CSGO

Good Gaming Laptop – Aero 15 GTX 1060!

Update: Aero 15 Laptops are available for order in NZ now!

These new ones have a slightly bigger screen size, but by opting for a class-leading 15” 5mm bezel display the new Aero 15 offers you greater display real estate without increasing chassis size allowing them to keep their signature, super slimness 🙂

Little tweaks to the design, like placement on the webcam and mics within the hinge keep things very slim indeed, and nice touches like the carbon fiber detailing on the back along with the way the RGB led shines through the dual cooling fans is just beautiful 🙂 When comparing with the previous Aero 14 the rear cooling vents on the Aero 15 have been extended and air blown out from two positions on the back of the laptop while gaming, and to go even further, a Thunderbolt 3 port has been added for a premium ultra-fast transfer speed at 40Gbps and the ability to connect external graphics enclosures (we tested this by adding a GTX 1080Ti), or run with twin 5K external displays… truly a mobile powerhouse without limits!

Specifications wise it’s packing the latest 7th gen Intel Core i7-7700HQ, a 6GB GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card along with 16GB of DDR4 ram and a super quick PCIe M.2 for storage. They’ve also done wonderful things to the keys on these new version and the new Aero 15 now sports a RGB Fusion chicklet keyboard with the best keys we’ve even seen – vibrant but with little light leakage!

In-game the Aero15 is excellent, far above expectations. The GTX 1060 inside was able to keep our framerates high in a range of games and when we tested the i7-7700HQ with a little CS:GO we were pleasantly surprised to see the CPU usage keeping around 50% even while using the built in Nvidia Shadowplay Game Capture tools. You can manually set fans speeds via the control center but leaving them set to auto is just fine, the laptop will pulse up the speed as needed when you’re gaming – we did a quick test to see at what point the CPU begins to throttle itself and the mark is 89 degrees, at this point the fans kick in and the CPU changes from its 3.8GHz boost to 3.2GHz (base is 2.8GHz) to keep things cooler, during these moments we noticed no bumps or jumps in game 🙂

We’ve continued adding to our GTX 1060 Laptop Test YouTube Playlist and as you can see in the latest Witcher 3 Novigrad gameplay test below – things are looking very good indeed!

Now that we’ve had a really good play with the new GTX 1060 Aero we happily give this super slim and powerful little laptop our GGPC Recommends Award – the Aero 15 is GOOD!

We’ve got more new laptops incoming, keep your eyes on the GGPC Computers Blog for the latest!

Good eSports – Intel Extreme Masters Gaming

Sydney just hosted a massive gaming event, an Intel Extreme Masters CSGO tournament and it was GOOD!

This tournament goes hand in hand with another cool promotion on now in NZ, IEM Certified Gaming PC \o/ Grabbing a system that’s certified in this way gets you a really sweet golden sticker for your new PC, that holographic certificate guarantees quality that meets only the highest standards from Intel and it also signals a FREE GAMES BONUS!

Looking specifically at the current games in the IEM Certified Gaming PC bundle there are a few “Free to Play” ones, the bonus with these comes in the form of in-game currency that you can use to add a little customisation to your tank, battleship or hero. If you’re wanting to check these out for yourself right away you can find the download links in our GGPC Free to Play PC Games Sticky Blog 🙂

You’ll also get Just Cause 3, Warhammer Vermintide (This one is multi-player Left for Dead style gaming gold) and the space battleship brawler Dreadnought  \o/ which we’ve been happily playing since early BETA testing:)

Topping the bonus games list right now is the recently released Halo Wars 2! Real-time strategy Halo style with Spartans, Warthogs and other classic Halo fighting forces. You’ll get the full game with the IEM bundle but there is also a Window 10 Store Halo Wars 2 demo available now you can check out now 🙂

The setup for the event was absolutely first class, from the moment you walked through the doors intel had a range of latest gaming laptops and IEM custom desktops ready to go with games to play and you could even join in on mini competitions in everything from a quick round of 3v3 CSGO to VR Racing time attacks.

