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Fri, 18 Jan 2019 22:34:29 +0000
TechRadar - All the latest technology news

The whole computing world has been waiting with bated breath for AMD’s high-end graphics card – and it’s finally here. Although it’s not the Vega II launch that seemed all but certain, the Radeon VII looks like a stunner that may even beat the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080.

Featuring a whopping 16GB of video memory and a high boost clock of 1,800MHz, this looks like a very exciting graphics card from Team Red. Hang with us for a bit as we tell you everything you need to know about the AMD Radeon VII.

Cut to the chase

AMD Radeon VII

AMD Radeon VII release date

While we don't report on production numbers externally,” the statement reads, “we will have products available via AIB partners and AMD.com at launch of Feb. 7, and we expect Radeon VII supply to meet demand from gamers.

AMD to Overclock3D

AMD held a grand spectacle of a keynote at CES 2019, and its headlining announcement was that the Radeon VII will launch on February 7th.

While we would like to see the release of the AMD Radeon VII be as clean cut as that, there’s been plenty of news of shortage and a lack of third-party cards. Industry sources say that there may be fewer than 5,000 units of the Radeon VII at launch. AMD quickly responded to rumors, assuring gamers that there will be enough Radeon VII GPUs to meet demand.

AMD Radeon VII

AMD Radeon VII price

The AMD Radeon VII will launch at a starting price of $699 (about £550, AU$980). That’s quite a bit more expensive than AMD’s current flagship GPU, the Radeon Vega 64, that originally launched at a $499 or £549 (about AU$630) price. 

That said, AMD considers the Radeon VII to be a direct competitor to the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080, which costs between as little as $699 (£649, AU$1,119) or up to $799 (£749, AU$1,299) with the Founders Edition.

One silver lining to the Radeon VII’s high price is the card will come bundled with free vouchers for Devil May Cry V, Resident Evil 2 and The Division 2 – all three games, not just one.

AMD Radeon VII

AMD Radeon VII specs

The Radeon VII will be the first graphics card to be built on AMD’s – or anyone’s, really – 7nm architecture. Comparatively, the Nvidia’s Turing architecture just managed to hit 12nm, though there are rumors that Team Green may employ Samsung’s fabrication resources to make 7nm chips of its own.

According to AMD, its new 7nm process allows this GPU to increase performance by 25% overall over last year’s model with having to draw any more power. In fact, the Radeon VII may feature the same 295-watt thermal design power (TDP) as its predecessors.

As we previously mentioned, this GPU touts twice as much video memory as the previous model at a whopping 16GB of HBM2 VRAM. The Radeon VII also features 3,840 GCN cores and a maximum boost clock of 1,800MHz – about 300MHz faster than the Vega 64. This maximum frequency also matches up with Nvidia’s Founders Edition factory overclock applied to the GeForce RTX 2080.

Although the Radeon VII doesn’t feature any dedicated ray tracing cores, AMD has told and shown us that it will be able to handle ray tracing production work even better than Nvidia’s RTX 20-series cards. AMD also plans to support DirectML as an alternative to Nvidia’s Tensor Core and AI-driven DLSS anti-aliasing technology.

After AMD announced Ryzen 3rd generation processors will be the first to support PCIe 4.0, you might be wondering if the Radeon VII will feature the same technology. Sadly, we’re here to tell you it won’t and it will be sticking to the same tried and true PCIe 3.0 connector. PCIe 4.0 technology will be first used in conjunction with SSDs to unlock even faster data transfer speeds.

The last bit of bad news we have to bare is that AMD told us that it currently has no plans to introduce CrossFire support on the Radeon VII. We can hardly blame AMD for not including it, as we can imagine it would be murder to get 32GB or more of video memory to work together nicely.

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Fri, 18 Jan 2019 22:09:18 +0000
AMD Radeon VII release date, news and features

It feels as if announcements for the next Xbox and Sony PS5 are right around the corner, and now this gargantuan leak points to the next-generation AMD chip that may power it.

AMD allegedly plans to introduce a whole new system-on-a-chip to power next-generation consoles with both the company’s upcoming Navi graphics and cutting edge 7nm Zen 2 CPU cores – like those found in the latest Ryzen 3rd Generation processors. The report comes from TUM_APISAK, a serial leaker in the silicon world, and this whole new part is apparently called Gonzalo.

This AMD Gonzalo APU (accelerated processing unit) is said to feature eight processor cores that clock in at between 1GHz to 3.2GHz. Comparatively, the current AMD Jaguar APUs that power the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X currently run at up to 2.13GHz and 3.2GHz, respectively.

On the graphics size, AMD Gonzalo is said to incorporate Navi 10 Lite graphics. This is the first time such a part has been even rumored, so information about this part of the chip is extremely sparse, but at the very least they’ll purportedly run at 1GHz.

We expect E3 2019 will be chocked full of new hardware announcements, including a new next-gen Xbox and PS5, as well as AMD announcing its long-awaited Navi graphics architecture. Only time – and a likely increasing number of leaks leading up to the event – will tell if this pans out to be the truth.

Via Tom's Hardware

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Fri, 18 Jan 2019 22:05:00 +0000
PS5 and next Xbox may feature this cutting-edge AMD chip

You’ve probably already heard plenty of people out there telling you that the best headphones are the only way to get fantastic sound when using a computer. But, what if you’re not comfortable wearing headphones day-in and day-out? For everyone else, the best computer speakers are a fantastic ideal. Still, like any PC hardware, finding the best computer speakers isn’t quite as easy as you’d think.

Before you decide on the best computer speakers for you, there are a few questions you should ask yourself. What do they sound like? Is the surround or stereo separation up to snuff? Do you start to get a headache after a couple minutes? Do they have balanced sound? These are all important questions to ask.

You should also consider what you’re going to do with the best computer speakers. Are you going to get into some of the best PC games like Resident Evil 2, where immersion is the name of the game? Are you going to watch the Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer over and over again like we did? Or, maybe you just want to relax and listen to the new James Blake album. No matter what you use them for, the best computer speakers will make every sound your computer makes delightful.

Sure, the Audioengine A2+ launched four years ago, but they’re still the best computer speakers on the market. These aesthetically pleasing speakers will work with your PC’s USB port for uncompressed audio and beautiful audio quality with its built-in DAC. The Audioengine A2+ doesn’t come with a bass, but that’s not a problem unless you need really deep bass. Luckily, there is an RCA output, so it’s a breeze to connect an external woofer.

While they may be more expensive than you’d expect to pay for the brand’s speakers, the Logitech Z623 is still very affordable when you consider just how powerful they are. The Z623 may look like your average pair of speakers, but its subwoofer produces a thundering sound that can easily dialed up or down depending on your preference. And, it offers a great soundstage – with great highs and mids – making for a more immersive gaming and movie experience. 

Logitech is practically a household name in home entertainment and gaming, but never before has it combined the two so spectacularly. The first Logitech computer speakers designed for gaming, the Logitech G560 are the best computer speakers for gaming – no contest. Not only do they feature RGB lighting, but through Logitech’s software, the multi-colored illumination can adapt to any kind of content you consume – whether it’s your favorite game, or the latest music.

One of the first things you might notice about the Razer Nommo Pro speakers is their immense price tag. We get it, it’s kind of hard to swallow. However, once you get past that and get a chance to use these in person, you’ll see that the sound is worth forking over 500 bucks. Not only do you get a robust down-firing subwoofer that’ll almost literally blow you away, but it also features Razer Chroma integration, so they’ll look just as good as they sound. Sure, there are cheaper options out there, but for speakers this good, the price is well worth it. 

If you look at the Harmon Kardon Soundsticks III long enough, they’ll start looking like some kind of jellyfish. These translucent computer speakers look more like a modern art installation, rather than a functional speaker system – but that all changes once you turn them on. This speaker and sub combo features booming bass thanks to its woofer, while still producing crisp highs. You’ll get excellent sound at a decent price, making it perfect for music fans with a mid-range budget.

It might be a bit bassy for some people, but the Edifier E25 Luna Eclipse is a gorgeous speaker setup that not only looks good, but it also features amazing sound. The Luna, which comes in red, white and black, offers a powerful but controlled bass, fantastic balance with sharp mids and good stereo separation. It even includes a really nifty little remote control. The Luna Eclipse are some of the best computer speakers out there, especially if you like to pump up the volume with little to no distortion – and, who doesn’t?

