Subject: General Tech | May 13, 2014 - 12:40 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: opengl, Intel, amd, nividia, graphics drivers
If you have ever wondered what happened to OpenGL games which used to be common then there is a good post to read over on Slashdot. A developer paints an honest and somewhat depressing picture of what it takes to write working OpenGL code in this day and age. In his mind the blame lies squarely on the driver teams at the three major graphics vendors, with different issues with each of them. While officially referred to as Vendors A, B and C anyone even slightly familiar with the market will figure out exactly which companies are being referred to. While this is a topic worthy of ranting comments be aware that this refers specifically to the OpenGL driver, not the DirectX or Mantle drivers and each company has it's own way of making programmers lives difficult, none are without blame.
"Rich Geldreich (game/graphics programmer) has made a blog post on the quality of different OpenGL Drivers. Using anonymous titles (Vendor A: Nvidia; Vendor B: AMD; Vendor C: Intel), he plots the landscape of game development using OpenGL. Vendor A, jovially known as 'Graphics Mafia' concentrates heavily on performance but won't share its specifications, thus blocking any open source driver implementations as much as possible. Vendor B has the most flaky drivers. They have good technical know-how on OpenGL but due to an extremely small team (money woes), they have shoddy drivers. Vendor C is extremely rich."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Qualcomm plans to shift 20nm orders from TSMC to Samsung or Globalfoundries, say sources @ DigiTimes
- NSA is accused of sneaking backdoors into hardware exports @ The Inquirer
- Mozilla axes HATED ads-in-Firefox tab ... but they won't stay dead for long @ The Register
- The Illusion of Overclocking Support @ Hardware Asylum
- WIN Awesome i5 4690 CYBERPOWER Z97 PC @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | April 3, 2014 - 11:23 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: videocore iv, Raspberry Pi, open source, graphics drivers, bcm2835
The Raspberry Pi recently passed its second anniversary, but until now the open source software friendly hardware has had to rely on closed source drivers for graphics processing on the SoC's VideoCore IV GPU.This has now changed thanks to work by Raspberry Pi hacker Simon Hall who has ported over the open source graphics stack from Broadcom's recently open sourced BCM21553 SoC for cell phones to the BCM2835 SoC that powers the Raspberry Pi. In doing so, Mr. Hall has claimed the Raspberry Pi Foundation's $10,000 bounty by using the newly ported open source graphics driver to run Quake III Arena at 1080p (minimum of 20 FPS according to contest rules).
The ported open source driver is not quite as optimized as the closed source version that the Pi currently uses (which allegedly runs Quake III twice as fast), but it is an encouraging start and the base from which the community can flesh out and optimize. The open source graphics driver is likely to be rolled into future OS releases, but for adventurous users that want the open source driver now, Simon Hall has provided step-by-step instructions for getting the driver and using it to run Quake III on the Raspberry Pi blog. Be warned, it is an involved and time consuming process at the moment.
I would like to say congratulations to Simon Hall for the bounty award and thank him for his work in porting the driver to the Raspberry Pi's SoC!
Hopefully this graphics stack breathes new life into the Raspberry Pi and the community takes up the development mantle to improve upon the codebase and pursue new opportunities that the open source nature enables such as a port of Android running on the Pi.
Read more about the Raspberry Pi at PC Perspective.
AMD Releases Catalyst 13.11 Beta 9.2 Driver To Correct Performance Variance Issue of R9 290 Series Graphics Cards
Subject: Graphics Cards, Cases and Cooling | November 8, 2013 - 02:41 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: R9 290X, powertune, hawaii, graphics drivers, gpu, GCN, catalyst 13.11 beta, amd, 290x
AMD recently launched its 290X graphics card, which is the new high-end single GPU solution using a GCN-based Hawaii architecture. The new GPU is rather large and incorporates an updated version of AMD's PowerTune technology to automatically adjust clockspeeds based on temperature and a maximum fan speed of 40%. Unfortunately, it seems that some 290X cards available at retail exhibited performance characteristics that varied from review units.
