Avorion – Early Access Space Sandbox

Published on Friday, February 17th, 2017

Avorion: 2017 – A Space Opera What would happen if X2 had a love triangle with Space Engineers and Starmade? Avorion, that’s what! Ok, so that first metaphor isn’t an image that everyone will appreciate, but hang in there. Avorion is an ambitious project that uses procedural generation to great effect. Developed by Boxelware, currently… Read more »

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Antlion ModMic 5 – Modular Headphone Microphone

Published on Friday, February 3rd, 2017

Antlion Audio (www.AntlionAudio.com) is proud to announce the ModMic 5 is now available on their website. The ModMic is an award winning attachable boom mic that can turn any pair of headphones into a headset for gaming, broadcasting, VoIP, and more. The patented base clasp securely adheres to any surface and the super strong neodymium… Read more »

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Supply Drop – Enter the Gungeon Updated

Published on Friday, January 27th, 2017

The Supply Drop update has just dropped in but they’re not bringing cake; only guns, bullets and death, lots of death. You may remember my review of Enter the Gungeon back in April, it was pure rogue-like chaos with a huge amount of guns, themed enemies, traps and stories. Think Binding of Isaac but with… Read more »

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ASUS ROG Strix RX 480

Published on Thursday, January 26th, 2017

ROG Strix RX 480 is the next-generation graphics card, featuring the new Polaris 10 from AMD at the core based on a new 14nm FinFET fabrication node (previously 28nm) to bring you a new level of performance with less heat. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another card with such performance to run VR (virtual reality)… Read more »

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Corsair Carbide Series SPEC-M2 MicroATX Gaming Case

Published on Thursday, January 19th, 2017

High airflow. Small size. Huge potential. If you’re building a compact gaming rig with a MicroATX board, you’ve found something special. The SPEC-M2 features excellent cooling and great expansion options. Modern features like USB 3.0 and SSD compatibility, room for full sized graphics cards and PSUs, and an oversized side panel window mean your next… Read more »

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Written by Dave Bagnall on Thursday, January 26th, 2017

ROG Strix RX 480 is the next-generation graphics card, featuring the new Polaris 10 from AMD at the core based on a new 14nm FinFET fabrication node (previously 28nm) to bring you a new level of performance with less heat. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another card with such performance to run VR (virtual reality) games at this price point.

The GPU (grahics processing unit) comes factory-overclocked to 1330MHz in OC mode with headroom for further tweaking (1310MHz boost clock in gaming mode) and is paired with 8GB of GDDR5 video memory operating at 8GHz on the 256-bit memory bus. This translates to a performance boost of 15% in 3DMark Fire Strike and 19% in the latest games such as DOOM and Hitman compared to reference.

Auto-Extreme and Super Alloy Power II Technology
Just as other ROG Strix graphics cards, only the best components and manufacturing process is acceptable. Auto-Extreme technology employs a 100% automated manufacturing process which requires premium Super Alloy Power II components to be used. The graphics cards produced are consistently higher quality, run quieter, more efficient and cooler which in turn makes them overclock better, be more stable and last longer. The process is also environmentally friendly, eliminating harsh chemicals and reducing power consumption by 50% during production.

Redesigned Power Allocation
Power allocation has been redesigned compared to reference. ROG Strix RX 480 with the use of a custom VRM (voltage regulator module) and PCB (printed circuit board) draws 100% of the GPU power from the 8-pin PCIe power connector (rather than splitting the load between the connector and the PCIe slot). Such a design ensures that the PCIe slot specifications for power consumption is not breached (the card may throttle otherwise).
Exclusive ASUS Features and Technologies
The new GPU together with the DirectCU III cooling solution with triple wing-blade fans results in a graphics card that is three times quieter and 30% cooler than reference, only by having this level of thermal performance can this card incorporate 0dB technology which makes the card completely silent during casual gaming. The matte black shroud and backplate with new Aura RGB lighting which comes with six lighting effects can surely match almost any system. FanConnect technology incorporates two 4-pin GPU-controlled headers, allowing you to control dedicated case fans to cooling the area around the graphics card specifically. GPU Tweak II will provide easy one-click overclocking while a professional mode is still available for advanced users, XSplit Gamecaster is also included to stream or record gameplay.

