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The next big Warframe update, The Second Dream, is launching this week—sometime between tomorrow and Thursday—and developer Digital Extremes has sent PC Gamer a rundown of the big additions in what it calls the largest and most ambitious update for the free-to-play co-op shooter.
The main thing is the first cinematic quest—that is, the first quest with full cutscenes, voice over, and motion capture—which tells the story of Tenno hunted by ghosts of the past through remnants of the Orokin s lunar facilities. According to Digital Extremes, it will finally answer the question: What is a Warframe? (It's what you put war pictures in, obviously.) New players will need to bulk up before attempting the quest, but experienced Tenno can play it as soon as the update is live.
Also coming are a new PvP map, Orokin Moonbase, and Sortie Missions, a set of endgame missions which will cycle every day. Each Sortie Mission will have its own unique requirements or enemy modifiers, favoring Tenno that have a versatile Arsenal, says Digital Extremes. Completing all three daily missions earns players a reward, and the pool of rewards will change every 15 days when a new Sortie season begins.
Next up, The Second Dream adds a new Warframe, Ivara, whose archer theme comes with Hawkeye-like trick arrows: a Cloak Arrow which hides and shields allies in a bubble, a Dashwire Arrow that fires a zipline, a Slumber Arrow to make enemies sleepy, and an Intrigue Arrow which attracts enemies with a noise. The sound of an iPhone vibrating always perks me up, if they re looking for suggestions.
Ivara also has the Navigator ability, which lets her take control of an arrow and guide it, the Prowl ability, when makes her invisible and increases stealth damage, and the Artemis Bow, a summoned weapon that fires a volley of arrows.
And finally, Digital Extremes is making changes to the Rhino Warframe, including the addition of a passive ability called Heavy Impact. Here are the update notes:
You can see some of the highlights of the update in the video above, though Digital Extremes advises that these notes are just the tip of the iceberg. While it's coming later this year to the console versions, the new stuff will be available on PC very, very soon: sometime between tomorrow, December 2, and Thursday, December 3. There's more about Warframe on the official site, and some new screens from the update below:
Hopefully you were able to take advantage of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday frenzy. Depending on what you bought, you may need a new power supply to bring it all together, and if so, don't fret about the sales being in the rear view mirror. That's because today's top deal is for a Corsair 750W ATX12V v2.31 and EPS 2.92 80 Plus Gold Power Supply for $90 with free shipping (normally $130; additional $20 Mail-in rebate). This is a fully modular PSU with flat black cables and 80 Plus Gold certification.
CyberPower UPS 1000VA / 600W PFC compatible Pure Sine Wave w/ USB Charging Ports for $115 with free shipping (normally $140)
Samsung 850 EVO 2.5-inch 120GB SATA III 3-D Vertical Internal Solid State Drive for $60 with free shipping (normally $70 - use coupon code: [ESCKNAK26])
Corsair Carbide Series 200R Black Steel / Plastic compact ATX Mid Tower Case for $55 with free shipping (normally $60 - use coupon code: [EMCKNAK59]; additional $10 Mail-in rebate)
G.Skill Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory for $60 with free shipping (normally $65 - use coupon code: [EMCKNAK66])
Sorry, not sorry, Tim Cook, but the iPad Pro isn't going to decimate the market for traditional laptops and desktops. We're not heading towards a tablet-centric landscape now no more than we were when the first iPad came out, and lest anyone think OEMs are buying into Cook's nonsense, Lenovo is prepping three new systems for 2016.
The first is the ThinkPad P40 Yoga. Lenovo describes it as the first ever multi-mode mobile workstation. As with other Yoga devices, users can situate the system in four different orientations: laptop, stand, tent, and tablet.
A point of focus on the ThinkPad P40 Yoga is its sketching precision through a highly responsive pen and touchscreen powered by Wacom Active ES technology. There are 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity to play with on the 2560x1440 IPS display.
"Sketching is the foundation of everything we do," said Kyle Runciman, industrial designer and strategic content manager, Autodesk. "Designers can sketch for months to hone their ideas, and when they do get them to a point where they feel they re ready for prime time, they can benefit from a separate, ISV-certified mobile workstation to visualize the designs. The ability to perform all of these capabilities on a single machine is huge for our industry."
The ThinkPad P40 Yoga is powered by an Intel Core i7 "Skylake" processor that's paired with up to 16GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD storage, and an Nvidia Quadro M500M GPU.
