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PC gaming is becoming way harder to get into, and that sucks – PC Gamer

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By Jacob Ridley 17 September 2021
Just when you think PC gaming is becoming more affordable and accessible.
It shouldn’t be this hard to get into PC gaming. In fact, it hasn’t been this hard to get into PC gaming for a long time. From fervent bots and silicon shortages, to an up and coming OS that makes demands of your PC you probably didn’t know existed, there’s seemingly no escape from the newly-installed barriers that block the way into PC gaming nirvana.
Whether you’re upgrading, replacing, or rebuilding your own PC, or have been forced to listen to one of your many friends complaining about their various predicaments in Discord, you’ll know all too well of the awkward and unfortunate graphics card drought. It’s wormed its way into PC gaming’s very being like dust to a tempered glass side panel. And no more have the shockwaves of that drought been felt than in the entry-level market. 
Or should I say lack thereof.
It’s not like PC gaming has always been at a loss for great budget options. AMD’s Polaris lineup really did work wonders in its price range only a few years ago—to think the Radeon RX 580 could be found for under $200 regularly, and don’t even get me started on the RX 570. Shockingly affordable at times, the competitive price-to-performance of these cards spurred Nvidia to launch competitive lineups of budget GPUs for years after, and vice versa, and we assumed at the time this would continue long into the future.
But those budget GPUs have petered out in recent years. So much so that neither AMD or Nvidia offer a single discrete graphics card under $300 in either of their current-gen lineups.
There’s probably an article’s worth of explanation as to why there’s such a dearth of cheap silicon today, but it inevitably boils down to the same damned supply issue that’s causing havoc for supply of the graphics cards that actually do exist. And capitalism. If you have a finite number of GPUs you can make, and all the expensive ones you’ve released sell out in record time, why would you make cheaper ones?
Neither AMD or Nvidia offer a single discrete graphics card under $300 in either of their current-gen lineups.
When at a loss for one of the key components of affordable PC gaming, the hobby’s well-maintained second-hand market would usually come to the rescue. Yet so has it been sapped of its lustre by those profiteering from a rollercoaster cryptocurrency boom and bust cycle.
So forgive me for believing that, in such dire circumstance, Nvidia might be right to resurrect the RTX 2060, a move not yet confirmed but often alluded to. Much like the 16-series was to the 20-series, so too could the RTX 2060 be something of a budget alternative to the expense of the RTX 30-series. This time with DLSS support to aid it on it’s way to higher frame rates in 2022. That all depends on what might be the price tag of the oft-rumoured old graphics card, though. And if it, too, is snapped up for mining.
Gigabyte RX 580 graphics card pictured with retail box
The Nvidia RTX 3070 and AMD RX 6700 XT side by side on a colourful background
How to buy a graphics card: tips on buying a graphics card in the barren silicon landscape that is 2021
In the meantime there’s the option of an AMD APU, such as the $359 Ryzen 7 5700G, which does represent a moderately more affordable way into PC gaming if you never consider adding a discrete GPU into the mix. Such a chip, one which combines both CPU and mild-mannered GPU under one heat spreader, is sure to get you up-and-running on a slimmer budget, at the very least.
However, we’re still yet to see AMD make these a worthy adversary to their own console SoCs, most of all the one found within the $300 Xbox Series S. And that’s incredibly frustrating to have to admit as a PC gamer.
That said, we’re only talking gaming performance here. Everything else you might want a PC for—working, editing, browsing, etc.—then yes, the APU is the way to go inside a pared-back machine. Similarly, for affordability in software, the PC has lots to offer.
Which raises a point on the duality to PC gaming today: while PC hardware has unfortunately flopped on price to performance, the pendulum has swung entirely the other direction for PC gaming software. Steam sales, free games, and services like Games Pass offer the option of spending less on your games—assuming you don’t get addicted to filling out a library of games you’ll never play or leave your subscription running all month without ever using it.
Windows 11 Health Check
There’s no more pivotal a piece of software than your operating system and we’re about to move onto  Windows 11, a shiny new OS for the modern age.