The Logitech MX Sound Speakers are simply the best wireless PC speakers you can buy today. They’re a thing of beauty, with their eccentric circular design and silver accents. And, for the price, they definitely deliver a little more than what you’d expect from the best laptop speakers. The bass may sometimes overpower the mids and highs, but it still delivers an excellent soundstage and powerful audio, which makes it great for gaming. It also features dual Bluetooth connectivity so you can connect two devices simultaneously. Finally, the backlit motion sensor controls are so sensitive, a light touch is all it needs. 

Read the full review: Logitech MX Sound 

The Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 speaker system brings enhanced sound for versatile use, so that whether you’re listening to music, watching movies, or playing games, you’re getting the best computer speaker experience. These THX-certified speakers boast power, a wide frequency range (31Hz to 20kHz), and a detailed audio quality with punch bass, maximum clarity and great balance. We’re not exaggerating when we say it’s powerful enough to replicate that home theater quality.

Dell’s AE715 may not be the most powerful speaker in the market. It produces a decent 360-degree sound that, while is fairly common in portable audio, is a rarity with computer speakers. For it's low, low price, this Bluetooth speaker is nothing amazing; not a lot of bass and there’s a bit of delay, but the audio quality good enough if your listening standards aren’t quite as demanding. 

However, what you’re getting in exchange are its wireless functionality, the USB charging port so you can charge the device, and the built-in mic so you can use it for conference calls. It’s definitely a great portable, wireless solution.

Mackie CR4BT promises professional-grade performance, which is a lot more than what its competitors offer. The question is, does it really do that? Well, they sound good for a premium pair of speakers, but there are drawbacks including thinner mid range, and high bass cut off at 70 Hz, which means while there’s good bass presence, you might be missing the really low stuff.

The pros, however, include the acoustic foam pads to isolate the speakers from the surface it’s standing on, and the front auxiliary input. Overall, these aren’t your run-of-the-mill computer speakers. They are useful for multimedia creation and production as well.

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Fri, 18 Jan 2019 22:05:00 +0000
Best computer speakers 2019: the best audio systems for your PC

When you’re setting out to build the best gaming PC you can muster you shouldn’t forget about the best PC gaming chairs. You don’t want to walk away from your gaming session crouching over like Igor from Young Frankenstein. With the best PC gaming chairs, you can bring your gaming and sitting experience to the next level. Because, if you’re going to spend hours at a time gaming, you should at least do it comfortably.

That’s why, now that the year is coming to a close, we decided to make a list of the best gaming chairs of 2019. Some might end up looking like your dad’s office chair, with all-black ‘real leather’ designs – others fully embrace the gamer aesthetic with RGB lighting and loud, clashing colors, making you look like futuristic race car driver.

We will help you find the best PC gaming chairs on the market, so you can spend more time sitting down and less time shopping around. Because – let’s be honest – we do our own fair share of sitting, and we’re very familiar with the best PC gaming chairs. 

It’s no exaggeration to call the Noblechairs Epic Real Leather the best gaming chair. From the cross-thatched embroidery to the real leather of its namesake, if you’re looking for a no-compromises gaming throne, this is it. Plus, it’s surprisingly quick and easy to set up. And, once the set-up is complete, the Epic Real Leather is a dream to sit on – and you can customize your position however you want. Just do us a favor, and read the instructions while you’re setting it up.

If you want to play games all day in comfort, but you don’t want a chair that looks like you’re playing games all day, the Autonomous ErgoChair 2 is for you. Marketed as an office chair, the ErgoChair 2 has a very modern and stylish aesthetic to it that will appeal to anyone that doesn’t use RGB as a personality trait. It’s not all style either, as the ErgoChair lets you adjust basically every part of the chair, so that no matter how your body is built, you’re guaranteed to be comfortable while gaming.  

Leather and fabric have their advantages, namely to comfort and texture, but sometimes a mesh office chair is best – especially if you live in a warmer climate, where breathability is of utmost importance. The Respawn-300 combines the racing-seat design and lumbar support and mesh material from some high-end office chairs. It really does take comfort to another level and is one of the best PC gaming chairs you can buy today. 

Corsair is known for making popular and high-end PC components and gaming peripherals. It’s only fitting, then, that they dip their toes into the gaming chair game – and they may have made one of the best gaming chairs yet. Covered top to bottom in breathable PU leather with neck and lumbar pillows wrapped in microfiber, you’ll be able to game both in comfort and style. And with its rollerblade-style wheels, you’ll be able to move it around on any surface without having to worry about scratching up your floor. 

Noblechairs is well known for crafting some of the best gaming chairs out there – and the Noblechairs Icon makes it clear why. While it’s more affordable than the flagship Epic Real Leather, it’s still extremely comfortable and one of the best PC gaming chairs out there. This is thanks to its nice lumbar pillow, which you can easily remove if you don’t like it.  

The Edge GX1 is a gaming chair that actively avoids the popular racing style that is increasingly popular with modern gaming chairs. Rather than sticking to a form factor that’s designed to limit your movement, the Edge GX1 instead aims to give an ergonomic experience, where comfort is the priority – while also providing a premium chair. And when we say premium, we mean it, with the Edge GX1 costing £800, a huge amount for a gaming chair. It’s hand-crafted in the UK, and there’s some great touches, such as inflatable lumbar support. It’s a huge asking price, but we’ve been using it for a while now, and it is very comfortable. You’ll have to adjust a bit, but once you get it right, it’s worth the high price. It ships worldwide from the UK, but US and Australia readers should beware the high shipping costs.

You can only buy this chair direct from Edge

There’s a certain subset of the PC gaming community that needs to have the absolute best of everything, at whatever the cost. These people are going to be absolutely enamored with the Vertagear Triigger 350 SE. It features over 350 individual components with a mix metal, mesh, leather and high-end plastics to create the ultimate PC gaming chair. If you have the money to spare, and you can’t stand to have anything less than the best, you might want to give this chair a look. 

Another day, another Noblechairs gaming seat – and the Noblechairs Epic is the best gaming chair for the classier gamer. It features a faux-leather covering inspired by car seats, combining both comfort and a high-end design to make it one of the best gaming chairs you can buy today. And, if you’re the type that shies away from the ‘gamer aesthetic,’ the Epic’s subtle black design is far more elegant than some of the more brightly-colored seats on this list.

For the gamer looking for some extra room in their seat, the Vertagear Racing Series PL6000 is a must-have. Specially designed to provide both added width and height, this is the best gaming chair for anyone with a larger frame – no matter how tall you are, the adjustable headrest means you’ll never experience discomfort. However, this is a complicated chair to assemble, so use the buddy system to build this masterpiece.

The Nitro Concepts C80 is a gorgeous, comfortable gaming chair that could easily blend in in an office environment – it looks more expensive than it is. Nitro Concepts made one of the best gaming chairs by keeping the price down, while keeping compromises to a minimum – like using polyurethane instead of leather. And, no compromises were made in the build quality, either – this is an impressively sturdy gaming chair. Just make sure you get a friend to help you put it together – constructing this thing had us tearing our hair out.

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Fri, 18 Jan 2019 22:05:00 +0000
Best gaming chair 2019: the best PC gaming chairs

We understand that if you already have one of the best gaming PCs, it can be tempting to head to the local big box store and pick up the cheapest keyboard you can find – whatever works, right? Well, after dropping mad stacks on the best computer you could afford, you’re doing yourself and the best PC games a disservice by not using one of the best gaming keyboards.

The best gaming keyboards can noticeably improve your skills in the best PC games, especially if you get a mechanical keyboard. So, when you’re out shopping for one of the best gaming keyboards, keep an eye open for the kind of switches it uses. Membrane switches aren’t usually great for gaming, but mechanical switches are often perfect. And, don’t forget about lighting, it wouldn’t be 2019 without having your desk lit up like a Christmas tree. 

