthoo Pro M 64.99 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products-components-cases/midtowercases/ph-es515p_bk.html
Graphics Card Palit GeForce GTX 1070 379.99 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products-components-nvidiageforcegraphicscards-nvidiagtx1070series/ne51070015p2-1041j.html

Total: £1073.90

Now this is probably the best build today, a brand new GTX 1070 and an Intel i5-6600k. The power supply isn’t modular, but the case has more than enough cable management to sort that out.

The rest of the computer is pretty standard enthusiast grade parts, a 2TB hard drive for adequate game storage and a 240GB SSD to keep more of your key programs ready to load.

Novatech offer free shipping on orders over £50 (the option needs to be chosen at checkout), but it is 3-4 day standard.


Scan component list:

Processor Intel i5-6600K 317.48 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/asrock-z170-extreme4-intel-z170-s-1151-ddr4-satae-m2-atx-motherboard-with-intel-core-i5-6600k-35ghz-
Motherboard ASRock Extreme 4+ 0 Bundle
RAM Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 2400MHz 73.40 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/16gb-(2x8gb)-corsair-ddr4-vengeance-lpx-red-pc4-19200-(2400)-non-ecc-unbuffered-cas-16-16-16-39-xmp-
Storage #1 Toshiba 2TB 59.99 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/2tb-toshiba-dt01aca200-35-hdd-sata-iii-6gb-s-7200rpm-64mb-cache-8ms-ncq-oem
Storage #2 SanDisk Z410 240GB 59.89 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/240gb-sandisk-z410-business-class-ssd-25-sata-iii-6gb-s-read-535mb-s-write-440mb-s-36k-iops-66k-iops
Power Supply Cooler Master GM 550W 55.99 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/550w-cooler-master-gm-series-hybrid-modular-80plus-bronze-1x120mm-atx-v231-psu
CPU Cooler Silverstone SST-TD02 69.98 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/silverstone-sst-td02-slim-tundra-hydro-cooler-for-intel-and-amd-cpus-lga-775-115x-1366-2011-2011-3-a
Case Corsair Obsidian 350D 74.99 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/corsair-obsidian-series-350d-performance-micro-atx-case-with-windowed-side-panel
Graphics Card ASUS GTX 980Ti Matrix 359.00 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/6gb-asus-geforce-gtx-980-ti-matrix-pcie-30-7010mhz-gddr5-gpu-1000mhz-boost-1075mhz-cores-2816-3x-dp-

Total: £1070.70

Can you imagine how bummed I was when I saw that price without the graphics card? Yeah, not so much.

On par with the OcUK computer, it features one of the best GTX 980Ti graphics cards on the market and an amazing case. This is a very good computer for the price,  and will see many hours of happy gaming at most resolutions.

Scan doesn’t offer a free postage option at this price point and at around £11.50 for standard delivery, it does seem steep compared to the competition but there are options such as Drop Off to a local collection point which could ease the sting.


Summary

The computers on offer this week are very similar apart from the offering from Maplin. The i5-4690 isn’t a bottleneck, but it does hold back to DDR3 memory and isn’t overclockable to gain that little extra performance; however, it does offer a great graphics card.

The two computers from Scan and OcUK are near enough identical in terms of internal components with the biggest difference being the case. They both will perform on par with each other and the parts can be changed for others if that’s what you want, remember that this is just a rough guide.

The best computer this week has to go to Novatech. Packing a GTX 1070 and i5-6600k, it will perform very well in almost every scenario and be quiet and cool while doing so.

You may have noticed an almost bias choice of NVIDIA and Intel components here, and there’s a reason for that. While AMD offers some brilliant bang for buck components, once you go over a certain monetary threshold, it becomes pointless. The raw performance per core is much lower than anything Intel offer and NVIDIA offer much cooler and more powerful components. Maybe if the rest of the RX 400 range stack up well, the Winter edition may look completely different.