Well, some of us are. As it turns out, Windows 11 is extremely picky about what it gets installed on, and it simply won’t work on every Windows 10 device going today. The official cut-off is anything before Intel’s 8th Gen processors and AMD’s Ryzen 2000-series processors, with a few strange exceptions.
…barricading off the flashy new OS feels another kick in the teeth for gamers without the budget to throw at a desirable upgrade.
Simply put: a whole lot of gaming PCs don’t make it. You could potentially still choose to install the Windows 11 ISO file on such a machine, but then you might not be in line for any security updates, which could open you up to more issues than sticking to regular Windows 10. 
Not only that, you might be blocked by anti-cheat software, such as Riot’s Vanguard.
But an unsupported CPU does not a bad PC make. I still consider a Core i7 6700K to be a decent chip for a modern PC. I used the very same processor for three of the past five years, and now it’s in my partner’s PC, which she uses for work, gaming, and streaming. I’ll admit it’s not the flashiest chip around, but it feels wrong to be writing it off just yet when it’s adequate, at least.
And most especially during a silicon shortage.
Perhaps I’m laying too much of a stake in people’s desire to upgrade to Windows 11. But we all want the new shiny thing, as proven by the massive demand for the latest tech, and barricading off the flashy new OS feels another kick in the teeth for gamers without the budget to throw at a desirable upgrade.
Not to mention we’ve already seen Microsoft wobble on whether a new feature like Direct Storage would be arriving on Windows 10 or be exclusive to Windows 11. What does it look like if more features and game support is tied to the new OS after launch?
I don’t wish to lay the blame at anyone’s door necessarily—the world can’t build enough chips and security is important. But, damn, if it doesn’t feel like PC gaming has slammed the door shut on what it truly means to be a PC gamer at anything other than the painfully expensive, enthusiast end of the market.
So what’s the advice to budget gamers then, better start saving or buy an Xbox Series S? Well, at least there are some gaming laptops to sink your teeth into at a not altogether high price. Yet it still just feels like a step backward when it really felt as if the hitherto inclusive world of PC gaming tech was on the right track for so long.
Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog from his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things at PCGamesN, where he would later win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Nowadays, as senior hardware editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. When he’s not writing about GPUs and CPUs, you’ll find him trying to get as far away from the modern world as possible by wild camping.
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Ohio State vs. Penn State: Live stream, watch online, TV channel, prediction, pick, football game spread, odds – CBSSports.com

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No. 20 Penn State travels to Columbus on Saturday to square off with No. 5 Ohio State in a game that once looked to be one of the best games of the season. The divisional showdown has lost a bit of luster in recent weeks, however. Earlier this month, many anticipated this being a clash between two top-five teams battling for Big Ten East supremacy and a possible College Football Playoff. Unfortunately, a lot has changed since.
While the Buckeyes recovered nicely from its early-season loss to Oregon and dominated its Big Ten competition, the Nittany Lions cannot say the same. Going on the road and losing to Iowa 23-20 after losing quarterback Sean Clifford late in the first half was forgivable and understandable. Losing 20-18 in nine overtimes to 3-5 Illinois last Saturday is something different. Not only did that knock Penn State down 13 spots in the AP Top 25, it all but eliminated it from Big Ten title contention. The Nittany Lions now have two conference losses in a division with three teams that have yet to lose a conference game. 
The good news for Penn State is that it still gets to play all three starting this weekend, but the bad news is there’s little reason it can beat all three. 
It’s better for the Big Ten if Ohio State wins: We’re almost to the time of year when playoff rankings will be released. If you’re the Big Ten, the most important thing is that you get at least one team in the playoff, but ideally, you’d love to get two. A Penn State win here would seriously hurt any chance of the latter coming to fruition. It would be Ohio State’s second loss of the season and history has shown that two losses are one too many.
With both Michigan and Michigan State playing earlier in the day, the conference will be down to only one undefeated team by kickoff. Of course, if you’re a Penn State fan, you don’t care about any of this, nor should you. All you care about is ending a two-game losing streak and getting the season back on track. 
This could be the start of C.J. Stroud’s Heisman campaign: Stroud has been on fire in October. Although he threw for 484 yards and three touchdowns in Ohio State’s loss to Oregon, he’d been failing to live up to the lofty expectations that Buckeyes fans have for their QB after watching Justin Fields. 
