Subject: Graphics Cards | February 3, 2017 - 05:58 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers, vulkan
On February 1st, NVIDIA released a new developer beta driver, which fixes a couple of issues with their Vulkan API implementation. Unlike what some sites have been reporting, you should not download it to play games that use the Vulkan API, like DOOM. In short, it is designed for developers, not end-users. The goal is to provide correct results when software interacts with the driver, not the best gaming performance or anything like that.
In a little more detail, it looks like 376.80 implements the Vulkan 220.127.116.11 SDK. This update addresses two issues with accessing devices and extensions, under certain conditions, when using the 18.104.22.168 SDK. 22.214.171.124 was released on January 23rd, and thus it will not even be a part of current video games. Even worse, it, like most graphics drivers for software developers, is based on the old, GeForce 376 branch, so it won’t even have NVIDIA’s most recent fixes and optimizations. NVIDIA does this so they can add or change the features that Vulkan developers require without needing to roll-in patches every time they make a "Game Ready" optimization or something. There is no reason to use this driver unless you are developing Vulkan applications, and you want to try out the new extensions. It will eventually make it to end users... when it's time.
If you are wishing to develop software using Vulkan’s bleeding-edge features, then check out NVIDIA’s developer portal to pick up the latest drivers. Basically everyone else should use 378.49 or its 378.57 hotfix.
Subject: General Tech | February 2, 2017 - 12:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, GFE, game bundle, geforce experience 3.0
Giving away a bonus to your customers is a nice thing to do; watching them jump through hoops to get the bonus is less so. Many companies have realized that offering a mail in rebate is a great way to look like you are doing something for your customers while at the same time ensuring a significant percentage of those customers never actually claim said MIR. Strangely this practice has not impressed consumers.
NVIDIA started to embrace something similar towards the end of 2016 with GeForce Experience 3.0, requiring a mandatory login to get at beta drivers and more pertinently, giveaways. That login requirement includes all the game bundles, such as the one announced yesterday. Ars Technica reported something interesting this morning that anyone thinking of picking up one of the games bundles should be aware of; NVIDIA now intends to tie these game codes to hardware. Currently you will need to sign into GFE, verify your code and then allow GFE to verify you have a GTX 1070 or 1080 installed in your system, which strongly suggests you will need to install software. Ars speculates that this could one day be tied directly to a card via a hardwareID or serial number; making it impossible to give away.
The rational offered references an incident with Microsoft a few months back when "some Gears 4 Windows 10 keys were obtained illegitimately via our Nvidia promotion". This was thanks to a loophole created by Amazon's return policy. Of course, some of those so called illegitimate installations were caused by someone giving or even selling the game key which they obtained legally, because they had already purchased Gears 4. It is unclear if NVIDIA only pays for codes which are redeemed or if the money has already been invested; in the former it at least makes financial sense, if the latter then Bird Culture has an appropriate phrase.
Once again, everyone must be punished thanks to the overreaction caused by a few smegheads. Keep this in mind when you are shopping in the future.
"GFE then performs "a hardware verification step to ensure the coupon code is redeemed on the system with the qualifying GPU." It's not yet clear whether the codes will be tied to a specific serial number/hardware identifier, or whether they will be tied to an overall product line like a GTX 1070 or GTX 1080."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD Ryzen CPUs to support Windows 7 with drivers @ Guru of 3D
- 2.5 Million Xbox and PlayStation Gamers' Details Have Been Leaked From Piracy Forums @ Slashdot
- Microsoft details new Edge features coming in Windows 10 Creators Edition @ The Inquirer
- Adobe blames Brexit as users rage over Creative Cloud price hikes @ The Inquirer
- Apple weans itself off Intel with 'more ARM chips' for future Macs @ The Register
- Supermicro sockets it to Skylake rivals @ The Register
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 2, 2017 - 07:01 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers
If you were having issues with Minecraft on NVIDIA’s recent 378.49 drivers, then you probably want to try out their latest hotfix. This version, numbered 378.57, will not be pushed down GeForce Experience, so you will need to grab them from NVIDIA’s customer support page.
Beyond Minecraft, this also fixes an issue with “debug mode”. For some Pascal-based graphics cards, the option in NVIDIA Control Panel > Help > Debug Mode might be on by default. This option will reduce factory-overclocked GPUs down to NVIDIA’s reference speeds, which is useful to eliminate stability issues in testing, but pointlessly slow if you’re already stable. I mean, you bought the factory overclock, right? I’m guessing someone at NVIDIA used it to test 378.49 during its development, fixed an issue, and accidentally commit the config file with the rest of the fix. Either way, someone caught it, and it’s now fixed, even though you should be able to just untick it if you have a factory-overclocked GPU.
