Subject: General Tech | July 21, 2016 - 09:03 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ea, origin, pc gaming
EA's “On the House” promotion is basically a 100%-off sale, with the intent of periodically bringing you back to their store. Whatever you acquire is free forever, but you only have a handful of days to claim it. Even if you're not interested in downloading it at the moment, it's good to poke in, press download, and just not actually download it until later. Maybe you'll buy something, too, while you're there. Either way.
This time is Battlefield 4: Naval Strike. If you have Battlefield 4, but do not have the Premium subscription, then this is your chance to grab a portion of its exclusive content for free. As the name suggests, it includes four, navy-focused maps, a hovercraft, and a new game mode. If you've played 2142, you might remember the Titan mode, where you would capture missile launchers throughout the map to weaken a flying carrier, and eventually destroy it. Similar idea, but with an aircraft carrier.
Also, the Westwood-developed action RPG, Nox, is “On the House” as well.
Subject: General Tech | July 19, 2016 - 12:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: 2d, molybdenum sulphide, moores law, graphene
Over at Nanotechweb is an article on some rather impressive research being done to create what are, for all intents and purposes, almost two dimensional. The process used by the researchers created transistors made up of two three-atom thick MoS2 layers, both slightly overlapped with graphene, sandwiched between two one-atom think graphene layers. The trick is in the use of graphene, itself unsuitable for use as a transistor but perfect for interconnects thanks to its conductance. Read on to learn more about these researchers and the process they are working on, including a link to their publication in Nature.
"Researchers in the US have succeeded in chemically assembling the electronic junctions between a 2D semiconductor (molybdenum sulphide) and graphene, and have made an atomic transistor with good properties. They have also assembled the heterostructures into 2D logic circuits, such as an NMOS inverter with a voltage gain as high as 70."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Good gravy, Toshiba QLC flash chips are getting closer @ The Register
- Boffins unveil 500TB/in2 disk. Yeah, it's made of chlorine. -196˚C, why? @ The Register
- Seagate unveils 10TB monsters for PC users with out-of-control Steam libraries @ The Inquirer
- How to scam $750,000 out of Microsoft Office: Two-factor auth calls to premium-rate numbers @ The Register
- Netflix Stock Price Tanks As Customers Quit Over Higher Prices @ Slashdot
- Sonic 3D Printer Auto Bed Leveling Makes a Swoosh @ Hack a Day
Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 20, 2016 - 04:12 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: scythe, fuma, heatsink
Scythe's Fuma heatsink is a fair size at 137x149x130mm with a weight of 920g, including the two 120mm fans, though shorter than many on the market. That stock design could cause some problems if your RAM has impressively sized heatsinks but for most modules you should not have any issues and it does not impinge on your first PCIe slot. In the tests Modders-Inc performed reasonably well when cooling an i7-4770k at stock speeds, unfortunately an overclock of 4.4GHz did see the cooler struggle and the CPU frequency was throttled back almost immediately. For lesser loads the low RPM fans will be able to keep your temperatures reasonable and do so without creating much noise. If you have a midranged CPU and want a quiet cooler in the $55 range, drop by to check out the full review.
"Heatsink designs are driven by the fundamental principle that a larger surface area equates to better heat dissipation than a smaller area. Factoring in componential consent, modern aftermarket CPU tower heatsinks had to get creative to compensate and dial-in the efficiency needed, hence the rise of dual-tower cooler designs"
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Cooler Master MasterLiquid 240mm AIO CPU Cooler @ eTeknix
- Raijintek Atlantis Series Custom Loop Water Cooling @ eTeknix
- EK Water Blocks Performance 280 Starter Liquid Cooling Kit Review @ NikKTech
- SilverStone Redline Series RL05 Mid-Tower Chassis @ eTeknix
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 25, 2016 - 09:30 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: siggraph 2016, Siggraph, Radeon Pro WX Series, Radeon Pro WX 7100, Radeon Pro WX 5100, Radeon Pro WX 4100, radeon, capsaicin, amd
AMD has announced new Polaris-based professional graphics cards at Siggraph 2016 this evening, with the Radeon Pro WX 4100, WX 5100, and WX 7100 GPUs.
The AMD Radeon Pro WX 7100 GPU (Image credit: AMD)
From AMD's official press release:
AMD today unveils powerful new solutions to address modern content creation and engineering: the new Radeon Pro WX Series of professional graphics cards, which harness the award-winning Polaris architecture and is designed to deliver exceptional capabilities for the immersive computing era.
