PC & Peripheral Reviews

Shared from Kotaku

1

Year by year, the world is migrating from 1080p. 1440p is now become the sweet spot even for mid-range graphics cards. Even consoles are making a break for the 4K horizon, courtesy of the PS4 Pro and Microsoft's Project Scorpio.

But if you want to purchase a 4K monitor today, it's not enough to do it for gaming. There has to be a productivity benefit. So over the last few months, I've been using one of LG's latest 4K monitors - the 27UD88-W, a $900 4K monitor with an IPS panel, FreeSync and a very versatile USB-C port.

0

With the rise and rise of small, powerful PCs like the MSI Vortex G65 that can live beside a TV rather than alongside a computer monitor, PC games are increasingly being played in living rooms -- like your console on steroids -- rather than at a desk or in a home office. To game from the couch, though, requires a little extra effort, because you're juggling a keyboard and mouse rather than an all-in-one handheld controller. A lapboard like the Roccat Sova makes it easy to sit back on a lounge and type and scroll away with the traditional PC gaming setup that you're familiar with.

3

If you want your new PC to run Intel's newest and most powerful ever Broadwell-E processors, you need an equally powerful motherboard. This high-end gear is usually somewhat more expensive than mainstream tech -- you have to pay to play -- but it comes with a bunch of extras that make it worth the extra asking price. That's a very accurate summary of the MSI X99A XPower Gaming Titanium, a $700 motherboard that integrates every single feature you could possibly need from a powerful gaming or content creation rig. Here are five things you need to know about it.

Shared from Kotaku

0

I love a good mechanical keyboard. There's something so satisfying about hearing the light tapping noises when I punch down on the keys. While mechanical keyboards are highly prized by gamers and coders, they can also be appealing to those that work on PCs on a regular basis. I often work from home so having a keyboard that is suitable for gaming and work would be the Holy Grail for me. Does the Ozone Strike Pro fit the bill? Let's find out.

1

Two years ago, Samsung burst onto the market with the 850 Pro -- its first SSD with 3D flash memory, with high speeds and correspondingly high prices -- and followed that up with the more affordable 850 Evo. Now, memory manufacturer Crucial is the second company to use 3D NAND in a 2.5-inch solid state drive, and it's aiming to provide both fast transfer speeds and high disk capacity -- at a reasonable price.

2

Seagate has a portable hard drive that stores 8TB of your data. Not only does it store 8TB of your data, but it does that all while being powered by a single USB connector. Not only does it use a single USB connector, it uses the super-fast USB 3.1 Gen 2-toting Type-C, which is fully reversible and shares a cable with your equally new smartphone. Enter the Seagate Innov8 -- smart name, right?

9

Broadly speaking, there are two types of people who need a portable hard drive. One type just needs a little additional storage periodically and would rather have something flexible and portable than a big honking drive that plugs into the wall. The other is the high-falutin' "professional on the go" who is taking pictures, recording video, and producing tremendous amounts of data while travelling so they carry a hard drive with them every single day. While the former has their pick of any of the drives available when you search "portable hard drive" on Amazon, the latter might prefer something a little more robust -- like Western Digital's new My Passport Wireless Pro.

3

Samsung's portable SSDs bridge the gap between a small, throwaway USB flash drive -- usually with a tiny storage capacity -- and a larger portable USB hard drive. The new T3 really is the best of both worlds, and brings the luxury of high-speed USB Type-C too, but you'll pay a hefty premium for it.

3

Gaming PCs are meant to be big, right? They're meant to be in full-sized PC tower cases, with big loud case fans. And they're usually pretty ugly, if we're honest, and dump a whole bunch of waste heat at your feet while you're playing games. Oh, and they're meant to be built from off-the-shelf components, which means you're almost always better off buying them yourself and putting your own machine together rather than buying a pre-built machine. MSI's tiny Vortex G65 powerhouse gaming PC challenges all that.

6

The prospect of "getting into audio" is a daunting one. After sifting through loads of conflicting information on gear and best practices, even the most basic setups for podcasters and musicians starts costing, and quickly. Hence, the rise of the plug-and-play USB microphone.

3

The capture card market isn't a particularly flashy segment when it comes to consumer tech. Once you've bought a capture card, you don't need to upgrade for years. They don't cost a great deal of money compared to high-end graphics cards or VR headsets, and advancements in GPUs have meant many PC gamers record and stream without a capture card at all.

So how do you stand out? Elgato's answer is to offer all the same functionality, but faster. USB 3.0 faster, to be precise.

27

Nvidia's newest graphics card is -- again -- its most powerful, its most energy efficient, and its best for next-generation gaming in virtual reality and in Ultra HD resolutions. It's also surprisingly cheap internationally, and unsurprisingly expensive in Australia. But price aside, if you do happen to pick up a new GTX 1080-based card either from Nvidia or any of its manufacturing partners, you'll get yourself an extremely powerful and future-proofed card that also serves as a great bellweather for what will be a very important year in graphics technology.

4

As popular as streaming video and TV is in 2016, there are still plenty of people out there that want to buy DVDs or Blu-rays, rip them to a local storage device, and watch them whenever they like. To do that, you need somewhere to store all those high-resolution files -- like a NAS. Then you want to stream them to your TV, your PS4, your smartphone -- and for that you need processing power. And the Synology DS716+ is just about the most powerful 2-bay NAS you can buy.

1

I'm by no means a hardcore gamer -- whatever that even means in the growing world of esports and Let's Plays. I'm not travelling to competitive tournaments or staying up nights, bloodshot and caffeinated, playing the latest and greatest RPG or MMO. Yet I do log a considerable amount of Steam hours, and in my amateur pursuits of gaming glory, I've mostly stuck with keyboards included on gaming laptops (small New York apartments abhor gaming rigs). I've used plenty of mechanical keyboards before, but for my gaming needs, nothing ever felt substantially better than what was already attached to my laptop. But after two weeks of toying with Razer's new Blackwidow X Chroma, I'm starting to rethink my position.