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Subject: Graphics Cards | March 21, 2017 - 07:47 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows 10, vulkan, sli, multi-gpu, crossfire
Update (March 22nd @ 3:50pm EDT): And the Khronos Group has just responded to my follow-up questions. LDA has existed since Windows Vista, at the time for assisting with SLI and Crossfire support. Its implementation has changed in Windows 10, but that's not really relevant for Vulkan's multi-GPU support. To prove this, they showed LDA referenced in a Windows 8.1 MSDN post.
Vulkan's multi-GPU extensions can be used on Windows 7 and Windows 8.x. The exact process will vary from OS to OS, but the GPU vendor can implement these extensions if they choose, and LDA mode isn't exclusive to Windows 10.
Update (March 21st @ 11:55pm EDT): I came across a Microsoft Support page that discusses issues with LDA in Windows 7, so it seems like that functionality isn't limited to WDDM 2.0 and Windows 10. (Why have a support page otherwise?) Previously, I looked up an MSDN article that had it listed as a WDDM 2.0 feature, so I figured DSOGaming's assertion that it was introduced with WDDM 2.0 was correct.
As such, LDA might not require a GPU vendor's implementation at all. It'll probably be more clear when the Khronos Group responds to my earlier request, though.
That said, we're arguing over how much a GPU vendor needs to implement; either way, it will be possible to use the multi-GPU extensions in Windows 7 and Windows 8.x if the driver supports it.
Update (March 21st @ 7:30pm EDT): The Khronos Group has just released their statement. It's still a bit unclear, and I've submit another request for clarification.
Specifically, the third statement:
If an implementation on Windows does decide to use LDA mode, it is NOT tied to Windows 10. LDA mode has been available on many versions of Windows, including Windows 7 and 8.X.
... doesn't elaborate what is required for LDA mode on Windows outside of 10. (It could be Microsoft-supported, vendor-supported, or something else entirely.) I'll update again when that information is available. For now, it seems like the table, below, should actually look something like this:
|macOS||Apple doesn't allow the Vulkan API to ship in graphics drivers.
|Linux / etc.||✓||✓||✓|
... but we will update, again, should this be inaccurate.
Update (March 20th @ 3:50pm EDT): The Khronos Group has just responded that the other posts are incorrect. They haven't yet confirmed whether this post (which separates "device groups" from the more general "multi-GPU in Vulkan") is correct, though, because they're preparing an official statement. We'll update when we have more info.
Original Post Below (March 19th @ 9:36pm EDT)
A couple of days ago, some sites have noticed a bullet point that claims Windows-based GPU drivers will need WDDM in “linked display adapter” mode for “Native multi-GPU support for NVIDIA SLI and AMD Crossfire platforms” on Vulkan. This note came from an official slide deck by the Khronos Group, which was published during the recent Game Developers Conference, GDC 2017. The concern is that “linked display adapter” mode is a part of WDDM 2.0, which is exclusive to Windows 10.
This is being interpreted as “Vulkan does not support multi-GPU under Windows 7 or 8.x”.
I reached out to the Khronos Group for clarification, but I’m fairly sure I know what this does (and doesn’t) mean. Rather than starting with a written out explanation in prose, I will summarize it into a table, below, outlining what is possible on each platform. I will then elaborate below that.
|macOS||Apple doesn't allow the Vulkan API to ship in graphics drivers.
|Linux / etc.||✓||✓||✓|
So the good news is that it’s possible for a game developer to support multi-GPU (through what DirectX 12 would call MDA) on Windows 7 and Windows 8.x; the bad news is that no-one might bother with the heavy lifting. Linked display adapters allow the developer to assume that all GPUs are roughly the same performance, have the same amount of usable memory, and can be accessed through a single driver interface. On top of these assumptions, device groups also hide some annoying and tedious work inside the graphics driver, like producing a texture on one graphics card and quickly giving it to another GPU for rendering.
