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PlayStation 5 Pre-Order Guide: How To Sign Up And Get Pre-Order Page Notifications

Sony revealed the PlayStation 5 for the first time in a reveal event earlier this month. Along with a slew of next-generation games, the company gave us our first look at the PS5 console and several of its first-party accessories. Unfortunately, Sony still hasn’t announced the PS5’s price or release date, so PS5 pre-orders haven’t gone live yet. It’s unclear when we’ll hear more, but Sony did confirm those details are coming.

If you want to be one of the first people to put your money down, several retailers have opened sign-ups to notify people when the PS5 will be available to pre-order. Below, check out the PS5’s newly revealed design, sign up to be notified when pre-orders go live, and catch up on what we know about the PS5 so far. Plus, see all the games revealed in Sony’s “Future of Gaming” livestream.

The PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition

The PS5 reveal event gave us our first look at two different versions of Sony’s next-gen console. The first model of the PS5 comes with a 4K Blu-ray disc drive, while the second comes without one and is dubbed the PS5 Digital Edition.

PS5 accessories

During the PS5 reveal event, we got our first look at some official, first-party PS5 accessories. Sony revealed a new headset, media remote, controller-charging dock, and camera. No prices were revealed. Unfortunately, we didn’t learn if third-party PS4 accessories will be forward-compatible with the PS5.

When will the PS5 be available to pre-order?

Best Buy, Target, and GameStop are all currently accepting sign-ups for people who wish to be notified. Walmart’s landing page also went live after the PS5 reveal event, but it’s not accepting sign-ups at this time. It’s currently unclear when the PS5’s pre-order date will be, and since no information was revealed in Sony’s livestream on June 11, it’s likely pre-order information and pricing will come later this summer. It’s possible the coronavirus pandemic has caused the PS5’s pre-order date to be pushed back due to stock concerns.

In any case, you can sign up below to be notified right when the PS5 goes on sale. Of course, we’ll update this story with any relevant PS5 pre-order information and listings when they’re available.

Sign up for PS5 pre-order notifications:

PS5 release date

Sony has confirmed a “holiday 2020” release window for PS5, though it still hasn’t revealed the exact release date. In the past, November has been a frequent month for console releases, but nothing is confirmed beyond the fact that PS5 is still releasing in 2020.

How much will the PS5 cost?

Unfortunately, we still don’t know the PS5’s pricepoint. Both models of the PS5 were revealed during Sony’s event, though neither received a price. In a press release following the event on June 11, Sony said pricing and other details will come “at a later date.” In the past, Sony has stated that PS5’s price will be “appealing to gamers” because of its specs.

  • Read more: PS5 Price: Here’s What We Believe The PlayStation 5 Will Cost

What we do know about the PS5

The PS5 will usher in a new generation of games, but it will also feature PS4 backward-compatibility. Both consoles boast similar internal architecture, so the transition is easier than what we saw from the PS3 to PS4. However, it’s unclear which PS4 games will be compatible with the PS5. Sony has said that most games will run on the PS5–Cerny noted that almost all of the PS4’s 100 most-played games will be compatible with the new system. The reason some games aren’t compatible is that “the boost is truly massive this time around and some game code just can’t handle it,” Cerny said. This means Sony has to test each game before they can give the thumbs up.

Speaking of games, Sony also revealed quite a few during the PS5 reveal event on June 11. Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Horizon Forbidden West, and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart were among the reveals as were Resident Evil 8: Village, Hitman III, and a Demon’s Souls remake.

As for the PS5’s specs, it most notably boasts a custom 825GB SSD with an expandable NVMe SSD storage slot, which will ensure faster install times as well as faster loading–though not all NVMe SSDs will be capable of keeping up with the PS5.

The console supports ray tracing, 3D audio, and PlayStation VR, and it also has a 4K UHD Blu-ray drive. To simplify things, Sony has said the PS5 is powerful enough to support 4K resolution at a 120Hz refresh rate–that’s double the refresh rate of most TVs, which typically run at 60Hz.

Sony also revealed the PS5’s DualSense controller earlier this year. Sony said that one of its goals is “to deepen the feeling of immersion when you play games.” The company elaborated on this by revealing two new features the next-gen controller will support. The first is the replacement of its rumble technology with haptic feedback–this is also why they dropped the Shock part of the DualShock name. Sony says that “you truly feel a broader range of feedback” with haptics, which means “crashing into a wall in a race car feels much different than making a tackle on the football field.” Sony noted you can even feel the difference between various textures.

The second big new feature is what Sony calls “adaptive triggers,” which the company claims can simulate various actions, such as “the tactile sensation of drawing a bow and arrow or accelerating an off-road vehicle through rocky terrain.”

