Streaming games straight from NVIDIA
Over the weekend NVIDIA released a December update for the SHIELD Android mobile gaming device that included a very interesting, and somewhat understated, new feature: Beta support for NVIDIA GRID.
You have likely heard of GRID before, NVIDIA has been pushing it as part of the companies vision going forward to GPU computing in every facet and market. GRID was aimed at creating GPU-based server farms to enable mobile, streaming gaming to users across the country and across the world. While initially NVIDIA only talked about working with partners to launch streaming services based on GRID, they have obviously changed their tune slightly with this limited release.
If you own a SHIELD, and install the most recent platform update, you'll find a new icon in your NVIDIA SHIELD menu called GRID Beta. The first time you start this new application, it will attempt to measure your bandwidth and latency to offer up an opinion on how good your experience should be. NVIDIA is asking for at least 10 Mbps of sustained bandwidth, and wants round trip latency under 60 ms from your location to their servers.
Currently, servers are ONLY located in Northern California so the further out you are, the more likely you will be to run into problems. However, oing some testing in Kentucky and Ohio resulted in a very playable gaming scenarios, though we did run into some connection problems that might be load-based or latency-based.
After the network setup portion users are shown 8 different games that they can try. Darksiders, Darksiders II, Street Fighter X Tekken, Street Fighter IV, Alan Wake, The Witcher 2, Red Faction: Armageddon and Trine 2. You are free to play them free of charge during this beta though I think you can be sure they will be removed and erased at some point; just a reminder. Saves work well and we were able to save and resume games of Darksiders 2 on GRID easily and quickly.
Starting up the game was fast, about on par with starting up a game on a local PC, though obviously the server is loading it in the background. Once the game is up and running, you are met with some button mapping information provided by NVIDIA for that particular game (great addition) and then you jump into the menus as if you were running it locally.
Subject: General Tech | December 5, 2013 - 03:03 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: linux, valve, SteamOS, hsa foundation, hsa
Valve may very well produce one of the near future's most popular non-mobile, consumer, Linux distributions. SteamOS will be marketed for gaming PCs (some very compelling ones at that) starting next year. CES will definitely be interesting. With such a popular distribution, and as an existing member of the Khronos Group, it makes sense for Valve to join the Linux Foundation... and they just did.
It is still unknown to what extent Valve joined Linux (members are classified by level of contribution from Platinum to Silver) and we likely will not know until their list is updated. While they probably will not be hanging out with Intel and others in the platinum category, Silver is not the most noteworthy of statuses... alongside Barnes and Noble (likely because of the Nook) and Twitter.
Another addition is the HSA Foundation. AMD is already a Gold member (y'know... HSA's faja) and ARM is Silver so I cannot see HSA being much more than that. Still, Linux will be an important focus for the heterogeneous computing architectures to endorse: both in terms of back-end server optimization and customer-facing devices.
Of course I am not belittling any contribution. Still, there is that desire to see Valve lead the pack. Ultimately, though, it is not the size of the badge: it is how you wear it.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | December 5, 2013 - 03:17 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: linux, nvidia surround, eyefinity
Could four 1080p monitors be 4K on the cheap? Probably not... but keep reading.
Image Credit: Phoronix
Phoronix published an article for users interested in quad monitor gaming on Linux. Sure, you might think this is a bit excessive especially considering the bezel at the center of your screen. On the other hand, imagine you are playing a four player split-screen game. That would definitely get some attention. Each player would be able to tilt their screen out of the view of their opponents while only using a single computer.
In his 8-page editorial, Michael Larabel tests the official and popular open source drivers for both AMD and NVIDIA. The winner was NVIDIA's proprietary driver although the open source solution, Nouveau, seemed to fair the worst of the batch. This is the typical trade-off with NVIDIA. It was only just recent that The Green Giant opened up documentation for the other chefs in the kitchen... so these results may change soon.
If you are interested in gaming on Linux, give the article a read.
