The Khronos Group Releases OpenXR 0.90 (Provisional)

Subject: General Tech | March 19, 2019 - 01:20 AM |
Tagged: Khronos, openxr

At the Games Developers Conference in San Francisco, the Khronos Group has published the first, provisional release of the augmented reality and virtual reality API: OpenXR 0.90. The goal is to allow the general public to implement it into their software so they can provide feedback (via the official forums) before it launches into 1.0.

khronos-2019-openxr-logo.png

The last time we’ve mentioned OpenXR was SIGGRAPH back in August. That event had a demo area on the show floor with the Epic Showdown VR demo, which evolved into Robo Recall. On that end, Epic plans to continue support for OpenXR, and they pride themselves as the engine that powers the original demo. Unity has also responded positively to OpenXR, but their quoted statement doesn’t make any specific promises. Microsoft and Collabora are each, separately, providing hardware implementations of the new API. Oculus plans to support the API when it reaches 1.0 status. HTC also wants to support OpenXR with the Vive, although Valve is nowhere to be seen on the list of quotes. Google is also nowhere to be seen on the list.

You can check out the press release on the Khronos Group website.

GDC 19: NVIDIA Announces GameWorks RTX; Unreal Engine and Unity Gain DXR Support

Subject: General Tech | March 18, 2019 - 10:00 PM |
Tagged: unreal engine, Unity, rtx, ray tracing, nvidia, GDC 19, GDC, dxr, developers

Today at GDC NVIDIA announced GameWorks RTX and the implementation of real-time ray tracing in the upcoming Unreal Engine 4.22 and the latest version of Unity, currently in 2019.03.

NVIDIA Announces GameWorks RTX

While Pascal and non-RTX Turing support for real-time ray tracing is something of a bombshell from NVIDIA, the creation of GameWorks tools for such effects is not surprising.

“NVIDIA GameWorks RTX is a comprehensive set of tools that help developers implement real time ray-traced effects in games. GameWorks RTX is available to the developer community in open source form under the GameWorks license and includes plugins for Unreal Engine 4.22 and Unity’s 2019.03 preview release.”

NVIDIA lists these components of GameWorks RTX:

GW_RTX.PNG

  • RTX Denoiser SDK – a library that enables fast, real-time ray tracing by providing denoising techniques to lower the required ray count and samples per pixel. It includes algorithms for ray traced area light shadows, glossy reflections, ambient occlusion and diffuse global illumination.
  • Nsight for RT – a standalone developer tool that saves developers time by helping to debug and profile graphics applications built with DXR and other supported APIs.

Unreal Engine and Unity Gaining Real-Time Ray Tracing Support

DXR_GAME_ENGINES.png

And while not specific to NVIDIA hardware, news of more game engines offering integrated DXR support was also announced during the keynote:

“Unreal Engine 4.22 is available in preview now, with final release details expected in Epic’s GDC keynote on Wednesday. Starting on April 4, Unity will offer optimized, production-focused, realtime ray tracing support with a custom experimental build available on GitHub to all users with full preview access in the 2019.03 Unity release. Real-time ray tracing support from other first-party AAA game engines includes DICE/EA’s Frostbite Engine, Remedy Entertainment’s Northlight Engine and engines from Crystal Dynamics, Kingsoft, Netease and others.”

RTX may have been off to a slow start, but this will apparently be the year of real-time ray tracing after all - especially with the upcoming NVIDIA driver update adding support to the GTX 10-series and new GTX 16-series GPUs.

Source: NVIDIA

NVIDIA to Add Real-Time Ray Tracing Support to Pascal GPUs via April Driver Update

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 18, 2019 - 09:41 PM |
Tagged: unreal engine, Unity, turing, rtx, ray tracing, pascal, nvidia, geforce, GDC 19, GDC, gaming, developers

Today at GDC NVIDIA announced a few things of particular interest to gamers, including GameWorks RTX and the implementation of real-time ray tracing in upcoming versions of both Unreal Engine and Unity (we already posted the news that CRYENGINE will be supporting real-time ray tracing as well). But there is something else... NVIDIA is bringing ray tracing support to GeForce GTX graphics cards.

