Asus and Razer Releasing Graphics Card Enclosures for Laptops

Asus and Razer are both releasing graphics card enclosures in 2016, bringing desktop GPU power to laptops via a Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 connection. The ROG XG Station 2 from Asus and Razer’s Core enclosures were unveiled at CES last week, PCGamesN reports, and both provide an alternative to bulky gaming laptops – that alternative being an even bulkier unit, comparable in size to a mini PC –  hot on the heels of Alienware’s Titan X-powered Graphics Card Amplifier.

The Asus ROG XG Station 2 is “a custom interface that lets notebooks harness the power of desktop graphics cards to significantly boost gaming performance,” according to the company’s press release (via PC World). While the ROG XG Station 2 is “specifically designed for Asus laptops and graphics cards,” it works with other systems and cards and uses PCI-E x4 across two Thunderbolt 3.0/USB Type-C connections.

The Razer Core, meanwhile, has a 500w power supply, which can power most any high-end graphics card, with four USB 3.0 ports to both provide power and pass through data to a laptop, plus an Ethernet port, according to PC Gamer. Its Thunderbolt connector supports up to 40Gb/s bandwidth.

Neither Asus nor Razer have announced the price or release dates for their respective graphics card enclosures.

Would you like the option to be able to turn your laptop into a gaming rig, or are you happy relying on your desktop PC?

Oculus, AMD & Dell Join Forces to Bring You Oculus-Ready PCs

Adding to the long list of Virtual Reality projects that AMD is working on this year, they just announced a unified project between themselves Dell and Oculus. They are aiming to bring consumers Oculus-Ready PCs that have AMD GPUs, and these PCs will start right at $999. This means that Dell and Alienware will join Asus on the Oculus Ready PC program. The recommended GPU for the “full Rift experience” is a R9 290 so it will be interesting to see what actually they are outfitted with when the PCs start to hit the market.

Roy Taylor, corporate vice president, Alliances and Content, of AMD said, “It’s an exciting time to be at the heart of all things Virtual Reality. I’m confident that with Dell and Alienware, we can enable a wide audience of PC users with extraordinary VR capabilities powered by AMD Radeon GPUs.”

There is no doubt that Dell and Alienware will reach a huge audience that will adopt or try VR; it will be easily done just by their market share alone. I can only hope that it will lead to more enthusiasts building higher performance machines of their own after getting a taste of Virtual Reality with an OEM PC.

Thank you TechPowerUp for the information.

Thank you Oculus for the image.

Dell Unveils Alienware 18 Gaming Laptop

Dell has announced the Alienware 18 in a rather cringe-worthy fashion but signifies the company’s most advanced gaming laptop to date. The Alienware 18 is extremely large and measures in at 18″x 12″ x 2.3″ and weighs 12 pounds. In terms of its specifications, the basic model features an 18.4-inch 1920×1080 panel and bundled with two, yes two GTX 970M GPUs. These can be upgraded to dual 980Ms if you require more GPU grunt.

The cheapest model utilizes a Core i7-4710MQ with a base frequency of 2.5GHz and increases to a maximum boost at 3.5GHz. While this is more than sufficient, customers can select a Core i7-4910MQ or the Core i7-4940MX instead for enhanced CPU performance. On another note, the base unit is packaged with 16GB of RAM but there are four DIMM slots to expand the memory to 32GB. When it comes to storage, the standard model contains a 1TB HDD. This is a rather strange choice as I would expect an SSD boot drive as standard. However, you can add a 500GB SSD for a staggering $500 extra.

There is also a Killer Ethernet controller, Broadcom 802.11ac wireless adapter, four USB 3.0 ports, a mini-DisplayPort, and HDMI input and output ports. To add a certain visual flair, Dell decided to implement 20 LED lighting colours across 10 zones. This should add a great deal of aesthetic customization.

You can now purchase the Alienware 18 directly from Dell with the base model starting at $2,499, and increases to $4,649.99 for the top-tier configuration.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=57&v=94gPmIsgaOI

Thank you Digital Trends for providing us with this information.

Ark: Survival Gets New Content and $25k Mod Contest!

Ark: Survival sees you play in a tropical desert-bound environment with everything from other players, to dinosaurs to giant fortresses guarded by a mixture of the former two. All of this combined with large servers and large scale graphics results in a game that is selling well given it is still in development; yet more seems to keep coming with their latest updates.

Firstly you can now start adding your own mods to the game. Ever wanted to create a dinosaur catapult, or how about a trap door for those pesky T-Rex’s? Well, now you can get them and enjoy as you watch your castle become a fortress and your dinosaur become a walking tank.

