Leisure

There was a time when laptop options were basically a choice between desktop-like performance in a heavy and bulky form-factor, an ultralight with integrated graphics, or something in the middle, around 5-lbs with a low-end GPU. NVIDIA sought to solve this choice compromise with its Max-Q Design initiative that was announced at Computex last month. Max-Q Design is a holistic approach to notebook graphics design that ensures a svelte exterior, light weight, quiet thermals and optimal performance.ASUS and NVIDIA joined forces to produce the 15.6-inch Republic of Gamers (ROG) Zephyrus GX501, the first... Read more...
Dell updated its Alienware 17 gaming laptop at PAX West 2016 with NVIDIA Pascal graphics, but at the time Intel’s quad-core Kaby Lake mobile processors weren’t available yet. It was a short-lived update, however, as the Kaby Lake-powered Alienware 17 was announced a short time later at the start of the Consumer Electronics Show this past January. Today, we’re checking out the newest Alienware 17 R4 gaming laptop featuring the latest of both technologies. The chassis may look familiar, but its all-new on the inside with two 7th-Generation Intel Core i7 processor and four NVIDIA Pascal graphics options.... Read more...
Independent testing of Ryzen (including our own in-depth benchmarking and analysis) confirms what AMD has promising all along, that its fancy new CPU architecture is the real deal and it is able to compete with Intel at the high end. The only caveat is that Ryzen's gaming performance is not where many thought it would be, especially considering the architecture's excellent IPC efficiency and performance in other areas, such as Cinebench and POV-Ray. What gives? The short answer is, this is a temporary thing until developers get rolling with optimizations. During an "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) session... Read more...
Asus is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Republic of Gamers (ROG) brand this year. The manufacturer launched its ROG line in 2006 and has since developed a wide range of gaming products under the brand, including some monstrous gaming notebooks like the one we'll be showing you here. With the arrival of NVIDIA’s Pascal architecture this summer, the hulking systems are getting a shot in the arm, so we brought Asus’ flagship mobile gaming machine, the ROG G752VS XB78K, in house to see what you get when you go big. The efficiency of the Pascal architecture has made for mobile GPUs that are... Read more...
As much as we like piecing together formidable desktop systems crammed full of high end hardware, the future of PC gaming for many mainstream users may lie in more compact setups. Certainly there's been a push to get PC players out of a dank basement and into the living room with Steam Machines and similar console-sized PCs. However, Dell's Alienware division is hoping to take things to the next level with its pint sized Alpha R2 system, an ultra small form factor (SFF) gaming desktop. We have to use the world "desktop" carefully here because the Alpha R2, like its predecessor, is more of a "shelf-top"... Read more...
The Alienware brand is as venerable a name as any in the gaming space. As Alienware celebrates over twenty years in business, its computers have become instantly recognizable thanks to distinctive, out-of-this-world styling, and science-fiction references. Dell purchased Alienware in 2006 to complement its own competing line of XPS-branded gaming machines. However, Dell has kept a largely hands-off approach, allowing Alienware to grow its own business and continue meeting consumer's expectations. So far, it has served both brands well. Alienware currently maintains three desktop families from the... Read more...
DirectX 12 is gaining momentum with both game developers and hardware manufacturers, and as a result, gamers as well. The Windows 10 enabled, low-level API is being adopted in more and more titles, with both legacy and cutting-edge game engines now taking advantage of it. Using an ASUS STRIX Radeon R9 Fury graphics card, along with a few other more mid-range GPUs, we cooked up a performance analysis shootout of sorts. Here, we'll pit DX12 against DX11, using a variety of today's popular game titles that leverage the new API, so we can see what performance looks like and if there are significant,... Read more...
ASUS takes gaming seriously. So seriously, in fact, that it has two sub-brands dedicated to hardware for gamers. One is the Republic of Gamers (ROG), a brand ASUS created in 2006 to designate products that deliver "innovative hardcore PC performance," and the other is Strix, a more recent creation that's taken from the ancient Roman and Greek word for owl. No, we're not kidding. "Strix means the keenest hearing and sharpest eyesight. Strix means feeling your environment so that you detect and react to the slightest movement. Strix means survival on the very edge of instinct. Strix is in your blood,... Read more...
PC enthusiasts and hardcore gamers are passionate about their hardware. We all lust after expensive, high-performance CPUs, GPUs, monstrous RAM kits, and ultra-fast solid state storage devices. But for many of us, top of the line PC components may be overkill, and in some situations, a more mainstream rig will do just fine. That’s the crux of the message AMD has been trying to get across for quite some time with its mainstream APU line-up. Sure, you could build a high-performance rig with a top of the line processor and beefy discrete GPU, but why spend the money if you don’t have to? To that end,... Read more...
You could almost hear the collective groan from the enthusiast community when Dell announced it had purchased Alienware, in what now feels like 100 years ago. It has actually been just shy of a decade since Dell took ownership, and rather than let the Alienware brand wither into irrelevance like some other boutique vendors that were later absorbed by major OEMs (Voodoo who?), Dell's gaming gear division has continued to thrive and innovate with the help of the company's deeper resources. If we're being totally honest (as we always are), passionate consumers come out of the woodwork whenever the... Read more...
Dell's Alienware Steam Machine is under the microscope today. In partnership with several leading PC makers, Valve has finally taken their often-talked about Steam Machine with custom SteamOS to market, promising the depth and precision of PC gaming driven by a purpose-built operating system, that offers a standardized platform similar to a tried and true "just push play" console gaming experience.The Alienware Steam Machine seems like just the thing for PC gamers looking for a simpler way to game without a lot of fuss and configuration. What’s a Steam Machine, you ask? The Steam Machine is a PC-based... Read more...
If you're a PC gamer or into enthusiast computing, how would you describe your ideal monitor? For many, it might go something like a 32 - 34-inch IPS panel with a high refresh rate of 100Hz plus, 4K resolution, along with NVIDIA G-SYNC or AMD FreeSync technology. And with displays this big, adding a slight curve might be high on your wish list as well. The good news is, with the recent advancements in display technologies, that "holy grail" set of specifications is beginning to take shape, as display manufacturers like Acer, ASUS, Samsung, Dell and others begin to build all this great new tech... Read more...
New processor architectures inevitably lead to a flurry of refreshed product lines from PC makers. That's how things have been playing out with Skylake, a "tock" in Intel's tick-tock design cadence and its 6th generation Core processor family. As usual, ASUS is on the bleeding edge with new Skylake systems ready to go, one of which is the ROG G752VT. The specific model ASUS sent us is the ROG G752VT-DH72, a slightly toned down update to the ROG G751JY-DB72 we reviewed back in September. Like that laptop, the G752VT falls into the desktop replacement category and takes aim at gamers with high-end... Read more...
Not long ago, Amazon announced a revamped Fire TV with a handful of new and upgraded features including 4K Ultra HD video support and Alexa functionality. Although the original Fire TV which we reviewed last year had voice capabilities, those voice controls were limited to searching for content and applications. With Alexa built in, the second-generation Fire TV now has additional features, such as the ability to provide sports scores, weather and traffic information, or play music. As you’ll recall from our review of the Amazon Echo, we were impressed by the Alexa functionality and its utility... Read more...
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