G25 Shift Lights Now Available, Cheaper

G25 Shift Light

If you’re looking for a little more … flare for your Logitech G25 wheel you probably were drooling over the CXC Shift Lights we reported on earlier. You can stop drooling and start ordering now, and for a limited time they’re available for $20 off, bringing them down to a still rather exclusive $119 (or 89.99 Euros). The shift lights install behind the wheel on the G25 and display a rev counter plus current gear in many PC race sims. In the US you can place your order on the CXC site, while those of you in Europe should click on over to NetRacing Europe.

G25 Gets Shift Lights

G25 Shift Light

While the Logitech G25 is a beautiful and impressive wheel, it’s lacking a bit of … flare. Enter CXC Simulations and their new shift light system for the wheel. It’s basically a small slab of carbon that sits between the wheel and the hub and connects to your PC via USB cable. The lights, combined with drivers, enable a light-up tachometer to display and gear indicator similar to what you might see on a modern F1 car. The device is said to be “compatible with most of the top computer racing games,” but a full list isn’t yet available, so we’re not sure just which ones are supported.

It’s obviously targeted to serious simmers, as indicated by its $139.99 price. But, for those with the dough, it looks like a solid way to add a bit more immersion to your simming.

UPDATE: Got the official list of currently supported games. Right now it’s rFactor, Live For Speed, and NASCAR Racing 2003, and we’re sure there are plenty more of your favorite racers coming.

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DX10 Videocard Update

Vista is upon us, AMD has yet to bowl us over with a new series of cards that fully take advantage of the new unified architecture found in DirectX 10. It seems we have about another month to wait until they finally put all their cards on the table. Voodoo Extreme are reporting that ATI’s is planning to unveil all about the R600 series of cards in a big shin-dig in Amsterdam on March 11. Meanwhile, those who have allied themselves in the nVidia camp, Gaming Nexus has updated details and pricing on the 8000-line of cards, ranging from the 8300 GS at just $79 alllllll the way up to the 8800 GTX at $599. Unlike AMD’s lineup, these are already in stores.

Vista vs. XP – Performance Numbers are In

FiringSquad has the first in what looks to be a two-part comparo of Windows XP vs. Vista in terms of gaming performance. This first one compares AMD (formerly ATI) cards on the two operating systems, and impressively increases were found in most cases, as much as 15% in Battlefield 2142! Granted, there were also some stability issues and other glitches that may make some wary to upgrade at least until the next rev of Vista drivers are released, but otherwise things are looking surprisingly good…at least on the AMD front. We’ll see about nVidia products soon.

SimHQ Reviews TrackClipPRO

TrackClipPRO

SimHQ’s Tom “20mm” Hayden has written up a review of TrackIR’s new TrackClipPRO, their new TrackIR4 Pro extension that clips onto a set of headphones, a far better solution than the somewhat clumsy looking vector expansion kit that hung on to a baseball cap. Tom’s impressions are overall good and, it seems, if you’re the type to game with a seat of headphones on while using TeamSpeak or the like, this may be a good choice for you.

SimHQ Hands On G25

SimHQ Reviews G25

SimHQ is beginning one of their famous reviews, this time covering Logitech’s fancy new G25 wheel, which offers a clutch pedal, an H-pattern shifter, and a leather-wrapped wheel that swings through 900 degrees of rotation. Part one of the review has just been posted, which covers the unboxing and installation in seven pages of exquisite detail:

From the moment you open the box, you’ll realize the production values are quite high on the G25. Upon removing the protective plastic bags, your olfactory system is immediately treated to the smell of fresh leather on the wheel and shifter, and your eyes will feast on the stainless-steel wheel spokes, paddle shifters and pedal feet.

The G25’s press kit says that “the wheel, shifter and pedals are made with premium materials such as stainless steel and leather, delivering the look and feel of parts from a race car cockpit” Really, the G25 looks more like it came from an elegant touring car rather than a bare-bones race application. It sure does look mighty fine on my gaming rig’s desktop.

Parts 2-4 will follow in short order. Make sure you’ve got your reading glasses handy.

GeForce’s 8800GTX Beheamoth on the Benchmark

8800GTX

As seen at Slashdot DailyTech has posted up a quick overview and benchmark of NVIDIA’s 8800GTX, their next monstrosity of a video card sporting 768 megs of GDDR3 RAM and requiring not one but two PCI-E power connectors to feed its insatiable hunger. As you can see by the above picture it’s a good bit larger than ATI’s nearest competitor X1950 XTX, but as you can see in the benchmarks, it more than makes up for its girth with benchmarks that are consistently 50%-90% higher. Of course, with an estimated MSRP in the $650+ range, it had better be…

DirectX 10

With the launch of Windows Vista getting…closer anyway, Firing Squad have written up a lengthy overview of the latest and perhaps most radical update to Microsoft’s gaming framework since it was introduced with Windows 95 back in the day. DX10 promises a few new graphical tweaks, improved handling for shaders, and some other niceties that will result in better looking games. But, the big improvements are in the internals; it’s been completely re-worked to optimize interactions with graphics cards. The upshot of this is that you’ll see higher framerates and better looking visuals without needing more hardware. Tim Sweeney of Epic fame explains:

We don’t have hard data yet, but it looks like there’s potential to reduce the CPU cost of submitting rendering by a factor of 2-4. Since DirectX9 games are often CPU-limited, this should lead to significant visible improvements in frame rate…More important, this lower overhead will enable us to render more objects per frame and increase the visual complexity of scenes in a more organic way than simply adding more polygons to existing objects.

However, with everything good comes something bad, and with DX10 they’ve had to break the backwards-compatibility chain. It will be available only with Vista and DX10 games simply won’t run under DX9. Sure, during the transition phase most developers will be writing their games to work with both DX9 and DX10. But, eventually, we’ll all need to move up to Vista.

Full Article at Firing Squad

Logitech’s G25 Reviewed

Logitech's G25

As seen at Blackhole Motorsports, Hardware.Info has posted up a review of the Logitech G25 wheel, you know, the one that created such a stir at E3 earlier this year. They seem to absolutely love it:

Without a doubt the G25 is the best racing wheel that Logitech has ever produced. The steering is accurate to a tee, the force feedback is unparalleled and the feel of the pedals is realistic, all this combined greatly improves the experience you will get from any race game.

Full Review at Hardware.Info

A Hardcore Gaming Video Card with Passive Cooling?

XFX GeForce 7950 GT 570M Extreme

Believe it or not, the XFX GeForce 7950 GT 570M Extreme is just that, a competitor to ATI’s X1900XT that ships completely without any sort of buzz- or tornado-inducing fans. As seen at Slashdot, bit-tech.net has the preview:

Looking at the card, the completely silent cooling solution dominates the design. The main body of the cooler that covers both GPU and memory is black anodised aluminium and comes with a funky green XFX logo. The portion of the heatsink in contact with the GPU core is copper and the two heatpipes are sandwiched in between the aluminium heatsink and the copper insert. These route out at the top of the card, making it about 27mm taller than the reference GeForce 7950 GT.

As a fan of quiet and efficient computers, this card piqued my interest. And, at a price of around $300 US now, in a few months it should be priced quite competitively.