Next week is just an all out, best of the best enthusiast gaming computer money can buy. I will be ignoring extreme grade components as they’re targeted at productivity rather than gaming.

Next week, Week 4: Feelin’ Flush?

NB: Prices were correct as of 9pm 16/08/2016


If you like what this post has given, give it a share and also comment to tell me what you’d like to read in the future.

Want me to review a certain product? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.

Review: LG 29UM68-P Ultrawide Monitor

I’ve been hunting for a nice little (haha yeah right!) ultrawide monitor for a while now,  ever since I witnessed the displays at CeBIT 2015 I loved them. Very few people I know have one and anyone I ask usually jumped on the 4K hype train, even the sales “advisor” at a local PC World even said I should spend the money on a 4K display; well that was until I ripped him to pieces saying how he shouldn’t assume everyone can afford a £500+ graphics card to adequately handle 4K gaming.

Back on track, I have finally purchased one, it’s not the model I wanted, but I did get change from £250. The LG 29UM68(-P) is one of the more budget orientated models on the market, but don’t let it’s target put you off. It features a tasty 2560x1080p IPS panel, AMD FreeSync technology, and sRGB over 99%, it has more than enough appeal for everyone.

Why did I choose 2560×1080?
The answer is simple, practicality! Firstly, I have a very small office and two monitors side by side would be too large to fit into this room. I get most of the benefits of a multi-monitor setup without the large bezel and footprint. Yes, a 1440p or even 4k monitor would have been more beneficial but that’s where point two comes in. I loved my multi-monitor setup in my old office in games, the slightly extended and natural Field of View made for a much more immersive experience.


Specifications
So let’s take a look at what the monitor has to offer (specifications taken directly from LG website):

Size (Inch) 29″ Flat
Panel Type IPS
Color Gamut (CIE1931) sRGB over 99%
Colour Depth (Num of Colours) 8bits (6bit+FRC), 16.7M
Pixel Pitch (mm) 0.2628(H) x 0.2628(V)
Resolution 2560 x 1080
Brightness(Typ.) 250cd/m2
Contrast Ratio(Original) 1000:1
(DFC) Mega
Response Time_Typ.(on/off) 14ms
(GTG) 5ms
Viewing Angle(CR≥10) 178/178

LG never cease to impress with IPS panel implementation, 99% sRGB, 178° viewing angle and a relatively low 5ms (GTG) response time stack this to be a pretty decent offering.


Images
And what about the monitor itself?

If you’ve never seen an ultrawide monitor in person before, the appearance may shock you on first look. For a 29″ panel, it has the overall height of a panel around 24″, but the width of a monitor around 32″.

SAMSUNG CSC

Personally, I’d say this monitor is targeted at the entry level and it does show that with the display input options. Just a single DisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMi 1.4 ports, AUX out and DC power.

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

The base is disappointing, considering how small the screen is vertical, I would have liked a height adjustable stand. This stand places the bottom of the screen just 10cm off the surface.

SAMSUNG CSC

It does have a small cable management hook…..wow.

SAMSUNG CSC

It does have a nice profile when installed and it does allow the monitor to tilt up to 20°.

SAMSUNG CSC

Fully assembled, you get a small shudder as you realise the space on your desk isn’t enough.

 

SAMSUNG CSC

 

Box and accessories
The box is very non-flashy, a focus on “economic” has taken the logistical world in recent years.

It does show off the fact it has AMD FreeSync, but I think the logo should have been bigger on the front of the box to really reel in customers.

SAMSUNG CSC

 

SAMSUNG CSC

 

No DisplayPort cable? Really LG?

SAMSUNG CSC


Usage
Using the monitor is near enough the same as a standard 16:9, but you may have to position yourself slightly differently if [like me] your desk was set up perfectly to look at the centre of a 16:9.

Desktop
Desktop usage is simple, you might have to drag your mouse further to get to the edges so get used to falling off your mouse pad a few times. You can comfortably fit two windows on the same screen without having to compromise and sometimes have to deal with mobile mode (shudders).