The ROG Strix series of graphics cards are the only ones with a dedicated HDMI port for VR, rest assured you won’t be having any problems connecting up a VR set if you already have an HDMI monitor connected. There are two DisplayPort 1.4, two HDMI 2.0 and a DVI-D port. AMD FreeSync will make sure you’re getting smooth gameplay when using supported gaming monitors such as MG248Q, MG28UQ or MG24UQ.
ROG Strix RX 480 will be available worldwide from mid-August 2016

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Written by Dave Bagnall on Thursday, January 19th, 2017

High airflow.
Small size.
Huge potential.
If you’re building a compact gaming rig with a MicroATX board, you’ve found something special. The SPEC-M2 features excellent cooling and great expansion options. Modern features like USB 3.0 and SSD compatibility, room for full sized graphics cards and PSUs, and an oversized side panel window mean your next rig can look expensive – even if it’s not.

Compact high airflow design
With a full mesh front panel and direct airflow path to the GPU, the SPEC-M2 gets cool air directly to your hottest components with nothing in between.

Great cooling options
A front LED 120mm fan gets your cooling off the ground, and extra mounts provide more expandability. Take advantage of the 240mm front radiator support to upgrade your CPU or GPU to liquid cooling.

A modern design, inside and out
There’s a USB 3.0 front panel port for the latest high-speed peripherals. Inside, there are built-in mounts for dual high-performance 2.5″ SSD drives, and 3.5″ and 5.25″ drive installation is tool-free. Cable routing channels and cutouts simplify builds and improve aesthetics.

Flush-mounted side panel window
Showcase your powerful components. And when you want to get at them, the thumbscrews let you get quick access without looking for a screwdriver.

Contents and Specifications

Package contents

  • Carbide Series Clear SPEC-M2 MicroATX Gaming Case
  • Accessory kit
  • Warranty and Support Information

Compatibility

  • MicroATX, Mini-ITX motherboards

Technical specifications

  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 448 x 198 x 378mm
  • Maximum GPU Length: 383mm
  • Maximum CPU Cooler Height: 150mm
  • Maximum PSU Length: 160mm
  • Expansion Slots: 4
  • 5.25″ Drive bays: 1
  • 3.5″ Hard Drive Bays: 2
  • 2.5″ Drive Bays: 2
  • Fans included: (x1) 120mm fan
  • Cooling Layout:
    • Front: (x2) 120mm (1 x 120mm Blue LED included)
    • Top: (x2) 120mm
    • Rear: (x1) 120mm
  • Radiator Compatibility:
    • 240mm: Front only
    • 120mm: Front, or Rear
  • Dust filters for front and bottom intakes
  • Front I/O Panel includes: (x1) USB 3.0 port, (x1) USB 2.0 port, Headphone and Microphone jacks, Power on and Reset buttons

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Written by Dave Bagnall on Monday, February 20th, 2017

Two new AOC AGON gaming monitors with “frameless” design and 1800 mm curvature

Display specialist AOC expands its AGON premium gaming monitor series with two new curved models: the 31.5″ AG322QCX with QHD resolution and the 27″ Full HD display AG272FCX. Both come with an extremely small curvature radius of 1800 for an added level of immersion. Thanks to almost invisible bezels on the top and sides of the monitors, the “3-sides frameless” design lets players focus on the gaming action even more.. A refresh rate of 144 Hz and AMD FreeSync technology provide a super-smooth gaming experience with no stuttering, tearing or motion blur. In addition, the two models also boast all of the premium features of other curved displays from the AGON line,, including a variety of gaming modes and settings (adjustable with the included QuickSwitch keypad), a headset holder, a handle, ergonomic adjustment options and customisable LED lights.

Perfect focus and immersion

The two new 16:9 models expand the AOC AGON curved monitor lineup with two new sizes: The AOC AGON AG322QCX boasts a 31.5″ (80 cm) VA panel with a QHD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels for razor sharp game graphics. The AG272FCX, on the other hand, uses a more compact 27″ (68.6 cm) VA display with a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. With a radius of just 1800 mm, the two monitors offer the strongest curvature of any AGON model yet. This allows for a highly immersive gaming experience with increased perception of depth and reduced picture distortion. In order to let players focus on the action even more, the ultra-slim bezels on the top, left and right sides are almost invisible.

