Can you hear me now?
One of the more significant downsides to modern gaming notebooks is noise. These devices normally have small fans that have to spin quickly to cool the high-performance components found inside. While the answer for loud gaming desktops might be a nice set of headphones, for notebooks that may be used in more public spaces, that's not necessarily a good solution for friends or loved ones.
Attempting to address the problem of loud gaming notebooks, NVIDIA released a technology called WhisperMode. WhisperMode launched alongside NVIDIA's Max-Q design notebooks earlier this year, but it will work with any notebook enabled with an NVIDIA GTX 1060 or higher. This software solution aims to limit noise and power consumption of notebooks by restricting the frame rate of your game to a reasonable compromise of performance, noise, and power levels. NVIDIA has profiled over 400 games to find this sweet spot and added profiles for those games to WhisperMode technology.
WhisperMode is enabled through the NVIDIA GeForce Experience application.
From GFE, you can also choose to "Optimize games for WhisperMode." This will automatically adjust settings (in-game) to complement the frame rate target control of WhisperMode.
If you want to adjust the Frame Rate Target, that must be done in the traditional NVIDIA Control Panel and is done on a per app basis. The target can be set at intervals of 5 FPS from 30 to the maximum refresh of your display. Having to go between two pieces of software to tweak these settings seems overly complex and hopefully some upcoming revamp of the NVIDIA software stack might address this user interface falacy.
To put WhisperMode through its paces, we tried it on two notebooks - one with a GTX 1070 Max-Q (the MSI GS63VR) and one with a GTX 1080 Max-Q (the ASUS ROG Zephyrus). Our testing consisted of two games, Metro: Last Light and Hitman. Both of these games were run for 15 minutes to get the system up to temperature and achieve sound measurements that are more realistic to extended gameplay sessions. Sound levels were measured with our Extech 407739 Sound Level Meter placed at a distance of 6 inches from the given notebooks, above the keyboard and offset to the right.
Subject: General Tech | September 7, 2017 - 09:46 AM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: z270, Yoga 920, Yoga 720, video, Threadripper 1900x, superfish, skylake-x, podcast, Lenovo, IFA 2017, HP S700 Pro, GTX 1080, gigabyte, ECS, Die shot, Core i7-6700K, Core i5-6600k, Clutch Chairz, Aorus X5, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #466 - 09/07/17
Join us for discussion on ECS Z270 motherboards, Clutch Chairz, AMD market share, Lenovo Yoga, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano
Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg
Program length: 1:15:50
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
A few months ago at Computex, NVIDIA announced their "GeForce GTX with Max-Q Design" initiative. Essentially, the heart of this program is the use of specifically binned GTX 1080, 1070 and 1060 GPUs. These GPUs have been tested and selected during the manufacturing process to ensure lower power draw at the same performance levels when compared to the GPUs used in more traditional form factors like desktop graphics cards.
In order to gain access to these "Max-Q" binned GPUs, notebook manufacturers have to meet specific NVIDIA guidelines on noise levels at thermal load (sub-40 dbA). To be clear, NVIDIA doesn't seem to be offering reference notebook designs (as demonstrated by the variability in design across the Max-Q notebooks) to partners, but rather ideas on how they can accomplish the given goals.
At the show, NVIDIA and some of their partners showed off several Max-Q notebooks. We hope to take a look at all of these machines in the coming weeks, but today we're focusing on one of the first, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus.
|ASUS ROG Zephyrus (configuration as reviewed)|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-7700HQ (Kaby Lake)|
|Graphics||NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1080 with Max-Q Deseign (8GB)|
|Memory||24GB DDR4 (8GB Soldered + 8GBx2 DIMM)|
|Screen||15.6-in 1920x1080 120Hz G-SYNC|
512GB Samsung SM961 NVMe
4 x USB 3.0
Audio combo jack
|Power||50 Wh Battery, 230W AC Adapter|
|Dimensions||378.9mm x 261.9mm x 17.01-17.78mm (14.92" x 10.31" x 0.67"-0.70")
4.94 lbs. (2240.746 g)
|OS||Windows 10 Home|
|Price||$2700 - Amazon.com|
As you can see, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus has the specifications of a high-end gaming desktop, let alone a gaming notebook. In some gaming notebook designs, the bottleneck comes down to CPU horsepower more than GPU horsepower. That doesn't seem to be the case here. The powerful GTX 1080 GPU is paired with a quad-core HyperThread Intel processor capable of boosting up to 3.8 GHz.