So, what makes the best keyboard for gaming? Even if you just have a bit of cash to spends, you can still get one of the best gaming keyboards. And, if money isn’t an issue, there are a ton of feature-rich keyboards with all the bells and whistles. So, let’s dive into all the best gaming keyboards you can buy today, all of which have been tested and reviewed by us. 

Razer Huntsman Elite

Razer Huntsman Elite

With the Huntsman Elite, Razer has taken speed to a whole new level with its optomechanical switches. That sounds like a mouthful, but Razer has managed to take mechanical switches and integrate optical sensors, this allows the Huntsman Elite to take actuation to another level – you simply won’t find a faster keyboard in 2019. But switches aside, it feels great to type on, and it’s covered in more RGB lighting than you can shake a stick at. Sure, it requires two USB cables for power with no passthrough and it costs a small fortune – but with tech like this, it’s absolutely worth it.

Read the full review: Razer Huntsman Elite 

Roccat Vulcan 120 Aimo

Roccat Vulcan 120 Aimo

It’s becoming more and more common for the best gaming keyboards to abandon Cherry MX switches in favor of custom ones. And, if we keep getting keyboards as good as the Roccat Vulcan 120 Aimo and its Titan switches, we hope the trend never stops. Not only does this keyboard have amazing tactile feedback, but it’s comfortable to type on and won’t keep your roommates awake at night. When you add in just how gorgeous this keyboard is, there’s no denying that this is  one of the best gaming keyboards you can buy right now.

Read the full review: Roccat Vulcan 120 Aimo 

Logitech G513

Logitech G513

One of the biggest problems with Cherry MX Red keys is that while they’re good for gaming, they’re not ideal for typing anything but your Steam credentials. And, that’s where the Logitech G513 and its Romer-G Linear switches steal the show. With its brushed metal finish that, miraculously, is nearly immune to fingerprints, it all adds up to one of the best gaming keyboards on the market in 2019.

Read the full review: Logitech G513 

Cooler Master MasterSet MS120

Cooler Master MasterSet MS120

Not everything has to be super high-end, and the Cooler Master MasterSet MS120 is proof. It’s a keyboard and mouse set, and while the mouse isn’t all that great, the keyboard is the star of the show. Sitting at just under a hundred bucks, the MasterSet’s keyboard is up there with other, more premium ‘mem-chanical’ keyboards. The switches on offer bring a ton of tactile feedback and deep travel, and won’t keep your whole house awake at night while you’re furiously pounding away on it during an intense late-night Overwatch match. The Cooler Master MasterSet MS120 really is one of the best gaming keyboards under $100.

Read the full review: Cooler Master MasterSet MS120 

Corsair K63 Wireless

Corsair K63 Wireless

We have seen plenty of wireless gaming mice over the last few years, but not many wireless gaming keyboards. Until now. The Corsair K63 Wireless keyboard takes what made the wired version of the K63, and transfers it into the wireless version – without sacrificing much at all. Packing tight Cherry MX Red switches, full RGB lighting and convenient media controls, the K63 wireless shows us what wireless keyboards can be capable of in 2019.

Read the full review: Corsair K63 Wireless 

HyperX Alloy Elite

HyperX Alloy Elite

Following in the footsteps of Kingston’s first HyperX-branded gaming keyboard, namely the HyperX Alloy FPS, the HyperX Alloy Elite tweaks the company’s first winning keyboard to provide only a few subtle changes. For only $10 USD more than its predecessor, you’re getting media keys, a light bar and even a palm rest, all of which were previously absent. They’re also a series of delightful treats, making for a value proposition that shouldn’t be ignored.

Read the full review: HyperX Alloy Elite

Corsair K95 RGB Platinum

Corsair K95 RGB Platinum

Just like the Corsair K70 Rapidfire that came before, the K95 RGB Platinum is a mechanical keyboard that puts gaming above all other things. Rocking 8MB of dedicated memory for storing different profiles, this keyboard certainly has the versatility to get the job done, whatever it may be. It features a beautiful build, as well, with a military-grade aluminum finish that complements Corsair’s fantastic RGB lighting perfectly. 

Read the full review: Corsair K95 RGB Platinum

Razer Cynosa Chroma

Razer Cynosa Chroma

If you’re new to PC gaming, and you want a keyboard that’ll perform admirably without the high price tag that a lot of mechanical keyboards carry, the Razer Cynosa Chroma might be for you. It might not have the tactile clickiness of a higher-end board, but the hybrid mesh switches perform well enough, boasting a 1ms polling rate and 10-key rollover. That’s not to mention the sick RGB lighting.

Read the full review: Razer Cynosa Chroma 

Corsair K68 RGB

Corsair K68 RGB

Accidents happen – it’s just a fact of life, especially when you’re gaming. Luckily, it’s becoming more common for the best gaming keyboards to be able to handle anything you could throw at them, even Mountain Dew. The Corsair K68 RGB takes a fantastic keyboard design with Cherry MX Switches and makes it water resistant, so you don’t have to worry about a sudden soda shower during a frantic play session. And, with its subdued, stylish design and reasonable price tag, it’s easy to recommend the Corsair K68 RGB.

Read the full review: Corsair K68 RGB  

SteelSeries Apex M750

SteelSeries Apex M750

If you’re looking for a gaming keyboard, and you don’t plan on doing much else, the SteelSeries Apex M750 is a great choice. It has fantastic software for customization and gorgeous RGB lighting. It also has a great tactile feel to it and feels extremely robust and durable. The only drawback is that the keyboard is extremely loud and uncomfortable for productivity work. 

Read the full review: SteelSeries Apex M750 

Bill Thomas and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article

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Fri, 18 Jan 2019 22:00:00 +0000
Best gaming keyboard 2019: the best gaming keyboards we've tested

The best motherboards obviously don’t get the same kind of attention as the best graphics cards or processors, and that’s kind of a shame. The best motherboards are arguably the most important part of your entire PC. With all the latest PC tech, they basically serve as the backbone of the best PCs. A good motherboard will make your PC hardware reach its full potential by fully utilizing and optimizing it. They can even make your processor go faster – by giving it more overclocking headroom. 

Because they’re so critically important to your PC build, you should only consider the best motherboards. If you cheap out and get a crummy motherboard, and it dies on you, you’ll have no recourse but to rebuild your entire PC from scratch – and trust us, that sucks. You should just do yourself a favor, and buy the best motherboard the first time, so you won’t have to go through the chore of replacing a bad one. 

There are dozens of motherboards out there, and the marketplace can get confusing. That’s why we went ahead and created this list of the best motherboards on the market. So, let us help you find the best motherboards that we’ve tested ourselves. Not only will they do everything you need them to and more, the best motherboards are built to last.

When Intel launched its Coffee Lake Refresh platform, and promised that they’d be the best processors for gaming, we knew we were going to get some kitted out motherboards that put that theory to the test. And, lo and behold, the Z390 Aorus Gaming Pro Wifi – one of the best motherboards on the market today. Packed to the brim with gamer-centric features like reinforced PCIe slots and enough RGB lighting to blind you – this is the best Intel motherboard on the market right now. 

Sometimes, when building a new PC, you’re just want  to throw your hands up and say “just give me everything.” In times like this, you’ll want the Asus ROG Maximus XI Code Z390 Gaming. Packed with every feature that Intel’s new Coffee Lake Refresh processors support and then some with a RGB-lit shroud covering every inch of circuitry on this motherboard.  

So, Coffee Lake Refresh is out, and you want to take advantage of all the performance it has to offer, but those more exotic motherboards are out of reach. If that sounds familiar, you might want to take a look at the Gigabyte Z390 UD. This doesn’t have the same level of RGB bells and built-in Wi-Fi whistles, but what it does have is great value. You’re getting all of the essential features that Z390 has to offer, while sacrificing some unnecessary features like SLI or extra M.2 slots. If you’re a budget gamer, the Gigabyte Z390 UD is the best motherboard out there.

If you’re looking for an edge on the competition, and you don’t have a lot of extra room on your desk, you’re going to want a Micro-ATX motherboard – you’re going to want the MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge AC. What you’re getting here is a Micro-ATX motherboard with all the features a full-sized ATX part, but a fraction of the price. Despite it’s reduced size, you still get getting dual M.2 slots, SLI and Crossfire support and all the scalding performance that Intel Coffee Lake Refresh has to offer. If you’re looking for a smaller motherboard, you can’t afford not to get the MSI MPG Z390M Gaming Edge MC. 

