Super Mario Cluttered Chaos-Calculator Level Anyone?

Creativity is never more alive than when the gaming community decides to invent whole levels based on various creative influences. The Super Mario Maker title has been an exciting and imaginative vehicle that aims to open up a range of possibilities for all kinds of creative mischief, one such level involves a working calculator within the super Mario Universe.

Want to know more? Of course  you do, the project is coined “The Cluttered Chaos Calculator” and has been created by Mario Level Maker  “Giant”, it works out a maths equation (6+6) and is demonstrated by the video below, luckily, there is a reddit guide to explain exactly what is going on.

To put it simply, “this Super Mario Maker level lets you select two numbers between 0 and 7, it lets the player choose their way up and then computes and displays their sum automatically”.

There is also an image via sharing site imgur which reveals the logic behind this fantastic project. It has been noted that similar adding machines have been created in the past using Super Mario Maker, but, this looks to be the “first one with a decimal conversion and proper display of the result”.

It’s an incredibly complex yet educational tool all rolled into one, just reading the extremely detailed breakdown is fascinating, hopefully, we will see many more creative examples as in this case within the future.

Creating Your Own Online Casino: A Quick Guide to Gaming

The online gaming world has experienced impressive growth over the last few years. After coming to life in early 2000, the industry experienced a boom in 2003 when Chris Moneymaker, an amateur poker player from the US, won the World Series of Poker and $2 million. After winning his seat online, Moneymaker went on to beat the best professionals in the world and, in the process, became a household name.

Seeing Moneymaker’s success, millions of people around the world decided to go on to the Internet in search of gaming riches. All keen to experience the new wave of gaming options and, potentially, win big like Mr. Moneymaker, these of players held turned the iGaming industry into a billion dollar economy.

Indeed, from a global market value of around $7.4 billion in 2003, the industry is now worth more than $40 billion and it’s still growing. Indeed, thanks to constant innovation and a greater acceptance of virtual gaming, people are now looking for more ways to ante-up online.

Naturally, with so many opportunities out there just waiting to be seized, you might be wondering how you can get in on the action. Starting you own online casino is by no means a simple process; however, if you can cover some fundamental bases, there’s no reason you couldn’t create your own online gambling platform.

Get a Licence

stamps” (CC BY 2.0) by  Joelk75 

Before you can do anything in the iGaming world you’ll need to start the licensing process. Every legitimate online casino will be licensed by at least one governing body. To legally offer games to paying customers, casino operators need to have a licence which verifies that they are safe and fair. Because of the way the iGaming industry has evolved, certain jurisdictions now have different licensing bodies.

For example, if you’re looking to serve casino customers in the UK, you’d need to have a licence authorised by the UK Gambling Commission. Similarly, if you’re aiming for the New Jersey market in the US, your product will have to be verified by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Although you will need to have a fully function platform to get through the final stages of the licensing process, you will need to start the process before you do anything else.

Find a Software Supplier

Once you’ve set the licensing wheel in motion, the next thing you need to do is find a software supplier. Because the industry is now more than a decade old, there are dozens of software supplier who will supply all the games you’ll need to offer an online casino. From blackjack and roulette to scratchcards and slots, suppliers such as Microgaming, SoftSwiss and Playtech will provide interactive and certifiably random (i.e. fair) games.

Of course, choosing a supplier is easy and there’s a lot of paperwork required before you even get into the technical stuff. Fortunately, there are now companies out there who will liaise with suppliers for you to get the best deal possible. Companies such as GBO International will arrange deals with software suppliers that will fill your site with more than 400 games that are certified by eCOGRA (a company that checks each algorithm is random) and highly engaging. In fact, using this service is the most efficient way to obtain your games because it means you won’t have to handle the research, the paperwork or the legal issues and, instead, you can simply focus on designing your interface.  

Choose Your Payment Options


Visa” (CC BY 2.0) by  DeclanTM 

Once you’ve enlisted the help of GBO and secured a suite of casino games, the final major feature you’ll have to think about is your payment options. Again, it’s possible to use a financial services company such as GBO to help arrange payment options; however, it’s also possible to partner with payment processors such as Skrill, Visa and MasterCard.

So long as you’re a registered company, own a business account and have all the necessary licenses, you’ll be able to utilise the services of credit, debit and eWallet provisions from a range of processors. Doing this is not only necessary in order to satisfy iGaming regulatory standards, but it will give your platform a much greater level of credibility.

Promote Your Product


Does Facebook Advertising Really Work” (CC BY 2.0) by  Joe The Goat Farmer 

After covering the main bases (plus a few smaller ones we haven’t mentioned), you’ll then need to promote your casino. Through a combination of sign-up deals, social media campaigns and press coverage, you should, with a little luck, be able to tap into the lucrative iGaming market.