Windows

Video
So what about watching a video, surely the weird horizontal resolution would play up here? and it does.

As you can see in the images below, the top is a standard 1280×720 video window and the bottom is a standard 1920×1080 video window. If you try to watch something on YouTube, it will usually upscale to the 1080p format, but you will still have the black bars either side. There is software available to change this, but the distortion makes for an unfavourable experience.

720example11080example1

So what about gaming?
21:9 monitors have been touted as perfect gaming monitors, giving a multi-monitor experience without the central bezel. While this is true, expect some minor compatibility issues as 21:9 isn’t a default resolution just yet.

Game #1: Need For Speed (2015): I wanted to test this game because I’ve heard mixed reviews with scaling. At 2560×1080, the in-game (driving) scales perfectly and actually just makes it look like you’ve adjusted your viewing angle. However, the videos and menus are fixed 1920×1080 and it does detract slightly; especially if you wipe out and expect to witness it in full resolution.

nfs1080 nfs2560

Game #2: Battlefield 4: Shooters are typically where wide Field of View comes in handy, you can see slightly more to your sides which give you a slight tactical advantage. Here you gain that wider viewing angle as seen by the door, radiator and wall markings.

bf4 2016-08-14 18-53-08-77bf4 2016-08-14 18-51-53-67


Menus
The monitor comes with a menu joystick style navigation. A single click opens up a sort of Apple style scroll wheel choice. The menus are then very intuitive to navigate with the joystick on the bottom of the monitor.

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

Game Mode
No matter what type of technology you buy, there’s a good chance it has a Unique Selling Point (USP), obviously offering a 5ms, 2560×1080, IPS monitor with FreeSync isn’t enough for LG. Game mode is a simple menu choice which enables a few pre-determined settings to give you a competitive edge when gaming. The two key settings are FreeSync and Black Stabilizer. FreeSync tries to sync up the graphics card and monitor refresh rate to prevent screen tearing; usual stuff. However, Black Stabilizer is a little different, it is a simple brightness increaser to brighten up dark areas of a game where an emery may be hiding to jump out. I find this setting a little pointless as most games now come with a setup brightness process to ensure your brightness level is optimum for the game.


Final Thoughts
For a bargain basement 29″ ultrawide monitor that features a respectable response time, IPS panel and AMD freeSync, this monitor is bloody brilliant.

The monitor itself has brilliant out-of-box settings, the colours are deep and true to life with no washout. I love how there is no backlight bleed either, you tend to find with larger monitors that the corners tend to darken or brighten to over-compensate.

I have a NVIDIA graphics card, so the FreeSync functionality is lost on me, but the cheapest 21:9 G-Sync monitor is around £600; so that was out of the question. The addition is great though if you have an AMD graphics card and maybe I’ll test this out in the future if I can get my hands on one (hint hint). The fact that I am using a NVIDIA graphics card doesn’t impede functionality, but I did notice a small amount of tearing on Battlefield, however, that could have been due to an improper configuration (I was constantly swapping from 2560×1080 to 1920×1080 and it was resetting the settings).

To complete this review, I had to edit a few photos. I found it incredibly easy to edit them and get, what I thought, were pretty accurate colours. The IPS technology really helps with this and the factory colour settings are very good, I wish I had a calibration tool to fully test the settings.

Game mode, like I said earlier, seems rather pointless. The two main features I took note of are likely already configured before you even start playing the game.

