Manufacturer: PC Perspective
Tagged: Mantle, interview, amd

What Mantle signifies about GPU architectures

Mantle is a very interesting concept. From the various keynote speeches, it sounds like the API is being designed to address the current state (and trajectory) of graphics processors. GPUs are generalized and highly parallel computation devices which are assisted by a little bit of specialized silicon, when appropriate. The vendors have even settled on standards, such as IEEE-754 floating point decimal numbers, which means that the driver has much less reason to shield developers from the underlying architectures.

Still, Mantle is currently a private technology for an unknown number of developers. Without a public SDK, or anything beyond the half-dozen keynotes, we can only speculate on its specific attributes. I, for one, have technical questions and hunches which linger unanswered or unconfirmed, probably until the API is suitable for public development.

Or, until we just... ask AMD.

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Our response came from Guennadi Riguer, the chief architect for Mantle. In it, he discusses the API's usage as a computation language, the future of the rendering pipeline, and whether there will be a day where Crossfire-like benefits can occur by leaving an older Mantle-capable GPU in your system when purchasing a new, also Mantle-supporting one.

Q: Mantle's shading language is said to be compatible with HLSL. How will optimizations made for DirectX, such as tweaks during shader compilation, carry over to Mantle? How much tuning will (and will not) be shared between the two APIs?

[Guennadi] The current Mantle solution relies on the same shader generation path games the DirectX uses and includes an open-source component for translating DirectX shaders to Mantle accepted intermediate language (IL). This enables developers to quickly develop Mantle code path without any changes to the shaders. This was one of the strongest requests we got from our ISV partners when we were developing Mantle.

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Follow-Up: What does this mean, specifically, in terms of driver optimizations? Would AMD, or anyone else who supports Mantle, be able to re-use the effort they spent on tuning their shader compilers (and so forth) for DirectX?

[Guennadi] With the current shader compilation strategy in Mantle, the developers can directly leverage DirectX shader optimization efforts in Mantle. They would use the same front-end HLSL compiler for DX and Mantle, and inside of the DX and Mantle drivers we share the shader compiler that generates the shader code our hardware understands.

Read on to see the rest of the interview!

Bioshock Infinite Will Take Full Advantage of PC Platform

Subject: General Tech | January 15, 2013 - 02:17 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, interview, bioshock infinite

Despite the yearly proclamations of death, PC gaming is still alive and kicking. 2012 saw a number of developers put more emphasis back on the PC in multi-platform development schedules. It seems that Irrational Games also realizes the advantages of the PC platform with Bioshock Infinite. In an interview with Ken Levine and Chris Kline of Irrational Games, the developers told IGN what the company is doing to develop the PC version of the game. While they encountered several issues during development of the first Bioshock, Irrational Games is giving Bioshock Infinite its own team of on-call programmers to develop the PC version.

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Reportedly, the developers underestimated the time and effort required to develop the first Bioshock game using DirectX 10 technology and a PC-optimized UI. In the interview with IGN, Irrational Games’ Technical Director Chris Kline stated that “this time around things were done differently.” Irrational Game has a team of programmers, artists, designers, and UI specialists dedicated to the PC development track along with the team working on the console versions.

The PC version of Bioshock Infinite will be able to take full advantage of the higher-end hardware in computers. The game will come on 3 discs and feature:

  • Additional objects and particles versus consoles
  • Longer viewing distances
  • Higher quality textures
  • High precision color buffer
  • DirectX 11 features:
    • Contact hardening shadows
    • HD ambient occlusion
    • Diffusion depth of field
    • Compute Shader
    • FXAA using Shader Model 5

According to the developers, medium quality settings on the PC will be equivalent to the console versions of the game. From there, the PC will have high, very high, and ultra settings that will further ramp up visual quality beyond what the current generation of consoles are capable of. Specifically, the PC system requirements for Bioshock Infinite are as follows:

Component Minimum Requirements Recommended Requirements
CPU Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.4GHz or AMD Athlon X2 @ 2.7GHz Quad-core processor
RAM 2GB 4GB
GPU ATI Radeon HD 3870 or NVIDIA 8800GT AMD Radeon HD 6950 or NVIDIA GTX 560
HDD 20GB free 30GB free
Sound Card DirectX Compatible DirectX Compatible
Operating System Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (32-bit) Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (64-bit)

It is refreshing to see developers respect the gaming platform that starting it all and is driving the industry (in hardware at least), and take PC gaming seriously. Here's hoping Bioshock Infinite is a success. Considering it is due out on March 26th, 2013 gamers do not have long to wait to find out how well the PC version was done. 