Image via “IMGP2117” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by  mattbuck4950 

Nvidia Release Rise of the Tomb Raider Performance Guide

Having trouble getting the performance or the best graphics out of the latest Tomb Raider game? If you’re running an Nvidia graphics card, you’ll be happy to hear that Nvidia has released a GPU performance guide, to help you get the most performance out of the game. Of course, most of this will be common knowledge to a lot of PC gamers, but not everyone out there is the graphics settings guru you or I may be.

Crystal Dynamics have done a great job on the graphics engine, and there’s little doubt that it’s the best looking Tomb Raider game to date.

Crystal Dynamics’ Foundation Engine returns for the sequel with upgrades galore. Physically Based Rendering gives materials a natural look under all conditions, HDR and adaptive tone mapping create stunningly bright zone transitions and highlights, deferred lighting with localized Global Illumination increases the realism of lighting, volumetric lighting adds God Rays and other shafts of light, dynamic color grading gives artists control over the appearance of individual areas, reactive water enables dynamic water ripples game-wide, physically correct forward lighting enables translucencies to be accurately lit, particle lighting enables particles to be dynamically lit by light from their surroundings, and Subsurface Scattering and Backscattering increases the quality of lighting on characters’ skin.

The visual effects in this game are pretty breathtaking, so long as you’ve got the settings right.

The guide is pretty extensive so telling you all of it here would be pretty futile, to say the least. Nvidia has worked hard to bring you performance graphs for each settings, as well as side by side image comparisons to demonstrate what each effect is, how it looks and what kind of performance impact you can expect on some of their most popular cards.

This is really handy for those of you who aren’t sure what is what in the graphics settings and while there have been updated drivers released, the performance will likely improve a bit more with tweaked drivers over the coming weeks.

Are you enjoying Rise of the Tomb Raider? Let us know in the comments section below.

Check out the full Nvidia guide right here.

Best Gaming Mice of 2015 – Which One Will You be Buying?

Picking the right gaming mouse can be a tricky task as there are virtually countless brands on the market offering a staggeringly huge range of mice in seemingly every shape, colour, size and budget you can think of, so where do you even get started?

We’ve had a dig around for some of our favourite gaming mice, albeit with a slight focus on more recent models, giving you a good impression of what’s currently available on the market and with any luck, help you find the one that is right for you. Of course, which is best is a matter of personal opinion, one may have a better sensor, but you may prefer the look or grip of another, it’s about finding what’s best for you and your requirements.

As you can see from the list below (and the image above), we’ve got quite a selection of great gaming mice at our disposal, and we’re confident that no matter which you choose, you’ll be very happy with it as these are all great products in their own respects. We’ve got a wide range of budgets covered too, from around £20 to well over £100! Let’s get on with the fun stuff and take a closer look at what each of these gaming mice has to offer!

  • CM Storm Xornet II
  • Zowie FK1
  • Ozone Argon Ocelote World
  • CM Storm Sentinel III
  • Logitech G502 Proteus Core
  • Corsair Scimitar RGB
  • TteSports Ventus X
  • G.Skill Ripjaws MX780
  • Roccat Tyon

CM Storm Xornet II

A lightweight and compact mouse design that is well suited to fast-paced gameplay, the Xornet II is a great little gaming mouse. The compact design lends well to fingertip and claw grip play styles, making it a great weapon for twitchy FPS shooters, but it’s also very well suited to younger gamers who naturally have a smaller grip and hand size, so it’s a popular option for the Minecraft generation. The buttons are light and responsive too, which is great for frantic MOBA sessions.

With a smooth optical sensor, with three programmable DPI levels, as well as an adjustable lift-off height, fully programmable buttons and a little bit of full RGB flair, it’s a versatile tool for gaming and day-to-day desktop use, at a price that’s certainly attractive; it’s actually one of the cheapest in our round-up today.

  • Buttons: 7
  • Sensor: Avago 3320 Optical
  • Min DPI: 250
  • Max DPI: 3500
  • Macro Engine:
  • Built-in Storage:
  • Weight: 132g
  • Grip: Claw and Fingertip
  • Price: £19.99

Check out our full review here


Zowie FK1

Zowie has a very respectable reputation in the pro gaming scene, offering a range of mice that are loved by gamers at home and in the eSports industry. A lightweight and nimble design, as well as large slipmats, give the FK1 exceptional glide and agility, combined with comfortable ergonomics, responsive switches and a zero fuss design that lends well to competitive gameplay.

The flawless deployment of the Avago 3310 Optical Sensor is pixel perfect, something that’ll benefit both work and gameplay, but we find this mouse is at its absolute best in games like CS:GO and we’re certainly not the only gamers to think so.

There’s no desktop software, the DPI selector is on the base of the mouse, offering up 450/1150/2300DPI and the ergonomic left-and-right handed design can be toggled back and forth directly on the mouse, so no need to worry about setup, you can just plug it in and get right on with the action.

