Switch your OS on Nintendo's portable gaming thingamjigger

Subject: General Tech | February 19, 2018 - 12:59 PM |
Tagged: Nintendo Switch, nvidia, Tegra X1

Sometimes a flaw in a chips design can be used for good, for instance a flaw in Nvidia's Tegra X1 chip which allows a successful install of Linux.  The flaw is in the firmware, so Nintendo will not be pushing a fix out that will disable this feature on current Switches.  For now, those who have managed this trick are not sharing so you will have to wait to try to fry your own Switch for now.   As The Inquirer points out, this is not a terrible issue as the Linux based Switch still needs work to enable you to play anything on it, be it Switch games, legacy Nintendo or Steam.

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"NOT CONTENT with simply getting Linux to boot on the Nintendo Switch, the hacker folks over at fail0verflow have managed to get the hybrid console to behave like a full-fat Linux PC."

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Source: The Inquirer

NVIDIA Job Posting for Metal and OpenGL Engineer

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 18, 2018 - 02:54 PM |
Tagged: opengl, nvidia, metal, macos, apple

Just two days ago, NVIDIA has published a job posting for a software engineer to “implement and extend 3D graphics and Metal”. Given that they specify the Metal API, and they want applicants who are “Experienced with OSX and/or Linux operating systems”, it seems clear that this job would involve macOS and/or iOS.

First, if this appeals to any of our readers, the job posting is here.

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Second, and this is where it gets potentially news-worthy, is that NVIDIA hasn’t really done a whole lot on Apple platforms for a while. The most recent NVIDIA GPU to see macOS is the GeForce GTX 680. It’s entirely possible that NVIDIA needs someone to fill in and maintain those old components. If that’s the case? Business as usual. Nothing to see here.

The other possibility is that NVIDIA might be expecting a design win with Apple. What? Who knows. It could be something as simple as Apple’s external GPU architecture allowing the user to select their own add-in board. Alternatively, Apple could have selected an NVIDIA GPU for one or more product lines, which they have not done since 2013 (as far as I can tell).

Apple typically makes big announcements at WWDC, which is expected in early June, or around the back-to-school season in September. I’m guessing we’ll know by then at the latest if something is in the works.

Source: NVIDIA

Podcast #487 - AMD Desktop APUs, Snapdragon 845, ARM Machine Learning, and more!

Subject: General Tech | February 15, 2018 - 11:32 AM |
Tagged: podcast, Intel, amd, nvidia, raven ridge, r5 2400g, r3 2200g, arm, project trillium, qualcomm, snapdragon 845, x24, LTE, 5G

PC Perspective Podcast #487 - 02/15/18

Join us this week for a recap of news and reviews including new AMD Desktop APUs, Snapdragon 845 Performance Preview, ARM Machine Learning, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison

Program length: 1:18:46

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. 1:09:00 Jeremy: &genie=1
  4. Closing/outro
 

Airtop2 Inferno: Compact Fanless Gaming PC Featuring a Core i7-7700K and GTX 1080

Subject: Systems | February 14, 2018 - 01:49 PM |
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Source: Compulab

The green team is rolling in greenbacks

Subject: General Tech | February 9, 2018 - 01:06 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, jen-hsun huang, billions

NVIDIA's odd take on the end of quarters means that we are just seeing their Q4 2017 earnings report along with their fiscal 2018 earnings.  The news is good for the green team, with Q4 earnings of $2.91 billion, up 34% from Q4 2016.  Total fiscal 2018 earnings are  $9.71 billion, an increase of 41% from fiscal 2017 released last January.  The success of the Nintendo Switch certainly helped and the $133 million tax cut they received didn't hurt, nor the popularity of graphics cards, which NVIDIA states they would prefer to sell to gamers; though it is unclear how they could enforce this on the open market. 

It is too early to see an impact from their removal of consumer class GPUs from data centres, assuming they do not reverse this particular decision we will see a jump in that revenue in the coming quarters.  The Inquirer offers their take on the finer points of NVIDIA's earning statement here.

