Activision Working With NVIDIA to Enhance the PC Version of Call of Duty: Ghosts

Subject: General Tech | August 24, 2013 - 01:05 PM |
Tagged: txaa, PhysX, pc gaming, nvidia, infinity ward, call fo duty, Activision

Activision recently announced a technical partnership with NVIDIA at GamesCom. The two companies are "working hand in hand" on the development of the PC version of Call of Duty: Ghosts to implement the kinds of graphical features and technologies that PC gamers expect of a new triple-A title.

According to a NVIDIA Geforce blog post, NVIDIA developers are working on-site at Infinity Ward. NVIDIA is helping Infinity Ward to enhance the Sub D tessellation, displacement mapping, and HDR lighting. Additionally, the NVIDIA engineers are working to integrate support for the company's TXAA (temporal anti-aliasing) and PhysX technologies. The Infinity Ward game developers are also taking advantage of the APEX Turbulence PhysX tool-kit to enable realistic, physics-based, smoke clouds that will react with the environment and player actions.

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Activision and Infinity Ward are also enabling the use of dedicated multiplayer servers for Call of Duty: Ghosts. In addition, Call of Duty Elite will be available for the PC version of the game including a smartphone app that allows stat tracking and profile management from a mobile device.

The Geforce blog claims that the PC version is intended to be the definitive CoD: Ghosts version, which is always nice to see. More graphical effects and features are being worked on, but IW and NVIDIA are keeping them under wraps for now.

The PC is in a really good place right now between console cycles where developers are finally starting to realize the power of the PC and what it is able to offer in terms of graphical performance and control options. PC-first development is something that I have been wanting to see for a long time (develop for the PC and port to consoles rather than the other way around), and now that PC versions are once again getting due credit and development attention (and resources), along with the upcoming consoles being based on x86 hardware... these types of technical partnerships where the PC version is being positioned as the best version are hopefully the start of a trend that will see a new surge in PC gaming!

Source: NVIDIA

NVIDIA Working Closely With Ubisoft To Enhance Fall PC Games

Subject: General Tech | August 24, 2013 - 11:53 AM |
Tagged: ubisoft, txaa, pc gaming, nvidia, kepler

NVIDIA announced on Wednesday that it had formed an alliance with Ubisoft to collaborate on Ubisoft's upcoming PC game titles (coming this fall). The alliance involves the NVIDIA Developer Technology Team "working closely" with the Ubisoft development studio on several new PC titles. The team NVIDIA-enhanced PC games covered by this new alliance includes Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag, and Watch Dogs.

NVIDIA Senior VP of Content and Technology Tony Tamasi stated in a press release that "Ubisoft understands that PC gamers demand a truly elite experience -- the best resolutions, the smoothest frame rates and the latest gaming breakthroughs." NVIDIA has reportedly worked with the Ubisoft game developers throughout the entire development process to incorporate the company's graphics technologies.

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Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist is the first game to come out of the alliance. It features PC gaming graphics technologies such as DirectX 11 effects, parallax mapping, ambient occlusion, tessellation, HBAO+ (horizon-based ambient occlusion), and NVIDIA's own TXAA and Surround support. The latest Splinter Cell game also comes bundled with NVIDIA graphics cards.

NVIDIA did not go into details on what sort of extra PC-centric graphics features the other Ubisoft games will have, but it should be similar to those in Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Curiously, the press release makes no mention of NVIDIA's The Way It's Meant To Be Played program, though it seems that this alliance may even go a step further than that in terms of development team interaction and shared resources.

Source: NVIDIA

GeForce 326.80 (Beta) Drivers Now Available

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 20, 2013 - 12:24 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers, geforce 326.80

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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
  • 4K Displays · Adds support for additional tiled 4K displays Extended support for tiled 4K features

Source: NVIDIA

How are Add-In GPUs Selling Anyway?

