Star Wars as a service; EA's evisceration of Visceral

Subject: General Tech | November 1, 2017 - 03:28 PM |
Tagged: Star Wars, visceral, ea, gaming, Ragtag

EA revealed something which those of us who follow the industry have known for sometime; they are not in the business of selling games, instead they offer 'games as a service'.  What that translates into is a business model that has no interest in selling a game that they cannot continue to milk income from for a long time after its release.  This specifically impacts single player games, as one cannot attempt to turn them into the next big eSports title and not many people are willing to shell out extra cash for horse armour.  That attitude created an incredibly unfriendly work environment and lead to issues with employee retention as well as resources for the development of the game.  EA responded to Kotaku, who researched the fall of Ragtag and Visceral with a statement containing absolutely nothing, which you can read here.

This is an example of the changing attitude of several large game development companies, who are not satisfied with the income from a games release nor additional income from DLC and who instead want every game they release to be a permanent source of income.  How exactly one is supposed to have the time to play one game for as long envision so and to keep purchasing new releases which are also intended to be continually played is unclear. 

Thankfully there are holdouts such as Paradox and Creative Assembly who find ways to extend the life of older games and make money at it; without the expectation that you buy a new game, along with DLC and add-ons every single year as well as continue to play last years model.

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"The demos weren’t enough. Former Visceral employees don’t know when EA made the decision to shut down their studio, but on October 17, 2017, it became official. Visceral, which employed around 80 people, was no more."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: Kotaku

Computational Phase Change Memory?

Subject: General Tech | November 1, 2017 - 02:03 PM |
Tagged: PCM, IBM

A team of researchers at IBM Zurich have come up with a way to utilize PCM as a simple computational device which does not follow the traditional Von Neumann architecture.  Phase change memory works in a way somewhat analogous to optical storage, with changes to the physical state of the storage medium being used to represent a 1 or 0.  In this case it is a substance that switches from amorphous to crystalline and back again with the application of electrical current; the article at The Register describes this in more detail

This research envisions connecting to a sensor which can send an electrical pulse to PCM to change its state; the example given involves detecting rain and changing the memory to a 1 if rain is detected, a 0 if not. With the application of a algorithm to detect the state of the PCM you can read out rainfall patterns from storage without requiring a processor.  While the computational power of PCM will be quite simple, describing how this works is certainly not so follow the links to the research if your curiosity is piqued.

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"But memory has no processor so some aspect of a memory device has to be used, an aspect that changes its nature depending upon the data contents of the memory device. Also the computation is going to be quite primitive"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

ARM Introduces Mali-D71 Advanced Display Processor

Subject: General Tech | October 31, 2017 - 11:04 PM |
Tagged: MMU-600, Mali-G72, Mali-D71, Mali GPU, mali, Chi, Assertive Display 5, arm, AMBA

Not much can stand in the way of progress. This is particularly true in the mobile market. The competition is so fierce that we have seen yearly refreshes that push the feature and quality levels to new heights. Several years back we saw Apple release their high DPI displays and the rest of the industry followed. We have seen Android and iOS add new software features and capabilities into their products that have pushed the limits of the CPU and GPUs of these phones.  Now we are entering a new era with AR and VR capabilities in phones and it is only pushing the performance envelope of these handheld devices that may consume only a couple of watts at full power.

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One area that has needed an upgrade for a while is in the display capabilities cooked into the latest ARM processors. The needs of upcoming phones to display 4K resolutions at 120 Hz for high end devices that can also support VR capabilities are great. Previously units have been limited to 4K/30 or in higher end phones 4K/60 capabilities. With VR being a push in mobile as well as other features that require high resolution displays and high refresh rates, it was imperative for ARM to update their technology on this front.

Previously known as “Cetus”, ARM is introducing the three different functional units that comprise their latest display technology.  The Mali-D71 is based on the new Komeda display architecture and it can handle the aforementioned 4K resolution at 120 Hz. The second portion is the MMU-600 which is a memory management unit which is tightly coupled with the D-71 to provide high bandwidth and low latency memory accesses to achieve that 4K/120 spec.  Finally the Assertive Display 5 unit helps the D-71 provide HDR support across a wide range of specifications.

d71_benefits.png

The new display processor is highly associated with the latest Mali GPU cores, but with enough work a 3rd party licensee could adapt it to another GPU architecture. This is obviously not the most efficient way of using this technology as it is regarded as a turnkey solution for the Mali GPU products. ARM has developed the software stack for both Andriod and Linux, and if needed it can develop Windows based drivers to fully leverage the features of this latest product. It is easily attached to 3rd party panel interfaces.