The quality of the interactive experiences on offer were what made this opening experience so enjoyable though, it wasn’t just a nice seat for the racing games, intel had flown over VESARO force feedback equipment to give players genuine motion, these racing kits actually move with you and give you a real feeling of acceleration as you push yourself to take poll position and take away some of the prizes which flowed throughout the event.

Once we had made our way through the first gaming zone (pretty tough to do as they had an early access VR spellcasting fighting game right before the stairs to the arena) we got to check out the main event stage which lived up to the hype \o/ Some pretty epic lighting and smoke machines ensured the announcements for each match were exciting and the triple massive screens above would make following the gameplay easy. Behind this main stage a backstage team monitored everything, and further behind this there was another studio setup reminiscent of the Full Circle studio here in NZ – it would be from here that the casters did there sportscenter like commentary of each match.

Although early we could see from behind the stage that the arena was already starting to full up 🙂

The commentators were brilliant and whoever was responsible for switching the player camera to show the best moments of each round was amazing, they deserve a medal and speaking of! Between the two teams 5v5 gaming setups was a MASSIVE round medal, the trophy for the competition.

With the stage set we attempted to find our seats, which although reserved, had been claimed by some very excited chaps, they were kiwis as well who had flown over especially for the Intel Extreme Masters, we all enjoyed the matches together and had a great time debating (was more of a yelling match) who was going to to take the win for each round 🙂

The arena filled up fast and the weekends gaming begun with a roar! Massive applause welcomed each team as they approached the main stage, fun times ahead!

We estimate around 7000 people spectating in the arena and the competition was both fierce and extremely close, with the finals proving themselves to be the best! The rounds swung back and forth with bomb disarms coming down to microseconds and jumping knives being thwarted by deagles 😛

You can check out all the matches for yourself with the IEM Sydney game replays available via this link, because the games were so close it take a while to watch it all but it’s worth it 🙂

The local area in which the event was held was originally built to host the Olympics and handled the crowd with ease, special mention here to just how nice everyone was, both staff and attendees 🙂 two instances, in particular, stood out though, the first was meeting a chap that had lost his phone so we let him use ours to call it and a someone nice had handed it to the staff already. The second was the aftermath of the event, or lack of, we hung around for a bit after the finals chatting to some of the intel team and when we eventually left the outside wasn’t trashed, a little rubbish here are there but honestly pretty good with that amount of people!

We had a blast and can’t wait for the next big event, full credit to the teams from ESL and Intel for putting this one together so flawlessly – hope to see you at the next one!

GG

Good Gaming CPU – Intel Kaby Lake Game Tested!

GGPC Intel Kaby Lake Gameplay FPS Tests

GGPC has been busy capturing gameplay with the new Kaby Lake CPU range from intel \o/ We started things off with the new i3 (we even managed to get the new “unlocked” i3-7350K!) and we’ve gone all the way into the powerful i7 🙂 As usual we’ll be testing in-game but this time with no additional graphics cards fitted in our systems…

Gaming with no dedicated graphics card might sound a little crazy, and in most cases it really is but with the right game you can still enjoy some pretty high settings and go for that 60FPS @ 1080p sweet spot 🙂

Of course when you throw a much heavier game at the CPU with no Graphics Card supporting things it gets a lot tougher! Below is a quick test playing Overwatch with just the i5-6400 CPU and while it’s still very playable we’ve had to turn down all of the beautiful graphics settings and we still couldn’t quite get to our 60FPS 1080P target – got pretty close though!

Swinging back around to a game that’s a lot lighter but still pretty popular we jumped into a CSGO match to see just what the CPU alone could do, while we maintained pretty close to 60FPS things were definitely still pretty tight! Much like Overwatch above adding a little GPU like the RX 460 goes a long way performance wise 🙂

When we hit League of Legends with the Skylake i5-6400 things really started looking good, we were pretty amazed to see LOL running so beautifully and we managed to get into a nice brawl in the bottom lane for the capture, settings wise we’ll show them at the end of every video – this is Character Detail: Very High, Environment Quality: Very High, Effects Quality: High and Shadows: Medium and in the clip you’ll see the FPS dip slightly below 60FPS – this provides us with a nice comparison point as we move into the tests with the new Kaby Lakes!

