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Asus ROG STRIX RX 480 Graphics Card Coming Next Month

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 16, 2016 - 11:03 PM |
Tagged: rx 480, ROG, Radeon RX 480, polaris 10 xt, polaris 10, DirectCU III, asus

Following its previous announcement, Asus has released more information on the Republic of Gamers STRIX RX 480 graphics card. Pricing is still a mystery but the factory overclocked card will be available in the middle of next month!

In my previous coverage, I detailed that the STRIX RX 480 would be using a custom PCB along with Asus' DirectCU III cooler and Aura RGB back lighting. Yesterday, Asus revealed that the card also has a custom VRM solution that, in an interesting twist, draws all of the graphics card's power from the two PCI-E power connectors and nothing from the PCI-E slot. This would explain the inclusion of both a 6-pin and 8-pin power connector on the card! I do think that it is a bit of an over-reaction to not draw anything from the slot, but it is an interesting take on powering a graphics card and I'm interested to see how it all works out once the reviews hit and overclockers get a hold of it!

Asus ROG Strix RX 480.jpg

The custom graphics card is assembled using Asus' custom "Auto Extreme" automated assembly process and uses "Super Alloy Power II" components (which is to say that Asus claims to be using high quality hardware and build quality). The DirectCU III cooler is similar to the one used on the STRIX GTX 1080 and features direct contact heatpipes, an aluminum fin stack, and three Wing Blade fans that can spin down to zero RPMs when the card is being used on the desktop or during "casual gaming." The fan shroud and backplate are both made of metal which is a nice touch. Asus claims that the cooler is 30% cooler and three times quieter than the RX 480 reference cooler.

Last but certainly not least, Asus revealed boost clock speeds! The STRIX RX 480 will clock up to 1,330 MHz in OC Mode and up to 1,310 MHz in Gaming Mode. Further Asus has not touched the GDDR5 memory frequency which stays at the reference 8 GHz. Asus did not reveal base (average) GPU clocks. I was somewhat surprised by the factory overclock as I did not expect much out of the box, but 1,330 MHz is fairly respectable. This card should have a lot more headroom beyond that though, and fortunately Asus provides software that will automatically overclock the card even further with one click (GPU Tweak II also lets advanced users manually overclock the card). Users should be able to hit at least 1,450 MHz assuming they do decently in the silicon lottery.

For reference, stock RX 480s are clocked at 1,120 MHz base and up to 1,266 MHz boost. Asus claims their factory overclock results in a 15% higher score in 3DMark Fire Strike and 19% more performance in DOOM and Hitman.

Other features of the STRIX RX 480 include FanConnect which is two 4-pin fan headers that allows users to hook up two case fans and allow them to be controlled by the GPU. Aura RGB LEDs on the shroud and backplate allow users to match their build aesthetics. Asus also includes XSplit GameCaster for game streaming with the card.

No word on pricing yet, but you will be able to get your hands on the card in the middle of next month (specifically "worldwide from mid-August")! 

This card is definitely one of the most interesting RX 480 designs so far and I am anxiously awaiting the full reviews!

How far do you think the triple fan cooler can push AMD's Polaris 10 XT GPU?

Source: Asus

RetroArch Announces Vulkan API Support (& Async Compute)

Subject: General Tech | July 16, 2016 - 06:58 PM |
Tagged: n64, dolphin, libretro, retroarch, vulkan, async shaders, asynchronous compute, amd

While the Dolphin emulator has a lot of mind share, and recently announced DirectX 12 support, they have only just recently discussed working on the open alternative, Vulkan. It looks like the LibRetro developer community will beat them with an update to RetroArch and the LibRetro API. The page for RetroArch 1.3.5 exists as of (according to Google) yesterday, but 404s, so it should be coming soon. It is still in experimental mode, but it's better than nothing.

retroarch-2016-plain-logo.png

Interestingly, they also claim that their Vulkan port of Angrylion makes use of asynchronous compute. It's unclear what it uses that for, but I'm sure it will make for interesting benchmarks.

