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 buildtheir 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!
Perfect for those who want all the power of a desktop Gaming PC, but are looking for something really small it’s pretty similar in size to current-generation consoles standing at a short 29cm tall. Unlike many of the little PC we see though, this one actually fits a real desktop i5-7400 CPU inside perfectly paired with a 3GB GTX 1060 which gives us excellent performance in games. Built in 802.11ac Wi-Fi provides a fast, stable connection while playing online games or streaming movies, the GR8 II also sports a handy Bluetooth v4.2 for connecting everything from smartphones to headsets – speaking of headsets, the shape and size of the GR8 II make it a pretty good headset holder too!
On the back of the chassis, you’ll find 2x HDMI outputs making it ideal for a Virtual Reality setup, you can connect both your HTC Vive VR Headset and a TV for really good group gaming session in the lounge 🙂 It’s upgradable too, simple slide-off covers make for easy access to the M.2 SSD and additional 2.5” HDD/SSD storage slots for quick upgrades.
Looking good with a clean matte black finish, the chiseled, sharply-angled side panels and plasma copper-coloured centre come together in an eye-catching way, even though it’s much smaller than most other gaming desktops the perfectly-framed ROG Eye on the side panel along with some sweet Aura effects across the front face make this mini Gaming PC stand out from the rest!
UPDATE: Promotion extended, now 1st June 2017 to 31st July 2017.
Asus Republic of Gamers have a sweet new bonus offer available now for those gearing up with selected ROG STRIX series motherboards, it’s BIG, RED and is the leading cause of dry skin in the world – a giant ROG towel \o/
With all the rain lately in NZ this promo really couldn’t have come at a better time, when summer returns it’ll also be great for the beach, it’s certainly easy to spot 🙂
Asus ROG STRIX motherboards have killer looks and an all important feature which allows you to control a host of RGB devices from a single software package – we’ve done some special builds to demonstrate this and we know you’ll agree, when building a PC around Asus AURA RGB things really do look good!
Getting your ROG bonus is pretty easy, once you’ve geared up with your killer new motherboard simply visit the ASUS Redemption Site to fill in your details on the form below.
Not all the motherboards listed in this promotion on the Asus website are available in NZ right now and others have just arrived making them a little hard to find, below are quick links so you can check them out – we’ll add to this as more arrive 🙂
Be sure to submit your design in before the 31st May deadline, from there the finalists (six spots available total) will be chosen by Nvidia and Cooler Master and then it goes onto public voting around the 9th of June with the winners are set to be announced for this one around June 26th, 2017.
These are some pretty amazing prizes they’ve put up for grabs so get designing!
We’ve done a very quick design to get a feel for the template – this is going to be addictive… we can enter more than once – right 😛 This kind of easy to use template would be a great option for our own Custom Gaming PC design tool, we’ll get working on adding something like this in soon 🙂
For us here at GGPC the exciting world of PC Gaming splits into two separate parts, the first being all the wonderful components we get to test out when reviewing new tech and the second being actually playing games on the completed systems for fun, our YouTube channel and now eSports thanks to competitive gaming events \o/
For system designers and builders there are literally thousands of component options to choose from, and within each component type there are masses of variants available for each with slightly tweaked voltage configurations, ascetic options and more. Luckily for everyone involved in this process the biggest players at the heart of the manufacturing side like Asus, ASrock and Gigabyte have excellent technicians that make lists available showing which parts they’ve certified for themselves. This certification sometimes carries on to the extreme level, when it does the item actually gets a special badge added to the specific hardware involved – items like these killer Asus Republic of Gamers RAM kits 🙂 These are certified versions of Team Group T-FORCE Dark memory with the classic Mayan style heatsink and have passed ROG stress tests thus becoming T-FORCE Dark ROG overclocking modules. Having these along with a ROG motherboard’s optimizing Ai overclock function (update that bios!) will enable you to automatically tune these kits to ROG limits.
