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Humble 505 Games Sale: Up to 90% Off

Subject: General Tech | February 18, 2019 - 01:26 PM |
Tagged: humble, games, deals, 505 games

Forget the pasta, bring some Italian goodness into your life another way this week with the 505 Games Sale over at the Humble Store. Take your pick of 16 games and a dozen DLCs from the Italian game publisher at up to 90% off.

505games-humble.jpg

Titles include Assetto Corsa, ABZÛ, Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons, and Virginia. All games activate via Steam. The sale is on now through Monday, February 25th at 10:00 a.m. PST. Check it out to save some money on some great games, and don't forget to check the Charity box during checkout to help support some worthy causes.

PC Perspective is a Humble Partner, so we earn a small commission if you purchase any games from this sale via our link. We appreciate your support but if you want to check out the sale without supporting us, just use this unaffilaited link here.

Source: Humble Store

NVIDIA Releases 418.99 Hotfix for Windows 7 / 8.1 Crashes

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 18, 2019 - 12:07 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers, geforce

Apparently the latest WHQL driver, 418.81, can cause random application crashes and TDRs (“Timeout Detection and Recovery”) issues on Windows 7 and 8.1. NVIDIA has followed up with a hotfix driver, 418.99, that addresses the issue.

nvidia-2015-bandaid.png

Hotfix drivers do not undergo full testing, so they should not be installed unless you are concerned about the specific issues they fix. In this case, because the bug does not affect Windows 10, a Windows 10 driver is not even provided.

In case you’re wondering what “Timeout Detection and Recovery” is, Windows monitors the graphics driver to make sure that work is being completed quickly (unless it is not driving a monitor – Windows doesn’t care how long a GPU is crunching on compute tasks if it is not being used for graphics). If it hangs for a significant time, Windows reboots the graphics driver just in case it was stuck in, for example, an infinite loop caused by a bad shader or compute task. Without TDR, the only way to get out of this situation would be to cut power to the system.

Introduction and Cooler Overview

Introduction

Aquacomputer's Cuplex Kryos Next water block is aptly named, in that it is the next evolution of their award winning Cuplex Kryos block. The biggest functional redesign was with the internal flow dynamics of the block, changing from a pin grid design to a micro-channel design on the base plate.

02-cuplex-kryos-next-blocks.jpg

Courtesy of Aquacomputer

Externally, they added the option of including their Vision display, which integrates into the front of the block and displays real-time statistics on coolant temperature and flow. The block we used for our tests did not include the Vision module but was an all copper design with nickel plating throughout. The base all metal version of the Cuplex Krynos Next comes at a price premium with an MSRP of around $100.00.

03-microchannel-structure.jpg

Courtesy of Aquacomputer

Note that the Cuplex Kryos Next water block comes with a variety of different configurations, ranging from an acrylic top to an all silver design. Because of this variety, the price can vary quite bit from the above listed MSRP. Adding the Vision module to the block can increase the price even more.

Technical Specifications (taken from the manufacturer website)

Water Block Specifications
Dimensions Base 115x: 94 x 94 x 22 mm (screws and backplate not included)
Base 2011: 98 x 98 x 22 mm (screws not included)
Base AM3: 116 x 68 x 22 mm (screws and backplate not included)
Thread G1/4
Distance of connecting threads Models without VISION except acrylic version: 28 mm
Acrylic version without VISION: 27 mm
Models with VISION except acrylic version: 24 mm
Acrylic version with VISION: 23.5 mm

Continue reading our review of the Aquacomputer Cuplex Kryos Next water block!

