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."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

Frame Pacing for CrossFire

When the Radeon HD 7990 launched in April of this year, we had some not-so-great things to say about it.  The HD 7990 depends on CrossFire technology to function and we had found quite a few problems with AMD's CrossFire technology over the last months of testing with our Frame Rating technology, the HD 7990 "had a hard time justifying its $1000 price tag."  Right at launch, AMD gave us a taste of a new driver that they were hoping would fix the frame pacing and frame time variance issues seen in CrossFire, and it looked positive.  The problem was that the driver wouldn't be available until summer.

As I said then: "But until that driver is perfected, is bug free and is presented to buyers as a made-for-primetime solution, I just cannot recommend an investment this large on the Radeon HD 7990."

Today could be a very big day for AMD - the release of the promised driver update that enables frame pacing on AMD 7000-series CrossFire configurations including the Radeon HD 7990 graphics cards with a pair of Tahiti GPUs. 

It's not perfect yet and there are some things to keep an eye on.  For example, this fix will not address Eyefinity configurations which includes multi-panel solutions and the new 4K 60 Hz displays that require a tiled display configuration.  Also, we found some issues with more than two GPU CrossFire that we'll address in a later page too.

 

New Driver Details

Starting with 13.8 and moving forward, AMD plans to have the frame pacing fix integrated into all future drivers.  The software team has implemented a software based frame pacing algorithm that simply monitors the time it takes for each GPU to render a frame, how long a frame is displayed on the screen and inserts delays into the present calls when necessary to prevent very tightly timed frame renders.  This balances or "paces" the frame output to the screen without lowering the overall frame rate.  The driver monitors this constantly in real-time and minor changes are made on a regular basis to keep the GPUs in check. 

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As you would expect, this algorithm is completely game engine independent and the games should be completely oblivious to all that is going on (other than the feedback from present calls, etc). 

This fix is generic meaning it is not tied to any specific game and doesn't require profiles like CrossFire can from time to time.  The current implementation will work with DX10 and DX11 based titles only with DX9 support being added later with another release.  AMD claims this was simply a development time issue and since most modern GPU-bound titles are DX10/11 based they focused on that area first.  In phase 2 of the frame pacing implementation AMD will add in DX9 and OpenGL support.  AMD wouldn't give me a timeline for implementation though so we'll have to see how much pressure AMD continues with internally to get the job done.

Continue reading our story of the new AMD Catalyst 13.8 beta driver with frame pacing support!!

Podcast #262 - Live from QuakeCon 2013!

Subject: General Tech | August 1, 2013 - 01:35 PM |
Tagged: video, shield, Samsung, quakecon, podcast, nvidia, frame rating, crossfire, amd, 840 evo, 7990

PC Perspective Podcast #262 - 08/01/2013

Join us this week as we discuss NVIDIA SHIELD, the Samsung 840 EVO, Viewer Q&A, and much more LIVE from QuakeCon 2013!

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, and Allyn Malventano

Program length: 1:19:01

Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

The Hardware

Dear NVIDIA,

It has come to my attention that you are planning on producing and selling a device to be called “NVIDIA SHIELD.”  It should be noted that even though it shares the same name, this device has no matching attributes of the super-hero comic-based security agency.  Please adjust.

 

When SHIELD was previewed to the world at CES in January of this year, there were a hundred questions about the device.  What would it cost?  Would the build quality stand up to expectations?  Would the Android operating system hold up as a dedicated gaming platform?  After months of waiting a SHIELD unit finally arrived in our offices in early July, giving us plenty of time (I thought) to really get a feel for the device and its strengths and weakness.  As it turned out though, it still seemed like an inadequate amount of time to really gauge this product.  But I am going to take a stab at it, feature by feature.

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NVIDIA SHIELD aims to be a mobile gaming platform based on Android with a flip out touch-screen interface, high quality console design integrated controller, and added features like PC game streaming and Miracast support.

Initial Unboxing and Overview of Product Video

 

The Hardware

At the heart of NVIDIA SHIELD is the brand new Tegra 4 SoC, NVIDIA’s latest entry into the world of mobile processors.  Tegra 4 is a quad-core, ARM Cortex-A15 based SoC that includes a 5th A15 core built on lower power optimized process technology to run background and idle tasks using less power.  This is very similar to what NVIDIA did with Tegra 3’s 4+1 technology, and how ARM is tackling the problem with big.LITTLE philosophy. 

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Continue reading our review of the NVIDIA SHIELD Android gaming device!!

Podcast #261 - ASUS PQ321Q 4K Monitor Review, Samsung 840 Evo details, Kepler meets Tegra, and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 25, 2013 - 02:36 PM |
Tagged: video, tegra 5, Samsung, pq321q, podcast, logan, kepler, asus, 840 evo, 4k

PC Perspective Podcast #261 - 07/25/2013

Join us this week as we discuss our ASUS PQ321Q 4K Monitor Review, Samsung 840 Evo details, Kepler meets Tegra, 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, Jeremy Hellstrom and Allyn Malventano

Program length: 1:12:20

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Jeremy: Got nothing so random mod
    2. Allyn: A sinusesectomy
    3. Morry: When Artic Silver just isn't good enough - IC Diamond Thermal Paste
  4. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  5. Closing/outro

 

Video Perspective: SEIKI SE39UY04 39-in 4K 3840x2160 TV Unboxing and Overview

Subject: General Tech, Displays | July 20, 2013 - 11:36 PM |
Tagged: video, seiki, SE39UY04, hdtv, displays, 4k, 3840x2160

After the interest in our overview of the SEIKI 50-in 4K HDTV last April, we got word that SEIKI was making a smaller version of the same television.  The SE39UY04 is now available and sells for just under $700 at various online retailers and is surely piquing the interest of many PC users and enthusiasts with the combination of a 3840x2160 resolution and 39-in screen size.

