It would seem the dark is set to become a scarier place with games like Thief becoming movies. If the idea of a master thief sneaking around wasn’t enough to make you want to avoid the dark then the creatures from Metro 2033 will probably be best left on the small screen as it’s been revealed that Metro 2033 is set become a film.
Based on a novel by Dmitry Glukhovsky, the book follows the story of Artyom and as he explores the world after “the war that ended the world” and the mysterious creatures titled “the Dark Ones”. The series is set in the dark tunnels of Moscow’s subway system, a dark tunnel where both friend and foe live in the dark corners of its embrace.
Commenting on the news that a Metro 2033 movie is in early development, Glukhovsky commented saying “my novel and I have been waiting for this to happen for the last ten years”. As with many writers Glukhosvsky said he was “extremely careful about handing my ‘baby’ over to Hollywood producers for adaption for a feature film” but was convinced to hand over the concept as Michael De Luca and Stephen L’Heureux “have a great vision”.
Are you a fan of the book? Maybe the game got you into the world of Metro? Do you believe a film is a good idea for this series and if so who would you cast?
Closed-loop liquid coolers have become extremely popular in the CPU market due to the cleaner build, and greater space around the CPU socket compared to traditional air cooling hardware. This means you can install an all in one liquid cooler without having to make concessions in terms of memory compatibility or worry too much about your motherboard’s PCI-E arrangement. As you might expect, all in one liquid coolers have progressively moved into the GPU sector to offer improved overclocking headroom and a lower noise output. There are some interesting parallels between CPU and GPU all in one liquid cooling though which needs to be addressed.
Firstly, many air coolers like the Noctua NH-D15 can outperform Asetek units, while being much quieter. It’s a similar picture with graphics cards because proficient air cooling setups including the Gigabyte Windforce X3 and Sapphire Tri-X provide a superb noise to performance ratio. Liquid cooled graphics cards have a price premium and involve a more complicated installation process. It’s important to remember that Maxwell is a very mature and efficient architecture which allows vendors to enable a 0dB idle fan mode. Despite my own qualms about closed-loop liquid cooling, it’s fantastic to see products which cater to a different target market. There’s clearly a demand for pre-assembled liquid cooled graphics cards, and their appeal is bound to grow in the next few years.
Today, we’re taking a look at the Inno3D GTX 980Ti iChill Black which utilizes a very powerful hybrid cooling solution. The GPU incorporates a traditional fan which only switches on during heavy load, in addition to a 120mm fan/radiator combination. The Arctic Cooling radiator fan is constantly on but has a very low RPM curve to maintain silent running. This impeccable hardware allows for an impressive core clock of 1203MHz and default boost reaching 1304MHz. The memory has also been increased to 7280MHz. As you can see from the chart below, this isn’t the greatest configuration we’ve encountered from the factory, but it’s exceedingly fast and should be a top performer. It will be fascinating to contrast this graphics card with the marvellous Inno3D GTX 980Ti X3 Ultra DHS which opts for a hefty air cooling design.
Packing and Accessories
The Inno3D GTX 980 Ti iChill Black comes in a huge box to properly house the closed loop cooler’s tubing and protect against leaks during shipping. Honestly, the picture doesn’t provide an accurate depiction of the packaging’s size. I have to commend Inno3D because they have taken the precautionary steps to reduce the possibility of damage occurring and utilized strong foam inserts as cushioning materials. The box itself features an attractive render of the GPU, and outlines its specification.
On the rear portion, there’s a brief synopsis of NVIDIA’s Maxwell architecture. I’m a bit surprised to see the back doesn’t contain any information about the liquid cooling solution and the acoustical benefits compared to NVIDIA’s reference cooler.
In terms of accessories, the graphics card is bundled with mounting screws, 6-pin PCI-E to molex adapter, case badge, DVI-D to VGA adapter and installation guide. There’s also a driver’s disk which you should disregard, a copy of 3DMark, and other documentation. This is a great selection of items and provides everything you need to get started! The mouse mat is surprisingly high-quality and relatively thick.
Once again, it is review time at eTeknix HQ and iBuyPower gives us the chance to test their Noctis Intel Z97. The case is a brand new iBuyPower version of the equally new NZXT Noctus 450. Inside we have an Intel i7 4790K, an EVGA Superclocked GTX 980, 16GB of DDR3 1600, and a 240GB SSD. Cooling the 4790K is a 120mm AIO CPU liquid cooler with two fans in a push-pull configuration. The 4790K has a Turbo frequency up to 4.4GHz, and with the EVGA Superclocked GTX 980 running up to 1505MHz core and 3505MHz memory makes this system well suited for some great gaming performance.
The system was put together using the iBuyPower Z97 system configurator, and parts were chosen to make a system that would make a very capable gaming system while not going overboard and trying to stay budget conscious. I was trying to stay under the $2,000 and what I ended up with was a system that comes out to an affordable $1,530, so lets give it a go and see how it does. I will also look for ways I could improve on the build while still staying within that $2,000 budget that I was aiming for.
