Asus Shows Turing TUF Love with new TUF RTX 2060 Graphics Cards

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 16, 2019 - 09:02 AM |
Tagged: turing, tuf, RTX 2060, nvidia, graphics card, factory overclocked, asus

Asus recently announced two new Turing-based graphics cards that are part of the TUF (The Ultimate Force) series. Clad in urban camo with shades of grey, the Asus TUF RTX 2060 6GB Gaming and TUF RTX 2060 OC 6GB Gaming pair Nvidia’s 12nm TU106 GPU and 6GB of GDDR6 memory with a dual fan cooler and backplate. As part of the TUF series, the new graphics cards use Asus’ Auto Extreme manufacturing technology and are put through its 144-hour validation program.

Asus TUF RTX 2060.png

The RTX 2060 GPU features 1920 CUDA cores, 120 TMUs, 48 ROPs, 240 Tensor cores, and 30 RT cores. The standard TUF RTX 2060 6GB Gaming graphics card comes clocked at 1365 MHz base and 1689 MHz boost out of the box with the boost clock jumping to 1710 MHz in OC Mode. The OC model graphics card, however, comes clocked by default at 1365 MHz base and 1710 MHz boost in Gaming Mode and 1740 MHz boost in OC Mode (when using Asus’ software).

Asus TUF RTX 2060 Backplate.png

The TUF Graphics cards feature one dual layer DVI, two HDMI 2.0b, and one DisplayPort 1.4 video outputs. The dual fan cooler is IP5X dust resistant and uses dual ball bearing fans. A black metal backplate is secured to the card to help PCB rigidity. The cards measure 20.4 x 12.5 x 4.6 centimeters so should be compatible with most cases. The cards are powered by a single 8-pin PCI-E power connector.

The TUF cards use a no-frills design sans any RGB or extra features so should be priced competitively and may go well with a silent PC or sleeper PC build. Unfortunately, Asus is not talking specific pricing or availability yet.

Source: Asus

It's an Epic post-apocalyptic GPU Exodus

Subject: General Tech | February 13, 2019 - 02:53 PM |
Tagged: Metro Exodus, gaming, nvidia, amd, DLSS, ray tracing

The Guru of 3D took over two dozen cards on the Metro, with a focus on the DX12 render path with DX-R support which does make the NVIDIA results a bit more interesting for now.  If you are looking to play at 1080p with every bell and whistle on, you can scrape by on a GTX 1080 or Vega 56 but you should really consider bumping that to an RTX 2070 or Vega 64.  For 1440p gamers the new Radeon VII is capable of providing a good experience but you are far better off with an RTX 2080 or better. 

At 4k, well, even the RTX 2080 Ti can barely make 50fps, with the rest of the pack reaching 40fps at best.  As to the effects of DLSS and ray tracing on the visual quality and overall performance? Read on to see for yourself.

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"A game title of discussion and debate, yes Metro Exodus for the PC is here, and we're going to put it to the test with close to 30 graphics cards in relation to framerates, frame times and CPU scaling."

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Source: Guru of 3D

NVIDIA GeForce 418.91 WHQL Driver Enables DLSS in Battlefield V and Metro Exodus

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 13, 2019 - 12:17 PM |
Tagged: whql, rtx, raytracing, nvidia, Metro Exodus, graphics, gpu, geforce, gaming, driver, DLSS, battlefield V, 418.91

NVIDIA's GeForce 418.91 WHQL drivers have brought DLSS support to Battlefield V and both real-time ray tracing and DLSS to the upcoming Metro Exodus, which will be the first game to support the technologies from day one when it is released (now exclusively on Epic's game store) on February 15.

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From NVIDIA:

Battlefield V - This stunning World War II combat game, created by EA and DICE, was the first to support real-time ray-traced reflections and has now added support for DLSS — giving a performance boost of up to 40 percent with ray-tracing reflections enabled.

Metro Exodus - The third installment in the haunting Metro franchise, developed by 4A Games and Deep Silver, will support RTX-enabled real-time ray tracing — the first time it has been used in a game for global illumination. At launch, the game will also support DLSS, boosting performance up to 30 percent, as well as a host of other NVIDIA gaming technologies, including HairWorks, PhysX, Ansel and Highlights.

NVIDIA has posted a video showcasing the performance improvement with DLSS vs. real-time ray tracing in BFV, where gains of up to 40% are advertised:

As to Metro Exodus, with the additional ray traced components it would seem the upcoming game will end up being a popular benchmark for the technologies, after we have seem most of the ray tracing and DLSS discussion surround BFV to this point (Port Royal notwithstanding). At some future date Shadow of the Tomb Raider will enter the mix as well, but this is still awaiting ray tracing and DLSS support via a planned update.