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"The firm revealed in its Q4 earnings report 2017 that its total revenues for the quarter swelled by a massive 34 per cent from the previous year, with its revenue for the full fiscal year hitting $9.71bn, up by 41 per cent."

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Source: The Inquirer
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: AMD

Overview

For the first time in several years, the notebook market has gotten very interesting from a performance standpoint. First, we had Intel’s launch of its Kaby-Lake Refresh 8th Generation processors which packed a true quad-core CPU into a 15W package. Then, we heard about AMD’s Raven Ridge which aimed to combine a quad-core mobile CPU with Radeon Vega graphics into that same 15W power target.

Even though the excitement over Raven Ridge may have subsided a bit after Intel and AMD’s joint announcement of Vega graphics combined with Intel CPUs in the Kaby-Lake G platform, that is still yet to be released and will reside in a significantly higher class of power usage.

So today we are taking a look at AMD’s Raven Ridge, what may be AMD’s first worthy entry into the thin-and-light notebook market.

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For our Raven Ridge testing, we are taking a look at the HP Envy x360, which at the time of writing is the only machine to be shipping with these Ryzen Mobile processors (although more machines have been announced and are coming soon). Additionally, we also wanted to wait a while for the software ecosystem on this new platform to stabilize (more on that later).

Continue reading our look at the new HP notebook powered by AMD Ryzen Mobile!

Low budget gaming until the bitcoins go away

Subject: General Tech | January 24, 2018 - 02:36 PM |
Tagged: gaming, linux, nvidia, amd

With the current mining insanity driving GPU prices high enough it makes more financial sense to buy a gaming laptop or boutique system than to purchase a GPU on its own.  The alternative is to continue on with your current GPU, even if it is a bit long in the tooth.  Phoronix recently tested a battery of AMD and NVIDIA cards, focusing on older or less powerful models to see what kind of gaming performance they are capable of.  The switch to Linux makes sense as Microsoft is beginning to refuse to recognize older GPUs and blocking the installation of the older drivers they require.  You will have to turn down your graphics settings to reach playable FPS but there are titles out there you can still enjoy at 1080p.

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"A request came in this week to look at how low-end and older graphics cards are performing with current generation Linux games on OpenGL and Vulkan. With ten older/lower-end NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon graphics cards, here is a look at their performance with a variety of native Linux games atop Ubuntu using the latest Radeon and NVIDIA drivers."

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Source: Phoronix

The best way to share your game streams online

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2018 - 02:13 PM |
Tagged: amd, nvidia, relive, ShadowPlay, gaming

[H]ard|OCP are comparing AMD and NVIDIA's exhibitionist software to see which offers streamers the best experience.  The two applications are superficially similar but they both offer different features and performance, not to mention only supporting their own hardware.  From a performance standpoint, NVIDIA's ShadowPlay is slightly ahead in efficiency but not in any meaningful way, you would not be able to discern between the two in a blind test.  When you look at features, AMD's ReLive is the clear winner.  You can set your bitrate between 1-100Mbps at every resolution, from 360p to 2160p while NVIDIA maxes out at 50Mbps at any resolution and only supports up to 1440p.  There are several other features AMD included which surpass NVIDIA's offerings, read about them all here.

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"We take AMD ReLive in the AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition and NVIDIA ShadowPlay as part of GeForce Experience and find out which one is more FPS and CPU-efficient for recording gameplay. We will compare features, specifications, and find out which better suits content creators for recording gameplay."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

CES 2018: NVIDIA Opens Up GeForce NOW Beta To PC Gamers

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | January 8, 2018 - 11:35 PM |
Tagged: pc game streaming, nvidia, geforce now, game streaming, cloud gaming, CES 2018, CES

NVIDIA is opening up its Geforce NOW cloud gaming service to PC gamers who will join Mac users (who got access last year) in the free beta. The service uses GeForce GTX graphics cards and high-powered servers to store, play, and stream games at high settings and stream the output over the internet back to gamers of any desktop or laptop old or new (so long as you have at least a 25Mbps internet connection and can meet the basic requirements to run the Geforce NOW application of course - see below). Currently, NVIDIA supports over 160 games that can be installed on its virtual GeForce NOW gaming PCs and a select number of optimized titles can even be played at 120 FPS for a smoother gaming experience that is closer to playing locally (allegedly).

