More Tomb Raiding and a new bundle from NVIDIA

Subject: General Tech | February 17, 2016 - 06:47 PM |
Tagged: gaming, tomb raider, nvidia, bundle, the division

The benchmarks that Ryan ran on the new Tomb Raider game were popular enough that it seems worth giving you a second opinion, in this case from [H]ard|OCP.  They use version 1.0 build 610.1_64 of the game, along with Crimson Edition 16.1.1 Hotfix and GeForce 361.75 during their testing.  For 1080p performance they tested the R9 380X 4GB against the GTX 960 4GB which saw AMD's card come out on top with similar results when testing the R9 390 against the GeForce GTX 970 at 1440p.  At the top end the R9 390X and GTX 980 performed similarly in single GPU configurations with AMD beating NVIDIA in multi GPU tests.  They also tried the TitanX, Fury and FuryX in single GPU configurations at 4k ... it did not go well.

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Also worth noting is the new bundle from NVIDIA, if you pick up a GeForce GTX 970 or better GPU or purchase a notebook with a GeForce GTX 970M, 980M or 980 the you are eligible for a free copy of The Division.  Click here to redeem your code or to find out how to get one.

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"A new Tomb Raider game is out, Rise of the Tomb Raider. We take RoTR and find out how it performs and compares on no less than 14 of today's latest video card offerings from the AMD and NVIDIA GPU lineups from top-to-bottom using the latest drivers and game patch v1.0 build 610.1_64."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

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

Early testing for higher end GPUs

UPDATE 2/5/16: Nixxes released a new version of Rise of the Tomb Raider today with some significant changes. I have added another page at the end of this story that looks at results with the new version of the game, a new AMD driver and I've also included some SLI and CrossFire results.

I will fully admit to being jaded by the industry on many occasions. I love my PC games and I love hardware but it takes a lot for me to get genuinely excited about anything. After hearing game reviewers talk up the newest installment of the Tomb Raider franchise, Rise of the Tomb Raider, since it's release on the Xbox One last year, I've been waiting for its PC release to give it a shot with real hardware. As you'll see in the screenshots and video in this story, the game doesn't appear to disappoint.

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Rise of the Tomb Raider takes the exploration and "tomb raiding" aspects that made the first games in the series successful and applies them to the visual quality and character design brought in with the reboot of the series a couple years back. The result is a PC game that looks stunning at any resolution, but even more so in 4K, that pushes your hardware to its limits. For single GPU performance, even the GTX 980 Ti and Fury X struggle to keep their heads above water.

In this short article we'll look at the performance of Rise of the Tomb Raider with a handful of GPUs, leaning towards the high end of the product stack, and offer up my view on whether each hardware vendor is living up to expectations.

Continue reading our look at GPU performance in Rise of the Tomb Raider!!

Crystal Dynamics Reveals Minimum Specifications for Rise of the Tomb Raider on the PC

Subject: General Tech | January 22, 2016 - 07:06 AM |
Tagged: tomb raider, pc gaming, min specs, can it run

Crystal Dynamics has revealed the minimum system requirements for Rise of the Tomb Raider on PC. This latest Lara Croft adventure sees the ever-resilient tomb raider following in the footsteps of her father in search of an artifact said to grant immortality amidst the lost city of Kitezh. Fortunately for gamers, Rise of the Tomb Raider has quite a low bar for entry with modest minimum system requirements. You will need more powerful hardware than its 2013 predecessor (Tomb Raider), but it is still quite manageable.

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PC gamers will need a 64-bit version of Windows, a dual core Intel Core i3-2100 (2 core, 4 thread at 3.1 GHz) or, for example, AMD FX 4100 processor, 6 GB of system memory, 25 GB of storage space for all the game files, and, of course, a graphics card with 2 GB of video memory such as the NVIDIA GTX 650 or AMD Radeon HD7770. Naturally, hardware with higher specifications/capabilities will get you better performance and visuals, but the above is what you will need to play.

Minimum PC System Requirements:

  • Dual Core Processor (e.g. Core i3-2100 or FX 4100)
  • 6 GB RAM
  • 25 GB Available Storage Space
  • 2 GB Graphics Card (e.g. GTX 650 or Radeon HD7770)

For those curious, Tomb Raider (2013) required XP SP3 32-bit, a dual core Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 or Athlon 64 X2 4050+ CPU, 1 GB of RAM (2 GB for Vista), and an NVIDIA 8600 or AMD HD2600 XT GPU with 512MB of video memory.

