Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Displays | July 29, 2014 - 09:02 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: vesa, nvidia, g-sync, freesync, DisplayPort, amd
Dynamic refresh rates have two main purposes: save power by only forcing the monitor to refresh when a new frame is available, and increase animation smoothness by synchronizing to draw rates (rather than "catching the next bus" at 16.67ms, on the 16.67ms, for 60 Hz monitors). Mobile devices prefer the former, while PC gamers are interested in the latter.
Obviously, the video camera nullifies the effect.
NVIDIA was first to make this public with G-Sync. AMD responded with FreeSync, starting with a proposal that was later ratified by VESA as DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync. AMD, then, took up "Project FreeSync" as an AMD "hardware/software solution" to make use of DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync in a way that benefits PC gamers.
Today's news is that AMD has just released an FAQ which explains the standard much more thoroughly than they have in the past. For instance, it clarifies the distinction between DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync and Project FreeSync. Prior to the FAQ, I thought that FreeSync became DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync, and that was that. Now, it is sounding a bit more proprietary, just built upon an open, VESA standard.
If interested, check out the FAQ at AMD's website.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | July 29, 2014 - 08:27 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, geforce, graphics drivers, shield tablet, shield
Alongside the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet launch, the company has released their GeForce 340.52 drivers. This version allows compatible devices to use GameStream and it, also, is optimized for Metro: Redux and Final Fantasy XIV (China).
The driver supports GeForce 8-series graphics cards, and later. As a reminder, for GPUs that are not based on the Fermi architecture (or later), 340.xx will be your last driver version. NVIDIA does intend to provided extended support for 340.xx (and earlier) drivers until April 1st, 2016. But, when Fermi, Kepler, and Maxwell move on to 343.xx, Tesla and earlier will not. That said, most of the content of this driver is aimed at Kepler and later. Either way, the driver itself is available for those pre-Fermi cards.
I should also mention that a user of Anandtech's forums noted the removal of Miracast from NVIDIA documentation. NVIDIA has yet to comment, although it is still very short notice, at this point.
Subject: General Tech, Storage | July 29, 2014 - 07:24 PM | Scott Michaud
You might remember Allyn say that Samsung's 850 Pro is the closest to total saturation of SATA 6Gbps. The other option that we have seen is the bunch of SSDs that are attached to a PCI Express bus. HGST, formerly Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, has just SAS'd back (that was a terrible pun... which I refuse to apologize for) with a Serial Attached SCSI 12 Gbps model (pdf link). They claim a maximum read throughput of 1100 MB/s, with 64K chunks, and 130,000 IOPS, with 4K random accesses.
The drives will be based on Intel 20nm enterprise-grade NAND with two bits per memory cell (MLC). Its durability is rated at 25 full driver writes per day for 5 years. Models will range from 100GB, all the way up to 1600GB (1.6TB).
While I am limited to Google Translate, there does not appear to be any price or availability information provided. They are enterprise drives, however, so I expect it to be above typical consumer drives.
Subject: General Tech | July 29, 2014 - 06:55 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ubisoft, watch_dogs, watch dogs, pc gaming
Today, Ubisoft has issued a patch for Watch_Dog that fixes bugs and performance issues. Mainly, it is designed to reduce stuttering with higher levels of texture quality, especially "High Textures". "Ultra Textures" could still have problems for "some players", but Ubisoft suggests that future updates to reduce stutter are in progress.
Without knowing much about the internal workings of the patch, I expect that it addresses hiccups when swapping textures. Loading textures into memory can take a significant amount of time, and overhead, but it is necessary if the one you need is not in there. As the size of each individual texture increases, fewer can be stored in the same memory space, leading to more swapping required (especially when it is difficult to tell what a user can see at any given point in time). Ubisoft might have found a more efficient organization (for lack of a better word that I can think of) for textures that allow "High Textures" to stay below their target memory footprint, but not "Ultra Textures", at least not frequently enough to call it fixed.
Of course, I could be entirely wrong.