While the ThinkPad P40 Yoga steals the show, Lenvo also announced a ThinkPad P50s with a 3K display and up to 17 hours of battery life, and the ThinkStation P310, a high-end desktop workstation featuring Intel's new Xeon E3-1200v5 processor, up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM, support for FLEX drives with Samsung M.2 NVMe SSDs, and Nvidia Quadro graphics options.
All three systems will be available next year. The ThinkPad P40 Yoga will start at $1,399, the ThinkPad P50s at $1,299, and the ThinkStation P310 at $729.
Last week we had a look at how to defend on Inferno. This time around you get to be the naughty boys. Your objective is to get C4 explosives to one of the two gas pipelines in the village, and you'll have to use every trick in the book to pull it off.
Here's an overview of the map, including call outs : the names for key areas.
Inferno is a map that's all about time management. The counter-terrorists will use their smokes, flashes and incendiaries in an attempt to delay your attack. As a result you should generally split up in the beginning of the round and show some aggression towards both middle and banana. This way you will force your opponents to use their precious smoke grenades early on. If you manage to do so, their brick walls will turn into demolition sites as the round draws closer to the end. At that point it will be a lot easier for you to pick a bomb site and execute your meticulously planned operation.
First, though, let's have a look at the pistol round.
If you manage to win the pistol round it'll be much easier for you to ride the economy wave and pick up the following rounds as well. There are an infinite number of pistol round strategies, but this is one that I like to use.
If you need to improve your pistol game, check out our guide.
You need one guy to buy armor. He will be crucial for this strategy to work. No matter what happens, there's no way this player will let counter-terrorists push banana. In the beginning of the round, his job is to survive and create some space for the rest of the team.
The support player will buy a smoke grenade and two flashbangs and the rest of the team can buy whatever they prefer to use. These four guys will be the main squad. They will go through second mid up to mid.
Once they're in position, the support player will use this smoke and these flashes to prevent the defenders from pushing through the smoke screen.
After the flashes he will join his sidekick in banana while the rest of the team rush through CT-spawn. Now your dumbstruck opponents on B will have to defend against attacks from both sides.
On the next page: an effective way to take B.
For this round you will need at least two smokes (if you buy more you can use them in mid to fake A or save them to buy more time after the bomb plant). Don't forget to pick up a few flashbangs. A molotov can be really useful to clear sandbags in banana. Either you're gonna toast the enemy hiding there or he's going to look down the barrels of your AK47s, say a quick prayer and embrace the afterlife.
Once you have taken control over banana you will smoke off CT-spawn and spools.
Flash over the roof and towards CT-spawn before you push. The first guy to go in will clear first, second and new box and eventually shadows, like this:
Assign one or two players to make sure the defenders can't attack through the smokes. The bomb carrier will plant the bomb on the grill since you have control over the banana side of the site. This way, any counter-terrorist trying to defuse the bomb will be a sitting duck when you take the peek from any angle, including banana.
On the next page: taking A with sturdy chipmunks.
In this strategy you want two players to help each other to take control over apartments. They are the Chip and Dale of your team. Dale, being the wild one, will jump up to window room, clear bedroom and then peek down boiler stairs.
Chip, the patient one, will make sure no one can backstab Dale in window room. As soon as Dale peeks down boiler stairs, Chip will have his time to shine. Now it's his job to try to kill the potential counter-terrorist in halls.
While your sturdy chipmunks do their thing, two players will wait just below the top of middle. If you manage to find a kill in apartments you should smoke off arch side and push as fast as possible. If, on the other hand, you don't find a counter-terrorist in apartments you can smoke and flash truck side instead. This will make it easier to either take the site fast from truck side or split push from arch side and apartments. Remember that you have to go fast. Don't let the rotation get to the site in time.
The fifth player will make sure that no one pushes down banana, but as soon as it's time to go he'll join the main squad in middle.
Footsteps are a huge part of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. If you step too close to your enemy you will give away your position. This is especially important to bear in mind at the top of banana and in apartments.
You have tried to execute these strategies a couple of times, but every time you find yourselves getting caught off guard by a fast rotation. If this is the case you can use it to your advantage. A team that rotates early is especially vulnerable to fakes. Try to get a kill and use utility grenades on one site before you fall back and attack the other one.
If you notice that your opponents are particularly weak on one site—abuse that fact! Either they'll adapt, in which case you attack the other site, or you will cash in round after another. Good luck out there and remember, show no mercy!
PC Gamer Pro is dedicated to esports and competitive gaming. Check back every day for exciting, fun and informative articles about League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, CS:GO and more. GL HF!
