Microsoft Promises to Fix Windows Store VSync Lock

Microsoft’s relationship with the PC gaming audience has been fairly turbulent due to the advent of Games for Windows Live and focus on console development. Many users are still haunted by Microsoft’s atrocious form of DRM, which resulted in lost saves, regional restrictions and a very basic accounts system. Furthermore, they never really showed any interest in the PC platform, and didn’t support it when there were concerns about its future. Thankfully, Valve stepped in and catapulted the popularity of PC games. There’s a certain irony though because Microsoft could be in Valve’s position if they catered to the PC community properly.

Thankfully, times have changed and Microsoft is adopting a more unified approach to mobile, PC and console. This means, the company is open to cross-platform releases and giving the PC key franchises which remained a console exclusive for some time. Admittedly, there’s still no Halo or Forza on the PC platform, but I cannot see an announcement being too far off. Instead of releasing their own games on Steam, Microsoft is pushing the Windows Store and trying to encourage people to upgrade to Windows 10. This makes sense because Valve takes a significant portion of a game’s revenue, simply for allowing a game to be sold on their service.

Sadly, the Windows Store has some major issues and Microsoft has to address them to even consider making PC gamers part with their hard-earned money. For example, a post on Reddit suggests there’s no SLI/Crossfire support, no modding support, no refund policy, and VSync is always on! Not only that, the game files are protected, monitoring software doesn’t work properly, and borderless full screen is your only option. Clearly, these are some very severe restrictions and concerning given Microsoft’s history with DRM.

Mike Ybarra, Partner Director of Program Management, Xbox and Windows Platform at Microsoft addressed some of these concerns and said:

Apparently, SLI/Crossfire is already functional, and depends on the developer. However, I encountered some problems with dual card setups on Rise of the Tomb Raider but only with the Windows Store version. I’m pleased to see the news that VSync will become optional because many people dislike the stutter it creates or use a G-Sync panel instead. Only time will tell if Microsoft creates an open PC platform, but it’s clear that the current store needs a lot of work.

SLI Fix Found for Rise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider is off to a flying start on the PC. The games graphics are jaw dropping, although, given the graphical powerhouse that we saw from the last game, that’s hardly surprising. Pushing the game to its limits is proving quite easy thanks to a well optimised game engine, and Nvidia has already released a GPU performance tweaking guide, ensuring you’re getting the best graphics and frame rates you can on Lara’s latest adventures.

The only major issue so far, as is often the case with modern gaming releases, is that SLI isn’t exactly working as we had hoped. If anything, SLI performance is a complete and utter mess on Rise of the Tomb Raider, at least for most users. Thankfully, ‘Blaire‘ from 3D Center has found a few simple tweaks that can not only get the SLI back up and running as it should, but they’ve even reported 95% scaling between their two Nvidia GPUs; I would test it right now, but I’m running a pair of AMD cards, so that may be a bit of an issue although reports are already showing similar results.

To get it working, you need to create a custom profile. You do this using the Nvidia Inspector Tool, where you can search for the Rise of the Tomb Raider profile and change its SLI bits (DX11) to 0x080002F5. Once that’s done, press on the magnifier icon and this will reveal Nvidia’s Undefined Options. Search for 0x00A0694B and set it to 0x00000001.

See, that wasn’t hard was it? If done correctly, which I’m sure you did, you should now have proper SLI support and see proper performance scaling.  Now get back to your day/night of gaming and enjoy the full performance of your shiny gaming hardware.

Be sure to let us know in the comments if you got it working, or not!

Ubisoft Confirms The Division Will Have Multi GPU Support And More!

Ubisoft has historically struggled to produce optimized PC versions of their major game releases which scale properly across a wide range of hardware configurations. For example, Watch Dogs ran extremely poorly, and didn’t really utilize SLI setups in an effective way. Additionally, it’s difficult to forget the complete mess that is Assassin’s Creed: Unity. As the PC gaming market continues to grow, it seems Ubisoft is finally starting to realize its potential and might just be investing the right resources to create a proper PC release. According to the publisher, The Division will not be a port, and feature a huge array of PC specific features:

  • Flexible user interface: move, scale and adjust the opacity of the HUD.
  • Intuitive controls: navigate easily through the interface, inventory panels and map designed specifically to be used with a mouse or a controller.
  • Full mouse & keyboard support: opt for the high precision mouse and keyboard experience and switch to a controller in the middle of any encounter without interruption.
  • Text chat: team up with more agents of The Division by using the in-game text chat.
  • Optimized graphic settings & customised GPU effects: adjust a vast variety of technology treats, from realistic lighting, shading, snow particles, local reflection, fog volumetric scattering, depth of field and much more…
  • Multi-GPU support: unleash the graphic power of the best computer set ups for jaw-dropping graphics powered by Massive Entertainment’s game engine Snowdrop.
  • Multi-screen support: play with up to three screens for the most immersive and stunning experience of The Division.
  • Multi-resolutions: opt for 1080p or 4k and automatically adapt the resolution to fit multi-screen configurations with FOV correction.
  • Unlocked framerate: let the most powerful computer reach the highest framerate.
  • HBAO+: enjoy the most realistic shadowing, lighting algorithm and ambient occlusion.