European Speedrunner Assembly (ESA) Winter 2019 Begins

Subject: General Tech | February 18, 2019 - 11:27 AM |
Tagged: esa, speedrun, charity

Another video game speedrun marathon has just begun. The European Speedrunner Assembly (ESA) Winter 2019 event started a few hours ago, at 7am EST, and will continue until the games are done, which should be Saturday evening. The last item on the schedule is a race of Cuphead between kalevan_herra, Kirthar, and TwoCPlus in the All Bosses, Regular, Legacy category, although there is a $1,000 donation incentive where kalevan_herra will do an extra solo run of All Bosses, Regular, Current Patch after the race.

esa-2019-logo.png

One interesting feature of ESA is that they tend to run two streams with separate games. While the second stream is not online for the whole marathon, it allows them to separate out some (not all) of the long runs so that the main stream can have a faster pace. The Stream 2 game with the fastest estimate (2 hours and 10 minutes) is Jade Empire on Tuesday at 4:30pm EST, and Stream 2 game with the longest estimate (10 hours and 45 minutes) is Final Fantasy X on Thursday at 7am EST.

ESA Winter 2019 benefits Save the Children.

Source: ESA Marathon

Rumor: Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti Will Use Smaller TU116 GPU

Subject: General Tech | February 17, 2019 - 10:34 AM |
Tagged: turing, tu116, nvidia, gtx 1660 ti, 12nm

The rumor mill is churning out additional information on the alleged NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti graphics card as it gets closer to its purported release date later this month. Based on the same Turing architecture as the already launched RTX series (RTX 2080, RTX 2070, RTX 2060), the GTX 1660 Ti will reportedly use a smaller TU116 GPU (specifically TU116-400-A1) and 6GB of GDDR6 memory on a 192-bit memory bus. Spotted by VideoCardz, TU116 appears to be pin compatible with TU106 (the GPU used in RTX 2060) but the die itself is noticeably smaller suggesting that TU116 is a new GPU rather than a cut down TU106 GPU with hardware purposefully disabled or binned down due manufacturing defects.

NVIDIA-GTX-1660-Ti-PCB.jpg

A bare MSI GTX 1660 Ti Ventus XS graphics card courtesy VideoCardz.

Rumor has it that the GTX 1660 Ti will feature 1536 CUDA cores, 96 Texture Units, and an unknown number of ROPs (possibly 48 though as the memory bus is the same as RTX 2060 with its 192-bit bus). Clockspeeds will start at 1500 MHz and boost to 1770 MHz. The 6GB of GDDR6 will be clocked at 6000 MHz. VideoCardz showed off an alleged MSI GTX 1660 Ti graphics card with the cooler removed showing off the PCB and components. Interestingly, the PCB has six memory chips on board for the 6GB GDDR6 with spots and traces for two more chips. Don't get your hopes up for an 8GB card however, as it appears that NVIDIA is simply making things easier on AIB partners by using pin compatible GPUs allowing them to reuse boards for the higher end graphics card models for the GTX 1660 Ti. The PCB board number for the GTX 1660 Ti is PG161 and is similar to the board used with RTX 2060 (PG160).

Enthusiasts' favorite twitter leaker TUM_APISAK further stirs the rumor pot with a leaked screenshot showing the benchmark results of a GTX 1660 Ti graphics card in Final Fantasy XV with a 1440p High Quality preset. The GTX 1660 Ti allegedly scored 5,000 points putting it just above the GTX 1070 at 4,955 points and just under the 980 Ti's 5052 score. Compared to the other side, the GTX 1660 Ti appears to sit between a presumably overclocked RX Vega (4876) and a Radeon Vega II (5283).

NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti Benchmark Leak.png

@TUM_APISAK shows off a FF:XV benchmark run including results from an unspecified GTX 1660 Ti graphics card.

Other performance rumors suggest that the GTX 1660 Ti will offer up 5.44 TFLOPs. RT cores are apparently cut (or disabled) in this GPU, but it is not clear whether or not the Tensor cores are intact (rumors seem to say yes though).

Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti graphics cards based on the TU116 GPU will reportedly start at $279 [update: VideoCardz claims the pricing has been confirmed from information given to reviewers] and may well launch as soon as February 22nd (though they've already missed one rumored launch date on the 15th...). Assuming for a minute the performance factors are true, it is interesting to see the smaller TU116 GPU with fewer CUDA cores at least getting close to GTX 1070 performance. The GTX 1070 uses the 16nm GP104 GPU (7.2B transistors) with 1920 CUDA cores (1506 MHz), 120 texture units, 64 ROPs, and 8GB of memory on a 256-bit bus clocked at 8000 MHz. The GTX 1070 offers up to 5.7 TFLOPS. Looking at the progress over the past few generations, it is neat to see that as architectures improve, they are able to do more work with less (but better/faster) CUDA cores. I would guess that the GTX 1660 Ti will not best the GTX 1070 in all games and situations though as the GTX 1070 does have more ROPs and more total memory (though the GDDR6 memory on GTX 1660 Ti does offer more bandwidth than the 1070's GDDR5 despite the smaller bus). Pricing will be interesting in this regard as the rumored price starts at $279 for GTX 1660 Ti. The cheapest GTX 1070 I found online at time of publication was $300 with most cards going for closer to $330+. We may see price drops on the older GTX 1070 cards as a result. GTX 1060 cards are going for $200+ and RX 580 cards are sitting at $190+, RX 590 at $260+, and Vega 56 prices starting at $330 (and go crazy high heh) so the GTX 1660 Ti may also push down the prices of the highe end and higher priced models of those cards as well.

What are your thoughts on the latest rumors?

Related reading:

Source: TechPowerUp

Asus Shows Turing TUF Love with new TUF RTX 2060 Graphics Cards

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 16, 2019 - 09:02 AM |
Tagged: turing, tuf, RTX 2060, nvidia, graphics card, factory overclocked, asus

Asus recently announced two new Turing-based graphics cards that are part of the TUF (The Ultimate Force) series. Clad in urban camo with shades of grey, the Asus TUF RTX 2060 6GB Gaming and TUF RTX 2060 OC 6GB Gaming pair Nvidia’s 12nm TU106 GPU and 6GB of GDDR6 memory with a dual fan cooler and backplate. As part of the TUF series, the new graphics cards use Asus’ Auto Extreme manufacturing technology and are put through its 144-hour validation program.

Asus TUF RTX 2060.png

The RTX 2060 GPU features 1920 CUDA cores, 120 TMUs, 48 ROPs, 240 Tensor cores, and 30 RT cores. The standard TUF RTX 2060 6GB Gaming graphics card comes clocked at 1365 MHz base and 1689 MHz boost out of the box with the boost clock jumping to 1710 MHz in OC Mode. The OC model graphics card, however, comes clocked by default at 1365 MHz base and 1710 MHz boost in Gaming Mode and 1740 MHz boost in OC Mode (when using Asus’ software).

Asus TUF RTX 2060 Backplate.png

The TUF Graphics cards feature one dual layer DVI, two HDMI 2.0b, and one DisplayPort 1.4 video outputs. The dual fan cooler is IP5X dust resistant and uses dual ball bearing fans. A black metal backplate is secured to the card to help PCB rigidity. The cards measure 20.4 x 12.5 x 4.6 centimeters so should be compatible with most cases. The cards are powered by a single 8-pin PCI-E power connector.

The TUF cards use a no-frills design sans any RGB or extra features so should be priced competitively and may go well with a silent PC or sleeper PC build. Unfortunately, Asus is not talking specific pricing or availability yet.

Source: Asus

Arm will be extending it's reach in the next few years

Subject: General Tech | February 15, 2019 - 12:28 PM |
Tagged: v8.1-M, arm, helium, cortex

Today ARM will reveal what it has up it's sleeves, with an announcement about their updated Armv8.1-M.  This will add M-Profile Vector Extension to the current model, which will give a boost to it's ability to process input locally, without needing to connect to the cloud for back up.  It will also include Low Overhead Branch Extensions which will optimize the performance of onboard memory.  These two improvements, along with the others which you can read about at The Registerr will make your IoT devices a little more powerful in a few years, once Armv8.1-M hits the market.

