New Intel Raptor Lake benchmarks deliver some weird results

With Intel Raptor Lake now on the horizon, the first benchmarks of the upcoming processors are starting to appear. Today, the mid-range Core i5-13600K was put to the test and compared to its successful Alder Lake predecessor, the Core i5-12600K.

The benchmarks returned … weird results. The Core i5-13600K blows its predecessor out of the water with an 80% improvement, but it also falls flat in another test with a 26% downgrade. What does this mean for the Raptor Lake lineup?

Enthusiast Citizen (ECSM_Official)

A known leaker, Enthusiastic Citizen (ECSM_Official) on Bilibili, was able to get their hands on an engineering sample of the Intel Core i5-13600K. This pre-production model is labeled as “ES3,” meaning it’s the third engineering sample (ES) of the Raptor Lake CPU. Enthusiastic Citizen simulated the processor to run at the same frequency as a qualification sample (QS) and then proceeded to run tests on CPU-Z and Cinebench R23.

In order to accurately simulate a QS model, the tester had to bring up the clock speeds a notch. The performance (P) cores were tuned to a frequency of 5.1GHz while the efficiency (E) cores were brought up to 4.0GHz. Although Intel has yet to release the official specifications of the Core i5-13600K, ECSM says that the CPU comes with six P-cores and eight E-cores, adding up to a total of 14 cores and 20 threads. This is an upgrade over the Intel Alder Lake offering with 10 cores and 16 threads.

As far as the benchmark results go, there is certainly a bit of a discrepancy here. In the CPU-Z benchmark, the Intel Core i5-13600K did a great job across the board, hitting 830 points in single-core and 10,031 points in multi-core versus the 768 and 5,590 points achieved by the Core i5-12600K. As noted by VideoCardz, this comes to an 8% upgrade in single-core and a massive 79% upgrade in multi-core operations. Of course, an improvement is to be expected, but the 79% gain almost seems too optimistic to be real.

The Cinebench R23 test is where things get even more confusing. The Core i5-13600K scored 1,387 points in single-core and 24,420 in multi-core tests. While the multi-core improvement is still here, albeit less massive (40% versus 79%), the single-core test was definitely a letdown, resulting in a 26% downgrade. The tester didn’t explain this massive discrepancy between the benchmarks.

Intel Raptor Lake chip shown in a rendered image.

Seeing as the benchmark results are all over the place, what does that mean for the Intel Core i5-13600K? Is it going to be a multi-tasking beast that falls flat on single-core tasks? It seems unlikely. It’s still early days and we’re dealing with engineering samples, so there’s no telling whether these test results are accurate. If they are, it means that Intel needs to go back and try to address that problem.

Such a weird discrepancy has no place going into mass production, so if it does keep showing up in further benchmarks, let’s hope that Intel gets it sorted out before the CPUs hit the shelves. The latest rumored release date for Intel Raptor Lake is in October, so time grows short.

Editors’ Choice

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Latest Pokemon Legends: Arceus trailer is here and it’s a weird one

The Pokemon Company today dropped a new trailer for Pokemon Legends: Arceus that’s unlike any Pokemon trailer we’ve seen before. In fact, the trailer in question isn’t much of a trailer, as there isn’t a clear image to be found anywhere in its two-minute run time. Instead, this trailer is more of a “found footage” teaser that seems to suggest the debut of a new Pokemon we’ve never seen before.

You can watch the trailer embedded below, but there isn’t a whole lot to see. The trailer is comprised of fuzzy footage that cuts in and out, just like a damaged videotape would back in the day. At best, we get a few quick glimpses of the area our unnamed researcher and narrator is exploring, with Snorunt being the only Pokemon clearly depicted during the trailer.

While we don’t get to see very much, the researcher filming all of this does a pretty good job of explaining what he’s seeing. For example, we learn that he’s exploring a mountainous region where everything is “blanketed in snow.” At one point, the narrator explains that the place has a mysterious air about it and then heads into what appears to be a cave or a forested region – whatever it is, it’s dark there.