What I liked:

  • IPS panel
  • Easy to navigate menus
  • Strong construction
  • Non-glaring LED power indicator
  • Productivity potential
  • Gaming FoV increase

What I disliked:

  • No height adjustment
  • Glossy finish
  • No included DisplayPort Cable

Recommendation:

  • I would have loved this monitor to be curved

Price
Place of Purchase: Currys PC World — £239.99
Recommended Retailer: Overclockers UK — £249.95

There’s a reason why I listed OcUK, despite it being more expensive. Finding and having a hands-on experience with a monitor is very difficult and an ultrawide monitor can be considered niche to the point where no one knows what it is in most shops. I asked the sales adviser if I could at least open the box to check it out and the firm answer was “no” with a strict no returns policy if I don’t like it (I’ll see about that). OcUK on the other hand, will allow you to return the product, it might charge a small restocking fee (usually non-refundable postage).  Why did I buy it from possibly the worst customer service and experience place in the UK? Because I’m extremely impatient and I wasn’t about to drive 3 hours to get to a good stockist.

Stealthy Camera Embedded into Upcoming Philips Monitors

Paranoia about privacy has soared in recent years since cameras have conveniently found themselves on almost every bit of technology we own; from our phones to even our TV’s and games consoles. The biggest concern with these cameras is “big brother”, is someone watching everything you do? Did they watch you eat that third chocolate bar in front of the TV last night?

ClfR1BDUsAEMBm2

While some companies can use these cameras to monitor the user, Microsoft is a prime example of using the Kinect to monitor human presence in a room, the main concern is hacking. It must be a thing, Mark Zuckerberg was captured covering his camera.

272B7QPTKEB_f+scThere have been some inventions by third parties to cover the camera, but they have been cumbersome and looked shoddy. Well MMD, technology company behind Philips, have now announced a monitor with a well executed pop-up camera. It gives you the convenience of having a camera with the security of the camera being disabled and unable to view anything when it is stowed away behind the bezel.

The monitor itself is pretty impressive too, boasting a 2560×1440 IPS panel, 27″ screen size and a whole host of economic features; it will be a nice addition to any desktop.272B7QPTKEB_b 272B7QPTKEB_pivot90 272B7QPTKEB_s

Specification Philips 272B7QPTKEB display
LCD panel type IPS technology
Backlighting technology W-LED
Panel size 27 inch / 68.5 cm
Effective viewing area 596.7 (H) x 335.7 (V)
Aspect ratio 16:9
Optimal resolution 2560 x 1440 @ 60 Hz
Viewing angle 178° (H) / 178° (V), @ C/R > 10
Brightness 350 cd/m²
Contrast ratio (typical) 1,000:1
Display colours 16.7 million (True 8 Bit)
Picture enhancement SmartImage
Convenience ·         Built-in Speakers: 2 W x 2

·         Built-in webcam: 2.0 megapixel camera with microphone and LED indictor

·         User convenience: SmartImage, Input,
PowerSensor, Menu, Power On/Off

·         Control software: SmartControl

·         Other convenience: Kensington lock, VESA mount (100x100mm)

·         Plug & Play Compatibility: DDC/CI, Mac OS X, sRGB, Windows 10 / 8.1 / 8 / 7

Stand ·         Height adjustment: 150 mm

·         Pivot: 90°

·         Swivel: -175/175°

·         Tilt: -5/20°

Connectivity ·         USB: USB 3.0×3 (1 w/fast charging)

·         Signal Input: VGA (Analog), DisplayPort 1.2, mini DisplayPort 1.2 x 1, HDMI 1.4

·         Signal Output: DisplayPort out

·         Sync Input: Separate Sync, Sync on Green

·         Audio (In/Out): PC audio-in, Headphone out

Sustainability ·         Environmental and energy: PowerSensor, EnergyStar 7.0, EPEAT Gold, TCO edge, RoHS

·         Recyclable packaging material: 100 %

·         Post-consumer recycled plastic: 85%

·         Specific Substances: PVC / BFR free housing, Mercury free, Lead free

Compliance and standards Regulatory Approvals: CE Mark, FCC Class B,
SEMKO, cETLus, CU-EAC, TCO edge, TUV Ergo, TUV/GS, EPA, WEEE, UKRAINIAN, ICES-003

The unit is aimed at productivity, a large crisp IPS display cries out to be used for editing. Priced at £599, let’s hope the Philips 272B7QPTKEB can hold it’s own in an already saturated market.

