Don't head out on a wild goose chase when buying a GPU to play Witcher 3

Subject: General Tech | August 26, 2015 - 01:52 PM |
Tagged: gaming, The Witcher 3, VLAN party, fragging frogs

[H]ard|OCP has taken the guesswork out of GPU performance on the current version of Witcher 3 in this round up featuring 10 GPUs, five from each company.  Of course only NVIDIA supports lips occluded by PhysX powered mustachios but not everyone is obsessed with perfect hair.  Indeed when it takes a $1000 video card just to enable the lowest options on HairWorks at 1440p without disabling every other feature one wonders why HairWorks had gamers tied up in knots.  Check out the full review for performance comparisons and even some HairWorks nitpicking.

This weekend also marks the 11th Fragging Frogs VLAN party, which kicks off on Saturday August 29 10:00 AM ET and will go until the last frog has been fragged.  Sign up in this thread if you haven't already and if you are new to the Fragging Frogs follow the links to the FAQ threads for information on which patches or mods you will need to apply to your games to get playing as soon as possible. 


"We take The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, using the 1.08.2 patch and latest drivers, find the highest playable settings and examine apples-to-apples performance with and without GameWorks across 10 video cards. We put a focus on NVIDIA HairWorks and how it impacts performance and find out which video cards provide the best gaming value."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Grand Theft Auto V Mods Don't Disappoint

Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2015 - 06:40 PM |
Tagged: GTA5, GTAV, pc gaming

Triple-A games with a long shelf life, regardless of how pretty they are, will probably get a graphics mod on the PC. A ridiculous number of them exist for Skyrim and Grand Theft Auto IV, which make them (arguably at the very least) look better than titles a whole generation ahead of them. Sometimes this raises controversy, as seen in the Watch_Dogs launch fiasco, but most of the time it is just hobbyists remaking the wheel (sometimes literally) to take advantage of newer hardware.

Toddyhancer, which is apparently a mod for Grand Theft Auto V, already looks impressive. It is not yet released, and the developer claims that it has a significant performance impact of ~10-30 FPS, which would be more useful in units of frame time (ms), but it makes its point. The above video seems to focus on shader effects to give a film feel.


Other screenshots exist, but it is difficult to figure out everything that has, and has not, been changed. The developer claims, “Don't go bananaz! its just Reshade Shaders, ENB series, simple tweaks and some tonemapping with class!”. Still, check it out if interested.

Source: Imgur

A hint of what to come from Hot Chips

Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2015 - 02:57 PM |
Tagged: amd, hot chips, SK Hynix

Thanks to DigiTimes we are getting some information out of Hot Chips about what is coming up from AMD.  As Sebastian just posted we now have a bit more about the R9 Nano and you can bet we will see more in the near future.  They also describe the new HBM developed in partnership with SK Hynix,  4GB of high-bandwidth memory over a 4096-bit interface will offer an impressive 512Gb/s of memory bandwidth.  We also know a bit more about the new A-series APUs which will range up to 12 compute cores, four Excavator based CPUs and eight GCN based GPUs.  They will also be introducing new power saving features called Adaptive Voltage and Frequency Scaling (AVFS) and will support the new H.265 compression standard.  Click on through to DigiTimes or wait for more pictures and documentation to be released from Hot Chips.


"AMD is showcasing its new high-performance accelerated processing unit (APU), codenamed Carrizo, and the new AMD Radeon R9 Fury family of GPUs, codenamed Fiji, at the annual Hot Chips symposium."

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Source: DigiTimes

We could tell you what was in that update but then we would have to terminate your process

Subject: General Tech | August 24, 2015 - 03:17 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10

The more we learn about Windows as a Service the less we seem to know.  Already many have discovered that a fresh install with license from an upgraded Windows install is not as simple as it sounded, the license has far more to do with your current hardware than the OS license you once purchased.  Now it seems that figuring out what updates are being installed on your computer will also be obfuscated, where before you could see the number of the relevant Knowledge Base article now you will simply receive generically labelled updates.  This should worry home users as it will make it difficult to avoid Windows Updates with known compatibility issues and terrify any businesses which were considering moving to Windows 10 as releasing untested patches into a production environment is verboten and this makes the testing process more, not less difficult.