Subject: Mobile | May 30, 2017 - 12:37 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Triton 700, Predator, nvidia, notebook, max-q, laptop, GTX 1080, geforce, gaming, computex 2017, acer
Acer has introduced the Predator Triton 700 gaming laptop, which boasts a very thin and light design as it is built to NVIDIA's newly-announced Max-Q specifications. This allows the Triton to house a "standard-voltage" Intel Core i7 processor (overclockable, no less) and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GPU.
"The Predator Triton 700 utilizes Max-Q, NVIDIA’s innovative approach to designing the world’s thinnest, fastest, and quietest gaming laptops. Max-Q, an integral part of NASA’s mission to launch man into space, is defined as the point at which the aerodynamic stress on a rocket in atmospheric flight is maximized. Thus, the design of the rocket is precision-engineered around Max-Q. NVIDIA has applied a similar philosophy to designing gaming laptops, enabling Acer to build laptops that are thinner with more GPU performance of previous generation products."
Storage is just as impressive as the CPU/GPU tandem, with dual NVMe PCIe drives in RAID-0, just in case you would like to experience double to the speed of the fastest available type of solid-state storage (the benchmarks will probably be astonishing). Other specs include a 15.6 FHD display with NVIDIA G-SYNC, memory support for up to 32GB 2400 MHz DDR4, Killer DoubleShot Pro networking, and Thunderbolt 3.
The design of the Predator Triton 700 is somewhat unusual for a laptop, with a mechanical keyboard that sits flush with the front edge of the palm rest, and a touch pad positioned above. But this is no ordinary touch pad, as Acer explains:
"A large Corning® Gorilla® Glass plate above the keyboard serves as a window into the notebook’s cooling system, showcasing the AeroBlade™ 3D Fan and five heat pipes, and also functions as a Precision Touchpad."
The Predator Triton 700 gaming laptop will be available beginning in August with an MSRP of $2999.
Subject: Systems | May 30, 2017 - 02:18 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: zotac, PC, mini-itx, MEK, kaby lake, Intel Core i7, GTX 1080 Mini, GTX 1080, gaming, computex 2017, computex, computer
ZOTAC has introduces a new gaming brand at Computex, and along with it their first gaming PC. Have no fear, however, this gaming machine is quite compact from the mini-PC maker, as it is built around a mini-ITX motherboard and compact GPU.
"ZOTAC Gaming’s first gaming product, MEK Gaming PC, debuts at Computex Taipei. Built for gaming enthusiasts, it is powered by a ZOTAC GeForce® GTX 1080 Mini, 7th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 processor and a low-profile CPU Cooler to deliver overwhelming performance for high-end gaming and premium entertainment. With a futuristic design, MEK marks the beginning of gaming products for a new brand, ZOTAC Gaming, focused on gaming products fit for all who Live to Game."
The GPU might be based on a smaller than the average PCB, but you are getting a full NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 courtesy of ZOTAC's own GTX 1080 Mini graphics card, which is just 8.3 inches long (and "the world's smallest GeForce GTX 1080," according to ZOTAC).
Other than the above quoted 7th-gen Intel Core i7 processor we don't have much information on the specifications for the upcoming MEK Gaming PC, but the images of the enclosure paint a promising picture for small form-factor gaming enthusiasts as it appears to be quite compact.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | May 30, 2017 - 12:48 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: nvidia, mobile, max-q design, max-q, GTX 1080, geforce
During CEO Jensen Huang’s keynote at Computex tonight, NVIDIA announced a new initiative called GeForce GTX with Max-Q Design, targeting the mobile gaming markets with a product that is lighter, thinner yet more powerful than previously available gaming notebooks.
The idea behind this technology differentiation centers around gaming notebooks that have seen limited evolution over the last several years in form factor and design. The biggest stereotype of gaming notebooks today is that they must big, bulky and heavy to provide a competitive gaming experience when compared to desktop computers. NVIDIA is taking it upon itself to help drive innovation forward in this market, in some ways similar to how Intel created the Ultrabook.
