Alienware m17 R4 Review: The Fastest Gaming Laptop Yet

Just a few months ago, we reviewed the Alienware m15 R4, a seriously powerful 15.6-inch form factor laptop that, at the time, posted the best gaming performance benchmark results we had ever seen from a notebook. Not that we were particularly surprised—armed with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 GPU based on Ampere and a 10th Generation Intel Core i7-10870H CPU (Comet Lake) CPU, it packs some serious artillery. Well, we've now tested an even faster gaming laptop, and it just so happens to be the 17-inch Alienware m17 R4. Call it sibling rivalry, if you wish, but the bigger 17.3-inch brother to...

WD_Black D50 Game Dock Review: Wicked-Fast External Storage

Notebooks often have limited storage capacity, despite significant advancements over the last few years. An M.2 drive is only the size of a stick of gum, but not every laptop can fit more than one or two drives at a time, and some users aren't comfortable opening up their machine to upgrade them, which ultimately limits their storage capabilities. This is particularly painful in gaming notebooks, when many games can take up dozens of gigabytes a piece. Western Digital thinks it has a solution, though. The WD Black D50 Game Dock is an all-in-one Thunderbolt 3 dock and PCI Express NVMe storage controller...

Alienware m15 Ryzen Edition R5 Review: Zen 3 Laptop Invasion

Over the last eight months or so, segment by segment, AMD's various Zen 3-based processors have taken the world by storm. High performance servers, desktops, and notebooks all feature AMD's flagship silicon, thanks in no small part to its excellent perf-per-watt and strong overall value proposition. That dynamic really started in 2020, but we could sense a bit of hesitancy on the part of manufacturers with last year's Ryzen 4000 series gaming notebooks, since those topped out with midrange graphics. This year, though, the kid gloves have come off and higher-end graphics options have been made available. ...

How Many CPU Cores Do You Need For Great PC Gaming?

Back in The Day, figuring out which PC processor was better for gaming was a matter of architecture and clock speed. More megahertz on a fast CPU architecture generally also meant that the CPU would be better for a whole host of tasks, in addition to games, versus a lower clocked chip. An Intel Pentium II 450 MHz was faster than a Pentium II 366 MHz, and there wasn't much debate about that. First AMD, and later Intel, broke away from this simple equation by creating model families and tiers within those families. Multi-core CPUs were born, integrating two (or more) independent processor cores...

EVGA XR1 Review: Full-Featured High Quality Stream Capture

HDMI capture cards, or HDMI capture devices, are extremely valuable tools with a wide variety of uses. As the description implies, these devices allow virtually any HDMI feed to be routed through them to be captured by a computer. The HDMI inputs on capture devices can be used with game consoles, video cameras, or even another computer -- just about any HDMI video source. This signal can then be encoded on the fly for a livestream, recorded for preservation, or both simultaneously. Most capture cards also allow for an HDMI output which passes a signal through the device, directly to a display with...

Destiny 2 How-To Guide: Obtaining The Heir Apparent And Its Catalyst

The Destiny 2 2021 Guardian Games have arrived. No Destiny 2 event would truly be complete without a few legendary and exotic items for Guardians to chase after or purchase. Here is how you can acquire the exotic machine gun Heir Apparent and its Catalyst. What Is Heir Apparent And Its Catalyst Heir Apparent is an exotic machine gun with two main perks. Heavy Slug Thrower requires players to spin up the weapon by clicking down on the aim button. Once fired up, the machine gun will shower your enemies with bullets. The second perk is Armor of the Colossus. It grants the user an arc shield if the...

Destiny 2 Guardian Games 2021 Guide: What To Know About This Epic Olympics-Style Event

Light the torches! It is time to find out whether Titans will once again reign supreme or if Hunters or Warlocks will rise to the challenge. Here is everything you need to know about the Destiny 2 2021 Guardian Games. What Are The Guardian Games? The Guardian Games is a free event that is available to all players, regardless of whether they own the season pass. It is essentially the Destiny 2 version of the Olympics. The event was first held in 2020 and was popular enough that it was brought back again this year. The Guardian Games will begin today, April 20th, and will last until May 11th. There...