ArmHelium_Fig3.png

"This technology is expected to be the foundation of future beefy Arm Cortex-M CPU cores that chipmakers can license and stick in their components."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

PC Perspective Podcast #532 - EVGA NU Audio, Radeon VII Pro Drivers, and DLSS

Subject: General Tech | February 14, 2019 - 05:30 PM |
Tagged: sound card, radeon viii, podcast, Nu Audio, hyperx, evga, encrypted storage, DLSS, battlefield V, audiophile

PC Perspective Podcast #532 - 2/13/2019

This week we take a look at a high-end audio card from EVGA, a USB flash drive with built-in hardware encryption, and new gaming mouse from HyperX, the latest NVIDIA and AMD driver updates, and GTX 1660 Ti rumors.

Subscribe to the PC Perspective Podcast

Check out previous podcast episodes: http://pcper.com/podcast

Show Topics
00:07:14 - Review: EVGA NU Audio Card
00:26:26 - Review: iStorage datAshur Pro Encrypted USB Drive
00:32:41 - Review: HyperX Pulsefire Core Gaming Mouse
00:36:40 - News: AMD Radeon Adrenalin 19.2.2 Driver Update
00:42:04 - News: AMD Pro Driver Support for Radeon VII
00:47:18 - News: NVIDIA DLSS Driver & Battlefield V
00:59:07 - News: Microsoft Wants You to Dump Internet Explorer
01:03:12 - News: GTX 1660 Ti Spec Rumors
01:15:53 - Picks of the Week

Picks of the Week
Jeremy: 3D-Printed Rubber Band Gun
Josh: Cheap 1TB SATA SSD
Jim: Top Gun
Sebastian: Top Secret!

Today's Podcast Hosts
Sebastian Peak
Josh Walrath
Jeremy Hellstrom
Jim Tanous

Skip Ahead? Skip Way Ahead. Windows 10 20H1 Test Build

Subject: General Tech | February 14, 2019 - 03:23 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, windows 10

Microsoft has pushed a test build for Windows 10 20H1, which is scheduled to be publicly released around April 2020. For context, we are currently on Windows 10 18H2 and Windows 10 19H1 is expected to ship in a couple of months (~April 2019).

Microsoft still plans on shipping Windows 10 19H2 around October 2019.

microsoft-2019-insidernarwhal.png

This decision was met with snark from some of the more prominent reporters on Microsoft and Windows. One issue that was raised is how the rings will be handled going forward. Currently, there does not exist a branch that contains 19H2. It seems likely that “Skip Ahead” will never drop back to 19H2, especially since rolling back from a preview build is generally unsupported. Will Microsoft continue to have “Skip Ahead” be two builds out, “Fast” be one build out, “Slow” be at most one build out, and “Release Preview” be incremental on the current build? Or will “Skip Ahead” kind-of roll back to “Fast” once the latter catches up and they no longer need to have a feature that requires an abnormally long testing branch?

As for the changes? Not a whole lot. One that stands out is a seemingly innocuous “updating the name of the Windows Light them to be Windows (light)”. This sort-of suggests themes that will not be Windows. I could see some sort of interface or theming update taking an abnormally long time… although I somewhat doubt that is the mystery big feature.

On the other hand, it must be something that Microsoft wants actively tested. Whether that’s automated (via telemetry on a wide array of computers) or through direct feedback from their users will need to be seen.

Source: Microsoft

1440p's greatest hits, featuring the Radeon VII

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 14, 2019 - 01:54 PM |
Tagged: 1440p, radeon vii, amd

When The Tech Report initially tested AMD's brand new Radeon VII they focused on 4K performance.  This lead to some feedback from those playing at 1440p, which convinced them to revisit the card and the competition, at this resolution.  The results remained similar to their previous tests, demonstrating this is a card that is good a multiple things but not the best at any.  The price to performance beats a GTX 1080 Ti if you can pick up the Radeon VII at MSRP, but overall the RTX 2080 remains a better card for gaming.

On the other hand if you are doing work which requires large pools of VRAM, the Radeon VII offers a good mix of performance for such tasks and can power your after hours gaming.