If you need the smallest motherboard that you can get, without compromising on key features of your CPU, you should consider the Asus ROG Strix Z390-I Gaming. With this motherboard you don’t have to compromise on features or power. You don’t even need to settle for a measly 32GB of RAM, thanks to Asus’ double capacity memory compatibility – you can have up to 64GB of memory in the tiniest motherboard you’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, like most Z390 boards, it’s a bit pricey, so prepare yourself for that.

With the X470 Aorus Gaming 7 Wi-Fi, Gigabyte further illustrates is mastery of motherboard design. Rocking the new AMD X470 chipset, allowing full support of the new AMD Ryzen 2nd Generation processors, this is the best motherboard if you’re looking to side with Team Red. What’s more, it supports Quad-GPU SLi and extremely fast RAM (up to 3,600 MHz) for peerless expandability, and thanks to its multi-zone RGB lighting, it looks good while kicking butt. 

For the longest time, AMD has been the reigning champion of budget builds, and in 2018 that doesn’t seem to be changing. Marketed exclusively to gamers, the MSI X470 Gaming Plus is loaded front to back with features like two PCIe M.2 slots and quick performance tweaking buttons to make sure you’re on the top of the leaderboards at all times. And, since it’s a gamer-focused motherboard, it comes with all kinds of flashy RGB lighting that you can even customize it from your smartphone.

These days, small form-factor PCs are all the rage and with motherboards like the ASRock B450M-HDV, we think they’re going to stay that way. Now, while this motherboard doesn't do SLI and supports only up to 32GB of RAM– it is a B450 unit, after all – it is still compelling due to its low price. Outside of these omissions, you still get a slot for a NVMe SSD and four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports around back. If you’re looking to build a solid budget gaming PC, this is going to be the best motherboard for you.  

Asus aims to prove that big things can come in small packages with the ROG Strix X470-I. Featuring the latest and greatest AMD chipset, everything in this tiny board is designed with performance in mind. Even down to the BIOS, where you can find a stress test for overclocks before you even boot into Windows. This board even elevates beyond the constraints of the Mnii-ITX form factor by including an M.2 Audio Combo riser, so that you can install your M.2 NVMe SSD without getting in the way of other components. 

The X-series processors are here and they're spectacular, so if you want to take advantage of all they have to offer, you need an X-series motherboard. This ASRock X299 is an excellent choice, with support for overclocked memory speeds up to 4400MHz(!!!) and 8 different slots for memory modules. It also supports up to 128GB of RAM, so with an X-series processor and a good graphics card (or 3…) this thing will absolutely tear apart anything you throw at it.

If you’re the type of builder with lots of cash to burn and an ‘everything and the kitchen sink’ build method, the Ryzen Thredripper X399 Professional Gaming board is for you. Not only does it support 4-way SLI or Crossfire configurations, but you can also pack this thing with up to 128GB DDR4 memory. It even features a ton of flashy RGB lighting, so that people can’t help but stare at your rig when they walk in the room. And, if you upgrade to Ryzen Threadripper 2nd Generation, you can use this board, but keep in mind you may have to update your BIOS. 

Coming to terms

If you’re unfamiliar about what makes the best motherboards, well, better than the rest, we’d like to include a primer for anyone who might not know that much about them. Motherboards are available in a broad range of different form factors, the most common of which being ATX and Micro ATX. However, there are plenty of more less common form factors including mini ITX and E-ATX. Don’t worry though, most of the best PC cases will support multiple form factors. 

Moreover, in our rundown of the best motherboards, we detailed the socket type that each mobo adheres to. For those not in the know, the socket is the part on the motherboard that the CPU locks into. Typically, newer Intel processors use either LGA 1151 or 2066 while the latest AMD Ryzen architecture is designed for the AM4 chipset.

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Fri, 18 Jan 2019 22:00:00 +0000
The best motherboard 2019: the top Intel and AMD motherboards we've seen

The best monitors aren’t going to make your PC run any faster, but they can improve your overall computer experience by making it look much better – and they can improve your productivity, too. They’re also often cost effective, so anyone can find one of the best monitors for a price that won’t break the bank. With high resolutions, speedy refresh rates and every screen size you could imagine, you can make your work smoother and less of a strain on your eyes. 

Whether you're looking for a gaming monitor to keep up with the gaming PCs, or if you just bought a MacBook Air and you need one of the best USB-C monitors, you’ve come to the right place. And, you can trust our picks – we’ve tested and reviewed them all ourselves. 

Now that the best PCs can handle 4K easier than ever, the best 4K monitors are becoming more common. This explains why BenQ has launched the PD3200U, a massive 32-inch Ultra-HD display, as a part of its Designer Monitor range. Marketed to creatives and professionals, BenQ has crafted, seemingly by mistake, a panel that gamers can get behind, too – as long as they can fit it on their desks. Then again, given the 4ms response time, the PD3200U is best suited for creatives. For instance, 3D designers will love the inclusion of a CAD/CAM mode, while everyone else will adore the factory-calibrated color accuracy. 

Read the full review: BenQ PD3200U

The AOC Agon AG352UCG6 Black Edition is marketed as a gaming monitor, but if you need an ultra-wide monitor, you really can’t do much better. With its sublime color support, strong contrast ratio and lightning-fast 120Hz refresh rate – everything you do on your PC is going to feel quick, snappy and it’ll look good while doing it. It’s kind of expensive, but this ultra-wide monitor can significantly boost productivity, so it’s totally worth it – it’s one of the best monitors you can buy today, as long as you have the hardware to drive it. 

Read the full review: AOC Agon AG352UCG6 Black Edition 

When it comes to the best monitors, sometimes we’ll come across something that manages to combine so many high-end features that it seems almost alien – the Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ is one such display. Not only does this gorgeous display feature an Ultra-HD 4K display, but it tops that off with HDR and Nvidia G-Sync tech – a trifecta of high-end features that makes this the best monitor you can buy today, if you have the cash. If you’re doing any kind of photo or video editing work, you really can’t go wrong with this display.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ 

Display

When you start to grow weary of the same old 16:9 aspect ratio, nothing hits the spot like a cinematic 21:9 display. It’s probably not the best for watching Netflix or YouTube, but the Acer Predator X34 is a great example of what an ultra-wide monitor can do. Boasting an attractive aluminum bezel and polygonal stand that resembles a bird’s foot, this massive 34-inch monitor is a wonder to look at. More importantly, armed with Nvidia’s G-Sync tech, you won’t need V-Sync stressing out your graphics card. The Acer Predator X34 does all the heavy lifting for you. This is about as immersive as a gaming monitor gets. 

Read the full review: Acer Predator X34

We don’t often run into technology that’s so far ahead of the curve that we’re left dumbfounded. The Dell UltraSharp UP3218K is the most recent example. Finding a monitor that can reach the raw beauty this one does should be impossible. It’s not just the resolution, either – Dell went a long way to make sure that the build quality and color reproduction are the best in the business, and well, it is. The Dell UltraSharp UP3218K is aimed at professionals, obviously, so if that sounds like it’s up your alley, it’s probably the best monitor for you. 

Read the full review: Dell UltraSharp UP3218K 

If you’re looking for a great 1440p monitor with HDR for multimedia and gaming, the BenQ EX3203R might be the best monitor for you. This monitor is notable because it manages to bring in a ton of high-end features into a monitor that is extremely affordable. And, while 32 inches might sound like a bit much for a monitor, the 1800R curvature on this BenQ panel means that it’s easy to use, both for productivity and for immersion in your games and media. 

Read the full review: BenQ EX203R 

Depending on your budget, it might break the bank in classic Alienware style, but Dell’s 25-inch gaming monitor won’t let your screen tear. Whether you’re siding with Team Red or Team Green for your graphics needs, there’s a configuration designed with specifically you in mind. Taking away some of the heavy lifting away from the GPU that would otherwise be spent on VSync, the Alienware 25’s 120Hz refresh rate might actually be viable. So, as long as your graphics card can handle it, you can expect to reach 120 frames per second. The 1ms response time is just gravy.  

