Podcast #261 - ASUS PQ321Q 4K Monitor Review, Samsung 840 Evo details, Kepler meets Tegra, and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 25, 2013 - 11:36 AM |
Tagged: video, tegra 5, Samsung, pq321q, podcast, logan, kepler, asus, 840 evo, 4k

PC Perspective Podcast #261 - 07/25/2013

Join us this week as we discuss our ASUS PQ321Q 4K Monitor Review, Samsung 840 Evo details, Kepler meets Tegra, 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!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

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

Program length: 1:12:20

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Jeremy: Got nothing so random mod
    2. Allyn: A sinusesectomy
    3. Morry: When Artic Silver just isn't good enough - IC Diamond Thermal Paste
  4. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  5. Closing/outro

 

Unreal Engine 4 on Mobile Kepler at SIGGRAPH

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Mobile, Shows and Expos | July 24, 2013 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: Siggraph, kepler, mobile, tegra, nvidia, unreal engine 4

SIGGRAPH 2013 is wrapping up in the next couple of days but, now that NVIDIA removed the veil surrounding Mobile Kepler, people are chatting about what is to follow Tegra 4. Tim Sweeney, founder of Epic Games, contributed to NVIDIA Blogs the number of ways that certain attendees can experience Unreal Engine 4 at the show. As it turns out, NVIDIA engineers have displayed the engine both on Mobile Kepler as well as behind closed doors on desktop PCs.

Not from SIGGRAPH, this is a leak from, I believe, GTC late last March.

Also, this is Battlefield 3, not Unreal Engine 4.

Tim, obviously taking the developer standpoint, is very excited about OpenGL 4.3 support within the mobile GPU. In all, he did not say too much of note. They are targeting Unreal Engine 4 at a broad range of platforms: mobile, desktop, console, and, while absent from this editorial, web standards. Each of these platforms are settling on the same set of features, albeit with huge gaps in performance, allowing developers to focus on a scale of performance instead of a flowchart of capabilities.

Unfortunately for us, there have yet to be leaks from the trade show. We will keep you up-to-date if we find any, however.

Source: NVIDIA Blogs
Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

NVIDIA Finally Gets Serious with Tegra

Tegra has had an interesting run of things.  The original Tegra 1 was utilized only by Microsoft with Zune.  Tegra 2 had a better adoption, but did not produce the design wins to propel NVIDIA to a leadership position in cell phones and tablets.  Tegra 3 found a spot in Microsoft’s Surface, but that has turned out to be a far more bitter experience than expected.  Tegra 4 so far has been integrated into a handful of products and is being featured in NVIDIA’s upcoming Shield product.  It also hit some production snags that made it later to market than expected.

I think the primary issue with the first three generations of products is pretty simple.  There was a distinct lack of differentiation from the other ARM based products around.  Yes, NVIDIA brought their graphics prowess to the market, but never in a form that distanced itself adequately from the competition.  Tegra 2 boasted GeForce based graphics, but we did not find out until later that it was comprised of basically four pixel shaders and four vertex shaders that had more in common with the GeForce 7800/7900 series than it did with any of the modern unified architectures of the time.  Tegra 3 boasted a big graphical boost, but it was in the form of doubling the pixel shader units and leaving the vertex units alone.

kepler_smx.jpg

While NVIDIA had very strong developer relations and a leg up on the competition in terms of software support, it was never enough to propel Tegra beyond a handful of devices.  NVIDIA is trying to rectify that with Tegra 4 and the 72 shader units that it contains (still divided between pixel and vertex units).  Tegra 4 is not perfect in that it is late to market and the GPU is not OpenGL ES 3.0 compliant.  ARM, Imagination Technologies, and Qualcomm are offering new graphics processing units that are not only OpenGL ES 3.0 compliant, but also offer OpenCL 1.1 support.  Tegra 4 does not support OpenCL.  In fact, it does not support NVIDIA’s in-house CUDA.  Ouch.

Jumping into a new market is not an easy thing, and invariably mistakes will be made.  NVIDIA worked hard to make a solid foundation with their products, and certainly they had to learn to walk before they could run.  Unfortunately, running effectively entails having design wins due to outstanding features, performance, and power consumption.  NVIDIA was really only average in all of those areas.  NVIDIA is hoping to change that.  Their first salvo into offering a product that offers features and support that is a step above the competition is what we are talking about today.

Continue reading our article on the NVIDIA Kepler architecture making its way to mobile markets and Tegra!

