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By Usama Jawad96
Valve employee clarifies that the Steam Deck does not have a 30fps cap
by Usama Jawad
A few days ago, Valve unveiled its first handheld gaming device, namely the Steam Deck. The machine features a 7-inch 60Hz display with a native resolution of 1280 x 800px. Valve partnered with AMD to power the device, with it touting an APU that has a Zen 2 four core eight thread CPU paired with an RDNA 2 1.6 Tflops GPU. It also has 16GB of LPDDR5 ram and internal storage that goes up to 512GB of NVMe. Starting at $399, the Steam Deck sounds neat on paper, but many have been worried about performance since a statement from a Valve employee was interpreted as suggesting that the company is targeting 30fps on the handheld.
The same developer, who is Pierre-Loup Griffais, has now clarified his statement saying that he meant that the 30fps is the minimum that Valve is targeting with games on the Steam Deck. In a tweet, Griffais went on to say that:
This certainly clarifies a few misconceptions. Although Valve had initially stated that its hardware could handle any game thrown at it, the comment about the "30 FPS target" had led many to believe that games would be capped at 30fps. While it is now clear that titles won't be locked at 30fps and that gamers can go opt between performance and battery life, the responses to Griffais' tweet have now delved into why 60fps was not chosen as the floor for the machine.
Microsoft Weekly: Windows 11 testing, future gaming, and HiveNightmare aka SeriousSAM
by Florin Bodnarescu
It’s been a rather busy seven days in Redmond, with new Windows 11 test builds, long-awaited game releases on console, and yet another security vulnerability all being in the news. You can find details about the aforementioned and more below, in your Microsoft digest for the week of July 18 – 24.
Windows 11 testing
It would be prudent to start with some of the news surrounding Microsoft’s next major iteration of Windows.
For one, there’s the possible release time frame, which was revealed in a document accompanying a recent Intel GPU driver update. In it, Windows 11 is referred to as the October 2021 Update, though it’s possible this may also be a reference to Windows 10 21H2, which should drop around the same time.
This timing wouldn’t be too surprising, as October has been the month of choice for the denomination or GA of several H2 updates - barring say 1809, which was quickly pulled following a number of problems, then re-released in December -, or previous major releases like Windows XP, Windows 7, and Windows 8.
As far as the release of the Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) variant of Windows 11 is concerned, Microsoft was clear that it is still several years out. The LTSC release that’s about to drop this year will be based on Windows 10 21H2, but the release after that is set to be underpinned by Windows 11. Given the recent change in the LTSC support lifecycle – namely slashing of support from 10 to five years -, there’s still a bit of a wait involved.
Until then though, Microsoft is continuing to shed little more light on its Windows 11 design choices, such as the new context menu, or the Teams integration. Sadly, the Store variants for Business and Education will not be supported in Windows 11, though the downloading of Edge from the Store will be.
And speaking of, Teams chat can now be tested thanks to Windows 11 Insider build 22000.100, which also adds some taskbar enhancements. Naturally, there are some known issues to keep in mind as always, one of which is the fact that Windows Hello is now broken. Not to worry though, there’s a way to fix it.
Finally, in not exactly earth-shattering news, Microsoft has released a new cumulative update to Windows Insiders in the Release Preview ring. This is KB5004296 and should be available for folks running Windows 10 21H1 and 21H2. The only change is a new policy which „creates generic strings and removes branding-specific terms, such as „Windows” or „PC” for IoT Enterprise editions”. In other words, you’ll be seeing phrases like „Getting things ready” instead of „Getting Windows ready”.
On the gaming side of things, there’s a selection of titles now available on Game Pass, including Battlefield V, Cris Tales, Atomicorps, and Raji: An Ancient Epic. In terms of high-profile releases arriving soon, there’s Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge, The Ascent, as well as the long-awaited console release of Microsoft Flight Simulator. If those are not your cup of tea, the Deals with Gold are right this way.
