Author: GGPC

Good Gaming Microphone – The Blue Snowball iCE Game Tested

Hello from GGPC NZ! This is our first in a new hardware testing while streaming series

The method is a pretty simple one, we’re going to be checking out a range of gaming gear in live streams to see what it’s like – videos are unedited, straight up live tests.

A quick note on why you’d want to have nice direction mic like this one from GGPC Warlock – “not only is the sound quality great but with a little time spent tweaking the position you happily chat away while gaming without having the sounds from your keyboard blasting over the broadcast :)”

For our first test, NZ Twitch Streamer SCRAXER has kindly helped out by taking a Blue Snowball iCE microphone and used this in a quick match of Player Unknown Battlegrounds. From here the microphone will do the rounds visiting three different gamers in total, no instruction is given to any of the gamers involved and as each has a go with the Snowball iCE we’ll begin linking to each players experience within our PC Gaming Blog here at GGPC New Zealand.

Via Scraxer: Setup for the Snowball iCE was pretty straight forward, plug and play with a single USB connection. The microphone does need to be quite close to you to pickup voice communication clearly and I highly recommend getting a scissor stand & pop filter if you’re using this mic while streaming games. Once you’ve got the microphone into a good position you can speak quite softly and still be heard clearly, it’s one-directional audio input means if you look away and talk it often won’t pick this up. I was seriously surprised by the recording quality of the Snowball iCE, considering it’s a pretty low price option among the range – looking forward to testing more!

The Snowball iCE then made its way to visit Dhyana from www.attackongeek.com!

Via ATTACK ON GEEK “In order to provide quality content as a podcaster, web-show host or even a video-game streamer, the quality of sound is especially important. Gone are the days of fiddling about with built in PC microphones, which provide only the bare minimum when it comes to quality. Now there are various high-end sound recorders and microphones, along with a plethora of sound mixing software, which are able to provide the best possible audio quality. However, despite the range available, only a few are actually simple and easy enough to use.”

Check out the full Blue Snowball iCE Microphone review from ATTACK ON GEEK here

From here the Snowball iCE made its way to Gabbu 🙂 She’s already started streaming with the mic and you can check out more live streams coming up this weekend – we’ll update with all the latest good stuff as her testing continues!

Via Gabbu: I played around with some configurations and found when the mic was behind the keyboard, typing sounds were too harsh, so having it in front was best. ideally, a floating boom would be the best option just from a space perspective.

Gabbu has kindly saved a replay of her gaming session while playing and chatting away with the Snowball iCE on her desk, click the image below and check it out!

GAME ON!

Good Gaming Keyboard – Logitech G613 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard!

As if the recent PowerPlay Lightspeed gaming gear they just released wasn’t enough, those top chaps at Logitech G have an awesome new gaming keyboard joining the mix – the Logitech G613 Wireless Mechanical Keyboard!

The G613 is a next generation wireless keyboard perfect for living room gamers who are looking for the satisfying click of mechanical switches and the freedom of wireless 🙂 Logitech have used their new LIGHTSPEED wireless technology as well and this delivers a mind-blowing 1 ms report rate for super-fast and responsive gaming, this is the same professional-grade wireless solution that’s built into the exceptional G703 and G903 wireless gaming mice.

They’ve made it savvy for the lounge by fitting a solid wrist rest onto the front, it’s also a little bit longer than the G413 with the additional G-Keys lined up on the left for gamers.

Being a living room savvy device Logitech have also taken care of a few additional features to make this keyboard even better – along the top you’ll find a host of quick media control buttons, these will allow you to quickly adjust volume, fast-forward, rewind and all that good stuff, what’s even cooler though is that Logitech have included Bluetooth connectivity as well as wireless, and with a quick-change button up beside the media controls you can hot swap between devices with ease!  Included with the keyboard is also a nice smartphone stand as well, similar to the one included with the G910 Orion Spectrum but this time in black.

Romer-G mechanical switches deliver precise mechanical performance with that signature ultra fast actuation we love, for those newbies coming to this new switch from something like a cherry blue, what makes the Romer-G switches so good is that your key-presses register at just 1.5 mm depth, around 25% faster than normal mechanical switches providing great response times in game – once you’re used to it 😛 Unlike many of the Logitech G mechanical keyboards we’ve been seeing recently, the G613 has got six dedicated macro G-keys so installing the Logitech Gaming Software is still a must even without the RGB options – it is a little odd to have keyboard without LED lighting now, but on the other hand we do understand, sacrifices must be made for battery life – there is a button that will light up though, the battery life warning indicator turns on when you’re down to 10% apparently 🙂

Logitech boasts that we’ll get 18 months of battery life on the two AA-batteries included with the kit – we’ll update our GGPC PC Gaming Blog with the latest as we test this new gaming keyboard out!