IGN has the full interview with Chris Kline and Kevin Levine that is worth reading to find out the developers stance on the future of PC gaming, the Oculus Rift, and even Valve's upcoming Steam Box!

Source: IGN

John Carmack Interview: Question and Topic suggestions?

Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards, Processors | August 4, 2011 - 11:15 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, john carmack, interview, carmack, amd

A couple of years back we talked on the phone with John Carmack during the period of excitement about ray tracing and game engines.  That interview is still one of our most read articles on PC Perspective as he always has interesting topics and information to share.  While we are hosting the PC Perspective Hardware Workshop on Saturday at Quakecon 2011, we also scheduled some time to sit with John again to pick his brain on hardware and technology.

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If you had a chance to ask John Carmack questions about hardware and technology, either the current sets of each or what he sees coming in the future, what would you ask?  Let us know in our comments section below!! (No registration required to comment.)

Source: PCPer

Interview with Pete Graner, Manager of the Ubuntu Kernel Team

Subject: Editorial | May 27, 2011 - 01:52 PM |
Tagged: ubuntu, linux, kernel, interview, hardware

In a continuation of our effort to embrace and report on the open-source community, PC Perspective has contacted another very interesting Open-Source project. This week we selected Ubuntu and their Manager of the Ubuntu Kernel Team, Pete Graner

 

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Image courtesy of Ubuntu

The self-described beginning of Ubuntu:

Linux was already established as an enterprise server platform in 2004. But free software was still not a part of everyday life for most computer users. That's why Mark Shuttleworth gathered a small team of developers from one of the most established Linux projects – Debian - and set out to create an easy-to-use Linux desktop, Ubuntu.

The vision for Ubuntu is part social and part economic: free software, available free of charge to everybody on the same terms, and funded through a portfolio of services provided by Canonical.

If you would like to learn more about Ubuntu please click here.

Ubuntu also lists its features as the following:

  • A fresh look

The launcher: Get easy access to your favourite tools and applications with our lovely new launcher. You can hide and reveal it, add and remove apps and keep track of your open windows.
The dash: Our new dash offers a great way to get to your shortcuts and search for more apps and programs. So you can get fast access to your email, music, pictures and much more.
Workspaces: Our handy workspaces tool gives you a really easy way to view and move between multiple windows and applications.

  • Secure

You can surf in safety with Ubuntu – confident that your files and data will stay protected. A built-in firewall and virus protection come as standard. And if a potential threat appears, we provide automatic updates which you can install in a single click. You get added security with AppArmor, which protects your important applications so attackers can’t access your system. And thanks to Firefox and gnome-keyring, Ubuntu helps you keep your private information private. So whether it’s accessing your bank account or sharing sensitive data with friends or colleagues, you’ll have peace of mind when you need it the most.

  • Compatible

Ubuntu works brilliantly with a range of devices. Simply plug in your mp3 player, camera or printer and you’ll be up and running straight away. No installation CDs. No fuss. And it’s compatible with Windows too! So you can open, edit and share Microsoft Office documents stress-free.

  • Fast

Ubuntu loads quickly on any computer, but it's super-fast on newer machines. With no unnecessary programs and trial software slowing things down, booting up and opening a browser takes seconds. Unlike other operating systems that leave you staring at the screen, waiting to get online. And Ubuntu won’t grow sluggish over time. It’s fast. And it stays fast.

  • Accessible

Accessibility is central to the Ubuntu philosophy. We believe that computing is for everyone regardless of nationality, race, gender or disability. Fully translated into 25 languages, Ubuntu also includes essential assistive technologies, which are, of course, completely free. We recommend the Ubuntu classic desktop experience for users with particular accessibility requirements.

 

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(Image courtesy of Distrowatch)

I have used Ubuntu almost as long as I have been using Fedora. Ubuntu has been my go to Linux distrobution since Wartty Warthog. I have installed Ubuntu on laptops, family members computers, and I even went 100% Ubuntu for a year. In my experience, any and all of my questions could be answered by Documentation, Community, and Launchpad.

Now that you have a brief idea about Ubuntu, lets get to the interview:

(Hit that Read More link for the details!!)