Hardware Platform RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Hardware RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Surprise, Surprise: Nvidia Unveils Brand-New GPUs Ahead of Gamescom https://www.gameskinny.com/u5wyg/surprise-surprise-nvidia-unveils-brand-new-gpus-ahead-of-gamescom https://www.gameskinny.com/u5wyg/surprise-surprise-nvidia-unveils-brand-new-gpus-ahead-of-gamescom Mon, 20 Aug 2018 16:23:43 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Late last week, we reported (via CNET) that the next line of Nvidia GPUs was on the immediate horizon. bringing with it blistering next-gen technology and unrivaled power. 

Today, Nvidia unveiled that line of cards at their press conference ahead of Gamescom. As evidenced by the stunning Shadow of the Tomb Raider trailer in the header above, Nvidia's new line of RTX (real-time ray tracing) graphics cards will take video game graphics to an entirely new level. 

Boasting new GGDR 6 VRAM, burly memory bandwidths, and more robust CUDA core technology than previous models, the RTX cards will provide considerable performance boosts over the current generation of Nvidia hardware, including the the company's previously monstrous Titan cards. 

You can pre-order the cards on Newegg or directly from any of the myriad GPU manufacturers who have already announced they are currently building the cards, such as MSI, ASUS, Gigabyte, Zotac, and many others. 

According to reports, the RTX 2070 will replace the GTX 1080; the RTX 2080 will replace the GTX 1080ti; and the RTX 2080ti will be a beast unto its own. Here are the specs for each of the Turing-powered cards via the Nvidia website:

Spec RTX 2080ti RTX 2080 RTX 2070
Price $1,199 $799 $599
CUDA Cores 4352 2944 2304
Boost Clock 1635Mhz 1800Mhz 1710Mhz
Base Clock 1350Mhz 1515Mhz 1410Mhz
Memory Speed 14Gbps 14Gbps 14Gbps
Memory (VRAM) 11GB DDR6 8GB DDR6 8GB DDR6
Memory Bandwidth 616GB/s 448GB/s 448GB/s
Max Resolution 7680x4320 (8K) 7680x4320 (8K)  7680x4320 (8K)
Height 4.556" 4.556" 4.435"
Length 10.5" 10.5" 9.0"
Width 2-slot 2-slot 2-slot
Power Consumption 260W 225W 175W

 

All of the new RTX GPUs are G-Sync compatible, use the Nvidia GeForce experience, and provide state-of-the-art Ray Tracing capabilities. It is currently unclear when or if current GTX GPUs, such as the GTX 1080 and 1080ti, will fall in price. However, it does seem logical considering these RTX upgrades will be replacing them in both function and price. 

You can learn more about the RTX line's Turing architecture here. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and info on Nvidia's ray-tracing capable, Turing-powered graphics cards. 

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Next Gen Nvidia GPUs Could Release Very Soon https://www.gameskinny.com/8klk0/next-gen-nvidia-gpus-could-release-very-soon https://www.gameskinny.com/8klk0/next-gen-nvidia-gpus-could-release-very-soon Fri, 17 Aug 2018 22:58:09 -0400 Jonathan Moore

One of the worst-kept secrets in the hardware world is that Nvidia's newest line of GPUs is set to be revealed at Gamescom next week in Cologne, Germany. If a report from CNET (by way of NordicHardware) is to be believed, it looks like two GPU manufacturers, MSI and Palit Microsystems, may have teamed up to spill the proverbial beans on the upcoming announcement. 

Instead of moving from the 10 series to the 11 series as some rumors had previously suggested, it appears Nvidia's newest Turing-powered graphics cards will instead bear the 20 series moniker. According to reports, these RayTracing, DirectX 12 capable cards will even be available for purchase when they are announced at Nvidia's pre-event press conference on Monday.

CNET states the cards will presumably first be available in Sweden. Currently, there are no rumblings of a stateside release, although CNET postulates there very well could be a worldwide, or at least multinational, launch following the Gamescom announcement. 

Rumored pricing for the graphics cards in the 20 series don't appear to be all that bad, either, with the RTX 2080, which is taking the place of the current GTX 1080, coming in around $500-$700. Considering that price range, it's conceivable that current Nvidia GPU prices will start to tumble, making the 1080ti more affordable in the coming months. 

Specs have also been "released" for each card, sans the RTX 2080ti. You can view them in the link to the original CNET article above. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and info on Nvidia's inevitable GPU unveiling at Gamescom next week. 

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How to Build A High-End Gaming PC For Under $2,000 https://www.gameskinny.com/c96sa/how-to-build-a-high-end-gaming-pc-for-under-2000 https://www.gameskinny.com/c96sa/how-to-build-a-high-end-gaming-pc-for-under-2000 Tue, 14 Aug 2018 13:05:36 -0400 ElConquistadork

The prospect of building your own gaming PC is an exciting one, but also requires a lot of research into the best hardware for your setup and your budget. We’ve done some research and came up with some of the tools needed to build a gaming PC for under $2,000.

There is nothing in the world like booting up your hand-built computer for the first time. And if that PC can play the latest games with the best resolution and highest FPS, then so much the better. $2,000 can, at first, seem like a more than adequate budget for creating such a god-machine, but when you take into account all of the options that are out there, that number can be turned to scrap in no time flat.

In this guide, we’ll go over the parts needed to build a gaming PC, and some of our favorites to stick to the budget. We’ll be covering:

  • The case
  • Motherboard
  • RAM
  • HDD/SSD
  • GPU
  • CPU
  • Operating System
  • Optional Drives

The Case

In many ways, a gaming PC’s case is often one of the more overlooked aspects of its creation. It’s easy to simply think of it as a matter of aesthetics. However, choosing the right case can help with airflow, USB accessibility, and even just keeping the rig’s innards tidy.

To that end, one of our favorite PC cases out there has to be the Cooler Master MasterCase H500. This stylish mid-tower case has exceptional airflow, sporting two 200mm fans with a sleek RGB design. In addition to its modular, conversion-friendly build, the MasterCase H500 boasts plenty of room with its 525 x 228 x 502 dimensions. The downside to that factor, however, is this thing is an absolute beast when it comes to size. But for the sheer roominess and cooling factor that these dimensions offer, we’d say it’s worth it. Oh, and did we mention it’s only $100 on Amazon?

If you’re looking for something a bit cheaper and smaller, GameSkinny collected our favorite gaming pc cases of 2017 for under $100.

Motherboard

While not as overlooked as the humble PC case, a gaming PC’s motherboard is another piece of hardware that often doesn’t get quite as much attention as it ought to. While processors and graphics cards get all the fame and the attention, motherboards are worth investing in. Having said that, you shouldn't have to burn a hole in your pocket to get a decent motherboard.

That brings us to the Asus Prime Z370-A. At a mere $160 on Amazon, the Z370-A has no business being as powerful as it is. Beyond its compatibility with Intel’s latest CPUs, this is a motherboard that focuses heavily on overclocking: allowing for speeds past 4000 MHz. As a result of this focus, Asus armed the Z370-A with a brilliant hybrid fan/water cooling system, along with sensors that detect and prevent overheating.

RAM

The speed of a gaming computer is easily one of its most important features, and to achieve top speed, you need a solid bit of RAM. Ask your average gamer, and you’ll get some figures: “Try to have a minimum of 16GB,” and so forth. To the amateur, it seems as if this is simply a numbers game, so it can be surprising at how many options exist out there.

But there’s far more to consider when you get to a certain level of gaming PC. Overclocking, cooling systems, and even lighting designs can come into play when you’re choosing RAM, not to mention the price.

And for our money (about $150 worth), we’ve got to go with the G.Skill Ripjaws V 16GB DDR4-2400MHz (which is actually two 8GB sticks, just FYI). 

These DDR4 memory sticks are practical, fast, and have a terrific potential for overclocking (up to 3000MHz). They may lack the flair and LED lighting that you see with so many gaming RAM setups, but the way we see it, it’s more important what your rig can do than what its insides look like. At a price like this, it’s even worth it to grab two sets of two, and fill up your memory card with 32GBs of hyperspeed goodness.

Storage

The more games advance, the bigger they tend to become. Ultra-popular games like The Witcher 3, Grand Theft Auto V, and Destiny 2 are massive storage hogs -- and that’s not even taking mods, expansions, and DLC into account. It’s easy to lose track of just how much you’ve downloaded in a few short months, so it’s best to have plenty of memory right off the bat. A prevention, after all, is always better than a cure.

When it comes to overall performance, an SSD has it all over the more common (and sadly, more affordable) HDD. So here comes the balancing act: finding a nice amount of storage for an even nicer price.

We think we found exactly that in the Crucial MX500 1TB. Faster and more reliable than other more expensive SSDs on the market, Crucial has still managed to make this drive incredibly affordable, clocking in at just over $170 on Amazon.

If you’re willing to sacrifice some performance in the name of a better price and more storage, we recommend the Seagate 3TB BarraCuda. At $85 on Amazon, it’s half the price of the Crucial MX500, and at 3TB, it’s three times as much storage.

And while the BarraCuda can’t boast the speed and performance that you’d get with the MX500, it is very difficult to sniff at that TB-to-dollar ratio.

However, you could opt for a dual storage setup that uses both an HDD and an SDD. This setup lets you install less intensive programs on the HDD and your operating system, game clients, and games on the SDD for faster recall. 

GPU

The graphics card: one of the most treasured and argued-over pieces of tech since Alexander Graham Bell came up with a way to call in sick from work. One could argue that if the CPU is the gaming PC’s brain, and the RAM is its reflexes, then the GPU is its muscles. And one of the biggest gaming bodybuilders out there today has to be the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.

Equipped with some of the most advanced technology on the market, the GTX 1080 Ti is an absolute monster. Advanced cooling systems protect your card from overheating, and thermal sensors let you know at a glance that everything is running smoothly. As the name suggests, this GPU is ideal for 1080p gaming and runs games with a clarity and smoothness that is difficult (if not impossible) to beat.

At $730, the GTX 1080 Ti is easily the most expensive piece of this gaming rig, but in this purely hypothetical exercise, setting aside the most money for the best GPU made the most sense.

If you want a quality graphics card, but your budget is a little lower, check out our guide to finding quality GPU on the cheap

CPU

We mentioned before that the CPU is, in many ways, the brain of your overall gaming PC. And when you take one look at the small, unassuming piece of metal and plastic that you’re working with, that can be surprising. But the best CPUs always put a lot of punch in their smaller packages, and one of our favorites has to be the Intel Core i7-8700.

With a huge boost in technology (in many ways inspired by AMD’s reemergence into the CPU game), the 8th generation series of Intel CPUs have been devastatingly good. And with a focus on speed, synergy, and powerful processing, the Intel i7-8700 is one of the best high-end CPUs out there. Ideal for overclocking and high-demand gaming setups like VR, the $340 investment can bring your gaming experience from good to extraordinary.

The Operating System

Microsoft has gotten plenty of flack for how it handles gaming, but it’s difficult to deny that they've been giving it a lot of focus. Windows 10 offers constant updates and cross-compatibility with the Xbox One that is unique in the world of console vs. PC gaming.

