PC PowerPlay #268 News

PCPP News 268

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Oculus & Facebook bring VR to the masses with the new Oculus Go

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Oculus has announced their follow-up to the Oculus Rift – the Oculus Go. Unlike the Rift, the Oculus Go does not need to be plugged in to a computer, or have a smartphone dangling in front of your head. The Oculus Go a fully self-contained headset with Snapdragon 821 SoC inside, giving it the equivalent computing power of a mid-range smartphone. The Go also has integrated spatial audio, a 2560×1440 “fast-switch” LCD display and a remote control. Unlike the Rift, the untethered nature of the Go means that it doesn’t have the same full tracking capabilities, which is to be expected at this price-point. Software wise, the Go is “binary compatible” with the Samsung Gear, so any apps that work on Gear, should work on the Go too. At US$199, the Oculus Go is clearly Facebook’s attempt to bring VR to the masses. The Oculus Go will ship early 2018.

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Western Digital using microwaves to increase HDD capacities

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Western Digital has found a way to squeeze more capacity out of the venerable spinning platters of metal in a 3.5″ package. Microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAMR) is the fancy technology that WD has developed and hopes will maintain HDDs cost-per-gigabyte lead over SSDs into the future by enabling drive capacities of up to 40TB by 2025. How MAMR works is deeply technical, but simply put, microwave fields generated by a spin torque oscillator in the drive’s head allows writing of data at lower magnetic fields, meaning WD can pack more data on a platter than ever before. WD plan to get drives using this technology in production during 2019 and expects the drives not to be significantly more expensive than existing perpendicular magnetic recording drives. While SSDs may have the performance lead, HDDs will likely still be the more cost effective option to store bulk amounts of data for a while yet.

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The Gigabyte AORUS X9 gaming laptop is a beast with dual GTX1070 GPUs

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Gigabyte’s new AORUS X9 flagship gaming laptop is kitted out with an Intel i7-7820HK processor, two GTX 1070s in SLI, four DDR4 RAM slots for up to 64GB of DDR4-2400 memory and the choice of either a 17.3″ 4K UHD IPS LCD or QHD 120 Hz WVA LCD if you prefer higher refresh rates over 4K. Rounding out the high end specs on the AORUS X9 is an ESS Sabre HiFi audio DAC, two speakers and two woofers, a mechanical keyboard, configurable RGB lighting all over the unit, and Killer DoubleShot Pro technology that improves network performance by sending important game data over Ethernet and offloading background and non-gaming stuff to the Wi-Fi network. Considering there are two GPUs in this thing, the AORUS X9 is relatively svelte at 1.18″ thick at its peak. It’s a heavy unit though, coming in at around 3.58kg.

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Microsoft attemps to stamp out game cheats with TruePlay[BODY]

Microsoft’s massive Windows 10 Fall Creators Update has started rolling out and contained in the update is a new feature many gamers will find interesting – TruePlay. Mixed in with game Mode, Mixer broadcasting, new help options, and greater hardware monitoring detail in Task Manager, TruePlay aims to prevent cheating in games developed for the Universal Windows Platform and distributed via the Microsoft Store. Microsoft explains that “A game enrolled in TruePlay will run in a protected process, which mitigates a class of common attacks” and similarly to Valve’s VAC anti-cheating software, TruePlay collects data during game play and sends alerts to the game’s developer when there’s something out of the ordinary. TruePlay is disabled by default, but developers can require gamers to enable the anti-cheat engine for online play (where cheating makes the most impact) and allow users to retain full control when playing offline.

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AMD ditches the CrossFire brand as it’s irrelevant thanks to DX12

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AMD will no longer refer to its multi-GPU support standard as CrossFire. The new name is simply mGPU, as in, multiple GPU. When asked why AMD is moving away from the CrossFire brand, AMD said that it is simply a branding decision not a technical one. Multi-GPU support is still a big part of AMD’s feature set and its latest drivers enable multi-GPU support for the recently released Radeon RX Vega GPUs, bringing up to 80% more performance when a second GPU is added to the mix. A large part of AMD’s re-branding of CrossFire is also due to the fact AMD and Nvidia no longer need to hand craft each game to work with CrossFire or SLI profiles, as DirectX 12 now allows the game developer to do this on their end. Seeing as CrossFire is now irrelevant, it makes sense for AMD to phase the brand out.

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Humble Bundle is now an IGN company

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Once used to expose indie game developers and raise money for charity, Humble Bundle is now part of the IGN empire. Made popular off the back of its lack of DRM on downloaded games and a “pay what you like” pricing strategy, Humble Bundle has been struggling lately. Rival sites gaining momentum, attempts to become a game publisher themselves not going to plan and the sacking of over 150 staff have been a challenge Humble Bundle of late. It’s no surprise when game review giant IGN, a subsidiary of publishing company Ziff Davis, comes knocking with a sack of cash, Humble Bundle take it simply to keep the lights on. Fans are slightly concerned that the Humble Bundle ethos will be eroded now that there’s a big corporate at the helm, particularly since IGN have refused to comment on its plans for the site.