Rise of the Tomb Raider will reportedly add new stealth and crafting components along with new weapons and options for close quarters combat. Further, the game will feature day and night cycles with realistic weather which should make for cold snow-filled nights in Siberia as well as opportunities to sneak up on unwitting guards freezing their buns off!

The game is set to release on January 28th for the PC and joins the the Xbox One version that launched back in November 2015 where it will be a timed exclusive (it will come to the PS4 later this year).

Personally, I am excited for this game. I picked up its predecessor during a Steam sale for super cheap only to let it sit in my inventory for about a year. It was one of those 'I'll play it eventually, but it's not really a priority' things where the price finally got me (heh). Little did I know how wrong I was, because once I finally got around to firing up the game, I played it near constantly until I beat it! It was a surprisingly fun reboot of the series, and I am hopeful that RofTR will be more of the same! 

Source: Bit-Tech

Never Settle Reloaded Bundle Gets a Level Up Bonus

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 15, 2013 - 04:00 PM |
Tagged: tomb raider, never settle reloaded, never settle, level up, Crysis 3, bundle, amd

AMD dropped us a quick note to let us in on another limited time offer for buyers of AMD Radeon graphics cards.  Starting today, the Never Settle Reloaded bundle that we first told you about in February is getting an upgrade for select tiers.  For new buyers of the Radeon HD 7970, 7950 and 7790 AMD will be adding Tomb Raider into the mix.  Also, the Radeon HD 7870 will be getting Crysis 3.

Here is the updated, currently running AMD Radeon Level Up bundle matrix.

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Now if you buy a new AMD Radeon HD 7970, HD 7950 or HD 7870 today you will get four top-level PC games including Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and Tomb Raider. 

This is a limited time offer though that will end when supplies run out and we don't really have any idea when that will be.  Check out AMD's Level Up site for more details and to find retailers offering the updated bundles. 

I am curious to find out how successful these bundles have been for AMD and if NVIDIA has had a feedback on the Free-to-play bundle they offered or the new Metro: Last Light option.  Do gamers put much emphasis on the game bundles that come with each graphics card or does the performance and technology make the difference?

UPDATE: I have seen a couple of questions on whether this Level Up promotion would be retroactive. According to the details I have from AMD, this promotion is NOT retroactive.  If you have already purchased any of the affected cards you will not be getting the additional games.

Source: AMD

Hair Quality is now a graphics setting

Subject: General Tech | March 20, 2013 - 05:21 PM |
Tagged: tomb raider, tressfx, gaming

Tomb Raider is as divisive a game as Halo, either you love the series or can't understand why people are interested in it at all.  As is usual, [H]ard|OCP put the gaming considerations aside to take a look at the technology showcased in the game as well as finding the settings which provide the best gaming experience on several different single and dual GPU systems.  Those who want to experience AMD's new TressFX feature will be glad to hear that you can enable that setting even on a GTX 660Ti.  As far as general performance, high end card owners will be able to use Super Sample AA while others will have to content themselves with FXAA, for resolutions over 1080p you are going to want a pair of GPUs as single GPU solutions struggled to meet even 1080p with high or ultimate settings.  Read on to see how your system will perform and discover which side of the fence [H] is on when it comes to Lara Croft.

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"Tomb Raider is the first game to sport AMD's new TressFX feature. This DX11 effect creates a new sense of realism in-game with each strand of Lara's hair reacting to her movement and environmental features like wind and rain. Crystal Dynamics has worked hard to advance our expectations as gamers and enthusiasts alike!"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: [H]ard|OCP

New Beta NVIDIA GeForce Drivers for Tomb Raider

Subject: General Tech | March 17, 2013 - 03:36 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, tomb raider

The last month has been good to PC gamers: from Starcraft, to SimCity, to Tomb Raider, all with the promise of Bioshock Infinite just around the corner. We are being dog piled by one bulky release after another... most of which we are theoretically able to play.

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Of course this is a call to action for GPU driver engineers. The software required to make your video card run is extremely complex with graphics instructions being compiled and interpreted at runtime for routinely shifting architectures. Performance increases are often measured in the double digit percentages albeit for some set "X" of components in some set "Y" of games.