Basically, if the developer will go through the trouble of supporting AMD + NVIDIA or discrete GPU + integrated GPU systems, then they can support Windows 7 / 8.x in multi-GPU as well. Otherwise? Your extra GPUs will be sitting out unless you switch to DirectX 11 or OpenGL (or you use it for video encoding or something else outside the game).
On the other hand, this limitation might pressure some developers to support unlinked multi-GPU configurations. There are some interesting possibilities, including post-processing, GPGPU tasks like AI visibility and physics, and so forth, which might be ignored in titles whose developers were seduced by the simplicity of device groups. On the whole, device groups was apparently a high-priority request by game developers, and its inclusion will lead to more multi-GPU content. Developers who can justify doing it themselves, though, now have another reason to bother re-inventing a few wheels.
Or... you could just use Linux. That works, too.
Again, we are still waiting on the Khronos Group to confirm this story. See the latest update, above.
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 15, 2017 - 03:59 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, GeForce 378.78
AMD has been offering support for DX12 more effectively than NVIDIA in many titles; not enough to consistently surpass the higher end GTX cards but certainly showing improvements. NVIDIA announce that their new driver, along with optimized support for the new Tom Clancy game will also offer performance increases in DX12 games. [H]ard|OCP put the numbers referenced in the PR to the test in their recent review. The news is good for the games which were mentioned but you should not expect any gains in DX11 titles with the new driver as you can see from the benchmarks results.
"We will take the new NVIDIA GeForce 378.78 performance driver and add it to our NVIDIA Video Card Driver Performance Review graphs to see if this driver has improved performance. NVIDIA has made some very bold claims lately, so let's see if those come through as true gaming advantages."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | March 10, 2017 - 11:15 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, tom petersen, pascal, nvidia, live, gtx 1080 ti, gtx, gp102, geforce
Our review of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB graphics card is live and ready for consumption! Make sure you check it out before this afternoon's live stream!
Did you miss our GTX 1080 Ti Live Stream? Catch the reply below!
Ready your mind and body, it’s time for another GeForce GTX live stream hosted by PC Perspective’s Ryan Shrout and NVIDIA’s Tom Petersen. The general details about the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card are already official and based on the hype train and the response on social media, there is more than a little excitement.
On hand to talk about the new graphics card will be Tom Petersen, well known in our community. While the GTX 1080 Ti will be the flagship part of our live stream we will also be diving into the world of VR performance evaluation and how the new FCAT VR tool will help reviewers and standard enthusiast see where their systems stand in producing smooth, effective virtual reality gaming. We have done quite a few awesome live steams with Tom in the past, check them out if you haven't already.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and FCAT VR Live Stream
1pm PT / 4pm ET - March 9th
Need a reminder? Join our live mailing list!
The event will take place Thursday, March 9th at 4pm ET / 1pm PT at http://www.pcper.com/live. There you’ll be able to catch the live video stream as well as use our chat room to interact with the audience, asking questions for me and Tom to answer live.
Tom has a history of being both informative and entertaining and these live streaming events are always full of fun and technical information that you can get literally nowhere else. Previous streams have produced news as well – including statements on support for Adaptive Sync, release dates for displays and first-ever demos of triple display G-Sync functionality. You never know what’s going to happen or what will be said!
This just in fellow gamers: Tom is going to be providing a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card to give away during the live stream! We won't be able to ship it until the end of next week, but one lucky viewer of the live stream will be able to get their paws on the fastest graphics card we have ever tested!! Make sure you are scheduled to be here on March 9th at 1pm PT / 4pm ET!!
Win this beauty.
If you have questions, please leave them in the comments below and we'll look through them just before the start of the live stream. Of course you'll be able to tweet us questions @pcper and we'll be keeping an eye on the IRC chat as well for more inquiries. What do you want to know and hear from Tom or I?
So join us! Set your calendar for this coming Thursday at 4pm ET / 1pm PT and be here at PC Perspective to catch it. If you are a forgetful type of person, sign up for the PC Perspective Live mailing list that we use exclusively to notify users of upcoming live streaming events including these types of specials and our regular live podcast. I promise, no spam will be had!