GAME ON!

 

Good Gaming Laptop – Gigabyte 120Hz P57x V7!

New Toys!

We got very lucky and had the chance to test drive the latest 17.3″ Gigabyte GTX 1070 Gaming Laptop, well, not that exact version actually – ours came with a very quick 120Hz display!

As we uploaded our first GGPC YouTube video however, we realised this was going to be a tough one to show you… the problem being that our maximum frame rate using the built-in Nvidia Shadowplay Game Capture is just 60FPS and the frames displayed on our screen were going as high as 120FPS!

With the Destiny 2 BETA underway we decided to jump in and see what this awesome laptop could do, testing first to see what our base FPS would be like at 1080p with low settings before tweaking upwards to get our 60FPS target on the highest settings possible, we found the best settings for this in Destiny 2 on the P57Xv7 was to run with MSAA turned on (crazy heavy!) and high settings across the board with textures tweaked up to the highest settings.

If we turned the MSAA setting down to SMAA our framerate skyrocketed upwards allowing us to capture between 90-120 FPS even with the resolution increased to 2560×1440, we are using the in-built FPS counter, found within the gameplay settings tab in Destiny 2, but we’ve also captured another test with our temperature and CPU/GPU usage stats up top left if you’re interested in checking these out.

Jumping into some Overwatch we turned everything up that we could, customising the EPIC preset to increase the antialiasing quality right up to ULTRA – SMAA HIGH (odd that epic doesn’t include this as standard right?) and also pushed our resolution all the way to 2560×1440. It’s nice that this higher resolution is available (some P57x models even have 4K!) and even better still to see that still supported a blazing 120Hz! Even with these extremely high settings though we still spent most of our time enjoying a crisp 90FPS, which, after experiencing the super visuals on the laptop itself, just isn’t done justice in the video below!

From here we decided to move into some Battlefield 1 and encountered a similar issue, even at the highest settings with our resolution set to 2560×1440 we were getting frame rates well into the 80’s – lucky for us the map rotation eventually swung around to the Amiens City which is notoriously heavy late game and we were able to snap a quick shadowplay with plenty of explosions, tanks, players and smoke everywhere helping to drop our FPS around 60 🙂

From here we moved into testing out our favourite space sim at the moment – the still-in-development Star Citizen \o/ We played with the settings for a while and found the best setup (right now, it changes with each update) is to play at 1080P with the graphics preset on HIGH. This gives you all the coolest effects like ambient occlusion and also adds some extra definition to the “space clouds” which I feel gives you something to visually gauge your speed and direction – turning things down to the lower preset does free up around 20 more FPS though so we captured a quick Shadowplay for those settings as well.

We decided to round off our gaming tests with a bit of Black Desert Online and set off on an adventure! Finding ourselves in an Orc village at dawn with rain pelting down we tweaked our settings for a smooth and beautiful combat experience at 1440p 🙂

Gaming performance aside there are a lot of things to like about this laptop, yet again the build quality is good with very little flex on the screen, the hinges on the screen are robust (and still orange) and if you tip the laptop upside-down you’ll see the impressive dual exhaust cooling system which, when at 100% speed (a setting we highly doubt you’ll use, auto is fine) has a noise output that is reminiscent of the noise from a kettle boiling. It’s packing most of the features we look for in a modern system like AC Wireless, Bluetooth, USB Type C, and HDMI 2.0 for 4K 60FPS, sadly no DisplayPort this time but ours did have a Blu Ray drive hidden on the front! The laptop has a nice white LED keyboard backlight that can be switched between half strength, full, off and of course auto mode which adjusts to suit the lighting around you

Battery on the P57Xv7 lasted us 1 hour & 11 mins at full brightness while looping videos which was excellent, we ran all the tests above with the fan profile set to auto which revs the cooling up and down as needed. As with our previous tests with the P57Xv6 we again set out to restrict airflow so we could see when things started to throttle and noted 90 degrees as the tipping point to watch with the CPU usage – during these high temps we still had no system crashes or instability.

Overall it’s been a pleasure to game with, and the Gigabyte P57Xv7 with it’s GTX 1070 + i7-7700HQ combo is most definitely good – on that note we happily give this fine gaming laptop our GGPC recommends award – the P57Xv7 is GOOD!