PS5 And PS4 News And Announcements

  • PS5 Price And Release Date Will Come Later, Sony Says
  • PS5 Reveal Event: All Games And Console Details Announced
  • Here's What The PS5 Design Looks Like
  • All The PlayStation 5 Games Confirmed (And Expected) So Far
  • PlayStation 5 Pre-Order Guide: Get Notified When PS5 Pre-Orders Go Live

Source: Read Full Article

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Tech

Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons In Stock At Amazon, Target, And GameStop

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, product shortages have become common–for gamers, the Nintendo Switch has notably been near-impossible to find at list price, and the Switch’s fitness game Ring Fit Adventure has also been sold out as people look for indoor workout alternatives. The increased demand around the Nintendo Switch has led Joy-Cons to seemingly sell out online as well, which is a huge bummer if you’ve been dealing with Joy-Con drift or just want to pick up another pair for Super Mario Party and other multiplayer games. Fortunately, we’re seeing Switch Joy-Cons back in stock today, but we suggest grabbing them soon in case they sell out again.

Right now, GameStop and Target have the Neon Red / Neon Blue combo in stock. The Joy-Con pairs are selling for their standard list price of $80, which is pricey (in typical Nintendo fashion), but better than the inflated prices third-party sellers are listing them for right now. You can also grab individual Joy-Cons in various colors at GameStop, though these are pre-owned.

Where to find Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons in stock:

Amazon:

GameStop:

Target:

To make the Joy-Con shortage even more frustrating, Nintendo closed all of its North American repair centers in March as COVID-19 numbers increased, meaning those struggling with Joy-Con drift have had no way to get their controllers fixed. Nintendo is now starting to re-open repair centers, and you can submit an online repair request now, which will be prioritized in the order in which it’s received. Nintendo will email you to let you know when your Joy-Cons can be shipped for repair.

Meanwhile, we’re continuing to track availability for the Nintendo Switch itself, which comes into stock periodically at places like Amazon and Best Buy but usually sells out again within minutes. Ring Fit Adventure has seen some restocks lately as well. If you’re interested in picking up a VR headset for Half-Life Alyx and other VR titles, you’ve probably noticed the Oculus Quest has been sold out frequently as well–bookmark our Oculus Quest availability guide for the latest updates on where to buy the headset.

Best Deals This Week

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  • Over 3,000 Steam Deals, Free Game Available In New PC Games Sale
  • Here's Where You Can Get A Nintendo Switch Lite
  • All The Free Game Promotions You Can Claim On PS4, Xbox One, PC, And More
  • Best Budget Monitors Under $200 – Cheap Monitors For Working From Home

Source: Read Full Article

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Tech

The Best Pre-Built Gaming PCs To Buy (June 2020): PC Rigs For Different Price Ranges

Building your own PC requires patience, confidence, and time not everyone can afford. Picking out parts that are compatible with each other is a much easier task than it used to be, but if anything goes wrong it’s up to you to figure out what the problem is. However, there’s a great option out there for those that want to join the PC gaming world but aren’t necessarily ready to build their own gaming PC. Pre-built gaming PCs skip the build step entirely, but even with these already-built rigs, you need to know what you’re looking for. We’ve made it easy by selecting a variety of the best pre-built gaming PCs that are in stock and worth your money.

Pre-built gaming PCs have come a long way over the last couple of years, and while some are still more expensive than the sum of their parts, they’re a convenient and great option for PC gaming. There are also a wide range of prices, much like PC parts themselves. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, then there are plenty with more modest specs to choose from. There are also pre-built gaming PCs that can rock high settings–and yes, your bank account, too.

Some of these pre-built gaming PCs are discounted right now, though it’s important to note that prices on the internet fluctuate regularly: What you see on this page may not reflect what you see when you click through. Please note the correct price before placing your final order. And if you’re looking for a cheap monitor to pair with your new PC, check out our guide to the best budget monitors that are in stock right now. We also have guides on the best gaming keyboards and best gaming mice.

Note: The prices shown below indicate a product’s standard list price and may not reflect any current discounts or other fluctuations.

Gaming PCs under $1,000

Gaming PCs under $1,500

Gaming PCs under $2,000

Gaming PCs under $3,000

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The Best Webcams For Meetings And Streaming In 2020

With the current pandemic still forcing many people to stay home these days, many have found that they need a webcam (better than the one that’s built into their laptop, at least) to attend meetings or have online hangouts with friends. With so many people looking to buy a webcam, it can be hard to find a good webcam from many of the best brands, including Logitech, Microsoft, and Razer, that hasn’t sold out. With that struggle in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the best webcams available to buy right now. These may not be the best webcams on the market, but they’re still well-reviewed, affordable, and will work just fine for the majority of people.

Many of these webcams are also great for casual Twitch streaming setups. While more professional streamers use DSLR cameras, webcams are a popular way to implant your face into your stream without breaking the bank. A big plus to streaming with a webcam is that you don’t need one with an ultra-high resolution, as the picture-in-picture facecam is relatively small compared to the rest of your stream’s output. If you’re new to streaming, most of these webcams will suit your needs perfectly. Plus, see our guide to the best streaming accessories for more options, including the best capture cards and best budget gaming chairs.

At the moment, some of these webcams are discounted, but prices do fluctuate quite a bit and seemingly at random, especially on Amazon. Before you finalize your purchase, double-check that price. As for the webcams we’ve chosen, the ones you can view below have either been tested by us personally or chosen due to their overwhelmingly positive reviews.

Note: The prices shown below indicate a product’s standard list price and may not reflect any current discounts or other fluctuations.

