Aside from having a booth and sale during this weekend’s Pinoy Gaming Festival (PGF), NVIDIA Philippines will be having some interesting promos during the event:
1.) NVIDIA 760GTX Auction
Nvidia Auction! on Oct 26-27. We will be auctioning 1pc Asus GTX760 everyday at our booth in Pinoy Gaming Festival
2.) Freebies when buying video cards
|Enjoy the following onsite promotion if you purchase your video card at Pinoy Gaming Festival 2013! Limited quantities only!
PC Worx G.C. (300/600/1500)
Nvidia Sports Bottle
DOTA 2 /Valve 3d Post cards
and raffle coupons for our Gear up Game on! promotion
3.) Not Particular to PGF, but it’s an ongoing promotion… Raffle!
Gear up and Win! Starting Oct 26 to Nov 17! Every purchase of Asus Nvidia qualfiied products gets your a raffle coupon to get a chance to win the following prizes!
(terms can be found when clicking the poster)
WD Introduces Redesigned the popular My Book and My Book for Mac
September 30, 2013 - WD Philippines has announced the release of their redesigned external drives with capacities reaching up to 4TB in size. Along with the higher capacities, WD has also updated the current suite of software found within the external drive with the following: SmartWare Pro automatic backup software with Dropbox integration, and WD edition Acronis True Image. The two new software packages will aid in backing up files and for use in disaster recovery (Acronis True Image WD edition).
My Book and My Book for Mac hard drives are protected by a 3-year limited warranty and is available at selected retailers and distributed by EA Global Supply Chain Solutions, Inc. and Iontech. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on My Book 4 TB will be PHP 9,990, and the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on My Book for Mac 2TB will be PHP 6,090 and PHP 7,590 for the 3 TB.
Gigabyte Announces the BRIX Projector
October 14, 2013 – Gigabyte Taiwan has just introduced their latest addition to the BRIX range of ultra compact PC kits, the Gigabyte BRIX Projector. This compact PC packs in a 75 lumen backlit LED projector from its casing, along with stereo speakers. It is powered with a 4th Generation Intel i3 processor and has video input ports (HDMI, and Display Port) if the user wishes to continue using a monitor. The addition of a built in projector aids in making presentations on the go easier by having the convenience of having a projector and a computer in one package. The following further details the specs:
Projector Feature Highlights:
· 75 lumen DLP (LED Backlit) Mini Projector
· WVGA 854 x 480 Resolution
· 16:9 Aspect Ratio
· Variable 7” – 85” Projected Image Size
· Adjustable Focus
· 1.5 watt Integrated Dolby Stereo Speakers
· HDMI Input Port
· Intel® HD Graphics 4400
· Up to 16GB SO-DIMM DRR3L (1.35v)
· 1 x mSATA SSD slot (up to 256GB)
· Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth v4.0 Mini-PCIe Module (included)
· 1 x HDMI, 1x Mini-DisplayPort
· 4 x USB 3.0
· 1 x Gigabit LAN
· 1 x Headphone / SPDIF-Out
(It’s a bit delayed but am posting this for the sake of those waiting for a Steam Sale sometime this Holiday Season or the next Steam Sale)
The Bureau is a first person shooter from the XCOM Universe. After a long delay and several changes to the original XCOM FPS game came this version, set in the 1960s America.
We play as Agent William Carter of the CIA who was on a mission to deliver a highly confidential case for a meeting between the heads of the CIA, FBI and the military at a base in Groom Lake. Chaos ensued as unidentified attackers attacked the base, and this is where the Bureau is activated, and the game begins.
Gameplay for The Bureau is a tactical first person shooter much closely akin to Mass Effect: we can bring in two of our co-agents with us on missions which we could command to use their abilities for combat. These abilities differ from performing throwing a mine, an automated turret to using support skills like putting up a shield.
Carter can hide behind objects, shoot from cover and order his agents around, similar to Commander Shepard in Mass Effect, with an exception that I don’t remember having too dependent agents with me in Mass Effect (requiring constant commands to get out of trouble).
