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Subject: Shows and Expos | June 18, 2015 - 05:47 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: E3, E3 15, E3 2015, blizzard, Starcraft II, legacy of the void, whispers of oblivion
While StarCraft II is known for its multiplayer component, some of us are mostly interested in the campaign... and Arcade mods, but there's no news on that front. Legacy of the Void is the end of the StarCraft II trilogy, which is said to finally deal with the hybrids that were introduced in the secret missions of Brood War and StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. They played a larger role in Heart of the Swarm's campaign although that did not even have unlockable missions, so they wouldn't exist otherwise.
StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void does not yet have a release date, but there will be a mini-campaign released for free before it launches. StarCraft II: Whispers of Oblivion (or is that StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void: Whispers of Oblivion?) are three single-player missions that will be released in July. Those who pre-purchase Legacy of the Void will get the missions first, which might mean that everyone else needs to wait until after July to play them... or not. That said, if you are patient, you do not even need to own StarCraft II at all. Free to all, but timed-exclusive for those who pre-order.
Subject: General Tech | June 18, 2015 - 02:03 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, amd, radeon, R9, fury x, Fury, Fiji, fiji xt, r9 nano, fiji x2, project quantum, asus, zenfone 3, g751j, gameworks, nvidia, metal gear solid
PC Perspective Podcast #354 - 06/18/2015
Join us this week as we discuss the AMD R9 Fury X, R9 Nano, ASUS Zenfone2 and much more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
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- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:23:20
AMD PC Gaming Show Event
Week in Review:
News item of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Ryan: NOT HARD DRIVES
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 18, 2015 - 01:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Strix R9 390X, Strix R9 390, Strix R9 380, Strix R7 370, strix, DirectCU II, asus
These particular ASUS STRIX models don't seem to have arrived at Amazon yet but Gigabyte, Sapphire, MSI and XFX are all showing up with prices, though perhaps not reasonable availability. Newegg is also showing similar models and pricing, so keep your eyes out for the ASUS cards to appear.
Fremont, CA (June 17, 2015) — ASUS today announced the Strix R9 390X, R9 390, R9 380 and R7 370 graphics cards. Powered by the latest AMD Radeon graphics-processing units (GPUs), the new Strix R9 390X and R9 390 graphics cards are packed with exclusive ASUS technologies. These include DirectCU III with a patented triple wing-blade fan design and ASUS Auto-Extreme technology with Super Alloy Power II components for aerospace-grade production quality and reliability. All models feature GPU Tweak II with XSplit Gamecaster software for intuitive performance tweaking and instant gameplay streaming.
Cool, silent gameplay: DirectCU III with a triple wing-blade fan design
The Strix R9 390X and R9 390 are equipped with ASUS-exclusive DirectCU III cooling technology, which features two 10mm direct-GPU-contact heat pipes — outperforming reference designs for gaming performance by up to 30%. They each have three fans engineered with a patented, new wing-blade design that delivers maximum airflow and static pressure over the heat sink — giving a 105% improvement over fans without wing-blades. This exclusive triple wing-blade design operates at noise levels three times (3X) quieter than reference cards, making DirectCU III the coolest and quietest graphics card-cooling solution available to date.
The Strix R9 380 and R7 370 come with DirectCU II cooling technology, featuring direct-GPU-contact copper heat pipes and a dual wing-blade design to deliver an incredible gaming experience. All cards feature 0dB fan technology, which stops fan rotation completely during lighter gaming sessions — eliminating noise for undisturbed gameplay.
Premium quality and reliability: Auto-Extreme technology with Super Alloy Power II components
The Strix R9 390X, R9 390, R9 380 and R7 370 benefit from ASUS-exclusive Auto-Extreme technology, the industry’s first 100%-automated manufacturing process that removes human fallibility from the production line for consistent perfection — making them ultra-reliable in all scenarios, from general use to hardcore gaming and overclocking. Auto-Extreme technology eliminates flux to minimize dust buildup and oxidization, while the rear of the printed-circuit boards are totally smooth, for easy handling. This new manufacturing process is also environmentally friendly, eliminating the need for harsh chemicals and reducing production power consumption by 50%.