Subject: General Tech | December 3, 2013 - 01:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: purchase, ocz, toshiba
It is hard to say just how much per gigabyte Toshiba paid but for $35 million US they now own all of OCZ's storage, both consumer and enterprise. In the statement released at OCZ it is implied that not much will change at OCZ, the sales teams and engineers stand a good chance of retaining their jobs and the OCZ brand will live on. This lends credence to the statement made by OCZ yesterday that all warranties will continue to be honoured after their bankruptcy which should make many an enthusiast feel much more secure. It will be very interesting to see what the future will hold for Toshiba's SSD business now that they have access to all of OCZ's intellectual property. The Register has comments and a link to the press release here.
"The Japanese concern has indeed ridden to OCZ's rescue, thanks to a $US35m cheque that will see it “acquire OCZ's client and enterprise solid state drive business” according to the canned statement about the deal."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Logic operations on a nanomagnetic staircase @ Nanotechweb
- Keeping warm in winter the el Reg way: Setting a NAS box ON FIRE @ The Register
- HP dishes up FAIL-filled public cloud @ The Register
- Intel expected to ship 30 million tablet processors in 2014 @ DigiTimes
- Inforce IFC6410: Quad ARM A15 Snapdragon for $150 @ Linux.com
- Cellphone Charging Inductive Purse @ Hack a Day
- Christmas Global Joint Giveaway @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech | December 5, 2013 - 03:59 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: GCC, Rust, mozilla
Rust is an interesting language in that it aims to be safe and concurrent. It was discussed frequently at Mozilla Summit back in early October both on its own and in terms of the experimental HTML5 rendering engine, Servo. From how it was describe to me from other attendees, it prides itself on its task-based architecture. Basically, your application is (or, at least, is often) set up like a bunch of tasks that get scheduled concurrently and pass messages to one another if they want to communicate. This concept allow for efficient multithreading because each task is inherently independent.
This may remind you of the experiments John Carmack did with Wolfenstein and Haskell.
Apparently at least one developer from the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) is also paying attention. Philip Herron has been working on the "gccrs" branch to create a GCC front-end for Mozilla's language.
We will need languages like Rust in the near future as processors continue to ramp up in thread count. Just look at the Xeon Phi story from last week: a bootable 288-thread standalone processor based on the Silvermont architecture. If you want this processor to be used efficiently then you better be light on the main thread otherwise your 6 TFLOPs (3 TFLOPs double-precision) will only be quick to behave like an Atom.
Subject: General Tech | December 3, 2013 - 01:22 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
You can go several different ways with today's top deal but the base 15.6" system is very acceptable with a Haswell Core i7-4700MQ @ 2.3GHz, 8GB DDR3 and a 1TB HDD for storage. The base system has a 1366x768 display but this can be upgraded to a proper 1080p display aliong with a 2GB GeForce GT 740M which raises the price but offers a more attractive deal for gamers.
- HP ENVY 15t-j100 Quad Edition 4th-gen Core i7 "Haswell" Laptop for $649.99 with Free Shipping (normally $819.99 - use coupon code: LOGICBUY20).
- Dell Inspiron 660s Dual-core Slim Desktop w/ 20" Monitor for$399.99 with Free Shipping(normally $593.98).
- Xbox One Day One Complete Bundle for $669.95 with Free Shipping
- Corsair Vengeance K60 FPS Mechanical Gaming Keyboard for $59.99 (normally $109.99).
- XFX FX-785A-ZNL4 Core Edition Radeon HD 7850 Video Card for $89.99 with free shipping (normally $169.99).
- ASUS VX238H 23" LED Backlight Monitor for $114.99 with Free Shipping(normally $199.99).
- Kingston SSDNow V300 120GB 7mm SATA 6Gb/s SSD for $88.84 with Free Shipping(normally $159.99).
Subject: General Tech | December 5, 2013 - 01:57 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: mozilla, webgl
Tools for web developers are pretty astonishing these days. You are able to investigate the driving elements and objects as they are being executed within the browser -- and even modify them. This typically means that you can play around with the various functions and parameters while the app is loaded. You receive immediate feedback about your changes.