Weapons like in X Com: Enemy Unknown start out as regular ammunition belching M14 Battle rifles, Shotguns, Tommy Guns and bolt sniper rifles and good old .45 caliber 1911 Pistol. Certain missions will enable Carter and his crew access to the alien’s weaponry, which is different from Enemy Unknown’s mechanic of researching weapons in order to develop and buy it. In the game, it’s been done away and lets Carter to immediately pick up a weapon and use it. Outside of Enemy Unknown, the game introduces several variations of the alien weapons such as the assault rifle that replaces the standard M14 rifle. Laser SMG’s are the basic alien weapon first picked up and would vary between it and the more advanced Laser Pulse Rifle and the heavy hitting Blaster Launcher and Lightning Cannon.
Carter can customize his backpack (as well as the other agents’) to have their custom abilities applied such as better damage, better defense or quicker ability cool downs.
Developing your squad also comes into play, bringing a mixed set of agents per mission will ensure Carter’s survival as they level up, they can be able to earn more health and skills to help out in missions. They can be commanded on occasions to work with another team outside of the regular mission; similar to Ezio sending out his Assassin Recruits in AC2: Brotherhood/Revelations.
Missions within The Bureau vary, with some of them taking place inside the base such as interrogating aliens, investigating interior threats and others such as finding a cure to the sleepwalking illness plaguing the citizens in the game. However, the more primary missions where Carter and his squad partakes in are usually long/drawn out affairs which sometimes makes you want to rush things. And the agents Carter assigns to his team doesn’t have that lively feel like those from Mass Effect during cut scenes.
Graphically, the Unreal Engine 3 is definitely showing its age with each mission’s environment looking too similar and feel similar (or it’s just being in the 60’s). I can’t say much of their fashion statement at the time.
The ending is open ended and the player can choose with several outcomes, however that makes it somewhat disjointed with its connection to X Com: Enemy Unknown.
A few months after trying out Logitech’s gaming devices (actually, it’s been a year since that test), all of my input peripherals (except for my X360 controller) died. So in an effort to replace and at the same time try out another set of gaming keyboard/s and mice, I went and bought several Razer devices: Razer Orochi, Razer Black Widow Tournament Edition (due to the regular BlackWidow not being available in stores that time), and last, was the Mass Effect 3 Edition Razer Imperator mouse.
The Orochi mouse is made essentially for mobile gaming, it was the first formal Razer device I bought last year. It’s small, and ergonomically designed for right handed users. It is a laser mouse, powered by either a micro USB cable or two AAA batteries while on Bluetooth mode. The unit I got has a mirror finish, making it a glossy, fingerprint magnet of a mouse. Included in the package is the mouse, complementary batteries, USB cable, and a carrying case.
The mouse itself is responsive, but not easy to palm, as prolonged usage would tend to make the user’s right hand a bit tired. The Bluetooth functionality is a very useful feature of the mouse, letting me connect it to my Microsoft Surface RT (yes, RT is able to recognize and install the driver of the mouse). Also, it is priced a bit high though.
Razer Imperator (Mass Effect 3):
Being a huge fan of Mass Effect, I was lucky to be able to buy it from a computer store in SM North EDSA early this year. I have made this my primary mouse as a.) my old Microsoft Sidewinder was having issues with the left mouse button b.) the Orochi was built for a mobile device, and prolonged usage of it can stress out my hands.
The mouse is clad in a carbon fiber like skin, similar to what the N7 Armor has in Mass Effect 3. the LED on it’s mouse wheel is colored red from the usual blue lighting effect due to its N7 edition status. The side mouse buttons, a feature which differentiates the Imperator from other mice is that it’s adjustable to fit the user’s thumb. Unlike the Orochi, the Imperator only connects through a USB cable. Ergonomics wise, it’s easier to grasp it, and has a thumb rest below the 4th and 5th mouse buttons. Similar to my old Sidewinder, the Imperator has a mouse sensitivity selector which can adjust the overall sensitivity while playing.