Podcast #258 - Corsair 900D, HD 7790 vs GTX 650Ti BOOST, Leaked AMD APUs and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 3, 2013 - 09:45 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, corsair, 900D, 7790, 650ti boost, amd, Richland, nvidia, kepler, titan, Intel, ssd

PC Perspective Podcast #258 - 07/04/2013

Join us this week as we discuss the Corsair 900D, HD 7790 vs GTX 650Ti BOOST, Leaked AMD APUs 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!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

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

Program length: 1:14:23

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. 0:58:25 Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Allyn: USB Practical Meter (kickstarter)
  4. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  5. Closing/outro

 

Podcast #256 - Mobile Frame Rating, NVIDIA licensing Kepler, Xbox One DRM and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 20, 2013 - 11:03 AM |
Tagged: video, podcast, 780m, frame rating, nvidia, kepler, xbox one, Adobe, CC, opencl

PC Perspective Podcast #256 - 06/20/2013

Join us this week as we discuss Mobile Frame Rating, NVIDIA licensing Kepler, Xbox One DRM 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!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano and Morry Teitelman

Program length: 1:33:43

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. 0:43:30 Ryan's summary of E3
      1. Oculus 1080p, Razer Blade, Monoprice, SHIELD
  3. 1:22:00 Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Allyn: Swiss-Tech Keychain Tools
  4. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  5. Closing/outro

Rumored NVIDIA GTX 760 Specifications Leaked: The First Mid-Range 700-Series GPU Option

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 20, 2013 - 09:28 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, kepler, gtx 760, GK104, gk-104, gaming

There have been rumors of a new mid-range Kepler-based graphics card coming that will be next entry in the GTX 700-series. This new GPU is rumored to be called the GeForce GTX 760. If the specifications are true, the card will fit between the existing GTX 660 and GTX 660 Ti graphics cards as far as hardware specifications and pricing. While it will be under the GTX 700-series, it will not have the faster 7Gbps memory clockspeed of the other 700-series cards.

As far as specifications, Videocardz claims to have the final specifications list in a recent news post. The GTX 760 is rumored to be the latest graphics card to use NVIDIA's GK-104 "Kepler" GPU. The GTX 760 will have some units disabled for a GPU with 1,152 CUDA cores, 96 Texture Manipulation Units (TMUs), and 32 Raster Operations Processors (ROPs). The GPU supports NVIDIA's latest GPU Boost 2.0 technology which will automatically ratchet up the Boost clockspeed so long as temperature allows. It has a base clockspeed of 980 MHz and a boost clockspeed of 1,033 Mhz.

GTX 760 graphics cards will allegedly come in both 2GB and 4GB GDDR5 memory flavors. NVIDIA is clocking the memory at 6 Gbps (1502 MHz), which makes it the fist 700-series part to not take advantage of faster memory chips. However, there is a bit of saving grace as NVIDIA has moved to a 256-bit memory bus. This allows the card to still see a respectable bump in memory bandwidth of 192 GB/s on the GTX 760 versus the GTX 660/GTX 660 Ti's 144.2 GB/s bandwidth.

Compared to the existing mid-range 600-series cards, the GTX 760 has base and boost GPU clockspeeds equal to the GTX 660 (and faster than the GTX 660 TI). Memory clockspeed is also unchanged on the new card, though it has a wider memory bus. The GTX 760 has 192 more CUDA cores than the GTX 660, but 192 fewer CUDA cores versus the GTX 660 Ti. TMUs are also sit evenly between the two 600-series cards, but the GTX 760 does have 8 more ROPs enabled than both the 660 and 660 Ti.

Graphics cards with the upcoming GTX 760 GPU will be powered by two 6-pin PCI-E power connectors, and it has a 170W TDP. That power consumption puts the card between the 150W GTX 660 Ti and the higher-end 230W GTX 770. It appears that the card will not come with the high-end stock metallic cooler used in the other 700-series cards, though the various AIBs are likely to fit the GPU with their own custom aftermarket coolers. Video outputs on the cards will incluce DVI-I, DVI-D, HDMI, and DisplayPort.

The chart below compares the specifications between the GTX 660, GTX 660 Ti, GTX 770, and the rumored GTX 760.

