Podcast #282 - Hardware Picks of the Year, the Sapphire 290X Tri-X, and the EVGA Hadron Air

Subject: General Tech | January 2, 2014 - 06:51 PM |
Tagged: video, tegra note 7, podcast, nvidia, Mantle, hardware picks of the year, Hardron Air, evga, amd, 290x tri-x

PC Perspective Podcast #282 - 01/02/2014

Join us this week as we discuss our Hardware Picks of the Year, the Sapphire 290X Tri-X, and the EVGA Hadron Air!

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 Scott Michaud

 
Program length: 1:58:53
  1. Thanks to Don Komarechka for the Sky Crystals book
  2. Week in Review:
  3. News items of interest:
  4. PC Perspective Hardware Picks of the Year
    1. Best Graphics Card of 2013
    2. Best CPU of 2013
    3. Best Storage of 2013
    4. Best Case of 2013
    5. Best Motherboard of 2013
    6. Best Price Drop of 2013
    7. Best Mobile Device of 2013
    8. Best Trend of 2013
    9. Worst Trend of 2013
    10. Best Website
  5. Closing/outro

 

It really has been a busy year for CPU reviews

Subject: General Tech | December 31, 2013 - 03:00 PM |
Tagged: 2013, amd, nvidia, Intel, arm, qualcomm

2013 has been an incredible year and when looking at The Inquirer's look back on the releases of this year it is hard to believe that all of these releases took place in 12 short months.  Haswell and Richland were the only two traditional CPU architecture updates for high powered desktop applications which stymied the enthusiasm of some gamers but the real star of 2013 was low powered silicon.  ARM has always held strong in this market and celebrated several major releases such as 28nm dual core Cortex A15s and Qualcomm's raising of the bar on mobile graphics with the dual-core and quad-core Snapdragon 400 chips but they lost market share to three newcomers to the low powered market.  NVIDIA's quad-core Tegra 4 SoC arrived with decent performance and graphics improvements compared to their previous generation and allowed the release of the Shield which has helped them become more than a GPU company that is also dipping its toes into the HPC market.   AMD announced the G series of SoCs for industrial applications with a TDP in the neighbourhood of 6W as well as Temash which will power next generation tablets and hybrid mobile devices but it was really Intel that shone brightest at the low end.  Bay Trail has completely reversed the perception of Atom from a product that is not really good at anything to an impressive low powered chip that provides impressive performance for small mobile devices and might find its self a role in the server room as well.  That only scratches the top layer of silicon, click over for more of the year in review.

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"While Intel and AMD battled out their ongoing war, Nvidia took the stage to announce its latest Tegra 4 system on a chip (SoC), a quad-core chip with a significant graphics boost. The firm did its best to play down the fact that its Tegra 4 has the same CPU core count as its previous-generation Tegra 3, and instead it focused on GPU performance, an area where the Tegra 3 was starting to look dated against newer chips from rivals such as Samsung."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

NVIDIA Tegra Note 7 OTA Update - Always On HDR, Video Stabilization, Android 4.3

Subject: Mobile | December 26, 2013 - 10:18 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, tegra 4, note 7, tegra note 7, android 4.3, Android

NVIDIA sent along word this morning that they have improved the Tegra Note 7 with a new software OTA update.  Keys to the update are that it adds the promised always-on HDR photography (AOHDR), live video stabilization and an operating system update to Android 4.3. 

We’ve enhanced the Tegra NOTE stylus experience, adding support for left-handed users and improvements in overall response. We’ve also added a DirectStylus help option under the device setting’s menu, a stylus removal and insert notification on the notification bar, and given users the ability to capture the notification bar with full-screen capture.

In addition to these new features, Tegra NOTE 7′s camera gets always-on high-dynamic range (AOHDR) capability, which provides more lifelike images across a range of lighting conditions. AOHDR utilizes Tegra 4’s processing power and Chimera computational photography architecture. We’ve also added video stabilization for shake-free video, in addition to tuning and optimizations to improve camera performance under certain lighting conditions.

From an OS perspective, Tegra Note 7 now sports the Android 4.3 Operating System.

Finally, in addition to security and bug fixes, we’ve added the ability to transfer app and data files from internal memory to an external microSD card.

If you own a Tegra Note 7 you will be pushed the update soon or you can force an update in your settings menu. 

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Still curious about the device?  You can read my review of the Tegra Note 7 here and find out all about this $199 7-in tablet device.

Source: NVIDIA

Win an ASUS VG248QE Upgrade Kit to Enable NVIDIA G-Sync!!

Subject: Displays | December 24, 2013 - 02:45 PM |
Tagged: vg248qe, nvidia, gsync, giveaway, g-sync, contest, asus

We have our winners!! Congratulations to the following 5 submissions and we'll have the upgrade kits on the way to you very soon.  

  • Lewis C.
  • Levi K.
  • Jonathan F.
  • John G.
  • Ben L.

