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HIDevolution - a benchmark for excellent customer service
Nospheratu posted a topic in Off TopicSpending a large amount of money on a high end system is a big decision. Choosing the right retailer to partner with to make the purchase is crucial especially if you're shopping internationally. There's a lot of trust involved. I can honestly say I trust HIDevolution wholeheartedly. This review is for my second purchase from them and it's been 6 years apart yet their customer service is still second to none. When everything goes smoothly it's easy to view a retailer in good light. It's only when things go wrong that the real calibre of a company is revealed and HIDevolution is a shining beacon in this sea of incompetent, unfeeling imposters that promote "good customer service". They treat your order as if it were their own personal purchase. Ted and his team fought Dell's robotic representatives for 3 months after receiving a DOA refurbished Alienware 17 R4. They kept me updated almost on a daily basis throughout this ordeal and managed to push for a brand new system replacement as well as a warranty extension. Would I make a purchase from Dell again after experiencing Dell's nonsensical and incompetent customer service? Yes I would, but only if it is through HIDevolution. It's comforting to know that as an HIDevolution customer you could be anywhere in the world and have someone in the US that cares about excellent customer service in your corner. Ted, I know I've said this numerous times before but THANK YOU. Thank you for providing international PC enthusiasts with HIDevolution's exceptional services. Your work ethic and communication is a benchmark that every company out there should aspire to.
Far Cry: Primal ReviewFar Cry: Primal is the latest iteration of the Far Cry series, set in year 10,000 BCE. You play as a man named Takkar, a Wenja tribe member. Your tribe has been seperated and split up due to ongoing conflict between two imposing tribal factions, the Udam tribe and the Izila tribe. You instantly jump into action hunting a Wooly Mamoth and Takkar's journey begins. As Takkar, you must navigate through many different types of terrain, all of which are absolutely gorgeous and well detailed. From caves to fairly dense forests and glacial areas, this game is beautifully detailed. Visually speaking, this game is a treat and offers eye candy superior to that found in Far Cry 4. So how does it play? The gameplay of Far Cry: Primal is extremely satisfying. Coming from a huge fan of first person shooters and tired of the standard M4's and AK's this game provides very smooth and fun bow and arrow ranged combat. What's that? Guy in a wooden guard tower? No problem, lets torch our arrow and catch the whole thing on fire with him in it! It is some of the best ranged combat I've come across, it's fluid, fast, and fun. When enemies come in close though, it gets very interesting. You can perform either a series of fast attacks, slow and powerful, or a combination of them to out perform the enemy AI. Another unique thing I noticed was you don't have a crosshair visible when you have a club out, you may ask why, it's because your melee swings don't just target one enemy, but have a full range swing hitting many if you're surrounded. The ability to tame new animals and utilize them in combat scenarios is so much fun as well, nothing beats finding a pet in the world and then sending it to go hunt your enemy down. Throughout the game there's many different animals you can tame ranging from wolves to leopards to big brown bears. A nice little touch of being able to pet your animal was also implemented and makes you feel like there's a larger bond with your little companion. Petting my newly tamed animal As for the missions, there's a decent variety of them, most of which you get to go free a tribe member by wiping out a random amount of enemies or you liberate an outpost held by enemy tribes. Whether you want to be stealthy and take them out or be in their face getting personal with melee weapons is up to you. We had a slight issue with the current inhabitant of this camp.. This is what the village looked like before I was tasked with turning it to ash. There are also animal vision quests which make you play as an animal and set out to do specific tasks per creature. For example your first vision quest leads you to be flying behind a creature which sends you through multiple screens of beautiful terrain and landscape following behind your spirit animal. Every subsequent vision quest will present you with the these same feelings just invoked on different animals. Mammoth vision quest. The vision system you learn about from the very start of the game seems to add a fun unique way of planning your attacks against enemy tribes or helping you locate resources. This enables you as the