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Podcast #390 - ASUS Z170 Sabertooth Mk1, Corsair Carbide 400C, more about Windows Store Games, and more!
Subject: General Tech | March 10, 2016 - 02:10 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, asus, z170 sabertooth, corsair, carbide 400c, Windows Store, uwp, dx12, amd, nvidia, directflip, 16.3, 364.47, 364.51, SFX, Seagate, OCP, NVMe
PC Perspective Podcast #390 - 03/10/2016
Join us this week as we discuss the ASUS Z170 Sabertooth Mk1, Corsair Carbide 400C, more about Windows Store Games, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store (audio only)
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- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:12:32
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Ryan: Windows 10 Domain Networking and Shares
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 10, 2016 - 01:27 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: XConnect, thunderbolt 3, radeon, graphics card, gpu, gaming laptop, external gpu, amd
AMD has announced their new external GPU technology called XConnect, which leverages support from the latest Radeon driver to support AMD graphics over Thunderbolt 3.
The technology showcased by AMD is powered by Razer, who partnered with AMD to come up with an expandable solution that supports up to 375W GPUs, including R9 Fury, R9 Nano, and all R9 300 series GPUs up to the R9 390X (there is no liquid cooling support, and the R9 Fury X isn't listed as being compatible). The notebook in AMD's marketing material is the Razer Blade Stealth, which offers the Razer Core external GPU enclosure as an optional accessory. (More information about these products from Razer here.) XConnect is not tied to any vendor, however; this is "generic driver" support for GPUs over Thunderbolt 3.
AMD has posted this video with the head of Global Technical Marketing, Robert Hallock, to explain the new tech and show off the Razer hardware:
The exciting part has to be the promise of an industry standard for external graphics, something many have hoped for. Not everyone will produce a product exactly like Razer has, since there is no requirement to provide a future upgrade path in a larger enclosure like this, but the important thing is that Thunderbolt 3 support is built in to the newest Radeon Crimson drivers.
Here are the system requirements for AMD XConnect from AMD:
- Radeon Software 16.2.2 driver (or later)
- 1x Thunderbolt 3 port
- 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 cable
- Windows 10 build 10586 (or later)
- BIOS support for external graphics over Thunderbolt 3 (check with system vendor for details)
- Certified Thunderbolt 3 graphics enclosure configured with supported Radeon R9 Series GPU
- Thunderbolt firmware (NVM) v.16
The announcement introduces all sorts of possibilities. How awesome would it be to see a tiny solution with an R9 Nano powered by, say, an SFX power supply? Or what about a dual-GPU enclosure (possibly requiring 2 Thunderbolt 3 connections?), or an enclosure supporting liquid cooling (and the R9 Fury X)? The potential is certainly there, and with a standard in place we could see some really interesting products in the near future (or even DIY solutions). It's a promising time for mobile gaming!
Subject: Graphics Cards, Systems | March 10, 2016 - 11:38 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: zotac, zbox, VR, SFF, nvidia, mini-pc, MAGNUS EN980, liquid cooling, GTX980, GTX 980, graphics, gpu, geforce
ZOTAC is teasing a new mini PC "ready for virtual reality" leading up to Cebit 2016, happening later this month. The ZBOX MAGNUS EN980 supplants the EN970 as the most powerful version of ZOTAC's gaming mini systems, and will come equipped with no less than an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980.
(Image via Guru3D)
Some questions remain ahead of a more formal announcemnent, and foremost among them is the version of the system's GTX 980. Is this the full desktop variant, or the GTX 980m? It seems to be the former, if we can read into the "factory-installed water-cooling solution", especially if that pertains to the GPU. In any case this will easily be the most powerful mini-PC ZOTAC has released, as even the current MAGNUS EN970 doesn't actually ship with a GTX 970 as the name would imply; rather, a GTX 960 handles discrete graphics duties according to the specs.
The MAGNUS EN980's GTX 980 GPU - mobile or not - will make this a formidable gaming system, paired as it is with a 6th-gen Intel Skylake CPU (the specific model was not mentioned in the press release; the current high-end EN970 with dicrete graphics uses the Intel Core i5-5200U). Other details include support for up to four displays via HDMI and DisplayPort, USB 3.0 and 3.1 Type-C inputs, and built-in 802.11ac wireless.
