Podcast #457 - Radeon Vega FE, NVIDIA Multi-Die, Ryzen Pro, and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 6, 2017 - 10:40 AM |
Tagged: video, Vega FE, starcraft, seasonic, ryzen pro, radeon, podcast, nvidia, Multi-Die, gtx 1060, galax

PC Perspective Podcast #457 - 07/6/17

Join us for Radeon Vega FE, NVIDIA Multi-Die, Ryzen Pro, 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

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison

Program length: 1:08:04
 
Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
      1. RX Vega perf leak
    1. 0:33:10 Casper!
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
  4. Closing/outro

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

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Virtually the best benchmark for VR performance

Subject: General Tech | July 5, 2017 - 02:25 PM |
Tagged: gaming, oculus rift, fcat, fcat vr

FCAT for VR is rather new and so we have not seen a lot of reviews as of yet.  Ryan posted a detailed overview of what this tool measures, as well as results from a few games on the GTX 1060 and RX 480 which you should check out if you want a better understanding of the benchmark.  Babeltechreviews have also been using this tool to measure the VR performance of a variety of GPUs and have just posted a review covering Obduction, Robinson: The Journey and The Unspoken.  Drop by to take a look at what you could expect to see when gaming in VR on these six GPUs.

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"We have been playing more than 30 VR Oculus Rift games using 4 top NVIDIA and 2 top AMD video cards, and we have just completed performance benchmarking for Robinson: The Journey, The Unspoken, and Obduction."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Remember when Flash was plentiful? Samsung's Fabs remember!

Subject: General Tech | July 5, 2017 - 12:42 PM |
Tagged: flash, Samsung

Historically, memory prices have been as volatile as the RAM they are used in but recently this has changed.  The demand for flash storage, volatile or not, has grown tremendously with the advent of SSDs, the ever increasing local flash storage provided on your phone and now even cars and other members of the IoT are devouring flash as quickly as it can be made.  This has lead to the new pricing trend we have been seeing, a slow increase in the price of flash memory.  Samsung is addressing this shortage, and looking to increase their revenue, by making a large investment in their existing infrastructure in South Korea.  All told these investments total $31.2 billion dollars and will enhance existing production lines as well as adding Extreme Ultra Violet machinery to a Fab which currently lacks that technology.  Drop by The Register for more detail.

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"It says it will invest KRW 30 trillion ($26.1bn) by 2021 in its existing plant in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, to expand its semiconductor fabrication capacity. This fab, claimed to be the single largest in the industry, is now making 64-layer 4th generation V-NAND flash chips."

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Source: The Register

Polybutylene terephthalate is in, the Cooler Master MasterKeys L PBT

Subject: General Tech | July 4, 2017 - 01:58 PM |
Tagged: input, cooler master, MasterKeys L PBT, Cherry MX, mechanical keyboard

The MasterKeys L PBT keyboard offers typists a lot of choice, there are models featuring Cherry MX Red, Brown, Blue, Green, or Silver so you can choose the type of switches you prefer.  The PBT portion of the name refers to the keycaps, which are thicker than the more common ABS keycaps you find on most keyboards, a feature which Techpowerup were quite taken by.  The price is also uncommon for a mechanical keyboard as both the full sized model and the TKL model are priced under $100.  Drop by for a look.

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"Cooler Master have listened to consumer feedback and with their MasterKeys PBT series they have thick PBT plastic keycaps out of the box on all the switches. The keyboard also includes onboard support for multiple OS and typing layouts, macro recording and an option for the rare Cherry MX Green switches; all for less than $100."

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Tech Talk

 

Source: TechPowerUp

AMD's market share is Ryzen

Subject: General Tech | July 4, 2017 - 12:40 PM |
Tagged: passmark, amd, Intel, ryzen, market share

The designers of Passmark benchmarking software have noticed a trend in the past year, a surge in the number of AMD processors being tested.  The jump is quite impressive and even if it does not directly represent sales it certainly suggests that AMD's recent launch of Ryzen has been attracting enthusiasts.  At the beginning of the year AMD accounted for just over 18% of the benchmarks being run but as of now over a quarter of all benchmarks are being run on AMD processors.  With Threadripper on the horizon this number could grow, though perhaps not as dramatically as with the launch of the lower priced Ryzen family.  Drop by The Inquirer for more.

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"However, AMD's share has bounced back this year, rising from 18.1 per cent logged at the beginning of the first quarter to 26.2 per cent at the beginning of the third quarter. Intel's share has dipped to 73.8 per cent at the same time."