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 10, 2017 - 02:49 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers
Alongside the launch of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, NVIDIA has released a new graphics driver that, one, obviously supports the new card and, two, also rolls in a bunch of optimizations for DirectX 12 titles. The graphics vendor already announced the initiative at last week’s GDC, but it is now released and available for public use. 378.78 is also “Game Ready” for Ghost Recon Wildlands, although that’s mostly for Ansel support; most of the optimizations for Wildlands were pushed into the previous driver.
The advertised gains vary from title to title, but they claim that Rise of the Tomb Raider at 4K will jump from 20 FPS to 27 FPS. This can be viewed as either a frame rate gain of about 33%, or it can be seen as an average frame time savings of about 12ms each and every frame. If that’s what actual end-users will see -- that’s a lot!
They also note improvements in Vulkan support, too, but without any hard, numeric assertions.
If you have a GeForce 1050 Ti notebook, then this driver is also said to fix a potential bluescreen bug that you have been facing. You can pick it up from GeForce Experience or the NVIDIA website.
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 9, 2017 - 01:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: 1080 ti, geforce, gp102, gtx 1080 ti, nvidia, pascal
As you have probably noticed from our front page, today is the day we can see how the GTX 1080 Ti performs in reviewers systems. The unfortunate news is that you can't buy one yet nor do we know when you will be able to spend the $699 it will cost to order one. We can share the performance with you, once again NVIDIA's Ti model takes the top spot out performing even the $1200 TITAN X. As for overclocking the reference model, as we have not had a chance to test any cards with third party cooler on them, [H]ard|OCP were able to increase the GPU frequency over 200MHz to 1967-1987MHz in game and push the memory to 12GHz, somewhat better than what Ryan was able to. Check out their full review here, with many more just below.
"NVIDIA is launching the fastest video card it offers for gaming today in the new $699 GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. We will take this video card and test it against the GeForce GTX 1080 and GeForce GTX TITAN X at 1440p and 4K resolutions to find out how it compares. Is it really faster than a $1200 GeForce GTX TITAN X Pascal?"
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1080 Ti @ The Tech Report
- Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti review: The fastest graphics card, again @ Ars Technica
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition 11 GB @ techPowerUp
- The NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti 11GB Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition 11GB @ Kitguru
- The GTX 1080 Ti Performance Review vs. the TITAN XP & the GTX 1080 @ BabelTechReviews
- Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti CPU Showdown: i7 7700k Vs Ryzen R7 1800x Vs i7 5820k @ eTeknix
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB @ eTeknix
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Review: A Look At 4K & Ultrawide Gaming @ Techgage
- MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Armor OC 6 GB @ techPowerUp
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 6, 2017 - 09:08 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, graphics drivers
Just prior to the release of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, AMD has released another graphics driver with specific optimizations. Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.3.1 is support to provide up to a 6% performance improvement (on an RX 480) in that title. It also adds a CrossFire profile under DirectX 11. Note that there’s a known issue with 3- and 4-GPU systems, which will apparently make the game crash back to desktop on launch.
Beyond this, the new graphics driver also fixes several issues, many of which involve flickering textures, objects, or mouse pointers. It also solves an issue where installing the driver could cause a failed reboot.
If you have an AMD GPU, then you can pick up the driver from their website.
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 1, 2017 - 05:04 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: video card, RX 580, RX 570, RX 560, RX 550, rx 480, rumor, report, rebrand, radeon, graphics, gpu, amd
According to a report from VideoCardz.com we can expect AMD Radeon RX 500-series graphics cards next month, with an April 4th launch of the RX 580 and RX 570, and subsequent RX 560/550 launch on April 11. The bad news? According to the report "all cards, except RX 550, are most likely rebranded from Radeon RX 400 series".