Using “typical” specifications from previous machines using a GeForce GTX 880M (admittedly a part that came out in early 2014), NVIDIA claims that Max-Q Designs will offer compelling gaming notebooks with half the weight, nearly a third of the thinness yet still see 3x the performance. Utilizing a GeForce GTX 1080 GP104 GPU, the team is focusing on four specific hardware data points to achieve this goal.
First, NVIDIA is setting specifications of the GPUs in this design to run at their maximum efficiency point, allowing the notebook to get the best possible gaming performance from Pascal with the smallest amount of power draw. This is an obvious move and is likely something that has been occurring for a while, but further down the product stack. It’s also likely that NVIDIA is highly binning the GP104 parts to filter those that require the least amount of power to hit the performance target of Max-Q Designs.
Second, NVIDIA is depending on the use of GeForce Experience software to set in-game settings optimally for power consumption. Though details are light, this likely means running the game with frame rate limiting enabled, keeping gamers from running at refresh rates well above their screen’s refresh rate (static or G-Sync) which is an unnecessary power drain. It could also mean lower quality settings than we might normally associate with a GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card.
Comparing a 3-year old notebook versus a Max-Q Design
The third and fourth points are heavily related: using the best possible cooling solutions and integrating the best available power regulators targeting efficiency. The former allows the GPU to be cooled quickly, and quietly (with a quoted sub-40 dbA goal), keeping the GTX 1080 at its peak efficiency curve. And putting the GPU in that state without inefficient power delivery hardware would be a waste, so NVIDIA is setting standards here too.
UPDATE: From the NVIDIA news release just posted on the company's website, we learned of a couple of new additions to Max-Q Design:
NVIDIA WhisperMode Technology
NVIDIA also introduced WhisperMode technology, which makes laptops run much quieter while gaming. WhisperMode intelligently paces the game's frame rate while simultaneously configuring the graphics settings for optimal power efficiency. This reduces the overall acoustic level for gaming laptops. Completely user adjustable and available for all Pascal GPU-based laptops, WhisperMode will be available soon through a GeForce Experience software update.
MaxQ-designed gaming laptops equipped with GeForce GTX 1080, 1070 and 1060 GPUs will be available starting June 27 from the world's leading laptop OEMs and system builders, including Acer, Aftershock, Alienware, ASUS, Clevo, Dream Machine, ECT, Gigabyte, Hasee, HP, LDLC, Lenovo, Machenike, Maingear, Mechrevo, MSI, Multicom, Origin PC, PC Specialist, Sager, Scan, Terrans Force, Tronic'5, and XoticPC. Features, pricing and availability may vary.
Jensen showed an upcoming ASUS Republic of Gamers notebook called Zephyrus that hit all of these targets – likely NVIDIA’s initial build partner. On it they demonstrated Project Cars 2, an impressive looking title for certain. No information was given on image quality settings, resolutions, frame rates, etc.
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus Max-Q Design Gaming Notebook
This design standard is impressive, and though I assume many gamers and OEMs will worry about having an outside party setting requirements for upcoming designs, I err on the side this being a necessary step. If you remember notebooks before the Intel Ultrabook push, they were stagnant and uninspiring. Intel’s somewhat forceful move to make OEMs innovate and compete in a new way changed the ecosystem at a fundamental level. It is very possible that GeForce GTX with Max-Q Design will do the same thing for gaming notebooks.
An initiative like this continues NVIDIA’s seeming goal of creating itself as the “PC brand”, competing more with Xbox and PlayStation than with Radeon. Jensen claimed that more than 10 million GeForce gaming notebooks were sold in the last year, exceeding the sales of Xbox hardware in the same time frame. He also called out the ASUS prototype notebook as having compute capability 60% higher than that of the PS4 Pro. It’s clear that NVIDIA wants to be more than just the add-in card leader, more than just the leader in computer graphics. Owning the ecosystem vertical gives them more control and power to drive the direction of software and hardware.
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus Max-Q Design Gaming Notebook
So, does the Max-Q Design technology change anything? Considering the Razer Blade B5 is already under 18mm thin, the argument could be made that the market was already going down this path, and NVIDIA is simply jumping in to get credit for the move. Though Razer is a great partner for NVIDIA, they are likely irked that NVIDIA is going to push all OEMs to steal some of the thunder from this type of design that Razer started and evangelized.