Windows Insiders may actually end up knowing more about the updates than the regular users who will only hear details of a limited number of updates.  Build 10525 has recently been released to insiders on the Fast Release ring with Microsoft's Gabe Aul went into detail about what changes were made in this new build, as well as the new issues present in this version. Build 10512 of Windows 10 Mobile was also just recently released for those few souls running on Windows Mobile and testing the newest incarnation of the OS.  The Register did try out the new version, you can read about their experiences here.


"The Register asked Microsoft for clarification on the policy after the company issued a new cumulative update for Windows 10 and refused to say what it does other than to say it offered “improvements to enhance the functionality of Windows 10.”"

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Source: The Register

Podcast #363 - DX12 Benchmarking, Skylake News from IDF, Intel Optane Storage and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 20, 2015 - 03:51 PM |
Tagged: XPoint, video, Skylake, podcast, Optane, ocz, NVMe, kingston, Intel, idf2015, fms2015, dx12, ashes of the singularity

PC Perspective Podcast #363 - 08/20/2015

Join us this week as we discuss DX12 Benchmarking, Skylake News from IDF, Intel Optane Storage and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano

*sorry for the audio problems with Ryan's Skype, still not quite sure what the issue was*

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

Interesting Breakdown of OLD Computer Graphics

Subject: General Tech | August 19, 2015 - 07:07 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming

While just the first episode has been released, The iBook Guy is creating a series of videos that explains the limitations of “oldschool” graphics. When you have just a handful of kilobytes of RAM, it is impossible to even store a full-quality frame buffer that the TV requires, which means that something will need to be thrown away.

The first video talks about adding color to frames with tiling and sprites. Using just ~1K of RAM, software developers were able to define background colors on a tile-by-tile basis. This allowed “black and white” to be an arbitrary “foreground and background” combination, which could even vary from one tile to the next as long as each tile only used two colors. This concept is expanded on to allow four colors per tile at a slight reduction in resolution. The video then goes into sprites, and how they are used for movable actors atop the tiles.


Image Credit: The iBook Guy

I don't know when Part 2 will be published, but it seems like they release about once per week.

Mod Tools for The Witcher 3 Released

Subject: General Tech | August 18, 2015 - 08:44 PM |
Tagged: The Witcher 3, CD Projekt RED

As CD Projekt Red promised before the game launched, The Witcher 3 received mod tools last week. This was done in partnership with Nexus Mods, allowing users to install and configure user content using the Nexus Mod Manager. Note that this only applies to mods that were created with the official mod kit, not any arbitrary mod that has been created since release.


CD Projekt Red has also provided four simple samples (serves you right for trying to read my news posts aloud) as a tutorial. “Witcher The Slav” retextures “Geralt's starting outfit”. “Fabulous Roach” modifies the meshes and textures that make up Geralt's horse. “Petard sWitcher”, and the more mundanely named Custom Equipment Sets Mod, each introduces game scripting concepts.

Go forth and mod.

Source: CD Projekt

Microsoft Publishes Build 10525 to Fast Ring Insiders

Subject: General Tech | August 18, 2015 - 08:24 PM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft

Almost exactly a month ago, Windows 10 Build 10240 was released to both Fast and Slow. This build served as the milestone for an everyperson's operating system, and it gave OEMs something to validate drivers and software against. According to BuildFeed, the first known branches at that build number were compiled on July 9th.


Today, Windows Insiders on the Fast ring will receive Build 10525 when they next perform a Windows Update. This build was first compiled last week on August 12th, and it represents the first published milestone of the TH2 branch. It contains two new (advertised) features: extra color options for Windows UI elements and improvements to Windows 10 memory management.

I'll talk about Memory Manager first.

As Windows 10 builds were released, there was one where I noticed the System process begun to use a significant amount of RAM -- a whole gigabyte or two. I figured that this was a memory leak that would be fixed in a later build, so I put up with it. Some time later, I noticed that its usage would actually go up and down as I open or close applications. It was also never “fixed” before release.