After sitting out of the Akron game because of an injury, Stroud has been lighting up the Big Ten. Over his last three games, he’s thrown for 1,032 yards, 14 touchdowns and no interceptions. Of course, he’s done this against Rutgers, Maryland and Indiana, so it hasn’t garnered much attention. But if Stroud can keep that up by lighting up a good Penn State secondary, you can be sure his Heisman candidacy will receive a significant boost.
Penn State needs to figure out a way to run the football: It’s been a serious problem for the Nittany Lions all season long, not just in their last two losses. This offense ranks 99th nationally with an average of 3.54 yards per carry, 99th in rushing success rate (48.7%) and 116th in total rush EPA (-40.73). There’s only been one game this season in which the Lions averaged at least 5.0 yards per carry, and that was a 44-13 win over Ball State in which they finished with exactly 5.0 yards per carry.
One of the best ways to slow down the Ohio State offense is to keep it off the field, and the best way to do that — particularly when you have a banged-up QB like Clifford — is handing the ball off. If the Nittany Lions are going to go to Columbus and shock the world, they’re going to have to run the ball somehow.
Date: Saturday, October 30 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Ohio Stadium — Columbus, Ohio
TV: ABC | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
This point spread is not an accurate reflection of the difference between these two teams at their best, but it accurately depicts where they are right now. Clifford was well below 100% during Penn State’s loss to Illinois, and if he’s not healthy, an already limited offense becomes even more of a liability. Also, losing defensive lineman P.J. Mustipher for the season had a noticeable impact on the Penn State rush defense against Illinois. Now that same unit has to stop running back TreVeyon Henderson while also covering all the weapons Ohio State has in the passing game. I just don’t see how Penn State can keep up with this Ohio State team right now. Prediction: Ohio State (-18.5)
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 9, and which top-10 team will go down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $3,900 in profit over the past five-plus seasons — and find out.
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Sony's PS5 redesign is much lighter – but does it look any different? – Creative Bloq

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By Daniel Piper 21 July 2021
We just hope it’ll be easier to get hold of.
If you’ve managed to get anywhere near a PS5 in the last few months (no mean feat considering the console’s popularity), you’ll know that it’s big. Very big. Ever since the machine was launched last year, its gargantuan size has been the subject of countless mocking memes. But a slightly more svelte PlayStation 5 could already be on the way.
As spotted by one Twitter user (below), tweaked PS5 manuals appear to confirm a new ‘digital edition’ model, which is a whole 300g lighter than the standard version. It isn’t clear exactly how this weight loss will be achieved, but the arrival of a new model could be good news for anyone who hasn’t managed to get hold of one yet (here’s where to buy a PS5 if you fancy your chances).
It appears a PlayStation 5 Digital Edition revision (CFI-1100B) is being listed by Japanese retailersThis revision is 300g lighter than the previous model (CFI-1000B) and also features a different screw https://t.co/zQOSkzfdn8July 20, 2021
It seems the new PS5, listed as CFI-1100B, will weigh around 3.6kg as opposed to the current model’s 3.9kg. Not only that, but the new model will no longer require a screwdriver when adding or removing the stand. Hardly a groundbreaking design tweak, but hey – perhaps you’ve found yourself desperate to stand your PS5 up sans screwdriver.
Still, it’ll be interesting to see if Sony has made any other design changes to shave off that 300g. We’ve already heard that the company is planning a redesign in an attempt to get stock moving again – a shortage of semi-conductors is behind delays to the production, and Sony is keen to “find maybe a secondary resource”, or speed things up by “changing the design.”
Playstation 5
We can’t help but hope Sony does take the opportunity to tweak the appearance of the PS5. Maybe it could take a cue from this wildly popular all-black PS5 mod. Or even this ridiculous water-cooled PS5. Whatever happens, anything that speeds up the production line is a good thing in our book. Until then, check out today’s best games console deals below – and be sure to take a look at these awesome Nintendo Switch deals.
