The new RX 6700 XT graphics cards are set to release in New Zealand on Friday the 19th of March at 2am. That’s right folks, AMD have officially announced the new RX 6700 (XT) graphics cards, showing FPS tests and revealing specifications in another “Where Gaming Begins” special event.
The fun stuff really begins 236 seconds in, following an AMD intro filled with big numbers, and many pats on backs, which comes to a head with BIG NAVI reveal.
The new RX 6700 (XT) Graphics Cards are set to replace the RX 5700 series, and compete with the RTX 3060 / 3070 graphics cards performance wise, so we’re expecting good things. AMD revealed a performance comparison during the presentation showing FPS gains in Assassin Creed Valhalla + Dirt 5, losses in Watch Dogs Legion and Gears 5, along with a few others and more marginal ups and downs – the most important one is likely Call of Duty: Cold War, which is sure to have plenty of benchmarks appear online closer to launch 😉
AMD then continued on to show the potential FPS upgrades for those who own an RTX 2080 Super, and it was a good reminder about the significant performance boost we’re getting out of all the latest graphics card releases.
At a glance the new RX 6700 XT looks great, with new HDMI 2.1 for those gaming on fancy new TVs, and that beautiful AMD cooler design, now with dual fans.
The 12GB memory is like what we’ve just seen from Nvidia and their RTX 3060, and AMD continues to explain the move by showing the memory used by Call of Duty: Cold War, Dirt 5, Horizon Zero Dawn and Red Dead Redemption 2 while 1440P gaming at max settings – crazy high!
The presentation continued on showing lots more about AMD Ray-Tracing and some absolutely beautiful examples of these fancy lighting features in action. showing short segments on how Radeon Anti-Lag aims to make gaming more responsive, and AMD FreeSync makes gameplay smoother,.
AMD wrapped up but showing a massive range of aftermarket cooler designs from ASRock, Powercolor, Gigabyte, MSi, Sapphire and more too – all looking utterly awesome!
With the brand new Asus 400 series of motherboards now happily making their way towards New Zealand, just in time for the Intel 10th Gen release date (which is set as May 21st in this part of the world), it’s the perfect time to start designing some custom gaming rigs for these awesome new options!
While the new Asus Z490 range includes many options, the two favourites are the glorious PRIME Z490-AandROG STRIX Z490-F, which is perfect for us because they both look so different, with contrasting black VS white colour themes.
Both also have the internal header required for use with Type-C front IO found on the latest chassis – so we can build pretty much anything we want 🙂
Firing up the GGPC custom PC design tool and loading in the new options gives us some really cool looking configs, using the NZXT H510 series of cases chosen for that oh so good Type-C front IO, and they’re also available in black and white to match our motherboards, along with Elite options for those that want more glass, and even CRFT special edition for that unique WoW factor.
Combining these with all the Asus graphics cards options from AMD and Nvidia, along with the latest SSD & RAM options from Crucial, Samsung, G.Skill & Kingston, and more vibrant custom cooling from Cooler Master & NZXT for adding even more colour to the mix we’ve been able to create some wonderful looking builds.
Clicking the custom PC images shown above will take you to our building tool, we’ve kept our options fairly monochrome to start things off so the colour themes really come through nicely.
Have a play around with the parts and see which configuration you like the most, we’ll be doing the same while photographing and adding new components to the builder along the way!
For those new to custom PC gaming builds there’s a lot more to Asus than just really really good looking… I mean… some of it’s is just so utterly gorgeous that I… lost my chain of thought… Asus are real good engineers too!
For many people out there it has been a while since they’ve done a new build for themselves, considering just how good things like the i7-7700 were a few years back you can completely understand why too! It has been able to keep up with all but the newest graphics cards which is nice, but with the new Intel 10th Gen i7-10700 showing such significant gains in comparison, along with the motherboard enhancements radically increasing the speed of our storage though all-new options, and connectivity like WiFi 6, for many it’s going to be enough motivation to pick up that screwdriver 😛
Which brings us to more reasons why Asus are pretty great for PC builders.