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | August 19, 2013 - 03:04 PM |
Tagged: jpr, Matrox, s3, amd, nvidia

Well, according to John Peddie Research (JPR), not too good if you are Matrox or S3. The total market for add-in boards decreased 5.4% from last quarter. 14.0 million were shipped across the entire industry. Neither company accounted for a thousandth of that value leaving them with a maximum 7000 units shipped, best case scenario. This industry is, basically, a two horse race.

GPU suppliers, market share
  This Quarter Prev. Quarter Last Year
AMD 38.0% 35.7% 40.3%
Matrox 0.0% 0.0% 0.3%
NVIDIA 62.0% 64.3% 59.3%
S3 0.0% 0.0% 0.1%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%

Two horses unless you count the Intel Xeon Phi. While technically not a graphics processor despite hardware design, 48,000 of these coprocessors were sold, already, for the Tianhe-2 supercomputer. This is at least seven-fold more than an entire quarter for Matrox. Unfortunately JPR does not report on Intel add-in cards despite its overlap with the GPU add-in market. These numbers could get even more interesting as years progress.

As for the two big players, AMD and NVIDIA, both hold very dominant positions. Almost spiting the 750,000 unit industry decline, AMD experienced a total increase of 0.8% quarter-over-quarter. Their market share gained 2.3% as a result of this growth. NVIDIA experienced a total decrease of 8.9%.

In all, AMD has been doing better than the industry average. They are fighting the slight decline in the graphics industry while simultaneously helping GPUs hold off against larger declines in PC systems.

Source: JPR

AMD Gains GPU Market Share From Last Quarter

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | August 16, 2013 - 04:00 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, Intel, APU, amd

Despite a slight decline in PC sales compared to last quarter, graphics processors are on the rise. Jon Peddie Research attributes the heightened interest in graphics, with a decline in systems, to a trend towards multiple GPUs in a system. Crossfire and SLI, according to the report, are not driving this drift but they are relevant. More importantly, consumers are adding discrete graphics to systems with integrated solutions.

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AMD has experienced an increase in shipments of 47% for laptop APUs. Desktop heterogeneous processors declined but, in all, shipments increased 11%. Intel, likewise, saw an increase albeit just 6%. NVIDIA declined 8%. AMD now enjoys a 5.8% lead in total market share over NVIDIA.

Many PCs have access to multiple graphics processors simultaneously. With an increase of available GPUs, software developers might take the plunge into fully supporting heterogeneous architectures. You could imagine a game which offloads physics or AI pathfinding to secondary graphics. Sure, the increased heat would slightly limit the turbo-performance of the CPU, but the increased parallel performance should overtake that decreased serial performance for a sensible developer.

JPR claims an average of nearly 1.4 GPUs available per system.

The increased laptop heterogeneous processors is a major win for AMD. Still, I wonder how much Never Settle played in to users dropping discrete graphics into machines which would otherwise have integrated (chipset or processor) graphics. The discrete graphics market has declined and yet somehow AMD got a boost from double-attach or replaced graphics.

The report only discusses consumer x86 tablets, desktops, laptops, and some hybrid between the previous three categories. Other processor architectures or x86 servers are not covered.

Source: JPR

NVIDIA GeForce eSports World of Tanks International World Finals Kick-Off at PAX 2013

Subject: General Tech | August 15, 2013 - 02:03 PM |
Tagged: world of tanks, nvidia, esports

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SANTA CLARA, CA - August 15, 2013– NVIDA’s first ever GeForce eSports World of Tanks Open Tournament will culminate with its world finals at the close of PAX Prime on Sunday, Sept. 1 at 7:00 pm PDT at Showbox SoDo in Seattle, WA. Brought to you live by Twitch, the world’s leading video platform and community for gamers, and Wargaming, a new world war will be staged – with finalists from China, South East Asia, North and South America, Europe and Russia competing for their share of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 600-series graphics cards and $100,000 in cold hard cash! Matches will be broadcast live on Twitch and available on–demand.