It’s true that many of us here at GameSkinny still prefer Windows 7 (hell, some of us still wistfully daydream about XP), but as the years progress, it’s going to be tougher and tougher to maintain the latest and greatest games on such an operating system. Best to bite the bullet and get Windows 10 Home for $140 at the Microsoft store.

Optional Drives

For many gamers, optical drives have become a thing of the past. With the advent and popularity of digital downloading, many serious gamers rarely find themselves peeling back the cellophane wrapper on a jewel case anymore. But for those of you out there who find that this is abundantly necessary, it’s simple (and cheap) to get a quality optical drive for your gaming PC.

We’d recommend the Asus 24x DVD-RW Internal Optical Drive. At $20, you’re getting a solid, highly responsive drive. And while it might at first seem like a last-minute addition, we’ve all been surprised at the occasional need for something to feed a DVD into.

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The process of creating your own gaming PC can be a long and frustrating one, but there is nothing more rewarding than listening to it hum to life for the first time. It’s enough to make engineers of us all.

What gaming setup do you currently have? Do you have a favorite piece of tech that wasn’t represented here? Let us know in the comments!

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Got Floppy Disks? Now You Can Play Them on Your Droid https://www.gameskinny.com/g8h84/got-floppy-disks-now-you-can-play-them-on-your-droid https://www.gameskinny.com/g8h84/got-floppy-disks-now-you-can-play-them-on-your-droid Sun, 12 Aug 2018 11:32:35 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Perhaps you're a collector, or perhaps you're a procrastinator that just hasn't cleaned out that desk drawer for the past 25 some-odd years. Either way, if you've got any old 3.5-inch floppy disks lying around, you'll be glad to know you can dust them off and run them on your android phone because technology. 

In a video recently released by Lazy Game Reviews (which you can watch in the header above), host Clint Basinger shows us exactly how to fuse outdated technology with modern technology to create something unique and dare I say new(?). 

To get things started, you'll first need an Android phone. Basinger uses a Samsung Galaxy Note 8, but presumably, any Android phone will do the trick. You'll also need a USB Type-A to USB Type-C converter, a USB-enabled floppy disk drive (you can find a selection here), and, of course, some floppy disks. 

Get all that together and you'll be playing some of your favorite retro games on your expensive handheld screen in no time.

I joke, but honestly, it's pretty cool -- especially if you're someone who grew up in the floppy era on classics like Commander Keen, Castle Wolfenstein, and Zork

It's most certainly a novelty that will be a small flash in the pan, but for those of us who sometimes wax nostalgic about those blocky little squares, it's a nifty combination of eras that reminds us these influential technologies won't simply be swept under the rug.  

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To NVIDIA and Beyond: Every GeForce Rumor Analyzed https://www.gameskinny.com/jd16e/to-nvidia-and-beyond-every-geforce-rumor-analyzed https://www.gameskinny.com/jd16e/to-nvidia-and-beyond-every-geforce-rumor-analyzed Wed, 01 Aug 2018 17:18:19 -0400 Ty Arthur

Following all the game announcements at E3 2018, the just-around-the-corner Gamescom expo in Germany kicks off August 21. Word on in the street is that PC power gamers are in for some very good news, especially when it comes to near hardware and, potentially, GPUs. 

The day before those festivities officially begin, NVIDIA is set to jump start the expo with a press conference at a secret location. Dubbed a "gaming celebration," it's scheduled to run from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. EDT on Monday, August 20

This seems like the perfect time for new hardware to be announced -- except for one potential little snang.

At the Computex expo in Taiwan back in June, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang made an off-hand comment about the next generation of GeForce graphics cards not being revealed until "a long time from now."

With info finally beginning to leak and the press conference set for August, it seems like that "long time from now" may very well have just been a little over two months.

New GeForce Video Card Announcement Rumors

If you happen to be in Cologne, Germany, on the 20th, you can still sign up to attend the GeForce celebration in person by signing up here. However, since it doesn't seem like the event will be live-streamed, the rest of us will have to wait for info to start leaking from attendees and stories posted by attending outlets. But it's probably safe to surmise that what those participants are going to discover will likely dominate hardware news for months to come.

This statement from NVIDIA about the pre-expo, off-site celebration has got the message boards lighting up:

The event will be loaded with new, exclusive, hands-on demos of the hottest upcoming games, stage presentations from the world’s biggest game developers, and some spectacular surprises.

It's those last three words in particular that are fueling the rumor mill right now. We're overdue for a new generation of graphics cards powerhouses, with the 1080s getting a little long in the tooth at this point, and Titans already going through some iterative changes.

Beyond a simple desire for ever more horse power under the hood, there's good reason for new cards to hit soon. With 4K G-Sync HDR monitors already here and with gamers constantly searching for more horsepower to run their games at 60fps, it's just flat out time for more graphical processing power.

 If you've got cash to burn, this is the future of PC viewing hardware

New GeForce Video Card Names

We know new cards are coming, and it's highly likely they will be announced August 20, but we don't quite yet know what they will be called.

The naming conventions for these new cards are up in the air, but there are three in particular that have gotten traction. It seems likely the architecture for the new GeForce cards will be code-named Turing, although the words Ampere and Volta are also getting thrown around by unnamed industry sources.

Following the recent numbers pattern of previous cards, it seems likely these new GeForce cards will be the 11 series of 1160, 1170, and 1180, but that's not guaranteed.

Many hardware sites are expecting a change in the prefix to a whole new naming convention, with the 2060, 2070, and 2080 currently topping the running.

There's also been some speculation that the suffix will potentially change this year as well, going from 60, 70, 80 to 65, 75, and 85 to further differentiate from previous generations. But right now, most things are up in the air and we'll just have to wait and see. 

New GeForce GPU Release Dates

Based on the upcoming press conference and previous GPU release dates, the most likely scenario right now is that the new NVIDIA video card lineup will officially launch at the tail end of the summer or early fall. The exact dates however, are still a bit of a mystery.

YouTuber Gamer Meld recently posted a video revealing supposedly leaked documents from a hardware supplier, providing some insight into when new cards and GPUs might arrive. The validity of the document in question is unknown, as obviously NVIDIA isn't commenting on it, so take it with a grain of salt.

According to this source, three separate card types are coming in staggered releases at a rate of one a month from August to October of this year, with one video card potentially being called the 1180+ instead of the 1180ti (yet another unconfirmed convention).

This is disputed by other sources claiming to have leaked info, however. Wccftech supports the three card theory, but is claiming the GPUs will all be released in September on a staggered weekly schedule.

New GeForce Pricing

No matter when the release date(s) will be, the biggest question right now is price point. Anyone who has built a gaming rig recently knows there have been huge spikes in graphics card prices over the last two years, with attempts directly from NVIDIA and retailers failing to do much in the face of cryptomining.

All things considered, we should expect the high-end cards to cost more than the current 1080s but probably lower than the current Titans, although specific price points just aren't available beyond wild speculation. For those looking to get in on a new graphics card before the new lineup arrives, be sure to head over here to find the 5 best tools for locating cheap graphics cards.

The impending lineup of new cards could potentially be good news for budget gamers, too. The current catalog of GeForce GPUs, specifically the 1070s and 1080s, still run modern games very well. With the release of new cards, prices for older graphics cards are sure to decrease -- and if new unit release before the 2018 holidays, you can bet that Black Friday sales will discount the previous models even more. 

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Right now, that's all we know about the current state of NVIDIA's GPU catalog and it's upcoming lineup of cards.

What do you all think -- are we in for an 1180, a brand new Titan, a 2075, or something else altogether, and what are you hoping the specs will look like on the all new top of the line cards?

Sound off in the comments below, and check back in with us on August 21 after the official announcements are made for the latest info!

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7 Budget Gaming Laptops for Back To School (And a Little Gaming, Too) https://www.gameskinny.com/ryolz/7-budget-gaming-laptops-for-back-to-school-and-a-little-gaming-too https://www.gameskinny.com/ryolz/7-budget-gaming-laptops-for-back-to-school-and-a-little-gaming-too Thu, 26 Jul 2018 15:01:05 -0400 Sergey_3847

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If your budget is tight, then there's no better option than the ASUS VivoBook 15, but if you can spare an extra $100, then definitely buy the Acer Nitro 5. You can always add an external hard drive to host your other files and use the SSD for your favorite games only.

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However, if you want a big HDD, then opt for the ASUS FX503VD, which is quite expensive for a laptop, but not too expensive for a gaming laptop. As a result, you will have both 1 TB of disk space as well as excellent performance. Not a bad deal for getting something for back to school and gaming. 

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Remember: budget doesn't necessarily mean cheap! 

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That is all for the best current budget gaming laptops of 2018, but be sure to check out other shopping guides here at GameSkinny:

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1. Acer Nitro 5

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Now we take a look at the laptop with the best price/performance balance. It features the quad-core processor from Intel and a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card, which has 4 GB of VRAM. That is already a sign of a genuinely powerful gaming station.

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You may ask why the price is so low. The reason is because it hosts a 256 GB SSD, which may seem a bit underwhelming when taking into account that some modern games require up to 50-60 GB of disk space. But it's extremely fast and completely noiseless.

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The battery performs a bit better than on the ASUS and holds up to three hours of non-stop gameplay.

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  • Graphics Card: 4 GB GTX 1050 Ti
  • \n
  • CPU: 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5
  • \n
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR4
  • \n
  • HDD/SSD: 256 GB SSD
  • \n
  • Inputs/Outputs:
    \n
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    • 1x USB 3.0
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    • 2x USB 2.0
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    • Network (RJ-45)
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    • HDMI Output
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    • 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
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    • 2 x Microphone
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    • 1 x Speaker
    • \n
    \n
  • \n
  • ROM drive: N/A
  • \n
  • Screen Size: 15.6"
  • \n
  • Screen Type: Full HD IPS
  • \n
  • Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
  • \n
  • Battery: 48 Wh 4-cell Lithium polymer
  • \n
"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/9/1/l/91llxcptvql-sl1500-bd06c.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/9/1/l/91llxcptvql-sl1500-bd06c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"183872","description":"

2. ASUS FX503VD

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Here is another model from ASUS, but this time with a quad-core processor from Intel, which guarantees much more powerful performance. On top of that, the FX series includes a Hybrid HDD, which performs 6x faster than your typical HDD.

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The most amazing feature is the GTX 1050 graphics card, which is perfect for running all the latest games on ultra settings. If you require a solid wireless connection, you will be extremely pleased with the dual-antenna wi-fi, which is 6x faster than traditional BGN. However, the battery isn't particularly good and holds only up to 2 hours.

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  • Graphics Card: 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050
  • \n
  • CPU: 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5-7300HQ
  • \n
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR4
  • \n
  • HDD/SSD: 1000 GB Hybrid Drive
  • \n
  • Inputs/Outputs:\n
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    • 802.11ac 2x2 Dual-antenna WiFi
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    • Bluetooth 4.1
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    • 2x USB 3.1
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    • 1x USB 2.0
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    • 1x HDMI 1.4
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    • 1x Mini DisplayPort
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    • 1x headphone/Mic jack
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    • 1x card reader
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  • \n
  • ROM drive: N/A
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  • Screen Size: 15.6"
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  • Screen Type: Full HD LED
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  • Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
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  • Battery: 64 Wh 4-cell Lithium ion
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"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/1/4/5147fy9c5hl-sl1300-d7bbc.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/1/4/5147fy9c5hl-sl1300-d7bbc.jpg","type":"slide","id":"183870","description":"

3. Lenovo Ideapad Y700

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Here is the first true gaming laptop on this list with a distinct predatory design featured in most high-end gaming laptops. It runs on an AMD processor of the latest generation, which means that its power consumption is lower. This in turn makes it possible to run games up to seven hours on a fully charged battery.