  GTX 760 GTX 660 GTX 660 Ti GTX 770
CUDA Cores 1,152 960 1,344 1536
TMUs 96 80 112 128
ROPs 32 24 24 32
GPU Base 980 MHz 980 Mhz 915 Mhz 1046 Mhz
GPU Boost 1033 MHz 1033 MHz 980 Mhz 1085 MHz
Memory Bus 256-bit 192-bit 192-bit 256-bit
Memory Clock 1502 MHz 1502 MHx 1502 Mhz 1752 Mhz
Bandwidth 192 GB/s 144.2 GB/s 144.2 GB/s 224 GB/s
TDP 170 W 140 W 150 W 230 W
Architecture GK-104 GK-106 GK-104 GK-104

The card is supposedly going to be released on June 25th for around $300. It will compete with AMD's 7950 with boost graphics card. Further, the card will be an alternative to NVIDIA's own GTX 660 Ti and an upgrade for gamers still running GTX 560 cards with the company's older Fermi-based GPU.

Source: Videocardz

NVIDIA Enters the Licensing World: My Quick Analysis

Subject: General Tech | June 19, 2013 - 06:51 PM |
Tagged: Volta, nvidia, maxwell, licensing, kepler, Denver, Blogs, arm

Yesterday we all saw the blog piece from NVIDIA that stated that they were going to start licensing their IP to interested third parties.  Obviously, there was a lot of discussion about this particular move.  Some were in favor, some were opposed, and others yet thought that NVIDIA is now simply roadkill.  I believe that it is an interesting move, but we are not yet sure of the exact details or the repercussions of such a decision on NVIDIA’s part.

The biggest bombshell of the entire post was that NVIDIA would be licensing out their latest architecture to interested clients.  The Kepler architecture powers the very latest GTX 700 series of cards and at the top end it is considered one of the fastest and most efficient architectures out there.  Seemingly, there is a price for this though.  Time to dig a little deeper.

keplerdieshot.jpg

Kepler will be the first technology licensed to third party manufacturers.  We will not see full GPUs, these will only be integrated into mobile products.

The very latest Tegra parts from NVIDIA do not feature the Kepler architecture for the graphics portion.  Instead, the units featured in Tegra can almost be described as GeForce 7000 series parts.  The computational units are split between pixel shaders and vertex shaders.  They support a maximum compatibility of D3D 9_3 and OpenGL ES 2.0.  This is a far cry from a unified shader architecture and support for the latest D3D 11 and OpenGL ES 3.0 specifications.  Other mobile units feature the latest Mali and Adreno series of graphics units which are unified and support DX11 and OpenGL ES 3.0.

So why exactly does the latest Tegras not share the Kepler architecture?  Hard to say.  It could be a variety of factors that include time to market, available engineering teams, and simulations which could dictate if power and performance can be better served by a less complex unit.  Kepler is not simple.  A Kepler unit that occupies the same die space could potentially consume more power with any given workload, or conversely it could perform poorly given the same power envelope.

We can look at the desktop side of this argument for some kind of proof.  At the top end Kepler is a champ.  The GTX 680/770 has outstanding performance and consumes far less power than the competition from AMD.  When we move down a notch and see the GTX 660 Ti/HD 7800 series of cards, we see much greater parity in performance and power consumptions.  Going to the HD 7790 as compared to the 650 Ti Boost, we see the Boost part have slightly better performance but consumes significantly more power.  Then we move down to the 650 and 650 Ti and these parts do not consume any more power than the competing AMD parts, but they also perform much more poorly.  I know these are some pretty hefty generalizations and the engineers at NVIDIA could very effectively port Kepler over to mobile applications without significant performance or power penalties.  But so far, we have not seen this work.

Power, performance, and die area aside there is also another issue to factor in.  NVIDIA just announced that they are doing this.  We have no idea how long this effort has been going, but it is very likely that it has only been worked on for the past six months.  In that time NVIDIA needs to hammer out how they are going to license the technology, how much manpower they must provide licensees to get those parts up and running, and what kind of fees they are going to charge.  There is a lot of work going on there and this is not a simple undertaking.

So let us assume that some three months ago an interested partner such as Rockchip or Samsung comes knocking to NVIDIA’s door.  They work out the licensing agreements and this takes several months.  Then we start to see the transfer of technology between the companies.  Obviously Samsung and Rockchip are not going to apply this graphics architecture to currently shipping products, but will instead bundle it in with a next generation ARM based design.  These designs are not spun out overnight.  For example, the 64 bit ARMv8 designs have been finalized for around a year, and we do not expect to see initial parts being shipped until late 1H 2014.  So any partner that decides to utilize NVIDIA’s Kepler architecture for such an application will not see this part be released until 1H 2015 at the very earliest.

project-shield.jpg

Sheild is still based on a GPU posessing separate pixel and vertex shaders.  DX11 and OpenGL ES 3.0?  Nope!