Read the full review: Alienware 25 

You might not believe it at first glance, but the BenQ Zowie XL2540 is every bit the gaming monitor that the Asus Predator X34 is. And though it may not seem it from the outside looking in, it does its job remarkably well too, sacrificing dazzling lighting effects for a zippy 240Hz refresh rate and nigh-instantaneous 1ms response time. There’s no G-Sync or FreeSync, as this monitor assumes you already have a rig that’s plenty capable of eliminating screen tears on its own. Instead, this monitor keeps it simple by supplying you with lots of visual presets, an “S Switch” control pod for managing those presets and even a pair of adjustable light screens.

Read the full review: BenQ Zowie XL2540

If you’re running games using a weaker GPU and you’re looking to get into ultra-wide displays without spending a fortune, you might want to check the LG 34UC79G-B out. This monitor, measuring in at 34-inches diagonally, is equipped with AMD FreeSync for screen tear elimination and a 21:9 aspect ratio best suited for games and cinema. Despite its resolution being lower than other ultrawide displays out there, this LG monitor pulls off a crisp image nonetheless – and with stunning color accuracy at that. Plus, you can change the height, which is more than can be said for even some of the more expensive 4K monitors out there. 

Read the full review: LG 34UC79G-B

If you’re planning on picking up a new Nvidia Turing graphics card on launch (we can’t blame you), you’re going to want a monitor that can take advantage of that powerful graphics card. The HP Omen X 35, then, might just be the best gaming monitor for you. Rocking a WQHD panel with 98.7% sRGB coverage, the best PC games are going to just pop on this display. And, it’s G-sync enabled, so you don’t even need to worry about screen tearing or artifacting. 

Read the full review: HP Omen X 35 

Gabe Carey and Bill Thomas have also contributed to this article

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Fri, 18 Jan 2019 21:55:00 +0000
The best monitor 2019: the top 10 monitors and displays we’ve reviewed

It’s more affordable than ever to get into the best gaming PCs and now is the perfect time to head out and buy one of the best PC gaming headsets. When you’re playing games, having high-quality sound is extremely important – you’ve already perfected your visual experience, so the next step is getting awesome sound. Not everything is about having pretty, ray traced graphics

The best gaming monitors won’t always have speakers, and the ones that do, you won’t really want to use. If you’re looking for a great, immersive audio experience while playing some of the best PC games like Battlefield V or Resident Evil 2, you’ll need either the best computer speakers or one of the best PC gaming headsets. You’ll want to hear background noises, sound effects, dialog and music in all their high-fidelity glory.

The best PC gaming headsets will have all the bells and whistles that the best computer speakers will offer, but with one key difference – privacy. For anyone that wants to avoid keeping their roommates awake all night, here are the best PC gaming headsets on the market in 2019.

HyperX Cloud Revolver S

HyperX Cloud Revolver S

When we first sat down to review the HyperX Cloud Revolver S, we were a bit divided. On one hand, it features fantastic 7.1-channel surround sound, delivered through Dolby's trademark digital signal processor. On the other, it's extremely pricey when compared to other similar headsets. Luckily, as one of Kingston's most subdued pair of cans we've ever seen (or heard), the pristine comfort and top-notch sound more than make up for its high price and oddly placed detachable mic.

Read the full review: HyperX Cloud Revolver S

SteelSeries Arctis Pro

SteelSeries Arctis Pro

If there's anything you can count on SteelSeries for, it's pristine audio – and the SteelSeries Arctis Pro is proof perfect of that. Not only will this headset provide immersive surround sound for all the explosive action of your favorite games, but, thanks to its included DAC (digital to audio converter), the Arctis Pro will also serve you well while listening to music. It may be a little expensive, but when you consider just how comfortable and bombastic this headset is, well, it's not hard to see why it's one of the best gaming headsets you can buy today.

Read the full review: SteelSeries Arctis Pro 

Logitech G Pro Gaming Headset

Logitech G Pro Gaming Headset

Valuing raw performance over the traditional ‘gamer aesthetic,’ the Logitech G Pro headset offers fantastic sound quality over long periods of time, and that’s about it – but we’re not complaining. The Logitech G Pro Gaming Headset focuses squarely on great sound quality and comfort, so you don’t have to  fork over a fortune for unnecessary flourishes. If you’re looking for something without all the bells and whistles, but can perform where it counts, the Logitech G Pro might be the best gaming headset for you. 

Read the full review: Logitech G Pro Gaming Headset 

Anyone can simply listen to their games, but what if we told you that you could feel them? With the Razer Nari Ultimate, that can finally be a reality, this gaming headset has haptic motors in the ear cups that makes your ears vibrate. This would be enough to make this at least an interesting headset, but when paired with the long battery life, amazing sound quality and comfortable build, it’s easily one of the best gaming headsets out there. Just, do yourself a favor and turn off the haptic feedback when you’re listening to music.

Read the full review: Razer Nari Ultimate

Astro A20

Astro A20

If you're looking for one of the best gaming headsets, but those high-end $300 headsets make your stomach turn and you don't want something cheap, you should take a look at the Astro A20s. Featuring solid stereo sound performance in a wireless headset, not to mention the stunning 15-hour battery life, this headset has all the necessary features that you might want in its price range. Sure, it doesn't have surround sound, but it more than makes up for it with its economy and battery life.

Read the full review: Astro A20

Creative Sound BlasterX H7 Tournament Edition

Creative Sound BlasterX H7 Tournament Edition

Creative has created a name for itself over the ears for crafting sublime audio products – and the Creative Sound BlasterX H7 Tournament Edition further cements that legacy. Instead of just sitting and iterating on the winning formula of its previous products, Creative completely revamped  the Sound BlasterX H7, resulting in a PC gaming headset that looks just as good as it sounds. If you’re looking for a comfortable, sturdy and meaty-sounding headset, the Creative Sound BlasterX H7 Tournament Edition is one of the best PC gaming headsets today. 

Read the full review: Creative Sound BlasterX H7 Tournament Edition 

SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless

SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless

Compromises are a part of everyday life, but nobody actually likes making them. Luckily, with the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless you don't have to make any compromises, because you can get high quality lossless audio playback with a wireless headset. And, when you add in the unique and ultra-convenient dual-battery charging system that lets you wear this headset in perpetuity, you have a recipe for one of the best gaming headsets we've ever gotten our hands on. If you have the cash, and you absolutely need the best wireless headphones money can buy, you can't go wrong here.

Read the full review: SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless 

HyperX Cloud Flight

HyperX Cloud Flight

The HyperX Cloud Flight is a long-lasting wireless gaming headset featuring up to 30 hours of battery life. This means you can likely get two full days of gaming in between charges. However, there’s a catch – unlike the Cloud Flight’s competition, namely the Astro A20, this gaming headset only offers stereo sound, abandoning any surround sound implementation. You can thankfully get around it by playing around with the Dolby Access app, though, and the sound profile is balanced enough to make this a non-issue.

Read the full review: HyperX Cloud Flight

 

Corsair released one of the best gaming headsets late last year with the Corsair HS50, and now, it has made it even better by making it wireless and giving it virtual surround sound capabilities. These features on their own would make a great gaming headset, but when you add in the fantastic Corsair CUE software on top of it, it makes a complete package that would make a great addition to your gaming setup.

Read the full review: Corsair HS70 Wireless Gaming Headset 

Corsair Void Pro RGB Wireless

Corsair Void Pro RGB Wireless

It wasn't that long ago that Corsair was solely known for PC components but, over the last five years or so, its arguably become better known for its gaming peripherals. With products like the Corsair Void RGB Wireless, it's not hard to see why. Now, while at first glance, some may scoff at the asking price, the Void Pro RGB Wireless delivers on that price point with great build quality, fantastic sound fidelity and – perhaps most importantly – RGB lighting. Plus, if you've already got a full arsenal of Corsair peripherals, the Void Pro RGB Wireless fits in nicely, and can even synchronize lighting effects with other peripherals through the Corsair Utility Engine.