In other news of future releases, Halo Infinite’s first technical preview will focus on bots, with the kickoff allegedly happening as soon as next weekend. Matches will be 4v4 across the Bazaar, Recharge, and Live Fire maps.
Yet another first-party title, this time Fallout 76, is set to get a long-requested feature in a couple of months, namely private servers. Dubbed Fallout Worlds, it will officially arrive in the game in September, but the PTS (Public Test Servers) already have it available, for those interested in testing this out early.
Last but not least, we should mention the Dead Space remake announced at EA Play. Rebuilt by Motive Studios from the ground up to use the Frostbite engine, the game is slated to launch across PC, Xbox Series X|S, and PlayStation 5, though no release date or window was given.
HiveNightmare aka SeriousSAM
It seems like Microsoft just can’t catch a break when it comes to security recently. Following the massive Exchange Online exploits in March and April, and the PrintNightmare exploit affecting the Print Spooler Service, there’s now another high-profile security flaw going around.
Dubbed HiveNightmare – due to it being a registry vulnerability -, or SeriousSAM (due to the Windows Security Account Manager – or SAM – database being involved), the flaw allows passwords and security keys to be accessed by non-admin users. As such, it would give an attacker access to the SAM, SYSTEM, and SECURITY registry hive files. In the linked post, we’ve detailed how to restrict access to the system32 config file, as well as how to delete Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) shadow copies in order to protect yourself against this.
In light of the above, it’s perhaps no surprise that Microsoft chose to acquire CloudKnox Security in order to enhance its unified privileged access capabilities.
Unfortunately, the section won’t be ending with any good news, as the July set of updates for Windows 10 has broken printing and scanning via the use of smart cards. This is an unfortunate side effect of the Redmond giant’s attempts at fixing the aforementioned PrintNightmare flaw.
And as if that wasn’t enough, fake Windows 11 installers have also started circulating around the web. Unsurprisingly, they are being used for malware distribution.
Apps for Teams meetings are now supported on mobile. Microsoft is fighting legal battles to restrict the use of imposter domains. Online civility has deteriorated in the second year of the pandemic, says the Redmond giant. Edge 92 is now out, with a new Password Health dashboard. SharePoint Server Subscription Edition is now available in public preview. Visual Studio 2022 for Mac is now available in private preview. Logging off
We end today with a Task Manager concept featuring what is perhaps one of the most oft-requested features for the utility.
via AlurDesign While the Task Manager has certainly evolved over the years from its inception, one of the most often requested features is an option to switch to dark mode. Changes have been made so far in Windows 11 to make the implementation of this theme option a lot more consistent, though legacy apps still don’t respect the dark mode setting.
To visualize just how a dark mode for Task Manager would look, Twitter user Jakub (AlurDesign) has put together a concept – seen above – which makes use of the more rounded aesthetic in Windows 11, as well as translucency effects.
Of course, it’s a mere concept, but here’s hoping Microsoft sees this and chooses to take at least some design cues from it.
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Weekend PC Game Deals: Try the Olympics and pick up war games
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
Weekend PC Game Deals is where the hottest gaming deals from all over the internet are gathered into one place, every week, for your consumption. So kick back, relax, and hold on to your wallets.
The latest bundle to roll out of Humble is from Paradox Interactive's coffers. If grand strategy war games are your style, then this Hearts of Iron IV focused collection will be right up your alley.
The $1 tier delivers only one item, but it is the all-important Hearts of Iron IV base game. The rest of the tiers come with DLC packs and expansions that fatten up the strategy experience. Beating the average price (currently around $9.40) gets you Together for Victory, Death or Dishonor, and Radio Pack.
Lastly, the $18 third tier brings in four more addons: Man the Guns, Waking the Tiger, Battle for the Bosporus, and Axis Armor Pack. This Paradox bundle will come to an end on August 11.
Epic Games' double giveaways continue, and this time you can claim Verdun and Defense Grid: The Awakening as your freebies for the week.