Rumor: 16nm for NVIDIA's Volta Architecture

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 16, 2016 - 06:37 PM |
Tagged: Volta, pascal, nvidia, maxwell, 16nm

For the past few generations, NVIDIA has been roughly trying to release a new architecture with a new process node, and release a refresh the following year. This ran into a hitch as Maxwell was delayed a year, apart from the GTX 750 Ti, and then pushed back to the same 28nm process that Kepler utilized. Pascal caught up with 16nm, although we know that some hard, physical limitations are right around the corner. The lattice spacing for silicon at room temperature is around ~0.5nm, so we're talking about features the size of ~the low 30s of atoms in width.

nvidia-2016-gtc-pascal-fivemiracles.png

This rumor claims that NVIDIA is not trying to go with 10nm for Volta. Instead, it will take place on the same, 16nm node that Pascal is currently occupying. This is quite interesting, because GPUs scale quite well with complexity changes, as they have many features with a relatively low clock rate, so the only real ways to increase performance are to make the existing architecture more efficient, or make a larger chip.

That said, GP100 leaves a lot of room on the table for an FP32-optimized, ~600mm2 part to crush its performance at the high end, similar to how GM200 replaced GK110. The rumored GP102, expected in the ~450mm2 range for Titan or GTX 1080 Ti-style parts, has some room to grow. Like GM200, however, it would also be unappealing to GPU compute users who need FP64. If this is what is going on, and we're totally just speculating at the moment, it would signal that enterprise customers should expect a new GPGPU card every second gaming generation.

That is, of course, unless NVIDIA recognized ways to make the Maxwell-based architecture significantly more die-space efficient in Volta. Clocks could get higher, or the circuits themselves could get simpler. You would think that, especially in the latter case, they would have integrated those ideas into Maxwell and Pascal, though; but, like HBM2 memory, there might have been a reason why they couldn't.

We'll need to wait and see. The entire rumor could be crap, who knows?

Source: Fudzilla

ZoeMatrope Blends Shaders with Strobe Lights

Subject: General Tech | July 16, 2016 - 06:07 PM |
Tagged: Blender, ishikawa watanabe laboratory

This is definitely tangential to our typical coverage, but I came across an interesting research project from the Ishikawa Watanabe Laboratory. A common trick that physicists use to measure rotating objects is to shine a strobe light at it. When the object seems to stop in space, your strobe light frequency is some multiple of the object's RPM (assuming the object doesn't have identical sections within a single cycle -- you'll need to go into fractions in that case).

This is another trick in the same family. Basically, they load a carousel of the same object with all possible material components. Then, in a darkened room, they flash a strobe light on it to instantaneously illuminate just the portions they want, at the intensity that it contributes to the final material. So, when you adjust the material on the computer, which they demoed with Blender, the object appears to adjust along with it, letting you see what it should look like in the real world. They can even apply a mask in front of it to allow some level of texturing.

zoematrope-2016-aparatus-utokyo.png

This should be useful for product design, once a library of materials are captured and stored in the CAD software. They claim that 3D printing allows it to be applied to any object, but I'd assume there's some limits regarding how structurally stable the object is. I'm imagining a technician wondering why their metal channel doesn't seem to be applied, only to turn on the light and see their intern knocked out on the floor with a bruise on their forehead. It all depends on what their apparatus is running at and how big it is. Ideally, they would be above the upper range of photosensitive epilepsy is about 30Hz, or 1800 RPM, but I don't have the required info to calculate how that maps to structural integrity of models.

Mozilla to Publish First Rust-based Module in Firefox 48

Subject: General Tech | July 16, 2016 - 05:41 PM |
Tagged: mozilla, Rust, firefox

Mozilla has been working on the Rust language for several years now. It is designed to be extremely fast, memory-safe, and easy to parallelize on multi-core processors, doing so by having a compiler that's not afraid to tell you “Nope.” Mozilla (and others, like Samsung) want a language with those characteristics because it will make an extremely fast, yet secure, web browser (although there's a lot of single-threaded design choices tangled in the Web specifications).

mozilla-rust.png

The first example will arrive next month for Windows, though (64-bit OSX and Linux already had it). Firefox 48 will replace a small portion of the code, originally written in C++, with a Rust-based equivalent. The affected component parses media files, getting values like track id, duration, resolution, and so forth. Because it's written in Rust, this ingestion should be resilient to memory-based vulnerabilities.

This probably will not be noticeable to end-users, but it's a few thousand less lines of code that Mozilla should need to worry about hijacking the browser. Mozilla is also planning on bringing URL parsing to Rust, and has already done so with Servo. You would think that the C++ code has been battle-hardened by now, but, I mean, 15-year-old open-source bugs do exist, hiding in plain sight.