Asus Q-CODE & Q-LED will help to identify problems with a PC even if it can’t boot into windows or box. Four little LEDs light up to indicate power status, and any problem with the CPU, graphics card, RAM or boot drive for a quick diagnosis. Going one step further the Q diagnostic codes provide a reference point for fast and easy codes that describe common installation and component problems, and also when it’s (A)ll(O)k!
ROG Bios Flashback is the simplest (and safest) BIOS update method and it’s soo good that updates can even be done with no CPU or RAM installed – crazy right?! Simply download and pop that BIOS file onto a USB stick, plug it into the special USB BIOS Flashback port and press the button to begin the automatic process. You’ll still need to have the motherboard connected to your power supply of course, but no RAM and no CPU is a massive win, it allows us to make sure a build is running the latest software even before its fully assembled, minimising the issues that arrive a little later on when even newer hardware gets released.
Asus SafeSlot is something you’ll likely not to even notice is there, but back in the day (2008) it was really difficult to ship a pre-built gaming PC with the graphics card fitted because in transit if it took a solid knock the weight of the massive GPU could literally rip the PCIe socket apart with the graphics card still in it! Asus solved this by making sure every part was tightly secured in thermoplastic, an insert moulded SafeSlot prevents part loosening, misalignment, improper terminations, and other structural issues. The thermoplastic resin also provides improved resistance to shock and vibration.
Those are all sweet features, but the likelihood of something going wrong with an Asus motherboard is slim at best, so let’s turn our gaze to the totally unnecessary features that make us smile, things like RGB and top-quality audio goodness.
AURA is what Asus have named their RGB software suite, but it’s important to note that it’s not only for Asus gear – more than 50 other brands such as Cooler Master, Hyper X, Crucial, G.Skill, Phanteks, AMD, EKWB, Lian Li and more have products that work with the Asus AURA software suite, so you can control and sync your RGB LED light show with just the one software setup. It’s awesome and goes beyond the usual PC parts to offer controls for everything from gaming monitors to mice. Just look out for the AURA badge when you’re choosing your various components and gaming gears and you’ll be all set.
The component we generally try our hardest to match with the motherboard is the graphics card, and Asus graphics cards which also feature Aura are the best ones too, you can even connect more RGB stuff directly to some models now, as if the 2xRGB and 2x ARGB headers weren’t already enough!
Sonic Studio does a bunch of neat things if you’re into sharing your awesome gameplay by live-streaming it with X-Split or OBS, and if you look at this Z490-F specifically it’s packing as Asus exclusive S1220A chip for SupremeFX technology that provides a flat frequency response for a neutral, detailed sound signature, so if you’re using a gaming headset, the front-panel output is driven by two op-amps to preserve audio quality.
Having all this sweet audio tech allows for other things too, but opinions are mixed on features like Sonic Rader III which will allow you to graphically see where sounds (like footsteps) are coming from in-game, and that latest version does a good job of indicating how far that sound is too, so if you’re waiting in a room you can shoot the bad guy through the door BEFORE he opens it – yep, that sounds like cheating to me BUT then you realise the other benefits that it brings, allowing you to game without the sound turned on, in the living room for example with others being loud, or maybe just so you can enjoy a good audiobook while you play. With sonic radar on because you’ll still have those audio ques, even if you can’t hear what’s going on.
Combine all this with world record-smashing overclocks and an ecosystem of products that cover everything on our desks it’s easy to see why Asus is a global leader in technology – and with the Z490-A + Z490-F it’s just about to get a whole lot better!
Cooler Master have just announced the Case Mod World Series 2019. This global case modding competition invites anyone from first-time tinkerers to seasoned veterans to make and submit their creations from May 21st to Oct 10th.
The Cooler Master Case Mod World Series is the longest running and biggest PC modding event in the world. Each year the event unites the worlds best modders with one common goal – to push the limits of PC Design! Celebrating a decade of dedication to the modding community, Cooler Master announces Case Mod World Series 2019 with two different leagues and the largest cash prize in CMWS history, contestants can look forward to a total prize pool worth $24,000 USD. Cooler Master raised the winning pot to recognize the inspiring commitment that modders have shown over the last 10 years. This year’s event also welcomes up-and-coming talent to be a part of this community, and an opportunity to take their modding to the next level.