DXR_GPUs.png

This surprising turn means that hardware RT support won’t be limited to RTX cards after all, as the install base of NVIDIA ray-tracing GPUs “grows to tens of millions” with a simple driver update next month, adding the feature to both to previous-gen Pascal and the new Turing GTX GPUs.

How is this possible? It’s all about the programmable shaders:

“NVIDIA GeForce GTX GPUs powered by Pascal and Turing architectures will be able to take advantage of ray tracing-supported games via a driver expected in April. The new driver will enable tens of millions of GPUs for games that support real-time ray tracing, accelerating the growth of the technology and giving game developers a massive installed base.

With this driver, GeForce GTX GPUs will execute ray traced effects on shader cores. Game performance will vary based on the ray-traced effects and on the number of rays cast in the game, along with GPU model and game resolution. Games that support the Microsoft DXR and Vulkan APIs are all supported.

However, GeForce RTX GPUs, which have dedicated ray tracing cores built directly into the GPU, deliver the ultimate ray tracing experience. They provide up to 2-3x faster ray tracing performance with a more visually immersive gaming environment than GPUs without dedicated ray tracing cores.”

A very important caveat is that “2-3x faster ray tracing performance” for GeForce RTX graphics cards mentioned in the last paragraph, so expectations will need to be tempered as RT features will be less efficient running on shader cores (Pascal and Turing) than they are with dedicated cores, as demonstrated by these charts:

BFV_CHART.png

METRO_EXODUS_CHART.png

SOTTR_CHART.png

It's going to be a busy April.

Source: NVIDIA

Remember Conservative Morphological Anti-Aliasing?

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 18, 2019 - 03:13 PM |
Tagged: fxaa, SMAA, Anti-aliasing, MLAA, taa, amd, nvidia

Apart from the new DLSS available on NVIDIA's RTX cards, it has been a very long time since we looked at anti-aliasing implementations and the effects your choice has on performance and visual quality.  You are likely familiar with the four most common implementations, dating back to AMD's MLAA and NVIDIA's FXAA which are not used in new generation games to TAA/TXAA and SMAA but when was the last time you refreshed your memory on what they actually do and how they compare.

Not only did Overclockers Club looking into those, they discuss some of the other attempted implementations as well as sampling types that lie behind these technologies.  Check out their deep dive here.

anti.PNG

"One setting present in many if not all modern PC games that can dramatically impact performance and quality is anti-aliasing and, to be honest, I never really understood how it works. Sure we have the general idea that super-sampling is in effect running at a higher resolution and then downscaling, but then what is multi-sampling? How do post-processing methods work, like the very common FXAA and often favored SMAA?"

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

How else would you get a Comet in your lake, if not from the Sky

Subject: General Tech | March 18, 2019 - 01:27 PM |
Tagged: Comet Lake-S, Skylake, Intel, 14nm, Comet Lake-U, Comet Lake-H, rumour, leak

Intel's new Comet Lake families of chips will be a update to the existing Skylake architecture and will share the same 14nm process node according to what The Inquirer have discovered from leaked documents.  On desktop parts they refer to 10+2 and 8+2 SKUs from which we can infer the presence of GT2 graphics, with a 5GHz part likely topping that line.  Notebook chips are expected to top out at six cores as are the ultra-low power models.   In theory we should see these arrive some time this year, contiguous to the release of Zen 2, though we lack hard dates on either release at this time.

splash.PNG

"According to reports, Comet Lake-S will be based on the Skylake microarchitecture and will be created using Intel's now-ageing 14nm manufacturing process."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Crytek's Neon Noir is a Platform Agnostic Real-Time Ray Tracing Demo

Subject: General Tech | March 18, 2019 - 09:03 AM |
Tagged: vulkan, RX Vega 56, rtx, ray tracing, radeon, nvidia, Neon Noir, dx12, demo, crytek, CRYENGINE, amd

Crytek has released video of a new demo called Neon Noir, showcasing real-time ray tracing with a new version of CRYENGINE Total Illumination, slated for release in 2019. The big story here is that this is platform agnostic, meaning both AMD and NVIDIA (including non-RTX) graphics cards can produce the real-time lighting effects. The video was rendered in real time using an AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (!) at 4K30, with Crytek's choice in GPU seeming to assuage fears of any meaningful performance penalty with this feature enabled (video embedded below):

“Neon Noir follows the journey of a police drone investigating a crime scene. As the drone descends into the streets of a futuristic city, illuminated by neon lights, we see its reflection accurately displayed in the windows it passes by, or scattered across the shards of a broken mirror while it emits a red and blue lighting routine that will bounce off the different surfaces utilizing CRYENGINE's advanced Total Illumination feature. Demonstrating further how ray tracing can deliver a lifelike environment, neon lights are reflected in the puddles below them, street lights flicker on wet surfaces, and windows reflect the scene opposite them accurately.”

