Podcast #409 - GTX 1060 Review, 3DMark Time Spy Controversy, Tiny Nintendo and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 21, 2016 - 12:21 PM |
Tagged: Wraith, Volta, video, time spy, softbank, riotoro, retroarch, podcast, nvidia, new, kaby lake, Intel, gtx 1060, geforce, asynchronous compute, async compute, arm, apollo lake, amd, 3dmark, 10nm, 1070m, 1060m

PC Perspective Podcast #409 - 07/21/2016

Join us this week as we discuss the GTX 1060 review, controversy surrounding the async compute of 3DMark Time Spy 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!

This episode of the PC Perspective Podcast is sponsored by Casper!

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

Program length: 1:34:57
  1. Week in Review:
  2. 0:51:17 This episode of the PC Perspective Podcast is sponsored by Casper!
  3. News items of interest:
  4. 1:26:26 Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Ryan: Sapphire Nitro Bot
    2. Allyn: klocki - chill puzzle game (also on iOS / Android)
  5. Closing/outro

Report: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070M and 1060M Specs Leaked

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 20, 2016 - 12:19 PM |
Tagged: VideoCardz, rumor, report, nvidia, GTX 1070M, GTX 1060M, GeForce GTX 1070, GeForce GTX 1060, 2048 CUDA Cores

Specifications for the upcoming mobile version of NVIDIA's GTX 1070 GPU may have leaked, and according to the report at VideoCardz.com this GTX 1070M will have 2048 CUDA cores; 128 more than the desktop version's 1920 cores.

nvidia-geforce-gtx-1070-mobile-specs.jpg

Image credit: BenchLife via VideoCardz

The report comes via BenchLife, with the screenshot of GPU-Z showing the higher CUDA core count (though VideoCardz mentions the TMU count should be 128). The memory interface remains at 256-bit for the mobile version, with 8GB of GDDR5.

VideoCardz reported another GPU-Z screenshot (via PurePC) of the mobile GTX 1060, which appears to offer the same specs of the desktop version, at a slightly lower clock speed.

nvidia-geforce-gtx-1060-mobile-specs.jpg

Image credit: PurePC via VideoCardz

Finally, this chart was provided for reference:

videocardz_chart.PNG

Image credit: VideoCardz

Note the absence of information about a mobile variant of the GTX 1080, details of which are still unknown (for now).

Source: VideoCardz
Manufacturer: Overclock.net

Yes, We're Writing About a Forum Post

Update - July 19th @ 7:15pm EDT: Well that was fast. Futuremark published their statement today. I haven't read it through yet, but there's no reason to wait to link it until I do.

Update 2 - July 20th @ 6:50pm EDT: We interviewed Jani Joki, Futuremark's Director of Engineering, on our YouTube page. The interview is embed just below this update.

Original post below

The comments of a previous post notified us of an Overclock.net thread, whose author claims that 3DMark's implementation of asynchronous compute is designed to show NVIDIA in the best possible light. At the end of the linked post, they note that asynchronous compute is a general blanket, and that we should better understand what is actually going on.

amd-mantle-queues.jpg

So, before we address the controversy, let's actually explain what asynchronous compute is. The main problem is that it actually is a broad term. Asynchronous compute could describe any optimization that allows tasks to execute when it is most convenient, rather than just blindly doing them in a row.

I will use JavaScript as a metaphor. In this language, you can assign tasks to be executed asynchronously by passing functions as parameters. This allows events to execute code when it is convenient. JavaScript, however, is still only single threaded (without Web Workers and newer technologies). It cannot run callbacks from multiple events simultaneously, even if you have an available core on your CPU. What it does, however, is allow the browser to manage its time better. Many events can be delayed until the browser renders the page, it performs other high-priority tasks, or until the asynchronous code has everything it needs, like assets that are loaded from the internet.

mozilla-architecture.jpg

This is asynchronous computing.

However, if JavaScript was designed differently, it would have been possible to run callbacks on any available thread, not just the main thread when available. Again, JavaScript is not designed in this way, but this is where I pull the analogy back into AMD's Asynchronous Compute Engines. In an ideal situation, a graphics driver will be able to see all the functionality that a task will require, and shove them down an at-work GPU, provided the specific resources that this task requires are not fully utilized by the existing work.

Read on to see how this is being implemented, and what the controversy is.

