Choosing the Right Platform
Despite what most people may think, our personal workstations here at the PC Perspective offices aren’t exactly comprised of cutting edge hardware. Just as in every other production environment, we place a real benefit on stability with the machines that we write, photo edit, and in this case, video edit on.
The current video editing workstation for PC Perspective offices is quite old when you look at the generations upon generations of hardware we have reviewed in the years since it was built. In fact, it has hardly been touched since early 2011. Built around the then $1000 Intel Core-i7 990X, 24GB of DDR3, a Fermi-based NVIDIA Quadro 5000, and a single 240gb SandForce 2 based SSD, this machine has edited a lot of 1080p video for us with little problems.
However, after starting to explore the Panasonic GH4 and 4K video a few months ago, the age of this machine became quite apparent. Real-time playback of high bit rate 4K content was choppy at best, and scrubbing through the timeline next to impossible. Transcoding to a lower resolution mezzanine file, or turning down the playback quality in Premiere Pro worked to some extent, but made the visual quality we gained more difficult to deal with. It was clear that we were going to need a new workstation sooner than later.
The main question was what platform to build upon. My initial thought was to build using the 8-core Intel Core i7-5960X and X99 platform. The main application we use, Adobe Premiere Pro (and it’s associated Media Encoder app) are very multithreaded. Going from 6-cores with the i7-990X to 8-cores with the i7-5960S with modest improvement in IPC didn’t seem like a big enough gain nor very future proof.
Luckily, we had a pair of Xeon E5-2680v2’s around from another testbed that had been replaced. These processors each provide 10 cores (Hyperthreading enabled for a resulting 20 threads each) at a base frequency of 2.8GHz, with the ability to boost up to 3.6GHz. By going with two of these processors in a dual CPU configuration, we will be significantly increasing our compute power and hopefully providing some degree of future proofing. Plus, we already use the slightly higher clocked Xeon E5-2690v2’s in our streaming server, so we have some experience with a very similar setup.
Subject: Graphics Cards | September 28, 2015 - 04:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: R9 Fury, asus strix r9 fury, r9 390x, GTX 980, crossfire, sli, 4k
Bring your wallets to this review from [H]ard|OCP which pits multiple AMD and NVIDIA GPUs against each other at 4K resolutions and no matter the outcome it won't be cheap! They used the Catalyst 15.8 Beta and the GeForce 355.82 WHQL which were the latest drivers available at the time of writing as well as trying out Windows 10 Pro x64. There were some interesting results, for instance you want an AMD card when driving in the rain playing Project Cars as the GTX 980's immediately slowed down in inclement weather. With Witcher 3, AMD again provided frames faster but unfortunately the old spectre of stuttering appeared, which those of you familiar with our Frame Rating tests will understand the source of. Dying Light proved to be a game that liked VRAM with the 390X taking top spot though sadly neither AMD card could handle Crossfire in Far Cry 4. There is a lot of interesting information in the review and AMD's cards certainly show their mettle but the overall winner is not perfectly clear, [H] chose Fury the R9 Fury with a caveat about Crossfire support.
"We gear up for multi-GPU gaming with AMD Radeon R9 Fury CrossFire, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 SLI, and AMD Radeon R9 390X CrossFire and share our head-to-head results at 4K resolution and find out which solution offers the best gameplay experience. How well does Fiji game when utilized in a CrossFire configuration?"
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- XFX R9 390X Review @ OCC
- MSI Radeon R9 380 Gaming 2G Review @ NikKTech
- Gigabyte GTX 950 Xtreme Gaming 2 GB @ techPowerUp
Subject: Systems, Mobile | September 2, 2015 - 07:00 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Skylake, ROG, Republic of Gamers, notebooks, laptops, IFA 2015, gaming notebook, gaming laptop, G752, asus, 4k
ASUS has announced the newest addition to their Republic of Gamers (ROG) gaming laptop lineup, the G752. What's new? ASUS offers these bullet points:
- All-new chassis with new design theme
- New plasma copper, armor titanium and lava red color
- Intel Skylake platform
- NVIDIA graphics up to a GTX 980M 8GB
- Optional 4K display
- Thunderbolt 3.0 technology
- Gaming keyboard with anti-ghosting 30-key rollover with 2.5mm long-travel keys
The high-end model is the ROG G752VY, which boasts these specs:
- 17.3” AG FHD IPS LED backlit display (1920x1080) with G-SYNC / 17.3” AG UHD IPS LED backlit display (3840x2160) with G-SYNC
- Intel Core i7-6700HQ / i7-6820HK Processor (TBD)
- Mobile Intel CM236 Chipset
- DDR4 2133 MHz memory up to 64 GB
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M GPU with 4 GB / 8 GB GDDR5
- 2.5” SATA 2TB 5400 RPM HDD/1TB 7200 RPM HDD/1TB SSHD, PCIEX4 M.2 NVME 512 GB / 256 GB / 128 GB SSD
- DVD Super-Multi / Blu-ray combo / Blu-ray writer
- Built-in HD camera and array mic
- (WxDxH) 428 mm X 334 mm X 23~53 mm, 4.38 Kg (with 8-cell battery)
With the option of a 4K display and some serious specs the G752VY covers the bases for a desktop-replacement gaming powerhouse, topping the list of new laptops.