Strong performance for competitive gaming

Both the AG322QCX and the AG272FCX boast a high refresh rate of 144 Hz, which eliminates motion blur and lets game worlds come to life in super-smooth and sharp graphics at any time, even in fast-paced scenes. For an added level of smoothness and responsiveness, the two monitors also offer AMD FreeSync support, which reduces stuttering, tearing and input lag. Gamers looking for an even more responsive experience will benefit from the AOC Low Input Lag Mode which bypasses most of the monitor’s internal video processing. This way, players can see their control inputs reflected on the screen immediately, which is advantageous in competitive action games. The AOC Shadow Control feature gives an additional advantage in games with very dark sections: it lightens overly dark areas of the image and darkens bright parts without affecting the rest of the screen.

Perfect versatility and comfort

Game modes and other settings can be conveniently toggled with the included AOC QuickSwitch keypad. Instead of navigating through menus with the standard buttons on the monitor, players can adjust the display settings via the controller. The perfect mode for each specific game played can be set with the click of one button thanks to FPS, Racing, RTS and customisable game mode presets.

To increase the comfort of long gaming hours, the two new displays protect players’ eyes, using the AOC Flicker-Free technology against eye fatigue and the AOC Low Blue Light Mode against potential long-term effects from harmful blue light. For a healthy posture while playing, the monitor stand AOC Ergo Base offers height, tilt and swivel adjustment options. Moreover, a carrying handle empowers gamers to easily transport their AGON display between different gaming locations, and a retractable headset holder lets them safely deposit their headset during breaks. A variety of connectors such as HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA and USB 3.0 also makes the AG322QCX and AG272FCX compatible with a broad range of input sources and devices.

Slick and individual style

In addition to its minimalistic “3-sides frameless” design, the two new AGON models come with customisable LED lights on their back and lower bezel. These can be set to three different colours (red, green, blue) and three different brightness levels, in order to adapt the monitor’s look to players’ and esports teams’ individual taste and preferences.

The AOC AGON AG322QCX and AOC AGON AG272FCX will be available in May 2017. The MSRP is £519 and £389 respectively.

Technical specifications

Model AG322QCX AG272FCX
Display 31.5″ curved VA @ 144 Hz 27″ curved VA at 144 Hz
Resolution 2560 x 1440 pixels 1920 x 1080 pixels
Sync technology Adaptive-Sync Adaptive-Sync
 Signal input 2 x HDMI

2 x DisplayPort

1 x VGA

2 x USB 3.0
Audio out

Microphone in/out

2 x HDMI

1 x DisplayPort

1 x VGA

2 x USB 3.0
Audio out

Microphone in/out

Special features “3-sided frameless”
ergonomic stand

AOC QuickSwitch keypad

Stereo speakers

4 ms GtG response time

2000:1 contrast ratio

100% sRGB colour gamut

“3-sided frameless”
ergonomic stand

AOC QuickSwitch keypad

Stereo speakers

4 ms GtG response time

3000:1 contrast ratio

100% sRGB colour gamut

Launch May 2017 May 2017
MSRP £519 £389

 http://aoc-europe.com/en/products/ag322QCX and http://aoc-europe.com/en/products/ag272FCX

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Written by Dave Bagnall on Monday, February 13th, 2017

MMD, the leading technology company and brand license partner for Philips Monitors, announces a new 24-inch display in the Moda design series. Not only is the 245C7QJSB display the thinnest-ever from Philips Monitors, it also features an ultra-narrow bezel for true edge-to-edge viewing, minimising distraction and maximising concentration. With enhanced Full HD and the latest Ultra Wide Color Technology, the display offers users clarity of detail with an extended range of colours for brilliant visuals.

Explaining what makes the new display stand out, Artem Khomenko, Product Manager Philips monitors Europe at MMD says, ”This is the first in a new line-up of displays for the home to combine elegant Moda looks with Ultra Wide Color Technology. Most home users use their display both for working productively and for entertainment – and the new 24-inch display offers the best of both. It looks good in living spaces or on desks, and also provides a brilliant viewing experience with colour reproduction that is more realistic than ever.”

Looks superb – on and off
The new display certainly boasts an elegant appearance. Being part of the Moda design series, the slimline display has a side-on thickness of just 5.2 mm. Its minimalistic looks are complemented by the ultra-narrow frame: the outer bezel on three sides is no thicker than 2.5 mm. As well as enhancing the appearance, the frameless design makes the new 245C7QJSB a fine choice for users whose minds are on entertainment. It gives videos and pictures more space, and is also ideal for creating a multi-display setup.

