ASUS Unveils The GT51CA ROG Gaming PC

In the current gaming PC market, there’s a huge amount of companies to choose from offering pre-configured PC builds at very respectable price points. This allows those without technical expertise to acquire a gaming rig with good cable management and an attractive aesthetic design. ASUS’ Republic of Gamers range initially began as a premium motherboard brand opting for the very best components. Since then it’s expanded into peripherals, graphics cards, gaming laptops and much more! Yesterday, ASUS unveiled their latest gaming desktop sporting the ROG brand which features a 6th generation Intel core i7 processor with Turbo Gear functionality to enable an overclock in a single click. The cheaper model utilizes a core i5-6600K and can be overclocked to 4.3GHz while the higher end model has a core i7-6700K and reaches speeds of 4.6GHz. On another note, the GT51CA’s base model has a GTX 970 and can be upgraded all the way up to two GTX Titan X cards in SLI.

The system is bundled with up to two 512GB NVMe drives in a RAID0 configuration capable of staggering data speeds around 3.2 Gbps. The base package contains 16GB 2133MHZ DDR4 memory which can be overclocked to 2400MHz. Please note, the memory is upgradable to 64GB if you require additional performance. The 64GB higher end option allows for overclocks up to 2800MHz.

Effective cooling for stable marathon gaming sessions
The ROG GT51CA delivers efficient heat management for stable high-performance gaming sessions. It boasts a multi-zone thermal solution that lowers the system’s internal temperatures by up to 31%, even during heavy-load marathon gaming sessions.

It features the liquid-cooled Hydro Overclocking System for the CPU and dedicated air channels to draw cool air into the chassis for the graphics card. In addition, its power supply unit – situated in the bottom corner of the chassis – also has its own isolated airflow design for cooling.

Aggressive, award-winning design
The ROG GT51CA has a bold aerodynamic-inspired design with aggressive, sharp-angled polygonal edges, smooth surfaces, and a fully-functional turbine-like air intake on its front panel. The latter features a pulse-width modulation (PWM) fan that draws air into the cooling system. Inside, a carefully thought-out design ensures perfectly neat cable routing.

The ROG GT51CA is designed to impress, with dynamic 8-million-color LED effects in 4 zones across its chassis, and a preset OC lighting mode that is activated whenever the system is overclocked. ROG GT51CA’s bold design helped it win a 2016 iF Design Award and a 2016 CES Innovation Award.

Additional gaming enhancements
The ROG GT51CA boasts an ESS Sabre headphone DAC and amplifier on its front audio jack to give users incredible audiophile-grade sound. It provides high dynamic range (DNR) and low noise levels for rich audio with less distortion.

The wearable ROG BAND gives users access to Shadow Drive – a hidden hard drive space for managing personal and confidential data safely. ROG BAND can also be used to activate overclocking mode.

The ASUS-exclusive AEGIS II application lets gamers monitor system performance, record and edit gameplay with Gamecaster, and easily share their gaming experiences on social media.

Unfortunately, there’s no information regarding price, but don’t expect it to be cheap given the impressive specification and ROG styling.

Overclockers UK Titan Dark Zone Gaming PC Review

Introduction


Overclockers UK is one of the leading stockists of PC hardware and their engineering team produces an impressive range of custom rigs to suit contrasting tastes. Whether you’re looking for a silent air-cooled build, or extreme overclocked PC with premium water cooling parts, there’s something designed for your specific requirements. Often, whenever a new game is released which sells remarkably well, consumers like to pay homage with a system based around its theme. This can be a challenge especially if the game in question doesn’t have a distinctive colour scheme. The Division is an open world third-person shooter set in a bleak vision of New York City ravaged by a smallpox pandemic. This intriguing setting and captivating multiplayer confrontations have proved to be incredibly popular! As a result, The Division became Ubisoft’s fastest selling game on record and attracted a very passionate community.

This success story has given Overclockers UK inspiration for their latest gaming PC entitled the Titan Dark Zone. The system opts for orange braided PSU extension cables and vibrant LED lighting which creates a stunning aesthetic design. Combining the orange tones with black jet black components is quite unusual and a reference to The Division’s box art. Therefore, the Titan Dark Zone is a dream come true for fans of this particular title and features a very potent specification capable of powering VR devices without any concessions. The Intel i7-6700K is professionally overclocked to 4.5GHz using the Alpenfohn Broken 2 cooler. As a result, I expect to see an impeccable performance to noise ratio which surpasses many closed-loop-coolers. On another note, the 16GB 2400MHz DDR4 memory, factory overclocked GTX 980Ti and Samsung 250GB boot drive should be able to provide a sensational gaming experience even on high-resolution monitors. Rather surprising, Overclockers UK have decided to use a non-modular power supply which complicates cables management. On the other hand, the PSU has received a great deal of critical acclaim and showcases the careful decision-making process when designing a system’s specification.