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GeForce NOW is a bring your own games service in the sense that you install the Geforce NOW app on your local machine and validate the games you have purchased and have the rights to play on Steam and Ubisoft's Uplay PC stores. You are then able to install the games on the cloud-based Geforce NOW machines. The game installations reportedly take around 30 seconds with game patching, configurations, and driver updates being handled by NVIDIA's Geforce NOW platform. Gamers will be glad to know that the infrastructure further supports syncing with the games' respective stores and save games, achievements, and settings are synched allowing potentially seamless transitions between local and remote play sessions. 

You can find a list of currently supported games here, but some highlights include some oldies and newer titles including: Borderlands 2, Bioshock Remastered, various Call of Duty titles, League of Legends, Left 4 Dead 2, Kerbal Space Program, Just Cause 3, StarCraft II, Resident Evil 7, KOTOR, Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid, Dirt 4 (just for Josh), Project Cars 2, Fallout 4, XCOM 2 (a personal favorite), PUBG, WoW, Civilization VI, and more.

While many of the titles may need to be tweaked to get the best performance, some games have been certified and optimized by NVIDIA to come pre-configured with the best graphics settings for optimum performance including running them at maximum settings at 1920 x 1080 and 120 Hz.

If you are interested in the cloud-based game streaming service, you can sign up for the GeForce NOW beta here and join the waiting list! According to AnandTech, users will need a Windows 7 (or OS X equivalent) PC with at least a Core i3 clocked at 3.1 GHz with 4GB of RAM and a DirectX 9 GPU (AMD HD 3000 series / NVIDIA 600 Series / Intel HD 2000 series) or better. Beta users are limited to 4 hours per gaming session. There is no word on when the paid Geforce NOW tiers will resume or what the pricing for the rented virtual gaming desktops will be.

I signed up (not sure I'll get in though, maybe they need someone to test with old hardware hah) and am interested to try it as their past streaming attempts (e.g. to the Shield Portable) seemed to work pretty well for what it was (something streamed over the internet).

Hopefully they have managed to make it better and quicker to respond to inputs. Have you managed to get access, and if so what are your thoughts? Is GeForce NOW the way its meant to be played? It would be cool to see them add Space Engineers and Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion as while me and my brother have fun playing them, they are quite demanding resource wise especially Space Engineers post planets update!

Also read:

Source: NVIDIA

Gaming in isolation, complete Meltdown or not?

Subject: Processors | January 8, 2018 - 07:24 PM |
Tagged: meltdown, security, linux, nvidia

Thanks to a wee tech conference going on, performing a wide gamut of testing of the effect of the Meltdown patch is taking some time.  Al has performed benchmarks focusing on the performance impact the patch has on your storage subsystem, which proved to be very minimal.  Phoronix are continuing their Linux testing, the latest of which focuses on the impact the patch has on NVIDIA GPUs, specifically the GTX 1060 and GTX 1080 Ti.  The performance delta they see falls within measurement error levels; in other words there is no measurable impact after the patch was installed.  For now it seems the most impact this patch has is for scientific applications and hosting providers which use select high I/O workloads and large amounts of virtual machines.  For now the cure to Meltdown is nowhere near as bad as what it protects against for most users ... pity the same cannot be said for Spectre.

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"Earlier this week when news was still emerging on the "Intel CPU bug" now known as Spectre and Meltdown I ran some Radeon gaming tests with the preliminary Linux kernel patches providing Kernel Page Table Isolation (KPTI) support. Contrary to the hysteria, the gaming performance was minimally impacted with those open-source Radeon driver tests while today are some tests using the latest NVIDIA driver paired with a KPTI-enabled kernel."

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Source: Phoronix