Overclocking has been around for a while on gaming laptops, but usually only on the higher-end models like the ludicrous Predator 21 X. Acer is making the feature a little more accessible this time by letting its new Predator Helios 300 midrange line handle the extra hardware boosting.
Technically, overclocking — the process of pushing a gadget’s processor past its factory settings — can be done on any device, from smartphones to desktop computers. But there are several reasons why overclocking hasn’t become mainstream on gaming laptops until now.
For one, cooling technology hasn’t reached a point where it’s both efficient and portable enough to fit in a non-behemoth-sized notebook. Another reason is the practicality of it all; why risk pushing a midrange graphics card when you can buy a gaming laptop with a better setup in the first place?
Thanks to NVIDIA’s latest crop graphics cards and Acer’s recent laptop advancements, the Predator Helios 300 series introduces fairly priced gaming notebooks that you can effortlessly overclock without having to deal with additional peripherals.
This is made possible using a dual-fan system with an AeroBlade 3D Fan design and PredatorSense software to safely push the system while keeping the temperatures in check.
Compared to the simultaneously launched Triton 700, there’s nothing out of the ordinary with the Helios 300 looks-wise. I found it to be on the thick side, and the non-mechanical keyboard was unimpressive.
The two primary models come in 15.6- and 17.3-inch display sizes, with processor options being Intel’s Core i7 (7700HQ) or i5 processor (7300HQ) and either an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or 1050 Ti graphics card. Both cards, as mentioned earlier, can be overclocked using bundled apps.
Memory can go as high as 32GB, and storage includes the best of both worlds: a high-speed SSD and a large 1TB HDD. There’s nothing out of the ordinary for I/O (input and output) ports, but you do get the newest USB 3.1 Type-C port.
North America is getting first dibs on the Helios 300 starting July 2017. The 15.6-inch models start at $1,299, while the 17.3-inch units will go for $1,399.
Pricing is a little different for EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa), wherein both sizes will start at EUR 1,199 beginning in August. China will follow the North American July timeline, but retail for CNY 9,999 for both models, as well.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be out soon
Square Enix is being such a tease!
With the Game Developers Conference happening in just a few days, Square Enix recently announced a teaser for the Shadow of the Tomb Raider. This will be the third action-adventure game in the rebooted Tomb Raider franchise.
As to the specifics of the game, it has just been crickets and tumbleweeds. Square Enix is keeping their lips sealed — leaving us with just a cinematic trailer with a few quick shots of the upcoming game.
On the bright side, they’re promising a “full reveal” on April 27. They may hold off on some details on the game for E3 though, seeing as E3 is right around the corner.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is following Rise of the Tomb Raider which was released three years ago. It’s nice to see the franchise return to Lara Croft. As for what to expect, people are looking forward to new features besides the usual supernatural mystery, thugs to take down, items to collect, guns and bows, and tombs to, well, raid.
Unfortunately, fans will have to wait for more announcements next month. Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be available on September 14 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
Google is opening Maps for game developers!
Get ready for more AR games
There’s a wave of location-based augmented reality games that highly depend on Google Maps. However, the inability to create accurate mapping has been keeping developers from optimizing game design. Luckily, Google just announced that it’s opening up its mapping platform to game developers. This means anyone one can create AR games now with more ease.
Google says that its new Maps platform has been optimized for game developers. These developers can start by signing up to be given access to real-time Google Maps data.
To support developers after signing up, Google is also working on launching a new software development kit on Unity. Unity is one of the most popular game engines in the world so incorporating mapping data into this engine will help aspiring developers everywhere.
Even further, Google is introducing a new API to help create gameplay experiences around real-world locations. Google will be working closely with developers on this aspect, especially regarding appropriating elements, like span points and quest locations, within games.
One of the goals of the project was to help developers build detailed worlds using Maps data as a base to paint over.
“In this way you can create unique game environments that still feel connected to the real world,” says Patrick Donelan, lead engineer on the project.
This is a much-awaited move from Google. Following the raging success of Pokemon Go’s launch, they started receiving a surge of requests from developers looking to utilize Google Maps data for mobile games.
Over the years, Google has had a multitude of discussions with game developers and players as to how to help create a platform that optimizes AR game development. Google’s new Maps gaming initiative is the result of those discussions. This, Google says, focuses on location-based AR mobile games.
Google says it will be talking more about the initiative at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on March 19-23.
6 Best Gaming Smartphones (Q1 2018)
Each phone has its own power!
It’s easy to dismiss gaming smartphones as any flagship phone that’s currently available. There’s truth to that, but there also some factors we want to consider when looking for a smartphone that’ll be primarily used for mobile gaming like display size, battery life, and any accessories that’ll help improve the gaming experience.
Without further ado, here are our top six picks for the best gaming smartphones:
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
Whether you like iOS or not, you can’t deny that iPhones (especially the latest releases) are one of, if not the best mobile gaming platform. Apple’s devices run smoothly and are favored by developers so it’s a no-brainer that games released for iOS are guaranteed to be in tip-top shape. We chose the iPhone 8 Plus here because of its larger display at 5.5 inches and bigger battery compared to the iPhone 8, and it doesn’t have a notch that gets in the way like with the iPhone X.
Motorola Moto Z2 Play
Motorola’s game-changing Moto Mod accessories make their Moto Z series special. If you pair the Moto Z2 Play with the Gamepad Moto Mod, it’ll be an instant portable console. The Gamepad adds dual control sticks, a D-pad, and four tactile action buttons which mean you don’t have to rely on touch controls anymore. Also, the Moto Mod magnetically attaches to the phone with no wireless pairing required and has its own built-in battery. The gaming accessory works with the much powerful Moto Z2 Force, as well.
If you’re looking for an Android powerhouse but don’t want to shell out much cash, the OnePlus 5T is the way to go. With its top-of-the-line specifications and beautiful AMOLED display, the OnePlus 5T is an ideal gaming smartphone without breaking the bank. It even has an insane amount of storage and memory options available if you need more space to keep your big games in your pockets and running in the background while you do other stuff on the phone. The display’s 18:9 aspect ratio also makes gaming more immersive than the conventional 16:9 ratio.
When we were shortlisting our gaming smartphones, the Razer Phone was already on the top of the list. The phone is focused on being a true gaming smartphone since it’s made by Razer. It’s got the latest specifications to play popular and demanding games, a 5.7-inch IGZO panel with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate, front-facing stereo speakers, and a long-lasting battery. It also has other features to make it a daily driver, but you can immediately tell that the Razer Phone is built for gaming.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
One of the best and biggest Android smartphones is the Galaxy Note 8. It positions itself as a productivity phone with its S Pen and accompanying features, but thanks to the powerful processor, it can run demanding games, too. Its curved 6.3-inch Super AMOLED display is not only huge but also among the highest-rated displays in the market which will spoil you with pleasing visuals. While its battery is not as high capacity as others, it’s still sizeable at 3300mAh and the efficient processor can provide long hours of gaming.
Xiaomi Mi Max 2
Gaming smartphones don’t have to be expensive, especially for those who are fond of graphics-intensive games which are mainly shooting or racing titles. Some are just in for casual or multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games. For that, we recommend the Xiaomi Mi Max 2 — a large smartphone with midrange specs but sits in the budget price point. Its large 6.44-inch display is ideal for any game and the Snapdragon 625 can handle tasks pretty well. The phone is priced under US$ 270 (or even cheaper depending on where you buy it), making it the cheapest gaming smartphone on this list.
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