If someone decides to license this technology from NVIDIA, it will not be of great concern.  The next generation of NVIDIA graphics will already be out by that time, and we could very well be approaching the next iteration for the desktop side.  NVIDIA plans on releasing a Kepler based mobile unit in 2014 (Logan), which would be a full year in advance of any competing product.  In 2015 NVIDIA is planning on releasing an ARM product based on the Denver CPU and Maxwell GPU.  So we can easily see that NVIDIA will only be licensing out an older generation product so it will not face direct competition when it comes to GPUs.  NVIDIA obviously is hoping that their GPU tech will still be a step ahead of that of ARM (Mali), Qualcomm (Adreno), and Imagination Technologies (PowerVR).

This is an easy and relatively painfree way to test the waters that ARM, Imagination Technologies, and AMD are already treading.  ARM only licenses IP and have shown the world that it can not only succeed at it, but thrive.  Imagination Tech used to produce their own chips much like NVIDIA does, but they changed direction and continue to be profitable.  AMD recently opened up about their semi-custom design group that will design specific products for customers and then license those designs out.  I do not think this is a desperation move by NVIDIA, but it certainly is one that probably is a little late in coming.  The mobile market is exploding, and we are approaching a time where nearly every electricity based item will have some kind of logic included in it, billions of chips a year will be sold.  NVIDIA obviously wants a piece of that market.  Even a small piece of “billions” is going to be significant to the bottom line.

Source: NVIDIA
Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Kepler-based Mobile GPUs

Late last month, just before the tech world blew up from the mess that is Computex, NVIDIA announced a new line of mobility discrete graphics parts under the GTX 700M series label.  At the time we simply posted some news and specifications about the new products but left performance evaluation for a later time.  Today we have that for the highest end offering, the GeForce GTX 780M. 

As with most mobility GPU releases it seems, the GTX 700M series is not really a new GPU and only offers cursory feature improvements.  Based completely on the Kepler line of parts, the GTX 700M will range from 1536 CUDA cores on the GTX 780M to 768 cores on the GTX 760M. 

slide2.jpg

The flagship GTX 780M is essentially a desktop GTX 680 card in a mobile form factor with lower clock speeds.  With 1536 CUDA cores running at 823 MHz and boosting to higher speeds depending on the notebook configuration, a 256-bit memory controller running at 5 GHz, the GTX 780M will likely be the fastest mobile GPU you can buy.  (And we’ll be testing that in the coming pages.) 

The GTX 760M, 765M and 770M offering ranges of performance that scale down to 768 cores at 657 MHz.  NVIDIA claims we’ll see the GTX 760M in systems as small as 14-in and below with weights at 2kg or so from vendors like MSI and Acer.  For Ultrabooks and thinner machines you’ll have to step down to smaller, less power hungry GPUs like the GT 750 and 740 but even then we expect NVIDIA to have much faster gaming performance than the Haswell-based processor graphics.

Continue reading our performance review of the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M mobility GPU!!

Computex 2013: ASUS Working On GTX 770 Poseidon With Hybrid Waterblock and Air Cooler HSF

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 3, 2013 - 09:04 PM |
Tagged: poseidon, nvidia, kepler, gtx 770, gk-104, computex 2013, computex, ASUS ROG, asus

NVIDIA took the wraps off of its latest-generation Geforce GTX 770 GPU last week, and manufacturers have begun announcing not only reference designs but custom and factory overclocked versions of this GK-104 "Kepler" GPU refresh. One card in particular that caught my attention was the ASUS GTX 770 Poseidon graphics card, which combines NVIDIA's GK-104 GPU with a hybrid heatsink and fan combo that allows the simultaneous use of water and air cooling!

ASUS_ROG_Poseidon_GraphicsCard_with_Hybrid_DirectCU_H2O_and_CoolTech_Fan.jpg

According to the branding, and a hands-on report by Tech Power Up at Computex in Taipei, Taiwan, the GTX 770 Poseidon graphics card is part of the company's Republic of Gamers (ROG) line and likely sports beefy VRM hardware and factory GPU overclocks. Of course, the GTX 770 GPU uses NVIDIA's Kepler architecture and is essentially the GTX 680 with some seriously overclocked memory and refined GPU Boost technology. That means 1,536 CUDA cores, 128 texture units, and 32 ROPs (raster operation units) within 4 GPCs (Graphics Processing Clusters). This is the full GK-104 chip, desite the x70 name. For more information on the GTX 770 GPU, check out our recent review of the NVIDIA GTX 770 card.