How To Optimize Your Retro Gaming Experience With Vintage Consoles On Modern HDTVs

The 20-year span between 1985 and 2005 saw the release of literally hundreds of classic game titles that were -- and are still -- beloved by millions of people around the world. From Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda, to modern classics like Halo and Metal Gear Solid, most of gaming's biggest franchises spent their formative years on consoles plugged into standard-definition cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions, the warm glow and rounded geometry of which would provide countless hours of fun. If there's one problem with those consoles, however, it's that it can be difficult to get one...

Happy Birthday Animal Crossing New Horizons! Year In Review For A Hall Of Fame Classic

Sometimes, a work of art hits our culture at just the right time, when it can transcend its medium and become something greater. Such events are exceedingly rare in video games, but we old folks remember Pac-Man Fever and Fred Savage in The Wizard playing Super Mario Bros. 3. More recently, video games have become spectator sports in large part due to StarCraft II, DotA 2, and Overwatch and similar genre game titles. None of those moments found humanity in a time of crisis, however, until Animal Crossing: New Horizons launched on the Nintendo Switch a year ago today. Across the globe, entire...

Valheim Is A Viral Smash Hit On PC With 2 Million Copies Sold In 13 Days

It took less than two weeks for Valheim to notch over two million sales, after releasing to Steam's Early Access program. Just as impressively, if not more so, the unfinished survival game reached a peak concurrent player count of 360,000 over the weekend. It is one of the most played games on Steam right now, behind only Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Those are some big time juggernauts to be mingling with on Steam, and in terms of peak concurrent users, it is fast approaching third place—at the time of this writing, the Steam Database portal...

Creative SBS E2900 2.1 Speakers Review: Big Sound, Small Price

While Creative Labs has expanded its product offerings into other arenas, the company has never waivered from its core competency: PC and home audio. The Sound Blaster maker has almost always offered speaker systems to pump out the audio from our favorite PC and console games. Today, that tradition lives on with Creative marketing a wide variety of discrete speaker systems and sound bars, at a wide variety of price points. The SBS E2900 2.1 speaker set we'll look at today sits well above the entry-level Pebble speakers, but a bit below the Sound BlasterX Katana sound bar. Creative primarily aims...

Alienware m15 R4 Review: A GeForce RTX 30 Series Invasion

Alienware's m15 series of notebooks has typically impressed us, thanks to the family's performance and unique good looks in a relatively svelte mobile package. Performance always hinges upon having the latest platform hardware, so perhaps it's no surprise that the laptop we're looking at today has one of NVIDIA's latest mobile Ampere GPUs on board from its new GeForce RTX 30 family. When NVIDIA pulled the lid off mobile Ampere, it made some pretty big promises. Performance across the Ampere lineup that spans from RTX 3060 to 3080 should be faster than NVIDIA's previous mobile powerhouse, the...

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Laptop Performance: What To Expect

NVIDIA unveiled its Ampere-based RTX 30 series mobile GPUs at a special GeForce Event during this year's virtual CES 2021 festivities. A wide range of notebook design wins were also showed off at various events, spanning a variety of form factors. With the GeForce RTX 30 series, NVIDIA is targeting high-performance gaming notebooks in form factors as thin 16mm, even with the flagship GeForce RTX 3080. Thinner, higher-performance form factors aren’t the only features NVIDIA is touting. A number of upcoming notebooks will also be sporting 1440p, ultra-high refresh rate IPS displays. In...

Cyberpunk 2077 V1.05 Post-Patch CPU And GPU Performance Explored

Cyberpunk 2077's launch was a little rocky, to say the least. The worst bugs and issues were with last-gen consoles, though the #PCMasterRace was somewhat less affected. While the PC port had (and still has) a little wonkiness to it, it's at least playable. Patch version 1.05 has now hit all platforms, and it brings with it some nice improvements. We've already covered the full list of enhancements in Cyberpunk version 1.05, so there's no reason to rehash that here.  The new patch's biggest affect on performance fixed support for AMD Ryzen 5 CPUs, as it enabled symmetric multi-threading...

Cyberpunk 2077 Review: Gameplay, Performance & Optimization

Cyberpunk 2077 has been one of the most hotly-anticipated titles in recent memory. Expectations were so high for this title that it's quite possible that CD Projekt Red could never live up to them. After numerous delays, however, Cyberpunk 2077 launched on December 10 to a mix of high praise and mild disappointment from many reviewers. The game is so massive, however, that we elected to take our time to really soak it in before tackling this review.  For those who are new to the franchise, Cyberpunk 2077 is based on the Cyberpunk tabletop role-playing game franchise. The second and fourth...