While, I’m still fairly cautious given Ubisoft’s chequered past, it’s fantastic to see HBAO+ implementation, multi-GPU support, an unlocked frame-rate, and native support for high resolution monitors. I do wonder if the resolution options extends to 21:9 panels without requiring a UI fix. Clearly, the PC version offers a huge boost in graphical fidelity compared to the current crop of consoles but there’s always suggestions about the visuals being downgraded. Despite this, the screens so far look pretty good, and it will be interesting to see the performance on various setups. Thankfully, I’ve already got my beta access code, and should be able to write-up a technical analysis once the beta officially begins.

GIGABYTE Launches Two AMD Socket AM3+ Motherboards With A Twist

It came as quite a surprise when GIGABYTE first mentioned their new AMD socket AM3+ based motherboards about a month ago and quite a few people were shocked by this news. But there can be a lot of benefits in these two new AM3+ based GIGABYTE motherboards, benefits that some people might not have considered.

The most likely scenario for these new motherboards is probably one where the old motherboard has died or generally just starts to bug around. It is time for a replacement despite that the user might originally have intended to wait for one of the new CPU architectures such as Intel’s upcoming Extreme series or AMD’s own Zen-based series. You could buy an up to six years old motherboard and gain nothing, or you could get one of GIGABYTE’s new ones and get a lot of benefits from modern technology and advancements that have been made since the AM3+ socket was introduced in 2009.

The two new motherboards are the GA-990FX-Gaming and GA-970-Gaming that both got the GIGABYTE G1 Gaming treatment. They come with an M.2 connectors that can transfer with up to 10Gb/s on the 970-based board and 20Gb/s on the 990FX-based.

Both can utilize NVMe and SATA drives, but you naturally you won’t reap the full benefits of an NVMe drive with 10Gb/s speeds. It would still be great and the board is able to use these modern drives with the result being a much faster systems and one that takes less CPU usage than an equivalent SATA version.

GIGABYTE also added USB 3.1 and USB Type-C connectors to these motherboards, allowing you to use the newest peripherals too. This again allows you to move forward with all other aspects of your system while you wait for one of the new hot platforms to be released.

The bigger of the two boards comes with three PCI-Express x16 slots and the smaller only has two, but both support dual-graphics solutions and you can add up to 32GB DDR3 memory to both. Another nice touch on the PCI-Express slots is the use of the exclusive ultra durable metal shielding that will give the slots more durability.

Being boards in the G1 Gaming series, these boards also come with great network and audio solutions. The Audio is taken care of by an 115dBB SNR HD Audio system with built-in rear audio amplifier and high-quality audio capacitors as well as the Audio Noise Guard with Ambient LED Trace Path Lighting to prevent interference. The network connection is provided by a KillerNIC E2200 network controller.

GIGABYTE didn’t reveal any pricing or availability, but considering that they are launched now they should be available soon and the pricing should be close to the predecessors.

MSI Designs Innovative SLI Bridge @ CES 2016

CES 2016: The SLI bridges bundled with motherboards are usually for two way configurations and adopt a flexible construction. While these are perfectly functional, they don’t really evoke a premium feel or accentuate the visual exuberance of a high-end custom build. Currently, there are some premium SLI bridges on the market directly from NVIDIA and EVGA which look absolutely fantastic! However, the latest product from MSI is the first I’ve encountered which incorporates a cooling fan.

This is an ingenious idea because multi-GPU configurations suffer from increased temperatures which can limit their overclocking ability. Additionally, it’s always recommended to use reference models in SLI due to the rear exhaust and blower design. On the other hand, this particular SLI bridge should help alleviate any marked temperature increases with custom coolers especially in 3 and 4 way setups.

Raven’s Cry Developer Claims “Anything Above 30FPS Does Not Matter”

PC gaming has always been about choice and the freedom to select between extremely high image quality. smooth framerate or a balance of both with the appropriate hardware. As a result, PC players are accustomed to 60 frames-per-second gameplay and some users even play games at framerates in excess of 120FPS. In contrast to this, the majority of console games only run at 30 frames-per-second due to performance constraints and prioritize resolution over framerate. Evidently, 60 frames-per-second is superior and produces much smoother gameplay despite outlandish claims by Ubisoft that it creates a more “cinematic experience.”

According to a Steam post found by The Dark Side of Gaming, the developer of Raven’s Cry made a number of bizarre statements regarding the lack of optimization and suggesting SLI isn’t incorporated due to development costs:

“On the one hand it is quite understandable, that a customer who spent 600+ bucks on a high end card (e.g 980Ti) expects that a game runs faster than on a 2 years old (e.g.780 GTX) – on the other hand … if you put two or four engines in a car it will be probably not run faster than with one powerful engine. It will for sure be more heavy and bigger, consume more fuel and be very expensive. Please notice, that the developers of the well known Benchmarks receive any support, money and any hardware they want from the graphic card manufacturers … we received the last free graphic card 5 years ago, never ever any money and have to purchase graphic cards like an end user without any discount in retail.”