Radeon Pro solutions and the new Radeon Pro WX Series of professional graphics cards represent a fundamentally different approach for professionals rooted in a commitment to open, non-proprietary software and performant, feature-rich hardware that empowers people to create the “art of the impossible”.
The new Radeon Pro WX series graphics cards deliver on the promise of this new era of creation, are optimized for open source software, and are designed for creative professionals and those pushing the boundaries of science, technology and engineering.
The AMD Radeon Pro WX 5100 GPU (Image credit: AMD)
Radeon Pro WX Series professional graphics cards are designed to address specific demands of the modern content creation era:
- Radeon Pro WX 7100 GPU is capable of handling demanding design engineering and media and entertainment workflows and is AMD’s most affordable workstation solution for professional VR content creation.
- Radeon Pro WX 5100 GPU is the ideal solution for product development, powered by the impending game-engine revolution in design visualization.
- Radeon Pro WX 4100 GPU provides great performance in a half-height design, finally bringing mid-range application performance demanded by CAD professionals to small form factor (SFF) workstations
The AMD Radeon Pro WX 4100 GPU (Image credit: AMD)
Note: The product page is not yet live, so we'll update with specs for these new GPUs when available.
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of XSPC
Courtesy of XSPC
Courtesy of XSPC
XSPC is a well established name in the enthusiast cooling market, offering a wide range of custom cooling components and kits. Their newest CPU waterblock, the Raystorm Pro, offers a new look and optimized design in comparison to their last generation Raystorm CPU waterblock. The block features an all copper design with a dual metal / acrylic hold down plate for illumination around the outside edge of the block. The Raystorm Pro is compatible with all current CPU sockets with the currect mounting kit.
Subject: General Tech | July 25, 2016 - 04:47 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, mental ray, maya, 3D rendering
NVIDIA purchased Mental Images, the German software developer that makes the mental ray renderer, all the way back in 2007. It has been bundled with every copy of Maya for a very long time now. In fact, my license of Maya 8, which I purchased back in like, 2006, came with mental ray in both plug-in format, and stand-alone.
Interestingly, even though nearly a decade has passed since NVIDIA's acquisition, Autodesk has been the middle-person that end-users dealt with. This will end soon, as NVIDIA announced, at SIGGRAPH, that they will “be serving end users directly” with their mental ray for Maya plug-in. The new plug-in will show results directly in the viewport, starting at low quality and increasing until the view changes. They are obviously not the first company to do this, with Cycles in Blender being a good example, but I would expect that it is a welcome feature for users.
Benchmark results are by NVIDIA
At the same time, they are also announcing GI-Next. This will speed up global illumination in mental ray, and it will also reduce the number of options required to tune the results to just a single quality slider, making it easier for artists to pick up. One of their benchmarks shows a 26-fold increase in performance, although most of that can be attributed to GPU acceleration from a pair of GM200 Quadro cards. CPU-only tests of the same scene show a 4x increase, though, which is still pretty good.
The new version of mental ray for Maya is expected to ship in September, although it has been in an open beta (for existing Maya users) since February. They do say that “pricing and policies will be announced closer to availability” though, so we'll need to see, then, how different the licensing structure will be. Currently, Maya ships with a few licenses of mental ray out of the box, and has for quite some time.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | July 25, 2016 - 09:48 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: siggraph 2016, Siggraph, capsaicin, amd, 3D rendering
At their Capsaicin Siggraph event tonight AMD has announced that what was previously announced as the FireRender rendering engine is being officially launched as AMD Radeon ProRender, and this is becoming open-source as part of AMD's GPUOpen initiative.
From AMD's press release:
AMD today announced its powerful physically-based rendering engine is becoming open source, giving developers access to the source code.
As part of GPUOpen, Radeon ProRender (formerly previewed as AMD FireRender) enables creators to bring ideas to life through high-performance applications and workflows enhanced by photorealistic rendering.
GPUOpen is an AMD initiative designed to assist developers in creating ground-breaking games, professional graphics applications and GPU computing applications with much greater performance and lifelike experiences, at no cost and using open development tools and software.
Unlike other renderers, Radeon ProRender can simultaneously use and balance the compute capabilities of multiple GPUs and CPUs – on the same system, at the same time – and deliver state-of-the-art GPU acceleration to produce rapid, accurate results.
Radeon ProRender plugins are available today for many popular 3D content creation applications, including Autodesk® 3ds Max®, SOLIDWORKS by Dassault Systèmes and Rhino®, with Autodesk® Maya® coming soon. Radeon ProRender works across Windows®, OS X and Linux®, and supports AMD GPUs, CPUs and APUs as well as those of other vendors.
