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By Jessica Brown On 31 May, 2017 At 08:43 PM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News, ROG Tech | With 0 Comments

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We already know some information about AMD’s upcoming “Threadripper” line of CPUs, but Intel will soon be trading blows with its competitor by launching a whole new tier of processors: Core i9. The Core i9 denomination is a new thing for Intel. Previously, the Core i7 tier of processors included both the high-end processors and the more extreme, very expensive offerings. For example, in the 6th Generation series, the i7-6950X was a 10-core Broadwell-E processor that retailed for a whopping $1723 USD. This time around, Intel wants to separate those ultra-enthusiast processors from the more mainstream offerings.

This new 7th Generation Core i9 series will come in a variety of offerings ranging from $999 for a 10-core CPU all the way up to $1999 for an 18-core monster:

  • Core i9-7980XE: 18-cores/32-threads @ $1,999
  • Core i9-7960X: 16-cores/32-threads @ $1,699
  • Core i9-7940X: 14-cores/28-threads @ $1,399
  • Core i9-7920X: 12-cores/24-threads @ $1,199
  • Core i9-7900X: 10-cores/20-threads @ $999

For the more modest enthusiasts out there, though, Intel also will have a new Core i7 X series available:

  • Core i7-7820X: 8-cores/16-threads @ $599
  • Core i7-7800X: 6-cores/12-threads @ $389
  • Core i7-7740X: 4-cores/8-threads (4.3 GHz) @ $339

All of the chips above are part of the “Skylake-X” family, except for the 7740X which is a Kaby Lake processor.

It looks like we’re in for quite a competition between Intel and AMD for the first time in quite a while. If nothing else, hopefully this healthy competition will help drive both innovation and a reduction in consumer prices!

By Jessica Brown On 26 May, 2017 At 11:28 AM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News, ROG Tech | With 0 Comments

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Recently, AMD announced that the professional version of their upcoming “Vega” family of GPUs, the “Radeon Vega Frontier Edition,” was going to launch in June while the consumer cards would follow sometime in Q3 2017. However, at the J. P. Morgan Global Technology, Media, and Telecom Conference on May 22, AMD President Lisa Su announced that the gamer cards would be releasing right after Vega FE.

Vega FE, she said, is set to release in the second half of June and we can expect the RX Vega cards to release this July.

While details have yet to be completely confirmed, we know that there will be three flavors of this new enthusiast architecture:

  • RX Vega Core ($399): Competes with the GTX 1070
  • RX Vega Eclipse ($499): Competes with the GTX 1080
  • RX Vega Nova ($599): Competes with the GTX 1080 Ti

How well these cards will compete with their competition from NVIDIA remains to be seen, but these will be the first enthusiast grade cards released since the R9 Fury (Fiji) GPUs in 2015. There are rumors that AMD is working on “Vega 2.0” which will be aimed to compete with the NVIDIA Volta GPUs in 2018, but nothing is official on that front yet.

By Jessica Brown On 26 May, 2017 At 12:22 AM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News, ROG Tech | With 0 Comments

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For a while now we’ve known that AMD’s new flagship GPU, powered by the 14nm Vega architecture, was set to release sometime in the first half of 2017. Tech analysts had suspected a formal announcement at Computex (May 30 – June 3), followed by a release sometime in June, but as it turns out that’s only partially correct.

Last week at a Financial Analyst Day live-stream, AMD revealed its upcoming “Radeon Vega Frontier Edition,” the first formal presentation of a card in the Vega family. However, one thing was quickly made clear: The Vega FE cards are geared at professionals and scientists, featuring a whopping 16GB of HBM2 and a premium price to suit. Vega FE is set to release in June, meeting AMD’s “1H 2017” deadline, but consumer Vega is still a bit off yet.

On May 31, AMD is holding a press conference where they will finally reveal some real details about the upcoming enthusiast RX Vega gaming cards, but unfortunately those will not be coming in June. No release window has been announced just yet, but I’d expect them to start arriving later in Q3 2017.

So what do we know about the gaming-level Vega cards?

Well, we know that the “RX Vega” models will be optimized for gaming performance (a key difference between them and the professional-grade Vega FE) and will come in three tiers: Core, Eclipse, and Nova. Nova, which will be the top-tier of the RX Vega line, could possibly have similarities to the Vega FE, although whether or not it will have 16GB HBM2 will remain to be seen.

With Computex 2017 just around the corner, though, we should know more real soon!

 

By Jessica Brown On 14 May, 2017 At 05:20 PM | Categorized As ROG News, ROG Tech | With 0 Comments

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For quite some time now, PC gaming enthusiasts have been talking about AMD’s “Vega” line of GPUs. Last year, there was speculation at several tech sites that Vega would make its first appearance as the theoretical RX 490 graphics card. However, as time went on it became quite apparent that AMD had no plans to release a 490 graphics card, capping off the RX 400 series with the RX 480 card. The 400 series was powered by the company’s 14nm Polaris line of graphics cards, offering great performance per dollar for the mainstream market (where the majority of the money is to be made, honestly).