To kick-start the modding, the creators of Ark: Survival have teamed up with Alienware to host a modding contest. With a grand price of $15k, a brand new Area-51 desktop with a GTX 980ti, your mods could soon become super charged with that little extra firepower behind your rig. With second place holding $5k, an x51 desktop and a GTX 960 graphics card with third following at $2.5k and a 960 graphics card, some people are going to be coming out of the modding contest with smiles on their faces.

Thew new game mode, survival of the fittest, was actually built using these mod tools and pits players against each other in an arena match which shrinks over time, eventually forcing players into a smaller space in which to meet their fates.

With all these features and added components to the game, are you interested in herding dinosaurs and building a fort?

Thank you PCGamesN for the information.

Image courtesy of Steam and Studio Wildcard.

AMD Radeon R9 370 and M390X Become Standard at Alienware

Alienware announced on their twitter feed that they now have the R9 370 and the M390X GPUs as standard earlier this week. The R9 M390X is a mobile, High-end graphics card for laptops. It will most likely be based on the M295X that was used in the iMac 5k in 2014, meaning it should be based on the third generation of the desktop Tonga chip. The amount of shader cores is identical, but the clock speed is slower (by 15%) and will run at 723mhz and the memory will also be clocked slower at 5000mhz. This means that the performance will be a bit below the M295X and will be somewhere between the GTX965M and the 970M. Meaning that it will be suitable for 1080p gaming and high detail gaming.

The announcement on twitter stated that the card will also have 4GB of Vram too.

Notebookcheck.net have a list of stats as follows:

Codename Tonga
Architecture GCN 3
Pipelines 2048 – unified
Core Speed * 723 (Boost) MHz
Memory Speed * 5000 MHz
Memory Bus Width 256 Bit
Memory Type GDDR5
Max. Amount of Memory 4096 MB
Shared Memory no
DirectX DirectX 11.2, Shader 5.0
Power Consumption 125 Watt
Transistors 5000 Million
technology 28 nm
Features DirectX 12, OpenCL 1.2, OpenGL 4.3, Vulkan, Mantle
Notebook Size large
Date of Announcement 09.06.2015

Sounds good right? The power consumption will be around 100 watts TDP and will be used in the larger and more powerful gaming laptops such as the Alienware m17x.

The specs for the R9 370 were leaked earlier this year too, with impressive specs of 4GB DDR5 vram, 130 watt TDP. It will have the Curacao Pro chip to do all the hard work and will also pack a whopping 179GB/s of available bandwidth.

Will you be getting one of these new cards? let us know!

Eurocom Offers 25% off New Laptops When Trading in Your Alienware M15x

With some Alienware system moving towards integrated graphics, Eurocom has come out with a great offer for those who want a highly customizable laptop that’s also upgradeable.

Customers can now trade in their Alienware M15x in any condition and Eurocom will give them 25% discount on the final price of any of their laptops. The offer ends March 31, 2015.

“We are trying to lead a Renaissance of Upgradeability to allow users the opportunity to lower the total cost of ownership by extending the life of their laptop by increasing performance and capability through component upgrades. We want customers to love their laptop, care for their laptop and upgrade their laptop” Mark Bialic, Eurocom President.

Considering you can configure these high-end laptops with i7 desktop CPUs, GTX980M SLI, RAID SSDs and so much more, 25% discount can make a lot of difference and should be something a lot of people could take advantage of.

Customers interested in the offer should contact the sales department via email to set up the deal.

Thanks to Eurocom for providing us with this information

AMD Catalyst Omega Driver Released Early, Then Pulled

On Friday, AMD’s latest GPU driver, the Catalyst Omega, was prematurely released on – then subsequently pulled from – AMD’s website. The early release was presumably accidental, since links to the driver and to a number of tech site articles announcing the news have been deleted. But, while we await it’s (re)release, we have the Catalyst Omega’s impressive specs to pore over.

Catalyst Omega is said to raise high-end GPU performance by up to 19%, and a staggering 29% on APU cards. The new driver boasts a number of additional features, such as Virtual Super Resolution, which renders games at 4K then scales them down to the monitor’s respective resolution, making anti-aliasing obsolete.

Other video features include Fluid Motion to reduce judder and increase interpolation, Contour Removal to remove compression artifacts cleanly, and 1080p Detail Enhancement to scale up and sharpen images for larger monitors.