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"Our initial tests showed AMD's Radeon VII couldn't beat the GeForce RTX 2080 for 4K gaming superiority, but many more enthusiasts have high-refresh-rate 2560x1440 displays to deliver their pixel fix. We retested the RTX 2080 and Radeon VII at 2560x1440 to see which card comes out on top."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Get some deep Tensorflow lovin' instead of the cupidity which is the hallmark of today

Subject: General Tech | February 14, 2019 - 12:24 PM |
Tagged: tensorflow, google, Downtiration, deep learning, ai

Downtiration is not a word, but then again what you are about to hear isn't exactly a song either, though is closer to one than many of the insipid honey drenched hits you are likely to hear today.  A company by the name of Search Laboratory fed Google's Tenserflow software with 999 love songs and let it assemble the new benchmark for sentimental songbirds.  It is also a great example as to the current limitations of AI and Deep Learning, regardless of what the PR flacks would have you believe.

You can thank The Register for the next two irrecoverable minutes of your life.

"The song, entitled 'Downtiration Tender love' was created by media agency Search Laboratory and its "character-based Recurrent Neural Network," that uses Google's open-source machine learning software, TensorFlow loaded up with 999 snippets from the world's greatest love songs."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer
Author:
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Synology

Synology DS1019+ Review

Synology this week is launching the DS1019+, a 5-bay counterpart to last year's 4-bay DS918+. Like most of the company's "Plus" series devices, it is aimed at higher-end home users and small businesses with a price (without drives) of $649.99.

synology-ds1019plus-1.jpg

Synology loaned us a review unit of the DS1019+ prior to launch, and after adding it to our growing shelf of network storage devices, we spent some time seeing how this new model compares to its predecessors and counterparts.

Specifications & Design

The design of the DS1019+ is virtually identical to that of the DS918+, with the same style of drive bays, same case material and color, same basic layout of ports and status lights, and even an almost identical list of technical specs. The biggest difference between the two by far is simply the addition of a fifth drive bay on the DS1019+. So, if you liked the look and feel of the DS918+, you should feel the same way about the DS1019+.

ds1019plus-ds918plus.jpg

Following the design trends of other Synology NAS devices in recent years, the DS1019+ is compact considering its capabilities. It measures in at 166mm x 230mm x 223mm (about 6.5 x 9.0 x 8.8 inches) and weighs about 5.6 pounds without drives. Included in the box is the power adapter with region-appropriate power cord, two five-foot Cat5e Ethernet cables, an accessory kit with two keys for the drive bay locks, 20 screws for mounting 2.5-inch drives in the 3.5-inch drive bays, and a quick installation guide.

synology-ds1019plus-4.jpg

Like almost all Synology NAS devices, the DS1019+ ships without drives, so you'll need to add your own mechanical or solid state drives in order to use the device. If want to configure the NAS with a traditional RAID, you'll want to populate the drive bays with drives of the same capacity and ideally from the same vendor. If you need to mix-and-match drive vendors, at least aim to use drives with identical performance specifications. Similar in concept to Drobo, Synology also offers a "Hybrid RAID" (SHR) option that allows users to combine drives of different sizes or later expand the array by replacing smaller drives with larger ones. Depending on drive types and size mismatches, however, there is a performance penalty to going this route compared to a similar RAID configuration utilizing identical disks.

As alluded to, the 1019+ is powered by the same CPU found in the DS918+: the Intel Celeron J3455, a quad-core 10-watt Apollo Lake part. With base and boost clocks of 1.5GHz and 2.3GHz, respectively, the J3455 is more than powerful enough to accommodate the transfer and management of data on the NAS, and it also supports hardware video transcoding, which is a huge advantage for services like Plex.

Continue reading for our complete review of the Synology DS1019+!

Author:
Manufacturer: EVGA

Introduction and Features

Introduction

During the past year we have seen a lot of interest in the SFX small form-factor power supply market with more and more big-name power supply manufacturers adding new products on a regular basis. EVGA’s SuperNOVA GM Series includes three SFX form-factor power supplies: 450 GM (450W), 550 GM (550W) and 650 GM (650W). We will be taking a detailed look at the SuperNOVA 650 GM in this review.

