Your Mileage May Vary
One of the most interesting things going around in the computer hardware communities this past weekend was the revelation from a user named bryf50 on Reddit that they somehow had gotten his FreeSync display working with his NVIDIA GeForce GPU.
For those of you that might not be familiar with the particular ins-and-outs of these variable refresh technologies, getting FreeSync displays to work on NVIDIA GPUs is potentially a very big deal.
While NVIDIA GPUs support the NVIDIA G-SYNC variable refresh rate standard, they are not compatible with Adaptive Sync (the technology on which FreeSync is based) displays. Despite Adaptive Sync being an open standard, and an optional extension to the DisplayPort specification, NVIDIA so far has chosen not to support these displays.
However, this provides some major downsides to consumers looking to purchase displays and graphics cards. Due to the lack of interoperability, consumers can get locked into a GPU vendor if they want to continue to use the variable refresh functionality of their display. Plus, Adaptive-Sync/FreeSync monitors, in general, seem to be significantly more inexpensive for similar specifications.
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 9, 2018 - 12:23 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: video card, pricing, msrp, mining, GTX 1080, gtx 1070, gtx 1060, gtx, graphics, gpu, gaming, crypto
The wait for in-stock NVIDIA graphics cards without inflated price tags seems to be over. Yes, in the wake of months of crypto-fueled disappointment for gamers the much anticipated, long-awaited return of graphics cards at (gasp) MSRP prices is at hand. NVIDIA has now listed most of their GTX lineup as in-stock (with a limit of 2) at normal MSRPs, with the only exception being the GTX 1080 Ti (still out of stock). The lead time from NVIDIA is one week, but worth it for those interested in the lower prices and 'Founders Edition' coolers.
Many other GTX 10 Series options are to be found online at near-MSRP pricing, though as before many of the aftermarket designs command a premium, with factory overclocks and proprietary cooler designs to help justify the added cost. Even Amazon - previously home to some of the most outrageous price-gouging from third-party sellers in months past - has cards at list pricing, which seems to solidify a return to GPU normalcy.
The GTX 1080 inches closer to standard pricing once again on Amazon
Some of the current offers include:
GTX 1070 cards continue to have the highest premium outside of NVIDIA's store, with the lowest current pricing on Newegg or Amazon at $469.99. Still, the overall return to near-MSRP pricing around the web is good news for gamers who have been forced to play second (or third) fiddle to cryptomining "entrepreneurs" for several months now; a disturbing era in which pre-built gaming systems from Alienware and others actually presented a better value than DIY builds.
Subject: Systems | February 14, 2018 - 01:49 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: small form factor, silent, SFF, nvidia, mini PC, Intel, Inferno, GTX 1080, gaming, fanless, core i7 7700k, compulab, Airtop2
Compulab, maker of mini systems such as the fitlet and Airtop is bringing the compact, fanless concept to a powerful gaming system - with no less than an Intel Core i7-7700K and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080. The catch? Is is not yet available, pending an upcoming Kickstarter campaign beginning February 24.
The teaser image of the upcoming Airtop2 Inferno fanless gaming system
The Airtop2 is already available for purchase in a fanless workstation version, built-to-order with up to an Intel Xeon E3-1275 v6 and NVIDIA Quadro P4000 (starting at $2575 for that configuration before adding memory/storage), and this new "Inferno" version of the Airtop2 promises to be very interesting to silent computing enthusiasts.
Front and rear views of the Inferno system
A fanless gaming system with high-end components is only going to be as effective as its cooling system, and here Compulab has a lot of experience on the industrial/embedded side of things.
Exploded view of the standard Airtop2 design (no images of the Airtop2 Inferno interior available yet)
Compulab lists these specs for the Airtop2 Inferno (along with the teaser, "and a little more..."):
- Unlocked Intel Core-i7 7700K
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
- Up to 64 GB DDR4 2400 RAM
- 2x NVMe + 4x 2.5″ SSD / HDD
- 2x USB 3.1 + 7x USB 3.0 | dual LAN | front (and back) audio
Compulab has also provided some benchmark results to demonstrate how effective their fanless implementation of these components is, with results using 3DMark and Unigine Heaven available on the Inferno product page.