For our Kaby Lake system we’ve built using the very affordable ASRock Z270 motherboard, Avexir 2400MHz DDR4 and a 250GB SSD loaded with Windows 10 Home 64Bit. Originally we set things up with the B250 chipset but quickly realised we’d need to move onto a Z series for testing the “K” series unlocked CPU 🙂

All of the Kaby Lake CPU we’ll be testing for this blog are packing integrated graphics known as Intel HD Graphics 630 series so we don’t expect too much swing between the quad core i5 and the i7, what’s going to be really interesting is see how things go with the new dual core unlocked i3-7350K so let’s get started there!

Firstly, seeing as this is an unlocked processor we jumped into the bios (by pressing DEL as the computer was turned on) and edited the CPU Ratio + Fixed Voltage values shown here for a quick & easy 5GHz overclock. Once in game a little tweaking was still needed for the settings bringing down shadows and effect quality a little to ensure FPS stayed very close to 60 during some pretty colourful team fights 🙂

Jumping into a few quick matches with the new Kaby Lake i5 saw solid boost in FPS and even allowed us to push up the effects details again which was really nice, the peak framerate difference between the i5 and previous i3 (even with our 5GHz OC) was instantly noticeable and while both performed well above expectations, if you’re about to build a new system the i5-7500 certainly hits a pretty sweet spot \o/

Rounding up the tests we move our way through the new i7 range, as expected performance in game was very similar to the i5 above although again the peak FPS did reach just that little bit higher, it would be very hard to spot this in game though as once the action starts up both do really well. We played a few extra matches with these ones just to double check the shadows quality settings couldn’t be pushed to max and in most cases it can, however in the bigger team fights (especially around bases or big rift beasts) fps can dip very slightly under 60 with the shadows higher than in the gameplay FPS test below and as we like to turn V-Sync on usually keeping everything above 60 is the goal!

So what’s the verdict with Kaby Lake? It’s GOOD!

The i3-7100 at 3.9GHz performance was right up there with the unlocked i3-7350K in game, if you’re wanting to have a play around with overclocking though that “K” i3 sure is a great way to get into things (just make sure you grab a Z series mobo!) – we didn’t expect to hit 5GHz stable so easily and if it was ours (this one was a loan from intel) we would have kept going for sure 🙂

Once you hit those sweet Kaby Lake i5 things get really good, the quad cores pushed out some fantastic performance right through from the i5-7400 all the way up to the i5-7600K – These are pretty great really and going forward GGPC will be using them for most of our Gaming PC designs.

If you’re going with the i7 series you’ll still notice a difference in game, but it’s harder to spot vs the difference between the i3 & i5. As with our eSports Skylake builds we’ll likely be using these ones in special gaming PC designed to stream gameplay via Twitch, XSplit and YouTube 🙂 Even these super powerful CPU have a little trouble when it comes to shadows, but hey – graphics cards gotta have something to do right!

We’ll continue to update this blog as we learn new things and get our hands on our own i3-7350K for potentially destructive max OC check 😛 Lots of fun times ahead so be sure to keep your eyes on the GGPC Computers Blog for the latest!

CS:GO 1 million @ Major Championships

UPDATE: GGPC CSGO YouTube Playlist

CSGOSince the first CS:GO Major Championship in 2013, the Majors have become rallying points for the community, tent-pole events that drew in new crowds.

The professional CS:GO community has been growing at an incredible rate. CS:GO tournaments are now among the largest esports events in the world, drawing global audiences of viewers, filling venues, and garnering higher prize pools.  Professional CS:GO has grown, and the CS:GO Major Championships are about to grow with it.

CS:GO have just announce that beginning with MLG Columbus 2016, each CS:GO Major Championship prize pool will be $1,000,000.

We look forward to another great year of CS:GO competition.

GAME ON!