Until official confirmation on specs arrive, this is still speculative; however, if Vega is not ready for an April launch and AMD will indeed be refreshing their Radeon lineup, an R9 300-series speed bump/rebrand is not out of the realm of possibility. VideoCardz offers (unconfirmed, at this point) specs of the upcoming RX 500-series cards, with RX 400 numbers for comparison:
Chart credit: VideoCardz.com
The first graph shows the increased GPU boost clock speed of ~1340 MHz for the rumored RX 580, with the existing RX 480 clocked at 1266 MHz. Both would be Polaris 10 GPUs with otherwise identical specs. The same largely holds for the rumored specs on the RX 570, though this GPU would presumably be shipping with faster memory clocks as well. On the RX 560 side, however, the Polaris 11 powered replacement for the RX 460 might be based on the 1024-core variant we have seen from the Chinese market.
Chart credit: VideoCardz.com
No specifics on the RX 550 are yet known, which VideoCardz says "is most likely equipped with Polaris 12, a new low-end GPU". These rumors come via heise.de (German language), who state that those "hoping for Vega-card will be disappointed - the cards are intended to be rebrands with known GPUs". We will have to wait until next month to know for sure, but even if this is the case, expect faster clocks and better performance for the same money.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 28, 2017 - 10:59 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, gtx 1080 ti, gp102, geforce
Tonight at a GDC party hosted by CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, NVIDIA announced the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card, coming next week for $699. Let’s dive right into the specifications!
|GTX 1080 Ti||Titan X (Pascal)||GTX 1080||GTX 980 Ti||TITAN X||GTX 980||R9 Fury X||R9 Fury||R9 Nano|
|GPU||GP102||GP102||GP104||GM200||GM200||GM204||Fiji XT||Fiji Pro||Fiji XT|
|Base Clock||1480 MHz||1417 MHz||1607 MHz||1000 MHz||1000 MHz||1126 MHz||1050 MHz||1000 MHz||up to 1000 MHz|
|Boost Clock||1600 MHz||1480 MHz||1733 MHz||1076 MHz||1089 MHz||1216 MHz||-||-||-|
|Memory Clock||11000 MHz||10000 MHz||10000 MHz||7000 MHz||7000 MHz||7000 MHz||500 MHz||500 MHz||500 MHz|
|Memory Interface||352-bit||384-bit G5X||256-bit G5X||384-bit||384-bit||256-bit||4096-bit (HBM)||4096-bit (HBM)||4096-bit (HBM)|
|Memory Bandwidth||484 GB/s||480 GB/s||320 GB/s||336 GB/s||336 GB/s||224 GB/s||512 GB/s||512 GB/s||512 GB/s|
|TDP||250 watts||250 watts||180 watts||250 watts||250 watts||165 watts||275 watts||275 watts||175 watts|
|Peak Compute||10.6 TFLOPS||10.1 TFLOPS||8.2 TFLOPS||5.63 TFLOPS||6.14 TFLOPS||4.61 TFLOPS||8.60 TFLOPS||7.20 TFLOPS||8.19 TFLOPS|
The GTX 1080 Ti looks a whole lot like the TITAN X launched in August of last year. Based on the 12B transistor GP102 chip, the new GTX 1080 Ti will have 3,584 CUDA core with a 1.60 GHz Boost clock. That gives it the same processor count as Titan X but with a slightly higher clock speed which should make the new GTX 1080 Ti slightly faster by at least a few percentage points and has a 4.7% edge in base clock compute capability. It has 28 SMs, 28 geometry units, 224 texture units.
Interestingly, the memory system on the GTX 1080 Ti gets adjusted – NVIDIA has disabled a single 32-bit memory controller to give the card a total of 352-bit wide bus and an odd-sounding 11GB memory capacity. The ROP count also drops to 88 units. Speaking of 11, the memory clock on the G5X implementation on GTX 1080 Ti will now run at 11 Gbps, a boost available to NVIDIA thanks to a chip revision from Micron and improvements to equalization and reverse signal distortion.
The TDP of the new part is 250 watts
, falling between the Titan X and the GTX 1080. That’s an interesting move considering that the GP102 was running at 250 watts with identical to the Titan product. The cooler has been improved compared to the GTX 1080, offering quieter fan speeds and lower temperatures when operating at the same power envelope.