Crytek is calling the new ray tracing features “experimental” at this time, but the implications of ray tracing tech beyond proprietary hardware and even graphics API (it works with both DirectX 12 and Vulcan) are obviously a very big deal.

crytek_demo.png

“Neon Noir was developed on a bespoke version of CRYENGINE 5.5., and the experimental ray tracing feature based on CRYENGINE’s Total Illumination used to create the demo is both API and hardware agnostic, enabling ray tracing to run on most mainstream, contemporary AMD and NVIDIA GPUs. However, the future integration of this new CRYENGINE technology will be optimized to benefit from performance enhancements delivered by the latest generation of graphics cards and supported APIs like Vulkan and DX12.”

You can read the full announcement from Crytek here.

Source: Crytek

AMD States Its CPUs Are Not Susceptible to SPOILER

Subject: Processors | March 18, 2019 - 08:38 AM |
Tagged: spoiler, speculation, spectre, rowhammer, meltdown, amd

AMD has issued a support article stating that its CPUs are not susceptible to the recently disclosed SPOILER vulnerability. Support Article PA-240 confirms initial beliefs that AMD processors were immune from this specific issue due to the different ways that AMD and Intel processors store and access data:

We are aware of the report of a new security exploit called SPOILER which can gain access to partial address information during load operations. We believe that our products are not susceptible to this issue because of our unique processor architecture. The SPOILER exploit can gain access to partial address information above address bit 11 during load operations. We believe that our products are not susceptible to this issue because AMD processors do not use partial address matches above address bit 11 when resolving load conflicts.

amd-epyc.jpg

SPOILER, one of the latest in the line of speculative execution vulnerabilities that have called into question years of processor architecture design, describes a process that can expose the mappings between virtual and physical memory. That's not a complete issue in and of itself, but it allows other attacks such as Rowhammer to be executed much more quickly and easily.

The research paper that initially disclosed SPOILER earlier this month states that Intel CPUs dating as far back as the first generation Core-series processors are affected. Intel, however, has stated that the vulnerabilities described in the paper can be avoided. The company provided a statement to PC Perspective following our initial SPOILER reporting:

Intel received notice of this research, and we expect that software can be protected against such issues by employing side channel safe software development practices. This includes avoiding control flows that are dependent on the data of interest. We likewise expect that DRAM modules mitigated against Rowhammer style attacks remain protected. Protecting our customers and their data continues to be a critical priority for us and we appreciate the efforts of the security community for their ongoing research.

Source: AMD

LG's V50 ThinQ '5G' phone

Subject: Mobile | March 15, 2019 - 05:07 PM |
Tagged: V50 ThinQ, LG, 5G

We know for sure which came first, the 5G modem before 5G service, no matter what certain companies branding might say.   LG's new V50 ThinQ contains a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset and X50 modem inside it's shell.  It has already been announced that LG will not be releasing a folding phone this year, but this phone comes with an interesting compromise.  You can purchase a second device, a screen with POGO pin connectors that you can then attach to the phone, the hinge technically makes it a folding phone but not in the way that others are developing.

Take a quick peek at it over at The Inquirer.

IMG20190225160745-540x334.jpg

"That's not a bad thing, but it serves as a reminder that the days when a new technology meant a retrograde in form factor are gone. There's nothing about the V50 ThinQ 5G that sets it apart from any 4G phone - at least on the outside."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

More Mobile Articles

Source: The Inquirer

Analogue supplies the truest input on Cooler Master's MK850

Subject: General Tech | March 15, 2019 - 04:41 PM |
Tagged: MK850, analogue, cooler master, gaming keyboard, aimpad, input

We've seem Aimpad's analogue input in action before, on other Cooler Master products as well as a Wooting one.  Cooler Master has released the MK850 which utilizes this technology, along with providing RGBs for you to gaze longingly at.  You might have noticed that there are more than a few keys on this board, the extras allow you to toggle analogue input off and on as well as modifying the sensitivity of the keys which do have analogue capability, the Q, W, E, R, A, S, D, and F specifically.  M1 through M5 allow you different profiles for different games.

