Oculus Confirms Rift Compatible PC Bundles

 

The range of potential possibilities concerning the forthcoming Oculus Rift headset promises to be both exciting and also worth the wait, in theory, the problem lies with headset compatibility for the extensive array of PCs that are currently on the market. It seems Oculus have already thought of this and have recently released details of specially crafted PC bundles that have been tested to ensure the headset will work with the machine.

Oculus have announced the first set of machines from well-known computer manufacturers ASUS, Alienware and Dell; these PCs have been tested and also certified by Oculus. The headset manufacturer has also confirmed that the first bundles will be available to pre-order for consumers starting from the 16th February 2016 at 8 am pacific time.

Other confirmed details include the stockists that will be able to accept pre-orders for the bundle, these are, Best Buy, Amazon and the Microsoft Store. There is no word as yet if the UK will receive these bundles as the company has stated that it will “ship in limited quantities to select countries and regions”  One would have thought these bundles would eventually be available within the UK when you consider the size and also profitability of the market.

Below is a selection of Oculus-ready’ PCs that the company has announced, it has also been stated that consumers who were excited enough to purchase an Oculus Rift without yet owning a compatible PC, the company said pre-order customers will be able to purchase a discounted PC at a later date.

 

The price of these bundles will start at $1,499, for that you will receive an “Oculus-certified PC and everything that comes with Rift – the headset, sensor, remote, an Xbox One controller, EVE: Valkyrie Founder’s Pack, and Lucky’s Tale”.

 

Thermaltake Suppressor F31 Silent Mid-tower Chassis Review

Introduction


Thermaltake is one of the biggest names in the PC component market, with a huge range of products that range from water coolers to power supplies. We’ve seen a lot of great products from Thermaltake over the years, and today we hope to see another great addition to their already featured packed range.

“The Suppressor F31 Window mid-tower chassis is the new addition to the Suppressor Series to the Thermaltake case line. Featuring the first chassis with 250mm wide and leading-edge sound reduction panels on all sides, expand your cooling options with removable panels for the perfect balance in silent operation and cooling performance. Supporting a range of motherboard platforms from Mini-ITX to ATX solutions, unrivaled liquid cooling expansion and expandability for all high-end GPU solutions users can expect an enthusiast built design they can trust.”

The Thermaltake Suppressor F31 is their latest full-tower, following on from their F51 chassis which launched earlier this year, designed with a relentless focus on silent performance. It’s been kitted out with thick panels, vast amounts of sound dampening materials, a front panel door and extensive air and water cooling support, giving you all the tools you need to build a power and super quiet system.

https://youtu.be/vkLnHc9Er5o

Equipped with extensive support for fans and radiators, a decent amount of storage, large graphics cards and more, the F31 is certainly a capable product; I can’t wait to take a closer look at this chassis, so let’s jump right in and see.

This chassis is closed up pretty tight, with lots of sound-dampening features to help keep your build as quiet as possible. There’s a very thick side panel on the left with an optional side panel fan mount. The fan mount has a magnetic exterior dust filter for easy maintenance.

Another thick panel on the right as well as more ventilation down the sides of the front panel to provide airflow to the front mounted cooling.

The front panel is just as bold as the rest of the design, with a thick door panel and a lightly textured finished. The design is a little boxey and bland, but I quite like the monolithic appearance.

At the top of the front panel, you’ll find HD audio jacks, power controls, dual USB 3.0 ports and dual USB 2.0 ports; that’s decent amount of connectivity.

A few magnets in the front panel help keep the door closed and to help further enhance the noise proofing, there’s a thick lining of sound dampening material on the back of the door.

There are two 5.25″ drive bays, each fitted with a quick-release tool-free cover.

The bottom cover clips out easily enough, allowing you to quickly clean the filter and access the front panel cooling mounts, where you’ll find a pre-installed 120mm fan.

On the top, you’ll find a full-length magnetic dust filter, which is easily removed and cleaned when needed.