The shipping box is immense and will likely need two people to move it unless you are capable of carrying large precarious objects safely.
Inside is the box for the iBuyPower NZXT Noctis 450, well padded with heavy foam that will be great for keeping the systems intact.
Inside the Notcis case box, the original case packaging is used, with closed cell foam keeping it very secure and stable.
The unboxed system is striking with the matte black finish and the blue mesh accents. The matte finish can pick up fingerprints and dust so keep some cleaner and a microfiber cloth handy if you are picky about that kind of thing. There is a piece of printed paper on the side of the case illustrating how to remove the Instapak foam that keeps the internals of the system secure while shipping.
Around a month ago we announced to you that AMD was releasing version 3.0 of its Eyefinity software package. One of the key new additions to AMD’s Eyefinity 3.0 software is the ability to support mixed resolution monitors in an Eyefinity configuration through a variety of methods. This exciting addition means you can mix and match a variety of displays so there’s no reason to scrap any mis-matched monitors if you want to do multi-screen gaming.
Mixed resolution support will be implemented in three different ways: fill mode, expand mode and fit mode. The first of those, fill mode, utilises the full resolution of all displays but as a result of that the resolutions created are not quadrilateral (i.e. are not rectangular). The next mode, expand mode, creates a rectangular resolution based on the vertical pixel count of the highest resolution display and the combined horizontal width of all displays. The resulting area that the smaller displays cannot show is designated as “unavailable area” because the displays lack the resolution to project it.
The final method is fit mode by which the vertical pixel counts are kept constant across all three displays so it will use the maximum common vertical height. In the example below you can see that you’d end up with three 1080p height screens but the middle one becomes 2560 x 1080. This differs to previous Eyefinity where it would simply set the middle display to 1920 x 1080, now you can use the extra width by sacrificing the height which is preferable to sacrificing both.
To test out this new AMD Eyefinity technology AMD have sent us over the required monitors to run a 6400 x 1080 configuration. The first is the central 2560 x 1080 resolution display, for this AMD sent us the AOC Q2963PM 29 inch panel. Despite being a 29 inch panel, the vertical height is the same as a 23 inch 1920 x 1080 panel because remember panel height is measured diagonally, the extra width doesn’t make this display any taller. To go either side of the AOC Q2963PM AMD also sent us two NEC MultiSync E231W displays. Together these three panels form a 6400 x 1080 resolution with a uniform vertical height that makes it look like a natural combination. For testing this high-resolution set up we are testing it with XFX’s R9 290X Double Dissipation 4GB graphics card on our usual high-end graphics card test system. We were tempted to use CrossFire 290Xs but decided to opt for one card to keep the results as realistic and accessible as possible.
Steam for Linux has been out for a while now but it hasn’t really brought any top-tier games as of yet. Apart from Valve games and some indie developers most developers haven’t been interested in offering Linux support or giving people the relevant tools to develop that open source support. That said, according to Softpedia we could be seeing Metro Last Light arrive on Steam for Linux in the very near future, and Metro Last Light is definitely a top-tier game.
The information comes from the CDR database over at Steam Database which shows that the Linux version will soon have Metro Last Light. While this isn’t a rock-solid confirmation we have seen a typical trend in the past of new Steam games being visible in the CDR database about a month before their official launch.
Stay tuned to this one and we will be sure to bring you more details as soon as we get them.
Deep Silver today announced that the ‘Faction Pack’ – the first piece of DLC for 4A Games’ critically acclaimed Metro: Last Light – is set for worldwide release on Steam and Xbox LIVE on July 16th, and will hit the PlayStation Network on July 16th in North America and July 17th in Europe and the rest of the world.
The ‘Faction Pack’ includes three original single player missions, each casting the player as a different specialist from the warring Factions. Returning to some classic locations from Metro 2033, these missions feature new weapons, the return of a truly terrifying mutant foe, and offer three distinct gameplay challenges…
As a Special Detachment Sniper of the Redline, players must infiltrate a heavily guarded Reich Outpost at night, under the cover of a deadly radioactive storm… before defending the front line as a Reich ‘Heavy’, armed with some of the most devastating weaponry found in the Metro.
Lastly, players take the role of a Polis Ranger in training, tasked with exploring the vast Library complex for artifacts and relics. Salvage can be exchanged for ammunition, filters and hazard suits allowing ever deeper exploration into the Library. Rangers are advised to light torches and leave a trail of lights so they can find their way back to the base before their precious oxygen runs out…
The Faction Pack will cost just $4.99 / £3.99 / €4.99 / 400 MSP, and is the first of four DLC packs to be included in the Metro: Last Light Season Pass, which at $14.99 / £11.99 / €14.99 / 1200 MSP offers a discount over buying the packs separately, and also includes an additional exclusive weapon, the Abzats.