From the duo, Verdun is a multiplayer shooter with a World War I setting focused on authenticity and tactical gameplay. On the other side, Defense Grid: The Awakening is for strategy fans, with it bringing a tower defense experience that has you battling alien hordes with your expert tower placement abilities.
This double giveaway will go away on July 29, and to replace it, Epic will be bringing in MOTHERGUNSHIP and Train Sim World 2 as the next freebies.
The free events of this weekend go in some interesting directions. Battlefield 1, DICE's take on World War I, is currently free to play on Steam alongside a Vehicle Shortcut Kit as a bonus. If you have a Prime membership, know that you can grab a copy of Battlefield 1 via that right now too. Another shooter that's free-to-play this weekend is Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, specifically its multiplayer and zombie experiences.
Finally, celebrating the Olympics kick off, the official Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 companion game from Sega is currently free to try out as well.
A bunch of stores, from Microsoft and Ubisoft to Origin and Epic Games Store, have begun major sales this weekend, pulling down prices across a wide variety of games. Find our highlights below:
Days Gone – $35.99 on Fanatical Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2 – $29.99 on Epic Store HITMAN 3 – $29.99 on Epic Store Watch Dogs: Legion – $24 on Ubisoft Store Gears 5 GOTY Edition – $23.99 on Microsoft Store Boneworks VR – $23.99 on Humble Store SCUM - Early Access – $20.99 on Steam Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night – $19.99 on Steam Halo: The Master Chief Collection – $19.99 on Microsoft Store Detroit: Become Human – $19.99 on Epic Store Breathedge – $17.49 on Steam The Outer Worlds – $16.79 on Fanatical Control Ultimate Edition – $15.99 on Steam Gears Tactics – $15.99 on Microsoft Store Crysis Remastered – $14.99 on Epic Store Cuphead – $14.99 on Microsoft Store I Expect You To Die VR – $14.99 on Humble Store The Settlers History Collection – $14 on Ubisoft Store House Flipper – $13.99 on Steam Just Shapes & Beats – $13.99 on Steam Lonely Mountains: Downhill – $13.39 on Steam Phasmophobia - Early Access – $12.59 on Steam Monster Train – $12.50 on GreenManGaming Narita Boy – $12.49 on Steam Raji: An Ancient Epic – $12.49 on Steam Iron Harvest – $12.49 on Epic Store THE LONGING – $11.99 on Steam Cooking Simulator – $10.99 on Steam Dragon Age Inquisition – GOTY Edition – $9.99 on Steam BioShock: The Collection – $9.99 on IndieGala Dragon Age Inquisition – GOTY Edition – $9.99 on Steam First Class Trouble - Early Access – $9.89 on Steam Titanfall 2: Ultimate Edition – $8.99 on Origin Children of Morta – $8.78 on GameBillet L.A. Noire – $6.99 on Steam House of the Dying Sun – $6.79 on Steam Imperator: Rome – $5.99 on IndieGala Plague Inc: Evolved – $5.09 on Steam Sunset Overdrive – $4.99 on Microsoft Store SPORE – $4.99 on Steam Battletoads – $4.99 on Microsoft Store Max Payne Bundle – $4.49 on Steam Pikuniku – $3.89 on Steam Ryse: Son of Rome – $2.49 on Steam Dead Space – $1.99 on Origin Mirror's Edge – $1.99 on Origin Verdun – $0 on Epic Store Defense Grid: The Awakening – $0 on Epic Store DRM-free Goodness
Going DRM-free this weekend is a whole lot of games, and GOG's latest promotions bring down prices of isometric titles, Bethesda games, and more:
Dishonored: Complete Collection - $23.99 on GOG Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition - $17.99 on GOG Breathedge - $17.49 on GOG Divinity: Original Sin - Enhanced Edition - $13.99 on GOG BioShock Infinite Complete Edition - $13.74 on GOG Mutazione - $12.99 on GOG Project Hospital - $12.49 on GOG The Evil Within 2 - $11.99 on GOG Prey - $11.99 on GOG Wasteland 2 Director's Cut Digital Deluxe Edition - $11.24 on GOG Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition - $9.99 on GOG UnderRail - $7.49 on GOG Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition - $5.99 on GOG Stacking - $4.99 on GOG Quake: The Offering - $4.99 on GOG The Sexy Brutale - $3.99 on GOG Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition - $3.99 on GOG Wolfenstein: The New Order - $3.99 on GOG Incredipede - $3.49 on GOG A Story About My Uncle - $3.24 on GOG The Journeyman Project 2: Buried in Time - $2.99 on GOG Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition - $2.49 on GOG Finding Paradise - $2.49 on GOG Wolfenstein 3D + Spear of Destiny - $2.39 on GOG Titanic: Adventure Out of Time - $2.09 on GOG Memoria - $1.99 on GOG Stronghold Crusader HD - $1.99 on GOG Sea Dogs - $1.19 on GOG Keep in mind that availability and pricing for some deals could vary depending on the region.