Further down the line there is yet another form of certification, this time as much from the players as it is the makers – like IEM (Intel Extreme Masters) which requires a system to meet certain specs in order to get the special badge. These usually have a set of guidelines that must be followed in order to be considered for certification, as you’d expect with the IEM ones these use specific gaming savvy intel CPU and Kingston RAM. Intel Extreme Masters is the longest running global pro gaming tour in the world. Started in 2006 by ESL, the competition features Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, StarCraft II and League of Legends tournaments across multiple continents with the next big CS:GO event scheduled for May 6th – 7th in Sydney, Australia.
Just announced! If you’re gearing up with a beastly new RX 480 (ohhh that second one for crossfire:) or grabbing a Gaming PC featuring this graphics card you are in for a treat!
For a limited time AMD NZ are bundling coupon gamecodes for DOOM with the RX 480, this bonus is valid on purchases between Feb 21st though to May 21st 2017 through selected retailers 🙂
Doom is a multi-award winning first-person shooter video game developed by id Software and published by Bethesda Softworks. Gameplay is extremely action packed with a large arsenal of iconic weapons (go chainsaw!) to collect which can be freely switched by players throughout the single player game, multiplayer sets itself apart with the ability to unlock and equip two favourites with more death dispensing options available as pickups throughout each round.
Getting your gamecode is easy! Once you’ve got your powerful new hardware simply visit the registration site depending on what flavour you’ve choosen, currently you can visit the Gigabyte Redemption Page or PB Tech has setup an AMD Rewards pagewith details to get your codes for Sapphire and Asus also 🙂 Once completed you’ll receive visit www.amdrewards.com to redeem your coupon code for DOOM! (Even if you’ve already signed up there is a moment to confirm you date of birth, this game is rated R16!)
Below is some spoiler free multiplayer gameplay with the RX480 in Doom on our own GGPC Ranger Gaming PC, we’ve turned the settings up past ultra with shadows set to nightmare and as you can see from the gameplay below – the AMD RX 480 handles this one with ease! Better still you can actually run the game with Vulkan and enjoy even greater performance!
UPDATE: G.Skill have released a software package for Trident Z RGB. The current beta software version supports Intel 200-series chipset motherboards. Intel 100-series chipset and even the new AMD 300-series chipset motherboards have partial support; some models have known issues that will be fixed in the future versions. This beta version does not have Intel X99 support yet.
UPDATE: ASUS Aura software with Trident Z RGB support is up on the ASUS website. The correct version is v1.04.29 or later, ASUS only lists their Z270 motherboards as compatible, but should also work with ASUS Z170 motherboards. There is currently no support for ASUS X99 motherboards.
OOhhhh we do love adding a little colour to our Gaming PC and with these latest DDR4 memory kits from G.Skill things are looking better than ever! A culmination of over 25 years of experience in DRAM manufacturing, G.SKILL has combined full-range RGB lighting with their Trident series DDR4 ram kits. Designed with a custom 10-layer PCB and hand-picked IC chips to enhance overclocking performance, the Trident Z RGB series is capable of reaching speeds of DDR4-4266MHz!
By default, the Trident Z RGB displays a rainbow of colours in a wave-style lighting effect, illuminating any system with a myriad of hues. Further lighting effects and colour customisations can be controlled and chosen through software, which is out now from Asus AURA!