idime is the Memory “Stick” you Never Knew you Needed

Fed up of your iPhone storage filling up? 16GB was perfect when you bought it, but after just 3 days you find yourself frustratingly backing up or even deleting those cherished moments just so you can take a picture of that dog that looks like Donald Trump.

f17d1175-99ec-4ddd-9e35-bd8f0fd089eb_560_420

To move up to the next [iPhone] storage capacity, you have to stump up around $100 and the same again if you want the current top tier 128GB.

idime has the perfect solution for you and I think I’m going to cry with how simple this is. A little magnetic puck joins to a well-formed case and locks in place to give you an instant capacity boost from 32GB to 256GB.

It has already hit the original Kickstart goal, but it has now launched on Indiegogo to open up even more perks for prospective backers.

eq8nxt2fwjyrdjbc3xhuxnerjwkv1ulevhxw8nycef6vx7f3zhkibpxasyek oojdfayo6lny9t60nfkr

It currently doesn’t look like there is a case offering for any Android phones, but it does come with a Micro USB connector dongle to quickly boost your capacity.

Honestly, I’m not 100% convinced that the twist and lock on the case will be enough to secure it, surely it could just twist off in your pocket; especially if our pocket dialling skills are so good that we can cause a nuclear war in just 5 steps.

Let us know what you think of this idea or any other idea you found interesting.

Summer of Gaming Week 2: Bigger Things are Coming

Before we start, I know the title is slightly different to what I said last week, but after looking up the hardware available for £500; I was shocked.


Here we go again, week 2 of August so it’s time for the next instalment of Summer of Gaming. This week we’re going to be looking at [probably] the most common budget area for people coming to PC gaming; around £500.

Why £500? It’s around the entry point of most gaming computers you see advertised on most retailers websites, plus £500 is a nice round number.

Just like last week, I have chosen to link four typical UK retailers, OverclockersUK (OcUK), SCAN, Novatech, and Maplin. OcUK, Scan, and Novatech have a single retail store whereas Maplin has many stores across the UK; which makes this a nicer option if you prefer to purchase your items that day. There are other retailers available, but most were discounted as they didn’t offer products for every style.

overclockers

OverclockersUK started out in 1999 as a small company set to change the overclocking world by offering CPUs with a known overclocking performance. As the company gained traction it steadily grew until in 2012 it was bought out by German company Caseking where it has grown further.

badge-scan

Scan, established in 1987, set out as and still is a tight knit family-run business. The key focus of the company is to find, deliver and support a wide range of computing products to its customers; this is shown through the Scansure product. Scansure allows the customer to purchase and build their computer completely worry free if an accident does happen during the building process.

novatech_logo

Novatech boasts over 27 years experience with its technological background and pushes that knowledge out to its customers. A key focus on customer case and satisfaction are present throughout the transaction process and aftercare; “Worry free computing” at its finest.

500px-Maplin_Electronics_logo.svg

Maplin is the oldest and widest company on the list today. Starting out in 1972 as a basic component reseller and branching out in 1992 to Asia puts this company at the top of the list in terms of recognition. Focussed more on the barebone components such as circuit boards, Maplin has a much more diverse range of products while still catering for the walk-in computer enthusiast.


Week 2: £500 Sweet Spot

The £500 sweet spot computer has come a long way in recent years. Back around 2010, it would be hard pushed to build a decent computer that could play games to a satisfactory level. Now you can build a half decent computer that could play most games at 60FPS on an FHD (1920x1080p) monitor.