Best webcams in stock right now

6478737 – Best Webcams

$35 at Amazon


$49 at Amazon


$43 at Amazon


$40 at Amazon


$60 at Amazon


$78.89 at Amazon


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Disco Elysium TV series in the works with Sonic the Hedgehog movie producer

Disco Elysium could be heading to the small screen, according to a report from Variety. The 2019 RPG takes place in a fictional, semi-fantastic world, and players take control of an amnesic veteran detective with a penchant for causing chaos.

Studio ZA/UM, the developers of Disco Elysium, are partnering with dj2 Entertainment to create this series. These producers are best known for working on the recent Sonic the Hedgehog film. These producers also have the licenses for a variety of games, including Life is Strange, We Happy Few, Vampyr, and Sleeping Dogs, and intend to create a variety of feature film projects or shows based off these properties. So far, the only one of these games to see the light of day as an adaptation is Sonic the Hedgehog, which was relatively well-received as a family friendly romp.

It’ll be fascinating to see how Disco Elysium might translate to the small screen, as the basic premise of the game is that the protagonist is customized through a “Thought Cabinet” that holds various ideologies, perceptions, and patterns. For instance, it’s possible to specialize into being a nationalist racist, or perhaps a deeply attuned occult-sensitive mystic.

Most of the change and customization in Disco Elysium is centered on the protagonist, not the world he lives in, and how he treats his companions. However, there are some great moments that can translate to a serialized show, especially if players chose to be a total trash disaster at all times.

If you’re not willing to wait until the TV show to check out Disco Elysium, the game recently launched on the Epic Games Store. A console port for the Nintendo Switch is currently in the works.

Switch Lite

Nintendo Switch consoles are often sold out, but you can still pick up the handheld-only Switch Lite, which is perfect for portable gaming.

Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.

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The Best SSDs To Buy In 2020: SATA, M.2., And NVMe Drives You Can Buy Right Now

If you’re building a gaming PC, then one thing that you can’t be without is a solid-state drive. SSDs deliver the fastest speeds, and in addition to moving files and performing tasks, they also load games and stream open worlds at a much faster rate than disk-based hard drives. This results in quick loading times and stutter-free open-world gameplay, something that’s harder for your PC to handle with an HDD.

However, selecting a solid-state drive for your PC isn’t as easy as just buying the first one you see. There are a few different types of SSDs that you should know about before you pick the right one. SATA SSDs are the most common and require you to connect them to your power supply and motherboard’s SATA ports. M.2 SSDs are a faster option and require you to plug them into the M.2 slots on your motherboard–you’ll want to make sure your motherboard has M.2 slots prior to your purchase.

M.2 SSDs also come in a number of different configurations. M.2 SATA is the slowest, as it uses the same standard that hard drives have used for years. M.2 PCIe, on the other hand, is much faster. Most M.2 PCIe SSDs make use of the NVMe memory standard, which lets the SSDs read and write at their full speed potential. Both M.2 SATA and M.2 PCIe can be inserted into the same slots on your motherboard, but you’ll likely benefit more from an M.2 PCIe SSD because of that extra speed. M.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs typically cost more, but you can often find NVMe SSDs at a lower price than their regular, thanks to sales.

There are a lot of great SSDs out there, though they’re not always in stock. That’s why we’ve collected a number of the best ones you can buy right now.

Best SATA SSDs in stock right now

SSDs don’t last forever, so you want to go with a quality brand. Western Digital, Samsung, and Crucial all make great SSDs, and if you’re looking for SATA-based drives, then you can’t go wrong with any of them.

6478065 – Best SSDs – SATA

WD Blue SSD


Samsung 860 EVO SSD


Crucial BX500 1TB SSD


Best M.2 SATA SSDs in stock right now

M.2 SATA SSDs aren’t as fast as M.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs, but they’re also much cheaper. If you’re looking to save some money, then an M.2 SATA is the way to go. Samsung’s M.2 SSD sticks are among the fastest, which is why they’re also the most expensive.

6478065 – Best SSDs – M2 SATA

WD Blue M.2 SATA


Crucial MX500 M.2 SATA


Samsung 860 EVO M.2 SATA


WD Black SN750 NVMe M.2 SATA


Best M.2 NVMe SSDs in stock right now

If you want the fastest possible SSD you can get, go with an M.2 NVMe SSD. The Samsung 970 EVO Plus is the best one you can get right now, but Crucial and Sabrent’s options are both great as well–I personally have two Crucial M.2 NVMe SSDs plugged into my system.

6478065 – Best SSDs – M2 PCIe NVMe

Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVME PCIe


Crucial P2 NVMe PCIe


Sabrent Rocket NVMe PCIe


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Nintendo Switch Bundles Still In Stock At GameStop

The Nintendo Switch is currently seeing a major worldwide shortage, the likes of which we haven’t seen since its release in 2017. People are clamoring to get their hands on the console, most likely due to being stuck inside because of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the timely release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The $300 console is currently sold out pretty much everywhere, unless you’re looking to more for a few accessories with your purchase. A few weeks ago, GameStop began offering Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite bundles that included a couple of and accessories. The Switch Lite bundles are gone, but you might be able to score the regular Switch if you’re quick.