Sitting below the G752VY is the G752VT (yes this is a different laptop, though you could easily mistake the “T” for the other model name’s “Y”), and this 17.3” laptop differs in GPU selection with the GTX 970M and is only offered with a FHD 1920x1080 IPS display. Rounding out the lineup is the G752VL which has the GeForce GTX 965M GPU, and is otherwise virtually identical.
These new gaming laptops will be available in Q4, and pricing starts at $1499.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 27, 2015 - 04:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: 4k, amd, R9 FuryX, GTX 980 Ti, gtx titan x
[H]ard|OCP have set up their testbed for a 4K showdown between the similarly priced GTX 980 Ti and Radeon R9 Fury X with the $1000 TITAN X tossed in there for those with more money than sense. The test uses the new Catalyst 15.7 and the GeForce 353.30 drivers to give a more even playing field while benchmarking Witcher 3, GTA V and other games. When the dust settled the pattern was obvious and the performance differences could be seen. The deltas were not huge but when you are paying $650 + tax for a GPU even performance a few frames better or a graphical option that can be used really matters. Perhaps the most interesting result was the redemption of the TITAN X, its extra price was reflected in the performance results. Check them out for yourself here.
"We take the new AMD Radeon R9 Fury X and evaluate the 4K gaming experience. We will also compare against the price competitive GeForce GTX 980 Ti as well as a GeForce GTX TITAN X. Which video card provides the best experience and performance when gaming at glorious 4K resolution?"
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- PowerColor PCS+ R9 380 4GB: The Affordable 4GB Solution @ Bjorn3D
- AMD Fury X "Fiji" Voltage Scaling @ techPowerUp
- HIS Radeon R9 390 IceQ X2 OC 8GB Video Card Review @ Madshrimps
- XFX R9 380 Double Dissipation 4GB @ [H]ard|OCP
- The New AMD GPU Open-Source Driver On Linux 4.2 Works, But Still A Lot Of Work Ahead @ Phoronix
- MSI Radeon R7 370 GAMING 4G @ Phoronix
- 15-Way AMD/NVIDIA Graphics Card Comparison For 4K Linux Gaming @ Phoronix
- PNY GTX980 Ti XLR8 OC @ Kitguru
- ASUS GTX 980 Ti STRIX Gaming 6 GB @ techPowerUp
- PNY GTX 960 XLR8 Review @ OCC
- GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 970 WindForce 3X OC 4GB Graphics Card Review @ NikKTech
- Inno3D iChill GTX 980 Ti HerculeZ X3 Air Boss Ultra @ HardwareOverclock
If you live somewhere you can visit or order from a Microcenter and consider a great value enough reason to use a TN based display then check out this deal on an AOC U2870VQE 28" 4K LED display. Currently only $349+taxes you can get a 4k display for your computer or to stream to from your mobile device. Again, at this price you cannot expect either adaptive refresh rate technology but for roughly the same price to pick up an IPS based FreeSync or G_SYNC monitor of comparable size you can grab three of these displays. Connectivity includes VGA, DP, Mini-DP and HDMI (MHL), the latter of which is compatible with mobile devices.
The display is sold as a 10-bit panel, in fact it is an 8bit panel which uses Frame-Rate-Control to up the number of colours to 1.07 billion but frankly unless you are using this for professional purposes you are not going to notice any difference; except the price of course. You can see the full news release below the fold, or just click on that link to order one for as you might expect, the supplies at this price are limited. Otherwise you can keep saving your pennies for a 4k IPS display with true 10bit colour and one of the two adaptive refresh rate technologies.
