Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2017 - 05:13 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: nvidia, gtx, geforce gtx usb drive, geforce
What started as merely an April Fool's prank by NVIDIA has now turned into one of the cutest little promotions I've ever seen. Originally "launched" as part of the GeForce G-ASSIST technology that purported to offer AI-enabled gaming if you were away from your keyboard, NVIDIA actually built the tiny, adorable, GeForce GTX USB Key.
This drive was made to look like the GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition graphics card and was only produced in a quantity of 1080. I happen to find a 64GB option in a Fedex box this morning when I cam into the office.
Performance on this USB 3.0 based drive is pretty solid, peaking at 111 MB/s on reads and 43 MB/s on writes.
If you want of these for yourself, you need to be signed up through GeForce Experience and opting in to the GeForce newsletter. Do that, and you're entered.
We have some more pictures of the USB drive below (including the surprising interior shot!), so click this link to see them.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | June 13, 2017 - 01:39 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, free games, evga, destiny 2
Were you a fan of the original Destiny or simply a fan of free games and happen to be shopping for a new NVIDIA GPU? EVGA have just launched a new giveaway, if you pick up one of their GTX 1080 or 1080 Ti's they will provide you with a code that not only provides you with a free copy of Destiny 2 but also allows you access to the beta.
As usual you need to have an EVGA account so you can register your GPU and so the code can be provided to your account. From there head on over to NVIDIA to redeem the code and patiently await the start of the beta and final release of the game.
June 13th, 2017 - Get Game Ready with EVGA GeForce GTX 10 Series and experience Destiny 2 on PC. For a limited time, buy a select EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti or EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card and get Destiny 2 at PC Launch and [Early] Access to the PC Beta!
GeForce GTX 10 Series GPUs brings the beautiful world of Destiny 2 to life in stunning 4K. Experience incredibly smooth, tear-free gameplay with NVIDIA G-SYNC™ and share your greatest gameplay moments with NVIDIA ShadowPlay using GeForce Experience.
About Destiny 2:
Humanity's last safe city has fallen to an overwhelming invasion force, led by Ghaul, the imposing commander of the brutal Red Legion. He has stripped the city's Guardians of their power, and forced the survivors to flee. You will venture to mysterious, unexplored worlds of our solar system to discover an arsenal of weapons and devastating new combat abilities. To defeat the Red Legion and confront Ghaul, you must reunite humanity's scattered heroes, stand together, and fight back to reclaim our home.
Learn more and see qualifying EVGA cards at https://www.evga.com/articles/01112/destiny-2-game-ready/
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 13, 2017 - 01:17 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, gtx 1080 ti, GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X, msi, Twin Frozr VI, 4k
MSI's latest version of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is their GAMING X 4K and has the design features you would expect, Twin Frozr VI, Hi-C CAPs, Super Ferrite Chokes and Japanese Solid Caps. When benchmarking the card [H]ard|OCP saw performance significantly higher than the quoted 1657MHz boost speed, the average was 1935MHz before they overclocked and an impressive 2038MHz for the highest stable in game frequency. They tested both the default and overclocked frequencies against a battery of benchmarks, including the newly released Prey. The card performed admirably at 4k, with many games still performing will with all graphics options at maximum, drop by for a look.
"We review a custom GeForce GTX 1080 Ti based video card with custom cooling and a factory overclock built for overclocking. Can the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X truly deliver a consistent enjoyable high-end graphics setting gameplay experience in games at 4K finally? Is a single card viable for current generation gaming at 4K?"
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 OC Edition 8GB 11Gbps Video Card Review @ Bjorn3d
- 15-Way NVIDIA/AMD OpenCL GPU Linux Benchmarks Of Ethereum Ethminer @ Phoronix
- XFX RX 460 4GB Heatsink Edition Review @ Bjorn3d
- XFX Rs XXX Edition Rx 570 4GB OC Review @ Bjorn3d
Subject: Systems | June 12, 2017 - 07:00 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: radeon, PC, Optane, nvidia, Intel, geforce, gaming, desktop, dell, Core X-Series, Core i9, Area-51, amd, alienware
Dell has announced upcoming Alienware Area-51 gaming desktops featuring Intel's new Core X-Series processors, with CPU options up to the 10-core Intel Core i9 7900X and GPU configurations up to dual GeForce GTX 1080 Ti or triple Radeon RX 580 graphics.