Subject: General Tech | July 25, 2016 - 01:12 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: linux, kernel 4.7, security, rx 480, LoadPin
For now we are awaiting the benchmarks but with the release of this new kernel, Linux users will be able to run the new RX 480 from AMD. The new kernel also contains a new security feature called LoadPin which ensures that kernel-loaded files come from within the same file system in an attempt to maintain security without requiring each file to be individually signed. There were also some improvements made to network drivers along with several other changes which The Inquirer covers in their own unique manner.
"Despite it being two weeks since RC7, the final patch wasn't all that big and much of it is trivial one- and few-liners. There's a couple of network drivers that got a bit more loving."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- We threw a Minecraft party to test Samsung's Gear VR headset @ The Tech Report
- Free Windows 10 upgrade: Time is running out – should you do it? @ The Register
- Tesoro Interview @ techPowerUp
- Moore's Law to be revoked in five years' time @ The Inquirer
Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 25, 2016 - 04:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: modular psu, Seasonic PRIME, 750w
It has been about a year since Seasonic released a brand new PSU as they do not tend to flood the market with incremental upgrades to their PSU families. While this may hurt their business a little as newer users do not see reviews or advertisements frequently, long term enthusiasts take note when a new PSU arrives. This fully modular PSU offers a single 12V rail capable of delivering 744W @ 62A and offers six 6+2 PCIe power cables, it even still has a floppy connector for those desperate times when you need to pull one out. [H]ard|OCP strapped the PSU to their torture bench and this Seasonic unit came out with a Gold medal. Check out the full review here.
"Seasonic has never been big on marketing-speak. Outside of its impressive specifications, and a list of features, this is all it has to say. "The creation of the PRIME Series is a renewed testimony of Seasonic's determination to push the limits of power supply design in every aspect." Let's see if that is true, or the shortest sales pitch ever."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Seasonic Prime 750W Titanium @ Kitguru
- Enermax Revolution X't II 750W @ [H]ard|OCP
- Silverstone Strider Platinum 750W ST75F-PT @ Modders Inc
- Thermaltake Smart DPS G 700W @ NikKTe
- APC Power Saving Back-UPS Pro 1500VA (BR1500G) @ Custom PC Review
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 25, 2016 - 04:48 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: siggraph 2016, Siggraph, quadro, nvidia
SIGGRAPH is the big, professional graphics event of the year, bringing together tens of thousands of attendees. They include engineers from Adobe, AMD, Blender, Disney (including ILM, Pixar, etc.), NVIDIA, The Khronos Group, and many, many others. Not only are new products announced, but many technologies are explained in detail, down to the specific algorithms that are used, so colleagues can advance their own research and share in kind.
But new products will indeed be announced.
The NVIDIA Quadro P6000
NVIDIA, having just launched a few Pascal GPUs to other markets, decided to announce updates to their Quadro line at the event. Two cards have been added, the Quadro P5000 and the Quadro P6000, both at the top end of the product stack. Interestingly, both use GDDR5X memory, meaning that neither will be based on the GP100 design, which is built around HBM2 memory.
The NVIDIA Quadro P5000
The lower end one, the Quadro P5000, should look somewhat familiar to our reader. Exact clocks are not specified, but the chip has 2560 CUDA cores. This is identical to the GTX 1080, but with twice the memory: 16GB of GDDR5X.
Above it sits the Quadro P6000. This chip has 3840 CUDA cores, paired with 24GB of GDDR5X. We have not seen a GPU with exactly these specifications before. It has the same number of FP32 shaders as a fully unlocked GP100 die, but it doesn't have HBM2 memory. On the other hand, the new Titan X uses GP102, combining 3584 CUDA cores with GDDR5X memory, although only 12GB of it. This means that the Quadro P6000 has 256 more (single-precision) shader units than the Titan X, but otherwise very similar specifications.
Both graphics cards have four DisplayPort 1.4 connectors, as well as a single DVI output. These five connectors can be used to drive up to four, 4K, 120Hz monitors, or four, 5K, 60Hz ones. It would be nice if all five connections could be used at once, but what can you do.
Pascal has other benefits for professional users, too. For instance, Simultaneous Multi-Projection (SMP) is used in VR applications to essentially double the GPU's geometry processing ability. NVIDIA will be pushing professional VR at SIGGRAPH this year, also launching Iray VR. This uses light fields, rendered on devices like the DGX-1, with its eight GP100 chips connected by NVLink, to provide accurately lit environments. This is particularly useful for architectural visualization.