We'll have to wait until Cebit (which runs from March 14 - 18) for more details. Full press release after the break.
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 9, 2016 - 07:42 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, radeon, graphics drivers, vulkan, dx12, DirectX 12
New graphics drivers from AMD have just been published, and it's a fairly big release. First, Catalyst 16.3 adds Vulkan support to main-branch drivers, which they claim is conformant to the 1.0 specification. The Khronos Group website still doesn't list AMD as conforming, but I assume that they will be added shortly (rather than some semantic “conformant” “fully conformant” thing going on). This is great for the platform, as we are still in the launch window of DirectX 12.
Performance has apparently increased as well, significantly. This is especially true in the DirectX 12 title, Gears of War Ultimate Edition. AMD claims that FuryX will see up to a 60% increase in that title, and the R9 380 will gain up to 44%. It's unclear how much that is in real world performance, especially in terms of stutter and jank, which apparently plagues that game.
The driver also has a few other interesting features. One that I don't quite understand is “Power Efficiency Toggle”. This supposedly “allows the user to disable some power efficiency optimizations”. I would assume that means keeping you GPU up-clocked under certain conditions, but I don't believe that was much of an issue for the last few generations. That said, the resolved issues section claims that some games were choppy because of core clock fluctuation, and lists this option as the solution, so maybe it was. It is only available on “select” Radeon 300 GPUs and Fury X. That is, Fury X specifically, not the regular Fury or the Nano. I expect Ryan will be playing around with it in the next little while.
Last of the main features, the driver adds support for XConnect, which is AMD's new external graphics standard. It requires a BIOS that support external GPUs, which AMD lists the Razer Blade Stealth as. Also noteworthy, Eyefinity can now be enabled with just two displays, and Display Scaling can be set per-game. I avoid manually controlling drivers, even my Wacom tablet, to target specific applications, but that's probably great for those who do.
As a final note: the Ashes of the Singularity 2.0 benchmark now supports DirectFlip.
If you have a recent AMD GPU, grab the drivers from AMD's website.
Subject: General Tech | March 9, 2016 - 05:40 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Oxide Games, ashes of the singularity, Star Swarm, dx12, DirectX 12
Ashes of the Singularity, by Oxide Games and Stardock, the RTS that spawned from the Star Swarm demo, will be released on March 31st. Unless something sneaks in before then, this will pretty much be our first look at DirectX 12 in a full, released game, and pretty much the only one to take advantage of its ability to draw many simple objects.
Again, I'm excluding released games based on engines Unreal Engine 4, because you don't have full DirectX 12 support if your engine provider doesn't claim full DirectX 12 support. I'm pretty sure they just enabled Epic's experimental feature, rather than beat them to overhauling their hardware interfaces. I'm also ignoring Gears of War Ultimate Edition because of the state it launched in.
It seems like the only source for this news is PC Gamer. Stardock hasn't officially said what will change in this launch from the previous beta release (Beta 2). The game currently supports mixed multi-GPU on DirectX 12, and a variety of other features, which will be interesting to see in official software. Unless we get a surprise in the official announcement, it looks like Vulkan might be a “patch after launch” thing, though.
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 9, 2016 - 03:30 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ubuntu, graphics drivers, graphics driver, amd
AMD has been transitioning their kernel driver from the closed-source fglrx to the open-source AMDGPU driver that was announced last year. This forms the base that both closed and open user-mode drivers will utilize. For the upcoming Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Canonical has decided to deprecate fglrx and remove it from the system upon upgrade. Users can then choose to install an AMDGPU-based one, or reinstall the Radeon driver. That will need to be done without Canonical's support, though.
It makes sense that they would choose Ubuntu 16.04 to pull the plug. This is the version that Canonical will be maintaining for the next five years, which could give a headache when AMD has spent the last year trying to get rid of it. AMDGPU is a much safer target as the years roll forward. On the other hand, GPUs prior to Fiji will not have the luxury of choosing, because AMD still hasn't announced AMDGPU for
GDC (Update March 9th @ 6pm: Fixed typo) GCN 1.0 and 1.1.