In there, he encounters a Pokemon he doesn’t know. At first, he mistakes it for Hisuian Growlithe or Vulpix but then realizes that it’s neither. The researcher says that the Pokemon has a swaying tail with a red tip, eyes that are round and yellow, and white fur on top of its head and around its neck. Unfortunately, that’s all we get before the researcher is either attacked or buried in an avalanche, with the video going mostly silent afterward.

What that Pokemon is, we don’t know. We know that Pokemon Legends: Arceus will introduce new Pokemon, so perhaps it’s one of those? Hopefully, it won’t be much longer until we find out, though we’re guessing there will be plenty of speculation as we wait for confirmation from The Pokemon Company.

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Weird West Gives Players Choices to Survive the West

When you find yourself in a cruel land, filled with monstrous enemies and other folks that want you dead, it’s best to have some options. Weird West, an upcoming western RPG, wants to give you as many choices as it can. The developers at Wolfeye Studios are taking what they have learned from their past as game developers to bring a new take on the simulation genre.

I sat down with some of the developers for a preview event and saw what players can expect in their playtime with Weird West. The game takes place in a stylized wild west narrative where cowboys, cultists, and unspeakable horrors meet. The focus is to give players plenty of room to explore the mechanics that they want to play with.

Pick your poison

The first thing that jumps out from the game is its unique art style. With its hard lines and almost brush-like color fill, the game has almost a comic-like feel to it. This art is intentional, as the developers wanted to give it a timeless feel where the aesthetics are not held down by the current standard of technology. The landscapes that I experienced during the playthrough were: A homestead, a town where no one wanted to kill the player, a town where everyone did, and tunnels at the bottom of a well.

One interesting thing I noticed is that the color palette is very earthy and brown. Usually, I would complain about how everything is just garbled together and how difficult it is to differentiate between a roof and dirt on the ground. However, thanks to the art direction everything was clearly presented despite a small spectrum of color on the screen.

The developers say that they want to bring what they have learned from past games to create a compelling simulation game. Many of the developers working on Weird West came from Arkane Studios, the studio that worked on Prey and Arx Fatalis. That DNA can be easily seen throughout the game, as the developers really want players to interact with the world. As soon as the game starts, players can interact with anything they can get their hands on. Moving and sitting in chairs, rummaging through barrels, and even grabbing bottles and throwing them. In the demo, the player threw a held bottle into the air and shot it like a gunslinger in an old-timey roadshow. It’s not a useful battle skill, but it was certainly novel. It showed that anything and everything can be interacted with.

Sneaking through an enemy town in Weird West.

This became evidently clear when we experienced our first combat encounter. The devs ran across a walled-off town filled with ne’er-do-wells that are aligned with sirens. Yes, actual sirens. Once a cutscene wrapped up, I saw how many options that players will have in Weird West. In broad strokes, each conflict can be resolved using combat or stealth. However, these two broad options branch out wildly for players. You can enter the town guns blazing and try to shoot your way through every single enemy. Alternately, you can maintain your range and pick them off one at a time. You can even subdue the guards and start to sneak in by hiding behind objects. Or you can locate boxes and stack them up so you can climb over the wall and avoid the starting guards completely.

That’s what makes Weird West compelling. Sure, dark magic, strange cryptids, and a leveling system are interesting in and of themselves, but those are just tools to play around in the open playground that Wolfeye presents. Every conflict scenario in this game can be approached multiple ways and the true joy is finding one or two ways that you have fun doing.

Editors’ Choice

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Steam Deck reservations are weird, but they could help stop scalpers

Steam dropped a bombshell of an announcement today by revealing the Steam Deck, which is essentially a portable PC meant primarily for playing PC games on the go. The prospect of truly portable PC gaming is one that could get a lot of people excited, but unfortunately, we’re going to have to wait until December to order one. In the more immediate future, we’ll be able to reserve one, but there are some things you should know about Steam Deck reservations before you take the plunge.