Update: ASUS has just launched the new ROG graphics cards at a Computex press conference. According to the ASUS press release:

"ROG Poseidon graphics card with hybrid DirectCU H2O cooling
The new ROG Poseidon graphics card features an NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 700 Series GPU and a hybrid DirectCU H2O thermal design that supports both air and liquid cooling. Developed by ASUS, its CoolTech fan combines blower and axial fans in one design, forcing air in multiple directions over the heatsink to maximize heat dissipation. Liquid cooling reduces operating temperatures by up to 31 degrees Celsius for cooler running with even greater overclocking potential. ROG Poseidon also features a red pulsing ROG logo for a distinctive dash of style."

(end update)

Back on the Poseidon specifcally, the card is a short GTX 770 with a distinctive cooler that uses a full cover water block that covers the entire card and includes the GPU, memory, and VRM areas. ASUS further added a more-traditional air cooler to the area above the GPU itself to help dissapate heat. The air cooler is a circular aluminum fin array with a fan that sits in the middle. The air entire hybrid cooler is then covered by a ROG-themed shroud with a configurable LED-backlit Republic of Gamers logo on the side that can be controlled via software.

ASUS_ROG_Poseidon_GraphicsCard_with_Gquarter_Fitting_and_LED_light.jpg

The water cooling portion acts as any other full cover water block, allowing cool water to move heat away from the metal contact (the bottom of the block) touching the various components. The inlet and outlets poke out from the side of the card, which is a bit odd but the shroud prevents them coming out at 90-degrees like typical blocks. If your case width is tight, you may need to get creative to fit a 90-degree barb extender (I apologize if that's not the technical term) on to the existing tubing connectors (heh). The cooler can be operated with the air cooler's fan running with or without being connected to a water loop. When water cooling is used, the fan can be turned off to reduce noise or left on to allow for higher overclocks and/or lower temperatures.

Unfortunately, that is all of the information that is currently available  as ASUS has not yet officially launched on the custom GTX 770 graphics card. Pricing, availability, and clockspeed details are still unknown.

For more information, stay tuned to the press.asus.com/events livestream page as it might be announced at a Computex press conference this week since the company is showing off the hardware at the show!

Source: ASUS

Computex 2013: MSI Launches GS70 17" Gaming Notebook With GTX765M Graphics

Subject: Systems, Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 3, 2013 - 07:59 PM |
Tagged: computex 2013, computex, nvidia, msi, kepler, Intel, haswell, gtx 700M, gs70, gaming notebook

A couple of weeks ago, MSI revealed the GX70 and GX60 gaming notebooks powered by AMD's latest Richland APUs and 8970M (and 7970M) discrete graphics cards. Today, the company added the GS70 notebook to its lineup, and it is the opposite in terms of underlying technology. Specifically, the GS70 is a 17" gaming notebook with an Intel Haswell processor and a NVIDIA GTX765M. The portable gaming machine is 22mm thick and weighs in at less than 5.7 pounds (2.6kg), which is a noticeably weight reduction versus the Richland-powered models.

MSI GS70 Stealth 17-inch Gaming Notebook.jpg

Expert Reviews UK goes hands-on with a prototype of the MSI GS70 at Computex 2013.

The GS70 comes clad in glossy black and is constructed of aluminum. External features include a large 17" (likely TN) display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080, a SteelSeries-engineered multicolor backlit keyboard, and a large trackpad. Connectivity options include:

  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x RJ45 LAN jack
  • 3 x audio jacks (with surround sound support)
  • 1 x SD card slot
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 2 x mini DisplayPort

Internal specifications include a not-yet-named Intel 4th Generation Core "Haswell" CPU, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and a NVIDIA GTX 765M. The discrete GPU is based on NVIDIA's Kepler architecture and features 768 CUDA cores clocked at 850 MHz and up to 2GB of graphics memory clocked at 1 GHz on a 128-bit bus. The system also uses a Killer NIC networking card and MSI's own SuperRAID technology that pairs two solid state drives in a RAID configuration for pure performance. The system should be able to play all modern PC games, though some details will need to be turned down. Multi-display output is supported for up to three external displays as well.

Unfortunately, MSI has not yet announced pricing or availability for this notebook. I would expect it to (paradoxically, despite the naming conventions) cost more than the existing GX70 (due to the newer, and faster, technology used) which starts at $1,399.99 MSRP. Keep an eye out for reviews later this year if you are interested in a mobile gaming PC, as this one looks interesting. Until then, Expert Reviews UK has some initial impressions and additional photos in this article.