This patch also addresses bugs with multiple network adapters, crashes, and error messages. According to Ubisoft forums, it is available now. It is not yet on their news blog, though.
Subject: General Tech | July 29, 2014 - 03:29 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: input, Nixeus, MODA, mechanical keyboard, Kailh, brown
Nixeus is not a household name by any means but they could heat up competition in the mechanical keyboard market as a new player using relatively new Kailh Brown switches. Like many ten-keyless gaming boards it has extra blue key caps to make your board more interesting, gold plated USB connectors, a 1000Hz Poll Rate and 6 Key Roll-over. The Kailh Brown switches are clones of Cherry MX Brown switches and felt almost the same when Legit Reviews tested them. The keyboard is similar to many already on the market but should appeal to those who prefer simplicity over media buttons and LEDs.
"Founded in California of 2009, Nixeus is still a bit of a newcomer to the PC hardware industry looking to build up a bigger name in the world of monitors and peripherals. Their aggressively priced 1440p monitors which carry the same LG panels found in the iMac displays have been their mainstay for much of that time, but recently Nixeus is expanding to the PC gaming market including the Moda mechanical keyboard being reviewed here on Legit Reviews. Read on to see how this keyboard performs!"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- GAMDIAS HERMES Ultimate Black Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ NikKTech
- Tt eSports Poseidon Z Mechanical Keyboard @ TechwareLabs
- Cooler Master Quick Fire Rapid-i Mechanical Keyboard Review @ Madshrimps
- Logitech Illuminated Living Room Keyboard K830 Review @ Techgage
- Gamdias Hermes Cherry MX Blue Mechanical Gaming Keyboard @ eTeknix
- GAMDIAS HERMES Essential GKB2000 Mechanical Keyboard @ Benchmark Reviews
- Gamdias Aegis gaming set @ Kitguru
- XTracGear Carbonic Mouse Pad @ Benchmark Reviews
- Aorus Thunder M7 MMO Gaming Mouse and Thunder P3 Gaming Pad Overview + Review @HiTech Legion
Subject: General Tech | July 28, 2014 - 02:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: oculus rift, DK2, oled, kick ass
The two top improvements in the second Oculus rift are aimed to reduce the screen door effect by changing the display to a full 1080p OLED screen and the inclusion of Valve's low persistence of vision feature to reduce the image smearing that DK1 users reported. There is a brand new way of tracking your heads position in 3D with the DK2, a camera tracks the motion of hidden onboard IR LEDs to track translational movement in addition to the rotational tracking existent on the DK1. You will need 2 free USB ports and it connects to an HDMI or DVI port on your GPU, wireless video streaming is still a hurdle for many applications let alone the Oculus Rift. Check out the comments on Slashdot and follow the link for a full preview.
"The hotly anticipated Oculus Rift DK2 has begun arriving at doorsteps. The DK2s enhancements include optical positional tracking and a higher resolution panel, up from 1280×800 to 1920×1080 (1080p) and moved to a pentile-matrix OLED panel for display duties. This means higher levels of resolvable detail and a much reduced screen door effect."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The TR Podcast 158: Planet of the Shield Tablets
- NO SALE: IBM won't cash in its chips with GlobalFoundries after all @ The Register
- New Surface to come into production in August, say Taiwan maker @ DigiTimes
- A Better Google Glass For $60 (This One Folds) @ Hack a Day
- Amazon opens its own 3D Printing Store @ The Inquirer
- Build Your Own Gatling Rubber Band Machine Gun @ Slashdot
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | July 28, 2014 - 09:00 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: raptr, pc game streaming
Raptr seems to be gaining in popularity. Total playtime recorded by the online service was up 15% month-over-month, from May to June. The software is made up of a few features that are designed to make the lives of PC gamers easier and better, ranging from optimizing game settings to recording gameplay. If you have used a recent version of GeForce Experience, then you probably have a good idea of what Raptr does.
