Category Archives: NVIDIA

Gigabyte P35W v3 Performance Review

When NVIDIA first launched their latest mobile GPU updates, the GTX 980M impressed with the level of performance delivered. A few months later, the bigger surprise is perhaps that the GTX 980M is finding its way into relatively thin laptops. The Gigabyte P35W v3 is currently the thinnest laptop equipped with a GTX 980M GPU, with a Core i7-4710HQ on the CPU front. We tested the same configuration in the MSI GT72, a substantially larger notebook with much better cooling; it also foregoes NVIDIA's Optimus Technology, so it should in general be a bit faster. But do you really need to give up much in the way of performance for a thinner gaming laptop? The answer is no, though with some qualifications.
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Budget Gaming PC, April 2015

The concept of a "Gaming PC" often gets a bad rap. You'll get a lot of people looking at the cost of a top-of-the-line $2000 pre-built system (or just an overpriced gaming system) and wondering, "Who on earth would spend that much money on a system that's just for playing games!?" Obviously, the idea that a gaming PC is just for playing games is ludicrous -- any modern PC that can play games can inherently do all of the other PC-centric tasks equally well, if not better than the average non-gaming PC.

And since most homes in developed countries already have at least one PC, the true cost of a "gaming PC" is often the price of a graphics card. We already discussed the subject of graphics cards in our previous post, so today we're going to flesh things out with a look at what to use when putting together a complete budget gaming PC. Our goal is to have a system that can handle all the latest games at reasonable quality setting, priced at less than $750.

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Best Video Cards, April 2015

After half a year of discussing gaming performance, it's time for some specific video card recommendations. Almost everyone these days has access to a PC, but what if you'd like to turn that PC into a bona fide gaming rig? This is something I've often felt is a critical factor in the gaming consoles vs. gaming PCs debate: you can do much, much more with a PC than with a console. So take any moderate PC -- all you really need is 8GB RAM and a Core i3/Athlon X4 or higher to get started, though a Core i5 or AMD FX would have more legs -- and add in a video card and you now have the equivalent or in many cases a superior gaming system compared to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Wii U. But what sort of performance can you expect from the current generation of video cards, and which GPUs are the best buys right now? (Side note: I'll use the terms "video card" and "GPU" largely interchangeably, though technically the GPU refers more to the chip on the video card than the card itself.)
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Evolve Initial Launch Woes

Evolve came out last week to somewhat mixed reviews -- some have loved it, others have bagged on it, and still others are undecided. A big part of the problem has been 2K Games' decision to have a bunch of Day One DLC -- Downloadable Content -- mostly consisting of skins that they're asking you to buy separately. If this were a Free to Play (F2P) game, we could accept that, but with a $60 price tag it's adding insult to injury. We're not here to talk about the DLC fiasco, though; what we want to quickly discuss is how broken the game is in terms of performance. If the game worked properly, we'd be happy to provide some benchmarks in our usual charts, but the results right now are just all over the place.
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Assassin’s Creed Unity Performance – A Beautiful Pig

The holiday rush for getting games on store shelves always creates some problems. For one, games that are otherwise good can sometimes get lost in the shuffle, but perhaps even worse is that publishers often ship games in a state where they're not really complete. Sometimes the games are just buggy and unstable, other times they're missing features, or maybe performance is worse than it should be -- and in the worst scenarios they can completely fail to run. We encountered a bit of this with Lords of the Fallen, going so far as to retest all of the graphics cards with the updated (patched) version of the game. We could go back and retest most of the games released late last year at least one more time as patches and driver updates continue to come out. However, there's plenty of other items keeping us busy so instead let's just look at one game where we have initial (near launch date) performance as well as current (as of the end of January) performance: Assassin's Creed Unity.
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The Crew Performance – Frame Caps Suck!

Want to know how not to build a good cross-platform title that's worth testing? The Crew from Ubisoft is a good answer. I'm not sure if I should blame Ubisoft or Ivory Tower, but someone in the product management side of the equation needs to have their butt kicked. Why the negativity? Simple: frame rate caps are stupid and lazy, and what's more they can artificially limit the game in question, particularly on the PC platform. It's one thing to try to target 30 or 60 FPS on a console game, as everyone will presumably connect the console to an HDTV, but PCs have a lot of other options... like for example a 2560x1440 G-SYNC display that can refresh at up to 144Hz; run The Crew on that bad boy and you're going to lock in at 60 FPS, just like everyone else. In a word, it's stupid. It also makes a game pretty useless as a benchmark, but since I have a copy of The Crew I wanted to at least play around with some testing....
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Lords of the Fallen – Day of Launch Performance

Lords of the Fallen just launched this past week, and if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then the Dark Souls series should be feeling pretty good about itself right now. The game is developed by Deck13 Interactive and CI Games, and while neither company is necessarily new to creating video games, I have to admit this is the first time I've played a game by either one. Given that all of the reviews I've looked at reference Dark Souls as being a similar game, I mistakenly thought that maybe the game wouldn't be all that taxing. Boy was that ever wrong....
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4K Gaming Thoughts

I've recently acquired a new 4K display, to be specific it's the Acer XB280HK 28" G-SYNC enabled display. That means several things are now in progress. First, 4K gaming benchmarks are going to be run on all of the games, at least with GPUs where it makes sense. (Hint: 4K gaming on a low-end GPU or Intel's Processor Graphics isn't going to happen!) Second, I have some thoughts in general on the subject of 4K gaming, and I also wanted to chime in with some thoughts on the Acer XB280HK display and NVIDIA's G-SYNC Technology. So let's take those in order -- the benchmarks will be updated when results are available, though you can always check the Gaming Benchmarks page for a preview of games that are being tested.
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Shadow of Mordor Performance – Resolution Shenanigans and Benchmark Madness

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (which I'm just going to call Shadow of Mordor from here on) sort of came out of nowhere and has become the sleeper hit of the month. Created by Monolith Productions -- the company behind "classics" like Blood and Shogo: Mobile Armor Division, not to mention more recent titles like F.E.A.R. and F.E.A.R. 2, No One Lives Forever, and Condemned -- I don't know that anyone was really expecting much from yet another Middle-Earth game. It's not that games based on Tolkien are all bad, but there have been so many over the decades and more often than not they've been at best mediocre. Anyway, Shadow of Mordor plays a lot like the Batman: Arkham Asylum/City/Origins games, or the Assassin's Creed games, or probably any number of other stealth/beat-em-up third person games. I've enjoyed quite a few of those titles, and you can definitely add Shadow of Mordor to the list.
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Metro Last Light Redux Performance

Last month we posted our look at performance for Metro Last Light. At the time, we mentioned that 4A Games recently released an update to the original Metro 2033 and the sequel Metro Last Light, a full-priced bundle called Metro Redux (or you can buy Metro 2033 Redux and Metro Last Light Redux for half the cost of the bundle). Since we've already looked at performance for Metro Last Light, we thought it would be interesting to check out Metro Last Light Redux to see what -- if anything -- has changed.

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