The Scuf Vantage is an incredibly comfortable, highly customizable third-party controller for the PlayStation 4. It’s got four customizable back paddles, extra side buttons, swappable faceplates and analog sticks—it’s basically the PS4’s answer to Microsoft’s Elite Wireless. Well, now Scuf has announced the Vantage 2, which is all that, only better.
Tim Rogers and I swear by our Scuf Vantage controllers. I have one sitting inches from my hand as I type this. That’s convenient, as the Scuf Vantage 2’s list of improvements makes me want to grab this old piece of junk and toss it in the trash. The grip is better. The trigger functions are upgraded, with even more customization and fine-tuning options. There’s a brand-new customization app for players to configure their controller for PC play. Here’s a neat little list of what’s getting better.
Improved High-Performance Grip
Upgraded trigger functions
PC Customization App for Windows
Improved button haptics
Refined tactile textures in the faceplate, trigger, bumper, and Sax buttons
Enhanced USB connection system
That’s all on top of the original Vantage’s slew of features, including adjustable trigger sensitivity, swappable analog sticks and D-pads, on-the-fly button remapping, that weird touch-sensitive audio control bar at the base, and the four-piece paddle control system on the back.
And it’s still pretty expensive. The Vantage 2 starts at $170 for the wired-only model, with a version capable of swapping between wired and Bluetooth running $200. Both are available for preorder on the Scuf website and start shipping in mid-October. For those wishing to pay even more, there’s a special Call of Duty: Modern Warfare edition that runs $220 and comes with special stylized parts and a code for an in-game sniper scope charm.
Styled after Nintendo’s new Switch Lite, the 8BitDo Lite is a controller so ultra-portable that it’s got two directional pads instead of analog sticks to keep it as thin as possible.
The 8BitDo Lite features all the functionality of a full-sized Nintendo Switch controller, only instead of analog sticks, it has D-pads. That means these should take the place of analog sticks, perfect for games that don’t actually have analog control anyway (and probably not the best for those that do). Unlike the Switch Lite itself, the D-pad isn’t replacing the four-button array on the left side, which is still there. It’s a weird-looking controller for sure.
Though obviously designed to match the more colorful variations of the Switch Lite, the $25 controllers, available for preorder now and shipping October 30, also work with PC, MacOS, Android, and more, with a switch on top that swaps between Switch and Xbox-compatible functionality They connect via USB-C cable or Bluetooth, and they feature a programmable turbo function, in case one needs a button to be pressed repeatedly in rapid fashion.
It looks weird, but also pretty damn cool. I can’t look at pictures of these for too long without the overwhelming urge to bite into them. I’m thinking the turquoise tastes like spearmint.
And the yellow one probably tastes like lemon meltaway candy.
Another possible outcome is they both probably taste like plastic. Even so, I am curious to test the accessibility of those R2 and L2 buttons, situated as they are along the top of the controller instead of behind the triggers or on the back.
Consider me intrigued. I own a couple of 8BitDo controllers for my Analogue retro Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo consoles, and they have yet to let me down. Looking forward to getting my large hands on these odd-yet-pretty things later this year.
A large percentage of on-camera streamers share the screen with microphones that do nothing but sit there and capture sound. Razer’s new Seiren Emote, announced today at TwitchCon, comes with a built-in 8-bit emoticon display that can link to Twitch and react dynamically to subscriptions, follows, and chat messages.
Using Razer’s Streamer Companion App in conjunction with the $180 hypercardioid condenser microphone, due out later this year, streamers can quickly and easily set up custom reactions to all sorts of Twitch actions. Animated emoticons can play when users subscribe, donate, or follow the streamer. Multiple emoticons can be set to play at once when triggered. Twitch streamers can create their own custom emoticons and set them to go off when viewers type in certain words or phrases, building their brand and engaging with the community at the same time.
The software, currently in beta, is easy to use. I don’t stream regularly myself (I’m working on it), and I quickly connected to my Twitch account and set up an emoticon to play when someone followed my channel.
I connected the Seiren Emote, selected the rainbow vomit emoticon, hit test, and voila.
Razer’s Streamer Companion App isn’t only for the Seiren Emote. A wide range of devices can be linked up, from Razer’s upcoming lighted Kitty Ear Kraken headset and other Chroma lighting-enabled gear to Philips Hue bulbs and those cool lighted wall panel things my wife won’t let me buy. During an online demonstration of the software earlier this week, I watched a streamer’s room explode with light after I typed into their Twitch chat. It was pretty impressive.
Along with providing a nifty little light show, the Razer Seiren Emote is also a very lovely microphone. It’s quite similar to the non-lighted Seiren X, with its built-in shock mount and slim form factor. Along with the default short stand, the Emote also comes packaged with a gooseneck extension for added height.