Web Standards continue to encompass 3D and other game-related tasks. As a result, developer tools are beginning to take advantage of their browser's managed architecture making it easier to tweak and debug content. In other words: you can poke your 3D scene as it is being rendered.
Now this is quite interesting. Basically all of the GPU's involvement in drawing a 3D scene comes down to two scripts (at least for WebGL 1.0): a vertex shader and a fragment shader. These are operations that run once for every vertex in a scene and once for every pixel an object in a scene occupies, respectively. Together they form a "program" which gives an object's geometry something tangible for users to see.
Here is an example of Unreal Engine 3 being modified at runtime.
The developer tools within Firefox 27 will allow you to modify these scripts at runtime and even turn specific draw calls on or off. This should vastly speed up the rate at which developers modify their effects especially when it comes to fine tuning specific variables such as the rate that waves flow in a water material.
Firefox 27 is expected to be the release version in early February; it is currently in the Aurora channel.
Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | December 5, 2013 - 02:47 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: WQHD+, msi, 3K
High resolution displays are very nice to have especially when you are looking at text and symbols (or edges of 3D geometry). WQHD+ is one of the resolutions classified under the 3K moniker with dimensions of 2880 x 1620. It has slightly more pixels than 1440p.
MSI has launched two notebooks with a 15.6" display in this resolution: one gaming and one workstation. Both laptops are remarkably similar except for a few key differences.
Both laptops include:
- Intel Core i7-4700MQ CPU (2.4 GHz w/ 3.4 GHz Turbo)
- 16 GB RAM
- 15.6" 2880x1620 (16:9) display
- 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
- Killer E2200 networking (yes, the workstation too)
- Killer N1202 a/b/g/n wireless (yes, workstation too)
- SDXC card reader
- HDMI 1.4, 2x USB 3.0, etc.
- Backlit Keyboard from SteelSeries
The GT60 2OD-261US (Gaming) also includes:
- Windows 8
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M GPU (4GB)
- Blu-ray reader
The GT60 2OKWS-278US (Workstation) instead includes:
- Windows 7 Professional
- NVIDIA Quadro K3100M (4GB)
- Blu-ray recorder
These laptops are currently available at two price points: $2200 for the gaming version and $2800 for the workstation. Press release after the break!
Subject: General Tech | December 4, 2013 - 12:39 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: usb, obvious, reversible
Backwards compatibility is a big issue for PC users who do not want to have to constantly upgrade everything from connectors to add-in cards every time they do a small upgrade. That compatibility comes with a cost, many devices which should have been allowed to die long ago still live on. It is possible that one such abomination may be going away in the near future, the trapezoidal USB plug that only connects in one orientation. The USB Type-C connector will be square, similar in size to the current USB 2.0 Micro-B plug found on non-fruit based cellphones and most importantly it will not have a specific orientation required to connect. Hopefully Slashdot isn't discussing something too good to be true.
"Extreme bandwidth is nice, intelligent power management is cool... but folks should be spilling into the streets in thankful praise that the next generation miniature USB connector will fit either way. All told — just how many intricate miracle devices have been scrapped in their prime — because a tiny USB port was mangled? For millennia untold chimpanzees and people have been poking termite mounds with round sticks. I for one am glad to see round stick technology make its way into consumer electronics. Death to the trapezoid, bring back the rectangle!"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Toshiba tweaks SSD model: She's flashy, but she's not dense ENOUGH @ The Register
- PC market staging a RECOVERY. (Only joking, it's through the floor) @ The Register
- NAND flash suppliers to cut production to stabilize chip prices @ DigiTimes
- Creating Bootable Windows XP, 7 & 8 Flash Drive Installers @ Techgage
- A Collective Pitch Quadcopter @ Hack a Day
Subject: General Tech | December 5, 2013 - 01:32 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: elder scrolls online
The Elder Scrolls Online is coming and one of the hooks of the franchise is its character customization. Hours can be spent preparing and building characters into whatever the player desires. Many factors can be tweaked to make the perfect archer, mage, or thief. Some versions even allow the player to be infected with vampirism or lycanthropy to become a vampire or a werewolf.