Subject: Mobile | March 9, 2016 - 02:22 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pixel c, nexus 6p, nexus 6, nexus 5x, google, android n, Android
With basically zero warning, Google has released Android N previews for the Nexus 5X, the Nexus 6, the Nexus 6P, the Nexus 9, the Nexus Player, and the Pixel C. It can be installed by flashing the OS onto the device, or by joining the Android Beta Program. Personally, I'd recommend joining the program, because then updates are pushed over-the-air. Be sure to back up your personal data, too. Almost every method of installing or removing the preview build will intentionally wipe the device. (Technically, installing from the Android Beta Program shouldn't erase user data, but errors can occur, and, even then, the device will be wiped when you leave.)
Aligning with this announcement is a discount on the Pixel C. It is only available to developers, and only within the US. Also, before I found out that Canadians were not eligible, I tried getting a code and the website seems to silently fail. It basically just refreshes and no email is sent, so Google might have pulled the plug once non-developers heard the news. Android Police believes that it only applies to the 64GB version, but Google's announcement wasn't clear on that. This would make the Pixel C available for $450 USD, which is quite cheap for a 10-inch, Tegra X1 device.
Android N will have a few user experience (UX) changes. The two most obvious ones are app splitscreen, which behaves like Windows 8's Windows Store app snapping, and “direct reply notifications,” which allows, for instance, replying to a chat message from the notification itself. Google has also moved to OpenJDK, as we mentioned during the holidays. This is an Oracle-approved, open-source implementation of Java that can be freely used.
Subject: General Tech | March 9, 2016 - 01:51 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, skywind, mod
Of all the Elder Scrolls games many choose Morrowind as their favourite; the overarching story is similar to other releases but there was just something special about Morrowind. The Skywind project have been working for quite a while now, bringing the home of the Dunmer into the Skyrim engine. As you can see in the video that Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN have posted the project is quite advanced with much of the assets completed and even new audio recordings. They are currently looking for sound engineers, Creation Kit users, 3D modellers, texture artists and other creatives that can help bring Skywind to fruition; if you have the talent and the time follow the link from RPS to apply.
"Skywind, then. It’s an attempt to re-build Morrowind within Skyrim’s engine, with re-build environments, textures, models and more. The latest update video shows just how far the project has come, while aiming to recruit more members to help finish it."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Rebellion teases Sniper Elite 4 in trailer video @ HEXUS
- Mark Hamill, Alan Tudyk Join Master Of Orion Voice Cast @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Playing Far Cry Primal Like A True Caveman @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Ashes of the Singularity DirectX 12 Mixed GPU Performance @ techPowerUp
- Far Cry: Primal PC game analysis @ Kitguru
- First XCOM 2 DLC Inbound, But No Perfomance Fix Yet @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 9, 2016 - 01:40 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: rosewill, Quark-550, modular psu, 550W
Rosewill have grown from providing what were inexpensive PSUs with little to no extra features into something much more interesting for those who do not need a 1000W PSU. The new Quark-550 that [H]ard|OCP recently tested is a good example, it is fully modular, it has a single 12v rail with a capacity of up to 45A and internal components from both Nippon Chemi-con and Rubycon. Once strapped to their torture bench, [H]ard|OCP saw decent results, in line with the competition for stability and efficiency but as the unit retails for $100, roughly $20 higher than other comparable units it did not receive an award. If you find it on sale it is still a good choice for a mid-range build.
"Rosewill was a Newegg "house brand" that has broken out to other retailers and you might have seen its name on all types of products. Today we are seeing what Rosewill accomplishes when it brands a 550 watt "Platinum" PSU. The 550W PSU market is crammed with competition...good competition at good prices."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- SilverStone Strider Platinum ST55F-PT 550W @ eTeknix
- SilverStone ST75F-PT 750W @ [H]ard|OCP
- FSP Hydro-G 750W Power Supply Unit Review @ NikKTech
- XFX XTS 1000W Platinum @ Kitguru
- EVGA SuperNOVA 1600 T2 @ techPowerUp
Subject: General Tech | March 9, 2016 - 01:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: linux, Fedora, ubuntu, debian, CentOS, opensuse, Antergos, Sabayon, Void Linux, Zenwalk, KaOS, Clear, Alpine, Skylake
Phoronix have just wrapped up a marathon benchmarking session comparing 15 different flavours of Linux on a system with a Skylake based Xeon E3-1280 v5 and a MSI Radeon R7 370. They tested a long list of programs, from SQLite through OpenGL based games and multi-threaded ray-tracer benchmarks. They wrap up the reveiw with a table showing all the results in an easy to see format for you to reference when choosing your preferred Linux distro. If you know what tasks your machine will be assigned to, you can see which of these 15 distros will offer you the best performance, as not every Linux machine is used for the same purpose.
