MY TECH

HAS COOKIES

WEBSITE LAUNCH

WINTER 2018

BANDWAGON

OR BUST

eGPUs AND MODULARITY

WINTER 2018

JDHC Media Group is a small multimedia production and technology business. We operate primarily as an independent web publisher in which we design, produce, and post original content for our domain of websites and social media channels.

 

As content creators, we have a close relationship with technology and that bond has led us to developing TEKETHOS.COM - a website devoted to video games and computer hardware. Two areas we focus on primarily because we live the “creator by day, gamer by night” mantra, so we feel we are in a unique position of being able to deliver valuable information and insight in both areas.

 

So, allow me to welcome you to TEKETHOS.COM, the site designed by gamers for gamers like you. Dedicated to all things gaming and we strive to bring you original content including articles about gaming culture, video games, and gaming tech. We review technology and test out video games on custom PC and console apparatuses. If you are like me and bleed pixels then you need to keep up with the latest and greatest the gaming and tech-verse have to offer, but if however you have an actual life and are too busy to spend hundreds of hours scouring websites looking for the tech you need to get started. Look no further because we’re here to help.

 

Along with being a portal to all things gaming, TEKETHOS.COM simultaneously serves as a buyer's guide. We introduce carefully crafted lists of products if they can bring performance or value to the gamer. Many people who want to get into gaming often purchase tech without considering all their options and sometimes just looking at a spec sheet alone will not tell you everything you need to know. We’ve experienced this first hand, so we've took to researching, writing, and reviewing tech and delivering the information we've gathered to you in the best way we can so you can make an informed buying decision. Along the way, we’ve learned what to buy and how to buy but perhaps more importantly, we understand what it’s like spending countless hours building and troubleshooting technology. That’s why we’re happy to be able to recommend products based on our hands-on operations at our Studio.

 

If you are a tech head like me you are probably saturated with the over-abundance of video game and tech review channels already out there. While I enjoy being fed my gaming victuals and geeking out on the latest hardware bluster, we are also busy with other projects (#YOLO) so on TEKETHOS.COM we like to cut through the clutter and get right to the brass tacks so you don't have to spend countless hours disseminating information. We've done all that for you and assembled that information all in one place so you don't need to spend any time getting to the gaming products you want.

With the release of the PLAYSTATION 4 Pro, the XBOX ONE X, and some amazing pre-built small form-factor pc gaming systems like the Corsair One and Intel's NUC, there's no doubt that manufactures are investing a lot into filling the high-demand for powerful complete mini gaming systems. There seems to be a sense within the pc gaming tech community that the future of driver setups will completely evolve into a modular arrangement whereby a notebook, compact pc, or console is docked or tethered to other peripheral devices via Thunderbolt 3, or some future high bandwidth, high speed connection. The super high speed and bandwidth of Thunderbolt 3 allows supported devices and peripherals to be daisy-chained together to form a complete setup. This setup allows the gamer a much greater flexibility when on the-go and when swapping out for upgrades and repairs.

 

The introduction of External Graphics Processing Units (eGPU) has only added to the potential expandability of all drivers but particularly handheld devices like tablets and smart-phones. Note the word “potential”, because while Thunderbolt 3 has more than enough speed and bandwidth necessary to carry graphics, almost all handhelds and some notebooks with a Thunderbolt 3 port do not work with external GPUs. So what gives? As it turns out the Thunderbolt 3 port has to be enabled with an alternate display mode, or “alt mode” which basically allows the device’s graphics processor (GPU) data to pass-through the Thunderbolt 3 port. So if you are interested in getting an eGPU, make sure your device(s) has this display mode enabled and can support the eGPU you are planning to use. Hopefully this feature will be adopted more by handheld device manufactures in the future but for now we’ll have to settle for some really good eGPU-ready notebooks like the 2019 HP Spectre 360-13t and the Dell XPS 13 9380 that we’re recommending on our products page. Two brilliantly designed business-class notebooks with real gaming performance. These notebooks were specifically chosen because they do not have a discreet graphics card which almost seems counter-intuitive, but makes sense if you are connecting to an eGPU. If you are interested in small form factors and modular setups, then these notebooks tethered with an eGPU may be the solution for you. It does come with some caveats however since driver compatibility has been an issue in the past and there will be diminishing returns depending on the graphics card and display you are utilizing.

 

Regardless, there's no doubt that today is a great time to be into video games as there are so many potential ways to get a modular high-fidelity gaming experience, relatively-affordably. The eGPU and powerful small form factors are an increasing trend and will continue to gain both manufacturer and consumer support into the future.