As someone who prefers hiding behind their microphone during live broadcasts, I am fully-prepared for my input device to take center stage. You can find out more about the Seiren Emote over at Razer’s website.
The Nintendo Switch Lite is one of the finest handheld gaming devices I’ve ever used. It’s sturdy, stylish, and comfortable. It launches with a library that’s already over 2,500 games strong. If all you’re looking for from the Nintendo Switch is personal, portable play, it’s perfect. But is that all you’re looking for?
From its first trailer, with its rooftop parties, car trips, and esports tournaments, the $300 Nintendo Switch has been a device that’s not just about which games to play but how to play them. Basic portable play is part of it, but so is connecting to a high-definition television in the living room, or slipping off a Joy-Con and passing it to a friend as easy as sharing a piece of candy. Those amazing little removable controllers, paired with hardware features like HD rumble and infrared cameras, allow Nintendo to explore new ways to combine real-world activity and gaming with products like Labo and the upcoming Ring-Con. Versatility defines the Switch.
The $200 Switch Lite is not a versatile gaming device. It plays Switch games in handheld mode. It does not support television mode. While Joy-Cons, purchased separately, can be connected to the Lite, the Lite’s smaller screen (5.5 inches to the Switch’s 6.2) and lack of an integrated kickstand make tabletop play inconvenient. There is no rumble. There is no infrared camera. It still supports near-field communication for Amiibo support, and has a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope for motion control, so not all of the Switch’s extra features have been stripped away. But most of them have. As has been pointed out time and time again since the hardware was announced in July, there’s not much “Switch” in the Switch Lite. “Switch Lacking” would be more accurate, if far less marketable.
Though I don’t see it as such, many consider the Switch Lite to be Nintendo’s successor to the 3DS, the dual-screened portable gaming system that’s been desperately clinging to life since the Switch launched in early 2017 and is now all but dead. I understand the comparison. Both the 3DS and the Switch Lite are devices exclusively made for portable gaming. But where the 3DS and its kin had their own ecosystem of unique games, most of which can’t be played anywhere else, the Switch Lite plays Switch games. To me the Switch Lite is to the Switch as the 2DS is to the 3DS. Both play the same games, but one is cheaper and stripped of features that some players never bothered with anyway. I would not trade my 2DS XL in for a Switch Lite.
Judged strictly as a portable personal gaming system, the Switch Lite is better than the original Switch. It’s more compact, which makes it more portable. Since it has no removable parts, the Switch Lite feels much more solid and sturdy than the regular Switch in handheld mode, even though it weighs slightly less at .66 pounds versus .88. The plastic that makes up the Switch Lite’s casing has a soft and slightly rough texture to it that’s a joy on the fingertips. The three colors Nintendo chose for for the initial batch of Switch Lites, yellow, gray, and turquoise, give the device a hip, retro look.
The battery life is slightly longer than my launch Switch, though not as long as the newer models. And then there’s the D-pad, that lovely little white cross in place of the regular Switch’s dinky buttons. I’ve been playing with the Switch Lite for several days now, and every time my thumb brushes that D-pad there’s still a tiny burst of joy. It’s only slightly bigger than the D-pad on my 2DS XL and just as shallow, but it’s responsive enough, and most importantly it’s not four disconnected pieces of round plastic.
As a portable system, the only real downside to the Switch Lite is the screen size. Most of the time, the .7 inch difference between the regular Switch and the smaller Switch Lite isn’t a problem.. But when I play games like Fire Emblem: Three Houses, recently categorized by Kotaku’s Heather Alexandra as one of the Switch’s “extremely good games with tiny text,” my poor, aging eyes struggle even harder on the Lite. Maybe the launch of a portable-only Switch with a smaller screen will make developers more conscientious of tiny text. Or maybe we’ll just have to squint more.
If my only desire was to play Switch games in handheld mode, I would choose the Switch Lite over the regular Switch, hands down. It’s $100 cheaper. It plays all the games I want to play. It looks and feels better in my hands, and it’s impossible for my chonky fingers to accidentally disconnect a Joy-Con during heated play. Yes, I have done this.
But the original does a whole lot of cool stuff the Switch Lite does not do—stuff I’ve grown used to, and now feel awkward going without. Removing Joy-Cons to play multiplayer games is a Switch feature I hardly ever use, but when I have, it’s led to some pretty magical moments. My gaming is normally a personal thing, but the ability to make it social with the click of my Switch means it doesn’t have to be.
Being able to drop a portable game I am playing into a dock and have it show up on my television set looking even better than it did in my hands? Also very cool. It might not seem like much of a jump, going from a small 720p screen to a large 1080p display, but the higher resolution coupled with the Switch’s increased processing power when docked can make quite a difference. Here’s a screenshot I took of the recent Switch exclusive game Astral Chain in docked mode.
Here is a similar shot taken in handheld mode.
