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Corsair's Bulldog PC: Liquid-cooled, 4K living room gaming

Jun 02 // Steven Hansen
The entry level Bulldog kit is $400. This will not get you 4K gaming, of course. You get the chassis, Mini-ITX motherboard, CPU cooler, and power supply. Where you go from there is up to you. You add CPU, RAM, hard drive, and graphics card. Maybe you want 32GB of DDR4 and a liquid-cooled Titan X. If you have a 4K TV I assume you can afford it, despite assurances that 4K TVs like the monster set we demoed on are now "affordable" at $1,800, or the same price as my weekend trip to the ER for a badly broken finger (yes, typing one handed is slow. Wiping lefty is also uncomfortable.) If you're going from scratch and buying everything fresh, you're looking at anywhere from $939 to $2249 (on the high, liquid-cooled Titan X end) to put together a nice little living room PC. If you're interested in dropping a liquid-cooled GPU solution into some other non-dog-shaped computer, perhaps your own, that's possible too. Corsair is selling the GPU liquid-cooler in a separate kit that will support all current and upcoming AMD and Nvidia graphics cards. Corsair also announced the Lapdog, which is not a laptop, but rather a big old tray you can set on your lap. It has a giant mouse pad area and Corsair's mechanical gaming keyboards can dock with its powered USB hub (go ahead and charge your phone from it, too). It's wired, which is a weird compromise between living room form factor and PC gaming precision. Also $90 (or $200 with a keyboard packed in). I like living room PC gaming. I have a nice, old tower hooked up to the aforementioned 30-inch living room television. I don't notice the noise, whether I'm playing a new game on high settings or just using it mainline Dinosaurs on Netflix. Usually I just use a controller, or the wireless mouse and keyboard sitting on the coffee table. That's me. Poor, simple me. Corsair's cool tech might be for you, though.
Bulldog and Lapdog photo
Also, Lapdog keyboard shell
The Witcher 3 looks nice in 4K. This is neither something unexpected nor something my six-year-old, 30-inch living room television would be able to teach me. But I visited with computer hardware and peripheral developer Corsa...


Test your might with the first 4K Ultra HD benchmark from 3DMark

Good luck!
Oct 13
// Dale North
You know that hammer carnival game where you hit the base as hard as you can to test your strength? I feel like every benchmark I try is like that. I hit it with all my might (new hardware, OS tweaks, etc.) and the damned thi...
Origin PCs photo
Origin PCs

Origin is offering 4K-ready PCs for less than $4K

Which is still a lot of money
Aug 11
// Alasdair Duncan
True story time, kids: On Friday, there was a power outage in my apartment complex and when it was restored a few hours later, my PC refused to boot. I'm hoping it's just the PSU that's blown but my suspicions are that my mot...

Ryse comes to PC with 4K resolution upgrade

Coming this Fall
Aug 07
// Dale North
Ryse: Son of Rome makes its way to PC this fall. Crytek worked in 4K resolution support so this already great-looking Xbox One game is now going to burn images into your retina on the PC.  Crytek will handle digital dist...


Here is racing on three 4K screens

Hot damn
Jan 08
// Dale North
At Nvidia's CES booth, Project Cars is running on 3 4K screens here -- 4K surround, if you will. That means you're seeing 11,520 by 2,160, or 1.5 billion pixels per second! I gave it a spin on an Origin PC running quad-SLI, u...
Deadpan photo

The best joke at Sony's CES conference that no one got

Jan 06
// Steven Hansen
During Sony's CES press conference, Sony Electronics President and COO Mike Fasulo went on about the newest resolution buzzword, 4K. 4K movies, 4K cameras, 4K Netflix streaming, 401Ks, 4 K9 units ripping apart a violent offen...
PlayStation 4 HD video photo
PlayStation 4 HD video

PlayStation 4 supports 4k video, four times that of 1080p

But not for games
Feb 21
// Allistair Pinsof
PlayStation 4 will support a resolution of 4K (four times that of 1080p) for pre-recorded video and images, but not for gameplay, according to Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida. Should you be a stupidly rich per...