The new cards also feature aerospace-grade Super Alloy Power II1 components for enhanced efficiency, reduced mechanical noise under load, and lower operating temperatures for unsurpassed quality and reliability. Complementing their amazing reliability, the latest Strix graphics cards are built to be incredibly tough. The Strix R9 390X, R9 390 and R9 380 each come with a strengthened backplate that provides protection and also prevents PCB bending over time.
Tweakable and intuitive: GPU Tweak II with XSplit Gamecaster
Redesigned with an intuitive, all-new user interface, GPU Tweak II makes gaming and overclocking the new Strix cards easier and more visual than ever, while retaining advanced options for seasoned overclockers. With one click, the new Gaming Booster function maximizes system performance by removing redundant processes and allocating all available resources automatically. An included 1-year XSplit Gamecaster premium license — a $99 value — lets gamers easily stream or record gameplay via a convenient, in-game overlay.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 18, 2015 - 01:05 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, Hawaii XT, tonga, pitcairn
So far the only published review with benchmarks is this one from Legion Hardware, with many others including Ryan's to follow as the benchmark monkeys are whipped to a furious pace. The initial results show roughly what has been expected, the R9 390X is roughly 10% faster overall than the 290X and about 6% faster than the base 390 model which itself is roughly 8% faster than the previous 290. The 380 shows a similar 6% gain over the 285 and performance wise can tie the GTX 960. Bear in mind this is very preliminary review, as time is needed to properly test and to overclock the cards, keep your eyes peeled for more reviews and cards from other sources.
"Firstly we would like to thank HIS for supplying their HIS Radeon R9 390X IceQ X2 OC 8GB, R9 390 IceQ X2 OC 8GB and R9 380 IceQ X2 OC 2GB graphics cards. The cooling performance of their IceQ X2 cooler was excellent on all three cards and they look very eye catching as well."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
Subject: General Tech | June 18, 2015 - 12:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Skylake, lga1151, Intel, i7-6700K, i5-6600K, H110, 14nm
DigiTimes has some dates for Skylake, with the desktop chips you are most interesting being revealed at Gamescon in Germany at the end of August. There will be a pair of i7 models, one unlocked K model and a power optimized T model and six i5 models, three with lower TDPs and at least one unlocked i5, the 6600K. A month after the new chips are shown off will come the arrival of the new LGA 1151 socketed H110 chipset, which will likely be compatible with a certain AiO watercooler. Mobile versions will not be for sale until the new year but the long wait will likely mean the inclusion of the new USB 3.1 Type-C ports on those laptops.
"Intel will then unveil its Skylake-based Core i7-6700/6700T, Core i5-6600, 6500, 6400, 6600T, 6500T and 6400T, and H170 and B150 chipsets between August 30-September 5."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Heartbleed-like flaw puts smartphone users' passwords and location data at risk @ The Inquirer
- Encryption Would Not Have Protected Secret Federal Data Says DHS @ Slashdot
- Apple CORED: Boffins reveal password-killer 0-days for iOS and OS X @ The Register
- AT&T fined about 3 days of profit ($100m) for limiting 'unlimited' plans @ The Register
Subject: Displays | June 18, 2015 - 10:10 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, sm40unp, Seiki Pro, seiki, gleam, giveaway, contest
Earlier today we posted our review of the Seiki Pro SM40UNP monitor, a 40-in behemoth with a 4K resolution and 60 Hz refresh rate. Clearly this is not a monitor for mere mortals: you must have an impressive system to push out the pixels required for a 4K display and also have the desk space for a display that many would considerable sizeable for a TV!
Not only was Allyn impressed with the color capability of the display and the sheer size of the monitor, it offers some interesting features and capabilities including four simultaneous video inputs! Be sure you check out Allyn's full write up on the display that resulted in a Gold Award from the staff.
But let's get to the important news for this post: Seiki was willing to give us two of these monitors to hand out to our readers and viewers. That's right, two of you will be taking home a 40-in 4K 60 Hz monitor for your gaming PC! (Or for productivity and work, who are we to judge?)