For its part Metro is only gaining 30% with DLSS (vs. real-time ray tracing + TAA) according to NVIDIA, which is obviously lower than the boost to BFV. We have seen a preview of real-time ray tracing and DLSS performance in the latest Metro game over at Tom's Hardware, where they look at the performance differences and perceived quality between the two. It's also worth noting that both BFV and Metro Exodus are not fully ray traced games, as Tom's explains:

"Battlefield applies ray tracing to reflections. Metro Exodus uses it for global illumination from the sun/sky, modeling how light interacts with various surfaces. Local light sources are not ray traced, though."

The Battlefield V DLSS update is now rolling out, with some early performance numbers already available. Metro Exodus will be released on February 15, and is the latest title to eschew Steam in favor of Epic's new platform.

Source: NVIDIA

February 12th Update for Battlefield V Adds DLSS

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 12, 2019 - 02:53 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, battlefield V, ea, dice, nvidia, DLSS, dxr

The Battlefield V Tides of War Chapter 2: Lightning Strikes Update #3 patch, beyond sounding like a Final Fantasy title, has quite a few major improvements. The headlining feature is improved RTX support, which we will discuss shortly, but fans of the game may appreciate the other bullet points, too.

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But first, because we are a computer hardware site, the RTX stuff. DLSS, which was recently added to 3DMark and greatly improved the image quality, has been added to Battlefield V. This setting uses machine learning to produce a best guess at antialiasing, versus calculating it with a direct algorithm (such as with TXAA or FXAA). Now that MSAA is somewhat uncommon, because it is incompatible with certain rendering processes, we’re stuck with either antialiasing via post-process or super-sampling. Super-sampling is expensive, so it’s usually either FXAA, which tries to find edges and softens them, or TXAA, which gives neighboring frames different sub-pixel positions and blends them. Both cases have issues. TXAA is considered the “higher end” option, although it gets ugly when objects move, especially quickly and visibly smooth. Because DLSS is basically a shortcut to provide something that looks like super-sampling, it should avoid many of these issues.

DXR raytracing performance was also improved.

Okay, now the tech enthusiasts can stop reading – it’s time for the fans.

Vaultable object detection is said to have a major improvement with this release. DICE acknowledges that Battlefield V movement wasn’t as smooth as it should be. There were a lot of waist-high barriers that players can get stuck behind, which the vaulting system should propel them over. It should be much easier to move around the map after this update, which is good for people like me who like to sneak around and flank.

DICE has also discussed several netcode changes, such as adding more damage updates per packet and fixing some issues where damage should be ignored, or healing should occur but would be ignored, and so forth. Basically, all of the netcode improvements were related to health or damage in some way, which is a good area to focus on.

Also, the Rush game mode, introduced in the Battlefield Bad Company sub-franchise, will return on March 7th "for a limited time"... whatever they mean by that.

The update should be available now.

Source: EA / DICE

Tutorial for RTX on Vulkan (VK_NVX_raytracing extension)

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 11, 2019 - 03:30 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, rtx, vulkan

Microsoft got quite a bit of mindshare with the announcement of DirectX Raytracing (DXR) at last year’s GDC 2018. NVIDIA’s RTX technology was somewhat synonymous with DirectX 12 for a while, although NVIDIA was not exactly hiding their equivalent extension for Vulkan. It’s not that you must use DirectX 12 – it’s that you cannot use DirectX 11.

nvidia-2019-rtx-triangle.png

Image Credit: iOrange (via GitHub)

And now there’s a tutorial on GitHub by the user Sergii Kudlai (iOrange), complete with source code licensed under MIT. iOrange is a programmer for Digital Extremes, which is best known for their 2013 hit, Warframe, although they also collaborated with Epic Games on the earlier Unreal Tournament editions (UT2004 and earlier). They also worked on Epic Pinball.

The article is very casually worded and covers up to a single triangle.

If you’re interested in a little more depth, NVIDIA is also releasing Ray Tracing Gems for free on their website, although you need to be registered with their developer portal.

Ray Tracing Gems is available here. Currently only the first two chapters are up, but the rest will arrive every few days until approximately February 25th.

GTX 1660 Ti-tillation for your Monday

Subject: General Tech | February 11, 2019 - 12:46 PM |
Tagged: leak, nvidia, gtx 1660 ti

Today we have seen a lot of action surrounding the soon to be released GTX 1660 Ti, which at one point many considered a fantasy created by strange minds and not an upcoming product at all.  Doubt has been removed with the leak of details and pictures of packaging, spotted by WCCFTech and others.

Thanks to the packaging we know the card will have 6 GB GDDR6 VRAM, DirectX 12 support, ANSEL support and Turing Shaders, though no mention of Ray Tracing appears.  The back of the card features DVI-D, HDMI, Display Port and the Virtual Link connector which was missing from some custom RTX series cards.  Check out the link for more models from third party vendors.

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"Featuring the same Turing GPU architecture, the new GeForce GTX graphics cards will exclude Ray Tracing but feature faster shading performance through the enhanced GPU design while utilizing the 12nm process node."