For starters, reservations will kick off tomorrow, July 16th, at 10 AM PDT. Unfortunately, not everyone will get to reserve one at that time, as those with newly-made Steam accounts will have to wait 48 hours before they can reserve a Steam Deck for themselves. In this case, Valve requires that reservers use a Steam account that has made at least one purchase before June 2021 to reserve in that first 48-hour window.

This is a strange restriction at first blush, but when coupled with the fact that Valve is only allowing each Steam account to order one Steam Deck, it begins to make a little more sense. We’re currently wading through a computing parts storage that’s being felt in many different areas of the consumer electronics space and making a lot of new hardware – particularly the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X – hard to find.

At the same time, scalpers have been attempting to resell new consoles at prices far above MSRP, so it looks like Valve is trying to avoid that by requiring people to reserve with Steam accounts that have purchased something before and limiting reservations to one per account. Valve will also charge a $5 fee for reservations, though that can be refunded if you wind up cancelling your reservation. If you cancel within the first 30 days after placing the reservation, it’ll get refunded to your original payment method; beyond 30 days, and the fee will be refunded to your Steam Wallet.

Some other things to consider: Valve will only be opening reservations tomorrow in regions where the Steam Deck will be available first. That means only people in the United States, Canada, European Union, and the United Kingdom will be able to reserve one tomorrow. Also, when the time comes, you’ll only be able to purchase the Steam Deck you reserved, so be sure to decide which model you want before you place a reservation tomorrow.

You can read more about Steam Deck reservations over on Steam, which has a very detailed FAQ about the topic. Steam Deck reservations open tomorrow at 10 AM PDT, with availability expected for December 2021.

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Fortnite’s weird inflatable cow disguise is all about aliens

Last month, a big Fortnite leak revealed the existence of a still-unannounced disguise called Inflate-A-Bull. As its name suggests — sort of — the disguise is an inflatable cow costume that players will allegedly be able to deploy whenever they’d like, enabling them to bounce off the ground. Epic has finally teased the existence of that consumable.

The leak surfaced on Twitter late last month; according to data-miner iFireMonkey, the item will be a whole-body suit that, when deployed, will rapidly inflate to surround the player with a cow suit. You allegedly won’t be able to use your firearms while wearing the suit and, as you’d expect, other players can ruin the fun by popping your inflatable cow.

Epic still hasn’t announced this consumable item, but it has just released a tweet that hints at its existence. As part of its “HotSaucerLeaks” series, the company said, “Cows…why is it always cows with these Aliens?” The tweet didn’t include an image or any other details, but given the complete lack of cows in the game, it’s hard to imagine it refers to something other than the Inflate-A-Bull.

The tweet indicates that the cow costume may arrive as some sort of utility against the invading aliens — perhaps it is meant to be an actual disguise to hide from alien troops or, given UFO lore, perhaps it is a way for humans to trick aliens into abducting them into their ships. Epic isn’t saying either way.

Regardless — and assuming the tweet does indeed refer to the leaked item — it seems likely we’ll now get Inflate-A-Bull as an in-game item in the near future. The leaks indicate that players wear it in the place of Back Bling, which may hint at an item you acquire rather than a consumable you find in random spawn, but it’s too early to say for sure.

iFireMonkey agrees with this assessment, claiming that we’ll get access to the unique item on Tuesday. The data-miner also claims players will need to purchase the Inflate-A-Bull from the Rick Sanchez character found at Satellite locations, indicating it will disappear when this season ends.

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Pokemon company gets weird with it for Bidoof Day 2021

Today is a Pokemon Company-invented special holiday called Bidoof Day. This is the first year where The Pokemon Company has suggested that it is a holiday, and it won’t likely be the last. Given the seemingly-endless array of Pokemon that now exist in the Pokemon universe here in 2021, one could ask: Will The Pokemon Company assign a Pokemon to every single day of the year, starting on July 1 with Bidoof?

