Plus, the continued growth of 3D-printed firearms.
By Jason Imms 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.