In nearly every way, this 39-in model is identical to the 50-in version with the exception of size and pixel density.  Having just recently published a review of the ASUS PQ321Q 4K monitor on PC Perspective I can now report that the move from 60 Hz screens to 30 Hz screens, even at this kind of resolution and screen size, is very apparent. 

Below is our initial video unboxing and overview of the new SEIKI SE39UY04.  Check it out and leave us any questions or ideas below!

Podcast #260 - Gigabyte Z87-OC Force, ASUS PQ321Q 4K Monitor, FX-9000 Processors and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 18, 2013 - 02:10 PM |
Tagged: z87 oc force, video, pq321q, podcast, gigabyte, fx-9000, asus, 4k

PC Perspective Podcast #260 - 07/18/2013

Join us this week as we discuss the Gigabyte Z87-OC Force, ASUS PQ321Q 4K Monitor, FX-9000 Processors 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, Jeremy Hellstrom and Allyn Malventano

Program length: 1:17:39

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
    1. Ryan: T-shirts
    2. Jeremy: Electro-Permanent Magnets on quadcopters; how do they work?
    3. Morry: Water cooler barbs, what else - Monsoon barbs
  4. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  5. Closing/outro

 

PCPer Live! Learn about power supplies with Ryan and Lee! Win EVGA PSUs!

Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | July 16, 2013 - 08:16 PM |
Tagged: video, PSU, power suppy, pcper live, live

Missed the live stream?  You fool!  But here is the reply of the event and quite honestly it turned out better than I expected.  If you don't learn something about power supplies by watching this, I'll eat my shoe.

Countless readers ask us for advice on power supplies.  What makes power supplies different, how do you calculate how big of a PSU you need, are single rail units the best?  That is just a sample of the inquiries that find their way to us.

After months of scheduling, I was finally able to wrangle in our resident power supply expert, Lee Garbutt, responsible for basically all of the power supply testing on PC Perspective since the beginning, for a LIVE stream to talk all about power supplies!

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Learn about Power Supplies with Ryan and Lee - Live Stream

10am PT / 1pm ET - July 17th

PC Perspective Live! Page

What can you expect to learn during our live stream?  Here is a sample of the topics we are going to cover:

Why are PC power supplies called switchers or switching power supplies?

What qualities characterize a good PSU?

What is Power Factor Correction and is it the same thing as Efficiency?

What’s all the hype about single versus multi rail output? Which is better? And what’s a rail anyway?

Let’s look inside a PSU and show me what the main components are?

Let’s talk about how you test a PSU. What tests do you perform? What equipment do you use, etc.?

We'll be monitoring the chat room in our PC Perspective Live! page for more questions during the stream of course but if you have any pressing issues you want to be sure are addressed, please leave a note in our comments below!  For those of you that CAN join us live, we have another reason to attend...PRIZES!!

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EVGA was kind enough to donate a EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 G2 PSU and a SuperNOVA NEX750G Gold power supply!  What do have to do to enter?  Just be in the live stream and pay attention - we'll have the details there during the LIVE stream!

Again, that's July 17th at 1pm ET / 10am PT for an informative discussion about the power supplies that make all of our PC gaming goodness possible!

Author:
Subject: Displays
Manufacturer: ASUS
Tagged: video, pq321q, PQ321, asus, 4k

Some more 4K love!

This morning Fedex dropped off a new product at our offices, one that I was very eagerly awaiting: the ASUS PQ321Q 31.5-in 4K 60 Hz monitor!

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While we are far from ready to post a full review of the display and have lots of more game testing to get to, we did host a live stream for the unboxing and initial testing of the PQ321Q that I think is worth sharing.

In this video we do a walk around the $3500 4K display, hook it up to both NVIDIA and AMD test bed at 60 Hz and then proceed to install 3-Way SLI Titans to see how it games!  Enjoy this quick preview before our full review of the ASUS PQ321Q.

UPDATE: This display is now available for purchase if you want to shell out the $3500!

Author:
Subject: Systems
Manufacturer: Lenovo

A 27-in Table PC

While foraging through the land that is Las Vegas during the 2013 Consumer Electronic Show, we ran into Lenovo and they showed us a unique PC design they were calling the "Table PC".  The Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon is a 27-in All-in-One design that is finally available in the market and brings some very interesting design decisions and use cases.

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At its heart, the IdeaCentre Horizon is a 27-in 1920x1080 display with an AIO PC design that includes some pretty standard Intel-based Ultrabook-style hardware.  That includes an Intel Core i5-3337U dual-core processor, a discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX GT620M graphics processor, a 1TB 5400 RPM HDD and 8GB of DDR3-1600 memory. 

But this computer is much more important than simply the hardware it is built around.  Built to switch between a standard AIO configuration but allows for a fold-down, multi-user interface with custom software for interaction, the Horizon attempts to bring life to low-cost computers built for more than one user at a time. 

From a physical perspective, the IdeaCentre Horizon has the normal and expected design cues.  There is an HD webcam up top for Skype calls, touch-based buttons for volume and brightness, indicator lights for drive usage, power states, etc. 

The 1920x1080 10-point touch screen on the Horizon was nice, but not great.  For a 27-in display that you are going to be interfacing with very closely, the pixel density is definitely lower than our 1080p 21-in touch screen AIO floating around the office.  There were some minor glare issues as well, even with the Lenovo "anti-glare coating" while using the Horizon in the fully laid down, flat position.

Continue reading our review of the Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon 27-in All-in-One Table PC!!