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ReSpec is a biweekly column focused on PC gaming, PC hardware, and gaming technologies. From deep dives on super resolution techniques to CPU packaging technology to PC gaming experiments, ReSpec helps you understand the games you play, the hardware you own, and how they intersect to create the gaming experiences we all love. New entries go live every other Sunday.

A hand holding an AMD Ryzen CPU.

It’s time to stop ignoring the CPU in your gaming PC

The CPU has left the conversation for PC gamers over the last few years, but with the demands of modern games, it's time to reexamine its role.
dlss hidden modes dt respec

How I unlocked the hidden modes of DLSS

A range of presets behind the scenes make DLSS work properly, and a clever mod allows you to tweak how they work.
The Intel Core i9-14900K slotted in a motherboard.

Intel’s new CPU feature boosted my performance by 26% — but it still needs work

Intel's unique APO feature showed some big improvements in our testing, but it still needs some big changes before it's a selling point for Intel CPUs.
A banner with GDC on it outside a conference center.

GDC 2024 in review: Path tracing, upscaling, and CPU-killing tech

After spending the week at GDC, here are my big takeaways from advancements in the world of PC graphics and tech.
The RX 7800 XT graphics card with the ReSpec logo.

AMD needs to fix this one problem with its next-gen GPUs

AMD's latest graphics cards have been a turning point for Team Red, but there's still one lingering issue that needs to be addressed in the next generation.
Jacob Roach sitting behind a ReSpec logo.

The ReSpec newsletter is here: your weekly breakdown of the tech behind PC gaming

Digital Trends is launching a ReSpec newsletter covering the wide world of PC gaming. Here's everything you need to know about it.
Respec with Jacob Roach

Proton and Nier: Automata — the untold story behind what makes the Steam Deck tick

The Steam Deck is a massive hit, but one game changed the trajectory of the device, and Linux gaming as a whole, in a major way.
AMD presenting FSR 3 at Gamescom.

AMD’s FSR 3 compromise just isn’t working

Even a few months after release, FSR 3 isn't in a ton of games. And AMD's frame generation compromise isn't filling the gaps enough.
The RTX 4070 Super graphics card on a pink background.

GPUs are on an apology tour

After a year of backlash over lackluster GPU releases, Nvidia and AMD are finally owning up to mistakes with a new range of graphics cards.
A gaming monitor playing Hot Wheels Unleashed.

Anything is possible in this new era of gaming monitors

The need for constant innovation in gaming displays have pushed them to the peak, and that means things are going to start slowing down.
A screenshot from Star Wars Jedi Survivor.

PC ports need to be better in 2024 — here’s how

We saw several problematic PC releases this year. Here's what PC ports need to do to be better next year.
Cyberpunk 2077 on the Samsung Odyssey OLED G8.

A look back at the best (and worst) PC games I tested in 2023

I test dozens of PC games every year. Here are the most impressive (and the most disappointing) PC ports I looked at in 2023.
An OLED gaming monitor showing an HDR demo.

Brighter isn’t better for OLED monitors. An expert told me the surprising reason why

The most common criticism of OLED gaming monitors is that they don't get bright enough, but there's a good reason for that.
A solider from Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3.

When a high frame rate can lose you the game

Nvidia's Frames Win Games campaign has a lot of truth, but with DLSS 3 Frame Generation, the sentiment gets a little more complicated.
Alan Wake looking at a projection of himself.

Don’t believe the hype — the era of native resolution gaming isn’t over

A string of PC releases has suggested that native resolution gaming is dead, but there's a little more to the conversation.
windows isnt future of handheld gaming pcs dt respec holding back

Windows is holding back the future of handheld gaming

Handheld gaming PCs are getting increasingly popular, and although some rely on Windows 11, that OS isn't the future for this form factor.
Hero art for Forspoken

I can’t get excited about AMD’s next version of FSR anymore

Nearly a year after it was announced, AMD's FSR 3 is here. But it feels like yet another promise for what the feature could be in the future.
Special K mod in Lies of P

This ‘Swiss Army Knife’ app transformed how I play PC games

PC games usually arrive with problems, but there's an app that can solve most PC gaming woes with a couple of clicks.
A bunk and helmet in Starfield.

Is a game poorly optimized, or just demanding? They’re not the same thing

PC optimization is a term that gets thrown around so often that it has almost lost all meaning, and it's worth exploring why with Starfield.
AMD's RX 7900 XTX installed in a PC.