Source: Mozilla

Details Emerge On Intel's Upcoming Kaby Lake and Apollo Lake Powered NUCs

Subject: General Tech | July 16, 2016 - 05:07 PM |
Tagged: nuc, kaby lake, iris, Intel, baby canyon, arches canyon, apollo lake

According to Olivier over at FanlessTech, Intel will be launching two new small form factor NUC PCs later this year. The new NUCs are code named Baby Canyon and Arches Canyon and will be powered by Intel’s Kaby Lake-U and Apollo Lake processors respectively. Baby Canyon will occupy the high end while Arches Canyon is aimed at low power and budget markets.

Intel 2017 NUCs Baby Canyon and Arches Canyon.jpg

Left: Intel NUC Roadmap. Middle: Intel Baby Canyon NUC. Right: Intel Arches Canyon NUC.

First up is the “Baby Canyon” NUC which will come in five SKUs. Featuring aluminum enclosures, the Baby Canyon NUCs measure 115 x 111 x 51mm for models with a SATA drive (models without SATA drive support are shorter at 35mm tall). The PCs will be powered by Intel’s Kaby Lake-U processors up to a 28W quad core i7 chip with Iris graphics. There will also be 15W Core i5 and i3 models. Kaby Lake is the 14nm successor to Skylake and features native support for USB 3.1, HDCP 2.2, and HEVC. Further, Kaby Lake chips will reportedly utilize an improved graphics architecture. While Kaby Lake chips in general will be available with TDPs up to 95W, the models used in Baby Canyon NUCs top out at 28W and are the Kaby Lake-U mobile variants.

Baby Canyon NUCs will pair the Kaby Lake-U CPUs with dual channel DDR4 SODIMMs (up to 32GB), a M.2 SSD, and SATA hard drive (on some models). Networking is handled by a soldered down Intel’s Wireless AC + BT 4.2 WiFI NIC and an Intel Gigabit Ethernet NIC.

Connectivity includes two USB 3.0 ports (one charging), a Micro SDXC card slot, 3.5mm audio jack, and an IR port on the front. Rear IO is made up of two more USB 3.0 ports, HDMI 2.0 video output, Gigabit Ethernet port, and a USB 3.1 (Gen1 5Gbps) Type-C port with support for DisplayPort 1.2 (DisplayPort Alt Mode). Finally, users can get access two USB 2.0 ports via an internal header.

Arches Canyon will be the new budget NUC option in 2017 and will be powered by Intel’s Apollo Lake SoC. Arches Canyon is the same 115 x 111 x 51mm size as the higher end Baby Canyon NUC, but the reference Intel chassis will be primarily made of plastic to reduce cost. Moving to the lower end platform, users will lose out on the USB 3.1 Type-C port, M.2 slot, and DDR4 support. Instead, the Arches Canyon NUCs will use dual channel DDR3L (up to 8GB) and come in two models: one with 32GB of built-in eMMC storage and one without. Both models will support adding in a SATA SSD or hard drive though.
External IO includes four USB 3.0 ports (two front, two rear, one charging), two 3.5mm audio jacks (the rear port supports TOSLINK), one Micro SDXC slot, one HDMI 2.0 video output, a VGA video out, and a Gigabit Ethernet port.

Internally, Arches Canyon is powered by Celeron branded Apollo Lake SoCs which are the successor to Braswell and feature Goldmont CPU cores paired with Gen 9 HD Graphics. Intel has not announced the specific chip yet, but the chip used in these budget NUCs will allegedly be a quad core model with a 10W TDP. Apollo Lake in general is said to offer up to 30% more CPU and GPU performance along with 15% better battery life over current Braswell designs. The battery savings are not really relevant in a NUC, but the performance improvements should certainly help!

One interesting contradiction in these Intel slides is that the Baby Canyon slide mentions Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) and USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps) support for the USB Type-C connector but in the connectivity section limits the USB 3.1 Type-C port to Gen 1 (5Gbps) and no mention of Thunderbolt support at all. I guess we will just have to wait and see if TB3 will end up making the cut!

The new NUCs look promising in that they should replace the older models at their current price points (for the most part) while offering better performance which will be especially important on the low end Arches Canyon SKUs! Being NUCs, users will be able to buy them as barebones kits or as systems pre-loaded with Windows 10.