There’s a video The Pokemon Company shared with a “Special Message from Bidoof” that might shed some light on your questions about Bidoof Day. This video is also a joke that will require you to have you speakers turned up JUST enough to hear basic audio. Make sure they’re not blasting.

There’ll be a Bidoof event on Twitch today from 9AM PDT to 5PM PDT. You can check that bit out over at The Pokemon Twitch channel. The Pokemon Trading Card Game team released Bidoof wallpapers for your mobile devices. The Pokemon TCG Online crew have Bidoof-themed log-in bonuses right this minute, too.

Above you’ll see a video from The Official Pokemon YouTube channel showing a Battle of the Bidoof. This battle is between two Pokemon card game champions with Bidoof-themed decks. It’s a Bidoof battle for the ages.

Pokemon GO started the party early with a Bidoof Breakout event that’s culminated into a monster Bidoof Day today. There are so many Bidoof in Pokemon GO right now, you’ll be drowning in Bidoof.

The Pokemon Center store made sure to release a whole bunch of new Bidoof-themed items this morning just in time for the event. Or maybe they added to the collection too late. Or very well in advance of the next Bidoof day next year? In any case, there’s a Bidoof Black Playmat for the card game, a “Gnaw On” t-shirt, Comfy Friends plus, Plush Hat, allover-print shirts, and a tin sign that says CAUTION: Bidoof Zone.

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Tech News

Google Pixel 6 leak confirms weird new direction

The Google Pixel 6 represents a whole new direction for the industrial design of the Google Pixel line. It would appear that smartphone that represents the most essential bits of the Android experience from Google does not need to be basic – it does not need to be a clean, standard slate on which Android itself is the only focus. With the leaks we’re seeing now, it’s clear that the Google Pixel 6 will take the Google smartphone experience out a whole new door.

Imagery shown in the leak from Ice Universe this week shows a Google Pixel 6 with a sort of bar section near its head. This is the “bridge”, as we’re calling it, that holds the device’s camera array. As cameras on smartphones went from single lens to multiple lens, the back-facing camera array went from a circle to an island. Now, with Google Pixel 6, this island spans the length of the smartphone.

The Google Pixel 6 will likely be released in more than one configuration, probably as a Google Pixel 6 and a Google Pixel 6 Pro, or Max, or XL. The case leaked this week shows spaces for a single microphone hole at the top of the phone, power and volume keys to the right, two speaker arrays at the bottom, and a space for a USB-C port.

At the bottom right is likely a case-maker addition – a place where a user can run an attachment loop that could fit around one’s wrist, act as a loop for fun dangling toys, etc. The clarity of the case also likely indicates the manufacturer’s knowledge of the beauty of the color scheme(s) of the phone – they’ll let them shine through.

The Google Pixel 6 device family will likely be released at the same time, in late September or early October of 2021. Cross your fingers we’ll see a release without delay – you never know here in the new world, not quite out of a pandemic, in a place where anything could happen!

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Pokemon GO Mega Gyarados and the weird month of June

Today we’re taking a peek at the month of June in the game Pokemon GO, and the star is clear: Mega Gyarados! Starting on June 1, 2021, Pokemon GO will feature just ONE Mega Raid Pokemon at a time. It’s not clear at this time if this will be the way of things forever, but for the foreseeable future – just one!

The first new Mega Raid you’ll find in Pokemon GO in the month of June, 2021, is Mega Lopunny! This gigantic beast rabbit will begin to appear on Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at 10AM local time. It’ll last just one week, ending on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, at 10AM local time.

SIDENOTE: If you’re not looking for Mega Pokemon in Raid Battles, you’ll be happy to find Regirock, Regice, and Registeel in Raid Battles starting on June 1, 2021, at 10AM local time. They’ll remain in raids until Thursday, June 17, 2021, at 10AM local time.