That political discussion aside, Max-Q Design will bring new, better gaming notebook options to the market from many OEMs, lowering the price of entry for these flagship designs. NVIDIA did not mention anything about cost requirements or segments around Max-Q, so I do expect the first wave of these to be on the premium end of the scale. Over time, as cost cutting measures come into place, and the necessity of thinner, lighter gaming notebooks is well understood, Max-Q Designs could find itself in a wide range of price segments.
Subject: Systems | May 3, 2017 - 04:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: pro, prebuilt system, ONE, GTX 1080, force LE, Corsair Link, corsair, 7700k
You have already seen Ken's review of the Corsair One Pro, but there was something he didn't have the guts to do; rip it open and expose its innards. The Tech Report were not that squeamish and risked cracking open the machine to see what the layout inside was. The news is good and bad, the components are squeezed into an impressively small space and the layout is very effective at cooling in such a confined space. However it is not easy to swap out components, the watercooling hoses are so short the case cannot be fully opened without disconnecting them and while you could add in an M.2 drive, you need to completely remove the GPU to get at it. Drop by to take a look at the titillating pictures and see what The Tech Report thought of this compact gaming powerhouse.
"Corsair's One Pro promises full-fat desktop performance from a system much smaller than most off-the-rack Mini-ITX PCs. We turned up the heat on the One Pro to see whether Corsair's liquid-cooling know-how can really shrink full-size desktop performance into a 13-liter package."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Dragon Flair Inferno GR4 (i7 7700K/ GTX1080) System @ Kitguru
- ECS LIVA Z @ techPowerUp
- MSI WS63 7RK Mobile Workstation (Nvidia Quadro P3000 6GB) @ Kitguru
Despite its surprise launch a few weeks ago, the Corsair ONE feels like it was inevitable. Corsair's steady expansion from RAM modules to power supplies, cases, SSDs, CPU coolers, co-branded video cards, and most recently barebones systems pointed to an eventual complete Corsair system. However, what we did not expect was the form it would take.
Did Corsair hit it out of the park on their first foray into prebuilt systems, or do they still have some work to do?
It's a bit difficult to get an idea of the scale of the Corsair ONE. Even the joke of "Is it bigger than a breadbox?" doesn't quite work here with the impressively breadbox-size and shape.
Essentially, when you don't take the fins on the top and the bottom into account, the Corsair ONE is as tall as a full-size graphics card — such as the GeForce GTX 1080 — and that's no coincidence.
|Corsair ONE Pro (configuration as reviewed)|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-7700K (Kaby Lake)|
|Graphics||NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1080 Watercooled|
|Motherboard||Custom MSI Z270 Mini-ITX|
|Storage||960 GB Corsair Force LE|
|Power Supply||Corsair SF400 80+ Gold SFX|
|Wireless||Intel 8265 802.11ac + BT 4.2 (Dual Band, 2x2)|
|Connections||1 X USB 3.1 GEN2 TYPE C
3 X USB 3.1 GEN1 TYPE A
2 X USB 2.0 TYPE A
1 X PS/2 Port
1 X HDMI 2.0
2 X DisplayPort
1 X S/PDIF
|Dimensions||7.87 x 6.93 x 14.96 inches (20 x 17.6 x 38 cm)
15.87 lbs. (7.2 kg)
|OS||Windows 10 Home|
|Price||$2299.99 - Corsair.com|
Taking a look at the full specifcations, we see all the components for a capable gaming PC. In addition to the afforementioned GTX 1080, you'll find Intel's flagship Core i7-7700K, a Mini ITX Z270 motherboard produced by MSI, a 960GB SSD, and 16GB of DDR4 memory.
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 21, 2017 - 02:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: msi, nvidia, GAMING X+, Twin Frozr VI, GTX 1080, factory overclocked
MSI have announced a new family of GTX 1080s to the market, dubbed the GAMING X+ series. There are four models, two with 8GB of RAM and two with 6GB, all with respectable factory overclocks. All of the cards have a Twin Frozr VI cooler with double bearing TORX fans offering quiet performance as well as the capacity to allow you to push a bit more out of the card if you so desire. They also contain the mysteriously named Premium Thermal Compound X.
The MSI Gaming App has been update with a One-click to VR app that should make switching between your head mounted display and your desktop monitors quicker and easier. It also lets you switch your RGBs between 5 different patterns for those who like their GPU illuminated. Full PR below.