AMD has looked into the issue and released the following statement in response to the performance variances (which PC Perspective is looking into as well).
Hello, We've identified that there's variability in fan speeds across AMD R9 290 series boards. This variability in fan speed translates into variability of the cooling capacity of the fan-sink. The flexibility of AMD PowerTune technology enables us to correct this variability in a driver update. This update will normalize the fan RPMs to the correct values.
The correct target RPM values are 2200RPM for the AMD Radeon R9 290X "Quiet mode", and 2650RPM for the R9 290. You can verify these in GPU-Z. If you're working on stories relating to R9 290 series products, please use this driver as it will reduce any variability in fan speeds. This driver will be posted publicly tonight.
From the AMD statement, it seems to be an issue with fan speeds from card to card causing the performance variances. With a GPU that is rated to run at up to 95C, a fan limited to 40% maximum, and dynamic clockspeeds, it is only natural that cards could perform differently, especially if case airflow is not up to par. On the other hand, the specific issue pointed out by other technology review sites (per my understanding, it was initially Tom's Hardware that reported on the retail vs review sample variance) is an issue where the 40% maximum on certain cards is not actually the RPM target that AMD intended.
AMD intended for the Radeon R9 290X's fan to run at 2200RPM (40%) in Quiet Mode and the fan on the R9 290 (which has a maximum fan speed percentage of 47%) to spin at 2650 RPM in Quiet Mode. However, some cards 40% values are not actually hitting those intended RPMs, which is causing performance differences due to cooling and PowerTune adjusting the clockspeeds accordingly.
Luckily, the issue is being worked on by AMD, and it is reportedly rectified by a driver update. The driver update ensures that the fans are actually spinning at the intended speed when set to the 40% (R9 290X) or 47% (R9 290) values in Catalyst Control Center. The new driver, which includes the fix, is version Catalyst 13.11 Beta 9.2 and is available for download now.
If you are running a R9 290 or R9 290X in your system, you should consider updating to the latest driver to ensure you are getting the cooling (and as a result gaming) performance you are supposed to be getting.
Catalyst 13.11 Beta 9.2 is available from the AMD website.
- AMD Radeon R9 290X Hawaii - The Configurable GPU?
- AMD Radeon R9 290 4GB Review - Trip to Hawaii for $399
Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more information on the Radeon R9 290 series GPU performance variance issue as it develops.
Image credit: Ryan Shrout (PC Perspective).
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | October 23, 2013 - 12:21 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers, geforce
Mid-June kicked up a storm of poop across the internet when IGN broke the AMD optimizations for Frostbite 3. It was reported that NVIDIA would not receive sample code for those games until after they launched. The article was later updated with a statement from AMD: "... the AMD Gaming Evolved program undertakes no efforts to prevent our competition from optimizing for games before their release."
Now, I assume, the confusion was caused by then-not-announced Mantle.
And, as it turns out, NVIDIA did receive the code for Battlefield 4 prior to launch. Monday, the company launched their 331.58 WHQL-certified drivers which are optimized for Batman: Arkham Origins and Battlefield 4. According to the release notes, you should even be able to use SLi out of the gate. If, on the other hand, you are a Civilization V player: HBAO+ should enhance your shadowing.
They also added a DX11 SLi profile for Watch Dogs... awkwarrrrrd.
To check out the blog at GeForce.com for a bit more information, check out the release notes, or just head over to the drivers page. If you have GeForce Experience installed, it probably already asked you to update.
Subject: Graphics Cards | September 30, 2013 - 06:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: graphics drivers, catalyst 13.10, beta, windows, linux
- Includes 32-bit single GPU and CrossFire game profile for Battlefield 4
- Total War: Rome 2 CrossFire profile update
- CrossFire frame pacing improvements for CPU-bound applications
- Resolves image corruption seen in Autodesk Investor 2014
- Resolves intermittent black screen when resuming from a S3/S4 sleep state if the display is unplugged during the sleep state on systems supporting AMD Enduro Technology
- Updated AMD Enduro Technology application profiles
o Profile highlights:
- Total War: Rome 2
- Battlefield 4
- Saints Row 4
- Splinter Cell Blacklist
- FIFA 14
Resolved issue highlights:
- System hang up when startx after setting up an Eyefinity desktop.