The current round of GameStop Nintendo Switch bundles offer a Nintendo Switch in either Gray or Neon with a trio of games and a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. The games that come with the bundle are Animal Crossing: New Horizons, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Minecraft for $520. That’s the price of all the items on their own, but if you’re in dire need of a Switch, this might be your best bet right now.

According to Nintendo, Switch consoles will be restocked in the near future, but there’s no word on exactly when that will be. “Nintendo Switch hardware is selling out at various retail locations in the US, but more systems are on the way. We apologize for any inconvenience,” Nintendo told GameSpot in an email statement. Hopefully, we start seeing the system back in stock at retailers soon.

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Nintendo Switch In Stock At Best Buy And GameStop

Though it’s not nearly as crucial as hand sanitizer, tissues, toilet paper, and other household goods, the Nintendo Switch console is seeing a major national shortage right now, as major retailers respond to increased demand for online goods due to the coronavirus outbreak. The $300 console is seeing increased demand as more people find themselves stuck indoors and looking for a good way to play some video games.

It might currently be in stock at Best Buy, though the store listings have swapped between “add to cart” and “sold out” regularly. It might be worth it to refresh the page a few times and see if you can add it to your cart, after which you should be set. Your mileage will vary.

GameStop also has a bundle for the system that includes the console, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Minecraft, and a Nintendo Switch Pro controller. The price of the system doesn’t save you any cash, but if the Best Buy link isn’t working for you, this is probably the best way to get a Switch right now.

According to Nintendo, more regular Switch consoles will be restocked soon. “Nintendo Switch hardware is selling out at various retail locations in the US, but more systems are on the way. We apologize for any inconvenience,” Nintendo told GameSpot in an email statement.

It’s rare to find the regular Nintendo Switch in stock right now, but we’ve seen it come back into stock on occasion. However, online restocks usually sell out within a minute or less. Some places, like GameStop and Best Buy, let you check availability at your local store, and if you can find it in stock, they may do curbside pickup so you don’t even have to go inside. You can check the current listings and availability below. We check for availability frequently and update this story anytime we spot the Switch in stock.

GameStop

The Nintendo Switch is sold out of both colors at GameStop.

Amazon

The Nintendo Switch is sold out of both colors at Amazon. Third-party sellers are selling the console at a mark-up.

Best Buy

The Nintendo Switch is sold out of both colors at Amazon.

Walmart

The Nintendo Switch is sold out of both colors at Walmart. Third-party sellers are selling the console at a mark-up.

Target

The Nintendo Switch is sold out of both colors at Target.

Nintendo Switch out of stock

While not available at MSRP, you can check current listings for the regular Nintendo Switch below. Some stores simply list the console as unavailable, while others are allowing third-party sellers to offer the console for much higher prices, usually around $400-$500.

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The Best Gaming Keyboard In 2020: Razer, Steelseries, Logitech, HyperX, And More

Keyboards are an unavoidable part of the 21st century. We hammer out texts on our phones, mash the WASD keys while testing out a new keymapping for Escape From Tarkov, and type out personal details to fill out forms on our laptops. And if you do a lot of typing, you may as well buy a great keyboard that can make it fun to write the next great novel and make you a better gamer, however slightly. With so many great games available on PC–and major hits like Cyberpunk 2077, Marvel’s Avengers, and more on the way–it’s worth investing in a good keyboard for gaming.

When it comes to finding the right keyboard and mouse setup, you have to know what you want. Some like their keyboards small, flat, and quiet, while others prefer the tactile key switches, larger profile, and satisfying sounds of a mechanical gaming keyboard. High-end keyboards get more elaborate every year, too, which means there are more factors, like keyboard backlighting, ergonomic design, N-key rollover, and response time to think about.

If you’re serious about your gaming experience on PC, especially for action-heavy games like shooters or real-time strategy games, then a dedicated, mechanical gaming keyboard can come with a host of advantages. Mechanical keys can provide better ergonomics for increased comfort over a membrane keyboard, making them a better purchase in the long run; every key switch can provide a more defined (and potentially faster) response time due their better key switches, to make sure you know you did the thing; with a good backlight, they can potentially play host to an extravagant light show that might let you know when something bad (or good!) is happening in your game.

There’s a lot to think about when you’re looking for the best gaming keyboard, and there are a lot of different options on the market to choose from. We’ve been fortunate enough to try a number of currently-available keyboard models, and in this article, we’ve rounded up our personal favourites to help give you an idea about what you might want out of your perfect keyboard.

When it comes to choosing the right keyboard, you have to be aware of some terminology, especially as it relates to mechanical switches. First off, linear versus tactile switches keys. Linear means there is no physical feedback mechanism to indicate when a keystroke is registered. It’s smooth, relatively quiet, and preferred for rapidly tapping on keys. Tactile means there is a bump or click to indicate you’ve hit the actuation point; it’s louder, but some prefer having physical feedback for keystrokes. It really comes down to preference. Actuation point is the distance at which a keystroke is registered; a shorter distance means you don’t have to press the key down as far, but can lead to errant inputs. Actuation force is, well, the force needed to press the key down. Of course, there are all the quality-of-life considerations to think about, too, like multimedia keys, whether you want a programmable key row and such.