Read more:
Daniel Piper is senior news editor at Creative Bloq, and an authority on all things art, design, branding and tech. He has a particular penchant for Apple products – some corners of the internet might call him an ‘iSheep’, but he’s fine with this. It doesn’t bother him at all. Why would it? They’re just really nicely designed products, okay? Daniel is also a comedian and national poetry slam champion, and his favourite Bond is, obviously, Sean Connery.
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When AC Valhalla's Last DLC Update Is Coming | Screen Rant – Screen Rant

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The release date of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s newest DLC isn’t official yet, but signs point to when players can expect its release in early 2022.
After the release of Ubisoft’s official trailer this summer at E3, it’s clear players can expect another DLC for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. While an official release date has not been set yet, there are a number of clues available which provide a reliable idea of how soon the DLC’s release can be expected. As Ubisoft indicates in its trailer, there is more content coming in the game’s second year.
In a recent financial report covering the first half of the 2021-22 fiscal year, Ubisoft provided some insights concerning the importance of AC Valhalla to its overall financial performance and its plans concerning upcoming expansions to the game. Given that the fiscal year ends on March 31, 2022, this narrows down the timeline for the DLC’s release considerably.
Related: AC Valhalla Update’s Tombs Of The Fallen & New Skills Detailed
Overall, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla has been very profitable for Ubisoft. To date, the title has already earned the developer its second-largest profit ever. Given its performance thus far, Ubisoft is determined to continue its success by releasing new content in the game’s second year, something that hasn’t been done for the AC franchise before. Judging by the clues and leaks now available, fans of the franchise can hope to dive back into the game’s mythical storyline by late winter or early-spring next year. The last DLC release date for AC Valhalla is most likely early 2022.
As per usual, Ubisoft is keeping the details of the DLC’s contents close to its chest. However, some sleuthing for clues from the game’s latest software patch has gleaned some information regarding what the DLC will be about. Leakers j0nathan and AndyReloads on YouTube have revealed from their datamining that the DLC’s title will be Dawn of Ragnarök and the storyline’s setting will take place in the dwarven realm of Svartalfheim. This reveals Ubisoft’s intention to turn its attention to the mythical storyline within the game, following in the same vein as the Asgard and Jotunheim sequences.
Ubisoft’s official expansions trailer provided clips of some intriguing concept art, including depictions of a Muspelheim gate with dwarven dwellings in the background. Datamined leaks provided by AndyReloads reveal a trove of information, including Svartalfheim’s map, similar in size to England and Francia, and new achievement quests as well. Pieces of code indicate one discovery quest involves locating all the “dwarven shelters” on the map, the completion of which earns the player a trophy in AC Valhalla.
Datamining performed by j0nathan provides clues concerning new abilities as well. For instance, the “raven form” ability will allow Eivor to transform into a raven for a limited period of time, fly around the map, and land at specific locations. Other new abilities appear to also include enveloping Eivor in an icy or fiery layer of skin and a teleportation-style dodge. It is not clear yet whether some or all of these abilities will be limited to the Dawn of Ragnarök storyline.
If these leaks and clues are any indications of what’s to come in the new DLC, there is plenty left in-store for AC Valhalla fans. The new DLC’s return to the game’s mythical setting and storyline will hopefully satisfy players who have enjoyed experiencing Asgard and Jotunheim and playing through mythical stories integral to Viking lore and history. It seems all signs point to Assassin’s Creed Valhalla‘s continuation of success for the AC franchise and Ubisoft.
Next: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s Most Hidden Easter Eggs
Sources: j0nathanAndyReloads/YouTube
Melissa Chance is Gaming Feature Writer for Screen Rant, writing game analysis articles. She also is an adjunct instructor for SNHU teaching World Literature and was previously an assistant professor for a community college. She earned her Master of Liberal Arts in composition and literature from Henderson State University in 2010. As such, she enjoys exploring and analyzing games for their theme and social commentary alongside playing for the sake of escaping the trappings of a mundane world. Currently, Melissa is based in the Florida panhandle with her wife and son where she is pursuing her career in freelance writing and currently working toward a degree in Cyber Security. She enjoys a variety of gaming platforms including Xbox, PlayStation, PC, mobile, and table-top games. Additionally, Melissa is also an avid fisherman, writer, amateur philosopher, and just as nerdy in person as this biography portrays.

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