- Permission issue with procfs on kernel 3.10
- System hang observed while running disaster stress test on Ubuntu 12.10
- Hang is observed when running Unigine on Linux
- AC/DC switching is not automatically detected
- Laptop backlight adjustment is broken
- Glxtest failures observed in log file with forcing on Anti-Aliasing
- Cairo-dock is broken
- Severe desktop corruption is observed when enabled compiz in certain cases
- glClientWaitSync is waiting even when timeout is 0
- C4Engine get corruption with GL_ARB_texture_array enabled
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 19, 2013 - 12:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: graphics drivers, amd, catalyst 13.9
FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS OF AMD CATALYST™ 13.9
The AMD Catalyst 13.9 WHQL is AMD’s first logo certified driver for Windows 8.1. It does not include support for Frame Pacing or the very latest AMD CrossFire™ optimizations. AMD Catalyst 13.10 Beta includes additional performance improvements and fixes not found in AMD Catalyst 13.9 WHQL.
AMD’s first logo certified driver for Windows 8.1
Includes WDDM 1.3 support for:
- AMD Accelerated Processors (“Kabini” & “Temash”) for Desktop, Notebook or Tablet PCs, including: A4-1200, A4-1250, A4-5000, A4-5100, A4-5150, A6-1450, A6-5200, A6-5250, A6-5350, E1-2100, E1-2200. E1-2500, E1-2600, E1-2650, E2-3000, E2-3100
- AMD Accelerated Processors (“Richland”) for Desktop or Notebook PCs, including: A10-5700, A10-5745M, A10-5750M, A10-5757M, A10-5800B, A10-5800K, A8-5500, A8-5500B, A8-5545M, A8-5550M, A8-5557M, A8-5600K, A6-5345M, A6-5350M, A6-5357M, A6-5400B, A6-5400K, A4-5145M, A4-5150, A4-5300, A4-5300B
- AMD Accelerated Processors (“Trinity”) for Desktop or Notebook PCs, including: A10-4600M, A10-4655M, A10-4677M, A10-5700, A10-5800B, A10-5800K, A8-4500M, A8-4555M, A8-4557M, A6-4400M, A6-4455M, A6-5400B, A6-5400K, A4-4300M, A4-4355M, A4-5300, A4-5300B
- AMD Radeon HD 8000 Series
- AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series
- AMD Radeon HD 6000 Series
- AMD Radeon HD 5000 Series
Support for AMD Features:
- AMD Eyefinity
- AMD Dual Graphics/AMD CrossFire Technology
- AMD Overdrive
- AMD Catalyst Control Center/Vision Engine Control Center
OpenGL support for User Profiles and Catalyst Application Profiles Users can now create, per application, 3D setting profiles for OpenGL applications. OpenGL applications are now supported through Catalyst Application Profile updates (for single GPU and AMD CrossFire configurations).
AMD Enduro™ Technology enhancements: The AMD Catalyst Control Center now shows which applications are active on the Performance GPU and the Power saving GPU.
Subject: Graphics Cards | August 20, 2013 - 12:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers, geforce 326.80
The new GeForce 326.80 beta driver is now available to download. An essential update for gamers sneaking into Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist, today’s driver ensures maximum performance and system compatibility in the brand new stealth title, which is jam-packed with PC-exclusive features and technology, including NVIDIA HBAO+ Ambient Occlusion, NVIDIA TXAA Temporal Anti-Aliasing, out-of-the-box NVIDIA SLI support, and much much more. For a full rundown, head on back to GeForce.com tomorrow when we’ll detail all of Blacklist’s impressive tech.