player to not feel like gathering is a tedious and painful task as it's much easier to notice the crafting materials and it's not nearly as "grind" feeling as some other games which require gathering. This is extremely helpful to you as the player because this game does force you to utilize the crafting system quite frequently to make arrows, upgrades to your tribe, first aid, and so forth. In the video posted at the bottom you can see this in action. Caveman MacGyver So about this crafting system, lets take a quick peek at it. As you can see from the picture below there's a good deal of things you can craft in Far Cry: Primal. Some of these items are useful, others, not so much. The bow upgrade is a must along with the spear and club. You can also upgrade your pack which is where you store all of your supplies when you're out of your village. The game gives you many different ways you can attack the opposing tribes which is pretty fantastic. Want to use a bee hive as a bomb, done. Throw stones at their face, easy. As you progress through the story you'll notice more and more things becoming unlocked for you as you rescue each of the individual key tribe members, so pay attention as you play through the story to pick the tribe members with the upgrades you want in the right order. The crafting/upgrading page. Another crafting system you can utilize is the quick crafting menu, this menu is used frequently when you're taking over a very large outpost or you forget you're low on supplies and in the middle of combat. This screen is absolutely clutch for so many reasons. This is the screen you use to craft more arrows, more clubs, spears, extra meat for taming, and adding rocks for your slingshot. Holding Q will bring up this menu which is almost mandatory to be used when you're taking over the extremely large outposts because when you're fighting sometimes your clubs will break, you'll eventually run out of arrows or spears and this page is your savior. The best part about this window though, it doesn't cause a "freeze" in the game, the game is still playing it just simply slows down time so if you're being attacked by enemies bringing this window up won't save your life but it does cause you to be rather quick on your decisions if you're low on supplies. The quick crafting menu. Within the world of Far Cry: Primal, you also have a very extensive skill tree which is comprised of all the important villagers you have met and brought back to your tribal town. This is the bread and butter of crafting and survival, it will make your life so much easier. There's 8 different members each with skill trees which help different elements of your game. One may help you with making your crafting supplies more efficient, another may help you increase the size of your map and notice more resources on your minimap. Another may help you with your animal abilities and taming. Every aspect of the game has a skill that will help you in your quest of liberating your tribe from the Udam and Izila. The skill tree In the video below, I do a quick run from one of my fast travel spots to go take over an outpost run by the Udam tribe so I can get more crafting supplies sent to my main home as well as a fast travel unlock... and maybe because I just love chucking spears and shooting my bow at bad guys. In it, it shows the primal vision, the quick craft menu, a good bit of combat showing the three primary weapons (club, bow, spear), and how to take over an outpost. The AI didn't act like I would have expected but I think I simply eluded their vision quick enough to not get the horde in my face and allowed me to pick them off without being caught out much. The final word The story is fairly short and the game feels like a reskinned version of FarCry 4 set in 10,000 BCE. I say this simply because the map that was utilized in Far Cry: Primal is almost a direct replica of Far Cry 4, as well as the campfire/fast travel locations. Now I'm not knocking on the previous iteration as I enjoyed that game quite thoroughly, I just think this game could have offered more to the user aside from a pretty visual element tackled with a mediocre story line in the dying age of single player games. What I found quite unique was the fact that there is no English, Spanish, French, any modern or common language. The game is spoken in a made up language and that's really unique and something I thoroughly enjoyed. As for re-playability, even after completing the main story, FarCry: Primal offers a lot of side quests and activities to keep you busy. For example, your village is still begging to be upgraded and you can still bring in more of your tribe to create a little mini city. Overall I feel this game is quite fun despite some of its shortcomings and if you're looking to grab a copy, then I'd recommend checking out Green Man Gaming. View full article
Dead Island Review