The treats don’t end there, though, with support for Gaming Evolved client specific features (notably FPS measure and streaming) , TressFX Hair 3.0, OpenCL 2.0, and Mantle game capture. Using EyeInfinity, Catalyst Omega is capable of powering 24 monitor arrays on 4 GPU systems. FreeSync, Alienware Graphics Amplifier, and 5K support is also incorporated.

There is no news yet on when the Catalyst Omega driver will officially be made available.

Source: Gameranx

Alienware Launches Its Alpha “Steam Machine”, Starting at $550

Alienware has announced it is now selling its Alpha “PC console”, starting at $550.

The Dell-owned gaming arm is selling its Alienware Alpha PC with an entry price of $550, going up to around $900. It ships with an Xbox 360 controller, features its own user interface dubbed Alpha-UI, is designed around Valve’s Steam Big Picture mode, and controller-enabled games. As for its operating system, it ships with Windows 8.1 from Microsoft.

The cheapest Alienware Alpha machine includes an Intel Core i3-4130T dual-core processor, a 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M GPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB mechanical HDD. Dell is offering a bundle of games worth around $100 for those who managed to pre-order it, or purchase Alpha during its launch period.

Alienware General Manager Frank Azor explains “We’ve been working hard this past year to break the mold and develop a system that finally brings hundreds of Steam games, including some really fun indie titles, to TVs. The team and I are excited to finally deliver our vision for big screen gaming and give our fans a console that delivers true next-gen performance with the flexibility to choose how, what and where they want to play.”

Source: Polygon.

Alienware Area 51 Gaming PC Sports Very Unique Chassis Design

I’m not a fan of what Alienware do, to my mind they’re the Bose of the computer world, selling massively overpriced products that are more show than go, especially when compared to the newer system integrators that are doing more for less. Yet with all that said and done, I can’t help but take not of their new Area 51 system!

The chassis on this system is very unique, looking unlike anything I’ve seen on a PC before, in fact it looks like more like a stasis pod, I’m half expecting the front to flip up and Master Chief to step out of it.

Alienware call this the “triad case” and while it does look unique, they say it has been designed to vent warm air upwards and out of the case. The rest of the case is fitted with little extras such as built-in handles and LED lighting while the power comes from a choice of Haswell-E CPUs, DDR4, 1500W PSUs a whole lot more, prices start at a lot of money and get out of hand incredibly quickly.

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of TweakTown.

Dell Announces New Alienware 13 Gaming Laptop

Dell has announced the newest member to their gaming laptops, the Alienware 13 Gaming Laptop. With a screen size of just 13 inches, it will be the smallest in the line-up. It weighs only 2.04Kg and is less then an inch thick. To be able to keep up with gaming demands, it features either the Intel ultra-low-voltage i5’s or i7’s CPU’s and up to the Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M GPU.

Optically it looks like the other Alienware laptops, just a bit smaller. Perhaps an reaction to the slim Razer Blade gaming laptops. By decreasing the screen size 1 inch, Dell managed to cut away 900 gram of weight and 19 mm of the thickness. Of course newer technology also helps.

The Alienware 13 will offer a wider variety of customization, for example the choice of 1366 x 768, 1920 x 1080, 2560 x 1440, 3200 x 1800, touch panel options. It’s being launched with Haswell, but Broadwell intentions have been signalled.

Both Engadget and PCMag have had their hands on this device already, but everyone else will have to wait until it’s launched in November. I’m sure more details will emerge before, they always do, so stay tuned.

Thank you hexus for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of hexus.

Steam Machines Delayed Until 2015

A lot of rumours had been circulating about the Steam Machines and the latest news regarding the non-Windows powered machines refer to the Steam-based gaming machines being pushed back until 2015.

Some prototypes have been revealed in the past, including the Alienware version powered by NVIDIA. From what is known so far, the machines will run on Steam OS, giving users the ability to run Steam games while having the machine plugged into the living room TV. They also have the option of installing Windows in a dual-boot configuration, having the operating system run on a separate hard drive.

Valve has recently announced that they are going to push back the launch date, having set a 2015 release date. Steam machines are reported to be quite tricky to sell, since we already have PCs and consoles for gaming and other computerised activities. The launch date push might be the sign of Valve attempting to implement new features to the Steam OS or even the machines themselves.

The delay also comes at a rather strange time, since NVIDIA, AMD and even Intel have working drivers for the Linux-based Steam OS. However, it might also indicate the complexity in making the drivers work with all games running in a Linux environment. AMD has also updates its Steam OS drivers to the latest version, namely 14.4, indicating that AMD cards should run without any significant issues.