“Cooler Master World Series 2019 marks the 10th anniversary of a globally active case modding competition coordinated and supported by Cooler Master. In acknowledgement of a decade of amazing case mods created by the global modding community, the 1st Place Best Tower winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize from Cooler Master for constructing what will no doubt be a masterpiece. The ANZ region is well known for being home to some of the world’s top case modders and truly memorable builds, and so we await to see the builds and skills on display by case modders across the ANZ region, from the Apprentice through to the Master.” – says Josh Collins, Cooler Master ANZ Channel Sales and Marketing Manager.
That’s right folks, the world’s biggest modding competition just got bigger!
With two leagues to join, the competition now makes itself more inviting to both first time modders with the new Apprentice League, and to pros with the Master League.
Master League: Dedicated to established and experienced modders who will be crowned the best of #CMWS19. This category will host both technical wonders and artful masterpieces. Winners will craft their way into modding history, marking their name in the world’s largest modding competition.
Apprentice League: Welcomes newcomers and up-and-coming talent looking to take their hobby of modding to the next level. Apprentices will have a different stage to compete in and be given the opportunity to gain the support they need. A total of 5 winners will be chosen from the Apprentice League and each winner will receive $1,000 USD worth of CM store vouchers and a chance to work closely with Cooler Master after the event.
5 Winners: $1000 CM Store Voucher
– CM Sponsorship
– Events invitations
– Workshop invitations
It’s important to note this isn’t a performance competition – so you won’t need to use the latest Intel i9 and RTX 2080Ti for your build to be relevant. Get creative and enjoy yourself, customise a tower build with steampunk pipes and paint if you like, or go for that crazy scratch build idea no-one has done before!
Once that’s done you’ll want to create a build log entry, this is split into two parts depending on if you want to enter a scatch build or a tower mod. A scratch build is basically a computer where you don’t use a chassis as the base for the build, it can include parts of a case though in most instances these aren’t really recognisable 🙂 A tower mod is when you build a PC but alter the appearance of the case into something unique.
At GGPC our first entry into Casemod was in the scratch build category back in 2016, you can check out the GG Terrarium build on PC Part Picker for more information on that one – We’re busy brainstorming ideas for the new 2019 event, so keep an eye on our GGPC Instagram to follow our latest build along, we’ll also update with a PC Part Picker with our new GGPC Casemod once it’s completed!
The latest GTX 1070Ti is available in New Zealand now, and this version from Gigabyte is looking GOOD!
An enthusiast-class graphics card that combines the power of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti GPU with the renowned Gigabyte WINDFORCE 3X cooling, RGB illumination, and top-notch reliability. Paired with 8GB of 256-bit GDDR5 memory, the card is ideal for gaming fanatics looking for serious graphics power to tackle today’s most challenging, graphics-intensive games and VR without breaking a sweat.
WINDFORCE 3X, a triple-fan cooling system from Gigabyte incorporates two composite copper heat-pipes which directly touch to the GPU core. It further utilises a large metal base plate and thermal pads across critical heat-generating components for a total cooling solution. Together with the special fin architecture and the unique blade fans, this graphics card has delivered exceptional cooling performance while maintaining low noise, furthermore, the semi-passive cooling fans allow gamers to enjoy light gaming in complete silence.
Aesthetics-wise, the angular shroud design with orange accents is distinctively Gigabyte and sparks a gaming vibe, this cooler version was first released back in 2016, and it has been featured on higher tier cards like the GTX 1080 with great results, at GGPC this is one of our favourite coolers and thusly featured in many of our custom PC builds.
The metal backplate offers rigidity and protection to the structure while adding a sleek, clean look to the GTX 1070 Ti Graphics Card. This GPU is further styled up with the RGB illuminated logo powered by RGB Fusion giving us the freedom to choose the right theme for each of our gaming rigs via the AORUS Graphics Engine utility software, and then change on a whim🙂
The GTX 1070 Ti Gaming is beefed up with 6+2 power phases to provide better stability with a more efficient power distribution. The use of the highest-grade chokes and capacitors reinforces the already legendary reliability of Gigabytes graphics cards and with the newly updated AORUS Graphics Engine, users can adjust and monitor clock speeds, voltage, fan performance, and more through the intuitive interface to get the best from their gaming hardware – it’s even got an instant performance boost with the one-click overclock function!