As the world’s leading GAMING graphics card vendor, MSI is proud to announce a new line of graphics cards based on the award-winning GAMING X series. Loaded up with faster graphics memory, the new GAMING X+ series provide an additional boost to graphics performance for smooth gameplay. Built around NVIDIA’s GeForce® GTX 10 series GPUs, the MSI GeForce® GTX 1080 GAMING X+ 8G and GeForce® GTX 1060 GAMING X+ 6G use the full force of the TWIN FROZR VI cooler, allowing for higher core and memory clock speeds for increased performance in games. The well-known shapes of the stunning TWIN FROZR cooler are intensified by a fiery red GAMING glow piercing through the cover, while the MSI GAMING dragon RGB LED on the side can be set to any of 16.8 million colors to match your mood or build. A completely new custom PCB design using Military Class 4 components enables higher overclocking performance to push your graphics card to the max. The classy matte black solid metal backplate gives the card more structural strength and provides a nice finishing touch.
As MSI’s best thermal design to date, TWIN FROZR VI has raised the bar of Graphics Card air cooling. TORX Fan 2.0 is the enhanced version of the patented TORX Fan technology which generates 22% more air pressure for better cooling performance while further reducing noise levels. On the GeForce® GTX 1080 GAMING X+, the new fans are equipped with Double Ball Bearings to ensure lasting smooth and silent operation. Connected to the huge heatsink are 8mm copper heat pipes with a squared shape at the bottom for optimal heat transfer from the solid nickel-plated copper baseplate combined with Premium Thermal Compound X to keep the Pascal powerhouse cool.
MSI Gaming App
The MSI Gaming App allows gamers to quickly switch between OC, Gaming and Silent performance modes, depending on their needs. The latest version of MSI Gaming App features One-click to VR, which instantly optimizes your PC for the best Virtual Reality experience. It also includes host of premium features like EyeRest to improve image quality and Dragon Eye which allows you to watch a YouTube video or stream while gaming. Last but not least, the Gaming App features a LED control tab, allowing gamers to choose from 5 unique lighting modes to set the right ambience for their gaming sessions with just one click.
Prepare for VR with MSI
To fully enjoy the immersive worlds of Virtual Reality, high-performance hardware is required. MSI GeForce GTX 1060 and above graphics cards deliver perfect performance for a smooth VR experience. The MSI Gaming App now features a function to optimize the user’s PC for VR performance.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 28, 2017 - 10:55 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, GTX 1080, GDC
Update Feb 28 @ 10:03pm It's official, NVIDIA launches $699 GTX 1080 Ti.
NVIDIA is hosting a "Gaming Celebration" live event during GDC 2017 to talk PC gaming and possibly launch new hardware (if rumors are true!). During the event, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang made a major announcement regarding its top-end GTX 1080 graphics card with a price drop to $499 effective immediately.
The NVIDIA GTX 1080 is a pascal based graphics card with 2560 CUDA cores paired with 8GB of GDDR5X memory. Graphics cards based on this GP104 GPU are currently selling for around $580 to $700 (most are around $650+/-) with the "Founders Edition" having an MSRP of $699. The $499 price teased at the live stream represents a significant price drop compared to what the graphics cards are going for now. NVIDIA did not specify if the new $499 MSRP was the new Founders Edition price or an average price that includes partner cards as well but even if it only happened on the reference cards, the partners would have to adjust their prices downwards accordingly to compete.
I suspect that NVIDIA is making such a bold move to make room in their lineup for a new product (the long-rumored 1080 Ti perhaps?) as well as a pre-emptive strike against AMD and their Radeon RX Vega products. This move may also be good news for GTX 1070 pricing as they may also see price drops to make room for cheaper GTX 1080 partner cards that come in below the $499 price point.
If you have been considering buying a new graphics card, NVIDIA has sweetened the pot a bit especially if you had already been eyeing a GTX 1080. (Note that while the price drop is said to be effective immediately, at the time of writing Amazon was still showing "normal"/typical prices for the cards. Enthusiasts might have to wait a few hours or days for the retailers to catch up and update their sites.)
This makes me a bit more excited to see what AMD will have to offer with Vega as well as the likelihood of a GTX 1080 Ti launch happening sooner rather than later!