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Gaming Laptops PC Gaming

Best Cheap Acer Gaming Laptops at Currys PC World for Covid Isolation Days March/April 2020

With many people using their laptops and PCs more now we are all stuck inside, some of us are starting to realise how outdated they are. With video game launches still going strong and some top graphically demanding games like Doom Eternal and Half Life Alyx being released recently, or you just want more frames on Call of Duty Warzone, or Apex Legends you might have decided enough is enough. Well the Chomping Turtle has scoured Currys PC World to find some not so hidden gems below £1000 in the gaming laptop space. The Acer Nitro 5 series of laptops

This post is not sponsored by Currys PC World, however it features affiliate links which mean if you click through onto the product and buy it will give us a small commission at no extra cost to you. So thank you.

Sub £700 – Acer Nitro 5 With Ryzen 5 and RX 560X

This laptop has been around in various forms for a while now. It has got a solid processor in the AMD Ryzen 5 3550H, and you get an SSD for the OS and then 1tb to store you games. The build quality wont blow you away, but it looks nice if you are into the “gamer” look. It has solid I/O with full HDMI so you can plug it into a TV, 3 USB type A ports and 1 USB C and a backlit keyboard.

The RX560X will plough through eSports titles like Fortnite (apparently at over 100FPS), Overwatch and CSGO. However you will have to lower some settings to play Doom Eternal etc.

Its a solid cheap gaming laptop and you get an IPS display, which is a nice addition at this price point. Being an Acer its upgradable to 16GB RAM pretty easily too which I would recommend as the 8GB will be shared between the GPU and the main memory. Plus you currently get 6 months free Spotify Premium from Currys PC World which is worth £60….

However before you buy…………

Sub £1000 – The £899 Acer Nitro 5 AN515 with Core i5-9300H and GTX 1660Ti

So what do you get for your £200 upgrade? Quite a lot actually. If you can afford it this is the Acer Nitro 5 to go for. It offers the best balance of price and performance. Its GPU the Nvidia GTX 1660Ti only came out last year and its all you will need for 1080p gaming. You will get well over 60FPS on nearly every game, with even the latest games like Doom Eternal being comfortably ran on high. The GTX 1660Ti is multiple generations better than the RX560X and will last you for a good few years yet.

That Core i5-9300H is a hex core processor and it is powerful, so will get through everyday tasks all day everyday. It even has an adequate webcam.

The IPS screen is still only 60HZ but Linus Tech Tips managed to overclock it to 90Hz, but your mileage will vary. All the other things I said about the Ryzen model still count, I would still get 16GB RAM and you still have great I/O so can plug it into a TV and have plenty of USBs. I’m not huge on the red keys but you might like them, and “gamer” look fans will like it.

For £899 this is a bargain, so I would get this over over the £669 model if you can afford it as you get so much more. But if you just play eSports games, maybe you can skip it. If you want to keep an i5 but cannot push for the 1660Ti there is a model with an older 1050 but it is the 3GB model which will only do eSports games.

Again you also currently get the 6 months of Spotify Premium. Hope that helps someone.

Order the Acer Nitro 5 AN515 from Currys PC World with free delivery by clicking the icon below

Acer Nitro 5 AN515 Right side ports
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Console Gaming PC Component Deals PC Gaming

AMD A10-7850K Real Gaming Benchmarks Appear

I have added to the original article on the A10-7850K the videos below, but incase you didnt see that, here are a collection of real benchmarks from people with the A10-7850K in their system. All these videos are running the fast 2133MHz RAM which is required to get the most out of the GPU. Overall impressions are more favourable than first expected! Being able to run Battlefield 4 on ultra, even if only at 720p is very impressive for a £130 APU. Likewise Skyrim on high at 1080p running at over 40fps average is mighty. It really reinforces the fact that the A10-7850K is perfect for a budget gaming PC / Steambox. The quest for 1080p on ultra at 60FPS can be an expensive one. This APU provides a great way to get on the PC gaming ladder with very good graphics and limited fuss.

Buy the A10-7850K Now
amazon uk

A10-7850K Battlefield 4 – Ultra 720p at 30FPS

A10-7850K Skyrim – High 1080p 42FPS

A10-7850K Crysis 3 – Normal 720p 28FPS

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Console Gaming PC Gaming

Nvidia Maxwell 750 GTX Ti Feburary Release – Rumor

While this is just a rumour, it has quiet a bit of backing. Since Nvidia have been very quiet for a while on the next generation “Maxwell” based Nvidia GTX graphics cards, today some websites are claiming a 18th of February launch for the new graphics card which will replace the GTX 650 TI and will run on a 28nm process. It should retail around the £130-160 mark, putting it in direct competition to the Radeon R9 270.