"The Alienware Area-51 is our flagship gaming desktop, in this next generation, a new Intel architecture based on ‘Skylake-X’ technology has come to the high end desktop arena; Intel introduces the new Intel Core XSeries processors with a new level of Intel Core i9 options.
Gamers looking for the best that Intel has to offer that love gaming and have creative hobbies that employ resource intensive applications should anticipate the new Area-51 with Intel Core X-series processors. Geared to deliver the best gaming experiences in 4K, 8K and in VR environments, this new rig is powered for gamers running applications that prioritize clock with the 10-core option running at speeds of up to 4.5GHz using stock settings.
The Area-51 featuring Intel Core X-Series is ideal for customers who explore the world of megatasking, doing many system demanding tasks at the same time, and are looking for a complete, reliable solution from a trusted brand."
The Area-51 desktops feature (from Dell):
- Iconic triad high quality, uniquely engineered chassis built to deliver exceptional airflow, thermal management, and user ergonomics for daily use and future upgrades
- Supports NVIDIA SLI and AMD Crossfire graphics technology, with dual and triple GPU options
- Introduces Intel Optane Memory technology and M.2 SSD storage options to Area-51
- Built for gaming enthusiast wanting the absolute best gaming performance played with a VR, 4k or 8k display
- Designed with power supplies that provide modular cabling and a 1500W option with 80 Plus Gold efficiency for clean and efficient power
- Alienware Command Center includes AlienFX, AlienAdrenaline, AlienFusion, Thermal and Overclocking Controls
- Intel X299 w/unlocked BIOS for overclocking, CPU Socket R4 (2066 pins)
- Processor Options:
- Intel Core i7 7800X (6-core, 8.25MB Cache, up to 4.0GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0 Technology)
- Intel Core i7 7820X (8-core, 11MB Cache, up to 4.5GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0 Technology)
- Intel Core i9 7900X (10-core, 13.75MB Cache, up to 4.5GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0 Technology)
- Single Video Card Options
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, GTX 1060, GTX 1070, GTX 1080, or GTX 1080 Ti
- Liquid Cooled NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
- AMD Radeon RX 570 or RX 580
- Multi GPU Options
- Dual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070, GTX 1080, or GTX 1080 Ti (NVIDIA SLI Enabled)
- Triple AMD Radeon RX 570 or RX 580 (AMD Crossfire Enabled)
- Memory Support
- 4x 288-Pin DDR4 UDIMM Slots
- 8GB DDR4 at 2667MHz standard, additional memory available up to 64GB of quad-channel 2667MHz or 2933MHz (HyperX)
- Storage Options
- Single drive: 2TB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s or 256GB - 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD
- Dual drive: 128GB - 1TB M.2 SATA SSD (Boot) + 2TB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s (Storage)
- Intel Optane Accelerated Options
- 16GB Intel Optane memory accelerated 1TB 7200RPM HDD
- 32GB Intel Optane memory accelerated 1TB - 2TB 7200RPM HDD
- Slot-Loading Dual-Layer DVD Burner (DVD±RW) (Standard)
- Slot-Loading Dual Layer Blu-ray Disc Reader (BD-ROM, DVD±RW, CD-RW)
- Internal High-Definition 7.1 Audio (Standard)
- Dual Killer E2500 Intelligent Networking (Gigabit Ethernet NIC)
- Dell 1820 802.11ac 2x2 WiFi/Bluetooth 4.1 or Killer 1535 802.11ac 2x2 WiFi/Bluetooth 4.1
- Front Ports
- 2x SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
- 3.5 mm headphone and 3.5 mm Mic Port
- Media Card Reader
- Rear Ports
- 2x RJ-45 Killer Networks E2500 Gigabit Ethernet Port
- 2x Hi-Speed USB 2.0
- 6x SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
- 1x SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A
- 1x SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C w/ 15W PowerShare technology
- 1x SPDIF Digital Output (TOSLINK)
- 1x Line-In (blue port)
- 1x Front L/R / Headphone (green port)
- 1x Center Channel / Subwoofer (orange port)
- 1x L/R Rear Surround (black port)
- 1x L/R Side Surround (white port)
- Operating System:
- Windows 10 Home (64-bit) (Standard)
- Windows 10 Pro (64-bit)