I know that LOTS of you have been clamoring for information on how you can get your hands on one of those DIY G-Sync upgrade kits for yourself and I have some good news.  Though I can't tell you where to buy one or how much it will cost, I can offer you 1 of 5 FREE G-Sync upgrade kits through a giveaway we are hosting at PC Perspective!

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Here are the rules for the sweepstakes:

  • You must already own an ASUS VG248QE monitor
  • We need you to supply feedback on the G-Sync experience after the upgrade
  • Sorry, this is only available in the US and Canada

Now, the real question is, how can you enter to win as long as you meet those above requirements?  It's pretty simple!

  • Fill out the form below with name and email information
    • You have to include a link to a picture of your existing VG248QE monitor.  Include text on it (or on a sheet of paper in the photo) that mentions this contest!  Use Imgur if you need an image host.
  • Leave a comment on this post that describes WHY you want G-Sync technology
  • Hey, if you subscribe to our YouTube channel that won't hurt your chances either.  Leave your YouTube name in the comment as well!

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Our thanks goes to NVIDIA for supplying the kits and good luck to all participants!  We'll pick our winners on December 23rd and have the units out by the end of the year. 

Podcast #281 - NVIDIA GSYNC Preview, ASUS ROG MARS 760, Custom Cooled R9 290Xs and more!

Subject: General Tech | December 19, 2013 - 03:15 PM |
Tagged: video, ROG, podcast, nvidia, mars 760, gtx 760, gsync, DirectCU II, aus, 290x

PC Perspective Podcast #281 - 12/19/2013

Join us this week as we discuss our NVIDIA GSYNC Preview, ASUS ROG MARS 760, Custom Cooled R9 290Xs 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 Scott Michaud

 
Program length: 1:38:13
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. 1:04:00 Intel Roadmap Leaks
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
  4. Closing/outro

 

GeForce Experience 1.8.1 Released with Twitch Streaming

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | December 17, 2013 - 05:02 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, ShadowPlay, geforce experience

Another update to GeForce Experience brings another anticipated ShadowPlay feature. The ability to stream live gameplay to Twitch, hardware accelerated by Kepler, was demoed at the NVIDIA event in Montreal from late October. They showed Batman Origins streaming at 1080p 60FPS without capping or affecting the in-game output settings.

nvidia-shadowplay-twitch.png

GeForce Experience 1.8.1 finally brings that feature, in beta of course, to the general public. When set up, Alt + F8 will launch the Twitch stream and Alt + F6 will activate your webcam. Oh, by the way, one feature they kept from us (or at least me) is the ability to overlay your webcam atop your gameplay.

Nice touch NVIDIA.

Of course the upstream bandwidth requirements of video are quite high: 3.5Mbps on the top end, a more common 2Mbps happy medium, and a 0.75Mbps minimum. NVIDIA has been trying to ensure that your machine will not lag but there's nothing a GPU can do about your internet connection.

GeForce Experience 1.8.1 is available now at the GeForce website.

NVIDIA G-Sync Monitors Limited Availability Starting Today

Subject: Displays | December 16, 2013 - 09:11 AM |
Tagged: video, vg248qe, nvidia, gsync, g-sync, asus

It looks like some G-Sync ready monitors are going to be on sale starting today, though perhaps not from the outlets you would have expected.  NVIDIA let me know last night that they are working with partners, including ASUS obviously, to make a small amount of pre-modified ASUS VG248QE G-Sync monitors available for purchase. These are the same monitors we used in our recent G-Sync preview story so you should check that article out if you want our opinions on the display and the technology. 

Those people selling the displays?  Digital Storm, Falcon Northwest, Maingear, and Overlord Computer.  This creates some unfortunate requirements on potential buyers.  For example, Falcon Northwest is only selling the panels to users that either are buying a new Falcon PC or already own a Falcon custom system.  Digital Storm on the other hand WILL sell the monitor on its own or allow you to send in your VG248QE monitor to have the upgrade service done for you.  The monitor alone will sell for $499 while the upgrade price (with module included) is $299. 

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This distribution model for G-Sync technology likely isn't what users wanted or expected.  After all, we were promised upgrade kits for users of that specific ASUS VG248QE display and we still do not have data on how NVIDIA plans to sell them or distribute them.  Being able to purchase the display from these resellers above is at least SOMETHING before the holiday, but it really isn't the way we would like to see G-Sync showcased.  NVIDIA needs to get these products in the hands of gamers sooner rather than later.

NVIDIA also prepared a new video to showcase G-Sync.  Unlike other marketing videos this one wasn't placed on YouTube as the ability for it to run at a fixed 60 FPS is a strict requirement, something that YouTube can't do or can't do reliably.  For this video's demonstration to work correctly you need set your display to a 60 Hz refresh rate and you should use a video player capable of maintaining the static 60 FPS content decoding.

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To grab a copy of this video, you can use the link right here that will download the file directly from Mega.co.nz.  It should help demonstrate the effects us using a G-Sync enabled display for users that don't have access to see one in person.