If the chart is accurate, both Baby Canyon and Arches Canyon will be launched towards the end of the year with availability sometime in early to mid 2017. There is no word on exact pricing, naturally.

Are you still interested in Intel’s NUC platform? Stay tuned for more information as it comes in closer to launch!

Also read:

Source: FanlessTech

AMD Reveals Radeon RX 460 and RX 470 Specifications

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 16, 2016 - 01:10 AM |
Tagged: rx 470, rx 460, polaris 11, polaris 10, gcn4, esports, amd

At a launch event in Australia earlier this week AMD talked about its Polaris architecture, launched the RX 480 and revealed the specifications for the Polaris 10-based RX 470 and Polaris 11-derived RX 470 GPUs. The new budget GPUs are aimed at 1080p or lower gaming and will allegedly be available for purchase sometime in August.

AMD Polaris 10 and Polaris 11.png

First up is the AMD Radeon RX 470. This GPU is based on Polaris 10 (like the RX 480) but has some hardware disabled (mainly the number of stream processors). Based on the same 14nm process the GPU has 2,048 cores running at not yet known clocks. Thankfully, AMD has left the memory interface intact, and the RX 470 uses the same 256-bit memory bus pairing the GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 memory on the reference design and up to 8GB GDDR5 on partner cards.

Speaking of the reference design, the reference RX 470 will utilize a blower style cooler that AIBs can use but AMD expects that partners will opt to use their own custom dual and triple fan coolers (as would I). The card is powered by a single 6-pin power connector though, again, AIBs are allowed to design a card with more.

This card is reportedly aimed at 1080p gaming at "ultra and max settings". Video outputs will include DisplayPort 1.3/1.4 HDR support.

AMD Radeon RX 480 RX 470 and RX 460.png

Breaking away from Polaris 10 is the RX 460 which is the first GPU AMD has talked about using Polaris 11. This GCNv4 architecture is similar it its larger Polaris sibling but is further cut down and engineered for low power and mobile environments. While the "full" Polaris 11 appears to have 16 CUs (Compute Units), RX 460 will feature 14 of them (this should open up opportunities for lots of salvaged dies and once yields are good enough we might see a RX 465 or something with all of its stream processors enabled). With 14 CUs, that means RX 460 has 896 stream processors (again clock speeds were not discussed) and a 128-bit memory bus. AMD's reference design will pair this card with 2GB of GDDR5 but I would not be surprised to see 4GB versions possibly in a gaming laptop SKU if only just because it looks better (heh). There is no external PCI-E power connector on this card so it will be drawing all of its power from the PCI-E slot on the motherboard.

The reference graphics card is a tiny affair with a single fan HSF and support for DP 1.3/1.4 HDR. AMD further mentions 4K H.264 / HEVC encoding/decoding support. AMD is positioning this card at HTPCs and "eSports" budget gamers.

One other tidbit of information from the announcement was that AMD reiterated their new "RX" naming scheme saying that RX would be reserved for gaming and we would no longer see R9, R7, and R5 branding though AMD did not rule out future products that would not use RX aimed at other non-gaming workloads. I would expect that this will apply to APU GPUs eventually as well.

Naturally, AMD is not talking exact shipping dates or pricing but expect them to be well under the $239 of the RX 480! I would guess that RX 470 would be around the $150 mark while RX 460 will be a sub $100 part (if only barely).

What do you think about the RX 470 and RX 460? If you are interested in watching the whole event, there is a two part video of it available on YouTube. Part 1 and Part 2 are embedded below the break.

Source: Videocardz

LaCie would like you to back up into a Porsche

Subject: Storage | July 15, 2016 - 02:46 PM |
Tagged: usb type-c, usb 3.1, Porsche Design Desktop Drive, LaCie, external hdd

LaCie's newest external drive is called the Porsche Design Desktop Drive and comes in 4, 5 and 8TB models, giving you plenty of room to back up important files and to take your stories with you when travelling.  It connects via Type-C USB 3.1, finally giving you a peripheral to plug into that port on your motherboard although it requires an AC power adapter to be plugged in when in use.  Benchmark Reviews tested the drive and saw reads and writes hitting just under 180MB/s which is not bad, although far short of the theoretical maximum performance of the new USB protocol.  You can check out the full review here.