Take a gander at the full review The Tech Report posted if you are interested.

cooler master mk850 1_result.jpg

"Forget, for a moment, what the Cooler Master MK850 looks like. Forget about its RGB lighting, its brushed metal top, its many keys and buttons, and the software that comes with it, because none of those things make it a keyboard of consequence. The only thing we really care about is whether or not the MK850 can deliver on the tantalizing promise of analog keyboard input for gaming."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

A peek at MSI's new RTX powered laptops

Subject: General Tech | March 15, 2019 - 03:46 PM |
Tagged: msi, gaming laptop, rtx, E75 Raider RGB 8SG, GL73 8SE, GS75 Stealth 8SG, P75 Creator

Kitguru wasn't able to run benchmarks on MSI's four new laptops yet but they did get a chance to check them out and posted a video overview.  The E75 Raider RGB 8SG, GL73 8SE, GS75 Stealth 8SG, and P75 Creator all contain either a RTX 2060, 2070 or 2080 as well as an Intel Intel Core i7-8750H and a variety of NVMe storage options. 

Head on over for a tour.

GL73-pic-6.jpg

"Earlier in the week, I took a trip down to Leo’s studio where I was joined by Natalie McMorrow from MSI, who took us through an overview of some of the upcoming gaming laptops that MSI will have to offer. We also managed to get a sneak preview of a completely different type of laptop made specifically for content creators."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Kitguru

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.3.2 with Windows 7 DX12 Support

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 14, 2019 - 08:38 PM |
Tagged: Windows 7, The Division 2, radeon, graphics, gpu, gaming, dx12, driver, DirectX 12, amd, Adrenalin, 19.3.2

AMD has released Radeon 19.3.2 drivers, adding support for Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 and offering a performance boost with Civilization VI: Gathering Storm. This update also adds a number of new Vulkan extensions. But wait, there's more: "DirectX 12 on Windows 7 for supported game titles." The DX12-ening is upon us.

adrenalin.PNG

Here are AMD's release notes for 19.3.2:

Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.3.2 Highlights

Support For

  • Tom Clancy’s The Division® 2
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI: Gathering Storm
    • Up to 4% average performance gains on AMD Radeon VII with Radeon™ Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.3.2 vs 19.2.3. RS-288
  • DirectX® 12 on Windows®7 for supported game titles
    • AMD is thrilled to help expand DirectX® 12 adoption across a broader range of Windows operating systems with Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 18.12.2 and onward, which enables consumers to experience exceptional levels of detail and performance in their games.

Fixed Issues

  • Radeon ReLive for VR may sometimes fail to install during Radeon Software installation.
  • Fan curve may fail to switch to manual mode after the manual toggle is switched when fan curve is still set to default behavior.
  • Changes made in Radeon WattMan settings via Radeon Overlay may sometimes not save or take effect once Radeon Overlay is closed.

Known Issues

  • Rainbow Six Siege™ may experience intermittent corruption or flickering on some game textures during gameplay.
  • DOTA™2 VR may experience stutter on some HMD devices when using the Vulkan® API.
  • Mouse cursors may disappear or move out of the boundary of the top of a display on AMD Ryzen Mobile Processors with Radeon Vega Graphics.
  • Performance metrics overlay and Radeon WattMan gauges may experience inaccurate fluctuating readings on AMD Radeon VII..

More release notes after the break.

Source: AMD

Need a new NVIDIA GPU but don't want to get Ti'd down in debt?

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 14, 2019 - 01:33 PM |
Tagged: video card, turing, rtx, nvidia, gtx 1660 ti, gtx 1660, gtx 1060, graphics card, geforce, GDDR5, gaming, 6Gb

Sebastian has given you a look at the triple slot EVGA GTX 1660 XC Black as well as the dual fan and dual slot MSI GTX 1660 GAMING X, both doing well in benchmarks especially when overclocked.  The new GTX 1660 does come in other shapes and sizes, like the dual slot, single fan GTX 1660 StormX OC 6G from Palit which The Guru of 3D reviewed.  Do not underestimate it because of its diminutive size, the Boost Clock is 1830MHz out of the box and with some tweaking will sit around 2070MHz and the GDDR5 pushed up to 9800MHz.