See the jaggy hair and glasses? Compare the textures on the uniforms. It’s night and day. And while the graphical difference might not look as dramatic when playing on a 5.5 inch screen, many Switch games also perform better in docked mode, with better lighting effects and higher framerates. Even if 99 percent of my Switch play is portable, I’d still wonder if I was getting the most out of the games I am playing with the Lite.
Plus the Switch Lite lacks a very important feature for a person like me who enjoys sharing their gameplay online. It has no external HDMI support. Not only does that mean no TV mode, it also means no connecting it to a capture card for grabbing footage or streaming. I spent years kicking around the idea of spending a couple hundred dollars to have my Nintendo 3DS modified with an HDMI port for recording and streaming. Scraping together an extra hundred for a Switch with that capability included makes perfect sense to me.
Perhaps you can see the appeal of both models of Switch, and consider buying both of them to get the best of both worlds. I currently possess both a Switch and a Switch Lite. My plan is to keep the Switch proper, with its more delicate build and extra power, firmly seated in my Switch dock for television-based play. The more rugged and sturdy Switch Lite will become my travel companion, tucked into its little blue pouch and safely wrapped in a protective shell cover that I will never have to remove to disconnect a Joy-Con.
I’ve set up my Nintendo account on both devices. The Switch Lite is designated the “primary” Switch on my account, which means I don’t have to connect to the internet to verify I have permission to play games loaded on it. My “secondary” docked Switch has to connect to the internet before I play a game, to verify I don’t currently have that gamerunning on the primary Switch. That’s no problem, since it never leaves the range of my Wi-Fi router.
Transferring save data between two Switches is a painless enough process, right there in the Settings menu. As long as the save belongs to the same user, you can transfer it wirelessly. Cloud saves can be downloaded between systems as well, as long as the game being saved supports the feature. Alternatively, I could just not transfer saves at all, keeping unique records on each system. That would just mean I have to level two Puzzle Quest characters at once. Oh no. Not that.
Now, I don’t need two Switches. You probably don’t, either. But if you want to add another Switch to your family’s game collection, something your kids can abuse a little bit more as they throw it into their backpacks or at their siblings’ faces, the Lite might be the answer. And there are people out there who don’t ever dock their Switches or remove the Joy-Cons who will be perfectly happy playing their games exclusively on a Switch Lite. But it’s far from a total replacement for the existing Switch.
As I began, it’s one of the finest handheld gaming devices I’ve ever used. It’s larger, and feels more mainstream, than the quirky 3DS. It’s more rugged and earthy than Sony’s precious-looking Vita. It’s the sort of gaming hardware I wouldn’t feel bad just tossing in a bag unprotected. It’s console gaming in the palm of your hand, and you can pull it out during a rooftop party without feeling obligated to share.
Joy-Cons are small. They are designed so that Switch can be a sleek, nearly-seamless handheld gaming device. Hori’s Split Pad Pro is what happens when ideas like “small” and “sleek” and “not ridiculous” are tossed out the window. The more I play with them, gripping them in my larger-than-average hands, the less I mind their chonkiness and lack of extended functionality.
The $50 Split Pad Pro, recently released to coincide with the launch of Switch mech shooter Daemon X Machina, lacks a lot of features found in Nintendo Joy-Cons. It does not do motion control. It has no camera. It does not scan Amiibos. It does not rumble. The Split Pad Pro doesn’t even contain an internal battery, so it does not function in tabletop or TV mode. And good luck to you if you try to put the Switch into the dock with these attached.
What the Split Pad Pro does do is transform the Nintendo Switch from a sleek handheld into an awkward-looking device that plays games quite well, especially for those of us with large paws. Instead of the Switch’s tiny analog sticks, the Split Pad Pro sports a pair with slightly more thumb surface than theXbox One’s sticks. The face buttons are larger and deeper, with a more satisfying tactile response than the Joy-Cons’. The left and right triggers are larger and more responsive as well.
Instead of four directional buttons, the left side of the Split Pad Pro sports a standard D-pad.
The Split Pad Pro also boasts a couple of features not found on Joy-Cons. Both halves of the unit sport programmable turbo functions, complete with adjustable speed. On the back of each side is another programmable button, which can be remapped on the fly to any control on the front.
With no batteries or cameras or rumble, the Hori Split Pad Pro weighs about the same as a pair of Joy-Cons, despite its additional bulk. The Switch looks ridiculously bloated with it attached but it feels quite nice. There is a little wiggle room around where each half of the controller connects to the Switch, but a tab of plastic extending from them to the back of the Switch helps maintain stability.
I played my Switch with the Split Pad Pro over the weekend, rolling through my regular lineup of rhythm games, RPGs, platformers, and the odd fighting game. I missed some Joy-Con functionality, notably the rumble effects. I did not miss the occasional cramps I get while manipulating those tiny Joy-Cons for hours on end with my large hands.