Bethesda has just released a video outlining various possible customizations. Yes, there will be quests to infect your character with the two aforementioned diseases. I am sure that is what you all really wanted to know.
Basically the levelling system is as follows: when you gain a level you gain a point to add to your stats and another point to add to your skills. Attribute (stats) points let you choose whether to increase your health, magika, or stamina. Skill points allow you to learn spells or abilities; using these skills pushes that skill further down its "line". You can then branch ("morph") that ability's skill tree out in some direction. The example given is a friendly restoration skill: at some point you will be allowed to choose whether to heal three (instead of one) allies or have it replenish some of your magika. A common mechanic but, now, one confirmed in the game.
The Elder Scrolls Online is expected to be released this spring for PC, Mac, PS4, and Xbox One.
Subject: General Tech | December 2, 2013 - 04:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: MP4Nation, headphones, Brainwavz HM9, audio
The MP4Nation Brainwavz HM9 are portable over the ear headphones with a mini-jack connection, perfect for laptops and mobiles without a proprietary jack. Those using it on a cellphone will appreciate the microphone built in to the wires as well as the extra length that is provided. TechPowerUp liked the sound and design of the headphones but caution you to pay attention to the price, at the $120 preorder price they are a good bargain; not so much at the recommended $150 price point.
"MP4Nation is well known for their budget friendly headphone lineup. These solid over-ear headphones also come with a huge bundle and are built for a life on the go. Their pre-order price of $119 makes them a good price/performance option, too."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Razer Kraken Forged Edition Headphones @ Custom PC Review
- Corsair Vengeance 1500 V2 Gaming Headset @ Kitguru
- SteelSeries 5Hv3 Gaming Headset @ NikKTech
- Attitude One Tunguska 7.1 Virtual Surround USB Gaming Headset @ NikKTech
- CM Storm Pitch In-ear Gaming Headset @ techPowerUp
- Tt eSPORTS CRONOS Gaming Headset Review @ Neoseeker
- TDK TREK A26 Ultra-Portable Wireless Speaker @ NikKTech
- Arctic S113BT Portable Bluetooth Speaker @ Funky Kit
- Creative Sound Blaster ZxR Sound Card Review @ Madshrimps
Subject: General Tech | December 2, 2013 - 05:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, CM Storm, aluminium, Pulse-R, headset, mech, mechanical keyboard, Reaper, mouse
CoolerMaster have released a set of aluminium highlighted peripherals; the Pulse-R headset, Mech keyboard and Reaper gaming mouse. The headset is compatible with both 3.5mm jack and USB connections, offering both over the ear audio and a detachable microphone and was rated quite highly. The Mech keyboard uses Cherry MX Blue switches which are common place now, more unique is the look of the board and the features which include 64 N key rollover, LED back lighting, dual USB 3.0 ports and a charging port along with 128k of on board memory for macros. Wrapping up the package is the Reaper mouse, 8 buttons and an impressive looking scroll wheel with DPI capability as high as 8200.
"A few weeks ago we brought you three reviews from the aluminium loving peripheral range from CM Storm, this includes their Pulse-R headset, Mech keyboard and the Reaper mouse. All three of these products are designed to look great, not only on their own, but also when they’re put next to each other. CM Storm do not sell these three items as a complete set, but today we want to find out what it would be like to live with the trilogy together."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Max Keyboard Blackbird Tenkeyless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ Custom PC Review
- Logitech G510s Gaming Keyboard Review @ OCC
- Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 3 Gaming Keyboard @ NikKTech
- ROCCAT Raivo Gaming Mousepad Review @ Neoseeker
- How to use the PS4 Controller in Windows with XBOX Controller XInput Games @ HardCOREware
- Logitech G602 Wireless Gaming Mouse @ LanOC Reviews
- Tt eSPORTS VOLOS MMORPG Gaming Mouse @ NikKTech
- SteelSeries Sensei Fnatic @ LanOC Reviews
- 2 of 2
Get notified when we go live!