New in GeForce R326 Drivers Performance Boost
- Increases performance by up to 19% for GeForce 400/500/600/700 series GPUs in several PC games vs. GeForce 320.49 WHQL-certified drivers. Results will vary depending on your GPU and system configuration.
Here is an example of measured gains:
GeForce GTX 770:
- Up to 15% in Dirt: Showdown
- Up to 6% in Tomb Raider
GeForce GTX 770 SLI: ·
- Up to 19% in Dirt: Showdown
- Up to 11% in F1 2012
- GeForce GTX 770:
- Added SLI profile for Spinter Cell: Blacklist
- Added SLI profile for Batman: Arkham Origins
- SHIELD · Enables GeForce to SHIELD streaming. Learn more here.
- 4K Displays · Adds support for additional tiled 4K displays Extended support for tiled 4K features
Subject: Graphics Cards | August 2, 2013 - 02:50 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: graphics drivers, nvidia, shield, pc game streaming, gaming, geforce
NVIDIA recently released a new set of beta GeForce graphics card drivers targetted at the 400, 500, 600, and 700 series GPUs. The new version 326.41 beta drivers feature the same performance tweaks as the previous 326.19 drivers while baking in beta support for PC game streaming to NVIDIA’s Shield gaming portable from a compatible GeForce graphics card (GTX 650 or better). The new beta release is also the suggested version to use for those running the Windows 8.1 Preview.
NVIDIA has included the same performance tweaks as version 326.19. The tweaks offer up to 19% performance increases, depending on the particular GPU setup. For example, users running a GTX 770 will see as much as 15% better performance in Dirt: Showdown and 6% in Tomb Raider. Performance improvements are even higher for GTX 770 SLI setups, with boosts in Dirt: Showdown and F1 2012 of 19% and 11% respectively. NVIDIA has also added SLI profiles for Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Batman: Arkham Origins.
The NVIDIA Shield launched recently and reviews are making the rounds around the Internet. One of the exciting features of the Shield gaming handheld is the ability to stream PC games from a PC with NVIDIA graphics card to the Shield over Wi-Fi.
The 326.41 drivers improve performance across several games on the GTX 770.
The other major changes are improvements to tiled 4K displays, which are displays with 4K resolutions that are essentially made of two separate displays, and the monitor even shows up to the OS as two separate displays despite being in a single physical monitor. Using DisplayPort MST and tiled displays allows monitor manufacturers to deliver 4K displays with higher refresh rates.
Interested GeForce users can grab the latest beta drivers from the NVIDIA website or via the links below:
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 1, 2013 - 09:24 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windows update, Windows 8.1, whql, nvidia, gtx 700, graphics drivers
NVIDIA recently made new WHQL drivers available for users that have upgraded to Windows 8.1. The new drivers are version 326.01 and fully supports Windows 8.1. A full change log of the drivers has not yet been posted, but the 326.01 WHQL is likely very similar to the recent beta version, but with certification to work with the latest service pack/update to Windows 8.
The new 326.01 drivers are available via Windows Update or from the NVIDIA website. Supported GPUs include both desktop and notebook models from the 8000-series to the latest 700 series. Download links are below for the desktop and notebook drivers, depending on your bit-ness of Windows 8.1.
- Windows 8.1 32-bit: http://www.nvidia.com/object/win8-preview-32bit-326.01-whql-driver.html
- Windows 8.1 64-bit: http://www.nvidia.com/object/win8-preview-64bit-326.01-whql-driver.html
- Windows 8.1 32-bit: http://www.nvidia.com/object/notebook-win8-preview-326.01-whql-driver.html
- Windows 8.1 64-bit: http://www.nvidia.com/object/notebook-win8-preview-64bit-326.01-whql-driver.html
Subject: General Tech | April 24, 2013 - 05:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: catalyst, graphics drivers, catalyst 13.4, Catalyst 13.5 beta
AMD Catalyst 13.4 includes all of the latest performance optimizations and fixes available in AMD Catalyst 13.3 Beta 3, and is Microsoft logo certified.
