Valve Confirms Steam Machines are not NVIDIA Exclusive

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Systems | October 10, 2013 - 06:59 PM |
Tagged: amd, nvidia, Intel, Steam Machine

This should be little-to-no surprise for the viewers of our podcast, as this story was discussed there, but Valve has confirmed AMD and Intel graphics are compatible with Steam Machines. Doug Lombardi of Valve commented by email to, apparently, multiple sources including Forbes and Maximum PC.

steam-os-machines.png

Last week, we posted some technical specs of our first wave of Steam Machine prototypes. Although the graphics hardware that we've selected for the first wave of prototypes is a variety of NVIDIA cards, that is not an indication that Steam Machines are NVIDIA-only. In 2014, there will be Steam Machines commercially available with graphics hardware made by AMD, NVIDIA, and Intel. Valve has worked closely together with all three of these companies on optimizing their hardware for SteamOS, and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future.

Ryan and the rest of the podcast crew found the whole situation, "Odd". They could not understand why AMD referred the press to Doug Lombardi rather than circulate a canned statement from him. It was also weird why NVIDIA had an exclusive on the beta program with AMD being commercially available in 2014.

As I have said in the initial post: for what seems to be deliberate non-committal to a specific hardware spec, why limit to a single graphics provider?

Source: Maximum PC

Win a copy of Batman: Arkham Origins courtesy of NVIDIA

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | October 10, 2013 - 03:28 PM |
Tagged: podcast, nvidia, contest, batman arkham origins

UPDATE: We picked our winner for week 1 but now you can enter for week 2!!!  See the new podcast episode listed below!!

Back in August NVIDIA announced that they would be teaming up with Warner Bros. Interactive to include copies of the upcoming Batman: Arkham Origins game with select NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards. While that's great and all, wouldn't you rather get one for free next week from PC Perspective?

batmanao.jpg

Great, you're in luck!  We have a handful of keys to give out to listeners and viewers of the PC Perspective Podcast.  Here's how you enter:

  1. Listen to or watch episode #272 of the PC Perspective Podcast and listen for the "secret phrase" as mentioned in the show!
  2. Subscribe to our RSS feed for the podcast or subscribe to our YouTube channel.
  3. Fill out the form at the bottom of this podcast page with the "secret phrase" and you're entered!

I'll draw a winner before the next podcast and announce it on the show!  We'll giveaway one copy each of the next two weeks!  Our thanks goes to NVIDIA for supplying the Batman: Arkham Origins keys for this contest!!

No restrictions on winning, so good luck!!

New improved pricing from NVIDIA, plus a mysterious new GTX 760

Subject: General Tech | October 9, 2013 - 01:05 PM |
Tagged: amd, nvidia, price cuts, gtx 760

DigiTimes has broken the news that NVIDIA will be cutting prices on many of their cards in reaction to AMD's new GPU family.  Currently the lowest priced GTX660 is $150 after MIR and a GTX650Ti Boost can be had for $110.  We don't have any information as to how they will be updating the GTX 760, likely faster clocks but we can hope for something a little more adventurous.  The GTX 760 can be had for $250 right now but you should hold off to see what the new model has and what it does to the price of the current model.

14-121-775-TS.jpg

"Nvidia has offered price cuts for several of its graphics cards including the GTX 660 and GTX 650Ti Boost and will soon release an upgraded GTX 760, targeting AMD's Radeon R9 280X, according to sources from graphics card makers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Things that make you go hmmmm, NVIDIA edition

Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2013 - 01:46 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, linux, microsoft, open source

If you haven't heard the accusations flying over the possible scenarios that lead up to Origin PC dropping AMD cards from all their machines you can catch up at The Tech Report.  They keep any speculation to a minimum unlike other sites but the key point is the claims of overheating and stability issues, something that apparently only Origin has encountered.  If they had stuck with mentioning the frame pacing in Crossfire and 4K/mulitmonitor issue it would be understandable that they not sell AMD cards in systems designed for that usage but dropping them altogether is enough to start rumours and conspiracy theories across the interwebs.  Winning a place in the Steam Machine was great for NVIDIA but at no time did they imply that AMD was unworthy, they merely didn't win the contract.

Today some oil was tossed on the fire with the revelation that NVIDIA is specifically limiting the functionality of its hardware on Linux.  Just after we praised their release of documentation for Nouveau, their open sourced driver, we find out from a post at The Inquirer that NVIDIA limits the number of monitors used in Linux to three so as not to outdo their functionality in Windows.  For a brief moment it seemed that NVIDIA was willing to cooperate with the open source and Linux communities but apparently that moment is all we will have and once again NVIDIA proves that it is willing bow to pressure from Microsoft.

eyefinity1_full.jpg

"According to a forum poster at the Nvidia Developer Zone, the v310 version of the drivers for Basemosaic has reduced the number of monitors a user can connect simultaneously to three."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Design

P9033132.jpg

As we’re swimming through the veritable flood of Haswell refresh notebooks, we’ve stumbled across the latest in a line of very popular gaming models: the ASUS G750JX-DB71.  This notebook is the successor to the well-known G75 series, which topped out at an Intel Core i7-3630QM with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670MX dedicated graphics.  Now, ASUS has jacked up the specs a little more, including the latest 4th-gen CPUs from Intel as well as 700-series NVIDIA GPUs.