Performance estimates from NVIDIA put the GTX 1080 Ti about 35% faster than the GTX 1080, the largest “kicker performance increase” that we have seen from a flagship Ti launch.
Pricing is going to be set at $699 so don't expect to find this in any budget builds. But for the top performing GeForce card on the market, it's what we expect. It should be on virtual shelves starting next week.
(Side note, with the GTX 1080 getting a $100 price drop tonight, I think we'll find this new lineup very compelling to enthusiasts.)
NVIDIA did finally detail its tiled caching rendering technique. We'll be diving more into that in a separate article with a little more time for research.
One more thing…
In another interesting move, NVIDIA is going to be offering “overclocked” versions of the GTX 1080 and GTX 1060 with +1 Gbps memory speeds. Partners will be offering them with some undisclosed price premium.
I don’t know how much performance this will give us but it’s clear that NVIDIA is preparing its lineup for the upcoming AMD Vega release.
We’ll have more news from NVIDIA and GDC as it comes!
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 28, 2017 - 10:55 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, GTX 1080, GDC
Update Feb 28 @ 10:03pm It's official, NVIDIA launches $699 GTX 1080 Ti.
NVIDIA is hosting a "Gaming Celebration" live event during GDC 2017 to talk PC gaming and possibly launch new hardware (if rumors are true!). During the event, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang made a major announcement regarding its top-end GTX 1080 graphics card with a price drop to $499 effective immediately.
The NVIDIA GTX 1080 is a pascal based graphics card with 2560 CUDA cores paired with 8GB of GDDR5X memory. Graphics cards based on this GP104 GPU are currently selling for around $580 to $700 (most are around $650+/-) with the "Founders Edition" having an MSRP of $699. The $499 price teased at the live stream represents a significant price drop compared to what the graphics cards are going for now. NVIDIA did not specify if the new $499 MSRP was the new Founders Edition price or an average price that includes partner cards as well but even if it only happened on the reference cards, the partners would have to adjust their prices downwards accordingly to compete.
I suspect that NVIDIA is making such a bold move to make room in their lineup for a new product (the long-rumored 1080 Ti perhaps?) as well as a pre-emptive strike against AMD and their Radeon RX Vega products. This move may also be good news for GTX 1070 pricing as they may also see price drops to make room for cheaper GTX 1080 partner cards that come in below the $499 price point.
If you have been considering buying a new graphics card, NVIDIA has sweetened the pot a bit especially if you had already been eyeing a GTX 1080. (Note that while the price drop is said to be effective immediately, at the time of writing Amazon was still showing "normal"/typical prices for the cards. Enthusiasts might have to wait a few hours or days for the retailers to catch up and update their sites.)
This makes me a bit more excited to see what AMD will have to offer with Vega as well as the likelihood of a GTX 1080 Ti launch happening sooner rather than later!
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 27, 2017 - 03:39 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: MWC, GDC, VRMark, Servermark, OptoFidelity, cyan room, benchmark
Futuremark are showing off new benchmarks at GDC and MWC, the two conferences which are both happening this week. We will have quite a bit of coverage this week as we try to keep up with simultaneous news releases and presentations.
First up is a new benchmark in their recently released DX12 VRMark suite, the new Cyan Room which sits between the existing two in the suite. The Orange Room is to test if your system is capable of providing you with an acceptable VR experience or if your system falls somewhat short of the minimum requirements while the Blue Room is to show off what a system that exceeds the recommended specs can manage. The Cyan room will be for those who know that their system can handle most VR, and need to test their systems settings. If you don't have the test suite Humble Bundle has a great deal on this suite and several other tools, if you act quickly.
Next up is a new suite to test Google Daydream, Google Cardboard, and Samsung Gear VR performance and ability. There is more than just performance to test when you are using your phone to view VR content, such as avoiding setting your eyeholes on fire. The tests will help you determine just how long your device can run VR content before overheating becomes an issue and interferes with performance, as well as helping you determine your battery life.