Check out even more models below.

img_7957.jpg

"We review a GeForce GTX 1660 that is priced spot on that 219 USD marker, the MSRP of the new non-Ti model, meet the petite Palit GeForce GTX 1660 StormX OC edition. Based on a big single fan and a small form factor you should not be fooled by its looks. It performs well on all fronts, including cooling acoustic levels."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: Guru of 3D

It's a good day to be running an AMD APU, unless you like updating iGPU drivers

Subject: General Tech | March 14, 2019 - 12:08 PM |
Tagged: Intel, security, patch, igp

Today there are patches for no less than 19 vulnerabilities on Intel graphics drivers for Windows of various flavours.  Sysadmins out there should also pay attention, as there are  vulnerabilities specific to server chips as well, with patches for a variety of features up to and including the Trusted Execution Engine; if you are using a desktop chip with these features you should also pay attention.  The only silver lining to this is that the vulnerabilities require an already compromised machine to be exploited ... or physical access of course.

You can read through the synopsis of these CVEs over at The Register if you want to ruin your Thursday.

it_crowd_650px.jpg

"Chipzilla's March patch dump is highlighted by fixes for 19 CVE-listed vulnerabilities in its graphics drivers for Windows. If you use Windows and have those drivers (and if you're running an Intel CPU with integrated GPU, you almost certainly do) you will want to patch sooner than later."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

PC Perspective Podcast #536 - GTX 1660, NVIDIA & Mellanox, DirectX 12 on Windows 7, and More!

Subject: General Tech | March 14, 2019 - 11:25 AM |
Tagged: video, podcast, phoenix point, Mellanox, halo, gtx 1660, DirectX 12, corsair

PC Perspective Podcast #536 - 3/13/2019

Join us this week as we review the new NVIDIA GTX 1660 and a high-end case from Corsair, discuss NVIDIA's Mellanox acquisition, get excited over Halo for PC, and more!

Subscribe to the PC Perspective Podcast

Check out previous podcast episodes: http://pcper.com/podcast

Show Topics
00:00:06 - Intro
00:03:47 - Review: NVIDIA GTX 1660
00:22:22 - Review: Corsair Crystal Series 680X RGB Case
00:37:48 - News: NVIDIA Acquires Mellanox
00:47:58 - News: DirectX 12 for Windows 7
00:53:25 - News: Halo: The Master Chief Collection for PC
00:58:21 - News: Windows 10 KB4482887 Issues & Fix
01:00:40 - News: AMD Navi Launch Date Rumors
01:02:29 - News: Navi GPU Benchmarks?
01:10:03 - News: Phoenix Point Jumps Ship to Epic Games Store
01:25:22 - News: Samsung eMRAM for IoT
01:30:12 - News: The Web's 30th B-Day
01:34:40 - News: Corsair Carbide Series 678C Low-Noise Case
01:37:38 - Picks of the Week

Picks of the Week
Jim: Humble Strategy Bundle 2019
Jeremy: Firefox Send
Josh: Resident Evil 2

Today's Podcast Hosts
Sebastian Peak
Josh Walrath
Jeremy Hellstrom
Jim Tanous

MSI's RTX 2080 Ti Gaming X Trio is a great card for those who tweak

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 13, 2019 - 02:50 PM |
Tagged: msi, RTX 2080 Ti, gaming x trio

MSI's RTX 2080 Ti Gaming X Trio is a beefy card, at 32.5cm (12.8") in length you should check the clearance on your case before considering a purchase.  Right out of the box the boost clock is 1755MHz, which doesn't really represent what this card is capable of, [H]ard|OCP found it sits around 1900MHz before they started tweaking it.  With a bit of TLC they saw the clock spike all the way to 2070MHz, though for the most part it ran just above 2000MHz which had a noticeable impact on performance.  It still wasn't enough to provide a decent experience playing Metro Exodus at 4k with Ultra Ray Tracing enabled, with that disabled the card happily managed 70FPS with all the other bells and whistles enabled. 