Subject: General Tech | January 31, 2017 - 12:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: game, nvidia, GTX 1080, gtx 1070, For Honor, tom clancy, Ghost Recon Wildlands
Today NVIDIA offers a new free Ubisoft game for those picking up a GTX 1070, GTX 1080 or a system containing one or more of those cards. You can choose either For Honor, an arena stlye game pitting Knights, Samurai and Vikings in hand to hand combat or Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands which will lie somewhere between Arma and Just Cause. Neither game is yet released, For Honor arrives February 14th while Ghost Recon Wildlands doesn't launch until March 7th but you can get an early look at the game.
NVIDIA has also made the process to collect your game somewhat easier, as long as your GeForce and Ubisoft accounts are linked you can simply enter the code to chose your free game. If you are one to avoid Uplay at all costs you could always give your code away as a gift.
"We are also debuting a new easier way to redeem codes through GeForce Experience, it means customers no longer have to tolerate long sign up webpages but can simply enter their code within GeForce Experience itself and have their choice of game automatically added to their Uplay account."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Magnetic skyrmion 'brain' connections save energy @ Nanotechweb
- Flashy Intel sees the XPoint of solid state @ The Register
- Microsoft rumoured to be remixing Windows RT as Windows Cloud @ The Inquirer
- Android 7.1.2 beta release signals end of life for the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 @ The Inquirer
- IPv6 for Server Admins and Client Developers @ Linux.com
- 'It's Tricky': Apple Misses the Deadline To Pay $13.9 Bn To Ireland in Illegal Tax Benefit @ Slashdot
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 26, 2017 - 09:38 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers
Update: There are multiple issues being raised in our comments, including a Steam post by Sam Lantinga (Valve) about this driver breaking In-Home Streaming. Other complaints include certain applications crashing and hardware acceleration issues.
Original Post Below
Now that the holidays are over, we’re ready for the late-Winter rush of “AAA” video games. Three of them, Resident Evil VII, the early access of Conan Exiles, and the closed beta of For Honor, are targeted by NVIDIA’s GeForce 378.49 Game Ready drivers. Unless we get a non-Game Ready driver in the interim, I am guessing that this will cover us until mid-February, before the full release of For Honor, alongside Sniper Elite 4 and followed by Halo Wars 2 on the next week.
Beyond game-specific updates, the 378-branch of drivers includes a bunch of SLI profiles, including Battlefield 1. It also paves the way for GTX 1050- and GTX 1050 Ti-based notebooks; this is their launch driver whenever OEMs begin to ship the laptops they announced at CES.
This release also contains a bunch of bug fixes (pdf), including a reboot bug with Wargames: Red Dragon and TDR (driver time-out) with Windows 10 Anniversary Update. I haven’t experienced any of these, but it’s good to be fixed regardless.
You can pick up the new drivers from their website if, you know, GeForce Experience hasn’t already notified you.
Price and Other Official Information
Since our last Nintendo Switch post, the company had their full reveal event, which confirmed the two most critical values: it will launch on March 3rd for $299.99 USD ($399.99 CDN). This is basically what the rumors have pointed to for a little while, and it makes sense. That was last week, but this week gave rise to a lot more information, mostly from either an interview with Nintendo of America’s President and COO, Reggie Fils-Aimé, or from footage that was recorded and analyzed by third parties, like Digital Foundry.
From the GameSpot interview, above, Reggie was asked about the launch bundle, and why it didn’t include any game, like 1 - 2 - Switch. His response was blunt and honest: they wanted to hit $299 USD and the game found itself below the cut-off point. While I can respect that, I cannot see enough people bothering with the title at full price for it to have been green-lit in the first place. If Nintendo wasn’t interested in just eating the cost of that game’s development to affect public (and developer) perceptions, although they might end up taking the loss if the game doesn’t sell anyway, then at least it wasn’t factored into the system.
Speaking of price, we are also seeing what the accessories sell at.
From the controller side of things, the more conventional one, the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, has an MSRP of $69.99 USD. If you look at its competitors, the DualShock 4 for the PlayStation 4 at $49 and the Xbox Wireless Controller for the Xbox One at the same price, this is notably higher. While it has a bunch of interesting features, like “HD rumble”, motion sensing, and some support for amiibos, its competitors are similar, but $20 cheaper.