  • Buttons: 7
  • Sensor: Avago 3310 Optical
  • Min DPI: 450
  • Max DPI: 2300
  • Macro Engine: No
  • Built-in Storage: No
  • Weight: 90g
  • Grip: Claw
  • Price: £49.99

Check out our full review here


Ozone Argon Ocelote World

Another mouse with an eSports pedigree, the Ozone Argon is a great gaming mouse, but we like their special edition which was designed by legendary pro gamer Ocelote. Equipped with a pin point accurate Laser sensor, a switchable ambidextrous design, on the fly DPI switching, grippy side panels and 9 fully programmable buttons, the Argon has all the features you could likely ever need or want from a gaming mouse.

The stylish and lightweight design is certainly appealing, but you can also benefit from a weight tuning system that allows you to customise the glide and balance of the mouse to best suit your play style. While not the cheapest or most expensive mouse here today, you will struggle to find better value for money than what Ozone have to offer here.

  • Buttons: 9
  • Sensor: ADNS 9800
  • Min DPI: 100
  • Max DPI: 8200
  • Macro Engine: Yes
  • Built-in Storage: 128KB / 5 Profiles
  • Weight: 125g + optional 4 x 4.5g
  • Grip: Claw
  • Price: £42.32

Check out our full review here


CM Storm Sentinel III

Cooler master is the only brand we have in this list twice, so you can be certain that there’s a good reason for doing so. Their recently released Sentinel III is their latest and greatest Sentinel gaming mouse yet, with practically every aspect of the mouse having been improved upon, especially the build quality, without ruining what we loved about the original.

The Sentinel III ticks all the right boxes for a desktop mouse, with an accurate sensor, fully programmable buttons, comprehensive software, a built-in OLED display for DPI and profile readout, weight tuning system, on-board memory, full RGB lighting and more, making it as versatile for office work, as it is for competitive gaming; a solid all-round mouse.

  • Buttons: 8
  • Sensor: Avago 3988
  • Min DPI: 400
  • Max DPI: 6400
  • Macro Engine: Yes
  • Built-in Storage: 512KB / 5 Profiles
  • Weight: 115g + optional 22.5g
  • Grip: Palm
  • Price: £39.99

Check out our full review here


Logitech G502 Proteus Core

There are a lot of things I can say about this mouse and every single on of them is positive. Without a doubt, the G502 is one of the best gaming mice in the world today and comes with all the latest features you would expect from a flagship gaming mouse.

Equipped with what may very well be the best sensor we’ve ever tested, the accuracy of the G502 is unmatched. With extensive customisation options available via the desktop software, 11 fully programmable buttons, a sniper mode button, on-board memory for saving your profiles, full RGB lighting, a weight tuning system, as well as the iconic unlockable scroll wheel that has been a popular feature for Logitech mice and so much more, there isn’t a thing that the G502 wouldn’t be perfect for.

It’s a little more expensive that some other options, but the saying that you get what you pay for rings loud and clear here, and I think it’ll be a long time before we see a better mouse on the market.

  • Buttons: 11
  • Sensor: Exclusive Delta Zero 12,000DPI
  • Min DPI: 200
  • Max DPI: 12,000
  • Macro Engine: Yes
  • Built-in Storage: Yes / 3 Profiles
  • Weight: 121g + optional 5 x 3.6g
  • Grip: Palm
  • Price: £54.99

Check out our full review here


Corsair Scimitar RGB

The world of MMO and RPG gaming can be quite demanding, with complex commands and more often than not, a control setup that uses virtually every key on the keyboard and mouse. The help gain more control and speed over the competition, the Scimitar deploys a fantastic mechanical keypad on the side of the mouse, giving you a frightening amount of flexibility for deploying macros, cooldown timers, shortcuts and more, giving you the edge over the competition when you’re in the middle of a complex raid mission.

On top of the monstrous amount of buttons, it’s also a fantastic looking mouse, with some of the coolest RGB lighting that you’ll find on any gaming mouse. Snappy and responsive switches, comprehensive software features, built-in memory and a fantastic sensor make the Scimitar a powerful weapon for control-intensive gaming.

  • Buttons: 17
  • Sensor: Optical
  • Min DPI: 100
  • Max DPI: 12,000
  • Macro Engine: Yes
  • Built-in Storage: Yes
  • Weight: 147g
  • Grip: Palm / Claw
  • Price: £69.99

Check out our full review here


TteSports Ventus X

One of the more affordable mice on our list today, the Ventus X is a great all-round mouse that may not have all of the crazy features of some of the products we’ve suggested so far, but it certainly has all the basics right.

A smooth sensor, snappy and response switches, comfortable ergonomics, a new grip coating and durable rubber grip side panels, weight tuning system, LED lighting, hand ventilation, macro engine and more make it suitable for a wide range of gaming and work applications, it also looks pretty stylish too.
The laser sensor may not be the highest grade on this list, but you’ll find it gives silky smooth results right across the range, giving you excellent accuracy. Combined with the effortless glide and tunable weight, it’s easy to use even after many hours of gaming.