Maplin component list:

Processor Intel G3440 56.69 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/intel-pentium-g3440-socket-1150-dual-core-330ghz-processor-a28qy
Motherboard ASUS H81M-PLUS 39.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/asus-h81m-plus-intel-motherboard-a28nk
RAM HyperX Fury 8GB 1600MHz 31.98 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/hyperx-fury-8gb-ddr3-1600mhz-pc3-12800-desktop-memory-a78uw
Storage #1 Seagate 1TB 53.09 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/seagate-1tb-momentus-25-inch-internal-hard-drive-a73lt
Storage #2 SanDisk PLUS 120GB 34.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/sandisk-120gb-plus-ssd-a86tc
Power Supply Corsair VS650 47.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/corsair-vs650-650w-hard-wired-atx-power-supply-a69uu
CPU Cooler Zalman CNPS10X 18.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/zalman-cnps10x-optima-heatsink-and-fan-r65zq
Case Corsair Carbide 88R 41.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/corsair-carbide-series-88r-microatx-mid-tower-case-a11uu
Graphics Card Gigabyte R9 380 G1 Gaming 202.99 http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/gigabyte-radeon-r9-380-4gb-g1-overclocked-gaming-graphics-card-gddr5-r57zm

Total: £528.70

Trying to get something worth building for under £500 was hard with Maplin, but with a few extra £££, a half decent computer was scrubbed up. Most of the components are the same from last week’s edition; so it’s easy to see how something could be upgraded and old parts retained.

The power supply is still over-powered for this unit, but the rest of the parts are well suited. The LGA1150 motherboard allows for an upgrade to a higher specification processor. The graphics card is a great option for this price, the R9 380 has great performance and can happily play most games at 1080p with reasonably high settings.


OverclockersUK component list:

Processor Intel G3258 59.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/intel-pentium-k-anniversary-g3258-socket-lga1150-processor-retail-cp-531-in.html
Motherboard ASUS H81M-K 42.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/asus-h81m-k-intel-h81-socket-1150-ddr3-micro-atx-motherboard-mb-596-as.html
RAM Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB 1600MHz 29.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/ballistix-sport-8gb-2x4gb-ddr3-pc3-12800c9-1600mhz-dual-channel-kit-bls2cp4g3d1609ds1s00ceu-my-132-cr.html
Storage #1 Toshiba 1TB 40.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/toshiba-7k1000.d-1tb-sata-6gb-s-32mb-cache-hdd-oem-dt01aca100-hd-024-ts.html
Storage #2 Kingston SSDNOW UV400 120GB 39.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/kingston-120gb-ssdnow-uv400-drive-sata-6gb-s-2.5-7mm-height-solid-state-hard-drive-suv400s37-1-hd-101-ks.html
Power Supply XFX XT 500W 39.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/xfx-xt-series-500w-80-plus-bronze-power-supply-ca-022-xf.html
CPU Cooler Raijintek Themis 19.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/raijintek-themis-black-heatpipe-cpu-cooler-pwm-120mm-hs-015-rt.html
Case Aerocool Aero 500 30.95 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/aerocool-aero-500-midi-tower-case-black-ca-155-ae.html
Graphics Card Sapphire RX 480 Nitro+ 199.99 https://www.overclockers.co.uk/sapphire-radeon-rx-480-nitro-4096mb-gddr5-pci-express-rgb-graphics-card-gx-37d-sp.html

Total: £504.75

There is a slight difference between this and the Maplin unit; 1 it is a fair chunk cheaper and 2 it hosts a much more powerful graphics card. Overclockers UK is able to pull in bulk discounts thanks to a growing popularity with consumers and suppliers. 

For just the price of a Full English over £500, you can game to your hearts content with this very well equipped computer. The RX 480 is roughly equivalent to a NVIDIA GTX 970, but it is a newer architecture and AMD have really been on the ball with driver updates since the launch of Crimson last year.

Remember: If you are a member of the OcUK forums and have been for a while, you may be eligible for free next-day shipping to any of the listed countries; check out the forum post here!