Our ASUS G750JX-DB71 test unit features the following specs:

specs.png

Of course, the closest comparison to this unit is already the most recently-reviewed MSI GT60-2OD-026US, which featured nearly identical specifications, apart from a 15.6” screen, a better GPU (a GTX 780M with 4 GB GDDR5), and a slightly different CPU (the Intel Core i7-4700MQ).  In case you’re wondering what the difference is between the ASUS G750JX’s Core i7-4700MQ and the GT60’s i7-4700HQ, it’s very minor: the HQ features a slightly faster integrated graphics Turbo frequency (1.2 GHz vs. 1.15 GHz) and supports Intel Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d).  Since the G750JX doesn’t support Optimus, we won’t ever be using the integrated graphics, and unless you’re doing a lot with virtual machines, VT-d isn’t likely to offer any benefits, either.  So for all intents and purposes, the CPUs are equivalent—meaning the biggest overall performance difference (on the spec sheet, anyway) lies with the GPU and the storage devices (where the G750JX offers more solid-state storage than the GT60).  It’s no secret that the MSI GT60 burned up our benchmarks—so the real question is, how close is the ASUS G750JX to its pedestal, and if the differences are considerable, are they justified?

At an MSRP of around $2,000 (though it can be found for around $100 less), the ASUS G750JX-DB71 competes directly with the likes of the MSI GT60, too (which is priced equivalently).  The question, of course, is whether it truly competes.  Let’s find out!

P9033137.jpg

Continue reading our review of the ASUS G750JX-DB71 Gaming Notebook!!!

NVIDIA Mends Open Sores? Documentation for Nouveau.

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 25, 2013 - 02:59 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, Nouveau, linux

AMD commit numerous updates to the open source driver community, three months ago, and has otherwise assisted the Linux community in the past. The same has not been true for NVIDIA. Despite a respectable (albeit lacking compared to Windows) proprietary driver for Linux, this GPU vendor was not adored by the community. They have not been accused of malice, it would just seem to be control over both the end-user experience and, of course, their secret sauce.

Well, NVIDIA is being more cooperative.

13-1.jpg

I, obviously, do not have a crystal ball of fortune telling (the journalist house of auction ran out and the gift shop is just too expensive) so it is anyone's guess the future extent of NVIDIA's involvement. For now, their assistance included 42 pages of Device Control Block documentation and proprietary developers answering questions on the Nouveau mailing list.

Many, from Ars Technica to our staff discussions at PC Perspective, note how the change of heart aligns with the SteamOS announcement. I do not really believe these events are related if only because I doubt NVIDIA would wait to contact developers until Valve spoke up. I would have to expect that SteamOS would not be a surprise to NVIDIA especially after Gabe Newell discussed Maxwell virtualization all the way back at CES.

You would think they would have come about while working with NVIDIA on the game streaming technology. You know, allow a single desktop to utilize multiple games across multiple devices. Even still, you would think NVIDIA would just put even more effort into their proprietary driver rather than help Nouveau.

Either way, we will keep an ear out for NVIDIA involvement with the open source community.

Battle of the budget boards; MSI's 650 Ti TF BE

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 19, 2013 - 05:55 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, msi, 650ti boost, Twin Frozr

To give you the full name, the MSI N650 Titanium TwinFrozr 2GD5/OC Boost Edition is $170 after MIR, whereas you can pick up the HD 7850 that [H]ard|OCP chose to contrast against for a mere $130 after rebate.  That price difference means that NVIDIA really has to perform quite a bit better than the AMD card to beat it in a performance per price perspective.  From the numbers in the review you can clearly see that the 650Ti is the better performing card, especially with the respectable overclock that [H] managed which does make it the best card under $200; on the other hand if your budget is tight the performance gap is not as big as the price gap which might make that HD 7850 a better choice.

By the way, that NVIDIA card has a Boost clock which means that it might steal some of your megahertz away when it gets too hot, which is apparently a horrible experience and if you somehow disable that feature and cook your GPU ... obviously that is not your fault.

H_frozr.jpg

"Today we evaluate MSI's high-end GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST line with the flagship overclocked Gaming Edition MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC BE. With falling prices on AMD Radeon video cards we will compare it to the AMD Radeon HD 7850 to see which will emerge as the victor in the sub-$200 price price range."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Podcast #269 - Frame Rating on Eyefinity, News from IDF, and rumors about new AMD GPUs

Subject: General Tech | September 19, 2013 - 02:26 PM |
Tagged: video, surround, podcast, nvidia, Intel, idf, haswell, frame rating, eyefinity, baytrail, amd, 4250U

PC Perspective Podcast #269 - 09/19/2013

Join us this week as we discuss Frame Rating on Eyefinity, News from IDF, and rumors about new AMD GPUs

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: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, and Morry Teitelman

 
Program length: 1:35:35
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Jeremy: Um, sure why not - ADATA DashDrive Durable
    2. Allyn: Connected Data Transporter 2.0 (yes it exists)
  4. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  5. Closing/outro

 

NVIDIA Tegra Note Tablet Platform Launches - $199 from EVGA, PNY

Subject: Mobile | September 18, 2013 - 12:04 PM |
Tagged: tegra note, tegra 4, tegra, tablet, pny, nvidia, evga

Over the past couple of months there have been several leaks about a potential NVIDIA-branded tablet based on the Tegra 4 SoC.  Most speculated that NVIDIA had decided to enter into the hardware market directly with a "Tegra Tab" in a similar vein to the release of NVIDIA SHIELD.  As it turns out though NVIDIA has created a platform for which other companies can rebrand and resell an Android tablet.