At the price point similar to the Orochi, we’re getting something much simpler, less cutting edge technologies applied, but having a more ergonomic profile for right handed mouse users, and that N7 marking too.
Black Widow Tournament Edition:
There wasn’t any stock of the regular Black Widow keyboard when I was out looking for a replacement keyboard. I had to settle with getting the Black Widow Tournament Edition in the meantime. With that said, the reason of picking it at that time was it’s cheaper, way cheaper than the Ultimate Edition, which major difference with the regular Black Widow is that it had lighted keys.
Being a mechanical keyboard, a significant advantage to this against using a a conventional keyboard would be the speed of which commands are made and felt.
A quick history: compared to a conventional membrane based keyboard, the mechanical keyboard instantaneously picks up an entry w/o requiring the user to completely press a key. The only downside was that a mechanical keyboard can be easily damaged when spilled with liquids. That’s the reason why mechanical keyboards ‘disappeared’ from mainstream devices, however this generation’s mechanical keyboards are far faster than the previous generations.
The numpad in the black widow can be missed, and it’s compact nature fits well with my mATX themed casing/setup as well it adds additional space for my mouse to move around in. It has some lighted keys like Caps Lock, keys disablement. The Razer Logo lights up green as well. Another nice feature is the noise the keyboard (and all other mech keyboards have), the click clack sound of a person typing.
Razer has it’s own suite of input device application called Razer Synapse. Similar to Logitech’s device app, it manages macros and general peripheral settings. However, unlike Logitech’s that manages to load all device information to the app, Razer didn’t put all of their devices into Synapse. All of my mice require a separate app to manage them and isn’t tied to Synapse, only the latest models were added (2013 or higher end models). While the individual apps do cover the customizations of the device, I find it weird that it couldn’t be applied to a single app. Although the newer devices released by Razer have full support of the app, I’m a bit disappointed with the support on older releases.
And we’re back with the 2013 installment of bang for the buck gaming PC!
A year or so back I’ve manage to build a gaming PC based on a local retailer’s parts listing worth Php 18,000. With the progression of PC technology into greater heights, comes the possibility of having a faster PC. Being that the last machine was over by Php 2,400. I’ve updated the budget to be around Php 18,000.
Here’s what I’ve came up based on research of each part and its availability here. This time around I’ve chosen the AMD platform for its low cost per performance, and built in graphics performance which bests Intel’s lineup.
Instead of going with a solution where the graphics card is separate from the processor, I’m going with a solution wherein the video card is built into the processor, hence the AMD A8 6600k w/ Radeon 8570D.
Main Parts to Acquire:
Here’s the breakdown of the cheap setup:
|Processor: AMD A10 5800K, Radeon HD7660D||
|Motherboard: Gigabyte F2A55M DS2||
|Memory: G.Skill RipJaws X Dual (2x2Gb) DDR3 1600 CL9||
|Hard Disk: WD Black 500GB||
|Graphics: Included with Processor||
|DVD Drive: Samsung 2x SHS222 SATA black||
|Case: Fractal Core 1000||
|Power Supply: HEC Cougar SL400 80%||
Based on the results, I am able to get much more performance to the budget increase of Php3000. One gets a quad core PC with it’s own internal graphics (not just any internal graphics but a mid ranged model) and with a faster set of RAM (same size of 4GB but faster transfer speed). With the release of AMD’s better performing video drivers late in 2011, it has certainly improved graphics performance in lieu with the processor, making this a bang for the buck choice.
This review of the AMD A10 5800K shows how well this processor can perform:
A speed increase on the HDD is also noticeable, as prices of HDD have now gone down since the Thailand Floods, it now replaces the old WD Blue HDD. DVD Drive’s gone down as well.
The casing went down by a small Php10, but still it’s worth squeezing out every Peso from the budget. still the best modestly sized casing for micro ATX boards and built w/o being too flimsy or “tin cannish”. I’m sticking to the Fractal Core 1000 as the case due to it’s simple design and liberal use of thumbscrews and stabilized, utilizing a modular power supply helps in improving air circulation with fewer cables lying around.