The method is simple:
- Fill out the entry form below. You can enter through one or all of the methods listed but the more entries you include the better your chances! Seiki is particular interested to see all the 4K-ready gaming rigs our readers have built!
- It's stated in the Gleam form but it is worth reiterating here: all entrants will be sent one email from me (Ryan) with a coupon code for Seiki monitors that you can use on a purchase if you don't win one of the giveaways. You are not being signed up for some kind of mailing list or marketing list and your email address will never actually go to Seiki - I will send out the emails myself.
- The contest is open to anyone in the world. So enter away!
- The contest will end at 11:59pm on June 19th (EST)
Good luck to all entrants and a HUGE THANKS goes out to Seiki for providing these kick-ass prizes for our readers and viewers!
Subject: Shows and Expos | June 18, 2015 - 07:00 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming, E3 2015, E3 15, E3
This has been a good E3 for the PC platform. We got our first keynote, organized by PC Gamer and AMD, which took the format in its own direction. This had basically the same reaction as putting Skittles in an M&Ms vending machine; they are good, but you'll see lots of weird faces on those who were expecting chocolate that melts in their mouths and not in their hands. It also ran long, celebrating the platform for almost two and a half hours, which is problematic for fans of console games who are very busy (and anyone with sub-phenomenal blood circulation or irritable bowels). Personally, I found it very interesting (while a bit long).
Throughout E3, PC Gamer has also kept a vast (but not as complete as they claim) list of titles at the event. Each entry in the slideshow (I know) format has a brief blurb about the game, its release date if available, and whether it is coming to the PC platform. It is updated as the event progresses, but it already has about forty entries. Of the current list, only four are not yet confirmed for the PC. That sounds pretty good, and a stark contrast from five-to-ten years ago.
These four are:
- The Last Guardian (no surprise)
- Fallout Shelter (iOS only)
- Rise of the Tomb Raider (which will probably make it to the PC at some point)
- Final Fantasy 7 Remake (which was twice a PC release already)
Unfortunately, they are missing many titles that would be excluded from the PC, so I will add to it here. Gears 4 has not been confirmed for the PC, although the developer is bringing the original Gears remake to the platform. Yup, we get the one Gears we already had (at least until Games for Windows Live had something to say about it). Uncharted 4, Ratchet and Clank, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and Dreams are pretty safe bets against the PC. Microsoft has been extremely quiet about Halo 5 and its chances on the PC; ReCore and Rare Replay sounds like Xbox One exclusives, as in excluding the PC as well as the other consoles, as well. Then you add Nintendo, and this list blows up from 12, including my additions, to a much bigger number that I don't even want to figure out.
Still, it is interesting to browse through PC Gamer's slideshow and look at all the content that we will get. It has been a good year for the PC. Microsoft is pulling Windows 10 forward with equivalent effort to what they have spent dragging the mostly unprofitable Xbox division around. They know that gaming is an essential component of why people are locked in to Windows, and it has thrived even through the decade-plus of neglect and maltreatment. On the other side, we see Sony appreciating the PC as a profitable market that can exist alongside their PlayStation initiatives for Sony Online content, and they don't even have as much first-party developers as they used to anyway.
But yeah. Lots of games is good. While I've managed for the last couple years, I feel it's getting much easier to ignore the console exclusives. How about you?
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 17, 2015 - 10:24 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: xbox one, xbox, Steam Controller, microsoft, E3 2015, E3 15, E3, controller
And, of course, Xbox One... but I can assume who is the bulk of my audience.
Microsoft announced the Xbox One Elite Controller at E3, which includes support for Windows 10. This is part of their initiative to amend relations with the PC gaming industry. They seem to be going about it by focusing on the high-end gamer first. If not, then I wonder why they chose a $150 controller as a leading product.
At that price, you could literally purchase three Steam Controllers from Valve instead of a single one of these, but whether you should... depends. In all honesty, I might end up purchasing both and doing a comparison between them over a variety of games. Of course, my primary input device is the mouse and keyboard for most games, but I occasionally add an early model Xbox 360 wired controller to the mix for Saint's Row, Grand Theft Auto, NASCAR 2003, and a few other titles.