The D-71 is somewhat unique in that it adds a tremendous amount of features and speed, but is highly area efficient as compared to previous products. It takes up about half the size of the previous DP-650 unit, but because of the overall design and specialized hardware support in D-71 it features twice the pixel throughput at about 70% of the power consumption. This is an excellent example of inspired design overcoming previous generation limitations.

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MMU-600 is a lynchpin in the operation as it provides advanced memory management which improves bandwidth and lowers latency dramatically as compared to the previous unit. It is tightly designed with the D71 and is highly optimized to work with the latest AMBA/CHI interconnect and Mali-G series of GPUs.

The final piece of this release is the Assertive Display 5 functionality. This provides extensive HDR support with a wide variety of panels. It is highly programmable and can provide HDR-like performance even to SDR displays. It has native HDR 10 and HLG support as well as converting HDR content to SDR. It implements blue light filtering in hardware as well as compensation for ambient light using the device sensors. ARM tries to ensure the best possible picture from the screen no matter the conditions.

cetus_all.png

The latest ARM display solution overcomes many of the limitations of the previous unit as well as adds a few new wrinkles with Assertive Display 5. It can provide top end VR and HDR experiences, as long as the GPU portion of the device can keep up with the needs of the software. ARM has removed a pretty significant hurdle to providing a rich visual experience with handheld devices.

Source: ARM

NVIDIA Partners with AWS for Volta V100 in the Cloud

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 31, 2017 - 09:58 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, amazon, google, pascal, Volta, gv100, tesla v100

Remember last month? Remember when I said that Google’s introduction of Tesla P100s would be good leverage over Amazon, as the latter is still back in the Kepler days (because Maxwell was 32-bit focused)?

Amazon has leapfrogged them by introducing Volta-based V100 GPUs.

nvidia-2017-voltatensor.jpg

To compare the two parts, the Tesla P100 has 3584 CUDA cores, yielding just under 10 TFLOPs of single-precision performance. The Tesla V100, with its ridiculous die size, pushes that up over 14 TFLOPs. Same as Pascal, they also support full 1:2:4 FP64:FP32:FP16 performance scaling. It also has access to NVIDIA’s tensor cores, which are specialized for 16-bit, 4x4 multiply-add matrix operations that are apparently common in neural networks, both training and inferencing.

Amazon allows up to eight of them at once (with their P3.16xlarge instances).

So that’s cool. While Google has again been quickly leapfrogged by Amazon, it’s good to see NVIDIA getting wins in multiple cloud providers. This keeps money rolling in that will fund new chip designs for all the other segments.

Source: Amazon

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 388.13 Drivers

Subject: General Tech | October 31, 2017 - 09:38 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, nvidia, graphics drivers

As we head into another batch of holiday releases, NVIDIA has published another GeForce driver: 388.13. While they don’t explicitly call this out in the release notes, the CustHelp page for 388.10, which was released late last week, suggests that 388.13 will help Kepler users have a more stable experience in Wolfenstein II. If you were having troubles, check these out. The release notes also claims that 388.13 fixes an issue with multiple monitors.

nvidia-geforce.png

Otherwise, the driver is mostly game-specific optimizations. The headlining game for 388.13 is Call of Duty WWII. As usual, that franchise is quite popular, although not nearly as much as it was, say… eight-to-ten years ago. Still, there will be a lot of people buying it. The other two “Game Ready” titles for this driver are Need for Speed Payback and the formerly PS4-exclusive, Nioh: Complete Edition.

Oh… it is also the first driver to support the GeForce 1070 Ti.

If you don’t continuously check GeForce Experience, then be sure to open it and check for driver updates. Alternatively, you can just install them from the website.

