Podcast #425 - Samsung 960 EVO, NZXT S340, NVIDIA revenue, wireless Vive, Serious Sam VR, Steam VR on Linux and more!
Subject: General Tech | November 17, 2016 - 03:53 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: wireless, VR, video, valve, TPCAST, tempered glass, steam, serious sam, Samsung, S340, podcast, nzxt, linux, htc, 960 EVO, 375.86
PC Perspective Podcast #425 - 11/17/16
Join us this week as we discuss new Samsung 960 EVO, NZXT S340, NVIDIA revenue, wireless Vive, Serious Sam VR, Steam VR on Linux and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store (audio only)
- Google Play - Subscribe to our audio podcast directly through Google Play!
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader (audio only)
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Allyn Malventano, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Sebastian Peak
Program length: 1:13:46
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Subject: General Tech | November 16, 2016 - 12:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: microsoft, linux
Microsoft is obviously serious about its new found support of Linux, having just joined the Linux Foundation at the top tier of membership. Already, we have seen the bash shell integrated with Windows 10, with familiar commands such as grep, sed, and awk as well as scripting support. After that somewhat surprising development Microsoft once again made the unexpected move of offering eight different Linux server images on Azure. Their newfound interest in the open source OS expands today, with their membership in the Linux Foundation they can continue to integrate more open source tools and projects into their current offerings. You can pop by The Inquirer to read more about this unexpected turn of events.
"The non-profit group advances open technology development and promotes Linux, and Microsoft has signed up as a Platinum member, the highest-ranking option that comes with a $500,000 annual fee."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- ZapBox: $30 'mixed reality' headset sets sights on Microsoft HoloLens @ The Inquirer
- Monitoring Network Load With nload: Part 1 @ Linux.com
- Is that your television? Or a zero client running a virtual desktop? @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | November 14, 2016 - 01:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: linux, mac os. valve, steam, VR, steamvr, OpenVR
Valve's OpenVR based project, which goes by the obvious moniker of SteamVR, has been shown powering an HTC Vive, using Vulcan on an unspecified Linux distro. This proof of concept is to back up their claims that SteamVR should be available to consumers very soon. At the moment their are few VR games using either OpenGL or Vulkan so your software choices will be limited. At the same time, you may also be limited in the headset you can choose as Oculus developers have stated that all Mac OS support projects are currently on hold. Road to VR has the full presentation from Valve’s Joe Ludwig embedded in their post here.
"However, Valve will soon move to encourage a diminishing of that monopoly, as it plans to bring SteamVR – the company’s Steam-integrated VR platform – to both Linux and Mac OSX platforms within the next few months."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Kaspersky launches antitrust action against Microsoft over Windows Defender @ The Inquirer
- Google Pixel pwned in 60 seconds @ The Register
- Firewalls snuffed by 'BlackNurse' Ping of Death attack @ The Register
- Linux On Your NES Classic Edition @ Hack a Day
- IBM: Why our Power9 CPU is going to make data centers great again @ The Register
- Google Home Makes Its Debut @ Hardware Secrets
- The ROG Masters 2016 Tournament Rocks KL @ TechARP
- noblechairs EPIC Series Real Leather Gaming Chair @ techPowerUp
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 5, 2016 - 08:19 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: linux, DOTA 2, valve, nvidia, vulkan, opengl
Phoronix published interesting benchmark results for OpenGL vs Vulkan on Linux, across a wide spread of thirteen NVIDIA GPUs. Before we begin, the CPU they chose was an 80W Intel Xeon E3-1280 v5, which fits somewhere between the Skylake-based Core i7-6700k and Core i7-6700 (no suffix). You may think that Xeon v5 would be based on Broadwell, but, for some reason, Intel chose the E3-1200 series to be based on Skylake. Regardless, the choice of CPU will come in to play.
They will apparently follow up this article with AMD results.
A trend arose throughout the whole article. At 1080p, everything, from the GTX 760 to the GTX 1080, was rendering at ~101 FPS on OpenGL and ~115 FPS on Vulkan. The obvious explanation is that the game is 100% CPU-bound on both APIs, but Vulkan is able to relax the main CPU thread enough to squeeze out about 14% more frames.
