Star Citizen

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!

Good Gaming Controller – Logitech G Pro X56 RHINO H.O.T.A.S Joystick and Dual Throttle

Perfect for both space games like Star Citizen and gigantic robot sims like Mechwarrior Online the new RHINO X56 flight controller from Logitech G provides budding pilots and space-aces with the many inputs required to achieve true control of our flying vehicles or mechs. Going wayyy beyond the usual pitch, roll, yaw, backwards, forwards, up, down, left and right this X56 Pro Flight System allow you to control things like gimballed weapons and omni directional thrusters so you can nimbly jet yourself into the perfect position in heat of battle!

Using a twin-engine throttle controller is the only suitable method for manipulating a virtual twin-engine aircraft. The X-56 Rhino boasts twin throttles – allowing for some pretty crazy maneuvers – and also provides the option to adjust the friction required to move them. If your aircraft of choice is single-engine, a handy throttle lock effectively converts the twin throttles into a single unit.

Through the included software package you’ve got the ability to completely customise all of the X-56 Rhino’s axes and buttons. On the axis side, you can adjust deadbands and response curves to fine-tune axes to respond just like an aircraft’s real-life counterparts. On the buttons and toggle side, you can assign any number of in-sim commands, such as afterburner, Frame Shift Drive, target lock and weapon group firing. The software also allows programmability for an array of mouse and keyboard commands – from basic single-key inputs to very advanced, timed, and macro commands.

Piloting while using VR is a great experience but can prove difficult because you can’t see your own hands, which can make finding the controls you need problematic. The X-56 places controls perfectly under your fingers where subtle distinctions in button feel and shape help you navigate the control set with ease. Even the switches on the base of the throttle are staggered or separated so telling them apart from feel alone is possible, leaving you free to concentrate on the immersive VR experience 🙂

During virtual flight – just like true flight – the accuracy of an aircraft’s control surfaces is of paramount importance. The X-56 Rhino’s control surfaces are incredibly accurate, courtesy of a 16-bit aileron and elevator axis, developed from the ground up, this 16-bit axis solution enables extremely precise movement!

This new X56 Controller is just a slice from a range of new gear that’s just landed in New Zealand, check out the latest in the Logitech Game Controller Store today!

Good Gaming – Try Star Citizen FREE this week!

GGPCStarCitizen

From time to time those fine folks at Roberts Space Industries like to open Star Citizen up to for everyone to try out, and provide access to ships current players might not otherwise own.

It’s a great way to introduce new players to the growing universe of Star Citizen as well. For the next week until April 25th, Free Fly access is enabled!

Anyone with a Star Citizen account will have access to the Aurora LN, the F7C Hornet, and the Mustang Delta. This Free Fly event gives new players access to a few unique parts of the Star Citizen experience, the best two are below 🙂

Star Citizen Alpha – Also known as Crusader, this is the nucleus of the world they are creating.  Experience the Star Citizen universe with multiple space stations and environments, scripted missions, places to explore and more, Alpha 2.3.1 is your first look at a much larger game!

Arena Commander – Arena Commander allows instant access to group space battles (as shown in the GTX 950 GGPC Hero Gaming PC FPS test below), cloud city high speed races and even has an AI swarm survival event for you to enjoy.

Let’s take a closer look at those ships!

Aurora-LX_OrthoThe Aurora LN or “Legionnaire” is the strongest of the Aurora ship class, featuring both gimbal and forward mounted blasters as well as a rocket pod.

This sturdy spacecraft is a dedicated combat fighter valued at $35 USD usually and with it’s tight form factor it can be a pretty tough ship to target in straight up pursuit but be sure to turn quickly as it’s full length can make for a deadly strafe run.

Delta-FrontThe Mustang Delta is nimble single seater with little more than thrusters and blasters on it.  The cramped cockpit offers an excellent view for dogfighting and there are few ships that can maneuver through asteroid fields as effectively in combat.  Extremely soft but equally hard to hit this is the go to starfighter if you’re wanting to slowly destroy larger, more expensive ships while weaving through the structure of a space station. I’m not sure if you can buy this variant currently but the basic Mustang Alpha package is available for $45 USD.

F7c_hornet_storefront_visual (1)The F7C Hornet is a based on the military variant and can be equally deadly in the right hands, compared to the Mustang above it’s like flying a brick but with additional armour and forward facing firepower this fearsome fighter can shred hapless targets in seconds.  It also has some pretty good spin so be very careful if you’re chasing one of these down as you might just find it has spun around and is now flying backwards with you directly in its sights…  deadly.   Valued at $125 US Dollars this one is the crown jewel of the FLY FREE offering.

You can register for an account here to get started, if you have a friend already playing you can grab a ‘referral code’ from them to get an additional 5000 credits should you decide to join the universe full time, if you don’t know anyone playing here is a code from us “STAR-KW6J-PZ95″

See you in space!