Read the full review: Corsair Void RGB Wireless 

Corsair HS50 Stereo Gaming Headset

Corsair HS50 Stereo Gaming Headset

As a general rule when you're buying anything, including gaming peripherals, you get what you pay for. You don't go into Walmart, pick up a $50/£50 gaming headset and expect to be blown away, but Corsair takes this rule and turns it on its head. The Corsair HS50 is, for the budget gamer, the best gaming headset you can buy today. Retailing at $50 in the US, the HS50 has sound quality and mic quality that rivals headsets that are twice as expensive. Everything, even down to the build materials radiates quality. If you're looking for a cheap gaming headset, and you don't mind giving up some extra bells and whistles, like 7.1 surround and Bluetooth connectivity, you need to take a look at the Corsair HS50.

Read the full review: Corsair HS50 Stereo Gaming Headset 

Beyerdynamic Custom Game

Beyerdynamic Custom Game

While it’s more expensive than we’d like, the Beyerdynamic CUSTOM Game is one of the best gaming headsets we’ve used in a while. It doesn’t feature flashy surround sound or wireless functionality, but this headset excels in two of the most important categories: sound and comfort. Seriously, once you put it on and experience your games in headphones this good, there’s no going back.

Read the full review: Beyerdynamic Custom Game

Turtle Beach XO Three

If you're the type of gamer that isn't afraid to let the world know you're playing games, the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament might just be the best gaming headset for you. Not only is it supremely comfortable to wear, but its 50mm drivers mean that sound quality is always top notch – even if it could use a bit more bass in the mix. You really do have to be into the 'gamer aesthetic' though, as its plastic build and orange highlights personify the style. But, if you can get past the looks and the price tag, there's a lot to love about the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament.

Read the full review: Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament  

Astro A50 Wireless

Astro A50 Wireless

Back when the original Astro A50 launched, we called it a ‘game-changing, experience-enhancing headset,’ and, thankfully, its wireless successor follows in its footsteps – while adding in wireless functionality. Not only is it ready to rock with your PC, but with PS4, Xbox One and legacy consoles as well – a headset that’s robust and versatile.

Asus ROG Centurion 7.1

Asus ROG Centurion 7.1

Abandoning all traditional aesthetics, the ROG Centurion 7.1 is a gorgeous piece of kit anyways. Even if it's a genuine pain to set up, this is one of the best PC gaming headsets both for its unique style and category-defying sound. The Asus ROG Centurion 7.1's onboard amp controls give you complete control over this bombastic sound, and this beast can even bolster its already great sound to an external set of speakers.   

Read the full review: Asus ROG Centurion 7.1 headset

Bill Thomas and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article

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Fri, 18 Jan 2019 21:50:00 +0000
The best PC gaming headsets 2019

These days, the best PC games can take you to places and let you do things that you never thought possible, which is why you should think about picking up one of the best gaming monitors to bring your experience to the next level.

But, what separates the best gaming monitor from any old monitor. Well, it usually depends on the kinds of features you need and your own personal preferences. There are all kinds of gaming monitors out there, and what you need will vary greatly on what kind of games you usually play.

If you’re looking to sit back and chill, playing your favorite single player games like Hitman 2 or Resident Evil 2, you may be interested in a 4K Ultra HD gaming monitor with HDR. However, if going head to head with strangers on the internet in eSports titles like Overwatch or CS:GO is more your speed, you’ll want one of the best gaming monitors with a high refresh rate and response times. 

This is a lot to take in, but we have you covered. We've gathered up all the best gaming monitors we’ve ever used. So, no matter what kind of games you’re into, we’ll help you find the best monitor for gaming. 

HDR has been a major selling point for the best TVs for a little while now, but it has been suspiciously absent from the best gaming monitors. Until now. The BenQ EX3501R takes HDR and runs with it, crafting a curved ultra-wide that is not only what we would deem ‘attainable’, but beautiful as well. BenQ bills this monitor as a ‘video enjoyment monitor’, but from the moment you launch your favorite HDR-enabled games, you’ll see straight away why it tops our list of the best gaming monitors.

Read the full review: BenQ EX3501R 

The Alienware AW3418DW is one of the few ultra-wide monitors that can offer the level of immersion that only 21:9 monitors offer, while also featuring a high refresh rate. With a gorgeous 3,440 x 1,440 display, lightning fast 4ms response times and a stunning 120Hz refresh rate, the AW3418DW is the best of both worlds. However, all these features come with a high price, so it may not be the best choice if you’re looking for a bargain. Still, it’s not hard to see why it’s one of the best gaming monitors 2019 has to offer.

Read the full review: Alienware AW3418DW

The AOC Agon AG352UCG was already one of the best gaming monitors, so when we heard that AOC was putting out a revision on it, with a higher refresh rate and better contrast, we were overjoyed. The AOC Agon AG352UCG6 Black Edition takes everything the original did and turns it up to 11, making it one of the best ways to experience ultra-wide gaming. It’s expensive, sure, but if you have the hardware to power a 3,440 x 1,440 monitor at 120Hz, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not buying it.

Read the full review: AOC Agon AG352UCG6 Black Edition 

Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ

The Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ may just be the most advanced and best gaming monitor out there – as long as you have the cash. Not only does it feature a gorgeous 4K Ultra-HD resolution and HDR, but it also features G-Sync and a 144Hz refresh rate. These specs make for one of the most impressive gaming monitors that’s ever existed – and when you see it in action, your mind will be blown. The only thing that holds this thing back from true greatness is the insane price tag. But, then again, if you have this kind of cash lying around, you should be able to afford a PC powerful enough to drive it.  

Read the full review: Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ 

The BenQ PD3200U is primarily targeted at CAD professionals, but it’s still one of the best gaming monitors out there. This is because it has a rock-solid focus on graphic design, so it’s able to offer fantastic viewing angles – meaning your friends can watch you play in comfort. Plus, unlike a lot of 4K monitors on the market, you don’t need to mess around with the settings in order to get the best picture – every unit is individually calibrated by BenQ before it’s shipped. This is one of the best gaming monitors out there, even if it’s not actually a gaming monitor. 

Read the full review: BenQ PD3200U

There’s a certain subset of PC gamers out there that need the absolute best hardware money can buy, and the Acer Predator X27 may be the best gaming monitor for them. The list of high-end features packed into the panel is almost as long as our arm – 4K resolution, HDR-10, G-Sync, 144Hz refresh rate – you’d be hard pressed to find a more advanced monitor. And, once you get a look at this monitor in person, you’ll be sold. That is, until you see the price tag – at two grand, only recent lottery winners need apply. Still, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming. 

Read the full review: Acer Predator X27

You might not believe it at first glance, but the BenQ Zowie XL2540 is every bit the gaming monitor that the other monitors on this list are. And though it may not seem it from the outside looking in, it does its job remarkably well too, sacrificing dazzling lighting effects for a zippy 240Hz refresh rate and nigh-instantaneous 1ms response time. There’s no G-Sync or FreeSync, as this monitor assumes you already have a rig that’s plenty capable of eliminating screen tears on its own. Instead, this monitor keeps it simple by supplying you with lots of visual presets, an “S Switch” control pod for managing those presets and even a pair of adjustable light screens. If you're a professional gamer, then this is the best gaming monitor for you.

Read the full review: BenQ Zowie XL2540

Display

With this display, Samsung not only brings QLED to gaming monitors in a big way, but they also offer the widest ultra-wide monitor on the market today. Coming in at 49.5 inches, this behemoth will take up a lot of space, likely peeping over the sides of your desk, but with its impressive 3,840 x 1080 resolution and HDR, you’ll at least be blown away by the image. Even if you decide not to play in this resolution (it will require a beefy rig), you can still use all of the extra screen real estate to have a browser or a movie playing on the same screen. The only real drawback is the monstrous price tag. But for a display this premium, it may very well be worth it.

Read the full review: Samsung CHG90 QLED

If you have a powerful graphics card that you want to take full advantage of, and you don’t mind missing out on 4K Ultra HD, Samsung’s got something just for you. The Samsung CHG70 is a curved 1440p monitor with a blazing fast 1ms response time and 144hz refresh rate, which makes this one of the best gaming monitors you can buy in 2018. And, considering it’s regularly going on sale, this screen is a bargain as well. Check it out.