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The sound quality also plays a huge role in the Lenovo Y700, which is equipped with its own built-in subwoofer. The last thing that should be mentioned about this beast of a gaming laptop is the inclusion of an external optical disc drive in case you need to install your games off of a DVD.

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  • Graphics Card: 4 GB AMD Radeon R9 M380
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  • CPU: 1.8 GHz AMD A10-8700P
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  • RAM: 8 GB DDR3L
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  • HDD/SSD: 1 TB Mechanical Hard Drive
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  • Inputs/Outputs:\n
      \n
    • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
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    • Bluetooth 4.1
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    • 4-in-1 card reader
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    • 2 x USB 3.0
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    • USB 2.0
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    • HDMI
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    • Headphone/microphone combo jack
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  • \n
  • ROM drive: External DVD-RW
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  • Screen Size: 15.6"
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  • Screen Type: Full HD LED
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  • Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
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  • Battery: 60 Wh 4-cell Lithium polymer
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"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/8/1/6/816jgu11kdl-sl1500-96c1b.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/8/1/6/816jgu11kdl-sl1500-96c1b.jpg","type":"slide","id":"183867","description":"

4. ASUS VivoBook 15 X510UX

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This ASUS laptop has everything you need for a fast gaming experience in a lightweight and thin form factor. The Intel dual-core processor and the mobile GeForce 940MX graphics card will provide enough power to run all the latest games, although not on highest settings.

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It doesn't have an Ethernet port, so expect to only use a wireless connection here. The battery is non-detachable and runs for about four hours. But for this price, you won't find a better option.

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    \n
  • Graphics Card: 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
  • \n
  • CPU: 2.7 GHz Core i7 7500U
  • \n
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR4
  • \n
  • HDD/SSD: 1 TB Mechanical Hard Drive
  • \n
  • Inputs/Outputs:\n
      \n
    • 802.11ac Wireless LAN 
    • \n
    • Bluetooth 4.1
    • \n
    • 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C (Gen 1)
    • \n
    • 2 x USB 2.0
    • \n
    • 1 x USB 3.0
    • \n
    • 1 x HDMI
    • \n
    • 1 x Headphone/Microphone Combo Jack
    • \n
    • Card Reader SDXC
    • \n
    \n
  • \n
  • ROM drive: N/A
  • \n
  • Screen Size: 15.6"
  • \n
  • Screen Type: Full HD
  • \n
  • Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
  • \n
  • Battery: 3 Cells 42 Whrs Polymer Battery
  • \n
"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/8/1/c/81cwtzmwspl-sl1500-d8f37.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/8/1/c/81cwtzmwspl-sl1500-d8f37.jpg","type":"slide","id":"183869","description":"

5. Huawei MateBook D

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The MateBook D from Huawei is a bit on the expensive side, but there is a reason for that. If sound in games matters to you, then you will be impressed by this, the world's first laptop to launch with the Dolby Atmos Sound System. Also, the package includes one free year of the Office 365 software.

\n

The battery is really solid and holds up to 6 hours of runtime. If you're looking for a sleek-looking, lightweight, and thin laptop that can run both games and office applications, then this is a great choice.

\n
    \n
  • Graphics Card: 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
  • \n
  • CPU: 2.8 GHz Core i7 7500U
  • \n
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR4
  • \n
  • HDD/SSD: 1 TB Mechanical Hard Drive
  • \n
  • Inputs/Outputs:\n
      \n
    • IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
    • \n
    • 2.4/5GHz 2x2 MIMO
    • \n
    • USB 3.0 X 2
    • \n
    • USB 2.0 X 1
    • \n
    • Full Size HDMI X 1
    • \n
    • 3.5mm Stereo Headset Jack X 1
    • \n
    \n
  • \n
  • ROM drive: N/A
  • \n
  • Screen Size: 15.6"
  • \n
  • Screen Type: Full HD IPS
  • \n
  • Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
  • \n
  • Battery: 43.3 Wh, 3800 mAh Lithium-Ion
  • \n
"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/7/1/b/71b6qs0equl-sl1500-488c9.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/7/1/b/71b6qs0equl-sl1500-488c9.jpg","type":"slide","id":"183868","description":"

6. Dell Inspiron 5000

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Here's a gaming laptop based on an AMD processor with four cores and a 4 GB graphics card. Due to the inclusion of the AMD processor, it is a bit cheaper than the previous model but it already shows better performance.

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Such a powerful combination also means that it requires powerful cooling, so you may get a bit distracted by those fans. Also, the battery isn't particularly strong and will hold for only about 2 hours when running games.

\n
    \n
  • Graphics Card: 4 GB AMD Radeon RX 460
  • \n
  • CPU: 2.6 GHz AMD A-10 9630P Quad-Core Processor
  • \n
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR4
  • \n
  • HDD/SSD: 1 TB Mechanical Hard Drive
  • \n
  • Inputs/Outputs:\n
      \n
    • 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wireless LAN 
    • \n
    • Bluetooth 4.1
    • \n
    • 3 x USB 3.0
    • \n
    • 1 x HDMI
    • \n
    • 1 x Headphone Jack
    • \n
    • 1 x Microphone Jack
    • \n
    • Card Reader SDXC
    • \n
    \n
  • \n
  • ROM drive: N/A
  • \n
  • Screen Size: 15.6"
  • \n
  • Screen Type: Full HD LED
  • \n
  • Refresh Rate: 60 GHz
  • \n
  • Battery: 6 Cell Li-Ion
  • \n
"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/7/1/z/71zl1bmgphl-sl1500-693af.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/7/1/z/71zl1bmgphl-sl1500-693af.jpg","type":"slide","id":"183871","description":"

7. MSI CX62 

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This MSI CX62 laptop has enough power to run all the latest games, and for a reasonable price. It is based on a dual-core Intel i5 processor and a mobile GeForce 940MX graphics card.

\n

The only issue is that the screen doesn't support full HD resolution, meaning that its max resolution is 1366 x 768. But the battery holds up to 5-6 hours, and the cooling system is really quiet.

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    \n
  • Graphics Card: 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
  • \n
  • CPU: 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5
  • \n
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR4
  • \n
  • HDD/SSD: 1,024 GB Mechanical Hard Drive
  • \n
  • Inputs/Outputs:\n
      \n
    • 802.11 A/C
    • \n
    • Bluetooth 4.0
    • \n
    • Card Reader
    • \n
    • USB 2.0
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    • 2x USB 3.0
    • \n
    • Mini DisplayPort
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    • HDMI
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    • Headphone output
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    • Microphone input
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    • USB-C
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    \n
  • \n
  • ROM drive: DVD-RW
  • \n
  • Screen Size: 15.6"
  • \n
  • Screen Type: HD LED
  • \n
  • Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
  • \n
  • Battery: 6-cell Lithium ion
  • \n
"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/u/n/t/untitled-b4832.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/u/n/t/untitled-b4832.jpg","type":"slide","id":"183866","description":"

A new school year is literally just around the corner. And that means your student might just possibly need a brand-new laptop. You know, for all the education they're about to shove into their brains. But to add a slight wrinkle to that formula, you might also want to kill two birds with one stone by getting a laptop that can also play a few video games. 

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Well, lucky for you, we've got a list you might be interested in. Now, most of these computers aren't going to play the newest AAA games at ultra settings -- and some might struggle to play them at normal settings. But that's the beauty here: you won't have to worry (as much) about your student playing Fortnite during school hours. 

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Usually, laptops made specifically for gaming are more expensive than PC configurations, which is understandable since laptops have different architectures. However, in this article you will learn about seven of the best gaming laptops that will make your wallet happy -- while still being able to play some of 2018's new games.

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All laptops are sorted in order from "worst" deals to "best", but even the worst ones are worth taking a look at. So let's begin, shall we?

"}]]]>
Logitech G560 RGB Gaming Speakers Review https://www.gameskinny.com/ceaj7/logitech-g560-rgb-gaming-speakers-review https://www.gameskinny.com/ceaj7/logitech-g560-rgb-gaming-speakers-review Thu, 05 Jul 2018 12:25:41 -0400 Jonathan Moore

It's been a long time since I had a legit speaker system for my computer -- probably somewhere around 15 years, I'd wager. Typically, I rely on the catalog of awesome gaming headsets at my disposal, many of them in the Logitech G line. Plus, living in an apartment kind of complicates having big, booming stereo systems. 

But now that I'm in a brick and mortar house in the Atlanta 'burbs, all bets are off. And because of the uber-powerful Logitech G560 I've got hooked up to my rig, it's very possible my neighbors still hate me, despite us not sharing walls. 

Honestly, though: I don't care. Outside of a few quirks I can begrudgingly get over, Logitech's G560 RGB gaming speakers rival some of the best speaker systems on offer from companies like Vizio and Samsung. If you're in the market for loud, surround sound speakers for your rig that support DTS:X Ultra and don't break the bank, you'll want to keep reading. 

Unboxing and Design

A wise Logitech G marketer once said, "Gaming is at its best when you can get lost in the experience of play." In my many hours using the G560 speaker system, I've found Logitech's setup does just that. 

The brainchild of Logitech's sound team and Logitech G's design team, the G560 looks fantastically sleek out of the box. Coming in a fine matte black, these speakers will instantly fit in with your desktop setup, which is one of the main angles Logitech is pushing with the unit's design and Lightsync technology. 

I don't say this often, but the box the speakers come in is finely made, too; it's something you'll want to keep if you ever need to transport the speaker system from one place to the other. On the top, inside panel, you'll also find the instructions for hooking everything up, although I imagine you'll be able to manage just fine without them since everything's easy peasy.

Inside the box you'll find a 12-pound, 15.9” (h) x 10” (w) x 8.1” (d) subwoofer and two 3.92-pound, 5.8” (h) x 6.5” (w) x 4.6” (d) satellite speakers. Additionally, you'll find a power cable and two decent-length cables for the satellites. 

The subwoofer is fairly standard fare and has two connections for the satellite speakers, one 3.5mm input jack, and a USB port. The satellite speakers are rounded and look fairly innocuous from the front; however, view them from the side or back and you'll notice that they're more cone-shaped than round.

You'll find the sync and volume up/volume down buttons on top of the right speaker, and on the back of the right speaker, you'll find the power button, the Bluetooth connection button, and the headphone jack. The setup's signature light portals can be found on the back of each speaker as well and are made of hard, opaque plastic that looks somewhat out of place with the rest of the unit, but honestly, I have no idea of how to do it better, so I'm fine with it.

Functionality and Performance

Now that you know what connections the G560 has and what you can expect out of the box, you need to know something else: it's stupid easy to connect your devices to the unit. You can connect up to four devices and easily switch between any of them on the fly. I was able to quickly sync my Google Pixel 2 to the unit's Bluetooth and hooking up a set of headphones to the right satellite speaker expertly reroutes everything without a hassle. 