You’ll also notice that under it, the fan mounts as closed off, meaning you can keep them in place for maximum noise dampening, or take them out to install extra cooling as required.

Four sturdy feet on the bottom give good ground clearance for the full-length, slide-out dust filter.

This filter gives clean airflow to the PSU ventilation, as well as any addition base mounted cooling.

Around the back, you’ll find the side panels are held in place with thumb screws, but also normal chassis screws. I just wish I noticed these extra screws when I struggled for a few minutes wondering why the flipping panel wouldn’t slide off; I have no idea why we need a second set of screws here, but you could always leave the removed if required.

At the top, there’s a single 120mm exhaust fan pre-installed, but there’s also the option to install 140mm cooling if required. The screw holes are elongated to allow more flexibility in the height of the fan/radiator mounting, as this could help prevent hardware conflicts.

There are eight expansion slots, each fitted with a metal reusable and ventilated cover. There’s also a routing grommet to the right, as well as plenty of extra ventilation.

The PSU mounting supports normal and inverted installation, of course, if you mount the PSU with the fan facing downwards, you can take advantage of the bottom dust filter.

Lian Li Launches ROG Certified PC-Q17 Chassis In The UK

It has been a little over a month since Lian Li introduced us to the ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) certified PC-Q17 chassis, but at the time we didn’t get a release date nor a price. The good news is that we now have both these details and can provide them to you. All that’s left now is for you to decide whether you want one of these and if it will be worth the asking price.

The UK availability of the ROG certified Lian Li PC-Q17 chassis is set to early October where you’ll be able to pick one up from our friends at Overclockers UK. The initial retail price is set to £159.90, a hefty price for such a small chassis.

The small chassis has just as a unique shape on the outside as it has on the inside. The side panel is basically just one large piece of tempered glass while the rest of the case comes in Lian Li’s trademark aluminium with a brushed front. You’ll find two USB 3.0 port and audio jacks at the bottom of the case and not on the top as usual and that is because that’s where you can mount a slot-in optical drive and make it pop the disks directly up.

The top-mounted drive bay doesn’t just work for optical disk drives, it also works for 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch hard disk drives and solid state drives. Very few people still want to retain the optical drive, but most people would probably rather use it for a normal storage drive. The place behind the ODD bay is designated for the power supply and that also explains why the bay is upwards. The PC-Q17 uses a default ATX power supply that can be up to 150mm long.

You can mount two 3.5-inch drives at the bottom of the chassis, two 2.5-inch drives on the side of the PSU and one 2.5-inch on the bottom of it. The motherboard tray has a large cut-out for easy assembly and maintenance. There is clearance for GPUs with a length up to 270mm and CPU coolers up to 140mm. These are values that you should watch carefully when building in a case like this. Nothing worse than ordering a fancy GTX 980 Ti card, only to find out that it doesn’t fit into the chassis.

There isn’t much room left on the insides for liquid cooling, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible. The top panel can take up to 240mm radiator that will be mounted on the outside of the chassis. A clever design also allows AIO coolers to be used, just remove the top plate and the tubing can be passed through.

Product Features of the PC-Q17

  • Removable acrylic side window displays lit ROG logo and hides the PSU
  • Water cooling: 240mm on top pop off panel with mouse ears for AIO support
  • ROG Certification
  • Sloped and angled front compartment for looks, options and airflow.
  • ATX type PSU, GPU and CPU cooling support
  • Accommodates longer VGA card – up to 270mm
  • Accommodates larger CPU cooler – up to 140mm
  • Accommodates larger PSU – up to 150mm Long

Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 TH is the First Thunderbolt 3 Certified Motherboard

Gigabyte proudly announced that they are bringing Thunderbolt 3 to the desktop PC by launching the GIGABYTE Z170X-UD5 TH motherboard with support for the 6th Generation Intel Core processors, the first Intel Thunderbolt 3 certified of its kind.