Star Wars Battlefront received what sounds like a fairly substantial update today, with fixes, tweaks, adjustments, and improvements all part of the package. The patch notes are unfortunately very vague, however, and so if you're hoping to learn whether it will fix whatever particular problem you're struggling with, you're mostly out of luck.
First things first, the patch notes, as posted on the Star Wars Battlefront forum:
That's all well and good, but what if you want to know whether, say, the DL-44 heavy blaster pistol has been nerfed? In that case, you would point yourself at Reddit, where you would learn that this does indeed appear to be the case. The thread lists a number of specific changes to the game, much of it speculative but some confirmed: Cycler rifle bullet drop, for instance, has been reduced while muzzle velocity—the speed of the round as it leaves the barrel of the weapon—is way up, leading to "Headshot City with small corrections to the targeting reticle."
The good news is that the player response to EA's all-but-worthless patch notes has not gone unnoticed. Star Wars Battlefront Community Manager "Sledgehammer70" said on Twitter that he is "working to provide more details around today's update." We'll let you know what he comes up with.
For one reason or another, Jade Empire is the one BioWare RPG that didn't really catch fire. It went over well with reviewers, but just couldn't find enough of an audience to merit a sequel. Perhaps that will change in the relatively near future, as it is now free on Origin.
As is always the case with Origin's "On the House" giveaways, the Jade Empire freebie is a limited time offer, and it's for the full version of the game—technically the "Special Edition," which is what publisher 2K called the PC version of the game that came out a couple years after the original Xbox release. It features enhancements including improved graphics, new monsters, enemies, and fighting styles, better combat AI, a new playable character, and other bits of goodness you can read about at the Jade Empire Wiki.
And it's free, and yours to keep until the end of days (or end of Origin) as long as you snag it before the offer ends. When that will happen is anybody's guess; EA doesn't specify a wrap-up date on OTH deals, which I imagine is supposed to make it all that much more exciting and fun.
Despite my optimism in the opening paragraph, I don't really expect that this will ultimately represent the first step toward a Jade Empire sequel. It's been more than ten years since it was released, after all, and between Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and Star Wars, I think BioWare's hands are pretty full these days. Then again, dare to dream, right? Even if that dream is only, "Gosh, wouldn't it be nice to play a BioWare RPG that isn't part of a major, heavily-sequelized franchise?"
Get your Jade Empire freebie here.
Every Tuesday at 1 PM Pacific we broadcast The PC Gamer Show live from our office. It's your chance to get your questions answered live on Twitch, and hear us talk about gaming news, hardware, and what we're playing.
This week we'll be taking a look at Rainbow Six Siege and Just Cause 3, hearing about Wes' trip to Hi-Rez Studios, discussing the appeal (or lack thereof) of streaming from console to PC, and more—including the return of our Catfantastic quiz and the usual Twitch chat Q&A.
You can also listen to last week's episode right here.
Although a PC s gaming performance is primarily driven by its graphics card, the beating heart in any computer is still the CPU. As soon as you press the power button, whenever you open the Windows Start menu or simply enter some text, it s busy executing a number of micro instructions to accomplish some task. But how can you tell one CPU is categorically faster than another? This used to be a simple question with a simple answer, as the clock speed alone indicated overall performance, but there s a lot more to it these days. The best solution: a CPU benchmark.
On the hunt for a new processor? Check out our guide to the best gaming CPUs.
Benchmarks can help you understand what all those CPU specs really mean. Higher clock speeds still matter, as that s the number of cycles that are being executed each second. But today s multi-core CPUs can run a number of entirely separate programs (or processes) at the same time, while some programs can be written to use all available cores at once to speed up whatever they re doing (a multi-threaded application).
The last, more complex factor, is the overall efficiency of the architecture, including the number of instructions executed and the number of registry calls per cycle. This changes from generation to generation of CPU, and differs vastly between AMD and Intel processors. Whenever a new processor platform is launched, this is the big area of scrutiny, since default clock speeds don t seem to be progressing greatly with each generation, and quad-core chips are generally standard for new consumer CPUs.
Different testing software focuses on one or all of these aspects of a CPU. You can run this software yourself to roughly work out how fast your computer is performing. Comparing your own results with reviews of the latest hardware can assure you that your PC is in tip-top shape, help you gauge the success of your latest overclock, or tell you that it's time for an upgrade.
Here are the benchmarks we recommend.