But what's arguably more important than the unit's ubiquity and ease of use is sound and character. And the G560 has both in spades. 

DTS:X Ultra

If you're like most PC gamers, there's a good chance you'll set your speaker system up a lot like the one in the image at the top of this review: subwoofer under your desk and the two satellite speakers on either side of your monitor. With most speaker systems, that type of setup immediately nixes any chance of true, positional surround sound. 

But not with the G560. Using DTS:X Ultra technology alongside Logitech's gaming software, it's very possible to get a good surround sound experience without setting things up in an alternate configuration. Whether I was listening to music on Spotify, watching a Let's Play on YouTube, or playing a shooter like Battlefield 1, the sound coming out of the G560 was thick and immersive. I was even able to get some good directional audio in BF1 and other shooters, which isn't easy to do with headphones, much less without them. 

It felt like the wall behind my setup was one giant speaker. And because the sound was (is) so good, it also felt like I had several more satellite speakers sitting behind me even though I didn't. In essence, the G560 was able to re-create headphone quality sound in a room not built for acoustics. 

The G560's DTS:X Ultra supports both 5.1 and 7.1 multichannel surround sound, and using Logitech's gaming software, you're able to tweak the unit's sound levels, adjusting levels for the physical subwoofer, two physical satellite speakers, and four additional virtual "satellites". You can't dial in every single tone, but you can dial in a lot. 

Logitech Gaming Software -- Lights, Customization, and More

If you've used a Logitech gaming product within the past several years, there's a 100% chance you've at least dabbled with the company's gaming software. For the most part, it still works very well. 

You can change the color, intensity, and brightness of the satellite speakers, as well as choose from full spectrum RGB, create custom colors, and save custom colors to profiles. On top of that, the software also provides effects presets such as fixed, cycling, breathing, audio visualizer, and screen sampler. You can even choose the effect polling rate, put the lights completely to sleep or on a timer, set a per profile backlight, and sync settings for specific games, which can be very helpful for genres such as horror. 

However, two of the unit's more intriguing color customization possibilities come in the form of Lightsync and the screen sampler. The former allows you to sync your speakers with all of your other Logitech RGB peripherals, bringing your entire desktop together. The latter allows you to set color zones on your monitor that reflect the on-screen color to the left or right satellite speaker. 

In theory, screen sampling is an awesome idea, one that could have far-reaching visual effects for games in certain genres, especially horror. But in practice, the technology seemed hit or miss. It's not for everyday use, and I imagine players will find mostly niche uses for it. 

Verdict

If you haven't guessed, Logitech's G560 speaker unit is a great piece of hardware you should have on your desk yesterday. At $199.99, the G560 positions itself in the low-end of the high-tier audio hierarchy. Couple 240 watts of pure sonic power with Logitech's fantastic gaming software, and the G560 is a gamer's delight. 

Honestly, there aren't too many negatives here -- and any I have are nitpicky at best. DTS:X isn't supported by Mac OS X, the posterior design of the satellite speakers is a little out of place, and there is a slightly noticeable volume jump from 12 to 13 (at least on the speakers I tested) that's not heard at any other intervals. 

But despite those small reservations, do yourself a favor and at least put these on your consideration list -- if not your must-buy list. You'll be surprised at not only how loud these speakers are, but how crisp and well-defined they make your music, movies, and games.  

You can buy the G560 RGB Gaming Speakers unit from Amazon for $199.99. 

[Note: Logitech provided the G560 unit used in this review.]

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Sennheiser GSP 500 Headset Review https://www.gameskinny.com/57n45/sennheiser-gsp-500-headset-review https://www.gameskinny.com/57n45/sennheiser-gsp-500-headset-review Fri, 29 Jun 2018 12:06:08 -0400 Jonathan Moore

I've reviewed quite a few headsets over my nearly two years at GameSkinny. From Corsair to HyperX and what seems like a countless lot in between, I've sampled a little bit of everything that corner of the peripherals market has to offer.

After a while, things start to sound if not the same, similar. It gets harder to pick out the minute differences in drivers or mark the true disparities between this software or that. But in all that time, this is the first I've gotten my hands on a Sennheiser -- the grandpappy of all grandpappies. 

I'd always heard that Sennheiser sound was some of the best audio quality you could get -- if not the best. I'd always heard that no matter how much I liked my favorite headset right now, a Sennheiser would make me green with envy. And although I paraphrase that last part from the glut of conversations I've had with audiophiles over the years, there's an inalienable truth to it.

It's damn hard to go back to my other headsets after sampling Sennheiser's GSP 500 gaming headset. 

Design and Comfort

Out of the box, the GSP 500 feels like something engineered and manufactured by Germans. It's sturdy. It's durable. And it's ergonomic. 

One of the first things you'll notice is that the headset doesn't feel like it's going to break in your hands. Although it's mostly made of plastic, that plastic is both relatively lightweight and resilient -- the headset weighs around 358 grams. That's eight grams more than the arguably flimsy-feeling Logitech G533 but nearly 70 grams lighter than SteelSeries' Arctis Pro+

What that means to you is this (and I say this with the utmost respect for both of those fantastic headsets mentioned above): the GSP 500 feels neither economical nor heavy. It feels very well-made -- and like something that's going to last you a very, very long time.

On top of that, it also means the GSP 500 is super comfortable. If you've read any of my other headset reviews, you know I've said more than once I think SteelSeries' ski-band is one of the cushiest headbands on the planet. I love that headband more than I love a well-made spicy taco. But man, is the GSP's headband its blow-for-blow rival. 

The showcase here isn't exactly what the headband is made of but instead the ability to customize the headband's contact pressure. Open along the top, the headband features two sliders that can be placed together in the middle for centralized pressure, at opposite ends from each other, or anywhere in between. This means that if you've got a weirdly shaped dome like me, you can find a sweet spot that just right for you


Moving down the headset, we come to the ergonomic earcups. Made of a soft, breathable material, these earcups don't sweat. That's pretty standard these days when it comes to (most) headsets, but what isn't so standard is the way these earcups are shaped: they mirror the shape of the human ear, providing a more natural, comfortable fit than your average round or square earcups. 

Another thing that makes them comfortable is the metal hinges that attach the earcups to the headband. These tilt and turn to fit a variety of face types and help the earcups better conform to your cheekbones and upper jaw. And although it's unfortunate the earcups don't fully rotate and you can't lay them flat on your collarbone when not in use like those found on the Logitech G Pro, for example, they're so comfortable and flexible that I'll give them a pass this time around. 

What's more, you'll also find a dearth of controls on the GSP 500's earcups. Typically, many newer headsets have a handful of volume and chat controls, as well as inputs, on one or both earcups. Here, you'll find a simple volume wheel on the right earcup. I especially like that the volume control is elegantly integrated into the headset and doesn't look like a volume knob. It's contoured edges make it easy to pick out, even though I do think it's a tad hard to turn.

Lastly, the noise canceling microphone on the GSP 500 works like a charm. Positioned on the left earcup just above the headset's only I/O, the mic is flexible, but just barely. This is where the GSP 500 looks like a gaming headset; you can't remove the microphone, just simply raise or lower it. That's not to say such a design is a detriment to the headset, but it is something that might turn off some who want something more ubiquitous.
 

Performance

My biggest gripe about Sennheiser's GSP 500 is that it's just not very loud. And I admit: loud is relative. Some users will think the GSP 500 is plenty loud and read this part of my review with an incredulous glare. But for me, I don't like having to turn a headset's volume knob to maximum -- while also turning my YouTube volume and system volume to maximum -- to achieve skull-blasting 11. 

However, after spending hours with headset, I think that volume "discrepancy" might just be because the headset is so damned good at recreating authentic sound via an open-acoustic design. 

So, despite my curmudgeonly misgivings about the headset's volume control, you'll be hard-pressed to beat the sound on the GSP 500. As an arm-chair audiophile, I'm constantly blown away by what the GSP 500 can do. It lets me hear frequencies I never knew were there and rediscover movies, music, and games like few other headsets can.  

Listening to songs from Northlane, While She Sleeps, and Tesseract, there were (are) guitar, bass, and drum sections I'd never heard before -- now resoundingly clear. Toms thrummed out in thrilling sonic waves, bass undulated through synths, and harmonics pinged through trebles and mids without either losing strength or impeding other tones. 

For classical overtures such as Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 3 in C Major, it felt as if I were in the concert hall, standing right next to the piano. And although the GSP 500 isn't a surround sound headset out of the box, it's stereo offerings are robust enough to mimic that functionality, especially when reproducing well-recorded sound. 

In gaming, the GSP 500 gives new life to many of the games I've played for hours on end. It emphasizes Kratos' guttural tones in God of War. It brightens the whisps of zipping bullets in Battlefield 1. And it makes the irritating simul-banter of Far Cry 5 less grating and actually distinguishable. Since the headset isn't surround sound, you won't get 100% accurate directional sound, but what you will find here isn't too shabby. 

If you do want to get 7.1 surround on the GSP 500, though, you can -- all while keeping it in the Sennheiser family. The only real downside is that you'll have to pick up an external DAC and drop another $250 to get it, which is a pricey proposition considering the headset itself already costs $250 by itself. 

--- 

If you're looking for something that immerses you in sound, the GSP 500 isn't exactly it. Because of its open ear design, you'll be able to hear a lot of the conversation and commotion around you. If you're in a loud environment, that can be pretty distracting to some users -- and in fact, this is the primary reason I'm giving it a 9 and not a 10.

However, the open ear technology affords crisper, more realistic tones and gives those that need it the ability to listen to music or play games without alienating those around them. If you want a closed-ear design, check out the GSP 600.  

The GSP 500 comes with a two-year international warranty, and it works on PS4, PC, Mac, and mobile devices. It also works on Xbox One, but may require the Xbox One stereo headset adapter (we didn't test it, but Sennheiser does suggest it). 

At the end of the day, this headset is for the high-end gamer who also has audiophile tendencies. I don't imagine your average gamer is going to opt for these, not only because of price, but also because those average gamers aren't necessarily looking for the sound this headset provides.

In other words, the GSP 500 is one of the very best headsets you can buy but it's also a luxury item. If you have the disposable income for it, there's no question you should pick it up. If you want high-fidelity sound, there's no question you should pick it up. But if you just want something to get you through the next CoD MP match, apply elsewhere -- this headset will be lost on you. 

You can buy the Sennheiser GSP 500 on Amazon for $229.95.

[Note: Sennheiser provided the headset used in this review.]

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Review: Corsair K70 RGB Mk2 Mechanical Keyboard https://www.gameskinny.com/tx1ci/review-corsair-k70-rgb-mk2-mechanical-keyboard https://www.gameskinny.com/tx1ci/review-corsair-k70-rgb-mk2-mechanical-keyboard Mon, 25 Jun 2018 16:51:44 -0400 ElConquistadork

Corsair has been in the business of making amazing PC gaming peripherals for years now, and this month they released their latest in keyboard goodness with the K70 RGB Mk2 Mechanical Keyboard.

The first thing I noticed right out of the box is that this keyboard is solid. And that's not only referring to the full-sized, aluminum-based mounting of this thing (although, let's face it: that is a definite factor). There's a weight to this keyboard that let's you know just how much craftsmanship went into it.