I’ve only had the Hori Split Pad Pro for about a week, so I can’t comment on the long-term survivability of these large, yet lightweight, Joy-Con alternatives. I will say that whenever I foresee long stretches of handheld Switch gaming, the Split Pad Pro will be coming with me.
If I wanted to, I could put together a gaming PC with many of the same parts as this desktop by boutique system builder CLX, but I could never make it look as good. From the striking patterned pink outer shell to the gleefully glowing innards, CLX knows how to make a gaming rig look amazing.
CLX is the gaming division of Cybertron PC, a Kansas-based company that’s been putting together PCs since 1997. I first encountered the company back in 2016, when I reviewed one of its smaller systems, the “Scarab.” Though much smaller and lighter than the full-sized “Ra” model I recently tested, the Scarab packed a whole lot of power and a great deal of Egyptian-themed pretty into a compact package.
In the three years since I reviewed the Scarab, Cybertron PC has strengthened its CLX gaming brand, distancing it from the endless Transformers jokes that plagued early reviews (mine especially). When I see CLX at a trade show or gaming convention these days, I immediately know that I am going to see something gorgeous.
Case in point, the massive glass-and-metal beast that occupied my desk for several weeks. Look at that reflective metallic finish on the Phanteks Evolv X chassis.
The custom paint job costs $300, with an additional $50 for the “Jasper” pattern. CLX took a $200 case with a nice tempered-glass side window and some nifty integrated RGB lighting and turned it into a $550 work of art.
See the green light peeking out from inside the system on the left side of the photo? Let’s take a closer look.
My goodness, that is pretty. Custom water cooling pipes. That gradient coolant reservoir. A total of seven internal fans. The four 8 GB DDR4 memory sticks glow. The heatsink covering the Intel Core i9-9900K CPU glows. The side-mounted Nvidia Geforce RTX 2080Ti graphics card glows. And all of the glow is customizable, with different colors and effects adjustable via remote control.
The only bad thing about the look of the CLX Ra here is that I sit with my computers to my left, so I don’t get to enjoy the light show while I am working and playing.
What I love about the CLX system, which runs around $3,300 as configured and decorated, is that its internals are almost the same as the personal PC I use for work every day. Same CPU, same video card. The CLX system has 32 GB of RAM to my 16 GB, but otherwise, it’s not far off. It’s a powerful computer capable of running all the games at 4K with all of the ray-tracing everybody keeps going on about.
It performs nearly identically to my personal system, but it does so with grace and style far beyond that of my home-built PC with its relatively utilitarian NZXT H510 case. Where my system is a mess of wires, the CLX system is a series of internet-like tubes. While I haven’t figured out how to hook up all the RGB-lighted things I gathered for my personal system, CLX’s Ra is completely tricked out. My fans rattle slightly. The Ra has seven fans and is whisper quiet, aside from the occasional pleasant trickling sound of its coolant circulating.
The CLX system is so gorgeous that I didn’t even notice I forgot to take out a bit of the foam the company packed inside the system for shipping. Did you notice?
Yes, even with one of its case fans not spinning at all because some dork didn’t remove a bit of packing foam, the CLX Ra performed like a champ the entire time I had it, and looked gorgeous while doing so.
Look at this piece of gaming hardware, all panels and buttons and weird pokey bits. This is the Mad Catz R.A.T. 8+ 1,000, a limited edition mouse celebrating the company’s 30 year anniversary. It’s emblematic of the odd but oddly-satisfying design choices made by one of the biggest names in computer peripherals. I love it as if it were my own cyborg son.
The $99 R.A.T. 8+ is the top of the Mad Catz R.A.T. line. The particular model I’ve been using is the R.A.T. 8+ 1,000, a limited edition of the mouse released to celebrate the brand’s anniversary. The company only made 1,000 of these, but don’t worry if you miss out. It’s the same thing as the regular version only with a dark gray and gold deco and a fancy box.
The R.A.T. 8+ has got a Pixart PMW 3389 optical sensor, which features the fastest tracking speed (400 inches per second) and highest resolution (16,000 counts per inch) of Pixart’s current gaming mouse sensor lineup. It uses Omron switches for its buttons, rated to 50 million clicks during their lifetime. The R.A.T. 8+ is programmable, with enough onboard memory to store four profiles. Mad Catz’ Flux Interface software allows users to tweak those profiles, adjust mouse lift-off, tweak the RGB lighting and more.
The R.A.T. 8+ has many buttons. Left click. Right click. There’s a button beneath the scroll wheel to adjust the mouse’s CPI. On the thumb rest there are internet back and forward buttons, as well as a precision aim button that slows down the pointer for perfect shots. Along with a clickable scroll wheel, there is a thumb barrel control. Almost all of these buttons are programmable.