Sharp viewing with Ultra Wide Color, Full HD and advanced connectivity
The Ultra Wide Color Technology of the new 24-inch display delivers a wider spectrum of colours for a more brilliant picture, with more natural-looking greens, vivid reds and deeper blues to bring media entertainment, images and even productivity alive. The technology achieves its effect through hardware enhancements, rather than by fine-tuning colour settings through software. The panel itself is based on IPS technology: this supports extra-wide viewing angles of 178 degrees.

With the 1920 x 1080 resolution of Full HD, the display consistently delivers clarity of detail and incredible contrast to complement the colour accuracy and wide gamut of Ultra Wide Color.Flicker-Free technology (regulating brightness for a steadier picture), SmartContrast and SmartImage (which auto-adjust settings to the content being displayed) all work together to make home multimedia more captivating. The display is equipped with HDMI, as well as with a DisplayPort for high speed data transfer.

The new Philips 245C7QJSB C-Line display, with an RRP of £189, will be available in February 2017.

Technical Specifications:

Specification Philips 245C7QJSB display
LCD panel type IPS technology
Backlighting technology W-LED
Panel size 23.8 inch / 60.5 cm
Aspect ratio 16:9
Optimum resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60Hz
Viewing angle 178° (H) / 178° (V), @ C/R > 10
Brightness 250 cd/m²
Display colours 16.7M
Colour gamut

NTSC 101.4% (CIE1976)

Picture enhancement

SmartImage

Convenience

·         Menu/OK, Input/Up, SmartImage/Return, Volume/Down, Power On/Off

·         Control SW: SmartControl

·         Other convenience: Kensington lock

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

Connectivity

·         VGA (Analogue), DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI (digital, HDCP)

·         Sync Input: Separate Sync, Sync on Green

·         Audio (In/Out): Audio out

Stand Tilt: -5/20 degree
Sustainability

·         Environmental and energy: EnergyStar 7.0, EPEAT Silver, RoHS, Lead-free, Mercury Free

·         Recyclable packaging material: 100 %

Compliance and standards

Regulatory Approvals: CE Mark, FCC Class B,
RCM, CECP, CU, SASO, KUCAS, cETLus, TUV/
ISO9241-307, EPA, WEEE, TCO certified

Cabinet

·         Front bezel: black

·         Rear cover: grey

·         Finish: glossy

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Written by Dave Bagnall on Friday, February 3rd, 2017

Antlion Audio (www.AntlionAudio.com) is proud to announce the ModMic 5 is now available on their website. The ModMic is an award winning attachable boom mic that can turn any pair of headphones into a headset for gaming, broadcasting, VoIP, and more. The patented base clasp securely adheres to any surface and the super strong neodymium magnets holds the mic in place. The 5th generation improves on the original design across the board, adding dual mic capsules, a fully modular cable system, and premium grade materials to deliver the pinnacle of custom audio.

A key innovation in the ModMic 5 is the addition of a dual capsule microphone. With the flick of a switch the ModMic 5 goes from studio quality to noise canceling. This means that a single ModMic can go from a quiet environment for recording to a noisy one, like a gaming LAN event where noise cancelling is essential. With the included compact carrying case, bringing along high quality sound has never been easier.

The most common customer request has come to life in the form of a fully modular cable system. This allows users to select the perfect cable length for their needs and quickly swap over to different devices, such as PC, consoles, or phones. Included with the modular cables is a detachable mute switch and cable wraps, which keeps the cords from the headphones and the ModMic tightly bound together.

Finally, the materials in the ModMic have been improved across the board. From kevlar reinforced cabling to a thicker steel spine and a stronger magnet, there’s never been a better ModMic than the ModMic 5.

Antlion believes all people should have the option to use the headphones they love and still enjoy the superb quality that a ModMic can bring. Find out more at www.AntlionAudio.com.

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Written by Thomas Broomhall on Monday, February 22nd, 2016

The GateKeeper 2.0 Wireless (Bluetooth) PC security device is an extremely useful little tool for anyone using a computer in a public place, such as an office, as it’s main functionality is that when you walk away from your PC, you’re taking access to the PC with you!

The GateKeeper comes in two parts, a little key chain and a tiny USB device, with Bluetooth 4 as the wireless solution. In the software, you can choose the range that has to be between these two parts for the computer to lock down. When you return to the computer, depending on your preferences in the software, it can automatically log you back in, or it can ask for another authentication step before you can touch your precious and private data. There is also a free app for both iOS and Android devices, that when paired with your keychain, can be used to make the keychain emit a beeping noise to locate your lost keys / chain (or whatever you have connected your device to).