This April, Radeon refreshed its Polaris line of cards and released the RX 500 series, offering around a 10% boost in performance versus the previous iteration. Again, Vega was excluded from this numbering. However, AMD has stated that the upcoming Vega GPU will simply be called the “RX Vega,” releasing as its own product line. This is a bit of a different move from the enthusiast Fury cards from 2015, which were branded as being in the top-tier of the R9 300 series of cards.

So far, there has been a lot of speculation about the upcoming graphics architecture accompanied by quite a few benchmark leaks. Presumably, Vega will be released with at least a couple variants, all of which will make use of the new High Bandwidth Memory 2 format, a successor to the original HBM that was found in the Fury cards. The cards should come in a 4GB and 8GB variant with a 16GB dual, liquid-cooled GPU having been teased.

Early leaked benchmarks have suggested that at least one of the models tested performs at just around the level of NVIDIA’s GTX 1070. The problem with leaked scores like this is that we have no idea which Vega model was being tested. Also, from experience we know that engineering samples and pre-released versions of a card very well may not represent the performance seen in the final consumer versions.

However, the RX 580 is generally seen as a competitor for the GTX 1060, so it makes sense for a “low end” version of Vega to compete with their rival’s 1070 card. Higher versions of Vega will most likely go head-to-head with the GTX 1080 and possibly the GTX 1080 Ti (although many believe that the highest variation of Vega will actually come in somewhere between the 1080 and the 1080 Ti). Yet, it all comes down to price. Even if the best Vega card can only trade blows with the GTX 1080, if it comes in at a more affordable price it may very well steal a bit of the market place from the graphics giant.

There is one problem, though: TweakTown has suggested that there may only be 16,000 total Vega cards across all variants available when it first releases due to limited quantities of HBM2. If this is true, it keeps NVIDIA even safer in the enthusiast field of GPUs for a good bit longer.

Regardless, we should know more after the AMD press event at Computex on May 31. Stay tuned!

By Jonathan Balofsky On 25 Apr, 2017 At 10:03 PM | Categorized As Featured, Interviews, Otaku Music, ROG News, ROG Tech | With 0 Comments

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I recently had the chance to interview video game composer Stephen Cox.  His most recent work is the upcoming VR game Farpoint .We discussed his influences, and how composing for a VR game changes things. Please enjoy.

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JB: What are your biggest influences in music?

SC: They are all over the place. In the early years it was definitely all things classical including film music – Bach, Beethoven, Mozart especially John Williams. But Stevie Wonder was also in the background growing up, so I love groove oriented anything. Then Steve Vai, Mr. Bungle and most 90’s rock/metal/grunge pushed me through the high school years.

 

Once I was in college, my influences became totally schizophrenic… Coltrane, Mike Patton, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Erik Korngold, Aphex Twin, Stravinski… One of my new film scoring favorites is Jóhann Jóhannsson. His score for Arrival was outstanding. Can’t wait to hear what he does in the new Blade Runner! I love anything John Powell does and there are so many modern pop, rock, hip hop and R&B artists I’ve left out. I honestly listen to everything (even Country music) and sometimes study the hell out of it, depending on the gig.

 

JB: Who inspired you to go into music?

SC: It’s hard to say when that seed was planted and who planted it. Music was always part of my life growing up. However, there is one instance that stands out back in the early 90s… I was in the middle school concert band (playing trumpet at the time) and heavily into rock music, especially Steve Vai and his genius guitar playing. So this guest speaker comes in to do a talk about his music career and maybe selling Berklee College of Music, where he studied. I’m not sure who this guy was and I wasn’t really paying attention to anything he was saying… until he mentioned Steve Vai. He started talking about life at Berklee and the famous alumni who were there in his day. I don’t remember this speaker’s name, but I think what he said stuck with me in a big way. Years later I ended up at Berklee totally focused on doing music from then on out.

 

JB: What have been some of the challenges for composing music for video games?

SC: The fact that you aren’t scoring to a locked picture, like a film or show, can be tough initially, yet so much more freeing! I found myself really loving the nonlinear process. Also writing chunks of music or overlays that can be triggered at any time while fitting into an underlying loop was a fun challenge. But again, I love that part of it as well.

 

Deliverables are more complex in a game compared to TV or Film. Handing off organized sessions and countless files to give the engineers as much flexibility as possible (while still retaining your sonic vision) requires a certain degree of technical skill and planning. You always have to think about the guy down the production pipeline, making sure you are not making more work for the implementers and engineers. If they’re happy, we’re all happy.

