View Full Version : A [H]ard Review and Gaming Roundup!

Thursday, 16 December 2010, 18:49
For starters today...

Those of you who remember my previous post regarding the DLC for Fallout 3: New Vegas (http://fallout.bethsoft.com/eng/home/home.php) will remember that Bethesda stated that the first of their DLC will be exclusively available for the Xbox 360. While this has not changed, they have finally pumped out the first of the DL content... Dead Money (http://www.joystiq.com/2010/12/16/fallout-new-vegas-dead-money-trailer-hosts-a-heist/) (courtesy of Joystiq (http://www.joystiq.com/2010/12/16/fallout-new-vegas-dead-money-trailer-hosts-a-heist/))...

The first Xbox 360 "exclusive" DLC for Fallout: New Vegas, dubbed Dead Money, lays out all its cards in a new trailer. The add-on sees you caught in a dangerous deal, where saying "no" puts you on the bad end of an exploding collar. Okay, so there's no bad end to a circular object, but ... oh, oh, got it: you're being collared in the middle of an explosive situation. Nailed it.

Dead Money will be available next Tuesday, December 21, on the Xbox Live Marketplace for 800 MSP ($10). Best start planning how you're going to break into the Sierra Madre casino and make off with all its ill-gotten riches.

Next, for those of you recently bought a fresh copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops (http://www.callofduty.com/) and are/were experiencing the "OMG this game would R@X@R if not for all the bugs" woes, then there is light at the end of the telescopic lens... A new patch!

Call of Duty: Black Ops

* Improved threading performance on computers with only 2 cores.
* Additional performance optimizations
* Added an option to pre-cache all shaders during load time. This fixes hitching related to shader compiling on some video cards when viewing an area of the map for the first time.
* Fixed random freezes in certain computer configurations.
* Allow Team Change on Ranked servers when it does not unbalance teams (this is a server admin option).
* Allow Team Change grace period at start of match (server admin option).
* Added 4 more reserved slots (server admin option)
* Added /connect
* Improved quickmatch results (server side change)
* Fix for watching films through Combat Record
* Fixed compassSpectatorsSeeEnemies exploit
* Fixed 3rd person fov exploit
* Fix for infinite supply drop exploit.
* Fixed crosshair flickering when stereo is active.
* Various spawn improvements
* Various sound improvements
* Fix for Zombies ' Teammate shadows not displayed properly.
* Fix for radar not staying on in One in the Chamber when it should.
* In a Domination match, the Position Secured medal is no longer delayed.
* 'Hardened: Equipment Shot' Challenge can now be completed by destroying a 'Camera Spike'.
* Fix for choppy final killcam in dedicated servers.
* Various map glitches fixed.
* Weekly and Monthly leaderboards will now track all kills, deaths and assists properly (All Time leaderboards were not affected by this)
* Added mixed hardcore playlist
* Added mixed barebones playlist
* Added 12 player versions of all playlists


* Reduced timeout values. Connect (or failure to connect is faster).
* Added all white-listed dvars for Ranked and Unranked. Admins have rcon access to ALL available dvars.
* Added Settings and Console tabs for Ranked servers.
* Fixes a bug where the 'Server' tab doesn't update values when connecting to a new server.
* Added version number to the title bar.
* Fixed a bug where UI state didn't persist after switching to another server.
* Added 'disconnect' button.
* Fixed map 'set' to not use admindvar.
* Changed all dvars which could be possibly float, to float. Mostly these are time-type dvars.
* Fixed bug where entering a value of zero for Message Duration would cause a unhandled exception error
* Truncated all message fields to 140 chars.

Thanks to Shacknews (http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/66855) for the heads up!

And finally, the gents over at [H]ard|OCP (http://hardocp.com) posted an indepth review (http://hardocp.com/article/2010/12/14/amd_radeon_hd_6970_6950_video_card_review) of the newly released AMD Radeon HD 6970 and 6950 graphics cards today for your viewing pleasure...

The Bottom Line

AMD came to this party to win. The recent NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 and GeForce GTX 570 launches impressed us. We were impressed with the performance delivered for the price. That however seems much deflated when compared to what AMD has just done. AMD has delivered two new video cards at prices that we think are incredibly forgiving. The AMD Radeon HD 6970 with an MSRP of $369 takes on the $140 more expensive GeForce GTX 580 in performance. The AMD Radeon HD 6950 takes on the GeForce GTX 570 while costing $50 less at $299.

Usually in our GPU reviews we match products up by price when we compare. Things are a bit different this time. In a price/performance comparison, we should really be comparing the 6970/570 matchup since the price difference is heavy on the 6970 by about $20. Looking at it this way, the HD 6970 blows the GTX 570 out of the water for a few bucks. Still the HD 6970 is AMD's flagship single-GPU video card, and we wanted to see how it compares to the GTX 580 no matter the price. The GTX 580 is a better performing card, but at a terrific out of pocket expense.

Both of these new AMD GPUs look to be incredible values. Never before has any GPU delivered so much gaming performance at such a low cost. If you have been waiting for the time to upgrade and are more than a generation back, that upgrade time has now come. The AMD Radeon HD 6950 and AMD Radeon HD 6970 are both tremendous values.

This isn’t the last we will hear from AMD on this series. Expect to see a dual-GPU video card to replace the Radeon HD 5970 eventually.

There is no question that both the AMD Radeon HD 6970 and AMD Radeon HD 6950 both deserve our Gold [H] Editor's Choice Award. Both of these GPUs own the "Bang for the Buck" space.

As of publishing this we are seeing the HD 6970 at Newegg for $370 and the HD 6950 at Newegg for $300.

Seeing as these two cards achieved the coveted [H] Gold Seal of approval, those of you looking for a new barn burning GPU this Christmas season (perhaps to play Black Ops or New Vegas on?) might consider asking for one of these beauties instead of the usual assortment of summer sausage (http://www.hickoryfarms.com/item/summer-sausage-trio-gift-box/007900)...