VR Latency testing is the next in the list of announcements and is very important when it comes to VR as high or unstable latency is the reason some users need to add a bucket to their list of VR essentials. Futuremark have partnered with OptoFidelity to produce VR Multimeter HMD hardware based testing. This allows you, and hopefully soon PCPer as well, to test motion-to-photon latency, display persistence, and frame jitter as well as audio to video synchronization and motion-to-audio-latency all of which could lead to a bad time.
Last up is the brand new Servermark to test the performance you can expect out of virtual servers, media servers and other common tasks. The VDI test lets you determine if a virtual machine has been provisioned at a level commensurate to the assigned task, so you can adjust it as required. The Media Transcode portion lets you determine the maximum number of concurrent streams as well as the maximum quality of those streams which your server can handle, very nice for those hosting media for an audience.
Expect to hear more as we see the new benchmarks in action.
Subject: General Tech | February 21, 2017 - 01:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: jon peddie, marketshare, graphics cards
The GPU market increased 5.6% from Q3 to Q4 of 2016, beating the historical average of -4.7% by quite a large margin, over the year we saw an increase of 21.1%. That increase is even more impressive when you consider that the total PC market dropped 10.1% in the same time, showing that far more consumers chose to upgrade their existing machines instead of buying new ones. This makes sense as neither Intel nor AMD offered a compelling reason to upgrade your processor and motherboard for anyone who purchased one in the last two or three years.
AMD saw a nice amount of growth, grabbing almost 8% of the total market from NVIDIA over the year, though they lost a tiny bit of ground between Q3 and Q4 of 2016. Jon Peddie's sample also includes workstation class GPUs as well as gaming models and it seems a fair number of users chose to upgrade their machines as that market increased just over 19% in 2016.
"The graphics add-in board market has defied gravity for over a year now, showing gains while the overall PC market slips. The silly notion of integrated graphics "catching up" with discrete will hopefully be put to rest now," said Dr. Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie research, the industry's research and consulting firm for graphics and multimedia."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel prepares for 5G with launch of XMM 7560 Gigabit LTE modem @ The Inquirer
- Intel reveals Optane will need a 7th-gen core and a PC-centric launch @ The Register
- Amazon Quietly Lowered Its Free Shipping Minimum to $35 @ Slashdot
- Microsoft Confirms Another 2017 Update After Windows 10 Creators Update @ Slashdot
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 20, 2017 - 02:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, gtx 1080 Xtreme Edition, GTX 1080, gigabyte, aorus
Gigabyte created their Aorus line of products to attract enthusiasts away from some of the competitions sub-brands, such as ASUS ROG. It is somewhat similar to the Gigabyte Xtreme Edition released last year but their are some differences, such as the large copper heatsink attached to the bottom of the GPU. The stated clockspeeds are the same as last years model and it also sports the two HDMI connections on the front of the card to connect to Gigabyte's VR Extended Front panel. The Tech Report manually overclocked the card and saw the Aorus reach the highest frequencies they have seen from a GP104 chip, albeit by a small margin. Check out the full review right here.
"Aorus is expanding into graphics cards today with the GeForce GTX 1080 Xtreme Edition 8G, a card that builds on the strong bones of Gigabyte's Editor's Choice-winning GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming. We dig in to see whether Aorus' take on a GTX 1080 is good enough for a repeat."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Gigabyte GTX 1080 Aorus Xtreme Edition 8 GB @ techPowerUp
- NVIDIA’s Fastest Graphics Card Ever: A Look At The Quadro P6000 @ Techgage
- Radeon Windows 10 vs. Linux RadeonSI/RADV Gaming Performance @ Phoronix
- Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux Gaming Performance With NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060/1080 @ Phoronix
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 17, 2017 - 07:42 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers
Just a couple of days after publishing 378.66, NVIDIA released GeForce 378.72 Hotfix drivers. This fixes a bug encoding video in Steam’s In-Home Streaming, and it also fixes PhysX not being enabled on the GPU under certain conditions. Normally, hotfix drivers solve large-enough issues that were introduced with the previous release. This time, as far as I can tell, is a little different, though. Instead, these fixes seem to be intended for 378.66 but, for one reason or another, couldn’t be integrated and tested in time for the driver to be available for the game launches.