Like many RGB peripherals before it, the K70 Mk2 boasts a fully programmable lighting system that can be tailored to your preferences and gaming rig (see GameSkinny's review of the HyperX Pulsefire Surge for another example of just how cool this can be).

Outside of the lighting features, the K70 Mk2 doesn't resemble many other popular gaming keyboards, and I saw that as a good thing. There's a certain gaudiness that you can see on display with other popular gaming devices (even ones that are otherwise well-crafted peripherals), and that absence of esports-inspired bombast is a welcome, if minute, detail in a gaming keyboards for those of us past the age of saying "GG" out loud to another human being.

Corsair's K70 RGB Mk2 is loaded with some outstanding tech, as well. The first thing I noticed were the were the Cherry MX Keyswitches, which make for some of the quietest keystrokes I've ever seen (or heard, as the case may be) in a mechanical keyboard. The keyboard is also equipped for full key rollover, which means that your actions are registered by the keys correctly, no matter how much lag you hit.

Corsair's iCUE software remains outstanding and user-friendly. Through it you'll be able to program your lighting system, macros, and save up to three profiles in an 8MB on-board memory system that keeps your choices within the hardware, wherever you happen to take it. It's that sort of "pick up and go" versatility that's going to make the K70 Mk2 very popular with the travelling gamer community.

There were tons of little details that went into how much I loved my time with the Corsair K70 RGB Mk2 Keyboard. Additions like an actual dial for volume control, a built-in USB port for mouse or headset connectivity, and the general comfort of the brushed keys themselves. There's a level of form and function that Corsair put into this keyboard that impressed me more for every hour I used it.

Overall, I'd say that Corsair has developed my new favorite gaming keyboard. And with a list price of $159.99 on Amazon, it's affordable for casual gamers and enthusiasts alike.

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HyperX Fury S Pro Gaming Mousepad Review https://www.gameskinny.com/th24x/hyperx-fury-s-pro-gaming-mousepad-review https://www.gameskinny.com/th24x/hyperx-fury-s-pro-gaming-mousepad-review Thu, 14 Jun 2018 11:25:54 -0400 Jonathan Moore

There was a time not that long ago I would've scoffed at the notion of ever buying an "oversized" mousepad. Whenever I walked into a Mirco Center or a Fry's and saw those "oafish" extra-large pads dangling on the racks or lounging on the shelves, I chuckled at the "obvious" overkill of it all.

I had my regular-sized rinky-dink pad, and it worked just fine. I thought to myself, "Why would I need anything bigger?"

But that's the type of thinking you have when don't know any better. It's the type of thinking that gets you killed in competitive shooters, and it's the type of thinking that keeps you from knowing the true majesty of unfettered size.

Luckily for me, all that changed when I got my hands on the HyperX Fury S Pro Gaming XL.

Bigger than both the SteelSeries Qck XXL and Logitech G840, the Fury S Pro measures in at a whopping 35.4"x16.5". That means that no matter how exaggerated your movements, your mouse isn't likely to fall off the edges of this pad.


It comes in two variants: a standard, goes-with-everything black and the louder, yet still elegant, Speed Edition. The former keeps things understated with a muted black background, accented by the red and silver HyperX logo in the bottom right-hand corner. The latter features the same black background but this time embellished with a red, whispy flourish across most of the pad. A white HyperX logo pops in the lower right-hand corner, tying it all together.

The soft cloth of the pad is bound with a nicely woven anti-fray stitch. Not only does it extend the pad's shelf life, but it also provides a small tactile barrier to let you know you're getting close to the edges (if you ever reach them). On top of that, I haven't had a single issue with the pad folding or sliding because of its nicely textured rubber bottom.

Testing the mousepad in a plethora of different scenarios, ranging from elongated gaming sessions and every-day surfing to article editing and graphic design, the Fury S Pro proved to be an asset at both work and home. But if you're more the gamer, the pad's normal and Speed editions have a slight, yet important difference you'll want to be aware of.

HyperX says the normal pad has more friction than the Speed Edition and is built specifically for precision. The Speed Edition loses some of the friction found in the normal edition and helps increase player speed.

Although I wasn't able to confirm the Speed Edition is any faster than the normal edition, I was able to confirm that the normal edition's friction increased my precision in games like Battlefield 1 and Paladins -- and that's the primary reason it hasn't left my desk since I unboxed it. What's more, re-centering the mouse wasn't an issue because I didn't need to worry about sliding off the pad. The peace of mind provided by the size of Fury S Pro helped me keep my focus when it mattered most.


However, as good as the Fury S Pro is, its material may deter some gamers from picking it up. There's no doubt the pad is extremely comfortable, but those looking for a hard-plastic surface won't find what they're looking for here. Unfortunately, if you were looking to stay in the HyperX family, the company currently doesn't make hard-plastic pads, so you'll have to look to companies like SteelSeries and Logitech if that's what you're looking for.

But honestly, that's the only caveat I could find when deciding if I could recommend this fantastic pad. If you do want to go smaller, then HyperX has you covered (which makes getting a Fury S Pro even more of a no-brainer). Both the standard and Speed editions come in four different sizes: small, medium, large, and XL.

You can see them all here.

The extra large variant I tested retails for $29.99, a steal considering the quality and size of the pad. Even better, the smallest pad in the bunch, which is the size of a normal mousepad, will only set you back $9.99.

There's little reason this mousepad shouldn't be on your desk yesterday.

[Note: HyperX provided the Fury S Pro XL mousepad used for this review.]

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How to Game In Comfort: Choosing the Right Chair For Under $100 https://www.gameskinny.com/uvyac/how-to-game-in-comfort-choosing-the-right-chair-for-under-100 https://www.gameskinny.com/uvyac/how-to-game-in-comfort-choosing-the-right-chair-for-under-100 Tue, 12 Jun 2018 11:47:50 -0400 Samuel Franklin

Are you ready to throw out that old gaming chair? The one with the worn-down cushion? Of course, you are. 

Whether you're a PC gamer or a console gamer, it's time for you to play in comfort and style again -- all without breaking the bank. 

Since sitting for hours on end comes with the territory, a comfy chair can easily make or break a gaming session. After recently going through a purchase to replace my own five-year-old gaming chair (and doing it on a budget), here are a few tips that helped me get a great chair and an even better deal.

Material

If you want a chair that's going to last for a long time, you need to first choose the right material, since cheap material can easily fray, rip, or separate from the chair itself. And that's not to mention it just might not feel right.

So, it's best to do your research. If you have to spend a few extra dollars because the racer chair is made of higher quality materials than the generic PC gaming chair, then follow your heart and pay those few extra dollars and make a solid investment.

The best way to do this is to find a chair in-store. Being physically able to see and assess chairs provides a significant edge because you can get hands-on with the chair. If you can't find on in-store and have to resort to buying online, read as many reviews as you can and compare specs on official websites. 

Materials available for gaming chairs mostly break down into two categories: leather and fabric. These days, you can obtain both material types in a $100 budget chair with decent quality, making the choice mostly personal. 

However, there are some things that you can consider when making your choice. 

Leather is ideal for people who love to pair their game time with a beverage as it can easily be wiped down after a spill, etc. Meanwhile, fabric shines in hot and humid climates where it will reduce sweating (and sticking) for those longer gaming sessions.

Both are susceptible to frays or tears with time making longevity a draw for similarly priced materials. Personally, due to where I live, I value fabric over leather and haven't looked back after making the switch.

Comfort

Speaking from experience, if you are a hardcore gamer, you will be sitting in your chair for dozens of hours -- at least. Nothing is worse than coming out of your game world to double over in pain because of a sore back. Similarly, you don't want to be uncomfortable for the whole session, constantly moving from side to side.

As comfort can be extremely hard to judge (especially for online purchases), you want to look for reviews on comfort and, if possible, visit a local retailer that stocks your ideal chair (or one of similar make) and take a seat for a few minutes.

The other main comfort elements to consider are: Do you want a neck/headrest? Or, do you want curved or flat armrests?

If you're tall, having a headrest will increase the ergonomic quality of the chair, giving your head something to rest on -- or if you prefer to play in a reclined position

Armrests are important for keeping your wrists healthy depending on your setup and height. If you're a PC gamer, armrests will be more important (based on your desk height, for example) than for a console gamer. The wrong armrests can even increase the likelihood of conditions such as carpal tunnel and lead to back and neck pain. 

Those shopping outside the $100 budget range will have the luxury of buying a chair with more levers to customize seat depth and even armrests. In our proposed $100 price range, these features are more limited in our proposed $100 price range. And although they are achievable, you'll have a harder time finding them and your selection will be much more limited.  

Space

In addition to the chair, the physical aspects of the space you have is actually a vital consideration. A recent move left me with a chair that was too large for the space I had, making it awkward to get into and sit in.

You want to measure how much space you have in your gaming area. If you are dealing with a small area, it might be best not to spring on a huge chair with a wide profile. You want to be able to sit far enough away from your television or computer without giving yourself a migraine, hurt your eyes, or cramp your legs, the latter of which can negate all of the positive ergonomic effects of your new chair. 

You also have to think about getting your chair in the room/building it in the room you want it in. It might be a pain to do this if the space you're putting it in is too small to accommodate the chair. And obviously, this can lead to other injuries not even associated directly with the chair. 

Comfy Gaming Chair Recommendations

With these factors in mind, here are a few good chairs for gaming that continually came up while I was doing research. Some of these can serve as a good starting point for your own research.

Intex Inflatable Ultra Lounge Chair

This is a fairly cheap option, running around $24. This makes it one of the cheapest gaming chairs money can buy at the moment. It's comfortable and comes with an inflatable ottoman for you to prop your feet on while you game.

If that doesn't sell it, it has a cup holder as well. Obviously, the design is intended for the console player and perfect for a temporary solution, such as a dorm room or similar.

You can buy it on Amazon for $70.96

Crew Furniture 512090

This is a chair in the Rocker series of gaming chairs that is actually fairly inexpensive and an option for someone wanting leather. It's good for your budget and goes right on the floor, making it good for comfortable console gaming.

If you prefer to have your arms free as a console gamer, it's lack of armrests can cater to your requirements. Of course, this floor-based design makes it completely useless for computer gaming.

You can buy it on Amazon for ~$45

Merax High Back Gaming Chair

This chair will run you about $100 and is more suited to the PC gamer. It's fairly inexpensive for the quality it provides, and it helps you maintain a comfortable, proper posture while you play.

It gives you support all the way to your spine to keep pressure off your back and neck. Overall, it's a sleek and stylish option for the gamer that prefers to sit back and relax on a leather chair.

You can buy it on Amazon for ~$100

Modern Luxe Reclining Fabric Racing Chair

Finally, this is the gaming chair I ended up selecting to ensure I'm comfortable playing Fortnite and eventually Fallout 76. It helps that it met all my criteria: it comes in under $100; it's fabric-based; and it has flat armrests. It's extremely similar to the Merax featured above, and comes with neck and headrests, adjustable armrests, and overall great body support.

This is really the minimum I'd consider these days for a gaming chair since gone are the days of office chairs being used for gaming when amazing comfort is available at prices less than $100.