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Source: The Inquirer

Noontec's Zoro II Wireless Limited Edition headset, lots of battery and bass for your earholes

Subject: General Tech | June 30, 2017 - 03:44 PM |
Tagged: audio, Noontec, zoro II, wireless headset

The Tech Report recently looked at Noontec's Zoro II Wireless Limited Edition headset, which can be connected via Bluetooth as well as a 3.5-mm headphone jack for those days when Bluetooth just doesn't want to cooperate or your battery finally dies.  The USB cable is for charging, with an advertised 35 hour battery life that should see you through even long days on the road.  TR were quite taken with the audio quality of these over the ear headphones, the sound was clear and there was a lot of bass to the audio but not the overpowering amount you often get from headphones with bass boost features.  The headset will run you around $130-160; check out the full review here.

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"Noontec's Zoro II wireless headphones embrace the headphone-jack-free future with a Bluetooth connection and a long-lasting internal battery. We jammed out with the Zoro II to see whether it's time to cut the cord."

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Audio Corner

Fine! I'll go build my own blockchain, with blackjack and ...

Subject: General Tech | June 30, 2017 - 02:51 PM |
Tagged: gambling, blockchain, bitcoin, ethereum

Argonaut Software founder and Ethereum guru Jez San’s Funfair project looks to make online gambling more secure with blockchains.  He related a story about how the admins of an online casino site used privileges to view players' cards and pass the information onto accomplices, tilting the odds even more in favour of the house.  With a blockchain every single transaction is publicly recorded and anyone can inspect and audit that record so such nefarious schemes would immediately be spotted.  This also opens up an interesting choice for regulators, who could either embrace the technology and be able to monitor and police it or attempt to ignore or prevent it, in which case they would be totally shut out of the entire process.  This is a very complex idea, for a deeper look into how this could work and the repercussions of it being embraced you can pop over to The Register.

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"One of the brains behind classic Nintendo game Star Fox is launching a blockchain-based online gambling service that could leave regulators stumped – and says he has raised $200,000 from the public to launch it."

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Tech Talk

Source: The Register

StarCraft Remastered Trailer, Release Date, and Pre-order

Subject: General Tech | June 29, 2017 - 09:34 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, blizzard

We first reported on StarCraft Remastered when it was announced, which was alongside the GSL 2017 Season 1 finals on March 26th. This was accompanied by a patch that brought the base game up to modern standards, which conveniently allows it to be multiplayer-compatible with Remastered, although skill-based matchmaking is exclusive to Remastered.

It has now been given a trailer, above, and a release date: August 14th, 2017.

As for the price? Pre-orders for StarCraft Remastered are available at $14.99 USD, although it’s unclear whether this price will stick after the pre-order period. I should note that the page states that StarCraft Remastered requires “StarCraft Anthology”. The way its worded makes it look like you need to buy something else, but StarCraft Anthology was made free with the aforementioned 1.18a patch. Basically, it looks like Blizzard is treating StarCraft Remastered as a paid booster to StarCraft Anthology, but, again, the latter is free so it probably only matters in terms of the install process. At least, that’s how it looks to me.

Source: Blizzard

How exactly do we type these new Ryzen Pro parts? R7P, Ryzen 7P, R7 Pro?

Subject: General Tech | June 29, 2017 - 12:43 PM |
Tagged: amd, ryzen pro, EPYC

Official news about Ryzen Pro has finally arrived and The Tech Report was right on top of it.  This is the first we have seen of the "3" parts, a Ryzen 3 Pro 1300 and Ryzen 3 Pro 1200, their four non-SMT cores clocked at a decent 3.5/3.7GHz and 3.1/3.4GHz respectively.  That makes the Ryzen 3 Pro 1300 essentially the same chip as the Ryzen 5 Pro 1500 but with half the total cache and without multi-threading, theoretically reducing the price.  Five of the six new parts have a TDP of 65W with only the top tier Ryzen 7 Pro 1700X hitting 95W, with its 8 cores, 16 threads operating at 3.5/3.7GHz.

The speeds and core counts are not the most important features of these chips however, it is the features they share with AMD's soon to arrive EPYC chips.  AMD Secure Processor features, TPM 2.0 and DASH which offers features similar to Intel's vPro architecture.  This one area in which AMD offers a broader choice of products than Intel whose Core i3 parts do not support enterprise features; at least not yet.  Click the link above to check out more.