A program called Geekbench is now perhaps the most widely used CPU benchmarking tool, partly thanks to being comparable across Windows, OS X, iOS and Android. It provides a single overall score derived from multiple smaller tests, including JPEG and PNG decoding, SHA512 and Twofish encryption and BZIP compression. It runs each test first on a single core and then again spread across all available cores.
As might be expected, a PC with one of the latest Intel Skylake quad-core processors overclocked to 4.7GHz will outperform an eight-core Core i7 5960x processor running at its default 3.0GHz clock speed in the single-threaded Geekbench tests, but fall way behind in the multi-core tests.
A much older program called SuperPI used to be a common test for CPUs, although it s not used as much these days, since it hasn t been updated for a while and only performs a single task. But that task is easy to understand. It sets your CPU working out the digits of PI, up to a million if necessary. For the record, we can definitely manage 3.142 whenever asked.
This type of raw calculation doesn t depend on storage or graphics card performance. You should get identical results whether you have a GeForce card or use Intel s integrated graphics, an SSD or a hard disk. Memory performance is an exception, since it s usually tied into everything youur PC does. You should see faster speeds in most tests when using faster DDR modules, although the difference is often quite slim.
A great visual multi-threaded application is Cinebench, which is also commonly used in hardware reviews. There are both GPU and CPU tests, and the CPU section is tasked with rendering parts of a large image, split into smaller squares with a single core given a square to work on. You can see each square render individually and the picture coming slowly together as the benchmark runs. It outputs a score at the end and can again be used to compare with
There s another useful tool that s mostly used to measure CPU efficiency, rather than performance, called Prime95. The main use of Prime95 in benchmarking is CPU stress testing, mainly when executing FFTs (Fast Fourier Transforms) on all CPU cores. The test puts a CPU under extreme load, and therefore is a good way to measure its full power draw. With a simple wattage meter (which you can buy from any electronics store), you can compare your computer s power consumption when idle against its use under load. Note that as a CPU benchmark, Prime95 will not be measuring your graphics card power draw, which will also suck a lot of power when under load, and you will see vastly different measurements when running games.
Prime95 is also a standard tool for testing overclocking stability. If you set your CPU to run at an overclocked frequency, it might boot into Windows, or even run a game or two. But that doesn t meant it s stable. Stress testing it like this with Prime95, perhaps for 12 hours or longer, without it crashing, is a very good sign of stability. But it's also potentially risky, especially if you're pushing a hard overclock. Intel advises against using Prime95 for benchmarking, as more than one CPU has been fried by its demanding loads.
Combining the use of Prime95 with a temperature monitor tool such as Real Temp you can see whether your CPU is overheating. Again useful when overclocking, if your CPU is hitting temperatures in excess of 90 degrees you probably need to bring the clock speed down, invest in a better cooling system, or buy a new case with better airflow.
One of the longest-running benchmarking tools is SiSoft s Sandra, a program that runs multiple kinds of benchmark, across an entire system, including but not limited to, CPU performance. In particular, its memory tests are some of the best around.
It includes both single- and multi-threaded tests, cryptography and, wait for it, financial analysis, since this is clearly a benchmarking tool for adults. While it s not our first choice for testing a gaming PC, the memory tests are a great way to see the effect of higher memory speeds, DDR3 vs DDR4, or perhaps a new motherboard.
Every test we ve mentioned so far is known as a "synthetic" benchmark. They produce an arbitrary score, which has no meaning in the real world, and does not reflect the performance of real applications.
But there are a few tests you can use which indicate better real-world performance. The first is PCMark08. This application uses a series of traces (simulations of real applications) of various programs, such as Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop. The free version lets you run the entire benchmark suite without any customisation options, although you can choose between Conventional and Accelerated modes, which uses OpenCL on your graphics card to speed up tasks on your CPU. In reality, it s likely you will be using this feature, so it might be an idea to use this setting.
Of course, PCMark08 tests your entire system, so storage and memory come into play too, but you will certainly see any differences in CPU performance using this tool.
Another true real-world test is video encoding, and this can also be used to test raw CPU performance. We use Handbrake as it s packed with features and simple to use.
Make sure logging is enabled before you begin the test (in the settings menu), load up a video of your choice, select a preset and let it go. If you re using a hard disk rather than an SSD to both read and write the file, its performance may bottleneck the final result. In this test, expect a linear improvement in encoding times with additional cores: that is, a quad-core chip will perform twice as fast as a dual-core processor, while an eight-core chip performs twice as fast again.
