CSGO

Good Gaming – Free to Play PC Games

We’ve been playing a fair few games lately (as always :P) and recently we’ve been diving into as many free to play PC games as we can, this blog will be a sticky one that we constantly update with new games as we play them but for now we’ll start things off with a few unique and rather good games for your PC that will cost you nothing but the data to download them 🙂 (the titles for each are download links, videos are short gameplay tests captured by GGPC NZ)

Apex Legends – A recently released 3 player team shooter set in the Titanfall universe. Apex Legends features top-notch graphics and an excellent communication system that allows players to clearly call objectives, item locations and enemy movements without voice chat. Players can choose from a lineup of outlaws, soldiers, misfits, and misanthropes, each with their own set of skills ranging from tanky shield bubbles to evasive grappling hooks. The Apex Games welcome all comers – survive long enough, and they call you a Legend.

Dauntless – Dauntless is a free to play co-op action RPG, it’s so polished and so much fun to play with friends that it will certainly make a fine addition to your gaming library too 🙂 Filled with airships and giant beasts this one is very similar to Monster Hunter although the art style is completely different. Players team up to take down a range of Behemoths, bashing and slicing bits off to collect the parts needed craft and upgrade weapons and equipment with which we then proceed to hunt down larger Behemoths and smash them. Combos are a big part of the game, learning patterns of the monsters another – it all comes together perfectly in what feels like an almost finished, excellent game.

War Thunder –  This one gives us action-packed battles on the ground and in the skies, and now also at sea, it’s crazy how good this game is with beautiful graphics and a massive line-up of tanks, planes and boats for us to use in the PVP battles + recently the game’s creators added a new PVE game mode named Assault which is a blast to play. A perfect game to enjoy with friends this one has options from Simulation to Arcade, it’s similar in many ways to World of Tanks and World of Warships but ultimately War Thunder wins the day with a seamless combination of modes and unmatched intensity of aerial dogfights. A truly great game that deserves a download 🙂

Path of Exile – Created by NZ game studio Grinding Gear Games, Path of Exile is an isometric online action RPG is set in the dark fantasy world of Wraeclast. It’s very similar to Diablo, and offers excellent co-op gaming with extremely deep character customisation, the best skill tree we’ve seen in a long long time and even a hardcore mode in which staying alive actually matters 😛 The game is completely free and not at all “pay to win”, the community is excellent and graphics are top notch. All in all, this is our most recommended game right now, crazy good times to be had playing on your own, but in a group with some friends, the game really shines. You are an Exile, struggling to survive as you fight to earn power that will allow you to exact your revenge against those who wronged you!

Mechwarrior Online – A slower paced, tactical online shooter set in the BattleTech Universe. Victory requires a mastery of tactical positioning, teamwork, and firing discipline to prevent overheating and the dreaded shutdown (overload only works so much!). Each battle will reward you with credits depending on performance and these can be spent on new weapons, equipment and mech chassis to full your hangers. For new players, there is a rotation of free to play pre-configured mechs to take into battle and these will give you a good taste of how each weight class performs so you can spend your credits wisely. Once you’ve brought a BattleMech of your very own there is a faction warfare system and if you spend a little time in each jumping from faction to faction you can quickly amass a bunch of personal hangers to store more and more of your own mechs in, this becomes more important with multiple variants of the same frame offering different hardpoints to mount weaponry on and new skills to unlock as you progress. It’s not an easy fight and do not expect to just run in and win, this is a thinking persons shooter for sure.

Warframe – A team based hack’n’slash shooter with some pretty action-packed moments, heaps of gear and hours of fun 🙂 With a massive range of characters, powers, customisation and mission types to get stuck there’s a lot to do, and as you progress through each planet you’ll unlock even more missions and events to team up with other players in. The player base is very large, so auto-matching a group is hassle-free. The ongoing (and massive) updates introduced new open worlds which are beautiful, the developers are very active too, steaming all kinds of behind the scenes goodness and sometimes even jumping into the game and hunting groups of players by taking control of what is usually, an evil NPC named Stalker. One of the best bits about Warframe is you start out extremely powerful, able to flip and slow-motion dive while shooting enemies to pieces. You play as a Tenno, an agile weapon master who wields the mighty Warframe and commands some awesome powers – Overpowered but unprepared and often forced out of your comfort zone, you must find it in yourself to improvise, not just to save yourself but the fate of all Tenno.