  • Buttons: 6
  • Sensor: Avago 9500 Laser
  • Min DPI: 100
  • Max DPI: 5700
  • Macro Engine: Yes
  • Built-in Storage: 128KB
  • Weight: 155g + Optional 3 x 4.5g
  • Grip: Palm / Claw
  • Price: £30.65

Check out our full review here


G.Skill Ripjaws MX780

G.Skill may be relatively new to the peripherals market, having spent years making award-winning memory products, but the MX780 is proof that they’re able to deliver the same relentless high-quality and performance in a new market. The MX780 is not only one of the best-looking mice we’ve ever seen, it’s also packed full of fantastic features, such as the removable side panels that allow you to tweak the ergonomics, or turn it from a right to left-handed mouse.

All the high-end features you would expect are here, RGB lighting, high-quality sensor and switches, weight tuning system and more, all topped off by the fantastic laser sensor, making this a great gaming mouse for a wide range of users, play styles and more.

  • Buttons: 8
  • Sensor: Avago Laser
  • Min DPI: 100
  • Max DPI: 8200
  • Macro Engine: Yes
  • Built-in Storage: 512KB
  • Weight: 111g + optional 2 x 4.5g
  • Grip: Palm
  • Price: £59.62

Check out our full review here


Roccat Tyon

The Tyon is an easy mouse for me to recommend, as it has been my mouse of choice for a year now and I’ve no intention of swapping it out anytime soon. The sensor is great, offering up to 8200 DPI and the rather fantastic software from Roccat is, in my opinion, the best on the market.

Customising the mouse with macros, RGB lighting effects, the sensor performance and more is easily done and with the addition of a dual switch fin on the top, a button on the wing, extra buttons next to the LMB and RMB, as well as an analogue thumb controller, the Tyon is an unrivaled mouse for FPS gaming; especially for games like Battlefield, where those extra buttons are great for controlling vehicles.

  • Buttons: 16
  • Sensor: Pro-AM R3 Laser
  • Min DPI: 50
  • Max DPI: 8200
  • Macro Engine: Yes
  • Built-in Storage: 576kb
  • Weight:
  • Grip: Palm / Claw
  • Price: £72.62

Check out our full review here


Razer Mamba 2015 – 16,000 DPI

Razer is one of the most recognisable gaming brands in the world, proving a popular choice for gamers at home, as well as many members of the eSports community. Razer claimed their new Mamba mouse was one of the most advanced mice ever created and while it comes with the price tag to reflect this, it delivers on features and performance that help justify the investment.

Capable of being used wirelessly and wired, with incredible RGB lighting effects, a fully programmable button layout, one of the best sensors you could ever imagine on a mouse and so much more. Capable of performing at up to 16,000 DPI, there’s no doubt this sensor can provide you with everything you need and more. However, the best features, at least in my opinion, is the adjustable click responses on the left and right mouse buttons. Wants them fast and light or clicky and heavy? Not a problem, just turn the screw and get them just how you like them.

  • Buttons: 9 + tilt-click scroll wheel
  • Sensor: Razer 5G Laser
  • Min DPI: 50
  • Max DPI: 16,000
  • Macro Engine: Yes
  • Built-in Storage: Yes
  • Weight: 125g
  • Grip: Palm / Claw
  • Price: £134.99

Check out our full review here

How to Make Windows 10 Boot Faster

Windows 10 is already an extraordinary success story for Microsoft and managed to achieve 110 million user installs in just two months. This is absolutely staggering and illustrates the huge amount of users migrating from older operating systems. Clearly, the free upgrade incentive is working wonders but there are still some concerns regarding privacy, and I’ve experienced a number of software bugs. On my own personal system, the Start Menu, Photos application and Windows Explorer stops functioning after the system powers on after sleep. This is infuriating and happened on quite a few occasions.

As with any new operating system, the software glitches will be rectified and it’s just a matter of patience. Another complaint regarding Windows 10 is the boot times on SSDs. While it’s not slow, booting in some cases can take longer than Windows 8/8.1. Thankfully, Lifehacker reported on a hidden setting which dramatically improves boot times.

To enable fast startup, please follow these instructions:

  1. “Search for and open “Power options” in the Start Menu.
  2. Click “Choose what the power buttons do” on the left side of the window.
  3. Click “Change settings that are currently unavailable.”
  4. Under “Shutdown settings” make sure “Turn on fast startup” is enabled.”

As you can see from the screenshot, this doesn’t affect restart times but should theoretically improve cold boot times by a significant margin. Furthermore, the majority of PCs which have a fresh install will have this setting disabled. As a result, it’s certainly worth taking the time to enable fast startup.

Have you experienced any problems with Windows 10?

First Fallout 4 ENBSeries Mod Now Available for Download

Have you been enjoying Fallout 4 on PC? I know I haven’t! That’s right, I’m one of the few people who is willingly waiting until after the new year to enjoy the latest Bethesda has to offer, as I know there will be a few important patches, driver updates and most importantly, the first wave of performance and graphics enhancing mods available.

We already reported on the first “mod” for the game, with the release of a SweetFX update, which you can view here. Now we’ve also got our hands on the first ENBSeries mod courtesy of modder Boris Vorontsov, who released the update earlier today.