The Switch-specific controllers, called “Joy-Con”, are $10 more expensive than the Pro Controller, at $79.99 USD for the pair, or just $49.99 USD for the left or right halves. (Some multiplayer titles only require a half, so Nintendo doesn’t force you to buy the whole pair at the expense of extra SKUs, which is also probably helpful if you lose one.) This seems high, and could be a significant problem going forward.
As for its availability? Nintendo has disclosed that they are pushing 2 million units into the channel, so they are not expecting shortages like the NES Classic had. They do state that demand is up-in-the-air a bit, though.
Subject: Editorial | January 12, 2017 - 04:42 PM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: Vega, Valerie, snapdragon, podcast, nvidia, msi, Lenovo, kaby lake, hdr, hdmi, gus, FreeSync2, dell, coolermaster, CES, asus, AM4, acer, 8k
PC Perspective Podcast #432 - 01/12/17
Join us this week as we DasKeyboard, Samsung 750 EVO, CES predictions and more!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Josh Walrath, Jermery Hellstrom
Program length: 1:45:28
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Subject: Systems, Mobile | January 8, 2017 - 09:25 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: thin and light, nvidia, notebook, laptop, kaby lake, gtx 1070, gtx 1060, GTX 1050 Ti, gtx 1050, gigabyte, gaming, CES 2017, CES
Gigabyte had a full line of new laptops to show off at this year’s CES, with models ranging from larger gaming enthusiast designs to slim machines that still offer plenty of gaming power from their discrete graphics.
We’ll start with the P56, a 15.6-inch machine with an optional 4K display, 7th-gen Intel Core i7 (Kaby Lake) processor, and GeForce GTX 1070 GPU.
“The P56 provides enthusiasts with not only ultra smooth performance but also with tools to victory. All packed in a portable quality chassis. Equipped with the next gen Intel 7th Gen Core i7 7700HQ processor and the all-powerful GeForce GTX 1070 graphics. The main core of the P56 is set to drive all the latest games, not at just 1080P but even at higher resolutions with the optional 15.6” UHD 3840x2160 display.”
The P56 is equipped with a Thunderbolt 3 port, island-style keyboard with customizable per-key RGB backlighting, and a large 91Wh battery.
Next we have the Sabre 15, which is also powered by a new 7th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (4GB) and GTX 1050 (2GB) graphics options.
“Gamers can now fully enjoy the latest performance from the pascal architecture, with fluid gaming graphics at 1080p for most recent game titles. The keyboard plays a big role in winning or losing a game, that is why the Sabre 15 comes with optimized 2.2mm travel scissor type keys, for that extra feel and precision. To top that off, the Sabre 15 features RGB backlight keyboard with 16.8 million colors (optional).”
Rounding out the updated lineup are a trio of thin-and-light professional models that are still very capable gaming machines, beginning with the AERO 14, a 19.9mm-thick (and 4.17 lb) aluminum design which features a QHD (2560x1440) IPS screen, GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, and 94.24Wh battery.
Finally we have the P34 and P35 laptops, which claim the title of “world’s lightest 14” GeForce GTX 1050 Ti laptop (P34) and “world’s slimmest 15.6” GeForce GTX 1070 laptop”, respectively.
The P34 is indeed light for a gaming-ready laptop, with a weight of just 3.73 lbs. For its part the 15.6-inch P35 laptop is a very high-end option, regardless of its slim construction.
“The P35 comes in at an unbeatable 20.9mm thin and weighs just 2.3Kg. It is hard to believe that such a thin chassis has a GeForce GTX 1070 inside, outputting the same performance as the desktop GeForce GTX 1070, now on the go. GIGABYTE has swapped out the old 6th gen and opt for the latest 7th gen Core i7 processor, giving professionals multitasking capabilities like never before. The unparalleled graphical power of the GeForce GTX 1070 further drives the stunning 15.6” UHD 3840 x 2160 IPS display, professionals will definitely take advantage of such a high pixel density and high RGB accuracy display, stationed or mobile. The Swappable bay gives professionals the power to swap between Blu-ray drive or up to 2TB HDD of extra storage, providing that extra customization on the go.”
Pricing and availability information for the new laptops is not yet available.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: General Tech | January 5, 2017 - 01:39 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, geforce now
NVIDIA has just announced GeForce Now, a cloud-streaming service for video games, will be coming soon to PCs. It will not be the same as GeForce Now for Shield devices, though. That service, like OnLive and other competitors, worked by providing users with a catalog of streaming titles for a monthly fee. Instead, in the new, PC version, users will connect to a standard Windows desktop and access games through their digital distribution accounts.