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Source: WCCFTech

3DMark "Port Royal" DLSS Update Released

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 5, 2019 - 11:42 PM |
Tagged: rtx, nvidia, Futuremark, DLSS, 3dmark

If you have an RTX-based graphics card, then you can now enable Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) on 3DMark’s Port Royal benchmark. NVIDIA has also published a video of the benchmark running at 1440p alongside Temporal Anti-Aliasing (TAA).

Two things stand out about the video: Quality and Performance.

On the quality side: holy crap it looks good. One of the major issues with TAA is that it makes everything that’s moving somewhat blurry and/or otherwise messed up. For DLSS? It’s very clear and sharp, even in motion. It is very impressive. It also seems to behave well when there are big gaps in rendered light intensity, which, in my experience, can be a problem for antialiasing.

On the performance side, DLSS was shown to be significantly faster than TAA – seemingly larger than the gap between TAA and no anti-aliasing at all. The gap is because DLSS renders at a lower resolution automatically, and this behavior is published on NVIDIA’s website. (Ctrl+F for “to reduce the game’s internal rendering resolution”.)

Update on Feb 6th @ 12:36pm EST:

Apparently there's another mode, called DLSS 2X, that renders at native resolution. It won't have the performance boost over TAA, but it should have slightly higher rendering quality. I'm guessing it will be especially noticeable in the following situation.

End of Update.

While NVIDIA claims that it shouldn’t cause a noticeable image degradation, I believe I can see an example (in the video and their official screenshots) where the reduced resolution causes artifacts. If you look at the smoothly curving surfaces on the ring under the ship (as the camera zooms in just after 59s) you might be able to see a little horizontal jagged or almost Moiré effect. While I’m not 100% sure that it’s caused by the forced dip in resolution, it doesn’t seem to appear on the TAA version. If this is an artifact with the lowered resolution, I’m curious whether NVIDIA will allow us to run at the native resolution and still perform DLSS, or if the algorithm simply doesn’t operate that way.

nvidia-2019-dlss-01.png

NVIDIA's Side-by-Side Sample with TAA

nvidia-2019-dlss-02.png

NVIDIA's Side-by-Side Sample with DLSS

nvidia-2019-dlss-03.png

DLSS with artifacts pointed out

Image Credit: NVIDIA and FutureMark. Source.

That said, the image quality of DLSS is significantly above TAA. It’s painful watching an object move smoothly on a deferred rendering setup and seeing TAA freak out just a little to where it’s noticeable… but not enough to justify going back to a forward-rendering system with MSAA.

Source: NVIDIA

Time to pull over and switch drivers, NVIDIA drops 418.81 WHQL

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 4, 2019 - 02:14 PM |
Tagged: 418.81 WHQL, geforce, nvidia, driver

NVIDIA's newest WHQL driver has been updated to better support 3DMark Port Royal as well as getting ready for the release of the RTX laptops from a wide variety of manufacturers for those who love to game on the go.

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In addition to improved benchmark runs you will also get the following.

Added or updated the following SLI profiles: 

Source: NVIDIA

The RTX 2060's keep coming, this time with MSI's Gaming Z

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 1, 2019 - 05:29 PM |
Tagged: GTX 2060, msi, RTX 2060 Gaming Z, nvidia

MSI's RTX 2060 GAMING Z 6GB will cost you a bit more than the reference edition, expect to see it eventually settle at $390, however everything from the PCB to the cooler has been customized and the Boost clock is an impressive 1830MHz.  [H]ard|OCP fired up the Afterburner and pushed that Boost to 1880MHz, as well as increasing the frequency of the 6GB of VRAM from 14GHz to 15.6GHz.  If you are looking for a decent gaming experience at 1440p, this card will suit you better than a GTX 1070 Ti.

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"We’ve got a fast factory overclocked MSI GeForce RTX 2060 GAMING Z video card to review today. We’ll take it through its paces in many games, and find out how it performs, including overclocking performance with the competition. Does the RTX 2060 deliver better performance at a lower price compared to the last generation?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Big trouble in little TSMC

Subject: General Tech | January 29, 2019 - 02:28 PM |
Tagged: amd, nvidia, TSMC

In case you have yet to hear, TSMC's production line is suffering after ingesting some sub-par chemicals, which has "caused wafers to have lower yield".  It was originally reported that it was the 16n and 14nm process nodes which were effected, used by NVIDIA and MediaTek GPUs as well as AMD's Xbox One X and PS4 APUs.  

Tsmc.png

The Inquirer followed up with TSMC who stated the initial reports were incorrect and that it is roughly 10,000 wafers on the 12nm and 16nm nodes at Fab 14B in southern Taiwan which received the bad batch, nodes used by Huawei, MediaTek, and NVIDIA but not AMD. 

TSMC still expects to meet market demands; they have dropped enough from last year that they announced expected Q1 2019 revenue will decline by 22%.  Hopefully this is not the start of another problematic year for TSMC, who had to deal with a WannaCry infection last summer. 

AMD, with their focus on the 7nm node, might have a bit of an opportunity if this does cause any temporary shortages of NVIDIA GPUs on the market. 

Source: The Register