The company has set up a Q&A page for the Airtop2 Inferno, but pricing/availability info will probably have to wait until February 24th when the Kickstarter campaign is active.
Subject: Mobile | January 9, 2018 - 04:41 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: acer, predator triton 700, gaming laptop, GTX 1080, 1080p, g-sync, i7-7700hq
The top end model which Kitguru reviewed will cost you well over $3000 but it is an impressive machine. Part of the cost comes from the G-SYNC IPS display, capable of up to 120Hz as well as the GTX 1080 Max-Q which powers it. The laptop features a mechanical keyboard and all of the I/O features you would expect, including a Type-C Thunderbolt port. The touchpad design may not be a strong point however, it is located above the keyboard, directly below the screen which may not be comfortable for frequent use. It is made of glass and reveals a fan and the GPU heatpipes, a nice visual look with a drawback; after extended usage that glass is hot!
"With its Predator Triton 700, Acer will be hoping that it has ticked all the boxes when it comes to building a portable gaming powerhouse."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
More Mobile Articles
- Lenovo Legion Y720 Laptop Reviewed @ OCC
- HP Envy x360 @ Techspot
- Xtorm XB202 DISCOVER 17.000mAh Power Bank Review @ NikKTech
- The Samsung Galaxy A8 2018 @ TechARP
- Huawei Mate 10 @ TechSpot
- Honor 7X @ The Inquirer
Subject: Systems | January 8, 2018 - 09:00 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: CES, ROG, nvidia, Intel, GTX 1080, geforce, coffee lake, asus, CES 2018
ASUS has just announced a high-end gaming desktop: the ROG Strix GL12. It looks like it will be a standard mid-tower form factor with a highly stylized design and, of course, RGB lights. They will pair with Aura Sync, so you make your case match your keyboard and pretty much whatever else you have from ASUS with RGB lights in it.
The main selling feature of the system, however, is the factory-overclocked Coffee Lake CPU – up to six cores at 4.8 GHz. You can also pair this with an NVIDIA GTX 1080. At first, I found it odd that they didn’t go up to the GTX 1080 Ti given the rest of the system, although I guess they would need to produce stock ahead of time, and it would be risky to have too many enthusiast parts sitting in a warehouse. They don’t state the maximum configurable RAM, but Coffee Lake maxes out at 64 GB so we know that it won’t be more than that. It all depends on whether ASUS wants to make a 32 GB or a 64 GB SKU.
The ASUS ROG Strix GL12 gaming desktop will launch in April. Pricing TBA.
Forza Motorsport 7 Performance
The first full Forza Motorsport title available for the PC, Forza Motorsport 7 on Windows 10 launched simultaneously with the Xbox version earlier this month. With native 4K assets, HDR support, and new visual features like fully dynamic weather, this title is an excellent showcase of what modern PC hardware can do.
Now that both AMD and NVIDIA have released drivers optimized for Forza 7, we've taken an opportunity to measure performance across an array of different GPUs. After some significant performance mishaps with last year's Forza Horizon 3 at launch on PC, we are excited to see if Forza Motorsport 7 brings any much-needed improvements.
For this testing, we used our standard GPU testbed, including an 8-core Haswell-E processor and plenty of memory and storage.
|PC Perspective GPU Testbed|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-5960X Haswell-E|
|Motherboard||ASUS Rampage V Extreme X99|
|Memory||G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB DDR4-3200|
|Storage||OCZ Agility 4 256GB (OS)
Adata SP610 500GB (games)
|Power Supply||Corsair AX1500i 1500 watt|
|OS||Windows 10 x64|
|Drivers||AMD: 17.10.1 (Beta)
As with a lot of modern console-first titles, Forza 7 defaults to "Dynamic" image quality settings. This means that the game engine is supposed to find the best image settings for your hardware automatically, and dynamically adjust them so that you hit a target frame rate (adjustable between 30 and 60fps) no matter what is going on in the current scene that is being rendered.
While this is a good strategy for consoles, and even for casual PC gamers, it poses a problem for us trying to measure equivalent performance across GPUs. Luckily the developers of Forza Motorsport 7, Turn 10 Studios, still let you disable the dynamic control and configure the image quality settings as you desire.