Once you’ve got everything installed Aura will look like this, each ram stick has 5 customisable zones for you to tweak at your leisure 🙂 We’ve done a quick custom pc build that connects all lighting to Aura giving you full control from one access point, you can check it out on the GGPC PC Part Picker – For this one we added an additional CM MasterFan Pro RGB + Phanteks LED RGB Strip lighting along with the G.Skill Trident Z RGB, a STRIX GTX 1070 with RGB and STRIX Z270X RGB Motherboard to show just how far you can take things 🙂
The arrival of the new Kaby Lake CPU brought with it some new Z270 motherboards for some beautiful high end Gaming PC builds and although these latest generation motherboards only have a couple of new techy features depending on the model (good for supporting more high speed storage devices) they’ve all had a solid update to the lighting kits and some even have some pretty sweet liquid cooling loadouts ready to roll 🙂
Starting things off with a favourite from the bunch we take a closer look at the new lineup from Gigabyte, specifically the Aorus Z270X Gaming 5 \o/
With this new lineup Aorus motherboards we get a major cooling controller upgrade. The Aorus Gaming 5 (and all other Aorus mobo as well :P) includes what Gigabyte is calling “hybrid fan headers” which allow us to adjust the voltage to each connected device so we can tweak our builds cooling, pumps and most importantly – make things oh so quiet. It’s not just one or two of the headers that are special like this either, all (5) on our Gaming 5 mobo work in this way 🙂 The mobo also packs a bunch of thermal sensors so if you want your machine to rev up additional cooling automatically it’s ready to roll and to top things off if you’re wanting to add additional RGB lighting strips you’ll find a handy RGB 12v header just under the bottom PCIe slot and connecting to this will allow you to sync the lighting throughout the build via Fusion \o/
One of the main reasons we like the Aorus lineup so much is because of the pure black and white colour scheme Gigabyte have gone with, and this makes using the new multi-zone RGB LED lighting system that Aorus comes equipped with all the more awesome – you can light up around the ram slots, graphics card slots and there has also been a really cool update to the trace lighting path on the side of the motherboard thanks the addition of a patterned transparent plate that really captures the LED and the glow isincredible, these plates are easily interchangeable as well so messing around with patterns for custom builds is going to be blast! They’ve got some slick new software to make the most of this which also has the fancy name “RGB Fusion” and it will allow you to quickly customise the various zones to get the perfect look.
Combine all this with some really nice features like re-enforced PCIe slots, X-Fi audio (great if you want to hear those footsteps), gold plated connections and dual M.2 slots for some very rapid storage and you’ve got one killer motherboard that looks good and can hold together a top tier system – fun times ahead!
But that’s not all!
Asus have revealed their new lineup also and among these is what looks to be an updated version for the Z170-AR we use in our own Paladin GTX 1070 Gaming PC which Asus are calling the Z270-A Prime (looks like this one is the Z270-AR in NZ)
Much like the Gigabyte motherboard above this new version has had the previous blue accent removed and is now sports a clean black and white colour scheme we like. It sports those nifty fan headers as well and although it’s shy on the lighting zones (a small bit of RGB path lighting) Asus have continued to make the new lineup a little more mod friendly by offering a range of unique customisation options for those with access to a 3D Printer \o/ Dedicated mounting points on the motherboard make fitting 3D printed parts possible by using the same screws as M.2 drives (hard to find but four 2mm x 3mm screws included with the kingston ssd bracket if you get stuck) so we’ll be able fit nameplates, ninja cable covers and more as we experiment with things – With Asus backing 3D Printer modding in this way along with Cooler Master and ThermalTake we’re sure to see more and more cool models emerge for these and not just for those lucky few with a fancy new motherboard – 3D models for 120mm fan covers, 2-way SLi bridges and even cable combs!
With our most recent Dark Knight eSports edition we changed things up a lot upgrading toa very nice new chassis, an unlocked and water cooled intel i7-6700K + 500GB SSD and massive 4TB HDD for storage but the biggest change came from us fitting an EVGA Hybrid GTX 1070, which also has a very fancy all in one liquid cooler attached 🙂
And this is where things get fun 🙂 The GTX 1080 + i7-6700K is able to hit a whopping 19400 in the Final Fantasy Benchmark run which is pretty excellent, our tests with the GTX 1070 + i7-6700K in Paladin gave us an impressive result of 17800 which was actually a lot closer than we thought it would be… this might actually be possible with an OC. In game it was very difficult to tell the two graphics card apart performance wise (both run most on ultra settings pretty darn well) but the EVGA Hybrid 1070 under full load is much much quieter, something we specifically wanted for this build as it’ll be used for a lot of live game streaming.