It turns out that it was an intended feature.

When operating systems decide that a chunk of memory is unlikely to be used, they tend to push them to the hard drive. This could be an application that has been minimized for a while, or portions that were displaced by a big, RAM-hungry program. You will often see this when you switch programs. Sometimes, there's a program that's already open, albeit minimized, but it still takes a few seconds to pop up. This behavior is often because it was pushed out of system memory and Windows (or Mac, Linux, and so forth) wasn't prepared to abruptly fetch it again.

Now, system memory is big and cheap, and Windows is being installed on devices with small banks of flash storage and relatively fast processors. Microsoft now believes that it makes sense to cram old chunks of memory into a container, which resides in RAM, that is compressed (as opposed to just dumping it onto permanent storage). This occurs in the system process, which explains why it tends to inflate when you're doing a lot of things at once.

Build 10525 tweaks this feature a bit in undescribed ways. I could imagine that Microsoft cut development in the public branches to make it robust for Windows 10's launch. They now have an opportunity to point Insiders to the less tested branches.


I think this is interesting, and could make a lot of sense if they successfully manage data into their most efficient storage locations. I do notice that System tends to get large even when a lot of RAM is still available. For instance, I have 55% of my memory unallocated at this point, but System is about 1.2 GB large. There could be very good reasons for this, which might be something that my operating system would know better than I, but it might also be a sign that it's slightly over-aggressive. Maybe my system could benefit from a big, contiguous chunk of available memory, or maybe my PC is being unreasonably taxed. Who knows.

The other major feature is color management. While the three displayed toggles are available in 10240, the user is apparently now able to adjust more colors. Without installing 10525, I cannot figure out what those changes are, but Microsoft asserts that they're there.

If you register as a Windows Insider Fast Ring user, you can now receive 10525.

Source: Microsoft

Tt eSPORTS updated BLACK V2 Gaming Mouse

Subject: General Tech | August 18, 2015 - 02:18 PM |
Tagged: input, gaming mouse, thermaltake esports, black v2

The new Black V2 has the high quality OMRON switches common to gaming mice and has been upgraded to use an AVAGO laser sensor which allows you to increment your sensitivity in 100DPI increments up to 5700 DPI.  It sports 7 programmable buttons all of which can be set to send macros, a total of 35 programmable macros across 5 profiles using the included software.  The LEDs which illuminate the logo and indicate the current DPI sensitivity level can be turned on or off and apparently will change depending on how fast you are clicking if you enable Battle Mode.  Five 4.5g weights allow you to modify how the mouse feels in your hand, not a bad set of features for a mouse under $60Check out Mad Shrimps' full review to see what they thought of the Black V2.


"During our time with the Black V2, the product seemed quite responsive and comfortable, while the extra buttons can be accessed easily when in-game. The mouse was tested in multiple game genres and here we could count League of Legends, Echo of Soul, The Talos Principle, Serious Sam BFE but also GTA V; thanks to the new AVAGO sensor, the experience was accurate and if we feel that the default DPI steps are not for us in the current game, we can easily reconfigure them from the supplied application."

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Source: Mad Shrimps

Move over Twinkies and cockroaches; meet the unkillable cookie

Subject: General Tech | August 18, 2015 - 01:11 PM |
Tagged: super cookie, security

Congratulations, if you use Verizon, AT&T, Bell Canada, Bharti Airtel, Cricket, Telefonica de Espantilde;a, Viettel Peru S.a.c., Vodafone NL or Vodafone Spain as your provider your browsing is being tracked and there is nothing you can do about it.  These providers have assigned your device a unique token which the provider injects into every HTTP request your device makes, the cookie is actually external to your device and so you have no way to remove it.  You will see targeted ads based on your browsing no matter how many times you remove cookies or even factory reset your phone.  Verizon has now made it an opt-out feature and The Register has been told that AT&T no longer injects the 'super cookie' into headers but based on businesses recent behaviour it is probably because they have found a better way to track you.


"At least nine telcos around the world are using so-called super-cookies to secretly monitor citizens' online behavior, according to a new study."

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Source: The Register