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Jon Sutton
on 13 December 2019 at 09:31

The next-gen wars hath begun. In a surprising turn of events, Microsoft used The Game Awards to officially unveil its next-generation games console - the Xbox Series X. My gut reaction is this is a completely daft and confusing name for the masses, ringing all sorts of Wii U alarm bells all over again. Still, as the old saying goes, it's what's inside that counts.

Set to launch in holiday 2020, the Xbox Series X will, obviously enough, be the most powerful Xbox console yet. Or, as Microsoft puts it, the “fastest, most powerful console ever,” which will set a benchmark for “performance, speed ad compatibility”. The bottom line here is that it's going to be super fast (four times the power of the Xbox One X) and full backward compatibility with all three previous generations of Xbox. 

Jon Sutton
on 12 December 2019 at 16:37

AMD has officially launched the Radeon RX 5500 XT graphics card, a new 1080p focused entry-level GPU which is available in both 4GB and 8GB variants.

The ¬¬gc_id:4928[AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 4GB]¬¬ will retail for $169 while the ¬¬gc_id:4825[AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB]¬¬ will be slightly more expensive at $199. Specs-wise, the two variants are absolutely identical aside from the quantity of VRAM. AMD's nearest competitor at this price point would be the ¬¬gc_id:4832[Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super 4GB]¬¬ at $159. That tells you there really isn't a lot of wriggle down at this end of the market and AMD is going to have to push hard to make the Radeon RX 5500 XT a tempting proposition.

Jon Sutton
on 12 December 2019 at 11:36

It got slightly buried what with AMD releasing its own, much larger graphics card driver overhaul, but Nvidia has also released an updated GeForce Game Ready driver in time for the launch of the PC-exclusive ¬¬g_id:24361[MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries]¬¬. 

Last minute performance tweaks and bug fixes for the eagerly anticipated mech shooter are probably the highlight for this driver but there are also some last-minute Game Ready tweaks for Quantic Dream’s ¬¬g_id:23462[Detroit: Become Human]¬¬. Both games are out now and we should have performance reports from the latter very shortly, just as soon as our review copy unlocks.

Jon Sutton
on 08 December 2019 at 15:44

One of the worst named franchises of all time is back. ¬¬g_id:36782[Monster Energy Supercross - The Official Videogame 3]¬¬ is the third game in the energy drink brand's dirt bike racing series, offering new ground and in-air physics, new rider models and enhanced animations. But at what cost? Here are the official PC specs required to run Monster Energy Supercross 3.

I've got no idea just what changes go underneath the hood between each edition of Monster Energy Supercross but the third game in series certainly shows an evolution in terms of system specs. You'll actually need a fairly meaty system in order to meet the recommended specs for Monster Energy Supercross - The Official Videogame 3, including a rock-solid 4 or 8-core CPU and a mid-range GPU with at least 6GB VRAM. The suggested graphics cards are either the ever-reliable GeForce GTX 1060 6GB of the Radeon RX 480 8GB. An enhanced ground and in-air physics model may also put a considerable load on the CPU during high player-count races.

Jon Sutton
on 07 December 2019 at 13:15

A genuine strategy classic, the long-running Romance of the Three Kingdoms series makes its return next month on PC with¬¬g_id:36071[Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV]¬¬. It's a large-scale  turn-based tactical role-playing simulation grand strategy game depicting the classical period of China. Three warring nations are vying for control of more than 340 regions. It's time to brew a nice cuppa and get strategising, here are the Romance of the Three Kingdoms 14 PC system specs.

I'll start with one very unusual thing you'll want to watch out for. At launch, Romance of the 3 Kingdoms XIV will allegedly require a Japanese version of Windows 8.1. This is because the initial release of the game will be Japanese-language only. You'll have to check for each language in your own territory but the English UI update is due to arrive on February 28th, 2020, some six weeks after Romance 14's January 16th launch on Steam. Certainly something to remember in case you're thinking of preordering as this game will be pretty much inscrutable unless you're fluent in Japanese.

D3ATHKeeper
on 06 December 2019 at 17:30

We've already built the Ultimate PC at the $1200 sweet spot, but what about something for the more frugal PC gamer? For $800 you can get a 1080p PC gaming build which absolutely blows away console performance the same resolution. Proof that you don't need to break the bank to have a top-tier gaming experience.

For 800 bucks you can build yourself a fantastic gaming rig including all the necessary hardware components such as graphics card, CPU, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and even a headset. All of this for under $800 and you're not going to have any troubles reaching that all-important 1080p/60 frames per second.

Jon Sutton
on 06 December 2019 at 11:26

For those of you who love the idea of Minecraft but detest the total freedom and lack of direction, ¬¬g_id:36735[Dragon Quest Builders 2]¬¬ is quite the answer. It's all the block-building shenanigans from Minecraft but this time wrapped up in a classic JRPG setting with a story and quests to help point you in the right direction. DQ Builders 2 is coming to PC on December 10th and here are the PC specs required to run it.

A cursory glance at some Dragon Quest Builders 2 screenshots and gameplay footage will tell you much of what you need to know. This isn't a massively demanding game, nor is it trying to be a graphical powerhouse. It means DQB2 has some very modest system specs, including a low-end dual-core processor and an entry-level DirectX 11 video card such as a GeForce GT 640 or Radeon HD 7750. Just about any modern graphics card, including integrated graphics (iGPUs) can comfortably surpass this level of performance. 

Jon Sutton
on 04 December 2019 at 12:30

Ahh, Halo. It's good to see you back. After well over a decade lost in the Xbox wilderness, Halo is now officially back on PC. ¬¬g_id:1052[Halo: Reach]¬¬ is the first title in an eventual 6-game ¬¬g_id:20324[Halo: The Master Chief Collection]¬¬, offering revamped 4K visuals, mouse and keyboard support, and every bit of content that was ever released for Halo Reach on Xbox 360.

It's a great package at a bargain bin price and it's also booming in popularity very quickly. Halo Reach has already hit a peak concurrent player count of 161,000 players on Steam alone, so this should be a franchise which is back and here to stay.

Stuart Thomas
on 03 December 2019 at 12:20

AMD has dropped a small-ish Radeon Software Adrenalin driver update as it prepares for the arrival of its Radeon RX 5300M laptop graphics card. The big addition is the official support for the aforementioned GPU, which should mean Radeon RX 5300 series is set to make its debut in stores soon.

Aside from this, the Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.12.1 is actually a very low-key update. There isn’t any mention whatsoever of Radeon graphics card performance optimisation for the imminent releases of either Halo Reach or Phoenix Point so it doesn’t exactly qualify as a critical update for most folks.

Jon Sutton
on 02 December 2019 at 15:40

Research conducted through an independent survey has demonstrated a surge in popularity for AMD processors over the past two years. While Intel has long been the dominant force in the CPU market, Europe, at least, is being pulled in by the allure of AMD Ryzen.

The survey was conducted by the European Hardware Association (EHA) and polled over 10,000 European residents. Of those asked, more than 60% said they’d choose an AMD CPU over an Intel CPU. By contrast, just 40% showed a preference for AMD when another survey was run in 2018, showcasing a 50% rise in consumer preference for AMD processors.