PCPer Mailbag #8 - 9/8/2017

Subject: Editorial | September 8, 2017 - 10:04 AM |
Tagged: pcper mailbag, video

PC Perspective's weekly Q&A series where Ryan and the team answer YOUR questions about the tech industry, the latest and greatest GPUs, the process of running a tech review website, and more!

On today's show:

  • 00:33 - 1440p G-SYNC display issues?
  • 03:09 - G-SYNC necessary for high frame rates?
  • 06:10 - Does overclocking help non-CPU bound apps?
  • 08:44 - Smartphone CPUs vs. Desktop CPUs?
  • 12:53 - Real-world benefit of quad-channel memory?
  • 16:53 - How long does it take for AMD/NVIDIA to make a new GPU?
  • 19:24 - The state of Linux gaming?
  • 22:42 - Responsive design for pcper.com?

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September 8, 2017 | 10:17 AM - Posted by CB

Any way we could get audio only versions of the mailbags?

While in the office, it's a lot easier to listen to audio on my phone via bluetooth than to load up a youtube video. ;)

Plus, if Josh does ever join in, I'd rather not have a visual of his malebag.

Otherwise, these are great!

September 8, 2017 | 08:52 PM - Posted by Evan (not verified)

Agreed! And get it in the podcast RSS feed too. If a show isn't in my podcast app so I can listen to it during my commute, I'm not going to watch it.

September 8, 2017 | 10:32 AM - Posted by Anonymously Anonymous (not verified)

Ryan: "I swear it's this long, but it's also a little crooked"

September 8, 2017 | 02:44 PM - Posted by Photonboy

Just in case you aren't aware, AMAZON customer feedback is often a MIX of similar products.

TV's, movies etc.

For example, you might look at a Samsung 50" HDTV and someone says "this 40"..." or a movie and someone talks about it as a DVD set but it's actually the BluRay version.

NEWEGG is a great source though, especially since you can look at the 1/5 and 2/5 scores (eggs) specifically to see the most common issues such as DOA, light bleed etc.

September 8, 2017 | 04:38 PM - Posted by Photonboy

STEAMOS is not dead. It continues to get updates. However, VALVE can only do so much. We need VULKAN to improve and games to release on Steam, as well as other games ported which of course costs money so only some will get this treatment.

We need driver updates from AMD and NVidia. Frankly, we need the Game Engine and Vulkan API ecosystem to minimize the need for driver-specific improvements since Linux is less likely to get these.


STEAMOS is simply Steam with Big Picture Mode launching by default in a specific Linux distro, and since Steam on Linux won't disappear SteamOS certainly won't either.

Vulkan is still immature, and games usually take a few YEARS to make. As things improve, the cost to create on Linux will drop and we'll get people switching to Linux even if it only has a fraction of the games.

VULKAN is the "killer app" IMO to drive Linux adoption. It's a snowball effect. More games on Linux, then better video drivers, better Linux SOFTWARE, more support in general.

What would it take for ME to personally switch to Linux?

Frankly, I think the PRIVACY issues are way overhyped and misunderstood. Much of it is aggregate data, or non-sensitive data. You can even DISABLE a lot of the functions that collect data as well. I'm frankly not very concerned.

Even if I WAS concerned, AND games weren't an issue, there are several programs Linux doesn't have, or they aren't good enough for my use.

September 8, 2017 | 11:59 PM - Posted by Adam Adamou (not verified)

I switched full time to Linux this year, specifically the Ubuntu Budgie distro after dual booting for some time. In all honesty, the user experience is VASTLY better than you're giving it credit for. I'm in M&A so I need my apps. I moved from Office to WPS, which is completely compatible and I haven't missed a beat. It's also free so I cancelled my Office 365 subscription. Our company standardized around Google Suite for email and so one and I haven't used legacy apps like Outlook in years. For gaming, 137 of my 334 Steam games have native Linux ports and with the latest version of Wine, most of the rest are playable in Linux, including Overwatch (pretty well all of the Blizzard games actually), Doom (2016) and most of the rest that I would ever care to play.

It's not for everybody, but I can say first hand that it's viable. Desktop, laptop and tablet, I'm all Linux now and can't see myself going back.

September 30, 2017 | 01:35 PM - Posted by peter j connell (not verified)

Well done. Its the pc equivalent of growing your own food :)

I presume there are upsides - some things run better, on lesser gear anyway?

September 9, 2017 | 02:21 AM - Posted by DeliciousButteredBuns (not verified)

Are you going to test the TR 1900X in both NUMA and UMA modes? And what Applications that may benifit the most from more 4 memory channels of bandwith will you be testing?

Also Vega's HBCC testing appears to be difficult to gauge with all the games optimized for 8GB of VRAM not necessarly being a good method for benchmarking Vega's HBCC IP.

Could you ask AMD about maybe getting some Testing Driver for Vega that allows for some of Vega's HBM2 capacity to be reduced/disabled so that Vega's HBCC IP can be benchmarked properly.