Subject: General Tech | June 11, 2015 - 12:15 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: Z97-Pro Gamer, video, valve, tonga, Steam Controller, Seiki Pro, seiki, r9 390x, podcast, MasterCase, hawaii, Fiji, coolermaster, computex, amd, 4k
PC Perspective Podcast #353 - 06/11/2015
Join us this week as we discuss the Seiki Pro 4k Display, More News from Computex, 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
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:16:25
Subject: Displays | June 9, 2015 - 01:51 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: UHD, LG, ips monitor, gaming monitor, freesync, amd, 4k, 27MU67-B
LG announced a new 4K monitor today, and since it's from LG you know there has to be an IPS panel inside.
The 27MU67-B boasts a 3840x2160 UHD/4K IPS panel and supports AMD FreeSync variable refresh rate technology, though the panel appears to only support up to 60 Hz according to the official specs. Speaking of, here's the full rundown:
- Panel Type: IPS
- Color Gamut (CIE1931): SRGB 99%
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Resolution: 3840x2160
- Brightness (cd/m2): 300 cd/m2
- Contrast Ratio: 5M:1
- Response Time (GTG): 5ms
- Refresh Rate: 60 Hz: 178 / 178
- Viewing Angle: Hard Coating (3H), anti-glare
- DVI-D x1
- HDMI x2
- Display Port x1
- Black Stabilizer: Black Equalizer
- DAS Mode: Yes
- Reader Mode: Yes
- PC: Yes
- DDC/CI: Yes
- HDCP: Yes (2.2)
- FreeSync: Yes (w/ DP, mDP)
- Factory Calibration: Yes
- Super+ Resolution: Yes
- Screen-split: Yes (Software)
- Flicker Safe: Yes
- Pivot: Yes
- Dual Controller: Yes (Software)
The 27MU67-B also features factory calibration and 99% sRGB color the display could be used for more critical work (yes, gaming can be categorized as "critical").
The LG 27MU67-B has an MSRP of $599.99 and availability is listed as “coming soon”.
Introduction and Specifications
Seiki has spent the past few years making quite the entrance into the display market. Starting with LCD TVs, they seemingly came out of nowhere back in April of 2013 with a 50” 4K display that was available at a very competitive price at that time. Since then, we’ve seen a few more display releases out of Seiki, and they were becoming popular among home theater enthusiasts on a budget and for gamers who wanted a bigger panel in front of them. Last June, Seiki announced a desktop line of 4K monitors. These would not just be repurposed televisions, but ground-up designs intended for desktop professionals and gamers alike. The most eagerly awaited part of this announcement was promised 60 Hz support at 4K resolutions.
Just under a year later, we are happy to bring you a review of the first iteration on this new Seiki Pro lineup:
Subject: General Tech, Systems | June 1, 2015 - 07:30 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: steam os, living room gaming, liquid cooling, gaming, DIY, corsair, computex 2015, computex, barebones, 4k
Today at Computex, Corsair unveiled a new barebones gaming PC aimed at the living room. The compact Bulldog PC is an upgradeable barebones DIY kit that offers gamers an interesting base from which to build a living room PC capable of 4K gaming. The chassis resembles an overbuilt console in that it is a short but wide design with many angular edges and aesthetic touches including stylized black case feet and red accents surrounding the vents. A hidden panel in the lower right corner reveals two USB 3.0 ports and two audio jacks. It looks ready to fight in the next season of Robot Wars should you add a flamethrower or hydraulic flipper (heh).
The Bulldog kit consists of the chassis, motherboard, small form factor power supply, and a customized Hydro H55F series closed loop liquid CPU cooler. From there, users need to bring their own processor, RAM, and storage devices. There is no operating system included with the kit, but it, being a full PC, supports Windows, Linux, and SteamOS et al.
As far as graphics cards, Corsair is offering several liquid cooled NVIDIA graphics cards (initially only from MSI with other AIB partner cards to follow) that are ready to be installed in the Bulldog PC. Currently, users can choose from the GTX TITAN X, GTX 980, and GTX 970.
Alternatively, Corsair is offering a $99 (MSRP) upgrade kit for existing graphics cards with its Hydro H55 cooler and HG110 bracket.