Not only that, he also went onto suggest that 30 frames-per-second creates the optimal experience:

“And I may add something: it was not our intention to create a graphic benchmark. VCR is a complex RPG with unique characters and story driven. Our focus is on interesting quest chains (which are very difficult to create) and not on frames per second. Beside this I thing that anything above 30 FPS does not matter for the gaming experience. And on my PC i7, GF 780GTX the game runs with 4K never below 30 FPS. No idea what it does on a GF980ti – I heard it is sometimes slower.”

The latest sentence is frankly unbelievable and demonstrates a reckless and unprofessional attitude towards game development. You cannot just overlook the requirements of the high-end market and dismiss them so easily. Furthermore, if the game runs worse on better hardware, then there’s something wrong with the level of optimization and the developer’s coding prowess. This entire line of thinking is laughable as 60 frames-per-second clearly makes such a substantial difference to the core experience barring a few casual titles which rely on text or a basic art style.

Just Cause 3 Patch 1.02 Coming This Week

Just Cause 3 is a spectacular open-world action game which builds on the successful legacy of its predecessor. While some parts of the game can become repetitive, it’s easy to overlook given the vibrant environment and incredible explosions. The developer, Avalanche Studios is renowned for producing highly polished PC games such as Mad Max which scale superbly across a wide range of configurations. However, Just Cause 3’s launch was plagued by a day one patch, lack of SLI support and high system requirements. That’s not to say it’s unoptimized, as many people can play the game rather well.

Avalanche Studios’ representative, FistofZeno announced on Reddit that the 1.02 patch will be arriving some time this week and listed a comprehensive changelog which reads:

“In the 1.02 patch (132.1MB), you can expect:

*Significantly improved loading times

*Optimizations to online stats

*General stability fixes

*Fixed an issue related to challenges, wherein vehicles sometimes disappeared when starting a challenge

*Fixed issues related to screen resizing and closing the game window before the game has fully started up [PC Only]

To those of you still having issues, rest assured we are working hard to alleviate these, and are listening very closely to everything that’s being said.

While the patch will improve performance on the whole, we’ve listened to some of the other concerns raised about the game and put together a little list of points which might alleviate these issues:

UNSKIPPABLE CUTSCENES You can skip cutscenes, in fact – all you need to do is hold B on your gamepad, or hit ‘Skip’ from the pause menu.

NO SPRINT BUTTON This isn’t an oversight; it’s very much intended. Our designer’s intent was to encourage you to use Rico’s unique grapple to move around Medici far quicker than his legs would allow, as well as giving you the ability to traverse vertically.

NO CROUCH Rico doesn’t hide. Getting him up in the air is our version of the cover mechanic. Rico is far more deadly in the skies, than pinned behind a container on the ground.

FINDING THE LAST CHAOS OBJECT While there’s no mini-map to help you liberate bases and towns, you can always bring up your map to help find Chaos objects. When you’re down to the last few objects in any given settlement, an approximate location for these will be displayed on the map.”

Unfortunately, there’s no information regarding any support for multi-GPU configurations which is a crying shame. Although, I didn’t expect this as the engine doesn’t officially support SLI and could require some serious time investment to alter.

Just Cause 3 Engine Does Not Support Multi GPU Configurations

Avalanche Studios is a reputable PC developer and renowned for creating optimized games including Just Cause 2 and Mad Max. While Mad Max’s enviroment is fairly basic, you have to admire how well the game runs on modest hardware. Unfortunately, their latest project, Just Cause 3 appears to suffer from poor optimization and hefty system requirements. Granted, the game runs quite well on certain hardware, but there is a lot of reports from angry customers considering a refund. Furthermore, according to NVIDIA’s Andrew Burnes, Just Cause 3’s engine is not compatible with any multi GPU configurations and said:

“The engine is incompatible with all multi-GPU solutions, so no SLI support at this time.”

This is bizarre as Mad Max supported SLI-powered systems and scaled multiple cards in an impressive manner. Clearly, Just Cause 3 is using a completely different engine and can only enable multi-GPU support through a patch. Although, this involves modifying the game engine and I cannot realistically see this being implemented anytime soon. Just Cause 3 is the latest example of terrible multi-GPU support in triple-A games and I honestly wouldn’t recommend dual GPU setups for this reason alone. Publishers see this is a very niche market and don’t want to invest the time to support such a small sector of players. That’s no excuse though and I’d be very wary of purchasing an SLI or Crossfire setup if you want to utilize both cards on launch.

Hopefully, DirectX 12 functionality will make dual GPU configurations a viable option, but the time being, it seems developers have no interest in catering to this demographic.