It mouses good, which is an important thing for a gaming mouse to do. But the real selling point of the R.A.T. 8+ is its physical versatility, AKA the reason the mouse looks like a prosthetic dog foot from the far future.
The R.A.T. 8+ is built so users can customize the mouse for comfortable and optimal hand positioning. The palm rest, for example, can be slid back with the push of a button, extending to accommodate larger hands. Pulling it out all the way allows the rest to be swapped out for one of two alternate palm rests.
Other adjustments can be performed via a hex driver tucked into the rear of the mouse. Users can remove the pinky support and replace it with a piece more friendly to a claw-style mouse grip.
The thumb rest can also be adjusted so it’s further outward from the main mouse body, as well as higher or lower along the side of the unit. When all the adjusting is done, the hex driver slips back into the underside of the unit, doing double duty as an anchor for a trio of removable weights.
On one hand, especially if that one hand is the only one that will be touching the mouse, all of this adjustability is sort of silly. Once a person finds the optimal position for their R.A.T. 8+, it’s likely they’ll never touch any of the adjustable features again. But me, I like to play and fiddle with my hardware. I have restless hands. Large restless hands that appreciate the extra length and extended thumb room the R.A.T. 8+ provides.
Here’s what my R.A.T. 8+ looks like now.
I’ve got the palm rest as far back as it will go. I swapped out the default pinkie rest for the claw-friendly platform. I’ve pulled the thumb rest away from the side of the mouse so my massive hand can sit in a more natural position. This is what works for me.
That’s what I love so much about Mad Catz’s goofy R.A.T. line of adjustable gaming mice. I could have gone through a dozen other gaming mice to find one with all the features I like. Instead, I made a few adjustments to this one and now I’m good to go. The R.A.T. 8+ looks strange, but it’s a strange thing that suits me perfectly.
Our original review called the Neo Geo Mini arcade-style retro console “cute, but an imperfect nostalgia trip.” The Samurai Shodown limited edition, released this week to celebrate the latest entry in the long-running fighting game series, is exactly that, but it comes with more stuff and looks so much nicer.
I firmly believe that translucent plastic makes everything better. Game consoles. Action figures. Toilets. Maybe not toilets. But just about everything else becomes a work of art when opaque plastic is replaced with something more revealing. That’s certainly the case with the three different Samurai Shodown Limited Edition Neo Geo Mini consoles. Available in see-through <a rel="nofollow" data-amazonasin="B07T4MCGKW" data-amazonsubtag="[t|link[p|1836996031[a|B07T4MCGKW[au|5724686334600252479[b|kotaku[lt|text" onclick="window.ga('send', 'event', 'Commerce', 'kotaku – The Samurai Shodown Limited Edition Neo Geo Mini Is Clearly Superior’, ‘B07T4MCGKW’);window.ga(‘unique.send’, ‘event’, ‘Commerce’, ‘kotaku – The Samurai Shodown Limited Edition Neo Geo Mini Is Clearly Superior’, ‘B07T4MCGKW’);” data-amazontag=”kotakuamzn-20″ href=”https://www.amazon.com/Samurai-Shodown-Limited-not-machine-specific/dp/B07T4MCGKW/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1MUZ9CP1XEXEB&keywords=neo+geo+mini+samurai+shodown+limited+edition&qid=1565091587&s=gateway&sprefix=neo+geo+mini+sa%2Caps%2C132&sr=8-2&tag=kotakuamzn-20&ascsubtag=a096a38d6abeb92501f9be1721091cb4bf9650a6″>red, <a rel="nofollow" data-amazonasin="B07T3J5Z3F" data-amazonsubtag="[t|link[p|1836996031[a|B07T3J5Z3F[au|5724686334600252479[b|kotaku[lt|text" onclick="window.ga('send', 'event', 'Commerce', 'kotaku – The Samurai Shodown Limited Edition Neo Geo Mini Is Clearly Superior’, ‘B07T3J5Z3F’);window.ga(‘unique.send’, ‘event’, ‘Commerce’, ‘kotaku – The Samurai Shodown Limited Edition Neo Geo Mini Is Clearly Superior’, ‘B07T3J5Z3F’);” data-amazontag=”kotakuamzn-20″ href=”https://www.amazon.com/Samurai-Shodown-Limited-not-machine-specific/dp/B07T3J5Z3F/ref=sr_1_3?crid=1MUZ9CP1XEXEB&keywords=neo+geo+mini+samurai+shodown+limited+edition&qid=1565091587&s=gateway&sprefix=neo+geo+mini+sa%2Caps%2C132&sr=8-3&tag=kotakuamzn-20&ascsubtag=ac0fb4145d5cde776f0ab31a065e3e073fa678a4″>white, or <a rel="nofollow" data-amazonasin="B07T4JL1BM" data-amazonsubtag="[t|link[p|1836996031[a|B07T4JL1BM[au|5724686334600252479[b|kotaku[lt|text" onclick="window.ga('send', 'event', 'Commerce', 'kotaku – The Samurai Shodown Limited Edition Neo Geo Mini Is Clearly Superior’, ‘B07T4JL1BM’);window.ga(‘unique.send’, ‘event’, ‘Commerce’, ‘kotaku – The Samurai Shodown Limited Edition Neo Geo Mini Is Clearly Superior’, ‘B07T4JL1BM’);” data-amazontag=”kotakuamzn-20″ href=”https://www.amazon.com/Samurai-Shodown-Limited-not-machine-specific/dp/B07T4JL1BM/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1MUZ9CP1XEXEB&keywords=neo+geo+mini+samurai+shodown+limited+edition&qid=1565091587&s=gateway&sprefix=neo+geo+mini+sa%2Caps%2C132&sr=8-1&tag=kotakuamzn-20&ascsubtag=e74b6d347d3924dcb5690d251c775167d1f42b83″>blue, the $140 bundles not only look gorgeous—they include everything two players need to play 40 classic Neo Geo games right in the box. It’s a bit more expensive than the original Neo Geo Mini, which launched at $109 and now goes for around $89, but it comes bundled with a pair of clear controllers and an HDMI cable, items sold separately from the original.