Novatech component list:

Processor Intel G3460 59.99 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-processors/intelceleronandpentium/bx80646g3460.html
Motherboard MSI H81M-P33 38.99 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-motherboards/intelsocket1150/h81chipset/h81m-p33.html
RAM Klevv Fit 8GB 1600MHz 29.99 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-memory-pc/ddr3memory/ddr3pc3-128001600mhz/km3f4gx2c-1600-09-09-09-24-0.html
Storage #1 Toshiba 1TB 40.79 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-harddrives-internal/sata1tbto1.5tb/dt01aca100.html
Storage #2 Kingston SSDNOW UV400 120GB 38.39 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-harddrives-internal/ssdsolidstate/120gbto200gb/suv400s37120g.html
Power Supply EVGA 500W 42.98 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-powersupplies/451wto650w/100-w1-0500-kr.html
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212X 27.98 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-cooling/cpucoolers/multicpucoolers/rr-212x-17pk-r1.html
Case Bitfenix Neos 36.98 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-cases/midtowercases/bfc-neo-100-kkwsr-rp.html
Graphics Card MSI GTX 970 ARMOR 199.99 http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components-nvidiageforcegraphicscards/nvidiagtx970series-gtx9704gd5toc.html

Total: £516.08

With very little difference to the Overclockers UK computer, this unit will happily play most games at over 60FPS on an FHD monitor. A different to the previous units, this has a NVIDIA GTX 970 graphics card, one of the best known and (in)famous cards of the last generation thanks to the 3.5GB VRAM fiasco.

The GTX 970 is no slouch and will give you many hours of gaming, I have a Gigabyte G1 Gaming version in my computer and it’s doing me fine.

A nice contrast to the previous computers, this features Klevv RAM. Klevv is still a relatively new company, it uses high-quality SK-Hynix chips that allow for really good performance; I reviewed the CRAS and NEO kits last year and fell in love with the build quality and rock solid performance they offered.

Novatech offer free shipping on orders over £50 (the option needs to be chosen at checkout), but it is 3-4 day standard.


Scan component list:

Processor Intel G3260 49.99 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/intel-pentium-dual-core-g3260-lga-1150-haswell-dual-core-33ghz-clock-1100mhz-gpu-33x-ratio-cpu-retai
Motherboard MSI H81M-P33 35.99 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/msi-h81m-p33-intel-h81-s-1150-ddr3-sata-iii-6gb-s-pcie-20-(x16)-d-sub-dvi-d-micro-atx
RAM Corsair XMS3 8GB 1600MHz 35.66 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/8gb-(2x4gb)-corsair-ddr3-xms3-pc3-12800-(1600)-non-ecc-unbuffered-cas-11-11-11-30-15v
Storage #1 Toshiba 1TB 39.98 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/1tb-toshiba-dt01aca100-35-hdd-sata-iii-6gb-s-7200rpm-32mb-cache-8ms-oem
Storage #2 SanDisk Z410 120GB 37.18 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/120gb-sandisk-z410-25-ssd-sata-iii-6gb-s-slc-tlc-read-540mb-s-write-405mb-s-35k-55k-iops
Power Supply ThermalTake TR2 500W 34.99 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/500w-thermaltake-tr2-s-80-plus-fully-wired-sli-crossfire-single-rail-35a-plus12v-1x120mm-fan-atx-psu
CPU Cooler Silverstone AR01 25.99 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/silverstone-ar01-argon-cpu-cooler-with-silent-120mm-pwm-fan-s775-1155-1156-1150-1151-1366-2011-am2-a
Case ThermalTake Versa H15 31.99 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/thermaltake-versa-h15-micro-atx-gaming-case-mini-itx-windowed-usb-30-120mm-fan-black
Graphics Card MSI GTX 970 Armor 199 https://www.scan.co.uk/products/4gb-msi-geforce-gtx-970-armor-2x-oc-pcie-30-7010mhz-gddr5-gpu-1102mhz-boost-1241mhz-cores-1664-dp-hd

Total: £490.77

Scan is last on our list and just like last week, it is the cheapest solution that I have chosen. There isn’t much difference that hasn’t been explained from the previous computers; a GTX 970, 8GB 1600MHz RAM, SSD and a beefier hard drive to store those games.