"Succeeding January's 10-way Linux distribution battle is now a 15-way Linux distribution comparison on an Intel Xeon "Skylake" system with Radeon R7 graphics. Distributions part of this Linux OS performance showdown include Fedora, Ubuntu, Debian, CentOS, OpenSUSE, Antergos, Sabayon, Void Linux, Zenwalk, KaOS, Clear Linux, and Alpine Linux."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft producing HoloLens in-house, say Taiwan makers @ DigiTimes
- HTC teases yet another make-or-break comeback flagship @ The Register
- Skype to stop supporting TV video calling from June @ The Inquirer
- Sony FDR-X1000V 4K Action Camera @ Tech ARP
- 2TB WD Black HDD Giveaway Contest @ Tech ARP
Subject: General Tech | March 9, 2016 - 12:40 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, sol, David Hewlett, cyborgs
As a part of our Streaming Out Load 12-hour live streaming event, fellow geek David Hewlett stopped by to talk with us about his changing opinion on VR, what games he plays with his son and how our cyborg future is beginning.
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 9, 2016 - 11:55 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers
The last couple of days were not too great for software patches. Microsoft released a Windows 10 update that breaks 5K monitors, and NVIDIA's driver bug, mentioned in the last post, was bigger than they realized. It turns out that the issue is not isolated to multiple monitors, but rather had something to do with choosing “Express Install” in the setup screen.
In response, NVIDIA has removed 364.47 from their website. For those who want “Game Ready” drivers with games like “The Division,” NVIDIA has provided a 364.51 beta driver that supposedly corrects this issue. People on the forums still claim to have problems with this driver, but nothing has been confirmed yet. It's difficult to tell whether other issues exist with the drivers, whether users are having unrelated issues that are attributed to the drivers, or if it's just a few hoaxes. ((Update on March 9th @ 12:41pm: Still nothing confirmed, but one of our comments claim that they've experienced issues personally.)) If you are concerned, then you can roll back to 362.00.
Fortunately for me, I chose to clean install 364.47 and have not had any issues with them. I asked a representative from NVIDIA on Twitter whether I should upgrade to 364.51, and he said that a few other bugs were fixed but I shouldn't bother.
If you managed to properly install 364.47, then you should be fine staying there.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | March 8, 2016 - 10:18 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, polygon.com, ben kuchera, VR, htc, vive, Oculus, rift
During our 12-hour live streaming event cleverly titled "Streaming Out Loud", we invited Ben Kuchera from Polygon.com to stop in and talk about a subject he is very passionate about: virtual reality. Ben has been a VR enthusiast since the beginning, getting a demo of the first Rift prototype from John Carmack himself. He was able to bring over the HTC Vive Pre unit to the office for some show and tell, answer questions about the experiences he has had so far, hardware requirements and much more.
The big difference between the Trion 100 and the new 150 is the NAND, it moves from 19nm TLC from Toshiba to the new 15nm TLC but apart from that the drives are essentially the same. Using TLC and making a minimum amount of changes gives a pricing benefit, The Tech Report saw the 480GB model for sale at $130, impressive pricing even for an entry level SSD such as this one. Their testing shows performance improvements across the board compared to the Trion 100 in real life testing; though not enough to challenge the higher priced performance SSDs. Check out the full review if you are in the market for a low cost SSD that will still net you some serious improvements over a HDD.