Each of the three colors represents a different Samurai Shodown character. Blue is Ukyo Tachibana. Red is falcon tamer Nakoruru. White, the version I have, features Haohmaru, my personal favorite. Along with a non-slide pad for the bottom of the unit and a sticker to cover the control area, each version comes with a sticker for the top panel of the cabinet featuring its corresponding character, as well as a special collectible character card. I was hesitant to apply the stickers, not wanting to obscure the translucent goodness, but they look pretty good.
The Samurai Shodown Limited Edition Neo Geo Mini isn’t just about fancy see-through plastic and stickers. The game lineup is tweaked slightly from the original release to focus on samurai and the shodowns they have. All six Samurai Shodown games for the Neo Geo are present, including the first, third, and fifth games, which aren’t available on any other edition of the hardware.
Samurai Shodown II
Samurai Shodown III
Samurai Shodown IV
Samurai Shodown V
Samurai Shodown V Special
As Chris Kohler did in his review of the original Neo Geo Mini, I’ll break down the remaining games into two categories. First we have the fighting games.
Art of Fighting
Fatal Fury 2
Real Bout Fatal Fury 2
Real Bout Fatal Fury Special
Garou: Mark of the Wolves
The King of Fighters ‘97
The King of Fighters ‘98
The King of Fighters ‘99
The Last Blade 2
World Heroes Perfect
Aggressors of Dark Kombat
And then there’s everything else.
King of the Monsters 2
Metal Slug 2
Metal Slug 3
Shock Troopers 2nd Squad
Top Hunter Roddy & Cathy
Alpha Mission 2
Twinkle Star Sprites
Top Player’s Golf
It’s a different lineup from any other version of the system. For example, it’s got fewer King of Fighters games than the international version, and it includes Aggressors of Dark Combat, which was only on the Japanese version before.
My experience with the system closely mirrors that of Chris Kohler’s with the original Neo Geo Mini. The standalone experience is much more playable than I expected. The tiny joystick and buttons are surprisingly responsive. It’s a bit blurry connected to a television. I was hoping for crisp, sharp pixels and was disappointed. There are better ways to play these old games out there, but those ways don’t look nearly as pretty on my desk.
My favorite thing about the Samurai Shodown Limited Edition Neo Geo Mini is my favorite thing about most translucent plastic products. I love seeing the insides of the stuff I am playing with. I enjoy getting a peek at the tiny board that’s emulating hardware that took up a lot more room back in the day. It’s a beautiful thing.
GAEMS makes travel cases with built-in speakers and screens for console gaming on the go. Launched last week, the $700 Guardian Pro XP is GAEMS’ most advanced cases yet. With a 24-inch 1440p HDR display, chambered speakers with passive subwoofers, and rails for mounting a webcam and lighting, it’s a portable streaming station for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and smaller gaming PCs.
During a recent hospital stay I put in some time with the $350 GAEMS Sentinel, one of the company’s more basic cases. It has modest built-in speakers and a nice enough 17-inch 1080p display. The Guardian Pro XP makes the Sentinel look like Fisher Price’s My First Gaming Suitcase. Its screen is larger and crisper, with a 2560×1440 resolution and support for high dynamic range. Instead of a pair of flat speakers resting flush with the display, the Guardian Pro XP has dual-chambered speakers with passive subwoofers, powered by a 12-watt amp.
Where the Sentinel had my PlayStation 4 or Xbox One sitting on the lower half of the unit secured with straps, the Guardian Pro XP holds its console companions within a cage secured by a pair of thumbscrews. It looks more like home for a console instead of a place to sit a console.