Read the full review: Samsung CHG70 QLED 

When you’re playing competitive shooters like Overwatch or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, you’re going to need speed more than anything to stay on top of the leaderboards. That’s where monitors like the MSI Optix MAG271CR come in. With a 1080p resolution, 144 Hz refresh rate and 1ms of latency, you’re going to have fast, smooth gameplay as long as you have the hardware to drive it. After all, 60 Hz panels are so 2014 – the best gaming monitors embrace high refresh rates.

Read the full review: MSI Optix MAG271CR

 How to buy the best gaming monitor in 2018

When you are shopping for the best gaming monitor 2018 has to offer, there are a few things that you should consider before you decide on what display should grace your desk.

By studying the following terms and specifications, you can make sure you pick the best gaming monitor for your needs – which also means you're not paying extra for additional features that you don’t need.

Screen size: When shopping for the best gaming monitor, one of the most crucial things to think about is screen size. Larger display sizes can contribute to more immersive gaming experiences, as the game fills more of your field of vision, but you'll need to make sure you have the room to feature a large monitor. It also goes without saying that larger monitors will usually mean a higher price.

Aspect ratio: The aspect ratio of a gaming monitor determines the width and height of the screen. Most widescreen monitors have an aspect ratio of 16:9, while older monitors had a more square 4:3, which will likely look pretty outdated in 2018. Ultra-wide monitors with aspect ratios of 21:9 are quickly gaining prevalence – they offer a wide view of your games, and many ultra wides have made our list of the best gaming monitor 2018.

Resolution: Another important factor when looking for the best gaming monitor for your needs is resolution. Here, the higher the numbers, the sharper the picture.. You will, however, need a more powerful graphics card for anything over full HD (1,920 x 1,080), even if many gaming monitors feature resolutions as high as 2,560 x 1,400 (WQHD) and 3,840 x 2,160 (4K).

Refresh rate: When you’re looking to primarily play Counter-Strike, or shooters like it, refresh rate is especially important. The higher the refresh rate, the more frames per second (fps) it can support, which lends to a smoother experience on high-refresh-rate displays. A 60Hz refresh rate is most common, with refresh rates rising to 144Hz and even 200Hz.

Response time: The best gaming monitors have low response times, which means the action remains fast and fluid, with little to no input lag. The lowest response time for TN monitors (we explain this in the next section) is 1 millisecond, whereas the newer IPS monitors usually have more delayed, 4ms response times. When you’re playing games competitively, it’s crucial to keep this number as low as possible in order to combat lag.

Panel type: This is where things get a little technical. The type of panel the gaming monitor uses will largely contribute to its response time and image clarity. TN panels (twisted nematic) have the lowest response times, and they are usually cheaper as well, but they generally don’t have great viewing angles. IPS panels (in-plane switching) have fantastic viewing angles and color reproduction, but usually  higher response times. Meanwhile VA panels (vertical alignment) sit between the two, though the slow response times makes these panels rare amid the best gaming monitors.

Viewing Angle: Most people play games while positioned in front of their gaming monitor, but this may not always be the case, particularly when you’re among spectators. A monitor’s viewing angles tell you what angle you can look at the monitor from and still clearly make out the image. The closer these numbers are are to 180, the better your viewing experience will be when standing further to either side of the monitor or looking at it from above or below.

G-Sync and FreeSync: You'll likely notice that many of the best gaming monitors in 2018 come with either G-Sync or FreeSync technology – sometimes both. This helps keep frames per second (fps) smooth, combats screen tearing and diminishes input lag. G-Sync is developed by Nvidia, so you'll need an Nvidia GPU, and the tech is built into the monitor, which can bump up their price tag. Meanwhile FreeSync was developed by AMD but, as it is free to use by manufacturers, the monitors usually cost less.

Check out our HDR Explained video below.

Gabe Carey and Bill Thomas have also contributed to this article

[ + ]
Fri, 18 Jan 2019 21:50:00 +0000
The best gaming monitor 2019: the 10 best gaming screens of the year

For too long, we were stuck buying one of the best hard drives when we wanted to expand our computer’s storage. However, with their spinning disks and slow transfer speeds, they haven’t aged well. In 2019, however, the best SSDs or solid state drives, are fast enough to free you from the mechanical shackles of hard drives.

And, you don’t even need to rock one of the best PCs to take advantage of the best SSDs. The best Ultrabooks are practically designed to take advantage of the best SSDs, thanks to their unrivaled durability and speed. You can even slot one of the best SSDs into a PS4 Pro to seriously slash loading times.

When you’re on the market for one of the best SSDs, you’ll probably notice that there are a lot of them out there. This is great for anyone on a budget, because there’s a wide spread in price points. However, because there are so many SSDs out there – literally hundreds of them – it can be hard to find the best SSD for your needs. Luckily, we took the time to curate a list of the best SSDs you can buy today.

Western Digital has been busy making a name for itself among the best SSDs over the last few years, and with the WD Black SN750, it’s finally claimed the throne. This NVMe SSD has an insane sequential write speed of 2,993 MB/s, a huge improvement on the last generation. And, when you consider how affordable this SSD is, it’s hard not to proclaim it as the best SSD you can buy today. 

Read the full review: WD Black SN750 NVMe SSD

When you’re playing the best PC games, there’s nothing worse than having the action stop for a load screen (we’re looking at you, Half-Life 2). Luckily, with the WD Black NVMe SSD, you can basically say goodbye to long loading screens forever, as this drive absolutely blows the pants off of every other SSD in its price range. At just under $300 you won’t find a faster drive that will last as long as the WD Black NVMe SSD. We can say without a doubt that this is the best SSD for gaming. Trust us on this one.

Read the full review: WD Black NVMe SSD

For years, Samsung has been behind some of the best SSDs on the market, and even though other manufacturers like Western Digital and Adata are creeping up on its turf, the Samsung 970 Evo is still the best SSD you can buy if you’re after raw speed. And, while the read speeds haven’t improved over the previous generation’s 960 Pro, the write speeds see a significant bump – up to 2,700MB/s – which is how it retains its ‘fastest SSD’ crown. If you’re after the best SSD, with no compromises, you can’t go wrong with the Samsung 970 Pro. 

Read the full review: Samsung 970 Pro 

If you're looking for plenty of options, the Toshiba OCZ RD400 series of drives come in 4 sizes and three different form factors: M.2, M.2 2280, and add-in card (AIC). Not all sizes are in all form factors, so if you're looking for a fast 1TB drive, make sure you have room in your computer case. 

If you’ve been waiting to jump on the M.2 train for an SSD that’s both fast and affordable, we have some good news for you. The Adata XPG SX8200 isn’t one of the best SSDs because it’s the fastest drive on the market, but because there isn’t a single drive out there that can match the raw price to performance ratio that the XPG SX8200 offers. Sure you can get any of the much faster, much more expensive SSDs on the market, but this is the drive we can recommend to anyone.to anyone.

Read the full review: Adata XPG SX8200 

People might not be going crazy about SATA 3 anymore, but the Samsung 860 Pro proves that there’s still plenty of life in the aging interface after all. With storage up to 4TB and transfer speeds that approach the theoretical maximum of the SATA 3 interface and top-of the-line reliability and security – the Samsung 860 Pro is the best SSD for anyone still clinging to SATA 3.

Read the full review: Samsung 860 Pro 

The U.2 standard allows for bigger SSD capacities and uses your computer's PCIe x4 slot to send all that data back and forth. The Intel 750 series includes a cable so you can mount the drive in the bay on your case and still plug it into the PCIe slot on your motherboard.

Samsung had a hard act to follow – the Samsung 850 Evo was beloved for its stunning performance and affordability. And, the Samsung 860 Evo absolutely succeeded. Though limited by the SATA3 interface, the Samsung 860 Evo delivers performance that iterates on its predecessor with improved read/write speeds and an array of form factors, while still maintaining its budget price. The 860 Evo is the best SSD for anyone looking for an entry-level SSD without having to break open their piggy banks. 

Read the full review: Samsung 860 Evo 

If you need an SSD that will last through multiple computers, the HP S700 Pro is exactly what you want. Its life will far exceed its warranty, offering up to 2 million hours of use and up to 650 terabytes written. This is one of the best SSDs you can buy if you need something that’ll last, but the SATA interface may slow things down a bit in the read/write department, which technically helps it last even longer. 