Ubisoft Looking Into Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate SLI Issues

Assassin’s Creed: Unity is one of the worst PC releases in recent memory and plagued by terrible optimization, bugs and instability. As a result, Ubisoft promised to learn from their mistakes and ensure Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate ran smoothly. Currently, the general consensus is quite good on modest hardware providing you disable NVIDIA’s advanced effects. On my own personal rig, I play at 3440×1440 with a single GTX 980 Ti and experienced stutter while opting for maximum settings. However, when selecting the High preset, everything runs beautifully at a stable 60 frames-per-second. SLI players aren’t as lucky and encountered a huge array of problems including hitching. One user proclaimed:

“This game EXPLICITLY advertised that it would scale well with SLI in the spec… and on NVIDIA cards at that! You even recommended the 970 as the card of choice in the recommended specifications and yet still, two 970;s in SLI perform worse than Unity. I am disappointed..”

Ubisoft’s Community Manager “Mr_Shade” addressed people’s concerns and said:

“The team are aware of the issue and are working to resolve it – it’s possible that NVIDIA will release driver updates to correct this, but in the mean time – please try using just one GPU for the game so you can play if that solution works for you”.

While Ubisoft’s intentions seem good, it’s just another example of a game with rubbish SLI support on launch. This shouldn’t be happening especially when you consider Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is a bundled title with NVIDIA graphics cards. Perhaps, the development team feels SLI is such a niche audience, that they don’t need spend the time on properly coding for two GPUs.

Would you recommend SLI or is it not worth the hassle?

Batman Arkham Knight Will Never Have Multi-GPU Support

It looks like fans and owners of Warner Bros Batman Arkham Knight will be dealing with more unwelcome news. According to a statement given out via Steam, the developers have given up on ever implementing multi-GPU support like Nvidia SLI or AMD Crossfire. This means for PC gamers with the highest end rigs, they will never be able to fully enjoy the game. This is especially true of those with multiple displays or 4K  which require multiple GPUs to run games at high fps.

According to the developer, even if there were gains from implementing SLI or Crossfire support, there would be a high chance that adding such support would cause more bugs. This really speaks to the buggy nature of the game that launched buggy, stayed buggy, and finally became decent. With WB offering full refunds to customers, it looks like the developers have given up on implementing new features and are just focusing on bugs. The biggest hope is that the gaming industry as a whole will have learned a lesson when not to ship games.

You can read the full statement below:

We’ve been working with our development and graphics driver partners over the last few months to investigate utilizing multi-GPU support within Batman: Arkham Knight. The result was that even the best case estimates for performance improvements turned out to be relatively small given the high risk of creating new issues for all players. As a result we’ve had to make the difficult decision to stop work on further multi-GPU support. We are disappointed that this was not practical and apologize to those who have been waiting for this feature.

Call of Duty: Black Ops III’s Engine is GPU Bound And Supports SLI on Launch

Call of Duty: Black Ops III’s release is less than 24 hours away and players have begun to pre-load the game. As with any last minute pre-order, it’s important to adopt a skeptical attitude and research the performance from first hand accounts. Unfortunately, due to embargoes, key information is usually kept secretive and it’s difficult to make a decision as an informed consumer. In an ideal world, people shouldn’t pre-order video games but this isn’t a realistic notion given the huge array of pre-order incentives and heavy marketing policy.

In the case of COD: Black Ops III, the developer has been surprisingly transparent regarding the game’s features and answered a number of key concerns. Firstly, the game will support SLI and ultra high resolutions:

Additionally, the engine is more GPU bound which means the CPU overhead should be reduced. Although, this doesn’t mean there won’t be a CPU bottleneck on older chips. In most cases, the performance drop on should be minimal if you’re running a relatively modern CPU from the last 5 years.

Sadly, it seems AMD users will have to wait for a driver update to properly utilize crossfire configurations:

Other notable features include mod support, user-created maps, dedicated servers and reduced mouse lag. When combined, this seems like a fantastic PC release which is surprising given Call of Duty’s history. However, only time will tell if this works properly throughout the game’s user-base.

MSI Launches Z170A SLI Plus Motherboard

MSI are one of the hottest names in the PC component market, having created some of the best graphics cards and motherboards of recent years, they’re a very popular choice for system builders. Their Pro series of motherboard get its final addition today, with the release of the all-black Z170A SLI PLUS, a board that takes many of the features we’ve seen in the stunning X99A SLI PLUS motherboard, but just a little more up to date.

“Offering an enhanced experience and the best in productivity and reliability the Z170A SLI PLUS motherboard has been configured to satisfy even the most demanding user.” – MSI

Equipped with USB 3.1 Type-C, Audio Boost, SLI and CrossFire support, Steel Armor PCI-E slots, Military Class 4 components, DDR4 Boost, Turbo M.2, Click BIOS 5 and more, there’s no doubt that this is a feature packed board that will appeal to many.