You can buy it on Amazon for $99.90

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There's no reason to keep that old clunky chair with these inexpensive options on the market. You shouldn't have to suffer from a sore back or general discomfort from your current chair any longer. Alternatively, if your chair is simply falling apart or not ideal for your current gaming lifestyle, it's also time to look for an upgrade.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more guides just like these: 

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Logitech G513 Mechanical Keyboard Review https://www.gameskinny.com/68df8/logitech-g513-mechanical-keyboard-review https://www.gameskinny.com/68df8/logitech-g513-mechanical-keyboard-review Thu, 31 May 2018 17:22:36 -0400 Jonathan Moore

It's a real possibility Logitech has found the secret formula to repeatedly crafting fantastic peripherals. From the G613 Wireless to the G Pro and beyond, both fans and critics alike seem to agree that when it comes to keyboards, Logitech can do very little wrong. 

Most gamers -- and writers like myself -- keep coming back to Logitech for three reasons: quality, consistency, and useability. Bringing those three pillars together under one roof means there are a lot of Logitech boards on a lot of desks around the world. 

Add the sleek G513 to the list. 

Sporting two great RomerG options, a futuristic, gunmetal design, a comfortable wrist rest, and LightSync compatibility, the G513 is relatively light on frills but heavy on fancy. Since receiving it, the keyboard hasn't left my desk -- a testament to its design considering I have plenty of other options for both home and work. 

It's not perfect at $150, but it's an excellent piece of equipment worthy of your attention and consideration.  

Design

From its size to the Logitech logo in the upper right-hand corner of the board, the G513 takes almost all of its cues from the Logitech G413.

Its sturdy gunmetal body, which comes in equally sleek black carbon and silver colors, measures 17.5 x 5.3 inches and has the same 104-key layout as the G413.

Furthermore, the board also uses similar USB pass-through technology to allow for device charging and data transfer. It's located in the upper right-hand corner of the board and works as advertised. 

However, there are a few key design differences that set the G513 apart from other boards. The most obvious is that this keyboard doesn't have dedicated media keys (mute, volume up/down, play, stop, fast-forward, and rewind) like many other mechanicals currently on the market. It's something I've grown accustomed to in offerings from Corsair, HyperX, and even Logitech, so it's a bit strange not having them here. I wouldn't say it's something that detracts from the useability of this board, but it's something to keep in mind for the price tag. 

The other differences are a bit more positive. 

Sticking with keys, the Logitech G513 moves away from the if not boring, then bland single-color backlighting of the G413. Here, you'll get per-key RGB backlighting across the entire color spectrum. Using Logitech's consistently cogent gaming software, you can easily set profiles, presets, effects, and much more. The addition of Lightsync to the Logitech suite of products also means you can have the same profiles, presets, and effects across multiple devices, too, such as mice and speakers. It's a nice touch that makes your desktop look that much more uniform and elegant.  

It's also welcome to see the G513 has a plush wrist rest that's more comfortable than you might first expect. When originally unboxing the board, I thought it was odd that the memory foam palm rest didn't connect directly to the board but instead floated separately from it. But the more I used it, the more I came to believe that this is how wrist rests are meant to be.

 

Romer-Gs FTW 

I'll admit it: I'm not a super fan of the traditional Romer-Gs. It's not because they aren't fantastic keys, and it's not because they aren't quieter and faster than more conventional mechanical keys. It's really because I'm not a huge fan of Cherry MX Browns -- and traditional Romers are very similar in make and function. 

However, the big draw here is the G513's key options: tactile and linear. 

I've personally come to appreciate the linear versions presented here because they provide a fluid and smooth keystroke when typing and playing games. They have the same 45g actuation force, 1.55mm actuation distance, and 3.2mm travel distance as the tactile switches, but there's no discernible bump between press and actuation as there is with the tactiles. 

Since I spend almost all of my working and free time in front of the computer, having a key that works well and feels "right" in each situation is a boon. In fact, the small familiarity curve I often have with new keyboards wasn't present when first using the G513, which is a huge deal for both gamers and professionals making the switch to Logitech -- or between primary and secondary boards. 

Based on what I've read, I'm not the only one who feels this way. 

I tested the keys against my typical workload, which sees me typing thousands of words a week on average, as well as a variety of games ranging from Paladins and Warhammer: Vermintide 2 to Cities: Skylines and Tyranny. Each set of keys -- both traditional and linear -- performed as advertised.

In my time reviewing the G513, there weren't any major variances in quality between the two sets of keys, and all are rated for 70 million clicks. 

An Almost Full Feature Set

Aside from the aforementioned USB pass-through and full RGB backlighting, the G513 has a few more features that are worth noting.

Via Logitech's Gaming Software, you'll be able to program macros and keystrokes to the G513, as well as enable Game Mode to disable the Windows key when playing games. However, you won't be able to reprogram each and every key as you can on some other boards. You also won't find dedicated macro keys or G keys on this variant, either. 

Like most keyboards, you'll also find the G513 provides anti-ghosting features, as well as key rollover. The anti-ghosting works well and assures you have reliable control when gaming, but you'll only get 26-key rollover here. It could be argued that having full N-key rollover is often overkill, but at $150, it would be nice to have the feature here, especially since several less expensive boards offer it.  

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Overall, the G513 is an excellent keyboard. If you're looking for complete RGB or linear keys, this is the upgrade you're looking for. If you don't care about either one of those things, the 413 is a board you'll want to check out -- or stick with if you've already got it. 

At $150, the G513 is a relatively tougher sell considering it's more an upgrade than a true full-step iteration. That doesn't mean you should pass it up at all; it just means you'll need to consider your options before taking the plunge. 

You can buy the Logitech G513 mechanical from Amazon for $150. 

[Note: Logitech provided the G513 used in this review.]

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HyperX Pulsefire Surge RGB Gaming Mouse Review https://www.gameskinny.com/qg0y7/hyperx-pulsefire-surge-rgb-gaming-mouse-review https://www.gameskinny.com/qg0y7/hyperx-pulsefire-surge-rgb-gaming-mouse-review Wed, 30 May 2018 14:35:07 -0400 ElConquistadork

The difference that a solid gaming mouse can make in both its bells and whistles and ease of play can really make or break your gaming experience. You have to look out for the right weight, feel, and button location when choosing a mouse that will stick with you through hardcore and casual sessions alike.

My experience with the Pulsefire Surge RGB Gaming Mouse showed me that not only has HyperX created a comfortable, user-friendly piece of tech, but they've created one that won't strangle the wallet of gamers on a slimmer budget.

With its smooth, unassuming design, the Pulsefire Surge RGB doesn't immediately jump out as anything particularly special. Outside of its gorgeous RGB lighting (more on that later), the general design feels like many mice I've used in the past, and I expected as much from my experience. However, that assumption changed for me the moment I finally tested it out.

Right off the bat, it felt terrific in hand. The finish has a smooth, rubberized grip that allows for good adhesion without sacrificing your natural dexterity. The button placement is ergonomically designed, and each button had satisfying feedback with each click.

And based on the fact that the Pulsefire Surge RGB is equipped with 50 million click-rated Omron switches, it's my best guess that this mouse is going to feel just as fluid and comfortable this time next year (give or take a few hundred Overwatch sessions). 

I've read some complaints from other users that the Pulsefire Surge's main buttons are designed to fit too close to each other -- that they end up grinding together in the heat of the moment. However, I never experienced this issue. That's because HyperX took the community's feedback to heart and has already released a brand-new version of the mouse that fixes that issue.

The Pulsefire was quickly redesigned to provide more space between the two buttons, which, when compared to the first mouse we were sent, really provides a world of difference when clicking the Pulsefire's LMB and RMB in quick succession. 

HyperX's software remains incredibly user-friendly, with options to program and store different macros provided through straightforward, simple design. You even get the option to change the RGB lighting on the mouse, which, let's face it, was my favorite part. The butter-smooth lighting effects on this little piece of kit really take what is otherwise a plain look and turn it into something truly radiant. HyperX has always done a terrific job with their interface software, and the Pulsefire Surge RGB isn't an exception to that rule.

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Overall, I would argue that the HyperX Pulsefire Surge RGB is one of the best new gaming mice on the market right now. Its precision, technical kit, and software options are brilliant and fluid like a kiddie-pool filled with grain alcohol.

Add to that the fact that it's sporting a modest $69.99 price tag, can hit 16,000 CPI, and that it works near flawlessly for both work and play, and you've got a solid mouse for both the casual and the hardcore.

The only "downside" is that it doesn't come with customizable weights. Some users may find the Pulsefire a bit light, even though it comes in at 100 grams. But overall, it felt great in hand, and it's not something that should get in the way of picking up this fantastic piece of gear. 

You can buy the Pulsefire Surge RGB from Best Buy for $69.99. 

[Note: HyperX provided the Pulsefire RGB mouse used for this review.]

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Logitech G305 Mouse Review: Affordable, Reliable Wireless Gaming Has Arrived https://www.gameskinny.com/r35mv/logitech-g305-mouse-review-affordable-reliable-wireless-gaming-has-arrived https://www.gameskinny.com/r35mv/logitech-g305-mouse-review-affordable-reliable-wireless-gaming-has-arrived Wed, 30 May 2018 14:01:03 -0400 Ty Arthur

When trying to move up the rankings and compete with the pros -- whether your jam is Fortnite, CS:GO, or anything in-between -- a solid mouse is a must. Rapid response and uninterrupted tracking make a huge difference  -- a larger one than you may at first realize. 

Moving from the stock mouse that came with my PC to the Logitech G305 (one of Logitech's newest gaming-centric mice), I'm shocked by the clear and noticeable differences it provides over most of the mice I've used.

From a comfortable design to instant wireless response, the G305 delivers a light, portable option for the serious gamer.

G305 Design

A quick look at the G305 reveals a surprisingly restrained, simplistic design. No crazy angles and curves like the Proteus, no flared hips like the G300S, and no extended thumb support segment like the G602.

Instead, the G305 offers a smaller, lighter design that works well for either a claw grip or a relaxed hand grip. The mouse has a solid feel but is fairly lightweight for a serious gaming peripheral. I think it feels best with the extra 10g weight added, but if you don't want that weight dragging you down for twitchy FPS action, pulling it out is a snap.

The placement of the rubber feet makes the mouse absolutely smooth: it can glide across your desktop space with ease, and an extra foot at the bottom means overzealous players who slam their mouse buttons down aren't going to do any damage.

Logitech has managed to pack a whole lot into the smaller space of the G305, with the wireless receiver dongle cleverly hidden inside the mouse next to the battery. It's so small and effectively hidden that I didn't even see it the first time I opened the case and thought my mouse mistakenly hadn't included that critical piece.

G305 Features

Having two extra buttons on the side and one just below the scroll wheel significantly improved my Fortnite reflexes (and ranking!) since I didn't have to move my hand and tap F1 to bring up the build menu. The MMB is more pronounced than some of the other mice I've used as well, making it easy to find in frenetic combat situations. 

Another great feature is Logitech's state-of-the-art HERO sensor. Found in some of Logitech's other mice, the HERO sensor is supposed to provide enhanced power efficiency while still pushing exceptional accuracy and performance. And for the most part, it does just that. The sensor is accurate and responsive, shaving time (however small) off my movements. 

You can also automatically switch profiles between games like Fortnite or Overwatch, assigning different functions to the buttons that are game-specific. And these profiles can either be stored on the mouse or on your PC.