No price is given for either of these cards, but they will launch in October of this year.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 25, 2016 - 06:51 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: msi, gtx 1070, Gaming Z, Twin Frozr VI, factory overclocked
The Tech Report had a chance to see what the MSI Twin Frozr VI cooler can do to a GTX 1070, they have just wrapped up a review of the Gaming Z edition of that NVIDIA card. It comes with a respectable frequency bump when you enable OC mode, 1657 MHz base and 1860 MHz boost. When they tested it under load the GPU stayed below 70C so there should be room to push the card further. Check out the full benchmark suite in their full review.
"Nvidia's second Pascal graphics card, the GeForce GTX 1070, aims to set a new bar for graphics performance in the $379-and-up price range. We put MSI's GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming Z card through the wringer to see how a more affordable Pascal card performs."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 Xtreme Gaming @ Modders-Inc
- MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G RGB SLI @ Kitguru
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition 8GB Graphics Card Review @ NikKTech
- MSI GTX 1060 Gaming X @ eTeknix
- MSI GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G Review @ OCC
- ASUS RX 480 STRIX OC 8 GB @ techPowerUp
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 26, 2016 - 12:36 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windforce, pascal, gigabyte, GeForce GTX 1060
In a recent press release, Gigabyte announced that it will soon be adding four new GTX 1060 graphics cards to its lineup. The new cards feature Windforce series coolers and custom PCBs. At the high end is the GTX 1060 G1 Gaming followed by the GTX 1060 Windforce OC, small form factor friendly GTX 1060 Mini ITX OC, and the budget minded GTX 1060 D5. While the company has yet to divulge pricing or availability, the cards should be out within the next month or two.
All of the upcoming cards use a custom design that uses a custom PCB and power phase setup paired with Gigabyte's dual – or in the case of the Mini ITX card – single fan Windforce air cooler. Unfortunately, exact specifications for all of the cards except the high end model are unknown including core and memory clocks. The coolers use a dual composite heatpipe that directly touches the GPU to pull heat away and is dissipated by an aluminum fin stack. The fans are 90mm on all of the cards with the dual fan models using a design that has each fan spinning alternate directions of the other. The cards feature 6GB of GDDR5 memory as well as DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort video outputs. For example, the Mini ITX OC graphics card (which is only 17cm long) and features two DVI, one HDMI, and one DP output.
More information is available on the GTX 1060 G1 Gaming. This card is a dual slot dual fan design with a 6+1 power phase (reference is 3+1) powered by a single 8-pin power connector. The fans are shrouded and there is a metal backplate to aid in stability and cooling. Gigabyte claims that its "GPU Gauntlet" technology ensures users get heavily overclockable chips thanks to sorting and using the most promising chips.
The 16nm Pascal GPU is factory overclocked to 1847 MHz boost and 1620 MHz base clockspeeds in OC mode and 1809 MHz boost and 1594 MHz base in gaming mode. Users will be able to use the company's Xtreme Engine software to dial up the overclocks further as well as mess with the RGB LEDs. For comparison, the reference clockspeeds are 1708 MHz boost and 1506 MHz base. Gigabyte has left the 6GB of GDDR5 memory untouched at 8008 MHz.
The other cards should have similarly decent factory overclocks, but it is hard to say exactly what they will be out of the box. While I am not a big fan of the aesthetics, the Windforce coolers should let users push Pascal fairly far (for air cooling).
I would guess that the Gigabyte GTX 1060 G1 Gaming will MSRP for just above $300 while the lower end cards will be around $260 (the Mini ITX OC may be at a slight premium above that).
What do you think about Gigabyte's new cards?
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 26, 2016 - 01:46 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: solid state, radeon pro, Polaris, gpgpu, amd
Alongside the launch of new Radeon Pro WX (workstation) series graphics cards, AMD teased an interesting new Radeon Pro product: the Radeon Pro SSG. This new professional graphics card pairs a Polaris GPU with up ot a terabyte of on board solid state storage and seeks to solve one of the biggest hurdles in GP GPU performance when dealing with extremely large datasets which is latency.