Source: NVIDIA

Get a Bloody 5K mouse for your 4K display

Subject: General Tech | October 31, 2017 - 03:13 PM |
Tagged: A4Tech, bloody, P85 Light Strike 5K RGB Animation Gaming Mouse, input

A4TECH’s Bloody mice all have a Light Strike Infrared Switch which not only provides a 0.2ms activation time but is also sealed so that no dust can degrade its performance.  The sensor is more traditional, it contains the popular PixArt PMW3325 with sensitivity ranging from 100-5000 CPI.  The mouse sports five RGB patterns for those who like the glow, you can switch between them by lifting the mouse and clicking the topmost of the three buttons in the centre of the mouse.  These buttons are defaulted to volume control and screen capture, a nice addition to a gaming mouse.  You can learn more about the mouse with a long name at Benchmark Reviews.

P85_main.jpg

"A4TECH’s Bloody Division over the last few years has been at the forefront with that is called Light Strike technology, replacing mechanical with optical switches utilizing infrared light. Today we examine the most recent iteration of the Bloody mice series, the P85 Light Strike 5K RGB Animation Gaming Mouse; combining a popular eight button layout with some dazzling light effects."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

A breakthrough in memristors

Subject: General Tech | October 31, 2017 - 01:25 PM |
Tagged: memristor

There has been a recent breakthrough in organic memristors, indicating that we may see the adoption of this technology in the not too distant future.  The problems with previously developed memristors were that they were too slow to change states and unable to hold the memory of that state for long enough to be useful.  This new type of memristor can switch states in 30ns or less, comparable to traditional resistors and it is capable of holding that state for over 11.5 days without any power.  This memristor is also quite stable, with an expected lifetime of 10^12 cycles.  One of the driving forces behind the development of a memristor which can perform as well as a traditional resistor is cost, memristors are much less expensive to make and do not require rare metals in their manufacture. 

Pop over to Nanotechweb to read more about the research conducted by Thirumalai Venky Venkatesan of the National University of Singapore, Sreebrata Goswami of the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Sciences and Victor Batista of Yale University.

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"Researchers in Singapore, the US and India have now made a new organic memristor based on ruthenium complexed with azo-aromatic ligands that is better than any such memory device made to date."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Nanotechweb

MSI's Aegis 3, a perfect gateway system for console gamers

Subject: Systems | October 30, 2017 - 02:36 PM |
Tagged: msi, aegis 3

The MSI Aegis 3 has a small footprint, including the base it stands 17.05x14.81x6.69" (43.3x37.6x17cm) though it is wider when you extend the ears to hang your headphones off of.  The inside is very well laid out for such a tiny pre-built system, The Tech Report could easily access all the components in the system for potential upgrades or even simple cleaning.  This ~$1000 machine is perfect for someones first PC as it ships with a DS4200 keyboard and DS-B1 gaming mouse, leaving only the monitor to purchase separately and the inclusion of a 16GB Intel Optane M.2 Cache Module will impress them with the speed.  The Tech Report did have some suggestions for improvements on the VR hookups but overall found this to be a great introduction to the PC gaming world for a first timer.

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"MSI's Aegis 3 starts with a compelling enough spec sheet for the budding gamer: a Core i7-7700 CPU, a GeForce GTX 1060 3GB graphics card, and 16GB of RAM. We spent some time with the Aegis 3 to see whether a 16GB Optane cache and a 2TB hard drive offer an SSD-like user experience in this NAND-starved era."

Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:

Systems

GIGABYTE's X399 DESIGNARE EX

Subject: Motherboards | October 30, 2017 - 01:56 PM |
Tagged: X399, Threadripper, gigabyte, designare EX, amd

Gigabyte have updated their lineup of X399 Threadripper boards with the new Designare EX.  It sports a long list of features including dual Intel GbE LAN, Dual Band 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, three M.2 slots, ALC1220 audio with 120dB SNR and a USB 3.1 Type-C port on the back as well as support for a second front port once cases start including them.

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Two of the M.2 slots lie between PCIe slots, with the third under the lit heatshield on the lower right of the board so do make sure to install them before the GPU.  The board is great for miners and gamers alike, the four top PCIe 3.0 slots can provide x16/x16/x8/x8 simultaneously thanks to Threadrippers huge count of PCIe lanes; the bottom most slot offers x4 speeds for an SSD. 

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You can read more about their Smart Fan 5 cooling, M.2 heatsinks, advanced power features and RGBs in the full press release.

Source: Gigabyte

The Origin of the worlds most powerful DRM revealed!