   

ALIEN

ATTACK COMEBACK

DELL ALIENWARE AREA-51M

WINTER 2018

LIFE’S ALMOST

GOOD

LG ULTRAWIDE PERFORMANCE MONITORS

SPRING 2019

Gamers and pc-tech enthusiasts breathed a cautionary sigh of relief as 2018 unceremoniously gave way to 2019. Having just gone through so much the previous year with inflated PC component prices, crypto mining, and several failed launches, the question leading up to CES 2019 was would fans be fed re-packaged, overpriced, and “Overpowered” technology from the previous year or would vendors actually deliver true innovation and value, and who would that vendor be? While most of the buzz was centered on Samsung’s foldable smart-phone dubbed the Galaxy Fold, the real story if you are a gamer or enthusiast came from a vendor that everyone knows but no one suspected. A team with a long and storied tradition of building high-end, high-performance gaming PCs, but have been overlooked and perhaps even under-appreciated for many years. So what team am I talking about? Well let’s just say even aliens would be impressed by what this team has been able to deliver. I’m talking about Dell’s Alienware and the absolutely stunning Area-51M. A high-performance gaming laptop, or desktop replacement, that is truly out of this world. On the high-end skew, the Area-51M boasts a full-size desktop-class, overclockable, Core I-9-9900K that can run at a staggering 5.0GHz with Turbo Boost straight out of the box. Paired with an overclockable NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 and a 17.3 inch, 144Hz, G-Sync enabled display, this laptop will easily chew through any video game on the market today at ultra settings.

 

The magnesium alloy exo-skeleton has a stealth-like industrial design fused with a tail exhaust that is expertly lit with AlienFX RGB LED lighting since there is a rear I/O that could actually benefit from this additional lighting. By this point you might be wondering; where is the innovation and value? Sure, it’s a sexy laptop but it’s just another boutique system. Well one thing Alienware has always done well is with their chassis design and the Area-51M is no exception. You see, Alienware has actually designed this laptop with almost full upgradability of the internals in mind which is still unheard of in any laptop space. This kind of upgradability makes the Area-51M a terrific value and when you consider that a single desktop-class GTX 2080ti on Amazon can be well over a thousand dollars, the $4,000 price tag for the high-end skew suddenly makes a lot of sense, or cents. Getting back to what made Alienware an iconic brand in the first place is also why they will continue to be at the forefront of performance gaming laptop design and innovation for the foreseeable future.

So there have been a lot of reviews lately of LG’s latest lineup of ultra-wide performance monitors for content creators and gamers. If you are currently in the market for a performance monitor then chances are you are familiar with or have come across the LG brand. Amusingly, it wasn’t so long ago that LG would have been more synonymous with kitchen appliances and less with making high-quality, high-performance computer displays. Well times have certainly changed thanks to much improved LCD panels and along with the integration of NVIDIA’s G-Sync and AMD’s Freesync Technologies; have really given content creators and gamers the kind of performance they could only dream of at a relatively affordable price. I say relatively because while computer displays are still necessary for people who require precision and speed, they are not able to take advantage of the much lower prices of televisions. If you have ever shopped for an ultra-wide monitor, then you know exactly what I’m talking about: for the same price, you could get a television with a much larger display size with built in features like audio and internet connectivity. If you’re interested in learning more about the technical differences between computer displays and viewing displays like televisions, Linus of LTT fame has an excellent video describing the two and why they are priced differently. You can check it out by clicking on the link here. This article is actually on why I chose not to go with ANY LG panel for our “Deskless Gaming Setup in 2019” project and the reason why may prove useful information if you are shopping for a display in 2019.

 

I know from experience that it can be very difficult to select a display simply by looking at photos online. Even reading the documentation will not tell you everything you need to know. Sometimes the only way to know for sure is to see it and to make careful considerations. One big consideration might be and probably is performance but what good is performance when your display doesn’t work for your room in the first place and that is why design is so important. Hence the reason why I did not go with an LG display (television or otherwise): the designs were not practical for my setup and could potentially be problematic for anyone who needs to place their display close to a wall or needs to use a third-party VESA mount like we are in our setup. The I/O (Input and Output Ports) on all the new LG televisions and monitors we looked at (both online and physically at stores) are located directly on the back panel, just centimeters away from the mounting site. So unless you are okay with angled cables, stand-offs, and getting creative with your mounting, you could potentially run into problems.

 

Believe it or not, LG were not the only manufactures who switched from side-ports to back-ports. I wish they would all go back to putting I/O on the side. It would make things a whole lot easier for everyone and is possible it would result in LG (and other brands) selling more displays. I ultimately chose to go with three 43-inch, 4-Series television displays from TCL because of its price-to-size and performance specs. But the most important factor was the I/O location. I would have been more than happy to shell out significant cash for performance ultra-wides from LG but ultimately felt the design limits the usability of the displays and it was a trade-off I could not afford to make with our setup.