The thing is, the Xeon E3-1280 v5 is about as high-end of a mainstream CPU as you can get. It runs the most modern architecture and it can achieve clocks up to 4 GHz on all cores. DOTA 2 can get harsh on the CPU when a lot of units are on screen, but this is a little surprisingly low. Then again, I don't have any experience running DOTA 2 benchmarks, so maybe it's a known thing, or maybe even a Linux-version thing?
Moving on, running the game at 4K, the results get more interesting. In GPU-bound scenarios, NVIDIA's driver shows a fairly high performance gain on OpenGL. Basically all GPUs up to the GTX 1060 run at a higher frame rate in OpenGL, only switching to Vulkan with the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080, where OpenGL hits that 101 FPS ceiling and Vulkan goes a little above.
Again, it will be interesting to see how AMD fairs against this line of products, both in Vulkan and OpenGL. Those will apparently come “soon”.
Subject: General Tech | November 1, 2016 - 12:49 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Adobe, linux, mozilla
Apparently I missed this the first time around, but Adobe has decided to continue supporting the NPAPI version of Flash Player on Linux. They have just released their second update, Flash Player 24 Beta, on October 28th for both 32- and 64-bit platforms. Before September, Adobe was maintaining Flash Player 11.2 with security updates. Adobe has also extended NPAPI support beyond 2017, which was supposed to be the original cut-off for that plug-in architecture on Linux, and pledge to keep “major version numbers in sync”.
This took me by surprise. Browser vendors, even Mozilla, have been deprecating NPAPI for a while. Plug-ins are unruly from a security and performance standpoint, and they would much rather promote the Web standards that they work so hard to implement, rather than being a window frame around someone else's proprietary platform.
So what are Adobe thinking? Well, they claim that this “is primarily a security initiative”. As such, it would make sense that, possibly, and again I'm an outsider musing here, the gap between now and 11.2 was large enough that it would be easier to just maintain two branches.
Whatever the reason, Flash on Linux is continuing to be supported for all browsers. If you find yourself at the intersection of Linux, Firefox, and hobbyist-developed Tower Defense games, you can pick up the latest plug-in at Adobe Labs.
Subject: General Tech | October 31, 2016 - 07:12 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: feral interactive, pc gaming, vulkan, linux
Beginning in the first half of next year, Feral Interactive plans to release software running on the Vulkan API. Feral is one of the three well known Linux port developers, the other two being Aspyr Media and an independent contractor, Ryan C. Gordon, who convert Windows games under some deal with the original creators.
They didn't claim which game would be first. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will be initially released on OpenGL, but people are speculating that, since its rendering back-end is set up to efficiently queue DirectX 12 tasks, which is the same basic structure that Vulkan uses, Feral might release a patch to it later. Alternatively, they could have another title in the works, although I cannot think of anything short of DOOM that would fit the bill, and there has been nothing from Bethesda, id, or Feral to suggest that is leaving Windows. Maybe Tomb Raider?
Whatever it is, we're beginning to see more than just engine developers port software to the new graphics APIs, and on multiple platforms, too.
Subject: General Tech | October 31, 2016 - 12:29 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Lenovo, yoga, linux, Yoga 900S
As we discovered back in September, the new Lenovo Yoga Signature Editions on the market would not allow you to boot your machine from a Linux installation. This was caused by the Intel software RAID used in these machines which has had a long history of trouble with Linux. Today Lenovo made a BIOS update available which will allow your Yoga to see a disk with Linux installed and to boot from it, likely by allowing you to switch your SATA drive from RAID to AHCI mode. Lenovo has made it clear that any support for RAID mode will have to come from Linux developers which makes perfect sense as they are the driving force behind such support. What confuses many, including The Register, is why Lenovo removed the ability to switch SATA modes in the BIOS in the first place.