Check the numbers yourself in the full review.

155198019353empmcz7i_1_1.png

"The MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti GAMING X TRIO takes the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti to new heights in performance and overclocking. We’ve got Metro Exodus NVIDIA Ray Tracing performance, 1440p and 4K gameplay, and we compare this video card overclocked as well as in silent mode for more efficient gameplay."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Report: AMD's Upcoming Navi GPUs Launching in August

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 13, 2019 - 02:41 PM |
Tagged: report, rumor, wccftech, amd, navi, gpu, graphics, video card, 7nm, radeon

Could Navi be coming a bit sooner than we expected? I'll quote directly from the sourced report by Usman Pirzada over at WCCFtech:

"I have been told that AMD’s Navi GPU is at least one whole month behind AMD’s 7nm Ryzen launch, so if the company launches the 3000 series desktop processors at Computex like they are planning to, you should not expect the Navi GPU to land before early August. The most likely candidates for launch during this window are Gamescom and Siggraph. I would personally lean towards Gamescom simply because it is a gaming product and is the more likely candidate but anything can happen with AMD!

Some rumors previously had suggested an October launch, but as of now, AMD is telling its partners to expect the launch exactly a month after the Ryzen 7nm launch."

AMD GPU Roadmap.png

Paying particular attention to the second paragraph from the quote above, if this report is coming from board partners we will probably start seeing leaked box art and all the fixings from VideoCardz as August nears - if indeed July is the release month for the Ryzen 3000 series CPUs (and come on, how could they pass on a 7/7 launch for the 7nm CPUs?).

Source: Wccftech

Phoenix Point suffers Epic mission creep

Subject: General Tech | March 13, 2019 - 01:56 PM |
Tagged: phoenix point, gaming, epic games, Snapshot Games

Fans of the original X-COM will soon have a reason to visit the Epic Games Store, as not quite released yet Phoenix Point will be sold there, exclusively.  For those backers who cannot bear the idea of creating an account, you can request a refund but if you don't you will get a years worth of DLC for free, not that we know as of yet what those additions may be.  The offer does suggest that Snapshot Games is getting a good deal as the crowdfunding campaign fell short of a few reach goals which might be an indication of what the contents of the DLC will be.  If you didn't back the game and are still interested you will be able to pick it up for around $40. 

Drop by Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN for a look at the video announcement of this decision.

crabby.PNG

"Phoenix Point will launch exclusively on the Epic Games Store now for £36, although they are offering refunds for those who absolutely wanted the game on Steam or GOG. You can find its official site here."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

AMD's new 66AF:F1 GPU, a model number inspired by the USB-IF?

Subject: General Tech | March 13, 2019 - 12:53 PM |
Tagged: navi, amd, leak, AMD 66AF:F1

It's not the leak that many were hoping for, regardless it is still a peek at what Navi may offer when released.  The Inquirer spotted a mysterious AMD 66AF:F1 GPU attached to some Compubench compute results that could be a Navi GPU.  If that is indeed what it is then the new GPU will offer mid-range performance, as opposed to competing against NVIDIA's current family of high end cards.  It is rather telling that the Bitcoin Mining benchmark was not run, as we have seen in recent financial reports that bubble has pretty much burst.

498eff757b336f811a4b437aeb7bd523_XL.jpg

"In leaked benchmarks on CompuBench, the compute performance of the mysterious GPU suggested that it lags a little behind the Vega 56 and is more on par with the Radeon RX 580."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

NVIDIA Acquires Mellanox: Beyond the Numbers

Subject: Editorial | March 12, 2019 - 10:14 PM |
Tagged: nvswitch, nvlink, nvidia, Mellanox, Intel, Infiniband, Ethernet, communications, chiplets, amd

In a bit of a surprise this past weekend NVIDIA announced that it is purchasing the networking company Mellanox for approximately $6.9 billion US. NVIDIA and Intel were engaged in a bidding war for the Israel based company. At first glance we do not see the synergies that could potentially come from such an acquisition, but in digging deeper it makes much more sense. This is still a risky move for NVIDIA as their previous history of acquisitions have not been very favorable for the company (Ageia, Icera, etc.).