Specifications

  • Name: Overclockers UK Titan Dark Zone
  • Case: Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX
  • Motherboard: MSI Z170A-SLI Plus
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-6700K Overclocked to 4.5GHz
  • Processor Cooler: Alpenfohn Broken 2
  • System Memory: Team Group Elite 16GB (8x2GB) 2400MHz CL16 RAM
  • Main Boot Drive: Samsung 250GB 850 Evo SSD
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): Seagate 2TB 7200RPM HDD
  • Graphics card: MSI GeForce GTX 980ti Armor X2 6GB
  • Power Supply: XFX TS 750W 80 Plus Gold
  • Peripherals: N/A
  • Monitor: N/A
  • Optical Drive: N/A 
  • Wireless: N/A
  • OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
  • Warranty: Three Year (24 Month Collect and Return plus 12 Month labour) Mainland UK and Ireland Only
  • Price: £1549.99

Packing and Accessories

The system arrived in an extremely large box which cannot fit on my photography backdrop. This is the reason why I’ve taken a snapshot in the hallway to emphasize the package’s mammoth size. Overclockers UK always adopt such an attentive approach to packaging and employ durable materials which enhances the level of protection substantially. It’s evidently clear that the company has considered the strain delicate PCs go under during transit and taken every necessary step to dramatically reduce the probability of damage occurring.

Once the top cover has been removed, we can see an ample supply of durable cardboard inserts which holds the system firmly in position.

The Titan Dark Zone is placed in the original chassis box and secured with strong tape. Honestly, I’d be extremely surprised if you received the system with even cosmetic imperfections considering multiple layers were used for protective purposes.

There’s additional support inside the chassis box via two strong polystyrene blocks.

The system’s internal components are surrounded by three Instapak foam pieces. These are essential additions which protect the CPU mounting and prevent the graphics card from applying too much pressure on the PCI-E slot during delivery.

In terms of accessories, OCUK included a Welcome Pack and Windows 10 Home OEM DVD containing the product code. The Welcome Pack outlines the system’s specification, and warranty terms in an easy to understand manner. Personally, I love the overall presentation and solder joints design on the front cover.

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Overclockers UK Adds new “PCs by Game” Section

Overclockers UK has launched a new section on their websites for game-themed pre-built PC systems called PCs by Game. To celebrate this newly launched section, they have built a new range of systems based on the latest AAA titles Hitman: World of Assassination and Tom Clancy’s The Division.

There is a total of four new gaming PCs in this section in addition to the already existing two. The two Hitman machines are the Titan Contract “Hitman” Gaming PC and the Titan Agent 47 “Hitman” Gaming PC. The two Hitman systems come along with two The Division PCs, the Titan Pandemic “The Division” Gaming PC and the Titan Dark Zone “The Division” Gaming PC.

The Titan Contract PC and the Titan Agent 47 PC are naturally both developed with Hitman in mind and they come with a free copy of the game included. They are built with AMD R9 380X and R9 390X that should help to achieve maximum frame rates in the game.

The Titan Dark Zone PC and the Titan Pandemic are built in a colour scheme to fit with Tom Clancy’s The Division. Where the Hitman PCs were built around AMD-based graphics cards, these systems are built with Nvidia cards instead. The GTX 970 and the GTX 980Ti graphics cards are both known for the raw power that will ll let you play The Division with the best possible experience. Naturally, these systems come with a free copy of the game included too.

As for the rest of the specification, they are customizable as you are used to from Overclockers UK. It starts out with 8GB RAM and 120GB SSD coupled with 1TB HDD and that can all be upgraded further. The Hitman systems are built around the AMD FX series CPUs and the The Division systems are built around Intel’s Core i5 and Core i7 processors.

You can check out the new section right here, see the prices and customise the systems to your liking. Kind of like self-built but without the trouble of actually having to build it yourself.

AMD Zen Ready for OEM High-End PCs by End of Year

After releasing their poor 2015 financial results, AMD does have some more good news coming out for 2016. As most of you will already know, AMD’s upcoming Zen CPUs will launch and become available sometime in late 2016, likely towards the tail end. As part of the financial release, CEO Lisa Su revealed some key details about the Zen timeline. Chief among them is that Zen will be available for OEM partners to ship high-end PCs before the end of the year.