We had such a good time testing things out in our GTX 950 Hero Overclocking Blog so we thought we’d do it again and see if we how close we could get to the 19400 score with our Dark Knight 1070 by making full use of that sweet cooling 🙂
The rules are simple, overclocking of the graphics card is savvy but we’re not going to touch the CPU or RAM at all 😛
We’ll be using our favourite FREE benchmark for this one set to maximum detail at 1920×1080, you can download the Final Fantasy Benchmark software via this blog from Nvidia Benchmarks, it’s free so you can install and test your own systems at home and compare with various configurations we have in our Gaming PC Benchmark Playlist.
For overclocking we’ll be using the Asus GPU tweak II software (also FREE!) as we love how easy it is to use, feel free to use any software you want for this though as it all does pretty much the same thing. It doesn’t matter which flavour of graphics card you are using either – other software choices like Afterburner or Precision will still work just fine 🙂
Starting with a base test at stock settings we exceed our previous base test and score 18000, this is going to be easier than first thought but we’ll still be needing around 9% performance gains to get reach to our dream target of 19400 \o/
We then started tweaking a little, first cranking power limit to max for a run before we tinker with the all important Core Clock and Memory Clock. We then tweaked these up with basic +100 to each, with GPU tweak II you can click and type in target clock speed rather than using the sliders, also don’t forget to click the tick to apply the settings. This gave us slightly better results with a score coming in a 18400, now to close the gap!
With a little tweaking and a few long tests to be sure it’s stable we managed an impressive 19228 with the 1070! (less than 1% off our GTX 1080 score!) You can check out the final scene in our benchmark run video below, with a quick snapshot of our settings shown at the very end to make things easy if you’re wanting to tinker for yourself at home – maybe even push things up a little higher!
If you’re overclocking to see just how far you can get remember that not all graphics cards limits are identical and overclocking results can vary a bit from card to card but that makes it all the more fun when you get a really good one! Go slowly as you increase the clock speeds look out for graphical glitches so you know when the limits of your card are getting close. The first one to keep an eye out for is pop in (or missing) textures, if you see odd colour dimming or pink and green flashes your OC is likely a little too high 😛 If you go wayyy to far you’ll crash either the benchmark software, nvidia display driver or force reboot your PC so play it safe and go slow so you avoid having to reboot.
Lot’s of fun to be had with this kind of thing in any case, keep your eyes on GGPC Computers Blog for the latest gameplay tests, custom builds and more!
The H110M-A-M/2 from those fine folks at Asus is a motherboard quite unlike any other we’ve seen, small enough to fit in those little mATX chassis and packing an M.2 slot for adding some ultra fast NVMe storage into the mix!
As motherboards go this one is rather nice looking, especially for the price 😛 Everything is built onto a black PCB that’s got a pretty wild design drawn in white going on around the CPU (the socket can even fit a mighty i7-6700 processor), beneath this is the additional M.2 slot that makes this motherboard pretty special 🙂 Usually features like M.2 are reserved for more expensive motherboards but Asus have continued H110M series tradition and given us slots for the things we need and that’s awesome!
Graphics wise you’ve got enough space to fit a massive dual slot card which still leaves enough space below to add something like an AC wireless and bluetooth card for added convenience, even though this H110 has only 2x DDR4 ram slot you can actually fit up to 32GB of 2133MHz memory in it, you could even use 2400MHz or above as the mobo will automatically adjust the clock speed to suit.
Overall this is an excellent value motherboard and with that M.2 slot it sets itself apart from the pack, we’re playing with some really small high performance gaming PC with this lil mobo currently and our experiences so far have been excellent, certainly worthy of the GGPC Recommends Award and on that note – the Asus H110M-A/M.2 motherboard is GOOD!