Friday Tech Roundup (09 August 2013): PC gamers are saving the PC industry, and the high-refresh rate monitor showdown

Maximum PC

By on August 9, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Welcome to the Friday Tech Roundup! Contained herein is your weekly dose of some of the best tech news from across the Internet, rounded up for your edification and entertainment. Read on for all the details of Maximum PC’s monitor refresh rate analysis, the report that claims that PC gamers are saving the PC industry, and the 3D printed rifle that could change gun laws across the globe.

Does refresh rate really matter?

Given that 60Hz monitors have been the standard for a number of years, many people have questions about whether jumping onto the 120/144Hz monitor bandwagon is really worthwhile, both for gaming and office use. Thankfully, Gordon Mah Ung and his team from Maximum PC have performed a series of tests that aim to find an answer to the question once and for all. After covering both bezels with cardboard, the 60Hz and 144Hz monitors were set up side-by-side, and hooked up to near-identical PCs. Three videos were queued up, two live-action videos, and one session of Left 4 Dead 2 that was recorded on a machine running at a locked 120fps.

The test subjects then watched all three videos on both monitors, and were asked to pay heed to the smoothness of the experience first and foremost, ignoring the other aspects of monitor performance. The results of the test were interesting, in that it was a very close race. The varied team of test subjects tended toward the 144Hz panel overall, but did prefer the 60Hz panel for some of the individual tests. One of the test subjects, a video producer by trade, said that the 60Hz panel felt like “an old shoe,” in that the motion blur inherent in the slower refresh rate felt more comfortable to him.

3D printed rifle fires 14 shots before breaking

The Liberator made waves in May as the first ever entirely 3D printed firearm, but has been shown to be unreliable when printed using relatively cheap, commercially available 3D printers. A YouTube user that goes by the name “Matthew” has uploaded a series of videos that show the progression of his project to develop and produce a resilient 3D printed rifle.

The first video shows a single test firing, after which the barrel cracked. The second and third videos show a single unit firing 14 rounds, both remotely and by hand, before sustaining damage enough to prevent further shots. It should be noted that the production, possession, and use of 3D printed firearms is illegal in Australia.

Report finds that gamers are propping up the declining PC hardware market

Bohemia Interactive’s ARMA 3 has been singled out by Ted Pollack, Senior Gaming Analyst at Jon Peddie Research, as being the primary influence behind what the company estimates will equate to $800 million worth of future PC builds.  In the research firm’s August 7 press release, PC gamers have been singled out as being instrumental to the survival of the PC market, and are likened to “motorcycle, 4X4, and sports car enthusiasts,” for their fervency and constant desire for “more speed, power, utility, and handling.” Pollack claims that “a major component of this situation is that many games are placing increasing demands on the CPU.

The result is that swapping out the graphics add-in board is not enough this time around and gamers are building (and ordering) overclocked PC’s from the ground up.” The report closes with an assertion that “on the high end of the spectrum nothing can surpass PCs at this point in time because they can run ultra high resolution graphics better than any other platform. Because consoles have display restrictions and forgiving couch based control input, they just can’t compete with the PC’s precision and power.”

Microsoft reveals list of Gold exclusive Xbox One features

The Xbox Live page on Microsoft’s site has been updated with a list of features that will exist behind the Xbox Live Gold paywall. Existing Xbox Live users may not be surprised by the mere fact of Gold exclusivity, but the fact that some of the more widely touted Xbox One features are on the list may give them pause. Features such as the Game DVR system, which automatically records gameplay footage and makes it available to share to friends on Xbox Live, Skype video calling, and the OneGuide TV programming guide, all require users to commit to the $60 per year service.

Facebook reveals the algorithm behind what appears in your News Feed

In a recent post on the Facebook Business blog, the social networking behemoth has detailed some key details of the algorithm that governs which stories are visible in your News Feed. Of the 1500 or so stories that are visible to an average user at any one time, Facebook selects around 300 stories to feature by “responding to signals from you,” such as:

  • How often you interact with the friend, Page, or public figure (like an actor or journalist) who posted
  • The number of likes, shares and comments a post receives from the world at large and from your friends in particular
  • How much you have interacted with this type of post in the past
  • Whether or not you and other people across Facebook are hiding or reporting a given post

The latest update to the News Feed also includes a method for surfacing older content that is still actively receiving likes and comments. According to the post, “Previously, people read 57% of the stories in their News Feeds, on average. They did not scroll far enough to see the other 43%. When the unread stories were resurfaced, the fraction of stories read increased to 70%.”

Header image courtesy Maximum PC.

9 comments (Leave your own)

The only place refresh rate matters for me is stereoscopy. My 120hz flickers like crazy in 3d. But I don’t think 144hz would make a big difference there.

 

I’m pretty content with 60hz, I’d rather spend my money on larger resolutions than higher speeds.

 

LOL that’s a ridiculous test… Give any decent fast FPS or racing gamer (and by fast fps I mean Quake or CS, not Battlefield or ARMA etc.) a 120hz monitor WHILST PLAYING and the difference is as clear as day and night. The difference is in how it feels in response to your input, watching a video… well that isn’t even coming into play anymore.

 

120Hz makes 60Hz feel laggy which is kinda annoying as I don’t have a card that can push all my games to 120fps not to mention dodgy ports that cap at 60fps.

 

I remember back when everyone was saying how there’s no difference between 60hz and 120hz, that it wasn’t noticeable.
Upon buying my 120hz monitor I sure couldn’t tell at first, it wasn’t until a few days later when I jumped on a specific game (Payday The Heist) that I noticed things were smoother, there after I began noticing it all around and can definitely see the difference between 60hz and 120hz. It just took me a bit to understand what I was meant to be looking for.

Although going back to 60hz does feel laggy initially, you quickly adjust to it. 120hz surely isn’t a necessity but a luxury.

 

hobomaster,

1920*1080 60Hz … I have yet to see an advantage to anything more than that and i’ve seen alot of crazy set up tri-display 2560 120Hz for example and the difference in quality is “meh”.

I think alot of the people that claim 120Hz makes a world changing difference are experiencing a kind of placebo effect it does make a minor difference and it is slightly noticeable most of the time but over all it’s meh

 

Perhaps it’s OCD or just something I’m used to, but I simply cannot stand input lag (mouse lag) which means that I generally turn off vertical sync on games unless the tearing is absolutely horrid (Rage being a example). On a 60 Hz monitor that equals 16.6 ms input lag, which sounds small but is noticeable if you’re used to instant responses with no vertical sync. If I had a 120 Hz monitor (and a video card to drive things at that res), it would be halved to 8.3 ms which I could probably live with.

So yeah, 120 Hz is a big deal because it can significantly reduce input lag when using vertical sync. But only if you can get things to render at 120 FPS consistently though – which is a bit of a challenge sometimes. :)

 

For those of you guys who were interested in this monitor test this story is actually 4 months old as It was actually published in the May edition of APCMag Australia. This website you have linked to seems be the exact same article from the same writer using most (if not all ) of the same text and pictures pictures as the APC article did.

This is not to say the article is not worth a read just to say it is not as new as you might have thought unless he has done an update and I can’t be bothered trying to see.

 

I’m far from an expert, but there is far more than just refresh to look at, and the issues can differ for each targeted use too. Just to name a couple

Persistence
Latency
Response time

I’m glad we have people like John Carmack pushing for low latency games and technology and people at valve working on other technical aspects to improve the experience.

 
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