 

JB: What styles do you like to experiment with for your work?

 

SC: I love having the chance to pick up a guitar and rock out. My ongoing work with CBS Sports usually fills that need, but there is not a lot of room for experimentation. If I ever get the opportunity to experiment, like we did in Farpoint, it would be the process of crafting new sounds from organic sources, textures… stuff no one has heard before. Being a part of that ‘world building’ process sonically was such a thrill.

 

JB: Related to the above, what styles would you like to bring into your work?
SC: Being able to mix up styles in new and interesting ways is something I always try to do when given the chance. It seems like our work with trailer music usually gives us opportunities for mashing up orchestral writing with sound design, synthesis and even rock. Music for trailers is usually bombastic, shock and awe, but they are a lot of fun. I look forward to any opportunity to do some modern composition, experimentation with rhythms and microtonality. Film and games are usually the best fit for this style. I can’t wait for the next one!

 

JB: What are some of your favourite video games soundtracks?

SC: My all time favorite is Grim Fandango composed by Pete McConnell. I know it’s old, but the music was the primary reason I was hooked on that game for years. I still play it with my kid on PS4. The score to The Last of Us composed by Gustavo Santaolalla was a big inspiration for Farpoint. Aside from his amazing theme music, some of the in-game music was so lush and rich with organic sound design… he is a true craftsman. The most recent game I can think of is Sarah Schachner’s work on Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, which was killer! Her work with modular synthesis is super impressive… and it makes me want to go out and buy a bunch of toys. I know I’m leaving someone out…

 

JB: What would you like to see done with video game music going forward?

SC: I would love to see a “choose you own ensemble” scenario. Complete user control over the music engine itself. With VR, you might have the flexibility to place your chosen instruments in the world, add effects, who knows! The act of listening to music can be so much more with this technology. I know for a fact record labels are working on similar ideas for albums and artists currently. These next few years will be very exciting in the world of music and game music within VR.

 

JB: Do you feel video game music is held back still by anything?

SC: Only our imaginations. At this point I see no difference between the production quality of the biggest games compared to the biggest films. My kid and I just finished Uncharted 4 last night and Henry Jackman’s score totally knocked me out, Niagara Falls. I forgot to mention Uncharted 4 in the previous question. The emotional content and gameplay was supported perfectly by the music, just like his best film scores. If anything, film music is held back because of the static medium. Game music can be ever changing, evolving with the action taking place and there’s no longer a limit on how ‘big’ the music can be for a game. Kudos to Sony and Naughty Dog for the most amazing implementation of game music I’ve ever seen or heard.

 

JB: What are the challenges of composing for a game that is in VR?

SC: The biggest challenge is immersion, or keeping the player immersed in the VR world. There seems to be two schools of thought in terms of sound and music within VR: The first is Full Immersion, where the space and reality is represented as accurately as possible using sound effects only. And if there is music, it is source music, meaning it is coming from within the world itself. The other approach treats audio and music closer to a cinematic experience or even hyper-cinematic, almost like a theme park ride. We were always walking that fine line. When my writing partner, Danny McIntyre, and I realized that VR experiences (including Farpoint) are closer to a theme park attraction than a standard game, we found our stride and the music cues started clicking into place.

 

JB: Does the game being in VR change the way you go about composing?

 

SC: In terms of writing themes and cues, not so much. In terms of the sound palette and instrumentation, very much so. The way the instruments interacted with the space is very important. We tried to keep the score very wide and reverberant as if it was a part of the background ambience, which it almost is at times. We found that less could be more in terms of ensemble size even though some of the cues are very thick.

 

JB: Do you feel that VR offers new ways to experience the music?

 

SC: Absolutely. Mainly because of the space. The use of reverb and panning is so much more important in VR than it is in any other medium. Things can be focused or spread in a way that wouldn’t make sense if it were played back on speakers. Because the VR experience is inextricably tied to headphones, we ended up doing a lot of testing using them. I worked closely with Sony Interactive’s music team under Senior Music Manager Jonathan Mayer (along with music engineer/implementer Anthony Caruso and Rob Goodson) to figure out the right balance of instrumentation, reverb and placement. Those guys did amazing work.

 

JB: What are some of the innovations VR brings to game music?

SC: Because the experience is so immersive, I think it may change the way we approach sound design and scoring music entirely. Using music in a way that increases that feeling of immersion is an innovation in and of itself. I think we did very well with that in Farpoint, but we are all trying to reinvent the wheel together.

 

JB: What would you like to be able to do differently with music that cannot be done yet?