One quirk however though is that in order for V-Sync to be disabled, the rendering resolution within the game must match the native resolution of your monitor. This means that if you are running 2560x1440 on your 4K monitor, you must first set the resolution within windows to 2560x1440 in order to run the game in V-Sync off mode.
We did our testing with an array of three different resolutions (1080p, 1440p, and 4K) at maximum image quality settings. We tested both AMD and NVIDIA graphics cards in similar price and performance segments. The built-in benchmark mode for this game was used, which does feature some variance due to dynamic weather patterns. However, our testing within the full game matched the results of the benchmark mode closely, so we used it for our final results.
Right off the bat, I have been impressed at how well optimized Forza Motorsport 7 seems to be on the PC. Compared to the unoptimized disaster that was Forza Horizon 3 when it launched on PC last year, it's clear that Turn 10 Studios and Microsoft have come a long way.
Even gamers looking to play on a 4K display at 60Hz can seemingly get away with the cheaper, and more mainstream GPUs such as the RX 580 or the GTX 1060 with acceptable performance in most scenarios.
Games on high-refresh-rate displays don't appear to have the same luxury. If you want to game at a resolution such as 2560x1440 at a full 144Hz, neither the RX Vega 64 or GTX 1080 will do this with maximum image quality settings. Although these GPUs appear to be in the margin where you could turn down a few settings to achieve your full refresh rate.
For some reason, the RX Vega cards didn't seem to show any scaling in performance when moving from 2560x1440 to 1920x1080, unlike the Polaris-based RX 580 and the NVIDIA options. We aren't quite sure of the cause of this and have reached out to AMD for clarification.
As far as frame times are concerned, we also gathered some data with our Frame Rating capture analysis system.
Taking a look at the first chart, we can see while the GTX 1080 frame times are extremely consistent, the RX Vega 64 shows some additional variance.
However, the frame time variance chart shows that over 95% of the frame times of the RX Vega 64 come in at under 2ms of variance, which will still provide a smooth gameplay experience in most scenarios. This matches with our experience while playing on both AMD and NVIDIA hardware where we saw no major issues with gameplay smoothness.
Forza Motorsport 7 seems to be a great addition to the PC gaming world (if you don't mind using the Microsoft store exclusively) and will run great on a wide array of hardware. Whether or not you have a NVIDIA or AMD GPU, you should be able to enjoy this fantastic racing simulator.
Subject: General Tech | October 18, 2017 - 01:59 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: forza motorsport 7, amd, nvidia, vega 64, vega 56, gtx 1070, GTX 1080, gtx 1080 ti, gaming
[H]ard|OCP recently used Forza 7 in their GPU benchmarks and discovered that AMD's Vega 64 outperformed the GTX 1080 by a noticeable margin. NVIDIA responded by releasing two new drivers in quick succession, claiming performance improvements of up to 25% in this title, which prompted [H] to revisit there results with the newest drivers from both companies. They tested at both 1440p and at 4K and saw changes, though perhaps not as great as NVIDIA first announced. Take a look at the review here and consider the question they pose in their conclusions.
"Forza Motorsport 7 gaming performance has changed, video cards stack up differently when compared. We take Forza Motorsport 7 and apply new NVIDIA GeForce 387.92 and AMD Crimson ReLive 17.10.1 drivers to find out how these compare, what performance differences there are, and if AMD Radeon RX Vega is still king in this game."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Big-budget, single-player gaming isn’t dead (yet) @ Ars Technica
- Middle-Earth Shadow of War: PC graphics performance benchmark @ Guru of 3D
- Wot I Think – South Park: The Fractured But Whole @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- The Best PC Games (You Should Be Playing) @ TechSpot
- Total War’s free Mortal Empires DLC merges Warhammer 1 and 2 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Core i7 8700K vs. Ryzen 7 1800X For NVIDIA/Radeon Linux Gaming @ Phoronix
- Destiny 2 PC launch trailer and hardware requirements released @ HEXUS
- South Park: The Fractured But Whole secrets: find Mr Hankey, 'cheating' and more @ PC Gamer
- Humble Down Under Bundle
- PC Shadow of War players cheat to get around loot box grind @ Ars Technica
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.