The real disappointment is its D-Pad, though. It just cannot reliably send a single direction without sometimes accidentally sending others. This gets worse in games that are styled in the “8-bit” and “16-bit” era. I actually need to play most of those on a keyboard, which is a terrible experience. Valve's implementation looks interesting with the cross-shaped thumbpad, but Microsoft's new version has options: an old-fashioned cross as well as a nine-sectioned cup, called a “faceted D-pad”.
That leads into the main design of Microsoft's controller: customization. Two switches on the back of the controller allow the range of trigger motion to be limited on the fly. This is designed for games like Grand Theft Auto, where the player wants precise control over throttle and brake, but would prefer to rapidly max-out the trigger as fast as possible when shooting a weapon. With this controller, you flip the switch when you leave the car and, what normally would be some fraction of its range, would be considered “bottoming out” and it would apparently even physically stop the trigger from pushing in further. According to the website, the threshold is user-customizable. I did not use it personally because I wasn't at E3.
Like Valve's controller, it has optional rear paddles near the grips. They are stainless steel apparently, and can be used to compensate for weird button combinations by mapping them to fingers that normally just clutch the device itself. In Valve's version, there is just two while Microsoft's allows for up to four. Microsoft also allows you to detach them, rather than just disable them.
This is when we get to software customization. Valve claims that the Steam Controller can be bound to many events across mouse, keyboard, and gamepad buttons and axises. Microsoft, on the other hand, seems to be keeping within the range of buttons found on a standard Xbox One controller. This is concerning to me because it means that extended inputs will be redundant, which is fine for an Xbox One game but could be annoying for a PC title that has many independent, simpler commands. This might be a limitation of XINPUT, which supposedly cannot address more than 10 buttons. I thought I remembered that limit being extended, but that seems to be true even in the MSDN documentation. Even still, the driver could address the extra functions as a secondary virtual device (keyboards, etc.) but Microsoft doesn't seem to want to. As a final note, Valve also allows the end of both triggers to be considered a clicky button, while Microsoft just recognizes it as a bottomed-out axis.
The Xbox One Elite Controller will ship in October for $149.99. A wireless adapter for the PC will not be required if you use the included USB Micro cable, but add that to the price if you want it wireless. Add batteries on top of that, because it takes AA. They include a pair of disposable AA, but that is obviously not a permanent solution.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 17, 2015 - 06:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: NVIDA, maxwell, GTX 980 Ti
Now that they have had time with the new NVIDIA card to test on games both familiar and new, [H]ard|OCP have put together a longer review of the GTX 980 Ti. The Witcher 3 shows that for 4K gamers, the extra power of the TITAN does marginally beat out the newcomer. Indeed that tended to hold true in many games, Dying Light and Far Cry 4 all saw the 980 Ti needing to lower graphical settings to remain at a decent frame rate but still remained a far better value for those gaming at 1440p. They compare VRAM usage at 1440p versus 4K resolutions and it is obvious how much more memory is consumed as resolution increases. Considering how none of the games tested used even half of the 12GB of VRAM on the TITAN it will be very interesting to see how AMD's new smaller sized but higher bandwidth HBM-based card will perform.
"Now that we have had some solid gaming time with the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti, we will be putting it up against the GTX 980 and TITAN X video cards, in the full HardOCP GPU review format. We are including new games, The Witcher 3 and Grand Theft Auto V. We also look at VRAM utilization and power and temperature levels."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Gigabyte GTX980 Ti G1 Gaming @ Kitguru
- Gigabyte GTX 980 Ti G1 Gaming 6 GB @ techPowerUp
- EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+ ACX 2.0+ @ Kitguru
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Overclocking & Best Playable Settings @ Techgage
- XFX R9 290X Black OC Edition 4GB @ [H]ard|OCP
Subject: General Tech | June 17, 2015 - 03:55 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Star Wars, gaming, ea
EA showed what they described as in game footage of the new Star Wars: Battlefront which was gorgeous and seems to capture the feel of that universe quite well. Tthe more realistic of us worry that this might be in game footage in the same sense as Ubisoft's Watch_Dogs footage from last year and most of us are just hoping EA doesn't find a way to screw this game up more than they already have. From the video below we can see that first and third person views are supported, flying vehicles have been included and jetpacks will be available. We also learned that Luke can apparently time travel from the future into the past. It is hard not to be excited about this release, one can only hope it does not all end in tears.