“This is patch without any graphic enhancements. It fixes game specific bugs or at least designed for that as i don’t have bugs for test them myself. Please post here results, if it helps, on the contrary CTDs or new kind of bugs with it, incompatiblity with other software.”

The mod only includes a few simple features for now, but let’s give the guy a break, it’s only been out a few days and updates are bound to start rolling out soon. If you want to download the mod, hit up the ENB page here.

As you can see in the video below, the mod helps fix some of the major issues that have been plaguing PC gamers, such as the high-framerate glitch and other issues.

https://youtu.be/R3PypteocPs

How to Improve Your Xbox One to PC Stream Quality

Microsoft has been steadily grouping the Xbox brand and Windows 10 together with a renewed focus on gaming. Back in January, streaming functionality between Xbox and PC was added which allowed you to play Xbox One games on multiple devices. The main caveat is you still had to own an Xbox One console which made this move pointless to a number of PC Gamers. While the streaming software has tons of potential, the video quality is quite average and based on a compressed video stream.

Thanks to Reddit user, OomaThurman (Fantastic name), there is a manual fix to increase the streaming quality and reach speeds of 20mbps. This provides a clearer, sharper image and while not groundbreaking, is a very noticeable difference. To alter the video feed quality from High to Very High, please follow these instructions:

Locate the Xbox App folder and open “userconsoledata” with a text editor such as Notepad++. This folder should be placed in C:\Users\%USERNAME%\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.XboxApp_~~~~~~\LocalState. If you cannot access the folder, ensure “Show hidden files and folders” is checked in Windows’ folder options. Now, press Control and F, and type “IsInternalPreview”. Once you have found this entry, change the flag to “true”; there may be multiple entries which need changing.

Next, you should be able to select the Very High preset and stream to your PC in maximum quality. Redditer, Chickern provided two images showing World of Tanks in action and compared High with Very High. The top image shows the High preset while the bottom is a Very High stream, or is it? I’ll let you decide! Our editor Peter tested it out too and reported a leap from 720p stream to 1080p@60fps in Forza 5.

How to Stop Windows 10 From Sharing Your Bandwidth

The Windows 10 upgrade procedure is remarkably simple and easily reversed if you prefer an older operating system. To manage the bandwidth demands, Microsoft uses a peer-to-peer (P2P) system which allows your network to host the data for additional machines. However, a number of Reddit users discovered the P2P update delivery protocol extended to computers outside of your network and across the globe. Subsequently, this can reduce your download and upload bandwidth as you seed the data to other Windows users.

Currently, there’s no substantial evidence which estimates the impact of the worldwide P2P delivery. It’s clear this has caused some concern and can be manually disabled via the following process:

Firstly, click the “Start Menu” and select the “Settings” tab.

This should open a new window and you need to click on the “Update & Security” sub-menu.

Navigate to the “Windows Update” option on the left side panel, and click “Advanced Options”.

This next menu simply involves scrolling down to the bottom and clicking on “Choose how updates are delivered”.

Once complete, change the highlighted option to “PCs on my local network”. Doing so will disable network sharing across the internet and restrict your bandwidth to a local connection.

In real terms, I’m not entirely convinced the network sharing will have a major impact on the average user’s internet connection. Although, some people may oppose the idea of using their own network to manage traffic instead of Microsoft building a greater networking infrastructure.

Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information

How to Rollback From Windows 10 in a few Clicks

Windows 10 has finally arrived and already accounts for an estimated market share of 0.375%. Microsoft’s figures suggest a staggering 14 million devices were activated within 24 hours of launch. However, Microsoft’s latest and probably last operating system has come under fire due to privacy concerns and users have reported some unnerving bugs. The procedure to revert from Windows 10 is relatively simple, but it must be done within 30 days of your initial upgrade date.

If you decided to perform an upgrade without transferring any files, make sure to back up any data on an external flash drive or optical media. Operating systems are prone to anomalies when using a system restore or reformat so it’s important to have a contingency plan. Once your data has been successful backed up, it’s now time to instigate the rollback from Windows 10.

Firstly, navigate to the Start Menu and click on the Setting tab. This will bring up the traditional Control Panel which contains a number of categorized options.

Click on the Update and security icon to access a new screen with installation commands.

Next, you should be able to see the Update and security menu which contains a host of system tools. On the left, there is a tab entitled, “Recovery”. Click this and the right hand section will display 3 key options. Ensure you select the “Get Started button” underneath the label “Go back to Windows 7/8/8.1”.

Once pressed, Microsoft allows you to cancel the process or offer feedback on the decision to drop Windows 10 from your system. To proceed, you must tick one of the boxes and click next.

After choosing a reason for the rollback, Microsoft asks you to confirm the decision to prevent customers from making any rash decision.

Then, your PC will begin to automatically downgrade from Windows 10 and doesn’t require any user-input. This could take 10-30 minutes depending if you have an SSD or mechanical hard drive. When the procedure is finished, you should be able to log into your previous operating system without any problems.