The difference with the new Maxwell cards is they use unified virtual memory. The marketing blurb is “The goal of UVM is basically to use page faults in the virtual memory systems to detect when a piece of memory is being accessed on the GPU and move the pages to the device, and then move it back to the CPU when the CPU accesses it.” The series of cards will also have an integrated Nvidia 64bit ARM processor to further reduce the strain on the main CPU for certain tasks. In the GTX 750 Ti form it should give performance inbetween the GTX 660 and the GTX 760. If the price is correct, that is some serious horsepower for the money.

Future GTX 750 Ti
Future GTX 750 Ti

They are clearly going for a mid range card to test what it can do before bringing out the much waited for GTX 800 series. Still if you only have a 1080p monitor or you output your PC via a TV, then the GTX 750 Ti could be exactly what you need. Very power efficient, so should be cool too, this could be the ideal Steam Machine graphics card.  We await the tests to come out and final pricing, but Maxwell is looking very good right now.

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PC Component Deals PC Gaming

DEAL – AMD FX8320 Black Edition 8 Core 3.5Ghz/4.0GHz – £107.97 Amazon

This deal for the superb FX8320 Black Edition processor from AMD come hot from the latest Kaveri APUs being released. This one is for serious gamers, who have a graphics card already (or plan to get one in a system build.  The FX8320 is a superb processor, featuring 8, EIGHT, core running at 3.5GHz (with turbo to 4.0GHz). And this is known to be a very overclockable CPU, so performance can be pushed even further even with the stock cooler.

With modern console games having to be optimised for 8 cores, this will mean that PC games will also finally start to take advantage of more than four cores regularly. This combined with AMD Mantle, should help boost the performance of this chip for years to come. Even without this, at just over £100 you cannot beat the FX8320 for power to the Pound. At £107.97 on Amazon it’s a steal.

BUY NOW OR READ MORE ON:

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WATCH A VIDEO TO SEE THE FX8320 IN ACTION ON CRYSIS 3 WITH A HD7870 (A great budget setup which will do 1080p at 60FPS all day long):

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Console Gaming PC Component Deals PC Gaming

AMD A10-7850K and A10-7700K Kaveri APUs are here – HTPC / Small Factor Beasts – From £119.99

AMD have carved themselves a good niche with their APUs. Having the processor combined with a good onboard graphics card for low cost, has proved very successful in laptops, and ideal for HTPC and small form factor PCs. Not having to worry about a large graphics card in a tiny PC has a lot of advantages, nevermind the costs sometimes involved. With the new Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 having modified versions of these APUs in them, we know the potential power can be there, and the latest Kaveri APUs have had budget gamers excited with this prospect.

What Systems are Kaveri AMD APUs for? What are the Options

If you have a good mid range or above graphics card already, then ignore them. Get an FX processor. However if you are looking at a system build which case size or noise is a factor then these are for you. There are three versions out of varying power. The base A8-7600, which offers very low power (as in watts), while the next step up is the A10s, which are the A10-7700k and the A10-7850K. Both of which are Black Editions so expect some overclocking. Prices currently range from £119.99 for the A10 with the A8 expected to be around the sub £100 mark.  The top end A10-7850K has a 3.7GHz Quad Core CPU (turbo to 4GHz), and a 512 Shader Core Radeon R7 graphics card built in. They all run on the FM2+ socket motherboards.

What is the Gaming Performance like on the A10-7850K?

Well take a look for yourself!  To summarise the video, it can play Battlefield 4 on medium at 1080p at around 30FPS. Pretty good for such a device. And there is a bonus as Mantle, AMDs new technology for gaming, is supposed to boost performance by over 10% in some games. That comes as soon as the new patch for the game is released. Expect most new games to have Mantle upon release in Q2 2014 onwards.

A10-7850K Battlefield 4 – Ultra 720p at 30FPS

A10-7850K Skyrim – High 1080p 42FPS

What Alternatives are there to APUs?

If you are running a standard mATX motherboard / case combination then for the £125 it will cost to get the top A10-7850K you could buy an Athlon X4 740 (£56 Amazon) and a HD7770 (£73 Amazon) which would outperform the APU and be more upgradable for the future. Plus you would not need to worry about buying expensive 2133MHz RAM to get the most out of the APU Graphics.  This is quite a radically different setup, but if your aim is not for near silent PC or small form factor like HTPC then you might be better off.  For comparison, this can be seen running Battlefield 4 at 1400×900 averages 45FPS on High which is very impressive for the money.  A little bit apples and oranges, but it depends on the intended place and usage of your PC.