There’s no official spec sheet just yet, but given MSI’s track record, I have high expectations for this board. Prices in the UK are expected to be around £109 and retailers should have stock any time now, so keep a look out for them if you want to get one of the first batch.

Would you put the Z170A SLI PLUS motherboard into your next system build?

NVIDIA GTX 950 SLI Graphics Card Review

Introduction


Here at eTeknix, we strive to give the consumer the best possible advice in every aspect of technology. Today is no different as we bring you the SLI review of the latest budget pleaser from NVIDIA, the GeFoce GTX 950.

The NVIDIA GTX 950 is the newest card to be released based on the Maxwell architecture and aimed to bring solid 1080p performance for under £150. Sub vendors went completely nuts with this card and produced some simply great options that have put the squeeze on AMD in the budget gaming segment.

Now we don’t really ever consider low-end options for SLI for cost effectiveness reasons, but some consumers may only have £150 now and £150 next month and want to play straight away.

Because I had the choice of three different cards, the smart move would be to test the two most powerful options, the Inno3D iChill GTX 950 and MSI Gaming GTX 950. These both can be purchased for under £140 each through a wide range of retailers and work extremely well together. However, a matching set would give the best possible performance as the computer wouldn’t need to throttle one card to match the others performance.

That’s enough of an introduction, let’s find out how well this compact duo performs in the real world.

Nvidia Prepping Dual-GPU Graphics Card

Dual GPU graphics card have been common over the [ast few generations and it looks like Nvidia is about to launch another one. Set to use the Maxwell architecture, the new dual-GPU card will feature 2 GM200 class GPUs, the same ones that power the GTX 980Ti and Titan X.

Back in the Fermi generation, Nvidia had the GTX 590 which was followed up by the GTX 690 with Kepler. Both cards were relatively well received. Looking to make use of their Titan brand, Nvidia then pushed for the Titan Z, essentially 2 Titan Blacks. That card, unfortunately (or, fortunately, depending on where you stand) flopped heavily due to an exorbitant $3000 price tag. This time around, we will likely see a return to more sane pricing, with two GTX 980Ti equivalents priced about $1500.

Given the tight time frames, a Maxwell based dual-GPU flagship likely means Pascal won’t be dropping for a while. After all, Nvidia won’t want those who shelled ou top dollar for the new card to feel burned with Pascal drops with a new architecture, memory interface, and better performance. This does cement the fact that Nvidia will probably launch most of Pascal with HBM2, with maybe a few select cards using HBM1, similar to what AMD has done.

It’s interesting to hear of this Nvidia now so close to AMD’s dual Fury GPU. The R9 Fury X2 is set to feature two of AMD’s top line Fiji chips and would have likely dominated the market for single board graphics cards. With this new card, Nvidia will be able to offer some stiff competition given Maxwell’s strength. It is important to note that Crossfire does scale a bit better than SLI, leading to AMD’s 7990 and 295X2 doing quite well.

Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980Ti 6GB SLi Review

Introduction


Here at eTeknix, we strive to give the consumer the best possible advice in every aspect of technology. Today is no different, as we are extremely excited to bring you the Sli review of the recently released NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980Ti. We all know the story behind the 980Ti, taken almost directly from the Titan X with slightly fewer cores and half the VRAM, but it still performs within 5%. NVIDIA has done something right with this card, something very, very right thanks to the recent price drops which see the reference design for sale at around £500.

In the test bench today, we have the more recently released MSI Gaming and Inno3D iChill x3 Ultra versions of the card. These were great advancements over the reference card and added in custom cooling designs; which is something that consumers miss with the vast majority of Titan X graphics cards.

We already know the performance is greatly increased with these new additions, but what about when we add them together in possibly the greatest two-way card/ GPU configuration of all time?

A quick overview of the cards shows us that they are more than capable of keeping cool when in Sli, so placement isn’t a huge issue. However, the Inno3D card is wider at 3 slots; so that was placed as the second card.

EVGA Introduced 600W 80 PLUS Value Power Supply

One of the tough decisions when building a new system is always the power supply. You’ll want something that can provide stable and safe power, something to be efficient, and something that won’t break your budget. EVGA has thought of those people too and introduced the value-based EVGA 600W 80 PLUS power supply.

With 600W of continuous power and 49A on a single +12V rail, the EVGA 600W provides enough power to power most systems with all its parts, including Nvidia SLI setups. The compact designed PSU also helps you to save space in your chassis and all cables are all sleeved.

The PSU has all the protections you will want: OVP (Over Voltage Protection), UVP (Under Voltage Protection), OCP (Over Current Protection), OPP (Over Power Protection), SCP (Short Circuit Protection), and OTP (Over Temperature Protection). Noise shouldn’t be an issue either as the PSU comes with a quiet and intelligent auto fan for near-silent operation.

The used fan is a 120mm sleeve bearing fan and the entire PSU measures 85 x 150 x 140 mm. It has an MTBF of 100K hours and isn’t built with Japanese capacitors as we’re used to from the high-end models. The noise level is rated at 24-26dBa typical.