Subject: General Tech | October 30, 2017 - 12:58 PM |
Tagged: ubisoft, origin, DRM, assassins creed origins

More powerful than a speeding Core-i5, able to crash a Ryzen 3 in a single launch process; it's not a demo, it's not a plane, it's SuperDRM!  Not only will Ubisoft's new creation prevent pirates from taking over this non-pirate verison of Assassin's Creed (for a few days or so) it can also prevent people who did not invest enough money in their rigs from playing the copy they bought!  This masterful scheme should ensure that only those truly worthy souls, with a machine capable of creating a virtual machine for the game and the Denuvo DRM software to run on will be able to learn the true Origins of Assassin's Creed.  The Inquirer's story also points out that your GPU power does not matter, if your CPU can't handle the completely reasonable request to create and run a VM for the DRM and its sidekick, then your GPU will be stuck waiting on the bus. 

You can vent your Steam here as you wait for Ubisoft to figure out how to get out of this one.

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"EARLY ADOPTERS of Assassin's Creed Origins are have been quick to moan that the open world game is using excessive CPU resources, and it's thought that Ubisoft's implementation of piracy-thwarting DRM tools is to blame."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Party in the front, business in the back; Corsair's new Carbide Series Spec-04

Subject: Cases and Cooling | October 27, 2017 - 03:37 PM |
Tagged: corsair, carbide series spec-4, carbide

The front of the Spec-04 is a rather fancy plastic protrusion, the interior remains in a traditional layout as you can easily see through the tempered glass side panel.  While that interior looks spacious, The Tech Report did have some difficulty installing several components.  They succeeded in their installation with a bit of effort, and at $60 this should not discourage those looking for a stylish case at a decent price. With the purchase of a few extra case fans, this case would make a good home for a budget build.

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"Corsair's Spec-04 TG brings a tempered-glass side panel and sharp looks to the $60 price point. We built up our test system inside to see whether the Spec-04 TG has the performance to go with its distinctive design."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Microsoft goes on a bender in Andromeda

Subject: General Tech | October 27, 2017 - 02:15 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, andromeda, foldable

Microsoft have completely abandoned their mobile line which is why they have announced the new prototype Andromeda foldable mobile device.  The foldable eReader-like device will run Win10 on ARM and will take advantage of Windows Ink to allow users to take accurate notes on the touchscreen.  The device is rumoured to have celluar capabilities so it could replace an executives phone, or at least let them leave the laptop at the office.  Unfortunately the announcement left out the most interesting detail, we do not know if the fold is between two seperate screens or if the Andromeda will feature a folding screen.  Hopefully Windows Central will have an updated post soon.

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"Microsoft isn't building this device for your average consumer. If it ever comes to market, and that's a big if, it isn't going to be an iPhone or Android competitor because as Microsoft has publicly claimed in the past, it's just too late for that."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

PCPer Mailbag #15 - 10/27/2017

Subject: Editorial | October 27, 2017 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: video, Ryan Shrout, pcper mailbag, pcper

It's Friday, which means it's time for PC Perspective's weekly mailbag, our video show where Ryan and team answer your questions about the tech industry, the latest and greatest hardware, the process of running a tech review website, and more!

Here's what you'll find on today's show:

00:25 - C-State performance penalty?
03:32 - Shared GPU memory in laptops?
06:10 - The future of external GPUs?
08:57 - Why are new 6-core CPUs faster than old 8-core CPUs?
11:40 - Retail availability of AMD EPYC?
14:00 - Why does Windows Task Manager report different CPU speed?
15:27 - Gaming frame rate bottleneck?
17:31 - NVIDIA GPUs with FreeSync monitors?
18:49 - Next NVIDIA GPU release date?
20:50 - When will 4K 120Hz become mainstream?
22:39 - Wait to buy a new monitor?

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel to make sure you never miss our weekly reviews and podcasts, and please consider supporting PC Perspective via Patreon to help us keep videos like our weekly mailbag coming!

Source: YouTube

The GIGABYTE Aorus Gaming 7; function over form

Subject: Motherboards | October 26, 2017 - 04:08 PM |
Tagged: amd, Threadripper, gigabyte, X399, aorus gaming 7

[H]ard|OCP took exception to some of the design choices on the Gaming 7, specifically the placement of an M.2 slot directly underneath the first PCIe slot and some of the data and power connectors are inconveniently placed.  On the other hand the performance of the board is top notch, the 1950X ran perfectly stable at 4GHz and as there are two headers for watercooling on separate sides of the motherboard you should be able to hit that yourself.  They have learned some interesting facts about the X399 chipset so even if you are not picking up this board it is worth reading through the whole article.