This is an interesting effect of the Game Ready program. There is value in having a graphics driver available on the same day (or early) as a major game releases, so that people can enjoy the title as soon as it is available. There is also value in having as many fixes as the vendor can provide. These conditions oppose each other to some extent.
From a user standpoint, driver updates are cumulative, so they are able to skip a driver or two if they are not affected by any given issue. AMD has taken up a similar structure, some times releasing three or four drivers in a month with only, like, one of them being WHQL certified. For these reasons, I tend to lean on the side of “release ‘em as you got them”. Still, I can see people feeling a little uneasy about a driver being released incomplete to hit a due-date.
But, again, that due-date has value.
It’s interesting. I’m personally glad that AMD and NVIDIA are on a rapid-release schedule, but I can see where complaints could arise. What’s your opinion?
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 16, 2017 - 03:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: msi, AERO ITX, gtx 1070, gtx 1060, gtx 1050, GTX 1050 Ti, SFF, itx
MSI have just release their new series of ITX compatible GPUs, covering NVIDIA's latest series of cards from the GTX 1050 through to the GTX 1070; the GTX 1080 is not available in this form factor. The GTX 1070 and 1060 are available in both factory overclocked and standard versions.
All models share a similar design, with a single TORX fan with 8mm Super Pipes and the Zero Frozr feature which stops the fan to give silent operation when temperatures are below 60C. They are all compatible with the Afterburner Overclocking Utility, including recordings via Predator and wireless control from your phone.
The overclocked cards run slightly over reference, from the GTX 1070 at 1721MHz boost, 1531MHz base with the GDDR5 at 8GHz to the GTX 1050 at 1518MHz boost, 1404MHz base and the GDDR5 at 7GHz. The models which do not bear the OC moniker run at NVIDIA's reference clocks even if they are not quite fully grown.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 14, 2017 - 09:29 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: opencl 2.0, opencl, nvidia, graphics drivers
While the headline of the GeForce 378.66 graphics driver release is support for For Honor, Halo Wars 2, and Sniper Elite 4, NVIDIA has snuck something major into the 378 branch: OpenCL 2.0 is now available for evaluation. (I double-checked 378.49 release notes and confirmed that this is new to 378.66.)
OpenCL 2.0 support is not complete yet, but at least NVIDIA is now clearly intending to roll it out to end-users. Among other benefits, OpenCL 2.0 allows kernels (think shaders) to, without the host intervening, enqueue work onto the GPU. This saves one (or more) round-trips to the CPU, especially in workloads where you don’t know which kernel will be required until you see the results of the previous run, like recursive sorting algorithms.
So yeah, that’s good, albeit you usually see big changes at the start of version branches.
Another major addition is Video SDK 8.0. This version allows 10- and 12-bit decoding of VP9 and HEVC video. So... yeah. Applications that want to accelerate video encoding or decoding can now hook up to NVIDIA GPUs for more codecs and features.
NVIDIA’s GeForce 378.66 drivers are available now.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 14, 2017 - 05:57 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, graphics drivers
Just in time for For Honor and Sniper Elite 4, AMD has released a new set of graphics drivers, Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.2.1, that target these games. The performance improvements that they quote are in the 4-5% range, when compared to their previous driver on the RX 480, which would be equivalent to saving a whole millisecond per frame at 60 FPS. (This is just for mathematical reference; I don’t know what performance users should expect with an RX 480.)
Beyond driver overhead improvements, you will now be able to utilize multiple GPUs in CrossFire (for DirectX 11) on both titles.
Also, several issues have been fixed with this version. If you have a FreeSync monitor, and some games fail to activate variable refresh mode, then this driver might solve this problem for you. Scrubbing through some videos (DXVA H.264) should no longer cause visible corruption. A couple applications, like GRID and DayZ, should no longer crash under certain situations. You get the idea.