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"AMD's Ryzen Pro platform blends business-class security and management features with the performance of the Zen architecture. We take an early look at how AMD plans to grapple with Intel in the battle for the standard corporate desktop."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Podcast #456 - Radeon Vega FE, Intel SSD 545S, GTX USB, Mining Specifc Cards, and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 29, 2017 - 11:06 AM |
Tagged: video, Vega FE, thermalright, Spirit 140, Samsung, radeon, prorender, podcast, mining, mini ITX, microcode, logitech, GTX USB, gigabyte, galaxy s8+, G433, amd, AM4

PC Perspective Podcast #456 - 06/28/17

Join us for talk about Radeon Vega FE, Intel SSD 545S, GTX USB, Mining Specifc Cards, 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: 1:28:14
 
Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
  4. Closing/outro

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

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Summer Games Done Quick 2017 Begins Sunday

Subject: General Tech | June 28, 2017 - 11:39 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, gdq, speedrun

Starting on Sunday, Games Done Quick will be hosting their twice-annual, 24-hour speedrun marathon until 3am on the following Sunday. It will begin with a one-handed playthrough of NieR: Automata, and just keep going through game after game, including a handful of races between popular runners of applicable titles. (Personally, those tend to be my favorite segments.) Many are run on the PC!

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This event will benefit Doctors Without Borders.

Until Awesome Games Done Quick 2017, it looked like the amount raised per week-long event settled at around 1.3 million. That one, however, leapfrogged the previous year’s total by a whole million dollars, ending up at $2.22 million USD. Summer Games Done Quick, apart from last year, tends to do a little less, but who knows?

Unity Labs Announces Global Research Fellowship

Subject: General Tech | June 28, 2017 - 11:17 PM |
Tagged: Unity, machine learning, deep learning

Unity, who makes the popular 3D game engine of the same name, has announced a research fellowship for integrating machine learning into game development. Two students, who must have been enrolled in a Masters or a PhD program on June 26th, will be selected and provided with $30,000 for a 6-month fellowship. The deadline is midnight (PDT) on September 9th.

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We’re beginning to see a lot of machine-learning applications being discussed for gaming. There are some cases, like global illumination and fluid simulations, where it could be faster for a deep-learning algorithm to hallucinate a convincing than a physical solver will produce a correct one. In this case, it makes sense to post-process each frame, so, naturally, game engine developers are paying attention.

If eligible, you can apply on their website.

Source: Unity

Deux Ex: Mankind Divided Frame Breakdown

Subject: General Tech | June 28, 2017 - 10:40 PM |
Tagged: square enix, pc gaming, eidos montreal, deus ex: mankind divided

Frames of modern video games can be made up of tens of thousands of draw calls, which consist of a set of polygons and a shader pipeline that operates on it, and compute tasks. Last September, we found an article by Adrian Courrèges that broke down a single frame of DOOM, and discussed all of the techniques based on information from debug tools and SIGGRAPH slides.

This time, we found a video from János Turánszki that analyzes the ~32,000 - 33,000 graphics API calls of a single Deus Ex: Mankind Divided frame, using NVIDIA Nsight. As he scrubs through these events, he mentions things like how text is painted, a bug with temporal anti-aliasing, what appears to be a multi-pass blur for frosted glass, and so forth.

János Turánszki develops the open-source (MIT licensed) Wicked Engine.

Source: YouTube

AMD Releases Radeon ProRender for Blender and SolidWorks

Subject: General Tech | June 28, 2017 - 06:24 PM |
Tagged: solidworks, ray tracing, radeon, prorender, nvidia, mental ray, Blender, amd

AMD has released a free ray-tracing engine for Blender, as well as Maya, 3D Studio Max, and SolidWorks, called Radeon ProRender. It uses a physically-based workflow, which allows multiple materials to be expressed in a single, lighting-independent shader, making it easy to color objects and have them usable in any sensible environment.

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Image Credit: Mike Pan (via Twitter)

I haven’t used it yet, and I definitely haven’t tested how it stacks up against Cycles, but we’re beginning to see some test renders from Blender folks. It looks pretty good, as you can see with the water-filled Cornell box (above). Moreover, it’s rendered on an NVIDIA GPU, which I’m guessing they had because of Cycles, but that also shows that AMD is being inclusive with their software.

Radeon ProRender puts more than a little pressure on Mental Ray, which is owned by NVIDIA and licensed on annual subscriptions. We’ll need to see how quality evolves, but, as you see in the test render above, it looks pretty good so far... and the price can’t be beat.

Source: AMD

Beyond Good and Evil 2 Voyager Engine Demo

Subject: General Tech | June 28, 2017 - 05:09 PM |
Tagged: ubisoft, pc gaming

Honestly, I don’t really know how many first-party engines Ubisoft currently maintains anymore. Anvil is one of their more popular ones, which was used in Assassin’s Creed, Steep, For Honor, and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands. Far Cry 5 will be using the Dunia Engine, which was forked from the original CryEngine. Tom Clancy’s The Division, Mario + Rabbids, and the new South Park use Snowdrop. I know that I’m missing some.