Please let us know if this guide helped you and your overriding opinions of Windows 10 so far.

Graphics Card Buying Guide Spring 2015

Introduction


Graphic outputs are the most important output of the computer no matter what someone tells you about how an Intel i7-5960x is the best CPU there is, you still require a graphical output to see the magic. When purchasing your computers, it is most likely that the graphics options are the most scrutinised part of all the components; however, choosing the right graphics card for you can be daunting with so many to choose from. Graphics cards come from two major manufacturers, AMD and NVIDIA; both are extremely good at what they do and can offer the consumer amazing graphical performance. From there, each manufacturer then has vendors; some cover both parties such as Gigabyte, others only cover one such as Sapphire for AMD and Zotac for NVIDIA. When considering graphics cards to choose from, you have to consider the following hardware factors:

  • System case size
    • It’s all well and good buying a Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 970 because you have the money, but when you find it won’t fit in your Shuttle PC case; jokes on you for not measuring
  • Processor
    • This factor only really comes into play when considering high power graphics cards and pairing with older generations of processors. The likes of an AMD Phenom X3 710 won’t give you the full benefit of an AMD R9 295×2 graphics card like an Intel i7 processor could.
  • Screen sizes, quantity and resolutions
    • You tend to find a lot of people will buy the highest powered graphics card and pair it with a standard 23″ 1080p monitor. That’s OK for achieving constantly high FPS, but pointless considering the cards power. The same goes for users who buy a low-powered graphics card and wonders why they can’t play Crisis on 3 screens.
  • Power Supply
    • This is where things get confusing for a lot of people. Imagine you just went into a local computer shop and bought a 600w power supply for £15, 9/10 times that 600w is only a burst value; meaning it cannot sustain 600w for more than a few seconds. This is one area of your computer that you should never do on the budget end, a general rule of thumb is £10 per 100w, but with components becoming cheaper; prices are falling.

OverclockersUK is one of the largest specialised computer component resellers in the UK, they are highly regarded in the computer enthusiast world and can offer some of the best deals in the UK, EU and sometimes the world. This buying guide will use the pricing and product range displayed on the OCUK website without offers and shipping. For the purpose of this buying guide, I will be concentrating on the consumer-grade discrete desktop single graphics cards; the offerings from integrated processor graphics will not be covered in great detail.

So let us do all of the legwork for you and show you what is best to buy at what budget.

This guide is updated quarterly/immediately after major releases. Last updated: 06/05/2015

VR Gaming: Building Your Own Oculus Rig

Introduction


I’ve had my Oculus Rift VR Headset, more specifically the DK2, for several months now, but one question keeps coming back time and time again, what kind of system do you need to run VR software? It’s a very tricky question to ask and one that’s typically a little more complicated than putting together a normal gaming rig, but let’s see if I can help.

The first thing that you need to be aware of is the absolute minimum recommended specifications from Oculus Rift for the DK2 headset. While these are easily attainable, keep in mind they’re for the minimum level of performance on basic applications and are likely to be worthless in a few months time, as I’m guessing DK3 will be upon us in mid 2015.

Q: What are the minimum requirements and recommended specifications for the Oculus Rift Development Kit 2?

A: Minimum requirements: A computer running a Windows 7 or Windows 8, Mac OS 10.8 or higher, or Ubuntu 12.04 LTS operating system, 2 USB ports (at least one powered), and a DVI-D or HDMI graphics output.

Recommended specifications: A desktop computer running a dedicated graphics card with DVI-D or HDMI graphics output, with capability of running current generation 3D games at 1080p resolution at 75fps or higher.

Typically you’ll find that most of you are running Windows 7 or above, Mac OS 10.8 or a recent Linux distro, if you’re OS is not up to speed, then that’s the first thing you need to update. I’m running a fully updated Windows 7 Pro, so that’s that part covered.

The next issue will be graphics card/s, these need to have a DVI-D or HDMI display output, preferably both or one of each, a single output will cause you a world of problems that I’ll get to later. Since you’re likely looking at gaming via the Oculus Rift, you’re going to have to tackle on of the most important issues with 3D gaming and VR; graphics processing power. You need a fast card to enjoy many of the latest VR games and you can easily benchmark the performance of your current hardware to see how it may hold up. I recommend you download something like Unigine Heaven, if you can get that running at medium to high settings with a frame rate around or above 100fps, you’re going to be just fine and if you can hit 150fps with these settings, you’re on easy street. While Oculus Rift only needs a steady 75FPS for optimal performance, this is rendered in 3D and is reflective of rendering everything twice; hence the 100fps+ 2D benchmark.

I scored 168fps and I could see the average was well above 100fps while running the benchmark. How does your rig compare?