For the past few launches, AMD has suffered from issues of short initial supply, driving up costs for fans and other early adopters. This meant even if AMD has a great product, customers simply could get it and others may be turned away by the inflated prices. OEM partners tend to require and ship a whole lot more CPUs and systems than DIY builders. If AMD is able to supply the OEMs with adequate numbers of Zen chips, it should mean that DIY builders will also be able to purchase them without issue, making for a smooth launch with plenty of product.

OEMs being able to ship Zen systems by years end also points to the fact that Zen will likely be well on time and any issues with the new 14nm LPP process have been resolved. With over 40%+ IPC increase, Zen may finally be what’s needed for AMD to make a comeback in the CPU market.

PC Specialist Azure (LGA 1151) Gaming PC Review

Introduction


PC Specialist has an illustrious reputation for creating some of the most reliable and thought-provoking builds in the custom PC industry. Their latest creation, code-named Azure, is based on Intel’s brand new Z170 chipset and includes the flagship, i7-6700K Skylake processor (review here). While the CPU has a stock clock of 4.0GHz, there is ample headroom for a hefty overclock with assistance from the Corsair 240mm liquid-cooling solution. PC Specialist opted for the Asus Z170-A motherboard (review here) which offers excellent voltage regulation, dynamic fan control and an intuitive BIOS interface. Only the best components are used throughout, such as NVIDIA’s top-tier GTX 980Ti graphics card and Kingston’s HyperX Predator 3000MHz DDR4 memory.

In terms of storage, the Azure is bundled with a 480GB SSD boot drive and 2TB mechanical for data storage purposes. The PC is powered by an 850W Corsair RM power supply and neatly presented in the Corsair 780T case. Previously, we reviewed the X99-based Vortex 440 which performed superbly and exceeded our expectations. Therefore, I’m hoping the Azure will be cool, quiet and leading the benchmark figures whilst retailing at a respectable £1499 price point.

Specifications

Packing and Accessories

The chassis arrived in a gargantuan box and contains precautionary labels to prevent the courier from adopting a haphazard approach. I was genuinely surprised with the box’s size which provides superb protection during transit. The packaging itself also utilizes a thick grade of cardboard and encompasses the case to withstand any sudden impact.

Once opened, the case is revealed and cushioned by a cloth cover to stop accidental scratches from occurring. If the case was packaged without any padding, the chassis could rub against the box and become damaged. This is especially true with delicate windowed side panels.

From another angle, we can see the flexible foam supports which add a great deal of rigidity and keeps the case perfectly aligned. I have to commend PC Specialist for using some of the strongest foam inserts I’ve ever seen. For example, I intentionally bent the inserts to see if they would snap under pressure, but they withstood this rigorous testing procedure rather well.

The accessories are bundled in a lovely Welcome Pack which evokes a professional feel from the presentation alone.

Included in the Welcome Pack is a setup guide, component documentation, driver disks, extra SSD mounts, power cables, and much more! Everything is separated into segments which makes it easier to find specific parts.

The accessories can be easily stored away in the original packaging and has enough room to house future purchases such as a DisplayPort cable. While the box is too large to fit in a small drawer, it does prevent you from losing any accessories and keeps everything in a neat package.

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ASUS Republic of Gamers Launches the GR8 Gaming mini-PC

ASUS has launched their newest addition to the gaming scene in form of the Republic of Gamers branded GR8 Gaming Mini-PC. This tiny PC has a volume of just 2.5 liters while packing an Intel Core i7-4510U Haswell processor and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti Maxwell graphics card. Asus packed some mighty performance into the form-factor of a gaming console and it comes with Windows 8.1 pre-installed.

It supports up to 16GB DDR3 memory on its two SO-DIMM slots and comes with either a 1 TB 7200 RPM hard disk or a 256 GB solid state drive. For the wireless pleasures it has dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi. There are plenty of connection options on this gaming PC with two USB 2.0 ports on the front where one of them features extra charging power. There are two 3.5 mm audio jacks for microphone and headphone connections and of course of a power button.

On the rear of the PC we find four USB 3.0 ports for high-speed connections and a RJ45 connector for the Intel Gigabit Ethernet. It has tree 3.5 mm audio jacks on the back for line-in, line-out and microphone as well as a S/PDIF optical out. You can connect up to two monitors to this gaming PC with the built-in HDMI and DisplayPort connections that both support Ultra HD 4K resolution. There’s also a Kensington lock to prevent sticky fingers from running away with your little treasure.