The release date and pricing have not been announced, but Dell states these Intel Core X-series desktops "will be available late summer" with pricing information soon to come.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Displays | June 6, 2017 - 06:06 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: hdr, sdr, nvidia, computex
Dmitry Novoselov of Hardware Canucks saw an NVIDIA SDR vs HDR demo, presumably at Computex based on timing and the intro bumper, and noticed that the SDR monitor looked flat. According to his post in the YouTube comments, he asked NVIDIA to gain access to the monitor settings, and they let him... and he found that the brightness, contrast, and gamma settings were way off. He then performed a factory reset, to test how the manufacturer defaults hold up in the comparison, and did his video based on those results.
I should note that video footage of HDR monitors will not correctly describe what you can see in person. Not only is the camera not HDR, and thus not capable of showing the full range of what the monitor is displaying, but also who knows what the camera’s (and later video processing) exposure and color grading will actually correspond to. That said, he was there and saw it in person, so his eyewitness testimony is definitely valid, but it may or may not focus on qualities that you care about.
Anywho, the test was Mass Effect: Andromeda, which has a native HDR profile. To his taste, he apparently prefers the SDR content in a lot of ways, particularly how the blown out areas behave. He claims that he’s concerned about game-to-game quality, because there will be inconsistency between how one color grading professional chooses to process a scene versus another, but I take issue with that. Even in standard color range, there will always be an art director that decides what looks good and what doesn’t.
They are now given another knob, and it’s an adjustment that the industry is still learning how to deal with, but that’s not a downside to HDR.
Subject: General Tech | June 2, 2017 - 04:55 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: nvidia, shield, SHIELD TV, plex, plex pass
Yesterday I posted a news blurb about the update to Plex that brought Live TV viewing and an enhanced DVR capability to the widely used and very popular media software package. In that story I mentioned that the NVIDIA SHIELD (and all Android TV systems) were among the first of the roll out, capable of both serving Live TV but also streaming and viewing it. Yes, the NVIDIA SHIELD continues to be one of the most interesting parts of the cord cutting economy, with a balance of hardware performance, software improvements, and cost.
Along with the Plex software update, NVIDIA has its own update pushing out starting yesterday, Experience Upgrade 5.2, starting with the SHIELD Preview Program members. This update brings a couple of important changes that make the Plex Live TV rollout much more interesting. First, the SHIELD now has support for a wider array of TV tuners, including direct attached USB TV tuners. Here is the updated list of supported hardware:
- HDHomeRun Network Tuners:
- Connect – Dual tuner, Base model
- Extend – Dual tuner, Converts MPEG2 to H.264 for lower bandwidth and size requirements
- Prime – Requires cable subscription and a CableCARD
- Hauppauge Dual USB Tuners:
- WinTV-dual HD 1595 (NTSC) – US/Canada
- WinTV-dual HD 1590 (DVB-T/T2) – UK/EU
- Single USB Tuners – Not recommended due to single tuner capability
- AVerMedia AVerTV Volar Hybrid Q (H837) for US/Canada
NVIDIA claims there are more tuners on the way soon, so we’ll keep an eye out on the updates.
The second update allows SHIELD to write to network attached storage devices (NAS). Previously, the Android TV box could only mount them as read-only partitions, even in Plex, making them useless for recording live TV via the Plex DVR. With the 5.2 release you can now direct write to NAS hardware, allowing the SHIELD to store copies of recorded TV shows and movies in a location that makes sense. If you have a non-hard drive SHIELD unit, this is a great feature, and even if you have the 500GB model, this easily expands usable storage with hardware you may already own.