What if your system cannot meet that level of graphics performance? Plain and simple, you’re going to have to upgrade your rig, or only use DK2 demos that have less demanding requirements, which doesn’t leave you with a lot of options. I was running the Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 Ti prior to getting Oculus Rift, which would have skimmed by on a minimum level with graphics turned right down, but I decided to go one, no wait, two better than that; I bought a pair of Sapphire R9 280X Tri-X Vapor-X 3GB graphics cards.

The Best Oculus Rift Experiences You Can Enjoy Right Now

Introduction


Oculus Rift is easily one of the coolest pieces of technology that I’ve ever owned. I personally own their DK2 headset, which is certainly not ready for general consumer consumption, but that doesn’t mean to say it can’t still be a lot of fun. I’m not the only early adopter out there and I’m sure I won’t be the last, especially given that the consumer model could be another year away from release.

Oculus demos, games and other types of software are steadily streaming onto the internet, many of them completely free of charge. Most developers haven’t even had their DK2 headset any longer than I have, but many of them have already produced some truly stunning experiences.

This article is obviously best suited for those who already own an Oculus Rift, or at least those who have ordered one and are eagerly awaiting its delivery. If you would love to know more about the technology, then you can check out our featured review here, or our game review/DK2 setup guide here.

Everybody Can NAS, a Beginners Guide to OpenMediaVault

Introduction


What is a NAS?

NAS is the acronym for ‘Network Attached Storage’ and that is just what it is. Storage that is directly attached to your network, thereby allowing you to access its content from all your smart devices. In this article I’ll take you along the road of setting up and configuring your own NAS, even for a small wallet. It sounds so simple and it is. But it is also something that can make your every-day digital-life a lot easier and more enjoyable.

Having a NAS in your household allows you to have a centralized storage for all your backups, media files and documents. This again gives you the ability to easy access them from all your devices, may it be your smart TV, your phone or tablet, your computers or game consoles and what else comes to mind.

Some of the first words that scare most people away from setting up a NAS themselves are ‘linux’ and ‘network’. While it might not be something you have experience with, I guarantee it’s all very easy and quick to do.

What about the hardware?

So how does it work and what exactly is it you ask? Well, a NAS is technically just a PC like any other, some might also refer to it as a server or computer. In the end it is the operating system that is the factor. The whole idea behind it is to have a centralized storage for all your files. To archive this, it has to be running all or most of the time and there are some key features we need to look at:

  • Low power consumption
  • Headless usage (no keyboard, mouse or monitor required)
  • Small form factor and silent operation

In my opinion there is the perfect device on the market for just that. It’s cheap, it’s solid and at many times you even get mail in rebates or cash-back on them. But more on that later.

What Skills and Tools do you need?

To set up a NAS? Actually not many. You will need the following skills: Use the screwdriver that is included, Able to attach a cable to a plug and you will need to be able to read and use a website.

You will also need a couple other small things in order to follow this little guide to setting up a HP micro server, but not much. You need a MOLEX to SATA power adapter, a SATA data cable and either some duct tape or a 3½ inch to 5¼ inch adapter. You will also temporary need a USB stick, a Monitor and keyboard during installation. And that is pretty much it, so you see, everybody can NAS.

The perfect device

For this job, Hewlett-Packard have created the perfect line of micro servers. The N36L, N40L and N54L, also known as G7 microservers. The only difference between the three models is the CPU speed. Slower doesn’t always mean cheaper, so check prices on all three devices before you commit. On my last purchase I found that the N54L was the cheapest of them all, but any of the three will do fine for a home NAS.

It has 4 cold-swap bays for your storage hard-drives and a 5¼ inch for either your boot-drive, extra hard-drive(s) or anything else that fits. In most cases, and in ours here, it will used for the boot drive.

The G7 microserver comes with a 250 GB 7200RPM HDD included and that is just perfect as system disk for our new NAS. If that wasn’t enough, it also has 4GB ECC memory included in 1 module with room for a second.

Inside it has two PCI-Express expansion slots, one x16 and one x1. The single also has additional control ports for HP remote-control cards.

It even comes with tools included, nothing extra is really needed. It can be run straight away with what’s in the box, but you will of course also need some hard drives as storage for all your files. You can start with one and upgrade later or you can fill it up right away, the choice is yours.

At the time of writing, the N54L can be had for €153 in Germany and £131 in the United Kingdom making it a real bargain. I couldn’t find it cheaper than $357 in the US making it less of a deal over there.

The HP N54L comes in a very simple cardboard box only printed with the name and a representation of the server on the front and back.

On the side of the cardboard box we find a small sticker with the model and serial number. The box doesn’t offer much information besides that.

Opening up the box we see all is securely packed in spacey Styrofoam and with the accessories on top.

Unpacking the accessories, we find power cables for UK and for Germany/EU, a small manual and update instructions.

Pro Overclocker 8Pack Gives Overclocking Demo At The O2 Arena

Pro Overclocker 8Pack Gives Overclocking Demo At The O2 Arena


Amongst the global community of computer enthusiasts, there are many that dream of having a system that was faster but without having to pay high amounts of money in some cases to get just that. Fortunately for many people, the process of overclocking their systems comes straight to mind and with ease they are able to unlock some extra free performance from their existing components by a process of tweaking setting mainly in the system BIOS.