Battlerite –  If you enjoyed League of Legends but just want the team fights, you should check out this one for sure. A PvP arena brawler and the spiritual successor to the critically acclaimed Bloodline Champions. The unique combination of a top-down shooter meeting a fast-paced fighting game and take part in highly competitive, adrenaline-fueled 2v2 and 3v3 battles. Engage in quick and intense action as you take control over one of many Champions, each with unique abilities to master. Welcome to a world where Champions dedicate their lives to the Arena.

EVE Online – The new free to play mode in EVE will allow you gain a lot of skills with no money down 🙂 Leveling up an EVE Online character has always been a little different from most MMORPG, every player in the game controls a clone which they train in new skills over time (even when you’re not logged in) as opposed to the far more common “kill this and fetch that for XP”. As your clone learns more and more you will be able to fly more ships and kit these out with new modules and equipment. When you die you respawn into another clone but depending on when you last did a clone imprint that new clone may or may not have the skills you previously acquired and it’s this investment in time that makes up one of many factors that gives each life in EVE a real feeling of value – there are of course the in-game monetary losses involved with death in EVE, losing your favourite ship certainly hurts! The new alpha clone state will allow you to get some pretty potent ships like the Caracal below, armed with many heavy missile launchers you’ll be a fine addition to fleets around the universe 🙂

Cloud Pirates – Arcade airship based combat awaits you in this science-fiction fantasy battleground game 🙂 Remarkably tactical but also good fun early on for a casual run-and-gun playstyle, as you progress through you’ll gain access a bunch of unique upgrades for your airships, captain and crew which leads to much more challenging matches and modes as you progress.  There are numerous visual customization options to tinker which as you go and plenty of airships to choose from each with their own unique handling and firing arcs – snipers, tanks, dps, tackle – there really is a lot!

ARGO – A hardcore tactical first-person shooter, jump straight into combat in this official standalone FREE total conversion of Arma 3. This one has us fighting for supremacy in a familiar but new setting – the Mediterranean island of Malden, complete with dense urban areas and wide open plains ideal for snipers you’ll find each location has been built to provide an optimal experience for each game mode 😛 What really makes this one stand out for us here at GGPC so far is the new Combat Patrol CO-OP mode in which you can team up with some friends and fight against AI opponents with both randomized objectives and procedural generation of enemy forces making each session of Combat Patrol unique. Combine this with three competitive game modes and a pretty good looking Scenario Editor with which you can create your own missions with and you’ve got ARGO, it’s a pretty darn impressive free to play wargaming experience 🙂

Dreadnought – This is a medium paced arcade action game which puts you in command of a massive sci-fi battleship, similar in many ways to Fractured Space and Cloud Pirates below but with some really beautiful landscapes to wage war on this is one can be a stunner with settings cranked to high. Customisation for your starship is first class from guns and turrets to coatings and decals and there is a range of configs for each ship class so you’re sure to find one that fits your playstyle perfectly. Massively enjoyable in a group or alone, we’ve been playing this one since early BETA days and it’s still a lot of fun 🙂

Atlus Reactor – A rather refreshing and unique take on turn-based tactical combat. Engage in 4v4 team battles with a short moment between each round to lock in your players’ actions after which all eight players will execute their command lists. Each character has a range of moves available to them that will initiate at different times in the action que depending on the type of move selected, this makes playing Altus Reactor a game of predicting what your opponents might do which just keeps getting better the more familiar you become with the growing roster of freelancers available (numbering 25 as I write this). Once you reach level 10 there is also a “Seasons” XP event in which players can complete challenges and receive some extra bonus loot to customise their characters.