GeForce 314.14 beta drivers launched early in the month with decent performance increases particularly for setups with SLi-paired 680s. Tomb Raider fans found themselves quite a bit left out with the reboot of the franchise doing everything but rebooting their PCs with NVIDIA and Intel hardware.

Now, two weeks later, NVIDIA has released yet another beta driver, dubbed 314.21, aimed squarely at Tomb Raider. Performance increases are claimed to be an average 45% higher than previous versions with some configurations seeing upwards of 60% increases in performance. The delay was allegedly caused by the hardware developer not receiving the game code with enough time before launch to create the updates.

If you are a Tomb Raider, check out the drivers at NVIDIA's website.

Source: NVIDIA

PCPer Live! Tomb Raider Game Stream - Win Games and Graphics Cards from AMD!

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 4, 2013 - 09:31 PM |
Tagged: video, tomb raider, tahiti, radeon, never settle reloaded, live, crysis, amd

UPDATE: Missed the live stream?  Relive the incredible experience right here!  

On March 5th on the PC Perspective Live! page we will be streaming some game action of the new Tomb Raider.  In what might be one of the most impressive game series reboots in history, this iteration of the action-adventure gameplay is definitely the most impressive looking to date.  And don't forget all the hair animation we are likely to see...

We will be teaming up with AMD once again to provide a fun and exciting PCPer Game Stream that includes game demonstrations and of course, prizes and game keys for those that watch the event LIVE! 

UPDATE: We are excited to announce that Crystal Dynamics' Brian Horton, Senior Art Director for Tomb Raider, will be joining us on the PC Perpsective Game Stream to answer questions and to give us more detail on the visual effects at work in the PC version of the game!

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Tomb Raider Game Stream

5pm PT / 8pm ET - March 5th

PC Perspective Live! Page

Warning: this one will DEFINITELY have mature language and content!!

The stream will be sponsored by AMD and its Never Settle Reloaded game bundles which we previously told you about.  Depending on the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series GPU that you buy, you could get some amazing free games including:

  • Radeon HD 7900 Series
    • FREE Crysis 3
    • FREE Bioshock Infinite
  • Radeon HD 7800 Series
    • FREE Bioshock Infinite
    • FREE Tomb Raider
  • Radeon HD 7900 CrossFire Set
    • FREE Crysis 3
    • FREE Bioshock Infinite
    • FREE Tomb Raider
    • FREE Far Cry 3
    • FREE Hitman: Absolution
    • FREE Sleeping Dogs

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AMD's Antal Tungler (@ColoredRocks on twitter) will be joining us via Skype to talk about the game's technology, performance considerations as well as helping me with some co-op gaming!

Of course, just to sweeten the deal a bit we have some prizes lined up for those of you that participate in our Tomb Raider Game Stream:

  • 2 x Gigabyte Radeon HD 7870 OC 2GB graphics cards (plus Tomb Raider & Bioshock Infinite)
  • 1 x HIS 7850 iPower IceQ Turbo 4GB graphics card (plus Tomb Raider & Bioshock Infinite)
  • 3 x Combo codes for both Tomb Raider AND Bioshock Infinite

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Pretty nice, huh?  All you have to do to win is be present on the PC Perspective Live! Page during the event as we will announce both the content/sweepstakes method AND the winners!

Stop in on March 5h for some PC gaming fun!!

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AMD and Crystal Dynamics Use TressFX to bring GPU Compute to Hair Simulation

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 26, 2013 - 03:04 PM |
Tagged: amd, tressfx, lara croft, tomb raider, crystal dynamics

Last week we got an email from AMD teasing an upcoming technology called TressFX that had something to do with hair and something to do with graphics.  It should come as no surprise today that AMD has announced that TressFX is a hair modeling technology that utilized DirectCompute for simulation.  The proper rendering of hair has been a thorn in the side of game developers for decades now and it seems that with every generation of GPU released by either NVIDIA or AMD/ATI we would see a tech demo about how hair modeling "has been changed forever."

This time though, we are seeing the technology in a AAA gaming title.

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TressFX Hair revolutionizes Lara Croft’s locks by using the DirectCompute programming language to unlock the massively-parallel processing capabilities of the Graphics Core Next architecture, enabling image quality previously restricted to pre-rendered images. Building on AMD’s previous work on Order Independent Transparency (OIT), this method makes use of Per-Pixel Linked-List (PPLL) data structures to manage rendering complexity and memory usage.