We’ve already got our lucky hands on some for testing 😛 Keep your eyes on the GGPC PC Gaming Blog for the latest!
Another great Cooler Master chassis called the MasterBox Lite 5 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 MasterBox 5 Dark Mirror which we fell in love with just a few months back 🙂
Starting off with the packaging it’s pretty standard stuff coming in a nice brown box with handles which, once opened, reveals a foam packed chassis inside, you can faintly see the transparency of the dark mirror front panel within the protective bag.
Removing the outer protective packaging we can see that the two dark mirror areas have a secondary protective layer on them also, with the window panel the screw holes are also fitted with rubber protectors and there is a subtle pattern along the edges. We had a bit of a funny moment during our first build when we were re-attaching this panel (upside down it turned out) and it we couldn’t quite align it – so yep turn it around if that happens to you, just letting y’all know!
Inside we find a handy little instruction booklet, warranty card and an assortment of essential screws and handy zip ties full cable management, the little brown box inside however has something really very cool – two optional colour plates for the front panel are included with the chassis!
Swapping out the coloured trims is an easy process with screws and clips holding everything in place but the best bit is Cooler Master didn’t stop there, those fine folks know the community has awesome ideas of their own so with that in mind, they’ve made 3D printing schematics for both the top and bottom trim available right away and you can download the files for 3D Printing your own MasterBox Lite 5 parts here \o/ Fun times ahead!
Looking at the main body now we find an included 120mm fan pre-mounted on the rear exhaust which sports a nice all-black 3-pin cable to keep things looking good. Along the top we don’t have any mounting holes for fans but the front is savvy for mounting an additional 3x 120mm intakes or a massive radiator for a killer water cooled system.
Everything has a clean black coating, even the dual USB ports are dark grey instead of the usual blue and they’ve made things great for system builder by adding the common little details like the good tool-less drive trays (the ones with the sliders) and also the not-so-common ones like the power supply bracket which is just wonderful to see.
Build wise we’ve dived right in and created a nice red/black themed Ryzen 5 + GTX 1060 system to test it all out for ourselves, with the PSU shield now extending all the way to the front and the brilliant worked done by CM design with those additional cable management slots along the right of the motherboard we were able to make a nice and tidy Gaming PC in this chassis extremely quickly, it’s a absolute pleasure to build with!
We can’t wait to do more builds (as I write this we’ve already done some quick GTX 1050Ti, GTX 1060 and GTX 1070 builds with a range of different Ryzen) and we even setup the cameras during our first build so we’ll be adding a quick timelapse to this blog soon enough but anyways – onto the best bit – Cooler Master have created an exceptionally good chassis here, not only does it look amazing and sport those neat little trim mods that are super easy to tweak but everything is just right on the inside and on that note we happily give this case our GGPC Recommends Award – The MasterBox Lite 5 is GOOD!
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 🙂
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 😛
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!
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 🙂
As usual the hardest part is going to be deciding which game to choose, so let’s take a closer look at both options.
First up – Ghost Recon: Wildlands!
Bolivia, a few years from now. The country has become the largest cocaine producer in the world. The Santa Blanca drug cartel has turned the country into a narco-state, leading to lawlessness, injustice, and violence. The Ghosts, an elite US Special Forces team, is sent behind enemy lines to wreak havoc and takedown the cartel.
This one enjoyed the largest turnout during the Ubisoft open beta phase and is best played with a group of friends, if you find yourself in solo queue being a helicopter pilot or driver for a bunch of randoms is still pretty darn fun as well!
Next up – For Honor!
This new hack’n’slash capture’n’hold game proved itself early on with some very beautiful graphics and a slick melee battle system that had us ramming our way through the ranks to take on opposing warriors in fierce hand to hand (or blade to blade) combat.
Many, many hours have been spent in For Honor at GGPC NZ, the matches often become fantastically close battles with the skill based player matching systems working very well indeed – this one is truly exceptional if you play often, you’ll start to recognise opponents from previous encounters in game and the focus shifts from an all out battle to hunting each other down relentlessly with some face-offs lasting the entire round.