It’s got places to hold controllers. More importantly, it has places to charge controllers, in the form of a USB media hub. Running through the connected console’s USB, the media hub features three ports including a passive charging port for when the console is powered down.
The USB ports also come in handy with the Guardian Pro XP’s streamer-friendly camera and lighting mounting system. Rails on either side of the unit’s handle accept standard mounting brackets. Any device with a threaded hole for a camera mount can easily be connected to the top of the unit and plugged into the USB port for power. Hook up a nice camera light, a webcam, and a good USB microphone, and that’s everything one needs to stream in one handy box.
The GAEMS Guardian Pro XP’s robust screen, speakers, and added functionality come at a cost.. It’s a hefty 24 inches wide, 17 inches tall, and 5 inches deep. On top of that, it weighs 36 pounds without a console or PC inside. It’s a big boy, this case, not the sort of thing you’re likely to tote about town.
I’ve only fiddled with it briefly so far, with plans to do an in-depth review in the near future, but it’s a damn impressive piece of gaming hardware. It’s hard to imagine me being in a situation where I’d have to quickly set up a remote gaming stream. But if I were, the Guardian Pro XP would get the job done.
Following the recent release of the GeForce RTX 2060 Super and 2070 Super, we have the final piece in Nvidia’s Super puzzle. Coming in at the same $700 price point as its predecessor, the new RTX 2080 Super version will offer some performance increases, though we suspect we won’t see anything too dramatic considering the proposed specs and the fact that Nvidia doesn’t need to cannibalize sales of the 2080 Ti, nor does it have any direct competition at this price point.
The GeForce RTX 2080 Super adds two extra SM units for a 4% increase in cores, meaning this is now a fully enabled TU104 silicon. This is the same silicon used by the standard RTX 2080, as well as the 2070. There’s also a 9% frequency uplift for the base clock, and a 6% increase for the boost clock. Due to the way GPU boost works though, we anticipate this will be closer to a 3 to 4% increase in frequency.
The GDDR6 memory also sees a boost and now we’re looking at a peak data transfer speed of 15.5 Gbps, up from 14 Gbps, an 11% improvement in memory performance. These upgrades have increased the TDP by 16% from 215 watts up to 250 watts.
Nvidia says the RTX 2080 Super delivers a robust 4K experience along with real-time ray tracing. For this review we’re going to look at the 4K gaming experience, while skipping over ray tracing for now as our opinionof the technologyin its current state hasn’t changed since we covered it many months ago.
We do plan to revisit ray tracing on a roundup piece with the Super graphics cards soon though, so if you’re interested in the technology that will no doubt be worth a read.
For testing we’ve used our usual gaming rig comprised of an Intel Core i9-9900K clocked at 5 GHz with 32GB of DDR4-3400 memory. The latest drivers available at the time of testing have been used. We have 13 games to look at before the usual performance breakdowns and cost per frame data.
The newest game in our battery of benchmarks, F1 2019, sees the 2080 Super deliver 75 fps on average making it — drum roll please — 4% faster than the standard 2080 and 17% slower than the 2080 Ti.
Thankfully the margin is a little more noteworthy in Battlefield V. Here the 2080 Super offered an 8% performance uplift over the older 2080 and that basically put it on par with the newly discontinued Radeon VII.
Rainbow Six Siege sees a minor 3% boost to the average frame rate over the standard 2080, though we do see a 6% improvement for the 1% low performance. This time the 2080 Super was 15% slower than the Ti model.
Can we interest you in 1-2 fps more performance? Good, because that’s all you’re going to get in Metro Exodus. That’s to be expected given the specs.
A 6% performance boost in Resident Evil 2 may be cause for celebration (for the same price if we’re totally fair), taking us to 66 fps on average at 4K, for some nice smooth gameplay.
We didn’t quite hit 60 fps in Shadow of the Tomb Raider but given the 2080 Ti just falls short that’s not surprising. The extra memory bandwidth does allow the 2080 Super to beat the vanilla 2080 by an 11% margin in this title.
Memory bandwidth isn’t that important in Fortnite, so a small 3% performance uplift over the standard 2080 for 72 fps on average at 4K. Still it was a nice smooth and very crisp looking gaming experience.
When testing with The Division 2, the Super provided us with a 4% performance boost over the standard RTX 2080.
DiRT Rally 2.0 gets a 3 fps performance boost. Ignore the 1% low result and we see a breathtaking 4% performance uplift.
Forza Horizon 4, like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, is a game that benefits from some extra memory bandwidth at 4K and here we see a more significant 7% performance boost, taking the 2080 Super to 92 fps on average.
We also see a 6% performance boost in Far Cry New Dawn which allowed the 2080 Super to just edge out the Radeon VII.
The 2080 Super provided a 4% performance improvement from the standard 2080 in World War Z.