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"We review GIGABYTE’s X399 Aorus Gaming 7 and see how it stacks up in the world of HEDT motherboards. This motherboard is not priced all that high considering the amount of features it touts and certainly it is not priced high for the stability we were afforded while overclocking the Threadripper to 4GHz."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

PCIe 4 specifications arrive

Subject: General Tech | October 26, 2017 - 12:38 PM |
Tagged: pcie 4.0

PCI-SIG have announced PCIe 4.0 is on the horizon, with up to 16GT/s or just a hair under 32GB/s transfer rate on a 16x slot.  The new standard will also allow devices to use more power, the draw from the slot remains at 75W but external power should be able to exceed 225W without exceeding the specs.  This could mean GPUs can continue to emphasize performance over power efficiency, which could lead to some interesting products.  There is no specific date for any products to arrive, this announcement is technically for revision 0.9, so it is a not quite ready for prime time.  This may disappoint those who read about the new Optane drives, which are capable of x4 PCIe transfer as opposed to PCIe 4.0.

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"PCI-SIG, the organization responsible for the widely adopted PCI Express (PCIe) industry-standard input/output (I/O) technology, today announced the release of the PCI Express 4.0, Revision 0.9 Specification, supporting 16GT/s data rates, flexible lane width configurations and speeds for high-performance, low-power applications"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: PCI-SIG

Podcast #473 - AMD Q3 Earnings, Forza 7 Performance, Allyn's storage rant, and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 26, 2017 - 11:40 AM |
Tagged: xbox one, x370, VROC, video, ROG Strix, podcast, nzxt, forza 7, b350, asus, ARM PSA, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #473 - 10/26/17

Join us for discussion on AMD Q3 Earnings, Forza 7 Performance, Allyn's storage rant, 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: Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, Ken Addison

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:03:33

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. 0:27:25 Allyn’s RAID rant
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. 0:45:55 Allyn: Cinemaps
  4. Closing/outro

 

Source:

The GTX 1070 Ti: NVIDIA's Response to RX Vega

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 26, 2017 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, GTX 1070Ti, gtx 1070 ti, graphics card, gpu, evga

NVIDIA today announced the launch of the GTX 1070 Ti. The card, which has been the subject of leaks and rumors for several weeks, is NVIDIA’s first major response to AMD’s RX Vega line, designed to go head-to-head with the RX Vega 56, and give Vega 64 a run for its money in terms of price-to-performance in many games.

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Compared to the GTX 1070, the 1070 Ti increases the GPU core count from 1920 to 2432 — 128 shy of the GTX 1080 — and raises the base clock frequency to the GTX 1080’s 1607 MHz. The 1070 Ti’s stock boost clock remains the same as the 1070, however, at 1683 MHz, although NVIDIA’s Pascal based cards have been shown to easily exceed this rated maximum clock speed. Other changes between the 1070 and 1070 Ti include an increase in texture units from 120 to 152 and a jump in TDP from 150 to 180 watts.

  RX Vega 64 Liquid RX Vega 64 Air RX Vega 56 Vega Frontier Edition GTX 1080 Ti GTX 1080 GTX 1070 Ti GTX 1070
GPU Cores 4096 4096 3584 4096 3584 2560 2432 1920
Base Clock 1406 MHz 1247 MHz 1156 MHz 1382 MHz 1480 MHz 1607 MHz 1607 MHz 1506 MHz
Boost Clock 1677 MHz 1546 MHz 1471 MHz 1600 MHz 1582 MHz 1733 MHz 1683 MHz 1683 MHz
Texture Units 256 256 256 256 224 160 152 120
ROP Units 64 64 64 64 88 64 64 64
Memory 8GB 8GB 8GB 16GB 11GB 8GB 8GB 8GB
Memory Clock 1890 MHz 1890 MHz 1600 MHz 1890 MHz 11000 MHz 10000 MHz 8000 MHz 8000 MHz
Memory Interface 2048-bit HBM2 2048-bit HBM2 2048-bit HBM2 2048-bit HBM2 352-bit G5X 256-bit G5X 256-bit 256-bit
Memory Bandwidth 484 GB/s 484 GB/s 410 GB/s 484 GB/s 484 GB/s 320 GB/s 256 GB/s 256 GB/s
TDP 345 watts 295 watts 210 watts 300 watts 250 watts 180 watts 180 watts 150 watts
Peak Compute 13.7 TFLOPS 12.6 TFLOPS 10.5 TFLOPS 13.1 TFLOPS 11.3 TFLOPS 8.2 TFLOPS 8.1 TFLOPS 5.7 TFLOPS
MSRP (current) $699 $499 $399 $999 $699 $499 $449 $349