2CBED98E00000578-3248708-The_Porche_s_air_bag_had_deployed_in_the_crash_while_stunned_pas-a-62_1443174791690.jpg

"Utilizing the latest USB-C connector and providing up to 8GB of storage as well as simultaneously charging your laptop computer, the LaCie Porsche Design Desktop Drive is powerful, stylish, and usable with any computer with a USB 3.0/3.1 port. There are other features as well, which Benchmark Reviews will test in this review of this interesting external drive system."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

The winnowing begins; move what you want to keep off of OneDrive

Subject: General Tech | July 15, 2016 - 01:34 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, onedrive

Starting today and wrapping up by the 27th of July, Microsoft will be deleting files from your free OneDrive accounts until you are under the 5GB limit.  If you did follow our previous coverage and grandfathered your storage you will keep your 30GB but it would not be a bad plan to keep an eye on your account over the next few weeks.  The Register reminds us that we are all suffering because of a tiny minority of users who abused the storage policy, instead of Microsoft deleting files from users such as the one who had 75TB of files stored on the service they decided to delete everyone's storage.

As I remind my users when the network drives get full, you will be much happier if you chose the files which are deleted as I am more than happy to hit CTRL-A and Delete to make space.

OneDrive.jpg

"Microsoft is cutting its free 15GB OneDrive cloud storage space down to 5GB, and eliminating the 15GB free camera roll for many users. Files will be deleted by Redmond until your account is under the free limit."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register
Manufacturer: RIOTORO

Introduction and First Impressions

A newcomer in the PC enclosure space, RIOTORO has a lineup of unique-looking products to offer in a market flooded with options at every price-point. With this full-tower PRISM CR1280 enclosure the company says that they are providing not just a home for your components, but the world’s 1st fully RGB case with unparalleled personalization options”.

DSC_0353.jpg

Clearly, RGB lighting has been one of the biggest trends in PC hardware for the past year or so, and if you are so inclined the PRISM CR1280 promises fully customizable color with lighted accents on the front of the case, and included RGB intake fans.

DSC_0370.jpg

Beyond the RGB lighting, however, the PRISM CR1280 has a rather unusual industrial design. There is angular black plastic over a steel body, and a large edge-to-edge side panel window (not to mention those bare aluminum feet). It looks like a premium enclosure, and it’s certainly priced like one with an MSRP of $169.99 (selling for $149 currently). Is it worth it? Read on to find out!

DSC_0430.jpg

Continue reading our review of the Riotoro Prism CR1280 Enclosure!!

Ansel arrives and NVIDIA holds a celebration in their VR Funhouse

Subject: General Tech | July 14, 2016 - 06:06 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, vr funhouse, ansel, vrworks

A while back Scott wrote about NVIDIA's Ansel, a screenshot application on performance enhancing drugs.  Today it arrives, paired with their new driver and adds support for Mirror's Edge Catalyst to the list of supported games such as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Unreal Tournament, Tom Clancy’s The Division, and No Man’s Sky just to name a few.  The tool allows you to take 360 degree screen captures, allowing you to completely rotate around the image on a 2D screen or with VR headsets like the Vive or Rift.  Just trigger the recording while you are in game, the game will pause and you can roll, zoom, and position your focus to get the screenshot you want.  From there hit the Super Resolution button and your screenshot will be of significantly greater quality than the game ever could be.  The thumbnail below is available in its original 46080x25920 resolution by visting NVIDIA's Ansel page, it is a mere 1.7GB in size.

nvidia-geforce-gtx-1080-nvidia-ansel-super-resolution.png

NVIDIA also released their first game today, a VR Funhouse available on Steam for no charge ... apart from the HTC Vive and minimum hardware requirements of an GTX 1060 and i7 4790 or the recommended GTX 1080 and i7 5930, which are enough of an investment as it is.  There are seven games to play, expect skeet shooting, whack a mole and other standard carny games.  At the same time it is a showcase of NVIDIA's VR technology, not just the *Works which we are familiar with but also VR SLI support for those with multiple GPUs and VRWorks Multi-res Shading which reduces processing load by only rendering full detail to objects within your field of view.  If you have the hardware you should check out the game, it is certanly worth the admission price.