The whole thing is powered by Intel’s own Thunderbolt controller and the Thunderbolt 3 protocol is available over two USB Type-C connectors on the back I/O of the GIGABYTE Z170X-UD5 TH. The new protocol doubles up the bandwidth, allowing for up to 40Gbps per connection.

You can use that bandwidth to connect pretty much anything, as it natively supports both DisplayPort 1.2 and USB 3.1. When it comes to daisy-chaining devices, we get the same as on the Thunderbolt 2 connection: 6 per channel.  The available bandwidth is enough to drive two displays in 4K resolution at 60 FPS or one display in 5K resolution.

The Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 TH brings along all the other features you’ll want, such as Gigabit Ethernet, support for SLI and CrossFireX configuration, Ultra Durable PCIe one-piece metal shielded slots, and support for the latest NVMe protocols over the M.2 connector.

The GIGABYTE Z170X-UD5 TH also features the long lifespan Durable Black solid capacitors that are rated for 10K hours and the exclusive GIGABYTE DualBIOS technology to protect your PC’s most crucial component.

MSI are the First to be Windows 10 Certified

With the upcoming release of Microsoft’s newest operating system, Windows 10; it’s going to be a busy time for hardware manufacturers to get their products certified to ensure 100% compatibility with the new operating system. Every manufacturer will be flooding the Microsoft mail department with samples to get the sign off and MSI were the first to receive the certification.

The board in question is the MSI H81M-P33, so this isn’t the most expensive or newest motherboard to be released, nor does it have bundles of features; just goes to show that manufacturers care for all potential audiences, not just the high end. If you want to build a computer that will work with Windows 10 with absolutely no issues, then this is the choice for you; well until the next motherboard is granted certification.So what does this mean for us peasants with non-Windows 10 certified hardware? Fear not, as with the transition from Windows 7 to 8/ 8.1; most motherboards will work just fine with the new OS, some might just need a simple BIOS update to get working.

Will you be making the jump to Windows 10 when it gets officially released? Do you already have a system, or are you planning on a new build ready? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you to TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Where Are the AMD Catalyst WHQL Driver Updates?

AMD are NVIDIA’s major competitors, we all know that. Graphics cards sales, performance and price are just some of the factors between them, but one that probably gets overlooked a little more is the after sales; namely the drivers.

AMD do release new drivers, just last month saw the release of Catalyst 15.4 Beta ready for GTA V. However, that is just a beta driver and hasn’t been certified like the previous Omega 14.12 WHQL driver. This was released over 160 days ago, almost half a year; which could only mean bad things for AMD.

Take NVIDIA for example, we see WHQL drivers released on a much more regular basis under the ‘Game Ready’ initiative. The last drive was 350.12, optimised for GTA V back on April 13th; the most recent is the 352.86 driver, optimised for Witcher 3 released on May 18th. In the meantime, NVIDIA release interim patches for drivers, but you can definitely see a stark contrast between the support from AMD to NVIDIA.

Even though AMD are set to release a ‘Titan X’ killer towards the end of June, we are unlikely set to see a new driver emerge in the upcoming weeks; that could mean a driver delay of around 200 days. The performance is one thing, having regular updates to ensure it still has the performance in newer games is another.

Let us know your thoughts on this subject in the comments.

Thank you to TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

ASRock Extreme4 – Worlds First Windows 8.1 Certified X99 Motherboard

While many of the details of the upcoming Asrock X99 motherboard remain shrouded in secrecy, it is now clear that development of this new motherboard is coming along nicely as the board has gained Windows 8.1 certification, making it the first certified Intel X99 chipset based motherboard.

The new Intel chipset is to be released over the coming months, bringing with it a new wave of features and while we are unsure what specific features Asrock will be implementing to their new board, you can bet it’s going to be pretty incredible, especially given that the current Z97 Extreme4 is already packed to the brim with premium grade features.

Asrock can’t tell us exactly when the board is out, but they have teased that more information is coming very soon, so stay tuned!

Thank you Asrock for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Asrock.