Basically, you are renting a fast PC. Bring your own games.
From the art standpoint, which I continually bring up whenever cloud services are involved with delivering content, this side-steps many of the concerns that OnLive and others kicked up. Those sorts of services are basically run on the cable TV model, where content can be accessed under the conditions they outline, and, when it’s gone, it’s gone! NVIDIA is not attempting to make a full gaming platform, where exclusive titles are locked until they decide to remove them from existence (for legal or financial reasons). The software is left in the user’s control, and they are given 1TB of storage to do so with.
Rise of the Tomb Raider on GeForce Now
As for the hardware, NVIDIA is advertising GTX 1080s as the GPU-of-choice for GeForce Now, but they also voiced intentions to separate performance tiers by price. As you rent progressively beefier systems, your credit of time will count down faster. This mixing-and-matching might be the reason why NVIDIA decided to go with a credit system, so users can stretch their time with slower PCs for games that don’t need top-end performance. It does lead to an interesting issue... the price.
NVIDIA quotes $25 for 20 hours of usage.
In terms of price, about $1.25/hr isn’t outrageous when you compare it to something like Amazon Web Services, although you can’t directly compare those systems to these. AWS GPU instances are based on Xeons with Kepler-era Tesla boards. Tesla GPUs are significantly more expensive than a GTX 1080, but Pascal is much newer than Kepler. Regardless, it’s entirely possible that this price is roughly in line with how much it would cost NVIDIA to provide the service.
At the same time, waving the cost in the user’s face will likely scare them away from using it. I would expect that, depending on what the average user does, it might encourage more people to try if it were a flat, monthly fee. It’s risky, because you’d have to price it carefully enough that light users of any given pay period will subsidize the heavy ones, but the sticker shock we get today seems like it might turn some people away.
It’s an interesting attempt, though, that attempts to provide the same cloud services as competitors, only without attempting to control what you do with it. You know, besides keeping Windows and drivers up-to-date, which is more of a courtesy anyway. If it was cheaper and available outside of Mac and Windows, it might even be a way for people to ween themselves away from Windows, logging into a service rather than dual-booting or locally virtualizing for applications that don't run on their new OS. But, again, we don't even know if they can make it cheaper.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: General Tech | January 4, 2017 - 11:25 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: UHD, streaming box, SHIELD TV, nvidia, media server, hdr, gaming, controller, CES 2017, CES
NVIDIA has announced the newly redesigned SHIELD TV with the promise of higher performance and enhanced functionality from the Android-powered media streamer. In addition to the updated industrial design the new SHIELD TV ships with a game controller in addition to a remote, adding value to what NVIDIA is calling "the world's most advanced streamer".
NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang on stage to introduce the new SHIELD TV
NVIDIA is citing "major improvements" to the new version of the SHIELD TV in the following areas:
Highest Performance, 4K HDR Media Streamer – SHIELD delivers the richest visual experience with support for 4K HDR and 3x the performance of any other streamer on the market. With Amazon Video in 4K HDR, SHIELD offers the largest, most open catalog of media in stunning 4K – also supporting Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movie and VUDU. YouTube’s flagship TV app will also be available for SHIELD in the coming months, delivering immersive, 360-degree viewing experiences.
Amazing Games – SHIELD stands alone among media streamers, with the widest range of gaming capabilities and richest assortment of game content. GeForce NOW has been upgraded with Pascal performance and will soon add Ubisoft’s catalog of hits, including Watch Dogs 2, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, For Honor and countless others. Upcoming native game releases include The Witness, Tomb Raider and Shadowgun Legends.
AI in the Home – SHIELD is the first streamer to announce support of Google Assistant, optimized for TV and 100% hands-free. Coming soon, SmartThings Hub technology integration will instantly turn SHIELD into a smart home hub that can connect to hundreds of smart home devices. NVIDIA SPOT, an AI mic accessory makes SHIELD the central backbone of the AI home, extending intelligent control throughout the house.
NVIDIA has stated that the features announced for the new SHIELD TV will come to existing SHIELD devices via an over-the-air update this month; though the new hands-free commands will require the updated SHIELD controller (now bundled with the new SHIELD TV), which will be sold separately.
Pre-orders for the new SHIELD TV are now available with units shipping later in January. There will be two configurations, with the SHIELD TV media streamer, which includes a game controller and remote, priced at $199; and the SHIELD Pro home media server, which comes with a controller, remote with headset jack, and 500GB of on-board storage, priced at $299.
Full press release after the break.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!