If you have an AMD GPU on Windows, pick up these drivers from their support page.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 9, 2017 - 02:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, nvidia
New graphics drivers are a boon to everyone who isn't a hardware reviewer, especially one who has just wrapped up benchmarking a new card the same day one is released. To address this issue see what changes have been implemented by AMD and NVIDIA in their last few releases, [H]ard|OCP tested a slew of recent drivers from both companies. The performance of AMD's past releases, up to and including the AMD Crimson ReLive Edition 17.1.1 Beta can be found here. For NVIDIA users, recent drivers covering up to the 378.57 Beta Hotfix are right here. The tests show both companies generally increasing the performance of their drivers, however the change is so small you are not going to notice a large difference.
"We take the AMD Radeon R9 Fury X and AMD Radeon RX 480 for a ride in 11 games using drivers from the time of each video card’s launch date, to the latest AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.1.1 Beta driver. We will see how performance in old and newer games has changed over the course of 2015-2017 with new drivers. "
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 6, 2017 - 11:43 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: video card, silent, Passive, palit, nvidia, KalmX, GTX 1050 Ti, graphics card, gpu, geforce
Palit is offering a passively-cooled GTX 1050 Ti option with their new KalmX card, which features a large heatsink and (of course) zero fan noise.
"With passive cooler and the advanced powerful Pascal architecture, Palit GeForce GTX 1050 Ti KalmX - pursue the silent 0dB gaming environment. Palit GeForce GTX 1050 Ti gives you the gaming horsepower to take on today’s most demanding titles in full 1080p HD @ 60 FPS."
The specs are identical to a reference GTX 1050 Ti (4GB GDDR5 @ 7 Gb/s, Base 1290/Boost 1392 MHz, etc.), so expect the full performance of this GPU - with some moderate case airflow, no doubt.
We don't have specifics on pricing or availablity just yet.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 4, 2017 - 03:29 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: micron, graphics memory, gddr6
This year is shaping up to be a good year for memory with the promise of 3D XPoint (Intel/Micron), HBM2 (SK Hynix and Samsung), and now GDDR6 graphics memory from Micron launching this year. While GDDR6 was originally planned to be launched next year, Micron recently announced its intentions to start producing the memory chips by the later half of 2017 which would put it much earlier than previously expected.
Computer World reports that Micron is citing the rise of e-sports and gaming driving the computer market that now sees three year upgrade cycles rather than five year cycles (I am not sure how accurate that is, however as it seems like PCs are actually lasting longer between upgrade as far as relevance but i digress) as the primary reason for shifting GDDR6 production into high gear and moving up the launch window. The company expects the e-sports market to grow to 500 million fans by 2020, and it is a growing market that Micron wants to stay relevant in.
If you missed our previous coverage, GDDR6 is the successor to GDDR5 and offers twice the bandwidth at 16 Gb/s (gigabits per second) per die. It is also faster than GDDR5X (12 Gb/s) and uses 20% less power which the gaming laptop market will appreciate. HBM2 still holds the bandwidth crown though as it offers 256 GB/s per stack and up to 1TB/s with four stacks connected to a GPU on package.
As such, High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2 and then HBM3) will power the high end gaming and professional graphics cards while GDDR6 will become the memory used for mid range cards and GDDR5X (which is actually capable of going faster but will likely not be pushed much past 12 Gbps after all if GDDR6 does come out this soon) will replace GDDR5 on most if not all of the lower end products.
I am not sure if Micron’s reasoning of e-sports, faster upgrade cycles, and VR being the motivating factor(s) to ramping up production early is sound or not, but I will certainly take the faster memory coming out sooner rather than later! Depending on exactly when in 2017 the chips start rolling off the fabs, we could see graphics cards using the new memory technology as soon as early 2018 (just in time for CES announcements? oh boy I can see the PR flooding in already! hehe).
Will Samsung change course as well and try for a 2017 release for its GDDR6 memory as well?
Are you ready for GDDR6?
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 22.214.171.124 SDK. This update addresses two issues with accessing devices and extensions, under certain conditions, when using the 126.96.36.199 SDK. 188.8.131.52 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.