Blade and Soul – A rather fun MMO set in a world of martial arts masters and mythology 🙂 A tale of revenge at its core that will have you exploring a beautiful, cinematic world inspired by the distinct visual style of acclaimed artist Hyung Tae Kim. This one has got detailed character customization tools, offers some brilliant PVP matches and has an excellent action-based combat system. The storyline is very enjoyable, especially the introduction to the game world.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive – You’ve undoubtedly already heard of this one, a team based first person shooter with a range of real-world weapons options, maps, and a passionate community of players. The base game puts terrorists against a counter-terrorist force, with the bad guys trying to plant a bomb and the good guys trying to stop them, and this leads to some amazing engagements, team tactics and replays. There are missions to save hostages too, with the counter-terrorists having to successfully escort them back to the starting point of the map, making things quite intense in the final dash. With CSGO joining the free to play ranks, you can now you can enjoy the FPS shooter without paying a cent. The original Counter-Strike took the gaming industry by surprise when the unlikely MOD became the most played online PC action game in the world almost immediately after its release in August 1999, and since then, it has continued to be one of the most-played games in the world. It’s very popular in eSports circles, and you can run it well without the need for the latest hardware.

Planetside 2 – It’s a very different experience from most first-person shooters because instead of the usual 24v24 firefights – battles in Planetside 2 can typically involve a few hundred players. This war takes place over several continents each of which has a defined landscape, there are 3 factions to choose from each with there own infantry weapons, ground vehicles and aircraft. The scale of the game can be quite daunting at first but for new players if you go Engineer class and get a Sunderer vehicle you’ll rapidly begin leveling up while being a great addition to the war effort, doing this will allow you to quickly amass enough experience points to buy new weapons, vehicle mods or abilities. The game world is large, but getting around is easy thanks to an instant action button on the map screen that will take you into hot spots, you can also hover over locations to see just how many players from each faction are fighting in that specific sector which is excellent. Community wise (NZ players) we highly recommend jumping into this one on a Sunday afternoon, it’s pretty crazy!

DOTA 2  Originating as a fan-made Warcraft 3 modification, Dota was an instant underground hit. After coming to Valve, the original community developers have bridged the gap to a more inclusive audience, so that the rest of the world can experience the same core gameplay, but with a level of polish and depth that’s unmatched. Much like League of Legends, Dota is a competitive game of action and strategy. Players can choose from a roster of over a hundred unique heroes, forming two teams of five players. Radiant heroes then battle their Dire counterparts to control on a beautiful fantasy landscape, battling one another with cunning, stealth, and outright warfare.

League of Legends – A popular take on the multiplayer online battle arena game type that first came about as a mod for Warcraft 3 named DOTA back in 2003… or was it 2002, anyways it was a while ago 🙂 League of Legends released to the public in 2009 and it has since become one of the most played games in the world today with some very cool new heroes to play as and more joining the ranks constantly. It’s quite a wonderful game to play if you’re a gamer that’s short on time with matches lasting from twenty minutes to one hour depending on how well each team performs. The game is both newbie friendly and deep enough to keep a long term player interested, the roster of heroes to play as changes often and there is even a rune loadout enabling you to tweak you heroes slightly using various power-ups you can purchase using currency accrued as you play matches.

Killer Instinct – This one has been made available via the Windows Store so you’ll need a Windows 10 Gaming PC to try it out. It’s the same Killer Instinct we remember playing in movie theatres wayyy back in the 90’s but with some wonderful new graphics to enjoy 🙂 The free version of this one gives players a single character with which you can access all game modes, including online multiplayer!

Fortnite – More than just you vs 99 battle royale with even changing modes available (50v50 is great!) what really sets this one apart from other 3rd person shooters games is the building system, with almost all the objects in the map being able to be smashed apart into useful wood, stone, and metal. These can then be used to build ramps, walls, floors etc to create a defensible building, protect your team, or access a hard to reach the area and flank your opponents. It all takes place in one large map, with a zeppelin battle bus full of opponents (and some friends) all scrambling to grab a whole lot of guns. Construct and destroy environments while engaged in intense PvP combat, explore, or just riding around in golf carts if that’s what you do – with so many players no matter what you’re up to it’s likely you’ll stumble into some crazy fun times along the way!