HEXUS also has a few more EA videos on their page right here.
"EA revealed new video trailers, footage and information about all its hottest gaming titles at the E3 show yesterday. The one and a half hour long presentation, available in full here, included information about Star Wars: Battlefront, Mass Effect Andromeda, Mirror's Edge Catalyst, the Need 4 Speed reboot, a plethora of sports title updates (plus an on-stage interview with Pele) and more."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Lady Beserkers & Corpse-Carrying In XCOM 2 Footage @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- No worries, Fallout 4 fans. That dog is not going to die @ Polygon
- Kick-Off Delayed: Blood Bowl 2 Now Due In September @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Check Out The Afro Samurai 2: Revenge Of Kuma Trailer @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Dark Souls 3 Announced, Miyazaki Directing @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Square Enix E3 presentation offers compelling mix of sequels @ HEXUS
- Shadow Warrior 2 Announced Packing Four-Player Co-op @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | June 17, 2015 - 01:13 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, Samsung, cloud monitor
AMD and Samsung will be releasing several 'Cloud Monitors', a design previously know as thin clients, powered by a 2.2GHz dual-core AMD GX222 APU with an unspecified 655MHz GPU and 4GB of DDR3-1600 RAM. The TC222W will have a 21.5" screen and the TC242W a 23.6" screen, both will be 1080p and come with three USB 3.0 slots, four USB 2.0 slots and an Ethernet port. The storage will be cloud based, hence the name, and will be similar to HP's MT245 and T420 which will also be powered by AMD APUs. The thin client is making a return to the office and with AMD offering chips with configuration TDPs between 5W to 25W they may find themselves successful in this returning segment of the marketplace. Read more at The Inquirer.
"SAMSUNG AND AMD have joined forces to announce a line of all-in-one 'cloud monitors' featuring integrated thin client technology powered by AMD's Embedded G-series system on chip (SoC)."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Flexible PRAM: Not a bendy baby carriage, but infinitely cooler @ The Register
- Flash is fallible. But you'd rather have an AFA than spinning rust @ The Register
- Should You Build Your Own Steambox? @ eTeknix
- Stephen Elop gets the boot as Microsoft pushes for Windows Phone success @ The Inquirer
- Apple De-Certifies Monster Cables After Lawsuit Against Beats @ Slashdot
- Acer has no acquisition plans, says CEO @ DigiTimes
- NikKTech & Seagate Summer Worldwide Giveaway
- Radeon R9 380 Preview and Win a 290X @ HardwareHeaven
- The Tech ARP + Western Digital My Passport Wireless Contest
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 16, 2015 - 10:36 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: hbm, fury x2, fury x, Fury, Fiji, dual gpu, amd
During the PC Gamer PC Gaming Show, much of the industry was on hand to talk about its take on the state of PC gaming. While there, AMD took the opportunity to show off the dual-GPU Fiji-based AMD Radeon R9 Fury X2 card. (Editor's note: we don't have official confirmation on that name for the card, but it would make sense, right? We'll go with that for the time being.) We don't know much about the specifics on clocks, shader counts or performance, but we do know that AMD is able to cram a HUGE amount of GPU compute capability into an incredibly small space thanks to the high bandwidth memory innovation.
Shown at the PC Gaming Show tonight...
Interesting, just a couple of days ago we were sent this image anonymously:
What's interesting here is that I was told "this is how they test" the GPUs before installing the water block on it. Those are high-end CPU coolers that have been modified slightly to be installed on the lay-flat Fury X2 PCB. This gives you an idea of the development process of building a graphics card like this...
A little blurry, but still informative.
This image, posted by Anshel Sag, Staff Technologist and Technical Writer at Moor Insights & Strategy, shows the bare PCB with the two Fiji GPUs and their HBM memory stacks. (Also, note those "Moor" logos are not really printed on the GPU dies...) There are two 8-pin power connectors on the PCB as well, odd considering that the single GPU Fury X uses the same configuration.