While Cherry has been the long-time dominant manufacturer of mechanical switches, some gaming peripheral brands have started making their own proprietary mechanical switches for their keyboards, namely Razer and Logitech. For a brief overview of the most common mx switches, see below:

  • Cherry MX Red Switches: Linear
  • Cherry MX Blue Switches: Tactile and Clicky
  • Cherry MX Brown Switches: Tactile with a Bump
  • Cherry MX Speed Switches: Linear with a very short actuation point
  • Romer-G Linear Switches: Linear
  • Romer-G Tactile Switches: Tactile with a Bump
  • Razer Yellow Switches: Linear
  • Razer Orange Switches: Tactile with a Bump
  • Razer Green Switches: Tactile and Clicky
  • Steelseries OmniPoint Adjustable Switches: Linear with adjustable actuation point

Quick Look: Best Gaming Keyboard

  • Best Quiet Mechanical Keyboard: Logitech G512 / G513
  • Best RGB Lighting: HyperX Alloy Origins
  • Best Tenkeyless Gaming Keyboard: Razer Huntsman
  • Best Build Quality In A Gaming Keyboard: Corsair K68
  • Best Premium Wireless Keyboard: Logitech G613
  • Best High-End Keyboard For Serious People: Steelseries Apex Pro

Looking to complete your gaming keyboard and mouse combo, or just want more gaming peripherals to shop for? Check out our picks for the best gaming headset, best gaming mouse, and the best Nintendo Switch accessories. And while you’re shopping, make sure to take advantage of all the great PC gaming and VR deals, including free games from Epic, as well as services like Xbox Game Pass for PC and Twitch Prime. Also make sure to check out the best VPN services.

Best Gaming Keyboard: Quiet Mechanical

Logitech G512 / G513

The Good

  • Relatively quiet keystrokes
  • Exposed keycap design looks great and is easy to keep clean
  • Aluminum chassis is sleek and makes for good build quality
  • Padded magnetic wrist pad is a nice option (G513 only)
  • Romer-G linear keys are a good alternative to Cherry MX switches…

The Bad

  • …though they may not feel as smooth

Logitech has iterated on several of its keyboard and mice, essentially fine-tuning good designs to become great. Such is the case with the G512/G513 models of its mechanical gaming keyboard design–they’re an improvement over the G413 in subtle, but important ways. These newer models sport full RGB backlighting that’s customizable through Logitech software, and the option to come equipped with Logitech’s own Romer-G mechanical switches. While the G413 introduced the Romer-G tactile switches, the new linear option is what makes the G512/G513 some of the quietest gaming keyboards out there.

Linear switches don’t have the clicking-and-clacking of tactile ones, but the sound of the key bottoming out remains loud. However, Romer-G switches soften the blow by design, reducing the amount of contact between parts. When using my tenkeyless Razer keyboard with linear switches and my G513 side-by-side, the difference in noise is night and day. Romer-G isn’t necessarily a compromise either; it’s a fast and accurate mechanical switch, like its Cherry and Razer counterparts. The only thing I noticed is that a keystroke itself may not feel as buttery smooth.

The G512/G513 is a simple design executed just right. It has exposed LED-backlit keycaps for easy cleaning and a sleek brushed aluminum frame means the keyboard backlighting looks premium but not gaudy. One USB pass-through is at the top-right of the chassis and media functions are relegated to the F-keys. A perk specific to the G513 is that it comes with a padded palm rest that attaches magnetically, which feels much better than plastic ones seen on other keyboards–that’s the main difference between the two models and may not be worth the price difference. Overall, they’re great packages, and you should definitely consider either one if you want a mechanical keyboard without the potential noise complaints.

  • Switch Types: Romer-G Linear or Tactile, GX Blue
  • Available in Tenkeyless: No

Best Gaming Keyboard For RGB Lighting Effects

HyperX Alloy Origins

The Good

  • Incredibly vibrant lighting effects
  • Slick, strong, and weighty build
  • Exposed keycaps make it easy to clean
  • Smooth, responsive switches
  • Detachable USB-C cord

The Bad

  • No USB passthrough
  • NGenuity software is unreliable

The Alloy Origins from HyperX is a very well-made all-rounder keyboard at a reasonable mid-range price. The aluminum build feels incredibly solid and gives the keyboard quite a bit of weight, but it’s still a compact unit with exposed keycaps, minimal trim around the edges, and a detachable USB-C cord. It comes in three different variations with HyperX’s custom switches (linear, tactile, and clicky)–I tested the linear version which felt very smooth and responsive (the key travel is 1.8mm), even if the overall travel (3.8mm) is a little bit longer than I personally prefer for long stretches of typing.

You can set it at three different angles to suit your ergonomic setup. It also has a Game Mode that disables keyboard shortcuts like Alt+Tab–another nice touch. Other than that, there aren’t a whole lot of bells and whistles–no macro keys, not even USB passthrough. As the “Origins” name might suggest, this is a slick, strong, no-nonsense keyboard with a focus on responsiveness.

But the thing that really makes the Alloy Origins stand out are exposed LEDs it uses for its RGB lighting. Instead of having the lights sit underneath each keyboard switch, they lay alongside them. This results in an incredibly vivid effect where coloured lighting not only comes through each keycap but emanates a distinctive aura underneath each keycap too, which is visible even my bright, sunny office. It’s stunning, especially when compared directly to other models, and especially once you set up some of the more audacious trigger effects like explosions or fades.