"Following last month's criticisms, Lenovo has released a BIOS update for its Yoga 900 range of laptops, finally allowing them to support GNU/Linux installations."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Windows Server 2016 persistent memory support supercharges storage IO @ The Register
- The Latest Updates on Nintendo NX @ Hardware Secrets
- Windows 10 Is Broken: Fix It, Microsoft! @ Techgage
- AK Racing Prime Gaming Chair Review @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech | September 22, 2016 - 12:39 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, Lenovo, linux, signature edition, microsoft
Yesterday we saw the first stories appear about how the malware free Lenovo Signature Editions of mobile devices such as the Yoga 900S and Yoga 710S blocked the installation of Linux and effigies of Microsoft and Lenovo were set afire. As is common on the interwebs, the true villain was not implicated until the excitable crowd ran off with their pitchforks and torches and let the rest of us research the issue and track it back to Intel.
The issue is that the Intel soft RAID present on these machines is not really compatible with Linux, quite a common issue unfortunately. Lenovo is not innocent in this however as thee have greatly exacerbated the issue by making it difficult to change your SATA from RAID to AHCI in the BIOS in Windows and impossible in a live boot of Linux. In order to change your SATA settings Lenovo has decided to let you relive the days of Windows XP, when you had to bash on F6 during the initial installation of Windows to let it know you had a special disk with drivers on it to enable AHCI or RAID mode. Even better, apparently you have to get in touch with Lenovo to get these drivers and they only work in Windows, of course.
So thanks to the lousy Linux support offered by Intel's soft RAID implementation you cannot install Linux on Signature Editions of some Yoga machines and if you have a need to set your SATA to AHCI, say because of Endpoint Encryption, you need to go through a process that went out with that OS Microsoft wants people to stop using. If you want to track back the reddit thread and the research that was done to determine the culprit, The Register has compiled a good reference.
"A Reddit thread this morning accuses Microsoft and Lenovo of conspiring to prevent the installation of non-Windows operating systems on the Chinese goliath's PCs at the firmware level. Linux fans vented on the message board about the difficulties of installing open-source distributions on certain Lenovo machines."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Magneto-resistant upstart Everspin gets itself into an IPO whizz @ The Register
- BT's Wi-Fi Extender works great – at extending your password to hackers @ The Register
- Microsoft unveils Nokia 216 feature phone @ DigiTimes
- TV industry gets its own 'dieselgate' over 'leccy consumption tests @ The Register
Subject: Graphics Cards | September 9, 2016 - 03:59 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers, linux
Unfortunately, I don't tend to notice when Linux drivers get released; it's something I want to report more frequently on. Luckily, this time, I heard about NVIDIA's 370.28 graphics drivers while they were still fresh. This one opens up overclocking (and underclocking) for GeForce 10-series GPUs, although NVIDIA (of course) mentions that this is “at the user's own risk”. It also fixes a bunch of Vulkan bugs.
Many of these fixes were in the previous, but beta-class drivers, 370.23. It, like 370.28, also includes experimental support for PRIME Synchronization. PRIME handles choosing which GPU drives a given display, which may be different from the GPU that is rendering that image. I'm not too familiar with the system, and I've heard some jokes from the Linux community over the last couple of years about its almost vaporware-like status, but I don't have any personal experience with it.
Subject: Graphics Cards | August 31, 2016 - 05:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, radeon, open source, linux, RADV, graphics driver
As of yet, AMD has not delivered the open-source Radeon Vulkan driver originally slated to arrive early this year, instead relying on their current proprietary driver. That has not stopped a team of plucky programmers from creating RADV, utilizing the existing AMDGPU LLVM compiler back-end and Intel's work with Mesa NIR intermediate representation to pass to LLVM IR. You won't get Gallium3D support, ironically RADV is too close to the metal for that to work.
Phoronix just wrapped up testing of the new driver, looking at performance for The Talos Principal and DOTA 2, contrasting the open source driver with the closed source AMDGPU-PRO. RADV is not quite 4k ready but at lower resolutions it proves very competitive.
"With word coming out last week that the RADV open-source Vulkan driver can now render Dota 2 correctly, I've been running some tests the past few days of this RADV Vulkan driver compared to AMD's official (but currently closed-source) Vulkan driver bundled with the AMDGPU-PRO Vulkan driver."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Windows 10 vs. Linux Radeon Software Performance @ Phoronix
- PowerColor Red Devil RX 480 8GB Review @ OCC
- XFX Radeon RX 460 Double Dissipation @ [H]ard|OCP
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 Founders Edition Review @ Neoseeker