TegraNote_front_c.jpg

According to NVIDIA, the Tegra Note platform will enable partners to bring 7-in tablets to market packed with the feature set NVIDIA has been promising since the launch of the Tegra 4 SoC.  Those include stylus support, high quality audio, HDR camera capabilities and 100% native Android operating systems.

Maybe more interesting are the partners that NVIDIA is teaming with for this launch.  While companies like ASUS have already done the development work to prepare various size tablets based on Tegra chips in the past, NVIDIA is going to introduce a couple of its graphics cards partners to the mobility ecosystem: EVGA and PNY in North America.

TegraNote_back.jpg

While we have questions about the capability for either of these companies to truly support a tabletin today's market but the truth is likely that NVIDIA is handling most if not all of the logistics on this project.  What is not in question is the potential for high value: these tablets will start with a suggested retail price of $199.

tegraplatform.png

We already know most of the technical details about the Tegra 4 SoC including the 4+1 Cortex A15 CPU cores and the 72-core GPU.  NVIDIA claims they will get 10 hours of video playback with this platform but I would like to get data on the weight and battery size before calling that a win.  The display resolution is a bit lower than other competing high-end options in the market today but the sub-$200 price point does mean there had to be some corners cut.

UPDATE: I asked NVIDIA for more information on the size, weight and battery capacity and got a quick answer.  The battery capacity is 4100 mAh and the entire device weighs 320g.  Compared to the Google Nexus 7, the current strongest 7-in tablet in my opinion, that is a 4% larger battery (vs 3950 mAh) and 10% heavier device (vs 290g).  The Tegra Note reference is also a bit thicker at 9.6mm compared to the 8.65mm of the Nexus 7.

There are more details on the official NVIDIA blog post making the announcement this morning including direct OTA Android updates so check that out if you think you might be interested in one of these tablets in the coming months!

Source: NVIDIA
Author:
Manufacturer: Various

Summary of Events

In January of 2013 I revealed a new testing methodology for graphics cards that I dubbed Frame Rating.  At the time I was only able to talk about the process, using capture hardware to record the output directly from the DVI connections on graphics cards, but over the course of a few months started to release data and information using this technology.  I followed up the story in January with a collection of videos that displayed some of the capture video and what kind of performance issues and anomalies we were able to easily find. 

My first full test results were published in February to quite a bit of stir and then finally in late March released Frame Rating Dissected: Full Details on Capture-based Graphics Performance Testing which dramatically changed the way graphics cards and gaming performance was discussed and evaluated forever. 

Our testing proved that AMD CrossFire was not improving gaming experiences in the same way that NVIDIA SLI was.  Also, we showed that other testing tools like FRAPS were inadequate in showcasing this problem.  If you are at all unfamiliar with this testing process or the results it showed, please check out the Frame Rating Dissected story above.

At the time, we tested 5760x1080 resolution using AMD Eyefinity and NVIDIA Surround but found there were too many issues and problems with our scripts and the results they were presenting to give reasonably assured performance metrics.  Running AMD + Eyefinity was obviously causing some problems but I wasn’t quite able to pinpoint what they were and how severe it might have been.  Instead I posted graphs like this:

01.png

We were able to show NVIDIA GTX 680 performance and scaling in SLI at 5760x1080 but we only were giving results for the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition in a single GPU configuration.

 

Since those stories were released, AMD has been very active.  At first they were hesitant to believe our results and called into question our processes and the ability for gamers to really see the frame rate issues we were describing.  However, after months of work and pressure from quite a few press outlets, AMD released a 13.8 beta driver that offered a Frame Pacing option in the 3D controls that enables the ability to evenly space out frames in multi-GPU configurations producing a smoother gaming experience.

02.png

The results were great!  The new AMD driver produced very consistent frame times and put CrossFire on a similar playing field to NVIDIA’s SLI technology.  There were limitation though: the driver only fixed DX10/11 games and only addressed resolutions of 2560x1440 and below.

But the story won’t end there.  CrossFire and Eyefinity are still very important in a lot of gamers minds and with the constant price drops in 1920x1080 panels, more and more gamers are taking (or thinking of taking) the plunge to the world of Eyefinity and Surround.  As it turns out though, there are some more problems and complications with Eyefinity and high-resolution gaming (multi-head 4K) that are cropping up and deserve discussion.

Continue reading our investigation into AMD Eyefinity and NVIDIA Surround with multi-GPU solutions!!