Also under the currently available Vega Drivers for the RX Vega 56 and 64 and the Vega FE(16GB VRAM) what about some non gaming graphics software that may benefit from Vega's HBCC for graphics rendering workloads with 3D scenes that have textures/data that are way larger than what can be held in 8GB or Even 16GB of on GPU card VRAM.

It appears that AMD's HBCC IP is still limited by maybe dirvers(?) and/or gaming/graphics software that has not been specifically optimized for AMD's HBCC IP currently so AMD/benchmarking developers really need to develop some benchmarks designed specifically for stress testing Vega's HBCC/HBC IP.

All that the HBCC IP appears to be doing is treating Vega's HBM2 VRAM as a last level cache when HBCC mode/modes is enabled so if the software does not need more than 8GB of VRAM in the first place(Most Games are optimized for 4GB/8GB depending on what the game software detects is available on the GPU card) then Vega's HBCC is really not going to be used under current games that where developed before Vega's arrival.

Linux Gaming and Vulkan is getting plenty of attention as Vulkan will be the major API used across the Android/Phone and mobile gaming markets(Nintendo Switch uses Vulkan) and there really needs to be mention of the Phoronix website that is dedicated to Linux/Linux gaming testing with regular forum postings by an AMD linux driver team member. Linux Gaming Involves more than just Valve's Steam OS(Debian Based) distro and at Phoronix there are gaming, other non gaming graphics software, tests done across several Linux distros.

September 30, 2017 | 01:27 PM - Posted by peter j connell (not verified)

Good post :)

"All that the HBCC IP appears to be doing is treating Vega's HBM2 VRAM as a last level cache when HBCC mode/modes is enabled so if the software does not need more than 8GB of VRAM in the first place(Most Games are optimized for 4GB/8GB depending on what the game software detects"

Amd cant be blamed for that, but build a better mouse trap ...

News to me. I thought >8GB gpuS were common~?

"the software does not need more than 8GB of VRAM" hmm? so no way any games could improve with the option of bigger memory space?

Whatever, surely there are many non gaming tests to extrapolate from, that can max out gpu ram? I hear its a common problem for folks who do actual work on hedtS.

dunno, but a single frame of 8k movie is 64GB? The biggest gpuS are 32GB. See the problem.

Dont forget the entry price points. HBCC's clever resource juggling and pooling can make a 4GB GPU imperceivably seem like its a 8-12GB gpu

September 14, 2017 | 12:13 AM - Posted by colesdav

Any chance you could discuss the following in an upcoming PC Per Mailbag please?

AMD Drop any new GPU Driver Updates for any Users on Windows 8.1 64Bit OS on GHPU <= RX480.

1. They recently ( 17.4.4 WHQL/17.7.1 )dropped producing new Windows 8.1 64bit drivers for any of their GPU Range <= RX480, and that will effectively force Users with Windows 8.1 64bit based systems on to Windows 10 or Linux 5 years before the official end of Microsoft Windows 8.1 64bit extended support.

You can tell me that Windows 8/8.1 use is only somewhere between 6-12% of Computer OS if you want, and that Windows 7 OS % has dropped recently and everyone is moving to Windows 10 like very happy sheep according to Microsoft.

That is all very well, but I have the following points.

A. How many of those people who migrated to Windows 10 wanted to, and how many were "persuaded" by the automatic upgrade to Windows 10 tactics?

B. If I buy a GPU for my Windows 8/8.1 build which is advertised as supporting Windows 8/8.1 in specification and on the box, I expect Drivers Support until that OS is no longer supported by Microsoft.

C. If I now decide I need a new Threadripper and Vega build which only supports Windows 10 64bit, what confidence can I now have that AMD will not just decide to drop support for Windows 10 Drivers in one or two years? How do I know what I am buying?

D. Windows 8.1 OS % is still > Linux OS , and Linux Drivers are still produced.

E. There are still people purchasing AMD GPU's online and in stores thinking that they are still supported on Windows 8.1 64Bit Drivers, only to find out they are not. These people are going to AMD Support Forum and pretty much being told "tough luck". Last driver was 17.7.1. They are also advised to try installing the latest 17.9.1 Windows 7 Driver on Windows 8.1 64bit OS, it might work but, if it doesn't it is the Users responsibility.

This is totally and utterly unacceptable and no way to treat AMD Customers.

F. No AMD Press Release about dropping Windows 64bit GPU Drivers Support for older GPU's. No mention of it on your own PC Perspectives program about the Radeon Crimson 17.7.2 release.

G. Nvidia still support Windows 8.1 64bit Drivers.


September 14, 2017 | 04:53 PM - Posted by colesdav

Any chance you could discuss the following?

Raptr Closing end September 30 2017.

There are still a number of Raptr Users and there are no Alternative Apps.

Raptr are allowing users to download their gameplay data but no alternative apps or websites have been found so far that can import that data. Raptr Users have looked and tested various Apps and Websites.

There does not seem to be any Gaming App provider who can import Rapr Data or track game play and Trophies achieved across PC and Console games.

There are a number of Gamers who prefer not to go anywhere near Facebook, GTribe (= Facebook for Gamers), Twitter etc etc and do prefer a dedicated Gaming App.

If you need more info a good starting point is here:



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