Today, Raptr has announced a new, major update. The version's headlining feature is hardware accelerated video recording, and streaming, for both AMD and NVIDIA GPUs. Raptr claims that their method leads to basically no performance lost, regardless of which GPU vendor is used. Up to 20 minutes of previous gameplay can be recorded after it happened and video of unlimited length can be streamed on demand.
Notice the recording overlay in the top left.
The other, major feature of this version is enhanced sharing of said videos. They can be uploaded to Raptr.com and shared to Facebook and Twitter, complete with hashtags (#BecauseYolo?)
If interested, check out Raptr at their website.
Subject: General Tech | July 25, 2014 - 01:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: commodore 64, gaming, arduino nano, Tapuino
Over at Hack a Day is a link to a project which will warm the hearts of old gamers everywhere, a tape reader emulator for the C64. Built using a Arduino Nano V3 with an added SD card reader and with a rather low level of difficulty to build there is now a way to relive your misspent youth assuming you still have a working C64 on display somewhere. The total build will cost less than $20 making this great for folks looking to get into programming Arduino and building their own electronics. Check it out here.
"One of the machines that didn’t make it into his collection until recently was a Commodore 64 with Datasette and 1541 drive. With no tapes and a 1541 disk drive that required significant restoration, he looked at other devices to load programs onto his C64."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Dive in, penguins: Upstart builds Linux virtual SAN @ The Register
- Amazon Fire Phone is harder to fix than the Galaxy S5, iPhone 5S @ The Inquirer
- Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade @ The Register
- Researchers herald the coming of the 1TB smartphone @ The Inquirer
- Poetry For Sysadmins: Shall I Compare Thee To a Lumbering Bear? @ Slashdot
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | July 24, 2014 - 10:04 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: shield tablet, shield, nvidia
Just a small note to continue with our SHIELD Tablet coverage. It turns out that the $299 (16GB) SHIELD Tablet, its cover, and its wireless controller are all available for pre-order on Amazon. The unit will actually be available on July 29th, but we were not aware that pre-orders would be possible until now.
While Ryan wrote a preview for the SHIELD Tablet, he is not giving a final word until he gets it into his lab and is capable of giving a full review. Also, we do not know how many units will be available. Whether you should pre-order, or wait for Ryan's final word, is up to you.
Thanks to our fans for alerting us of this availabilty in the IRC during TWiCH.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | July 24, 2014 - 07:32 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, gtx 880
Many of our readers were hoping to drop one (or more) Maxwell-based GPUs in their system for use with their 4K monitors, 3D, or whatever else they need performance for. That has not happened, nor do we even know, for sure, when it will. The latest rumors claim that the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 870 and 880 desktop GPUs will arrive in October or November. More interesting, it is expected to be based on GM204 at the current, 28nm process.
The recent GPU roadmap, as of GTC 2014
NVIDIA has not commented on the delay, at least that I know of, but we can tell something is up from their significantly different roadmap. We can also make a fairly confident guess, by paying attention to the industry as a whole. TSMC has been struggling to keep up with 28nm production, having increased wait times by six extra weeks in May, according to Digitimes, and whatever 20nm capacity they had was reportedly gobbled up by Apple until just recently. At around the same time, NVIDIA inserted Pascal between Maxwell and Volta with 3D memory, NVLink, and some unified memory architecture (which I don't believe they yet elaborated on).
The previous roadmap. (Source: Anandtech)
And, if this rumor is true, Maxwell was pushed from 20nm to a wholly 28nm architecture. It was originally supposed to be host of unified virtual memory, not Pascal. If I had to make a safe guess, I would assume that NVIDIA needed to redesign their chip to 28nm and, especially with the extra delays at TSMC, cannot get the volume they need until Autumn.
Lastly, going by the launch of the 750ti, Maxwell will basically be a cleaned-up Kepler architecture. Its compute units were shifted into power-of-two partitions, reducing die area for scheduling logic (and so forth). NVIDIA has been known to stash a few features into each generation, sometimes revealing them well after retail availability, so that is not to say that Maxwell will be "a more efficient Kepler".
I expect its fundamental architecture should be pretty close, though.
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