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    PC gaming market is set to grow again after pandemic and overstock corrections / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 6 April - 17:25 · 1 minute

Someone playing games at a Republic of Gamers display

Enlarge / Intel GPUs, ultra-wide monitors, and a vague sense that it's time for some gamers to refresh: These are some of the factors that have one report showing industry growth for PC gaming. (credit: Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

PC gamers may be concerned about losing their jobs in 2023, but not so much that they can ignore a glut of new GPU and ultra-widescreen monitor options.

That's the elevator-pitch version of Jon Peddie Research's report on PC gaming hardware sales and costs . At a high level, it suggests that while mid-range gaming will see only gradual growth from 2023 through 2025, both entry-level and high-end hardware should see notable upticks through 2025. The market should recover more than $5 billion overall from its 2022 drop-off, with the high end taking $3.92 billion and entry level $2.29 billion.

PC gaming market figures from JPR.

PC gaming market figures from JPR.

Reading exactly which bits of PC hardware fit into which segment, and getting more detail on how JPR put these numbers together, costs even more than a 40-series Nvidia card, at $27,500 per year for access. So we're left to wonder which cards, monitors, chips, and other gear fit into entry-, mid-level, and high-end. But JPR does suggest a few factors moving the numbers around:

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    A more powerful Steam Deck is “a few years” off, Valve says / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 8 March - 20:31 · 1 minute

Calendar Man is marking the many, many days until a more powerful Steam Deck shows up.

Enlarge / Calendar Man is marking the many, many days until a more powerful Steam Deck shows up.

If you're waiting for a more powerful version of the Steam Deck before diving in on Valve's Linux-based portable hardware, you may find yourself waiting a little while longer. In a recent interview with Rock Paper Shotgun , Valve designer Lawrence Yang says it will be "a few years" before the company releases "a true next-gen Deck with a significant bump in horsepower."

A look at the Steam Deck's performance over its first year of availability helps show why Valve might not be in a hurry to release a more powerful portable. The current Steam Deck now supports over 8,000 titles that are either rated Playable or Verified by Valve's official Compatibility program . And that list isn't just low-end indie games, either; heavy hitters like Cyberpunk 2077 , Elden Ring , and the recent Dead Space remake run great on the handheld, and the device can even handle ray tracing on slightly older games like Doom Eternal .

That said, the Steam Deck hardware is already beginning to show its age on some recent releases. Games like Wild Hearts and Returnal will technically run on the Deck but reportedly show some significant frame rate and performance issues on the portable. While future software or OS patches could help a bit for these bleeding-edge games, the Steam Deck's unchanging hardware may start to look increasingly dated as PC gamers continue to upgrade their rigs with plentiful graphics cards (and PC game makers continue to target those high-end desktop users with their newest titles).

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    Security and Cheap Complexity / Schneier · Friday, 26 August, 2022 - 12:19 · 1 minute

I’ve been saying that complexity is the worst enemy of security for a long time now. ( Here’s me in 1999.) And it’s been true for a long time.

In 2018, Thomas Dullien of Google’s Project Zero talked about “cheap complexity.” Andrew Appel summarizes :

The anomaly of cheap complexity. For most of human history, a more complex device was more expensive to build than a simpler device. This is not the case in modern computing. It is often more cost-effective to take a very complicated device, and make it simulate simplicity, than to make a simpler device. This is because of economies of scale: complex general-purpose CPUs are cheap. On the other hand, custom-designed, simpler , application-specific devices, which could in principle be much more secure, are very expensive.

This is driven by two fundamental principles in computing: Universal computation , meaning that any computer can simulate any other; and Moore’s law , predicting that each year the number of transistors on a chip will grow exponentially. ARM Cortex-M0 CPUs cost pennies, though they are more powerful than some supercomputers of the 20th century.

The same is true in the software layers. A (huge and complex) general-purpose operating system is free, but a simpler, custom-designed, perhaps more secure OS would be very expensive to build. Or as Dullien asks, “How did this research code someone wrote in two weeks 20 years ago end up in a billion devices?”