 

Overall Thoughts

I like to view APUs as for what their main purpose is rather than compare to the example above. As a way to have good graphics, low power and noise without spending a fortune, they are a superb purchase. It will be very interesting to see what AMD do with the latest APUs for laptops. For desktop and small factor, there is very little on the market which can match the A10-7850K for its cost. The only downside is that the RAM has to be fast to get the most out of it. While the A10s are very good, if the A8-7600 price is right, it could be the one to go for. As it stands its main competition is the A10-6800k from the previous generation which has dropped in price (floating around the £100 mark) and represents excellent value.

 

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Console Gaming PC Component Deals PC Gaming

Cautious Optimism – Steam Machines Revealed

At CES 2014 Valve unveiled a whole new bunch of Steam Machines associated with a number of different hardware manufacturers. Some of these machines are absolute monsters, while almost all are more powerful then PS4/XB1. So why am I slightly concerned?

Well when Valve first announced that they wanted to push Gaming PCs into the living room, one of the things you expect is a similar price to consoles. With the Xbox at £449 and the PS4 around the sub £400 mark, most people expected Valve to push low end (for PC, but still console beating specs) and on the side offer high spec options. If you own a PC and are a heavy gamer, chances are you will want a PC customised to you and you will build yourself to your specification, whether you have a £400 budget or a £2000.  These type of people are not who Steambox is aimed at. At CES, Most of the companies were showing PCs at the top end, including up to $6,000! Anyone with $6,000 to spend on a PC will build it themselves. On top of this, the companies aren’t building anything you cant do at home. This is a worrying trend, as although PC gaming is cheaper in the long run (cheaper games, no online fees, backward compatibility etc.), it would of been nice to show console gamers PC gaming doesn’t have to be expensive to be superb, which is doesnt. If you just want 1080p (Something the majority of XB1 launch games have massively struggled to do) you dont need more than a £120 graphics card, nevermind dual GTX Titans like Origin PC Chronos is offering in their Steambox.

So What Would We Like To See?

It needs to be a simplified PC experience. Give consumers a couple of option levels, like Normal, High, Ultra. And have two options (AMD and Intel/Nvidia based) for each tier to keep the main component manufacturers happy.

Normal costing a console matching £4-500. Featuring something like R9 270.

High costing £600-700 Featuring a R9 280x/ 760 GTX

Ultra being £800+ with Minimum R9 290X/780 GTX

 

This can easily be achieved if you buy the components yourself, so with manufacturer discount to offset the warranty/build time something around these numbers is feasible.  Obviously you will need to add in the cost of a Steam Controller to these, but with even the bottom end beating consoles graphically, it should be easily achievable.

Standardisation is the best thing about consoles. If there were a couple of options which took off sales wise, it would mean game publishers could optimise for these, which would in turn bring performance bonuses for any PC with these main graphics cards in the same way consoles got better overtime as publishers got used to the hardware.

One of the major hurdles is Steam OS itself. Back catalogues will mostly never be converted to Linux, and it will take a huge effort on Valve’s and other publishers to start releasing every new game as Linux compatible at launch, otherwise a Windows license is going to have to be added to that price..

alienware steambox

So What About the Streaming Steambox?

When they were first announced, one of the major features of Steambox is the ability to use one as a streamer for your main PC in a different room. The Steambox Streamer could just be a low power device, which something like an AMD APU which can process the streamed data fast enough and come in at a very reasonable price (sub £150). This would be attractive to people who already have their PCs, but they dont want the noise/size in their lounge all the time. This would also get over the whole Linux issue while most games are not compatible.

 

OVERALL IMPRESSION

It is an exciting time for PC gamers. With more ad more people using Steam (over 65 million users now), and all these Steamboxes have created new smaller factor cases which you can buy or build your own living room gaming PC. Competition is always a good thing. While 1440p and UHD monitors are rapidly coming down in price, most people while only have 1080p TVs for a number of years yet. This means living room gaming PCs will become VERY cheap for even maximum settings. This is where Steam Machines could make consoles look very old indeed.