With the Logitech software installed, there's a crazy level of detailed usage data to be mined. Turning on the click analyzer lets you see what buttons you press most often, how hard you press them, and how long they remain depressed so you can plan your button profile strategy for any given game.

Best of all, the software lets you manually change sensitivity settings if they aren't to your liking, since some games benefit from flinging the mouse across the screen in an instant, while others need more precision. 

G305 Performance

What you get with the 305 is essentially the same basic functionality as the more expensive G703, but with a few key features culled to lower the price point. Most notably, there's no Powerplay option for automatic recharging on the mouse pad like with the other mice in this series.

Although Powerplay isn't an option here, the G305 will last a good long time on a single AA battery -- up to 250 hours if you keep it on low-power mode. No matter what your settings are or how many profiles you save on the mouse, the battery life is long enough that you really don't need to factor constant battery purchases into the price, so you are saving a good deal by not buying that awesome (but expensive) charging pad.

While the battery life is great, all that really matters for a wireless gaming mouse is its responsiveness -- and that's where the G305 outshines the competition. The sensitivity and response time are actually better here than with my standard wired mouse, which is something that seemed impossible just a few years ago.

Aside from the missing Powerplay feature, another potential issue is the lack of RGB lighting, which has become nearly standard with any gaming mouse currently on the market. While there are cheapo $10 mice out there that have more stylish and ostentatious aesthetics, they won't come close to the sleek, smooth function of the G305. 

Verdict

The G305 is undeniably pricier than your bare bones stock mouse while having a similar aesthetic. Where it beats out the lower-end peripherals, however, is in wireless connectivity, incredible responsiveness, a solid-yet-lightweight feel, and the Logitech gaming software.

For performance over panache, you can't go wrong here. If you don't care about flashing lights or flared, curved designs and just want to dominate in a round of Fortnite, the G305 is enthusiastically recommended.

Rated for 10 million clicks, the Logitech G305 is a fantastic mouse for the price. You can check out the full specs on Logitech's website. 

You can buy the Logitech G305 gaming mouse on Amazon for $59.99.

[Note: Logitech provided the G305 gaming mouse used for this review.]

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Intellivision Set to Revive Atari Rivalry? https://www.gameskinny.com/3na4j/intellivision-set-to-revive-atari-rivalry https://www.gameskinny.com/3na4j/intellivision-set-to-revive-atari-rivalry Wed, 30 May 2018 11:17:14 -0400 Jonathan Moore

When it originally released in 1978, the Intellivision was an impressive piece of hardware. It was also the primary competition to Atari's 2600 home console. 

Fast forward more than 30 years, and it appears Intellivision is gearing up to re-enter to console space -- and potentially reignite its rivalry with Atari. 

Details on the company's newly announced system are sparse, but we do know from industry insiders that the company is looking to develop a new system that everyone -- even non-gamers -- can enjoy (what that exactly means is still up in the air). However, we do know that the new Intellivision won't necessarily focus on console classics such as Donkey Kong Jr., Qbert, or Demon Attack -- at least no in NES Classic style. 

This is going to be something new

What makes the news about an Intellivision revival even more compelling is that many of the original leadership and development team members are returning for the new console. Tommy Tallarico, the host of Video Games Live, has been named President of Intellivision Productions, the company responsible for the development of the new system. 

With the release of the Atari VCS on the horizon, a console more reminiscent of the revivals promulgated by Nintendo of late, it almost appears as if the decades-old rivalry between the two companies is set to renew.  

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the current gaming space, one where the home console landscape is dominated by Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. It remains to be seen if the current generation of gamers will even care about a new Intellivision. Will the name of a company that shuttered its doors just as the golden age of console gaming began its climb to its zenith resonate in 2018+? 

We'll just have to wait and see...

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and information on Intellivision's new console as it develops. 

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How to Build a Capable Gaming PC on an Insanely Low Budget https://www.gameskinny.com/lx9ep/how-to-build-a-capable-gaming-pc-on-an-insanely-low-budget https://www.gameskinny.com/lx9ep/how-to-build-a-capable-gaming-pc-on-an-insanely-low-budget Thu, 24 May 2018 13:55:47 -0400 RobotsFightingDinosaurs

We know why you're here. You've decided to build yourself a gaming PC, and you started hyperventilating, worried that it will be insanely difficult, stressful, and expensive. Then you googled "building a gaming PC on a budget" as your heart rate steadily rose. It's okay. Breathe. We're here for you.

The truth is that depending on what you already have, you can build a PC that can run modern games at respectable settings for around 600 bucks. "But Sam!" I hear you cry. "Didn't Bitcoin ruin all of this because now you need more money than God to buy a decent graphics card?" Well, yes and no. Sure, graphics cards are a whole lot more expensive now because high-end ones are used to mine cryptocurrency. But that doesn't mean there aren't still tools and hacks you can use to find yourself a decent graphics card at face value. 

Building a Gaming PC on a Budget

Getting Started

The first thing you'll need to do is set your budget, though this is a bit more complicated than you might think. Most PC building guides do not include the price of necessary accessories like keyboards, mice, and monitors in the total build cost. If you don't have any of those lying around, you'll want to be aware that this is going to be an added cost down the line. You'll also likely need a CD drive in order to install your operating system (which you'll also need to snag somehow). Be aware that all these costs do add up. When I built my first PC, all together, I ended up spending an additional $250 on all of these components. 

Of course, if you already have your operating system and a monitor you want to use, you don't really need to worry about this, but for a first-time build, this really bears mentioning. 

Now, once you've identified the additional costs, you can drill down a bit. The next, most helpful step is to get a sense of what exactly you'll need for your build, especially if this is your first time building a PC. My favorite tool for this is Logical Increments.

If you've never used it before, it really is an incredibly useful site. In short, it lists recommended builds and their total price point. It's a great place to start for something like this so that you can pinpoint everything you'll need and get a sense of how much it'll hurt your wallet. As an added bonus, every build that Logical Increments lists is fully compatible as long as you're on the same horizontal line. 

In this use case, we'll be splitting the difference between the Good and Fair tiers. Don't worry, we're really not sacrificing much in terms of quality here. You'll be just fine running modern games in 1080p at medium-to-high settings.

CPU, Motherboards, and RAM

Though the CPU is ostensibly the core of your computer (and, admittedly, a place where you'll want to invest pretty heavily), it's actually fairly easy to upgrade your central processing unit. The same goes for RAM. 

The only tricky part is pairing each of these components with a motherboard that will be compatible with each. Logical Increments' recommendations for motherboards are usually fairly future-proof up to about three or four years, and their recommendation of the MSI B350 PC MATE has an AM4 socket for your processor and room for 4 DDR4 RAM sticks for $90. This might seem steep for a motherboard, but trust me, this is one part of your computer you will not want to replace anytime soon. This means you'll want to make sure it'll last and be able to accommodate upgraded CPUs and additional RAM upgrades as well, making the AM4 sockets and DDR4 compatibility a must.

In terms of your CPU, AMD's RYZEN series has been absolutely killing it, packing a whole lot of power into a budget-friendly chip. We love the R5 1500x, which, as of writing, is on sale for only $135.

In terms of RAM, you might want to go all out right now and buy 16 gigs, but trust us when we say you really don't need to. For now, start off with 8 gigs of DDR4 RAM, then if you notice you really need more, buy another stick and slot it in later. It's really super easy. Plus, RAM is expensive at $83/8gb.

Ok, so that's about half our budget gone, with a total cost so far of $308. Let's talk about graphics cards.

Picking a Graphics Card

Our own Ty Arthur put together a pretty great guide that runs down a few tools that are incredibly helpful in terms of making sure you're getting the best price no matter what graphics card you pick. You really should read it. 

Done? Good. 

Personally, for a build that's around $600, I think that AMD is the better choice for budget-friendly GPUs. The Radeon RX 560 isn't just our recommendation for a great, cheap card, it's pretty much everyone's. And as an added bonus? As of writing, Newegg has it right now for the MSRP of $155.

Storage

Hard drives are now cheap enough that for any build, you should be using two: a solid-state drive that holds your operating system, and a standard hard drive that can hold all of your pro Fortnite replays.

For $95, you can snag yourself both a 128GB solid state drive to hold your system files, as well as a 2TB internal hard drive. Installing your OS to a solid-state drive might sound unnecessary, but it really does increase performance across the board on your computer. You'll be booting your system in a second or two, installation speeds will be slashed, and at the same time, since SSDs are much more reliable than HDDs, your mission critical files are much more safe. Just make sure that once you close everything up and install your OS that you choose the right drive!

Power Supply, Case, and Heat Management

Of course, you gotta plug your rig in. The EVGA 500 B1 ($45 as of writing) should handle anything you throw at it; this PC won't be a monster, so you don't need any super heavy-duty power supply to deal with that. 

In terms of your case, feel free to shop around on Amazon and Newegg to find something you find attractive. We like this Corsair Carbide series case (now on sale for just $50!) because of its front-mounted USB and audio ports, as well as its convenient side window. If that's not your speed, find something else! There are plenty of case options out there, with front-mounted HDMI ports and all sorts of odds and ends, so think about where you'll put the computer and let that guide your thinking.

For heat management on your budget build, we recommend just using the heat sink included with your CPU if you don't plan on overclocking. If you do, you can absolutely drop $25 on a fancier heat sink, but it really shouldn't be necessary for a rig like this. 

Final Cost: $638

This build should give you everything you need out of a gaming PC. It'll be relatively future-proof, easily upgradeable, and will, out of the box, be able to play modern games at respectable settings. 

Notes on Upgrading and Changing the Build

Looking to upgrade further, or to cut corners and bring the build down under that all-important $600 mark? There's a very important tool over at PCPartPicker that can help you with that. In fact, it's a must for every build. 

The site allows you to, essentially, create a complete list of parts for your build. It will then check everything for you and alert you to any compatibility issues that have been found. In addition, after you've built your PC, it will allow you to confidently upgrade parts using recommendations based on the components you've already installed. So if you're a fan of this build but want an Nvidia card, or want to use an Intel chipset instead of an AMD one, the site can guide your purchase decisions in a very helpful way.

Final Notes

Phew. Isn't that better? Like we said, building a decent PC doesn't really have to break the bank. And once you get all the parts, we promise, it'll be a whole lot of fun to put everything together. It's like adult Legos, except at the end, you get to play Overwatch with texture quality set to high.

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Razer Unveils Entry-Level eGPU Enclosure in Core X https://www.gameskinny.com/iaio7/razer-unveils-entry-level-egpu-enclosure-in-core-x https://www.gameskinny.com/iaio7/razer-unveils-entry-level-egpu-enclosure-in-core-x Tue, 22 May 2018 16:04:10 -0400 Jonathan Moore

If you've ever wanted to turn your gaming laptop into a gaming desktop, or if you've ever wanted to have more raw power for gaming, designing, mixing, or multitasking, you might already know about Razer's first-class external GPU cases. 

For some time now, Razer's been helping laptop owners get the most out of their machines without requiring they buy a brand-new rig. The Core V2 did a fantastic job of doing that, affording room for 2.2-Slot video cards from both NVIDIA and AMD alongside a relatively compact housing and a 500W PSU. 