The success of AMD’s FSR 3 hinges on this one feature

AMD's upcoming FSR certainly sounds exciting, offering frame generation across almost any GPU. But AMD has to get latency in check for FSR 3 to work.
Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart running on the Samsung Odyssey OLED G8.

Why I leave Nvidia’s game-changing tech off in most games

Nvidia's DLSS 3 is remarkably impressive, but now that we've seen it show up in more games, I leave it off more often than I turn it on.
stop trying to play games without an ssd dt respec

It’s time to stop trying to play games without an SSD

Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart now proves it. Your gaming PC absolutely needs an SSD installed in it.
Halo running on a MacBook Pro.

I tried to relive the forgotten legacy of Halo as a Mac franchise — and it was a disaster

Halo has a long history, but its origins lie on Mac, and now, it's finally possible to fulfill the game's original legacy.
A pilot inside of a ship in Starfield.

With exclusive PC partnerships, everyone loses

AMD announced it would be the exclusive PC partner for Starfield, and that could set a dangerous precedent.
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I asked developers to explain why PC ports in 2023 run like garbage

Nearly every major PC port has run into issues this year. Why? I asked some developers to find out.
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The worst PC ports of all time — and why they were so bad

We've seen some terrible PC ports this year, but they don't hold a candle to the worst PC ports of all time.
An SSD installed in the PS5.

Consoles still have one big advantage, and it’s hurting PC gaming

There's no doubt that modern PC hardware vastly outpaces what consoles can offer, but there's still an area where the PS5 and Xbox Series X have a lead.
A 3D model of someone's face in Ziva Face Trainer.

How generative AI will create games with ‘broader, bigger, and deeper worlds’

AI is touching nearly every creative field, but there's few places where it has more applications than game development.
unrecord took internet by storm realistic respec

How a viral bodycam game tricked the internet into thinking it was real footage

Unrecord is a bodycam first-person game that looks too good to be real, but it's using some clever filtering and next-gen tools to achieve its photorealism.
A gaming laptop playing Horizon Zero Dawn.

Gaming laptops are still lying to us, and it’s getting even more complicated

As a new generation of gaming laptops rolls out in 2023, it's becoming even more difficult to trust what you see on a spec sheet.
unreal engine 5 tackling biggest problem pc graphics respec

How Unreal Engine 5 is tackling the biggest problem in PC gaming

Epic announced a slate of new features for Unreal Engine 5 during its State of Unreal address, but the most important update flew under the radar.
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How Zelda: Ocarina of Time speedrunners break the N64 in incredible new ways

Ocarina of Time has had a long life after it released, with speedrunners breaking the game in incredible and exciting new ways.
intel arc alchemist driver update doubled performance a770 logo respec featured

Here’s how Intel doubled Arc GPUs’ performance with a simple driver update

Intel delivered a massive boost in performance for its Arc GPUs with a simple driver update, but how? We sat down with Intel to dig deeper.
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AI is coming for your PC games, but you should be excited, not worried

AI is everywhere, and your PC games aren't safe. Don't get worried, though. AI is already being used in PC games, and it has a bright future ahead.

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Lead Reporter, PC Hardware

Jacob Roach is the lead reporter for PC hardware at Digital Trends. In addition to covering the latest PC components, from graphics cards to processors to PC cases, Jacob also leads the ReSpec column and newsletter that covers the intersection of PC hardware and gaming. If it’s something you can plug into a gaming PC, there’s a good chance Jacob has used it.

Although Jacob is interested in just about anything in or around a PC, he’s currently reporting on graphics cards, PC game optimization, and gaming monitors. At Digital Trends, he’s dug deep on the untold origins of the Steam Deck, uncovered the truth behind poor PC port optimization, and broke the story on Microsoft’s Bing Chat going off the rails.

Before joining Digital Trends, Jacob contributed to Business Insider, Forbes, and PC Invasion, among various other outlets. Jacob has been a guest on TWiT and NBC, and his work has been cited in Fox News, Futurism, and Business Insider.

As if tinkering with the latest PC hardware wasn’t enough, Jacob spends most of his free time living the PC gamer life he writes about so frequently. That includes playing the latest games, but also poking around on his PC to see what he can break, just to see how it works. When he gets a moment to step outside and “touch grass,” Jacob enjoys tabletop games, wandering the shops of St. Louis, and forcing his lazy Corgi onto walks.