Cyberpunk 2077 Gimps AMD Ryzen Processor Multithreading But Here’s A Fix

When Cyberpunk 2077 launched earlier this week we knew it would not be a lightweight game, simply by looking at the vast number of available graphics settings and impressive visuals. Moreover, with the sheer NPC and texture density of Night City, frame rates are not always the greatest unless you have the most powerful of graphics cards. However, what’s also surprising is that AMD Ryzen CPU owners may not have noticed the extra performance hit they are taking because Cyberpunk 2077 is not correctly utilizing all core resources of their CPU. Fortunately, there is an easy fix, thanks to...

Cyberpunk 2077 First Impressions, Game Settings And Performance - It's A Wild Ride

CD Projekt Red's latest mega-blockbuster game, Cyberpunk 2077, launched this week on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. The developer announced its oft-delayed RPG way back in 2012, but anticipation has been running particularly hot for the several months now. We got our hands on the game right as the gates opened at midnight GMT on the today, but that's not enough time to work up a full review with all of our usual performance figures. So today we'll take a quick look at how the game runs and how its game world feels, on a narrow scope, but our full deep dive review will be coming soon. ...

Xbox Series X Review: Microsoft’s Hybrid Console HTPC Rocks

It is once again time for a new console generation and Microsoft has two shiny new products ready for the holiday 2020 shopping season. Continuing its tradition of sometimes fuzzy model branding, we have the new Xbox Series X and Series S, which succeed the previous-gen Xbox One X, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and the console formerly known as Xbox. This time around, Microsoft is focused solely on the gaming and entertainment experiences – there is no Kinect accessory or multimedia hub with HDMI input. The Xbox One X is all about improving the core gaming experience and all that comes with it. The...

World Of Warcraft: Shadowlands Laptop Graphics Shootout With Variable Rate Shading

About two years ago, NVIDIA started talking about a shader rendering method that applied varying levels of quality to different objects in the game world. That method was called Variable Rate Shading, or VRS. When applied skillfully and artfully in different areas of a scene that are less prominent in the gamer's field of view, the resulting rendered image quality wouldn't look all that different than if the whole scene had been fully shaded, though the graphics workload savings would improve performance significantly. Fast forward a year or so, and benchmarks became available for measuring...

How To Move Animal Crossing Islands To A New Switch With The ACNH Transfer Tool

If you're playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the Nintendo Switch and sharing the system (and a single island) among family members, we're sure that this story will be a familiar one. There's a rivalry between siblings or across generations as parents and kids get out of bed early each morning and start shaking trees, hoarding all of the fruit for themselves. Or maybe there's a disagreement about how to decorate the island. Maybe, just maybe, there's competition for playing time for other games where the rest of the family just isn't into the island life. Rejoice, Animal Crossing fans, for...

This Copy Of Super Mario Bros 3 Just Broke A World Record As Most Expensive Game Ever Sold

There's something fun about looking at a physical video game collection. That's especially true with retro games for systems like the original Nintendo Entertainment System, when cartridges came in boxes and those boxes were wide enough that the spine can show off some fun concept art. For the collector, it's fun to hunt down and find a variant, where corrections have been made between print runs. Those variants can then become collectible if they're rare enough, especially if the package hasn't been opened.  That's exactly what happened with a copy of Super Mario Bros. 3 for the NES....

Destiny 2: Beyond Light Explores Good And Evil But Doesn't Descend Deep Enough With Natural Choice

Destiny 2: Beyond Light has finally arrived. The long-awaited expansion has been out a week and Guardians have been perfecting their use of the new subclass Stasis. The expansion’s storyline questions the nature of Light and Darkness, but it unfortunately does not fully hit the mark. Here is our review of the Destiny 2: Beyond Light plot and the journey we wish delved deeper. ** Warning: Major Spoilers Ahead ** Destiny 2: Beyond Light - Descending Into The Depths Of Europa The new expansion picks off right where Season of Arrivals ended. Guardians are sent to Jupiter’s moon Europa...

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