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Source: NVIDIA

Podcast #408 - RX 480 Conclusions, GTX 1060 Preview, 4TB Samsung 850 EVO and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 14, 2016 - 01:50 PM |
Tagged: video, Samsung, rx 480, radeon, Primochill, praxis, power consumption, podcast, phononic, gtx 1060, amd, 850 EVO, 4TB

PC Perspective Podcast #408 - 07/14/2016

Join us this week as we discuss a conclusion to the RX 480 power issue, the GTX 1060, a 4TB Samsung 850 EVO and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

This episode of the PC Perspective Podcast is sponsored by Lenovo!

Hosts:  Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Josh Walrath

Program length: 1:36:40
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Allyn: Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscope (hackable and overclockable!)
  4. Closing/outro

Linux on a highway, I wanna ride it all night long

Subject: General Tech | July 14, 2016 - 01:28 PM |
Tagged: linux, iot, security, Automotive Grade Linux

Has the almost obscene lack of security in automobile software made you somewhat paranoid, even if you trust the Tesla autopilot?  Has the fact that a mere attempt to access your cars software could land you in jail turned you completely off of buying a car less than 10 years old?

How would you feel about a version of Linux controlling some of the features of your car?  That is exactly what the Linux Foundation is working on with the AGL project.  The hardware used will include DragonBoard, Wandboard, and Raspberry Pi and automobile manufacturers joining the project include  Ford, Subaru, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Nissan, and Jaguar Land Rover.  So far the project only encompasses in-car entertainment but it does have the potential to grow beyond that.  Check out the story on Linux.com for more.

Automotive-Grade-Linux.jpg

"The Linux Foundation’s Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) project, which is developing a “Linux-based, open platform for the connected car,” announced the release of the second version of its Unified Code Base (UCB) distribution for in-vehicle infotainment (IVI)."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Linux.com
Author:
Manufacturer: Futuremark
Tagged:

Through the looking glass

Futuremark has been the most consistent and most utilized benchmark company for PCs for quite a long time. While other companies have faltered and faded, Futuremark continues to push forward with new benchmarks and capabilities in an attempt to maintain a modern way to compare performance across platforms with standardized tests.

Back in March of 2015, 3DMark added support for an API Overhead test to help gamers and editors understand the performance advantages of Mantle and DirectX 12 compared to existing APIs. Though the results were purely “peak theoretical” numbers, the data helped showcase to consumers and developers what low levels APIs brought to the table.

3dmark-time-spy-screenshot-2.jpg

Today Futuremark is releasing a new benchmark that focuses on DX12 gaming. No longer just a feature test, Time Spy is a fully baked benchmark with its own rendering engine and scenarios for evaluating the performance of graphics cards and platforms. It requires Windows 10 and a DX12-capable graphics card, and includes two different graphics tests and a CPU test. Oh, and of course, there is a stunningly gorgeous demo mode to go along with it.

I’m not going to spend much time here dissecting the benchmark itself, but it does make sense to have an idea of what kind of technologies are built into the game engine and tests. The engine is based purely on DX12, and integrates technologies like asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter and multi-threaded workloads. These are highly topical ideas and will be the focus of my testing today.

Futuremark provides an interesting diagram to demonstrate the advantages DX12 has over DX11. Below you will find a listing of the average number of vertices, triangles, patches and shader calls in 3DMark Fire Strike compared with 3DMark Time Spy.

daigram.png

It’s not even close here – the new Time Spy engine has more than a factor of 10 more processing calls for some of these items. As Futuremark states, however, this kind of capability isn’t free.

With DirectX 12, developers can significantly improve the multi-thread scaling and hardware utilization of their titles. But it requires a considerable amount of graphics expertise and memory-level programming skill. The programming investment is significant and must be considered from the start of a project.

Continue reading our look at 3DMark Time Spy Asynchronous Compute performance!!

Dell's New 30" 4K 120Hz UP3017Q OLED Monitor Coming Soon

Subject: Displays | July 14, 2016 - 12:43 PM |
Tagged: USB 3 Type-C, up3017q, oled, DisplayPort, Dell 4K, dell, 4K 120

Initially teased at CES earlier this year, Dell’s UP3017Q is an amazing 30-inch 4K monitor with an OLED panel capable of running at 120Hz. The thin bezeled UltraSharp is also extremely thin at less than 0.5” at the edges. Running a resolution of 3840 x 2160, the 30” monitor comes in at 146 PPI (pixels per inch). The UP3017Q was originally slated for a March release, but it ended up not being available. Reportedly, Dell is still fine tuning the monitor and it will be available soon though the company has not given a new specific launch date when you will actually be able to buy it.