For the Power supply, unfortunately the Antec VP450 450W power supply ran out of stock, but I’ve replaced it with a similar performing PSU in the form of the HEC Cougar SL400. I’ve been a long time user of HEC PSU’s since their early beginnings here (circa 2004) and I still believe in their performance and build quality. Some cable management may be needed once installed on the Core 1000. It may be cramped, but with the use of some cable ties cooling can still be made possible.
Unlike the previous build, I’m not adding a recommended boost (ie. upgrading to Core i3 or for AMD, A10 6800K) as by its own, the system can perform well. Also, the difference between the newer A10 6800K and the older 5800K is small so getting the older one is better. For the long term use (after 2 years or 3 years+) one can opt for adding an additional video card to perform a “dual graphics” configuration, leveraging the in processor APU and a discrete GPU.
To expand on the already nice build, here’s some additional option parts to complete the build and use the machine, given one is starting from scratch:
|LCD: Samsung LS19A100 LED||
|Keyboard: Logitech G100S Keyboard and Mouse||
|Mouse: see above|
|Speakers: Creative SBS 120||
|OS: Windows 7 Home Premium OEM 64Bit||
As always, these are just optional installers (one can downgrade to a 32Bit Windows 7 Home Basic OS for a lower price, but lose the use of the full 4GB of RAM). I would’ve picked Windows 8, however there’s something strange with Microsoft selling Upgrade only licenses in stores right now (no OEM or FPP package), which can force users to buy windows 7 then perform an upgrade.
Keyboards and speakers can be replaced with cheaper ones but caution on their longevity if gaming is a priority. Unfortunately, there are no ongoing Razer promos right now for their gaming keyboard and mice, so I’ve just picked out the Logitech entry level G100S keyboard and mouse combo.
Price list courtesy of PC Hub: http://www.tipidpc.com/useritems.php?username=PCHub (ONE big Caveat though, in order to get these low prices, just become a member of TipidPC, which is free).
Also here’s the online build from pcpartpicker.com: http://pcpartpicker.com/user/kuyaaids/saved/1RYz (it costs around $364.33, but that’s w/o the taxes applied, which would explain a lower price.
Aside from the Palit 650GTX TI Boost that came over to my office a few weeks ago, another gadget of interest popped up.
The Edimax Wifi Extender does what it’s name stand for: extends the range of your wifi router. Unlike Wireless access points sold in the market that needs to be connected to a wired network, the N300 receives WIFI signal from the network it was programmed to connect to and extend the signal. However, if the Wireless Router is also an Edimax branded device, a button on the device automatically sets up the network for you.
The device itself is almost the size of your regular wall adapter (closest would be a WD MyBook power adapter). It has a small sliding power switch, the instant configuration button for Edimax devices, and LEDs for indicating its operation. Along the device is a mini cd that contains the manual.
Setting up the Extender even without using an Edimax branded router is easy. It just involves configuring the extender to connect to the router’s network, essentially piggybacking to it and therefore extending the connection inside the home.
To test how well the extender is able to receive and transmit information, I’ve placed the device inside my bathroom. Having extra concrete walls ensure that signal from my router at the ground floor living room is obstructed enough. However, the extender manages to get a good signal from the main wifi router and distribute its signal upstairs.
Since it extends the signal, we’re not connecting to the main wifi hotspot anymore but through the device, which uses a modified name of the home network appended by a “-extender” or something to that effect for its SSID name, distinguishing it from the main network. The results are clear when selecting networks, with the main network having around 2-3 bars of signal vs a full 5 bars of signal from the extender. Connecting to sites is also faster too.
I’d give the extender a score of 9.5/10 for being small, simple to use and handy to have in a home network. The only thing pushing me back is that the device comes only in white.