That's it for our pick of this weekend's PC game deals, and hopefully, some of you have enough self-restraint not to keep adding to your ever-growing backlogs. As always, there's an enormous number of other deals ready and waiting all over the interwebs as well as in services you may already subscribe to if you comb through them, so keep your eyes open for those, and have a great weekend.
Halo Infinite's first technical preview will focus on bots, may start next weekend
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
Bazaar mapHalo Infinite's first ever multiplayer technical preview (flight) is opening its doors very soon, and to prepare the masses, 343 Industries today put forth a new Inside Infinite blog post detailing the process and what will be included in it. While a definite start date has not been given out yet, the studio says the flight is awfully close to releasing, and it "could happen as soon as next weekend."
The upcoming flight will be focused on testing the newest features Halo Infinite is introducing to the series, namely multiplayer bots, the Academy training system for Spartans, the menu and battle pass UIs, as well as the Halo Waypoint companion experience across the web and mobile platforms.
Insiders will be able to battle it out against bots in Slayer (4 players vs 4 bots) across Bazaar, Recharge, and Live Fire maps as the developer gathers feedback on bot behavior and performance. 343 says the bots won't simply be easy targets to put down either, with four skill options available: Recruit, Marine, ODST and Spartan. Here's how the studio described the bot's skill levels and how the AI won't simply be cheating to win:
Live Fire map Meanwhile, from the new Academy side, players will have weapon drills to perform with different difficulty levels and a score system based on player performance. This flight's drills will be available for the following weapons:
The initial preview will be available to hundreds of thousands of Xbox and PC players who have signed up to be Halo Insiders. The studio plans to invite every eligible Insider at some point during the numerous planned tests before Halo Infinite's launch later this year.
EVGA reportedly suggests very few RTX 3090s have died from running Amazon's New World
by Sayan Sen
A few days ago, Amazon Games' new MMORPG dubbed New World opened for beta testing and reports started pouring in about the game apparently killing Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3090 graphics cards. A large number of models that were bricking seemed to be EVGA models, in particular the FTW3 variants. A patch that would fix the problem by capping frames in the menu screen was promised yesterday by Amazon Games.
Andreas Schilling, who is an Editor of German news outlet Hardwareluxx, quizzed EVGA EU about the matter and the vendor has allegedly stated that the reports have hugely overblown the number of RTX 3090 cards that have died as apparently, that number is "in the single digits" only.
And much to the shock of those users perhaps whose cards got burned, EVGA has also reportedly stated that the vendor was unable to recreate the situation during its own testing. But the company has assured that it will analyze the bricked cards to try and figure out what could have caused such an issue. The returned GPUs will seemingly be covered under the EVGA Advanced RMA (EAR) Programme.
The player base for the game peaked three days ago when such reports of 3090s dying hadn't broken but since the number of players appear to have been affected somewhat by such reports.