Add another one to the list: Voyager, which will be used in Beyond Good and Evil 2.

From what I gather with the video, this engine is optimized for massive differences in scale. The Creative Director for Beyond Good and Evil 2, Michael Ancel, showed the camera (in developer mode) smoothly transition from a high-detailed player model out to a part of a solar system. They claim that the sunset effects are actually caused by the planet’s rotation. Interesting stuff!

A game of memory, testing Intel's sensitivity to RAM frequency

Subject: General Tech | June 28, 2017 - 01:07 PM |
Tagged: gaming, Intel, ddr3, ddr4

Overclockers Club have completed a daunting task, testing the effect of RAM frequency on game performance from DDR3-1333 through DDR4-3200.  In theory Intel's chips will not see the same improvements as AMD's Ryzen, lacking Infinity Fabric which has proved to be sensitive to memory frequency.  Since OCC cover two generations of RAM they also needed to test with two different processors, in this case the i7-4770K and i7-7700K and they tested performance at 1440p as well as 1080p.  Read the full article to see the full results which do show some performance deltas, however they nothing compared to spending more on your GPU.

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"After running through all of the tests, it appears that what I previously thought was an easy and clear answer is in fact more complicated. With the evidence provided I can safely say that memory can play a large role in some games over all frame rates. However, other factors like the processor, type of video card, and resolution will usually provide bigger impact in the final frame rates. Strictly speaking of game performances, the fastest memory tested does yield better results."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Celebrate Summer with FSP and PC Perspective! Win PSUs and Cases!

Subject: General Tech | June 28, 2017 - 12:53 PM |
Tagged: giveaway, contest

It seems like it has been forever since we had a contest on the site...let's remedy that with our friends at FSP!

Celebrate Summer with FSP and PC Perspective!

Anyone on the globe is able to enter - good luck!

Source: FSP

CastAR casts off for the perhaps the last time

Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2017 - 01:13 PM |
Tagged: Jeri Ellsworth, Rick Johnson, CastAR, augmented reality

The brain child of fomer Valve employees Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson, CastAR, is no more.  They were part of the original team at Valve which helped create SteamVR, their focus was on augmented reality applications which Valve eventually decided to drop and Jeri and Rick were allowed to keep the IP which they helped develop.  They went on to launch a very successful Kickstarter to help develop their technology and when they eventually received $15 million in investments they chose to return the money invested by their Kickstarter backers; a very different reaction than others have had.

Unfortunately they have not been able to continue to attract investment for their AR products and according to the information Polygon garnered, they have significantly downsized the number of employees and may be seeking to sell their technology.  This is exceptionally bad news as their first set of AR goggles were set to launch later this year.  The market seems far more willing to invest in VR than it does AR, which presents a large hurdle for smaller businesses to succeed.  Hopefully we will hear happier news about Jeri, her team, and CastAR in the future but for now it looks rather bleak.

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"In 2013, Technical Illusions got its start with a hugely successful Kickstarter, netting just north of one million dollars. This success drew the attention of investors and eventually led to a funding round of $15 million. With this success, Technical Illusions decided to refund the backers of its Kickstarter."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: Polygon

Let's get dangerous! Windows betas leak to the interwebs

Subject: General Tech | June 26, 2017 - 03:03 PM |
Tagged: microsoft. leak, beta

Someone has uploaded an immense amount of previously secret Windows code from Microsoft to Beta Archive, who are currently trying to take the private content down as quickly as they can.  The leaks include a number of unreleased builds of Server 2016, Windows 10 "Redstone" builds and even versions to run on 64bit ARM which would be interesting to look at if that was all that was uploaded.  Unfortunately along with those builds were Microsoft's PnP code, USB and Wi-Fi stacks, storage drivers, and ARM-specific OneCore kernel code, all of which is a goldmine for those who choose to make life miserable for computer users everywhere.  Take a peek at an overview of what was leaked at The Register.

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"The data – some 32TB of official and non-public installation images and software blueprints that compress down to 8TB – were uploaded to betaarchive.com, the latest load of files provided just earlier this week. It is believed the confidential data in this dump was exfiltrated from Microsoft's in-house systems around March this year."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: The Register

The GeForce GTX USB drive is real and small and fun

Subject: General Tech | June 23, 2017 - 05:13 PM |
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.

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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.

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Performance on this USB 3.0 based drive is pretty solid, peaking at 111 MB/s on reads and 43 MB/s on writes. 

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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. 

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We have some more pictures of the USB drive below (including the surprising interior shot!), so click this link to see them.