"With its Trion 150 SSD, OCZ takes another stab at a low-cost TLC drive by putting Toshiba's 15-nm NAND under the hood. We tested out this drive to see if it fares better than the Trion 100, OCZ's first TLC SSD."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- OCZ Trion 150 SSD @ The SSD Review
- OCZ Trion 150 480GB @ Benchmark Reviews
- OCZ Trion150 @ eTeknix
- Transcend's SSD370 @ The Tech Report
- Zotac Premium Edition SSD @ The SSD Review
- Crucial BX 200 480 GB @ techPowerUp
- Mushkin Reactor 512GB @ eTeknix
- Samsung 950 Pro 512GB M.2 NVM Express SSD Review @ NikKTech
- Seagate NAS HDD 8TB SATA III HDD Review @ NikKTech
- SilverStone CS01-HS NAS Chassis @ Kitguru
- Synology DS416j NAS @ TechwareLabs
Subject: Storage | March 8, 2016 - 03:07 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: ssd, Seagate, pcie, NVMe, flash drive
Today Seagate announced that they are production ready on a couple of NVMe PCIe SSD models. These are data-center tailored units that focus on getting as much parallel flash into as small of a space as possible. From engineering drawings, the first appears to be a half height (HHHL) device, communicates over a PCIe 3.0 x8 link, and reaches a claimed 6.7GB/s:
The second model is a bit more interesting for a few reasons. This is a PCIe 3.0 x16 unit (same lane configuration as a high end GPU) that claims 10 GB/s:
10 GB/s, hmm, where have I seen that before? :)
The second image gives away a bit of what may be going on under that heatsink. There appears to be four M.2 form factor SSDs in there, which would imply that it would appear as four separate NVMe devices. This is no big deal for enterprise data applications that can be pointed at multiple physical devices, but that 10 GB/s does start to make more sense (as a combined total) as we know of no single SSD controller capable of that sort of throughput. It took four Intel SSD 750’s for us to reach that same 10 GB/s figure, so it stands to reason that Seagate would use that same trick, only with M.2 SSDs they can fit everything onto a single slot card.
That’s all we have on this release so far, but we may see some real product pics sneak out of the Open Compute Project Summit, running over the next couple of days.
Subject: General Tech | March 8, 2016 - 03:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, logitech, G810 Orion Spectrum, RGB LED
Logitech's G810 Orion Spectrum utilized their own proprietary Romer-G switches, they are non-linear with a 1.5mm travel and an actuation force of 45g; they also allow for an impressive light show. The software which controls the LEDs is quite impressive, the Freestyle mode allows you to change the illuminated portion on everything on the keyboard up to and including the logo, media keys and even the three Lock keys. You can read about how Hardware Canucks felt about these switches as well as watch a video showing off the RGB LEDs in their review.
"The Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum includes multiple improvements over previous G-series keyboards, including the new Romer-G switch, RGB lighting and a simpler, more efficient design."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Logitech G410 Atlas Spectrum Tenkeyless RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ NikKTech
- Zalman Z-Machine ZM-K700M Gaming Keyboard Review @ OCC
- Gamdias Mechanical Gaming Combo @ Benchmark Reviews
- Razer Black Widow Tournament Edition Chroma @ Kitguru
- Razer Wildcat Gamepad @ Kitguru
- Ozone Neon Precision Laser Mouse Review @ Neoseeker
- Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum Gaming Mouse @ Tech ARP
- Corsair Scimitar MOBA Mouse Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Roccat Kova Gaming Mouse Review @ Hardware Canucks
Subject: General Tech | March 8, 2016 - 01:23 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Seagate, PCIe SSD, NVMe
Seagate is rightfully bragging about their new PCIe SSD line up, the fastest currently available. The drives come in two types, a 16 lane and an 8 lane model, using a standard PCIe interface. The 16 lane version provides the full theoretical speed of 10GBps while the 8 lane model is less expensive and offers a mere 6.7GBps of throughput. These drives are designed for enterprise usage but if you can afford the steep price tag which will come with these drives you could certainly using them for an impressive upgrade. Check out more at The Inquirer.
"SEAGATE HAS announced what the firm claims will be the world's fastest solid state drive (SSD). The 10GBps device is already production-ready and has been built to Open Compute Project (OCP) specifications, making it suitable for hyperscale data centres."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Talking Soft Machines with David Kanter: The TR Podcast 189
- Reviving The Best Keyboard Ever @ Hack a Day
- Windows 10: Microsoft delays Redstone update for another year @ The Inquirer
- Qualcomm scores points in promoting Snapdragon 820 chips @ DigiTimes
- Flash is too fat. A glut of supply means growth is slower and slower @ The Register
- AMD to fix slippery hypervisor-busting bug in its CPU microcode @ The Register
- Zorin OS: The Linux Distribution for Windows XP and 7 Fans @ Linux.com
- Raspberry Pi 3 @ The Inquirer
- For A Few Dollars More Than The Raspberry Pi 3 You Can Have A Much Faster Board @ Phoronix
- Microsoft tells Windows 10 Insider Fast Ring users to turn it off and on again @ The Inquirer
- Passive WiFi could be 10,000 times more energy efficient @ The Inquirer
- Video Capture & Edit Guide @ OCC
- Sony FDR-X1000V 4K Action Camera @ Tech ARP
Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 8, 2016 - 11:06 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: small form-factor, SFX, SFF, SF600, SF450, PSU, power supply, corsair
Corsair has released their first SFX form-factor power supplies today, with the SF450 and SF600. Both are fully modular designs, and offer high-quality components as well as an 80 Plus Gold certification.