It has some rather impressive specifications, and I am really interested in seeing it in person! The panel manufacturer is still unknown (though many have guessed it is one from LG), but it offers up a resolution of 3840 x 2160, refresh rate of up to 120Hz, 0.1ms response time, and 400,000:1 contrast ratio. Being OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode), the monitor will be able to deliver true blacks and excellent colors in a very thin profile thanks to not needing a separate backlight (the pixels themselves emit light). Dell claims that the UP3017Q 4K monitor fully supports 100% of the Adobe RGB and 97.8% DCI-P3 color spaces. At a claimed 1.07 billion colors this is a 10-bit color monitor which will be useful in professional applications where color accuracy is paramount.

Dell has further claimed that it has mitigated burn in on this monitor by implementing a “pixel shifting algorithm” as well as placing a sensor on the monitor that can detect when you are looking at it and turn off when no one is watching anything on it (which some might find a bit creepy but it can likely be turned off heh). There are five buttons on this monitor, four on the bottom edge for OSD controls and one on the back to release the monitor from its stand.

Dell UP3017Q.jpg

One interesting hang up lies in the video inputs on this monitor. It only has HDMI 2.0, Mini DisplayPort 1.2, and USB Type-C. As posters over at [H] pointed out, the HDMI 2.0 and DP 1.2 connections do not have enough bandwidth to support the panels 3840 x 2160 resolution at 120Hz. Fortunately the refresh rate is not a lie. There is a a way to do it, but users will need to use the USB Type-C connector and it’s DisplayPort Alternate Mode feature to do it. At DisplayPort 1.2, the DisplayPort Alt Mode can give you 5.4 Gbps per lanes and using all four available lanes can hit a total of 21.6 Gbps which would be enough to support 4096x2160@60Hz. However, the DisplayPort 1.3 standard (which this monitor and it’s USB Type-C port seems to support) can give up to 8.1 Gbps for up to 32.4 Gbps of bandwidth (25.92 Gbps after 8b/10b encoding overhead) which should allow the full 3840x2160@120Hz to be used. It is unfortunate that Dell opted to go with this odd port arrangement and not include a direct DP 1.3+ port though!

This monitor has a lot of potential, but this massive OLED comes at a price: when it comes to market it will have a MSRP of $4,999! As much as many would want this to be their new gaming PC monitor, I think it will be mainly for commercial and design applications especially with the input lag being unknown and no support for the various variable refresh rate technologies (AMD FreeSync and NVIDIA G-Sync) If that is what you are looking for there are much cheaper options, but if you want an all out OLED monitor for work and media and price is no object I would be very eagerly waiting for reviews on this!

What are your thoughts on this monitor and OLED?

Source: HardOCP

DOOM on Vulkan Benchmarks

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 13, 2016 - 09:20 PM |
Tagged: vulkan, R9 Fury X, nvidia, Mantle, gtx 1070, fury x, doom, amd

We haven't yet benchmarked DOOM on Vulkan Update (immediately after posting): Ryan has just informed me that, apparently, we did benchmark Vulkan on our YouTube page (embed below). I knew we were working on it, I just didn't realize we published content yet. Original post continues below.

As far as I know, we're trying to get our testing software for frame time analysis running on the new API, but other sites have posted framerate-based results. The results show that AMD's cards benefit greatly from the new, Mantle-derived interface (versus the OpenGL one). On the other hand, while NVIDIA never really sees a decrease, more than 1% at least, it doesn't really get much of a boost, either.

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Image Credit: ComputerBase.de

I tweeted out to ID's lead renderer programmer, Tiago Sousa, to ask whether they take advantage of NVIDIA-specific extensions on the OpenGL path (like command submission queues). I haven't got a response yet, so it's difficult to tell whether this speaks more toward NVIDIA's OpenGL performance, or AMD's Vulkan performance. In the end, it doesn't really matter, though. AMD's Fury X (which can be found for as low as $399 with a mail-in rebate) is beating the GTX 1070 (which is in stock for the low $400s) by a fair margin. The Fury X also beats its own OpenGL performance by up to 66% (at 1080p) with the new API.

