Revealing the ghost in the machine, DX12 frame times in Deus Ex

Subject: General Tech | September 14, 2016 - 02:16 PM |
Tagged: frame rating, deus ex: mankind divided, dx12, gaming

Just as we do here at PC Perspective, The Tech Report relies on rating frame times to provide accurate benchmarks as opposed to the raw number of frames per second a card provides.  This means that their look at the new DX12 patch for Deus Ex focuses on different data which does not produce the same results as FRAPs would.  This shows in their results, switching to DX12 results in much longer frame times in Deus Ex, with many spikes and a significant amount of frames that take more than 50ms to refresh.  Drop by to see their full look here.

Mankind_Divided_cover.jpg

"An early version of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided's DirectX 12 rendering path is available now, and many sites and AMD itself are already producing average FPS numbers using that software. We go inside the second to see what the real story is."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Eight is enough, looking at how the new Telsa HPC cards from NVIDIA will work

Subject: General Tech | September 14, 2016 - 01:06 PM |
Tagged: pascal, tesla, p40, p4, nvidia, neural net, m40, M4, HPC

The Register have package a nice explanation of the basics of how neural nets work in their quick look at NVIDIA's new Pascal based HPC cards, the P4 and P40.  The tired joke about Zilog or Dick Van Patten stems from the research which has shown that 8-bit precision is most effective when feeding data into a neural net.  Using 16 or 32-bit values slows the processing down significantly while adding little precision to the results produced.  NVIDIA is also perfecting a hybrid mode, where you can opt for a less precise answer produced by your local, presumably limited, hardware or you can upload the data to the cloud for the full treatment.  This is great for those with security concerns or when a quicker answer is more valuable than a more accurate one.

As for the hardware, NVIDIA claims the optimizations on the P40 will make it "40 times more efficient" than an Intel Xeon E5 CPU and it will also provide slightly more throughput than the currently available Titan X.  You can expect to see these arrive in the market sometime over then next two months.

newtesla.PNG

"Nvidia has designed a couple of new Tesla processors for AI applications – the P4 and the P40 – and is talking up their 8-bit math performance. The 16nm FinFET GPUs use Nv's Pascal architecture and follow on from the P100 launched in June. The P4 fits on a half-height, half-length PCIe card for scale-out servers, while the beefier P40 has its eyes set on scale-up boxes."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Amazon Is Selling Fallout 4 for ~18$. Should You Get It?

Subject: General Tech | September 14, 2016 - 01:34 AM |
Tagged: pc gaming, fallout 4, bethesda

I don't usually post individual deals, but this is a fairly big drop in price for a very popular game. The physical copy of Fallout 4, for PC of course, is currently a little over $18. Since, digitally, it is still a $60 game, this is about 70% less than the price on Steam.

bethesda-2015-fallout4-ultra.jpg

I'm guessing that this deal is to clear out stock for an upcoming Game of the Year edition. This is something to keep in mind. The last DLC has just been released two weeks ago, and, if history serves, that means it won't be too long before they release the game with the DLC bundled in. Probably, if you waited this long, you should wait until that gets released (and goes on sale) to pick it up. I doubt that it would arrive before 2017, though, so it's up to you.

Source: Amazon
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Penclic

Introduction

The Professional Typist MK1 from Penclic is a compact, tenkeyless (TKL) mechanical keyboard with Kailh Brown switches that the Swedish company has designed "for the professional typist that wants to type fast, really fast."

DSC_0243.jpg

"Whether you are an engineer writing reports, journalist writing articles, or anyone else who uses a keyboard a lot, you require the best tool for the job. The brown mechanical keys give a distinct feel for when you have pressed far enough and are more responsive than membrane alternatives and the keystroke sound is also suitable for the office environment. These features enable users with extra nimble fingers to type superfast."

A relative newcomer to the PC industry (and one I had not heard of before now), Penclic was founded in 2011 and specializes in ergonomics and "smart, clean Scandinavian design". I can certainly appreciate the clean design aesthetic, which is refreshing after mainly covering products in an industry that thinks PC enthusiasts want RGB lighting on everything and Batmobile-inspired industrial design.

This keyboard may not be targeted specifically at "gamers", (it is called the "Professional Typist MK1" after all) but it could certainly be used in that capacity. Key switches are a personal thing - as is standard vs. TKL (and 60%, etc.) - but Penclic may just have produced a product that can appeal to just about any user.

DSC_0238.jpg

Continue reading our review of the Penclic Professional Typist MK1 mechanical keyboard!!

The holodeck down under, an update from Euclideon

Subject: General Tech | September 13, 2016 - 12:38 PM |
Tagged: VR, holoverse, euclideon

It is hard to believe but it was indeed five years ago when Euclideon first started talking about their Unlimited Detail technology and how it can be used to create a holodeck.  You can now visit their first hologram entertainment centre, assuming you can get to Australia where the centre is located.  The video that [H]ard|OCP posted along with their interview looks very impressive, though it is difficult to get a feeling of what it would be like inside the room.

Ryan sat down (virtually) with the CEO of Euclideon, Bruce Dell, to talk about the recent updates to their Euclideon Unlimited Detail engine, the addition of animation capability and the opening of virtual reality hologram entertainment rooms based on the tech.

The technology used to create the rooms is fascinating and very different from the polygon based rendering techniques we are accustomed to.  They have named it Unlimited Detail and describe it as using 'trillions of little computer generated atoms' to create flat images on the wall or 3D holograms inside the room. Their UD engine can also stream 3D graphics from hard drives at a speed which does not need a cache, essentially giving them unlimited video memory which they use to project the equivalent of 20,000,000 converted polygons per square metre.  Check out the article as it is well worth looking at.