One of the core focuses of AMD's HSA (heterogeneous system architecture) is unified memory and the ability of various processors (CPU, GPU, specialized co-processors, et al) to work together efficiently by being able to access and manipulate data from the same memory pool without having to copy data bck and forth between CPU-accessible memory and GPU-accessible memory. With the Radeon Pro SSG, this idea is not fully realized (it is more of a sidestep), but it will move performance further. It does not eliminate the need to copy data to the GPU before it can work on it, but once copied the GPU will be able to work on data stored in what AMD describes as a one terabyte frame buffer. This memory will be solid state and very fast, but more importantly it will be able to get at the data with much lower latency than previous methods. AMD claims the solid state storage (likely NAND but they have not said) will link with the GPU over a dedicated PCI-E bus. I suppose that if you can't bring the GPU to the data, you bring the data to the GPU!
Considering AMD's previous memory champ – the Radeon W9100 – maxed out at 32GB of GDDR5, the teased Radeon Pro SSG with its 1TB of purportedly low latency onboard flash storage opens up a slew of new possibilities for researchers and professionals in media, medical, and scientific roles working with massive datasets for imaging, creation, and simulations! I expect that there are many professionals out there eager to get their hands on one of these cards! They will be able to as well thanks to a beta program launching shortly, so long as they have $10,000 for the hardware!
AMD gave a couple of examples in their PR on the potential benefits of its "solid state graphics" including the ability to image a patient's beating heart in real time to allow medical professionals to examine and spot issues as early as possible and using the Radeon Pro SSG to edit and scrub through 8K video in real time at 90 FPS versus 17 with current offerings. On the scientific side of things being able to load up entire models into the new graphics memory (not as low latency as GDDR5 or HBM certainly) will be a boon as will being able to get data sets as close to the GPU as possible into servers using GPU accelerated databases powering websites accessed by millions of users.
It is not exactly the HSA future I have been waiting for ever so impatiently, but it is a nice advancement and an intriguing idea that I am very curious to see how well it pans out and if developers and researchers will truly take advantage of and use to further their projects. I suspect something like this could be great for deep learning tasks as well (such as powering the "clouds" behind self driving cars perhaps).
Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more information as it develops.
This is definitely a product that I will be watching and I hope that it does well. I am curious what Nvidia's and Intel's plans are here as well! What are your thoughts on AMD's "Solid State Graphics" card? All hype or something promising?
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 25, 2016 - 08:49 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: sapphire, Radeon RX 480, polaris 10, nitro+, nitro
More details on custom graphics cards based around AMD's RX 480 reference GPU are starting to trickle out now that the official shipping dates are approaching (it appears many of the cards will be available next month). Sapphire is the latest AIB to provide all the juicy details on its custom Nitro+ Radeon RX 480 card!
The Nitro+ RX 480 is a dual slot card with a Dual X cooler that features two 95mm quick connect fans, vented aluminum backplate, black shroud, and aluminum heatsink. The graphics card is powered by a single 8-pin PCI-E power connector which should be enough to allow overclocking headroom and alleviate any worries over pulling too much amperage over the PEG slot on the motherboard.
Sapphire is using high end capacitors and black diamond 4 chokes. The twin fan cooler supports "quick connect" which lets users easily pull out the fans for cleaning or replacement (which seems like a neat feature considering how dusty my PC can get (it doesn't help that my corgi loves to lay against my tower heh)). RGB LEDs illuminate the Sapphire logo and fans.
Of course, all of the LEDs can be controlled by software or a button on the back of the card to change colors in response to temperatures, fan speed, cycling through all colors, and turned off completely.
The company also uses an aluminum backplate which has a nice design to it (nice to see the only part of the card most will see getting some attention for once heh) as well as vents that allow hot air to escape. Air is pulled into the card from the two fans and pushed out the back of the card and up through the backplate. I am interested to see how much this design actually improved cooling.
Rear IO includes a single DL-DVI output along with two DisplayPort 1.4 and two HDMI 2.0b video outputs. This configuration results in a smaller air intake but also lets you hook up both a HDMI monitor and VR headset. While there are five connectors, only four may be used at the same time.
While Sapphire did not touch the memory, it did factory overclock the Polaris 10 GPU to up to 1,342 MHz boost. Compared to the reference boost clockspeed of 1,266 this is a decent jump, especially for a factory out of the box overclock. Users should be able to push the GPU further though exactly how far remains to be seen and will depend on the cooler and the quality of their specific chip.
Sapphire's Nitro+ RX 480 will reportedly be available as soon as next week in both 4GB and 8GB models. The 4GB will run $220 while the 8GB card will cost $269. If these numbers hold true, that is only a $20 premium over the reference designs which certainly seems like a great value all things considered! I am looking forward to the reviews on this slick looking card and I hope that the performance and build quality are up to snuff!
- 2 of 2