The API should also make it easier for games to pace their frames, too, which should allow smoother animation at these higher rates. That said, we don't know for sure because we can't test that from just seeing FPS numbers. The gains are impressive from AMD, though.

Asynchronous Atomic Ghandi coming in Civ VI

Subject: General Tech | July 13, 2016 - 02:23 PM |
Tagged: gaming, dx12, civilization VI, asynchronous compute, amd

AMD, 2K and Firaxis Games have been working together to bring the newest DX12 features to Civilization IV and today they have announced their success.  The new game will incorporate Asynchronous Compute in the engine as well as support for Explicit Multi-Adapter for those with multiple GPUs.  This should give AMD cards a significant performance boost when running the game, at least until NVIDIA can catch up with their support for the new technologies ... HairWorks is not going to have much as effect on your units as Async Compute will.

If you haven't been keeping an eye out, we have seen the video of Egypt's leader which also talk about terrain adjacency bonuses and England's leader and civilization specific units and buildings.

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"Complete with support for advanced DirectX 12 features like asynchronous compute and explicit multi-adapter, PC gamers the world over will be treated to a high-performance and highly-parallelized game engine perfectly suited to sprawling, complex civilizations."

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Gaming

Source: Radeon.com

CryptoDrop, an early warning system against ransomeware

Subject: General Tech | July 13, 2016 - 01:29 PM |
Tagged: ransomware, CryptoDrop

Given the choice between a confirmation pop up every time you zip numerous files simultaneously or add encryption to a folder or being infected with ransomware; which would you choose?  Researchers at the University of Florida and Villanova University have developed software called CryptoLock which scans your systems for bulk modification of file types, a significant change in the contents of those files and an increase in the Shannon Entropy of the files.  All three of those indicate a file is being encrypted and if it is happening to numerous ones in a very short period of time then the software will put a halt to it until you confirm that this is expected behaviour.  You get a quick overview over at The Register as well as a link to the PDF of the researchers work.

Sounds like a pop up we can live with, considering the alternative.  Hopefully this will arrive on the market soon.

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"Taking a “save what you can” approach, the authors of this PDF reckon in their tests they were able to lower the boom on ransomware when it had encrypted just 0.2 per cent of files on their test setup."

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Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Corsair's SFX PSU, the SF600 600W

Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 12, 2016 - 04:00 PM |
Tagged: small form factor, SFX, SF600, SF Series, PSU, 80 Plus Gold

Lee reviewed the Corsair SF600 back in June but you might not have been shopping for a new PSU, especially a SFF one.  Take another look at the performance of this PSU over at [H]ard|OCP, which should be enough to power an RX480 or GTX1070 based system if you are eyeing a new system build.  They agreed with our results, giving out a Gold Award but also mentioning the SilverStone SX600-G, an older PSU with a smaller price tag and a feature or two that might interest you more than Corsair's new PSU.

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"Corsair has gotten into making computers smaller lately with its Bulldog 4K Living Room Gaming System, and now it is going to share its SF600 power supply that follows the SFX standard form factor, which is tiny for a 600 watt PSU. Given its diminutive stature, has Corsair packed it to the gills with good power?"

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CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Microsoft finally puts a price on the Enterprise version of Windows 10

Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2016 - 02:36 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft, enterprise

Thought that Microsoft did a poor job on the consumer side of Windows 10, you haven't being watching the absurdity which is the Enterprise version.  They took putting the cart in front of the horse to new levels but as of today we finally have a monthly price for a user.  This announcement comes several months after they removed the ability of system admins to block installation of random apps from the Windows Store for those using Windows 10 Professional.  It is also a week after they announced the removal of two popular components of the Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack, App-V and UE-V. 

Today we have received word that the Windows 10 Enterprise E3 version will be $7 per user per month, though we have yet to hear any pricing on the E5 version which includes Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection.  You can read more at Slashdot while you laugh about Microsoft's apparent confusion as to why businesses are not yet willing to adopt their new OS.

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"Microsoft plans to make its recently renamed Windows 10 Enterprise product available as a subscription for $7 per user per month, or $84 per year. Microsoft took the wraps off the pricing of one of the two renamed versions of Windows 10 Enterprise at the company's Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto on July 12."

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Tech Talk

Source: Slashdot