We’ll keep testing all the way upto 4K 🙂 Keep your eyes on our GGPC Computers Blog for more!

AMD RADEON – Quake Champions FREE GAME BONUS with Ryzen 5 + 7, RX 560, RX 570 and RX 580

Gear up with AMD Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7 or RX 560, RX 570 or RX 580 then register to redeem to get early access to QUAKE CHAMPIONS and a sweet FREE BONUS, the “Champions Pack”.

Showcase your speed, skill and style in the arena with access to ALL of the game’s Champions, which includes an additional skin for Ranger, and an AMD exclusive Radeon Ruby skin for Nyx 🙂

This awesome bonus is valid on purchases made between the 22nd of August 2017 and 29th of October 2017 so get in quick!

This is a register to redeem promotion, with two different ways to get your code depending on if you purchase an AMD RX Graphics Card or Ryzen CPU, so once you’ve geared up with your new hardware simply visit the websites below and follow the steps along.

Gigabyte Redemption Site <- For RX Graphics Cards

Sapphire is done via the AMD Rewards Redemption Site <- For RX Graphics Cards

Ryzen codes are issued via PB Tech NZ Promotions Site <- For Ryzen CPU

Packed with blazing-fast action and explosive rocket jumps you know and love, step into the arena with Quake Champions and access your arsenal of powerful and unique weapons. There are no loadouts, and no limit to the number of guns you can carry, just pure VS action!

Good Gaming PC Case – The SilverStone RVZ-03 Mini

Another great SilverStone chassis called the RVZ-03 has just landed in New Zealand and we couldn’t resist opening it up to see what improvements they’ve made over the already excellent Raven series we’ve been loving since it’s original release back in 2014!

Starting off with the packaging this little chassis comes in a very sturdy black box which is easiest to open up from the large flat sides, rather than the top like regular sized cases we usually see. Once you’ve opened it up you’ll see a neatly foam packed chassis inside, enclosed within a scratch safe protective black bag.

Removing the outer protective packaging and opening every up reveals a massive assortment of goodies inside, all neatly arranged within clear bags. Amongst all this we’ve got all our essential screws, cable ties and brackets but also SilverStone have included 3x magnetic fan dust filters which are great to see, especially considering this small form-factor gaming chassis is very likely going to end up in the living room 🙂

Taking a closer look at the chassis itself we find an additional 2x 120mm low profile fans have been included with this case, both along the graphics card bay. These SilverStone LP fans are thin but extremely good at both moving air (1500rpm) and remaining pretty quiet (800rpm sweet spot) – which is quite the task for any small build like this as the CPU and GPU chambers can get pretty warm when you’re gaming – from our previous experience building in small chassis, the graphics card fans have to work quite hard and without adequate ventilation like this, they can get pretty darn hot!

Even though it’s really small the case is able to fit long graphics cards up to 33cm long, including aftermarket versions with various degrees of thickness still fitting (we’ll check just how fat you can go in our first build) and to hold these firmly in place you’ll find a four pack of 3M adhesive domes that can be positioned as needed to hold your chosen graphics card securely.

For the CPU bay we have space for cooling options up to 8.3cm tall, so if you’re thinking of grabbing a new Ryzen 3, the included Wraith Spire cooler is going to fit, Ryzen motherboard wise with the case having ITX form factor we recommend getting something like the GA-AB350N which also features WiFi onboard.  

When choosing a power supply for your build you’ll also need to ensure this fits within the 15cm caddy, something like the EVGA SuperNOVA 550w is perfect – going modular here will free up more space inside your build for better airflow.

The RVZ-03 Mini PC Case has two front USB 3.0 ports on the front of the case along with twin 3.5mm ports, for connecting a gaming headset, but this latest version now also sports a really nice looking RGB trim along the front which is connected to an included LSB01 RGB controller!

We can’t wait to show you our mini PC builds with this exciting new case (as I write this we’ve already begun building some cool GTX 1050Ti, GTX 1060 and GTX 1070 builds with a range of different power supplies) and will update this blog with pictures from each, but anyways – onto the best bit – Those talented engineers at SilverStone have created an exceptionally good chassis here, not only is this one of the best options for building a small Gaming PC, but they’ve improved upon their already excellent Raven mini series by allowing for that larger power supply to be fitted, often reducing the total system cost and providing more options to those wanting to build a PC that’s small. The RGB lighting is nice to see also (pun intended), even more so with such a nice controller included in the kit, combine that with the 3x 120mm fans included and the value of the chassis really shines – on that note we happily give this case our GGPC Recommends Award  – The SilverStone RVZ-03 is GOOD!