The GR8 Gaming mini-PC is built with easy access to memory and storage for convenience while upgrading or just doing the ordinary maintenance. This isn’t just a tiny form factor PC, it’s also tiny on the power consumption. It comes with a 19Volt DC adapter with 6.32A and 120W power output and the system itself is rated to 0.4 watts when off, 13 watts at idle and 70 to 77 watts when running with full 3D loads.

This wouldn’t be a Republic of Gamers product without a long-range of exclusive features. This Gaming mini-PC features the SupremeFX Audio, Sonic SoundStage, Sonic SenseAmp, Sonic Studio, Sonic Radar II, GameFirst III and can work as Miracast receiver. It also gives you access to 100 GB of Asus HomeCloud storage for 12 months.

The mini-PC is whisper-quiet at just 20dB when idle or low loads and 28dB when running at full capacity. The optional bundle version comes with a ROG Gladius optical gaming mouse and a M801 compact mechanical keyboard. The Asus Republic of Gamers GR8 Gaming Mini-PC will be available this month but there isn’t any word on pricing yet.

[youtube width=”700″ height=”470″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYrDLZ5L80c[/youtube]

Thank you ASUS for providing us with these information

Images and video courtesy of ASUS

PS4 vs Xbox One vs The PC: Simulated Benchmarks Reveal Comparative Performance

Seeing actual benchmarks of the PS4 against the Xbox One will never happen since they both different operating systems and the benchmarks to test performance on those different operating systems does not exist. Trying to compare those consoles to the PC is an even harder task. However, there is at least partial closure for people wanting to know what would win: the Xbox One, PS4 or a gaming PC. Some simulated benchmarks have emerged which propose to figure out which is faster. Unsurprisingly, we encourage cautions to be taken with these simulated benchmarks for a number of reasons: issues with drivers, operating system overhead and non-linear responses of games to clock speed changes and shader core increases. Oh, and of course: they are simulated not real. That isn’t to say that they aren’t logically sound: but they are probably within 10-20% margin of error of the actual real world performance.

As the graphs suggest Sony’s PS4 is significantly more powerful than Microsoft’s Xbox One. Of course to understand what that actually means we need to compare it to some desktop graphics cards for scale. Sony’s PS4 roughly lines up with AMD’s HD 7850/R7 265. If we take into consideration that the PS4 uses a fairly feeble CPU, we can probably assume that a HD 7850 on a desktop gaming PC would perform better with something like an Intel Pentium Anniversary Edition CPU where there is minimal CPU bottleneck. Microsoft’s Xbox One on the other hand performs about 40% slower than the same HD 7850, making it loosely equivalent to a HD 7770 or R7 250X.  The overall trend here is not surprising: Microsoft’s Xbox One is very underpowered compared to the PS4 and even if Microsoft can work miracles with API optimisations and other nifty tricks there’s no way to close such a significant gap. This is part of the reason why we have seen a lot of console developers bring games to the PS4 at higher resolution and texture quality than the Xbox One equivalents, like Call of Duty: Ghosts and Metal Gear Solid 5.

Source: WCCFTech

Images courtesy of WCCFTech

PC Gaming Hardware Market Worth Double Console Market

The PC Gaming hardware market has been going from strength to strength over the last few years. The general PC market has declined as tablets, smartphones and notebooks have taking over consumers’ everyday computing needs but the PC gaming hardware market has continued to buck the broader trend. The latest research by analytic firm Jon Peddie Research says the PC gaming hardware market is now worth a staggering $21.5 billion which is double the value of the console gaming market. Significant demand has occurred in the market for things like upgrade parts for gaming PCs, such as new graphics cards and CPUs, as well as for peripherals and accessories, like headsets, keyboards and mice. As senior analyst of Jon Peddie Research notes:

“Committed PC gamers are generally not interested in pure content consumption platforms. They are power users and pay thousands for the ability to play games at very high settings and then do business, video/photo editing, content creation and other tasks with maximum horsepower at their disposal in a desktop ergonomic environment.”

By 2017 the PC gaming hardware market is expected to grow further from $21.5 billion to $23.2 billion. President of Jon Peddie Research, Jon Peddie himself, noted that the PC gaming platform would continue to grow and keep the PC market flowing as gaming PCs continually increase in power, leaving consoles biting the dust:

“Nvidia, Intel and AMD have enthusiast CPU and GPUs that are so powerful that, when combined with SSDs and fast memory, they absolutely trounce the computing power and gaming capabilities of the newest console generation…Being able to drive 3840×2160 (4K) is already a reality for the highest end configurations and the mass market is now able to push 2560×1440. PC gamers with good displays are able to enjoy millions and millions of pixels more than console gamers get on HDTVs. This translates into being able to see more and an overall better gaming experience.”