This is correct. Today, it’s easier to build complex systems than it is to build simple ones. As recently as twenty years ago, if you wanted to build a refrigerator you would create custom refrigerator controller hardware and embedded software. Today, you just grab some standard microcontroller off the shelf and write a software application for it. And that microcontroller already comes with an IP stack, a microphone, a video port, Bluetooth, and a whole lot more. And since those features are there, engineers use them.

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    Looks like it's all over for the once promising Smach Z handheld / GamingOnLinux · Saturday, 15 May, 2021 - 10:55 · 1 minute

Press F to pay respects. Remember the Smach Z? A handheld gaming unit where you could pick between Windows 10 and SMACH OS (Linux) - well it looks like it's all over now.

The situation surrounding the Smach Z has always been a bit of an odd one, with the team behind it often going completely silent with plenty of people out there who considered it a scam from the beginning. It's had multiple funding rounds with €474,530 from Kickstarter and a further bunch from IndieGoGo in 2016, and they had pre-orders available since 2018 too. Over time it seems they pulled in some investors too but the well has run dry.

In a forum post from the Founder, Daniel Fernandez, which isn't available to view publicly (but reposted to Reddit ) Fernandez goes on to mention how they "might soon enter bankruptcy" due to their main investor pulling out of the project and they were the only thing keeping it afloat.

Fernandez makes it clear that despite all the money, "the project was way more ambitious than the budget we were managing" and they even had aid given by their government and private investors but "after a few missteps, the investors felt forced to decide to stop supporting the project".

What does Fernandez claim are the reasons? A mixture of COVID, the charging unit failed an emissions test and problems with the batteries heating up too with continued delays that has led to this.

Will anyone get their ordered devices? Considering some have pre-ordered units for close to £1,000, it's a lot of money to lose on your dream handheld gaming device. Sadly, it looks like a no and there's only three people on their team so it's clearly not going to happen. How about refunds then? If they do declare bankruptcy, anything they have left will apparently go towards refunds. They also claim to have been providing refunds "for a very long time" already but they can no longer do it now due to the investor pulling out.

Sounds like a clear message: It's dead, Jim.

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    System76 releases the open source Launch Configurable Keyboard / GamingOnLinux · Thursday, 13 May, 2021 - 16:03 · 3 minutes

Ready for your next keyboard? How about one that's properly open source and looks quite fantastic? System76 has today properly revealed and released the Launch Configurable Keyboard.

Sticking to their ethos, they've launched the Launch as a fully open source unit. This includes the hardware ( certified by the OSHWA ), firmware and configuration tooling all as open source and firmware updates can be done directly through LVFS but it's not forced - it's up to users if they want to update the firmware.


While System76 remains a Linux vendor selling their custom Thelio desktops, laptops and they continue with their Pop!_OS Linux distribution - this is their first to be fully compatible with Windows and macOS too. System76 created the System76 Keyboard Configurator app to allow fully customization of the keyboard layout - with changes saved to they keyboard so you can take it anywhere.

“Launch with macOS and Windows 10 is a phenomenal, high-end keyboard with a comfortable feel and unique high-speed USB hub,” said Carl Richell, CEO of System76. “Combined with Pop!_OS and, in particular, auto-tiling, the hardware and OS blend into a holistic desktop experience that's faster and easier to navigate.”

Just like their Thelio computers, the Launch is custom-built in their own facility in Denver, CO. Featuring a chassis
milled out of a solid block of aluminium, as well as a custom PCB (printed circuit board). Created for customization, it comes with a set of red, blue, or brown keycaps to get it how you want it. It also has runner feet to keep it still, along with a magnetic foot for an optional 15% incline.