The GTX 1070 Ti Founders Edition is launching at $449, which puts it $100 above the current MSRP of the 1070 and $50 higher than the RX Vega 56. The GTX 1080 and 1070 first launched at $599 and $379 but saw a price drop in late February to $499 and $349, respectively.

EVGA’s GTX 1070 Ti Launch Lineup

The GTX 1070 Ti launch will of course include dozens of options from NVIDIA’s partners, but we have some specifics to share from EVGA. The GPU maker is launching with four 1070 Ti models:

EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti GAMING
EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti SC GAMING Black Edition
EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti FTW2
EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti GAMING HYBRID

Following the pattern of EVGA’s other Pascal-based releases, the 1070 Ti GAMING features a basic blower-style cooler, the SC model features ACX 3.0 cooling, and the FTW 2 version includes EVGA’s ICX cooling system. The HYBRID model utilizes a self-contained, all-in-one 120mm water cooler.

evga-gtx-1070-ti.jpg

Pricing is not yet known for every model, but we’ve learned that the base GAMING edition will start at $469 and the FTW2 will carry a $489 MSRP. For comparison, the FTW2 version of the GTX 1070 is currently priced at $480 (expect prices to change once 1070 Ti stock hits the market) while the GTX 1080 FTW2 is $600.

GTX 1070 Ti Availability

NVIDIA is doing things a bit differently for the 1070 Ti launch. Although today (October 26th) marks the official “launch date,” actual product availability and performance benchmarks won’t land until next Thursday, November 2.

Aside from the advertised specifications, we therefore having nothing more to share at this time in terms of benchmarking or performance analysis, but rest assured that we’ll have our complete coverage ready to go as soon as we get our hands on these new cards.

Source:

Microsoft Now Supports Original Xbox Games On Xbox One

Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2017 - 08:33 PM |
Tagged: xbox one x, xbox one s, xbox one, xbox, upscaling, gaming, console, backwards compatible

Microsoft is adding original Xbox games to its backwards compatibility program with 13 games available now with more on the way in spring of next year. Xbox One, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X owners will soon be able to play a curated selection of original Xbox games at higher resolutions and with improved color details.

Microsoft claims that original Xbox games will run with up to four times the pixel count on Xbox One (and One S) and up to 16 times the pixels on Xbox One X. Gamers will be able to use their original Xbox game disc to play or they can purchase the older titles in digital form from the Microsoft Store. Original features like co-op and System Link will work, but there is no Xbox Live service support which means online multiplayer will not work. Further, Microsoft notes that players will not earn any achievements when playing original Xbox games.

The first batch of original Xbox games includes:

  1. BLACK
  2. BloodRayne 2
  3. Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge
  4. Dead to Rights
  5. Fuzion Frenzy
  6. Grabbled by the Ghoulies
  7. King of Fighters Neowave
  8. Ninja Gaiden Black
  9. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
  10. Psychonauts
  11. Red Faction II
  12. Sid Meier's Pirates!
  13. KOTOR (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic)

While I have not played most of those games, I played a ton of Red Faction II with my brother, and fondly remember KOTOR on the PC. The video above shows a comparison between the original KOTOR running on Xbox and the backwards compatible enhanced version of the game running on Xbox One, and the visual difference is impressive (still not as good as it can look on the PC with mods though heh) with the game being significantly sharper with deeper colors (the original Xbox game looks extremely blurry and washed out by comparison).

It is a small list currently, but there are some gems on the launch list, and I am interested to see how the games look running on the Xbox One X. Hopefully the frame rates and loading times can also be improved ;-). As an added bonus Microsoft also pointed out that Xbox Game Pass members can grab Ninja Gaiden Black for free.