   

BABY DON’T

LEAVE ME…

PCs FOR CONSOLES

SPRING 2019

A NEW YEARS

RESOLUTION

A TALE OF TWO INDUSTRIES

WINTER 2019

Linus and Luke of Linus Tech Tips (LTT) recently released an episode of their popular WAN Show in which the main caption was “20 Million Gamers to Switch to Console”. You can check out the video by clicking on this link. Seeing this headline definitely peaked our interest here at tekethos since we are about console gaming and modular setups. I agree with Linus that PC gaming will most likely survive and continue to be important in the future especially as e-sports continues to grow worldwide. But I was still left wondering what the actual reason is for people to switch from pc gaming to console gaming. Now it would not be facetious to say that PC hardware will always have the potential to out-perform consoles but in that statement lays both the question and the answer.

 

The question is: why would people leave pc gaming for console gaming? And the answer is because a console does not require the kind of user-end support, i.e. time and money that is necessary to keep an expensive gaming rig functioning on a daily basis. In short, it comes down to the individuals’ idea of ownership. PCs, especially high-value ones are often times treated as real property, like cars. And like cars, computers require maintenance, troubleshooting, and support from all kinds of technical sources. The ownership experience might even be worse if you own a pre-built from an OEM manufacturer like Dell or HP who use proprietary hardware and software to control their systems. Systems like these are notorious for being difficult to service unless it is from the manufacturer so always be aware of your warranty and service agreement if you own a pre-built or are looking to purchase from an OEM.

 

Despite what our name implies, our PC gaming roots run long and deep so I am not advocating switching one way or another. Consider that your enthusiast gamer probably drives more than one device anyways and likely owns both a console and a PC. Nonetheless, I would surmise that anyone with a life would not want to spend their weekends cleaning out the water-loop in their system (to use one example) and so I can certainly understand why people could see pc gaming as being overly laborious. In the end though, it really just depends on what’s right for you. Where we operate, the environment is mostly open-air and electricity is 29-cents a kilowatt hour so driving a gaming rig can get mighty expensive. Regardless of which side of the tracks you fall on, just remember to always consider your surroundings when trying to decide what system is best for you.

2019 is almost in our rear view and given all of the noise and inflection regarding Google Stadia, next-generation consoles, and the flaccid state of AAA gaming, it's hard to be optimistic for the New Year, unless you're a smart camera maker. To quote Michael Wolf, the former MTV President and current CEO of Activate Consulting, 2019 was the year of the smart camera and his prediction that over the next four years, the average American will have 12 smart camera devices in their lives. I am fast approaching that mark but if you asked me four years ago, if that would be the case? The empathic answer is no. I don't shy from technology but I know it's deceptively easy to become a slave to it and so I try to be careful and limit the amount of technology I have in my life. Unfortunately, that's just not possible when your business focuses on multimedia and technology. Anyways, that's a story for another time. This is about what really stood out for me in 2019. It should have been about the success of AMD's Ryzen 3rd generation of processors that represented another giant leap forward for gamers and creators alike. Since mid-2016, AMD Ryzen has reshaped the gaming landscape not just for PC users but also across all devices, high-performance or otherwise. Rumored is that thanks to AMDs strong dedication towards developing its APU type processors is now starting to compete with Intel in the coveted notebook space but they have a long way to go before they catch Intel in that market. For people looking for desktop class price-to-performance, nothing really comes close to the AMD Ryzen CPU. Entry-level PC gamers can really hit the road hard by buying lower priced AMD CPUs and skip having to reinvest in performance later on down the road. All of this sounds great, if only gamers had something to play to justify buying this great gaming tech in the first place.

 

That is the real story of 2019 and presents a stark example of disconnect and disillusion that can happen when two different industries are unavoidably tied together but don't have the same outlook. What is this outlook and what happened you ask. Well I am not a marketing scholar but I believe "know thy audience" is a prime directive. Throughout the year, computer makers pitched their latest derived gaming ultra books and desktop contraptions as not just for gamers but content creators and business professionals. I don't believe this was a coincidence.

 

The AAA gaming industry has been under attack for many years now. It is likely to prolong thanks to bad video game indicators, which were blamed on video game publishers this year for seemingly increasing the scope of their micro-transaction monetization model in the games they were publishing, apparently in some cases, introducing it without the input of the developer. Poor adoption of this model has led to poor sales and eventually shareholder loss. Confidence in the AAA gaming industry seems to be at an all-time low however, is that really the case or is that simply a Social Media phenomenon perpetuated by money and likes. I am someone who paid full price for two copies of Fallout 76 and went as far as buying a t-shirt to support my local GameStop. I also paid full price for State of Decay 2 as well as Anthem so I am not tone deaf to the criticisms however, what I do know is that there is a symbiotic relationship between technology and video games. A relationship that has pushed what hardware can do and should do to the point that we desire to have it be a part of our visual lives and experiences.

 

This history of visual arts would not exist if it were not for the co-existence and habitation of both hardware and creative constructs and I think the gaming industry can learn something from the tech industry in 2019 which is innovation does not necessarily translate into success. You need good leadership and focus. Consider it took AMD nearly four decades to catch up with Intel in the microprocessor race but they didn't quit. Hopefully the gaming industry will find this lesson again soon.

   
 

2019