Stevenxowens792 posted a topic in PC GamingSynopsis - Your stuck on an island. Your immune to the zombies. Help your fellow man (and woman) get out alive. Along the way, do some drugs, drink some beer, make some weapons, jam some music and oh yeah.. kill some zombies. My System: Alienware m14x cpu - i7- 2630qm gpu - nvidia 555mGT memory - 4gb hard drive - 60gb ssd screen - 1366x768 Windows 7 home nvidia driver 275.33 Game Install Size (7gb) Game Settings (maximum in game) Game performance : @750/900 60-90fps. Avg provided by fraps is 72. Game performance : stock Avg provided by fraps 58 System Utilization : At 750/900 My GPU temps stayed constant at 72-73c with 99 percent GPU utilization at almost all times. CPU utilization was another story at stock bios settings my temps were 85c max and the game utilized all 8 threads anywhere from 10 percent to 50 percent. Most threads were below 45 percent utilization. I need to perform some experiments to see what type of FPS impact it has be running the game with only 4 threads to simulate the I5. I5 users rejoice! - I set the cpu to 4 threads while playing tihs game and ZERO FPS IMPACT! I have a screenshot of before and after and it was 73 fps before at 8 threads and 73 after at 4. So outstanding news! Game play : Graphics : outstanding however most of the island is static and can not be manipulated like crysis or crysis warhead. I would give the graphics a 8 out of 10. Sound : the sounds and effects really pull you into the game. 8 out of 10. Controls : sloppy at best. It's not a precise fps shooter for certain and lots of folks are switching to xbox 360 controls as even the best mouse does little to improve the experience. 6 out of 10. Experience : The game is very fun so far. You can upgrade your character for different types of attacks and create weapons based on plans that you get by completing missions. The zombies are dynamic and pop up when you least expect it so it makes the game fun. Personally this is my type of game. I wish it was more of a military style FPS with zombies (ala Day By Day Armageddon) but I will take what I can get. Stability : I have not had the game crash on me but we have experienced 2 patch upgrades. I have lost the ability to play offline (Angry about this). Others have had issues with crashing but its hard to identify the root cause as most won't list drivers or system specs. 6 out of 10 Overall 7 outta 10. Its a fun game, I would buy it again no doubt and I am expecting to have many fun nights stomping zombies. Best wishes, Steven Owens Screenshot Notes - 1st 3 are to show performance. First one is non oc gpu with 8 threads cpu Second one is non oc gpu with 4 threads cpu Third is the oc gpu with 4 threads. The rest are OC GPU... http://img97.imageshack.us/img97/7339/deadislandgame201109100n.jpg http://img36.imageshack.us/img36/3898/deadislandgame201109100c.jpg http://img713.imageshack.us/img713/694/deadislandgame201109100q.jpg http://img851.imageshack.us/img851/9226/deadislandgame201109082.jpg http://img198.imageshack.us/img198/9226/deadislandgame201109082.jpg http://img651.imageshack.us/img651/9226/deadislandgame201109082.jpg http://img339.imageshack.us/img339/8972/deadislandgame201109082a.jpg http://img839.imageshack.us/img839/9226/deadislandgame201109082.jpg http://img600.imageshack.us/img600/9226/deadislandgame201109082.jpg http://img834.imageshack.us/img834/9226/deadislandgame201109082.jpg http://img220.imageshack.us/img220/9226/deadislandgame201109082.jpg http://img844.imageshack.us/img844/9226/deadislandgame201109082.jpg http://img822.imageshack.us/img822/4257/deadislandgame201109082w.jpg http://img33.imageshack.us/img33/9226/deadislandgame201109082.jpg http://imageshack.us/g/97/deadislandgame201109100n.jpg/
Official M14x Review
Stevenxowens792 posted a topic in Alienware M14x / AW 14Please let me start by saying I have already written something once but this is starting over from scratch. I received my m14x literally 7 days after I ordered it. It pays to be EPP and have a DPA. I received it on Thursday April 28th. REVIEW: Intro: The M14x details were leaked about 3 weeks prior to release from a Chinese website. Judging by the configuration I dont believe this to be the successor to the M15x, but rather another product to fill a niche market of smaller more portable notebooks. Order: I ordered the M14x, Soft Touch Black, I7-2630qm, Nvidia 555m GT 1.5, 4 GB Ram, 720p screen and the standard 500gb 7200 rpm hd. Arrival: Order arrived by Fedex overnight. The packaging is top class and the notebook arrived in perfect condition. Validation: Powered the M14x and bios and Windows 7 booted quickly. At this point I powered the notebook off with the firm intention to take it apart a bit and swap out the standard 7200 rpm hard drive for a much faster 60gb Corsair Nova SSD. The process took about 10 minutes as you have to remove the battery and optical drive