“Now more than ever, competitive gaming is pushing players and hardware limits to extremes,” said James Grunke, manager of the GeForce eSports program at NVIDIA. “We at GeForce eSports are committed to upping our game by delivering the gear gamers demand to win. We’ve got a rock star team of partners in Wargaming and Twitch to execute this fierce global gaming war.”

wot.jpg

Following the intense epic battle, NVIDIA along with their tournament partners Wargaming and Twitch, will host Party of 3, the mother of all PAX parties! The celebration begins at 9:30 pm - immediately following the global tournament, also at Showbox SoDo. Sure to be the ultimate party of PAX, the event will rage on until 1:00 am and feature meet-ups, complimentary drinks and food, and the chance to win high octane prizes.

“Twitch is known for having a major presence at PAX, so every year we are looking to raise the bar with the events we drive or take part in,” said Amber Dalton, director of marketing and events for Twitch. “By live streaming the World of Tanks Grand Finals at an event co-hosted by NVIDIA and Wargaming, that bar has definitely been lifted. With eSports trending in the news now more than ever before, this showcase will illustrate its competitive spirit and spectator appeal.”

“We’re going to see the best and brightest World of Tanks players in the world in Seattle for the NVIDIA GeForce eSports World of Tanks Grand Finals,” said Caleb Fox, head of eSports at Wargaming. “Getting so much talent in one place and competing for great prizes and cash is going to be a truly memorable event.”

NVIDIA, along with their partners and sponsors, EVGA and Razer, will give away cutting-edge products, such as GeForce GTX 660 GPUs, WG gold, gaming mice, PC accessory packs and much more!

General admission for NVIDIA GeForce eSports World of Tanks Grand Finals is free but interested gamers need to RSVP at http://wot100kopen.eventbrite.com/ and will be admitted onsite on a first come, first serve basis. Doors will open at 6 pm Sunday night for a World of Tanks Community Meet-Up Event. The first attendees to arrive will receive free drink tickets.

World of Tanks is a team-based, massively multiplayer online game dedicated to armored warfare in the mid-20th century. With more than 60 million registered users worldwide, World of Tanks is a fast-paced PC shooter game with in-depth weaponry, economics and robust eSports tools such as spectator mode and replay file support.

wot2.jpg

Official GeForce eSports World of Tanks Open Tournament rules and regulations are available at http://esports.geforce.com.

Source: NVIDIA

Win 1 of 5 EVGA Pro SLI Bridges!!

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 14, 2013 - 06:03 PM |
Tagged: sweepstakes, sli, nvidia, giveaway, evga, contest

UPDATE: Winners have been selected and contacted - if you weren't one of the five winners check back for more contests and giveaways!!  Thanks for listening!!

While at Quakecon this year EVGA showed off its new collection of Pro SLI Bridges that add a bit of sexy to any NVIDIA multi-GPU system.  These are much more than just the standard SLI bridge that you know of today: they are sleek, have a brushed metal finish and if you have GTX 700-series or TITAN graphics card, they light up as well!

evga1.jpg

Because EVGA is a big supporter of PC Perpsective, they are sending over a handful of the 3-Way Pro SLI Bridges (that can also be used in 2-Way configurations) to give away to our readers. 

How can you win one of the five free units that EVGA sent us?

  1. Fill out the form below with the requested information. 
  2. Listen to this week's (Episode #264) PC Perspective Podcast (live or after the fact) and I'll give you the code word to include in the form below.
    1. You can download or watch the podcast right here: http://pcper.com/podcast

That's it!!  You can win anywhere in the world and our winners will be randomly picked from the submissions we receive no later than the 20th of August at 6pm ET.

evga2.jpg

A big thanks goes to EVGA for providing these units!!