This card has been promised to us in the fall, though pricing and power and performance are to be discussed later. 2015 just keeps getting better for PC gamers!!
Subject: Storage | June 16, 2015 - 05:21 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: transporter, NAS, dropbox, connected data
Today Connected Data (makers of Drobo) announced NAS integration with their Transporter 75 and 150 business private cloud storage devices.
The premise of this addition is simple. Businesses can simply point a Transporter 75 or 150 unit at their local NAS device and have that storage accessible via the usual Transporter methods. These work very much like Dropbox, where files can be synced across systems or available from a remote source, except in this case the 'could' is provided by a box located and secured at the business offices.
Transporter devices can also be added to smaller branch offices or other locations. Those remote locations can keep a subset (or all) of the data from the main office, preventing the need to have a full copy of all data synced across each and every system. The Transporter Desktop app can map shared folders and access them straight off of the network. Shares can also be synced with a local copy if the user chooses to do so.
It's good to see Connected Data continue to develop this platform, and we hope to see this NAS integration feature added to the smaller capacity 15 and 30 models as this would help speed adoption and integration for smaller businesses that have started out with all content on a smaller local NAS.
Subject: Motherboards | June 16, 2015 - 01:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: msi, X99, X99A MPower
MSI's X99A MPower board sports the new USB 3.1 but not the new plugs if you were hoping for USB ports that do not have an orientation. Depending on the CPU installed, he four PCIe 16x slots can support up to three GPUs at once if you use the M.2 port, otherwise four cards can be run. The Realtek ALC1150 7.1 codec is compatible with S/PDIF and provides optical out as well as 5 mini-jacks for speakers. [H]ard|OCP preferred manually overclocking to the use of the OC Genie or the Command Center software and two of the reviewers experience some quirky behaviour which prevented the board from winning an award but once the settings were tweaked the board performed admirably.
"MSI’s X99A MPower promises to deliver a ton of features at a reasonable price. SATA Express, full speed M.2 support, and USB 3.1 compatibility are all examples of what this motherboard has to offer. The MSI MPower series has never disappointed us before, so we have high hopes for this motherboard."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- Gigabyte X99-Gaming 5P @ Kitguru
- ASUS TUF X99 Sabertooth @ eeTeknix
- ASRock X99E-ITX/ac Mini-ITX @ Kitguru
- ASRock Fatal1ty Z97M Killer µATX Mainbord @ HardwareOverclock
- ASRock USB 3.1: A Quick Hands-on Test @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | June 16, 2015 - 01:34 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: water cooling, SFF, Fiji, E3 2015, E3, dual fiji, amd
AMD revealed a new liquid cooled small form factor PC called Project Quantum during an E3 livestream today.
On the outside, an angled dual compartment aluminum case with rounded edges houses the processing hardware in the bottom and all the cooling components in the top part. AMD is using liquid cooling for the processor and graphics with the tubing running up the center column joining the two pieces together to a radiator or radiators. Red LEDs light up the center column while Radeon R9 branding sits in the bottom left corner.
While at first glance that Radeon R9 branding might be unassuming, it is actually referring to AMD's latest Fiji architecture. That's correct, Project Quantum is part of the Fiji product family and is, in fact, powered by two AMD Fiji-based graphics procesors!
Update: AMD has posted a behind-the-scenes video on the development of Project Quantum which you can watch below.
In the video, AMD reveals that they are using a modified ASRock Z97E-ITX/ac motherboard (thanks to djotter in the comments for pointing that out) which means that Project Quantum is using an Intel Haswell processor in addition to the two Fiji-based GPUs. AMD has removed all of the rear IO connectors save two USB 3.0 ports and an Ethernet jack. They have also moved the 8-pin CPU power connector to the back panel of the board next to the USB ports. My guess is that they did this for cable management and height restriction reasons within the bottom compartment. Specifically, from the CAD render shown in the video, it appears that the AMD graphics card sits horizontally on top of the motherboard which meant that at least some of the rear IO ports had to be removed or relocated.