NVIDIA's GTX 1060, the newest in their Hari Seldon lineup of cards

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 19, 2016 - 01:54 PM |
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, gtx 1060, gp106, geforce, founders edition

The GTX 1060 Founders Edition has arrived and also happens to be our first look at the 16nm FinFET GP106 silicon, the GTX 1080 and 1070 used GP104.  This card features 10 SMs, 1280 CUDA cores, 48 ROPs and 80 texture units, in many ways it is a half of a GTX 1080. The GPU is clocked at a base of 1506MHz with a boost of 1708MHz, the 6GB of VRAM at 8GHz.  [H]ard|OCP took this card through its paces, contrasting it with the RX480 and the GTX 980 at resolutions of 1440p as well as the more common 1080p.  As they do not use the frame rating tools which are the basis of our graphics testing of all cards, including the GTX 1060 of course, they included the new DOOM in their test suite.  Read on to see how they felt the card compared to the competition ... just don't expect to see a follow up article on SLI performance.

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"NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1060 video card is launched today in the $249 and $299 price point for the Founders Edition. We will find out how it performs in comparison to AMD Radeon RX 480 in DOOM with the Vulkan API as well as DX12 and DX11 games. We'll also see how a GeForce GTX 980 compares in real world gaming."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

GP106 Specifications

Twelve days ago, NVIDIA announced its competitor to the AMD Radeon RX 480, the GeForce GTX 1060, based on a new Pascal GPU; GP 106. Though that story was just a brief preview of the product, and a pictorial of the GTX 1060 Founders Edition card we were initially sent, it set the community ablaze with discussion around which mainstream enthusiast platform was going to be the best for gamers this summer.

Today we are allowed to show you our full review: benchmarks of the new GeForce GTX 1060 against the likes of the Radeon RX 480, the GTX 970 and GTX 980, and more. Starting at $250, the GTX 1060 has the potential to be the best bargain in the market today, though much of that will be decided based on product availability and our results on the following pages.

Does NVIDIA’s third consumer product based on Pascal make enough of an impact to dissuade gamers from buying into AMD Polaris?

01.jpg

All signs point to a bloody battle this July and August and the retail cards based on the GTX 1060 are making their way to our offices sooner than even those based around the RX 480. It is those cards, and not the reference/Founders Edition option, that will be the real competition that AMD has to go up against.

First, however, it’s important to find our baseline: where does the GeForce GTX 1060 find itself in the wide range of GPUs?

Continue reading our review of the GeForce GTX 1060 6GB graphics card!!

NVIDIA's New #OrderOf10 Origins Contest

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 19, 2016 - 01:07 AM |
Tagged: nvidia

Honestly, when I first received this news, I thought it was a mistaken re-announcement of the contest from a few months ago. The original Order of 10 challenge was made up of a series of puzzles, and the first handful of people to solve it, received a GTX 10-Series graphics card. Turns out, NVIDIA is doing it again.

nvidia-2016-orderof10-july.png

For four weeks, starting on July 21st, NVIDIA will add four new challenges and, more importantly, 100 new “chances to win”. They did not announce what those prizes will be or whether all of them will be distributed to the first 25 complete entries of each challenge, though. Some high-profile YouTube personalities, such as some of the members of Rooster Teeth, were streaming their attempts the last time around, so there might be some of that again this time, too.

Source: NVIDIA

Rumor: 16nm for NVIDIA's Volta Architecture

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 16, 2016 - 06:37 PM |
Tagged: Volta, pascal, nvidia, maxwell, 16nm

For the past few generations, NVIDIA has been roughly trying to release a new architecture with a new process node, and release a refresh the following year. This ran into a hitch as Maxwell was delayed a year, apart from the GTX 750 Ti, and then pushed back to the same 28nm process that Kepler utilized. Pascal caught up with 16nm, although we know that some hard, physical limitations are right around the corner. The lattice spacing for silicon at room temperature is around ~0.5nm, so we're talking about features the size of ~the low 30s of atoms in width.

nvidia-2016-gtc-pascal-fivemiracles.png

This rumor claims that NVIDIA is not trying to go with 10nm for Volta. Instead, it will take place on the same, 16nm node that Pascal is currently occupying. This is quite interesting, because GPUs scale quite well with complexity changes, as they have many features with a relatively low clock rate, so the only real ways to increase performance are to make the existing architecture more efficient, or make a larger chip.

That said, GP100 leaves a lot of room on the table for an FP32-optimized, ~600mm2 part to crush its performance at the high end, similar to how GM200 replaced GK110. The rumored GP102, expected in the ~450mm2 range for Titan or GTX 1080 Ti-style parts, has some room to grow. Like GM200, however, it would also be unappealing to GPU compute users who need FP64. If this is what is going on, and we're totally just speculating at the moment, it would signal that enterprise customers should expect a new GPGPU card every second gaming generation.

That is, of course, unless NVIDIA recognized ways to make the Maxwell-based architecture significantly more die-space efficient in Volta. Clocks could get higher, or the circuits themselves could get simpler. You would think that, especially in the latter case, they would have integrated those ideas into Maxwell and Pascal, though; but, like HBM2 memory, there might have been a reason why they couldn't.