But with the release of the Core X today, pairing desktop power with the portability of top-tier laptops just got a whole lot more affordable. 

Coming in at only $299, the Core X might be a tad larger than the Core V2, but it makes up for it by allowing room for 3-Slot video cards while containing an impressive 650W ATX PSU. Unfortunately, the Core X doesn't support Razer's Chroma RGB lighting -- and it doesn't have USB or Ethernet connections. But considering you're paying nearly $200 less than you would for the V2, that seems like a fair trade. 

The Core X also sets itself apart because unlike some other models currently on the market, it can connect to any computer that has a compatible Thunderbolt 3 connection -- including MacBooks. The connection is capable of reaching speeds of up to 40Gbps. 

The enclosure works with compatible NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards as far back as 2014. Those include GeForce, Quadro, XConnect, and Radeon Pro.  

It's worthy to note the Core X does not come with a graphics card. If you're looking for graphics cards, use the tools in this guide to find them now instead of later (read: while they're still getting cheaper). 

You can purchase the Core X GPU enclosure from Razer.com for $299. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and information on Razer products and other gaming peripherals and hardware. 

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New Razer Blade Might Be 'World's Smallest Laptop' https://www.gameskinny.com/relku/new-razer-blade-might-be-worlds-smallest-laptop https://www.gameskinny.com/relku/new-razer-blade-might-be-worlds-smallest-laptop Tue, 22 May 2018 12:42:57 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Razer's flagship laptop just got a huge overhaul, with everything from its look to its core components getting an upgrade. The refinements are exactly what you'd expect to find in an upper-echelon laptop, and they easily set up the Razer Blade to be one of 2018's best gaming laptop options. 

Essentially one-upping its predecessor in every way, the Razer Blade now sports a 15.6-inch IPS display that's available in 60Hz at 4K resolution or a blistering 144Hz at 1920x1080. The bezels around the screen are now thinner (4.9mm) and squared off, eschewing the 14-inch's rounded edges for a more modern look. And the Blade accomplishes all of this while taking up the same footprint as the 14-inch -- its ultra-thin block chassis measures only 0.66 inches thick and weighs only 4.5 pounds.  

As for its other specs, the Razer Blade is armed to the teeth -- 100% ready for all modern gaming can throw at it, including virtual reality. The laptop comes with Intel's six-core 8th Gen i7-8750H (which can reach speeds of up to 4.1GHz), as well as your choice of an NVIDIA GTX 1060 or 1070 Max-Q.  

The laptop also comes stocked with 16GB of 2667MHz RAM and a 512GB SSD. You can opt-in for the upgraded version which supports up to 32GB of RAM and 2TB of storage.  

Needless to say, the new Razer Blade is meant for power gaming and multi-tasking. 

We are proud to have again stepped-up as an industry leader, taking laptop engineering to the next level to give gamers the performance they require and the mobility they desire.

                                            -- Razer Co-Founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan

The latest model also features an anti-ghosting keyboard complete with full-spectrum RGB backlighting, dual front-facing speakers (with Dolby Atmos), and an 80-watt battery. On top of that, you'll get three external display I/Os in a Mini Display Port, an HDMI port, and a Thunderbolt 3 port, as well as three USB 3.0 connections.  

The Razer Blade 15.6-inch gaming laptop is currently available in the United States, Canada, France, U.K., Germany, and China. You can purchase it here starting at $1,899. 

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5 Best Tools for Finding Cheap Graphics Cards https://www.gameskinny.com/7o1sg/5-best-tools-for-finding-cheap-graphics-cards https://www.gameskinny.com/7o1sg/5-best-tools-for-finding-cheap-graphics-cards Tue, 15 May 2018 13:50:21 -0400 Ty Arthur

[{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/a/c/backslide-b0606.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/a/c/backslide-b0606.jpg","type":"slide","id":"183692","description":"

While prices for both the latest, bleeding-edge cards and the mid tier of gaming hardware remain high, all indications point to a drop coming soon. Stay on top of all the possible sales so you don't miss out on the deal of a lifetime!

\n

Which of these video card price-checking tools do you use most often, and did we miss any great free services that should be added to the list? Let us know how you find cheap graphics cards with websites, browser extensions, and coupon codes in the comments below!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/n/e/w/new-acde6.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/n/e/w/new-acde6.png","type":"slide","id":"183691","description":"

Newegg Price Low To High

\n\n

While the point of the various tools in the previous slides is to have a program do the work for you, they aren't always perfect and don't catch everything. Sometimes a little legwork is necessary, and you can't always beat just setting the "price: low to high" option on the gaming graphics cards section of Newegg.

\n

They remain one of the most well-known hardware retailers for a reason, and with regular sales and offers, you can find new video cards for as cheap as $100 on the low end, with occasional big dips in prices on the higher-end cards if you check back regularly.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/m/n/amna-0452a.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/m/n/amna-0452a.png","type":"slide","id":"183690","description":"

Amazon Assistant Chrome Extension

\n\n

While Camel Camel Camel will tell you when a price on a specific product drops, it won't always notify you of Amazon's daily deals and other price-saving measures for similar video cards.

\n

With the Amazon Assistant, you can stay up-to-date on daily Lightning Deals in hardware to find that elusive sale on a graphics card, as well as view similar products while searching to add new video cards to your wish list (and then add 'em to your Camel Camel Camel notifications).

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/o/n/honey-4ec6d.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/h/o/n/honey-4ec6d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"183689","description":"

Honey Chrome Extension

\n\n

Coupon code- and discount-searching browser extensions are a dime a dozen these days, and there are plenty worth checking out. One of the biggest and most reliable is Honey, which automatically searches any given site for coupons to get a better deal at checkout.

\n

Honey tends to have plenty of coupons for sites like Newegg, so you can get bigger price reductions over already-reduced sale prices if you check back frequently on any part, from RAM to video cards.

\n

The codes aren't always still valid, but having the option available means you never pay full price if a code is available.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/7/5/5/755af9c3a80cfdb.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/7/5/5/755af9c3a80cfdb.png","type":"slide","id":"183688","description":"

PCPartPicker

\n\n

If you are looking to build your own rig and not sure where to start, PCPartPicker puts everything all in one location and makes it simple to see what you need and what it's all going to cost.

\n

Best of all for those looking for a bargain, though, the site includes a "price drops" section to let you know what deals are available so you don't pay full price while choosing any of your components.

\n

Just click "Video Card" on the left side to automatically see any recent price drops across the main hardware selling sites, like Newegg, B&H, OutletPC, and SuperBiiz.

\n

While you may still want to shop around to see if a lower price exists, at the very least, you will have a good idea of what specific cards are going down in price to get started finding the best deal.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/a/m/camel-4e016.png","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/a/m/camel-4e016.png","type":"slide","id":"183686","description":"

Camel Camel Camel

\n\n

Essentially, Camel Camel Camel cuts out the time and effort of constantly checking to see if a price on anything -- from blockbuster summer DVDs to blenders -- has dropped through Amazon.

\n

Sign up for an account, search for something specific, like a GTX 1080 graphics card, and then Camel Camel Camel will notify you automatically whenever the price goes down.

\n

It's bargain hunting made easy since you will always know the best price as soon as it happens instead of relying on luck.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/r/a/graphicscard2-92278.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/r/a/graphicscard2-92278.jpg","type":"slide","id":"183685","description":"

Built back in 2015, my gaming rig is getting a little long in the tooth and in need of an upgrade, so it was time to take a look at the options on new components. Like many gamers, I was stunned to find the top-of-the-line graphics cards these days will cost more than an entire bare-bones computer system, if they are even in stock at all.

\n

RAM and graphics cards alike have seen huge spikes in pricing over the last two years, especially seeing as crypto-miners have heavily relied on gaming hardware to strike it rich. While RAM pricing isn't expected to go down any time soon, there may be a light on the horizon for those in the market for a new graphics card.

\n

Several factors have been driving the price spikes, like new smart phones using higher-end hardware and edging out home computer buyers with their large-scale orders. Cryptocurrency data mining operations placing orders for very large quantities of hardware has further kept the prices high, but hopefully, that's coming to an end.

\n

With the volatility of cryptocurrency spiking and prices plummeting -- and with big names like John Oliver covering crypto in segments warning people against throwing all their money into a potentially hazardous situation -- love for these oddball currencies is waning. That isn't immediately going to fully solve the problem, however, as scalpers move in and buy the remaining stock when the costs are low, then list them as third-party sellers at inflated prices.

\n

Pricing on graphics cards has risen so far above the suggested retail prices that NVIDIA released a statement asking their trading partners to prioritize gamers building new rigs over big mining operations. Essentially, they want sites to limit the number of graphics cards sold in single orders, or drop the prices altogether.

\n

While the effectiveness of that plea is up in the air, prices are going to go down naturally either way. Fewer people are now buying graphics cards in bulk, so inventories are finally going up, which means prices have to eventually be slashed to move product.

\n

1080s have already seen big drops from a normal cost of around $900 down to $600 in just a handful of weeks. The lower-end cards remain at higher-than-normal price points but are expected to drop in the coming months.

\n

Here's the big issue, though -- prices may spike again, particularly if currencies like BitCoin and Ethereum see a sudden surge in value and the large mining operations ramp up activity again.

\n

That's why you need to stay on top of all the best methods for finding the lowest price if you have any intention of building a new gaming computer or upgrading your existing machine this year. Here are all the tools you need to find the best price:

\n\n

Read on for an in-depth look at each of these tools that can help you find a reasonable price on graphics cards.

"}]]]>
Atari VCS Pre-Sales Begin May 30 on Indiegogo https://www.gameskinny.com/k725t/atari-vcs-pre-sales-begin-may-30-on-indiegogo https://www.gameskinny.com/k725t/atari-vcs-pre-sales-begin-may-30-on-indiegogo Mon, 07 May 2018 15:06:01 -0400 Zach Hunt

Editor's Note: Click to reserve your spot on the waitlist.

Years before gamers argued whether it was better to "Play with Power" on the NES or if the Sega Genesis did "what Ninten-don't," a single name ruled the roost when it came to home consoles: Atari. 

The years following the infamous console wars haven't been kind to Atari. Not having released a console in over 25 years (and a series of bankruptcies under its belt during that time), it looks like Atari is finally ready to make its first real foray back into console gaming. Set to release in Spring 2019, the Atari VCS will be available for pre-order only through Indiegogo starting May 30.

Atari fans will be able to choose from either the limited-time, classic wood panel look (called the "Atari VCS Collector's Edition") or a black version called the Onyx.

With hopes to set itself apart from retro machines such as the NES Classic Edition, the Atari VCS will offer the following:

  • 4K resolution, HDR, and 60FPS capabilities
  • Expandable storage solutions
  • Dual-band WiFi and Bluetooth 5.0
  • USB 3.0 support

Additionally, Atari promises to include a "vault" of over 100 classic games, covering the gamut from Centipede to Yars' Revenge (no word yet as to whether the infamous E.T. will resurface)While the $200 price point may seem a tad steep at first glance, it's worth remembering that this is not just a gaming machine -- it's manna for retro gaming enthusiasts, who historically haven't scoffed at throwing down a pretty penny in support of their gaming icons.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more information on the Atari VCS as it develops.

 

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