633889_NVLogo_3D_H_DarkType.jpg

Mellanox’s portfolio centers around datacenter connectivity solutions such as high speed ethernet and InfiniBand products. They are already a successful company that has products shipping out the door. If there is a super computer somewhere, chances are it is running Mallanox technology for high speed interconnects. This is where things get interesting for NVIDIA.

While NVIDIA focuses on GPUS they are spreading into the datacenter at a pretty tremendous rate. Their NVLink implementation allows high speed connectivity between GPUS and recently they showed off their NVSwitch which features 18 ports. We do not know how long it took to design the NVSwitch and get it running at a high level, but NVIDIA is aiming for implementations that will exceed that technology. NVIDIA had the choice to continue in-house designs or to purchase a company already well versed in such work with access to advanced networking technology.

Intel was also in play for Mellanox, but that particular transaction might not have been approved by anti-trust authorities around the world. If Intel had made an aggressive bid for Mellanox it would have essentially consolidated the market for these high end networking products. In the end NVIDIA offered the $6.9B US for the company and it was accepted. Because NVIDIA has no real networking solutions that are on the market it will likely be approved without issue. Unlike other purchases like Icera, Mellanox is actively shipping product and will add to the bottom line at NVIDIA.

mellanox-logo-square-blue.jpg

The company was able to purchase Mellanox in a cash transaction. They simply dove into their cash reserves instead of offering Mellanox shareholders equal shares in NVIDIA. This $6.9B is above what AMD paid for ATI back in 2006 ($5.4B). There may be some similarities here in that the price for Mellanox could be overvalued compared to what they actually bring to the table and we will see write downs over the next several years, much as AMD did for the ATI purchase.

The purchase will bring them instant expertise with high performance standards like InfiniBand. It will also help to have design teams versed in high speed, large node networking apply their knowledge to the GPU field and create solutions better suited for the technology. They will also continue to sell current Mellanox products.

Another purchase in the past that looks somewhat similar to this is AMD’s acquisition of SeaMicro. That company was selling products based on their Freedom Fabric technology to create ultra-dense servers utilizing dozens of CPUs. This line of products was discontinued by AMD after poor sales, but they expanded upon Freedom Fabric and created the Infinity Fabric that powers their latest Zen CPUs.

I can see a very similar situation occurring at NVIDIA. AMD is using their Infinity Fabric to connect multiple chiplets on a substrate, as well as utilizing that fabric off of the substrate. It also has integrated that fabric into their latest Vega GPUs. This philosophy looks to pay significant dividends for AMD once they introduce their 7nm CPUs in the form of Zen 2 and EPYC 2. AMD is not relying on large, monolithic dies for both their consumer and enterprise parts, thereby improving yields and bins on these parts as compared to what Intel does with current Xeon parts.

mellanox-quantum-connectx-6-chips-652x381.jpg

When looking at the Mellanox purchase from this view, it makes a lot of sense for NVIDIA. With process node advances moving at a much slower pace, the demand for higher performance solutions is only increasing. To meet this demand NVIDIA will be required to make efficient, multi-chip solutions that may require more performance and features than what can be covered by NVLINK. Mellanox could potentially provide the expertise and experience to help NVIDIA achieve such scale.

Source: NVIDIA

ESA Winter 2019 Raised $30,080 for Save The Children

Subject: General Tech | March 12, 2019 - 06:12 PM |
Tagged: esa, speedrun, charity

It’s been a few weeks since the European Speedrunner Assembly (ESA) Winter 2019 marathon ended, although the organizers have, just last Thursday, announced the results in a press release. Combining both streams, the event raised $30,080 USD in the six days that it ran. All of this money went to Save The Children.

Moreover, ESA Winter 2019 was the first event from the group that was sold-out.

esa-2019-logo.png

In previous years, ESA had sponsors that did donation matching up to some amount; I distinctly remember something like a 10:1 multiple a couple of years ago. As far as I can tell, that was not the case this time, so that was all contributed by the fans, including the runners and attendees.

Two more events are planned for this year. In April, on the 13th and the 14th, ESA will be at TwitchCon Europe. ESA Summer 2019 will take place from July 19th through July 28th, which is about a month after Summer Games Done Quick 2019 (June 23rd to June 30th).

Source: ESA