Good Gaming Combo – Razer Cynosa Keyboard & Deathadder 2000

The Cynosa Pro Gaming Combo is a new option from Razer which combines their iconic Deathadder gaming mouse with their excellent value Cynosa Pro keyboard, a great combo for a gamer on a budget!

The coolest thing about this combo is the inclusion of the Deathadder 2000 gaming mouse, though it’s not quite in the same league as the current Deathadder Elite it has got that same comfortable shape and honeycomb grip that has kept the series in many of the top 10 gaming mouse lists for so long 🙂 The mouse has 5 customisable buttons in total, the normal left and right click along with two more on the side of the mouse (this one’s for right handed gamers) and a fifth as the mouse-wheel – it doesn’t have a DPI switch on the mouse so you’ll need to install the Razer Synapse Gaming Software suite to tweak this, which you’ll want to do as this gives you access to LED lighting, macros and performance settings.

Once you’ve downloaded this gaming software you’ll be asked to make an account, all your macros and settings will be saved to the cloud so when you log in on another system, your gaming gears will automatically adjust to your favourite settings.

When you’re logged into the software you’ll see the mouse and keyboard down the bottom along with any other Razer gear you’ve got connected, clicking these will take you into the options for that device – starting out with the mouse, the DPI settings can be found within the “Performance” tab and there is a simple slider going from 250-2000, once you’ve moved to a position and release the left click, the setting will automatically apply itself 🙂 There is an option here for “configure sensitivity stages” but seeing as there isn’t a dpi button on the mouse we’ll have to configure button 3 and 4 use this, once setup is done through a neat little graphic shows up on the side of the screen (even in game) when you change the sensitivity – of course, if you’re gaming it far more likely you’ll map one of the buttons to be a “sensitivity clutch” or “sniper button” which is perfect for those gaming moments when you need to be super accurate with your shot.  Macro wise the Synapse software package also gives you the ability to record a sequence of both keyboard presses and mouse clicks, with timings, and assign them the button of your choice 🙂

The LED lighting with the Cynosa Pro bundle gives you the options to switch between Green, Blue, and Light Blue, while the keyboard is treated as one large zone the mouse LED is actually split into two allowing you to customise the mouse wheel and razer logo independently – saving your favourite as a profile if you want to 🙂

If you don’t have the software installed the keyboard and mouse combo will still remember your last LED and DPI settings, with the keyboard you can also adjust the brightness of the LED backlighting from the keyboard itself, without software. All in all, it’s a pretty tempting combo for a gamer on a budget, even if it’s not quite a pretty as the Cooler Master MasterKeys Lite Combo with its full RGB lighting the Cynosa Pro Gaming Keyboard and Deathadder 2000 Combo holds it’s own thanks to the inclusion of that sweet Deathadder 2000 gaming mouse 🙂

GAME ON!

Good Gaming – Overwatch World Cup NZ Team Matches

The fight has been a fierce one for sure, with the NZ Overwatch World Cup Team being assigned to Group G in Burbank USA they’ve now completed the matches against Team USA and Team Taipei. 

The way this eSports event works is pretty straight forward, each group is comprised of four national teams that will play a full round-robin series of matches, from each group, the top two teams will advance to the single-elimination playoffs.

The top two finishers from each of the four group stage events will qualify for the Overwatch World Cup finals at BlizzCon 2017!

The stadium setup for this event is crazy cool, with an awesome Overwatch themed stage for the players and an excited audience looking on as they play each round. Hosts are setup just behind the audience stands providing both gameplay insights for newer players and some pretty funny banter to fill in the gaps 🙂

Below is the gameplay from players BIRDY, LEGABRIL, SIGNED, HOOWOO, WILLX and CANTUS battling against Team USA.

You can watch all the matches in this eSports event live via the PlayOverwatch Twitch Channel, as I write this I’m watching USA vs Germany and it’s GOOD \o/

GAME ON!

Good Gaming PC – AMD THREADRIPPER

The AMD THEADRIPPER 1950X is just about to release in New Zealand \o/ We’ve already begun testing these extremely high-end CPU options with our own custom PC builds here at GGPC NZ and things are looking pretty good!