Another bit of information from that AMD video is that Project Quantum is using what looks like an external power supply. The power brick connects to the system over a single cable to an internal board. This board provides power to a Pico PSU that is plugged into the ATX 24-pin connector on the motherboard and provides power to the AMD branded Solid State Drive (SSD) as well as the motherboard and CPU 8-pin connectors (which have both been modified to right angles for height and cable management reasons). The internal power board that connects to the socket at the back likely also powers the Radeon graphics card via PCI-E connectors, but it is difficult to tell from the photo (it is that red PCB towards the top of the photo).
Interestingly AMD has switched out the power and USB 3.0 headers with right angle models and removed the blue ASRock heatsinks covering the VRMs and PCH. AMD is instead using two large waterblocks to cool the components on the motherboard and graphics card. A large radiator and pump sit in the top compartment cooled by an 180mm Enermax Apollish fan. The 180mm radiator should result in quieter, or at least less annoying, fan noise since the large fan can spin slower while moving similar amounts of air as smaller fans paired with 120 or 140mm radiators. Using a single large radiator for both the CPU and GPU is an interesting choice here, and I think a correct one.
A rendering of the water loop layout on Project Quantum. Image from AMD with annotations by Aibohphobia.
It was actually djotter and Aibohphobia in the comments who spotted the Pico PSU and provided an example. (I did not notice that in the video initially, so thanks for pointing that out!) This power brick and tiny Pico PSU setup would certainly help to explain how AMD was able to make Project Quantum so thin (though an external PSU isn't necessarily a bad thing). The Pico PSU does suggest that the dual Fiji GPUs may be closer to lower end R9 Nanos than two high end Fury Xs (heh) or maybe some other yet unannounced cut-down Fiji chip entirely.
(End of update)
During the PC Gamer E3 Twitch stream, AMD CEO Lisa Su showed off Project Quantum, and Ken was able to snap a photo of the back panel.
Project Quantum has, from left to right, a single power input (see above), two analog audio jacks, two USB 3.0 ports, an Intel-powered Gigabit Ethernet jack, four USB 2.0 ports, and a single horizontal PCI slot. A Radeon R9 graphics card is installed in this slot and features three DisplayPort and one HDMI 1.4 video outputs. We still do not know all the specs of this card, but is is Fiji-based and supports LiquidVR along with AMD's other features including FreeSync and Frame Rate Target Control.
(End Update 9:30PM)
Beyond that, we do not know many details on Project Quantum. From the other announcements around Fiji today, particularly the R9 Nano and R9 Fury X, this little machine is going to be a powerhouse with impressive power efficiency and performance per watt – especially for its size!
Of course, pricing and availability were not discussed at the event. Stay tuned to PC Perspective as we get more details closer to its official release!
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 16, 2015 - 01:22 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: radeon, hbm, fury x, Fury, Fiji, E3 2015, E3, amd
It's finally official: AMD Radeon R9 Fury X and Fury graphics cards are coming soon. Here's the details you need to know:
|AMD Fury X||AMD Fury||AMD R9 290X|
|Compute Capability||8.6 TFLOPS||??||5.6 TFLOPS|
|Transistor Count||8.9 billion||??||6.3 billion|
|Availability||June 24th||July 14th||Now|
There is still a lot of information that AMD is saving for the official release, but those look to be some impressive graphics cards at first glance! The AMD Fury X is the small form factor water cooled version that we saw leaked this weekend while the AMD Fury (non-X) will be air cooled. It wasn't shown on stage though, so we can only guess what it will look like.
AMD's Joe Macri said on stage that the cooler they designed is built for up to 500 watts but that the board was only going to draw 275 watts, while keeping the board temperature down to 50C!
Other tidbits include 6-phase power with 400A (!!) power delivery for overclocking, an 8-LED user addressable array for performance load monitoring and 1.5x performance per watt improvement when compared to the R9 290X. That can help us estimate card performance but we'll dive more into that later.
Finally, though only a tease, AMD did say they were planning a dual-GPU variant of Fiji coming "in the fall."
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 16, 2015 - 01:02 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: radeon, r9 nano, R9, amd
On stage at the AMD E3 2015 press conference, AMD's CEO Lisa Su announced the Radeon R9 Nano, a 6-in PCB small form factor graphics card that will feature "2x the performance per watt of the R9 290X" as well as "significantly" more performance than the R9 290X.