Oh, and I know that LOTS of you have been clamoring for information on how you can get your hands on one of those DIY G-Sync upgrade kits for yourself and I have some good news.  Though I can't tell you where to buy one or how much it will cost, I can offer you one of 5 FREE G-Sync ASUS VG248QE upgrade kits through a giveaway we are hosting at PC Perspective!  Check out this page for the details!!

Source: NVIDIA
Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Quality time with G-Sync

Readers of PC Perspective will already know quite alot about NVIDIA's G-Sync technology.  When it was first unveiled in October we were at the event and were able to listen to NVIDIA executives, product designers and engineers discuss and elaborate on what it is, how it works and why it benefits gamers.  This revolutionary new take on how displays and graphics cards talk to each other enables a new class of variable refresh rate monitors that will offer up the smoothness advantages of having V-Sync off, while offering the tear-free images normally reserved for gamers enabling V-Sync. 

IMG_8938.JPG

NVIDIA's Prototype G-Sync Monitor

We were lucky enough to be at NVIDIA's Montreal tech day while John Carmack, Tim Sweeney and Johan Andersson were on stage discussing NVIDIA G-Sync among other topics.  All three developers were incredibly excited about G-Sync and what it meant for gaming going forward.

Also on that day, I published a somewhat detailed editorial that dug into the background of V-sync technology, why the 60 Hz refresh rate existed and why the system in place today is flawed.  This basically led up to an explanation of how G-Sync works, including integration via extending Vblank signals and detailed how NVIDIA was enabling the graphics card to retake control over the entire display pipeline.

In reality, if you want the best explanation of G-Sync, how it works and why it is a stand-out technology for PC gaming, you should take the time to watch and listen to our interview with NVIDIA's Tom Petersen, one of the primary inventors of G-Sync.  In this video we go through quite a bit of technical explanation of how displays work today, and how the G-Sync technology changes gaming for the better.  It is a 1+ hour long video, but I selfishly believe that it is the most concise and well put together collection of information about G-Sync for our readers.

The story today is more about extensive hands-on testing with the G-Sync prototype monitors.  The displays that we received this week were modified versions of the 144Hz ASUS VG248QE gaming panels, the same ones that will in theory be upgradeable by end users as well sometime in the future.  These monitors are TN panels, 1920x1080 and though they have incredibly high refresh rates, aren't usually regarded as the highest image quality displays on the market.  However, the story about what you get with G-Sync is really more about stutter (or lack thereof), tearing (or lack thereof), and a better overall gaming experience for the user. 

Continue reading our tech preview of NVIDIA G-Sync!!

Podcast #280 - NVIDIA GRID Beta, R9 290X Custom Coolers, 2TB SSDs and more!

Subject: General Tech | December 12, 2013 - 01:35 AM |
Tagged: z87, xfire, video, shield, R9 290X, podcast, pcper, nvidia, litecoin, grid, frame rating, eyefinity, crossfire, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #280 - 12/12/2013

Join us this week as we discuss the NVIDIA GRID Beta, R9 290X Custom Coolers, 2TB SSDs 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 Scott Michaud

 
Program length: 1:09:46
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Allyn: Windows 8.1 tweaks at WinAero.com
  4. Closing/outro

 

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Streaming games straight from NVIDIA

Over the weekend NVIDIA released a December update for the SHIELD Android mobile gaming device that included a very interesting, and somewhat understated, new feature: Beta support for NVIDIA GRID.  

You have likely heard of GRID before, NVIDIA has been pushing it as part of the companies vision going forward to GPU computing in every facet and market.  GRID was aimed at creating GPU-based server farms to enable mobile, streaming gaming to users across the country and across the world.  While initially NVIDIA only talked about working with partners to launch streaming services based on GRID, they have obviously changed their tune slightly with this limited release.

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If you own a SHIELD, and install the most recent platform update, you'll find a new icon in your NVIDIA SHIELD menu called GRID Beta.  The first time you start this new application, it will attempt to measure your bandwidth and latency to offer up an opinion on how good your experience should be.  NVIDIA is asking for at least 10 Mbps of sustained bandwidth, and wants round trip latency under 60 ms from your location to their servers.

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Currently, servers are ONLY located in Northern California so the further out you are, the more likely you will be to run into problems.  However, oing some testing in Kentucky and Ohio resulted in a very playable gaming scenarios, though we did run into some connection problems that might be load-based or latency-based.

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After the network setup portion users are shown 8 different games that they can try.  Darksiders, Darksiders II, Street Fighter X Tekken, Street Fighter IV, Alan Wake, The Witcher 2, Red Faction: Armageddon and Trine 2.  You are free to play them free of charge during this beta though I think you can be sure they will be removed and erased at some point; just a reminder.  Saves work well and we were able to save and resume games of Darksiders 2 on GRID easily and quickly.

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Starting up the game was fast, about on par with starting up a game on a local PC, though obviously the server is loading it in the background.  Once the game is up and running, you are met with some button mapping information provided by NVIDIA for that particular game (great addition) and then you jump into the menus as if you were running it locally.

Continue reading our first hands on with NVIDIA GRID on SHIELD!!