CES: It's official: Your HDTV sucks now

Jan 11 // Dale North
So, do you need to upgrade to a 4K television now? As a gamer, no. Not yet. With these sets having four times the pixels of a 1080p set, they still have to figure out content delivery and storage. We've got some time to think things over still. While a PC gamer could connect a rig to a 4k set to take advantage of the huge bump in resolution, typical configurations won’t get great framerates at 3840 × 2160. Worse, none of the current consoles are able to take advantage of 4K’s display spec. Right now, the majority of games we see are still running at 720p. Outside of gaming, 4K content is lacking. There's less than a dozen Ultra HD movies ready right now. And while more are coming down the line, only one Asian television station is broadcasting 4K. Just like with the beginning of HD, there's not much in the way of compelling content yet; the nature footage and food close-ups will only entertain you for so long. Things will definitely improve soon, though. So why are we even talking about 4K yet? Well, it’s amazing. Ridiculous. Worthy of all the buzz. You hear this a lot, but it really is like looking into a glass pane at another world. The 8-megapixel video coming across demo sets here at CES pushed every tech desire button inside me. Watching some of the colorful, ultra detailed, almost unreal showcase content at CES had me wondering what I could sell to get one of these sets. But Sony's $24,999 asking price for one of their first sets, their 84-inch Ultra HD beast, snapped me back to reality quickly. Westinghouse has a 110-inch that they say they'll build to order, priced at $300,000. LG's 84-inch is a bargain at only about $17,000. Sony announced a new 56-inch set at their CES press conference that they claim will be "accessible." I'm guessing somewhere near $4,000.  The booths here at CES have 4K televisions in the most prominent locations of their setups, with the standard HD sets tucked away in the back. Just about every booth has that separation except Samsung, which has new HD models just behind glorious, eye-searing 90" and 110"(shown above) monsters. Just about everyone that watched the 4K sets for a bit and then turned around to see the HD ones behind them had something to say about how bad they looked in comparison. And they do. There's so much more of a difference that I would have ever imagined. I'd wager that critics of 4K haven't seen a set running proper 4K content yet. And if they have, I'd bet they haven't compared them to a HD set side by side. Don't get me started on the 8K set that had droves of gape-mouthed onlookers standing less than a foot away from the set to appreciate the fine detail captured by the only single camera in existence capable of recording footage of that resolution (shown below). One point the critics may have against 4K is the viewing-distance effect. Just about all of the manufacturers are showing showcase sets at 84 or 85 inches in diagonal, which are plenty big enough to appreciate the increased detail that they offer. But stand back a bit and some of the wow factor dims. If you have great eyesight, you can still see the increased fine detail from 10 feet back, but the other CES hot TV tech, OLED, is almost just as impressive with its colors, dynamic range, and clean images. Even that mind-blowing 8K television merely looked 'pretty' at a distance. Granted, not all living rooms are big enough to have viewers sitting 10 feet or more back, but consider the 4K television you'll eventually buy will probably be much smaller than these 85-inch sets. Shown above: Macro shot of fine detail of Sharp's 8K television Well, it doesn't matter. 4K is the new standard, and as scary as the prices sound now, and as unneeded as the technology seems now, these sets will be in our homes in due time. The question now is what will push 4K into relevance? Will it be movies? Streaming? The new generation of gaming consoles? The fabled Steam Box? I think gaming could really help get 4K going. While we still have no idea how we'll get our Ultra HD movies or television, playing PC games at such high resolutions is doable now. Some gamers are currently using 4K monitors to play really detailed, low framerate versions of their favorite games already. Nothing has to change in the way of content distribution either. While it's scary to think that we might one day have to wait for games with 4K assets to download to home consoles, it seems inevitable. With the high prices and uncertainty over content, only one thing is clear right now: your HDTV looks like shit. Sorry.
Your HDTV sucks photo
4K moves in
It is coming whether you want it or not, just like 3D did. (Well, that's a bad example.) This time it’s 4K television, and it’s the biggest thing at CES this year. Pushing the resolution up to double (or more) ove...


CES: Sony shows Gran Turismo 5 at 4K with SimulView

Split screen not needed
Jan 09
// Dale North
What's the point of having a 84" 4K Ultra HD television if you're just going to split the screen up for two-player play? Sony was probably thinking the same thing when they rigged up this demonstration at CES that uses their ...

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