'Twas the night before Christmas, and all was quiet, except for the sound of the courier delivering a box of GPUs from SAPPHIRE. I've been talking to AMD and SAPPHIRE about getting some goodies to do some more 7680x1440 and 4K testing, now that I have my 4K display ready to go.
Well, I received a box of GPUs, but the two stand outs would have to be the new, unreleased SAPPHIRE Radeon R9 290X Tri-X GPUs, which are just deliriously awesome. They look amazing, perform well so far - in Battlefield 4 at least - and sounds great when under heavy use, too. I've got two of them to start with, but we'll be doing some 3- and 4-way R9 290X testing in the coming weeks and months.
I should hopefully have a look at 4K performance on Battlefield 4 in the next couple of days on these bad boys, after which I'll do some testing on Star Citizen, too. From there, I'll move into triple 1440p, or 7680x1440, which should be quite interesting on these two new GPUs. Until then, take a look at these sexy macro shots I took.
It's Christmas Eve here in Australia, it's a sunny and beautiful 30C outside, and I've just finished my last-minute Christmas shopping with my daughter - who tried to tell her Mummy (yes, with a U) what we bought her for Christmas.
Well, last night my QNAP TS-639 PRO began making some weird noises when I was doing my weekly backup of my Battlefield 4 folder to it. For nearly 6 years it has been running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without a problem until 2 days before Christmas - just my luck, right? Well, I had to run out and buy a new HDD to backup the goods I had on there, but it seems it's not detecting one of my drives sitting in there in a RAID0 array.
Luckily that RAID array has nothing super important on it, but it serves as a good reminder to back up your precious moments over the holiday period. Millions of people across the world will be snapping photos and videos like mad over the holiday period, but not many people have backups of these. They'll keep them on the SD card (or whatever storage method your camera uses) and wait to back them up.
I'm a big fan of virtual reality, writing multiple articles on why I think that Oculus have in its hands, the true next generation of gaming. Not only that, but the true next generation in technology, too.
It all started from a Kickstarter, where Oculus were asking for $250,000. They blew past that pretty quick, finishing up with over $2.4 million. Since then, the virtual reality outfit has collected close to $100 million in additional Series A and B funding. Now that it has some serious investors on-board, as well as the brainchild behind Doom and Quake, John Carmack, as its Chief Technology Officer, I believe that we're just seeing the tip of the VR iceberg.
No one else on the market is bothering with VR right now, and those that are trying, are not anywhere near the stage that Oculus is. Oculus is seemingly at the perfect storm of VR, with super-hot tech, massive anticipation, and some of the biggest figures in the industry giving it the utmost praise, myself included.
Last week, I pulled the trigger on Seiki Digital's 39-inch 4K display, all the way from Australia. It was over $200 off, at just $482, and with $170 or so in shipping to the land Down Under, it was mine, all mine.
I just unwrapped the beautiful thing, and while it might look cheap, that resolution cannot be tamed. 3840x2160 is just hands-down sublime. I'm currently running two Chrome windows, Spotify, a Hangouts chat, a Windows Explorer window, and I still have more pixels free than most Ultrabooks or iPhones on the market to spare.
The image quality isn't too great so far, but I've just downloaded the firmware update for it, which is meant to help with a few things in and around the Seiki Digital display. We're going to have an unboxing and quick first impressions coming up later on today, followed by a proper look at the 39-inch 4K display from Seiki Digital in a few days time.
I've had the new Intel NUC Kit D54250WYK for around a week or so now, and I'm utterly head-over-heels in love with it. It has become my new desktop/work machine, and has enough power to compete with my much-faster Core i7-4770K desktop machine.
This is all thanks to the improvements made in hardware over the years, as well the introduction of SSDs. Of course, over the years technology has been scaled down, shrunk down, all with lower power consumption and less heat output. This results in Intel pushing the Next Unit of Computing, or NUC. The kit I have is the D54250WYK, which features a fourth-generation Intel Core i5-4250U processor.
G.Skill provided us with some slick RipJaws memory, a 16GB kit of 1600MHz in something this small is impressive. USB 3.0 ports all-round, miniDisplayPort which easily pumps out 2560x1440 to each of my ASUS PB278Q displays and microHDMI, too. The biggest inclusion on the new NUC Kit is the Gigabit Ethernet port, which is something I truly tip my hat at Intel for - thanks, guys!
I notice no difference when I'm using it for everyday work, which involves Chrome (and many tabs), YouTube videos, VLC use, and that's about it. It cranks along, and never slows down with everything I've thrown at it. My full review will be released next week, so tune back to TweakTown soon!
I knew these blogs would be used for greatness, with a quick tease of what I'm about to get knees-deep into: 7860x1440 testing in two of the hottest titles out right now: Battlefield 4 and Star Citizen.
I'm going to begin with Star Citizen, which is going to be one of the biggest PC games when it comes out. It is not hitting consoles, and will be exclusive to PC. Chris Roberts, the brain behind it, along with his team at Roberts Space Industries and Cloud Imperium Games are looking to make a game that will literally leave your PC in a bunch of molten plastic and metal, because it pushes your hardware so far.
Right now, if you're backing the game, you can get access to the Hangar Module. What I've done is upgraded to a better hangar, and run around through the hangar to get a sense of the stress across two MSI Radeon HD 7970 Lightning BE GPUs... these GPUs are no low-end parts, but some of the fastest GPUs on the planet. 7860x1440, though, is one of the most stressful resolutions you can run, and this is what you'll be seeing here on TweakTown in around 24 hours.
SoCs are the new GPUs for me, well, that is until a new GPU comes out and then I get all excited. All tech excites me, I feel like a kid at Christmas when some new exciting product is announced, and today, it's Qualcomm's announcement of the Snapdragon 805 SoC.
It feels like it came out of nowhere, and as soon as I saw the name, I thought "this can't be a huge step in performance because of its name," because it's so close to the Snapdragon 800 in name - 800, to 805 - to me, feels like a slight upgrade. But this, is not a slight upgrade. The new SoC is capable of driving 4K content thanks to its kick-ass new Adreno 420 GPU, and the new Krait 450 quad-core processor.
The Adreno 420 GPU itself has a huge 40% increase in graphics processing power, when compared to the Snapdragon 800. Then we have the new Gobi MDM9x25 modem, which is a treasure trove of network connectivity. First off, the new Govi modem is capable of delivering 150Mbps LTE streaming, and a massive 600Mbps over Wi-Fi.
We are now posting blogs for TweakTown, which will give you - our awesome readers - a chance to get a little closer to us. We can give you a quick news-like post, showing off our latest gear before the reviews go live. This gives a more personal connection to us, in my opinion, something that I'm going to love coming into the future.
The first blog from me is going to be about the Nexus 5, and my first half-day with it. I received it a few days ago, but had an LG G2 that I needed to use for a week to write a review about, so I had to be super patient to not rip it out of the box and use it. But, I have now - and I love it, I really do. Of course this is just early days - but it feels so light, and that 5-inch 1080p display is gorgeous!
Android 4.4 KitKat is great so far, with Google Now being a swipe to the left away, instead of swiping in from the home button. It takes a little getting used to, but it works. Android 4.4 also brings in the Google Glass-like "OK Google" command, which is an always-listening personal assistant. You can just say "OK Google, what is the weather tomorrow" and it'll pop up and vocalize it for you - a nice touch.