In addition to the driver releases, reports also indicate that more than a dozen manufacturers have announced their own Steam OS machines. Alienware, GIGABYTE, Origin PC, iBuyPower, Zotac, CyperPowerPC, Maingear and Alternate are just a few of the manufacturers announcing their dedication towards manufacturing Steam OS machines.

AMD might even have an advantage with the current pushback, having more time to prepare their hardware and software for the final release. However, there is also no guarantee that the Steam OS machines will ever be launched, since the concept of the Steam Machine is seen as nothing more than a PC not powered by the Windows operating system.

On the other hand, since users use Windows-powered PCs to surf the web, access their social media applications or use multimedia applications for music and movies, Steam OS machines can offer all of that including gaming without the need to deal with Windows or even pay for the operating system. However, the success of the Steam Machine will remain to be seen.

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information

Alienware’s Steam Machine To Be Released This September

Personally I can’t say I’m a big fan of Alienware, I’ve often found them to be seriously overpriced given their specifications, but I do understand that there is a market for them given that not everyone knows how to, or can be bothered to build their own system. However, their SteamBox which was revealed at CES 2014 does look fantastic and I have to give them credit for their design. Of course, you know as well as I do that Steam Machine or SteamBox is just a clever marketing term for a normal PC with a different OS.

During the recent Valve Steam Dev Days Conference in Seattle, Alienware announced their their little box of gaming joy will feature some form of Haswell chip, given that Haswell will be getting a refresh later this year, we can only assume it will be one of the newer chips, not a current one. Alienware promise the system will “perform on par with a gaming notebook”, which is no bad thing, given that many gaming notebooks on the market today are impressive gaming machines in their own right.

The company will be aiming to hit several market segments, most likely a vague way of saying we’ll sell some cheaper models as well as some high end / more expensive models. The final date hasn’t been confirmed yet, but Dell have said that they’re targeting a September release, so stay tuned in the coming months for more details on the hardware and price of the latest SteamBox to join the party.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Engadget.

Alienware Announces Steam Machine Release Date And “Some” Specs

Alienware has announced that their Steam Machines will be available only from September 2014 at Valve’s Steam Dev Days conference in Seattle. In addition to the release date, we get more insight on what specs we are looking to find under the hood.

Alienware’s Steam Machine is Intel and NVIDIA based, with a Haswell-generation processor. Although Alienware did not get into more details about the Intel and NVIDIA chips, other companies were more opened about their specs. For example Origin and their dual-Titan Steam Machine had revealed that it will operate on up to two GeForce GTX Titan GPUs, while having 14 Terra-bytes of hard drive space available. Therefore, Alienware’s Steam Machine should be in the same performance spec as well.

Also, September is known as the start of the newer tech release every year, from consoles, to games and other components and gadgets. It also gives Alienware and others a nine month deadline to get all the bugs out and prepare it for consumers, and then try to perfect it for the upcoming Christmas sales and game releases. In addition to that, Valve needs to get things right from the very start with the Steam Machine releases or else users will just ignore them and stick to the normal Xbox and Playstation consoles, having the Steam Machines trend burn out in an instant.

Having spec details scarce, the price cannot be known as well. That depends on the actual Steam Machine configuration and brand (of course). What we do know is that given the current information, they will not come cheap at all.

Thank you PC World for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of PC World

Alienware Says Next-Gen Consoles’ “PC-Like” Design Shows PC Supremacy

In an interview with PCGamesN Alienware’s general manager Frank Azor stated that the new generation of consoles are merely looking to imitate the PC platform.

“A lot of the innovations and things that are proven on the PC are making their ways onto consoles…The consoles are looking more and more like PCs every day.”

He believes that the new next-generation consoles are just standard desktop PCs with an AMD CPU, AMD GPU and desktop hard drive. Furthermore Azor says the console’s choice to enhance the digital downloaded side of things is further proof that the PC platform reigns supreme as it has been doing that for many years.

Additionally, he states that the Xbox One’s decision to try and integrate “other media” like the TV is something that the PC has been doing for over 10 years and is just an example of the new generation of consoles importing features from the PC. Finally he believes the PC is even winning on the game front with leading games like League of Legends and World of Tanks being the most widely played games in the video game industry and being PC-exclusives.

If you believe Frank Azor’s claim then there has never been a better time to become a PC Gamer. Though whether you should do that with Alienware is another matter.

Image courtesy of PCMag.com