This is a register to redeem promotion, once you’ve got your awesome new hardware simply visit the registration sites as below depending on your chosen flavour, enter the details as prompted and you’ll get a game code via email 🙂
Earlier in February, Cooler Master announced the Case Mod World Series 2017. This global case modding competition invites anyone from first-time tinkerers to seasoned veterans to make and submit their creations from Feb 3rd to May 3rd.
Today Cooler Master announced the Case Mod World Series 2017 ‘ANZ Edition’. All Case Mod World Series 2017 entries from Australia and New Zealand will be automatically entered in to the ‘ANZ Edition’ competition. You cancheck out the awesome prizes up for grabs here.
“We are having again, this year, an ANZ Edition to recognize and promote modders within our community. Three Winners from the ANZ region will be selected after the Case Mod World Series 2017 concludes. We hope to ignite the maker spirit right in our own backyard,” said Vance Chang, Cooler Master Marketing Manager, ANZ.
Once that’s done you’ll want to create a build log entry, this is split into two parts depending on if you want to enter a scatch build or a tower mod. A scratch build is basically a computer where you don’t use a chassis as the base for the build, it can include parts of a case though in most instances these aren’t really recogniseable 🙂 A tower mod is when you build a PC but alter the appearance of the case into something unique.
Last year we built a PC that was a desktop garden inside a terrarium with an open waterfall for the watercooling on the CPU and had a such a good time, you can check out the GG Terrarium build on PC Part Picker for more information on that one – keep an eye on our GGPC Instagram to follow our latest build along, we’ll also update with a PC Part Picker for GG Tsunado once it’s complete.
Starting things off, this isn’t the first in the MasterBox 5 series and there are also options if you wanted to grab this one in black, or with mesh instead of tinting on the front – that’s really what Cooler Master has been all about lately as well, options!
This chassis provides a really good base to start just about any kind of build in, an included power supply shield will help keep things super tidy inside. There are mounting holes all over the place which allow for multiple positions when fitting storage devices, the movable hot swap HDD caddy has a clip hinge with the CM logo on each drive bay as well. This case is ready for various sizes of motherboard, from the tiny ITX though to large ATX like we’ve used below in our little AMD test system.
The chassis does include 2x black CM 120mm fans which are mounted in the front, with these fitted the mirror effect for the front panel is pretty good at reflecting whatever your PC is facing – this panel is actually a deep tint so if you decide to put LED fans into the position you’ll cancel out the mirror somewhat and a things will light up the front, you can check this out in our RGB MasterBox 5 build shown at the bottom of this blog 🙂 The top of the case provide quick access to dual USB 3.0 (which aren’t coloured blue, we like this) and also audio jacks with the power button having a white LED light behind it. The side window panel is massive so when it came time to add in the little extra lighting we mounted this on the front aiming backwards, that way if you’ve got the PC on your desk at eye-level you won’t have a blazing LED shining directly into your eyes 😛
Even though the chassis is inexpensive compared to others of similar looks and quality (it’s under $150 NZD at the time of writing this) it’s so tidy looking you really can put in the highest end components and things won’t be off balance. There is space for X99 motherboards and dual graphics card builds, you can rear mount your radiator or even front mount a 240mm liquid cooling kit in a push/pull configuration and it even fits the absolutely massive air cooling units like the MasterAir Maker 8 – crazy cool!
We like this chassis so much we’ve decided to use it for our own top selling build – the GGPC Hero GTX 1050 Gaming PC \o/ With this build being a part of our latest series of custom rigs you can tweak the components and the new visual tool will show you what your system design looks like as you choose/change components. You won’t need to be a hardware guru to design a system, we only provide options which are compatible with each other. The tool works by providing a range of fully functional base builds from which you can customise your system upwards, adding additional graphics power or digital storage depending on your needs. You’ll be happily swapping out components to get the perfect look with no worries 🙂
We’re looking forward to doing more Custom Gaming PC builds with this chassis, with such flexible mounting options and killer looks it’s hard not to love this case (or the others in the series) but among the current range this white dark mirror version is certainly a favourite of ours 🙂 On that note we happily give this fine Cooler Master chassis our GGPC recommends award – the MasterBox 5 Dark Mirror Case is GOOD!