The only caveat is that the HyperX NGenuity software required to program the lights can be a little finicky–I wasn’t able to get the software to detect the keyboard on my home PC at all, but your mileage may vary. It’s a pretty user-friendly piece of software, however–I was able to very quickly and easily set up my keyboard with a beautiful, twinkling cherry blossom idle effect with lingering fade lights as I typed, and bright red explosions when I hit backspace. If style is your priority, the Alloy Origins is a great pick.

  • Switch Types: HyperX Custom Switches (Linear, Tactile, Clicky)
  • Available in Tenkeyless: Yes

Best Gaming Keyboard: High-End

Razer Huntsman Elite

The Good

  • Razer’s own switches are some of the best out there
  • Strong, hefty build quality
  • Excellent media buttons
  • Comfortable wrist support pad
  • Low actuation point means slightly faster input registry…

The Bad

  • …but can lead to typos or mistaken inputs

The Razer Huntsman Elite is a fantastic full-sized mechanical keyboard, thanks to Razer’s excellent in-house switches, strong build quality, and comfortable wrist support. The Huntsman Elite pairs its mechanical switches with optical sensors that make for fast inputs, and its keycaps feel great to both type and game on. The optical sensors take your input before you’ve pushed the key down the whole way, which makes the keyboard register keystrokes faster but also more likely to create typos if you’re not used to it. This is particularly true when typing fast, but thankfully, I didn’t notice it much while playing first-person shooters like Rainbow Six Siege and Valorant.

The build quality is also quite impressive. Its heavy and substantial chassis makes it feel like a brick, though the size is quite compact for a fully-featured keyboard. It makes use of the entire surface and features distinct, satisfyingly clicky media buttons for pausing, playing, and skipping. These are extremely easy to navigate to and press thanks to their distinct shape and size, which I found useful for pausing podcasts, YouTube videos, and music while playing games that required more of my attention.

Each Huntsman Elite also comes with a padded wrist support that magnetically attaches to the bottom of the keyboard and syncs with its Chroma lighting patterns. It’s not the best wrist pad out there, but it offers adequate support for your wrists while you type and game for long sessions. The Razer Huntsman Elite is one of the best high-end keyboards out there, and if you’re looking for a tactile-switch gaming keyboard, it’s hard to beat it.

  • Switch Types: Razer Linear Optical Switch, Clicky Optical Switch
  • Available in Tenkeyless: Yes

Best Gaming Keyboard: Compact/Tenkeyless Mechanical

Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition

The Good

  • Razer’s own switches are among the best
  • Strong build quality with aluminum chassis
  • Detachable USB-C cable
  • Low actuation point means slightly faster input registry…

The Bad

  • …but can lead to typos or mistaken inputs
  • Keystrokes can be loud, even for linear switches

There’s something novel about a compact tenkeyless keyboard; they’re cute. If you have no use for the number pad and/or want to have a minimalist desk setup, they’re definitely up your alley. If that’s what you’re into there’s a ton of options out there, as tenkeyless is quite popular among the PC gaming crowd, which was born out of the need for small keyboard at cramped LAN competitions. But which one should you get? The Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition is an easy choice.

Razer’s Huntsman keyboards have a sleek aluminum chassis and an overall no-nonsense design. The Tournament Edition specifically is the tenkeyless version, and it features a long detachable braided USB-C cable, which makes it easier to take places if you need to. It also retains the Razer Chroma RGB lighting though the backlighting isn’t as vibrant as other Razer keyboards. What makes these keyboards special are the options you have for mechanical switches. Each of Razer’s own switches (Green, Yellow, and Orange) are tuned for competitive gaming with short actuation points and fine-tuned reset points; they’re also consistently smooth to the keystroke. I’ve mainly used Razer Yellow with the Huntsman TE, and it’s my preferred setup for when things get serious.

The fast response and short actuation point may also lead to more errant inputs, mainly from resting your hand on the keys; it’s something to be mindful of. And the Huntsman isn’t designed for the courtesy of others around you as full keystrokes can be really loud. If neither of those are big concerns, then it’d be hard to overlook the Razer Huntsman.

  • Switch Types: Razer Orange, Green, or Yellow
  • Available not in Tenkeyless: Yes

Best Gaming Keyboard: Wireless Mechanical

Logitech G613

The Good

  • Long battery life (AA required)
  • Fast input response that matches that of wired keyboards
  • Affordable, especially considering how few options are available
  • Romer-G tactile switches work well

The Bad

  • Not the best looking keyboard
  • Plastic wrist rest comes attached, making it a bit bulky overall

Wireless mechanical keyboards are hard to come by, since there are so few options available. That’s not the only reason why we recommend the Logitech G613, though. Input latency is at the top of concerns, but that’s been largely solved as seen with wireless gaming mice, and Logitech adapts its “Lightspeed” tech found in its mice for the G613. It’s also a fantastic budget gaming keyboard.