The Bulldog case supports Mini ITX form factor motherboards and it appears that Corsair is including the Asus Z97I-Plus which is a socket 1150 board supporting Haswell-based Core processors, DDR3 memory, M.2 (though you have to take the board out of the case to install the drive since the slot is on the underside of the board), a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, four SATA 6.0 Gbps ports, and the usual fare of I/O options including USB 3.0, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and optical and analog audio outputs (among others).
A mini ITX motherboard paired with the small from factor Corsair H55F CPU cooler (left) and the internal layout of the Bulldog case with all components installed (right).
User purchased processors are cooled by the included liquid cooler which is a customized Hydro series cooler that mounts over the processor and exhausts air blower style out of the back of the case. The system is powered by the pre-installed 600W Corsair FS600 power supply. The PSU is mounted in the front of the system and the graphics card radiator and fan are mounted horizontally beside it. Along the left side of the case are mounts for a single 2.5" drive and a single 3.5" drive.
GPU manufacturers will be selling card with liquid coolers pre-installed. Users can also upgrade existing air cooled graphics cards with an optional upgrade kit.
The liquid cooling aspect of the Bulldog is neat and, according to Corsair, is what is enabling them to cram so much hardware together into a relatively small case while enabling thermal headroom for overclocking and quieter operation versus air coolers.
I am curious how well the CPU cooler performs especially as far as noise levels go with the compacted and shrouded design. Also, while there is certainly plenty of ventilation along the sides of the case to draw in cool air, I'm interested in how well the GPU HSF will be able to exhaust the heat since there are no top grilles.
Corsair is marketing the Bulldog as the next step up from your typical Steam Machine and game console and the first 4K capable gaming PC designed for the living room. Further, it would be a nice stepping stone for console gamers to jump into PC gaming.
From the press release:
“Bulldog is designed to take the 4K gaming experience delivered by desktop gaming PCs, and bring it to the big 4K screens in the home,” said Andy Paul, CEO of Corsair Components. “We knew we needed to deliver a solution that was elegant, powerful, and compact. By leveraging our leading expertise in PC case design and liquid cooling, we met that goal with Bulldog. We can’t wait to unleash it on gamers this fall.”
The Bulldog DIY PC kit is slated for an early Q4 2015 launch with a MSRP of $399. After adding in a processor, memory, storage, and graphics, Corsair estimates a completed build to start around $940 with liquid cooled graphics ($600 without a dedicated GPU) and tops out at $2,250.
Keep in mind that the lowest tier liquid cooled GPU at launch will be the MSI GTX 970 (~$340). Users could get these prices down a bit with some smart shopping and component selection along with the optional $99 upgrade kit for other GPU options. It is also worth considering that the Bulldog is being positioned as a 4K gaming machine. If you were willing to start off with a 1080p setup, you could get buy with a cheaper graphics card and upgrade later along with your TV when 4K televisions are cheaper and more widespread.
At its core, $400 for the Bulldog kit (case, quality power supply, high end motherboard, and closed loop CPU cooler) is a decent value that just might entice some console gamers to explore the world of PC gaming (and to never leave following their first Steam sale heh)! It is a big commitment for sure at that price, but it looks like Corsair is using quality components and while there is surely the usual the small form factor part price premium (especially cases), it is far from obnoxious.
What do you think about the bulldog? Is it more bark than bite or is it a console killer?
LG Australia published a product page for their LG 27MU67 monitor, which the rest of the company doesn't seem to acknowledge the existence of. It is still online, even after three days worth of time that someone could have used to pull the plug. This one is interesting for a variety of reasons: it's 4K, it's IPS, and it supports AMD FreeSync. It is also relatively cheap for that combination, being listed at $799 AUD RRP.
Some websites have converted that to ~$610 to $620 USD, but it might even be less than that. Australian prices are often listed with their federal tax rolled in, which would yield a price that is inflated about 10%. It is possible, though maybe wishful thinking, that this monitor could retail in the ~$500 to $550 price range for the United States (if it even comes to North America). Again, this is a 4K, IPS, FreeSync panel.
Very little is posted on LG's website and thus it is hard to tell how good of an IPS panel this is. It is listed as 99% SRGB coverage, which is good for typical video but not the best if you are working on printed content, such as magazine illustrations. On the other hand, this is a gaming panel, not a professional one. Update (May 29, 2015): It also has 10-bit (per channel) color. It sounds like it is true 10-bit, not just a look-up table, but I should note that it doesn't explicitly say that.
Again, pricing and availability is up in the air, because this is not an official announcement. It is listed to launch in Australia for $799 AUD, though.