PC PowerPlay #262 News

PCPP 262 News[TITLE]Creators Update for Windows 10 is now live

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Microsoft has pushed the Creators Update to Windows 10 out to Windows Update for the public. Fresh features for PC gamers are a large part of this update, with the Game Bar shortcut (Windows+G) hosting all the new stuff. In the Game Bar, you can toggle Game DVR, Broadcasting, and Game Mode. Game DVR and Broadcasting leverage Microsoft’s acquisition of Beam, a game video streaming service like Twitch. With just one button you can broadcast to Beam or simply record a video file locally. Game Mode dedicates more system resources to games instead of background tasks. It can shove non-gaming stuff to other CPU cores and dedicate more GPU cycles to the game being played, rather than the operating system. The Creators Update also contains improvements to Microsoft Edge’s battery life on laptops, new Cortana functionality, “night light” mode to lower the amount of blue light emitted from your PC and dozens of other refinements.

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Intel’s fancy Optane SSD finally arrives, but in small capacities

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Intel’s long awaited 3D XPoint non-volatile memory technology, Optane is finally out for consumers to sample. Optane is a new type of flash memory that’s ideal for SSDs and shines in heavy workload scenarios. Due to Optane’s uniqueness, it’s also quite expensive, so to whet the appetite for consumers (there’s much more expensive enterprise versions with more storage), these relatively small 16GB and 32GB drives are designed to be used as a cache on Intel’s latest 200-series chipsets. They just pop into an M.2 PCIe slot and using Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology software, frequently used data is automatically cached on the Optane drive instead of your slow HDD. In early benchmarks, it appears that when the Optane drive is paired with an SSD, the gains are minimal, but when used with a HDD, overall performance can be almost as good as using an SSD alone, but with the cost and size advantage of a HDD. Optane drives are out now and the 16GB drive is $79 and the 32GB version is $129.

[TITLE]AMD’s lukewarm RX 500 series graphics cards

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AMD have released RX 570 and RX 580 graphics cards. They’ve still got Polaris 10 based GPUs but use a tweaked 14nm manufacturing process that AMD calls “Latest Generation FinFET 14”. The RX 500 series cards are mildly overclocked for a minor bump in performance and use a little more power or a little less power depending on what you’re doing (e.g: about 10W on average in gaming, but 30W lower in video playback). They’re also a few bucks cheaper than the RX 470 and RX 480. Other than though, the RX 500 series cards practically identical to their RX 400 series predecessors. If you’ve already got an RX 470 or RX 480 though, don’t bother upgrading, there’s not much to see here. What you’re waiting for is Vega – AMD’s upcoming flagship GPU, which should be out and about in a few months from now.

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The Titan Xp is Nvidia’s new flagship consumer graphics card

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Nvidia has done the opposite, releasing the Titan Xp, a beefed-up version of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti it released last month. The card features a whopping 12GB GDDR5X of VRAM with a throughput of 11.4 gigabits per second. The GP102 graphics processor has 3,840 active CUDA cores running at a boost clock of 1,582 MHz. Nvidia claim it will pump out 12 trillion floating-point operations per second. The Titan Xp supports two-way SLI, for face melting FPS, ideal for high quality VR experiences. You’ll want a strong PSU to go with it, as each card uses 250W of power. No Australian date or pricing yet, but it costs US$1200 – a significant amount more than the GTX 1080 Ti it supplants as Nvidia’s flagship consumer graphics card.

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ASUS VivoPC X brings PC level gaming to your living room

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If you’re the kind of gamer who might want console to hook up to their TV, but also wants to be a member of the PC master race, ASUS has you covered with the VivoPC X Console. It’s a horizontal mini PC with the guts of a modern gaming laptop inside, making it perfect for gamers who would like to have a gaming machine in their living rooms, but don’t want a big honking tower ruining a public part of their home. The VivoPC X is decently kitted out for a 1080p gamer, with an Intel Core i5-7300HQ CPU, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, a single DDR4 RAM slot (8GB by default), 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, 2x HDMI 2.0b ports, a couple of USB ports and oddly, a 1TB 2.5″ 5400RPM SATA HDD – but that can be augmented with an M.2 SSD. No Australian ETA and retails for US$799.

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Dell’s UP3017Q 30” 4K OLED monitor looks amazing

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When you win the lottery, remember the Dell UP3017Q. It’s a 30″, 4K, OLED display that’s gorgeous, but costs US$3,499. But man, it is good. Thanks to the OLED technology, your eyes are treated to a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and a brilliant 1.07 billion colours across the entire 3840 x 2160 pixels. Colour coverage is solid too, with the UP3017Q cleanly displaying 100% AdobeRGB, 100% sRGB, 100% Rec. 709, 97.5% DCI-P3 and 85.8% Rec. 2020. Gamers will love it too, as response time is a microscopic 0.1 milliseconds, again, thanks to the way OLED differs from LCD technology. No G-Sync or FreeSync though. Hook it up to your computer via USB Type-C, HDMI 2.0 or miniDP 1.2. If you connect your USB Type-C powered laptop to the UP3017Q, it’ll provide up to 100W of charging power as well as transmit an image, for a single cable connection. No Australian ETA, but you probably can’t afford it anyways.