Also as a part of the update are more general tweaks and improvements including “network storage directory and connectivity enhancements, Wi-Fi performance improvements, and experience enhancements for SHIELD remote and SHIELD controller.”
NVIDIA is celebrating the release of this Plex update by offering a 6-month Plex Pass subscription as a part of the deal if you buy a new SHIELD TV. That’s a $30 value, but a Plex Pass is a requirement to take advantage of Live TV. For users that already own the SHIELD, you’ll have to shell out the $5/mo for the premium Plex offering (worth it for sure in my view) to try out the live TV feature.
Subject: General Tech | June 1, 2017 - 12:33 PM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: x299, WD, VROC, video, Vega, toshiba, Threadripper, snapdragon 835, ryzen mobile, qnap, podcast, nvidia, msi, max-q, Killer xTend, Intel, evga, Core i9, asus, asrock, arm, amd, agesa, a75, A55
PC Perspective Podcast #452 - 01/01/17
Join us for talk about Computex 2017 and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano
Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
0:55:00 RX Vega pushed to end of July (SIGGRAPH), FE on June 27th
Subject: General Tech | June 1, 2017 - 09:00 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: shield, plex server, plex, nvidia, live tv, dvr
We’re pretty big fans of Plex around the PC Perspective offices, using it for storing, accessing and sharing loads of local content to our phones, PCs, consoles and more. (If you haven’t read Jim’s amazing Plex setup story from a couple years ago, do so.) Back in September the company rolled out a beta feature called Plex DVR that was able to record live OTA (over the air) TV directly to your library. There was a very important catch though – you could not watch the content until AFTER the recording was complete, and you had no way to watch the OTA TV channels live.
This changes today with the release of the Live TV upgrade! For Plex Pass subscribers, it’s built directly into the Plex Media Server and works with quite a few modern tuner devices including the HDHomeRun series, and many more from companies like Hauppauge, AVerMedia, and DVBLogic. These tuners connect to an OTA antenna to bring you live television through a network or USB connection, and now Plex will support them to showcase the live channels available in your area.
Limitations of Live TV viewing exist for now though – only Android TV and iOS devices support playback of LIVE content. Plex has promised us more, including Android devices and Apple TV, inside of 60 days.
There are some pretty impressive features that go along with Live TV being available as part of your Plex Server. For starters, you will soon be able (iOS and Android TV only for today) watch TV on any Plex client, anywhere in the world, regardless of region or device. Want to catch the live baseball game while sitting at the airport on your iPhone? You can do it now, and the Plex Server handles video transcoding on the fly to make sure you get it at the bandwidth best suited for your situation.
For those new to the Plex DVR feature set, recorded shows and movies are integrated right into your library, with metadata added, making them a searchable and shareable part of your system. You can then watch those recorded shows anywhere in the world, on any device.
Plex Server support for Live TV is currently supported on Windows and Mac, supported NAS devices and Android TV. The most interesting option here is likely the NVIDIA SHIELD, a device that already supported server and client application. The SHIELD will be able host AND VIEW Live TV through Plex, again making it the preeminent cord cutting hub for modern consumers of content.
For many cord cutters, combining the Live TV feature with expanded and improved DVR functionality (including overlapping recordings, whole season support, etc.) and the built-in library you may have with Plex already running, this is CLOSE to the Holy Grail. In my talks with Plex this week I implored them to look at integrating support for over-the-top services like Sling or DirecTV NOW, giving me (and many others) a single hub location for all of our cord cutting content.
There are some eccentricities I would like to see worked out, including a more linear program guide display option, and faster "channel surfing", but the initial rollout seems solid from my 24 hours of testing.
I am actively working on a multi-part series exploring my own cord cutting experiences at home (taking into account family considerations) and it looks like Plex has found an even more prominent place in it.
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: 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.