The EVGA 600W 80 PLUS PSU is backed by a 3-year warranty, but no pricing was revealed yet except for the term value.

MSI Launch Gaming Series SLI Bridge

We all love to spruce up the insides of our computers from time to time; a bit of cable tidying here, a new fan there and maybe a tasteful amount of LEDs to really show off the boring SLI bridge you have connecting the premium GTX 980Ti’s.

Some companies have already designed and produced own branded SLI bridges to cover the market gap, but MSI have remained quiet; until now. This new bridge is simply stunning and follows a similar design pattern to the already establish MSI GAMING range of products.

 

With sharp lines and vivid red, these will enhance the look of your graphics cards. They incorporate an LED-backlit MSI GAMING logo and are encased by a carefully engineered metal shroud. Weighing in at 50g, it isn’t the lightest of options on the market, but who cares; it looks amazing.

This new product hasn’t come as much of a surprise, with developers pushing the boundaries of gaming detail while utilising 4k resolutions; the need for multi-GPU set-up’s couldn’t be greater. To effectively run most games at the maximum graphics detail at 4k, you will now require at least two NVIDIA GTX 970 graphics cards.

Will you be investing in one of these SLI bridges? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you to TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Gigabyte Laptops at Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – Gigabyte might be mostly known for their great motherboards and graphics cards, but they also build systems from SSF to laptops and we stopped by to check out what they brought along to Computex.

Among the displayed systems were some pretty amazing ones powered by Intel Core i7 processors, Nvidia GTX 980 graphics cards with up to 8GB VRAM, fast storage with RAID options as well as stunning high-density displays. With systems like these, you hardly need a stationary system anymore.

Aorus Laptops at Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – I have to be perfectly honest, I did not personally know of Auros before today. But I wished I did as they make some incredible portable systems that don’t leave many wishes open. Behind the name is a more familiar brand that we all know, and that is Gigabyte.

The systems range from 13-inch to 17-inch screen sizes and come with everything from SLI setups, high-pixel count displays, fast storage, and even with live streaming engines.

CyberPowerPC Infinity Xtreme Halo Review

Introduction


CyberPowerPC are making a sizeable impact in the UK PC market in recent years since they came across the water and settled in the sunny North of England. They contacted us offering not just a glimpse at one their flagship systems, but a completely built and ready to go review sample of which we were encouraged to “test”, and by test I mean game on.

Naturally we were on scene faster than you can shake a stick at and soon we were pulling up outside Cyberpower HQ eager to get our mitts onto this mystery machine. We were not disappointed when we were warned that it would take 2 men to lift it, and that I would need to put my back seats down as the box would take up half of the back of my car. As we returned to eTeknix towers we could see on the box what chassis we had, but it wasn’t until we got it unpacked that we seen what we had been given, and investigated the invoice properly. What they had in fact given us was a top end X99 system with not one but TWO GTX Titan X’s in SLI, with a bespoke water cooling setup, a price tag of £6400, and that’s just the beginning. Ladies and Gentlemen, hold onto your hats, I’m going in!

Specifications

  • Name: Cyberpower Infinity Xtreme Halo
  • Case: In-Win S Frame ? Black and Gold
  • Motherboard: ASUS X99 Deluxe INTEL X99,  4 Channel DDR4 ATX Mainboard w/ 8 RAM slots,UEFI Bios,Turbo APP,Thunderbolt Ready,Crystal Sound 2,Turbo LAN,USB3.0,SATA-III RAID,3 Gen3 PCIe x16 & 1 PCIe x4
  • Processor: i7-5960X Extreme Edition Eight-Core 3.00 GHz 20MB Haswell-E
  • Processor Cooler: Custom loop, featuring a resivior/pump combo, 360mm radiator with LED fans and rigid tubing.
  • System Memory: 32GB HyperX Fury w/Heat Spreader DDR4/2400MHz Quad Channel Memory (8 x 4GB sticks)
  • Main Boot Drive: (1x400GB) Intel 750 Series M.2 PCIe Solid State Drive Card, Read: 2500MB/Sec, Write: 1200MB/Sec
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): 2TB Seagate Hybrid Gen3 SATA-III 6.0Gb/s Cache 5400RPM SSHD in RAID 0
  • Graphics card: GeForce GTX Titan X (x2 in SLI, with full cover waterblocks)
  • Power Supply: Corsair 1200 Watts AX1200i Platinum 80+ Modular digital control Gaming Power Supply – Quad SLI Ready
  • Extras: ASUS USB 3.1 Expansion PCI-E card, provides extra two USB 3.1, Free Arkham Knight and The Witcher 3 – Wild Hunt
  • Optical Drive: None
  • Wireless: Wireless A/C
  • Monitor: Not included
  • Peripherals: Not included
  • OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit
  • Warranty: 2 Year Warranty
  • Price: £6400 as configured Delivered.