Deep Silver also revealed additional details on the content of the future DLC packs.
The ‘Tower Pack’ presents a unique experience for seasoned Metro gunslingers – a challenge based game mode, with online Leaderboard support, as players fight their way up the combat simulator known as The Tower
The ‘Developer Pack’ boasts a fully stocked Shooting Gallery, the AI Arena and Metro Museum… And a bonus solo mission – The Spiders’ Nest – offers some new tools for dealing with an infestation of the skittering Spider mutants
Lastly the Chronicles Pack will feature original single player missions that cast the player as three of the game’s standout characters – Pavel, Khan and Anna – and explore their side-stories away from Artyom’s adventure
Now it appears Sapphire is joining in, arranging deals with EA independently of AMD. Sapphire technology is going to be providing a copy of SimCity with its 1GB HD 7790 that it is dubbing the HD 7790 SimCity Edition graphics card. This deal is currently a Japan only exclusive, but it may be expanded to other regions depending on its success. We are not 100% certain if the inclusion of SimCity eliminates eligibility of the Never Settle Reloaded bundle but we certainly hope it doesn’t. It is expected that the SimCity edition of the Sapphire 1GB HD 7790 will be only slightly higher priced than the “normal” variant that doesn’t include the SimCity game, although if the Never Settle Reloaded bundle eligibility is removed in place of SimCity then we would surely expect the pricing to be identical.
As far as the graphics card goes, it is based off the Sapphire HD 7790 2GB OC graphics card design except it is missing the backplate, features only 1GB of GDDR5 VRAM and uses stock AMD clock speeds of 1000MHz core and 6GHz effective memory.
The Metro Last Light developers, 4A Games and the Metro Last Light publishers, Deep Silver, have just announced that everyone who picks up a copy of the Metro Last Light game via Steam will be given a free copy of the novel that created the Metro series of games. For those who don’t know, the Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light games are actually based on Novels by Dmitry Glukhovsky. To be exact Glukhovsky released two books so far Metro 2033 and Metro 2034 while his upcoming book Metro 2035 will be released soon. The game Metro 2033 was predictably based on the Metro 2033 book while Metro Last Light is said to be based mainly on Metro 2035 and have little to no resemblance to the Metro 2034 storyline although it is similar in themes and style.
Deep Silver and 4A Games are offering a copy of the Metro 2033 novel with the Metro Last Light game orders on Steam – naturally it is going to be a digital copy. It is not known whether copies of Metro Last Light that are acquired in the Nvidia game bundle will give this free book, but since it is based on Steam activations it would seem likely that the Nvidia copy will also bring a free copy of the book. May the 14th is the release date for Metro Last Light and you can pre-order it from Steam, Green Man Gaming, GamersGate, etc.
Being a Gamer myself, I know it is unlikely I’d ever read the book. Although it could be interesting to have a skim through. What are your thoughts on being offered a free copy of the book? Does it make you want to purchase the game more? Or is it just a novelty extra?
Deep Silver has recently unveiled the full system requirements for the new Metro game. Metro Last Light, the sequel to Metro 2033, is a post-apocalyptic shooter based on the sci-fi novel written by Dmitry Glukhovsky. Nvidia is currently bundling this game with all GTX 660 (or higher) purchases for the foreseeable future.
Metro Last Light certainly promises to be both a gripping game in terms of the storyline, if Metro 2033’s gripping and scary gameplay was anything to go by. The graphics are sure to be equally as demanding as Metro 2033 was renowned for being a Crysis-style gaming benchmark that really stressed systems to their very limit. No doubt Metro Last Light will be very similar given the system requirements:
AMD’s Never Settle Reloaded game bundle has been in the news recently as they’ve added free games for GPUs as low down as the HD 7770. AMD’s impressive Never Settle Reloaded currently spans six games of which most graphics cards either come with 2 or 3 of those total six. More details can be seen in the previous link. Nvidia is finally responding with its own equivalent-of-sorts and is reportedly getting ready to bundle Metro Last Light with their GTX 660 or higher graphics cards.
This means the GTX 660, GTX 660Ti, GTX 670, GTX 680 and GTX 690 will all presumably now come with a free copy of Metro Last Light. This is good news for consumers because previously everything had been a bit one-sided with AMD offering extensive game bundles and Nvidia offering very little. Nvidia’s only venture into the gaming market was offering in-game currency for Hawken, World of Tanks and Planetside 2 which isn’t exactly a brilliant offer as they are all free to play games anyway.
Nvidia was reportedly rushing to get this one to market, believing it was going to lose out on sales with AMD. The Nvidia and Metro Last Light bundles will be available from April the 16th so if you are looking to buy a GTX 660 or above then you might as well hold out for a few more days.
What do you think of Nvidia offering Metro Last Light with select graphics cards? Is it enough? Should they offer more games? Should they offer it for lower cards like the GTX 650Ti and GTX 650Ti Boost?