2-Banner.jpg

All three SuperNOVA GM Series SFX power supplies are fully modular and certified to comply with the 80 Plus Gold criteria for high efficiency. The GM Series power supplies use a 92mm cooling fan that operates in silent fan-less mode (below 30% load) thanks to EVGA’s Auto ECO Mode fan speed control. The compact SFX chassis measures a mere 100mm deep and they all come backed by a 7-year warranty.

•    EVGA SuperNOVA 450 GM ($109.99 USD)
•    EVGA SuperNOVA 550 GM ($119.99 USD)
•    EVGA SuperNOVA 650 GM ($129.99 USD)

3-Front-diag.jpg

Please continue reading our review of the EVGA SuperNOVA 650 GM SFX power supply!

Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 19.2.2 Now Available

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 13, 2019 - 06:08 PM |
Tagged: amd, Adrenalin Edition, 19.2.2

Along with the adrenaline rush of releasing the new Radeon VII comes a new driver, available everywhere at the low price of $0.00!  The 19.2.2 versions offers you the following benefits AMD fans.

adren.PNG

Support For

  • AMD Radeon VII Far Cry
  • New Dawn Metro Exodus
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm
  • Crackdown 3
    • Up to 5% performance gains with AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.2 on a Radeon RX 590

Fixed Issues

  • Using the Alt+Tab shortcut out of a fullscreen application or game may be slow or take longer than expected when using a display connected by DisplayPort.
  • Apply and Discard buttons may not appear in some areas of Radeon Overlay under the Radeon WattMan overclocking tab.
  • Radeon WattMan may fail to apply memory clock changes on AMD Radeon VII.
  • AMD Radeon VII may intermittently experience a system hang when attempting to perform a timeout detection and recovery on Windows7 system configurations.
  • Radeon WattMan may display the incorrect max fan/temperature values for AMD Radeon VII.
  • Radeon WattMan may experience issues with changed values failing to save or load when multiple changes are applied at once.
  • AMD Radeon VII may experience intermittent system stability issues on some X399 motherboards.
  • Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds may intermittently experience an application crash when changing post-processing settings.
  • Radeon Settings may experience an application hang when loading the performance histogram in a game profile through game manager.
  • Update Notifications may sometimes incorrectly list the currently installed driver as an available upgrade.
  • Apex Legends may intermittently experience line corruption on AMD Radeon VII.

Grab it here.

Source: AMD

It's an Epic post-apocalyptic GPU Exodus

Subject: General Tech | February 13, 2019 - 02:53 PM |
Tagged: Metro Exodus, gaming, nvidia, amd, DLSS, ray tracing

The Guru of 3D took over two dozen cards on the Metro, with a focus on the DX12 render path with DX-R support which does make the NVIDIA results a bit more interesting for now.  If you are looking to play at 1080p with every bell and whistle on, you can scrape by on a GTX 1080 or Vega 56 but you should really consider bumping that to an RTX 2070 or Vega 64.  For 1440p gamers the new Radeon VII is capable of providing a good experience but you are far better off with an RTX 2080 or better. 

At 4k, well, even the RTX 2080 Ti can barely make 50fps, with the rest of the pack reaching 40fps at best.  As to the effects of DLSS and ray tracing on the visual quality and overall performance? Read on to see for yourself.

metroexodus_2019_02_11_18_00_57_304.jpg

"A game title of discussion and debate, yes Metro Exodus for the PC is here, and we're going to put it to the test with close to 30 graphics cards in relation to framerates, frame times and CPU scaling."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Guru of 3D

Recalculating ... time to arrival infinite minutes

Subject: General Tech | February 13, 2019 - 01:12 PM |
Tagged: gps, 10 bit, Future, oh no

You might have missed something in 1999, while everyone focused on the other Y2K bug, which was older GPS devices going haywire.  This was because the date is stored as a 10 bit character which means that 1024 weeks after the start of the epoch, the dates on your GPS device rolls back to 0 and it is no longer able to give positional data as it depends on knowing when, as well as where you are.