Here have the huge box,  with oodles of padding, foam and air pockets to protect its precious cargo.

A motherboard box full of extra cables, goodies and more, including a Windows 8.1 disc.

Unboxed and raring to go.  By this point I had smeared the glass with my clammy palms and had to give it a quick wipe down.

 

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DirectX 12 Adoption Rates Fastest Since DX9

DirectX 12 has seen the fastest adoption rates of any API package since the launch of DirectX 9, a Microsoft developer has revealed. Max McMullen, the Microsoft’s Principal DirectX Development Lead, made the declaration at the recent Build Developer Conference.

McMullen said, “[DX12] has been the fastest adoption of the Direct3D API we’ve seen since Direct3D 9 […] It’s been the fastest adopted API in more than a decade.”

He went on to speak about the Multiadapter functionalities of DirectX 12, explaining that it DX12 will support both linked and unlinked GPUs, linked being the equivalent of SLI or CrossFire, but the unlinked GPU support is notable as it will allow gamers to use multiple GPUs from different vendors, like one NVIDIA and one AMD graphics card together within a single PC system.

“This feature exposes direct control of two linked GPUs as well. So you might have known as Crossfire or SLI from AMD and NVIDIA, respectively, but you’ll get direct control of both GPUs in DX12 if you so choose,” McMullen said.

DX12 will also support independent memory allocation, giving developers full use of the total amount of VRAM available over a CrossFire or SLI multi-GPU configuration.

Thank you Dark Side of Gaming for providing us with this information.

EVGA Announces Pro SLI Bridges V2

EVGA announced today that it was launching a line of SLI bridges that will help to bring a bit of style and class to your SLI setup. The new bridges are for two, three, and four way SLI with a back-lit white EVGA logo on black and it is shrouded with aluminum.

The standard ribbon and bare PCB bridges that are normally supplied by board makers often leave those with windowed cases wanting something more elegant. Nvidia came to market with some earlier nice black and aluminum bridges within the last year and they did great, so obviously EVGA is wanting to get in on that market and came up with their own design. No word currently on pricing and the release date is “coming soon”, but you can bookmark the webpage to keep watch for the release.

Next Generation Features:

  • Separate models to support 2-Way (Short), 2-Way (Standard), 3-Way SLI or 4-Way SLI.
  • High pixel clock design optimized for 4K+ and 120Hz+ gaming.
  • EVGA logo illuminates on select GeForce GTX graphics cards.
  • Compatible with all SLI enabled graphics cards.
  • Looks super awesome!

Compatibility:

SLI functionality works on all SLI enabled graphics cards. LED functionality works on the following cards:

  • All EVGA GTX TITAN graphics cards.
  • All EVGA GTX 980 graphics cards.
  • Select EVGA GTX 970 graphics cards.
  • All EVGA GTX 960 graphics cards.
  • All EVGA GTX 780/780 Ti graphics cards.
  • Select EVGA GTX 770 graphics cards.

MSI GT80 GTX 980M 8GB SLI Titan Laptop Review

Introduction


There are few things more exciting than reviewing a gaming laptop that you know has a reputation to live up to. Naturally, when the courier dropped off the GT80 Titan I couldn’t wait to get my claws into it. It has a specification list that puts most desktops to shame and has been paraded by MSI for a couple of months now as their latest and greatest flagship gaming laptop, promising nothing but the best for followers of MSIs “Dragon Army”. In preparation for meeting this monster in person, I had a brief look around the MSI website and was impressed to see just how much has been crammed into this machine. There were the usual claims of speed, “ultimate performance” and the likes, but below this was a tech spec list long enough to possibly justify these claims and had me wide-eyed with interest from the off.

I decided to leave to the official blurb behind and just dive in, as to not be influenced by big claims or rose-tinted glasses, so let the unboxing begin!

Specifications

  • Name: MSI GT80 Titan
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-4980HQ @ 2.8GHz (up to 4.0GHz Turboboost)
  • RAM: 32GB 1600MHz DDR3 (8GB*4)
  • SSD: 4 x 256GB PCIE SSD
  • HDD: 1TB 7200RPM
  • GPU: 2 x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M 8GB in SLI
  • LAN:10/100/1000/Gigabits Base T (Killer)
  • WLAN: Killer 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Built-in Bluetooth V4.0
  • Monitor: 18.4″1920 x 1080 Anti-glare LED backlit
  • Keyboard: SteelSeries Red backlit mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Brown Switches
  • I/O: 5x USB3.0, 1x HDMI, 2x Micro Displayport, SD Reader, Mic-in, Headphone-out, line-in, line-out, 1x 1Gb LAN, Optical Out
  • Webcam: FHD Webcam
  • ODD: BD-RW (6x)
  • Battery: Built-in 89 W/h lithium-Ion
  • OS: Windows 8.1
  • Dimensions: 45.6 x 33 x 4.9 cm
  • Weight: 4.5Kg (w/ Battery)
  • Warranty: 2 year collect and return, 1 Year Global
  • Price: £3499.99 Inc VAT

The box comes loud and proud with the MSI logo on it.  Now I know this laptop is big, but this box is huge. On opening it we see why, there are extra goodies in there too, I spy a backpack!