Microsoft claims that gamers have spent 700 million hours playing the 400 backwards compatible Xbox 360 games on the Xbox One. There is certainly interest and it seems Microsoft is watching the numbers carefully which will be important for gamers in getting the Redmond-based company to continue adding support for additional classics.

Also read:

Source: Microsoft

Zotac Shrinks GTX 1080 Ti Into Water-Cooled Small Form Factor ArcticStorm Mini

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 25, 2017 - 03:34 PM |
Tagged: zotac, gtx 1080 ti, SFF, water cooler

Zotac finally made its watercooled GTX 1080 Ti ArcticStorm Mini official last week. A card that was first teased at Computex, the ArcticStorm Mini is a dual slot with metal backplate and full cover water block that has been significantly shortened such that it can fit into many more cases including Micro ATX and some Mini ITX form factors. Specifically, the ArcticStorm Mini measures 212mm (8.35”) x 164mm (6.46”) and uses a custom shortened PCB that appears to be the same platform as the dual fan air cooled model.

Zotac GTX 1080 Ti ArcticStorm Mini.jpg

The star of the ArcticStorm Mini is the full cover waterblock with nickel plated copper base and a tinted acrylic top cover. According to Zotac the waterblock uses 0.3mm micro channels above the GPU to improve cooling performance by moving as much heat from the GPU into the water loop as possible. There are ports for vertical or horizontal barb orientation though I would have loved to see a card that routed the water cooling in and out ports to the rear of the card rather than the side especially since this is aimed at small form factor builds. The water block can accommodate standard G1/4” fittings and Zotac includes two barbs that support 10mm ID (inner diameter) tubing in the box. A metal backplate helps prevent warping of the PCB from the water cooling which can be rather hefty.

While there is no RGB on this card, Zotac did go with an always on white LED that along with the gray and silver colors of the card itself are supposed to be color neutral and allow it to fit into more builds (as opposed to Zotac’s usual yellow and black colors). Around the front are five display outputs including: DVI-D, HDMI 2.0b, and three DisplayPort 1.4 connections.

Out of the box, the GTX 1080 Ti ArcticStorm Mini comes with a modest factory overlock that pushes the GP102’s 3,584 CUDA cores to 1506 MHz base and 1620 MHz boost. The 11GB of GDDR5X remains clocked at the stock 11 GHz, however. (For comparison, reference clocks are 1480 MHz base and 1582 MHz boost.) The graphics card is powered by two 8-pin PCI-E power connectors and enthusiasts should be able to push it quite a bit further than the out of the box clocks simply by increasing the power target as we saw in our review of the 1080 Ti, and barring any silicon lottery duds this card should be able to clock higher and have more stable clocks than our card thanks to the liquid cooler.

As is usual with these things, Zotac did not reveal exact pricing or availability, but with the full sized GTX 1080 Ti ArcticStorm already selling for $809 on Amazon and $820 over at Newegg, I would expect the little SFF brother to sell for a bit of a premium beyond that, say $840 at launch with the price going down a bit with sales later.

It would have been nice to see this be a single slot card, and giving up DVI would be worth it, but you can’t have everything (heh). I am looking forward to seeing the systems modders and enthusiasts are able to cram this card (or two) into!

Source: Zotac

If you are going to play this game at high resolution it is your Destiny 2 buy a Vega

Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2017 - 02:16 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, gaming, destiny 2, amd, 4k, 1440p

In their testing of the new PC port of Destiny 2, The Guru of 3D made some interesting discoveries.  The first is that at 1080p, the game's performance can be somewhat limited by your CPU, but not at 1440p or higher resolutions.  The second finding is the impressive showing of AMD's Vega 64 and 56 at 1440p and 4K, which both outperform the GTX 1080.  It may be that NVIDIA will release an optimized driver and repeat the improvements seen in Forza 7 but for now AMD is in the lead.  

Drop by for their full review.

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"We test that PC enhanced Destiny 2 for Windows relative towards graphics card performance with the latest AMD/NVIDIA graphics card drivers. Multiple graphics cards are being tested and benchmarked. We have a look at performance with the newest graphics cards and technologies."

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Source: Guru of 3D