1473699245tuMdttQ4pr_1_2_l.jpg

"It's been five years since we last heard from Bruce Dell of Euclideon about its Unlimited Detail Technology and how he saw it changing the gaming world. Since then Bruce has not been sitting on his hands, and are now delivering the Holoverse VR / AR experience to the folks Down Under. And a new video showing this off!"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: [H]ard|OCP

A new breakthrough in spine care! Read your book through the cover, or the introduction at least.

Subject: General Tech | September 12, 2016 - 12:40 PM |
Tagged: mit, terahertz camera, georgia tech

MIT have come up with a camera which radiates EM at terahertz frequencies which can read a bit of a closed book thanks to the difference in reflectivity between ink and paper.  This is less a spy device than a way to read ancient scrolls and parchments which could disintegrate at a touch.  The camera can only penetrate to a depth of about nine pages before the clarity of the image degrades and the text can no longer easily be read.  The software the camera communicates with is able to recognize the letters and words in the images, it is not the scientists who read the manuscripts directly.  The Inquirer points out that this means it is also capable of defeating captchas, an impressive feat in and of itself though one with possible negative repercussions.

morg_handrit_1_1_large.jpg

"IMAGINE IF you could read a book like Superman. Well, thanks to research by MIT and Georgia Tech, X-ray vision could be the next big thing in reading after the team created a camera that can read closed books."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Humble Store Is Giving Away Tropico 4

Subject: General Tech | September 9, 2016 - 07:09 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, Kalypso, humble bundle

Update: Annnnnnnnnnnd it's over. Sorry everyone who just noticed the post. Original below.

If you have heard about the On The House promotion from EA's Origin service, then this will sound familiar. For the next eighteen hours, the Humble Store is giving away Tropico 4 from Kalypso Media Digital. It does not include any of the expansions or DLC, but it normally retails for $17 CDN and you're getting it for free if you redeem it before it expires. Also, according to the Steam page, the game requires that users register a (free) account with Kalypso to login.

kalypso-2016-tropico4-humble.jpg

Again, you're getting it for free, though, and I know of a few people that love it. Tropico is a city-building game of sorts, except that, instead of playing as an omnificent being that benevolently rules over a region, you play as an actual dictator. I haven't played it myself, but I just added it to my Steam account, so I'll hopefully get around to it soon.

Source: Humble Store

Adrian Courrèges Discusses DOOM Rendering Techniques

Subject: General Tech | September 9, 2016 - 03:52 PM |
Tagged: doom, pc gaming, bethesda

Adrian Courrèges is a software developer who, from time to time, does a break down on rendering techniques for major gaming titles. His latest one is on DOOM, and it explains, in remarkably simple (given the subject matter) terms, how the game draws a frame at a point early in the game. Most of the information was gathered from using debug tools, but a bit was pulled from Tiago Sousa and Jean Geffroy's slide deck at last month's SIGGRAPH conference.

bethesda-2016-doom-adriancourreges.jpg

I obviously cannot really summarize what the article says in this post. You kind-of need to read it for yourself. The post goes into how Vulkan is used for updating Mega-Textures, but it doesn't go into anything like asynchronous compute, though. Most of the figures are animated too, usually by a slideshow of images, but a few WebGL demonstrations are included, too.

The GTX 1050 is scheduled to launch at the end of September but ...

Subject: General Tech | September 9, 2016 - 12:44 PM |
Tagged: rumour, nvidia, gtx 1050

DigiTimes have heard that NVIDIA hope to release the GTX 1050 at the end of the month or early in October but there are hints it may be somewhat of a paper launch.  NVIDIA will have some silicon for sale but only a few who are quick enough on the draw will be able to purchase them; similar to the launch of the GTX 1080 and 1070 or even AMD's new cards for that matter.  Both vendors had great difficulty providing retailers with cards to sell at launch, the supply has increased and prices are much closer to the MSRP than they were a month ago but there are still plenty of out of stock models when you start looking for deals. 

Hopefully this situation will resolve soon, but for now patience is recommended for upgraders on a tight budget.

index.png

"Nvidia's Pascal-based GeForce GTX 1080, 1070 and 1060 graphics cards are seeing strong demand from the market and therefore are currently in tight supply. To further expand into the market, Nvidia is planning to release its mid-range GTX 1050 graphics card at the end of September at the earliest."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

The Blender Foundation Releases Cycles 2016 Demo Reel

Subject: General Tech | September 9, 2016 - 07:00 AM |
Tagged: Blender

The Blender Foundation maintains the most popular, free, open-source 3D suite, Blender. One major component of any 3D application is the chunk that turns 3D geometry into one or more 2D images. This is often passed to third-party software, like mental ray or Pixar Renderman, but basically everyone has their own internal ones.

About five years ago, Blender released a new rendering engine, called Cycles, whose just-released 2016 demo reel is embedded above. Not being held back by history, they swung for the fences with it. It supports multiple GPUs (albeit mostly NVIDIA, even to this day, due to CUDA vs OpenCL at the time -- but AMD might be commissioning development soon) and integrates tightly with the editor. It produces great images, although it's very slow for cartoonish imagery (but Blender is working on a viewport renderer for that sort of content anyway).

Also, Blender with Cycles is what we used for our recent animation projects. Version 2.78 is currently in release candidate mode, and should be released very soon.