Removed from the outer box and separated from the backpack, this still weighs quite a fair amount

When you lift the lid of the outer box you are immediately presented with a rather nice black envelope sealed with an MSI sticker; we’ll open this in the next section

You can immediately see the laptop on the left in a protective bag and there is a cardboard section on the right which houses the power supply.

When you lift the laptop out of the box, there is a whole host of goodies waiting for you underneath

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Testing Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 960 2GB Graphics Cards In SLI

Introduction


Here at eTeknix, we strive to give the consumer the best possible advice in every aspect of technology. Today is no different, as we have 2 GeForce GTX 960’s ready for some testing. The first is the Asus STRIX GeForce GTX 960 (check out our review of that here) and the second is the Gigabyte G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 960 (check out our review of that here). When striving for the best results, it is favourable to test 2 of the same models to allow for no variation in any clock speeds or variations in any integrated components. Fortunately, as these cards are both non-reference, we have some headroom for overclocking, which is sometimes not present in reference models.

In their dedicated reviews, you can see that both of these graphics cards are more than capable of running most feature games and benchmarking software at playable levels at 1440p. When tested at 4K resolution, both of these cards struggled and failed to wow us, so it will be interesting to see how these cards stack up against their single scores. This setup might be the favourable choice for some, as it is more budget friendly than splashing the cash on a pair of GTX 970’s or GTX 980’s, so let’s find out if it’s worth it!

We inserted both GTX 960 graphics cards onto our Core i7 5820K and X99-based test system, ensuring adequate spacing and that both have access to sufficient PCI-e bandwidth for SLI operation.

Due to both of these graphics cards having ample cooling capabilities in their own right, position isn’t really an issue. In this test, we have placed the Gigabyte G1 Gaming graphics card in the traditional ‘Hot Spot’ due to its far more substantial cooling solution.

As we saw in the dedicated reviews, thermal throttling isn’t an issue here. In fact, both of these cards have a passive running feature which allows for passive running under 65°c. It will be very interesting to see if these cards can run passively together, possibly even while playing slightly more demanding games.

Both of the graphics cards we have here are non-reference, they have a higher base clock as standard compared to a reference design card. We will have to match these cards clock speeds of both core and memory to try to closely match them and to give the best results.

 

MSI Releases Black & White X99S SLI Krait Edition

Everyone loved the MSI Z97 Krait Edition motherboard and they wanted more in the same colour combination. MSI listened to this and have created the MSI X99S SLI Krait Edition motherboard to supplement the black and white lineup. It looks great and offers reliable and fast components, and comes with both Nvidia SLI and AMD CrossFire support.

The new Krait Edition motherboard features Audio boost to deliver the highest audio quality to the user. The complete audio circuitry is isolated to prevent inference and it comes with a 600Ω headphone amplifier. It features golden audio jacks for the best signal possible and an EMI shielded audio codec.

There are plenty of storage options and the Krait X99S features the latest SATA Express and Turbo M.2 with up to 10Mbit/s transfer rates. The new board also features a 12 phase PWM and bigger heatsinks.

MSI Guard-Pro is a new protection system that also reduces the power consumption. ECO power can reduce the power consumption with up to 29% while circuit protection, ESD and EMI protections reduce interference and disruptions of the components. The entire motherboard also features the Military Class 4 standard for humidity and temperature protection.

No word on pricing or availability yet, but we will keep you updated on that.

Thanks to MSI for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of MSI

ASUS ROG Show off Fancy New SLI Bridges

If there is one thing that can ruin an otherwise beautiful built, it’s an ugly SLI bridge. Users have been wanting better-looking ones for a long time and ROG has listened to this feedback and created their Black SLI bridges. Yes, there are already a few other beautiful bridges on the market, but the more to choose from the better.

These new ASUS ROG SLI Bridges will feature a backlight illuminated ROG eye to continue the design and layout of their gaming hardware. The bridges have been verified to work with reference cards, STRIX cards, as well as ROG cards like the MATRIX or POSEIDON.

No word on pricing or availability yet.

Thanks to Asus for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Asus

Assassin’s Creed Unity PC Patch Breaking SLI and More… Obviously

Assassin’s Creed: Unity is somehow still broken! Yet another patch has been released on PC in the last couple of days and while it fixes some performance issues, it welcomes in a wave of new problems that are ruining the game for some players.

The fourth update for the PC release of the game breaks the Nvidia SLI compatibility, so that money you spent on a second graphics card for extra performance isn’t going to do you much good right now; at least not on this game.

When you do enable SLI you end up with diabolical flickering of the lighting and textures that are more likely to give you a seizure than anything else.

The endless saga of failures continues…