Priced at $50 USD on their website, the GateKeeper uses “military grade security” to protect your PC. There is also an Enterprise Starter Pack at $249.99, which includes 5 devices and a 3 month subscription to their enterprise solution, including all support and assistance from their engineering team to help you set it all up for your needs.

GateKeeper

USB Lock and Keyfob

Security

Military grade AES-128 and AES-256 encryption

Compatibility

Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10; Mac OS X

App

Android 4.3+, iOS 7.0+

Battery Life

6 months (CR2032 battery)

Range

30 feet

Wireless

Bluetooth 4

Size/Weight

45mm x 25mm x 6mm; 10gm

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Written by Ex0du5_2169 on Friday, February 17th, 2017

Avorion: 2017 – A Space Opera

What would happen if X2 had a love triangle with Space Engineers and Starmade? Avorion, that’s what!

Ok, so that first metaphor isn’t an image that everyone will appreciate, but hang in there. Avorion is an ambitious project that uses procedural generation to great effect. Developed by Boxelware, currently a team of 3 people, a significant amount of work has already gone into Avorion. There is even a modding community that the devs are actively working to encourage and expand!

The reason I mentioned X2 when describing Avorion is because the game already features an extensive and complex economy, reminiscent of the X series of games. Building stations, and even your own fleet of ships, is an integral part of the game, you don’t have to, but it can help. When I say building, I mean building; resizable blocks of varying shapes provide a powerful platform to get started. You can make some pretty amazing designs, as in any building game, your imagination (and patience) is the limit!

There are some amazing designs out there!

I would be lying if I said that Avorion has not eaten a good portion of my life lately, that’s not to say it’s perfect, nothing is, it is very addictive however. There are a fair amount of annoyances and issues, but that’s par of the course for early access titles. Some of the missions feel like they’re used simply to keep you playing longer (*cough* Operation Exodus *cough*). There’s a few bugs but I’m yet to find anything game-breaking. Overall though, they are nothing but minor irritations.

As you might expect, there is resource collection. The resources vary in strength and weight but generally you’re constantly upgrading. Weapons and system upgrades are a big thing and both scale from petty all the way to legendary and cover a huge array of possibilities. While you can play singleplayer, multiplayer is also an option. Building a fleet with your friends? That’s something special. Diplomacy with factions is mostly leveraged using the old adage of “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”, unless you’re a pirate, then everyone is likely to hate you.

For £13.59 on Steam ($16.89 approximately) it’s quite a bargain, whether you plan to play it on your own or with friends, it’s a great game with huge potential and an ambitious scale. There’s even a rough story, imagine that! I would recommend Avorion for fans of 4x and space sandbox alike. Have you tried it? What do you think of it?

It’s a monstrous mess, but I’m rather proud of my creation.

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Written by Ex0du5_2169 on Friday, January 27th, 2017

The Supply Drop update has just dropped in but they’re not bringing cake; only guns, bullets and death, lots of death.

You may remember my review of Enter the Gungeon back in April, it was pure rogue-like chaos with a huge amount of guns, themed enemies, traps and stories. Think Binding of Isaac but with guns and a less disturbing art style. Plenty of frustration to be had, like you’d expect. Procedural level design, randomised loot and a distinct difficulty curve. There’s even an amount of preserved progression through unlockables in various forms. A game you can pick up and play very easily.

So, why am I bringing up old news? Well, the Supply Drop update was just released which adds a huge amount of new content, for free! We’re talking hundreds of new rooms; containing new weapons, bosses, enemies, companions and other goodies! There’s even a new ‘Challenge Mode’ which adds random modifiers to rooms, for those among us who really love punishing themselves! Did I mention it’s free?

One of the new bosses - The Mine Flayer

One of the new bosses – The Mine Flayer

The new content, in addition to an already brilliant core, means Enter the Gungeon continues to go from strength to strength. That’s before you consider that they have done all of this for free. Bullet hell has nothing on all this hot lead! Ok, bad puns aside, it’s a great game and I have yet to complete even one of the backstories, that should say something about the difficulty, if not my gaming abilities.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the Supply Drop update and will be playing much more over the coming few weeks, as time allows. Free DLC is always a plus in my book. Have you played the Supply Drop update yet? What is your favourite gun? I would love to hear your opinions in the comments.