Finally we have Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey for a 3 fps performance uplift, though that does equate to a 6% increase in frame rate.
Power Consumption and Temperatures
The RTX 2080 Super consumes 5% more power than the standard 2080, which sounds right given the specs and what we just saw performance-wise. This means it consumed 6% less power than the Radeon VII, but 24% more than the new 5700 XT.
We also measured total system consumption from the wall and here we see the faster 2080 Super increased total draw by 12% over the standard 2080. There are a few reasons for this increase, the GDDR6 memory will be consuming more power given the 11% overclock, and the CPU will also be working slightly harder given the increase in performance. What’s interesting is that the 2080 Super does push system consumption higher than that of the Radeon VII.
We won’t go into overclocking as with all Turing GPUs you’re likely looking at a ~10% performance boost at best through manual tinkering. The Founders Edition model we tested maxed out at 72 degrees in a 21 degree room and there it maintained a core clock speed of 1905 MHz with a fan speed of 1820 RPM, making this graphics card rather cool and quiet after an hour-long test in F1 2019.
The RTX 2080 Super looks to be the least “super” graphics card from Nvidia yet, but before we get too bummed out with this release, let’s take a look at some performance breakdown graphs and cost per frame data.
RTX 2080 Super vs. RTX 2080 @ 4K
On average the 2080 Super was 5% faster than the standard 2080. For testing we used the MSI RTX 2080 Duke which comes with a modest overclock that sees it maintain 1905 MHz under load, the same operating frequency as the 2080 Super FE card.
RTX 2080 Super vs. RTX 2080 @ 1440p
For those of you gaming at 1440p on average you’re looking at a 6% performance uplift, similar to what we saw at 4K. Those of you who were planning to jump the gun anyway, will see some extra frames for the same price, so there’s that.
RTX 2080 Super vs. RTX 2080 Ti @ 4K
On average the RTX 2080 Super was 16% slower when compared to the 2080 Ti. This is not a massive difference and it is around 30% cheaper, so if you’re not after the most premium 4K experience possible, the 2080 Super looks to be a decent option.
RTX 2080 Super vs. RTX 2080 Ti @ 1440p
For gaming at 1440p the 2080 Ti looks to be a bit of a waste as the more affordable RTX 2080 Super was just 12% slower and never more than 19% slower worst case.
RTX 2080 Super vs. Radeon RX 5700 XT @ 4K
When compared to AMD’s new Radeon RX 5700 XT, the 2080 Super was on average 26% faster at 4K. Do consider that the 2080 is considerably more expensive (it costs 75% more), yet the GeForce was never more than 47% faster. Evidently the higher-end you go, the less value you get so you’ll have to decide if paying that kind of price premium for the ability to run at slightly higher quality settings is worth it.
RTX 2080 Super vs. Radeon RX 5700 XT @ 1440p
When gaming at 1440p the RTX 2080 Super is less attractive as it was just 17% faster than the 5700 XT on average.
Cost per Frame and Conclusion
Starting with a MSRP comparison and using the 4K gaming data, we see that the RTX 2080 Super comes out at a cost of $9.85 per frame. Given it comes in at the same $700 MSRP as the original 2080, that makes it roughly 6% cheaper per frame. Compared to the 5700 XT you are paying 41% more per frame which is a massive price premium, but that’s just what you’re faced with when going up a level in performance.
The 1440p results are less favorable, again looking strictly at MSRPs. We see that the 2080 Super costs $5.73 per frame, or 5% cheaper than the standard RTX 2080. It’s also 52% more costly than the 5700 XT per frame, so unless you need to go from around 106 fps on average to 122 fps, the Radeon GPU is a more sensible purchase.
But what about current market pricing? The only major change in the analysis would be that the RTX 2080 Super will keep its price, while soon to be extinguished RTX 2080 cards have dropped down to $630 for some models. In that case the standard 2080 offers a better value given the small change in performance.
Earlier this month we got the RTX 2070 Super and 2060 Super. The 2070 Super provides 12% more performance than the standard model and we liked the boost enough to kill off most competitors at this price point, though the Radeon RX 5700 XT comes very close in performance for less money. The 2060 Super, on the other hand, gave us nothing. It costs 18% more than the standard 2060 and was just 8% faster on average. We’re seeing a similar story with the RTX 2080 Super, where the performance lift is even less significant.
Overall, the RTX 2080 Super is a solid premium-priced GPU, it’s just not particularly exciting. Officially discounting the RTX 2080 to $600 would have been worlds more thrilling in our opinion. Put in other words, the RTX 2080 Super is ~9% faster on average than the GTX 1080 Ti at both 1440p and 4K. So we’re getting a performance boost, at the exact same price point, almost two and a half years later. Without a doubt, GTX 1080 Ti owners can rejoice at the news.