Wanting to keep everything AMD we kitted out our first test system with twin Sapphire Nitro RX 580 Graphics Cards and begun making our way through the usual stuff like Cinebenchmarks to quickly compare with to others around the world before jumping into some games to really have some fun checking things out \o/ These new ThreadRipper CPU options are a part of the Ryzen family but both the 1920X and 1950X do require a special motherboard socket to use, you find these on new motherboards with TR4 and X399 in the name, like the AORUS GA-X399 Gaming 7 🙂 It’s not just a socket change up either, specific details around support for quad channel RAM configurations, a cache size increase and expanded PCIe support have been added to take full advantage of these mighty 16 core processors, M.2 ultra fast storage and all the supporting hardware these highest end PC will undoubtedly be using in the future.

One thing popped up as each of us started builds, we all thought to ourselves… this CPU is massive, where should I put the thermal paste? Thankfully, the CPU Cooler options that we’re attaching on top still have the same surface area as before so just a blob in the middle like normal worked for us, it’s going to interesting to see if ThreadRipper specific cooling options emerge after release though 🙂

Because Nvidia ShadowPlay is excellent for capturing 60FPS 4K gameplay for the ThreadRipper FPS tests we’ll be using our Aorus GTX1080 Ti config, with 16GB of G.Skill 2400Hz DDR4 and a Samsung EVO 245GB SSD for storage.

Keep your eyes on the GGPC YouTube channel for the latest!

GAME ON!

 

Good Gaming PC Case – Phanteks EVOLV SHIFT

Those talented techs at Phanteks have created a new addition to the now iconic EVOLV series with two new chassis joining the range, these latest offerings are known as the EVOLV SHIFT and they’re looking really good! All up there are four versions of these new chassis, with two colour options (the black Evolv Shift looks amazing) and two unique sizes available.

The superb craftsmanship of the Evolv Shift can be seen in every detail, although extremely compact compared to the mid sized chassis we often see, the Shift delivers a versatile space in which we can pack in plenty of powerful components –  and pack them in we did!

For our first build in the smaller Shift chassis, we grabbed the Gigabyte B250N ITX Pheonix motherboard which conveniently has wireless built in, a 2 x 8GB kit of G.Skill Trident Z and a little SFX power supply from Corsair. With the large windows running down both sides and providing such a nice view we opted to replace our intel stock cooler with the Phanteks TC12LS low profile cooler, having used this previously in our CM Pro 6 RGB Sync test build we yet again replaced the standard fan with a very nice RGB one to really light things up, graphics wise even the smallest version of this chassis can fit a full-length (35cm) card inside but it’s important to note that even though we absolutely love the massive Aorus 1080Ti its triple slot form factor was a just a little too large for this one 😛

Building with the Shift is easier than most small cases due to the way they’ve separated it into different areas, the top of the chassis is where you mount your motherboard and a PCIe extender then attaches to another space behind this where you will fit your graphics card – with the smaller Shift, if you go with a dual fan graphics card it can be fitted backplate facing either in or out, with the longer triple fan cards we found the best fit is backplate out – keep that in mind when choosing which card to build with 😛

This leaves a fairly large space in the lower compartment which lets the air flow in and upwards, you could easily fit a 120mm AiO liquid cooling kit in here if you wanted too. While the power supply has its own special output on the base of the build all your outputs from the motherboard and graphics card come out at the top of the case hidden beneath a push-to-release cover panel which serves as the primary airflow output vent, there is a little hole on the rear of this area that cables can be routed through.

You can check out our builds in the Phanteks EVOLV Shift this weekend at the TechXpo in Auckland, we’ll also update with lots of pictures of the builds from the event so keep your eyes on the GGPC PC Gaming Blog and our GGPC Instagram for the latest!

GGPC at techXpo NZ!

UPDATE: GGPC Workshop spots are currently fully booked, spots may open on the days though!

Coming up this weekend, the Vodafone Event Centre plays host to a tech fair with friends from Gigabyte, Asus, Cooler Master, G.Skill and Logitech G showcasing their latest tech devices and solutions for end users like us!

They’ll be hosting demonstrations and lending expert tech advice while displaying their latest products for you to get hands on with. Brand experts will be at each booth to take you through their tech and share with you their knowledge on PC Gaming. The event centre will also host various entertainment setups such as full gaming setup areas, a drone enclosure offering drone flying sessions, workshop classes, hands-on PC builds and more!

The crew from GGPC will be there hosting a workshop packed full of handy tips & tricks for water cooling, case modding, and getting the best performance for your dollar plus there will be awesome prizes up for grabs throughout each day – and a bunch of lucky attendees will get the chance to build their own dream PC at half price! 

This event is free to attend so if you’re a system builder, gamer, tech guru or just interested to see the latest and greatest electronics and digital technology in New Zealand, JOIN US AT THE NZ TECHXPO 2017 THIS WEEKEND!