On April 6th, this will happen once again and far more people are bound to notice than when this previously occurred.  There are ways to ensure that devices do not suffer this bothersome 10 bit problem but with the lack of news coverage and general awareness not many have bothered.  Devices which adhere to the ICD-200/IS-GPS-200 specification will have no problems whatsoever; but many devices did not originally and when was the last time you saw a firmware update for the GPS in your car?

As The Register puts it, "if your gadget goes haywire in April, it's probably because of this. If it works as normal: brilliant, it's not affected."

Capture.PNG

"Older satnavs and such devices won't be able to use America's Global Positioning System properly after April 6 unless they've been suitably updated or designed to handle a looming epoch rollover."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

NVIDIA GeForce 418.91 WHQL Driver Enables DLSS in Battlefield V and Metro Exodus

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 13, 2019 - 12:17 PM |
Tagged: whql, rtx, raytracing, nvidia, Metro Exodus, graphics, gpu, geforce, gaming, driver, DLSS, battlefield V, 418.91

NVIDIA's GeForce 418.91 WHQL drivers have brought DLSS support to Battlefield V and both real-time ray tracing and DLSS to the upcoming Metro Exodus, which will be the first game to support the technologies from day one when it is released (now exclusively on Epic's game store) on February 15.

NV_BFV_Screen.PNG

From NVIDIA:

Battlefield V - This stunning World War II combat game, created by EA and DICE, was the first to support real-time ray-traced reflections and has now added support for DLSS — giving a performance boost of up to 40 percent with ray-tracing reflections enabled.

Metro Exodus - The third installment in the haunting Metro franchise, developed by 4A Games and Deep Silver, will support RTX-enabled real-time ray tracing — the first time it has been used in a game for global illumination. At launch, the game will also support DLSS, boosting performance up to 30 percent, as well as a host of other NVIDIA gaming technologies, including HairWorks, PhysX, Ansel and Highlights.

NVIDIA has posted a video showcasing the performance improvement with DLSS vs. real-time ray tracing in BFV, where gains of up to 40% are advertised:

As to Metro Exodus, with the additional ray traced components it would seem the upcoming game will end up being a popular benchmark for the technologies, after we have seem most of the ray tracing and DLSS discussion surround BFV to this point (Port Royal notwithstanding). At some future date Shadow of the Tomb Raider will enter the mix as well, but this is still awaiting ray tracing and DLSS support via a planned update.

For its part Metro is only gaining 30% with DLSS (vs. real-time ray tracing + TAA) according to NVIDIA, which is obviously lower than the boost to BFV. We have seen a preview of real-time ray tracing and DLSS performance in the latest Metro game over at Tom's Hardware, where they look at the performance differences and perceived quality between the two. It's also worth noting that both BFV and Metro Exodus are not fully ray traced games, as Tom's explains:

"Battlefield applies ray tracing to reflections. Metro Exodus uses it for global illumination from the sun/sky, modeling how light interacts with various surfaces. Local light sources are not ray traced, though."

The Battlefield V DLSS update is now rolling out, with some early performance numbers already available. Metro Exodus will be released on February 15, and is the latest title to eschew Steam in favor of Epic's new platform.

Source: NVIDIA

Mozilla & Ubisoft "Clever-Commit" Deep-Learning Code Review

Subject: General Tech | February 12, 2019 - 05:52 PM |
Tagged: Rust, mozilla, deep learning, c++

The basic premise of “deep learning” is that you process big pools of data to try and find “good” and/or “bad” patterns. After you build up a set of trained data, you can compare new data against it to accomplish some goal.

In this case, Mozilla is using it to scan commits to the Firefox codebase as a form of automated code review. The system was originally developed by Ubisoft as Commit Assistant, which they have been using as a form of code analysis. Mozilla has since partnered with them, and will contribute to its ability to scan C++, JavaScript, and Mozilla’s own Rust language.