For a large majority of users however, the idea of doing just that or the thought of playing around in the systems BIOS without the knowledge of what to do is what holds them back and even with many online guides for overclocking available, sadly there’s not too many chances where some of these users get the change to get a workshop based look in to overclocking 101.

This week at the o2 arena in London, Students from all over the world have honed in on the area for a week long technology festival where they can get together with other like minded people and interact in the world’s biggest electronic entertainment event.

Campus Party is an annual week long, 24-hours-a-day technology festival where thousands of “Campuseros” (hackers, developers, gamers and technophiles), equipped with laptops, camp on-site and immerse themselves in a truly unique environment.

Recognized as the biggest electronic entertainment event in the world, Campus Party unites the brightest young minds in technology and science under the idea that “the Internet is not a network of computers, it’s a network of people.”

The festival features over 500 hours of talks, debates, workshops, competitions and hackathons related to science, innovation, digital entertainment and creativity. Additionally, hundreds of hours of ad-hoc events are planned by participants and continue throughout the night.

The overclocking workshop was undertaken by a group of of enthusiasts wh0 included Ian Cutress, the UK’s #1 enthusiast overclocker, Kenny ‘K404’ and finally Overclockers UK’s very own Ian ‘8Pack’ Parry. As part of the 101, the workshop was split into two parts with the first part relating to the fundamentals of overclocking – ie what it is, why we do it, what we need and most importantly how we do it and then a demo of overclocking a Haswell i7 4670k from its stock speed as far it will go in the Intel shipped stock cooler to demonstrate the need for superior cooling.

Asus were keen to pick up on the event and were kind enough to provide the kit for two overclocking setups using a Maximus VI Extreme, 8GB Patriot Black Mamba 2133Mhz memory, Intel i7 4760k and a GTX 760 Direct CUII. Power supply wise, at the heart of it was an Antec 1200W and Corsair AX1200i making sure that the power was clean and stable.

In the second session of the evening, the focus moved more towards extreme cooling and benching for world records. With 160l of fresh LN2 at the ready, the crowd quickly drew in to get a glimpse of what it takes to break a world record.

In the foreground 8Pack can be seen keeping both parts of his setup – which includes a 4770k running at 6.5GHz and a MSI GTX780 Lightning – running well below -100c in order to push for a new 3DMark05 record.

[Guide] Go Custom With The Cooler Master Eisberg Prestige!

Today I am going to show you how to go completely custom with your new Cooler Master Eisberg Prestige we reviewed here. This guide should certainly help you if you are new to water cooling and even more so if you have just purchased the Eisberg as a single unit and need ideas.

When I first got my hands on a Eisberg 240l unit a while ago I loved it. The 400 litres per hour specification made me jump for joy and the 5v,7v and 12v usage made me think it could be used with a pump controller such as the amazing Lamptron CW611. I looked at the compression fittings and the ribbed tubing thats so common now with AIO coolers and couldn’t help myself to start asking questions. Maybe replacing the fittings and tubes would be nice? Perhaps even a bigger radiator? Maybe add a large reservoir for much more liquid volume and give me a decent fill/drain? All these questions needed answering so today I took action and you guys can have a front row seat.

The parts I will be using come from very well known and respected manufacturers of liquid cooling parts. EK Water Blocks, Mayhems fluids and Primochill. Obviously there are many more manufacturers out there so what I will do is list the correct sizes and explain the function of these parts so it will help you in your purchasing decisions. If there are alternatives to the parts I’m using I will also give you a list of alternatives.

The skill level for doing this is moderate. If you have built your own air cooled system this will be a small learning curve. If you have built a liquid cooled system previously there may be a couple of tips and tricks here for you.

Since we are toying with liquid and electrical components here Eteknix in no way holds responsibility if you spill a litre of fluid on your mobo or poke yourself in the eye with tubing.

With this said Let us move on to the next page so we can get cracking!

Next-Gen Xbox Guide

Last year rumours were flying around about Microsoft’s next console, naturally they want to keep things quiet so sales of current hardware are not affected, not to mention share prices.

With Job postings revealing that the Xbox Console Architecture team was hunting for new blood “Successful candidates will join a team that will be responsible for defining and delivering next generation console architectures from conception through implementation.”

ITProPortal also suggested in October 2011 that several employees were giving away their involvement on their LinkedIn profiles, such as “Xbox Next Gen Creative Director.”

Microsoft blogger MS Nerd outed the name Xbox Loop, claiming that the long-awaited console will be “far smaller”, cheaper and quite Kinect-focused when it finally lands on our shelves.

Speculation about new types of controller, not being able to play used games and “the cloud”, it can be hard to keep track of what is happening, so let’s start by breaking the console down into its various component and analyse them one at a time, maybe then we can wrap our head around the steady stream of rumours and leaks that have surfaced over the last 12 months.