AMD Catalyst 13.5 Beta includes additional performance improvements and fixes not found in AMD Catalyst 13.4
Feature Highlights of AMD Catalyst™ 13.4
Includes support for the for the AMD Radeon HD 7990 Series and AMD Radeon HD 7790 Series
AMD Catalyst 13.4 includes support for the following OpenGL 4.3 features:
- GL_ARB_compute_shader o GL_ARB_multi_draw_indirect
- GL_ARB_shader_storage_buffer_object o GL_ARB_arrays_of_arrays
- GL_ARB_clear_buffer_object o GL_ARB_ES3_compatibility
- GL_ARB_explicit_uniform_location o GL_ARB_fragment_layer_viewport
- GL_ARB_invalidate_subdata o GL_ARB_program_interface_query
- GL_ARB_shader_image_size o GL_ARB_stencil_texturing
- GL_ARB_texture_buffer_range o GL_ARB_texture_query_levels
Performance Highlights of AMD Catalyst 13.4 (vs. AMD Catalyst 13.1): Includes all of the performance improvements found in AMD Catalyst 13.3 Beta 3 on the AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series
- Resolved issue highlights of AMD Catalyst 13.4 (vs. AMD Catalyst 13.1) AMD Catalyst 13.4 includes all of the fixes found in AMD Catalyst 13.3 Beta 3
- Significantly improves latency performance in Skyrim, Boderlands 2, Guild Wars 2,Tomb Raider and Hitman Absolution
- Resolves Texture flickering seen in DirectX9.0c applications.
- Resolves slight corruption seen in Tomb Raider with TressFX enabled for CrossFire and single GPU configurations
- Fixes graphical corruption on objects and textures in Call of Duty - Black Ops 2
AMD’s latest Catalyst Application Profile:
AMD Catalyst 13.4 CAP1 (Can be used with AMD Catalyst 13.4 and AMD Catalyst 13.5 Beta – note, the CrossFire profiles are already included in AMD Catalyst 13.5 Beta )
AMD Catalyst Application Profiles include support for AMD single GPU, AMD CrossFire, AMD Dual Graphics, and AMD Enduro Technology configurations
- The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct: Fixes image quality issues when enabling Anti-Aliasing through the AMD Catalyst Control Center
- Crysis 3: Improves CrossFire performance in 3 and 4 GPU configurations
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution: Improves CrossFire performance
- Unigine Heaven: Improves CrossFire performance in 3 and 4 GPU configurations ·
- Hitman Absolution: Resolves application issues when running application at 1680x100 with 8xAA enabled
AMD Enduro Technology profile updates:
- Alien Colonial Marines – acm.exe
- BioShock Infinite – BioShockInfinite.exe
- Crysis 3 – Crysis3.exe
- GodMode – GodMode.exe
- Grid 2 – grid2.exe
- Hawken – HawkenLauncher.exe
- Neverwinter – gameclient.exe
- SimCity – SimCity.exe
- Sniper Elite Nazi Zombie Army – NZA.exe
- The Walking Dead Survival Instinct – WalkingDead.exe
- Tomb Raider – TombRaider.exe
- Kapersky Anti-virus - avt.exe
The latest available AMD Catalyst CAP can always be found here:
Feature Highlights of AMD Catalyst™ 13.4 Linux Driver:
This release of AMD Catalyst™ Linux introduces support for the following new features: RHEL 6.4 production support OpenCL console mode support Kernel 3.7 and 3.8 support
AMD Catalyst™ 13.5 Beta high-lights (vs. AMD Catalyst 13.4/AMD Catalyst 13.3 Beta) on the AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series.
Download the driver here: http://support.amd.com/us/kbarticles/Pages/AMDCatalyst13-5WINBetaDriver.aspx
· AMD Catalyst 13.5 Beta Includes support for the for the AMD Radeon HD 7990 Series and AMD Radeon HD 7790 Series
Resolved Issues: · Tomb Raider: Corruption is no longer seen on the AMD Radeon HD 7790 when Tress FX is enabled
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