Other vendors, such as Microsoft and their IntelliCode system, have been using deep learning to assist in software development. It’s an interesting premise that, along with unit tests, static code analysis, and so forth, should increase the quality of code.

Personally, I’m one of those people that regularly use static code analysis (if the platform has a good and affordable solution available). It’s good to follow strong design patterns, but it’s hard to recover from the “broken window theory” once you get a few hundred static code analysis warnings… or a few hundred compiler warnings. Apathy just sets in and I just end up ignoring everything from that feedback level, down. It pushes me to, if I can control a project from scratch, keep it clean of warnings and code analysis issues.

All that is to say – it’ll be interesting to see how Clever-Commit is adopted. Since it’s apparently on a per-commit basis, it shouldn’t be bogged down by past mistakes. I wonder if we can somehow add that theory to other forms of code analysis. I’m curious what sort of data we could gather by scanning from commit to commit… what that would bring in terms of a wholistic view of code quality for various projects.

And then… what will happen when deep learning starts generating code? Hmm.

Source: Ars Technica

Unreal Engine 4.22 Preview 1 Published: Initial DXR Support

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 12, 2019 - 03:56 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, ue4, epic games, dxr, DirectX 12, microsoft

The upcoming version of Unreal Engine, 4.22, will include several new features.

The most interesting addition for our audience is probably “Early Access” support for DirectX 12 Raytracing (DXR) on DirectX 12. This includes the low-level framework to cast and evaluate rays in shaders (although they don’t clarify whether that means written shaders, nodes for graph-based shaders, or both) as well as higher-level features that use DXR, such as area lights, soft shadows, and reflections. They have also added a denoiser for shadows, reflections, and ambient occlusion, which will improve image quality with lower sample counts.

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If you remember NVIDIA’s RTX announcement, many of their first-party demos were built using Unreal Engine 4. This includes the Star Wars demo with the two Stormtroopers putting their feet in their mouths on an elevator with their boss. It makes sense that Epic would be relatively far along in RTX support, especially just before GDC.

A few other additions include Visual Studio 2019 support (although Visual Studio 2017 is still the default). The new Unreal Audio Engine is now enabled by default for new projects, which was a complete re-write of the original system that started a few years ago. The old audio system was a bit of a mess, and, worse, varied from platform to platform.

Unreal Engine 4.22 also (experimentally) opts-in to the much longer file and paths names that were introduced with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. The previous limit was 260 characters for a full path, which was defined as MAX_PATH in Win32. I’m not sure what the new limit is, but I think it’s 32,767 characters after expansion. I could be wrong, though.

If you have the Epic Launcher installed, whether it’s for Unreal Engine, Fortnite, something from the Epic Store, Unreal Tournament 4, or whatever, then you can check out Unreal Engine 4.22 for free. (Royalties apply under certain circumstances… but, at that point, you are making money off of it.)

Source: Epic Games

Ok Team, Group Delta'S TUF ... RGB SSDs ASUS'd as ready

Subject: Storage | February 12, 2019 - 03:48 PM |
Tagged: team group, delta TUF RGB, ssd, RGB, QLC, S2258

Team Group and ASUS have ... collaborated ... to bring you a new TUF branded SSD with all the RGBs you could want.  Inside is 64 layer 3D TLC NAND from Micron, attached to Silicon Motion's SM2258 controller, which tells you just about all you need to know about the performance.  If you aren't familiar with how that particular combo performs compared to the competition then the Guru of 3D will be more than happy to show you.

What this drive does do differently is provide you with a 12V RGB header to allow ASUS' AURA software to colourize your storage.  If your SSD is mounted plain sight and not contributing to the light show in your case, this might be a good way to feed your need for more RGB light bleed.

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"Today, we have a relatively new product from Taiwain based company Team Group to review. Part of their new collab with Asus' long lived 'TUF' lineup, this SSD brings beefy looks, RGB, and solid specifications to the 240GB, 500GB, and 1TB storage points. Let's check it out."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: Guru of 3D