Source: EVGA

Podcast #263 - AMDs Crossfire Fix, Carmack Leaving id, Left 4 Dead 3 rumors and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 8, 2013 - 02:22 PM |
Tagged: podcast, video, amd, nvidia, crossfire, sli, frame rating, 7990, john carmack, Oculus

PC Perspective Podcast #263 - 08/08/2013

Join us this week as we discuss AMDs Crossfire Fix, Carmack Leaving id, Left 4 Dead 3 rumors 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, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano

Program length: 1:13:47

 

NVIDIA CloudLight: White Paper for Lighting in the Cloud

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | August 3, 2013 - 04:03 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, CloudLight, cloud gaming

Trust the cloud... be the cloud.

The executives on stage might as well have waved their hands while reciting that incantation during the announcement of the Xbox One. Why not? The audience would have just assumed Don Mattrick was trying to get some weird Kinect achievement on stage. You know, kill four people with one laser beam while trying to sink your next-generation platform in a ranked keynote. 50 Gamerscore!

cloudlight.png

Microsoft stated, during and after the keynote, that each Xbox One would have access to cloud servers for certain processing tasks. Xbox Live would be receiving enough servers such that each console could access three times its performance, at launch, to do... stuff. You know, things that are hard to calculate but are not too dependent upon latency. You know what we mean, right?

Apparently Microsoft did not realize that was a detail they were supposed to sell us on.

In the mean time, NVIDIA has been selling us on offloaded computation to cloud architectures. We knew Global Illumination (GI) was a very complicated problem. Most of the last couple decades has been progressively removing approximations to what light truly does.

CloudLight is their research project, presented at SIGRAPH Asia and via Williams College, to demonstrate server-processed indirect lighting. In their video, each of the three effects are demonstrated at multiple latencies. The results look pretty good until about 500ms which is where the brightest points are noticeably in the wrong locations.

cloudlight-2.jpg

Again, the video is available here.

The three methods used to generate indirect lighting are: irradiance maps, where lightmaps are continuously calculated on a server and streamed by H.264; photons, which raytraces lighting for the scene as previous rays expire and streams only the most current ones to clients who need it; and voxels, which stream fully computed frames to the clients. The most interesting part is that as you add more users, in most cases, server-processing remains fairly constant.

It should be noted, however, that each of these demonstrations only moved the most intense lights slowly. I would expect an effect such as switching a light on in an otherwise dark room would create a "pop-in" effect if it lags too far behind user interaction or the instantaneous dynamic lights.

That said, for a finite number of instant switches, it would be possible for a server to render both results and have the client choose the appropriate lightmap (or the appropriate set of pixels from the same, large, lightmap). For an Unreal Tournament 3 mod, I was experimenting with using a Global Illumination solver to calculate lighting. My intention was to allow users to turn on and off a handful of lights in each team's base. As lights were shot out or activated by a switch, the shader would switch to the appropriate pre-rendered solution. I would expect a similar method to work here.

What other effects do you believe can withstand a few hundred milliseconds of latency?

Source: NVIDIA

So you want a second opinion on Frame Pacing, eh?

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | August 2, 2013 - 12:44 PM |
Tagged: video, stutter, radeon, nvidia, hd 7990, frame rating, frame pacing, amd

Scott Wasson from The Tech Report and Ryan have been discussing the microstuttering present in Crossfire and while Ryan got his hands on the hardware to capture the raw output first, The Tech Report have been investigating this issue as in depth as Ryan and Ken have been.  Their look at the new Catalyst and the effects of Frame Pacing show the same results as you saw yesterday in Ryan's article; for essentially no cost in performance you can get a much smoother experience when using a CrossFire system on a single display.  In their article they have done a great job of splicing together videos of runthroughs of several games with the Frame Pacing disabled on one side and enabled on the other, allowing you to see with your own eyes the difference in game play, without having to have your own Crossfire system.

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"Can a driver fix what ails the Radeon HD 7990? Will the new Catalysts magically transform this baby into the fastest graphics card on the planet? We go inside the second to find out."

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