We'll need to wait and see. The entire rumor could be crap, who knows?

Source: Fudzilla

Ansel arrives and NVIDIA holds a celebration in their VR Funhouse

Subject: General Tech | July 14, 2016 - 06:06 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, vr funhouse, ansel, vrworks

A while back Scott wrote about NVIDIA's Ansel, a screenshot application on performance enhancing drugs.  Today it arrives, paired with their new driver and adds support for Mirror's Edge Catalyst to the list of supported games such as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Unreal Tournament, Tom Clancy’s The Division, and No Man’s Sky just to name a few.  The tool allows you to take 360 degree screen captures, allowing you to completely rotate around the image on a 2D screen or with VR headsets like the Vive or Rift.  Just trigger the recording while you are in game, the game will pause and you can roll, zoom, and position your focus to get the screenshot you want.  From there hit the Super Resolution button and your screenshot will be of significantly greater quality than the game ever could be.  The thumbnail below is available in its original 46080x25920 resolution by visting NVIDIA's Ansel page, it is a mere 1.7GB in size.

nvidia-geforce-gtx-1080-nvidia-ansel-super-resolution.png

NVIDIA also released their first game today, a VR Funhouse available on Steam for no charge ... apart from the HTC Vive and minimum hardware requirements of an GTX 1060 and i7 4790 or the recommended GTX 1080 and i7 5930, which are enough of an investment as it is.  There are seven games to play, expect skeet shooting, whack a mole and other standard carny games.  At the same time it is a showcase of NVIDIA's VR technology, not just the *Works which we are familiar with but also VR SLI support for those with multiple GPUs and VRWorks Multi-res Shading which reduces processing load by only rendering full detail to objects within your field of view.  If you have the hardware you should check out the game, it is certanly worth the admission price.

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Source: NVIDIA

DOOM on Vulkan Benchmarks

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 13, 2016 - 09:20 PM |
Tagged: vulkan, R9 Fury X, nvidia, Mantle, gtx 1070, fury x, doom, amd

We haven't yet benchmarked DOOM on Vulkan Update (immediately after posting): Ryan has just informed me that, apparently, we did benchmark Vulkan on our YouTube page (embed below). I knew we were working on it, I just didn't realize we published content yet. Original post continues below.

As far as I know, we're trying to get our testing software for frame time analysis running on the new API, but other sites have posted framerate-based results. The results show that AMD's cards benefit greatly from the new, Mantle-derived interface (versus the OpenGL one). On the other hand, while NVIDIA never really sees a decrease, more than 1% at least, it doesn't really get much of a boost, either.

amd-2016-doom-vulkan-benchmark-computerbasede.png

Image Credit: ComputerBase.de

I tweeted out to ID's lead renderer programmer, Tiago Sousa, to ask whether they take advantage of NVIDIA-specific extensions on the OpenGL path (like command submission queues). I haven't got a response yet, so it's difficult to tell whether this speaks more toward NVIDIA's OpenGL performance, or AMD's Vulkan performance. In the end, it doesn't really matter, though. AMD's Fury X (which can be found for as low as $399 with a mail-in rebate) is beating the GTX 1070 (which is in stock for the low $400s) by a fair margin. The Fury X also beats its own OpenGL performance by up to 66% (at 1080p) with the new API.

The API should also make it easier for games to pace their frames, too, which should allow smoother animation at these higher rates. That said, we don't know for sure because we can't test that from just seeing FPS numbers. The gains are impressive from AMD, though.

DigitalFoundry Shows Off Battlefield 1 Alpha PC Settings

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 7, 2016 - 10:13 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, GTX 1080, ea, dice, battlefield, battlefield 1

Battlefield 1 looks pretty good. To compare how it scales between its settings, DigitalFoundry took a short amount of video at 4K across all four, omnibus graphics settings: Low, Medium, High, and Ultra. These are, as should be expected for a high-end PC game, broken down into more specific categories, like lighting quality and texture filtering, but I can't blame them for not adding that many permutations to a single video. It would just be a mess.

The rendering itself doesn't change too much between settings to my eye. Higher quality settings draw more distant objects than lower ones, and increases range that level of detail falls off, too. About a third of the way into the video, they show a house from a moderate distance. The lowest quality version was almost completely devoid of shadowing and its windows would not even draw. The lighting then scaled up from there as the settings were moved progressively toward Ultra.

ea-2016-bfone-lowsettings-digitalfoundry.jpg

Image Credit: DigitalFoundry

While it's still Alpha-level code, a single GTX 1080 was getting between 50 and 60 FPS at 4K. This is a good range to be in for a G-Sync monitor, as the single-card machine doesn't need to deal with multi-GPU issues, like pacing and driver support.