Source: Jon Peddie Research, Via: MCVUK

Image courtesy of Origin/CyberPowerPC

Nvidia Announce GeForce GTX BattleBox Program – 4K Gaming Systems

Nvidia have recently announced their new GTX BattleBox program. As part of the program Nvidia is teaming up with system builders across the world to bring Nvidia powered systems capable of ultra high resolution 4K gaming. In the UK Nvidia has teamed up with Scan, PC Specialist, Chillblast, Cyberpower, Dino PC and ComputerPlanet. In the USA Nvidia has teamed up with Digital Storm, Falcon Northwest, Origin and Maingear. Worldwide they have teamed up with over 30 system integrators.

These elite gaming PCs will bare the “BattleBox” branding and come with an Intel Haswell CPU, 4K Monitor and a dual Nvidia GTX 780 configuration or higher. They are designed to be able to push 4K gaming to the very limits. “Systems will be branded with special “BattleBox” insignia, in addition each system will be kitted out with an exclusive NVIDIA SLI bridge with an illuminated GeForce GTX Claw; this has been asked for by gamers since we revealed its existence alongside the GeForce GTX TITAN” says Nvidia.

More details can be found here (UK) and here (USA).

Image courtesy of Nvidia

PC Gaming Hardware Bucking The Trend Of PC Market Decline Says Analysts

While the overall PC market may be declining the PC Gaming Hardware market is bucking that overall trend says Jon Peddie, an analyst firm. They claim that:

“Not only is gaming becoming an even more important purchasing influence of PC sales due to the offloading of more basic functionality to smart devices, but we are forecasting growth in the most expensive discrete graphics products. We are also impressed with the embedded graphics offerings this generation and going forward.”

Additionally they claim that specific modding PC gaming titles, like ARMA 3, will spur on up to $800 million of PC builds. They claim increasing hardware demands from new games are driving people to upgrade their CPUs and discrete graphics solutions.

JP analysts suggest that the PC gaming hardware market had a small decline between 2012 and 2013 but is projected to grow rapidly into 2014, 2015 and 2016 while the overall PC market declines:

  • 2012 – $18,368 million
  • 2013 – $17,791 million
  • 2014 – $18,946 million
  • 2015 – $19,713 million
  • 2016 – $20,772 million

I am glad to see what a lot of people have suspected for a while now is actually being proven true by some facts and figures. Pre-built systems may be declining rapidly, but a lot of people are taking that “do it yourself” attitude to their own computers instead, and getting more involved in building their own PCs which can only be a good thing. Have you bought any parts for your gaming PC or personal rig recently?

Image courtesy of MSI

Insomnia 49 Brings Global Phenomenon ‘Minecraft Expo’ To Summer Gaming Festival

Multiplay, organiser of the UK’s largest gaming festivals, has today confirmed details of the latest addition to the Insomnia 49 event: the UK’s first Minecraft Expo.

The Minecraft Expo will form a significant part of the highly anticipated summer gaming festival, offering visitors free-to-play tournaments, Minecraft talks and presentations, and an exhibition featuring examples from the best and brightest of the community, as well as the chance to purchase official Minecraft merchandise from J!nx. The fun doesn’t stop there, with costume competitions, creative build challenges and the Minecraft Lounge, where you can grab an autograph from the stars.

Multiplay is no stranger to Minecraft events. Having previously worked with Mojang to produce the hugely successful MINECON 2012 in Disneyland Paris, Multiplay were involved in every aspect of the event and saw a huge gap in the market for a UK event in 2013.

“Each time we host an Insomnia event, the community amazes us with its passion, making each event bigger and better than the last”, said Craig Fletcher, Multiplay CEO. “With the runaway success of Minecraft, we’ve answered the call from devoted fans by creating the UK’s first Minecraft Expo, and we can think of no better place to host it, than the UK’s biggest gaming festival.”

Far and away the biggest e-sports tournaments in the UK, the Insomnia series is not to be missed, with spaces to compete in the tournaments still available online at www.insomniagamingfestival.co.uk. To-date, over 3,000 spaces have been reserved for ‘bring your own PC and Console’ tickets, while Multiplay is expecting up-to 15,000 visitors through the door across the weekend for the Exhibtion Hall, which features everything from the latest games, development talks and e-tailers selling the latest hardware, to retro gaming arcades and chill out zones; whilst over two million gamers will be watching video streaming online.

Insomnia 49 will take place between 23rd and 26th August 2013 at the Telford International Centre, Telford.

More announcements will be made in the coming months, including amazing games being shown for the first time in the UK. For the most up-to-date line-up, visit the official website at www.insomniagamingfestival.co.uk.