 

Paladins – A team-based shooter set in a vibrant fantasy world and features a diverse cast of Champions ranging from sharpshooting humans to mech-riding goblins, mystical elves, jetpack-clad dragons, and bomb golems. Each Champion brings a unique set of abilities to the battlefield and new Champions are regularly added to Paladins, keeping the game exciting.  With strategy elements and character customisation through a unique collectable card system, players can amplify and augment a character’s core set of abilities to play exactly how they want to play.

We’ll continue adding to this list as we test more and more Gaming PC, if you know a great new free game you think we should test out please drop a comment in via our GGPC YouTube channel – we are on the hunt now for a nice driving game!

GAME ON!

Good Gaming – IEM 2018 Certified Gaming PC

This promotion has now ended, see the latest Intel Master Key promotions here!

We’ve teamed up with Intel and designed a whole new range of IEM Certified Gaming PC which not only provide excellent performance for PC Gamers, but also qualifies you for a special INTEL MASTER KEY which can be used to unlock a range of BONUS GAMES!

Purchase any GGPC IEM Gaming PC from PB Tech and then use the contact form to register your build and the team will send you a special Intel Master Key.

Once you’ve got your Intel Master Key simple visit the Intel Redemption Site and enter your key, from here you’ll be able to access codes for the games included in this promotion!

Looking specifically at the current games which the Intel Master Key with IEM Certified Gaming PC unlocks there are three “Free to Play” ones in the mix, the bonus with these comes in the form of in-game currency that you can use to add a little customisation to your Starship or Hero. If you’re wanting to check these out for yourself right away you can find the download links for Dreadnought, Warframe and Fractured Space in our GGPC Free to Play PC Games Sticky Blog 🙂 You’ll also get Warhammer Vermintide 2 which just released with rave reviews (This one is multi-player Left for Dead style gaming gold) and XMorph Defence plus the acclaimed This War of Mine. (the banners below all link to YouTube videos)

A new addition to the IEM GGPC games lineup, Counter Strike Global Offensive is a well-known team vs team shooter that plays a big part in the Intel Extreme Masters competitions. The game series is currently celebrating its 19th birthday and there’s even a new UI in beta testing to check out. Take the roll of either a terrorist or counter-terrorist and compete to secure hostages, arm/disarm explosives, or just kill each other. With a thriving community of players, this one is sure to be a fine addition to your games library.

Jump in and experience Warframe, the latest updates were massive and introduced wide open landscapes, all new gameplay and even more multiplayer mutant massacres. You play as a Tenno, a mighty warrior with both blade and gun: master of the Warframe armour. Those that survived the old war were left drifting among the ruins. Now they are needed once more. The Grineer, with their vast armies, are spreading throughout the solar system. A call echoes across the stars summoning the Tenno to an ancient place.

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 is the sequel to the critically acclaimed Vermintide. Team up for the fiercest first-person co-op slaughter featuring visceral and ground-breaking melee action. Set in the apocalyptic End Times of the war-ravaged Warhammer world, you will be challenged like never before as you and your team of heroes face untold enemy hordes in a desperate struggle to save the Empire from devastation. Choose a career for your Hero, customise the talent tree, choose and craft a vast range of unique weapons and gear then hack you way through the ranks of monstrous invaders!

Dreadnought puts you in command of massive capital ships for tactical, team-based warfare in space and across the skies of different planets. As a mercenary captain, your motivations are simple: to reap the rewards of battle and build your reputation – and to be fearless doing it. Armed with earth-shaking weapons and the support of your teammates, you must claim victory by outmaneuvering, outshooting and outclassing the opposing team. Prepare yourself. It’s time to take the helm.