"With a wide swath of customization options, the Launch is flexible to a variety of needs and use cases. The keyboard’s thoughtful design keeps everything within reach, vastly reducing awkward hand contortions. Launch comes with additional keycaps and a convenient keycap puller, meaning one can swap keys based on personal workflow preferences to maximize efficiency. Launch also features a novel split Space Bar, which allows the user to swap out oneSpace Bar keycap for Shift, Backspace, or Function to reduce hand fatigue while typing. Launch uses only three keycap sizes to vastly expand configuration options." — System76.

Check out our gallery of pictures below, click the image to view more along with some close-ups of the switches:


Ever feel like "I don't need it but I need it"? I've got that right now. Although, I'm not sure how I would cope without the trust numpad. Would be interested to know in the comments how many of you never use the numpad though, does it bother you it doesn't have one?

System76 Launch Configurable Keyboard Specifications:

Chassis System76 Open Source milled chassis design
Detachable lift bar to adjust keyboard angle by 15 degrees
Electronics System76 Open Source PCB design
Individually addressable RGB LED backlighting
N-Key Rollover
Sockets and Switches Kailh MX Hotswap Sockets
Kailh Box Jade or Kailh Box Royal Switches
Key Caps PBT plastic
Dye sublimated legend
XDA profile
Custom Configuration Customize layout and lighting in firmware with the System76 Keyboard Configurator
Available on Linux, Windows, and macOS
Integrated Hub 2 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type C (Up to 10 Gbps)
2 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type A (Up to 10 Gbps)
Connectivity Wired, with detachable USB cable (USB-C to USB-C and USB-A to USB-C cables included)
Dimensions 12.17′′ × 5.35′′ × 1.3′′ (309mm x 136mm x 33mm)
Weight 2.09 lbs (948g)
youtube video thumbnail
Watch video on

Available to pre-order from May 13, 2021 with shipping starting in June - with a price of $285. We're hoping to see a review unit at some point to give our thoughts.

Check it out on the official site .

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    NVIDIA launches the RTX 3050 and RTX 3050 Ti for laptops, supply shortages until 2022 / GamingOnLinux · Tuesday, 11 May, 2021 - 11:32 · 1 minute

It's not just Intel announcing new hardware today, as NVIDIA have now joined in with the RTX 3050 and RTX 3050 Ti for laptops. Currently, no desktop models have been announced as their focus is solely on mobile form factor. However, it's highly likely they will appear eventually.

"The latest wave of laptops provides the perfect opportunity to upgrade, particularly for gamers and creators with older laptops who want to experience the magic of RTX,” said Mark Aevermann, director of product management for laptops at NVIDIA. “There are now five times more RTX 30 Series gaming laptops that are thinner than 18mm compared with previous-generation RTX systems, delivering groundbreaking performance with very sleek and portable designs."

Pricing will start at $799 with no UK/EU pricing being given yet, we'll have to see what system builders come up with. NVIDIA claim this is targetting the "most mainstream audience" to offer 60FPS at 1080p in some quite demanding games with Ray Tracing on.

Here's a specs comparison based on the press details sent:

GPU (Laptop) RTX 3080 RTX 3070 RTX 3060 RTX 3050 Ti RTX 3050
CUDA Cores 6144 5120 3840 2560 2048
Tensor Cores 192 160 120 80 64
Ray Tracing Cores 48 40 30 20 16
Boost Clock 1245-1710 MHz 1290-1620 MHz 1283-1703 MHz 1035-1695MHz 1057-1740MHz
GPU Subsystem Power 80-150W 80-125W 60-115W 35-80W 35-80W
Memory Interface Width 256-bit 256-bit 192-bit 128-bit 128-bit

NVIDIA also showed it off a little but as usual, it's Windows-focused:

Also, NVIDIA also recently announced back in April that they expect GPU shortages to continue until at least 2022.

We're expected a new NVIDIA driver release today too, as usual when new hardware is announced.

Do you think you'll be looking to get one? Let us know in the comments.