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Console Gaming PC Component Deals PC Gaming

Christmas Comes Early – Sapphire 7870 GHz 2GB Dual-X Cheapest Price Ever

If you know your graphics card you will realise that this AMD Radeon 7870 GHz 2GB card by Sapphire is a monster of a card which would of set you back over £300 not too long ago. sapphire7870-2However now you can have a 2GB Dual-X version (based off the 7900 series) for only £119.99 delivered from Amazon. This is an incredible price for a grpahics card that will do 1080p Ultra for any game on the market right now including the current benchmark Battlefield 4.  Plus by next year it will be even faster as it will support AMD Mantle technology which is rumoured to boost speed on some games by up to 20%.

Unless you have a 4K monitor, it begs the question how much do you need to spend as this card will keep you going for many years to come.

BUY FROM AMAZON WITH FREE DELIVERY by clicking the picture above or the Amazon logo below.

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Videos of the Sapphire 2GB Dual-X 7870 Ghz in action:

Battlefield 4

Crysis 3

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Android Gaming Devices, Tablets and iPads Console Gaming News PC Gaming

Why the NVidia Shield is My Most Wanted Piece of Tech in 2013

The portable games console, the Nvidia Shield is looking at being a surprise hit of 2013. This open sourced handheld games console allows streaming to HDTVs/monitors and even your PC. Plus it has its main party trick, streaming PC games to it. Based on a stock Android Jelly Bean, the Nvidia Shield will be an open platform gaming device, with the full Android back catalog available to play. So why do I want one? And what problems do NVidia face?

What the Nvidia, and the Play Store lack are mutliplayer games. There are very few, and even less good, online mutliplayer console style games on Android. Shadowgun shows the potential, but we need to see the big name games/brands like Dead Trigger 2, Modern Combat, and FIFA putting serious effort into the online modes. Local multiplayer games would be nice too. On phones this was a none issue, but with a device like the Shield it would be great to be able to bring a friends Shield around and play some split screen on the big TV.

The biggest task for NVidia isnt to get manufacturers onboard, the success of Android platform has done that for them. Its to push the Tegra optimised games to the next level. I love the Tegra Zone on my Nexus 7, the games tend to be better than the average Play Store games as they have got the budgets to do the graphical side, they also tend to put effort into usability. Now Tegra 3 is in millions of devices, and while Tegra 4 looks to build on this, lets see manufacturers pushing the platform.

The Shield (and the OUYA) represents a shift in home gaming, not mobile in my opinion. If the price is right and I got a Shield, it would very rarely be taken out. It would be the device I pick up to play on, while the missus is watching TV instead of my tablet. Then when a TV is available I can continue my game on the big screen. Plus with the free to sub £5 games, you feel like you can have a punt and get into a game fast without thinking. Being in my late 20s I unfortunately dont have the time to play 80 hours of Final Fantasy 7, like I did…. Or 50 hours of Forza Motorsport. I enjoy a quick blast on Gears of War Horde mode with my friends, and the odd game here or there on my Nexus 7.

However the genius of the Shield is it also appeals to console gamers like me, also well as those who do spend £300 on a graphics card for their PCs, as they can stream the games from their GTX cards to the Shield. Steam are behind this too, plus once Nvidias cloud gaming gets into full swing, the Shield could become the one stop device. I’m not sure why you would want to stream to the Shield inside the same house though?

What about OUYA? Well just because it is not as powerful as the Shield doesnt mean it cant succeed. Nintendo has shown that. Both the OUYA and the Nvidia Shield do represent a threat to the Console Establishment, although they are not direct competitors to each other. Despite all the rumours, no one knows what the PS4 / Next XBox will do or be. However for the first time, I am not interested. If they just turn out to be more power, more media center etc. I 100% will not be getting one. I haven’t bought a full price £35-40 game for years. I buy second hand 6 months down the line as I cant justify the full price. Neither can most of my friends, its simply not worth it. With rumours that the new XBox will push what some current games (Battlefield 3 /WWE 13 etc.) have started by requiring a code to play online, it will make second hand games as expensive as new ones. £10-15 for the game, £10 for the online, on top of £40pa for the online service, it all adds up.  I get why they do it, the publisher makes nothing off second hand games, but it will stop some people buying. The NVidia Shield will have none of this, plus the games will be dirt cheap in the first place. Sure you cant sell the games on, but at Free to £5 does it matter?

Until it is released, noone knows who well it will catch on, but with the might of a company like NVidia behind it, and some very clever and POWERFUL tech I really want to get my hands on a Nvidia Shield.

Watch this video of Real Boxing running on the Nvidia Shield