Last May 25, I was invited by Gigabyte to attend their enthusiasts’ gathering and overclocking contest at the office of TipidPC. Inside a conference room sat six units of their new Z87X-OC for a demo on its performance when overclocking a Haswell (4th Gen Core Processor).
The event started off with an introduction of the new board’s features and some tips on which settings the board can easily be tweaked to overclock the new processor using heatsink fans.
Later in the afternoon saw teams being formed and a contest to see which team can perform the best overclocked system in a given time. And for the finale, everyone from the team would challenge each other for the best overclocked system (all boards, processors and memory have been mixed up to ensure settings and parts would differ for each contestant).
Up for grabs were the motherboards on display if I remember correctly: Z87X-OC or Z87X G1.Sniper 5, Z87X-D3H and goody bag for the consolation prize.
Here are some of the photos during the event:
Palit has recently sent me a copy of their new entry mid-level gaming graphic card, the 650GTX TI Boost OC.
The 650GTX TI Boost OC presents the best of the entry mid level model from NVIDIA, which has been recently released and would probably be one of the last of the 600 series video cards to come out, before the release of the 700 series. (780 is now available, so I’ve heard)
The box for this processor is a simple rectangular box, similar to any Palit video cards (except for their Jetstream cards), it comes with adapters, driver cd, manual and power cables for the card itself.
Dimension wise, the 650GTX TI Boost OC is around the same size of my current video card on my current Mid Range System, a Palit 450GTS video card. It also sports the same 2 1/2 slot height as the 450 and also requires only one PCIE cable from the power supply.
The 650GTX TI Boost have the following features:
NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround
Dual Fan configuration
Adaptive V-Sync – automatically enables V-Sync to smoothen gameplay
PCIe 3.0 – improved PCI Express bus for higher data transfer speeds
GPU Boost – dynamically maximizes the clock speed of the GPU based on the workload of a game played.
HDMI – for high definition video
Display Port – for ultra high definition video monitors
DirectX11 – enables the use of the new graphical enhancements (improved tessellation performance)
Here’s Palit’s Spec Sheet for the 650GTX TI Boost video card:
|Palit 650GTX TI Boost|
|Memory Amount||2048 MB/ 2GB GDDR5|
|Graphics Clock (MHz)||Base Clock 1006MHz/Boost Clock 1072MHz|
|Memory Clock (MHz)||3054 MHz (DDR 6108 MHz)|
|Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec)||146.6|
|Bus Support||PCIe 3.0|
|Maximum Digital Resolution||4096×2160 (using HDMI)|
|Maximum VGA Resolution||2048×1536|
|Dual-Link DVI||Yes x2|
|Height||2.5 slots (casing/enclosure)|
|PCB dimensions||173mm x 112mm|
|Graphics Card Power||140 W|
|Minimum Recommended System Power||450 W|
|Supplementary Power Connectors||6-pin x1|
Here’s what GPU-Z can say about the GPU’s build. A comparison with the 670GTX (last card reviewed… no 660GTX was sent for review before). And that the Asus 560GTX card that I have suddenly conked out one day, which reduced the cards for comparison to just 650GTX and the 670GTX. The screenshot above shows that the GPU type on the 650GTX TI Boost is a newer GPU, GK106. For the other fetaures:
a.) Shaders: 1344 (670GTX) vs 768 (650GTX TI Boost)
b.) Texture Fillrate: 112.7G Texels (670GTX) vs 64.4 Texels (650GTX TI Boost)
c.) Pixel Fillrate: 28.2G Pixel/s (670GTX) vs 24.1G Pixel/s (650GTX TI Boost)
d.) GPU Clock (base/boosted): 1006MHz/1085MHz (670GTX) vs 1006MHz/1072MHz (650GTX TI Boost)
Here’s a quick news release of new WD products for this month:
A. WD Blue 5mm HDD and WD Black 5mm SSHD
Western Digital announces the release of their new 2.5” Blue and Black drives that are now 5mm thin, and the new 2.5” Black drives now being a Solid State Hybrid Drive, which was developed in partnership with SanDisk.