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    Intel launches 11th Gen Core H-series mobile processors / GamingOnLinux · Tuesday, 11 May, 2021 - 11:16 · 1 minute

Today Intel has formally announced and released the 11th Gen Core H-series mobile processors, for some next-gen performance in a smaller form factor for laptop users.

"11th Gen Intel Core H-series processors take mobile gaming, content creation and commercial workstation systems to new heights. These new H-series processors are an exciting extension of our 11th Gen mobile family with double-digit single core and multi-core performance improvements, leading gameplay, direct attached storage and 20 PCIe 4.0 lanes for true enthusiast-level platform bandwidth. 11th Gen H-series is the industry’s most performant mobile processor that empowers users to game, create and connect with leadership performance at any enthusiast form factor." — Chris Walker, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of the Mobile Client Platforms Group


Some of the features:

  • 20 PCIe Gen 4.0 lanes with Intel® Rapid Storage Technology bootable in Raid 0 — and up to 44 total PCIe lanes that include 24 PCIe Gen 3.0 lanes from a dedicated platform controller hub.
  • Memory support up to DDR4-3200.
  • Thunderbolt™ 4 with transfer speeds up to 40Gbps.
  • Discrete Intel® Killer™ Wi-Fi 6E (Gig+).
  • Dual Embedded Display Port integrated for power optimized companion display.

More features can be seen in the below image:


Intel also launched their Intel vPro® H-series processors for businesses today.

As for availability, Intel said to expect "more than 80 enthusiast laptop designs" across various fields through this year. No exact dates were given as it largely depends on the manufacturers of each laptop to put them out. With the Xe graphics, they should be nice gaming units.

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    Star Labs have now revealed the slick 14" StarBook Mk V Linux laptop / GamingOnLinux · Wednesday, 5 May, 2021 - 11:05 · 1 minute

Ready to drool over new Linux hardware? Star Labs are ready for you to open your wallets to the 14" StarBook Mk V. Now this is the type of laptop model I can get into. A screen that's not too big, a sleek chasis and a reasonable price backed up by some powerful internals along with it being designed for Linux.


With the new StarBook Mk V, you get quite a lot more choice too. When it comes to the BIOS, they're now letting you choose between AMI (American Megatrends Inc.) Aptio V and the open source Coreboot. Not only that, you can switch between them any time you want.

A nice matte screen as standard too with the 14-inch ARC display, with anti-reflective coating that should provide a good experience whever you are. Star Labs say it comes with a hard coating to prevent damage too.

Some of the specifications on offer:

Chassis Type II matte black anodised aluminium
Display 14-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit matte display with IPS technology
1920x1080 resolution at 157 pixels per inch
16:9 aspect ratio

2.4GHz dual-core Intel® Core® i3-1110G4
Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz, with 6MB Cache

Configurable to:
2.8GHz quad-core Intel® Core® i7-1165G7
Turbo Boost up to 4.7GHz, with 12MB Cache


240GB Over-Provisioned SATA SSD

Configurable to:
480GB Over-Provisioned PCIe SSD

Configurable to:
960GB Over-Provisioned PCIe SSD

Configurable to:
1920GB Over-Provisioned PCIe SSD

Configurable to:
500GB Over-Provisioned Gen4 PCIe SSD

Configurable to:
1000GB Over-Provisioned Gen4 PCIe SSD


8GB of 3200MHz DDR4 memory

Configurable to: 64GB of 3200MHz DDR4 memory


Intel® UHD G4 Graphics

Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics

When it comes to operating systems you get a lot choice there too between: Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS (64-bit) or later, elementary OS 5.1.7 (64-bit) or later, Linux Mint 20.1 (64-bit) or later, Manjaro 21.0 (64-bit) or later, MX Linux AHS 19.3 (64-bit) or later, Zorin OS 15.2 (64-bit) or later and even Windows.

Available from £777.00. Check out the official page to find out more and order.

It's currently in production, which may be delayed due to component shortages worldwide right now. They offer a 5% discount if you order a laptop that's in production and not yet ready.

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