 

SC: I hear music, intervals, rhythms and pitches everywhere when I walk outside, wash the dishes or just sitting in my studio writing this. It’s kind of a sickness for most composers and audio pros. I want to create an experience for the listener that takes that to a new level. Where the pitches and rhythms of normal, everyday ambience can be compiled and processed in a way to make true music… in real time. Maybe I’ll get cracking on that right now, unless someone has already beaten me to it 😉

 

Also being able to craft and compose music in a VR space as if you were using the interface from Minority Report. VR could be the bridge to creating and composing music in entirely new ways and Farpoint is a very important first step in the world of VR innovation. I can’t wait for you all to experience it!

 

Thank you again Stephen for taking the time to talk to ROG!

By Jonathan Balofsky On 24 Apr, 2017 At 11:03 PM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News, ROG Tech | With 0 Comments

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It seems the UK National Crime Agency doesn’t get how gaming works. The organization has put out a claim that modding games leads to hacking and other cyber crimes.

The following is from CNBC

 

Gaming websites could be spawning a new breed of cybercriminals, according to new research which claims that young people are being indoctrinated into hacking crimes via free and easily-accessible internet pages.

Websites and forums which provide cheat codes and modifications for video games are making it increasingly easy for young people to develop criminal skills and become involved in hacking chat rooms, a report by the U.K.’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has said.

This makes little sense. One could argue cheating devices could lead to minor crime as a form of hacking, but modding is a form of game design and artistry. If anything it had led to great things for the game industry, from new genres like the MOBA genre, to games like Counter Strike. Modding is not a slippery slope to cyber crime, and this is just more of the problem of poor reporting when it comes to video games.

As PVP Live has pointed out, this is no different from arguing that leading programing leads to cyber crime. It is a foolish argument and hurts people more than not.

Source

By Jonathan Balofsky On 23 Feb, 2017 At 05:19 PM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Otaku Music, ROG News, ROG Tech | With 0 Comments

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French outlet Melty reported a few days ago that Switch would support Bluetooth headsets based on an interview conducted with Yoshiaki Koizumi from Nintendo. However, it seems there was a communication error.

Nintendo themselves reached out to Melty and let them know that Bluetooth headsets are NOT compatible with the Switch. However, this doesn’t mean that Switch doesn’t support headsets at all, as wired headsets should be compatible.

Source

By Jonathan Balofsky On 7 Nov, 2016 At 08:03 PM | Categorized As ROG News, ROG Tech | With 0 Comments

No Gravatarmega-drive

The Sega Genesis is coming back into production in 2017. Yes, you read that right. A Brazilian Company called TecToy will be bringing the new version of the Genesis out to market.

It’s not exactly how you might think, though. Sega’s officially licensed manufacturing partner, Brazil’s TecToy has developed a new Genesis console that not only looks almost identical to the original, but also has a traditional cartridge slot and SD card reader.

Why is a Brazilian company bringing back the old school console, you might ask. Well, because in Brazil, around 150,000 units of the SEGA Genesis still sell each year.

In addition to the likeness, TecToy’s Genesis has an integrated circuit which uses similar components to the original console. It also comes with the classic three-button controller and 22 games in the memory.

Here are the 23 games included in the system

Alex Kidd
Alien Storm
Altered Beast
Arrow Flash
Bonanza Brothers
Columns
Decap Attack
E-SWAT
Fatal Labyrinth
Flicky
Gain Ground
Golden Axe
Golden Axe 3
Jewel Master
Kid Chameleon
Last Battle
Out Runners
Sega Soccer
Shadow Dancer
Shinobi 3
Sonic 3
Turbo OutRun

 

The system can be preordered here

 

Source

By Sebastian Marco On 2 Nov, 2016 At 01:21 PM | Categorized As ROG News, ROG Tech | With 0 Comments

No Gravatardead-buried-oculus-rift

 

bbFree games are so rare these days. Since the introduction of currency, there’s never been anything given away without wanting something in return.

Well Oculus thinks it’s time to change that, at least with some of it’s new titles coming out on it’s platform. With Dead and Buried as it’s newest title, that makes three AAA games that will be available at launch with the Oculus touch, including VR Sports Challenge and The Unspoken.

 

By Sebastian Marco On 2 Nov, 2016 At 01:30 PM | Categorized As ROG News, ROG Tech | With 0 Comments

No Gravatartwisted-metal-for-ps4

In an interesting turn of events CastAR has brought in one of the most unlikely and talented teams to help create the future of AR and VR.

Eat Sleep Play was founded back in 2007 by Scott Campbell and God of War creator, David Jaffe. Since putting out Twisted Metal out on the PS3, the team has also worked on other titles like the soon to be released Drawn to Death as well as others.

The glasses themselves us a new technology call “retro-reflective” which guessing from the name I can only assume that they catch the light or projections and then are displayed through the glasses, definitely some worth keeping an eye on.