A unique fusion of a top-down shooter and tower defence strategy. You are the X-Morph – an alien species that invades Earth to harvest its resources and terraform the surface. Strategize in the build mode by carefully selecting various types of alien towers or throw yourself right into the heat of the battle. Build mazes for incoming enemies in an environment that provides exceptional planning freedom. Tear down buildings and collapse bridges to support your defence or to simply indulge in a spectacle of unprecedented destruction. Possess a range of unique alien weapons and use defence strategies like you’ve never seen before in this genre.

A favourite here at GGPC, Fractured Space in a MOBA style game with massive starships much like Dreadnought above, but with a very different play style and unique battle mechanics. Fractured Space is an award-winning free-to-play space combat game. Fight in co-op PvE or 5-v-5 PvP. Brought to life in the stunning Unreal Engine 4, giants of interstellar conflict fight in spectacular close quarter battles for dominance. Pick a manufacturer, choose a class and customize your weapons. Through experience, you gain the right to command more ships while earning credits to add them to your fleet. Tailor your craft to your combat preferences with crew and weapon loadout options then take on your specialized role when your interstellar juggernaut warps into battle.

In This War Of Mine you do not play as an elite soldier, rather a group of civilians trying to survive in a besieged city; struggling with lack of food, medicine and constant danger from snipers and hostile scavengers. The game provides an experience of war seen from an entirely new angle. The pace of This War of Mine is imposed by the day and night cycle. During the day snipers outside stop you from leaving your refuge, so you need to focus on maintaining your hideout: crafting, trading and taking care of your survivors. At night, take one of your civilians on a mission to scavenge through a set of unique locations for items that will help you stay alive. Make life-and-death decisions driven by your conscience. Try to protect everybody from your shelter or sacrifice some of them for longer-term survival. During a war, there are no good or bad decisions; there is only survival. The sooner you realize that, the better.

The ever-growing range of GGPC IEM Gaming PC are available now (look for IEM in the name and the signature gold badge), each providing remarkable game performance and those sweet bonus games, keep reading for more on the latest intel Extreme Masters event!

Now, more about the IEM Event!

We had a blast at last years IEM Syndey event, and having just returned from the 2018 IEM eSports Event we can happily report this one was even better than the first! This was because of the way in which Intel has refined everything, providing an interactive and stress-free introduction to competitive gaming in the area around the main event, it genuinely was a bit of eSports for everyone 🙂

Upon entering the event center you’re now greeted with a focused range of things to do, I counted 7 sets of gaming PC’s setup right in the foyer, with most following a 6v6 layout and several offering 4v4 VR experience, with an additional 2x setups for VR racing specifically and another two (or was it three) offering a room scale HTC Vive Pro experience to a check out – commentators off to the left were chanting HyperX – who seemed to be running a constant stream of giveaways and off to the right was a similar setup from Acer.

Cut right through the middle and you have the choice to head left, for a host of food and drink options or right for even more interactive gaming zones, having already enjoyed a big breakfast we headed right continuing along at short distance till the oval passage opened up into another large hall, this one populated by a full eSports event stage which at our time of arrival looked to be jamming some Starcraft 2, Vodafone was to the right and a massively impressive stage in the theme of CS:GO map dust was off to the left with additional Intel game stream stations along the way at which you could talk shop with streamers and see how they configured their setups for this relatively new form of social gaming. The large CS:GO themed station provided even more PC VS setups for eager players to jump on and have a go – the theme of the event was clear – mini eSports competitions were taking place all over with quick prizes available for everyone – two team captions would choose players from the crowd and they would face off in a series of short games for a prize, much like in the Intel main event taking place in the grand auditorium each night, but accessible to all.

In the early afternoon the main doors opened and the crowd began to flow in through the gates for the main events – top tier teams facing off against each other in fierce CS:GO competitive matches – and this was a tournament full of surprises, upsets and crucial clutch moments.

This all played out pretty well from a spectators point of view as we got to witness extremely aggressive plays from all the teams involved, and this led to a much fresher, more creatively vocal crowd than the year previous 😛

All up it’s hard to choose which part we enjoyed the most at IEM Sydney 2018, this one was so much more than just the main event and we certainly hope that Intel continues along this path with the next, which we’ll certainly to flying over to Sydney for yet again!

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!