The Corsair SF600 SFX power supply
The power output for these PSUs are indicated by the naming, with the SF450 outputting up to 450W, and the SF600 up to 600W. These power supplies both feature "Zero RPM Fan Mode", which allows them to run without the fan during less strenuous loads, and all capacitors are Japanese made, and rated for up to 105 °C operation.
Here are the specifications and features from Corsair:
- SFX Form Factor: Designed for high performance small form factor systems.
- 80 PLUS Gold certified: High-efficiency operation for less excess heat and lower operating costs.
- Fully modular cable set: Detachable DC cables make builds and upgrades easy, with clean, great-looking results.
- 100% All Japanese 105°C capacitors: Premium internal components ensure solid power delivery and long term reliability.
- Zero RPM Fan Mode: Virtually silent operation at low and medium loads.
- Seven year warranty: Your guarantee of reliable operation that will last across multiple system builds.
- MSRP: SF600 $119.99, SF450 $89.99
The SF600 pictured with its flat, ribbon style cables
Pricing is listed at $89.99 for the 450W version, and $119.99 for the 600W version. As to availability, the companty states that the SF450 and SF600 are "available immediately worldwide from Corsair’s worldwide network of authorized retailers and distributors".
Subject: General Tech | March 7, 2016 - 06:44 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: microsoft, lionhead, fable legends, dx12, DirectX 12
Officially, Microsoft has not yet shut down Lionhead Studios, but they have canceled Fable Legends. They “are in discussions with employees about the proposed closure of Lionhead Studios in the UK.” Press Play, another developer at Microsoft Studios in Europe, will be shut down as a result of this same announcement, but that studio only developed Xbox One titles, and so I'll defer to other gaming outlets to cover that part of the story.
It's always unfortunate when jobs are cut, which seem certain given the closing paragraph of the Xbox announcement thanking them for their service. The weird part about this whole issue is how late plug was pulled in its development cycle. A closed beta has been operating for months, and a demo was shared with press as a DirectX 12 benchmark. The business model was supposed to be free-to-play, which means that it could potentially continue to bleed money after launch, but you would expect that concerns would have boiled over much earlier than now.
For our audience, this also means the cancellation of one of the expected, early implementations of DirectX 12. Lionhead Studios have also contributed to Unreal Engine 4 during the development of Fable Legends, particularly with shadow map optimization. I think their Global Illumination features, the main topic of the same article that was linked in this paragraph, were contributed upstream too, but I can't find an explicit source of that.
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 7, 2016 - 06:15 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: vulkan, nvidia, graphics drivers, game ready
This new driver for NVIDIA brings Vulkan support to their current, supported branch. This is particularly interesting for me, because the Vulkan branch used to pre-date fixes for Adobe Creative Cloud, which meant that things like “Export As...” in Photoshop CC didn't work and After Effects CC would crash. They are also WHQL-certified, and they roll in all of the “Game Ready” fixes and optimizations that were released since ~October, which would be mostly new for Vulkan's branch.
... This is going to be annoying to temporarily disable...
Speaking of which, GeForce Game Ready 364.47 drivers is classified as “Game Ready” itself. The four titles optimized with this release are: Tom Clancy's The Division, Need For Speed, Hitman, and Ashes of the Singularity. If you are interested in playing those games, then this driver is what NVIDIA recommends that you use.
Note that an installation bug has been reported, however. When installing with multiple monitors, NVIDIA suggests that you disable all but one during the setup process, but you can safely re-enable them after. For me, with four monitors and a fairly meticulous desktop icon layout, this was highly annoying, but something I've had to deal with over time (especially the last two, beta Vulkan drivers). It's probably a good idea to close all applications and screenshot your icons before running the installer.