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Custom PC UK December 2020

Custom PC is the UK’s best-selling magazine for PC hardware, overclocking, gaming and modding. Every month, Custom PC is packed with in-depth hardware reviews, step-by-step photo guides and informative features, all with a focus on tinkering with your computer’s insides. Along the way, you’ll also find hard-hitting tech opinion, game reviews and all manner of computer hobbyism goodness, from small Pi projects to extreme PC mods.

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United Kingdom
Raspberry Pi
R 66,33
R 580,86
12 Issues

in this issue

2 min
ray tracing comes of age

Nvidia has plastered itself all over the tech headlines over the past few weeks. Not only has the Green Team has stamped a tremor through the tech industry with its plan to buy Arm (see p12), but the launch of its latest Ampere-based GeForce GPU, the GeForce RTX 3080 (see p16), caused several retailer websites to come crashing down on launch day. Apparently not even Nvidia was prepared for the ferocious onslaught of sales.‘We expected the best ever demand for the RTX 30-series, but the enthusiasm was overwhelming,’ said the company in an online statement.‘We were not prepared for this level, nor were our partners. We apologise for this.’ It’s easy to see why so many gamers are clamouring for this new GPU when you look at the benchmark results in our…

3 min
an arm and a leg

In September, Nvidia sealed the biggest deal in semi-conductor history by paying $40 billion US for Arm. The good news is that Nvidia plans to keep Arm’s headquarters and IP registered in the UK and is even furthering investment with an AI research and education centre, as well as building an Arm/Nvidia-based AI supercomputer for research. However, there’s notably no commitment to keeping or growing UK jobs, as Softbank made when it bought Arm in 2016. Nvidia spends over 6x more on R&D in a year than Arm, so this gives Arm a huge shot in the, erm, leg Nvidia is looking to bolster Arm with its own GPU and AI technologies, which is good because Arm’s Mali GPU tech isn’t exactly held in high regard, and its Ethos NPU series hasn’t…

3 min
culture clash

When I think about gaming mythology, I usually think of Japanese culture. JRPGs have been my preference since early Final Fantasy, and I’ve played and replayed all sorts of JRPGs, from the Tales Of series through Valkyria Chronicles to Disgaea, and now prefer them. I like the folklore, the philosophy and the character tropes more than American and British equivalents, but it’s fair to say those three countries (and therefore their cultures) dominate games. Surprisingly, Japan has as rich and extensive a PC game development history as the West. The reason we Brits didn’t get many Japanese imports in the 1980s golden age of PC gaming was simply down to hardware differences. Early Japanese home computers had to accommodate Japanese text rather than written English, so porting titles for export to…

5 min

RAZER CUTS PERIPHERAL CABLES Razer has introduced wireless versions of three of its popular gaming peripherals, the DeathAdder mouse, BlackWidow keyboard and BlackShark headset. ‘Every time we launch a new product, a lot of fans ask for a wireless version’, explained Alvin Cheung, senior vice president of Razer’s Peripherals Business Unit. Razer claims the £180 BlackShark V2 Pro ‘delivers lossless immersive audio for low-latency wireless gaming’, with quoted 24-hour battery life and 12m range. Meanwhile, the £130 DeathAdder V2 Pro has a stated 120-hour maximum battery life via Bluetooth, or 70 hours using Razer’s low-latency HyperSpeed wireless tech. There’s also an option to play games with a wired cable while it’s charging. The mouse weighs 88g and features eight programmable buttons. Finally, the £230 BlackWidow V3 Pro keyboard features Razer’s own mechanical switches,…

3 min

When should I buy? I love your magazine. As a thrifty PC builder, I’m always on the lookout for bargains and ways to get the most ‘bang for my buck’. I suffer from the classic ‘hang on until the prices drop’ syndrome. It’s inevitable while waiting for that to happen, newer products hit the market and I just endlessly wait to avoid buyer’s remorse. Is there a good time of the year to wait for types of parts, or is it possible to have a strategy for getting components for the best prices possible? DAVID NASH Ben: If you’d asked this question a few years ago, I could have pointed you towards definite patterns in the industry. Intel used to have a regularly predictable tick-tock cycle of CPUs, and Nvidia and AMD generally launched…

10 min
nvidia geforce rtx 3080 founders edition / £649inc vat

Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition looks deceptively modest and unassuming when you first unbox it. The packaging doesn’t present the card to you on a foam stand when you lift the lid, unlike the RTX 2080 cards, and it’s not built like a shiny metal tank with big green lights either. In fact, if you hold this classy black and silver card up to the light, you can see right through the right-hand fan vent, as the PCB is so small. Behind this humble appearance, though, lies an incredible piece of silicon engineering. We knew it was going to be quicker than the RTX 2080, but we weren’t expecting it to well and truly trounce the RTX 2080 Ti for nearly half the price. This GPU really makes ray tracing…