Scan doesn’t offer a free postage option at this price point and at around £11.50 for standard delivery, it does seem steep compared to the competition but there are options such as Drop Off to a local collection point which could ease the sting.


Summary

 

The computers on offer this time around offer roughly the same performance with different products. Sadly Maplin has fallen behind this week with the highest cost and just an R9 380 graphics card. It’s by no means a poor choice, but the others were cheaper and better.

This is the point in the game where choosing a computer starts to become personal, do you want a flashy case? How about high static pressure fans? WAIT, fan controllers *Homer drool*… For the purposes of this, I have chosen somewhere in the middle of the average price range of cases, you can go ahead and spend more (or less) to suit your taste; maybe you don’t like AMD graphics cards or Intel CPU’s.

The winner this week is Scan again, it is the cheapest, has the best hardware (in my opinion) and performance, although Overclockers UK has a really good offering with the latest generation AMD graphics card and does offer free shipping (with haribo).

Next week will be interesting, we start moving onto relatively high-end enthusiast CPU’s, different style SSD’s and graphics cards that require sacrifices to keep satisfied; maybe we’ll see peripherals join the race.

Next week, Week 3: The Golden Nugget (<£1000)

NB: Prices were correct as of 9pm 10/08/2016


If you like what this post has given, give it a share and also comment to tell me what you’d like to read in the future.

Want me to review a certain product? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.

Servers for No Man’s Sky Will be Wiped for ‘Day One’ [Spoiler free]

The totally immersive space discovery game, No Man’s Sky, has been a buzz ever since the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2014. The game boasts one of the largest playable universes ever conceived and it will take approximately 5 Billion years to fully discover the 18 Quintillion (18 x 10^18) planets that are mathematically generated; it’s said that 99.9% of planets may never be discovered by a human player. The end goal is to reach the Centre of the Universe, but during many interviews; Sean Murray states that you can play the game solely as any number of roles and it being a totally enjoyable experience.

header

The hype train was strong with this one, with only short clips of gameplay leaking out from sources such as IGN and it was always in the presence of Hello Games CEO Sean Murray; who always reeled in speculation from the hosts.

While this was the legitimate side of the PR train, early copies did manage to hit auction sites with some versions selling for as much as $1500. Reddit, Twitch, and YouTuber, Daymeeuhn, was one person who spent $1250 on an early copy and enlightened Reddit with his adventures. This allowed him to rack up many discoveries and around 30 hours of gameplay to reach the Centre of the Universe.

Harry Denholm of Hello Games tweeted late last night that the games servers are going to be wiped of all discoveries for those who have already played the game; it will not affect save games.

This wipe will be ready for the Day One roll out ready for media coverage and the embargo lift, but will it mean pre-release players will lay the game to rest or will it fuel them to play on and try to rediscover the universe all over again?

Source credit: PC Gamer

TUL Shuts Down VTX3D Brand

VTX3D is one of those brands which most turned their noses up to; a dirt cheap AMD supplier with barely adequate cooling and performance capabilities compared to the competition.

Vtx3d-280x

Created by TUL in 2009, it set out to offer low-end AMD graphics card at a rock bottom price, in comparison to its brother company Powercolor, to try and steal the market share for new and low budget gamers.  In the years to follow, its popularity grew and it gradually pushed for the high-end market segment.

It’s still unclear why TUL decided to close the VTX3D brand, but it can be assumed that the ever shrinking discrete graphics card market has forced TUL to play its hand and keep just the more popular Powercolor brand active. This will allow the company to concentrate more resources and pull back the market share from its competitors.

Those, who own a VTX3D graphics card and require RMA services should contract eusupport@vtx3d.com. The VTX3D website has the original message (in Chinese).

Could this be a sign that the glorious PCMR has come to an end with the increasingly powerful consoles being released? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on our newly launched Facebook page.

Thank you to Anandtech for providing this information