09.02.16 | ISSUE 39
The new year is already off to a great start with lots of hot new tech being demoed at the CES show for the first time. However, the most exciting news for me were announcements by Oculus and HTC about their upcoming VR headsets. Read on to find out more.
1. The best new products of CES 2016
The CES show that occurs in Las Vegas every January is a great showcase for some of the hot new products and technology that will hit the market during the year ahead. While a lot of the show is dedicated to TVs and the like, there was still plenty of PC hardware being unveiled for the first time, here are the highlights.
Corsair kicked off CES with two new cases, the Carbide 400C and 400Q. Both share the same compact frame and minimalist look that does away with 5.25in drive bays in favour of a simple, clean front panel. The 400C has a clear side panel while the 400Q has a solid side panel and noise absorbing material on the outer surfaces to keep noise to a minimum. Both models can house an ATX motherboard, three 2.5in drives and two 3.5in drives, with support for up to 8 fans. The Carbide 400 marks a return to form for Corsair, offering great cooling, excellent build quality and a compact stylish design. You can pre-order the Corsair 400C and 400Q for £79.99 inc VAT, with delivery expected in mid-February.
Another hot new product at CES was the Asus Republic of Gamers PG348Q. This curved gaming monitor has a native resolution of 3440x1440, curtesy of an ultra-widescreen 34in IPS panel. Its gaming credentials come from its 100Hz refresh rate and support for NVIDIA’s G-Sync technology that syncs the refresh rate of the monitor with the framerate being output by your graphics card(s). The stunning looking Asus PG348Q is due in stock in mid-February and can be pre-ordered now for £999, roughly £70 more Acer’s similar Predator X34, although the Asus has a higher refresh rate so it should be better for gaming.
Now that its Skylake CPUs are widely available Intel has taken the opportunity to upgrade its Mini PCs based on the NUC form factor to latest architecture. NUCs are mini PCs that are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, yet powerful enough for everyday office applications and light gaming. There are four Skylake NUCs so far, two with the Core i3 6100U and two with the Core i5 6260U. Both CPUs are dual-core chips with HyperThreading, but while the Core i3 is locked at 2.3GHz, the Core i5 can Turbo up to 2.9GHz and has a much more capable Iris Graphics 540 GPU. Intel makes two models for each CPU, a slim model (pictured above, left) with support for an M.2 SSD and a slightly taller model (pictured above, right) with support an additional 2.5in drive. The new Intel NUCs are already available to order now from Scan and can be viewed or bought fully configured on the scan website.
2. Oculus Rift VR headset now available to pre-order
After a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign and the release of two pre-production headsets, Oculus has started taking pre-orders for its VR headset. The final Rift has a resolution of 2160x1200 split across its two screens and is bundled with an Xbox controller and copies of the space shooter EVE: Valkyrie and the platform game Lucky’s Tale. The pre-order price is currently $599 plus tax and shipping to the UK, with delivery expected in July. VR headsets require a powerful PC, so our 3XS division has designed a range of VR Ready PCs.
3. Announcing the HTC Vive Pre VR headset
HTC used CES to demo the second generation of its upcoming Vive headset. The new version, the Vive Pre, is designed for software developers rather than end-users and differs from the original prototype in a number of ways. The biggest difference is the addition of a front facing camera on the headset, allowing the headset to capture the world in front of the user and overlay that imagery with an augmented reality data, a bit like a pilot’s Head up Display. The Vive Pre’s batons have also been redesigned, and are more ergonomic than before. There’s still no word on the price of the final release version of the Vive, but pre-orders should start at the end of February, with delivery expected in April.
4. Play Tomb Raider for free
For a limited time only you’ll receive a free voucher for a copy of Rise of the Tomb Raider when you buy select 3XS Gaming PCs, laptops and NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics cards from Scan. For full details of this great promotion and to view a trailer for the new game visit our website.
5. Introducing the NVIDIA GeForce GT 710
Serious gamers should keep their eyes firmly on NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX range of cards, but for office applications and basic internet gaming there is a much more affordable range of GeForce GT cards. This range just got an update in the shape of the GT 710. The new card is designed to replace the existing GT 610, offering 192 cores versus 48 and support for up to three monitors for increased productivity. If you do fancy a bit of light gaming the GT 710 is, according to NVIDIA, 80% faster than the integrated graphics. You can check out a huge range of GeForce GT 710 cards, with either 1 or 2GB of memory, including some passively cooled silent cards from just £26 inc VAT.
6. John Romero revisits Doom
With a new Doom game slated for release this spring it seems appropriate that after 21 years one of the original game’s designers, John Romero, has just released a new level for the seminal first person shooter. Announced on Facebook, the new level, E1M8B, is playable using the shareware version of Doom, though with the full version of Doom only costing £5.99 on Steam there’s no excuse not to own this classic.
The new level is a full of frantic almost non-stop action in a big contrast to the heavily-scripted battles and regenerating health of modern shooters, and this old gamer is very glad for it. To enhance the experience I’d recommend play the new level with Zandronum, Brutal Doom and the metal soundtrack mods. The level itself can be downloaded from John Romero’s Dropbox – happy hunting.
7. PC gaming is booming
A new report published this month by SuperData Research shows that during 2015 the worldwide sales of digital games totalled $61 billion, with PC games responsible for over $32 billion – by far the most popular platform. Top earning PC titles included League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Word of Tanks, DOTA 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Grand Theft Auto V, which you can enjoy at their best on our range of next-day delivery and customisable gaming PCs and laptops.
8. Play Bombshell for free with EVGA graphics cards
For a limited time only you can claim a free copy of the third-person shooter Bombshell by 3D Realms when you buy any EVGA GeForce GTX graphics card from Scan. Simply visit the EVGA website and register your new card and EVGA will send you a Steam activation code for the game.