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DirectCompute is additionally utilized to perform the real-time physics simulations for TressFX Hair. This physics system treats each strand of hair as a chain with dozens of links, permitting for forces like gravity, wind and movement of the head to move and curl Lara’s hair in a realistic fashion. Further, collision detection is performed to ensure that strands do not pass through one another, or other solid surfaces such as Lara’s head, clothing and body. Finally, hair styles are simulated by gradually pulling the strands back towards their original shape after they have moved in response to an external force.

It's a lot of technology for a little bit of rendering - but realistic hair presents a very unique problem and I am very interested to see this in action when Tomb Raider releases on March 5th. 

I asked AMD a couple of questions including if this was going to be a technology that NVIDIA users would be missing out on.  Their response?  "We don't create features that lock out other vendors."  That doesn't mean GTX 600-series card users will have access to this accelerated hair technology or that it will perform similarly if they do, but I'll take a look when I get my hands on the game.

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We are hoping to get some video to go along with our screenshots as I think that will have a stronger impact.  You can find more details on AMD's TressFX landing page

Source: AMD

AMD Never Settle Reloaded Bundle Campaign Includes Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 2, 2013 - 07:30 PM |
Tagged: tomb raider, never settle reloaded, never settle, Crysis 3, bundle, bioshock infinite, bioshock, amd

You might remember over the holiday season of 2012 that AMD had a simply amazing bundle of games to entice PC gamers to choose purchasing Radeon graphics cards instead of GeForce.  That bundle included Medal of Honor, Sleeping Dogs, Hitman: Absolution and Far Cry 3.  We were stoked to see that kind of comittment to the gamer and even did a set of three game streams with AMD on each games' release. 

Well after a behind-the-scenes battle that was finally decided just about two weeks ago, AMD is ready to announce the "Never Settle Reloaded" bundle that might actually be MORE impressive based on the games included. 

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First up is the reboot of Tomb Raider, a fresh look at the Lara Croft character that I got to get hands on at an event in Toronto last year.  Due out on March 5th, the visuals in this game are damn good.

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Bioshock infinite is the third game in the acclaimed series and has a few DirectCompute additions to the game engine code.  Release is set on March 26th.

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DMC Devil May Cry is included for the APAC region (instead of Tomb Raider).

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And the biggest name in the bundle is no doubt Crysis 3 - a game that many PC gamers have been looking forward to and one that promises to push gaming performance on high-end GPUs to their limits.  I was playing this on a GTX 680 recently (the MP beta) and couldn't get more than 40 FPS at 1080p and Ultra settings. 

So how doese the bundle break down?

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If you buy a single Radeon HD 7970 or HD 7950 you'll be able to get keys for both Crysis 3 and Bioshock Infinite, completely free!  HD 7800 series buyers will get both Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider.

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Just to make things MORE interesting, if you invest in a set of HD 7900 cards for CrossFire, or even a dual-GPU HD 7900 card like the Devil 13, you'll get Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, Far Cry 3, Hitman: Absolution and Sleeping Dogs.  That is 6 full PC games worth at least $300 that you'll get keys for just for picking AMD's Radeon cards over NVIDIA's GeForce.

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A not-so-subtle jab at the competition...

So there you have it, the Never Settle Reloaded bundle.  This iteration doesn't include anything for HD 7700 series cards but I think most enthusiasts are going to stay in the HD 7850 and above range of options anyway. 

NVIDIA has definitely fallen behind when it comes to these kinds of deals for PC gamers and I want to know what YOU think - do these bundles affect your purchasing decision?  We heard from AMD that at least one major reseller of PC hardware saw an "order of magnitude" increase in sales during the holiday season with the original Never Settle bundle and they even won a Newegg award for best marketing campaign. 

Get ready for game streams again as well - we'll be hosting a few of them in February and March with more hardware and game keys to give away!

UPDATE: These deals are live right now!  You can find a list of the HD 7970 cards at Newegg.com, starting at just $379 and even the HD 7950 cards starting at $295 that come with Crysis 3 and Bioshock Infinite keys!  If you are looking more in the HD 7800 series range, you can find HD 7870s starting at just $209 with Bioshock and Tomb Raider keys!