which takes a few extra minutes. The inside is nicely designed and lets face it...Everything is a tight fit due to the size limitations! My one complaint at this point is the spring loaded screws that hold the bottom or base of the m14x to the chassis. One of my screws doesn't fit well and I have never really been a fan of spring loaded screws. Reload: I performed my usual format and reload of the SSD and applied all the drivers from dell as well as the latest graphics drivers from Intel for the HD 3000 series integrated card and the 170.61 driver for the Nvidia 555 mGT. Testing/Benchmarking: Stock the system feels pretty strong. I scored a 1336 in 3dmark11 and was immediately impressed by the different games I have installed. I don't believe in the value of 3dmark06 anymore and therefore didn't install it. (I would be that the m14x scores higher in 3dmark06 but my m15x w/i7-720 and 5850 score higher fps). Note: My best 3dmark11 score is 1732 and I will back this up with pics shortly. 3DmarkVantage score is 8350 at 800/1050. 3Dmark06 score 15751 @ 800/1050. Game Benchmarks: Crysis 2 - Vanilla Extreme 22 fps average at 1366x768 native. Oc the gpu to 750/1000 and add a custom config to remove FSAA, MSAA and AF and the average fps goes up to 31-34 depending on map and enemies. 2011-04-28 22:13:17 - Crysis2 Frames: 1678 - Time: 41559ms - Avg: 40.376 - Min: 29 - Max: 52 (Vanilla High stock Clocks) 2011-04-28 22:14:28 - Crysis2 Frames: 5548 - Time: 155969ms - Avg: 35.571 - Min: 28 - Max: 45 (Vanilla Very high stock clocks) 2011-04-28 22:17:28 - Crysis2 Frames: 1395 - Time: 63071ms - Avg: 22.118 - Min: 0 - Max: 30 (Vanilla Extreme stock clocks) 2011-04-28 22:18:32 - Crysis2 Frames: 740 - Time: 35256ms - Avg: 20.989 - Min: 13 - Max: 30 (Vanilla Extreme stock clocks) 2011-04-28 22:28:33 - Crysis2 Frames: 775 - Time: 33650ms - Avg: 23.031 - Min: 18 - Max: 28 (Extreme with config minus FSAA) 2011-04-28 22:32:10 - Crysis2 Frames: 8320 - Time: 245499ms - Avg: 33.890 - Min: 25 - Max: 42 (Extreme with config minus FSAA and MSAA) OC 750/1000 2011-04-28 22:42:16 - Crysis2 Frames: 1332 - Time: 46457ms - Avg: 28.672 - Min: 21 - Max: 36 (Vanilla Extreme with OC 750/1000) 2011-04-28 22:43:09 - Crysis2 Frames: 1934 - Time: 66238ms - Avg: 29.198 - Min: 22 - Max: 40 (Vanilla Extreme with OC 750/1000) Battlefield Bad Company 2 - MP Map, 32 man Rush 2011-04-29 00:57:05 - BFBC2Game Frames: 13911 - Time: 140042ms - Avg: 99.334 - Min: 69 - Max: 164 (Vanilla Medium OC 770/1000) 2011-04-29 01:00:44 - BFBC2Game Frames: 8434 - Time: 148356ms - Avg: 56.850 - Min: 22 - Max: 84 (vanilla high OC 770/1000) 2011-04-29 01:08:44 - BFBC2Game Frames: 5977 - Time: 132226ms - Avg: 45.203 - Min: 32 - Max: 72 (vanilla high stock) 2011-04-29 01:13:40 - BFBC2Game Frames: 7562 - Time: 139091ms - Avg: 54.367 - Min: 39 - Max: 86 (vanilla high oc 750/1000) Call Of Duty Black Ops: Very playable at all levels. Here are some numbers again recorded with FRAPS logging while playing full MP TDM Sessions. 2011-04-29 17:29:35 - BlackOpsMP Frames: 39923 - Time: 469813ms - Avg: 84.976 - Min: 59 - Max: 94 (1366x768, Texture High, No AA/AF, Trilinear, Stock GPU) 2011-04-29 17:46:38 - BlackOpsMP Frames: 29408 - Time: 438051ms - Avg: 67.134 - Min: 46 - Max: 95 (1366x768, Texture Extra, 16AA/AF--max, Trilinear, Stock GPU) HOMEFRONT: Outstanding Performance! Homefront Benchmark - System Settings: 2630qm @ 103.1 bclk, 555 1.5 @ 750/900, driver 170.61 whql. PHSYX set to auto detect and went active in game (notification window) Game settings, DX9, all high, all visual options enabled (only vsync disabled), no AA or AF, 1366x768 (native) Full 32 man session, Battle Commander, ping @100ms or less 2011-05-05 22:54:04 - HOMEFRONT Frames: 26113 - Time: 430579ms - Avg: 60.646 - Min: 43 - Max: 81 Temps: During Gameplay at OC levels the GPU reaches 72-74c and the CPU 82c. Palmrests - The softouch gets a bit hot during gaming and can over 100f. Screen: Screen is quality for a 720p display. It does exhibit the "glare" that also plagues the m11x. DVD's look nice on it as well as HD720p video. Noise: The m14x is very loud at performance levels. I mean loud. To compare it, have your wife turn on her blow dryer at low and it's that loud. Seriously. I do not recommend any game or performance activities while in class or at library! Overall - Having the machine now for over 72 hours I give it a 8 out of 10. The 2 marks off are for FAN NOISE.
Alienware M18x Review
Brian posted a topic in Alienware M18x / AW 18Alienware M18x Laptop Review - Introduction Not the best review IMO. They didn't really discuss the cooling, benchmarks were done with a single GPU, the gaming benchmarks were limited and the sample configuration Dell sent them was completely stupid. *EDIT* Read Tech|Inferno's official M18x review here: http://www.techinferno.com/2011/07/07/alienware-m18x-review-the-fastest-18-notebook-in-the-universe/