The 404 at CES 2014: Where we steamed up with Peter Brown (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Peter Brown checks out the Razer Project Christine.

- Sony at CES: PlayStation Now, "Breaking Bad" and the "wow" factor.

- Gaming exoskeleton to pair with Oculus Rift headset at CES 2014.

- Oculus Rift Crystal Cove prototype: Head-on.

- Valve's Steam Machine lineup poses massive threat to gaming status quo.… Read more

Steambox debuts, offers a new path to living room PC gaming

LAS VEGAS -- After revolutionizing the distribution of PC games through its online Steam game store and app, Valve is jumping into gaming hardware with its new Steambox platform. First announced in 2013, the platform combines console-like hardware that runs Steam-based PC games and works with a Valve-designed custom controller.

At its CES 2014 press conference, Valve for the first time announced partnerships with the PC makers that will actually produce and sell Steambox hardware, and it showed off early hardware prototypes from companies including Dell, Maingear, Falcon Northwest, and Origin PC. Valve has previously produced a small number of … Read more

Portable gaming laptop deathmatch

A funny thing happened while I was lugging our most recent 17-inch PC gaming monster laptop off my desk. My replacement options were no longer limited to big, bulky 17- and 18-inch desktop replacement laptops. Instead, a new breed of 13- and 14-inch laptops with serious gaming cred is making waves, proving that you don't need a massive footprint to fit in the latest CPU and GPU parts.

Each of these semi-portable gaming laptop was reviewed in a configuration that included a quad-core CPU from Intel's fourth-generation Core i7 line, and a graphics card from Nvidia's current … Read more

Dell powers up three new Alienware gaming laptops

Dell has beefed up its Alienware series with three new laptops equipped with some seriously high-end specs.

Unveiled on Tuesday at the E3 show in Los Angeles, the Alienware 14, Alienware 17, and Alienware 18 are designed for hard-core gamers who need laptops packed with lots o' power.

Starting at $1,199, the Alienware 14 offers a 14-inch screen (1,366x768 or 1,920x1,080 resolution), as much as 16GB of RAM, and up to a 512GB solid-state hard drive. Starting at $1,499, the Alienware 17 is equipped with a 17.3-inch screen with a resolution as high as … Read more

Qualcomm to demo first StreamBoost Wi-Fi routers at CES 2013

It's frustrating when you share the Internet between multiple devices and some of them hog all the bandwidth, leaving the rest crawling. Qualcomm has something that could potentially ease this pain.

The mobile chipmaker today introduced its StreamBoost technology, which is designed to "optimize performance and capacity of home networks" by enabling the home router to intelligently manage the broadband connection. Qualcomm says the new technology allots to each connected device and each application the bandwidth it needs, and no more, to ensure the best possible experience on all connected devices.

It's important to note that … Read more

PC gaming does Cyber Monday: Desktops and laptops

If you've been eyeing a high-end, hand-built gaming PC, today might be the day to pull the trigger. Here's a selection of the Cyber Monday deals available from the dedicated PC vendors.

Alienware Alienware's high-end desktops aren't as competitive as they used to be, but its laptops and budget-price desktops still have some appeal.

You'll find Alienware's best deals on its highest-end hardware. The M14x and M18x laptops, and the Aurora gaming desktop all offer discounts of above $400. The best deal of that bunch is the M14x, with a starting price of $2,… Read more

Crave giveaway: Dell Alienware Orion M17x Tactical Backpack

Congrats to Michael M. of Nottingham, Md., for winning a $500 gift certificate from in last week's giveaway. Are you a frequent traveler? On the heels of the E3 games expo, this week's giveaway sponsor, Dell, is offering up a nice, sturdy TSA-friendly backpack that's great for gamers and others.

The Dell Alienware Orion M17x Tactical Backpack keeps your gear secure and protected on the go with its heavily padded back panels. The subdivided main compartment easily holds a laptop up to 17.3 inches, while a secondary compartment has 10 additional pockets for holding anything from pens to plane tickets to MP3 players to any random tchotchkes you like to carry around during your daily wanderings. Also, the camo design sets it apart from its basic-black-leather cousins.

Normally, the Dell Alienware Orion M17x Tactical Backpack would cost you $119.99, but you have a chance to get it gratis. How? There are a few rules, so please read carefully; there will be a test. … Read more

Where to order Intel's Ivy Bridge in a laptop right now

The third generation of Core i-series CPUs has been benchmarked, written about, and discussed for months now, but PC makers could only sell them starting April 29.

Even then, only the very high-end models, the quad-core Core i7 chips, are currently available. The more mainstream dual-core Core i3 and Core i5 processors found in most laptops won't get updated until sometime in May or June (and then probably won't be physically available for some time after that).

A handful of hearty manufacturers have already put the high-end new Core i7 chips up on their sites, allowing you to … Read more

The 11-inch gaming laptop lives, with the new Origin EON11-S

The 11-inch gaming laptop is the textbook definition of a niche product. In fact, up until now, there's really only been one serious entry in that category, Dell's Alienware M11x. Origin (coincidentally co-founded by some former Alienware employees) is now getting into the game, with the EON11-S, which the company calls a "compact high-performance laptop."

Interestingly, this new model won't actually double the number of 11-inch gaming laptops available, as the Alienware model is being quietly discontinued. That's a shame, as we liked the M11x, even if it wasn't the most practical for … Read more

At long last, a credible 3D gaming chip from Intel

A truism of Intel chip announcements: Intel releases a new CPU, and with it a new graphics chip or, since Sandy Bridge, a new graphics core embedded in the CPU silicon. Intel then claims said chip/core will provide at least a baseline PC gaming experience. This claim is never true.

Only now it is.

With its new Ivy Bridge CPUs, Intel has introduced two new graphics cores, the Intel HD 4000 and a lower-end HD 2500 core. You will still have a better gaming experience with a budget graphics card, but for at least the HD 4000, Intel finally has an onboard graphics processor with some 3D processing muscle.… Read more