Final encoding times very much depend on the bit rate and quality of the source clip, and the preset you select. Blu-ray quality video takes hours to encode into 1080p, for example, but converting an AVI file into an iTunes-friendly video for viewing on an iPhone is much quicker.
A final software tool that s loved dearly by all CPU nerds is not a benchmarking program, but a great diagnostic application: CPU-Z. It s particularly useful to gauge the exact clock frequency of your CPU at any given time. But why would you need to know this?
Thanks to technologies such as Intel SpeedStep and Turbo Mode, a CPU s clock speed goes up or down depending on the system load. If you ve messed about with the settings in your bios, perhaps due to or because of overclocking, run CPU-Z for a better idea of what speed your CPU is running at.
Without any overclocking applied Intel CPUs use Turbo Boost to run faster than their advertised speed. A 4GHz Core i7-4790K runs at 4.4GHz in Turbo Mode, for example, while the newer Skylake Core i7-6700K runs at 4.2GHz (although offers faster performance, due to architectural differences). You can also easily see memory timings and register information.
We hope you find this information useful, and it helps you learn a thing or two about CPU performance. If you have any ideas for other ways to test CPUs, we d love to hear them. Let us know in the comments below.
If you're running Nvidia's GeForce Experience software, then you're probably aware there's a new WHQL certified driver available, version 359.06. If not, this is your heads up.
The new driver isn't a major update, but one of Nvidia's "Game Ready" updates with optimizations for specific titles. In this case, the new driver is tuned for a pair of newly released games, Just Cause 3 and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege, both now available on PC.
"Prior to a new title launching, our driver team works until the last minute to ensure every performance tweak and bug fix possible makes it into the Game Ready driver. As a result, you can be sure you ll have the best day-1 gaming experience for your favorite new titles," Nvidia explains.
In addition to Game Ready tweaks, the new driver release also adds SLI profiles for Fallout 4, Just Cause 3, and Umbrella Corps.
Nvidia's latest driver doesn't fix any issues for Windows 10 users, though it does address a crashing issue for Call of Duty: Black Ops III observed in Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista.
The minimum requirements for Just Cause 3 look like this:
Those specs will get your foot in the door, though Avalance Studios recommends an Intel Core i7-3770 or AMD FX-8350 processor (or greater, of course), 8GB of RAM, and either a GeForce GTX 780 or AMD R9 290 graphics card.
Nvidia notes in its Just Cause 3 Graphics & Performance Guide that a GTX 780 delivers an "excellent experience at 1920x1080 when paired with a suitably speedy CPU," but since it's essentially a retired graphics card, the GPU maker suggests a GTX 970 instead.
As for Rainbow Six Siege, Ubisoft's minimum requirements include:
The recommended specs bump things up to a Core i5-2500K or AMD FX-8120 processor, 8GB of RAM, 47GB of free storage space, and a GeForce GTX 670 (or GTX 760 / GTX 960) or AMD Radeon HD 7970 (or R9 280X / R9 380 / Fury X) graphics card.
For Nvidia's take, you can reference its Rainbow Six Siege Graphics & Performance Guide.
The new drivers are available here.
Patriot is in the process of updating several of its compact "lifestyle" USB flash drive lines with 128GB capacity options, the company announced today.
"With the growing need for more storage, Patriot is excited to expand the storage capacities of our most popular lifestyle lines," said Meng J. Choo, Patriot s Flash Product Manager. "These new capacities make it possible to carry even the largest HD videos in your pocket, or easily expand the storage on your current device or platform."
The 128GB capacity will be found on Patriot's new Vex drives, which bring a bit of color to the portable storage arena. Specifically, that color is bright green. That isn't an arbitrary color choice -- Patriot says it will come in handy for college students, as the bright green color will stand out "amongst the mess of a desk." It also has a black plastic top that makes it easier to grip, you know, in case all that Hot Pockets grease is making it difficult to extract a flash drive.
Patriot's new Vex line isn't the only compact drive that will have a 128GB option. So will the company's Tab, a minimalist drive designed to attract the "Apple faithful" in need of expanded storage; the Spark, which boasts a metal uni-body design to help it blend in with any device it's plugged into; and the Supersonic Mini, a rubberized and rugged flash drive that's not actually part of Patriot's so-called lifestyle family, but can "withstand a beating."
These are all USB 3.1 Gen 1 drives, which is the newfangled way of saying USB 3.0 (it's the Gen 2 standard that offer a speed upgrade). They'll deliver up to 110MB/s read and up to 20MB/s write performance.
Look for the drives to be available online and in stores on December 14 starting at $50.