We are looking for more information but because its branded R9 I don't know for sure if it's Fiji or Hawaii. I would assume that the advantages of HBM for form factor and power efficiency would tell us it uses AMD latest GPU in some cut down variation.
Availability later this summer.
UPDATE: Sources on the scene confirm it is Fiji powered!
Subject: General Tech | June 16, 2015 - 12:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: IBM, photonics
Almost a year ago IBM put $3 billion into research on developing and enhancing their existing photonics technology and putting it onto chips. The Register has heard of their recent success in creating an integrated silicon photonics transceiver chip with multiplexed wavelengths, allowing multiple signals to be sent simultaneously without interference allowing the incredibly high bandwidth. The example given to demonstrate what 100Gbps means is downloading an HD movie in 2 seconds, not too shabby at all. The demonstration model exists, a big first step in photonic technology but we won't see it mass produced for a while yet. This is a good first step in finally getting rid of copper and moving on to a new medium for data transfer.
"IBM last month claimed a breakthrough in photonics – the practice of using light pulses rather than electrons to quickly send signals in chips."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Carbon-60 and graphene for vertical transistors @ Nanotechweb
- Top 10 Linux and Android Hacker SBCs of 2015 @ Linux.com
- The Words That Indicate Malicious Domain URLs @ Slashdot
- Microsoft finally finishes its PowerPC emulator @ The Register
- Hackers serve password manager LastPass a slice of irony @ The Inquirer
- Prevent Failed Prints With A Filament Speed Sensor @ Hack a Day
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 16, 2015 - 12:53 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: the phantom pain, nvidia, metal gear solid, graphics, gpus, geforce, gameworks
A blog post on NVIDIA's site indicates that Konami's upcoming game Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain will make use of NVIDIA technologies, a move that will undoubtedly rankle AMD graphics users who can't always see the full benefit of GameWorks enhancements.
"The world of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is going to be 200 times larger than the one explored in Ground Zeroes. Because so much of this game’s action depends on stealth, graphics are a key part of the gameplay. Shadows, light, and terrain have to be rendered perfectly. That’s a huge challenge in a game where the hero is free to find his own way from one point to another. Our engineers are signed up to work closely with Konami to get the graphics just right and to add special effects."
Now technically this quote doesn't confirm the use of any proprietary NVIDIA technology, though it sounds like that's exactly what will be taking place. In the wake of the Witcher 3 HairWorks controversy any such enhancements will certainly be looked upon with interest (especially as the next piece of big industry news will undoubtedly be coming with AMD's announcement later today at E3).
It's hard to argue with better graphical quality in high profile games such as the latest Metal Gear Solid installment, but there is certainly something to be said for adherence to open standards to ensure a more unified experience across GPUs. The dialog about inclusion though adherence to standards vs. proprietary solutions has been very heated with the FreeSync/G-Sync monitor refresh debate, and GameWorks is a series of tools that serves to further divide gamers, even as it provides an enhanced experience with GeForce GPUs.
Such advantages will likely matter less with DirectX 12 mitigating some differences with more efficiency in the vein of AMD's Mantle API, and if the rumored Fiji cards from AMD offer superior performance and arrive priced competitively this will matter even less. For now even though details are nonexistent expect an NVIDIA GeForce GPU to have the advantage in at least some graphical aspects of the latest Metal Gear title when it arrives on PC.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 15, 2015 - 08:27 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: r9 300, hbm, hawaii, Fiji, E3 2015, E3, amd
Join us tomorrow to learn all about AMD's plans for the next generation of GPUs! AMD is hosting a live stream of the event at 9am PT / 12pm ET and the PC Perspective team will be live blogging as well.
AMD E3 2015 Press Conference and Live Blog
9am PT / 12pm ET - June 16th
Need a reminder? Join our live mailing list!
We expect to see official details of the R9 300-series of products of which there have been many leaks as well as the final details of the AMD Fury and Fury X products based on the new Fiji GPU. Join the team as we live blog the event and learn along with you!