You’ll find Mega Slowbro in Pokemon GO Mega Raids starting on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 at 10AM local time. Mega Slowbro will remain in Raid Battles until Thursday, June 17, 2021, at 10AM local time. This is the first time MEGA SLOWBRO will appear in the game Pokemon GO – first time ever!

The most important Pokemon in the Mega Pokemon collection for the month of June is clear: Mega Gyarados! This Mega Pokemon will appear in Raid Battles from June 17, 2021, at 10AM local time. That’s a Thursday. Mega Gyarados will remain in Mega Raid Battles until Friday, July 2, at 10AM local time.

ALSO NOTE: Starting on June 1, 2021, at 10AM local time, the “Season of Discovery” begins! This event will last all the way to September 1, and it’ll bring some fantastical Pokemon to the public! This event will deliver a combination of wild spawn Pokemon unlike any you’ve seen before: Dwebble, Skorupi, Wailmer, Rhyhorn, Magikarp, Alolan Rattata, Bellsprout, Magnemite, Doduo, Nosepass, Marill, and PORYGON!

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Tech News

Google Assistant can now sing you a weird song about vaccines

If you’re a Google Assistant user in the United States, you can now have the voice assistant sing you a somewhat cheesy, cringy jingle about the COVID-19 vaccine. The tune is available with the request for a song about vaccines and it is, mercifully, quite short in nature, meaning your friends won’t be able to use it to drive you too crazy.

If you own a Google smart speaker, you’ve probably talked with it enough to learn that it packs a bunch of jingles, riddles, sound effects, and other fun things. The vaccine song is now included among them as first spied by Android Police, and, well, it’s hard to imagine anyone would play it just for the fun of it.

“Let’s celebrate that we have the vaccine, to help us bring a change to this old routine,” the song starts off. The tempo is upbeat, the lyrics are catchy enough, but it’s hard to get past the cringe factor. The song hits a few key points, though, such as vaccines being safe and the important role they play in moving past the pandemic.

“Scientists worked night and day, in record time they found a way,” the song continues, an emoji punctuating the end of each stanza. “Like superheroes in masks and gloves, helping us get back to what we love.”

Regardless of the cringe induced by the song, it was no doubt made with good intentions to help get people feeling a bit better about the pandemic and the situation in which many still find themselves. Meanwhile, Google has added some other Assistant features, including one for mother’s day tomorrow. Ask the AI to set a timer on mother’s day and Google teases that you’ll get some sort of a surprise in return.

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Tech News

Amazon’s weird Alexa sticky note printer will start shipping this summer

If you were one of the people who pledged to buy the Smart Sticky Note Printer introduced as one of Amazon’s Day 1 Edition concepts, good news: the device will start shipping later this summer. As expected, the tiny portable printer can be used to print out reminders on-demand using Alexa voice commands, as well as puzzles, recipes, and similar things.

Amazon Day 1 Edition products are essentially unique concepts that may one day become something you can purchase, assuming there’s enough interest. Earlier this year, Amazon introduced its Smart Sticky Note Printer concept, a small device that resembles a label maker or receipt printer — but that can be used with your smart speaker to organize your life.

Users can, for example, tell Alexa to print a note about an upcoming event or task, then retrieve it from the printer and stick it wherever they’re likely to see it. For those times you’re bored, the printer can also produce a small puzzle to keep you entertained, as well as reminders, to-do lists, shopping lists, and similar things.

The Alexa printer proved popular and received enough order pledges to head into production. You can no longer order the device, but those who did buy one can expect the shipping to start at some point between July and September, according to Amazon.

It’s unclear whether Amazon plans to make the printer available to order as a regular Alexa product. Though the printer was a success, not all concepts reach their goals. Examples of recent failed Day 1 Edition products include the Smart Cuckoo Clock, which looks like a minimalist wall clock with Alexa support, as well as the Alexa-powered Smart Nutrition Scale.

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