The G613 is a full-size keyboard in every sense. It features a built-in plastic wrist rest, which is handy, but not detachable. There are six programmable macro keys on the left side of the keyboard and a suite of media controls at the top-right, too. Most importantly, the G613 stands among the great mechanical keyboards out there because of its fast response and accurate mechanical switches. It only comes with Romer-G tactile switches, which isn’t so bad because these provide all the benefits of a mechanical switch like smooth, consistent keystrokes.

While you’ll need to stock up on AA batteries, the G613 is quite efficient, lasting up to 18 months according to Logitech–it’s so efficient, we’re not even talking in hours anymore. And only once did I have to swap out batteries since I took it in as my main keyboard for work back in 2017. It’d be pretty annoying to swap out batteries for a keyboard every few months, so this is key. A reason why battery life last this long is because one common feature has been left behind: backlit keys. Keys are painted in a vibrant white that helps visibility, but of course it’s not the same as proper backlighting.

Considering its feature set and the fact that it’s one of the few wireless mechanical keyboards out there, the Logitech G613 is fairly affordable, especially when it’s on sale. The prospect a wireless gaming keyboard may not be as appealing as a wireless mouse (you’re not constantly moving a keyboard around and dragging a cord after all), but those who want to cut the cord without sacrificing keyboard quality have a great option here.

  • Switch types: Romer-G Tactile
  • Available in Tenkeyless: No

Best Gaming Keyboard: Best Build Quality

Corsair K68

The Good

  • Solid, sturdy build that’s also water-resistant
  • Dedicated media keys are convenient
  • Smooth keystrokes with multiple options for Cherry MX switches (for RGB models)

The Bad

  • None to speak of

The Corsair K68 is an all-around solid keyboard–solid, of course, as in it can take a beating. It’s pitched as the mechanical keyboard that’ll withstand the hazards that might accompany someone’s desk, like spilled liquids. On to of being water-resistant, it’s housed by a thick, sturdy chassis. While Corsair’s product page shows the keyboard being showered on, we tested it ourselves in our K68 review–it turns out it can take showers. There’s a protective membrane beneath the keycaps and shields the mechanical switches from damage, and any liquid it takes on is funneled out of the board.

Those are some of the perks specific to the K68, but it’s an overall top performer. We’ve only used it with Cherry MX Red switches and, as expected, they work like a charm, providing smooth and responsive keystrokes. You have a few options when it comes to K68 models, however. There’s a cheaper version that only comes with red LED backlighting and Red switches, but you’ll have to kick in a few more bucks to get the RGB backlit version which also lets you choose between Cherry MX Red, Blue, or Speed switches. Both models do feature some nice, chunky media control buttons at the top-right, and they come packed with a detachable wrist rest with rubber texture.

There’s nothing bad to say about the K68, really. You can’t go wrong if you’re looking for a great mechanical keyboard, especially if you’re accident-prone or just want to make sure your investment doesn’t get destroyed so easily. It’s also a budget gaming keyboard, especially if you can find it on sale.

  • Switch types: Cherry MX Red, Blue, or Speed
  • Available in Tenkeyless: No

Best Gaming Keyboard: High-End

SteelSeries Apex Pro

The Good

  • Adjustable mechanical switches are impressive
  • Switches are smooth and relatively quiet
  • Very solid and compact (ignoring the wrist rest) construction
  • Lots of meaningful luxuries that make it feel high-end
  • Comprehensive customisation software

The Bad

  • It’s relatively expensive

The SteelSeries Apex Pro is a high-end keyboard that, on top of looking and feeling the part in basically all respects, sports a pretty innovative feature that currently only exists in maybe one other keyboard: Adjustable mechanical switches. That’s right–you can adjust the trigger point of each individual key on the main key spread to suit your preference, meaning you can program them to only activate on a full, concerted press (about 3.6mm) or the lightest of touches (a shallow 0.4mm).

Is that useful? It can be! A common example would be if you’re a keyboard stickler who spends long stretches of time both typing and playing PC games, like me. You might prefer longer, deeper actuation to help with accuracy and reduce any slips while typing, and a much lighter actuation to increase response times in action games. The SteelSeries Engine software makes it easy to build these profiles (which can be saved onboard the keyboard itself for hardware-side activation), and conveniently allows you to script automatic profile switching for when a particular application becomes active (like Chrome or Apex Legends, for example).

However, it’s worth noting that the linear nature of the switches remains the same regardless, and there are no other options if you prefer a clicky or tactile switch. That said, the way the keys respond can still feel like night and day depending on where you are on the actuation scale.

A host of wholly unnecessary but luxurious features include a tiny OLED display plus a dedicated media playback and volume control wheel, both of which help navigate the onboard UI, which allows you to customise every aspect of the keyboard without having to launch the software, though it’s certainly not as efficient. The display can easily be customised to display 1-bit, 128×40 pixel gifs, and supports integration with a limited selection of programs like Discord, Dota 2, CS:GO, Mortal Kombat 11, and Tidal (if you use Tidal for some reason) to display vital information.