Here’re some features included in the new 2.5” Drives:
Ultra-slim Form Factor – 5 mm height with compact connector offers system designers a greater degree of chassis design freedom. This ultra-slim form factor reduces weight by up to 36 percent compared with a standard 9.5 mm drive.
Best-in-class Acoustics and Shock – WD’s best-in-class acoustics use technologies that reduce noise when the drive is active or idle. The WD Blue and WD Black 5 mm drives deliver unprecedented operation and non-operation shock specifications with 400 G and 1000G, respectively.
Edge Card Technology – WD designed the connector and board utilizing cell phone miniaturization technology to maximize the mechanical sway space in the hard drive and ensure shock performance.
Edge Card Connector – WD Blue 5 mm hard drives also feature the first application of a new small form factor SFF-8784 edge connector. This new connector receives power from and interfaces with the host I/O bus via the SATA interface connector SFF-8784.
StableTrac™ – The motor shaft is secured at both ends to reduce system-induced vibration and stabilize platters for accurate tracking during read and write operations which enables consistently higher performance.
Dual Stage Actuator – Leading-edge enterprise dual stage actuators provide two actuators that improve positional accuracy over the data track(s). The primary actuator provides coarse displacement using conventional electromagnetic actuator principles. The secondary actuator uses piezoelectric motion to fine tune the head positioning to a higher degree of accuracy.
Now the main difference between the Blue model and the Black model is the existence of a solid state drive co-developed by SanDisk.
Right now, the WD Blue 5mm 2.5” drive is being sold here for 3,995 SRP, while the Black model is still being shipped to OEMs and would be released for retail later.
B. WD 3.5” SAS WD XE
WD releases a solution that solves the problem with some enterprise servers seeking a way to transition from the legacy 3.5” storage solution to the latest 2.5” solution. The answer is through the WD 3.5” SAS WD XE (or WD XE for short) which is a 2.5” drive mounted on a 3.5” adapter (similar to a WD Raptor, which is also mounted on an adapter, but used for cooling purposes) to fit the new drive on legacy 3.5” mounts found on servers.
WD XE 2.5-inch SAS hard drives in 3.5-inch performance adapters feature:
Highest performance in its class – WD XE delivers ultra-fast 6 Gb/s transfer rates, best-in-class sequential data rate of 204 MB/s, and outstanding random I/O performance;
Low power consumption – This 3.5-inch SAS drive delivers up to 67 percent lower power versus 3.5-inch 15,000 RPM drives, which can result in substantially lower total cost of ownership (TCO) while increasing capacity and reliability;
Form factor – 2.5-inch drive mounted in 3.5-inch performance adapter for ease of upgrade and ultra-cool operation;
Dual port, full duplex connectivity – Offers higher reliability, performance and data availability by eliminating single points of failure, designed for high-availability datacenter systems;
NoTouch™ ramp load technology – The recording head never touches the disk media ensuring significantly less wear to the recording head and media as well as better drive protection in transit; and
Industry’s highest reliability rating – 2 million hours MTBF.
Availability, it’s currently being sold through some retailers and distributed by Verdure Xchange Tech and Ubertech Inc for an SRP of 10,999 to 28,999 depending on drive size (300GB to 900GB).
C. WD My Passport Ultra
WD announces the availability of the new WD My Passport Ultra, which offers more layers of data protection of your files. Available in 500GB, 1TB and 2TB sizes, these My Passport Ultra portable drives have SmartWare Pro backup software with DropBox integration, hardware encryption and password protection.
The new portable drives are available and sold for an SRP of 3,790 for the 500GB drive, and 5,090 for the 1TB Drive.
Better late than never, here’s a list of some of the games released over the summer that would have given us something to play with (note, some of the games here that I own didn’t get a review due to time and schedule constraints). Listed not in correct order of release:
- Far Cry 3
- StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm
- Bioshock Infinite
- Strike Suit Zero
- Devil May Cry
- Crysis 3
- Assassin’s Creed 3
- Resident Evil 6