The best NVMe SSDs used to be way too expensive for most users. But, those days are coming to an end – the Intel 760p Series SSD changes everything. This SSD features awesome performance that’s only slightly behind the beloved Samsung 960 Evo, boasting speeds of 3,056 MB/s read and 1,606 MB/s write. But, what makes the 760p stand out is the fantastic price to performance ratio. Yeah, there are faster NVMe drives on the market, but you’ll be paying a premium that, frankly, isn’t worth it. This is one of the best SSDs out there, not just because it’s fast, but because the Intel 760p makes us excited about the future.

Read the full review: Intel 760p Series SSD

If you’re a creative or a professional, and you need an external NVMe SSD that’s going to save you time rather than waste it, you might want to give the Samsung X5 Portable SSD a look. Thanks to its use of Thunderbolt 3, rugged magnesium build and AES 256-bit encryption, it’s fast, secure and durable – everything you want in an external SSD. However, this isn’t a cheap accessory, this is one of the best SSDs and it’s priced as such. Everyday users may want to look elsewhere, this is all about sheer speed.

Read the full review: Samsung X5 Portable SSD 

Bill Thomas and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this article

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Fri, 18 Jan 2019 21:50:00 +0000
Best SSDs 2019: the top solid-state drives for your PC

If your keyboard is starting to show its age, collecting dust and generally looking like something out of an old horror movie, you may want to consider picking up one of the best keyboards. Even if you don’t have a keyboard that barely works, the increase in comfort, speed and reliability you gain with one of the best keyboards easily pays for the price of entry.

Once you lay your fingers on one of the best keyboards, you won’t want to go back. No matter what you’re doing with your keyboard – whether you’re writing code, or just chatting with friends – the best keyboards will make your life easier. And, if you’re looking for the best gaming keyboards, we’ve got you covered too. 

So, whether you’re just trying to get in touch with some old friends, or you’re looking to be productive, you should look for any keyboard that can get the job done. Luckily, you don’t need to worry about spending a fortune, many of the best keyboards are extremely affordable. So, we compiled a list of all the best keyboards for work and play, so you can get to typing, rather than shopping.

Roccat Vulcan 120 Aimo

It has become the norm for keyboard manufacturers to implement their own custom keyboard switches, and Roccat – with the Vulcan 120 Aimo – is no different. While this keyboard is primarily marketed as a gaming keyboard, its Titan Switches are tactile enough to be satisfying, while still bouncing back quickly enough to be comfortable to type on for extended periods. And, we’d be remiss to not mention the looks – the Vulcan 120 Aimo looks like a science fiction keyboard, we love it.

Read the full review: Roccat Vulcan 120 Aimo 

Topre Realforce

Manufactured by the Topre Corporation in Japan, the Realforce is, truly, a force of nature in the keyboard landscape. It comes down to the unique Topre switches, which are super smooth to type on and are usually compared to playing on a piano. The RealForce comes in both 45 and 55-gram configurations, but the one that’s right for you will depend on the importance of key weight. Oh, and, it’s expensive – but it’s worth it to have one of the best keyboards.

Realforce

As long as you don’t mind missing out on some of that signature ‘thock’ sound that’s associated with regular Realforce keyboards, opting for a silenced model like the 104 UBS offers some solid benefits. Hitting the 104 UBS’s keys produces sound on par with a membrane keyboard, so it’s going to be great if you work in a busy office or a shared bedroom. The ‘dampened’ feel of Topre’s silenced switches can feel kind of like typing on sandpaper compared to a non-silenced board, but we found that it’s worth the trade-off if you need a quieter keyboard. 

Filco

Filco's keyboards tend to be built like tanks, and the Majestouch TKL is no different. This space-saving mechanical keyboard features a compact tenkeyless design that has less than 1cm of space between the edge of the keys and the keyboard. Its durability doesn't simply allow it to stand up well to knocks and scrapes – it has a positive impact on its typing feel too. You can hammer away on it at speed, even bottoming out to your heart's content, and the Majestouch 2 will take every bit of punishment.

We’ve seen all kinds of keyboards over the years here at TechRadar, from stylish tenkeyless keyboards to RGB-laden gaming behemoths, but something has always been missing – a focus on creatives. Thankfully, with the Logitech Craft, this is no longer the case. Not only is this a sturdy, tactile and attractive keyboard but it also features a unique dial on its top left corner, which will help creatives expedite their workflow. This dial’s utility will vary depending on the application, from simply controlling the volume on the desktop, to changing levels in various tools in Photoshop. If you spend a lot of time creating content on your PC, the Logitech Craft is one of the best keyboards you can buy today.

Read the full review: Logitech Craft 

HHKB2

Somewhat legendary in keyboard circles, the PFU Happy Hacking Professional 2 (or HHKB2 as it's usually referred to) is that rare beast - a 60% Topre keyboard. Aimed at coders but fantastic for document warriors too, it foregoes traditional arrow keys, instead making use of function keys and key combinations to provide such functionality. It only takes a short while to get used to, once you've got there the huge benefit is that the HHKB2 is small and light enough to take anywhere, giving you access to that sweet Topre "thock" sound and feel anywhere, anytime.

 

You just need to look at Microsoft’s Surface devices to know that they’re kind of killing it when it comes to design, and the Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID takes things to a whole new level. If you’re running Windows 10, and you’re into the Surface aesthetic, this is easily one of the best keyboards out there. Not only does it feel great, but it also features biometric security, by including a discrete fingerprint scanner right next to the “Alt” key. It is an expensive device, but as with everything Microsoft, you can be sure you’re getting what you’re paying for.

Read the full review: Microsoft Modern Keyboard with Fingerprint ID 

FC660C

Leopold's Fc660c is more portable than the Realforce 87u, but less so than the lighter and more compact HHKB2. However, the Fc660c benefits from its extra heft and feels like the more solid board. Despite having the same 45 gram actuation force as the HHKB2, the Leopold's keys feel slightly weightier - somewhere nearer to 50 grams. It results one of the most satisfying "thock" sounds on a Topre board.

Unicomp

Remember those old IBM Model M keyboards? Well, that’s what the Unicomp Classic 104 seeks to emulate. Available in both USB and PS/2 versions, it uses a buckling spring switch that takes more effort to press than just about every other modern switch. You’re rewarded for this hard pressing with a tactile response that feels like the classic mechanical keyboards of old, along with a noise that will drive everyone around you mad. 

Best keyboard

Some keyboards just ooze class, and the Das Keyboard Prime 13 is one of them. Its features a solid aluminum top panel for added rigidity and a very minimalistic look. With Cherry's MX Red or Brown switches under the keycaps, you're given a choice between linear and non-linear offerings with a range of actuation points.

It's a great option for media enthusiasts thanks to side lit media control and the inclusion of white backlighting is another bonus. It's not the most affordable keyboard on our list, but if you're looking for something a little bit more premium, Das is the way to go.

Logitech K780

According to a government survey, the average British household owned 7.4 internet-connected devices in 2015. Logitech is targeting smartphone and tablet owners who prefer to see their device's display while sat at a computer with its latest keyboard, the K780. If you liked its predecessor, the K380, there's more to love here. (Literally thanks to its added numberpad.)

The K780 can still pair with up to three devices using Bluetooth or wireless, allowing you to chop and change between them, and it features the same comfortable rounded keycaps that remain a pleasure to type on. The star of the show, however, is the keyboard's base, which can hold mobile devices up to 11.3mm thick in an upright position. This places them within arms' reach to make anything from replying to WhatsApp messages or reading a digital magazine easy as pie.

 How to determine the best keyboard for you 

 

It goes without saying that if you demand the look and feel only mechanical switches can provide, rather than those that are slim and stealthy, we suggest perusing our best gaming keyboards round-up instead.

Gamers prioritize the actuation that clicky feeling mechanical keyboards bring, whereas traditional home and office users are more about practicality. That said, the sheer magnitude of sound produced by a lot of mechanical keyboards is offputting to some. For those folks, we have some membrane keyboards to recommend as well.

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

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