It features USB passthrough, cable routing, macro keys, a magnetic soft rubber wrist rest, and exposed LED lighting for individual keys. The aluminum construction is incredibly durable as you’d expect–it features an exposed keycap design, and it sports a very compact trim, much like the HyperX Alloy Origins (though the lighting isn’t quite as vibrant). Nevertheless, the SteelSeries Apex Pro has everything you’d feasibly want from a premium high-end keyboard, and the adjustable switches are a meaningful customisation feature (even if it seems like a ridiculous flex).

(Note: The more affordable Steelseries Apex 7 sports all the features of the Apex Pro, but comes with more traditional SteelSeries-brand Red, Blue, or Brown switches.)

  • Switch Type: OmniPoint Adjustable Mechanical Switches (Apex 7 available in SteelSeries Red, Blue, or Brown)
  • Available in Tenkeyless: Yes

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Categories
Tech

Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics cards are now the first DirectX 12 Ultimate GPUs

Nvidia rolled out its latest Game Ready drivers for GeForce graphics cards on Tuesday. We don’t normally cover the hot-and-heavy world of graphics drivers releases (just keep them updated, okay?), but this one features a notable milestone: Game Ready driver 451.48 is fully DirectX 12 Ultimate compliant, meaning Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 20-series graphics cards are the first hardware to support Microsoft’s next-gen graphics API.

While it’s notable, it’s no surprise. DirectX 12 Ultimate unifies graphics support across PCs and the forthcoming Xbox Series X, rolling in features like an updated version of Microsoft’s DXR ray tracing API, variable rate shading tier 2, mesh shaders, and sampler feedback. Most of those technologies appeared first in Nvidia’s “Turing” graphics cards—the RTX 20-series and GTX 16-series—but haven’t been seen often in games, as they’ve been limited to Nvidia hardware.

Now that they’re enshrined in the new DX12 Ultimate standard across consoles and PC GPUs alike, expect the features to gain more traction. Microsoft calls the unified API “a force multiplier for the entire gaming ecosystem.”

https://youtube.com/watch?v=QvIXvF6r%E2%80%94A

It’s also vindication for Nvidia’s design decisions for its latest graphics card architecture. You can learn more in our Turing GPU deep-dive if you’re curious, and more about these specific features in our coverage of the DirectX 12 Ultimate announcement. They’re nifty stuff.

Future AMD Radeon GPUs will no doubt also support DirectX 12 Ultimate, because the company’s RDNA graphics architecture powers the Xbox One X and ray tracing’s been confirmed for RDNA2 graphics cards launching later this year. Current Radeon offerings lack ray tracing capabilities, however. 

Speaking of the latest APIs, Nvidia’s new driver also rolls out full support for Vulkan 1.2.

Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling, new G-Sync Compatible monitors

That’s not all. Nvidia’s latest Game Ready drivers also let your existing hardware perform new tricks.

A new hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling feature might be even more interesting at the user level than DirectX 12 Ultimate, at least for now. Microsoft added the feature in the Windows 10 2020 May Update (which is also required for DX12 Ultimate), and this driver unlocks Nvidia’s support. Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling hands VRAM management over to the graphics card itself, rather than having Windows handle the reins.

Here’s how Nvidia’s public relations blast described its benefits:

“Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling allows GPUs to handle video playback and games calculations more efficiently by directly managing its video memory. This new feature can also help improve performance and reduce latency on supported hardware. Hardware scheduling works regardless of the API (DirectX, Vulkan, OpenGL) so a wide variety of applications and games can see a benefit from this new feature, including Movies & TV app, Netflix, and games.”

Given that Nvidia isn’t touting huge performance gains, don’t expect it to work some sort of black magic that suddenly supercharges GPU performance. Nonetheless, it sounds like a solid feature addition.

Search for “Graphics Settings: Change Default Graphics Settings” in Windows and toggle the feature on to enable it, assuming you’ve already upgraded to the May 2020 Update. You don’t turn it on in Nvidia’s Control Panel.

Shifting gears, the new driver also adds automatic support for nine more G-Sync Compatible displays, Nvidia’s marketing term for Adaptive Sync (read: FreeSync) monitors that pass a stricter Nvidia certification process. Official G-Sync Compatible displays automatically have their variable refresh rate capabilities turned on by the drivers, rather than requiring a Control Panel workaround like other FreeSync monitors.

The new driver activates support for the following monitors:

Finally, this driver adds one-click optimization for 12 more games. The optimization tool in GeForce Experience scans your computer’s hardware and automatically configures a game’s visual options based on their capabilities, though its decisions can be…odd…sometimes. Still, it works well more often than not, and is a valuable tool for people who aren’t comfortable tinkering with arcane graphics options themselves. Here are the newly supported games:

  • Age of Empires III: Complete Collection
  • Command & Conquer Remastered Collection
  • Deadside
  • Gears Tactics
  • Mafia II: Definitive Edition
  • Monster Train
  • ONE PIECE: PIRATE WARRIORS 4
  • Outer Wilds
  • Roblox
  • Shop Titans
  • Streets of Rage 4
  • Total Tank Simulator

If you’re running GeForce Experience, look for the new driver update today; I’m already seeing in on my system. You can also download the drivers manually from Nvidia’s website. Again, while you can download the Game Ready 451.48 drivers no matter which version of Windows 10 you’re using, the DirectX 12 Ultimate and hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling features require the Windows 10 May 2020 Update to work.

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